Thursday, August 26, 2010

Becoming an Advocate for My Child

I think back to when I was pregnant with Doodle and all of the hopes and dreams I carried for her. Back when life is brand new, you rarely consider how much you will need to stand up for your child in this world. The world was in awe of my brand new baby, and so was I. As Doodle grew and sank deeper and deeper into autistic tendencies, I have learned how strong my motherhood instincts really are. It's really tough to go against the grain - to stand up for your child when every one around you disbelieves what you are saying. It's really tough to find strength and courage to say what you know is right.

The past two years I have learned how to be the voice for my child, when she couldn't speak. This past week I have had to stand up again and fight for what was right for Doodle. I learned this week that the Kindergarten teacher she was assigned to would not be a good fit for Doodle. A good friend's daughter had this same teacher and the experience in this classroom has had tremendous consequences for her daughter by giving her a fear of reading. I am so thankful I found this information out prior to school starting. I need Doodle to be successful - to enjoy reading and feel like she can do it (because she can!)

Out came the protective mama bear in me. I immediately called the principal and requested a new teacher. I also visited other local schools - just in case the principal was unwilling to move Doodle. Fortunately, the principal acquiesced, and found a better teacher for Doodle. I'm thrilled with the new selection and know Doodle will thrive in this new environment. 

I've had to do the same thing with Doodle's diet. So many people have been skeptical that a diet works for autistic kids. So many people think I'm crazy (including her doctor). I'm so glad I didn't listen to them. Doodle is thriving - a happy, social, well-rounded kid with tremendous potential. I encourage all you parents out there to hang in there. If you see progress in your child while on this diet, don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and your child! I've been there, you, too, can overcome the doubt and uncertainty. Your child is worth it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

How to Throw an Allergy Friendly Princess Tea Party

Princess Doodle in her Party Dress

Last weekend we threw a birthday party for Doodle. She turned 6 years old in July and each year I plan a celebration in August (summer gets to be hectic around these parts). This year Doodle insisted that she have a Princess Tea Party. So, being the devoted mother that I am, I set about making that dream happen.

Step 1: Make the invitations (I am an avid scrapbooker, so the only real choice for invites were handmade). I found some pretty pink ribbon, pink flocked paper and vellum to create a royal looking invitation:

"The princess Doodle requests the honor of your presence at her royal tea birthday party. Come dressed in your tea party best or whatever princess attire you so desire." 

All the little girls came dressed in their gowns and tiara's, ready for a royally good time.
The Princesses in Their Tea Party Best

Step 2 - Do a lot of baking!  The menu was as follows:

My Refreshing Lemonade (to substitute for tea)
Mini cakes frosted with Princess Pink frosting (I used Betty Crockers Gluten Free Cake Mix
with Pillsbury Frosting)
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries (strawberries dipped in melted Enjoy Life Chocolate)
Individual Lemon Tarts
Fresh Fruit (strawberries, melon, bananas, and nectarines)

Step 3 - Deck out the table.  My mother-in-law gave me a pretty silver tea set when we were married. I have never used it, but it came in handy for such a special occasion as a princess turning 6!  I poured the lemonade in the teapot and served all of the princesses with it. Each princess had their own tea cup and the table was dressed with nice linens and cloth napkins. I used crystal serving dishes and a beautiful cake platter.

Step 4 - Decorate magic wands. My friend Sarah is quite crafty and was gracious enough to help me create magic wands for the kids to decorate. Very simple to do -

1. Spray some styrofoam balls with gold glitter paint.
2. Attach balls with hot glue to the pointed end of a wooden skewer (the kind used for kabobs)
3. Wrap skewer in pretty pink ribbon to cover up the wood and glue down.
4. Tie curling ribbon (like for presents) at the top of the wand (just under the gold ball) and use a scissors to curl the ribbon. Add a bow, if desired, and glue in place.
5. Purchase "gems" from the local dollar store and have the girls glue them on their wands to make it their own.

Step 5 - Bring on the princesses and have some fun! The whole afternoon was just a delight for Doodle! She absolutely loved her party, getting dressed up in a fancy dress, wearing a tiara, and having her friends over for a special celebration. We played a few princess games (pass the tiara and princess limbo), ate lots of food - and danced.

Most amazingly was that not one of the children could tell that this party was Allergy Friendly. No one complained about the taste of the gluten free cake or could tell that I used dairy free topping on the lemon tarts. How great is that? 

The Princess and her Gluten Free Cakes