Christmas Cheer

22 Nov

I’m happy to report I’m feeling better lately. Sorry for the vagueness of everything but the nausea is improving and overall, I am doing a lot better. I hope to get back to running this weekend once I feel my strength is back up. Thank you for your concerns.

That being said, we had Eli’s parent-teacher conference today and she continued to confirm his brilliance. They do a yearly standardized test here called the MAP and Eli has consistently ranked in the 99% in all areas since he started taking it in Kindergarten. Apparently, if a kid ranks above 96%, the parents are to be notified that their child has been recommended for advanced placement testing but for some reason, we never were. I’ve been trying repeatedly to get that rescheduled but again, for some reason, I keep getting emails replying that we missed the test date and it’s been rescheduled for 11/5 (one might note that was two weeks ago. I’m beginning to think the Seattle school system might not be so advanced with the learning). His teacher today said that our principal would advocate for Eli to be excepted into the testing despite potentially missing the deadline since I have documentation that I’ve been trying to get it corrected for weeks.

In any case, we all know he’s smart. What I loved hearing was that he is a joy to have in class. She said he was one of the most thoughtful and caring children she’s met. No behavioral issues and he is a team player. I think that part spoke to me the most because smarts aside, I want a compassionate, loving kid. She said “Good job mom and dad! Thank you for letting me learn to know Eli.” Wow!

Ben continues to work on reading and it is slow going. He’s got his phonics relatively well down but he’s just at that point that he can’t connect. He also doesn’t enjoy reading as much as Eli did so our opportunities to work on it when he is motivated are limited. He is much more into physical activities and working on things with his hands. He enjoys anything creative and making art. He will often run up to me out of nowhere with a hug and say “I just love you so much.” So I think all in all, the boys are doing okay.

I’ve updated their amazon wish lists with Christmas suggestions. Clothing wise, Ben is in 4T pants, 5T shirts. Eli is in size 10 shirts and size 8/10 pants. Ben wears a size 12 shoes and Eli wears a 3. They’re pretty well outfitted but Eli could use more long sleeve shirts and proper pjs. They are very into Skylanders Trap Team on the PS4 and Ben is heavily into his Minecraft phase. Ben is at the point where he can follow and build the easier legos without our help and his pride at doing so is palpable. He is really mastering his ability to overcome frustration when he gets to a sticking point.

This Thanksgiving will be very low key. Will is coming over and that’s the extent of it. Andy and I are both fortunate to both be off work and he’ll be doing the majority of the cooking. I look forward to a lot of board games and puzzles and watching the Cowboys lose (I don’t even know who they are playing but still). The kids are home with me tomorrow since school is out and I’m looking around for something fun for us to do.

I’m working on uploading a lot of iPhone pictures to Flickr. I also have some pictures from the camera I need to upload as well. These are on my to do list to get done before Christmas.

I hope you all are doing well.


Ben finishes the puzzle!

20 Nov

Really looking forward to seeing all you guys next month. The boys are doing well. Eli has his Advanced Learning exams in the next month, not that it will mean much. We already decided he won’t switch schools even if he qualifies but it will allow for some additional attention in the school he attends now. We mostly wanted to get an idea of how he’s doing in relation to his peers so we can accommodate.

Ben is getting way better at puzzles. Here’s his most recent learning story from school:

Ben Finishes the Puzzle
A learning story by Ben Smith and Teacher Mollie

It was morning in the Mountain Room and circle time had just come to an end. The teachers told the children what was on the tables for morning activities; everyone ran off to pick.

Ben stood up at circle and looked around. His usual friends he played with were not there that day. Ben walked over to the square yellow table and sat down next to his other friend, Reegan.
“What is this?” Ben asked Reegan.
“It’s a kind of a number puzzle,” Reegan told him.
“Could I help? I am good at puzzles,” Ben asked
Reegan said, “Sure.”
Ben grabbed a couple of the pieces and started helping. There were already a couple pieces matched together. Reegan put the next on. Ben then put his piece on and then noticed Reegan’s piece was on wrong,
“Reegan, this has to be moved,” Ben told him. Ben then moved the piece around and added his. Reegan grabbed some more pieces and Ben noticed. 
“That is a lot of pieces, Reegan! I need some. Give me them!” Ben demanded.
Reegan looked at Ben and said “I have them.”
Ben then took a deep breath and said, “Please, Reegan, can I have a couple?”
Reegan smiled and said, “okay!”
Ben smiled back and said, “Thanks.”
After a couple minutes, they both finished the puzzle. Reegan stood up and went to play somewhere else.
Ben looked around and then back at the puzzle, “I am now going to do it myself.” He took it all a part and started off from the beginning.
“I know it starts with one and then two,” he said out loud as he found the pieces that made the number one and two. He then looked at the pieces, “Teacher Mollie, I can’t find the other ones,” he made a sad noise and then crossed his arms. I then showed him how to set up the puzzle box to see what the picture looked like.
Ben relaxed and put his arms down and then looked at the box.
“Oh, I see! The three is right there,” he then picked out the ones he needed.

Ben continued to work with the box propped up and finding pieces that he needed.
Ben then finished the first row and went on to the next number on the bottom. As he put the piece on the bottom, the top broke. He fixed the top but then the bottom piece fell off. He sighed loudly.
“This is too hard,” he yelled.
Ben crossed his arms and put his head down. After a couple seconds, he looked up.
He looked at his hands and then proceeded to hold one side with one hand and put the piece back on with his other. It worked. He continued to put the other pieces on. Throughout the process, the puzzle would come undone with the slightest movement. Ben continued trying his technique out by holding one side down, while he fixed the other.

As Ben got closer to finishing it, he had a smile on his face. He then found the last piece and put it on.

He laughed as the piece snapped in. He looked the box and at the puzzle and smiled. “It looks like the box. I finished it!” he said.

What does this mean:
Ben, I loved watching you with this activity! It was great to watch you with a friend and then try it by yourself.
Ben, a lot of times you can get frustrated in both situations. Maybe a friend is not listening to you, or you need some help when no one is around. Either way, you can get mad or sad and then forget about the activity.
In this story, you showed us how you took the time to work with Reegan and with yourself. The first part of the story, you and Reegan worked together to make the puzzle. You showed that you could take turns and even share the pieces. In one part of the story, you demanded pieces from Reegan. You knew that is was not fair for him to have all the pieces, and you expressed that. Reegan also chose to not give them to you. I noticed you had two choices at that moment. You could keep demanding and getting angrier at him, or ask him more kindly. Ben, you chose to calm down and ask him in a different way; Reegan then gave you some of the pieces.
The second part of the story Ben is how you dealt with your own frustrations. You wanted to do the puzzle yourself! It can be so self-rewarding to try at something yourself and complete it. There were a couple times in the story that you got angry. I could tell by your sighs and grunts that it may have felt like a lot of work. Ben, you worked through it though. You proved to yourself that you could figure out the problem and find ways to work around it. That is amazing! A lot of people have an easy time getting angry at a problem and not wanting to try new ways to fix it. You, on the other hand, asked me for help and liked my advice. You also knew that that you could help yourself if the puzzle was falling apart. I am very proud of you, Ben.

Future Possibliities:
I think this story showed the two sides of Ben. His curious and exploration side and his frustration, self-doubt side.
Ben tends to get overwhelmed easily when something is not working out. In this story, it showed when Reegan would not share the pieces, and then when the puzzle was falling apart. Ben allowed himself to get frustrated but then used strategies to fix the issues he was having. He chose to use kinder words with Reegan, and then find a solution to the puzzle not staying together.
I think with this story; Ben will only become more and more confident in the things his friends can do and what he can do himself. Moving towards the future, he will hopefully get less frustrated when things are not working and then start to think of people or objects that can help.
In the classroom, we like to do a lot of team building activities. I hope for Ben to be a part of these activities. That way he has more opportunities to interact and understand how friends can help one another. He also will pick up how to ask nicely for something from his friends.
We can also start exploring new activities, projects, and skills to help Ben work on himself. He can have those moments to try new things and have the help around him when he needs and asks for it. I think Ben is a bright kid and knows what he wants. When it does not happen the exact way, that is when it can be overwhelming for him. With practice and patience, Ben will understand how he needs to work and what he is capable of.

*Since I got this, we’ve been working with Ben on games in general and puzzles in an effort to help him learn frustration tolerance. I can’t help but feel that some of his frustration comes from being a younger sibling and often Eli will “help” Ben in a very demeaning way “Ben, it’s not that hard, stop freaking out.” I wish he’d be more positive and encouraging but he’s coming from the standpoint of (I think) still having some resentment about not being King of the Mountain. In positive news, we have progressed from 24 to 46 to now 100 piece puzzles that Ben wants to do all on his own and when he gets frustrated, he’s stopped saying “I can’t do it” and instead just taking a break then getting back to it. Super proud of that kid.

We recently got the board games Ticket to Ride and King of Tokyo and we’ve been having a lot of fun with those. They are super fun for Eli and even the grown ups really enjoy them. We’ve also been doing a lot of puzzles in general.

The last month has been hard. Hard in a way I don’t really know how to quantify. I’ve been sick and having a lot of problems with nausea and throwing up but I’ve been well connected with my PCP and I think it’s getting under control. It’s been stressful and difficult. That being said, I feel lucky to have such a solid family foundation with all of you and I know things will even out. I am really, really looking forward to Christmas.



16 Oct

This is pretty much what we hear from Ben anytime something doesn’t involve screens these days.  “This is bow-ing”, “Bow-ing”, “You’re just trying to make me have a bad day”, “Now I’m having a bad day now”, and so on.  Lest you think Ben’s life is nothing but misery, once he’s cut off he goes into a fit for about 30 seconds then he’s fine.  One of the things you have to give Ben, he doesn’t hold on to stuff for long.

We are fully into another year– Eli’s second grade year, Ben’s last year of preschool before kindergarten and things are going well.  Eli is in advanced math and reading at school and is in line to get tested for the “smart kid” schools although truth be told, we likely will not switch him even if he qualifies. We’ve told him the tests are just to see where he is and that the decision to switch is up to him.  We’ve talked to a lot of parents of kids who either have kids at these schools or who have toured them and they all say the same thing–the kids are stressed.  It’s an insanely competitive environment of the kids of tech people and the kids don’t seem happy.  If Eli does test well, his school can accommodate him to a degree and anything over than that, we will outsource.  Not really willing to risk his emotional development for academic when he’s not particularly a competitive kid and has been very adamant that he wants to stay with his friends.  If we can accommodate his learning satisfactorily without sacrificing anything, I’d rather he’d stay where he is.  Part of his lack of competitiveness is that he’s so used to being automatically good at what he does (barring physical stuff) and he and I have talked a lot about that.  We’ve talked about the importance of him challenging himself in areas he’s had to work to excel.  I think he understands.

Ben is working hard on reading these days.  He’s got all the sounds down and is just working on putting them together.  He’s very into writing lately and will frequently ask us to spell words so he can write them down.  An unfortunate side effect of this is that Eli will often turn this to (for him) great comedic effect as evidenced today by Ben bringing us a sheet of paper that was clearly his repeated attempts to write the word “butt”.  Luckily for Ben, he hasn’t quite gotten the hang of writing words left to right and instead his letters are usually all over the place.  We spent a good while torturing him while he obviously wanted us to say “You wrote ‘butt’!” and then be upset about it.  Instead we just kept reading whatever he wrote which actually was “btt” or “bttu” and it drove him crazy. Then I went and had conversation #45624 with Eli that if Ben goes to preschool and writes the word “butt”, it’s going to be his that’s on the line.

Things have been going well around here.  I’ve entered a half marathon for March.  After Ragnar, I pretty much stopped running entirely and now all my running buddies are off running without me.  It’s a social outlet I’m starting to miss even if I do have to run to be a part of it.  Ragnar was really fantastic in that it solidified some work friendships that had been moving along at a snail’s pace and now several of us spend a lot of time together.  It’s especially nice that they don’t work normal schedules either so now I have friends to hang out with on Wednesdays and Thursdays instead of it just being me and Ben alone all day. They have older kids in school but they are always fine with Ben tagging along and Ben is enjoying hanging out in coffee shops having hot chocolate and a muffin once a week.  Nonetheless, I’ve got to get exercise back in and it seems the only way I’ll do it consistently is if I have a race to train for.  So back on track starting tomorrow.

Our schedule is heavy these days–swim for Eli Wednesday evenings, swim for Ben Thursday mornings, chess club for Eli Tuesday before school, gymnastics for Ben on Wednesday mornings.  Add in to that school, work schedules, homework, and probably someone should cook something at some point and a lot of days feel pretty hectic.  Today was really great though–it was gray and rainy most of the day so every single person in this household has spent the day in their pjs.  We watched the Seahawks game, we played some video games, we worked on spelling “butt”, we practiced our spelling words, we played a few rounds of King of Tokyo (really fun board game Eli discovered at school) and a lot of wrestling.  It was nice to not have a lot to do.

Have you guys heard about the Broadway play “Hamilton”?  It’s kind of hard to avoid hearing about it. It’s pretty much the most acclaimed Broadway musical in about a million years.  They have a soundtrack to it and a friend kept telling me I needed to listen to it so he loaned me the CDs.  I played them one day in the car and figured the kids would ask to turn it off about 20 seconds in but they are ADDICTED.  It’s a musical about Alexander Hamilton and the founding of the country.  It’s jam packed with rap and hip hop and it’s just a delight to listen to.  It’s also started a lot of really fascinating conversations with the kids about how America came to be America.  In the last month, we’ve had a lot of talks about King George, Marquis de Lafayette, Aaron Burr, and the reasons why they wanted independence from England in the first place.  I admit I’ve had to do a LOT of googling to brush up on my history but it’s really amazing that a musical is making the kids so interested in history.  It’s also pretty cute to hear Ben walking around the house shouting “HERE COMES THE GENERAL!” (from a song about George Washington).

For a small taste, here’s “Guns and Ships” which the boys (and I) are just in love with the last few days:

Man, it’s been so long since I’ve posted on here I can’t figure out how to upload a link.  Let me figure this out….Guns and Ships

Ok, there we go.

Video catch up.  Man, I do not take nearly as many videos as I used to.  Mostly that’s because whenever the kids see me recording they automatically start acting like fools thereby ruining whatever nice moment I was hoping to capture.  However, I’m going to rewrite history and tell myself that it’s because I was being mindful and enjoying the moment instead of playing with my phone…


Time for waffles!

Older brothers. Sheesh.

Andy and Eli are terrible.

Ben getting the hang of the balance bike

Ben writing his name!

Look at that.  It no longer embeds a video still of the YouTube.  These are the things you learn when you update once a year.

As everyone knows, the Pac NW Smiths are descending upon Louisiana for Christmas.  We will be there for a nice healthy stay (a little longer than “after 3 days, guests or fish go bad” for my dad) but not so long that I think we will exhaust anyone.  We will fly down Dec. 20th and fly back Dec. 29th.  It will be nice for all of us to be in the same place for the holiday.  It’s kind of a banner year in that Andy and I are both off for both holidays!  I realize due to scheduling it’s unlikely to happen again for another 5-7 years so I’m going to enjoy it.

Ben’s got another cold.  He’s definitely the more cold prone of the two–Eli rarely got sick and when he did it was more of an actual illness (usually fever) requiring time off whereas Ben usually just gets about every cold going around.  I wasn’t too surprised by this one (he finished his last one about a month ago) since at the Cub Scout meeting Tuesday he pretty much spent the whole time trying to blow up a balloon, spitting it out of his mouth when he tried to blow it up, having it hit the floor, then putting it right back in.  I took the first two away and then at some point you just have to accept that kids will build resistance.  The silver lining is that for all of his colds, he never really feels badly.  He will be hacky and snotty as all get out but energetic and insisting he feels fine.

He’s moved into Mountain Room at Small Faces and seems to be enjoying it.  He’ll be starting kindergarten next year at North Beach with Eli if everything goes well.  The housing market in Seattle is kind of insane right now–it’s definitely a seller’s market and even rental housing is seeing astronomical increases.  We are hoping our landlords don’t decide to cash in on this but we are making plans in case they do.  I’m inclined to think they won’t since they have generally been happy with us and also like stable renters but it’s a bit nerve-wracking not knowing what might happen.  Their school is so fantastic that I hate the idea of having to switch.  Oh well, it will all work out in the end.

Here’s where I say lots of hopeful things about posting more often but as always, I will do my best.  We are definitely looking forward to the next month–for Halloween, Eli is going as Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes and Ben is going as a skeleton (same costume as last year, love that kid).  I have to work Halloween night but Andy will be off which is good balance as he’s had to work the last few.  Then Eli has his birthday and his party the next day at Playdate Seattle which should be a lot of fun.  They have what is basically a two story habitrail for kids which they love playing in and there are a ton of big screen TVs for the grown ups to watch football.  I think everyone will have a great time.

Have a wonderful fall.

The Jump of Tragedy!

14 Feb

That’s what Eli yelled right before doing what looked downright like a wrestling move (where you jump straight up and land in a ball on your opponent) on Andy tonight. I’m super glad the boys don’t consider me to be their personal punching ball like they do him. I think Andy rather enjoys it as he just lays there and takes it for the most part. They’re not quite big enough yet to actually hurt him so I think more often than not he takes the opportunity to play with the kids yet also not have to move for a bit. In any case, it works for everyone.

January has come and gone. We had a stomach bug travel through the house that worsened with each victim. Ben started it off with a good round of vomiting around 10 AM that lasted for 7 hours. He threw up probably 7-8 times during that period, never ran a fever, and then he was tired and didn’t eat much for a day or so. Then he was back to normal. This was a Saturday, I think? He went to school that Monday. Tuesday, Andy gets off his night shift and says he is feeling off. By noon, he is feeling nauseated and running 102. He never throws up, mostly just runs a fever for the next day. Then he is tired for another day, his appetite is off, then back to normal by Friday. Saturday morning, we are awakened at 4 AM by a screaming Eli who has thrown up on the floor in his room. He proceeds to throw up every 15 minutes for the next 5 or 6 hours, runs a temperature of 101+, and although his stomach settled down after about 8 hours, he runs a fever and generally feels miserable for the next two days. It’s like Ben and Andy’s illness got together and teamed up on him so he got the worst of it. At this point, everyone kept looking at me, waiting for me to get it.

I never got it.  Moms, you know. We don’t have time for that.

In other (non-gloating) news, I’ve signed up for a marathon. Clearly, I’ve lost my mind. It’s in June and needless to stay, I’ve started running again. I’m doing three runs a week (two short during the week and a long one on the weekend). I ran six on Friday and that is the longest I’ve run in probably a year. My friend Wendy recommended a creatine mix for my water bottle and it makes a HUGE difference in how my legs and joints feel after these runs. I’m also continuing to lift on the non-running days. I’m not nearly as fast as I would like (my long runs are coming in at about 10:45 miles and I’d prefer closer to 10) but I set a goal of finishing the full under 5 hours and I’ll get there. It’s all about the training.

Ben started big boy swim classes in January. He was really reluctant to do swim classes without Andy or me in the water with him and he fought it tooth and nail. However, I told him I’d buy him ice cream if he did the class without us and during the first class, he took to it like a fish to water. I think he really dug being able to do the “big kid” stuff he’s seen Eli do in his swim classes and frankly, he was getting pretty bored with all of the songs you do in the parent and tot classes (me too). I really love that I don’t have to get in with him! It’s like a wee 30 minute vacation on Thursday mornings now. His teacher said that he’s so comfortable in the water that he will probably be able to move up to the kindergarten classes soon even though he’s young for it.

Eli’s first chess tournament is in two weeks. We’ve gotten a ton of books from the library (“How to Beat Your Dad at Chess” is his favorite) and we spend a lot of time playing games with him. He’s super excited about it and I am as well. I hope he does well but he has said that he doesn’t care how he does because it’s just fun to play. Can you ask for anything more than that?


Ben sledding (ignore the crying, he was fine 2 seconds later and went again)

Ben and Andy sledding

His first swim class

Christmas 2015 and videos

21 Dec

Oh, man. I’ve got problems. Either the hosting site for this blog (wordpress) or my iMac is having some serious issues. I’ve been downstairs for a good almost two hours now and I’ve managed to post less than five videos and anything I type is coming out very…slowly…

I feel like Andy and I must have gone on some buying spree 3-5 years ago because it seems like everything is breaking down/going slower lately. My iPad is seriously on it’s last legs. I’ve wiped it clean, rebooted it more times than I care to count, and done everything that the internet says I should do to make it work right and it still runs super slow, freezes all the time, and generally seems to be telling me that it’s Time for it. I feel like if it could give me a POLST for it, it would have by now, and the POLST would communicate LET ME GO. New iPads are about a million dollars so if mine bites it then, well, so long iPad.

Regardless, Christmas is FRIDAY! The boys and I are so excited. We are about full of our Christmas routines at this point–Christmas party at Owen’s (every year), lights are up (as much as they will be), last night we drove around Seattle and saw the lights at the Menashe house in West Seattle and did our obligatory drive through Olympic Manor. We haven’t gone to the Zoo Lights at the Zoo yet but I think we might actually skip that this year. I feel like that’s more interesting if you don’t do it every year since they don’t really change it up all that much.

Have I mentioned that Christmas with little kids is the BEST? Eli knows several Christmas carols but he has learned the 1st grade versions of them so he sings that pretty much nonstop. Which means Ben has no idea of the actual words of carols but sings the 1st grade versions non stop as well. We put real versions on our iPhones and have been playing those in the house and car as a (hopeful) means of letting poor Ben learn the actual words to them lest he grow up thinking Christmas is characterized by “Jingle Bells, Batman smells…” sorts of lyrics. Eli is particularly in love with the 12 Days of Christmas so that gets sung at top volume quite a lot around the house lately, much to Andy’s consternation. Poor audiophile he is, he really can’t tolerate a lot of Christmas music unless it’s to his very exacting standards (“This just isn’t a classic rendition of this song and it’s a poor imitation of a standard” “There’s too much reverb” “The intonation isn’t right” “This shouldn’t be sung by a childrens’ choir that can’t sing in sync” are things we’ve heard a lot lately) so the hunt for albums he can tolerate has been thorough. Glory be to iTunes, we’ve finally found a few that he really likes (Bing Crosby’s, a choir one of Andy’s whose name fails me, another compilation album with most of the standards sung by Gene Autry–not about to complain there) so it’s worked out.

I worked today and I’m off until next Monday. I was scheduled to work Christmas Day but unfortunately, Andy and I both were so I took it off. We were also both scheduled to work New Year’s Day so he’s taking that off so I can work. I really miss normal work schedules. He gets off at 6:30 PM Christmas Eve then he has to work overnight Christmas night so poor guy isn’t going to get a lot of sleep that day. I thought I would just order us a dinner and pick it up but then they had Prime Rib on sale at the store so Andy got all excited. We have Mike and Will coming over but that’s it. It’s going to be a lovely day of lazing about, eating way too much, and more lazing about. It’s also forecast to snow on Christmas Eve/Day which I haven’t mentioned to the boys in case it doesn’t pan out but it sure would be awesome if it snowed enough to do some sidewalk sledding–we only need a few inches for that.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas. I wish we could be home (or I wish YOU could be HERE) for the holiday and we surely miss you all. I am so looking forward to the time home with the kiddos and watching their excitement at Santa’s impending arrival. Merry Christmas!



Of Sniffles and fevers…

12 Dec

This post is mostly one of those “so I can remember it later” ones. Last night, Eli went on a sleepover to his friend Jaia’s house. It was the first sleepover for him that wasn’t at a close friend of ours and needless to say, he was pretty excited. Jaia’s mom met him and Jaia after school and walked them both home, very big boy stuff. They had a great time playing minecraft, watching the Christmas ships from Jaia’s back patio, and generally being 7 year olds.

Ben stayed home with Andy and me. Once Ben heard Eli was going on a sleep over, he was pretty bummed he couldn’t go. It occurred to me that if the situation was reversed, Eli would be pretty excited as he usually is when it’s just him and one of us–he always calls it “like the old times”. I don’t think this is any reflection on his love for Ben but rather Eli can still kind of recall when he was King of the Mountain and sometimes it’s nice to still feel like that. Andy and I tried to get Ben excited about it–“Whatever you want for dinner! Whatever you want to do!” but man, the kid just chose to watch a show (and he picked Eli’s favorite, not his) and he wanted to eat a dinner that was Eli’s favorite, again not his. We did manage to talk him out of that and he asked for cheese pizza (he likes it but if Eli’s around, Ben usually chooses pepperoni, Eli chooses cheese) and Ben chose a movie that he hadn’t seen yet. It was sad in that Eli can remember a time without Ben but for Ben, it basically boils down to feeling like something is missing if Eli isn’t here. His favorite person is gone and there’s not a lot you can do about that.

He went to bed a little later than normal but didn’t seem that comfortable. I chalked it up to Eli not being in the room and told Ben if he felt bad, he could come sleep with us. He went to sleep without a peep which surprised me. About 1 AM I woke up because I felt like I was on fire and lo and behold, Ben was sandwiched in bed between Andy and me. Andy’s a hot sleeper so I figured Ben was as well. I also thought he just didn’t like sleeping in a room alone so I didn’t wake him. About an hour later, Ben was very restless and still REALLY HOT and as I was shifting around to check on him, Andy woke up. Andy felt him and got the thermometer and poor kid was running 102.5. We gave him some Motrin and although Andy fell asleep pretty quickly after that, Ben was uncomfortable enough that he kept sitting up in bed although he insisted he felt fine. He eventually settled down on me (pretty much lying flat on me) and although I thought he’d settle back down on the mattress, kid fell asleep hard straight on top of me.

Parenting is always a mixture of feelings, right? I was both comforted that HE was comforted enough by me that he fell asleep so soundly on top of me but man, he was uncomfortable. Also about 45 minutes into it his fever broke and he was a SWEAT BOMB. At that point, he and I were both soaked but I didn’t want to wake him up but I was getting cold from being wet. He still felt hot although I could tell the fever broke. About 1.5 hours into it I finally managed to roll him off to my side which left me about 2 inches of bed space and on top of that, I was freezing from now being soaked and all of those wet clothes hitting the cold air. Fun times!  Every time I moved, he’d get restless again so I just pretty much made myself as comfortable as I could and decided to stick it out. At that point, it was almost 4 AM so I figured I didn’t have too much longer to go. I played on my phone until about 6:30 then managed to fall asleep until 8:15.

Today, he has again mostly felt fine. He had no fever this morning (likely the motrin still working) then after his nap it has been slowly creeping back up. He ate one cereal bar around noon and had two cups of apple juice but other than that, just water. He has a runny nose. He says he feels FINE, stop asking. At dinner time, he demanded only TWO tater tots. When I put 8 on his plate, he ate 5 then freaked out because he only said two, then insisted I take the spare tot off the plate. Then he tried to put his legs on Eli as Eli was sitting on the floor. Eli did not want this and said so and Ben lost his mind because he should get to just drape his legs over anyone. At that point, I took his temperature again because he was getting that puffy face look and he’s back up to 102.5. Normally, we are fans of letting them run fevers but since his sleep was so poor last night, I just gave him some Motrin in hopes that he will get some solid sleep tonight.

Really, the only signs he’s given of not feeling well seem to consist of no appetite and that he won’t let me out of his sight for a second. A few times I tried to escape to the bathroom and he insisted on sitting in there with me. He’s a cuddly kid but usually not overly so and as much as I hate him being sick (even if he feels fine as he says), it’s hard not to appreciate the extra attention.

Andy’s been hard at work on our lazy Christmas decorations (at this point, I think it would have been easier just to hang the dang outside lights but this method involves him getting to use his power tools so he’s more into it) and I’ll post pictures once he’s done. Tomorrow is another lazy day at the house before the next two weeks of Christmas madness, all school assemblies and Christmas parties and crazy work schedules, so I’m going to take Ben’s “I FEEL FINE” illness as a good excuse to settle down with a bunch of TV (tonight was Charlie Brown’s Christmas and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas) and snuggling with my totally not-sick kids.



Christmas bells, Batman smells…

6 Dec

Robin laid an egg!

That’s how most Christmas carols go around these parts. Things continue along well here. The fast update–I am now Mature and I have reader glasses although I have scheduled an eye appt since the readers I got seem very inconsistent–they work well for books, screens are hit or miss, sometimes far off things are still hard to focus on, and my eyes seem to get tired pretty easily these days. I haven’t been running or doing much of anything lately although I have committed to a marathon (!) at the start of June so starting this week I’ve put myself on a schedule. I plan to alternate the running with a lot of lifting since I find that works better for me in the physical sense–less sore, less achy joints, etc.

Eli is doing great. I had a parent-teacher conference and it went well. She has still had some behavioral issues with him but they are things we can work on. The issue with Eli is that he prefers to read over anything else and we (and she) have had problems with him hiding books that he then sneaks out when he’s bored.  “Eli, put that book down right now!” is not an uncommon thing heard around here. She (and we) have had to sweep his area when he needs to complete something to make sure he hasn’t hidden books places that he can then whip out for a good bit of distraction.

She would like to have him tested for Advanced Learning/Highly Capable as soon as we can. Since I missed the window on it this year, the earliest we could do it is at the start of next year then if he tests into it (and he decides he wants to do it), he would start at the beginning of 3rd grade. She said that she feels his behavioral stuff is just that–it’s behavioral and he’s doing what he would prefer to do, not that the work isn’t challenging–and that he is completely able to focus and behave when he chooses. That’s a relief. They have put him in the more advanced groups within his own classroom so he gets more challenging homework in reading and math than most of the kids. He both preens at this and also rebels against it–he gets that since he is better at it, he gets harder and more homework (but really, he finishes it in about 30 minutes when I make him do it all at once and it’s given with a week to complete it so it’s not like it’s a lot) but he also sometimes feels put upon since he has to do “SO MUCH MORE” than some of the other kids. It mostly seems like token whining and I don’t really feed into it and he doesn’t really complain all that much.

Ben is hitting the threes with gusto. The last two months have been all spectacular meltdowns and unbridled joy. The slightest thing can send him over the edge into full-on-stereotypical-toddler-lying-in-the-aisle face-down with his legs and arms spread out screaming mode. Since Eli had only a few bits of this and I’ve lived through Three before, it’s hard to get too ruffled by it but rather I can see how fueled Ben is by everything. He is quick to anger, quick to make up, and so energetic that he gets over most slights pretty quickly. There were several times today that he was throwing a fit about X when Eli would look at me with the most bewildered look and say “I think Ben’s having a really hard time right now, do you think he needs a hug?” at which point I felt like Mom of the Year but then Ben would scream “NO!” and stomp to the room and slam his door as hard as he could. After a short period, he’d let us come in and give us hugs (“But we really need hugs, Ben, do you think you could give us a hug?”) and everything would be okay. He’s a passionate kid. He’s not as moody as Eli was in general but every once in a while Ben really brings it. Overall, he’s a very even tempered child but today was just one of those days. Eli and I have had a lot of chats about how frustrating it must be to have all these really big feelings without the vocabulary/ability to communicate it, so we have to be extra patient right now.

Ben is learning by leaps and bounds–he’s solidly into letting us read to him and I wouldn’t go so far as to say he enjoys books yet but he is definitely into the whole reading thing. Quite often when he is sitting at the table “drawing” he’s working on making his letters. He’s already able to write several letters from the alphabet, much to our surprise. He’s really into a few phonics apps I had leftover on my phone from when Eli was this age and he’s quite good at making the sounds for letters. I don’t know that he will read as early as Eli since his desire for books isn’t what his was but it’s certainly not for lack of ability.

Well, it’s almost 9 and I have to go to bed soon. I also have to think of what to do with this darn Elf for the night. The good thing is that we’ve never really gotten the kids into this idea of “THE ELF IS WATCHING YOU” which I feel is creepy, really, and kind of missing the whole spirit of the thing. However, they do enjoy waking up and finding out where he’s gotten to over the night so I have to go find some place to put him.  Good night, all!