Thursday, January 28, 2010
Our family has been immersed in a Lost marathon this week. The kids have been wandering in and out, sometimes following the stories, sometimes just checking in for a bit before going off to do something else. But they’re familiar with all of the characters, and one of the most endearing characters in this series is Charlie. Well, last night Charlie died. We all cried, because it was sad, especially when Hugo tells Claire that Charlie is gone and they cling to one another sobbing. Then the scene ended, the next scene began, and we were all fine. Until bedtime. Then, T-Bear got really upset. He started crying and couldn’t stop. It’s not unusual for him to get deeply immersed in upset feelings, and it’s difficult to help him get out of it. Explaining that it’s “just at TV show” and Charlie isn’t really dead because he’s not real doesn’t help. Convergent, logically sequenced thinking doesn’t work because that’s not how his mind works. Sometimes getting him to focus on other, more pleasant thoughts can help, but it’s hard to find a thought in the moment that is enticing enough to his mind to divert it. Mostly we just have to wait it out.
After reading the first part of Chapter Two, I’m beginning to understand that divergent-thinking kids think in pictures and stories. I suspect T-Bear got stuck in the picture of Charlie’s death (even though it wasn’t graphic, it was upsetting) and of Hugo and Claire’s grief, and the vision and emotional impact of it was so powerful and enticing to his mind, it wouldn’t let go. I’m beginning to understand that the best approach to help T-Bear out of his upset would have been to co-create an even more enticing story, one as wild and imaginative as possible, in which Charlie is magically saved and reunited with Claire and their friends. A purple mermaid swims in through the broken porthole, takes him off to her people who all live inside a giant golden sea snail’s shell, their magician (who is a brine shrimp) brings him back to life, Charlie charms them with an underwater concert backed up by a band of sea slugs, and they give him a blue walrus to saddle up and ride back to the beach. Giggles and a happy ending. And, hopefully, a good night’s sleep.
I’ve always tried to see through the eyes of our children in an effort to empathize with them and understand where they are coming from. I’m beginning to see now that even more than seeing through their eyes, I’m going to have to start seeing through their minds to gain more understanding of them as people. I’m going to have to learn divergent thinking, wildly irrational creativity, existing in timelessness, and how to be fluent in the metaphorical universe that they live in, if we are going to gain a deeper level of understanding of one another.
Parenting is a challenge beyond any other.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The general idea appears to be launching three water-filled aluminum canteens with a line attached to them, up and over a tree limb, and have the weight of the canteens pull BooBoo up into the tree. It hasn't quite worked out. Yet.
"Sight" on the top.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I’m currently reading Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos by Lucy Jo Palladino, PhD. It’s about kids (and, eventually, adults) who are right-brain dominant, or divergent, thinkers. The book was originally titled “The Edison Trait”, because Palladino cites Thomas Alva Edison as the prime example of a divergent thinker. Not just the genius inventor part of his character, but also the kicked-out-of-school and burned-his-father's-barn-to-the-ground (oops) parts. She gives three classifications of Edison-trait kids. There is frequently overlap in these classifications, but often these kids are very strongly one or another. See if you recognize anyone you know in these descriptions.
“Dreamers - Some Edison-trait children…daydream. They live in the sky with their heads in the clouds. They are imaginative and artful. Ideas and stories have personal meanings to them. They can become quite absorbed in “inner space.” If your child can tell you what star date it is, but not the actual month, day, and year, he may be an Edison-trait Dreamer.” (That's T-Bear to a tee).
“Discoverers – Some Edison-trait children….are doers. They must see what happens for themselves, so they “do” first, and ask questions later. They are insistent in their opinions and their inquisitive, adventuresome ways. They are passionate, spontaneous, and often dramatic and entertaining. Like Thomas Edison, they like to experiment, so they test to see how far they can go. They experiment with themselves, with others, and with the rules. If doing things his own way is paramount to your child, he may be an Edison-trait Discoverer.” (That's Brother and BooBoo).
“Dynamos – Sometimes, Edison-trait children….also have an inordinarly high energy level. These are children who are constantly on the move. Sometimes they have an aggressive streak. Their impulsivity lands them in various kinds of trouble, which usually disturbs those around them more than it does them. They can be dauntless. They like power and speed and a personal challenge. If your child can’t pass up a race or a dare, he may be an Edison-trait Dynamo.” (Also BooBoo...nice combination, huh?).
A few lists. Edison-trait children tend to show the following qualities:
• Openness to multiple sights, sounds, and thoughts
• A daring or wandering imagination
• A global perspective
• Creative urges or compelling attraction for new ideas
• Intense focus on his own pursuits and interests
Culturally, we tend to phrase these traits in a more negative light, especially when they are in a classroom setting:
• Is easily distracted
• Lives in a state of disorganization
• Neglects important details
• Doesn’t follow things through to completion
• Won’t obey or comply
Edison-trait kids find some things come easily:
• Thinking up wild or unusual ideas
• Standing up for, feeling strongly about, and getting involved in those ideas
• Making things up, and imagining the future
• Trying things out
• Starting new projects
And, some things are more difficult:
• Focusing on someone else’s ideas
• Letting of his own ideas
• Remembering things he’s been asked to do
• Practicing skills repeatedly
• Finishing things
Now, the author keeps talking about “if you have an Edison-trait child” as if any family would ever only be blessed with one of them. Unlike my family, which has been blessed with three kids who clearly have these traits. And a husband.
I think I need to read faster.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Set lapel pin into soft wax.
A completed seal.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
So, seeing as Brother Bear is still in the “symbology” stage of his drawing development, I figured we might back it up a bit, keep our drawing lessons on his level, and try drawing more symbolically. I asked him what kind of drawing he wanted to do, "realistic" or “stuff like cartoons and superheros”, and he said "both". That was enough of an opening for me...I suggested we start with drawing one of his favorite cartoon characters, and that’s what we did today.
When I was in HS (my first day in a new HS after moving, come to think of it), we did reproductions using graphs. (I still have the poster of Nessie that I reproduced from a magazine ad hanging in my study - weird the stuff that sticks around, isn’t it?). So, I got us started using basically the same technique. Yesterday I spent about an hour making two “viewfinders” from sheets of glass and heavy black posterboard, so we were all set.
Our "subject", Sonic The Hedgehog, seen through a gridded viewfinder. We were just focusing on Sonic and the poster he is holding, leaving off the background elements.
Corresponding grids on our drawing paper.
Brother Bear's initial sketch, with poster colored.
After deliniating with Sharpie and erasing pencil marks.
I went for colored pencils instead of bold marker, 'cause I'm just girly that way.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
BooBoo Bear jumped right up with a huge grin on his face, laughed hysterically, and tore back up the stairs for another go, to the applause of his brothers. The ship, however (affectionately named P1), is still in the shop for repairs.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
The Expander Appliance, installed.
And, this is what it sounds like.
The effects of an expander appliance on speech.
Because his tongue is no longer able to touch his upper pallet comfortably, Brother Bear is going to have to make an adjustment is the way he forms certain language sounds. This was immediately, and hysterically apparent when he said to the technician who had just cemented the gizmo into his mouth, “I schound juscht like Schid.” I thought I was going to have to pick her up off the floor, ‘cause it was lookin’ like she was sure to topple out of her chair, she was laughing so hard. It’s great having kids with “personality”, huh?
Some of the more amusing side-effects of the expander include excess saliva production (we may get to see some drooling for the first time since he was teething), difficulty swallowing (we’ve already experienced the weird sucking noise he makes trying to get liquids, including that excess saliva, to the back of his throat so he can swallow), and…well…difficulty with certain speech sounds. We’ve been assured that these are all temporary conditions, and will subside after a few days. In the mean time, it could be quite entertaining. Come on over if you like.
Oh, yeah, and did you notice the arrows engraved on the expander appliance? Well, that’s to remind me which direction to crank that puppy when I adjust the thing EVERY NIGHT. Yep, I’ve been promoted to “Jr. Orthodontic Technician”, and am now responsible for adjusting Brother Bear’s expander every night. Good thing I‘ve got my fancy beeping watch to remind me I need to do something important at 7:00 pm. I mean, besides giving T-Bear his Lantus. Two beeping reminders for the price of one. Can’t beat that.
So, a few food items Brother Bear will be banned from consuming for the next six to nine months that the expander appliance is in: hard and sticky candy (like there’s any other kind), ice, gum, Doritos and Fritos, pizza crust, raw apples and carrots, popcorn, and sugared carbonated drinks. Oh, and pretty much stick to soft foods and soups until he figures out how to swallow food without choking.
As usual, I’m taking this new development in our family’s evolution as an opportunity to ban yet more junk food from the house. Between Juvenile Diabetes and braces, we’re going to end up with a really healthy diet. Silver lining, folks. Silver lining….
Friday, January 8, 2010
So, I called a homeschool “snow day”. No chores, and no studies. Woohoo! Everyone was stoked, including Mama Bear, because I actually got to spend a little time blogging and posting photos. Just hung out, played Wii, watched Mythbusters, hit the Y, and took Brother Bear to his Orthodontic appointment (more on that later).
But, there was a downside. T-Bear had an appointment scheduled with our pediatric endocrinologist today, but the office called and said they were cancelling all appointments for the day…we’d have to call back on Monday to reschedule. Most kids would be thrilled to hear their doctor's appointment had been cancelled, but T-Bear had decided earlier this week that he was going to ask Dr. A to approve an insulin pump today. He’s really excited and impatient to get an OmniPod – even wearing his taped-on dummy Pod for the last three days – so he was genuinely disappointed when I told him his appointment was cancelled. Drat. Hopefully we’ll get in to see Dr. A next week….
So, here are the pix, starting with “before the kids are up”…