October 31, 2006
This morning on the start of the way to Miranda's school, Henry said "I scared. I scared monsters, ghosts, kitty cats" and proceeded to make it his chorus for the whole trip.
Two men in a car
October 30. 2006
So there are two men riding in a car. Perhaps one is the father-in-law, the other the son-in-law. Perhaps they are coming home from a Packers game. it doesn't matter. About 20 minutes into the drive, the older man looks at the younger man and says, "do you have gas? It really smells bad in here."
The younger man is outraged. WTF? "Um, no, I don't have gas." He adds, "Haven't you been gassy?" Because it really does smell bad in the car.
"No," the older man is sure he does not have gas.
"Look at your shoes! At the bottom of your shoes!"
And the older man looks and find a giant clump of dog poop. The offending dog, perhaps a dog he secretly misses, was the one he played with in his son's poop-strewn yard just 30 minutes ago.
Fearing for the carpet, the older man tries to keep his foot off the floor. Unfortunately, this fouls the air thoroughly. They pull over. Poop is deposited on parking lot asphalt. The shoes is wiped in a bathroom. The remainder of the ride home is less smelly.
It's all been done...
October 29, 2006
Happy Halloween to all and to all a good night. I had a fabulous time on Saturday with all of our friends costumed. I'd channel Groucho Marx and add "and all our friends that weren't in costume" but we made the uncostumed dress up.
I think my favorite thing in the idea of celebration is confetti eggs. Our marvelous friends in Waco mailed us a dozen Halloween confetti eggs (blow out egg, rinse and dry, add confetti, glue tissue paper to shut the egg, seasonally available at some Hispanic grocery stores). That added quite an end to the pinata. Rob practically had to kick the pinata to get the candy to come out. Why must pinatas be so strong? Why isn't this technology being developed for toys? or computer equipment? Or flashlights?
It feels so...American to be all done with Halloween now. We did a museum, missed the zoo, did a night time trick or treat, had a party and gave out candy at our house. And we will do nothing on Tuesday. We even removed just about all our decorations already. I am afraid if I leave them up for a day, they will never come down.
Potty Training for Less Than $5
October 24, 2006
As I have made this joke in person an in email several times this week, I feel I must write it down for all eternity. There is no goodbye on the internet. Not to give away the whole premise of my sure-to-be-a-blockbuster book, but Henry gets a penny after using the potty. Oh, I gave it away. Darn.
Time is running low. The universe has given me hope of a 50 degree AND sunny day tomorrow. So there may be primer on the garage. Because if we can prime the garage, we can paint all the way down to 35 degrees. And that is probably the only medium-high on my list of worries. I have so many ideas floating free-form in my head to make the Halloween party fabulous. And now it is crunch time. Now I have to make the witty signs. And set up the tables. And clear away the clutter. And figure out how to play with the parachute in the basement. And Target has a slightly smaller parachute IN THE STORE. RIGHT NOW. After I ordered one online and paid shipping! And I checked Target, Toys R Us, Borders, The Learning Shop (who had one but $$$$). I am beginning to think I should watch my karma...but that may be my delight in season two of My Name is Earl creeping into my subconscious.
Chips and Chains
October 23, 2006
The Halloween countdown chain is getting quite small. The house is being festooned. The snack collection is growing. The pull to create cheesy names for the snack food is so strong. When you start with mummy rolls, how can I not want to call the tortilla chips ufos? or the punch is boo-berry juice? Resist, I may.
The weather will not cooperate with my painting plans. It has been rainy or freezing nearly every day for the last 2 weeks. If the universe is suggesting that outdoor painting is not in my future, I wish it would reconsider.
The new bathroom lights are great. And the whole wiring project (new outlets, new light switches, new plates) has made my after think that moving away from this house is a good idea. "More cloth covered wiring. How can it all fit in that box? It won't! ?%#$!!!" And the children, my mom and I learned an important lesson. While painting the hallway, my mom removed the light switch cover. Henry went to help us. And started crying really loud. We assumed he hit his head on the railing or ladder, both items being perfect heights to nick his ear. But he kept saying "Finger." Could he have put his finger in the box? What would that mean? Did Rob wire it wrong? Miranda investigated and she too found the shock (Miranda didn't even cry. It was a very small shock, bur certainly surprising). My mom and I didn't realize that an open box had shock potential or we would not have let the children discover the power of electricity on their own. After both kids were lightly shocked, we complained to my dad that Rob did it wrong. and he looked at us and at the open switches and said, No--don't stick your finger in the box. Ahh. I can say that today, I learned something.
October 21, 2006
Henry's middle name is Robert. Papa's name is Robert. The name Robert rings out in the halls of our house. Henry has taken to saying "Robbit" when he is scolding. And today, he chastised Miranda by calling to her "Miranda Robert!"
Paging Morris Fishbein
October 20, 2006
First--Happy Anniversary to my parents!
Second--it has to stop raining so my joke about making the garage a ghost (via primer) for Halloween doesn't come true.
Third--I am flummoxed by the amblyopia treatment options. I think I have met three nice, reasonable doctors who have different ideas on treatment protocol. And my indecision has made me grumpy and hyper-critical.
I am paging Morris Fishbein because he was excellent at debunking medical myths. I think he would have an opinion on whether vision therapy is quackery. It seems clear to the internet that it is quackery for treating learning disabilities. But we're talking about amblyopia, a medical eye condition. The origin of the therapy. And it seems to work. But then again, so does patching without the therapy.
We're presented with two options on Miranda's eyes. One is vision therapy. They stress the practical side of seeing (acuity) and having it mean more than 20/20, but they have no other scale so I am not sure how anyone else knows it is really better. Vision therapy claims to fix amblyopia, strabismus, astigmatism, clumsiness, dyslexia, ADHD, ADD, and maybe even end naughtiness. It is close to $5K for a 9 month treatment plan, with weekly visits at $132 a pop. The therapists are trained, but not doctors or even having any license-able qualification. There is a supervising optometrist who checks Miranda (and guides treatment) at the beginning, middle and end. Miranda patches for 30 minutes a day, doing one of several dozen activities specially designed to improve vision usage.
The ophthalmologist calls vision therapy bunk and says we can rehab the amblyopia in a year at home for free. She offers no written guidance on what do do, but says we must patch for 2 hours a day and do near work. And says video games are good. All I have heard lately is how screen time at all is bad for developing brains because screens are 2D, and 2D can't teach kids about 3D. And kids need 3D to understand the world. But video games are supposed to make Miranda's brain recognize her eye? There is a study from several years ago that shows 2 hours of patching with near work is as effective as 6 hours of patching with no specific purpose. We would see the ophthalmologist every 6 weeks, but she doesn't say what she will do if progress is not made. (It's like prenatal care, I think. It can't really stop you from having complications. It just notices them sooner)
I am left wondering if there will be a study that shows 1 hour is very attentive work is equal to 2 hours. And my lurking on the prevent blindness forums suggests if 2 hours a day doesn't work in 4 months, we'll move up to 4-6 hours. And I am also bothered to read that extremely long time patching can cause temporary amblyopia in the good eye. What about "first do no harm?"
The original optometrist, who we liked for his straight-forward manner, called to say he recommends vision therapy. It's what he would choose for his own kid, if the insurance pays for it. And that he doesn't drink the kool-aid--he thinks it is great for actual eye problems, not the whole gamut of issues.
Rob points out that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. My mom pointed out that $5K is steep, but we'd pay it for braces. And vision is as important as straight teeth, maybe more so. But, what really sounds too good?
The vision therapy has a string pull for me. It seems proactive, it seems less difficult. It seems more fun. It seems constructive. Except for the slight ickiness factor and the idea that it can solve all problems a child will ever face. And that I need it too because I don't like playing catch. And that ambidexterity doesn't exist. Tell that to Pat Venditte.
Am I cheap to think that therapy costs too much? It is not like you can do at-home braces. But you can patch her good eye and work with her for an hour. I think it would be easier to toss my hat in the VT ring if the ophthalmologist were recommending 6 hours of patching. (or 24). And if therapy did not cost not crazy kinds of money.
icky mouse clubhouse
October 19, 2006
No, this entry is not about TV. We had a mouse in the garage. I saw it on Monday morning, dashing away from the grass seed. On Wednesday I found his nest. Oh grass seed, I curse you. My mom had the symptoms of a mouse, namely a stash of small food seed and a cloth chewed nest, but no mouse was found. I accused her of bringing her mouse to my garage, but she claims complete innocence. She did bring over the mouse killing stuff that my grandfather gave her and left some in the garage. So I hope to see Icky no more.
I have no idea why I named the mouse. But I did . The kids even can sing his theme song.
two night ago, Henry fell asleep with a baby doll. When her climbed into our bed in the night, he brought the doll. And when Rob and I shifted around, we couldn't help but laugh. He was trying to fit the doll's hand into his mouth, while he was mostly asleep. I could help but whisper, "he's trying to eat the baby."
Potty training watch--dry again. And again. And all day. no accidents. The Force is probably commanding that we drop the pull-ups, but, really give me a few more days.
And this morning, as Miranda and I listened to a mixed CD on the way to school, she objected to some of the songs I put on the CD. She accused me of putting bad music on her CD. I said it was our CD, we both listen to it, we both picked songs. She disagreed. I said she lets Papa pick music for her. She got her district attorney voice (or the one that may someday earn her a debate or dramatic reading scholarship, should such a thing exist) and said Papa picks out whole CDs for her to try. And her coup de grace--Papa picks out music that _she_ might like. A complete emphasis on her liking the music and a tone that indicates she knows I just put on music I like on our mixed CDs and barely hope she'll tolerate them. I could argue Rob is no different, but I'd probably lose to a creatively accented word again. The jig is up. She's on to me. But I still think Maybe Katie isn't a bad song.
I do not like your hat
October 17, 2006
Is it cheating if I pre date an entry to say Happy Birthday to my brother? Yes? Then, I won't.
I crave efficiency. Henry still needs a spider hat to complete his costume. Rob needs antenna. Miranda and I need our antenna to be glued to our headbands. The bathroom needs black wall sconces to complete the remodel. And a new shelf. I am forging ahead, leaving a wicked pile of stuff in the hallway seeking a home.
Miranda walks or skips into her classroom without a murmur. Not a peep. She has even forgotten to ask for a hug and kiss. And I will not remind her because I am so glad. It is amazing how happy the simple act of walking can make me.
Henry is potty training in earnest. (This makes me think I should nickname the potty chair Ernest. Too gross?) He is dry at night. He is doing good in all aspects during the day. My mother accuses me of being a chicken. We are still doing diapers for bedtime and car rides and naps. An no pants for much of the rest of the the time that we are home. So it is easier for him to remember, with the breeze and all.
If I were a person to photo-document things, I would have a photo of the primed hallway--even up to the very tall parts. And a plaintive photo of the garage forlornly waiting for primer.
Addendum: 3+ hours after bedtime, Henry crawled out of bed, went into the hallway and said, "hey guys? Whewre awre oo?"
October 15, 2006
Wow, has it been almost a week since I wrote anything? That habit may make this more difficult:
In other boring news, Miranda is sick. We even went to urgent care on Saturday. Just to rule out an atypical case of appendicitis. Nope, just a virus. Rob has a cold. And I feel a strange stomach rumbling which makes me think I have been holding Miranda more than Rob.
In other news, it was birthday mania! Happy Birthday to my brother and B and S!
Row row row your boat
October 9. 2006
In Henry's words:
Row row row boat KITTIES!
He can also count to 10, Sometimes 11. No triskaidekaphobia yet.
And we are treated to the ABCs, with at least 60% of the letters.
October 8, 2006
The house is very quiet tonight. But due to the nice weather, the windows are open. And the contrast is almost annoying. Motorcycles, revving engines, throw in a few sirens. If only there was basketball outside and I would feel like I needed to crank up some music.
Miranda is not adjusting well to the shortened school week. She has off 4 Fridays in a 5 week period. So when we convince her she really does has to walk into her classroom with a smile, she then has 3 (or this week 4 ) days off. Like she's not going to backslide on Tuesday. Oh well. We seem to have some strong motivators (loss of recess, perhaps riding the bus) to keep the smile in place. Fake it till you feel it--I worry that will be life-long advice.
Did you know summer was over?
October 3, 2006
As in officially over? On Sunday I was listening (briefly, while changing channels) to Casey Kasem's Top 20---isn't there another 20 in there--and the Song of the Summer, Crazy by Gnarles Barley, is now #2. Some Nickelback song is on top now. Which is why I don't listen to much top 20. <Shudder>
It was a dark and stormy night.
October 1, 2006
The loudest, wildest storm is tearing through the area right now. The power went out for a second, causing me to lose data. Darn it. How appropriate that I am thinking of Halloween. Spooky. Unfortunately for the stormy mood, I am thinking of how to make Halloween not too scary and very kid friendly. I have Halloween party fever. (No invite yet? First, do I know you? If yes, sorry. Let me know if you're feeling left out. I am terrible at making full lists.)
Miranda and I painted small squares of paint on the walls today. I bought samples jars at Menards. I love this idea. I was totally wrong about several samples. I wish they had more colors. And I am being ambitious, planning to paint the garage, the hallway, some windows and maybe the bathroom and my office all before Halloween. It just didn't seem ambitious enough to paint the garage. These plans will come and bite me.
Miranda had a great week at school. She has convinced herself it is OK to go into school. I never know if I did anything to fix problems like this. Did I boost her confidence? Or crush her rebellion? Did she just think about it and realize she had to go to school so why cry about it. The workings of a 5yo mid are amazing.
As is the singing of a certain 2.5 year old. He's got the ABCs,Twinkle twinkle little star, Three is the Magic number, We are the dinosaurs. He can sing all night.
Our visit to the Vision Therapy center went well. Yes, she has amblyopia. Um, she should patch for structured time and activities. Miranda will have a pathological hatred of eye drops by the time she is 5.5. I was curious but not inquisitive enough to wonder about the specialists who work with the kids on the therapy. She'll start therapy at home with me. But at some point, we'll go to the office and have someone better trained do it. But I do wonder how they are trained. What is their background? Is this a career path?