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Accidental Parenting
Accidental Parenting

Episode 26 · 2 years ago

S01E25: Kimberly

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Col interviews his sister Courtney (aka Kimberly) about parenting her 4 children, including Ruby, the happiest 6-year-old in history. She shares their journey discovering how to navigate Ruby’s physical and educational needs, and her advice for parents in similar situations.

Welcome back to another really exciting episode of accidental parenting. This week we've got a very special guest who just makes me laugh, and I'm not going to introduce her by name just yet. That will come later. I want to start off with our awkwardly personal question. That's how we start all of our interviews, and she's listened to a few of our podcasts here and there, so she's expecting this. Special guests, go ahead and say hi, hi, and tell us. What is the biggest lie you've ever told? The biggest lie I've ever told? Well, I think you could consider this a lie. When I was growing up, I we had a neighbor named Ben who thought for years that my name is Kimberly. Okay, and I never corrected him and every time he said hi Kimberly on the way home from school, I said Hi. At this point I can't not not use your name anymore because this is my sister, Courtney, and Courtney and I we go way back, as one could imagine. I'm very excited to have her on the on the podcast today, but this is so true. been across this room. Oh, hello, kimberly, it's just smile and not free until. How's Kimberly doing? Until we moved? My name Kimberly. Do you remember when his house caught on fire? I do remember that. Yeah, I was crazy. Yeah, UH, Nice Guy. Did we move before it? We move before he did. Right, well, he was kind of weird, right. He had like an inn certain nephew. He was in the National Guard, okay, and like I don't know what else he did, but he had a nice nephew that we're living there and he would live their part time and kind of do his thing. I think he lived in another place too. But do you remember his last name? No, no, it was just been. I just remember you Curgio, but I don't ever remember how to say it. That was his last name. It was something like that. I would look as I remember, write to him. I owe him some money from window I broke writing to him in seventh grade. Well, he was over Oh, yeah, with say. Here's the question. Does our store when you wrote to him when he was overseas, did you sign it, kimberly? I think I did. I had to. You didn't want to ruin Oh, because I took his name and address to everyone in my class and they all wrote to him. Yeah, at that point it was the lie. was too late, and too late to fix that one. Oh yeah, that's that's actually a really good lie. I appreciate your honesty with that. So some other pieces that we do when these interviews we make introductions with assumptions, so things that I don't already know. This is a little bit tricky because you're my sister and it's almost like we finished ease others Sam, which is thank you. All right. Your favorite food? Okay, let me think. Let me think a good ...

...one. Favorite food, like favorite food. This is not counting dessert, because we all like dessert. Favorite food is you were a picky eater growing up. I really have no ideating, because favorite like food. Let's go with barbecue. Oh my gosh, that's the one food. I don't know. I thought you didn't like seafood. Oh yeah, that I thought. Okay, I got to pick something that's totally polar opposite from seafood. Barbecue, lads, fine and versus. Yeah, I don't love barbecue either, to be honest. Okay, so what is it? Two favorite things are Thai food and tacos. Oh, Thai food and tacos. I like those. I like I like that. Also like a good sandwich. Good Sandwich, I prefer an UNWHICH, okay, I don't like wrapped in let us. Oh See, I like my sandwich to be wrapped in let us. I don't. I'm not a big bready person, I'm a big bread person. Yeah, too, big tie and Tacos, and I'm thinking that would be a good, good combination, Tai Tacos. There is a place in Gilbert. Have you heard of this place called Pandalibre? No, but I kind of have a problem mixing food. I was at no meeting the other night and we had to vote on who had the best lunch and somebody won with Sushi Burrito. I'm sure it wasn't a Tortilla, but I had a hard time differentiate. So all right, we've got your spicy tuna and reef ride. Yeah, yeah, all right, okay, so next, next assumption. Your favorite workout song is hmm, this girl is on fire. No, that's a good one. It is a good one. Okay, I I like a lot and I like to switch it up, so I really like what's it called? I came and think of the name of it by heart. I don't know, I don't know. But I also like pink. Okay, and I really like that song glorious by Malcolamore right now. Oh yeah, yeah, and fight song. I like that one. My good gets you going. Yeah, my favorite maclamore Song Right now is that one where he's like, I don't belong in this place. If you heard that one, is that the Glorious One? No, it's called I don't belong in this place. I don't ever know the names of face. It's your good song. Okay, next question that I've got for you. Bedtime routine. So just before bed? Okay, you always. It's funny because Aubre wrote the sound like my answer and I'm not going to say because she wrote your I was yeah, she wrote what my assumption would be affect. She thought your favorite food would be mutton. Oh yeah, so I didn't say that she was lying. She did put this girls on fire. She says before you go to bed you always go skinny dipping in your pool. Yeah, yeah, even in thought old spot off got on. HMM.

But Bedtime your team. What do you do right before bed? Crush my teeth. That's a good that's just face. All right, last look. Last TV show you watched was date line. NOPE, date line. I haven't watched the daylight. That's that's the last epice. That's the last show I watched. Mine was this is us. Oh, are you all cut up on that? I just caught up. See, I am, I am so far behind. Oh, it was a good it's a good show. It is a good show. It's a heartrencher for sure. We were watching dateline last night as we were falling asleep and it reminded me we had this conversation with some friends earlier in the night. They were telling us about the most recent date line episode. Have you heard about this couple in Idaho and Arizonas the child drama, missing children? Some people know them, that I know. Yeah, our friends. That's where our friend's sister lives across the street from. They're the place in Idaho where all this went down. Okay, and it was on them. It was on dateline last night and like, there are tons of questions. It's like facebook groups up people talking about it and it's interesting. It is interesting thing and I have a hard time with how the length of time it keeps going. Yeah, you kind of feel like so for those listeners who aren't up to speed, essentially there was two separate couples who their significant others, their spouses, ended up being killed and these two couples then essentially ran away together and all their kids are missing, wife and the husband. Yeah, there's only two kids, right, two kids, yes, boy and a girl, but the kids are missing. Yes, they know where the wife and husband. They were in Hawaii for a while and I think they went to Mexico. I don't know what. They went all over the place and and and no one knows where. The Christians are a little shady. Yeah, sad, very sad, very sad. The purpose for having Courtney on our podcast is is actually twofold one, because it's really exciting to talk about someone who knows my past, knows my old chip, my childhood. I know her childhood. Right, they are twins. Go tell that story please. That's another lie. Yeah, so all growing up, Courtney and I, we've and then we have got three c three other Sibilar, two other I have three siblings. We have two other siblings. Yeah, another lie. Yeah, a whole childhood of life. If anyone listening is still listening for that matter, and and recalls me telling a story about older siblings, that my older siblings told me that I had, but I didn't. Courtney can back me up on this. KIPP in Carmen, kipp in Carmen, were you in on this? No, it was just our older brothers side. Okay, that's what I thought. Yeah, no, they lied. I will, I will get even with them. They are still missing and pictures and labeled. Yeah,...

...yeah, all right. So the other reason that we really wanted to have courtney on is she's a fantastic mother, fantastic parent and she has for fork for because I'm a great uncle, clearly close. Yeah, she has four great, wonderful, lovely, beautiful children that are pretty much in alignment with my kids ages for the most part. Ish kind of Henry, Henry, but then we've got the one extra because of the tweets, so we make up for it there. But she also has a beautiful little girl named Ruby. What can you tell us about Ruby, corney, ruby is my youngest. She is six and she is the happiest person you will ever meet. That's true. I can verify that. Do want to tell like? Yeah, everything, to tell everything. So when Ruby was born, she didn't cry and they just kind of said she's just happy she's fine. Yeah, so everything was fine and then we were going to leave the hospital that third day and I just felt like something's wrong, and so I sent her to the nursery to be fed and they found out that she was turning blue when she was drinking. So they put her in the nick. You, she was in the nick for four weeks and every specialist that came by diagnosed her was something. So, something different, something different. Okay. So when the ant came, he diagnosed her with a Lorengio cleft, which is an opening down by our ESOPHAGUS. It's ther Lorengi, which means that everything she swallows there's a cleft, like a cleft palate or a cleft lit just down below. So every time she swallows it goes straight to her lungs. So she asked greats. She was diagnosed with cataracts and which she then received, or I don't even know how to say it, got Glaucoma from that, from all the removal of the cataract removals. She has multiple. She was diagnosed with a hole in her heart. Her lungs are different sizes and the left one doesn't work as well as the right. It's a little bit smaller her. That's okay. stage. Okay, I could hear you say that, and that's okay. Her. She has trichea Malaysia, so her trachea collapses when it shouldn't, which prevents her from getting congestion out of her lungs, which she retains sickness a lot. m I think that's maybe all. So we're all of this. COLOSSOM. Also, sorry, neurology.

She has a thinned Corpus, colossome, so she is a little bit developmentally delayed and she has Hypertonia, which means she is week week, so she didn't walk on time and her milestones are quite hit. Those diagnosis. At what stage was she diagnosed? Because it wasn't all at once, right, I remember within the four weeks, okay, all four weeks, all of those things were diagnosed. Every time a specialist came by, it was likething new crashing down on us. Felt like, you know, piles of bricks every time they came by. Thinking really, what? Why? Yeah, you know. Yeah, and Ruby's been through a lot. You know, she's been through several procedures and surgeries to try to, you know, help and fix some of these things. Surgeries, list off just a few of them that come to so. So had multiple cataract surgeries, which I mentioned. The few that she's had on the right I have been successful, but she still battles glaucoma and high pressure. And on the left eye she had received a two placement to drain her eye so that the pressure would drain and they cut the tube too long the doctor, so it scratched the cornea. So she then had to have a cornea transplant and we've really struggled with a success of that. She may have to have another one coming up, which is hard. She had the hole in her heart closed, which did a huge thing for her and gave her a ton of energy and that's been the best thing ever. She had her Laurineo cleft. She's had surgery on that four times now. The first one was before we left the hospital four weeks the second one was July of that same year. So she was born in April, all of May she was in the hospital and then we went back to the hospital in July and had a second cleft repair and then the third one was a year later, that July. So when she was about fifteen months old, on my birthday actually, and that one was when she received her trake. She has a drake. She also wears glasses and has hearing impairment. So we found that out. Did we find that out then? We may have found out about the hearing impairment after, but she received our track. They stitched her left again and then we found out it had opened up and it was as if she's never had surgery. So we had a to ball Austin to a specialist there. That was this most recent trip. Yesh Ish, yes, okay. So she had that done last September and then we go back in June to see how that's done. She's had a couple surgeries out in Boston, two different ones. Okay. One was on her lungs, and so this next trip to Boston, where they they see...

...the success of the last surgery? There's nothing. Is there anything preliminary that shows, hey, maybe it's worked, maybe it's not, or is it all well? I think if she were eating, yes, yeah, but she's also she's got a feeding tube. Yes, she's had that since the hospital, since she was a newborn, essentially. I know we got that six months okay. She had an Enng two, which is spial knows, that makes a little tube for the first six months and then when we realized that there was not going to be any food in her mouth, we decided to go ahead and place the tube. And then so she's not clear to eat food. So when we go out in June they will check the repair and they will also do a swallow study to see if she's able to. Okay, the problem with it's not a oneandone deal. So the problem is she also has a weakened all of her mouth is weak because she's also nonverbal. So she's nonverbal and Youtube Fed. So her mouth is not functioning like our mouth. The muscles don't get strong. So when she does get food in her mouth at pools, and then even if she's cleared for food, because of the delayed swallow, it goes straight to her lungs. So she tends to aspirate. Yeah, because of a couple of different reasons. Yeah, okay, so in the last six years you've had to navigate lots of ups and downs. Yeah, one with her her health, her physical abilities, for mental abilities. One thing that you've had to navigate recently is the school system. Yeah, so tell me about her school. So Ruby was placed in a self contained classroom when she was in kindergarten. She's in first grade now and this classroom was supposed to go from k through third grade and then she would have had to switch class which schools, because there's not another special needs school in that class or in that school, especially the classroom in that school. Okay, so she has she's in multiple disabilities class, which is kind of the kids who don't have one diagnosis like Ruby, and they have lots of things and they need kind of a lot of help, but they all have different cognitive abilities. Yeah, so they had one teacher and a couple of AIDS and one of the AIDS quit when we were in Boston last year. And Ruby is and Aleatory, which means she's walking more ambulatory than anyone in that classroom, or she was, and because she's non verbal, she has a trait. She has a lot of needs that you have to watch. Yeah, you know. Yeah, so they didn't have enough help, so I kept her home from school and it took about two months of fighting for more AIDS in that classroom to get her back to school and...

...fighting for a onononeaid, because that's what I really thought she needed, because I can't control the classroom needs, but if I can get the one on one aid, hopefully that would help things a little bit. But, and based on my secondhand knowledge of this story, it seems like the teachers and the people are involved. Really we're trying to help you and fight for Ruby to give her the resources that she needed. Yes, so we have a great school staff. We Love the principle, love the office staff, love all of the therapists that work with her. Her teachers amazing and her teacher was spread so thin that, I mean we were really fighting not just for Ruby but for everybody in that class because they really needed help. Yeah, so there was, and and this is a bigger topic that that you some issues going on with certain school districts and school boards, and I we don't need to get into those here, but recently you did go to a district school board meeting, I did, and you had the opportunity to get up and, you know, share your message on behalf of Ruby and other students are in similar situations. Right. So it was kind of the perfect storm because our school district kind of had a blow up, and so we seem to already be in the news and because Ruby was out of school already for six weeks at that point, I could kind of share our story on facebook and kind of get it out there to where people wanted to hear from us. So we were on the news and we went to the school board meeting and I spoke about why Ruby needs an aid and how she can't be in school and how unfair it is. And they weren't willing to help me. And so I'm hoping that in time things will change for other families too, because I'm not the only one that's fighting. Yeah, and there were other people at that meeting, right, and people came. I do now about yeah. So, so there are a lot of people in similar boats. I think what I've realized with Ruby is she keeps us on our toes. She I will always have to fight for her. Yeah, that it's not ever going to be fair, unfortunately. So now I'm trying to decide, because then last week they told me they're closing her program Oh really, that I fought to keep her in that school. So I was pulled aside and told that they're closing it. So many one time on the end of this year. They told me. The end of next year, okay, but they told someone else the end of this year. So I'm having a hard time trying to navigate that, navigate who's telling the truth. Yeah, but so they may not know right like. It's stay maybe that much up in the air. It's probably a lot to consider on their paracture. Yeah, so I toured a couple different schools and I'm really trying to battle if I want her in inclusion and put her in a typical classroom or keep her self...

...contained. I'm I really don't know. I really wanted her self contained, but someone told me that the world is not self contained. Sure, true, so I want as many people as possible to be aware of her anyway. Yeah, and so as as a former teacher, I I have somewhat of a background when it comes to special at classrooms, but nothing when it comes to self contained everything that I dealt with was students who were a part of inclusion. They'd be my classroom every and then have pull out for special education and I can say that the students that I had those inclusion classes were so helpful for them right just the show social aspect of, you know, getting to know other kids and having honestly having the other kids get to know them right and learn and understand what they were all about. And one question that I have for you is, like, how do people perceive Ruby? I mean, I can only imagine that when you go out she gets a lot of looks. She can looks, but Ruby is the type of person who's like, Yep, everyone look at me and she just loves the attention. So how has that been? So I it's it's interesting because I know a lot of people who are offended by that. And I mean my daughter's beautiful. HMM, she just has a lot going on medically that draw attention. Sure, so I kind of take it. You know what, look at her like tot, look how far she's come, look how amazing she is. Don't hesitate to ask me any questions. Yeah, and so I actually really appreciate it because she definitely spreads light wherever she goes and she welcomes people looking at her. She's not shy about it. So she walks right up to people and melts their heart. Yep. So nate loves to tell up. My husband loves to tell his story. Don't want to talk about it on this name. Just keeping when we were in Boston last he was pushing her stroller and there were a whole was a whole line of people waiting for the bus. HMM, and Boston's pretty diverse. Yeah, so we're walking down the street towards the hospital and all these people are waiting for the bus and she's walking by, saying hi and waving to everyone. plage, she's in a parade. Yeah, she loved it and to see her break people from a conversation or on their phones, it is magical. She just has a touch, you know. So I don't mind it. I love questions. I love to share her story, her awareness, bring look at her and look how amazing she is. Yeah, I think the most refreshing is kids. When kids stare, they say hi and they ask what things are and it's such a relief to I think we lose that as we grow older, you know, and I feel like it wasn't that way thirty years ago when you were growing up. It was like, Oh, you might get a glance, like no way where you could ever ask someone, and that almost made the situation worse. Right now, getting to know them,...

...are asking. Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. So we've got Aubrey and I have a good friend that I think you've connected with. At one point she wrote a book called when Charlie met emvieward that that but such a good buck we actually gave it to her classroom, perfect and we let we gave it to the library at her school because I love it. Yeah, something that and you, I think you connected with a me on one of her what was at the time called special need spotlights. Yeah, what was that? What was that like? So she just asked me a bunch of questions about Ruby and how things were with the world around us and people and things like that. It's interesting to me, to me, for me to see how people, you know, cope with these things and they, you know, create these communities of others around them who are going through similar scenarios. Do you have a community of parents or individuals that are like minded or going through similar challenges? That Ruby is absolutely I do think that the interesting part is everyone's going through their own different challenges because every kid is so different. But it is nice. I've I've connected through a lot with a lot of people through just having Ruby. I've met people through the hospital, just at outpatient appointments, therapies, and I've since now I'm on the parent advisory board at PCH, which is Phoenix Children's Hospital, and I've met a lot of moms that way and you know, there's a lot of connection. I'm going to be on the parent advisory board for the district, awesome, and so it's neat to hear people's story. I think that's the best part. So, and I don't know if you've thought about this before, but I think you have a special and a unique opportunity to continue to share your story and Ruby's story and be an advocate for others, and whether that's in visiting classrooms or speaking engagements or have you thought about doing things like that? I haven't at this point. I feel like I feel like that's kind of just starting. I feel like I was so underwater with Ruby for so long that she's just now getting to a point of stability. Yeah, we're now that she's in school and you know, things like that that I feel like this is the first year I feel like I could give back. So I'm on these boards and I feel like I'm doing good that way that could just want it to know. That's good. That's good. Okay, I've got three more questions for you. One, what tips or advice would you have for other parents who are going through a scenario like this, where maybe it's an unknown going into a newborn and something comes up, and it could be anything, right, it could be a limb difference, it could be something that Ruby has been challenged with. What tips or advice would you give them? Hmm, what would I give them? I think that one realize you're not alone and that it is important to connect with people, whether it be facebook or people...

...you meet in the hospital. I think the connection is important, and to realize that there's a lot out there and to realize that you are their parent for a reason. You know, like I, for so long I felt like I can't do this, I can't do this, I'm not strong enough, but you aren't, but you will be. Will Be, you know. Yeah, and to realize that they are just the best gift ever, that they are a positive, real light. I know, what matter where they go. That's awesome. Okay, two more questions. One, how have your other children adapted? And you don't know. Maybe we can ask a different question because I'm sure it's different for each child. Right, you've got different person that you're your oldest has his own personality right, compared to you, to Henry, right, like they're completely different individuals collectively, let's say. How have they adapted? You know it. They don't know any different. I think that we've gone through our ups and downs, like every other family goes through their ups and downs. But I think overall, I think the hardest part that I've realized is me being away from them. Yeah, so they've had to really adjust to waking up to mom and Ruby in the hospital. HMM. And, believe it or not, they did not wake up to fire trucks in our house or EMT's talking at full volume. They do not wake up. They're so used to that. Yeah, but it's kind of later I've realized there's some things that come out with us being gone and not knowing where we are and, you know, US being gone on trips, which is hard. But the and I think I need to look at my inclusion for school and think about the benefit that Ruby is to our family and the other kids. Like I want her to be treated like my other kids treat her. Yeah, because they just think she is totally Yep. I mean when Henry was little he said, mom, how Ol does I when I got my trake out. Yeah, and so he thought he had a track. Yeah, and he thought Ruby would talk like he talks at a certain age, you know. Yeah, and so they just think that's typical and it's the blessing. Yep, okay, last one. Our podcast title accidental parenting. It refers to, you know, figuring out as we go the ups and downs. Tell us about a recent win or fail that you've had as a parent with one of your kids. Well, I the other day thought I was doing a good thing and I had to pick ruby up front, livy up from school early, take her to an appointment and I while we had time, I was like, well, let's go get your glasses changed out because they needed to be done for like six months and she's had dog two glasses for six months. So that in and...

...of itself is a fail right, but I think let's gool do it while we have time. So we get them changed out, takes about five minutes. We pull out and we're in a car accident and she gets hit on her side and it's not my fault, but it's really easy. Just about twelve. Yeah, she's eleven, just about twelve. That is helpful. So we get to first of all, she we're fine and the car is totaled. But we go home and we were everybody said to take her to the hospital just to get her checked out because their head hurt and her head hit their bag pretty bad. So we go home. While we go to the hospital first and there were so many things mishaps at the Er that we were so freaked out that we had to go home. So we go home. A couple days she goes to school and one of the teachers, she says our heads hurt, tells them she was in a car accident. They made you go toe. Okay, awesome. She didn't. I can't move my right hand part. As I said, did you say you wanted to go to well know. So I look like the bad mom. That's so. Then we get home and I think, you know what, maybe I should if she's still hurting, I should take her to the R. So I take her to the ER and the lady at the front desk says now, how old is she was? She was sitting in the front seat and I said eleven, whimpy, yeah, and she's like she should be fourteen. Okay, and I fourteen. I disagree with that. I even think the American Association for Pediatrics would say twelve. I looked it up and technically it's thirteen, but it's height and weight exactly. Yes, lady was just giving you a gemended, but she gave me a guilt trip and then she said now, why did you wait two days to have feeling very cuni right now? Well, I wanted to get all the drugs cleared out of my system in case you decided to test me. That's funny. So yeah, all right, try and do your best. Well, kimberly, thank you so much. Thank you so much for being on the PODCAST. We're going to wrap this up with a quick little game. Okay, and Aubrey's just sent me the rules to this game. Okay, growing up, I get the rules. NOPE, growing up we had a super nintendo and a Nintendo okay, or an Intendo, as I may have referred to it several times. The game is you and I were going to go back and forth naming different video games, so specific games. It could be on any game console, any year range, any your range. Let's go games. Okay, I'll start dig doug doc hunt, decathlon, spy hunter, Mike Tyson's punch out NBA, K tech, mobol, madden and be a jam, Super...

Mario Kart, Super Mario Brothers one, the original Super Mario Odyssey, Super Mario Brothers to the follow up Mario and Luigi. Super Mario Release Three. That's the one where he started from. Nash Bros. Super Mario Land, oh my legends of Zelda, Super Mario Kart. So I already said that. Did you really? Yes, Dang it, all right. So here. So you won the game. And here's why I was thrown off, because in the background, listeners you may have heard someone knocking on the door. Currently, we were sitting in my parents basement and one of their bedrooms recording this podcast, and one of our nephews which is knocking on the door and he heard US naming games and he yelled through the door Super Mario Cart so I said it. She had already said it, and Courtney officially wins the game. Yeah, all right, that's it for this episode of accidental parenting. Thanks for listening, thanks for having me, and we're back. Hi, you forgot to tell a story, the twin store story. Go for it. Tell the story court so lan landed. His Middle Name is Cole landed. Is My son and I always call people landed. So Coleman and I. that's never happened to any parent. Never Right. So plan and I were in high school and I am two years older, and we were walking through the office and I don't even know why, but Coleman used to be really shy, actually painfully shy, and we were walking through the office and a lady said, wait, are you guys twins? And I walked by and I said No. I also said no and it said one said no, one one said yes and they're playing a joke on us. She just cackled like an office administrator. It was amazing and from then on we had this joke. That's where twins. We are the we were the first twins. We Gi the seconds through. All Right, thanks for listening.

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