Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Aubrie's Angels

You probably remember hearing me talk about my fabulous friend Mollie. She's amazing and hilarious and if you like this blog, you'd probably like hers (maybe even better; she's that amazing). On her blog, you hear about Daxton (who "wasn't ready for the world," born at 23 weeks, 5 days) and Tyler (for whom "the world wasn't ready," the big ole full-term chubster that he is). Each of these boys is in the running for Becca's arranged marriage partner. But on Mollie's blog, you'll also hear about Dax's twin, Aubrie, who was born at 21 weeks and really, really wasn't ready for the world.  Sadly, she only lived in this world for about a day.

For the past two years, Mollie has been trying to figure out how best to commemorate and honor Aubrie's brief yet beautiful life. A few weeks ago, THE idea hit her, and Aubrie's Angels was born.

I've whined mentioned before that having a kid with developmental issues involves a lot of extra costs, even if insurance covers everything medical (which is usually doesn't). With Becca, there is/was all the food we had to special order, the thousands of dollars in gas to get to and from all the therapy and doctor appointments, the special clothes, the adaptive gear, the therapy tools, and the toys.

"Toys?" you say? All kids need toys, right? And most of the kids we know have far too many toys! True, but for kids with special needs the right kind of toys are very important. Preemies and other special needs kids need toys that appropriately stimulate their various senses and specifically work their developing skills. (Think about it: it's not like you can tell an infant or toddler to do 10 reps of a certain motion, like you can do in adult physical therapy. You have to provide him or her with the motivation -- on their level -- to do perform the desired activity again and again.) I can't tell you how many times we've been in a therapy session, and the therapist has suggested and/or asked us to get a particular toy to use in our home therapy exercises. I'm a sucker for any excuse to buy a gift for Becca, but these toys (often premium or specialty brands) don't come cheap. While money doesn't exactly grow on trees here at Itty Bitty Hill, we manage. For many other families, though, the cost of these toys is downright prohibitive, and their kids go without the extra help of these important developmental and sensory toys. So these kids, already at a disadvantage because of their early birth or other special needs, fall farther and farther behind.

But you can help! As one of Aubrie's Angels, you can donate to help provide very special Christmas gifts that will benefit these kids throughout the year. In their first year, Mollie set a goal of collecting 100 developmentally-stimulating toys, and Aubrie's Angels across the country have stepped up to the challenge, almost meeting our goal already! But we'd also love to provide each child with a developmentally-appropriate book to go with their toys...because we at Itty Bitty Hill know the tremendous effect reading with a child can have on all aspects of development. And since I want to make any gift you give to Aubrie's Angels go even further, I am happy to use your monetary donations to purchase Usborne books at cost to give to these special kiddos.

And look what your small (or large!) gift will provide! A gift of $3-$7 will provide a basic learning board book (ABC's, 123's, etc), a visually-stimulating "Find-the-Duck", etc book, a special touchy-feely board book, a first-learning workbook, or -- so important to this population -- a book about going to the doctor. A gift of $10-$12 will provide a deluxe Touchy-Feely book, a first word dictionary (great for kids with communication delays) or the ever-popular Animal Hide-and-Seek, with flaps AND touchy-feely patches, (ideal for a toddler with sensory and fine motor issues).  Your generous gift of $20 will provide The Complete Book of Farmyard Tales, which includes 20 stories with 2 reading levels and a read-along c.d.* I'll have to get this order in soon, so take a minute now to donate securely by clicking on the link below. Thanks for helping to honor baby Aubrie by helping some special kids -- you truly are an Angel!

*The books listed are intended to give you an idea of how far your gift can go. I will work with Mollie to choose books that are best suited for the individual child who will receive them. If you'd like your contribution to be used for a particular book, please indicate it in a comment on this post. Thank you!

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