Friday, September 23, 2011

Conversation And A Commercial

Yesterday, Avee's homework was to read me a book about occupations. One page of the book had pictures of several people and several occupations. I asked her which one she wanted to be. She stared at the page for some time, Dentist, Doctor, Architect, Teacher, Pilot... I knew the answer. She's wanted to be a teacher since shortly after starting Kindergarten and falling in love with her amazing teacher. As well as the idea of being the boss of a lot of people.

Finally she answered, "Teacher! I'm going to be a teacher. Except not for the end of the day, I'm just going to get someone else to do that part, it's boring and I don't like it. AND, I'll need to leave to go pick up my own kids from school, so I can take them home and help them with their homework and make their dinner."

I kind of looked at her quizzically because she certainly doesn't have that example in our home. Not only do I not work full-time, I also rarely make dinner.

She picked up on my look pretty quickly and continued matter-of-factly, "Well I won't have a husband, I will have to take care of the kids by myself."

Another puzzled look from me.

"Well, I will used to have a husband, but not anymore. I will just decide to not be married to him anymore. Probably because he was stupid or something."

I was stunned. That is the second time this child has completely shocked me in less than a week. I had just talked to her about divorce for the first time two weeks ago, when I explained to her why our friend already had big kids but was getting married. I was certain the repercussions of that conversation would be her worrying that someday J and I would divorce, or the normal fears, that we could possibly one day stop loving her. That's the crap they teach you in books. I certainly didn't anticipate her plotting her future divorce as a result.

So um, yeah. I guess I better let her fiance know when the time comes, he's just a trial run.


About a month ago I was griping about Bo's inability to stay on task and or focus on even the smallest command. I could give a million examples. This morning, I said, "Unlock the car for the kids" as he was standing right next to the car keys. He grabbed his backpack and walked out the door with no shoes on. He heard, "Get in the car." This kind of thing happens a dozen or more times a day. It is really annoying to me most of the time. Sometimes, it's just downright funny. Last year he had a pretty "loose structure" teacher and I saw a lot of kids in the class acting that way, so I totally assumed it was a learned behavior that would self correct with more structure once he was out of that class, and especially once he was in with a new teacher. But it has persisted, and with it, he has become more adamant that we're wrong and he's heard things correctly.

His teacher was sending home little notes saying he was playing with pencils or she kept having to repeat instructions just for him, etc. I thought these complaints were petty, but I also know that it's not fair for her to have to say things twice to a smart kid who should be listening.

The friend I was talking to sells Advocare and she suggested I try him on the energy drink called Spark. She said people used it to replace ADD medication, it was that effective, and said her girls had some every morning. I had a sample packet she had given me months before so I decided to just experiment.

I emailed his teacher and said I was going to experiment with a supplement and asked if she would watch his behavior more closely the next couple of days, and then I'd start the Spark the following week, and I'd like her to watch him closely then too.

She wrote back at the end of it that there was marked improvement, no issues on the days he had the drink. I figured that was enough to warrant putting him on it. So I got the big canister of it and he has half a serving every day. J took him to school yesterday (20 minutes early) and he didn't give him the drink. There was a note in the planner saying he'd been off, playing with pencils, not focusing. It amazes me.

He's been taking it for a couple of weeks now. There was another day I had forgotten to give it to him and the teacher just randomly sent an email the other day that said, "There has been some great improvement in his behavior, he's just had one off day in the last couple of weeks."

Consistently he has "off days" when we forget to give it to him. I am amazed. I'm also so happy to have found something that helps him. I thought I'd just put this out there (to all 5 of the people who read this blog, that I've probably already told this to in real life) in case anyone else could use this information. I found out this week that there's caffeine in the product. Yeah, I probably wouldn't have purchased it if I had known because I am pretty strict about that with my kids. However, the results speak for themselves, so I'm sticking with it.

That's pretty much all I have to say about that.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ice Cream Trucks

Yesterday the kids had friends over, so combined with my three kids, there were 7 kids total running around. Unbeknownst to us, the ice cream truck came cruising by. We have a very hard and fast rule of not buying from the ice cream truck. We've explained multiple times that it is too much money and not a safe practice in general. With a lot of battles and tears and repetition, Bo finally gets it. He says with some derision every time the subject comes up, "It's a rip off." And we are proud.

But Avee is my child. There is friendly music, portable popsicles, and money doing absolutely nothing, upstairs in her drawer. While the grown-ups were chatting, our friend spotted her sneaking off with my wallet. Because we couldn't hear the ice cream truck, we had no idea what she was up to--so I just halfheartedly got my wallet back from her and didn't think much of it. She sneaked upstairs and then back past us (I never saw her) and went outside with 6 other kids following, and bought ice cream from the ice cream truck. She came back into the house proudly displaying the popsicle.

I was genuinely shocked. I didn't know that's what her end game was, I couldn't believe she so deliberately disobeyed, and that she did it so "quietly". When she said she spent four dollars on the popsicle I almost fell over. I made her put it in the freezer (there were kids following her around, salivating) and told her she wouldn't be eating that popsicle. It soon after came out that she had actually gotten TWO popsciles for four dollars, and one of them was for Danyo. That tenderness she innately has for Danyo gets me every time.

This morning the kids wanted popsicles, and having forgotten about the naughtily-gotten gains from last night, I said yes. They came traipsing in with their $2 popsicles.

Last night I had thought about how to best handle the situation and didn't feel like any solution I came up with was appropriate. Either too harsh or too lenient. Ultimately, I felt like she needed to know WHY she couldn't do this, more than she needed to be punished for doing it; but I was coming up with nothing.

So I deferred to J. As they stood there with popsicles in hand, I asked J what he thought should be done. He answered quickly, "She can have the popsicle if she explains to me the mathematical logic of why we don't buy from the ice cream truck." He grabbed a piece of paper and sat on the couch with her, drawing out the difference in buying two for $4 from the truck, and buying a whole box for less than that at Wal-merts.

I sat there feeling proud in who I chose to marry. He's a smart guy. Avee and Bo got all in to it and Avee drew the ice cream truck and Wal-merts for the diagram.

The message was sent. We talked about the safety end of it, and how there are almost always popsicles in our freezer, etc, etc.

While J and I are sitting there reveling in the successful teaching moment, Avee sat and graffiti-ed the teaching tool.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I just found this script of a play J and the kids wrote for Mother's Day. Mom was played by Avee.

Bo: Hey Mom, what are you playing?
Mom: Pac-Man
Bo: Can we have some ice cream?
Mom: Not until you eat the breakfast I made for you.
Bo: Oh! I forgot to do my homework!
Mom: Here, let me help you do it.
Bo: Thanks Mom.
Mom: You are welcome, let's go to school.
Danyo: Mom, I want to watch Nanny McPhee!
Mom: Okay, here you go.

Bo: Thanks for picking me up from school. What's for dinner?
Danyo: Mac 'n cheese with no green peas, just carrots.
Mom: How about Chinese Buffet? Then a movie?
Bo: Yes!
Mom: Okay, it's bed time.
Bo: Will you snuggle me?
Mom: Of course!

This was pretty entertaining to watch. I found a list that J clearly had the kids brainstorm of the things I do for them, in order to write this play. I'm so glad that playing Pac-Man, eating out, and excessive movie watching made it in the short script.

Clearly it would have been more flattering and fraught with all the wonderful things I do for them---but I was busy eating my leftover Chinese food and playing Pac-Man.

Friday, September 16, 2011

It's Because I Don't Want To Hear Your Voice

This morning over breakfast Danyo kept making a loud, annoying screeching sound. When I asked him stop, he told me it was because he didn't want to hear my voice.

He didn't want blueberry pancakes because blueberries are ugly and shouldn't be in pancakes.

He cried /whine/accused for about 7 minutes this morning that his birthday was taking too long to get here. It's in June. What is it about the 4th year that make children obsess over their birthday until they are 5?

He swore at the wii remote. Well, the only way he knows how to swear.

He threatened to smash a roll of tape against the wall for getting in his way when he was running. He informed me of his intentions through gritted teeth.

I think to myself on mornings like this, "Surely there is something I could diagnose him with, this boy is crazy!" That's my psychology brain in over-drive. It can't possibly be because I'm feeding him breakfast at 10 am, 2 hours after he woke up. Or that he's in desperate need of one on one attention from me. Nope, that's not it.

I yelled at Bo this morning for dumping out half a cup of bottled water. He claimed he heard me say "dump it". The sad thing is, I'm sure he did hear that. He hears/doesn't hear all kinds of things that justify his behavior. But really? I yelled at an 8 year old over half a cup of bottled water? Who does that!? Even in the moment I saw his little face crumble a little and I wanted to stop, and just didn't. Grrrrrrr. Maybe Danyo's not that crazy after all...

I dreamt last night that I wet the bed. I, mid-thirties Nobody, wet my bed. I realized (in my dream) that I had done it and I was mortified and quickly trying to figure out how to handle it without J knowing. That kind of makes me laugh now. In my dream, when I woke up to deal with the situation, Bo was standing in my room with his arms open wide asking for a hug. It was the middle of the night in my dream. There were mattresses all over my bedroom and I was trying to arrange them so we could still maneuver around the room. When I went downstairs my house was all torn up, like it was under reconstruction. The floors were cement the walls were half up, and suddenly J and I were trying to decide on flooring options.

I don't really know what this dream means or where it came from---but I'm pretty clear that it indicates how crazy my life feels right now. I hate not dreaming about butterflies and doughnuts though.

I have a presentation due next week that I should have been done and well prepared for nearly a week ago. I canNOT stay on task or focus enough to get anything done. I hope this isn't an indication of how this semester is going to go for me. It's kind of ridiculous.

My house is a sty.

I fell asleep in class yesterday. Only, because of my belly, I can't really lay my head down, so it was a head in the hands, slobber, nod, jerk-awake, doze, slobber, jerk-awake kind of sleeping in class. The kind no one notices and is easy to pull off. Mmm hmmmm.

Some days are just like that. Even in Australia.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Avee The Novelist

We were in Missouri visiting family and Avee decided to write a book. I don't know which came first, the finding of a mini-stapler, or the idea to write, but the two combined put her on task for nearly an hour.

A few minutes into settling down at the table with her stack of papers she said loudly across the room to me, "Is as$ a bad word, or does as$ really mean donkey, mom?" Only slightly suprised she knew that word, I answered nonchalantly that it it did in fact mean donkey. I glanced at Bo who was sitting halfway between the two of us, desperately trying to control his giggle. Avee has developed a somewhat loud and busy-bodyish voice of late, so it was pretty funny to hear her throwing around a bad word loudly and with her six-year-old authority. Bo informed her that the word was in the bible, so yes--it did mean donkey.

So, she said "as$" about 4 more times and determined that it was going to go in her "A Book".

I of course, secretly delighted in this. I pictured putting the book away for a decade and then showing Avee what kind of shenanigans she was up to as a First Grader. Even if it was a little...guided.

She worked diligently for quite some time, stopping only once to have me explain to her what an angle was. When she was finished, she brought me the book, along with her pink crayon, and asked me to add a couple of things for her.

I present, Avee's A Book:

"A is for angl, 90 Dgree"

And then the back cover. Where she shows with complete clarity her perpetual ability to always stay one step ahead of me; and buy a little insurance with my handwriting.