Raising the Helpers

What happened in Boston sucks. People died. People got hurt; lost limbs. People are scared. And it’s because we’re mean to each other. I mean, not you and me – we’re nice. But people in general. They are mean, it seems. And every time something like this happens, it makes me realize how important it will be for us to raise Jax and his generation of baby buddies to be nice.

I’m sure the parents of the people or person who planted those bombs did not wake up one day and say “Hey – I have a great idea! Let’s raise our child to  have a blatant disregard for life! Let’s teach them to be mean! Let’s show them how to hurt others!” But I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that they also didn’t intentionally say “Hey – let’s show our child(ren) how to be nice. Let’s teach them compassion, and empathy, and respect. And let’s show them how by doing these things in our daily life.”

Maybe this is controversial – but I don’t think people are just born bombers! OK – so yes I know there are people who are born with mental illnesses that hinder their ability to feel empathy or realize the consequences of their actions. But are these the people who are setting off bombs in crowds of people? I don’t know…but here is what I do know…

People need to stop being so mean to each other!

I posted this saying on our Facebook page on Monday night and I think it really hits home here. After events like this bombing and Sandyhook, I’m even more determined to teach Jax to be a “helper.” I want Jax to grow up knowing what it means to be “nice guy” and that he should be proud of being one. But, how do you teach nice? If you have ideas on how to teach kids nice, please share them with us in the comments!

Mr. Rogers knew what he was talking about here... (photo source: unknown)
Mr. Rogers knew what he was talking about here… (photo source: unknown)

Jax has had a bit of a rough week fighting his first ear infection and cold, which has turned into bronchiolitis. We went into Urgent Care on Sunday because he started wheezing. With his history of Chronic Lung Disease, we have been taught to go in at the first signs of respiratory distress, so we didn’t waste any time. (Luckily, he does not have RSV.) He’s been prescribed nebulizer treatments which seem to help him breathe easier.

Today, we had an appointment with his pulmonologist. (It was a standing appointment that we’ve had on the calendar for a while.) She confirmed the bronchiolitis and gave us an “action plan” for his next illness.  We will watch his next cold and see if it progresses into “viral induced wheezing” again. If it does, we will give a steroid neb treatment immediately to help with the inflammation in his lungs.

Jax’s lungs are not as developed as other 9 month old lungs. His history of prematurity and the fact that he spent 36 days on a ventilator and 100 days on other oxygen support means that his alveoli (the tiny air sacs in the lungs) did not grow properly. These air sacs are in the process of healing but they won’t be “completely” healed until Jax is about 2 years old. That’s why any upper respiratory infection or illness, while “no big deal” to a full term baby, can be a big deal for Jax.

But, even thought he’s been sick, he’s still his usual smiley self. Awesome milestone this week: Jax laughed for the first time! I’m not talking about a little chuckle, I’m talking about a full-on belly laugh! It was hilarious and so much fun! We feel so thankful to have him in our lives. He’s a happy, content, and friendly child. You’d never know by looking at him that he was born more than 4 months early!

So, while we’re sad for the people affected by the bombings, we are taking extra time today to be nice to each other. I think this is a good way to react to the tragedy – we’re not dwelling on the bad, instead we’re intentionally focusing on the positive pieces of life. And we’re doing that by laughing full-on belly laughs!

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Author: Andrea M

Oh man, what an adventure! I went into labor unexpectedly when I was 23w3d pregnant. Jaxson was born weighing 1 lb 8 oz. A tiny little peanut, but boy was he feisty. He still is! We love it now, but we probably won't when he is a teenager. I write about our journey and all other things that come with it, including a brain tumor. We look forward to "meeting" you - come hang out with us...we're pretty cool.

12 thoughts on “Raising the Helpers”

  1. Sorry to hear Jaxson has bronchitis. I’m glad he is having fun belly laughing though. It is scary all the bad things that can happen, but it is great to see the potential of the good that can happen. Overall your actions and the action of Jaxson’s family and friends will show Jaxson how to be nice, and telling him sometimes is good too. There are many good role models in his family. He is blessed to have all of us, as we are blessed to have him. In high school one of my classmates wrote a nice article for the newspaper that if she could solve any world problem it would be to change people’s hearts and I agree. Even if the world was disease free and we had all the resources we need there would still be heart ache because there is greed, jealousy, hatred, and other negative actions. Being compassionate and kind may not solve everything, but it makes the world a better place. A good discussion to have with Jaxson repeatedly when he is old enough to understand would be what makes a hero, and explaining to him the everyday heroes in our lives. I am sure you can think of many of your friends and family and the many different ways they are heroic. The main thing is helping him to see to look up to others for the right reasons such as their actions and the joy they bring to others instead of the media’s reasons such as who makes more money or is better looking. Jaxson is going to grow up with so much love and support and if we all show Jaxson what is right versus wrong it will increase the likelihood that he will want to follow what is right because we are all the ones who care about him.


    1. Thanks, Linda! Good idea talking about examples of people in our lives who we think are heroic. We will definitely be talking to Jax about his doctors and nurses – and how they saved his life! Now those are the real heros! 🙂


  2. I just love Baby Jax. When I see his smile and his little wild hair, I smile too. One of the Boston Globe reporters said it best on Tuesday, the day following the attack, “Yesterday I was sad…today I am mad!” I too am mad. Between attacking workplaces on 9/11, to churches, to synagogues, to Sandy Hook Elementary School, to a movie theater Columbine, it makes me ill to think that as innocent as places seem, now we even have to hinder the safety of sports. How sad and demented is the mind to even think of such things.
    I have said many times that the world is not a nice place right now and it keeps getting confirmed with these attacks that hurt and even kill the innocent.
    I know Andrea that you were raised much like I was raised and that was to help others and to look for the “doing the good of the good!” No matter what we had or the lack there of, it might be more than others had. It is very much a ME generation right now and the US seems to have slipped away. These malicious actions are a direct result of anger. There are so many angry people today and not enough of those who get up each day and look for the sunshine (impossible to do with our recent Minnesota weather!!!!) and the happiness that envelops us.
    Anyone who has gone through a life shattering experience knows that each day we are given is a gift.
    I love that you think of this for Baby Jax, even at this point. My niece Ashlea, with all of her disabilities, has taught me how valuable each day, hour and minute is. There are lessons to be learned and I feel sorry for those who are out in this world who have not learned this. Walk around a hospital, go to a Special Olympics event, visit a nursing home and if you do not come out saying….”Thank you God for all I have!” have definitely missed the point.
    When incidents like the Boston attack happen, it reminds me to hug those I love TWICE that day as a display of appreciating all that we have.
    Here is a virtual hug from our home to yours for knowing how you want to raise your little man in the right way. That way is never wrong.
    Love and friendship always…………………….


    1. Oh Kathy – thank you for sharing your feelings about this! Too many people think only of themselves. It’s so important to be thankful for each and every day! Is Ashlea the niece I met at Dad’s party? She was so wonderful with Jax! And Jax loves the toy she gave him. She shows the rest of us what it’s like to be kind…


    1. Haahahaha! Steve said the same thing about the chicks, but then I came along… 🙂 Your chick is out there – maybe you should move back to MN and find her?! 😉 We tickle Jax’s belly all the time and up until now he just stared at us with this look in his eyes like “WTF?” This week he finally reacted with belly-rolling laughs – it’s great!


      1. Hahahaha! We and Shea are definitely on the same page, but we haven’t teamed up…yet – so thanks for the great idea! Commence Operation Bring Dave Home!!!


  3. Oh Andrea, I love seeing photos of your handsome little man! He is so precious and is such a perfect mix of you and Steve!!

    As far as raising your little guy to be nice, I personally think you hit the nail on the head when you said helper. Clearly I’m not any kind of expert on raising children since my oldest is only 5 1/2, but it sure seems in theory if we can get our kids outward focused on serving others and take their eyes off themselves, that’s a huge leap in the right direction. I know personally when I look at what I can do to serve others it changes ME more than anything. Bad stuff is still going to happen, but maybe we can hope for less bad and more good (like all of those people that inmediately dove in to helping the victims on the scene without concern of their own well being). Just my two cents. Thanks for the cool post!


    1. Thanks, Angeli! I agree – serving other people (without wanting or asking for something in return) can help alot. I think it helps kids (adults) think of “us” instead of “me.” When you’re busy thinking of other people, you don’t get all wrapped up in your own little world. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


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