Thursday, August 26, 2010

I Don't Wanna Talk About It.

But it's hard to do a blog post when choosing to not talk about something. The school year has begun, and yeah, I don't wanna talk about it.

1. In some ways we're doin' ok. I'm getting Huston and Isaiah off to a gradual start and it seemed to be going pretty well. I was purtin' near babying them. Well no more of that, cuz...

2. The attitude is kicking in. My kids don't wanna work at school. If it takes more than 10 minutes and it's something they have to stop and think about then they don't want to do it and they complain and whine and ask for a break... so...

3. I'm getting mean. Today I "locked" Isaiah in his room all morning and made him work non-stop until lunch time. I eased off him after lunch and allowed him to run outside for quite awhile. After at least 2 hours of free time in this beautiful weather and even a little movie break I asked him to start back on another lesson and the attitude returned full force. Stink - er. I totally became not pleasant. He got the picture and did another half hour or so before I had to leave to work a bit this evening. Making my plans cement even further in my mind...

4. I'm taking away more toys. I picked up their cotton-pickin' Lincoln logs for the last time this morning. They are in the attic with the legos, Play Mobile, castle stuff and all other toys that have 15 gazillion parts. There are still a few things out but I will continue to weed away until the only thing they can do is school. Maybe if the options aren't around the attitude will change. I'm willing to try...

5. I'm also going to be more structured and strict with our priorities. I am too easily swayed too often. I'm going to be a mean mom and hopefully in the end they'll like me for it.

But for now, I don't wanna talk about it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yes, He is That Smart, and Yes, He Gets it From Me

Today I had to take the two older boys to a follow up doctors appointment. No they're not sick, they are in fact two very healthy, goofy little boys. I will go ahead and tell you the reason for the appointment despite the *shame* that may be associated with it... my boys still have a problem with bed-wetting. They are 8 and 6 and we are tired of buying Pull-Ups or Goodnights, or whatever brand you choose. So we are going the route of medication to correct the legitimate medical problem. If you are interested in knowing more concerning this, leave me a comment asking your questions. Otherwise, I will be moving on to the wacky personalities of my boys.

Isaiah is a smart boy. Not a genius; I'm telling you right now. I'm not gonna sit here and wax poetic about how incredibly gifted my child is... cuz he's just a good ol' ordinary boy that likes to retain random information - which can make him kinda sharp... sometimes. Anyway. Today in the examining room to pass the time while we were waiting for the doctor to come in, Huston was looking at a child's reference book about different facets of the environment. He doesn't really read much past the "consonant-vowel-consonant" 3 letter word pattern so he was basically just lookin' at the pictures. He turns the page and there are pictures of elephants in their habitat with lots of little info. blurbs giving specific facts and information concerning the biome highlighted on the page. It wasn't necessarily about the elephants in the picture, but more about the surroundings that the elephant was in. Huston looks at the picture and asks me, "Mom, how much do elephants weigh?" I look at the book and say, "Ummmm, I don't know Huston. The book doesn't say." To which Isaiah replies, "An elephant weighs about the same as three vehicles." Just as matter-of-fact as if he was a walking encyclopedia. I turned to him and said, "Where did you learn that?" And Isaiah totally turns to me with that, "duh everyone knows that" type look and says, "Mom, you hear that everywhere!" Seriously? I didn't know that the weight of an elephant could be found all around me. That's fascinating.

Then to really top things off Huston asks, "How much does a baby elephant weigh?" and Isaiah responds without skipping a beat, "about 150 lbs." The crazy thing is.... I've looked it up on-line and he's pretty much dead on for the weights of Asian elephants. Then I remember that he did some basic research on elephants in the spring for school... so the guy probably did know what he was talking about. Crazy that my kid can just know random facts like that.


A few minutes later, I had my turn at blowing the boys away with my knowledge. Huston had left the examining room to use the restroom. When he returned I knew he hadn't washed his hands so I told him to use the sink in the examining room to take care of the job. When he was finished and had dried his hands, he kept looking around for a trash can in which to throw away his paper towel. I told him, "Huston, look in the cabinet under the sink." He opened the door and lo and behold, a trash can. The boy looked at me amazed and exclaimed, "Wow Mom! How did you know that? Did you used to be a doctor or something?" Trust me, Isaiah was equally impressed.

Ohhhhh yeeeahhh... I'm that smart. Scary, isn't it... at least I still have some knowledge that I can impart to my children. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Avery Think He Can Fly... and Other Fascinating Tidbits

Hold on, cuz this post is gonna be random alright.

1. Avery thinks he can fly. He's been walking around the house today "flapping" his hands and jumping. He thinks his large jump equates to flying. And yes, I'm the type of mom that bursts his bubble and says, "No Avery, little boys can't fly. That was jumping. Stop flapping your arms please." So mean I am... because the constant flapping is rather annoying. I did send him outside to flap to his heart's content too... just so you know that I'm not a total meany.

2. This week the pool pretty much closes so I'm taking that as my cue to start school with the boys. We're taking it one step at a time and I've stopped asking everyone else what they're doing and when they're doing it cuz it just stresses me out. The academics will come eventually and I really don't want to be worried about a timeline. I hope that we can make it a little more fun this year with a few more trips - cuz Lillie is refusing naps these days and to spend all day at home with all 4 children "on" constantly is a little wearing. Yes I love my children, why do you ask?

3. Lillie gets into mischief and she thinks since she tends to ooz cuteness that this allows her to be "above the law." Don't worry, I'm doing my best to burst that bubble too - I just wish other people would see the need to help me. The girl clogged up the bathroom sink and left the water running until it spilled over the edge onto the counter and down the floor (as well as soaking the front of herself)... and yesterday she had a little mishap at the pond because she feels that she must follow her brothers everywhere they go. Silly Lillie.

It feels like everyone, everywhere tells the little stinker how cute she is and then proceeds to butter her up until she's too slippery to handle. Even her brothers get in on the act. I'm hoping that as she grows older these same brothers will give her what for every once in awhile to balance things out a bit. But of course we do love our Lillie.

4. Sunday was my/our 11th wedding anniversary. And I want to say that this year has been the best one yet. Thank goodness that things seem to be finally easing up a bit - we've had so many hard years. Not to say that we won't keep working at things - cuz constant work comes with the territory of marriage. It's just that in this season of life the work doesn't seem like such hard work, ya know?

5. I've fulfilled one of my good intentions for this year. I've stepped up my reading quite a bit. I've read a little bit of everything genre-wise and am now looking for another book to start. Here are a few of the books I've finished - I haven't really kept track so I'm sure I won't remember them all.
  • The Bible - using the 90 day program
  • The Yada Yada Prayer Group
  • Jane Austen's Emma
  • James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small
  • Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose

I just finished Evidence Not Seen and it was certainly an excellent book; it is definitely convicting. It shows how very few complaints we truly have and is equally amazing at showing how great one's faith can become. It's a great read and I would highly recommend it. My list isn't very long, but I assure you it's much longer than last year's!

6. Isaiah and Huston keep squabbling over the Lincoln logs. Which is what they are currently doing so I guess I better go and intervene. I'm thinking we'll just have to take them away for a bit... which is a shame because they occupy my children for what seems like hours! Oh well.

Sorry for the completely random post, but really it pretty much sums up my life. There is no focus in me whatsoever it seems.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

2:37 AM

I can't sleep... again. I've developed quite the habit of waking up at 2:30 nearly every morning. It's very frustrating and makes for a short night. No matter how late or early I go to bed, no matter how tired I am, I just seem to wake up. It couldn't be old age, could it??? Nah, I didn't think so. Babies wake up in the middle of the night too ya know.

This week is the last week of the pool being open, and we are running ourselves ragged trying to get there and squeeze the last few ounces of fun out of our investment. It really has been a lifesaver, especially over the past few weeks-month when the temps have been dreadfully hot and the kids don't want to step foot outside much past 8 in the morning.... BUT they still have so. much. energy. The pool is the perfect place to get some exercise while beating the heat. I hope we can repeat this for next year. We'll see though; right now I'm just thankful for how it has blessed us at this point in time.

Isaiah is a social butterfly at the pool. It's amazing to see how this kid of mine has transformed from a shy guy that would hardly talk to anyone and would be too scared to participate in any activity or church function that involved bigger kids, into one that is now making a new friend every time we go - and most of them are older than he is. One established friend leaves, in a few minutes he's talking and playing with someone else. Amazing, really. If you would have told me even two years ago that he would be acting this way I would have laughed in your face... that sounds rude, sorry.... let's just say I wouldn't have believed you.

Huston has no trouble at all putting his face in the water anymore. That was his major set-back when he took swimming lessons a few years ago. The instructor basically brought him to me on our second to last scheduled lesson and said that she had taken him as far as she could if he continued to refuse to put his face in the water - so yeah, he quit the lessons rather then risk the chance of drowning in 3 ft. of water while wearing a flotation device and having a trained life guard standing right next to him. But now? Now he never plays in the "baby" pool; you'll pretty much always find him in the shallow 3-4 ft. end of the pool swimming like a fish completely underwater... or jumping from the side of the pool inseperable from his buddy Grant.

Avery stole a swimming lesson and since then has been practicing his swimming technique over and over. I really should sign him up for lessons now, cuz I have a feeling the kid would take off like no other. See the pool has swimming lessons that they give in the morning while the pool is open to other members. One morning Steven came with us to the pool and we were all playing and occupied and I soon look over to see that Avery is in a lesson. I hadn't signed him up for a lesson. I discovered that the instructor basically just calls out, "Beginner class, 11:00" and waits for his/her students to show up on the steps. Avery just happened to be playing near the steps that day so when the instructor called out for his lesson to begin, Avery thought "why not" and ran over to participate. It was only him and another little gal and I have never seen Avery so focused and attentive. And it shows. The kid is so close to swimming alongside his brothers, although you'll usually find him happily entertaining himself or playing with whoever is around him and wishes to play.

Lillie has just had fun. They have a zero entry area for the little guys and she has pretty much stayed in that area. She submerges herself frequently and has no fear of the water, but is alert enough to know when she is getting too deep to be safe. She also has a friend at the pool, Grant's brother, Harrison, whom she asks me about often though they rarely really play together... but what 2 year olds play together? I remember my early childhood training - we're still in the parallel play stage - they'll happily be near each other usually and occasionally will occupy themselves with the same toys, but rarely are they really interacting. But they are getting close...

Here they are on one of those rare occasions when they seemed to be aware of each other :)

Aren't they sweet. It's so nice to have friends to play with at the pool. I really couldn't imagine our summer being as fun without it. Could we have survived? Well, sure. But how very many blessings and what tremendous areas of growth we have experienced because of it! It has been very fun indeed.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

It Was an Honest Mistake...

So, if you've been a regular reader of my blog, you may be aware that we have a hermit crab named Ted. Remember, Huston makes houses for him. He was our souvenir from our family vacation in Mississippi in December. We picked him up in a stereotypical trinket shop in Biloxi and Avery named him Ted. What a great name, what a great crab. He's not the anti-social type and he's pretty large as far as hermit crabs go. We love him. He's family.

Well for a Christmas present last year we bought the kids a second hermit crab to keep Ted company, because contrary to their name, hermit crabs are actually rather social. We went to the local pet store and chose a very small guy and the kids named him Fred. This hermit crab was a bit more slow to warm up to my eager children. He would rarely come out of his shell. If you waited for what seemed like forever in kid timing he would finally peek out but the moment you moved he would duck back into his shell and all you would see were his little legs barely hanging out of the seashell he called home.

One evening, not long after the kids got Fred, I went to check their water and Fred was in pieces all over the habitat. Avery was too eager and we surmise that he attempted to pull Fred out for a visit and instead accidentally dismembered him. Isaiah was very unhappy, but frankly we hadn't really had time to become attached to the little guy. Fred was so shy and we had him for so little time that we barely felt the grief that comes with losing a pet, and besides, we still had good ol' Mississippi Ted.

Last night I sent Isaiah to go check Ted's water levels and to give him "a bath" (which is just basically spritzing him with a water bottle) and Isaiah came into to me crying hysterically. Ted was dead. I went to investigate and sure enough there was a clump of Ted legs in his habitat and they were not attached to his seashell home. *sigh* We were all very sad about this, cuz Ted was such a good crab. Isaiah and Huston cried and cried... and I looked at Avery very suspiciously.

Yesterday was our VBS day. The older boys and I were gone all morning. I assumed that Avery took his unsupervised opportunity to "play" with another crab... and failed. I asked Avery, "Did you pull Ted out of his shell?" Avery nodded no. I asked again, "Avery, tell me the truth. Did you pull Ted out of his shell?" Avery again said no. One final time I asked, "Avery, we need to be truthful. Did you pull Ted out of his shell while we were gone today?" This time Avery slowly nodded his head in agreement. I then spent the evening trying to convince him of the graveness of the matter. "Avery, you need to be gentle with our pets. You can't pull on the crabs, they will die. You killed Ted, Avery." I repeated these things until I felt like he "got it" - I wanted him to understand that his actions hurt people, not just Ted. I had him look at his crying brothers and told him that they are sad because Ted is dead. Yeah, I rubbed his nose in it real. good.

I promised the older boys that after church on Sunday, I would take them to the new pet store that just opened up in town and we would purchase a new hermit crab. This alleviated the pain a bit and we pretty much went to bed. I didn't feel like messing with cleaning up crab parts, so I just removed the habitat from the boys' room and told myself I would mess with the mess on Sunday. It had been a VBS day ya know, I was wiped out. The thing was dead so it wasn't goin' anywhere.

We were up with the sun this Sunday morning as usual. After the older boys and I had lunch we headed to the pet store and chose from among their very small crabs. The new crab was christened "Jed" and we happily brought him home. We all still wished we had Ted, this new guy was much smaller than Ted and he didn't remind us of our fun Mississippi vacation, where the kids saw the ocean for the first time. But we were thankful for the new pet.

When we got home, I needed a Sunday nap so the boys played with their new crab while I rested and I told them I would clean out the habitat after I woke up. When I pulled out the habitat and picked up the glob of little crab legs and quickly threw them in the trash, Isaiah asked for Ted's American flag painted seashell - he wanted to bury it. I picked it up and turned it over and what was this, it had legs and they were moving! I took the water bottle and quickly started to spritz him... Ted loves his baths, and low and behold Ted popped right out! He was a pale rosy pink color and all the pieces fell into place. Ted had shed his shell!

I had read about them doing this soon after we bought Ted but the resource I had said that this shedding of the exoskeleton was a rare occurrence... especially in captivity. I don't know if that's accurate... but Ted is a very special crab. :) We were so excited that Ted was still alive! and now he had a friend. I told the boys I thought this was their sneaky way of getting another crab.

I apologized to Avery for accusing him of mistreating Ted and of interrogating a false confession out of him and Avery responded, "See! I told you I killed him!" So yeah, he obviously still doesn't get it. :)

So here is our Ted's exoskeleton - a science lesson for sure:

Here is Ted in his new rosy exoskeleton style:

and here is the new guy, Jed:

It was in fact an honest mistake. And I'm so glad that Ted is still a part of our big happy family.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

An Old Man Trapped In a Young Man's Body

I usually say this in regards to my husband. :) Steven loves to work with the older generation and has many interests in common with them as well... but this time I am talking about Isaiah.

Isaiah is a lot like his daddy in mannerisms and personality so I shouldn't be surprised that my son would rather spend time hanging out with adults rather than kids... but I see this as a delimma, and one that I am having trouble figuring out.

Isaiah is a sweet, sweet boy. He puts up with me so much. First borns really should be disposable because we are always doing our experimental parenting on them. The poor boy probably feels like he gets a bad rap most of the time, but in spite of all our experiments he's got alot of great attributes.

He is now almost 9 years old and he's intelligent and sensitive and caring and mature for his age I think, but he's also kinda nosy and likes to be in the know concerning everybody's business and happenings. He also often wants to join in on conversations between adults and joke around with them and I just don't see that working out.

There is a difference between learning to interact with an adult and being an adult. I want all my kids to know how to easily and appropriately converse with grown ups, but I don't want them to think that they are on the same peer level as them. I'm a sarcastic gal and have many adult friends with which I enjoy a good tease and laugh. Isaiah finds this so entertaining that he will often try to either join in or give it a try on his own... and to me it always comes across as a disrespectful little kid.

That coupled with the problem that he just has to know what's going on all the time makes for some frustrating moments. I guess a lot of it is that the boy just seems to be in my space a lot. If I am talking to an adult he is there listening in. If I'm on the phone he has a myriad of questons for me when I hang up. If I'm typing an email a lot of times it's amazing how he ends up right behind my shoulder. So when I finally get a real living adult to communicate with face to face I'm ready to be without his presence for a moment... and I often shoo him away... which he hates.

I need to teach my children proper conversational etiquette. Flat out I need to teach them how not to be a nosy busybody - which can be hard because I'm sure I have moments where I model the busybody lifestyle pretty well.

It's just at times a hard to distinguish, fine line that seperates a mature, interactive child from a borderline disrespectful busybody. I want my kids to feel comfortable around adults but still realize that they aren't one yet... and there are many times that adults just need to be with adults.

So I've written this long rambling post and I have no solution to this delimma to present to you really. I will still frustrate and annoy Isaiah by shooing him away from the adults from time to time and I think that is ok and maybe good for him despite the long drawn out puppy-dog face he gives me when I do. I will still encourage him to speak to adults at times too and hope that I don't confuse him as to when and why it's ok some times and not others.

Man, teaching social skills to children is much harder than I anticipated, especially when as an adult I'm not even sure I've got a good grasp of them myself.