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Month: January 2013

bunks for our punks

bunks for our punks

As I write this, the boys are lying in their new bunk beds. Micah has been working on them on nights and weekends for the past three weeks. This morning he put the last touch-ups on the paint job, and after dinner he and the boys put them together. They just barely fit in their tiny bedroom. Their dresser fits as well, but if we had hoped to squeeze a crib in there, too – or even in place of the dresser – those hopes were dashed by the door of the closet/pantry, which we need to be able to open.

But the beds! So fun. So fun to see the boys get so excited about helping Micah build them. And it was like Christmas every morning when they woke up to see what he was able to accomplish the night before. It was so fun for them to learn about tools and how to build things. This morning when I was taking apart the crib and getting their room ready for the bunks, I had merely to ask for one of them to get me a tool and they were all over it. It makes me happy that my 3-year-old can look at some nuts and bolts, know that he needs a wrench to loosen them, and then go find the right tool and put it to use.

And when they were all assembled and the mattresses and sheets were in place, we had our scripture study and family prayer on the bunk beds. It was so homey to be lying there on the bottom bunk with Elsa, listening to Micah read with the boys on the top bunk. We are really pleased with how they turned out. (Let’s just hope it’s a while before we have that first bunk bed related injury.)

test time

test time

January is the time when the 6-month gifted-and-talented saga begins (unless you count that you have to sign up for the test by November – then it’s an 8-month saga). The kids take the test at the end of January, parents receive results and school options in April, they submit their ranking of school choices the next week, the results of the sorting are sent out in June, and if all goes poorly (as it did for us last year), the deadline for submitting paperwork to be a homeschooler is July 1.

It feels like we just did this. Probably because it has only been a few months since we finally gave up on getting Simon into school this year, and by that time we had already signed him up to take the g&t test this year.

Thankfully, Simon really likes to do “puzzles” and take tests. His testing time was last Saturday afternoon. We sat in the school auditorium for nearly an hour and a half while he answered all the questions correctly. (At least, he thinks he got them all right.) He took longer than any of the other kids, which is fine. Haste makes waste, right? But he said he had a good time and really enjoyed the puzzles. We’re hopeful that he did well enough to, once again, be at the top of the list for a seat in a school we can actually take him to.

While he was testing and we were practically the only parents left, we talked to some of the facilitators. One of them said that it is possible to get the enrollment office to give us what we want, whatever that may be, but we have to be obnoxious. Like, really obnoxious. To the point where they realize that we aren’t going to go away and the only way to get us off their backs is to give us what we want. We’d been told before that we need to be fierce advocates for our child, and we tried to do that. But it sounds like maybe we didn’t go far enough. I understand the theory behind this advice, and I understand that this is a very important and worthwhile thing to fight for. But I am not the kind of person that likes to be obnoxious. I don’t like being where I’m not wanted. I hate confronting people. I’m not good at making my needs clear. And the thought of doing that makes me very tired. Still, if I have to, I’ll try. I just really, really, really hope I don’t have to.

“what? what? what? I can’t hear you.”: a crosspost

“what? what? what? I can’t hear you.”: a crosspost

I don’t know which is worse: taking your kid to the doctor because you think he has a problem, only to have the doctor look at you blankly as you clumsily try to explain why you think your perfectly normal child is defective, or taking your kid to the doctor because you think he has a problem – and being right.

Part of me is really grateful that I didn’t bundle up my children and herd them onto the train in sub-freezing temperatures just to be told (in so many words/facial expressions) that I am paranoid/overly-sensitive/hovering/crazy.

The other part of me thinks that being grateful that my child has a borderline hearing problem simply because it made bundling up my children and herding them onto the the train in sub-freezing temperatures “worth it” is, not to put too fine a point on it, silly.

But I suppose there is a middle ground here. Yes, Oliver has been driving us nuts the past few weeks with his “What? What? What? I can’t hear you!” routine (even when we are standing 3 feet away and looking straight at him) and yes, he does have fluid in his ears (likely from the monster cold he had during Christmas vacation). But it’s just fluid in his ears. It is just a borderline problem.

I am glad we were not being paranoid. And I’m glad it’s not too serious.

We’ve been treating it with some garlic/basil oil (as much as he’ll let us) and it seems to be doing some good. At least, he hasn’t complained that he can’t hears us, and that makes us all very happy.

happy half

happy half

Our little gnome turned 6 months old today. She sits, she rolls, she screeches, she laughs, she eats applesauce, she sleeps, she scoots (backward), she grabs, she inspires endless excitement and hugging and cooing in her brothers.

We’ve had several people recently, independent of each other, tell us she is “pretty.” But, of course, we already knew that. She’s a magical baby and I’d take 4 more exactly like her if I could.

support

support

Last night as I was pulling dinner out of the oven, I got a call from a friend. She had a friend who was in a tight spot: she was at work, her 4-year-old daughter was at day care, her babysitter was unreachable, and the day care was closing. The day care was only two blocks from our place, so as soon as I got off the phone I told the boys to get their coats and shoes on. We were going out.

Fifteen minutes later we were standing in front of the day care. It was dark. No one was answering the buzzer. I called my friend’s friend to see if she knew what was going on/where her daughter might be/if she wanted me to stand there and wait while she called to make sure no one was at the center. She still hadn’t been able to get hold of her sitter, wasn’t sure if she’d picked her daughter up, but she was leaving work to track her down.

We walked back home, said a prayer for this mom and her little girl, and hoped that it was merely a matter of a phone battery dying at an inconvenient time.

Two hours later I got a text from the mom. It was as we had hoped: the babysitter had lost her phone. She had been running late, but had managed to get the girl. All was well, they were together again.

I breathed a sigh of relief and said a little prayer of thanks – both that the mom and daughter were reunited without incident, but also that I can be part of a support system of families who I can call on if I get in a tight spot. I can think of at least half a dozen people I wouldn’t hesitate to call if truly needed them. I know they would drop everything if I asked for help, and that my children would be safe and cared for until I could get there.

That’s such a blessing, and I don’t know if I realized that until last night.

partner in crime

partner in crime

If I had a New Year’s Resolution, it might be to be more interested in what my kids are doing. And to not be above joining in. Fun as it is to be the cop all the time and tell them they can’t do things or that they’re being silly or that they’re wasting time . . . oh, wait. It isn’t fun at all. So I’m done with that. I’m going to be a joiner. 

Last Friday that meant that I got to help Oliver into 5 pairs of pajamas. He got the idea from Simon, of course, who randomly decided to wear all the pjs in his drawer. At once. So we did it and it was hilarious and fun and a really good time.

This week it’s meant that I get to play games on my phone and feed a small green creature candy. So far I’ve been instrumental in unlocking two boxes full of more opportunities to feed Omnom by cutting ropes and such.

I’m happy to be involved and invested and in on the fun, of course. And it would be worth doing just for that. But I also want to be in the habit of being involved in these little things so that it is natural for me to be a part of whatever else the kids get into as they get older. I think it’s important for me (and Micah) to be in on their music, their games, their interests so that we can guide them and talk about issues that may come up as the listen or play or participate. Maybe that’s a little idealistic, but it’s worth striving for.

So that’s that. And now I’m off to cut the rope and earn some more stars or something.

 

homeschool update

homeschool update

I’m going to be honest here: homeschool is not terribly high on my list of priorities. Or it hasn’t been, anyway. It’s still something that both stresses me out and seems slightly unnecessary since Simon is so far ahead of most children his age. I can probably count on one hand that number of days I actually sat down and did “school” with him last year.

But I’m trying to ease myself into a more serious undertaking, so we’re doing “school” every day now. What this looks like in practice is story time and a math page. I sit with him and supervise his math page and offer pointers. We’re starting with addition and subtraction, which he is already really good at, so my pointers are usually along the lines of: “That’s a nice nine, but you might want to make the tail a bit longer in case someone else thinks it looks like a sloppy zero.” Or, “That seven is so tiny I can’t even see it!”

The workbook we are using has an addition/subtraction table that Simon though was really fun, so we decided to make one for multiplication/division as well. I wrote it out, but he figured out all the answers and told me what to write. So, in case you were wondering, my 5-year-old can multiply.

Story time is simply that. We read together. Usually I read and Simon chimes in whenever I misread a word. And sometimes he reads, too. Mostly to Oliver. We’ll talk about what we’re reading and then we’ll read some more.

Easy enough for now. Eventually we’ll work up to more structured school. Or maybe he’ll actually go to school and we won’t have to.

mobile

mobile

Elsa the Eaglet* has become mobile. Backwardly mobile. It’s funny to see her on the ground and to watch her and to never see her actually move, but then have to rescue her as she pushes herself farther and farther under the couch in an attempt to get herself out of the mess she’s gotten herself into.

She also is rolling a bit more now. Still only front-to-back, but she’s working on the back-to-front thing. Let’s hope we get her out of her Moses basket and into the crib before she makes it all the way. *Fingers crossed.*

*We’ve decided that her “squeaking” is actually much closer to “screeching.” Like an eagle. Thankfully, she doesn’t screech when she’sangry. I can handle happy screeches.

christmas morning 2012

christmas morning 2012

I promised more photos from Christmas morning, and I always try to make good on my promises. We took things easy, let the kids open their gifts, explore them, play as long as they liked, and then moved on when they were ready. By far the biggest surprise was Simon’s reaction to his new bike. Micah and I were expecting him to be really excited about it, but he was mostly just confused. Our big reveal fell flat. Ah, well. Once he got used to the idea, he loved it. The giraffe-zebra-elephant thing seemed to be the favorite. The boys picked that out for Elsa. Simon wanted to get her something to grab, and that seemed to fit the bill. Something for her to grab as they drag it around the apartment with her crawling in pursuit. That’s how it plays out in my mind, anyway. Elsa also got her bear. We each have one now. Simon has one from Hawaii and Oliver and Elsa from New York. That is one of my favorite traditions we have.

Side note: One bonus about being the photographer on Christmas morning: no photos of me in my pjs with my bedhead. Ha!