July 29, 2012
July 15, 2012
We can't wait for him to come home tomorrow morning on his birthday! We both have the day off to celebrate with our birthday boy!
July 6, 2012
While having a moment in feeling low about my son and his little fin (missing left hand) I surfed the internet and found your site. Gavin is way too cute and I am thrilled to have found him. My son is 9 months and I constantly wonder about what he will be able to do. Gavin prooves with the right support and will power, nothing is impossible. I will be sure to continue to visit the page frequently and share the same with my son when he wonders who in the world can relate to his condition. Please don't stop providing updates. Keep them coming. Someone is watching and being inspired:-)
Two months have passed without me finding the time to make an update. There were many, MANY things that I have wanted to write about over the past two months. I have just been feeling overwhelmed with being back to work full time and finding time for the things I enjoy has been taking a back seat.
There are many active sites and wonderful communities which offer great support and constant updates. It is amazing how many resources are available today thanks to social networking. And I was starting to feel like I didn't have the time or need to keep this site going.
So getting Chanel's comment today really meant a lot. I was reminded of the reason I started this blog. And I am definitely going to keep it going as long as there are people to read it. And for as long as I love bragging about all the awesome things our children can do, which will be forever... :P
May 3, 2012
April 30, 2012
His ability to play hockey games on the PS3.
He LOVES this recent skill and would play it all day if we let him. The scary part is how good he is at it. John has to set up the games for him but then he does pretty well against the computer for a three and a half year old!
I feel like he's way too young to be playing video games. I wanted to delay it as long as possible because I knew it was a matter of time and I hate how kids get addicted to them.
But sometimes its just really nice to have him sit quietly on the couch instead of running around bouncing off the walls!!
April 29, 2012
Here is a little photo tutorial:
Next we are going to tackle learning to tie his shoe laces...
March 31, 2012
He was supposed to spend the day resting up for a late night.
But instead he spent the day getting pumped up for the big game!
There was so much anticipation in the weeks leading up to March 26, and then when the day finally arrived he had to wait until after dinner... And when it was finally time to leave, he had to wait for traffic... And then when we finally got there we had to wait for our tickets...
In reality, we didn't wait long at all. It all unfolded pretty quickly actually! But for a three and a half year old, it must have felt like an eternity.
I really wish Gavin could write about this day in his own words. It was his day. His dream come true. But I will do my best to tell his story. And I will let the pictures say the rest.
Gavin & I arrived at the Air Canada Centre in our blue & white, full of excitement!
I wish I could have captured the look of pure awe on his face as he walked up the stairs and entered the arena for the first time.
We found our seats and before long I saw the beautiful Mrs. Reimer coming towards us with a bag in her hand. She greeted Gavin with a "hey handsome!" and a big smile. She was so incredibly friendly and generous. I can't even thank April enough for everything she did to make Gavin's dream come true. She totally went above and beyond for him.
The bag in her hand was full of gifts! Including a real James Reimer #34 Leafs jersey for Gavin! And a James Reimer mini goalie stick! And even a Reimer shirt for me! As well as some pictures of James to get autographed after the game!!
Gavin was right into the game. He was the loudest fan in our section, yelling, "GO LEAFS GO! GO LEAFS GO!" and clapping and cheering. He was soaking up every detail, right down to the guys who come out with shovels to clear the ice.
With his new jersey and goalie stick he felt more like Reimer than ever!
After the first period, April came back with snacks and drinks! (She really is the sweetest ever.) Gavin was enjoying the M&Ms but instead of polishing off the bag, he told me he wanted to share them with James Reimer. (Gavin sharing candy?? Wow, he must really love the guy!)
It was a close game and it had us on the edge of our seats cheering on our Leafs! After going into overtime and then shoot out, we ended up losing, but it didn't even matter. It was time to meet James Reimer and despite how late it was, Gavin had more energy than ever!
April can attest to that! She brought us to the wives and family lounge where she kicked off her heels and took shots on Gavin until he was so hot and sweaty that he started stripping down to his undershirt. I guess you could say that he made himself right at home!
But there was more waiting in store for Gavin, because James still had to work out after the game, shower, and do whatever else it is that guys do after a hockey game.
Finally, April announced that she saw James walking down the hall. Gavin instantly ran out of the room and met James with a giant bear hug. James is so tall that Gavin had his arms wrapped around his legs and then barely even give him a chance to come in the room or introduce himself before passing him a stick and asking him to play hockey.
Gavin had been asking us for weeks if he would be able to take shots on James Reimer. We kept telling him we didn't think so. But there he was, right in front of me, doing exactly that. It was pretty surreal.
I can say nothing but wonderful things about Mr. & Mrs. Reimer! They treated Gavin so incredibly well and really made him feel special. Gavin gave James his half-eaten bag of M&Ms (just what he always wanted, I'm sure!) as well as a pair of custom Lucky Fin Bracelets in blue and white for the lovely couple.
Soon it was time to say goodbye but not before James presented Gavin with one of his actual game sticks to take home!!!! It has puck marks and everything!
As we finally started making our way out of the ACC, Gavin's legs gave out on the stairs and he had to be carried to the car. He was soon fast asleep and didn't even wake up when I brought him inside, took off his Reimer jersey and tucked him in. I watched him sleeping for a few seconds and I had a pretty good idea of what he was dreaming about. But this time it wasn't just a dream. It really did come true.
So I just want to say, "God bless you too, James & April Reimer! Thank you for making my little boy's dream come true!! We will never forget it!"
March 21, 2012
I am SURE glad I wrote it! Because it just so happens that I posted a link to it on twitter and guess who stumbled upon it?
JAMES REMER'S WIFE!!!!! A lovely lady by the name of April Reimer. She sent me a tweet that she read my blog post and would like to send something to Gavin.
Twitter really does have a purpose after all! ;)
We just thought it was the coolest thing! Gavin was so excited to see if he would get another package in the mail.
A few days later I got an email from April asking if we could do her a favour and meet her at the ACC on March 24 so she could give Gavin the stuff in person!
THEN she offered up her seats to the Leafs game!!!
AND THEN, as if that wasn't enough, she went one step further and offered for Gavin to MEET JAMES REIMER after the game!!!!!
When I read the email and realized that Gavin's dream was actually going to come true, I was literally running up and down the hall, laughing, yelling and basically acting like a crazy person.
I couldn't wait to tell Gavin the news. He was so overwhelmed that he was speechless! He fell back on his bed and stared up at the ceiling for several seconds while the words sunk in.
Its really amazing how it all unfolded. And it just proves that you never know what can happen unless you try!
There are only three more sleeps until the big game and Gavin is PUMPED! His passion for the Leafs is at full throttle. The other day I heard him say, "I'm not Gavin. I'm James Reimer. You can call me James if you want to. But I'm James Reimer."
March 19, 2012
by Kris Heims
God looked down, another child complete,
A smile so perfect, a temper so sweet.
But baby looked and some parts were gone,
Did God mess up and make me wrong?
God just looked at this perfect child,
He explained Himself as He just smiled.
"If I'd taken time to make that part,
you wouldn't be such a work of art."
I would not have had time to make that smile,
To list your talents would last a mile.
Your sense of humor, that belly laugh,
Where are these parts, you have to ask?
You are so lucky, these gifts of gold,
Those missing parts are mine to hold.
Forever they'll be, close to my heart,
So as you live, we are never apart.
Each time I move, you'll be on my mind,
You special child, you are quite the find!
So do not miss that part, you see,
It will always be safe and sound with me.
March 11, 2012
Usually he would ask me to open the candy for him but this time he didn't want me to do it. In fact, when I opened one for him he didn't want THAT one. He wanted a new one so HE could open it.
And so he worked on that candy for a little bit but candy is a pretty good motivator! He was ripping into them in no time and it seemed like a good idea for a How-To video.
Gavin loves to watch Ryan's How-To videos from LivingOneHanded.com. "Doin' things one-handed! BING!" His favourites are "the one where he bites the fruit" and "the one where he makes a snowball".
Gavin doesn't like me to videotape him much but since it was for Ryan ("bing!") he smiled and said we should.
He started talking before I started recording but he was trying to say "How to open candy!" Its a very important skill to have, especially with Easter coming up.
The problem with this video is that it keeps making me want more Starbursts and we already ate them all!
March 8, 2012
Unfortunately some of these books are now hard to find. If anyone knows where to find available copies of "For the Love of Jody" please comment and let us know. I love hearing your feedback since we do not own ALL of these books. Which one is your family's favourite?
Thank you to the all the people who have commented as well as to the following resources for helping me compile this list:
"Resources to Help Children Understand Limb Loss", I-CAN Book Club and Limb Differences: Recommended Reading.
"Reading encourages children’s imaginations to grow, and opens their world to new people, places and possibilities. Reading books about difficult concepts, such as limb difference, is a safe and familiar way to introduce children to the topic.
These books can help a child with limb difference have greater self-esteem and identify with characters that “look like me” or are “different like me.” Children can find encouragement to talk about their limb difference openly and answer questions from friends. Some books even help explain how to be fitted for a prosthesis. They can also be useful for easing fears that children often have about upcoming medical procedures or recovery for themselves, their friends or an adult in their life.
While each of these books is different, a shared theme is that people with limb loss are still just people and have a lot in common with others.
Some adults with limb loss visit classrooms and libraries for story time to help children learn about living with a disability, and what it is like to be an amputee. This is an opportunity to teach acceptance and to reinforce the old adage that “different is not bad.” Books often get kids talking and asking questions."
- Molly Moore, NLLIC Librarian
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
"The Gift of Grace" - Grace Mary McClelland
Grace was born with little fingers and she was inspired to write this book by a bully when she was 5 years old. She wanted to help people understand about her "special hand". Grace has a wonderful message that we are all "wonderfully-made". Also talks about her surgery which involved removing bones from her toes to make fingers.
"Make a difference" Written by Ty and his mom, this book's goal is to raise awareness of children with limb anomalies and to celebrate everyone’s differences. A wonderful story about a little boy whose physical difference is not a disability but merely an outstanding characteristic. It teaches children that THEY can make a difference in the world, simply by treating others with respect and by simply giving a smile.
"The Tree With No Limbs" - Christine Marie Johnson
The little tree has no limbs but discovers he is loved and still able to produce fruit. This an eLIVE book, meaning each printed copy contains a special code redeemable for the free download of the audiobook version of the book.
"The Making of My Special Hand: Madison's Story" - Jamee Riggio Heelan This book recounts the making of a prosthesis for a girl who was born with one hand. Beginning with the visit to the hospital where Madison and her family learn about the different kinds of "helper hands," Heelan takes readers through the whole process.
"Harry and Willy and Carrothead" - Judith Caseley
Born without a left hand, Harry is just a regular kid. He enjoys the same games, and his matter-of-fact responses to other children's questions soon satisfy their curiosity. The emphasis is on the similiarity of the boys. Harry shows that he is capable and self-assured.
"Imagine...Amazing Me!" - Libbi Chilia
Photos of beautiful children from across the United States and Canada enjoying childhood activities despite their limb differences. Inspired by Libbi Chilia’s daughter Sami, who has a limb difference, this book is reflective, educational and inspiring.
"Oliver's High Five" - Beverly Swerdlow Brown
Oliver Octopus "only" has 5 arms but it doesn't bother him! Oliver journeys onto land to try to find a job but he is judged by how many arms he has and no one will hire him. Oliver never gives up and eventually proves that he doesn't need 8 arms to get the job done!
"Little Arm & Me" - Mutiya Vision
Kiomi is a very “handy” and “capable” girl born with a little arm. As she works to find her purpose in the world, her example helps others realize that her potential goes far beyond her physical limitations. Kiomi doesn’t let the world’s limited perception of her influence how she sees herself. As she overcomes challenges, she learns to find value in the masterpiece she was born to be. Since she was created to be in the spotlight, Kiomi decides to be an inspiration by living a life filled with love, courage, and accomplishment.
"My Brand New Leg" - Sharon Rae North
In this wonderfully illustrated book, the characters meet a girl who has a prosthetic leg and can do everything her friends can do. She gracefully shares her abilities with others and never once expresses a difference. As she encounters new activities, her friends see that she is no different.
"Boo-Boo's New Leg: A True Story of Illness, Acceptance, and Healing" - Mary Garcia Sarah tells the story of how her grown up friend is very sick. Her foot is bandaged and she can't get around without the help of a wheelchair and crutches. Her friend must go to the hospital to have her leg amputated. Although her life will be forever changed, she will inspire a positive way of thinking in those around her with the greatest gifts one can have- laughter and friendship.
"Burgess and Marie Bear" - Josie Horvath and Mary Hovancsek The tale of Burgess Bear shows how he navigates through life with a prosthetic leg, inspiring young children who might share the same obstacles to take on life’s challenges with the utmost enthusiasm. Burgess shows that despite what may happen to us, we can turn any situation into a great one.
"Zoompanszee and His Bionic Buddies" - Frank Horvath
Zoompanszee, an adorable little chimp was born without arms. He and his new friends are swept into a perilous adventure and in the process learn a lesson about the damage that can be done by hatred and anger, and ultimately, learn about the healing power of love and friendship.
"Different Is Not Bad, Different Is the World: A Book About Disabilities" - Sally L. Smith The purpose of this book is to help children realize that being "different" is OK; in fact, it makes people more interesting and the world is a better place. This book is intended to help children with differences feel better about themselves, as well as to help other children become more accepting of those different from them.
"Charlie: The Dog That Didn't Have a Paw" - Delaney and Ria Hurst
"Once upon a time there was a dog that didn't have a hand. The other dogs made fun of him. Then, he met a dog without a hand. They became best friends and lived happily ever after." After Delaney wrote that story her mom took her to Camp NO LIMITS to meet other children with limb differences. Then she encouraged her daughter to expand on her story until it became this wonderful book that sees beyond differences and includes some very unexpected animals!
"God Made Me Special, Just Like You!" - Nicki Olin
An inspiration story about a girl with limb differences. Using fun photos and rhyming it is appealing to children and a wonderful teaching tool. This book teaches that not all people are made the same on the outside, but on the inside we are the same. God made all of us special, be proud of who you are!
BOOKS FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS
"Shared Experiences: The Experience of Having and Parenting Children with Upper Limb Deficiencies" - Charlotte Fielder
In 2006 Charlotte Fielder invited parents of children with arm and hand deficiencies to share their experiences of parenting. Parents responded with incredible honesty and a strong desire to inform new parents, health professionals, teachers and a much wider audience of what it’s like and how it feels. Having been born with a missing left hand, Charlotte has a natural understanding of the issues, and has been able to bring together the many and varied responses in a way which offers valuable insights into parenting visibly different children.
"Expectations: Parenting Children and Teens With Limb Differences" - A Publication of the Amputee Coalition of America
This is a FREE resource available through the ACA's website. It addresses a variety of topics of interest to parents, including adjustment issues, prosthetics, funding, peer support, advocacy, insurance reimbursement, technology, and prevention of secondary conditions. It also includes several useful resource lists and links to other youth organizations.
"For the Love of Jody: Insight for Parents of Children with Limb Differences" - Tamara Reyes-Muralles
Written by a parent of a child with a limb difference. She wrote this book because she was frustrated with the lack of info available. Tamara wants to let parents know they're not alone.
"Footnotes: A Life Without Limits" - Lena Maria Klingvall
Born without arms and with one fully formed leg, Lena is an inspiration. She refused "special" status, preferring instead to learn how to accomplish things her own way. Lena has not only learned to play keyboards and drive a car, but also to conduct a choir, develop a successful professional singing career and compete in the Paralympics.
"Jim Abbott: Against All Odds" - Ellen Emerson Wright
February 24, 2012
You can read more about her story in this article, Bully Inspires Girl Missing Fingers to Write Book".
I love Grace's message that we are all "wonderfully-made". I instantly ordered a copy for Gavin and I can't wait for it to come so we can read it together!
The Gift of GRACE
by Grace Mary McClelland
Illustrated by Nancy Moskovitz
"Hello, my name is Grace. I wrote my story when I was five years old. In my book I tell that I was born with a special hand. The fingers on my right hand are smaller than the fingers on my left hand. And instead of five fingers, I have four.
A wonderful artist, Nancy Moskovitz, has painted pictures of me to tell my story. When I look at them, they take my breath away! I bet they will do that to you.
Each book will donate funds to the Hands-to-Love camp in North Florida. This camp was started by a hand surgeon - such as mine, who borrowed bones from my toes to make me fingers. And you can't really tell when you look at my toes...which by the way I love to polish!"
BUY "The Gift of Grace" by Grace Mary McClelland
February 22, 2012
His team is the Toronto Maple Leafs and his favorite player is JAMES REIMER. He watches the game and copies James' every move! He has all the moves down pat. He LOVES James and gets excited if he even hears Reimer's name mentioned on TV or the radio. He has told me many times, "I wish James Reimer could come to my house and play hockey in the basement with me."
He has a James Reimer poster on his wall which is the first thing he wants to show anyone who comes to our house. He often tells us "I'm not Gavin, I'm James Reimer."
Unless you know him and see him in action, you wouldn't believe it. And if you didn't know he "only" has 1 hand, you would never be able to tell by the way he stops, blocks and saves the puck. He has no fear and no shortage of energy!
I recently contacted the Leafs (Fan Services) to share Gavin's story and see if there was any way they could make his dream of meeting James Reimer come true. I knew it was a long shot but we wouldn't know unless we tried.
Gavin was so excited to get two packages in the mail this week! He felt so special. Now he has a James Reimer bobble head! And also a Leafs toque and puck. It may not have been much to some but it sure meant the world to him!
As I write this, the radio is on and they are talking about all the pressure that rests on the shoulders of young goalies in the NHL. I wish Reimer could know that whether he has a great game or a not-so-great game, there is a little boy I know who is just happy to see his favorite player in action and get caught up in the excitement of a hockey game.
February 15, 2012
Anyways we had a great day and Gavin was just a little excited about getting Valentines treats!
February 12, 2012
As if Ryan Haack wasn't cool enough already, now he has this awesome caricature of himself for his website, Living One Handed. Personally, I think its pretty awesome!
Come to think of it...his whole website is pretty awesome. If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should!
I am loving Ryan's "how-to" videos in which he shows himself doing simple, every day tasks one-handed. (Because that's how you do things when you have one hand. *wink*)
He covers the typical parental worries of how a one-handed child will tie their shoes or zip their coat, as well as the more important skills like how to make snowballs and shuffle cards. And my personal favourite - How to Hold Twins One-Handed. I look forward to more of these helpful and humorous How-To videos. Thanks so much for sharing Ryan. As I may have mentioned, you are AWESOME.
How to Tie Shoes One-Handed
How to Zip a Coat One-Handed
How to Put Toothpaste on a Toothbrush One-Handed
How to Wash Your Hands One-Handed
How to Make a Snowball One-Handed
How to Shovel and Use a Snow Blower One-Handed
How to Peel Fruit One-Handed
How to Shuffle Cards One-Handed
How to Wrap a Present One-Handed
How to Do "Where Is Thumbkin?" One-Handed"
Subscribe to the website.
Subscribe to the YouTube channel.
Follow on twitter.
Like on facebook.
January 23, 2012
It is a group on facebook called Wonderful Wears - Clothing Exchange. "Unique apparel for the wonderfully made."
"Wonderful Wears is a clothing share & exchange group for families with children with limb differences where members can post photos of items they no longer need and wish to share.
If shipping is needed postage fees should be paid for by the receiver, however this is the responsibility of the parties to work out.
Wonderful Wears is a place to advertise available items and desire for items and does not take responsibility for any part of the transactions or condition of the items."
I wish I had some clothing to share but we always just roll up the sleeves on Gavin's long-sleeved shirts and we have never altered anything except his hockey jersey. We do have some mittens that GG has custom made for him. She makes the left hand without a thumb so it fits nicely over his left arm. We have a few pairs that we would be happy to pass on to another "wonderfully-made"! :)
January 22, 2012
When I was introduced to April Lockhart's music yesterday, I couldn't wait to share it here. But I had to wait...because I had no time! ;) My two little ones are keeping me very busy these days!
But after seeing just a few of April's videos I knew I had to find time to share them! She is so talented, beautiful inside & out and such a positive role model! I love her music!
Download on iTunes: "SO WHAT"
On iTunes Here: "DIFFERENT"
You can support April by buying her songs on iTunes (:
January 19, 2012
My first emotion when I learned about Gavin's limb difference was sadness. There was also guilt, anger and worry, to name a few. It was hard for us to hear that news at first. And it will be hard for him too at times, just like all of us experience growing up.
But it didn't take long for us to realize that there are just so many more positives than challenges. So many things to be thankful for. So many amazing people that we would not have otherwise met.
Like Haylee from Little Hand Big Heart. Haylee and her mom were visiting One Little Fin and read the "Its Not Broken" post about Gavin saying he doesn't like God because He broke his arm.
She made this video for Gavin and it is the sweetest thing she could have done.
MESSAGE FROM HAYLEE.
It means so much to us Haylee! I showed it to Gavin and he sat quietly and listened and smiled. And now he can watch it whenever he feels like it.
What a blessing you are Haylee! Your message is beautiful and so wise! Gavin is lucky to have you as a friend!
January 11, 2012
When I got an email from "Little Hand, Big Heart", it was exactly what I needed to remind me that Gavin will be just fine. He will learn to handle uncomfortable situations and stand up for himself. And he will be surrounded by a lot of positive people to help him along the way.
Thank you Haylee for being such a beautiful example and an inspiration. And thank you to Haylee's family for sharing!
Sometimes she does not need to say a word
January 10, 2012
So today out of nowhere Gavin stuck out his left arm and said, "My arms broken - see??" I immediately disagreed and told him its not but he argued that it IS broken and told me that all the kids say its broken.
I have heard kids say it before but I thought the kids in his class were used to his arm. I didn't expect them to still be pointing it out.
I kept telling him how it's not broken, it's the way it's supposed to be. I said that God made him exactly the way he was supposed to be.
He spread his fingers wide and told me he wants to have another one like this because "this ones broken".
After I talked about his other friends who have a special arm like him and I said all the same stuff I usually do to stress to him that there is nothing wrong with his arm. It's not broken, it's really strong, and it can still do lots of things like hockey, etc. He said OK.
And then he told me, "I don't like God." When I asked him why he said "Because he broke my arm."
January 3, 2012
I imagine he will be strong enough to deal with it and that he will be a better person because of it. But it still doesn't make it easier for this protective mama.
Today we were at the library and he saw two kids playing with a truck together. He really wanted to play with them but was too shy to ask so he was just kind of hanging out right beside them. The little boy was about 4 or 5 and I saw the exact moment he noticed Gavin's arm. His jaw dropped and he took a double take and then just sat there with his mouth wide open and STARED hard. Then he pointed it out to the girl he was playing with and then called another kid over to look. Then continued to stare.
I looked at Gavin and saw him pull his coat sleeve down over his arm to hide it.
I have never seen him do that before and it just made me so sad.
I don't blame kids for staring. Of course they are fascinated by it when they have never seen anything like it. I get that. The girl asked me what happened to his arm and I said what I usually do. Then like most kids do, she just stared at me blankly like that wasnt a good enough explanation and then asked "but where's his hand?". I always encourage kids to ask Gavin and let him answer but I also don't want to put him on the spot either. It hurts me to wonder how he feels in those moments. Is he used to it by now already? Or does it make him feel _____? I don't know. I asked him in the car why he pulled his sleeve down and he just said "because i don't like those kids". I just wish I could take his place and that he wouldn't have to deal with it every time he meets someone new for the rest of his life.
But all we can do is try our best to teach him that it's ok (and even cool!) that his arm is different and he can still do anything he wants in life. Right now it's not a big deal but I know there will be hard phases as he becomes older and goes to school without me tagging along as his advocate.
But it doesn't make sense to stress about the future and the unknown. So we just keep taking it one day at a time.