It can be a difficult thing when Moose has a meltdown in the midst of a group of people. When he can’t, or won’t, find words to communicate his distress, he resorts to shrieking. He will also occasionally fall prone on the ground, and for added effect, when he’s really upset, thrash about a bit. Basically, it looks like a typical toddler tantrum, from a child who looks like he’s old enough to know better, and his actions cause people to stare, whether they don’t know he has autism, and just think he’s a very badly behaved preschooler, or whether they do know, because really, how can you not look when you hear that sound?
Growing up as a sighted child with two blind parents, I quickly became accustomed to people staring. Even now, I instinctively know, without having to look, when people’s eyes are boring into me during one of these episodes. It doesn’t matter if the looks are angry, disapproving, or simply curious, I can feel it, and it’s uncomfortable.
I can’t help but feel embarrassed when this happens–irrationally embarrassed of myself because I know that people who don’t know about Moose are probably judging my parenting skills and thinking that I’ve done a lousy job of raising him.
It’s my goal, when these situations occur, to leave with him, with my head held high. I will remember that it’s not his fault, it’s not my fault, and if people want to judge, it’s really *their* problem.
It’s something I’m working on.
Ladybug has been crossing her eyes (actually, just her right eye, to be exact), for a few months now. At first we thought she was just making faces, but it seemed to be getting worse, and she really doesn’t seem to have any control over it, so off to the optometrist we went.
The result? Ladybug is *extremely* farsighted (which is weird), and needs glasses. So last week, we ordered a pair of purple glasses with butterflies on the arms (her first choice), and today we got to pick them up.
In case anyone was wondering what I looked like as a child, here it is. It’s like I have my own personal mirror into the past. I have to admit, it’s rather unsettling!
*Disclaimer: for those unfamiliar with Sonlight, Core number does not necessarily equal grade level. I’d hate for anyone to think that I’m throwing first grade material at my second grade students just because of the number on the Core!
We’ll be embarking on our journey into second grade in just a few short weeks, and I think I’ve finally got all of our curriculum for the year sorted out.
Following last year’s introduction to world cultures, we will now be learning about world history (and geography) from creation to the fall of the Roman Empire with Sonlight Core 1. I’m especially looking forward to learning about ancient Greece with Turkey and Bunny, and I’m also excited about many of the year’s read-alouds. Even though they don’t all directly relate to our history lessons, we’re going to be reading a lot of childhood classics, starting in week one with a nostalgic favorite of mine, Charlotte’s Web.
We’ll be using Sonlight for language arts, as well. We’re about one third of the way through language arts/readers 2, so part way through the year we’ll be finishing that and starting language arts/readers 2 intermediate.
We’ll also continue to use the A Reason For… series for both handwriting and spelling. I decided not to use the transition to cursive text until next year, so both handwriting and spelling will be text B this year.
Sonlight continues to be my choice for science, as well. Like the Core, we’ll be in science 1 this year, and there are so many topics that Turkey and Bunny are excited about learning! Turkey is very excited about the astronomy aspect, and Bunny can’t wait to learn all about animals.
One change this year is that we will *not* be using Sonlight’s Bible program. I decided to go with some CPH materials for both Bible and catechism for second grade, and I’m pretty happy with what I’ve been able to come up with. We’ll read through A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories, and use the accompanying Old and New Testament workbooks for Bible, and My First Catechism and the matching activity book for catechism. You just can’t start too early (and they’ve already memorized most of the Small Catechism, anyway!).
We’re continuing to use Horizons math–level two this year. I’m pretty nervous about teaching them all the things they need to learn in second grade math, but I was nervous last year, too, and that seemed to go well, so we’ll see…
I have this year’s Sonlight electives to use, although we’ve already listened to the Bernstein Favorites CD approximately one zillion times. We’ll keep listening to the Classical Kids Collection CDs, and we’re also going to learn about Bach this year.
I’m embarking on a new subject this year, for both the children and myself. We’ll be using Prima Latina to give us a basic introduction to Christian Latin. I’m both very excited about this, as Latin is a very important element of classical education, and terrified, as I’ve never studied Latin myself. I figure we can all learn together, and if all else fails, Daddy studied Latin in college, so he can help us!
I think that’s all. It’s going to be another busy year!
After the immense success of the “Amaretto Divine” cake, I decided to try a twist on that recipe that was mentioned in the comments on the Allrecipes website. Instead of using a yellow cake mix, amaretto flavoring and vanilla pudding, the “Death by Chocolate” suggestion called for devil’s food cake mix, kahlua, hazelnut creamer and chocolate pudding.
I was not disappointed. The early results on this cake are that it is *the best* cake I have ever made. And I make a lot of cakes! Both Turkey and Bunny said it was the best ever, and Ryan said it was at least the best of my recent attempts. As for Moose and Ladybug, they didn’t have much to say, but they sure cleaned their plates fast! And by cleaned, I mean licked, at least in the case of Ladybug, who was, in her defense, just copying what her older sister was doing.
Awesome cake–I can’t wait to try a further twist on the recipe that is my original creation, but it’s more a of Christmas kind of flavor (peppermint will be involved), so that will have to wait a bit.
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 cup non dairy hazelnut flavored creamer
1 cup kahlua liqueur
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 (3.5 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup non dairy hazelnut flavored creamer
1/4 cup kahlua liqueur
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour three 8- inch pans.
Mix together the cake mix, 1 cup hazelnut flavored creamer, 1 cup kahlua liqueur, eggs and oil until blended. Distribute cake batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, making certain the cake layers do not overbake. Allow to cool completely before filling.
To make the hazelnut whipped cream filling: Combine pudding mix, 1/4 cup kahlua liqueur and 1 cup hazelnut flavored creamer. Set aside for 5 minutes until thickened. Fold the whipped cream into the hazelnut mixture. Use to fill and frost the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
A few weeks ago, we stopped by the St. Louis Zoo for the express purpose of viewing the Sea Lion Show. Turkey had been when he was a baby, but obviously couldn’t remember it, and the rest of the children had never been at all, so this was quite a treat for them–Ladybug could hardly wait for it to begin!
It was a big hit, even though they weren’t sure what to do when the sea lions splashed us (we were lucky enough to get seats in the front row!). They loved all the funny tricks, especially *my* favorite part, when the sea lions demonstrate the difference between themselves and seals (very funny!). Moose especially liked when they threw frisbees into the crowd, which was an addition to the show from the last time we went.
After the show, we took a ride around the zoo on the Zooline Railroad. Turkey and Bunny were very excited, because they got their own seat together, instead of having to sit with Daddy and Mommy.
Even Moose warmed up to the train–his last experience was a bit negative, because he didn’t like the tunnels, but this time we made a point to avoid the stops around the tunnels, and by the end of the trip, he managed to relax and enjoy the ride.
Tonight I spent approximately 40 minutes assembling the binder for our upcoming second grade year. This book includes all of the schedules, study guides, teacher helps and student worksheets that we will need for history, geography and science. (Note that the binder doesn’t include the materials for our many other subjects, including language arts, Bible/catechism, Latin and electives.)
To say that this thing is massive is, well, a *massive* understatement. I thought last year’s binder was huge–I don’t even want to know what next year’s will look like!
Moose really is a very photogenic little guy–he always has been. It’s a little hard to capture just how well he photographs, however, because he’s always on the go. I have a lot of photos of Moose that are just a little out of focus, and some that are just a big blur.
When he *does* finally slow down, though, the pictures we get of him are usually really good!
Turkey finished his first season of T-Ball last week. He really enjoyed it–he’s already planning on playing through all of the levels the Parks and Rec department offers. He also improved greatly–his catching and throwing are so much better than when he started in May.
I have to admit, my favorite times at his games were when he got to be catcher. I think it’s really special that he could share this experience with his grandpa, and it was even more special that grandpa got to come see one of the games in which Turkey got to be catcher!
When I was around ten, I received my first (and only) American Girl doll. Ever since I was old enough to think about having children, I’ve dreamed about the day I could share that experience with my daughter, and give her an American Girl doll.
That day finally came this weekend.
I know they’re suggested for ages eight and up, and Bunny just turned six, but she’s pretty responsible, and she has wanted Kit, and only Kit, for the last three years (that’s right, for half of her young life). So, it was time.
Her reaction was all I had hoped it would be. She was completely surprised–she’s even been saving her allowance to buy Kit herself. She has barely stopped playing with her since she got her–Kit goes through *many* changes of clothes daily. Currently, Bunny is reading Meet Kit *to* Kit. Irony.
It’s so fun sharing part of my childhood with one of my children!
Don’t get me wrong–I love all my children equally, even if in different ways. They are all very unique and special and lovable. That being said, Ladybug has a special charm in her personality that always reminds me of a quote from Gone With the Wind:
But Bonnie had the combined charm of Scarlett and Rhett at their best and she was the small opening wedge Rhett drove into the wall of Atlanta’s coldness.
This could have been written about Ladybug. She, more than any of the other children, seems to have inherited her mother and father’s best qualities, and uses them to her advantage. Maybe it just comes from being the youngest; I don’t know. But I’ve watched the way she charms *everyone* from her brothers and sister, to her grandparents, to people at church, to perfect strangers.
Her grandpa noted when she was still small and suffering from stranger anxiety that when she got a little older, she’d be the kind of person that could enter a roomful of strangers, and walk out an hour later leaving a roomful of friends, and he was totally right. She just has a way about her that makes her charm obvious, and I think in the future, it will lead to her having people flock to be around her.