Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Beware of the Offerings of Children

Last night I had the opportunity to once again play the role of "Tooth Fairy" for DS. I had no idea he had a loose tooth (he had not mentioned it to me). He said he had no idea it was loose enough to come out. While I should have performed my role on Sunday night instead of last night, I can honestly claim that the delay was not my fault. DS forgot to put the tooth under his pillow (no, he no longer believes in the Tooth Fairy, but he continues to want to play along for the fun of it and actually put his lost teeth under his pillow in order to receive the customary payment for his teeth). I'm sure you're wondering what was so interesting about this particular lost tooth. Let me explain.....

Every previous tooth that DS has lost has been fraught with a bout of nervousness from him about whether or not it will hurt to come out. He's lost enough at this point that he knows it doesn't, but he still gets a little nervous. So I have removed all of his previous loose teeth for him as he has been unwilling to try to pull them out himself. Well, things were different on Sunday. I did not pull out that one. Neither did DS. The tooth was so loose that it fell out on its own while he was eating a snack in his Sunday school class at church. How did I find out about, you ask? I found out when he walked into my classroom, said, "Here, Mom, I have something for you." He then proceeded to drop the tooth into my open hand (with a huge grin on his face at the time). There were quite a few chuckles once the people sitting nearby realized what he had given me. It's not just every Sunday that a mom is presented with her child's tooth at church. Hmmm.....DD has a very loose tooth at the moment. Maybe I should be prepared next Sunday for another presentation.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Making Music

It's been a very busy time for DD with her piano playing. On the 18th she participated in Junior Festival, which is a piano "competition" in which the kids are basically competing against themselves. They get points based on how well they do, with different point levels achieved providing different color ribbons. At certain cumulative point levels (they accumulate the points year after year to reach higher & higher levels) they receive increasing sizes of trophies. This was DD's first year to participate in Festival. She was very excited to be able to participate, although a bit nervous as well. She performed in 3 different categories: Solo (in which she had to play 2 memorized songs), Duet (in which she had to play 2 non-memorized songs, which she did with her friend AP), and Theory (in which she took a written test over music theory). I am very proud of her achievements: Excellent (blue ribbon) in both Theory and Solo, and Very Good (red ribbon) in Duet.

Then this past Friday DS & DD's school had the annual student talent show. The kids who want to participate have to try out, and then those selected from the try-outs get to perform in the show. This is the 2nd year DD was able to participate. It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of over 700 people (students, staff, parents, etc) and perform. She played one of her memorized solo pieces from Festival, Ladybug Waltz, and did an excellent job! I am so proud of her desire to share her talent, and her being able to perform in front of so many people. For only having taken lessons for one year so far, DD is doing very well in increasing her skills as well as overcoming her shyness to share her developing talent. Great job, DD!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hair Yesterday, Gone Today

Last week, after much thinking about it and a decision to wait for more growth for a while, DD decided to cut her hair. Now for most of us, this isn't such a big decision. But for DD this was a huge decision as she has never before had a haircut---she has been growing out her hair for her entire life. So for her to get her very first haircut at the age of 7 years was a big deal. The other decision she made along with this was to donate her hair to Locks of Love, a charity that takes donated hair and makes wigs/hairpieces for children who are dealing with a long-term lack of their own hair (such as alopecia, or in fewer cases children with long-term hair loss from cancer----these children are the minority because in most cases their hair will grow back relatively soon whereas the alopecia children can no longer grow their own hair at all). I was so proud of her for this decision to help other children. In order to do this, and still have the length of hair she wanted after her hair was cut, she waited a few months after making the initial decision to cut her hair to make sure she had enough to donate. So now instead of hair hanging down to where she was sitting on it, her hair is now just barely below shoulder-length. Quite a change for a little girl who is so used to super-long hair! She loves her new hair length and is happy to have been able to help out other children in the process. She is also already talking about letting it grow out again to be able to donate her hair again in the future. It definitely makes a mom proud to see this desire to help others show up in her child.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Birthday & A Holiday

Yesterday was a very busy day. It was DD's 7th birthday, as well as Easter! It is hard to believe that DD is already 7 years old! The time has passed so quickly. It has been a fun 7 years and I'm looking forward to what the future holds for DD.....I am so proud of all she has accomplished already.

With the two events coinciding, there was a lot of excitement yesterday. Birthday decorations, birthday cake, birthday presents, family over to celebrate, Easter baskets & goodies, Easter egg hunts.....just so much going on! Because of when her birthday landed, DD requested a bunny cake this year (which she had had once before, when she turned 2 years old). It definitely made the tie in of the two events even more evident. Definitely a fun day!

Happy Birthday, DD!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Go In The Water....

This evening DS had a swimming lesson. He takes private lessons at the local university's aquatic center. We have resorted to this method as other, more common methods of learning to swim have failed due to his extreme fear of deep water. I must say, he has done extremely well over the past several months and made great strides in his comfort level in the water, and thus is getting much closer to being able to actually swim on his own. Most of the time when we are at the aquatic center it is a relatively uneventful time.....just a swimming lesson, showering & changing afterwards, and he's done. Not the case this evening.....

DS had only been in the water about 5 minutes when there was a bit of a commotion at the other end of the shallow area of the pool (it's an Olympic-size pool so the shallow area is huge). Soon one of the other instructors was walking over to the near side of the pool with a young child. As she approached the parents sitting in front of me she says, "He threw up in the pool." OK, this is not what you want to hear when your own child is in that same pool! I immediately called out to James to get out of the pool (it's amazing how quickly he moved when I said that!). His instructor came over to see what was going on as well, and then she immediately had the life guard on duty call on the walkie-talkie to the pool manager to report the incident. At this point they both cleared everyone else out of the pool. I sent DS off to shower & change as this meant there would be no more pool time this evening! Clean-up efforts began while he was in the dressing room and it was rather amusing to watch all of these childless college students dealing with this issue (at least from this mom's point of view!).

I think this will go on record as the shortest swimming lesson of all time. And I am relieved that it wasn't due to anything one of my own children did!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Joke That Never Was

April Fool's Day was on Wednesday. Many people, including my children, greatly enjoy the antics of this day. My kids spend hours upon hours plotting and planning tricks to play on DH and me. DD spends the day waiting with bated breath for tricks to be played on her (she greatly enjoys this part as well....unless it is DS playing the trick on her!). DS, on the other hand, spends the day trying desperately to avoid being tricked. He tries to stay one step ahead in figuring out what just might be a joke on him so that he won't fall for it. For instance, his teacher this year had put up on the chalkboard that the kids needed to study for a Latin quiz to be taken that day (each day she lists things on the board, in the order that they are to be done, that the students need to accomplish in the morning....then it is up to them to manage their time wisely and get it all done). DS quickly figured out that the Latin quiz must be a joke (yes, they are studying Latin, but no quiz had been announced previously). So even though Mrs. B. was telling the kids that they must have forgotten that she announced it before Spring Break, he was sure she was trying to pull a fast one on them.....and he was right!

Well, I had no joke I was planning on playing on DS. He was sure I was going to though! On Wednesday morning I needed to call my Mom to ask her a question.....only when I called, my brother answered the phone & told me she wasn't there....she was at the emergency room! Now, I know this is not something she would joke about, so it never entered my mind that they would be trying to trick me (especially as they had no idea I'd be calling at 7:30 in the morning!). She had a nosebleed that wouldn't stop after 40 minutes, so my Dad had to take the day off work & take her to the ER. Now, when I told DS about this, he was totally convinced that I was trying to pull an April Fool's joke on him! Nothing I could say would convince him that I had actually called and that my Mom, his Grandma, was actually in the ER! Nothing! Needless to say, when I called later in the morning to check on my Mom, she got quite the kick out of this (and she had her nose taken care of & is fine). She was just waiting to see what would happen when DS got home from school that afternoon.

As soon as DS got off of the bus, he immediately asked if I was ready to tell him "April Fool's" yet! I tried again to convince him that I was not joking, but he would not believe me at all. This went on for a good 1/2-hour. I finally gave up. What finally convinced DS that I was not joking?? My Mom had to scan and email me copies of her hospital ID bracelet (with the date on it!) and her discharge papers (with the date on it AND my Dad's signature, proving he was there!) for visual proof that we were not trying to pull an April Fool's joke on DS and that my Mom had really been to the emergency room that morning! It was too funny! It was definitely better than any real joke I could have ever come up with. Never before have I been able to "trick" someone by not actually tricking them to begin with!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Legos and Dolls

Last week was a very busy week. The kids were on Spring Break. Now for some people, that means a less hectic time, a time to rest up and get energized for the last few weeks of the school year. Not for us! I think last week was just as busy, if not busier, than any other week we've had this year! Trips to the grandparents' house for the kids, 4-H workshops, swimming lessons, a sleep-over, and then to top it off an extra-special trip the kids had been looking forward to for weeks.

We took the kids to Chicago for a day! DD had decided that this year for her birthday she wanted to do something very different since having a party with her friends on her actual birthday was not an option (seeing as how it lands on Easter Sunday this year). She requested a trip to the American Girl Place in Chicago. DD had been saving up her Christmas money, allowance money, and birthday money to buy herself a doll and she was ready to make her purchase. DS heard her plans and decided against a party this year as well, thinking that a visit to the Lego store in Chicago would be a good replacement. DH & I gave the kids each the amount of money to spend in Chicago that we usually would have spent on their birthday presents. Anything above and beyond that they were responsible for paying for out of their own money. They both readily agreed and the trip was planned (it worked out well as Spring Break landed 1/2-way between both of their birthdays).
We visited the American Girl Place first. DD was beyond excited! (DS, on the other hand, was not so excited----he spent the entire time wandering around with us playing his Gameboy!) She was in absolute awe while looking at all of the dolls and their accessories throughout the store. The store was quite amazing. Two stories of dolls, accessories, books, and clothing, as well as a photography studio, doll hair salon, craft store (to make doll T-shirts or other accessories), doll hospital, sweet shop, and restaurant. As a treat (originally for DD, but DS greatly enjoyed the food as well, if not particularly the pink, dolly atmosphere!) we ate lunch at the restaurant after DD had made her doll selection & purchase. She purchased Chrissa (the "Doll of the Year") with her own money, which she was very proud of,and used her birthday money from us to buy a doll carrier and several books. (I do have to point out at this point that she ended up with an extra book as a reward for finally riding on the escalator in the store. She was terrified of it and refused at first to ride it, but after several attempts finally faced her fear and rode it.....and now loves escalators!)

After lunch we headed down the street to the Lego Store for DS's birthday treat. He was quite excited to be surrounded by so many of one of his favorite toys! There were several very large Lego models built and on display that intrigued both kids. Poor DS had quite a hard decision to make as he tried to figure out just what he wanted to buy. So many Legos to choose from! After filling a small container with loose bricks that you can choose from on your own, he spent a very long time trying to decide which model-building set he wanted. After a while he had finally narrowed it down to the fact that he definitely wanted a Star Wars vehicle.....but there were several of those to choose from! With some very much appreciated help from one of the store employees, DS finally narrowed his choices down, one-by-one, until he chose a set that will make the Twilight starship from Star Wars Clone Wars......and to top it off, it was on sale for 1/2 price! What a deal! He was almost as excited about getting it for such a good price as he was about the Lego set itself!

After finishing up at the Lego store, we headed back to the parking garage to load up and head home. The kids, as well as DH & myself, had a wonderful, fun-filled day in Chicago! The kids had never been there before and were quite intrigued with the sights to see (especially Lake Michigan & the Sears Tower) as much as they were with the two stores we specifically went to see. All in all, a wonderful way to help them celebrate their birthdays!