Thursday, November 29, 2012

A New Blogging Beginning

I haven't been here in a while.

There are reasons for it. 

For some time now, I have felt like this blog has been coming to its end.  I started it to chronicle our adoption journey to our then unknown wee person and to connect with our like minded souls.  Boy, did I connect.  What an amazing community the adoption community is and you welcomed me in with open arms!  I needed you all (and maybe you even needed me).

If you followed our journey you know it was full of trials, tribulations and many tears which culminated in the creation of our family and saw us bring our wee, little man home.

I wrote about life after we arrived home. How the bonding and attachment started as we learned to grow into family.  I even delved a bit into my struggle with Post-adoption depression.

I'm glad I did because we will always have this look back on.

We are celebrating our 2 years anniversary as a family in couple of months and we are in such a different place now then we were then.  It is amazing to us. 

Something inside of me says it is time to go. I feel like I don't need this blog anymore. (I will always need all of you though)

I have what I needed and wanted so much when I started to chronicle our adoption.

My family!

The desire to blog is still there though but in a different way. 

I have always felt like this was a blog about how we got to be a family.  Now, we are family and I want to talk about all kinds of different things.  A diary of sorts for myself of what I am thinking about at any given time.

So with that, I have started a new blog here

I hope you will join me from time to time.

Thanks for all your love, support and friendship over the last 5 years.  It has meant more to me than you will ever know.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Power of We

I signed up to be part of Blog Action Day which was yesterday but I was away and so I am writing my post today. 

As I was flying to Vancouver to visit two fantastic girlfriends for a "Power of We" weekend  up at Whistler, I watched a CBC news report about a young girl, Amanda Todd, who had taken her life because she couldn't stand the bullying she had endured for a number of years from groups of her peers. I say groups because the bullying followed her from one school to another and through the portals of Facebook. Even after her death, people are bullying her.

It broke my heart hearing the story but what broke my heart even more was that she felt so utterly alone, with no one to talk to, that she made the decision to kill herself rather than spend one more day facing the torture that had become her life.  Torture at the hands of people who obviously had nothing better to do than torment this young girl.

I know her parents were there for her and did what they could but no one else seemed to take her under their wing and say "We will protect you" or confronted these groups of kids and said "We will not let you do this for one more minute."  In this case, "The Power of We" didn't back up this young girl.  No one saw the struggle this child was enduring.

The problem is we live in a cyber world.  At the best of times, we spend most of of our day communicating with others through text, BBM, email, skype etc. but we don't actually spend time sitting down having a conversation where we can look in someones eyes and see their emotions.  It is easy to hide in this new cyber world and pretend to be something we aren't.  We can say and do things we might not do in a normal encounter with another person.  We can hide our loneliness, wipe our tears without anyone seeing us crying and we can hide our pain and frustration.

We can also be someone great, showcase our talents (real or fake) and invent new personas for ourselves.  Sneak peeks of our lives are shared in 140 characters or less on Twitter, photos of the fun we are having (real or fake) put into cleverly titled photo albums on Facebook and business connection are made via LinkedIn.

This world we have built ourselves on blogs and Facebook and other social medias has an element of falseness to it and it is a fertile ground for bullying to occur and it does.  In fact, it seems to be growing at an alarming rate. 

We spend so much time 'plugged in' we can easily feel alone because we don't interact one on one  basis like we used to.  Instead of calling to see how someone is doing you send a text or an email.

Obviously I'm a blogger and fervent user of Facebook and I know some of the things I post are to boost my own ego and make me feel like "I am someone".  I have posted photos showing how much fun we are having as a family (and mostly we are) but sometimes I post them because we are having a rough day and I need some encouragement from others to tell us we look happy.  I'm sure I am not alone in this.

Lately, I have been trying to spend more time one on one with people I love so we can laugh, cry, talk, and ((((hug))) in the flesh and it is refreshing.  I am trying to put my phone down, turn off my computer and spend chunks of time away from Facebook  and my blog and step back into reality.

How does the "Power of We" lend itself to what I am blogging about?  Here's the thing. 

What if we as a society said "We will not stand for the constant push to cocoon ourselves from the world for one more minute."

What if took back our "Power of We" and said "We will stand together instead of apart!".

What if we celebrated community, friendship, family - the old fashioned way by getting out of our houses and away from our devices and back into each other's life. 

What if we volunteered more, gave of ourselves more, and talked to strangers more?

What if we joined more team events, went to functions and had more fun together?

What if family time meant talking with words instead of fingertips on keyboard?

What would we see then?

People will argue they do all of this and more, I will argue - do you do it with your full attention and not with your phone, laptop, iPad attached to you?  I know I don't always. 

Bullying begets bullying.  Just as racism begets racism.  Somewhere along the lines, someone was taught by someone else they weren't worth anything, they were hit, they were spit on, they were treated as if they didn't matter. This person then turned their pain and frustration and put it onto another person and that person put it on to Amanda Todd.

If we stepped away from our portal connection to the Internet we might actually see people who are in pain, who are suffering, who need someone to tell them "you are loved, you are wanted, you are not alone."

 "The Power of We" gives us the power to tell children like Amanda "You are someone, and we need you too!"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame

The Husband watches a lot of TED Talks.  I'm sure some of you do as well.

I quite enjoy them but I forget about them until Hubs sends me a video to watch.

Last week, he said to me "There is a TED Talks" you NEED to watch.

"O.k." I said, "I'll watch it." 

He pressed further "Ummmm, I really think you should watch it. I'll watch it with you". 

He isn't one to really insist on things like this so I said again "Honey, I promise to watch it". 

So I watched it. 

And it really resonated with me, especially since I am on a journey to change how I see the world, interact with people and parent the Wee Man. 

I think this is just to good of a talk not to share.

Maybe you've seen it and its really worth a second, third, fourth viewing.

If you haven't, please start with the first TED Talks Brene Brown did.

 She left me wanting more (in a good way) so I did a little Googling of the Internets and found she had done a second TED Talks and this one left me feeling more complete and a bit teary eyed.

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

'Ah Ha' Video

The Wee Man is a busy little dude.

If you have ever spent time with him, you know he is always on the go.  He doesn't like to sit still for long.  He is in constant motion unless he is watching one of his favourite t.v. shows or it is the end of the night when it is snuggle mommy/daddy time right before bed.  But even then he is moving a body part or two.

I know this is common in kids. Especially toddlers and even more so boys versus girls. I mean, we spend time with friends who have girls and they are just so completely different. I know there are rambunctious girls just as there are quiet boys but overall there is a huge difference between the genders. I mean really isn't that why books like "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" exist. We are just wired differently.

We get comments all the time from people like  -  "My, he is a busy boy isn't he?" or "Your little guy sure does have a lot of energy."  Daycare calls him one of the "more active" kids in the class. Our new neighbours absolutely adore Wee Man and are fond of telling us how much he reminds them of their now-grown-son who would not sit still for anything.  They also tell us he is still a very active adult who doesn't sit still for long. She likes to empathize with me and she kindly tells me it is o.k. because others have experienced the same kind of energy in their kids. It is good to know and also gives me great hope because their son is an attorney.

Please don't get me wrong! I don't equate being successful with being an attorney, or a doctor, or what have you.  I would be just as happy if he were a dancer, a gymnast, an artist, a teacher, a writer, a plumber, an electrician or anything he desires.  I just want him to know he is special and loved no matter what he does.  But I do worry about what others might classify him as if they deem he doesn't fit the 'regular' mold of a child who sits still all the time and does what he is told at the drop of a hat.

Our daycare gave us some activities to help activate his proprioceptive system.  It took me a long to time to even attempt to say the word "proprioceptive" but the activities they listed were great and sounded really fun.  Things like:

  • Playing mountain hiking with a small backpack with some books, or small bags of rice or dried beans to give it weight.
  • Helping with heavy work - carrying laundry baskets, grocery bags, pulling bags of leaves, shovelling, sweeping etc.
  • Pushing against the walls and pretending to make the room expand.
  • My favourite - the adult sits with their knees bent and feet on the floor - the child pushes against your hands with his with all their might and then eventually the adult rolls onto their back and lifts the child up with their knees on the child's stomach and they soar in the air while making eye contact.  Wee Man love this one!
  • Jumping on a trampoline
These are just a small sample.

Still I wanted to know more about what proprioceptive meant so I googled it and found a whole Internet full of information.  But basically this one gives a uncomplicated explanation - Sensory and Perceptual System. 

We are sensing that Wee Man has some struggles.  When he gets anxious he chews or sucks everything in sight, from his clothes, to his toys, to the carpet, to the counter tops.  He can't still in a chair, one leg must constantly be dangling over the side and moving, and he must touch every surface he can.

After some 'googling' we found this video and it really was an 'a-ha' moment for us.  We saw a lot of behaviours which were similar to Wee Man's. 

I have always thought traditionally schooling does not work for everyone.  Everyone learns in such a different manner and wouldn't it be nice if this was implemented in schools for children.  Lo and behold it is in some schools. My friend just told me about a pilot project at her son's school where they have new chairs for kids who need to be moving in order to focus...wiggly chairs, chairs that spin etc.  Her son, in particular, feels like he learns best when he is standing. He can focus better he has said then when he is sitting because all he can think about is how his bum feels numb.

I'm not a homeschooling mama.  Nope, not at all. So this isn't an option but maybe if we work on things for him now, by the time he goes to a 'regular' school he will be armed with tools to help him succeed based on what his needs are. 

Because we aren't in a position to diagnosis anything, we are seeking some guidance and looks like we have found someone who has post-adoption counselling experience. Yay!  We haven't started yet but I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

The other thing we are doing is becoming more lax with the 'sit still and eat your food' rule in our house.  It stresses him out to sit at attention and not move while he eats.  You can visibly see the stress as he rubs his head and hunches over and just stares at his plate.  So heck ya, hang your leg off the chair and swing it.  By all means have a toy at the table to play with in between bites, go on and sing songs, be a little silly, and talk.  Communication is key right? Isn't that what people always say...not that we haven't always talked at the dinner table because we have but talk about how 'cows are blue moos' and 'dogs can talk'.  Just sometimes Ranavan is a bit too serious.

We're gonna get silly people!

It's the same for disciplining.  We are always asking him to stay still and focus on what we are saying but maybe in order for him to really focus on us he needs to be moving.  We are stepping outside of our box in terms how to parent because it is obvious we need to evolve. We still stand our ground and Wee Man must abide by the rules we have set out.

Let's be clear here. Some of the things we are dealing with are certainly age-related and definitely toddler-type behaviours.  We are tying not to obsess over it or worry our heads off.  O.k. The Husband is much better at this than me. I worry.  I come by it naturally. It was inherited!

We've also been told his behaviours as of late are "A sign of his deepening attachment. It's always aimed at parents, usually more so at the mom." and this also seems on target as our *2 year anniversary is coming up in a few months and he was 2 when we became his parents (who can believe 2 years have almost passed) and so maybe this is all it is.  The testing of boundaries because he really, truly, finally feels like he can.  (*Based on professionals telling us it will take the same number of years for a child to really settle in as the age when they came into the family.)

As parents, you just do what is best for your kid given what they tell you through verbal and non-verbal cues.  We are going to follow Wee Man's lead here and go with our gut instinct.  Doesn't mean it is going to be easy or that we won't all slip up. It just means we are going to do our best.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Remember to Breathe

We are going through a "rough patch" around here lately and that is putting it lightly.

As I mentioned in my previous post we are slowly settling in to our new abode.  It is an easier process for The Husband and me.  Wee Man is another story.  On the outside he looks like a happy little dude going about his day.  But on the inside he is a tangled web of emotions.

Being 3 makes the transition that much harder.  We are definitely learning that 3 is a much harder place to be than 2.  Wee Man's language skills amaze us everyday.  He is finding the way to say words he couldn't in the past. Sentences are long and filled with details.  1 or 2 word answers are a thing of the past.  (Unless that word is.....NO!  We still hear that word said with much vehemence a ton.)  He can dress himself.  In fact, he prefers to chose his own wardrobe and is usually dressed about 15 minutes after he wakes up.  Diapers are a thing of the past both during the day and at night.  He is, for all intents and purposes, "A big boy!"

However, being 3 is also trying to find out who you are.  Asserting your independence and doing things "All by myself!"  As an adult and more importantly as a parent, your goal and hope is that you guide your young child along a path which will lead him towards success and happiness.  Whatever success and happiness means to that particular child and notwithstanding any trauma, delays or PTSD they have encountered in their lives.

So as parents to a Wee Man who is 3...we find ourselves butting heads with him on occasion as we try to teach him some of the ways of the world. This past week it seems like we have been locking horns ALL. OF. THE. TIME.

I'm not over exaggerating here either.  My head literally feels like I have been hitting it against a brick wall for a week. 

There have been some other changes too.  The daycare he has been going to is slowly introducing him to the "Ladybug" room.  This room is for the kids who are aged 4-5.  The true pre-schoolers.  They get them ready in this room for entering Kindergarten by following a pre-school curriculum. It's actually quite a nice feature because then you don't have to worry about getting your kid into pre-school.  They are already there. 

Up until now, he has been in the "Hucklebug" room.  Kids 18 months to 4 hang out here and they do all kinds of fun activities and field trips.  The rooms are in the same building and are linked by an adjoining kids' bathroom.  They often play together during the day, have naps in the same room and generally mix and mingle at some point during the day.  He is used to being in and with the kids in both rooms is what I am trying get at. 

The idea of the slow introduction to the Ladybug room for the kids is getting them ready to be in the "big kid" room but also because Kindergarten changed this year so that kids who started Kindergarten this fall are only going part-time.  They don't have the room to move the kids up full-time as they would have done in the past.  So they bring up kids on the days the Kinders are in school.

I do think, and so does the Husband, that being labelled a 'part-time' ladybug/hucklebug has Wee Man confused.  We were scratching our heads on Sunday, after many melt-downs, tears and temper tantrums (and those were just ours), and trying to figure out what had changed.  Big move, yup, that we knew was a huge factor and would play out for a while, but honestly he has been pretty good about the new house.  That is not to say maybe this is something he has been holding in since we moved and only now feels comfortable letting it all out. 

We both think it is a kind of "the straw that broke the camels back" type of scenario.

The temper tantrums are of a giant proportion.  He has never, ever had these kinds of tantrums.  Ever. So, as parents of a child who has certainly had his moments and not been an angel but has generally been a good kid, it has been frustrating.  For the most part we both can remember to breathe and tell each other "This too shall pass!" "Right?"  We can co-parent and strategize and confer on what we feel is the best action plan to get things sorted. 

This weekend was a different story.  Maybe it has been so much more than we thought.  The move, the being in a new house, the routines of our daily life shaken up.  There were moments this weekend when we were both tired of the yelling, spitting, hitting, and throwing of toys at us and the dogs, moments where you just kind of forget you are the adult and begin to temper tantrum yourself.  This, we know, is not the correct nor responsible action to take...but there you have it...we both found ourselves yelling at some point making the entire household one giant, yelly, mess!

Breathe!!!!  It's what we tell Wee Man when he is getting wound up.  When his playing, dancing, running, biking pace starts to build momentum.  The kind of momentum he doesn't realize is taking him into another zone.  It happens...we stop him...tell him to breathe and he does.  He comes back down to his normal level (please note I said his normal level which is different from every other child). 

This weekend I think we all forgot to breathe.  A 3 year old is NOT going to remember to breathe. Rightly so, they live moment by moment.  But with all of us forgetting to remind each other to breathe it was a hard weekend.

We constantly remind ourselves about all he has lost.  How much change he has been through and continues to go through.  Sometimes we forget though. He can show so much maturity and he has progressed so far in such a short time frame.  We forget he is still younger than he looks emotionally. So weekends like we just had catch us off guard and we think "Where are we going wrong?" 

We aren't, we just have to remember to breathe.  He is gaining, growing, and learning.  There will be times of regression.  As a friend wrote on her blog, with progression there will first be regression.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


This summer brought a lot of changes. 

It seems not just for us but for many people we know.

I mentioned we were moving.  And we did.  It was a big move even though we only moved about 10 blocks.  We had been in the previous location for 9 years.  Routines had been established, routes had been dog-walked faithfully, and neighbours, while not well know, were faces we knew.

The Husband's brother lived next door to us.  As JG puts it, "it felt like home" knowing he was right there beside us.  The Husband's parents lived a block away.  A 2 minute walk for impromptu visits and family suppers.

I cried.  The day of the move.  The night of the move.  The early morning of the first night in the new house.  I cried. 

This is the home we brought Wee Man to.  He loved this house.  It was his whole world.  It was a very big change for him.  We knew it would be.  His room was his sanctuary and he felt safe. The backyard was his kingdom full of toys and grass to play on. He still calls the house we are in "The New Home" and asks often if we can go back to the old home because he misses it "again, and again, and again!"

We are all starting to settle in.  Slowly.  New routines are being established.  New dog-walking routes are being found.  A yard is slowly starting to emerge.  Quite honestly I think the Wee Man loves to play in the dirt more than he ever did the grass.  We have a fence now so dogs and kidlet can run free in the back yard once more without parents hovering and yelling "Come back here"" or "Don't go over there!"

Summer flew by for Wee Man and I. Not so much for The Husband.

The Husband herniated a disc in his back and has been, well - flat out, since about the end of May.  It has been hard for him.  The pain and discomfort is written all over his face. He is man who likes to work hard, exercise hard, and play hard.  Watching and not being able to be in middle of the action is certainly cramping his style and making life extremely difficult.  We are awaiting surgery, which is not something he wants, but will be necessary to bring his life back to the normalcy we are all used to.

The Wee Man and I took a trip to the west coast to visit Grandma Gloria, family and friends. 

It was a nice, relaxing visit.  Wee Man doesn't get to see Grandma Gloria much being so far away and I think they both enjoyed it.  I even ventured down to Los Angeles for the Crossfit Games  with some friends while Wee Man stayed and played.  I think he had a pretty good time.


If you haven't noticed, Wee Man has grown.  Long gone is the baby/toddler we first met.  In his place is a wee little man full of opinions, laughter, tears, and bravery.  He fears nothing, he loves wholeheartedly and he runs at full speed pretty much all day long.
Now it is fall! The summer is gone and in its place are chilly mornings, cool evenings and warm afternoons in-between.  Students are back in school, leaves are changing colors and geese are getting ready for their long journey south.  The sun is beaming its rays later in the morning and setting earlier at night. 
Change is definitely in the air!