Monday, April 30, 2012

Recent Calvinisms

(Miles snags toy from Calvin.)
Mommy:  Miles is our little opportunist, isn't he?
Calvin:  What's an Opera-Tuna?
Daddy:  And opp-or-tun-ist is a person who tries to get what they want when they have a chance...
Calvin: ...and sings?

Daddy:  Calvin, it's time to go potty and get your jammies on, please.
Calvin:  What?  I can't hear you.  My ears are too small.
Daddy:  hmm... Nice try.

Calvin: Mom, who is that?
Mommy: That's Charlie Brown.
Calvin: No!  I'm the brown one!  Charlie is hazel.
Mommy: You mean your eyes are brown?
Calvin: Yeah.  The cartoon is called "Calvin Brown and Snoopy".
Mommy:  So, I guess the other one is "Charlie and Hobbs".
Calvin: Uh?

Calvin on Cops and Robbers:
"Daddy, are robbers nocturnal?"

Calvin informing Charlie about death:
Calvin: Charlie, people die when they stop living.
Charlie: Oh... I see...

Calvin:  Mommy, why am I a very fast runner, but Charlie is very strong?
Mommy:  Because we all have things that are our strengths.
Calvin:  What are strengths?
Mommy:  Something we are good at.  All people have different strengths.
Calvin:  Well, Daddy's grandpa Charles' strength is being old!
(So old he is with Jesus, I might add!)

Upon listening to "Jungle Boogie" for the first time, Calvin wondered,
"Why do we have to 'get down'."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Developmental Update and Charlie-isms

Calvin and Miles are classic cases of normal childhood development.  It's like with each new stage we get a new piece of a puzzle, and we put it together starting at the top left, and moving through each step just like that.  It is a very step-by-step process, and while each of the boys progress through these stages of development in similar, predictable ways, they are of course experiencing them differently according to their interests, their incredible uniqueness.  The picture being revealed for each boy as the puzzle comes together is different, beautiful, and just makes me so thankful to behold.

With Charlie it's all a bit different.  It's like we sometimes wait and wait for any pieces, and then they might come out of order.  We have to stop and wait for more pieces to make earlier received pieces fit.  Often development is very slow, though sometimes it picks up the pace quite a bit.  His skills are not always consistent, so sometimes it seems he gives back a couple pieces of the puzzle for a later time.  But somehow or another all the pieces seem to be available, all the pieces slowly come.  To me this is all so very interesting, equally as beautiful, sometimes painful, but always a grace-filled experience.  It's simply amazing to watch and be a part of.

All this to say, Charlie has been working on the language side of his development with great speed and purpose these days.  His receptive language is really superb, and I can test him by giving him complicated instructions to follow, and he will nail them.  Today I said to him, "Charlie, will you please get me a Kleenex for Miles?  They are in the top drawer of the dresser."  "Thur! (sure)" he said, and proceeded to find the Kleenex exactly as I described.  It may seem a simple request, but it is a big step.  We used to have to limit a request to one step... to add that second part about where the Kleenex was would have cause Charlie to forget the earlier part of the request.  It's no problem now.  He seems able to juggle 2 ideas in his mind at one time and not loose one, sometimes three.  He is really stretching, and growing his memory. 

Expressive language has moved far beyond simple sentences expressing needs or wants (like food!), to Charlie expressing his likes, narrating what he is doing, telling us about something that happened in the past (recent past, that is), or something he would like to do later.  He can tell us something that happened at school, and has moved beyond being so literal that he could only think about or describe what was a part of his present moment.  It is so wonderful to have that glimpse into his mind-life.  And the best part of his language explosion is how it opens up the possibilities for him to play with his brother and other children.  Calvin and Charlie are able to carry on wonderful games of imagination with their cars or stuffed animals, pretend to be other people, etc, and have back and forth dialogues with one another.  Oh, how I am so glad Charlie has Calvin!  They are so much like twins these days.

Charlie also enjoys independant play (another developmental step), and is just crazy about animals!  Everyday as I meet him at the bus he asks me straight away, "Where's my animals?"  He is ready to play!  His animals have an entire narrative of their own.  They make friends, they have birthday parties, they go to sleep, wake up, and have meals.  They make parades, and play silly games.  His animals are a bunch of little plastic figurines we've had forever, and have been rediscovered in wonderful Charlie-ways.  I enjoy so much listening in on his play with his animals.  If one is hurt, the others will help the injured animal to get better.  If one is having a birthday, the others will make a cake and have a party (Charlie's rendition of the Happy Birthday song is the best!).  And the reason I can figure all this out is because Charlie is talking very clearly (well, to us... his speech is still a little slurred due to low muscle tone) about the whole thing!

From Charlie's emerging language we see more of the puzzle emerge, the portrait of who Charlie is.   I can ascertain that he is a person that thinks very dearly of other children by the way speaks of them, especially younger children.  He is a person who is excited about animals (obviously!).  A person who loves Applesauce!  Pancakes!  Carrots! and Cupcakes!  He loves to play, and would rather have "Just one more minute" than stop to eat or use the restroom.  He is concerned about where Calvin is at all times "Mommy, where's Calvin?", and is interested in mentoring Miles as gently and often as he can.  "I show you, Miles?"  Of course all these things we know from his behavior, but the fact that he talks about all these things is just confirmation of the incredible person he is.  A precious peek at his inner thoughts and ideas.

I often post "Calvin-isms" on this blog.  Funny little quips and sayings from our highly verbal, very literal, inventive, funny four-year-old, Calvin.  Well, I am delighted to be able to share Charlie-isms from our increasingly verbal, somewhat literal, inventive, and silly 6 year-old!  Here are a couple:

I walked into the living room to find three little boys romping around the rug on their hands and knees:
Mommy:  Whatch playin' guys?
Charlie:  I a dog.  Calvin is cat.
Mommy:  And what about Miles?
Charlie:  Miles is Muppet!  (Which, really, is just so fitting a role for a toddler.)

Charlie has started adding the word "because" to his vocabulary.  He does not quite understand it's use, so will say things like, "I want to play animals, because... pancakes!"

Sometimes Charlie's animals have the final word:
Mommy:  Charlie, it's time for dinner.  We're having pancakes!  Want to bring you animals down stairs with you for dinner time?
Charlie:  Ummmm..... Animals say 'no'.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What We're Up To

Oh what terrible neglect of a blog!  We are here.  We're kickin'.  Humming right along.

Our family has been in the midst of big changes, faced with big decisions.  In a way, we've really drawn inward in this time, close to one another, lots of talking things through, lots of prayer.  We left a church, we laid aside some big responsibilities, we're making decisions about school for Charlie as he heads to kindergarten in the fall, we're mapping out career decisions for Raymond, and it is all very big, wonderful, nerve-wracking stuff.  We know God has brought us to this point... we are SO glad for His leading... and yet I still find it so hard to keep moving forward without a map in my hand.  Sometimes we have a plan laid out in front of us, sometimes we go on faith, not even knowing where we will find ourselves.  That is where Raymond and I are.  I think I look at this blank computer screen, empty as my idea of where we are going, and I just can't bring myself to write these things out.  Everything is up in the air, it seems, and no matter how much I fight against the feeling of being plucked out of the soil, roots dangling in the air, there is really nothing I can do at all to rush the Will of God for our family.  He has a plan.  I feel as if we've received hints of it, little reassurances to trust.  It is so hard to just trust though.  It is so much easier to say I trust, meanwhile busying myself with contingency plans... you know?

Besides all these cryptic descriptions of what is going on, we are well.  We are enjoying a time of less responsibility... it feels right for this moment in our lives.  We are doing a lot of attending to each-other as spouses, and as parents to our children.  Figuring things out as our family grows.  Finding ways to enjoy ourselves more, make things simpler, laugh more with these crazy boys, be attentive to their upbringing in ways that seemed too in-depth, too difficult with our prior level of community involvement.  It feels like we are redefining our thresh-hold for life, redefining what fits with this glorious blessing of children, and if God would have us add outside commitments, ministries, activities, we will at a later time, all the while with a more guarded approach to what out family can withstand and still thrive.

We did make one decision.  School for Charlie.  We chose to have him attend the elementary school in our town.  It feels like the right choice for him.  He is becoming such a clever guy... just this past week tracing his name all by himself for the first time.  The school has a lot of extra-curricular activities which Charlie can attend with a 'regular' class without an aide.  We will have him in a special day class for reading, writing, math, OT, and ST, and he will hopefully be able to join the regular class for music, PE, art, visual performance, library, computers, story-time, and perhaps geography.  I know once he settles in he will enjoy his experience there.  The school community is accustom to integrating students with special needs.  We chose the school because of that reason, and because it has lots of extra-curricular enrichment activities, and is in our neighborhood so we can be as involved as possible.  Of course, this is contingent on other things happening or not in our lives... but at least one decision is made, and with peace in our hearts I might add. 

Well, if you have one spare minute at the computer, might you lift us up in prayer right now?  All we want is God's Will for our family, and we specifically need peace in the midst of this and a level of attentiveness that we might hear Him and follow.  Pray that we simply be blinded to doubt.  And listen, if you have a prayer request, will you tell me so I can pray also for you?  Thanks, friends.

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