Tag Archive | special needs

Book Review: Just Like Other Daughters


This weeks book, Just Like Other Daughters by Colleen Faulkner, works on so many levels. There’s sorrow and humor and hope threaded through out the novel, just as in real life. At its heart, the book is about a mother’s love for her child. That child happens to have Down’s Syndrome.

The ending of the novel is foreshadowed in the very first line: I lost Chloe twice. Throughout the novel, there are little blips where it switches from first person past to first person present… Those blips are not a slip (and you know me, I’d call ’em out if they were). You need to pay attention to them. As a writer, I find it breath taking how she prepares us, the reader, for what’s going to happen and yet… it still makes you catch your breath on a small sob when it does.

Now, on a more personal note… This book made me look at how tightly I keep my son to me. Granted, he’s only seven years old. However… I started loosening the reigns with him. Because he *can* do it. We went into B&N (you know I love that store), it was just the two of us. He wanted to play at the Lego table. He PROMISED he wouldn’t go anywhere else– not even to the bathroom. And if anyone tried to take him somewhere else, he’d scream.

So I walked away. Like any good mom, I hid behind a book shelf and watched him for a while. He was perfectly fine. I walked away for a few minutes, went back to check and there he was… still happily building at the Lego table. Shopped some more, went back and checked on him. The guy working the Nook desk finally took pity on me and told me “He’s fine. I’m right here, and he’s fine.”

Wow. Am I that much of a helicopter mom? I need to loosen the reigns, I guess, and let him learn to live in the real world instead of the bubble I want to make for him.

At the heart of “Just Like Other Daughters”, that’s what Alicia and Chloe face. Chloe has Down syndrome… and comes home in love one day. How do you let go, how do you protect your child while letting them experience the world… That is what Just Like Other Daughters is about.



Special Travel Arrangments

With Ray’s Dispraxia, I was terrified to travel with him. What if he fell and hurt himself— badly? What if I couldn’t handle all the stress and freaked out? How would he react to the change in routine? We’ve never gone anywhere of any great length before, certainly not a 3 hour road trip with a hotel stay overnight.

I shouldn’t have worried.

He had a great time. We went to Monterey, and Saturday was travel, Aquarium, shopping and a bunch of hanging out getting checked into the hotel. When we went for a walk around the water before dinner, he fell down probably 5 times. Tired boy-o. But that’s all it was. He so excited about holding a star fish, and seeing sharks, and and and…. I’m kind of suprised the falls didn’t happen until after we got to the hotel.

Sunday, I was worried about taking him to the ocean. Standing in the little wavelets— it can be unsettling as the sand and water shift under your feet. It kind feels as if the would is falling out from under you. Which, you know, probably isn’t far from what he feels most of the time. When he fell in the water, it was with a laugh “Mommy, the water is SOFT!” He attacked those waves with gusto… and a toy pirate sword. He had a blast. On the way home, he told me “I’ve had a long day, Mommy. I need to go to sleep.” And he did so… sleeping for about an hour and a half.

Lesson number one: Make sure he gets rest breaks in between fun. That one will be important when we go to Disney Land. Will also mean that if we go back to hotel for a nap, he’ll be able to see the night shows 🙂 Do they still have parade of lights?

One great thing– I called ahead to find out that by buying my tickets online, we did not have to stand in line. We were wisked right inside the aquarium. Research, people!

And lots and lots of smiles. Next weekend, we’re off to the Rosecrutian (Egyptian) Museum. Yay us!