Daily Photos

Daily Photos

This sweet boy of mine had a hard day. He deals with severe anxiety. He had a dental check up today and it sent him into a bad space emotionally. It was a hard and draining day. We are snuggling tonight and he says to me, “if being an inventor doesn’t work out; I think I want to be a teacher to help kids like me.” I love his heart. #judahzane #anxiety
Posted by Intagrate Lite

Are we listening?

It was almost a decade ago.

She sat in her chair in a small room at BC Children’s Hospital ADHD clinic and calmly and quietly spoke to my child as if he knew and understood himself.

As if he, this frantic, frenetic child who couldn’t seem to slow down enough to eat or sleep or play appropriately or articulate well, could communicate the mysteries of his mind.

I don’t remember exactly what she asked or what he said. What I do remember is thinking to myself,

She sees HIM. She really SEES him and in truly SEEING HIM; she’s giving him the opportunity to speak and to share from a space of being KNOWN. And in being seen and known, he has the permission and confidence to speak and be heard.”

This one moment is one of the many “pivotal” moments of my journey through parenting.

I remember the awareness hitting me so hard and fast that it was almost a physical impact.

My child, who I thought was an impressionable, immature being – a chaotic, unsleeping, hyper, frustrated, frustrating, exhausted and exhausting person……

I was shocked to find out that even at 10 years old, my child had insight, wisdom and knowledge of what he was feeling, dealing with and going through AND he could communicate that with us , even though it seemed he was only reactionary and impulsive.

I remember him sharing something profound about the way his brain worked, how his body and mind felt; and what he wished he could change.

I remember looking at the Dr incredulously while she carefully wrote down a few notes and thanked him for his input. She had a few suggestions for him and us. She spoke to him like his thoughts really mattered. Like he was “the patient”. Like he had some say over his life.

She wasn’t ever patronizing. I truly believe she saw and heard her patients and really believed them and cared about their input.

This moment changed my life forever. Jeremy was 10 years old when we met Dr. Jokhani and I am forever grateful for her care and support of him; but the impact of this encounter radically changed my understanding of how we interact with our kids.

Too often, we think or assume for them. We assign them thoughts or words based on what we see. But what we see, what they feel, what they perceive, what they know and if they have suggestions, desires or wants gets laid aside.

I’ve been asked how it is that my kids seem so self aware and insightful. How I’ve taught them to be able to share so eloquently? Is there something special about them?

The reality is that I’ve not taught them anything except maybe to trust themselves. Too often what we need to do is JUST ASK and then WAIT! We need to really listen to what they say. Listen to truly understand.

As an example, when Jeremy was asked to share what it felt like inside of his brain when he was at school; he explained that it felt like his brain was moving so fast that he couldn’t catch any of his thoughts. It felt like everything was buzzing so loud.

But when he took meds……everything got quiet and slower; and he could hold one thought until he wanted to put it down.

It might sound childish and simple, but it’s a brilliant explanation of the ADHD mind both on and off of a stimulant.

Mind you, he did all of this explaining, with his back to us while playing with LEGO.

Our children are going to share like children.

  • Will we stop long enough to ask them questions?
  • Will we listen long enough and with open enough hearts and minds to be able to really hear them?
  • Can we trust them to know themselves?
  • Will be give them opportunity to make a mistake and to teach them that mistakes are just a part of learning?
  • Can we give them the safe spaces to practice communication and advocacy?
  • Will we allow and champion opportunities to practise this skill?

I believe that we, as a society, win when we teach our kids self awareness. That we win when we teach our kids to self advocate. That we win when our kids believe that they have a voice worth listening to – when they believe that they have value and worth. That we win when our kids believe that they are valuable not in spite of who they are but because of who they are.

I’ve seen this play out hundreds of times with my younger sons…..starting at early as 3-4 years old.

Our kids are never too early to be heard, seen and known and loved.

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I’d love to hear about a “pivotal” parenting moment for you?

Priorities

If I’m being honest with you, I could care less what he learns as far as academics or what his grades are.

With equal parts liberation and hesitation, earlier this week I shared this statement with my child’s teacher, case manager and support staff.

I don’t mean that I don’t want my child to have an education. I don’t mean that I don’t want him to learn.

But….at this time, I care more if he feels safe at school. I care more if he has a desire to learn. I care more that he learn to confidently advocate for himself. I care more that he learn to communicate respectfully. I care more that he learns self awareness and self regulation skills. I care more that he learns to confidently interact with those in authority, and with peers. I care more that he finds his voice. I care more that he believes in himself. I care more that he has empathy for all. I care more that he eats. I care more that his digestive system is functioning smoothly. I care more that he gets enough sleep. I care more that he gets enough exercise.

It’s not that I don’t care about his education. I just have SO MUCH MORE that I care about. There is so much that a typical child would learn by osmosis, by watching and listening and absorbing; those seemingly simple things….they have to be taught to my child. Over and over and over……and so while I may say that I don’t care about academics……what I truly mean is that it’s just not as high on my priority list as all these other things.

I wonder what life would look like if my biggest worries were what grades my kids were getting; or if “grades” were even on my radar.

But that’s not my life and so I don’t dwell on that. Partially because I just don’t have the time or energy to; but also because it doesn’t serve me to hold that ENVY.

It all comes down to priorities. I only have so much energy and I just can’t hold “it all”. So I pick and choose what is most important to me.

Teaching my kids to be loving, respectful, compassionate, hard working and contributing members of society who have mercy and grace for themselves and others…..that’s my goal.

I try to remind myself of that every time I feel caught up in “what we’re NOT doing” or in the fact that we aren’t “typical“.

It all come down to priorities.

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I’d love to hear what your priorities are or what you want them to be or wish they could be. Do you follow societal norms because you want to or because you feel you have to? Would you do something differently, if you felt you had the freedom or power to do what you wanted to?

Daily Photos

Daily Photos

With the kids back to school, they’ve already picked up some bug and have been coughing and complaining of sore throats. I thought I would share my “cough tea recipe”. My kids ask for this as soon as they get coughs or colds. I find the mullein helps to soothe the respiratory system and relieve coughing. The peppermint tastes delicious and has “drying” properties to help relieve congestion. The marshmallow root helps to soothe and coat the throat. Together they make a delicious and soothing tea. Using equal parts peppermint leaf, mullein and marshmallow (the plant not the candy) at a ratio of 1 tsp per cup of hot water. We add local honey to taste as it sweetens the tea and is also beneficial for coughs and colds. I make the dry tea in a big jar and make a big batch at one time. #herbaltea #coughtea #coldseason
Posted by Intagrate Lite

Daily Photos

Daily Photos

We don’t “do” too many things that stray from our typical routine because our kids find it difficult to stray from the routine. But when we try to shake things up, but stay local, we head to the Comfort Inn on 264th. It’s my kids perfect sensory heaven with the pool and the water slide and when they’ve exhausted themselves……there is always iPad’s under a desk. You know, it’s just the best of both worlds. #realityvacation #specialneedsvacation #ontheirschedule #sensoryheaven #swimming #ipad #bestdayever
Posted by Intagrate Lite