Friday, 28 June 2013

Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times

Who is with me? The first week of summer vacation just went way too fast! Eeeeek! For the first time ever, I am sad to see the weekend approach because that means our time with the soccer coaches from the British Challenger Soccer Camp is coming to an end. We have had so much fun getting to know them and sharing our home with them. Each year I always fret that this could be the year it does not work out, that we will not be a good match with our coach, and that the entire week will be awkward, but it never happens. They always send us the best group of coaches, and my kids love having a "big brother" for the entire week.

Whenever we meet someone new who is not from Atlantic Canada, Mr. Level-Headed always manages to find out if they have ever had lobster before, and if not, well, watch out, because he becomes bound and determined to throw one awesome lobster boil for them. Since none of the coaches in our camps have tried lobster and they were all invited to play in a friendly soccer match against a local men's team last night, Mr. Level-Headed figured this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce our British guests to his favourite delicacy. Although a few of them stated that they are not fans of seafood, they were all really good sports and decided to try the lobster anyway. There is nothing funnier than seeing people's expressions the first time they eat lobster, and I thought everyone, myself included, was going to lose it when one of the lobsters fought to get out of the pot of boiling water. It was so disturbing! We must seem so barbaric to our friends from across the pond. In the end, only one of the coaches enjoyed the lobster, but everyone had fun. We took oodles of pictures, we laughed, we stuffed ourselves, and afterwards they all went to play a game of soccer . . . tee hee! Mr. Level-Headed was a little concerned that he would not be able to withstand an entire soccer game and so they invited Elliot to play with them. Much to everyone's shock, Elliot actually scored a goal for them. It was the perfect night!

David and Jack: David is the coach staying with us, and Jack is Zoe's coach at the Hampton camp.

Poor Danny, the head coach, was really not into the lobster, and although he did not take one for himself, he managed to get covered in lobster juice a dozen times thanks to his friends on either side of him.

Danny and Ben: Ben loved everything about his lobster experience!

Avery, who is  not a huge fan, ate an entire lobster himself. That boy can do anything when he puts his mind to it (and when he is trying to look tough for guests)!

Jenny, another one of Zoe's coaches from Hampton, wasn't too sure about the whole lobster experience either, but she ate more than Danny! :)

Elliot loves lobster and takes the entire process very seriously.

Danny was very happy to find out that we barbecued sausages as well.

Whose up for some soccer now! Our team was made up of Kingston coaches, the British soccer coaches, some boys from the Kingston U16AA team, and Elliot. In the end they lost 4:3, but everyone had fun, and that's all that matters, right?

My man!I was so scared we would have a repeat from last fall. No broken ankles this time , though. . . . phew!

Avery and I cheered from the sidelines, while Zoe was invited to sit on the bench with the team as their official photographer.

In spite of the rain, the black flies, the chilly winds, and our barbaric eating habits here in Atlantic Canada, I would have to say it was a pretty awesome night and everyone had a blast! 

It is going to be so hard to say goodbye to them on Sunday morning.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

My Other Baby

If you want to get Avery riled up, just call him "the baby". Ooooh! There is nothing he hates more, and there is no greater insult in his opinion. In fact, not only has he always disliked being coined "the baby" of our household, he has done everything in his power to make sure that he is on an equal playing field with both of his siblings. Through some miracle or what I sometimes wonder is sheer determination on Avery's part, he has managed to be almost the same size as Elliot, and whenever we are out and about together, people always ask if they are twins. He has also played on the same soccer team as Elliot for the past two years (the first year simply as a call-up), but from the sidelines, you would never guess that he is two or three years younger than the other players. In terms of school, he has worked his hardest this year to be able to read the first Harry Potter book on his own simply because it is a "big kids'" book.

So, it really should not come as any surprise when I say that Avery is ecstatic that we are having another baby. From the moment he found about Thing 4, he has emphatically stated that he is no longer the baby and never will be again! And for the past 19 weeks, I have been more than happy to allow him to pass on this title to Thing 4 so readily, but over the past couple of days this has really started to bother me. Don't get me wrong: I am thrilled to have another baby and I am so absolutely in love with Thing 4 that I could not be any more happier; however, I can't seem to shake feeling a pang of sadness over the end of Avery's babyhood. He has been my baby, even though he has not liked to admit it, for the past 9 1/2 years, and like the other two kids, the minute a new baby enters the household, he is going to seem so old to me. All you moms out there know what I am talking about. You are sitting in the hospital bed, holding you brand new baby, when suddenly your other children walk in the room and it is like they have aged instantly. All of a sudden you are looking at them through a new pair of lens and they seem to have grown a foot. I am really dreading this moment. When I look at Avery I see a little boy. I see my baby, and in twenty short weeks that is all going to change. He is going to walk into that hospital room and suddenly he is no longer going to seem so little. He is going to be my almost ten year old son. We are talking double digits! Eeeeeek! What is this mama going to do?

Well, I am going to do exactly what all the moms before me have done, and I am going to deny, deny, deny!

Nope, I do not see a nine year old boy before me:

^^Okay, so this photo makes it pretty easy to deny^^

Nope, no matter how old he gets or how tall he gets, I will only ever see my adorable little boy, and I will always remember him sleeping with a bed full of stuffies and calling websites "dot coms".

Sorry, Avery, it's just not that easy to shake off a decade of being our baby.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Closing Festivities

Wow! The past couple of weeks have been busy. Last week was all about finishing up school with the boys, and although, there were times when both Elliot and I thought it would never happen, we finished . . . phew! Then we spent the weekend getting ready to host one of the coaches for our British Challenger Soccer Camp that is being held this week in Hampton and the Kingston Peninsula. The coaches arrived Sunday night, and since then, it has been non-stop shenanigans. Our days have been filled with soccer, swimming, and eating; nothing to complain about really, but it sure has been tiring. Then to top it all off, we had early morning dentist appointments and an ultrasound appointment at the beginning of the week. What was I thinking? Anyhoo, all of the cooking, the cleaning, the playing, and the running around that the past couple of weeks have entailed, has left this mama pooped. After the boys and I dropped Zoe off at her soccer camp this morning, we returned home and plopped our lifeless, exhausted bodies on the couch. It was during our third episode of SpongeBob (eeek! I must be tired), that I realised I did not post any pictures from our school-end festivities this year (and I know you are dying to see them). 

First, though, here is a picture of some of the Kingston kids welcoming our coaches on Sunday night. This year we have three coaches joining us. Two are from Liverpool and one is from Manchester. I have to say that they are all really great guys, and my kids are having a blast hanging out with them this week!

Now for our closing festivities!

We started the day at Hampton High School because Baby Girl needed to pick up her home report and her course schedule for the upcoming school year. Unfortunately, the computer messed up and had placed her in ALL the wrong classes. An hour and a half later, she emerged triumphantly from the school with most of the courses she wanted. Afterwards, some of her friends came over to our house for the afternoon to swim, to eat junk food, and giggle. I think it was a pretty good way to kick off the summer. When the sun went down and Baby Girl's friends had gone home, we started up our annual school work bonfire. The boys look forward to this event all year long, and were eager to toss all their worksheets into the roaring flames. As an entire year's worth of work went up in smoke, we dined on roasted marshmallows and chips. Finally, we wrapped up the evening with our presentation of awards. This year, Zoe received an award for maintaining an A+ average all year long, Elliot received the reading award for making huge improvements in his reading, and Avery received the writing award for being able to write a paragraph, complete with topic sentence, concluding sentence and three supporting sentences, all on his own. I am so proud of my kids for how hard they worked this year, and look forward to seeing all the wonderful things they accomplish next year.

^^Sorting out what papers should be saved and what papers can be burned. ^^ If you want to learn more about our easy, cheesy filing system for school mementos, check out this post.

^^The awards (all made from templates found on Microsoft Word!)

^^Each of their awards were accompanied by a gift card from Indigo^^

^^The moment he has been waiting for all year long.^^

^^Burn, baby, burn!^^

^^Our fancy, schmancy award ceremony. This is how we roll in the sticks: no shirt, pyjamas pants, and rain boots. Oh, and you can't ignore the pile of debris we are standing in front of. We are so high class! ^^

^^And yes, Zoe was included, but ya' know how teenagers feel about being photographed participating in embarrassing family traditions. ^^

^^What I waited for all year long . . . mmmmmmm!^^

And that is how we closed the school year here at Shenanigans Inc. We had a great school year, but gosh darn it, I am so happy to see it come to an end. Hip, hip, hooray for summer vacation!

Friday, 21 June 2013

The Good Life

It's finally here . . . SUMMER!  All that's left of the 2012-2013 school year is to drive Baby Girl to the high school to pick up her report card and to help Elliot finish his final math lesson . . . woohoo! Tonight we plan on having our annual burn-your-school-work bonfire (with gigantic marshmallows) and a little awards ceremony. I made up a couple of certificates for the kids last night to recognise their accomplishments this year. Elliot is receiving the Reading Award because he has made huge improvements in reading this year, and is still tackling his first ever chapter book. He says he has read other chapter books, but I am trying to teach him that skimming is not reading. For this book, The Beyonders, I am getting him to fill out a story map for the book to help him keep track of everything that is happening and to keep him accountable. Parenting/teaching Elliot is one job where I can never let my guard down! Avery is receiving the Writer's Award because he has learned how to write a paragraph with a topic sentence, a concluding sentence and three supporting sentences. He even does it without a reminder. Wow! Zoe is receiving the Scholarship Award for maintaining an A+ average (anything above 95% in my books, but her average hovers at 98%) for her entire grade nine year. Super brain! I am so proud of each of them!

Yesterday, the teller at the bank was asking me all about our homeschool year, and I could not help but gush over how much my boys have learned this year and how great our year was. We have really hit our stride! Then, I told her all about Thing 4, and as I was leaving she said something to me that I have not been able to stop thinking about. She said:

Gosh! Life is really good for you right now, isn't it?

And I could not help but smile the biggest, most cheesiest grin of all time and reply:

It really is!

I am so blessed to be able to spend my days doing what I love with the people I love the most. I am one lucky lady!

They can't wait to try out their new pool toys today!

FYI: I love spending my days with Zoe too and it has been a blast having her home this past week, but alas, she refuses to let me post any photos of her on the blog that do not meet her approval. Sheesh!

Happy Summer everyone!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Dreaded "B" Word

With Zoe finished school, no errands to run, and the sun shining, yesterday felt like our first taste of summer vacation. It was glorious! Sure the boys are still finishing up a couple of subjects, but since it is only math and grammar, our school day goes very quickly, and by 12:30 we were able to ditch the books. After our lunch of BBQ hotdogs (truly the most summer-ish food of all), we put our bathing suits on, lathered our bodies up with 60 spf sunscreen (does that meet your approval, Hilary?), and we dove into the pool. 

Truly, life can not get any better than it was yesterday! The kids splashed and dunked each other, while I lazily floated along the water. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Then I swam a few laps. Ya' know, it takes a lot of work to keep this amazing beach body of mine in such pristine, super-model shape:

tee hee!

I have no shame.

We stayed in the pool for about an hour and a half, and then we made the long trek back up our hill. As the kids changed, I hung up our beach towels on the railing of our deck to dry them off in the sun. In the two minutes it took for me to do this, Elliot had changed, discovered that his one hour of screen time was already used up for the day, and began whining:

But mmmmmmooooooommmmmm, I am so bored . . . 

I could feel my inner mama dragon stir. My entire body tensed each time he let out another spleeny, weeny complaint. I wanted to yell and tell him that if he didn't stop right now that I would take all forms of screen (aka technology) away from him for the entire summer (yeah, I like to overreact like that sometimes), and then the most brilliant idea dawned on me.

Listen up kids, every time I hear one of you say "I am bored" this summer, I will give you a chore.

Being the type of kids who needs to experience something first hand before he truly understands it, Elliot said it again:

But, I'm bored, mom!

Awesome, Elliot! You can empty out the dishwasher for me. Thanks.

And so, while Elliot grumbled and complained about how I was the worst mother in the world, and quite possibly could have used the other dreaded "B" to describe me, Thing 4 and I took a nap out on the deck .


I think this is going to be the most fantabulous summer of all!

Oh, and to make it even better, these two have gotten into the habit of joining me in bed each morning after Mr. Level-Headed leaves for work. How adorable are they?

The cuteness factor in this bed is off the charts!

Happy Tuesday everyone!


Make that Wednesday . . . 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Trouble With a Capital "P"

Mondays are my least favourite day of the week. Especially when you are coming down from one of the best and most tastiest weekends you've had in a long time. 

It all started on Friday afternoon, when Zoe and five of her friends, who were all hopped up on a we-just-finished-our-last-exam high, raided our home. One of these aforementioned friends has become my most favourite person of all time because she passed along onto me one of the greatest secrets of the universe:

Krista, Zoe told me you are craving poutine with this pregnancy.

Karlee, it is so bad. In fact, I have thought about it all week (again!) and I am totally thinking about going on another poutine run tonight.

You should try the poutine at Reed's Point Pub. It's awesome!

For those of you who may not know, Reed's Point Pub is a small pub located almost directly across from the ferry landing here on the Kingston side, AND it just happens to be a three minute drive from my house. I am in so much trouble!

And so, as you  have already probably guessed, I made my first trip to Reed's Point Pub immediately after I dropped all the girls and the one, totally outnumbered boy off at another friend's birthday party. I have no will power!

And let me tell you, the poutine was to-die-for!!!! Unlike the poutine run I made the Friday before to Deluxe, this run left me completely and utterly satisfied. It was heavenly!

Unfortunately, though, it was so good that another fan was created in my household, and I had to share my treasure.

Afterwards, when I was basking in the glory of a full and happy belly, I decided I needed to place limits on this new found love of mine. So far, I am at 3 poutines in 3 weeks, and at this rate, my poor AMA body may just explode; therefore, with Mr. Level-Headed as my witness, I vowed to eat it only once a month for the rest of my pregnancy. 

Then Saturday came, and oh what a Saturday it was. The sun was shining, my hubby had no work to do, we had a date afternoon planned with some close friends, and the pool was ready! It couldn't have been better.

Then, on our way to Hampton and since we had no food left in the house (eeek! Whose in charge of this organisation anyway?), we took the kids to Kredl's Cookhouse for lunch. In spite of the tempting Quebec poutine advertised on the menu, I was strong and ordered a BBQ'd sausage instead. Baby Girl decided to go for the poutine and my once fully satisfied craving for this fatty, salty, cheesy delicacy of the gods revved up again. Be strong, Krista! Be strong!  But nope. As fate would have it, Baby Girl could not finish her lunch and I somehow ended up with it sitting on my lap. What's a girl to do?

And so I ate it. . . . . mmmmmmmm!

If I was to compare these two poutines, I would have to say that the one at Kredl's is far more tastier, but only because they actually use cheese curds. The one at Reed's Point Pub, however, deserves points for it's sheer proximity to my humble abode and for it's sheer size. It definitely wins the Bang-for-your-Buck award! Oh, and FYI: both of them blew Deluxe out of the water. 

I have to admit that I was a little ashamed of myself for the  lack of will power I displayed that afternoon, and so after chowing down on a giant popcorn and pop, while watching the new Superman movie (awesome!) with our friends, I opted to only have a salad for dinner at Peddler's Creek (the next stop on our epic Saturday adventure).

But . . .

our friend Brian ordered their poutine with pulled pork and, although I was able to restrain myself for the time, I have not been able to stop thinking about it. It looked like the poutine to end all poutines, and I need to get my hands on it! And so after much thought and deliberation, I have decided that my goal for this pregnancy is to seek out the best poutine in all of Atlantic Canada! I say Atlantic Canada because I recently heard that Halifax N.S. has a poutinery and I am desperate to try it, and we also have a trip to PEI coming up for Baby Girl's soccer tournament, and surely they have poutine on the island. Right?

Nothing good can come of this . . . 

Oh, and if you are wondering, yes each of these gravies are probably filled with gluteny goodness and yes, I am still gluten-free. Thankfully, they have not bothered my belly, but I have developed a very itchy rash on my neck . . . eeeek! True love comes with sacrifices, though. 

Happy Monday!

Friday, 14 June 2013

An Old School Rant

It's Friday!!!!

Which means that Baby Girl officially completes her first year of high school today . . .  eeeeek!  She only has three more years left. What am I supposed to do with that? Clearly this is one of those thoughts I have to stuff deep down into the nether regions of my subconscious and leave there. Ugh! Way to be a Friday, buzz kill, Krista!

Anyhoo . . .

Being Friday, it also means that the boys and I only have one more week of homeschooling left before we take a glorious two months off. Hallelujah! This year was a rough one since I spent three of those months laying on the couch, barely able to move and puking up a storm. It's a miracle we even survived it, but I have to say the fact that we did manage to get through it and still complete all of our work, gives me hope for next year. And yes, in case anyone has been wondering, we are going to continue homeschooling next year in spite of the obvious challenges a newborn will present to the situation. I have thought long and hard about it. Sure, it would be easier for everyone if I just gave up and sent the boys back to school (and it would make them a whole lot happier since they feel homeschooling is a lot harder than public school, where, according to them, they did not have to complete their assignments each day or do corrections. I really hope this isn't true.), but gosh darn it, I just love homeschooling so much I am not ready to let them go. To be honest, I know they love it too. In fact, yesterday, Elliot told me he learns better when the person teaching him knows him really well and loves him.  Awww! Not to mention, I have seen drastic improvements this year, and I am really excited about them. I truly believe that homeschooling is the best option for my boys, and I am looking forward to doing it with Thing 4 as well.

Yesterday, as the boys worked on their lessons, I finished our curriculum list for next year. I have learnt so much about how my boys learn, and contrary to what all the "experts" say, they do best with workbook type instruction. It's so funny because two years ago I bought this very expensive, very hands-on science curriculum and let me tell you, it has been a chore to get through it because the minute we start a lab, which is suppose to happen on a weekly basis, their minds are off and wandering. I can't seem to get them to focus on what is front of them because each thing they touch or every word I say sends them off in a million other directions. It is absolutely exhausting, and they hate it! 

When I ask them what their favourite subject is they both say language arts, which is hilarious because the program we use is from a Mennonite publishing company and it is old school. Each day we work from a text book and they diagram subjects, predicates, direct objects, etc. They learn all about commas, periods, and semi-colons, and have step-by-step lessons on how to write paragraphs. The text book is lovely, but unlike what most workbooks look like today, this one has very basic, tiny illustrations (if there are any on the page at all) and everything is black and white. Being a teacher and having graduated with my education degree within the last ten years, I know that the current trend in language arts education is whole language learning, where the student magically learns how to read and write simply by being  read to and by being exposed to lots of books in their early years, but not one of my kids ever learnt how to read that way! This trend also poo poos on direct grammar, spelling and phonics instruction, but hello! I am doing just that with two boys who struggle in both reading and writing, and I am seeing AMAZING improvements. If you talk to any parent with a child in the NB school system, these are the very skills their children are lacking. Most of our kids in middle school still can not spell or write, and some of them still can not read. It is a tragedy! Oh, and if I hear one more time that spelling is not important because we live in the age of spell-check, I will go ballistic!  And here is where I am about to make a very political and perhaps a not-so-nice statement: 

I believe whole-heartedly that this move towards whole language learning is simply based upon the fact that we live in a poor province, and our education system can not afford to buy the textbooks our children require to properly learn grammar, spelling and phonics, and has nothing to do with what is best for our children.

eeeeek! Did I just say that, and in bold?

Well, it's now out there.

The past two years have confirmed for me that education needs to get back to the basics. We need to go back to old school methods because they work. I have seen it first hand, and I have had success using these old school methods with two students who are the exact type of students the new methods are supposedly best for: active, boys with learning disabilities. Yes, our world is changing, but people haven't changed. The argument used to defend these new methods is that they better prepare children to think critically, to problem solve, and to be creative, but I say that is a bunch of bologna! You need to be able to read the books and do the math before you can use it! Children need to be given a firm foundation in language and math skills (don't even get me started on the new math), and I think, unfortunately, we are too quick to throw out the old in favour of the new because it is flashier, it is easier, and it is cheaper. Perhaps we can really learn something from our Mennonite brothers and sisters.

Anyhoo . . .

This is so not where I expected this post to go today. I had intended to write about how awesome, albeit exhausting, it is to spend my days teaching these two awesome boys of mine, and how if I didn't homeschool I would not get to spend my afternoons playing their homemade games like the one Avery made yesterday called "War of Toys":

Unlike the other games he has come up with in the past, this one was actually well thought through, and I actually enjoyed playing it. Can you imagine such creativity and ingenuity came from a boy who gasp! learns from textbooks!

Okay, that was bad. I admit it. Who knew I could be so ornery?

. . . tee hee!

Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Baby Rambings

You are in for a treat! I have no idea what I should write today, and therefore I have decided to go on one gigantic baby ramble. Yippee! If you think you can stomach it, read on. If not, I will see you tomorrow . . . tee hee!

So, Thing 4 is getting quite the reputation in the medical world, and it is not a good one. On Tuesday, I went to visit doctor #3 (we AMA's are so lucky!). You see I have my family doctor who has done most of my monthly check-ups, my OB-GYN, who will perform my C-section (more on that in  a minute), and my AMA specialist. Okay, so he is not really an AMA specialist, but that is what I like to call him. I saw my OB on Tuesday, and before she came in, her nurse took my blood pressure and pulled out her Doppler to check on Thing 4's heart rate. As I laid on the examining table, pulling up my shirt to expose what I think is a ginormous bump but no one else seems to agree with me (sheesh!), I bragged that I have been getting lots of movement. I say bragged and really I mean it. I know this baby is a superstar when it comes to first nudgings and I couldn't be more thrilled about it. The nurse covered my belly in warm goo and then proceeded to push the Doppler around my belly trying to locate a heartbeat. Nothing. She moved it some more. Nothing. She went all around my belly and still nothing. She was starting to get frustrated. I assured her that at that very moment I could feel Thing 4 nudging, and she look relieved. She tried again. Nothing. After ten minutes, the nurse asked if she could go prep someone else and then come back in and try again. I told her that was fine. Two minutes after she left my room, I could hear the sound of a strong fetal heart beating in the room next to me, and so I had a stern talking-to with Thing 4. 

Thing 4, the other baby is cooperating and you need to too. Listen to me. It is time to settle down and behave. Yes, mama may think that your Speedy Gonzales-like antics are cute, but this poor nurse is not enjoying them. Settle down and let her take your heart rate. Now.

When the nurse came back, I was confident she would be able to find the heart rate, but . . .  nope, and I really don't know why I was shocked because none of my other little critters ever listen to me either. The poor nurse had to try for another ten whole minutes and then finally, as if he/she had been there the whole entire time, the nurse found a good steady heart beat in the upper left hand corner of my uterus.


 After the nurse left the room, my doctor entered and guess what she said about Thing 4. You guessed it: 

So, I hear you have quite the uncooperative and busy baby on your hands.

I couldn't help but laugh and tell her that both of my other doctors have used those exact words when describing Thing 4. I think I am in for quite the time with this little monkey.

Oh, and so if you are wondering about the heart rate, it was in the 150 range, which according to my mama means girl, BUT . . . since Thing 4 likes to keep us on our toes, when I returned home that afternoon and went to log in my appointment info in my pregnancy book, I noticed that Mr. Man, yes none other than my Elliot, at 19 weeks played hide and seek with the doctor as well for a whomping twenty minutes. Oh, and guess what his heart rate was? You guessed it: 150's . . . tee hee! I guess we really are not going to know who Thing 4 is until he/she is born.

Which brings us very nicely around to the topic of my C-section. So, yes, I already know that Thing 4 will be delivered by a C-section, which means I can confidently say that I only have 22 more weeks to go . . . eeeek! For both Zoe and Elliot, I needed to have an emergency C-section because they got stuck in the exact same spot as they were about to emerge, and after those ordeals, the doctors recommend that I do not even try that route again. So, Avery was a scheduled C-section and Thing 4 will be as well. Now, for some people, C-sections are the way to go. No labour pain and you get to know exactly when your baby is coming. Sounds like a dream, right? More like a nightmare for me! I get really freaked out by the idea of going in, sans pain, and bending over to allow them to put that ginormous epidural needle into my spine. Call me a wimp, but the thoughts of it send it me into a panic. In fact, the other night as Mr. Level-Headed was telling the boys all about my last C-section and how the doctor allowed him to take a peak and he saw all of my organs laying right out there in the open (that man has seen far too much of me for my liking), I did, in fact, have a mild panic attack. No kidding! My legs became weak and my head became fuzzy. I felt like my heart was about to leap right out of my chest and so I had to sit down with my head between my legs taking deep breaths. This lasted for a good five minutes, and thankfully, Mr. Level-Headed realised that maybe he should stop talking about it . . . tee hee!

This is so not going to be good. On Tuesday, when I went to see my OB, I confided in her about this very real fear of mine, and instead of reassuring me that I have nothing to fear or offering me some anxiety medication just prior to my surgery (which is what I am really hoping will happen and which is so not like me since I don't even like to take a Tylenol), she told me I should be afraid.


Oh yeah! According to her, a healthy fear of surgery is a good thing because . . . and here is where she went on to list all the things that could go wrong. I kid you not! Then, just as she is about to leave the room, she places her hand on my knee and says:

But, you'll be fine.


Oh, my land. What am I supposed to do with that?

In all honesty, though. She did make me feel better. It's crazy, but I think her level-headed approach was comforting to me. I don't know why that would be . . . tee hee!

Anyhoo . . .

Well, now you are all caught up on my baby ramblings, and other than lots of anxiety over the fact that I may have forgotten how to nurse, or that my AMA boobies may not be up for the job, or that my AMA body may never survive the sleepless nights that are in store for me, or that I don't know what I am going to do if Thing 4 is colicky like Elliot or anything like Elliot for that matter (tee hee!), or that . . . .

As you can see, I am starting to get a little freaked out. I think I should end this post and go put my head between my legs for about five minutes.

Have a great day!

Oh, and thank heavens this finally came in. This is the book we used to help us raise our other three littles, and since they have all turned out spectacularly,  I felt it was a must-have this time around too.

We refer to it as the Baby Bible. I wonder if it has a section on neurotic mothers . . . hmmmm?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Opening Night Jitters

Recently, a friend of mine, whose son is also on the Autistic Spectrum, told me that new research suggests that children with Autism are extremely sensitive. This is contrary to all the research done before which suggests that these kids remain detached and aloof to what is going on around them. According to the latest research, they believe that perhaps this perceived detachment is simply a defence mechanism, which prevents the child with Autism from becoming overwhelmed with the acute intensity of emotions they experience from certain circumstances. For me, I think this research is dead on! From the time he was born, we have always said that Elliot's greatest challenge is that he feels life too intensely. What may make us feel a little nervous, excited, happy or anxious, almost debilitates Elliot and makes life very challenging for him.

And this is why I think the past couple of weeks have been so rough on Elliot. You see, we started a new soccer season, which means a brand new team for Elliot. He has played with many of these kids before, but as we were figuring out from the sidelines last night, half of the kids are new to the team. Also, last year, during the last couple of games of the season with one particular team, there were quite a few aggressive outbursts from the parents of the opposing team. This really shook Elliot up at the time, but unfortunately, as I learnt last night when I was catching the tail end of one of Elliot's rants, he is still feeling anxious about them and was concerned that it could happen again.

As I mentioned yesterday, Mr. Level-Headed and I have been perplexed as to why Elliot has not been sleeping and why ordinary tasks like his school work have suddenly become insurmountable for him; however, yesterday, the light finally dawned and I realised it was the new soccer season. Our day started at 5:45 am when Elliot woke up, and he wasn't just awake, he was wired. As the day progressed, his hyper, over-the-top antics gave way to a very intense anger and then eventually to a very serious case of opening game jitters. By mid afternoon, Elliot was ranting about how he hated soccer and that it was the worst sport ever. I thought this was strange, but I ignored it and instructed Avery to do the same. Then, he finally began to confide in me that he was nervous. He was nervous that the kids would not play their positions. He was nervous that they would not score. He was nervous that he would let the team down, and he was nervous that the ref may not be able to control the parents. All of his worries started pouring out, and I all I could do was assure him that everything would work out for the best.

Then, Mr. Level-Headed came home early with a bunch of pool supplies. Honestly, this man may not realise it, but sometimes he is our knight in shining armour. Elliot was stomping around the house, frustrated and scared, and so Mr. Level-Headed told him to come outside and help him vacuum the pool. Physical labour really seems to bring Elliot out of his funks. When it was all done, in spite of the rain and the chilly temperature outside, Mr. Level-Headed and the boys hopped into the pool. When I looked down at them from the porch, I noticed that Elliot, in between chicken wars, would dive deep beneath the water and slowly swim his way across. There is something about the water cradling his entire body that enables him to reboot, and when they finally made their way back into the house for supper, I noticed that Elliot was relaxed and laughing. He was excited for the game, and he was confident that they would do their best. He was a like a completely different kid!

So, after supper we made our way to the field. It was damp and chilly, but I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else in the world because there on that field, I saw Elliot excel like I have never seen before. He was in his element. He played with confidence, with skill, and with leadership. I couldn't believe this was my boy! He had really stepped up to the challenge, and in the end, his team won 5-4 against a team that went undefeated last year. And even more exciting, Elliot scored THREE of those goals. A hat trick! I was so happy for him, and Avery, who is now an official member of Kingston's U12AA team and no longer a call up like he was last year, was vibrating with excitement. When we returned home, Avery's enthusiasm seemed to intensify as he bounced around the living room reliving moments in the game. Elliot, however, grabbed his nightly bowl of cereal, and then curled up on the chair and immediately fell asleep. His job was done. Everything worked out for the best, and finally, he was at peace.

Mr. Man would not stop for a victory photo.

This guy is always up for a photo op.

I enlisted Elliot's new buddy, Ethan, to help me get a  photo  of Elliot. There is nothing quite a like a healthy dose of peer pressure to keep this boy in line.

Way to go Kingston! As we were commenting along the sidelines last night, you all played a great game, and we were impressed with how well you all played together. I think this just may be our best team ever!