Thursday, April 28, 2011

Electric reads

I love to read. I love the feeling of a book in my palm, pen in hand and the smell of printed, delicious words. When Randy asked if I would want a Kindle, I really had to think about it. Now, you know we love technology, so that wasn't the issue as much as the sensory love I have for books.

His motivation may have been the overflowing basket of books on my end table - sometimes I nibble instead of ravage - or perhaps the knowledge that this is where books are headed. I downloaded the Kindle app first and started playing with it, and I liked it. Then I downloaded it on the computer and when it synced my spot from my phone I fell in love. I could read in different places, on different devices and it would automatically move me! I can highlight, annotate, and share those notes. I can lend a book to a friend. I know I can't sit in Barnes and Noble and read any book for free, but I can try sample chapters.

I've always been a reader, voracious at times, and now I am electric...and I love it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Harsh lessons

Drew and Owen are both tech kids. They love technology, and that makes sense considering who their parents are. We also want to make sure we create healthy limits for all our intakes around here. So we have rules about screen time - which is it cannot start until after seven, even if they are up and in their beds at six - and it cannot start again until six at night and is off at seven.

Pokemon is the latest favorite right now, and they push boundaries in the name of battles. "I'm in the middle of a battle, mommy!" which means they can't save it and if they turn it off in the middle of a battle, they will lose all the progress they made. However, when the rules are clear and there are working clocks all over the house, one does not need to wait until mom tells him to turn off the device.

So we are learning some hard lessons around here about responsibilities and trust. The other came the other morning when Drew lied to me about playing his DS in bed. I asked what he was doing as he lay prostrate on his bed. "Reading." he responded, even though there were no books in sight. We talked a bit more about the day and I asked what he was reading. Grasping for any book remotely close, but careful not to move too much, Drew was caught in a lie. He lunged for a book and I slid the DS out from under his belly.

His face ashened and his eyes welled. He knew he just lost his DS. The answer to the why? "I thought you'd take it away." and I most certainly would. You broke the rule, however, because you lied the time the DS is away is much longer. Sneaking is a form of lying, dude. And the truth is, lying will catch up with the liar.

And he cried, and reached for hugs, and cried some more.
I'm glad, though, that he is learning these lessons now in the safety of our house, and not somewhere else. Though they hurt, he will be all the better for it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

ten fevers in eight months

It is the bane of our existence. It rears its ugly head and refuses to back down for three days - always. It sent us to the doctor asking for answers and leaving with blood tests that come back clear. It makes the doctor shrug and agree that, "it is strange' but not strange enough.

Owen is my 4.5 year old fever magnet. A virus brushes against him in the store? Owen invites it home. These stray viruses he collects like snow globes. He doesn't like being sick, except for the extra screen time, but he continually and perpetually brings them home. And truth be told, I will take every virus happily if it truly is him MO and just "strange."

It costs us in time, daycare, work, commitments, but these are merely inconveniences on the grand scale of life. My friends assure me that he will be healthier because of this, and I hope so and know so as I think about Drew and his school record.

But when I am in the month of April and have taken five half days and one full day, It is hard to keep in all in the balances, and I continue to wish summer here soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On being thorough.

Today my youngest son and I visited a new pediatrician. Specifically, a behavior pediatrician. I like our regular doctor, he's a nice kid, (I can totally say that, he's at least ten years younger than me) but he's a generalist, and we're reaching the point where we really needed someone more specifically familiar with the issues we are facing, primarily ADHD. (The pediatrician we had for years, who was my pediatrician as a child and had seen absolutely everything, retired last year.)

So we made an appointment with this new doctor, and because of a cancellation, got in almost immediately. And this morning, my son and I spent two hours with her in her office, going over everything that's happened in the last year, what worked and what didn't and why, and came up with a plan for moving forward.

First of all, I have never in my life sat down with a doctor for two hours straight. I've seen therapists where you know you have 50 minutes, so you do feel like you at least have their attention for that period of time, but most of the time when you see a doctor, they have one hand on the doorknob the entire time. This doctor was relaxed, ready to hear our entire story start to finish, talked me both me and my son (although I let him play on my phone for most of the time, partly to keep him busy and partly so he'd not be overly focused on the negative aspects of the conversation that needed to be said.)

I was really impressed with this doctor. I felt like she listened, offered ideas, and together we arrived at a decision with which I am very comfortable. I guess my take away here is this: trust your instincts, and get another doctor when you feel you need one. Again, I like our regular pediatrician, he's very nice, very laid back, the boys like him. We will continue to see him for our regular pediatric needs - sick visits and physicals. But as a generalist, and one with only a few years of experience at that, he just doesn't have the depth of knowledge that we needed here.

Here's the funny thing: the new doctor? Who is super thorough? Her name is Dr. Therou.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reaquaint yourself with Roald Dahl.

I have a collection of books from my childhood, in a box my mother gave me when she cleaned out her basement. Some were beloved storybooks, some were random teen angsty junior novels (Sweet Valley High, anyone?) and a few were more mature, but still beloved, classics - Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, Flowers in the Attic...oh wait. Skip that last one.

One of my favorites is Roald Dahl. He wrote for children, but he doesn't talk down to them. You get the distinct feeling that he's like an eccentric uncle who expects you to understand more about the world, and you want to try and please him. My favorite was a collection of short stories called The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. Very mature, but still fit right in with the early teen precocious reader that I was. I didn't need the beefy, superhuman heroes of comic books. I needed antiheroes, real people who managed to win, in their little corner of life.

So when I started pulling out classics for my kids, we found we love Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory of course, James and The Giant Peach, too. All stories of an underdog coming out on top, in less than perfect ways. And just recently, I dug out The BFG.
(Instead of linking 10 times, here's Roald Dahl's page at Amazon. Much easier! Also, most of these are easy to find at your public library.)

The BFG stands for Big Friendly Giant. Sophie, an orphan, befriends the big oaf who inadvertently kidnaps her, and together they search for ways to make his life better. It's not unlike another favorite, Where The Wild Things Are. Children confront their fears, and find the things they fear have fears of their own. Everyone wins.

It may be a few more years before I dig out The Bitch, however. Ahem.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Just another manic Monday.

People, I am only one person. I can get one kid to one soccer practice at 5:15pm, and I can get the other to his soccer practice at 5:30, only a few miles away. But then both practices are over at 6:45, and I have to feed them, change one from his soccer practice clothes into a scout uniform, and then be in three places at 7pm.
P.S. - my husband is traveling. He's not here, not there, not anywhere.

Um, yeaahhhh. No. Not gonna happen.

I need help.

I'm lucky in that my mom is just down the street, so I can rope her into my chauffeuring rodeo. She'll pick up my youngest from soccer and take him home and feed him while my oldest son and I eat drive-thru and change clothes in the car and head to his scout meeting. But it means that my cub scout committee/den leader meeting doesn't happen. Is it that big of a deal? No. Is it hard to let go and admit I can't do it all?


Dumb, I know. But I hate letting people down. Other people have changed their schedules in order to fit in that meeting, and yet it's the one I am choosing to jettison. Yes, I can get all the information I need on email later. No, I can't enjoy the other adults in person.

But it's hard to have to let go. It's hard to let people down. But as much as I enjoy those adults at the cub scout meeting, my kids come first. Where they have to be and when comes first. That's the order in which I chose what has to go. My things have to wait.

Of course, that's why I don't have time to work out anymore, which is making my clothes not fit as comfortably. And why blogging takes place at night, from bed, in the laptop a mere minutes before I pass out for another day. And why my google reader have over 1000 unread posts.

But that's my commitment to my kids right now. Someday they won't be here for me to drive around to practice, soon they'll be able to get themselves there and won't need me. At least not as a chauffeur. I can live with that.