Tuesday, February 3, 2009

School reports, wonderful poo and bath burps.

Hello everyone. I hope all who read this are enjoying life and good times. It's getting better here now that we're thawing out! It's predicted to be in the 47 today (Monday), 58 tomorrow and 61 on Wednesday! There is a downside though - out with the snow, in with the mud.

Let me start with Bryce this time around because he's behind me now, climbing from one side of the back of my chair, standing there and patting me on the back before climbing back down on the other side and doing it again.

If you haven't been to my web site yet, please visit and check out the duet he and I have going in video form. I've been trying to get him to say ma-ma. Yeah, yeah, it IS usually da-da, but he's my kid so I'm gonna try! I should have turned my camera on about ten minutes before, when Bryce was real interested in the going back and forth we do through out the day. I didn't think about taking a video until after he had walked away. I grabbed my camera and went down the hall looking for him and found him "reading" books in his bedroom. So his participation wasn't as eager in the beginning, and in the middle, there's a pause where he either forgot what he was doing, or just wanted to stare at the camera. It's still cute to watch.

While that was fun to be a part of, something else wasn't. I let Devin choose a new toy after I had done something to him on accident (which I'll mention later - serious mommy guilt!). He wanted an ambulance so we brought the toy home, which is about the size of his garbage truck, but if you haven't seen pictures of that, then I'll say it's about the size of your typical bathroom trash can. Why I thought of that as a comparative, I haven't a clue.

Anyway - Bryce was playing with the buttons, opening and closing the doors and pushing it back and forth, sitting next to the kitchen island, but on the living room side. I don't know what he did but I heard his pain cry and found him standing up in the place where he was sitting with the ambulance a few feet away. I knew he hurt himself something awful, because his mouth was open with eyes clenched tight, but nothing was coming out. It was like he was behind a sound proof glass wall. But then he inhaled and that transparent barrier shattered as my baby let loose. There was no blood so I cuddled him for a bit and when he settled down I took a look at him. He had small, angled indentations on his left cheek and the bridge of his nose (which is probably what hurt the most) and a purple mark just below his eye brow. I've been trying to imagine what he did, but he's 19 months, so it's anything and everything!

Bryce loves to take a bath and his baths are taken with Devin. They both splash and dump cups of water, ignoring most of the toys in there with them for a cheap restaurant kid drink cup! Devin is much better at dumping, but Bryce has no complaints. The more Devin pours the water, the more Bryce laughs. Faster and faster they go. Pretty soon, Dev is getting B with the water and he gasps as he partially drowns and then laughs. No matter how many times you tell him it's too close, Dev always gets closer and Bryce continues to gasp and laugh. At the end of bath time one night, I reached in to get a thoroughly soaked B and he let out this huge belch. Too much bath water!

Not only is Devin helpful in rinsing his little brother in the bath, he's been helpful in taking off his own wet Pull-Up and putting a dry one on. A few weeks ago, he was wearing one Pull-Up all day long because he was making it to the potty (pee only), then he just stopped. He was going through so many I ran out and didn't have enough training underwear as back up. I called my hubby at work and asked him to bring home some more and he came into his house, a house where testosterone rules, with a package of pink Pull-Ups! I could not believe it. I said, Babe, did you not notice these are pink? He said he saw the 3T-4T size and grabbed them. Uh-huh. Pink for girls, next to them would have been blue for boys. He scowled at me and said, That's what you get for asking me to get them. OK. So now his three year old son is walking around in Disney princesses and the colors pink and purple!

So, Devin is being helpful by telling me he's wet and proceeds to take off his pants and wet diaper and throws it away and puts on a dry one. I don't always know he's doing this until he tells me so or I see him throw it away. Unfortunately, he does more than pee in them. One time he hollered for me and I found him with poo smeared down his leg and the Pull-Up around his ankles. Another time I found him with legs clean of poo, but the circular poo, hence the cleaner legs because it stayed in a single clump, had rolled out of the dirty diaper and onto the floor. Tim was the lucky one when a third time, home alone with the boys, Dev took his diaper off and, I'm guessing it got stuck, sat his poopy bum down on the carpet. Wonderful times! Thanks for the great memories, Dev! I think he's going to tell us he's poopy now BEFORE he takes off the trainer. Better yet, he might just go sit on the potty. Fingers crossed everyone!

On a sad note, I don't think Devin will be going to gymnastics anymore. The past few times we've gone there, he's refused to go in, and once in, he refuses to cooperate and sits on a line while the other children bounce, roll and flip around him. When we're home he wants me to look at him do the things he's learned in gymnastics, but once there, he's a brat. It brought back memories of Hunter not wanting to play the piano anymore. All was fine there, though, until Mr. Miller moved away and then his replacement moved away and Hunter had to start all over again with a third instructor. I didn't push him then and I won't push Devin now. I would have loved to be involved in gymnastics and I took piano lessons but quit. But they aren't me so I'll back off. Gymnastic lessons last all year, so we'll try it again in the fall.

Tim has a different car seat in his truck. Once Devin is in, there is front part like an arm rest that is pulled over his head and down in front of him. Then you have to snap the belt into the buckle between his legs to secure it. The straps are at their longest and still tight on Dev when he's in his winter coat. I'm not very familiar with this car seat as I rarely have the truck alone with the kids. One day I did, though, and when I pushed down on the buckle of the car seat...I pinched Devin between the legs and he screamed and cried...that's why he got a new ambulance.

A couple weeks ago, Hunter's class was scheduled for a field trip to a science center. Since I now have a part time day care provider I was going to chaperon, something I hadn't done since Hunter was in Kindergarten. The day before the outing a group from the science center came to the school and talked of what the children would see and do. In a note Hunter brought home later that day it said the field trip was canceled because of some safety concerns. When I asked Hunter about it, he said some boys were sniffing one of the items the science center group brought with them and others had thrown some red powder up in the air. So some bad choices from a few ruined it for all. And for me. I wanted to go on that field trip! :P

It ended up being a good idea that they didn't go because I got a phone call late the next morning saying Hunter had thrown up and had a fever of 102. I had decided to take myself shopping and was about 40 miles from the school when my cell phone rang. I had to call Tim, who I knew was in a meeting, but I caught him at the right time. They had just taken a break and he was able to pick Hunter up and meet me back at the house. Hunter stayed home the next day as well, so he got a four day weekend, but he really wasn't himself until Sunday.

Hunter had his first book report due last week. It was actually called a book commercial with an oral presentation. He picked an AR book, which is a book he's read and been quizzed on for comprehension. He had many to choose from and it took him two days of looking through them to decide which one he wanted to talk about. He choose Swindle by Gordon Korman and when he brought it home I was a little concerned because it was fairly thick and he only had a few days to put his commercial together.

The assignment was to take a small paper bag and put on the front the book title and author's name and then an illustration about the story. On the side panel the main characters and a description about them, the back panel a short summary and the last panel (the bag would be cut flat and it was planned to be in that order), Hunter's rating of the story, one to four stars and why he rated it the way he did.

Then he had to gather together four visual aids. Hmm. The main visual aide we should have had was a baseball card since the story revolved around that. Hunter doesn't own any of these and we probably could have made our own if our computer didn't think it has a perpetual paper jam (grrr)! We went over his main characters and summary and decided he'd cut out a house and we'd prop it up and he'd use two of his Star Wars characters for the two best friends in the story, then a small stuffed doberman pincher from a McDonald's Hotel for Dogs Happy Meal and a ghost finger puppet (because the house is supposedly haunted).

The hardest part for Hunter was the oral presentation. Well, following all directions for the oral presentation was rough for him. It involved writing cues on index cards he would refer to while standing in front of the class. He sat at the table with paper and pencil with the goal of writing down the main points of the story. Half an hour later, he had written down only two things. I've talked with Hunter before about him not writing things down. His reading grade has dropped because he's not putting thoughts down on paper. He told me that he has so many thoughts in his head, he can't get them down. Tim, the teacher's and I are working on this. A new goal has been added to his IEP. I'll talk more of this after the book commercial.

So I sat down across from my son and took the paper and pencil and told him I'd act the scribe. This way I learned about the entire story in ten minutes with Hunter talking and me jotting down what he agreed were the main points. I actually copied everything but the title and author's name for Hunter onto his paper bag. He'd need a double sized paper bag with his printing! I sent in the work Hunter printed out and my notes from his re-telling so his teacher can see that he did do all the work himself. I put his index cards together and we did a practice run through, a small part of which you can see in the video on my home page.

When he finally had his turn in front of the class, his teacher wrote in the notebook that he did an excellent job. During the practice run, Hunter never even looked at the cue cards we created. He said he didn't need them during his presentation, either, and that his classmates and teacher laughed and were grossed out during the part where one of the boys reaches his hand up into the body cavity of a frozen turkey!

Hunter's grades dropped in reading and TEN POINTS in math. He is now one point above failing in that subject. I had no idea he was doing so poorly. We knew he wasn't asking for help and had an emergency meeting that resulted in Hunter putting a book on end at his desk to let the teacher know he needed help. He doesn't like to ask for help and we're thinking it might be because he doesn't like the attention drawn, although sometimes he thinks he can just do it without help.

A few weeks ago I had another meeting with his teacher and we talked about how his writing comprehension isn't where it should be. As was very evident in his re-telling of the story to me for the Swindle (do I underline that or use quotes??) oral presentation, he has no problem comprehending it. But when asked to write the words down himself, he falls very short. During that meeting, math was mentioned only ONCE. She said that during the math test this year, Hunter can't go back and forth with a scribe; he can't say yes in one area and not the next. It's either an all or nothing thing.

In the teacher comment section of his report card, she wrote, Doesn't ask for help. This really irked my husband because there was a meeting about exactly that and if he's not asking for help and she can see his grade going down hill, then he thinks, and I agreed, that she should be offering him help or finding out why he isn't asking for help and determine if the current set up, if he's using it, is working like it should. Some fault lies with Hunter, can't blame the teacher for everything :). He often refuses to use extra paper and tries to work out a problem in a small space that his big, blocky printing just doesn't fit into. His works gets squished into each other and he ends up computing the wrong rows or can't make out what he wrote among the jumble. He has absolutely refused to use large block graph paper in the classroom. The teacher and OT said he actually got mean about it. He doesn't want to use anything that makes him different from the other kids. Instead we're trying to get him to use a piece of scrap paper so he'll have more room. If he thinks he has room on the actual worksheet, he uses that. I'd love to have his worksheets be printed where there's no space between problems, but they don't come that way.

Hunter didn't like it at first but he's accepted the fact that he has to do two things from me, math and writing, each night on top of the homework his teacher assigns for him. He has to re-write the math problems on a separate piece of paper and he does a writing assignment. The last one I had him do was, Imagine you can fly. Where would you go? He gave me three good five sentence paragraphs, but the paragraphs were more like a list, like, I would do this...I would do that.... I re-wrote his ideas into a three paragraph story and we talked about the differences in how the paragraphs looked when compared to each other and how they sounded to read them. If you're curious, Hunter wanted to go to Australia because he would get privacy there and eat his favorite snack of cheese without interruption. He said he'd wear his best looking outfit, fly very fast but not let anyone see him because he'd want his super power to be a secret. He concluded that he'd fly to important places and be people's hero because he knew himself to be a good person.

My sister Tiffany called me two Tuesday's ago at 10:00 PM. I knew she and her hubby Mark were wandering the countryside again as they tend to do a couple times each year. I was a little perturbed with her for calling me and saying she was on another jaunt and currently in West Virgina. I admit I got a bit mad because they had once again set off from their home in Marquette and my house wasn't on their itinerary! That was on Sunday and when she called Tuesday night, there were two thoughts in my head. Either it was an emergency or she was coming my way. I''m happy to say that she was coming my way!

They thought they'd be here between 1:00 and 2:00 A.M. Well, I'm sure you read or heard about the ice storm that hit Kentucky. Well, they got into some of that and then the winter storm warning in my neck of the woods. I told them I wouldn't be up when they arrived but that Tim and I would get the camper nice and warm and the bed ready so they could just crawl into there and I'd see them in the morning. When I got up with Hunter at 5:45, their car wasn't in the driveway! I called and got Tiff and they said their were sitting in a block of ice and had to pull over often to knock the build up off their windshield wipers. They were in Akron which is, on a typical day, a 45 minute drive. I headed outside to try to shovel away my worries with the foot of snow in my driveway when they still hadn't arrive at 8:00 and Tiffany didn't answer my call. At about 8:30 they finally arrived and I was so relieved.

My BIL immediately went into the camper and fell asleep. Tiff came in and had some breakfast. Hunter was home to see her because school had been canceled that day. We didn't do much with the terrible weather and they left the next morning, but it was great to see them even for such a short time. I'm looking forward to hugging her again in the summer.

You've shown your love for my boys and I if you've read all of this. Many hugs and kisses to you! Hunter has a four day week this week and next. I'd love to just pack up and head north, but not this time. Two years ago my sister Amanda came down from Charlevoix because her girls had the same days off as Hunter. No visit from them this year. She has said that she'd like to come down this summer and take the girls to either Cedar Point, which is about two hours away, or the water park, which is twenty minutes away.

Everyone take care.