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4 5 Phrases to Encourage Children What does encouragement sound like?
6 Understanding and Accepting Autism This condition covers a wide spectrum
8 Help your child do well in school
10 Winter Education Guide 16 Live your life’s dream It starts now
18 A prescription for better health Exercise
20 The legend of my ten-pound baby The gold star for birth weight
22 Windows and Wheels A dad’s journey of letting go
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Winter Issue 2013 Volume 22, Number 1
bcparent.ca • winter 2013 3
o t s e s a r h P 5 ourage Enc ldren i h C t artlet B y l l By Ke
t’s no secret that kids need encouragement to thrive. But what exactly does encouragement sound like? It’s different than praise or admiration or guidance. It is common to want to give evaluative feedback to kids for their work (“Good coloring!”), or to tell them what we like about their accomplishments (“I like how you set the table.”), or what we expect of their behavior. (“You need to try your best at school today.”) Though these kinds of responses are well meaning, they teach kids to rely on our evaluations rather than to learn to form their own judgments about behavior. Alfie Kohn, researcher and author of Punished by Rewards, says that kids can come to depend on praise and external validation instead of finding satisfaction in doing the right thing simply because it’s the right thing to do. “Rather than bolstering a child’s selfesteem, praise may increase kids’ dependence on us. It leads them to measure their
4 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
worth in terms of what will lead us to smile and dole out some more approval,” says Kohn. He recommends that parents focus on supporting and encouraging their child’s efforts, rather than on praising the results. Encouragement is about teaching kids to see the value of their own accomplishments and to be in charge of their own success. It fosters internal strength and motivation by keeping the focus of children’s behavior on themselves instead of anyone else. As psychologist Rudolf Dreikurs said, “A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water.” Here are five encouraging things to say to your kids on a regular basis: Thank you!
For tasks that a child has completed, let him know his efforts are appreciated. Tell him, “That helped a lot,” and, “I appreciate the time you spent on this.” It lets him know that his work is meaningful
and he is an important contributor to the family. Saying ‘thank you’ is no less celebratory than saying ‘good job.’ Expressing gratitude for a job well done still communicates excitement and pride. The difference is you don’t need to tell your child that what he did was good; he will inherently feel it. Claire, a stay-at-home mom of 3 boys, said that at dinner one night, she thanked her 3-year-old, Tucker, for giving each family member a napkin to use. When Tucker climbed into his chair and replied, “Mama, I like you thanking me. That feels nice,” she was struck by the power of those simple words. Without any praise, Tucker felt significant and appreciated; he felt his “good job,” and he was motivated to do it again. You did it!
Use this kind of encouragement for when a child has achieved a goal or milestone. Cheer for her by focusing on
the effort it took to get there, rather than on the outcome. Instead of saying, “I like how you built that Lego tower,” respond with, “Wow you worked hard on that!”, “Look at what you accomplished!”, or, “You must feel proud.” Responses like these focus the accomplishment on the child’s inner work, rather than on a parent’s external evaluation. It’s much more encouraging to say, “You sure never gave up during your game!” than, “You won your game, good job.”
conversation than a one-sided monologue. When a child is heard, she feels known. It’s OK to cry
It’s important for kids to know that their feelings are always OK. Learning how to manage these feelings takes support, acceptance, and lots of practice. Encourage kids by communicating that they are not wrong to experience unpleasant feelings like sadness, anger, or fear. Instead of saying, “You’re OK. Don’t be upset,” let your child know, “You have the right to feel angry. I understand; I would feel mad, too.” Or, “I can see you feel very sad right now, and that’s OK.” Validating your child’s feelings leads to his own acceptance of them, and the realization that he is capable of handling them.
I’m listening What could be more encour-
aging than to know someone is receptive to what you have to say? Active listening validates a child’s sense of significance and belonging in the family; they know they’re important and they matter. Let kids know you’re taking their thoughts seriously by echoing their statements back to them. There should be some back-and-forth with open-ended questions (“What would you do about that?”), empathy (“Wow, you must have felt scared.”), and reflections (“Oh, you decided to take a break so you could calm down.”) Good listening sounds more like a
I trust you
Instead of providing the answers and directing kids toward what to do, encourage them to make decisions and solve problems by letting them know you trust their ability to decide for themselves. Say things like, “I know you can figure this out,” “I have faith in you to find a solu-
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Understanding and Accepting Autism By Bev Yaworski
The earlier children are able to receive appropriate evidence-based treatment and intervention, the better their prognosis.
aren is a parent of a young child with autism. A co-worker was the first person to suggest to Karen that her son might have autism. “Apparently others suspected it too, but they never said anything to us,” she says. After receiving a diagnosis, her son received treatments including speech and social language therapy. The family also obtained valuable support from their local Autism Society. While there are many challenges that come with caring for a child with autism, Karen’s son has taught her that every day is a new day and that there are always many opportunities to learn new skills. “Love is unconditional,” she says. “Every child has special characteristics that make him or her a special part of your heart. No matter how hard things get, you fight for what is right, what is needed and what is important. Having a disability does not mean that you cannot be an important part of society, or that you don’t want the same things as all children— acceptance.” Autism is a neurological disorder, which caus-
6 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
es developmental disability. It is also called Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). “Spectrum” refers to a continuum of severity or developmental impairment. Autism affects the way the brain functions, resulting in difficulties with communication and social interaction, and unusual patterns of behaviour, activities and interests. Children and adults with ASD usually have particular communication, social and behavioural characteristics in common, but the conditions cover a wide spectrum, with individual differences in: • number and particular kinds of symptoms • severity: mild to severe • age of onset • levels of functioning • challenges with social interactions When speaking of ASD, two of the most common disorders are: • Autistic Disorder (also called autism, classic autism and AD) • Asperger’s Disorder (also called AS, Asperger’s Syndrome and Asperger Syndrome)
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Treatment & Therapy
The Autism Society of British Columbia (ASBC) is a parent-based and directed society providing education and support to individuals with autism and their families. Michael Lewis, President of ASBC says: “The important thing, if you suspect autism in your family, is don’t let time go by. It’s not going to get better on its own. You want to get to the bottom of things as soon as possible. People need to acknowledge autism is a medical condition. It requires medical expertise for diagnosis and professional guidance for treatment.” People with ASD develop differently from others in motor, language, cognitive and social skills. Each person with an ASD is unique and with different abilities. “Symptoms” or disabilities might be very mild in one person and quite severe in another. Here are examples of common types of characteristics and behaviours in a child or adult with an ASD: • Difficulty with social skills • Problems with communication • Repeated behaviours and restricted interests • Unusual responses to sensations • Some co-occurring conditions such as gastro-intestinal problems Parents, family members or caregivers of children are often the first to notice delays in the usual childhood developmental milestones. Diagnosis is based on observation of specific behaviours and disabilities by a team of doctors and other professionals trained in autism diagnosis. Misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis can cause serious delays in the child receiving necessary treatment for her/his complex needs. Unfortunately, parents of children with autism disorders are often erroneously told that their child is just a bit slow to develop certain skills, or that he/she has a behaviour problem, learning disability, hearing problem or is just a bit eccentric.
Some people with a form of autism enjoy a very high level of functioning and they may need little or no special treatment or educational programming. In contrast, there are many families with children displaying seriously debilitating autism conditions who suffer deeply from a myriad of symptoms. These children require intensive support, special educational programming and effective evidence-based treatment. ASBC Autism Society of British Columbia believes that early, scientifically validated effective treatment can lead to great improvement for many people with autism. Without appropriate individualized treatment, many people with autism will not develop successful communication and social skills and will continue to experience serious behaviour and learning difficulties. The Autism Society of BC provides information on support groups, scholarships, accommodations, employment, a lending library and other helpful resources for families and people with ASDs.
ASD occurs in about 1 in 150 people in Canada, usually appearing during the first three years of life. It is four times more common in boys than girls. Asperger Syndrome is often diagnosed later, once a child reaches school age. Initially, parents may experience denial that their child has autism. Embarrassment, fear, or possible public stigma may be felt. Increasingly, autism has come out of the shadows to greater public recognition as an accepted medical condition.
The cause or causes of ASD are still unknown. It is generally accepted that it is a neurological disorder. Today, research around the world focuses on possible causes such as genetics, differences in biological brain function, pre- and post-natal brain development, environmental factors, viral infections and immune responses and deficiencies. Many possible causes are being investigated. Parenting styles do not cause children to have autism.
While there are many challenges that come with caring for a child with autism, Karen’s son has taught her that every day is a new day and that there are always many opportunities to learn new skills.
Autism is a lifelong disability. There is no known medical “cure” for autism, but many of the disabling symptoms are treatable. It is possible to help most people, even those with severely debilitating autism conditions, to experience significant improvements in their symptoms and in their ability to function. Some children may even improve to the point of being indistinguishable from their peers. The earlier children are able to receive appropriate evidence-based treatment and intervention, the better their prognosis. More work still needs to be done to give families better access to diagnosis and treatment because Canada’s Medical Health Plan provides very limited funding—a situation that requires the public to advocate and talk to their elected officials to bring speedy resolution to this matter.
Autism Society of British Columbia http://www.autismbc.ca/ The organization welcomes volunteer participation and donations. Autism Society Canada: http://www.autismsocietycanada.ca/ BC Ministry of Children and Family Development—Autism Initiatives Branch: www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/autism/ information on government programmes associated with ASD.
bcparent.ca • winter 2013 7
By Sandra Gordon
rom crawling, walking and babbling to the angst and rebellion of the tween and teen years, children constantly go through a predictable set of developmental stages physically, intellectually, emotionally and socially. “Along the way, any of these areas can be ahead or behind the others in their timing, then switch, which can be confusing for parents,” says Vivian Seltzer, Ph.D., professor of human development and behavior at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. You can start out with a precocious learner who is seemingly ahead of everyone else, for example, only to find out two years later that his classmates have caught up and they’re speeding ahead. Not to worry. It’s all just part of growing up. Still, “knowing where your child is at developmentally can help you understand and support him,” Dr. Seltzer says. Most kids don’t need a lot of help navigating the landscape, especially the older they get. But it helps to be aware of where they’re at so you can guide them along the way and step in if you need to. Use our guide to help your child make the most of every age and stage, from kindergarten through high school.
8 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
Elementary School: Milestone Mania
From Kindergarten through fifth grade, kids make major strides, from initially learning how to transition to school and being comfortable with a classroom routine to learning how to read (Kindergarten and 1st grade) to reading to learn (the 3rd grade and beyond) in all subject areas. Emotionally, they begin to develop What’s happening now:
Elementary Rx: Play board games together involving money, time, logic or vocabulary such as the family edition of Monopoly, Scrabble or Apples to Apples.
their academic self-esteem based on feedback from you and their teachers. By the 4th and 5th grade, they’re moving from concrete to abstract thinking. “When concrete thinkers see the Statue of Liberty, they see it as a lady with a torch. An abstract thinker also sees it as a symbol of freedom and democracy,”
says Rebecca Branstetter, an educational and clinical psychologist in Oakland, California. By the 5th grade, kids are also beginning to set goals, work independently, function better in groups, make more complex decisions and become organized with their school and homework. Success Rx Extend learning beyond school. Reinforce what your child is learning in school with activities at home. For example, let your second grader count change at the checkout and measure the ingredients while you’re baking cookies together (fractions). Have her tell time. Talk about numbers while you’re driving, such as how fast you’re going, the distance you’ll travel, and how long it will take to get there. Play board games together involving money, time, logic or vocabulary such as the family edition of Monopoly, Scrabble or Apples to Apples. On the weekends, take family outings to museums and zoos to visit exhibits that coincide with school subjects. “If your child is learning about Egypt, take a trip to a local museum with an Egyptian exhibit,” says Branstetter. “It reinforces curiosity, sends the subtle message
that school is important and shows your child that school and home are connected.” Develop a homework habit. Make doing homework automatic by coming up with a routine that fits your child’s personality. Some kids like doing homework right after school. Others need to burn off steam by playing for half an hour first (set a timer) before getting down to business. Whatever you choose, stick to the schedule you establish for your kids as much as possible. To minimize distractions, keep the TV off during homework time. For younger kids, begin each homework session by asking your child to explain what she’s supposed to do then gauge if she can do it alone or if she needs your help. If you’re not around when your child does his homework, let him know you’ll look at it when you get home and be sure to follow through. “Praise him when he completes him homework by emphasizing the process, such as “You worked really hard to learn your math facts” rather than the product “Good job on learning your math facts.” “Praising the process teaches persistence, which is a skill kids need for school success,” Branstetter says. Middle School: Hormone Havoc What’s happening now. In
middle school— the 6th through 8th grade, kids are starting to go through puberty and the physical changes can make them feel like they’re not in control of their bodies. “It’s a complicated time physically, socially and emotionally,” says Vicki Panaccione, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and founder of the Better Parenting Institute (www.betterparentinginstitute. com) in Melbourne, Florida. During this difficult age and stage, their sense of self is also developing. “There’s a lot of exclusion in middle school,” says Panaccione. Cliques can provide a safe haven as kids try to figure themselves out.
Success Rx Expect turmoil. The mood swings and overreactions, such as total hysteria over whether a boy or girl looked at your child or not in the hallway, are a normal part of this phase of development. “Don’t take it personally. Just understand that your child is going through a lot,” says Panaccione. Be supportive but don’t minimize the problem or try to fix it either. “Middle schoolers don’t want you to solve anything,” Panac-
cione says. Instead, use phrases like: “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “Gosh, that must have been embarrassing for you,” rather than “Just ignore it” or “Just get over it. It’s not a big deal.” It is a big deal to your child. Placations don’t help and can be harmful. “They can push your child away because she’ll feel like you just don’t get it,” Panaccione says.
trying to figure out who they are apart from you. “High schoolers question everything and may even rebel against your opinions and beliefs,” says Panaccione. If you’re a Democrat, for example, your child might say he’s a Republican. If you’re a meat-andpotatoes family, she’ll become a Vegan. You get the idea.
Don’t be too concerned if your child starts
“As kids develop and decide who they want to be, they need to decide who they don’t want to be,” says Seltzer. They may try on various groups, including one that’s not your favorite, to see what feels right. All kids have friends their parents don’t like. But kids are good self-barometers. “Don’t butt in unless you think their friends are dangerous,” Seltzer cautions.
to hang with the wrong crowd.
Middle School Rx: If your child complains that one of his teachers gives too much homework, for example, you might say, “Well, what do you think you might need to do, given that he gives lots of homework?” rather than “He’s only trying to teach you.”
In middle school, the work load gets more difficult because kids have to meet the demands of up to seven different teachers instead of just one. “It’s a big challenge. The best thing you can do is allow your child to vent,” Panaccione says. If your child complains that one of his teachers gives too much homework, for example, you might say, “Well, what do you think you might need to do, given that he gives lots of homework?” rather than “He’s only trying to teach you.” The idea is to help your child solve the problem, find his own way and keep the lines of communication open so your child will continue to feel comfortable talking to you about even bigger problems that might come along later.
High School: The Who-Am-I? Years What’s happening now. In high school, children forge their identity academically, socially, morally, sexually and spiritually while
Allow your child to question your opinions and values and express himself. Ask questions such as, “Oh, why do you think so?” rather than lecturing or yelling. “It’s a great time to find out who your kids really are,” Panaccione says. Note dramatic changes. It’s normal for high schoolers to be just as moody as middle schoolers. But if your teen shows a drastic change in personality, behavior, a significant drop in grades, study habits or attitude, or a dramatic shift in appearance, dress or grooming, or interests, goals or activities, know that something’s up. “Talk to your teen about your concerns,” says Panaccione. Start by saying something like: “I’m concerned that you’re spending time in bed when you used to be out with your friends.” Then listen to what your child has to say. If the behaviors are a sign of rebelling against a lack of freedom or privilege, be open to discussing and compromising. If you’re concerned your child may be suffering from depression or another mental health disorder, seek professional help. “Your child’s primary care provider or the school guidance counselor is a good resource for a referral to qualified child/teen psychologists in your area,” Panaccione says. Keep talking.
Help your child deal with college pressure.
By the 11th grade, college pressure comes on strong. But start talking college now only if your child is ready to. “Some kids are focused. But most have no idea what they want to do or major in,” Panaccione says. To reduce anxiety, Panaccione tells her high school patients that they don’t have to know what they want to do going into college. That’s where they’ll figure it out, which is something you could say at home, too. Also, listen to your child’s wishes for college rather than pushing your agenda. “To be successful, kids should end up going to a college that’s right for them,” she says. Sandra Gordon is a Journalist and author of The Reunion Diet and Consumer Reports Best Baby Products
bcparent.ca • winter 2013 9
independent schools Bodwell High School/Bodwell Academy Co-ed, grades 8–12 North Vancouver 604/924-5056 www.bodwell.edu/highschool/ Brentwood College School Co-ed, grades 9–12 Mill Bay 250/743-5521 www.brentwood.bc.ca Brockton School 604/929-9201 www.brocktonschool.com Children’s Hearing & Speech Centre of BC Co-ed, grades PS-3 Vancouver 604/437-0255 www.childrenshearing.ca Deaf /hard of hearing children learn to listen and speak in a cognitivelybased, family centered auditory-oral school. Services for infants, preschool, pre-k, primary grades. Itinerant teachers in mainstream schools, outreach to B.C. families
Core Education & Fine Arts (cefa) Co-ed, JK & Cefababy West Van 604/913-7713 Canada Way 604/299-2373 Langley 604/881-2332 North Van 604/929-2332 New Westminster 604/777-0053 Vancouver 604/879-2332 White Rock 778/294-2648 Richmond 604/275-2332 Kingsway 604/568-8808 www.cefa.ca Junior Kindergarten school for children ages 1 to 5. Curriculum includes reading, writing, mathematics, science, music, drama and languages Crofton House Girls, grades 1–12 Vancouver 604/263-3255 www.croftonhouse.ca École Française Internationale de Vancouver Co-ed, PS–7 North Vancouver 604/924-2457 www.efiv.org
Choice School Co-ed, grades K-7 Richmond 604/273-2418 www.choiceschool.org
Fraser Academy Co-ed, grades 1–12 Vancouver 604/736-5575 www.fraseracademy.ca The Lower Mainland’s only fully accredited day school for students in grades 1–12 with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities. Daily one-to-one O-G instruction; full curriculum with specialist teachers in fine & applied arts, PE, technology.
Collingwood School Co-ed, JK–12 West Vancouver 604/925-3331 www.collingwood.org
Fraser Valley Elementary School Co-ed, K–3 Langley 604/533-5469 www.fves.bc.ca
10 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School Co-ed, grades 2-8 North Vancouver 604/985-5224 www.kgms.ca
Pacific Rim Montessori Academy Co-ed, K–7 Vancouver 604/726-8428 www.pacificrimmontessori.com
Madrona School Society Co-ed, grades 4–7 Vancouver 604/732-9965 www.madronaschool.com
Pacific Spirit School Co-ed, K–8 Vancouver 604/222-1900 www.pacificspiritschool.org
Marpole Bilingual Montessori School Co-ed, PS–K Vancouver 604/266-1091 Our program sets a fantastic foundation for your child. With our unique approach to the daily Bilingual French Program combined with the Montessori Curriculum, your child will be prepared academically, soially, emotionally and physically.
Richmond Jewish Day School K–7 Richmond 604/275-3393 www.rjds.ca
Meadowridge School Co-ed, JK–12 Maple Ridge 604/467-4444 www.meadowridge.bc.ca Mulgrave School Co-ed, Pre-K–12 West Vancouver 604/922-3223 www.mulgrave.com North Star Montessori Co-ed, PS–7 North Vancouver 604/980-1205 www.northstarmontessori.ca Oak and Orca Bioregional School Victoria 250-383-6609 oakandorca.ca
St. George’s School Boys, grades 1–12 Vancouver 604/224-1304 www.stgeorges.bc.ca Nestled in the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful cities, St. George’s School of Vancouver is Canada’s World School for boys. With its multi-faceted and international curriculum, close to a 100% of graduates are accepted to universities worldwide, many on scholarship. St. John’s School Co-ed, K–12 Vancouver 604/732-4434 / 604/629-2458 www.stjohns.bc.ca St. John’s International School Co-ed, grades 10–12 w/ESL Program Vancouver 604/683-4572 www.stjohnsis.com St. Margaret’s School Girls, ECE–12 Victoria 250/479-7171 www.stmarg.ca
education guide St. Michaels University School Co-ed, K–12 Victoria 250/370-6170 www.smus.bc.ca
Vancouver Hebrew Academy 604/264-1245, Vancouver www.vhebrewacademy.com Vancouver Montessori School Co-ed, PS–7 Vancouver 604/261-0315 www.vancouvermontessorischool.com
Shawnigan Lake School Co-ed, grades 8–12 Shawnigan Lake 250/743-5516 www.shawnigan.ca
Vancouver Talmud Torah Co-ed, PS–7 Vancouver 604/736-7307 www.talmudtorah.com
Southpointe Academy Co-ed, PS–12 Tsawwassen 604/948-8826 www.southpointeacademy.ca Stratford Hall Co-ed, K–12 Vancouver 604/436-0608 www.stratfordhall.ca
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education guide Vancouver Waldorf School Co-ed, PS–12 North Vancouver 604/985-7435 www.vws.ca
École La Vérendrye K–7 Chilliwack 604-858-2666 http://verendrye.csf.bc.ca
West Point Grey Academy Co-ed, JK–12 Vancouver 604/222-8750 www.wpga.ca
École au Cœur-de-l’île K – 12 Comox 250-339-1848 http://aucoeurdelile.csf.bc.ca
Westside Montessori Academy Co-ed, PS-3 Vancouver 604/434-9611 Westside Montessori Academy, at the Italian Cultural Centre, has been offering Preschool and Elementary classes since 2008. Preschool offers AM and PM classes (full-day is available). Elementary offers; K to Grade 3 (up to Grade 7 by 2015).
École du Bois-joli K–6 Delta 604-948-7007 http://boisjoli.csf.bc.ca
York House School Girls, JK–12 Vancouver 604/736-6551 www.yorkhouse.ca
Francophone School Listings — Conseil scolaire francophone de la ColombieBritannique (SD No 93) École Mer-et-montagne K–7 Campbell River 250-923-3359 http://meretmontagne.csf.bc.ca École secondaire Phoenix 7–8–9 Campbell River 250-923-3359 http://meretmontagne.csf.bc.ca
École Collines-d’or K–7 Kamloops 250-579-9223 http://collinesdor.csf.bc.ca École de l’Anse-au-sable K – 12 Kelowna 250-764-2771 http://anseausable.csf.bc.ca École des Voyageurs K–7 Langley 604-881-0222 http://voyageurs.csf.bc.ca École des Deux-rives K–7 Mission 604-820-5710 http://deuxrives.csf.bc.ca
École secondaire de Nanaimo 8 – 12 Nanaimo 250-714-0761; http://oceane.csf.bc.ca École des Sentiers-alpins K–5 Nelson 250-362-3395 http://nelson.csf.bc.ca École André-Piolat K – 12 North Vancouver 604-980-6040 http://andrepiolat.csf.bc.ca École de la Vallée-de-Pemberton K–7 Pemberton 604-932-9602 http://pemberton.csf.bc.ca École Entre-lacs K–8 Penticton 250-770-7691 http://entrelacs.csf.bc.ca École secondaire de Penticton 9 – 12 250-770-7691 http://entrelacs.csf.bc.ca École des Grands-cèdres K–6 Port Alberni 250-723-5614 http://grandscedres.csf.bc.ca
École Océane K–7 Nanaimo 250-714-0761 http://oceane.csf.bc.ca
École secondaire Carihi 10 – 12 Campbell River 250-923-3359 http://meretmontagne. csf.bc.ca
École des Pionniers-de-Maillarvielle K – 12 Port Coquitlam 604-552-7915 http://pionniers.csf.bc.ca École Virtuelle 8 – 12 Port Coquitlam 778-284-0909 http://ecolevirtuelle.csf.bc.ca École Côte-du-Soleil K – 9; Powell River 604-485-8430 http://cotedusoleil.csf.bc.ca École secondaire Brooks 10 – 12 Powell River 604-485-8430 http://cotedusoleil.csf.bc.ca École Franco-nord K–7 Prince George 250-612-0755 http://franconord.csf.bc.ca École secondaire Duchess Park 8 – 12, Prince George 250-612-0755 http://franconord.csf.bc.ca École des Navigateurs K – 6, Richmond 604-718-5629 http://navigateurs.csf.bc.ca
Marpole Bilingual Montessori (Est. 1985) Pre-School, Junior Kindergarten & Kindergarten Celebrating Over 25 years of Montessori Teaching in the Community Our enriched Montessori curriculum includes: The Phonetic approach to Reading & Writing, Mathematics, Geography, Science, Music, Art, French, Yoga and a variety of Cultural subjects. Children are required to wear school uniforms. We offer 2-1/2 hour and 3-1/2 hour programs for 2-1/2 to 5 year olds as well as an Extended day program for 5 year olds. Private English Tutoring and Afterschool Phonics classes are also offered. 1296 W 67TH AVE., VANCOUVER, BC V6P 2T2 FOR AN APPOINTMENT PLEASE CALL TEL:
604-266-1091 쐍 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
www.marpolebilingualmontessori.com 12 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
education guide Ă‰cole des Sept-sommets Kâ€“6 Rossland 250-362-3395 http://septsommets.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole du Pacifique K â€“ 7, Sechelt 604-885-4743 http://pacifique.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole secondaire Chatelech 8 â€“ 12 Sechelt 604-885-4743 http://pacifique.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole Les Aiglons Kâ€“7 Squamish 604-898-3715 http://aiglons.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole Gabrielle-Roy K â€“ 12 Surrey 604-599-6688 http://gabrielleroy.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole Jack-Cook Kâ€“7 Terrace 250-635-9754 http://jackcook.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole Rose-des-vents Kâ€“6 Vancouver
604-267-9022 http://rosedesvents.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole Anne-HĂŠbert Kâ€“6 Vancouver 604-437-4849 http://annehebert.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole secondaire Jules-Verne 7 â€“ 12 Vancouver 604-731-8378 http://julesverne.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole Victor-Brodeur K â€“ 12 Victoria 250-220-6010 http://brodeur.csf.bc.ca Ă‰cole La Passerelle Kâ€“7 Whistler 604-932-9602 http://passerelle.csf.bc.ca
Brainbridge Bilingual Education and Fine Arts Centre Vancouver 604/322-6830 www.brainbridge.ca Blue Heron Montessori School Richmond 604/232-9001 Brentwood Montessori Preschool & Kindergarten Burnaby 604/294-2671 Burnaby French Language Playschool 604/432-1323 www.bflp.org Canyon Heights Preschool North Vancouver 604/986-5597 www.canyonheightspreschool.com
Cherub Montessori Richmond 604/277-1219 www.mypreschool.ca
Advantage Preschool Burnaby 604/435-1263 advantagepreschool.ca/
Childrenâ€™s House Montessori Coquitlam 604/931-1311 www.montessoribc.com
Alpha Preschool Richmond 604/277-6511
Cloverleaf Montessori Surrey 604/574-9899
WESTSIDE MONTESSORI SCHOOL t.POUFTTPSJ&BSMZ$IJMEIPPEDMBTTFT t1SFTDIPPMUP,JOEFSHBSUFO :FBS1SPHSBN t.PSOJOHBOE"GUFSOPPO)BMG%BZ$MBTTFT t0QUJPOBM&YUFOEFE%BZ,JOEFSHBSUFO t:PHB 'SFODIBOE.VTJDTQFDJBMJTUUFBDIFST
Core Education & Fine Arts (CEFA) West Vancouver, Burnaby, Langley, North Vancouver, New Westminster, Vancouver, White Rock and Richmond 604/913-7713 www.cefa.ca Cornerstone Christian Academy Richmond 604/303-9181 Council of Parent Participation Preschools 604/435-4430, 800/488-0660 www.cpppreschools.bc.ca Preschools belonging to the Council of Parent Participation Preschools are administered and supported by the parents. A fully qualified preschool teacher provides a play-based program for children 32 months to 5 years old and the parents take turns as classroom helpers, usually once or twice a month. Parent Education is provided monthly allowing parents to improve their parenting skills. Discovery Montessori Richmond, 604/807-9796 Discovery Quest Montessori Surrey, 604/581-1620 Dunbar Memorial Preschool Vancouver 604/222-6065 www.dunbarmemorialpreschool.ca
A different kind of school t-JNJUFEFOSPMMNFOU t$MBTTFT 4UVEFOUT /PXBDDFQUJOHBQQMJDBUJPOTGPS "QQMZBUXXXXFTUTJEFNPOUFTTPSJDB
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bcparent.ca â€˘ winter 2013 13
education guide Early Foundations Preschool 604/444-3773 www.dsrf.org Provides innovative curriculum in a small class, allowing for highly individualized instruction that helps children (30 months–5 yrs) find, use & strengthen their unique skills & talents.
Le Petit Montessori Preschool North Vancouver 604/980-7973
Morning Glory Montessori Richmond 604/272-2821
Little Mountain Montessori Preschool and Kindergarten Vancouver 604/709-9621
Pacific Rim Montessori Academy Vancouver 604/726-8428 www.pacificrimmontessori.com
Ecole Francaise Internationale de Vancouver 604/924-2457 www.efiv.org
Little People Parent Participation Preschool Vancouver 604/261-2219 littlepeople.ca
Paddington Station Finearts Preschool Richmond 604/221-0141 www.theartsconnection.ca
Marpole Bilingual Montessori Vancouver 604/266-1091
Pomme d’Api Preschool Vancouver 604/877-1122 www.pommedapi.org
Family Montessori School Vancouver 604/224-2633 604/731-8810 www.familymontessori.com Gatehouse Montessori West Vancouver 604/925-1437 Harvest Montessori Preschool & Daycare Richmond 604/278-6228 www.harvestmontessori.net Inglewood Parent Participation Preschool West Vancouver 604/925-1888 www.inglewoodppp.ca Kids Care Preschool Vancouver 604/325-2222
Milestone Montessori Delta 604/583-1446 www.milestonemontessori.ca Monkey See Monkey Do Montessori Vancouver 778/371-4659 www.monkeyseemonkeydo.ca Montessori Mes Petits Preschool North Vancouver 604/980-1102 www.ourpreschool.com Montessori Mews Richmond 604/522-1351
CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE
LAN RC ND HILD O C E THE GIFT OF A S
E AG U G
The ability to learn languages is highest between birth and age 6. Our French-English preschool program maximizes a child’s natural curiosity and ability to learn a second language during this important window of opportunity.
UBC Lluvia Preschool Vancouver 604/822-3353 www.childcare.ubc.ca/programs/preschool University Hill Preschool Vancouver 604/228-8610 Vancouver Bilingual Preschool Vancouver 604/261-1221 www.vancouverbilingual.com Wesbrook Parent Participation Preschool Vancouver email@example.com www.wesbrookpreschool.com
St. Savior’s Christian Preschool Richmond 604/277-1079
Westside Montessori Academy at the Italian Cultural Centre Vancouver 604/434-9611 www.westsidemontessoriacademy.ca Westside Montessori Academy, at the Italian Cultural Centre, has been offering Preschool and Elementary classes since 2008. Preschool offers AM and PM classes (full-day is available). Elementary offers; K to Grade 3 (up to Grade 7 by 2015).
Sunflower Academy Vancouver 604/222-1114 www.sunfloweracademy.com
Westside Montessori School Vancouver 604/731-6594 www.westsidemontessori.ca
Reach for the Stars Montessori Vancouver 604/688-7827 www.reachforthestarsmontessori.com Sandcastle Park Children’s Centre Richmond 604/274-8380 www.sandcastlepark.ca
Better grades Better report cards Better university Approach the process of learning properly and you wind up creating more than hard-working students with good marks; you create motivated, self-assured, independent thinkers who really understand what they learn. That means better grades…on every y test, in every y subject, j and on every report card. ca ard d.
Call today, today y, or visit oxfordlearning.com oxfordle lear arning.com
• Established in 1962 • Caring, experienced & highly qualified bilingual teachers • Bright, extra-spacious classrooms • Private indoor & outdoor play areas • Introduction to French, reading, math, science and nature, music, crafts • Educational field trips Accepting Wait List Applications for SY 2014-15 VANCOUVER BILINGUAL PRESCHOOL 949 West 49th Avenue (at Oak St.) Vancouver, BC V5Z 2T1 Phone/Fax: 604.261.1221 firstname.lastname@example.org
14 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
With 7 locations in the Lower Mainland
education & tutoring services
Millennium Learning Advantage 604/461-3330 www.millenniumlearningadvantage.com
Abacus Math Education Inc. 778/990-0749 www.ucmas.ca
MPM Math 604/266-6762 www.mpmmath.com
BC Homeschool Association 604/536-2233 www.bchomeschool.net Googol Learning 604/720-9377 www.googolpower.com Ho Math and Chess Learning Centre 604/263-4321 www.mathandchess.com/math_ chess_education_franchise.html Kumon 800/222-6284 www.kumon.com K12 Plus Learning 604/767-0949 Quality tutoring services that help students to improve their academic performance in a range of subjects, achieve foundational studying skills and build confidence. Lessons at our center or your home. Learning Disabilities Assoc. of BC 604/873-8139 www.ldav.ca/
School Is Easy Tutoring Also known as Academic Advantage 604/439-1790 or 1-877-ITS EASY Home tutoring. We are one of the largest and most respected tutoring agencies in the Lower Mainland. We provide carefully screened certified teachers in all subjects: Grades 1–12, ESL (all levels), Special Ed, Study Skills, Gifted Programs and French immersion. We are easy to work with. Reasonable rates. No upfront fees. Rated A+ with BBB and recipient of awards.
meet every need from essential skills such as reading, math, writing and also French. Our Little Reader program offers preschoolers academic programs in a fun environment. PD Plus Tutoring Service 604/421-6101 www.pdplustutors.com The Reading Foundation 604/222-2254 www.readingfoundation.com The Reading Foundation is a private clinic that provides the diagnosis and treatment of difficulties in reading/spelling, math, comprehension, and written language that affect children, adolescents and adults. Our oneon-one intervention programs are unique, dynamic and powerful.
The New West Homelearner’s Program 604/517-5917 www.sd40.bc.ca/nwhl
Skilled Kids Occupational Therapy 778/322-1242 www.skilledkids.com
Oxford Learning Coquitlam 604/464-3090 Richmond 604/233-5566 South Surrey 604/575-1494 Langley 604/534-4089 North Van 604/990-8850 www.oxfordlearning.com Oxford offers personalized programs for every child, in every grade (K–12). We provide after-school programs to
Sylvan Learning 1/800-EDUCATE www.SylvanLearning.ca Success in school, and in life. Sylvan is the leading provider of tutoring services to students of all ages and skill levels. Our highly personalized approach builds skills, habits and attitudes for life-long success. Reading - Math Writing - Study Skills
Teachers’ Tutoring Service 604/730-3410 www.tutor.bc.ca TOC Education Resources 604/603-3008 www.toceducationresources.com Vancouver Tutoring Service 604/922-0900 www.vancouvertutoring service.com The Whole Dyslexic Society 604/921-1084 www.dyslexiacanada.com YT Tutoring 604/STUDENT www.yttutoring.com
school lunches Piccolissimo 604/836-9931 www.piccollissimo.ca Let us provide hot healthy lunches for your child. We cook and deliver the lunches to your child’s school. Visit our website for details.
Le français au CSF,
c’est bien plus qu’une langue ! Inscrivez votre enfant dans une des écoles publiques du CSF ! Depuis sa création en 1995, le Conseil scolaire francophone de la ColombieBritannique offre des programmes et des services éducatifs valorisant le plein épanouissement et l’identité culturelle des apprenantes et apprenants francophones de la province. Le conseil compte aujourd’hui plus de 4 700 élèves, 37 écoles publiques et dessert plus d’une centaine de communautés réparties dans l’ensemble de la province.
▪ ▪ ▪ ▪
programme d’enseignement public de la maternelle à la 12e année; ▪ haut niveau de réussite scolaire; services à la petite enfance; ▪ portables pour tous; service de transport scolaire; programme d’anglais de qualité; ▪ programmes de musique, théâtre.
bcparent.ca • winter 2013 15
Live Your Life’s Dream By Heidi Smith Luedtke, Ph.D.
he fundamental truth of parenting is that kids grow up fast. And so do parents. Days spent feeding babies and changing diapers give way to carpool and homework in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, you’re mailing college care packages. Time may pass slowly on any given day. It is the weeks, months, and years that whiz by. The New Year offers a blank page in your book of time, brimming with all the promise and opportunity of what is yet to be. Now is the time to take stock, re-energize, and forge ahead boldly. Your dream life is waiting for you to create it.
as possible. Where have you been? What have you done? What makes you proud? Indulge in “sky-is-the-limit” think-
ing and put pen to paper. Let your dreams come to life on the page. The most fulfilling experiences are those that align with your deeply held personal values, says Kashdan. If you feel out of touch with what matters most or can’t prioritize among many good things, don’t bumble ahead without clarifying what you want. Identify your top values
and priorities through some serious soulsearching or using psychological tests (see Resources). When you know what you
What’s Stopping You?
care most about, it is easier to make choices about how to spend your most valuable currency: time and energy.
How long has it been since you thought about what you really want in life, about what brings you joy, challenge, and satisfaction? “Parenting is all-consuming,” says Todd Kashdan, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology at George Mason University and author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient of a Fulfilling Life (2009, Morrow). “We sometimes forget
Perhaps you know what you want but haven’t made it happen… yet. Fear may have prevented you from setting bold goals and moving toward them in the past. Or maybe you put your dreams on hold until the kids are bigger. Delaying your dreams is a kind of denial. It keeps you from taking scary risks, but it may lead to regrets, cautions Miller. Studies
our own interests and focus exclusively on kids’ needs and wants.”
show people are more likely to regret the things they did not do than to regret risks that didn’t work out. Let yourself be drawn in by the energy of possibility. The biggest risks often bring
Mothers especially may struggle to find time for their own development. Studies show women have only 41 minutes a day to pursue goals that matter, says Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP, a Bethesda, Maryland, life coach and author of Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide (2009, Sterling). It’s no wonder men surpass women in happiness by their late 40s. But it doesn’t have to be that way. One way to identify areas for growth is to envision your best possible self in great detail, suggests Miller. Imagine you are looking back on your life in your old age and everything has gone as well
16 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
bucket list of “100 things you want to do before you die” or to commit to only a few truly audacious goals is up to you. The best goals are challenging and specific, counsels Miller. A weak goal might be to “be more sociable.” A stronger goal would be to “make twelve new friends in the next six months.” Don’t be tempted to set vague or easy goals. Achieving mediocre goals will only make you feel mediocre, says Miller. Setting and attaining challenging goals builds self-efficacy—the belief that you have what it takes to accomplish your dreams. People with strong self-efficacy beliefs are more likely to take action and to be persistent when they encounter setbacks. They have learned from experience that hard work pays off. When challenges arise, they redouble their efforts or find alternate paths to their goals. They possess unwavering optimism and gritty determination. Think of these qualities (optimism, self-efficacy, and determination) as your mental and emotional muscles—the more you exercise them, the stronger they become.
the biggest rewards.
Seemingly impossible goals are achievable if you break them down into smaller sub-goals and then do something to achieve them. Identify specific actions you can take to move you closer to your goals. Schedule actions on the calen-
Making Dreams a Reality
dar so they don’t take a back seat to everyday errands. As much as possible,
Resolutions, goals, and personal mission statements can help you achieve your dreams. And you should express your intentions in writing, says Miller. Putting dreams in writing makes them real and pre-commits you to a course of action. That makes you accountable to yourself, so you will be less likely to forget your goals or push them aside when obstacles arise. Whether you choose to author a
do something every day to move closer to your goals. Keep a journal, spreadsheet, or star chart to track your progress. High achievers monitor their growth and change their approach if they aren’t seeing results, says Miller. Your Dream Life Starts Now Don’t wait until you achieve your dreams to start living fully. With the right atti-
tude, you can fast-track feelings of fulfillment. Notice what is going right in your life and be grateful. Write a list of your blessings, express your appreciation out loud or send thank-you cards and letters. A grateful attitude boosts your mood and sets a positive tone for growth, says Miller. Practice grateful habits daily. Be open to exploration, too. When you choose to approach life with a curious attitude, you are energized, attentive, and engaged, says Kashdan. If you are stuck in a rut, take a cue from your kids. Seek out new things. When you hear a song you love, download it. Listen to it over and over if you want. Put some new items in your grocery cart this week, even if you are unsure how you’ll cook them. Go online to find recipes. Collect items that inspire you. Keep them in a special, secret place. The welllived life is built from a series of well-lived moments, says Kashdan.
As you focus on living well, you may become impatient with distractions and impediments. You have to stop spending time with people who are energy vampires, Kashdan says. Emotions are contagious. Surround yourself with people who give you energy and self-confidence. This year, set impossible goals. Take concrete action steps toward their fulfillment. Be afraid—on a regular
basis, Miller encourages. Your dream life is right there, just beyond your comfort zone. Heidi Smith Luedtke is a personality psychologist and mom of two. She shares psychology lessons for real life at heidiluedtke.com
Creating a life you love requires inspiration, introspection, and action. These resources will help with all three. • Be inspired by Randy Pausch’s last lecture, “Really achieving your childhood dreams.” www.cmu.edu/uls/journeys/randy-pausch/index.html or The Last Lecture (Jeffrey Zaslow and Randy Pausch, 2008) • Read memoirs of gritty high-achievers. Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay; 1981), Lance Armstrong (It’s Not about the Bike; 2000), and Abigail Thomas, (A Three Dog Life; 2006) are inspirational. • Uncover your values, priorities, and traits using psychological tests. Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life (Todd Kashdan, 2009) or www.authentic happiness.com • Create life lists aided by exercises for reflection and refinement. Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide (Caroline Adams Miller and Michael B. Frisch, 2009) • Author and share a bucket list online. www.superviva.com • Engineer and track your personal development with these cool tools. www.happinessprojecttoolbox.com
DR. DELLA CHOW 2589 WEST BROADWAY (KITSILANO) OPEN MONDAY TO SATURDAY Our child friendly office has a great kids play area!
All Children should Have a Complete Eye Exam by Age 3 bcparent.ca • winter 2013 17
By Gayla Grace
recent doctor visit prompted my physician to routinely pen a prescription after listening to my complaints. A major life change, combined with naturally-occurring hormonal changes, had resulted in feelings of anxiety and depression I couldn’t brush off. It surprised me, however, that I heard no mention of the benefits of exercise or how it might help me stay off medication if I chose to try that route first. As a seasoned runner, I knew a more consistent exercise routine might be the prescription I needed instead. Exercise has long been recognized for its positive effects in preventing high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and a host of other diseases. But now, a growing body of research indicates that exercise can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, sometimes reducing the need for medication. Women are twice as likely as men to suf-
18 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
fer from depression, and women with children at home are particularly vulnerable. The demands on our time are overwhelming and the expectations we have of ourselves never end. Our “quick-fix” society looks to medication as the answer, without considering the positive effects exercise can have and the negative effects of many medications. A study by Duke psychologist James Blumenthal, as presented in The Archives of Internal Medicine (October 1999) notes that, “A brisk 30-minute walk or jog around the track three times a week may be just as effective in relieving the symptoms of major depression as the standard treatment of anti-depressant medications.” When interviewed, Dr. Blumenthal further states that, “Almost one-third of depressed patients in general do not respond to medications, and for others, the medications can cause unwanted side effects. Exercise should be con-
sidered a viable option.” In a follow-up study the next year with the same patients, researchers found that continued exercise greatly reduced the risk of depression returning, with only 8% of the patients in the exercise group relapsing. Exercise also has positive effects on anxiety and its symptoms. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States and are steadily rising, with an estimated 40 million adults affected. Anxiety symptoms can be relieved with even short bursts of aerobic exercise. My friend, Hope, suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for many years. Her symptoms masked those of a heart attack, including heart palpitations, shortness of breath, heavy pressure on her chest, and fainting spells. With three young children at home, she says, “I felt like I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.” Upon seeing her doctor, she began taking medication to control the symptoms. She later started an exercise routine and says, “After three weeks of exercising, I was able to completely come off the medicine I was taking.” However, when she quit exercising she fell into a deep depression. She resumed exercising and now enjoys playing tennis and working out at the gym to maintain a healthy state of mind, without the need for medication. Exercise also acts as a buffer against stress, giving you a feeling of control in your life as you rid yourself of negative emotions and assume a more relaxed mood, capable of combating the problems you’re dealing with. Dr. Steven Aldana in The Culprit and the Cure equates exercise to “a combination of psychotherapy, physical therapy, and stress management—all concentrated in one 30minute session.” He reports on a review of 34 studies that “showed that sedentary individuals who started engaging in physical activity had a more subdued response to stressful situations.” And when we respond better to stress, we are less likely to experi-
Exercise is a combination of psychotherapy, physical therapy, and stress management—all concentrated in one 30-minute session.
ence the negative effects of stress, including high blood pressure, lack of sleep, or digestive problems to name a few. So, how much exercise do we need to help us feel better? Research suggests that aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes a day, three to five days a week, is necessary to really make a difference with symptoms of depression, anxiety, or stress. But even exercise in smaller amounts, such as a tenminute walk during your lunch break, can lift your mood in the short term. After returning from my doctor visit, I committed to a more consistent exercise routine. I told my family that prioritizing my health was important to me and my need for exercise might come before their needs on occasion. I began combining my exercise of choice: running, with strength training classes twice a week, and found the relief I needed, physically and emotionally, to combat my symptoms. Not all health challenges can be overcome without prescription medicine. Exercise should be considered a viable option for better health, however, and particularly useful with bouts of anxiety and depression that women commonly struggle with. Finding the exercise routine that works for you could be the most important decision you make toward a healthier you, physically and emotionally, year after year. Gayla Grace is a freelance writer and wife and mom/stepmom to five children. She enjoys exercising regularly to stay emotionally and physically healthy.
SP R PR ING B AV OGR REA AIL AM K AB S LE !
Unleash your child’s creativity! Visual, media and performing arts classes available for ages 2–19, all skill levels, in Vancouver and Surrey. Classes start April 1!
photo by Kyoko Fierro Arts Umbrella supporters include: Christopher Foundation, Darrell & David Mindell, Hemlock Printers Ltd., Teck Resources Ltd.
bcparent.ca • winter 2013 19
The Legend of my Ten-Pound Baby By Lela Davidson
espite ever-increasing responsibilities, there are no promotions in motherhood. You’ll never get an annual review followed by a fat bonus and a healthy raise. There’s a once-a-year day of gratitude, but the rest of the time we take our props where we can. It is not enough that we (almost) singlehandedly grew an entire human being inside our bodies and then managed to keep the little sucker (literally) alive in the face of deadly car seats and crib bars. We value what we can quantify as credit for a job well done. I earned a gold star for my daughter’s birth weight. Despite a carefully constructed birth plan, an ancient Korean midwife’s fetal turning technique, and my doula’s soothing-sounds-of-the-snow-owl CD, my second child, a precious flannel bundle, had to be pried out of me under anesthesia—with a big knife. She was born gray with an Apgar score of one, and nearly killed us both. Why? She was a ten-pound baby, that’s why. Ten. Okay, 9 pounds 14 1/2 ounces. I embellished, but when you have a baby that big you’re allowed to round up. An ounce and a half isn’t an exaggeration; it’s a shot of tequila. (Which may have taken the edge off the cheese-grater-on-nipple sensation of breastfeeding.) I’m just saying, it wasn’t a big fib. From Day One, my daughter was a 10-pound baby. For the last decade, all my kick-ass-ness as a mother has been implicit when I casually mention, “That one? Ten pounds.” Okay, just under ten pounds. Who’s counting? I would have perpetuated the legend indefinitely, but on her tenth birthday my daughter asked to look at her baby book. This couldn’t go well. Surely she’d notice her book consisted of a few good pages, followed by a few more of random baby items, and then two-dozen blanks. I figured as long as we didn’t break out the meticulous record of Big Brother’s first year for a side-by-side comparison, she might never know that she was conceived primarily as a playmate for our favorite child. I shouldn’t have worried. All she wanted to see was her birth certificate. My husband and I beamed over her shoulder as she flipped through the handful of pages devoted to her first days. Then the trouble started. There on the first page of the sub-standard baby book was her birth announcement, the one I had created with my own breast milk-stained fingers. “Do you see what I see?” I asked my husband. “What?”” “Eight pounds fourteen ounces? What is that?” “What?”
20 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
“She weighed ten pounds! Ten! Well, you know, nine fourteen.” Like all smart husbands faced with an unwinnable situation, he shrugged. How could I have made such a mistake? As I paged through the official documentation, a tenpound knot formed in my stomach. The hospital record of birth, her crib identification card, and the doula’s notes all confirmed her actual birth weight: 8 pounds 141/2 ounces. She wasn’t just under ten pounds at all. She was just under nine pounds. Nine. This fact would not reconcile with my myth. I was a five-foot-one She-Ra, a warrior among women, a ten-pound babymaker! Now what was I? Just over average? Big deal. And it wasn’t just about me. My daughter had bought into my heavy white lie, too. The thought of her infant self as bigger than the rest had built up her self-image as a tough girl, maybe even helped her become the best defenseman on her ice hockey team. The facts presented in that stupid baby book shattered all that. “You mean I wasn’t ten pounds?” My daughter looked like I’d just wiped out the entire balance of her iTunes account. “I don’t care what it says,” my husband told her. “You’ll always be a ten pounder to me.” He glanced in my direction. “And don’t worry, Babe. Your secret’s safe.” So, the legend lives on, but somehow I don’t feel right about keeping that gold star. Lela Davidson is a freelance writer and the author of Blacklisted from the PTA, a collection of irreverent essays about motherhood and the modern family. http://leladavidson.com/
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a bamboo short sleeve romper from Silkberry Winner can choose the color and size (nb–3m, 3m–6m and 6m–12m). From the initial launching of luxury eco bedding line, Silkberry Baby™ has expanded its designs to include baby clothing, hand knit crochet hats and booties and accessories. With the modern, ecoconscious parent in mind, we designed organic bamboo and silk products. The result: super soft and uniquely designed products that your little ones are sure to love, with a cute and trendy look, as well as being practical and functional for busy moms. www.silkberry.com
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Certified Specialist in Pediatric Dentistry 3770 West 10th Ave Vancouver, BC
bcparent.ca • winter 2013 21
Windows and Wheels By Patrick Hempfing
hy did I have to see that when I peered out from my inlaws’ patio on Christmas morning? It could have been anything, a rambunctious squirrel, a trespassing dog, or low-flying vultures. Instead I saw a teenage girl run across my inlaws’ backyard to the rear window of her house. She paused at a window and looked toward the street. She blew two kisses to, I’m guessing, the friend who dropped her off. Then she carefully lifted the window from the outside, crawled into her house, and closed the window and blinds behind her. As a parent, I had trouble swallowing what I had just witnessed. If my daughter was sneaking out of the house for who knows what kind of get together, I’d want to know about it. I’d certainly rather deal with it now than 9 months later when there could be additional issues. However, I didn’t know the people, and wouldn’t want to cause trouble between my in-laws and their new neighbors. I decided to mind my own business—yet, I couldn’t get it out of my head. About an hour later, I was helping my 8-year-old daughter, Jessie, with her new purple dress. As I buttoned it up in the back and tied the bow around her waist, I flashed back to the teenage girl I had seen earlier that morning. It feels like I was just changing Jessie’s diaper. Now she’s wearing size 10 dresses and stands as tall as her mother’s chin. I felt it was time for a talk. No, not “the talk” as her mother, Mattie, would cover that one. This one I could handle. I told Jessie that she must never sneak out of the house window. Her response didn’t put me completely at ease, though I accepted it. She said “I’ll check with Momma.” Maybe she knows that Dad will say “No” more quickly when it comes to dating decisions. Later on Christmas Day, Jessie opened a special gift—a pair of 22 bcparent.ca • winter 2013
roller skates. The next day we went to the park to break them in. Mattie was on one side holding her hand while I was a steady force on the other side. Even though Jessie had on her helmet and elbow and knee pads, it was still stressful for me. We went back to the park to practice again on the following two days. Jessie improved drastically each day. On the third day, Mattie just watched while I held my daughter’s hand. Then Jessie said it. “Daddy, you need to let go.” Reluctantly, I released her hand but remained within catching distance behind her. Mattie’s brother, who was with us, laughed at me as I zoomed in ready for the catch each time Jessie flailed her arms. His laughter didn’t bother me though, because I was right where I needed to be. Later, I again thought about the teenage girl in the window, knowing that Jessie’s teenage years aren’t that far away. I realize that more “letting go” times are ahead. I also know it’s not possible to catch all the falls. I’m hoping that because I stood beside Jessie when she learned to skate, and for many of the other important times of her childhood, that I’ll never have to stand guard outside her bedroom window. I’ve concluded that parenting requires seeing your child through a series of wheels—stroller, wagon, tricycle, training, bicycle, scooter, and now roller skate wheels. I’m going to enjoy the pink skate wheels stage to the fullest. Something tells me that seeing Jessie behind the wheel of a car will be much harder. When that time comes, I’ll be beside her in the front seat. Then it will be time for Daddy to let go again, and Mattie and I will find ourselves peering out the window, waiting for her safe return home. Patrick Hempfing a stay-at-home dad and write a monthly column called moMENts for Moments Magazine. He writes about the joys and challenges of parenting from a “Mr. Mom” perspective.
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bcparent.ca • winter 2013 23
Coming April 15th 12th Annual Family Resource Guide Have your business listed in BC’s favourite resource for parents LISTINGS INCLUDE: EDUCATION 쐍 CLASSES AND PROGRAMS 쐍 FAMILY FUN 쐍 RETAIL 쐍 SUMMER CAMPS 쐍 BIRTHDAYS HOME 쐍 FAMILY HEALTH AND SUPPORT SERVICES Don’t miss your opportunity to have your company included in this year’s guide. For advertising and listing information EMAIL:
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Published on Feb 4, 2013