Monday, September 27, 2010

Adoption, adoption everywhere

Once again adoption has found it's way onto my TV without me realizing it.  There is a daughter and her birthmother racing together on the Amazing Race this year.

To me, reunion is hard enough without doing it with the stress of TV cameras and travel, all while running a race to win a million dollars.  From what they said on the opening episode, this is only the 3rd time that they have met face to face.  I think they even said that the first time they talked was during the interview for the show! It took Iris and I almost a year to work past having to send letters through a social worker, and then even longer to get to phone calls and the idea of meeting face to face.  And I realize that everyone is different, I just hope they don't have some sort of honeymoon phase that ends while they are half way up a mountain in Tibet.

Liam is watching the Amazing Race with us this year.  It will be interesting to see if it sparks any adoption questions for him.  The first episode didn't; he was much too interested in watching them storming the castle, smashing suits of armour with watermelons and laughing at the people trying to get their little shell boats across the water.

I hope it works out for them and that they have the chance to get to know each other like they are hoping for.  I would love to see some follow up with them after the show is done to see how they made out and where their relationship will go from there.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homework = Fun!

Did you know that homework can be fun? It certainly never was when I was a kid. Now that I’m a parent and having to suffer work through homework a second time, I’m determined to make it fun. Here’s some of the things you can find Liam and I doing most evening between 5:00 and 6:00. If you are ever near by around that time stop by and join us!

Water fun - When the temperature hit 40C nobody wanted to move, let alone do homework. So we got inventive and added a water component.

Water Gun Reading - Write out 20 words on individual pieces of paper and scatter them around the back yard.. Use them as target practice as you read them. Mama had to participate in this so that we were both getting caught in each other’s cross fire.

Water Bomb Math - similar to water gun reading, write out math questions and spread them around. Then set a bucket of water and the water bombs in the middle of the yard. Run to a question, answer it, run to the bucket and be the first to throw a bomb at the other person. Keep playing long after the math questions are all answered.

Scavenger hunts - These can be used for all sorts of home work ideas. We recently did an eye spy/scavenger hunt for reading homework on a walk that ended up at the park. I carried a notepad and pen with me and would write down words of things as we saw them. Liam had to stop and read the word and then find the item before we could move on.  Since he knew we were going to the park, he was motivated to keep moving.

Sidewalk Chalk - Everything is more fun when it's done outside!  Write out the list of reading words or math questions in a hopscotch board and answer/read them as you play.  This week I wrote math questions up and down our sidewalk, driveway and even our street with a right and wrong answer to pick from.  Based on which one you picked you followed the arrow to the next question.  If you got them all right it led you to a surprise at the end.  But if you got one wrong you got the booby prize and had to start over to figure out which one led you astray!

Online Games - What better then an asteroid shooting game for fun? A game where you shoot words by spelling them out! There are a ton of reading and math websites out there to help make homework fun. Even Club Penguin can be used for reading. Just visit the library above the coffee shop and do one of their paint by letter books.

Reading is Reading is Reading -When Liam can’t choose which book to read or is just in a reading funk, we’ll breakout all sorts of things to read - comic books, the back of a Wii game carton, cereal boxes. Our most recent one was Dixie cups with riddles printed on them. It all counts!

Board Games - I pull these out when I’m out of other ideas. It can cover 1) Reading - the instructions, the game cards, the board. 2) Math - Monopoly and the Game of Life are great for money concepts, or any game with dice is good for simple addition. 3) Strategic thinking and planning - nothing like a good game of chess to get in some thinking and planning.

The down side to all of this fun is that it can up the ante of what Liam wants to do for homework.  I have to plan ahead and be prepared.  We don't do something super fun every night, sometimes we read boring old books or do work sheets.  But mixing it up keeps us both interested!

And please share any fun homework ideas that you have!

Friday, September 17, 2010

adhd medication

"Liam is in a really good mood, he has been so good, listening to me really well he sat and ate his lunch with no problem, I haven't seen him in such a good mood in awhile!”
told to us by our friend Judith after spending the day with Liam while he was on the Adderall.

We didn’t make the decision to try ADHD meds lightly. Ritalin has gotten such a bad rap over the years from being over-prescribed and abused that it even has it’s own song on The Simpson’s.

Bart: [singing to the tune of "Popeye, the Sailor Man"]
When I can't stop my fiddlin'
I just takes me Ritalin
I'm poppin' and sailin', man!

But as we learnt more about ADHD and the neurological component, we likened it to any other disease. If Liam had been diagnosed with diabetes we would not have thought twice if the doctor had said he needed insulin. So we forged ahead into the land of prescriptions.

We’ve been lucky that we were able to start him on the medication over the summer so that we can watch for effects and side effects. Our family doctor was only comfortable starting him off on Ritalin until we were able to see a pediatrician. Over a couple of weeks we tried a variety of doses. We quickly discovered that a higher dose caused Liam to have a lot of anxiety. This boy who has flown 20+ times in his 8 years was petrified during take off on our trip to British Columbia in June. He sat between Hilary and I, clinging to both of us and ran through every possible worse case scenario. Luckily we were able to distract and redirect and the anxiety ultimately passed since that was only the first 15 minutes of our 10+ hour day of travel!

The Ritalin did have the desired effect of helping Liam to slow his thoughts down and to focus on what was going on around him and what he was doing. The down side of Ritalin is that it only lasts in your system for about 4 hours so he was taking a 2nd dose at lunch time. This was okay when we were on vacation but not something that would work well during summer camp or when he was back at school.

It seemed however that we were going to be stuck with Ritalin for a long time. The first referal we could get for a pediatrician was Sept 24th! We asked our doctor to see if there was anyone else that we could get in to see sooner.  Our second referral was for Oct, 2nd!  Luckily the second Dr had a cancellation and we were able to get in the very next day.

This Dr started us on a course of Adderall, first at 10 mg per day and then up to 15 mg.  And WOW! It has been great!  The one fear that we had, that Liam would lose himself or his amazing personality, has not materialized.  He is still the great, fun, awesome kid with the wacky sense of humour that he always was.  But now we don't have to say things like "stop spinning" or "please just be still for 1 minute" 346 times a day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thrill of a Lifetime

As part of my fabulous and 40 birthday celebration this year, we spent the day at the CNE  Nothing says "40" like cotton candy, mini doughnuts and midway rides.  And Liam was finally tall enough to go on some of them with me.

His favourite (and mine) was the swings

We also played lots of carnival games and came home with 7 new "stuffies"

Even Grandma got in on the games.

But for Liam the biggest thrill was going on his first "grownup" ride by himself.  I love rides, the faster and the spinnier the better .... IF I'm seat belted in AND they don't involve water.  Of course, he wanted to go on the Flume ride.  No seat belts - it relies on gravity and momentum to keep you in and it splashes down into water.  No Thank You.

So we sent him off on his own!  There was a gaggle of kids smaller then him in line so he queued up with them.  The ride operator stuffed all 6 kids into one log.

By the time they came down the last hill you could have fit 2 more full size adults behind them!  Gravity and momentum smushed them all forward into the poor littlest kid at the front.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Knight to Remember

For my birthday dinner this year we went to Medieval Times in Toronto.  We didn't tell Liam where we were going, but hinted that it was going to be a boring, grown-up restaurant with nowhere to play and probably no other kids.  He was none too thrilled....till we walked up to the front door.  Then I thought his head just might pop-off!

And as an added, super-secret bonus, he was called up to by the King and Knighted by Princess Lenore.

It was definitely a (K)night to remember!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My school picture

So for those anxiously waiting.... this is me:

Long(ish) hair, a dress and panty-hose! I hated smiling for pictures then as much as I do now!

By the way, the Virginia is for Lovers kid in the back row (for those who thought is was me) is a boy!