Photos: August 2008 Archives

Another year

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This is Ewan's table; he sits here and drafts his plans for world domination while Liam does seat work.

Slowly starting second grade curriculum and full-on preschool activities today after a short two-week break following the end of Liam's first grade year. We've gone with Abeka curriculum again this year which we have used since kindergarten. It's advanced-paced and  phenomenally put together. Liam can read well; write cursive and print; do double-digit addition and subtraction; count and exchange money; speak, read, and write some basic Spanish; and he's learning to do small amounts of homework on his own time (teaching time management) to turn in the following morning. To say that I'm proud of him is an understatement. Each year I get under my homeschooling belt gives me that much more confidence as his teacher.

I'm working on a massive page of homeschooling resources and the like for those interested, including supplemental curriculum I've tried and liked over the past four years.   
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I climbed the stairs with the boys last night at bedtime, turned the dark corner at the top of the stairs, flicked on their bedroom light and ... [cue "Psycho" shower scene music] there were a terrifying amount of stuffed animals freakishly assembled in tidy little rows on Ewan's bed.

Before Liam started growing out of his allergies his allergist instructed that I ban stuffed animals from the house as they were nothing but dust magnets. I packed them all, save for each boy's teddy bear, in plastic bags and stored them in the bowels of our stone basement.  So instead of attaching themselves to stuffed animals, the boys started collecting plastic and rubber insects. Real life-looking insects like roaches, various bugs, and spiders. At any given point there are a dozen fake black spiders and roaches lying around the house in totally conspicuous places like the stairs, in the bathroom (if they take them in there to play while using "the office"). It scares the wits out of my friend Marjorie, who has asked me before what in holy Moses is that thing in the corner? We've gotten used to it and are acclimated to the creepiness factor. It kinds goes with the whole ancient, three-story brownstone aesthetic.


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My parents, like any perfectly normal parents, don't always follow our rigid rules - and we know this because the boys always regal us with tales of their overnight stay at Nana and Pa-Pa's and how Nana and Pa-Pa let them have pure sugar from the bag right before their midnight bedtime and how Nana and Pa-Pa let them drink Mountain Dew and ride their bikes without helmets. My parents started buying Ewan stuffed animals and the allergist lifted the ban and he began hoarding them in the boys' playroom. I noticed that the number of animals he took to bed at night was increasing slightly. He went to bed with six on Sunday night, eight on Monday night; last night I counted twelve. I tried to edit them down to just the long-timers but OHMYGAWD NO. He acted like I set fire to his Thomas the Train DVDs, his angst was so great. He crumpled into a pile on his racecar bed and howled. I started adding them in, one by one until there was no room for him in his own bed. He jumped in, nestled in between a stuffed dinosaur and one of his weirdo rubber lizards with demon eyes, and went to sleep.

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Digression: I had stuffed animals as a kid; they sat on my bedroom floor and lined the perimeter of the room. This was until one of my brat elementary school classmates told me a story her brother told her about a girl's killer teddy bear that wakes up at night and goes off killing people in the town. It climbed from underneath the girl's arm at night and tiptoed out of the house with a kitchen knife. One night it went after the girl and her mom cut the bear up in pieces but that night the pieces all marched out of the trashcan towards the girl's bedroom. Stupid, I know, but to an 8-year-old in the 80s it was terrifying. I tried to get rid of my stuffed animals but my mother kept putting some of them back in my room. I finally tied their hands together with my hair scrunchies. Shut up. I AM TOTALLY OVER IT NOW. /Digression

Ewan's obsession is fine until one of his animals falls out of bed which prompts him to wake up and yodel into the baby monitor until Chris or I retrieve it. This cannot become a pattern. I cannot be woken up night after night because some douchebag stuffed animal falls a whole foot from a plastic racecar bed. Because I'm wholly neurotic, I worry that Ewan's growing collection is an indication that he will grow up to be one of Those People who collect Beanie Babies and ride around town in his 80s-issued vehicle with a mountain of stuffed animals displayed in the back windshield.

He probably won't. But I'm drawing the line at this:


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(There's a herd off-camera you aren't seeing.)
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