An interview with Raffi: Grounding our children in the real world

raffi_bgRecently I had the chance to interview Raffi, yes – that Raffi! The interview was yet another surreal reminder that I’m now an adult and, even weirder, a parent.

Prior to our chat, I read his book Lightweb Darkweb: Three Reasons To Reform Social Media Before It Re-Forms Us and it’s kept me thinking ever since. The book is an exploration of the impacts of technology which he asserts can be both good (which he coins the lightweb) and bad (the darkweb). I am one of those parents who take the perspective – everything in moderation. But his book really challenged my perception that a little bit of technology won’t do any harm.

In the book, he presents three arguments for why we should, on both a personal level and a societal level, limit or minimize our children’s exposure to InfoTech. If you are a parent, I highly recommend this book because it will either change your perceptions on technology or further reinforce your perception that technology can wait. This book made me think about what I can do as a parent to affect how and when my child interacts with technology.

The timing was good too, because it was becoming a daily struggle to keep my little one from grabbing, crying for and trying to get my phone. Since reading his book, I’ve phased out the computer completely (Bye bye YouTube videos), the phone is out less often when my little one is around and I reinforce that “it’s mommy’s phone, not a toy.” And you know what, it’s working!

Here are some excerpts from our chat:

What was the inspiration or motivation behind the book? 

“It was the tragic suicide of Vancouver teen Amanda Todd compelled me to write this book. I said to myself, how could this happen? Social media is supposed to be fun; it’s supposed to be a way that people connect for joy. How could this happen? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is eye opening as you read.

We still don’t have a very good answer in terms of what we’re going to do as a society to change the situation. Several years after her extortionist started tormenting her, and, a year and a few months after her death, we still do not have in Canada a unified, national police response to online extortion. The police response is better in some areas than others.

W5 recently broadcast a show about a 12 year old boy named Eric who was being blackmailed online and the Ontario RCMP moved in right away, took over his computer, and flushed out the predator and they nabbed him. This did not happen in Amanda’s case. I have reason to believe had the RCMP intervened early, as requested by her parents, that Amanda might have lived.

This is the darkweb that I’m talking about… the darkweb is all the things about InfoTech we don’t like – it’s more than online extortion, it’s privacy loss, identity thefts, all kinds of things.

The lightweb is everything we love. My message in the book is very simple: we want to amplify the lightweb, we want to enjoy it in good conscious and we want kids to feel safe when they are online – provided they are a certain age, of course. We don’t want them to be online too early and certainly not by themselves.

It takes a certain awareness of the perils of the dark web so we can both protect our kids and enjoy the lightweb to the fullest.

I was just in a forum in Ontario. The Office of the Provincial Advocate for Children & Youth of Ontario convened a forum, called #abetternet, which explored social media’s unintended consequences on youth. I was there with the co-founder of Red Hood Project and my sister who is the outgoing Privacy Commissioner for Ontario, as well as a 16-year-old youth. We had a far-reaching panel discussion. I hope it’s the beginning of many such forums across the country. I think we are going need more than that, like town hall meetings with our politicians, to deepen the dialogue. We don’t want any more tragedies involving young users who are vulnerable online.”

I thought the book was a good balance between stats and philosophy. What was there one stat or fact that really stood out to you in terms of researching your book?

“No, it wasn’t just one thing, it was the cumulative picture. Contradictions, I would say. Here’s a contradiction. According to COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, you’re not supposed to be on Facebook until you’re 13.

Why does Mark Zuckerberg want kids younger than 13 to be on Facebook? He wants to lure younger and younger users… Monetize the audience to the fullest; is that what we’re going to do? It’s crazy. Kids shouldn’t be on social media until they’re old enough to be in that space with digital literacy and digital citizenship skills which are being taught her and there sporadically. As you know, in the book, I take Mark to task on that.

There are other things, the proliferation of shinytech as I call it – the term I use for these shiny devices –  smart phones and tablets - which are now in younger hands and laps, and they were never meant for that use. InfoTech was not designed with children in mind.

Now it doesn’t mean there aren’t some benefits. Especially as I’m told by users of families who have a child on the autistic spectrum disorder or otherwise developmentally challenged. They are finding the use of tablets emancipatory. I’m sure that’s happening in the presence of parents or caregivers, not the child on their own.

Unfortunately, far too many parents are using tablets and cell phones as child-minding toys for their kids. I don’t recommend it, pediatricians don’t recommend it, psychotherapists don’t recommend it.

I say to parents, if you want to use the smartphone as the source of playing Raffi music, for example – have the smartphone out of the child’s hand. Use an amplifying device like speakers. Make it clear it’s mama’s device or papa’s device - it’s parental medium, not a child’s toy.

A lightweb feature I like is that I can video visit with my 13-month-old grandniece Lucie. We have video visits. But what’s critically important to mention, is that Kristin, the mother, keeps the screen away from her child. The child isn’t allowed to touch the laptop. Kristin and Ivan, the parents, do not post umpteen photos of their child online. They are very guarded with what they post online, and I think that’s the way it ought to be.”

Recently, I’ve caught myself using the TV as a babysitter and the phone as a distraction too. Your book really changed my perspective on that. In the moment it’s convenient, but it made me think – what am I setting up my child for the rest of my life?

“As it turns out, the TV is now the least of problems. Who would have thought that? We only had to talk about screen limits when we were talking about televisions.

Now we have to apply that term to a far more seductive power of shinytech screens because they are not just over there on the wall. They are not at a distance. Now they are in our hands, on our laps.

My book also touches on the wi-fi threat to our health. That is now increasingly identified as an legitimate concern to children in wi-fi environments and mothers who are expecting.

I’m glad I have a book that provides information for someone like you… someone who’s interested in their children’s well being and want to give them a good start.

My advice to parents is that InfoTech can wait.

You want children to grow up grounded in the real world rhythm and textures. With shinytech, everything happens fast – your swipe, your touch. Nothing in real life ever goes that fast.

The point is, before your young one has a number of summers under his belt… the experience of long lazy summers and all the textures, the scents, the smells, how things feel, the 3D sensory world out there… before he’s got that in his experience and imprinted in his being and in his growing brain, you have the shinytech representation of that world potentially taking over his interest and attention.

That is a concern. That’s what I’m trying to get across to parents. Please think about what you’re doing.

Your child has the rest of his life to engage in shinytech but only a few developmental early years to ground himself in the real world.”

In your book, you mention technology executives who send their children to schools that don’t have technology and schools that are fostering outdoor skills, what do you think about this new movement?

“Not much for me to say, it’s pretty evident why it’s happening. Real life skills are always important. Technology is only fun when it works for us. We shouldn’t be working for it! I have a new children’s CD coming out. It’s a full-on celebration of the real world, called Love Bug. I recorded it in response to the digital overreach in every aspect of our lives especially childhood.”

At that point, our conversation delved off into his music, my nostalgia, and his show, which is taking place in Fredericton on June 16.

I didn’t think when I was a child, rocking out to Bananaphone, that it was possible to love Raffi any more, but it is! Thank you Raffi for everything you do to raise awareness about technology’s impact on our children. To learn more about Raffi’s latest work, check out his book or his latest CD coming out this summer.

So this is what being a single parent might be like…

As a person whose spouse travels a lot for work (the Canadian Armed Forces, in case you’re wondering), I’ve definitely gone through my fair share of challenges throughout our relationship.

My partner is currently away due to work for a significant period of time and I can’t say I’ve ever found it so difficult as I have now that we have a toddler on our hands. The sad part is that he hasn’t even been gone one week!

The last few days I feel have given me a glimpse of what it would be like to be a single parent, and it’s not pretty… I’ve always thought of myself as an easygoing, relaxed parent for the most part. I’m realizing it’s easier to be easygoing and relaxed when you have someone around to help shoulder the weight.

When I pick up my little one from his dayhome (apparently “dayhome” is not a thing in New Brunswick, it’s called in-home daycare?), I’m not at my best. I am so tired from a frantic, busy day at work, juggling what feels like a hundred different things. The dog has to pee and is jumping all over us. I still have to make supper and change out of my work clothes. Someone wants a snack and is pulling on my hands to play with him. It kind of breaks my heart to dump my child on the sofa to watch an episode of Dora the Explorer, but at the same time – we have to eat, right? Like, on the hierarchy of needs, food comes before personal fulfillment right?

This week, my world turned upside down when we found out our daycare would be closing in two weeks due to personal circumstances. When I found out, I cried three times – the morning I found out, after I picked him up and after I talked to my mom on the phone.

The laundry is piling up. Today we had pizza for supper. I don’t advise walking around our floor in bare feet. All the dishes are left to air dry. My little one probably goes to bed a little too early now so mommy can catch a break… you get the idea. I feel like I’m going and going and still – I cannot keep up. I am trying to keep all the balls in the air, but something is always dropping.

Do not even ask me how long that laundry has been in there.

Do not even ask me how long that laundry has been there.

What I’m experiencing is just a glimpse into what I imagine the experience of being a single parent is like everyday – to do everything yourself, to rely on only yourself, and to do what you need to do to survive as a parent. There is simply no way as one person that you can do everything – something is always lacking.

Though this experience has been quite the kick in the butt, I also feel guilty for complaining. My partner is coming back. We aren’t trying to get by on one income. Really, my circumstances are temporary. I know a few single parents, but you know what? They don’t complain about it. They just do it. And I don’t know how they do it. I commend the single parents out there.

You have my utmost respect.

What was I up to in March?

Where was I in March? There was a definite lack of blogging, but it wasn’t due to a lack of busy-ness on my part. Really! Oh March. It was work, snow, planning a trip, planning for a family visit, keeping up with my book club, more work and even way more snow. Did I mention the snow? There was a few daytrips to St. Andrew’s for work, a weeklong visit from grandparents, a parents-only trip to NYC and a few other fun things in between. Our month in pics.

A little playdate at the Inflatables...

A little playdate at the Inflatables…

Through work, I toured the newly renovated Algonquin Resort. I want to live there. So beautiful.

Through work, I toured the newly renovated Algonquin Resort. I want to live there. So beautiful.

Throughout the lobby are these little touches... boardgames, a giant bowl of saltwater taffy and so on.

Throughout the lobby are these little touches… boardgames, a giant bowl of saltwater taffy and so on.

I'd love to sip a drink here.

I’d love to sip a drink here.

One of the dishes put together by the Culinary Arts students at NBCC St. Andrews. If you're in St. Andrews, check out the Lady Dunn dining room on campus.

One of the dishes put together by the Culinary Arts students at NBCC St. Andrews. If you’re in St. Andrews, check out the Lady Dunn dining room on campus.

Baked up some "healthy" bearpaw cookies.

Baked up some “healthy” bearpaw cookies.

Grandma taking her little dude out for a walk.

Grandma taking her little dude out for a walk.

Mom and dad snuck off to NYC without the kiddo.

Mom and dad snuck off to NYC without the kiddo.

Food, sights, sounds... love NYC!

Food, sights, sounds… love NYC!

If you travel with a baby, is it still a holiday?

Being a parent is a funny thing. Once you’re a parent, you find yourself considering things that, previously, would have never crossed your mind. Did he/she poop twice today or just once? Why am I counting my kid’s poops?! This applies to all aspects of life including vacations. In the past couple years, I’ve been “lucky” enough (sure, let’s go with the word lucky) to have a couple vacations with my husband and our little one.

The first was a weeklong trip to Fredericton actually. I call it a vacation because a) it was before I moved here; b) it was somewhere new to us; and c) someone else paid for it (which definitely entails a holiday in my books). With our almost one-year old, we flew across Canada and the reality of traveling with an infant hit us and it was not pretty.

Glad I took a picture, because the flight has been repressed.

Glad I took a picture, because the flight has been repressed.

We were those people… those people that, when I traveled as a person sans children, I used to loathe (yes, loathe). We were those parents who couldn’t shut their kid up. Our little one cried and cried and cried on the plane. He cried til he couldn’t cry anymore and then when he found the energy, he cried some more.

Aside from karma which rears its head once you have to travel with a child, you’ll also realize there’s no such thing as “traveling light.” We had two suitcases, a diaper bag, a carry on bag, a stroller and a carseat. We were only going for a week, but we looked like we were carrying every earthly possession with us. What did we learn on that trip? Pubs in the Maritimes are very infant-friendly; keeping a baby from crawling on the hotel floor is next to impossible; and bribery with food is completely acceptable whilst traveling.

A few months after that traumatic learning experience, we packed up our bags once again for my sister’s destination wedding in Mexico. It didn’t seem right that a baby who won’t remember anything got to do so much traveling. Anyways, surely we had learned some lessons and we had the support of family and friends, so it could only get better right? Wrong! We passed that child around the plane like a hot tamale in a futile effort to keep him happy and quiet. It worked – kinda. Except when he started crying again, people kept giving him back.

Look ma - an all-you-can-eat sand buffet!

Look ma – an all-you-can-eat sand buffet!

The trip confirmed our baby is not a good flier. Also, he wasn’t particularly resilient, even at a beautiful all-inclusive resort. He still liked to go to bed early. He couldn’t do any watersports. He liked eating sand. You get the picture. Again there were some learnings and even, I daresay, some wins. A baby can live off unlimited watermelon and yogurt. In fact, they prefer it that way. And family and friends seem even happier to watch your child since they are on vacation. And lastly, unlimited booze seems to make the struggles of being a parent a lot easier. (I kid!)

I guess it comes as no surprise that, when my parents visit us in a few weeks, the hubby and I jumped at their offer to watch the little one while we go on holiday… That’s right hubby – start the car!!!


Weekend Guide: March 14 -16, 2014

More snow!! When I moved here, I wasn’t informed about all the snow. I feel a little misled, Fredericton. With spring about a week away – the end must be in sight. I’m hopeful. On a more positive note, in a few weeks my parents will be visiting, the hubby and I will be going on a no-child holiday (what?! YES!) and my little munchkin is turning TWO! I’m starting to get exciting for all these things and I’m excited for the weekend! There’s some fun events happening for the family this weekend and “Dine around Freddy” kicked off today. It’s an event where you can visit a participating restaurant and have a three-course meal for $29. I think this would make a wonderful date night! You can read more about it on my friend April’s blog. Also happening this week – the Fredericton Women’s Show! Girl time perhaps? Have a great weekend.

Kings Landing

Kings Landing

Fredericton Women’s Show

What: Find one of a kind crafts and fine art or learn from the professionals on mental, physical and spiritual health. There will be fashion shows, seminars, and more at the Women’s Show.
When: Saturday, Mar. 15 from 10am – 6pm
Sunday, Mar. 16. 11am – 4pm
Where: Richard J. Currie Center, 15 Peter Kelly Drive, UNB
Cost: Free. Collecting  donations for Women In Transition House at the doors.

Donna Washington, Storyteller
What: A professional storyteller, multiple-award-winning recording artist and author, Donna Washington has been performing for audiences of all ages since she was six years old. She inspires and excites with her dynamic storytelling performances.  She uses vocal pyrotechnics, extreme facial expressions, participation, and physicality to help stories manifest before the delighted eyes of audiences. For ages 5+
When: Sunday, Mar. 16
Where: Fredericton Playhouse
Cost: $15 (non-member)/$12 (member)

Sugar Bush Weekends
What: A fun filled weekend with a 19th-century sugar bush demonstration in the village, with the sweet taste of maple candy on the snow.
When: March 15 & 16 from 9am – 4pm
Where: Kings Landing Historical Settlement
Cost: A pancake breakfast will be served each day from 8:30 until 2:00 p.m. to support the York Sunbury Ground Search and Rescue. The cost is $9 per adult and $6 per child.


Weekend Guide: February 28 – March 2, 2014

Happy Friday!! It’s been super cold lately, but take solace that it’s nearly March and spring is less than a month away. When searching for events this weekend, I came upon the La Leche League chapter in Fredericton. The LLL helps new mothers learn how to breastfeed. Something I would have found so helpful the first go-round. You would think as women, breastfeeding would be intuitive but for most women – it’s not. It’s a science I tell you! Anyways, they hold regular meetings and classes for women in the area. So if you know a new mom or mom-to-be – you might want to let her know about LLL!

Have a wonderful weekend!



Slide Party Day at Mactaquac Park
What: Two awesome sliding hills to choose from. Prizes for best times for youngsters (ages 3-8), older youngsters (ages 9-12) and teens. Play the Frisbee golf course.
Where: Mactaquac Lodge
When: Saturday, Mar. 1st, 12:00pm – 4:00pm
Other: This event is weather dependant. There is no rain date. Please dress for the weather. For more information, please call 363-4747

Inflatable Games by Quilli’s Family Fun Factory Giant
Inflatable games and structures for kids under 15 years of age. Canteen and free wifi for parents.
Where: Capital Exhibit Centre (FREX), Fredericton
When: March 1 – 9, 9am – 7pm
Cost: Children 2 and up are $10, age 1 are $5, and free for children who are under age 1.

Winter, little ones & Fredericton


When you have little ones, it’s requires a real effort to get out of the house regardless of the season. Winter seems to make it even more challenging.

Babies aren’t exactly made for cold weather and of course, they have very particular schedules. Toddlers are challenging. I’m not going to mince words – mine is semi-wild and unpredictable. They want to go everywhere, touch everything and they’ve mastered the art of ripping off all their winter clothes. One minute they’re happy, the next they are having a full-scale meltdown. Furthermore, you cannot rationalize with a todder. (Apparently, I have a lot of toddler issues right now, can you tell?!)

What’s the point of all this??

There’s plenty of things you can do with your little one during winter. Best of all, most of these things are free or downright cheap. Scroll down for ideas!

If you have a newborn or infants:

  • An afternoon or evening at the Clay Café (my experience at Clay Café here) I saw some mothers recently having a little get-together with their newborns. They painted; the babies slept. It was totally brilliant.
  • A coffee date at Cedar Tree Cafe. It’s so warm and cozy there. Plus the coffee… so good. I often see parents with little ones in there. Coffee, babies, what’s not to love?
  • Take a walk at the Grant Harvey indoor track or Willie O’Ree Place or stroll around Regent Mall and do some window shopping.
  • Stars and Strollers at the Cineplex (every Wednesday). Watch a movie in a theatre that is baby-friendly.
  • Pop them in a carrier or sling and hit the weekend markets – Northside or Boyce.
  • Buy or borrow a sled for infants. On a milder day, you could take them for a ride around one of the beautiful area parks.

If you have a toddler:

  • Try skating at an outdoor rink. You could put them in their stroller or a skating stroller. If you have a particularly confident toddler, they could even try skating for the first time.
  • Enrol them in a class. There are a few options; more if you are a stay-at-home parent. I enrolled my little one in a wellness class for tots that takes place on the weekend and he loves it. You could also check out YMCA for swimming lessons or various gymnastics programs. This directory listing is a great resource.
  • Tobogganing!
  • Forget the weather and go to the pool. Schedules, location and pricing are here.
  • Indoor playground. Maybe this isn’t the PC-mom suggestion, but the playground at McDonalds is pretty effective.
  • The children’s section at Chapters in Regent Mall. The train table, the toys, the books. Kids love it!
  • Visit the library. The children’s section at the Fredericton Public Library is totally kid-friendly and there’s way more to do than read. Kids can play learning games on the PC, put on a puppet show, and participate in reading circles and fun sessions.
  • Take them to the Northside Market. It’s less busy so they can walk run around without getting lost or trampled. The northside market is very snack-friendly, so you can easily appease your little one with food like any good parent would do.
  • Embrace the snow. Thank goodness for the internet and parents who are way more creative than me; there are so many wonderful ideas you can do to get creative and bust the winter boredom. These look super easy, as in three ingredients or less. I’m all about the easy right now.

There you have it – some easy, low-cost ideas for the rest of winter. We are getting that much closer to spring (Minus 20 days and counting according to this countdown clock!). Stay positive and stay warm!

Weekend Guide – February 21-23, 2014


Through my work, I had the chance this week to attend the National Inclusion Education awards ceremony held by the New Brunswick Association for Community Living at Government House. The organization honoured individual educators from preschool to postsecondary for their efforts to make education more inclusive for students and children with intellectual disabilities. It was so inspiring to see how on an individual level, there are educators and caregivers who try to give equal opportunities to all children they work with.

As a society, we have a long way to go to become truly inclusive. When will we ever be able to say that we are done – that our society is truly inclusive? Regardless, I think the event really illustrated how powerful one person’s contributions can be and how much can change in terms of acceptance and attitudes through one person’s efforts. Change is happening to thanks to some amazing educators! On a side note, how beautiful is Government House?! I didn’t get a chance to tour the whole building but I loved what I saw and I intend to go back.

It’s a quieter weekend in Fredericton but there are a couple family events on the go. Stay warm and stay safe!

Winter Wacky Science Day
What:  A day filled with interesting, kid-focused (and staff supervised!) science experiments such as making a solar oven, a cloud in a bottle and elephant toothpaste (yes, that’s right).
Where: Mactaquac Lodge, Mactaquac Provincial Park
When: Saturday, Feb. 22 from 11am – 4pm
Other: For information call 363-4747. This is weather dependant so dress for the weather and in inclement weather, you may want to call to confirm.

Khadi, the Wax Child
What: A performance that is an adaptation of an African story presented by Peekaboo Shadows Theater.
Where: Charlotte Street Arts Center, Multipurpose room on the 2nd floor, 732 Charlotte Street, Fredericton
When: Saturday, Feb. 22 at 1pm and another showing at 2:45pm
Cost: $8 per person
Other: Call 454-8616 for more info.


Weekend Guide: February 14-17, 2014


Happy Valentine’s Day! In lieu of the trusty reliable flowers and a card, we’ll be having a family date over food (a meal without having to cook = romance!!). I’m part of a book club and at our last meeting, a few of us chatted about couple time, romance and how challenging it can be once you have a kid.

Well, my book-lovin’ friends had some great ideas: instead of a date night – a date lunch (while the little ones are in childcare!) or prepping a special, romantic meal over a bottle of wine after the little ones are in bed. A few years ago, one of my former bosses was looking for a good Valentines day idea for his wife so I suggested he do a chocolate fondue. As it turns out, it was a hit with his wife and their two little boys – no surprise there! I think the key is to get creative.

Important: With the snow this weekend, be sure to doublecheck that these events are a-go because the weather is so unpredictable right now. Whatever you may be up to this weekend, I hope it’s filled with lots of love for your little ones!!

Children’s Art Exhibit: Exploring Greek Mythology in Art
Join the Fredericton Public Library to explore Greek gods, goddesses, monsters and fantastical creatures through plaster masks created by kids ages 7-12.
Where: Fredericton Public Library, 397 Queen St, Fredericton
When: Feb. 7 – Feb. 21

Get a Glimpse of Life in Myanmar
What: Teacher Adrian Graham will discuss the fascinating people and culture of this little known country through the use of photos. The library has teamed up with the Greater Fredericton Home Educators to host this special lecture for children in Grades 4 and up.
Where: Fredericton Public Library, 397 Queen St, Fredericton
When: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2pm

Oromocto’s Annual SnowFest
Family friendly winter activities like sledding, sleigh rides, and skating. All activities are weather dependant.
Where: Sir Douglas Hazen Park & the Hazen Park Centre, Oromocto
When: Friday Feb. 14 to Sunday Feb. 16
Note: The calendar of SnowFest events is posted here. Check out the Frostival page to confirm timings prior to leaving.

FredKid Frosty Movie Days
What: fredkid presents “Enchanted” on a giant screen for children and adults to enjoy.
When: Saturday, Feb 15, 2014
Where: Centre Communautaire Sainte-Anne, 715 Priestman St, Fredericton
Cost: Adults: $4; Children: $2. 1pm.

Campfire Singalong
What: A free campfire sing-along in Officers’ Square with Mike Bravener. Weather dependant, there will be a small fire, rink side, to warm up beside while enjoying the tunes of a local musician.
Where: Officers’ Square, 585 Queen St, Fredericton
When: Saturday, Feb. 15, 5:30 – 7:30pm
Note: Check out the Frostival page to confirm prior to leaving.

Our Healthy Toddler Assessment

Last week, I took my 20-month old to his Healthy Toddler Assessment. Coming from Alberta, it’s been interesting navigating a new healthcare system to say the least and it can be even more complicated when you have a kid.

My family doctor suggested we go for the assessment which is apparently recommended for children around the 18-month stage. My doctor gave me the referral number and I called to book the appointment, although I’ve heard that some parents have received calls/mailouts from the health authority to book. I booked an appointment for the following week and was asked to bring along the little one’s immunization records and medicare card.

The afternoon of our appointment, we went to the public health clinic in Fredericton. There was nobody in the waiting room. The RN who would handle our appointment was very friendly. With an ample supply of snacks, along with a kid-friendly table and a few toys, my little one was pretty content for the nearly one-hour appointment.

He said it was a good appointment and recommends parents bring snacks.

He said it was a good appointment and recommends parents bring snacks.

After that, it was a lot of questions with her asking me about: his activity (walking, running, climbing), speech, appetite, social and interaction skills, motor skills, and our home safety. When I didn’t know whether he could do a particular task, she informally tested him. For each series of questions, she evaluated him on a form that was specifically for the 20-month old age group.

I completed a few detailed questionnaires regarding his nutrition and eating habits and another for post-partum depression (all mothers are asked to do so). She measured his weight, height and head circumference. After that, we discussed the overall results on a broad level.

He was right on the cusp of where they would make a referral to a speech therapist. With wait times being longer, she suggested taking the referral and playing it by ear once I got a call from the office as to whether it was still necessary. As for the referral, I’m not too concerned; I’ve learned my little one is going to take his sweet time and do things on his terms. He only started walking at 17 months and now he’s running!


The “Loving Care” book – a development guide for ages 1-3 is pretty sizable – 178 pages to be exact!

Before we left, she presented us with a really comprehensive developmental booklet for ages 1-3 and a little board book which I thought was nice.

What did I think of the appointment? For someone like me, it was useful. I don’t read parenting books because I find they are overwhelming; it was helpful to have the opportunity to chat with an RN and ask any health/development questions I had. Also, it was helpful because I’m a first-time parent (so this is all new to me) and new to New Brunswick.

Who else would it benefit? If you didn’t have a family doctor, it would be useful because doctors at walk-in clinics cannot give you that level of time or attention. Also, if you felt that your child might need a referral to see a specialist – these appointments are perfect.

Overall, I appreciate that the service is offered. You aren’t rushed; you are given attention; you can get a referral if necessary.  I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone but it’s nice to have the option if you’re interested.

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