Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Where we are at the moment

I just chatted with my mom for the first time in a while (hard to connect schedules with a 12-hour time difference!), and I realized how much the blog used to keep her up to date. We were on the phone for almost an hour, catching up on all that's happening here...because for the first time in years, she didn't already know from the blog! Since I've privatized and split my content, I just don't get the comprehensive coverage I used to get in here. I thought I'd do a little update of random tidbits, so you have the latest too.

Stephanie's sleeping has improved greatly since we moved her back to her own room. She loves the Sandra Boynton books, just like Ellie did at this age. She can't seem to get enough of "What's Wrong, Little Pookie?" and "Moo, Baa, La La La." We usually read them three times each. She still adores the Carl books by Alexandra Day and "Good Night, Gorilla" by Peggy Rathmann, too. After she and I read her (multiple) stories, she lays down, I turn out the light...and then she pushes snuggly me away, announcing she wants Papa to do her bedtime. This happens almost every night. Sneaky thing! This way, she gets double the storytime, double the lovin' and snuggles. She is awfully cute, and we can't seem to deny her anything. We also remember that Ellie went through this phase too at about the same age.

Ellie was once again worn down and out by school this term. I'm still trying to find the right balance. She loves it and in many ways, it's very good for her...but Ellie's need for perfection will make things hard for her every time. Ever since she was a baby, she hasn't wanted to demonstrate anything until she has mastered it. This makes school stressful for her, but we know trying to protect her from this part of herself is futile and counterproductive. We just have to help her balance. So far, I've been trying to do that by not doing any "teaching" at home. She was so interested in sounds at age 2 that she knew almost half of the alphabet, phonetically, flawlessly. I expected her to take off with reading within weeks of entering the Montessori environment, so I've been surprised that she still isn't a reader. I have been even more surprised that she seems to have lost skill rather than gained it. Her phonemic awareness is less now than it was then, which was a shock to me when I realized it yesterday as we played a game I had made. I think I'm going to shift gears on the way I help her balance, and I'm going to do more "teaching" at home. I didn't do so before because I thought it would push her (not my goal), but now I think she may actually enjoy it because it will help her sense of mastery and satisfy her need for perfection. We'll see. Everything with Ellie can be a grand experiment. She is our first, yes, but she's also quite unique in many ways all her own.

The house move has stagnated. We receive a housing allowance, so we have to get permission to move (not the wording they use, but effectively true). Although Markus submitted the necessary paperwork weeks ago, we were informed after I'd already seen a dozen houses that they would process our information and let us know in four weeks or so...at which point I threw up my hands and tossed in the towel. The current lease doesn't expire until the end of August, and we have tentative permission to stay beyond that date. Yes, we have to move, but we aren't yet allowed to move. It's all kind of crazy, so I've adopted the Scarlett O'Hara approach: I'll think about it tomorrow.
Last week, my girlfriend Nicole found us a great house in Nedlands (a town next to Claremont). The owners seemed very nice, but they were debating whether to sell or continue renting. They assured me that the resolution will be long-term, so if they do continue to rent out, they will use it as an investment property for the next 10+ years. He said he needed time to decide and also to change real estate companies. I plan to give him a call on Wednesday to see what he's thinking.

I think that about covers the broader subjects. What's new with you?

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