Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas to All...AND...

...we've had our very first runaway(s)....right in the midst of this fine holiday season!

I was shopping the other night, finding some screaming deals, when I got a phone call from my 10 y.o. She said that our middle two girls were nowhere to be found. She said she searched the entire house, the yard, the neighbors' yards where their "sledding hill" girls. It was getting dark...or rather, it was quite dark already. I was only a few miles away so I told her to keep looking and I would come right home to help.

I got a phone call a few minutes later reporting that the lost had been found. The girls insisted that they had been in the yard all along playing tag and such. At this time, my 10 y.o. reported that earlier she had seen the two girls off walking down the street, around the corner and then later overheard their discussion that they had gone down another street and had walked until they saw a dog, at which point they decided to beat cheeks home. I told her I would talk to them because they know they aren't allowed to walk off our cul-de-sac without permission.

I got home and asked the girls what they were doing walking around the neighborhood. They said they were just out walking. I told them that they aren't allowed to do that and beside the fact it was getting dark, it also was much too cold to go wandering off. If they would have gotten lost, they could have easily and quickly gotten dangerously cold...and they could have gotten kidnapped!

I got quick apologies from both.

Later that evening, as I was getting ready to go out the door to work, our 9 y.o. (one of the wanderers) started whining (and I mean whining) that she never gets time to do her homework!!! I told her that it is her responsibility to get it done before playing outside. She wailed that she forgot that she has homework!!!! I told her that that just doesn't cut it. That is what they have a planner for. Her job in this position as a student is making sure she checks her planner every night, even if she thinks she doesn't have homework, and that she gets her homework done every night.

She was getting quite loud with her outburst, so my husband, who was trying to get the baby to sleep, reminded her to keep it down. She raised her voice even louder so he raised his, telling her that she had 20 minutes to complete whatever she had for homework (which is always plenty of time for her). She continued her high-pitched whining and wailing and was getting quite obnoxious until he yelled at her that regardless of what she had to say, time was ticking...get her homework done in 20 minutes or she would go to school without it done! To which she began crying and saying, "Mom! I have to talk to you!"

She came down to the door and said, "Plus, Mom, I really did run away!" I asked her, "When, tonight? You mean when Olivia was looking for were on the run?" She said, "YES! Everyone is always mad at me and yelling at me, even when I try to talk so nicely. I finally got tired of just talking about running away and decided to just do it! I decided to try it to see how it feels." I told her, "Oh. I'm sorry to hear that you felt that bad about being here that you decided to actually leave. You really picked a bad night to try it though. Besides the fact it was already getting dark and you could have easily gotten lost, it is really, really cold out there. You could have quickly frozen and then what good would that have been? And just think, what if someone would have kidnapped you?"

The "kidnapper" word is the one that always gets her thinking. She has great discussions of the "what-ifs" involving this kind of slowed her down a little bit. Of course this great confession came right as I had to get out the door so she promised to talk about it with me when we were both home the next evening after school. I also pulled my oldest aside and asked her to, at some point, mention to her dad what happened and ask him to talk to her about it. That way she feels that we at least acknowledged her distress (as dramatic as she can be). I know they both talked to her then after I left.

When we talked the next afternoon, her emotions were pretty evened out and she just told me where all they walked, what all they saw, and wasn't even in the least bit disturbed anymore. The highlight of the whole discussion was the fact they saw a bulldog on the run (I have recently seen the same dog in the neighborhood) and decided they better make fast tracks home.

I have a feeling that these two just might turn my head a snowy white before too many years!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wordful Wednesday: Christmas Card '08

This year I decided against trying to gather the young'uns around for a formal or specifically Christmas picture. I felt more like picking out snapshots I've gotten of them here and there over the past few months. I think this shows their personalities better (between that and I was just too lazy to attempt the more formal route)...except the dogs. I am still floored that I got them to just go sit by each other (somewhat motivated by a piece of roast beef my 10y.o. let them first sniff). I will forever be amazed that I got the shot I did. They actually sat right down and posed for several pictures. I finally told my daughter, "Okay, give 'em that piece of meat to share! I think they've earned it today!" :)

(Take note of the parakeet on the hood of my 10 y.o. in the top right photo, or below)

This bird has been so fun to have around! The girls have been working on socializing/taming it.
*Okay, now that I've posted this, I realized that I have this same photo (our Christmas card photo, including this one of my daughter and her bird) in color on top as my blog photo! Pardon my dementia-ridden brain!!! :)

A Blog Giveaway...

I'm posting this blog giveaway because the owner of this blog has some really neat handmade items she is just giving away if you go comment on her giveaway blog. Just click on her giveaway button, like the one above, that you see on the upper left-hand side of her blog..then follow the instructions. Her blog is really cute!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thirty Years Ago Today....

This is a post I did one year ago today. Due to time constraints, I will just link to this post instead of creating a new one.

Thirty years ago today, my mom passed away. This was one of my biggest life-altering events. On one hand, I feel that, as tragic as it was to all of us, it also helped define who we all are today. On the other hand, I just wish she was here...even if that would mean I would be a weaker or less determined or less strong person. Her passing and then the continuation of life without her truly did make us all closer and stronger, that is without a doubt in my mind. However, sometimes strength, determination, and closeness is a tad overrated! I miss her!

Another Addendum....

Well, the second screening went well. Our daughter dared to speak up even a little bit more, bringing her voice from a whisper to a soft speaking voice, still only answering to me though, never to the screener.

Some of her answers to the screener's questions:

Screener: "What is an umbrella?"
Her: "Um....for cleanin' up and puttin' away." *brilliant smile to me*

Screener: "What are boots?"
Her: "Shoes! For people!"

Screener: "What do you do when it starts to get dark outside?" *answer she was looking for was, "Turn on a light."*
Her: "Go inside."
Screener: "And what do you do inside the house when it starts to get dark?"
Her: "Go to bed!" *We do not encourage light usage in our house, apparently!!!*

Screener: "What is a candle?"
Her: "Mmmm, I don't know." *looking right at a couple of them that were sitting on the table in front of her. She knows very well what a candle is, I think she was overthinking these questions just a tad...just wasn't sure how to explain exactly what a candle is.*

The screener had to go back to her office and score the testing results but felt that our 4 y.o. almost certainly didn't qualify for the early childhood preschool intervention. I guess that's okay since that means that academically she probably won't struggle once she does start school as long as we somehow get her more comfortable in a group setting. I personally think she will do fine once I saw how much she warmed up during the at-home screening process. We will just have to make sure to either enroll her in a very parttime preschool program or enroll all of us at-homers next year into some community ed classes geared for her age.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Addendum to the "Pick!" Story (yesterday's post)

I guess I didn't give all the details and maybe should have about the preschool screening.

The reason they had our 4 y.o. do her preschool screening at home then, after two attempts at screening her at school was that, although she passed the screening on the second shot, she barely passed due to her not daring to do some of the physical stuff and then not answering some of the questions. The screener thought that she could possibly benefit from one more screening, since she was pretty sure that our daughter was pretty bright but still thought maybe she could qualify for the school funded preschool, just to get her on track socially so she wouldn't lose ground in kindergarden. I know that our third daughter really lost a lot of ground in kindergarden and first grade due to shyness and now in third grade is finally catching up and beginning to seem like she is reaching near her full potential.

The screener at the school had asked if we had planned on enrolling our 4 y.o. in preschool next year and I told her that we actually had. We've never had any of our kids in preschool before for multiple reasons but in this case I felt that it is almost dire that she gets used to the group/school environment before kindergarden. In a lot of ways, I don't want her in preschool but think that if we could have her in just for a couple hours a few times a week, she would greatly benefit from it.

She did, by the way, do much better at home after she warmed up. She started out whispering very, very quietly in my ear but after a while of "playing" with the blocks, paper, coins, etc., she started whispering a little louder in my ear...finally to the point that the screener could hear her without me having to repeat everything she said. The screener is coming back on Thursday since she didn't finish the screening before our other kids came from school but she was very impressed and said it was fun to screen a child that did so well. I'm happy she did well so far but on one hand, wouldn't have minded if she hadn't since she could then possibly qualify for the preschool that they have right in the school system (in the kindergarden building, as a matter of fact). For one thing, it builds right into the school curriculum, and for another, it would have been free! Gotta love free!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Do You Do With....?

Our 4 y.o., yes, this 4 y.o., can actually be quite shy!

Doesn't appear to be the shy type in this photo, but we had her go through preschool screening twice and she wouldn't answer anything except in a very, very small, quiet whisper and only to me, in my ear, in a very tickley kind of way!!!

Because of this, at the second screening, although they gave her credit for answering to me, then me saying the answer out loud and she passed, they decided to do an in-home screening to see if she would be more comfortable in her comfort zone-at home.

On the morning of her screening, after I got home from work, I remembered that I hadn't finished her paperwork for this screening. I looked over all the forms, finished the few things I had left, and then noticed a 300 question questionaire that had to still be completed. In that questionaire, there were areas such as, "Does your child know how to recite the complete alphabet?" and "Can your child name at least three colors?" and "Can your child count at least up to 10?" then a little later, "Can your child count at least up to 15?" then a little later, "Can your child count at least up to 20?" Then, "Can your child dress independently?" "Can your child dress independently and button up a button-up shirt or sweater?" "Can your child hop on one foot?" "...hop on one foot at least three hops?" "...stand on one foot without assistance?" I would many times just look at a question and just go, "Huh? Didn't they just ask me that?" I mean, how many combinations can one think of that has to do with one foot???

Okay, moving onward. At one point, they asked, "Is your child able to tell you what certain body parts do when asked, such as what he/she does with his/her eyes, ears, nose, etc.?" Does she ever!!! Me: "Um, what do your eyes do?" Her: "Roll!" Me: "What do your ears do?" Her: triumphantly and confidently, "Wiggle!" Me: smirking at this point "What does your nose do?" Her: "Umm, what does yours do?" I paused for a minute, then thought, "I suppose I should ask it how they worded it. Although it does seem more unclear to me...for a 4 y.o." Me: "Okay, what do you do with your eyes?" Her: "See!" Me: "What do you do with your ears?" Her: "Listen!" Me: "What do your do with your nose?" Her: ".....mmm....Pick!"

I couldn't help it, I just snorted out with a tiny burst of laughter and quickly tried to mask it with a snuffle and cough. She didn't like it. "Don't laugh!" she reprimanded. I tried to lamely say I was laughing at the next question, which was very funny. I don't think she bought it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

All About "The Bats and The Hornets" or Was It "The Birds and the Bees"?

"Mom. Is S-P-X a swear word???" Me: "S-P-X?" Her: "Yes." Me: "Nooo..." Her: "So, 'sex' isn't a swear word?" Me: "Oh. s-e-x. Um, no, it's not really a swear word. It's just one of those words we don't really need to have discussions about at this age." Her: "'Cause I read something about, "'s sex..." Me...and 12 y.o.: " that sense it's gender. Like, is it a boy or a girl."

Later. Her: "Mom. Holli told me that 'sex' is a swear word." *Back to that again* Me: "Well, there is another meaning to that word that I will have to...uhhh...try to figure out at some time how to explain to you. But you really don't need to know much about that meaning quite yet!"

Oh these enlightening conversations you're never quite prepared for!