If you missed Shirley Broback on CFAX 1070 this morning on Real Parenting, you can listen back to the interview here:
At each of our events, the Vancouver Island Baby Fair partners with a local charity to benefit from fundraising through donations at the stroller parking, face painting, and the photo contest. For the upcoming Victoria fair on September 25 & 26, 2010, we have chosen the Greater Victoria Down Syndrome Society. The following post was contributed by the GVDSS.
By Carol N.
The Greater Victoria Down Syndrome Society is thrilled to be this year’s charity of choice for the Baby Fair! We are very excited to be able to advocate for our wonderful members, raise awareness about Down syndrome, and share in the joy and excitement of the Baby Fair with all of you!
This year we will have some art cards for sale at the booth. The purpose of the art cards is to raise awareness about the GVDSS, while at the same time raise money to help support one of our very special programs: Music Therapy, which is run in collaboration with Dr. Johanne Brodeur at the Victoria Conservatory of Music.
On a Personal Note: Our Story
When our son Aidan came into our lives, many people said, “God gives these kids to special families.” I didn’t contradict them, but I did think they had it backwards. I felt very certain that Aidan would make us live a better life. Now, four years later, I stand by that notion.
Aidan reminds us not to take life for granted. He reminds us to celebrate life, give thanks for all that we’ve got, and not to sweat the small stuff. Our family and friends rally around Aidan.
We celebrate each of his accomplishments – like walking at three years of age; trying to go potty; using sign language to communicate with us; putting words together; learning to drink from a straw; doing fingerplays and action songs; kicking a soccer ball; cheering for his preschool teacher at circle time; and blowing a kiss to the check-out lady.
Since Aidan’s birth, I’ve had an opportunity to meet a lot of people who have a person with Down syndrome in their life. I’m reminded that our children are all unique, and all special. They are not cookie-cut outs of each other – they are as individual as you and me. In each of those conversations, one thing has been consistent: not one of us would trade our children for anything; we love them just the way they are.
“The first day after my birth,” says the Dalai Lama, “immediately I learned, I experienced mother’s sort of compassion. That is I think the most important part of building a healthy family and that means healthy humanity.”
Happy 75th Birthday to the Dalai Lama!
Building Toys – The Perks
Guest post written by Carmen Markowski, Discovery Toys Team Leader
If we took a poll of everyone in North American age fifty years and younger, I wonder what percentage of people have played with Lego at some point in their life? I’m going to guess it’s somewhere between 85-95%. I think it’s safe to say, most of us have had some experience with building toys. My own brothers had a huge box of it and I can remember being around nine years old when, my little brother and I would sit for hours creating fantastic structures. It’s pretty easy to see the benefits a building toy can offer a child…fine motor skills, problem solving, creativity, cooperation (especially when you have to share the building pieces!). However, what does that mean in the day-to-day life of a child?
I feel like I understand so much more about the perks of building toys now that I’ve seen my own son go through his early years. Luke had very busy hands as a toddler, so playing with building toys was a great release for him and a good break for me. It meant he wasn’t tearing my house apart! His first building toy was simple wooden blocks. Playing with the blocks meant he had to focus his attention for several minutes in order to complete the task of creating a structure. He was only two years old, but he definitely needed practice in this area! Building blocks were just the beginning to his career as a builder. I found he enjoyed many different building sets from ages 2-5 and spend a good portion of his play time building.
I must admit, I had a concern about Luke during those early years. Although he would sit and color once in awhile, I was hard pressed to get Luke to have an interest in writing words or printing letters. The school teacher side of me imagined my children having lots of experience in writing before entering school and unfortunately this just wasn’t the case for Luke.
Luke surprised me in his kindergarten year. His printing: neat, well-formed letters. Writing did not bring any stress to him because he found it easy! He was good at it and he enjoyed it. Coloring: he pressed hard and worked within the lines. Could it be, he was a natural in these areas? That’s always a possibility. The teacher side of me says, for a child to have some skill in writing and coloring upon entering school, they would have had lots of experience at home with writing and coloring OR doing some other activities which developed the child’s fine motor skills. Well, we know which route Luke took!
So building toys…yes, they develop fine motor skills, offer problem-solving experiences, opportunities for creativity and cooperation. They’ll also help a child focus their attention on an activity for an extended period. And should your preschooler be waiving off the pencils and crayons, it could help them develop the skills they need for printing/writing. A skill they will be expected to develop quickly upon entering our school system. Thank goodness for toys!
Every so often it’s a good thing to pause and tell our loved ones how we feel. This is all about Mike, my husband and father of our two kids and a whole bunch of reasons why I think he’s an awesome dad and husband.
It started long, long ago before we had kids, before we were married, about 15 years ago when I convinced you that we should leave our jobs and go on a road trip across Canada and the northern United States in your crappy K-car. It was on that trip, somewhere in the middle of Pennsylvania that I turned to you while you were driving and said, “I wanna have your baby some day.”
Years later, after loads of crazy adventures & experiences I realized that you were truly my rock. My mom died. Your patience and unwaivering devotion and support during my epic grieving…. I knew you were a keeper.
Then we decided to multiply. And you came to 100% of my prenatal appointments and you supported my desire to have a homebirth with midwives and you supported my wish to have a doula present. You did the research. You read the books. Knowing that while this was the birth of OUR child, this was MY body’s experience and my deep, deep desire to envelope the birthing room with positivity and trust in my ability to give birth. Thank you for helping to make that possible- twice.
Then when breastfeeding really sucked for a while there, you stayed by me, supporting me in my wish to breastfeed our baby. You knew I could do it, even when I wanted to hand you the baby and run far, far away, yelling, “Good luck with that!”
So I’d like to thank you, for putting family first, for taking night time wake-up calls from the kids (unless breastfeeding is required or there’s vomit involved- those are my jobs) for taking time off work to help me prevent post partum depression the second time around, for reading to the kids every day, for playing road hockey with our son when you’d rather be vegging on the couch after work, for being a human trampoline for hours on end with our two little monkeys and for wearing a feather boa if that is what our daughter requires of you.
You are my hero and an inspiration!
Happy Fathers Day!
For some of us motherless mothers, the holiday of Mother’s Day is bittersweet. Is this a day to remember our moms? A day to celebrate our own motherhood? A little of both?
Here’s a lovely idea I wanted to share to honour our mothers: Capture the essence of her, whether alive or passed on & write a short story of her life. Starting with a photograph, a letter, a recipe or memory of your mom, write a few paragraphs or a couple of pages of facts you know about her life. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple.
If you are lucky to have a mom who’s still here, perhaps shoot a little video of your mom this Mother’s Day. Ask her a few questions about her life. Or for those of us who can’t do that, why not create a small list of interview questions and ask your kids what they think of you. Video tape them answering or just write down the answers. Again, keep it simple and just do it. Life goes by so quickly and ideas fall to the wayside. It’s nice to have these kinds of memories to look back on and they are super easy to do.
You will be glad you did!
By: Shirley Broback, Producer of the Vancouver Island Baby Fair
When you are pregnant, it can feel like it’s open season for unsolicited advice & birth stories from other parents.
In the end of my pregnancy with my daughter (see photo below) it felt like I was as wide as I was tall. I was huge! Everywhere I went there were stares. Everyone wanted to know how a short woman like me could give birth to what seemed would be a gigantic baby or made comments like “looks like you could pop any minute!” Although these comments started when I was only six months along.
Yes, I knew I had another big baby. (My son had been 9 1/2 pounds)
When the midwife palpated my belly she knew too.
But she was pretty confident in me based on my previous “uneventful” birth experience. (Right, like giving birth can EVER be “uneventful”!)
So all we could do was wait and see. And try to surrender to the labour that awaited me.
When people see a pregnant woman, it’s tempting for some to feel the need to warn her or provide their detailed stories whether she’s interested or not. It is likely that her birth experience will be much different than yours, regardless of the “helpful” advice you provide and even the best of friends might have different fears or make different choices about their birthing options.
Decompressing and sharing our birth stories is a really healthy, natural thing to do. It’s a life-changing experience we have just been through and most women want or need to talk about it, especially in the early postpartum days.
However, I think it’s important to not flood a pregnant woman’s thoughts with our own stories in those last couple months of her pregnancy. She is busy getting ready for her own experience, physically and emotionally. This is her journey right now.
In the last trimester of pregnancy we need to plant the seeds of confidence in women. Share your own amazing moments & perhaps some good tips- if she’s interested- but save any epic battle birth stories for later during mommy bonding coffee dates.
A friend gave me a little pin to wear that said, “Happy birth stories please. My baby is listening.”
Originally posted by an exhibitor of the Vancouver Island Baby Fair, Cristi Lundman of HuckleBerry Baby Shop
Car Conversations: Courtship Camp
Tonight, I am definitely posting something different. I recently shared this with friends on Facebook. Everyone seemed to enjoy it to such an extent, that I am going to share it on this blog as well. What follows was a conversation I had with my seven-year-old as we drove from the post office to Huckleberry Baby Shop yesterday. Often vehicular discourses with our children can be the most revealing and entertaining of any conversations we have with them in a day. What follows is a prime example:
Olivia: Mommy was there anything in the mailbox for me?
Me: No, just some bills for me.
Olivia: What about for Daddy?
Me: No, but he can share the bills with me. That’s what married people do.
Olivia: They share a bed too right?
Me: That’s right.
Olivia: That would not be good if the man was a really loud snorer. A woman should get to sneak in and listen to a man sleeping before she marries him. Hmmm. They should make a marriage camp that ladies can go to to pick out a husband. The men would have to go to stations and wear name tags so that the women could remember who the men were when they moved to the next station.
Me: That’s an interesting idea. What would take place at each station?
Olivia: The first station would be a sleeping station so that the woman could find out if the man snored loudly. It would be really hard to sleep and share a bed if he was a really loud snorer.
The next station would be an eating station. You would not want to marry a really sloppy eater.
After that, they would go to the bathroom station to check and see if they were very very stinky in the bathroom.
After that would be the waiting station. The man would have to sit for a very long time and the woman could watch him to see if he was patient.
The last station would be the love station. It would take place in a room decorated with pink hearts. The men would lay around on pink couches and the woman could look at them to see if she loved them.
Me: What about the men? Would they get to choose which women they loved?
Olivia: Yep. They could raise their arm on the couch and wave and yell, “Hey woman. I love you!”
The last part would be the pick-up area where the woman would get to pick up the man she chose. They would leave together to go plan their wedding.
Ideal courtship, according to Olivia, age seven!