Wednesday, August 16, 2006

screen time

Defined in our house as any non-school-related time in front of the tv or computer. For example: time you spend working on your Saxon DIVE cd-rom- not screen time. Playing Zoo Tycoon=screen time. Watching Reading Rainbow or a video about sharks with Mom during tea time because Mom needs everyone to sit quietly while she catches her breath- not screen time. Watching Fetch with Ruff Ruffman before bed= screen time. We have never had to manage screen time much around here. Our time is pretty well scheduled, and Maria has always been just as likely to spend her freetime outside or playing upstairs as she has been to watch TV. We also only have basic cable and TV is limited to preapproved shows (mostly PBS kids) and DVD's, so that helps too. However, now Kain is here....and Kain is used to LOTS of screen time. Kain spends hours everyday in front of a screen of some kind. This bothers me on a lot of levels, not the least of which are the daily battles over whose turn it is in front of which screen. We are trying a new chips. One for every 15 minutes of screen time. They have to "pay" me for their screen time, and they get a certain number of chips per day. The number varies a bit depending on if it's a school day or not. Near crisis came when we were picking bingo chip colors, as red is both Kain and Maria's favorite color. Crisis was avoided by decorating white poker chips with a red now Kain's are red and Maria's are red and white. These issues make me long for our tv free days...a couple of years ago we had no cable at all. Such bliss...never to return if John has anything to say about it!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

the backpack

Last night, I took Kain into his room here,,,it's been a guest room/alternate nursery until now. Sleeping arrangements are complicated here. I have a large master bedroom, and we made part of it into a nursery. Jack's crib is in there, and he slept there and in our bed for a while. Then John started snoring. Whenever he puts on some weight, his snoring gets crazy, especially on his first night back from working a string of night shifts....presumably from being so tired.. I set up the portacrib as a temporary measure for use on these nights. Anyway, now it is an official bedroom for Kain, and when Jack is a little older we will move him in there too. I was showing Kain his school supplies, including his new Pokemon backpack. He was ecstatic and has been wearing it ever since. Seriously. He slept with it on last night, wore it to church this morning. I hope it's still in one piece when school starts next week.

mass with Kain

Of course, being a holy day, we had to go to mass...just me and the three kids. Whew! Maria was serving, and of course she's not really a problem at mass anymore. Jack was his usual rowdy self, except this time I didn't have John to trade off with. He's SO heavy! Kain had a hard time too. I am picking my battles. He has only been to mass a handful of times. I am focusing on teaching him to be quiet during mass, and to stand/kneel/sit with the rest of us. He gets three chances, and then we go to the back of the church, and there's a consequence at home....usually no computer games, a fate worse than death!

He seems glad to be here. He has said several times in the last 24 hours, "This is the best day!" heehee...honeymoon period? We shall see...

Blessed Feast Day!

Today is the Assumption....
For the uninformed, you can check it out here...

"Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with with confidence, I fly unto thee, O virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen. "

Feast days are big in our house...we limit desserts to Sundays. Feast days and other holidays/birthdays are the exception. Gives a whole literal meaning to the term "feast", yes? :) I have no kitchen at the moment to bake anything, but ice cream was appreciated!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Kain Arrives

Today, Kain will be coming to stay with us. For the uninitiated, the short story is that Kain is my 6yo nephew...his mother is, well, I don't really know where his mother is...and his father has asked us to take Kain for an indefinite period of time. We were happy to oblige. We have wanted to bring Kain here for 3 years! We are also overwhelmed and pretty freaked out about the whole thing. Kain has had a very traumatic life (no short story there), and he has a lot of behavioral/learning/emotional problems. It is quite a tangled web...and it will be no small feat to sort everything out and find the best ways to help him. He will not be homeschooled with my own children. In our state, you can't homeschool children that are not your own. He is enrolled in school near us and starting next Monday. I am nervous for him. He should be in first grade...his mother didn't bother to enroll him in Kindergarten last year. He is a big boy...I'm sure he'll be head and shoulders above the other kids. Combined with his other problems....well, let's just say I am hoping for a kind, patient, and highly motivated teacher for him. And I could use some patience myself. We have been scrambling to get ready...I know that the transition will go much more smoothly if we have a tight routine right from the beginning. Tightness is not generally my strong suit...especially when our own school is still on a lazy summer break. My own family has been forewarned. As of his arrival this afternoon, we will swing into full school-like schedule, especially concerning morning/evening routines. I need him to adjust to these before school starts...and he has trouble adjusting.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

This morning I finally got pictures of Jack engaged in his favorite pastime....parking cars. This boy has a serious obsession. He loves to "park" his cars along the bottom step, or along a baseboard, side by side. Then he will take the cars and line them end to end like train cars. His concentration is intense...this occupies him for a good 20 minutes, an eternity in toddler time! Every so often, he gives an almost reverent exclamation..."Cahhhs!"

His passion includes cars of all sizes. Every time we walk out the front door, or walk out of a store and into the parking lot, he will proclaim his love..."Cahhhs! Cahhhs!" Twice a week, when the first sounds of the trash truck can be heard down the block, Jack will urgently announce its arrival, "Cahhhs! Cahhhs!" as he climbs the couch and waits impatiently for me to raise the blinds so he can watch them go by. He often gets a wave from the trash guy, adding to the thrill. John is hoping he doesn't develop an interest in Nascar.