1
How To Choose A Baby Name
2
Why I Broke My “No Juice For You” Rule
3
The 411 on Shingles
4
How Amazon Alexa Helps With Speech Development
5
Living With The Fear of SUDEP
6
How To Keep Pets Safe During The Holidays
7
When Your Child Gets Stuck In A Verbal Loop
8
Holiday Gift Hiding Hack
9
The Shark Who Made My Daughter Feel Special
10
Host An Easy Puppy Party

How To Choose A Baby Name

One of my daughter’s favourite Education Assistants at school is expecting a baby. This has resulted in great excitement at home and a lot of questions from my daughter. Like, “When are you having another baby, mum?” (Um, when pigs fly.) And, “When can I have a baby?” This one always breaks my heart a little. And, “Is Mrs. R’s baby going to be a boy or a girl?” (We now know the baby is a boy!!) And, “What will we name him?” Notice how she’s inserted herself into the process?  We won’t know the baby’s name until he’s born because they’re keeping it a surprise. Smart move.  When my husband and I were expecting our first baby we had a name reveal party—just for a few close family members including the grandparents and godparents. It was mostly an excuse for a festive get-together. Pregnant women will go to great lengths to have food made for them. We did this later into the pregnancy when we were confident this one was “for real.” Those who have miscarried know what I’m talking about. Somewhere around dessert we shared the boy and girl name options for our soon to be first born. We kept it[…]

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Why I Broke My “No Juice For You” Rule

As a new mom-to-be, I swore my kids would never drink juice or pop or even know the taste of sugar. I absolutely believed that as I rubbed my pregnant belly and made all kinds of rigid proclamations about my future parenting. I also vowed that my babies would be exclusively breastfed until they could talk. But, thanks to birthing two tongue-tied infants, that didn’t quite go as planned. I made loads of rules, including the one stating there would be absolutely no television until school age. Ha! I really wish I could find the photo my husband took of our infant son—bottle propped up by a pillow and tipped toward his mouth, totally fixated on a Baby Einstein DVD while I rocked his bouncy chair with my foot from the couch. You learn quickly as a new parent that plans change. The most successful and relaxed parents are cool to roll with it and they don’t beat themselves up about it. I really did try to limit the amount of sugar in our house, including fruit juice.  But then my daughter started taking anti-seizure medication three times a day and they were horrible. They tasted like chalk dipped in[…]

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The 411 on Shingles

If you think you’re too young to get shingles—think again.  When I took my son to our doctor about a lingering cough, I thought since I was there I’d asked her about seven red weird welts on my hip. I thought they could be spider bites. (Thank you to my brother for putting that horrific thought into my head.) I also wondered if I could be allergic to my new jeans — specifically the dark wash that was dying my skin blue. My husband helpfully suggested the hives could be from “tight pants and all the rubbing.” He paid handsomely for that comment.  I assumed that when I lifted my shirt to expose the rash on my lateral muffin-top the doctor would say, “That? Oh it’s nothing. Just dry skin. Be on your way you adorable little hypochondriac.”  Imagine my surprise when she told me I had SHINGLES! “Are you kidding me?” I gasped. “What am I, eighty?!” Turns out my indignation was misplaced. Apparently the shingles virus is not elderly exclusive. Upon announcing my affliction on Facebook, as one does, I was surprised to learn many of my young-ish peers have also suffered from this painful ailment. One friend told me when she experienced shingles in[…]

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How Amazon Alexa Helps With Speech Development

When our daughter was a baby we were told she would likely be non-verbal. We used ASL with her from an early age. Slowly she gained sounds, then words, and then short simple sentences. She is still profoundly speech delayed, but is developing new words and phrases every day.  Speech therapy, activities and games that promote language development, and simply chatting with her every day casually modelling speech, have helped tremendously.  Smart technology is the latest helpful tool. Before I go into how much we’re loving our new family member, Alexa, let me start by admitting that I’m fundamentally against Google Home and Amazon Echo and all these smarty pant eavesdroppers. In fact, I’m so turned off by the invasion of privacy that I made my husband return the Google Home unit he bought me for Christmas. I made quite the stink about it, ranting about how they’re always listening and how wrong and insidious the whole thing is.  Flash forward to the week we spent at my brother’s house over New Years. They have an Alexa Echo and I fell for her, madly. This digital gal knows pretty much everything about anything. She can make life not only easier, but[…]

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Living With The Fear of SUDEP

SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy) When a child in our community dies suddenly, the world closes in around us. Having to explain to our daughter that her ten-year-old friend died unexpectedly was hard. It’s tough enough to make sense of it as an adult. For a child, it’s incomprehensible. The sorrow we feel for this beautiful family goes beyond sympathy. We feel a level of empathy that only other epilepsy parents would know. When a child is lost to SUDEP all parents of children with epilepsy receive a jarring reminder that this can happen. No child is exempt.  We are devastated for the family. It hits close to home as we direct some of the shock inward by recalling our own children’s worst seizures. We relive the panic. We hear the ambulance sirens and repeat the silent prayers and promises to the almighty or whomever is listening to “Just please, please let her be okay.” When an otherwise healthy child dies without warning or explanation, it shakes us to the core. For me, post traumatic stress has brought up memories from our daughter’s first violent seizures at the age of three when we came very close to losing her. SUDEP—sudden[…]

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How To Keep Pets Safe During The Holidays

I have a lingering childhood memory of my friend’s cat—specifically of the sparkly tinsel hanging from his butt one Christmas. When I tried to pull it out my friend’s older brother shrieked, “Stop! You’ll pull his intestines out!!” I was horrified.  Later that winter when I was tugging on a ribbon in search of a coin in the money cake my mom made for my birthday, all I could think of was yanking out a string of cake covered cat intestines.  Nobody cherishes memories based on separating Fluffy from his innards, so here are some tips for keeping your furry family members safe and alive over the holidays. FOOD Candy can cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, while chocolate and xylitol (found in sugar-free candy and gum) are potentially deadly. Rich holiday foods can cause stomach upset or even pancreatitis. A little bit of lean meat is fine, but offer sparingly (and not directly from the table. Ya, I’m looking at you Grandpa!). Foods with raw eggs and undercooked poultry may contain salmonella bacteria. Onions and garlic can be toxic to pets. Plus, my dog’s breath is already bad enough. Bones from your holiday meal can cause obstructions and perforate the[…]

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When Your Child Gets Stuck In A Verbal Loop

I’m a pretty easygoing parent. I don’t yell. I almost never yell. I prefer slow smouldering jaw clenched whispered threats. They effectively scare both my kids and my husband. Fortunately, I don’t need to pull out the eye daggers often.  I’m pretty patient—especially when it comes to dealing with my daughter’s idiosyncrasies. If I feel annoyance creeping in I simply remind myself that she’s trying her best and whatever she’s doing, it isn’t intentional.  Like, she’s a very noisy eater. As a card carrying Misophonia sufferer, her lip smacking doesn’t bother me because I know she can’t help it. But God help my husband if he slurps a drink or smacks his lips. That’s a swift kick to the groin right there. My daughter asks a lot of questions and I try to answer every one. She tells endless knock-knock jokes and I always ask who’s there.  It can take a long time for her to complete a sentence. I patiently wait it out. Putting on her shoes or zipping up her coat can take ages. I wait without complaint, even if we’re late. Eating her dinner can take hours and I rarely lose it. But the one thing I struggle[…]

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Holiday Gift Hiding Hack

I figured out the trick to hiding Christmas gifts so my kids won’t find them AND I won’t forget where I hid them—a holiday hack made necessary due to my chronic history of misplacing things.  I tend to Christmas shop early, frugally snapping up stocking stuffers and gifts when I see them on sale. I sneak them into the house and hide them—usually hurriedly flung to the back of a closet.  But, when Christmas nears and I need to take stock, I can’t always remember where I hid everything or even recall what I bought in the first place. One Christmas Eve a few years ago I found myself alone in the basement shouting, “Holy Christ!!” but not in a Christmassy way. No, it was decidedly more, “I bought our son a laptop in November and now I can’t remember where I hid the thing!!” Here’s the ridiculous story about that loser move This year I finally came up with a gift hiding hack to: a) Stop misplacing gifts b) Alleviate the stress of misplacing gifts c) Save time and energy by not misplacing or forgetting about gifts  The Holiday Gift Hiding Hack To Save Our Seasonal Sanity: Empty a storage bin (more if needed)[…]

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The Shark Who Made My Daughter Feel Special

When my daughter joined a special abilities cheerleading team last year, I went online to learn more about cheer in general. My search led me to a reality show on Netflix about a Canadian cheerleading team. The show Cheer Squad is a behind-the-scenes look at the world champion Great White Sharks—practices, competitions, wins, losses, and backstories of some of the athletes.  Avery and I started watching together, but I didn’t expect to actually pay attention. I planned to passively watch while scrolling through Facebook.  However, I was quickly drawn into the show and with every episode I was more amazed by the skill and athleticism required in this sport. It’s a combination of dance, gymnastics, tumbling, and intricately choreographed and perfectly synchronized teamwork. The athletes literally hurl each other into the air and it’s hold-your-breath incredible. On the plane to Florida (Avery’s team competed in the World Cheerleading Championships at ESPN Disney this year) Avery spotted one of the athletes from the show. And not just anyone… her favourite cheerleader and absolute idol.  Rebecca Webster from the Great White Sharks was on our flight.  Avery pointed and whispered, “Mummy! Becca…” Avery desperately wanted to say hello so we slipped in behind her in the aisle.[…]

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Host An Easy Puppy Party

We hosted a puppy birthday party today and it was off the chain. Literally. There were dogs running free all over the yard and in my kitchen. When I was a regular contributer for a popular website called The Yummy Mummy Club (now, “YMC”) I went by the handle “Party Mummy.” My beat was all things entertainment. I wrote about pet parties (why yes, we did throw a full-on dog wedding), kids’ parties, adult parties—some reeeeeally adult ones like a passion party, an unforgettable (for my husband at least) vasectomy dinner, various mom pub crawls—plus a vast array of “let your hair down for some serious fun” parties.  At one point I was attending or hosting some kind of festivity at least once a week. Lately however, I’ve been about as social as an incarcerated nun librarian mime in solitary confinement. It’s a temporary lull. Life just got busy and a little too serious. However, when your daughter’s dog turns one year old you simply MUST throw a puppy party no matter what else you have going on. Even if the date falls on Thanksgiving weekend.  So today we somewhat hurriedly but happily hosted Ruby’s “ONE Year Birthday Party.” Puppy pants, optional.[…]

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