Category Archives: kids

Parent teacher interviews; the good, the bad and the simmering irritation.

I’ve had parent teacher interviews for both kids now. For the most part they were both good.

Lexi’s was surprising in a few ways. When she was in her speech therapy group she was super fidgety, didn’t listen well and pretty much did her own thing. I was expecting a lot of the same in school. It was pleasantly surprising to hear that those worries were unfounded. her teachers said she listens well, follows rules and directions wonderfully and is a good kid in class. Hooray. They then said that she is very quiet and withdrawn in class…. wait, what? It was at this point that I wanted to ask them if they were sure they had the right child. Lexi talks all. the. time. (i have no idea where she gets that from, really I don’t, ha ha ha). It turns out that because of her speech issues she is very reluctant to talk in class. She knows she can be hard to understand and she hates to repeat herself. The SLP said that she is starting to open up more now, and that once they do more work on the speech sounds, they hope she will open up even more.

The preschool she attends is a Headstart program, so they have a lot of resources to help the kids, she sees a SLP twice a week, and they have an OT visit the class from time to time. The OT noticed that Lexi’s fine motor skills aren’t quite up to par. They will help her at school and they gave us some ideas of things we can work on at home. It great that the help is there for her. So all in all the meeting went well.

Eslyn’s was a few weeks ago. Normally I go, talk to the teacher, and go on my merry way. She’s a good student so all her parent teacher meetings have pretty much been the same. She’s doing good, she’s very helpful, friends with everyone, is pleasure to have in class, blah blah blah.

And for the most part this one was the same. She’s going to be getting straight A’s on her report card, which is great. Her teachers only complaint was that, at times, she seems kind of distracted part way through the lessons. She’s had this teacher before for Kindergarten, so the teacher knew this wasn’t like Eslyn. I mentioned that Eslyn had been complaining that she was bored. We figured out that she’s finishing her work quickly and is doodling and spacing out out of boredom.

In Grade 2 they work through the reading levels I-M. Eslyn is at L right now. It’s where they expect most of the class to be in January. At that point her teacher figures she’ll be reading at a Grade 3 level. Great right? at the time I thought so. The teacher and I continued talking and she said how most of the class was at the beginning of the Grade 2 levels or still reading at a Grade 1 level. So the work they are doing is geared towards those levels and that’s probably why Eslyn is getting bored. Then she said something that at the time wasn’t even a blip on my radar. She said that she finds it is difficult teaching to two or three different levels.

Later on when I told Donnie about the meeting what she said kind of stuck in my brain. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it is hard to teach to a bunch of different levels. You don’t want to make things too hard for the students who are struggling or those who are right on level. But how then do you challenge those who are ahead?

It’s one of those things that has made me more and more irritated the more I think about it. I don’t want any kids being left behind so mine can be challenged, that wouldn’t be fair. I also don’t want my child not to reach her full potential because she’s not being given work to her capabilities. Part of me wants to get angry with the teacher, to demand that she find a way to teach to all the kids, but I know that’s probably not likely. I don’t want to be ‘that’ Mom, but I also want to be an advocate for my child.

And then sometimes I doubt myself. I’m sure she didn’t actually mean she wasn’t challenging the kids who are ahead, I’m sure she realizes that Eslyn has time to draw elaborate scenes on the back of her finished work means it’s to easy for her. I’m sure the kids who are almost a grade level ahead of their peers in reading aren’t being ignored.


So my plan for now is to wait. There are two reasons I am taking this wait and see approach. the first is that I’m hoping that now that the teacher realizes Eslyn is bored that she will challenge her more. The second reason is that her teacher is done at the end of the week, she’s going on maternity leave. This means a new teacher and a new teacher will have a new approach, a different way of doing things. So I will wait until January and see what happens. And in the mean time we will continue to visit the library and let her read to her hearts content.


Todays uncommon disease is…..

Henoch Schonlein Purpura.

The good news:

-in almost 90% of the cases it clears up with no complications.

-most cases have no lasting effects.

-many cases only last a few weeks.

The bad news:

-in about 10% of the cases it causes kidney failure

-the pain can be so excruciating the patient may have to be hospitalized

-there can be a relapse if the affected person gets another cold

-it can last for months.


So that is our situation right now.  We are waiting.  It started with what we thought was a sprained ankle.  Eslyn fell at school and came home limping.  A trip to the doctors showed no fractures.

The next day she was fine, no limping. Great we thought, it was a mild sprain.  So we shipped her off to grandma’s for a sleepover.  While she was there her ankle broke out in a rash.  We thought, reaction to the tensor bandage.  So we didn’t really worry.  By the next afternoon the rash had spread all over her legs and buttocks and both her her legs were swollen and she was in a lot of pain. So it was off to the ER.

We got lucky, the doctor treating her had seen HSP before, 4 times in fact.  So at least we had a diagnosis.  They checked her kidney function, and so far so good (knock on wood).  She was sent home with some Tylenol, told to rest, and we were given the name to look up.  never Google your child’s illness, never ever ever.

Basically what she has is this; it’s a form of vasculitis, that affects mainly children.  It affects the joints, skin and organs.  It presents  with a rash that is actually a collection of burst blood vessels.  It causes the joints to swell and become painful, basically, arthritis that will get better. The kidney functions have to be monitored for around a year.  It is usually preceded by a respiratory or throat infection. That is what we know.  What we don’t know is will her case be mild or severe?  Will it last weeks or months? Will she be in a little bit of pain or a lot?  How much school will she miss?  Will it return?

The not knowing makes me feel so helpless as a parent.


Back to school headaches

It’s back to school time!

Eslyn started Grade 2 on Tuesday, and it was mainly an uneventful day.  The line up bell rang 4 minutes early which resulted in me and the kids running through the field to get her lined up on time.  Luckily I wasn’t the only Mom hauling ass.  We made it in plenty of time before her teacher came to gather the class.  It was kind of funny, in kindergarten and grade 1 all the parents went into the classroom with the kids on the first day.  This year us grade 2 parents kind of milled around wondering whether or not to go in the school.  After all the kids had gone in the doors (grades 1-3 line up at the same doors)  we all drifted in after them.  Most of us stood outside the classroom, peeking our heads in for a second or two to say hi, and greeting the other parents who we recognized (and hooray for me I talked to a few strange moms!  That is HUGE for me!).

All seemed to be going well until about 45 minutes later I got a call from the school.  Of course the first thing I’m thinking is that Eslyn has gotten hurt or is sick.  Instead the secretary, Mrs G.,  was calling to see if Eslyn was home with me. Uhm, no I actually walked her to class.  So they called her classroom and yes indeed she was there.  They apologized for the mistake (the teacher marked absent in the wrong spot) and thanked me for being so calm. Then Mrs. G. said she thought it was weird that she had had to call me if Eslyn actually was absent because I was usually so good about calling in to report her absences.  And that is why I love her school, it’s small enough that the staff know who the parents are and what they are like.

Lexi’s first day of preschool is tomorrow.  Her preschool is in the same school as Eslyn goes to, but instead of walking she gets to take the bus.  I did  have the option of walking her each day but the timing with Eslyn was really crappy.  Lexi starts long enough after Eslyn that we can’t just hang around the school, but if I walked Eslyn everyday and Lexi I’d pretty much have to turn around and walk out the door a few minutes after coming home.  So the bus it is.  I also thought it would give her a few more minutes with her soon to be friends.

The welcome letter from the preschool said that the bus line would be calling us starting on the 27th of August.  So we waited, and waited , and waited some more.  On the Friday I called the preschool, I was told there had been an issue with the computers and the bus company would be calling over the weekend.

The weekend passed and there was still no call.  So today I called the school and was give the number for the bus company.  I called, and after almost 20 minutes on hold I finally got through to a person.  They were really nice and let me know what time Lexi will be picked up.  They also asked if I would like the bus driver to call me to confirm the time, I said sure.

Let me just say the call from said bus driver did not really instill me with confidence.  She went on and on about how she couldn’t actually confirm my pick up time because the last two days she didn’t finish her route until 9:10 and she was supposed to be done at 8:30 and now she had a whole other route to do because of the preschool blah blah blah.  What the fuckity fuck?!

It was not the most reassuring thing to realize that I will be entrusting my 3 year old to someone who hasn’t yet managed to get 12 kids to school on time.  And then there was the fact that she had no idea that school started tomorrow.  Sigh.  At this point I was thinking to my self, this is what I get for being lazy and not wanting to walk in the winter.

So here’s hoping that tomorrow the bus will be on time, and that our bus driver is more together than she seemed on the phone.

Teach your children well. Then tell them to shut up about it.

I’m a big fan of learning.  I believe that kids are little sponges and you can use almost anything as a teachable moment.

This summer I’m teaching Eslyn how to tell time (she really wants to be able to use her Justin Bieber watch). I’m also teacher her how to count money; we’re learning about endangered animals because of the zoo and we’re working on addition and crystals by making rock candy.

Not everything she’s learned this summer has come from home though, her friends have been teacher her a a few things too.  And I am a less than enthusiastic about that.

The first thing her friends have taught her about is sex.  We found this out when we went to the zoo and one of the little girls in her class asked why there was no baby elephants.  Eslyn piped up because there are no boy elephants.  Her classmate then asked me why would you need a boy elephant, to which I replied “Ask your parents”.  Eslyn responded with “I know why” I looked at her and she said “E told me”. When we got home that night I asked what exactly E had told her.  “S-E-X” was her reply.  So we then had to sit down and have a sex talk.  I want her to be educated, but I want her to be educated by ME.  So our talk ended with me telling her that these conversations were between me and her.  Not that there was anything wrong with what we were talking about but most Mom’s and Dad’s think this is something they should talk to their kids about.

The second thing that Eslyn’s friends told her about this summer was religion.  One night I went upstairs to find a note from Eslyn, who had been in  a time out earlier.  It was a lovely note about how I was a mean, mean Mommy.  That part was pretty standard 7 year old stuff.  The next bit though…. in the rest of the note Eslyn said that since I was a mean Mom I was going to go to hell.  And that I was going to burn in hell forever and ever because we don’t got to church so we are evil and bad.

I was stunned.  You see, we don’t go to church. Eslyn has been to one church service in her life, and that was part of a friends wedding.  So I was very curious where she had heard such things. When asked where she had heard such stuff she replied “E”. Yep that’s right, this lovely friend of hers decided that when she found out that we don’t take Eslyn to church to tell her all about hell and how everyone in our family was going to burn there when we die.  She then told Eslyn that if she believed in God then only her Mommy and Daddy would burn in hell.  This one was a little harder to deal with.  I was mad that someone would tell my kid this.  My first instinct was to tell her she was never allowed to play with this girl again because she was a liar.  But instead we had a long talk about how different people have different beliefs and it’s okay if you and your friend don’t believe in the same thing.

So while I think it’s great and very important for parents to teach their kids about their beliefs, or lack there of, and about sex, please tell your children not to share what they’ve learned.  While your nine year old might be ready to learn about the mechanics of sex, your neighbours four year old might not be.

They were trying to help me clean, or kill me. I’m not sure which.

So today while I was cleaning the kitchen I heard the girls in the upstairs bathroom.  They were playing quietly and I, even though I heard the water running,  wasn’t worried.  I figured they were bathing their dolls.

Later in the afternoon I went to step into the shower.  The shower was extremely slippery.  I went flying and almost cracked my head on the soap holder.  That’s when I noticed the two part bars of soap on the shelf and realized the bottom of the tub was coated in soap.

Yup my little darlings had decided to help me and clean the tub, by scrubbing the bottom of the tub with bars of soap.  At least they said they were trying to help me clean.  They might have been secretly plotting to do me harm because I told them no more freezies.  But I like to think they were cleaning, it helps me sleep at night.

My summer bucket list

So we decided this summer to do a staycation.  We decided this because there is so much to do around here, to reduce our carbon foot print, because it’s the hip thing to do because we’re poor.  I know other people do it for better reason’s but we have no choice really.  So this is my summer bucket list.  I figure if we do enough fun almost free stuff they kids won’t realize that they don’t get to go on big fun family vacations. Well at least until they are a little older.  So nothing on our list costs more that $50 to do. (well okay some could cost more if you want them to but we’re cheap, and we have a pass that gets us into city attractions for free and my MIL got us a pass to the science center for Easter so it saves us money).

Summer bucket list

  • go to the zoo
  • go to Fort Edmonton Park
  • go to Muttart Conservatory
  • go to the science center
  • go berry/vegetable picking
  • go camping for one night at the city campground
  • take the girls to the street performers festival
  • take the girls to the heritage festival
  • have a fishing day complete with BBQ at the lake
  • go see the free puppet shows at the library
  • cover the sidewalk in chalk drawing
  • go to the park at least twice a week
  • make oodles of jam
  • run through the sprinkler
  • go garagesaling
  • take the girls to the Capital Ex parade
  • take the girls to the art gallery

We’ve already been to the zoo, so I can cross that off my list.  And the girls will have oodles of fun doing all the other things too.  It’s going to be a fun summer.

Teeny tiny mean girls

Today Eslyn came home from school upset.  She came downstairs obviously covered in my make-up.  when she lied about using it she was sent to her room.  Whenever she gets in trouble she sends us notes, usually saying that she’s sorry or how much she loves us.  Today the notes she sent sown the stairwell made me want to cry.  Her note says “I don’t like myself.  I’m ugly”.  My sweet adorable 7 year old thought she was ugly and needed make-up to feel pretty.

I found her crying in her room, so I sat her down, hugged her tight and asked her why she thought she was ugly.  She finally told me she’s ugly because she looks different from the other kids at school, she looks like a rag doll.  After a few more minutes she admitted that a girl in her class told her she was funny looking and looked like a rag doll.  We’ll call this girl B. (Trust me there are many thing’s the Mamma bear in me wants to call this girl, but it just seems very wrong to say those things about a child).

B is a mean girl.  Do you remember the catty, bitchy girl from high school or perhaps junior high that was constantly acting like queen of the school.  The one who picked on everyone, was usually popular and would even turn on her friends if the mood struck.  Well picture that in a 7 year old and you have B.  I know it sounds horrible of me, but we have been dealing with this girl since Eslyn was in kindergarten, yep kindergarten.

One day Eslyn and B will be best friends. The next day B will decide she doesn’t like Eslyn’s shirt, or the T.V. shows she watches or the lunch she brought; and so she teases her about it.  She’ll call her a baby, say she can’t be friends with her or some of the other girls, teases her and just goes out of her way to make Eslyn feel bed.

It breaks my heart.

Thankfully her teacher knows about this.  She’s talked to us before about how cliquish the girls can be (In grade 1 for fricks sakes!).  She’s talked about personality clashes between the girls and how one girl seemed often behind it.  She didn’t name names, she can’t, but she did nod when Donnie and I looked at each other and said “B”.  We explained that we’ve been dealing with this since kindergarten.  So her teacher keeps an eye out for it and tries to nip it in the bud as much as possible.

We’ve limited the amount of time Eslyn spends with B, there haven’t been any play dates in a while, and I don’t plan on any in the near future, but there’s nothing we can do about school.  We’ve started talking to Eslyn about good friends and not so good friends.  About how she should try to play more with the other girls in her class.  I know she’s a sensitive girl, but I’ve tried to limit just telling her to toughen up, her feelings are valid and real, and I don’t want to trivialize them.  I don’t want her to stop talking to me  I had just hoped that she wouldn’t have to deal with mean girls until she was older.

The most frustrating thing is in a few days the girls will make up and Eslyn will call B one of her best friends again.  And the roller coaster will start all over again.  Is it mean that a little part of me hopes that B will start going to a school closer to her house? Or move away?