Monday, August 31, 2009


We were having a hard time with potty language last winter, so we all sat around the table making the following list of FAMILY BANNED WORDS.  Husband asked me to take it down before a party this summer but I forgot (which helps him learn that if it's important to him, please do it yourself!).  EVERY parent, separately mind you, came to me to say how much they liked it, especially the ones written by Oldest.  Were they mocking us?  Hard to tell.  Here it is, may it inspire you to come up with your own BANNED WORD list:
  1. Booty
  2. Fart
  3. Weiner (written by Oldest)
  4. Butt (or derivatives)
  5. Pooper (Oldest) or poop or poopy
  6. Stupid (same thing as Dumb - written by Oldest)
  7. Fat
  8. Hate or Bad Person (written by Oldest - so cute!)
  9. Any 4 letter word that rhymes with duck
  10. Pee (Oldest)
  11. Tooterhead (Oldest)
  12. Poopy Butt (Oldest)
  13. Weiner Belly (Oldest)
You can see that it was degenerating by the end and truth be told, Husband and I were having our own challenges keeping a straight face once Tooterhead and Weiner Belly got thrown into the mix. 

So what's the consequence for this kind of thing here?  A time out lasting as long as your age.  Maybe I'll throw a COUPLE out one day soon and get myself a SEVENTY SIX minute time out, go take a little nap.  ;)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Birthdays revisited, this one at home

Today is Youngest's birthday.  All in all, a great day.  Both girls had school in the morning, then we pulled Oldest out at 2pm for an entire family trip to see the Wiggles.  I mean, when the Wiggles come on your child's birthday and you love them as much as I (ahem, THEY, my KIDS) do, you have to go and it has to be the whole family, right? 

Great show.  Everyone had fun.  Then we came home. 

Youngest did not nap today and I can now say with certainty that she is NOT finished with those, no siree!  We decided to open presents while waiting for the pizza.  Here's what she got:
  1. a tricked out Kettler trike with a long push handle in the back
  2. some peg game thing
  3. bath crayons
  4. an Ugly doll - not an ugly DOLL, but the trademarked stuffed animals called Ugly Doll - her name is Feebee and she's . . . ugly, of course.  But adorably so.
  5. some clothes and bathing suits that I got at a great end of summer sale last week and decided to throw into the birthday mix for the hell of it
  6. a couple of Little People toys from Oldest that SHE BOUGHT HERSELF - God Bless 'er!
Does this seem like a lot?  In light of the EMBARASSING, MASSIVE birthday gifts I've gotten Oldest in years past, this seemed small to me - hence the addition of the clothing. 

Oldest opened everything for her.  This no one minded.  Then Oldest took everything out of its packaging for her.  And started playing with it all.  Youngest, hungry and on no nap and overstimulated from the Wiggles, started minding.  VERY LOUDLY.  

I started out kindly saying, "you know, Oldest, these aren't your presents, please let Youngest play with them."  Worked for . . . 2 minutes.  


Maybe I should digress very briefly.  We are a Montessori family.  And they teach there that "what's yours is yours (but not in a bad way - it's all about respecting people and property)" and you must ask AND ACCEPT THE ANSWER before you can take something from someone, join someone at a work they are doing, or generally get in someone's business.  So we follow that at home too.  I find that it works out much better than making someone "share" the moment (or immediately after) they acquire something and it teaches the person desiring the object manners, patience and respect.  I make Youngest abide by this with Oldest, but I have a much harder time getting Oldest to abide by this with Youngest. 

I'm pretty sure it's two reasons:
  1. Oldest had full reign over everything in the house for more than 5 years.
  2. Oldest lived through a year of Youngest not caring if she played with everything of hers because she was a cute little blob who lived to just watch her sister.
But now Youngest has a personality and opinions and she wasn't feeling charitable tonight.  And I don't blame her!  This was a painful lesson for Oldest, which, for awhile at least, made it painful for all of us. 

Picture Grandma showing up while Oldest is hiding under the computer desk, sharing with me through the chair (tearfully, and with much volume) how she wishes it weren't Youngest's birthday, that she's not getting anything.  Picture me eventually having to threaten to take away Oldest's cupcake access if she didn't stop with her surly attitude with Grandma thereafter.  Remind me to talk about transitions and the Gifted Child one day soon, when I'm not so busy pouring my painful days out on this.

This story ended nicely.  Everyone got cupcakes, Grandma enjoyed her time with the girls and CLAIMS she didn't even know there was some drama upon her arrival (I think she's being nice, which is one of the reasons I love my mother in law, she knows when to use tact).  Everyone went to bed happy. 
And here I sit, a little bit heartbroken.  That this Oldest child of mine, who loves her sister more than anything else on this planet (TRULY, she LOVES that girl), could be that petulant and surly about a couple of motherfucking presents!  Everyone did great at the Wiggles together, did great at dinner, did great with Grandma (after the first 30 minutes), Oldest did great with all of the well wishers to her sister at school today.  Shitty about the presents. 

So who am I really pissed at?  Not Oldest, though sadly, that's where I directed it tonight.  No, I'm pissed at me.  I should have trusted my instincts and gotten fewer presents - she doesn't need them or want them.  She's so happy with interactions with people, she doesn't even care about "stuff."  Didn't even notice when her sister opened them.  But I decided that she needed just a couple extra to open, so I wrapped up the clothes and stuff and made a few more presents out of it.  And I didn't need to - everyone would have been happier without them. 

Does anyone else have this happen?  One child turning into a beast on the other child's birthday?  Am I the only one?  I can't be, right?  I would love to hear how other people handle this.   

Looking for a little help out there  :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Letting Go

I am much more sad than glad about tomorrow right now.  I told Husband this morning about a friend who is a wreck over her 3 year old's first day of school.  Up popped Oldest from the backseat, "Why, Mommy, why would she be so upset?" 

I tried to explain to her that even though school is a really important, wonderful endeavor for children, it's a time of "letting go" for the parents and that's hard.  Of course, I started crying while I was trying to tell her this, lending credence (or craziness) to my impassioned explanation.  I could hardly even finish what I was trying to tell her because I was flashing back to HER first day of school and the pain I felt then of letting her go.

This is one of the hardest parts for me as a parent - the letting go.  Yes, I grouse a lot about the other hard things, the day to day difficulties of sun-up to sunset, but that AIN'T NUTHIN' compared to letting my children go a little bit at a time, to become what God brought them into this world to become, which is SADLY not to just be my little babies forever.  And every year, on this day, no matter how excited I am about school starting to have MY time back, it hits me:  the start of each school year begins the next step toward their independence, toward BECOMING someone who is not just my child.  And that hurts so much - no matter how much I know AND accept that it must happen. 

I know there will come a day when I look back at these years with so much yearning, wishing I could have the time back.  The empty nest years are NOT something I crave.  So for today, as we have our Annual Back to School Ice Cream Sundae Party and pizza making party, I will cherish them, love them, and maybe squeeze them a little too hard, knowing what tomorrow and Wednesday are going to bring - another goodbye.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Great article similar (?) to the things I blog about

This article is a bit more "academic," shall we say, about the challenges of gifted kids.  My posts are little more down and dirty, day to day fun and games.

First Day of School Looms Large

School starts for Oldest in less than 60 hours. I'm so sad about the summer ending! We have had a great one. Maybe one of the best. Oldest set so many goals for herself this summer - in true Oldest AND Gifted fashion. I set some for her too - milestones that we really, REALLY needed to meet. Here they are:
  1. Read 11 chapter books for 11 weeks of summer. I set this for both of us, including rewards. She read 33. I barely eeked out my 11.
  2. Learn to tie shoes - I set this. She learned in three days. Refer to the post entitled "The Post Where I remember to be Thankful " to see how her reminder of how to do it went.
  3. Finish Book One of Suzuki piano. She set this one after attending and being inspired at the Suzuki Institute this summer. I thought there was NO WAY - she still had 8 songs to do hands together at the end of June. She just completed that one today.
  4. Start going underwater at the pool. I set this - she started at the beginning of August after I bribed her with a candy bar. Yes, I am that mom, but we're talking about a necessary life lesson and she wasn't feelin' it. Within 2 days, she was going off the diving board. Once she's off and running with something, she truly can't be stopped.
  5. Learn to ride her two wheeler without the training wheels. Dad set that one - she learned, but still can't get started on her own. It's coming though.
It doesn't fill me with pride that she's accomplished this much. What fills me with pride is the gusto with which she attacked most of these. She was so positive (mostly) and genuinely desired to do her best. Even on setback days (see post entitled "Perfectionism is sooooo painful" for one about piano), she ended positively. She is one amazing girl.
But I have to be honest. As sad as I am about summer ending, I am almost quivering with excitement about getting most of my days back. She will be in full day, five days, Youngest will be in three days, half days. When you add the Youngest's hours and naptimes together, that's going to be 18 hours to myself each week before 9pm. And it's been 11 long weeks since I've had that kind of time.
But I'll miss them - I'm getting teary just writing this! Sniff, sob. Hurray! All at the same time. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Couple of annoying things to share

  1. Meetings going really, really long.
  2. Treating myself to a McDonald's hot fudge sundae on the way home from said meeting and spilling it all over myself in my zeal to inhale it.
  3. Tripping over the block "town" lovingly made and then left for Mommy to see - right in the middle of the darkened dining room floor.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Days are Blurring Together

I'm feeling more than a little overwhelmed by this week and next week's schedule. This week, along with back to school preparations, also includes a major Board meeting to attend and facilitate part of and a major concert to attend 2.5 hours away! Yes, we brought that one on ourselves, but it's Our Lady Peace - not much choice there. Plus, treating ourselves to some ME/US time certainly needs to be kept on the docket. Next week is OFFICIAL BACK TO SCHOOL WEEK. Tuesday for Oldest, Wednesday for Youngest. Monday will be our Annual Back to School Ice Cream Sundae Party, Thursday is Youngest's birthday which will include a birthday concert of the WIGGLES! Love 'em! The weekend is all day golf tourney both days for Husband. Suffice it to say, not a lot of BREATHE time and not a lot of time to practice patience. And I certainly forgot to do that today. Oldest was acting so ungrateful for her many blessings in life today that (after I blew my top for about 20 minutes) I actually grounded her for the final week of summer! I couldn't believe myself, but I also couldn't believe her! Today's privileges that were taken for granted were:
  1. Art Class ($100 for the week)
  2. Birthday Party attendance
  3. Being allowed to do 30 minutes of computer before cleaning her room
  4. Playing in her room before cleaning it
  5. Getting some rare help cleaning her room
How she took these gifts for granted?
  1. Complained about making sure she got her "prizes" at the birthday party
  2. Saying "You always get more time than me on the computer, I never get enough" after 30 minutes of computer time.
  3. Complained about wanting me to buy her TOKENS from a certain website so that she could buy VIRTUAL JUNK for the characters on the website. Seriously? Websites make money off of that?
  4. While I was helping her clean her room, I pointed out a board game that was still open with all of the pieces and parts out for her to put away next. Her response? "Why do I ALWAYS have to be the one cleaning up my room?"
Even writing this now is ticking me off. Anyway, I take Youngest and tell Oldest that she isn't to leave her room until the floor is entirely clear and walk out. Only to go downstairs and fume even more because that's SO RUDE! I was HELPING HER and that is how she THANKS ME? Long story short, these are the things she got grounded from for her ungrateful behavior:
  1. No TV - 2 full days
  2. No Dessert - 2 full days (neither of these are directly related, I was just pissed enough that I wanted to send a stong message, if #s 3 and 4 aren't enough)
  3. No Computer - until school starts - which is 7 days from now
  4. Clean up room daily, rather than twice weekly until school starts
I'm a little more proud of myself for 3 and 4 because I try to pick things that are naturally related to the offense. So shitty attitude about computer use (or lack thereof) and being ungrateful for help while you're getting it means you are going to spend a week realizing it is quite a privilege to get to do daily computer time and you might want to be a little more thankful when Mommy takes pity on you and offers to help you clean your room.
My extreme reaction (not the grounding, but the ranting that I did before I calmed down enough to JUST ADMINISTER THE DISCIPLINE) is what makes me sad about summer ending. We have had such a great summer, truly awesome. Can't say enough about it. And I don't want to spend this week:
  1. Wishing it were OVER ALREADY. I love my kids. I am going to miss them when they go back.
  2. Being mad at them for being kids because my choices have made me too busy to sit down and breathe with them in these final days.
  3. Having a 7 year old grounded from TV and computer! Those were going to help me glide my way through these busy days while waiting for school to start!
But I'll tell ya, and I tell myself this EVERY TIME I do it, kids (at least mine) are happier without the distraction of their desire for TV. They are more creative, innovative and self-motivating. My Youngest won't watch it at all, yet, so it's mainly Oldest I'm talking about. When I take TV and computer from her, I think she is happier. And I'm happier, because once I get over the "NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH HER?" feeling, she entertains herself wonderfully. And I think (and usually say to my Husband) "we should really get rid of that thing (meaning TV b/c WHO is getting rid of their computer these days?)."
And for a couple of days, I really, really debate just giving them all away. Then the gounding ends and I say "Thank goodness TV is back." Until the next time when I can think about really getting rid of them a little more. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Post Script to this Morning

I could smell the poo before I even got to the top of the steps this morning. The stench and volume explained a few things to me, that I didn't lose sleep over (no, I was trying to lose sleep so I could get work done), but nonetheless, gave me some closure on:
  1. Why did Youngest wake up so early? Answer - Big Poo
  2. Why didn't Youngest eat more than one bite of lunch and two french fries at dinner yesterday? Answer - Big Poo was preventing any more food from entering the digestive system
  3. Why did Youngest wake up 3x last night saying she was hurting? Answer - tummy ache from the pending Big Poo

Here's to hoping all of my Big Questions of today can be solved with the answer Big Poo.

Best Laid Plans . . .

Went to bed early last night to get up early and get MUCH accomplished this morning before the kiddies and Youngest has now been yelling about coming "out now" for 30 minutes. Looks like a great day shaping up - my expectations are already not being met! AWESOME.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Great article from SENG - love that website!

There's an article on the do's and don'ts of raising your gifted child - good stuff! I found it at , which is a great website for parents of gifted kids, helping us feel like we're doing the best we can every day. Or most days at least. Just go to the website, look up articles archive - it's under parenting.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Let's lighten it up a little, shall we?

Much better day today. Now that we got our little shoulders unburdened with our talk about back to school jitters, my oldest was sooooo much more relaxed and pleasant today. It did help, though, that she spent 3 hours this morning finishing The Black Stallion so that she could complete her summer goal of 33 chapter books before my parents arrived. Makes for a relaxing morning, AND she's being productive. LOVE IT! One of my favorite parts of back to school time is the nervousness that accompanies it. HA! Kidding! No, seriously, the back to school new pair of shoes! I loved it when I was a kid and I love putting my kids in them. They're shiny, new, bright and the new shoe pride is so darling, isn't it??? My little pumpkins wore theirs all day today, so happy and bouncy! We got them yesterday, and OK, maybe that part wasn't that fun because it was at the shoe store (Nordstrom) that the downhill slide began. But today, all smiles and giddiness over those shoes! And who can blame them - one pair is pink sequins and are TYING shoes (a first). One pair is hot pink - Nikes, a little too big, but my toddler can still run around like crazy in them so they must be ok. To me, the back to school new shoes represent hope. Hope for a new, fresh, exciting year, filled with new accomplishments, new friends, new learning and new developmental phases. They are so new themselves, that it is hard to imagine their newness will fade and become commonplace, sometimes even boring in the next few months - much like the routine of school. Come mid-late fall, when the weather starts cooling down and the mornings are still dark, the monotony of
  1. get up
  2. get dressed
  3. eat breakfast
  4. pack your stuff
  5. get your coats and shoes
  6. and be out the door by 8:20
EVERY day will start seeming a little stale and tiring. But it's hard to imagine that now, with brand new shoes and fresh, well rested minds just yearning for the excitement of a new school year, ripe with discoveries and possibilities. So thank you, new little shoes, for helping me and my girls get to YES over the looming FIRST DAY, even if the jitters come back between now and then.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Took the girls to a baptism today. It was AWESOME! I love standing out in the hall the whole time, missing the entire thing because my 23 month old keeps crying loudly about wanting to go see "Desus" again. The truth is that baptism times don't work for toddlers. This is no criticism against my great friends who invited us, or my wonderful husband who conveniently had other plans during the event, leaving me to go it alone. Baptisms are wonderful, momentous occasions. Problem is, kids don't know a wonderful, momentous occasion even if it comes up and bites them. All my toddler cared about was trying to get her pudgy little fingers into the extremely realistic holes in "Desus's" hands and side and all my 7 year old cared about was sitting in the front row with the rest of the "family" (not ours, of course, but hey, that's where she sat at HER sister's baptism) and the 4th row was basically like being in steerage on the Titanic to her. After some obnoxious moments of putting her sister's blankie over her head and looking around to see who was watching how funny she was, my 7 year old ended up doing amazingly well. Well, AFTER I told her to stop acting like a two year old and start acting like the 7 year old she is, that is. GOOD MOM HERE! What did I learn from today's little debacle?
  1. I will no longer take a toddler to a function during her nap time. Ever, no matter what.
  2. The next baptism is in 3 weeks - Daddy will be taking 7 year old while Mommy stays home getting a little R & R during 2 year old's nap.
  3. Telling a 23 month old to stop crying and be quiet has no affect on her, but it sure does piss me off every time it doesn't work. Like all 23 times I told her.
Aaaaaahhhhhhh, weekends - LOVE 'EM! Can't wait until we get back to the routine of Monday. This is something I learned when 7 year old was the toddler. Any time that I USED to think of as relaxing is actually the polar opposite of that now (weekends, vacations, nice dinners with children along - hahahahaha!). The ROUTINE (must put this in all caps to show the importance of the ROUTINE) is essential for a gifted child (all children, really). And without the ROUTINE (say, for example, going to church two times in one day within 2 hours), pain is likely to follow for the short term, and sometimes the long term. BUT, all's well that ends well for the next couple of hours today at least. One is now playing happily in her room and the other is finally, blessedly, napping. Time for a little belated R & R.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Remember that Far Side Cartoon?

You know, the one with the building named "Midvale School for the Gifted" or something like that. It had a sign that said "Pull" and a boy was on the outside, trying to get in, pushing on it as hard as he could. That's my daughter. She's so smart that sometimes she's stupid. And clumsy. And awkward. And she JUST learned to tie her shoes this summer at 7. But she reads at a 5th grade level and plays piano beautifully. She has a heart of gold and always sincerely wants to do what's right. She has a really hard time making friends though and now's the time in her life when that's going to start being reeeeaaaaalllly important. I love her like crazy, even when she's making ME crazy (which has been a LOT in the last few days).
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