Inclusion in education teaches lessons for life

by , on
Nov 14, 2017
Firs

Inclusion Williams Syndrome First dayWe’re coming up on that time of year again. It’s time for parents to register the next class of JK  kids for school. It’s only been a year and a half since I was the one trying to come to terms with finding a place for my girl to learn and grow and thrive.

It sounds overly dramatic, but when your child has a disability, finding a school placement that fits your vision for your child takes over your life. It’s about more than the bricks and mortar. It’s about finding a school board and a school that place the same value on the things that matter to you as you do.

For us, that is an inclusive education.

Before Alma started at our local Catholic school last year I cried, almost nightly – in fear, in anger, in worry.

I think all parents have fears, not just the ones like me who have a child with something that sets them apart. But I think disability magnifies these fears – as kids with disabilities are 10X more likely to be bullied in school than typical kids.

What will become of her? Will the kids be mean to her? What about her teacher? Will she teacher challenge her? Will the school community accept her?

I got my answer soon enough.

Curriculum night. Last week of September. It was the first time that I would be with Alma at the school at an event with parents, staff and other kids. I find these things stressful at the best of times, as Alms is all over the place and when she is with her peers and the things that set her apart are more obvious to outsiders.

As the teachers, parents and families gathered in the school gymnasium, I slowly opened the door, filled with dread. This was a moment of truth. Was this the right place for Alma to spend the next 10 years, until the end of grade 8? Alma pushed past me, and what happened next had me in tears all over again.

Everything that I had imagined – everything I had feared…was gone. Poof. Dispelled in a moment as Alma lurched into the center of the room and children cried “She’s here! Alma’s here!” They lined up to shake her hand. Then they ran off to find their parents so they could introduce them to her. They quarreled over who could sit next to her. Not just her classmates, but kids from every grade. Shy second graders, towering 8th graders – all genuinely happy – no, overjoyed-  to see her. She was more than included – she was already part of their lives. She was valued and she brought value to them.

inclusion - kindy first day

The spirit of inclusion

Inclusion in education isn’t just about my child being allowed to be in a ‘regular’ classroom. That’s just the beginning. Inclusion in education is about students learning from each other. It’s about being valued as a member of a school community and being seen as having something to offer, rather than a drain pulling the other students down, or worse – being looked upon with pity.

It’s about an education grounded in empathy and love.

And a system like the Ontario Catholic Schools, that believes that in addition to teaching the curriculum, they need to teach lessons for life, and play a role in creating the people we want our children to be. People who have faith in a better world. And  people who see value in everyone, even the tiniest tyke in school. People who have compassion, big kind hearts and respect for the things that make us different, in addition to the things that bind us together.

Before she was enrolled in the Catholic school I wondered “will she connect with the kids?” Will she get birthday party invitations and genuine smiles and will she have a real friend? She does, she does, she does. I could see that first night in the gym and continue to see it every day.

I am so grateful that Alma will spend her elementary years in a Catholic school community that sees the importance of an education grounded in empathy and love – not just for what it means for my child, but what it means for every child – today and for life.

 

 

This post is part of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers #catholicteachers sponsored program. I received compensation as thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors

Starting school with disability #WilliamsSyndromeWednesday

by , on
Apr 12, 2017

mommydo.com || starting school with disabilityThere are two parts to registering a child who is starting school with disability. There’s the functional part – who do you see, what do you need bring? And then there is emotional part. This is not about the functional part.

Enrolling our daughter in school was the hardest thing I’ve dealt with on our parenting journey. So hard that it’s taken me a year to talk about it. But today, when I saw that another mom I know is in the same place I was last year, I felt it was time to open up.

I’m going to skip all the drama that happened between when I started the process (and the tears) of enrolling Alma in school and the first day we put her on the yellow bus to let you know that she has an amazing placement. Some even call it a unicorn placement as it feels like the kind of placement you only hear about. It is perfect. But it is not the placement I was crossing my fingers for at this time last year.

And I now know that’s ok.

I learned a lot along this journey. Hopefully some of it will help you, as you work your way towards the right placement for your child.

Williams Syndrome Wednesday: 5 lessons from #WSA2016

by , on
Jul 11, 2016
Williams Syndrome Wednesday Lessons from #WSA2016 - mommydo.com Featured Image

Williams Syndrome Wednesday Lessons from #WSA2016 | mommydo.com I had the wonderful privilege of attending the WSA Williams Syndrome Convention in Columbus Ohio last week. As the ambassador for Canadian families, I connected with friends made in years’ past and made new friendships with fellow Canadians and with parents and individuals with Williams Syndrome from all over the US.

Attending a big gathering of Williams Syndrome families is exceptionally rewarding. The information presented is invaluable, even if it is a little overwhelming. And the tactics, strategies and trial and error shared by other parents give a real, honest, uplifting and sometimes heartbreaking look into the lives of those who’ve walked this path before you.

Here are my top 5 lessons learned at #WSA2016

  1. Get hooked on phonics.

    Dr. Mervis says it, then she says it and then she says it again. Kids with Williams Syndrome who are taught to read with phonics and only phonics learn to read. Those who aren’t, don’t. I’ll be bringing this up again and again as we enter school this year as reading is big on our list for Alma’s future.

  2. There was something about “you catch more flies with honey”

    but I’m a bit of a fire cracker, so for me, the important part was know your rights, and use them, not your ragey feelings to make your valid points. As I encounter resistance time and again with my instance on an inclusive education with appropriate support, I am gathering all the laws, policies and support I can to ensure I am seen as someone who is advocated for my daughters rights, not just another “know-it-all-parent trying to bend the system for her special snowflake.”

  3. There is a chance Alma has a high pain tolerance so be mindful when she’s just ‘shaking things off’.

    This is one of the only medical questions I was curious about at the conference. Alma has been well (knock on wood) for the most part, but every now and again I feel like she’s smiling through something. I stopped at the “Doctor is In” table and paid my 5 cents to speak to the wonderful Marty Levinson M.D. about this and he said it was something to be aware of. I’ll keep my guard up and will insist for a little extra investigation next time… so we don’t find ourselves in the ruptured ear drum after infection situation again.

  4. I should hope for a teacher that is kind but firm, and will hold my child to the same standards as all children.

    And, ensure the teacher won’t let her ‘cute’ her way out of hard work. I asked Dr. Mervis what I should look for in a teacher and if she had any advice for pre-K teachers of children with Williams Syndrome and that’s what she told me. Our children should be held to high standards. They will respond well to kindness. And they are always trying to duck responsibility and if the teacher lets them, they’ll never achieve their full potential.

  5. Create a vision statement for Alma and use it as a lighthouse for all decisions.

    This was probably the lesson that has given me the most to think about. While I have a few thoughts that I bring up time and again, I haven’t gone through the process of discussing Alma’s future with my husband and writing down our vision for her in the next few years, for the rest of her school years and for her adult life. As part of the discussion about this vision during an advocacy session, there was some great advice about using it in meetings like IEP meetings to gauge whether the suggestions made by committee were pushing enough. The suggested line was “how are we going to achieve our families vision for our child’s future if she doesn’t have access to _________?” Again, it takes the onus off the ragey parent and ensures the conversation stays centred around meeting and exceeding potential. Love it.

*6 – Bonus Lesson – The Drury hotel chain offers 3 free drinks for adults every night.

There is also a robust breakfast and a family friendly dinner. These three drinks come in handy after you spend 8 hours concentrating on all the ways you can help your child (and all the other children) reach full potential. You may want to consider staying at one the next time you travel with children.

See you August 2-6 2016 in Toronto, Canada

I look forward to welcoming families from all over North America at the Canadian Association for Williams Syndrome National Conference in Toronto next summer. Although I had to sit out the last 2 sessions due to information overload, I am already filled with questions and am eager to listen and learn from Williams Syndrome experts from all over Canada and the US – parents and professionals alike.

 

 

 

 

#WSHappywalk The Happiest Twitter Party Around

by , on
May 28, 2016
mommydo.com | #WSHappyWalk Twitter Party for Williams Syndrome

Yes, I said Happy Party. And yes, #WSHappyWalk is about a rare syndrome called Williams Syndrome. A rare syndrome you’ve likely never heard of, unless you’ve ever spent any time in a room with me, and then you’ve probably heard more than you care to about it.

mommydo.com | Williams Syndrome Awareness #WSHappyWAlkAt some point in that conversation you probably thought, “wow, I’m glad that’s not me.” And you likely had to stop yourself from making the pity face. And I get it. Having a child with a rare syndrome that comes with the potential for countless medical challenges – cardio, kidney, gastro, hearing, sight and more, physical challenges, learning difficulties, social challenges and all sorts of other little goodies isn’t a walk in the park…but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also filled with joy.

Our family has small pleasures and belly laughs. We applaud both our kids’ milestones and we challenge those around us to see our daughter with Williams Syndrome through the same lens through which they view every other child. We look for inclusion, and stand up to barriers. I seek out other families walking the same path and am on call for those just starting this journey (even though our journey has only just begun).

I also weep with families whose beautiful children are taken too soon, leaving this world a happier place for having been here.

It is true that it’s much more likely that our children will be taken too soon.

This is why I also work tirelessly to spread awareness and raise funds. Not because my daughter’s syndrome is so sad. But because I can’t bear the thought of all the happiness that is packed into my tiny girl could leave us, unexpectedly, in a sudden event, for no reason except we just don’t know enough about Williams Syndrome.

So please, please join us on Tuesday May 31 as we take to Twitter to raise awareness for Williams Syndrome and spread the word about the #WSHappyWalk.

We’ll be chatting about Happiness, Williams Syndrome , the #WSHappyWalk and how you can help spread awareness. Plus, you could win an iPad mini courtesy of Telus, an Instax mini8 camera from Fujifilm, and more. There is now over $600 in prizes in total.

mommydo.com | #WSHappyWalk for Williams Syndrome

To be eligible, follow @mommydoCA, @JennPowellLive, @TheInspiredHome,@Merry120

See the full rules and regulations here.

 

 

Williams Syndrome Wednesday: An Open Letter To Justin Trudeau

by , on
Mar 16, 2016

An inclusive school system would see my children as equal

dear-mr-trudeau-blog

 Dear Mr. Trudeau,

I just watched a video in which you spoke of the tremendous value of the diversity in our public school system. I, too, value the ethnic diversity in my son’s public school in our neighbourhood. Sadly, my daughter won’t get to experience it.

While we have worked tirelessly to include those of every race/ethnicity, culture, religion, gender, social class, and sexual orientation in our schools, kids with disabilities don’t always make the cut…at least not always in the school closest to home. Kids like my daughter are forced to attend schools that can be up to an hour away by bus. My sweet little girl has a rare syndrome called Williams Syndrome. You may recall my mentioning it when we met in the Distillery District in Toronto. Her constellation of challenges and strengths don’t fit with the typical curriculum and our local school doesn’t have adequate support. This means that rather than attending our local school with the kids on our street and her brother, she’ll be bused to another school somewhere in the GTA. We don’t know where she’ll end up. The long process of her placement is just begun and we could be waiting months to hear where she’ll land.

This also means that her sibling will head to school each day, to a school that prides itself on diversity, and never see another child interact with a disabled sibling. He won’t see walkers, wheelchairs, sign language, or kids struggling with profound speech delay. He won’t get to celebrate his sister’s achievements with her Special Olympics teammates at school and he won’t get to have her come and applaud a future science fair project of his. Maybe he’ll unlock a new way to help kids with learning disabilities tell time, or maybe not, since his teachers won’t understand why it matters to him – having never met his sister. The other children in his school will lose the opportunity to interact with exceptional kids like mine and discover how the commonalities they share are more important than any differences between them. 

 I realize in our mosaic of a nation, we strive tirelessly to celebrate what makes us alike and what makes us different from each other. We are doing an excellent job of raising a generation to pride itself on inclusion. I fear that unless we include kids with disabilities in all schools, we will never truly achieve the diversity you speak of so proudly.

 In the video you said “It’s not easy. You can’t do it overnight. A diverse and open and inclusive education system and open circle of friends is what we have to work towards in our communities.” I , and thousands of other parents, need your help now. Help to work on this diverse and open education system with an open circle of friends in my community…and every community. So my kids can go to the same school, have the same friends, belong to the same community.

They too, should benefit from the power of diversity in education in Canada.

Williams Syndrome Wednesday: See the Hope

by , on
Feb 10, 2016

Williams Syndrome Wednesday, See The Hope, Mommydo.com

We’re about to deliver something very precious to you, and without your support, it won’t make it.

We’re entrusting our sweet little girl to you, but that’s not what I’m talking about. When we drop her off to you, we’re delivering our hope. Take good care of it.

We hope that she will be challenged but not left behind. We hope that she will be included, but also be seen as an individual that needs more. More to learn. More to succeed. More to thrive.

She will need therapists, friends, caregivers, nurturers, protectors, cheerleaders and teachers. There’s a good chance that the teacher will, at times, need to be all of the above. Unless you intervene and insist on extra support. Unless you put hope before budgets, potential before policy and belief in a child before what’s best for the board.

She will need you to hope too. And hope isn’t always easy. Believe me, I know.

What’s easy is reading about a diagnosis and thinking there’s no point in pushing harder. What’s easy is choosing what is practical over what is possible. Or thinking you’re doing the best when you come up against the word ‘no’ once…and giving up. Making people say no over and over makes you unpopular.

It’s hard to be unpopular. I get that. I do. It likely won’t take very long before I am unpopular to you.

Before that happens we need you to take one for the team and ask yourself if maybe you can do better. Wouldn’t it be nice if you and our family and hope could be on the same team?

We could find a way to get little Allie what she needs so she can navigate her way through the school and not get hurt, lost or simply leave.

Or how about a way to harness all the research that’s been done on teaching kids with Williams Syndrome how to read and teaching her that way, instead of how all the other kids learn.

Or maybe a way to let her have the education she has a right to – with all necessary supports – in her community so getting to go to school with her brother won’t compromise her chances for making something of herself.

And maybe every time you get faced with someone who says that’s too much to ask, it’s not how we do things, or she’s not worth the investment, you’ll remember the day we delivered our hope to you. You’ll see the hope. Not all the things that stand in her way. You’ll be the one who makes the difference for her, instead of the one who sees her as someone who doesn’t deserve to be hoped for.

The day is just around the corner. The day we deliver our daughter and all the hope we have for her to you.

Stand out front and welcome her in and see that hope. Then look me in the eye and see all the hope I have for you, too.

 

 

 

 

Williams Syndrome Wednesday: Crafting with Exceptional Kids

by , on
Jan 20, 2016

Part of my New Years #thive2016 resolution is ensuring the whole family thrives. So over the weekend I thought we should do a typical family activity. We should make a craft.

Williams Syndrome Wednesday- (1)Not only do both my kids like to make things, Allie gets to work on some of those “therapy skills” when she’s doing crafts at school. Why not do one at home?

I found an easy craft over at The Inspired Home and rounded up all the supplies. This isn’t something we’ve done at home much so I had no idea what to expect. I even tried to google “home craft ideas for kids with intellectual disabilities” but no luck.

Williams Syndrome Crafting Special needs

Valentine’s Day Stained Glass Toddler Craft from The Inspired Home

When the time came to prep the craft, my 6 year old son decided he WAS NOT making a heart. Off to a great start. I got everything ready and tried to show Alma how to make her heart but she was much more interested in dumping the bits of tissue paper and peeling up the tape to release the contact paper.

IMG_9908

Williams Syndrome Wednesday: Crafting with Exceptional Kids

There was a time not long ago when I would have packed it all up and yelled “forget it” (not proud of this) but instead I showed Alma again. And again. And again. I handed her individual bits instead of letting her dump the container. We sang a song as we stuck down the bits.

My husband came to give me a hand with the cover contact paper so we could focus Alma and finish that part.

Williams Syndrome Wednesday: Working Together

Working together

My son came over to talk about the craft he DID want to do, so we got that stuff out and he and Alma sat together laughing and bickering and glueing and fighting over the safety scissors. They shared. I helped my boy glue a snowman. I hung Alma’s heart.

IMG_9910

Valentine’s Day Stained Glass Toddler Craft from @theinspiredhome

I also felt a weight lift from my heart. We’re just a regular family doing regular things. Making decorations for Valentines Day. Screwing it up a bit. Feeling proud anyway.

I hope the next person to google “home craft ideas for kids with intellectual disabilities” sees this post and decides to throw caution to the wind and make Valentine’s Hearts from The Inspired Home or some other neat thing that catches their eye on Pinterest. I hope they don’t wait to try something like I did, or search for a special list of special ideas for special kids.

Every craft a kid makes is special.

IMG_9915

Siblings

Moments like these? Special.

Williams Syndrome Wednesday: Fun with Brother

Fun with Brother

Learning that undivided attention, some time to horse around, and seeing our proud faces as we hang up their creations is just what they need? That was pretty special too.

 

If you’re interested in making the Valentines Day Stained Glass Toddler craft, head over to The Inspired Home for all the supplies and instructions.

2016: My Year to Thrive

by , on
Jan 1, 2016

Just over 3 short years ago, our second child was born. She was born small having suffered in-utero growth restriction and the first of many diagnoses she would receive was “Failure to Thrive”.

mommydo.com || Williams Syndrome NICU

She wasn’t getting enough nutrition and wasn’t growing as she should. It was heartbreaking. From there, she was developmentally delayed, had hypotonia, was socially delayed, tongue tied, had mild pulmonary aortic stenosis, was found to be missing 28 genes on chromosome 7 consistent with a diagnosis of Williams Syndrome. She had high calcium, poor mouth control, vision issues, hearing issues, digestive issues, sleep issues, suspected neuro issues (never confirmed), more feeding issues, ear issues, gross motor delay, sensory issues, repetitive behaviours, speech delay and so on. It’s a lot.

Despite her Williams Syndrome, many of these challenges are resolving, most importantly her cardiac issues, and of course, she no longer has failure to thrive. In fact, she’s a wonderful little girl who steals hearts and sings with gusto.

mommydo.com || Williams Syndrome Thrive

It’s me that’s not thriving.

When I entered the NICU three years ago, I clicked into survival mode. I did everything I needed to do. I learned everything. I met with everyone and I faced every challenge with my eye on the prize. To ensure she will reach her full potential. To do this, I had no choice but to put some things on hold. But now…

But now I’m pretty sure “survival mode” isn’t something anyone can survive forever.

So this year I hope to open the door to some of the things that I left behind the day the small one was born.

Don’t worry, I’m realistic. Ensuring Alma reaches her full potential is no less important today than yesterday. And I know that you can’t actually “make time” or “find time”. There are only so many hours in a day. Still, the rest of us need to reach our full potential too.

So here are my personal hopes for 2016:

I want to read a book.

I want to spend time extra time exploring the wonder of the world with my boy.

I want to knit something. Sew something.

I want to go one place I’ve never been. Maybe it’s a corner of the city. Maybe it’s a country. Just somewhere.

I want to eat food that makes me feel well, and strong and that tastes really good. I hope to have seconds, maybe thirds.

I want to experience one of those amazing moments that you couldn’t describe, no matter how hard you try.

I want to do one thing that’s daring, one thing that’s scary and one thing that I probably shouldn’t.

I want to raise a little hell.

I want to get better at something.

I want to laugh till I snort.

I want to feel my body moving and my heart pumping and my mood lifting.

I want to get to know some people better. Sit down, make I contact and talk about them for a change.

I want to breathe. I want to see something that takes my breathe away.

Life is short so this year, I want to do more living.

I want to stop surviving and start thriving.

mommydo.com || my year to thrive

 

 

 

Five Tips: Buying gifts for littles with exceptional needs

by , on
Dec 7, 2015
mommydo.com | 5 tips for buying gifts for toddlers with special needs from a Mom of a child with Williams Syndrome

It’s that time of year. Make your list. Check it twice.

Except, when one of the kids on your list has a developmental disability or other special needs, what do you get?

It’s our 3rd Christmas with Allie, and each one has been a bit of a struggle. I don’t really know what she’d like. Certainly no one else knows what she’d like. Shopping for kids with exceptionalities isn’t easy. Every child comes with a unique set of likes and watch outs – many of which the parents have never articulated. The age guides on the box are no help. And tired special needs parents often don’t really know what to tell you.

This year, I set out to make sure that I found Alma something great. I also set out to help guide friends and family shopping for Alma or for other kids that aren’t typical, to gifts the kids will love and the parents will appreciate.

Here are my 5 tips, in no particular order:

1: While no one wants therapy for Christmas, ask if there’s something the child is working on and see if you can find a toy that makes learning or using that skill fun. Alma has just started taking some independent steps, so toys that get her up and moving would be a great motivator. This Skip Hop Explore More Push Owl looks like a fab choice. It seems sturdy, she’d love the owl and it looks like a smooth push so she won’t get discouraged as she’s building this skill.

owl_no_text

2: Ask about “Watch Outs”. As an example, Allie is very “mouthie” so everything goes in. This means she’s really only safe with toys that are listed for children under 3 or have no small parts.

Giving us toys that she’ll grow into just means more to store – and stare at with disappointment that she’s not there yet. The perfect toy is one that she can use now, but can also grow with her – even if toys with small parts are never safe for her.

Alma loves animals. She makes the little sounds…she waves them around. So this toy, the Melissa and Doug Animal Rescue would be a great choice.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.46.38 PMShe can play with the little animals and make vroom-vroom sounds with the car now, and eventually use it as a shape sorter.

She would also enjoy this Janod wood hedgehog. Though the numbers are still a little beyond her grasp, she would love the bright colours and having pieces to bang together.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.52.23 PM

Other toys in this category would include blocks, a baby doll with no small accessories but outfits to change or other toys that will eventually lead to imaginative play.

3. Find out what the child likes, then figure out how to deliver in a way he or she can enjoy it. Alma’s absolute favourites are pulling things in and out of other things, listening to music and helping with chores. I had to sit down and think pretty hard about that. Not because these things aren’t abundantly clear, but because I always find myself saying “Well she likes X but…” so I inadvertently steer them away from things she’d love instead of towards them. Let the parents know you’ve heard what the child enjoys and you’ll find a way to give them something they’ll love (now) and will safely enjoy. When I allowed myself the same leeway, I found lots of things to add to Allie’s list.

Like this awesome Melissa and Doug Pretty Purse Fill and Spill. She would get hours of entertainment from it. We could take it to appointments to give her something to do and it’s cute to boot.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.23.19 AM

Then there’s the Melissa and Doug Let’s Play House kit. Not only does it have things that she can take in and out, but it will also give her realistic tools for when she’s mimicking chores.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.53.00 PM

She already has a number of musical toys so I couldn’t find one to add to her list, but she sure would appreciate someone else doing the legwork and finding something new.

4. Try and come up with something that would engage a sibling too. Allie and her brother are 3 years apart, but the gap keeps widening. I love it when she has a toy or an activity that works well for her, but her brother can enjoy too. Once they get going, they have a lot of fun together, but it’s hard to find toys that keep them both busy safely. And let’s face it, speech, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and social skills all develop faster when you’re modelling someone else. And lucky for kids with siblings, they have the best role model right in their own home.

I came across these Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Sets and was instantly intrigued. These blocks appear to be safe size-wise and would definitely capture both their attentions. Plus, it’s another toy we can take on the go. Bonus!

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.53.13 PMThis KidKraft Mega Ramp Racing Set would also score high marks with both of them. It looks stable, which is idea for little miss – her balance isn’t great so toys with a larger base give her more confidence to explore. And there’s a racing ramp, which can help satisfy her brother’s competitive nature. Is this a toy I would choose for him? No, he’s likely mostly outgrown it. But if it’s there, and she’s playing with it, I also know he wouldn’t be able to resist joining in the fun.

5. Ask what else they need. This seems like a no-brainer, but I never seem to take stock of all the little things that would make a big difference for me, and benefit Allie in the process.

Like hair clips… because she throws them out of the stroller when we’re walking along. Something like this would be amazing.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.20.59 AMShe also needs leggings. Since she’s still mostly knee walking, her tights, leggings and pants sometimes only survive 3 wears before she’s snagged holes in the knees. Love the geometric pattern on these Babylegs.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.21.19 AM

Then there’s the lunch bag that I’ve been meaning to get for a month. And if you think this is a ho-hum gift to give, you haven’t seen this soon-to-be-released Skip Hop Zoo Lunchies unicorn.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.23.50 AM

She also could use some new cream, and this Matter Company Substance Baby creme is my favourite baby cream but it’s kind of fancy so I rarely splurge.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.51.52 PMWhen I sat down to really think about what Alma could use for her own good, but still be safe, that she’d really love and that maybe her brother would love too, I realized there are lots of great gifts out there if I ask the right questions and have a good think. This means there are lots of great gift ideas for any child on your list who’s needs aren’t necessarily met by reading the ages on the box.

And, when you give one, don’t watch the child, watch the parent. Because you, taking the time to ask questions, to understand their exceptional child better and find a gift the kid will love, is the greatest gift you can give them.

well-dot-ca

All the gifts featured here are available at well.ca and, with the handy Wishlist feature, I was able to compile an easy way for friends and family to find exactly what I think she’ll like or give them the inspiration they need to find something new.

Mommydo Review: The Honest Company at well.ca and GIVEAWAY

by , on
Nov 22, 2015

I’m very choosy about what I use on the kids, especially since Alma. But, sometimes wading through all the choices can be daunting.

I have to admit I clapped my hands and squealed the first time I came across The Honest Company. I greedily read everything about how it started, their mission and what they offered Moms like me, who are looking for new, progressive options their families.

I love planet friendly, human friendly, CUTE products with sharp design.

Sadly, shipping them to Canada was expensive. Sigh.

When I caught wind that The Honest Company was coming to Well.ca, I clapped and squealed all over again. I let Well.ca know how excited I was and they sent me a few things to try to give my own Honest opinion AND a $30 gift card to give away to one lucky reader so you can try them too!IMG_8403

First up, Honest Diapers

honest diapers     .

These diapers have CUTE covered in spades. We tested the cherry/chevron combo.

IMG_8405

I love that they are unscented, fit well (nice and tight around the legs), and don’t gape at the back. Alma has become a “diaper digger”, sticking her hand back there and pulling out whatever (yuck). These stay nice and snug at times when she’s not wearing a onesie or her tights slip down a bit. They hold wetness well and don’t droop unless she’s seriously soaked them – by which time I should have changed her already so my bad, not the diapers.

IMG_8410

Unlike diapers that pass the test on infants then fail once baby starts to go, go, go, Honest Co. diapers held up, no problem. They are great for a toddler on the move. No matter what kooky moves she’s doing.

IMG_8408

The next product I tried is Honest Conditioning Detangler in Sweet Orange Vanilla Scent.

IMG_8626 (1)

Our little one has some serious issues when it comes to matted hair so I was very excited to give this one a go.

IMG_9342

First, I need to say this product smells divine. It’s light, fresh and sweet, not too heavy and definitely not “perfume-y”. It was refreshing as I tend to automatically select unscented products for no real reason other than I don’t like overpowering fragrance. We don’t have allergies or scent sensitivities in our home.

Second, it really works well. The spray provides great coverage so you don’t have to load it on. I have flat, straight, fine (knotty) hair and it easily tamed my tangles without weighing down my hair or making it look greasy. It made tamed Alma’s tangles too – which is the real miracle.

Alma Cute HairThe last product I tried was Honest Company Organic Lip Balm Trio 

IMG_8397

This one was just for me, and thank goodness because I really don’t want to share. These balms use essential oils to condition and soothe lips rather than petroleum-based formulas that seal the lips off.

There are 3 ‘flavours’ in the pack – Lavender Mint, Sweet Orange Vanilla and Purely Simple.

When it comes to lip balm, these are absolutely my favourite I’ve tried. I have one at my desk, one in my purse and one in my diaper bag. I describe them as Velvet For Your Lips. They are so silky and smooth. My lips have been soft and supple without the feeling that as soon as it’s worn off, I need to put it on again. I don’t usually get all worked up about lip balm, but I was waving these around work and singing their praises for days. And, with 3 for only $10.99, they’re a great little pick me up.

I have to say I had high hopes for The Honest Company products and these did not disappoint. I’m not sure what I’m most excited to try next – something else for Alma, or something else for me. I’m fairly certain whichever I pick, it will also find its way onto my most loved list pretty quickly.

WELL.CA HONEST COMPANY REVIEW

Do you want to try some Honest Company products too? Enter now and you could win a $30 well.ca gift card code sponsored by Well.ca!

ENTER NOW

With free shipping starting at just $29, the winner will be all set to go! Contest starts Sunday November 22 at 12AM and closes November 29 at 11:59 PM. Good Luck! See full rule and regs here. 

 

Follow me on Instagram

Don't miss a thing. Follow now!