Monthly Archives: August 2006

Letting go…

The adjustment to preschool is probably more for the parents’ sake than the kids, really.  Miles LOOOOOOVES it.  He is Mr. Jabberbox the rest of the day, and I try to piece together phrases here and there to figure out how it went, but tonight I got some “Don’t push Travis.  Don’t hit Leah.  Don’t push Allison.”  I kept asking questions to find out if he got in trouble for this, but didn’t get too far.  I guess it’s not too bad that we got through this week of preschool and it’s only Tuesday.   I really wonder if there will be a day I don’t drive away with tears in my eyes as I think how quickly time flies!  But then I go home to the most eager little 2 yr. old to play with his momma.  This morning Jack sat on my lap and we drank coffee together as I checked my e-mail (and he listened to his favorite song–Ooh Aah by Grits on the “tumpooter”).  It was a precious moment, and Andy snapped a pic. 
coffee2

And here’s what you’ve all been waiting for…Miles and Jack
stories!
We’re teaching Miles to say “Hi” back to people when they
say hello first.  Here is how it has
gone:  Jack will say “Hi Miles”…I will
say: “Miles, say hi back.”  Miles: “Hi
back.  Bye back.  See you later back.”  Last night before bed: “Good night back.”
Now that Miles has gotten the “special treatment of going to
school,” as far as Jack is concerned, he is milking it for all we’re
worth!  This morning after Miles went to
school, Jack was upset, and I said what would you like?  “Ice cream cone.” Quite the honest answer
from a 2 yr. old at 9 am…so he had his next favorite, coffee.  (No fear, Jack’s growth cannot be stunted!)

We replaced our goldfish, Dorothy (if you’ve ever watched Elmo’s World, you’ll know where the boys got the name), who had died while we were in Brazil.  I don’t know that the kids understood what happened–we kept forgetting to pick one up, but when I did yesterday and brought her home, Jack just exclaims “DOROTHY!”  She’s a third of the size of the original, but I guess as long as she’s orange, they don’t know any better.

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more “milestones”
school2 jack mom
Although Miles started preschool Tuesday, his big highlight of the week was a visit from baby Asia (and Dave & Tip–so good to see you guys!)
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Jack just as cute as ever!
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I was the only mom who stayed the entire first day of preschool.  I really did mean to drop him off for the 3 hours, but then when all the other moms left, I just couldn’t walk away.  Andy said he knew all along I wouldn’t leave, and maybe I could’ve, but I just wanted to stay and watch.  Maybe it’s my teaching degree, maybe it’s Miles’ special needs, maybe he’s just my baby, who knows, but I couldn’t bring myself to leave, and the teacher was very happy to have me stay, so maybe Monday will be his real first day of preschool   Different times brought tears to my eyes, like during recess, I was talking with the teacher, and I hear the recess duty lady keep blowing the whistle to find it was at my son.  She was telling him he had to swing on his bottom rather than like an “airplane,” which is the only way he knows right now.  I’m thinking, “Lady, he has no idea what you’re trying to tell him, and does it really matter if he pretends he’s an airplane?  He’s only 3!!  Besides, it is safer for him to lay across the swing than try and jump up on his bottom.”  Which brings me to the next subject I’ve been thinking alot about. 

Where does the pressure come from that a parent feels for their child to perform a certain way at a specific level? You parents know what I’m talking about.  Is it something we place on ourselves?  Or does it come from the dirty looks when your child acts otherwise?  Or is there an underlying expectation society has placed on us through its “How to” manuals on parenting, etc? 
So, here’s a few of my examples (I’m sure you have plenty of your own): 
After pre-K orientation, the aid pulled me aside and said Miles had trouble pulling girls hair, and I ought to work with him on it…okay thanks. 
The next day a mom came to pick up her daughter and asked how she did.  The teacher said “She had problems listening and paying attention and keeping her shoes on, but then again, she’s only 3.” 
So here’s what I’m thinking.  Of course we want to raise obedient, kind, considerate children, but there’s a difference in doing it because it’s best for the child or because it makes the parent look good.  And the danger in all of this is they’re only 3!!  They are learning their limits, personality, likes/dislikes, and while we have the responsibility to mold their character, it must be ever so gently as not to crush their spirit. 

Oh, I don’t know if this makes sense.  I certainly am glad Miles is easing into the school environment–6 hrs. a week shouldn’t do too much damage   Who knows, maybe it’d be better just to move overseas where they don’t have all the constraints of an American school system.   I do know we have a looooong road ahead in figuring out what’s best.  So here’s some of today’s considerations…

And then there was chocolate milk…

boys on bikes
masks2
My small group had a spa night before school started.  We did pedicures and facials and had a blast!
 
Tonight we were brave and took the youngens to Jefferson Pointe with us.  It was quite the adventure.  I don’t remember eating my meal, although I’m sure it was good, as Smokey Bones always is.  But after our 3rd trip with Miles to the bathroom, I decided it was better to take him to the car.  I think he was pretty overwhelmed with the noise and the bathrooms were his “escape,” but then the toilets flushed so loud, so he’d just scream.  It’s always interesting, and saddening sometimes, to watch how people to respond to him.  Gone are the days when I was so concerned he had to look “normal” in public.  So I’m okay to let him be the special guy he is, but it’s hard to see how people react.  The lady in the booth next to us was clearly annoyed by his having to go to the bathroom every 5 min. and then screaming as he ran back to his seat.  I’m sure he looked crazy, but the last thing a parent needs is dirty looks when their child is having a meltdown.  It was a nice evening once we left the restaurant.  They played in the fountain and with a train set in Barnes and Noble and Jack got his first taste of chocolate milk–I wish we had the expression on his face on camera.  It was priceless.
Anyhow, 2 days until Miles starts preschool (sniff, sniff)…Ok, another subject please.
So we had our neighbors from India over for dinner last night.  I am really excited to get to know them better.  Before they left, they were trying to set up the next time to get together.  Only a few minor disastors:  It was raining, so it was a bit chaotic with 6 adults and 6 children (from 3 mos – 4 yrs) inside.  (Back to the Miles getting overwhelmed comment…)  I made Brazilian and she brought Indian food, but I put pork in the beans–DUH!  (Hindu don’t eat pork, as it’s considered a religious animal–I feel really bad.)  I was pouring boiling water into a teapot and my 2 fingers got in the way.  (But I’ve gotten out of dishes for the day–still not worth the pain though 🙂  Oh, and I was wearing shorts so I changed into jeans when I realized I was the only one in shorts–not sure how used they are to this aspect of our culture.  I think that’s it.  
Thanks for reading all about our silly little adventures.  More sagas soon!
 beach walk
Our “other home.”

Some random observations about our day…

Xanga and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship.  I love being able to keep in touch with people from all over the US and many parts of the world, but I hate that I still haven’t figured it out.  I tried to put a cool pic as a backdrop like my friend Jen, and it erased all my settings…so, I’ll just stick with what I know, sharing some of our lives and pictures.  (But I’ll accept any suggestions as to spice up our site.)
One suggestion was a pic of Andy and I, so here goes, although we were having a hard time holding the camera still and pressing the button…toward the end they were all blurry as we were laughing so hard.
sunset
miles on back (2)571500-R1-17-7A
We’ve run out of excuses–yes, we moved in this house in November and boxes are still sitting in our garage unpacked, but it’s about time we get serious about reaching out to our neighbors.  We’ve had conversations with most of them, but this Friday is the first we’re having a family over, and I’m so excited!  WHile we have tons of people over week to week, they are mostly a part of our “ministry”, and we haven’t taken the time to truly “love our neighbor.”  
Ok, so for Andy’s birthday, I got him a gift card to itunes, to download some songs of his own choosing.  Well, I put on the playlist today, and wonder if he’s trying to tell me something.  Among the few: another lonely day, I always have to steal my kisses, oppression, pleasure and pain, waiting on an angel, bring me to life, and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for… Gees, is this a bad sign or what?  I’m only kidding, but it was pretty funny.
I’ve been a bit weepy today–well, mainly when I went preschool shopping for Miles.  He needs gym shoes, a backpack, glue, crayons, and an art box, and I could barely hold it in.  It’s only 6 hrs. a week (Mon. and Tue. morning), but there’s something about buying gym shoes for my BABY!  Then tonight a Lowes commercial came on about parents dropping their son off at college–and it’s never good when I try to hide I’m crying because I know it’s silly, but then it just turns to sobs…well, I guess this is my chance to hold him a little closer and cherish him a little more…because soon there’ll be science fair, then prom, then college…ok, so maybe I’m getting carried away!
Tomorrow, there are some girls who have invited me and a friend over to their “spa.”  They’re like 6th-7th grade and are quite the entrapaneurs (or however that’s spelled), and I think it’s so cute they’re wanting to give us pedicures and facials and massages…hey, I’m glad to help them practice to open their own business someday 🙂
Well, the kids are gaining up on us, as they’ve now been asleep for 4 hours…although I’d love a Starbucks iced mocha right about now–you should try one, you’ll love it!

Thanks teema and teepa…

DSC_0117 mjhanging
We have a swingset now.  Hey, anything to expend some of the energy of our 2 rambunctious boys.  We spent Friday and Saturday at my parents’ in Ohio.  It was too short a visit, but so good for us to see tampa and tamma.  Miles and Jack have been throwing out the funniest lines. 
Some of my favorites:  The other morning, Jack’s waking up and making his requests still from his crib:  “Daddy, I want to ride in an airplane.  Mommy, I want to go in a helicopter.”  Uhhh, you’re in for some disappointment, bub. 
Then Miles gets up and wants “waffles and pancakes with mooberries (blueberries).”  Which, now on my grocery list, I just write “mooberries”. 
I’m in the waiting room with Miles for the dr., and he goes “Mommy, look!  A brown baby!  Brown arms, brown face, brown tummy!”  By now, the mom is glaring at me and my son, and I’m thinking we need more black people in Winona Lake. 
Then in the drs. office, Miles tells me he has to go pee, so I ask the dr. if that’s ok, and he tells the dr. “I’m potty training.”  We’re in the bathroom, and I figure I might as well go, but when we return, he tells her, “Mommy went potty all by herself!” 
Out of the blue the other day, Miles says “Mommy, I want a birthday party.”  Our kids have quite the wish list they rattle off…
The list goes on…They keep us laughing for sure.

SO I’ve found my new favorite drink–Starbucks Iced Cafe Mocha.  With travelling to Ohio, I had my 3rd in 3 days today–it’s the perfect drink for those who don’t have a/c in their jeep and need a refreshing pick me up.  And it’s the best thing we’ve had iced coffee-wise since phnom penh, cambodia (except this doesn’t give the royal D from the non-filtered ice!) 

Tomorrow is our Brazil Sharing Time in the evening service.  I’m always excited to hear what the teens learned during their time there, but it’s also so good to still process what we learned.  But Andy just brought me a hot cup of Starbucks Brazilian Blend (thanks Rach!), so I’m going to enjoy and process…

One more funny thing, Julie, the other day Miles kept talking about a hula hoop, and I was like we don’t have one, and he said “at our other home!”  It’s official in their minds, West Palm Beach is our other home.  That sounds nice, eh? 

Does winter ever have to come?  Global warming doesn’t sound so bad!
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este é o dia

Where in the world has this week gone?  I guess when you cram a going away party, cardboard boat race, surgery, regular meetings, dinner guests, a date, dr. appts., therapies, potty-training, amidst the everyday chaos of a 2 and 3 yr. old, the weeks begin to seem like a whirlwind.  I’m sooooo glad we got away a bit last night.  We’re shooting for 2 “away dates” a month–it’s a start, and at this point in life, it’s probably all that we can count on 🙂  I just don’t want to turn into one of those couples whose kids become so central to their world that they no longer relate to each other.  Now, there are times this is inevitable, but I think what gets us through those times are the nights we take to get away and leave the concerns of potty-training, discipline, work, autism, blah, blah, blah… behind.  So, stepping off my soapbox…
There is something I’ve been thinking about lately.  I don’t want anyone to feel bad for us.  The more we share our struggles in the reality of our situation, the more I hope we’re able to portray how blessed we are in the midst of them.  I can’t tell how I come across when I share about Miles, because it is incredibly difficult to face, but we are learning so much about God’s perfect care for His children.  This is not an accident.  God created our children to be who they are.  And I have never had such an opportunity to depend on Him.  Lamentations has never been so powerful to me:  “The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh everyday. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore I will hope in Him!”
Jack has now learned to climb up into the pantry and reach out his snack of choice.  The other day he was quiet–which means something is going on, and there he is hiding in the bathroom munching on a bag of pretzels. 
pretzel
He also has taken an interest in how I wear my sunglasses on my head at times, and has tried to do the same. (In posing, he’s saying “tudo bem?”–portuguese for “doing well?”)
thumbs up
Miles has taken an interest in a certain drawer of mine.
miles in bra
This morning, Miles was the 1st to go into Jack’s room and get him up.  I hear them in there:
Miles: Good morning baby Jack
Jack: Hi Miles.  Happy to see you.
Miles:  Love you baby Jack.
If only every morning began like this, but hey, I’ll take one!

Sunshine without rain is the recipe for a desert.

tentgrandma-miles
You know those times when you know people have to be praying because you have more peace, strength, rest than you know is possible and things go way  better than you’re told they should…well, we are rejoicing in one of those times.  Thank you for those of you who prayed for Miles’ surgery.  We were told to be there at 8 for a 9 am surgery.  He wasn’t taken into the OR until 10.30, which meant nothing to eat/drink that whole morning.  He did amazing.  A few times he’d ask for milk, and I would say after we see the doctor, and he was fine.  He had no problems coming out of anesthesia, and he was relased by 12.15 yesterday–awesome.   They removed the top 1/3 of his adenoids, to be conservative, since the more they remove, the higher risk he has of developing hypernasality due to his cleft palate.  He doesn’t seem to have much pain and is breathing better.  Anyway, enough technical stuff.  It has been a huge encouragement to us how many have supported us in this and upheld us in prayer.  An arab proverb says: “Sunshine without rain is the recipe for a desert.”  And it’s so cool how the rain makes you enjoy the sunshine all the more! 

Sunday night, we did our 2nd Annual cardboard boat race in Winona Lake–more pics on http://www.xanga.com/fan_16.  It was a blast!
tied