The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Famed children’s book author Eric Carle recently passed away at the age of 91. 

His timeless classic “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” (written in 1969) became a must have in my classroom library when I was teaching preschool age kids many years ago. 

Once I had children of my own I began reading it to them as well from a very young age and it quickly became a favourite in our home. 

When my kids got a bit older and I was no longer teaching preschool anymore there were a handful of children’s books which I had collected over the years that I knew I wanted to hold onto in hopes of one day passing them down to my grandchildren. 

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is one of those books.

It is a whimsical and playful book. 

It’s illustrations are fun and bright and captivating. 

But it also has many meaningful and teachable moments between each page.  

It shows us the importance of transformation and growth. 

It shows us the importance of finding our true self. 

It gives us hope. 

It shows us that in time and with patience we will all find our way in the world. 

It shows us that we are all unique and beautiful in our own special way. 

And it shows us that we all have the capability to emerge from our cocoon, spread our wings and learn how to fly. 

(Oh and it also reminds us that when we eat too much candy we will probably get a stomach ache!)

What is your favourite classic children’s book? 

#childrensbooks #theveryhungrycaterpillar #ericcarle #classics #beauty #caterpillars #cocoon #butterflies #mentalhealth #mentalwellness

It’s National Bubble Gum Day!

Studies have shown that chewing gum while feeling stressed or anxious can actually lower your cortisol levels, improve negative moods and blood flow in the brain, increase your level of peace and calm and may even enhance your cognitive performance and alertness.

So next time you’re having a stressful day or feeling anxious, try “popping” a piece of gum in your mouth and “chew” on this!

What’s your favourite brand of gum?

#nationalbubblegumday #youareenough #youarenotalone #itsoktonotbeok #blowingbubbles #chewinggum #ChewOnThis #bubblegum #whatsyourfavouritebrandofgum #anxietyisreal #stress

Dear Teachers, Educators, Parents and Children:

***Grab a tissue before you watch*** 

Listen closely to the real “experts” tell us how they are feeling right now as they prepare to head back to the classroom (either virtually or in person).  Listen closely to the real “experts” talk about their fears of the unknown ahead and their growing uncertainty of the future. And listen very closely as they send a genuine, sincere and incredibly powerful message to our teachers about how important they are to them and just how much of an impact our educators can make on a child’s health and wellbeing. 

These “experts” of all ages, races and ethnicities are speaking with truth and honesty from their heart on behalf of youth everywhere to let teachers know how truly missed and respected they are and how much their guidance and support keeps them feeling hopeful both in the classroom and beyond. Thank you to our teachers for giving our children a safe and inclusive place to turn.

Don’t forget to grab your tissue first; you’ve been warned!

#schoolmentalhealthontario #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #kindness #goteachers #staysafe #youvegotthis #youareenough #itsoktonotbeok #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #advocate #endthestigmatogether #youarenotalone #kindnessmatters 

School: To Be Or Not To Be?

You’ve probably heard the saying before “You can’t please all the people all the time.” It’s nearly impossible for anyone to be able to please everyone at the same time because we are all unique individuals with our own unique set of expectations, experiences and perceptions and that’s perfectly okay. 

This fall will be the first time in almost 20 years that I won’t have a child in my home entering a new school year in the Pre to K, Primary or Secondary School system. Both of my daughters fate were determined for them several months ago as the Post Secondary Educational systems all made the decision early on to begin the upcoming school year mostly online, but right now many other anxious Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff and children are eagerly awaiting their own fate as to whether or not schools will reopen, will continue online or will do a combination of both.

As a parent I am quite torn with the decision that was predetermined for my girls months ago and especially for my youngest daughter who has already lost so much in her graduating year from High School to now not be able to experience the excitement and comradary that comes along with this next milestone in her life. 

Sadly there is no right or wrong, risk-free decision as to whether or not or even how our kids can safely return to the classroom this fall or if they should continue their studies online, nor am I here to debate it either way but I know that when the decision is finally announced there will be plenty of Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Support Staff and children cheering in support of the decision and many more yelling with rage.

Whatever decision is made (there will be no clear winner or loser), just remember that everyone has a right to their own opinion and even if that opinion differs from yours that no one has the right to judge you for that. We’re all in this together but as I said before we will never be able to please everyone all of the time.

Therefore it is more important than ever, no matter what the outcome is, that we focus our attention on keeping our children (and family’s) mental health and wellness in check above all else right now which may very likely look a whole lot different for each of us as our expectations, our experiences and our perceptions are all unique to us, and guess what; that’s perfectly okay.

#cantpleaseeveryone #ouryouthmatter #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #mentalillness #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #youareenough #bekind #kindnessmatters #schoolkids #distancelearning #backtoschool #wearamask

Another Happy Graduate

When I receive pictures like these ones it completely warms my heart. Today a group of amazing Teachers and EA’s surprised some of their “Awesome Grads” from Our Lady of Victory School in Toronto with a small Graduation ceremony outside their homes toting presents, balloons and a “Class of 2020” Graduation lawn sign.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but a smile is worth a million more.

#graduationday #grads #classof2020 #ouryouthmatter #strongertogether #smiles #togetherapart #wereallinthistogether #mentalhealth #youareenough #youarenotalone #bekind #kindnessmatters #thankyou @kidshelpphone @boorola

Concentration

I’m tired, actually let me rephrase that; I’m exhausted. I feel like I could sleep for days right now and my eyes are burning (well maybe that’s from my allergies!). I have trouble finishing a sentence or even finding the words to finish a sentence sometimes which could also be why I haven’t been able to write for several days. My level of concentration is at the bare minimum and I feel as though I have the attention span of a toddler. I not only have a difficult time putting together a full sentence without getting overwhelmed but I find that I am forgetting my thoughts while I’m in the middle of them. If I don’t write everything down right away, even the simplest or most mundane thoughts, you might as well just forget about it cuz I will for sure.

Focusing and concentrating on life has been incredibly difficult for me over the last many years, especially since I did ECT several years ago for my depression (which basically did nothing more than fry my brain), my ability to take in information and retain it has grown increasingly more impaired over time. I’ve always thrived on being able to multitask and was always up for any challenge but nowadays I need complete silence or next to no distraction to do most things anymore, including driving and watching TV. I find I need silence in order to talk my way through whatever task, activity or conversation I am involved in (even technologically) because otherwise there is a good chance I will miscomprehend it, misunderstand it, miss important information or stray far from the intended focus or destination.

I’m wrapping up my Initiative this weekend (for real this time) as the last bit of orders get delivered to me later today and once that is all said and done maybe as I refuel my tank I should start with a simple, mundane activity to help increase my ability to concentrate more; do you think concentrating on my tan could work?

We’re All In Different Boats


Even though we may all be weathering the same storm together does not mean that we are doing so from the same boat. Some of us may feel like a castaway on a deserted island with a broken raft and no paddle to steer us home while others may feel like they are peacefully sailing through a remote Tropical Island in a big Yacht straight out of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous”.

Some of us are enjoying this time to slowly paddle our boat on a private lake and breathe in the fresh air and see our reflection on the water and actually like what we see, but for many more of us we may just be trying to brave the heavy waves on the ocean without capsizing our boat and praying we don’t fall into the shark pit below.

For many of us we are all alone in our boat, and the murky water surrounding us feels empty and the skies above us are dark and then you suddenly look across the way from you and through the fog you can see another boat in the distance filled with the love of a family, singing and dancing without a cloud in the sky above them.

For many of us right now we don’t have the means to fix the holes in our boat and it feels like we are sinking very fast without having a life preserver to keep our head above the water while others are still able to put their feet up on deck and use this time to map out their next adventure, a relaxing sail around the world. And then there are those who have no time to dock their motorboat right now because they are too busy working to help the rest of us try and stay afloat.

Yes we are all in different boats and sailing on very different journeys but we still share the same land and water which is why now would be the perfect time for all of us to anchor our boats next to one another (6 feet apart of course), not so we can compare them, not so we can judge them but so we can unite together as we weather the storm. 

#bekind #weatherthestorm #youareenough #wereallinthistogether #strongertogether #kindnessiskey  ##mentalhealthawarenessmonth #covid19 #selfcare #virtualhugs #checkonyourlovedones 

Silver Linings

 
Like students everywhere, Hannah recently finished up her 3rd year of University “online” and was scheduled to begin working this week (the same position as last spring) for a Jewish Organization to help organize their annual Spring event/walk. Well as you may have guessed it, both the event and her job will not be taking place this year (just praying that her summer job at her “home away from home” will still happen, even if only for a few weeks!) which has now left Hannah, like many University/College students (and adults too!) restless, anxious and bored.

In a recent blog (Your Big Win; April 17, 2020) I wrote that while in quarantine no one is expecting you to be learning a new language or painting the Mona Lisa or becoming a Rocket Scientist but there is certainly still lots of room (and time) for exploring new activities or rediscovering old hobbies to help keep our minds healthy and our bodies moving. 

In fact Hannah has been doing just that and more. She even discovered this week that she has a hidden talent, one that if not for her restlessness, anxiety and boredom during a World Wide Pandemic would she have possibly ever explored! #silverlining

What was your silver lining for the week???
 

#mypetitepicasso #anotherartistinthefamily #proudmama #middlechild #lisasimpson #create #therapeutic #mindfulness #mentalwellness #mentalhealth #uja #campnbb #selfcare #pandemic #anxiety #rediscoveryourself #stayhome #flattenthecurve #socialdistancing #togetherapart #covid19 

Colouring The Adult Way

Today’s mood is brought to you by the letters F*U*C* and K*. Colouring isn’t just for kids. It’s an amazing way to de-stress, stimulate our brain activity, work on our fine motor skills and can generate overall health and wellness. Look at the one I plan to tackle next because swearing at times like this are totally acceptable and very necessary!

#fuckoff #getoutofmyface #getthefuckoutofmyway #fuckcovid19 #colouring #mentalwellness #coronavirus #mentalhealth #selfcare #ichooseme #youarenotalone #togetherapart #flattenthecurve #unitedasone

Feeling Humble

Please check out a recent blog that was written up about my book by retired Teacher and Author Dr. Susan Schwartz. I am humbled that she chose to write about “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?” and that she believes that Mental Illness needs to be at the forefront of classroom discussions everywhere and that my book would be a valuable tool in doing so! She is the co-author of a series of 5 “must have” books for Teachers called “Creating The Dynamic Classroom” (available in both e book and paperback) and in the 1st book “Creating an Inclusive Classroom Atmosphere” they discuss the importance of Mental Health and Student Wellbeing.

Check out the blog and her website at: https://www.creatingthedynamicclassroom.com/blog

#grateful #author #blogger #advocate
#childrensbook #depression #anxiety #mentalillness #classtime #classroom #teachers #youareenough #wheredidmommyssmilego  #amazondotca #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #feelthevibe