Away for a long while

January 1, 2012

I’ve neglected this blog, and will probably continue to do so. It’s not that Charlie hasn’t said really cute things or taken awesome pictures, but I have cut back on every extra hobby and task to focus on my family’s two priorities right now: my job (you know, so we can eat) and Charlie’s IEP.

The IEP began as a concern and a bureaucratic process. Then we added a stressful schedule of therapies, during and after school. Beginning in October, things escalated and have only gotten worse. Writing about it here feels too public to me. It’s a difficult, heartbreaking process and I don’t want to say anything that could be taken the wrong way and possibly burn bridges I don’t want to burn. So we’ve handled things privately and will continue to do so. The result? Not much to report on this here blog.

Consider us on hiatus, though I may have the stamina to add a few things now and then. In the meantime, find us on Facebook.

Advertisements

Photo catch-up

October 1, 2011

It’s been a while, so I have lots of photos. Click on the links below to see:

The First Day of School: Charlie is entering the 5s class (kindergarten) at Greene Hill School with Robin and Anna as his teachers. And the last day of school from the 4s class this past June. (Yes, I’m way, way behind.)

A few random photos from the summer. A play date with face painting and Charlie dressed up in the cow costume that Nanny made for him. He wore it for Animal Day at summer camp; it was a big hit. And some Sesame Place pix. Plus pix from our Pigeon Forge vacation with the Boyds and Yearwoods, and our trip to Buffalo/Niagara Falls.

Some photos from our Labor Day trip, before we got rained out. We camped one night at Moffitt Beach Campground and spent the day at Old Forge playing tourist.

And apple picking. We went to a farm in NJ. Charlie loved the farm animals more than the apples, I think.

Cowboy Tex

June 11, 2011

Tex

Easter photos, 2011

May 22, 2011

Charlie with eggs

Click the picture for more photos.

Grandparents’ Day at Greene Hill School

May 8, 2011

Gigi

Protection

April 22, 2011

cotton

At work, we’ve been discussing the difference between being personable and personal, when writing and talking online. It’s made me hyper-aware of what I write, and I was already a pretty heavy self-censor.

Lately, I’ve avoided writing about a lot of things that have come up for our family, just because I can’t get out of my head who might be reading this. Do I want all those folks to know some of the negative things I wish I could say? No. So I haven’t written them, and I’m not going to.

But today, there was another hard situation. And this one, I am going to write about.

Charlie has been going to a spring break camp all week. He’s come home excited to tell me all the fun things he’s done, so I know he’s enjoying his time, but I sense there is tension between him and the teacher. One of those things where they just don’t seem to click.

His reaction has been to be as ornery as possible, especially in the mornings. I think he’s nervous, and showing it.

The teacher has made several casual comments over this week that gave me pause, and today, after another comment, I worried that I should pull him out of the last day.

My first instinct was to protect him.

But as I listened to him tell me about the ducks he saw at the park, and how he was going to put grass in the birdhouse he made so the birds could make a nest, and how he did want to go back to this camp in the summer to make musical instruments, I changed my mind.

When I was a kid, I dreaded making mistakes. Once, I quit my favorite volunteer job at the elementary school library because on one day I forgot to show up on time. I was so embarrassed by my forgetfulness that I couldn’t bear to face the teacher. Instead, I just never went back. It is hard to be a kid, and learn that you can’t do everything grown-ups ask of you. To learn that not everyone likes you, not everything is fair, not everyone is going to give you what you wish they would.

But it’s just as hard to be the grown-up, watching the life lessons from the sidelines, knowing that no matter how much my heart wants me to wrap him in cotton, I can’t.

And even if I could miraculously protect him from all harm, I shouldn’t.

My hard lesson today was this: it’s actually not my job to remove my child from all situations that make him angry or sad or frustrated. (And if it was my job, I could never do it successfully thanks to the infinite ways we hurt each other as humans.) Instead, my job is to help him figure out how to handle the inevitable anger, frustration and sadness. How to live with the unavoidable heartbreak and persevere.

I think this is what people mean when they say that parenting, in some ways, gets harder as the kids get older. I can wipe butts and make snacks with the best of them. Food, water, sleep, play and sunlight–Mama’s prescription for healthy living.

But this murky emotional how-to? Shew. How do I teach that when I’m still learning it myself?

School photo, April 2011

April 13, 2011

charlie

5th Birthday Party, at the Prospect Park Zoo

April 5, 2011

zoo party

The best April Fool’s joke EVER

April 2, 2011

Yesterday, we were teaching Charlie how to do April Fool’s jokes.

“Your shoe’s untied! April Fool’s.”

“Look behind you! April Fool’s.”

“We forgot our lunch! April Fool’s.”

Then on the train, Charlie pulled the best April Fool’s ever. I laughed so hard I had to cover my face to hold down the noise, and tears were coming out of my eyes.

CW: “Daddy, your face is missing!!”

Jesse: “WHAT?!?!”

CW: “April Fool’s!”

Big Bird’s Birthday Bash

March 21, 2011

Big Bird birthday

I took Charlie to Big Bird’s Birthday Bash today.

He’s been asking about returning to Sesame Place since it closed for the season in October. So when I saw this special event, right around Charlie’s own birthday, I made the plan.

It was a lunch, with birthday favors and lots of character interaction, a show and all the carousel rides you could handle.

We had a nice drive down and back. And Charlie’s face, his excitement, the stories he told and made up and rehashed…well, all of it was worth every penny spent and every minute spared to make the trip happen.

It was like those Disney World commercials that always make me cry. Except it was my kid.

Two funny bits from today:

CW: “Snuffy is 200!”
Me: “200 years old? That’s so old!”
CW: “Yeah! 200! That’s what my tape measure says.”

Five minutes down the highway, headed home from Sesame Place.
CW: “Where is Sesame Place?”
Me: “Back that way a little bit.”
CW: “No. Where is it?”
Me: “Langhorne, Pennsylvania.”
CW: “But where? I want to know because I want to drive there when I get old.”
Me, thinking about him being older and still wanting to go there–it could happen: “Don’t worry. When you can drive, you will know how to read a map and I’ll give you directions.”