Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What are we teaching our children?

Since I have two boys, I've gotten used to reading books about big construction equipment and I've become an expert on the differences between a regular "truck" and an "articulating dump truck." They are no longer clumped together in one category in my brain. Thank you Quinn and Chase for opening my eyes to this fact. Without you, I would not be paying proper respect to the many construction workers around the world.

With that said...I've been reading this book to the boys for the past 2 years. It came to our house via a garage sale where a woman was closing her daycare and selling her books. Chase has become particularly fond of this book and likes to read it every night before bed..

EVERY NIGHT!!!!

EVERY SINGLE DINGLE NIGHT!!!

I wasn't exaggerating when I said EVERY night.
It has great pictures of construction equipment from the late '70's and early 1980's. But what caught my interest was the van on page 15.
Now what would you think if you saw a van like this in real life?

Several thoughts and associations come to my mind.. like "don't park next to that" or "there are no rear windows, I wonder what they are smoking in there" or "stay away from the child molester van."

I didn't expect the story line to take this twist..



So what are we teaching our kids again? To get rides in "crack" vans????

After reading this page (and having a silent laugh to myself) I promptly told Chase, "No we don't go for rides in construction worker's vans."

Fortunately, Chase is a smart boy and remembers this every time we get to page 15.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More Moo

Mr. Moo continues his vacation at Pop and Granne's house. He sent us the following emails...

Chase,

I found Mr. Moo in the orange tree next door. He said he likes the color orange. Having fun!

Love,
Granne



Mr. Moo likes salad greens. I'm glad he's eating well. My diet hasn't been that great lately. Maybe Mr. Moo can give me a few pointers.

Chase,
At first we weren't quite sure what this was! Once we got a little closer we realized that Moo had gotten into the Chistmas chocolate!!!!!
Love,
Granne

It looks like Mr. Moo also enjoys Starbucks.

Chase,

Granne didn't understand why I would order Milk at Starbucks. Sure I am a cow and can make my own milk, but I told Granne I can't make chocolate milk. Hee hee heee. She said I am a silly cow.

Love,

Moo

(I should also point out that "Mr. Moo" is a boy and it would be strange if he began lactating. I won't go into that with Chase though.)

Chase,

Sometimes I get lonely for you while I am on vacation. When this happens, Pop and Granne pull up a picture on the computer so I can see your smiling face! It makes me so happy that I can easily close my eyes and sleep. I go to Nanny's Tomorrow.

Night night,

Love, Moo

(Mr. Moo, we feel your pain here too.)

Pop let me roast marshmallows by the fire tonight! Wish you were here.

Love,

Moo

(Don't get too close to the fire....oop.....OH NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Mr. Bill!!!!!!!!!!)

Chase,

I helped Granne wrap a present for YOU!!!

Love, Mr. Moo

Hi Chase!

This morning I made hot chocolate sauce with Granne. She gave me the recipe.

Love, Mr. Moo

(What? The stuffed cow gets a copy of Granne's famous chocolate sauce but we don't???)

Guess what ! I get to go to work today with Granne, but Cinnamon won't get off the warm computer.

Moo

Hi ho hi ho off to work we go .....

Hi Chase,

I am in the car on the way to Nanny's house. I am so excited I get to see you tomorrow.

Love, Mr. Moo


Alas, Mr. Moo will return to us tomorrow and the anxiety level of our 3 year-old shall return to tolerable levels at bedtime.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Moo

I know, I've been terrible about keeping up with the bloggy lately. Especially when my last post was so emotionally charged. I should know better to leave little updates after my emotional rants. Being a kindergarten Mom involves much more than I imagined along with my full-time job, being a full-time Mom to a 3 year-old, etc..etc..etc...Heck, I even missed out on sending out Christmas Cards. I might as well wait until Valentines day and send out cards then.

Just for fun. I managed to link my blog to Facebook. One time FB was not able to publish my pictures and video. So if that happens just go the direct link for my blog at

earlybaby.blogspot.com

This past weekend, I spent some time getting beautified with my half-yearly haircut and color. The grey hairs on my head were becoming too comfortable with their position and were staring to build support groups and plotting to take over the pigmented hairs that still surround them. Ashley came to the rescue with a nice mixture of warm, mahogany, brown, mixed with copper tones. When I describe it, it sounds like a piece of art. To Ashley's credit, she IS an artist. (or a miracle worker and savior to my pigmented hairs.) After that I spent Sunday with some of my historic girlfriends from high school (without children) and went to see Wicked in San Francisco and out for a nice meal. (without children=warm food, strong drinks, no interruptions.) It was fabulous.

Grant rescued me from the Bart station at the end of the night and we started the hour and a half pilgrimage back to Sacramento. As we were unloading the sleeping children from the car a thought occurred to me..

Me: "I don't see Mr. Moo. Did you remember to bring Mr. Moo?"

Grant: "I think so....no wait...Dammit!"

Let me take a minute to back up and let you all know who Mr. Moo is and how instrumental he is in our lives. Mr. Moo is technically a fuzzy, stuffed, transitional object, used to wean Chase from his addiction to binkies. After some strong coaxing, encouragement, and crying fits, Chase eventually accepted the trade and became used to sleeping with Mr. Moo instead of the highly addictive, dentist dreaded, binky.

The following morning, I called up Pop and Granne to discover that Mr. Moo was indeed in Danville (an hour and a half drive from our house.) Granne spoke with Chase on the phone and promised him she would take great care of Mr. Moo and he would enjoy his little "vacation" with her and Pop until he could hitch a ride home with Nanny and Papa on Christmas Eve. This means 3 WHOLE DAYS WITHOUT MR. MOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Granne took her promise very seriously and has sent Chase emails and picture updates from Mr. Moo. Here is what followed.

Dear Chase,

Mr. Moo slept in the Christmas Tree last night. He is having fun on his vacation.

Love,

Gran


(two hours later)

Pop, is taking good care of Mr. Moo.



(A few more hours later)

Moo is watching TV with Santa.



(Later that evening...this was sent via email entitled: "Moo is right")

Moo is taking in the Drudge report before bed.



To this I replied....

"Mr. Moo is quite the political activist." (I always thought he was quite liberal, until Pop got a hold of him.)

Before Chase went to bed, he read all the email updates and looked at all Mr. Moo's pictures and asked to call him. Pop and Granne put the phone on speaker and let Chase sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" to Mr. Moo and say "good night." After we hung up, Chase sent the following email.

Hi Mr. Moo, (translated word for word from Chase)

I miss you! Come home soon. I love to sleep with you Mr. Moo. Good night!

Love,

Chase


To this, Mr. Moo replied:

Title: Good Night !

Dear Chase,

I really really miss you. I can't wait to see you in 3 days! Nanny will bring me home.

Moo




This morning, Mr. Moo was busy again. He's enjoying his vacation by spending time in Pop's new toy.

"Mr. Moo likes to go fast."


I think Chase enjoys Mr. Moo's updates as much as he enjoys sleeping with him at night. We hope this will continue to hold off Chase's bond until Mr. Moo reunites with him on Thursday.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Punkin' it Kindergarten Style

Three days into kindergarten, I get an email from the teacher. It wasn't one of those, "He's doing great, stop stressing out" type of emails. It was a "we need to talk in person" type of emails. Oh yes, teachers use email now. Gone are the days when teachers would send notes home with the students only to be disposed of by the students or forged by friends with more adult like handwriting.

Let me explain for everyone what Kindergarten is like today. It's not about sitting on the floor singing about colors and playing with playdough. The kids have homework every night!!! This translates into, Grant and I have homework EVERY NIGHT!!! Damn! We couldn't even finish our own homework when we were in school and now we are expected to produce homework via Quinn. Do these teachers know who they are working with? So the kids are expected to be reading and writing by the time they finish Kinder. I fully expect Quinn to balance my checkbook, pay the bills, and put together my grocery list with all the homework we have to do together.

So back to the email....
.................................................................................
Hi Bonnie and Grant,I was hoping that we can all meet some time soon so that you can provide me with the best information and strategies that you use with Quinn at home. Quinn has struggled in class with today being his most difficult day. I would like to discuss some of his behaviors so that you know some of his challenges at school and can possibly give me some input on what works best for Quinn. He is a sweet little boy. Please email me and let me know if we can meet after 3 pm any day this week. Thank you.

Ms. B

...............................................................................

If you know me, I tend to read between the lines when I get messages from people. This is what I heard..

Your kid is being a punk at school. Do you discipline him at home, because he sure doesn't act like it? Is there anything you do to make him stop being a punk? Please meet with me right away before he punks the wrong kid in class and gets his ass beat down on the playground. Oh and I added that he's a sweet boy because he is good looking and all.

Your Diligent Teacher

................................................................................

So yesterday we go to meet Quinn's teacher and her sister to discuss his behaviors. Let me explain what Quinn's teacher is like. She very thin, tan skinned, strikingly beautiful, Indian woman, with a mild manner. Her beauty is matched by no one other than her twin sister who teaches the morning kindergarten class and co-teaches with Ms. B. They could be super models..honestly. Ms. B is very serious and direct. When I speak with her I feel like a big, dorky, goofy, Anglo woman. I mean I am a big, dorky, goofy, Anglo woman...but it's amplified in her presence.

We met with the special education teacher, Ms. B, and her supermodel, identical, sister. We discussed the lack of ongoing accomodations for Quinn in the classroom and how he is mentally checked out in the classroom. He spends most of his day laying under the table and not participating in class. Listening to them discuss his behaviors made me slowly float out of my body and go to this protective place. This is MY BABY they are talking about and he's PERFECT in my eyes. Why doesn't Ms. B or Supermodel understand this? Don't supermodel teachers understand that Quinn is exceptional? Oh wait... back to reality. My lip quivvered and my eyes welled up with tears. I sucked back my breath, swallowed the knot in my throat as I heard Supermodel say, "he's really not getting much out of class with his behavior like this. He needs more help."

After a while, the special ed teacher left and Ms. B transformed into something different. Her voice became serious and direct like a hot knife in butter. She said, "Now that the special ed teacher is gone, I'm going to suggest "off the record" that you as parents request a full time aid for Quinn in in the classroom." She went on to say that other students with his challenges in the past really benefitted from this and she was surprised that Quinn didn't already have this accomodation in place. She also said that the school district doesn't like to offer this because it's expensive and they don't want to pay for it so they will try to offer us other things first. She went on to say she has tried the other techniques already and they are not working. She feels this would be the most helpful for Quinn. The only problem is that Ms. B was not supposed to share this information with us. She gave us a sharpened spear to use in our battle with the IEP lords.

My heart suddenly grew two extra spots for the supermodels. They may rub off as being serious and direct, but they care about their students and want what's best for my Quinn.

And the quest for more services continues.....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Mother of all Updates

I can't even begin to describe our last 4 weeks in words. So here is a photo montage to sum it up.

Enjoy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

How to shoot fireworks without shooting your 3 year-old.

Start with a baby sitter and a tri-pod. And even then, the 3 year-old still gets in the way.

We went over to Carmichael figuring that their display would be adequate and not generate an intolerable amount of traffic when it was time to leave. My instincts were correct and we enjoyed the display (minus the car alarm that continued to chirp during the show...I'm still trying to track down the owner of the Honda so I can egg his house.) Every year I see fireworks, I have to watch them through a set of competing trees. This year was no different even when we went to the field where they were shooting them off.

At first, I was a little bummed until I decided that trees can enhance firework pictures. They sort of frame your fireworks and give them shape.

I was surprised at how well some of the pictures came out. I didn't even have to photoshop these.


I hope everyone had a beautiful, fun, and safe 4th. More updates are still to come with wedding photos, rehearsal dinner photos, and Quinn's preschool graduation. This will be an endless summer indeed.

Thanks for hanging out with us Arner/Bossler Family.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Japanese Experience.

I apologize for leaving my friends and family hanging from my previous entry. In fact, I had a lot of phone calls, emails, and voicemails from it. Now I feel a little embarrassed because things turned out a lot better than I expected.

I won't hold out anylonger and cut straight to the meat. Quinn's IEP went very well. After using 3 different screening measures, the school district feels that Quinn's diagnosis of PDD-NOS (high functioning autism) is accurate and he is now going to receive special education services as he starts kindergarten. He will be mainstreamed into a regular classroom and receive speech therapy and have a teacher's aid to help him stay focused during class. They also talked about adding occupational therapy to help with his sensory issues (i.e. excessive nose picking) and accomodations such as a special chair that will help him sit still, and a weighted vest. I can't remember what the vest is supposed to do, but hopefully it'll help. The school district was very proactive and I'm excited and nervous about his transition to public school. And, Oh MY GOD, when did my baby become old enough to start kindergarten???

I know I've been back from Japan for ages now, but I'm finally getting a chance t post some pictures and videos of our experience.

Here's a quick re-cap through videos of our trip... Below is my Mom and I in the airport preparing for our 12 hour flight.
video

Wow we look terrible in this video. This is after we landed in Tokyo Narita and were waiting for the Quarantine officers to screen us.



Then we had our first food experience... This restaurant was so neat. We had to take our shoes off and sit at little tables. The waiters would yell orders back and forth across the restaurant. They used what looked like a palm pilot to take our orders. This is where we ate slimy seaweed for the first time.


Then we went to the busiest grocery store in Tokyo called the Tokyo Food Show. It was literally like a food show.
They had fish heads, fish guts, seaweed, etc. See for yourself...
And then we went to Hakone and took a switch back train. Jeff is trying to explain
what it means when the train switches back. This is how the train goes up the steep mountain
slopes. It was raining that day but beautiful.

And then we went hiking up to the top of an active volcano where they boil eggs in the moisture that bubbles up from the volcano.
This process turns the eggs black and they supposedly give you 7 more years to live. I should live at least 14 years longer because I ate 2 of them.



Then we took a bullet train. They go up to 180 miles per hour. It's amazing how comfortable they are at such high speeds.


We also visited a very traditional town called Takayama. Check out the coy just swimming around in the middle of town.


So Japanese women use some interesting beauty products. I found this one a little titilating. ha ha ha.. Ok, bad joke. I know.


Before we left Tokyo, we had to experience the busiest intersection in the world probably. It's located in the Shabuya portion of Tokyo. Nicknamed Tokyo the "City of stimulation"
Watch this and see what I mean.

So that's my trip in short video clips. I'm trying to put together a more comprehensive trip video wth pictures and videos together. I'm sure I'll have it done within the next 10 years.