Thursday, July 31, 2008

There Are No Words For This



Saturday, July 26, 2008

When Smart Kids Happen to Dumb Parents

If I ever write a self-help/parenting book, that will definitely be the title. My main idea will be something like, "how to effectively discipline your child without punishing yourself, fibbing, or hurting someone."

Yesterday it occurred to me that my child's behavior problems have been the same for about a year now. There's been a recent addition of dishonesty, but according to babycenter.com, that's a developmental step for 3.5 year olds. Anything that I deem "normal for all kids" isn't an issue in my head. It's those times when I'm like, "This is totally abnormal and something is wrong with either me or him" that I get worried and start wondering how to change my tactics.

So the issue is really one of both linguistic and fine motor development. I like to call it "Explosive Bilabial Outbursts," but most people would just say it's spitting while saying "P" words. Plain and simple spitting. It happens when he's not getting his way or hears something that doesn't sound like a fun idea. He gets right in my face and says, "POOF!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

And yesterday while we were playing at our neighbor's house, it reared it's ugly head in a fine, glorious display of preschool will. And my neighbor and I had just been discussing how the punishment needs to fit the crime, so I decided to take him in the house to separate him from the situation completely.

And there lies the issue ... now I felt like I was being punished too. No longer could I talk to my neighbor or sit outside enjoying 100% humidity and 90 degrees. I had to go inside too and I knew that after the time-out period was over, I'd be desperately searching for some way to entertain us both.

But I felt really certain that he needed to be away from the whole situation AND because this has seriously been a problem for a year now, I decided that yesterday it needed to stop completely and that I was capable of accomplishing that through an extended period of privilege removal.

We read stories for an hour and then at 6 p.m. we ate dinner. During dinner there were some other behavior problems, so I, in my determination to build Rome in a day, went the "go to bed early" route.

I remembered that my mother had told me about something she read, where a mom had told her child that because of his repeated misbehavior, she had consulted the pediatrician, and that the doctor had said it was probably lack of sleep and that he just needed to go to bed earlier.

So during our post-dinner story time, I said, "Now John. I've spoken with Dr. Williams and she said that probably you're making bad behavior choices because you're not getting enough sleep. So, tonight you're going to bed an hour early."

He just stared at me for awhile. Then he said, in utter disbelief, "You called Dr. Williams?!?!?!? WHY DID YOU TELL DR. WILLIAMS ABOUT MY BEHAVIOR?!?!?!?!?!?"

And it actually wasn't until that moment that I realized I was caught in the middle of a huge LIE.
Which I promptly kept going, as all good mothers are wont to do.

I reiterated the whole thing and then at 7 p.m., I put him in bed for the night.

For an hour, there was on and off, "Can I get up now?" followed by my "NO" followed by mild whimpering. I just kept going in there to reassure him that I loved him but that he must change his behavior.

Finally, at 8 p.m., I went in to say my final goodnight and I found him looking out the window singing this song:


I'm up here in bed
Missing all the fun
Cuz Dr. Williams said
I need to get more sleep.

Then the verse was repeated ... a dirge-like refrain full of minor note combinations and a sad almost-iambic pentameter.

So I climbed up there with him in that awful loft bed that we bought, and, after complimenting him on the song, I asked him if he knew why he was in bed early. He did, exactly ... recounted the whole thing, so I reiterated the need for a behavior change, then told him a story, did the five-minute countdown, the monster check, the fresh water refill, and left. He was soon asleep and I was thinking what a great idea that all was (despite the lie).

This morning at 6:30 a.m. I was awakened by the pitter patter, who everyday ignore the not-before-7 a.m. rule. He crawled into my bed, covered me with kisses and hugs, and then ever so gingerly ...

POOF.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Brian's Dreams Have Come True


First, we got a basketball goal yesterday. Note that in the picture, you can't see the ground. Not that it matters how high the net is ... I'm just saying.


Second, he got a teaching job today ... 5th grade math/science at a school four miles from our house. Bike-able. Principal who is not too into tests.



Cloud Nine.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summertime Fun


Here is handsome, decked out in his full soccer gear. About once a week he does this and then demands that his picture be taken.

And really ... who doesn't like a good demand once in a while? Me! Me! Sign me up for demands! Especially from small children!

This weekend was a blast ... Mama had book club on Friday night and since Dad was in class, John stayed with the neighbors, whoe let him eat inordinate amounts of Chick-Fil-A nuggets and Sweet Tarts. Our neighbor, Bradley, said that he likes to do that when they watch other people's children: get 'em all jacked up on sugar and then send 'em home. Thanks y'all.

Summertime

Above: John & Annie


On Saturday morning, I took John and our other neighbor, Max, to a Discovery Science Center, where despite the physics center, construction site, farmer's market (complete with conveyor belt), water table, fire truck, marshland, and tree house, we were most fascinated with the slide. The two-story, curvy, tunnel slide, which is now even slicker thanks to a little hashbrown grease.

On the way there, I stopped at McD's and got Max a hashbrown and John a chocolate milk. Luckily, John slammed the milk, but Max took his time with the hash brown and still had it in his hand when they discovered the slide. I wasn't sure whether to watch from the top or the bottom, so I opted for the sedentary choice and stayed downstairs. This option was enhanced by the fact that my friend Judy and her son, Sami, were right there flooding the crops at the water table.

First down the slide came one of my child's brown crocs. Then he kersplatted out of the tunnel. Next, a hash brown wrapper and a tiny piece of fried crumb rolled out, followed by Max's crocs, a little girl's headband, the remainder of the in-tact hashbrown, and finally Max himself. Then, they proceeded to do it a million more times (minus all of the aforementioned paraphrenalia). During this time I sat on a bench by the bottom of the slide, sipping my coffee and thinking wonderful thoughts about how all of that stair climbing was sure to guarantee me a 2-3 hour nap. Don't you just love those moments of parenting when you're sitting there watching your kid run himself ragged? That's what it's all about right there, folks.

Kersplat

In other news, we had him remove the stakes that surrounded the grass-growing area where the Potential Preschool Drowning Zone once was. Give the kid a croquet mallet and let him go to town. This kid is a workaholic. If you ask him what he wants to be when he grows up, he'll say: A Worker Guy.

In Action

And finally, a note on language development: Though we still have problems with past tense (everything in the past happened either "last night" or "yesterday"), we mostly have our irregular verbs memorized and appropriate time signal phrases for the perfect tenses (since, ago, etc.).

Anywho ... For the past few weeks, his regular music teacher has been on vacation and he has had a sub. Since music class is a highlight of the week, I am always asking about what they learned, did they discuss rhythm or pitch or minor keys? And for the past few weeks all he has said was, "Ms. Roni wasn't there." So I've been asking about the name of the substitute and he's been saying that he doesn't know. This morning as we were preparing for school, I said, "Oooh ... today is music class day! I wonder if Ms. Roni will be back or if the other lady will be there ... what's her name?"

He replied, with annoyance, "You asked me that the other day, and I told you I don't remember!"

Touche! And side note: "the other day" indicates some unclear time in the past -- not "yesterday" or "last night," but "the other day"!!!!

Then, today, when I picked him up at school, the first thing he said was, "It's Ms. Allison."

I was like, "WHO? What? Who?"

"The music teacher, mom."

Oh. Yes, right.

We are already preparing a sign-up sheet for close family and friends to take a month at a time with him during his adolescence. I don't think I'll be able to survive it otherwise.

Onward, Upward, and Sideways ...


Monday, July 14, 2008

Yard Work


I just uploaded some photos of our yard, in which we have done a lot of work this summer. We built the garden and added the landscaping rocks around the front and side yard beds. Click the picture or go to my flickr account to see more.

Mama: These are for YOU ... sorry I'm late.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Smush


Just returned from a lovely trip to the Smokies to visit Jeff, Jess, and Avonlea, who live in Japan and work for DODS. Avonlea is just barely a year and #2 is due in December. Phew. Er, I mean, congratulations!

Avonlea:

Avonlea

They also have a six-year-old goddaughter (pictured below), who can make up all sorts of fun games to play with flashlights, and for that we are truly grateful.

We stayed in a 100 year old cabin which was formerly a one-room school house. Jess's family built screened-in porches all around it for air conditioning. A LOVELY trip.

Enjoy the pics ...

John, Jeff, Avonlea, Me, Ariana

We had JUST been awakened by all of those children. I have not yet had coffee, as evidenced by my swollen-shut eyes. That's John, Jeff, Avonlea, Me, and Ariana (from L to R).

Floatin' in the Smokies

Floating down the little creek beside the cabin ... I was taking the picture (and video -- see link below) from an historic swinging bridge.

Splashin in the freezing water

Me & Goose splashing in the water ... I have a picture of me and my daddy that looks almost identical to this and could've been taken in the same exact location.

Guys @ Cade's Cove

Such a fun and exciting trip is always followed by a good 3-hour nap for the entire car ride home.

Exhaustion

One of the best parts. Ha!

Click here for more pics and a video.

OU&S ...


Beat It

His new favorite:

video

Don't worry ... we fast forward through the parts with gang violence and just let him watch the dance moves. He and I aren't able to quite mimic Mike & the gang, but we've got our own routine which can rival even the best 80's music video.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bye Chris!


Chris 2008 013
Originally uploaded by Kimmy Crack Corn

Well, the teenager is gone. We were all sad to see him go. When he's here, we laugh more, and John learns from him so many good things. His (single) mother is doing a fantastic job. As we left him at the airport security line, I heard Brian say, "Chris, I love you, Bud. I always tell people I have another son in Arizona."

Thank The Good Lord that man is finally going back where he belongs (the classroom).

I'll leave you with one of Chris carrying an exhausted John from the 4th of July ballgame and fireworks back to the car.


Chris 2008 019

Sniff.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Photo Taken By ...


Spit
Originally uploaded by Kimmy Crack Corn
Genghis Kim.

My new nickname. Chris has dubbed me Kim Laden in the past, but this year (thanks to the movie Mongol), I'm Genghis Kim.

The Buds


The Buds
Originally uploaded by Kimmy Crack Corn
Chris is here! We're all in hog heaven. I don't know why people complain so much about having teenagers in their house. I find it to be lovely.