Wednesday, 30 May 2012

We're Here for a Good Time...

In 1977 a local band "Trooper" recorded a song "We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)".  I always loved the song and it was recently re-recorded by Terri Clark (another Canadian singer) "country-style". 

In an excerpt from the following YouTube video with Terri Clark "...Treasure the positive things in life and not let the bad things get us down for too long cause they're gonna come but they're gonna go too..." 

Here's Terri Clark's version of the song:

Here's the original song by Trooper:

Have a good one!  D

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Our "Home Sweet Home"

1.      Comfortable – By this I mean you would definitely NOT find our house in the pages of any House and Home type magazine. Our house has that “lived-in” feeling like faded blue jeans or flannel pj’s…comfy and cozy.

2.      Peaceful – I’m talking about the outside. Our house is on a ravine above a popular hiking trail which runs parallel to a creek. Huge evergreen trees are all around and the sound of rushing water can be heard at most times of the year. Perhaps not as picturesque and tranquil as it sounds yet compared to inside (you can read my Saturday Seven via Satellite post for an explanation)...definitely peaceful. 

3.      Entertaining – I really enjoy entertaining (when I have the energy *sigh*). When I was in my 30’s I would sweat for weeks pouring over the menu, cleaning the house and setting a Martha Stewart table. At 51 the only sweating comes from my hot flashes. Don’t be surprised if you end up being the guinea pig for a new recipe, you’ll be lucky if I pull out the vacuum, and the table cloth may be flipped over just before you arrive (why wash it if I’ve only used one side? Am I right??? C’mon ladies…fess up.)  With “maturity” comes the realization it is not so much about appearances and more about spending quality time with family and good friends.

4.      Nurturing – Not in the way that one might think. In our case, we are talking dust bunnies. Not quite as bad as the tumbleweeds seen in old western movies but I’m working on it.

5.      Green – G is big on this one. He makes sure we do our part by supplying everyone with sweaters, slippers and extra blankets in the winter – no need to turn up the thermostat past 68 degrees F is there?!?  Showers are just long enough to rinse out the shampoo…did I mention he has no hair?  Lights are only on in rooms that are occupied therefore G and I tag team when we go to bed.

6.      Multi-purpose – While our house may be seen as disorganized or cluttered, I like to go with multi-purpose. There are several areas in the house where you will find a potpourri of items at your fingertips. For example, our dining room table serves as a desk and wrapping station at Christmas while the chairs are great for damp dry laundry. The living room has an area I use to store my reusable/eco-friendly (you’re welcome) grocery bins, patio chairs in the summertime and seasonal sports equipment.

7.      Prepared – As in we have enough cans of cream of mushroom soup, corn, stewed tomatoes and bags of dried pasta to last us an eternity should any natural disaster occur. Yes I realize you need some form of heat to make a meal out of these items but really…after an earthquake I’m gonna want to make a casserole!  Gimme a break!

Given “Riley World” is such a big part of our lives, how could I not include a couple autism-specific ones.

8.      Autism-friendly –Behaviours typically thought to be “odd or as being badly-behaved” do not exist in our house. We like to think everyone has “unique or misunderstood personality traits”. Wow…that sounded almost intellectual! This is not to say that our house is a free-for-all. As a matter of fact it is quite the opposite. Rules and boundaries are big in our house and work well in Riley World. Having “special needs” is not synonymous with being treated “special” therefore being respectful of others and good manners are expected.

9.      Predictable – Riley has a visual schedule on the fridge that he has used since time began. If it’s not on the schedule…it does not exist and therefore will not happen. Conversely if things are on the schedule they WILL happen barring the total annihilation of mankind. Thank goodness for the “something different” card which allows for a little flexibility.
Last by no means least…

10.  Welcoming - Just have to make sure Riley’s picked up from school before quenching my thirst so anytime after 4pm feel free to pop in for a glass of wine.  Here’s to Stasha’s Monday Listicles!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Tōrō nagashi (灯籠流し)

"Auntie E"    February 1, 1929 - May 26, 2012.

Excerpt from Wikipedia:
Tōrō nagashi (灯籠流し) is a Japanese ceremony in which participants float paper lanterns down a river; tōrō is traditionally another word for lantern, while nagashi means "cruise, flow". This is...based on the belief that this guides the spirits of the departed back to the other world.
The white lanterns are for those who have died in the past year. Traditional Japanese beliefs state that humans come from water, so the lanterns represent their bodies returning to water.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Some Things Never Really Change...

There are certain “things” that Riley will probably never outgrow. These “things” may change slightly or be different in some way yet I’m pretty sure will always be there. I will actually go out on a limb here and say “Yes, I think this is due to R’s autism...GASP!” hence my term Riley World. Here are a few examples to give you an idea of how I approached these "things" over the years:

Watching TV:   (Note: Thankfully this was BEFORE flat screen TV's!)
Riley used to like to stand of the TV when watching his shows. What started out as tapping things on the screen; moved to full hands on screen; then slapping the screen; to outright banging the screen to the point where he would actually push the TV and we wondered whether or not the glass might break. Seriously…ask anybody who came over in those early years. 
Age 2-1/2:    Pumpkin…you’re going to hurt your hands if you keep hitting the TV.
Age 3:           Riley…please stop hitting the TV.
Age 3-1/2:    Hands down please.
Age 4:           Hands down.
Age 4-1/2:    STOP IT!!!

Watching Movies/DVD's:
Age 3:   Why yes...Disney Sing-A-Long videos are his favourites! He REALLY likes to follow along with the words. 
Age 5:   He LOVES all the Disney movies…especially the Princess ones.
Age 12:  I think we need to move away from Disney/Princess movies and try more age appropriate ones.
Age 17:  Who doesn’t like watching Disney movies? They’re “CLASSICS”!

Easter or any time involving a fictional character:
Age 3:    The Easter Bunny came!  Let's go see what he brought!  Here's your basket.
Age 5:    Look Riley!  Eggs!  Put the eggs in your basket!
Age 12:  What???  You want to look for eggs and put them in a basket???
Age 17:  There is no Easter bunny period…end of story
             (OK so I wasn't really THAT harsh but that's what I felt like saying.)

Age 3:    He's a little finicky. Surely he will learn to try/like other things as he gets older?
Age 5:    He's a particular eater. Surely he will learn to try/like other things as he gets older?
Age 12:  He has a limited diet. Surely he will learn to try/like other things as he gets older?
Age 17:  He hates pretty much everything!

Riley’s “Idiosyncrasies”:
Age 3:   Ahhhhh...look how adorable he is making faces in his spoon.
Age 5:   It’s cute now but somehow I don’t think it will be so cute if he’s still doing it at 12.
Age 12:  Has he really been doing that for 9 years? 
Age 17:  You wanna try changing/stopping insert idiosyncrasy hereGo ahead. I dare you!

See…some things never really change…they're only different!   :D

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

"Who's On First in Riley World"
Episode 3: Communication Breakdown

When I wrote the first “Who’s on First in Riley World” post I had not anticipated having to write follow-up “episodes” quite so often. This past month has brought about a significant change in Riley World. Having someone who is new to autism working with R adds a whole new dimension, of epic proportions. This is not to say that things haven’t gone well…all things considered, they have.

When Riley first started to speak it took us a number of years before we were able to figure out the limitations of his communication. In order to avoid possible meltdowns (especially in those early years) we learned to anticipate his wants/needs (at times to a fault) and over the years have gotten better at reading Riley. On the flip side R has gotten better at reading us. Now Riley has always been somewhat of a pleaser.  He wants to cooperate and do what is asked of him if he can. Lately we have been able to reaffirm Riley’s keen ability to pick up on certain cues (no matter how subtle) and his ability to appear more knowledgeable/aware than he realistically is in a lot of situations...a double-edged sword so-to-speak.

It was very apparent the other day when I was trying to question R about his first day back to school after being at home for 2 weeks. I was struggling with how to pose my questions so as not to give away any “clues or hints” to possible answers. R looked at me. I looked at him. I asked. He answered. I asked again. He replied with a different answer. I paused to think. He looked at me. I could see the wheels turning; what does she want me to say?  Well either that or he was thinking to himself why the hell is she asking me all these questions! Pretty sure it was the latter. Oish.

So week one ended with a Friday afternoon community outing with a couple of other students and their SEAs (Special Education Assistants). They have gone to a variety of different activities and bus to/from the local Rec Centre together. R called me and after our usual hellos the conversation went like this:

R:         The bus is late.
Me:       Where are you?
R:         I don’t know.  The bus is gone.
Me:       Are you with BW?  (I hear talking in the background)
R:         Yes. Will you come get me?
Me:       Where are you? (more talking/prompting)
R:         I’m at Memorial. (name of the Rec Centre)
Me:       Can you give the phone to BW please?  (Yup…got it right this time.  :) 
Before giving R an answer, I wanted to confirm with BW that they indeed wanted me to pick them up as R will jump at the chance to be picked up early.)
BW gets on the phone. They missed their bus; were going to wait and catch the next bus back to school with the others; wanted to let me know they would be late. Great. No problem. I arrived at the school in plenty of time. After ~15 minutes I decided to call R on his cell. Thankfully he picked up. Again our hellos then:

Me:       Where are you?
R:         I’m in the village.
Me:       (Thinking to myself...OK, they are halfway back. I could hear a discussion going on in the background.)
Are you taking the bus back to school?  (Again not wanting to suggest picking them up before confirming with BW)
R:         YES!  (Answers very enthusiastically)
Me:       (That's a good sign. He answered YES immediately and enthusiastically so they must be taking the bus back. Better check again.)
Are you waiting to take the bus back to school?
R:         YES! (Again...very enthusiastically)
Me:      OK. I’m at the back of the school. Should I wait for you at the back of the school or in the classroom?
R:         At the back!  (Again…answers with enthusiasm)
Me:       OK.  See you when you get here.
R:         OK. Bye! (Imagine a sing-songy <== it that a word?!?, happy as a clam voice here)

Another 10 minutes or so go by and I see one of the SEAs rushing into the parking lot. After a brief conversation with her, I headed off to pick up R and BW at the bus stop. Rather than continue this painful monologue, here is what I came up with. Fact: while waiting for the second bus back to school the SEAs were discussing having parents come to pick them up at the bus stop as it was getting later and later. Assumption: this discussion happened while I was on the phone with R which would explain the sudden enthusiasm in his voice. Fact: BW had called and left a message on our home phone, unfortunately I had already left. Fact: the SEAs had it all sorted out and no one was left to their own devices.

Now your "typical" child would have probably relayed the discussion/message about being picked up while talking to their parent on the phone especially since it was more than likely happening at the exact.same.time. Further, I am going to assume R was listening to the discussion, heard "parents pick up", thought whooo-hooo mom is coming to pick me up, life is good, end of conversation. It did not matter that I asked about bussing back to school. It did not matter that I asked about where to pick him up. In fact it would not have mattered if I asked about the economic crisis in Greece. In Riley's mind he knew that I was going to be picking him up at the bus stop (even though at that point I did not) therefore all was good in Riley World. That is all. *sigh*  A whole new dimension.

I don’t know how you would be but I was and still am exhausted!!!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Things my Husband "Should Do"

This week's Monday Listicles topic was chosen by Stasha’s husband who in her own words “clearly forgot that she gets to make a list too!”  Well you can imagine my enthusiasm when I first read the topic. I mean WOW…this could clearly turn into a guilt-free vent, cleansing of my soul type post. While most who know me would think I could easily come up with at least 10 things that I think G should “do”…it was actually not that simple.

I know what you’re thinking. What! Seriously?!? She must be kidding! Actually you're right…it’s a little of both. Sure I could go on a husband bashing rant about everything I think G should “do” only that would mean I would have to “do” things that he thinks I should “do” too. Capiche??

So instead, having just celebrated 21 years of wedded bliss, I will digress slightly from the original topic and go with 10 Things my Husband Should “Know” yet apparently still has trouble remembering:  

1.      I don’t like and have NEVER liked horseradish/wasabi.
2.      I don’t like and have NEVER liked salmon maki or salmon sashimi or any kind/type of raw salmon even though I am of Japanese heritage. Please stop offering me numbers 1 and 2 already!
3.      I don’t like and have NEVER liked the “great outdoors” (aka camping…more of a concrete kinda gal).
4.      I don’t like and have NEVER liked trivial facts (eg. What’s the diameter of Big Ben? or How many steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower? Memories from our honeymoon.) It just clogs my brain and I’m just.not.interested.
5.      I don’t like and have NEVER liked Bob Dylan. Sorry to Bob’s fans…just not my cup of tea.

Not wanting to sound all negative, I'll put a more “positive” spin on the last 5:
6.      I DO like playing mindless games on my DS and computer. It’s a stress release and keeps me sane.
7.      I DO like getting fresh flowers once in a while even though you think they are a waste of money, will wither up and die and leave dead petals all over the place.
8.     I DO like an ice cold gin martini with a twist when we go out for a nice dinner, no I do not think it tastes like gasoline and since you think so, stop trying it every single time thank you very much!
9.      I DO like going to get a pedicure at the nice, fancy Spa down the hill.
10.   I DO like when you make reservations for a nice dinner without being prompted/reminded (hint, hint).   

Belated Happy Anniversary G!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

"Saturday Seven" via Satellite

They say “imitation is the highest forms of flattery” and I’m hoping Robbie will agree. I faithfully follow her blog over at “Fractured Family Tales”. She posts a variety of topics in a weekly instalment called “Saturday Seven”. I mean I could have pretended I came up with this idea and called it the Saturday Six or something else but really…let’s give credit where credit is due so once again if you click on any of these red words you’ll link over to Robbie's blog

One of Riley’s favourite things to do when he’s at home is to watch DVD’s up in his room. He will watch two movies at the same time (or should I say the same 7 second sequence over…and over…and over…and over again); one on his portable DVD player and the other on the TV. I am amazed at his ability to multi-task. He can operate two remote controls with pinpoint accuracy, hold up a DVD in order to look at his reflection while making faces all while scripting from a variety of different movies the entire time. FYI…his inflection is spot on and apparently there is no mute button for his voice. So without further ado…here are Riley's "Saturday Seven" via satellite for this week that one might hear coming from his room at any given time: 

1.      Go away, I’m not home!   (Gru)

2.      All I'm saying is families are inevitable; they're like death or taxes.  

3.      Nobody cares about your stupid frog right now, FedEx, OK?

4.      It’s not for you crow.  (The wicked witch from Snow White)

5.      And do it NOW!!!!!   (Cruella Deville from 101 Dalmations)

6.      Allllllllvvvvviiiiinnnnnn!!!!!!  (screaming...Dave Seville)

7.      My butt is itching up a storm and I can’t reach it in this monkey suit. 

Let this be fair warning to any visitors...Riley IS alone; he is NOT being tortured and he IS having a good time!

Friday, 18 May 2012

Absolutely To.Die.For Desserts!

I belong to a book club that meets once a month. You can read all about us and our monthly picks in the tab "Book Club Books" across the top. Our hostess of this month's meeting treated us to a couple of absolutely TO.DIE.FOR desserts! I'm always looking for new recipes so I'm hoping to start a section (this will be a work in progress) with some of my favourites.

I have yet to try making these 2 recipes myself since it was only the other night but I think this will be on my list of things to do for this long weekend. Yummers!

Rolo Cookies

2 ½ cups (590 mL) Flour
¾ cup (180 mL) Cocoa
1 teaspoon (5 mL) Baking soda
1 cup (240 mL) White sugar
1 cup (240 mL) Brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup (240 mL) Butter, softened
2 teaspoons (10 mL) Vanilla
2 Eggs
70 to 75 Rolo Candies (7-8 packages)

Combine flour, cocoa and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, beat sugar and butter and add vanilla and eggs.
Stir in flour /cocoa mixture. Chill dough for 1 hour.
Shape about 1 ½ teaspoons (7 mL) of dough around a Rolo, making sure it is completely covered. 
Place on ungreased cookie sheet and chill for 1 hour.
Bake 7 to 8 minutes at 375°F (190°C).
Cool on wire rack.
Optional: when cool, drizzle with melted white chocolate and garnish with a nut.
(Makes 75 cookies)

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

8 oz cream cheese (I used the light, spreadable version)
3 or 4 Tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs on top.


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

"Who's On First in Riley World"
Episode 2: Back to School

This is the second installment of "Who's On First in Riley World". On Monday Riley went back to school after two weeks at home. Thankfully we were able to postpone the start of an early summer vacation as R has now been assigned a different SEA (Special Education Assistant) for the remainder of this school year. I met with R’s Case Manager and “BW” last week to discuss Riley’s needs, strengths and challenges. In preparation for Monday, I took R in to meet BW this past Friday. 

Now on Monday afternoons R goes to work experience at a local elementary school library.  They bus to work from school and then R busses home on his own (his SEA waits with him until he gets on the bus and we meet him at the bus stop at our end). Yes that is what we mean by riding the bus "by himself" at this point. R calls us when he gets on the bus or that is what is “supposed” to happen.  Here is what happened on Monday:

I get a phone call from R at 2:15pm (usual time being 2:45):
R:         I’m on the bus.
Me:       You’re ON the bus or AT the bus stop???
R:         I’m at the bus stop.
Me:       Are you AT the bus stop or are you still at the library?
R:         I’m at the library.
Me:       Is BW with you?
R:         Yes she is.
Me:       Can I talk to BW please?
R:         Yes.  (I hear shuffling then R hangs up. Oish!*)

I call R back on his cell phone.
R:         Hello.
Me:       Hi Riley.  It’s mom.
R:         Hi mom.
Me:       Is BW with you?
R:         Yes she’s with me.
Me:       (This time I pose the question clearly with a direction. Gawd…will I EVER learn?!?)
Can you please give the phone to BW?  (I hear him handing her the phone..phew)

I then talked with BW. Apparently they had arrived early and had finished the work so were going to head back to school. No problem. About 20 minutes later G looks outside and sees R walking back and forth on our sidewalk outside the front window. Hmmm…this is different. Not like R to not come in the house. We go open the door and R walks in happy as a clam. G & I are most confused. R...not so much. I decide, with all my wisdom, to try and ask Riley what happened:

R:         I took the bus home. (Most pleased with himself)
Me:       Did you take the bus home by yourself or with BW?
R:         By myself.  It was a different bus.
Me:       A different bus?? (WTF???)
R:         The 246 bus. “Insert Realtor’s name here” was on the back.
Me:       (Ohhh…I get it now, the advertisement on the back of the bus was different.) Where was BW?
R:         At the bottom of the driveway.
Me:       (Hmmm…thinking to myself. OK so he rode the bus home “by himself” but BW was at the bottom of 
             our driveway. Pretty sure BW must’ve been at the bottom of the driveway as that’s not something R 
             would normally say.  I go out to look, of course she’s not there as who knows how long R was
             standing out front. Oish.)

Within minutes BW calls and fills in the blanks. Apparently they went to catch the bus and of course BW is not familiar with the bus schedule/routes and R is very good at following his regular routine. They get on the bus and R tells BW when it’s time to get off. Unfortunately for BW they were not at the school…fortunately for R…they were at home. When they got to the bottom of our driveway Riley told BW that “our house was closed” which basically meant “thanks, I’m good from here.”  BW read his cues perfectly and responded appropriately even though she then had to find her way back to school on her own. *sigh*

The long and short of it is I still find it so interesting how aware "we" need to be as to the level of Riley’s communication skills when he is placed in a situation that is not the norm. Speaking from experience, nothing can be taken for granted in Riley World. Can anybody else out there relate?  Anybody?  Anybody at all???

Sunday, 13 May 2012

10 Things I Wish I Could Delete

For this week’s Monday Listicles I decided to dredge up things from my past (while I still remember) that have “scarred me for life”.
Here we go:

1.    The time I peed my pants in kindergarten because I had just started to paint and knew if I left, some other snotty nosed kid would rip my painting off the easel and I would end up having to play with the wood blocks or something else equally thrilling. See what I mean?!!!

2.      Toni home perms…enough said.

3.      My sister is the one scarred for life on this one but since I was involved... Matching outfits. Our mom used to dress us alike even though we were (and still are) almost 3 years apart and probably had a 6 inch height difference. That's me on the left (circa 1969). If she made the outfits, they were exactly the same; store bought were usually different colours. 

4.     1970’s Season Hubley Haircut.  I soooo wanted to have the Season Hubley haircut!  Unfortunately with poker straight, wiry hair, I looked more like the cartoon character Nancy (from the 1950’s/60’s) sans the hair bow than Season or hmmm…maybe that was because of the Toni home perm?!? 


5.      "Don't worry Be happy" song by Bobbi McFerrin.  It did not make me happy.  It did make me very cranky.  Can't explain just did?!?

This jacket folded up
into the tote bag. 

6.      Weekender Wear clothing/home parties.  They boasted being able to turn the tote bag you used for your weekend getaway into evening wear which you could later wear as PJ’s.  If you were really "hip"...BIG floral prints and rolled collars were available.  

7.      Southern Comfort and Coke.  Think late 1970’s.  Teenage partying.  Drinking games.  That is all.

8.      My annual physical. Until they come up with a way to scan for every possible illness this is an absolute necessity. However the stirrups and duckbill I can do without. I will spare you the picture. You're welcome.

9.      The early 1980’s in general aka the era of the “Sumo Sisters” as my brother-in-law likes to refer to them. Constant dieting, big hair and fashion faux pas.

What I wish he meant.
What he really meant.

      Not J2's room but you get the picture.

10.  Last but by no means least…dirty dishes and laundry left all over the house by J2. OK so this is happening NOW but believe me when I say…
I WILL be scarred for life.

So there you have list of 10 Things I Wish I Could Delete. What has scarred you for life???

MAD aka Mom Appreciation Day!!!

Riley's been talking about Mother's Day since May 1st.  He is REALLY excited. Why??? I have absolutely no idea. Maybe he's looking forward to unwrapping all those "good, thoughtful, expensive gifts" that I'm not getting. Gee...that sounded a little bitter didn't it?!?  I'm really not. I got over THAT years ago.  :) 

For me it has never been about an expensive gift or any type of gift for that matter. Thoughtful is nice. That is why I am going to rename today "Mom Appreciation Day!" at our house. After all, I think that's really all most of us moms want isn't it?  

Unfortunately I forgot to inform the offspring this year *sigh*.  Oh well like I've always said, they put Mother's Day before Father's Day for a reason.  Tee hee.

Hope all you "Moms" have a very well-deserved and happy MAD!!! 

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Swing


How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Robert Louis Stevenson

Text Messaging for Dummies

I swore I would never resort to text messaging to communicate with my kids.  Nuh-uh.  I would insist they actually talk to me in person or call me on our landline (aka home phone). I would not bow down to social media tools. Hands-on parenting was MY generation. Then *sigh* came the “teen years”.  I finally caved and started texting when J2 (then 16 years old) decided any type of verbal communication with the parents other than the occasional grunt here and there took too much effort. 

When I first started texting I had the typical flip phone with the alpha/numeric keyboard that required you to press the number 7 key four times in order to get the letter “s”.  AUGH! Then there was something called Autocomplete which involves the program predicting a word or phrase that the user wants to type in without the user actually typing it in completely” (Wikipedia). OMG!  The Mother of the Year Committee was at it again with even MORE acronyms to learn. Shoot me now!  Thank goodness for Webopedia’s Text Messaging and Online Chat Abbreviations page.

Well you can imagine how thrilled I was when I got my first text message from J2 and he signed off with “LOL”.  I KNOW!  Can you believe it!  At 16 he was well past showing any form of PDA yet here he was signing off with “Lots of Love”!!!  *wink*

Three years later I like to think I am a pretty accomplished text messenger.  Last summer I even upgraded to a phone with a “qwerty” keyboard - not virtual as I still am old school have principles.  OK so the new phone was mainly because of the letter ‘s’ thing and virtual keyboards are just too freakin finicky for me! 

Like with most everything, there is apparently text messaging etiquette.  According to J2 it is a definite no-no to “drunk text”.  Not that this has EVER happened to moi but for those of us you who just can’t help yourselves; maybe there should be a warning message. 

Just saying...

Monday, 7 May 2012

An Early Summer??? Sure hope not...

After 15 or so years of navigating Riley World, one would think I would be pretty in tune with what’s happening all most of the time. Yea right. Wish that were the case. *sigh* I have come to realize that what I struggle with the most in Riley World is coming to grips with the idea that sometimes things just don’t work out or aren’t meant to be for whatever reason and through no fault of anyone.

In January of this year, Riley was assigned a new SEA (Special Education Assistant). In the beginning things seemed to be going well. Towards the end of February things started to change. For the first time in 12 years at school, Riley started having “behaviours” which were described to me as “aggressive”.  This was very atypical of Riley.

I was confused and inside felt that something was not quite right but just couldn’t put my finger on it. Riley was also having challenging behaviours at work experience which in turn led to having to discontinue working at the grocery store after a year and a half. The confusing part for me was we weren’t seeing these behaviours at home or on weekends (even with a new support worker). What was going on???

Now ever since Riley started school we have been using what is referred to as a Homeschool Communication Book. In the past month, R’s SEA had to be reminded to check and record in his book a number of times. Then there were some conflicting stories and the last straw being a matter of safety.

When you have a kid like Riley who has significant communication issues, as parents we need to be able to trust without a doubt the person who is working with him. We felt we no longer had that trust in R’s SEA and for the first time ever, were not comfortable sending Riley to school.

From Riley’s standpoint this was not a problem.  As a matter of fact R's been off school since last Monday (one week) and is happy as a pig in sh*t!  This past Friday was a Pro-D day (no school for kids). All through the week R kept saying happily "No school on Friday" as if he was finally going to get a day off school. I was like haven't been at school all week in case you hadn't noticed. Oi-vay!

I had mentioned in a previous post, I do not like conflict and will do just about anything to avoid a confrontation. Unfortunately this time we felt we had no other choice than to keep Riley at home. In the meantime I will put on a clean pair of my big girl panties (not sure what men wear in this case), we will go with our gut feelings and hopefully we can work with the school on a plan going forward. 

Wish us luck!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Tragic Reality Check...

It has been a somewhat difficult week for me or so I thought.  That was until I talked to my sister this morning. 

Our childhood friend’s daughter passed away suddenly.  I don’t know all the details (they are irrelevant at this point).  I only know that this is not the way it is supposed to happen. 

As parents, we celebrate our children from the minute we hold them in our arms. They make us experience every emotion: happy, sad, laughter, embarrassment, amazement, frustration, pride, shock, and yes even anger at times. We try to teach them and instil a set of morals that we hope will help them succeed in their life. 

We do the best we can.

As a young adult I remember feeling like life was one big adventure. I couldn’t wait to try anything and everything.  Accidents happened but to other people, not me. “Throw caution to the wind”.   

As a 51 year old mother of two would I change anything I did in those early years?  Some things for sure…they were just plain stupid. Most things, however dangerous (real or imagined) they may have been, I would not. At 51 years old I sometimes miss that sense of adventure, spontaneity or the exhilaration I felt after accomplishing something totally out of my comfort zone. At 51 years old I am more cautious and more aware, perhaps too aware, of the consequences that could happen.

It is human nature to want to protect our children from harm, heartache and disappointment. It is not, however, realistic to think we can. While some people may like to imagine a world without any conflict, danger or differences, I think that would be pretty boring. 

Whether you agree or not, we all do the best we can.

A tragic reality check happened today; my dear friend lost her child.