Category - parenting

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When Your Child With A Disability Is Told, “You Can’t Play With Us!”
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Dear Parent Of A Newly Diagnosed Child…
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The Special Needs Parenting Sweet Spot
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Spoil Your Kids Awesome
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Tears Sting Even When They’re Not Yours

When Your Child With A Disability Is Told, “You Can’t Play With Us!”

  My daughter loves playing at the park at the end of our street. She’d stay for hours if she could. But since she’s a child with a disability, she can’t go to the park by herself like her peers do—they can come and go as they please, but my kiddo has to drag her mother along. “Drag” makes me sound like an unwilling companion, but I’m usually content to supervise. Though some days, admittedly it’s inconvenient. And boring. After a few pumps on the swing and perhaps an (awkward) chin-up or two on the monkey bars, my thoughts quickly turn to, “I need to start dinner” or “I have to return that phone call by 5pm” or “I have to pee” or “I wish I brought more coffee” or “I really, really have to pee.”  But she’s a kid who needs fresh air, and climbing and swinging, and companionship, and your basic childhood fun, so I park myself at the park.  Yesterday was a beautiful spring afternoon so I was happy to spend some time warming the park bench.  Within a few minutes of arriving, the play structure filled with kids from Avery’s school. They quickly organized a game of[…]

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Dear Parent Of A Newly Diagnosed Child…

The early days when you suspect something might be wrong with your child completely suck. Literally—the fear and worry sucks the life out of you to the point where you wonder if you have the strength to actually go on. But the day you hear the words, the actual diagnosis, is the worst day. It’s indescribably (though I’ll try) horrendous.  When we got the phone call that confirmed our daughter has a chromosomal disorder I was dumbstruck. I couldn’t make sense of  what was happening. There was a loud ringing in my ears that made it hard to think. I fled outside and gasped for air. I couldn’t breathe. I eventually came back in and sat quietly on the couch beside my husband and we cried.  A few months later our daughter ended up in hospital which is a despicable story in itself (doctors are wonderful people, but they don’t always see what you see. When a medical professional tells you that it’s all in your head, listen to your gut and do what needs to be done.) This is when further genetic testing revealed the extent of our child’s chromosomal deletion/duplication. The first few weeks with this new knowledge[…]

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The Special Needs Parenting Sweet Spot

It’s a struggle to stay rooted in the present. Memories of traumatic moments from the past seep in and thoughts of what “could” happen trickle through the cracks. These leaks can start to erode the “special needs parenting sweet spot.”  “Be mindful!” I remind myself constantly. “All the good stuff is happening now! If you don’t open your eyes and breathe, you’ll miss it.”  Sitting sandwiched between two conversations at my daughter’s adaptive soccer league last week I felt like my happy place was put in peril. As I sat on a cold metal bench watching wildly enthusiastic kids chase after soccer balls followed closely by their volunteer partners. I couldn’t help but hear the two conversations happening separately on either side of me.  One pair talked about their young children recently diagnosed with complicated disorders. The fear, the confusion, the anxiety—I remember it well. The “beginning” is a unique kind of difficult. So many questions, so much anxiety—parents reaching out in desperation to anyone who might have answers, or at the very least offer some guidance.  My stomach clenched as I listened to the despair in their voices. Though my compassion was overshadowed by my relief in having escaped the early[…]

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Spoil Your Kids Awesome

  Are you spoiling your kids rotten? If your kids are demanding, self-centred and ungrateful, yet you continue to give in to their every desire, you might be. If you set limits and model gratitude and kindness (as often as you can, obviously—some days I’m an ungrateful hag) you’ll be rearing awesome little citizens who will take what is bestowed upon them with genuine appreciation. Sincere ‘please and thank yous’ go a long way. I tell my kids that people want to do things for them because it makes them feel good. By acknowledging somebody’s generosity, you make them feel even better. Friends and family will want to spend their time and energy on them because feeling good is addictive. It really is satisfying to do something thoughtful for another person—whether it’s making them a special card, sharing a favourite toy, or giving a compliment. It just feels nice. Humans are hard wired to constantly seek pleasure. That’s biology. My kids lost their minds when their grandma baked them her famous lemon loaf. They gobbled it up and doled out sincere compliments about how she is the best baker and how it was so delicious and ‘thank you so much[…]

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Tears Sting Even When They’re Not Yours

  My daughter was so excited to sing happy birthday to her friend at school this week. She’s all about the good times. It’s a whole apple-falling-not-far-from-the-tree sort of thing. She went straight up to the birthday girl (who is a sweetheart) and asked, “It’s your birthday! You having a party?”  Making an awkward situation even more awkward (another apple-tree situation) Avery continued her questioning with, “I come to your party?!” Talk about putting this poor girl on the spot. She is having a small party—only one child from the class was quietly invited. This is totally cool and completely acceptable. But Avery just couldn’t understand this and she couldn’t let it go. For the rest of the day she kept bringing it up, stuck in a loop of disappointment. Classmates began stepping in to say gently but firmly, “Avery, you’re not invited. Okay?” On the way home from school Avery burst into tears, explaining about the party and that she couldn’t go sobbing, “Why I not go toooooo?” sob-sob-snot-bubble-cry Parenting moments like these suh-huck. Trying to explain why was pointless. She didn’t care why. She was only interested in why not. So I went the distraction route. It goes[…]

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