Birds of A Feather

As the saying goes, “Birds of a Feather, Flock Together”. This momma thing is hard. Teaching our kiddos is hard. We are in this together! Each week, we feature a new B-Momma who shares some helpful info to make this journey a bit easier.

This area is to help you, encourage you, and teach you from women of all walks of life.

February 5, 2018

-Momma: Miranda

Chickadees: Abigail (4) and Annabelle (1)

Superpowers: Disseminating Behavior Analysis and Being a Multi-taking Maven…

Although it sometimes feels like chaos, I like to say it is controlled chaos! Working part-time, I am home most of the time with my girls alone because my husband works nights. I’ve learned the depth of my skill when I added studying for the BCBA exam into the mix.  I would be listening to study materials with headphones, nursing a baby, and helping my older daughter dress her dolls. Even though those 8 months were chaotic, I managed to juggle my family, work, a business, pass my exam and while still making sure my girls were getting out and we were making memories as a family.  

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…
As a momma in the field of behavioral science, I am sure I am not alone when I say I find myself laughing at myself and saying “that wasn’t very Skinner approved.” I think being a B-momma has taught me A LOT of patience and has given me a plethora of tools to work through those wonderful “three-nager” tantrums. My oldest experiences speech delays, so I feel super proud when I see her working so hard on her pronunciation or implement tools when she is experiencing frustration when she can’t be understood. Recently my heart almost burst with love and pride when I saw my oldest teaching my youngest how to sign for “more” and cheering her on when she did so.  
One thing I’ve learned is…
Being a working mom of two little babies, I’ve learned a great deal about myself and that none of what I’ve experienced happened by chance. I have welcomed everything life has thrown at me, even the terrible situations because I want to make sure my daughters remember how I handle these situations and they learn that no matter what they can handle it. My daughters are always watching me, and so I want to make sure I present to them my best self (even in the difficult times) and show them that life isn’t always perfect, that life isn’t always easy, but it sure is worth living to the fullest. 
One useful tool for me is…
As my girl Elsa would say, Let it Go! I have learned after being a mom for the last 4 years, you have to just let go of the little things. So when my daughter comes out of her room in a hot pink and purple shirt, Ariel leggings and rain boots on, I know that it is not worth a fight to get her to wear something that matches. Rather, I relish in the fact that my big girl got herself dressed, all by herself! If the living room is a mess, then it’s a sign of a good time. I started seeing these things more like a badge of successful day rather than a negative situation. And, lets be honest, coffee, lots and lots of coffee has always been my secret weapon to help me be a functional human being after these sleepless nights.  

Miranda wears a lot of different hats and loves it because her various work titles are all so different, yet all serve the same function: helping change peoples’ lives. For the last two years, she’s been a home-based educator for a medically fragile child, a home-based ABA provider for a growing agency Marra and Glick ABA, teaches with Rogue ABA Study Prep group, and a skincare business owner!

January 8, 2018

B-Momma: Melissa

Chickadee: River

Chickadude: Skylar

Superpowers: Disseminating Behavior Analysis and Ballet

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…
I am proud to be a B-Momma because it allows me to be more compassionate as to why my little ones do why they do.
One thing I’ve learned is…
I’ve learned as a mother that little humans can be much more complex than meets the eye. In turn, this has made me a more practical clinician.
One useful tool for me is…
It’s been important to schedule time for self-care. I usually spend my early mornings( 6am) in solitude drinking a cup of tea. As simple as this may sound, having 30 minutes to myself per day has improved my quality of life and interactions with my children drastically.

Melissa is a BCBA and the founder and Executive Director of The Bedrock Clinic & Research Center, Inc., which is a 501c3 nonprofit that provides treatment, dissemination, and training in Applied Behavior Analysis.

September 19 2017

B-Momma: Laura

Chickadee: Savannah

Superpowers: Creative cusswords and kicking ass in Crossfit

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…
I am proud to be a Behavior Momma because I have been advocating for my daughter since she entered into the school system in Pre-K.  She has tested and qualified for an IEP (individualized education plan) since then as well.  I have my father to thank for a lot of what I have accomplished for my daughter.  But, the job of advocating honestly never ends.  She is now a Junior in high school but will perhaps need an IEP well into her college career.
One thing I’ve learned is…
One thing I have learned is that you cannot sit on the sideline.  When you are persistent and “call people out” you tend to get better results.  And I also have come to the conclusion that most teachers appreciate you being involved in your children’s academics.
One useful tool for me is…

 I don’t know that I have a useful tool to share.  Perhaps my answer is grit.  I work full time, run a CrossFit gym with my husband (fulfilling his passion and mine to some extent) and have this child who requires more of my time then the average.  It pushes me to make sure she is successful.  I believe God gave me this child to teach me patience.  This is a continued work in progress J

By day, Laura is a mortgage processor. By night, she and her husband own and operate Crossfit Vertigo in Houston, Texas. I met Laura at our local Crossfit gym and fell in love with her attitude and grit. She is the definition of a hard-working momma. 

July 17

B-Momma: Rebecca

Chickadude: Cutie Patootie!

Superpowers: Behavior Analysis and Improving Health Through Behavior Change

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…
I am proud to be a Behavior momma because doing so helps me parent thoughtfully and with intention.
One thing I’ve learned is…
 One thing I have learned is that not everything is black and white, there are more grey areas when raising a child than one would think when reading an ABA textbook.
One useful tool for me is…

One tool that helps me is early mindfulness and meditation with my child which we implement by having a screen-free family siesta every day!

Rebecca is a BCaBA at a center during the day. She also runs an online business called MsFitBehavior. Her company focuses on health behaviors including mindfulness and staying active. She offers nutrition-related consulting and coaching related to well. You can find more information here.  

June 12, 2017?

B-Momma: Pam

Chickadee: Brianna

Chickadudes: Brayson and Bryson

Superpowers: Behavior Analysis and Twinning at Life

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…
I love being a Behavior Momma because being able to apply the principles of behavior to my own children is invaluable. I have used behavior analysis with my oldest child to teach her to use the toilet, sleep in her own bed, tie her shoes and the list goes on. She loves positive reinforcement and it makes me laugh when she tries to use things I have told her on me. It shows me that she listens and I’m giving her the tools to be an awesome Behavior Momma one day too!
One thing I’ve learned is…
One thing that I’ve learned is that I am definitely a model for my kids. I don’t live by the old school thought of “Do as I say, not as I do.” I model how I want my children to behave. I say it’s “Do as I say and as I do.”
One useful tool for me is…
One useful tool for me is to remember behavior change is not always immediate and to stick to the plan even when it’s easier to give in. However, it’s also equally important for me to not beat myself up when I make mistakes and to use those mistakes as teaching moments for my children.

Pam is a BCBA that works with Gulf Coast Center in Houston, Texas. The Gulf Coast Center is the local authority for Galveston and Brazoria Counties in Texas and provides many services to those in the area, including home and community based services. 

June 5, 2017

B-Momma: Kari

Chickadee: Elinore

Superpowers: Behavior Analysis and saying “F You” to Cancer

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…
My favorite thing about being a Behavior Momma is knowing that I am in control of so much. If Elinore is having a hard time- it’s on me. If I am stressed or overwhelmed- it’s on me. Instead of being panic driven – I am solution driven, always looking for ways to make my household, my relationships with others, or my work life run more smoothly. Need a better work life balance? Time to use behavior analysis to hold myself accountable.
The world is full of possibilities when you begin to acknowledge that your world is a direct result of the choice you make and the consequences you provide.
One thing I’ve learned is…
I have learned the immense power of having a value system and aligning your daily, weekly, monthly tasks to your values. I encourage everyone to take some time solo or with your family to create a mission statement and some guiding values. Next comes your “do more” and “do less” lists. Hold yourself accountable for moving closer to your ideal life by letting your values drive your decision making. Your journal is a place to reflect on your progress and make plans to keep moving towards the lifestyle your value.
This became even more important to me during my battle with cancer last year. I’m standing here, in remission, and I am lucky enough to have another life to live that is only my own.
One useful tool for me is…
This is a brand new tool to me but has been blowing my mind. If you haven’t discovered Google Forms+ in Google Sheets, get ready to have your mind blown. I can complete an observation and have the results scored and feedback sent directly to the person I observed, compiled into a spreadsheet, and a PDF document created and saved in my Google Drive as a record. Currently I am using it for treatment integrity observations with staff but will also likely roll it out for parent training integrity observations and summaries in the near future as well and using it as a way to personalize forms with client information being automatically populated in to the document.

National Cancer Survivor’s Day is today (June 4th).
My sweet sister in law took these pictures [with Elinore] before my battle with cancer last year, as I knew I wanted to capture what life looked like before that battle. Today life is finally back to normal. I was able to attend the annual ABAI conference in Denver this year. I added a picture of me there because never in a million years would I have imagined that my life would begin looking so beautiful just a year after my diagnosis.
I have had the great fortune to collaborate with New Heights Pediatric Therapies in Friendswood, TX providing ABA Therapy. You can find me there, consulting with school districts, or helping families and group homes served by medicaid waiver programs like HCS though my consulting practice Behavior Management Solutions.
It goes to show you that even when your body betrays you, your Behavior Momma control, values, and discipline can keep you moving forward. 

May 22, 2017

B-Momma: Patti
Chickadude: Logan
Chickadee: Tori
Superpowers: Behavior Analysis, Animal Whisperer, and Kicking the Sh*& out of a Stroke

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…

I always tell my kids (and grandkids) how much I love them. In front of their friends, in public, every time I am on the phone with them, all the time. A child can never be told they are loved too much. Every relationship has its ups and downs- it is important to have lots of positive history to weather the storms of hormones and teenagers.

One thing I’ve learned is…

Always eat dinner as a family with no technology. Dinner time is a great way to connect, share your day, and listen.

One useful tool for me is…

Free activities for families and children. You can check out the local library for story time and reading contests. Museums have free nights listed on their websites. Miller Outdoor Theater has free shows in the spring and summer.

May 15, 2017

 

B-Momma: Allie

Chickadees: Emeralynn, Roselynn

Chickadude: Callan

Superpowers: Behavior Analysis, Multi-tasking, and Being the BCBA-Version of “Mary Poppins”

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because….

My favorite part of being a behavior Momma is understanding how my behavior as a parent has a direct impact on the behavior of my children. I know that when I am delivering consequences that I have the ability to improve their behavior. I also know that as a Mom, I am directly modeling behavior for my children. Which means when they act just like me, I know why. It also means that I have a clear understanding, sometimes hindsight, on how to correct the mistakes I inevitable make as a parent. Above all, my favorite thing about being a behavior Momma is knowing there is always room for improvement.

One thing I’ve learned is…

That while being a BCBA has made me a better Mom, I still need advice. I have children on the Autism spectrum and I always thought that being a BCBA I would have being their Mom down to a science. That isn’t the case, sometimes being a Mom means my emotions cloud the analytical part of me and that is where I am thankful to be able to turn to their BCBA for advice. As a BCBA I am consistently consulting with other professionals but I had to learn that with my own children I am a Mom first. I am thankful for both of my roles and for the skills both roles have given me.

One useful tool for me is…

My useful tool is my community. Through the years I have been blessed to have a virtual community. I first joined a facebook group for expectant Mothers when I was pregnant with my oldest and then with my twins. The women I met within these groups are like family to me and just when I thought my community was big enough I found Rogue. Now I have Rogue and the wonderful team I am a part of. I think knowing that I am surrounded by those that support me is the best tool I could possibly have. I know no matter the situation, the questions, or the need someone will be there.

Allie is a BCBA working in Tennessee and co-genius of Rogue ABA, a company that is designed to meet the educational needs of those preparing for the BIG exam of Board Certification as a Behavior Analyst! They have everything from study guides to practice exams and even host online interactive study sessions! If you a BCBA in the making and you want to pass the first time…give ’em a call.

May 8, 2017

B-Momma: Lindsey

Chickadees: Avery and Finley

Superpowers: Behavior Analysis and Thinking Outside the Box

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because….

Watching my oldest become a behavior mini-me. Ha.  My oldest is 5 years old and she is a little BCBA in the making.  When she has an item that my youngest wants, she makes her request it either by signing “more” or “please” or signing specifically for the item.  It is actually hilarious to watch because neither my husband nor myself taught her that skill.  Such a little natural that has learned that there isn’t much that is given for free 🙂

One thing I’ve learned is…

Grace…to give others grace and to give myself grace.  Before I was a parent myself I would always question why a parent couldn’t stay consistent with their child’s bedtime, meal schedule, how they handled their child’s behavior.  Like it was so easy.  Now, I totally get it.  I am a behavior analyst and live it all day long where sometimes when I come home…I just want to be.  I know what I SHOULD be doing with my children, but I sometimes lack the motivation…and that is okay.   I also acknowledge that I don’t know everything. When I don’t know the answer, I talk it out with others.

One useful tool for me is…

The knowledge of Functional Communication Training (FCT).  I have taught both of my children sign language at a young age.  With my youngest, I started at 8 months old.  Our family was at a birthday party and they were serving chocolate cake.  My husband and I taught her in 15-min. how to sign “more” for more bites of cake.  I know the  argument about not teaching general signs (more, please, etc) to children but she had just learned to clap.  I took advantage of that skill.  Now we are over a year old and she can sign for “water”, “milk”, “more” and “please”.  We were having problems with her screaming for me to pick her up so I taught her to make the sound “Uu” for “Up” so that she could appropriately ask me to pick her up. I think it’s important to teach my children how to ask for things appropriately so that is one of the top skills we work on.

Lindsey is a BCBA working in the school district and co-owner of Rogue ABA, a company that is designed to meet the educational needs of those preparing for the BIG exam of Board Certification as a Behavior Analyst! They have everything from study guides to practice exams and even host online interactive study sessions! If you a BCBA in the making and you want to pass the first time…give ’em a call.

May 1, 2017

B-Momma: Wendy

Chickadee: Jolie

B-Momma Superpowers: Pediatric Physical Therapy and Baby Whisperer

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because….

Simply put, I think it makes parenting easy! Really! Knowing just a little bit about human behavior and child development helps me understand my child’s behavior, and I know that how I handle it and shape it dictates whether it will change for the better or not.

I’ve worked with hundreds, if not a thousands, children and their parents in my 13 years of being a pediatric PT. I see parents engage in serious power struggles with 2-year-olds and 12 -year-olds, and I see all the stress and the angst in the broken relationship between a parent and a child.

I don’t experience that at all. The only power struggle I ever had with my daughter was when she was about 18-months and wanted to take her pants off at the bank. Unfortunately, it was in public, but I held my ground and we’ve never had that issue again!

One thing I’ve learned is…

We can’t give in to our children!!! Even if we are tired, annoyed, “over-it”, etc., we cannot give in. You let a child (even a 1-year-old) win a battle, you are in for years of being tired, annoyed, etc from battling with your child about everything!!

Put your foot down and leave it down, even if they try to walk all over it! My daughter knows that my first answer is the same answer she will get no matter how many times she asks. I tell her why it my answer so she understands where I’m coming from, and that also helps reduce the number of times she asks.

One useful tool for me is…

I really liked the “Happiest Baby on the Block” which I recommend reading before the baby comes.

Also the “Happiest Toddler on the Block”, recommended before they become toddlers, and again every time you struggle with your toddler’s behavior. I had a very different perspective when I read that book the second time, when my daughter’s “Terrible Two’s” came alive right before her third birthday. (I thought we were in the clear! Ha!)

Oh and “Parenting with Love and Logic” too!

Wendy is the owner of Everything Babies, an amazing resource for anyone looking for information about prepping for baby, baby development, AND how to get some sleep!! Here is some FREE helpful info:

Get the Most Out of Your Baby’s Medical and Therapy Appointments

Is My Baby Falling Behind? Understanding Developmental Delay

The Importance of Tummy Time

April 24, 2017

B-Momma: Leslie

Chickadees: Mila and Alina

Chickadude: Maksym

B-Momma Superpowers: Nurse Anesthetist and Crushing at Crossfit

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…

[I enjoy] feeling like I have the freedom to decide what kind of parent I want to be. There is no ONE way to do things!

One thing I have learned is….

I have learned to pick my battles wisely. If my toddler doesn’t want spaghetti sauce, but will eat plain noodles, so be it!!

One useful tool for me is…

My most important resource is my husband. He is essential, not only for sharing responsibilities, but for bouncing around parenting ideas.

The most important tool for me, though, is self acceptance. I know what kind of mom I am, and that’s ok.

April 10, 2017

B-Momma: Charity

Chickadees: Isabella and Ellianna

B-Momma Superpowers: Behavior analysis and rockin’ the public school system

I am proud to be a Behavior Momma because…
[I’ve learned that] In parenting, you win some and you lose some. But in the area of mealtime and trying new foods, we’re in great shape. Isabella knows that when a food lands on her plate, she is required to try it without negotiation.  I’m happy that my children will be able to make healthy food choices throughout their life because of the emphasis we place on trying new things. 

One thing I have learned….

Consistency at home is super hard! When I’m BCBA’ing at work all day, I sometimes don’t have the energy to always hold the line at home during every struggle. But starting over isn’t the end of the world. It’s important to dust off and try again the next time!

One useful tool for me is…

When both of our girls were small, my hubby and I swore by the book “On Becoming Babywise” by  Dr Robert Bucknam, M.D. and co-author Gary Ezzo . It’s an amazing, research-based tool that helped us get both our daughters on a routine that resulted in full night sleeping by 5-6 weeks old. This fantastic book is behaviorally sound and saves the sanity of parents all over the world. 🙂

Check it out here

April 3, 2017

B-Momma: Dayna

Chickadees: Fiorella and Emilia

B-Momma Superpowers: Behavior analysis and brewing beer

I am proud to be a Behavior Momma because…

 I can finally see how difficult it is to practice what I preach, so to speak. I make a lot of mistakes, but one thing is for sure – if it comes out of my mouth, then I back it up. I have actually said to my daughter, “Sorry honey. Mommy is a behavior analyst. Since I already said it, you have no hope to get out of it!”.

One thing I have learned….

…On my journey as a behavior analyst/mother duo is that all children are different – despite our attempts to control the environment.  My previous experience with children occurred in a very controlled environment. However, the less controlled the environment, the more you notice subtle differences.

With my first daughter, I struggled with how difficult it was to extinguish tantrums and shape appropriate behaviors, despite all of my knowledge.  When she was three, I was at a function where a very well known behaviorist – an amazing talent – had brought his young son. The child was so well behaved and someone commented on his excellent behavior as the family was leaving. I chimed in and said, “Yes – he truly is amazing!” Without skipping a beat he looked at me sharply and said, “It’s called being a behavior analyst. It is really that simple” and turned away. I was speechless and felt inadequate, both as a behavior analyst and as a mother. Luckily, Dr. Rob Holdsambeck was sitting next to me and could see the look on my face. Knowing I had shared my previous concerns with my daughter’s behavior he said something that stayed with me ever since. He said that unless a behavior analyst has had a child with a disability or has raised more than one child, they grossly overestimate their parenting skills.

And now that I have a second child – I completely see what Dr. Holdsambeck was saying. Sometimes, we need a dose of humility in our science. We scoff at Watson’s ridiculous blank slate comment, but how willing are we to admit the limits of our science?

One useful tool for me is…

….Talking. Constantly.  Chatting with other behavior analysts that either have children or will offer non-judgmental feedback to my latest inquiry is essential to my survival as a parent. When the data are moving in the wrong direction, my “village” helps me see things clearly. I have always told my students to never be a behavior analyst alone – to always have another perspective keeping them in check. Why should it be any different with parenting? I need to learn to take my own advice.

When I need a good laugh and a dose of reality, I always peruse:

36 Reasons Why My Kid is Crying

Although he is a behavior father, Dr. Holdsambeck is still a behavior parent. He has a book that examines some of his journey:

Check it out here

And to be sure to continue to have fun and model hard work for my daughters, my talented husband and I have started a microbrewery in Pensacola, Florida. If you are in town after August 2017, stop in and say hello!

A Little Madness Brewing Company

March 13, 2017

B-Momma: Holly

Chickadude: Danny

I’m proud to be a Behavior Momma because…
I am using all that I have learned over the years as a teacher to help give Danny a strong foundation in early literacy. We read books together, rhyme words out loud, and play with magnetic letters. It’s all about keeping it light and fun!

One thing I’ve learned is…
A way to help Danny wait his turn to talk when I am talking with another adult. If he has something to say to me, he puts his hand on top of my hand. I acknowledge his action by covering his hand with my other hand. I can finish my thought and then ask what he would like to tell me. Consistency is key!

One useful tool for me is…
Taking Danny to parks with hiking and biking trails so Danny can ride his bike. We take our time and stop to look and talk about things we see along the way. It is fun family time and great memories.

Here are our favorites-
Countryside Park – League City, TX  (great bike path)

Rustic Oaks Park – League City, TX – (great bike path, bring bread to feed the turtles in the pond)

Challenger Seven Memorial Park – Webster, TX
(more of a hiking feel, big open areas for play, a few play grounds)