Friday, October 26, 2012

Dealing With A Dictator and Military Law Motherhood

Some days with kids you have sunshine, cooperation and utter obedience....oh wait that was a dream.  Seriously, we don't generally have running battles of willfulness.  Occasionally...yes.  More so in the last two days...definitely.

I will blame it on weather, my late overtime this week, basketball practise in full swing, 2 days off of school and a sister moving home for a week between apartment moves.  It surely could not be my wonderful sons have decided to test their mother at every turn, statement or sneeze.

This morning apparently marked the end of the patient mother (stop laughing!) and thus began the dictatorship of mom.  You've probably experienced from your own parent or been that parent.  The one who says, "Ok this stops now."  No more arguing with the dictator, questioning every move or direction, no more debating if what the dictator says makes sense to the masses.  Free will and choices are not known until such time as these behaviors cease (or there is an overthrow of dictator at which time military law, also known as dad, will step in).

I'm really taking a hard look at the 3 males in this household and wondering how on earth they have survived this long. They should never be left to their own devices.  Anarchy seems to be their version of a happy home right up until they disagree with one another and then it's civil war.  I don't mind questions done in a respectful manner (not megaphone volume) I can even handle the brief argument with a sibling (as long as someone is making sense - yep there isn't a lot of sense in boy arguments, just saying).

The boys have tested the boundaries and found out they are patrolled by a mom who may let them stretch the perimeter but will have a say when enough is enough.  Today is enough. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just Checking

On Monday and Tuesday of this week I had to work late due to parent/teacher conferences.  I made it home in time to see the boys heading for bed.  This usually means there is a lot of information that they JUST HAVE TO SAY to me before they hit the sack.

Last night Lucas gets as close as possible and whispers..."Mom.  You and Dad are both coming right?"  Ok after a 13 hour day my mom abilities to fill in the missing information was not up to standards, so I said, "Going to where?"    With a heavy, put upon sigh he said, "You know you have to do the parent thingy."  Huh? Thingy? He then proceeds to enlighten me on the schedule for Eli and his conferences.  If you would come to our house you would see the conference schedules boldly displayed on the frig....we don't forget these easily.  

After assuring him that yes we were going. Then came the question of:  "Are you both going?"  Answering yes again and asking if there was something special he wanted us to cover with his teacher his response was, "No.  Just checking.  You know it's your job to talk to my teacher, that's why it's parent/teacher conferences.  Just checking to make sure you know."

Yes dear, after having children for the past 27 years and 22 of those having children in school, I do know my responsibilities for conferences.  And by the way it's not a job it's called parenting.  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Look How Far He's Come

For those who have followed the boys' story these past few years, you may have figured out that school, teachers and education in general was not a positive experience for Eli.  Within the first week of meeting Eli we quickly figured out his early educational reports drastically underestimated his abilities and determination.

With the extreme efforts of our school and teachers both Eli and Lucas continue to pass those early reports and are racing to meet up with their peer levels.  They aren't there yet but when we see one of them create and accomplish tasks like the one in the photo we are so very grateful for those teachers who have taken the time to educate themselves, learn new methods of teaching an ELL student and basically caring enough to go the extra mile.

When Eli came home he didn't know what a state was, what a river was, a country (other than the Philippines) or a mountain.  He couldn't have put a 20 piece puzzle together, forget that this one is 500 pieces.  If you can't tell how proud we are of him by this post, take a look at his smile and see how proud he is of himself.  He's smart, he's determined and most of all confident.  He can achieve, he can succeed, he can!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mom! They're Still Talking!

Last night the boys (intermittently) watched the presidential debate.  They are really interested in the whole process and are quite concerned about happens if the president loses (they used to think he died) and are totally freaked out by Romney's looks.....whatever.

They had to go to bed before the debate ended and after getting ready for school this a.m. Eli turned on the t.v.  As I attempted to apply eyeliner, I hear him scream, "M...O...M..!"  well the eyeliner was now on my forehead...I went to the living room expecting blood at the least....Nope just Eli screaming at the t.v.  "Mom!  They're Still Talking!  They talked all night and are still argueing, they must be really mad!"

So at 6:30 we had a social studies lesson in politics, debate vs. fight and tv replays also discussed why it is not a good thing to scream at your mother first thing in the morning.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Headache Free Day At Last!

Today Lucas had his first day of school without a headache since his concussion.  Granted it was a 1/2 day but still it was a success and now he can go back full time.  Now, for the big practice starts this week.....would it embarrass my child if I made him wear hockey gear onto the court?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Greet, Meet and Pray

On Saturday, Mike was called into work which meant Lucas and Eli were forced to endure grocery shopping with a surprise "your clothes are 2 inches too short" shopping trip with me.  Clothes were bought in record time and we may have enough groceries for the week.....unless they decide to continue the growth spurt they are both participating in, then food will only last until Tuesday.

As a side treat to cooperation we met Alison and her boyfriend Mark for lunch.  This is the first time Mark and the boys have met.  I wasn't sure how this would go, sometimes when meeting new people some strange alien possesses their bodies and it can be disaster.  They did great.  You can tell Mark has siblings and just rolled with the punches.  Yes.  There were a few punches....not in Lucas deciding to interrogate the poor guy.  Mark took it in stride.  Eli chose the "I will study you but not actually speak directly to you"  approach.

When we arrived at the restaurant, Mark and Alison were already seated so the boys only saw Mark from that angle until we got up to leave.  Alison is 5 foot even, the boys greatest thrill lately is that they look both her and Sydney in the eye.  Well they have a way to go with Mark.  You should have seen their faces when he stood......all 6 foot 5 inches.

As we were leaving the restaurant, Lucas is begging to be as tall as Mark.   I mean literally begging.  At one point and just to get him into the car and to stop idolizing (and I'm sure embarrassing) Mark, he asked, "Mom!  How'd he get so tall?"  I went with the standard, "that's how God made him".  Mistake.  For the remainder of our shopping and in the car, I would hear, "God.  Please.  I want to be tall like Mark!"  "God.  Please make me tall, you made Mark tall, me too!"  "God!  You can do it!"  I'm sure God enjoyed the pep talk and support but this may be one of those times when his answer is no, unless this growth spurt doesn't slow down.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

85 Year Old Bones

One of the things we knew when we first brought the boys home was that their early life nutrition was not good.  Their joints are not good, they are severely double jointed, in places that I didn't even know there were joints and I have never seen toes look like theirs.

Their appearance reminds me of my grandparents arthritic joints at 85 years of age.  They look like they hurt.  They both say they don't (right now).  I can remember popping my knuckles when I was younger and thinking how could this possibly hurt later.....well to pop a knuckle now just about makes me cry.....I can't imagine their hands and feet and knees when they are 85.  I can hope that advances in medicine will give them some relief when they need it.  I can also hope that they stop torturing me by walking up to me to bend their fingers backwards, sideways and popping miscellaneous body meds for that....just a mom growl.

Friday, October 5, 2012

School Can Make a Body Tired

Today Lucas was able to return for a half day of school.  He made it through without a headache but hit the couch when he got home.  Wouldn't you know the first day back would include drum lessons.  Ouch on a non-concussed brain.   Monday and Tuesday we try full days with no recess or p.e. then if all goes well he can be turned loose.

I think I will be rewording that to him is fine, running your head into anything is prohibited until I'm too senile to know.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Well It's Not a Broken Bone

I just always thought it would be a broken arm or leg.  The way the boys go at everything 110%, that's what I thought.  It's not.  It's a concussion.  Lucas fell and hit his head while out helping with harvest.   The doctor said he will be okay but for the next 2 days, no activity, no school and then on Friday we are to try a 1/2 day of school if he is headache and dizzy free.

When we took him into the doctor I really thought his nose was broken but no that seems to be okay but a lovely shade of purple and green.  He failed the exam when the doc had to shut off the lights because of his photosensitivity and then he couldn't walk a straight line.  Those results led to more tests and then her turning to us and saying he has a concussion.  

He thought he'd get medicine and go about his usual day...when she started explaining restrictions his brain interpreted her to say he can never play sports or go to school or play video games or watch tv.....ever.  The last two sent him over the edge.  It took a whole lot of fast talking to curb the panic attack he had.

He's resting today with sunglasses on in the house even though I've made it as dim as possible.   Explaining a concussion to him is not easy, I'm quite sure he thinks his brain is going to ooze out.  It probably feels like it.  

As the doctor is winding up the visit, she paused to read the front of his shirt which until that moment I did not realize he'd worn.  Take a look at the saying......yep that's us.....observant all the way.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Boys Are Hard On A Mom's Ego

Tough skin is a necessity some days.  I need to start having at least a couple of cups of coffee before the 2 minute ride from our house to dropping the boys off at school.  It is amazing how many conversations/confessions can occur in a 2 minute span.

Most days the revelations are directed at their brother but a mom can learn a lot by listening.  Not so today.  Today Lucas looks at me and says, "What smells?"  Huh?  I'm sniffing and thinking about all the possibilities that two boys could bring into the answer.  Then he continues,  "Oh it's you."  Ouch!  What!  He very adamantly does not like my new perfume....and no I only put a little on and did not bathe in it.  Usually he's the son to tell me that I look nice or whatever...not it was Mom you smell....then I had to drop them at school and drive to work wondering if the perfume,that I really like, is that bad.  My coworkers assure me it is just fine, so Filipino boy with the amazing smeller will just have to tough it out and I will have to drive to school with the windows down until I grow a thicker skin.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Into the West

Trying to explain America and it's history to someone who has no frame of reference is hard.  It's hard for us as parents, hard for the teachers and hard for the boys.

Starting out 3 years ago we started from ground zero.  We had to describe, explain and show rivers, creeks, states, cities, towns, countries, continents, oceans, islands.  We had to explain various ethnic and cultural groups (still working on that big time).  So much of what Mike and I grew up taking for granted or just absorbing as kids taught us about America and the world before we ever got to a formal education.

Lucas and Eli had to sort of start in the middle and learn from both directions.  Their peers knew about general geographic features, western and colonial history, American holidays, various wars and famous Americans.  I challenge you to stop and think.....what things did you know concerning American history before you entered school?  Did you watch westerns, did you know some basics about presidents, did you know about Indians, cowboys, slavery, the Civil War?

We worked for the last 3 years introducing pieces but it's hard to cram that much information into a coherent easily explainable (let me tell you I can't explain the reasoning behind a lot of history and the most popular question from Lucas and Eli is why?)

Over the past several weeks we started recording and watching an old tv mini series, "Into the West".  It covers so much history, in two hour increments it's amazing.  Some of it's a little tough to watch, some of it causes the boys to really question a lot of things and presses Mike and I to further the discussion.  I wish we'd found the series a little sooner.  It could have introduced them to so much that they've questioned. 

Their questions can make us squirm, you just can't explain certain policies, conflicts, prejudices and government policies.
I can say that in some respects their views of America have been changed.  A lot of information has been brought to light and opened up discussions with them that we may not have touched on for years.  We were struggling to explain prejudices to them, they've run into several situations that have caused us to really press their awareness of people's prejudices and possible actions.

They are visual learners for sure and if you are traveling a similar path here in the U.S. you may look into the movie.  You may want to watch ahead so you are prepared for possible questions and scenes.  Like I said it's made us think and made them just a little more American and a little wiser to choices of a nation.