Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Day 14: On setting a tone

Yeah, so I'm sure it will surprise no one to know that I am "that" mom. You know the kind who reads ALL THE BOOKS, and LOGS ALL THE THINGS, and generally overwhelms and inundates caregivers with every last tidbit of information they need to know before I hand over the caring of my child.

To date,  Sam has been left with only five people in the world without Jason or I present: my mom, my brother, my best friend C, my best friend E, and my dear friend S (who ran an awesome dayhome that we used for drop in occasionally). In the same vein, Charlie has never been without her father or I for more than an hour since the day she was born.

When it comes to Charlie, the reason is simple: she's a breastfeeding baby who refuses to take a bottle. But with Sam, the situation is made complicated by his inability to communicate in easily accessible ways. Therefore, all his caregivers have to be people that I trust completely and who have a functional understanding of "Sammie Speak". And even with these loving, engaged friends, leaving him alone has always come with a serious amount of trepidation. After all, when your child can't even tell you if he is hungry, there is a much higher risk at hand.

So, understandably, the idea of sending him to school every week is morbidly terrifying. I know that it will be amazing for him, but the fear is there nonetheless.

So, being the control freak that I am, I felt I needed to set a tone for how I want Samuel's care to go. This was not so much in terms of what to do, but rather in how Jason and I have chosen to parent him. I wanted to give his teacher a bit of an inside look at who we are and what we believe in.

Ever the strategist, I know that these things are usually best conveyed in writing. Together, Jason and I drafted a document outlining the values and beliefs that frame our family vision.

The document (which was incredibly short by my standards: only 3 pages long), outlined a history and our in-home strategies in more depth (including nutrition, sensory diet, pivotal response goals and outcomes), etc. But it is the first page that I am the most proud of. This is where Jason and I really dug deep to identify our cores values which frame our parenting worldview.  Tonight, I thought I would share these with you.

:) Mama Zita

Dube-Lockhart Family Mission Statement
Our family mission is to provide to every member of our family the love, comfort, support, and opportunities they need to learn, grow, and flourish to their fullest potential and live happy and enriched lives.

We respect the individuality and personal needs of every member of our household, while always embracing their uniqueness and valuing their authenticity.

We strive to treat ourselves, each other, and the world with kindness, compassion, understanding, and a healthy sense of humour.  

We believe that knowledge is power, that laughter is the best medicine, and that the only “special need” we have is to be loved and accepted for who we are.  

We are a happy family, and every day is a new adventure.

Jason and Zita’s Parental Commitment:  

We believe that children are born as human beings, each one having personal feelings, opinions, and points of view worthy of our respect and understanding.
We will not treat our children with any less respect, accommodation, consideration and kindness than we would treat each other, or any other human being.

We believe in teaching self-discipline through establishing developmentally appropriate expectations and by inspiring the desire to meet and exceed these milestones.

We will not use violence, shame, or coercion to punish.

We teach with love and compassion.

We will see both our children as individuals, equal but not the same, and each requiring a unique parenting approach personalized to their needs.

We will not compare their achievements, abilities, or challenges with each other.  

We will do everything in our power to give to them the opportunities and accommodations that they need to live rich and happy lives.

We will never give up on them, and will never undermine their abilities.

We will celebrate every milestone, no matter how small.

We will never lose hope, and will focus on the positive.

We will love our children and each other unconditionally.

Our Vision for Samuel

We believe that if we are committed to learning Samuel’s language, he will learn to speak ours.

We believe that if we are committed to entering into Samuel’s world, he will learn to enter ours.

We believe that if we share in Samuel’s interests, he will learn to share in ours.

We will never underestimate our son’s potential.

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