Adoption in Ontario

baby s right foot on person left palmOk. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I feel compelled to write about it now because honestly, I have been thinking about it most of my life. I would love to present the ever-controversial topic of adoption and dispel some myths surrounding this serious and life-long decision.

I know so many people say that adoption is not a good idea especially if you have your own children. They shift the dynamic of the home and forever change the members in the family. However, my counter argument to this is simply- children of any sort whether biological, fostered or adopted shift dynamics and change lives. That is what God intended when he created them so why would adopted children be any exception.

I will write this blog in terms of myths and try to dispel them as far as I know how. There will be some specific information that I will be unable to transmit because I am not a professed expert on the topic. Hence, I will abstain from providing any false information and I will try to be as factual as possible.


Myth #1: Adoption is expensive and too long of a process

This may be very true if you would like to adopt internationally or privately. However, in Ontario, “You don’t pay anything to adopt through the CAS. You may even be able to get financial help from the government if you adopt a child through CAS.” This is if you choose, “Public adoption [which] means adopting a child through the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).” In fact, the CAS website clearly states:

Adopting through a Children’s Aid Society is free. It generally takes approximately one year to go through the adoption process. This time period is necessary to find the right match for a child. When we meet with potential families, we are looking for a cultural match, but we also look at the personalities, interests and the needs of a child not just in the short-term, but for their whole life. The matching process is integral to people really understanding what child would fit with them the best.

The cost of adoption depends on a number of variables: the type of adoption you undertake, whether you work with an agency, the province you reside in and any associated travel costs.  It costs very little to adopt through the public child welfare system in Canada.

Range of Adoption Costs

Public (foster care): $0 – $3,000

Licensed Private Agency: $10,000 – $20,000

International: $20,000 – $30,000

Myth #2: Children that are up for adoption are ‘damaged’ or ‘hurt’ and will never recover

I will try to be as objective as possible in replying to this extremely judgmental and painful, albeit common, opinion. Truth is, yes, many of the young wards of CAS have been neglected or dismissed. Adoption.ca states “Loving foster families and ultimately, permanent adoptive families give these children the best chance at successful outcomes and bright futures.” No damage is irreversible. I have worked with children for close to three decades and they were from varying environments with a diverse spectrum of abilities and circumstances. I have even met and taught children who were adopted from Romania where they aren’t touched as infants except to be changed and they become so detached from the world. However, this little girl made it through after 8 years of love and she was thriving beautifully. If you won’t give up on a career or a pursuit of a dream no matter how long it takes, how could you give up on another human being who is little and in need of your love. Be prepared for the damage because no damage is too great for love to handle.

Furthermore, every child is unique. Some have health challenges, some have emotional challenges, some have cognitive challenges. With the right education and preparation, many families embrace the effort to meet the child’s needs. Families need to understand their limits also. Children available through the public system have thorough assessments and are often already receiving helpful services that will continue once they have been adopted.

Myth #3: My children will not be able to accept the adopted child

Here is what the experts say about this:

Whether your biological kid is getting an adoptive sibling or the other way around, you need to prepare the child for an addition to the family. “Talk to your child about how you want to grow your family: ‘I had siblings, and I want you to have them too,'” says Rita Taddonio, a licensed social worker and head clinician at Spence-Chapin, a private, not-for-profit adoption agency in New York. “Kids think everything is about them. You’re making it clear that this is not about your child, so he doesn’t think, ‘I’m not enough.’

“Involve your kid in the preparations by getting him to help decorate the new baby‘s room or pick out toys. If you’re adopting, let your kid attend a family meeting with the social worker and ask any questions he has. Give older kids a role, such as changing diapers or reading books to the new sibling. And make it clear to your child that he’ll still have one-on-one time with you — then plan for it, even if it’s only an hour a week in the beginning, Taddonio says.

Myth #4: Adoption isn’t common

Approximately 1 in 5 Canadians are touched by adoption.

Let this stat sink in.

Myth #5: The birth mother will reclaim the child after I adopt him/her or my child will grow up and seek his/her real family.
Although this is a common fear, it is rooted in your own reluctance to make a commitment. Truth is, once parental rights have been terminated, biological parents cannot regain custody of their children. Also, prior to placing her baby for adoption, a prospective birth mother has the right to change her mind at any time and have her baby returned to her. After the placement, there is a period of time where she can revoke her consent and have the baby returned to her. After that period expires, however, her parental rights to her child are terminated and eventually transferred to the adoptive parents, who will be responsible for raising him/her. The key to preventing a potential birth mother from undergoing a change of heart is to screen her carefully and to make sure she receives sufficient counselling so that she clearly understands her actions and her rights and responsibilities. Remember, too, that until she terminates her rights to her child, she’s not a birth mother. She’s a pregnant woman who’s considering adoption.

grayscale portrait of man woman and child holding hands

 

According to recent longitudinal studies that followed adopted children, searching for one’s birth parents was quite common in adoptions of the past, but not any more. In open adoption today, children — though curious as ever — have less of an interest in meeting their parents. That’s because there’s no burning mystery or dark secret to uncover; they feel secure with themselves and their environment. And in those instance where the do want speak to their birth parents, their adoptive parents will simply pick up the phone and dial the number for them.

 

How you communicate with your adopted child makes all the difference. In open adoption today, a child’s origins are never in doubt. From a very early age, s/he not only knows that the people who are raising him/her are his/her adoptive parents, but in many cases s/he will have a picture or letters from his/her birth parents. All the information is out in the open, should the child be interested in learning more about his/her origins.

Even if they are, encourage them to find their real families when they are older if they choose. They will never forget the love you had for them so it makes it ok. Actually, there is an entire database for them on CAS if they choose called “Finding Your Roots”

Myth #6: I am adopting because I can’t have any(more) children.

Adoption is not a cure for infertility. It’s a way to build a family and share your love with a child whose parents simply weren’t ready or able to become parents. While a child can perhaps soften the pain, disappointment and frustration stemming from infertility, s/he can’t make it disappear. Please don’t place your personal issues, health or otherwise, on the adopted child. You will find that this is too great a burden to bear on the child who has already been through so much. Please be emotionally willing and able to level set your expectations and know that this is a life-long commitment to a human life. There are support groups and networks of families that have adopted that can help you with this.

In essence,  not everything works out the way we’d like it to. Many people, for instance, want to start a family, but for medical reasons are unable to do so. Just because they suffer from infertility, however, doesn’t mean that they can’t — or shouldn’t — become parents. Which is why there’s adoption.

 Myth #7: I am single hence I cannot adopt.

False. A single parent can provide a loving stable home.  Increasing numbers of children live in single parent homes (as the number of two parent homes declines) and thrive beautifully, and increasingly, single parents successfully adopt all the time.

Myth #8: I cannot adopt my foster child.

False. You can and many do. However, if you are seeking a child to be his/her forever home, just skip the fostering and adopt. It will be more challenging if you foster a child, love them like your own then they get adopted and you suffer a great loss.

Myth #9: What should I think about before adopting a child or children?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I provide a child with a secure, nurturing and loving home?
  • Can I make a long-term commitment to a child?
  • Am I ready to take on the responsibilities of supporting and raising a child?
  • Am I willing to participate in a multi-step adoption process?
  • Am I ready to welcome a child into my family?

photography of baby holding the hand of person

If the answer is yes to all of the above questions, then you are ready to learn more about adoption in Ontario and your role as a potential adoptive parent.

Myth #10: People will judge me.

I will tell you this from my heart, people will judge NO MATTER WHAT YOU DECIDE TO DO. Opinions are just that- opinions. They are optional and you don’t have to listen to them. If this is a mission of the heart and you are adopting for the right reasons- mainly to give a child a much needed, loving and stable home and family. Then do it. Stop caring what others think. Do what is calling you.

Here are resources for adoption:

http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/adoption/thinking-of-adopting/index.aspx

https://stepstojustice.ca/steps/1-learn-about-different-types-adoption

http://adoption.ca/home

http://www.torontocas.ca/media/adoption-process

http://www.canadaadopts.com/adopting-in-canada/open-adoption/

http://adoptontario.ca/

I am ready to adopt- what do I need to do?

http://www.torontocas.ca/contact/interested_in_adopting

If you are still hesitating, please watch this:

 

If you can, and if God has written it on your heart, please adopt a child.

My husband and I were gifted with three beautiful children but we will still pray to adopt a child.

God bless you always.

Smartignani

 

 

Advertisements

Momming is Hard…

imagesCAWJ7Y37 But seriously…Momming is hard you guys. I really reflected on it the other day as I swiped up on my Facebook timeline and read all the concerns and questions of moms who really just want to do the best for their baby. It’s a whirlwind of confusion and queries.

I wake up randomly and ask questions like “Did all three of my kids get all the shots they needed?” or “Do we need a Pediatrician instead of a Family Doctor?” or “Why is my almost-three-year-old not potty trained- is it me or him?”

These questions haunt me and it stands to reason that I think many questions of vast varieties haunt every mom out there. So I wanted to address some common questions here with some answers that I think will add levity and humour to the situation:

  1. Am I being a good mom when I leave my kids and go out with my girlfriends? Yes. You need to leave them to miss them and they need to adjust to others responding to their needs. Daddy or grandparents or babysitter can help them just fine. Have your glass of whatever-it-is with you girls because you have earned it!
  2. Is it normal to feel this guilty when leaving my baby at daycare? Yes. What’s not normal is dropping baby off and running away yelling “Start the Car honey, the deed is done!” (Full Disclosure: No one ever does that at our childcare centre but it would be funny). Of course it is normal, oftentimes it is more distressing for the mother than the baby!
  3. Is it normal to look at pictures and videos of my children on a date with my partner? No. Stop that. It’s just so silly when people do this. I am kidding. It is normal but we really should stop doing that. We just left them at home like 10 minutes ago and we haven’t even ordered the appies!
  4. Is it normal to feel guilty going away on vacation while the grandparents watch the children? Yes it is normal. But you should feel guiltier leaving me behind!!! Just take me with you please? I pack easily- I am told I can be pretty compact! Don’t let your guilt override the relaxation you can have when you are away. Recharging your batteries is healthy for you and for your little ones. You’ve left them with people you trust, obviously, and made arrangements for their care. Enjoy your time away because you earned it! Reconnect with your partner or your inner self or your core or someone…you are on vacation so start vacating!
  5. Is it normal to ‘not’ like my kids sometimes? What?! No! You are horrible. What makes you say such a thing. Again, I am totally kidding. There are times where my partner and I want to sell our kids to the highest bidder! It is perfectly normal to intensely wish you could go back to childless days where a mini-version of yourself isn’t standing there with hands-on-hips virtually challenging you in the same tone, and using the same words, you use to manage their behaviour. It’s ok not to like your kids sometimes, it is not ok to not enjoy them at all. That could be signs of depression and that is too depressing to talk about here but we can address it. I struggled with it. Message me if you want to talk about this very serious issue.
  6. Is it normal to cry after your child’s birthday party? Yes. First of all, you’re exhausted because you just planned this red-carpet, TIFF-worthy, themed, magnificently-designed birthday party that Princess Kate would be jealous of. Well, that and your child is aging. There is nothing more bittersweet than having you baby grow up. I am always torn between wanting them to stay the exact same age and being excited to watch the little people then adults they become. I can’t tell you how nostalgic, sad, excited and fearful I feel on the birthdays of my children. I am a wreck. I love them so much, my heart aches. I cried like a baby when my middle child turned five two days ago. Why? I remembered bringing her home as a baby then I condemned myself for bringing home her baby brother 26 months later and not giving her enough attention when she was 2. Wow. Mommy guilt is real y’all!
  7. Is it normal to regret going on vacation with children? Yes. Simply put, we regret taking our children on every family vacation we take. Then we look at pictures with fondness. Apparently, it gets easier but it sucks when you’re in the moment. Either they get sick, or drive you bonkers with their behaviour. You are exhausted at 9 pm and end up falling sloppily asleep because they were so all-over-the-darn-place and that embarrassing shade of red on your cheeks was mistaken for too much sun or too much blush. Verdict: Take your kids on vacation but don’t expect to LOVE every moment. Just like home, there will be fun and there will be fury. It’s all good. Healthy mix. They should create a miniseries on TVO or something: The Fun and the Furious (Parents on vacation with kids).
  8. Is it normal to resent my partner for not being as anxious as me about their development? Yes. But stop it. Face their challenges as they happen not before they do. Then you waste time worrying about things that may not happen and when they do, your defenses are down and you are not strong enough to face them. If your partner seems more relaxed about things, it is to balance you out. It does not help anyone to have both sets of parents stressing over everything when it comes to the children. Make sure you take turns though because it can be pretty exhausting to be the comforter all the time. Our partners need the time to be anxious and worried and they need us to be chill and comforting.
  9. Is it normal to feel jealous when my baby wants my partner more than me? Ummm, the question is, what are you doing standing there watching? Dude, go take a shower or do your nails or wax them eyebrows!! Don’t stand there and nurse the emotions of jealousy? Instead, say something like, “Oh, looks like the baby needs YOU right now! I will give you some bonding time and space. You are an awesome parent. Love you!” And then run. Get your shoes on and GET OUT OF THE HOUSE or head to your room. Go for a walk, a stretch, a nap, a shower, a massage, shopping or even drinking. I don’t know. Whatever turns your crank. Just do it. But yes, it’s normal to be jealous. I wasn’t impressed when I did everything for the baby and they would cry or say “Daddy” as their first word. Now, after three little ones, not so much. I just shrug my shoulder and say “Meh, take’em” and find an alternative activity that brings me joy and peace.
  10. Is it normal to hear yourself be your mother? Yup. You read that correctly. Sometimes I am so keenly aware that my mother’s words, actions, mannerisms have completely invaded my body and mind and I suddenly become my mom. It may not necessarily be a bad thing for some people but for me, I always wanted to be less anxious, more free and less militant with my kids. I. Am. Not. Let’s put it this way, I hold their hands up and down the stairs until they are at least three years of age. I fed them pureed food much later than necessary to avoid choking. I still need to potty train my almost-three-year-old (can you tell this is a sensitive issue for me currently). The other day I caught myself saying, “Like it or not, you will do what I say because I am your mother and that is that!” – Whaaaaaaat?! That was not in any parenting book I ever read and definitely was not a recommended statement befitting of my relaxed-authoritative parenting style! The struggle is real y’all.

Ok. So what did we learn from all this everybody?

We are not perfect but we are perfect for our kids. Think about that. You are perfect for your child. Your child was created for you and you are everything your child needs. You are sufficient and magnificent with all your flaws and all your imperfections. You are perfectly imperfect and just what your child needs. With your love and patience, your crazy-mommy moments and your tender touch, your baby is blessed by you.

So stay fierce. Just be who you are. Everything you doubt doing is amazing. Your effort is clear to all of us and please just do what is right for your child. Don’t listen to others’ experience because no one else has your baby!

Peace and love y’all.

SMartignani

Random mommy moments…

This is a short compilation of recent mommy moments that I feel the need to share with the world.

  1. My three year old still thinks that hairplanes depart from the hairport. Image result for hairplane
  2. My 19 months old son will randomly go up to dogs anywhere and start bopping up and down – dancing to an imaginary song in his head. Dogs usually love that.
  3. I spelled out to my husband, very quickly, that a friend is trying to get p-r-e-g-n-a-n-t and my 5 year old immediately asked – “Who is trying to get pregnant mommy?”
  4. My three year old came up to me and said “Mommy, I love you as much as pickles” then walked away. She doesn’t like pickles that much. Image result for emojis unamused
  5. My husband did the laundry which was awesome. My toddler wore my underwear on his head when someone rang the door and he came running up. Not awesome.
  6. My five year old exclaimed loudly, in public, “Mommy why is that man screwing around?” as she pointed to a gentlemen who was fixing a chair with a screwdriver.
  7. My toddler is frustrated that the TV is not touch screen. He can’t swipe anything. So frustrating for him. There are tiny fingerprints literally ALL OVER our TV screen.
  8. My 3 year old likes to watch TB and often tells people in random places “I love my TB.”  As people noticeably and justifiably back away.
  9. My 5 year old broke down today because it was so hot and said- “I am dehydrated mommy- are you trying to kill me? Hydrate me please, that is all I ask!”
  10. A magician at a small party asked the kids, what do you breathe out into the balloon- all the kids shouted “air” but my 5 year old declared “Carbon Dioxide!”
  11. My toddler keeps running away from imaginary people who are trying to tickle him. He then chases same and says “Tickle, tickle, tickle” I think he sees the unseen.Image result for emojis
  12. My 3 year old will sit down for breakfast and have a bowl of cereal then a bowl of oatmeal and then desperately ask “Do we have any more Eggos?”
  13. My 5 year old blamed mommy when she got in trouble at school, stating and I quote “My mommy made me this way. This is how I was born.”
  14. My toddler physically removes and carries really heavy items out of the pantry then cries because he doesn’t know how to put them down.
  15. When asked who she loves more, mommy or daddy, my 5 year old daughter proudly and confidently asserts “God”.

I can’t be prouder and they can’t be more beautiful in my eyes. Thank you Lord for blessing them. Please share your moments if you like!

Smartignani

Bedtime Wars!

Image result for pillow fight childrenSome of our battles are quite epic! Please tell me I am not alone. My preschooler and my kindergartner share a room and a bunk bed and THEY NEVER WANT TO SLEEP!

We have a routine. We change into our pjs, we brush our teeth, we pray in our beds, most nights I read a story, we snuggle and huggle and cuddle and huddle. I rub their back, I play with their hair, I sing songs and I plead, beg, bribe, reward, remind, count-down, count-up, cry, tickle and threaten but NOTHING WORKS!

These kids just won’t sleep. They refuse to succumb to any strategy I have used thus far. The only thing I can think of is splitting them up which will suck for us because we will lose our extra guest room which I use when family comes over. The other reason I don’t want to split them up is because that would mean one of them sharing the bathroom with my toddler who is not a heavy sleeper which means one toilet flush or one song and he is AWAKE! I cannot have that!

I am beaming with pride during the day. They are good, wholesome, beautiful young ladies. They share, they care and they dress themselves. They tidy up when asked to and we operate within a very strict sticker reward system that sees them closer to their goal of going to a fun “place” once they achieve a certain number of stickers. Positive behaviour is rewarded and negative behaviour is also acknowledged through the loss of stickers. It’s an ongoing delicate balance of telling one daughter “You get 2 stickers for listening right away” and telling her sister that “Whining is not acceptable, you will lose one sticker now”.

I feel like we made progress everywhere in their behaviour. Despite my eldest’s incessant arguing (it is part of her curious nature to be inquisitive even though sometimes it feels like she is questioning my authority- it is usually unintentional). The middle child is cautious and every so sensitive, so I feel like we made great gains in making her more confident to experience the world and know that she will always have our love and support. However, together and after the bewitching hour of 7:15 pm, they become tiny hellions that are more boisterous than a small crowd of protesters in front of city hall. I have tried installing a monitor to yell at them through it but it did nothing but make me irate with the sheer amount of shushing and threatening I had to do while they action ideas, which I can hear,  that are just no no no no no good!

I read forums about this so I decided to stop listening in and I took away the monitor. I decided to just let them play but all I kept hearing downstairs from their room is banging, thumping, stomping and screaming. They would often wake up their baby brother which would send me into a small dark rage and result in them losing the ability to attend events, visits or even go out in public! My husband kept telling me to stop incentivizing them with what we will be doing next that would be fun and I listened even though that was the only thing that worked with them! If we had a wedding, or party or fun event coming up, I would say “Remember, if you listen and go to sleep tonight, we can go to…and have lots of fun”. It worked beautifully but this did not sit well with my husband so he implemented the strike system.

Strike one, they lose their books and flashlight (yes, they each have 3 or 4 books to read in their bed). Strike two, we close the curtains (we keep them open for daylight and until they sleep) then last strike, we turn off their star nightlight since they do not like the dark- that is absolutely the worst one.

It is working except, if I give a strike then it affects both girls and the eldest usually says “But mommy, why are you punishing me? I’m listening!” And she is right. I don’t know if this is a foolproof system, certainly my 5 year-old is no fool!

So I really don’t know what to do or whether to actually do anything at all. I am blogging about it to see if I am the only one in the mamaverse who is struggling with this. My goodness, some days, I just hate bed time. If I wasn’t sure that they need at least 13 hours of sleep, I wouldn’t have even bothered putting them to sleep at all! And even though I start bedtime at 7:15 pm most nights, they are not usually asleep until 9 or 9:30 pm- crazy right?

There is something wrong with these children. Don’t mince words. Just tell me- WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE CHILDREN?

Image result for tired momLOL.

Smartignani

Another crazy year!

crazy-829178_960_720So Christmas 2016 is around the corner and I am just guffawing at how quickly time is melting away. I am constantly looking at my “babies” (and I am using that term loosely since they are now 3 and 5) and wondering “What the heck happened?”

There is no end to my disbelief that time could possibly move that fast. It needs to SLOW DOWN. Seriously.

My baby, who I feel I just had and brought home yesterday is almost one year old! What?! I’m so saddened yet secretly relieved that he made it this far with his two crazy older sisters jabbing, kicking, poking and kissing the heck out of him!

This year was like so many before it, CRAZY! Is it me or do things get more insane each year you get older?

Let’s see, this year alone I sold my business, almost lost my mom, raised thousands of dollars to save my mom, helped two close friends through some tough times, reconnected with family that I didn’t know before, survived three grueling months of sickness that was passed back and forth between the members of my family, contracted some form of illness that gives me constant and intense bone pain throughout my entire body and I got rammed in the back of my SUV with all my kids in the car. And it is only the beginning of October- OY VEY!

I am grateful and so thankful to God that nothing really bad happened this year. Even though I keep waiting for something really bad to happen- there is, sadly, an ever-present sense of foreboding and doom that resides deep within my soul. I have to intentionally wake up each morning and suppress it like a dormant demon that is inflaming me and trying to steal my joy.

Talking about joy- I have more joy in my life than I can wish for. My children and husband, my family and friends. My brother and sister. My in-laws and nieces and nephews. I am so blessed with such amazing and lovely people in my life that I seldom fear the demons within. But there is one remaining phase in my life, I neither wish to face nor desire to imagine… leaving my children to return to work.

It is very difficult for me to acknowledge this but some days, like all other moms, I have a deep and seated desire to wake up, put make-up on and leave the house to go to a place where I can make money and talk to other adults about stuff other than poopy diapers, dirty dishes and the endless nagging of a threenager. Then almost immediately afterwards, I am plagued with intense guilt combined with profound sadness. I feel like I am giving up on my babies who are growing up too fast (hence the initial part of this post) and I am abandoning them in favour of adult conversation and income stability. I loathe the decision to return to work and I envy the ladies who can afford to stay home with their children but I know in my heart that I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home-mommy. I really don’t like house chores and I am quite tired of my kids by the time noon hits. If I am being very truthful, I look forward to missing them a bit – is that awful to admit?

We were looking at the childcare options available to us and we decided to go with a nanny. With three children (2 full-time and 1 part-time) this was our only option. The nanny will apparently help keep the house tidy and clean as well as  take care of my children. We interviewed many people and met many nice ladies in the process. We perfected our questions and made a decision. I will not jinx it yet because it is not confirmed but I do hope she accepts our offer.

I am not sure why I even wrote this post. I just needed to let it be known that I am going back to work and maybe seek validation from other moms who were in my shoes?

If you are that mommy- talk to me and tell me I am not insane and heartless because of my sporadic and intermittent fluctuations of wanting to play grown-up after my maternity leave is up some days and my intensely deep and mourning-like days of loss and pain for the future of my children without me for 9 hours a day.

Talk to me!

SMartignani

 

Judgement and Consequence

I wanted to write this for a while but I don’t think I have enough hours in the day. With three active children under the age of 5, I am like a feather caught in a whirlwind torpedo of activities: potty training, teething, tantrums, tucking in, tickling, travelling and tumultuous transformations.  But I am still holding it together… I think.

I am sure oKasketaldi_haurra_001ther parents can see the wild look in my eyes because I haven’t slept in 6 years or the suspicious glances flicked at me because each of my children including the baby have a bump or scratch (all self-inflicted, I assure you). I am positive that other moms are looking at the way my 5-year-old crosses her arms and stomps and yells “NO! Mommy- I don’t want that!” and thinking that she is spoiled and lacking in discipline. Or shaking their heads when my almost 3-year-old decides to pick her nose and eat it (gross, right?) because we don’t correct her (which we do every time) and that she will forever be a perpetual proboscis picker.

Here is the thing… I don’t really care about what others are thinking or feeling or perceiving or believing. My world is centred on my children whom I know intimately since the moment of their first wail into the world.

I was at the mall the other day and in the little play area and I saw a mother struggling with her toddler while trying to jiggle her baby on her shoulder. She was getting so frustrated and her cheeks were flushed and her baby was getting quite stirred (literally and figuratively) because she was over-jiggling. The two moms next to me were talking about this particular poor soul and saying the following:

Lady 1: “Oh my, that little girl is NOT happy!”

Lady 2: “Mom needs to get a handle on her before X (her own toddler) sees that behaviour and starts to copy it!”

Lady 1: “Some people just don’t know how to control their kids! It’s because she decided to have a baby, the little girl is probably needing attention”

Lady 2: “Exactly! This is why I am spacing mine apart. Exactly for that reason”

At this point, I had enough. I huffed really audibly as I stood up and I spared them one sneer and a quick “You are far from perfect yourselves ladies!” and then I confidently and quickly approached the mom of the melting down toddler and shaken baby and softly said:

“It’s ok, mine do the same thing. My 2-year-old is in there playing happily, for now, can I offer you a hand? I have a baby too but he is sound asleep, would you like me to carry your little angel while you deal with your baby girl?”

The relief that washed over the mother was indescribable. She hesitated for about one second then she gave me her baby. I stood there making googly eyes at the baby and she calmed down and started to give me the sweetest smiles. I was singing her silly songs and dancing with her while her mom was dealing with her sister. The lady told her 2-year-old that she will get some Skittles if she just calms down and tells her what is wrong using her big girl words (we do the same). The toddler stood up and in between bouts of tears and noisy, wet sobs proclaimed, “I pooh”. Profound declaration but adequate explanation of her crappy disposition (pun intended).

Mom told her that it will be ok and that she will change her. Toddler hugged her and looked up and me. I smiled and I handed the baby back to mommy informing her that she will have to change two poopy diapers and that I know exactly what that is like too. She took the baby and the toddler and went to the family washroom. I walked back to the main benches where judgy lady 1 & 2 are sitting and I wedge myself right next to them. My daughter is standing aside as one of their sons shoves another child off the climbing thingy. Lady 2 who was afraid of the toddler’s behaviour affecting her angelic son turns to her friends and says “He is so assertive- isn’t that cute?”

Wow. Perceptions.

I turn to her and gently respond:

“That is not being assertive, that is called being aggressive. Assertive is standing up for yourself and giving your opinion but what he is doing is pushing and shoving other children out of his way. That is being aggressive. So is judging a mom who is in the middle of a toddler meltdown. You should really stop and look at your house made of glass before you start throwing rocks!”

Yup. That happened. True story. I did say all that.

I expected a fight. I expected cursing. I even expected her to punch me in the face.

Instead, I got a teary and ashamed lady who quietly said “You are right. He is a little terror and I don’t know what to do with him? What should I do? He is our only child and I am having a terrible time bearing another child. I am scared that he will be the only child and that he will become a bully. I was bullied in school by a boy. I don’t want my son to be that way.”

Ah, what? What just happened? This, I did not expect.

I proceeded to spend the next hour with this lady and her friend who felt equally ashamed and mom of toddler and baby at the special play place at the mall. After the apologies and the brief discussion about how we should be kind to one another and stop the judging because we ALL need help, we started discussing strategies and parenting tricks that worked for each of us.

My toddler and the baby got tired and hungry and wanted to leave but I certainly did not. We agreed to meet again soon and we even exchanged contact information. We went from being four strangers waiting on their kids to play to four friends who joined the same Mommy Facebook Group.

It was super cool and I even got to hold the little ray of sunshine baby girl again while the lady I helped held my baby boy. All around awesomeness.

Moral of the story:

STOP judging other moms. Get off your butt and help. You are not perfect. Your children are far from perfect as well. The only perfection is founded in our humanity. So like Ellen DeGeneres says “Be kind to one another”.

Love,

SMartignani

Random mommy stuff…

20160512_100159Some days I feel really accomplished and others…not so much. I have really enjoyed this maternity leave particularly because it is my last. It also helps that I sold my businesses so I am free to enjoy motherhood to the fullest extent.

Of course, there was that stint of anxiety and bout of despair when my mom was dying in the ICU (she recovered thank God) and since then, without fail, one of my three kids has been vitally ill on any given day. But overall, I am doing more enjoying than fretting and that is an accomplishment.

My life has drastically evolved since the third child. Ok, who am I kidding? It has been revolutionized. I feel like chaos can really be a way of life now. I sit back sometimes and I just laugh at the absurdity of everything. For example, last week on a Saturday, my eldest accidentally head-butted the baby which caused a stream of tears and a very angry cry while my toddler ran face-first into the wall and ended up with a bloody nose – all at the same time. This all happened in the blink of an eye. Everyone was crying. I was laughing hysterically, like an evil scientist who openly relishes the sound of children’s cries. Sometimes to ensure your sanity- you just have to laugh at it all. Everyone was fine and with some tissue paper for the bloody nose, a few cuddles and tickles for the head-butt injury and a gentle “It’s ok honey, it was an accident” – everyone was fine.

I wanted to take a minute and just say this… am I the only one who feels like I am back in high-school and trying to fit in when I go pick up my daughter from kindergarten? Parents can be really clique-ish- no? I was waiting outside today and I looked over to find two moms talking quietly. I waved and said “Hello” and it was an audible “Hello” not one of these mousey, shy “Hellos” – know what I mean? Anyway, one mom just gave me this contrived smile and the other ignored me altogether. Wow. Maybe I’m just not cool enough to talk to them. Maybe they are hating my new hairdo. Maybe I offended them with my strong and confident “Hello”… I don’t know. All I know is, I have a choice not to get too obsessed in wanting to be accepted because at my age- I don’t care what others think of me. I know that makes me sound awful but truly- if you are going to judge me and not even get to know me then it’s your loss- not mine. Because I honestly think I’m a pretty awesome person! There. Take that. On to more important things…

I am on a mission to shed the pounds I gained in my three pregnancies. I gained quite a few pounds so it’s taking a while. I’m close to starving all the time but I am too scared to stop because the doctor almost guaranteed Diabetes if I don’t shed the weight. I find it easier to remain on course when I think about my kids. I want to be there for their graduations, weddings, and maybe even for their own kids. I don’t want to be the old, fat mom who looks 20 years older than she really is. What will the clique-ish Lululemon moms at the school think of me and my fat “hellos” then- huh?

My eldest daughter is taking oral laxatives behind my back. I swear the kid never shuts up. I love it but I hate it at the same time. She’s so interesting and everything she says is adorable but when I’m trying to actually get her moving, it’s next to impossible. She is not a multi-tasker. She was gifted with the gift of gab. I can’t believe how much she talks. And here I was wondering if her language skills will develop because she wasn’t really speaking by the age of 2.5. Really? I shouldn’t have worried. I am hoping my middle daughter will NOT learn to speak until she’s 5. That way, I won’t have competing trance-talking going on. It’s too funny. I can tune her out and she will just keep on talking and yakking. Then she will stop sometimes and ask “Right Mama?” but I have to be careful. What am I agreeing to? So I say “Which part is right?” See? Sneaky, smart, strategic momma is at play here. I mentally pat myself on the back when she replies by reiterating the last phrase that needed confirmation. I’m in the clear. I  will either agree or correct her thoughts and then the droning will begin again. Sometimes, I drift away in my mind about my to-do list or a recent commercial I saw or how I need to cut the baby’s toenails because he is quite literally growing them out like some gross racoon paws and then I suddenly hear her say something like… “And then I’m like CRAP DUDE, why are you being such a donut and he says because you are short like a hobbit and I’m like I don’t even know what a hobbit is and then I walk away but my shorts are dirty because of the grass on my butt. Butt is a funny word. Did you know another word for butt is ash. Today I heard this big kid call his brother an ash-hole. That’s funny- right momma?”

Me: “No Sweetheart, Ash is not a nice word and it’s not funny. That boy should not talk to his brother like that. God wants us to be kind to one another and not call each other names”.

Her: “So how come daddy calls me a Hoggler and my sister a Donut and my baby brother Stinky?”

Me: “Daddy is just joking with you and none of those names are rude.”

Her: “Ok. Any way so today in school I….”

And on and on and on and on and on. Phew, close one. Note to self- talk to the hubby. Tell him the story- and laugh about it later!

My middle kid is temperamental, defiant and intelligent. Every trait she picked up from me. I’m not ashamed to admit the truth. She looks like me, she yells like me and most of all, she’s got this low, manly laugh like me! When I was younger, I would answer the phone and my voice was so deep, people would think they are talking to my dad. So it’s either my poppa sounds like a woman or I had the deep, vibrato voice of a man. Until now, when I wake up and try to talk, I sound like my husband. It’s ok, I’ve come to terms with this quirky attribute. Let’s leave it there. Maybe that’s why the moms at her school won’t talk to me? I must be confusing them with my manly, confident “Hello”. Oh well…

The baby is the best. He’s like a good book, I can’t put him down. Lately, my favourite thing to do in the entire world (which is hyperbolic at best since it’s not but let’s go with it) is making him giggle. Is there a better sound in this universe than a baby’s heart-felt giggle? If you say yes, then you are heartless or need to go get yourself a baby and make him giggle. Don’t hate- appreciate. Besides, I have to blow on his belly and tickle his feet then motorboat his neck in order to get the full-on giggle that can be heard down the street. It’s so much work, I end up sweating and only catching glimpses of his enormous, blissful, drooling open mouth and eyes that sparkle with laughter as well. The thing is, when you tickle a baby, you have to do it quickly and consecutively.They have such short attention spans that they will literally forget you were playing with them and just move on from said activity. Then you are left saying things like “Hello” and having them not respond to you… ahem ahem…like some people!!

Finally, I would like to state my horror at how sick the world is today. I’m not going to dig too deep or go into many details but suffice it to say, I’m afraid for my children’s futures. Pedophiles, mass shootings, addictions, mental unhealth, impoverished moralities, victimized abusers, and an endless cycle of evil begetting evil. I’m sure that such things existed since the beginning of time but everyday I wake up and there is another stark reminder that our world is sick. I am sure that everything bad is known much quicker because of social media and sometimes, one  just can not turn it off. I often wonder why people post all those negative things on their wall. Why not use your power to influence the friends on your list with positivism. We need more love – people. More acceptance and forgiveness. We need to set an example to our children. We need to show kindness and openness. We all bleed red. We all need to be accepted.

Except me and those moms. I’m over it. Really. Done and done.

Good night and God bless. And like Ellen always says- “Be kind to one another”.

Smartignani

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: