Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Trying to Find the "Perfect" NFP

Initially my husband and I used Symto-Thermo Method (STM).  I was very excited about it even though Hubby was skeptical.  I like the symto part or cervical fluid/mucus.  The thermo started to crush me.  My temp readings were low, but an updated version said for some women that was normal.  HB didn't have a great schedule, but once we had one it was fine.  It wasn't until Knee came on the scene that things fell apart.  Hubby hated the method (or rather how I was doing things) and I wasn't sleeping well at all. 

I finally gave up and we started using a very conservative version of Billings or Creighton.  Basically just the symto part. 

But a few months ago, Hubby complained about it.  Being a scientist, he didn't like that I was basically using the Two-Day Method.  I had stopped using paper charts or electronic charts at this point.  He actually went and sought out advice from a priest, which is serious because according to Hubby he is not Catholic.  We agreed to using a method with 2 data points, and so we went back to STM.

I'm not happy with STM.  It requires you to basically get up in the morning at the same time and take your temps every day.  Some people enjoy this regimented schedule.  I am not one of them.  It got worse when Hubby started doing all the charts.  He's very meticulous.  He doesn't like all the variability.  "Your temps are so hard to read."  And he's waking me up but shoving a thermometer in my face when he gets up.  From all the NFP propaganda, you get this picture in your head of your beloved husband brushing your hair back in the morning, saying good morning, and handing you a thermometer when you use STM.  The reality is/was it's my husband getting up before it's day light and saying "you need to take your temp before the boys wake up.  here."  I want to roll over and sleep in, but he's shoving this thing at me and insisting that I take my temp.  Or he's cursing because the reading cleared out.  We were clashing.

So I suggested using another method.  There are hormonal methods out there, I told him.   He wants data and I want convenience.  I don't like having awkward conversations about checking cervical mucus around my children.  I want to be able to take two seconds and be done.  I hate pouring over charts and having lengthy discussions about what they mean. I suppose I could try the LadyComp, which is a computerized thermometer.  But that's expensive for what it does. It shouldn't be so complicated, right? 

I've been looking into a couple of methods.  There's the popular one that uses a Clear Blue Easy Monitor called Marquette Method.  It's a bit pricy, but it sounds more convenient.  It's not like I don't have to pee in the morning anyway.  So I'm leaning toward that one.  Ebay is selling monitors for a fraction of the cost of a new one.  You'd just have to invest in buying the sticks.  I know a couple of online friends who really like it and manage to budget for it.

But then there's also OvaCue, which has been around for a little while.  It uses sensors to detect hormonal changes in your saliva and cervical mucus.  You pay an upfront cost, but then after that there's no additional cost.  The newest model can connect to your mobile device or I pad or I pod.  I've been reading some reviews and people like that one too.

So what method do you use if you use a method?  Do you like it?  Is it the "perfect" method for you?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Reasons Why Homeschooling is Not For Me

I see a lot of posts defending homeschooling, and I understand why.  It's not easy defending the decision to homeschool especially when you are talking to the general public.  There's a lot of mystery and myth about homeschooling.  Of all the posts I've seen about choosing school, I've seen a lot defending personal decisions to homeschool and only one (by a non-Catholic Christian) explaining why they use public school.  I'm not against homeschooling.  It's always a possibility that I keep in the back of my mind.  But I don't think it would work for us.  Here's the reasons why...

1) I'm not good with making my own schedule- I'm very good if I have to follow a schedule.  If I personally have to be at school or work, I'm good about getting myself out the door on time with all my crap.  I do my job well.  But when it comes to making my own schedules, I suck.  Trying to make myself stick to a schedule for things like exercise, practicing flute/piano, cleaning the house, or even prayer does not work.  For whatever reason my brain just doesn't see "urgent" and so I tend to procrastinate and sluff off stuff.

So there's no way I would be good and getting a schedule down for making sure my children are learning stuff.  I know myself well enough to know that they'd go the whole year without learning much of anything or waiting until the last possible second.  It's better for me to get my sons ready in the morning and ship them off. 

2) I can't switch hats so easily- Some people are good at being mom and being teacher, but I am not one of them.  This is not to say "teacher" as in I don't instruct my children.  This is to say "teacher" as in the job description of what I used to do in a classroom.  I was more aloof as a teacher.  There was a boundary and it worked well with discipline.  I didn't make the kids in my class lunch (or argue about eating it).  I didn't deal with throwing fits over wearing certain clothes.  Knee hates coats and layers.  I didn't give those kids in my class baths.  I did clean them up if they got food or sick on themselves or accidents, but I don't recall having to submerge a child in a tub.  I didn't have the same relationship with them as their parents did.  I was their teacher.  I taught them and they knew that they were there to learn.  My children love learning, but I've tried sitting them down with paper and pencil.  On some occasions they will comply.  Other times they look at me like I'm nuts.  It's not a battle I can win easily and it's understandable that I'm mom so it's different.

3) I'm a homebody- You may be thinking "you sound like the poster child of unschooling."  Yes, I don't sound like a traditional homeschooler type, but I'm not the unschooling type either.  To unschool it requires you to allow your child to explore particularly outside of your house.  And I don't go out very often.  In fact last year because of my desire to avoid the extreme cold I mostly spent my day in pajamas.  That's right. I hardly got dressed.  This year because I take HB to school I have to wear clothes.  I don't mind really.  I rather enjoy having a reason to look like an adult and my brief interactions with other adults.  But if it wasn't for school, I doubt I would go anywhere.  It does not help that my children are unruly so I avoid situations in which melt downs will occur.

So now I drop off HB at school and take Knee to play groups twice a week.  It's far easier to get physical with only one child instead of two.  This may change as HB gets older.  But for now it's better for my sanity.

4) I can get more help for HB- Theoretically I can get therapy through the school system for HB.  I say theoretically because HB would have to get that diagnosis first.  And if we move, depending on the state some therapies are through the school system and some are through state-funded clinics.  Nevertheless HB gets social interaction and the teachers work in tandem to help improve his behavior.  It makes a huge difference.  It's like talking to a different person.  Once he's accommodated and used to a routine, he adjusts really well. 

I've looked into private Catholic schools for HB.  A lot of them don't offer any onsite help and instead send the students to the public school system for therapy.  This is unfortunate.  So it's equally likely that HB's Catholic school education days are ending.  I wish I could give him both: an environment where he continues to have his faith integrated and to receive therapy.  I'm hoping that when he's older we can go back to Catholic school.

5) HB gets social interaction- This is not to say homeschoolers don't have social interaction.  It's just that HB needs more opportunities.  Homeschool co-ops are really designed for typical children.  They really aren't designed for those with special needs.  This isn't to say that you can't get accommodations, but considering co-ops aren't all over the country, it is harder.  Plus they offer a couple of classes not something all day.  How is HB going to exercise his social skill muscles if he's not using them regularly?

6) Work to Improve the System- There are a lot of criticisms over public schools.  They vary from difficulties with teachers, too much homework, to too secular.  However none of these things will improve if one does not work to improve the system both politically and from within.  Yes, public schools show the microcosm of the fallen world, but we are called to evangelize.  As the lady who wrote why she uses the public school system, her point was she uses this opportunity to bear witness to Christ.  It may not be for every family to do this.  It's a discernment process.

The point is a family has to figure out what's best for them when it comes to educating ones children.  You have to take into account many things.  Also what may work for one child may not work for another.  What may work at one time may not work later on.  In our case we're going to public school for now.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Top Reasons I am Glad to be Going Back to the States

My husband and my visa runs out in July.  We've elected to let it expire and return home with hopefully a job awaiting us.  Hubby has an in-person job interview next week.  So I'll hope that you join me in praying that he 1) doesn't catch this flu and 2) lands a job before we move.

We still plan on moving whether there's a job or not.  We're unsatisfied with living in Canada for a variety of reasons.  Hubby and I have not lived very close to our families ever.  This is extremely hard for Hubby.  The other problem is we've moved so so many times that it's painful for everyone.  Difficult to make friends especially close friends on the fly.  Hard for the children to settle in.  But those are personal reasons to move closer to extended family and stay in one spot.  Those reasons could be the same one in country or out. 

There's some other reasons that I feel dissatisfied with Canada.  If I was a Canadian or had the ability to change the laws in some way, I think my experience would be more akin the US.  Unfortunately as an immigrant, my fate is handled by others.  And I don't like that.  So if I could change things this is what I would do.

4.. Because of the Treatment of the Disabled- 

I'm sure this is not true of most municipalities in Canada (and I'm sure true of some American ones), but really plow the darn side walks properly London!  I can tell which areas the person actually attempted to do their job and others in which it's obvious they didn't (like several inches worth of obvious).  These are public walk-ways which are also used by those with limited mobility to get to bus stops.

I mentioned something about this to the crossing guard who concurred that someone is definitely sleeping on the job.  She told me she saw one frustrated resident taking her power chair onto the road way because she kept getting stuck on the side walk.  That's dangerous not to mention discriminatory.  They have the ability to make the side walks better, but they aren't.  They aren't even using de-icer, sand, or salt on the side walks, but they are using it on the road way.   Basically they are making it impossible for anyone with limited mobility to do anything but exit their house and jump into their car, which they may feel uncomfortable doing because of the weather.

To top it off, Canada Post (that's the mail service) has announced that nation wide it is installing community mail boxes.  They will eventually stop door-to-door service.  Many have protested.  What about those with limited mobility?  How do you expect them to walk down a poorly plowed side walk or street and get their mail?  Canada Post's response 1) ask a neighbor to bring you your mail or 2) if there's mail in your slot at the end of the week we will drop it off at your house.  So in other words your turfing the responsibility of bringing mail to people to the community or discriminate against those with disabilities by making them wait for their mail?  What on earth?  It's shamefully disgusting. 

I realize that they are bleeding just like the US Postal Service, but they could issue community stickers.  You can have them stuck into your slot so that the post person knows that you can't get your mail and delivers it to your door.  Those who are able can use the community boxes.  Problem solved.  Or cut out having your postal service offices open on the weekends.  That's basically what the US has been doing.

3. Lack of Religious Freedom

I've mentioned some of the problems with the lack of religious freedom in Canada so this is more of a recap.  On the abortion issue, in Ontario if you pay taxes you are paying into the Ontario Health Insurance Plan which pays for abortions regardless of reason.  You can't opt out of OHIP.  There's no laws against any kind of abortion.  It's all legal up until birth.   The only thing barring an abortion is the judgement of the doctor.  That's it. 

There have been threats to those who opposed homosexual marriage.  A Bishop has been repeatedly threatened with discrimination law suits for publishing articles about the Church's stance on the subject.  A Knight's of Columbus group owns a hall which the rent out.  In Canada individuals must rent out such halls to anyone for any reason other wise it's discrimination.  The only exception is religious groups.  The KofC's discovered that they were renting the hall for a gay wedding reception.  They immediately contacted the brides (?) and told them that they couldn't rent the hall to them for religious reasons.  The KofCs refunded them their money and took it a step further (which legally they are obligated to do even though it's immoral) and offered to help find them another hall.  The women sued them. 

I'm sure this sort of thing will happen in the US soon, but don't expect me to just sit there like I have to in Canada.

2. Because of Paranoid Canadians

 Americans are blood-thirsty, gun-totting, war-mongering nut zoids.  Or something like that.  As my husband says there seems to be two camps: one who appreciates that America is fighting back against terrorism and like Americans or one which thinks America is horrible.  If you read through my blog, you'll see countless examples of citizens and politicians alike who think it's perfectly acceptable to ramp up the hate.  I guess having one border and nothing better to do makes them think that way.

My favorite though was the idea that America is not an ally of Canada.  We're just blood thirsty chopping at the bit to invade or are pseudo allies because of our American interests.  I had to laugh.  Some of the examples used were basically typical international disagreements.  Nothing really warranting that kind of whiny clamor.  Then I mentioned that if the US really was like that the Canada Invasion would be a done deal.  We have more military forces, more advanced military technology, and from a strategic stand point 90% of the Canadian populace lives just on the other side of the US border.  Nuke 90% of the population and then send ground troops in to subdue the remainder.  But the US isn't blood thirsty.  We have no interest in invading Canada.  Canada actually enjoys a lot of freedoms on the American dime.  Not to mention the perks of being able to work and get educated in the States over other internationals.  No tariffs.  I could continue.  Yet we're the bad guy. 

I could mail you some tin hats.

1. Getting a Diagnosis for HB

And this one gets super personal.  Back in December we had a pointless meeting between the faculty of HB's school and the pediatrician.  They asked the pedi for tips on dealing with HB's emotional outbursts.  He said you could put up a tent in the classroom or go outside with him into the hall.  I immediately objected and his teachers concurred.  That actually makes it worse.  HB calms down better if he's around people.  Sending him to his room makes it worse.  Most people with autism like the quiet and to get away from people.  But HB doesn't operate that way.

In other words he really needs a formal evaluation.  The school can't put anything in place for him really.  The teachers themselves make accommodations, but he can't get any therapies.  Not without that evaluation.

How long does it take to get an evaluation?  9 months.  That's the current wait time.  We spoke to the pediatrician back in October.  We've known that he needs to be formally evaluated for a while.  It's why I keep putting things in question marks.  We simply don't know how to proceed.  In the meantime he languishes and falls behind in skills he could use now.

If we had decided to remain, we would have done what many a frustrated Canadians do, jump the line.  We would have gone to the US and consulted an expert there. We would have had to pay a lot but gotten something on paper in considerably less time. Instead we wait until we move back.

So if you think the grass looks greener on the other side, I assure you it is not.  Canada has its own problems and a lot of them hugely affect those with disabilities to their detriment.  

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Muslim Disconnect

The news of the targeting and murder of Charlie Hedboe employees, which is a satirical newspaper in France, is just plain shocking.  I was also surprised living in a country with a large Muslim population (Canada has a higher percentage of Muslims than the US) that several newspapers in Quebec reprinted the controversial cartoon images of Mohammad.  But than again this is Quebec.  Being a part of Canada, they have their own quarky-ness that most Anglo- Canadians shrug their shoulders over.

The shooting has caused me to muse over a few things; some of which have been already mentioned on the internet.

1) These latest strings of attacks are largely coming from Muslim converts, not people who grew up Muslim.  Not to say there aren't suicide bombers and whatnot who grew up Muslim.  I think of those of 9-11.  But the individuals who are rouge like the two in Canada were converts.  Interesting....

2) Why are they only attacking depictions of Mohammad?  I saw a newspiece where a Muslim woman asked another Muslim woman something similar.  The question wasn't answered.  It's something I also was thinking about on my own.

In Islam any depiction of any prophet or God is considered bad form.  This includes depictions of Jesus or Moses etc.  And it doesn't matter if the images are good.  For example, the very popular cartoon movie, The Prince of Egypt, which was meant for Jews, Christians, and Muslims (it quotes the Talmud, the Bible, and the Quaran) wasn't shown in certain countries because of it's depiction of Moses.  But you don't see people issuing fatwas over those who participated in it's making.

So why Mohammed?

You can't tell me that it has to do with the content of the depictions.  There have been numerous art forms about Jesus (who to Islam is a prophet not God) that are horrendous.  These are depictions that Christians decry, but I don't see Muslims standing along-side Christians.  I don't see Muslims getting so riled up over the images that they issue fatwas and starting attacking the artists.  Why?

I'm not saying that Muslims should do these things.  I'm merely point out the disconnection.  If you say that you don't worship Mohammed, than why only are his depictions so controversial to Muslims (particularly radical ones)?  Isn't that a bit like idol worship?  Isn't that a bit like elevated Mohammed to a status above other prophets?

I get that Catholic revere Mary and offer her special status.  But we equally condemn nasty depictions of her (and the saints although I've never seen or heard of that sort of thing).  Why is this not true of Islam?

Maybe I'm over-thinking things.  Maybe I'm too logical.  Radicals often don't use their heads.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Hello, Pot! And other Canadian attacks

Last night my husband flipped on a television program.  The program featured a female politician who had recently published a book about immigration to Canada.  On the program, she said that Canadian passports were essentially the best to have.  M'Kay.  But then he asked her a follow up question.  What about US passport holders?  Aren't those more coveted?  Like stepping on a land mine, she walked right into it.  No, she said.  He asked her why.  Because of racial tensions because of Ferguson.  The US is so screwed up that way.  Later on in the program she mentioned that she grew up in an all white area and being Chinese was an oddity.

All I have to say is that even if you believe that Ferguson was racially motivated, Hello, Pot!

Flabbergasted, I looked at my husband.  "What?  Seriously?  Canada doesn't exactly have the greatest track record either? Why do Canadians have to tear down the US in order to make themselves look better?"  My husband rolled his eyes and said "This is why I want to go home.  So this will stop driving you crazy."  Yep.  It does.  I can't believe a politician who should realize that a lot of Canadians were once immigrants and many of them are duel citizens of the US and Canada would say something like that.  Is she trying to get votes by knocking down another nation?  Why not simply be positive and show Canadian's achievements rather than being negative?

 As for that pot, well there have been incidences of racially motivated aggression from the police.  For decades Native people in Saskatoon were dropped off without proper outwear to "walk off" their intoxication.  The police knew that these people were dying of exposure and people were astounded by the shear number of mysterious deaths.  It wasn't until one managed to walk to a local power station and receive shelter from the guard that the lid was blow off on the whole thing.  That was back in 2000.  The police received 8 months of prison time.  That's it. 

So if you think the police are racists against black people in the US, you should know that the police are racists against Native peoples in Canada.  And that politician has her head in the sand.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Potty Training Over the Holidays

With HB potty training was a struggle.  I can't fault the little guy.  We had a great start, but in the middle of it all we moved and naturally he regressed.  Finally a few months before he was set to start school we managed to get him to pee and poo in the potty.  Now that he's approaching five, he pretty much does it all himself although occasionally he asks for help wiping.

Now it's Knee's turn. 

I started later when I thought he would be physically ready.  I waited for HB to start school thinking I could devote more attention to him.

But he hid in a corner and would do his business there.  Clearly he was not ready.  At least not emotionally.

I simply kept him in pull-ups and would talk to him about the potty while trying to encourage him to go. 

The holidays were coming around the corner and I thought it would be perfect to try again.

Why the holidays?  Well less is going on away from home.  HB is off from school and most things are closing several days (half day today, all day tomorrow, all day for Boxing day, then half day New Years Eve, all day New Years).  It's the perfect time to just veg around the house, baking cookies and other holiday fun while being close to a potty.

No more diapers, I told him Saturday.  It's U day, Underwear Day.  And he took to that.

Saturday we gave it a whirl.  Accidents Accidents Everywhere!  And Sunday it was pretty much the same until...

Until we had our very first success in the evening.  He started to go and then stopped.  We rushed the potty over and success!

Then Monday morning another success followed by him coming over and telling me that he pooed in the potty all on his own (I was washing dishes).  Monday 2 successes and 1 accident.  My children have crazy bladders.  They.can.retain.much.  The whole sit on the potty every hour doesn't work.  They also for whatever reason don't have to go immediately after waking up.  And yes, we give them drinks.  We keep cups of water on the table all day.  They have a cup in the bathroom.  Trust me.  They stay hydrated.  Massive quantities of pee come out.

Yesterday we had several accidents, but today we had 1 accident so far and 1 success (he caught himself going and then ran over to the potty). 

So far so good.  I hate the small tinkles on the floor, but he seems to recognize the need to use the potty better when he's not in his underwear.  So for now it's training underwear at church (which is the only thing we're taking him to publicly for two weeks) and while sleeping.  Then sans undies during the day. 

It also helps that he gets gummy bears for his efforts.  At first I cheered him on but just now he basically told me to stop that.  *shrug* I guess he views it as part of what you're supposed to do now.

Oh, and tonight HB plays the part of Joseph for the Children's Christmas Mass.  He pantomimes the part.  So exited!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Struggle with Self-Care

Forgive me if I sound a bit rambling.  This is one of those topics that is difficult to put into words.

As parents, as moms one of the things we struggle with the most is self-care.  It's easy to joke about the last time I brushed my teeth or took a shower, but it isn't healthy. 

Outside of hygiene there's also the mental.  In my state of life I juggle a lot of balls.  I'm the one who does the doctor's appointments, makes the cookies for the teachers, and puts together birthday parties all around the holidays.

For HB's third party, it was a disaster.  Not just the cake getting eaten by birds, but mentally I was at the end of my rope.  So my husband agreed that he would actually pitch in and help.  Knee's third party was much, much, much better.

The thing is you can't do it all alone.  And you have to make space for yourself.  Unfortunately this means less and less is given to my husband.  I've tried to explain that I can't simply drop the ball all the time for him.  It's unfortunate that the kids come first, but their needs at this point are greater.  HB's got issues, and Knee isn't quite there yet either.  We finally are getting break throughs in potty training. 

I feel bad for my husband, but it just isn't possible.  He's an adult.  He can stand having to pitch in and taking care of himself from time to time.  As I explained, I don't have to pack his lunch for him.  He's more than capable.  Whereas HB making his own lunch....well it wouldn't be a very complete lunch.  He's not even five yet. 

I on the other hand need sleep.  Need hobbies.  Need to go shopping by myself because it literally is the only time I am separated from the children.  I need the mental respite.  I need the extra help until the kids can get over the hump and are able to do things like wipe their own butts. 

People might think this is selfish.  But you can't give what you don't have.  You can't give peace if you don't feel peaceful.  You can't give love if you don't get love.  You have to take care of yourself in order to be at your best for the best people in your life. 

So all I can do is apologize to my husband and say he's going to have to wait for life to get a little bit easier before he gets more time with me.  In the meantime I have to take care of myself and he can help with that by not getting offended that I can't give more.  I'm only human.