Monday, February 1, 2010

DON'T LOOK AT ME! (The Terrible Twos Strikes Again)

Ah, the terrible twos. I never doubted your power, not for a moment. Just when we thought we had Noah's manners down pat, you struck again.

This time, we were in church. Noah's behaviours were so wild that we had to relocate mid-way through the service to what we fondly refer to as the "naughty Noah room". It's really a four walled prison cell with a plexiglass viewing window, and the disembodied voice of the minister piped in for good measure.

The pews are all gnawed by generation after generation of pint-sized parishoners. The song books are half-shredded. And usually, there's a gaggle of young families in various stages of riot mode hanging out in the naughty room. 

This time, there was one young mom and her baby, who looked to be about 8 months old. He sat quietly on the floor with his pacifier, occasionally crawling about inspecting forgotten cheerios or the pattern in the carpet.  

Noah behaved himself reasonably well upon arrival to this room -- which is strange because we don't reward him for the naughtiness that necessitates the change of scenery. We don't let him down to play. He sits on our lap or next to us and munches on cheerios (from our supply, of course, not the casualties on the floor). I think he just likes that room because it's closer to the exit door. 

Every once in a while, he climbs up on my lap, cradles my face in his pudgy little hands and hollers "I ALL DONE CHURCH MOMMY!" I stifle my giggles, re-seat him on the bench, and try to pay attention to the service.

All went well until the end of church, when Noah took one look at the poor unsuspecting baby, and declared "DON'T LOOK AT ME!!!"

Sigh. Another day, another attack of the terrible twos. There's always next week Noah.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Retreat to Remember

After months of planning, hours of meeting, and too many chocolate chip cookies from Costco to count, our retreat day finally arrived.

We ended up welcoming two dozen adoptive parents of persons with FASD to our "Growing Together" Retreat... a jam-packed day designed to give a break, a voice, and a little bit of reprieve to parents who very much deserve it. They earn it every day.

Three of my sibs have the diagnosis, and while that was our "normal" from the moment they joined our family, it was always clear to me that the FASD world was special. You had to live it to understand it.

In the months after we joined the FASD club, I saw my parents (for the first time) as human. They couldn't fix every problem. They couldn't anticipate every behaviour. Typical strategies were useless. And no one from the club was there immediately to say "That's normal. That's not your fault. That's the way things are. Here, let me help."

I think they could have used a day like yesterday. It would have helped remind them that, even after FASD became our everyday, my parents were still unique people!  

The families who joined us yesterday had varying stories; some had young children who were recently diagnosed, others had lived in the FASD world for decades. All were a joy to welcome and visit with.

Thanks to all for joining us, and to the many supporters who helped us host the event. It was a wonderful day to be part of.