Archives for category: mommy

I’ve had many people ask me about the blog. It’s seriously not because I’ve run “dry” but I get distracted and drop the thoughts!

Go figure!

This summer has been the busiest I remember since becoming a mom. July meant 5000km on the van driving all over the province… August, just trying to stay sane. HA HA HA!

Macartney has been enjoying quite time, exploring her musical tastes, and learning the guitar. Man, I’ve had a lot to reflect on about how awesome she is. I have a few vlog posts rolling around my head about her and her compassion and tenacity!

The boys, well, we all know they are the main thing that my blog posts are created around. I write about them to help people understand. None of us as parents are “taught” how to raise kids with Special needs. I’m just throwing my blossoming knowledge to make people feel less alone!

They have been a challenge – think “the terrible 3s” Remember when you thought 2 wasn’t so bad, then your kid hit 3 and you were like “What the HELL!!!???” That’s where we’re at. Except they’re about 70lbs each and over 4 ft tall…

I’m tired, I just woke up from a nap in the middle of the afternoon to hear the boys have found some Irish barbershop kind of choir to watch on YouTube. Correction – I’ve been told it’s just videos of Irish drinking and singing in pubs.

And now they’ve all descended upon me… in my bed… asking about my blog… (well, the one that can ask)

Step one to successful blog? – write it when the kids are in bed!

I leave you with this image that made me laugh.

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Today’s I was reminded how important the little things are…

Most of you know that my husband, Jeff, and I are the parents to 3 beautiful children. Our daughter, 13, and our twin sons, 11. If that isn’t enough, the boys have Developmental disability which throws in a whole mixed bag of challenges.

As a couple who has been together for 19 years, married for almost 15, with 3 kids, jobs, activities, etc, it is challenging to keep it together.

Today reminded me how the little moments count.

Jeff was working his shift (8-4), I had had a busy day of appointments, and had finally gotten all the kids home and realized I needed to go to the grocery store. The beauty of having a 13 year old, incredibly responsible and reliable daughter, is that you can pop out without hauling everyone with you! I ran to the store to pick up needed things for supper. In the meantime, Jeff has texted “hi!” Jokingly, I let him know that I left the kids home to run to store “wanna come on a shopping date? Lol” as I’m cruising around the store many minutes later I get a reply “sure. Lol”

I can tell you I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw my hubby walking towards me in the store.

We walked around picked up supper supplies, decided to get a plant, cashed out and walked to the parking lot. All in a matter of 15 minutes.

Can I tell you how nice that 15 minutes was?!? To just walk beside my husband, enjoy a stolen moment away from the kids…. we had time to just breathe before the chaos and neediness (although we love it) of the kids hit us.

Steal the moments, have the dates. Even if it’s at the grocery store to buy pasta and plants.

One of the hardest things for me to deal with as a special needs parent is the boys’ birthday, which is coming up on March 5th. They will be 11.

For those of you who know me, I’m a Birthday NUT! (By the way, my birthday is in a month)

I have my biggest bouts of grief surrounding their birthday. It makes me sad that they don’t do a countdown, they don’t know when it is, they can’t tell us what they’d like – presents, flavour of cake, theme. Selfishly, I feel like I’ve robbed of those joys of motherhood. I’m NOT so much of a control freak that I relish in the fact that I have to think out every detail and party plan. I loved when my daughter thought that she wanted a cupcake decorating station for her birthday… against my better judgement, we did it, and I’ve been cleaning sprinkles out of the grooves in the floors for years after!

I’m sad that they can’t tell me who they want to share their day with. I’m sad that I have to ask people at the school who a) is a friend and b) would be delighted to come to a birthday for Drew and Dean. I get sad because not only do I have to rack my brain for ideas for them, I have to think of ideas for everyone else wanting to get them something.

I KNOW that they will be delighted with whatever we decide to do to celebrate them. They LOVE birthdays. They celebrate everyone’s with the same enthusiasm. They WILL open your present for you. They WILL blow out your candles.

I, as their mother, just have a strong desire to let them know how much I love them and create a very special day for them, even if they don’t completely understand its their birthday.

In my belief, there are two things everyone can do to create a better world… YOU can change the world by showing kindness and compassion… You don’t need to worry about how to change policies, religion, etc.  All you need to do is be kind and accept others for who they are.

I could have written this post the hurtful, hateful way that I felt earlier after a conversation which inspired this.  But I’m choosing to inspire change in how we look at others.

What I believe: EVERY parent is doing the best that they are capable of. I will say that again. EVERY PARENT IS DOING THE BEST THEY ARE CAPABLE OF!  Think of parenting like a spectrum (like everything else in the world)- there are Super parents, the average parents, and the parents that are struggling… I believe that ALL parents want the best for our children and that we do the best that we can do, given all of the factors that arise in the moment.  No one wants their child to suffer, or feel left out, or to be hungry, or to fall behind.  We all need support, and some don’t have an immediate support system.  

Please don’t judge another parent, or person, because you have no idea what they’ve been through or what they’ve just overcome.  A simple statement like ” I can’t believe they don’t read to their kids!” ” who can’t brush their kids teeth” is judgmental beyond belief! It sounds ridiculous… But true!

Now to clarify, this statement was not directed at me, but I felt the need to step up. 

We do not know the reason, it is not our business!  But to give you example, I will share bits of my life…

I don’t read to my kids at bed time. I try to get in a book here and there, but I am the first one to admit, it’s not a high priority!  I have 8 year old twins in diapers.  They are non verbal and often have tantrums that I don’t understand.  Sometimes I just want to enjoy the cuddles they give me, sometimes I’m holding them tightly so that they don’t slap their heads.  

I don’t have the opportunity to brush their teeth every day (let alone twice a day) because some mornings, like this morning, I was wiping up poop.

DON’T JUDGE ME!!

Parenting is affected by so many factors that we don’t understand.  

If you want to make judgment, make sure you completely understand the situation… 

If you want to make change, show kindness and compassion.  Try to understand and support.  It will get you further.

I find myself opening up to complete strangers, with their questions and sympathy, and find it quite normal now.

A conversation, whether it be at work, in a staff room, with another parent, at a hockey game, in the grocery store, usually starts out with talking about kids. It then turns into age comparison, then I reveal that I have twins (insert halo above my head and twinkling stars), then comes the twin fears and wonderment… “Oh you’re busy!” “Are they identical!?” “Boys! Twins!” Then come questions like “Do they play sports?” That’s when I, again, “reveal” that the boys have Special Needs (insert BIGGER halo and more twinkling stars!)

I get the “God Bless Yous”, and “oh, I’m sorry to hear that” and the occasional mortified “oh..”

I’ve grown to live with that.  As a society, as humans, we are curious.  Society hasn’t “lived with” Special Needs individuals for very long.  We just DONT know.  My generation is probably one of the first to have some students mainstreamed, but barely any.  Institutions have just recently shut down in my home province of Ontario, leaving adults who were secluded, now living in smaller group living residences where they have the ability to venture out into the community with support.

My daughter’s generation will be the most empathetic and compassionate generation yet as kids with Special Needs are just the other kids.  The kids with differences.  My boys are just Drew and Dean, and they’re silly and loveable!

I appreciate all conversations despite how offensive they would seem to anyone listening.  Those questions are honest and difficult, and through honest conversation comes awareness and understanding!  Think, if you were always afraid to ask a question, you would never learn!  We as parents of Special Needs kids have a great power to educate society!  Don’t get defensive or offended if someone asks you if your child can walk, or talk, or make friends, or have a good life!  Teach, inspire, create growth in our society who is still learning how to incorporate ALL individuals into daily life. Integration into society is less than 40 years old…

All of our conversations are important and insightful and learning opportunities!

We are shaping the world for our children…

* bloggers note-After hitting a slump in blogging I asked my friends to write my first line for me.  

The best part of my day is when I sneak upstairs and check on the kids before I head to bed myself.  I love creeping up to the edge of their beds, to see their content little faces snuggled into the pillow.  

Jeff (my husband) used to tease me, because even after I’d gotten into bed, I’d run up to their rooms just to tuck them in one last time.  

Our days are so hectic sometimes, that I want to make sure they get one last little kiss, and a whispered ‘ I love you.’  It’s also the time where I see them at their sweetest.  Macartney often has her stuffies tucked around her, and a look of such contentment, that it lets me know that she had a great day.  Very often, it’s when I witness the special twin bond that the boys share- they’ll either have snuck into one bed, and are snuggling, or simply sleeping in twin unison- in perfect twin form across the room.

Seeing them all, resting peacefully, reminds me that no matter how busy and crazy our lives get, we make it through, another day will come, and that our lives are a blessing, because there are three beautiful babies I get to kiss goodnight.

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I’ve written before about inclusion. I’d like to take the opportunity to bring it up again, seeing as February is “Inclusion Month.”
The term inclusion to me is tainted. It comes with so much confusion, and anxiety, when really it is SO SIMPLE!
My definition of inclusion is this : treat everyone as though they have something to contribute to your life and society around you.
Inclusion doesn’t need to be muddled with policy and paperwork and all of that jazz!
Inclusion is understanding that not everyone will be a rocket scientist, a star athlete, an ‘A’ student, a public speaker, a janitor, a McDonalds burger maker!
We all have our place in society, we are all different, we are all raised differently, we all have something to contribute!
I support “inclusive education” for my boys because, although they don’t follow typical curriculum, and can’t skate with the class, and can’t tell anyone what their favourite toy means to them, they are providing everyone around them a sense of life without a voice and limited motor abilities. They are living life with COMPLETE joy. They demonstrate LOVE for EVERY. SINGLE. HUMAN. BEING!
This generation which we are raising will be the MOST tolerant yet!! They will understand and whole heartedly accept that WE ARE ALL SPECIAL!
I am so grateful for my family every single day. Even though there are great challenges, I know that I am surrounded by something special.
I know it is difficult to change the misconceptions and attitudes we have been raised with, but understand how simple the term is.
Please, I ask, ponder it for just a moment and share the word.

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I have the great opportunity to spend time at my kids’ school on Fridays when I’m a Hot Lunch Mom, interpret that any way semantically you want, because they are ALL applicable (lol).
I love meeting classmates, and friends and speaking to teachers and getting a feel for everyday climate in the school. I love when the students rush us and say you’re “so-and-so’s” Mom!! It’s very cute.
I love hearing stories of the boy’s antics, and how much they are loved. I love hearing my daughter’s classmates say “remember when…” Discussing their last play date or sleepover.
I had a conversation with someone recently about how I am involved in so much, and have a lot on my hands. I simply stated that I would rather be involved, than sit idly by.
I wouldn’t trade anything for being tired, and schedule strapped, because I am fully involved with my children. I am making sure that I know their school, their friends, and the communities they are involved in.
Having kids with disability, I’ve decided that I have no right to criticize service or knowledge, if I don’t partake in the planning and process. Although, I think I would probably be this way regardless of disability or not! It all started actually when my daughter started school!
My boys, due to them being non-verbal, can’t tell me about their friends, and what happens during their day. My daughter can come home and describe every detail, if she desires. But with the boys I need to see, to understand.
I can’t easily “get out” with the 3 kids, so this is my alternative, go to them! It may seem like a sad social life, but I’ll take it! Besides, the school makes it pretty easy! Fabulous teachers, who are proving to be fabulous friends as well, and other FABULOUS “HOT” lunch moms!
This isn’t the life that I expected, but I’m making do, and rolling with the punches.

So I recently wrote a guest blog post for Bloom, a special needs parenting blog affiliated with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Find it here
I am completely humbled and amazed at the number of people that found the link and read it! Today, again, a colleague at work stopped me in a lunch room to comment on how much she loved the post and forwarded it to everyone she knew! Like, HELLO?!? Me? You read about me?!
I absolutely don’t write for the public, I honestly do not. I have found a quiet passion and hobby in writing. I feel that it is a beautiful avenue to express myself, and get all of these extra ideas and thoughts out! I’m not sure if it’s a “mom” thing, but I feel like with the endless ‘To-Do’ lists, appointments, schedules, my brain can’t handle extra things floating around!!! And I don’t always have someone available to chat with! This is my conversation. Sad, I know, but lately I’m beginning to realize that I’m NOT having this conversation alone.
In a world where we feel so isolated sometimes, as parents of Special Needs kids, admittedly often self inflicted, it is nice to know that I am being heard.
We all have stories to tell, we can all learn from those around us.
I am blessed to have people interested in what I say, and I thank you all!
I am living life with gratitude.

There is something powerful about getting in front of a group of people and talking about yourself. To be completely open and honest, and let people know what your world is like.
I’ve recently had opportunity to do so on a few occasions, and I feel empowered!
How else can we change the perceptions of others without allowing them to view ours?
You see, I’m not professing that I’m doing things right in my life, but I’m definitely learning to understand and accept myself!
I was asked to speak to a parent group, one for parents often just coming into the slightly intimidating world of special needs parenting. A friend, a local Social Worker, emailed to ask if I would be interested in coming and speaking on the month’s topic “Stress and Coping”.
For those of you who know me well, know about my stress levels, and probably had a quiet chuckle that I was asked to do this particular topic. I am open about my stress and vent to those friends I am comfortable with, as we all should.
I think we all have varying levels of stress, in different parts of our lives, and we all cope differently to each of those stressors.
My philosophy with stress is , that to truly cope with it, is to be true and honest about it. We need to know that we can’t eliminate all stress, but we can cope. We don’t have to always cope gracefully or quietly, but we can do things to alleviate most stress.
Now what I told these parents are tidbits of wisdom that so many parents before me, had passed down to me. Maybe I’ll list them for you:
*don’t sweat the small stuff, really- you have bigger things to focus on!
*don’t lose sight of yourself, your child, your family. What others label you or your child as doesn’t have to change who you are, whether individually or a “unit”. Make your new normal!! ( and try to LOVE it)
*its ok to feel sad, stressed, angry, etc! We’re still human! Nothing will change that. Dwelling on any of those emotions will only keep us longer from the BEST emotion – HAPPINESS
*remember who you are as a couple , minus the kids. It’s so easy to fall into “team” mentality, and lose sight of why you decided to create this crazy family in the first place. Make the time for you as a couple!!!
*find some time for you, and just you. You may not get the time to go for a run, or go to a yoga class everyday, and you may not get that nap you want, but whatever fits in that moment, during that day, do it!! It may be enjoying that piece of chocolate you snuck when the kids weren’t looking, or sipping a glass of wine while cooking….
And finally…
BREATHE. Just remember to breathe.

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