Wildflower

What if we let the weeds grow freely? I thought about this from the perspective of parenting when I read this article about naturalists encouraging people not to mow lawns or pluck weeds, in an effort to encourage biodiversity. Biodiversity, it is argued, is good for everyone, including animals and endangered bees. Naturalists encourage usContinue reading “Wildflower”

Into the Unknown

Step by step, the unknown becomes known… Our adoption was finalized five years ago between Valentine’s and Family Day and is now always celebrated between these days. On this Family Day, we went for a morning hike at Hilton Falls Conservation Area. It was a beautiful sunny day and 1 degree compared to yesterday’s -12.Continue reading “Into the Unknown”

Helping Kids Navigate Difficult Change

Change is hard for kids. It was heart wrenching to see T process an unexpected change this week. Change is harder for kids such as T. If you hang out with the hubby and I, you’ll notice we give T ample warnings – 10, 5, 1 minutes before we move to the next activity, especiallyContinue reading “Helping Kids Navigate Difficult Change”

Cool As A Cucumber

Making cucumber kimchi and sledding down icy hills helped us keep it chill this weekend. Six weeks into the new year and I’ve been working hard at my resolution: to be the calm in T’s storm. It’s a life lesson I wish I could’ve applied earlier in my parenting journey – especially now that T’sContinue reading “Cool As A Cucumber”

“At least he said, ‘Please’!”

Be clear about what you ask for. The photo above was taken when T was 1 and attending an Early Years program, part of our routine to help develop his speech. He’s come a long way since! These days, I appreciate that T verbalizes his feelings, rather than internalizes things. He’ll often let you knowContinue reading ““At least he said, ‘Please’!””

“You’re Frozen When Your Heart’s Not Open”

When faced with fear and worry of the unknown, the natural response is to numb and protect your heart from potential pain. I remember the early days of reading up about FASD and randomly bursting into tears while watching a toddler T sit or play. It felt overwhelming, stressful and lonely. But the heart hasContinue reading ““You’re Frozen When Your Heart’s Not Open””

Labels Don’t Define Us

I was recently reminded about how we are taught and conditioned to label things from an early age. Watching T complete his recent graphing assignments for virtual learning made me think about how we teach kids early on about sorting things into categories and labels. To be clear, sorting and labels have a purpose andContinue reading “Labels Don’t Define Us”

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”

Tell the Truth

If the truth sets us free, would you still tell it if it means upsetting someone? Several years ago, I was on a crowded train and the two women standing next to me were talking about drinking and pregnancy. One of them said she knows doctors who’ve said it is ok to drink during pregnancyContinue reading “Tell the Truth”

Circles

Circles appear as symbols of power, movement, change and balance in our lives. Some see circles as a symbol for the wholeness of self, timelessness, infinity and God itself. Circles represent the passage of time. A year is a full orbit of Earth around the sun; hours pass in a circular motion around a clock.Continue reading “Circles”

Making Marriage Work in Special Needs Parenting

This Monday, we celebrated an amazing human’s birthday: the hubby turned 41. He took this week off work and I joined him for downtime on Monday. It was the first time we had to just the two of us in forever. When we started the adoption journey, a former manager told me to avoid adoptingContinue reading “Making Marriage Work in Special Needs Parenting”

Light Up the Dark

The colorful ghosts of Christmas past emerged this weekend, sparking wishes for future memories. After I did my Friday night groceries, I returned home to Christmas cheer thanks to T and the hubby. It’s only mid November, but it’s family tradition to put up the tree, decorations and lights after Remembrance Day. Christmas is withoutContinue reading “Light Up the Dark”

Golden Hour

Nature reminds us that magic exists before and right after the darkness. Golden hour refers to the hour after sunrise and before sunset when the sun is softer and redder compared to when it’s higher in the sky. Also called magic hour, it is a photographer and filmmaker’s dream. I first noticed this in aContinue reading “Golden Hour”

Why I Set Personal Boundaries

As the gatekeeper to what enters your life, how do you set boundaries? I reflected on this after I read this Facebook post about the difference between boundaries and rules on the fantastic FASD advocacy page Our Sacred Breath. As a busy working special needs parent, I’ve learned the importance of setting boundaries with family,Continue reading “Why I Set Personal Boundaries”

Love Is Half the Battle

“Love is a wonderful healer but it cannot undo brain damage.” When starting the FASD journey, I came across a parent’s testimonial that struck a deep chord. Sarasota-based Kathryn Shea wrote a compelling story about raising her adopted son Seth. Stories like Kathryn and Seth’s made me feel part of a larger whole, less lonelyContinue reading “Love Is Half the Battle”

The Nights That Never Die

I often think about the important life advice I want to share with T as he gets older. This past Saturday, I came across a song by the late Swedish DJ Avicii, whose soulful work I’ve long admired, called “The Nights.” Its simplistic lyrics, told through the perspective of a young man recounting his father’sContinue reading “The Nights That Never Die”

Low Tide

One great advice I’ve received about finding balance in life is a metaphor about tides. Tides are described as “the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun, and the rotation of the Earth.” My colleague’s advice is deceptively simple butContinue reading “Low Tide”

Bugs and Helping Kids Overcome Fears

Our 6 year old was bugging out and we tried to help him find a new way to look at his fears. We first noticed this behaviour in July, when he’d hyper-focus on flying insects: everything was a “bumblebee”, including flies, dragonflies, mosquitoes and yes, bees, wasps, hornets. He’d become frozen in fear, asking forContinue reading “Bugs and Helping Kids Overcome Fears”

Silenzio, Bruno

What does your self talk sound like? How do you silence your negative internal dialogue? “Silenzio, Bruno,” is a line from the animated film, Luca. It translates from Italian to “Be quiet, Bruno” or “Shut up.” We’re gonna go with the PG translation, thank you very much! The two boy characters, who are a weeContinue reading “Silenzio, Bruno”

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”