Our New Puppy

Life will soon be changing around here again. We’re getting a new dog.

Were it up to me (and probably Scot) it would have waited much longer. Puppies are work, I have a lot on my plate already, and it’s extra expense and responsibility.

Ah, but the boys. The boys were a different story. They miss Maggie and they miss having a dog. Liam wants another dog so much that he doesn’t care what we get or what we name it, he just wants one. (Jamie on the other hand wants a “BIG DOG, Mommy!” Not happening, kid.)

Sometimes having veterinarians for parents comes in very handy. A client of my Dad’s had a litter of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies born on October 19th. I was prepared to let it go but with the boys wanting another dog so very much we gave in.

Over Thanksgiving we travelled to my parents to celebrate the holiday and while we were there we got to meet the puppies (and their parents) and get to spend a little time with the dog who will be coming home with us sometime after Christmas. (That’s dependent somewhat on the weather and my need to drive 6 hours to MI to get her.)

The pups are 5 weeks old now. Incidentally, my parents already own a Cavalier with the jaunty name Archie. Archie will be getting a sister, to be named Lily, from this same litter. Archie is a tricolor; Lily a blenheim (orange and white).

The tri in the foreground is our little girl; the blenheim on the left in the background is Lily.

Our little girl is a tricolor who is as yet unnamed. We’re working on that. She is also the biggest of the litter and clearly the alpha bitch. The good news is that Cavaliers are nearly universally sweet of temperament so once we show her who the boss is (ME!), having a little spunk in her to keep up with my rambunctious boys is no bad thing.

are we done yet?

Long suffering Mom, Penny, who is clearly over nursing. Our girl is the pup on top diving in.

All five pups belly up to the bar

Aside from needing a few things like food and a dog bed, all we need now is a name. I’m looking for something strong and English (or possibly Celtic). This is an English breed so I’d like her name to reflect that. Options so far include Emma, Elinor,  Penny (yes, her mother’s name), and Vanessa. I’ve also tossed around (in my head) Victoria, Chloe, Miranda, Holly, Lucy, Camilla, and Charlotte. Any suggestions or thoughts are welcome.

Shortly after Christmas, it’ll be back to sleepless nights for me as I get up with a new addition to the family.

Thankful

Thanksgiving is upon us once again and as I ask myself what I am thankful for this year, one thing springs immediately to mind.

All of you.

Yes, of course I am thankful for my husband and children and extended family. That is a given. That said, 2012 has been one of the hardest years we’ve been through. We’ve had job loss, family illness, uncertainty about finances and health care, the loss of our dog, a daycare that didn’t take care of Jamie, and so, so much more. There were times that I didn’t think we could go forward or that I had enough left to give to keep everyone else going.

But every time I stumbled, you were there to pick me up. On Twitter, in text messages, on my blog, over the phone, and in person everyone we know – family AND friends – have been an amazing source of support for us as this difficult year has tested us.

I am certain that I, at least, could not have gotten through it without you.

So this year, I am thankful to have all of you in my life and for the support and love you all so freely offer. It seems too simple to just say thank you yet I can’t find anything more profound. Thank you. Know that if I can ever return the favor I will.

It’s That Time Again

First off, I just have to point out that I had such high hopes of blogging every day during November. I got off to a great start and then fell flat on my face. Good intentions and all that jazz. Oh well.

This morning I had parent teacher conference for Jamie. Yes, that’s correct. I had a conference in regards to my three year old. As one of my friends on Twitter said “what are they going to say? ‘Hey! He likes to color!'” Yeah, that’s about the size of it.

But they wanted all the parents to sign up for a time slot and we had no preschool today to make room for these conferences so I signed up and I went. It turns out that I knew everything they were going to tell me. He loves play doh and blocks. He knows how to sort and his shapes and colors. He’s attentive and doesn’t whack the other kids during circle time. He sometimes gets frustrated and cries instead of using words (speech delay). He prefers to play independently rather than make up play stories as a group.

I knew all that.

The thing she seemed most concerned about is his speech delay. So, apparently it’s time again to re-evaluate that whole mess. It seems that the two biggest issues are 1) when he gets excited and talks fast he becomes unintelligible and 2) the other kids have trouble understanding him no matter what. The teacher seems concerned that he will be left out because they can’t understand what he’s saying.

I’m torn on what to do. He is still in therapy with DART but I think his progress has slowed. According to his therapy reports, he works well for the therapist but here at home when I ask him to fix a sound he looks at me and says “No.” I haven’t seen any major progress in a couple of months. He CAN make a ‘k’ sound now but 9 times out of 10 he won’t without prodding. It’s never natural. He still doesn’t have ‘g’ at all. About the best that can be said is that he’s finally really got the end sounds on his words. His articulation over all is a bit better, too.

But he remains a year behind his peers. At this rate he’s never going to catch up before Kindergarten. He is making progress compared to himself but he’s not closing the gap with his peers.

His teacher suggested supplemental private therapy. Our insurance would cover a certain number of sessions a year but beyond that we’d have to pay. I had hoped to use the insurance to cover us over the summer so that he could get help while DART is off ignoring their patients all summer. The teacher seems to think that he would be better served getting help now. I don’t know what to do. I just know that he’s at an age where he won’t accept it from me anymore and having someone come to my house is problematic, too.

Underneath all this is a smart kid. He can count to 15, sing the alphabet, knows his shapes and colors, and even has a certain amount of number and letter recognition.  I feel like this speech thing is holding him back and I just want it to be better for him. I just want him to be able to GET IT and stop struggling so much.

These People Are Nuts

(I sort of wanted to call this “These Bitches Be Crazy” but maybe that’s not so politic, eh?)

This morning was preschool registration for Jamie – registration for NEXT year, that is. (I know. What?) Now, I want to make perfectly clear at the outset that the preschool had this all down to a science and I have no complaints with their system or anything else they had a hand in.

But these MOTHERS. Dear Lord.

The information stated that doors opened at 8:45 am with registration beginning at 9:00. It was on a first come, first serve basis so as you arrived you would be given a number.  Knowing what a bunch of ridiculous over achievers these women are (you should SEE the halloween treats that came home) I decided to arrive at 8:30 am. I figured that early was better than late and if I had to sit in the car until the door opened, so be it.

I walked in the door at 8:34 am and I was number 32.  The parking lot was nearly full and the room for parents to wait in was mobbed.

REALLY?! It’s preschool, people. PRESCHOOL. THIS IS NOT NEW YORK CITY.

So, I sat down at a table full of parents that held one other person I knew. I was *so* uncomfortable. These people obviously knew each other and didn’t think the process we were currently engaged in was absurd. Get up at the ass crack of dawn to arrive as early as possible? NO PROBLEM. JUST A NORMAL DAY. Crazy. I don’t go through this much rigamarole for Liam’s school and he’s in second grade!

So I sat there waiting and chatting (eventually it got better on that front) until my number was called and I went to hand in my forms. The actual registration? Took all of 4 minutes and I was done.

Look, I know our preschool is a good one. Years and years ago it was one of the first ones accredited by the state. I get it. It’s in demand around here. But it’s not the only one. I can think of at least 3 others all within 5 miles of my house. They all teach the same stuff – letters, numbers, colors, shapes, etc.

This is, as they say, just a symptom of a larger problem. Generally, suburban living doesn’t bother me. It’s certainly more urban than the way I grew up. I knew there was a fair amount of “keeping up” that’s done around here and I’ve felt the edges of it before. But this stuff with preschool is just a giant flashing neon sign. “HEY! WE ARE AWESOME. LET US PROVE OUR AWESOMEITUDE. LOOK AT ALL THE AMAZING THINGS WE DO.” Yes, I get it. You are SuperMom/Woman and I am just the lowly sidekick to Jimmy Olsen. I just want to shake them and say “Calm down, people! These kids don’t NEED all of this crazy over-the-top stuff!”

I feel like I’m the crazy one here and they all think they’re sane.

Oh and by the way, THIS is what I mean by overachievers at Halloween.

Oh nothing. I’ll just knit 44 pumpkin cozies for candy distribution. No big.

All A’s

Today I had a parent-teacher conference with Liam’s teacher and I’m happy to report that, just as in years past, he’s doing fantastic in school. This year is the first time we’ve gotten letter grades and he is getting an A in every single subject – including Music, Art, and Gym. His highest grade? Math.

I’m ridiculously proud of that last part. Scot and I aren’t stupid and I know Scot is no slouch at math but it was never my forte subject (I had to take pre-calc twice in college just to get a decent grade). Liam’s teacher says that he’s a natural at it and she’s looking forward to challenging him in the coming quarter. I’m glad for that – I caught Liam doing simple division the other day and I was stunned. He’s SEVEN! I’m glad his teacher thinks she can keep him excited about the subject.

She also reports that he is well behaved, organized, and friendly with the other kids. He’s apparently one of the youngest in the class but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for him.

I’m really proud of him and, more importantly, he’s proud of himself.  I don’t know how we managed it but we must be doing something right!

Our big second grader

Thoughts On The Day After

I know we’re all election’d out at this point and I understand it but I just want to gather up my thoughts now that it’s all over.

1. I. am. tired. Physically from staying up until 2 am watching election coverage and waiting to see the speeches from the candidates. Mentally from immersing myself in months and months of political coverage from blogs to news shows. I may need to take a week’s break or so. Emotionally from worry that I would face a very different world today than I did yesterday.

2. This election was A Big ‘Un and not just because we re-elected a black man. Marriage equality passed through ballot measures in three states – Maryland, Maine, and Washington – and it was the first time such ballot measures had not been soundly defeated.  Not only that, but the first openly gay senator was elected – Tammy Baldwin from Wisconsin. Two states – Colorado and Washington – voted to legalize marijuana. Not just medical marijuana, either. They legalized the growing, distribution, selling, and possession of the plant. Most importantly to me, this election was a referendum on women’s rights and women did not let me down. They turned out in huge numbers to vote and they defeated men who, in my mind, held such abhorrent views that they did not belong directing policy on the subject. Also, more women were elected than ever before. I believe the entire congressional delegation from New Hampshire are now women. Lastly, Puerto Rico voted to apply for statehood – which Obama has said he would support.

3. I know there are a lot of people on the other side of the aisle that are not only disappointed but depressed and fearful because Barack Obama was re-elected.  I have tried time and again to understand it from their point of view – after all, I felt that way when George W. Bush was re-elected. The problem that I run into is that I just can’t understand their support of their party. I understand the importance of fiscal conservatism. Unfortunately, I can’t find it in my heart to understand voting against your own best interest. For me, there is no getting around the fact that today’s Republican Party serves the interests of millionaires and if you aren’t one, you’re voting against your own (and the vast majority of this country’s) self interests. I truly believe that the Republican party is going to have to splinter into two if it is to survive – a party of sane, sober fiscal conservatives with social moderate values and a party of super conservatives made up of the Santorums of this world. I don’t hate Republicans; I just don’t understand them.

4. Last, I find that four years later I still know hope. It has been a long, rough road to get where we are right now but I sincerely believe that we are making upward progress. That we have avoided (although narrowly and it is still precarious) the mis-steps that have been seen in Europe. I want more than anything for the men and women who make up our governing body to get over petty disagreements and idealistic goals and get down to brass tacks. I believe that if we can just stop the bickering and sanctimony we can get the real work done so that in 4 more years we might actually have left this terrible recession behind.

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Last week, preschool sent home an art project to be done at home with your child and then sent back to school. It was a piece of construction paper cut in the shape of a turkey feather. We were to decorate the feather with things our child was thankful for using photographs or things cut from magazines and such.  Then, we return them to school tomorrow and they assemble the feathers into a giant turkey of thankfulness.

As an aside, I find it asinine that I have to do an art project at home with him. Isn’t that what school is for?

Anyway, being the lazy parent I am, it was too much trouble to get pictures printed or seek out magazines we didn’t have in the house to complete this project. Instead, I sat down with Jamie and talked to him about what he was thankful for and then drew pictures of those things.

He stretched my art skills when he said he was thankful for the toilet.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my son is thankful for a toilet.

I can only imagine how this is going to look when we turn it in to the teachers. All those artfully decorated and lovingly slaved over feathers next to my shitty drawing of the shitter.