Monday, February 15, 2010

Apparently I'm a hippy??

I find it amusing that my husband and I are referred to as European and/or Hippies by our friends who are less liberal then us.  I admit we are fairly liberal and more crunchy then a goodly number of our friends in many aspects.  But does that make us hippies?  I'll lay it all out and let you decide!!

We birth our children at home, with no interventions (and almost with no midwife due to the speed of labor).  I breastfeed exclusively until 8 or 9 months before offereing solids, skip infant cereal altogether and go straight to relatively bland table food (nothing jarred).  I breastfeed in public without the aide of a blanket or cover.  I also get into heated debates with people (online and in real life) who would try to tell me what I am doing is immoral or wrong.  My children have all breastfed their toys (including my son) and I ENCOURAGE it!!  I dabble in cloth diapers with a very on and off attitude.  I did Elimination Communication (infant pottying) with 2 of my children; 1 of whom was fully out of diapers by 18 months.   All my kids are pottied by the age of 2 because I don't agree with the "wait till they're ready; after age 3" mentality.    My youngest child is not Vaccinated, but the older 3 are. 
We don't ofen eat prepackaged foods or frozen convenience foods.  We do eat a lot of whole grains and raw veggies.  My kids even enjoy snacking on veggies.  I have never bought koolaid for the purpose of consuming it (but do use it to make an awesome smelling playdough!), my kids don't get anything but water or milk to drink until after the age of 2...and then fruit juice is a rare and special treat!  Pop is unheard of except with the grand parents!
We don't have cable television (except during the Olympics right now!!) but we do watch a lot of movies.  With the kids (all under 8 remember) we have watched everything from disney classics to Transformers, Superman, and now the newset Star Trek.  There were some who thought that that might be a little violent and maturely themed for young kids.  But our kids LOVED it, and I have not noticed an increase in violence in our household. 
I have noticed an increase in attitude and contention in our house though.  I cna pinpoint that to our children starting public school.  (Oh yeah, we are homeschoolers trying out the public school system.  To which I am really NOT loving it.) 
HOWEVER....We do have lots of toys that are made of plastic and require batteries.  My kids play video games.  I use sunblock and bugspray.  I regularly shave my legs and pits.  I spank my kids when necessary, and insist they sleep in their own beds in their own rooms.  I wear them when needed, but not ALL the time.  I encourage independance at an early age.       

So that's us; what do you think?  Do we deserve our hippy/European title?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Do as I say, not as I do"

A long time ago, when I was in elementary school, (haha) I remember every year taking the time to write out Valentines.  It was a long arduous process, picking just the right card for each individual. I didn't want Kris thinking I liked him if the sentiment was too mushy, and didn't want Stacy thinking I liked Kelly more if hers wasn't as sentimental.  It took the better part of an evening, not just to pick them and write them, but to mentally go over our seats in class to make sure I hadn't forgotten anyone.  And of course, I would always be sure to include a couple of blank ones just incase I did forget someone.  I remember distinctly thinking how awful it would feel to be the only one to not receive a full complement of Valentine Cards, and while it rarely if ever happened in my rememberance, it was still a terrible fear.

Fast Foward 20 years and the teachers are now smart enough to send class lists home.  I think this serves 2 purposes.  A) no longer are there just Amanda's, Kelly's and Jason's in class, but Mykenzie, Mackenzie and Makensie, Dylan, Dillon, and Dalon.  With so many spelling variations it's best to not get them wrong. and B) This way nobody gets forgotten.  Infact the note sent home on the other side of the list specifically states "If your child wishes to bring Valentine Card's, pleases make sure to include all 27 students".  I appreciate the sentiment of the second reason, but can't help feeling like we have done kids a diservice to warrant this need for a list.

Having had 2 children in the school system now for almost 6 months I have determined that kids today aren't just cruel, they are down right rude and nasty.  They have absolutely no filter from brain to mouth, saying exactly what they want when they want, consequences be damned.  And from my observances...they go out puposely looking to cause a scene.  I wouldn't put it past them to leave someone off on purpose, just to be hurtful.  

Sadly, this fault can only be layed at the feet of their parents.  Children learn by example, not by sermon.  So while we tell our children to speak kindly, we aren't showing them how.  I know for a fact many of the people I went to school with swear in front of their children, speak with crude words and name call their friends within earshot of their kids.  It's not being done maliciously, but our kids can't tell the difference, and they take what they have heard and try it out with their friends.  It's terribly disturbing to listen to a group of 8 year old girls telling each other they suck and to shut up. 

We grew up when sarcasm was reaching it's pinnacle, we were the rulers of sarcasm, and it has carried over, spilling forth into all aspects of our lives.  These children have yet to master it, and don't understand that while the words are cruel and harsh, the delivery and the meaning behind them are not.  So they hear the words, understanding only the linear value of them, and deliver these harsh words with a sneer and a snarl, waiting for the scene that is inevitable.

I have witnessed this behavior first hand in my own home, when school friends have come to play.  I admit to sitting my girls down, and threatening them, that if they ever behaved in someone elses house the way their friends behaved in mine, or spoke to a grown up with as much disrespect as I was spoken to, that I would confine them to our house for the remainder of their school careers.

So while I am grateful that the list is there and I don't have to figure out how to spell Rheanna correctly, I am saddened that it needs to be said "Please include all 27 children."  Somewhere along the lines we have failed our children.  I urge you all to think about how you speak in front of your children..."do as I say, not as I do" has never proven to be an effective teaching method.  



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Welcome to a New Year

I had a wonderful Christmas season.  Full of good food, family and friends.  I guess that is why I haven't posted in so long.  The beast within has been kept quiet and content.  But the magic of Christmas seems to be ebbing and alas, the beast is restless.

It's been so long that my thoughts are being pulled by a dozen different issues, but the one on the fore front of my mind is mental math.   Mental Math is "new math", it is the math they are teaching in elementary schools now.  Essentially it is teaching a variety of different methods to regroup numbers to solve math problems.  So instead of teaching children
 629    *carry the one*

the equation now looks like this
358 + 271=
300 + 200= 500
50 + 70= 120
8 + 1=9
500 + 120= 620 + 9= 629

now I ask you...which one is easier to do?

So I *get* that the idea behind this is so that the kids develop an understanding of how numbers work together, how they correlate, how they function alone and separately.  And that eventually they will be able to do this easily, and quickly, and in their heads.  But it strikes me as backwards.  Developing and understanding of numbers comes from practice and use of numbers, it doesn't strike me as something that can necessarily be taught.  It's a light bulb that gets switched on, a "duh" moment if you will.  I actually remember that happening to me sometime around grade 4.  I was doing these equations as taught to me, thinking I got it...getting the right answers, and then one day it just hit me BAM...69+41   is exactly the same as 70+40....but this one is just easier to add....Presto, the light turned on and I all of a sudden started making connections.  Nobody could force the connections earlier on was like speaking a different language to me.
I see the same thing happening with my daughter...I see what she is being taught at school, and she is struggling with this method.  She looks at me like a 2 headed beast when I try and explain these number relations.  And YET...when given the cups with 10 beans each...and shown how to add them, and carry over a group of 10 (or 100 if such is the case) she understands.  I am not delusional enough to think she understands exactly why she is doing it, but I also know that she too will get that light bulb moment and go "OH, I SEE".  I just don't see why we are trying to force the light bulb moment.

*Stepping into politically incorrect, sensitive areas now...follow at own risk.  Please remember that I am not trying to spare feelings, and neither will I apologize for my views.*

This once again feeds my theory that schools are now catering to the lowest common denominator.  Math, with regrouping is difficult to understand by those with learning delays, and instead of taking them out of the classroom and teaching them these alternate methods; they are teaching these alternative methods as the norm, so as not to be exclusionary. 

While I am on the subject of not being exclusionary, let’s talk about chewing gum...which is something that is a BIG issue in my daughter’s grade 3 class right now.
She came home before Christmas with a permission slip to allow gum chewing in their classroom.  The note said something about learning alternate ways to help concentrate and learn, and how gum chewing is a way that they are exploring.  There was also a brief mention of a study done, showing kids who chewed gum while doing math scored 2% better than their counterparts. (For the record I looked up the study, and it was funded by the Wrigley’s Science I am not exactly sure how accurate and non-biased those results are.)
Well, this note and its reason for gum chewing intrigued me and I asked my oldest daughter what this was all about.  The conversation we had would have almost been comical...if I hadn't gotten the slight impression that my daughter was brainwashed.  Well okay, not brainwashed, but she was spewing verbatim the things her teacher said, with no thought to how it actually applied to her.
Here is roughly the conversation we had.
Me: Can you explain to me how chewing gum is supposed to help you learn?
Her: Well, if I am having trouble concentrating, I can chew the gum and it will help me stay on task.
M: By concentrating on chewing gum instead?
H: No.
M: So how is gum supposed to help you stay on task?
H: Well, because my mouth will be busy chewing.  I won't be talking of topic. and *building in enthusiasm*  If I feel the need to yell, my mouth will be full of gum and I won't have to..I can just chew gum. *finishing off quite pleased with herself.*
M: Do you have a problem with randomly yelling out in class?  Are you sidetracked and easily taken off topic?  Should I be speaking to Ms. W about this?
H: *flustered and slightly indignant* NO.  Not me...but other people do.
M:  Oh, I see.  So this is a tool that is used for those boys in your class who have a hard time concentrating.  I could see how gum might help some of them.  And I guess some other kids thought it wasn't fair that these boys got to chew gum and they didn't?  So Ms. W decided to extend the opportunity to everyone?
H:*now looking slightly uncomfortable*  I guess.
M: Then my answer is No.  If chewing gum is not actually going to benefit you in any way I won't sign the form and supply you with sugar free gum.  I don't want you to create a habit and all of a sudden become dependent on gum for learning. 

It really frustrated me that this gum chewing thing was extended to the whole class.  And it bugs me for a couple of reasons.  First, if this is an actual tool for learning behaviours, then they are diminishing its value by extending it to the whole class.  Second, and this one I am having a hard time putting into words... but what is so wrong with telling kids NO? "No, John gets to chew gum because it helps him.  You don't need that kind of help.  But both ways are still okay."

Well, I know what's wrong with that...but that is a whole other rant for another day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Is online social networking really a good thing?

I think for the most part it has some benefits. 

I admit that I belong to an online group apart from things like facebook/myspace/twitter.  This is a private group and was united by a commonality more then 6 years ago.  We have grown and changed over the years.  There has been drama of course, but there has also been some incredible moments of friendship and sisterhood.  I would be lost without these women.    Apart from our 1 shared trait which brought us together in the first place; we are a very diverse group.  We are comprised of Career Women and SAHM's (Stay At Home Mom's), large families and single child homes.  We have nurses, realtors, child care professionals, speech therapists, farmers/ranchers, and even an ER Doctor.  We can be found from Coast to Coast, strewn across North America, as far North as Alaska, down to the South of Florida and across the sea in Israel and Singapore.  They are my go-to's when I have a question on any subject under the sun.  We confide in each other when there seems to be no one else who can/will listen.  We support each other, protect each other and care for each other.  When one of us is down, we will often band together to help; whether it's gathering info to help deal with a new diagnosis of Celiac's disease in a young child or collecting contributions towards a spa treatment because the stress of life has gotten to be too much.  I know more about many of these women then I do about many of my IRL friends (In Real Life).

My friends in real life know these women only as a collective reference The Garden, but to me they have faces, histories and families.  Their trials become my trials, their joys mine.  I have sat on pins and needles anxiously refreshing the page waiting for the birth of a newest Garden Baby.  So while I may not have met them face to face, I count them as some of my closest friends.

Tis the way of the social networking age.

But it can't all be good.

Socializing over a piece of electronics is definitely taking it's toll on society however.  When conversing with someone face to face, every nuance, every gesture, every facial expression is used to interpret meaning.  Take the phrase "You are such a dork."
If you say that phrase out loud you can change the meaning of it a thousand different ways just by changing your expression, your intonation and your movement.  Wrapping your arms around someone, and giggling while saying it, tells the person that you really don't believe what you are saying, and mean it in an almost "affectionate" way.  However folding your arms across your chest while giggling implies something ENTIRELY different.  It almost shows that you are embarrassed by what they are doing and that you likely do mean it, but are hiding your meaning with a giggle.  Folding your arms and saying it with a sneer instead of a giggle is pure scorn. 

So when I type You are such a dork :)   How should that be interpreted?  Is the smiley showing that I don't mean it?  Or am I being spiteful and smiling to hide my scorn? 

This accounts for a lot of drama across social networking groups.  The misinterpretation (or not) of someone's written word.  That is the second problem I see.  It is much easier to be rude, mean, or scornful to someone you don't physically know and hide it behind a smiley face or a {{{HUG}}}.  How many times have you seen the defense,
"I didn't mean it.  Didn't you see the smiley face showing I was joking?"  When everything about their post was hurtful?

I guess with the ability to disappear from a group and without the physical ties to bind you to people, it is easier to justify leaving when you have been wronged or when you have wronged and been called on it.  The mentality that you don't owe these people anything, they don't hold any part of you is strong enough to bring out the worst in us.

Recently an altercation happened on my facebook page between 2 of my friends -they did not know each other- it was regarding something I posted.  Both of them are fairly strong willed people and it got snarky.  Shortly after that I was unfriended by one of them.  It kind of surprised me, and I admit at first I was hurt.  But after really thinking about it I realized that one of these people I had known since high school I knew their quirks, their mannerisms, and could hear them saying in my mind the words they had written.  The other I had met online, and while I thought I knew her well, it turns out I guess I didn't.  Or maybe the parts of her I did know weren't enough for her to remain a friend when the going gets tough.  In either case, I see that it was easy for her to dump me as a friend because we had no physical ties to each other, nothing beyond online to link us together.  Easily forged, easily broken.

My lesson in all this was a profound one and really made me appreciate my real life, in the flesh friends all the more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I see must be the end of the month.

How sad is it that I can drive down a fairly major road and know what time of the month it is by the cops sitting in the True Way Muffler parking lot?

I drove Sanjay to work yesterday, and as we cross through a light standard I automatically remind him that the speed limit slows from 60 to 50 on the other side.  He slows down, and the next block down we seen 2 police cars sitting in a parking lot with 4 cops.  One manning the speed gun, one directing the speeders into the parking lot and two handing out tickets.

My tax dollars HARD at work.  They are so predictable it is sad.  Every 28th of the month they can be seen somewhere along this strip pulling speeders over, to get the quotient for the month.  And honestly, this is the most benign street in the city.  From our entrance onto this street until it changes speeds there is a set of condos 25+Meters back from the sidewalk on one side, and an 8 foot fence (protecting the houses!) on the other side.

When the speed limit changes to 50 the side with the 8 foot fence turns into an empty field backing onto some industrial type buildings( I can't see the buildings from the street, so I don't actually know what they are).  On the other side of the street is a walking path, and behind that a public park.  So really, why does the speed change?  The only reason I can surmise is to catch people who don't know or have forgotten about it.  It's an easy money trap for them.

The sad part is I can speed down that street 27 days of the month, just so long as I don't do it the last 2 days of each month.

Why aren't they out doing something productive instead of fining innocent people just trying to get around?  I can think of a few things that would be a better use of their time.  They could arrest crazy people they have warrants for (right Tanya?) Or even catch speeders who might actually be dangerous.  Like the losers who speed up and down residential streets during rush hour, after school has let out and kids are outside playing.

I have phoned multiple times to complain about the way they speed down my street.  I have even requested they put up a stop sign in front of my house.  *I am on a corner with only a 2 way stop*  They told me that unless there are more then 7 accidents per year at the intersection they won't consider it.  With all my complaints I have never seen cops park themselves at this corner to investigate the speeding.

Here's an idea...They can start arresting all these people.

Can you see what she is doing?  She's driving and texting at the same time.  I snapped this picture while we drove home from the zoo this summer.   It was rush hour and we were on a major road.  She had no idea I was right beside her taking her picture; she had no idea what was going on around her.  This isn't safe, why is she still allowed to be driving?  Why hasn't she been fined?  Instead of pulling over people who are doing 60 in a "newly changed to 50" zone, why aren't they going after the real road dangers?

I can't count on one hand how many times per car ride I see people slamming on brakes, only to pass them a moment later and see them with a cell phone in hand, either dialing or texting.

I love that we have increased our police force...I just wish they were actually being used to "Serve and Protect" instead of  "Extort and Pillage". 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What ever happened to the good samaritan?

You know the story.   The Good Samaritan
So to recap:
A Jewish man is robbed and beaten and left on the roadside near death.  People walk past him, around him, some even cross the road to avoid him.  Everyone pretends like he doesn't exist.  One man stops and helps him, soothes and bandages his wounds; puts him on the back of his donkey and takes him to an Inn to care for him; gives the innkeeper money and says to take care of him, and that if his bill should run higher than what was given, that he would pay the innkeeper when he comes again.

*If I am not mistaken the key points of this story are that the men that are mentioned to walk past the half dead Jewish Man are a Priest and a Temple Assistant.  And the Man that stops to save him is a Samaritan; noted enemies of the Jewish people.

At the end of the parable The Lawyer which asks the question in the first place "And who is my neighbor?"  is asked a question in return "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?"

 He answers Christ saying "He that showed mercy on him"  and Jesus replies "go and do thou likewise"; basically telling the smart aleck lawyer that everyone is your neighbor.

I try to live by this principal.  I try to help when I can, even if it is an inconvenience at times.  I was 45 minutes late to an important meeting because my good friend R and I tried to boost a van for a couple who had a toddler (it was the dead of winter and frigid doesn't come close to describing the weather).  After 3 unsuccessful attempts and boosting their van we opted to just drive them home.  I've taken care of kids at the last minute, gone to friends houses to help clean when they have been under the weather and gotten behind.  Dropped everything to help a neighbor locate a missing child...missing a birthday party because of it.

I didn't do these things because I wanted recognition, I did it because sometimes things just need to be done.

So let me tell you about my non-Samaritan neighbor.

My family has been sick for the last several weeks; really, really sick; flu pandemic sick.  Though not sick enough to be admitted to the hospital. *sigh.  Thank Goodness for small blessings*  It started at the top and quiet literally has made it's way to the bottom.  Constantine was the last of us to get sick, and I put him to bed on Wednesday night with a slight sniffle and a cough.  Thursday his cough was worse, and after his nap that afternoon his breathing was quite labored and very shallow.

I watched him for an hour and just before the kids got home from school I decided he needed to go to emergency.  I ran through a mental list of people I could call on to help.  Most were either welcoming their own kids home from school or working.  I knew if need be I could take all 4 of my kids with me, but that still left the 2 school-age boys I care for without supervision.

For those who don't know me; I am not known to panic.  I am very level headed and down to earth.  I do well in the face of pressure.  But somehow this was different and I was having a hard time stopping the panic from creeping up and clutching my heart.

I decided the best course of action was to ask my next door neighbor to stay with the 2 boys while I took my kids with me.   She's a SAHM (Stay at Home Mom), but her boys are all grown up.

I knocked on her door and quickly explained that my baby was very sick and I needed to get him to children's emerg; however I had 2 boys I cared for after school.  I asked if she would please come and stay with them so I could take my kids and leave for the hospital immediately.
 Her response?  well it wasn't "Sure I'll be right over".

"If your baby is that sick you should phone 911"  *Sure dipstick, but that doesn't help me with the supervision and care of the 2 boys that aren't my own*.  Then she continued, "Will someone be coming to take over for me?  Because I can only stay for a couple of minutes...and if there are sick kids over there then I don't want to be there at all."

Well let me tell you, my jaw quite literally dropped.  After staring at her for a split second I gathered myself up and told her not to worry about it, that I would make other arrangements.  *Though honestly I wasn't sure what those other arrangements would be*.  I turned around and without another word I left.

When I got home I made a couple of phone calls to the parents of the boys I care for and one call to my best friend.  While on the phone with one of the parents my neighbor knocked on my door.  I motioned for her to come in, and then turned around and finished my conversation.  At this point I was pretty positive that I was going to have a neighbor girl watch the boys for me, I was going to drop my other 3 kids off at my girlfriend Rachelle's house, and I was just waiting for everyone to get home from school so I could solidify my plans.

My neighbor is standing in front of me and says "I can watch them if you need me to."  Well now I am just P.O.'d, and so I push past her and head outside.  "No thanks, I'm having the 12 year old across the street come and watch them.  I don't need you."

"Are you sure?"

"Nope, I have it under control.  Don't worry about it."  and with that I start walking up the sidewalk to meet the kids as they come home from school.

The finale of this story can be summed up quite easily.  My best friend Rachelle saves the day, and sensing my panic tells me that she is coming over to watch all the kids for me so that I can just take Constantine and go to emerg.  With this, please know that she has 3 of her own kids, and without a second thought she packed them all up in the van and was at my house in less then half an hour. 

So my neighbor...
At first I was really mad that she could so blatantly and rudely refuse a plea for help.  Then I was just confused.  I wasn't asking her to watch five kids for 7 or 8 hours.  Just 2 boys for an hour at most.  She has 3 sons herself, so I didn't think it would be a stretch for her.  Yeah, it was inconvenient, she had her bathing suit (and cover up) on, so maybe she was hoping to get one last swim in their pool in before the nice weather is gone...but still.

So much for "go and do thou likewise".

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Maybe there is hope for the public school system

Or maybe not.
  I met with the Principal today.  I thanked him for meeting with me and said "I know I have already been labeled "one of those parents", and I am okay with that.  Because if I don't advocate for my child no one is going to do it for me."
 He smiled and then reassured me that he was glad that I was one of those parents, and that not enough parents take as much of an interest in their kids educations as I seem to.  I won't go into "I said, he said"...the bottom line is me made the teacher aware of my concerns.   She had also already noted Cyndel's strengths and has been using them and encouraging/challenging Cyndel.  She will continue to do so and I will continue to monitor what Cyndel is learning, if I don't feel there is enough of a challenge I will go back and we will discuss further steps. 

*okay one "I said".
   "I don't want to have to go that route [advancing Cyndel to grade 1], but that doesn't mean I won't if the need arises." 

We have agreed to reconnect at another time to discuss how I feel things are going.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Public School Sucks

When I was younger I watched my Mom struggle with the public school system and my older brother.  She was constantly in contact with the teachers and the Principal.  Meetings and notes galore.  He wasn't a bad kid; so you can rule out disciplinary counsels.  He also wasn't mentally handicapped  or physically handicapped (which were the politically correct terms to use back then); so you can rule that out too.

My brother was advanced.  I wouldn't go so far as to say he was a "genius" or even "gifted".  (Sorry Bro.)  He was just advanced.  He was smart; very smart.  He picked the concepts up quickly, and finished his work even quicker.  He worked hard and scored high.  But he was bored, and what happens to kids who are bored?  They amuse themselves.  My mom was constantly at odds with the teachers, fighting to get "something" to keep her son from getting bored in class.  But unless you were a bad kid, or a kid with a special need, you were just lumped in with everyone else.

So here we are, nearly 25 years later and the same fight is being fought.

Every Adam Autism or Anna ADHD has an IEP (individualized Education Plan) which helps lay out their learning goals, challenges, strengths and encourages a learning pace appropriate to their learning capabilities.  Now don't get me wrong.  I am really glad these programs are in place.  Once upon a time these kids would have been labeled as "too far gone" and would get little more attention then a pet turtle.  It's great that they are being integrated into the school system, and consequently into society.

But what about the other side of that spectrum?  What about kids who come into the system advanced?  What is in place for them?  Are kids with delays or medical needs the only kids who have "Special Needs"?  I say no.  My daughter went into kindergarten already reading and writing (quite legibly I might add) and already capable of doing math facts to 10.  So what happens to her?  Does she too not have "special needs" that need to be met.  Should she not also have an IEP to help continue where she is at and continue on at her pace?

After a brief discussion with the teacher I was led to understand that she is working on getting everyone to the same level.  (Except for those with IEP's).  Essentially she is telling me that my child isn't going to learn anything this year because the other kids need to catch up to her.  Well I am sorry that just DOES NOT work for me.   

Why are classes being taught to the lowest common denominator?  Why should my daughter suffer because I took time out to work with her?  I'm sorry that you didn't take time to teach your child the alphabet before kindergarten, but that is not my problem.

Kids are way smarter then we give them credit for...classes should be taught with a higher standard in mind.  It has been my experience that expecting more of kids often leads to bigger and better results.  Why not teach to a higher level and expect those bottom dwellers to reach up...instead of those on top always being pulled down?

The kindergarten teacher has already expressed a non-interest in working with me.  And so now my choices are
A) let it go and sadly watch my child get lost in the system
B) enroll her in a Private School, where I know the education is second to none
OR C)push to have her sent to grade 1, where she will get the challenge I feel she is capable of handling.  

Well, I am not a "let it go" kind of person; so A is out.  Quite honestly if I could afford the 20K tuition for both girls I would send them to Balmoral Hall in a heartbeat.  But sadly my backyard money tree is a little short on funds, so B is out too.  Which leaves us with option C...pushing to have her sent to grade 1.  This doesn't seem like a great option either, I don't want to "advance" my child.  I just want her current love for learning to be harnessed and fostered.  I know that right now is a crucial time in a child's development; right now is make or break regarding learning. 

I hope the Principal has an option D I don't know about.  In I go on Wednesday to start seemingly where my Mom left off.  To advocate for my child, and to maybe make a change for all other "advanced" kids out there.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I'm here to watch a movie...

...if you want to talk and/or text your friends.  Get the heck out.

There I am sitting comfortably in my chosen seat, talking quietly to Sanjay as we wait for the lights to go down and the movie to start.  I admit it, I am a people watcher, and while conversing with Sanjay I am looking around observing the crowd.  Once upon a time it used to be a fun past time.  There would be older couples out on dates casually holding hands and talking.  New couples completely oblivious to those around them.  Groups of boys in one section being loud and boisterous trying to get the attention of the groups of girls in other sections.  Those girls trying very hard to not appear as though they are paying attention to the boisterous boys.  Fun was had by all. 

Now do you know what I see?

Cell phones.  Cell phones of all shapes and sizes, with bright screens that dot the theatre like annoying little fireflies.  Nobody is talking, nobody is laughing.  All they are doing is texting.  Texting the friends who are coming to find out their ETA.   Texting the friends who aren't coming to find out where to meet after the show and texting the friends who are sitting with them.  Doesn't anyone talk and joke and laugh anymore?

We are a society full of immediate gratification; there is nothing to look forward to, no surprise by waiting.  Whatever happened to making plans in advance and then anticipating those plans right up until the moment?  The sheer joy of having those plans come to fruition, or the utter disappointment of them falling through.  Now if things aren't going according to plan all you have to do is phone someone (oh wait no...we are such a lazy society that nobody even wants to talk anymore) text someone because they are so incredibly important that they have a cell phone on them at all times.  Plans are easily revamped, and nobody misses out on anything.

I see this as a major flaw in society.  Missing out, having plans fall through, not being reachable 24/7 helps you appreciate and love the experiences that do work out just a little bit more.  There is also something to be said for talking to strangers in the same setting as yourself.  It makes you aware of people outside your immediate circle of friends.  It helps you develop empathy for others. 

Several years ago we were driving home from a New Years Eve party at a friends house.  We had all 3 kids in the back of the van, it was 1:30 am, and we were exhausted.  As we were coming off an exit we saw a group of teenagers standing around a car that was up a snowbank and facing the wrong direction.  They all looked a little rattled.  Sanjay looked at me and I at him and we both nodded, he then put our hazards on and pulled in behind the sideways car.  When we got out to see what happened and ask if they needed anything they said they had called a tow truck and were just waiting. Sanjay looked at the car, and then at the 2 guys and said between the three of them they could push it off the bank.  And they did.  I spoke with the girls for a few minutes as they stood around shivering waiting for the car to be moved and discovered that they had been at a party, and were just heading home to what they figured would be a second party.  They thanked us profusely for stopping and helping get their car out; it would have likely been a long wait otherwise.  As they struggled to get back into their car a thought struck me and I asked who their DD was?   All 4 of them started shuffling back and forth and no one would look me in the eyes.
"We're okay, we aren't far from home."  Came the meek answer of the driver.
"No, I'm serious you guys.  Which of you is sober enough to drive?"  Was my reply.
"Well...uh..I've only had a few...uh...."  and still none of them would look at me.
"Sanjay, take his keys.  I'll follow you."

And that's what we did.  Not one of them complained or said anything as the keys were handed over to Sanjay and 3 of them clamored into the back seat.  When we got to their destination, the 2 girls jumped out and came around to my door.  I got out and they both hugged me and kept thanking me for all our help.  Even the two guys came over and thanked us again.

As we got into our van the party-ers came out from inside with handfuls of eggs.  I saw one come sailing at my back window, amongst cheers from all the other party-ers.  The kids we had just dropped off started to yell at them, to tell them to stop.  The driver went running at the egg thrower and tackled him to the ground, and as we drove away I heard him say.  "Not them, they're a nice family.  They have kids in the back.  Stop it, you dumb drunk and go back in the house."  Then he stood up and waved at us!  And as another car drove by, a second egg was launched, but this time the target was missed, the throw being interrupted by a boy who maybe realized that that car might contain a "nice family" too.

This relates to my cell phone issues, and here's how.  If we had just stopped, lent them a cell phone and moved on, then we would never have had a chance to talk with them; to learn about them, and them about us.  And driving down that street, there would have been no empathy for us, and my van would have been riddled with eggs, because nobody cared.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

C. Sections are saving lives..

Somebody said that phrase to me just last week.  I bit my hurt.  I will bite no longer.



I've been looking at this a lot right now, and have been reading the newest stats I can find. People are always screaming that C/S saved theirs/their baby's lives....and so now we are up to 30% C/S rate. Well, in 2004, the maternal mortality rate was at it's highest point in 30 years. 13 deaths in 100,000 as compared to 10 deaths in 100,000 (in 1977). And among the top 35 developed Countries in the World, Canada and the US rank 23 and 33 respectively for infant mortality rate...
So the question begs to be asked...HOW are these women and babies being "saved", if more, technically, are dying?

This leads me to believe even more that Drs are either A) lying to their patients about the severity of their situation or B) Creating these dire situations with all their "necessary medical procedures"...

Don't even get me started on elective C/S....Maybe another day.