Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Walk like an Egyptian

"And I know what you're thinking: Sekhmet, daughter of Ra, could basically be considered Ra's personal assassin, right?"

That is totally not what I was thinking...

I liked the mythology obsession so much more before Egypt came along. I loved Greek mythology, and the recent journey into mythical creatures has been so fascinating.  Give me a 20-minute monologue about hippogriffs and boggarts or færies, any day.  But hippo gods and Anubis and sarcophagus rubbings... I don't know.  It takes all the self restrain I have not to roll my Eye of Horus!

There is one sweet memory I'd like to hang on to from this season in M's life, through.  One afternoon, he and L were using a library book to write hieroglyphic  messages to eachother, and in that brief moment, life was easy.  M snuggled up to me and asked if I could have a meeting with his teacher to see "if there was any way hieroglyphics and Egyptology could be added to the schedule for first grade?" It was just so earnest.  Like it just might be possible.

If homeschooling ends up being part of our future, that will be our first class.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Talent show

M and his friend performed a duet for our school's Staff Family Fun day talent show.  They were wonderful.  Whim accompanied them and made sure that any little hiccups of rhythm were easily smoothed over, they sang confidently, and it was just precious.

The rest the J family, namely, poor L and his sorry, sorry mom, weren't so lucky. The short version is that I completely, utterly, and irreparably messed up his Rubik's cube act.  The long version is much, much cringier and more mortifying, involving almost ten minutes of extremely awkward slow clapping, but it revolves around the same major plot point.

The good part is that, somehow, L is blessedly unfazed by the fact that it took us three times longer than it was supposed to, and that one of us ultimately walked off stage with an unfinished cube.  

He's good.  He was completely proud of himself, and not in a "well, we tried our best" kind of way.  From his perspective, it was awesome.  He did it!  I was not so lucky, and went through a range of humiliation stages that could rival the stages of grief. But in the end, I'm ok.  It didn't go as we planned.  It was not cool or impressive.  But for L, it was fun, and that's why we signed up.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Caps for cure cuties

Aside from being Little Chef day in K5, Thursday was also our school-wide Caps for Cure fundraiser day.

L, naturally, had zero qualms about wearing his new Ninja Turtle bike helmet to class.

I snagged this pic of M from his book blog queue, because I didn't get a proper one.  Fitting picture, though, considering how long he wept the other night, almost sick with worry that there wouldn't be books in heaven.

"I'm just thinking there are some really special ones that I will want to re-read sometimes, and we can't take even one!"

Do you think there are physical things like books in heaven?  I told him what I believe: the Bible promises that there is no sadness or disappointment in heaven.  So either heaven is full of enough books to satisfy him for eternity, or it will be otherwise so unimaginably wonderful that it would make him forget all about them. I hardly knew what to say, to be honest, because I just don't relate.  I feel so apathetic in comparison!

I've said this before, but it becomes clearer all the time... his relationship with books and words is so different from any interest, or hobby, or pursuit I've ever been involved in.

I'm a card-carrying nerd, and I love to read as much as any other introverted bookworm, but I never even thought to wonder if I was going to be able to read in heaven.  The same is true for all the "passions" that I have pursued throughout my lifetime.  They ebb and flow and change, through the different seasons. But they have never meant as much to me as this does for him.

L's K5 Little chef day

Today was L's Little Chef day in Kindergarten!

The kids baked bread, made peanut butter, and topped mini pizzas.  With just a few additive-free substitutions, L was able to participate right alongside his classmates.

I'm still so proud of that hat!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

I can do anything good

Organizing/decorating our house over the past seven years has basically been a never-ending game of musical bookshelves.

When you've got an entire brand-new, empty house to fill on a budget, well... bookshelves it is, right?  At least, that's what we did.  Even our kitchen was mostly bookshelves until pretty recently.

Our house is probably never going to be the stuff of magazine photos, but we're slowly tackling one project at a time, and I love it when one of those early bookshelves finds a place that finally makes sense.

Today we moved an under-used and weirdly-placed shelf from our room into the boys' room (with its twin, which has been there for several years in various incarnations), and now they finally have room to store all their puzzles and board games!

I couldn't be happier... except maybe if I had figured out a way to organize their clothes while I was at it.

Tho thweet

I swear this is what I see when I look at him, even now.

Even so, his last baby remnant -his lisp- is slowly leaving us... with a little professional help.  

And man, is she good! I had been casually trying to get him to make the S sound for at least two years, and his speech teacher helped him to do it the very first day.

Since that first lesson, he has been so determined!  He still slips into his sweet old way at times, but I hear him working hard to articulate correctly almost all the time now, even on the playground and arguing with his brother!

What a good kid! Tho thweet!

Saturday, September 12, 2015


L had a casting call yesterday (for which Whim, apparently, dressed him as a cowboy...?)  Fingers crossed!  Surely there is no cuter child for this ad, am I right?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Six weeks in, we're still good.

M's been sick and out of school all week.  In retrospect, he probably had influenza B, since there are cases popping up all over our school. But whatever it was, he's over it now and will finally be back to school tomorrow.

I have, in my more desperate hours, thought about homeschooling him.  I figured he could be with Whim during the day, and could do independent things like reading or math skills review while I was at work.  Then, I could teach him one-on-one things in the evening.

Well, this week gave me a taste of that. (Not exactly, since he was just doing all his regular schoolwork every day after school and that isn't what we'd do.  But it gave me an idea of what that life would be like.)

I can see that it wouldn't be easy.  I hardly got to see L all week, and though M and I had our evenings together, it was serious work time, not relaxed downtime.  I would do it if we needed to.  I will do it if we need to.  But I'm so glad that- this year- we don't have to.  

M's teacher shared with me that our principal, after observing her class, commented on how much he has matured.  That is wonderful to hear. While I know that not every teacher is as amazing as Mrs. D and will not accommodate him as well as she does, I do hope that by the end of this year, he will have matured enough that he can handle being in a classroom without as much differentiation without resorting to silliness to entertain himself.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

L's My culture day

Friday was My Culture day in Kindergarten.  L wore his Northern Thai farmer's outfit from his Yaya (his favorite pants-score!) and brought his favorite "circle snacks" to share with his friends.

(My USA ensemble wasn't nearly as spectacular, but I did break out my American flag socks for the occasion!)

Fortunately, another parent prepared a gorgeous display of Thai fruits for her son to bring, so L was even able to sample one other child's cultural snack, too.

What a lucky boy to be surrounded by good friends from all over the world and to get to take part in special days like this one. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Missing link-found

I've known for a while that- as smart as M is, and as intuitive as he is with things like words and language- there are some obvious understandings that he doesn't pick up on naturally.

Thankfully, he catches on quickly enough once we can determine what the missing link is and fill him in.  The only problem is, the missing link is sometimes something so obvious and self-evident that I can't see it, even when it's staring us in the face.

Take yesterday for example. M has always had trouble controlling impulses and has often gotten into trouble at school (and at home) for foolish, impulsive actions.

So, for the last few months, we've talked a lot about forethought.  Frustratingly, it seemed like the idea that you can think about an action before you do it and avoid the ones that will lead to negative consequences just wouldn't sink in. 

After the fact, he could always explain why the choice was a poor choice.  Beforehand (like when role playing) he could easily model the right choice.  But in the moment of truth, he just couldn't seem to resist the urge.
We have been praying for self control for him, talking often about better choices, and keeping our eyes open for chances to praise him for good behavior.

That brings us to last night, when after a particularly great day at school, he was being comically good all evening. He was obviously going out of his way to please everyone: being grandly generous with his brother, helpful to me, agreeable with Whim.   We just kept heaping on the praise about how nice it was when he was X, and how much we loved it when he did Y, and how now that he can Z, he's going to have so much fun at school.

Finally, he couldn't take it another minute.  His face changed and, ashen, he told me he had to confess something.  "I didn't really want to do those things.  I was just doing it to be praised.  I'm sorry."


That was his missing link. He didn't realize that he was free to act differently from how he felt compelled.  He thought it was "cheating" to do something you didn't want to (or not do something that you did want to do), just to be praised or just to avoid trouble.  

Even though it sounds ridiculous -how could anyone not realize that, it's as natural as breathing- it makes sense when you think about honest he has always been.  

He knew it was wrong to bother classmates, for instance.  But since he didn't know how to stop wanting to bother them, he went ahead and did it.  Somehow he didn't realize that he could just not. He thought that in order to stop getting into trouble, he had to change his will.  He didn't realize that suppressing an urge -even if you still really wanted to do it- "counted" as being good.

Oh, my boy.  Your mind is so weird and wonderful.  I am so lucky to be the one who gets to figure out all of your quirks.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I.... I have made donuts!

Whenever I make something special for the first time, I find myself re-enacting Tom Hanks' fire scene in Castaway.

I... I have made donuts.

Look at this face.

The boys went crazy for them- all three of them. 

Don't tell, but it wasn't much harder than cupcakes.  I sort of feel like the mom in the old commercial who puts flour on her face before she brings out the Rice Krispie treats. But I mean, if they like heaping on the thankyous and hugs and the "best mom evers", who am I to spoil their fun?