Superboy School

In Belgium, it’s the norm for a child to be in school by Liam’s age. You can actually enter school at 2 and a half. We’ve tried this with Liam a couple times, but he didn’t really get much out of it. He learns far more at home one-on-one with me. True, at his age it’s not necessary, or even good, for him to be sitting down and doing lessons like a mini-scholar. But in the two? months he went to school after Harry was born, he lost so much of the ground we’d already covered. He was sounding out simple words a few months ago, and now he has problems again with some letter recognition. Part of that is my fault — I slacked off assuming he’d be getting the letter/number exposure in school.

We decided some time ago to homeschool, but the exposure to French he’d get in a local school occasionally pulled me in another direction. However, the more research we did into the school system here, the more we realized that our reasons for wanting to homeschool in the states hold here as well. The “system” works the same pretty much the world over. Unless we want to fork out mega-mula to send him to a great private school somewhere, we homeschool.

So now the planning begins in earnest. Liam and I will be starting, officially, with a two year kindergarten program when we get moved into the new house. We’ll start no later than April 1st. The actual “school” part of the day will take up only an hour or so — Liam’s real business will be about playing and getting grimy and exploring his world, which is what I think will benefit a four year old boy most. For now we’re doing lots of reading, life skills, letter recognition games, number games, tons and tons and tons of pretend play.

Liam’s been working on learning to pour. This picture is from day one, hence the water coming from the milk box and the absorbent pad to soak up any spills. He’s now an old pro and gets his breakfast with only a slightly watchful eye from Mama. He also gets his own snacks and juice boxes out of the refrigerator.

Working with his magnetic pattern blocks. This was a great find, Grandma M! He spends a lot of time with these and other hands-on type toys. Note the closed doors to the television behind him. We have a new rule in the house — the television goes off at 8:30AM, can come on briefly while he has lunch, and doesn’t come back on until 4PM. I’d eventually like to simply keep the doors shut all day, and just reserve TV for an evening thing. But baby steps. I don’t need a revolt on my hands.

I wash, he rinses.

Cute Harry photo. *

Last week we got a surprise in the mail — belated Christmas gifts from Aunt Sue. Liam’s was a Superhero kit. As you can see, he’s pretty pleased with his plunder. Thanks, Aunt Sue!

Remember above I mentioned the pretend play? There was a time I actually worried that Liam didn’t spend enough time pretending, that I wasn’t encouraging him to use his imagination, that somehow something was stifling his creativity. Ummmm, yeah. So, he spends half of his day pretending he’s a superhero, or a character out of a book, or a movie, or playing elaborate make believe games involving race cars and pirate ships. And playing ball with a tennis ball and oven mitts. What, you don’t stand around and play catch with oven mitts? Then you don’t have a four year old boy.

Another cute Harry photo. *

So despite the fact that Liam isn’t in school already, learning to stand in line and raise his hand and deal with bullies (I actually had someone tell me that was a reason to send my kids to school, so they’d learn to deal with the bullies in the class. I have a better solution: make your kids behave.) he’s learning lots and loving his life.

* It may seem that Harry spends all his time in the swing, seeing as those are the only photos you seem to see. While he does really love the swing, I assure you that he actually spends most of his time being carried, coddled, playing with us, etc. But it’s difficult to take a picture of a baby when he’s in your arms, you know?

4 months and all is well

Monday we had Harry’s four month well-baby checkup. He is now 66 cm in length (26 inches) and 6.8 kilos (15 pounds). The doc gave me some cream and hypoallergenic soap because of his eczema, but that’s about it. As you might expect, Harry did NOT enjoy his shots. Luckily, Jesse was there to hold him during the shots — I had to do that myself at two months and it’s really tough for me — I hate needles probably more than the kids do. Speaking of which, Liam had to have one vaccine while we were there. It’s the first he’s had to have as a “big” kid. He did a great job, took the shot like a man with no crying whatsoever, and thirty seconds later was laughingly going through the selection of toys he could choose as a reward for a job well done. He chose a superball, which has elicited more joy than you can possibly imagine.

Developmentally Harry is right on track, as we knew all along. I find I stress the milestones much less with Harry than I did with Liam — it’s just not that important, I now know, whether he first rolls over at four months or at six. Speaking of which…. Harry rolled over for the first time today. He’s been oh-so-close for the last few days, getting nearly there but never being quite able to sort out the lower arm conundrum. Today he managed to pull his arm out from underneath him and complete the roll. It was funny to see how very pleased he was with himself. No pictures from that moment, but here he is yesterday:

I can’t decide which picture I like better:

How about a close-up:

Liam and I now have a deal that he must dress himself in the morning. So here he is in his choice for yesterday: crocs with no socks, and his Bob the Builder pajamas. Whatever. We weren’t going anywhere, and he was clean. We did enough battling, I can assure you, and insisting on jeans and a t-shirt wasn’t an important enough battle to pick. Here Liam, aka Spiderman, is shooting webs at the camera.

Christmas 2007

A few pictures from Christmas Day. First Liam dancing with joy when he realizes there are presents under the tree.

Harry excitedly watching the festivities. Note how I’ve cropped the picture down so as not to show my incredibly tired and haggard looking face.

Liam modeling one of his favorites of the day. Despite the lack of smiling in this picture, he was actually very taken with his plunder.

Opening the big box from Grandma M, which I promised to wrap and did not. He couldn’t have cared less. Actually, I think he rather enjoyed unloading the box himself. After he got rid of the boring old baby clothes, that is!

I think he’s pleased, don’t you?

Harry enjoying a new toy.

Next up, flowers from Grandma B to ring in the New Year. Not, apparently, at all what she ordered, but beautiful nonetheless. This seems to happen every year, that she orders one thing, and the florists somewhere along the way take advantage of that “or item of similar value” disclaimer to completely change her intentions.

Harry just enjoying the day and enjoying sitting on his Daddy’s lap.

Perhaps Liam’s favorite “gift” this holiday season came when Jesse turned over an old pair of glasses for his use. Here’s a glimpse into the future, showing what Liam will look like in a few years’ time.

Happy New Year, everyone!