Updates On the Kids In 7 Quick Takes

#1: Alex Treehouse 8

Unusually for Alex, he’s been bringing homework home this week. They have these four-page readers on different subjects related to the state of Missouri. This week’s was on the river system. Alex worked a while and then tapped his pencil on the map on the page, asking, “How do we have room for cities when there are so many rivers?”

#2: Julianna

J Flaggie 3We had Julianna’s parent-teacher conference last night. Her report “card” says: Julianna is a ray of light in our room. Each day she arrives with a smile and is always kind and respectful of all her classmates. At her school they break the kids into small groups by reading level and blend classes and even grade levels together that way instead of doing reading work simply by classroom. Not so long ago she was in the lowest of 6 groups; now she’s in Group 4.

However, math is still a bugaboo. I sensed frustration from her math teacher–but I assured the team that as much as she struggles, she’s doing the work (with intensive help, of course). By this time last year we were doing endless worksheets in which she was trying to fill in the missing number in a sequence. (__, 16, 17…) I wanted to cry every time the homework came home. This year we’re doing addition problems–the same problems her classmates are.

#3: Julianna encore

But the gem of the parent-teacher conference was this closing statement from her teacher: “One thing I love about Julianna is her passion for food! I’ve never seen a child get so excited about food!” Neither have we, sir. Neither have we. 😉

#4: Nicholas

N closeupNicholas is finally almost healthy. But he’s still dragging. That’s what an ear infection, strep throat, and a third unidentified virus will do to you. Two days ago after school we had the worst battle of wills ever. It didn’t feel quite like the worst, because with my new outlook on how-to-handle-my-strong-willed-child, I was able to step back from the emotions. After the third major skirmish, he disappeared into his room and fell silent. In other words…asleep. And I realized anew that when battle lines are drawn, my first line of defense needs to be a nap.

#5: Nicholas encore

Nicholas has gone through three courses of antibiotics since the beginning of October. He’s allergic to penicillin, but we tried Cephalex for the strep. Cephalex has a small overlap sensitivity with penicillin, but we gave it a try. On day 6 he had a red spot on his chest, but it went away overnight, so we soldiered on. Yesterday he got his last dose. Within in an hour he was scratching his leg incessantly, but I didn’t put it together until he got undressed for baths. Holy cow. That kid had something like a dozen and a half hard red blotches on his body. No more Cephalex for you, kiddo. I’ve been telling him, “You are not allowed to get sick!” because he can’t take the antibiotics with the $5 copay, he has to take the ones with the $81 copay (I’m looking at you, Omnicef).

#5: Nicholas-and-Michael

Earlier this week, on the last of the many days that Nicholas was home sick from school, Nicholas kept screaming at Michael, “Don’t copy me!” “Stop following me!” Everything Nicholas did, Michael had to do. If Nicholas was sitting at the table writing, Michael had to sit at the table and write. If Nicholas played frog across the kitchen floor, Michael had to play frog across the kitchen floor. Finally I took Nicholas aside and gave him the same lesson Alex once got. “Michael thinks you are the coolest thing in the whole world,” I said. “He wants to be just like you. So he’s going to do everything you do.”

Nicholas got a little smile across his face and then, being the strong-willed tester that he is…set out to prove the hypothesis.

It was proved.

#6: Michael Batman

The cutest thing Michael likes to do to copy his big brothers is carry their backpacks. Well, Nicholas’ backpack. Alex’s weighs about twenty pounds, for some reason I can’t quite fathom. Besides, it’s just a canvas bag. Nicholas has Spiderman on his. He puts it on his front and walks around with it sticking out like a Santa Claus belly. Absolutely adorable.

#7: Michael encore I’m realizing lately how differently I treat Michael than I treated the other kids at his age. He’s on the verge of three, but because his speech is so delayed, he still seems like a young toddler with freaky-advanced physical skills. (He can make the 3 with his thumb and pinky held together, and he can fasten and unfasten part of his 5-point harness. He walks down stairs every other foot without holding on to anything. He climbs those playground things that are meant for kids 5 and up. Stuff like that.)

It’s time for some of the adorable Michael-isms to go away, and I’m sure they will as he starts in his speech-language intensive classroom in December. Michael-isms like “helmet” for “hood” and “hut-hut-hut!” for “hug.” Well, I’ve gone on far too long. Have a great weekend! 7 quick takes sm1  7 Quick Takes about (finally) being on Facebook, the GoodReads Choice Awards, and chatting with Jeannie Gaffigan