Stand Up For Yourself-Even If Nobody Is On Your Side

So we all know how mean kids can be right? Calling names, ignoring people, telling other kids that they don’t want to play with them. You get the idea.

My daughter takes all of those things right to heart. Even raising your voice totally overwhelms her. She has been having a hard time lately with kids in her school and daycare being mean. I get that most kids have their moments, call someone a name or do something that may hurt someone else, but I also think that everyone has a right to their own feelings and body. Everyone also has a right to stand up for those feelings and their body or personal space whenever someone is infringing upon it. So now let me tell you how the last 2 days have gone in our house.

Yesterday morning I picked out my daughter’s clothes for her and asked her to get dressed. The first pair of pants that I picked out for her were too small (no big deal), “Here are your favourite jogging pants instead” I said to her. She looked at them and broke down in tears. “I can’t wear those! They make me look FAT and STUPID”.

EXCUSE ME? First of all, let me point out, that we do not use the word FAT in our house (in my blog yes I do, but not in spoken word). I grew up with body image issues. I know what that one word can do to a little girl, even when said indirectly. Even as I am working on my fitness I do not say that I am trying to lose weight or I think I’m fat etc. I say that I am trying to become healthier and stronger.

So I asked her, “What do you mean they make you look fat and stupid? They are your favourite. Your look great in them, you feel good in them. Who made you think those mean things about yourself?” Well apparently, the last time that she wore these particular pants, a girl at daycare told her that those pants made her look fat and it was a stupid outfit that she wearing. My daughter, being herself, did not say anything back to this girl or stand up for herself at all. She just was sad about it. After a bit of coaxing she ended up wearing those pants confidently with the attitude that if this ‘mean girl’ says something again my daughter would tell her that she was being rude and basically to get lost lol

Now onto last night. My daughter came home from school and told me that something had ‘happened’ to her at recess today. Apparently, while playing with a small group of kids, one of the boys asked her to take a look at something. She didn’t want to so he decided to force her head against the fence and hold her there until she looked. No teacher saw, no one did anything, including my daughter. She said she cried because it hurt and told him to quit but he didn’t.

Honestly, I lost my shit at this point. Not going to lie. Seriously? WTF?

So my best parenting advice came out at this point. I told my daughter that if anyone EVER does this to her again…to punch them. I told her that if anyone touches a part of her body without her permission to kick their ass. Lay them out. Push, punch, kick. Whatever you have to do to protect your own body. That is YOUR body and YOUR personal space. NOONE is allowed to enter it without your permission.

She was scared of getting into trouble at school but I reassured her that if that happened she would be ok at home. Obviously I stressed that we do not START fights. We do not hit because we don’t like someone or something or just for no reason. That is important. But as a child, as a girl, she has every right to protect herself.

Do I regret giving her this advice? HELL NO. It’s the truth! Everyone has a right to their own feelings and their own bodies. Do I hope that she punches someone? Not necessarily. But I hope that she does learn to stand up for herself one day. We all have to protect ourselves, no one else will.

 

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ADHD Life-A bad day

This is an older post that I wrote on a bad day. At the time I had decided not to post it because…*what would people think?!* But if you have read my blog, then you know that I try to be honest…sometimes to a fault.

I am going to post this today because well, I cannot be the only mother who has ever felt this way at one time or another.  This is not a constant feeling, it was just a feeling in the moment. This does not make me a bad mom, it makes me a REAL mom. A real PERSON.

A Bad Day

As I sit at the dinner table all by myself, tears falling into my untouched plate of food, I wonder if anyone else has ever had a moment where they hate their child?

It sounds so awful. I cried just thinking it. But I have had moments, like right now, where I have hated my daughter.

Maybe it is not hate towards her, maybe it is hate towards the life that we live or the way that we have to behave or the uncontrollable screaming and name calling that is coming from the other room.

It only lasts a few minutes. I should be able to handle it. But when your child is calling you an awful mother, screaming it at you with such venom, saying they don’t want to live because you are so awful, over and over, it is hard to keep your composure.

When we have a good day, it is SO GOOD. When we have a bad day, it is SO BAD. Sometimes it only affects the time that the ‘BAD’ takes place but a lot of time it puts tension on the entire day and it is so hard to shake it off.

Patience mommies…patience. It will get better.

-3rd Generation Mommy

Mother-Daughter Trip to Toronto

My summer, so far, has been really wonderful. I work a lot and I don’t get to spend as much time with my daughter as I would like to. So we carved out special time to go on a few vacations. One being our very first time going on a trip ALONE, just the two of us.

For our Mother-Daughter trip we decided to go to Toronto. Only a few (4) hours away from home, but we had been talking about this trip for close to 2 years. All of the fun attractions we would get to go to, the amazing sights we would see, and of course all of the shopping that we would do. And trust me…we did them ALL! Going into it I was really nervous about how my daughter would react to the noise and total chaos that is Toronto (remember her issues with change in setting etc). Honestly though, I was totally surprised by her grown up attitude and the fact that she literally had ZERO break downs the entire trip. Sadly, I cannot say the same for myself lol

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Our first subway ride #UnionStation

We had a lot of firsts (for both of us) on this trip. First time travelling alone, first time going to the CN Tower!! (WHAT?), first time riding the subway, first time at the aquarium. It was all amazing and we got to do all of these firsts together!

Our first day was The CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium. This was honestly the day that I worried about Brook’s reactions the most because  we were taking the subway, there would be a ton of walking and it would be super busy, and I just didn’t know what to expect. Brook’s reaction was not the one to worry about though because she did amazing, staying calm and keeping it together. I, on the other hand, did not keep it together. Before we left the hotel I

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CN Tower fun

had a panic attack. We almost didn’t go out. But after talking to my cousin (he lives in Toronto and gave me some direction) I got my bearings and we headed out. It was all about me not being able to take full control of our surroundings but my daughter and I empowered ourselves that day and it felt incredible.

We ended up having the MOST amazing day that day. It was actually my favourite day of the entire trip. Brook’s reaction to seeing the CN Tower was priceless. And the endless fish tanks at the aquarium, with a million different things to learn about, had us busy for a few hours.

We spent the next day at The Ontario Science Centre. It took us 5 hours and about 12,000 steps to get through it but we honestly loved every second of it. They had a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not exhibit that was pretty impressive and my daughter is all about science and experiments so it was the perfect place to spend the day.

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AMERICAN GIRL #lookatthatface

The third day was spent shopping. We found out before leaving for Toronto that it has one of the only American Girl Doll stores in Canada. Well my daughter is ALL about AG. Obsessed! So this was an obvious stop on our trip and I set money aside just for this moment. The excitement that radiated from her all the way there and then the smile that was PLASTERED on her face from the moment we saw that iconic red sign until she fell asleep that night. Lets just say these moments will be something we both hold onto for years to come.

Our entire trip I reminded myself (and my daughter) that we were here to have fun. There was no rushing aloud. We decided that if we didn’t make it to a certain place one day, we would just go the next day. We took our time getting to and from each place, exploring everything along the way and just taking in the scenery! Taking time to ‘smell the roses’ if you will.

Our trip together was part of building our Mother-Daughter bond.  It was quite amazing learning things about my daughter that I didn’t know before. Seeing how much of a young lady she is becoming before my eyes. Seeing how strong she really is. Seeing how she struggles but is learning to manage her emotions and reactions that come with the territory. I am happy to report that the trip was eye-opening and definitely brought us closer together.

As for the rest of the trip I will let the pictures speak for themselves 🙂

Life With My Daughter-Changing Plans and ADHD

You have heard me talk about my daughter’s ADHD and the yet to be diagnosed, “learning disorder” that affects her ability to cope with changes, deal with her emotions and regulate the way she handles responses to external stimuli.  Going to new places, trying new things, doing regular family stuff that involves being out in public or just around people in general (even our own family) and any kind of quick change of plans or change in routine…we do all of those things differently than most. We introduce things slowly. Brook has to be mentally prepared for pretty much anything that we do. We plan things well in advance in order to give her the best shot of being able to enjoy herself.

For instance at the beginning of each school year we go in the week before school starts so that she can be prepared and will know where her new desk is, where her new locker is, what the new teacher’s routine is. When having a family party we have to start talking about it weeks in advance, explaining that there will be lots of people in our home, it will be crowded, noisey, she has to use her manners and if she gets over whelmed to tell us and take a break in her bedroom with the door shut. The extra planning doesn’t always help. When we had her First Communion last year she was excited to have all of these people over and have a party, until the last second before we left for the church, when she started crying and yelling and asking us to cancel the party…she wasn’t going to First Communion at all! But for the most part planning helps.

I’ll give you two examples of what happens when we dont plan, or when we do plan but the plans change.

Example 1) Going to her friend’s birthday party at a family fun center. We talked to the mom and she told us exactly what we would be doing in the order that we would be doing them in (I love parents that are totally open to helping make experiences for Brook so much more enjoyable), I explained to my daughter what each activity was and how she would play it. We get there, everything is fun, she is having a great time but then the one activity that we were supposed to do (laser tag) was not working so we had to do bumper cars instead. She had a melt down. She was prepared for laser tag and not bumper cars. She could not wrap her head around the change until I explained to her exactly what she would do, from walking to the bumper car, getting in, and driving it around. I had to have her watch the other kids so that she could see how the cars were used. She eventually went on and had a great time (YAY) but the before was the struggle.

Example 2) Right after we learned that my daughter has this disability (whatever it is) but before we had learned anything about it, we planned a trip to Disney World. Every kid’s dream right? We made it a surprise for her…you can only imagine how that turned out! She was miserable for the first 2 days as she acclimatized herself to the new surroundings. She cried, whined, wants to go home, did not want to leave the hotel room…for 3 days! It was awful. I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. She eventually came around, got used to the crowds and the different setting and had a great time, but those first 3 days were brutal.

This is just a glimpse into our life. Everyone’s experiences are different. Everyone has their own opinions. These are mine.

3rd Generation Mommy

Life With My Daughter-Giving Up Is Hard To Do

Today I watched my daughter give up on something she is Completely in love with. One of the things that she has worked so hard for (outside of school). The one thing she was so excited to do every week. It was the one thing that, after she had done it for a while, you could see the change in her (for the better). Today I watched as my daughter’s disability took over.

My daughter has ADHD as you know. She also has another, yet to be diagnosed, ‘learning disorder’ that affects her ability to cope with changes, deal with her emotions and regulate the way she handles some of her responses to external stimuli (among many other things). Going to new places, trying new things, doing regular family stuff that involves being out in public or just around people in general (even our own family) and any kind of quick change of plans or change in routine…these things are excruciatingly difficult for her.

Over the years we have tried many different extracurricular activities; soccer, dance, Girl Guides etc.  These were all her choices of what new activity to try next. And while the idea of doing these things really appealed to her, the social aspect of these activities threw her for a loop and she hated them ALL. We are not a quitting family, so yes she had to finish out the season or the session of whatever she had chosen to try but after each session was finished she was not required to go back unless she wanted to. The only one that had stuck, for a while at least, was Girl Guides and that was because I became one of the leaders in the hopes that she would be able to feel more comfortable with me there to support her if she needed it.

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Feeding Ginger

Then came horseback riding and it was love at first trot.  She was scared at first, who wouldn’t be? But then she flourished. Horseback riding constantly brings her out of her comfort zone, pushes her to do things she didn’t think she could do. It makes her work on things that she normally struggles with like independence or trying those new things. It built up her confidence, helped her with leadership skills and to learn responsibility.

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Playing with Houdini

 

Within a few weeks she was blossoming into such a different girl. She was coming out of her shell, she was happier, less likely to ‘freak out’ over the little things. She LOVED horseback riding and her Ponies, Ginger and Houdini. If she wasn’t riding at the farm or doing her chores at the farm, she was talking about riding, making her dolls ride their ponies, building “jumps” at home and pretending to ride a horse while galloping at full speed and jumping over them herself. Obsessed is the word I would use, but that was ok with me. I LOVED that she loved something this much. I loved that when we left the farm she would ask how many days it would be before she would be able to go back and ride again. Nothing peeked her interest quite like horseback riding did.

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Yes she is backwards on her horse. Around The World builds confidence.

And then one day, just a few weeks ago, she froze atop her horse. Anxiety is what I am guessing it was and it stuck. She froze like she was terrified. She started to cry and she couldn’t move even with her trainer right beside her talking to her. None of us know why. We’ve asked B and she doesn’t know, she just all of a sudden is scared and cannot handle it. We tried going back to the basics, no riding just brushing her ponies, walking her ponies, playing with her ponies and bonding with her ponies. She loved it. She wanted to ride. She was ready she said. So we got her back up on a pony and she froze again. Didn’t even get a single step in before tears started rolling down her cheeks and she had that same panic attack all over again.

 

It was awful to watch her react that way to something that she loves doing. All the way home she cried and said ‘I hate myself’, ‘I hate my body and brain for not letting me ride’, ‘I want to ride but I am so scared now and I don’t know why’. It

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Riding Houdini with no lead rope.

was absolutely heartbreaking. It was heartbreaking because nothing happened that should have made her scared. It was heartbreaking because a ‘normal’ kid wouldn’t have these difficulties. A ‘normal’ kid would be able to work through their fears. It was heartbreaking to see B not being able to work through those fears. It was heartbreaking to watch her give up on something that she loves so much even when she knows she wants to do it.

 

Today I watched as my daughter cried while she brushed her pony, knowing that we wouldn’t be back (at least for a while) until we could figure out why this was happening. Today I watched as my daughter gave up on one of her dreams. Today I watched as my daughter’s disability took over and the only thing I could think of was; is this what the rest of her life, our lives, will be like?