Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day 113

Wednesday December 8, 2010

Nina had another tough night. She was up from 3-5am. It wasn't as bad as the previous nights, especially since she had fallen asleep at 7pm. Nonetheless, what concerned me the most was not the "being up" in the middle of the night but that her sleep issues were symptomatic of troubles with the tumor. Troubles with the tumor??!?! What a stupid, asinine thing to say. As if "trouble" is not synonymous with the word tumor!! The kinds of things our minds do and mouths say! Bottom line, my biggest concern was that these increased problems with sleep mirrored the pattern of symptoms in August. I had this looming feeling growing. I decided to shove it back into the basement for the time being.

The problem (there are many!!! obviously!!) of living with chronic pain like we are, is that sometimes you forget that others around you also have sorrows, burdens, struggles. Today I was reminded of that and my heart broke for my precious friend. The pain my friend echoed to me reminded me of how horrible it feels to be "helpless"!! Sometimes, there is absolutely nothing we can do or say to bring comfort to a loved one! Absolutely nothing!! That is a terrible, excruciating feeling!!! Before Nina's illness, I would have been frantically tyring to figure out how to make the "unfixable" fixable for bring "comfort" to a situation where there is no possible comfort. Now, because of what I am personally going through with Nina I realize that sometimes there is absolutely nothing we can do....other than be present and available. Just "being there" is comforting!! It may not feel like that to the person trying to comfort the hurting friend, but because of what I am living, I can honestly say that it is! It is all that can be done and it IS enough!

I spent the late afternoon with the Marbans. It was fun playing with Cristina, although I kept calling her Nina. Aghhh! I have done that since August!! Never had prior to, but now I do it all the time! Sweetie Cristina just smiles at me when I do :) Just like I had earlier struggled with comforting my friend, I know all of our family members and friends struggle with comforting us. With the Marbans, just getting their hugs is comforting!

Cristina and I hiding in the bath tub during a fun game of Hide-N-Seek!

By the time I got home, Nina was fast asleep but Teddy was wide awake :( He knew I wasn't happy!! I warned him about getting up in a grouchy mood the next day and then crawled up into his bed and tickled his back until he fell asleep. Sometimes....a good tickling from mama (versus a reprimand) is the most comforting thing in the world! Teddy reminded me of that tonight!

Day 112

Tuesday December 7, 2010

I think that I should help develop roller coaster rides. I'm serious! I need to be put into contact with the engineers that design roller coaster rides for Disney, Great America, Magic Mountain, etc. I have (without choice...totally forced!!) become an expert in roller coaster rides. Sometimes my days are one continuous mind-breaking roller coaster, the kind where you think you might not survive and barely do!!! I just feel that my new-found skills should be put to use!

Today's roller coaster was particularly treacherous because the peeks and valleys were so steep and happened so radically quickly. One second I was up, the next I was down!!

First, Nina and I went Christmas shopping. Yahoo!!! She picked a set of Sponge Bob mugs and cocoa for an early Christmas gift for Teddy. She was so thankful he had given her the dolphin pillow pet that she asked me immediately after breakfast if she could also buy him  a present :) Sweetness!!!

When I picked up Teddy from school the first thing he said when he climbed into the car was, "Mom...I have something that is going to astound you!" He then pulled out 3 Minute Math quizzes where had received a score of 100%. He was beaming!! He then added, "Miss Checchio said she noticed how I was working faster and doing a good job!". He looked at me for validation, glowing that his beloved teacher (whom he has a crush on!) had applauded his effort! "Mama....I guess you were right...tutoring does help!" I beamed myself! Sweetest boy!!! I leaned in and gave him the biggest hug and kiss. I told him I was sooo very proud and that he was astounding indeed. He smiled right back, mouth of full half grown-in adult teeth! Precious boy!

While Teddy rode his bike, I trimmed Nina's hair!!! She's been wanting to have her hair cut forever but refused to go to the salon or have Sean (my hairdresser) come over because she was too scared. She kept asking me to do it. Finally, I agreed. What was the worst that could happen??? Sean needing to come over to fix my choppy job :) Well...I did a great job if I may say so myself. I cut her hair in sections, and kept each lock that I trimmed tied, storing it carefully into a jewlery box I bought just for this moment. Nina was very happy and Teddy spontaneously complimented her on how cute she looked, causing her to blush ;)

Teddy loved his "early" Christmas present and the kids enjoyed a mug full of hot chocolate!
Nina beamed from making her brother happy and from her pretty new hair cut!

Being silly while mama took photos....but oh sooo precious!!

Promptly at 6:45, Mario arrived for tutoring. Teddy ran and jumped onto his back and shoved the quizzes into his face, "Look Mario!" Mario made a huge deal about Teddy doing such a good job. Teddy then proclaimed that his success warranted a hot chocolate and mini-stapler for his school desk ;) That boy knows how to work his mama!!! I agreed to the premise, but only after a night of successful tutoring.

As can be imagined, tutoring was a success. We had our hot chocolate from Starbucks and found a mini-stapler at Rite-Aide. Then came the sharp drop on the roller coaster!

As Teddy was getting ready for bed, I sat on his bean bag and worked on the blog. Teddy walked by and saw me clicking on a photo of Nina from July (prior to the diagnosis). He instantaneously started crying. I pulled him into my lap and kissed him. He proceeded to tell him that he missed the "old" Nina, that he was so sad because she wasn't the same. The following is a summary of our conversation:

R: I know you miss her honey. But we just need to love her.

T: I just miss my old sister.

R: Tell me what you miss..

T: She can't play with me like before, she can't run, or ride her bike, or climb like we used to...all she can do is sit because she is so tired

R: But she loves having fun with you. We just need to be happy to spend time together.

T: How can I be happy when she is so sick?

R: We have to be happy because when we are happy it makes her happy. Remember how motivated she is when the cousins are around, how much more she walks and plays?

T: Yes.

R: That's because everyone is happy. No one motivates her like you do and the cousins. You're doing everything right by loving her, being sweet, playing with her, making her laugh! She loves you so much!! You are her sunshine, ever since she was a baby.

T: (cries more into my chest! I rub his back).

T: Mom, is the medicine making her this way?

R: What do you mean honey?

T: You know, the chubby cheeks, the walking funny, the not being able to play, walk up the stairs. The medicine is causing it all, right?

R: No honey.

T: What do you mean (panic in voice increasing again)

R: The medicine is causing the chubby cheeks but the tumor in her brain is causing the rest. The medicine is trying to stop the tumor from growing.

T: And they can't take it out in an operation?

R: No sweetie.

T: Mama, is she going to make it?? I would do anything to save her life!

R: I know honey (kiss his forehead...heart aching for him!). We just need to keep loving her.

T: I just don't know how to help, what to do. I can't help the doctors...(pauses and looks out into the hallway)

R: You can help by doing what you have been doing all along, loving her, being sweet, making her laugh and praying

T: Mama....please tell me that the doctors have some hope.

R: Yes honey they do. We will just keep praying and loving her!

T: (hugs me)

R: Teddy, I am so proud of you!! This is exactly what we need to do. When you are sad you need to talk to me and daddy and let us know. We need to talk to each other, help each other. I am so proud of you at how amazing you are! Do you know that?

T: Yes

R: I love you (hug him tightly!!!)

T: I love you too!!

We sat for another minute, me tickling his back and reassuring him that we were doing everything possible. After a bit, he stood up and said, "I need a snack." He went down stairs and had some string cheese and crackers. I swallowed my tears, sent out a slew of texts asking for prayers of strength, and then cuddled up with Teddy once he returned from his snack. I read to him and he fell asleep!

I am so thankful for the incredible heart and mind that this little boy has!! I just pray that God pours all the strength and protection known to mankind into this little, precious Teddy!!! I tried to close my eyes and will my own personal roller coaster up by focusing on the incredible insight of my son! Most adults aren't capable of having conversations like this! And he is only 8. I focused on this for a long time, until the roller coaster stopped plummeting and started to climb back up steadily. My heart ached for Teddy but I also strangely felt peace. I suppose I felt peace because my sweet boy was talking to me, letting me know how he is feeling, and there is nothing better that we can do to support him, but listen, talk and love him! Nevertheless, this was not the kind of roller coaster ride I dreamed of as a child myself ;(

Day 111

Monday December 6, 2010

Nina has a knack for saying things that leave me speechless. This morning she dropped a doozy. As we drove to Vons to get "new" food, as she requested, she said to me, "Mama, I don't want to grow up....I don't want to get big, I want to stay a kid forever!" Her words pierced my heart and I said nothing for a bit, not knowing on to respond. She has said this to me before and it always gets me! My silence pissed her off and she yelped, "Mama!" I responded and told her I had heard her and I understood. I then added, "I understand what you mean sweetie. You can always be a kid in your heart." She did not like this response and yelled at me, "NO!!! I want to be a kid forever!" I appreciate that Nina believes that I have a say in these matters. I wish I really I was Supermama that could control when it rained and how quickly she aged, but alas I can't :( However, I decided to not argue and said, "Okay honey, you can be a kid forever!" The damn lump nested itself in my throat for the rest of the morning!

Given how mad our world is, I appreciate the mundane now more than ever. It makes me happy. The rest of our day until dinner was filled with mundane little things. We had a wonderful dinner!!! The Brennans came over!!! Yahoo!!!! It only took two months to finally make it happen :) but we finally had our precious friends over. It was incredible to spend time and catch up with the family that has been such a support to us. Their boys are darling, and Josh (7) and Teddy were delighted to see each other. It was such a peaceful evening. Yael brought Magic Bars, these incredible yummy treats covered in coconut and chocolate. I asked Dan what they were called and he said he didn't know, just was happy to find them at home and gobble them up :) Men...even brilliant medical doctors...are still men :)

Nina had a blast with Mattie, their youngest who is about 6 months old. He is a ball of chubbiness and Nina adored every morsel! We adored every minute spent with our friends and will make sure it won't take another two months for our families to get together for dinner again!

After the Brennans left, Erik was ready to start tutoring with Teddy. Unfortunately Teddy was not! He gestured over for me to follow him into the bathroom and said, "Mom....I thought we had an more tutoring! I did a great job last week!" I laughed! Agreement???? Where does he get this stuff??? I told him that there was no such thing; that the agreement was once he was all caught up and his teacher said he didn't need extra practice, that we would start fading the tutors. He was livid so I told him once he was ready he could join Erik upstairs but that the longer he took, the longer it would take him to be done for the night. Poor Erik!! He is such a sweet and patient man. I had Erik serve himself some dinner and eat a few Magic Bars to help fend of the impending headache. Erik just smiled his cool and collected smile, the one he gives all the families of the children with disabilities he works with, and the one he was now giving to me!!! I thanked him and apologized!! What more can I do! It took Teddy 20 minutes to chill and finally join Erik upstairs for tutoring. Once he did, it went fine!

I then went and ran some more mundane errands. I love the mundane! I did get myself a cappuccino to help give the mundane a little "jazz"!  It was just the right amount of jazz, warm and frothy! Maybe I should open the Night Owl Coffee Shop....a 24 hour coffee and tea bar!! Oohhh....sounds like a hit in the making!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 110

Sunday December 5, 2010

Nina and Teddy had the absolute best day ever today!!! First, we went to the Snow Day at the Santa Barbara Zoo! Yes...I said it's not a typo...Snow Day at the Santa Barbara Zoo! Nina has been pleading to go to the snow forever. We made snow balls, chased Teddy and Daddy, rode sleds, and had the best snow ball fight ever!! Truly magical!

Then after playing in the snow, we decorated the tree. It was perfect! No better way to describe it!! Christmas music played softly in the background, Nina and Teddy meticulously chose where each ornament should hang, and Todd and I savoured each second!!! I literally could taste happiness! I was so thankful for this moment. It had seemed impossible back in August and now we had been given a tremendous gift. I took a million photos and video-recorded non-stop, wanting to preserve each movement, word, expression, laugh, and smile.

The tree was beautifully decorated! Once it was all done, Teddy gave Nina a gift he had picked for her several weeks ago. When he had gone on a play date with Thomas, Stacey (Thomas's mom) had taken Teddy shopping for a small gift for Nina. Teddy had chosen a dolphin pillow pet and a cloud blanket. He was so proud of himself and so thankful for Stacey, "Mrs. Radujko is such a sweet lady! It was so nice of her to do this for me." What a sweet boy! He proudly gave Nina his gift and eagerly waited for her response!

To say that Nina loved her gift does not do it justice! I can genuinely say that Nina has never loved a gift more in her entire life!!! She lit up!! She was left speechless, which is saying it all :) Teddy beamed with pride and love in seeing how touched his sister was!! Todd and I held back tears and applauded Teddy's love for his sister! This was the single most precious moment for me!! In this moment, my two children cherished each other! They can fight like cats and dogs but at the end of the day, they love each other dearly. Teddy's gesture of giving Nina these gifts and her delight in them embodied all the love they have for each other! I could not, cannot, thank God enough for this moment! It was beautiful, it was sacred!!!!

Day 109

Saturday December 4, 2010

"Oh Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, how lovely are you branches...."

If I could carry a tune (which I can't) would have been singing this song all day. Actually, I tried to sing it several times but both of the kids immediately asked me to cease and desist :( Maybe I'll start singing in Portuguese! A-ha! That's the ticket to my singing success!! I ALWAYS sound better when I sing in Portuguese, plus the kids won't know what I'm saying so they can't complain I'm butchering the lyrics or that I'm off key! Brilliant!! My parents are going to be so proud when I burst into Portuguese Christmas carols during Christmas dinner!!! Why didn't I think of this earlier?!?

Teddy thoroughly inspecting the trees!'s theme was the Christmas Tree!! First thing both Teddy and Nina asked after waking up, "When are we going to get our tree?" We spent the majority of the day decorating, cleaning, and doing some gift shopping. Then before dinner, we met up with the Becchios and went Christmas tree hunting. Originally, we had thought about going to a tree farm and cutting down our own tree. When the kids were super little (Nina and Braden were 2ish) we had gone to Ojai and cut down our own trees. It was sooo much fun! Unfortunately, that tree farm closed down years ago and despite searching the entire central coast for another, we came up dry.

Is this too big?

Playing hide-n-seek with David and Braden

Susan suggested that we go to a lot they had used before at a local church. We did and the kids had a fabulous time running through the rows of trees playing hide-n-seek. While the boys ran amok, Nina took "choosing a tree" very seriously. She perused each tree meticulously, asking whether or not each tree would fit in our small condo. When the answer was "no" to a particularly large tree she was interested, we'd get the stink eye before she moved onto the next tree :)

Finally, we found the perfect tree. We loaded both trees up into John's truck and headed over to Zodo's Bowling & Beyond for a good time :) We had a great time at Zodo's and at home where the kids decorated Gingerbread men! The funniest thing was when Nina finished decorating, she took a huge bite and then....instantly spit it out!! "Yuck" she proclaimed :) Too funny!! The gingerbread men looked fabulous but tasted questionably!

Everyone had a great time! I especially loved seeing Teddy in action. The humor in his personality is really emerging and it is great to watching him figure out how to navigate getting laughs without pushing the envelope too far. At all costs he wants to avoid me saying Teddy take it down a notch!

When all was said and done, we had our Christmas tree, a wonderful evening with our dear friends, and two slightly abused Gingerbread people :) Today was a lovely day!!! And to top it all off....I got the job!!!!! Yahoo!!! I hadn't expected to hear back so quickly and hadn't bothered to check my email (my friends abhor this about me!). When I did check it, I found the most wonderful email!! I cannot express my excitement and enthusiasm!!! Today was a really, really good day!!

Then, bedtime came. I helped Nina get her jammies and Todd cuddled with her. I checked to make sure Teddy had brushed his teeth (that boy has a knack for forgetting!) and then climbed into his fortress of a bed and curled right next to him. He immediately wrapped his skinny little legs around mine and draped his arm over my neck. This is how my extraordinary son ended our day:

I kiss him...

R: I love you Teddy
T: I love you more
R: I adore make my heart happy
T: You make my heart whole, so whole
R: You're an angel
T: You're a bigger angel
I kiss him again
R: I love you Teddy (kiss him again!)
T: Mama, there aren't a lot of robbers in the world right?
R: Right sweetie
T: Nite
R: Nite

Day 108

Friday December 3, 2010

I woke up early to practice for my interview again. I know it sounds funny to practice for an interview when you don't even really know what they are going to ask but I had a ballpark sense of the kinds of questions that could come my way. Plus, Yvonne and Mendy had primed me super well with our "mock-interview". When I was in grad school, we started doing priming sessions for all of our educational milestones (e.g., Master's thesis defense, comps, dissertation defense). In these priming sessions, a bunch of the grad students would get together and run a mock defense where we'd ask the defending student really hard questions. On many occasions, I found the "priming"session to be harder than the actual defense itself!

Bottom line, I prepare incessantly for everything in my life. It is just how I am wired. Before I give a speech, I practice it over and over again until I have it memorized (that's how I never use notes!). Once I've given a speech 3 times in public, I've got it permanently memorized! I am able to do that, remembering specific data points and time lines, but I can never remember where I park my car! Go figure!! As for this interview, I wanted to make sure that I was prepared, poised and knowledgeable. This was an incredible opportunity and I wanted to make sure that any concerns about my qualifications would be remediated by my work ethic and diligence.

After running through a series of Q & A's in the shower one more time, I got Teddy's lunch and then breakfast ready. This morning I made him cinnamon-sugar toast, which he loves. Fortunately for me, he woke up in a delightful mood, hair sticking up, puffy eyes and stinky morning breath! How I love his morning breath (only a mother would ever say that, but it is sooo true!!!). We finished breakfast and I dropped him off. Holly gave me a good-luck hug before I climbed into the car and finished getting ready myself.

My interview was at 10:30am. It went fabulously, at least by my assessment. I wasn't nervous at all and all my preparation paid off. At one point, I was going on and on about special education and turned to the panel and excused myself for being so verbose and dominating the conversation. The department chair laughed and said that I was doing fine and had practically answered all their questions! I suppose verbosity does have it's advantages; instead of asking me each question on their list, they just checked them off as I rattled on!

I love what I do, I am committed, I work fervently to do the best that I can, and I try to convey that in my communications about special education. I just feel so blessed to have a calling in life. In spite of how hard this line of work can be, I have never once woken up and thought "Ugh...I can't stand what I do!" Sure, there are things about this line of work that are exhausting and trying, and each mirco-community you work in has its flaws, but as a field, I adore special education and being able to make a difference in the lives of children and families that society still marginalizes! It is a privilege, pure and simple!

The rest of this day was a weird blur!! I'm just going to leave it at that! remediate the blurriness I did what any red-blooded American woman would do....I went shopping, and not just any ordinary shopping, I went Christmas shopping!!! Nina and I love Christmas shopping! There is no better shopping to be had! Nothing like delicious Italian food, a hot cappuccino, a morsel of caramel, and shopping for loved ones to make a gal feel good!! Mission accomplished!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Day 107

Thursday December 2, 2010

Today Yvonne came up to help us decorate and prepare for Christmas. What a tremendous friend!! She didn't wait for me to ask for help, she knew I'd need it, otherwise time would fly by and I'd still have pumpkins from Halloween up :) I have always admired Yvonne's ability to initiate and this has proven to be a huge blessing in my current life. Sometime I don't even realize what I need help with until I am offered the assistance! How true is that sentiment in life overall?!?!

Nina was elated! She was so excited about decorating that she didn't even complain about taking the Timador! On several occasions she "checked-in" to make sure I had retrieved all of the containers with holiday decorations. She even reminded me that I had some under my bed, no joke!! It is astounding what the girl remembers and absorbs!!!

What is more astounding is that Nina didn't want to start decorating until Teddy came home from school. I love that! She knew that decorating for Christmas is a special thing we do and didn't want her brother to miss out! She adores him, just doesn't always shows it in the best way! But then again, isn't that always the case between siblings? I know I didn't always treat my brother well (okay...I inflicted years of sorry Bruno :(....but we are precious friends now!!). I just worry extra about Teddy and Nina's relationship now given the current circumstances. I desperately want them to get along so that they will each have secure memories of the love they shared. I guess this should have always been a top priority in my parenting, but then again don't we always think we have "time" to work on stuff?!?!  How foolishly we mislead our selves!!!

After picking up Teddy from school, we spent the rest of the afternoon decorating. Katie and Cami came over and helped. We had Christmas music in the background and joy permeating every move!!! It was a perfect afternoon made even more perfect by the company of precious friends!

Preparing the Advent Calendar

Chef Teddy thought the girls could use a snack!

Nina's Decor!!! Beautiful!

Although Teddy was scheduled to have Erik come out for tutoring, the session got canceled because Erik hadn't fully recovered from his cold. I greatly appreciated Erik's diligence about being careful around Nina! We just can't afford to have her get sick!! While Yvonne played Sorry with Nina, Teddy and I finished homework in a decent amount of time. I was pleased. He was pleased. We decided to leave it at that :)

We finished our day, with Yvonne and I grabbing a coffee at the La Cumbre mall, while Todd hung out with the kids. During this window shopping saunter, Yvonne primed me for my interview the following day. I had the big interview of the Credential Program Coordinator position and it was essential that I prepare the best possible way. For weeks, I had been refreshing my memory and familiarity with broader disability research (not just Autism) and educational policies for the State of California. Yvonne, in her perfectly astute manner, gave me very helpful feedback, like not saying You know.... every other sentence. Ugh...we all have these weird tid-bits in our everyday language that make us sound like morons when are utterances are analyzed! Thank goodness I have smart friends who cut to the chase!!!!

Before Yvonne left, she and I talked a ton about how we would prepare all of our boys for the "worst". It was a painful discussion but one that needed to happen. Most of all, it seemed to provide Yvonne with relief to know that I have a plan. The reality is I have a plan for everything....everything except knowing where I park my car in the mall parking lot!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Our Christmas Miracle!

I just returned from midnight mass with my parents. It was wonderful to be celebrating the birth of our Savior at the church of my childhood. It makes perfect sense that tonight, I return to where I grew up learning to love God and prayed for my own child's healing!

For over an hour and a half I prayed for God to heal Nina, to give us the ultimate miracle we are all praying for. I sang my heart out! Those of you who know me, know that I can't carry a tune but it did not matter tonight! Tonight, in a sanctuary filled to the brim with over 700 people, I belted out each and every song, whether they were in Portuguese or English. I sang with the purest of hearts for my Nina, as if I were the only person in that sanctuary, as if I were performing a private concert for the Lord of Lords, Maker of Heaven and Earth!! I sang with happiness, and most of all, I sang with thankfulness because Nina IS our Christmas Miracle!!!

Who could have ever imagined that she would be this strong (steroid free for almost a week now!) and able to come to our hometown to celebrate Christmas with our families. On August 19th this seemed impossible. But nothing is impossible for God! I am thankful, so very, very thankful for the miracle that Nina is and I WILL continue to pray for the ultimate miracle of healing!!

Thank you all for praying for our honey-girl. God hears each and every one of those prayers! Merry Christmas to all and we pray for blessings in each and every one's lives!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 106

Wednesday December 1, 2010

Christmas in the Fredeen house officially started!! I guess it already had (all the ornament shopping and all) but we have officially started blasting the Christmas music and this evening we went to the Westmont Christmas Celebration with our dear friends the Becchios. This was the perfect start to what is surely going to be the most wonderful and blessed Christmas ever! With our Starbucks hot chocolate (and peppermint mocha for mama) in tow, we visited Santa, ate snicker doodle cookies, and watched the gigantic tree be lit up. It was also a bit chilly (by Santa Barbara standards) so it actually felt like Winter (or at least a Santa Barbara Winter :)....we are so spoiled!)

After the Westmont Celebration, we went home and had dinner before tutoring started. Once I got the kids fed, I quickly called Mario to find out what had happened the night before (more specifically, why Teddy had been crying). Mario explained that once they had entered Teddy's bedroom, that Teddy had started crying, saying that I was the meanest mom in the world and that he couldn't believe that I'd embarrass him like this, that Mario was his buddy and now he was embarrassed. Mario then saved the day and then some! He explained to Teddy that I wasn't being mean or trying to embarrass him, but trying to be helpful. He added that I had told him (Mario) about my conversation with Miss Checchio (Teddy's teacher) and how Teddy was doing well but needed extra practice with his math facts and reading. Mario added that the idea of him (Mario) tutoring Teddy wasn't actually mama's idea but his; that he had told me that he loved hanging out with his buddy Teddy and would do anything to spend more time with him because they had so much fun together and since he is a teacher and tutor for kids anyway that it made perfect sense that he be one of his tutors, that way he (Mario) got to see him (Teddy) and have fun not just once a week (when they played basketball) but several days a week. Plus, with him tutoring now they'd get to wrestle-fight more. Well....Teddy bought it hook, line and sinker!!! Thank God!!! Mario said that at this point, Teddy stopped crying (that the crying had only last a few minutes). In addition, Mario explained that he wasn't going to teach him anything new and hard, that they were just going to practice what he was learning at school. That he (Teddy) was awesome and that he and Erik (the other tutor) were just going to help him be super-awesome, that all he (Mario) was going to do was teach Teddy to think super fast, that when you're a big dude (like Mario...:)...too funny!) you want to be think fast and that just like they practice basketball so they can play fast and they were going to practice math facts and reading so that he could be a fast thinker!

Bottom line, Teddy was sold and that is all that matters! I thanked Mario and called Erik to update him. Erik was up tomorrow and I wanted to coordinate so that both the guys were prepared to handle my little man :) I understand that Teddy feels overwhelmed and ganged up on, but he is an incredibly smart boy that has slipped and as his family it's our responsibility to support him. I am so thankful to have such incredible friends who are willing to help my boy!!

Tutoring went great! In fact it went so well that after an hour and 10 minutes (tutoring is only suppose to last an hour) I went in to check on the guys. I quietly asked Mario why he was having Teddy work so long and he explained that Teddy kept wanting to go on (REALLY!!! Too much!!!). Of course, he wanted to keep on going. Now that he felt good (a least better) about tutoring, his competitive streak was kicking in and he wanted to prove to Mario that he could handle it! Sweet little guy!!

Today was a good day....a great start to the Christmas season! Nina was feeling well, Teddy was coping, and we were all together.