Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our secret weapon

The waitress leads us to the table and we all find our seats.

One boy on one side of the table, one on the other.  Divide and conquer, that's our motto.

We spend a few minutes choosing our meals and ordering, and then settle in for "the wait".  I admit I am a little anxious about taking my kids to restaurants.  I don't want them bothering others, and if I'm being honest, I also don't want people to judge me for having loud, unruly kids. 

Usually I can engage them in calm conversation, at least for a while.  Then, inevitably, we move on to questions.  The boys love being quizzed, and whether it's math questions, movie trivia, rhyming words, or a spelling bee, they will wait their turn quietly, as long as I can keep the questions coming. Sooner or later, the food comes and we're in the clear.  At least, until they are finished eating...

But there is another, easier alternative.  It keeps them still and quiet, and leaves me free to chat with my husband instead of wracking my brain for one more question.  They're having fun.  We're happy.  It's bliss.  Except for a few little worries I just can't shake.

They get so absorbed that sometimes it's like they're in another world.

And they don't always want to put it down when the meal comes.

And it's definitely no substitute for learning patience, manners, and how to interact with people.



Haha, right?  Totally tongue-in-cheek, obviously better than handing them an iPhone... right?

I don't know.  I'm so happy and proud that my kids love reading. But all the things people don't like about kids and phones in restaurants... Could they apply to kids and books?

I know for sure that I wouldn't worry about my kids' books in restaurants if it wasn't for the phone issue.  But if we don't like kids on phones/tablets at restaurants for the reasons we say we don't like it (no interaction with others, immediate gratification, kids becoming 'addicted')... They're all true with my kids and books.  Especially M.

Last Sunday, we weren't in a hurry, so I didn't say anything when the food arrived.  He kept reading. Until we had all finished eating. Who knows how long he would have kept going if I hadn't broken the trance.

Is letting them read while they wait for their food enforcing bad manners?  Or maybe I'm being too hard on the phone...?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bragging post, move along

This is purely a bragging post. Sorry!  But no sense beating around the bush.  Those not interested, feel free to move along.

L has been in school for 45 days and has earned exactly 45 stickers from his teacher.  He hasn't had a time out all year!  I didn't think that was possible.

I'm so proud!  It would be easy to compare him to his brother, but they are just different creatures.  I'm proud of both of them.

While I would not trade M for the world, I admit it's nice to have one that "gets" it so instinctively.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spooky spiders

The boys' room has been taken over by Halloween spiders!

L and I had so much fun this morning setting them up!

Only a week until Halloween, but I think we'll let them "hang" out for a while, anyway.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Whim in the news

Today the boys and I got to watch Whim on the morning news!

Way to go, Whim!  We're proud of you.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Part of a boo-tiful breakfast

This morning, L and I made muffins and he excitedly pulled out the fancy straws that Nana included in M's birthday package.  Paired with last Halloween's "Boo!" plates and cups (also c/o Nana), it made for the the perfect October treat.

Thank you, mom, for always sending such nicely-thought out gifts, including little treats for the non-birthday boy. :)  

Say no to (artificially colored and flavored) drugs.

This is my boy.

This is my boy on artifically colored and flavored drugs.

Any questions?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Alaska, here we come!

Whim has wanted to travel to Alaska for as long as we've been together.  He has always been intrigued by the idea of visiting my beautiful childhood home. He and the boys have never been, and since we moved to Washington when I was just five years old, I hardly remember it myself. 

Alaska's frozen tundra couldn't be any farther from Thailand's tropics, and that is probably at least a small part of its appeal to Whim, as are the majestic views.  Talk about a photographer's dream!  But I know that the biggest part of the attraction is my family there. 

Over the years, Whim and the boys have been to Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Montana, traveling and visiting my family.  Every time we spend time with my family, Whim enjoys connecting with them and learning about American culture and our family dynamics.  So while we've had some lovely visits with the Alaskan branch of my family tree during reunions over the years, we haven't visited the Great State... yet.

We weren't planning any trips this year, but then last week, the boys asked us when they were ever going to see snow.  Such an honest, fair question for kids in a tropical climate.  So Whim and I started cooking up a plan.  We thought of a quick trip to a nearby, snowy country- maybe Japan- for Christmas, but quickly realized that if we were going to travel, why not make it a trip we've been wanting to make for years?

So we are!  We're heading to Alaska to celebrate Christmas with my wonderful Aunt Cynth and family.  I can't believe it all came together in just a few days.

We spent the first two days of our October break in various government offices, updating passports and prepping for travel.  Now we're sitting back with tickets in hand, counting down the days. 

I've never been one to like spontaneous plans, so I don't know what has come over me.  Normally, I take almost a year to plan a trip, and the anticipation is half the fun. I guess we'll just have to fit all that excitement into the next two months.

Alaska, here we come!

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Yesterday was Silly day in k5.  We wore silly socks and silly hairstyles, read silly books, and had a silly snack.

M in his silly hair and non-matching socks.  And thanks Nana for the new shirt!

I'm proud of our silly snacks!

We made silly monsters out of apple slices, with pumpkin and sunflower seeds for teeth.

They were a healthier spin on the apple/marshmallow teeth I saw online.  The kids loved them!  With a little thought we can make healthy, allergy-friendly snacks that kids get excited about.

These would be fun for a Halloween snack, too!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Lessons from a puffet show

Today at school, during chapel, two teachers put on a puppet show to illustrate a lesson on being thankful in every circumstance.

In the puppet show, a possum learned to be thankful for his fainting spells.  I'm sorry, but a "possum" learning to be thankful for his "fainting spells"?  Could this be more perfect for L's situation?  I could just see him making the connections, feeling represented and accepted, and walking away with a personal reminder to find the positive perspective in a negative situation.

When we got home this afternoon, I eagerly asked him what he thought of chapel.  Whim had led the music and shared, and even called M up on stage to help at one point, so L had a lot of things to say about it, but he didn't mention the puppet show.

Not to be deterred, I brought it up myself.  "What did you think of the puppet show?" I asked him?
"Oh, the puffet show!  I loved it!"
I knew it!  My sweet boy.  It probably meant so much to him.
"The possum was just like you, wasn't he?" I prompted.
Record scratch.  
He has no idea what I'm talking about.
"The possum.  The one who fainted..." I remind him.  
"He fainted whenever he got scared?"
No recollection.
"The puffets were just so funny, mom!  That's why I liked it!  I laughed, with my friends!"

Lesson learned.  For him, right now, he isn't looking to see "someone like him" up on stage, in his books, or the media.  He's surrounded by kids just like him.  His seizures aren't a big deal for him, I need to follow his lead.

Sorry, bud.  One day I'll be as level-headed as you about the whole business.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sign here please

Today M brought a marker to school to let his friends sign his cast, just as he had hoped he could.  Of course L and I signed it, too!

As I wrote about in his birthday post, I've really enjoyed watching him talk and interact with his friends lately, kid-to-kid.  I love to see them laughing over their own jokes and discussing their own interests.

This afternoon, M could barely stop laughing long enough to tell me about how his friend had taken the pen and written his (M's) name rather than his own.  That would have cracked the six-year-old me up, too.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy October

Yesterday M asked me for a fall project.  I'm not a crafty mom.  I can't even look at those "55+ hands-on crafts for boys" Pinterest posts because they just make me feel guilty or cause severe eye-rolls.

But I remember being in elementary school and wishing we decorated more for holidays, so I get where he's coming from. (I was also obsessed with the dream of making muffins, for some reason, which is probably why I always make them for my kids now.  I'm sure when my brother has kids he will put them in a bowling league whether or not they want to, since that was his constant fantasy.)

Anyway, so the boys and I made a Halloween bunting for their room from a falling-apart Curious George costume party book.  M did most of the work, since as he put it, "L doesn't even know how to bunt..."

It's just Halloween pictures cut out and stuck on orange and black paper.  (In the picture it looks yellow, but it's really orange.)  Nothing fancy, but the boys love it and it puts them in the holiday spirit.

Next to be added: Spooky spiders and led candles from Nana's birthday package for M.  Thanks, Mom!

Happy October!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Sling makeover

It took M a while to appreciate what a broken arm in Kindergarten means.

Initially, any comment about how "cool" it was brought tears.  "How could someone say that?!!  It's a terrible disaster!"  But now, a few days later, after glorying in the constant questions, attention, and requests to tell how he broke it, he's pointing it out if people don't comment fast enough.  "Excuse me.  Do you see my broken arm?"

But on the morning of the first day with his cast and sling, picture day, his birthday, he still saw it as a reminder of his scary accident.  Looking at it made him sad.

So we spruced it up!

The Avengers stickers didn't make it through the first day, but they got him through the morning.  By the afternoon, it was no longer an issue.  "At what point to I bring a black marker to school and let my friends write their names?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Happy sixth birthday, M!

Happy birthday, M.

You are so precious to me.  I love you, forever.

I wished you happy birthday a dozen times yesterday, but 6 is still hard to believe! 

You were so confident and at ease with your friends yesterday.  I love to see you as one of the gang.  Happy and excited and wild at the thought of pizza and a movie on a school night, just like the other boys.  

There was a magic moment on the way to the theater, with you on my lap and your three friends buckled into the backseat, when everyone was singing along with Frozen at the top of their voices...  I felt a release from the last of the worries I'd been allowing to keep shackled to my heart.  

You're six now, and the ways that you are different from other six year olds are beautiful, and will only enrich your life and not hinder it.  In that moment I could see the future, and those worries were all for nothing.

M, you're smart as a whip-that will get you far. And you're funny and kindhearted, so you'll always be able to find good people to surround yourself with. What more does a six year old need?

Happy birthday my beautiful, darling boy.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Unhappy day before your birthday

I want M's birthday post to be a real birthday post, not overshadowed by other recent events, so to that point, enter... the broken arm post:

Poor, sweet boy - out of the hospital just over a day and he had to go back with a broken arm.

I can't write about his agony for fear of blacking out or throwing up again, but suffice it to say, he was braver than I was.  He fell off the monkey bars, and broke his elbow, and had it treated.  He's got a camouflage-printed full arm cast and should be good as new in three weeks.

Tomorrow is his birthday, and school picture day, to boot. We got home late and still had to wash the picture day uniforms, thanks to our weeklong hospital vacation.  

But I was not going to let my poor broken-armed boy go to school empty handed on his birthday.  It's 10:30 pm but the cupcakes are made and if that makes a six-year-old's day a little brighter tomorrow, then it was worth it.

What a day!  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

New day, new hope

Last night I slept for four blissful hours, there is no school to rush off to today, and after a hot shower and fresh clothes (thanks Whim!) all is well with the world.

L is bright and chipper this morning.  M is still a few days behind, but both had their IVs taken out this morning and I think we may be going home tomorrow.

In the light of a new morning, I'm feeling a little sheepish about last night's post. 

We have so much to be thankful for.  A good hospital, insurance, (usually) healthy children, caring family and friends...

The boys have even finished all their homework!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Day 4

Day 1 in the hospital: super mom.  My poor child is sick.  I am well-rested. Let me fluff that pillow. Oh, is that light too bright? We make origami StarWars guys and read books.  A friend comes to visit and brings toy cars for L.  I welcome the chance to chat with her outside of school.  I am sure L will be better in a day or two.

Day 4: I have not slept in 3 days.  Whim is working tonight.  I'm wearing Tuesday's clothes, washed in the sink, dried on the balcony.  I'm using a rubberband as a pony tail holder. The boys  say things to me like: "My yogurt cup keeps tipping over every time I put the spoon in" and need answers from me.  Today I walked to 7-11 and bought a bag of chili paste flavored lays and stood outside the shop and ate the whole bag.  I don't even really like chips.  The boys watched garbage tv and played computer all afternoon.  I let them eat bread and honey instead of nice hospital dinners and M just spilled water on his hospital shirt and I can't stand the thought of having another conversation with the nurse or talking to any other person in the world even one more time, so he's sleeping shirtless until someone comes in here.  We are never going home.

I know how whiny I sound and how lucky I am that this is not our daily struggle.  I'm just so tired.

Update: New suit has been acquired.  I hope not to say another word to anyone until 6:00 am.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Double duty

L was admitted to the hospital Tuesday morning with pneumonia.  He is, unfortunately, not feeling much better today than he was then, despite three days of IVs, medication, and nebulizer treatments.

He is being brave and patient.  We're all hanging in there.
I did not expect this part:

They are now in adjacent rooms and Whim and I are doing musical shifts of nursing, working, and resting.