Snow Day

Sometimes, life gifts you a sign to slow down. Today was supposed to be T’s return to in-person learning. Our city got walloped with snow, so schools were closed but kids were asked to log in for online learning. My initial reaction was “For fuck’s sake, let kids have a rare proper snow day!” WhenContinue reading “Snow Day”

Resolutions

Through virtual schooling, T learned about setting goals for the New Year. The related assignment is the last thing we had to catch up on and complete this weekend before we return to in-person learning this coming week. I often write about how we struggle with T to sit still and concentrate long enough toContinue reading “Resolutions”

Little Community Helper

Kids can be self centered and I often think about how to teach my little T about good deeds. Last fall, we ordered a collection of the first six Clifford books, because T was interested in the adventures of the big red dog. One of the first stories was “Clifford’s Good Deeds.” The story madeContinue reading “Little Community Helper”

Touchscreen Generation

Nothing ages you like teaching your Generation Alpha son how to use a computer mouse. Our 6-year-old T was born into a world that already had Instagram, wifi, and iPhones. I remember being once amused when he was three years old and trying to use the TV by touching the screen instead of using theContinue reading “Touchscreen Generation”

Walking on Thin Ice

My six-year-old recently asked me what the word “pressure” means? Since we watched Disney’s “Encanto,” he’s been humming his favourite moment, when Luisa sings the song “Surface Pressure.” We had the song on repeat while driving. I told T that when you feel pressure, you feel very worried you might not do a good job.Continue reading “Walking on Thin Ice”

Motivation

Fans of long-running reality show Survivor will be familiar with the term “dig deep.” It’s what host Jeff Probst says to motivate contestants to tap into their inner strength to get through a physically-grueling challenge. The last few weeks have been very challenging with T at home and school. We’re not sure if it’s theContinue reading “Motivation”

Losing Like Halle Berry

Having a sense of humour about when things do not go as planned is generally one of my instinctual responses in life. Dealing with loss and feeling like you’re failing is part of being a special needs parent. In the last few weeks, it’s been harder to find levity during the challenging moments. We’ve beenContinue reading “Losing Like Halle Berry”

Great Expectations

As a special needs parent, I often struggle with the difference between adjusting and lowering my expectations. This is forefront in my mind now that T, a kid with great potential and a prognosis of at-risk FASD, is in Grade 1. School learning is now more formal and less play based. Expectations have gone upContinue reading “Great Expectations”

Trying Differently Rather Than Harder

On FASD Day, I’d like to share an important lesson I continue to learn as a special needs parent. FASD Day is observed annually on September 9 and has grown into a month-long event: FASD Month in September. FASD stands for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, a lifelong disability that affects the brain and body ofContinue reading “Trying Differently Rather Than Harder”

Lost in an Odyssey

Mario Bros has provided great bonding moments with T and is teaching him about patience and perseverance. During these virtual schooling and work from home days, it’s common for me to be on a work call and for T to walk into the office unannounced. He’d walk past behind my chair, his little head seenContinue reading “Lost in an Odyssey”

Patience, Perseverance, Payoff

Whoever coined the phrase “patience is a virtue,” must’ve parented a child with ADHD. We’re keeping learning going this summer on weekends. We keep it chill – a bit of language, math, writing practice, and physical activity. Once T gets his checkmarks, he gets free time and other rewards the rest of the day. AmongContinue reading “Patience, Perseverance, Payoff”

Helping Kids Set and Achieve Goals

One recent win we had was helping T set daily goals that positively impacted virtual schooling. T’s Child and Youth Worker was motivated – as were we – to get him to participate more in class. Depending on which camp you fall on, you may find token charts useful or eye rolling in shaping behaviourContinue reading “Helping Kids Set and Achieve Goals”

Graduation Day

Two years of growth, unexpected challenges, laughter and tears culminated in a virtual kindergarten graduation. I can’t thank T’s teachers enough for hosting a virtual ceremony this morning during the pandemic to celebrate this important milestone. They provided in advance a graduation kit – diploma, cardboard hat, fun sunglasses – to have ready for thisContinue reading “Graduation Day”

Teaching Kids About Money and Valuing Things

When T indirectly broke my tablet’s power adapter, he said non-chalantly, “Just get a new one.” “And where do you think the money is going to come from?” I asked him. Without flinching, he said, “I’ll open the pig’s bum,” referring to his piggy bank. Yes, a power adapter wasn’t super expensive. But it didContinue reading “Teaching Kids About Money and Valuing Things”

Visiting My Kindergartener’s Class

It’s the horror every child dreads: when the parent visits their class. It began when T’s class, still virtual, was doing a week-long lesson about rainforests. Unbeknownst to me, the hubby reached out to T’s teacher to share a read-aloud video that I had done a few years ago. It was part of a funContinue reading “Visiting My Kindergartener’s Class”

The Power of Having Someone Believe in You

An understanding, accommodating and compassionate teacher is a true blessing. We have been so lucky that T has had amazing supports in his junior and now senior kindergarten years. There are ongoing struggles, especially in the daily hell of virtual learning. But we are taking it a day at a time. Gym class has alwaysContinue reading “The Power of Having Someone Believe in You”

Teaching Kids To Not Fear Failure

Failing can be a good thing. I recently had a coaching conversation with a colleague. The night before, they had delivered a presentation that did not go as rehearsed. They were mortified. But I was impressed with how they owned their “failure” and identified how they would’ve done it differently. Fear of failure is natural.Continue reading “Teaching Kids To Not Fear Failure”

“Alexa, Pull My Finger!”

Our boy has reached the developmental stage where farts and poop are the best thing ever. As a parent, you always worry about whether your little one is hitting milestones. Well, let me tell you, our T is exceeding expectations with the farts and poop phase, even using technology in innovative ways. Of the millionsContinue reading ““Alexa, Pull My Finger!””

“When I Feel Angry”

Team T have been trying different strategies to help our sweet boy process his emotions. Emotional regulation is often a challenge for children with T’s prognosis – at-risk FASD. We experience a full spectrum of emotions, from happy, sweet, caring to explosive moments. The hardest moments are those when he is set off in theContinue reading ““When I Feel Angry””

Bedtime Stories We Loved: Volume 2

T’s teacher recently started a Reading Log program; one new book is sent home every day for us to read with him at night. These are simple books with patterned structure (e.g. Here is a box… Here is a bat… Here is a broom) to help T build his sight word vocabulary and learn aboutContinue reading “Bedtime Stories We Loved: Volume 2”