Soccer Blues….

Well I don’t know what it is, but when I take my son to soccer he doesn’t want to play. He just wants to sit and watch with me. If he falls, and its really not a big deal, he looks around and if I’m there he starts balling his eyes out. Today my bf told me, you just have to leave. So I left… Apparently he looked and when he didn’t see me he just started playing and focused on the game. Why am I so distracting to him? This makes me so frustrated, I’m trying so hard to get him involved in different things and yet he clams up. Unless I’m not there. Same thing happened with Wiggle Giggle and Munch. But there I have to be with him as I’m the only one who can take him. Last week he was being clingy and sucky  we just left. One the way home he wanted to go back, but I was done. If I were to just drop him off and leave he would do fantastic.
Blah! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, when I worked in a pediatric dental office, the same thing happened. If the parent was in the room, child would act up. As soon as the parent left the child was an angel(some of the time LOL)
I wish I had the magic pill. What to do? Do I just send him to soccer with his dad or hubby? I feel like I’m missing out on sharing this experience with him. Is that selfish? I mean I still have homeschooling and violin, maybe I should just let someone else use this as a bonding moment with him….

Homeschooling: A bunch of motherly worries…

I hope you guys don’t mind the crazy amount of review/giveaways as of lately. I had planned on spacing them out better, but with the chaos of the last month, ie: finding a new daycare child, Wesley’s tutor quieting, etc, I have fallen behind.
Yesterday was officially the completion of week 2 of my no meat diet. Funny in the last 2 weeks the only place I have managed to find a yummy veggie burger (restaurant or store bought) was at Burger King. However I have managed to imitate tone of my favorite meals, taco wraps. Overall I’m not as physically exhausted, I have an easier time waking up in the morning and my moods seem to be better balanced.
Wesley is doing amazing. I’m happy with most of his progress. Like I said a few days ago I’m still trying to figure out our math situation. I’m hoping to talk to Dr.Jones and see how we can move ahead with his program. I have had my son working on Dreambox. We have 7 days left on his trail. Then I will be writing a review and my readers will have a chance to win a FREE month subscription.
I find that Wesley learns best doing a mixture of worksheets and online programs. At the moment he is doing Headsprout, Reading Eggs, Starfall, Dreambox, and IXL Math online. As for workbooks he is doing Explode the Code, The Canadian Handwriting workbook, we dabble alittle with Hooked on Phonics, we just finished Hooked on Handwriting, and we are starting Jones Geniuses Math and Reading program. We also practice reading from books almost every night. His therapy tutors are amazed with his reading skills. I’m hoping to provide him a good balance, but the kid is around so many men who LOVE video games he is drawn to that. So by providing carefully picked online computer games, I seem to be teaching him using his interests. I mean my son has ALWAYS been a techie, he was 2 years old and could operate his own CD player, 3 he could start up the computer and show grandma how to do things, at 4 he showed my best friend how to operate the camera on her Blackberry(he had never seen a Blackberry before that day). I know now a days we are suppose to protect children from all this technology, and up till he was 4 the online computer time he got was at Grandma and Grandpa’s because I did not allow him on the computer at all. But now… I guess maybe I just gave into the forces of evil? LOL well in the end he is being well educated, and at least he is not sitting in front of Mario or characters like that 24/7(well when he’s with his dad that’s a different story)
Lets hope I’m doing this child justice….

Parenting struggles and New writing activity!!!

Hey Guys! I hope you don’t mind all the reviews/giveaways that have been going on. I have had the chance to review alot of products and I just want to share my finds with you 🙂
To Train Up A ChildI’m not going to lie, things with Wesley’s behavior have been difficult. He has TV/Nintendo DS taken away till Friday. I have started to reading To Train Up A Child. I’ve been dieing to read it after reading a few chapters online, and I stumbled upon it at a thrift store a little while back. I know I have lacked in training Wesley to be an obedient child. I give too many warnings, empty threats and give into whining. Its not his fault he misbehaves, its mine for allowing it. Things today have been better, I’m following through and not giving second chances. I expect him to listen the first time. I have been training him to misbehave by giving him warnings, he thinks he is allowed to misbehave a couple times before having to “obey”. It has also helped me control my frustration. They helped me realize I have to stop taking his poor behavior personally. This way I can respond without emotions flooding in and compromising my judgment. Parents get so mad at there child and they say something like “Your grounded till your 18, and go to bed with no dinner.” well its 3pm. We know we can’t follow through with any of this, and at 6pm you call him down for dinner, and then a few days later he is out with his friends. What you have taught him is 1)Letting your anger control you is OK and 2)you don’t follow through. Not things I want my son to know.This book has really opened my eyes. I know a lot of parents my not agree with this style of parenting, but to me it makes sense. I love my child with all my heart, but I want him to behave so I can like and enjoy his presents too. They take a lot about having your child with you as much as possible, so you can enjoy them, give then the attention they need so they don’t have to get negative attention from you to be noticed, and that you can correct behaviors and let them know your expectations.
Now if your child is already perfect and your reading this, please don’t judge me. I’m human, I know I’m not the best parent, I lose my cool, I raise my voice, etc. But I am trying to correct this and be the best parent I can be. I just wanted to share this with you guys encase any of my readers are having the same problem… Your not alone…
Anyhow that felt good to write and get off my chest 🙂
I started a new activity with Wesley today. He is getting much better with printing and his OT wants him to start drawing. So yesterday at the grocery store I went into the school supply section, because well I love stationary LOL. Anyhow I found those scribbles with the big lines on have the page and the top half is plain. So I started the first page by writing ‘Circle” on every other line, the on the plain half drawing one circle.
Then this morning I ran upstairs and interrupted Wesley’s ABA session, and while his tutor set up her next activity I did this with him

He would write circle beside my example then he would draw a circle on the top page, when he was done writing all his trails. I gave him some crayons and let him draw colored circles. I’m hope that everyday we can get more and more complex with the picture to the point where he writes tree and after draws one big picture of a tree. But for now baby steps. LOL and maybe one day he will stay on the lines too. But overall I’m thrilled with his progress.
Have a great day!!
Don’t forget to visit my Super Star Speech home therapy giveaway!!! This is an amazing product and I know we love it!

Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. It really matters how you handle yourself.

I’m on the beach relaxing in the sun with my cat while my bf and stepdaughter play in the water. So seeing as I don’t really like playing in the water I might as well blog lol.
This weekend I took the kids to my Memeres house for a visit. Wesley brought his board game Trouble and taught Memere how to play. But it turned into a long game and half way throught he decided he was done, as did my step daughter so they ended on a good note.
I started thinking about a few months ago when I picked Wes up from his old daycare. I walked in and there were 4 children playing Candyland. The teacher asked me if I had any suggestions how to play the game so everyone wins. Some of the children were having trouble losing. I said “No, we usually play the regular rules.”
The more I thought about it the more convinced the point of board game is to teach children, well of course skills like numbers, colors, etc also social skills. Like your not always going to win, and you have to learn to win gracefully and learn how to lose as well.
I think that just because a child hits the floor in a temper tantrum does not mean you should have to change the rules of the game. You should use this time to teach them good character. Helping them congratulate the winner.
When my son beats me at a game (sad part is this happens often lol) I say “ah man! You beat me! Good game, you really got me on that last move” Its ok to be disappointed in losing. But it’s how you handle yourself. And my examples seemed to work. He laughs when someone gets his piece in Trouble and says “oh man! You got me!” If he wins he says “I win! Good game! Want to play again?” I don’t allow gloating, and we haven’t had an issue yet.
I know some children are more compeitive then others but I mean we need to prepare our kids for the future. Now a days I’m school everyone makes the basketball team no matter what. What happened to working really hard for something? What happened to not always winning? Do you think everyone that applies for the promotion at work is going to get it? Everything we do is preparing our children for real life. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose. What really defines us as who were are is how we handle ourselves when these things happen.

Our First Homeschool Convention

Every year our local Christian Homeschooling group, MACHS, host their annual homeschool conference. This was my very first year attending. As a new homeschooling mom I was so excited for this day to come. Originally I had only signed up to attend the Saturday, because I was suppose to work in the Operating Room all day Friday assisting with dental surgeries. However the other assistant asked to switch shifts with me, which freed up my Friday!

I woke up and got Mr. Wes ready and sent him off to daycare. He only has about a month left of daycare in his centre and we will be transitioning to me being at home full time at the end of April. For now though, I am very grateful there was somewheres for him to go while I attended.

When I arrived I found it very overwhelming at first. I was dumbfounded. The original plan was I would window shop Friday, and buy on Saturday. Well after witnessing the line up at the Math U See kiosk, and that the Primer pile was going down very quickly I panicked decided to buy. I stood in the long line and asked everyone a million questions about the program, some moms had used it from kindergarten to grade 12. Everyone said they wouldn’t go with anything else.

(Update 2017)However looking back I do not recommend parents jump to purchase a curriculum because they are selling out. Enquire if they offer free shipping of the items if they run out and you order before the end of the conference. If they do, this you should take the time you need to make sure this is the program you want and is best for your family. Looking back now this program was not a match for my oldest son. It involved many tears before we put it away.

Early on during the day on Friday,  I was taken under the wing of a seasoned homeschooler. She was a wealth of information. I found it comforting that her oldest was participating in the graduation ceremony the next day. It made me see that people were really pulling this off.  She showed me a few other programs, and offered some great advice. This made me feel so welcomed. While I did not come alone, the people I was with were also newbies to homeschooling. Can you say the blind leading the blind? You can tell that this conference is full of people with the hearts of teachers. Everyone was so kind and willing to help a new mom out.

Tip to experienced homeschoolers. If you see a new homeschool parent at a conference and they are open to it, take the time to share your experiences. Make them feel welcomed. You will be such a blessing to them.

Since I had spent a good chunk of Friday in the vendor area, Saturday I figured I better go to a few more lectures. The woman had talked the day before, Stacy McDonald, and really inspired me. Made me think long an hard about how I might be destroying my family slowly by nagging and nitpicking my hubby. Well the next day it was hard to listen to her  Mother/Daughter talk she was doing. She was encouraging parents not sending their daughters to post education outside the home. That once a daughter graduates from homeschool highschool she should basically stay at home till she gets married. If parents of girls what their daughters to be more educated they should encourage her to take it online. She also promoted girls not to work outside the home unless she’s doing missionary work.

I know everyone has a personal opinion about this, but I strongly believe that even if I woman wants to be a stay at home mom, she should have several skills in her back pocket. What if her husband gets sick and for a short or long period cannot work? What if her husband dies? What if her husband up and leaves her? I think that as parents we should be training our children, son or daughter, to be able to be both self sufficient as well as be able to live in a relationship with a spouse. Boys should be able to cook and clean. Girls should be able to work and change a tire. After listening to her Mother/Daughter talk, it was hard for me to take her lectures to heart knowing she has such a different point of view on raising children.

I landed up back in the vendor area again. I decided to pick up some basic Rod and Staff Homeschool Preschool Activity Workbooks- Set of 4 (for 3 & 4 Year Old Children). They were fairly cheap, and I think they will help get Wes use to doing workbook type lessons. Each book contains 32 pages of color by numbers, tracing and matching. They are advertised as being great for teaching numbers, shapes, colors, and more

Something I have found helpful is it to unbind all these books and put them into binders. This way when I want to do the lesson with Wes, I can take them out and put them in the page protector and he can do them dry erase. That way we can reuse them if we need to review and I will have them to use with future children as well as with my daycare kids.

All in all it was a great experience. I definitely plan on attending next year. I think I will make sure to really study the schedule ahead of time. This way I can plan which sessions are important to me, and which I think I will skip to spend time in the vendor hall.

I do wish there was a non religious or secular convention here too. It’s not that I don’t believe in God, I do. I know though there are secular material available for homeschoolings that might be an amazing addition to our homeschooling classroom. These types of programs are not typically offered at Christian conventions.

UPDATE: Check out the other homeschooling conferences I have attended since 2010.

MACHS Homeschool Conference 2011- Keynote Speaker Andrew Pudewa

MACHS 2017 Homeschool Conference in Winnipeg- Keynote Speaker Heidi St. John

 

Welcome to the World of a Autism Diagnosis.

welcome to the world of autism

An autism diagnosis was not a planned part of my motherhood story.

Since before my son was born I wanted to teach him. I know how smart little children are and how much they can learn if parents just take the time. However things didn’t go so smoothly for us.

No matter how hard I tried, it seemed like I could not teach him. He was a late crawler, a late walker, a very late talker(were still working on this) and he was hard to control. I couldn’t reason with him, not even a little. Times he just plain ignored me. However he was very smart, there was no doubt. He needed to know how everything worked. Thing is it was on his terms, he just would not allow me to teach him.

He did OK in the infant program at his daycare. He bonded with his caregiver. But when he was moved to the toddler room he did not adjust so well.

Every morning, involved him crying in the parking lot before we even got out of the car. The staff was little help in the new room. In order to leave I had  to peel my son off myself and leave him there crying. The caregivers had just accepted this was how Wes was, and did little to comfort him.

Because of his allergies he could not sit at the group table instead he ate his lunch alone in a corner in a highchair. As a young single mom, who had never attended daycare myself, I had no idea this was not how it was suppose to be.

At the time we were trying to get him into speech therapy and had to go through the Children’s Development Clinic. I had to fill out countless forms, and I dropped a packet that the daycare was required to complete. When I got that completed form I sat in the daycare parking lot that night and cried.

The comments and statements that the caregivers wrote crushed my very soul.

It read comments like “Wesley spends most of his time sitting in a corner with a toy staring into space. If another child takes the toy from him he does not get upset just begins wandering around the room” or “Wesley shows no interest in spending time with his caregiver, when shown books he refuses to sit” They also talked about how he was unable to do puzzles. This was odd to me because he did puzzles at home all the time. How he seemed sad all the time, Wesley had always been a happy kid, until he started the toddler program.

After I read this report I was done. One month in this room was long enough. Why would they allow him to sit alone and not engage him, even if he doesn’t respond right away, try again! These are suppose to be train Early Childhood Educators, just because he didn’t fit their perfect cookie cutter child ideals he was being left in the dust. I could see he was being ignored because all the other children could talk and Wesley was never one to demand attention. So he was left to rot.

I called around and put him on a few waiting list for other daycare centres. I expected it to take months as good childcare is difficult to find in Winnipeg. However only a week or two later I got a call at work from a daycare in our local deaf center. They had a spot available for Wesley to start the next Monday.

I went into panic mode! I needed to give the other center 2 weeks notice or I would have to pay for that spot and this new one. As a single mom on a tight budget I couldn’t make that happen and still pay the rent. Not on such short notice. Plus I wanted to visit the centre, talk to the workers and make sure this was actually better for Wesley. Because they required a yes or no answer I had to turn them down. My heart just sunk as I sat back down in the chair in the lunchroom at work and fought back tears.

But God must have been watching down on me, a few minutes later they called back. They decided that because Wesley(being non verbal at the time) could benefit more than the other children on their wait list they would hold the spot for the two week period as long as I agreed to come down the next morning check out the center and give a firm answer. My heart just sung with joy! A daycare actually wanted my son because he was nonverbal, and they were willing to work with me.

The centre was everything I dreamed, it was slightly Montessori. Children who were not potty trained were cloth diapered, and they used a emerging curriculum. Children learned using things they were interested in. Plus they signed, and not baby sign, real ASL. What more could a mother ask for a great environment and the chance to learn a second language. I had been trying to teach my son ASL and it was starting to come along.

Wesley still cried when I left, but he was included into the group activities. They included him at lunch. They exposed him to more and more signs. He was understanding the deaf caregivers.

The children included him, they just assumed he was deaf and that’s why he didn’t talk. The caregivers helped them understand he wasn’t deaf, he just needed help getting his words out. When he would say something all the children would cheer ‘Wesley talked!! Wesley Talked to ME!!” They were and still are so supportive of him. Plus his director put in a few words at the Children’s Development Clinic and helped get him bumped up the list.

An Autism Diagnosis –  The Other A-Word

What I found out on that cold January day in 2008 almost paralyzed me. Dr. Bowman looked at me in the eyes and said, “Your son has many strengths, however I do see a lot of autistic tendencies.” I tried to reason with her, ” Wesley is not autistic! He makes eye contact, he loves being with me, he smiles! He bonds with people, autistic kids don’t do that.” “Ms.Dupuis, the autism spectrum is very wide. I will run a few more test, but I already have a good idea what they are going to agree with the autism diagnosis.”

I went on to ask about what Jenny McCarthy was doing with her son Evan. A few months ago I had just read the book, Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism. I had seen Jenny promote it on Oprah and for some reason needed to read it. She shot it down saying it was not scientifically based. I asked if he would recover, they refused to give me real hope. The autism diagnosis is really is wild card. No one knows what I child’s outcome will be.

We did the additional testing. I don’t know if it was more frustrating or comical. Every time the person conducting the test would turn around, he would do something she would have benefitted from seeing him do.

The results came in and of course as we expected, he was on the spectrum. We were offered a choice from two provincially funded programs.  We could do either ABA(What is ABA?) or Floortime. However we were lead to believe that ABA was ONLY for families with a stay at home parents. We more or less mislead into the Floortime program.

Honestly for us Floor Time was a waste of time. I was getting frustrated as it was producing NO results. Every time we would finish up the session they would tell me I was doing great. I would ask what more I could do and all they would say is “Keep doing what you are doing.” or “I wish we could record you for other parents to watch and learn.”

Well I don’t know about you, but to me what they were asking me to do was insanity. They were asking me to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. I was frustrated to say the least.

Around this time I had started seeing dating a new guy. One day he called me at work after reading an article about a family who moved across the country to participate in the local ABA program. I told him I knew all about it, but it was for families with a stay at home parent. That’s when he stopped me and said

“Monique, these parents were both busy doctors.”

WHAT?!?!? So I got right off the phone with him and called St.Amant. They assured us they could work with Wes right in his daycare and I’d only have to miss work once every two weeks. We got the ball rolling and wow. Just WOW.

I’m not going to lie, we hit some bumps. One being our first tutor who was good at first, stopped took a turn for the worse. She fell asleep on a public bus during a fieldtrip with Wesley’s daycare while she was suppose to be supervising him.

Then the next day feel asleep at a public park while she was in charge. When I found out about this I demanded she never come near my son again as she was neglecting him and putting his life in danger. I don’t think I have to go into detail about what could have happened to him

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Now Wesley has a wonderful tutor who teaches him so much! She’s really an angel to us.

When Wesley was 5months old I became a single mom. Things just did not work out between me and his dad. When Wes was a week shy of turning 3 I met my current boyfriend. Who in his own unorthodox ways teaches Wesley so much. As soon as I learned to step back and allow him to get involved he helped teach Wesley boundaries and respect. He helps me every day, I don’t know what I would do without him.

Now Wesley where is he today. WOW he is doing AMAZING. He can sign 100s of words, but is depending mostly on his speech. He’s still uses short sentences, but is improving everyday. He can spell his name, count to 25, read 50 words(just started learning a few weeks ago and is just soaking this stuff up), knows his alphabet and what sound each letter makes. He plays with his peers, loves trains, cars, puzzles and Franklin.

I have ABA to thank, and also a modified Doman Technique, Your Baby Can Read and The Letter Factory.

I hope to come here and update regularly about Wesley progress and any new programs were trying.

Mother and son hugging by waterfall