June 26, 2010


I have vented before about the child modeling agency that Gavin is involved with. You wouldn't even know he was affiliated with them if it weren't for his profile on their website.

When I asked why he wasn't getting booked, first she said that clients get scared when they learn that he has one hand. When I called her out on that she started backpedaling and then blamed it on the fact that he wasn't in the right clothing size. Clients mostly book size 18 months. So we figured we would see what happened now that he is in that size. Well now he is almost grown out of that size and still hasn't had anything.

A few weeks ago I sent her this message:
"Here are some updated pictures of Gavin. He is 22 months now, still wearing mostly size 18 months. I will weigh him and take his height tomorrow.

I still think its crazy that he is not getting booked. Everywhere we go people stop us to tell us how cute he is. He has a lot of personality too.

He loves to say cheese and sing and talk. He also knows a lot of sign language. He is very active, with good balance and can do anything that kids with 2 hands can do.

I know that there are people out there who would be proud to show that beautiful children come in all different shapes and sizes. And unfortunately, anyone who doesn't want to give him a chance is missing out."

She updated his profile but didn't even have the decency to respond to me. I find that extremely rude!

I guess we should just remove him from the agency because she is clearly not advocating for him at all. We could really care less if he models or not. The only thing that upsets me is that I KNOW he is being discriminated against. I know if he had 2 hands he would be getting booked.

And his adorable friend Gabby (who is also an LBE) has not had any bookings in the 2 years she has been with them either. So obviously something is wrong.

Just look at how adorable they are and please explain to me why no one would want to give them a chance?

It makes me so incredibly sad and frustrated. All we want to do is spread awareness that children with limb differences are capable of doing EVERYTHING that other children can do.

Right now they are too young to understand how unfair this world can be. I dread the moment that they are faced with the harsh realization of how ignorant some people are.

June 23, 2010

In Harmony

Here is a great clip of "The Little Mermaid" from Disney's Sing Along Songs. Its not from the movie so most people have probably never heard it. I guess it was orginally from the TV series. (I didn't even know there was a TV series) Anyways, it is a wonderful song about appreciating each other's differences. I love the lyrics!

What makes someone special?
I suppose it all depends
It's what's unique in each of us
That we all share as friends

The difference is our differences
Maybe small or great
Variety add spice to life
So we should celebrate

In harmony
You're you, I'm me
Together we
Can live in harmony

If there was only one note
How boring life would be
I'm glad there are so many notes
In many different keys

I hear each voice singing
With a special quality
And when we sing together we
Bring music to the sea

In harmony
You're you, I'm me
Together we
Can live in harmony

In harmony
You're you, I'm me
Together we
Can live in harmony

June 22, 2010


"The best way to raise positive children in a negative world is to have positive parents who love them unconditionally and serve as excellent role models." - Zig Ziglar

This is a great quote but that guy has quite the name doesn't he?!

This quote reminded me of a conversation we had with an orthopaedic surgeon at Sick Kids Hospital. We were referred to him when I was pregnant and he was so incredibly positive about our situation. I don't even remember what he looked like but I will never forget our conversation.

He talked about a study he had done about people with limb differences and how it relates to their self-image. His findings showed that the most important thing is having a harmonious family life. He told us about a child who was missing a toe. Her parents argued a lot and went through a very volatile divorce. She ended up with horrible self-esteem and really struggled with the fact that she was missing a toe.

Then he talked about a boy who had no limbs. Both of his arms and legs were amputated. He came from a harmonious family in which his parents avoided arguing in front of him. He was given a lot of love and affection and as a result, had a very healthy self-image of himself.

Some people may find it hard to believe that a child with no arms or legs can have better self-esteem than a child missing a toe. But it makes perfect sense when you think about it.

Here is an excellent article about helping your child develop healthy self-esteem.

June 21, 2010

The Ice Cream Truck

Its officially summer when the ice cream truck starts coming down our street!

Gavin can hear the song it plays a mile away! He starts jumping around shouting "ICE CREAM TRUCK!" I definitely can't blame him because I am the exact same way. I don't know who gets more excited, him or I.

I grew up in a small town and thought ice cream trucks were something out of movies. When I moved to the city and saw one for the first time, I was like a child, chasing after the truck and begging for John to buy me an ice cream cone every time I heard the song playing! So I guess Gavin gets it from his Mama. Ice cream has always been my favourite food group!

So when we hear it coming, Gavin & I both rush around trying to find change and get our shoes on so we can run down the driveway and make sure the truck stops in front of our house! It usually comes right before dinner but I think that makes it even more delicious.

People say if you eat dessert before dinner it will ruin your appetite. But won't eating dinner before dessert ruin your appetite for dessert?

June 20, 2010

My Dad Rocks

Wishing a very Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there! Especially mine! And to my awesome husband who is a truly AMAZING father! Thank you for everything you do.

Gavin made this card this morning with a little a lot of help from Mommy! He was very proud!

I was going to do his little fingers too but then I had a vision of trying to scrub red ink out of all the little dimples and nooks & crannies. Ha! So we just went with the right hand!

Gavin was sporting his "My Dad Rocks" T-Shirt when we went to cheer Daddy on at his soccer game.

Maybe you could see it if he wasn't obsessed with carrying around that container of Goldfish crackers! But once those were done he had a great time running around and tired himself out for a nice nap in the car on the way home.

Now they he have gone to a Father's Day BBQ while Mommy takes a nap! (I have to work an overnight tonight. Boo!).

June 14, 2010

A Child's Smile

I love this picture! It was taken a few weeks ago when Gavin's Grampa surprised him by bringing home a real police car from work! I think it was the happiest day of his life! He got to hear the sirens, see the lights and even sit in the driver's seat!

Whenever I'm having a bad day, all I have to do is look at this beautiful face and everything else just fades away.

June 13, 2010

At the park

The other day at the park, a little girl asked me what happened to Gavin's arm. I told her that he was just born with one little arm.

She said, "It looks like he has little fingers."

I told her, "Yep, he does have little tiny ones."

Then she told me, "Well he still looks fine!"

I laughed and said, "Well thank you. We think so too!"

I just thought that was so cute. Her mom and I were laughing about it and then she told me that when she was pregnant with her son they thought he had Down Syndrome. It turned out that he didn't, but at the time her husband said that even if their baby had Down Syndrome or one leg or one arm, they would love him no matter what.

They were a really nice family and every time we have a positive experience like that it makes it that much easier to brush off the negative ones.

June 12, 2010

Little DJ

Gavin has always LOVED scratching on Daddy's turntables. John is convinced that Gavin is destined to become the next great DJ! I have to agree...it does seem like hes got some skillz!

June 10, 2010

We Are Family

This picture was taken last October at our first CHAMP seminar in London, ON. Gavin was 15 months old. Don't mind the lovely 70s decor!

Another really great section in "Parenting the Amputee Child" (based on the work of the War Amps CHAMP Program) talks about how the whole family is affected by the experience of having a child with an amputation.

(Again, I am summarizing in my own words and I do not take credit for any of the following information. )


The family has a very important role in supporting their child, advocating for them and connecting them with appropriate resources.

What is most important is providing this support in an encouraging and realistic way that isn't overprotective and doesn't underestimate the child's abilities. Connecting with other families who have already been through the same experience can make a world of difference.

It is also very important for parents to explain their child's amputation in a straightforward and encouraging way, which will set a positive tone for others to follow. Family and friends may mean well in some of the things they say and do but its important for parents to be clear about the attitude they want modeled for their child. We were always very clear that there was no need for sympathy or special treatment. Our biggest goal was to empower Gavin to recognize his strengths and have healthy self-esteem.

As everyone gets to know the child they will soon come to realize that they just need to treat him or her like any other children in the family.


Grandparents play an important role in helping the whole family adjust. Especially because children look to their parents for support, no matter how old they are.

Grandparents often experience emotions similar to the parents and may go through some of the same stages of adjustment. Some may even have a harder time coping than the child's parents. Grandparents dealing with their own reactions should face their emotions as quickly as possible because their children will need a lot of their support.

Keeping grandparents informed about the realities of amputation and artificial limbs can help them feel more at ease, with a better idea of what to expect.


Siblings will need some special attention to help them understand and be accepting of their brother or sister's limb difference. Just as parents go through so many different emotions, so does a sibling.

Children have such active imaginations and may have fears and concerns that they don't know how to express. They may feel sad, scared or worried. In the case of an accident, they may feel guilty that it was somehow their fault. They may fear that the same thing will happen to them or another family member. They can feel lonely and left out and resentful of all the time the parents spend with their sibling. They may withdraw and not talk about their fears because they don't want to worry their parents.

Its important to openly talk about the cause of the child's amputation. If due to an accident, the sibling may need reassurance about his or her own safety. If due to an illness or disease, it should be talked about in age-appropriate terms.

Siblings may also seem to be coping well at home but be struggling outside the home. It can be helpful to have others that interact with your child to be aware of what the family is adjusting to.

How you talk about amputation with children depends on their age. Its usually around age 2 or 3 that children even notice that their sibling has a limb difference. At that time it should be explained in very simple terms.

Here are some tips for addressing concerns that siblings may have:
- Encourage them to share all their concerns and ask questions. Be open to talking about it.
- Provide lots of reassurance to help them feel more secure regarding their worries
- Help them become comfortable with answering questions that others may ask them about why their sibling's limb is different
- Make time for special one-on-one time with each sibling
- Be sure to include the child with a limb difference in household chores. This sends 2 positive messages: increasing the child amputee's confidence by showing that he or she is capable and sending the message to siblings that there is no favoritism.

June 9, 2010

Familiar Feelings for Parents

We received it a few days ago and John and I have been reading through the booklet we requested from the War Amps CHAMP program. Its called "Parenting the Amputee Child" (Janelle, I have a copy for you by the way, I forgot to give it to you today!)

For those who don't know, the CHAMP program serves Canadian amputee children up to age 18 regardless of their type of amputation (congential, accidental or medical). CHAMP also provides amazing support for families, financial coverage of artificial limbs and recreational devices, helpful info and resources about amputation and prosthetics, as well as seminars and peer support.

The following information is just one example of all the resources they supply free of charge. The following is summarized in my own words from "Parenting the Amputee Child", based on the work of the CHAMP program.

The first part talks about the most common feelings that parents of amputee children experience. Obviously, everyone's feelings are very different and no two experiences are exactly the same. Many of the feelings are connected to each other.

Acknowledging your feelings is the only way to work through them. Then parents are able to focus on looking ahead and meeting their child's needs with a realistic, positive approach.

Anger is often over the simple fact that your child has an amputation and what could have caused it. You may feel that it is extremely unfair and even be "angry at the world". Anger can present itself in many ways, including arguing and resentment.

Blame can be felt internally and expressed outwardly as well. Mother's often blame themselves, thinking they could have done something to prevent this from happening to their child. Parents may feel that the amputation was their fault.
Some parents blame environmental factors such as acid rain, fertilizers, pesticides, medications, radiation, pollution or even computers. But it is only in VERY rare instances (like the Thalidomide crisis in the 50s & 60s) that congenital amputation is directly linked to environmental causes.

As a parent, this whole area of "amputation" is probably completely new to you. You will meet a lot of different professionals (doctors, orthopaedic surgeon, prosthetist, occupational or physical therapist...) The terminology may be unfamiliar and overwhelming. At first parents might doubt their abilities to make the best decisions for their child, with so much advice coming at them from different directions.

Parents may wonder if the amputation could have been prevented and subject themselves to countless "What if..." questions. This is like unnecessary torture to parents. And all those questions do not change a thing.

Grief over the loss of a body part has been compared to the grief of losing a loved one. It is very common to feel grief at the time of finding out about your child's amputation or at the time of an accident resulting in amputation.
There are said to be several stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
Each person's grief is different and not everyone goes through the same stages or to the same degree.

This happens when parents blame themselves for their child's amputation. Parents may even feel guilt and shame because of wondering what others will think about their child and if others will judge their parents for assuming they were the ones to cause it.

You may feel sorry for yourself and some people will probably feel sorry for you. You and others may express pity towards the child, which gives the impression that there is something wrong with the child or something wrong with being an amputee. This can leave your child feeling powerless with a negative outlook on life. Amputees often say the comments they dislike the most are those that imply they should be felt sorry for or looked after.

Parents may be shocked and not know how to react when they first find out. As a result, they may withdraw from the situation and the baby. Rejection can also be silent with the family member holding it inside.
Another form comes from focusing on finding a perfect prosthesis which can become more about making the child "whole" or "fixing" their limb, instead of the reality of what the child can achieve with his or her own body.

Parents may feel varying degrees of sadness or depression when they learn their newborn baby doesn't have the 10 fingers and 10 toes they were imagining. Parents are suddenly faced with a reality they know little to nothing about. Not knowing how to help your child can make parents feel helpless, afraid and inadequate.
Overwhelming feelings can cause parents to become depressed, so dealing with them early on is essential.

Parents often worry about how their child will cope. A million questions may pop into your head.
Will he be able to swim or ride a bike?
How will others react?
Will he be made fun of?
Will her self-esteem be affected?
Will she be able to drive?

Meeting other families who have had similar experiences can help ease these worries and give you a more realistic idea of what to expect. It is also wonderful to see how successful and athletic other children are with similar amputations to your child. This is hopefully when parents start to realize that there is no limit to what their children will be able to achieve!

CHAMP also has a wonderful program for matching families.

June 8, 2010


So we have started the process of looking into daycare for Gavin. It feels so bittersweet! I'm looking forward to having more time to myself and the freedom to work more but I also feel sad about missing him while he's gone. All this time he has been home with me during the day with our awesome families watching him the odd time that John & I have shifts that overlap.

I can't say I'm not looking forward to having my mornings free. I feel like I need to organize my life! We are only going to put him in for half days but it will still be more time to myself than I have ever had since he was born! (feels like an eternity)

While I still feel sad about missing my baby, I know it is a positive thing for Gavin to go to daycare! I know the socialization aspect is exactly what he needs and it is such a wonderful place. They will be able to occupy him and teach him things in ways that we don't.

What I especially love about it, is that one of Gavin's CHAMP friends, Aiden, goes to the same center and his mom speaks sooo highly of it! She actually recommended it to me last year when we met them at our first CHAMP seminar. But I wasn't ready to send him to daycare until now. Thankfully I called them yesterday and they just had a spot open up in the senior toddler room. We went and visited today and I couldn't be more happy about it. I don't even want to go look at anywhere else.

I love that they are so great with Aiden and are already used to a child with a limb difference so its no big deal to them. They already know that it doesn't stop them from doing anything. They are great at encouraging independence and everyone is so friendly and welcoming.

I was just looking at their website and noticed that this is their mission statement.

"Committed to providing quality childcare to children, recognizing, respecting and celebrating their individual differences, special needs and diversity, in an environment full of fun, laughter and learning."


June 7, 2010

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.

I would care to know less and know to care more.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.

I'd do more hugging and less tugging.
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I'd teach less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.

Diane Loomans

June 5, 2010

Passed Out

You know you've had a busy morning when this is how you look by lunch time.

June 4, 2010

On the Other Hand

I have added a new link to the sidebar of the blog and I just wanted to point it out because I think it is SO wonderful!

It is written by Laura Faye Clubok, an Occupational Therapist who was born without fingers on her left hand. She is such an inspiration!


Oh how I wish I had have known about this website when I first found out about Gavin's arm during pregnancy! I had such a hard time finding any information at all, and this website has the best resources I have seen so far!

Laura has some really great information for all the different stages of parenting: Pregnancy-Birth, Early Years, School Age, Teenage Years...

There is also some great tips on Exercising and some really interesting information on Typing with One Hand and so much more.

I haven't had a chance to look over everything, and she is still in the process of adding more so it is definitely a site I will be returning to!


What is it with little boys and rocks?

We recently spent almost a week up north at my parents' house in Haliburton, Ontario. Gavin had a blast spending so much time outside. His favourite thing was the rocks. Little rocks, big rocks, smooth rocks, bumpy rocks...

Our days consisted of looking for rocks. Picking up rocks. Putting rocks in the wagon. Pulling rocks in the wagon. Taking rocks out of the wagon. Lining up the rocks. Throwing rocks in puddles. Throwing rocks in the bush. Throwing rocks ANYWHERE. Painting rocks. Stepping on rocks. Talking about rocks. REPEAT.


(I just wrote rocks so many times it doesn't even look like a word anymore.)

Here are some pictures of a little boy and his beloved rocks!

June 3, 2010

Little Puppet

In the waiting area at Bloorview there is a framed picture of a child's arm that looks a lot like Gavin's. The arm has eyes and a big smile painted on the end of it so it looks like a cute little puppet. The little nubbins look like the teeth. It always makes me smile :)

Whenever Gavin gets hold of a pen or marker, he always goes straight for his little arm. The other day he was being too quiet and I found him in Daddy's studio with yellow highlighter all over his arm. He was proud to show me what he had been up to!