Does breathing into a paper bag really work?

Helicopter parent you say? Yup. Check. That’s me.

No wait.

That was me. I’m a much better version of my former self now.

I’ve just gotten back from dropping Big off to his first ever – mommy’s-not-staying – birthday party.

I know some of the other kids that were going.

Of course I do. I sourced that out days ago.

The thing is that this is all new to me. I’ve NEVER left Big at a birthday party. I have a hard time letting go. An abnormally hard time letting go.

Thankfully, and for the sanity of my children, I’ve gotten help.

Professional help.

I fully recommend professional help.

It turns out that as mothers sometimes we attach all of who we are to our children. We can beome somewhat obsessed about being super moms and being everything to our children.

That happened to me. I will say that it all happened rather quickly and once I realized it was bordering on the unhealthy side, I was in too deep.

Let’s begin here.

Four years ago we lost our daughter.

Big was barely two, and I was pregnant with our second baby. A baby girl. Eighteen weeks into our pregnancy, we knew something was wrong. Very wrong. At twenty weeks I was giving birth to our daughter, knowing she wouldn’t survive.

On the outside, it appeared that I was at peace with the mystery of it all. On the inside – I was broken.

The broken version of myself latched on to the one thing that I knew needed me more than anything in the world – Big.

Big was registered for pre school, and I withdrew his registration. I kept him by my side at all times, and rarely, if ever let him out of my sight. We became so in tune with each other that in no time he was taking care of me and not the other way around.

It wasn’t long before I knew it was all going wrong. How unfair to make myself a burden on my pre-schooler? Just before he turned three, he was registered for Montessori and off he went. It was by far, one of the best things to happen for both of us.

We both grew. I finally dealt with the loss of our baby. It was tough. And not having Big by my side was even tougher. But I made it through.

It wasn’t long before we both grew into ourselves. I finally saw Big as the amazing kid he is.

Having him start grade one this year has been an even bigger step for us. And he’s at a public school with eight hundred other kids. Gulp.

And one of those kids is having a birthday party today.

And Big is there. All alone. Without me.

And in my core, I know he’s doing just fine.

In the meantime, I’ll keep staring at the clock.

It’s all about small steps, right?

Our little Big Guy

Hard work really does pay off. Who knew?

It’s just a little over a year that we started our Speech Therapy journey.

Small was just turning two, when I realized that he really wasn’t saying much.

Sure, he could communicate, but there really were no defined words. Except for mama, dada and a shortened version of Big’s name, there was really not much more to his vocabulary.

Immediately I called Erinoak Kids – a fabulous service – and they put us on the wait list. Not long after I called, we received a letter saying that we were scheduled for an assessment. So off we went. We met with a lovely Speech Pathologist who let us know that Small was a “late talker.” She said he was very animated and expressive with his hands and body language and wondered if that was learned behaviour. As I sat on my hands, I replied “His father is Italian.” Ha!

So Vince and I are what you’d call animated. Okay, fine, maybe you’d call us loud and boisterous, but you’d love us, really.

So the kid had learned to communicate using everything but his mouth. Not a horrible thing to have happen, right?

Well, off I went to the parent sessions to learn how to help him string two words together. Once we managed that, we graduated on to the next step which was to meet on a one-on-one basis with an SLP assistant. So back we went on to the waitlist.

In the meantime I sought out a private Speech Pathologist, and came across this beauty – Doctor Debbie – as Small calls her.

WOW! She is magnificent. Amazing progress was made. Some people are just born to do certain things in this world – and this woman was born to help children. And I should mention, that she’s quite ‘animated’ too. Which of course means that I love her.

Anyway, back to Small.. We did some sessions with Doctor Debbie, then back to Erinoak we went when our turn came up. And once again, we were assigned to yet another wonderful lady – Doctor Donna – Small seems to like to call people Doctor. And again, what progress we’ve made!!

We still have a long way to go – but he is talking now. Really talking. Able to tell me how his day was. And even though at first it broke my heart that my little Small couldn’t get his little tongue in the right place to just say the smallest of words, his hard work has paid off. He is much more confident now.

He’s doing amazingly well at his new school. His new teachers are so supportive of his speech development and are open to also helping him with whatever new sound we’re working on.

Small has a team of people working super hard to help him reach his speech goals. I’m not sure I’ve always agreed with the whole ‘it takes a vilage’ philosophy – until now. It does take a village. It takes more than just Vince and I, and it takes a lot of hard work to help raise our kids.

So there you have it. Who would have thought that in this family of rather loud, expressive, animated people, we’d have a little guy who would have a hard time? Although, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like he’s not heard – oh no, it’s not like that at all. Because out of all us here, it’s the smallest member of our family that has the biggest personality!

Our little BIG GUY!