Saturday, November 24, 2012

That post where I explain how my wrapping strategy came back to bite me in the ass.

Noah still has a very strong belief in Santa. And that makes me very happy, because I am not yet ready to give up the little boy magic in the season. I guess there are some benefits to having an emotional age that doesn't match his chronological age. 

The other day I asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he immediately said he wanted an iPod touch. He's been asking for one for the last year. Sadly for him, there is no way in hell he is getting something that expensive. Especially since he shows no respect or ability to take care of the toys he already has.

Rather than say "no" outright I took the easy way out and I told him that if he received an iPod touch he wouldn't get much more than that because it was so expensive.

He looked at me and said "No, Santa doesn't care about money. He just makes it in his machine. I can have as many presents as I want." (And yes, I totally wanted to vomit at that moment, realizing what an awesome job I was clearly doing raising him to be a generous and giving child that doesn't just want,want,want.)

As my stomach settled, I tried to explain to him that there is still a budget, but he had stopped listening by then.

At this point, I should explain that in the MNT family, Santa brings the majority of the gifts. And "Santa" spoils both boys rotten. In the past, my criteria for a Santa gift relied mainly on the wrap-ability of the gift. If it wasn't easy to wrap it came from Santa. Or, if it needed to be put together before Christmas morning (because I refuse to spend all Christmas day trying to put toys together with two boys breathing down my neck) it typically came from Santa - I mean really, how many toys do you put together that actually end up box shaped as the final result?

I now see the strategical misstep on our part following that strategy. The toys get smaller and more expensive as Noah gets older. It's hard to explain the discrepancy of the number of gifts he gets vs Kiel (or the comparative size of the pile - which is still important to him) when his concept of money is still rather fluid. And now that I know he thinks Santa can provide unlimited amounts of toys I know we screwed ourselves right good based on Santa's past Christmas performances.

Tonight Rich took him to Toys "R" Us to pick up something for Kiel that was on sale, and also to get an idea of what Noah was interested in.

During the trip around the store, where Noah was pointing to almost everything and saying he wanted it, Rich brought up the budget issue with Noah. He tried to reinforce that Santa still has an amount of money he spends on each child.

Noah was having nothing to do with that explanation. According to Noah, Santa can make unlimited amounts of anything and money has nothing to do with it.  

Well, Rich in a moment of brilliance said of course Santa needs money, he has expenses. It costs money to make toys.

I wish I could show you Rich's impression of the look on Noah's face - he said it was like Noah just realized the sun came up every morning no matter how cloudy it was. A major revelation!

Noah: (In a troubled voice) I didn't think Santa had to pay for the toys.

Rich: Well, Santa has expenses. He has to pay people to make the toys.

Noah: Oh. Well, who makes the toys for Santa?

Rich: the elves

Noah: (nodding with a wise expression) Ohhhh. Okay. Right.

Issue settled. For tonight anyway.



Sunday, November 18, 2012

The dreaded parent-teacher conference

Noah's parent-teacher conference is tomorrow. I dread these conferences. It's not that they are all that different from any other meeting we have about Noah, it's just that these are focused solely on his academics, and time is limited. And as you know academics aren't Noah's strong point.

This meeting is only 20 minutes long (seriously, how can you have a real discussion about a child's academic progress in 20 minutes?) and will also include his regular education teacher. I know there won't be much we can discuss in 20 minutes. Hell, I don't think I've ever had a phone call regarding Noah that has only lasted 20 minutes.

However, for the first time, I'm not really dreading tomorrows conference.  I feel like I know more about Noah's academic progress this year than I ever have before. His teacher and I have been in frequent contact.

Noah's teacher this year is amazing. Truly amazing.

He is so in sync with Noah and really sees the potential in him. It's because of him that we are starting to see academic progress, especially in reading. 

School this year is different. New school, new teacher, new administration, different expectations. 

And with Noah we are seeing more maturity. 

And we seem to have him on a better medication regimen than ever before.

So behavior issues at school are less of an issue than they ever have been. They haven't gone away, and when he does have problems they tend to be more significant than before, but they are no longer constant.

When the teachers aren't constantly struggling with behavior issues they can actually take time to teach. 

And this, is AWESOME!

So we have a child that is now able to access the academic process, and a teacher that is willing to do anything to help this child, and we are seeing progress.

I'm not expecting a p-t conference for an all A child, but I do expect to hear some positives. I like positives! I need to hear positives.

And maybe, just maybe, we will eventually teach this kid to read.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Only When I Sleep

Rich left the house this morning at 7:30am with Noah. He left Kiel in the bedroom with me with a bowl of Cheerios and the tv on. At some point I felt Kiel crawl in bed next to me and ask if he could play on my Kindle Fire. I took it off the charger and fumbled it towards him.

He snuggled up next to me, occasionally stroking my ear lobe or playing with my hair. I opened my eyes occasionally to see him playing Where's my Water and Angry Birds. Then I saw he was watching a movie and was pretty settled in, so I rolled on my other side and fell soundly in to dream sleep.

We have a Netflix subscription and he's pretty good about choosing appropriate movies so I wasn't worried.

I managed an extra 90 minutes of sleep and it was lovely! I got up, I showered, Kiel showered, we went out for breakfast together, then to Michael's to get supplies for Kiel's upcoming birthday party. We finished up at Target, where Kiel was very sad to see that all the Halloween costumes were gone. He had to see it for himself, my word was not good enough.

We got home about 2pm and he wanted to play on his scooter, so I sat on the front step and turned on my Kindle.

Imagine my shock when I realized that he had purchased six videos from Amazon's video on demand to the tune of $51.

 Videos like The Amazing Spider-man that he said was too scary for him. And Cars, which we already own in every possible version.

He also purchased both The New Adventures of Batman: The Complete Series and one episode of The Batman - The Cat, the Bat and the Ugly. And then two other random videos.

Yes, I was asleep on the job. Totally and completely. And Kiel was on the web going crazy.

Rich took pity on me and called Amazon and a wonderful employee named Julie laughed when he told her what happened and she deleted everything and credited our account. Whew.

Parental controls have now been activated on my account.

In other news, we told Kiel that when he turns five (in ten days) that five year old's sleep in their own beds in their own rooms. We are trying to talk it up while at the same time make it clear this isn't an option.

As much as I love snuggling with him, it's time. Rich and I need our bed back. I need the kind of sleep I can't get when someone is wrapped around me at night.

It's time.

Any suggestions on how to get through this are welcome. We are going to do it over Thanksgiving week when at least one of us is home every day since Noah doesn't have school. I anticipate a couple rough nights.


Friday, November 02, 2012

Beware the zombie spectators

I take a lot of pictures during Noah's soccer games. Since I use a telephoto lens and shoot pretty fast I'm never sure until I get home and go through them on the computer if I got any good shots. I guess it's a good thing I don't always know what I'm shooting, because if I'd seen the zombie poking out of the ground to watch the game I might have grabbed my boys and ran.

Playoffs start tomorrow. I'm going to pay more attention where I put my chair to watch the game from now on.


Halloween 2012

Noah told me that it would be the worst day ever in his life and he would probably die if Halloween was cancelled. Considering what was going on on the rest of the east coast I didn't have a whole lot of sympathy for him when he said. I may have over-lectured him a bit on why it wouldn't be the end of the world if Halloween didn't happen. He wasn't buying it. In fact, I think he completely tuned me out after about ten seconds.

As it turned out our township did postpone trick or treating until Saturday afternoon. I wasn't home when I saw the notice, so I texted our neighbor to see if she had heard. She always seems to know what is going on since she actually talks to the rest of the neighbors, unlike me. 

Apparently our development has a Facebook page and the moms decided to give the township the middle finger and put an end to our kids insanity and let the trick or treating commence as it should.

The smart kids that knew it had been postponed immediately figured out that meant they could go trick or treating twice this year! Curses on the neighbor child that enlightened Noah with that news. No candy at our house for you x 2!*

However, our neighborhood children (and dare I say many "undocumented" neighbor children if the empty vans on the side of the streets meant anything) in all that was sugar and frightening, successfully accomplished their extortion of candy.

I seriously thought the excitement built up inside my two children was going to create a spontaneous combustion before we even started. Fortunately they both survived the forced eating of dinner and the wait until the neighbors started to come outside.
Blue Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sans shell and a Navy Vampire Seal.
Both boys did great this year with the actual trick or treating. Kiel is a doorbell ringing, trick or treat yelling pro (remind me to tell you about the ding dong dash incident I caught him at a few days ago). Noah was a great big brother and had a super attitude. None of the problems we had the last couple years with the general surly and demanding attitude. Rich and I were able to just hang back and let them do their thing.
Ready to get started
We had a spider theme going on this year. Maybe next year I'll actually get all the stuff I spent the last couple weeks making outside.Noah spent many hours getting the spider webs just right.
Mom, can I eat this? Please?
  I think Kiel's joy was as much in the actual gathering of the candy as it was in the eating of it. He was told he could have three pieces and he was quite fine with that. He hasn't asked for more since then. (I figure that's a good thing considering I have his bag sitting next to me as I write this. I'm pretty sure he didn't actually count how many Snickers were in his bag.)
We carved the pumpkins on Saturday. Kiel is not a fan of pumpkin guts.
Noah thought I was brilliant turning his pink pumpkin into a rat hotel and Kiel's green pumpkin into a multi-mouthed vampire pumpkin.
This was my statement pumpkin. It didn't quite turn out the way I wanted. By Wednesday night part of the left side had collapsed inward, totally removing any possible ability to identify it.
A successful and enjoyable evening was had by all.  :)

*We will not be trick or treating twice. Sadly our front porch will not hold any buckets of candy on Saturday. Mommy is mean. And cheap.

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