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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Boo had an eye appointment yesterday and it was great. It was almost a year ago that we found out her eyesight was dreadful (the doctor admitted today that when she first came in, she was legally blind). When she first got her glasses, they improved her vision to 20/200. That was the good number, which really upset me.

Today, with her glasses on, her vision is 20/30. Unbelievable. And she still has a couple years of improvement, since the doctor says we have until about age 7 before her eyes will no longer change for the better. But 20/30 already! I honestly never thought she’d be able to see that well, ever. It was a good day.

So now we get to go get new glasses. Yay! Her old ones are scratched and battered, so it is about time anyway. She’s excited about picking out new frames. I’m excited about her eyesight improving enough to justify new glasses.

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I had something written about Hanukkah – of which today is the last day and yet I am sure I will still be hearing “happy Hanukkah from well-wishing but clueless acquaintances until the 25th – but I keep not getting it posted and now it is over, so I think I’ll treat it like the minor holiday it is and ignore it. Is that a run-on sentence?

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I just read in the paper that Matthew Perry, Zach Ephron and Michelle Trachtenberg are going to be staring in a new movie called 17. According to the blurb, it is about a dad who gets zapped back to being 17-years-old and goes to his daughter’s high school, for unexplained reasons, and his daughter develops a crush on him.

I think if pretty Zach were to take a look at the photo on the link to Perry I provided, he’d think twice about agreeing to be this guy’s younger self. But beyond that point, may I just add an very hearty, very sincere EEEEEWWWWWWW!!!! What kind of sicko came up with that plot idea? I know a zillion girls think Zach is just the biggest cutie ever, but are they really going to want to see a movie in which the concept is that their dad could have once been the biggest cutie in school? And the whole daughter/dad thing – it’s just way too incesty. Blech.

And what’s with the girly boys? Zach is all over my daughter’s wall and he’s prettier than his girlfriend. I don’t think this is an entirely new thing, because I remember reading some deep analysis once that said young teenage girls like girly boys because they represent unthreatening masculinity, but I personally never got it. My first crush at age 13 was on Harrison Ford, who was gruff, crabby and scarred. I still have a crush on him.

I can’t wait to see what kind of hits those tags get me.

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J is off gallivanting around the world again for the next week. This morning, I got the kids to swimming lessons and snuck off to have a shower myself while they were supposedly being watched by their instructors. I say ‘supposedly’ because when I arrived at the end of Boo’s lesson to get her, she told me she didn’t learn much this time because she lost her instructor for a while, but eventually he found her. In the pool. I told the guy at the first lesson that without glasses my kid is blind, but it doesn’t seem to have sunk in. Either that, or he has the same problem. We’ll be chatting about it tomorrow.

Then we popped off to friends for brunch, where my kids were pretty well-behaved, I think. These friends only have one kid and she’s still wee, so the amount of noise and destruction she can cause compared to my kids is light years apart. I remember having people over with more than one kid when I just had sweet little Maya and watching in horror at the chaos. I hope we didn’t do that to them. Fortunately, my kids like to eat. After announcing he wasn’t hungry. Asher ate a pancake and four helpings of lasagna.

Then, it was off home to make Hanukkah cookies. I’d promised the day before. I was so bloody tired, but couldn’t see when else to do it, so soldiered on. The house is already a mess, of course. But we shoved aside crap in the kitchen and made the cookies. Dinner was order-in pizza, now that the non-gluten guy is out of the country. Afterwards, we decorated, adding icing sugar and many types of sprinkles to the chaos. These are some of the finished product:

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Here is poor Jasper watching us play and play with food and give him none, poor boy. He’s using a teddy for a pillow, so I had to take a picture.

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Asher knocked an entire container of thawed strawberries on the floor. Someone else knocked over thawing beef in the fridge, so now the fridge has been bled on. Maya dropped Jasper’s full bowl of food on the floor, and for one the damn dog decided that floor food did not interest him.

We realized after dinner but before decorating that Asher had not finished his Hebrew project for Tuesday. That wouldn’t be so bad were it not for the English project he hasn’t even considered beginning that is due Wednesday. There was no point in even trying to get any work on that. He can’t handle academic stuff at the very best of times in the evening, and having been promised cookie decorating is not the very best of times to suggest homework.

I have a point to all this. As I was singing Boo to sleep, I was reading yesterday’s Globe and Mail. I read Karen von Hahn’s column, in which she postulated that people who have children young are perceived as older, over-the-hill, compared to their peers who have small children. Her last line is this: “Who needs plastic surgery when you can be as young as you feel, thanks to artificial insemination.”

Is it just me, or is this woman completely insane? She has this idea that having kids when you are older makes you feel younger. Obviously, she is one of those women who had her kids when she was younger and, at 40-ish, is happily waving them off to university.

Gee, I wonder who feels younger – von Hahn, who is looking into the rest of her 40s having done the difficult work of childrearing and wondering what to do with her time – take a cruise with her husband? Throw herself further into her career? Train to run a marathon? After all, she clearly still fit and young enough to do whatever she wants. Or me, who is looking into the rest of my 40s filled with parent-teacher interviews and forgotten projects, kitchens with florescent yellow icing sugar dripping off the walls and the first child careening into adolescence like a runaway locomotive?

I wonder who looks younger – does the flour from the cookies dusting my shirt and the sprinkles in my hair age me? Or is it just the frazzled expression, the 40-year-old skin having gone unmoisturized and 40-year-old hair uncut for months because I’m too tired and don’t have the time.

I’m not really complaining, not really. I knew what I was getting into, although I never actually planned to have a kid at 36 years old. I am truly happy I had my children in my 30s rather than my 20s. But how can any woman who has actually raised children, as von Hahn has, be so utterly deluded as to think that raising small children in one’s 40s makes a person appear or feel younger? Those little shits age you, and they age you twice as fast when you are already older.

Anyway, I can see the dishes piled up in the kitchen from here, so I think I’ll just go downstairs, put on Family Guy and do some knitting. Maybe the dish fairies will come clean everything.

Jasper just discovered a kleenex box was in reach, and neatly hopped up to take one for himself. (He likes to snack on them.) Here is a picture, because he is the cutest dog ever, and don’t you forget it.

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Like all parents, when my first baby was born, I looked forward to many milestones – first word, first sentence, first steps, no more diapers. As they grew, I even looked forward to ones like outgrowing the annoying car seat, being able to open the fridge by herself. The one I didn’t expect until it was upon us was learning to read.

That was particularly slow of me, given how central reading and writing is to me. Maybe that is why – it seems as natural a breathing. It isn’t, though. It is work.

Boo, my last baby, has just figured out the key. Reading isn’t just a switch – one day you can’t, the next you can. But, at least with my kids, there has always been one day when the kid suddenly gets running those sounds together. For the longest time – desperate to read – Maya would sound out words like ‘cat’ as cuh-ah-tuh and then run it together as ‘cuhatuh.’ Then she’d get frustrated and take a wild stab at it – “Chicken?” It was hard not to laugh, I admit.

She spent a long time in the ‘cuhatuh’ stage, not quite getting it. And then, one day, she did. And I realized that the whole world had just open up to her. I teared up, I admit.

It was somewhat harder for Asher, in that he didn’t care, and somewhat easier, in that he didn’t care. He didn’t kill himself at it the way his sister did. But one day, about a week before he was to enter grade one, I decided it was time to see if he could get phonetics. We sat down with Hop on Pop, and he Got It.

Having never really thought about it before, he was wildly delighted to realize that he could actually read.  I’ll never forget the excitement with which he raced up the stairs to demonstrate to his dad that he could actually read. Unfortunately in his case, it immediately got difficult and figuring it out has been a struggle ever since. It just doesn’t seem to come naturally to him, much as he wants it to.

But with Boo, whether it is because she is a third child, or a lucky one, it has happened with the greatest of ease. She figured out the alphabet by herself. As we went through the grocery store when she was 2 and 3 years old, she’d say, “I see my letter! I see Bubby’s letter!” Only later did the letters get their own names, and she already had a good idea of their sounds.

A couple of weeks ago, while I read to the older two, Boo was looking at one of her own books and suddenly said, “puh-ah-tuh … pat!” I cheered, “Boo, you just sounded that word out!” She was delighted, and has been sounding out everything she sees since then, with varying degrees of success.

So last night, I dug out Hop on Pop. And she read it. She even took little leaps, like sounding out ‘see’ as ‘suh-eh-eh’ and not running it together as ‘seh’ but ‘see.’ The best part is her utter delight. She was so excited I had trouble getting her to stop (it’s a long book) and go to sleep, then she showed up bright and early this morning in my bed insisting on continuing the book.

Later, when I insisted on cutting her fingernails, she said, “Okay! I can read while you do it!” She grabbed a book and picked a word, then said, “Buh-uh-tuh-tuh-on. Button! Button? I always thought it was ‘buttin’! Wow, this reading thing is really cool.”

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First Boyfriend

Not Maya – Boo.

There is a family one street over whose kids go to the same school mine do. The oldest girl is Maya’s age, and her best friend. The second kid is a boy Asher’s age, and they are also friends. The youngest is Boo’s age, but a boy. By virtue of proximity, they’ve hung out together, but never really bonded. They were in the same class last year and this year. Suddenly, they both started demanding to be allow to play at each others houses.

Yesterday, I carpooled their kids, dumping the girls at shul school. I then dropped Asher off at their house and brought the littlest one, D, here. On the way home in the care, he announced, “I hate pink. Blllech.” I cringed slightly, waiting for Boo to become offended, as she loves pink. Instead, she yelled, “PINK!” He responded, “YUCK!” and they were off to the races.

She ordered him around terribly, but he just did what he was told. Then at one point, she got a catalogue of toys that came in the mail and told him she would show him some toys, but would protect him from the pink ones. She’d open a page and then slap her hand over something and warn him, “It’s pink!” He’d roll around as if he’d been shot, groaning, then she’d say, “It’s okay. I covered it for you.”

Okay, none of this is particularly romantic behaviour. My kids have always had friends of the opposite sex, and Maya’s best friend until she was in about grade 3 was a boy. One of Boo’s best friends, in a different school, is a boy.

But this was the clincher. I drove them back to his house, side by side in their booster seats and when we arrived, and D started to unbuckle himself, Boo yelled, “Hug! Hug! Hug!” I was sure he’d be horrified, but instead he said, “Just a minute, I have to get unbuckled.” Then he went and give her a big hug. She’s never done this with any other little boy. And he was so nonchalant about it, I wonder how many other hugs there have been? At least she had good taste – he’s got red hair and blue blue eyes and is really cute.

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