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Accidental Parenting
Accidental Parenting

Episode 26 · 1 year 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, reallyexciting episode of accidental parenting. This week we've got a veryspecial guest who just makes me laugh and I'm not going to introduce her myname just yet that will come later. I want to start off with our awkwardlypersonal question: That's how we start all of our interviews and she'slistened to a few of our pod gast here and there so she's. Expecting thisspecial guests go ahead and say hi hi and tell us what is the biggest lie.You've ever told the Biggest II've ever told. Well, I think you could consider this a Li.When I was growing up, I we had a neighbor named Ben, whothought for years that my name was Kimberley, okay and I never correctedhim and every time he said, Hi Kimberley, on the way home from school.I said Hi at this point. I can't not not use your name anymore, because thisis my sister Courtney and court, and I we go way back as one could imagine.I'm very excited to have her on t on the boadcast today, but this is so trueBen across Thioh, hello, gimberly, just smilin, not free and so how's Kimberleydoing until we moved Mynata Kimberley. Do you remember when his house caughton fire? I do remember that yeah it was crazy. Yeah Aa did we move before we moved before.He did right. Well, he it was kind of weird right. He had like an INC AENU.He was in the National Guard and, like I, don't know what else he did, but hehad a niece and nephew that were living there and he would live there. Parttime and KINDOF do his thing. I think he lived in another place too, but doyou remember his last name? No, it was just bet. I just remember Oukurgio, butI don't ever remember how to say it. I was his last name. It was somethinglike that. I would look as I remember, riding to him. I owe him shamone AENDO.I broke wriding to him in seventh grade. Well, he was Oh yeah with Um. So here's the Question Desert Storm.When you wrote to him when he was overseas, did you sign it Kimberly? I think I di I had to she didn't want to ruin out,as I took his name and address to everyone in my class and they all wroteto him at that point it was. The lie. was too late D, Too late to fix thatone? Oh Yeah! That's that's! Actually a really good Liet! I appreciate yourhonesty with that. So some other pieces that we do in these interviews. We make introductions with assumptions sothings that I don't already know, and this is a little bit tricky 'causeyou're my sister and it's almost like we finished thease, others sandwiches. Thank you Um, all right, your favorite food, okay,letm. Let me think onfavorite food like...

...favorite food. This is not countingdessert because we all like desurdey favorite food is you were a big eater growing up. Ireally have a no idea because favorit lagin food, let's Scoo with barbecue.Oh my gosh, that's the one food. I don't know. I thought you didn't likeSeafood, Oh yeah, that I I thought. Okay, I gotto picksomething. That's totally polar opposite from seafood: Barbecue Lat,Anversu Yeah! I don't love Barbecue, either to be honest, okay, so wan, Itwo favorite things are Thai food and Tacos, oh Thaifood and tacos. I likethose I like I like so like a good sandwich, good sandwich. I prefer a anunwitch okay, I don't like Rapin Lettuce, Ohsee, I I like my sandwich to be wrapped and let us I I'm not a big breadyperson, I'm a big bread person Y, ah too big TI and Tacos, and I'm thinkingthat would be a good, a good combination. Taitacos there is a placein Gilbert. Have you heard of this place called Pandelibre? No, but I kindof have a problem mixing food. I was at o eeting the other night and we had tovote on who had the best lunch and somebody won with Sushi Burito. I'm sure it wasn't a Tortia, but I hada hard time: DIFFERENC Itsli Allrigt we've got your spicy tunaand Refrie me an yeah all right, okay! So next next assumption your favoriteworkout song is mm. This girl is on fire. No, that's a good one. It is a good oneKay. I H I like a lot and I like to switch it up, so I really like Um. What's it called, I can't even think ofthe name of it by heart- I I don't know, but I also like pinkokay, and I really like that, Um Song Gloria by Malcamore right now, Oh yeahand fight song. I like that one buy a good get you going. My my favoritemaclelmore Song Right now. Is that one where he's like? I don't belong in thisplace. Hav you heard that one is that the glorious. Now it's Gote, I don'tbelong in this place, don't ever know the names of Thir onokay, the next question that I've got for you bedtime routines just beforebed. Okayyou, always it's funny, because I br t the sound like my answerand I'm not going to say, see hot yo yeah, she wrote what my assemptionwould be. In fact, she thought your favorite food would be mutton. Oh, so Ididn't say that see that lie she did put this girl Os on fire. She saysbefore you go to bed, you always go skinny, dipping in your pool,...

...yeah ye even and Ot old spot a tot onMHM, but bedtime outine. What do you doright? beforebed crash my teeth. That's sogood, a IRI LASA last T V show youwatched was dateline. No, I love datlight. I sh AEDLONG, THAT'S THE LAST! That'sthe lost show I watched mine was this. Is US oh re, youallcut up on that? Ijust caught up see I am I am so far behind. It was a good. It's a good show. It isa good show, it's a heart Renshir for sure we were watching dateline lastnight as we were falling asleepand. It reminded me. We had this conversationwith some friends earlier in than I they were telling us about the mostrecent dateline episode. Have you heard about this couple in Idaho and arizs the child dramasingchildren? Some people know them that I know yeah our friends, our friend'ssister lives across the street from ther the place in Idaho. Where all thiswent down. Okay, a I it was a a I know them. It was on dateline, last nightand like there were tons of Restians like facebook groups, people talkingabout it and it is interesting, and I have a hardtime with how the length of time it keeps going. You know you kind of feellike so for those listeners who aren't up tospeed. Essentially, there was two separate couples who theirsignificant others: their spouses ended up being killed, and these two couplesthen essentially ran away together and alltheir kids are miss thoir wife and the husband Yeah Hope, there's only twokids right, two kids yeah as loyand a girl, but the kids are missing. Theyknow where their wife and husband they were in Hawaii for a while and I think,theywent to Mexic o they went all over the place and Dann those where theQuestons are a little shady yeah ad. Very Sad, very sad. The purpose forhaving courtny on our pod gas is is actually two fold one because it'sreally exciting to talk about someone who knows my past nose, Mil Ch, mychildhood, I know her childhood riwe are twins. Go tell that story. Please at anotherlie so all growing up: Courtnai, weve andWEHAVE got threes three other Civi, two othe. I have three sebilaries. We havetwo other simines. Another lie: Yo have a whole childhood of lie. If, if anyonelistening is still listening for that matter and and recalls me telling astory about older siblings- that my older siblings told me that I had, butI didn't court can back me up on this kipand Caron Capand Carman were you in on this? No, it was justour older brother. That's what I thought yeah! No, they II I I will get even wit. They are still...

...missing and label yeah yeah all right.So the other reason that we really wanted to have courtneon is she's afantastic mother, a fantastic parent and she has four forforr. I'm a Greenuncle, clearlyclose yeah. She has four great wonderful, lovely, beautiful childrenthat are pretty much in alignment with my kids' ages for the most part, ISHhienry minus Henry. But then we've got the one extra 'cause of the Teso wemake up for it there Um, but she also has a beautiful little girl named Uruby.What can you tell us about Ruby? cording, Ruby is my youngest. She issix and she is the happiest person you will ever meetUm. That's true. I can bearify to only tell like yeah everything talk, telleverything. No. When riby was born, she didn't cry and they just kind of said: She's, just half gine she's, fine, yeahUm, so everything was fine and then we weregoing to leave the hospital that third day, and I just felt like something was wrong,and so I sent her to the nursery to be fed and they found out that she wasturning blue when she was drinking, so they put her in the Nicku. She was inthe Nicky for four weeks and every specialist that came by diagnosed herwith something so something different, something different. So when the entcame, he diagnosed her with a Lorengial cleft Um, which is an opening down byEurosaphagus, it's Erlorenji, which means that everything she swallows.There's a claft like a cleft pallete or a cleff Lim just down below so everytime she swallows. It goes straight to her lungs, so she oeperates Um. She wasdiagnosed with cataracts, Um and Whit. She then receive- or I don't even know how tosay it. H Got Glaghoma from that from all theremoval. F, the CATARAPER moval. She has a multiple. She was diagnosed witha whole in her heart Um, her lungs are different sizes and theleft one doesn't work as well as the right Um. It's a little bit smaller, her um that'sstage ai could hear you say thatand that's okay, her um h. She has Turkyamalasias of her trikiacollapses when it shouldn't which prevents her from getting a congestion out of her lungs, whichshe retains sickness a lot mhmm. I think that's, maybe all so we're all of this colossum.Also sorry neurology. She has a fannd...

Corpase Colossum, so she is a littlebit developmentally delayed and she has Hypertonia, which means she is a weekweek. So she didn't walk on timeand her milestones aren't quite hit those diagnoses at what stage was shediagnosed because it wasn't all at once right? I remember within the four weeks.Okay, all four weeks, all of those then were diagnosed every time a specialistcame by it was saking crashing down on us. Sofelt, like you, know, piles of bricks. Every timethey came by thinking, really what why ye H, you know yeah andRuby's been through a lot. You know she's been through several proceduresand surgeries to try to you, know, help and fix some of these Lans r list offjust a few of them that come to se, had multiple cataract surgeries, which Imentioned Um the few that she's had on the right eyehave been successful, but she still battles Walcoma and high pressure Um,and on the left eye, she had received a a tube placement to drain her eye sothat the pressure would drain and they cut the tube too long, the doctor, soit scratched the cornea, so she then had to have a Corneo transplant Um and we've really struggled with the success of that she may have tohave another one coming out Um, which is hard. She had the hole in herheart closed, which did a huge thing for herand gave her a ton of energy and that Nthe best thing ever she had herLerengil cleft she's had surgery on that four times now the first one was before we left thehospital four weeks. The second one was July of that same year, so she wasborn in April. All of May she was in the hospital, and then we went back tothe hospital in July and had a second cleft repair and then the third one wasa year later that July. So when she was about fifteen months old M on mybirthday actually and that one was when she received her trake, she has a drinkUm. She also wears glasses and has hearing impairment. So we found thatout. Did we find that out? Then we may havefound out about the hearing impairment after, but she received her Trak. They stitchedher cleft again and then we found out it had opened up and it was as if she was never had surgery.So we headed to Boston to a specialist there. That was this most recent Ryes. Yes yesso she had that done lastSeptember, and then we go back in June to see how that's done. She's had acouple of surgeries out in Boston, two different ones. Lo Um one was on herlungs and...

...so that this next trip to Boston wherethey they see the success of of the last surgery. There's NOTHNG: Is thereanything preliminary that shows hey? Maybe it's worked. Maybe it's not or isit all? Well, I think if she were eating Yeh h, she's also she's got afeeding tube yesshe's had that s hospital, since she was newborn. No, wegot that six months, O she had an ng to which is as Henose ta he to for thefirst six months and then when we realized that there was not going to beany food in her mouth, we drive to go and head and place the Tube Um and then so she's not clear to eat food. So when we go out in June they willcheck the repair and they will also do a swallow study to see if she's able toUm the problem with it's not a one in donedeal. So the problem is, she alsohas a weakened Um. All of her mouth is weak because she'salso nonverbal so she's nonverbal, andgtoo Fed. So her mouth is not functioning like our mouth. The musclesdon't get strong so when she does get food in her mouth it pools and theneven if she's cleared for food because of the delayed swallow it goes straight to her lungs yoshetends 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 bups and downs, onewith her her health, her physical abilities, her mental abilities. One thing that you've had to navigaterecently is is the school system. Yeah, so tell me about her school, so rubywas placed in a Um self contained classroom when shewas in kindergarten she's in first grade now, and this classroom wassupposed to go from k through third grade and then she would have had to switchcl switch schools because there's not another special needs school in thatclass or in that school, especially the classroom in that school. So Um. Shehas she's in multiple disabilities class,which is kind of the kids, who don't have one diagnosislike Ruby and they have lots of things and they need kind of a lot of help,but they all have different Um cognitive abilities. So they had one teacher and a couple ofAIDS and one of the AIDS quit when we were in Boston last year and Ruby is ambulatory, which means she'swalking more ambulatory than anyone in thatclassroom where she was and because she's nonverbal she has a trake. Shehas a lot Um of needs that you have to watch yeah. You know e H,so they didn't have enough help. So I kept her home from school and it tookabout two months of fighting for more...

AIDS in that classroom to get her backto school and fighting for a one on one aid because nats when I really thoughtshe needed, because I can't control the classroom needs. But if I can get theone on one aid, hopefully that would help the job it. A and based on mysecondhand knowledge of this story. It seems like the teachers and the peoplear e involved really were we're, trying to help you and fight for Ruby to ggive her the resources that she needed. Yes, so we have a great schoolstaff. WeLove the principal love the office staff, love all of the therapists thatwork with her. Her teachers, amazing and her teacher was spread so thin.That I mean we were really fighting not justfor Ruby but for everybody in that class because they really needed helpyeah. So there was an an. This is a a biggertopic that tha some issues going on with certain school districts andschool boards, and I we don't need to get into those here. But recently youdid go to a district's school board meeting and you have the opportunity toget up and you know, share your message on behalf of Ruby and other studentsare in similar situations right. So it was kind of the perfect storm becauseour school district kind of had to blow up, and so we seemed to already be inthe news and because Ruby was out of school already for six weeks at thatpoint Um I could kind of share our story on facebook and kind of get itout there to where people wanted to hear from us. So we were on the newsand we went to the school board meeting and I spoke about why Ruby needs an aidand how she can't be in school and how unfair it is, and they weren't willingto help me, and so I'm hoping that in time things will change for otherfamilies too, because I'm not the only one. That's fighting yeah and therewere other people at that meeting. whand people claim I do ow yeah yeah,so so there are a lot of people in similar boats. I think what I'verealized with Ruby is. She keeps us on our toes. I will alwayshave to fight for her that it's not ever going to be fair, unfortunately Um. So now I'mtrying to decide because then last week they told methey're closing her program, Oh really, that I tought to keep her in that litle.So I was pulled aside and told that they were closing it. So en the end ofthis year they told me the end of next year. Kbut, they told someone else theend of this year, so I'm having a hard time trying to navegth navigate D who's, telling thetruth yeah but Um. So I may not know write like it tay, maybe much up in theAR probably a lot to consider on there forture yeah. So I toured a couple ofdifferent schools and I'm really trying to battle. If I want her in inclusionand put her in a typical classroom...

...or keep herself contained, I'm I really don't know I I really wantedherself contained, but someone told me that the world is notself contained. Sure is true, so I want as many people as possible to be awareof her anyway yeah. So, as a as a former teacher, I I Ihave somewhat of a background when it comes to special in classrooms, butnothing when it comes to self contained. Everything that I dealt with wasstudents who were part of inclusion, they'd, be my classroom ever and thenhave pull out for special education, and I can say that the students that Ihad those inclusion classes were so helpful for them right just toshsocial aspect of you know getting to know other kids and having honestlyhaving the other kids, get to know that ight learn and understand what theywere all about, and one question that I have for you is like how do people perceive Ruby? I mean I. I can onlyimagine that when you go out, she gets a lot of luoks a lot of luck, but rubyis the type of person who's like Yep. Everyone look at me yeah. She just olove the attention so howhas that been so. I it's it's interesting because I know a lot of people who are offendedby that, and I mean my daughter's beautiful hshe.Just has a lot going on medically that dry attention, so I kind of take it. You know what look at her like to look,how far she's come. Look. How amazing she is don't hesitate to ask me anyquestions, and so I actually really appreciate it because she definitely spreads light wherevershe goes and she welcomes people looking at her she's, not shy about it,so she walks right up to people and melt their heart. So nate loves to tellmy husband. Let's tell his story, he don't want to talk about I on thisnojustting when we were in Boston last, he was pushing her stroller and therewere a whole wis, a whole line of people waiting for the bus, MHM andBoston's, pretty diverse Eah, so we're walking down the street towards thehospital and all these people are waiting for the bus and she's walkingby saying hi and waving to Everywinder Lagasese in a paradia she loved it andto see her break people from a conversation or on their phone. It ismagical. She just has a touch. You know, so I don't mind it. I love questions. Ilove to share her story. Her Awareness Bri, look at her and look how amazingshe is M. I think the most refreshing is kids when kids stare, they say hiand they ask what things are and it's such a relief to. I think we lose thatas we grow older. You know and I feel like it wasn't that way. Thirty yearsago, when Youwere I growing up- and I was like- Oh, you might get a glancelike no way where you could ever ask someone and that almost made thesituation worse right now, I' getting...

...to of them or ask a iolately. So we'vegot AUBR and I have a good friend that I think you've connected with. At onepoint, she wrote a book called Wyn. Charlie me anoe ab such a good bof. Weactually gave it to her classroom perfect and we l we gave it to thelibrary at her school. I love it yeah, something that and you I think youconnected with amy on one of her. What was at the time called special needspotlight yeah. What was that? What was that like? So she just asked me a bunchof questions about Ruby and how things were with the world aroundus and dumple and t l, it's interesting to m to me for me to see how people youknow cope with these things and they they, you know, create thesecommunities of others around them who are going through similar scenarios. Doyou have a community of parents or individuals that are like minded aregoing through similar challenges that Rubeos absolutely? I do think that theinteresting part is everyone's going through their own different challenges,because every kid is so different, but it is nice um I've, I've connected through a lot witha lot of people through just having Ruby. I've met people through thehospital just at outpatient, appointments, therapies and I've Um since now I' on the parent advisoryboard at Pch, whichi, Phoenix Children's Hospital and I've met a lotof MOMS. That way- and you know, there's a lot of connection, I'm goingto be on the parent efvisory board for the district soand. So it's neat tohear people's story. I think that's about t e art so- and I don't know ifyou've thought about this before, but I think you have a special and uniqueopportunity to continue to share your story and Ruby'sstory and be an advocate for others and whether that's in visiting classroomsor speaking engagements, or have you thought about doing things like that? Ihaven't at this point I feel like I feel, like that's kind of juststarting, I feel Lik. I was so underwater with Ruby for so long thatshe's just now getting to a point of stability where now that she's in school- and you knowthings like that- that I feel like this is the first year I feel like I couldgive back so I'm on these boards and I feel like I'm doing good, that way thatI just want it to. No, that's good, that's good! Okay! I got three morequestions for you, one. What tips or advice would you have forother parents who are going through a scenaro like this, where maybe it's anunknown going into a newborn and something comes out and it could beanything right. It could be a limb difference. It could be something thatRuby has been challenged with. What tip surdvice? Would you give them Ummmwhat? Would I give them? I think that R one realize you're not alone and thatit is important to connect with people,...

...whether it be facebook or People Uvinthe hospital. I think the connection is important and to realize that there's alot out there and to realize that you are their parent for a reason. Youknow like I for so long. I felt like I can't dothis. I I can't do this, I'm not strong enough, but you aren't, but you will be, will be you know, andto realize that they are just the best gift ever that they are a positive bralight. Don't know wha matter where they go. It's awesome, okay, two morequestions, one. How have your other children adopted and you Don t? Maybe we can ask adifferent question because I'm sure it's different for each child rightyou've got different person. Your your oldest has his own personality rightcompared to you to to Henry rate, like theyare, completely differentindividuals. Collectively, let's say how have they adopted? You know, I they don't know any different. I thinkthat we've gone through our ups and downs, like every other Um family, goesthrough their ups and downs, but I think overall, I think the hardestpart that I've realized is me being away from them. Kho they've had toreally adjust to waking up to mom and Ruby and the hospital MHM and believeit or not. They did not lie wake up to fire trucks in our house or emtstalking at full volume. They do not wake up they're so used to that. But it's kind of later I realizethere's some things that come out with us being gone and not knowing where weare, and you know as being gone on trips, which is hard but the, and Ithink I need to look at my inclusion for school and think about the benefitthat Ruby is to our family and the other kids like. I want her to betreated like my other kids treat her because they just think she is totally. I mean when Henry was little. He saidmom. How old was I when I got my Trak out, and so he thought he had a Trakand he thought Ruby would talk like he talks at a certain age. You know, andso they just think that's typical and it's t a blessing. Okay last one ourpodcast title accidentalparenting, it refers to you, know, figuring out as wego. The ups and downs tell us about a recent win or fail that you've had as aparent with one of your kids. Well, I the other day thought I wasdoing a good thing and I had to pick ruby up. Fo Livi up from school earlytake her to an appointment and I, while we had time I was like. Oh, let's go,get your glasses changed out 'cause. They needed to be done for like sixmonths and she'Shad Dog Tho glasses, so...

...that itself is a fail right, but Ilet's school, do it. While we have time so we get en changed out. It takesabout five minutes, we pull out and we're in a car accident and she getshit on her side and it's not my fault, but it's Renshan. Just about twelveyeah she's eleven just about twelve, that is helpful, so we get to first of all. She we'refine and the car is totaled, but we go home and we were everybody saidto take her to the hospital just to get her checked out. 'cause her head hurtin her head hit there bag pretty bad, so we go home. Well, we go to thehospital first and there were so many thing, mishaps at the Er that we wereso freaked out that we had to go home. So we go home a couple of day s. Shegoes to school and one of the teachers she says her heads hurt. ND tells himshe was in a car accident. They made you go to cossom she. I can't move my head handAshard, as I said, did you say you wanted to go owell? No, I look like the bad momot. So then weget home and I think you know what maybe I should if she's still hurting,I should take her to the R. So I ik her to the ER and the lady at the front desk says now:How old is she wha? She was sitting in the front seat and I said eleven ohwimpy and she's like she should be fourteenokay and I fourteen I disagree with that. I even think the AmericanAssociation for Pediatrics would say twelve. I looked it up and technically it's thirteen, but it'sheightened weight. Exactly Abe was just Keping, O Raua endded, butshe gave me a guilt trip and then she said now. Why did you wait twodayslikeheling very any right now? Well, I wanted to getall the drugs cleared out of my system in case Ho decided to test me. That's funny so yeah all right. I Nyour Mthwell Kimberly. Thank you so much. Thank you. So much for being onthe Bod Gast we're going to Raut this up with a quick little gameand. Illejust sent me the rules to this game growing up no growing up. We had a supernintendo and a Nintendo Ayor, anIntendo as I may have referred to it several times. The game is you and Iare going to go back and forth, naming different video games, specific games.It could be on any game console any year rain. Any year range. Let's go games, okay, I'll start, dig,dug doct Hunt de Cathalon spy hunter Mike Tyson's punch out NBA Two K, technobole Madden NB, a JM...

...supermariacart supermario brothers, one,the original Subermario Odyse, supermary brothers, too. The follow up,Um Mary in Luliji, SUGARAA, relhys, three,that's the one where you start: IFOR: Te Nasubras, Supermario Land: Oh my Um, legends of Zelda, Supermariocart Idid,you reallyye Dait, all right! So here, so you won the game and here's why Iwas thrown off because in the background listeners you may have heardsomeone knocking on the door. Currently we were sitting in my parents' basementin one of their back bedrooms, recording this bodcast and one of ournephews, which ist knocking on the door, and he heard US naming games and heyelled through the door. Supermarrie cart. So I said it. She had alreadysaid it and Courtney officially wins the game. YEAHALL RIGHT! That's forthis episode of accidental parenting. Thanks for listening, I mean and we're back fergot to tell his storybetween my store O go for it tell the story court, so La Landen, his middle name is Col. Landon is myson and I always call people landon so colman and I that's never happened toany parent no right en and I were in high school and I am two years olderand we were walking through the office and I don't even know why. But Colemanused to be really shy, actually painfully shy and we were walking through the officeand e Lady said wait. Are you guys twins and I watched my and I said No. Ialso said no, and it said one said no one one said yes and they'splaying a joke on a Ye. Just cackled like an office administrator, it wasAmaze Annie and from then on. We Hade this Joer. That e we twins we are. Wewere the first twins. We g o the second all right. Thanks for listening.

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