That Agape Family

Live. Love. Learn.

Category: Parenting (page 1 of 3)

It’s Not Polite To Stare

“Mommy, why did the woman say ‘it’s not polite to stare’ to me?”

“Who said that?” I asked.

“The woman pushing the wheelchair,” Little Miss replied. 

Ah. The moment of clarity. 

Today, we decided to head over to the Markham Fair. We had never been to this time honoured tradition, and we decided to give it a last-minute whirl. Folks, we had a great time! There was lots to see and do there. There were plenty of animals to see. We got to ride up in a cherry picker (the machine that allows the hydro company to work on hydro wires)! And, they had a demolition derby (that we unfortunately weren’t able to attend). It was great. 

Today was the first day of the fair, and there were lots of school children there. It was also “homeschooling day”, so we got to see some of our friends, too. There were also several people there with special needs. Fantastic! I have worked with individuals with special needs, and I know the need for these folks to get out and enjoy a community event. Wonderful! And, it appears my daughter (4.5 years young) was curious. 

We all have a natural curiosity to those who are “different”. It’s human nature. Children are trying to make sense of the world, and in this case, she was trying to understand why a person was in a wheelchair. I’ve been behind the wheelchair, dealing with the curious stares. You want your client to be respected. I understand that. However, I think that this could have been taken as a learning opportunity, rather than a scolding. 

My daughter did not know it was rude to stare. Again, she 4.5 years old. She did not mean to be rude, but it clearly came across that way. Instead of scolding her, the caregiver could have said, “he (or she) needs help to get around. That’s my job. They aren’t able to walk on their own, but they still want to see everything that you do!” Connection and dignity go a long way on this two way street. I also told Little Miss that the nicest thing she can do, if she sees someone in a wheelchair, is smile. There’s a takeaway that she can carry with her for the rest of her life, as opposed to being scared to look at the people around her. 

When I was in grade 6, I experienced a pivotal moment. I was doing a biography on a classmate, so she came over to my house. When her family came to get her, her brother came to the door. He had Down Syndrome. I suppose I asked something insensitive like, “why does he look different?” I really can’t remember. However, I do remember her explanation. 

We were in the gifted program at the time. She explained the situation that we (students in the gifted program) had an IQ of 101. Other students, in the regular stream, had an IQ of 100, and her brother had an IQ of 99. This was not (and I didn’t take it as such) an explanation that he was “dumb”, but that he thought and processed information differently. So, when I was speaking with him, I may have to choose my words more carefully so that he understood me. I found her explanation to come from a place of love and respect. 

As I grew older, and I took psychology courses, I learned that the IQ disparity was greater, however that didn’t change how I viewed those with special needs. They are people who deserve love and respect, and who are all too often underestimated. This is something I want to pass on to my daughters. I don’t want them to be afraid to interact with these individuals. This is an opportunity to show love and compassion! 

So, let me encourage you to view every day as a teaching day. Help those around you, especially these precious little ones, to make sense of what they see, through eyes of compassion and love. And I hope and pray that the next time she sees someone in a wheelchair she won’t avert her eyes, but meet those eyes with a smile. 

Blessings,

Liz

Do You Feel Qualified?

Last summer, before we had even begun our homeschooling journey, a well meaning neighbour asked me “Do you feel qualified to teach her?” Beyond the fact that I am, indeed, a certified elementary school teacher, I still had a few lingering doubts. 

Was this the right choice? Does she need more peer interactions? Will I miss something? Will I be “enough”? 

I answered with my well thought through list of reasons that I had been rehearsing for whenever someone asks “why?”, but the question still nagged at me. There are plenty of parents who may not feel “qualified”, but they do a fantastic job! They are encouraging, inspiring, nourishing, kind, loving, and passionate. Who else can care more about your child than you? And the best part of homeschooling is that we often learn alongside our children, feeding our own curiosities as well! Learning is a lifelong venture, after all!

So, as we embark upon our second year of homeschooling, I want to encourage you. You are their first teacher. Whether they go to a physical school, or “school” at home, whatever that may look like, you are their first teacher. 

Yesterday, Little Miss (4.5) was drawing in the sand. She smiled and said “Mommy, look! A mineral butterfly!” I think we’re going to be alright. 

For the First Time in, Well, Ever!

We love the forest, if you couldn’t tell. We try to go every week, with a lovely group of friends. We have been joining this group for about two and a half years. In all this time, Little Miss has never ventured over “the tree”. Ever since we’ve been coming, there has been a tree that has fallen over there creek. It’s a large, beautiful tree that just begs to be climbed and crossed.

I consider Little Miss to be rather adventurous, and I’ve always assumed she’d eagerly climb it with the greatest of ease. However, in all our time in the forest, she never has. She would explore the exposed roots, and climb to the top of them, but never over – until this week.

We’ve had a few kids over the years who love to shimmy across to the other side, but it’s never had the pull that I thought it would with her. But this week, one of the newer girls she was playing with climbed right over – and she followed! It was really exciting to watch her try something new, and be guided by her peer. She needed a little encouragement on the way back, but she did it. I love watching children attempt something, of their own accord, and accomplishing the task. It’s so exciting!

I wonder how she’ll approach it next time…

What has your child recently tried and conquered?

Blessings,

Liz

When You Assume…

The other day, the littles and I were attending a birthday party. One of the parents was chatting with Little Miss, and asked if she knew when her birthday is.

But, before she could respond, the parent said “of course you don’t,” and turned to speak with someone else. I was flabbergasted. Little Miss is nearly 4.5 years old, and has known her birthday month for probably about a year. More recently, since this birthday party situation, she has also learned the day.

I’m not saying this to brag about her ability to know her birthday, but to ask folks to please not assume that kids don’t know. Children have varying talents, learning experiences, and interests. You never know what a child knows, unless you ask, and wait. Give them a moment or two to process what you’ve said, and formulate a response. You may be delightfully surprised.

When have you been surprised by a child?

Blessings,

Liz

On Hold with 911

Nearly a week ago, I posted this on Facebook, about Sweetpea:

“Now that things have calmed down, I’d like to share a bit more. PLEASE do not call 911 unless it’s an emergency.

F had a choking episode on Friday (which we think is related to the episode on Saturday that put her in the Critical Care Unit at Sick Kids). I called 911, but it was during the wind storm. I was on hold for 5 MINUTES while my daughter gasped for breath in my arms, because of the high call volume. I hung up and called my friend, who is a paramedic, because I needed to know what to do. 911 called me back a minute or so later. By this time, her breathing was returning to normal (thankfully). They sent an ambulance, but at 8 minutes it was redirected (because her breathing had regulated) and I ended up having to wait 25 minutes for an ambulance to come and check her. At this point she was fine, but it is terrifying to be put on hold while your child is gasping for breath. I am soooo thankful to God that it wasn’t the following night.

The next night, she had another episode, but it wasn’t clearing. We called 911 and an ambulance came right away (maybe 3 minutes) and the took her immediately and started to work on her. It was not good. She arrived Code Blue, and they immediately set to work. Thankfully it looks like she’ll make a full recovery but it was the most terrifying experience of our lives.

Please do not call 911 for non-emergencies. Friday night they were overwhelmed with calls about downed hydro wires. You have to call Toronto hydro for that. EMS and Toronto Police were asking people to stop calling 911 with these calls. When minutes, and even seconds, count you don’t want to be put on hold.

We are so thankful for all the work the nurses, doctors, and respiratory therapists have done to ensure this healthy outcome.

Thank you to all of our family and friends for your outpouring of support and love. It means the world to us.

We are so thankful to God for His hand over us throughout this experience. He is good.”  He is good, all the time.

This is what caused the aspiration:

Sometimes the unthinkable happens. Sweetpea in now home, and doing very well. If you’d like to read or see more, our story was featured on Global News.

Blessings,

Liz

What a Load of… Oh?

When I was pregnant with Little Miss, 5 years ago, a friend of mine lent me a few books. This was one of them:

I remember, as she handed this book to me, she said “I barely had to change a poopy diaper after 6 months!” Well, the eager beaver that I was, I dove right in, with my little bundle of joy still growing inside.

I think I got to either chapter 3 or 4, and decided that it was “a load of hooey”. This might have been all well and good for a mama living in southern British Columbia, where they barely saw a snowflake, and the temperatures stayed well above 0 (celcius) the majority of the time, but for this Mama, that just wasn’t going to fly.

Well, fast forward to when Little Miss was just shy of 6 months, and I commented in my Crunch Mommy Group (it’s true, I joined it for the cloth diapering advice, and stayed for the overwhelming support and natural parenting techniques) that Little Miss tended to pee when I put her in the Bumbo Seat. I would regularly give her diaper free time, and found this to be the result. Someone commented that it was natural for them to pee like that, and that I should consider Elimination Communication (EC). Really? Well, sure. Why not? What did I have to lose?

Well, the next day, on the day she turned 6 months, we woke up, and I tried putting her on the potty (I sat down toward the back of the toilet, and put her between my legs), thinking that I looked ridiculous, and this whole concept is insane. Then, she peed. Seriously. 6 months. We gave it a go the next day and she pooped. I kid you not!

So, what was our technique? Well, I would give her a chance to go after each sleep (nap or night), as children naturally hold their pee when they sleep. Then, as she got older, I would pop her on whenever we changed her diaper. Gradually she started having more regular dry diapers, and by 2 years (minus 2 weeks), we went straight over to underwear, and had diapers for only night time (she’d been dry after naps for a while by this point). By this time, she was having a dry diaper at night a couple of times a week, too. A month after our switch, once she’d had a week or so of dry diapers, we got rid of our night time diapers, too. Interestingly, she would wake up to pee at night quite regularly, from at early at 12 months! I knew this because sometimes she would leak right out the side and all over me when I went in to put her back down. I tried putting her on the potty, but this groggy baby would have none of it, but I found the correlation quite interesting.

Did we eliminate poopy diapers for the majority of our diapering experience? Not quite, but she was regularly doing her business in the porcelain bowl by about a year. Did we train her? No. Really, it’s more so about training yourself, and recognizing your child’s cues. There is a lot more to this, but this is my Cole’s Notes version. Although I was a complete skeptic, I do recommend Diaper Free Baby. (affiliate link). Turns out, it’s not a bunch of hooey afterall! Please note that we were never forceful, nor did we ever shame or punish her if she didn’t go.

Was this a one time thing? Well, we’ve been doing EC with Sweet Pea since 3 month. Three Months?!? Yes. It all started one night when our typically easy going, amazing sleeper of a baby was having a particularly tough night. After nursing, and bicycle kicks, and anything else you would try at 3 in the morning to get a baby to settle, I thought “maybe she had to poop? Well, let’s see if this helps…” and I put her on the toilet. She didn’t poop, but she did pee, and thus began our EC journey. She’s now 13 months, and she regularly pees, and has gone #2 the last 2 days (although it’s not as often as I remember it being with LM). Hey, when it comes to cloth diapers and laundry, every little bit counts!

Here’s what I wrote back in 2014, as my Facebook status update: So, I started to read this when I was pregnant, because a friend loaned it to me with a bunch of other amazing baby books (thank you Carolina!) and I didn’t finish it because I thought I could never do it. But, after some encouragement from some other moms, girlie started using the potty at 6 months. Here’s the update: at 11 months, today she had 2 wet diapers, all other changes were dry, and she used the potty each time. I’m very excited over here, and wanted to let y’all know that this isn’t hippie craziness, but a very useful tool. We are still using (cloth) diapers, but I just get to wash less of them  — feeling wonderful.

So, you never know, unless you try.

Blessings!

Liz

P.S. What do you think? Crazy hippy, or something to this?

Roll With It

The other day, we went to the park. There’s a lovely new park near our house, so with the warmer weather, we headed down. Little Miss was having fun on the various equipment there, when she noticed 3 children rolling down a hill (who needs toys, right?). Well, she marched herself up to the top of the hill, lied down, and rolled down the hill, making corrections to her direction as she went.

It may be hard to see in the photo, but there she is, in her purple sweater. Do you notice something? She’s the only child in the photo. You see, moments before I snapped this pic, the parents of the other children went over and scolded them. Granted, I think the main reason they were reprimanded is because at the top of the hill is a main street, but there’s a sidewalk in between, and they weren’t all that close to it, to be honest. However, there are many reasons parents discourage this type of activity. They may not want their child’s clothes to get dirty, or perhaps they think it’s a silly concept.

But, you know what? Rolling (and spinning around in circles) is good for a child’s development. In her book, Balanced and Barefoot, Angela Hanscom explains how the motion of spinning is key to proper balance development in children. Remember back in the day when we had those awesome merry go rounds? They were a good thing! Our park has this neat little contraption:

Little Miss loves going “faster”! Even Sweet Pea wanted to try this past trip, and she just turned one.

Let them roll! It’s good for them.

Blessings!

Liz

P.S. What was your favourite piece of equipment on the playground when you were a kid?

Two Peas in a Pod

I’m an only child. So, when we found out we were expecting another child, we were thrilled, but I was a little nervous, not having any personal experience with having a sibling. Would they get along? Would they like each other? Would Little Miss be jealous with another person in the house? Turns out, things are turning out just fine.

One of the reasons we have chosen to homeschool is so that we can spend more time together as a family. Sweet Pea recently turned one, and if Little Miss had gone off to school this year, as her age would dictate, then they would have missed out on hours (days!) of time together. This fun pic was taken a couple of nights ago, as we were trying to wind down for the night.

We are part of a few homeschooling groups, and I can honestly say that one of things that I have really noticed is the family dynamics of these families. The sibling relationships are so sweet! Of course, they do argue at times, but they truly look out for each other. They genuinely love each other, work together, learn together, and grow together.

We hope and pray that our daughters will become best friends over the years, or continue to be.

This, of course, is not to say that if your children are in school, then they will inevitably hate each other. No, I’m not saying that at all. However, this is just another one of the benefits we have found with homeschooling.

Blessings!

Liz

Joyride 150 Indoor Bike Park

Did you know that Markham has an AMAZING indoor bike park? We didn’t either until a friend of ours tipped us off. One fabulous feature of Joyride 150 is that it is FREE for children under 4, after the one time $5 registration fee. Yes, free and unlimited. Free bike rental, and day pass – remember to bring your own helmet, though. They do have them, but those are available for rent. Helmets are mandatory for all riders.

When you walk in, you are greeted with a blue planked beginner area with pump tracks, narrow bike paths, and a little see saw.  Little Miss used a balance bike for the first time, and after about an hour of figuring it out (and some frustration), she didn’t want to leave! We spent about 5 hours there our first time, and she had so much fun! It’s great exercise, too. There is also an area with picnic benches for eating and relaxing.

As you go farther back into the facility (which is HUGE), you find additional paths, ramps, and half pipes. For the more adventurous, they have ramps that lead into foam pits, so you can try out all those crazy BMX tricks. There is also an outdoor dirt ramp portion, but we have yet to be there in the summer, so I haven’t seen them – yet. Another favourite part is the X-Country trail which winds through the whole facility.

Which leads me to my proud mama brag – she rode a 2 wheeler yesterday! We have been to Joyride about 5 times, and each time she whipped around on the balance bike, growing more confident each time. Yesterday was our first time in about 2 months, and she asked about a pedal bike. Daddy had the day off, so I had been pumping her up that he could help her learn, as it’s a little tough to do while wearing a baby, which is my usual attire. Anyway, Sweet Pea fell asleep in on the way, so Daddy stayed with her while we went on in. She started off on the balance bike, but seemed a bit bored with it. Anyway, long story short, we tried out the pedal bike, and she caught on very quickly. The most beautiful part, to me, is that she really did it on her own. Yes, we held the bike a bit to get her going, but she did it. And the look of surprise when she realized how far she’d gone without us was magical.

If you ask her, she’s “still practicing”, but we’re confident she’s got the hang of it. And I genuinely believe it is because of the experience she got at Joyride 150. Thanks for operating an awesome place, guys!

Blessings,

Liz

P.S. Do you know of an awesome kids hot spot in or around the T Dot?

Pop Goes Perfection!

Does anyone else feel this way? With Sweet Pea toddling (hanging on to everything, but not quite walking yet), we’ve nicknamed her “Destructor”.

Have a wonderful Family Day!

Blessings,

Liz

Older posts

© 2018 That Agape Family

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox: