A place to show my love for my granddaughter who lives with Cerebral Palsy and my passion for painting. In an effort of raising awareness for C.P. every painting brush stroke I make on raw canvas is a stroke of love, as I discretely paint a green C.P. awareness ribbon in every piece. Can you find them?
Do you know someone who would like to have a painting done? email www.harrold.janet@gmail.com

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Music to my ears

Move over Liberace... this weekend Natalie, Tom and Hailey went up to New Hampshire to spend the weekend with Natalie’s aunt Christine. They had a great time at the petting zoo, apple picking, and trick or treating. Christine gave Hailey a gift and this one really struck a chord with me. She gave her her very own Baby Grand Piano! Growing up my family didn’t have much, but we did have music, most of my family were self taught musicians. My father played the guitar and the harmonica, my sister played the guitar and my brother played the drums. Coinsidently his son also plays the drums and my uncle went to the New England Conservatory of music. So it was no surprise when my son Tom(Hailey’s daddy) came home and said that he wanted to attend St. Paul’s (better known as The Boston Boy Choir) where he studied music and learned how to play the piano. He later went on to graduate college as a music major. “When Tom played it was intoxicating to me”, there was a sense of calm when he passionately ran his long slender finger’s up and down the keyboard. Due to her Cerebral Palsy I know that Hailey doesn’t have the dexterity in her fingers to play the piano like her dad, but it sure does my heart good to see her play and respond to music the way that she does. It makes me wonder how many of you have children in "Music Therapy" and if you do, how has it helped your child?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Lantern Festival

I just can’t get enough of quality time spent with my family. Last weekend was the Annual Lantern Festival, such a stress free beautiful night, my husband even skipped out of work for a couple hours and joined us this year. :) as thousands of people walked around the pond with their children dressed in their halloween costumes, proudly carrying their handmade lanterns made out of plastic bottles and tissue paper, with a candle to light the way. It felt like were taken back in time or in a fairytale. It was beautiful to look across the pond in the darkness and see all the lanterns lighting the way. Natalie did a great job helping the kids make them this year and Hailey loves to participate in arts and crafts projects, so it was a win, win for everyone. Her costume this year is a dragonfly, she picked it out herself. She also had quite a good time modeling it while her mother took some great pictures. She looks so animated in these shots, we are not sure if Hailey will walk, but it looks like she is going to fly.
Tell us your fun halloween stories.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Different Points of View

Different Points of View --Cards written for the differently abled in mind and in heart.
These cards are never intended to offend anyone.
Last May while I was looking for a birthday card for Hailey, I realized that what the Hallmark cards had to offer for 3 year old girls were popular and current cartoon characters such as Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse or generic cards that displayed a prima ballerina in all her grace and elegance, high on her toes in her beautiful pink pointe shoes. That is when I realized that they didn’t have a card that was a bit more specific to Hailey’s grace. I didn’t see a ballerina in A.F.O’s or a little girl celebrating her accomplishments as she walked through a field of daisy’s in her new walker. So I began to write a line of cards so that when I wanted to give my granddaughter a card for her birthday or a card for encouragement, I could chose a card that was a bit more relational to her.
I began to write text and I am happy with the text that I have written. My drawings however have me a bit concerned. I wanted to paint them in soft demure colors and keep them simple and child friendly. After emailing them to a co-worker I am starting to second guess myself here. I would really appreciate everyone’s honest opinion here before I spend more time, effort and money on this particular project. Above are some images and below is the email correspondence of myself and a co-worker. An example of one of my favorite cards will read as follows.

“When it feels like the whole world is staring at you...just smile”

His Response to my images:
Janet i never want to offend or discourage ..but i expect honest responses when i ask for your reaction so....my first reaction is to be disturbed (obviously the subject manner is sad) 2nd they look juvenile like a kid painted them..however that may be the look you wanted to achieve so there is an innocence to them that's sweet i think you wanted the paintings to say i am handicapped but i am somebody and i can achieve to be what ever i want to be and i am ok and just like you....its ok to look at a person with a handicap on this card or in this world but i guess the reality of it is a bit hard to take...this is my perspective maybe someone with a handicap would be reassured or reaffirmed by an image of someone like themselves...i know these are preliminary drawings and dont necessarily represent your end goal but that was my first reaction i guess the girl and the dog is a bit softer and more gentle to look at...and if she had a smile that was ear to ear i would find it a more pleasing image let me know if my response seems fair.
My response:
You never offend or discourage me. I asked for your first impression and you gave it to me. i wanted them too be soft and simple....so they didn't look to harsh. I realize it is hard too see but for a lot of people this is the reality of their lives, even if others chose to look the other way. Your reaction just makes me more aware that these kind of cards need to be in as many stores as poss. If people got used to seeing them more it would help to raise awareness and hopefully blend into the Norm (whatever that is) I appreciate your honesty.

I realize that I am putting my self in a very vulnerable position on this but, i've got to know before I keep investing in this. The question goes out to my "special needs" friends and my "Not So Special" friends (just kidding) Is this something you would like to see more of, or should I throw in the towel?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

kicking and splashing

Usually when I bring Hailey swimming she seems to be pretty happy to be in the water. She doesn’t move around as much as I hoped despite all of my efforts in engaging her in the water.
None the less, the warm water is so good for her tight muscles, and so we continue to go.
This week there was a crate of rubber duckies and fishies on one side of the pool. Hailey dipped her hand in the crate and pulled herself out a fish. We played with him and submerged him under the water until his belly was filled with chlorine. Then of course, we dumped the water on grammies head. Not only did Hailey think that this was funny, but she just loved kicking and swimming from one end of the pool to the other and when she was done letting the fish spit all over my head she would line them up next to each other on the wall of the pool, before I knew it, it was time to go and she had 6 ducks and 6 fish lined up in a row and the crate was empty. We had fun and made progress today, I just can’t wait until next week!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Exceptional Family

Well, it’s official episode 2 just started on Exceptional Family T.V.(To link to the video introducing me and the other bloggers)click here and then select "This Week" I am both honored and proud to do my small bit in contributing to their show. I will be writing a weekly blog from a grandmother’s perspective trying to convey the importance that the role of extended family plays in the life of a child with a disability, and also about the fun that Hailey and I have together. eFamilyTV focuses on parents/families/caregivers raising children with special needs. I hope that you will follow me and the other bloggers as we raise awareness and educate the rest of the world about the realities, struggles and triumphs of amazing families raising children with special needs. It helps parents connect with each other through open discussions and share ideas about therapies, equipment, adaptable toys and everyday stories. I have learned so much about Hailey’s disability by reading and speaking with other parents/grandparents who are living the same life. You can too. Pictured above are just a few images of my "Exceptional Family"

Friday, October 1, 2010

"Double Trouble"

You may remember these two adorable twins Ben and Daniel, i've painted them in the past. (they also remind me so much of my own twin nephews Mickey and Orlando when they were that age)Ben has Cerebral Palsy, like Hailey. The first painting I did Cary,(their Mom) from here was touched when she noticed that I put my trademark Cerebral Palsy awareness ribbon over Ben's heart. This time I placed it near Daniel's heart because i'm sure his love for his brother is great. I hope she likes it.