Sunday, September 19, 2010

Draw the Line

Nathan is an affectionate boy, a very affectionate boy. He is quickly identified as "The Hugger" amongst his peers, and if one of his peers has a baby sibling, there is no stopping him, he really loves up the little ones. Some of the time it's sweet, more of the time it's inappropriate and it's a tough situation to parent. Nathan's behavior is not overtly hurting anyone, he wants to hug too long, kiss, hold hands and stroke soft skin--if I don't squash it all out of him first, it could be a great thing in his life someday.

I can't tell you the number of times parents of the other kids will tell Nate or me, "oh it's okay", after I've directed him to unhand their child. It's annoying on several levels. Are we, particularly as women, so programmed to politeness that we condone and even encourage inappropriate behavior towards our daughters? Even when our daughters are clearly uncomfortable? Isn't this the time we teach them to trust their instincts, to respect themselves and demand that others do as well? One mom even told her spitfire smidge of a daughter to stop being rude when the child refused his advances for a hug. I could have cried, not only was it not serving what I was trying to teach, but what about her daughter? Her body and affections were not her own to share as she saw fit? If we don't teach it now, when exactly should we start?

There are a few little girls and one or two moms that support our cause in teaching Nate to "hug and release" as Mrs L used to say. It may just be Jarrah that gets through to him someday. She certainly has affection to share, but when she's had enough, she's had enough and she let's it be known yet holds no grudges.

Whew, that was a tangent...So I've been encouraging Nate to use words or other gestures to show affection. Trust me, the high-five idea is no where near gettin' it for him, but I think he's trying out a line or two on me lately. I've been hearing a lot of "Mommy, you're so cute", and lots of extra I love yous. Tonight after he got out of the bathtub I was drying his hair. He laid several smooches on me, sighed and told me he wanted to marry someone. I responded "Oh yeah, do you have someone in mind already?"

"No, but whoever they are, they can't like pickles."

"No pickles? Why not?"

"Cause I don't like pickle breath, no pickles and no pickle breath."

Well, men too, must have their boundaries it seems.

(Perhaps I should become 'snack mom' and distribute pickles to all of the girls in his class...that might teach him...)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Baby Girl Donaldson--18 weeks

"...Peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars, this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius..."

"Aquarian Age is thought to bring with it an era of universal brotherhood rooted in reason where it will be possible to solve social problems in a manner equitable to all and with greater opportunity for intellectual and spiritual improvement, since Aquarius is an airy, scientific, and intellectual sign."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Nate's first day was a big success, he was even more ready, more confident than I thought he would be. Each of us had a moment, a different moment, of welling up with the traditional kinder tears but there was no sobbing or clinging by anyone.

Some of the things Nate had to say about his first day:

"They just do baby stuff."

"She didn't even pick me."

"Can you sign me up to ride the bus?"

"Can you sign me up to eat cafeteria food?"

"We didn't even get any homework."

The week went on and we've mostly fallen into a routine. I am likely having the toughest time of it due to logistics and work demands. My intention is to come to a better solution, but for now, Nate is happy and Shaun is spending good bonding time to and from school with him.

The "homework packet" has since come home and I've had to limit the amount of time we've spent on it--he's very into this new responsibility and all the "paperwork" involved. The work of the worksheets is well below his capability; the focusing and following directions seem to be worthy endeavors. I am most impressed with the calendar activities from which he is to choose two per week to complete, and the reading log that includes a column to indicate whether the books read are fiction or nonfiction. Nathan brought up a good point, often he is not sure whether his books are true or not, how exactly is he supposed to know? So far, homework has been done at the kitchen table; well, with me at the kitchen table and him climbing, pacing and swinging in the near vicinity. Incidentally, something has been going on with his development because he is has turned into quite the climber. I have found him on top of his dresser, my desk, the tv cabinet, chairs and tables. His preferred position for watching television is now upside down.

We are very grateful for what seems to be another fantastic teacher this year. Many of my concerns about Kindergarten were quelled when Nate complained that, "all we ever do is play". Fabulous.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Run, Don't Walk

Though it never really arrived, it's now unofficially over. Summer that is. We celebrated with a neighborhood block party yesterday that was a kids' wonderland complete with a ginormous bouncy slide, several motorized vehicles at their disposal, and 192 pounds of sugary treats with a side of hot dog.

We kicked our summer off with a similar walk through the neighborhood, pulling our otherwise unused gardening cart to the cul de sac piled high with BYOWhatnots and Nate cruising on his scooter, while I yelled across the neighborhood for him to slow down, that this is a busy street. Ahhh, motherhood.

We planted and tended our first garden this spring and summer. I thought our harvest was respectable for a first try. We were in tomatoes all summer long, and also had strawberries, beans, pumpkins, carrots and bell peppers. Two of my favorite sights in our little garden were Nathan picking the fruits and veggies right off the vine, popping them in his mouth and the exclamations that followed; and second, a bunny nibbling at our carrot greens! A bunny sighting is not a common occurrence in our urban setting. We also started composting with red wiggler worms this summer. I'm certain they have reproduced, so I'm thinking they're thriving, but Nate and I are both unsure of "which part of this is the compost?"

Shaun taught Nate to ride his bike without training wheels this summer. He is proficient enough now not to require someone running madly alongside him. That's arguable though since when he becomes fatigued he will invariably smash right into any obstacle in his path. Not a great thing when it's Labor Day at the bay.

Nate had his first root beer in Ventura and lost his first tooth at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Sentimental guy that he is, he didn't want to give it up to the tooth fairy.

Auntie Terry and Uncle Jeff are expecting their first baby in February. Just this morning, with no provocation whatsoever Nate asked, "How big is the baby now?" He loves the baby stories.

We played our first round of miniature golf together, rode our first big roller coasters (he thought he would get to sit in my lap), and stayed awake for his first Padre game. As I was explaining what was going on, not surprisingly, Mr. Literal questioned the running around the bases to home bit. "They aren't going to run to their actual homes are they?"

Nate's been interested in earning money in the past and has earned prizes this summer and previous Summers doing the library reading program, so he definitely understands the concept of it. Another first this summer is his detour away from PBS Kids television channel. Yes, now he wants to watch vile characters doing evil non-kid things and to top it off, these new channels now there's a whole new world of things that he must have. "Actually, Mommy I don't want a Pillow Pet, I need a Pillow Pet."

"You need one, huh? And how much do they cost?"

"$19.95 plus shipping and handling. And, they are machine washable and guaranteed for 60 days."

"Do you have $19.95?"


"Well, if you want, we could probably work something out, but you may not want to and that's fine; you can just put the Pillow Pet on your birthday wish list."

From there he proceeded to make his own behavior/earning/Pillow Pet chart complete with the days of the week labeled on the left and a cutout of the advertisement he found in the Toys R Us circular taped to the top. He worked the majority of the summer for that damn pillow and let me tell you, it was a proud day when he earned the final mark and knew a trip to Toys R Us was in store that afternoon. I was pretty proud of us too.

I think maybe the best first of the summer is the full blown reading. It's been coming in bits and pieces for some time, but now, there's no denying it. While the accomplishment he feels is evident, it goes well beyond cracking the code. He reads aloud with expression, appropriate intonations, questions what he doesn't understand, and especially with any Mo Willems books, there is giggling.

There are other firsts that make a mother a tad less proud and more perplexed, infuriated, and triggered but this is not the time or place...

Tomorrow begins a new first, Kindergarten.

Between rounds of Scrabble, laundry and Candyland we asked Nate if he wanted to walk or drive to school tomorrow. "Walk, well--actually run, because the bell rings at 8:58am