Monday, November 26, 2007

Why I Sleep So Much

So today Lucas was home from school sick. This means I can't take Coram to school either, because I can't go get him at 12:30 without draging Lucas there, so they both stayed home.

With kids 8 and 9, I can safely set them up in front of the TV ad have a nap. So that is what I did this morning. I lay my head down at about 9:30 am. The boys would come in every now and then to ask for things (Can I make a peanut butter sandwich?) or tattle on each other (Coram keeps changing my show to the weather channel!) but for the most part, I got a sleep. It was 1:45 before I finally dragged myself out of bed, and even that was with reluctance.

Now some of you may think maybe I stayed up late last night. Not so. I was in bed by 11:30, and slept until 8:00. Aghast, you now wonder why on earth I would have such a long nap in the morning after such a long night of sleep?

Consider this: In the past 8 years, I have had so few nights of fully un-interrupted sleep that I would only need one hand to count them on.

We all know this is part of parenting, right? Our babies get up in the middle of the night for a bottle, our toddlers climb in when they have had a bad dream. But how many have 4 foot 5 inch tall 8 year olds in their bed every night?

Yes, every night. It's an anxiety thing.

We tried getting a bigger bed, but that really didn't fix the issue. See, in order to feel secure, Coram needs to actually be touching us in the night. Get a king-sized bed – he still follows us all over the bed. Often, one of us is squeezed against the wall, and the other is hanging off the opposite side, and Coram is stretched perpendicularly between us, so he can be touching us both.

Last night, he kept throwing his leg over me. Kinda' like you'd throw your arm over someone you were cuddling in the night. But this was his leg. Over my head (remember he is sleeping sideways). I kept pushing it off, and it would be about two minutes before he put it there again. I physically moved him upright so his legs were not by my head, and happily slept a full twenty minutes before he had manoeuvred himself to the same position and threw his leg over me.

Add to that this boy has some incredible internal heat source, and is always hot and sweaty in the night. Naturally, he kicks all of the blankets on to the floor. Last night was particularly cold.

This morning (afternoon) as I dragged myself out of bed, I considered that I might as well just stay up all night, since the time in quasi-sleep is just wasted – I still need real sleep in a bed without children the next day. I could use that time to actually get stuff done around here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Day In The Life

5:00 AM – hit alarm clock

5:00- 5:15 AM – lie in bed wishing you didn't have to get up

5:15 AM – hook hand-held computer into cradle, download work for the day

5:20 AM – get dressed brush teeth, put hair in ponytail, try to tame messy hair

5:25 AM – spend 15 minutes trying to shove large cardboard corrugate displayer into the back of a very small car without causing any damage

5:40 AM – necessary Starbucks pit stop

6:00 AM – arrive at store, stand around waiting for manger guy to show up with key. Try not to freeze.

6:10 AM – get into the store

6:15 – 7:00 AM – wrestle with most ridiculous corrugate display on the face of the planet.

7:00 – 7:10 AM – snap together the pre-assembled second display and whisper silent thanks that some studios do the hard part for you.

7:10-7:20 AM– try to fix the first corrugate, which is now collapsing under the weight of DVD's

7:20 – 7:50 AM– crazily sticker DVD's and put them on shelves. Haul boxes of DVDs around the store.

7:50 AM - Check on collapsing corrugate again.

8:00 to 8:30 – Drive home. Get kids in car. Take kids to school.

8:30 to 9:00 – hold Coram while trying to calmly talk him into staying at school. Speak with principal, and two SSWs. Restrain Coram when he tries to run, tickle him when he screams loudly for no reason, and show him how to use the staple remover.

9:00 AM– head back to store.

9:15 AM– necessary Starbucks pit stop number two

9:30 AM– back in store, filling fixtures, stickering DVD's, and rough-housing cardboard boxes. Check on collapsing corrugate again.

10:00 AM - Call manager to obtain permission to take down collapsing corrugate that you spent almost two hours putting up in the first place.

10:15 AM - Fill a third corrugate with disks, only to have it overbalance and fall on you. Fix it, fill it, and have it fall on you again. Repeat two more times before giving up on that corrugate too.

10:15 AM -12:30 PM – Haul more boxes, sticker more DVDs, fill more fixtures. All while listening to the Spice Girls at full blast.

12:30 PM– rush to school to pick up Coram

12:40 PM– apologize for being late for the 12:30 pick up, bring Coram home.

12:45 PM– get Coram hot chocolate.

1:00 PM– sit down on computer to read emails

1:10 PM– get Coram sandwich

1:15 – call stupid Mystery Shopping Company that decided to deactivate me for no reason. Get really frustrated when they lie to you and accuse you of lying. Give up because you are too good for that and have enough work anyways, so you don't need them (though on principle you don't like letting them get away with lying and then blaming it on you).

1:20 PM– necessary pot of tea

1:30 PM - answer emails, send ads for solo ad business, apologize to customer whose ad you forgot to send. Delete 175 SPAM emails so you can read the one pertinent email. Refresh tea

1:45 PM – get Coram some cookies

1:50 PM - Check snail mail. Recycle 7 junk mails so you can find the one real mail.

2:00 PM – help Coram find the cat. Snuggle with them.

2:10 PM - Log on to bank, pay bills online. Dump out cold tea dregs. Throw down a peanut butter sandwich to help with the light headedness. Remember that the last time you ate was 5:30 am.

2:20 PM – finally give to Coram's repeated requests to watch him play video games.

2:45 PM – take Coram to Boys and Girls Club

3:00 PM – arrive at second store, thankful that this location does not have any corrugate

3:10 PM – find out that the manager is off sick, there is no one in the department, half the new relerases aren't out, and the back room is so full of messy boxes you can't walk in there.

3:10 – 5:30 PM – haul boxes around, fill shelves and fixtures, sticker DVDs and flatten boxes

5:30 PM – rush to Boys and Girls Club to pick up boys

5:40 PM – apologize for being late for 5:30 pick up

5:45 PM – arrive home

5:45 – 6:15 PM – delete SPAM to find real emails

6:15 -6:30 PM – send more ads for solo ad business

6:30 PM– necessary Tylenol pit stop

6:35 PM– sit to type blog about what a crazy day it's been, look around at the housework and piles of paperwork to be done, and fantasize about a warm bubble bath....

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Halloween Costume Debate

Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I would be happy if my kids wanted to dress up as over stuffed pumpkins, cute white ghosts, or maybe a rubics cube.

Heck, I'd even be happy if they got creative and dressed up as a giant cardboard toilet. It would be better than what they are currently planning to wear.

I'm not sure if it' a sign of the times, or a coming of age, or what, but my kids want to dress up as violent things. Last year Lucas was the grim reaper, and this year he found a Jason costume (yes, from the horror movies). He doesn't know who Jason is, but he liked the fake blood on the mask and sword.

Fake blood? On my kids? Where did that cute little caterpillar costume go that they wore year in and year out??

I had left Steve and the kids looking through the costumes while I did the rest of the grocery shopping at our local big box store. I came back and Lucas had this Jason costume in his hands. I looked in alarm at Steve, who gave me a mischievous half smile and shrugged, his usual reaction when I am freaking out about the 'little boy-ness' of my little boys (to which he can very much relate at the ripe age of 31).

Not wanting to be a spoil sport, thinking maybe my expectations were un-realistic, I relented, and unhappily paid for the costumes (through the nose I might add).

One the way home, I was so uncomfortable with these costume choices I was literally squirming in my seat. I told the kids I really didn't like how violent the costumes were, and Lucas said, 'Mom, do you miss the days when I dressed up as a cute caterpillar?' How did he know me so well?? Scary kid.

I of course denied that I still wanted my kids to be cuddly at Halloween, but I did make a proclamation: I will never again pay for violent Halloween costumes. I may not be able to control how you want to represent yourself, but I can sure as heck not contribute to it financially.

Coram took it in stride (after all, he was spider man last year, complete with stuffing-filled biceps – nothing scary about that!). Lucas protested and tried to tell me he was getting OLDER now and that his friends would think he was a dork if he didn't have a cute costume. But I held firm. I will never buy them costumes or costume parts for violent, scary costumes again.

Lucas then stated that he would just wear his Jason costume every year then. Because, after all, being a killer is cool.

Gak.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Update

I have been so deep in the trenches here, that I forget what day it is. Yesterday I missed my regular Tuesday appointment. When my doc called, my frist though was, 'Why is he calling me today? Could he be cancelling this week's appointment?' Then I realized the appointment was meant to start a half an hour earlier. Sigh.

Coram is doing a bit better this week at school. They have moved him into the 'multi-purpose room' which is, essentially, a classroom that no one is using that has been set up for various other purposes – like small, pull out classes, etc. Coram and his SEA are in there for his day, and he goes out to integrate with the class periodically.

I'm not sure how I feel about this solution. Certainly, it allows Coram to relax, and not be so overwhelmed with the sheer number of people in the class. Also, it is better than moving him to another school so soon. However, I am sure he must feel kind of lonely and awkward in there.

Last week was a nightmare. Our of the 5 days, Coram managed to make it through one without me being called several times. I was feeling so helpless about it all. I met with the school principal, the resource teacher, and a fellow from the school board. They seemed to really be pushing for Coram to be moved on to another school, and I was pushing for the opposite.

See, Coram was not ready to move to this school. I knew that last spring. But, I was given no choice, and so we embraced what we could not change. We spent the summer getting him used to the idea of going there, and got him hooked in to the local community, encouraging new friendships, etc. Now, two and a half weeks in to the new year, they want to yank him away from all of that? It just seems to me to be not in his best interests to do so.

The principal believe that any initial upheaval in response to Coram being moved will settle, and that the year would ultimately be better if he were in a smaller class room better suited to his needs. I am not sure. I think he will settle where he is, when given enough time.

For now, there simply is nowhere for the school to move him to. They are looking to the school board to bend some placement rules, but so far the school board isn't doing so. They have offered to send in a behaviour specialist, but that is it so far. I tend to agree with the school board. We need to have completely exhausted all efforts before we move Coram through yet another school.

This fight – to keep Coram in school, to maintain co-operation with the teachers and the administration while still maintaining a working relationship with them, to complete my weekly work before 12:30 daily, and keep a smiling face through all of it so Coram doesn't react to my anxiety – is so much harder than I ever thought parenting would be.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where Have I Been?

I find it really hard to blog when things are super challenging. I am so exhausted all the time, and overwhelmed, and all I want to do is sit in front of the TV and not think. Or, better yet, sleep.

So, what is challenging now, you ask. School. Coram. The two together.

The first few days were beautiful. Coram slipped right into the new school, and it almost seemed like his aide wondered why she was there. He was doing so well. In retrospect – there was very little expected of any of the kids those first days.

A week ago Friday, everything went awry. The class was sitting on the carpeted area, and for whatever reason, Coram threw himself on the floor. The aid, Joanne, took him into the hall to talk it out, and he started making random vocalizations, kicking the door, and butting his head into the wall repeatedly.

I got the call at work, and had to go to the school to sort it out. I told Joanne that it would be a very bad idea for me to take Coram home, as it would be sending a message that he could go home if he misbehaved. So, I hung around the school with them.

Coram can't handle direct conversation when he's upset. So I swung with him on the swings, and we talked a bit without looking at each other or even acknowledging that we were talking. I found out that he needs more centres time, and he needs a 'shape of the day' (a picture of what is going to happen in what order). He also doesn't like sitting on the carpet, with 24 kids in a small space. He felt like he was being asked to sit perfectly still, in a perfectly straight row, and he couldn't handle it all.

Just after lunch, Coram was able to calm down and go back to class. I sat in the back of he room, and he did his best. After a short while, he needed to leave the class again, and his aid took him to a play area, and he was able to relax and let me go home. There was an hour left in the day, so going back to work was out of the question for me. Sigh.

One Monday, Coram refused to go in to class at all. He stood outside the door, head butting me, pulling on me, and making grunting noises. The resource teacher and the principal wanted to meet with me, so Coram went to play in the sandbox with Joanne. The principal wanted us to only have Coram in school until recess for two weeks, then transition him to staying until lunch for two weeks, then move to full days.

If I had agreed to this, I would have not been able to keep my job. I asked if we could do until lunch for two weeks, as to recess is too short of a day for me to work at all. So that is what we decided. We also set into place several reward systems, similar to what Coram had at his school last year.

The week went well for a few days. Coram was getting his stickers, and his prize box rewards, and they were even able to do some reading comprehension and spelling testing with him to discover he is functioning at grade level in both areas.

On Friday again, everything went crazy. I'm not sure why. I can guess at several things – there is a spelling test every Friday and Coram is such a perfectionist that he can't allow himself errors, so he would rather not do the test. Also, I was a bit grumpy and rushed in the morning and he may have been reacting to that. Or it could have been just the end of a long week and he was tired.

Whatever the reason, Coram refused to go in. He stood in the hall, pulling on my arm, head-butting me, and making repeated grunting noises. He would not use any words, and would not co operate with anything. Joanne and I tried several tactics, using humour and distraction and rewards, but nothing worked. At 10 am, we went to see the principal and explained that I was supposed to be at work at 9 am, and asked for his help. He told me to go, and restrained Coram so he couldn't run after me.

I left for work with tears in my eyes. I felt so helpless, and so trapped. I wanted to go home, hide under the covers in the bed, and stay there all day. But I have been working so little during all of this, that I simply could not allow myself to skip work, so I made myself drive there, almost on autopilot.

I got a call about 20 minutes in that Coram was back in class, and had settled. He was very anxious, but was at least in class and attempting to co-operate. He was not running. I was relieved for that, and was able to just focus on getting some work done.

So, Monday is a new day, and a new week. The principal was careful to remind me that of the 5 day week, 3 had been very successful days, and so overall it was a good week. He feels that next week will be better, and is trying to help me maintain positivity.

However, I am having a hard time feeling positive. I know that Coram cannot go back to his old placement, as they won't take him now that he has an Autism diagnosis. There are two classes for Autistic children in the district, but they are for profoundly Autistic children, which Coram is not, and do are not appropriate. Add to that, neither of them have any space for him. So, essentially, there is nowhere else for Coram to go. Which means that if we don't make this work – I am probably looking at home schooling or something. The principal is evasive about this, saying we would have to discuss our options if we can't make things work at this school. But I can't see any options.

I don't feel emotionally prepared to home school, and I really don't want to have to give up my job. I just started this job in the summer, and I really like it. It's nice to have the extra income, and I get a sense that I am really accomplishing something when I am there. I feel like it is slipping away from me, and I am helpless to stop it.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Bang Bang Bang!

We are really seeing summer out with a bang this year. Last night, we went to a Canadians baseball game, courtesy of The Zajac Ranch and BC Hydro.

The night started off great. The stands were packed, which meant every great hit or catch was greeted with whistles and cheers from the crowd. It's so easy to get caught up in the excitement when there is such an excited crowd.

Steve was pretty good at catching treats sent into the crowd, too. We got a squishy baseball head, a squishy toy car, and a bottle of hand sanitizer (haha). He ever caught one extra and gave it to the guy sitting behind us. The kids were on top of the world, having a dad who could catch so much.

We chose the night of the firework extravaganza, and it was truly magical. I must say, they put on a really nice display. All the lights go down, the music comes up, and the display begins. They had fireworks from the ground, ones that shot high into the sky, and even some along the side wall of the field. It was wonderful. It was like we had been transported inother world.



I will never forget the look on Lucas's face. He had been bugging me to take him home toward the end of the game, as he was getting bored. But I insisted we wait for the fireworks, and I am so glad we did. He got this sort of half stunned awe struck expression in his eyes, and his smile was one of the biggest I had seen. He absolutely loved it.



Coram had fallen asleep toward the end of the game, but woke up when the fireworks started to be really loud. He sat there, blinking sleep from his eyes, watching the lights in the sky. I am so glad he got to see some of them.

So, a heartfelt thank you to BC Hydro for donating those tickets to Zajac Ranch, and to Zajac Ranch for passing them on to us. It was a huge treat for all of us, and is a memory we will cherish forever.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Dr. Sunny Bear

We went to see Lucas's psychologist one last time last week. She really feels he has made some successful strides in th work we are doing, and that it is all about practice and repetition now. She does not feel she has anything else she needs to teach us, we just need to practice what we have learned.

I feel a bit overwhelmed. I liked having someone I could go over things with, and Lucas often would respond quite differently to the psychologist than to me. His reaction to me is to get emotional – his reaction to them was to think things through. So I feel a bit at a loss without that impartial help.

The psychologist said she doesn't want to create a need, or imply a need, where sh really doesn't think there is one. She wants Lucas to feel the success, and not feel like he will always need help. I can see the value in that. So I am going with it. She did say she'd keep the file open for a bit so we could go back if needed.

On the way out, we saw a life sized Sunny Bear. Lucas has two different sizes of stuffed Sunny Bear, and he adores them both. So, we were very happy to get a picture of him with Sunny Bear. Apparently Sunny Bear is a doctor now – good job for him for doing all that school ;)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

An Online reality Show (A New Addiction)

I am such a reality show addict. I truly am. I used to be ashamed to admit it, but not anymore. I am addicted to very few things: chocolate, my boys, and reality shows. In the grand list of possible vices I think I am doing pretty OK.

I also do some internet marketing. Which isn't exactly an addiction, though some times it seems that it could be vying for a spot up there with the other three. Certainly I spend a lot of time online.

So I'm not sure how good it is for me that there is a new reality show starting online, The Next Internet Millionaire. It follows twelve hopefuls as they compete for a cash price and a joint venture, while learning the ropes of online business and online marketing.

I think I could learn some things by watching this, in addition to feeding my addiction. I'd also like to know how I can compete on the next series. I think I could give the other competitors a run for their money.




This is a sponsored post.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What A Week


This picture is Lucas' self portrait, done at an Arts Umbrella workshop that he later decided was actually a picture of Coram.

Lucas has had an amazing week. They have had a field trip every day. I already mentioned The Armoury. He also has been to the Art Gallery, Granville Island water park and also they did a workshop at Arts Umbrella the same day. Then they went to Stanley park, and on Friday The Planetarium, where they got to watch the laser show. It was pretty amazing. He still has a week left to go. I can't imagine where they will take him adventuring!

Every other day camp either boy has been in has done one or two filed trips a week. A filed trip every day is just amazing.

Coram has been enjoying being back at Kidsafe. He has a couple of really good friends there. Today he asked me if I know what 'BFF' means. And, it means 'best friends forever'. He officially has two BFFs. Heh.

This picture is Lucas' self portrait, done at an Arts Umbrella workshop that he later decided was actually a picture of Coram.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Craziness Returns

Well, both boys are back from camp, and Lucas and Steve have been and gone to the grandparents in Edgewood. I had a week to myself in there somewhere, but was too busy with work to notice it much. And I had some really cool plans, too ... but nothing happened.

Lucas has started his two week camp at the Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach Program. He is being oddly ambivalent about it. I think it's mostly because he doesn't know anyone there. Steve would happily trade places with him, as they are doing cool things like visiting Armoury Recording Studios, which most people will never, ever get the chance to see.

Coram has returned to Kids Safe day camp, and has informed me that he likes it better there because he is allowed to have as much milk as he wants with lunch. Here, we limit him to one glass because he will happily fill up on milk and not eat anything else.

I have began work with Yoyomama.ca, which I am super excited about. It keeps me even more busy than I already was, but I seem to like it that way.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Family Adventuring

These past two weeks having involved a LOT of driving. I have driven to Mission three times with a fourth one on the way! Not that Mission is far, but it is about two hours, and in a hot car, it seems like it;s far.

One thing Steve and I have agreed on though, is there is something about driving on the highway, with trees on either side, on a sunny day. Windows down, music blaring, sunglasses on, you just feel alive.

So we though we might try an actual family adventure for the September long weekend. None of this driving has been for an actual family adventure, you see. We drove Lucas to camp, picked him up, drove Coram to camp, and I will be picking him up on Friday. I also drove to Whistler for a small contract job. Lots of driving, no family fun.

We debated camping, but aren't sure if that's really our 'thing'. We might look into a hotel, maybe using Hotel Reservations. This site will do your comparison shopping for you, and actually guarantee you the lowest price around. Once you book and pay for your rooms with them, the guarantee becomes effective. If you find a lower price, that can be booked under the exact same circumstances (time, days, etc) they will give you a $100 rebate. That inspires a lot of confidence.

We were talking about maybe going to Pemberton or somewhere in that area. It's beautiful and remote, and a change of scenery, yet not too long of a drive. Hotel reservations has a listing there for a hotel there, that sounds wonderful. I'm going to have to keep looking and see what treats I can find on their site. Maybe we can even find some reasonable transportation up there, so neither of us has to drive.

This is a sponsored post.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Possible Insight

The other day, Coram was being particularly nasty to me about my voice. He was playing his gameboy, and every time I spoke, he would shout at me to shut up. He said I was making him lose. No matter how quiet I was, even a whisper, he would shout.

The odd thing was, Steve's voice did not cause the same reaction. For some reason, Steve could talk without distracting Coram.

I began to think about why Steve's voice and my voice would cause such a different reaction from Coram. I decided it was not likely anything to do with the actual tone of my voice, but something else. Something cause Coram to be distracted when I spoke. Something made him need to attend to me when I spoke, but not Steve.

I decided to try an experiment. I thought maybe Coram was compelled to attend to my voice because of some need for me. That maybe, even though he was playing gameboy and effectively ignoring me, he actually really needed to connect with me on some deep level, which is why he was driven to attend my voice even if he really didn't want to.

I went to him, took his game from him, and hugged him. At first he screamed at me. He said he hated me, and wanted his game back. I just held him. He kept repeating that he hated me, again and again. I kept holding on. Eventually, he relaxed into the hug. He started playing with my hair, and stopped screaming. We sat like that for a while, quietly, him melted into my hug. Then, he looked at me and calmly asked if he could play gameboy again.

I didn't get shouted at again for my voice all night.

Yesterday I read some more of Nobody Nowhere, which is a truly amazing book of discovery written by a woman who is, herself, Autistic. She speaks a lot about her terror of being close to people, of needing people. She would behave in all sorts of bizarre ways when faced with her need of others.

It made me think that maybe the other day I was on the right track. Coram needs me, desperately, and is hates how much he needs me. Thus, the sound of my voice can send him into a range.

This is all conjecture, of course. But I know now that next time he is screaming that he hates me and needs me to shut up, I'll go and give him a hug.

Friday, August 03, 2007

All's Quiet (For Now)

Lucas is off to camp this week, so things around here are pretty low key, which is kind of nice. Not that I don't adore him, but Lucas is a fireball of energy that I sometimes have a hard time keeping up with.

What I don't miss is the nightly vomiting. I explained it all to the camp, and they agreed it didn't seem like anything contagious. And since they are a camp designed for special needs, the extra attention he might need should he have a middle of the night vomit did not cause Zajac Ranch to ask Lucas not to come to camp. We were all relieved. Lucas was desperate that he might miss his 'last chance to go to Zajac this year'.

Coram really misses his brother, though. He doesn't say it, but you can tell because his behaviour changes so much. He is clingier and needier than ever. This morning, he almost didn't stay at Kidsafe, for the first time this summer. Last year every day it was a struggled to get him to stay, but this year he has liked it up until this week. I think it just doesn't feel the same there for him without his brother.

Next week, Steve and Lucas go up to Edgewood, and Coram goes to Zajac for the ASD week. This is his first time there, and none of us are really sure how it will go. He keeps insisting he's not going, then saying he wants to go, and back and forth like that. That's a pretty good clue that he is feeling anxious about it. I hope he does go, though, because I think he will grow a great deal from it.

If they all go, I'll be here on my own next week. I was planning to try to get some painting done, but we'll see how busy I am otherwise.

Who Knew (Well, me I guess)

75%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Portland Singles from Mingle2



Actually I would put myself higher up in the addicted to blogging precentages, but I guess there are people out there worse than me.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Logistics of The Loft Bed

Several years ago, we decided to get the boys Loft Beds, so that they could use the space underneath to play. We envisioned them making forts underneath, and having lots of extra floor space to play because the bed wasn't taking up most of it.

For the most part, this was true. Coram never got his loft bed, because with some gross and fine motor issues, the doctor recommended against it. However, Lucas has one, and the boys have done some really neat things under it. They have created forts with blankets draped all over, and have use it as a 'stage' with curtains draped on either side. They even made a three storey fort with a basement and an attic!

Sampson, the worlds most docile cat, is often hauledd into these forts and made to 'sleep' in the basement. I would feel sorry for him, but he is such a suck he just loves the attention.

Currently, Lucas has a world of stuffed animals under his loft bed. Or should I say, he DID have one.

You see, one place where loft beds really let you down is when you need to get off of them in an urgent situation. Like, say, when you need to vomit.

Yes, it's true, the vomit-fest continues. We thought it was over, with a two day reprieve, but last night at 3 am we heard 'I VOMITED!' from Lucas' room. Poor little guy didn't have a chance to get out of bed.

And the blankets, mattress, pillow, wall, and stuffiest below the bed didn't have a chance either.

I spent an hour bagging up, sorting between what can be washed and what is just not savable. Happily, most of it can be washed. Lucas is very attached to his stuffed animals, and was very distraught at the idea of losing many of them.

Not so happily, the dryer is still not working.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Life Without a Dryer

OK, so we all know I am trying to reduce my impact on the environment. And since I have read what a huge energy drain the clothes dryer is, you'd think I would be more interested in trying life without one.

You see, our dryer broke. Two days ago. While I was at work. I guess we should have seen it coming, because the timer has been broken for some time. We could start the dryer, get distracted, and four hours later it would still be running. We would have some slightly singed clothing, but all else seemed OK. In retrospect, the motor was probably working overtime because the timer wasn't giving it a break, and we weren't remembering to do it ourselves.

The landlord came by and pronounced it officially dead. He said he would have to get a new one, and it would take a few days. How can we complain, really? This is no small investment, and it certainly isn't something we can demand he do RIGHT NOW.

So, we figured we'd be hanging our clothes to dry for a while. After all, it's better for the environment, right?

Of course, it would help if it wasn't raining, and we could use the line to dry clothes. Draping wet clothing all over the house, when it's already hot and muggy, is no fun.

And then of course there;'s the fact the Lucas is vomiting. All over everything. And I mean everything. He says that even though there is a bowl and a bucket by the couch, he feels paralysed and can't move to vomit into them. So, he vomits wherever. And everywhere.

Pretty much every piece of bedding is 'in the wash'. Which, for the time being, means in a garbage bag. The worse of it I am trying to actually wash and hang to dry – because the idea of having vomit on things sitting in a plastic bag for an indefinite amount of time is pretty unappealing. So I am washing and hanging what I can. But there is just no way I can catch up. It takes too long for things to dry and they are getting dirty too fast.

So, for now, this experiment in reduced environmental impact through life without a dryer has gone bust.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Getting the Business Rolling

It looks like I might be getting into some advertising sales in the near future. You all know I am a salesperson by nature – even when I don't try, I am usually selling something one way or another. But this is a bit different. I need to approach businesses, not individuals. I may decide to use a company that does B2B Telemarketing, that way I know that I am getting the best results. After all, if Microsoft Business Solutions can do it, shouldn't' we all?

This is a sponsored post.

Almost Braced

Last week we started the whole process of getting Lucas's two front teeth braced, so they can be straightened out. Interestingly, because of the shape of his mouth and the fact that they only want to brace two teeth, the orthodontist said she could only do it by affixing a retainer into the roof of his mouth to hook the braces to.

I'm no orthodontist, but I have my suspicions if this was just a 'trick' to get Lucas to agree to having the same kind of expander in his mouth that we tried last summer. Who knows.

Whatever the intension, it was with trepidation that I booked the three appointments for Lucas to have separators put in, followed by impressions of his mouth one week later, and then to have the retainer inserted. I wasn't going to not try, but I definitely felt that it could go badly, like last time.

Yesterday was 'the big day'. Everything was ready, and Lucas had his appointment to have the retainer inserted. At the recommendation of the office staff, I left for Starbucks and Lucas went in by himself. They told me to come back in about 45 minutes. I left my cell phone number in case anything went wrong, and left.

So when the phone rang 25 minutes later, my heart sank. I was pretty sure they were going to tell me he was refusing to lie down or something like that. After all., that's what he did last time.

Instead, they were calling to tell me he was done! And that he had done great! What a relief!

So now, Lucas has this crazy contraption in the roof of his mouth. They haven't added the braces yet, because they want to give him time to get used to the expander before they start moving teeth. He is having some iissues with drooling, and has to relearn to say some sounds, but otherwise he is doing great.

I am so proud. I know that part of it is that it is a year later and he's more mature, but part of it is Lucas working on dealing with anxiety. He did relaxation techniques in the waiting room, and talked a lot about how things were going to be fine. He really handled it well.

So, of course, we made a quick trip to EB games after for him to choose a rewards. Go Lucas!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Having Trouble Getting Your Daily Veggies?

I don't know about you, but I feel like I struggle every day to get my daily requirements for vegetables. Fruits, nor problem, but I feel like I am choking back veggies most of the time. I have tried juices, dips, salads, sautes, sandwhiches, sauces - you name it. Whatever I can do to make veggies taste good, I do. But I still don't care for them. I think people who claim to love veggies are lying. Heh.

I have joked for along time that I would like to just take a pill that would cover my daily vegetables. Close enough, My Daily Veggies offers a drink mix made of dehydrated whole vegetables that you just mix, drink, and take care of two servings of vegetables. How perfect is that? I haven't got my sample yet, so I can't comment on how they taste, but I'm really hoping it will be relatively good.

You can get a seven day My Daily Veggies Free Sample, and you only pay one dollar for shipping. Seems to me, that's a pretty sweet deal. And you can get a good sense of how the beverage tastes. I've signed up, and am waiting for my sample. My body will be so happy to get the veggies.

You can take this supplement with you anywhere. Great for camping food or on the go food, all you need is one small packet and some water. They also provide some great recipes on the site for dips and spreads made with the drink mix. Who can't use a new dip to take to pot lucks? Yum.







This is a sponsored post.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adventure On The High Seas

Well Ok I'm not sure if the Pacific Ocean counts as the 'high seas' but it sounded good. And it wasn't me having the adventure, it was the boys.

Some good friends of ours have been living in Paraguay for the last year. They are back, but are staying in Victoria until their apartment is ready in August. So, they invited the kids over there for the night. Steve and I were worried, at first, that our friends didn't know what they were getting themselves into with Coram. And that Coram didn't know what he was getting himself into, either. However, our friends reminded us that they have known Coram for a long time, and have taken care of him many times, and they felt they had a good idea of what he was about. Coram really wanted to go, and I really wanted him to have the chance to go and be successful with it, so we agreed.

It was really nice to have a night off, although it was a Monday night, so we didn't party or anything. I'm not sure we even remember how, to be honest. We did go for a nice dinner, and it was nice not to have any bedtime conflicts to resolve and no 8 year old climbing into the bed at 2 am.

The boys had a fantastic time. Coram had no issues at ALL. I had wondered if he might change his mind at the last minute, but her literally just waved, said 'Bye Mom' and ran off onto the ferry with our friends. Apparently he ate a new food, and bedtime was a breeze.

When then got home the next day, both boys were sad and wanted to go back to Victoria. Coram cried himself to sleep, begging me to call them the next day and ask if he could go back. So much for my thinking he might have a hard time being away from home.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Jewel's Rapid Weight Loss Diet

OK folks, I have it all figure out – you too can lose five pounds in two days. Here are the steps:

1)Make friends with people with small children. The smaller the better, really. The more helpless the child is, the more likely your friend will need help and call you.
2)Wait for said friend to get a horrible flu. The sicker the better. A really good flu includes vomiting AND diarrhoea. Of course, we can't be too choosy. Take whatever flu you can get.
3)When your friend becomes too sick to care for her children, she'll call you (this is why the younger the children the better – seven year olds are pretty self sufficient, your sick friend might not call for help)
4)Care for children. Keep them with you as long as possible. Make sure to do lots of cuddling. Maybe even share a drinking glass.
5)Sit back and wait for your reward. You should have that flu within a couple of days. Then you can just embrace all of the vomiting and diarrhoea knowing that you, too, can drop five pounds in two days.
6)As an added bonus, you might get delusional and write poetry, like the following:


Ode to Gatorade

Gatorade, Oh Gatorade
you taste rank

Yet I crave you
need you
love you.

My body is on fire
and only You
can quench it.

I wake in the night
hot
my only thought
is for you.

Your taste, on my lips
is like life itself.

You fill me
you revive me
you keep me alive.

Too bad
You never taste as good
in the morning.

Monday, July 09, 2007

This Blog is Now DoFollow

I guess one of the drawbacks of using a site like Blogger or a script like Wordpress when blogging is the lack of control you can have. What I did not know, and I have been blogging for over a year, is that the site sets links in my comments field to 'nofollow'. What this means is search engines will not follow the links from my comments. So, search engines that are cawling my blogs do not follow links in comments, and thus there is no link love for commenter.

I read about a movement called 'DoFollow'. This movement changes the settings so that the links in comments are following by search engine spiders. This means that commenters can boost their pagerank when they comment on DoFollow blogs.

Thankfully, there are ways to fix the scripts so that you can have a DoFollow blog even with Wordpress, Blogger, or other sites that automatically set links to nofollow.

I found extremely simple directions to this on Tips 4 Blogspot. Even me, an admitted technotwit and technophobe, could follow these directions.

Once you have changed to DoFollow, consider adding one of these free logos by Randa Clay to your blog, so readers will know that you have joined the movement.

And one last step: there are a few blogs that keep lists of other DoFollow Blogs. You can post on Courtney Tuttles's blog to have yours added. You can also list your site on the DoFollow Directory.

Trial Run

At work last week, I was talking with a customer about our mutual urge to have another baby. I gather it's a common problem for those of us with older kids.

She said to me, 'Every time I think I want another baby, I tell myself I should just stay awake for three days straight to be reminded of what it was like.'

So true. I told her I would keep that in mind.

So when I got a call from a sick friend at 2 am the other day, with a desperate plea to pick up her toddler and three month old, it was sort of a trial run of what it might be like to have a baby again.

I slept in twenty minute bursts between, between replacing a missing soother in a sleeping baby's mouth. I got up to mix formula while the baby screamed. Our final wake up was at about 6:30 am.

I looked at myself in the mirror, and marvelled at the puffy eyes and sleepy face. I figured that is what I must have looked like for three years straight when the boys were babies.

I took the baby to work, and left Steve with the toddler and our two boys. He spent the day back and forth from the park, and running interference between the older kids. The toddler was great – she listened to directions, and even napped.

At work, the baby cooed at customers, hung out with me at the cash desk, and generally won people over. Until he got sleepy. Right when the store got busy. I bounced and shushed him in between helping customers. He'd get to sleep, but the next conversation with a customer would wake him up. I was so relieved when a friend came by and offered to take him home with her until I was finished work.

At the end of the day, Steve was exhausted, and so I was I. Oddly, I still have that urge for another baby. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment.

Friday, July 06, 2007

What Exactly Are These Sponsored Posts?

My loyal readers may have noticed a recent addition to my blog. They are posts labelled as 'sponsored', and they usually don't relate to the day to day life of me and the family.

So what are these posts? They are paid assignments, that I have gotten through Pay Per Post, one of the first companies ever to offer ads on blogs.

In the short time since I joined Pay Per post, I have made a cool $55. I think this is a pretty sweet deal, considering my AdSense has made me all of $12 in a year (and no, AdSense people, that was NOT a request for people to click my ads).

Pay Per Post currently has over 60 opportunities for approved bloggers to earn from posting to their blog. But if you want to do this, I highly recommend logging in several times a day, because the really high paying opportunities go fast.

So far, I have been accumulating my funds in Paypal, waiting for the day when we need some emergency funds. We all know those days come (like when my car became a special needs car and I had to buy a BCAA membership on the spot...ahh, memories).

If you have a blog, you can join too. In fact, you can review my post by clicking the link below, and start your earnings off with a $7.50 kick. So, why not?



Thursday, July 05, 2007

Is This Writers Block?

I have so much I want to say lately, that I have a hard time narrowing it down to one pithy post, so I don't write at all. Is that a kind of writers block? I mean, I know there is the kind wher you can't think of anything to say, but is this common, too?

For example, I found out there is a Kwik-E-Mart in the Lower Mainland and for some bizarre reason I am totally excited about it. I guess it's because The Simpson's has been a part of my life for so many years. I don't watch it regularly, but come on this show has been around since I was in high school and we all joked about it by our lockers in the morning. So, though it's a bit of a trek from here, I'm going to have to go out to get a Squishee and some pink doughnuts.

Lucas got accepted into the Sarah McLachlan Music Outreach program for a two week camp this summer. I am super excited about that, too. I can't wait to see what he learns there.

Also, we had a big barbecue with Steve's family this last weekend. It was to celebrate all the birthdays including Canada's. We didn't get up to Mount Pleasant and the multiple bouncy castles, but we had a really nice day. And on Monday me and Steve and the boys went to Mount Pleasant pool and park, where I got these awesome pictures of the boys.





Friday, June 29, 2007

Big Weekend

The July long weekend always seem to mark the beginning of summer for me. I know that the official first day was June 21, but that was in the middle of th eek, and we still had work and kids in school and all that jazz. So, school is now out, I feel like summer has 'begun'.

Of course the July long weekend has multiple OTHER reason to celebrate. Namely, Canada Day (the 1st) Coram's birthday (the 2nd) and Steve's birthday (the 3rd). Add that there is an extra day off work, and we have reason to party.

This year we will probably check out the festivities at Mount Pleasant Pool. Thanks to the good people at yoyomama, we know that there will be multiple bouncy castles present, and both boys adore a good bounce in a castle. We are also looking at having a barbecue with Steve's family on Sunday evening, provided our propane doesn't run out.

I haven't checked the weather report, but I am assuming it will be more of what it has been: rain, thunder, maybe even some hail. Business as usual, right? And you thought global warming was a myth.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Last Day of School

Coram's last day of school was yesterday, and Lucas's was today. They are both moving to different schools next year, so the last day is that much more final. Coram had no real reaction, which is not unusual as he doesn't seem to express those kinds of emotions – he has two emotional states, and they are 'just fine' and 'totally freaked out'. So, the end of the school year wasn't enough to cause a freak out, so he was fine.

Lucas was pretty sad. He had a little cry in the car on the way home, sad that he would never see Queen Elizabeth Annex again. I reminded him we can go and have a visit on a day where his new school has a professional day but the Annex doesn't. He seemed to like that. They had an assembly where they showed a nice sideshow of the year in pictures, and Lucas found that made him a bit sad.

Both boys are anxious about going to Nightingale. I'm anxious to get into the summer swing of things. I don't do well with transitions and shake ups (gee, maybe that's where my kids get it from?) I want to be settled into our summer routine so I can relax. The long weekend will be nice, but I'll be happy to settle into the weekly camp routine.

Maybe we'll fire up the barbecue this weekend. That is, of course, providing the weather can stay nice for more than an hour at a time. Barbecued chicken. Yum.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wrapped Around Their Fingers

What makes you weak at the knees? If you have a good, crooning singing voice, and can write meaningful music, I am yours. Which is why The Police have me completely wrapped around their fingers. Too bad I didn't get my fingers wrapped around any of their concert tickets:(

I'm not sure the details, but I seem to remember that concert sold out in record time. And why wouldn't it? The Police appeal across so many generations. Their music is timeless, really. And I don't doubt fans are hoping that Sting will do some of his independent stuff, too. I'm not sure what the 'ethics' are surrounding playing independent material when your band reunites, but I think that with the band together they could do some really good takes on some of Sting's stuff. Oh, to be a fly on the wall, or better yet, a person on a seat (or off it, dancing the night away).

I'll have to make do with playing a CD really loud and dancing around my living room.

To cheer me up, there is a new double disk compilation Police CD. It came out on June 5, and includes a wicked-cool vintage Police poster. Here's the track listing:



Disc 01
01 Fall Out
02 Can't Stand Losing You
03 Next To You
04 Roxanne
05 Truth Hits Everybody
06 Hole In My Life
07 So Lonely
08 Message In A Bottle
09 Reggatta de Blanc
10 Bring On The Night
11 Walking On The Moon
12 The Bed's Too Big Without You
13 Don't Stand So Close To Me
14 Driven To Tears
15 Canary In A Coalmine
 
Disc 02
01 De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
02 Voices Inside My Head
03 Invisible Sun
04 Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
05 Spirits In The Material World
06 Demolition Man
07 Rehumanize Yourself
08 Every Breath You Take
09 Synchronicity I
10 Wrapped Around Your Finger
11 Walking In Your Footsteps
12 Synchronicity II
13 King Of Pain
14 Murder By Numbers
15 Tea In The Sahara


And here's a really cool television clip from the UK:



So are any of my readers fans of The Police? Was anyone lucky enough to catch concert tickets? Do tell.

This is a sponsored post.





Sunday, June 24, 2007

Did You Notice the Mohawk?

If you look through some of my blog photos, you'll notice that the kids had pretty long hair. I wasn't allowed to cut it. Now, before you do the whole 'Who is the parent?' routine on me, let me just say, I choose my battles, and the hair one wasn't worth fighting.

So, with the onset of summer, and a recurring lice issue at school, I really, really wanted the kids to get short hair. So, I bought some clippers, and put an offer on the table: ten dollars for each boy who let me shave his head.

Lucas, being the wheeler and dealer he is, quickly countered with fifteen dollars. Honestly, I was expecting a big protest and refusal to cut the hair, so I jumped at the $15 offer. And off we went.

Lucas asked if he could have a mohawk, so I said we'd do one, and see how we all liked it. We could buzz it off afterwards if need be. You can see from the picture of me, Lucas, Coram, and Maya, that we opted to keep the mohawk. We all think it goes well with his feisty, mischievous character.

Coram has a little bit of a fringe on his bangs, and Steve just got completely buzz. All three boys seem to like having less hair to take care of.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Introducing



I am so happy to welcome to the world the newest member of our family – my niece Maya!

Maya was born at 3:30 on Monday the 18th. We got out to see her on Tuesday evening, and she is cute as a button.






The boys were tickled pink at their new little cousin. They wanted to see her right away, to welcome her to the family. Coram wanted to touch her hair and her cheeks. She was so soft.


The birth story is not mine to tell, but I will say that Donna looks amazing for one day post birth. Sato couldn't stop saying how cute his new baby was!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Feeling Glum Today

I'm not really sure why, but today I am feeling blue.

I have been super busy these past two weeks, with no time to think at al. It may just be that with some down time today, I am at a loss for what to do, so I feel glum.

Or it may be the impending end of school for the boys. Both boys are leaving their current schools, which is in many ways the end of an era. Though there are some things I have been unhappy with at each school, overall I will miss both places.

Lucas has been with his school for 4 years. It's a big chapter in his life. Many of the teachers treat him like family, and I know it will be a loss to not have them in our lives.

Corams' school, though with us only a year and a half, has had such a positive impact on his life, it's hard to imagine saying goodbye. His teachers and support staff have been committed to helping him, and have made huge progress. To me, they have been like friends on this journey with my special boy.

Similarly, the psychologist who did Lucas's assessment, as well as the help surrounding the surgery anxieties and some upcoming training with decision making, will be finished her internship at the end of July, and will vanish into the ether.

So, I guess it's a lot of goodbyes. I do look forward to the new relationships we will develop at the new school. I am very excited about walking them to and from school, and being freed from two hours a day in the car. I am sure there will be some very special teachers and friends for us there, too.

Still, endings are always hard.

More Addictive Television (Just What I Need)

More Addictive Television (Just What I Need)

It wasn't so long ago that summer televisions was boring, consisting of all reruns and old movies. For the last few years, they have started some new series for the summer seasons, which I appreciate.

I'm not a huge television watcher, but I do like to zone out in front of the television for an hour or so after the kids are in bed, and I appreciate a good series to follow.

So I was pleased to See this new series 'Burn Notice'. It looks like it's loosely modeled after the Bourne movies, where a spy uses the knowledge he gained on his job for the government to evade the government. A 'Burn Notice' is what your spy agency does when you have been 'fired', per say. You don't get fired, your government leaks information that you are no longer trustworthy – and then you better watch out, because your life is likely at stake.

I don't know what I'd do if I were stranded like this – no money, no safe friends you could turn to for help. Nowhere to live or eat. I think I'd have a hard time staying within the limits of the law, really.

It will be interesting to see how the story plays out this summer on USA Network's Burn Notice.



This is a sponsored post.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who Shops Online?

Do any of you shop online? I have been doing more and more of this. Who wants to go to a store, find parking, then stand in line, when you can do it all without leaving the house (or even getting dressed, if you aren't up to it, though I suggest you get dressed, we all feel better after we change from our PJ's...but that's a different post).

I found some cool coupons for shopping online. Like, these Best Buy coupons. So you can go get the New Release of Welcome Back Cotter on DVD. No, I'm not kidding, they really did just release it. It's in the New release section. Go check.

There's coupons for lots of other stores, too. You may want to bookmark this site,CouponChief.com, and check it before you do any online shopping, just to make sure you are getting your maximum coupon-osity. Yay I created a new word.

This is a sponsored post.

Visitors

Apparently two support staff worker's from Coram's new school dropped by his class on Tuesday. It was his new SEA and a support teacher.

I gather that his current teachers knew about it, but neglected to tell me. I understand that they are really busy. It is the end of the year, and they have a few kids who are transitioning in to new schools. Plus, they have new kids who are going through the interview process to move into the class for next year.

Still, I am a bit annoyed that I wasn't told in advance about this visit. The teacher apologized profusely, and said she should have told me but it slipped her mind. Hey, I'm human too and we all make mistakes. But, I'm still annoyed.

I'm also annoyed that the new school has hired the SEA and sent her to meet Coram without even contacting me.

I have no idea how these things normally proceed. I have been told that the support staff is not required to go to Coram's present class, and that they did so on their own accord, which is a good sign. They met with Coram's current teachers to discuss strategies and things that work for him. I can see that if they are taking this kind of proactive role, they will likely be a good team for him.

I just don't like being left out of the loop like this. Coram's teacher sent home an, 'Oh ya, by the way...' note, indicating this might be why Coram's behaviour has been poor lately, that it might be the anxiety from the visit.

Um, yah, DUH.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Yoyomama

For those of you who don't know, I work Saturdays at a local baby shop, which used to be called Discount Diapers and has recently been renamed KG Kids.

I have worked there for about four years now. It's hard to believe that much time has passed, but it has. Over those years, I have made some really good friends. These are people who came in when pregnant with their first child, and are now parenting their second or further children. I really think of time passing when I see a three year old whom I 'met' while she was in utero.

In truth, the main reason I keep that job is for the friendships I make there. I love spending time with other moms, and I like to think I may have some good 'been there, done that' advice to offer along the way.

One of my customer-come-friends moved to a townhouse just at the end of our block. Since then, she has had her second baby, written a book, and launched a website. Her name is Annemarie, and she is a truly amazing woman, one of the most committed parents I know. She literally devours parenting books on all topics, and is an excellent resource.

Recently she approached me about a second website she has launched, called Yoyomama. From the site:

'At yoyomama we know mums are not a renewable resource so we’re making your life less yoyo-like with weekday hits of helpful, hip info delivered directly to your inbox.'

Annemarie writes with an engaging, conversational voice that makes you feel like you just sat down to coffee and a biscuit with her and are shooting the breeze. Yet, she offers excellent information along the way.

I encourage any and all of you to check out Yoyomama, and join the list. You'll see me poking around there a bit, too.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sleepy Voice (Reprise)

There was a series of months where I got screamed at for my 'sleepy voice'. I understand now that it's not ME who is sleepy at this time, it's Coram. His tolerance is way down because he's completely maxed out, and he can't stand my voice at all. So, he screams at me to 'stop talking in your sleepy voice!'

Lately, I get a less specific, 'Stop talking in THAT voice!' I think this one is because I am congested and sound a bit different.

I can't remember who it was, either my wicked smart mother or my very apt psychiatrist (or both) that suggested that Coram may not like it when my voice is different because it causes him some anxiety that I might not be OK. Alternatively, it may just be an extension of his extreme need for routine and consistency.

Whatever the reason, this is one of my wonderful special son's traits that I have a VERY hard time with.

My voice is my voice, after all. It feels like a bit of a slap in the face when someone screams at me to stop talking in the only voice I have. I know it's not personal, very little of his behaviour is, but my knee jerk reaction is to be hurt.

I have so few knee jerk reactions any more. I have learned to step back, evaluate the situation, and make a guess to what is really going on, before I react. This helps me when my child is screaming, grunting, rocking, or (more often than I care to admit) throwing things and hitting. I know now that there is often something over stimulating him or causing him anxiety. Rather than immediately react to the behaviour, I need to look at the situation.

Most of the time, if I react to the behaviour it means introducing consequences or removing privileges. This can really make the situation worse if there is something in the environment I am missing, because Coram is unable to stop the behaviour, and has not lost a privilege and is more upset.

So, over time, I have learned to stop, think, and check. And if I can't get an immediate handle on whats upsetting Coram, I just hold him tightly until he either calms down, or I figure out what the problem was in the first place.

You just threw your cereal? Hmmmm.... must be that the milk isn't cold, or the table looks dirty, and you are upset. You need me to fix those things before you can calm down. Then, we can address you helping me clean it up. (As opposed to OH MY GOD YOU THREW CEREAL AT ME!!!)

I told you it's time to leave, and you won't move, or look up from the ground. Hmmm...something about what we are leaving for is upsetting you. I need to explain to you in simple terms where we are going and what you can expect, so you can relax. (As opposed to HELLO?? I SAID WE NEED TO GO!)

I'm sure that it's not just parents of Autistic kids who need to repress their knee jerk reactions. Most kids have some reason for their behaviour, other than simple non-compliance. I just get a lot more of the behaviour on a day to day basis than parents of neurologically typical kids.

But, as much as I have learned patience, understanding, and acceptance, I can't seem to stop feeling hurt when my child screams at mt to stop talking in the only voice I have.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Summer Learning?

Lucas continues to do really well. He has a headache every day when he gets home, but the cough is mostly gone. I remember when I had pneumonia when I was 21, and it took me months to fully have my energy back. Lucas seems to be doing better than I was two weeks into it. Kids bounce back so well.

Lucas has now missed well over 6 weeks of school, what with surgery, pneumonia, and all the cleft-related appointments he's had lately. I'm really worried about what next year will be like. I'm looking into some educational summer camps. I want one that's so much fun he doesn't realize he's learning. Someone recommended these Math Tutors. Anyone have experience with them?

If you have advice about tutoring or summer learning camps, I'm listening:)

Monday, June 04, 2007

Taking a Real Look at the Sky

Yesterday I was up at moms, and she had an old plastic telescope she wasn't using. It really wasn't strong enough or designed right to aim up at the sky (not surprising given the low price). It did get me thinking again that I'd like to get a telescope for the boys.

So, I did a little research online today. I found this cool gadget at meade telescopes that is a telescope and SO much more. It has an LCD screen, which you can point and 'shoot' at the stars and it will identify them for you. It's called the Meade My Sky Personal Video Planetarium. To me it's more like a personal Astronomy professor.

I remember my step dad used to have a telescope. Beside it he had stacks of books, and when he saw something interesting, he would have to go and reference all the books to try to find a name for it, and learn about it. Interesting, true, but very time consuming. You tend to lose interest because it requires so much effort.

I'm completely sure that if I had this point and click telescope, I'd be fascinated with the stars, and would spend hours with the kids learning about them.

Too cool.

This post has been sponsored.

So much....

The last couple of weeks have gone super fast, and there is so much going on, it's hard to know where to start.

We wrapped up Lucas's psycho-educational assessment and had the feedback meeting. They diagnosed him with a written output disorder, and made all sorts of great recommendations. I can't wait to get the official written report and start working with the teachers.

The kids both got Fifth's Disease from school, which is relatively minor unless your immunes system is compromised. Which, apparently, being two months post bone graft counts, and Lucas got really sick with brings me to my next point...

Lucas has pneumonia. He is doing much better this week than last week, but I am very amazed at how sick he really was. He could barely walk, and he had huge dark circles under his eyes, and his cough was this deep, gurgly rumble. Now he sounds better, but he is very easily tired. The doctor said that the lungs still sounds pretty sick, but that his energy is up which is good. I gather we can expect this to take a long time to heal. He went back to school today with an inhaler and cough drops and instructions to take it easy on him in gym class.

My childcare job is going well. I really love being around babies again. Today I had baby Christopher and his three year old sister. It was her first day here, and she was so good. I am going to love having these two little ones around.

My other new job, merchandising, starts tomorrow. I have done about three full days of training, have my handheld unit ready to go, and am still sure I'll fall flat on my face tomorrow. The good thing is, the boss expects that, too, and will help me get back up on my feet.


I think that's it. I'll try to update in more detail soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Itsy Bitsy Baby

Oh my. I am on cloud nine. A friend of mine has trusted me with her precious baby for two days a week.

Christopher is his name. He is sitting in his little seat beside me, making cute little newborn noise, staring up at the ornaments hanging from my chandelier.

I had forgotten how much they like shiny things that they can look up at. He's super happy.

Ahh...Bliss.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sportsday


The weatherman said it would cloud over mid- morning, and rain in the afternoon, but he was wrong.

We had a beautiful day for the entire sportsday. I volunteered for a shift at the snack station, then spent the rest of the morning following Coram from station to station. He had great fun.





We had lunch in the classroom, and all the kids got a special ribbon, and a popsicle. Coram and I played on the playground a bit, then came home.

It rained in the evening. So the weatherman was off by just a few hours, but it was perfect.

Oh, and here is a picture of me. Coram, of course, didn't want his orange at the snack station, so I had it. He took the picture.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

About A School

Well, for better or for worse, the decision has been made: both boys will be going to our local school next year.

The plan has been to place Coram in a mainstream class next year, with an aide. I was advocating for him to remain at his current school, so as to minimize change.

After all, we have a boy who has an extremely hard time with change, and we want to move him from his cozy class of six kids to a regular sized class AND ask him to move to an entirely different school at the same time?

But, I was not able to make this point. Or, not loudly and clearly enough. The administrator of Coram's current school was adamant – no cross boundary kids next year, there was no space. (Forget the fact that Coram was already a student at that site!)

I was geared up to appeal this decision all the way to the top. I figured I'd take it to my MLA if needed. I also figured I probably wouldn't need to do that. The case for Coram to stay at his current school is strong, and I think once I had presented it to the district they'd likely approve it.

First, though, I decided to get a better sense of the local school option. I was really impressed when speaking with the principal of our local school. He had some good, pro-active ideas for helping Coram find the right class in his school. I found myself asking 'why do I want to fight to force a principal to take my child, when I have this other principal who is pro-actively interested in helping Coram succeed?'

So, I decided to shift my focus. Instead of fighting to get Coram into the school he is currently in, I decided to work with the kids (both of whom are opposed to going to the local school) on accepting the idea that they will be going there next year.

Lucas had a huge cry, but has since seemed to be coming to terms with it. Coram had very little reaction, but the true test will be how he behaves when he goes there in September.

So, the decision is made. I am feeling good about having the kids at a school two blocks away. It will be nice to walk to school, and to be involved in our local community. I'm trying to tell the worry dragons in my head to go away. We'll see what September brings.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Why I wish I had stopped pumping sooner...

When Lucas was born, we found out he had a cleft and I would be unable to nurse him. I was encouraged to pump for him, as breast milk is 'liquid gold'.

And so I did. I pumped full time for seven months. I stopped when I had found out I was pregnant, because I had so little energy I could barely get off of the couch.

In retrospect, I often wonder if I shouldn't have stopped sooner.

For me, pumping consumed my life. If I missed a pump, my milk supply would drop drastically, which caused me a lot of stress. So I had to pump every four house, like clockwork.

And even when Lucas started sleeping a 10 hour solid night, I had to be up every four hours pumping.

Of course, the pump needed to be cleaned after every use, and the bottles needed to be cleaned regularly. I became very anxious about the cleanliness of the tools, and I felt uncomfortable washing them in public washrooms. SO, I ended up needing to be either home or at my moms every four hours, so I could pump and properly clean the equipment.

This was one thing when I had a newborn who slept a lot and we didn't got far from home. It was an entirely different thing when Lucas became older and wanted to be out and about. Several moms groups were available to me, but it was impossible to get ready and out the door, get to the group, and get back and settled to pump again withing four hours.

And so I began to simply not leave the house.

I tried to explain to Steve how I felt. Imagine, I said, that every four hours, on the dot, you have to have a glass of water from the tap in our house. Not any other tap, the tap in our house. No matter where you want to be, or what you are doing, you MUST get back to that tap every four hours.

Imagine how tied you would feel to that tap, and to the house.

Now add fatigue and the pure amount of energy and planning it takes to get a bay out of the house, and ask yourself how often you would leave.

Of course, the longer I stayed home, the less able I felt to leave. In the end, it took a counsellor actually coming to my home to help me feel more confident to actually leave.

I wish someone had been there to tell me that being emotionally available to my child was more important than breast milk. I wish someone had given me the push I needed to set aside what had become chains, and give my child formula, so we could both experience life again.

Breast is best, it's true. I will never deny that. But I will affirm that having breast milk from a depressed, non responsive mother is NOT best. Sometimes, we need to make the choice to go to formula, for our own sake, and also for our baby's sake.

I'm sure there are breastfeeding advocates out there who would attack me for that statement. Some people want to insist that baby's need for breast milk supersedes all of mom's needs. Some will suggest mom is being 'selfish'. But I will defend my position.

I was not selfish. I was lost. My commitment to breastfeeding caused an isolation and depression that both myself and my son would have been better off without.

So, for all moms out there who are feeling guilt or sadness because of a decision not to breastfeed, this post is dedicated to you. Know that you are good mothers. Know that happy moms mean happier babies, and if you need to choose not to pump, not to breast feed, or to wean early, or to supplement, to make yourself happier, that is a GOOD choice. Many, many people will come after you (why strangers on the street fell they have a right to comment, I have no idea), but I will always be behind you.

And your baby will adore you, and that is what counts.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Canucks Ate My Night

As many of you know, I don't like watching sports on television. I find it boring, and generally a waste of time.

But MAN did I ever enjoy watching tonights game between the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks!

And I especially liked that we WON. Boo ya.

The game went into overtime, which meant it ended jut before 11 PM. We had told Lucas he could stay up to watch the game, so it was a late bedtime for him. Fortunately, Coram passed out on the couch during the game. He would have been particularity nightmarish in the morning if he had been up until 11PM.

Which brings me to one of the parenting conundrums we face: how to create the illusion of 'equal treatment' for two kids with distinctly different set of needs and abilities.

Lucas can handle a late night, no problem. Especially on a weekend, since he will jsut sleep later tomorrow. Coram, on the other hand, cannot. He won't sleep late, his little body just won't let him. Plus, his need for routing demands that he gets up and has breakfast and completes his morning tasks the same way and time each day. He also would not allow himself a nap if he needed it during the day tomorrow. And when Coram is tired, all the coping skills he has been working so hard on go out the window.

When life is a daily struggle to interpret new situations, novel commands, and varying expectations, your energy level is crucial. Since Coram cannot learn from context, and cannot assimilate changing environments as fast as typical people, every day, every new situation, is a struggle. In school, he has been learning how to ask fo help, and how to redirect his frustration when it all just gets to be too much for him. He has been making truly amazing strides.

But add a few hours less sleep into the mix, and the day is a nightmare. Add to it, you can't get him to go to bed early, because that is out of synch with his routine.

So, when Lucas asks to stay up late, I say yes. After all, there's no school tomorrow, the Canucks are playing, and it's something he can handle.

But how could I say not to Coram? Plainly put, I couldn't. The option was to say no to both, which would have been unfair for Lucas, or say yes to both, potentially creating a horrible day tomorrow for Steve while I am at work.

The good news is, Coram's body stuck to it's routine and he fell asleep on the couch. He will remember that he got the same privilege as his brother, and that is what matters.

And the other good news is, the Canucks won. Boo ya.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Space

While recovering from surgery, Lucas spent a week at Grandma's house in Squamish. He loved it, and is already asking to go back for another week. He got to sleep in a cool room under the stairs, just like Harry Potter. And he got to watch the Space Channel.

Since he got back, Lucas has been asking me at least three times per week when we can get the Space Channel. He occasionally watches it at his grandpas after school. But at home, we only have basic cable.

I find myself oddly proud that my son is a Sci Fi TV geek, just like me. Of course, he came by it honestly. I used to rock him to sleep in front of Star Trek when he was a baby.

I just wish I could add Space to my television channels without having to take the whole bundle of extra channels along with it.

As it stands, going from 'basic cable' to 'classic cable' would pretty much doubly our monthly cable bill. Not to mention add a whole bunch of channels we are not really interested in. I could certainly do without 'The Score' (except when the Canucks are in the playoffs, of course – go Canucks!)

On the other hand, I think we could all benefit from a little bit of the History Channel, or A & E, every now and then.

I sense that I am caving on the issue...help ... meeeee.....my life is about to be absorbed by more television........

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good Bye, Oral Surgeon !

We went to see Lucas' oral surgeon on Thursday for a follow up on the bone graft. The surgeon was very happy with how everything is healing. He said he can tell Lucas has been doing a really good job keeping his mouth clean, and that he has no worries.

The oral surgeon doesn't need to keep seeing us, apparently. We just go back to our regular appointments with the orthodontist. We have one booked for May, so I guess we get a couple of weeks free of orthodontic work. Yeeeeee haw!

We are finishing up the psycho educational evaluation at Children's. They wanted to save the social part of the evaluation until after surgery, because his pre-surgery anxieties would have skewed the results. So, we have been back twice, and on Monday I have an appointment with just me, and then we have to do a feedback session.

I'm not sure what would be worse: if they tell me there is something really wrong, or if they tell me there is nothing wrong (because then it would all seem like my fault for mis-parenting). So, I'm a bit on the edge of my seat about the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Chocolate

You know what I love about chocolate?

It makes me happy after a crummy day

Contribute to my list at: www.ReasonsToLove.com/chocolate

Update

Here's the update on our special needs car...

I called the dealership this morning. They were pretty convinced it was an issue with the battery not being connected and so the shut off trigger in the door wasn't working. They figured if I had the jump starter cables hooked up when I put the key in the door, it would shut off the engine.

So, feeling frustrated that I had jumper cables and a car last night and didn't have them today, I embarked on my search for jumper cables and a willing participant.

When, at 6PM, no such willing participant with cables was available, I decided to bite the bullet and call BCAA. I joined, and paid the extra $50 for 'join on arrival' (ouch). So, another driver came out, and we went thought eh steps the dealership outlined.

To no avail.

The driver said those directions were for a factory installed alarm, and he could tell from the system, that it was an after-market alarm. He said the only way to disarm it was to find the button. The one we looked for for half an hour last night.

This driver had the advantage of daylight, and not being ob a busy street, so he could take a more relaxed look. He did find the button, in the stupidest place possible. I guess I shouldn't say where, but needless to say, it was a useless place. The BCAA driver told me the button is supposed to be for easy access to turn the thing of – and, well, this button is in about the hardest place to find.

So the driver tried pushing the button, with the key in the ignition, turning,, it, and so on....and it did not work. He said the button was just not working, and he didn't know why. He offered to tow the car to a shop, and went on his merry way.

I called the dealership again. This time, I told them I expected a rental car since this was their fault. The fellow I talked to said, 'yeah, I don't think that will happen. I'll ask my boss, but I know him pretty well and I know what he'll say.' He said that because it wasn't a safety issue, they couldn't' rent me a car. Uhm..HELLO??? Safety issue or not the car is UNDRIVABLE.

So, not wanting to face another day of lost work, and another day with Lucas home because I couldn't drive him, I searched the Internet again. I had searched last night, but all the answers referred to the valet button, which we hadn't found, so I didn't pay much attention. Now, I could understand the directions, and I knew where the button was.

It turns out the BCAA driver was right, it was a question of timing. The key needs to go in the ignition within 30 seconds of the door being opening, and the the button has to be pushed within 5 seconds of the key being turned on.

What a rish that was, trying to get it all done so fast with the button being in an impossible location. It took me two tries, but I am happy to report IT WORKED.

My car runs again. I am elated. I want to go drive to Mexico just to enjoy the freedom. Though I think Safeway might be as far as I'll go.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Our Special Needs Car

I had a really nice night out with the girls from work. Karen, my boss, wanted to treat us all because we have been working so hard. It was relaxed, we had wine, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

When we left, I realized I had left my headlights on for the entire time. Ugh. Typical of me to complicate things for myself.

I went in to talk to the waiter, and he had jumper cables and said he would pull his car around. I was very thankful.

But see, now, this is where it gets weird.

Keeping in mind we just bought this car second hand in January, imagine my surprise when I went to open the hood and a car alarm starts going off. I am looking around, wondering who's car alarm is going nuts, since our car isn't alarmed.

That's when I noticed the flashing headlights, and realize it WAS my car that had the alarm, and for some reason it was going off.

So – apparently unbeknownst to us, and probably the dealership we bought it from, this car had an alarm. I had no way to turn it off.

When the waiter tried to jump start the car, nothing happened. The alarm had disabled the engine.

I was pretty frustrated, but thought the day was saved when my co-worker used her BCAA card and called for help. She said she was a passenger in my car, which meant it was covered (note to self – get BCAA!!). So, a really nice guy in a big shinny BCAA truck came out to help....

And couldn't figure it out. He told us that there is usually an over ride switch for alarms. He was hunched down in the car going over it inch by inch with a flashlight, but he couldn't find any over ride. So, since there was no way to turn the (incredibly loud) alarm off, and no way to start the car since the alarm had disabled the engine, we had to tow the car home.

As I rode home, in the cab of the tow truck, the driver from BCAA was trying to figure out why the alarm was triggered in the first place. And the only conclusion he could some up with was – there was no good reason for it.

Which is why I have decided that we have a special needs car.

I'm gonna put my big mean voice on the morning and call the dealership, because as of now, I can't drive my car. Which means, no kids to school tomorrow, and no keeping the two morning appointments I have. Ugh.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Much Better, Thank You!

I am thrilled to report that Lucas seems to be 100 % back to normal. And – he is affectionate and loving and oh so sweet! We are all so happy and relieved to just be back to normal life. Clearly, the anxiety of this surgery has been affecting us for a long, long time.

I am in the process of sourcing the best schools for the kids for next fall. Coram has progressed beyond the other kids in his current class, and really needs to be moved to a place where he can copy more appropriate behaviour. In my opinion, the idea place for him would be a mainstream class at the school he is currently attending. However, the administrator there is not agreeing with me. He feels that Coram should be in a mainstream class with an aid at our local school.

His reasoning is this: our local school is labelled an 'inner city school', and as such, has more resources allocated there than other schools in the city. They have a full time youth and family worker on staff, which most schools in the city do not have. They also often get faster responses to their requests for further aide or evaluations for children.

Because the Autism funding will not be enough to fund a full time aide, the administrator at Corams school feels that the gaps left after funding runs out will be better filled at our local school.

I am not convinced. I really believe that the least change we can effect in Coram's life, the more successful he will be. Asking him to move to a large, mainstream class, AND a whole new school at the same time is simply asking too much.

I am in talks with the current administrator at Coram's school. Fingers crossed we can work this out to Coram's advantage.

Lucas also need to change schools, as he is currently attending an Annex, which only goes to grade three so he will be finished this year. We are also moving him from French into English. I would really like for both boys to be in the same school. I feel a bit stretched needing to attend functions at two different schools all the time. Plus, I think they could be good resources for each other when times get rough on the playground. So, depending on where Coram ends up, that's where I hope Lucas can go to.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Normalcy, I think

Lucas went back to school yesterday – and it was brilliant.

I took him in, and explained to his teacher about his oral hygiene routine, and his need to not climb things, play ball games that could lead to being bonked in the head, and suchlike.

Then I left.

And went on with my day!

Beautiful.

Lucas had a great day. When I picked him up, he was on the sunny lawn of the school, hanging out with some friends. He was in good spirits, and had had a great day.

Normalcy seems to have returned to our lives, and I am so thankful.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Lots Of Treats

Easter seems to be getting more and more eventful every year.

On Saturday, hubby and the kids went to a scavenger hunt in a local business area. They went into stores and got cookies and other treats.

Sunday, of course, the Easter bunny came. He was pretty smart this year, and didn't bring much chocolate, opting for cool toys instead. Then, we went up to my moms in Squamish, and had our family Easter Egg Hunt. For that, we try to avoid lots of chocolate eggs, and instead we fill plastic eggs with small Easter toys.

The kids also got chocolate bunnies from Grandpa Ron. Oh, and Steve brought chocolate home from work on Thursday.

Add two birthday cakes for me into the mix. My birthday is tomorrow (the 10 th) but we did the weekend celebrations this week.

I think we need to go train for a marathon this week.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Quiet

Ah. Today is a beautiful quiet day. Lucas is up at Grandma's, and Coram is at school. How nice.
Of course, there's hours of housework to catch up on, but I'll just turn a blind eye to that for now.

Last night, Coram had a realy difficult time with his brother not being here. Even though he knew ahead of time what was happening, he still coudln't get used to it. First, there was the change in routine, second, there was the knowledge that his brother was missing school and getting to do all sorts of fun things with Grandma. And here he was expected to go on with life as usual? Just too much for his little brain to wrap around.

We gave him lots of attention – tickels, cuddles, playing video games with him.... but still bedtime got pushed back by his refusals to co-operate. He refused to eat, refused to brush his teeth, refused to get changed for bed, refused to pay down.... and so on. We just walked his body through the motions when he wouldn't co-operate. We find that is more effective than making a stink about his behaviour.

This morning was better, so I am hopeful the rest of the week will be OK.