Category - family

1
When Your Child’s First Pet Dies
2
Advice From A Special Needs Mom In The Middle
3
How To Choose A Baby Name
4
How To Keep Pets Safe During The Holidays
5
Host An Easy Puppy Party
6
Great Grandparents
7
Surprise Puppy!
8
Teaching Your Child With A Disability To Ice Skate
9
From Sympathy There’s Gratitude
10
10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer

When Your Child’s First Pet Dies

There are many life changing things about including a pet in your family. When you have a child with disabilities, pets can make a marked difference to their quality of life. Pets are more work in a “get off the couch and walk these ding dongs and change that litter and fill that food bowl…” sort of way, but I can’t imagine life without an animal by my side or under the covers. (Even though they should be in their crate. I know, I know…) The only true downside to pets, aside from mild annoyances like the occasional whining to go out for a pee at 5am, or fur on your favourite black yoga pants, is the ultimate downside which is of course the death of your best fur friend.  That’s the part that almost makes me never want to love an animal again. We become attached and they become family. Watching them go is hard. If you’re a pet person, you understand this completely.  Some losses are harder than others. When our guinea pig Ernie died from a seizure we were sad, but we’d had him less than a year and our connection wasn’t as deep as it was with other[…]

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Advice From A Special Needs Mom In The Middle

If you were to divide your special needs parenting life into stages, they might be arranged from the day your child is diagnosed with differences, to the period when they reach adulthood and possibly independence, or the equivalent based on their abilities. Some parenting timelines might end before that. I can’t bear to think about that. I know parents who had a child leave this earth too soon, and though it’s painful to imagine, I have learned so much from them. Their stories about grief, and strength, and compassion, and courage have encouraged me to find gratitude through the difficult days.  I’m a mom currently somewhere in the middle.   I read this quote recently. I don’t know who wrote it originally, but I thank them for these words.  One day you will tell your story of what you’re going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.    Sharing our unique family’s story helps me to process, celebrate, and make peace with what whatever we’re going through. And if it happens to help or comfort or even guide others who are following behind us, that’s even better. Here a few things that we’ve learned along the way;[…]

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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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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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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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Great Grandparents

One of my grandfathers died when I was little, but I was privileged to have had three grandparents, actively and lovingly participating in my life well into my adulthood. Two of them lived long enough to become great-grandparents.  I lost my last living grandparent earlier this year. He was ninety-seven. But not an old ninety-seven. But rather a witty, knows-your-name-plus-the-names-of-every-one-of-his-childhood-friends, sharp mind, but ailing body, kind of ninety-seven.  This weekend my family spread his ashes, and my grandma’s too (he kept her ashes so they could be together again one day).  My parents were there. And aunts and uncles and cousins too. I regret that I wasn’t able to make the cross-country trip to help honour them.  I am grateful though that I was able to see my grandpa one last time. My daughter and I visited him last spring. It was a special visit. I knew it would be the last.  When I told people my grandpa had died, many were surprised, saying, “Wow. You still have grandparents?” My grandma Fraser died suddenly and unexpectedly in her mid seventies. I don’t think my grandpa ever quite got over the loss. He lived independently for nearly two decades after she had[…]

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Surprise Puppy!

Before you say it, I know. And I fully agree. Puppies are not usually an appropriate Christmas gift. But, when you’re already planning on adding a pet to the family, being able to coordinate it with Santa is a parenting coup.  Our daughter Avery adores animals. She lives and breathes fur. I also breathe fur, hence my weekly allergy shots. But that’s a story for another time.  Avery’s first pet was our rescue dog, a terrier/chihuahua Roger. We got him when Avery was a toddler and her physical therapist suggested a dog as motivation to get her walking. It worked.  We also had a guinea pig. Sadly, he’s in pet heaven now. RIP Ernie.  And if you are familiar with my Instagram account, you’re painfully aware that we have a big orange tabby named Kevin. He just so darn photogenic that I can’t help but share pics and videos of him. A lot. Like, a “crazy cat lady” amount.  Now that Avery is eleven and is responsible enough to start caring for a puppy—learning to feed and train her very own dog, we were happy to make this wish come true.  Though she asked Santa for a puppy (she actually[…]

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Teaching Your Child With A Disability To Ice Skate

I love my daughter. I enjoy skating. But I don’t love or enjoy skating WITH my daughter. In fact, I’d rather do anything else. However, she’s desperate to learn. I don’t understand her fascination, but I suspect she saw it on a television show and has taken a fancy to it. So we’re trying. And boy is it ever trying. People have said, “It’s not like skating is a vital lifeskill like swimming or something. So why bother?” I know. Skating isn’t an essential skill, but the heart wants what the heart wants… (so even if the heart’s mother can’t stand being cold, whaddayagonnado?) When I saw that Erin Oak Kids was offering a Family Skate program at a rink near us, I signed us up. Us. As in I have to be on the ice with her the whole time. Though there are some wonderful therapists and enthusiastic volunteers on the ice to help, this isn’t lessons. This is a designated block of time, a freezing cold ice block of time if I may, for families with kids with disabilities to have “fun” learning to skate. So. Much. Fun.  Do you hear the negativity here? I do. And I[…]

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From Sympathy There’s Gratitude

It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada and there is so much to be grateful for. But with all the awful things—the violence, the tumultuous and surreal (I mean, can you even believe this has been allowed to go on this long?) political climate, not to mention the unnerving actual climate, it feels like we have to squint to see the good. But it’s there.  I’ve been watching it fill my Facebook feed. It feels right and affirming to see all the happy today.  But then I looked out my window and saw the saddest thing. It literally squeezed the air out of my lungs and made me dizzy with sympathy.  My family room window faces my neighbour’s kitchen window. We didn’t have blinds for a few months when we first moved in here thirteen years ago, so our poor neighbours were likely privy to way too much Thornbury in various states of undress. Tall trees, a substantial generation gap, and a language barrier prevented us from becoming close with our neighbours. But they’ve always smiled and said hello over the fence whenever we’re both out in our yards. And they happily throw back the balls and frisbees that ended up underneath[…]

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10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Social media, cell phones, texting — we have instant access to each other 24 hours a day. We tend to log in and tune out. Canadians spend more time online than any other country. This can mean that every member of a family is online on their own device, even in the same room. I just emailed this shocking fact to my husband sitting across from me on the couch. Many parents have expressed concern about technology’s intrusion into their family time. I feel it. Do you? I grew up pre-internet, so I learned how to maintain a conversation and can easily make human contact without being digitally connected. But can I say the same about my children?  Even if we limit our kids’ screen time, their learning and social skills are still impacted by OUR screen time. Have you ever shushed your child so you could finish composing an email? Have you looked away during your child’s soccer game to post an Instagram photo? Have you texted from the dinner table in the middle of your son telling you about his French test? Not proud of it, but I’ve done all of these[…]

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