Friday, November 20, 2015

Loopholes

Noah has the potential to make a great lawyer one day.  He is an expert at finding and exploiting loopholes.  (I joke with Ching that the osmosis between Noah and I is strong...  the red highlights in his hair, and now loopholes.  It's from all the nights he and I played while she was pregnant and sleeping.)

Noah has "self control" issues in school - you know, because he's a five year old boy.  The first month of school, when they did what's called walking feet after lunch, where they walk around the circular drive in front of the school, he tended to run.  We talked with him, and that problem got better. 

I think it was at the parent/teacher conference we found out Noah has a tendency to drop things on the floor, then get out of his chair and crawl around to get them.  And he still likes to throw things - like the dice when they're doing a math game.  Sigh. 

So, I gave Noah three rules.  Stay in your chair, keep your hand to yourself, and don't throw anything. 

And that mostly worked. 

Until yesterday, when after school his teacher told me he had spit on the floor and licked a kid.  (Ok, he licked her shirt, which is Ching's fault because they have this weird lick each other thing that he and I don't do!)

I asked him why he was spitting.  It's something he's done a few times here at home, but not often.  And he mentioned something about getting up to clean it up.

Ah-ha.  It seems he found a new way to get out of his seat.  Heh. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Kindergarten Update

We got Noah's six week report yesterday.  It was the general one from his teacher, and then an update on his IEP goals.  The overall picture is that Noah is really, really distracted by all the goings on in the classroom.  We're not really surprised by any of it.  But it's hard not to worry a little bit about our boy.  Thankfully, we've had two years of pre-school and we know his strengths and weaknesses.

Every day he tells us he had fun at school.  He likes the other kids, and they seem to like him.  He's good at the routine of school.  We just didn't know how he was doing on actual school work.  The worksheets he brings home are fine.  And when he and I do his little bit of homework he does fine.  The biggest problem is he just can't pay attention in class to save his life.

We knew that this was going to be a problem.  It's a big change from 12 kids and 3 teachers to 22 kids and 2 teachers.  There's just so much going on in the classroom.  And he's a kid who from just about the day he was born loves to watch what everyone in the world is doing - literally.  If he were older, he'd probably be one of those kids staring out the window all day, and then having to do all of his school work once he got home.  In Kindergarten, it's a little bit more of a problem that he can't pay attention. 

One of the things we've learned about Noah is that he learns almost everything by watching videos - his alphabet, numbers, shapes, colors, everything.  Thankfully, there are some good educational websites where he can learn letter sounds and all the other things they're working on.  We showed him one of them yesterday and he spent a good amount of time on there and enjoyed it.

We have to keep coming back to our goals for Noah and school - that he enjoys being there.  We can't change what they have to learn in kindergarten these days, but we don't have to get caught up in it all.  That can be hard.  To not compare where he is to where all the other kids are.  He's just not a typical student, and we may never know why.

To us, the most important thing is that he's a happy and sweet boy who loves to go to school, loves music, and loves to play outside with his friends.  At five, not much else really matters. 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Job Change

As the time for Ching to be home from work nears, Noah and I are closing out an great week in a very long summer of the first five years of his life and the end of my dream job - being a stay-at-home mom.  I feel like I'll be more of a house wife than SAHM, but it's really just semantics. (Twenty years ago, I would state that my goal was to be a kept woman... being a SAHM is not quite the same thing, heh.)

I've had a hard time this week wondering if I've done a good job.  How much more could I have done?  What should I have done differently?  You know...  The result of my work is who Noah is.  And although I can't take all the credit, I tend to take quite a bit.  He's happy.  He's polite.   He's just a good kid overall.  What more could I ask for?

No, this isn't the end of parenting.  But it is the end of this specific phase of life.

We also did the week right.  We went to Kids N Motion, Chuck E Cheese, the playground, and the water park.  We ate lots of chicken nuggets and french fries and drank lemonade.  We watched the Lego Movie a time or two a day.  All before Ma got home every evening.

I've told him I'm going to miss him while he's at school.  He doesn't know what I mean, really.  But I trust he feels it. 

Kindergarten and "Good" Schools

Noah's school had open house last night, so we got to go see the school, his classroom, and meet his teacher and classmates.  He is so, so excited and ready for school to start.  We were there from 3:30 to 5:30 (part of the time we were in the library hearing from the principal and he was back in the classroom with the kids) and he didn't want to leave when it was time to go home.  His teacher seems really nice and ready to handle a lot of kindergarteners. 

I've written over the years how I feel about public schools and such.  And I wrote about how much we loved and appreciated Noah's teachers and school last year.  As the start of school has gotten closer these past couple of weeks, and back to school is the most common topic on FB and even sometimes for Ching at work, the idea of "good" schools is something Ching and I talk about. 

I'm sure the reality of Noah being a special ed boy - even to the small degree that he is - helps shape my thoughts.  As does the fact that he loves kids and school so much. 

So our goal for Noah this school year is very simple - that he continues to love going to school and enjoying it and that he makes friends.  Will he learn how to write better, and how to read, and things like that.  Of course.  Is that important, sure.  It's just not our biggest concern. 

When we bought our house we, we bought the nicest, least expensive house we thought we could afford.  That means we live in the blue collar, working class part of the huge DC metro (as opposed to the "thinking" class that dominates this area).  Our house cost 1/3 or 1/4 of what most of Ching's co-workers cost.  We thought we'd live in it for three or four years and then finally be moving out of the DC area all together.  Nope.  We also didn't care about schools and such because we didn't know we'd be having Noah. 

We like our house, we don't absolutely love it, but we're doing the improvements that make us happy.  I love that we're in a cul de sac and that there are two or three neighbor kids for Noah to play with sometimes.  I love the trees and the quiet.  And I appreciate the working class nature of our neighbors. 

But...  that all important question... how are the schools?  I don't know.  We could talk about class size, socioeconomic status, ethnic make-up, things like that.  Would Noah's school rate very well, probably not.  And yet every school personnel there last night was helpful and friendly and seemed to truly be happy to be there.  I know there are fantastic schools where that's not always true.  Maybe the teachers in Noah's not top of the line school know they have to work a little harder for their students. 

I don't know.  We're taking this school thing one year at a time. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mornings

For most of the summer he wakes up between 7:30 and 8:30 and plays in his bed for a while.  This means I got to sleep in until 8:30!  Then we sort of hung out, I made coffee and he had apple juice.  We'd eat some sort of breakfasts, toast for me, granola or gold fish for him.  He'd watch lego videos on you.tube while I caught up on FB and news.  Very leisurely.
Just a few of those days left this summer. 

Noah has had to be at day camp at 9 am this week (and then will do another one week after next).  It's been good to get a feel for how our mornings will go when school starts.

First, I fully intend to get Noah an alarm clock as soon as possible.  Ok, that's still a couple of years away, but still... 

Now, when I go in to get him up, he's a little but awake, but still sleepy.  (We're working on earlier bedtimes as well!)  Then he decides it's time to go brush his teeth.  I talk him into peeing.  Then have to talk him into getting dressed.  We do some juice and snacks.  He's a slow eater, so this all takes 35-40 minutes.  This does not include time for me to make coffee or shower.  I have a feeling there will be a majority of mornings I don't shower before taking him to school.  Oh well.  I'm learning to live with that. 

I'm just glad he's happy when he wakes up, and his slightly ocd self will get the hang of a morning routine pretty easily, I think.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

5 Whole Years!

Obviously, we don't write as much on this blog as we did the first couple of years of his life.  I'm sure facebook has a lot to do with that.  But I am so very happy to be able to go back and read those posts from Noah's first days/years. 

Our dear sweet boy turns five today.  This coming year will bring a lot of changes, I think.  But then, really, don't  they all?  He starts kindergarten in a month.  We're so glad he's had two years of preschool.  He's enjoyed them so much and they will help him with this big transition to "real" school.  He seems to be in this in-between state - becoming more mature and independent, but with lots of lapses.  I have a feeling all of those lapses will be gone in a year. 

One of the things I've been pondering is this mother/child relationship.  Right now, I know Noah better than most people ever will.  And yet, partly because of his speech and other delays, there is so much we probably don't know about him, his thoughts, and feelings.  But I know him.  And I know that will change as he grows older.  And, in some ways it won't.  One of the biggest reasons I'm able to know him so well, is I've gotten to stay home with him these first five years.  There are no words to express how grateful I am for that. 

He's a great kid.  Oh sure, in the past few weeks he seems to being turning 15 - not 5.  He's always been stubborn, but with more oomph lately.  Last night he was "so hungry" and wanted some snacks, like gummy worms, and we kept telling him he had to eat some "real" food first.  He busted out a perfect "FINE", twice.  (We're guessing he picked it up at day camp.) We stood firm, but it's also hard not to laugh. 

He still loves music, and cars and trucks and buses and all vehicles known to man.  He's sweet and bossy.  Fiercely independent but not brave. He loves to travel and stay at hotels.  When he finally gets to visit relatives, or they visit him - he's more than happy to hang out with them and let them love on him.  He still loves kids and playing and school and day camp.  And he can be a bit anal about things.  We're waiting for his ability to spot tiny pieces of trash on the floor to pay off when he keeps the house cleaner than we do! 

I can't seem to do him justice this morning.  As always, I just wish you could all hang out with him for a day or two.  He's a great kid. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The End of Pre-School

I remember when Ching and I met with Noah's teacher and speech pathologist at Old Bridge and they told us they thought Noah would do better at the public pre-school for special needs kids.  We were a little surprised and upset walking out of that meeting.  But, we decided to trust them, that they knew Noah well enough, and knew both schools well enough, to know where he'd get what he needed.

We're so happy we made the decision we did. 

With Noah, and his lack of speaking back then, it was hard for us to know just what he was and wasn't capable of .  I think we knew his strengths, but not his weaknesses. 

So, today, and the last few days really, Ching and I have been so sad that this school year is ending.  Not only has Noah loved his classmates and teachers and staff, so have we.  We're almost convinced this is the best school year he will ever have. 

One thing we admire the most is the way they made such great projects out of such little resources.  They did that pretend plane trip back before Thanksgiving that was so much fun for Noah.  They had pretend winter/ice sports with paper plates as ice skates.  They took the field trip to Pizza Hut and made their own pizzas.  These last two weeks they've had a summer/camping theme.  They actually set up a tent in the classroom.  They had a fake fire but made real smores - and Noah loved them!  They pretended to go fishing.  And they had a big pool set up one day and all the kids wore their swimsuits so they could pretend like they were at the lake. 

Another great thing they did all school year was send home pictures they printed of Noah and his classmates during these activities.  Noah loves those pictures. 

I don't even know how to gauge the changes in Noah.  It's just so much.  We're up to understanding about 85% of what he says - 100% when he slows down and wants us to understand.  We're starting to see him use his imagination more.  He's just such a smart, sweet, stubborn, bossy boy!

His biggest weakness next year (other than the 7 hour school day for kindergarteners) is that he's so easily distracted.  When he was just months old, we'd have to prop up his car seat any place we took him to he could watch the world.  He's still that oh so curious boy.  He wants to know what every sound is, what everyone is doing. 

And my sadness comes in part because this is the last few months he'll be my "baby".  Yes, he's already a little boy, but kindergarten is a big change and I feel like after that he'll be more grown up.  I'm going to miss having him around like I'd miss my right arm.  But that also has me determined to make these next couple of months good ones, just hanging out with him and having fun. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Soccer Season End

Last night, Noah's soccer team had an end of season party at Chuck E Cheese.  The parents decided to get all the kids little trophies for their hard work this season.  Our son got his first participation trophy.  And I'm ok with that.  It made him so happy!  He wanted to sleep with it last night. Ching talked him into putting it on his night stand.  When I went in this morning, it was on his pillow.  When he got up, he showed it to me again, and made a big deal of going down the hall, marching into his room, and presenting it to me.  Then he presented it to Peppa.  Then I talked him into putting it back on the table.

He was without question the worst player on his team - and that's not even including the first two games he refused to play!  But, he had so much fun.  After every game he would say "I loved it."  He liked going to practice.  I don't know that he had an actual conversation with a teammate, but he loved seeing them and playing soccer with them.  They were also very nice to him, they always made sure he got the after game snacks even though he was ready to leave and go get donuts!  As were the other parents who cheered him for his small accomplishments!  He liked his coach, who was also really great with him, patient with him, and helped him. 

We couldn't have asked for a better start to his participation in sports! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weather Boy

I've written before about how Noah loves to call Ching.  He'll call her in the morning if he needs to tell her something, or while she's at work, or especially if she's driving home and it's taking longer than he thinks it should.  He loves to talk on the phone.  He'll even call Granny and Pa! 

I love weather. (this isn't the change in topic it seems to be - well, it is, but it's related.)  I hate the weather channel, but I love weather.  I love knowing the ten day forecast - even in all it's uselessness.  I like knowing the temp and the humidity and the wind direction and speed - maybe one of the most important parts of the forecast. 

So, I've always talked to Noah about the weather.  In the mornings when I go to get him up, and I open his curtains, I usually remark on if it's sunshine or clouds, windy or rain, that sort of thing.  Then, he started to associate clouds with rain and storms, so we'd talk about that. 

For the past couple of weeks, he's started having me pull up weather.com and see what the weather's going to be.  He's learning the temperature numbers, the sun/cloud/rain symbols.  He checks out the hourly forecast for the day, and then the ten day. 

If we're downstairs, he likes watching the weather channel.  I hate they way they make weather all extreme and scary, but for now he doesn't really get that part. 

Sometimes, even a month or two ago, he'll stand right next to the tv when the weather is on and do all the motions of the weather person!  

Now, some mornings, he just likes to call Ching and tell her about the weather. 

You just never know what they're going to pick up on.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Soccer and Kindergarten

Slow and steady progress.  Woohoo

Last Sunday brought two challenges that Ching and I weren't sure how they would turn out.  Noah's soccer team had picture day, and then a little later, a game to play.  Noah's refusal to have his picture taken and play soccer are well documented. 

But, he surprised us!  We had told him of both events the evening before.  It's hard to say how much that helps, but I think it does.  When it was time, we got him dressed and went to the picture taking event.  Well, before leaving the house, he insisted on taking his little digital camera so HE could take pictures of everyone.  So that's what we did.  The parents thought it was cute, and then a couple of the other kids got their parents' phones to take pictures, too.  That's our boy - a natural leader, heh. 

Ching had to go with him when they went to do the actual pictures, but he got in line, had his picture taken, and then stood with his team for the team pic and didn't make too many terrible faces! 

We came home for a few minutes and then headed back out to his soccer game.  He was actually excited to be there and before the game started was kicking the ball with a couple of his teammates.  When the game started and coach asked if he was ready to go play he said YES - and went and played!!!  Of course, his play is mostly running after the other kids who have the ball, but he did manage to kick it a few times.  Not bad for his first game ever.  They sub out every four minutes or so, and every time he was happy to come out and get a drink and then go back in for his turn!  At the end he was just plain ole excited he had played.  Practice was yesterday and he had a blast there, too. 

Sunday night, when putting him to bed, I sat with him for a few minutes and talked about his big day.  He said soccer was fun, and I explained to him that Ma and I thought he'd have fun playing, and that we're so happy he did. 

The other big event last week was getting him officially registered for kindergarten.  It's been a long process.  First all the evaluations, then the meetings, the recommendations. 

He's going to be in a regular kindergarten classroom at our neighborhood elementary school.  He'll still get speech therapy once a week.  And, he'll have 35 minutes or more a day of assistance from the school's special ed person. 

This is all good.  I'm glad that the consensus was to let him try as normal a school day as possible and then if that doesn't work we can always adjust how much support he gets. 

Next year is a big change, twice as many kids in his class, only one teacher, and a 7 hour school day instead of 3. 

We know he's going to so absolutely sad when this school year ends.  So hopefully by the time fall comes around he'll be ready to try his new school and class!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Parenting Is Hard

Noah wakes up happy and ready to go just about every morning of his life.  Yesterday morning, we could tell he was a little upset when we heard him on the monitor.  Ching went up there and he told her he had a bad dream.  He had dreamt he had made a mess on the floor at school and Ms. Karen would be mad at him.  Poor boy.

One of the things they discussed about Noah in his evaluation was how he doesn't really like new things, and also, that if he feels he's not doing something the right way, or if he thinks he might get in trouble, he tends to shut down for a few minutes.  Because we don't do tons of new stuff at home, they've seen more of that from him at school than we have.  We've known he's not brave about things like swimming or riding rides at amusement parks - sometimes he'll try and sometimes he won't.  But we didn't really see it in terms of being afraid to fail. 

Yesterday was also Noah's first soccer game.  Over the past few days, we spent a lot of time with him outside kicking around the ball and trying to make sure he understood he can't use his hands to pick up the ball.  He got on his uniform and seemed happy to go. 

Then...  we got to the soccer field.  He wasn't having it.  He kept hiding behind Ching and just refusing to even consider it. 

Now, the night before, it dawned on me that Noah really has none of the concepts of soccer as such.  I'm not sure he really knows what a team is.  He doesn't know about kicking the ball in one direction and into the goal.  I tried to show him videos of kids playing soccer because he's such a visual learner, but he didn't want to watch any.  I was hopeful that if he watched maybe the first half of his team playing he'd get the general idea and then be happy to go run and kick the ball.  They make it super easy on the kids his age.  He's in the under 5 group, some of them played last year in the under 4s.  Noah loves kids, running, and balls, so we thought soccer was a no-brainer. 

There was a little set of bleachers right by where his team was playing, so we went and sat over there.  We tried everything to get him to go out there and play.  I told him it was ok to go try.  Told him he'd have fun running and kicking the ball.  Then he went into jerk mode and we told him he'd have to go home and go to bed if he didn't go try.  Sigh.  I got so frustrated with him. 

So he didn't play yesterday.  We knew this might not go smoothly, but we didn't imagine he wouldn't want to go run and play. 

After we got home and things settled down, I had him come stand in front of me so we could talk.  (I do this sometimes after he's been in trouble and I'm trying to explain why to him.)  I told him we were sad he didn't play, but it was ok.  We told him it's ok to try new things and we want him to have fun.  It's so hard to know how much he understands all of that. 

I think WE understand better that we'll be encouraging him to try new things a lot in the next few years.  We have no idea how much this stems from his communication issues, and how much is age related, and how much is just part of his personality.  But we're learning. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Assessing Noah

To Ching and I, Noah is a smart, determined, undeterred, stubborn, sweet, immature boy. 

We're never sure that's all a recipe for success in school. 

Over the past month or so, Noah's teacher, speech therapist, the school psychologist and a social worker have all compiled reports on Noah's development.  This includes a set of questions sent home to Ching and I that were statements you answer with "always/often/sometimes/never."  I'm not a big fan of those types of evaluations, but they have their place. 

Today, I met with all of those people and we went over the reports in an effort to formulate a plan for Noah succeeding in kindergarten next year.  What I appreciate most about all of this is that their assessments of Noah align really, really well with how Ching and I see him.  That's a good thing. 

One of the interesting things about Noah is that his overall picture is a little complicated and atypical.  I often wonder if he'd be different if he weren't an only child - not that there's anything to be done about it.  There's no way to know why his speech is delayed the way it is.  I think it's a mix of things - he's excited and in a hurry to say what he has to say.  But, he also isn't overly concerned if you don't understand him, so even if you ask him what he said, he's already moved on to the next thing. 

I had been looking forward to the psychologist testing to see if the results were what we thought they'd be.  Thankfully, some of those assessments are non-verbal.  Of course, he did the best on those.  But even on the verbal ones his intelligence came through.  

Other than his speech issues, he's easily distracted (even for a boy his age!).  Add that to a tendency to not do things he doesn't want to, and there could be real issues next year. 

We know he's going to be in a regular kindergarten class next year, which means lots of kids and one teacher.  (Not sure about there being teacher's aides in the classroom yet.)  Because Noah isn't entirely typical, we think it's going to be helpful just that his teacher next year has all this info from his IEP to know where he's at and what to expect from him.  Without the IEP I think he could be misunderstood. 

The next phase is formulating an actual action plan to get him the help he needs next year.  He'll continue speech therapy, but he'll also get some one on one assistance in the classroom.  He needs help staying on task and sometimes with understanding instructions. 

As I've said a few times, I'm not the biggest fan of public schools in general, but we really are grateful for the people who have worked with him and taught him so far.  I know it helps that he's happy and outgoing, it takes the edge off his stubbornness. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Noah's First Movie Theater

About a week ago, Noah's school sent home a flyer that said a close enough movie theater would be holding  a special showing of Home for special needs kids.  The volume would be lower, the lights would be left on, it would be ok to bring snacks, things like that.  But most importantly, it would be a place kids could be kids and watch a movie.

That's where we went this morning.  While Noah is (or used to be until recently) is pretty good at sitting through a movie at home, we haven't felt like trying a movie theater.  These days Ching and I hardly go to movie theaters.  Between people acting like the theater is their own personal living room and the high price of tickets and the lack of really good movies, well, why go. 

But there was still a part of me that was thinking it would be fun on summer days, or winter break days, or spring break days, for Noah and I to go see a movie. 

Before we got there we put the chance of him sitting through the whole thing at about 50/50.

He did great!  Just over halfway through he decided to take a bathroom break.  Other than that he sat through the whole thing. 

It was really nice to be able to let him try this is a stress free environment.  And for a theater full of special needs kids - it didn't seem to be any different than any other showing of a kids movie.  Not all of the kids made it all the way through, and there was lots of wiggling going on.  Nothing wrong with that. 

The movie itself was cute enough. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Problem Solving

Once every two weeks, Noah's teachers comes to our house to do school stuff with him.  I enjoy seeing what they're working on, how well he does or doesn't do and such. 

Yesterday, she brought a puzzle and then a worksheet where he had to figure out which of these things is not like the others and put an X through it. 

Puzzles fall into the category of things Noah doesn't spend time on at home, like coloring and reading.  (Always remember, 2 bad moms!)  His teacher said something about Noah not using his problem solving skills to figure out where puzzle pieces go.  And then he was terrible at understanding the NOT like the others.  Again, something I would never have figured to work on.  He was good at making Xs though. 

Last night, Ching and I were talking about how funny it was that his problem solving skills would be in question.  This is the kid who can figure out how to manipulate his classmates to get what he wants, or manipulate the entire situation to get out of something he doesn't want to do.  Those are master problem solving skills.  Puzzles probably just bore him!

April 10 is the big meeting to see Noah's evaluation results and plan for kindergarten next year.  We still wonder if school will be a good fit for him.  Will they recognize and appreciate his strengths as well as weaknesses?  But, as long as he is happy being there, we won't worry about the rest of it!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Birthdays!

Noah loves birthdays, and birthday parties. 

A couple of weeks ago, in an effort to help him with days of the week and time in general, we got him a little wall calendar.  Every morning when I go in to get him up, he'll ask if Ma is home, and I'll say, "Nope, today is Monday, Ma is at work."  So, he's at least heard me tell him the day of the week for a while.  (Side note, Monday and Tuesday when I went in to get him, he told me it was Monday and Tuesday - wow.)

One morning last week, he brought up birthdays, so I got the calendar and showed him that today would be Ching's birthday and all the things he and I could do that morning for her.  He's talked about it every day since! 

First thing this morning he asked if I was ready to go to the store and get cake and candles and balloons for Ma's birthday.  He's so sweet. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Still the Same

Over the weekend, I finally transferred the photo and videos from my phone to the computer.  I store all of our videos of Noah in my Google drive, so of course, after putting the new stuff in there, I watched a few of the old ones.  Wow.  (Unfortunately, the one I'm going to talk about I can't find a way to post here for you to see.)

I watched one from almost exactly three years ago of him out in the front yard with us.  The stunning part to watch was how he really wasn't able to speak at all.  He's always understood everything we've said to him, but it's amazing how slowly, but steadily his speaking has improved. 

The fun part was that other than speech, he's still the same kid.  When he saw that I was recording him, he ran over and wanted to see it.  Then he was looking for Ramen to come to the open screened front door.  Then he ran over to my car and tried to open the door.  Ching asks him if he wants to drive, and the one thing we can understand that he says is "Yeah!"  When that fails, he runs over to Ching for her to pick him up and then points at the car indicating that if he can't drive, she can take him wherever he wants to go. 

He still does all of those things. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Happy

We thought we had escaped it, passed it by, but apparently not.  Neither Ching nor I like the song Happy at all.  Noah has never heard it in either of our cars.  But yesterday as we were driving Noah started asking for the "happy... clap your hands song."  Several months ago, Noah's teacher was nice and made us a cd of songs they sing in the classroom - typical old school kids' songs.  (We don't really like them either.)  So, we put in that cd and found "if you're happy and you know it..." - nope, that was not his song.  Poor kid, we were failing horribly and couldn't figure out what song he meant.

Fast forward to lunch time at a restaurant with pretty loud music.  Happy comes on and Noah starts dancing like a fool and is, well, happy.  Yep, that's his new song.  It seems they've played it for them at school.  Sigh.  He usually has better taste.

Monday, February 9, 2015

How Things Work

On Saturday afternoon, we had lunch at Uncle Julio's.  And while Noah loves their chips, he didn't get his standard order of fries.  Later, when we were home, he wanted his usual fries and lemonade.  We said we'd already had lunch.  So, he said we could go on a picnic, get money, and go to the store.  When that didn't work.  He said we could call and get some - like we call and get pizza or chinese food.  When that didn't work he said the brown delivery (UPS) could bring it.  Poor boy.  He knows how all this works, but it doesn't get the result he wants. (Yesterday was actually very nice weather wise, so we did get his fries and lemon and chicken and eat at the park!) 

A few times, when we've been at various stores and getting ready to leave, we've explained to him that we have to give them money first.  Now, if you handed him a dollar bill, he wouldn't know that was money.  (Well, we did finally do that yesterday, just so he'd have an idea.)  But, he's not ready to make the connection between doing X and getting money, and then taking the money to the store and buying things.  It probably won't be long though. 

Last weekend we went to Cracker Barrel for dinner, and of course, walking through the store part, he saw a car and a truck he needed.  He took the car to the table with us, and then decided he had to go back and trade it for the truck.  (It is a very cool, solidly made old truck.)  He and I are done eating, but Ching is still trying to finish.  So he tells her it's time to go and to get up and go give them money.  He was done and was ready to go home and play with his new truck. 

He's also very into looking at clocks and saying either where the little hand is, or where it should be for X to happen.  He has no idea how to actually tell time, he just knows there's a connection there somewhere.  

In, he's kinda crazy news.  About a week ago, Noah told me the light fixture in the stairs said Hi to him. Since then, he insists that it be on all the time, because it's scary. Then, when he saw the other one like it in the downstairs hall, he said it had to be on, too.

Our boy is crazy smart when it comes to observing how things go and using that to his advantage.  

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

120

I believe we're living in some pretty stupid/crazy times currently.  But I am also incredibly optimistic about the future.  I believe everything from peanut allergies to Alzheimers to diabetes and cancer will be cured.  I believe this country will be strong and prosperous.  Those sorts of things. 

I also believe Noah and his generation will live to 120 or longer.  (I personally plan on living to 100.) 

So when parenting a kid under 10 seems like it's all so Right Now, and then teenagers and people in their 20s are also living Right Now, how do I raise a son for the long life?  How can I possibly instill that notion in him?  How does it affect the decisions I make, and the ones we help him make.

One big issue would be dating and marriage.  If you're going to live to 120, why would you even bother with dating in high school or maybe even your early 20s?  How do you pick a career and stay open enough to the idea it will probably change several times, so be invested, but not too invested?  How do you stay open to changing some things, but being consistent in others? 

Look at how much has changed in the past forty years.  How much more will in change in the next 40?

I don't know.  I'm fascinated with both history and the future.  Does it help to take the long view?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Getting To Know Noah

Friday. Noah and I returned a book to the library and got a new one (for me - he gets library books at school), then we went to Chick Fil A and he got his favorite, a strawberry shake and fries, and then we did some shopping at Wally World.  Later that evening, I realized I had understood everything he had said to me that day. 

That is a big deal. 

I'm not sure we've ever really been able to describe Noah's lack of speech.  The problem seems to be that he gets in a really big hurry to get his words out - and runs it all together and it sounds like gibberish.  His teachers and speech therapist have worked really hard to get him to slow down so we can understand him.  He's made so much progress just since October, when he really got into the swing of the school year.

One result of his inability to really communicate with us was that we (I) often felt like we didn't really know him all that well.  With his new ability to communicate so much better, his personality and such is really starting to come through. 

He's kinda bossy.  More so with Ching than with anyone - she calls him her Tyrant!  His teacher told us, in addition to his ultra smart schemes (which are brilliant in avoiding confrontation) he tends to boss his classmates sometimes.  He likes to boss us, too.  Lately, when Ching gets home from work, he's even told her to go change clothes because he wanted her to wear a different shirt. 

He's a little bit ocd and a stickler for the way things are done and does not like change.  One of the worst parts of this is he just won't try new foods.  Again, his teachers are really trying to help us with this.  He's not as likely to tell them straight up NO, so we send a little bit of something in his lunch for school and they get him to at least take a bite.  Not being able to get up from the table and go play when the other kids do is a great motivation! 

Our favorite phrase of his comes from food - "I can't want it."  

He's incredibly stubborn.  On fb the other day I said it was like arguing with a jack hammer.  You're just not going to win.  He will repeat what he wants until he gets it.  Sometimes we can get him to do X instead of Y, but not always.

Speaking of stubborn, wow with the whole issue of pooping.  That's a whole post within itself.  Once again, at school the other day they noticed his need to poop dance and actually got him to go sit on the potty and poop.  We can't get him to do that.  He's still in diapers over night - so he's learned he can just hold it until sometime over night and just poop in his diaper and not the potty.  Sigh.  Soon we'll stop doing the over night diapers.  But he sleeps 10 to 11 hours and we know that's a long time to hold it.  We don't think he'd get up and go pee.  He still doesn't get out of bed until we come upstairs and open his curtains and turn on the light.  

He's also learned to use "tomorrow" - as in, "Noah it's time to take a bath," "no, tomorrow."  "Noah, we need to cut your fingernails," "no, tomorrow."

He's a smart kid.  I'm not sure we know how smart yet. 

He still loves to watch cartoons, these days it's Fireman Sam, Sheriff Callie, still some Curious George.   He has so many of them memorized.  And he still loves music.  He loves playing with his firetrucks and cars.  He has a very set in stone arrangement of these things in his bed when he sleeps. 

We hope to help him use these strong traits for good and not for evil!  Smart, stubborn, scheming, and handsome could lead to real trouble. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Future Vacations

Last weekend, we took Noah to an RV show.  He loved it.  He checked out almost every single one, trying all the beds, pretending to cook when there were dishes visible, and pretending to drive all the ones he could! 

I've often wanted an RV.  But the reality is they're expensive and if you're not using it all the time, you have to put it somewhere.  And really, we're kind of hotel people! 

One trip we plan on doing eventually is to rent an RV and go through all the parks in Utah, then Yellowstone and Yosemite, see the huge redwoods.  All that.  Probably a month long trip.  An RV is just much easier in all of those places.

The second trip... I realized my parents' 50th wedding anniversary is in a couple of years.  None of us has ever been on a cruise.  Hmmm.  What started this line of thought was realizing that Disney World is just too big and too expensive and too crowded for our taste.  But, a Disney cruise might not be terrible.  So, I asked my folks about maybe doing a cruise for their anniversary.  That gives us all time to save up and find a good one - maybe Disney, maybe not.

The third trip...  Any time we've watched the Tour D' France, I've always thought that a fantastic vacation would be to rent a car over there and pick any of the Tour's routes and follow it.  Again, probably a three or so week trip.

But lately, with the help of HD tv, I've really started wanting to go to Switzerland and see the Alps and all the little Alpine villages and such. 

So yeah, a month over in Europe.

The fourth trip...  Of course, at some point we have to take Noah to Taiwan.  Ching's mother still lives over there.  She would love to go eat all of her favorite foods.  We have no idea what Noah would eat over there!  What's funny is that my 13 year old nephew is still into Japan.  We've toyed with the idea of taking him to Taiwan for his high school graduation.  Noah will be old enough for such longs flights by then!

It's a good thing Noah seems to love to travel as much as we do! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015

Wow.  2015.  In high school that was a year I couldn't even really imagine.  It was hard enough imagining how old I'd be in 2000.  Ha.

Which means we're done with 2014.  It seems like it was a very long year.  I spent a lot of time yesterday just trying to remember the first half of it.  Last night, I finally took down the wall calendar we keep track of life on and looked through it.  January was the month of too much snow and missed school.  March was our trip to Texas.  March was Ching's heart episode.  July we got George and Peppa.  August we went to Nashville.  September Noah started at his new school.   September we got Ching's new car.  October we got married.  Wow.  December saw the year end with my adoption of Noah being all legal and done.  More wow!

It was an expensive year.  But, it was all money well spent. 

As for Noah.  My goodness.  The progress he is making is really picking up it's pace.  He talks so much more and we understand so much more of what he's saying.  He moved into his big boy bed and loves it.  He loves his school and teachers and classmates this year.  And he's finally just about potty trained.  It seems there is a on/off switch with things for him.  He won't do anything until he's ready, but when he is ready it's a done deal.  For now he's still in a diaper over night, but I'm not sure how long that will be necessary.  He's at 95% of the time telling us he needs to pee instead of peeing in his undies.  And poop, well, he has very strong control over that, but I think he's making progress.  He currently loves Sheriff Callie and Fireman Sam.  He loves music and singing along and playing his guitar and rocking out in the car.  He was more into the holidays this year.  He still loved all the Halloween pumpkins, but wasn't into getting dressed up or trick or treating.  We got a Christmas tree this year and he really enjoyed that.  He loves all the Christmas lights on all the houses. 

I have no idea what 2015 hold in store.  So here's to health and happiness.