Monday, May 30, 2011

Just your average day after school..

Him: Why do I have to clean my room?
Me: Because it's messy.
Him:Why can't I play video games first, then clean my room later?
Me: Because that's how your room got so messy while I was gone. Later never comes for you.
(5 minutes passes)
Him: But you said yesterday that I could play video games when I got home from school.
Me:I said you could play video games after your room was cleaned.
(Crashing and banging sounds come from his room)
Him: Do you know why it takes me so long to clean my room?
Me: Yes.
Him: Well??? Do you?
Him: If you know, why won't you tell me?
Me: I do know, and I'll tell you when your room is clean.
Him: I have ADHD you know, and it's hard for me to concentrate.
Me: Yeah, that sucks. Go clean your room.
(Stomps off to his room)
5 minutes later:
Him: Come see how much I've done.
Me: No thanks, I'll wait for the grand finale.
Him: How come she gets to watch tv?
Me: She finished cleaning her room already. You can start by putting all your dirty clothes in a laundry basket.
Him: Where's a laundry basket?
Me: I bet you could figure that out if you thought for at least 10 seconds.
Him: (Stomps off to the laundry room and returns empty handed)
Me: Go get a laundry basket.
Him: (Takes one dirty sock and puts it in the laundry basket in the laundry room - comes back empty handed.)
Me: Go. Get. A. Laundry. Basket. And. Bring. It. Back. To. Your. Room.
Him: (Comes back with a laundry basket.)
Me: Now put the dirty clothes in the basket. Do NOT include toys, belts, food, rocks, magnets, dead bugs, or anything that could melt in the dryer.
Him: (Rolls around on the floor attempting to pick up things with his teeth)
Me: Get up and pick up the clothes with your hands.
Him: My tummy hurts.
Me: Get up and pick up the clothes with your hands and put them in the laundry basket.
Him: All of them? But they're not all dirty. I'm going to die and die and die all day long.
Me: Well at least your room will be clean when you're dead.
Him: That's not nice you know.
Me: (I'm distracted by a phone call)
Him: (He's now using the laundry basket to help pretend he's a turtle, and slowly creeps into the living room to argue with his sister that he gets to play video games and she can't watch the Suite Life on Deck. As if I won't notice an upside down laundry basket moving across the floor.)
Me: (Hangs up from phone call) Ok, into your room turtle boy. (I proceed to tell him item by item which one to pick up and put where.)
Him: Aren't you done yet?
Me: Very funny.
(After only about 5 minutes, his room is done.)
Him: Next time, could you please sort my Lego by characters? I don't want the Star Wars mixed in with Indiana Jones.
Me: Yeah, like that's gonna happen. Go play your video game. I need a cup of tea.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


It's almost like clockwork. It's so predictable. And yet I hate that it's so predictable.

It's been at least 18 months since my husband and I have had a break from the tag team parenting that is necessary with my middle daughter. Despite her being 12 years old, we can never leave her alone. Not even to run into town to pick up milk. Not even to leave her in the car while I run into the store to pick up milk.

She is always either with my husband or me. But finally we scraped enough $$ together to head off to Vancouver for the weekend, and pay someone to come stay with the youngest two. My older daughter has soccer all weekend so she's staying with a team mate. Our respite provider's name is Gayle, and she is wonderful! Year's ago, when my daughter was in grade two, Gayle was her EA. She's efficient, follows the plan, she's kind, she's reliable. And...she's a registered nurse. So maintaining the diabetes care isn't anything new to her, and doing respite for us helps her by adding to her nursing hours.

So what's the problem? Where does the anxiety come in? Today at school my daughter's blood sugars started rising and by lunch time they were high. As per the care plan the EA phones me, I tell her how much insulin my daughter needs to give herself, the EA watches while my daughter administers it to herself, and we move on. Except when the blood sugars are this high I ask the EA to re-test in 30 min. and phone me with the results. Thirty minutes later the EA phones, her blood sugar is still going up, so we correct it again. Thirty minutes later the EA phones and now the blood sugar has gone up significantly, despite a mass quantity of insulin that has been administered. And of course the kids aren't actually at the school, they're on a field trip 30 minutes away. I was going to go get her, but the school bus was coming to pick them up in a few minutes anyways so we agreed to meet at the school. As they pull into the school she re-tests and finally the sugars are dropping. Two hours has elapsed. If the sugars hadn't been going down we would have been on our way to the emergency room.

This type of prolonged high blood sugar is not from eating food and not giving herself insulin. This is what happens when she is anxious. She knows we're going away and even though she knows Gayle, and she will be in her own home her body goes into panic mode. And typical of my daughter, when asked about it she says she feels fine. (This is what the psychiatrist refers to when he says she disassociates). In her mind, nothing has happened. She doesn't even "feel" any of the symptoms of high blood sugar. Not physically, not emotionally. She has totally removed herself from the experience.

It's exhausting as a mom. I was all prepared to cancel room reservations in Vancouver and phone and make one at ICU. What will happen tomorrow at school? Will it be a repeat of today? Or will it be a typical day for her? Your guess is as good as mine. Will we still go away? Yes, but we're always prepared to turn around and come home on a moment's notice. So even though it's supposed to be a weekend without thinking about our kids and their issues, I know I will be.

But for now, I'll be thinking about where we should eat in Vancouver, deciding if we should go to the Whitecaps game on Saturday or see a show. I'll be inspecting funky shops on West 4th and having coffee and chocolate on South Granville. But I will always be listeing for my phone to ring.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"Knock Knock"

As I was searching my child's room last night for contraband, I came across a book I hadn't seen for quite awhile. "Everyone's Favorite Knock Knock Jokes". Really? Everyone's Favorite? There is no such thing. Knock Knock jokes are just another tool in our kids' arsenals designed to drive us crazy.

Oh sure, it's cute the first few times. And when it's someone else's kid who is obsessed with knock knock jokes, it's hilarious. However, anyone who gives a kid a book on knock knock jokes is right up there with the people who give our kids harmonicas, drums, tamborines and maracas. It's a socially acceptable form of torture for the parents.

As I recall, this particular book of knock knock jokes came into our possession from the regional library staff where I had signed my kids up for the summer reading program a few years ago. You know, it was one of those programs designed to encourage kids to read over the summer with reward charts, stickers, group activities....all those things designed for the typical child. And for lots of kids it is a wonderful program. My oldest daughter for example, loved it and thrived in that atmosphere. Well, for my other two...let's just say it was an exercise in futility. While other parents snuck off for coffee while their kids were in the group (personally I think "coffee" was a code word for the pub!), I had to stay and try and contain my youngest child. My middle child was so overwhelmed that she just followed her older sister around and I figured at least this way she was getting some type of social contact.

Picture this: it's a beautiful summer evening...there's a group of kids sitting on the grass listening to the librarian read them a story and using puppets. The kids are entranced with the story and the puppets...except for two of my kids. One is staring off into space. My son is sitting in the middle of the group pulling his t-shirt over his knees so he's able to transform himself into a ball - a wrecking ball. He proceeds to try to roll around like this and in the process hits several of the little girls in their pretty little summer dresses who are trying to hear the story and watch the puppet show. I think about pretending I don't know him, but we are already well known in the library (not necessarily for our reading) so I have to weave my way through the kids and try and remove my child, who refuses to stop being a ball, so I have to try and pick him up and carry him out of the crowd. Needless to say ths does disrupt the flow of the story and even the puppets are looking annoyed.

Mercifully the story soon ends and it's time for the librarian to draw names for prizes. (Why oh why do they do this with so many little ones there? Not everyone gets a prize which is a great concept for kids to learn, but for the little ones it only causes tantrums and tears.) And guess who wins a prize? My son. And what does she give him? A giant book of knock knock jokes.

Ok, so librarians have to get their revenge somehow, but really? That's just cruel.

It's all coming back to me now. I think it was me who hid that book. Can you blame me?

Monday, May 2, 2011

We Need To Talk About Kevin

This is an amazing book, and one I would recommend to anyone and everyone. It's one of the few books I've read that I literally couldn't put down, and even after I finished reading it I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks.

The story is about a fictional school massacre written from the mother's perspective, and how she tries to come to terms with her son and the murders he's committed. It's written in the form of letters to her estranged husband.

It may sound rather strange, and perhaps it is. However the writing is so well done, and you can empathize with the mother as she takes you on an extremely emotional journey of her son's life. It also speaks volumes about attachment. The mother was very ambivalent about her pregnancy, and this book forces you to think about how that influenced her son's development - nature vs. nurture.

Should be blame the mother, or perhaps the easily manipulated father who thought his son could do nothing wrong? Or was Kevin born a sociopath?

If you get a chance to read this book, let me know your thoughts.

True Colours Mehaber Camp September 2011

Come camping with us! All families with children of African heritage are invited to join in our second annual family camp. We're taking over Whatshan Lake Retreat ( and we'd love to see you there.

Whatshan Lake Retreat has generously offered up their entire facility for True Colours - Mehaber. We have reserved all the cabins and campsites for our families, as well as the Whispering Pines Concession. It includes a covered picnic area, refrigerators, freezer, cooler, microwave, outdoor grill and propane stove. Men's and women's washrooms with coin-operated showers are also included.

A camp fee of $55 per family has been added to the cabin/campsite cost to help with this expense. (If you are sharing a cabin with another family, please also purchase the camp fee separately. All families participating are required to pay the $55 camp fee.)

Your camp fee also includes a bbq dinner on Sunday night - hot dogs and burgers included - please bring a salad or dessert to share!

Note: All reservations MUST be done through this site.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What is happening with our health care system?

It seems to be working.

I noticed today that one of my prescriptions would be finished by the weekend and I had used all my refills. I phoned my friendly medical clinic (they are very friendly - really!) hoping for a last minute appointment. Now you have to understand that there are probably 6 doctors working out of this office at any given time, and like most communities they have full patient lists and are not taking on new patients. It's usually busier than Costco on a Saturday in the clinic, and I knew my chances were slim to none. The receptionist joked that I was only asking for a minor miracle when I phoned looking for an appointment before the weekend. But she said she could squeeze me in this afternoon at 2:45.

That's not the best time as you can imagine, what with kids arriving home from school and all, but hey, I jumped at the chance. My youngest usually arrives home from the bus at 2:55 pm, so I thought I would leave a note for him where I was and that I would be home soon. He doesn't do well with "surprises" and he would be alone for about 25 minutes before his older sister got home. He's in grade 5, so it's not as if he can't be alone for that long. But...I was a little concerned that because I hadn't been able to give him any notice about this, and prep him for what he needed to do, that he would be worried and anxious. And given his ADHD I was concerned that he wouldn't see the big note written in red letters telling him where I was.

So at 2:30 I headed to town for my appointment and arrived a few minutes early hoping I could catch up on the latest issue of People magazine while I waited. And waited. Because we all know doctors are never on time. I had barely sat down and found the issue with Charlie Sheen on the front, when the receptionist ushered me into the examination room. (Yes, I took Charlie with me because we also all know this is just a ploy to help empty the waiting room while you continue to wait in the examination room listing to the oldies radio station.) I had just sat down (again) and dug my reading glasses out of my purse when the doctor came in. We chatted, he entered what he needed to enter in his computer, printed out my prescriptions and I was outta there! (And I never did find out what the latest news on Charlie is.)

I couldn't believe it. I made it home as my son was walking down the driveway.

Ok, so this isn't surgery that I was waiting for, and it wasn't life threatening. But I was really really impressed with that experience. Now it may never happen again, but I really appreciated how well it worked. Today.

It also made me think about all the health care dollars that our family consumes on a regular basis, and how lucky we are to have what we have. Sure there are problems, and lengthy waits for surgery, but compared to other countries we are extremely fortunate. If we had to pay directly for all the medical specialists that we regularly use for ourselves and our children, well I can't even imagine where that money would come from. Sure, we pay for the psychologist(s) ourselves, but the GPs, the pediatricians, the endocrinologist, the many emergency room visits, yada yada yada, are all part of our health care system. I need to remind myself of that more often.

I also think about my daughter's birth mom in the US, and one of her reasons for choosing us to parent her child was because we live in Canada. She wanted her child to have access to good health care; not just what was available for low income families in the US. Of course there were other reasons for her decision too, but that was important in her planning for her baby.

I know my experience today at the clinic won't necessarily be repeated, but I need reminders every now and then to not take our system for granted, despite it's faults. Our family is stronger and healthier because of it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Help Wanted - Conflict Negotiator

Required immediately. Must have many years experience in extremely hazardous conditions.

Duties to include, but not limited to:
- deciding who gets to sit in which chair

- resolving "seat saved" time limitation disputes

- establishing and instituting policy and procedures regarding watching tv programs and playing video games
- establish hierarchy on who gets first choice in tv show/video game selection - criteria must take into consideration the following factors: who was already watching/playing something, how long they have been at this activity, and if all complainants have completed their assigned household and school tasks in a satisfactory manner

- establish and institute policy and procedure for borrowing clothes from another household member and determine at what point in time the item must be returned in a similar condition as when it was borrowed

- establish before each trip in any vehicle where the line in the back seat is that neither passenger is allowed to cross
- in case all family members need to be in the same vehicle at the same time, establish who sits in the middle to, during and from the destination
- determine how far in advance "shot gun" can be called prior to any trip in any vehicle, and at what point that trip ends (ie. one way, return, etc.) and someone else can call "shot gun"

- enforce current policy that even though someone says they didn't leave the light on, they are still required to turn it off upon request of their supervisor. (This policy also includes closing doors and flushing toilets).

Formal degrees in behavioral management or education not the least bit relevant.

Preference will be given to those with military or correctional facility experience.

Hours of work: All waking hours and sometimes sleeping hours.

Rate of pay: Let's just consider this a volunteer position - no one could possibly afford to pay what this job is worth.

Don't bother sending a resume, just show up and you can have the job