Monday, May 31, 2010

Keeping Up

One thing I've noticed about my third child is that she wants to do everything her older brother and sister are doing.

When Ben and Janae are eating, Alaina makes smacking noices with her mouth--letting us know that she wants to eat, too. When Ben and Janae laugh, she looks at them and laughs, too. She is always watching and imitating.

A couple of days ago, Benjamin thought it would be fun to give his sisters a ride in a diaper box (I love the way kids play--they don't need much to have fun!).

Afterwards, Alaina gave her "baby" a ride, too :)


Alaina is very proud of her teeth, and loves to open her mouth and say "AHHH" when Ben and Janae are brushing their teeth--reminding me to get out her toothbrush as well.


She also loves her "shows"; even though she doesn't watch TV yet, she's really good at getting all the DVDs out and choosing one to carry around.


And today she showed us the extent of her determination to be like her siblings. I set her down a couple of feet away from one of her favorite toys, and she walked over to it! It was only a few steps, but they were very deliberate.

When Daddy came home, Alaina showed him, too--walking a few steps for him as well.

Alaina, of course, is very proud of herself, and I am happy for her--but I do wish she could stay a baby for a bit longer. It's all going by too quickly for me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Some Serious Learning at Kindergarten

I mentioned a few days ago that I was sick with a sore throat and laryngitis. Things have got much worse since then—I now can add pink eye, a sinus infection, strep throat, a migraine headache, and probably a few more illnesses to the list (I need to read a bit further in the health guide). I noticed a growth/tumor on my neck this morning as well, but that just turned out to be a clump of Alaina’s baby cereal that had hardened. I can’t remember being splashed with it, though, so I’m pretty sure amnesia will make it onto the list.

Anyway, I bring this up because being sick has caused me to miss attending the Run for Water at Benjamin’s school this morning. This was an event that I have been training for for several weeks now (okay, training might be too strong of a word—but I have honestly been looking forward to it!). The run is part of a fundraiser to help improve the water supply in Africa. Benjamin alone collected $150 from our neighbors, which can provide clean water to at least four people for their entire lives.

But, I bring this up because I was thinking about the amazing transformation that has taken place in the kindergarten class over the past nine months.

In September, Benjamin’s school held a run for cancer awareness/research (yes, I do worry that the school is sending the message that running may be the only way to raise money, but that will have to be a different post). Jason, Janae, Alaina, and I attended the run to encourage Ben (and make sure he was okay), so we got to see the class’s performance.

The kindergarten children had their own track, which I thought was a little unusual—but only until the run began. While the rest of the students ran around a track that circled the playground and soccer field, the kindergarteners had part of the soccer field sectioned off for their “run.” The teacher held hands with two of the students, who both trailed long lines of their absurdly short-looking classmates. This lasted about one minute, then little sections of the line broke off and the kids just ran every which way. They were bumping into each other, falling down, wandering off the field. Very comical.

Jason ran with Ben for a bit, so he actually went around the track a few times (the grassy kindergarten area, I should say), but after the run was over, Ben was complaining that his feet hurt. I looked down and realized he had put his outdoor shoes on the wrong feet—and had been running around and around for half an hour that way. I felt awful for my little Benjamin and really bad that Jason and I hadn’t noticed.

Anyway, as far as runs go, I thought it was pretty much a disaster for the kindergerteners.

So when Benjamin mentioned this Run for Water, I have to admit, I got a bit worried. But when I talked to Ben about it, he said his class runs around the track all the time during gym.

Mom: You DO???
Ben: Yes. Actually, not all the time, but lots of times.
Mom: Wow.

I wanted to be there to see it for myself, but luckily I was able to FORCE Jason to take a couple of hours off of work to go and make sure.

Oh, and Ben can also write his name and several other words, read about 10 different words on his own, draw a person (not just a head with arms and legs sticking out!),


sing O Canada (and about a hundred other songs), take turns/share toys, say “I beg your pardon” (as opposed to “What??” which is what I usually say), build starships out of Lego,


swim underwater, AND put his shoes on the right feet EVERY TIME.


Apparently he and his classmates can also run around a real track, all in the same direction, with the rest of the kids at the school!

Kindergarten is truly a time of serious learning and growth. And in case there is any question in your mind, I am pretty proud of my big Benjamin :)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Laryngitis Not Recommended for Moms

I have had laryngitis a few times in my life, and typically I have been able to continue on with all of my usual activities. Even as a teacher, I didn't miss a class; when I lost my voice I simply put everything I wanted to say on overheads (yes, we still used overhead projectors in those days), and my students did fine.

Well, once again I have lost my voice (I've had a cold/flu that has turned into a sore throat and laryngitis), but I am finding that it is not as easy just to carry on, now that I am a mom.

While it is true that on a typical day I might feel that my children aren't listening to me, I have to admit that I always hope they might. Now they can't even hear me--let alone listen to anything I say. It is quite discouraging!

So, since I can't talk, I thought I'd take the opportunity to write about some of the things I can't do without a voice.

Believe it or not, these three require some immediate correction from time to time.

Without a voice, it is hard to remind Alaina not to pull Janae's hair


or to caution Janae against giving Frisco too much love.


I can't intervene when Benjamin has one of his wild ideas--like spying on the neighbors (although in this case the size of his step ladder was a bit of a help),


and I can't sing Alaina to sleep (when I tried I sounded like the crib toy when it is running out of batteries).


I thought things might get better when Jason came home, but they actually got worse. When I tried to explain a few things to him (believe me, I had a few saved up by the time he got home!), he turned away to tickle Janae--causing me to try to raise my non-existent voice. As you can imagine, he had a hard time holding back a smile at the sound of that, which made me even more upset--which led to more voice strain.

So, I guess I'll be sticking to compiling photo evidence and written documentation over the next few hours. . . .

Moms really do need to talk!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Stealing Mother's Day Kisses


At the end of church yesterday, as I was packing up all my visual aids after teaching young women's (I had taught about journals and--as always--brought way too much stuff), Benjamin handed me two Hershey's kisses for Mother's Day.

I put them on top of a stack of books and papers I was holding (Alaina was in my other arm) and turned away for a second to talk to somebody. When I looked back down at the pile I was holding, I noticed there was only one Hershey's kiss.

Assuming I had dropped it (along with who knows what else), I looked down at the floor--but didn't see anything. Then I looked at Alaina. She obviously had something in her mouth.

Looking closer, I noticed the very tip of a Hershey's kiss poking out.

I quickly squeezed her cheeks together and extracted the kiss--she was very upset, and I soon found out why. As I opened the Hershey's kiss, I found it was wet and partially dissolved.

So my little Laina had her first taste of chocolate this Mother's Day :)


It must have tasted better than most of the other things she's put in her mouth. That girl is fast!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Riding Bikes

When my sisters and I were little, we spent a lot of time riding bikes. We had a collection of second-hand bikes, complete with banana seats, since it was the 70s, and we rode all over the place--over the grass, gravel, dirt, street . . . riding bikes was a big part of our lives.

Recently we got out Ben's bike and realized it was way too small for him, so we started to look for a new one. When I mentioned this to my dad, he said that he might have a bike in his shed that would work.

So out of the magic shed (that somehow seems to have anything anybody needs and was thinking of buying), my dad pulled out a bike that was the perfect size for Ben,

and one for Janae, too.


He cleaned them up, and we brought them home. Ever since, Ben and Janae have been riding around our parking lot from the time Ben gets home from school to the time I have to drag them in so I can make dinner.


Alaina tries to keep up on the little bike Ben and Janae used to push around when they were toddlers.


They are so happy outside!

And it's fun to see them doing what my sisters and I used to do.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Shiver My Timbers--Don't Listen to the Words!

As both of my regular readers might remember, several weeks ago I thought it would be fun to once again check out our favorite CD from the library: "Swashbuckling Sea Songs." We have proceeded to renew this CD every time it comes up due, because Ben, Janae, AND Alaina love it so much. We keep it in the van, and the first thing said whenever we head out is, "Can we listen to pirate songs?"


Ben and Janae sing along to the songs, and Alaina pipes in with an "AAAAHHH" or an "UGH" at appropriate moments. "Swashbuckling Sea Songs" is truly the official soundtrack to our family's life.


This has all been fine because Janae and Benjamin don't really know the words to the songs. Sometimes this is quite funny. For example, one of the songs says, "From India to Singapore we've fought for treasure coast to coast." Benjamin and Janae replace "coast to coast" with the nonsense word "Hosten-pazt" (it always reminds me of Hagaan Daz when they say it!). When I asked them what "Hosten-pazt" meant, they replied with "it's just something that pirates say!"

That was a pretty harmless example, but some of the lyrics get kind of grizzly (they are pirate songs, after all). Being innocent young children, though, my kids belt out something quite different from what was actually recorded on the CD.


Their favorite song--by far--is called "Shiver My Timbers." When I looked up the actual lyrics, I realized this could easily pass for a gangster rap song, and I seriously started to have second thoughts about letting my little ones hear it and sing it repeatedly in the car.

Ben and Janae's version:

Shiver my timbers shiver my bones
Yo ho-ee bearn
Once in the night with a hose of gold
Yo ho-ee bearn
And they sail the ship cross the ocean bloom
A blood casty captain and a punk of broom
A dark a tale ever bloom
Pizza way, pizza way

Ooga waka ooga waka something not right
There's a icky icky thing's gonna happen tonight
Ooga waka ooga waka sailing anywhere
Funny in the earth

One more time now!
Shiver my timbers shiver my sails

As you can see, this is complete and utter nonsense. What is a "hose of gold"? a "punk of broom"? or a "pizza way"? Why would pirates say "funny in the earth" or "get back on the rails"? None of it makes sense!


BUT, the "hose of gold" is actually "Secrets that sleep with old Davy Jones"; the "punk of broom" is a "cut-throat crew," and the "pizza way" is a "piece of eight." "Funny in the earth" is "murder in the air" and--worst of all--"get back on the rails" is a substitute for "Dead men tell no tails."


Now you might be thinking, "What does it matter? It's all in good fun as long as the children don't know the real words!"

But, now that we've been listening to the CD for a while, Benjamin (who has now almost completed kindergarten) is starting to realize that they don't have the words quite right.

The other day we were driving along and Janae was shouting out "GET BACK ON THE RAILS" when Ben interrupted her.

"Janae, you're singing it wrong."

I don't know if they heard the GASP from the driver's seat.

Ben explained, in an exasperated voice, "It says GET BACK TAILS NO TAILS!"

That was a close one.

But it started me thinking--we definitely need to take that CD back to the library! I don't really want my children to grow up to be pirates :)