Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Math Manipulatives are For

If you thought that they were for school work, you're sadly mistaken. They're for making and then attacking a fort.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Break!

I decided that we would take a break from schoolwork, to coincide with Bob's break from university classes, but I'm not letting the kids rest. Instead, I'm attempting to put them to work. I'm not sure how well it will work. Today Pauly cleaned the windows in the kitchen and living room, which does look much better, and he also swept the floor in the kitchen.

Rosie mopped some in the kitchen, but I had to finish that up. Roger folded laundry, but that didn't get finished, and of course his work managed to get undone through the course of the day. I ordered Rosie to clean her room half a dozen times, but I'm the one who actually did the vast majority of the work that got accomplished.

Rosie, the Not Cleaning Fairy

I'm hoping to get our mountain of laundry folded and sorted, and I'm really hoping that I'll have the time and energy to go through the kids clothes, choose many to give away, and get out some warm weather clothes. That is a huge deal, and I'm not sure if I'll be able to do it.

Verity scrubbed some of the kitchen chairs for me. :) I HATE HATE HATE fabric covered seats on kitchen chairs. They simply aren't compatible with the kids. These ones are especially horrendous because the chairs are ancient.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Loving Your Children Equally

A recent blog post at Babble is causing a lot of stir, as the author admits that she loves her 20 month old son more than her three year old daughter.  (There is now a bolded clarification at the bottom of the Babble post as well as a "follow up" post that were not there when I wrote my reaction.) The author writes about a difficult birth experience and then postpartum sickness that interfered with bonding with her daughter, while with her son she felt an immediate and passionate bond of love as soon as he was placed in her arms after his birth. As far as this goes, this not uncommon and there is nothing really wrong with this, yet this mother seems to have taken this "I love him more" to a new level. She writes, "I think it wouldn’t be so bad if I lost my daughter, as long as I never had to lose my son," while then admitting her feelings of guilt over feeling this. Having dark or horrible thoughts, while definitely a problematic warning sign, isn't a sign of a "bad mother" either, as long as one gets help for those thoughts (if needed) and works against them. However, the author does not seem to recognize that love isn't dependent only at bonding at birth, that it isn't an issue of unchangeable feelings, but is indeed something that can be worked on. 

It is normal to get along better with one child than another, due to clashes of personality or similar issues. Some kids are just a lot more difficult than others, while some kids you may share an instant bond. Sometimes it is the kid that is just like you that is tough to deal with, while for other parents it may be the kid who is nothing at all like you. Sometimes it really is the circumstances in their infancy that affect bonding, a sickness in mother or child, or postpartum depression, or difficult life circumstances that pull your attention away from the baby. However, the ease of positive feelings isn't about how much you love the child, and you can increase your positive feelings for any of your children through working on changing your thinking and by actively engaging in bonding experiences with your child. It isn't always easy, but as a parent you owe it to your child. Each child deserves love and affection from his parents.

The author of this article on Babble, however, doesn't seem to recognize that her feelings can and will change, either through the active changing of her thoughts and actions (CBT, anyone?) or simply through the passage of time as her children change and grow, enter more and less difficult developmental phases, become more independent. Sadly, this mom doesn't seem to think that she CAN learn to love her daughter for herself, even if it will take work to build those feelings of love. The author writes, "I secretly hope that this new baby is a girl.  I want to start over with a little girl now that I’m healthy and an experienced parent." While she writes that she hopes that learning to love a girl will help her learn to love her older daughter, she still seems to view the bond with her older daughter as outside her control, and loving feeling as something that just happens. She messed things up with her first daughter, maybe she can make it work with a second. Sadly, unless she actively works on things with her older, adding another baby is likely only to add another child who is "loved more" than her first.  I hope that after this blog post, she truly does look for some a good therapist, who is willing to challenge her rather than promote that all feelings are good, valid and unchangeable.  Love is more about a decision than about feelings,but the feelings will follow the thoughts and actions.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A Long Overdue Update

I haven't blogged in over three months, but I'm going to have to work at fixing that. I think that blogging is a good release for me.

On the medical front, my bloodwork is now mostly normal. I do still have a positive ANA, but I am no longer positive for the specific autoantibodies for which I'd tested positive before, and which could have harmed the new baby. It looks like this pregnancy will be low risk and normal. I'm delivering in the hospital this time, as I am not comfortable with the out-of-hospital options in the area, and am both dreading having to deal with the hospital routines and looking forward to having the peace of mind knowing that there is a competent backup, should something go wrong. My OB, Dr. D, is really fantastic and has a great bedside manner, good sense of humor, and spends lots of time talking to me at each appointment. I hope that he will be as great during delivery, and I think that he will be.

Once I entered the second trimester I began to feel much better physically and mentally. We are back into the swing of things with homeschooling, and have abandoned some things only to pick up others. I feel that we get a good amount done each day, though. With Pauly, we are concentrating on improving his handwriting (through the use of Callirobics) and his spelling (with Spelling Power). I became concerned that he would not be ready for forth grade level work if he didn't show some significant improvement.

Roger is doing fine. We are now using the computer program Funnix for phonics, reading and spelling. Apart from the horrible name, I think it is a pretty good program. I have a few quibbles with it, but Roger likes to do it and even asks to do extra lessons, and I am happy with all the skills it is covering, so we'll probably keep using it until he finishes the program. His reading has really taken off, and he is now spending a lot of his own time reading books like the Magic Treehouse series. Rosie has been doing the beginning to read level of the same program and is doing quite well.  Now I am starting to think about next year, what I'd like to do, and what I'll realistically be able to do, considering that we'll be adding a new baby to our already chaotic mix.

Here's a recent picture of me, at about 21 weeks along. Halfway there!