Monday, August 08, 2011

French Class

Conor is starting first grade in two weeks. For some reason that seems so much older to me than kindergarten. It has a real number!

We are very happy with the French immersion program he is in. His receptive French is pretty good although he still is quite shy about speaking French.

Two things we still think about in our schooling decision.

1) Did we do the right thing by holding him back a year? He is bored at school. The most fun thing about school is riding the bus home. Scooby Doo is WAY more exciting than school has ever been. I don't know if this is a Conor thing (I loved school; I'm not sure he does), a boy thing (school is not as much fun for boys as girls in general), or an age thing (he needs to be in second grade now; certainly his math is way beyond what they are doing now). I don't know if it is the right decision for now, but it certainly was the right decision then. Can you imagine starting kindergarten, living in a new house, while we remodel the old house, while two small and needy twins move into the family? Conor was chewing his nails down to the nub at that point without starting kindergarten. I think it would have been beyond his capacity to cope had we started school.

2) Are we doing enough to help him read? It's the parents' responsibility to teach children English until they get into the third grade at an immersion program. We read a lot, but are we doing enough? Probably not, but Conor is actually reading pretty well. He just did an activity from our first grade activity book and could read nearly every word. He's not reading a lot on his own, but he is figuring out words by sounding them out.

So I'm not bragging on him, OK? We have neighborhood friends whose children were reading chapter books before kindergarten and Hippogriff's older son was doing 5th grade math at 5 years old. It's just that I don't want Conor to be so bored by school. I'd like the love of learning to not be extinguished by 2nd grade. We expect him to have quite a few more years of schooling after that.

Any advice you have on keeping boys interested in school would be vastly appreciated!

Friday, August 05, 2011

A More Fun Update

So, imagine my chagrin after I posted my seemingly witty and insightful (by my standards) update about how much easier it gets when the kids get older and then realizing as I go back, that, umm, I pretty much wrote that same post in April. And my April post was only 3 or 4 posts ago.


That's pathetic.

The thing is, I'm writing tons, just not here. I'm updating facebook, twitter, Google +, and my professional blog (all are available through a google search), but I'm not doing much here. And when I do post here, it's repetitive.

WELL NO MORE! At least for today.

What do you come here for? Updates on kids and what it's like to be a crazy working mother of three. Here goes.

Conor is having a very lazy summer. There is a bit more TV watching than I am going to admit, which we believe has lead to an increase in sarcastic responses to the parental units. So ix-nay the ickelodean-nay. Even Nick Jr. But yes, I am letting him watch Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry and even a little Scooby Doo. On the one hand, it's not PBS. On the other, it's so engaging that the child will spend 15 minutes re-telling and re-enacting the entire story for me. The most animated conversations I've ever had with Conor involve cartoons.

I now know as much about Tom and Jerry as I do about Conor's entire kindergarten year. It must be a guy thing because although I watched Tom and Jerry as a child, I never knew which one was which. When Dave and I were talking about this, Dave said "Well, of course, Tom is the cat." It never occurred to me. Then again, Dave can quote Bugs Bunny ("I should have taken that left at Albuquerque") and still does.

Bridget continues to blow my mind and explode my heart. Some parents, like Ayelet Waldeman, love their husband more than their children. I love my husband very much. But I fall in love with my children on a daily basis. Bridget is amazing. Her vocabulary and pronunciation is well beyond what it should be at this age. And her will! Her strong sense of self! Her hatred of bees! Wha?

Apparently at school this week, the teacher heard Bridget yelling NO! NO! and thought she was having a fight. Indeed, she was: a fight with a bee! She was smacking the bee on her arm with a spoon and yelling No! No! at it stung her. The teacher got the bee off her arm and Bridget cried just a bit. And then went back to eating her breakfast. No Damn Bee is going to get the best of my girl!

She is so strong willed and determined to let everyone know what she thinks that when our (still alive and perhaps not deaf) cat gets on our bed at night (after a 5 year absence in which we actually didn't miss her) and meows/howls until we pet her, Bridget will wake up in the morning, get in the cat's face, and say loudly NO! NO! That Scarlett (the cat) is also known as Psycho Kitty and is afraid of this imp should tell you something.

Bridget likes to tell Patches that he is a Good Dog! She told us this week what she wanted to wear "tomorrow"---actually saying "tomorrow". She blows us away and I cannot wait to get to know her better as more of her personality develops. (Although that statement alone conjures up scary images. More!? MORE!?!)

Christopher has become my best surprise. There is so much going on inside of his head. Of all three children, he has the deepest and quickest emotions--which reminds me of an adult in this house and it's not Dave. He can go from Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy to melting in .3 seconds. And his scowly face! I love it!! If it's a new situation or person, do not expect a smile. But don't be offended if you get the scowly face. Of course, as soon as we call him on it, it's a grin. But it shocks most people to begin with.

I am pretty sure I've talked about his sugar spot already---that place on his neck that is my favorite place to kiss in the world. All I have to do is ask for it, and he laughs and yells NO!! And runs, fully expecting me to chase him and eat him up. Christopher is also very funny--and Conor does not like to hear us say that. Still, Christopher can crack us up, with his sneaky grin and an impish look in his eye as he takes off running and swinging his one arm. I don't know why he does that, but when he Runs Hard, he bends his right arm and pumps it back and forth as he runs. That's how we can tell he's Running Hard. And if he's just standing there and pumping his arm, then we know he's dancing.

He also sings a lot. There are two favorite songs: Hello Everybody from school (Bridget "sings" it too. Actually, she just yells it) and Daddy's Home! (one of my original tunes that involves clapping and, well, you know the words already). And then there's the tweaking. Both the twins are obsessed with boobage. Mine, mostly, but here lately, Christopher has taken to lifting his own shirt and tweaking himself. That is odd. We are open to the children exploring their own bodies and appreciating them, but this one is just weird (not to be too judgmental about it). Any level of anxiety and that child whips his shirt up and tweaks his nipp.

I'm assuming this is a phase and we won't have this issue in high school. NONETHELESS. I was expecting touching in, ahem, other places and have the stock supportive yet directive sentence to use with the older boy in the house (WHICH I STILL SAY 5 TIMES A DAY), but "I know that feels good, but do that in private in your room or the bathroom" really doesn't seem to fit with a nipple tweaking.

In any case, I'm sure Christopher will be glad in the future that I've shared that. (As will Conor).

Finally, Me. Dave can update his own dadbum blog. (Or just a facebook status, honey!) I am enormous. I am the fattest I've been in my life without having a couple of other humans inside of me. Those two years of eating all I wanted while pg and breastfeeding were great. Unfortunately, as the twins stopped eating so much of me, I didn't stop eating so much of everything else. I'm sort of eating less and sort of exercising more, but so far no weight has escaped. I just discovered how much fun it is for Conor to go on a bike ride with me while I run. That's actually A LOT of fun and it's been tough to run without him.

This week's adventure involved finding the house where is best neighborhood friend is moving to. It's very close to where we are now, so we ran/biked past it. I got so excited when I saw their house that I missed the uneven sidewalk. Actually, I didn't miss it. I hit it dead on. This is the 3rd time in over 20 years that I've fallen while running. All three times, everything goes very slowly right after I trip. My thoughts speed up and slow down at the same time. "Uh-oh. I could fall. I am falling. I could catch myself. Can I catch myself? Whoops. No." Whacka whacka thunk. Knees, pelvis, hands, face. Thunk.

The outcome is that I clearly landed on my left knee first and it is currently covered in Winnie the Pooh bandaids. I somehow landed on my pelvis (?) and have an enormous bruise on my hooha. Seriously! Who bruises their hooha when they fall? I'm blaming the twins and my c-section and my lack of any sort of lower stomach muscles on that one. Otherwise, I am so uncoordinated and unconventionally contorted when I fall that people actually SHOULD point and laugh when I run by. Or get out of my way. Finally, my face has a couple of sidewalk rashes and I bruised my cheek.

I am very pretty right now. A bruised tomato on toothpicks, although at this weight, more like straws.

So now you have a blog post more like what I used to write. It takes a long time to write like this and I have a boatload of other things to write---including my REAL work--journal articles. But sometimes, I have to get these things out of my head--the things that keep me from going to sleep at night. In any case, now it's time to go write on Virtual Health Communities, which actually is sort of fun right now.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

It Gets Easier

I'm not sure it gets better (like in the campaign I like so much), but I want to tell mothers of twins (or MOMs) that it gets easier when the twins get older.

I honestly feel like we have some semblance of normalcy back, which makes me reflect back on the last two years and realize how incredibly tough those times were. The first summer right after they were born was hard because they were coming out of NICU and catching up on their development and we were completely overwhelmed with comforting, feeding and getting the twins to sleep while remodeling our house. We were insane.

Last summer, I had the twins home with Conor mostly by myself because we couldn't afford to keep the nanny and there wasn't a spot in daycare. Naps were HORRIBLE. Giant boy twin and tiny needy, girl twin have different comfort, sleeping and eating needs, in case you were wondering. And all the baby/toddler paraphernalia and still trying to get the remodeled house sorted out = H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks.

This summer, well, they are in daycare, which I do not know how working parents who sometimes work at home do it otherwise. I am not a very good SAHM. I've never been one, but if I was one, I think I would be fired. On the other hand, I'm a GREAT working mom.

But it's not just daycare---the house is done on the inside. We've spent the summer working on the back yard and there is real progress on making an outdoor living area. And the CRAP! The BABY CRAP--is going away! All the enormous toys! All the paraphernalia! Bye-bye, sippy cups! Thanks for playing and I hope I never see you again.

We're HAPPILY and WITH GREAT JOY putting it all in a box to sell. And the house, it is clean. O.M.G. Do you know how happy that makes me?? And the twins are eating well. And sleeping well! And we can comfort them so much more easily than before. They are talking more and playing independently. And my life! It's there! On the horizon!! I see it!! It's coming closer and closer!!

Of course, my old self is being blocked quite substantially by my giant gut. The twins stretched it out and I didn't help with all the ice cream and french fries I've eaten in the last year or so. That's the next plan of attack---reduction of the excess Mother Thing to get back to normal.

It just has gotten so much easier. And I am so glad we're done and forever past the first two years of childhood.