Monthly Archives: March 2013

Finding my inner voice

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I had another terrible experience on the weekend. It was worse than the time it was kindly suggested to us by our waitress that we could leave the restaurant if we needed to (by bringing us some take out boxes for our uneaten food). It was terrible enough that I rank it with the time a stranger said in front of Eric (not knowing he was my hubby) that our “poor child obviously just needed someone to love her, and that her mother is withholding her love.”

We were shopping on the weekend. I don’t want to name the store, because it has been dealt with, and I am very pleased with the response the manager gave me – but it was not exactly a fancy place. It’s the kind of place that you can go wearing the clothes you were just painting or gardening in, if you really wanted to. It’s also exactly like a shopping store – bright lights, brightly coloured sale signs, crowds, noise, smells. It’s a  very stimulating environment. Maddy struggles in stores. They’re hard for her.

On this particular day, within ten seconds of entering the store, Maddy lay flat on her back and started crying in the middle of an aisle. She would stand up and cry for me if I stepped back, but as I approached her, she would flop back down, start crying, and hit me and yell “No!” if I tried to pick her up.

Other shoppers walked by, and I apologized that Maddy was blocking the aisle. Not a single shopper made me feel awkward, and in fact, many said very encouraging things to me. I was at a loss of what to do, and was trying to gently encourage Maddy to stand up on her own.

I didn’t pick Maddy up, because I know that it can cause her meltdown to escalate, leading to aggression, more crying and screaming, and an overall increase in the length of the meltdown. Maddy needs to be in control in order to feel safe. Picking her up when she doesn’t want to be touched, makes her feel the exact opposite, out of control.

What happened next still makes my heart jump into my throat. An older female employee of the store, walked over to Maddy and picked her up. She carried her at arm’s length from her body, shoved her into my arms and said,

“I didn’t tolerate this kind of behaviour in my own children and I won’t tolerate it here.”

My heart stopped. I froze. I couldn’t get my mouth to work. I was humiliated and angry. Just like me, Maddy froze in the arms of this woman. Maddy still has severe separation and stranger anxiety. There are times when she won’t let her own grandpa pick her up, and she sees him weekly. Maddy stopped crying and just looked at me wide-eyed.

I walked away and found Eric. He took one look at me and knew something had happened. I refused to point out the employee to him, because he was infuriated. For those of you who don’t know Eric, he is one of the most calm and level-headed people you will ever meet. It takes a lot for Eric to become irate. In the 10.5 years I’ve known him, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen him this way.

We were both so angry. I felt like this woman had hurled words of hate in my face – overriding my right to parent Maddy in the way that I choose – insinuating that I wasn’t doing a good enough job, so she would do it for me. It broke my heart to see the look of fear on Maddy’s face, not only being picked up when she didn’t want to be, but by a stranger.

I kept running through my head visuals of what could have happened:

  • Maddy could have become aggressive, hitting and kicking this woman or myself
  • Maddy could have flailed her body, and this woman could have dropped her
  • Maddy could have become even more agitated and inconsolable, and we would have been left to pick up the pieces for the next few hours

It is never okay to intervene in a situation that you know nothing about. Maddy might look like any other 20 month old, but she has unique challenges that can’t be seen on the surface.

My mom, my sister, and one of the women I work with told me that I needed to call and file a complaint. I was afraid to – so I told myself that Eric would do it. But, Monday night, I got home from work and decided that I needed to be the one to do it. I needed to find my voice.

I called and spoke with an available manager. I could not have expected anything better from her. It made me feel good when she gasped at my story. She informed me that her nephew has special needs, and that hearing my story was bringing her close to tears. She apologized profusely, repeatedly telling me how we didn’t deserve to be treated like that. She took my name and number so that she could call me back to let me know how it was dealt with. She said that it would be addressed with the employee immediately. I hung up the phone with a feeling of closure and peacefulness.

Parenting Maddy has been a journey with lots of ups and downs. Being Maddy’s mama is helping me to find courage. It’s helping me to find my inner voice. I’m so proud to say that I am becoming one of those parents.

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Double folded hem

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Call me slow, but it took me awhile to learn about this whole double folded hem. It’s so easy, and now that I know about it, I won’t go back when it comes to clothing.

When sewing a single folded hem, you simply fold your fabric once, press flat, and sew. This is okay for some things – I did our closet coverings this way, because we never see the backside. But, when it comes to clothing, you often see the underside – and with a simple hem, it can look messy. Enter the double folded hem.

A double folded hem is super easy. You fold your fabric 1/4″ and press. Fold it a second time, the width you’d like the hem to be, press, and sew. Be sure you are sewing on top of both folds, to keep things neat. Here’s what a double folded hem looks like once it’s finished:

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It gives the clothes a much more professional and finished look – and the greatest thing is – it’s easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Sensory fun day

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Back in January, Maddy had one incredibly amazing Saturday. Eric and I seized the day, and we ended up having so much fun with some sensory activities.

We started the day by heading to the park in the early morning. It was one of the milder days of the month, and the snow had all melted. Everything was wet, so we had the playground to ourselves. Maddy kept nice and dry in her Muddy Buddy and we played until she was ready to go home.

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She really likes the slide at the park that is made up of a series of tiny rollers – are you following me? Because of the sensory input the slide provides, Maddy can spend the entire time at the park on the slide. Usually she’s fighting with the older kids to get a turn, but this day she had full access and she was loving it.

We followed our park play with some finger painting.

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Our little artist loves finger painting. If you ask her if she wants to paint, she nods her head and says, “Yeth” (that’s my imitation of her adorable frontal lisp).

After painting, we decided to play with some moon sand. You can find a couple of recipes here. We went for the first recipe and used some gluten-free flour.

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One of the first things Maddy did was taste test the sand.

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Maddy had a lot of fun with the moon sand. She dumped it in and out of containers, pulled her animals through it, threw it on the floor, and stomped on it. All in all it was very successful!

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For those of you wondering why Maddy has no clothes on, but is wearing shoes indoors, here’s the deal: she’s very tactile sensitive and prefers to be naked (in fact, sometimes the second her clothes come off we see the first smile of the day), and her therapists suspect she likes to have shoes on to protect her feet from tactile irritation. Just a little quirk we love about our gal!

Date night: The pottery edition

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We had a very well-timed date night last weekend. I booked us some pottery lessons for Eric’s Valentine’s Day gift, and it was just what we needed after a tough week. It was a lot of fun, and very relaxing. We both want to take lessons now.

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We went to Dundee Pottery & Stained Glass. Rosemary, the owner, is super friendly, and her date night package is very well-priced. We highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys creating and getting their hands dirty!

Here’s our pottery haul:

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Ruffle bum romper

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One of my longest friends, Meagan is having her first baby in a month-ish. We became friends a long time ago when we were 4 and lived on the same street. SCAN0015

I’m so lucky to still call Meagan one of my best friends. I was honoured and blessed to be a part of her wedding a couple of years ago, and now I am beyond excited to meet her little one. Meagan and her hubby are going to be amazing parents.

I made her soon-to-be-here baby girl two little outfits – here’s the first:

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I bought this pattern from ‘You Can Make This’. I found the pattern a bit confusing, but I was able to make my way through it with a seam ripper and some patience.

I learned two new things in the process of making this romper. First, I made my first buttonholes!! Thank you to Amber Price – her ‘Learn to Sew’ series gave me the courage to give them a try. If you want to try buttonholes, she has a great lesson here.

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It took some time, and a lot of test buttonholes, but eventually I got it! For the longest time I didn’t realize I had to “reset” my machine by moving my dial off of the buttonhole setting and back between buttonholes. Once I figured that out, I was set. I’m so happy that I no longer have to avoid patterns with buttonholes now!

The other first for me was inserting snaps into a pattern. This is key for things like rompers, so the whole outfit doesn’t have to come off when changing the baby’s bum. I have been avoiding patterns that had snaps in them, but it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I tried a couple of test snaps on some scrap fabric, and then put them into the pattern. They’re not exactly spaced evenly, but that gives it a bit of charm, no?

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I think this pattern is beginner-intermediate. Definitely doable for a newer sewer, but it might give you a couple of headaches along the way.

For the lack of a live model, I give you the ruffle bum romper on a model that can’t refuse:

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Hope you all enjoy the last bit of the weekend!