As promised…. An update!
Paul is off to work, and all 3 kids are watching a movie. I’m not so sure about how I feel about Zadie watching TV, but she’s happy, which is a change from the last hour. She’s not watching much, but is sitting on the couch with the boys, facing the TV while playing with her toys.
As I said, she’s become a little high-maintenance lately. I don’t mind it mostly, but when I’m trying to get stuff done (like supper), it’s a little exasperating. Especially since I know she doesn’t need anything (food or diaper), but she’s just bored. But boy, can she scream! She’s been so laid back since birth, this is a new thing.
The boys are getting so big. I think they both went through a growth spurt at the end of summer. Sometimes when they walk into our room in the middle of the night I second-guess which one it is. It seems like Nathan should still be Jacob’s size, and Jacob should be a lot smaller than he is.
However, they are also getting some BIG attitudes. The arguing between the two of them has reached epic proportions – about EVERY. LITTLE. THING. And I’m not sure how to deal with it. I don’t feel like wading in and beating them is the thing to do (although that’s what I really feel like doing when it’s the eightieth argument I’ve broken up before 9 AM), but they just don’t listen when I tell them to stop. Nathan will keep it up under his breath, which he thinks I can’t hear, then Jacob will start yelling at him or wailing. Who do I spank? Both of them just for principle’s sake? So there’s been a lot of yelling.
I’ve started a chore chart with the boys. They are old enough to start pulling some weight around here. Their chores are to daily pick up their toys, clothes, shoes, etc. Nathan unloads the silverware from the dishwasher and takes out the scraps to dump on the garden as compost. He also helps with the trash on trash night. Jacob feeds the pets and takes the recycling from the kitchen to the back porch when I have empty cans or milk jugs in the kitchen. I love the fact that they are still motivated by getting stickers - it makes convincing them so easy! They’ll get stickers until they own their jobs and start doing them as a course of habit.
I struggle with balance between serving my family and expecting them to do things how I want them done. They boys know where their coats go. Is the floor beneath the hook close enough or should they be hanging them up? (They would have to move aside the bottom of Paul’s jackets to hang them on the lower hook.) Should I let Paul hang his coat on my hook, or make him hang it on a hanger, since he only wears it every other week? I have sock clips to keep socks matched in the wash – should I make them clip them together, or do it myself since I’m the one who benefits from it?
As for individual updates on the children:
Nathan has been doing school for 23 lesson days. His math is supposed to be done 3 days a week, and repeat the lesson on the off days, but most of the concepts he either already knows or easily grasps. For example, one of the lessons was counting to 5, and he can already count to 20. He’s working on acting out story problems (Three teddy bears got on the bus, then one got off. How many are left?), and graphing, which seems advanced for a 5-year-old, but he’s getting it, so… But at this rate, we’ll be finishing the K math by March. I think we may just move right on to 1 Math, and do it on through the summer. He just seems to have a good head for math, and it makes sense to him. Definitely does not get that from me. Phonics seems maddeningly slow for me. I don't know how much I should push him. He knows all of his letters and their sounds, but putting them together either truly doesn't click or he just doesn't see the point. But I don't want to rush on, because I want him to know and understand very well. We have seen a rapid improvement in his violin with daily lessons. He knows “Twinkle Little Star” theme, and 5 variations of it, “Old MacDonald”, a song we call “Walking Fingers” but is actually a simplified fiddle tune, “Boil the Cabbage Down”, and is learning “Joy to the World.” He plays pretty good by ear; Old MacDonald he learned in pretty much one day. Again, doesn’t get that from me. He started in Sparks at our church’s AWANA program. He was actually still 4 when it started in September, but he was in Kindergarten, and he moved up with a bunch of buddies that had been in Cubbies with him last year, so he was in good company.
Jacob started in AWANA Cubbies this year, sort of. With a late October birthday, I don’t think he’ll be ready for Sparks yet the fall that he turns 5, even though we will probably start Kindergarten with him around that time. So we call him a “Junior Cubbie.” He wears Nathan’s old vest and memorizes the verses, but I’m too cheap to buy him the $10 book if he’s going to be in there for 3 years. (Next year they are changing the whole program, so he wouldn’t be able to reuse the book when he’s older.) Jacob wants to do school with us every morning. So his school consists of cutting paper, coloring, writing on the dry-erase letter books, or playing with whatever math manipulatives Nathan uses for his lesson. He kind of does his own thing; he’ll wander outside on his own (I’m a great mother). Jacob is fearless. Not in a macho, I’ve-got-something-to-prove way (read: short man syndrome), but more in a “Yeah, this looks fun. I think I’ll do this.” This week he jumped off the tailgate of the truck onto a log, which rolled beneath him. Stuff like that happens daily. He's still a snuggler, and likes to snuggle up against you when we read or watch TV. He tries to end up in our bed whenever he wakes up at night. (I don't want to admit how often he actually succeeds.) He turns three later this month, and is pretty excited about it.
Zadie is nearly 6 months old. She may be bigger than the boys were at this age. They tended to be 90th percentile for height/75th for weight. She's 100/90. She was nearly 17 pounds at her checkup last month. She's sitting up really good now on her own, where I don't have to put pillows around her. I think she wants to crawl, but can't quite figure it out. She rolls over onto her belly really well, but has yet to figure out how to roll from her belly to her back. She's trying to change up her sleep pattern by giving up her morning naps. So I know that's part of the problem with her attitude and needing attention. We've had some big scream-fests at night. She knows she's getting sleepy, and so will fight it. After so long, I just get tired of the nurse-yank away-nurse-yank away. I'll try rocking her, and if she doesn't relax, I just put her to bed. Sometimes she'll scream and scream, other times (like tonight) she gives an obligatory squawk or two, but that's all I hear the rest of the night. She started cereal this week. The first time, she did pretty well, with not much tongue-thrusting and spitting out. The last two times, she has attacked it with gusto, leaning forward and practically putting her face in the bowl. I'm going to try green beans tomorrow, and see what she thinks of that. Paul calls her a "show stopper." Everywhere we go, people comment on how pretty she is. I think it's the dark skin and the big blue eyes. She is a beautiful girl. (But of course, as her mother, I would never think otherwise!)
We had our first freeze this past weekend. We were still getting watermelons and canteloupe - in October! I didn't even try to save anything. I was done with gardening. With a capital D. And it finished off the garden, big time. Yet my roses by the deck were fine. I don't get it. I was happy with how the garden did, considering the type of summer we had. Thrilled actually. My tomatoes were a big waste of time and water, though. I don't know if it was the year or the breed, but the most I got in one picking was a half a bucket. Not even enough to put up. My mom combined them with hers and got some sauce and salsa put up that she gave to me, so I do have something on the shelves at least. The canteloupe were amazing - I think we were on our 5th or 6th round of pickings, and they had finally backed off to a normal size (as opposed to the first couple rounds of basketball-sized melons). I even had a cucumber plant that held on. It almost died in August, but then the tiny little bit that was still alive when it cooled down in September, started producing again. I had about 12 bean plants that came up for my fall crop, and they were thisclose to being ready when it froze. I told Paul next year, no matter what, I'm heeding my grandpa's advice of putting the fall garden in "the 25th of July, wet or dry."
Well, that's it for tonight. I'm going to be responsible and go to bed, because, after all, being caught up on housework and laundry is way overrated.