Thursday, August 28, 2014

Firsts

According to my calculations, this is the fourteenth year I've sent kids off to the first day of school. And I have fourteen to go. Yikes! That's twenty-eight years!

Here's the first group to start school. Aren't they just adorable? Nervous, excited, clean, jumpy with expectation.
Levi- 7th grade
Haley- 5th grade
Jesse- 2nd grade

Jesse is not wearing new school clothes. His new clothes (same brand, same colors, same size even as last year's!) felt too stiff, so he started the new year in last year's worn-out duds. *sigh* I spent the day rewashing perfectly clean clothes to soften them up. However, he was quite proud of his special, spiky hairdo and asked for some solo shots.


Little Elizabeth began the three-year-old class at Apple Preschool, where Haley and Jesse both attended two years. Oh my goodness, her cuteness was reaching toxic levels as she bravely marched her little self up the steps.

Here's what she did on her first day.


The simplest little starting point in the world. 1. It means one. You write it with one straight line.

Logan is a wordly junior. Much too cool to pose for a picture. I will tell you that he is actually a very handsome young man under all that hair. And that he, of his own volition, with no prompting whatsoever, signed himself up for two AP classes. I did dare to inform him that even people as smart as himself do find the need to sometimes do some homework when taking two AP classes.
This prickly young man can drive me stark raving mad. But oh how I adore pretty much everything about him--the hair, the smart mouth, the loping gait, all of it.

I'm sheepish to admit how much I've gloried in their collective absence. My goals to foster more sibling unity this summer were not a huge success. Our family feels very Balkanized right now, and our times of collegial cooperation and intra-sibling play were too few. The peace of this emptier house feels very welcome.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I know a guy

After the other night, my life may just be all downhill from here.

I'm a huge aficionado of the one-hour TV crime drama. Specifically murders. The iconic "dong-dong" of Law & Order is music to my ears.

I love them because they're a narrative puzzle. Breadcrumbs and laid out from the opening frame, and if you're clever (and if the writers don't take any unfair liberties), you can piece it all together before the gavel falls. I can predict "It was the business partner" or "It was the landord" based on a lingering camera shot or an offhand comment during an interrogation scene.

But the other night may have been my life's zenith. I didn't just predict the ending, I said the next line before the actors. I admit, it wasn't the trickiest call. One character said something like, "How will we ever prove that someone has tampered with the videotape which contains our key piece of evidence?" The characters looked intently at each other. And the second character said, as I knew he would, can you guess? ...

"I know a guy."

And can you guess the next scene? Yep. The backroom office, strewn with cables and monitors, of a geeky audio expert.

(Yes! Someone had tampered with the tape. It was a conspiracy!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How to Build an Awesome Lego Dragon

Jesse has spent much of the summer refining his Lego skills. Here he is describing one of his latest, greatest creations.

video

(You should have heard Mark last night, to universal scorn, trying to support his claim that he has been an expert on dragons since the late 1990s and that it is a "common mistake" to portray dragons with four legs and wings, when in fact they have only one pair of wings and one pair of legs. Jesse quoted The LEGO Book as an authoritative source that "Dragons are mythical creatures" and can therefore have as many legs and wings as their builder desires. Logan referred to J.R.R. Tolkien's Smaug, with its wings and four legs. Mark remained unmoved.)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jesse's Baptism

Along with all the madness and freewheeling inventiveness, Jesse has this little sense of gravitas. Which came into full play when he turned eight and was baptized. One thing I adore about Jesse--and that may have saved his life--is that he always operates from a place of unfailing good will. Despite his many shortcomings, he always tries his best. And this mama loves try.

On the morning of his baptism, he put on his new suit, grabbed his new scripture case, and got stoic.



This photo taken back in the good ol' days, when Mark could walk. :(
 Here are some of the people who came to celebrate Jesse moving along his covenant path. Including his sneaky Grandma, who made a surprise appearance just for fun.
I contemplated organizing a lovely brunch for our visitors. But what Jesse really wanted was a hot dog and smores party. So that's what we did. He and I chose all sorts of exotic smores supplies: coconut marshmallows, Nutella, cinnamon graham crackers, Nilla wafers....

The hands-down favorite of the afternoon was caramel marshmallows with chocolate graham crackers.

Jesse has come a long way since he tantrumed his way through summer 2013. I'm very grateful for all the progress he's made. And always, I'm grateful for the huge privilege of being his mother. Jesse is a rare gem, and I take seriously my responsibility to nurture his fire.

Monday, April 21, 2014

ADHD Update: One year in

It's been almost a year ago now that I first told Jesse's doctor that I thought we should consider medication for ADHD. And it has not been a smooth or easy road. We've tried, I think, four different medications. Several doctor visits. And survived unnumbered tantrums. Long days and nights of uncontrollable screaming rages.

But now, Jesse's fits are few and far between. He reads. His teacher grades him highly. He's only marginally below average academically. He is much more calm. His speech isn't as frantic.
Jesse hearts recycling.
Today I took him for a checkup with the pediatrician who specializes in behavior. It was the first appointment when I wasn't going to say "everything is horrific and you must help me stat."

This gentleman is well into his sixties and I believe has been treating children for decades. But it was clear he has never seen anyone like Jesse. After Jesse explained to him how sucker fish are like suction cups, I asked, "So would you say this type of thinking pattern goes along with ADHD?" He chuckled. No.

Jesse mentioned that he likes to use plungers. "Wait," the doctor asked. "I can't even picture that. What do you use plungers for?" On the topic of behavior management through positive rewards, Jesse mentioned that he bought himself a grappling hook with rewards. "I've never had a patient with their own grappling hook," the doctor said.
His creations grace my mantel.
I walked out feeling so grateful. Grateful that at least for now Jesse is in such a better place. He's learning and he's teachable and he's...okay. And grateful for the privilege of being Jesse's mother. He is truly one in a million. Maybe one in a billion. He delights and surprises and amuses us every day. Watching his creativity bubble is a joy.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Commercials of My Life

I am happily letting life get in the way.

Chase - Great American Novel from Finger Music on Vimeo.

I am completely on board with all these Luvs second kid commercials.



I even love what the moms are wearing in the second kid shots. She's relaxed, she's happy, she's in charge, and she knows it. Love it.


Also this:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Overheard

A few recent gems..

Me: Levi, did you just eat two Big Macs??
Levi: Yes.
Me: You're going to regret that.
Levi: When?

Jesse: Mind your own beeswax!
Betsy: I DON'T HAVE ANY BEESWAX!

But, at another moment:
Betsy: Jesse, you can use my markers. Because I love you! Because you are so sweet to me!

Mark: Haley, we really need you to hurry and get ready. Can you hurry?
Haley, stopping in the doorway to examine her nails: Yes.

Jesse: I can spell it if I say it in a British accent.
This is actually kind of genius. Now that I think about it, English words are spelled more intuitively/phonetically when pronounced with a British accent.

Jesse: You know how holidays aren't real? Like there aren't really zombies at Halloween? So we should just go in these 3D boxes. I'm making a Valentine's one. I have an idea for a Halloween one. Paper spider, glue it to a nano bug's back, and tie a rope to it, tie it to the wall. And then you turn it on so it's like buzzing. So it's actually scary. And if you pop out, you're like, 'How do I get out of here?' Because whenever you shut it, it looks like the door is nowhere, and you're like, 'It's actually just a box! How do I get out!' It's actually creepy.
This particular thread went on for about ten minutes. I just typed what I could while he continued blabbing.