Homeschooling Convention

April 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

Chris and I attended a few workshops of the annual MassHope Homeschool Convention this weekend. I decided, as I often do and then kick myself later for, that I would just wing it and go with the flow when we arrived. I should have been a little more prepared… hah. But it was definitely a good experience. I won’t need to start anything “structured” with Dante for at least another year – and even then, when you homeschool, the point is to not be too structured and give kids a little more breathing room – so there isn’t any pressure to figure out exactly which curriculum I’m going to go with to start out. Though, after talking with a few vendors I have an idea.

It’s exciting. One of the speakers we listened to was inspiring while she talked about letting young kids explore and learn just be exercising their God-given desire to ask questions and investigate on their own. She pointed out that we can’t teach kids anything unless they’re engaged and really desire  to learn. I can already see this with Dante. I know kids his age or kids who at his age knew most of their letters and could sing the ABC’s (as well as a 2 year old can be expected to) but he just does not care about learning what an “A” looks like right now! I have cute flash cards and try and get him excited about singing the ABC”s and he will give me the same “I-don’t-care” look and direct my musical abilities to a more important matter – like learning the words to the Spiderman theme song. But he is constantly talking and pointing things out and asking or talking about them and soaking it all up and I LOVE it.

Most days, if we’re in the car, I don’t even bother turning the radio on because I know he’ll want my attention as we drive past the canal and the bridges, or when we drive by machines and police cars on the side of the road… just the other day he noticed the clouds in the sky and told me there was “white in da sky”. When I told him those were clouds he exclaimed “white clouds – paint in da sky!”. Bam. Perfect learning opportunity! I told him clouds made rain, but that right at that moment they were white and fluffy and that no rain would come that day. I watched in my little kiddie-mirror as he pondered this new information and stared at the clouds for a minute longer. It made me so happy.

Anyways, I picked up some good literature on a few homeschooling options and even bought a book – The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by the same speaker I mentioned before: Debra Bell.

Next year Dante will be on the cusp of 3 years old and we will both probably be ready to begin some Preschool curriculum to get into a routine and start learning the ropes. A year seems like a ways away… but it seems like only a couple months have gone by since Dante first birthday… the big 0 – 3 will be here before we know it! In the mean time I’m just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing and watch him learn and grow into the amazing person he is and will be!

What’s That?

April 19, 2012 § 2 Comments

A frequent question I often have to answer more than once when we visit the playground. Can you guess what I’m referring to? Yep. Dante’s prosthesis. It is an eyebrow raiser to say the least and I have yet to see a child do any less than a double-take.

Honesty? I don’t like it – when kids stare. I don’t want Dante to feel set apart. It takes everything in me to step back and give kids a chance to take a look before they ask their questions. I want to show Dante that it’s okay for people to be curious and to not be shy. He’s going to have to deal with questions all throughout his childhood.

My natural instinct would be to keep him restricted to a friend’s backyard all summer long and protect him from uncomfortable situations. Mostly kids either come right up to me and ask, or they will gather around my confused toddler and stare until I ask if they are curious about his leg. One little boy a few weeks ago asked “what was on his leg” and when I told him that it WAS his leg he refused to believe me. He seemed to walk away a little upset that I would tell him such a bold lie. Honesty, again: I got a laugh out of that.

But the truth is… Dante is set apart. He is a not only a gift from above but also a living example of perseverance and diversity and a testimony of his parents’ love for him.

I remind myself all the time that kids are shocked when they see his leg – they probably don’t know anyone who has a shiny red pole in the place of a shin bone and it’s only natural that they are curious. Dante’s little friends who have been around since he got his new leg don’t stop to look at it each time he has shorts on or runs around in his diaper – because they’re accustomed to it. Heck, I never knew a kid growing up who had a prosthesis. Because it isn’t the norm.

I just pray that I can encourage Dante’s strong personality and character and pump him full of self-respect and self-worth in Christ so that when he does encounter harsh words thrown his way due to his differences, he can walk away unscathed. The road ahead sometimes seems daunting – I don’t want to fail him. But Christ won’t fail him. He won’t fail me. And it is my job to show Dante, and Stefano for that matter, that sticks and stones can break our bones but Jesus’ love can erase the sting of mean things said and done.

12 Weeks Old

April 19, 2012 § Leave a comment

Stefano turned 12 weeks old this past Friday!  He’s not officially 3 months until tomorrow… but what’s one day?

Where to start? He’s doing well on all accounts. He’s been doing better and better with tummy time and I even started putting him in his jumper ….which Dante LOVED.. in fact Dante didn’t use the jumper until he was 4 months old (and he wasn’t any slower because of only having one leg to jump with, I just probably babied him more…. he being my first and all that).

Stefano can just barely touch the floor but he does dance around quite a bit, and the toys entertain him. The best part about the bouncer is that he is up off the ground and away from Dante’s feet *wink*. The point is his neck strength is great and we work on baby pull-ups every so often to pump his little baby-self up.

Eeeerrrmmmmm…. oh! It’s all very inconsistent and the timing can’t be perfect, obvi, because he’s just an infant – but I’ve been sleeping Stefano and Dante in the same room… at least for the first half of the night. Dante seems to like his brother being close by (not that he has trouble going to sleep by himself) so I figure it can’t hurt to let them become used to falling asleep to the other’s noises… and they do both fall asleep, so far, with no problems so I’m hopeful that once Stefano is sleeping through the night they can room together a little more permanently.

Speaking of Stefano sleeping… he is already a great self-soother! When I lay him down for bed he pops his thumb in his mouth and 8 times out of 10 goes straight to sleep all on his own. When we first brought him home he was so relaxed and mellow that he seemed to kind of “soothe” himself to sleep from day one. But of course, newborn babies don’t know how to soothe themselves – all they can do is eat, sleep, poop, and be adorable – and after a few weeks of growing more alert he started acting more irritable and needed help getting to sleep. Normal. But since about his third month – around when he started being able to find his thumb on his own, he has been able to fall asleep without my help. The only time we use the binky, now, is in the car seat or if someone else is holding him and he seems unsettled but for the most part he’s a thumb-man. Just last night I went to check on the boys after they had fallen asleep and I thought it was so precious that both of them were fast asleep with their thumbs hanging out of their mouths. I’m a happy momma.

I won’t have any official growth stats until next month but I did weigh myself a couple weeks ago and then held S while standing on the scale and it told me that he was around 14 pounds. He’s wearing 3-6 and 6 month clothes. 3 month pants are short and squeeze his round belly. Hehe. He’s been in a size two diaper for a while now. We barely used the size ones!  I expected to fly through the newborn dipes…. but he’s already in size 2! I should be able to start with cloth diapers soon now that he’s plumping up. Yay!

I try to take an extra few minutes just to hold him and smell his hair… and feel how small he is in my arms.. and appreciate his toothless grin… he’s already so different…

Thanks Beth for the amazing baby pictures!!! And for taking the extra time Stefano required!

Say Cheeeeeese!!

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Or, perhaps, from the looks of our before-church Easter shots of the boys, you may think we were directing Dante to name a food he has a strong dislike for. How on earth do some families take so many good pictures of their toddlers smiling? It must just be a personality thing. My kid doesn’t get it. I take the camera out and it’s insta-frown or I get a bunch of shots of the top of his head. And when I take the time to get him decked out for Easter Sunday… it can be a little maddening to not be able to get a cute shot for the family album.

He had also woken up rather early yesterday morning so I was certain we wouldn’t get a single nice picture… thankfully, I was wrong. He was oh-so-happy to arrive at church and hear the band warming up – he loves him some drums and guitars! And then to see my parents and sister and brother was icing on the cake and we were able to capture a few nice family pictures…

You can tell where my mother was standing – calling to the boys to smile – since they are both looking to the left of the camera. But that’s okay. Nobody is crying!

Aside from our picture-taking drama, we had a very nice Easter. Church was amazing starting with a great message and ending with the always-moving Cardboard Testimonies {shown about 9 minutes into “easter part 2”}. And Easter dinner with my family was delicious, as always. Dante enjoyed an Egg Hunt in my parent’s backyard and we indulged in his “need” for jellybeans and other yummy treats….. yes, while we celebrate the true meaning of Easter {Jesus not only dying in our stead, but rising from the grave and defeating sin}, first, we still all enjoy the Hallmark side of it, too ~ candy and baskets of goodies! I made Dante’s gift… well, painted it. Last year he didn’t get a basket from mom and dad.. we figured he wasn’t quite a year old and wouldn’t know the difference {so we definitely didn’t get Stefano one, in case you were wondering}. Go ahead and say it: boo us. This year was fun giving him an Easter basket an all… but he cared more about the grass lining the basket than his new hippo bank, stickers, or bag of Gerber toddler snacks. Maybe next year.

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