Wednesday, August 29, 2007

All the changes at once

This week is Theron's last at Lumbini. He's been there since spring of 2005 and they took him in when we had no where to go. They accepted that he had some problems to work out and with love and discipline he didn't have the problems again. He made good friends, he learned to read like a fourth grader, he does math, he has confidence. Theron says he's looking forward to his new school. We're a little worried, but at least in the beginning, until we can work things out, I am going to pick him up from school as soon as he is done, to make sure he doesn't feel lost.
Theron is also playing soccer now. They're still in practice, the first game isn't for a couple of weeks. I was excited about this and Ashley was apprehensive. I thought, why, what could go wrong? That's because I've never been a little boy and I didn't know what their lives are like. I think girls aren't terribly cruel to each other until they're maybe tweens. From what I'm told boys start establishing a pecking order earlier. Not long after Theron and Ash arrived at the field an older boy tried to pick a fight with him. With his dad, one of the coaches, right there. Then, as they were walking off the field, Theron had his ball in his arms and another boy hit it so he dropped it. Theron cried. Again, the parents were there and this happens anyway. My friend Steven said when he was in school there was a fight after school everyday, but it never got too far. There was an understanding that when someone started crying, it was over. If you were up against a really big kid you would start crying before it even started to concede defeat. Anyway, I asked Ashley why that kid would have hit Theron's ball and Ashley said to be mean. And I said, but Why? He doesn't even know him, and Ashley repeated, He did it to be mean. I don't want this to be a scary thing for all of us. Now I'm worried about school in a way I wasn't before because he has been so sheltered at Lumbini. I guess this is life, too. We can't protect him from everything, though we'll try to as much as we can.
Anyway, we went to Aunt Nita's for swimming. It's funny with all the sun lately that on this particular day it actually rained. Maybe because I'd spent the morning washing my car and watering the lawn. But no matter, it wasn't cold until the rain started. We ate cheeseburgers. We tried to get Nita to tell us stories about when Grandpa Flip was a little boy but she said he was mostly good. She did tell us about the time he gathered up all the discarded Christmas trees on the block and made a forest in the backyard.

Theron went shopping with me this weekend and while he was sitting in the cart at Trader Joe's he read one of the signs out loud. Two tattooed hipster girls told him what a good reader he is. He said, "That's because I'm 6!" and one said, No, I think it's more than that, I think you're just a really good reader. And Theron was actually speechless. I said, Thank you for that.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Where did the summer go?

Just in time for the new school year Theron outgrew his shoes. We went to the mall last week to search for new ones and he was amazed at all the stores. Now Theron has been to a mall before, he's been to that particular mall even, but he acted like it was this new, wonderous thing (and I didn't even let him into the really good kid stores like the Disney store or candy by the pound). We couldn't get new Spiderman shoes in his size, so we kept walking and looking. Finally in Mervyn's he found his lovies - a pair of brown and orange and silver Sketchers. Theron's a good consumer, he's heard of Sketchers and he wanted them for that alone, but the major selling points were a) a tiny flashlight keychain that came with them and b) the claim that they are "fast and safe". So he tried them on. They were fast all right. It reminded me of that time he wore a hole in a new pair of shoes in one day when he was at the Italian ladies house as a baby in a walker. He'd run back and forth across the patio all day long. They called him the Roadrunner. Or the time after he was walking when Ashley put a new pair of sneakers on him and he just started running. And he'd fall down and then get up again, and run and run and run.
Anyway, so at least his feet are taken care of for now.
Also in preparation for school we need to be getting to bed earlier. Bedtime keeps slipping later and later. The later it gets, the surlier the boy gets. And he'll do anything to delay the inevitable. Theron can talk his way out of anything and the only reason he doesn't (always) get away with it with us is that we're on to him. His therapist says to try not to engage him but I tell you, it's hard. So last night he pushed it till it was almost 10 o'clock and we had had it. While he sat in time-out Ash and I had a conversation in the kitchen about what to do. Now, one thing about Theron that's very predictable is that he is nosy. And like all nosy people he knows that the most valuable information comes from subterfuge. It doesn't matter that we have told him to his face what he could lose if bedtime keeps going this late, there's nothing like a dispassionate conversation in the kitchen he thinks he's not supposed to hear to get him to really listen. Ash and I decided that lights out comes at a specific time and if he's not ready in time for bedtime stories then he'll start losing them. When we came to get him out of time-out he was very polite and agreeable. Then he went into his room and very industriously starting picking up and doing his jobs. He said, "yes, m'aam" and was giving me the thumbs up. I'd tell him to do something and he'd say, "It's a deal!". As he was gathering up his laundry - -oh, I should say, one gets the impression with Theron that he imagines himself as the star in his own tv show. I know he watches too much tv, we're guilty. You can tell he's always trying on personalities for size. I'm really glad he's over his Bob the Builder nervous giggle thing. ANYWAY, so last night he's picking up his clothes, really well, and he shakes his head and tells me, "I'm getting out of this going-slow business". I could picture him in a fedora, newspaper under his arm, in a black and white movie. Next stop, Speedyville.
Movie review: We saw Ratatouille with Alan. Loved it. I especially love that they emphasize good hygiene, as when Remy makes the other rats who were helping him in the kitchen go in the dishwasher first.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Family Reunion Weekend
In Santa Paula at Steckel Park. Theron immediately made friends with all his cousins and had a grand time. Here they are filling water balloons. The big kids were really sweet about making sure the little ones always had a full balloon.
Here he is looking for someone to bomb.
When we first saw them playing, Aunt Nita took him over to the sink and got him a balloon. She walked him back, Theron cradling a big untied balloon, looking sweet as pie. Then she pointed at Ashley and said, "Go ahead". And Theron unleashed a spray of water on his daddy. Then Nita pointed at Uncle Bobby and Theron sprayed him, too. I said, I'm sorry, he's usually really good when Nita's not around.

Here are the boys looking for ant lions.
Crossing the creek.

Score of the day: Batman and Spiderman socks, nice ones, at the 99 cent store.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Exhausting week. Started physical therapy for my arm. My therapist's brother is on Desparate Housewives and previously was on Melrose Place (my old favorite). I'm not sure how much therapy will help, but who am I to say. Here's Theron admiring his geranium and showing off his map. As you know, he's crazy about Harry and this is his Marauder's Map. He's made quite a few of them and he insists they get rolled like a scroll, sealed with ye olde blue masking tape.

My current project is preparing for yet another depressing departure of a loved coworker. My intern Rebecca is off to Nebraska at the end of the month and I want to die. In honor of her great work and her upcoming 30th birthday I got her a Blythe on Ebay and Nick and Naomi and I are making her clothes. Rebecca's going to flip. She loves my Blythe and she made her outfits for my birthday. I've been bringing my doll to work so that Nick and Naomi could take measurements and do sketches. Rebecca who knows nothing of what's really going on, loves having Blythe around and sighs, "I wish I had one". This is my first outfit, a reversible day/prom dress, modeled by Rebecca's redhead who actually looks a little like Rebecca herself.

The design on the bodice is just French knots.
Here's a closeup of my doll. Frankly I think the redhead makes the purple dress whereas my Blythe can't quite pull it off.

This is the kind of thing Ashley wishes I could hear myself say. Anyway, here's the dress turned around for daytime. I think it looks cute with the pajama pants she came with.
The stuff Nick is designing is definitely haute couture. When I originally asked him and Naomi to help, Nick looked the doll over, brow furrowed in appraisal, handed her back and said, "We're all over it". Nick tells us funny stories about dressing people like Joan Rivers and Dame Edna, back when he used to work in the industry. He is designing her Blythe little platform boots, too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Here's a cute picture of Theron during one of his and Ash's neighborhood walks. See that Theron has his own camera.

Recent mini triumphs: - two garbage bags to the Goodwill.

- the disposal of the jello jigglers discards. They were in a straight-sided bowl and had solidified into an enormous solid rainbow jello cake. It was pretty impressive. Theron asked if he could keep it. Okay. It would make a great footstool.

Happy birthday to Grandma Rita!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Okay, another big catch up post. It's been just over a week, but we've been a little busy, and exhausted and suffering from a couple varieties of barely manageable pain. But it hasn't been all bad. So, here goes...

I took the day off last Wednesday so there would be hope everything would get done. At the last minute Theron decided in addition to cake he wanted jello jigglers, so I spent the morning making 100 star-shaped jigglers (and now we have about 8 lbs of discard jello in 5 colors). Ashley actually got the afternoon off and met me at the school. The kids were just eating lunch and Miss Janet fed us, too.
It was a big hit and I think we're going to just pretend we never heard the word pinata.
After cake we all went home so Theron could open our presents. Then we rested. Then we ran to Santa Clarita to meet Alan and his mommy and daddy and sister, and Aunt Nita and Tara and Ron and their kids Alexis and Krista and of course, Grandma Mary and Grandpa Richard.

This place, Sky City Bounce House, has huge inflated slides and bouncy things and the kids had a blast. Ash and I think it would be good to go on the weekends to hang out in the air conditioning. We didn't tell Theron Alan was coming just in case his mommy couldn't manage it on a week night, so it was a huge happy surprise. Alan gave him a deluxe red light saber that telescopes open with the touch of a button, prompting the first new rule in his year 6, no opening the light saber in mommy's car.
After Sky City (it closed sooner than we thought it would!) we ran over to McDonalds so that he could dig into Grandma and Grandpa's stash. The best gift - the Spiderman 3 Webshooter with 3 extra cans of web. There are blue stringy things all over the house now - on the bathroom floor, on the bookcases, on the calendar. Thanks, Mom! Grandma says she's going to set up the spare room next time he goes over so that he can web it up to his heart's delight.
Saturday I had to work at the school for their annual Obon fundraiser till 3 then we ran to Santa Maria to see Grandpa Flip and Grandma Rita for MORE PRESENTS AND CAKE!

One of the highlights, two new installments of Captain Underpants. Then... we were off again, to Avila Beach since the school was closed Monday to clean up after Obon. Here's Theron in our cosy room with a full kitchen.

Anyway, I don't know what else to say - we had a fabulous time. Theron made a little friend named Jack, from Fresno. Daddy and I messed up on our sunscreen application - Theron was fine but Ash and I look like goofs. It looks like I have on red knee pads. And here's our big boy and his new discovery - Mad Magazine. It's my fault. I was looking at it in the store. The page was open to a Mad Look at Spiderman 3. I closed it as fast as a could but Theron said, "I saw that!". So here he is reading about Harry Plodder. Can you blame him? It's all about Harry. Theron tells me he loves school - he pretends it's Hogwarts, the kindergarden room is the Griffindor table, and he is always Harry.