Category Archives: E.- the fifth year

Robocall Panic Attacks

Microblog_MondaysLast week, I had a robocall from E’s school.

It’s a pretty neat system. If your child is marked absent, the robocall program will call you to make sure you’re aware of the absence. It will, in fact, keep on calling you, over and over again, all day long if necessary, until you acknowledge that you have received the message.

So, yeah, good system.

Except on that particular day, E. was at school.

I’d taken him there.

I’d given him a goodbye kiss and watched him walk through the doors, just like I do every morning.

When I got the robocall telling me my child had been marked absent at morning roll call, I hung up immediately and called the school.

And while I waited FOUR BILLION YEARS on hold (real elapsed time: probably less than a minute and a half) while the secretary called down to E.’s classroom to find out what was going on, I had this thought:

Hey, this is exactly the kind of situation where the psychiatrist said I should work on not jumping to the worst-case scenario.

And then, almost immediately afterwards, my brain went FUCK IT, and I went into a complete panic of the “What if E. accidentally came back out the doors before school started and got lost and kidnapped” variety.

The secretary came back on the line, apologetic. He was, indeed, in his classroom. The substitute teacher had made a mistake with the attendance and hadn’t fixed it in time to stop the computer from calling me.

He was perfectly safe and exactly where he should be.

But I can see it’s going to take a lot of work to change my patterns of thought.

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.


Filed under Anxiety Overload, Brave New (School) World, E.- the fifth year, JK, Microblog Mondays

Bend, so you do not break

I am writing this on a train.

Outside the train it is still winter: the ground is covered with snow and the trees stark, barren sentinels against our passing.

The train is late.

I have been marking for a class I’ve tried to teach to the best of my abilities this semester despite caring more about so many other things.

I have marked slowly, interspersed with weeping. I know I am red-eyed. I am unsettling to those around me.

This is the third time in the last two months I have been on a train, under these exact conditions. I feel like my memories of this particular corridor will be filled now for all time with marking, weeping, and snow.

I am trying.

I am trying so hard to cope.

I got to the end of my semester. I took too long to mark some essays, but otherwise there’s nothing I can point to and say “I should have done that better.”

When people ask about my Dad, I am able to give them the good news (He’s moved hospitals and can now start rehab! He’s able to use the ventilator to speak! He passed a swallow test and can eat some foods again!) and sound positive even as my heart breaks all over again that this is the good news, that he is still paralyzed, still on a ventilator, that while in the grand scheme of things, I know he is making progress, the situation is still too much for me to comprehend.

I am being beaten down.

This morning, I wept as I had to explain to E. that our cat might not get better, that the vet might not be able to fix what was wrong. I wept as Q. (newly recalled from work by my frantic phone call) bundled E. up and brought him to school from the vet’s, after E. had a chance to give Poppy a hug and a pat “just in case”. I wept when the vet told me what we had to do, the humane thing to do, the thing that you do when you are the adult and you take responsibility for these lives. I wept as I got on the train, pulled in too many directions again, knowing that Q. would have to tell E. after school that there was only one cat waiting at home.

“We will need to get another cat!” wailed E. in the vet clinic. “And we will name that cat Poppy too because it was a good name and she is a good cat and two cats are better than one cat!”

“Maybe we will get another cat one day, E.,” I told him. “But we won’t name that cat Poppy. You can’t replace a cat. They’re part of the family. They’re all special, each one of them.”

I am terrified that this experience, E.’s first real exposure to death and grief and loss, will, in the end, be seen by us as practice for the losses that are yet to come.

One of his grandpas. Or both. I have no idea what’s coming. But I am afraid.

I have been fighting for some weeks now an irrational fear that this baby will die at birth. I was going to tell my midwife about it, but I had to cancel that appointment because we were at the vet instead, surrounding our cat with love while giving the vet permission to end her life.

The problem is it doesn’t feel irrational to me anymore.

The odds of stillbirth are 1 in 100.

The odds of being born with one kidney are 1 in around 1,000.

I don’t know what the odds are of having colon cancer that doesn’t behave like colon cancer, but I imagine they’re pretty high.

And my father’s accident defies belief.

So why wouldn’t the baby die? It would actually be a more likely outcome than anything else that’s happened in the last couple of months.

I am trying.

I am trying so hard to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

But there is a limit to what anyone can manage.

And I know, deep down, I’m reaching mine.



Filed under Anxiety Overload, E.- the fifth year, Grief, Loss, Me? Pregnant?!, Midwives

This and that

A few bits and pieces as I’ve found myself up at work with no access to an office and not enough time before class to do anything fruitful:

  • My cold is officially a sinus infection. Blech. I am hydrating like crazy and have resorted to sticking my head under a towel over a bowl of boiling water to try to encourage things to clear out. I am not sure if I go to see my GP whether she can do anything to help, but if things don’t improve by the end of the week, I may cave.
  • On my way to work today I got off the subway and Q. was waiting to get on. Nice bonus!
  • Phaselus had a dance party in my uterus last night while I was falling asleep and kicked the crap out of Q.’s hand. S/he was then super quiet when I woke up this morning. I had a (relatively) brief moment of panic that the baby dance party had in fact been extreme flailing and distress from a cord accident or something. Then Phaselus woke up. Clearly I need this referral to the mental health program.
  • Speaking of, they called me yesterday to book my next appointment. I was walking home from school with E. at the time and had no access to my calendar, so I asked if they could call me back and said I’d be home in five minutes. Then nothing. I am going to give them until the end of the day tomorrow and then I will call the general number just to make sure I didn’t slip off someone’s desk.
  • I survived my first two rounds of marking for the semester. My first year class averaged a highish C+ on their mid-term exam, and the third-year class averaged a lowish B on the in-class essay. Both are exactly where I would expect them to be, which was rather pleasing as I had been concerned that a) I had set a much too hard exam for the ickle firsties, and b) I had lost all perspective and patience while grading two-thirds of the upper year class’s assignments on the train coming home on Saturday- the train ended up being over two hours late, and my computer wouldn’t connect to the WiFi, so I had nothing to do but mark. It was a real struggle by the end, but apparently I didn’t take it out on them. Hurrah!
  • I did some digging and some calculating and I think I worked out how much maternity leave I’d be entitled to if I took 10 months off (September 2016 to June 2017). It is a decent chunk of change. Certainly enough that I could rationalize doing this, taking July and August off as unpaid leave and then starting the postdoc in September 2017 when the baby would be almost 15 months old. “I thought you said you would go crazy if you were off for a whole year,” said Q., when I announced this to him last night. “I did,” I said, “but if I take the postdoc, there’s no way I’m putting the baby in full-time daycare at six months old to start in January.” I think if we go this route I would want to look in to getting some casual help from January 2017 onwards to give me a bit of time to work on my own stuff while E. is at school. I also think taking the postdoc depends on Q. agreeing to be at home with the baby one weekday each week (and then he could make up the day on Saturday if he wanted), and me being at home one day and working four official days plus some evenings. I know lots of people do it, but putting a 15 month old in full-time daycare is not something I think I can do. Plus the financial advantages of the postdoc over contract teaching evaporate if a full-time nanny or infant daycare place enter the picture.
  • Six months in, E. still complains bitterly about going to school and how much he misses me. He seems absolutely fine when he is there. We’re getting no reports of behavioural issues and there are even signs he’s making friends. But he is a true homebody introvert at heart and he really would just rather hang out with me.
  • His kindergarten class is participating in the ‘Reading A-Z’ program where they send home leveled readers and once the child has mastered it, the book goes back and another one comes home. We have suspected for a while now that E. is masking how much he can read while at school and this was proved by the level ‘aa’ (I think the very first level) book sent home with him on Monday. E. read it once, then had it memorized, and announced to Q., “Well, it’s a bit simple, isn’t it?” “I hope I will get a more interesting book this time,” he told me as he went in to school this morning to exchange it.
  • I decided to out myself on Facebook today. I am feeling more pregnant than usual in the last few days and just felt it was time. I posted this photo (I did think it would be too subtle, but people picked up on it right away.)
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Filed under A (Good) Day's Work, E.- the fifth year, JK, Me? Pregnant?!


Last night I sent the two people  most precious to me in all the world through airport security where they would get on a plane and fly the long arc down across the ocean to a sun-burnt country.

They are somewhere over the Pacific right now as I type. I know their flight got into YVR on time, and that they left YVR a bit early. They should touch down at SYD around 6:15 p.m. my time, a little more than 24 hours after I said goodbye.

E. was fine saying goodbye. I think we gave him just enough lead time (one week) that he was able to process through his anxiety about the separation and by the time we got to the airport he was just excited to get on the plane. I picked him up for one last hug and he said, “Mummy, I think we might miss the plane if we do not go through security soon.” All right, kiddo. I get it. You’re ready.

I wasn’t.

My sister, C., came with us so that I did not have to drive back from the airport alone. She ended up doing the driving, as I have a miserable cold that is badly disrupting my sleep and I am not really functioning all that well. Her crazy ‘avoid traffic’ app took us on a convoluted route that did, eventually, as promised, lead us to where we needed to go, and we could chat the whole way and we weren’t stuck in traffic like we would have been on the highway. A successful trip all round.

The house is very quiet. I got out my best stuffed animal, the cougar that has been my most special of friends ever since I was two and a half. I still sleep with him when Q. is away because I have a ridiculously overactive imagination and I can’t cope otherwise. It’s an effort not to put a light on somewhere upstairs when I’m in the bed alone.

I worked out last night that I have never been alone in the house since E. was born. I have spent nights away from E., two full weeks when I went to the UK early in 2013, but I’ve always been the one to be somewhere else. And when Q. has been away, I have been here, with E.

It is strange that this used to be my normal. That we spent two and a half years in this house, just the two of us and the cats, and I would be alone whenever Q. was away. Now the house is so thoroughly permeated with E’s presence, it is hard to believe that he is gone and that I will not be able to hug him again for a month.

It was the right decision. He will have a wonderful time down under. It will be good for him to have so much time with his father, especially since Q. will be doing more of the school pick ups next semester because of my teaching schedule. And I have a lot of work to do, not least because I just picked up a third course  yesterday (the course director took another job and quit halfway through the year).

And there is a part of me that is looking forward to getting my own breakfasts without having to organize someone else’s first; to be able to take a long shower without having that tiny pulse of anxiety wondering whether maybe this time my child might not be just sitting downstairs quietly reading a book, but might have hurt himself; to be able to make plans for the afternoon that can go past 3:05 p.m.; to make dinners that don’t meet with Q.’s approval (beans and goose sausage wienies, I’m looking at you). And I’m looking forward to going home for the holidays to be able to visit with my family without the added layer of Q. and E., because as much as I love watching my son play with his grandparents and his aunties, it will be nice to be able to have some long conversations.

I might even be really daring and go out and see a movie or two while I’m still at home by myself. With popcorn even!

Q. and I went out for lunch yesterday to have a bit of time together before the flight (lunches with Q. is one of the best results of E. being in school). He was a bit worried that E. might eat too much junk food and watch too much television and go to bed too late while they were away. In general he felt discipline might break down entirely.

“Whatever,” I said. “It’s a month. Let him have fun. As long as he gets enough sleep and eats on a regular basis and doesn’t get a sunburn, who cares about the rest.”

I never stop being a mother. But for the next month, I am no longer responsible for E.

That is weird and freeing in equal measure.

I am going to miss them.

But I am also going to make sure I do not waste this time to myself.

It will likely not come again for a very long time.


Filed under A (Good) Day's Work, Anxiety Overload, Down Under, E.- the fifth year, What were we thinking? (aka travelling with small children)

Ok. This might actually really happen.

Our nuchal scan was yesterday. At first the tech said nothing and just scanned and scanned and clicked and clicked while I tried not to freak out. But then she tossed us a bone (“Heartbeat is very strong”) and I could mostly relax. It is still a surprise to me that the baby is alive at every scan, even though it manifestly should NOT be a surprise at this point. I am now at least three weeks past where we lost the last one (11w6d today), and I rationally know that my odds of having a baby with a severe birth defect are now higher than the odds of losing the baby (not that either set of odds is high). But I still worry.

Anyway, the baby looked perfect. The nuchal measurement was 1.3 mm, which is fantastic and even lower than E.’s was. Everything else also looked great. She showed us the feet, the fingers, etc. Baby was just chilling out, swallowing some amniotic fluid and occasionally flailing a limb, so it was easy for her to get the measurements she needed.

We also didn’t have to wait at all- it was a really quiet day, so we were out of the clinic within an hour, even with the longer ultrasound, and needing to get blood taken for the first round of the IPS screening, and seeing my doctor (who had to step out to take an emergency phone call part way through our chat).

Dr. B. wants me back in a week and a half for a final graduation visit as all the bloodwork should be back by then (the Harmony results weren’t back yet yesterday). But then I’ll be released from the clinic and will just see my midwives.

We had another chat about my thyroid and when I reminded him who  my endocrinologist is, he said, “Oh, Dr. W., he’s a legend!” Apparently my endocrinologist, as well as being the rudest man alive, is also the doctor who pushed for mandatory testing for thyroid function for newborns. Dr. B. said if anyone had earned the right to a ridiculous ego, it was him. So that was an eye opener.

When Q. and I were sitting there waiting to see the doctor, I looked at the photos and said to Q., “You know, I have just now realized that we might actually bring this baby home in June.”

“I know,” said Q. “It’s kind of hard to get your head around it.”

I am still twitchy and will stay twitchy probably for the rest of the pregnancy and certainly until the anatomy scan at the end of January as I know too many women (not even through blogs, but in my ‘real’ life) who have lost babies at 18 weeks or later. I know things happen. But I also know that getting to here is a major milestone and things look good at the moment. And that is worth celebrating.

Q. and I went out for lunch and ate too much high quality pizza and Italian cheese. Then we went to the mall to buy Q. a new wedding band (he somehow lost his in a pool change room a few weeks ago). I wasn’t sure we’d have time to do this before picking up E., but Q. went to the same place he bought my engagement ring in 2006, asked to see the wedding bands, took about 45 seconds to peruse them, confirmed with me which one was closest in size the one he’d lost, and decided to buy it. Even with having to size it we were out of there in under ten minutes. I love that man.

The only downside to yesterday was we’d agreed that if the scan went well we would break the news to E. that I wasn’t going to go to Australia. I haven’t been banned from flying by my doctor, but he didn’t exactly embrace the idea when I first mentioned it, and Q. and I both feel it is just not worth running the risk. It is a very long flight that is very hard on your body and we know if anything happened, even if it probably would have happened here anyway, we would always wonder what if. This is our last chance at a second child and nothing, not even a summer vacation on the beach at Christmas, is worth risking that.

E. was, as predicted, distraught. At first he ran down into the basement to cry and then he ran into the living room to hide behind the couch (his ‘snake house’) to cry. Then he determined that if I can’t fly, I should take a ship to Australia. Then he decided that if I couldn’t go, he wouldn’t go either and we’d just send Daddy. And no matter what we held out to him as positives (You get to miss school! You get to go to the beach! Mummy has to stay here and write lectures! We can Skype every day!), he would not shift on that. But gradually, gradually he started to come around. I told him about how I didn’t go to Australia when I was pregnant with him. We reminded him that I went to the UK without him for two weeks right before he turned two, and he had so much fun with his Grandpa he didn’t even want to Skype with me. We reminded him that Daddy went away for three weeks last summer. By bedtime he was manfully trying to cope with the news and was seriously discussing with me how we have to keep me “safe so the baby can keep growing properly”. Dear little thing. I am sure the airport goodbye will be very difficult (for all of us) but I know he will be fine once he is there, and I also know it is the right decision, even though it is gut wrenching for me to send him to the other side of the world.

The tech didn’t give us a print out of the typical cute profile shot (which is sort of annoying, but it’s not like I don’t have a pile of u/s photos of this baby). But this one I really like. It’s like the baby is waving and telling me, “Hey Mum! Look how well I am doing at growing both halves of my brain!”


And then she gave us one of the 3D u/s photos as well. Q.: “I wish they just wouldn’t do that. They are little aliens right now and the 3D ultrasounds really emphasize that.”

So here is our little alien, with his/her hands up by his/her face. The link above goes to E’s nuchal scan post, and you can see a similar 3D shot there. Family alien resemblance?


A baby. There’s really a baby in there.

It still boggles my mind.


Filed under Down Under, E.- the fifth year, Me? Pregnant?!


I haven’t written a lot on here about how E.’s transition to JK has gone.

It’s been very difficult. Very very difficult, for him, for us, for his teachers.

The fundamental problem is E. is not ready to be at school six hours a day, five days a week, with twenty-nine other children in his classroom.

He’s highly introverted, very noise sensitive and asynchronous in his development (in that intellectually he’s much older than four-and-a-half, but emotionally/socially he’s quite a lot younger).

He hasn’t been able to make friends in the classroom (which would help with his comfort levels) because he’s not really ready to make friends. He still prefers to spend as much time as possible with his imagination. His teacher said to me once that, “E. doesn’t play with the other children at recess. He tends to run around in circles.” When I asked E. about it, he told me that he uses recess to tell his stories, because he’s not allowed to tell his stories in the classroom (and telling lengthy, elaborate stories involving his favourite model train and most of his stuffed animals is one of his preferred activities). He always runs around the house when he tells stories at home. I have a theory it’s because he has so much going on in his brain he needs the physical activity to streamline his thinking so that a coherent story can emerge.

In the classroom, E. gets overwhelmed and overstimulated. The resulting behaviour looks to his teachers like a boy being intentionally naughty, so it’s taken a long time for them to understand that if E’s running around laughing manically and dumping things on the floor, his brain is no longer in control of his body and he needs help to calm down.

His teachers are supportive and open to suggestions, but there’s also only so much they can do when they have thirty kids (one teacher, one ECE). At home, when E. gets manic, we can calm him down in less than five minutes. At school, he’s made quite a few visits to the office just because they can’t get him to settle unless he’s removed from the classroom (and he’s too little to just chill out in the hall with a book for a few minutes).

That said, this week has shown that maybe, just maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. E.’s had four good days in a row at school thus far, something which hasn’t happened since September (if ever). Something is working (finally). It’s probably a combination of the strategies we’ve implemented, but I also suspect there’s been one key change.

Our strategies include:

Classroom Interventions:

  • A photo album with family photos, which E. can look at whenever he feels anxious or misses me (he has complained since the beginning that the day is too long and he misses me too much).
  • A ‘quiet box’ filled with fun things that E. can sit down with in the quiet corner and use as a focus to help him calm down when he starts to get overstimulated and silly (includes a “Can You See What I See” book all about a train, a Spot the Dinosaurs book, a book of hidden picture puzzles, two books of mazes, and a book with easy connect the dots)- we’d been using the quiet corner as a place to calm down for weeks, but we found E. needed something more concrete than just going there and taking his deep breaths. He needed something that his brain could engage with.
  • A piece of carpet from home that E. can sit on when the class is sitting at the big carpet (so that he knows where to put his bum and doesn’t lie down or sit on other children if he gets bored).
  • Noise-reducing headphones (these only arrived this week, but they’ve been working well now that the other children have stopped trying to pull them off his head).
  • His teachers are also keeping a closer eye on a couple of children who think it is funny to egg E. on and encourage him to do things that get him in trouble.

Interventions at Home:

  • Stickers on the calendar if he has a good day (he is using train stickers this week and is excited to watch his train get longer).
  • The promise of an afternoon off with me if he has five good days in a row (he’s picked riding on the new streetcar and going to the train museum).
  • The threat of losing his trains for a week if he has three bad days in a week (he already loses television privileges if he has a bad day but that didn’t seem to be effective, so we raised the stakes. I wanted to determine just how much of the problematic behaviour was involuntary and how much stemmed from him getting into a bad pattern).

I think all of these things are helping, but I also think the most fundamental change is this: E. was enrolled in a hot lunch program that runs three days a week at the school. He brings the leftovers home every day, so I could see how much (or little) he was eating. Q. and I had also both noticed that E. regularly had days where he didn’t eat either his morning or his afternoon snack. When we asked E. about it, he told us that he is “too busy” to eat snack or that he finds it “too stressful” to eat snack because you have to watch the table and see when there is a free chair (unlike lunch where everyone sits down at the same time, it seems snack is on a bit of a rotation). E. would come home from school STARVING and would immediately unpack his lunch bag and eat all his snacks (and then request more snacks).

It’s really obvious when E. is hungry. He’s like me: he gets hangry and irrational.

So we asked E. if he wanted to stop hot lunch, and he said he did. We’re still technically registered, as you have to give two weeks’ notice, but this week we’ve packed him a full lunch with one of two main options (nut-free pesto pizza or a cheese quesadilla) every day.

And presto. Four good days in a row. Two days E. didn’t even want a snack after school when it was offered. He’s still skipping snacks at school, but at lunch he is sitting down and eating his pizza or his quesadilla and (at minimum) a piece of fruit and one other item from his lunch bag.

It’s still early, but I honestly think this might be the magic bullet we’ve been looking for.


Filed under Brave New (School) World, E.- the fifth year, JK

9w4d- breathing easier

I went back in to the clinic yesterday.

Here is what I saw:


Not only was the baby still alive, it had a great heartbeat (158 bpm again) and it was moving. We are now officially past the loss point with the last pregnancy, so I feel a lot better about things. I still have a low level general worry about the health of the baby, which I imagine will continue (like it did with E.) right up until the moment where the baby is born healthy and alive, but otherwise I feel fairly relaxed about things. I’ve accepted there’s nothing I can do to change things, and I just have to trust my body can grow this one like it grew E.

Dr. B. now has me tapering pretty much all my medications. I’ll stop the aspirin and fragmin on Friday, the estrace and progesterone on Monday, and the metformin will be finished by Sunday. That will just leave me with my Vitamin D, the prenatal and my synthroid. I will be glad to see the end of all of them, but I’m especially looking forward to stopping the progesterone suppositories and the fragmin.

I will go back in next week for another scan and the Harmony blood test. I think it takes a little over a week to get the results back, so hopefully we will have the all clear before the 12 week scan on the 3rd of December (which is technically 11w5d, but I don’t think it will matter all that much).

I really like this new doctor. I wish I had switched earlier. I technically wasn’t supposed to go in this week, as he told me I could wait until I came in at ten weeks for the Harmony test, but I just didn’t want to go away for two weeks, as the last time I did that, the baby died and I spent two weeks thinking I was pregnant when I wasn’t.

My doctor didn’t care at all that I came back in, and said to me: “If you get any anxiety or worry at all, just come on in and visit us and we’ll check on the baby and make sure everything is fine.” He told me I was one of their nicest patients and they loved seeing me.

I am starting to feel better, just like I did with E. I no longer have to eat continuously to keep from throwing up, although now the problem is I’m used to all the snacks! I do still get nauseous, and I actually did throw up on Friday afternoon (I got motion sick on the bus coming down from the university, which I remember was also a problem when I was pregnant with E.), but generally things are better. I’ve noticed this pregnancy doesn’t have any specific cravings. With E. it was veggie sandwiches from Subway. With the last one it was veggie burritos and poutine. This one just wanted me to eat carbs- it wasn’t fussy about what kind. If I had a craving for something, I’d try it, but I never had the repetitive, week-after-week cravings I had with the last two.

I’m still sleeping well. It’s complicated by the fact that Q. has failed to adjust to the end of daylight savings, so he keeps waking up at ridiculous hours. But I usually just go back to sleep.

Last night we told E. I told him at dinner, which probably wasn’t the best idea as he was then too distracted to eat anything. His immediate reaction was: “Are you sure there’s one in your uterus?” When I asked if he wanted to see a picture, he said, “Yes please!” and then asked “Where is the baby?” when I gave him the ultrasound image. I guess he was expecting a picture of an actual baby. Once I pointed out the head and the arms and the body I could see him make sense of it.

His immediate concern was for the baby’s transportation: “But the baby will need a stroller. Do we still have our stroller? The one with three wheels? Yes? Well, we cannot sell it. We need to keep it for our baby.” When Q. asked if he thought the baby would need anything else, he announced, “Baby toys! And we have those from when I was a baby.” and then started to tell us about how he was growing a Baby Saskia (one of his stuffed animals- a snake) in his own tummy.

He also commented (right at the beginning): “Oh! Is this why you have been moving more slowly than usual?” I hadn’t realized I’d slowed down so much, but apparently he felt it was quite obvious.

There was lots of discussion about when the baby would come out (June) and how that was a long time away and how the baby was very small right now and how when it came out he could see what he was like as a baby. All and all it went well- there were no immediate protests or shouts of “No thanks!”, which is what I was half expecting. We didn’t tell him this means I won’t go to Australia. We might just lie to him and tell him I can’t go because I have to start teaching my courses earlier. We don’t usually lie to him, but if I can come up with a way to spin the change so that it’s not the baby’s fault, I’d prefer to use that.

I also told my Mum and stepfather this morning (via Skype). They were obviously thrilled. My stepfather cried so much he had to step away from the computer. We’ll tell my father and stepmother, and Q.’s mum and sisters too, and that will probably be it until we get past the twelve week mark. Once Q. and E. go to Oz and I don’t, we’ll have to explain that to people, but luckily that coincides with hitting twelve weeks, so it should all work out.

Funny that. It might just all work out.

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Filed under E.- the fifth year, Me? Pregnant?!

Scarred for life?

I don’t think I posted about this on here, but a couple of weeks ago I had “the phone call” from the school. You know, the one where they say that your child has hurt himself and you have to come and get him because although they’ve stopped the bleeding they’re not sure if it will need stitches and he should be checked to rule out a concussion.

I was trapped on an express bus at the time of the call, and had to spend ten minutes weeping on the bus until I could get off again at the university (where I was supposed to be meeting my supervisor). I hauled Q. out of his meeting (which also involved my supervisor), because I wasn’t sure who should go. In the end, we decided we should both go, and we took a cab back down to the school as fast as we could.

E. had tripped on the asphalt while running to the playground (he said another kid pushed him by accident- I gather it’s a bit of a mob scene despite the teachers’ best efforts to make them use their walking feet and they happened to collide) and sliced his forehead open. The cut was deep but relatively small. We have a great paediatrician who looked at him right away and opted just to use Steri Strips. She did say we could take him to the hospital for gluing or stitches, but she felt the final cosmetic result would be about the same and either of those options would be far more traumatic for E.

She told us what to watch for in terms of concussion: “Lethargy, vomiting, confusion.”

“Excuse me,” said E. “I am not at all confused.”

We then took him out for a late lunch at Tim Hortons where he proceeded to sing the  national anthem, letter perfect, twice in a row (proof he is learning something at school despite what he says).

Right. No concussion then.

E. had the strips on his forehead for another week or so before they fell off. The scab came off a few days after that. The paediatrician said it was possible he would end up with a scar, but that it would probably eventually fade.

Here’s the thing.

The scar is in the middle of his forehead.

The cut looked quite straight, but if you look at the scar, it has a bit of a zig and a bit of a zag to it.

My son has a lightning bolt scar on his forehead.

I better keep an eye out for an owl when he turns eleven.

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Filed under Brave New (School) World, E.- the fifth year, JK

A tale of six (wait, three) fish

Getting information out of E. about his time at school is like writing a dissertation where all of your evidence is fragmented, anecdotal, or out of context.

Wait. I’m actually good at that!

Yes, readers, I have sunk to using my research skills, honed after years of post-secondary education, to try to piece together what happens in junior kindergarten.

Exhibit A: The fish.

Several weeks ago (mid-September).
E. (hanging out with me after school, eating snack): “The aquarium is in the classroom now!”
Me: “The aquarium?”
E.: “Yes! For the fish!”
Me: “The fish?”
E. *now looking slightly irritated* “Yes! Because we are going to have a class pet! Fish!”
Me: “Ah! The fish!”

A few days later.
E. (on the potty): “The filter was put in the aquarium today.”
Me: “Oh! Does that mean the fish will be in there soon?”
E.: “I don’t know.”

At least a week and a half later.
Me (walking home from school): “So have the fish been put in their aquarium yet, E.? I haven’t heard you mention them in a while.”
E.: “No. The water is there, but the teacher says the fish cannot go in until everybody has had two days of respecting their home.”
Me: “Are some kids having trouble respecting their home?”
E.: “Yes. The aquarium is at the back of the room with the microscopes and kids are having trouble respecting all of the equipment. It can break if they are not careful. And the aquarium is open at the top so kids can put things in. But they are not supposed to.”
Me: “Have you ever put things in, E.?”
E. *brightly*: “Yes! One day I put in a plastic fish. Mr. J. was not happy. But it was a fish!”

Three or four days after that.
E. (at the dinner table): “Fish can’t eat people food!”
Q.: “This is true. They need fish food.”
E.: “If kids put their lunch in the aquarium, Mr. J. gets mad.”
Q. and Me (both realizing we are talking about the class fish, not fish in general): “Ah. Yes, that is not good for the fish.”

Last Thursday.
E. (at the playground, running around): “The fish are here!”
Me: “That’s great news! Does that mean you all had two days respecting their home?”
E.: “Yes! One of the fish has a big bum. They like to swim around.”
Me: “How many fish are there?”
E.: “I can’t tell. They swim around too much.”

This afternoon.
Me (walking home): “How are the fish going, E.?”
E.: “Three of them have died already!”
Me: “Oh no! How many are left?”
E.: “Three!”
Me: “So how many fish were there at the start?”
E.: “Six! But some of them were smaller than the others.”

This evening, at dinner.
E. (out of nowhere): “We all had to guess reasons why the fish died. Maybe the water was too cold or too hot or they did not like their food. Maybe we will get more fish. I hope we get more fish.”


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Filed under Brave New (School) World, E.- the fifth year, JK

Dream (Un)Easy

Microblog_MondaysI have always been one of those people who has strange dreams when worried about something.

The classic example is a dream I had about my Medieval Literature exam when I was an undergraduate. In the dream, I had to write the exam on a school bus which was driving along extremely bumpy dirt roads. Although I tried my best to balance the exam paper on my knees, my writing was illegible, even to me. The exam was supposed to be three hours long, but after twenty minutes the bus stopped and my professor climbed on and announced that time was up.

I had that dream two days AFTER I wrote the exam. Clearly I was still processing a few things.

Saturday night, I had a truly ridiculous dream. It was the day E. was starting school and I had to go and buy him clothes. For reasons that remained unclear in the dream, E. was not wearing pants from the outset, just undies and a shirt. I was trying to buy him clothes in some giant building that looked a lot like a fair barn. I couldn’t find the racks for his size and I was worried the clothes wouldn’t be clean (it was some sort of second-hand sale). Oh, and about halfway through the dream it became clear that it was winter because I kept having to run between the buildings trying to find the right area for his size and there was snow and ice on the ground. And somewhere along the line we were in a bathroom and the toilet flooded and E. sat in it and got his sweater wet (he wasn’t wearing one earlier in the dream) and we had to take the sweater and the shirt off and then I started worrying he would get too cold (because it was winter). And one of my sisters, my father and my stepmother were all there going shopping with us as well, and I think an ex-boyfriend turned up at one point (one I no longer speak to because he went a bit weird when I broke up with him), but that part is a bit muddy.

The dream ended with me looking at the time and realizing that there was no possible way I was going to be able to find E. clothes in time to get him to school before it started and he was therefore GOING TO BE LATE ON HIS FIRST DAY EVER. (If you know me, you will know that this is the stuff of true nightmares. I still feel a bit panicked remembering it.)

Then I woke up.

If you ask E. if he is excited about kindergarten, as people have been doing the last little while, sometimes he will just nod and say yes with a bright smile because he knows that is the expected answer. But if you catch him off guard, or he feels comfortable, he will tell you the truth: that he is “feeling a bit worried and a little sad”.

Me too.

But I can’t let him see that.

So it comes out in my dreams instead.

This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. To read the inaugural post and find out how you can participate, click here.


Filed under Brave New (School) World, E.- the fifth year, JK, Microblog Mondays