Friday, October 26, 2007

A Breakthrough

Albeit a minor one, I had a breakthrough with Nicholas last night. About something as simple as holding a pencil correctly. Silly, right? Actually, no - it's a Big Deal in 1st grade. You see, ever since Nicholas first started grasping at crayons he either held him in his fist caveman-style, or gripped them awkwardly, using 4 or 5 of his fingers to pinch-grip the pencil. Which makes writing difficult, to say the least, and look atrocious. Plus his whole insistence on writing the letters from the bottom up instead of top down. They've really been working a lot on writing in 1st grade so far, which is a very good thing, but still he struggles. And at the parent-teacher conference a few weeks ago we were told that he's a very bright kid in the top reading group, but that he needs work on his fine-motor skills - penmanship, specifically - and he's a bit emotionally immature. None of this was news to us.

Whenever we've tried to sit down and teach Nicholas anything we're met with resistance. Claims of petulant, "I KNOW how to do it!" erupt from him in fits of crabbiness and are usually accompanied by something getting thrown. It's really unpleasant. Mr. Know-It-All. I hate that. And I've been trying to get him to fix how he holds his pencil for years, to no avail. When I mentioned this to his teacher, she nodded knowingly and said it's going to be hard to break that habit. Great.

But last night I tried. Nicholas had a good week at school - has been on a really good streak for weeks now, actually. A small rough patch after ballet, when his foul temper reared it's ugly head and a visit to the Naughty Corner and a demand for an apology seemed to turn things around, didn't sway me from trying to work with him. And surprisingly, he was very receptive. I made a bunch of lines like they use in school - upper and lower boundaries for the letters with a dashed line in the middle. I wrote in my grammar-school best penmanship "I will hold my pencil correctly." and asked Nicholas to copy the words, holding his pencil the right way. I showed him the right way. And he did it! He didn't bark at me when I reminded him - many times - to form him letters from the top down. Or when he'd erase something and initially grab his pencil incorrectly, falling back on old habits. Instead, he laughed and kept it light. It was working! This teaching your kid something was great! Then, after practicing, we tackled his homework. And it took a long time to unscramble and re-write 4 simple sentences, but we did it together. Mr. Chick helped out by entertaining Lauren and leaving us to our work, uninterrupted. And his writing really was vastly improved with a little attention and effort. He was very proud to turn that homework in this morning.

This whole teaching thing felt very cool. It was special that Nicholas allowed me to show him something, and was open to intentional learning from me. I know it sounds silly, but it was very rewarding to sit there and help my son with his homework. I felt like more than just someone who makes the food and cleans up after him. I felt like a parent. And there is nothing cooler than that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hello Again

Testing, Testing - this thing on? Yes? Oh, well - hello again! It's been awhile. How are you? Good? Yes? Good! Me, too. What's going on, you ask? Nothing much. Just, you know, busy with life. Same 'ol, same 'ol. We're in a good routine, hitting our stride, and the days are just sort of flying by. Work is fine, other than the fact that my "boss" is behind in getting a check or two to me. Oh well, right? No biggie - I LIKE working for free. Really! And, of course, there's that thing with Lauren these days. You know, the whole "being almost 4 phase". Yeah, that one. She's pretty much living on my last nerve these days, but we'll get through it. She's just so stubborn and behaving like a world-class brat. Plus the whole constant movement thing and being just so physical all the time, it wears me down. She's constantly hanging off something, or climbing on something, or jumping on or off something (often both). And being just a little destructive, which is new and not very welcome. It's a good thing she's cute or I think I'd kill her. Did I tell you about the comforter art? No? Oh - this is a good one. 10 days ago or so I was working away and Lauren was playing quietly in her room. Big warning sign right there that I completely missed, this phase being relatively new and all. Friends were coming over later and it was time to pull the place together. I checked in on Lauren and discovered, to my horror, that she had taken one of my black felt-tip marker pens - the kind I like to use for work - and had scribbled all over her lavender comforter. Both sides. That's right. Mostly just random scribbles, but there were a few stick people drawn on there, too. I think I saw red I was so mad. She claims she was just trying to make her bed more pretty. Uh-huh. Pretty. Right. I didn't want the ink to set but there was no time to go to a laundromat before our friends arrived. So I stuffed the comforter into my machine, which was technically too small to handle something that big. I made Lauren sit on the naughty step, which is right near the laundry room, for the duration of the washing machine cycle to clean it. 35 minutes is a LONG time for a 3.5 yr old to sit on the step, but she did. She knew she was busted. The ink didn't come completely out, but good enough. She'll have to live with that "enhancement" for awhile because I'm not going to be buying her a new comforter, and it'll be awhile before I can muster up the gumption to make a duvet cover for it. That episode with Lauren was a real joy, I tell you. Between that, her continually locking the dog in her room, and her refusal to eat most of the foods I prepare for dinner, she's making me nuts. But, she's too adorable to stay mad at for long. Which is a good thing for her, I tell you. Nicholas is doing well and seems to be fully adjusted to school now. We have our parent-teacher conference tomorrow night. He no longer needs me to pick him up from school everyday and is back to riding the bus home, which is so much easier for us all. Soccer is going well, and he's loving his ballet classes. We're in a good stretch with him. Thankfully the kids seem to take turns in trying us.

So that's us. Nothing major, nothing serious. Just life in a good way. But not much to write about as I'm seriously lacking inspiration these days. Anyway, tell me how you are, what you have going for Halloween and all that. Let's catch up, shall we? I do miss you.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pulling Up Another Chair

Toll the bells and sound the alarm! Make room for another one! My sister - my baby sister - had her first baby last night! A girl, yet unnamed (still deciding between two names, I'm told, but we haven't even heard what the final two choices are) who shares a birthday with my dad, her grandpa. Baby is weighing in in the mid-8 lb range. Nice and healthy all around. And by all reports, my sister is a champ at giving birth. Things progressed semi-quickly, her water broke, and 1.5 hrs later she delivered her daughter. Which is how it should be done, unlike my other sister and my own first baby childbirth experiences of over 24 hrs of labor, face-up babies requiring vacuum extractors, many hours of pushing, and lots of tearing. This? This sounds like how they tell you it's going to go. So I'm very, very happy for my sister and her husband and the new baby girl in our extended family. A niece! A new cousin!

This is grandchild #6 for my parents: 3 boys and 3 girls. My sister delivered a few days early when everyone expected her to be late. My mother missed this birth (my sister and her husband live in California) - the first birth of a grandchild she hasn't been there for. My mother caught a flight out last night, but missed the delivery anyway. She was due to fly out today in order to be there in time - early - and help my sister get the last minute stuff ready. Oh well. Babies come when they're ready, and this little girl was ready. And I have to confess to feeling a tiny bit vindicated that she delivered early. *I* was early with Nicholas, but everyone expected me to be late. My mother was late with all of us, my sister (who had her first two babies before I had Nicholas) was late. But I went a full week early with Nicholas and I had told my sister that you never know - she could be early, too. I said the same thing on Sunday at my Dad's birthday dinner. But I was dismissed with confident claims of, "no way - she'll be late". Uh-huh, guess who wasn't late.

Nicholas and Lauren are already making plans on how they will "help" with the baby and how they will play with her when they see her. Which is sweet. But I think they're envisioning a ready-made playmate like their existing cousins. We won't get to see this baby in person until Christmas, but it's going to be a very special holiday. We'll just pull up another chair - there is always room for another.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Couple Of Losses

What an exciting weekend we had! Mr. Chick became Mr. Mom and I got most of the weekend off from my usual duties. I joined a couple of girlfriends out for dinner and cocktails on Friday night - always fun. But before that there was quite the event that happened: Nicholas lost his first tooth! Oh boy, was he jazzed about it finally happening. He'd had a wiggly tooth since school started, but it took nearly the whole month before it was ready to come out. I think it was biting into an apple a couple of days prior that really did the trick. Then he just worked it. By the time he was home from school on Friday it was just hanging by a thread and was uncomfortable. He didn't want me touching it. I told him to keep wiggling it, and with each push and pull, go just a bit further each time and it would likely come out. That's all he needed to hear. He went to work on that tooth and amid just a few tears, he pulled/popped it out. All by himself! Man, the squeals he emitted were piercing! Then there was much flurry to find his tooth fairy pillow and ceremoniously deposit the tooth into the pocket amid speculation over how much the tooth fairy would be leaving for him (the tooth fairy left him $2 for his first tooth). Nicholas is excited to "show and tell" about losing his tooth in school today and having his name moved from the "No Lost Teeth" column to the "1 tooth lost" column on the chart they have in his class. This is a big deal.

It's a
mazing to me how things change. When your children are born, all gummy and toothless, you wait eagerly for their first teeth to emerge. And then you dread more coming because let's face it: teething sucks. But their faces are forever changed when their first teeth appear on the scene. And then a few years go by and suddenly you find yourself getting all excited for those same precious teeth to fall out. It's funny to think about. And their faces start changing all over again as their permanent teeth start growing in, much too big for their faces still, and likely crowded or crooked or both. Thankfully Nicholas has really generous spacing between his baby teeth so we're hoping there is plenty of room for his permanent teeth. Both Mr. Chick and I wore braces for several years and we're assuming our children will have inherited our jacked-up teeth, but we can still hope it'll be better for them.

One quick note about a non-loss this weekend: Nicholas scored 2 goals in his soccer game on Saturday. Woo-hoo! He was so thrilled to finally score in a game. He's settling into soccer now and we haven't had any upsets or bad attitudes about soccer in quite a few weeks. Nicholas is developing into a decent player - it's really fun to watch.

The other loss of the weekend was the Oregon Duck football team. Boo hoo! They played Cal here at home. I got to go to this game because Mr. Chick got to go to Michigan. ESPN GameDay was there, so the crowds were even more amped than usual. And crowds at Autzen Stadium are notoriously amped. It's the loudest stadium - or, at least one of the loudest - in the nation and other teams know it's hard to play at Autzen. Huge home-court advantage. I love Autzen Stadium! Anyway, I got to go to the game and tailgate with friends from law school, watch the game, cheer for my team, and have a great time. Eugene in nearly 2 hours away from where we live, so it's a full day to go to a game. I left at 8:30am and didn't get back home until about 8:30pm. Here's a picture of Lauren and I showing our "O" faces before I left. Go Ducks! Too bad we lost - we almost had it. We'll get 'em next game vs. WSU!

Hope your weekend was great!

Free Counters
Hit Counters

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?