Tag Archives: help

All the words I wish I could say

At this particular moment in time, I’m surrounded by people who are struggling.  A lot of people. Friends, family, acquaintances and people whom I only know via social media. These people are hurting and need to hear words that will soothe their spirits and restart their steps.

But how do you say the right thing without being a jerk? How do you help them see what you see? How do you reach a heart that has become so hard that it doesn’t even feel its own beat anymore? How do you bring someone hope when they’re swimming in despair? How do you become what they need most?

I want to scream at them, and shake them awake. I want to give them a hug and help them feel safe and secure again, but I can’t. I can’t heal broken hearts or repair old wounds, but I do have words.

These are the words that I wish I could say. The words from my heart to theirs.

I wish you knew how proud I am of you. I am proud of all that you’ve done and all that you’ve tried to do. I’m proud of you for always taking the high road when the low road would’ve been the easier way to go. I’m proud of you for being such a forgiving and loving example to your children. I’m proud to call you my friend.

I’m sorry that your life has been so tough, and the load you’ve had to bear has been solely on your shoulders. I’m sorry that you’ve been let down by people over and over and over again. I’m sorry that you’ve never been given the support you needed and deserved. I’m sorry that you’re having to tread water to just stay alive.

I wish that I could go back in time and save you from the parents you were given to, but then you wouldn’t be you. I wish that I could take away the bad dreams and the horrific stories that you now consider “normal”. I wish that you could see that you’re an amazing mother in spite of your example. I wish you would accept everyone’s love and respect for you at face value.

I’m sorry that you feel like the whole world is against you. I’m sorry that you feel so alone even though you’re actually never in that place. I’m sorry that you feel like there’s no place to turn or anyone to run to. I’m sorry that you feel so isolated.

I wish that you could look in the mirror and see the strength that I see when I stare into your eyes. I wish you could see the glow that takes over your face when you’re watching your babies play. I wish you could see the looks that strangers give you when you walk into a room. I wish you could hear the word’s of admiration and praise about you that people share with me all the time. I wish you believed the words I’m speaking now.

I’m sorry that your spouse turned out to be such a jerk. I’m sorry for the abuse you went through and for all the struggles you now face living as a single parent. I’m sorry that you’re having to make decisions alone that should be shared with someone else. I’m sorry that the person you chose failed you so badly.

I want you to know that I love you, no matter what. I want you to know that even though our lives quite often head in opposite directions that you will always be a part of me. I want you to know that I’m here to pick you up if you ever trip and fall so hard that you can’t get up on your own. I want you to know that you’re not alone.

Do not believe the words that are being spoken over you or the lies that your brain is convincing you are truth. You are not worthless. You are not ugly. You are not unlovable. Hear me when I say this. You are amazing and you are so very worthy of all the good things. And most importantly, you are not alone.

not alone

I’m guessing that I’m not the only person watching friends and family flounder about right now. Please help them. Please keep reaching out or make yourself available to listen. Be the voice they so desperately need to hear.

If perchance you’re the person feeling alone or let down, please get help. Open up to the people around you and let them in. You do not have to carry everything by yourself. You are not alone. Ever.

If you’re in Alberta, and just need someone to talk to, please give this numbers a call. 1-877-303-2642  or 780-482-HELP (4357).  If you live somewhere else, just search online or in your phone for Mental Health/Depression help.

Unanswered Questions

Have you ever been asked a question that warrants an answer but you know you can’t answer it?

Today was that day for me, and unfortunately, I couldn’t answer how I wanted to. I had to redirect the conversation and basically avoid the question completely. I had to be comforting and reassuring without saying what they wanted to hear. It is such a horrible position to be in, and it’s one of the things that I can’t stand about being a foster parent.

I believe that I know what’s best for the kids that live with me, but it doesn’t really matter. There are rules and laws and procedures that must be followed. There’s right and wrong, and a whole lot of grey areas all over the place. Sometimes it doesn’t make any sense, and quite often it seems downright wrong. Unfortunately, my opinion doesn’t matter. Instead, I smile, give a little hug and keep on keeping on.

My heart is broken but I must bite my tongue and hope for the best.

Today I’m going to think of the unanswered questions as blessings. I cannot answer them, but for now, they are here, they are safe and they are mine.

This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. If you want to follow along with all of us “challengers”, click on their links below.

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

Bullying … A Revisit

Well I’m almost 2 weeks into the Summer Blogging Challenge, and I’m about to be a cheater. I’ve been in celebratory mode all day, and haven’t had a spare moment to do anything but nap and relax in the peace and quiet. 😉  In other words, I didn’t write anything new today.

But, I’ve got a plan. Instead, I’m going to share one of my favourite blog posts from the past. One that I think it’s incredibly appropriate for this time of the year. One that will hopefully make a difference in the lives of the little’s around you.

Forgive me for my laziness but please read these words that I had to say …..

Bullying. Sucks. A lot. Having been the fat kid growing up, I suffered through my share of it. Not from my peers so much, but from older kids and people in the world around me. Society as a whole can be really hard on  people who are different. Different in any way, shape or form. Body shape, skin color, height, weight, age, sex, glasses, crooked teeth, freckles, etc, etc. It’s a never-ending list of stupid being perpetuated by people who have ZERO confidence in themselves. I survived it, but it hurt. A lot.

Having said all that, I’ve also been the parent of bullies, on a few different occasions. (Remember ~ I’m a foster parent). I’ve seen the world through their eyes and their outlook is just as grim as the persons being tormented. These kids believe that they’re worthless and stupid and ugly and horrible and that no one likes them. They feel abandoned by their parents, their friends and the world as a whole. They are lonely in a way that not many of us can understand. They feel powerless in their personal lives and bullying gives them POWER. They are controlling the situation instead of the situation controlling them. Bullying is almost NEVER about the victim, it’s about the Instigator. Almost Always.

It’s sad and maddening, but bullying is never going away. No matter how many posters we hang up, or how many commercials get shown on TV, bullying is here to stay. Think about how many “bullies” you know right now in your own group of friends. We all know someone who will push and push until they get their way. We’ve all got a friend that thinks it’s funny to pick on you or your other friends, and then justifies it with a “just kidding”, or “you know I love you”. I can guarantee we’ve all had bosses that took their position of power to an unreasonable level while we just had to stand there and take it. Are those not all instances of bullying? Adults do it ALL the time … we just use bigger, fancier words.

I think that it is worth educating kids on how to handle a bully. How to safely tell on them, how to avoid certain situations, and how to walk away. Kids need to feel safe at school and in their community. But there’s other ways to educate our kids and teach them to be better, in spite of the bullying going on around them.

Number One. Teach children their worth. If you’re a parent, make sure your children know how fabulous they are. Teach them about strength and confidence and grace. If you’re a teacher, pay attention to the kids that come from bad situations. Be their positive influence. Build your kids up so they find value inside of themselves as opposed to searching for it in the world around them. In my experience, my little “bullies” have had almost no self-esteem and were just desperate to have someone, anyone pay attention to them. No one made them feel good about themselves, so they set out to make other people look worse than they felt. Empower your children. They need your strength, until they feel it themselves.

Number Two. Teach children to not be followers. This seems like a pretty obvious statement, but how many of us really teach it? We teach our kids that there is strength in numbers and that they’re safer in groups. We should be teaching them how to be leaders … good, strong, positive leaders. Bully’s are not all that scary when they’re standing there on their own. Teach children to leave jerks and morons standing there by themselves and walk away. Teach them that it’s not rude to walk away when their friends are being mean or fighting. They don’t need to always have their buddy’s “back”. We spend so much time teaching kids to be polite and not enough time teaching them to be their own person. Give your children excuses for getting out of uncomfortable situations … “my Mom will take away my phone if I stay here”, “If I say that, my Dad will take away hockey”. Something, anything, but give them your words, until they have their own.

Number Three. Teach children that they have a voice. Kids need to understand the power that their words carry, especially positive ones. Teach them that it’s okay to tell people what they’re doing is wrong. That it’s okay to say No, and to stand up for someone else. Teach them how to tell someone when they see bullying occur. Teach them that a smile and a Hello can make a difference in someone’s life. Encourage them to speak up and not be quiet.

Number Four. Teach children that they don’t have to be friends with everyone. A lot of times bullying starts because kids are different from the majority of their peers. Everyone is NOT going to be friends, and that’s okay. The world is a big place and there is a match out there for everyone. Kids need to know that. A lot of times, they think we want them to hang out with the “weirdos”, so they fight against doing the “right” thing.  I always tell my kids that they don’t have to be friends with everyone, but that doesn’t mean they get to be mean to anyone. Ever.

Number Five. Be an example. Do not laugh at the fat person that walks by. Don’t point out someones dirty, awful clothes. Don’t call people ugly, stupid, crazy. Don’t laugh when your children tell you an inappropriate story. They are watching you. They are copying you. Show them the proper way to behave. If you aren’t guarding your words and actions, why in the world will your children?

Finally as parents and adults, OPEN YOUR EYES.

Do not assume that your little “angel” is behaving appropriately at school. If someone tells you that your child has been misbehaving, don’t brush it off, look into it. Talk openly about bullying and the different forms it takes. Be present in their lives.

Watch for changes in your children. Are they pulling away from you, are talkers suddenly quiet, are social butterfly’s now hiding in their bedrooms? Have they stopped eating or are they grossly overeating all of a sudden? Something is wrong. Get them help.

Bullying is about Power. I’m giving my kids the power, so bullying has NO POWER over them. How about you?

 

This post is part of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge. Click on the links below to check out some of the other awesome bloggers involved in the challenge. So much awesome.

Liam ~ Natasha ~ Zita ~ MagzD ~ Peter ~ Christine ~ Cliff ~ Hethr ~ Tracy

I’m a Mom and I’m not Perfect.

I’m pretty sure that I knew being a Mom wouldn’t be all sunshine and rainbows, but I kinda hoped that it would be. I quickly figured out that my days would be filled with smiles and laughter. Hissy-fits and tears. Sleepless nights AND sleepless days. Memories and Milestones.  I knew that it was going to be hard, but I still hung on to the hope that I was going to be the perfect Mom.

I would watch the Mom’s on TV that sat with their children and did craft projects and sang songs all day, and thought that I should maybe give that a try. I was going to be the Mom of children that didn’t watch television all day and instead learned things through guided play and life experiences. I’d heard of people who had babies potty trained by the time they were one, that had never drank from a bottle and had never seen a soother.  I had great plans to be the Martha Stewart of Mommy’s and make everything from scratch, and wear pretty clothes and just love everyone all the time. And then I had children. Suffice it to say, I am no Martha.

As I look back on my 16 years of Mommyhood, I have many regrets and many situations that I’d like to do over. I wasn’t always sensitive and understanding when I should’ve been. I’ve had expectations that were too high, and expectations that weren’t high enough. I’ve sometimes forgotten that my kids are just kids, and have treated them like adults. I’ve been a screaming idiot, and I’ve handed out a silent treatment or two. I have not always been perfect, or anywhere near it really. But through it all, I did the best that I knew how to do at that time. I’ve had to let go of the guilt that I’ve carried for messing things up sometimes and not becoming the Mom that I had aspired to be. My kids are all healthy, happy and alive, so I know I did something right, somewhere. It may have been a messy journey, but I’ve got some great kids.

So, in honour of all of you that have had some non-perfect days, I give you this. It’s my tribute to you … the real Mom’s living through real problems, real flip-outs and real life. Hopefully my little list of crazy will help you feel better about where you’re at right now. Please stop being so hard on yourself, do the best that you know how and breathe.

Here it goes … do not judge me.

My daughter did in fact learn the alphabet and her colors from watching Barney. And quite possibly Wheel of Fortune. (Something about that spinning wheel made her very happy).

I may have thrown a bottle at a crib in the middle of the night because I was too tired to walk all the way to the bed. I may have actually thrown two bottles.

I have sent children to school with no socks and/or no underwear. And quite possibly without both at the same time. Those same children may have also knowingly been sent to school without coats, gloves, boots, etc, etc. Even when it was -20.

Every meal does not have vegetables. More than once a week.

There is WAY more sugar-coated, red dyed cereal in this house than healthy stuff. And cookies that have NOT been made by me.

My 9 month old has bounced her little bouncy chair right off the cupboard onto the floor. She survived.

My daughter ate nothing but Sweet Potatoes and Tutti Fruiti baby food from a jar for almost a year. She did turn kinda orangey. She may have also had an addiction to gripe water.

I did try to catch my falling toddler by the ankle which in fact made him fall harder. He may have knocked his front tooth out at 11 months.

I pierced my daughter with a safety pin. I promise you I cried WAY harder than she did.

Children will survive on hot dogs and dill pickles. And peanut butter on a spoon.

When my daughter was 3, I took her bottle away while we were on vacation by telling her that we forgot it at home. I may have also hid girls clothes in the boys section just so she’d wear something beside track pants. I think I may have lied to tricked her quite a few times over the years.

I may have left a trail of fruit snacks from my children’s bedroom door to the TV so I could sleep in. I may have also left the TV turned on all night so they wouldn’t have to wake me up to put it on the right channel.

I might have convinced my children that if they ran away in public that bad people would steal them.

I have played hide and seek with my kids with full intentions of not looking for them. Thankfully, they loved that game.

I have taken my children to Ikea for the free childcare.

Diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder … Now What?

Since I wrote my last post about my son and his weirdness, I’ve had lots of people emailing me and asking me how we helped him get through his days.  So, I’ve made up a list of some of the things that we did and still do for him.  Even if you don’t have a sensory kid, you may find some of the info very calming and soothing for your kids as well.

But first, If you suspect your child may have a Sensory Processing Disorder, or some weird sensitivities, talk to your doctor. They’ll point you in the right direction and help you get the support that you need. If your doctor doesn’t know much about SPD, or you’re not satisfied with their response, contact your local Health Unit. There are many early childhood programs available and they will most definitely lead you in the right direction. While you’re waiting for that help to arrive, take notes. Makes lists of what your child does or doesn’t do. Make note of situations or activities that set them off. The more information you can present to the professionals, the quicker a diagnosis and assistance can arrive.

2 Books that I highly recommend you read are “The Out of Sync Child” by Carol Kranowitz  AND “Raising a Sensory Smart Child” by Lindsey Biel. Both of these books really helped our family understand our little boy a whole lot better. You will most definitely feel a sense of relief when you read them as you’ll recognize that you’re not alone in your journey with SPD.

1. Change the way you “touch” your child. Many SPD kids and “normal” kids for that matter don’t always like “light fluttery touch”. Rub their backs or skin with purpose, don’t be afraid to apply a little pressure.  It’s also a good idea to “cup your hand” when you touch as opposed to using an open hand or just your fingers. Try it on yourself, you will feel a difference. Something that really calmed our son down was to stand behind him, cup our hands and place them on his shoulders. Then push firmly on his shoulders and all the way down his arms and then repeat. You could literally see and feel him “melting” in front of your eyes.

2. Look at your surroundings. Does his favourite chair face a window?  (The sun may too bright for him). Is his desk at school beside a garbage can or the pencil sharpener? (Those smells and sounds may be too much for him to process). Is his bedroom really busy … as in too many things on the walls, too many toys, etc. (He may need calmer surroundings).  When trying to figure out how to calm your child and make them feel “safe”, step back and look at the big picture. You can make a significant change in his life by just moving a chair, or giving him a ball to sit on. Little changes can be HUGE.

3. Establish a calming “routine or space” as soon as possible. Our son liked a variety of things, but they all involved him being covered up or buried someway/somehow. Those cool little “cocoon” chairs that close up from Ikea work awesome. Blanket Forts, Heavy blankets, crawling tubes, under a coffee table covered with a blanket, all work great. Just figure out a place where they can go chill with little to no stimulation. Pay attention to what sensation they’re always seeking, and figure out a way to feed that need. Be Creative.

4. My son was always seeking out deep touch, so we had to figure out “strong” activities for him to do. He would always carry our groceries for us. We’d dump them by the front door and let him carry them to the kitchen. We also kept full paint cans in various areas around the house and would get him to carry them for us to wherever.  Another great activity for him was to take a pair of pantyhose and wrap them around the bannister on the stairs and let him play tug of war by himself. He would toboggan down the stairs, bumping and banging his little body along the way. He’d lie down on the floor, we’d cover him in couch cushions and push down on him, or let other kids jump on him. We would roll him up in a big blanket like a sausage and roll him around the living room. One of his favourite things was to lay down and let his body be a drum. We would drum on his little back, race hot wheels all over his body, and roll a big ball over top of him. The more creative and sensory we got, the happier we has.

5. At night, he slept with a very heavy weighted blanket and during the day, he would sit and relax with it across his lap. We had to keep his bedroom pitch black in order for his little brain to slow down enough for him to shut off. It took us many tries to find a blanket texture that he could stand touching … we actually ended up taking him to a fabric store and just letting him touch and feel. (If you have a child that just won’t settle, I’d totally recommend giving a heavy blanket a try, even while watching TV. It’s very calming).

6. Items we wouldn’t have survived without: weighted vest, weighted Superman cape, sunglasses, ball caps, fabric tube to crawl inside, super soft fingernail brushes for dry skin brushing, weighted blanket, large yoga ball, paint cans, play tent and bucket loads of “fidgets”. (Bumpy little textured toys of various shapes and size).  We still walk around stores touching and feeling things and letting him buy stuff that just “feels” right. Water tables, sand boxes and hundreds of Hot Wheels to line up and race kept him happy for hours.

Your child will give you many clues as to what they need. Be warned that their needs may change, and a favourite toy or activity today may be repulsive tomorrow. Polar fleece is one of those things for our boy … he either loves it or hates it, there is no middle.He continues to keep us on our toes, but if things get bad, we increase his “sensory diet” and things settle down right away.

A diagnosis of SPD is a little bit overwhelming at first but trust me, it’s not the end of the world. Listen to your child and you’ll find your way through it together. I promise.

Bullying … A New Approach

Bullying. Sucks. A lot. Having been the fat kid growing up, I suffered through my share of it. Not from my peers so much, but from older kids and people in the world around me. Society as a whole can be really hard on  people who are different. Different in any way, shape or form. Body shape, skin color, height, weight, age, sex, glasses, crooked teeth, freckles, etc, etc. It’s a never-ending list of stupid being perpetuated by people who have ZERO confidence in themselves. I survived it, but it hurt. A lot.

Having said all that, I’ve also been the parent of bullies, on a few different occasions. I’ve seen the world through their eyes and their outlook is just as grim as the persons being tormented. These kids believe that they’re worthless and stupid and ugly and horrible and that no one likes them. They feel abandoned by their parents, their friends and the world as a whole. They are lonely in a way that not many of us can understand. They feel powerless in their personal lives and bullying gives them POWER. They are controlling the situation instead of the situation controlling them. Bullying is almost NEVER about the victim, it’s about the Instigator. Almost Always.

It’s sad and maddening, but bullying is never going away. No matter how many posters we hang up, or how many commercials get shown on TV, bullying is here to stay. Think about how many “bullies” you know right now in your own group of friends. We all know someone who will push and push until they get their way. We’ve all got a friend that thinks it’s funny to pick on you or your other friends, and then justifies it with a “just kidding”, or “you know I love you”. I can guarantee we’ve all had bosses that took their position of power to an unreasonable level while we just had to stand there and take it. Are those not all instances of bullying? Adults do it ALL the time … we just use bigger, fancier words.

I think that it is worth educating kids on how to handle a bully. How to safely tell on them, how to avoid certain situations, and how to walk away. Kids need to feel safe at school and in their community. But there’s other ways to educate our kids and teach them to be better, in spite of the bullying going on around them.

Number One. Teach children their worth. If you’re a parent, make sure your children know how fabulous they are. Teach them about strength and confidence and grace. If you’re a teacher, pay attention to the kids that come from bad situations. Be their positive influence. Build your kids up so they find value inside of themselves as opposed to searching for it in the world around them. In my experience, my little “bullies” have had almost no self-esteem and were just desperate to have someone, anyone pay attention to them. No one made them feel good about themselves, so they set out to make other people look worse than they felt. Empower your children. They need your strength, until they feel it themselves.

Number Two. Teach children to not be followers. This seems like a pretty obvious statement, but how many of us really teach it? We teach our kids that there is strength in numbers and that they’re safer in groups. We should be teaching them how to be leaders … good, strong, positive leaders. Bully’s are not all that scary when they’re standing there on their own. Teach children to leave jerks and morons standing there by themselves and walk away. Teach them that it’s not rude to walk away when their friends are being mean or fighting. They don’t need to always have their buddy’s “back”. We spend so much time teaching kids to be polite and not enough time teaching them to be their own person. Give your children excuses for getting out of uncomfortable situations … “my Mom will take away my phone if I stay here”, “If I say that, my Dad will take away hockey”. Something, anything, but give them your words, until they have their own.

Number Three. Teach children that they have a voice. Kids need to understand the power that their words carry, especially positive ones. Teach them that it’s okay to tell people what they’re doing is wrong. That it’s okay to say No, and to stand up for someone else. Teach them how to tell someone when they see bullying occur. Teach them that a smile and a Hello can make a difference in someone’s life. Encourage them to speak up and not be quiet.

Number Four. Teach children that they don’t have to be friends with everyone. A lot of times bullying starts because kids are different from the majority of their peers. Everyone is NOT going to be friends, and that’s okay. The world is a big place and there is a match out there for everyone. Kids need to know that. A lot of times, they think we want them to hang out with the “weirdos”, so they fight against doing the “right” thing.  I always tell my kids that they don’t have to be friends with everyone, but that doesn’t mean they get to be mean to anyone. Ever.

Number Five. Be an example. Do not laugh at the fat person that walks by. Don’t point out someones dirty, awful clothes. Don’t call people ugly, stupid, crazy. Don’t laugh when your children tell you an inappropriate story. They are watching you. They are copying you. Show them the proper way to behave. If you aren’t guarding your words and actions, why in the world will your children?

Finally as parents and adults, OPEN YOUR EYES.

Do not assume that your little “angel” is behaving appropriately at school. If someone tells you that your child has been misbehaving, don’t brush it off, look into it. Talk openly about bullying and the different forms it takes. Be present in their lives.

Watch for changes in your children. Are they pulling away from you, are talkers suddenly quiet, are social butterfly’s now hiding in their bedrooms? Have they stopped eating or are they grossly overeating all of a sudden? Something is wrong. Get them help.

Bullying is about Power. I’m giving my kids the power, so bullying has NO POWER over them. How about you?