Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Alex and Spencer are Five Years Old Today

At this hour five years ago I was going into an OR to have my babies delivered via emergency c-section.  They were just 24 weeks 3 days old gestationally.  That means they were born 16 weeks early.  It was scary, but I never believed for an instant that I would lose them.  Today they are happy, healthy boys.  They still have some delays, and Alex is on the autism spectrum, but their issues are nothing any parent of full-term babies might deal with.  I am so blessed to have these incredibly strong, wonderful children.  Here's a little photo history of their lives so far.

Alex the night he was born. 18 oz., 12.5 inches
Spencer the night he was born. 17.5 oz., 12.5 inches
The first time I got to hold them both together. They were 11 weeks old.
Ally's hand in mine. He was a week or two old.
Spencer at just over two months, about a month before I got to take him home.
First birthday
Second birthday
Third birthday
Fourth birthday
Fifth birthday - my super boys!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Potty Success

It's two days until Ally's fifth birthday.  We've been working hard on potty training for a couple weeks, putting him on the potty every 20 minutes or so, with no success.  Today we went to see the ophthalmologist up in Albany.  I put him on the potty there and he peed!  Later we went to lunch at a restaurant: he did it again!!  Still later we were shopping at Christmas Tree Shoppes: a third time!!!  We dropped our friend off at her house an hour and a half later: he was still dry and did it a fourth time!!!!  We got home an hour later: still dry and peed in the potty for the fifth time today!!!!!  Five times in five different locations!  Way to ring in your fifth birthday, Ally Bear!  Guess we don't have to worry about him being uncomfortable using the potty in strange places.  Woo hoo!!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

New Gourmet Treat

Spencer was walking around the house this morning singing "Veggie snails, veggie snails, veggies snails, veggie snails."  What's that Spencer?  Soy escargot??

Friday, March 12, 2010

Alex's Newest Spelling Word

Alex spelled a new word on the fridge this evening. I asked him what it says and he sounded it out. I think it was just a coincidence and I don't think he knows what it means, but it is so funny to hear him say it. Maybe he read it on the cover of Cosmo in the check-out line at the grocery store . . . this reading thing could be dangerous!


Alex just pooped on the potty! He'll be five in less than three weeks and I've been kicking myself for not being more consistent with the potty thing. There are plenty of children at the center where I work who are lower functioning than him but are potty trained. I want so badly for him to be trained by September, and I'm afraid the longer we wait to do it the harder it will be. But I think he's ready, I really do. I'm so excited!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sending My Boys to Public School

I called the local elementary school and made appointments for kindergarten registration today. It's hard to believe that Alex and Spencer will be five at the end of this month. Where did the time go? For awhile, probably when they were 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 (the worst of the younger years, IMHO) I wished that they would stop growing so fast and be my babies for a little longer. Now I'm really enjoying their growth and learning. We have so much fun together now. They understand so much more and are curious, funny, and so smart.

I'm a little worried about what public school will do to them. As I've learned in my educational administration studies, public schools were created in part to socialize our children into the particular beliefs and values of our culture. Intentional or not, schools have a homogenizing effect on our nation's children. I don't ever want Alex and Spencer to lose their individuality, don't ever want them to become uncomfortable with being who they are. I don't want them to be afraid to admit that they don't know something and ask questions. I don't want them to feel that they have to pretend to like something because if they don't they'll be "weird". We are a family of wierdos and we try to let them know every day that it's wonderful that they are unique. I hope that message will ring stronger for them than any message they might get at school.

There is also such a strong focus on standards and assessments now and that worries me. School should not be all about learning facts and skills. Children need to retain their thirst for knowledge, their creativity, imagination, and ability to think for themselves. I don't want my children to grow up to be people who need someone to tell them what to do. I want them to grow up to be people who think outside the box, who question and challenge, who explore and create. Critical thinking and autonomy are lost when children are told what to do and how to do it all day every day. Unfortunately our nation has become so focused on outcomes and competition in the global economy (which are important, I agree) that raising children who are great thinkers is neglected.

So here we go on the adventure of public education. I have a feeling I'll be a very involved parent! Like every mom, I want my children to live to their fullest potential, and I'll do everything I can to help them be the best possible people they can be.