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The Over-The-Top Pout

Sometimes, when E starts a new class/activity we enrol him in, he complete shuts down, starts pouting, refused to take part, stands by a wall/on the sidelines, and just shakes his head while repeating “no” anytime someone tries to get him to participate.

Notice how I say sometimes. He does not do this with outdoor soccer, and not when he knows someone else (so we try to do that when we can). He usually does not start out this way. Instead, usually a game of tag or something will send him into this state.

Both DH and I are at the end of our ropes with this behaviour. When it happened when he was 2 or 3, we just assumed he’d grow out of it. But, he keeps doing it as he gets older, and it gets more annoying every time (and embarrassing too!).

We’ve tried positive strategies (talking it up before hand, getting him to choose  the activities, being super encouraging, offering rewards, etc.), neutral strategies (ignoring behaviour), and negative strategies (time outs, lecturing, taking away privileges).

Sometimes he’ll eventually and reluctantly start participating, but with an over-the-top-pout, continually looking at us (to make sure we know he’s not happy?), faking like he’s hurt, etc.. NOTHING seems to have the desired affect of getting him to participate in a positive way.

Any thoughts or tips?? HELP!!!

Back on the Needles

One thing I let go when I started teaching in September was knitting, which has been an important piece of self-care I’ve been investing in since my grad school days (can’t find the post where I first write about it, but here’s one in which I write about knitting as therapy).

So, when I started my medical leave about a month ago due to extreme stress, panic, and anxiety, I knew I had to pick up the needles again.

I picked up where I left of, with this flowered headband:

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Flowered Headband

This was a relatively easy and quick knit from 60 Quick Knits from America’s Yarn Shops.

Part way through the headband, I realized I was using 5mm needles (size 8), not size 5 (3.75mm) needles as the pattern called for. But, instead of frogging it and starting over, I plugged along,  just doing fewer repeats of the pseudo-lace patterned bands in the centre. It also turned out a little wider because of this, but more coverage in our winters is not a bad thing!

Nice to be back to this fine hobby, and now to one of the best things about it: picking my next project!

The Martian

Wow. What a ride!

I just finished reading The Martian by Andy Weir, and it was flat-out amazing.

For those not aware of the book, it tell the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut left behind by his crew on Mars and his struggle to stay alive.

I was a bit wary of reading the book because 1) I  had heard that it was rather technical, and 2) sci-fi can be hit or (really big) miss. But, from the first line, I was hooked and I never wanted to put the book down.

My background in astronomy really allowed me to appreciate the scientific nuances in the book (and some of the jokes were particularly funny to people who know math and science – especially on Mars – well). But, everything else was done so well: the character development, the roller-coast plot, and the back-on-Earth story being woven in.

It was so exciting that I regularly literally laughed, gasped, and cried – VERY rare while reading!

I knew this book was a great one when I start being sad that it was going to end when I wasn’t even half-way through.

After a long time of “meh” books, it was so refreshing to read such an amazing story.

I give this book a 5/5!

The Learning Brain

2015 felt slow for reading books. I probably had time to read more, but between finishing my BEd, then teaching at a private school in the Fall, I didn’t have much time in the evenings.

I ended the year reading The Learning Brain, which is a review of neuroscience research behind how we learn.

It was an interesting read, with parts about how we learn to speak, write, and do math. There were also parts about how the brain develops throughout childhood, into adolescents, and up to adulthood, and how our capacity to learn changes. There were also parts about more specific neurological topics like ADHD, Autism, neuroplasticity, amoung others.

Though the content of the book was interesting in an academic sense, the book itself wasn’t all that entertaining to read. I had seen several reviews that it was accessible for any level. Though followable, there were a few parts that felt needlessly loaded with jargon (especially given its apparent broad target audience). If it wasn’t for my stroke experience and DH being in the brain-science world, I would not have been able to understand as much as I did.

One thing that I was disappointed with was there were very few concrete suggestions for pedagogical strategies to use to accommodate for the issues they were reviewing. In reading the summary of the book beforehand, I was expecting more of a connection in this regard.

Overall, the subject is interesting, and the writing was decent enough. Anyone wanting to know more about the neuroscience behind learning, it’s a good place to start.

I give this book a 3/5.

Hopes for 2016

As you read in my last post, 2015 was pretty meh. So, I’m hoping things will change in 2016. Here are my hopes:

  • I  would like to make progress toward a more stable work situation
  • I would like to get back to spending more time doing (and enjoying) things I love like knitting, reading, and cooking
  • I would like to move more and feel more energized
  • I would like to enjoy the time with my family more
  • I would like to either make our home more livable or move to a house that suits us better

What are your hopes for 2016?

PR in the Family?

This image has been circulated around Facebook lately:

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 9.03.09 AM

…and many of my (girl)friends generally agree this is true to reality in their home.

I know it is in mine. In fact, DH often tells me that I’m in charge of PR in our home. I think that’s pretty typical. Honestly, I’m pretty sure nothing like gifts, cards, birthday wishes would be sent if I wasn’t around. This goes for appointment making, rsvp’ing to social engagement, getting & bringing host/hostess gifts to such engagements, etc.

If you live with someone else, who is in charge of “PR”? Is it mostly on one person, or is it shared?

Why do these tasks *typically* fall on women?

 

Guilt Reigns

I had been struggling with the decision of whether or not to leave my current job for the past month or so. There are many reasons why I have been considering this. Some are personal, others are job-related, but mostly because other opportunities have presented themselves.

I have signed on to teach at both the university (first-year astronomy course) and the college (first-year math), and both start in January. I will also be volunteering with a high-school physics teacher. These are great opportunities to investigate more options in the field of education, and I just couldn’t pass them up.

So, even though I have many, MANY, good (even excellent!) reasons to leave my current job, I still feel THE GUILT!

“But I’m leaving right in the MIDDLE of the term!”

“Are they going to be able to find a replacement for me?”

“Is the student going to be negatively impacted because of me?”

and don’t forget the favourite:

“Everyone is going to think I’m AWFUL!”

I spoke to numerous people about this decision, both inside and outside education, at different points in their careers, and asked their advice. One central theme was that the only person who will look out for me is myself.  And if there’s one thing in the time since my stroke is I need to look out for myself.

So, yes, the guilt is there, but it will lesson with time (isn’t time amazing for things like that?). And, come January with all of its new starts, the excitement will overtake those feelings. I’m already getting excited!

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