Expecting to Fail

Maks is in grade three with the same teacher he had in grade one. This has me anxious.

This is the teacher that broke him down big time. She called him lazy, called me into her class weekly to tell me how badly he was doing and that he should drop out of the French program, and towards the end of the year she just stopped teaching him. She would not read with him and did not go over any of his assignments with him. He was basically ignored for the last month of grade one.

It broke his spirit and he thought he was so dumb because that is what she kept telling him.

Last year his teachers helped him. He did phenomenally well and he thrived.

Now he is back with the teacher that doesn’t like him and even worse, won’t give him a chance to prove just how intelligent and imaginative he is. She has him pigeonholed already and I doubt she is going to change her mind.

When I went to see him off this morning, she pulled me aside and told me how surprised she was that Maks was still in the program. She had not expected him to stay past grade one and I should know, up front, that this year is going to be extremely difficult and she has very high expectations for all the students in her class. Maks is expected to do well because she does not want a repeat of grade one.

WTH!

I let her know about Maks’ outstanding grade two experience and even though she said she was happy to hear how well grade two went, she wanted me to know that she was going to push Maks as hard as she could this year and I was to be prepared for it because grade three would not be as easy as grade two was.

It was ten minutes into the school year and she was already telling me how she was going to put a lot of pressure on my son. She didn’t even give him time to get his pencils out before she had her mind made up about his abilities. It is frustrating.

I want Maks to do well. I want him to know he has it in him to do well. But telling him as soon as she sees him that he will have to work harder than he has ever worked because she only likes having smart children in her class is a bit much.

She is the only grade 3 French immersion teacher in the entire school so I cannot have him change classes. If I had that option, I would have switched him as soon as I saw who his teacher was but I cannot do that. The only other option I have is to have Maks drop out of the French immersion program. I don’t want to do that either because as much as he complains about having to do French work, he was actually improving last year. He understands when people speak to him in French; he is catching up with the others when it comes to reading and writing. He is beginning to get it and I don’t want him to quit just as he is beginning to get it. He has worked so hard and he has earned his knowledge, I don’t want to just throw it all away over a teacher.

I am hoping in my heart of hearts that I am being too judgmental and overreacting over a couple of trivial comments. I want this teacher to give Maks a valid chance so he can prove himself to her. I am hoping she gives him this chance.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the world is full of people that don’t like you and don’t want you to do well. I just wish Maks didn’t have to experience that at 8 years old.

Changing change is hard

Both boys are now officially back in school. Mat is starting Senior Kindergarten and Maks is going into Grade 3.

Throughout the summer Mat just wanted to get back into the routine of school. Two weeks into summer vacation, he asked if he could go back to school because doing summer things was just not fun. He did not enjoy being at home and he wanted to go back to his friends, routine and his class. So when it came time for him to head back to school, I figured that he would be happy.

He wasn’t.

He found out last week his kindergarten class had changed and he would not only be in a new room but also with a new teacher*. He had never heard of his new teacher and was not pleased that his old teacher would not be returning to teach kindergarten.

Once he found out about his new room, it was the end of wanting to go back to school. He kept telling me he didn’t want to go back to school. He wanted to stay home now because he did not want to go to his new class. He cried this morning and refused to get dressed. He just did not want to go to school because it was not what he remembered. He wanted to go back to what he knew.

It didn’t help matters that the process for dropping off kindergarten kids changed today as well. Last year, the kindergarten teachers all lined up in rows in the kindergarten area of the school, and the parents could go line up with the kids behind the teacher until it was time for everyone to go in. This year, the teachers waited for the kids in their classrooms. The kids had to go into the classroom, have their names crossed off the class list and then wait for class to begin. I think this new way of doing things made it easier for the teachers. They didn’t have to wrangle as many kids or risk misplacing a child. But it made things a bit scarier for the kids because the returning ones had no idea what other kids were in their class until they had already walked in and found a seat.

I didn’t know about the new process until we got to the school but having to tell Mat there was another new procedure freaked him out even more. He was so nervous to start with, not knowing what kids were beyond the door, frightened him and he didn’t really speak all morning. But the nerves did not stop him, and he was a big boy about the situation. He found himself a cubby, got his stuff all organized and then (tentatively) walked into the room. He didn’t recognize any of the kids when he went in but he did recognize one of the teachers. She was a substitute from last year and she walked right over to him and started talking to him. He only nodded at her and didn’t say anything but I think having her there helped to get him out of his shell for a bit.

When I left him he was looking for a place to sit with the teacher and I am hoping he starts talking by this afternoon.

*Last year Mat was in a shared JK/SK class and usually in those situations, the kids have the same teacher for their entire kindergarten career. Having the teacher and room change from JK to SK is something new.

Latest update

I saw my family doctor yesterday and he broke down my diagnosis. I will not be seeing any more specialists. He is not going to be treating the fibroids or the swollen lining because they are no longer a priority. He says try to lose some weight and see if that helps with the fibroid issue but he is going to leave it at that.

The biopsy results are in and my doctor is treating that as a priority. Turns out there are four spots in my stomach that have irregular cells. These cells are in the process of turning into ulcers and if left untreated will turn into stomach cancer. Now, not all ulcers turn into stomach cancer but there is some marker in these cells that pretty much confirm they will turn into cancer if they turn into ulcers. So he is treating me pretty aggressively with a crazy cocktail of drugs to get these spots not to turn into ulcers and to correct whatever damage that has been done so far. The plan is to get my stomach to a place where these spots heal themselves. He figures that the constant pain is due to the forming ulcers not really the fibroids or lining and that is why he wants to treat that more aggressively than the other things.

I start two weeks’ worth of drugs tomorrow and hopefully, it makes the pain go away. The pain is the marker for his success; if the pain remains in two weeks then he will need to get more aggressive in his treatment. If the pain goes away, then the treatment worked and I have to have scopes of my stomach done every five years to make sure the cancer stays away.

I also have gastritis which is caused by stress. He says as soon as I stop stressing out, that will work it out. I say puhsah to that one but maybe I’ll take up yoga or something. But unless the insurance company develops a heart, I think my stress levels will be as elevated as ever.

Given that I love food more than I love some people, I am not going to screw around with this. I will happily take this drug cocktail and hope for the best because the thought of giving up all the different kind of food out there would break my heart. It was not the diagnosis I was expected and hearing all this threw me for a loop at first but like everything else, I am going to roll with it.

I find it so ironic that someone who loves food so much ends up with serious stomach issues.

Scary Scooby Doo

I am going to file this one under; parenting failure #340.

If you read this blog, you know, when it comes to this parenting thing, it feels like I am continually messing up my children in some way. At the time I think I am making good decisions and it is only after my children have been scarred that I realize those decisions aren’t the right ones.

The latest bad parenting moment involves Scooby Doo. You know the loveable cartoon Great Dane with the speech impediment and his group of mystery solvers; Shaggy, Daphne, Velma and Fred. They drive around in a tricked out van solving mysteries involving monsters like the Loch Ness monster, Egyptian Mummies, and the Abominable Snowman. It is 1970’s cartoons at their finest.

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I found a couple seasons worth of Scooby Doo cartoons and close to 15 movies on my free cartoon channel and this made me really happy. Scooby Doo cartoons are really entertaining. Most days I am subjected to the screeching sounds of Johnny Test or the disgusting antics of the Rocket Monkeys. Have you ever seen these cartoons? They are horrible. They are loud and gross and really gross and really loud and after about ten minutes of them, I need to leave the room. I absolutely detest these cartoons and the boys are not allowed to watch them or any other cartoons as often as they would like. So finding Scooby Doo was win win. The boys could get their fill of cartoons and I could actually sit and watch with them without having my brain explode.

Fantastic, right?

Not so much.

Turns out those cartoon monsters were a bit too much for the boys. We decided to watch a couple of the movies over a couple consecutive movie nights to see just how much we liked them. Our movie nights have started happening during the week now since the boys are off for the summer. We turn on a movie around 8pm, get a big bowl of snacks and watch the entire movie before heading up to bed. The first night went really well. Neither boy thought the movie was scary and they were looking forward to watching another movie the following night. The following night is when things started to go downhill. Mats was frightened by the monsters in this movie and asked to sit with me during the scary bits. By the end of it, he was not scared anymore and going to bed was a breeze. The third night Mats sat with me for the entire movie. Even though this one was not as scary as the second one, the dark seemed to be intimidating Mats a lot. He was not very keen about sitting by himself and wanted to stay as close to me as he could. After the movie, Mats was really apprehensive about going to bed. He went into his room and turned off the lights but throughout the night he kept coming into my room until I let him sleep in my bed. The next night Matss confessed the movies had be scaring him and although he was trying to be as brave as he could be was not comfortable sleeping in the dark by himself anymore. I plugged in a nightlight for him, hoping the added light would help him get some sleep. And even though he did try to sleep in his bed, he just could not stay asleep and woke up screaming for me at 1am. The 1am screaming went on for a couple of nights before I just let Mats start sleeping in my bed, it was easier than trying to find him in the dark at 1am.

I have been trying to coax him back onto his own bed over the last couple of night but he is just not having any of it. I have tried laying down with him and then leaving as soon as he falls asleep hoping he will just stay asleep for the rest of the night. That has not worked yet. Throughout the night Mats will wake up and if I am not there then he will start calling for me and if I am not in the same room as he is, he will start screaming with fear. He is just that afraid of being by himself right now. He would much rather sleep in my bed than sleep by himself in the dark.

Maks wasn’t immune to the Scooby Doo scares either. He had a couple of nights where he asked me to lay down on his bed with him until he fell asleep because he was frightened of one of the monsters he had seen in the movies. He got over his fear of being alone fairly quickly though. I think he would much rather have the entire bed all to himself even if that means sleeping in the dark by himself.

Scooby Doo is now on the limited watch list; the boys still like watching the Scooby Doo cartoons but only during the day with all the lights on.

Sleeping Over

Last Friday, Maks had his first ever sleepover. Like an honest to goodness sleepover at a friend’s house for the entire night.

Just to remind y’all, Maks is eight! Growing up, this whole sleeping at a friend’s house was not a normal thing. I wasn’t allowed to sleep over at a non-family member’s house until I was in my twenties and even then the sleepover wasn’t with permission. It was because I had forgotten my house keys and I was locked out of the house after a night out and after knocking on the door for fifteen minutes at 2am, with no answer, I ended up going to stay at the friend’s house because I didn’t want to sleep on the porch. Because, you know; safety first. So I am not too accustomed to really young kids spending the night out.

Now back to Maks and how this all went down.

I was far from keen on the idea of Maks sleeping over at anyone’s house at eight years old but the friend that asked him to stay over has been buddies with him since they were eleven months old. He is actually Maks’ oldest friend. And he was going through Maks withdrawal.

P and Maks used to be in daycare together and used to see each other every day since they were babies. But since both boys moved on from daycare to big kid school two years ago, they don’t see each other as often. They usually start to miss each other after a couple of weeks of being apart and the whining starts. Then the calls for play dates between the moms starts. And then playdates gets arranged and the boys get together and go crazy. Maks and P try to have pretty regular playdates; they hang out with each other at least twice a month. But with summer camp and busy schedules, P’s mom and I have not been able to arrange a proper playdate and P was having some issues with this. P’s mom called and told me the story. Apparently, P starting crying in the car one morning on the way to camp because he said he missed Maks and wanted him to move into the house that was for sale down the street so they could play together more. P has never been upset about missing playdates before so P’s mom called and asked if Maks could sleep over last Friday. Her thinking was this way the boys could play for as long as they wanted and P could be reassured his friend was still his friend.

After hearing this how could I say no?

So I agreed to a kid swap. Last Friday Maks would sleep over at P’s house and this Friday P would sleep over at our house. This way Maks could have his first sleep over at P’s house and P could have his first sleepover at our house.

So along came Friday and I swear the excitement was overflowing. The first thing Maks said when he woke up was “today’s the sleepover!” And things just went from there. He packed his knapsack and got his sleeping bag in record time. He even took a bath without being asked a million times. He was supposed to be dropped off at P’s house at 5:30pm and since P only lives 10 minutes away, I wasn’t planning on leaving the house until 5:20pm but by 4:45pm he had been sitting on the steps with his knapsack, pillow and sleeping bag for 15 minutes, patiently waiting, so we left home a bit early. As soon as we got there, he and P disappeared and that was the last I saw of them for the night.

According to P’s mom, they had a hearty dinner of pizza and chips, played video games and watched movies for most of the night. By 10pm, they were exhausted and they ended up going to sleep, which for them is late. They ended up making up at 7am the next morning for breakfast and neither was cranky.

All in all, Maks’ first sleepover was a success.

Now for P’s sleepover at our house this Friday.

Snoring Conspiracy Theory

I have been observing Millhouse when he sleeps a lot lately and I have come up with this conclusion; Millhouse is a faker.

I think he only snores when I am close vicinity so he can have the bed all to himself.

Now this is not some sort of off the cuff observation, I have actual proof to substantiate my claim. I have been watching and more importantly listening to Millhouse sleep and I have noticed when he sleeps with either of the boys, he barely snores. He snores a little bit but it is really quiet. The snoring is limited to little hiccups every now and then. There is no crazy loud, wall rumbling kind of snoring.

But when he sleeps with me, he sounds like a mutant bear running laps with a chainsaw. And the snoring usually doesn’t stop until I have gotten off the bed and gone to sleep with one of the boys. I have noticed that pretty soon after I have gotten off the bed, he takes over the entire bed; sprawling across the entire thing and creating a person like blanket roll so he can fling his arm and leg over and the snoring definitely gets turned down.

If I were to squeeze my way back onto the bed, the crazy snoring starts back again.

So you see dear readers, Millhouse’s crazy snoring is a ploy so he can get the entire bed to himself.

Spoken up sooner

For a long time things have not been the greatest for me physically. I have had a lot of medical things go wrong and it all seems to be compounding to right now.

In February/March, my doctor confirmed that my thyroid had stopped working and I have to be on hormone replacement therapy for the rest of my life. Getting used to this has been rough. I have good days and bad days. The bad days and filled with headaches, dizziness, feeling lost and exhausted. The good days have me feeling almost like me again.

But around spring, it felt like there were so many more bad days than good days and I ended up going back in to see my doctor about my medicine. He assured me everything was where it needed to be but he also ran some blood tests to make sure nothing else was wrong.

My blood count was wrong. My anemia was back.

Having anemia is nothing new for me. I have had it since I was 17 and I have dealt with it pretty well since I was 17 but the general feeling of crappiness just didn’t seem to be going away this time and that made my doctor take things a bit further than he normally took them. He had me doing a couple more blood tests and ultrasounds to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on.

Turns out there were more things going on. I have cysts in my right ovary, fibroids and a swollen, larger than normal endometrial lining. Some basically there are a bunch of things in my uterus that should not be there and they are all fighting for space and things are getting mighty cramped. This explains the near constant cramps I have been having for years. It explains the heavy periods for seven to ten days. It explains the sharp pains that I have every couple of days. For YEARS I have thought all of this pain was normal. For YEARS I have just self-medicated trying to deal with it. And now to be told this is not normal and something is wrong, gives me some sort of vindication. I feel like I don’t have to just suck it up and be quiet anymore; I can get help and make it all go away.

Talking to my doctor, he really thinks the best option for me would be a hysterectomy. He has me going to see a specialist later this month to figure out if this is something I should do or if there are other ways of dealing with this. I am not sure how I feel about having a hysterectomy done. I know that right now I don’t want any more kids but I don’t know if that will change in the future. So this is a pretty big decision I need to think about and I don’t want to move forward until I have all the facts.

Now if this was all I had going on, it would be easy to deal with but it is not. On top of the ultrasounds, I have also had a colonoscopy and gastroscopy done. The colonoscopy found nothing, which is awesome given my family history of colon cancer. The gastroscopy found some issues though. On top of everything else, I also have gastritis and the scope clinic did a biopsy to figure out what is causing the gastritis. Gastritis is when your stomach gets angry at you and starts swelling and hurting and rebelling in general. Depending on what is causing it, I may end up getting weekly shots from the doctor or just over the counter medication but we won’t know what is causing it until the biopsy results come back.

So anemia + fibroids + swollen endometrial lining + gastritis = why my middle area has been hurting like it has for so long. The anemia explains the headaches, the dizziness, and fibroids, and gastritis explains the constant pain. I finally know why things have been hurting like they have and I don’t just have to live with it anymore. It sucks that I have been living with this for this long thinking it was all normal. I wish I had gone into the doctor before I started feeling this bad to figure out what was going on but at least now I know. And I am hoping that knowing all this makes my treatment work.

Bruised & Broken

So Millhouse had a pretty bad Saturday.

Now it should be noted that none of the events that transpired were done with malicious intent and it was not my goal to have anyone hurt. That being said, here is what happened.

Mat and Maks got these super cool squirt gun things this weekend. They are not squirt guns; rather, they are these really long tubes. You suck in a bunch of water into them and then you push really hard on the handles and the water sprays really far away. It is pretty cool and a lot of fun to play with. How I know this is what led up to the bruised part.

Mat and I were in the backyard having a squirting contest. We would fill up our tubes and squirt them as far as we could. Then I came up with the brilliant idea of calling Millhouse outside to be the judge for our little competition. Now, we didn’t really need a judge and I totally had ulterior motives for calling him out there. Millhouse doesn’t like to get wet and even if he stood really far away from Mat and I we would still be able to squirt him, he just didn’t know that. Mat and I conspired to call Millhouse outside and even though we knew he would stand really far away, we would still squirt him and get him soaked. Great plan, right?

Well, it didn’t work out like we planned.

Millhouse did come outside and stand really far away and on the count of three Mat and I did squirt our tubes as hard as we could at him, only he didn’t just stand there getting wet. He screamed and tried to run back inside. Now, Millhouse is not the most coordinated person out there and in his attempt to get back inside, he tripped over the screen door and feel right onto his head into the kitchen.

Millhouse is a big guy so when he falls it sounds like the titans descending from Mount Olympus. It is a loud rumbling, thunderous kaboom. It was so loud the NP came running up from downstairs because she thought something had been thrown down the stairs.

All in all, he was fine. He had bruised the back of his leg and scratched up part of his arm, he was not pleased with me and my conspiring but once all was looked over he was fine.

That should have been the end of his bad luck but it wasn’t.

Fast forward to bath time for the boys. Millhouse is responsible for organizing the boys and making sure bath time goes off without a hitch. This bath time things were a little more frazzled than normal. There was a lot more nakedness running around and it was harder to corral all the zaniness. So while Millhouse was running around trying to get children cleaned up, he whacked his toe on the side on the bed.

Whacking his toe is fairly normal for Millhouse but this time, he whacked it hard enough for him to hear a loud crack. He knew something wasn’t right with it so after bath, he came down and iced his toe. He seemed to be OK after it was iced and wasn’t changing colour or anything so he just assumed he whacked it really good and all was good.

Turns out it wasn’t.

Around 2am, his toe starting to hurt a lot. And when he looked it over, the toe was starting to change colour. So off to the hospital he went. After two hours in the ER and one xray, it turns out he broke his toe. It wasn’t a big enough break to require a cast but the toe needs to be buddy taped (taped up to the toe next to it) for the next two weeks. He is supposed to stay off his toe for the next two weeks but given he spends all night walking, that will be hard.

He is now heavily medicated for the pain and limping around.

Here’s hoping next weekend is better for him.