Category - Special Needs

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Why We Celebrated Christmas In May
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Mind What You Say To A Highly Literal Child
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Chat App Fatigue
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Yes I Swear In Front Of My Kids
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The Kindness Gene

Why We Celebrated Christmas In May

I’m on my way out to buy ingredients for a full-on Christmas dinner. In May. And I need Christmasy cookies and eggnog if I can find it. I realize this is weird and probably impossible, but when you screw up royally and nearly ruin future Christmases, AGAIN, you do whatcha gotta do. *Updated… you won’t find Christmas desserts in May, so your husband will have to bake gingersnaps. They’ll taste awful because he’ll use buckwheat flour and half the sugar to make them healthier. Ew. You’ll eat one and fake fawn over it to make your daughter happy, but you’ll stifle a gag.  We’re celebrating Christmas in May because of the penguin. Let me explain… We have a stuffed penguin named Quacky. He’s our family’s version of the “Elf on the Shelf.”  I’ll spare you the ridiculous story. Let’s just say we misinterpreted the concept and made up our own version.  This morning, Avery put on her Elf movie t-shirt, just because she loves it. This inspired her to search for her dad’s Christmas sweater. Upon digging through his sweater drawer she discovered Quacky, hiding in the back. Oh holy night.  With a quivering chin she brought him to us and asked why[…]

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Mind What You Say To A Highly Literal Child

My daughter is literally the most literal person I know. Her brain is just wired that way.  If she asks for an extra big scoop of pasta and I say, “I hope your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach,” she’ll say, “Nope. My eyes are normal size.” Or if you tell her, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she’ll ask, “Which bridge? Are we driving or walking over it? Can I pack a snack?”   Until recently, if I snuggled her and said, “You’re so delicious, I could just eat you up,” she’d wriggle away in protest and exclaim, “I’m not food!” She understands now that it’s an expression of affection, and that I won’t actually come at her with a fork.  I love a witty figure of speech, a pun, or clever turn-of-phrase, and use them often. As a rule, I think this is the best practise. How else will a child learn to communicate effectively if we don’t introduce modern vernacular and push the language bar? This morning I inadvertently pushed the bar too high. The horrified expression on my sweet girl’s face is burned on my brain; because her literal brain mistook my “tech specific” language for something alarmingly[…]

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Chat App Fatigue

Two months into this Covid-19 quarantine and we’re running out of things to talk about and  “Chat App Fatigue” has become an actual thing. With each day blending into the next, there isn’t really anything new to discuss. An outing to the grocery store or the latest new release on Netflix aren’t the most riveting topics.  But, as much as I struggle to keep the virtual conversation going, it’s become even more challenging for my kids. The older one isn’t chatty to begin with. He’d choose folding laundry or unloading the dishwasher over participating in a Facetime any day. He’s the strong silent type. My youngest on the other hand is the chattiest Cathy Avery you ever did meet. However, she’s struggling to find the words. Five minutes of a Google Meet, Zoom hangout, or Messenger Kids chat leaves her mentally exhausted. This particular case of Chat App Fatigue has reached its peak.  She still enjoys an “actionist” chat —the kind where she’s actively doing something like playing BINGO or playing pretend camping under blankets with ipads and flashlights, or singing along with a Disney princess from Frozen in a group Zoom call. She’s happy when there’s something to do.[…]

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Yes I Swear In Front Of My Kids

*Warning: Adult Language Alert (If you’re eff word adverse, stop reading here).  As a writer, I love words. All kinds of words. Even the sweary kind. Especially the sweary kind. I try not to curse too much in front of my children, but I’m only human—a very passionate and expressive human I might add. So sometimes an “Oh for fuck’s sake” might escape my lips. I don’t think that makes me a bad parent. Words are just words unless they’re used to inflict hurt or disrespect. That’s when they’re truly offensive. Don’t even get me started on the R-Word. That’s one loaded word I never use. There’s never a positive reason to use it.  Coarse language isn’t necessarily rude or offensive. It’s about the way words are wielded.  Until recently my daughter has been oblivious to my salty language. My husband and I could talk about any subject in front of her without her taking much notice.  Now she inquires with great curiosity, “Who are you talking about? Who said that? Why did they DO that?” All the questions. I love that she’s noticing, but it does pose challenges. For example, the other day my son and I were watching a[…]

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The Kindness Gene

We were in line at a coffee shop when an older lady ahead of us spilled her change purse. Without hesitation my daughter leaped forward. On her hands and knees she collected the scattered coins and happily handed them over to the appreciative woman.  When it was time for us to order, the cashier leaned in to my daughter and whispered, “Thank you for being so kind.” My daughter shrugged and said, “No problem. I love to help.” And she meant it. She’s the sort of person who would give the shirt off her back. Or the shoes off her feet. The other morning she told me a girl in her class didn’t have gym shoes, so that’s why she was stuffing an extra pair of hers into her backpack.  When we left the restaurant a man waited to hold the door open for us. As we passed through my daughter said, “Awww, thanks!” while she looked up at him, beaming.  As we walked to the car it dawned on her. “Mum, I did something nice for that lady. Then that man did something nice for us. I get it.”  Watching my child articulate such a revelation was pretty moving. In[…]

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