Friday, May 29, 2009

Maybe I am an old woman in a youngish body...

...but at 30 I am already a curmudgeon. I don't like some emerging social norms, and they make me have that old worry of "what is the new generation coming to?"

If you own a cell and use text messaging, please keep in mind that while you think a big benefit to texting is that you can quietly and discreetly message others while in a meeting and so forth, you are not as discreet as you think. Though some may accept it, it can be highly distracting for some. And yes, no matter how much you participate in the discussion at hand, it sends a clear message that the people you are with do not deserve your full and undivided attention.

Edited to add that interestingly, right after I published this post, I saw this:

Monday, May 25, 2009

Having a large quantity vs. having a large amount: value

Recently I've written a lot of good blog posts in my head, but I am sorry to report that now that I finally have a chance to sit down and write, they have all escaped my head.

That said, I do have an interesting child development report regarding my son, M.

Earlier this year, I tried to introduce M. to the idea of counting money, and also saving/donating/investing/spending money. I had hoped it would be a math, economics, social justice, and sensory (coin recognition) exercise that we could work through in multiple ways during Montessori as well as through a very small-change allowance. He took little, if any, interest.

However, lately he's begun asking for more things, and I've had to say no quite a bit. Sometimes I have a reason in addition to financial limitations, but not always. When money is the only reason, I've taken an honest, though not (I hope) fear-inspiring, approach with him. "I don't have money for that" is an answer that seems to be satisfactory at least half of the time still, particularly when I can think quickly enough on my feet to redirect his interest to something fun we can do together.

Today he told me he wanted to eat at a restaurant. I told him I didn't have money for it. "Yes you do, you have a lot of money! Do you want me to show you where it is?" he replied. "Sure," I said (I'll admit that I was secretly hoping he'd found some forgotten dollar bills somewhere in the house). And he disappeared into my bedroom. He returned a moment or two later with a jar of change that I generally use for tolls, but that contains mostly pennies. "Look! You have a lot of money here!"

I asked him, "M, do you want to know how much money this is?" and he eagerly nodded his head. We began counting. I told him that a hundred pennies is equal to one dollar. By twenty pennies, he had tired of counting, and left the work to me. By thirty or forty pennies, apparently tired of waiting for the tally, he was telling me, "that is one hundred...that's a dollar." I kept at it, and finally we got to one hundred pennies. There was still a little bit of random change left, including some more pennies, so I counted that too and added it in. I actually was pleasantly surprised it was as much as it was, close to $3.00!

"See!" M. declared victoriously, "we can eat at a restaurant."

So then we had a talk about what $3.00 could buy, and how it is a lot of money in a way, but not a lot of money when it comes to things like eating at restaurants. I got out the kids' "piggy bank" again. I gave the kids the quarters that were in the change jar, and made sure they added one to each section of the piggy bank (it's actually a "cow bank," a Christmas gift for the kids from my mother!): one for saving, one for spending, one for investing, and one for donating. I told them I would give them more when I could. Trying to think of something that would really motivate them, and inspired by my friend Sara's ice cream-allowance connection from when her kids were a bit younger, I told the kids that when they had about 16 quarters, it should be enough for each of them to get an ice cream treat at the corner store.

They were really excited about this, though I worried a bit about whether they could wait as long as it would take to collect 16 quarters. Still, I felt good because it seemed like M. at least had a starting point to make the connection that just because you have a large quantity of coins doesn't mean that you have a large amount of money. It seems like a good basic math and economics lesson.

Then my alternative to going to a restaurant to eat was to take the kids to a new park, in a neighborhood near us that we hadn't explored yet. We had to drive there, and when we arrived, we found an ice cream truck in the parking lot. Yikes! This had M. digging in every nook and crannie of the car, where he found a total of about five pennies, which he insisted could buy him some ice cream afterall! When I finally convinced him five pennies wasn't enough, he took up the idea that he could wish 100 pennies into existence to make a dollar, simply by saying that is what he had. I told him I wasn't even sure if they sold anything for a dollar anyway. It took some convincing for him to let go of the idea, and I was a tiny bit tempted to let him go up to the truck and try and buy something just so he'd believe me. I guess we still have a ways to go, but I still feel excited that he is starting to pick up on the difference between quantity and value.

It makes me feel like giving up my debit card for a bit, so he can watch me grocery shop with cash, and help me keep track of what I am spending. I wonder if I could carry an envelope with a certain amount of cash and coins, and hand him the right amount of money (approximately) for each item I am purchasing so that he can physically watch the amount change as we decide on purchases.

I also wonder if there are any printable charts on the internet that outline for kids about how much it costs to buy a variety of items (from a gumball to an ice cream cone to a toy truck). If not, maybe I'll make him one. Meanwhile, we'll keep counting change when he shows some interest. I'm curious to watch how this kind of knowledge will develop for him.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Photo

This last weekend we had our Celebrating Adoption session with the gracious MA photographer, Megan Peck. She just emailed us that she posted one of the photos on her blog: Enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Welcome Baby!

I just heard my younger brother and his wife's new little baby made her entry into this world this afternoon. Welcome baby E! We're sure you'll love it here...enjoy the journey!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Eh, Horoscope Shmorascope

Did I mention my horoscope basically said not to open my mouth for a while. Not a peep.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sibling Therapy? Who Knew!

A writer contacted me today to ask if she could interview me for an article she is writing on issues in adoption. I've been looking over her other work to decide if I am willing to be interviewed. I found an interesting article:

Cain and Abel, Meet the Couch

One of the things I thought was interesting is looking at sibling relationships as perhaps the longest relationships we'll have in our lives. And although the examples were depressing and about highly dysfunctional families, I did think it was helpful to use the term "historians" for siblings.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Couple More Cute, Quick Stories

Today I was watching the kids play on these "cars" the person who used to own our house left for them. After a while, M pulled his car up next to K's and said, "Do you want to have a conversation?"

Also, G told me that a few days ago when they were visiting with G's sister, M cleaned up his "dirty joke" for his aunty. M and K have this ongoing joke they tell at home. It is simply:

"Poo poo in the egg!" Followed by giggling.

Our rule is that they can stay stuff like that at home, when we don't have guests, but that they may not talk about things like pee and poop in front of others, or when we are out and about. So, to his aunty, M said:

"Aunty B...bubble in the egg!" Followed by giggling.

It's impossible not to laugh at a beginner joke teller who thinks his jokes are hilarious, so she laughed. But she really appreciated the humor later when G told her that this was a cleaned up "dirty joke."

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sweet Big Brother Moment

With two kids eleven months apart in age, there can definitely be moments of sibling rivalry, fighting, and all the rest.

But then there are these incredibly sweet and tender moments when I remember that my kids are truly best friends too, and that they love each other dearly.

Ever since M's birthday party at the firestation, almost every day, the kids have wanted to read the fire-safety coloring books that the firefighters gave them. There is stuff in there about creating a fire safety plan with your family, including a safe meeting place outside your house.

M has said all kinds of cute things about this, including insisting that our meeting place should actually be at church because that is a good, safe spot LOL. I told him that we had to meet somewhere that he could go by himself, in case mamas couldn't get out of the house. We had decided on the basketball hoop in the driveway we share with our neighbor. That's because we don't want the kids out by the street, and the driveway is a safe distance away from the street, and up a little hill. The hoop is on our neighbor's side of the driveway. Of course, since we normally don't let the kids go out on the driveway without supervision, this was a bit alarming to M. Tonight he asked about K getting out to the meeting spot. He seemed a bit worried until he said with confidence, "I will hold her TIGHT and keep her safe!"

He followed that up with, "When she is four, she can go out by herself like me [if there is a fire]."

They love each other so much!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I'm beginging to worry that the state of Washington is bankrupt. They owe us money. A fair amount. Every week they promise the glitch in their accounting/payments system has been fixed...essentially that the check is in the mail. Every day that envelope fails to appear in our mailbox. This has been going on since February.