What on Your green earth did you invent yellow jackets for?
They completely freak Analise out to the point that she becomes totally unhinged. Because she's more afraid of being left home alone, she moans and hollers, cries and howls for about HALF of the daily walk that we take when we have a break right before lunch. I surely can't WAIT until the first couple of freezes when we don't have to worry about these things anymore. She's become so jumpy, that if she even sees a friendly, little dragonfly, she makes this howl/scream noise that's enough to make me want to crawl out of my skin. I absolutely CANNOT reason with her (and they say that 7 is the "age of reason"...HA!), nor convince her in any way that it's safe to go outside and that even if one of those things bit or stung her, she would live. I have NEVER been stung by one of those things and I've been here a heck of a lot longer than her, but she's not buying it.
Okay, enough about that.
My wonderful mother-in-law called me the other day and said to me, "So, your oven's not working?". It seems she gets the latest messages from our local yahoo freerecycle group and saw my message that asked if anyone wanted to get rid of their toaster oven (until I figure out what to do with...well, you know). So, tonight I actually made COOKIES in the toaster oven she lovingly gave me to use and they were fabulous! I didn't have a teeny pan to put them on so I was talking to my cousin and she suggested I use aluminum foil (duh, I thought to myself, why didn't I think of that) so I could make more than one at a time (I couldn't find anything small enough except Analise's easy bake pan) It worked great! The only thing is, now I think it will take longer to figure out what to do about the oven situation. Oh well, I've bought a little more time!
School is going great! We are getting into a very good routine of keeping the little ones busy while the biggers are rolling along with their books and studies. Katrina really likes her new math program (I urge you to check it out! She really likes the explanations at the beginning of each lesson and we haven't even seen the cd-rom lessons yet because our cd-rom needs to be replaced) Matty's math won't be ready until this December so we are using his 4th grade MCP book that he never started last year because he had been a year behind in math anyway. He's really good at basic facts, but he lacks the patience for longer problems and word problems. Our doing the Mad Minute every morning is working wonders for their basic fact recall! Especially since we chart their progress every day and they can see how much better they do from day to day.
I give them a lot of credit for doing all of their work and not complaining much about the noise that Niklaus and Mari make (even though I TRY to keep them occupied). I joke with them that, "I'll bet your friends in school don't have the extra challenge of all of this NOISE while they're trying to do their school work!". Trina just laughs and puts Mari on her desk while Mari "helps" her do her math problems. She is like a school mascot and keeps us laughing.
Niklaus has been pretty good and is calming down juuuuuuust a tad (the playdoh has helped). He comes up with the craziest stories. I've come to the conclusion that if I DID send him to pre-school, the teachers would be calling me for daily conferences or maybe even questioning my parenting skills for the following reasons:
1. He often says nonsense words that he thinks are hilariously funny and repeats them until the kids scream, "STOP!" then he laughs and says it one more time.
2. He has an imaginary friend named "Dah-doo-beeder". Say it really fast, I'm not sure how it's spelled so I had to spell it out phonetically so you can see how funny it sounds when he says it. He used to say that word when he was just learning to talk and we never knew what it meant. Since he started watching Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, he learned of such things and now that word is actually a name for his "imaginary friend". He knows there's no such thing but we humor the attention that he gets and loves by asking him what Dadoobeeder looks like, what size he is, what he likes to do, etc.. When there is an empty chair, or the horse at the store is not being sit upon and things like that, a little light will go on in his head and he'll say, "Hey! Dadoobeeder is sitting there!" or "It's Dadoobeeders turn!". He laughs because he knows he's just being funny and that's what I like about it. He reminds me a lot of my brother, Pete. He is full of beans most of the time and has lots and lots of really long, involved stories to tell.
3. Because of his VERY active imagination, his stories can get really scary. Today, for instance, we walked past a dog that had an invisible fence. I knew this but Niklaus didn't and he freaked out when the dog stopped short about 4 feet away from us and started barking REALLY LOUD! So, after we passed the "danger zone" and the dog stopped barking, we discussed "dog safety" like how you shouldn't run up to a stranger dog, or run away from them. So, Niklaus started telling me this story about how...
"One time, this doggie was chasing Matty and he was so scared and crying and I had to go get him so I grabbed a knife and I poked the doggie with the knife and I KILLED him and there was blood EVERYWHERE and Matty was so happy that the doggie was dead and it couldn't get him anymore!"
Um. "Niklaus! Was that a dream?"
(smiles sheepishly) "Yeah, it was a dream and it was SO SCARY!"
I SWEAR I don't let him watch the nightly news. I never have let him watch anything more violent than spongebob. He is not exposed to violent video games or any kind of violence at all. I think he hears bits and pieces of news stories that the bigger kids talk about, or maybe hears bits of stories on the radio that I have on in the morning and that fuels his imagination? Whatever the cause of his overactive imagination, can YOU imagine what other people (i.e. pre-school teachers) would think about some of this stuff? Okay, lest you think he is hopelessly weird, I have to tell you that he is fiercely protective of my belly button region and tells Mari all the time, "Don't jump on my baby brother!" and tickles the baby through my belly button, and covers my belly with a blanket so the baby will be nice and comfy. No, I don't know if it's a boy or a girl but apparently he does. I used to think he lives in another world and doesn't pay attention, but really I see that he pays SUPER attention to a lot of things and is really, hyper-aware of things most people aren't. I swear, if there's a crane (or any kind of large machinery) within view (even if it's 20 miles away), he'll spy it and tell everyone all about it.
Here is a pic of the kids that I took yesterday during 3pm "tea time".
(Notice how Mari just watches her brothers and sisters. Can you imagine having those goofballs to follow and copy everything they do and say? She's learning a lot of things that I maybe wouldn't choose to teach her, but they do add character, that's for sure!)
We read Catechism during this time and I ask them questions. I read a chapter of that book about the periodic table too. Even though they groan and laugh and complain when I whip it out, it's become sort of a joke because it sounds like the most boring book you could ever imagine, but actually...they're learning all kinds of stuff from it (I think they know that, but it's more fun to make fun of it than admit that they secretly like it)! Matty just keeps going on and on about, "when do we get to the part about Mercury? I just like Mercury!".
He's another strange one.