Category Archives: Parenting

Being a Champion for Your Child

Photo from nbc.com

Have you ever done something completely out of your comfort zone; something so unlike your usual behaviour, without a second thought or hesitation, all in the name of your child?

If you can answer yes to this question then you’re like me, thousands of other parents and the character Kristina from the hit TV show Parenthood.

I’ve been a fan of this show since it first aired. I quickly became caught up in the lives of the characters as they made their way through child rearing, relationships and career challenges. When Kristina spoke the line “…haven’t you ever wanted to be a champion for your kid?”, I began writing.

Kristina was advocating for her son Max who has Asperger’s Syndrome. A large part of the show focuses on Kristina’s family and their challenges. One doesn’t need to have a child with autism to identify with them. Aspects of their story are easily relatable and you’re able to put yourself in their position. You will find yourself cheering them on and asking the question ‘what would I have done?’

Kristina’s words struck a chord with me because the other day I did something that surprised me a little. I picked up little S from school and began a quick chat with one of her teachers to get an update on her day. S has been going through a ’testing’ phase both at school and at home so we’re used to getting some not-so-great feedback at the end of the day. It’s usually no big deal. My husband and I will chat about it at home and decide on our action plan if any. On this day, though, the feedback was delivered in a way that seemed unprofessional and unfair to little S. This caused me to feel that on this particular day, from this particular teacher, S wasn’t getting the best treatment possible.

This made me mad furious! I know things can’t be perfect at any school or daycare and my child is not perfect either, but I still expect the best care possible for my little girl. For that reason I let her have it voiced my concern. I wasn’t rude or unprofessional. I just expressed how I felt. This is something that I find difficult. I hate conflict and will often try to avoid it.

I started with a comparison of S’s current teacher with her teacher from last year who “was so great at dealing with S.” I then went on to state that it was rather obvious that she (her current teacher) was getting frustrated with little S and that she was the professional who should know what to do. I also made some reference to government regulations (based on a statement the teacher had made about being alone).

When I got home, I reflected on the event and wondered from where the courage came and from where the words had emerged. Now I know. I was being a champion for my child, and when you’re playing the role of champion, not much can stop you.

I’d love to fill you on the rest of this story, but the end has not yet happened. My husband and I will have a meeting with her teachers later this week where we will discuss the issues that upset us. At this point it seems that her teacher was getting frustrated at being a teacher, which while understandable; the fact remains that neither student nor parent should ever pick up on that.

There are some battles we will have to let our children fight for themselves and there are some where we, as parents, will have to gear up, armour and all and be the champions.

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All the World’s a Stage


A friend of mine, who became a Mom 10 months before me, has always been there to give me advice and lend an ear when it comes to the ups and downs of motherhood. I often use her son as a measuring stick to what I can expect with little S in the near future. One of her pearls of wisdom is that everything with young children comes and goes in stages.

This little phrase has come in handy in two ways:

  1. It reminds me to cherish and appreciate the blissful stages
  2. It reminds me to cherish and appreciate the blissful stages

That’s not a typo. When we are in one of the more likeable stages with little S, we are on cloud nine. But when we are in a tough stage it becomes hard to see the light and to ever picture an end.

Today you’ve got me in the midst of a tough stage. I can’t recall when this one started and the blissful one before it, ended. More importantly, I have no idea when this one will stop. So far I see no sign of a cease-fire.

We’re at the bossy-moody-not listening stage. She’s now telling us what to do and if you tell her to sit down, she’ll stand up. If you tell her the sky is blue, you’ll quickly learn that it’s not! This girl has a mind of her own.

I appreciate the qualities she demonstrates. The harder these qualities are to deal with as parents, the better they will serve her as an adult. For example, she often questions everything:

Me: “S, please don’t jump on the couch.”
S (still jumping): “Why can’t I jump on the couch?”
Me: “Because I don’t want you to fall off and get hurt.”
S (still jumping): “Why don’t you want me to get hurt?”
Me: “Because I love you and I don’t want to see you in pain.”
S (still jumping): “Why don’t you want to see me in pain?”

And you can imagine how the rest goes.

This little dialogue is something that I like to think of her doing at the age of 18. Not asking why and not wanting to know more can lead to trouble. No garden path for this girl.

The worst part of the stage we’re in is the blatant ignoring and not listening. We tell her one thing and she does another. We get down to her level and explain our feelings. She says she understands but runs off and does the opposite to what we explained. It’s like she’s a child! Oh wait…she is!

So what gets me through these hair pulling times; my friend’s advice. This is just a stage and it too shall pass! The silver lining is that what follows will be heart-melting, laugh-your-butt-off, happy-tear-instigating, wonderfully beautiful. And when I get to kiss those cheeks and feel those small arms around my neck, I am quickly reminded how worth it this all is.

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net. Photographed by nuttakit.