Swimming Upstream

Watching salmon migrate upstream was unexpectedly calming and relatable. The hubby, T and I spent this sunny but chilly Sunday exploring Port Hope, located an hour drive from home. This scenic town served as the filming location for the recent two-movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel It. The town has a historic charm with itsContinue reading “Swimming Upstream”

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”

The Promise of a New Day

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the fresh start that each new day brings. The last two weeks have been rough with T. I don’t know if it’s because the honeymoon phase at school has passed or if he’s finding the transition period challenging but we’ve had rough patches on an almost daily basis. DuringContinue reading “The Promise of a New Day”

Honey Harbour

If it’s bitter at the start, it’s sweeter in the end. I reflected on this during a two hour drive home from Honey Harbour, a scenic set of islands along Georgian Bay, where the hubby, T and I spent Saturday with my aunt and two cousins. We woke up early to ensure we arrived atContinue reading “Honey Harbour”

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”

Bringing An Animated Italian Dish to Life

Thanks to Disney, I’m discovering the joys of Italian cooking with my family. I recently wrote that T loves the movie Luca, a wonderful animated coming of age story about accepting what makes you unique. The film is also a love story to Italian culture, from its beautiful seaside town setting to the delicious cuisineContinue reading “Bringing An Animated Italian Dish to Life”

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”

Hot Pot and The Case for Eating Together

My family recently enjoyed a Chinese traditional dinner that dates back over 1,000 years. Enjoying a meal together as a family is something we don’t do enough of. T is a picky eater, so we make his own meal and get him fed on school nights before we eat. Weekends, going to someone’s home orContinue reading “Hot Pot and The Case for Eating Together”

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”

Cooking for the Soul

Nature, travel, music, writing, prayers, exercise, reading. How do you nourish your spirit? For me, the answer is all of the above! While I didn’t intentionally set out to do so, my last few posts have been about how I prioritize the mind, the body and the spirit in my journey as a special needsContinue reading “Cooking for the Soul”

“Never Let the Fire Inside You Leave.”

Fire has long served as a symbol of creation, destruction and rebirth. T’s latest song obsession is “Iconic,” from Madonna’s 2015 album “Rebel Heart.” Every August 16, M’s birthday, we listen to her songs. This triphop autotune-laced song appeals to T, because he thinks a robot is singing. If you try and fail, get upContinue reading ““Never Let the Fire Inside You Leave.””

How Counseling Helped Me Become a Better Parent

Special needs parenting can be a rollercoaster and wonderful people can help along the journey. A crucial turning point came early on for me when I recognized and acknowledged that the stress I was experiencing with the challenges of parenting a child with a prognosis of FASD did not always match my capacity to tackleContinue reading “How Counseling Helped Me Become a Better Parent”

The Child That Never Grows Up

I recently started reading Peter Pan with T at bedtime, his very first chapter book. It is a modified version of JM Barrie’s classic adventure, with large text and a large illustration page on every page – to help a new chapter book reader make their way more easily through it. We read one chapterContinue reading “The Child That Never Grows Up”

Reunions with Grandparents!

After a year of separation, T reunited with his grandparents from both sides of the family. Two weekends ago, we spent a Saturday with my uncle’s family, our Aunt and Ma – going on a nature walk and ending the day with a delicious bbq prepared by my aunt and cousin. It was Ma’s firstContinue reading “Reunions with Grandparents!”

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”

Candid Conversation: Raising Jess and Finding Hope

It’s inspiring and comforting to connect with other parents on the special needs journey. Vickie Rubin is the author of Vickie’s Views, a heartwarming and inspiring blog about raising her daughter Jess. Vickie has a background in early childhood education and special education. This month, she releases her memoir Raising Jess: A Story of Hope.Continue reading “Candid Conversation: Raising Jess and Finding Hope”

Orenda: Nature’s Invisible Energy

I recently learned the word, Orenda, a spiritual energy believed by the Iroquois to exist in natural objects. Lately, I’ve been listening to the music of Ferry Corsten. His uplifting songs resonate with me during these challenging times. T is familiar with electronic trance music or as he calls them: songs with no words. ForContinue reading “Orenda: Nature’s Invisible Energy”

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”