Sunday, September 30, 2012

Keeping the Faith

It's the middle of the night during a turning point kind of weekend around here. Jonas's crib came home on Friday night and is awaiting re-entry into the house. We handed it down to my nephew Aidan, and it's been in safe keeping ever since. I thought it had been sold in a garage sale but somebody must have had an inkling that it would be called back into service.

I have mixed emotions about it. It's a beautiful crib and I have many happy memories of Jonas in it. I also remember well the pain of realizing that Owen would never use it. Packing up baby stuff for a child who would never use any of it is part of a painful process that I wouldn't wish on anybody. And yet, today, we are going to face that fear and start to get BGB's room ready for her.

This is one of those keep the faith moments that we face along the journey of this pregnancy. Wanting to climb up on the emotional fence, while trying to stay optimistic. Fighting the boogyman thoughts that are trying to creep into our minds is easier said than done sometimes.

A close friend who I've come to know over the past five or six years, asked me recently what happened to Owen. I realized that even though I talk about him, I don't often talk about "it", the details of what happened to him. Maybe if I blog it out now, when it's keeping me awake in the middle of night, I can put it to rest for another little while.

I was 33 weeks pregnant, about 7 weeks away from Owen's due date, when "it" happened. "It" was that Owen just stopped moving one day. There was none of the drama you see on tv and in the movies. I had no other signs or symptoms that something was wrong. He just stopped moving. I thought I was paranoid at first, worrying over nothing as most pregnant women do, but an ultrasound confirmed that our worst fears had been realized. He had died. His autopsy was inconclusive about what had happened. He had a true knot in his cord (meaning that he swam through it at some point), but although rare, healthy babies are born with this condition all the time. That might have been "it" or "it" might have been something else. After thoroughly testing both Steve and I, the results were still inconclusive. I likely had Lupus but, again, this may or may not have been a contributing factor to what happened. We have come to accept that we may never know.

Science has made great strides in 8 years. We're being monitoring very closely, and they're finding things that they would never have even looked for last time. A misplaced placenta, a uteran artery that isn't pumping right and a mama's thyroid that isn't working properly, are three risk factors they're keeping a close eye on. It's a little scarey to know that these things could have been "it" and could cause major problems for BGB and I, but it's also comforting to know that the doctors know about them this time and can intervene if needs be.

It all boils down to keeping the faith. Faith in our doctors and faith in that great power of the universe. Call it "God" or "Allah" or "The Great Spirit" or whatever you want, but on this Sunday morning, that higher power and I are having a bit of a moment.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Why Me, Mom?

Yesterday was Jonas's annual physical with his pediatrician. We spent a lot of time discussing his ADHD, it's impacts and our successes and failures in managing it. It was a good conversation and, as he gets older, Jonas is more and more involved in these chats. I'm glad he's reached a stage now where he can share his perspective and experience with us.

While we were driving home, he asked me, "Mom, why did I get ADHD?" Kids and their big questions! He asked in the way he does when he's not upset about anything, just trying to figure out how something works, so I took that as a sign that he wanted a answers from me rather than probbing and listening.
I explained that nobody really knows why some people get ADHD and others don't, but that most doctors and scientists thinks that kids get ADHD because their parents have it. "But you and Dad don't have it," he said. "Ah, but we do," I said. He was stunned and asked "Really?!"

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree! I told him that both Steve and I have ADHD, but that we didn't know it until we started figuring out that he does. When we were his age, people didn't know about ADHD so we didn't get help to deal with it, instead we just got in trouble and had to face the consequences when we didn't act properly. "I hate consequences," he replied. "Me too," I agreed.

He still didn't believe me so I reminded him that even though we have a central family planning centre in the kitchen, I have notes and lists and calendars all over the house, I still forget stuff all the time. I pointed out how Steve always gets frustrated with me because I can't sit still at home, that I do try to do things as soon as I think of it instead of leaving it until later, but still forget stuff all the time. I often don't stick to our plans because something else grabs my attention, I'm easily distracted and (feigning indignation) that some people think I talk too much.

As he listened, a smile crept across his face. "You sound just like me!" he exclaimed. After thinking for a little bit, he said, "Mom, how can I get as good as you at having ADHD?" That broke my heart a little bit. I told him that I am not a master and that it's not easy for me either. Being careful not to take away his hope, I also told him that it did easier as I grew up. I said that I know he can learn the tricks that we use to manage it and that I bet that come up with his own even better ways that he can teach us.

Then I reminded him that ADHD is only a part of who he is and that he's darn pretty amazing. I told him that he's creative and fun and a joy to be around. He's thoughtful, considerate and caring. He's sensitive and smart, energetic and funny. I also said that ADHD might be something that's actually a blessing rather than a curse because it means he's not bor-ing. That made him giggle. Before I finished, I threw in that I think he is just plain awesome (a phrase a stole from his pediatrician early in the day), that he's one of the coolest kids I know, and that as far as I know, everyone who really knows him thinks so too.

Before he moved onto the next topic, he finished with one last train of thought that I couldn't help but smile at. He said "Mom, if my little sister gets ADHD too, I can help her learn all the tricks that I know. And I can stick up for her too!"

Love that kiddo!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Three Things

Three of the many things I am grateful for this week include:
  • Funded, in-school Speech and Occupational Therapy for Jonas. He's been on the waiting list for speech therapy for almost two years and on the wait list for Occupational therapy for his entire school career. Finally, on October 27th, he'll be assessed for OT and reassessed for ST. He has a great difficulty with handwriting and fine motor skills, which makes all written school work a tremendous challenge for him. He also has what is classified as "moderate speech disfluency, which means that we can understand him but he needs time to get his words out. Every second or third word is disfluent, meaning that he repeats sounds, elongates sounds and repeats words, and he often repeats phrases. As you can imagine, 9 and 10 year old boys find this rather amusing and he gets interrupted and mimicked on a regular basis. His self esteem has taken a bit of beating on both fronts so we're beyond relieved that help is in sight.
  • Amazing health care. BGB and I are being followed by our regular OB near home and also by the Special Pregnancy Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital. Given that this is classified as a high-risk pregnancy, we need extra monitoring and testing, which is where Mount Sinai comes in. We also don't want to travel all the way to downtown Toronto in the middle of winter when this little girl decides it's time to arrive, hence the OB and hospital around the corner from our house. We had another check-up at Mount Sinai yesterday and everything is looking great. There are a couple of warning signs to go with our history, so they're keeping a close eye on us. The two doctors are coordinating their activities so that they're on the same page and I've never felt like for a VIP in my life.  
  • Our amazing village. We are surrounded by so much love and we are so blessed for it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Wonderful Week

We've had some wonderful ups to share this week. There are a few highlights in particular I'd like to share on this Wordless Wednesday.

Fish-n-Chix 2012 was amazing!
Thank you ladies!

I got to spend the day with Jonas and his class on a field trip on Monday.
It was a lot of fun. I'm so glad I got to go.

As we were preparing to resume our fight for in-school services for Jonas,
we got a call on Monday night with good news.

He is now off the waiting list for speech and occupational therapy.
In a few weeks, we're taking him for assessments
when they'll create an action plan for him.
Then they can finally start giving him the help he needs.

BGB and I are going for another check-up at Mount Sinai today.
At 22 weeks, we're more than half way there already. 
This is one happy mom signing off for now.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gone Fishing!

This blogger has gone fishing.
We'll be back to our regularly scheduled blogging on Monday.

Have an awesome weekend!

Mom's Weekend

                                      It's finally here!!
There are few dates on the calendar that I look forward to more than this weekend. It is untouchable, no matter what else is on the family calendar. It's the one weekend every year that is just for me. This is it - the third weekend in September. After work, picking up the kids from school, and making sure they and their dads are squared away for the weekend, it's time for Fish N Chix!

Fish N Chix weekend is when six of my good friends and I to head head to the lake for 3 days of fishing, food and relaxation. (We're slowly stretching it to four days.) It's hard to say whether the weekend is mostly about the fishing or refueling on girl power. We get together often during the year, but this weekend is kind of like going on a mini sabbatical, with no men, no kids and no work allowed. (Although we sometimes make exceptions and let the four-legged kids come with us.) Sleeping in and napping are not only allowed, they are encouraged, although the fishing is always better early in the morning.

Fish N Chix weekend feels especially poignant for me this year. I'm about to become the mother of a future Chic. I have to admit to being a little imtimidated by that. Raising a girl is a hefty responsibilty and it's one that I often feel under prepared for. As they do in mine, these six amazing woman are going to play a pivotal role in this child's life. This mom is going to need a lot of support to help guide her, and she's probably going to need a lot of support guiding mom. ;)  


Fish N Aunts:
Karen, Michelle and Hillary
Me, Kathy, Sherri and Nikki

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Creating New Rituals

It's safe to say that Jonas is a mama's boy. Being a stay-at-home mom during his first four years of school and being a leader for his first three years of Scouts, tends to lend itself to a parent and child having a close relationship. We have a hundred different rituals that neither of us really think about anymore, except when they don't happen.

Last night was one of those nights. Steve took Jonas to a new Cub Scout group to check it out. Jonas was so excited about it that he had a hard time focusing enough to get himself ready to go. We washed and ironed his uniform as soon as he finished his homework and he hung it up with great pride so it wouldn't get dirty while we ate dinner. (Before you get too impressed, you should know that our Scout neckers (bandanas) are the ONLY things I EVER iron.) His friend from school is a member of this Pack and he was looking forward to comparing merit badges with him and maybe getting to play dodge ball. Steve was equally happy to go because it means that he gets to be more involved and also that I am becoming less involved. I was a little torn about not going but I was looking forward to having a couple of hours to myself.

You can understand, then, why I was stunned when Jonas came home disappointed. He walked in the house ignoring Steve and with a huge pout on his face. When I asked him how the meeting went, he started crying and screetching something into the pillow on the couch that I'm pretty sure only dogs could hear. After some deep breathing and repetition, we figured out that he was upset because I'm not going to be one of his leaders this year. Not only was I not at the meeting, but they didn't stop for a drink on the way home!

Poor Steve. Instead of a "Thanks Dad!!", he got a meltdown.

Jonas and I have always done Scouts together. Even though I wasn't his primary leader in Cubs, we spent one-on-one time together every week on the drive to and from the meetings. (Our old group was about a half hour drive from home. The new group is more like 5 minutes from home.) Most weeks, we stopped at Tim Horton's for a drink on the way home. We hardly talked at all during the meetings but those drives were non-stop conversation about about Scouts, school and life in general. The drinks? Well, I guess it's like when my Dad would take me for ice cream after hockey or baseball. It's an important part of the ritual too.

Once Jonas stopped crying and Steve stopped fuming, they apologized to each other, hugged and said I love you. Then Jonas went upstairs to get ready for bed and I got the chance to lay a little more groundwork. Perhaps I should have prepared them both a little better for this transition but I don't want to be THAT mom who tries to control everything.

As Jonas brushed his teeth, Steve and I talked about what I thought was going on. I agreed that Jonas's behaviour was unacceptable. I also reminded him that this is a big change for Jonas. It's easy for us to see all the good things about this change but, in Jonas's mind, there are significant negatives as well. We need to be sensitive to those things and try to help him through them. I told him what we did on meeting nights (i.e. the after meeting drinks) and suggested that he find some way to make this relatively short drive something that they both look forward to every week. What that is, I have no idea, but it's not up to me. This is going to be their ritual.

By then, Jonas was ready for bed so I went to snuggle with him so we could talk. He then pleaded with me again to be one of his leaders this year. He told me that he really missed me last night. I listened for a long time and, although my ego liked hearing that, it also showed me how visceral this change is for him. He said he thought that he and his dad would have had more fun. The fun he was talking about, seems to boil down to the after meeting drinks. 

I'm still a little stunned by how on earth can one small drink mean so much to the kid. I explained to Jonas that Steve and I do things differently, and that one way isn't better than the other. They're just different. Both ways can be great if he gives them a chance. I reminded him that Dad didn't even know about the drink thing and that it might have helped if Jonas had asked him instead of just getting upset about it. I also reminded him that I could be a leader again next year but that this year is Steve's turn. It can be something they both look foward to if they make the best of it.

Before we turned out the lights last night, I asked Jonas if he had any ideas about what he and his dad could do make meeting nights more special. Much like the year he played soccer and every week and he'd say "the freezies!" was his favourite part, or the time we went to the NASCAR Speed Park and his favourite part was the "video games", after several minutes of pondering, he said with a smile "We could stop at the donut store on the way home!"



The Birds and the Bees

Today's blog entry comes directly from a conversation I had with my good friend Melissa yesterday. She and I were talking about talking to our kids about the birds and the bees. It's becoming a more pressing issue in our house, as Jonas deals with his first crush and the impending birth of his little sister.

I learned more about the birds and the bees on the school yard than I even did at home. By the time my mom gave me "the talk" I was 11 and didn't hear a word she said after "Jacqui, sometimes when a man and a woman love each other, they get together." Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticizing my mom. I'm just getting more and more cues that we're going to have the talk in our house, or rather, a series of talks at an earlier age. In fact, we've already started.

Jonas told me yesterday that he doesn't keep any secrets from me. "Mom," he said "you know everything that I know. When I know something that you don't, I tell you. When you know something that I don't, well, I still don't know." LOL!

I sometimes feel in the dark about what's going on in his mind, but the truth is that he's pretty dead-on in his assessment. The cool thing is that even if he doesn't ask a specific question, he does give us really clear hints about what he's thinking. We just have to watch and listen. He shows us by doing things like peaking through his fingers during the kissing scenes in movies instead of "EUW!"ing his way through it, or making his action figures smooch, etc... Jonas mentioned something about his crush kissing another boy - HINT! He mentioned something about his babysitter making out with his girlfriend. HINT! Once you get the first hint your radar stays in the "on" position forever I suspect.

The knowing "when" is getting easier and easier. The "how", on the other hand, not so much. I never want to lie to my kids, except maybe about the fun stuff like the sock monster in the dryer. "What do you think?" is my standard discussion starter but I need more substance to go on when it comes to this topic. Thanks to my good friend Annette, I now have a wonderful resource to help. The book is called "Questions Children Ask & How to Answer Them." 

Here's a link in case you're interested: 
The Chapters website describes it this way: 
Everyone has questions -- but children need special answers. When confronted by a five-year-old asking, "How are babies made?" or "What does dead mean?" do you flounder for the right answer? In Questions Children Ask, Dr. Miriam Stoppard provides honest, sensitive answers allowing the parent or caregiver to tailor their replies to the child''s level of maturity and comprehension. Questions are grouped into topics ranging from sexuality and babies, divorce and drugs, to violence, abuse and death. Each question page is set up with alternative answers depending on the child''s age and loaded with full-colour illustrations.
This book is a god-send. Thank you Annette!!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Growing Up

Jonas and Tasha on the day they met
Our kids are growing up, right before our eyes. It makes me smile. It makes me cry.  It makes me feel old. It gives me hope. It leaves me breathless. Today it's giving me pause for thought.

Our family history isn't exactly typical. Jonas and Tasha didn't meet for the first time until Jonas was 3 and Tasha was 13. I'll never forget that day. Even though we didn't have a strong relationship with her for the first few years of our family, we made sure that they knew all about each other. Jonas has always had a picture of her in his room, as we do throughout the house. Even though they didn't live together, he's always been her little brother since the day he was born. The moment they met, he turned to us with a look of shock on his face and said "She's all grown up!"  She wasn't, of course, but in the eyes and mind of a three year old, she sure was.

That day seems like a lifetime ago.

At 22, Tasha is living on her own now, discovering all the challenges and joys of living with two feet planted in the grow-up world. I'm not sure which she's finding trickier to navigate - living without the safety net of coming home to either of her two family homes every night or living with her partner. Both are entirely new worlds for her and they both have a huge learning curve. When I listen as she tells me about what's going on in her life, I find myself smiling and thinking "Wow!"

At 9, our manchild Jonas seems to get a little bit older every day. He's discovering girls, the intricacies of friendships, the difficulty of trying to figure who you are in a world that is constantly trying to turn you into something. Every day there is a moment where I just say to myself  "Wow!"  Yesterday it was when he asked to walk home by himself and then followed it up with "Mom, now that I can walk home by myself, can I stay home alone sometime?" The answer was "yes" to walking home and "not yet" to staying alone. That conversation was quickly followed by the realization that those days are coming faster than we sometimes realize.

As we talked over breakfast on Sunday, we all realized that by the time BGB starts Kindergarten, Jonas will be starting high school and Tasha will be closing out her twenties. WOW! In a mere four months, we're going to start an entirely new journey. The baby is blessed with two awesome sibilings. I can't to see where her path takes her.


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Boy Who Would Be a Big Brother

Steve, Jonas and I went grocery shopping yesterday and, like many things, the trip was an insighful metaphore for our lives. The three of us spending time together, doing something that's usually very mundane, trying to check everything off our list, and making adjustments as we go along for Jonas's ADHD (which was is full gear yesterday thanks to a med-free weekend), for Steve's and my Mars and Venus way of doing things, for making decisions about the spontaneous things that come up long the way, and also trying to stop and smell the roses as we go.

As well pulled out of the driveway, Jonas asked if we could take the new baby to Chuck E Cheese when she's old enough. He talked about showing her all the games, helping her with them and making sure that she's ok. It was very sweet. It also set the tone for my personal contemplation throughout the morning.

We started the journey by fuelling up at a local breakfast joint. We lingered over our eggs and pancakes, taking pleasure in chatting pretty much non-stop. The conversation revolved entirely around Jonas, what's happening at school, the girl he has a crush on, and some of the things he's excited by about having a little sister. It was pretty awesome to have this concentrated time for the three of us to talk and get inside that 9 year old head. He's such an awesome kid!

Once our tummies were full, we tackled the grocery store. I had a list, Steve had a list, and Jonas had no impulse control. It was a great example of organized chaos and, I must say, a pretty good example of parental and marital patience.

When we rolled up the cash register, we were faced with fairly long lines to wait our turn. We had to check out and pack up but there was no way we were going to make it, with everyone's emotional well-being intact, if we tried to make Jonas stand there. He was far too impulsive and hyper yesterday to just be still for very long so I decided to take him outside while Steve checked out.

When we got back to the Jeep I realized that I needed to reorganize it to make room for the groceries. I still have camping gear in there from the summer so it's a little cramped in the back and there's not really enough room for a cart full of groceries. It works well for me though. I'm comfortable with it. I adjust my shopping for both the space in the Jeep and my ever-lessing capacity to carry groceries.

As I moved things around, it dawned on me that soon the fourth seat in the Jeep is going to be permanently occupied. In addition to groceries, we're also going to need to have room in the back for a stroller. Just like in the house, and our lives, we're going to have to do some major reorganizing to make room for this new little person.

The person most affected will be Jonas. It was hardly an epiphany, but realized this weekend just how deeply this baby is going to affect him. He adjusted pretty easily when Tasha came to live with us but and a newborn sister is a lot different from one who's going to college. This time he's going to be the oldest and the one who has to do the adjusting.

There is no pause button on a 9 year old boy, especially one with ADHD. It's important it is for us to retain as much of the one-on-one and two-on-one time that he gets with us now. Both Steve and I have always carved out time weekly to spend one-on-one time with him. We need to continue that tradition as he grows older, especially once he's a big brother. Finding time for just the tree us will no doubt prove to be a harder mission but it's one I think we need to make a priority. Of course, we're also going to need to do the same for the new baby. I suspect that finding the right balance to carve out all the time will be a little more difficult than finding room in the Jeep for a stroller but it'll be so worth it!


Friday, September 14, 2012

Homework Joy

Wow! It's a turn of events that I never would have expected. I don't know how long it will last so I'm going to enjoy every single moment of it. I'm hesitant to blog about it because that has been the kiss of doom to good news in the past, but I'm just so happy about it that I need to share.

The thing of joy is math. Or rather, Jonas's relationship with it. I  never expected to enjoy math homework so much. It's actually been a highlight of my days this week.
Credit where credit is due: I have had nothing to do with homework this week except being a cheerleader. Jonas and Steve get all the credit, but that's not that part I'm so happy about it. (Though, I am happy about that part too.)

Jonas has had math homework every night this week, something that we've come to dread in our house. This week, though, it's been a very different story. This week he's actually been taking great pride in doing his math homework. No muss. No fuss. Just pride.  It's indescribably wonderful to watch.

Last night, the joy went to a whole new level. Last night, Jonas's confidence soared as I have never seen it soar before. Last night he said "Do you think maybe, if they don't have a tutoring program this year, that maybe I could help the other kids with their math? Could I be a math tutor?"

Wow. Enjoying homework and feeling confident. Awesome!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

More Positivity!

In an attempt to refocus my mind, more positive news! Jonas brought home his first math homework last night. Again, there was no fuss at all. In fact he almost seemed excited about it. Excited about math? He's definitely his father's child!

His class is working on understanding place value and the first question was a bit of a trick to illustrate how to do the rest of the sheet. After a quick referral with Dad, Jonas sat down and whizzed through the rest of sheet and put it back in his agenda, announcing that he was "DONE!"

Thinking that he was going for speed over accuracy, Steve looked it over. I heard "Jonas! Come here!" in a rather stern tone and thought "Uh oh!"

Rather than the negative that Jonas and I both thought was coming, Steve said "Buddy, you did an awesome job on this! You got all the answers right and look at how well you wrote your numbers. Way to go!"

Way to go Jonas and way to go Super Dad!


Thinking Positive

BGB and I had another check-up yesterday and all is well. Her heartbeat is strong and she's growing right on schedule. Her legs and arms seem to be getting stronger every day, as she reminds me more and more frequently. Steve and Jonas haven't been able to feel her yet but I can. Our blood work and genetic testing came back showing extremely low risks of genetic issues (We're lower than the average, even for the under 35 crowd!) and the anatomical ultrasound last week shows everything is looking good.

The only concern is "placenta previa". Basically, it's a condition where the placenta is on the bottom of the uterus instead of the top. Essentially, the thing that feeds the baby covers the baby's exit route. The last ultrasound showed that we have marginal placenta previa. That means that our placenta isn't covering the exit, but it is 7 millimeters away right now. The doctor reassured me that it's too early for it to be a worry.
HA! Right! As she said "Both the baby and the placenta are moving around in there so the placenta changes positions as often as she does...."  all I heard was the WOOOP WOOOP WOOOP of the emergency klaxon. Until that moment, all I've known about placenta previa I learned from an episode of ER, and you know how that show always turned out.

Back to positive thinking....
They're going to keep monitoring us closely. It's not a risk right now but if it doesn't correct itself as the baby and her womb grow, it could become one for both of us. If it hasn't corrected itself by the third trimester (at 28 weeks or about 7 weeks from now) my activity will be reduced and I could possibly be put on bed rest if it gets worse. If it's still an issue at 36 weeks, they'll deliver her by c-section then.
Back to positive thinking...

The doctor was very reassuring. They're just monitoring it right now and will continue to keep a close eye on it. It's not a worry at the moment and we pray that it stays that way. I have another ultrasound at Mount Sinai in two weeks, and then diabetes testing two weeks after that along with another ultrasound. They're taking very good care of us!
In news of a completely positive nature, we're registered for Lamaze classes. Steven, my BFF Nikki and I are going to baby school in November to try to remember how to do this thing. It seems early but that's only 2 months until our due date. Time is going to fly between then and the baby's arrival.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Putting Students First?

I try to stay to stay away from politics on-line but this one has to potential to touch very close to home. Ontario teachers and government are having a spat over the right to strike, paid sick time and pay raises. Both sides in this dispute claims to be putting students first, but none seems to really have considered the impact there dispute is having on those very same students.

Yesterday the Ontario's new "Putting Students First" legislation became law. Essentially, the government reneged on it's promise to negotiate a settlement with Ontario teachers, and instead imposed it on them. Details of the legislation aside, the teachers are ticked that it was imposed on them without any discussion or input. As a result, the teacher's unions have requested that their teachers give up participating in voluntary extra curricular activities. Whether that action is just for today or not remains anybody's guess.

Today will mark day one of teachers working to rule by stopping the voluntary work they do in our schools. My favourite radio commentator said that this action really only impacts secondary school students. His argument was that elementary kids aren't trying to get into college or university, so their extra curricular activities are more like babysitting.

Not for our family. Jonas's extra curricular school activities are tutoring for math and reading. Math and reading, or learning how to learn, is pretty darned vital, in my mind at least. Jonas improved leaps and bounds since he joined the two tutoring programs. Sadly, we can't afford private tutoring for him. At least not without cutting back on private speech therapy. (Have I mentioned that he's still on the incredibly long lists for these services? There's still no word on when he's going to get his next round of in-school speech therapy and the waiting list for in-school occupational therapy has lengthened by at least 7 months, so he still hasn't started that at all yet.)  To say that these math and reading tutoring programs are vital to us is no overstatement.

I'm jumping the gun a little bit because Jonas's school hasn't made any statements about it's intended action. We haven't heard of any cuts. In fact, we haven't heard anything about these programs at all. No information hand-outs and registration forms. No notes in the agenda and no phone calls letting us know when they're going to start. No news might be good news but, at the moment, it feels like bad news. I guess we'll just wait and see.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Homework Round Two

Jonas's homework tonight was to finish his Canada title page for Social Studies, and also to make a title page for his Habitats unit in Science. It's amazing the difference one successful homework session can make. On Monday night we had tears and sobbing. And last night, after Super Dad did his thing on Monday? Jonas worked independently for over an hour creating his master pieces.

Here's the completed Canada title page. It's the Canadian Shield. Get it? Canadian flag + a shield + mountains + lakes and oceans. He's particularly proud of the letters he made to spell Canada.

And here's the Habitats page. This subject is something nearer and dearer to his heart, because of his love of animals and the outdoors. This picture is of a pond in a forest, with a family of squirrels living in the tree and a bird flying overhead. He was very proud to show us that he even drew the shadow of the bird on the ground.

We're calling it success! Two times in a row. We're on a roll!


Monday, September 10, 2012

Homework Round One

Tonight we had out first run-in with homework. So far, he's only had to do thirty minutes of independent reading every day. Yesterday was the first time he's brought an assignment home that didn't entail Steve and I signing something or sending in money. This was real homework for him.

The Social Studies assignment was simple - make a title page about Canada. It's due on Wednesday, so he has two nights to complete it. Alas, simple is not how it appeared to Jonas, although I suspect that it felt that way in class. He came home with a blank piece of paper, much like his mind was blank when it came to ideas. He actually couldn't remember what he was supposed to do. He didn't write it down in his agenda and couldn't find the piece of paper his teacher sent home about it. (He found that later, scrunched in the bottom of his backpack.) Thank goodness his best buddy from school is in his class and lives right around the corner. Thank you, Evan!

After a call from Evan's dad, clarifying what it is Jonas wanted to know, he came home via the backyard, where he was distracted by a snow shovel that had a scoop full of water. Spying a spider's web, and wondering about the effect the water would have on it, he proceeded to dump the water all over himself in the process of his experiment, while Steve watched in amusement.

By the time I got home from work, he was changed, snacked, and ready to get to work on the assignment. As soon as we mentioned that it was homework time, he immediately burst into tears. It wasn't that he didn't want to do it. He was crying because he said he's "dumb about getting ideas." He was simply overwhelmed by the idea of thinking of what he knows about Canada, picking a few things, drawing them and writing out the word "Canada". Overwhelmed. Completely distraught because he was convinced that he couldn't do it. "I'm just dumb!" he sobbed.

I was getting dinner ready when I heard the upset. As I washed my hands and prepared myself for battle, Steven came to the rescue.

He sat down with Jonas and asked him what he knows about Canada. As Jonas said something, Steve wrote it down for him. Once they had a pretty good list, Steve read the items one at a time and asked Jonas to draw a little picture of it. Before they knew it, they had a page filled with little snapshots of Canada. Then Steve asked him to circle which ones were his favourite. Then Jonas cut each one out and arranged it on the page, and wrote the word "Canada" in the middle.

Viola! One successful brainstorming session and rough draft. Even better, as I listened in from the kitchen, the sobbing turned into a "Can Do!" attitude. By the time I put dinner in the oven, they were both smiling and even laughing a little bit.

Way to go Super Dad!


Sunday, September 9, 2012


We're preoccupied with girls these days, and I'm not just talking about BGB.

Jonas has turned a corner in his young life. Girls, and one in particular, are front and centre on his radar lately. So much so that gone are the days of denial of reality, and he matter of factly told us that he's in love. Oiy. I'm not sure I'm ready for this!

She and they are a topic of conversation during breakfast, toothbrushing, bath time, dinner time, while driving and walking, even playing with Hotwheels, Lego or video games. His mind seems to be constantly mulling over the mulititude of questions he has about her and them. Every conversarion, no matter the topic, seems to come back to this most important issue. It catches me off-guard sometimes.

His primary concern at the moment seems to be how to get his crush to notice and fall in love with him.  He wants to shave and wear deodarant, he's showering every day, and it's little wonder that our washing machine died - he's been trying on several outfits in the mornings and changing his clothes a couple of times a day. On the upside, it's amazing how much easier it is to get a nine year old to look clean and presentable when he's trying to impress a girl.


Saturday, September 8, 2012


A girl?
I'm relieved that she's healthy.

I'm happy.
I'm a little overwhelmed.
I'm glad we're blessed with such wonderful women and girls in our lives.

I'm smiling.

A girl.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Spoiler Alert: BB's Gender Revealed

We're half way there! BB and I had our 20 week anatomical ultrasound today. It was great news all around. Not only is BB not an octopus, she is doing perfectly! :-)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Preggo Mom Takes the Kids Camping

I realized today that I never updated my blog about how our little camping trip turned out a couple of weekends ago. ( In short, it was fabulous. I'll let the pictures tell the story but before I go, I just want to say this: If I can take three kids camping by myself while pregnant, what's stopping you from getting out there?

Raising a roasted marshmallow stick in your general direction.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First Day of School in Review

Yesterday was the first day of Grade Four for Jonas. As I posted previously, he's been very nervous and skeptical about it. He knows that things get tougher in Grade Four and he doesn't believe that he's up to it. He's a little like his mom, in that he doesn't like change and new situations make him nervous. The fact that mom wasn't going to be there for the first morning did not help his mental preparation, or mine either. I knew that both he and Steve were up to the task but I must admit, I was a little worried too.

I found a ray of hope the day before, when Jonas decided to give us a fashion show of what he'd like to wear on the first day. It would seem that he leaped in pre-pubescence over the summer. The kid who never gave a hoot about what he wore is suddenly preoccupied with looking good, brought on in large part by a preoccupation with girls. He decided that this outfit was the one, and went to bed looking forward to catching the eye of his crush when he arrived at school. I'm not ready for young love but anything that makes him want to go to school, take a shower or wear clean clothes is something I can get behind. I went to bed hoping that things would work out for him just as he hoped.

First day of Grade Four - the fashion parade begins!
Steve had concerns of his own, planning for an efficient and non-stressful morning routine for the two of them. He said he had to take a deep breath when the morning started with the "Do I have to go, Dad? I just hate school" schtick before Jonas even opened his eyes. Instead of showing up at the argument, Steve turned on his best "Everything's going to be just fine. Let's just take it one step at a time." Apparently that did the trick. By all reports, the morning went smoothly after that, with lots of man to man chatting along the way.

When they got to school, Steve said Jonas was so eager that he jumped out of the truck and headed towards the school on his own. Things only got better when they made it to the doors of the school. He ended up with the same wonderful teacher as last year, gets to sit beside one of his best friends, the girl he has a crush on is in his class too, AND "we finally get to start learning French - for real!"

The only negative Jonas reported was that it rained all day so they didn't get to go out for recess. Of course, that had it's benefits too. He got to play Lego at recess and mini sticks hockey at lunch time, which are two of his favorites. He couldn't get a status update on the crush and her boyfriend from last year though. The rain kept everyone under the watchful eye of the teachers so no there was no close for any school yard romance. (Is it wrong that my thought about that is "Phew!"?)

All and all, it sounds like it was a great day, confirmed by the first smiley face from is teacher in his agenda. The big smile on his face when I picked him up after school, and the excitment in his voice as he told us about his day, gave us a big sigh of relief. He went to bed looking forward to starting French class today, something I wouldn't have expected in a million years. I guess some change is good.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Another Run-in With the Bully

I didn't sleep a wink last night, and it had nothing to do with back to school. Jonas had another run-in with the neighbourhood bully yesterday. He came home in tears because the bully had thrown a rock at him and then took his bike, hid it and wouldn't give it back. I don't know what precipitated it, but I asked him to go back and tell the bully that the game is over now and he needs his bike back. The bully's response was "Too bad Jonas. Everyone hates you and you're never going to get your bike back."

I usually let them work things out on their own as long as nobody is getting hurt but this was over the line so I intervened. The bully was swimming in the pool with his big brother and his older friend so I got no end of attitude when I asked him if he took Jonas's bike. "I don't have it!" the bully yelled at me, as his older brother yelled "Don't tell her anything! You don't have to do what she says!"

As the mother of the older brother's friends looked on in stunned silence, I said "I know you don't have it now but you took it and that's stealing. I'd like you to get out of the pool and go and get it now." As the bully climbed out the pool and got his shirt and shoes on, I was serenaded with a chorus of "Don't do it!" and "Don't worry, Dad will take care of her!", while the other kids' mom hushed them and told them to stay out of it.

As Jonas, the bully and I walked to where the bike was hidden, I was stunned. He smugly told me that it wasn't stealing because he didn't have the bike, and there was nothing I could do about it anyway, blah, blah, blah. 

Enough is enough. It's time for another level of intervention. When the bully pulled the bike out of some bushes, I asked Jonas to take it home and asked the bully to introduce me to his parents. He refused and ran off, so Jonas showed me which house was his. I rang the doorbell, reminding myself not to put the parents on the defensive. The bully's mother didn't come to the door, but rather spoke to me through one of the house windows. I told her what had happened and that I just thought she should know. She barely acknowledged what I had said and then closed the curtain. I thought maybe she was coming to the door to talk to me but she didn't. In fact, she didn't seem to do anything. Her sons were left to play in the pool, and we heard them playing in the park later.

I'm at my wit's end about what to do about this situation. Steve and I talked and agreed that we're not going to let Jonas play with the bully anymore. We've asked him to stay clear of him and not try to be friends with him anymore. Yes, they do have some good moments together but it ends in tears and violence every time, and now we're clearly skirting theft. We don't want our son bullied, and likewise don't want him to be blamed getting in trouble because he's hanging around kids who are clearly asking for trouble.

The challenge now is, how do we keep them apart without punishing Jonas. The neighbourhood is common ground for each of them, and asking Jonas so sacrifice his play areas feels kind of like giving into the bullying. Likewise, I don't want to have to chaperon him every time he's out. Kids need their freedom and latitude to make their own decisions, etc.

I sure do wish that parenting guide book was available sometimes!


Saturday, September 1, 2012


It was a late night in our house. Jonas went to bed on time but ended up in tears shortly thereafter. He's been anxious about school, and last night his fears got the best of him. "Mom, can I please not go to Grade Four?" he sobbed. "I'm going to fail. I just know it."

After a big hug, he said "Grade Fours have to do a lot writing and I'm just terrible at writing. My writing is terrible and I'm dumb at having ideas.

I listened for a long time, snuggling beside him in his bed, reassuring him that he is neither dumb or terrible. I reminded him that he needs more practice, and that some things in school are going to be easy for him, and some will be hard. I said that I believe that he can conquer those tough ones. Dad and I, and his teachers at school are all going to help him. Nobody expects him to be perfect and get straight As. All we expect from him is to do his best. He's still not convinced but he's going to try.

Sometimes, he's his toughest critic!