Friday, April 10, 2009

4/10/09 Finally Friday

I'm exhausted. This getting-up-early stuff just isn't in my DNA. Thank goodness Gabriel has a week off next week. I won't exactly lounge in bed until noon, but I won't have to leap into action at the crack of 7:30. On the other hand, I might want to, because Mom and Paul arrive tomorrow afternoon for a week's visit!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

4/9/09 Open House

Gabriel's school had an Open House tonight, meaning his classroom was open to look around at their work and chat with the teacher. Also, there was a book fair going on, a great way to get parents on campus to open their wallets. And it worked!

Dave is out of town until Sunday, so I'm playing Single Mom. Whew. It's hard! And that's even with working, which makes it much easier. Today, however, I was also Homeowner ExtraOrdinaire again, as painters, heat guys, electricians, and kitchen cabineters finished up punchlist items that have emerged since we've moved in.

To further complicate matters, Comcast decided that our Internet account shouldn't have a cable modem associated with it anymore, so I spent quite a bit of time on the phone getting back on the air. And, Katrina has the mother of all diaper rashes, meaning more phone time and scheduling -- it's been going on almost a week and I have an appointment for her tomorrow.

So it was a busy, stressful day -- oh yeah and I went to work too -- but Gabriel was very excited about his classroom Open House. So, we went to the book fair and then his classroom at 6pm.

First, the requisite photos. Perfect, a nice cloudy day.

This boy loves his sister. The other boy does whatever he can to be silly for the camera!

Oh, what I wouldn't do for this shot to be in focus!

Katrina seriously complicated the book fair. To her, racks of carefully organized books must be methodically dismantled and all books tossed in a big pile on the floor. All parental intervention must yield loud and furious protests. I was saved by a younger toddler having a screaming meltdown, which Katrina watched in frozen fascination. Professional courtesy, apparently.

All three kids got to pick a book. The girl picked the dinosaurs-ride-the-train book, and the boys picked the fairy books. Well, duh!

Katrina had great fun showing off in Gabriel's classroom, and Gabriel had a great time showing her off. His teacher told me that he talks about her a lot, and only occasionally mentions the brother that he shares a room and most of his time at home with. I was surprised how many other moms commented on Gabriel's dedication to Running Club; apparently he's quite the devotee and is known as a serious runner. My boy!

It was interesting seeing Gabriel's work compared to his classmates. I had no idea they could write so neatly or draw so creatively. Gabriel's is among the worst writing in the class.

I had to chuckle at his Haiku poem on the wall:
Flowers are growing
Hydrangias, Irises
Let's pick some flowers
This is funny because we were living on Hydrangea Court until recently, and to get there, you had to turn left on Iris Avenue! You gotta use what you know!

Thank goodness for some new Rainbow Magic fairy books to keep the boys completely engrossed during dinner-making. Gabriel's "book" from the book fair was a twofer (a package of two), so Julian got to read one too. They had to be pried from their fairy books for dinner.

In Gabriel's classroom, Julian was reading the book he'd chosen, a relatively easy Benny and Penny comic book, and Gabriel's teacher remarked at his reading even that: "he's not even in kindergarten?" But Julian reads the far more advanced Rainbow Magic chapter books -- he's slow and his comprehension is about par with a 5-year-old, but still. He really does read well, much better than Gabriel did approaching kindergarten.

This might be awful of me, but I'm secretly happy when there's a rare instance in which Julian exceeds his domineering older brother. At the risk of pegging them, I don't think it's going to happen a lot. Few people are blessed/cursed with Gabriel's dogged persistence.

But there is one other person who inherited at least some of the same trait.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

4/7/09 The God

We're not religious, we don't attend church, and we're not raising our kids with any formal religious training so far. Dave's parents are longtime members of "The Ethical Society," and my upbringing included a silent but sound rejection of Catholicism, into which I was born and baptized.

I was a terrible history student, perhaps because I was taught history correctly. The most common complaint about history teaching is that it focuses too heavily on memorization. Turns out, I'm pretty good at this lowest form of learning -- which I learned painfully is of no value in computer science -- and pretty poor at conceptualizing and learning themes and ideas. That must have been how most of my history was taught, because I stunk at it (and I only squeaked through English because I could spell).

But the one thing I retained from history, true or false, was that peoples (you can say peoples in history) throughout time and all over the world seek explanations for how the world works, reasons for natural phenomena, order in the complex world, and find this guidance by forming religions.

In this dearth of organized religious influence at home, I'm astonished to see that the boys are following this age-old pattern of finding their own. They really want to believe that someone or something watches over them, has a grand scheme, and is the final authority on good and evil. They've even appointed their own deity: Santa.

"Santa knows everything, even if Mom doesn't!"

"You'd better not do that or Santa will punish you."

"Mom, is Santa watching us now?"

"Santa heard that!"

Well, I guess I'm off the hook for any formal religious training. I do think it's important they learn the history of religion, and I'd be the most studious pupil of such a class now. But I'll never answer them if I believe in God, because to firmly believe or firmly reject God requires more faith than I have. By that reasoning, I might even believe in Santa.


Monday, April 06, 2009

4/6/09 The Love Letter

Julian insisted on finishing some writing tonight before helping to clean up puzzles. I was getting annoyed that he wasn't cleaning up, until I saw what he was writing: a very sweet note, accompanied by a bouquet of flowers.

That boy sure knows how to get out of housework!


Sunday, April 05, 2009

4/5/09 Playing House

This morning, there were unusual and suspicious happy sounds coming from the boys' room for quite some time. The children were all playing together, and no screaming? What could possibly induce such peace?

How about, playing House? Julian had tucked Gabriel and Katrina in together on his quilt on the floor.

Then read Katrina a bedtime story.

Later, we went to a friend's post-remodel open house, and got to see a beautiful house that's actually lived in, rather than camped in, as ours is. Thank goodness we did our open house before any of our things -- and us -- were actually in there.

Katrina found a dollhouse in no time. More playing House.

And of course, at home, it's just one big game of House. Furniture repair, box unpacking, shelf adjusting, door-fixing, stuff-sorting, thing-finding....this isn't just playing anymore.