After the LEGO movie a couple of years ago, Alex started singing “Everything is awesome” all.the.time. Woe was me. Then, knowing I loathed the song even more than I loathed the movie, he started teasing me by singing “Percy Jackson ro-ocks!” on the same tune. Then he got tired of Julianna’s obsession with Frozen, and he converted “Let it go” to “Let it blow, let it blow, and frozen goes kaboom!” Funny guy.
Last night, I decided two can play this game. I was washing dishes, he was watching Star Wars, and I heard Luke say, “I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi, like my father.”
I went into the living room and leaned down. “Hey, Alex,” I said, and started singing to the tune of “Do you want to build a snowman”: “Do you want to be a Jedi? Come on, let’s learn the Force!”
I had Julianna’s IEP meeting yesterday. Apparently a lot of people dread IEP meetings (individualized educational program, for the inquiring mind). Well, I dread them too, but not for the same reason. Conventional wisdom is “never go by yourself. It’s overwhelming, all those people in the room.” I have no doubt that many people have found their opinions overwhelmed, but I’ve never had a bad experience at an IEP meeting. I’ve been very happy with Julianna’s team and I’ve always thought we’re on the same page. I just dread them because it’s yet another appointment for which I have to figure out logistics.
On the other hand, it’s a good check-in on her academic performance, because Heaven knows we never get any sense from her about what she’s learning in school. The news is that she’s still reading at grade level, even with comprehension factored in, although her ability to read words is much higher. But her math assessments show zero improvement. Interesting, because we’re still doing the regular homework all the other second graders are. The difference is that in order for Julianna to do that homework, I have to sit at the table with her and take her step by step through it.
You know those family stories? The ones everybody knows, even if they were too young to remember them? One of those stories in our house is about Nicholas. He was three, and I decided it would be a special mommy-little boy memory if we went to Kohl’s to pick out Jerry Garcia ties for Christmas for his daddy. “These are a surprise,” I said. “These are Christmas gifts. We don’t tell Daddy about them.”
When Christian walked in that night, Nicholas went running toward him. “Daddy, Daddy, guess what? We got you TIES!”
I turned around from the stove and said, “Nicholas, you are FIRED!”
Last night, I took Nicholas—now 6 1/2, shopping for a new (that is, “gently used”) coat. In the bins at Once Upon A Time I saw a bunch of boots and sparkly shoes that I thought might make good Christmas gifts for Julianna. “Now, Nicholas,” I said, “this is a *secret. Because it’s probably for Christmas gifts. So you do NOT go home and tell Julianna.”
“The way I told Daddy about the ties?” he said, giggling.
“But I can tell her we have a Christmas present, right?”
“No, you may not. You have been entrusted with a secret. That is a responsibility. That means you don’t tell anybody.”
We came home and found Alex in the kitchen while the others were upstairs taking baths. “Alex! Guess what!” Nicholas yelled. “I have a SECRET!”
Michael came down from his bath while I was doing dishes and asked me to button his snowman PJs. I told him the price was nibbling on his belly, and he giggled a little and said okay. He was so darned cute. I mean, He generally is cute, but it was particularly concentrated cuteness last night. I sat down on the floor and buttoned his shirt, and he started to run away. “Wait a minute!” I said. “Get back here!”
He careened to a stop. “But I want to watch Star Wars!”
I gave him the over-dramatic sigh. “Oh, all right. But first give me a kiss.”
So he did. I lllllllloooooove little boy kisses, so I always make a big deal of it and act like his kisses knock me over. It makes him giggle, but last night he was in too big a hurry. He kissed and ran, and didn’t even notice my big dramatic flop on the floor. I called after him. “You’ve SLAIN me, Michael!”
Blue PJs paused. You could practically see his heart torn. Then he came padding back in, giggling, to kiss me on the other cheek. It was so sweet, I took mercy on him after that and let him go watch Darth Vader.
Obligatory paragraph about my Book Baby
Book Baby is misbehaving. I got a pretty rough critique a couple of weeks ago, and I lost all will to live for a while. But I think Book Baby and I came to a tentative understanding the other day and I can move forward. However, I now have a month full of weekly columns and two religious education presentations at the top of my docket, so my blissful weeks of no deadlines have passed, and now I re-enter the real world of slicing bits of time out of everything else to write a novel. I had hoped to be querying by the first of the year. One of my critique partners counseled me to let it take the time it needs.
Halloween this weekend. This year we get to trick or treat with cousins! Photos next week. Alex outdid himself again this year.