bogey & ruby

bogey & ruby

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I met my son's teacher this afternoon, protocol after the first trimester report card. Armed with notebook, occupational therapy evaluation/recommendations, last year's copy of the IAP (individualized adapted program), and a little lipstick so I wouldn't look too dowdy, I strategically prepared myself for battle while at the same time steeling myself for bad news.

Except there wasn't any. None. Nada. Not one iota of negativity. Not even a recommendation.

The report card had been sent electronically earlier in the day and as I hadn't seen it yet, the teacher obliged me by pulling out a binder and showing me his marks and then comparing them to last year's. Apart from "arts plastiques", phys-ed and French, everything in his grade five report card was above average. I'm talking 80s and 90s. And even at 75%, his mark in French was only 1% below the class average. Not too shabby for an anglophone kid with issues!

She explained that it was perfectly normal for there to be an adjustment period in grade five. It is a huge leap from the previous cycle, not only in academic terms but also with respect to the level of autonomy expected of the students. After a slow start out the gate in September and plenty of angst thorough October, my son has adapted to these new demands so well that the teacher considers him to be a top student.

But how is this possible? He has struggled so much in the past and has needed so much support.

According to Madame Diane, he is using strategies learned via the various resources we have consulted since he was three and a half years old. Namely, occupational therapy and private tutoring. She believes that kids who are diagnosed early and receive subsequent intervention cope better later on when the going gets tough(er) because these strategies are already in place. Not to mention they are used to working very hard. Lord knows, he works hard. Nothing comes easily. Everything is uphill. He is striving and as a result, he is thriving.

The best part is the teacher acknowledges this. She suggested that with his positive and enthusiastic approach to learning, he might even do well in the Excellence Program in high school. Not in an elite private school, mind you, but rather the local high school we are zoned for. His marks have caught up and he is certainly used to hard work. Why the hell not?

I admit it, I was floored. And totally unprepared to let go of the bleak canvas I had painted of his academic future. Now I am replacing it, albeit cautiously, with all sorts of possibilities.

Let me make very clear that the issues have not disappeared. He still has DCD. He will still struggle at times. And he will likely always need some sort of support to cope with various challenges as they arise. But in the meantime, afters years and years of hard work and interventions, it is finally pay day and we are celebrating. Hurrah!

I want to acknowledge everyone who played a part in today's success story. Our main resource has been the Buds in Bloom team: interventionists Jessica and Anne, who helped so much in the early days, way before we had a diagnosis; Jeff, officially an OT now, who has been a major player in Sean's improvement in the past two years and knows all about Pokéman cards; and of course our champion, Michele Hébèrt, founder of Buds in Bloom, for her unwavering support and advocacy over the past seven years. I am also grateful to the gifted teachers at Lansdowne West, a private tutoring resource we have used for going on four years now. And to all the other people in our little village: friends, family, and special people in Sean's life, who have kept the faith even when I didn't, thank you. I love you all.

I won't gloss over this part. It has cost me a lot of money to access this support. Thousands and thousands of dollars. And this financial sacrifice has taken its toll, particularly on my wardrobe. Still, I would do it all over again to reach this point. Early intervention is key. If you have concerns about your children, seek out resources, pay if you have to. Your closet will forgive you and hopefully, one day, your child will thank you.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Five Random Thoughts

1. It was raining when I got up today so I wore a hat to work to avoid absorbing any more atmosphere. I bought it while on vacation in Rhode Island this past summer at some big box store. As far as I'm concerned, they should call it "The Big Head" store. That's how incredible it is to find something that fits over my noggin and allows me to think clearly at the same time. The best part is that three of my patients told me I looked like a little girl. The fourth one had no idea who I was and it didn't seem to make any difference when I took the hat off. And yes, I'm still wearing it as I blog.

2. I have been eyeing a bag of hand-me-downs that a friend gave me for Sean. It's full of comfy-cosy, fleecy, stretchy, muffin-top accommodating active wear. The clothes are too big for Sean right now but just a little too big for me. I figure why not hand them up to me until he grows into them? Score!

3. Our professional team held its second symbolic 15 minute break today at work. Eighteen of us were lined up in our chairs outside the elevator and this time somebody brought lollipops. I'm thinking maybe I should bake something for next week's pause. A few people suggested that we should maybe take two breaks during the week. There's a thought! With such an awful work climate lately, this show of solidarity is a wonderful bonding opportunity, not to mention the candy.

4. My widow's peak continues to thin and wreak havoc on my forehead. I'm seriously considering having it permanently removed. Either that, or I am going to buy some hair glue and whip it into some sort of shape. What do you think of these styles?

5. My son's teacher gave him a head's up on his report card today : 94% in math! I must admit, I didn't believe him at first. Math is such a struggle for him and he works sooooooo hard at it, it didn't seem possible. But there you have it, hard work (and awesome resources) sometimes pay off. We decided to celebrate by having fast food for supper and Halloween candy for dessert and took some selfies just for the heck of it. Notice he's almost as tall as me?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Look Down ... Look Way Down.

I went back to my handsome Cowboy-Dental-Surgeon a week ago to have the hole in my head fixed. You may recall that I broke a tooth last Spring while eating some salad and it had to be pulled.

In case you've forgotten what he looks like, here's a little reminder.

I tried to live with the gap, I really did. Eventually I'd get used to covering my mouth with not one, but two hands every time I guffawed, right? And so what if I used my fork instead of a tooth pick to dislodge the food that got stuck in that cavernous space. Food like cranberries and peanut butter on toast, bite-sized pieces of chicken, and broccoli flowers. Surely I could enjoy a decent quality of life without Kraft caramels or sponge toffee. Couldn't I?

But then I broke a tooth on the other side of my mouth, probably because I had been favouring one side for so many months, and even though the dentist was able to repair that one, I didn't want to risk compromising the mastication process any further.

During the pre-op consultation, I was advised that I could opt for sedation during the procedure and opt I did.

The assistant seemed awfully concerned when I announced as much during last week's pre-surgery prep. "Are you sure someone is going to be picking you up?" Maybe they were worried I would try to sleep it off on one of the  plush waiting room chairs. Once I reassured her, she put this ginormous four-cornered cap over my head and complained the whole time that I had too much hair. (Yeah, yeah, talk to my hair dresser.) So there I was looking like the anti-conehead, wondering whether or not the person who designed it actually knew that the world was round. Ian says they put it on me because I'm a tête carré but I think we can all safely assume that they make you look as ridiculous as possible so that they can laugh at you while you're ga-ga in la-la land.

I don't remember what handsome Cowboy-Dental-Surgeon was wearing when he finally walked into the operating room but I'm pretty sure he was thinking there was a mighty big planet filling up the corners of that square hat. I also recall him telling me I should feel the effects of the sedation almost immediately, right after he injected me.

My next conscious thought when I woke up was that it was all over and oh God, please don't tell me my mouth was open the whole time and gasp, what if I drooled? Needless to say, by the time they brought Ian into the room, I was still pretty groggy and discombobulated. I'm surprised I managed to remember my PIN number after handing over my credit card. Bet they've got some pretty strong smelling salts handy when that happens. Or maybe they just tie you to a plush chair until you come to and fork over the cash.

On a completely different topic but eventually getting back to the main one, this past week-end, Ian and I were discussing possibly buying matching cowboy boots. Where does one buy cowboy gear in Montreal anyway? And are they any good for meaty calves? As my ex-mother-in law used to point out to others while I was still within earshot, "She got hefty legs, don't she?" By the way, I blame their heft and meatiness on all the toe-raising I have to do reaching for stuff.

I mentioned my follow-up appointment with Cowboy-Dental-Surgeon today and Ian asked me if he wore cowboy boots. "I dunno. I never really checked his feet."

So I decided to look down ... look way down, during my follow-up visit today, not an easy feat when the person you are trying to check out insists on making constant eye contact with you. I definitely noticed what he was wearing on top: a lovely burnt orange shirt with a cowboy embroidered on it and rich, chocolaty slacks. The opportunity finally arose as I swung my legs off the dental chair and sneaked a look down, down, down. Oy. Here is what (I think) I saw:

Or maybe they looked more like these:

Yep, they were definitely tan suede clogs.

Never mind. I'm getting a new tooth and to celebrate, I'm treating myself to some hefty-sized cowboy boots. Yee haw!