March 23, 2011

Welcome Baby Eden!

Introducing the newest little member of our family!

Little Miss Eden Michelle made her arrival on March 20 at 5:38pm.
6 lbs 12 oz, 19 inches

And all girl! ♥ (I was in complete shock! Totally expecting another boy and could not have been ANY happier to be blessed with a baby GIRL!)
She is just the sweetest little thing. I can't get enough of her precious little face and her sweet newborn smell. I am in love.

I'm not the only one. Daddy is so proud of his baby girl and Gavin is completely over the moon in love with his baby sister. All he wants to do is hold her and cuddle her and stroke her little face. He is very gentle and protective and is loving his new role as big brother. I'm so proud of him!

We are so, so extremely blessed!

March 17, 2011

Circle Time

This week I brought in a few books for Gavin's teacher to read to his class at circle time.

The 3 books we brought were:

"Imagine...Amazing Me!" by Libbi Chilia

I love this book because it has so many great pictures of kids with different limb differences. It shows the children doing all sorts of sports and activities, proving that there is nothing they can't do!

"Charlie: The Dog That Didn't Have a Paw" by Delaney and Ria Hurst

I love how this book was written by a young girl with a limb difference, with the help of her mom. Charlie the dog was born without a paw and throughout the story he meets more animals with other differences and finds out he is not alone.

I also brought "Its OK to be Different" by Todd Parr. This book has nothing to do with limb differences but it has big, bright, colourful pictures which are perfect for young children. And its message is clear: "Its OK to be different". A lot of the pages are pretty silly, like "Its OK to eat macaroni and cheese in the bath tub" but it still gets the point across.

I also included this hand out for the teacher from the CHAMP: Starting School kit.

How Are We All Different?
How Are We All The Same?

Following the presentation or as a follow-up activity later, it is valuable to discuss issues covered in the presentation with the children. The questions listed below are suitable to ask kindergarten children and to reinforce topics covered in the presentation.

- Explain to the class that everyone is different in some way. Ask the children to raise their hands if they:
- wear glasses
- have red hair
- have brown eyes

- Ask the class: If someone stares at you or teaches you (for instance because you have red hair) how does that make you feel? (Happy or sad)

- Ask the class to think of other ways in which we are all different? We don't like all the same things. Ask for examples of what the children like and dislike. (One child may like creepy crawly insects and another may not, one may like playing baseball and another may not).

- Explain that even though we are all different in many ways, and we like and dislike different things - we are all the same inside. Ask the class for examples of how we are all the same. (We all need friends, we all need to play, we all need our families, we all need to laugh and have fun).

I put everything together in a folder along with a colouring sheet of Andy for the teacher to photocopy for all the children to colour.

I followed up with her at the end of the day and she thanked me for bringing in the books. I asked if the kids were asking questions but she said, not really, but some of the kids made comments like, "Just like Gavin!" when she was reading the book. She said she used the example of an octopus having 8 arms and some people have 1 arm or 2 arms or 1 leg etc.

I am so grateful that she took the time to do that. She is really, really supportive and has already mastered the art of putting his prosthetic arm on.

Gavin is loving his new room and I am so happy!

March 14, 2011


Today was Gavin's first full day in the Jr Preschool room. I was a bit worried about how he would do since he has been telling me, "I no like that room. Only Maria's room!" ever since he started transitioning to that room a few weeks ago. He has been in the Sr Toddler room ever since he started daycare in July and he is very attached to the teachers in his room.

I also have so much trust in his teachers. I really love them and I'm so grateful for all the love and encouragement they have given to Gavin over the months. He has really thrived in that room. To be honest, I was a bit nervous about whether his new teachers would be able to fill their shoes!

We were trying to prepare Gavin over the weekend by talking to him about the big room. This morning we took him in and found his new cubby down the hall from his old one. He was a little shy but he did so much better than I expected!

I met one of his new teachers this morning and she was so welcoming and friendly. I talked to her about how Gavin has been asking me a lot of questions about his arm in the past few weeks and I think it is due to spending time in the "big room" and the other kids being curious and touching his arm a lot and making comments. She agreed with me and told me there is a little girl who is VERY curious and always wants to touch Gavin's arm. She said she redirects her and also has talked to Gavin about telling her when he doesn't like it. I have been working on the same thing with him. They had Aidan in that room so I know its nothing new to the teachers, but it is to some of the kids who didn't know Aidan and are just getting to know Gavin.

Anyways, she said that she would like to talk to the kids about it at circle time and read some books. I told her I have some books I can bring in and she was happy about that so I will bring them in tomorrow.

When we left, he didn't even cry and waved to us out the window and blew kisses. We decided we would pick him up right after lunch and leave him a bit longer each day this week until he was used to a full day in that room. When we went to get him he was laying on his cot looking at a book. I think he would have been just fine if we had left him longer. He didn't cry all morning and had a very busy day playing.

When we got home he told me he likes his new room and his new teacher. I'm so relieved that this won't be as hard of a transition for him as I expected! YAY Gavin! I'm so proud of him :)

March 11, 2011

"I don't like that arm"

This evening I was in the bathroom with Gavin, getting ready to brush his teeth when he pointed at both my hands and then looked at his own and asked, "Where's two? I can't clap!"

I was a bit shocked, because he has always been able to clap on his little arm and he LOVES to clap. I reminded him that he can clap on his arm and asked him to show me. When he did, I gave him lots of praise and told him he's so good at clapping and that it makes a loud noise. He smiled and seemed proud of himself.

Then he told me, "I have arm like Aidan." I agreed with him and he asked me, "Why?"

I told him that he's special.

He pointed at his left arm and said, "I don't like that arm." Then held up his right hand and said, "Only that one."

I held his little arm and told him, "You know what? This arm's my favourite!" and kissed the end of his arm.

He proceeded to wipe off my kiss and laugh (because his new thing is wiping off my kisses because he knows I hate it!)

After he asks these heartbreaking questions he always seems satisfied with my answers and moves right along as if it was nothing. I know this is a good sign. But I, on the other hand, can never stop thinking about our conversation, analyzing it while feeling stunned by how it just came out of nowhere and amazed at how smart and aware he is for such a young age. Two and a half year olds really understand so much more than we give them credit for.

I'm so glad he is able to express himself so well but I really miss the innocence of him not knowing that he is different.

March 7, 2011

Not Nice

We went to play at the Early Years Center for a bit today. So you know where this is going...

There was a boy just a bit older than Gavin who noticed his arm right away and pointed it out to his mom. His mom called him over and said she wanted to talk to him. She told him that something happened to him, maybe an accident, but he's OK and he's a nice boy.

The boy said loudly, "NO, he's NOT nice!"

The mom tried to correct him but he kept repeating, "He's not nice! He's not nice!" (much to the embarrassment of his mother).

Gavin looked so sad :(

He kept his distance from Gavin the whole time, literally walking a wide circle around him.

No matter how much I want to shield Gavin from these comments and experiences, I know I wouldn't be helping him. He likes going there and he has every right to. But why does it have to be so hard? Why can we not go there just ONCE without someone pointing it out? I know it is natural for kids to be curious and all that. I KNOW this. But it still doesn't make it any easier.

I'm just beginning to realize how CONSTANT it is. I don't want him to have to deal with that EVERY TIME he meets a new kid. He shouldn't have to :(

Gavin's Favourite Spot

Our little guy has been really under the weather lately. He has been fighting off chronic ear infections and he is just not his happy self. We are doing everything we can to try to boost his immune system and help him get healthy.

The nights are the worst. I guess I can thank him for preparing us for having a newborn again. It shouldn't be too much of an adjustment in the night-waking department. He never really slept through the night in the first place. It is a rare occurrence that he doesn't wake up at least once. But lately, it is several times a night and he is just miserable. Poor guy :(

I'm so glad I am off work now and have been able to give him lots of extra cuddles and TLC.

I think he's going to miss his favourite spot!

(I'm 37 weeks and the countdown is on!!)

March 2, 2011

The Big Room

Today I was asking Gavin about his day at daycare. He will be moving up to the preschool room in a few weeks so he has been visiting the room to make the transition easier.

He was telling me about visiting "the big room" as he calls it. He told me they have puzzles and a fire engine with a siren.

Then he told me that one of the kids was grabbing his little arm.

My guess is that these recent questions have to do with curious kids in "the big room" who are not familiar with him and have questions about his arm and want to touch it.

I talked to him again about telling people when he does not want to be touched. I feel pretty confident in the teachers handling the other children's questions well because Gavin is the second little guy without a left hand to be in that room. His friend Aidan recently moved on from the preschool room. He is always one age group ahead of Gavin. I love that they are both in the same center because I think it really helps to normalize limb differences for the other children and also help them both to feel like they're not the only one.

I really hope he adjusts well to his new room because it is right before the baby is due and that is a lot of change at the same time. We are planning to keep him enrolled there after the baby comes, even if he just goes for a short time in the mornings. I really think it will help him to keep that routine and have the whole socialization aspect. Also, he is SUCH an active little guy that its good for him to have the stimulation and also burn off some energy. Not to metion that it will give me some quality time with the baby.

More Questions

As I was getting Gavin dressed again this morning he pointed at his little arm and asked, "Where's my hand?"

"Your hand? Its right there. A little one."

"Why?" He asked, and pointed at my hand and then to his little arm and said, "Where's my other hand? Where's two?"

I pointed to his right hand and said, "You have one."

"Only one?" He asked.

"Yep" I said, as a little piece of my heart broke.

Then he started telling me about a bug and that was the end of it.

As I was telling John about our little conversation, I wanted to cry but I turned it off and continued getting Gavin ready for the day. Now I'm letting myself have a good cry.

I wonder when our baby comes if he is going to wonder why the baby has two hands and he doesn't.

I think the hardest part is knowing that this is only the beginning and there will be so many more heartbreaking questions to follow that I just don't know how to answer.