Monday, May 23, 2016

Don't PANIC... It is Only Summer Vacation!

It has happened again... The school year is almost over and the summer is nearly upon us.  This year, there is no Brainiac Academy (a science program for incoming 5th and 6th graders) for James because he has aged out of it.  He isn't a kid who can get ESY (extended school year),  So, what is a mum to do?  PLAN.  HYPER PLAN and hope for the best.
While James has visions of restful days wearing only a Tshirt and undies and playing endless hours of Minecraft, I have visions of him going 10 weeks with little to no structure and possibly losing 70% of what his teachers have spent the last 10 months gently cramming into his head.  And so I choose not to panic and have been planning for this summer for the past 9 or so weeks.  First, I scoured classes through the community centers and rec programs. I looked for online activities that would catch his attention while focusing him on an agenda that isn't his. I know that he is good at math, but it's a subject that must be constantly reinforced, or his brain will turn into a sieve and all that knowledge will pour out like a giant waterfall. I also know that James will need to be active so fingers crossed, his Karate Dojo will have a summer camp program.   All I know is that we are racing towards the prize......... August 10th when 7th grade starts!!! (I am by no means trying to rush the summer fun away but 10 weeks is a really long time to be without the structure of school for...........parents)

Here are some ideas to help keep your child's brain active and ready for the next year~

Math: >>click here<<  15-20 problems a day in game form can keep their minds sharp and ready for the new year.  >>click here<< compete against another player or do the games privately.  >>click here<< very cute help Curious George find numbers, numbers in word form and number of items (find one lion). >>click here<< some really cute stuff here.

Language Arts: Really only one word is needed here, well really two,  READ and TALK to your kids. If your mouth isn't tired by the end of the day, and I don't mean from eating ice cream or watermelon, you probably haven't talked enough to your kids.

  1. Go to the library
  2. Attend story hours
  3. Read books together
  4. Have your kids read out loud to you and then tell you, in their own words, what they have just read.  After about an hour, have them tell you again, (helps reinforce longer term memory. No worries if they can't remember, you can give them clues.)
  5. Mess up favorite stories and have them fix your errors.  No need for tantrums by you changing out favorite part of the story.
  6. Reading comprehension can be difficult so help your kids understand what they have just read. 
  7. Hit YouTube, and frequent School House Rock.  I was a kid in the 70's and this stuff still makes me smile (all time favorites, "I'm Just a Bill" {I know that one is history but it is GREAT!} and "Interjections!") Both of my kids were brought up on this stuff and James still comes running when he hears the music start for "I'm Just a Bill" and "Interjections!"
I know that the summer is supposed to be relaxing but it is possible if you plan, the beginning of the new school year can go smoother if you lay a good foundation.  

Saturday, May 21, 2016


James totally shut down on the floor of the movie theater

James has been going to Super League Gaming >>click here<< to play Minecraft at a local movie theater.  It was for 4 weeks and before the first session, he didn't sleep the night before because he was sooooo excited!  He loved every minute of this experience except for the final 45 minutes of the fourth session (today).  He was superficially upset that they weren't playing the "exciting games." In reality, James was sabotaging the experience so he wouldn't be upset that it was ending.  This is something that happens when anything he loves ends.  TOTAL SHUTDOWN!!! My husband and I tried everything in our power to get him to rally and have a great end of the gaming.  Nothing would work. Even his teammates, who he talks about fairly constantly at home, couldn't persuade him to join in the fun.  This shutdown was EPIC!!! I felt so bad for him and equally bad for his teammates who had fought hard to finish in second place even without his strong playing capabilities. James is a very sensitive soul and feels things exceptionally strongly.  He talked about giving up Minecraft for good, (a threat that he makes often when we ask him to stop playing so we can do {fill in the blank}.)
Image result for pizza my heartWe had already decided to go and have pizza at a local pizza place. James adores pizza so I was hoping that it would bring him out of his funk. He told us that he just wanted to go home and never go out again.  My husband and I took a chance that pizza may be the key to getting him in a better mood.  Actually the directions that my phone was giving us made him giggle so that was a positive sign.  Any as predicted, PIZZA therapy did the trick and my cheerful and bubbly boy was back.  Rambling about Minecraft and when he could add his new friends to his realm.  Thank you again pizza!!!
No kidding this is what our meat keeper looks like 90% of the time!
If we ever move again, which isn't likely, but we will always need to
be within 20 miles of a Costco with a food court.
Now that we are finally home, James is in his room frantically adding his friends to his realm and breathing down my neck to contact their mum so he can play with them.  Just another day........

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

He Finally Learned This!!!! I am soooooo PROUD!!

this was the T shirt he was wearing.   
I have spent many years trying to teach James how to match his clothes.  He has always worn what was clean but never really cared about how they went together.  Over the years we have seen many very interesting top and bottom combinations.  James may finally be understanding how to put clothes together so that they are not offensive to other people's vision.
Today I got a random call from him.  He was stuck in the bathroom at school.  Lucky he had his phone with him!  He called and told me that his clothes had gotten wet and he couldn't leave the bathroom.  I called over to the office, asked for his extra clothes to get to him somehow.  James stayed on the phone with me and eventually some guy took over and got on the phone with me. He was the principal at the other school that shares the campus.
Somehow, James got to the bus. I found out later they actually held the bus for him.  After a short while, I got another call from James, "Mom, would you let me wear............. black shorts with black, red and yellow shirt?"  "It's okay, buddy.  Just come home and we will take care of it. Thank you for checking and I love you."  "Love you too, Mom."  Black shorts match but not as much as the red ones he was wearing this morning.  Nice to be asked though.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

And the Oscar Goes to........

Okay, I admit it, I am that mom. The one who ferociously defends her cubs, protecting them from harm but not putting up with any of their destructive fits either.  Yesterday was one of those days.  James needed to get a blood test done before his neurologist would give him more medication to control his seizures.  Easy enough.  James is my brave one, always good during the draws.  Showing those in the waiting room how experts do it.  Well, apparently James didn't get the memo about how good he is at the draws and took forty-five minutes to get off the sidewalk and into the car, and then one hour once we got to the lab to do his draw.  He lay on the floor, shut down, hands over ears, the whole works.  Finally I got him into to the draw room with silly videos of our cats.  He sat and giggled and I thought it would be quick, but the phlebotomists were not ready.  Okay people, I got him in and in a good mood; you need to work on his time, not yours.  Anyway... He had conditions, like he ALWAYS does.  He would sit in the chair but they couldn't put anything in his body.  Couldn't keep that deal.  Okay, he would sit in the chair but no one was allowed to touch him.  Couldn't make that deal either, because one would have to hold his hand to keep the other lab lady safe in case he lost it and slugged her.  Somehow the pressure band was placed, hold your breath now, little pin  James was beside himself.  Only five more tubes and then we are done.  Wailing child continued..... (Child??? This kid wears a size 12 men's shoe which is one size larger than my husband who is 6 foot 1 inch.) .... needle was removed and bandage was placed.  Away we went.  Got to the elevator and had to turn around because the bandage was soaked red.  More screaming.....  As we left for the second or seventh time, my husband asked if they believed he would get an Oscar for his performance.   >>scene change<<
Fifteen years ago or so, I was sitting in the doctor's office with my beautiful, headstrong, determined four- almost five-year old.  She was fine and chatting with the doctor about this and that other princess or Harry Potter something or other.  She has always been verbally precocious.  (My mother-in-law and I both witnessed my gorgeous four month old imitate "I love you." Cross my heart it happened!)  Anyway... there we were at the doctor and the topic of vaccinations came up.  She needed a Hepatitis A shot before entering kindergarten.  All of a sudden, she turned and emphatically told me in no uncertain terms that she would not be getting a shot on that day or any days in the near or far away future.  Okay, here we go.  I was used to epic long negotiations that were the length of War and Peace, all 1225 pages of it. (I am paraphrasing this because it was so long ago.) "I will NOT get a shot." "You need the shot to keep your body healthy." "My body is healthy and I don't need any more help protecting my body." "This shot will help keep your body safe from Hepatitis A, which is a dangerous disease." "I WILL NOT GET A SHOT AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!!!"  "Okay, your choice, but don't come crying to me if you happen to get Hepatitis A and your skin turns yellow."  "I DON'T WANT YELLOW SKIN!!!!!" She flung herself onto the chair and the Hepatitis A vaccine was done.  She may be a master but I am the Supreme Master of Childhood Negotiations Defusement.   I am that mom.  Hate me if you must, but neither of my kids have yellow skin or have overdosed on their medication because they were allowed to refuse lifesaving blood tests and vaccinations.