Saturday, August 23, 2014

Still zero!

Working in my sons' school means I am lucky enough to see them from time to time throughout the day.

My class passes theirs in the hallway, we smile at eachother from across the multipurpose room during Chapel, and I can even grab a quick hug in the cafeteria at lunch.

Yesterday morning when I saw him, my stomach dropped a little.  I maybe wouldn't have noticed except that that morning he had looked so cute in his little suspenders that I had taken a picture, and it was still fresh in my mind.

When I saw him he was in other pants, no suspenders.

I worried until noon, when I saw his teacher in the cafeteria.  It turns out he slid down a wet slide on the playground earlier and soaked his backside.

My mind is always going to go to seizure. This is one time I was relieved to be an over-worrying mom.
Three weeks down, seizure count = 0.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Two firsts

L is the kind of kid that was made for school.  I knew it would be smooth for him and it has been.  He went 9 for 9 in the sticker department and came home with his first prize box reward today.

I remember how hard M had to work for those same stickers this time last year, and our joy as a family when he came home with his first chart completed after 9 long weeks.

He has come so far!

M had his own reasons to celebrate today, after staying "in the beehive" all day at school for the first time.  His big hurdle for behavior is calling out answers, and he's working so hard to kick that habit.

I was so proud to see this in his writing journal last week.  His favorite part of the day was when he remembered to raise his hand.  He's such a good-hearted kid. They both are.

They perched in silence for a long time. "How can we be so different and feel so much alike?" mused Flitter.  "How can we feel so different and be so much alike?" wondered Pip.  I think this is quite a mystery.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


M:  Have you noticed when they make movies there are always three parts?  Like one, two, and three?

Me: Yeah, trilogies.

M (breathless with exitement): What's a trilogy?!?!!?!

A variation on this conversation happens- if not daily- then at least many times a week in our house.  There were three today, but I only remember this one.

It normally drives me nuts!  I want to rip my hair and say: what do you think it means based on our conversation over the last 5 seconds!?  I feel like: how can he be so smart and ask questions like that?   I actually say something like: I think you can figure it out, right?

He knows.  He said, in this case, "A set of three movies."  So why the adrenaline-fused question every time he hears a new word? 

Today I had a little revelation.  He just loves words. He doesn't mean any harm.  He wants to define them and file them all away for later.  If I had answered his question with, "Yes, those three-part series are called trilogies" I could save myself the frustration, but I don't talk like that.  I'm just not wired to expect every other conversation to be a vocabulary lesson. Plus this kid says stuff like elasticity and nemesis and ajar (just today!).  He's not a toddler anymore, how am I supposed to keep track of which words he doesn't know yet?

I'm obviously not going to manipulate conversation to avoid springing new words on him.  It's ridiculous and besides, what about when he's out and he hears a new word "in the wild"?  He likes words, I'm happy to teach them, I just don't like the current dynamic of him demanding a definition seconds after hearing it used in context.

So, in a totally not crazy mom move, I'm making a plan while he sleeps.  This problem can be solved.
Tomorrow I will tell him to say: "I haven't heard that word before.  Does that mean ________?"  This phrasing will not make my blood pressure rise.  He will still get his definition.  I will smile like Mr. Rogers and say, "Yes!  Way to use context!"  And he will learn a conversation skill.

I tend to assign motivation to things my kids do and then turn out to be wrong.  In this case, in the moment I feel like he's 1) smart but responding foolishly, ie not using the ol' noggin, 2) speaking too quickly and not thinking first, 3) being annoying.

I realize now that he's not being foolish, he's just checking.  He is listening and thinking, and he wants to know the exact definition before he saves that word in his vocabulary file.  And he doesn't know that other people (at least I) perceive the question as annoying.  He's just being authentically excited about something he cares about.  There's a lot of worse things to be than a curious kid.  That shouldn't have taken me so long to figure out.

Similarly, today- post revelation- he asked me why I gasped during a "funny video" of a skateboarder falling down.  First I got that old feeling: Why do you think I gasped!!?  But I remembered in time.
I asked: Do you know that it hurts when someone falls on a skateboard?
He answered: Of course.
I continued: Do you know that people usually gasp when they see someone get hurt.
He answered: Oh.

What!?!?  How?  But ok!  See? Somehow he didn't know that common part of the human experience, but ok.
Now he knows!  The question had purpose.

I vow to no longer be annoyed by questions.
I will call him a wordsmith and a lexivore and prepare myself for the inevitable!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Long in the chin

When L was a baby, he looked just like M.  Now, it's harder to see.  But today when L wanted a picture of the smooch he got from his favorite food vendor, I felt like his picture looked like a picture of M I took earlier this week.

They both look so old all of a sudden!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

First week down

I think this picture from the taxi the other day sums up how we all feel after the first week back to school.

L took to school just like I knew he would.  He was brave and friendly and obedient.  He even earned a sticker from his teacher every day this week!

And M has grown and matured so much since last year.  I think this year is going to be great for him, too.  He earned reward time on his very first Friday.

But we aren't used to these early mornings and busy days!  

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


So much has changed in a year...

(Thankfully, including my hair!)

We all made it through day one.  Bring on the next!

Monday, August 4, 2014

'Twas the night before school

'Twas the night before school
And all through the home
Not a child is stirring
So I'm writing a poem

The backpacks are waiting
By the front door with care
In hopes that tomorrow
We won't leave them there 

The children are snuggled
All up in their beds
While visions of recesses
Dance in their heads

Whim is out working
And I'm tired as can be 
But I can't turn my brain off
What's happening to me?

My mind keeps on going 
I can't stop the thoughts
I've a half-crossed to do list
But there is still lots

Plan breakfast!
Make lunches!
Find uniform shorts!

Wash blankies!
Pack toothbrushes!
Tasks of all sorts!

Spare clothes have been packed
For the littler one
His brother needs books 
And then I will be done.

Every item is labeled
Water bottles are full
Alarm clocks are set
And my brain's feeling dull

I'd better sleep now,
We'll be up before light 
Welcome back to the school year
And to all a good night!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

First piano recital

The boys had their first piano recital today.  I couldn't be prouder.

M played his songs perfectly after psyching me out all morning with fumble fingers.  I think he must have been messing with me!

L played so well, too, and most importantly, played on after his one big clunker.  As the youngest 'performer', he had already won the crowd over by the time he scrambled up onto the piano bench and even got an audible "awwww" with his bow at the end.

My favorite moment of the day, though, came later.  After the recital, the teachers were giving away a few door prizes, and M had his heart set on winning one.   When they called the last ticket number (not ours) I looked over to see him almost blinking back tears.  He pulled it together and within a second or two, he was good again. But I could see that, for a moment, he had been telling himself something.

I was so proud that he fought off those tears because...drumroll... he was having a reaction this morning.  For the first time in ages, he woke up with a classicly swollen eye and was crying before he even made it to the shower. He had both baking soda and coconut before we left for the recital, and his eye went down before too long, but I really wasn't sure how the day was going to turn out.  

In the car on the way home, I told him that I had noticed that moment and I was so proud of him.  I asked what he told himself to stop from breaking down.  He said, "I thought: 'There's no use crying like that' to myself three times.

1.  I have never, not ever once, seen him self-manage his emotions like that during a reaction.  His reaction self and normal self can be like Jekyll and Hyde...  Things he normally does, like "shake it off" become almost impossible.  He normally needs someone walking him through it, helping him see that whatever it is isn't as big of a deal as it feels.  Until today I actually thought it wasn't possible. But he did it!

2.  It was hard.  Ridiculous though it may be, in that moment he was temporarily very upset not to be chosen.  In his reaction state of mind, it was overwhelming disappointment.  But then he cooled it! He worked to keep it together even though the meltdown would have been "easier".

3. Three times!  Not only did he work to convince himself, he stuck with it until it worked.  He is a perseverant child, but I wouldn't have necessarily expected that.

I had to ask myself - if he ever gets to the point when he can fully manage his reactions (consistently make appropriate choices and manage emotions), will I take him off the diet?  I don't know...  It makes everything so much harder.  Things he can normally do without a second thought become major accomplishments, so I'm not sure it would be worth the work to him.

 But this still feels huge.  He overcame his reaction.  He can!