Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer

Summer is officially here.
Somehow school managed a final parting shot. The Dude got the gift of a cold from his best friend, and since germs are the only thing he actually likes to share, I got it. And now 5 week old Scarlett has it too.
So far so good though. As in everything that is dealt her, she has handled it with grace and poise so far. And hopefully my antibodies will keep it from being too bad.
I just finished antibiotics for mastitis. 4 kids in and this was my first experience with it. Other than the misery of taking care of 4 kids while having a fever, it wasn't too bad since I realized immediately what it was and the OB was able to call in antibiotics.
So hopefully this is all the sick drama we will have for the rest of the summer.
Saying goodbye to another school year was bittersweet. This was a big year for both boys. The Dude's first year of elementary school, and a really growing year for Aquaman.
Since I am still quite hormonal, I cried when I got their report cards. I probably should have read The Dude's first because he just has different gifts than Aquaman, and I know it must be so hard to try to keep up with him. I love that he doesn't really care. I often wonder if his gift of a positive frame of mind is an inborn temperamental trait to help him, or something he has developed as a result of his having to struggle. I am sure, like most things, that it is a little of both. Either way, it is a gift from God to him, and it will probably benefit him more in life than being able to read 130 words per minute like his brother.
At the last minute, The Dude's teacher called and asked for a conference about our decision to retain The Dude. She had been supportive of it, because she agreed that he is immature and that it might help. But when the administration reviewed the decision, they wanted to discuss it further with us, since The Dude is being tested for learning disabilities, and learning disabilities are not a good (or legal) reason to retain.

They were great though. JT was able to come to the meeting too, which helped me feel less on the spot, and they said that ultimately it was our decision because we know things about The Dude that they do not. I definitely was second guessing myself in this whole process, but still, my gut was telling me to go with our original decision. When we walked out of the meeting, having told them we would tell them our decision on Monday, JT and I both looked at each other and immediately said we still wanted to hold him back.

The most important thing to me is that The Dude enjoys learning at this point. The assistant principal suggested intensive practice over the summer, and that went totally against what I know he needs. This summer he needs to play outside, he needs to build things and play games, and listen to me read stories that he enjoys, and help out around the house, and explore interests he doesn't have time to during the school year. We'll still work on the sight words and the reading, and keep plugging away at trying to write his name correctly, but I have no interest in torturing him all summer. He really does have a great attitude despite his difficulties, and I would hate to burn him out at the age of 6.

The day after school got out, we ran into Aquaman's best friend at the store. His mother was quite relieved because apparently he cried after school when we did not get a chance to exchange numbers so they could have a play date.
I am still not exactly sure how we are going to have a play date without his brothers around driving him crazy, but hopefully we can make it happen. He's a sweet kid, as Aquaman's friends always are. He thinks fidget spinners and fads are dumb too, he loves Legos, and he ties with Aquaman as the "2nd fastest running 2nd grader in the school", which is apparently very important.
So far, summer has been pretty laid back. The boys have spent hours playing magnet tiles, legos, and board games. The board game thing is totally new and exciting for me, because Aquaman has never played board games before, he was always too afraid of losing to play. A couple days ago, he had some bad luck initially during Minion life, and I thought for sure he was going to quit or at least do a lot of complaining. His eyes filled with tears and he turned around to regain his composure and I heard him say under his breath "it's just a game. No big deal." When he turned back around, The Dude's eyes filled with tears too, and he started hunting through the pile for "good cards" to give to Aquaman. Aquaman ended up winning. But I was much more impressed with his finishing the game.
These sorts of things might seem little to a lot of people, since they are things that usually happen earlier, but I have appreciated a lot of little victories with Aquaman, since they have been accomplished late. Plenty of things he has accomplished early...walking, talking, academic achiements...but as a Christian, his character and moral development matter much more to me than those things, and it has been yet another reminder to me that kids develop at their own pace, and often a variety of different paces.
The Christian counselor we brought him to last year reminded us: "just because he is incredibly smart and can have an adult like conversation with you, and just because he has been saved, does not mean that his moral development is advanced too. You can't expect to be able to reason with him morally like you would with an adult."

Motherhood is such a growing experience.
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

It is such a reminder to just keep going. It may feel like you are getting nowhere, but one day you wake up and they get something you thought they would never get.

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Galatians 6:9
He has been so excited about summer. He thought for sure he would be happy to sit around playing legos all day, but I think he forgot to factor in the exhaustion of dealing with his little brothers (Greystoke wants him to do EVERYTHING for him, and will hardly let me play with him or help him with anything when Aquaman is around), and his own need for stimulation. I really didn't plan much for the first couple of days of summer, and Aquaman multiple times came to me looking glassy eyed and asking what day it was. It doesn't help that he can't seem to sleep when the sun is up, so he is going to bed late and getting up early. Yesterday he sheepishly confided that maybe he did need to go to some summer camps after all, and asked when his first one was scheduled.
The past couple of days, JT has been off though, and things have been a bit more exciting. The boys are on "an adventure" right now.
I am enjoying the quiet, snuggling the snotty and gassy Scarlett while I type with one hand.
There is something about a 3 year old hearing the word don't....


He couldn't resist.

Scarlett is growing and changing every day. Her 1 month checkup revealed slightly lagging weight gain again, but the doctor wasn't worried because she is healthy and happy and growing. Her naps are short, unless she is in someone's arms, and she still eats every 2 hours, but she is happy and calm all the time. Even when she is obviously uncomfortable, she never does more than complain for a few seconds.
I will finish with captions because I am tired and I need to get dinner started. One more week of maternity leave. We are going to cram a lot of fun into it!
Greystoke and Papa putting his Paw Patrol puzzle together at K and I's birthday party.

Greystoke gets really into his building....and Scarlett loves the movement of the swing. Probably because I never sat down when she was inside me!

We have and will spend a lot of time here this summer! Scarlett and I find the shade!

My girl and me.

Greystoke's pose on his last day of school. Threenager!

Too hot for the park now....we lasted like 10 minutes.

The crew. I brought them all grocery shopping yesterday and this very nice older couple told me that watching my family was better than TV...it is pretty entertaining...which is good since there isn't much time for tv now unless you count Umi Zoomi...

This guy is an awesome brother, even though he is totally bored by his baby sister.

This guy is not bored in the least. He is quite enchanted actually.

And I am enchanted by the journal he brought home from school even though his teacher had to interpret...

No words necessary. Angel baby.

Her first big smile. We were talking about her brothers.

Love.

Before school let out I took Greystoke and Scarlett for one last not chaotic zoo trip.

These cherries were worth every penny. They were so busy pitting and eating them that I got to take a shower in the middle of the day.

Ready for summer. He won't eat watermelon any other way...

I love her.

She has lost some hair up top but still quite shaggy in the back, poor thing. She doesn't seem to mind though.


Two of my favorites. Greystoke went to the beach with me on my birthday.



Last gymnastics practice!

They are both getting so strong.

4th child tummy time. Someone put toys on her back and then left...

They all saved their allowance the whole school year and went shopping the 1st day of summer.

This guy loves his books most of all.

what else?

Cold day at the pool for Florida boys....

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