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She actually is listening to me!


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Wednesday, June 29. 2011

L is an incredibly wonderful child, yet she has also brought us many challenges and keeps stretching us in our parenting. She is very intense and you often feel you are riding a roller coaster with her never knowing when you will dip and dive, twist and turn or what lies ahead. Most of the time you talk to her, you are left wondering if she really took anything in or if she turned a deaf ear after the second word. You usually get the pat responses "OK, OK already!" or "I'm sorry. I won't do it again" even when that wasn't what you were talking about.

This evening, we had to leave A-girl's soccer game early to make it to their piano recital. As we walked towards the van, it was evident someone was parked way too close. I made a comment about the fact that the van behind me was so squeezed into the spot that there was no way we could open the trunk. As we got closer it was apparent they had hit our back bumper as they squeezed into the spot. When we parked there was no one in front or behind us but as it reaches game time people start getting a bit crazed to find a spot to park (over 150 kids are playing at a time). It literally looked like they had taken that van and set it down with a crane as there was no room in between my van and theirs and little behind. It looked like those movie scenes where they just drive forward and back ramming the cars on either end just so they can fit. I avoid spots like that like the plague. L stood outside the van while I pulled forward (there was space and the car in front of me was pulling out) so I could open the trunk and put in the chairs. I noticed that the screws on the license plate of the other vehicle had damaged my bumper. Nothing big, but noticeable and it was annoying to me. Things like that make me really frustrated. I admit that I likely over react to little things like that. I am careful not to park too close, careful to respect other people's property yet I know many are not. The busy-ness of our schedules, trying to get from one thing to another and society's "me centered" attitude seems to cloud everyone's judgement. They forget about anyone else and as long as their needs are being met, all is good.

I was annoyed and pulled out a piece of paper to write a note and leave on the windshield of the van behind me. As I picked up the piece of paper, L said to me in a concerned voice "Mom, don't write a note when you are mad! Let's just go, we are going to be late." I told her I was going to leave a note but that I wasn't really mad and it wasn't going to say anything other than the fact that I thought they should know that they had damaged my vehicle. Again, she told me that I should not write anything when I was really frustrated or mad. She fidgeted as I wrote. She told me again that I shouldn't write anything when I was frustrated or angry. I read to her what I had written and asked if she thought I had said anything mean because I was mad and she told me I hadn't.

What is most interesting, is that L is a very intense girl. When she is very upset, angry or frustrated, she reacts often saying hurtful things to those around her. We have for years talked about how she needs to calm down and then speak, to not respond with words in the heat of the moment. It has felt for many years as though our words had fallen on deaf ears. They have not. She truly understands why and when, she is just lacking the self control needed to do this for herself. This was a gentle reminder for me of how we may not see the benefits of what we say and do as parents for years and years but that we are making a difference and we just can't stop trying.

As they see it.


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Wednesday, June 29. 2011

In the first rotation of A-girl's soccer game this evening, she was in goal. A ball got by her and the other team scored. She seemed a bit upset. As they called time and she ran to the sideline and the other girls ran out on the field she grabbed her water bottle and slumped into one of our chairs. This was not her typical response, so I went over to talk with her a bit. "Hey kiddo, its OK that ball got by you. It happens. You did a great job of stopping all their other shots and that one just caught you off guard." She had seemed to be in position to stop it and then stopped being real attentive. I was distracted as I was reading the list of positions to the next shift of girls so didn't see exactly what had happened. She responded "Well I didn't expect my own player to look like they were kicking it away and then kick it in the net at me!" Yes that would catch one off guard.

As we were leaving the piano recital, we were stopping at a store to pick up a treat to take to the party following the recital at the teacher's home. The girls had asked if they could walk across the street to the store while I got the car from the ramp and they would meet us there. As I drove over, I said to LJ, "Mom has a really bad headache and feels sick. What do you think I should pick up at the store to help me feel a bit better?" Without missing a beat, he announced "A barf bag! You could just get a plastic bag and then use it as a barf bag and you would feel better!" Yes son, I could but I was thinking more along the lines of something to eat or drink!

Different ways of viewing the same situation


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Saturday, June 25. 2011

LJ is a cautious kid.......until he gets to know you or a situation and then look out because he talks non-stop, has an opinion about everything, is loud, intense and very physical. It takes a while to get to that point though. He would prefer to sit next to one of us at church rather than go to the kids program. He doesn't want to participate in any group activities or classes and it often takes a lot of convincing, a lot of coaxing and a lot of tears, anxiety and at times throwing up before he will do it.

Earlier in the spring, we asked him if he wanted to play t-ball. He said absolutely not. We asked again a couple of weeks ago and the answer was the same. Last week, he went to the park and played t-ball with a friend and again we asked if would like to be on a team with B and he said no, became upset and told us he would play at the park but not on a team. He seemed to catch the t-ball bug though and we have been hitting balls, playing catch and we hoped he would change his mind. The games started this week. We asked him a few more times and the answer was no. Then on Monday, he told us he would try it. We went over to the park to register him and the kids stayed in the van with S while I went to sign him up. Poor LJ came running into the park building sobbing telling me he didn't want to play. We left without signing him up. Tuesday he decided he would try and we went over, successfully registered him, luckily got him on the same team as our back lane neighbor B (all teams had 10 players and LJ was added to the first team which just happened to be the Eagles and the team B was on). He got his t-shirt and we returned to the park for his first game about 3 hours after signing him up. He was anxious (chewing his fingers and his shirt) but he participated far beyond our expectations (insert, he actually participated and didn't cry or hang on to us, we didn't have to walk him to the plate to bat or the field to play) and he thoroughly enjoyed it. He couldn't wait for his second game of the week and we played at the park in between. It was so much fun watching him hit the ball to the midfield and then stand there watching all the kids scramble for it and then finally run to first. Watching him pick up the ball, set it in his glove and then try to throw it from the glove indicated he needed some skill building but he was out there and was trying. He was in a group situation and loving it. Hopefully t his is a turning point for him.

The day after his first game, I told him to tell a friend what he did the night before. In true LJ fashion he announced with great emotion "I FINALLY got to play t-ball last night!" Apparently I was holding him back! :-)

It's official....we now are crazy parents with 4 kids in sports


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Tuesday, June 21. 2011

Today was a big milestone in our house. LJ played his first game of an organized sport. Given his temperament and personality, we didn't think that would be happening soon. In truly cautious LJ style, he refused to sign up, then said he would try it and then thoroughly enjoyed it stating "This was really fun! I wanna do this 8 more times!" He was still a bit anxious and chewed his glove, his fingers ad his shirt but he was participating and that is truly amazing. This seems to be a turning point for him as he is in VBS and now playing t-ball. Big changes. It was so much fun to see him on the same ball diamonds that all three of his big siblings played t-ball on. Seeing all the families with really young children trying t-ball for the first time. Our family has come full circle. Our youngest is now on the field. LJ was so excited and so proud and I think he quite enjoyed the fact that we all were watching him instead of him being dragged to things and watching everyone else. The kids don't really understand the game but they have a great time and that is what it is all about.

It's officially summer!


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Sunday, June 12. 2011

It is officially summer at our house! School is over, most regular activity schedules are done and its now soccer, track and softball with some camps and other activities thrown in. I have traded my evening schedule of checking math homework and figuring out which lessons are on for the next day to mending soccer socks, finding a lost soccer sock before camp tomorrow (I haven't been successful yet) and trading sore hands from printing for raw hands from washing soccer jerseys by hand. My kids who seemed to have a hard time getting up and getting going in the morning for school stuff have no problem now waking up earlier, getting ready faster etc etc to join friends/neighbors playing outside or to do some activity they really want. I am looking forward to catching up on household tasks that have fallen way behind with our past school year. Here's to a productive, relaxing, enjoyable summer!

Dance Recital


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Saturday, June 11. 2011

The girls had their dance recital today and even dad joined them on stage for the Daddy and dancer dance. L was in 5 dances (tap, jazz, musical theater, Daddy Disco and the finale) and A-girl was in 4 (tap, jazz, Daddy Disco and finale). Between costume and hair style changes if felt like I didn't really see much of the show (and that was primarily just for A-girl as L did most of her own). It was incredible though. The girls love this day. It is a bit of a mix of celebration and a little sorrow as the season is over. They work hard and it is so much fun to see all the dancers give it there all and have a great time dancing one last time. For some of the kids at the studio, it was their last recital. They are graduating and moving on from TPDS. The studio will not be the same at all. Since we don't watch their classes much throughout the year, it is so great to see everything come together and observe just how much they have changed over the year. We are so proud of you girls! Daddy, we're proud of you to!

Internet Searches


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Friday, June 3. 2011

As we come to the close of the school year, AJ has had a number of portfolios due for various classes. Most have been PowerPoint presentations and he has needed to add graphics. In his Ed Tech class, his last few tutorials made reference to a family friendly resource for images. Because the online school only started to support Mac use this year, some of the programs, links, videos etc do not run on my computer. The family friendly resource link didn't work. I haven't really had too much issue in the past so I figured we were set. Apparently they knew something I did not. He was to pick 5 animals, put an image into the presentation and write a descriptive sentence about each one. Since the assignment asked for different types of animals, he decided he wanted to use a wild animal so he typed in "images of wild" in the search engine because he apparently got bored and tired and couldn't type in animals. That proved interesting and the first couple of rows of photos were OK but there in the middle of the screen was a skimpily clad, large breasted woman in a sleazy crawling position, a threesome, a photo of a couple partially clothed but obviously in the "act" and very seductive shots of other women. Luckily he was so impressed with the wild coyotes at the top corner f the page that he didn't seem to notice anything else. Then he chose an elephant. A few lines down in the images is a picture of two elephants "humping" with the caption "humping elephants." I was helping him maneuver his way between the sites and his PowerPoint so quickly chose a different one. AJ announced "Hey Mom! Did you see that picture of one elephant trying to pick up another!?!" I told him that I had and he quickly added "Can I use that one for my presentation? I could come up with lots of good description words for that!" He likely could and they wouldn't have anything to do with what the picture was actually showing but so inappropriate. I decided he would be picking from the first couple of images and not scrolling down and hope that nothing inappropriate would be in those images. We managed to make it through the rest of his 5 animals without too many more inappropriate graphics. I decided he would not be doing any presentations without me sitting next to him. So today, just days after the last episode, he was putting together a PowerPoint for his science class in which he had to find pictures of simple machines. He chose hoe as an example of a lever and lets just say that one of the first 10 images that you are taken to in the initial search was not a gardening tool but instead a photo of a poster for the "4th annual Pimps and Hoes Ball" Luckily for me he was more fixated on a photo with a series of different hoes that he thought would fill the box in his presentation so we moved quickly off of there but I was left with a huge dose of reality that the internet is not a place for kids to be without supervision even in something as simple as finding images for your third grade projects.



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