I recently thought about a bedtime story called “The Bundle of Sticks” that Pa used to tell me.
As this Aesop’s Fable goes, an old man gathers his 20 dysfunctional sons as he nears his death.
He gives them each a stick and asks them to break it – and they each do so with ease.
Then he puts 20 sticks together and asks each son to take a turn at breaking the bundle – and they are unable to do so.
And so, the old man imparts an important lesson about unity.
Blogger Vickie Rubin recently wrote about the trick that keeps her marriage working – and for my family, and raising a child with FASD, it’s about making or breaking it together.
The hubby, T and I recently started a 13-week program called SNAP.
So what does SNAP stand for?
It’s not the Bend and Snap, unfortunately.
It’s not this either.
SNAP stands for Stop Now And Plan and it is “an evidence-based cognitive behavioural model that provides a framework for teaching children struggling with behaviour issues, and their parents, effective emotional regulation, self-control and problem-solving skills.”
It’s a referral-based program with a long waitlist – we waited a year – and we are so thankful for the recommendation from Surrey Place.
Taking place once a week, T is in a play and learn based group with three similarly-aged kids while the hubby and I are with three other couples.
The weekly subjects covered hit on so many skills that we want T to learn – including emotional regulation, playing in groups and even covers topics such as bullying.
Three weeks in, I’ve been enjoying the sessions; it’s so refreshing to meet other parents, in person, who just get it with zero judgment.
We get home late in the evening, so we made a few changes to our routine – we get takeout, no reading homework, no bath – so T gets to bed at the same time without meltdowns.
Yes, it is as time consuming as it sounds and I need something else on my plate like I need another gray hair – but I think it will be worth our time.
During a recent drive home from SNAP, I thought back to 2011 when the hubby and I took a multi-week course called Papas and Daddies To Be, offered by a 2SLGBTQ+ organization.
It was a journey, an investment of time, and so worth it as it helped inform our adoption journey.
I’m hopeful for a similar experience with SNAP.
It’s also nice that T’s CYW is trained in SNAP and uses it at school. We connected her and the SNAP team together for mutual goal setting.
Life with a child with FASD is filled with ups and downs – and there are days where I do feel like I will snap from how hard it is.
What keeps me together is remembering that the hubby, T and I are in this together – through thick and thin.
Individually, we’re thin and susceptible to snapping – but together, we are more; thicker and stronger.
We support each other through the lows and we celebrate together our many highs.
Recently, during bedtime, the hubby was trying to get T to finish showering, one of his favourite activities that he could spend forever doing.
Cue the screaming fit.
I reminded the hubby about SNAP. “Count to ten and take deep breaths,” I said, with perhaps a bit of playful sarcasm.
“Replace those hot thoughts with cool thoughts. He’s acting this way because he’s having fun. He’s not trying to piss you off. Stop Now and Plan.”
The hubby, already quite irritated, stared at me with quite the look and said, “Fuck off.”
Did I mention having a sense of humour also helps?