Sunday, May 27, 2012

Preschool "Graduation"

I've always thought having a graduation from preschool is a bit ridiculous. And I still do. But Gareth's class had one so I dutifully attempted to get some pictures. Unfortunately my camera was having a blurry day. Usually it takes great pictures. And then every once in a while it decides that every picture it shoots will be blurry. It doesn't matter what it's of or how still you are or anything; the picture will be blurry.

Their teacher actually did a very nice job with the whole "graduation" thing. She wrote a note to each child and gave them a ring and a necklace and then put on their caps that they had decorated. It was nice and brief and then she had snacks for everyone. Before they did all of that she had a circle with the kids where they got to share their favorite thing about preschool. I missed what Gareth said because Malcolm was screaming, but apparently he said his favorite thing was celebrating birthdays and getting to see baby pictures of his friends.

Circle Time

Waiting for his turn during the graduation ceremony. I was feeding Malcolm, so Gareth sat with Grandma Jean.

Receiving his graduation ring

The day after this they had a picnic and then yesterday one of the kids had a birthday party which most of the preschoolers made it to, so graduation wasn't really a final good-bye. Preschool has been really good for Gareth and he misses it already, but he's very excited for Kindergarten in the fall.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

2 Months/5 Years

The less emotional aspect of the recent jaunt to the doctor:

Gareth's height: 43" (50%)
Gareth's weight: 41.4 lbs (50%)

Malcolm's height: 23.25" (60%)
Malcolm's weight: 11 lbs, 2 oz (25%)
Malcolm's head: 38.5 cm (30%)

It's interesting to compare this to where Gareth was at 2 months (remember that he started out 13 oz larger than Malcolm at birth). Gareth at two months measured 22.25", weighed 11 lbs even, and had a head circumference of 40 cm. So Malcolm's caught up in the height and weight department (not surprising considering he's recently started eating every two hours again), and Gareth had a big head.

The doctor is very pleased with Malcolm's growth. Hopefully he'll be able to keep it up - something his brother didn't manage. Malcolm got three shots and an oral vaccine today. I was tempted to see if we could space all the vaccines out a bit more this time around, but in the end agreed with the doctor that since Gareth will be starting school next year and around all sorts of germs and sick kids that it's probably best to keep Malcolm on the usual vaccination schedule. He's wasn't too happy about these first shots. He had a massive puke after they gave him the oral vaccine, so they had to give it to him again since it obviously didn't enter his system at all.

Gareth only got one shot - a DTap. He screamed a lot less than Malcolm. In fact, he only let out a mild "ow". Though that arm is a bit sore and red now, poor kid. I can't remember when it was that we transitioned from screaming bloody murder to not being bothered at all. I don't think he got any shots at his last check up a year ago and I'm pretty sure the last time he had a shot before then he still cried, though he probably didn't scream. So somewhere between 3 and 5 he managed to get over that. Which is interesting since he still screams bloody murder if he so much as bumps his knee into something or stubs a toe here at home. Maybe one day I'll be able to convince him that such things don't require wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Gareth with Malcolm at about 6 weeks

Pensive Sleeping

2 Months

Malcolm in the Morning

Malcolm is getting to be quite smiley these days, though I have a hard time capturing his smile in pictures. Once I start trying to take pictures he starts screaming. He's started enjoying having his arms and legs flapped around wildly and otherwise being played with. He's not too keen on trying to hold any toys yet, but he does show more interest in them when someone else holds them for him. Not sleeping through the night yet (Gareth has him beat there at 7 weeks), but he will occasionally tease us by sleeping for five or six hours straight (usually 11 to 5). The next night he's usually back to being up at 3 and 6. I'm hoping the teases become everyday soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pediatrician Visit - The Emotional Part

Today was difficult. First of all, I have a cold, which is never fun. It's even less fun when you have an infant to take care of and an exuberant older child that you're trying to shuttle around to end-of-school-year activities. But Malcolm let me sleep from about 10:30 until 5 am last night, so I was doing okay (he wasn't asleep that long, but he'd been fed and Ryan took him downstairs while I went to bed; I have no idea when he actually fell asleep).

The boys had a pediatrician visit today. We were a bit rushed getting out the door (I didn't get any breakfast), but we made it there and things seemed to be going well. Gareth was his usual chatty self - he thanked the nurse for letting him play games (test his vision and hearing) and was perfectly cooperative and patient. Malcolm was a bit on the pukey side, but that's nothing new. Then the pediatrician started talking about how Gareth seems to be working at a higher level than most kids intellectually, he's very thoughtful and she's worried about Gareth socially. Uh, what? She thinks he has some quirks that could be off-putting to others. I mention that he's very outgoing, loves making friends, etc. She says that's fine but it's only half of it. He needs to recognize that others aren't reciprocating. And she goes on about how missing those social cues is one of the symptoms on "the spectrum". I don't know about you, but the only thing I can think of for that to mean is the autism spectrum. She doesn't want to label him just yet - maybe he'll be fine - but she wants to start the conversation. There are social skills training classes for kids.

Unfortunately,  I wasn't feeling well enough and was so blind-sided by what she said that I didn't think of all I should have at the time. What "quirks" is she talking about? No idea. Sure, he has some, but what five year old doesn't? Yes, there will probably be kids who think he's weird or don't like him. I'm pretty sure that happens to most of us. How can she tell anything about his social skills from a ten-minute check-up? I was basically left feeling like any kid who isn't instantly in the popular crowd is now being told there's something wrong with them. But I don't want to be in denial if there's something going on, so I decided I'd talk with his preschool teacher.

We left the doctor's office, ran to the toy store to pick up something for the preschool pinata and a birthday gift, then rushed home to grab me some orange juice and Gareth a sandwich. Off to the pharmacy to get Malcolm some tylenol since I'm doubtful he'll happily make it through Gareth's "graduation" without it. We get to preschool late, just in time for the graduation stuff to start. I've yet to really eat anything, I'm not feeling great still, and Malcolm is starting to get fussy, so my emotions are barely in check. I made it through the graduation stuff and talked with a close friend about the morning's visit and she seconded my idea to talk to the preschool teacher.

I asked the teacher if we could talk after class (thinking I'd go home for the last hour of preschool). On my way out the door I broke down when a couple of moms asked how I was doing. I ended up talking with several other parents about what had happened, all of whom were full of indignation at the pediatrician, told me she's crazy, that Gareth does a great job socially, and even gave me some food. By the time we finished chatting I figured I may as well stay until class was over. So we went out to recess with the kids where I talked with Gareth's teacher. She sees him four times a week socializing with other kids. She also agreed that the pediatrician didn't know what she was talking about, that Gareth is developing just fine socially. Of course he won't pick up on all social cues yet - most kids his age don't; it's something they're learning still. She's bothered by how cookie-cutter the pediatrician's comments feel rather than letting each kid have their own personality. While we were talking we could see Gareth happily playing with his peers. Then he was engaging with some kids from the elementary school, kids two or three years older than him. We found out later that they had come up to Gareth and some of his friends and told the preschoolers that the playground was the older kids territory and the little kids shouldn't be there. Gareth was the one who had no problem telling them that he and his friends were allowed to be there and that there was their teacher and this was their place to play also. His teacher reassured me that Gareth is perfectly fine socially.

All of this has left me feeling less than confident about our pediatrician. Up until now she's been amazing. She's usually very non-alarmist and reassuring. This came completely out of left field and I'm not sure why it came up at all. I think I'll be trying to talk with her to figure out where this came from. I'm hoping she can re-build my confidence in her, because I'd really hate to have to change pediatricians right now, but if I need to I have no problem doing that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


So it's looking like I might end up being the lead organizer for a potentially large conference. Apparently I get fed up with people saying we need to plan how we're going to plan rather than actually stepping up and planning! Since no one else seems to be willing to push things forward it's looking like it'll default to me. There will be a planning committee, but I might end up being the lead. Thankfully there have been other conferences, so there are materials in place to help the process. And delegation is a wonderful thing I've been told. It's strange though because I've never thought of myself as much of a leader. I've never had opportunities placed in front of me to provide me with leadership experience and I've never sought them out. So when one of the organization heads wrote that I was talking like a leader, that just felt strange. And really good.

In all honesty though, the timing of this is pretty awful. I'm not sure I have the time to organize a big conference right now. I've got a new baby to take care of and the conference would be in October, so the month before I'll be dealing with a child transitioning to Kindergarten. Not to mention the fact that I currently have yet to figure out how to get in daily practicing (sometimes it happens, sometimes not) or exercising (never happens, except for walking Gareth to school). Oh, and that our house hasn't been cleaned since family left and isn't likely to be anytime soon and all the work in the garden I'm not getting done and the sewing projects I've taken on but not accomplished. Right now we're lucky if there's food to eat, clean clothes, and bills getting paid. So, you see, it's a horrible time for me to be in charge of something like this. Rationally, I know I should decline to do it. It's just I can't help but think how awesome it could be to have accomplished putting together something like this.