Thursday, December 9, 2010


The pregnancy widget on my sidebar just showed me 11+ weeks to go. Yikes! Eleven weeks is NOT ENOUGH TIME! I'm not organized! I've hardly paid attention to being pregnant! I don't know where the baby clothes are! I'm not moved into my new house so I can't organize! What happened?!

Gestational diabetes update:
midwife advice re: evening snack was totally off. It was worth a shot but absolutely didn't work for my body.
Saw dietician at GD clinic yesterday: this was amazing. She surmised that I need more carbs in my evening snack: increase to 30 g (and consider more if that doesn't work), and pair with a protein. She said that 'high 5's' would require insulin, 'low 5s' we could let that slide. This seems more attainable than 5.0 or less: she asked me early in the appointment if avoiding insulin was a big deal for me, and I spilled the beans and told her about the homebirth plans and having to stay 5.3 or under in the a.m. for that to be an option. I waited in silence for Judgement Day regarding home birth, or at least awkward This Woman Is Weird laughter. Instead, she said, "Oh, I had a home birth!"
This, for me, was a huge release of worry and anticipation and very significant. I don't have to fight my dietician, we're on the same page. I also felt like this was a specific reassurance from God regarding his care and provision for this pregnancy and birth, which was a relief. Whew. And she gave me some tips, including: don't use a blood sample that requires a lot of squeezing to get a large enough drop, because it can affect the reading and make it higher. Also, if you test high on one finger, test again on the other hand and record the lower number. Since these numbers are so important in my particular case, she said this could make a difference for me. True, since my numbers are only slightly above the border of acceptable.

Last night I took her advice as per evening snack and this morning my BG was 5.4. Not perfect, but a heckofalot better than 6.7 like Sunday morning!!! And 6.1 after the protein only snack.

Ayden's parent teacher conference was this afternoon. He's a quiet boy who takes school very seriously and hardly ever talks. This is Ayden VOSE we're talking about, right??! The Vose boy with the Vose Talkety Talk gene!? The boy who talks my ear off all the way home from school and often another 20 minutes after we get home, too!? Yesterday i got to hear over an hour of details about Pokemon characters and all their different HPs and characteristics and strengths and how they fight each other and who would win over who and who is biggest and cutest and grossest and ALL the details about Pokemon I never knew I didn't want to know.
But at school, he's quiet. He's saving it all up for me at the end of the day. =)
Also, one of his teachers said she saw him get frustrated with Matthew once recently and was VERY surprised to see that side of Ayden [those of you who know Ayden well will have seen his temper: fortunately he keeps it calm at school].
Ayden's in a special montessori style classroom at his school and it suits him very well. He gets challenged intellectually instead of ignored because the material comes easily to him, and he gets taught life skills like leadership, creative thinking and problem solving, social skills, and all kinds of hands on learning tools. He's doing well and thriving in that environment, and I'm very happy he's in it. He LOVES his classroom and worries already about graduating out of it when he starts Grade 4.

We actually spent a portion of Ayden's parent teacher conference talking about Matthew, because I've contemplated putting him in the same class next year because he's a late bloomer and that class allows each child to have their own lesson plan based on what they are ready for. Kids bloom at their own speed.
But the class itself can be a bit chaotic in an organized fashion, much like our large, noisy family can be. I really think this brings out a higher level of stress in Matthew, fracturing his focus and bringing out his stutter and encouraging him to ignore his urges to pee. He's happy and healthy and everything, but he needs some time where his environment is calm, focused, and VERY structured in order to foster the best learning for him.
These past few months have been transformative for Matthew, because he really seems to be more centered and mature and self confident as a result of the more traditional style classroom. His behavior is exemplary, for the most part (he DID steal another kid's lunch the other day and hide it in his desk and not return it til after school, so the poor kid got to eat no lunch). He's kind, funny, sociable, and follows directions. (This is feedback from his parent teacher conference a few weeks ago). His stutter is less severe, even at home. His peeing is less abundant and less obvious, even at home. He's developing a separate sense of self because for the first time in, well, EVER, he's got his entirely own thing independent of Ayden and devoid of the opportunity or need to compete with Ayden. And he's learning to read, which is good for his confidence. He doesn't seem to be noticing that he's behind the curve, and he isn't frustrated with having to do tasks over again or do extra work at home, so that is positive.
I think he just really responds well to structure. And a peaceful environment. He really does seem more centered.
We've been working with him at home to develop his literacy skills, since he wasn't grasping a lot of the concepts in class, and we've nearly caught him up. He can now sound out simple words (though he still has trouble with letter recognition sometimes: he often thinks 'i' says 'lllll' instead of 'i', or guesses nonexistent words like 'to' became 'tong' this morning with a weird inflection that made it not a word), and can very quickly master his spelling word list. He can write legibly. None of this came easily, but it's falling into place with the extra help in learning assistance and at home.
The more I think about it, the more I know that a traditional style classroom is a better fit for Matthew. This is also an environment that I could not offer him at home. I love homeschooling and think it's fantastic and fully support it, but there are some things about the classroom that are a positive fit for him that are not things I could do at home. Plus, he and I sometimes can get snarled up in a negative feedback loop of mutual frustration that he can avoid with a teacher who is less invested in his success as a person. I mean, she cares! She cares so much! But she's not his mom who sets her success or failure as a human being in this life on the health and self sufficiency of him as an adult. You know? Like if he turns out on a bent path somewhere later in life his Grade 1 teacher would say, "Oh that's too bad! So sad." Whereas I would say, "I failed him."

I think I mentioned this once before but a few months after Riley was born when I went to see a counsellor for my post partum anxiety we got talking about Matthew and she asked me, "Do you ever picture him as a healthy adult with a happy family and a fulfilling life?" I was stunned to realize that no, I never did. I don't mean I didn't very often. I mean NEVER. Not once since we had adopted him, up to that point, did I picture him as anything but a rapist and a murderer. Because his mother failed him so utterly, obviously. In retrospect this seems so ludicrous it's funny, but it was no laughing matter. What a foothold anxiety and evil had on my mind, to continually shout in my head that my mistakes and difficulties were sending my child straight to sociophathic violence. What a nightmare to live with that kind of projected responsibility for something that hasn't happened and will highly likely never happen (especially if I can avoid believing it will and creating a self fulfilling prophecy or just simply a miserable existence with a very unhappy momma).

Now, I never picture him as anything but healthy and well adjusted and happy. It makes more sense: he's a well adjusted and happy kid now, he lives in a functional and loving family, he has fabulous extended family relationships, and he relates well to others, displays empathy, regulates his emotions (he didn't always!! He does now), and loves his unique identity characteristics like being Thai, being adopted, having 3 mommies, having brown skin, and having unique early childhood circumstances. He walks a more difficult path than most children. And he does it bravely and well.

What a relief.

It takes a lot less effort to think normally, and sane. And it takes a LOT less effort and energy to maintain a healthy low to no anxiety life than it does to fight it when it has a firm hold on me. It's like a path in a meadow; if you walk it often, you wear down a hard dirt surface with no grass on it and where seeds won't penetrate. These are anxious thoughts. Especially reoccurring ones that strike deep into what I hold in extremely high value. Once I start training myself to leave the habitual path and walk around the meadow in new loops or simply scattered all over the meadow, eventually those old paths grow over and they don't have such hard, worn, easy to use surfaces anymore. So even when these thoughts return to harass me, it's easier to dismiss them when they're not entrenched neurologically. It was habit for me to think of Matthew as on a trajectory for sociopathic violence. Now it's not, so it seems ridiculous that I ever engaged with the idea in the first place.
[sometimes it pops back up, but it's easier to talk myself back into more balanced thinking patterns now]

Now, when I picture his future I see several possibilities;
youth pastor
business owner
mountain climber
manager or owner of an outdoor facility that specializes in group strength building exercises or teamwork through physical challenges and feats
teacher in an alternative school
rock star
fun, hilarious, energetic, loving dad
funny, frustrating, inspiring, charismatic, lovable spouse

Ayden seems like he would make a good teacher, and he also loves music so I could totally see rock star or symphony orchestra in his future. Biologist, maybe? I used to think paramedic but he's pretty wimpy when it comes to blood and vomit. He takes after his dad.

Riley will be a good fit as a professional food critic.
Or a professional cliff diver.
Or a pilot.
He's pretty fearless.


tamie said...

I love how effortlessly hilarious you are. One of the things this post really got me thinking about was how, truly, there is no one right answer for kids. I mean, there are some things that are *always* wrong answers, but besides that, there really is a lot of possibility and flexibility. Like, I've always been pretty anti-schooling (and when I say "always" I mean "in the last couple years"), but reading your post I see how traditional schooling makes a lot of sense, right now, for Matthew. So that is really cool, and I am happy for Matthew, and I'm especially happy that he has parents who are so attentive to him and to what is working for him. It's really cool that you spend so much extra time with him teaching him to read and stuff. Good for you! And good for you for realizing that Ayden would thrive in a Montessori environment. And for listening to the kiddos blabber on the way home from school.

Great post. There is something about your writing voice that is just wildly engaging to me. I'm glad you write all this stuff down!

melissa said...

Thanks Tamie! I'm glad you think my voice is something worth listening to =)
I'm still planning on sending my paramedic piece to the Vancouver Sun or something, I just haven't gotten around to figuring out how one submits a piece like that. I will. One of these days.

It's true that there are a multitude of good choices out there, as far as raising kids. I have totally learned that just by having several kids. And thinking hard about how to parent. I think context is pretty big. Like, I would absolutely homeschool (and research all types and methods) if one of my kids was absolutely not thriving in school, or we lived somewhere where the public school option was not the highest quality, or the community group we lived in had a lot of social problems.

Or we lived on a boat. Or we were working overseas and there wasn't a good local option.

But because of our specific context, with a good school and a happy kid (or half a dozen), it works for now. And works well for now. And will be constantly re evaluated.