Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure - Three Year Old Edition

image: Kristina Alexanderson

Adventure #1

It is 37 degrees outside, and the wind is gusting up to 40mph. As you walk to the car, the cold air sends goosebumps down your spine.

(I know, I know. 37 degrees is not that cold. But I am an Arizonan. We are a warm weather people.)

 You get everyone buckled into the car and leave for your destination.

Two minutes later, you hear a request. "Mom, please may I roll my window down? I really want to roll my window down."

 You choose. 
 Choice 1: You deny the request. It's cold and no one needs their window down right now. The heater is on, for heaven's sake.
 Choice 2: You unlock the window.

 >>You have chosen #1. 

 "No, honey, it's cold outside. We don't need our windows down."

 Three year old immediately breaks down, tears rolling, loud wails fill the car. Complete breakdown ensues. The six year old is now holding her ears and crying because the three year old is so stinking loud. You arrive at your destination on time, but enter twenty minutes behind schedule due to the amount of time it takes to calm everyone back down.

 >>You have chosen #2. 

 "Alright, if you say so."

 Window rolls down. You brace yourself for the cold, but surprisingly, it is not that noticeable. A minute or two later, you hear a song from the back seat.

 "The wind is blowing, and I feel in my heart. It is so beautiful and I love the wind. I don't know why but I just love the wind, and I love the wind in my heart..." 

 There are few things cuter than a three year old singing original songs.

 After about a mile's worth of this, she says, "Okay. I am done with this window. It is cold outside."

 The window rolls up. Everyone is in a happy mood. You arrive at your destination and enter on time. You feel like a good mom today.

Adventure #2

Children are tucked into bed. Stories have been read, waters have been sipped, blankets have been placed the right way. Good night, dear children. 8:05pm.

You finally get to sit down next to your husband, where you plan to drink a glass of wine, maybe even finish an uninterrupted sentence.

Just as you get comfortable, a three year old voice travels down the stairs. 8:10pm.

"Mom, I have a question. Will you snuggle me?"

You choose. 
Choice 1: You deny the request. You've already hugged, kissed, tucked, snuggled, and you are tired. 
Choice 2: You go snuggle.

>>You have chosen #1.

"Sweetie, I have already snuggled you. You are supposed to be in your bed. Please go lay down and go to sleep."

Three year old turns for her room, big sobs causing her whole body to shudder. She returns to bed, where she proceeds to cry louder and louder. Now six year old is crying. She can't read because three year old is so stinking loud. Husband retreats to the garage to "check on some things". You gulp some wine and climb the stairs to begin damage control. Many minutes and tears and tissues later, the house is calm again. You go to bed, no wine, no conversation. You are exhausted. It is 9:07pm.

>>You have chosen #2.

"Sure, honey. I'll be right there."

You scoot into bed beside her and she wraps your arms around her body just so, and presses her little forehead to yours. She asks you to stay "to 100" and counts sleepily to somewhere in the 80's at which point she nods off. You muse about how perfectly her forehead fits into the curves of your face. Her breath becomes even, her arms limp. You stay for a few extra seconds to soak up what's left of her baby-ness. You gently slide out of her bed, and walk back down the stairs.

It is now 8:17pm and you have a quiet house. You might even get to read a book tonight.

Adventure #3

Six year old asks for her piggy bank. She has promised to pay three year old two dollars in exchange for three year old singing a song with her.

You choose:
Choice #1: You deny the request. "Two dollars for singing a song? Money is not for playing with, you know."
Choice #2: You get the piggy bank.

>>You have chosen #1.

Six year old gets angry. "It's MY money. I earned it. I PROMISED I would pay her. Do you want me to break my promise? You are making me into a BAD SISTER!" She stomps off to her room. Three year old is now crying because she wants the two dollars she was promised. There is a good chance that six year old is attempting to climb her bookshelf and get the bank herself, which will probably lead to injury. You sigh and head upstairs, most likely to argue some more.

>>You have chosen #2.

"Sure, here you go."

You listen as six year old gives three year old a little lesson on the different types of money in her bank, and quizzes her what the coins are and how much they are worth. Three year old wants to pay her sister for her lesson, and asks for her own bank. Two more dollars are exchanged. There are "thank you's" and "I love you's" spoken. They put away their money. You mentally check "teach some math today" off of the on-going list in your head.

*  *  *  *  *

Grown ups just can't see the whole little-kid picture sometimes. We see from the practical view, the "you'll put your eye out!" mind-set. Children hear the song in the wind, the sweetness of that last hug before sleep. I wish I could say that I always chose #2, and my household was always pleasant and idyllic. Sometimes I can't see past the sensible solution, or the quickest means to my end. But more often, I do, and the results often teach me a new perspective. For that, I  am thankful.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Lost in Translation

Our family often has moments in which we notice that we don't quite fit in outside our home. Whether it's a glance from a stranger when we are deep in an unusual conversation, or the double-takes when our girls break out into spontaneous interpretive dance at the mall because the mood strikes (with or without music), it's often an adventure.

Here are a few examples of recent instances that within the house, seemed perfectly normal, but out of the house, caused some raised eyebrows.  If you can relate, or your kids have done the same, come on over. We could use a playdate with some kindred spirits. :)

*  *  *  *  *

We love They Might Be Giants. We have a Youtube list full of their songs. C's favorite song is "What is a Shooting Star", and B's is "Put it to the Test". Even A will sit and chuckle with us, putting her "I'm a cool teenager" persona aside to laugh at the scientist who gets eaten by his plant. I crack up at the "Seven" song. It's not uncommon for one of us to shout, "We want cake! Where's our cake?" when discussing dessert options.

...but transplant that fun time into the birthday party of some kid whose family we hardly know, and my girls see the birthday cake and chant, "We want cake! Where's our cake?" ...

Based on their reaction, that family clearly does not watch They Might Be Giants videos for fun. Sigh. 

*  *  *  *  *

B enjoys the American Girl series, and her favorite girl is Kaya, who is from the Nez Perce tribe. The Kaya books have a glossary of Nez Perce words, and B has learned many. The Nez Perce believed in animal spirit guides, called "wyakins". My little fairy girl loves the idea of this, and told us her wyakin is a dog. Some fun conversations about various Native American beliefs and traditions have spawned from the books. imagine a Girl Scout meeting, at which a police officer has come to tell the girls about his job, and he has brought his German Shepherd police dog. During question/answer time, B pipes up and tells everyone that she has a wyakin, a spirit guide, and he is a dog that looks just like the policeman's. 

<<<crickets chirping>>>

The police officer was very kind, and said, "Well, that's pretty cool", and moved on, but based on their expressions, I don't think the other moms & kids have read the Kaya books.  

*  *  *  *  *

B has a book called "A Genuine and Moste Authentic Guide: Princess" that she reads like it's her gospel. I have to say, her table manners and posture have improved greatly. She has also learned some "frustrated princess" words, and it's not unusual to hear her muttering, "Dash it and diamonds!" or "Flippering frogs!" when things aren't going her way. fast-forward to a gymnastics class. She is having a difficult time with a skill, and exclaims "Curses and crowns!"  I'm so happy that her coach appreciates all of her idiosyncrasies. I am fairly certain that the other girls in her class have not read the  princess book, though, judging from the looks on their faces.

*  *  *  * *

I might be the only at the bookstore who gets it when B sings "Mary Pope Osborne has lost her sheep and doesn't know where to find them..." then dissolves in giggles. Her dad and I might be the only ones who understand what she is talking about at a big gathering when she states "I need some quiet. I'm over-excited right now." 

B told me the other night, "You know, Mom, it's the weird things about you that make you special."

I couldn't agree more!

image: Loulse Docker

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Here Come the Holidays*

image: Peter Thoeny

Twas the holiday season, and all through the town
Ten different Santas were turning Brother’s world upside down.
The smells of trees, candles and spicy egg nog
Was enough to give Mom a piercing head fog.

Dad planned holiday travels while school books gathered dust
When out at the mailbox arose such a clatter
He sprung from his seat to see what was the matter.

There was Mom, looking wild, with a laugh long and hearty
Holding fifteen invitations to holiday parties
To Nana’s! To Auntie’s! To the office and friends!
The routine’s out the window till this holiday ends.

Off to the airport for a five hour flight
Occur at dear Grandma’s, and for all of the cousins,
And Grandpa who changes plans all of a sudden!

The mayhem begins as soon as they arrive
Mom confiscates treats full of gluten, sugar and artificial dyes
Sis-in-law mentions  “pushy parents” and “kids need to have fun”
Oh hurray! Holiday season has clearly begun!

Grandpa bugs Brother to play football, but he just wants to read
Sister sneaks leftovers to make plates for those homeless, in need
Dad’s looking for ear plugs, his mood’s a bit sour

Sister runs and hides as twenty people breeze in
Thank goodness for family members like Uncle Tim
Who’ll chat for hours with Brother about science and the periodical table
While Mom drinks as much “holiday punch” as she’s able.

Now the children are nestled all snug on the floor
Brother doesn’t like scratchy sheets, Sister wants just one book more
Grandma is happy to acquiesce
And sends Mom and Dad off for some quiet and rest.

At holiday dinner, cousins are quiet, well-behaved
And what to Mom's terrified eyes should appear
But Brother’s 5 OE's heightened by Great-Auntie's sneer.

Now the weekend has ended, much love and much cheer
Alternated with delicate feelings, apprehension and fear
As Brother wails, feeling itchy in Grandma’s hand-knitted sweater
Mom and Dad sigh, and say “Next year, we just know it, next year will be better.”

The links in the post are from the November 2013 GHF Blog Hop, Surviving and Thriving at the Holidays with a Gifted/2e Kid, which has many other excellent tips! Here's hoping for a happy and fun holiday season! 

*...with apologies to Clement Moore, and with a little help from Jade Rivera and the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum.