Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pull Up a Chair

I was out with my friend Sharda last night (Ladies' Night, yahoo!) and we were talking about how sometimes, when you're friends with someone who lives far away you can get to a place where you haven't talked for so long you almost feel a paralysis in trying to connect again.

That's how I have been feeling with this blog lately. It's not that I haven't been popping in here and there with inane posts, but I keep waiting for that one big thing to prompt an in depth discussion of...well, something. I guess it's good that things have been relatively status quo, but there are a few things I've been meaning to at least write some notes about so this will be a big mish-mash of What's Been Happening.

I've been doing more of the planning tasks relating to Pacey starting school in the fall. Kindergarten here offers a lot of options; there is the half-day option, 2.5 hours five days a week. Pacey will do this regardless. Then there is a full-day option, which is a full academic day similar to first grade. Then there is a sort of in-between option where the afternoon portion of the day is spent in a smaller setting with more play-based reinforcement of the morning's curriculum and opportunities for one-on-one help. This is what I am leaning heavily towards, but still haven't decided how many full days a week we'll sign up for (you can do 3, 4 or 5). In the course of planning for the fall I've been investigating the summer options for both kids, as well as other classes and camps that Pacey can attend to make sure that he is ready to rock the kindergarten class in September (I'm 99% sure he'll be in a fully inclusive environment). It's a lot to research and consider, but I'm lucky to have some great people helping me figure out what's best.

We've actually been going out, like with friends and without kids! Actually we did a really fun Friday night out with the kids too that made it feel like we've turned a corner and have real little people that are enjoyable to hang out with rather than imperious little dictators. But anyway, we have had a few work functions for Chris, a couple of solo nights out for each of us and we have a couple of dinner parties we'll be hosting in the next month. It feels good to start expanding our circle outward a little. Perhaps the most gratifying gathering I've attended was one I set up with three other women I have met who all have little boys with Down syndrome. The boys are 20 months, 2, almost 4 and 5 (that's Pacey). Apart from two of the women who hadn't met before, we'd all met each other in various combinations at various functions. It was so, so nice to get together at one woman's house and chat about life and having children with Ds. I'm pretty sure all three are women I would not have met otherwise and it's so cool to see what Down syndrome can bring into your life. It's also nice for me because in general I have not been super comfortable attending larger events centered around Down syndrome awareness or support or whatever. I think that's more about my social nature - I prefer to have a smaller group of close friends than a huge group of casual acquaintances. Anyway, it was a wonderful evening, good for the soul, and I'm hoping we can do it every month or so.

Taming the She-Beast
I think we're getting a preview lately of what age 3 is going to have to offer. On the one hand, Brighton has been utterly charming. Talking up a storm, saying some quite witty things at times and generally applying her natural enthusiasm to almost everything we do. On the other hand, she is developing a bit (well, a bit MORE) sass. The whole 1-2-3 Magic concept has worked pretty well for us with her, despite the fact I've never exactly made it clear what happens when I get to 3. Anyway, the other day I started 'counting' her, and she put one hand on her hip, held the other hand up "Talk to the Hand" style and said, "No, don't count." It was really, really hard not to laugh at her. She's also told me to "just stop talking, Mama" when I'm asking her to do something. It's all fairly small potatoes so far, but her own developing sense of self combined with her epic strong will is going to make for some interesting battles. Oh, and this week she appears to be on a nap strike. I'm really looking forward to a time when my schedule is not dependent on getting anyone home to nap, but the reality is that she still needs the sleep. Things are tending to fall apart around 5:00 and I think we'll have to move bedtime up a little (aw, darn).

Bleeding Ears
Hands down the hardest thing for me about parenting these ages is the constant need to engage. I'm perfectly fine with a comfortable silence, but my children don't seem to have inherited that from me. It's a real challenge with Pacey because, although he's talking SO MUCH MORE and it's truly awesome to hear his cute little gravelly voice, he doesn't speak very loudly and is still hard to understand if I'm not looking at his face. He especially likes to talk in the car, when I can't turn around to see him and doesn't usually respond when I ask him to say it louder. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for him...more often than not I have to give up until we're stopped and by then he's forgotten about it. I love to feel needed and I love it that I am the absolute epicenter of my kids' worlds for this fleeting time, but by the end of the day I am just done with the constant chatter.

Winter Blahs
I know it's like a broken record around here when it comes to weather-talk, but I have really, really hit a wall with this winter. I'm fantasizing about playgrounds and longing for days of just leaving the house without a big production. This is about the time that both kids got so sick last year and Pacey ended up in the hospital for a week, so I am feeling more wary than usual about exposing them to huge groups of kids indoors. This has resulted in a LOT of home time and it's been harder than usual to muster up any enthusiasm to do more than plod forward to spring. But! I am forcing myself to tackle the playroom project and picked up some paint samples today to help pick my color scheme. As soon as I decide on that, I'll paint and then it's a big trip to IKEA for lots of cool storage and decorating purchases. I finally jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon and that's been a good source of ideas for the project as well as other activities to do with the kids. Are you on Pinterest?

I used to listen to BBC Radio 1 on satellite radio in the car. It was a true tragedy when they didn't renew their contract and at that point I pretty much gave into the kids' desire to listen to their tunes in the car (namely a CD provided by Brighton's school of the songs they listen to during their circle/dance time). Anyway, after awhile it makes me want to stick hot forks into my eardrums so I'm trying to get them into something more in line with my own tastes. Clearly hip-hop has to wait a few years so I am beginning their country music education. In my experience, a non-country-lover has to get hooked on one song and it acts as a gateway that end I've introduced Need You Now by Lady Antebellum. Now, the theme is obviously rather adult and they mention being drunk, but otherwise it's a fairly benign song and one I don't mind listening to over and over. They call it Mommy's Song. Anyway, here's Brighton rocking out...I think I might have her hooked :)

Valentine's Day
You may recall I was taking the kids to a dance on the Friday night before V-Day. C was still on his business trip and hey, a preschool dance about as exciting as things get around here. Anyway, Pacey and Brighton had an absolute blast, no one peed where they weren't supposed to, and their behavior was great despite being out past their bedtimes and also consuming much, much more sugar than they are accustomed to.

They did NOT get their love of public dancing
from me. 

She was so excited and proud that this awesome
thing was happening at HER school. 
And Valentine's Day itself was lovely. The kids got little treats and heart-shaped food, I received Godiva chocolates and didn't have to cook dinner. Can't ask for much more.

Behold my pizza-making skills. Please ignore
the schmoopy card that accidentally made
it into the frame. 

So I think that just about brings us up to date. Here's hoping for a more regular posting schedule going forward.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I don't know where to start my comments on your brain dump, so I'll jump right in!

First, I'm so glad you have so many options for Kindergarten- that is awesome! I'm sure that Pacey will thrive with what ever schedule you chose and if changes have to made, I've found most schools are really accommodating! If you're anything like me, you're going to have a harder time with the transition then he is. ;)

Yeah for girl's nights! I get out with my girlfriends once a month and I swear, I live for those couple hours out. Soothes my soul and saves my sanity. So glad you found a tribe of women with kids with DS, as well- I hope they continue to be a great source of support!

Ummm....age 3. Yeah. The Bean frequently tells me "Don't Count!"- oh, and that she doesn't like me. To which I continue to count and tell her that she doesn't have to like me, but she does have to listen and respect me. I feel like if I don't get a handle on her now, I may as well roll over and play dead when she gets older.

Every Saturday morning, I take my kids to a local bounce house the minute it opens. Frequently we're the only ones there for the first 30-45 mins (you can only bounce for 60 mins), so that's been a sanity saver this winter. The kids get to work out a lot of energy at 10 am- which makes the rest of the day much easier on us all. Do you have anything like that around you?

And lastly (b/c this is turning into a novel), we're big fan of Laurie Berkner, They Might be Giants, Jack's Big Music Show soundtrack and Imagination Movers for music. Some of it's more grating then others, but the Hubs and I can tolerate all of it!

Oh..and I finished "State of Wonder" Eh- it was really interesting, but it was also slow.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!