Friday, February 17, 2017

A Budding Rock Star

One of the very first things Little Ham told me about himself when he arrived here is this: "I am not going to college because I want to be a rock star when I am an adult."

And so I took that statement just as seriously as any parent would, primarily filing it away for later. But we've been watching Little Ham and have noticed that he knows how to (ahem) project his voice and really control tone.

Fast forward to January of this year, there was a poster for the Maryland State Boys Choir in the school lobby. I asked Little Ham if he wanted to participate, and received an emphatic "YES".

The audition was nerve wracking for him because he knows absolutely nothing about music, but they admired his lower voice (a full octave lower than the other kids, due to his.... ongoing vocal exercises at home...) and willingness to learn.

He had his first rehearsal on Saturday and said it was a "10 out of 10" positive experience. He even did his music theory homework yesterday without complaint.

He really does want to be a singer. It's amazing to watch. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Little Potty Humor

My little men have been having trouble lately with remembering to flush the toilet after using it. It's more than just a little annoyance because there are some toilets that only they use, and if neither flushes... well you get the picture.

In the spirit of creative problem solving, Hambone suggested that each boy make a sign to hang on the wall behind these kid toilets to remind them to flush.

The boys set to work immediately. Through the walls we heard Hamslice start mocking Little Ham about how he spelled "flush."

We walked in to find these two signs, one of them creatively spelled "Foosh" (where the Os became the eyes of the character in the drawing). That one was Little Ham's, and he hastily scrawled an "L" into Foosh to correct the spelling.

I then looked at Hamslice's spelling masterpiece, which simply said, "Flosh."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

So. Many. Questions

Since Little Ham has started to uncoil, he has been asking the pressing questions that nobody has been there to answer so far in his life. And there are a lot of things he wants to know. Thousands of questions, ranging in magnitude from word definitions to "Why does Ellen DeGeneres dress like a man?"

We have deeply enjoyed watching him learn and piece together his world into a more meaningful structure than the incongruous, fractured world of a lonely child. He is able to piece a few things together now on his own and his fear is less because life is starting to make sense.

We're rooting for him, and have lots of answers for his many questions.

Hang in there Little Ham!

Friday, December 16, 2016

There Goes Santa Claus *snif*

I suspect this is the last year of believing in Santa for the boys. They were so excited at the beginning of the holiday season about Santa and being really good and all of that great Santa stuff, however it seems to be wearing off.

Probably some of it is my fault -- Little Ham put out a list for Santa of over $2000 worth of stuff, so "Santa" wrote back and said something along the lines of "I'll bring you joy but not all this crap."

And I see that Santa is real when the boys want something, but when "Santa can see you [doing that naughty thing]" then Santa doesn't exist.

The Elf on the Shelf is getting it square in the teeth. I heard the boys yesterday, discussing how they are pretty sure that Dad moves the Elf every morning before work. "It's either Dad or Mom moving it, for sure."

When people look at your 3 year olds and say, "They grow up so fast," I never really understood that because the little teeny kid phase seems to last forever when you're in it. Now that it's fading, it seems like it was only a heartbeat.

Where does it all go.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Turkey Trot - a story of success and other things.

Thanksgiving morning this year brought Mom to the kitchen and Dad (and the boys) plus Neighbor T to the Baltimore City Turkey Trot 5K run.

There was a great deal of complaining from all three guys, but they dutifully headed out so I could cook Thanksgiving dinner. The race went smoothly (ish) depending on which of our sons you ask, but none the worse for wear.

As my weary racers approached the car to go home, Hamslice tripped over a chunk of concrete and went careering into a ditch. A major cement burn to the face, a black eye and two black knees later, Hamslice arrived home, still sniffling and needing a lot of TLC.

In all of the excitement about Hamslice, nobody really paid attention to the race standings (really with our un-athletic family, who would?) but we should have.

Little Ham had the fastest time in the entire Male 9 and under category for the race. Amazing!! He ran his first 5K with a final time of 29:20

We sent a note to Little Ham's running coach to let her know. We are so proud of him. AND he is proud of himself, which is also really, really good.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Roadside Chat

This week on Monday, Little Ham refused to get out of the car to go to school. Like... refused. We were in the drop-off zone and he wouldn't budge. It was a new one for me, so I dug deep for a way to handle it. I said this foolishness: "If you won't go to school, then there must be a big problem so we are going to sit here in the driveway and talk about your feelings all day 'till we get to the bottom of it."

And so we sat. We watched all the other parents drop off their kids and saw the buses zoom by until we were all alone. And we sat some more. 45 minutes ticked by.

Finally Little Ham started talking. And talking. and talking. He emptied his poor heart to me, and I felt for the first time that we were connecting as parent and child. He said he is feeling overwhelmed by the new school, and that he is worried every minute of the day that Hamslice is stealing his Pokemon cards, and  and and...

So we devised a plan where we would get him a safe for his room with a combination that only he knows. I also promised to talk to the school administration RIGHT AWAY to make sure they are helping him. We also talked about locks for bedroom doors and other things we can do to solve some of these problems.

That very day Hambone went and bought safes for both kids. I marched right into the school as well and relayed this most urgent request.

The immediate action made an impression on Little Ham. And now he talks to me about lots of other things instead of just asking for hugs and kisses all the time. We are ... connecting.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Normal people advice

Hamslice asked a few weeks ago to see his old therapist -- said he had a things he wanted to talk with her about, so yesterday was his appointment. At the end, the therapist had us both sit together and talk about how things are going in our family.

Hamslice had ideas that he wanted to spend more time with Mom and less with Little Ham, and maybe some time with Dad too.

The therapist then started asking me "what hobbies and activities do you do together with your children" and for the life of me I couldn't think of a thing. The session then turned a little judgey and uncomfortable for me. Hamslice had several ideas of things we could do together, and I was thrilled to hear his thoughts.

Of course the first thing I did was come home and yell at Hambone "Why don't we do anything with our kids!" and his response was "like what."  And of course that didn't help. It just meant that he wouldn't have been helpful in the session either.

I've been rolling this over and over in my head, and I think it's like last year when the school administration told me to "stop helicopter parenting" and I was so overjoyed that they felt that *I* was the problem (and not Hamslice). Maybe this little judgement session was a sign that our family is finally ready to start having hobbies and living like a normal group of people.

If you think about it, we have not been able to do *any* family activities as of yet due to the behavior issues we have had before us. Anywhere we went was met with fury and tantrums from one or both boys. And Hamslice's refusal to enjoy any activity prior to Little Ham's arrival, well that has been lifelong.

So, now, are we free to try things? Actual activities? fun?

Sounds too good to be true, but I'm game.