Behind starburst eyes

We’re not in Kansas anymore…

“Of all the things that are different its the bees that make me homesick, they look like regular bees but they are blue and purple. Every time I catch a glimpse I think it is a real bee but then I am reminded that it is not home.”

The above passage from a book struck me deeply.

It made me think of many conversations I have had over the years with many persons and the struggles of trying so hard to “be a part of this world” when you feel like you really don’t belong. And isn’t that one of our most basic needs as human beings, the feeling of belonging? The feeling of being accepted? The feeling that yes, we too are a part of something larger than just ourselves. Some people find that feeling within their families. Some find it with a couple of close friends. Some find it at a place of worship.

But what about those that don’t find it? What about those that struggle each and every day to just BE a part of a group that loves and accepts them unconditionally?

98% of our DNA is the same as every single person’s on the planet, surely 2% out of 100% shouldn’t be enough reason for someone to feel different and excluded from the rest of the world…
How can we as their fellow human beings help? I don’t know. I don’t have the answer, but I’m hoping someone somewhere reading this just might. SO PLEASE, add your ideas at the bottom. Perhaps with many minds we can find a way to ensure ALL people feel the love and acceptance they deserve as fellow human beings.

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Mother’s Day

Originally posted on The Belle Jar:

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This post is for my mother. This is in recognition of the countless hours of unpaid labour she did and continues to do for my sisters and I. This post is an acknowledgement of the fact that I have taken her for granted; she’s given her time and energy to me so freely and genrously that it wasn’t until I had my own child that I understood how much this must have personally cost her. She is someone whose love and support I can rely on even when she disagrees with the choices I make.

This post is for all the people who work in childcare and are underpaid because what they do is undervalued by our society. This is for the folks – mostly women – who are often offered minimum wage or less to nurture, engage, educate and love a child.

This post is for all the people who are helping me…

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What dreams may come…

In grade 11 I took a fashion/sewing class. About three quarters of the way through it I stayed after class to show my teacher the sketches I had been working on for months of clothing I’d designed. I knew the fabrics each piece would be made out of, and I could see in my head a 3D image of the finished article. I could turn it around in my head and see where each seam was, and exactly how to make it. I asked her if she could help me to understand how to draw the female form a bit easier as I had some difficulty sketching what I saw in my head. She sloughed off my explanations and question and basically told me not to worry about how to draw my ideas better as I’d really not need them. My face grew hot, my hands sweaty and my stomach churned as I tried to get outta there as fast as I could, all the while calling myself a fool. I still drew the things I imagined but I never dreamed of showing anyone again.

That afternoon is why no matter what dreams may come to them I encourage my children. I might tell them it’ll take a lot of hard work to break into an industry or a great deal of additional formal education. But I ALWAYS tell them I believe in them and their ability to pursue their dreams. Because really, sometimes when someone shares a dream, while they may want it with their whole heart, their confidence in being able to accomplish it is still as fragile as a butterflies wings, and I want to watch them soar.

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Hidden Messages Within

This past week-end I took Mr. C to a special viewing of “The Mask We Live In” It was a film being shown by Violence Prevention Coordinating Council of Durham and Survivor Advocacy Committee of Durham. It was a fantastic film that highlighted the gender role we force upon males in our determination to narrowly define masculinity and the effects it has on boys and men in how they act, how much they hide of their true selves and the overall influence it has on every aspect of their lives.

He went up to the organizer after the movie and talk was done and told her how happy he was to have seen the movie. How it made him realize he could be his true authentic self and that he didn’t have to act like anyone he saw on T.V We had amazing conversations about the movie, about the hidden messages society sends about males and how they should act. We talked about how he had the right to define who he was, freely and openly and that I would love him unconditionally (as would the rest of our epic tribe, both those of blood and those of choice.)

I felt confident in my parenting of him, and of his siblings. I felt sure within myself that I was not pushing them to be anyone but themselves. That I was encouraging them to be true to their authentic self regardless of traditional gender roles or even current societal norms in regards to who they should be or how they should act or dress based on their genders.

THEN Minx found my knitting scissors (I had hidden them, but apparently not well enough for my wee super sleuth) and gave herself a mullet. An uneven one at that. So I took her to the bathroom and gave her a pixie cut to even out what she’d already cut, and have the rest match it.

Then I got tempted to let her dad take her to get her ears pierced as her hair this short makes her look less “girlish” and I automatically without any real consideration to the issue wanted to “fix” that. As if anything about her needs to be fixed! And it made me feel embarrassed that I even thought for a second about something like that. As if I should change my mind that her body means she has the right to choose if and when she wishes to have holes put in it for ornamentation. Espicially after writing long, short or none, still a woman.

Sometimes I forget just how much of the hidden messages society sends about how one should look or act based on their gender we really take into ourselves. But this was a potent reminder that I need to continue to look within about my own reactions to things, and what hidden messages I’ve accidently assimilated into myself as well. And most importantly to discard the ones that say any of us need to look a certain way simply because of the chromosomes we were born with.

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Our new version of “normal”

I sit here typing while he sleeps beside me. We’re at home now, but the watching never truly stops. I’ve been watching him so carefully for 3 days now. Watching his chest expand and contract with every breathe. Watching to see if there’s still a tug at his trachea from struggling to breathe. Watching as he cries in fear for me while I hold him during treatments. Watching him wake startled and shake as different alarms and announcements pull him from sleep time and time again. But I also watch as he sings the Spiderman theme song with the amazing nurse and paramedics. And I watch him smile at me and tell me he loves it in the hospital because he gets to have me all to himself, and be so excited to see his dad, nana, siblings, auntie and uncle (even though his siblings means he has to “share” me again lol)

The doctors say he has Asthma. It’s what filled his right lung with striations of fluid and made it so difficult for him to breathe. He’s to be on inhalers every day for the next 6 weeks at least, and another inhaler whenever he’s struggling to breathe. We have an “action plan” for if/when he gets an attack again, including if it’s like this one or worse. We now have a doctor that will be following him until adulthood specifically for his Asthma. And I have one more thing to watch him for, one more medicine to carry, one more fear in my heart.

When I’ve heard the word Asthma before I didn’t realize it was a big deal, I didn’t know you could die from an attack. I blame my mother for that lol. She has asthma and as a little girl she told me all sorts of things so I wouldn’t worry. Like that if she was really sick from it the worst that could happen is she’d pass out and her lungs would “re-start” themselves. She told me that as long as she had an inhaler she’d never get really bad. As I grew older I never thought to question the comforting things she’d told me. I never thought to look deeper or to even examine what she’d told me with my own knowledge of anatomy and physiology. Instead I held onto her answers because it meant she was always going to be okay. That was and to be truthful still is something I desperately need to believe in. Only now I need to know the truth about asthma. I need to know that it can be fatal, and it can be difficult to control. It can also be managed, and (for some children at least) can be something that is outgrown eventually.

The morning he was admitted to the hospital I had already used ventolin and it hadn’t helped him at all. His attacks may not always be able to be controlled by simply using an inhaler. We might be visiting the pediatrics ward again. So with this knowledge I am altering our version of normal. It now includes inhalers, actions plans, respiratory therapists, an additional doctor for his healthcare team and possibly an O2 saturation monitor for at home to check his levels if I see him struggling to assess better if we should drive him to the hospital or if we need to call for an ambulance instead. But it will still include trips to the library and Airzone, unbirthday parties and fakey doodle restaurant nights. It will still include swimming lessons and songs, visits with friends and random adventures. Through it all, as always it will include love and an ever watchful momma who’s added one more thing to always watch for.

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Autistic Social Skills: Cut me Some Slack Please

starbursteyes:

So much YES

Originally posted on Autistic Aloha:

Why, as an Autistic person, do I find myself spending an inordinate amount of my time and thought processing on trying to making sure that I don’t “offend” anyone, when nearly nobody cares one bit if they offend me? What is up with that?

I am always second-guessing the things that I say, or write, to be sure that they are not going to offend anyone. I find that most other people don’t give a darn if they offend me. They do whatever they want without giving it even a passing thought. This is a serious unbalance of social consideration.

Since I have a DIAGNOSED CONDITION, that has a core feature of having difficulty with social situations, I should be given the benefit of the doubt when I am trying to communicate with other people. They should be looking at ways of helping me to get my message across…

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Aviation and Flight

I am SO blessed to be able to homeschool my children freely as I know not all countries have the same view on homeschooling. This is one of the epic adventures Mr. C gets to attend at Centennial College.

Aviation and Flight

young girl in the red helicopter 01Date: April 9, 2015
Duration: 3 hours
Time: to be determined
Age: Grades 1-12
Location: Centennial College

Learning Outcomes: Aerodynamics, lift, drag, balance, patterns, centre of gravity, centre of pressure, 3-D modelling, problem solving.

Materials:  Model helicopter – Stop watch, tape measure, scissors, sticky notes, paper to make class data table and record results.

Objective: Students will observe, test, record, and change the model helicopter to obtain the longest possible flight.

Description: The four forces of flight are explored as students build rubber band-powered model helicopters. After construction, the helicopters are fine-tuned for optimum flight. Students observe the flight characteristics of the models with adjustments for optimal flight.

Tour: A visit to the aviation centre will highlight the experience as students will learn first-hand from instructors about aviation and tour the facility.

Aviation and Flight.

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Dressing Board

Mr.N has an Occupational Therapist due to his fine motor skill delays. One of the tools she has been using with him is a dressing board to help him learn to do and undo buttons. I of course fully believe in homework ;-) and so I created this:

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Below is how I did it for those that want to make one themselves:

First the supplies:
1 art canvas (any size, but you’ll need enough material to wrap it like a present. Not that I did that, but it made sure there was enough of the fabric I wanted to use)

Fabric (Fleece doesn’t fray so it’s great for the no-sew way of doing it, I simply used some left over fabric from bean bags I had made him previously)

Buttons (the larger the better to start with, you can always make more boards with smaller buttons as they progress)

Thread (to sew the buttons on)

Needle

1 Permanent Marker

Scissors

Staple Gun

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(I was making multiple, hence the multiple supplies)

Place fabric along the back of the art canvas (near the wood) and staple it onto the back wooden frame of one side.

Wrap it around to the front and make sure it goes 2/3 across the canvas, and trim accordingly.

Repeat with other side, making sure there is a fair bit of overlap as you want it to be a bit roomy once the buttons are done up for ease of use in the beginning.

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Then place buttons on the side you want as the inside and sew on with the needle and thread.

Place top fabric over buttons and cut button holes in the top fabric.

Write an inspirational message on the canvas for them to discover upon opening the buttons. (Ours says “You did it! Great Job!)

You’re finished! Minimal sewing (just the buttons) and minimal cost and yet you now have your very own dressing board for practising at home!!!

I apologize to those that know how to sew or are looking for specific dimensions or patterns. This was done free hand (and yes I did sew the fabric edges of mine but that is because I didn’t use fleece, I was using leftover fabrics from my stash) and I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for those that maybe don’t consider themselves “crafty” but still wanted to make something like this for their child. If you make one, I’d love to see it, please post a picture in the comments section :-D

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Pincer Grasp Games

We’ve been working on Mr.N’s pincer grasp during his OT. Of course that means I want to work on it at home as well to truly maximize his personal gains. To that end I went to our local dollar store a few weeks ago and picked up some foam and felt hearts and mini clothes pins with hearts on them. Each day until Valentine’s Day we would play a game where we tried to pick up the most hearts first. After Valentine’s Day we started with foam eggs, bunnies, and baby chicks and Easter colored clothes pins. It’s fun for him while helping to improve his pincer grasp. A total win win :-) Below are pictures of the game supplies, as you can see they are easy to purchase or make.

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It’s not money that is the root of all evil it’s….

greed (1)

I don’t believe money is the root of all evil. How can it be, it’s just a bunch of paper and some metals shaped or coloured in certain ways. Numerous parts of Earth have different looks and patterns for their money. It’s simply a physical representation of a value we as a people have decided to use to barter with for our time or goods or services instead of bartering directly for the goods or services we need with one another.

That being said, the ability to collect money, to hold onto more than one needs for their well-being can become a negative thing when the right (or wrong depending on which way you look at it) person is the one hoarding it. The endless pursuit to obtain more, to never be satisfied with how much one has, that greed is the evil, not the money. It doesn’t really matter if it’s metals, jewels, or painted pieces of paper, when one is consumed with collecting to the point that they no longer can see how their actions might affect others, or even worse they don’t care how their actions affect other’s then it’s just plain greed.

It’s greed in general that is the real evil, not money. When we stop looking at one another as people, deserving of respect and common decency and instead simply evaluate how we can use them to bolster our collection of material goods it’s a sad state of affairs we find ourselves in.
Does this have anything to do with Autism? In a way yes actually it does, but it’s so much more than just about Autism. See, when we only look at other’s and evaluate their worth to us in terms of potential return we don’t see them for who they are. And it’s very easy to miss all that they could contribute to our lives. That can easily and readily be said about every single person on this planet! Each human being has the potential to add to this planet in meaningful ways. Some contributions might at first appear smaller than others, but just as the ocean is made up of countless rain drops, every contribution does make a difference!

When we decide that a person is worth less because we don’t believe they will make enough money for us, or provide us with an opportunity to make more money we are devaluing human life. We are saying that a collection of material goods that cannot feed, house, heal, or love us is more important that our fellow human beings.

There is a Pagan song that is sung often at different festivals around a fire, and the chorus is “We all come from the Goddess” No matter what religion you believe in they all state in their own ways that we all come from a central place, a central being or set of beings.

Even most Atheists agree that human beings come from a central source, even if it has no “Higher Power” but was in fact an evolutionary thing.

So while the entire world can agree that we all come from the same source (regardless of what we personally believe that source to be) why can we not see the intrinsic value each person on this planet holds and treat them better than we do our money or gold?

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