I am pleased to introduce you to Hailey Arthur, our Smarty Mom of the week. She was nominated by her friend Adri, who has known her for over 15 years. Adri asked us to feature her because she is a remarkable person and mother. She has three children including Shep, who has cerebral palsey due to injury at birth and twins who are turing 2. Adri’s quote to CSP was, “You never know how people will handle life when it hands you challenges like the ones they have had and they have done amazing things with it!” Let’s get to know Hailey.
You have an adorable 5 year old son Shep who has special needs. Tell us about your situation and how your family has adapted to meet his needs?
Shep was born in December of 2003 after suffering a brain injury at delivery. Doctors told us that he would likely never walk or talk on his own. Nothing every prepares you to hear those words, but my husband and I decided to take it one day at a time. Adapting to this life changing event was difficult, but it was obviously something we had to do. I quit working so that I could care for Shep and work with him daily in therapies. Thanks to Shep’s hard work, determination and countless hours of therapy, Shep has proven every doctor wrong. After using a walker for about a year, he started walking independently in September of 2008 and is now in “Regular Ed” classes for Reading and Math at Weddington Elementary!
Tell us about Shep’s successes and the obstacles that he has overcome through therapy?
Shep is really one big success story and he reminds us to count our blessings daily. We do a mixture of mainstream and non-mainstream therapies such as physical, occupational, speech therapies, as well as horseback riding therapy and hyperbaric oxygenation therapy. I believe that a combination of all of these efforts has led to Shep’s success and progress. He had to be taught everything – and when I say everything – I mean everything. How to move his tongue left and right, how to swallow without choking, how to sit up, how to stand up, how to crawl, how to pick up things. Each of these took many months to master individually. Shep has two younger siblings that never had to be “taught” any of this. It is amazing to us and again makes us count our blessings for the health and ability of all of our children.
You also have 2 year old twins, tell us what life is like with three children?
When our boy / girl twins, David and Lane were born in September of 2007, Shep was almost 4. We were completely overwhelmed. We had three that could not walk, talk and were in diapers! It was difficult to go to the grocery store – to go anywhere! Just going upstairs took three trips! One thing I learned quickly was to accept help from friends and family. My husband, Mike , is so involved with the children and such a HUGE help, I couldn’t survive without him. Now that they can all walk, life is much easier. We still have three in diapers, but we are working on that and it will not be long that all three will be finished with that stage as well!
What has been the biggest challenge as a parent?
The biggest challenge of having a child with special needs is separating his expectations from my expectations. I have to remind myself of that daily. When Shep can not hold onto a pencil, I get frustrated, but have to remind myself that is not Shep’s expectation, that is mine. The biggest challenge of being a parent in general is finding enough time to spend with each child individually. Our house is usually organized chaos (sometimes not so organized). There is always someone singing, yelling, laughing or crying. My husband and I do our best to take one child somewhere by ourselves for special bonding time. Sometimes it is hard to find time, but it is so worth it!
What has been the biggest reward?
Every second is a reward. Just hearing their voices, seeing their smiles. That is all I need. (that, and less whining). Just watching them all turn into small loving people is a priceless reward.
You have just realized your dream to become a small business owner. Tell us about it and how you and your husband were able to take this on while managing everyday life with three kids.
Yes, we are opening Pigtails and Crewcuts in Blakeney Crossing. We open on Tues, Oct. 13th! We have wanted to own a business for quite a while and our research showed us that there were not enough options of children’s hair salons in the South Charlotte area. We loved the concept of Pigtails and Crewcuts and love the location of Blakeney Crossing – we felt like it was a win-win situation! With Shep starting kindergarten, the twins needing some social interaction with other children their age, we felt like it was a great time to do this. I have been interested in going back to work and this gives me the ability to work while still having a flexible schedule to continue therapies with Shep several afternoons a week.
As part of our Grand Opening, from Oct. 13th until the end of November, we will donate $1 of every haircut to the Easter Seals United Cerebral Palsy Children’s Center in Charlotte (Shep graduated from this school earlier this year). This is our way to give back to a place that has such a special meaning in our hearts. This money will help children, with and without disabilities, live to their fullest potential.
Our store is walk-in only, and children can sit in chairs shaped like an airplane, firetruck or taxi, with televisions showing movies all day. We also have “big kid” chairs for adults and teenagers where they can play Playstation while they get their haircut. We also offer themed dress-up parties and have a Wii gaming system in the party room, which kids can use while they’re waiting if there is no party going on.
What is your favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
We often eat at Hickory Tavern. It is kid-friendly, loud enough that the kids can’t make a scene and we can always watch whatever game is on. We also tried Newks recently with the kids. It was great and the kids loved it. Since Newks is in the same plaza as our store, something tells me we will be back there quite a bit.
What is your favorite date-night spot?
We like to go Uptown when we get the chance. One of our favorite date places is LaVecchia’s . The light rail stops at their front door and the food is amazing!
What is your favorite lunch spot with your girlfriends?
I would have to say 131 Main. Everything there is so fresh and great! I love the Thai Steak salad. I am getting hungry just thinking of it!
What is your favorite movie that you have seen lately?
We saw the Hurt Locker at Ballantyne Village Theater. It is about a roadside bomb squad in Iraq. I can not put into words how much admiration I have for the members of our military that put themselves in harms way everyday to protect our freedoms. I recognize that is it because of these brave men and women that I am able to realize my dream of being a small business owner.
Funniest thing that one of your children has said.
Just the other day I was taking Shep shopping for some new fall clothes. When I told him where we were going he said “OK, but only blue and green clothes. It makes my eyes pretty.” He is right, his eyes are a bluish /green and both colors look great on him. It made me laugh out loud.
Best birthday party you’ve attended?
I had an 80’s party for my 35th. Everyone came dressed in 80’s attire and we had a great time with 80’s karaoke! I loved that everyone really got into dressing the part. We had a contest for the best outfit. I thought I did a good job with my fingerless pink lace gloves, off the shoulder black sweatshirt, yellow leggings, jelly shoes and crimped hair. I couldn’t compete with the winner in a one-piece lemon yellow jumpsuit with a neon pink and orange belt, shoes, purse and coordinating banana clip!
What has been your favorite CSP article this far?
I love them all! I get so much great information from the website! Whether it is an article about breaking the pacifier habit to the latest consignment sales. I learn about what family friendly activities are going on in Charlotte each month, as well as the scoop on the local races like the Race for Fetal Hope and the Race for the Cure. Mostly, I enjoy learning about what other Smarty Moms are doing and how they balance work and life.
What is Charlotte’s best kept secret?
I think that Charlotte’s best kept secret is the Easter Seals UCP Children’s Center on Marsh Road. It is a truly inclusive environment for pre-school aged children. The children without disabilities barely notice the wheelchairs, walkers or braces the other children use. The teachers, therapists and staff are all so loving and attentive to all of the students. I have never felt so passionate about a place in my life. I encourage you to learn more about the school and get involved with the children there- it will be life changing!
Thank you, Hailey for sharing your story with us! Do you have a Smarty Mom OR Dad, email us here. We’d love to hear from you!