Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Report Card Aftermath

Steven and I are very happy with the progress Jonas is making in school. He's been working very hard and, generally, has kept a very positive attitude. It's scary to think that he might get lost in the system at age 7, and it's been challenging to figure out how to navigate forward. We are extremely grately to be blessed with knowledgable and experienced people in our lives. They have provided amazing support and guidance and I give thanks to them every day.

Last week was report card time and this weekend we started experiencing the unexpected aftermath of that.  He received a few congratulatory voice and e-mails from loving friends and relatives, congratulating him on his success. He was very proud of himself, as he should be, until a couple of these messages had the opposite effect they were intended to.

Some people just haven't seen the light about his ADHD. They think it's a stupid label, intended to be an excuse for holding him back or for not pushing him harder. Though the reality is quite different, some people just can't accept this. They couldn't resist taking a dig at the ADHD diagnosis, not realizing that he'd interpret these as digs at him.

The report card had mixed results. He received mostly Cs, a couple of Bs, an A, and a few Ds. Some people think that telling him to work harder or smarter is the answer. They said "See. I told you. This ADHD thing is a crock! Look what you can do if you just try!" Though I'm sure they were well-meaning, he knows how hard he's trying, so what he heard was "See. You must not be smart enough for those other things."

As a consequence, while writing out number sequences last night, he started sobbing, callling himself dumb and smacking himself in the head. When I tried to console him, he said "When you help me read the question, I can figure out what order they go in but I can't write the numbers properly. I keep making dumb mistakes and I can't even write as good as a kid in kindergarten!" It broke my heart.

What the naysayers don't see is how hard he struggles for the Ds in language, reading and fine motor skills. He struggles with fundamental learning skills like reading, printing and speaking. It's difficult and discouraging for him, especially when he has to deal with those things while trying to learn science, math and social studies. Having to read or write brings him to tears. Thankfully, the school has made adjustments for those challenges in his other subjects, so that he doesn't fall behind in those too.

It's not a matter of him working harder or smarter. It's about us figuring out different ways to teach and encourage him, and it's about him having the patience to keep trying until he gets it. We're making a big deal about how proud we are of him for working so hard. We tell him that we and his teacher are proud of his effort and his behaviour, and we remind him that these are the most important things - even more important that his marks. We're also going to start screening his calls. ;)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Report Card Time

Yesterday was report card day. I dreaded it all day. As we get closer to the day he changes schools, he's getting more anxious about it and so are we. He's worried about fitting in and making friends. We're concerned about that too, but we're just as leary about his academic performance and how it will measure up in the new school with a new teacher.

The kids usually race home from school on report card day, whip them out and start comparing. It's great that they are so eager and confident, but yesterday we would be in the company of two of his classmates during the great unveiling. Both of them seem to be sailing through this school year with no issues, and are excelling as Jonas falls behind. The first report this year wasn't too bad because they moved away from letter grades but not this time around. This time we're right back to the old standard. In our little group, even the kids who can't read or understand the comments, know their alphabet. I'm careful to seperate them during homework time, and my plan yesterday was to avoid the negative and focus on the positive.

I have to admit that when he showed it to me, I was relieved, and not just because his was the only one that didn't come home sealed. I wasn't expecting good things. We have implimented some important accomodations in the classroom to help him overcome his struggles. In Science and Math, for instance, he does his testing orally rather than reading and writing out long questions and answers. That way, his language and motor skills deficiencies don't hold him back from learning and expressing concepts in other subjects. Despite these great advances, I've become very discouraged after several negative conversations with his teacher recently where she has shown us just how far behind is he is.

We're all very happy with this report. He's proud of himself for getting an A in Science and a B in Math.  (EDIT: "I got a B in Social Studies too, mom!") We're proud of him too, and we're glad he gets to see some of the fruits of his labour. He struggles to stay focused in all of his classes, and his body and brain don't cooperate as well in some, which makes it more challenging for him. In Music, for instance, he's doing very well with singing but his coordination isn't, well, coodinated, so his dance marks are low. What makes me smile though his how much he loves it. It's the same story in gym, his skills aren't always there but his enthusiasm is, and that's all a mom can ask for. He's a great kid no matter what, and we need him to understand that we love him as much for the work he's doing on the Ds in language and motor skills stuff as we do for the As and Bs. In truth, I think I'm more proud of him for that work than the stuff that's coming easier for him.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Forget the cupcakes. Here's the Ulitmate Valentine's Day Desert
(A Campfire Favorite): Banana Boats
One banana, scooped out and filled with chocolate chips and mashmellows, ready for baking
Baking Banana Boats
Melted and gooey and ready for eating
My favourite chocolately smile and the world's best Valentine!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Bedtime Routine

I had one of those moments last night that leaves me re-evaluating my parenting.

After a rough morning, we had a great day at daycare. When we got home, dinner prep was underway, but we interrupted that to exchange Valentines and tell each other how much we love us. As Steve and I made dinner, the kids set the table, then talked about their day while they continued work on their most recent craft. Then we sat in front of the tv (I know. tsk tsk!) savoring our homemade burgers and salad and watched some science show that I can't recall now. (The flipside of watching tv while we eat is that we rarely pay attention to the show because we're too busy talking.) Once the dishes were cleared and the kitchen cleaned, Jonas and I snuggled up and read some Dr. Seuss, while Steve and Tasha read books of their own. The day was ending perfectly - until the call of "Betime Jonas!"

It's not what you think. Jonas was great. He got up, grabbed Teddy, gave us all hugs and kisses and headed upstairs on his own. Usually, he bids goodnight to Tasha and I, and then takes Steve's hand to start their bedtime routine. But not last night. Last night he wanted to do it by himself.

When I asked him why, he said that Dad and the cats looked too comfy on the couch to disturb them. Steve responded with "Thanks Buddy!" and followed it up with "He's a big boy now mom." While it was they were sweet sentiments, my mom-brain protested. "He's only 7. He's too young. He needs his routine. HE'LL THINK WE DON'T LOVE HIM!"

I'm pretty sure that Steve could see my wheels turning and the smoke leaking out of my ears. He smiled at me, waited until Jonas rounded the corner and then followed him. Then my brain started going again. "He'll think we don't trust him. He'll think we think he's not old enough or responsible enough. HE'LL THINK WE DON'T LOVE HIM!"

Oh the confusion! This wouldn't be the first time he's taken himself to bed. It happened once before and, my vision of the perfect bedtime routine shattered, I spent the night wrestling with mom-guilt over it. What's up with that?! This time I sat in stunned silence.

For a long time, Jonas only wanted me to take him to bed. He'd ask every night who was going to take him, even though the answer was always the same. I felt guilty every night I didn't make the trek upstairs and I rejoiced when he stopped asking and just expected Dad to be the one. 

I love that Steve and Jonas get a few minutes at the end of every day to spend together one-on-one. I even like that they have their own routine, though it's very different from mine. I've come to accept that it sometimes mens he goes to bed wearing the same clothes he wore all day instead of his jammies. They hug and kiss, Steve tucks him in and tells him he loves him, and then it's lights out. (I, on the other hand, sit up there and talk with him for several minutes, indulging every question, no matter how off-the-wall.)

I also like that he's developing independance, and I usually encourage it. He wasn't unhappy or protesting anything. He was just content to go by himself. I should have been happy. He obviously had a good day yesterday and didn't feel a need to draw out bedtime. So why do I feel like those final words are so important?

It's probably the same instinct that forces me to pop into his room to kiss his head every time I walk by his door after he's asleep. My bedtime routine was an important part of my childhood. The truth is that the mom I want to be is pretty demanding, and this is something that she's just not ready for any of us to let go of yet.

Don't tell anyone but I'm secretly hoping it doesn't happen again tonight!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day (?)

It's here. Today is the next festival of chocolate, candy and hyper kids acting like lunatics. Happy Valentine's Day? Sure!

Our day started off like any other, until my son realized that it's Valentine's Day. He almost instantaneously got a little more hyper and unfocused. ADHD and chocolate, even the thought of it, don't mix. The anticipation of all that sweet goodness was just too much for him. I almost wanted to shoot myself or his teacher when she rewarded him with chocolate three times last week for helping to clean up the classroom after school. It's a thoughtful gesture to reinforce good behaviour but, frankly, I'm not sure the after-effects are worth it. Thankfully, his ADHD means he usually forgets about the treats if I can get him to wait to eat them for a little while. (Reinforcing my belief that there is always an upside!) I fear that I am going to have no such luck today.

The day's traumas began when I wouldn't let him eat chocolate cupckes for breakfast. He and Tasha made them on Saturday after Beaver Fun Day and he made a b-line straight for them this morning. After many tears and reminders that Christmas and Easter are the only days can eat chocolate before breakfast, and I repeat - BEFORE - not instead of, I finally convinced him to have some yogurt and berries on the way to daycare.

As he finished eating, he realized that he didn't have anything to give to his classmates. Apparently the cards he spent the weekend writing out weren't going to be enough, there needed to be something to go with them. He was in tears thinking that he'd be the only one without some sort of present or treat to give to his classmates. He was only barely appeased by my promise to "figure it out."  Phew. My To Do List was growing but at least the tears had stopped.

As we walked into the house, the next trauma of the day befell us, when Leah ran over to give us the cards she'd made for us. Jonas got upset, saying "Leah doesn't like me because she gave me my card last." Ah, the joys of an overly sensative child. I distracted him quickly, showing him the birthday cupcakes by best friend made for my belated birthday celebration yesterday, a party we never made it to because my car kind of fell apart. (That's another tear-filled story for another day, but all's well now.)  No, I didn't let him eat one of those cupcakes either, but I did promise one after school and homework today. Upon hearing that, all three kids got into the act by begging to have a cupcake before school No way! I thought I was going to lose my mind and it was only 7 am.

I turned off the tv and distracted them with get-ready-for-school chores. Unable to stop thinking about Valentine's Day, it took them almost 45 minutes to get their snacks, water and backpacks ready.  Of course, more tears errupted when Jonas realized that Gavin and Leah each had a bag of chocolate to dole out at school. I looked at the clock. 7:45am. 40 minutes left until the school bell.

Weighing the risks of taking hyper kids out in public, and the likelyhood that somebody would take care of them if I had to be taken away in a straighjacket, I packed them up in the now fixed car and headed for Walmart. We were on a hunt for some sort of treasure for Jonas' classmates. Not wanting to add to the sugar rush, we settled on heart-shaped crazy straws for the kids and a talking stuffed bear for his teacher. Finally, a smile! The first one of the day and it was a huge one. Phew!

When we finally got to school, he ran out of the car so excited that he almost forgot to say goodbye. Even though I couldn't get out of there fast enough, I knew better, so I waited. He stopped and turned suddenly, ran back, gave me hug, and went through his kissing hand routine - three kisses each from me to his hand, him to my hand, and then three regular kisses. Then I got a HUGE smile, an "I love you Mum-a", and off he went.

Those smiles were the best Valentine's presents he could give me. My only wish is that they set the tone for his day. Fingers crossed.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Homework Excitement - A Welcome Change!

We had a great night last night!

I went to Scholar's Choice yesterday and picked their brains. In addition to his reading, math and thought organization, Jonas needs to work on his fine motor skills, especially his pencil and scissors skills. His teacher has shown us that he's remained at a kindergaten level in those areas, and it's holding him back on the other fronts. Working on activities designed for younger kids makes him feel like a failure so we needed to try something different.

Amoung other things, I came home with a couple of new books, designed especially for older kids, to help keep their self-esteem high while developing these rudimentary skills. We cracked them open when we got home last night, and he was excited to see that one of the books had a bunch of colouring and cutting crafts for him to make. His Dad and sister got in on the act by being super excited about it too.

Tasha sat down with him and helped him with a randomly choosen project. She did a great job being his assistant, letting him take the lead, and helping him along with encouragement when he needed it. The nice thing about these books is that they leave lots of room for the kids to use their imaginations. Together they designed what was supposed to be an Easter Egg, but turned into a space landscape. They took turns tracing and colouring dirt, grass, sky, the sun, plantets and stars. I'm really not sure who had more fun. Steve and I experienced as much joy watching them as they did doing the project.

The power of play: It just looks like colouring but it's so much more!
I knew I had a winner when he almost cried when it was time for dinner and he had to put it away for a while. After we ate, he immediately when back to the book, and designed a really looking cool snake. This morning he got dressed faster than he ever has, raced downstairs and started cutting it out, anticipating hanging it like a mobile in his room when it's finished.

Next step: Cutting it out to make a mobile!
It feels great knowing that we can find fun ways to help him work on his skills. His weekly spelling lists and writing assignments are great practice, and something he has to master, but they are a struggle. They are more like work to him and he gets discouraged very easily. More often than not, homework time is a battle to not let him give up on himself.

I remember being told that in Grade One that I wrote more like a boy than a girl. That hurt my feelings and I try to remember that when Jonas struggles with his own fingers. There's a long road ahead but seeing him smiling and laughing last night, and not wanting to quit, was wonderful.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

School Yard Solutions

I don't want to be a helicopter mom, who swoops in and tries to solve every little squabble my kid gets into, but when kids start getting hurt on the school yard, it's time for action. After a rough week last week, where I felt like it was starting to become unsafe for the younger kids, it was time to find some solutions. After some lackluster shoulder shrugging by a few of the teachers, I was spitting nails when I headed for home on Friday. Apparently I wasn't the only one, and I am so glad.

When I and some of the other parents talked to our kids about what was happening, their response was startling. The basic procedure is this: ask the bully nicely to stop. If that doesn't work, move away. If that doesn't work, ask a teacher for help. And if someone is hurt, ask the teacher for help right away. The two most common responses from the kids are that they don't feel like that teachers would do anything about it, and that tattle-taling would only make things worse. Red lights started going off so a few of us booked a chat with the principal this morning.

The school is listening. They had a major staff meeting yesterday morning, and when I got to school to drop the kids off after lunch, I saw no less than six yard supervisors in their bright orange vests. That's a major step forward. They're still outnumbered more that 100 to 1 though, so it's not the only answer.

In our meeting this morning, the Principal confirmed that yes, some of the teachers have been slacking off on the yard duties and that will stop effective immediately. He showed us a map of the school grounds, and explained exactly where the boundaries are. The teachers now have new routes to patrol to make sure all the areas are covered. the Principal and VP will be out there every day too. They're even going to set up a snowball throwing area off to one side that will be set up with targets, and supervised by some of the more adventurous teachers!

When we told him about the younger kids hesitation to talk their teachers, and my own personal experience with the "what can we do?" attitude, he was very unhappy. That's not the message we want to send. He promised to have a second meeting with the teachers to address that. It's simply not acceptable. He went further, telling us to tell our kids to go straight to him if they don't feel comfortable talking to the teachers.

He also promised to talk to the kids this week about the boundaries of the yard, the rules of behaviour, and reminders about what bullying looks like and what to do about it. He's going to hold an assembly for the primary grades tomorrow, and address each of the senior classes individually. All the teachers will do follow-up activities with their classes, and hopefully that will get things back on track.

I like our Principal. While some of the parents and teachers think he "should bring the hammer down on them", and bring in a zero tolerance policy on bullying, and add a bunch of new restrictions on play time, he would rather work towards fostering a sense of right and responsibility in them. Teaching them to be good citizens seems like a much better approach to me too. With the possible odd exception, they're all good kids, who get carried away sometimes. He's got a lot of great ideas about how to deal with one-on-one situations and he has a wealth of patience. He also cares very deeply about our kids. He talks about them as if they are his own.

My faith has been restored.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Getting Back on Track: An Update

It's been just over a month now since our family made our resolution to be healthier. The basic ground rules we set for ourselves were to eat at the table together every day, to get outside together once a week, and to eat a healthy dinner every day, including at least 2 coloured vegetables. We're not spot-on on all three goals, but I'm hapy to say that we are making good progress. We're certainly better off than we would have been without making the effort. ;)

We've broken bread together at the table most days. Not every day, but most. Sometimes Tasha is working, Jonas and I are at Beavers on Wednesday nights, and sometimes we just want to crash in front of the tv and watch a movie or something, but we try to restrict that to Friday or Saturday nights. The one night we absolutely do not mess with is Sunday. Sunday night roast dinner together is a tradition that is very important to me and I will not compromise on it. Last night, for example, we had roast chicken, sweet potatoes, brocoli and brussels sprouts when Tasha got home from work.

Combined with the fact that we've each had something come up at one time or another this month, we haven't made very good progress on our goal of getting outside together every week. We started the first weekend with an awesome family hike and then we fizzled out. Tasha's work schedule, and our Beaver Scouts calendar, are two of our stumbling blocks. Her schedule is all over the place, and she usually works on the weekends. The kids and I have had colds at various times, and been Steve's fighting an abcessed tooth. Simply put, we just haven't felt like going out very much. Jonas gets his fill every day after school, and last weekend he and I spent most of the weekend outside together at Winter Camp with the Scouts, but that doesn't count as family time. What we have been doing pretty well though, is spending time together inside the house throughout the week and on weekends, playing games, doing puzzles and watching movies. Half of the point of the goal was spending time together and on that front, we're doing well. Now we just need to pull up our socks, put on our snowpants, and start exercising together too!

Dinner last night was a really good example of how our eating habits have changed for the better. It's one goal we're doing very well with. We're having two or three colour veggies with each meal, and with the exception of two pizza nights and couple of store bought roast chickens, we're eating homecooked meals every night. We've made eating fish a weekly habit and we're cutting back on junk food snacks, opting instead for grapes or cheese, or other fresh foods. Tasha and Steve are also making it a habit to take leftovers for lunches too. They haven't cut out take-out completely, but I'm really happy with the effort they're making.

Team Blanchard has really taken shape too. Steve and I are taking turns cooking, and Tasha is helping out as well. Even Jonas gets in on the act most days. Tasha has taken the lead in making sure the dishes get done, and the three of us always help her out. Jonas is in charge of setting the table, with a little help from the non-cooks, and I am in charge of making sure the groceries are in the house. Teamwork is the key. All of us are pitching in and that makes a real difference.

As you can see, some of our goals have been easier to make a reality than others. We've still got a lot work to do but things are definitely moving in the right direction. I was worried when I came down with a cold this weekend. I'm the head chef and operations manager, so I felt like our weekly plan was in danger. Steve and the kids stepped up the plate, not only cooking a good healthy roast dinner on Saturday night, but also getting the groceries for the week. They didn't get nearly enough veggies, but they didn't buy any junk food either. I have to say, watching them in action between rounds of fever, made me very proud!


Friday, February 4, 2011

School Yard Battles

When I dropped the girls off at school at lunch today, I was informed by one of this friends that Jonas was around back and was hurt. So I kissed the girls goodbye at the kindergarten yard and off I marched, little one on my shoulders, to see what was going on. As I rounded the corner, he was running towards the school where he sat down, crying, with a bloody nose. When I asked him what happened he said that a big kid grabbed his head, pushed him down and he smashed his head on the ground. Being uncharacteristically unprepared, I went to one of the yard supervisors, asked for a tissue and told her what happened. She handed me a tissue, told me that things were getting rough out there and walked away. No big deal it seemed.

As I sat with Jonas, I suggested that perhaps he should stay away from the big kids. "I tried mom," he said "but they keep following us." Jonas' friend Zak came over a minute or two later and told me that a big kid kicked him down. Covered in snow, with tears in his eyes, I believed him. As I was tending to them, Taylor came over to check on them and said that one of them gave him a face plant yesterday too.

The supervisor that gave me the tissue wandered over shortly after and asked Jonas if he saw who did it. He was grabbed from behind so the answer was no.  "Not much we can do about it then" was her response.  She also told me that the school principal is usually out on yard duty, but that he was in a meeting today and the kids seem to know when there are less eyes on them. I told the boys they should try to stay away from those kids, and that it's ok to tell the teacher. It's not tattle-tailing if someone is being hurt. It's ok too, I said, to go to see the office and let them know what's going on. They looked unconvinced.

Now, I'm all for letting kids be kids and work things out, but when big kids start hurting little kids on purpose, the mama bear in me tends to come out. When the bell rang, I went inside to talk to the principal but he was indeed in a meeting. I will find him after school but thought I'd better let the teacher know so I went to her instead. She kind of shrugged her shoulders and suggested that perhaps the principal needed to have another talk with the big kids. "I'm sure they're fine" was her only other response.

I've been hearing stories all week about the big kids kicking over the younger kids' snow structures, picking on them, and throwing snowballs at them, but this is the first time I've head about someone getting hurt. On the snow day on Wednesday, I stood talking to a teacher at lunch time, as little kid after little kid came up to tell us that the big kids were kicking over their snow structures and making fun of them. She did nothing, just kept talking to me as if nothing was happening.

The thing that shocked me most today was that the kids came to me, instead of going to the supervisors or their teacher. After seeing their responses first hand, I don't blame them. I'm guessing that they don't feel like the teachers will do anything about it.  I don't want to be a helicopter parent but somebody has got to start watching out for these kids, and let them know that their adults are there to help them.

I know they are outnumbered and have the best of intentions but it's almost like this school has given up. Two or three teachers monitoring a yard with 800 kids on it isn't enough. Parent volunteers aren't being utilized and the situation seems to be getting worse. Hopefully the new school Jonas is going to in a few weeks won't be more of the same.


Thursday, February 3, 2011


I have a confession to make. The morning got a little off track today and I forgot to give Jonas his ADHD medicine. I remembered it after I dropped him off at school and spent the rest of my day with my fingers crossed. I didn't see him outside when I dropped the girls off at school after lunch, and thought "Uh oh!". My brain raced with bad news scenarios and then I saw him playing happily with his friends.  Phew!

He didn't take his medicine on the weekend because we were go go go all day at camp. He did pretty well with all the fresh air and exercise, and except for one meltdown over a poker game he did great. (That's an entirely different story. Let's just say seven year olds and playing poker with chips don't mix.) I was hoping today would have the same outcome. They've been getting extra physical activity at school this week because of all the snow, and today was another fun day, with lots of gym, singing and dancing. It makes a real difference when he gets to be active. The more he excerices, the better he seems to be able to concentrate. 

He ended up having a pretty good day. His teacher said he mostly did a good job. He also did a great job at home, except for a little meltdown at homework time with Dad after dinner. I think that's better attributed to his academic frustrations than missing his meds. Of course, I'd prefer to give him his meds consistently every day but things happen sometimes. We don't expect perfection, but it's always nice when he does well.

After school, we talked about how the day went and he was very proud of how he behaved. When I asked him to help me remind him about his pill tomorrow, he said "Maybe I don't need it any more mom. I can be a good boy without it".  That kind of broke my heart. We've been very careful about how we frame this medicine for him. I explained to him again that he's not taking medicine because he's a bad boy, but rather because it helps him focus better in school. It's not a magic pill. He still needs to work hard sometimes to make smart decisions and do the right thing, and we have to work hard to be patient and creative to find ways to help him.

While talking to a friend yesteday, I described the medication by saying that it's like it lifts a fog that's around him. It helps the messages get through a little better, but it's still a challenge. All and all though, it was a good day, and I'll take it!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Jonas won a Super Star Student Award this week for displaying Optimism.
Unfortunately he was at home sick so he missed the assembly.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Changing Schools Mid-Year

We confirmed yesterday that Jonas' daycare set-up is changing at the end of the month. That means I'm going back to "work" and he's changing schools. It's going to be a massive change for him. Setting aside my own issues about finding and starting a new job, my biggest concern is making this transition as smooth as possible for him.

He's been at the same school for four years now. He has good friends here and we're finally starting to get him the support he needs to be a successful student. His speech difficulties and ADHD have made both difficult for him but he seems to be starting to find his groove. The last thing we want is to disrupt that, especially not in the middle of the school year. Heck, it's even worse that it's happening in the middle of the term. Because of my Dad's job, I changed schools a lot during elementary school. I went to six different schools between Grades 4 and 8 and I remember vividly how stressful it was. I swore I'd never do that to my kids, and yet here we are.

There are a lot of upsides about changing schools. We're trying to focus on the positive and cultivate optimism in him. His new school is very close to home, which means his Dad and sister can be part of his day now, helping with morning drop-off, afternoon pick-up and homework. The move also means he can get more sleep in the mornings and eat breakfast with them instead of in the car. The new school is also much smaller than his current one, with less than 200 kids instead of 750. He'll be starting with a clean slate, which means he can shed any "trouble-maker" images the other kids may have of him now.
We've got some work ahead of us to set up his support systems at the new school. Thankfully, we're staying in the same District so his speech therapy will transfer with him when he starts his next block. The new SERT teacher is going to assess him when he gets there, and will hopefully accerlate the occupational therapy we've been fighting so hard to get for him at his current school. He needs one-on-one support to work on his fine motor skills, organizational skills and math or he's going to fall further behind the other kids.

One more thing that remains to play out is whether he is put into a Grade One-Two or a Grade Two-Three split class. The new school is much smaller than the rest in the District, so there aren't as many resources, or teachers to choose from. I've heard wonderful things about both teachers from the other parents in our neighborhood, and can see advantages and disadvantages with both. I suspect it will come down to class size and we won't have a decision to make.

He's home sick today with the croup and I had an important, time-sensative errand to run near home, so we stopped by the school to pick up the transfer forms on our way. We were greeted at the door by the school secretary, who introduced us to the Princpal. They were both warm and welcoming, and really put him at ease. We're going to go back mid-month to meet his teacher, his class, the SERT teacher, and to have a tour of the school. Hopefully that will help everything be more familiar to him on the first day of class on February 28th.

We've been talking about this change as a possibility for a few weeks now, but I think today was the first time it became real for him. He was a little shy and nervous when we were at the school. He quietly asked a lot of questions and seemed unsure about the idea, at least until we went outside and checked out the school yard at recess.

There were a quarter of the kids running around, and he saw someone he knows. One of his best buddies from home goes to that school, which he thinks is pretty cool. We watched as a bunch of kids tried to roll massive snowballs that were bigger than some of the kids, and then the magic happened. We noticed a teacher heading towards a hill where a bunch of the kids were running up and sliding down. He walked over the them with a determined look and his eye, and I thought "Uh oh!" Then he yelled "Which one of you can slide the farthest?"

"Mom!" Jonas said. "The kids here get to slide down the hill! That's AWESOME!"

He smiled the entire way home. So did I.