Rolling in a drumHave you noticed that the most inexpensive things make the greatest toys? I clearly remember a Christmas from my childhood when my parents spent more money than usual on our toys. They were looking forward to watching us play with our new toys. However, we surprised them. Instead of playing with our expensive toys, we played for hours with the empty shipping drums in our yard. We found countless ways to use those drums – standing on top and rolling the drum along while we walked (or ran), having races with the drums, curling up inside the drums and rolling down a hill then laughing like crazy because we were dizzy. You get the picture.Ball or apple?

My own children reminded me today to keep things simple. My three-year-old daughter asked for an apple. I thought she was going to eat it. Instead she and one of her brothers rolled it back and forth across the table. The fact the apple was not perfectly round just added some excitement to the game. The apple kept them happy for a good half hour before it finally became a snack.

Do you have any similar stories to share?

The End of 2011

Colorful FireworksAs I write this post, I am sitting beside my younger children who are watching Paddington Bear. My husband and oldest child are at a New Year’s Eve party. On Facebook my cousin mentioned he is also home with the kids, one of whom is ill.

Parents often end up celebrating events in ways that would be unacceptable or at best, unexpected, to those with no children. As a parent I missed most of my nephew’s wedding reception because one of my sons soiled his pants and the nearest clean clothes were a half hour away. Last New Year’s Eve I spent a very quiet evening by myself because one of my sons needed to go to bed early. This New Year’s Eve I’m at home because several of my children are tired out after a week of fun with cousins who were visiting.

I tell my children that often we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond. I choose to be thankful for opportunities to spend time with my young children, building memories that may never be able to be built in any other way. I choose to remember that my children are only young once. I choose to laugh and take pictures of my daughter with a pile of cat food on the living room floor (she was having a “snow ball fight with her brother”) before I help her clean up. I choose to put my hobbies and aspirations on the back burner, or at least delay them until my kids are in bed! Parenting is definitely a challenge, but the rewards are worth it!

The Rush to the Bus

school bus

Getting kids out the door to the bus every morning can be challenging enough for most families. However, when kids have special needs, the challenge is even greater. Parents of kids with special needs perform a delicate dance each day – taking into account the individual needs of each child while also making sure necessary tasks are accomplished.

Take this morning for instance. When I told Levi to make his lunch, he ignored me and kept playing. I set the timer and again instructed Levi to make his lunch. This time he came out of his room and threw a few choice words my way. “Levi, you have five minutes to make your sandwich. If you don’t, I’ll put a roast beef sandwich in your lunch kit for you.” (Levi is very particular about his lunches and does NOT like roast beef sandwiches.) With a minute to spare, his sandwich was in his lunch kit. His older sister even had him smiling and singing along to a silly song from a Paddington Bear movie.

As soon as I showed up with Levi’s hearing aids, the smile vanished. Levi covered both

A beautiful morning

his ears. “Levi, why don’t you want your hearing aids in today?” No response. I lifted his hand off his left ear and immediately an elbow took its place. “Levi, I need you to tell me why you don’t want your hearing aids in.” Still no response. I remembered the school was having some issues with Levi’s FM system – more than one piece of equipment on the same frequency which resulted in Levi hearing instructions from another classroom. “OK, Levi. You need to wear one hearing aid today. Your right one doesn’t have the FM on it. How about if I put that one in for you?” Levi looked at me, still not totally convinced. However, he did allow me to put his right hearing aid in.

“Time for jackets!” Four kids raced for jackets. Levi went to his room. I helped my three-year-old daughter put on her snowsuit and found Levi’s mitts and toque. I placed them on the floor next to his backpack. Levi was still in his room. As I entered his room, Levi hit the floor. It was clear he was heading under the bed. I caught him and sat him on my lap. “Levi, it’s time to go to school.” He shook his head. All morning Levi had been telling me by his actions that he didn’t want to go to school. Time was ticking. I knew the bus was coming. What should I do?