Tuesday, 29 January 2013

"Mommy Masterpieces" are not just our children!

Our children see us strictly as moms. They don't see us as talented, attractive, or having any other interests other than them. How deceived they are ;)

There are days when my creative juices are flowing and just want to be set free, so I scramble to gather whatever art supplies I may have lying around the house and translate my thoughts into visible creations. Brushes are hard to come by as my kids use them, forget to wash and rinse them, rendering them stiff and useless. Uncapped paints coincidentally turn out the same as the unkept brushes.

Here are just two of my "mommy masterpieces" painted with tole paints. I will post another masterpiece on www.mamakatslosinit.com 's writing prompt page on Thursday. Remember to check it out.

 Send me your creative "mommy masterpieces", in whatever artistic form they may be.
This picture was my own twist on something I saw online.

This pic was an ad in a magazine.                                                                          

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Not for me!

A few years ago my cousin approached me about an invention she had thought up while she was on strict bed rest while pregnant for her last of three daughters. With nothing much to do and ideas streaming through her mind, she was curious about a pendant that could "entertain" baby during breastfeeding time.

This pendant would dangle from a lanyard that mommy would wear around her neck. It would be attractive to baby both through look and feel. As she and I are both artistically inclined, we put our heads together and started creating. We became Pida Infant and maternity Products.

Before we could organise all our thoughts we were informed of a competition for new start-up companies that promised  winners early stage venture capital and  network advisers and mentors. We won $40.000! Boy did this help us.

By the end of development (months and months later, through plenty of ups and downs) we had a beautiful non toxic pendant in four colours that passed all health and safety regulations here in Canada and the USA. The lanyard was approved for its organic cotton and specified length, and the break away clasp was created and approved first of its kind as it would literally break open with less than 5lbs pressure. We were also succsessful in entering the special needs sector, as our invention was being used as fidget toys.

With all this said, and all our potential success looming ahead of us, I hated my job!

I was a great sales person, and made a lot of  successful contacts, but I was not a "desk" person. I was actually beginning to feel nauseous every time I entered our office to start a new day. We travelled on business trips to Atlanta, Georgia and L.A. California which I truly enjoyed, but unfortunately I had to return to my desk. I was getting ill.

I had a lot to carry on my shoulders but so did my business partner. How would this turn out? We came to the conclusion that my role as a business owner had to end. My mental and physical health was at stake. It was not an easy decision, but a necessary one just the same.

We did the necessary paperwork, found her a new business partner and went our separate ways. (Not as simple as it may sound)
 I  helped get the company off the ground, and hope that all my hard work has helped make the company the success that it is today. (presently Sentio Life Solutions)

I have moved on. I am a new published author of a childrens' book entitled "Brynn's Bizarre Behavior",( A look at 8 Year old Brynn's life with Tourette syndrome) and am working on three more. I have a little goat farm, which I find quite therapeutic, and this new blog, not to mention my beloved family.

Life is what you make it, I guess.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

If you give a mom a moment...

  If you give a mom a moment...
it will be on the seventh day
    when she can reflect on all she
    established in the last six.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

"Pubic Awareness?"

So here it goes!

My husband and daughter each received a Hollister t-shirt for Christmas, and unfortunately both were too small. Last weekend they both set out on a journey to our nearest city of Halifax (three hours away) to visit his sister, use up some gift cards and exchange their Hollister  t-shirts for bigger sizes. Everything went well as they had the necessary receipts for these exchanges, and so they picked out two larger sized t-shirts.

After a two day visit to the city my husband and daughter returned home with their wares. My husband took out my daughter's t-shirt to watch for my expected approval. I thought the t-shirt was quite cute, but  disapproved in the bag in which it had been packaged.

This little eco-friendly paper bag was marred with the photo of some toned bodied young man (whose head was cut off) with an unbuttoned shirt draped over his shaved torso and a pair of unzipped jeans strategically portrayed as falling off.

Not only were these jeans unzipped, but the model's left hand was purposefully holding one side as low down  as his pubic area. It was completely obvious that this model had had his pubic area shaved specifically for this photo shoot. 

Hollister  must believe that if private areas have been altered to a certain extent, that this makes their publicity photos acceptable for public viewing.

Of course I mentioned all this to my husband and wondered what his response would be.( He is a very quiet man) He let me know (In his own words.)what an embarrassment it was to walk around the mall with our eleven year old while toting this sexually charged bag.

It's funny, as this bag stayed on our kitchen table for a bit, it became the "elephant in the room". Nobody could resist looking at it so I threw it in the paper recycling bin.(At least it was good for something.)

Now, I'm not only rebuking Hollister, as there are so many more similar examples I could use. Unfortunately for Hollister ( who could care less what I think) this is the most recent experience I've encountered.

I may or may not be a prude.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Sometimes I'm sad I was born this way.

This is an excerpt from "Brynn's Bizarre Behaviour",
A look at 8 year old Brynn's life with Tourette syndrome.
I hope this not only expresses one child's outlook on life, but that it may also help others going through similar struggles to truly appreciate who they are in God's eyes.

Sometimes I'm sad
I was born this way.
Different from others
like night is from day.
But I'm smart and I'm growing
and funny as can be.
I thank God each night
for making special me.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

It all began with Clonazepam! (antipanic or antianxiety agent)

She has missed days and days of school in the last 2 weeks. One panic attack after the other and she is only eleven. As long as things weren't too severe, I kept from giving her this anxiolytic (also antipanic or antianxiety agent) drug called Clonazepam.

Her panic attacks come every now and then. (Usually when we least expect them.) When they do pay us an uninvited visit, we send them off with a small dose of clonazepam, which takes only about 15 minutes to start working. They never actually stop these attacks, but definitely take the edge off, which in turn, allows my daughter to rest and/or focus on something other than herself.

My daughter sometimes lets me in on some of her experiences at school. (I wish she would discuss these issues with me more often so that I could be her voice during parent teacher meetings.) She mentioned that lately every time somebody moved a chair or desk (Squeak!) it would cause her to tic. Just imagine how often this must occur in a class full of rambunctious kids. She admitted that this reason alone was keeping her from hearing and/or retaining anything her teachers would say. How could she possibly focus on school work when all her mental and physical energies were being used to stifle tics.

 During these absences from school, my husband came to the adamant conclusion that our daughter would not pass the year. He never told her this (I was worrying about this too), but she sensed his concern for her impending bad grades, but most of all his disappointment.

This past week has been the ultimate test in our endurance and maintenance of our family unit. After hours of crying and insisting help from anyone, I gave in and gave her this PILL! (It couldn't.t make her any worse, right?) Fifteen minutes went by and no change. Now what? I decided to fall back on an idea that had worked before, and drove her to the nearest ambulance station where I know a few of the attendants. They happily took her vitals, and were pleased to announce that she was in perfect health. NOTHING! Finally my husband sucked it up and took her to outpatients about a half an hour away. Even the triage nurse sensed my daughter's despair and sat her and my husband by themselves in a small waiting room,  to await the following five hours.

At 1:30 am I received a call from my daughter informing me that they were on their way home. She sounded well!  The doctor on call suggested her prescription to Clonazepam was not strong enough, so he gave her a higher dose, which did help.

Two days later I receive a phone call from my daughter's psychiatrist (The doctor from outpatients had informed him of my daughter's visit.) who was reluctant to increase her prescription to Clonazepam but did suggest something new. Perhaps Olanzapine? (An alternative antipsychotic for the treatment of tics) UGGHHH!

The doctor suggests that perhaps significantly decreasing her tics (which are the main components to her anxiety, and therefore  contributing to her absence from school.) would be best managed by taking this drug Olanzapine.

She took her first dose last night (Friday) and will take another tonight and tomorrow night. We are to speak with her doctor first thing Monday morning to discuss it's effectiveness and/or any possible side effects.

Are there any parents out there with info on Olanzapine  and it's advantages or disadvantages on their children's tics or behaviours?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

I was so disappointed in myself.

In our tiny rural Village,(yes village) nestled in Nova Scoatia Canada, we, like everywhere else, have our "village drunk", "village idiot"... and our village's "hopeless cause". Everyone, from one end of our village to the 20 minute drive to the other know this "hopeless cause" by name.

Every now and then, someone, usually a church congregation, puts their hearts on their sleeves and tries their best to change this man's life. But why?

This man was neglected by his parents his entire life. He was abadonned by both his parents while he was yet a young boy. His father left the family and eventually his mother, (with this poor boy's two sisters.) He was left to survive on his own in a rat infested shack, and he was still afraid of the dark.

This boy became a young man in the company of those who accepted him, those who partied with him and those who took advantange of him. It was no surprise that he had no lack of company while he had his own place. His friends acquainted him with drugs and alcohol and unfortunately this young man began using pot to forget his sadness and feel like a super hero.

In time many of his teenage friends eventually matured, got educated, started working and began families of their own. He did all the same things they did except mature and get educated. His extra curicular activities turned into addictions, which still consume him to this day.

He cleaned up some, and during this time he began a family. He and his girlfriend welcomed a baby girl to this world, and a few short years later they added another daughter to their family. Things soon began to go south as he returned to his old habit of drugs and alcohol. (With a few wax and wanes.)

At one point this man was on a good run, clean and sober, I would enjoy talking with him. (He is truly a sweet, but tortured soul.) Hehad quit drugs cold turkey, and I was cheering him on.
He didn't stay on the straight and narrow for long. When he would showed up at the cafe high I would ignore him. I was so angry with him, so much so, I rejected his kindness just like a stubborn child. (I'm am by no means condoning running up to strange drug users with open arms, but I've known this man for years.)

For months and months he would enter the cafe (where I work), and I would roll my eyes at him in disgust.

Snap!  What was I doing? I rejoiced with him in his victories, yet  rejected him when he needed someone the most. I was so disappointed in myself.

Recently this man had to have part of his lung removed due to his crack addiction and 30+ year old smoking habit. Scared straight, he has been clean from crack and pot for a few months now but admits to having a few drinks to calm his nerves. He has spent his entire life drowning his troubled soul through the use of drugs and alcohol, so it's no surprise that he must be feeling raw with emotions that he doesn't know how to deal with.

Last week I brought him with me to bible study. He admits that he doesn't feel worthy of God's love because of his repetative sinful nature. I remimded him that if someone needs to be perfect to accept God as their savior, nobody would be worthy. I'm hoping and praying that he will continue to thrive. He is a hurting man.

 I will choose to be there for him when he needs someone, no matter how I feel.

I can live with disappointment, but not that within myself, especially if I've already learned my lesson once.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Recent irate response from actual teacher!!! What's your opinion?

Just a recap of the previous conversation.

I wrote this on my blog:

Accommodating our expectations of students with mental challenges.
(You may scroll down my blog page to read this earlier post.)
This was a surprising, unexpected response I received from a teacher (whom will remain anonymous) through facebook.

Teachers know that TOOOO OFTEN the kid is just hiding behind these labels. They use add and adhd as an excuse to get out of trouble. How is it that schools ran perfectly for hundreds of years before we started making excuses? Did add just recently develop? I think PARENTING is the biggest thing that has changed. For hundreds of years a paddle solved 99% of school problems and the belt at home took care of business there. Now schools cant even expel SERIOUSLY BAD KIDS because they can hide behind a "behaviour disorder"
so they get to disrupt a class DAILY and the other kids suffer.....but its OK BC we have to accommodate their needs.

My response:


Teacher's final response:

That is why we need 2 tracks of schools. One for special needs and one for the regular kids. But liberals pushed for inclusion, which hurts everyone and helps nobody

What do you think?

Monday, 14 January 2013

My child's psychiatrist prescribed ME Ativan!

About 6 months ago I couldn't understand why I hadn't been coping well with my daughter's TS, OCD or ADD. I was always comparing myself to other moms, and wondering why I found motherhood so difficult. My brain told me that I may have more issues to deal with, but my mind told me I was inadequate regardless. I felt mentally drained all the time.
My husband and I visited our child's psychiatrist one day to discuss her progress, and I was astonished by what the doctor told us. He said that of all the children he treated in the tri counties, our daughter was the "sickest". It was a bitter sweet statement. I was sad to hear that my daughter was so ill, yet happy to hear why I hadn't been coping as well as I thought I should have been.
Furthermore, with my background of depression and OCD the doctor explained that my coping skills would need to be elevated so as to better be capable of helping my daughter. I was feeding of her, and she was feeding off me! It was kind of like "The blind leading the blind."Impossible.
The good doc prescribed me a very low dose of ativan to help take the edge off when I was close to ripping my own hair out during those trying times with my daughter. I only ever used one and noticed no improvement. He said I would probably not notice improvement, even though it was actually taking the edge off.  Regardless of its usefulness, I refuse to take them.
Doc and I had a heart to heart about the perspectives in which I would need in order to cope. I had to search inside myself to understand that I had to separate myself from my daughter's issues. At first I thought this was impossible to accomplish. I finally realised I had to separate myself from her illnesses, not her. It's still a learning curve as each day brings a new surprise.
"Be the advocate your child needs you to be."

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Addressing children's behaviour issues? Now what?

I came upon this current article while scrolling down my homepage on Facebook. It is written by Rick Harper. I found his approach to addressing childhood behaviour problems quite in depth and educative. Unfortunately his article only addresses on how to solve the reasons for these behavioural issues, it does not actually describe on how to deal with these issues as the title says.

5 Approaches to dealing with behaviour issues.

This article will help to clear the confusion and present the five conventional approaches to addressing children’s troublesome behaviour issues.
#1 – Medical
The first expert parents usually turn to for help is the child’s pediatrician. After discussing the behaviours of concern, the doctor will probably conduct or arrange for a number of diagnostic tests. These can range from listening to his/her heart, to looking into his brain using the latest imaging techniques.
The doctor is looking for a medical cause for the inappropriate behaviour. If a medical problem is found and can be fixed, a medical solution is offered. Medical solutions can include:
  • surgery
  • drugs to resolve a clearly defined medical issue (antidepressants, anticonvulsants, hormones, digestive enzymes, etc.)
  • assistive devices (glasses, hearing aids, etc.)
  • diet
I believe the medical approach should be the first line of inquiry for dealing with behaviour issues because no other course of treatment will be successful if, in fact, the cause is medical. Resolving the root medical problem (if there is one) needs to be the first order of business.
#2 – Biochemical
Often doctors do not find a medical reason for the inappropriate actions and the doctor might make an assumption that the child’s brain chemistry is unbalanced.
Many children are diagnosed with conditions like ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and a host of others. Although none of these conditions have definitive diagnostic tests, it is believed that the child’s neurotransmitters need to be regulated and various medications can be used to put them into balance.
The number of children receiving behaviour meds have skyrocketed in recent years. These medications often provide tremendous help, but they can also produce troubling side effects. In addition, some parents are very much opposed to giving drugs to their children for behaviour issues. Careful monitoring by the child’s doctor is a necessity with the biochemical approach.
#3 – Counselling
This treatment is often referred to as, “talk therapy.” It involves communication between the child and the therapist.
The goal is to determine what the child is thinking and how he is feeling. The therapist attempts to help the child examine his thoughts about his world and look for more productive ways to deal with these thoughts.
“Talk therapy” comes in many forms but most require a considerable amount of time for a trusting relationship to be developed. The principles behind the counseling approach have been adapted for children with limited language and cognitive skill by employing play, art or music to explore the child’s feelings. Often times, counseling helps children put the issues in their life into perspective.
A downside of this approach can be that it is quite time consuming and sometimes children are reluctant to share their feelings with the therapist.
#4 – Skills Acquisition
This approach assumes that a child’s behaviour issues result from a skills deficit and he needs specific instruction on how to cope with the demands of living. Social skills training and anger management classes are examples of the skills acquisition approach. The hope is that children will be able to transfer the skills learned in the therapy sessions into her “real” world at home and school.
#5 – Behavioural
Behaviourists believe that actions are learned (trial and error, reward and punishment). They believe that behaviours that happen repeatedly are in some way being reinforced. Typically, people do not repeat actions unless it is somehow working for them.
The behaviourist attempts to analyze the child’s conduct and determine how it is benefitting the child. They will then develop alternative ways for caregivers to respond to the child’s misbehaviour in hopes that the action will not be as reinforced as before.
When you want something to change – you must change something.
All of these approaches are attempting to change something.
The medical approach will attempt to change the child physically.
The biochemical approach will attempt to change the child’s brain chemistry.
The counseling approaching will attempt to change the way the child views and interprets the world.
The skill acquisition approach will attempt to change the child intellectually or cognitively.
The behaviour approach will attempt to change the way others respond to the child.
The first four approaches attempt to change the child with the assumption they are flawed or defective in some way.
The last approach is from a different perspective and asks the parent to consider changing the way they respond to their child, in order for the child to change his behaviour.
Often the best approach in dealing with significant issues is to combine a number of the above approaches. However, no matter how you combine them, remember the behaviour approach must be an integral part of your plan.
Have you tried any of the approaches in the past? In your particular situation, what approach did you find work the best?

"Children remind us to treasure the smallest of gifts, even in the most difficult time." - Allen Klein

Friday, 11 January 2013

Adalia Rose treats my daughter

We've moved!
See Adalia's response here: https://frenglishsoapsandanecdotes.com/2013/01/11/adalia-rose-treats-my-daughter/

It's worth your time for sure!!!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

"Squeaky Wheels"

As parents of special needs children with most of our efforts and energy directed towards "Squeaky wheels" (I use this term lovingly), how do we express to our other children their importance and worth in our lives? Is there any way to properly express this  to them in words?

Does anyone have any stories (related to this subject) they would like to share?

"Be the advocate your child needs you to be."

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

"I'd rather be dead!" she said, at only 8 years old.

My daughter has Tourette syndrome, OCD and ADD. When she was 8 years old she was inconsolable. Her phobia of vomiting was at its worst, her tic was bending backwards( so much so that it hurt), and most of her panic attacks that came along with all of these occurred at night!

I don't know how many nights my husband and I were up with our daughter, trying to console her, without any luck. It was a crippling time for all of us. After so long my parents or my in-laws would rip her out of our arms to take her back home with them, (They all lived just minutes away.) just so we could get some sleep. I often wonder what was on my daughter's mind when we would send her to her grandparents, and hope it hasn't caused any lasting negative affects on her.

School was impossible! How do you send a sleep deprived child to school? Further more, the teachers were at a loss to help her, and had no real idea of what we were going through at home.
Finally, my daughter snapped. She would tell me over and over that she no longer wanted to live. She felt hopeless, and so did we. We drove her to a childrens' hospital 3 hours away where she was admitted to the childrens' psychiatric unit for 3 days. She was given sleep meds.We received info and advice and returned home.

Shortly after school began in October, 3 months after this episode, her anxiety fuelled up again. Not as bad as before, but enough to get the teachers calling me at my work. At one point she was having a panic attack so the principal tried to force her to sit down on a chair. Wham! My daughter hit the principal. Just days later I visited the Principal's office to apologise for my daughter's behaviour. This was the response I received from the principal: "There is nothing wrong with your child. She is a liar, and we will not put up with it any longer."

Just a few short weeks later, my daughter began going to a new school. We still have issues, but nothing anywhere near to the issues we had to deal with from the first school.

"Be the advocate your child needs you to be!"

Monday, 7 January 2013

Forrest Gump? Really?

A few weeks ago I had the honour of working with a university student.
She asked me a question that opened a whole new can of worms, for both her and I.
She stated that her university prof had asked the whole class to write down reasons why actor Gary Sinise had chosen to take on the role of "Lieutenant Dan" in the movie Forrest Gump.

Well, first of all I thought of the roller coaster of emotions he would have to portray throughout the movie.

First his character was happy living as a Lieutenant for the US army, as this role, he truly believed, was who he was, and gave him his purpose to live.

Then he lost his legs because of his position, which ultimately stripped him of his entire identity, which in turn, robbed him of his thrive to live. He no longer loved himself or anyone else.(Especially Forrest Gump for  having saved him.)

His character would become a man encumbered by hate and self-destruction.

In the end, through much turmoil, and self discovery, Lieutenant Dan found himself. A man with much more purpose and ability than he had previously believed. Through this discovery he was able to love himself, which created his ability to find his true love.

This student and I spoke more and realised that although lieutenant Dan's character went from one extreme to another,.(Jenny's character was erratic as well) Forrest Gumps character remained the only constant.

 Forrest Gump's character, considered mentally challenged and unstable, was the one character that created stability and consistency in Lieutenant Dan's (and Jenny's) life. Through all the ups and downs of this movie, Forrest Gump was the only mentally stable character.

In conclusion, how many of us live our lives with or among mentally challenged people, and never truly appreciate the consistency and stability they create in our lives. Maybe this was one of the reasons Gary Sinise chose this role.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Irate Response To Special Needs Recommendations
A few days ago I blogged a post entitled
Accomodating our expectations of students with mental challenges.
(You may scroll down my blog page to read this earlier post.)
This was a surprising, unexpected response I received from a teacher (whom will remain anonymous) through facebook.
Teachers know that TOOOO OFTEN the kid is just hiding behind these labels. They use add and adhd as an excuse to get out of trouble. How is it that schools ran perfectly for hundreds of years before we started making excuses? Did add just recently develop? I think PARENTING is the biggest thing that has changed. For hundreds of years a paddle solved 99% of school problems and the belt at home took care of business there. Now schools cant even expell SERIOUSLY BAD KIDS because they can hide behind a "behavior disorder"
 so they get to disrupt a class DAILY and the other kids suffer.....but its ok bc we have to accommodate their needs.
While I do believe that parenting has changed dramatically, I am not in accordance that paddles or belts are the answers.
Any comments or opinions?

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Awesome advice from the Tourette syndrome Foundation of Canada blog
Sleeping Beauty?
Today my husband and I signed my daughter up for "Kidzact", a local dance troop that was originally started for children with special needs.(So I was told) She truly enjoyed her first day and is looking forward to learning all she can.
With her short attention span being an ongoing issue, I pray that she will stay motivated and continue to look forward to her Saturday practises, at least for the next 8 weeks.(Which are paid in full)
Like most children with TS, she has problems sleeping at night, and lately is sitting on the couch all "wide eyed" and "bushy tailed" til sometimes 10:30pm or later. Funny how God created children with so much energy (some with more, some with less) and created parents with so little.
In conclusion, I hope her dance classes help deplete her energy levels so that she rests comfortably at night, which in turn, helps all of us.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Accomodating our expectations of students with mental challenges.

This post is geared towards those working with children within the school system. It amazes me how obvious it is for us to acknowledge the needs of students with physical needs (Although probably could be better) but not the requirements of those students suffering from mental challenges. There is still much work to be done.

For example, if a physically challenged student is not capable of partaking in gym class, I would expect that he/she would not fail this class because they were not capable of participating. In the same light, I would hope that my daughter with Tourette syndrome, OCD and ADD would not be expected to pass every class by the same expectations as those students without these challenges. I, by no means, expect my daughter to cruise through school without any effort on her part. I expect her to do her absolute best. Unfortunately, her anxiety often times takes up so much of her thoughts and energy that it makes retaining any extra info nearly impossible.

This is not a post against my daughter's school. They are accommodating and continue to keep me informed on her progress(or lack there of). This is a post to enlighten schools on how to help those students with mental challenges that inhibit they're ability to learn.

The following site shows many ways that schools can help their students flourish.


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Thank you to everyone taking a peak at my blog. Feel free to join me on my trip through Blog World, creating lasting bonds between parents of children with Tourette syndrome and other family experiences and press the "Join this site" button. Happy New Year to all!

Well here it is, 9:30 am the first day of school 2013, and my daughter is still home and all worked up. It's difficult for her to foresee a good day when she's full of fear and anxiety.

At this moment she has decided to take a shower as this often helps her decompress.

 I have recently decided to go with the flow, as both her sanity and mine is so very crucial. We are blessed with a teacher who, unfortunately has the same experiences at home, yet makes life for us simpler because of it.  She is a God send!

This life is not a simple one, as many parents will attest, but with the grace of God, who has given me a daughter with lots of spirit, along with a kind and supportive husband and a son who follows in his fathers footsteps, we will prevail!