Retracing Our Footprints

I spent last weekend filing documents that have piled up over five years. Being a parent is a full time job on top of a job. Being a special needs parent is like having an extra job on top of parenting – managing school and service appointments, taking your child to appointments, keeping track ofContinue reading “Retracing Our Footprints”

Dreaming of Camping Adventures

A dear friend asked me for campsite suggestions and it took me down a road of happy memories. I started camping at 21 when a friend invited me. We camped together almost every summer for nearly 20 years with the hubby and his partner. I never camped as a child and it was an experienceContinue reading “Dreaming of Camping Adventures”

Kids Keep Us Grounded

T walked in the door with the hubby, who had taken our cat to the vet. We circled him with a congratulatory hug because his teacher had e-mailed us great news. She had a regular check-in with T’s reading. He had been reading at Level 4 – on the Developmental Reading Assessment system – theContinue reading “Kids Keep Us Grounded”

Disconnecting to Move Forward With a Clearer Head

During our recent week away, I had one focus: unplugging and recharging. Special needs parenting often leaves caregivers feeling perpetually foggy headed. Thanks to amazing colleagues, I checked out of work. I told family to e-mail me about urgent issues, but I tuned out everything else. I slept very well – passed out before 11Continue reading “Disconnecting to Move Forward With a Clearer Head”

The Power of Inclusion

When all kids are included, accommodated and set up for success, everyone wins. Maintaining a positive relationship with T’s school is a priority for the hubby and I. We try to be open, transparent and collaborative with his teachers and principal. We shared his recent FASD diagnosis and we’re thankful his school has been soContinue reading “The Power of Inclusion”

Escape Room

“What am I escaping from?” asked the exasperated dad after the resort staff asked if he wanted to try their Escape Room game. The staff asked another dad, walking quickly with a kid in tow and he asked, “Do I get to escape from this?” He looked at me with T in one of hisContinue reading “Escape Room”

Waves

“I get back up and I do it again. I get back up and I do it again…” One of my wishes with our vacation is to overfill T’s bucket with happy memories – so he has them during grayer days. I loved watching T play at the beach, with its soft white powder andContinue reading “Waves”

The Boy at the Waterpark

The boy wore a swim shirt like T and zeroed in on him in the wave pool. I watched with amusement as he tried to get T’s attention. As T bobbed up and down, splashing water, lost in his own world, the boy followed in pursuit. I felt the parental duty to intervene and finallyContinue reading “The Boy at the Waterpark”

Spring Break

The alarm went off at 4 am and T shot out of bed like a cannonball. He was ready to leave for the airport before the hubby and I. I had been up by 3 am after two hours of sleep. I couldn’t sleep from both excitement and anxiety. We had booked this family tripContinue reading “Spring Break”

Finding the Bright Spots

Perfection is the enemy of progress. I thought about this expression by French philosopher Voltaire after T broke his four-week streak of perfect spelling tests. T’s teacher recently introduced Words of the Week; six words given on Mondays that he practices for a test on Fridays. T crushed the first four weeks and we postedContinue reading “Finding the Bright Spots”

Bedtime Stories We Loved: Volume 3

Reading to T as he rests his head on my shoulder is a joyful way to unwind. We’ve been reading at night with T since we adopted him at 14 months. As noted by the American Library Association, young kids that are frequently read to are more likely to recognize letters, have word-sight recognition, andContinue reading “Bedtime Stories We Loved: Volume 3”

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”

14 Days In Peru, Argentina and Brazil

A surreal encounter with Christ the Redeemer reminds me to always keep the faith. In Fall 2015, the hubby and I ventured to a part of the world we had never been to. We didn’t know it at the time, but our first visit to South America would be our last hurrah before parenthood. RevisitingContinue reading “14 Days In Peru, Argentina and Brazil”

The Diagnosis

After 5.5 years, we’ve answered a longstanding question about our son’s life and then uncovered more questions. When T was 18 months old, he received a prognosis of at-risk Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). It’s been quite the journey since as the hubby, T and I experienced the highs and lows of life with aContinue reading “The Diagnosis”

“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’!””

Making Popcorn

One freeing lesson I’ve learned is that every child’s potential pops at their own time. You may have seen this meme – the photo of popcorn with a message that reads: “Popcorn is prepared in the same pot, in the same heat, in the same oil, and here the kernels do not pop at theContinue reading “Making Popcorn”

“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”