June 29, 2015

Do You Remember Your Dreams?

Some nights our daughter ends up in our bed. Like when she's sick, obviously. Or like when my husband and I watched The Conjuring on Netflix (WHY did we do that?!) and brought her to bed with us to keep her safe from creepy entities. Our son was on his own. Not playing favourites, but he's huge—too big for our bed and fully capable of fighting off creepy entities if need be. 

Last night Avery ended up in our bed because she fell asleep there reading stories and she was just too comfy to move.

I love to snuggle with her and listen to her breathe, burying my face in her neck and cuddling all up in her sweetness. But then when I drift off to sleep and she starts tossing and turning and digging her toes into my rib cage, the charm wears off.

Last night before the barrage of flying feet and fists, I was deep in a dream. Though I tried to commit the details to memory, in the light of day the plot is fuzzy. I know I was about to give an order of some kind—something serious and life altering. I was hesitant and afraid. As I raised an arm in the air about to give the order (in my dream) Avery shouted, "No! Don't do it!!" (in real life) and it woke me up. She was deep in her own dream. I don't know what it was about, but somehow her reverie linked to mine. 

Is it possible that we are connected in sleep as deeply as we are when we're awake?

As I lay there, going over the details of my dream, trying to preserve them for the next day, I thought about my friend and how she opens her bedside table drawer to remind her in the morning that there is something she needs to remember. I laughed when she told me that she often spends hours trying and failing to recall the thing her bedside drawer is nudging her to remember.

My bedside table doesn't have drawers. I used to keep a notebook beside my bed so I could jot down late night ideas or the details of my dreams. But then I stopped dreaming for awhile and I put the notebook away. I still have it though. Now that I'm dreaming again, I must remember to put it back on my nightstand.

Do you remember your dreams? 

June 25, 2015

The Time I Told My Child With Speech Delays To Stop Talking

Yesterday I posted a story about our daughter's "profound" speech delay and you left such kind and supportive comments. It means a lot to my husband and I that people care. But it also makes me feel like a bit of a dick. Like my sharing/over-sharing about recent trials is an attempt at garnering sympathy or even worse, asking for a pat on the back for stellar parenting. I'm not a stellar parent. I'm just a parent who is crazy about her kids and wants the best for them. Pretty par for the course. We all want that for our children. We can't even help it. It's instinctual.

A few people commented on how patient I am. How lovely to say, but it made me laugh. If only they had seen me this morning...

We were running late and I asked Avery to put on her socks. The first time I made eye contact, got her attention by saying her name, and spoke slowly and simply—"Avery, put on your socks."

She didn't put on her socks. I found her playing with Veterinarian Barbie so I asked again, "Avery, what did I ask you to do?" She looked at me blankly so I reminded her. "Please put on your socks. We're going to be late!" I spoke quickly and used too many words. It's no surprise that she was still sockless a few minutes later. She was now playing with the cat.

I didn't say anything this time. I just looked down at her bare feet with my hands on my hips. Her response to this classic 'annoyed mom pose' was, "Uh oh."

"Yes, uh oh. Put on your socks." This came out as a menacing growl.

When I returned from brushing my teeth, I found her stuffing Veterinarian Barbie and her accessories into her school bag. Her socks were on the floor beside her.

I squawked, "Avery Thornbury!!! Put on your socks. NOW!!"

How's that for patient?

Now that we were really late, I helped her put on her socks. And her shoes. Lesson learned? If you stall long enough, mummy will just do it for you.

Big brother, the one who likes to "conversate" as much as his mama, had been chatting up a storm this entire time. I can't remember the topic because I was only half listening. I offered up the occasional "Oh ya? Cool." To what I was responding, I have no idea. Stellar. Parenting. 

And a note about the audio version of that speech delay post—I figured since the story was about verbal communication, an oral component might be cool. What's not cool however is my voice. Do I really sound like that?? Gawd. If you listened to it, I apologize for the three minutes and forty-four seconds of nails-on-chalkboard.

The icing on the cake is that as I was reading and recording the story to include with the post, Avery was watching TV behind me (Yup, I put her in front of her favourite show so I could have a few free minutes). Every time I read her name she yelled, "Me?!?" Even when she left the room to use the bathroom, she shouted from afar, "You be talking bout me mummy?!" Of course I started laughing and had to start over. After being interrupted during my fourth attempt I told her to stop talking. I literally said, "Avery, stop talking please." The irony of this is not lost on me.

By the way, I won't be recording an audio version of this post. You're welcome.

Thank you so much for always supporting us, for cheering us on, for laughing with/at us and for making me feel like I'm a good parent, even when some days, I kinda suck. 

June 24, 2015

My Child Has A Profound Speech Delay

My parents claim they're grateful that our early home movies are without sound because....me. Blab, blab, blab. I've always been a chatty Kathy Lisa. I have a lot to say, but I listen too. I'm not one of those conversation hijackers or the person who is only half listening while they're busy thinking about what THEY are going to say next. Irksome. Not to mention the people who tune you out—looking over your shoulder or at their phone while you're still talking. #EpicIrk.

My son conversates just like me (real word even though Spellcheck is screaming "Moron! Can't you see the red squiggly line??"). He starts talking from the time he rolls out of bed and continues asking questions and sharing ideas and jokes and facts and observations all. day. long. But he too knows how to listen. His big brown eyes open wide while I'll telling him a story and he pauses before he speaks to make sure he really processes what's been said. I love this boy.

http://www.foreverinmomgenes.com/2012/12/baby-sign-language-bible-book-giveaway.htmlAs for our daughter, she has a lot to say as well. The trouble is her "talker gene" is broken. She knows what she wants to say, but struggles to get the words to line up in an orderly fashion to march them across her vocal chords and out to listening ears around her. 

When Avery was a baby we were advised to teach her sign language as speech would not come easy. In fact, we were warned that she might never be able to communicate verbally. So we taught her and ourselves to sign. In the early years, this method of communication proved invaluable.

With time and speech therapy, she began to speak. Only one word at first. Then three and four word simple sentences. She could always communicate her thoughts and emotions with her expressions and actions, but now she was able to tell us what she was thinking and feeling.

Now in third grade, her speech has plateaued. We understand her easily because our family speaks fluent Avery-ese. However others find it difficult to make out a lot of what she says. It's a matter of articulation. She has difficulty producing many of the sounds needed to make words. Like, she'll say "pwown" for clown or "bwove" for glove. The thing is, she is aware that it doesn't sound right the second she says it and is frustrated. Imagine knowing what you want to say, but not being able to make it happen. 

Avery's most recent speech assessment results just came in. Obviously we know there are significant delays. But to actually hear how severe it really is was upsetting.

Avery scored in the 1st percentile across the test. Usually coming in first is a good thing. Not in this case unfortunately. A percentile score refers to placement on a test compared to others of the same chronological age—the higher the percentile ranking, the stronger the performance. The wide average range for scores is between the 16th and 84th percentile. A score below the 9th percentile is a mild delay, a score around the 4th is a moderate delay, the 2-3rd percentile indicates a severe delay. Those who fall into the 1st percentile have a "profound delay." Profound as in definition #1. 

So we have work to do. More intensive speech therapy. More gentle patience. More articulation exercises disguised as fun games. More vocabulary finding field trips. More strategies for us, and for those trying to understand. It's frustrating, but it's not the end of the world. 

Like I said, Avery has never had trouble conveying her emotions and getting her point across. 

And despite this being upsetting for me, a habitual conversater, I'm not losing sight of what really matters. The last line of her speech report speaks volumes.

June 12, 2015

Lammenting The Loss of Your Lashes?

My lashes have become short, stubby, spindly, sparse—words to conjure up an image of Charlie Brown's pathetic Christmas tree. It was loved despite being pine needle challenged, but I have no love for my lashes. Where did they disappear to anyway—the long lashes of my youth are long gone. I want my kid's healthy lashline. I'd even settle for my dog's lashes at this point.

Can you be beautiful without having luscious lashes? Of course! But this post isn't about beauty, as much as it is about being busy. And lazy. 

Putting on my face every morning is an effort. And time consuming. So why do I bother? The fact is when I don't wear eye makeup I look exhausted. Granted, that's a bi-product of a busy life, but it's nice to at least give the illusion of being conscious.

But like I said...lazy. Sometimes it's just nice to get up and go. (And not frighten people.)

So in an attempt to simplify my beauty routine, I had eyelash extensions put on. Friends had done it and I coveted their youthful, bright eyed, EYE MAKEUP FREE look. I jumped on a Groupon and went for it.

For the first few days I loved it. Opinions varied however. My son laughed. Not exactly the reaction I was going for. And my husband? He claimed I looked like one of those creepy dolls whose eyes closed when you lie them down. I didn't pay for creepy.

And I won't even go into the gong show when the glued on lashes began falling out at staggered rates. Creepy doll became creepy antique neglected doll who may or may not have been placed too close to the BBQ. 

So when an opportunity came up to try out a new way to safely and effectively grow my lashes, I was all in. Let's just say, I said YES to trying RapidLash um, rapidly.

I rarely do "beauty" posts. I mean, have you seen my selfies? They are decidedly less beauty and more "look at me at the dentist!" So, this is clearly a product I am very excited about. *It may appear that I have lashes but that is a shedload of mascara and major eyelash curling right there.

I should also add, I'm usually very skeptical about these "miracle" products. However my girlfriend and her neighbour have been using RapidLash for several weeks and they both confirmed that it really works.

So here I go then... I'm using RapidLash for eight weeks and then I'll come back to share my before and after results. Just imagine a summer liberated from having to coat my lashes in mascara! How fabulous.

RapidLash retails for about $59.95 and you can find it at a variety of retailers including:

o   Shoppers Drug Mart
o   London Drugs
o   Lawtons (Maritimes)
o   Jean Contu (Quebec)
o   PharamPrix (Quebec)
o   I found it at Costco (Ontario) for $43.99 Score!


If you have concerns about using products near your peepers (mom, I'm looking at you obviously)...

Here's more INFO about RapidLash: 
  • Ophthalmologist & Dermatologist tested & safe for contact lens wearers
  • Paraben and fragrance free
  • NOT tested on animals (this detail is non-negotiable for me)
  • There are no drug ingredients in the formulation
  • Just a sparing application is required—apply like a wet eyeliner on the lash line and/or on the natural brow line
  • One tube yields 2.5 months worth of application
  • Once results have been achieved, apply just 4x a week to maintain

One more IMPORTANT note:
I have been advised that consistency is key. Apply the product regularly (every night at bedtime after washing your face). Do NOT give up and assume nothing is happening. It is! Your lashes are being fed and will be in full bloom in 4-6 weeks (brows take a bit longer, like 60-ish days). Patience grasshopper...

I'll be back to post the after photos soon! Hopefully my results will raise some eyebrows. 

Enter for your chance to WIN RapidLash 
Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum so you can try it too! 
A few rules: 
-You may enter this giveaway on other participating blogs but you can only win from one blog.
-Entrants must be a resident of Canada (including Quebec!)
-This giveaway ends JUNE 20, 2015 at MIDNIGHT EST.

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Disclosure: I am part of the RapidLash campaign with Influence Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions (and lashes) on this blog are my own.

June 10, 2015

Gymnastics At Home

High beam

It seems my daughter and Culture Club share a mutual fondness for tumbling. I spent countless hours of my childhood turning cartwheels and standing on my head. No iPads just "get outside and roll around on the lawn until dinner is ready!" Thirty-ish years later I’m more turnovers—of the apple variety—than walkovers, but my little girl is in the midst of full-on gymnastics adoration. Here's a clip of her on the uneven bars.

 photo YPJNCVf - Imgur_zpsmhr1c42o.gif

Okay fine, that's Olga Korbut at the 1972 Olympics. But with practise Avery will get there. Minus that 'Korbut Flip' on account of it being all holycrapcanyouevenbelievehowcraythatmoveis?!

A few years ago we signed Avery up for her first session at Schlegel's Gymnastics Centre. I shared a bit about that here: "Schlegel's Gymnastics Centre Gave My Special Needs Daughter Exactly What She Needed."

This gymnastics centre serves all children, treating each equally, fairly and funly. Okay, funly isn't a word but it should be. Just look at the smile on Avery's face with coaches Andrea and Fiona. Pure. Happy.

kid's gymnastics

So with some gymnastics fundamentals under her belt and a love of the sport deeply embedded in her leo clad soul, Santa Clause decided to give Avery more of what she loved. With some internet sleuthing I came across Tumbl Trak—this company makes quality equipment for gyms across the globe. If you see a thick blue mat or a sturdy balance beam at your child's gymnastics centre, chances are it came from Tumbl Trak. Not only do they make gym grade equipment, they also have pieces that are perfectly sized and suited for home use.

Check out this short clip to see what I'm talking about (it features Jordyn Wieber so if you have a gymnastics loving kid, she'll most likely squee).

You can buy the pieces you want separately, or do what we did and buy a "Begin With The Basics" package. It's not cheap, but since we were prepared to spend nearly the same amount for a gaming system for our son, and we knew how much time/enjoyment/skills practise/gross motor development/exercise our child would get from it, the cost was justified. The shipping fee to Canada is quite pricey so we decided to drive to the warehouse to pick it up and saved a bundle that way. The Tumbl Trak warehouse is located in Michigan about a 4 hour drive from Toronto. We spend a week with family in Michigan every year anyway, so it made sense for us to pick it up directly. FYI—if you make the trip, there's a casino and a Great Wolf Lodge style hotel within minutes of the warehouse. Hello, fun family vacation.

We couldn't make it to Tumbl Trak in time for Christmas, 
so instead Avery found this promissory note in her stocking. 

tumbl trak

Our basement has now become a mini-Schlegel's. Minus the amazing coaches. And fun bouncy floor. 

Avery loves having friends over to "hang." What's with little girls and hanging upside down anyway? I need to make a plaque to display above the Kip Bar that says, "You can't frown if you're upside down." Am I right?

Big brother also uses the bar to workout. I attempted a chin up but I hurt my wrist. Don't even get me started... #old

One final note: Avery is not yet allowed to use the equipment without an adult present. When not in use (aka when I'm upstairs and don't feel like supervising), we set the Kip Bar to its highest setting so Avery can't flip over it on her own. I know, meanies. But, it's safety first and all of that bubble wrapped goodness over here. 

home gymnastics

If you have a gymnast in the making, consider setting up your own mini Schlelgel's at home. Now that the weather is nice, we're going to bring the mats and bar and beam outside for some backyard gymnastics fun. Cartwheels and handstands on the lawn? It's like 1979 for me all over again....

For information about Schlegel's programs for your kids, special needs or otherwise, visit: schlegelsgym.com

Take a look at the awesome gymnastics equipment Tumbl Trak has to offer and check for special deals and discounts here: tumbltrak.com

*In case you're wondering, this is not a sponsored post. Just a mom sharing what her kiddo loves because I can. :)