Sunday, November 30, 2014

Professor Rafael

Raf is really, really into colouring and drawing, at the moment. Charlie follows along and delights in showing us scribbles which he labels, 'mummy, daddy, Rafi, etc'. He excitedly presents them to us with a 'ta da! I did it'! 

Raf also loves to work on his reading and spelling, and is mildly obsessive asking what things say as he reads out the letters of random words to us. This is followed by him showing us, visually, how many syllables each word has and then counting the letters in each word. Charlie likes to count, too, though bizarrely starts from 4 and then counts to 9 and then skips to 14 (seemingly his favourite number!)

A couple of weeks ago, on Veteran's Day, Raf had the day off school. Rich had to work, as did I, and so Raf came to work with me. Here he is arriving bright and early so we can prepare for my 8am class. He came dressed appropriately, with corduroys, shirt, and a cardigan with elbow patches!

As I was powering up the computer in my classroom, trying to get the power point to work, Raf emptied the contents of his bag onto the floor beneath my feet and I realized that things might not run as smoothly as I had planned! Trying to teach with your 5 year old at your feet, is no easy task. In fact it's made more difficult when said 5 year old was clearly a little bored. Indeed he explicitly said, in front of my entire class, 'mummy, how long do we have left? This is so boring'! I retorted that the entire class was likely bored but endure we must, so he went back to his colouring, periodically getting up to stand next to me (much to the delight of the students), or as he played with his airplanes, buzzing them around in front of the power point projector.

He was, though, very excited about lunch, and he managed to find every single beige food in the canteen.

And there were more snacks in my office during office hours.

Thankfully he didn't have to come to my 3 hour afternoon/evening class, as our friend Stacey was on campus with her 3 children and offered to take Raf back to another friend's house. It was a super fun day but difficult to be productive with a little visitor. At least Charlie didn't have to come!

Friday, November 21, 2014


I am not exactly positive, but I am quite sure that I have been feeling some baby flutters this past week or so. At the moment, this pregnancy doesn't feel very real (which is saying something given the rate of my expanding stomach and the ongoing nausea). I'm in my 17th week - which I'm in slight disbelief about... !

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I 'hangry'...

Charlie is a very cheerful little poppet but he drives us absolutely crackers when it comes to food. He is always 'hungry', and indeed each morning - sometimes in the very wee hours - I'm awoken with the words, 'mummy, I hungry'. Sometimes he shouts out random foods such as 'burgers' (we're vegan!), donut holes, or usually just 'toast and juice'. We try and fill him up at night, he has milk during the night, and yet 'I'm hungry' is close to being his mantra. I do think that he takes after my dad in this regard, since he was always hungry, and when he was we all had to dedicate ourselves to finding something he'd eat! Charlie is not unlike this... 

In fact, he can be eating something, then stop, and then declare that he is 'hungry'. I explain that he needs to eat whatever he's eating first, but he will grab us (strongly) and pull us into the kitchen to indicate exactly what snack he's hungry for. We try to hold firm, redirect him to his toast, banana, whatever else it might be - but he wears us down in a way that leaves us feeling as though we have no choice but to give the little food-dictator what he wants!

Last week he was especially strident... at 4:30am. I took him downstairs, put the little prince on the couch with a blanket with an episode of Caillou, and went, as ordered, into the kitchen to rustle him up some toast. 

Something has to change! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teacher/parent conference

Last Thursday we had Raf's first teacher/parent conference. The boys stayed with Shannon (also kindly taking charge of the delivery of our new washing machine). I wasn't nervous until we arrived, and then I realized that I was indeed a little anxious about what we might learn!

Raf's teacher is really lovely, and my impression is that she's very firm while also being kind and nurturing with the children. She let us know straight away that Raf is doing very well - that she loves having him in class, and that he's sweet and fun. We already knew this, but one issue is that Raf is a 'follower', and of course he can follow the wrong behaviors. Mrs. Marshall let us now that he's very easy to get back on track. Raf's impetus is to be a rule-follower, to be good, and to please. On the other hand, he has a lovely silly side, and it's as though he has two little birdies on each shoulder, trying to talk him in to whatever he shouldn't be doing... ! It seems that the entire group can be silly, so there's lots of laughter and giggling - so a wonderful environment for Raf to be in.

He's doing very well with letter recognition and sounds as well as equations. He's less comfortable with counting in the teens and that can impact his confidence. At home he is constantly sounding out things, and right now he's lying next to me in bed working on a phonics game on the iPad. He just read to me an entire little story as part of it. He's really seeming to love learning.

Each day he comes home and tells me who the star of the day is (yesterday it was Rafi), what the question of the day is, and what he did in choice time. He's a little more murky on what he did in terms of reading, writing, and maths!  Today he was the 'messenger' at school, which meant that he was responsible for working on lost and found and taking messages to the office. He's very proud of himself.

During the conference, I noticed this on the wall... whereas other students dreamt of learning to write, have fun, be president - Raf had other lofty goals... to learn to stack chairs neatly.

He's doing so, so well. I hope his interest in learning to read and write continues!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

And it's a...

A few days ago we decided that Saturday, November 15th, would be the day we opened the envelope! I had been feeling strong willed in not looking, but last Sunday I was close to opening it so took it over to our neighbor and friends' (Shannon and Jon) house for safekeeping. Not only that, but Shannon offered to make the reveal a little bit more exciting by making us a box filled with appropriately coloured balloons. Raf was very excited by this idea. So rather impromptu, we invited a  few neighbours and friends to come over to join in the festivities. It was very, very last minute and it was very lovely that many people were able to join us!

That morning I enjoyed my usual predawn snuggle with the boys...! I've been contending with pregnancy insomnia this past couple of months - and invariable, just as I'm getting back to sleep around 4am, up pops one of the boys. 

Before the reveal, everyone had a guess at the baby's sex. We even had a few call ins from the UK. Rich and I were strongly feeling boy, and up until that afternoon so had Raf. All of a sudden he said he's like a baby sister and popped his and Charlie's names on the girls side.

Shannon made such a lovely box...

Raf goes back for last minute adjustment.

Let's open this box....

OH my goodness... bloomin' heck!

Complete and utter shock....

Melissa and Freya Facetimed in from the UK! It was so much fun... and you can see the shock and delight on Freya's face. A GIRL cousin!!!!!!!!!!!

Shannon and Jon had put a few girl goodies in the bottom of the box... along with the original 'it's a girl' card from the genetic counselor. The bows! The shoes...! Such a kind and generous friend.

Uh oh... it was a mistake: it's TWO boys!

It was a brilliant afternoon... Thank you so much to everyone! I am still in a state of shock. I actually don't quite believe it's true. The genetic testing we had done is 99% accurate but there is always that chance that we will be in the 1%. I'm anxious for the upcoming ultrasound in a few weeks!

I didn't get much sleep last night - still in a shocked stupor - and then Raf had a bad nightmare so me and the boys were up at 4am. They're terribly sweet, though.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Oh boy.

So there will be another Oliver-Campbell to add to the clan - due date May 8th (Dad's birthday was May 9th and mine is on the 13th, so a very auspicious month!). This was something of a 'surprise', though a very lovely one. I'm in my 15th week and have, predictably, been very, very sick. I'm feeling quite a bit better this week, and am having to take less of the nausea medication. Hoping it gets even better (though won't hold my breath!)

We only told the boys a week or so ago.  Raf was beside himself with joy. We knew he wanted more siblings as he often asks, 'mummy, I'd like One Hundred brothers', and whilst that isn't happening, he was so happy for the news. He counsels Charlie not to 'squash' the baby, and when I reminded him that it might not be a brother (who am I kidding?!) he said, 'silly mummy. I'll still love it the same'!

This time around we had some more involved genetic screening done. It wasn't available when I was pregnant with Chas, but they can now detect placental DNA in the mother's blood, so at 10 weeks and on you can have a very non invasive blood test and they can screen for trisomies. It's still a screening - but 96-98% accurate - so we were relieved when, just a week later, things came back looking good. They also look for sex chromosomes (and any abnormalities), and if there is a Y chromosome it's a BOY! When the genetic counselor called me to tell me the news, she asked if we wanted to know... I declined but she kindly agreed to put the 'sex' of the baby written down and popped in an envelope and three weeks ago I picked it up.

And we've yet to open it. Rich wanted to wait until Thanksgiving, but I am pretty sure it's another boy. I have three nieces  - and they are the oldest cousins. What came next..... 9 boys (on both sides of our families). Even the neighborhood I live in has all boys... save for one new little girl. Perhaps she has broken the 'boys only' trend, but I think it's doubtful. We'd actually love another boy (and Rich especially, as he'd like to reuse all their clothing!). But a girl would be super fun.

Our very lovely neighbor Shannon, has offered to either bake us a cake or to put some balloons in a box for the boys to open as a fun way to reveal (another boy! Aha!). I think we may do it next weekend, so if you happen to be around and would like to see me openly weep as I contemplate a life being totally out numbered even the pups are boys) then feel free to stop by. As Rich keeps reminding me, 'this IS IT, so make it something to remember'. I keep responding, 'never say never'.

Looks at these angels...!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Yes, we are slightly crazy.