Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fibonacci Cleaning

He wouldn't help pick up toys.

But I knew my audience. I created an awesome new game called Fibonacci cleaning! It is simple.

F_n = F_{n-1} + F_{n-2},\!\,
(Fn = number of toys you pick up in each round.)

Round one you pick up 1,
Round 2 you pick up 2,
Round 3 you pick up 3,
Round 4 you pick up 5,
Round 5 you pick up 8, etc.

Thank the gods I came up with this one. He is really bored with counting by multiples and primes....

(Anybody have any other fun ways to count? This won't hold him for long!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Are we out of the rut?

You should know by now, if I get quiet, I am too worried to blog. And I have been worried. About Pablo. He seems to have been in a rut. Forever. OK, I exaggerate. But for a while. From the books it seems that most gifted kids are constantly curious, always wanting to know more. Pablo, on the other hand, learns in fits and starts. He stagnates for a while and then engulfs a new topic seemingly overnight. Then he obsesses over it until... he engulfs something else. This was how he learned to read, learned countries, learned math. One day he didn't know where Suriname was and the next he did. Along with all the other countries.

The current rut has been the ever present Mamma Mia hide and seek obsession (the one where the characters, represented by playmobile, legos, or almost anything else create the island and then take turns playing hide and seek). The adult gets to give coordinates for the seeker. 5 degrees south, etc. This one has gone on for much longer than I am used to, and it has been non-academic. Now, that is fine with me. (It isn't that I care how academic he is. I care how happy he is. And he is happiest when he is excited about learning something new. Less tantrums, more peace in the house. Good for him, good for me.)

Within all previous ruts, there was space to grow. I mean, when he wanted to learn math, he had addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, prime numbers, fractions, algebra, etc to work with. Mamma Mia is pretty one dimentional. Unless it was filling some spacial reasoning need. I am not sure what need was being met, but boy did it take a while. I wonder if playing Battleship (you know, where boats play HIDE AND SEEK from each other? Why are games so violent?!) helped with working through any spacial reasoning issue... we played for a week or so and now he is suddenly on to other things.

Yesterday he started playing with money again. He gave my partner an allowance (using a puzzle where each piece has a different number of coins or dollars) and asked her to buy things. They spent over an hour with her giving him money and him making change. To the best of my knowledge, not one Mamma Mia character was mentioned. Today he started telling me a whole story about various subtypes of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. There were made up words to explain subtypes of pennies etc. How I have MISSED made up words!

Now he has been doing new things while obsessed with Mamma Mia, as a good friend kept pointing out when I would call to ask if she thought Pablo was OK. Martial arts. Swim class. But nothing that HE was passionate about. He was happy to do them, but it wasn't internally driven. I was getting scared he had lost his passion for learning. Understand, I don't care what he learns, when he learns, or how he spends his time. But I do care that he is HAPPY. And for months, he hasn't been himself. Honestly, I was starting to freak out a little. But all I had to do was wait long enough.

How is it that I always forget that with children (and adults), change is inevitable? Silly me. I guess worrying is one way to pass the time.... maybe I should find a new hobby that is less wearing on the nerves.

Friday, April 24, 2009


No one will ever know that Beebz knows anything. She will grow up appearing to have no knowledge whatsoever. Why? Because she values humor above all else.

Case in point.

She calls every living thing PUPPY. When it is actually a puppy, she just says with all the baby-like cuteness she can muster (and trust me, she can muster like nobody's business). But give her a cow, a bunny, a bird.... really anything, and she will get a glint in her eye and shriek, PUPPY! at the top of her lungs and grin, waiting for the laugh. If she fails to get one, she will give herself a laugh from her bottomless supply. She loves it best if you argue with her, repeating over and over (and over) the correct word while she gives her PUPPY! responses more and more emphasis.

And then there is what animals say... you know, a cow says moo? Well, thanks to Moo Baa La La La, every living thing says LA LA LA.


Because her brother laughs the loudest when she says LA LA LA. It is not nearly as funny when a cow says BAA (Which it used to. But now she seems to be in a rut. She really needs to learn to rotate her material so it's not so darned predictable. There is totally a diminishing return on the same joke if overused.). Three months ago, she had all the animals saying, well, what they each say. But she quickly learned that a cow saying MOO is hardly funny at all, so correct animal sounds have been totally dropped. Because, after all, the bigger the laugh, the better it is.

Tell me you are not (at least sometimes) the same way.

Now, just as I was really despairing her ever pointing to a cow and saying anything as pedestrian as, oh, maybe... COW (or MOO), she spontaneously added DUCKIE to her repertoire. Amazingly enough, she says it when she sees a duck. Crazy, no? It doesn't get much of a laugh, so I am not really clear about her motivation, but at least it gives me hope that when she goes to college she will be able to relate to more than just the moronic folks who think college is just for keg parties.

And puppy tipping.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day, I will now relay to you some horrors I recently discovered. You will thank me.

According to Green Up Your Cleanup (Green House), regulations on chemicals used in the home are essentially nonexistent. They don't have to give lists of ingredients. They can say they list all their ingredients and lie. They don't have to test for combining chemicals (say, using mirror cleaner and counter cleaner in the same room). They don't have to say what kinds of KNOWN dangers there are to the chemicals, just what you can't do (ie don't take internally). Does any of this freak you out as much as it did me?

A study by the Environmental Working Group tested the
umbilical-cord blood of 10 American babies born in 2004
and found an average of 200 industrial chemicals and
pollutants in each babies blood.

The effects of these toxins are cumulative. The EPA estimates that we have an average of 700 pollutants in each of our bodies. Not to mention the impact on the environment. Household cleaners are the most common source of pollutants. Seemingly innocent chemicals mix with each other when washed down the drain and combine to make some pretty nasty stuff. It is pretty scary.

Now I am not rich enough to go nontoxic with everything. I can't replace my floors and my mattress etc. But I can choose safe cleaning products. All I need is castile soap, vinegar, baking soda, and a few other things to make cleaning safe for my family. The kids can help me clean with no fear of getting poisoned. I am even using the recipe in the book for dishwasher detergent using borax and citric acid. I am loving it.

Happy Earth Day, folks. Here's to making a difference, however small.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We went CAMPING!!

We had the best time. We went to Willis Creek Federal Park. I wouldn't recommend it, so I didn't bother linking to it. The thing is, the website lists all these fun activities (swimming, hiking, etc) but it turns out those are at one of the 3 OTHER parks nearby. Your pass gets you into all of them, but isn't one of the points of camping not to have to drive your car to see pretty places? Hmmm. Maybe that's just me.

Any hoo, it was actually kind of perfect. Our wonderful friends who went with us made it fun to just sit around and chat. (Or sleep, in the case of poor LD who was exjausted! If you can sleep through my kids' noise, you must REALLY need it!) In terms of amenities, it couldn't be beat. I know, when discussing camping, amenities aren't the point. But for us, taking our kiddos camping for the first time, it was really nice. We had a grill, a covered picnic table that was HUGE, water, and a fire pit.

Sadly, we were lacking TREES. I am guessing they were at one of the other parks. We only spent one night, but now we know how the kids camp. It was WAY easier than I thought it would be. I honestly was shocked.

Favorites of the trip included watching a real burning fire, seeing a lovely sunset, and spending time with friends. Also high on the list was being on camping time (if it's light, it is "day," if it's dark, it's called "night." Eat when hungry, sleep when sleepy.) My favorite kid part was
seeing and hearing Pablo's antics in the tent when he clearly thought he couldn't be seen or heard. Sometimes the hardest parts of being a parent is NOT laughing!

I promised Pablo that I would make reservations to camp again as soon as possible. I think he loves it as much as I do!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

He's a Mamma Mia (and Lego) maniac.

Call me crazy.

Or stupid.

Or both.

I have just committed an act guaranteed to make my son happy for years of building fun and myself insane for years of cleaning.


I just bought 6 pounds (that's about 3000 pieces) of Legos on ebay. Yeah, I know. But seriously, the kid is building Kalokairi out of anything he can, and what better than Legos?

What can I say? I am a glutton for punishment. And I love happy kids more than a clean house. At least it will be contained in Pablo's room....

Can you think of a better way to spend 30 bucks? I didn't think so.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

That's my boy!

We went to the car dealership for a simple oil change. Then I needed this and that... you know how it is, and what was going to be a 30 minute errand turned into an hour and 40 minutes. Toward the end of the ordeal, a salesman approached me and asked the kids names, and then told me what a "delight" it had been to watch Pablo play so happily all this time. Then he added, "He has the sweetest disposition!"

I don't mean to brag or anything. It's just that I am used to being the mom wearing a bag on my head because my son's antics are generally, shall we say, less well received?

And that makes 3 times this week he was complimented for his behavior. Holy crap. I could seriously get used to this!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I fell off the map.

At least it felt like it. We had some bad days, then some better ones. I am back on my existential crisis, feeling like I have no friends who get me (or get my son, or get the package that is my family), blah blah blah. Even I am sick of it. So I read my partner's Oprah. I have a really hard time with finding wisdom in a magazine that sells lipstick.

That's not true.

I have a hard time ADMITTING that I find wisdom in a magazine that sells lipstick. But Oprah manages it monthly. For those who can't afford therapy, just go read the most therapy-ish article in there (hint: it is NEVER EVER Dr. Phil. That guy is a nutbag for sure. I can't imagine that he keeps his license. Don't get me started on his stance toward children and parenting. Vile.) and it will get you through the month.

This month it is Just What You Need by Martha Beck. All about abundance mentality.


I am all too aware of my scarcity mentality with regards to money, friends, community, and even in my faith in the universe. To me there is never enough. So I have been working HARD to believe that I have all I need, and that all I need comes to me. I am trying my best to feel content with what I have, love my life as it is, see the good in what I have, and let changes happen as they come rather than chafing at the bit, constantly wanting more, more, more.

This being content thing takes a lot of work. Am I not doing it right?

Thursday, April 2, 2009


She wanted to go for a ride in the stroller. I wanted to do laundry. Here is the compromise. What a helper!

Note 1: She is laughing.

Note 2: Those are CLEAN diapers. I am reasonable in my compromises, after all!!