Keepin clothes on

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Someone asked me, “How did you get the boys to wear some clothes indoors?”

Okay…. so clothes aren’t HUGE at our house… I try to make sure they’re dressed when people come over, or if I plan to take pictures/videos for our page…

But here are a couple ways I’ve gotten my kids to wear clothes…

So I don’t know if you’ve ever spent a summer (or whatever) where you weren’t really wearing a lot of clothes… then when you put more clothes on because you had to go back to school/work/etc… it feels weird… Like when I went from wearing tank tops all day every day while I was pregnant… if I had to put an actual Tshirt on to leave the house, it felt suffocating…

So when our kids go from being half naked all the time to being made to wear clothes – it’s horrible… especially when they don’t understand why they’re feeling like that. First instinct is to rip them back off.

So one of the ways, I helped teach the kids (and kind of in that process with Jax) is by making him wear PJ’s (the full suit ones) all day every day… because eventually his body will adjust and he’ll be able to tolerate wearing clothes like shorts and a shirt, because his body has adjusted.

Which, because it’s been hot, and I haven’t been making him wear his pjs, his body has readjusted and now he wants to be naked constantly. lol

The other way I get my kids to do things, not even always with clothes, but with everything… is I take the one thing they can’t live without and I don’t allow them to have it until they do what I want.

Right now, it’s Tyler’s glasses and playing on my computer… Justin has to eat a banana before getting skittles, and Jax, he has to tell me he wants to take a bath on his AAC before he’s allowed to take one.

There’s crying at first, because there’s confusion and that’s not how it was done just yesterday…. but eventually it’ll click…

The one that’s most similar with your situation is Tyler… so if he takes off his glasses, I take the computer. Which at first resulted in meltdowns.
But I didn’t give in… if he went reaching for the computer, I held out his glasses. Once he put them back on, he got the computer.

So for her, you could give her her favorite thing in the whole world when she’s wearing clothes…. if she strips, take it away… help her put her clothes back on, and then give it back…. at first it’ll be really hard… but if she loves the object enough, she’ll figure it out REALLY quick. 🙂

Even Jax (at 2.5) has figured out he has to ask for things in order to get it…. he still has little tantrums every once and a while… and that’s okay, because it’s age appropriate, and they’re allowed to have their feelings, but they still need to do what you ask.

Holiday Shopping List 2016

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It can be really hard to know what to get someone.
Let alone a child/teen/adult on the Autism spectrum, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD or with Special Needs.

Use this list to find something perfect for your family member, friend or even yourself… and if you don’t find anything, maybe it’ll give you an idea.
Feel free to comment with your own awesome finds below, you might help someone else out! (Add links if you can! 😀 )

1: Weighted Blankets by Maddy’s Closet
She has more than just blankets… like vests, belts, stuffed animals and lap pads!
Her work is very neat and clean.
She’s an incredibly sweet woman with a very sweet little girl on the spectrum.
Check out her website:
http://www.memecloset.bigcartel.com/
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2: Therapy Swings by InYard.
They’ve got more than just Therapy Swings too now!
They have “snuggle huggles”, weighted blankets and chewie jewelry!
All three of my boys love our therapy swing. It helps with vestibular senses and helps calm their bodies providing a little hug around them.
Check out their website:
https://inyardproducts.com/
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3:  Personalized products Vinyl Expressions.
T-shirts, plates, ornaments, bows, wine glasses > for any holiday… and this is just the beginning!
Just ask and they’ll probably be able to customize.
Check out their website:
https://vinylexpressions.squarespace.com/
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4: Children’s Wallet Cards.
Educational, non-toxic and extremely durable plastic card sets for kids.
Numbers, letters, colors, facial expressions, transit and fake money.
I can attest to the fact that theses are very sturdy little cards.
Jaxson is a chewer and LOVES mouthing them.
They’ve held up much longer than any other product similar to them.
They’re bright and vibrant.
They’re cheap considering!
Great for therapists too.
Check out their website:
http://www.youguysaresoawesome.com/#home
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5: Autism awareness products by Journey to Jacob’s Ladder.
A Mom created a business for her son Jacob, who has autism, that will provide him with purposeful employment after he ages out of the school system.
He learns how to help make, prepare, ship and keep track of the products.
You should see his smile on payday!
Check out their Etsy store:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Journey2JacobsLadder?ref=hdr_shop_menu
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6: Web ID for those who may wander from If I Need Help.
They’re a non-profit organization that provides Web ID and information for people who may be disoriented or lost when they’re alone or away from their care providers.
They come in patches, shoe tags, ID cards, dog tags, pins, clips and more.
When you buy any of those, you get a free member web ID so that if your child/teen/adult gets lost, the person who finds them will be able to contact you.
Check out their website:
https://ifineedhelp.org/
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7: Chewies and teethers from Chewigem USA.
Safe, non-toxic chewable jewelry that is designed to discreetly hide a need to chew. Great for oral/sensory seekers who need that input… much better than pens, straws or other things that weren’t designed to be chewed.
They’ve got pendants, tubes, rings, tags, bangles, cups, pillows, shoe laces and more.
Check out their website:
https://www.chewigemusa.com/
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8: Therapy tools from ARK Therapeutic.
Along with chewies, ARK also makes a lot of tools for speech, feeding, sensory, fine motor, and more. I’ve got a list of things I want to get from them to help Tyler. Specifically their Z-Vibe! But they have spoons, straws, chewie jewelry, cups and more.
Check out their website:
http://www.arktherapeutic.com/
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9: Soft headphones from Cozyphones
Super comfy headband headphones for sleep, sports and fun. It’s also washable!! These are the only headphones that Justin will leave on. They have a few different styles, and the speakers on the inside of the headband can be adjusted. Plus the cord, short of getting a pair of scissors out, are virtually indestructible.
Check out their website:
https://www.cozyphones.com/
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10: Fidget toy by FidgetWorks.
Fidgets to help cope with ADHD, ADD, Anxiety, Autism, Stress and more.
Check out their website at:
https://fidgetworks.com/
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11: Spinners by Fidget This.
Custom fidget spinners.
Check out their Etsy store here:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/FidgetThis#items
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12: Fidgieblocs.
Handmade fidget and focus toys for kids and adults.
Check out their Etsy shop at:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Fidgieblocs
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13: Fidget Cube.
High-quality desk toy designed to help you focus. Fidget at work, in class, and at home in style. Fidget Cube has six sides. Each side features something to fidget with: Click. Glide. Flip. Breathe. Roll. Spin.
Buy one here:
Fidget Cube
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14: Fiddle links. 
Developed by hand therapists. Interlocking, rotating links that are excellent for building fine finger dexterity and exercising finger joints. Calming fidget stress toy is especially nice for teens-adults.
Get them here:
https://www.therapyshoppe.com/category/P1008-fiddlelinks-fidgeter
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15: NeoBalls.
>Not for children< If they mouth or chew, definitely not for them. I’d say these are more for adults and teens. But I want them, pretty badly! lol
Snap, pull, mold, squeeze, and construct an endless variety of shapes.
Buy them here:
NeoBalls – Incredibly Addicting Super Magnets
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16: Haircuts with Calming Clipper.
Sometimes practical gifts are the best gifts.
Haircuts can be challenging for someone with sensory sensitivities. Vibration and sound from an electric clipper can be too much to handle. These are a quiet alternative to the electric clipper!
Find them here:
http://calmingclipper.com/
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17: Calming Clothing Company.
Snug fitting cotton garment supplies the child with the much-needed sensory feedback.  That reassurance and body awareness, in turn, creates a calming effect.
Check them out here:
http://www.calmingclothingcompany.com/
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18: Weighted compression vests by Fun and Function.
Comfy, easy to use and helps kids quickly calm and focus.
Find them here:
https://funandfunction.com/weighted-compression-vest.html
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19: Autism Awareness by Ausome Artists
Handmade art keychains, bracelets, and magnets made by two Autistic little boys, with help from their Mom.
Check out our page here:
Facebook.com/AusomeArtists 
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20: Growing Up Aspie – A Comic By Nathan McConnell
A comic about the struggles/benefits of growing up with Aspergers in a neurotypical world.
Buy a copy here:
http://www.indyplanet.us/product/143702/
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21: Fidget Tangle toys.
Find them on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Set-Tangle-Jr-Original-Fidget/dp/B0034EKP8Q/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1481211529&sr=8-2&keywords=tangle+toy
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22: Yoga ball
Great for Physical and Occupational Therapy or just for fun.
Helps build muscle and strengthen for people who have low muscle tone or for those who have too much energy and need to bounce on something. 😉
Find it on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Anti-Burst-Slip-Resistant-Yoga/dp/B01GTB4MZ2/ref=sr_1_3?s=exercise-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1481211552&sr=1-3-spons&keywords=yoga+ball&psc=1
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23: Stability Wobble Cushion.
Great for core strengthening. Also great for people to sit on while doing work… it helps keep their bodies calm while their minds are active.
Find it on amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Stability-Cushion-Diameter-Balance-Included/dp/B007LX6MPG/ref=sr_1_3?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1481211593&sr=1-3&keywords=balance+disc
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24: EZ-PZ placemats.
Silicone placemat + plate/bowls that suction to the surface! Anyone with kids could use one of these.
http://ezpzfun.com/
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25: Uplifting Autism book from Autistic Not Weird.
Chris asked 150 autistic children and teenagers from all over the world one question: “what do you love most about life?”

Their answers are insightful, uplifting, and a beautiful window into the minds of young people who think differently (as well as helping to fight negative autism stereotypes!). This book could be the perfect gift for anyone pessimistic about autism or struggling with a diagnosis, or for anyone who’s interested in knowing how awesome the world is from an autistic perspective.”
Message their page for your copy!
https://www.facebook.com/autisticnotweird/

26: Autism Awareness by Autism Awareness Shop.
100% of profits are used to “Put Autism to Work”, their focus is vocational training and gainful employment for those with autism. Find things like car stickers, clothing, pens, jewelry, accessories and more.
Check out their website:
https://autismawarenessshop.org/
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27: Children’s book by Little Monkey, Be You.
A heartwarming story about being yourself
and knowing you are loved unconditionally.
Check out their website:
http://www.beyoukidsbooks.com/
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Or maybe you’re a group of adults who would rather give to a good cause instead of exchanging gifts.

1: The Kreed Foundation.
After their son passed away, Erin started the non-profit foundation to provide children, teens, and adults education and technology to those who don’t have a voice and need one. They’re raising money to help supply families with an AAC device AND help the family, therapists, teachers, etc learn and understand how to use it.
Because of them, my son Justin finally has a voice and is learning how to use it.
Check out their website:
http://www.thekreedfoundation.org/
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2: Special Books by Special Kids.
He travels the world creating videos with neurodiverse humans in hopes of promoting inclusion and acceptance.
His videos are absolutely amazing. He’s helping people and showing us all that no matter what we look like, what our “diagnosis” is or how we’re portrayed to the rest of the world, we’re really not all that different.
Check out his website:
http://www.specialbooksbyspecialkids.org/
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Thank you for checking out our #Holiday shopping list!
What did I miss?
What would you add?
What do your or your child/teen have on your wish/want list that you didn’t see here?
Do you have a friend who makes something you think would be a great addition?
Add it in the comments!

I HATE that phrase…

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Can I just get all of the boys doctors all in one room and everyone can tell me how to raise and feed my kids all at one time?
Being told over and over and over from different people who don’t actually KNOW my kids is getting EXTREMELY overwhelming… and annoying.

*sigh*
So, I blew up on one of the doctors at the Pediatrician’s office we go to today. They have many Doctors/Nurse Practitioners there… and he wasn’t the one we normally see, but was the one whom they set us up with to do his Health and Physical to be cleared for his Sedation Hearing test in two days.

I didn’t mean to.
I didn’t want to.
I tried to hold it in as much as I possibly could… but as soon as he said that phrase… I just couldn’t hold it in any more.

So he walks in.
Says hi… starts typing.
“And what are we seeing you guys for today?”

I explained.
He finished typing, grabbed some gloves and walked over to Jax.
He starts listening to his chest and the first thing he says… before asking me questions about how he eats or how often… he asks if he has been tested for >>whatever<<… I said no, I don’t know what that is.

“It’s >blah blah blah< when they can’t stop eating. They just eat and eat and eat.”

I was like… seriously?!
“He doesn’t eat a lot… or every often”
“Huh”
*keeps examining*
He asks me very vague questions about his eating… I explain he really only snacks.. Mostly crunchy carbs… cereal and veggie straws.

And again… without asking me why… without asking me what I’ve tried… without asking me if he has any actual issues with anything… he starts telling me about this little girl…

Who was “quite big” and only two.
And I’m just staring at him… NOT smiling… because I was pissed.
This was NOT why I was here… and I JUST got to listen to all this crap two weeks ago at his Eval.

He’s going on and on about eating… and all I can think was, Jax has been barely holding it together by this point. He just wants to leave…
Then he started explaining how you start with meat, and once they eat that THEN they get fruit… then they get juice or a cereal…. And you do that all day… and that little girl didn’t eat the whole day… (In my head I’m telling myself… stay calm… stay calm…. Don’t freak out. You’re almost out of here… just keep nodding).

Then he smiled at me… like he was trying to reassure me… and said “They’ll eat when they’re hungry. Don’t worry. He won’t starve!”

That phrase… THAT FREAKING PHRASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sure… some kids WILL eat if you hold out… they’ve been shown from an early age that they don’t “have” to eat what they don’t want to.

But for kids like mine… who will literally starve before eating something that they just can’t stand… it’s not going to happen. It doesn’t mean I don’t try and offer new foods… but forcing them… doing the whole “you’ll eat when you’re hungry” makes it worse… and makes them have an even worse attitude towards food. And it’s down right dangerous to offer that advice when you don’t know the kid. AT. FREAKING. ALL!!!

I couldn’t… I lasted as long as I could, and I blew up… I cried…

“I’ve tried that! I’ve got three Autistic kids with food aversions and sensory issues and I’ve tried that! It doesn’t work. What I’ve been doing has been working… when I tried that… it made it worse! I’m tired of getting crapped on about his weight every time I go to a doctor’s appointment!!”

Totally shocked… he back peddles “I’m not being harsh… I’m just trying to ask questions and find out… I don’t know anything about you guys… I’m just telling you what’s worked… trying to help.”

I wanted to yell: But you’re NOT asking… you’re TELLING!!!!

“I can’t feed him anything different until I know what’s wrong with him. He’s had issues since birth!! I’m trying my best!”

I explained more… Explained the tests we’ve done. Explained how I think he might have Celiac… that he gets severe diarrhea… that he screams when I give him different foods.

He stopped talking… finished the eval…
Jax and I both calmed down.

Then he starts telling me to not worry… that kids like this get better.
That kids on the spectrum just need positive parenting… and goes on about how to parent a child like him.

I internally rolled my eyes so hard.
FREAKING KIDDING ME!?!?! Is this the visit from hell????
NOW… NOW we’re not only telling me how to feed my child… you’re telling me how to raise him… without asking me how I do it…
UGHHHH

“I’ve got two other, older Autistic kids… I know what I’m doing.”
“You have two other Autistic kids? That’s uncommon.”

(soooooooooo you weren’t actually listening to me when I was upset… when I said I had three Autistic kids… do you think I was just kidding?!)

He finally left…
And I bawled my eyes out…
It’s been an hour and I’m still freaking crying over this crap.

I obsess…
I worry…
I stress…
I FREAK THE CRAP OUT about making sure I’m being the best possible parent for my kids… in all aspects. Teaching them, loving them, caring for them, disciplining them, feeding them, therapy, exercise….

And some guy… who hasn’t seen my son in 2 ½ years (he saw him at 2 weeks old), and for maybe 5 minutes, is giving me parenting advice.

I criticize myself enough on my own… I don’t need anyone else to do it for me.

Everyone is telling me what I need to do.
School tells me to work on this… therapists tell me to work on the areas they’re focused on… doctors tell me to focus on feeding and exercise…

What you all want me to do… and expect of me… is all “advice”…
I’m the parent!!!
I get to FREAKING choose for my children what is most important right now.
Plus…
I’ve got THREE Autistic kids who all have therapists and doctors telling me what they all need me to be focusing on…
There’s only one me… and I’m doing the best I can.

Especially considering I’ve got my own mental and physical health I’m trying to deal with.

*sigh*

I just needed to vent this out or I’d end up crying about it all day.
I planned on coming back to our page soon… but with all these doctors apts where I’m being beaten down… I don’t know when I’ll ever be mentally ready to come back… These migraines are killing me.

Anyway…  
I Love and appreciate you guys. ❤

Weight advice from a skinny chick

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Something I didn’t talk about when I posted about Jaxson’s evaluation was what the doctors had said about his weight.

Because I knew if I talked about it, I would have gotten upset and I wanted to be able to devote enough time to really write about it as I could.

After they asked about his learning, understanding, words, sensory, they asked about his eating habits.
And I’m sure that they look at him, chubby and look at me, Very Much overweight, and think that it’s obviously just me not having a healthy lifestyle.

“How’s his eating?”
*juggling Jaxson while trying to answer questions*

“It’s bad”

“Oh, he eats a lot?”

“No.” I said it like I had a bad taste in my mouth.

“He doesn’t eat a lot really, but his food preferences are very limited.”
I explained…

She responded,
“Because his height and weight is as high as it can go on the chart” > Looking disapprovingly.

“I know, but he’s also going to be 6’8’’… we don’t really go by charts that were made for people who were probably only going to get up to 6 foot. He’s going to grow differently.”

“Yes, but whether or not he’s going to be 6’8’’, he’s still a very big kid.”

That’s when I got upset.
There are two versions of me when I get upset… well, there’s starting to be a third now that I’ve been learning to help control my emotions and let go of issues…

But really… there are two.
There’s me telling you off in your face (that one was more me in my teenage years).

And there’s me crying.
Because it’s overwhelming… and It’s hard for me to express everything I want to say, and it’s hard to defend myself when I can’t remember everything or when I feel like I’m being personally attacked or someone I love is being attacked.  <–also when I have put myself in someone else’s shoes and feel they’re being attacked. Lol I cry a lot… which is why I guard myself and only allow people around me to be people who won’t hurt me or make me cry. I’m very selective of my friends. Which is why I have so very few.

So right then, I felt like my parenting choices and my child’s weight was being attacked.
Without asking me if I’d been to a GI or Nutritionist (which I have) or if I have gotten tests done (which I have) or WHY his diet is so limited… Or if I’ve tried feeding therapy (which I have) or tried tackling his sensory issues around his food issues (which I have)… she starts telling me that I need to watch his weight because essentially, he’s fat and he shouldn’t be.

So I started crying.
“I’m trying the best I can! He’s constantly moving. I keep him as active as I can and feed him as healthy as his diet allows me to!”

“I’m sorry! It’s just we get parents in here with big kids and they can’t control them, and I don’t want to see that wi…”

“My kids listen to me! I’m very strict and even if they don’t understand why I’m telling them to do something, they do it because they know they need to listen to me!”

“I’m just worried that he’s going to get stuck in this rut and not want to eat anything besides what he’s eating now. It’s a lot harder for them to expand their food preferences the older they get.”

>>
I calmed back down… we talked… and I went back to my nodding and smiling and playing along.
Because I HATE crying.
And I finally got back to the state I was able to keep control of my emotions again.

It just makes me SO angry when people look at me… then look at my kids… and assume we have a very unhealthy lifestyle because of our weight.
Despite having a negative perception of myself, I ALWAYS preach “as long as we’re active, and eating healthy, then our weight shouldn’t matter”.
It shouldn’t matter especially to anyone besides ourselves.

I’ve got medical reasons why I’m as heavy as I am… but that doesn’t mean I don’t walk a mile every day, plus exercise and try to eat as well as I can.

Oh, and I’m on the spectrum with food issues… my eating habits have actually improved since I was a kid so, maybe you shouldn’t generalize about something when everyone on the spectrum and everyone with SPD are different. I’m not a first-time mom let alone a first time Autism mom… I know better.

My heavier set two, are the ones who are constantly moving and walking around. I almost never see Justin sitting.
Tyler, the skinny one, who no one EVER gives me any crap about, is actually the least active and his eating is even worse than the other two. But because he “looks” healthy, no one cares… and I catch all kinds of crap about Justin and Jax because they’re fat.

You can be skinny and unhealthy.
You can be fat but healthy.

“You cannot be healthy and weigh that much.”
That’s funny because my blood sugar, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol… hint otherwise.

Do I want to be fat? No.
Do I want my kids to be fat? No.

But I grew up in a “it’s okay, we’ll diet” type of environment.
Diets aren’t great for long term.
It’s also given me a horrible self image.
I hate the way I look.
Even when everything else is going good… I can look at myself and fall back into depression.
“Then why don’t you do something about it?”

I am.
Every day, I’m doing something about it.
Change doesn’t happen overnight.

And believe it or not, having other people tell me I’m fat won’t hurry that process along any. If anything, it makes it harder for me to lose weight because I get upset and sad. Kind of hard to work on yourself when you’re depressed.

And I’m DONE trying to lose weight quickly so I can finally love myself.
Because when I was at my thinnest, I hated myself then too.
I’m trying to love myself despite my weight.

I’ve learned that what you look like shouldn’t matter.
Your health is what matters.
Being active.
Eating as healthy as you can with whatever your issues with food are.
Drinking water…

Slow, steady, continuous progress is what’s going to give me a healthy life.
Not diets or (diet)pills or self loathing.

And you know what else?
I’m going to pound that in my childrens heads…
I’m going to fight and cry through every. freaking. appointment we have that they tell me that my kids are fat and need to lose weight.
Fight for them to understand that they are amazing the way they are… that as long as they’re doing the best they can, that’s all that FREAKING matters.

Because I don’t EVER want them to feel the way I do every time I look at myself in the mirror.

#FuckYourBeautyStandards