Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Talkin bout my (re)generation

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Importance of Being Earnest

As part of our efforts to keep William from hurling himself on more pointed objects we have tried to focus on the 'learn from your experience' model. "William, if you keep doing that you are going to need to go back to the hospital." This often, amazingly enough, served its purpose of scaring the poor kid into arresting his bed leaping, or stair jumping, or stick throwing behaviors.

Around last week he started self-regulating with expressions like "You need to be careful around laundry baskets, or you will need to go to the hostible." [It sounds so cute]

Then this weekend he complained about his tummy hurting, and he kept adding with a thoughtful measured tone. "My tummy hurts, I think I need to go to the hostible."

He wasn't screaming in pain, or anything. Just expressing his hurt.

Now, from all medical accounts he seems to be completely healed, but there is the chance something was missed, and it has been getting bigger. Add to this, our last trip the doctors suggested we could return for an ultrasound in about now, but that as they put it "we wouldn't consider you negligent should you choose not to." So of course, we can't help but be concerned.

Carly tried to counsel Will about what such a trip might be like and see if he was still keen to do it: taking blood, loud ultrasound, etc.. I am not sure if her intent was to deglamorize the experience (which may now have taken on mythic qualities in his memory) or simply prep him for the possibility of a return trip. The ultrasound is painless, but the machine and prep might be scary.

During her counseling session (in the middle of dinner last night) Will let loose a big burst of gas. And apparently this solved the tummy ache problem. How do you spell RELIEF?

Part of me imagines that Will has picked up on our expressions and attention when things are related to his tummy. We basically ignore the kids most of the time (lol), but when he takes a spill, or whatever, we quickly assess his belly for damage. Perhaps, intentionally or not, he is responding to that. The addition of the 'hostible' shows he know the key trigger phrases for parental concern.


In other news, we had Sophie's belated birthday party Saturday at the park. I was nervous because the one Sophie went to was at a fancy 'bouncy play' area, and ours was not. Also we didn't really plan a lot of activities, and it was cold. My concerns were for naught. The play ground was excellent, the kids immediately ran around, dug in the sandbox, ate snacks, did the swings, and had a great time. We did a brief "Happy Birthday" song with pink cupcakes, and that was about it. A rousing success. Instead of presents, we asked for the kids to bring their favorite unwrapped book, which we will donate (in Sophie's name) to the local library.

Most of the kids in attendance were from her school (the code there is to invite all kids in her age group, so no one is left out, quite sensible) and since she is only one of the two new kids in school we we've been worried about her fitting in. It turns out Sophie is incredibly popular (at least among the half dozen or so kids that showed up). Everyone wanted to play with her, and one little girl had to be physically detached from Sophie (she couldn't deal with Sophie playing with another kid).
We've been a bit worried about some of Sophie's playmates being the 'mean girls' or 'queen bees', now it may turn out to be Sophie is the one we need to worry about. She is very sweet, just very social, so I don't really imagine her becoming cruel, but we are going to need to manage the line between a healthy ego and not so healthy.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Happy Fourth Birthday Sophie!

It seems like yesterday you were like this.

And now you are like this.

It is both scary and wonderful.

Yesterday at dinner, after I off handedly tried to encourage pea consumption by referencing her impending birthday (you want to be big and strong when you are four), Sophie replied "I don't want to be four. I want to stay Three forever!"

I found both terrifying and attractive at the same time. We love our little kids, and part of me wishes they could stay young and innocent, carefree and open for their rest of their lives. On the other hand, there is much to learn my young jedis, and much to discover yet. And being a grown up four year old is not all pea eating and dressing yourself.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Inappropriate Kid Humor

Sophie has been practicing telling jokes. I am not sure she fully "gets" the joke, but she is geting excited about being the life of the party.
Some of her favorites from her magazines. (Select the text for hilarious answers)
"What do ghosts like to eat?......Boo Berries"
"What do skeleton's use to call their friends? ..........the Telebone!"
"What do Ducks eat for a snack? ........... Quackers Only Sophie just says Crackers!"

I offered another animal sound version of my own.. Where do cows go on dates? To the moovies.

Then after that I came up with another.

It is sooooo wrong.


We are still in a drought here in NC, 100 days or water or something like that (hopefully we will get some rain this week). So we are doing our best to conserve: shorter (and fewer) showers, shallower baths, turning off water while washing dishes, hands (of course no outdoor watering). We hope to shave a significant amount off our use. It is a good lesson for the kids too. Sophie is just getting to the age where she can wash her own hands, and this is adding to the difficulty of the task, but she is doing well (and enjoying teaching Will to do the same).

Since moving into the bigger house, I've been feeling a little out of sorts with our lifestyle. The house is too big in some respects (though I am sure that won't be for long as the kids get bigger). And it seems somewhat ostentatious for a family like ours, with the piddling income I get to be living so high on the hog. I've always benefited from my family, and have been able to work less and for less than a comparable person, while still enjoying having nice things (up to date computers, cars, etc..). We have been able to live pretty much how we like without too much concern for money. With the annual inheritance, our income seems to match our needs quite nicely. Of course, with the bigger house comes greater expenses (electricity, heating, insurance, security), and the cost itself wasn't entirely absorbed by donations and the sale of our old house. Add to that my decision to invest more heavily in a retirement fund, and suddenly, our finances are looking a little less comfortable.

I wouldn't say we are in any financial danger, but I am definitely feeling the squeeze. When I went over our credit card bill this month, I noticed few BIG expenses, and since we do almost all our spending on the cards (for the frequent flier miles) I am used to long bills, but the vast majority of the spending was in amounts less than $40: coffee, lunches, etc.. It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up. My goal is to limit that. Then put off some bigger purchases (house stuff mostly) and see how that goes. We are already cutting way back on Xmas and birthday spending, so hopefully this will pull us through until more money is coming in than going out. Teaching an extra class or two in the Spring should help there as well.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Linus-like moment.

So, as is tradition chez Scholz, our kids pooled their Halloween loot, selected a few choice items for themselves, then set aside the rest for the Great Pumpkin. Tradition (around our house) says that if you leave your candy outside your door on Halloween, the great pumpkin will fly in, and exchange a fun toy for the candy.
Kids get a toy, parents don't need to worry about all that sugar.

In the past this has worked well. This year, something different. The kids, suitably traumatized from a scary Halloween (smoke machines and zombie like distributors of candy) happily gave up their candy at bedtime. This didn't keep them from jumping around on their beds at 3am (see previous post), but it went smoothly, even with a new friend present.

Trouble started this morning, Sophie, having been roused from slumber by Carly, ran out to find the gift of an indoor bowling set. She looked puzzled, looked around, and started to cry.

"I told the great pumpkin I wanted a Princess doll, one that had a button that would make her dance!" She complained. She looked horribly betrayed. She had in fact told us, the night before that, a princess doll was her hope. Sadly that was after buying the game, and not likely to be her gift anyway (too many princess themed toys and clothes at our house already). She continued her pitiful rant. "I don't understand why he didn't give me a princess doll. He took the candy. Why didn't he leave a doll?"

Part of me wanted to race out and get a doll. Another part wanted to promise it for her impending birthday, or the nearing X-mas. But another part of me thought, well, disappointment is also part of life. And this isn't the worst thing in the world. So maybe just being understanding and sympathetic is the best course. I went with the latter.

After a bit, she and I played a few rounds of plushy indoor bowling, and she warmed to the idea. Maybe the great pumpkin was smarter than she had given him credit for. In the end, as I was leaving she thanked the great pumpkin for the game, to our relief.

Will was so angry to be awoken at 7:30, he was up at 4 after all, that he patently refused to bowl or even acknowledge the existence of the game. At least he didn't seem very angry at the great pumpkin.

Invisible Man

So today I dragged myself to school. The kids, in post Halloween bliss, were up and bouncing around from 3am to 4am. So I basically got no sleep last night. Huzzah.

Then after churning out a detailed 2 page instruction sheet for PART 2, of the staged final project, with examples, and hints. ZERO students show up to my first class. There are only 5 students in the class, but ZERO? Zed, Nil, null, nada, nichyvo? Come on.

So I wait 15 minutes (after filling a chalk board with my insightful analysis of comparing retributive to consequentialist punishment and then erasing it) I went back to my office. I waited around until my 11 am department meeting. My department head was also a no show.

He at least had a reasonable excuse.