Monday, January 29, 2007

Guilt Deferred

Okay, I just edited Wikipedia. I think I've hit a new level of nerdiness, per Weird Al.


In other news, the kiddo's birthday weekend was a smash. He had a ball with his dad's side of the family on Saturday, and had a blast with my side on Sunday (or was it a blast and a ball...?). As promised, the traditional, magical "nightstand present" appeared when the kiddo awoke on Sunday, and that night, as he was falling asleep and was getting cranky, he complained that although everyone else had given him a present, I hadn't. Turkey. ;^) Of course, I didn't reveal the source of the nightstand present. I'll save the guilt reciprocation for another day. Muah-ha-ha... ;^)

Today I seem to be catching the kiddo's cold, and I must say, I do not approve at all. All last week, I washed and Purelled my hands and ingested great quantities of every vitamin known to man, and I believe I should have been rewarded for my heroic efforts by not getting sick. Phooey. Nevertheless, in the event that said vitamins have any actual or placebo effect, I'll continue taking them in the hope that the cold doesn't last long. I have a metric buttload of work to do, and it would be nice if I didn't have to contend with illness right now.

Hope you're all well, or on the mend (in some cases)!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Did You Know...?

Did you know that if you let a little boy eat a bunch of birthday chocolate until he's not hungry for breakfast, he will eventually have a cryfest in the bathtub, and tell you, "You just don't care about me! You don't care about me any more...BECAUSE YOU'RE 40!!"

(And did you know it will make you laugh? It will.)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Good Stuff

Today is my son's birthday; he turned six at 5:12 p.m. At 6:00 p.m., he returned from his dad's house, where he'd celebrated with his paternal grandmother, uncle and aunt, all flown in from Miami (plus his dad's girlfriend). Tomorrow the kiddo and I will go to my folks' house to celebrate with my family.

But tonight the kiddo came home, crowed proudly that he's SIX now and jumped around with glee, asked me for macaroni and cheese, gobbled it down, snuggled on me with a blanket on the couch...and fell asleep after only an hour of being home. And after a while, I carried my 49-pound 6-year-old upstairs and tucked him into bed.

Good stuff.

Little Observations on the Little Folks

I always look forward to working at my son's school each Thursday. The kids are SO FUNNY and I just love them.

The minute I get there, A. always wants to hug me and hang around me; I feel like a bad guy telling him to sit down, but the kid keeps talking to me when I'm working with other kids. He also keeps asking if he can come to my house; what a sweetie.

J. kept running her hands through her slightly tangled, long hair, and said, "My mommy fixed it this way today. It's so pretty..." ;^)

M. did very well on his letters and wanted to make words with the cards; he was very pleased to take turns with me (I let him rearrange the flashcards after each set of letters that I test him on), and had very good manners, always saying please and thank you to me. He still looks off into space sometimes and there's still something off about him, but I feel like I sort of "get" him now. I'm able to tune into his process a lot better and we're working well together.

E. was very tickled that the cards for lists 9 and 10 were brown and pink, just like the stripes on her shirt.

H. studied me for jewelry (last week she played with my watch -- while I was wearing it -- and asked where my silver necklace with the balls was) and took off my volunteer badge when I wasn't paying attention. She's a regular little magpie when it comes to anything shiny.

S., normally a champion sentence maker-upper (last week, for the word "to," she turned her palms adorably upward and said, "If we want to go TO the swimming pool, first we must put on our bathing suits!"), was a little under the weather; she sighed a lot and looked a little apologetic about not being totally into reading.

My son announced to the class that he'd really missed everyone when he was out sick on Tuesday and Wednesday, and S. smiled and gave him a side-hug; she's at least six inches shorter than he is, so it was especially cute.

D. broke his glasses when he fell on the sidewalk a few days ago, so he had trouble seeing the cards, although he did a bit better on his letters; the poor thing was having all sorts of trouble seeing at school today, as he's apparently pretty nearsighted. I can relate.

L., a new student, looks a little like Flat Stanley (but he's three-dimensional!), and made the funniest faces as he told me the letters; when he saw he could amuse me, the faces got a little out of control and started to involve full body and tongue contortions, so I really had to force myself not to laugh so we could get our work done.

I looked out the window at recess and saw my son playing with three very small girls; I think they were playing Power Rangers because, as my son has told me several times, "You need boys AND girls to play Power Rangers!" ;^)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Loving the Little Breakthroughs

I conduct the reading program at my son's school every Thursday, and there's one little girl in the class who's still struggling with the very first set of letters. School started in August and we've been working on a set of eight letters ever since then. One boy is still struggling as well, but he seems different to me because he at least communicates with me and I can get through to him somewhat. The girl, however, stares at me with her huge, brown eyes and doesn't answer questions or respond to most of what I say. She lays her head on the table and just looks at me, then looks away, bored. I have no idea what goes on inside her head. For a while I wondered if she was just shy, but she plays with other kids at recess, and seems talkative when outside. (Maybe she's just shy around me?) Her parents seem loving and supportive, from what I've seen. For a while I thought maybe there was an ESL issue, but the girl's twin brother is also in the class and has made it through all the letters and letter sounds. I've also wondered if there's a possible gender issue; maybe the kids' parents are favoring their son...? Without proper testing, it's anyone's guess. The teacher says she's going to have a few kids tested, but she's encountered delay after delay and there's no way this kid is going to get into first grade at this rate.

I've tried repetition, playing various letter games (which work only inconsistently), putting my head on the table to talk at her level -- whatever comes to mind. I continue to be hopeful, but I sense her discouragement and I've begun to feel discouraged, too. Today I started with this girl, since she needs the most help. I noticed she seemed to be hiding a smile, so I playfully said, "Don't you dare smile!" She thought that was funny and hid an even bigger smile behind her hand. "Are you laughing?" I asked incredulously. "Don't you dare laugh!" She snorted and hid her head under the table. I didn't know exactly what I was doing, but something seemed to be shifting. "I can't believe you're laughing under there!" I sputtered. "Don't you dare laugh under there!" Now she was giggling nonstop. I stuck my head under the table and asked if she wanted to play a game. She sat back up and pointed to all the letters I'd laid out, identifying all eight correctly. We high-fived and low-fived. Then I stacked up the cards to isolate the letters and had her identify them. She shouted the first letter at me, and I pretended to almost fall off my chair. More giggling. She shouted each letter more loudly than the one before it, and I pretended to jump out of my skin each time, eliciting more giggles. And she was totally getting it. Something had clicked.

Then the teacher took all the kids to the lunch area and I sat there alone, tearing up a little. I'm not so naive as to think this is the end of her reading problems, but today was definitely a victory for this girl and I'm just so darned proud of her.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My Personal Cheerleader

There's nothing like shopping with a kindergartner. Today we took an an after-school trip to get the kiddo another pair of shoes that might feel better on his feet. His new Cars shoes aren't always comfortable, and he's already worn them all over the place, so I doubt we can return them. (I'd bought them when he was at school, because he hates to shop. Ah, live and learn.) Personally, I think the Cars shoes just need more breaking in, but I bought another pair of shoes in a style he's already had, so he can transition a bit. Of course, the selection process included lying on the floor to make "snow angels," then running like crazy up and down the aisles. And no, I wasn't the one doing these things.

I also spent some time trying on jeans, and wound up buying one pair of blue jeans with fancy-schmancy pockets, and one pair of tan pants with some detailing on them. It's been a long time since I've had jeans. Skirts, yes. Track pants, yes. But jeans?? I think my last pair was my beloved Eddie Bauer button fly jeans I wore back in 1994. I'm definitely not wearing an eight any more. Ahem. Anyway, the kiddo was with me in the dressing room yesterday, and kept commenting loudly as I tried on each pair: "Oh, you look so CUTE IN THOSE! I can see the back of your UNDERPANTS in those! I hope you get those ones, Mommy! Hey, you look really cute in your T-shirt and underpants, Mommy!" Keep in mind there were lots of people on all sides of the dressing room. So enjoyable.

One thing I will say is that he's infinitely positive, so if you want to borrow him for your next shopping trip, just let me know. ;-)

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My (Usually Diurnal) Comedian

Around 5:00 a.m. today, I was working on the computer and the kiddo sleepily stumbled in to see what I was doing. I picked up my 49-pound baby (years of conditioning enables me to do this, much to the amazement of some folks who don't wrestle with a kid on a daily basis), carried him back to bed, covered him with blankets and gave him a kiss. As I smelled his hair for a moment, he opened his eyes and asked, "Mommy, did you get any sleep, or are you just nocturnal?" I laughed, and he said, "I like to make you laugh," then closed his eyes again. Just when all was silent and I thought he'd fallen asleep again, he sighed. "Nocturnal," he whispered, eyes closed, smiling. Funny boy.