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My son Irish lost a tooth at school today, and lacking a container for his tooth, he used a Pokemon ball to store it for the Tooth Fairy tonight.

We are all such geeks here.  Irish informs me I spelled Toothachew wrong; it should be Toothachu.
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Tonight, I took Sparkle and Irish to our little townlet's Halloween party for elementary school kids.  It was very well-run, and both kids had a blast.

Super-long! Super fun! Semi-Spooky! )

And it was great family fun.  I have a bit of small guilt for not having helped my neighbor ladies put it on, but we all enjoyed going.  And my darling husband went down and bought baked treats for himself, too, after we came home.

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So, we went to the band fitting.  Read more... )
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 Helicopter Maple Seed Parenting, that is.

On the way to the YMCA this morning, we noted that the van's windshield wipers were simply covered with maple tree seeds, with their wings for being blown places to grow.  I got the children to make predictions of whether or not all of the seeds would make the ten mile trip to the Y.  We laughed, and pretty much agreed that we'd seed the roads with maple trees all the way there, and arrive with a clean windshield.

Much to our surprise, despite curves, railroad tracks and fifty five mph speeds, two seeds stubbornly clung to position.  On the way home, we made predictions again.  Sparkle thought they'd both stay.  Irish thought one would stay, and one would go.  Dino was exceedingly resistant to making a prediction, but finally opined that the smaller seed was more likely to stay because it looked more stuck.  I took that as his prediction, (under protest) and I agreed with Sparkle, since if they'd made it TO the Y, they'd make it home, I reasoned.

It was a bit surprising how intently my family watched those vibrating seeds all the way there, and all the way home.  (Or maybe not, considering how geeky we all are.)

The small seed flew off quickly, but that last seed stuck along that windshield wiper tenaciously the entire way home!  Irish was so pleased to be so lucky today!

It's the small things like this in life that make me absurdly happy!
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I had a busy, busy school day with students objecting to having to take notes, then Sparkle's parent-teacher conference (she's doing SO well, and I'm SO pleased!), then swimming at the Y with [livejournal.com profile] pondside , then  a dashed supper whilst the DH went to bed to get a couple hours of rest before HIS work, and then off with Sparkle and Irish to the Boy Scout meeting, held at the local police station.

the buzz )


May. 22nd, 2010 11:59 am
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Irish had a choir concert this week, and on the same night, a play, in which he had a speaking role with 17 lines.

the events of the evening )
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Irish came home on the bus this week upset, because kids who were usually nice had decided to make fun of him.  He was crying, and I managed to get out of him what had upset him so much.  Irish first really alarmed me because he said that what the boys had said was so mean, he didn't even want to repeat it.  I pressed the issue, my behavior-treatment trained mind expecting the worst.

Irish was upset because the boys said his middle name was "monkey butt."

This seemed to be boys being dumb, but could escalate to shark if they sensed blood in the water if Irish let on it got to him too much. 

I was somewhat taken aback by Irish being laid low by this, because he has handled bullies making fun of his weight by jiggling his tummy, and comparing it to jell-o.  He then made overtures of friendship with the mean kid, and they actually got along after that.  I asked what was different, and Irish responded that this insult wasn't true, so it was worse.  Evidently, he could work with insults that he internalized as true, and could re-shape the perceptions in a positive way.  Lies, he didn't know how to handle without causing loss of friendship or war by calling them out on it.  Thus, the upsetitude.

So, I gave him his line:  "You're only saying my middle name is 'monkey butt' because your middle name is 'idjet'."  I also said that if they called him "monkey butt" still, he should hoot like a monkey, making monkey arm movements, and then point to his bottom, saying "Kiss my monkey butt."  (Disarm the opposition with humor.)

Sure enough, Irish said the boys were at it again the very next morning.  He delivered his lines as suggested, with great success, as everyone laughed.  He also came up with one of his own, saying another boy's middle name was "Schtupid."  Everyone is friends again.

Oh, the power of being an elementary school boy and finding words like "monkey butt" funny.  Right up there with fart noises. 
"You know what?"  "What?"  "Monkey butt."
"You know what?"  "What?"  "Monkey butt."
"You know what?"  "What?"  "Monkey butt."

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My daughter, who would run away at reading time, throw books away, turn her body away from stories, let me read to her tonight.

and even more... )
I am so gushy happy.  It is hard to describe how frustrated I have been that I haven't been able to read with my baby girl, and that when I do, it's such a struggle for attention.  Purple Puddles:  tears of joy.
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So, I started my first Tae Kwon Do class at the Y with Irish, as a bonding experience, a brush up on useful self-defense and healthy exercise I paid for, so am more likely to do.

Years ago, I used to take Aikido classes.  When I signed up, the TKD master asked me how long ago I'd studied Aikido - he could tell by the way I moved what I'd studied years ago.  This seriously impressed me, as I hadn't even told Irish that I'd had any martial arts XP before.

Yes, old habits die hard.  When the Master asks a question, expecting an affirmative answer, in Aikido, one says "Hai!"  During Tae Kwon Do tonight, which is mainly newbies and kids like Irish who have not yet aquired the attentive habit of answering the master, when asked if we understood, out popped from my mouth a decisive "Hai!"  The Master's mouth quirked slightly, and the three black belts suddenly cried out "Yes, sir!"  Oops.  Not very kosher to call out another discipline's answer...

Throughout the lesson, at similar moments, "Hai" kept being the first thing out of my mouth, and I'd catch it, and force it into a "Yes, sir!"  It sounded like I was sneezing:  "HaiYES sir!!"  Oops.

I did find that the moves were easier than I thought they'd be, and I needed little correction from the black belts helping to run the class.  I also noticed that many of the kids in the formation lines were looking at me to see how to do the moves, so I concentrated very hard on doing the best I could, if I was going to be an example.  Some of the forms are a bit different, like the way you hold your toes when you kick, and some odd kicks I've never done before.  (Whose names escape me - I didn't follow the Korean, and the English names are mixed up in my head as to which was what.)

My vowel sound for crying out during an emphatic punch or kick is also the wrong one - a short a instead of a long one.  Oops.  Not surprisingly, the elementary students are best at the calling out cadences in unison, since they do that sort of thing all of the time at school.

Proud Mama

Feb. 18th, 2010 08:19 pm
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My ten year old son Irish earned his green belt in Tae Kwon Do tonight!  He broke a board with his bare foot by kicking!

He was having trouble with form and speed, so Grand Master Yang walked over to show him how to do it, adjusting his leg to the angle and physically moving Irish through the kick.  Four tries later, irish made a fierce kick, and CRACK! the board broke in half.  The board was not in any way pre-scored or weakened; we wrote our permission slip on it as a writing surface before class, and had a close look at it.

It happened so quickly, my darling husband missed it on the video, because of the delay in hitting the record button and when it starts up.  I am amazed.  And so proud!
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My DH sprained his left elbow at work. We had to take him into the doctor's, but first go back to his work to get the worker's comp paperwork, which meant he was in pain longer than he needed to be.

Sparkle keeps wanting to shove her hand into his sling, too, which is less than helpful for pain levels. She is contrite when my husband reacts with pain, but has a hard time remembering that Daddy isn't invulnerable, and it happens again.

I hope he feels better soon. Being hurt is no fun.

On a happier note, Irish has a chorus concert tomorrow morning for a breakfast with Santa event at his school. He's been so happy to be in the chorus. A traveling music teacher in the district comes by once a week, and students give up recess to be a part of it.
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Another friend's post about her child's homework woes got me thinking about my own...

Cut because blathering at length about mundane kid homework blues is not everyone's cup of tea. )Read more... )
I am glad that not this Friday, but next Friday will be Winter Break, and I can have some dedicated family fun time. Assuming the kiddos don't bring homework to do over the holidays.
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We went over to a friend's neighborhood for Trick-or-Treating, as our traditional venue, the godmother's neighborhood was beset by construction, with yawing five-foot-deep trenches that could double as mass graves.  Too creepy and dangerous for my blood.

So, my beggars were:  Sparkle, a princess in a yellow gown, brocade bodice and pink cloak;  Brion, a *Clone* trooper with blue highlights to his armor (they're still good guys during the Clone Wars, you know, and only become bad guys as Imperial Storm Troopers); and Dino, who wore his grandfather's vintage flight suit and bomber jacket from the Vietnam War era, with kewl patches.

We tromped about with Sparkle's best friend, dressed as a Flower Fairy, with pretty ballerina skirts and brigt pink wings, and her little brother dressed as Elmo from Sesame Street.  He looked very Muppet-y, indeed.

Sparkle kept doing something that took me a while to figure out.  As she came up to the houses, she would ask the adult at the door "Hi!  What's your name?"

The adult would answer, "Hi, there.  I'm Mrs. Smith," or "I'm Karen." 

Whereupon, Sparkle would say, "Hi, Mrs. Smith.  Trick or Treat!"  or  "I'm Princess Sparkle.  Trick or Treat!"

It is my opinion that Sparkle was obeying the rule of not taking candy from strangers by introducing herself first.

My children all want to go back to the same neighborhood next year; they got large sized candy and relatively little bubble gum (which they aren't allowed to have.  I do trade our candy for it, though, so I don't know why they'd complain.)


Oct. 11th, 2009 03:04 pm
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 Back from camping with the Webelos.  While not a natural camper, as a teacher, I do know how to get kids from one place to another and keep them on track during planned activities.  Several of the people running the activities for the scouts to earn pins said that I was very helpful, and that our group of several dens was the best-behaved and most on track of the weekend.

Damned by faint praise, indeed.  

the moaning and complaining behind the cut )

Once home, my husband graciously let me go back to sleep for awhile, which I desperately needed.  I also got a desperately needed shower, and chicken noodle soup.  My cold is no better, but no worse for being outdoors all weekend in cold that put frost on the grass, and misted our breaths wherever we went.

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Well, wobbly or not, sick or not, it's off camping to Webelo Woods with Irish to get his potload of We'll Be Loyal Scouts pins.

I love my son.  (Repeat mantra.)

The camp is at Camp Lazarus.  I keep thinking of Tom Smith's comment every time he comes past Camp Lazarus on his way to OVFF, that he keeps expecting the zombie boy scouts to come shambling out of the woods.  He's right you know; but that actually describes me if I don't get coffee this weekend...
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 Irish got bit by  a number of spiders on his arm this weekend - like about thirty bites.  The patterned bites look kind of like a group of playing cards marching up his arm:  a group of five, like the five of diamonds, a group of seven, another double group of five...  I put the Itch Eraser on the bites to ease the itching, and it foamed a great deal, but Irish said it helped with the urge to scratch.  He didn't feel well on Saturday, so he stayed at home away from a get together with friends.

Sunday, Irish's arm looked like he'd been scratching it a lot, so I had him wear long sleeves to bed to reduce how much he picked at them.

Today, Irish's arm was hot and swollen, and started to have angry red lines inching up toward his armpit.  My DH took him to the doctor, where he got steroid cream, and medicine to ease his symptoms.  He was having a reaction to the spider venom, mainly because there were so *many* little bites.

I found out that alcohol put on spider bites increases the potency of their venom.  I inadvertently made his reaction to the venom worse by putting the Itch Eraser on the wounds.  (Mommy guilt:  I'm *supposed* to make it all better, not worse!)  We also now need to avoid hot showers and baths until the rash and wounds clear up.

Irish is taking it all in his usual good-natured way, and isn't fussing at all.  I just half-expect him to start crawling up the walls soon with his new mutant powers...
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So, my in-laws gave us (at my request) a second handlebar-seat-and-wheel add-on for a bike, so you can make a regular bike into a tandem one.  It was my thought that my older boys, too big for training wheels, could benefit from being behind me, learning balance and getting used to speed so they could learn to ride a bike on their own.  They could get the idea of how it feels.  In addition, it would be good exercise.

It is, in fact, very good exercise - at least for me!  In addition to tooling around with Dino and Irish, Sparkle wanted to try, too.  She loves it very much, and was furious when she tried to duplicate the results on her own little bike with training wheels through her efforts alone.

We went in figure eights around the little loop that is my neighborhood, and I am sweaty, tired, and my legs are trembly with effort.  The boys don't have very good balance, and it took an iron grip on the handlebars to maintain control when they tipped.  Sparkle sits up nice and straight -I think it's harder for her to lean from side to side because she can only touch the pedals, and is unable to put her feet on the ground, so she keeps them on the pedals for stability. 

Irish begged me to do this every day, he likes it so much.  I already know that merely moving a bicycle helmet back on a peg will get Sparkle begging for the next ride.  Dino is a bit more hesitant, but is willing to get on when asked and do his part.  So, this was my idea, right?  Excellent exercise, meets my goals of family time, getting the kids to do something on my mental checklist of things all kids should be able to do, and the kids love it.  So, why do I have this feeling of dread about doing it again?  (Man, I am lazy!  A little hard work, and I cringe away from it.  This means I must tackle it head-on and make certain I follow through!)
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Irish, working on his laps and endurance, finally earned his "deep end" bracelet by passing the swim test, consisting of a full lap back and forth using freestyle overhand crawl with consistent breathing, in an Olympic sized pool, and a minute treading water, keeping his head high above the water.  I'm so proud!

Sparkle advances from "Minnow" to "Eel."  Essentially, she can swim between 5 and ten feet independently before she goes under.

Dino not only passed his swimming test at Scout camp, but he also earned his Boy Scout Swimming Merit Badge!
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Yesterday, I went to spend overnight camping with my fine younger scout, Irish.  I was a grump about it, because I am not a natural camper.  I do think it is an important part of growing up, and having those experiences is important.  And so, our overnight adventure started with... )

More bbs, archery and fishing this morning.  We pulled out at lunchtime, and it started to rain as we pulled into McDonald's.  Timing:  perfect.
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Today, I took Irish and Sparkle to the pool.  Lacking his big brother Dino, his usual playmate, Irish sought out others, and finally found a boy about his age, a little pudgy like he was, all alone.  They played together quite happily until the boy had to go home.

Normally, this would not *ping* on my radar as anything special: Irish can, and does make friends with just about anyone.  But the news story from Philly that [livejournal.com profile] filkerdave posted this weekend had me thinking, and what I noticed was that our pool was predominantly white, and this boy was biracial - and until Irish came over to say hello, no one was playing with him.

Or was it because they are pudgy, and kids avoid fat peers?  Because no one joined them; they played together as groups of boys did things near, but not with them like Marco Polo, and diving sticks, and water ball catch.

I don't *think* Irish noticed anything unusual; perhaps it is just me being over-sensitized.  But I was still bothered.

I told Irish that I was glad he'd found a new friend to play with, and left it at that.  Irish was just happy that he'd had fun, without being "politically correct" ever coming into it.  It's times like this that I'm glad he goes to a racially diverse elementary school.


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