Works for Me Wednesday: my 8 year old reading and writing on his own!

Like many boys (I hope, or at least other parents and teachers say it’s true) Luka hasn’t been bitten by the reading bug yet. It took Graydon a long time too, but he had extenuating circumstances. Luka claims to have a “reading disability” that makes him unable to read, but when you consider he has a self-professed “math disability,” “kitchen-cleaning disability,” “Lego-putting-away disability” and “teeth-brushing disability,” you get the picture.

My little dude is reading-bug resistant, to the point I think he must have some special spray or lotion he puts on every day.

I have outlined before my various attempts to get him to read and write: letters to friends who have moved away, grocery lists, street signs, cereal boxes, incentive prizes for reading a certain number of books. Some work, some don’t. The $10 Neopets and Pokemon stuffies worked, as did $15 Webkinz, but it was turning out to be more expensive than private school. And still, he didn’t read or print or write because he wanted to.

Until Tessa gave him this book for Christmas:

The book that has taken Luka from "I hate reading and writing!" to filling in these pages in the back seat of the car by the lights in the Zellers' parking lot.

The book that has taken Luka from "Ihate reading and writing!" to staying in the car, filling in the pages under the lights in the Zellers parking lot

"rarrararararararar," demands Hypnotoad.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book has Luka hypnotized much like Hypnotoadon Futurama—if the DIY book is in front of him, it’s like he is compelled to open it, read it and search for places to put his pencil or pen and get writing. It is astounding. The book is written by Jeff Kinney, author of the three and counting books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Thank you Tessa. Your pick Works for Me!

Be sure to drop by Shannon’s blog for more tips and tricks of all kinds!


Cancer DX anniversary; or, why this is always a weird day for me

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia up-close and almost pretty in a sparkly jewel kind of way

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia up-close and almost pretty in a sparkly jewel kind of way

December 17 is the anniversary of Graydon’s cancer diagnosis. On the weekend of December 14, 15 and 16 in 2001, we spent the weekend at home with Graydon with a printout of blood counts saying he had an ANC of close to zero, waiting for a fever and a race to the hospital. He didn’t get a fever. He couldn’t go to his buddy’s birthday sleepover party. I took him to my office on Sunday, where he helped me wrap work gifts in tissue paper, stuff gift bags, make hot chocolate and run down the empty halls like 8 year olds love to do. The next morning we were at Sick Kids at 8:30 a.m., and by 3:30 had a diagnosis of leukemia.

So December 17 is a weird day for our family me. I don’t publicize it, as in, “Let’s go to Swiss Chalet tonight! It’s Graydon’s DX anniversary!” I try not to think about it, and as a result, think about it all-day long. And this year it was particulary difficult, because Luka was turning 8 on the 21st, the same age Graydon was when he was diagnosed. So I spent the day looking at Luka and thinking about Graydon at that age, and well, it was a weird day.

Questions for you: Have you had a big, ugly anniversary to do with one of your kids, siblings? Do you mark it in some way? How long was it before you actually forgot the date for the first time?

Want to win some pre-teen/teenage swag? Click and enter my Teletoon contest!

Excuses, excuses…

Interesting how our excuses change as we age.

  • He hit me first.
  • She knocked that over.
  • He ate the cookies.
  • I peed my pants.
  • The dog peed on my pants.
  • The dog ate my homework.
  • I left my backpack in the back of the coach’s car.
  • My stick broke but my dad worked late and I couldn’t get a new one.
  • My mum forgot to wash my tights.
  • Dad was too tired to help me on my project.
  • I wrote it down in a list but then I lost it.
  • My curling iron broke, so no way could I go.
  • My boyfriend fell asleep and I couldn’t wake him up.
  • My best friend was sick and I had to stay and help her.
  • The car wouldn’t start.
  • The car ran out of gas.
  • The car has been stolen.
  • Christmas is a weird time with to much stuff to do, too many emotions and too much to think about.

Yes! That’s it! That’s my excuse for the absence of Because I Said So! for the last two weeks. Did you miss me? Don’t you hate when people ask you that? “Well, yes, of course I missed you. Were you really away?”

So it’s time for me to play catch-up! Wish me luck!

Internet danger: Why you should never order Christmas presents online late at night

OK, I have held off ordering things off the internet for years now, worried about security and identity theft and ether-thieves getting into my bank account (what they would do there puzzles me, but that’s not the point). But lack of time, Christmas-crowd-piped-in-
carols-aphobia and sheer laziness have led me to where I am today—more than half my holiday shopping conducted over the computer.

I got a box just yesterday, though, that makes me question whether I should have a V-chip/timer-lockdown device on the home computer. I remember the night, it was a Tuesday, I was ripping around the internet being very clever and funny picking, designing and ordering gifts. It was very, very late (A&E was switching over to their “A&E Classroom Presents…” show). I was not drinking. Yet what came out of that box yesterday has Merlot written all over it:

  • a custom-printed T-shirt for my teeny niece in small—adult small. She will fit into it in maybe 12 years
  • very classy and clever business postcards for my brother-in-law, which include the words “msrket,” “plsyer,” “snd” and “Svenue”
  • stickie notes for my brother that say “A important note from …”

A small part of me (very small) thinks it would still be funny to give these gifts, mostly because I often think I am invincible, and my sibs would welcome the chance to laugh at with me on Boxing Day. I know it’s important to laugh at oneself, but how much company do I really need?


Want to win some pre-teen/teenage swag? Click here to enter my Teletoon contest!

See you tomorrow for Works for Me Wednesday

What Mummy wants for Christmas #1

Luka came screeching into the kitchen yesterday—

“Mummy, Mummy!! The thing you need for Christmas is on TV RIGHT NOW!”

He’d been trying for days to remember what it was that he saw in an ad that I HAVE to have for Christmas, so I dropped the pot I was washing and ran to the living room.

The ad showed a family Christmas morning, the dad trying out a new drill, a kid playing a guitar and a woman in a robe smiling as if she were in a different world.

“Look, look, this is it!”

The kid says something to mom, and she looks up in recognition, then removes an earbud, or little earphone thingy, the sound level blares, she smiles at her noisy child and replaces the earbud, settling back into the couch and smiling again as the noise level drops.

“That’s it mum, that’s what I’m going to get you. So you can have some peace and quiet.”

Too funny. When I was a kid, we used to pester my dad all the time with questions about what he wanted for Christmas, Father’s Day, his birthday, and the answer was always the same: “Just some peace and quiet.” My mother never said that.

It must be a guy thing.

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta: who’s that leggy blonde?

Oh gosh, it’s me! As part of my office’s Festive Holiday Celebration, we were asked to bring in an oldie but a goodie for a guessing game. Since I look very similar even today, same lanky yet slender build, cascading blond locks, no bangs, mind, I think probably everyone guessed it was me. Oh well. You can’t hide fine breeding.

Now check out Candid Carrie’s Friday blog carnival. The theme is simple one—post a favourite photo and say why it’s a fave. That’s her spelling up there in the title, and when you visit her site to see the other photos, you’ll see tons of creative Phriday spelling!

Want to win some pre-teen/teenage swag? Click back one day and enter my Teletoon contest!

Things I Love Thursday: cartoons and a contest!

tilt.jpgOver at The Diaper Diaries, it’s time for Jill’s weekly “Things I Love Thursday” blog carnival. A couple of weeks ago I did my TILT (Things I Love Tursday) posting and held a contest to give away what I loved. It was a success, and I’m doing it again.

I love cartoons. When I was little, it was Top Cat (I knew every word—I checked it out on YouTube, and yes, my memory is smokin’: “Top Cat! The most effectual Top Cat! Whose intellectual close friends get to call him T.C., providing it’s with dignity. Top Cat! The indisputable leader of the gang. He’s the boss, he’s a pip, he’s the championship. He’s the most tip top, Top Cat. Yes he’s a chief, he’s a king, but above everything, he’s the most tip top, Top Cat. Top Cat!” I will have to spend more time on YouTube—it is cartoon therapy!); Wally Gator (whom I received plenty of teasing over as a kid, now sing along! “Wally Gator is a swinging alligator in the swamp. He’s the greatest peculator [OK, I never knew this meant embezzler. Wally Gator was an operator, but an embezzler? Now I’m starting to take offense] when he really starts to romp. There has never been a greater operator in the swamp. See ya later, Wally Gator!”) and Snagglepuss, of “Exit, stage right!” and “Heavens to Meratroid!”

Kids today have it made in the cartoon department. They get the brand-new cartoons, the animé and the oldies. Luka has recently shifted away from the newer offerings to Teletoon Retro and it’s phenomenal retro catoons—The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Boris Badanov and Natasha, Dudley Do-Right, Woody Woodpecker, The Jetsons, The Tom & Jerry Show, even the original Spider-Man and that spine-tingling theme song (small note, I sang it as a wake-up lullaby to my sons, and it really worked!).

In addition to a nonstop diet of retro on Teletoon Retro (and that’s retro to viewers in their ’30s, 40’s, ’50s, 60’s and beyond), the regular Teletoon channel has all the good new cartoons such as 6teen (which we cannot live without at our house), Wayside, Ben 10, Johnny Test, My Gym Partner’s a Monkey, Futurama and returning soon, Total Drama Island.

Here is the holiday sked for those all important “Watch the Christmas movie, pass the tape and keep signing those cards” family evenings that are happening right now. All new this year on Teletoon are the broadcast and Canadian premieres of:

Side Show Christmas, where Santa is hypnotized and made part of The Most Unbelievable Show on Earth (Dec. 16 at 6p.m., Dec. 22 at 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m.). A Dennis the Menace Christmas has Dennis staying true to character (Dec. 20 at 7:30, Dec. 23 at 5:30 and Dec. 24 at noon). Gotta Catch Santa Claus is an animated feature where a 12-year-old boy sets out to prove Santa is real, and finds a monster named LeFreeze is also on his trail. You have to tune in for this one, because William Shatner is the voice of the big guy (Dec. 21 ay 6 p.m., Dec. 22 at 11 a.m.

When Dec. 20 rolls around, it’s back-to-back cartoons with a Christmas theme of one kind or another, right up to ther big day.

It’s never to late to jump on The Secret World of Santa Claus, a 26-episode extravaganza of Santa and the elves foiling the useless attempts of troll-villains Gruzzlebeard and Dudley. Catch it every weekday at noon and 7p.m., and on the 25th, all episodes run in order from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

SO, HERE ‘S THE CONTEST! This fabulous bag of swag is king-size, and includes, among other items, a sparkly Teletoon travel mug, the hat and pencil set pictured below, a big hardcover Looney Tunes Storybook Collection, Teletoon notebook and matching pen, plus three DVDs—6teen Deck the Mall, the original Tom & Jerry A Nutcracker Tale, and the original Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy! That has to add up to $100 easy. And all you have to do is answer one question below, or more if you like!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU: what was your favourite cartoon as a kid? Do you watch cartoons now? With a kid, or on your own? What’s your current fave? What is your favourite Christmas or holiday cartoon?

Now, check out The Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday posts, and enter my contest!