Healthy and Fit with 5 Kids; 3 Angels!
Healthy and Fit with 5 kids; 3 Angels!
No Time For Health and Fitness Because You Have an Angel?
Let me introduce you to a very special Texan Mom with five children, Jessica. Included in her five kid count; is Jessica’s 10 year old son Yeshua, (typical) who likes to help his mom with the babies and who loves spending time with all of his siblings. Next in line is 8 year old Jeremiah (Angel) who is a more solitary boy who knows what he likes and what he does not like and he will always let you know. Then there is Jerusha, age 7 (Angel), very social and lively girl who keeps mom on her toes! That brings us to the babies, baby #1 is 23 month old Isiah. Isiah has not yet been officially diagnosed with AS but he laughs at everything and is slow to develop at the same rate as his older angel siblings; so mom is certain that she has been blessed with a third angel here. Then there is baby #2, the animated, on the go little Sarah (typical) who tries to get her partner in crime
(baby #1, Isiah) to model appropriate baby behavior whenever she can. Mom says that baby Isiah’s reaction to this is to stare at baby Sarah for a moment, laugh at her and crawl away! Does it get any cuter than that?! And if that were not enough to handle; Jessica is also a single Angel Mom! If ever I had spoken to a mother who has every reason NOT to exercise and eat well; this is the mother! Yet every single morning, Jessica situates her 5 children in front of the television with their favorite movie and proceeds to workout at home for an hour. Jessica says that because this is a routine that Mommy does every day, the kids understand that this is mom’s workout hour and that it is expected that they sit patiently and watch their movie until Mommy completes her workout. Jessica says “because I do this consistently and I am determined to get my
workout done, my kids have become very accepting of the workout hour and my 7 year old Angel, likes to join in and imitate my exercise moves. I feel good about the example that I am setting for my kids with health and fitness. “My mother raised me this way and I am raising them this way and its something that I can feel good about”.
Q. Do you feel that keeping up with your health and fitness routine helps you to be the kind of mom you want to be?
A. Well my daughter runs away from me a lot and before I became so faithful to my workout routine; she was able to outrun me and that’s not safe! Now I can keep up with her! Plus I have so much more energy when I exercise and eat healthy. There is no way I could keep up without the extra energy that I derive from my routine. Friends and relatives are always asking me how I do it. They’re my kids, I’m used to the chaos and I can handle it. I feel my kids deserve a mother who is able to play and run around with them, plus I feel strong and alert. Yeah this definitely helps me to be the Mom I want to be.
Q. What is your kids’ diet like?
A. Well since I’ve always believed that eating healthy was important, my kids are given plenty of fruits and vegetables and very little sugar. I did have to deal with quite a bit of criticism from some friends and family who felt like they were kids and I should just let them ‘eat like kids’ but I knew that they were my kids and I was committed to raising them with healthy food as a priority. Once my children were diagnosed with Angelman syndrome I knew it was even more important to keep their diet healthy. It hasn’t been easy to endure the criticism for my decision; but I feel really good about sticking with a good eating plan. I don’t want to worry about childhood obesity or diabetes and high blood pressure that I hear are happening with our children today. Plus my kids are big over eaters and other people in our lives don’t always understand that they must be made to stop eating. Once my angels got into an entire cake at a relatives house; ate the whole thing! They did not feel well after that and just laid around for the rest of the day. If I don’t monitor what they eat and how much, they will become sick and I’m concerned that they could face future disability as a result of the excess weight.
Q. How is the health of your children?
A. Well they are all pretty healthy; I really can’t complain. My daughter had some symptoms of seizure activity starting about 3 years ago, but I didn’t recognize this trembling as being related to seizures. It became apparent a year ago when she had her first drop seizure at home and I rushed her to the ER; it was there, that I was first told she was having seizures. The neurologist prescribed just one seizure medication and it has been working very well for her. Today, she is healthy and seizure free! I feel really lucky that my two other angels have never had seizures!
Q. What was one of your proudest moments as an angel mom?
A. Well I had been working for a long time to teach my kids sign language; I couldn’t tell whether they were even paying a bit of attention to me. They didn’t seem to be catching on and were never using the signs that I was teaching them. But one day I took my daughter to the grocery store and she completely blew me away and brought me to tears when she signed cookie, cracker and milk with absolutely NO prompting from me! It was an amazing day for me and I often wished that I had been able to record that moment. This experience made me realize that I just have to keep working with them because even when I don’t think they are “getting it”, they just might be.
Q. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about your family or your experience with Angelman syndrome?
A. For me it was always important that my children be well behaved and well mannered. This means that I was sure to be strict with them. My children have to eat properly at the table with their backs straight and using utensils. In past years some of my family members would say “your too hard on them; they’re special”. I felt like I was preparing them for life. Today, those same family members now tell me what a good mom they think I am. I guess that they now see that they are well behaved and well mannered kids. Now they understand why I had to enforce rules with them. I feel really supported by my family now. I also have a church family who calls and checks on me and asks if I have everything that I need. It’s great to feel supported!