Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Spoke too soon

Here we are after my glowing post about my mature boys just a few days ago...

Just got a note from the principal -- Hamslice told everyone in his reading group that they were s_____ readers, and then he curled up on the floor in the back of the room and wouldn't interact with anyone for about an hour.

So, hold off there with the maturation awards. There's still work to do. LOL

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Mid School-Year Check in

So the ongoing saga of my kids in school has been a source of much amusement with my friends and family.  This year Hamslice is in 5th grade, with Little Ham in 4th grade.

The year started out a little rough, with Little Ham finding it hilarious to swear like a sailor and discuss the concept of 'sexiness' in 4th grader lingo, including the phrases "sexy penis" and "sexy butt," punctuated with slaps to the heinies of both girls and boys. The school administration [ahem] frowns on such behavior.

Hamslice, meanwhile, entered the semester like an asteroid entering the atmosphere. Much as he does each year.

As of mid-year we are actually doing OK. Little Ham has figured out that he has the smarts to do all of the work required of him at school, so now he's a little cocky. He has these big diorama projects this year, and he waits until the *very last possible minute* and cranks them out in 5 minutes and gets "A"s.  This has Hambone and I gobsmacked, after years of listening to Hamslice's languid arguments about the theory of school and the appropriateness of the projects and the existential need for dioramas. We had forgotten that the projects can simply "get done" without all the drama.

Hamslice is in all advanced classes but pulling solid Bs - Ds because he fails to see the point of the details in his projects. Or the projects themselves, also what is the point of school. And life. He is testing out at mid high-school levels in all subjects, so we are not super concerned with his grades. It's probably just time for middle school for that one. Or maybe a year in a commune.

The boys are into 'full time brother' mode with just glimmers of transition still. For instance, Little Ham and Hamslice still fight about who gets to go into whose bedroom and when, but Little Ham is sometimes inclined to push too far and then when Hamslice gets mad, Little Ham breaks into gibberish speech and overly defiant behavior.

Little Ham is working hard right now on controlling his silliness. One of his defense mechanisms is to move into a near-manic state where he is just giggles and sillies and not at all able to function. It's a form of helplessness, combined with aggravating behaviors. Pretty neat. So obviously that is our focus right now.

Hamslice has matured an incredible amount this year. It's like a packet of neurons plugged in somewhere in his brain and he is now able to see outside of himself and understand other peoples' feelings and how his actions fit into these feelings. Typical Hamslice, he has lagged behind in this area for years, and then once he gets started figuring it out, he takes off like a rocket.

Our strange little family is a full-fledged unit, and functioning as one. So far so good, but already I see signs that the end of school year update will have some zingers.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Magic of Laughter

I am not sure if this happens in every family, but my family tends to devolve into greedy and ungrateful little monsters over the Holiday season. It has something to do with the anticipation of gifts and the disappointment with the reality of gifts. As we all know, NO GIFT WILL EVER LIVE UP TO THE EXPECTATION OF A CHILD.

Our best move is to open gifts and then immediately leave for a vacation. All the gifts sit in the house untouched while we're gone, and then when we return, they are suddenly fun to play with. I don't get it but it works.

Even with these great strategies, by about the middle of January we had ground to a halt -- there's no sun, it was freeeezing cold outside, everyone was grouchy and we were all mad at each other for every and no reason...

Then we had a bit of magic. Oddly enough it came in the form of tickling. Both boys decided that they liked to be tickled, and we started having these half-hour long tickling matches, where we all poked each other in the bellies and brushed the soles of our feet and of course jammed tiny fingers into the armpits.

The sound of their laughter, real belly laughs, was like medicine for the family. They heard us laugh, they laughed with each other, and the sound healed us.We bonded over the laughter.

Since the laughing, we are doing so well. We are all friendlier with each other and there's less competition for attention from the boys, they each know they can come over for a welcome laughing match and we all grow together.

Note to self: Laughing. Remember that.