Thursday, September 11, 2014

Kai is One!

Kai turned one on August 28.  We celebrated with the grandparents as Derek's dad and step mom and my mom came for a visit.  It's hard to believe that we really do have a one year old but the month has been so busy there hasn't been a lot of time for reflection on that.  (Which may or may not be a good thing.)

Derek and his dad took in the McNeese State Husker game on Saturday

Grandma JoAnn with the baby-I love Kai's expression as he looks at her

And I love Grandma JoAnn's expression in this one

Conleigh helped with the cake.  With so many birthdays in the months of July and August, I was looking for something simple and Conleigh found this idea in a coobook she checked out from the school library.

He really didn't turn the cake into a disaster.  But he did think it was yummy.

Hanging out with Grandpa Dave

Presents

Monday, September 8, 2014

Correct Answer

Yesterday, I posted a little quiz regarding the recent events in our family.  It was a bit like an on online version of the party game, "Two Truths and a Lie."  So which event out of the following is the lie?  Kai cut his top two teeth, Zeke poked a rooster with a stick and has a large scratch, or a child superglued items to our basement floor?  If you picked a, Kai cutting his top two teeth, you are the winner.  While he has dealt with bulging swollen gums for the past week or so, they are still not through and don't appear to be any closer to bursting through.

As for the others, yes, Zeke poked a rooster with a stick and was attacked by a rightfully scared rooster.  A family friend was watching the boys while I was at work and I think it nearly scared her to death.  Her exact words were "I was so worried it was going to peck his eyes out."  I of course kind of figured that perhaps Zeke got what he deserved.  Zeke was a bit worried that his sitter was going to be mad at him because she was yelling but I think she was yelling mostly at the rooster.   Interestingly enough, the rooster incident was not the worst thing that happened to him that day.  He was most upset because he really wanted to catch grasshoppers and every time he did, they would poop on his hands.

We also experienced a bit of a glue bandit as someone used glue to affix random objects to the basement floor.  Yes, everything in the photo is glued down.  Yes, the other glue spots were from other objects that had already been removed.  Yes, it was completely random things like felt, an arm band, a ball, a fabric turnip, a cup, and a semi truck trailer.  No, I do not know which child did it and no, I do not know where they got the glue.  The child I most likely would have guessed was banned from the basement for messing with my sewing machine which also including gluing something on to my sewing machine.  And I'm pretty sure this happened after the banishment.  But I'm not 100% on that.  All children have now been banished as this is just one more thing in a long series of incidents connected to misusing the basement play space.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Multiple Choice Quiz

One of these is not an event that actually happened this week at our house.  Can you guess which one?

Choice A:
After a good week of swollen gums, Kai finally cut his top two teeth.

Choice B:
Zeke poked a rooster with a stick and is now sporting a 4 inch long scratch on his cheek.

Choice C:
Some extremely creative (eh hem-naughty!) child super glued random objects to the unfinished basement floor.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mean

Mean.  Sometimes people are just mean.  Sometimes kids are just mean.  Sometimes we might even surprise ourselves and find that we are mean.  Or we are completely embarrassed to learn that our kids have been mean.  Mean just stinks.  There isn't anyway to stop it.  There's no inoculation against it.  It is not selective and affects every gender, every age, every skin color, every economic class.   Mean is not the same as bullying although every bully is mean.  Mean causes your cheeks to blush and your eyes to well up.  It can make anger rise up in you but in the same moment, causes you to squash that anger back down lest that provokes more mean.  It makes you want to hide, want to fight, want to wilt, want to flee.  No one wants mean to visit and no one wants mean to camp out on your doorstep, making every day full of misery.  Most of all, no one wants it for her kids.  But you can't stop it.  You can only contain it, teaching your kids how to respond to it in ways that reduces the power of mean.  It's a bit like teaching your kids how to deflect some evil spell, minus the the magic words and beam of light, showing them how they can take the mean and magically shrink it into a smaller package that is lacking all of its oomph.

Our latest encounter with mean was one my kids didn't even hear.   At least, they didn't hear it in the moment.  But I chose to run a bit against the grain and told one of my kids about it anyway, because he is going to probably experience plenty of mean and he needs to know how to twist mean into a deflated pile of words.  As the kids and I were getting into the van after school, there was another group of elementary kids walking on the sidewalk by our van.  As they neared us, Zeke saw a snake in the grass so he ran away from the van, towards the snake.  I redirected him back to the van and was starting to walk into the street to help him buckle when I heard one boy yell loudly to his friends, "Hey look at his hands!"  Mean just showed up as a carnival barker, pointing out Zeke as some kind of freak side show.  By that point, Zeke was already in the van.  But the poor boy who said it was still close enough for the mama to give him a piece of her mind.  My alter ego, which resembles as a first grade teacher, arrived just in time to tell him that it was not okay to say that, to ask him how he would like it if someone yelled such a thing about his hair or shirt or face.  There's something about being redressed by a stranger which usually makes most kids get instantly quiet and this little guy was no exception.  

The interaction then left me with a decision to make:  ignore it and pretend like it hadn't happened or tell Zeke about it and use it to preteach what to do.  Oh it would have made me feel a bit better to just have just let it go.  I hate that people are mean and I'd rather not think on it or dwell on it.  But the next day at lunch, when it was just Zeke and I, I started the conversation and told him what had happened.  I asked him what he could say if that happened and I wasn't there.  He matter of factly told me that he'd just tell the boy he had surgery.  When I asked him what he would do if the boy kept talking about it, he told me that he would just ignore it.  We then spent a bit of time talking about how people who use mean words will use mean words regardless of how many fingers you have.  Someone who is mean will always manage to find something to critique.  If it's not your fingers, it's your hair, or your glasses, or the way you run, or the way you read.  Knowing ahead of time that people are mean, that you are not powerless to deal with it, and that it is not about you but always about the person who is choosing meanness are all ways to help our kids navigate life.  

I hate that for one of my kids, his hands are such an easy target.  But gosh I love that this same kid is so amazing that so many of his friends don't even see his hands; they just see him.  It makes me think about a story my friend, Nicky, shared about her daughter, Saige.  They had just finished watching an episode of Daniel Tiger which featured a character in a wheelchair and the theme of how to deal with differences.  Saige was quick to point out that she had friends who were different.  Nicky was so sure she was going to mention Zeke and his hands.  But no, she just wanted Nicky to know that her friend, Emilie, had red hair.  May all of my kids be blessed by friends who love them as they are, who will help them be confident and sure.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Zeke is 4!

Zeke turned 4 at the end of July.  I'm only slightly behind.  In fact, I still find myself telling people that I have a 3 year old when I really don't.  His birthday wishes were 1.  a visit to our local children's zoo so he could pick out stuffed animal (When we visited on another time, he was so excited to see several varieties of stuffed sharks, rays, and even an octopus.  After much deliberation, on his birthday trip, he opted for the octopus.)  2.  Birthday hats and 3.  Shark and crab cupcakes
Quick pic of all 3 at the zoo

Zeke with his new octopus friend

Hanging out with our family in Grandma's yard

Kenson actually was going to help me with these once we got to Grandma's since he had made a sample of each one as a 4-H project for the county fair but once he got there, it was way more fun to play.

Hats!

The Salt Lake City and Berwyn cousins

Uncle Jared thought we needed a pinata

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ten Fingers are Overrated-I can draw!

One of the things that I find most interesting is that there are a lot of people who don't think Zeke can write.  People will ask if he has surgery if he'll be able to write.  Or they will look surprised if they see him hold a pencil.  The reality is Zeke has very good fine motor skills.  He came to us pretty adept at using chopsticks, able to use silverware, and able to use writing utensils.  He has turned into such a good artist.  If you know anything about child development, it's really interesting how a child's artwork is tied into their development.  And it's also really interesting how a child's drawings can show their voice and will eventually become the pathway to writing, including writing stories with a plot and writing descriptions and details.  I thought I'd snap a few pictures of his artwork because it just shows how well he really does when writing, even with a non standard grip.  He can also write his name (with assistance on the K) and loves to write the names of his friends because he loves writing letters.

This is part of a large picture so you can't see all of it.
He actually started drawing just an outside picture with flowers (the starlike things on stems) and grass
but it somehow evolved into an ocean.  (Imagine that!)
I drew the sharks.  (Don't laugh.)
There are jellyfish, octopus, and a squid with tentacles.

Zeke was so excited when he got home from school on Tuesday because he had drawn this:  it's sharks!
He has been so frustrated because he couldn't draw sharks.
Trust me, the big kids, the teachers, the grown ups, we have all drawn shark after shark after shark for this kid.
But he finally did it.  He drew sharks!  They even have gills!

Zeke drew this picture and then told me the story.
It's manta rays and an octopus in a storm.
And someone has delivered pizza.