How do you react to stressful situations? I will be the first to admit that my anxiety is clearly linked to my inability to effectively manage my emotions during stress. I am famous for catastrophizing and overreacting. Growing up, I was always known as the one who would freak out all the time. Today, I know that I just needed to develop my emotional intelligence. It doesn’t come naturally and it’s something I will continue to work on throughout my life, but if I can give my children these tools much earlier on in life, I hope that they won’t have to freak out as much as I did.
Today we were watching Freebirds, a movie about a pair of turkeys who travel back in time to eradicate Thanksgiving. My almost-two-year-old was captivated; he’s really into bird movies. Anyway, *spoiler alert* at the end of the film a tribe of early turkeys from the 1600s mourn the loss of their great leader by flapping their wings forward in a circular motion to create a swirling tribute of scattered feathers, spiraling up into the air. It’s a moving moment in the film and I looked down at my sweet son and saw that he was emulating their actions with his arms, slowly windmilling in a beautiful, almost spiritual show of empathy.
I was moved. It dawned on me that I thought of him as a baby still, incapable of understanding this subtle show of sadness and love. It’s true, his day-to-day temperament veers sharply from terrible toddler displays of frustration to sheer unadulterated joy, but this…this was something else.
The change in my son’s behaviour was so gradual I almost didn’t realize what was happening. At first, I wrote it off as a bad day. I explained his emotional meltdowns as tiredness or hunger—I know how a guy can get when he needs a taco.
One bad day turned to two, and two turned into a week. Before I knew it we were living a new normal. An emotionally unhinged, can-other-kids-possibly-be-like-this normal.
So here I am today, writing from Toddler Hell, where the red cup is never blue enough and shoes are evil feet-demons.
I know I’m not the only one out there who is having trouble dealing with the growing crisis surrounding Syrian refugees, the Paris attacks, this recent massacre in Orlando, and the constant threats that ISIS seems to be dangling in front of the Western world. The tension builds every day, as new hate crimes arise, more misinformed politicians take close-minded stands against what they perceive to be threats to “national security,” and more propaganda from terrorist organizations surfaces. Personally, I waffle back and forth between wanting to stick my head in the sand and pretend that none of this is happening, and wanting to know All The Things, grinding my life to a halt to take in the horror of it all.
There’s a lot of unhappy going on out there. Buzz words that conjure the worst viral stories and make our hearts drop into the pits of our stomachs. Words that lose all authentic meaning in the moment and become emblems of pure emotion, driving parents to despair. A once normal word like ‘gorilla’ triggers conflicting feelings of anger and hopelessness. Add ‘anti-vax’, ‘forward-facing’, and ‘breastfed‘ to the list and you’re sunk; it’s evolving and eternal. And it’s also true—these things do happen and they’re awful, but reading about them on Facebook every day doesn’t empower us, it drowns us. Sure we’re drawn to the heavy, but shouldn’t we also celebrate the light? 100 happy days was my shift in focus, my commitment to happy—and it can be yours too.
The school year is drawing to a close and summer will be here in a minute, with it the buzz of schoolkids ready to burst from the confines of their routine and be free. Never fear: a successful summer transition is within your reach. The change from classroom to summer setting need not be jarring—for you or your child (or your teen). Doing a bit of prep before summer’s arrival will ease you all into this change and set you up for a summer of grand memories and structured good times.
“Here should be a picture of my favorite apple.
It is also a nude & bottle.
It is also a landscape.
There are no such things as still lifes.” ~ Erica Jong
Dear Mr. Whitten,
You probably had no idea.
When you have a child with a learning disability, it’s easy to start looking at the school system as the enemy. And while it’s true that the system isn’t perfect—leveraging the school staff as part of your team will help you all work together towards your child’s success. Here are some ways you can get everyone on board with the same program:
Fall is usually the impeccable period to initiate new family traditions for several years to come. As winter is imminent, gather round to pop some corn, cozy up on the couch under a blanket and play the favourite movies of your family on Netflix.
The comfort of babies as they grow becomes increasingly important. In their world of exploration and development, they need a diaper that enables them play freely, providing great a fit and stay drier.