Saturday, April 28, 2007

J Tested for His Yellow Belt, and Other News

I took J to test for his yellow belt this morning in Judo, and he passed. I think he'll get a yellow basic belt, which means it will have a white stripe on it. He'll have to test to get the white stripe off, and then he can start testing for his black stripes. That will be awhile. I told him I was proud of him, and he seemed to think it was quite funny that he got his yellow belt at 4 and that I had to wait until I was 31.

L lost his top tooth, so now he can't taunt me with it. He lost it at breakfast Thursday morning. He says another top one is loose and Z claims he's got another loose tooth on the bottom. They've tried to show me but I won't look.

J started reading Bob books this week. He's on the first set, so it's mostly 3 letter words, but he's motivated. Last night he was trying to sound out words from his Thomas the Tank Engine anthology. We stopped at the store after his test this morning and I let him pick out a "reading buddy". He picked a stuffed bear with a firefighter outfit. This bear (who J named "Buddy") will be able to sit in J's lap while he's reading aloud to me. Once he reads a book aloud to Daddy, then he can have "Buddy" for good. I still have to decide on his goal book.

I'm in the midst of planning our summer and fall curriculum. I think we'll finish our Spring semester at the end of May. We'll continue with math, handwriting, reading, and latin, and we'll also do a geography unit study using Galloping the Globe. I think we'll do this in June, then just the aforementioned basics in July, and start our new year in August. We'll take off time as needed, but we really do a lot better with a routine to keep us out of trouble. Just a reminder, no one needs to tell the boys about the "summer vacation" that is built into the public school calendars.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Never Reveal Your Weakness

I never knew how much wiggling baby teeth grossed me out until L had his first loose tooth. I find it creepy. Teeth are not supposed to move. I was able to keep this tidbit of information to myself when L's two bottom teeth were loose. When he'd show me how they were wiggling, I'd smile lovingly and try to change the subject.

On Saturday he was showing me how his loose top tooth would do unnatural things. I broke down after a few minutes of him not letting me change the subject. I told him while I understood his excitement, wiggling teeth really grossed me out and maybe he could just show Daddy, who I was sure would be as impressed as he was.

L has been using this against me. In church on Sunday he kept poking me and whispering "Mom". When I'd look at him he'd make his tooth do something freaky and then suppress a giggle at my horrified face.

Z was let in on this little secret and taunted me this evening with his loose tooth for about 45 minutes before he wiggled it all the way out.

20 baby teeth X 5 boys = 100 wiggly teeth - 3 already lost = only 97 more chances for the boys to taunt me


Thursday, April 19, 2007

The One That (Almost) Got Away

Once every few months I get the urge to take all five boys to the library (I go more often than once every few months, but I don't take them). Today was that day. You might be wondering why I don't take them more than once every few months. I think the following will clear that up.

I thought I had a plan to keep them all in check. Baby in the big stroller, with the basket. Crackers for when he got bored. Two sippy filled with milk for N, one filled with juice for M. And the highlight of my plan: M's "leash". If we handed out awards here at the Academy, M would definitely win the "Boy Most Likely To Escape" award. Because of this, we bought him a nice furry little bear "backpack" that has a nice furry little "leash" attached to it. Knowing I'd have M chained to me like a prisoner gave me the confidence to execute this field trip to the library.

It worked.


As we were looking through the audio books aisles, I thought M was following me but figured out he wasn't when I reached the end of his leash and pulled him over. This made him cry and proclaim (loudly) "Mommy! You pulled me over!". Now, getting 'looks' from other mothers (mothers who are there with a single toddler) because you have your child on a leash is one thing....getting 'looks' from other mothers because you have your child on a leash AND he is crying because you pulled him over with the leash is a bit more embarrassing.

I didn't let this deter me. We were on a quest for books to fill our heads with knowledge. We persevered and we finished gathering books.

I let the boys play a game on a kids computer while I sat at the table next to them and looked over the books that L and Z had picked. I put all the books that passed my inspection in our bags in the basket of the stroller and said, "All right guys. It's time to go." They all stood up without fussing or complaining that they wanted to keep playing. I must admit I felt a split second of pride in how well this visit had gone until M started running....holding onto the end of his leash.

I told L to catch him. Which caused Z and J to chase him, too. M thought this was great fun, and he was out of the children's section in the blink of an eye and running up the aisle to the checkout counters. Z and J were hot on his tail, but M is fast. (I should mention here that the exit doors to the library are not too far from the checkout counters and they've got those nifty little square blue handicapped buttons that open the door. M loves those buttons.) L (the only one I actually told to catch M) faithfully stopped at the exit to the children's area to tell me M was still running.

Mind you, I've got the full size stroller with the baby and 36 books in bags in the basket to weigh it down. But we made an attempt to chase M (trying to dodge a couple who was walking slowly and taking up the entire very wide aisle), and finally reached him by the checkout counter. By this time Z and J had tackled him and had him pinned on the ground trying to wrestle away the end of the leash that M was so faithfully holding onto. I calmly picked him up by his overall straps, placed the leash around my wrist, and started placing our books on the counter to check out like nothing had happened.

Did I mention that I think I deserve a medal?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sometimes, a Little Boy Just Wants to Get Dressed

I was helping M get dressed yesterday morning. I was sitting on the floor while he stood in front of me waiting for his shirt. I repeatedly kissed his belly. Everytime he would back up in a fit of giggles. This, of course, delayed actually getting his shirt on.

I guess I did this one time too many, because all of the sudden he got really serious, looked me straight in the eyes and said "I want to get my shirt on! Mommy, control yourself!"

Monday, April 16, 2007


As L and I were driving to Barnes & Noble yesterday, we had this conversation.

L: "Life isn't all about being rich, is it Mom?"
Mom: "No, it's not. Wouldn't it be sad if all life was about was money and things?"
L: "Yeah. There's other ways to be rich. We're rich."
Mom: "How's that?"
L: "We're rich with family."

So true. As Cr said,"He's got a beautiful mind".

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mealtime Prayers

When it's time to pray for a meal, Cr will usually ask "Who wants to pray?". Anywhere from 1-4 boys will volunteer. Cr will then pick a boy to pray, or assign them an order in which to pray.

These prayers have a variety of the normal "thank you for my dad, mom, brothers, food, house, etc.", and they'll also sometimes include specific requests, if someone is sick or traveling.

Recently, though, they've started ending their prayers with a new request.

"Please help no one to get hurt tonight."

The nights we have Judo, I understand it. The nights when we're just spending a quiet evening at home it really makes me wonder what they have planned. Why would an evening at home cause a little boy to pray for safety? What exactly are they doing when they go play in their room?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Let Me Sleep On That

Yesterday was our first regular day back at school (we took last week off because of my parents' visit, which was wonderful). The first day back is usually trying, as we all try to get our bearings and re-adjust to the routine. Z was having the most difficult time; bouncing loudly off the walls with silliness and harassing his brothers. We had this conversation a bit after lunch time:

Mommy: Z, I'm really disappointed in your behavior today.
Z: Yeah, me too.
Mommy: So, what do you think we should do about it?
Z (after a long, thoughtful pause): I don't know. Maybe it'll be better when I wake up in the morning.

Oh, yeah. It was that kind of day.

**Update** Z woke up looking a bit less cantankerous. I asked him if we were going to have a good day, and told him he looked like he was ready to be obedient today. He replied: "I told you it'd be better after I slept".

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Another Thank You

L gave me another thank you card last week, along with a picture he drew that he spent a long time on. He's such a sweet boy.

Dear Mommy

I hope you have a good
week. Thanks for takeing care
of us. Thank you for
teaching us school.
Thanks for takeing
us to fun playses.

from L Z

I'm So Proud

I took L and Z yesterday morning to test for their 2nd and 1st yellow belt stripes. They both passed, which, of course, we're all happy about. But the reason I'm so proud of is Z.

For those who don't know, Z was born missing the confidence gene. It doesn't help that he and L are only 1 year apart, the same size, and L is confident and coordinated. By the time we'd made the 20 minute drive to Judo yesterday morning, Z was almost in tears from nerves. He told me his stomach hurt, he told me he got embarrassed when he had to do things in front of people, he asked what would happen if he did things wrong, he told me he couldn't remember how to do anything, especially Kata Gatame, he told me he hadn't tested in a long time. All of this was said with his eyes welling up with tears, a quivering bottom lip, and face that was pale. He was really pulling at my Mommy heartstrings, and I considered telling him it was okay and he didn't have to test, but I knew how proud he'd be if he passed, so I refrained. Instead I told him that I got nervous when I tested, that the worst thing that would happen would be that he didn't pass and that would be fine, and other things to try and settle him down.

Once we got into the gym, he sat next to me, asking what he'd have to do. I showed him Kata Gatame, explained what Sensei would do, and we watch a little girl begin her test for her yellow belt. Halfway through her test, Sensei called Z out to be her uke (this is the person who gets thrown). This helped Z settle down a bit. Sensei went right into Z's test, and he started naming things for Z to do. With a lot of the things Sensei named, I got nervous because Z and I hadn't gone over them and it had been a long time since we worked on them in class. But Z was almost flawless, doing almost all of the throws, counters, turnovers, and holds without Sensei having to translate to English (all of the names are given in Japanese) or give hints about what they were.

Z finished, and came over and sat next to me. He was beaming. His eyes were sparkling. His confidence meter was turned up just a bit. He told me Sensei told him he did one of the best bridge and rolls he'd ever seen from a little guy. Then he said, "A funny thing happened while I was out there. Sensei would tell me what to do, and before I could even think about it I was doing it." I told him I was proud of him for trying and going out on the mat. I hope he remembers how well he did, and I hope that his confidence meter stays turned up, even if just a slight bit.