Tuesday, September 24, 2013

4 months ago

Our iPhoto library is set to show the last 4 months of pictures.  4 months ago little B was born!  So it's been neat to see those newborn pictures every time I open iPhoto and see how much he's grown.  He can roll over now.  He can bounce in a bouncy seat.  He can find his toes.  He's adorable and smiley.

lP just turned 3 on Wednesday and P was out of town that whole week.  So of course, while P is away I not only need to do all the driving (that he so awesomely shares usually), but I decide it is time to potty train lP.  Monday morning we went to the store and chose a big bag of jellybeans.  Potty training was a breeze!  What a great kid.

M is learning all the circle songs for our Homeschool group.  She's reading a lot and adding 2 digit numbers.  She can play French Children's Song on the piano better than I can.  So she's helping me work it out, and helping me keep the tempo.

G is loving scouts.  He's interested in teaching M to play football.  He loves holding B each day.  This is the song he wrote for B.

Hey B, Hey B. 
Your initials are B. J. P.
 Hey B, Hey B. 
You are named after Booker T. Washington.
Hey B, Hey B. 
You remind me of Books.
Hey B, Hey B. 
How are you?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ice cream and a bounce house


I am part of a homeschool co-op.  I teach music.  The girls get to have awesome experiences like this Rainbow Bridge" on Friday.  So nice.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


 This guy, he is cute. 
I was showing the girls the picture book I made for my family a few years ago.
I think it was the first time I showed them pictures of myself and pointed out how I was their age.

Monday, September 9, 2013

little hands

I don't know how she does it.  M is amazing.  She learned this song in 4 days. 
She's doing a combination of Suzuki songs by rote, and Piano Adventure books for note reading.  The stuff in her Piano Adventure books is pretty easy and would be sort of boring.  The Suzuki lets them go into very technical pieces so fast that they could never keep up with the reading. 

I'm so grateful for her sweet teacher.  M gets the brunt of being an older sibling a lot.  lP will scream about something and I turn off/take away whatever lP is screaming about.  At night when lP is not settling down, I leave the girls room because I can't deal with it and M gets shorted on night time love.  So I'm glad that piano is something we're doing together and she gets lots of love for it.

For some...

This nice story about smelling the tulips of special needs children is becoming well known.  So well known that it is easy for people without special needs children to dismiss the difficulty of special needs parents with a "well, she's in Holland, nice!" Similarly, people who had seen "Mr. Hollands Opus", or read/seen "My sister's keeper" felt like they knew what having a deaf kid with leukemia was like.  
 One nice thing about this "Welcome to Holland" is the idea that there are people who live in Holland of their own joy and choice.  That applies nicely to the people who choose to embrace Deaf culture.  
 And the Holland analogy works nicely for how you were fluent in one language, studied another, but ended up in a place where nobody speaks your language.  And occasionally you meet someone you can talk to and it's rather nice.
Something not overtly discussed in the "Welcome to Holland" analogy is that people in "Italy" don't have it so easy either.  "Normal" kids, or kids without a diagnosed and accommodated exceptionality, can get into a lot of trouble.  That's why we're so shocked when someone with special needs is killed by police.  But so many "normal" kids suffer from depression, aggression, self esteem, etc... that is the norm.  Kids with special needs go to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.  When a kid goes to just plain old therapy, that's not as celebrated, but it should be.
 I guess I just live in Holland, and I wish the rest of the world would try as hard to be nice, as we try to speak clearly.  Every kid could do with some one on one time with an adult trained to see their difficulties and help them be more whatever.   


Emily Perl Kingsley.
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

emotional intelligence

I'm thinking about emotions a lot.   One of the things that has come from my reading (I'm not done yet) "Raising Cain" is the idea of expanding my children's (and especially my boys) emotional vocabulary.  I get upset at my children a lot.  And I don't often explain why I'm upset, or how I'm upset.  Sometimes it's because I'm worried someone will get hurt.  Sometimes I'm upset because I don't want something to get broken.  Often I am concerned that people will think I'm a bad mom if they...run in the store...don't brush their hair...scream in the library....

So I'm trying to take the time, calmly, to explain what behavior of theirs, is being reacted to by me with what emotion.  I also try to tell them that it's my choice to feel that way, but that they can help.

A popular set of emotions to teach children are:  Happy, Sad, Laugh, Mad. 

So with this vocabulary, you might think Laugh is an extension of Happy.  And Mad is an extension of Sad.  Boo.

Our favorite series "Signing Time" goes further to add: Grumpy, Surprised, Sick, Excited.

But I hope to help my children see how Happy and Sad can both lead to tears.  Mad does not give you an excuse to hurt people.  Laugh can be nice or mean. 

I want them to learn to understand their feelings and the feelings of others, so they can be nice.