August 29, 2010

They're all gonna laugh at you

So yesterday I had a lovely conversation with my Gramma G. She asked me if Gavin has an artificial hand yet and I told her that he does have one, but its too small and he needs a new one.

Her response: "Well you better get him one before he starts school or all the kids are going to make fun of him!"

I told her that actually, kids will find something to make fun of no matter what...whether he has no hand, a plastic hand, a weird eye...

She said, "He doesn't have a weird eye!"

"Yes, I KNOW Gramma, but I'm just make fun of kids. I have 2 hands and I still got made fun of. EVERY kid gets made of for SOMETHING. Gavin won't be any different. He'll just have to be a little tough."

She said, "Well he'll have to be A LOT tough."

OK Gramma, thanks for your encouraging words.

August 26, 2010

Big Boy Bed

Gavin has one of those convertible cribs that converts into a toddler bed. (This beauty to be exact). We have been meaning to change it over for quite a while now but yesterday John finally got out the tools and made it happen!

Gavin was so excited when he came home and saw his big boy bed!

Then bedtime came and I got the typical "No bedtime!" response. But after the usual routine of PJs, brushing teeth, a few stories, and the "I love you" song, he went to bed without a fight. (Thank God because my show was on!)

Of course, that was too good to be true. A few minutes later he started crying. "At least he's not coming out", I thought to myself.

Then I hear the crying getting louder and there he is in the hall. I put him straight back to bed (with one more "I love you" song) and went back to my show.

A few minutes later it started again. He cried off and on for a bit and then eventually came out again. This time when I put him back he was FURIOUS. Finally, I calmed him down and left the room while praising him, "Good boy!" to which he would repeat "Good boy!"

A few minutes later...crying again. So this is how its gonna be, eh Gavin? I should have known he wouldn't let it be easy. That's just not how he rolls.

But then the crying stopped. And it didn't start again. I got to finish watching the last 15 minutes of my show in peace! We did it!

My show ended and I went to check on him...thinking I might even take a picture of him sleeping in his big boy bed for the first time to document this momentous occasion!

But the door to his room was wide open. And his bed was empty.


Asleep in Mommy & Daddy's bed.

Gavin: 1, Mommy: 0

August 25, 2010

100th Post

Wow. Can you believe this is my ONE HUNDREDTH POST?! Who knew I would end up with so much to say??

When I wrote my First Post my goal was pretty simple. To share our story and hopefully reach out to other parents of children with limb differences.

The reason I wanted to do this was because when I was pregnant and we found out that Gavin's left arm didn't finish developing, we were devastated. We had never heard of anything like it. We didn't know anyone else who went through anything similar. I tried searching for information online but I didn't even know what to search for. We felt very alone. Part of me felt guilty, wondering if it was something I had done to cause this. All I could think of was my poor little baby, who would be born without a hand. I didn't know how he would be able to do simple things that we take for granted. My biggest fear was that everyone would stare at him and that other children would make fun of him. I just wanted to protect my baby from the rest of the world.

I posted our news in an online pregnancy community I was part of. And someone responded that she knew a child who was born without his right hand. I can't even explain the feeling I had when I connected with Patti and her son Tate. I looked through all of Tate's pictures. They were pictures of an absolutely adorable little boy, loving life and doing anything and everything you would expect of an active boy full of energy and enthusiasm. I poured over his pictures and began to realize that his arm was just a small part of who he was. His big smile and wild hair were a lot more eye-catching than the absence of his hand.

This was a huge turning point for me. And the purpose of this blog was hopefully to help someone else overcome the unknown and scary thought of having a child with a limb difference by showing that its really not as important as you think it is. Gavin has never let it hold him back from anything.

There have been a few times so far that other parents have found this blog and commented to thank me for writing it because they found it so helpful. Those comments have made everything worthwhile.

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive of this little journey. I plan to continue writing as long as there are people to continue reading!

August 24, 2010


Well I guess it was just a matter of time before we found ourselves deep in the terrible twos! Really, Gavin is a great kid and a pretty good listener for a two-year old. He has gone through a few hitting phases and still finds himself on time-outs for that every now and then.

But now we have entered the "No" stage. He has been able to tell us "no" for a long time. But this isn't just an ordinary "no". I don't know where it came from. It just started showing itself in the past few days. It is a fierce, rude, "NO!!" yelled at you with a mean look on his face and a strong dose of determination mixed with stubborness. Yes, all of that out of one, "NO!!"

I am not a fan.

August 20, 2010


Its summer, which means a lot of outdoor time. And Gavin is a crazy, active toddler which means a lot of running around and falling down! He is quick to point out any "boo-boo" by pointing to it and telling me "UH OH Mama! UH OH! Boo boo!"

His knees are used to taking a beating. Before the last scrape can heal, there is usually a fresh one to replace it.

But today he took a pretty big wipe-out on the way to the park and scraped up his arm too. It must have stung because he kept whining about it and telling me "Uh oh!"

So I asked him if he wanted a Band-Aid and he said "ya." Usually he always says "no" to Band-Aids so he has never even had one before. But this time he wanted one. It was a Spongebob Band-Aid and he found it very interesting! He couldn't stop staring at it and touching it. Until eventually he started telling me it was "itchy" and then he wanted the Band-Aid off.

He cried when I pulled it off and then told me, "No Band-Aid! No Band-Aid!"

So I guess today was a milestone of some sort. Gavin's first Band-Aid...even if it only stayed on for two minutes.

Thank You!

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to everyone who has been voting daily for Gavin's video! In less than a week his video is currently up to 158 votes!

This morning his video even made a little cameo appearance on Toronto's Breakfast Television show! They did a little feature on Bloorview's "FilmPossible" contest and there was a clip from "His Abilities" playing in the background!

Unfortunately we missed it but my mom called us this morning to tell us and I have never heard her so excited!! I emailed CP24 and asked them to please send me a clip from the show. I hear they are pretty good about that so hopefully we will get it!

In the mean time there are still 25 days left to vote so lets keep it up!

August 16, 2010

We need your votes!

OK we did it! We finally got Gavin's video approved for the FilmPossible contest after changing the song due to copyright laws. (Thanks to Jeff for all your help and to Oriana for letting us use her music!)

Please show your support and vote for "His Abilities"! You can vote once per day until September 15.

The theme of the contest is "Bringing Visibility to Disability". Our goal was to focus on some of Gavin's ABILITIES. It was really hard to try to squeeze everything into a two minute video but thanks to Jeff's editing skills, I think it turned out GREAT! I can't watch it without smiling :)

Thanks everyone for your support!

His Abilities

I could watch this video over and over. It makes me so incredibly proud to have such an amazing son. And these are only such a small FEW of his abilities. He has so many more! But you can only squeeze so much into a 2 minutes clip!

Hopefully we get it submitted ASAP because we will need everyone's help to vote for it! We are submitting it near the end of the contest so a lot of videos have already had lots of time to get hundreds of votes. We have a lot of catching up to do!

August 9, 2010

The Stares on the Bus

Due to our recent car troubles we have been using public transit to get around for the past week or so. Gavin couldn't be happier with this change in our method of transporation. The boy is OBSESSED with buses. Each bus ride is like a mini adventure. He yells excitedly, "BUS! BUS! BUS!" as he sees it approaching. We get on and find a seat and he looks around and greets random people with a "Hi!" or sometimes even a "Hello!" Then he sits proudly in his own seat and looks out the window, pointing out every other bus we pass. Sometimes when the bus gets crowded and he has to sit on my lap and someone else sits beside him, he is less than friendly and points at them saying, "Oh no!" which is when I have to explain that we have to share the seats with everyone!

During these bus-capades I have noticed a lot more stares and curious looks in Gavin's direction. It is hard not to notice. There are those that think they are being discreet and then there are those who could care less about being discreet. When I start to get annoyed I just try to tell myself that maybe they are just staring at him because he's cute.

The worst are the sympathetic looks. You can see it in their eyes that they're feeling sorry for him and thinking it is such a sad situation. Ya I may not have a smile plastered on my face, but I'm probably thinking about my car troubles, not my child's arm!

We have also encountered a lot more questions than usual. People wanting to know what happened to his arm or if he was born that way. I am usually very patient and friendly because we don't get asked those questions as often as you would think. But I can see myself becoming a lot less forthcoming as it becomes more and more annoying and invasive.

August 2, 2010

Gifts of Hope

This year for Gavin's birthday we asked for people to consider purchasing a "Gift of Hope" in place of a birthday gift.

Honestly this child just does not NEED anything else! We are lucky to have friends who pass on a lot of great clothes and Gavin has more than enough! He also has MORE than enough toys, to the point that I have donated several things or I hide a lot of them tucked away in closets so there is not so much out at once. Really, how many plastic trucks does one boy need??

Last year we asked for donations to the War Amps CHAMP Program which covers the costs of artificial limbs for children across Canada.

This year we decided to go a different route and here is why.

We have sponsored a child through Plan Canada for many years now. Our little girl is named Fara and she lives in Haiti with her mom. When I heard the news about the earthquake in Haiti, my first thought was of Fara and her family. The wondering was unbearable as we waited for news. It took months before we heard anything. Finally we got a letter asking us to be patient as they tried to track everyone down. We waited so long that I was really starting to think she didn't make it if it was taking so long for them to locate her. FINALLY at the end of May we received a letter telling us that Fara was SAFE and had been accounted for!!!!! I can't tell you how happy I was. So far, that is all the information we have. We are still waiting for an update on her but with the enormous task they are faced with of helping the people of Haiti rebuild their lives and country, it could take a while.

So it seemed like the least we could do was ask our friends & family to consider purchasing a "Gift of Hope" in place of a material gift that Gavin truly does not need.

I am so grateful to everyone who participated. Here are some of the gifts that were purchased:

Two Mango Trees

Three Classroom Essentials

A Home Birthing Kit

Clean Water for a Family

And an additional monetary donation

Thank you for your generosity! It is a great feeling to give a gift that really makes a difference.