Archives for posts with tag: kids

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.

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.

I decided this summer that if I was going to stay sane, and ultimately everyone else ( because of course I am the centre of the universe, lol), I needed to seriously consider doing things for me. Yep people, we, as mothers (and fathers) can do things for ourselves. From a personal perspective, it’s not only important but necessary.
My job allows me to be off the entire summer with my children ( gotta love school boards), but that means 9 weeks of 24/7 mothering, no day job to break up your day.
I know some mothers are completely capable and thrilled to do just that, but I recognize that I AM NOT the stay at home type! Don’t judge me, I don’t judge you.
This summer I made one of the best purchases ever! FOR MYSELF! I bought myself a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). I have wanted one for years, and this year I got one!! I haul that thing everywhere and use it for whatever time I can hop on it. I feel free! I feel adventurous! I feel rejuvenated!

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If I could make a recommendation to any parent, please, find something you enjoy and embrace it!!!
I also decided I was going to amp up my golf game… prior to children I golfed a few times a year. After children, only once a year… This past spring my mother bought me a voucher pack for the golf club (literally in my backyard.) I’ve been golfing AT LeAST once a week and LOVE it (but hate it it, don’t get me wrong!) this is something that I do! ME! It totally helps that it’s 4 hours away from my family!!
What I also did was enrol my daughter in a kids clinic so that she could learn how to golf. Then it’s something we can do together!
I think we all need to find balance in our lives, and I’ve written about it before. We need to make sure that we don’t forget who we are! How can you show your child the world if you don’t show them what makes YOU happy?!?
Trying to live a more balanced life has allowed me to become happier as a mother!

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(My daughter learning her swing!)

I’ve often been told that my husband and I are the “right fit” for having kids with disabilities…. I’ll let you ponder that statement for a moment…
Now, I can completely understand where people are coming from when they say this, because my husband is a Developmental Services Worker, who works with individuals who have intellectual and/or physical disabilities. I, myself, work with children of all abilities, to provide intervention to improve their communication and language abilities.
So, on paper, in technicality, I guess, yes, we are qualified to handle kids with disabilities.
I don’t want to offend anyone who may have told me this in the past, because, truly, I understand the sentiment, and I understand it’s difficult to say something, in fear of offending me (I’m a little sensitive at times.)
But …..I’ve thought about this statement over the last few years, because every once in a while, it pops up again.
I can tell you, no matter what type of education and training you have, you are never ready for ANY child, let alone, a special needs child.
I believe we ALL have the capacity to love unconditionally, no matter how our children grow. We love them through thick and thin.
I’m sure any one of you could raise a child with special needs. It would be much different, but… You could do it!
I can’t tell you how life is WITHOUT because I don’t know, but it’s not really that different. Yes, you look around and wish your kid wasn’t the one wearing diapers. And, you wish that your child could play more independently without worrying about his safety. Most of all, you wish your child could tell you what’s wrong and how his day is going.
But I can tell you something that I think we all do, and most of us do really well!
We SURVIVE!
We are all flying by the seat of our pants! None of us know what tomorrow will bring, none of us know how we will react in a new situation. ALL of us DO HOPE that we are doing the BEST JOB WE CAN, and our children become the best human beings they can be!
I thank you all for the confidence you have in me (and my husband), but really I have full confidence that you would deal, and will deal with what gets thrown at you too!!!

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Imagine your child coming home, full of excitement, waving a Student of the Month certificate! Telling you how, in front of the school, out of their ENTIRE class, THEY were chosen as the Student of the Month! For reasons that no other student held, the teacher thought THEY possessed the qualities of that honourary title.
The difference between that experience and mine is that I live it without words. I open up my child’s backpack and find the certificate. I can only guess as to why he received it. I piece together information from my daughter and what I know about my son and the teacher.
We often take for granted, as parents that our children can talk. Some days, I wish my daughter would stop! But the fact is, when your child can’t tell you his basic wants or needs, it’s heartbreaking.
The boys are going to be 6 next week, and they have some key words in their arsenal. In total they probably have 50 words each. Along with their regular “Mumma up” “eat” “deenk”(drink) they have a handful of signs like hungry, all done and stop. We work very hard at improving their communication, and we completely whole-heartedly believe that the boys will be effective communicators, but the path to get there is stressful.
I wonder everyday what is going on in their heads. Do they have any clue?
Then, simple things occur. (I always talk to them as if they are fabulous communicators.) I tell Dean to go get a brush, while I dress his brother. A brush! Most obscure, random item, and he goes trotting into the bathroom and brings one back!!! I nearly cried! HE HAS A CLUE!!
We might be living in a silent picture show some days, but I know those boys have the sound turned on.

As we go through life we morph into who we are meant to be.
We are the child our parents want us to be, we are the rebellious teen who are parents DON’T want us to be, we are the geek, the popular girl, we are academic, sporty. For the first 20 odd years we try to figure out who we are.
Add a few more events and challenges, and some of us end up as mothers.
Then, suddenly the person who you thought you were is once again challenged!
Becoming a mother creates this vortex of insecurities and worries, and changes how we act within our world, because now we’re not existing just for ourselves, but for our families.
I believe all my mommy friends will agree that we have those moments where we sit and scratch our heads and wonder what happened to the person we thought we knew, and wonder how we can be a new version of our old selves.
I think the important piece to consider is how to give ourselves the time to BE ourselves. To remember to do things for ourselves, things we enjoy, things to pamper ourselves. To BE our new mommy selves, we have to accept and LOVE our new lives and the huge responsibilities we carry, but also maintain enough of our OWN selves – be it old or new. To be happy with it all, we have to start with ourselves.
So ladies, book an appointment for a new hairstyle, call an old friend, find a new hobby (blogging is fun!), but remember to find the balance of old and new, just for YOU.
How are you balancing YOU?

We have one simple rule in our house. If you have a sock on each foot, you’re good to go! We don’t worry about pairs, if they match, or even if they are the same length! I have taken a stand against conforming with the matched sock society!
Now I wasn’t always like this. I used to be organized enough to match socks, or fold clothes right out of the dryer! But now my life, like many other mothers, has come to baskets of clothes (they’re clean so that counts for something right?), mismatched socks and evenings looking for library books that have disappeared into the abyss of paper and crafts, and daily paint centre paintings.
I used to go insane if my dishes came out of the wash with crusty things on it, if my towels weren’t folded into perfect squares and colour-coded, if my clothes weren’t folded and put into their respective drawers.  Now, if the crust can be picked off easily, if the towels smell good and are in the linen closet, and if my clean clothes can somehow be shoved into a space in my dresser, I’m happy.  The biggest thing in motherhood which I have learned, is that you just have to LET GO.  Priorities have changed, I make sure everyone is fed, is happy, is clean (which is a whole nother blog in itself!), and I’m good.

My kids will remember all the time I’ve spent with them, and the memories we’re making, not whether they wore matching socks, or if their laundry had wrinkles, or if everything was organized perfectly.

All of you struggling mothers, EMBRACE the mismatched socks and missing library books!

I’m no one extraordinary. I am simply a woman who tries to live life with passion, compassion, gratitude, and optimism. I am a wife, and a mother. I have ups and downs. I have struggles and pains. I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh and feel good about themselves.

MY purpose for this blog may change direction, but will always probably hint on the awareness and advocacy for parents with children with special needs. It’s not the same, and I’m certainly not saying parenting “typical” children is easy, but it is definately “atypical” parenting, with constant learning curves which test emotional limits beyond anything imaginable at times.

I am still learning this BLOG thing, so any advice and positive criticism will be of value!

My blog name comes from my favourite quote

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, but about learning how to dance in the rain. – unknown

We’ve been dealt a hand of cards, they may not be the best ones, but we’ve still got to figure out how to play them the best way we can!

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