What Conversation Are You Having?

Bones – children’s bones – of Indigenous People. Of families torn apart from their blood and flesh. Forced to assimilate in Residential schools run by Catholic Churches and their nuns.

The stories have been told before – over and over again. The same cries that are not being heard. The same patterns that are evident and are left to be ignored. The horror resurfacing and heavy on our hearts.

It’s time to change the conversation about what we do next. The conversation about the harsh realities of history.

The conversations to increase awareness of the truth, the teaching moments with our kids to be aware of these patterns that still exist in this very moment. It’s in our literature, in our media, in our education system, in our popular culture that white culture is dominant, therefore creating the silos of minorities – who are non-white people – who are coloured people – the people who get the worst of an unequal deal.

Change the conversation now

During our homeschooling year, my daughter asked me to help her with her gr. 5 social studies assignment. She had to answer questions after reading a few pages of a virtual textbook. She couldn’t find the answers so I was delighted to help her research. Then I read the questions. Instantly I knew it was going to be a moment of peeling off a layer of blinders from her innocent world so that she could be aware of this knowledge of history that still impacts our country.

I taught her this new history lesson that will open her eyes for her world to come. The truth about how Canada came to be. In the end I gave her two versions: one that had school appropriate language or the way I wrote it. She chose the way I wrote it 😉 – my girl. I focused on the concept of Settlers vs. Indigenous that affects the whole world on so many different layers. I gave her more of the truth that the textbooks don’t expose.

Why did the Europeans come to Canada?

  • To claim land and territory from the original people who lived there – The Indigenous People of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities.
  • To start colonizing by breaking up families, taking children, to create new communities on this claimed land.
  • To extort the land of all its resources for trading and commerce built for the European, resource-hungry – white – man.
  • Disregarding Indigenous ways to preserve land and resources, and a balanced way of life.
  • To force religion upon the Indigenous People by taking their children away to assimilate into Christianity. Stripped of who they were and their spiritual beliefs. And now evidence of this genocide is where we are left waiting for some start of reconciliation for this nation.

How did it affect the Indigenous People?

Their land was invaded. Their ways of living drastically and tragically changed forever because of the European ‘settlers’ coming to explore to exploit, to enforce their culture (as if superior) in every way, especially trade and commerce, to adapt and to somehow survive this crisis after being thrown to the wolves time and time again.

There’s also something called the ‘Sixties Scoop‘, where Indigenous children were taken from their homes to be adopted by white middle class families throughout North America. Just imagine and try to understand the trauma and the ripple effects of these governed acts upon more than 20,000 innocent children, now older adults or gone.

Imagine people with many generations of culture, not being able to be fully who they were because another culture decided that they were superior and thought it was OK to take and disrupt for the ‘exploration’ eras. Imagine the pain of the parents who never heard from their children again. We are way past the exploration and excavation of land but not really. We thought we were past the degrading of minorities but not really at all.

Where we stand is in a hot spot of deciding what to do next, how to think for ourselves, how to overcome this superiority complex that is the very barrier of why the world is stuck in this vicious cycle.

What do we do now?

Increase your awareness and your understanding. Eliminate ignorance and superiority. Experience kindness with humility so we can start a new cycle of balanced structure and organization. We’ve all heard it before but it’s time to take action in treating others how you want to be treated. Do one thing today that will engage the right energy towards humanity that will serve only goodness.

***A BIG PART OF HEALING IS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT, UNDERSTANDING, AND RECONCILIATION TO MOVE FORWARD. There is a framework of resources that are found in this guide called “Let the Truth be Told“, an Indigenous Oral Testimonies Activities Guide.

The Legacy of Hope Foundation is a national, Indigenous-led charitable organization that works to promote healing and Reconciliation in Canada, which is the important step in spreading awareness in our homes and in our education systems. Increase our understanding of history, ‘civilization’, popular culture, as well as using the tools for reconciliation and healing to rebuild a better nation.

Change the conversation you have today with your family. Start with your circle and let it organically grow from there.

New Earth…Better World – Rebuild it now.

What’s Nudging You?

Have you ever had that feeling of something nudging you from deep within?

Nudging you to do something different?

Nudging you to step outside of your comfort zone?

Nudging you to get excited or to move on?

Nudging you to push you to grow and expand?

A gentle encouragement or an abrupt sign – listen to what your intuition is saying.

Take action to listen to these nudging feelings to interpret something meaningful.

Even if the feelings are uncomfortable and scary, or exciting and moving –

LISTEN.

The outcome of these deep-rooted messages is to encourage growth.

Take the time to LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND.

Only then can the actions be taken to leap to your next step!

I Am a Mother

My Body

A not so young mother of three, ages 11, 9, & 6. All born by C-section, the first two were messy emergency deliveries, and each had their share in the NICU for our short stay. One miscarriage before my oldest, one before the middle one. My body’s been through hell and back during these child-bearing years. Stories I never want to tell expecting moms.

I reminisce on Mother’s Day, as I smother my (tall) first born in my arms, on the moment I became a mom.

No one told me it was going to be so hard in the beginning where you’re in so much pain after being cut open and sewed back together again. Where the nurse demanded me to walk myself to the bathroom then out in the hallway or else I’d swell up like a balloon, which was already the case!

No one told me that once we got home, I was supposed to take care of this little baby without any provisions from the hospital. Just to figure it out as you go – which pretty much sums up parenthood. We have great supports but in those moments of dreaded night time feeds while in zombie mode, moms step up like no other human can.

And the fact that we can produce superfood with our boobs is phenomenal. But that’s not why we are superhuman. Mothers are a different category because of the many layers of strength, love, compassion, understanding, planning, and conviction that is instilled in us to combat the degrees of variables of obstacles, worries or fears and turn them into joy.

My Heart

There is a constant battle of showing equal attention, equal love, equal time for every single one at all times. No matter what there always seems to be one who is not happy because of this and that and this and that and this and that. No matter how hard we try to accommodate.

That’s where the F-bombs and screaming come in. After all that we do as parents, there’s always the one who throws the last straw as if they’re testing the grounds for messy explosives. This mom was not built for that last straw. Once my cup is full, it pours out in profanities. So beware and be brave.

Patience at negative zero.

The reason why I created my blog Dr Jekyll Mommy Hide. A place where I can secretly hide to vent about what happens when the triggers are pulled. Then how I heal by loving hard with open heart while being ever so grateful for my life. Making everyone promise, including myself, to be better next time.

The mixed emotions of parenting on top of being a working mom, leads me turning to writing time and time again. The process is so therapeutic and keeps me in my sacred safe zone. I can lock myself in this process even when I don’t have anything to say because there’s always an endless flow, is what I ultimately learn in the end.

I felt the nudge to accept that, as writing is my secret hiding place, I need to learn how to be more open to share.

My Soul

Without a doubt, I love and adore my kids, and would do most things for them. Yes, they squeeze the life out of me but it’s my job to keep inflating back up until they learn to be totally independent people. I have to trust that I’m raising them with dignity, alongside my soulmate, and that everything will be alright.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to use my sacred tools as a therapeutic process to ground and filter all depths of emotions of motherhood. Motherhood is raw but the essence of my soul is a part of them. To feel beautiful, ugly, sane, crazy, lovely, chaotic all at the same time in our pack of five. Somehow, we survive.

Right now for as long as it will last, I’m a happy mother. 😉

Live to Tell

Thank you for this given Grace

To switch my perspective and my face

That the bigger picture is what stands

No matter what the circumstance

Trust that all will be good

Is what needs to be understood

Even on a heavy downer day

Keep going, don’t lose your way

It will feel lighter

Even on a different day

Keep working on continuous

Mind, Body, and Soul

Lessons from all experiences

Ready to unfold

Tell your story. Live to tell.

Why a CDA?

How I imagine language stored in the brain ready for output.
Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

I am a Communicative Disorders Assistant (CDA), more commonly known as a Speech Language Assistant (SLA), (recent grads may be using Communication Health Assistant), who supports a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) (and/or Audiologist) by:

  • Providing treatment that is customized for the client, their family, and their learning styles.
  • Targeting speech and language therapy goals from the SLP (or Audiologist) in a treatment plan.
  • Collecting data or language samples for measurement of progress of goals, types of prompts and cues.
  • Creating and programming Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) visuals.
  • Writing progress notes documenting types of prompts and cues to support.
  • Providing feedback to the client and their caregiver about weekly progress and homework.
  • Monthly meetings with SLP for documentation review and joint sessions as per allotted supervision.

How Do I Do All of This?

  • Play – songs, books, toys, sensory, pretend & imaginary play, constructional.
  • Activities – art, music, drills – anything that is interesting to the client.
  • Games – people games, rule-based, structured, made-up, reinforcers.
  • Conversations – with the client and their families, with the SLP and colleagues, with the community.
  • Handouts – visual representation of strategies and homework for carry-over.
  • In-person (strict guidelines during pandemic).
  • Virtual care (mostly during pandemic).

What Are the Tricks?

  • Encouragement
  • Engagement
  • Balance
  • Flexibility
  • Interpretation
  • Adaptability
  • Understanding
  • Compassion

Educating on Communication

  • Language is the understanding and knowledge of the world around us.
  • Speech is a way to verbally express our understanding and knowledge.
  • Communication is how we connect with others to share these messages: verbal and non-verbal.
  • Connection is the key to a good interaction.
  • A good interaction has a balanced back and forth which leads to opportunities for learning and sharing.

Lessons Learned

  • Foundational skills of a good interaction should not be skipped!
  • A lot of layers of strategies within strategies come into play.
  • Naturalistic approach integrated with structured approach always seems to be successful.
  • Speech, language, and communication are my passion.
  • I can go on forever about these linguistic subjects!

This is me…my ‘why’. Unraveling more potential after my Technical Writing journey, resurfacing for more.

10 Ways to Avoid Punching Walls

Bottom-fist dent

Tips for the homeschool fool who gets played by their kid during virtual school. I no longer want to hide in the vortex every time the triggers are pulled, leaving no holds barred mom to surface with F-bombs and harsh profanities.

The dent in my wall is a visual reminder of how I put my foot down (or punched the wall) and cut the cord to my kid’s endless whining during dreaded online learning. When you’ve had your last straw, you don’t have to punch your wall. Follow these new rules that will set you all straight:

  1. Put your foot down: State what you are no longer accepting within this new boundary.
  2. Cut the cord: Break off ties to what is draining your energy.
  3. Don’t punch a hole in the wall: Instead list 3 tangible things that are going to change that starts immediately.
  4. Set morning alarm for independent wake up routine so it starts first thing in the morning!
  5. Set alarms for each time they have to be on screen. Make sure the kid turns off alarms independently.
  6. Decrease expectations of your kid’s work even if it hurts you.
  7. Help mostly during the most difficult subject.
  8. Onus on the kid to ask teacher for help for other subjects.
  9. Don’t give 2 flying fks if the day wasn’t perfect.
  10. Praise everyone for trying their best. Kids get snacks, parents get provisions.

Yes, the world is a disaster right now. But your home doesn’t have to be. Keep your walls dent-free and remember for all to just try your best. Leave any tips for us homeschool fools that are on the verge of breaking something!

How to Instantly Reset

Prompt: Write a List of 20 Things That Emerge

Another volume done. Begin the next…

I followed a prompt from another writer, who always inspires me @openskystories on Instagram, to write a list of 20 things that emerge. I wrote the list without overthinking (that much). I instantly felt so aligned while I understood my next steps.

In this exercise, I forced myself to look around, then suddenly my senses took over and flowed onto the page – the very last page of my Volume 5: Book of Inspiration – Reinstated.

Senses Coming Through

My senses came through in waves until it flowed intuitively within these 20 things:

Wednesday: Free from teaching homeschool for April Break – and no work tonight!

Sunshine: In the middle of a gloomy week – break from overcast yesterday.

Breeze: Spring breeze coming in from the open screen door by my desk.

Spring: It’s warm, it’s cold, it’s stinky, it’s refreshing.

Grass: Green right now.

Tingling in my hand: From writing, squeezing so hard.

Gazebo: It’s a story of how we got 2 for the price of 1.

Backyard: Our oasis that hubby envisioned.

Outside: Reset.

Feeling free but not quite: So many things to do. Don’t want to do it but I keep thinking about it.

Birds singing: Sounds of Spring. Reminds me of 4am chirping when I cue for my sons to stop gaming and go to bed! Hard truth we are night owls.

My workspace: Love it. Sensible, do-able, perfect.

My writing: Passion but also demise.

My work: Start Volume 6: Confessions of Dr Jekyll Mommy Hide: Professional at work, Freak at night.

Organized: It is but doesn’t look like it.

Unorganized: It looks that way but my space is organized. I feel like this until I write. Organized chaos.

Messy: The dirt around it.

Clean: Is what I should do.

Whatever: It’ll get done at some point!

Be: Go with the flow.

Reset

This 10-minute exercise helped to reset my mind and mode. It’s OK to be light and airy and not stuck waiting for the perfect deep transcending topic – which actually did show itself in the end. Follow your senses, trust your instincts.

Try it, I guarantee it will get you to your next page! What came up for you?

Letter to My Special Needs Moms

Volume 4: Pandemic Journal
Dec 2019-Dec 2020
Volume 4: Pandemic Journal: What I did in my bubble, wondering about yours.

This letter is for all parents and caregivers but mostly for the moms that I’ve built close relationships with:

As I delve into play with your child, you give me your trust to seek out their strengths and honour their personalities. At the same time, your wall is up keeping guard, waiting in defence to protect your special needs child. Not wanting to hear the things they cannot do but waiting to hear the highlights of what they can do.

I will always give the good highlights to ensure that I am nurturing their full potential, as well as yours. I give ideas on how to successfully incorporate strategies that may help strengthen the communication between you and your child.

Specifically things you’re wondering about or have never thought about. I will big up your ideas that you’ve already been doing to make sure you know you’re on the right track. I will also acknowledge that it may be difficult to incorporate new ideas as life may already be too chaotic for change.

I See You, I Hear You

I want you to feel like you can share your story and receive support for who you are as a family while you take in some of my insights and clinical experience. I see you in your homes as I work to engage your little ones to communicate in play. I take your family dynamic as insight to develop my approach.

I share other parent’s experiences as resources for you to let you know that you are not the only one with a tentative night schedule or extraordinary meal plan. I want you to hear some of my personal parental experiences mixed in with clinical because ultimately, we are all parents and protectors of our children.

I want to hear your stories too.

You Have My Support

I customize to your family’s needs and concerns in the moment. I hear your concerns about the future for your child as you may have some challenges with tasks of daily living but I want to ensure you that we need to focus on what we
can control in the moment.

Let’s take one step at a time, starting with what’s right for you and your family and how we can add or change elements to elicit balanced communication.

I want you to have the information that you need on the challenges that parents have shared with me regarding the community and the school system. I want to be a support system in your life as I understand that having children with special needs is not always the easiest journey but encourage you to share their successes big or small so we can celebrate them and educate the world.

I honour being unique and point out these qualities even though it may not look like what you expect.

I want you to know that I am a shoulder to lean on, a friend who can laugh at the insane stories, a friend who can cry at their first words and accomplishments, a friend who can be mad at the world with you, someone who can help advocate for special needs as it can be a jungle out there.

Celebrate Empowerment

I want you to know that I understand outside of the box. I recognize your child’s strengths as huge celebrations and appreciate for a lifetime. I encourage you to share your trade secrets as it could help someone else in their day to day.

I want you to be a part of the bigger movement. You are exactly where you need to be. You can help teach us the relevant steps. I want to super-step awareness and get to the ‘How To’ part. Awareness is the first step but next we need to know how we can help.

How can we help each other in our day to day that will increase our knowledge of what other parents may need, if necessary, in a common setting like the park or a store? Or what life is like during a pandemic being stuck at home?

Everyone’s story is different but may share the same themes. The main thing is the love for your child. How to make them safe, strong, and independent.

Embrace each child’s abilities and learning style to teach concepts to be absorbed and expressed.

You have given me the gift of empowerment as you allow me to share my ideas to further your child’s development. You lead extraordinary lives, my special needs families, with your hard work, day in and day out. I am encouraged to see your happiness with every step your child makes to succeed.

You have given me the power to keep sharing knowledge that will also empower others. There will be ups and downs but knowing that your child is the reason why we empower is showing the whole world that being unique is special.

It’s time to embrace and connect to uplift and change this world a little bit faster than expected so that everyone can understand the true potential of a special needs family. One that has strength and value in my heart and soul.