Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Wow, I've really been negligent of my blog haven't I? Sorry about that. I'm having mixed feelings about the whole happy new year business. I'm thinking back on 2011 and trying to decide if you would consider it a good year, or a bad year. Certainly, it wasn't a horrid year. It's been a year in learning a few lessons. Like, appreciating your family while they are here. Taking each day as it comes. Being grateful for each day. Making the most of each day. And, when things seem bad, they can always be worse. To break it down, I'll give you some of the bad, and some of the good: In early spring my niece was diagnosed with inoperable, "incurable" brain cancer, and was given only a year to live. It was heartbreaking, and gut wrenching, and devastating, and any negative word you can think of. So, you might say, it was a bad year. But here's the good; she is still with us, and thanks to homeopathy, getting BETTER! It taught me to hug my children more, to take a deep breath and remember this when they are irritating me, and to love every moment I have with them. And that's definitely a good thing. It's been a rough year financially. That can be looked at as a bad year. I've had less kids in daycare, and unable to get more new babies easily, so making less money. My DH has been in and out of work due to school and other stuff for over three years now. That, plus the financial burden of school is tough. But my DH is also incredibly resourceful at times. He managed to get scholarships, loans, some employment, and even grants, which has all helped. And even though I cry sometimes with worry for our future, the fact is that right now, in the present, everyone is fed, clothed, and well-entertained. And by this time next year, my DH will be a fully-fledged graduate and hopefully employed full time! I'm not ready to let go of 2011 yet. Time sometimes feels like its rushing past me. My boys are growing too fast. I have some things to look forward to in 2012, like the birth of my next niece, and DH being done school. But I have things I'm not, like surgery on my cyst in Feb. Everytime I think of that my stomach turns over. I'm looking forward to being pain-free finally, but I'm TERRIFIED of going under anesthetic. And believe it or not I'm also NOT looking forward to DH finishing school. He enjoys school. He's happiest in school. When he's happy, I'm happier. He's around more too. When he's working, he's gone for almost twelve hours a day. It's nice when he's around for the boys, not just to say hello and goodnight. In 2011 we also travelled to Disney. As much as the old lady annoyed us, we will never forget that vacation and will forever be grateful for that. Those are memories that we will hang onto forever. I started 2011 with a broken wrist. So, not so great there, but it's fine now, so that's good? And I didn't do many dishes for about 8 weeks, which is definitely good. I guess I will just half to say that this year is one of those years that depends on whether you see the glass as half-empty or half-full. And I like to think that most of the time, I try to see the half-full point of view.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Today I am fighting tears and trying to appear normal to the kids I am looking after. Sometimes not having the ability to take a "mental health day" really sucks bigtime. I sure could use one.
Lately we've been having issues with L. Things that may or may not relate to school, or home, or me, I don't know. All I know is that it's time for us to get some outside help, or at least an outside opinion.
Most of the time, L is fine. But sometimes he has these moments when something will set him off and he'll get really down on himself. Like REALLY down. It could be anything that sets him off, like getting into trouble, or getting hurt, or watching a sad movie, or not getting what he wants. And he starts with the self-criticism.
"I'm so stupid!"
"I'm a loser, a cry-baby, and dumb!"
"I want to hurt myself."
"I want to die."

Yes, those last two are shockers. At first, we thought they were just a cry for attention. Thrown in there for shock value. I still think that, a bit, but I have to be sure. He's said it too many times now.
Sometimes he does hurt himself. Like when he's extremely frustrated or angry, he'll grab his face and scratch his nails down his cheeks. Or bang his head on the table or hit it with his fists (his head, not the table, I'd rather he hit the table...)

God, I'm a sobbing mess now. This is really hard for me to write. It was hard to pick up the phone this morning and make that phone call to make a drs appt. At this point, I don't know what else to do. I'm hoping that if he needs therapy, that going through the dr will maybe get some of the cost lowered and deemed "medically necessary".
It was hard because it means admitting I don't know what to do. It's a selfish POV really. But I guess I'm vain that way. I've always liked to think I knew how to handle any situation my children throw at me.
But this -
I just don't know. I really don't know what to do, what to say, how to make it better.
And that's so scary.
I feel like a failure of a mother. Is it my fault he has these feelings?
I didn't give him enough attention. Enough compassion. I made him share me with many other kids that weren't even related to him. I did things wrong when he was a baby, or when he was in the womb. I remember being really depressed at times when I was pregnant with him. Maybe those emotions imprinted on him as he was developing.
Who knows?
I'm too hard on him when i need to be softer, and I'm too soft when I need to give more tough love.
Our personalities clas terribly, and many times when he's in one of these "moods" I end up saying all the wrong things, becoming really frustrated and end up yelling at him! I'm a horrible person for doing that. My temper gets the better of me and I lash out. Most of the time, what he's saying to me doesn't make sense, and he's so stubborn. No matter how many times I try to explain that he's not dumb, or a loser, or whatever, he still insists. I can't snap him out of it, I get frustrated, and I give up. That's what makes me feel terrible. That I don't try HARDER.
And if I'm failing at this, taking care of my own child's well-being and happiness, perhaps it's a HUGE mistake for parents to be leaving their sweet babies in my care. I don't want to ruin them too.
So I am taking a step towards letting someone else give me their opinion. The thing is, is that I don't have a lot of confidence in our dr. But we'll see.
I'm awfully scared. I'm worried that he's on a path to a lifelong battle with depression or mental illness. And there are so many stories these days of professionals who are supposed to be helping struggling children who aren't, and these people/places are actually harming them more. How am I to know what is helping and what isn't? What of it's one of those things like, you have to get worse before you get better? Or it's not, and I think it is, and all the while things are getting worse while I think that's supposed to happen?
But I must do something. I can't sit by and hope it'll get better on its own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Age Old Problem

Here we are in mid-November already! I can hardly believe it, time flies fast. Of course, Christmas mania has begun already, and as the hype escalates, so does my stress level. It seems like every year I say we have no money, we need to be careful (frugal), we've got to cut back, and I worry and worry about how we will manage. And every year, I look back at the last year and think "Boy, I thought we had no money then! Now we really don't!"
Of course this year is no different. And I feel it's worse than ever, because my daycare numbers have dropped, and the cost of living is getting higher, and my DH is going back to school full time in January, which means no more income coming from him. On top of that, my only full time charge, Kadybug, is going to be going part time in February due to mom having another kid. Good news for when mom goes back to work, but not so great for the interim. To say I'm stressed is an understatement. I think it's part of why I am not sleeping well, and can't get over this damn cold as easily as I usually do. My every thought right now goes to saving money.
"Turn off the lights!"
"Hurry up and close the door, you're letting the heat out!"
"Turn off that water!"
I can't do laundry now, it's "high time".
I've even considered asking all the kids to stop flushing the toilet if it's just a pee, just to save on the water bill. And of course I've vaguely considered getting another job. I just wish there was something I could do from home, on the computer for a couple of hours or three each day. I think I'd be exhausted if I had to go out every evening after working from 7 till 5 at home. Nevermind that I would have to wait until DH got home, so I really couldn't start any kind of shift until 6:30 at the earliest. And I REALLY don't want to work weekends, which is part and parcel of working part time.
So the thing about Christmas, is that I set myself up for a hard act to follow years ago, when R was little, but old enough to understand the whole Santa act. I grew up with having most of my gifts from Santa, and wanted to continue that tradition here. But it's backfiring. What I should have done was to have Santa bring one main toy, the stocking, and that's it. That way, if we are having a lean year (when are we not?), it would be easier to say to the kids that they won't be getting much this year. Now if I were to say it, the answer is, "Why not? I thought Santa brought all the toys anyway?" It also makes it really hard to explain why other kids get less than they do, if they are really underprivileged.
Now R, who is 10, has said to me, "I don't know if I believe in Santa anymore, I can see a lot of things that don't make sense." A part of me died a little when he said that, but you know what? A larger part of me said, "FINALLY!!" He is a smart kid, so I was beginning to wonder when he would put the pieces together. I also don't want him to be the only kid in fifth grade who still believes in Santa Claus (I'm sure he's not, but he is probably in the minority.) So I'm not sure if he's going to ask me for the truth before Christmas, or if he's going to have one last year of childish innocence. I don't want him to grow up too fast, of course not, but it's like I have this secret I can hardly contain. And having them know the truth will make it much easier on me, and I can say, "This year, Mommy and Daddy don't have any money for the bills let alone gifts! much money to spare, so for Christmas you'll just be getting a few small things." As heartbreaking as that sounds, at least it doesn't set them up for disappointment Christmas morning.
Of course, L has started in with the skepticism as well. Although I think that he wants to believe, as much as his devilish little self would love to catch the adults in the act. I want to tell R to shut up when he starts spouting off his statements about the holes in the Santa story, but I also don't want to draw attention to it. If I were to tell him to stop, pull him aside and explain why he needs to keep the faith for his brother, that just makes it all the more obvious to L that something is fishy.
But having them know the truth means that I can watch so many more great Christmas movies with them. They have never seen The Santa Clause, with Tim Allen, because how many times in that movie do the adults tell the poor five-year-old that there is no Santa?? I didn't want them watching that, even though I do like the movie. And I've never shown them the beginning sequence of the Polar Express, when the kid spouts off about how he doesn't believe. And there's Miracle on 34th St., which is another set of adults telling a kid Santa isn't real.
I'm not ready to give up the magic that Santa brings to Christmas. Having that role to play brought me a lot of joy. I really didn't like Christmas very much as a young adult, until the boys were old enough to "get it". I'm scared that I'll just see Christmas as another bother again if there's no magic and wonder anymore. Even now, half the time I wish we just celebrated every other year.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What . The . F ?

I dream a lot. I'm one of those people that often remembers her dreams, unlike my DH, who rarely remembers what he dreams about. He says he doesn't have dreams, but I've told him that everyone dreams, it's just a matter of whether you remember them or not.

I also often have rather strange dreams. Usually I can decipher them. I can see how I dreamt about X because I was thinking about it or discussing it during the day. Or I have a dream about Y because I am fearful of it. My brain takes bits and pieces of events or things I come across during the day or week, and meshes them all together. They don't make any sense when you wake up and try to tell someone about them, but in a way, they make sense to me, or I can see what prompted the dream.

But every once in a while I have a dream that just makes me sit up and say, "What the HELL was that all about?"

Last night was such a night.

I dreamt I had driven the boys to the nearby city where DH works. It wasn't a planned trip, but somehow we just ended up there. Once we arrived, we spied DH sitting on the front steps of a building, somewhat looking like a town hall. He was speaking to a group of surrounding men. We waved, and decided to wait until he was finished to go and say hi.

At that point, I spotted a Canadian celebrity, Chef Michael Smith. I really like this guy in real life; I've always enjoyed his cooking shows, especially Chef At Home. I'm also extremely envious of his large, well-stocked, beautiful kitchen. However, it's been a very long time since I've watched his show, and I really haven't thought of the show or him at all lately, nor have I heard it mentioned.

As I approached dream Michael Smith to speak to him, I noticed that his face was disfigured. He appeared to have two extremely large tumors protruding off his cheek and forehead. They had to be at least 3 or 4 inches long, and in the shape of a termite mound, or skinny volcano. They were very red and sore-looking, with blood and pus at the tops.

Now comes the weird part. (That's not the weird part, you say?)

Attached to the two tumors were a couple of big black birds, like crows, and they were pecking at the tumors.

What The Hell??

Where does my brain come up with this stuff???

As I chatted with the chef, I ignored the huge disfigurement as if it were an unfortunate but somewhat normal problem. Then the next part I could remember was me asking him why he was here, when he normally lives in P.E.I. I then realized that his face was smooth and normal, and asked him what happened. Apparently some unknown time had passed as he replied that he had just been to the doctor for his treatment and she had lasered them, but that they would come back eventually. According to dream chef, he had a rare form of cancer and it attracts black birds!!

My mind is so messed up!!

As a side note, as I was googling the chef to come up with a link, I got to perusing his website and found a bread recipe I really want to try. Perhaps this weekend... It's a no-knead bread! I'm so intrigued...

Make this recipe your own with a blend of your favourite grains. Makes: 1 loaf of bread per recipe.

Preparation time:
Cooking time:
Yield: 0


For 1 normal loaf of Country Bread

  • 2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup any multi-grain mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 5/8 cups of warm water

For 1 normal loaf of City Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 5/8 cups of warm water

For 1 larger loaf of Country Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup any multi-grain mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water

For 1 larger loaf of City Bread

  • 4 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 cups warm water

Brown Butter

  • 4 sticks of room temperature butter (sixteen ounces)


For traditional baking

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Add the water and stir until a wet dough forms. Continue stirring until the dough incorporates all the loose flour in the bowl, about 60 seconds in total.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest in a warm place for 18 hours. It will double in size, bubble and long gluten strands will form.
  3. Knock the dough down and form it into a baking pan. Rest the dough a second time. In 2 to 3 hours it will rise again and double in size once more. Bake 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 425 degrees F.

For baking in a covered pot

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Add the water and stir until a wet dough forms. Continue stirring until the dough incorporates all the loose flour in the bowl, about 60 seconds in total.
  2. Cover the bowl with a towel and rest in a warm place for 12 to 18 hours. It will double in size, bubble and long gluten strands will form. Lightly flour your hands and the work surface then remove the dough from the bowl. Quickly form it into a ball. Thoroughly flour a cotton towel and rest the dough on it. Cover it with another floured cotton towel.
  3. You may also rest the dough on a non-stick ‘Silpat’ mat and cover it with just one towel. Rest the dough a second time. In 2 to 3 hours it will rise again and double in size once more. A half an hour or so before the dough is ready preheat your oven to 450 degrees. You may use cast-iron, steel, enamel or ceramic.
  4. When the dough has fully risen slide your hand under the towel and quickly invert the delicate dough into the hot pot. Shake the pot a bit to settle it then place the lid on the pot and start baking.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid then remove it and bake for 15 minutes more.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend


A time for...

Leisurely walks with your cousins...

One last dig in the sand...

Or swim... (if you're brave enough!)

The sights and sounds of busy chipmunks...

Playing in the warm sun with cousins...

Having a snooze wherever you happen to lie down...

And a very long trip home!

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Yet Another Quandry

Here I am, once again faced with another decision regarding L's education. As I mentioned in this post, L has two different teachers this year. I didn't update you on this, but I did in fact, talk to the principal. I didn't go in with a complaining-fix-this-now attitude, but I did go in and speak with him as a concerned parent left out of the loop.
The principal at our school really should have been a politician. Really. He always has a smile on his face, and he works very hard I think at making it seem genuine. No one can be that happy all the time to be talking to disgruntled parents and dealing with children that are causing problems or having issues. He likes to placate the parents, tell them what he thinks they want to hear without out-right lying. He paints a glorious rainbow over the situation every time.
I guess I shouldn't complain. At least he's approachable. I just wish sometimes he'd be a little more honest and less, I don't know, "everything is perfect at my school". He does know my face now though. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, LOL!
Anyhow, he once again, painted his pretty picture with words and gushed over how good these two teachers are. He explained (and not very well), that L's class was not so very different than the other grade three classes, because the other classes' teachers leave the classroom for planning time for a grand total of six hours per week. In his mind, every class has another teacher for basically what adds up to a full day over the course of the week. L's class just happens to have another teacher for two days a week.
But that's not exactly true. You see, all the classes have gym with another teacher, and library, and computers, and whatever else (like media literacy). So the teacher can use those times for their planning time. So it really doesn't add up, if you see what I'm getting at.
But back to the issue at hand. The principal also said that he purposely placed L in that classroom because of his reading and writing issues, as he feels that those two teachers would be the best ones for him. He made a point to say the issues that my husband and I spoke to him about and were concerned about last year were what prompted him.
Basically, in his very political way and without so many words he was telling me don't I dare complain because it is for L's sake he is in that class almost at DH's and my request. In a manner of speaking.
So I decided to leave him be, and see how it pans out. He was settling into the class now and he did seem to like his teacher. He brought home this ginormous project to do over the course of two weeks that was basically a front page of a newspaper with all these sections to fill out about himself. That was like torture to L, all that writing. Long story short, there were many tears, many hours put into this and in the end, my wonderful sister N skyped with us and helped L to complete the project in no time at all. I love her!!
After that ordeal, I decided to write the teacher a note and have a meeting with her. I needed to know if this was going to be a common occurrence; what were the expectations of a grade three student and how much was I supposed to be helping? What was the amount of homework she would be sending home? I needed to make it clear to her that this was very stressful on our family, and that L just isn't ready for that level of work.
So this morning I trudged into the school at a rather early hour. The only kids at the school yet were the ones training for cross-country running. The principal met me at the front door and asked me if I was going in to see Mrs. G. I said yes, and then he said he'd walk with me. I guess my face belied terror because he laughed and said not to worry, no one's in trouble! Ha ha. I don't know why I reacted like that but I guess I just immediately think the worst when the boss or the principal wants to talk to you. Gut reaction I suppose. I always have a hard time hiding anything on my face. You can read me like a book.
He said that they were going to be moving a few students out of the class and into another classroom. He asked me if I would be ok with L being one of them. Now I'm confused. Didn't he just tell me last week that he placed L in that class for his own good? That his words, specifically, were, "Honestly, if my son were in this school I would definitely want him in this classroom." So why now is he giving me the option of moving him out? Did he think I was complaining? Did he think I was hoping for a transfer? In all honesty I kind of was, but only to another certain teacher's room, the teacher R had for grade three. Not to this other teacher's room, Mrs. V. I don't know her any better than I know L's teacher, plus she is pregnant. Which means she'll be leaving soon and he'll have yet again ANOTHER teacher! What if she's terrible? But maybe it would be better to have just one teacher for consistency's sake. What if the teacher turns out to be Mrs. B, who R had for kindergarten and is a long term supply teacher? She was amazing. Then I would be kicking myself. That's a stretch though, a big what if.
I did go in and speak with his possibly temporary teacher. She seemed nice. She definitely appeared to be on the ball. She was easy to talk to, not patronizing in any way (like L's last teacher was) and not fake. She seemed like she could be a real hard-ass if need be, but I didn't get the impression that she was overtly mean.
I just don't know what to do. I'm so confused. I did call another mom, whose child is L's only friend in the class. I gave her the head's up about what was happening, and told her that I was up in the air about it. I also think that the two of them should stay together, because I would feel bad for L's friend if we left him behind, and even worse for L if the friend got moved and he didn't. Then he'd really have no friends in that class.
Which brings me to another issue. L has been upset that he has "no friends" as he puts it. No one to play with at recess except his buddy J (who's in another class). Perhaps moving to that other classroom would rekindle some friendships once again. When I say his only friend in the class, I really mean that. For some strange reason, none of the other boys except for the one have ever been in L's class before. Not even kindergarten. So it's almost like starting from scratch for him.
What to do, what to do. DH will be no help. He'll likely tell me to do whatever I think best, since he has even less insight than I do into what the teachers are like. I'm thinking I'll ask L what he thinks. Maybe he can't stand the teacher, Mrs. V. I need to talk to the other mom again, see if she has any more thoughts. And lastly, I need to speak with the principal again, tell him how confused he's made me and ask him why he would even give us this choice.
I'll keep you posted...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

More School Aggravation

It never fails to amaze me at how worked up I get around this time of year, every year. I've always had a hard time accepting the control that school brings into our lives. My loss of control, namely.
When your child is a baby, and little, you have so much control over their lives. What they eat, where they play, what they play with, who they play with, when they sleep, and more importantly, by whom they are cared for. I was, and still am, a SAHM. A working one at that. I never had to put my children into daycare thankfully. I wanted it that way. I wanted to be the one to raise them, to experience all the firsts with them, to spend all the wonderful (and miserable) moments with them. Other parents are not so lucky. They have to go out into the working world. Some do it for money, some do it because they love their job. Some are not bothered that they can't spend all that time with their child. But most do spend a lot of time searching for the right provider. They want to make sure their child will be safe, will be loved, will be amused, or entertained, or stimulated or taught, the RIGHT way. The way that agrees with their own parenting philosophy.
So when my son R started JK, it was a huge shock to my system. What do you mean I don't get to choose the teacher? What do you mean I have no choice about what days he goes to school, or how he is disciplined/reprimanded (not that he needed it) or when he eats and plays? It was hard for me to accept that that piece of control I had over his life was gone. I had to let go.
Most people who know me well, know that I do not like being told how to raise my child! After all, I MADE them! I carried them, I sacrificed caffeine and alcohol for them, (and chocolate when they were nursing), I sacrificed my much-nicer-body for them, and I gave birth to them. I don't even like my husband telling me what to do, or how to handle them. I love them more than anything in this world, so I should be the one to decide what to do in relation to my kids.
I have learned to let go more (I think.) It might have more to do with the fact that they are so much older now and more self -sufficient. I do realize that if I try to control them too much that they will resist and rebel more.
All this is leading up to the one thing that pissed me off this morning. Every year there is something for me to hate about school, some little thing that I resent. Another small piece of my control lost. But this morning I was angry. I still am, really, and I'm hoping that my DH will pick up the slack here and become just as outraged as I am. I doubt it though.
So here's the thing:
Every year the kids bring home tons of paperwork at the beginning of the year for us to sign. I deal with it all, since the forms don't require two parental signatures. And every year a form comes home about student accident insurance. I always decline. What's the point right now? My boys are not very athletic or adventurous. R usually joins the chess club most years, but he's not on any teams. L is not a team player, so it would shock the hell out of me if he told me he had joined a team. He did give choir a little go last year, but that's only because they were told there would be a pizza party at some point, LOL! He didn't last long with that, and he just likes to do his own thing. I'm ok with that, because they both have extra-curricular activities outside of school.
This year, I received two forms about insurance again. Only this time, the two boys' forms were different. R's had three options: 1)Yes, we have purchased the Student Accident Insurance, 2)We have our own Extended Health/Dental coverage, and 3) We decline. L's form did not have the third option.
What? I was confused. How am I supposed to sign this form saying I have insurance, when I don't. I'm not purchasing the money-grab insurance the school promotes. What for?
*And in case you are American and you don't already know this, we Canadians have "free" health coverage. (I put free in quotes, because, well, we do pay for it with our high taxes!). It doesn't include dental, but if we have an accident, I can take my kid to the hospital and I don't have to pay a dime (well, for parking I do, but you know...)*
We don't have extended health coverage for dental and whatnot. I work for myself, and my DH has been in and out of work for years, and is now in school. Health coverage through your work only comes when you are a fulltime employee that's been there for a while. We just take our chances mostly that we aren't going to need that kind of insurance, and if we did come across that situation, we'd find a way to deal with it. I guess DH's nan is kind of like our insurance, because she has PILES of money, and we know that despite her stubborness, she'd never let her grandchildren or great-grandchildren suffer with no teeth, or no wheelchair (god forbid!) or whatever OHIP doesn't cover.
So, back to the forms (are you still there?). Long story short (too late) I was told when I phoned the school this morning, that the form with three options was the wrong one and was sent out in error, and the form with only two options was the right one. And basically, it was the school board's decision (not the school secretary's, so I wasn't going to yell at the poor lady) that any child wanting to participate in ANY extra-curricular activity, INCLUDING chess club, had to have insurance. So basically, no insurance, no fun.
I really resent this! How dare they tell me I have to have some type of insurance in order for my boys to join a team or club? Are they really going to go and tell them when they show up for the club, "I'm sorry, but you can't be here, because you don't have insurance." I can't even imagine the look on their faces. R would be pure red with embarrassment (an inherited trait from me, unfortunately), and tears would be threatening. How would this affect their social life? I want them to feel free to join any team or club they want. I really don't want them to be like me, socially awkward and so not the joiner in school.
But in order to do that, I'm being told to purchase insurance. And I don't care how much it is, it's just the principle of the matter! It doesn't seem right. Even if it is only $20/year. So in essence, I'm losing more control, and this time it's over my money! Using my children's happiness and enjoyment is like blackmail!

Monday, September 12, 2011


I'm not sure if I mentioned this in a previous post, but this year L has two different teachers at school. He is in grade three, and it's kind of an important year, so I'm not quite sure how to take this news. Not that we've had any actual "official news" about it. Only what he and the other boy in his class have mentioned.
I am frustrated. It seems that every year I am fighting with the school about something to do with L's class placement. Or I'm upset but silent about it.
In JK, L had the most amazing teacher. She made all the difference in my choice to leave L in school. He was so young when he started, just 3.5 really, as his birthday is late December. He was just a baby, to me, and never been away from me. He really struggled with being away from me. And having school every other day for a full day each time was hard on him. He was still napping at the time too! If it hadn't been for his wonderful, caring teacher, plus the EA in the room (she was amazing too and helped all the children, not just the one or two she was assigned to), I am sure I would have pulled him out and left it for the year.
So the next year, we happily started SK and got to know his new teacher. She was young. She obviously didn't have children herself and had limited experience (from what I could tell) with children that young. She was coming from teaching grade four, apparently. Let's just say, I didn't agree with her philosophies and how she approached the children. She wasn't mean...just....not motherly AT ALL. And I'm sorry, but a kindergarten teacher needs to be motherly.
As the end of SK approached, I expressed my desire to her that L not be placed in a certain grade one classroom. Any other teacher was fine. Of course, he was placed in the one teacher's classroom I didn't want. And his best friend from kindergarten wasn't in his class either, because the teacher felt it would be beneficial to split them up.
Beneficial to who?? They weren't trouble-makers. They weren't co-dependent on each other. They just needed some comfort of a familiar face, each other. They were two little boys with similar personalities and similar birthdates that got along really well with each other.
So we struggled through grade one with the teacher that, when you mentioned you had her to other parents they gave you the sympathetic look like your pet just died. She wasn't mean, but not a strong teacher at all. She was flakey and phoney and when you spoke to her you felt like she was being very condescending and that she was wanting to be anywhere but in your presence. Again, another single woman with no children of her own, although she would have been much more suited to kindergarten. On top of all that, his classroom was a split class, a strange gr.1/SK split. My L is very distractable. He can be distracted from a task by the wind. Imagine trying to make a gr.1 child work and focus, while kindergarten children are playing around him.
He came out of grade one with the teacher telling me that he wasn't where he should be in his reading and writing. Well, go figure.
The morning gr.2 started I was hopeful, optimistic and rejoiced that we would get a fresh start. However, I quickly learned that he had been placed in her classroom, yet AGAIN!!
DH and I couldn't believe it. How could this be happening? We went straight to the principal and complained.
I was distraught. I had even written a very nice and hopeful letter to the principal the previous spring asking very nicely if L could be placed in a certain teacher's classroom, one his brother was in before, and the teacher I knew to be fantastic and amazing and that would get him up to where he needed to be.
I don't think he even read that letter. In a very patronizing tone, the principal told us that that classroom was full, save one spot, and that that spot would only be given to a girl. RRRRRRRRGGGGHHHH!! He could take L out of the classroom and put him in one of the other classrooms, both strong teachers I knew well, but both teaching splits. So we had to weigh the options. What would be better, have him in the weak teacher's class, or have him in a split? (Again, very distracting for him). Since his best buddy was in his class this year, we decided to stay where we were. I'm still not sure that was a good decision....
This year, again, I was hopeful. Positive that things could only be good. We had had three shoddy years. Our luck had to change.
The first day of school dawned, and in the line-up to go in, we learned his teacher was not going to be one of the other three that I knew of, but a different one. Ok, that's fine, I thought, I don't know any of R's teachers either with him being the oldest and being the "guinea pig". I have no expectations this way. L was dismayed to learn who she was, as he knew her from in the school. Apparently, she normally teaches all the students something called Media Literacy. I'm not really sure what that is, or why we need it, but whatever.
As the afternoon came to a close that first day, I learned more disheartening news. L was to have not just this M.L. teacher, but another as well, because she still has to teach M.L. two days a week.
I'm not really sure that having two different teachers is the best thing for L to have. He needs consistency. I'm sure that these two teachers are fully qualified and all, but they are two different people, with two different teaching styles, two different personalities, and two different philosophies. Who will teach what? Will they both teach a little of everything, or will they split up the subjects? (Which would be best, I think). If L only likes one of them, will he be miserable a few days a week and happy the other? It's only inevitable that he will have a preference for one over the other.
The thing that I'm most perturbed about, is that the school itself hasn't even bothered to send out an official notice of this. Were they not going to tell us this information? Did they not think it important enough to have the courtesy of letting the parents know?
I am frustrated, as I said. And weary. I know if I go in and complain and question, I'm going to get the same old patronizing speech as usual. Last year, about two thirds of the way through the year, we sat down with the good ol' principal and his sidekick VP and had a chat about some issues occurring with last year's teacher. After venting our frustrations and again reiterating our dismay at having the same teacher two years in a row, the principal assured us that next year he'd make sure L had a good teacher, and was in a good situation.
Yeah, thanks so much buddy.
I wish I had recorded that conversation so I could play it back to him.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Star Wars, Re-re-re-re-released.

You've got to be kidding me. Again? How much money has this franchise made off of suckers that buy these movies over and over again?
Nevermind, don't answer that.
Because we are one of those suckers.
I just found out today that Star Wars: The Complete Saga is being re-released on Blu-ray on Sept. 16. You can get it for the one really low price of $79.99.
I really don't think we'll be rushing right out to buy it, even though DH has always been a huge Star Wars fan, and even though both my boys are also Star Wars fans. Maybe if we were still young and childless and had extra money lying around we would, but now we're smarter than that.
I hope.
So let's see...we've now owned four different copies of the Star Wars franchise. If we got this one, it would be the fifth. We have the three original movies in their original wrapping on VHS, the way they were made the FIRST time, without all the CG stuff added in later. Stuff the purists would like.
Then we owned the series when they came out with the digitally re-mastered version of the original three, but without all the CG stuff as well.
After that, we owned the next VHS release with all the CG stuff added in plus the next (or actually previous) three movies in the boxed set.
And finally, we got the DVD boxed set, complete with extras and a whole additional DVD on the making of, etc.
Well, maybe it will make a good Xmas gift.