Category - parenting

1
What’s The Expiry Date on Breast Is Best?
2
Her Voice
3
Elmo For Zack
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Use These Potty Training Incentives To Achieve Toiletting Triumph
5
Invited—When Your Child With Special Needs Gets A Birthday Invitation
6
Linguini Facial
7
Sometimes
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Close Your Eyes And Make A Wish
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The Truth Fairy
10
Difficult Conversations With My Child – Part 2

What’s The Expiry Date on Breast Is Best?

  Time Magazine published this story about attachment parenting. The cover showed a mom breastfeeding her three year old son and the internet lit up like the fourth of July. Obviously generating a buzz was a factor in the magazine’s choice of cover shots. Every “mom blogger” from here to Timbuktu has weighed in on this. Some cheering, some outraged, some gagging a little. This photo may not depict the serene bonding experience of breastfeeding; it was used to spark debate. But haven’t you ever fed your child on the fly? I once breastfed my daughter while shopping for a new refrigerator. I was in a rush and she was quite happy nestled under my coat. Just because we weren’t locked in a gaze of love and warmth, it doesn’t make me a bad parent. It makes me a busy, multitasking mama who was trying to stick to a feeding schedule. The first thing I noticed in this photo was the mother’s arms. “Wow, her biceps are tight,” I thought. The next thing I noticed were her shoes. “Where can I get those ballet flats?” I wondered.    I’m the mother of a son who was way off the growth[…]

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Her Voice

  We all want our daughters to have a voice. I need my daughter to have one.  I won’t always be around to speak for her – to explain to others why she may not understand, or to make her understood. Before my daughter was born, deep down I worried there was something wrong. All the prenatal testing indicated she was fine, but sometimes a mother just knows. When she was born, and I held her in my arms, I saw only perfection. I still do. We soon discovered our girl was special. In fact, she’s so unique there isn’t a name for her particular syndrome. She has come miles further than we were told she could. Her future is bright, yet shadowed by developmental and medical challenges. Our daughter doesn’t understand the rude looks or ignorant questions. A stranger’s comment about her “walking funny” results in a carefree smile. Teasing, from a neighbourhood kid earns him a giggle. One day, she will understand and feel the sting of hurtful words and actions. The most important thing I can do to prepare her is to help her to find her voice. My girl is a mess of blonde curls, big brown eyes and pouty pink lips. She’s beautiful. People want[…]

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Elmo For Zack

When my friend Heather‘s son Zack passed away, every parent’s worst nightmare became a reality. But what Heather she chose to do with such insurmountable pain, is beautifully inspiring. Through her grief, Heather works to keep her boy’s spirit alive by celebrating him every day. So many of us have never met Zack, but we know him because his mama is always finding ways to share him with us. Heather has spoken at conferences and on television, sharing stories about Zack and her quest to raise money to build Zack’s Dream Room at York Central Hospital. Heather not only raised enough money to build this special room, but there are now two playful cosy rooms dedicated to making any child’s hospital stay more comfortable. Heather also shared Zack with his hero—Elmo. Kevin Clash reached out and made this message not only for Zack, but also to comfort those children who will be staying in one of Zack’s Dream Rooms. Heather wrote: My dream was for Elmo to know now much Zack loved him, and that one day he would say Zack’s name….this is the video that made my dreams come true. I only wish were here to see it all and celebrate with[…]

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Use These Potty Training Incentives To Achieve Toiletting Triumph

  My girl likes to potty all the time, potty all the time, potty all the tah-hime! Well, NOW she does anyway. For the first 51/2 years of her life she wasn’t on board with the whole toilet sitch.    Potty training ANY child takes time and patience and patience. Did I mention patience? Potty training a child with developmental delays is even more “special.”  I wrote about past Herculean efforts to get this girl out of diapers and into some stylin’ Dora underpants here (tricks like these generally work wonders for most kids). Alas we tried, we failed, and we did a sh*t load of laundry. She just wasn’t ready. Over the Christmas holidays we tried again. This time instead of sinking into the bowels of hell, we were triumphant. It’s slightly ridiculous, but here’s what worked: We choose a quiet week where we would be at home most of the time. I told Avery there were lots of babies who needed diapers and asked if it would be okay to give them hers? Of course, she said NO!  This girl has a serious Pull-Up addiction. When I hid her diapers anyway, she tore the house apart looking for them.[…]

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Invited—When Your Child With Special Needs Gets A Birthday Invitation

It happened. Finally, joyfully, my five year old atypical child received her first ever invitation to a typical peer’s birthday party. She tore open the envelope and exclaimed wide eyed, “I party!” “I so happy,” she said while I cried big, sobby tears. “Mummy sad?” she asked, looking concerned. No my sweet girl. I’m not sad. I’m thrilled for you. You deserve so much—fun and parties and all the great things that come with having friends who love you, for you. I want to tell this *mother, the one who sent the invitation, how much this means. I’m sure she has no idea. Avery has carried the invitation around with her all morning and won’t put it down. And now she wants to go out, like right now, and buy her friend a “bir-day pwsent.” The happiness on this child’s face and the excitement pulsing through her body reminds me, because sometimes I forget, that life is truly a celebration.  Party on big girl. *I sent the mom an email to explain how much this invitation meant to us and to sincerely thank her. I also hugged her (hard and possibly a tiny bit too long) at the party.   […]

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Linguini Facial

I made a healthy, home-freaking-made-from-scratch meal and I was ready to impale myself on a dull spoon midway through dinner. My little girl eats like a bird. A baby humming bird.   Lately we’ve made great strides, both in food diversity and in weight gain. It’s a roller coaster—good days and bad. I’m okay with that. But, when your child refuses to eat something she normally loves, it’s irritating. For the love, who refuses linguini??   I tried everything. All of our usual tricks. Even our latest and greatest… paying off each bite with a butterscotch CHIPIT.   I can handle a little food refusal. What I can’t handle is when my child wrestles her dish (which was suction cupped to the table for stability) with such furry and determination that it launches suddenly upwards, flinging the entire meal like an aerial assault by an army of searing hot saucy snakes, into her mother’s face. I enjoy a facial, but I draw the line at a pesto prima vera treatment.    I threw in the towel, after wiping away the sauce with it, and retreated to my office, leaving daddy to deal with the pasta shrapnel. Tomorrow would be a[…]

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Sometimes

Sometimes when you have too much to say, you end up saying nothing at all. I’ve tried to write many times this week. But instead of writing a word, I clicked “close” every time.   Sometimes when life is too hard, you shut yourself off. You assure everyone around you that everything is fine and you try to believe it.    I feel guilty because others have struggles much harder than my own. I have a child with special needs. So what? So do many, many other parents. Our story is not unique. Avery is healthy and happy and beautiful and I should feel lucky. Or so I have been told. But some days, instead of lucky, I feel frightened, frustrated, angry or sad.   I’ve always had the attitude that everything will be okay. This is our normal and life is good. It’s not perfect, but it’s good. It seems you can only go on for so long fooling yourself into thinking your life isn’t hard.  My life is hard. Avery is funny and loving, but she’s difficult. She doesn’t understand “danger.” She is always at risk and it’s taxing living in a constant state of fight or flight.[…]

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Close Your Eyes And Make A Wish

Our daughter is nearly five years old and she’s never been to a children’s birthday party. She understands what a party involves. She’s had plenty of exposure to birthday cake, candles, balloons, ripping open birthday wrap, and celebrating. But only ever with family.    In two years of preschool I’ve seen invitations passed around to every girl in the class but mine. Now with her first year of Kindergarten drawing to a close, I assume at least one child in her class has had a birthday party. Maybe I’m wrong. Perhaps every child was born in the summer? This doesn’t directly impact my child. She doesn’t know she’s being excluded. But it impacts me. I may be too sensitive (or so I’ve been told) but I definitely feel the sting of rejection on her behalf. I find myself wanting to shout, “What the hell people?”  Alas, I can’t force people to include her. It’s their choice. So I say nothing.  Though, I’d like to just say this… If there’s a child with a disability in your child’s class, please don’t overlook them. You might assume they can’t go to a party due to mobility or behavioural issues. Maybe you think they pose a[…]

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The Truth Fairy

How long is it acceptable for your child to believe in the Tooth Fairy? My son is nearly eight and fully believes a magical winged creature breaks and enters into our home to purchase his grungy teeth to add to her toothy collection. It’s a bizarre concept right?   Yesterday my son had four teeth extracted. Poor kid has been cursed with his mother’s toothy grin – too many teeth, not enough jaw. The dentist has a plan to make room for incomers to minimize the impending overcrowding. My boy was a little nervous, but the anticipation of the Tooth Fairy’s bounty overshadowed his fear.    Last night, after examining his tiny teeth for the umpteenth time, he carefully stowed them inside his tooth keeper and tucked it under his pillow. A few hours later, an extremely tired Tooth Fairy tippy toed (loudly) into his dark bedroom. I deftly (not even close) removed the tooth keeper and promptly dropped it on the floor. After retrieving the tooth case from under the bed, I stood up ready to make my escape but cracked my head on the underside of the bunk bed. FYI, the Tooth Fairy has a mouth on her[…]

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Difficult Conversations With My Child – Part 2

Forget the babbling brook, I’m a rambling river. I’m not sure why I feel compelled to tell people everything. Maybe it’s the need to vent, to seek feedback, validation, advice, a laugh. Who knows? But if loose lips sink ships, I should really have my own personal Coast Guard.   I may over-share on a regular basis within my social network (and the occasional innocent bystander at the grocery check-out) but I am able to curtail my TMI tendencies when it comes to my kids.   Children hang on our every word. WHAT we say and HOW we say it—it’s our job to try to insulate our kids from worry, horror, despair, and unthinkable sadness.   We can’t completely shelter our children from the harsh realities of life. But if possible we can try to shield them from the really scary sh*t so they can feel safe and secure for as long as possible.    This is why I chose initially not to tell my son that Zack passed away.   The boys never met in person, but my son knew about Zack and his family. He knew Zack was Avery’s friend. He heard me speak about Zack’s parents. He knew[…]

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