Sunday, January 31, 2010

This was not the picture on the cover of the box.....

I splurged on my children today. After passing by the Crazy Forts box for weeks (every time I went into Chapters) I decided they were worth the $49.99.

After helping them set it up, they decided to get a little creative and make their own type of crazy fort.  There was actually a few sounds of BROTHER AND SISTER HAVING FUN. The cats scurried upstairs to escape so I knew they were having fun.


Please ignore the lack of decorating skillz. We bought the house this way, they hadn't remodeled since the 60's. But they look like they are having fun, don't they? They are, they may not admit it under questioning, especially boy wonder... but they are.

So I kept on making dinner. The cats were staying as far away as they could. The noises were getting louder. They were sounding less and less like fort making and more and more like the seizing of Fort Ticonderoga (hat tip, Diana Gabaldon!).

So I snuck downstairs to find:

This is called "sword fighting" and it is apparently infinitely more popular than actually making a fort with $49.99 fort making equipment. Next time I'm buying the pack of 24 wooden spoons for $10 and calling it a day.

Please note my daughter's choice of mismatched socks and the body of Dora, who was apparently a casualty of the seize. And peep that stylin' couch while you're at it... that was the "it's too heavy to move so we'll leave it when we sell the house" couch.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

50 Books a Year

I have a plan. Ok, well that's a lie, I don't have a plan - I have a goal. Reading 50 books this year. I used to devour books... that was before children, of course. My appetite has not waned, but my days are a bit busier these days.

Technically, I read a few hundred books a year since the kids and I read each night, up to three books each night. But I mean big people books. With long words that I sometimes have to look up in the dictionary.

It's only a book a week, should be easy, right? Well, I started off cheating already since I am counting books that I was halfway through when the year began. Hey, my contest and I can cheat if I wanna.

So my first books are:

An Echo In The Bone by Diana Gabaldon
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Sales Coaching by Linda Richardson
Simply Read by Vera Goodman
Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

I have a couple of books on the go now, but I will wait for a while before I post them. I'll also post reviews, if I like them :)

For the record, I liked all the books above :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Boy Wonder

This is boy wonder. And I say boy wonder without the slightest bit of sarcasm. He is wonderful. 

When the teachers tell me what's wrong, even when they lace it with "he's so sweet", I remember the wonderful way he is with his sister - reading to her at night, taking care of her when they are out together, holding her hand when we cross the parking lot, how he can't fall asleep without one of the cats with him, how animated he is when he's reading a book. 
ADD - Predominantly Inattentive

We've tried two different drug trials with him. The first, Concerta, lasted a day because the lowest dose made him a manic depressive child. The second, Adderall, helped his classwork, but resulted in "Adderall Rage" at night. In my jacket pocket I have a prescription for Strattera. We haven't filled it yet. Thankfully, the pediatrician recommends a break of a month or so before we start another - if we choose to. He supports us if we don't. We will try some homeopathics, some food changes. Some counselling and behaviour skills training and support. 
But through all of this, he has remained the same boy. 

Wonder Boy. 

And thankfully, after a few difficult weeks, I have him back. He is himself again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

This was an incredibly uplifting video tonight. I needed it more than a martini. More than a babysitter. More than a vacation.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Remain Calm and Carry On.

This whole parent thing? It's harder than it looks. Or maybe it's just as hard as it looks, I don't know. But I do know that it's damn hard.

The BoyChild has been attending a special program at a different school for about 10 weeks. It's for 'mild to moderate' behaviour issues. He returned to his regular school last Monday and yesterday we went for the final meeting to discuss the evaluation and progress he made. It wasn't the most positive of meetings, but it wasn't all bad. I guess it's just hard to see your child and all his behaviours laid out upon the page in black and white.

They feel like judgments but I know that the schools care about the outcome. They don't just think a pill will fix it as the six pages contain only one reference to medication and 50% of the report contains strategies that the school (and we, as parents) can employ.

But still.... there are sentences in the report that feel like knives. .... difficulty expressing thought.... difficulty expressing his thoughts and feelings in written form.... may be the result of inability to sustain focused attention... difficulty generating... organizing thoughts and ideas in a self-satisfying manner...

There are days that I cannot write. There are times when I want to say so much and the words don't come. But I just get up and walk away from the computer until the thoughts gel. But I cannot imagine what it is like for my son - he's in grade three and they are required to write so much. And yet every time he sits to record his thoughts... he is stuck in that same place where the words and feelings are inside of him and they cannot get out. I can completely understand that frustration.

And let me tell you, I have moderate behaviour issues when it's happening. Ask my husband. Heck, ask my ex-husband!

As I review the strategies that the schools have laid out for us, I waver between hope that they will help and the worry that the school will let him fall through the cracks. I mean I've told them for two years that he needs to sit closer to the teacher. Ever since a teacher/psychologist he had in grade one told us that it was crucial for his success.

Basically they say that everything they want to do will not be a success unless they are "matched on a daily commitment by M to work through the frustration he is feeling, try his bast on every assignment he receives and to take greater responsibility for his own learning."

So how the heck do I help him do that?

We'll go to some kind of family counseling, despite Major Man's abhorrence of telling anyone other than me and his best friend his personal thoughts and feelings. We'll keep up our family reading, maybe introduce some family writing as well. Like maybe a gratitude journal.

And I did something that I always do when I encounter a problem.... I buy books about it. My library just increased by three.

Throughout it all, I keep repeating my 2010 mantra: remain calm and carry on. Someone else (I can't remember who!) said this was her mantra for the year and it immediately struck a chord with me. Yes. I can remain calm and I will carry on. Hmmmm this would make a pretty cool tattoo I think....

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Falling behind!

I thought it would be a great idea to read 50 books this year. Mostly because if you times that number by three or four, you'd probably get the number of books I own that I have not read. It's a literal sin (ha! see what I did there?, I am smrt.).

But I am not a fast reader. I'm like the person who likes to eat slow and enjoy the pie. I intentionally slow down when I really love a book. That's what I did with Diana Gabaldon's newest book, Echo in the Bone. That was my first read of the year and she did not disappoint.

Second read was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. It was quite good. A memoir about a tough childhood, huh? I realized after reading this that perhaps my mother gave it to me for Christmas so I would realize my childhood was really not all that bad, so suck it up, princess.

I usually try to alternate between fiction and non-fiction, so I'm reading More Proactive Sales Management by William Miller and it's quite good. My day-job as a sales manager will benefit ... my team will benefit... and I will benefit.

But it's already the 16th and I'm behind. I should be on book #3 already and there aren't enough hours in the day! I read a bit in the bathtub, a bit before bed, and bits and pieces here and there. I think I'll finish up a couple books I started in late 2009 and cheat a bit and call them 2010 books. First up will be Nurture Shock (awsome book, I'm half-way through) and Sales Coaching.

Do you set reading targets in the year?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

... So I Don`t Have to Work ....

Sk8R Boi is now 8 years old. He`s manish and boyish and goofy and all SpongeBobby (read: spazy). But I love him for every quirk and crazy habit.

Every once in a while I ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. Sometimes he`s said paramedic (usually after his sister has injured herself...) but lately he says (and I quote)... "I want to be a professional snowboarder so I don`t have to work."

Now, I am a mom who has always wanted to support her childrens`dreams. In fact, I remember telling a certain father-in-law that if my son wanted to be a ballet star (I have no idea what they call male ballerinas...) then he could be one. I might have been poking a stick at a bull on that one, but it was true. That was when his dreams were still "mmmm boooooobs."

 And I will support him. I will encourage him. I will enroll him in gymnastics because his dad says it will make him a better snowboarder. I LOVE that it`s something he loves to do with his dad (who, I might add, was once one of the top 10 snowboarders in Canada). But I worry about that second part of the sentence.... "so I don`t have to work". Oh honey. It`s still work. I love writing, but it's still work!

Oh, but wait, insert the quote about ":find something you love to do and then get so good at it that they pay you to do it".

Considering his feelings about school and work and having to sit still and listen to teachers.... I worry that he will think somehow that he's going to get this free ride where he'll just get to hang out, snowboard and get a free ride. He's already told me about the snowboarders that have their own planes or helicopters or limos. And it would be quite cool for him to achieve that degree of success. 

But what about a back-up plan?

At 8 years of age, I hardly have to worry about him locking into a decision too soon. And I will still do all that I can to support his dreams. But what happens when his dream becomes work?

Monday, January 04, 2010

My 2010 Resolutions

They took thought and planning. They are life changing.
  1. Sell book #3.
  2. Stop wearing old, threadbare underwear.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Gluhwine: A YUMMY Winter Treat

Major Man spent 4 years stationed in Germany and I spent a year living in Austria, so we have a few Germanic-type tastes. Like Schnitzel. Weissbier. Gluhwine.

Well, truthfully Gluhwine (said "glue vine") is more a favourite of mine than his.

Here's our basic recipe:

half cup of water
quarter cup of sugar
three cinnamon sticks (or a few pinches of the ground variety)
three whole cloves
a couple thick lemon slices

bring to a boil then remove from heat and let it steep for half an hour or so

pour a bottle of wine in a pot
add the mixture above
bring to a simmer

drink steaming warm.

When I was in Austria I think this was called "Hunter's something or other". Yeah, it's hard to remember specifics from a decade ago. That's why I blog now, what of it?

It is a great Christmas or New Year's drink. I'm having some now. If you make some... let me know how you like it!