Posts

TinyLetter from Robyn 10.31.20

 

TinyLetter: Halloween
Holidays are complicated, but it seems like Halloween should be one of those that are simply ‘fun’. Right? I really want to feel excited on special days for my kids, but to be honest, they usually just doesn’t work out. Anxiety is powerful and often invisible to those outside of it. If special days are not so special for your family…you are not alone.
If you do not struggle with anxiety yourself and/or do not have a child that struggles with anxiety, this might sound crazy, but let me use Halloween as an example of how ‘special’ days usually go for us.
There was basically zero build up to Halloween for our kids this year. I was actually excited because it seemed like we were walking into a calm evening. (One benefit of Covid for me is that I find the cancellation of events actually quite relieving.)
Around 4pm, the uncertainty of how our neighborhood was handling trick-or-treating seemed to have given everyone nervous energy. It was as if no one knew what to do or when to do it. There was zero transition time from our boys just hanging out to ‘WE MUST TRICK OR TREAT RIGHT NOW’.
I headed out with the three boys, but we didn’t even make it to house #2 before I saw the anxiety arrive for my 6 year old.
There wasn’t an obvious reason for him to be upset. Things seemed to be going just fine in our first 3 minutes of candy collection, but anxiety isn’t rational. Its arrival is not predictable, and by house #4, I knew this wasn’t going to work out.
He threw his bag of candy down into the grass and planted himself in someone’s yard. If you were watching, it would look like a tantrum. But for my son, what appears as anger or defiance is actually debilitating panic. When this happens, you can feel others’ eyes watching how you handle this and hear their thoughts in your head. ‘Is she going to let him act this way?’ ‘He’s just doing it for attention…’
But I know that for my son, anger is what happens when he can non longer manage or communicate how he is feeling. I have learned the hard way that in order to navigate his anxiety, I must leave behind any care about what others think I should or should not do. When he pulls away, I come closer.
I know I’m not alone with this experience, but I also know how lonely this experience is for the child and the parent. I instinctively become focused on how to help my son untangle the anxiety within him, while everyone around us is wondering what we’ll do to ‘stop his inappropriate behavior’.
As much as trick-or-treating had triggered him, it also triggered me. My own anxiety was brewing. While I’m trying to calm one, the other two boys are still full speed ahead, the youngest running in a ginormous shark costume to keep up with his 9-year-old brother. Joe was home tending a fire pit outside and a pot of chili inside, so when I called for help, he literally had to leave one fire to metaphorically put out another.
Milo and I diverted and found our own route and headed home about 4 houses later. This is pretty usual for us, **we often divide in order to survive.**
On paper, the whole event doesn’t sound so bad. But the weight and effect that anxiety can have on children and adults is deceptive. While it is relieving to have survived the experience, the anxiety has stolen all of your energy, and any energy you might have left is now completely focused on trying to convince yourself that everything is, in fact, ok.
For me, it looked like abandoning our friends outside and passing out in my kids’ room at 9:30. For my son, it meant trying to move forward, again, without shame, and have fun like the other kids around him.
To make a long story short, what I really wanted to share with you is that if, for any reason, your Halloween wasn’t perfect…or even if it wasn’t even remotely fun at all…I see you.
The memories you are creating with your kids do not have to happen on ‘special days’. In fact, for myself and my son with anxiety, our best days happen are never the ‘special days’, and that is ok.
Love,
Robyn

Meet the Crew: Kelly

 

She’s beautiful, inside and out! Meet Kelly. As a pillar in the TinySuperheroes foundation, Kelly is strong, organized and we have every confidence in her ability to elevate TinySuperheroes to a level that will take over the world.

How TinySuperheroes got so lucky as to snatch such a hot commodity of a person, we may never know. But, boy, are we GLAD we did!

Seriously, let me brag about her for just a second: Kelly served as the Missouri State Director with Best Buddies International, a nonprofit organization that helps people with and without disabilities learn how to have real, authentic friendships whether they are kids in school or adults in the workplace. She led opening Best Buddies in Missouri and received the 40 under 40 award for her work there! (Woah.) 

Now, Kelly is the Director of Programs at TinySuperheroes!

I learned of TinySuperheroes in 2014, when my oldest son started daycare. Making new mom friends is hard, so I was exhilarated to meet a new mom friend who shared the same passion to empower people (especially kids) with disabilities or illness AND had a son the same age as mine! It was Robyn Rosenberger, you know the lady who started TinySuperheroes. We’ve been supporting each other as friends and working moms ever since!” -Kelly

Known for her sense of humor, get-after-it attitude, sailor’s mouth and incredibly positive demeanor, Kelly fits right into the TinySuperheroes Crew.

“Kelly makes my sides hurt; she is so funny. She’s amazingly passionate about what she does and takes no prisoners when it comes to doling out kindness even when it can be hard.” – Tim (the Shipping Lord).

“Kelly brings passion, enthusiasm and experience to TinySuperheroes. These qualities not only fit with our social mission but will also aid us in our continued growth.  She’s a great addition to the team, and we are so happy to have her. And she’s a great office-mate!” -Joe

“Kelly is confident, caring and willing to do anything necessary for the success of the team. These are all characteristics that I strive for, and I am so grateful I get to learn from her everyday.” -Maggie

“When I first met Kelly in 2014, I knew she was someone we’d want on our team. Six years later, we are SO happy it happened.” -Robyn

When she’s not kicking a** at HQ, you can find her with her family. She married her soulmate, Ryan, and she has two of the CUTEST little boys: Harry and Eddie.” The Quinn family loves being outside, creating together and watching movies on Friday nights after pizza for dinner!

 

Here are her quick stats…

Superpowers: Patience, Positivity and Perseverance.

Kryptonite:  Onions and mean people.

TinySuperheroes is so incredibly grateful to have Kelly. We can’t wait to see what mountains she will lead us over as we face the everyday challenges of running a social entrepreneurship.

Why TinySuperheroes wouldn’t exist without Joe.

Here are 10 fun facts about why TinySuperheroes would not exist without TinyCrew member, Joe.

(For reference: Robyn, the founder of TSH, is Joe’s wife.)

 

1.) Joe bought Robyn the very first TSH sewing machine.

2.) It was Joe’s nephew who inspired Robyn to make the very first cape.

3.) The very first TinySuperhero ever, Super Brenna, was introduced because of… JOE!

4.) Joe supported Robyn quitting her job to pursue TSH.

5.) Joe has HR experience – Turns out there are rules when you run a business.

6.) Thanks to Joe, TinySuperheroes receive their capes after one week instead of after six months.

7.) Joe makes sure the employees get paid. (So, really the only reason we stick around is because of Joe. Wink. 😉)

8.) Without Joe, doors at HQ would never be locked, good coffee wouldn’t be available, and meetings wouldn’t be organized.

9.) TSH Journaling only happens because Joe battles putting three little kids to bed.

10.) Without Joe, thousands of laughs at HQ would never have happened.

 

So, if you ever see Joe, give him some love because he deserves it! ❤️🤙

Iron-On Instructions

The official TinySuperheroes guide on how to iron-on your patches to your cape!

Explained by the amazing TinySuperheroes seamstress, Terri!

https://youtu.be/XI0TZfRIOtQ

CAUTION: For Grown Ups Only!

Instructions: Follow these steps to secure your patch to your cape!

Materials that you will need:

Follow these steps to secure your patch to your cape!

  1. Warm the iron on the cotton setting.
  2. Place the patch on the cape and put the cloth on top of it.
  3. Iron with moderate pressure for 30 seconds.
  4. Flip the cape over.
  5. Place the cloth on top of the patch’s location.
  6. Iron firmly for 20-30 seconds.
  7. Repeat until patch is adhered!

(If you prefer to sew, you can of course also choose to sew on your patches!)


A TinyLetter from Robyn 9.20.20

A TinyLetter from Robyn ❤️  9.20.20

Much like myself, our middle son, Milo, battles separation and social anxiety. If you met him, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t know it and a slight chance you’d see the heartbreaking effects it has on him. He is 6 years old and in first grade.

This past week the boys started soccer again. Soccer is something Milo has always loved. Their regular league was canceled, so when another opportunity arose for both Milo and Rory to play on a team, we jumped at the chance. (We’d pretty much do anything at this point for them to exert their energy outside of our house.)

Last Wednesday was their first practice. They didn’t know any other kids there. Getting Milo there at all felt like a victory. Our older son, Rory ran off confidently, joining a group of other 8 & 9 year old boys as if he’s known them for years.

Milo wasn’t so eager to engage. I had to walk away from Milo and Joe to even have a chance at him participating, and he did. We were very proud of him for trying. Throughout the practice he did warm up a bit, but watching him walk with his head down, hands in pockets while kicking the ball just about made me want to cry. (Actually it made me want to run on the field, grab him, hug him tight and never let go, but I knew that for today, this harder thing was better.)

Two days later, on Friday, they both had their first game. We were a bit more strategic this go-around, so Joe took Milo to his game and I met them there right after the game started. Milo is able to transition so much better when I’m not part of the equation, which is both helpful and sad for me.

Milo did awesome – like really awesome. He was quick, focused and motivated. He even scored a goal, and while he’s not one to desire any attention, pride radiated out of him as he tried very hard not to smile. It was such a relief to see him playing instead of worrying.

But something happened after the game that blew me away. Rory’s game was immediately after Milo’s, and a small group of Milo’s teammates had congregated by a goal on a nearby field to play. In a million years, I wouldn’t have predicted this, but Milo (with Sheldon as his sidekick) came to me and asked if he could go play with those boys. Of course I said yes and was incredibly eager to see what would transpire.

I possibly have never been more proud than I was as I watched Milo (with Sheldon by his side) walk over to the goal and begin playing with the other kids. It was beautiful. I captured this photo to hold onto. I always want to strive to create spaces and opportunities for Milo to feel confident but quite frankly, I usually don’t know how. We are grateful for professionals who do have tools that can help and as for me, I will just keep loving him the best way I know how.

Grief – A TinyLetter by Robyn 9.11.20

The other day I was driving home from work. Two women were walking on the sidewalk in no notably different way than normal.

Grief – A TinyLetter by Robyn.

In the moment that I was noticing them, one of the women did something that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before. I’ve heard about it often, but I’ve never witnessed it.

Right in front of my eyes, her knees buckled and she collapsed to the ground. I know nothing about what was going on. I know nothing of what actually happened, but with no doubt I can tell you she collapsed in grief. I didn’t actually see the tears, but I know they were there. Right before my eyes she went from standing to collapsed because of a feeling inside of her.

This knee buckling sort of grief is something that I hear in the stories of our TinySuperheroes’ families often. A new diagnosis. A terrifying prognosis. A bad outcome. Death. An emotion arises that is so powerful it can literally make cause your legs to give out and take your breath away.

Thinking about it brings me back to a few moments of my life where the emotion felt so overwhelming that I didn’t know if I would survive it, and I also know that there are deep levels of grief that I have still been protected from.

I didn’t pull over, though I wanted to. I really wanted to. Had she been alone, I surely would have, but she was not alone. I wanted so bad to just be able to take the pain away from her – whatever it was – and let her know she would be ok.

It was a moment I won’t soon forget – and a powerful reminder to me that at any given time, many people are suffering through a grief so powerful, their knees give in.

As we navigate this week…this year…let’s be aware that most people during this time are grieving, and for some, that grief is unbearable. It’s a good reminder for me to be gentle and kind as I know that with no notice, it could be my knees that buckle.

Be kind.

Love,
Robyn

Normalized – A TinyLetter by TSH Crew Member, Maggie 9.19.20

Talking with a mom who is distressed about how her son’s legs are being amputated tomorrow.
Sorting through a list of hundreds of photos and names of children who have gained their angel wings.
Joking with a mom as she waits in the emergency room for the third time this week as her child can’t breathe.
Sending a card to a three-year-old child for their 20th surgery.

These occurrences in my life are normalized. They no longer shock me. They no longer make me hold my breath. Tears don’t come crashing down like they used to.
I wouldn’t say I have become desensitized, because I am invested and care now more than ever. I also wouldn’t say that emotionally it doesn’t take a toll on me, because it does. All of the hurt, all of the pain and all of the suffering that I have seen people I care about go through… it builds up, and I do break down uncontrollably every so often.

While it is normalized, I have also gained a greater understanding.
The TinySuperheroes community has taught me that life can throw incomprehensible pain our way, so much so that it becomes normalized in our lives. But we are capable of so much more than we could ever imagine.

I don’t cry because I know that Courage is contagious.
I don’t cry because I know how extraordinarily Strong that child is.
I don’t cry because I know Hope can work miracles.

So, thank you.
Thank you for giving me greater understanding and teaching me how to be strong in the worst situations life could throw at you.

Love,

Maggie

Iron-On Instructions

The official TinySuperheroes guide on how to iron-on your patches to your cape!

Explained by the amazing TinySuperheroes seamstress, Terri!

CAUTION: For Grown Ups Only!

Instructions: Follow these steps to secure your patch to your cape!

Materials that you will need:

Follow these steps to secure your patch to your cape!

  1. Warm the iron on the cotton setting.
  2. Place the patch on the cape and put the cloth on top of it.
  3. Iron with moderate pressure for 30 seconds.
  4. Flip the cape over.
  5. Place the cloth on top of the patch’s location.
  6. Iron firmly for 20-30 seconds.
  7. Repeat until patch is adhered!

(If you prefer to sew, you can of course also choose to sew on your patches!)


“My TinySuperhero Doesn’t have the Ability to Complete the Mission.”

One common concern that we get every once in awhile is how a parent believes their TinySuperhero doesn’t have the mental or physical ability to complete a mission. And we want to empower you to believe that your TinySuperhero can do ANYTHING! We are always trying to improve our missions to make them achievable for everyone. We know they aren’t perfect, but we encourage you to adapt them in any way that you believe is best!

To help, we asked Super Mom Jennifer to explain how Super Josephine completes each mission.

“Sometimes I get upset about the things Super Josephine can’t do. She has little functional use of her hands, and she can’t hold her head up, much less sit. We can’t be sure where she is cognitively because her physical issues mask her cognitive abilities. 

But here is what I have realized. I can still help her do so much. I want her to experience everything possible. So we change things up, adapt, and figure it out.

Every month the TinySuperheroes Missions help remind me of this. I’ve never skipped a mission because, ‘She can’t.’ I might need to think about how ‘She can!’ 

For example, for the Kindness Mission, the mission is to find, paint and hide rocks. Super Josephine painted rocks by putting them in a sealed bag with paint and squishing it around. We’ve done that with other projects using card stock too. It is essentially mess-free. If we don’t mind the mess, we break out the finger-paint! We can trace her hand or make handprints. I help her with movement-based missions. We take pictures or videos for visual missions. Sometimes I talk to her and show her each step just to involve her. There are so many ways for her to participate once I consider it. 

We’ve done every single mission together in our own way since January 2019 when the free patch program started.

If you ever need suggestions for how to do a mission, reach out to TinySuperheroes or post in the Facebook group to others that may have similar needs to your child. TinySuperheroes is very understanding when it comes to how you complete each mission. One of my favorite things about TinySuperheroes is how inclusive they are. Join in, have fun, and earn your free patches for your cape. You too can turn ‘I don’t know if that mission is right for us…’ into ‘I can!'”



Questions? We are happy to help!

Email: [email protected]

Text: 1-256-387-7548

TinyLetter from Robyn 5.20.20

TinyLetter from Robyn ❤️❤️❤️

If I ever felt confident in my grasp of what is going on with this pandemic, all of that confidence is gone. I’m not sure what the rules are, not sure what the risks really are, not sure if we’re at the beginning, middle of end of the Corona Virus’ impact on real lives.

It seems like staying home is still the safest option, which is increasingly difficult and confusing as counties and cities start opening back up. Everything I read makes me think we are not at a point where we should be opening up, but we’re opening up.

Do we have babysitters? Can my mom come over? If preschool opens, do I send Sheldon? If camps open, do we send the boys? What if we don’t send them but don’t get our money back?

Is our team at TinySuperheroes going to be separated for weeks…months…??? What about the amazing people who volunteer their time to help us, when is it safe to welcome them back?

The ambiguity increases my anxiety exponentially and is all hard to cope with. It feels like the stakes are too high for the decisions that we are all trying to make for ourselves and our families. I wish we were united in our approach so that I could stop second guessing every move I make.

I don’t have any answers.

But two days ago I was cleaning the kitchen (feels like that’s all we do these days) and I looked out the window and there were our three boys, digging in the mud for worms.

I want to be clear that this same day they had spent approximately 2,304 hours on screens, so if this is making you feel guilty, please do not let it.

This was just a moment – a very special one – where I knew our extra time at home was something remarkable.

In the midst of the pain and suffering that MILLIONS of people in our country are feeling right now, there are glimpses of hope that in the midst of great anxiety and unknown, we are still ok.