Tag - parenting

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When Your Child With A Disability Is Told, “You Can’t Play With Us!”
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The Special Needs Parenting Sweet Spot
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Why This Mama Bird Ain’t Happy About Back-To-School
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Parenting Exposed (literally)
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Carcinophopia—Fear of Cancer
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The Time I Told My Child With Speech Delays To Stop Talking
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Spoil Your Kids Awesome
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Friends Supporting My Kids—It Takes Village
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Beware The Snapping Turtle
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Partners In Parenting

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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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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Why This Mama Bird Ain’t Happy About Back-To-School

A friend posted a question on Facebook asking, “Are you happy or sad about your kids going back to school?” The majority of responses were something like, “It’s been fun but I want my routine back!”  My sad face emoticon response was in the minority. I am not excited about my kids heading back to school in the least.  That might make me sound all, “Oooooh, I’m such a wonderful mother. I enjoy every single second with my perfect children, crafting and baking wholesome snacks, and exploring nature on our many hikes and adventures. Hashtag…. #blessed” As if. The last thing I hiked up was my skirt at the waterpark.  Me lamenting my kids return to school doesn’t make me some kind of earnest earth mother who savours each second with her spawn. Of course I savour some seconds, but not all of them. Some seconds/minutes/hours are loud and clingy and annoying and totally cut into my highly coveted “me time.”  Admittedly, I’ve had it easy. My husband is a teacher, off for the summer. I always have an extra set of hands. I’d be singing a vastly different tune if I was home alone with my kids for sixty-eight days straight. […]

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Parenting Exposed (literally)

Parenting makes us vulnerable. We expose parts of ourselves we never imagined we would – emotionally and in some cases, physically. Something happened several years ago that I’ve only shared with a select few. I feel like now is a good time to dust off the details and share it out loud because I can laugh about it now.  Back in the summer of 2011 when my daughter was a spunky five-year-old, we were invited to attend a big outdoor children’s event. I didn’t want to go. It was difficult taking my daughter out back then. She’s a precocious kiddo whose physical and cognitive delays make it tough to rein her in sometimes. But my son who was obsessed with lizards at the time was desperate to see the reptile show at the party. His needs frequently come second to his sister’s—which is often the case of siblings of kids with special needs. He was so looking forward to holding a Bearded Dragon, how could I deny him that (creepy) pleasure?  We were at the event less than five minutes when Avery stuck a sponge covered in green paint in her mouth, picked up a pile of goose poop in her[…]

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Carcinophopia—Fear of Cancer

Did you know today is World Cancer Day? I wasn’t familiar with this event until I saw it on Twitter this morning. Or maybe I did know but chose to stuff it deep down into that place where I keep all my fears about it. And I should tell you, the place is full. It’s busting at the seams because talk of ‘it’ is everywhere.   You can probably name at least ten people in your life who’ve been diagnosed. And like me, you may have lost somebody close to you because of it. (I try to not directly refer to ‘it’ by name if I can help it. It’s easier to ignore when it’s unacknowledged.) I’m obviously afraid of it. Unlike a fear of sharks or getting swallowed by a sink hole, this disease is a more statistically plausible threat. We’re a pretty Cancer Phobic society—focused on a killer that may or may not ever come for us. Realistically we’re more likely to die of heart disease in North America than from cancer and yet we hyperfixate on the Big C. Is it any wonder so many of us suffer from Carcinophobia?   Cancer is in the news every[…]

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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 so much. 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 I’d say. 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. Very 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 a few minutes later playing with ‘Veterinarian Barbie’ so I asked, “Avery, what did I ask you[…]

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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[…]

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Friends Supporting My Kids—It Takes Village

I wrote a story recently about how one of Avery’s school friends shoed her away on the playground and hurt her little heart in the process. The very next day when we arrived at school, my friend Pat was there waiting at school drop off with this sweet calendar in hand for Avery to cheer her up. (Avery hung it beside her bed and adds a sticker every night before she goes to sleep to mark the days. Sweet AND educational. Gotta love that.)       Then I shared a story with tips for including children with special needs in play dates. The next day this Facebook message appeared. A few private messages back and forth and bam! We have a very special play date on Avery’s new calendar.   I’m not saying you have to be a mom to care about other people’s kids. My friend Ali loves my kids and takes a genuine interest. She has the cutest banter going with Sebastian. She is constantly threatening to “take him down” on the Wii playing field. He laughs and rolls his eyes and loves it. He loves her too. And so does Avery. When I told her Ali had invited[…]

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Partners In Parenting

My husband and I are partners in every way. Well, except for banking—I “chequed” out of all the financial stuff years ago. Though I feign interest, he and I both know I’m thinking about Mad Men or what might be happening on Facebook while he’s explaining our bank statements.   But that’s okay because I am in charge of other important things—like groceries. Somebody has to menu plan and use coupons. It bores him to tears, so I do it.    Like I said, partners — each with specific roles and duties, like a well-oiled machine. Speaking of which, he deals with all things automotive, while I take care of the laundry. He’s actually banned from touching the dryer. The man has shrunk one too many pairs of my yoga pants.   When it comes to parenting, we share duties equally. Sometimes we employ the “good cop, bad cop” routine. I’m always the good cop because I can’t stomach the bad cop shtick.When Avery was first diagnosed and we got a glimpse of what we might be dealing with, we realized that one parent would need to stay home full-time. We both knew it would be me. Not that my[…]

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