Monday, September 26, 2011

Turning the Lights On

Here we are, entering the last week of September and already summer feels like it’s long gone.  The heat actually clicked on this a.m. (we have it set super low) and I’ve been trying to get by without turning the lights on at 10:00 a.m. I hate having to use electricity during the day. 

But when you’ve opened all the blinds and as you sit and stare at a bright monitor it feels more like the twilight hour than morning, you realize the time has come. So the lights go on.

Sigh.

Add to the dimness is the rain. It’s not a light rain either.  It’s a hard, window splattering, driving sort of rain combined with a tree shaking blustery day.

Yuck.

I have no rain coat.  I’ve already had to take O to preschool and do a quick grocery shop.   Our garage is full of garbage so I have to park outside.

If we had a fireplace, this is the sort of day that would make me light it. 

The sort of day, I wish I could get in my jammies and just laze around snuggling the kitty, nurse a cup of tea and read a fat book.

Nope.

No lounging, no lazing about for me. I have to head back out and pick O up.  I’m debating whether or not I should take a 4 year old boy with me to look for rain coats. 

I think I might just wait for the next non-rainy day.

I’m hoping that it’s going to be soon but I’m not holding my breath.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

All Lit Up with Skechers

I’ve been a big fan of Skechers for years now, ever since my first pair of Skecher runners all but cured my poor, tired and aching feet. However, did you know that Skechers Canada also has a great kid line?
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For the Girls -the Skechers Twinkle Toes line features sequins, lights, and colorful tattoo designs. 

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For the boys, it’s the Skechers Hot Lights line - sporty sneakers with smooth leather, synthetic and metallic mesh fabric, zigzag straps, and flashy lights.

You have never seen light up shoes until you’ve seen these ones.  They are amazing.  Just getting the shoes out of the box was like a fancy light show. 
These shoes appear to be well made and very sturdy. My son has worn his for about two weeks now and they still look clean and new.  Amazing, since we’ve had nothing but rain for the past two weeks. 
While I do feel that these shoes are a little on the high end price wise, you do get what you pay for and these shoes ooze quality. My kids absolutely love these shoes and insist on wearing them every time we go out.
One word of advice, when purchasing size it’s best to have your child on hand to try the shoes on.  They tend to fit on the slender or narrow side.  Either that or my kids just have fat feet. Winking smile
Now if only they made Twinkle Toes in my size.
**In order to review the above item, I received one pair of each of the shoes for my children to try. The opinions posted herein are my own and do reflect my true experience with the product. ***

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pity Party Table for One

40th-birthday-cake-picturesI turn 40 today.  I knew I was going to have problems with this birthday.  Turning 30 was a breeze.

Turning 40; however, is not. 

It seems it’s a time for reflection.  And if you’re a bit of a pessimist like me, it’s when you realize all that you haven’t accomplished and probably will never now.

I told you I was pessimistic.

Of course there are a lot of good things in my life like my family but with all the stress that’s going on in that area right now, that’s not bringing the same comfort that it normally does.  Especially when I’m wondering if I am going to survive raising E. 

The hardest thing was deciding what I wanted to do for my birthday.  How do you tell your family that what you really want is a weekend away at the beach…. by myself.  Then I think about spending the money and go no, I want to see something tangible with it. 

So in the end I ended up planning my own dinner party.  Cause you know no one else is going to.  When I told my husband, he said “Are you sure” and seems surprised. Which is so manlike cause the day was like 4 days away and he’s still saying “I don’t know what to do for your birthday”. 

See how whiny I am.  My mom did have us over for dinner on the weekend to celebrate and she had given me some money because she knows that “we need it”.  Sure, that’s what I want for my 40th money so I can pay bills.  My brother gets a trip to Vegas on his 40th but I don’t cause she can’t sit my 3 kids.

I told you I’m being extremely whiny. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally grateful for the money.  Yet, I don’t know what to do with it.  I don’t want to waste it and feel it should be something special to commemorate my 40th.  Nor do I want to pay bills with it.  Gail Vaz Oxlade would be disappointed wouldn’t she?

The main reason I’ve elected to do a dinner party is that with my in-laws away, I have no one to sit the kids except one set of friends who I’d actually like to go out for dinner with.  AND there is no way I’m taking my 3 kids to a fancy restaurant so…. it’s a dinner party at home.

The upswing is I get to plan my own menu AND I actually tackled a recipe for a chocolate torte that I’ve been drooling over for 20 years.  Yes, really 20 years.  When I first moved out on my own my mother gave me this dinner party cookbook. It’s big and fancy and talks about planning down to the smallest detail.  I’ve had the pages of things I’d like to make bookmarked ever since I got it.  Hopefully when I put it all together, I will remember to take a photo to post tomorrow.  Hopefully too, it will taste as good as it looks.

So I’m hoping that by putting words to paper, I can get it all out of my system and move on and make the most of today. After all, as my dad said to me when we were leaving their house Sunday,

“It’s just another day.“

So true Dad, so true.

*Photo courtesy of Birthday Cakes Centre. Check them out for great birthday cake ideas.*

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Outrageous Mother-in-law

malcolm4I think I’ve had quite enough stress what with all that’s going on with E, setting up appointments, playing the blame game with myself, meeting teachers, etc etc.
What I don’t need is a phone call from my MIL advising me that while she was at her doctor’s appointment that morning, (we share the same doctor), she took the liberty of discussing E with him and made an appointment for my husband and I to meet with him Friday afternoon so we can get the ball rolling in regards to referrals etc.
What the heck? 
Now I know she loves E and she’s worried about her but this was completely stepping over the line as far as I am concerned.  I could not believe that she would interfere like that.  The message that it sends is that we are incapable of acting on our own kid’s behalf.  Infuriating.  Especially since I had already made an appointment and had even told her that, which she obviously forgot or didn’t think was soon enough, I don’t know.  How she figured we could attend a late Friday afternoon appointment with three children in tow, I don’t know.
She is extremely lucky that I am not the sort of person that would blast her.  I am aware or perhaps too fearful of the damage harsh words could make to the relationship so I bite my tongue. I’m sure she was aware that I was upset on the phone and if not then she certainly was aware when my husband got after her.  Cause believe me he got an earful.  Poor guy.
Of course, she apologized.  Not to me, mind you.  She hoped that hubby would smooth things over with me.  Chicken.  She did say it didn’t come about intentionally but because of her worry over E she didn’t sleep well the night before and as a result her blood pressure was through the roof so the doctor asked what was going on.  Whether that’s completely true or not I don’t know.  
However I might resent her interference it did work out for the good.  Here generally you have to make separate appointments if you need more time.  I already had an appointment booked for that morning for a quick prescription refill and another booked for Monday to discuss E.  When the doctor met with me, his first concern was what was going on so without worrying about taking up his time with an unrelated matter, he listened and made the referrals I needed. 
And as a result, by that afternoon I had a call from a pediatrician and have an appointment for next week.  Which is amazing cause it can take weeks or even months to even get in. 
Still it doesn’t change what she did and while I have to get over it and forgive her, it’s probably a good thing they are going away this weekend and I won’t see them for a bit. 
I bet a lot of you could share similar MIL stories.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tough Decisions

We met with E’s grade 3 teacher and the learning support teacher on Monday afternoon. 

We were fully aware that E was behind in reading, writing and spelling, which is why we had her assessed this past summer by an independent learning group.

What we did not fully realize was just how far behind she is.  Not only can she only just read at the grade one level, her level of frustration is so intense that she has been having daily blow ups at her teacher.  She completely shuts down and says she can’t do it, even with things we know she can do like basic math. 

Her teacher, bless her heart, has taken it in stride and is learning strategies to get E to calm down and proceed.

However, they are recommending a whole host of testing and assessments from everything to having her vision checked to a referral to a pediatrician. They are also asking for a psychological analysis be done as well as putting her back to grade two.

When I look at my child, I see a normal little girl who struggles with reading.  Not a child who needs to analyzed by a psychologist.  I know her strengths and I am certainly not blind to her weaknesses.  Yet, this is the third recommendation.  They recommended it in the summer when she was assessed, the new school recommends it and we found out she was on some sort “watch list” at her public school for it.

A “watch list”.  Watch list for what?  Doesn’t that sound just a wee bit creepy to you?  I know she gets frustrated.  Haven’t I been tearing my hair out over the sibling bickering this summer?  But frankly, it all just seems to normal to me.  Maybe I’ve just lived with her outbursts too long.

The downside is that they want us to get her private assessed as going through the government funded channels can take upwards of two years.  There are that many learning disabled kids in the system.  However, we could be looking at as much as $1400.00.  This from us who are just stretching ourselves to pay for the private school on top of her extra assistance classes after school. 

With all that extra driving around we need to put our second car back on the road but we need insurances and new breaks and it just goes on and on. 

We haven’t made any firm decisions yet but the school want quick answers.  I know in my heart it makes sense to put her back a grade because there is no way she is capable of the grade 3 work she’s being given.  Yet, I’m going to have to face this little girl who already feels badly because she hasn’t learned what she knows she should have by now and tell her that she’s not going to be in grade 3 anymore but grade 2.  How’s that going to help her self esteem?

Should we keep her slogging away at the difficult work until she completely shuts down?  I don’t think that’s fair to her at all.

Like I said, in all senses she just seems normal to me.  Of course being a mom, I can’t help feel guilty.  If we hadn’t been so busy and stressed these last three years, if I had more patience and was more supportive and understanding. If I had of worked with her more (without getting frustrated) and not just left it up to the school.  Then maybe she wouldn’t be so extreme in her reactions, to learning.  Maybe she wouldn’t feel stupid.

Regardless, she’s my girl and I love her. 

This year is all about new beginnings for us as a family.  A new beginning at a new church, new school and even a renewed zeal for our faith.  I thank God for directing us to this school that can see my girl as a whole person and not just as a problem that needs to be dealt with.  They’ve set the ball rolling in one week of school that they haven’t even touched on in three years of public school. 

This isn’t a bash on all public schools.  You have to admit that all school districts are not created equal and in some places there are just too many needy kids and not enough resources.  I get that I do. I just wish I had been more informed.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It was Guaranteed

So we’re at a new school and want to make a good impression on the school and it’s teachers. 

Of course, we’re just guaranteed to do the exact opposite. Isn’t there something about trying too hard.

On picking up E after her second day of school, the teacher makes a point of coming out to me just to touch base you know cause E had a meltdown over math.  AND…. the learning assistance coordinator and her would like to meet with us this week.  Ummmm, she’s been in school exactly two days and already she’s headed for learning assistance. 

It’s always hard figuring out how to respond to “we had a meltdown today” because after all I know exactly what those meltdowns are like and… somehow a part of me feels like it’s my fault.  If I had more patience, was a better parent etc. 

To top it off in the middle of the teacher talking with me, O decides to act up by climbing on railings and squishing J, to which I hear cries of “mommy, mommy”.  I try to stop O but there is no way he’s going to listen to me and as I try to pry his 4 year old hands from the bar… I’m struck helpless and hopeless of saving any sort of good impression I’d hope to foster.  … Because of course he wouldn’t listen and I ended up telling the teacher I better go, she agreed and walked away.  Oh yea.  While I continued to pry O off the bars.

Talk about embarrassing. 

All I can do is shrug it off, put it out of my mind and hope she doesn’t think I’m one of those ineffective parents that threaten a lot and never follow through.  Then again, I shouldn’t care what she thinks.  It is what it is and I know that I try my best to follow through on consequences. 

When I’m at home and it’s just me and the kids, I’m pretty confident about my parenting style.  When I’m out in public though and under the watchful eyes of others, I’m less than confident and worry that I’m not saying or doing the right thing.  Especially in front of someone I’ve just met. 

Then again, the fact that I can’t seem to keep the kids from acting up in public these days might just reflect that my parenting style at home isn’t working all that well.

Sigh… this parenting thing is not easy.