February 19, 2011

Assorted Updates

I feel like we have a whole bunch of unfinished conversations going!

I've done two things for my resolution to act on generous impulses. Actually, it's been three, but I've already forgotten one. One of the ones I remember is that I impulsively ordered a box of chocolates for someone else while placing my own order. The other was weirder: I ordered a shirt for a classmate of Elizabeth's. The story on that is that it was on a really good clearance and I was ordering it in pink for Elizabeth because it's one of those fake-vintage-ad shirts and the name in the ad happens to be her aunt's name (my brother's wife, not Paul's sister). The shirt also came in purple, and the name of Elizabeth's aunt is the same as the name of Elizabeth's friend and classmate who LOVES purple and often comes dressed fully in purple. Boy, that's a long story. Anyway, it felt like a weird thing to order the shirt for someone else's child, but I referenced the resolution and DID IT. Then I held onto the shirt for two weeks, fretting about how to phrase the note I'd send with it to the parents I haven't met. Finally I did it, and got a very nice note back from the child's mother, and so that was a pleasing thing and I'm glad I did it.


I DID register Henry for preschool, and I feel happy about the decision. We recently finished paying off our 11-year-old minivan (sigh), and the amount of that payment will significantly assist us in making the preschool payment.

Elizabeth thinks it's HIGH TIME Henry was CIVILIZED


There are STILL no more baby fish, so either I'm wrong about the pregnant females or else something has gone wrong with those pregnancies. I'd place my bet on the former, except that they look JUST LIKE the photos I saw online of pregnant platys, and not all the females in the tank look that way: the two I think are pregnant are about twice the thickness in the tum area, plus they have dark marks at the back of the tum, which are supposed to be indicators of pregnancy (the more you know! *shimmer sound*). So what I'm hoping for is that everything is FINE but that I'm wrong about how soon the babies are supposed to be born.

I can't believe I'm pacing the waiting room over BABY FISH.


I found all the comments on whether to let William quit the clarinet SO HELPFUL. I waited until he was trapped with me in the car, and then I basically told him all the options you guys mentioned, from "quit altogether" to "stick it out," with all the options in between, and all the pros and cons of each option (he loved this, of course) (I activated the child-safe locks on the doors first). I told him I want him to get enough exposure to music to know if he likes it or not. He said it's the clarinet he hates, not music in general, and that he wants to take keyboard next year (it's offered starting in fifth grade, AFTER a year of other music lessons), and that he's not particular interested in any of the other instruments he'd be able to switch to this year.

So we decided our goal was to get him through this year so that he can do keyboard next year. In order to accomplish that, and in order to make me feel all right about him keeping commitments (I was frank with him that that was an issue), he will spend half an hour a day (where "a day" is understood by both of us to mean "four or five times a week, not seven") Doing Music. His options are: (1) Sit in front of his music book with his hands on the clarinet, but I won't nag him to produce sounds; (2) Actually practice the clarinet; (3) Play our keyboard; (4) Play the recorder; (5) Some other thing, if either of us thinks of something---such as listening to classical albums, or looking on YouTube at videos of people playing instruments.

This has been a moderate success. On one hand, we no longer have to fight about music practice, and he complies right away when I tell him it's time to do it instead of dissolving into despair. On the other hand, he never ever never ever goes and does it without me telling him to, and I am too scattered to remember it more than, say, twice a week. So a recent modification was that I warned him that it was to his advantage to remember to do it himself: if he remembers, say, 2-4 times a week, I'll feel like he's taking care of it and likely won't notice he isn't doing it as often as agreed; if he never remembers, I'll feel like I need to make a chart that ENSURES he does it four or more times per week.


Elizabeth's finger is doing well. We probably should have put the big piece of gauze + several bandaids thing on it to begin with, because I think that's what effectively stopped the bleeding. The next day I just left the bandage on, but it fell off on the bus ride home so I got a look at the cut and it looked fine: nice and clean and healing. I put on a fresh bandaid with no gauze pad.

When my dad read the post, he reminded me that he's available to help in such situations: he's been a workshop guy since childhood, and says that you can't do that for decades without getting accustomed to evaluating cuts. He says it's easier to evaluate if you look while running cold water over it---which also helps it to stop bleeding. I'll stop now before anyone (including me) starts feeling woozy, but wanted to pass along the tip.


Review blog stuff: GE Ecomagination, with two giveaways of a FIFTY-DOLLAR twenty-year light bulb. It's a two-week entry period with one light bulb given away per week, and right now there are not many entries so the chances are still pretty good. I'd use it myself, but it would also be such a good gift for someone who ruins holidays by saying they don't want any more crap.


StephLove said...

I was wondering about the clarinet. Thanks for the update.

So what happens when he goes to his lesson without having practiced? Maybe he doesn't tell you so you don't know, but my son (who has to be nagged like crazy to do homework) plays his instrument willingly and frets over every wrong note. He wants to play every song without error twice through before he thinks he's finished with practice for the night and cries when he makes a mistake. We have a little pre-practice catechism now. "Will you make mistakes?" "Yes." "Is it okay to make mistakes?" "Yes." "Will you cry and scream when you make a mistake?" "Probably...but I shouldn't?" is how he answered last night.

Jess said...

Maybe the third generous impulse was the purple baby stuff you sent us from Target? Because that was awesome, and CERTAINLY generous.

Nowheymama said...

My word verification is "water"!!! Hi, fishies!

I love your music practice ideas and will steal them.

Also, I love Elizabeth's hair. I need another haircutting pep talk because I really should do the kids' hair at home. But I'm a big chicken.

Swistle said...

StephLove- I am wondering about that, too! What I'm hoping for is what some of the commenters mentioned: that his teacher's negative reaction to his obvious lack of practicing will motivate him to practice.

Swistle said...

Nowheymama- Haircutting is WEIRD. I've been doing it since Rob was a baby, and I still get a little anxious about it each time. It helped me that my mom cut our hair, so it didn't seem so foreign. I also watched the stylist carefully. I also got a book out of the library, but it was overwhelming and unhelpful--EXCEPT for the thing it said about scissor cuts: that I should be pulling out each section of hair so it's perpendicular to the head before cutting it. (That's for boy hair and for girl bangs.) My main anxiety-soother is thinking I can always take the child right over to the salon and get it fixed. My other anxiety-soother is remembering how I got Rob and William's hair cut at a salon once and I liked it LESS than how I did it---and I still had to tidy it up a bit over the next few days, just like when I cut it.

Rah said...

Thanks for all the updates. I'm wondering about Elizabeth's cut finger.

Swistle said...

Rah- Oh, good one! I'll add that!

Nik-Nak said...

Can I just say I love Elizabeth? She's so cute and from the recent pictures looks like she might have a quirky and humorous personality.

Could we maybe get an update on how all of your childrens personalities are progressing? I'm obsessed with thinking about how my daughter is now compared to how she ll be in say, five years.

CAQuincy said...

Thanks for the updates--I was just wondering about the clarinet issue the other day! I'm glad you've met a compromise. I hope William takes well to keyboard next year.

velocibadgergirl said...

The purple shirt sounds like a really great random-act-of-generosity gift :)

I love that photo of Elizabeth and am glad her finger is okay!

JeannetteLS said...

I felt as if I got an instant glimpse of you--I'm a recent follower. When I read the caption of Elizabeth's longing for Henry's civilization. 'Good luck with that,' I thought. I remembered my ten-year-old son's pockets full of nameless goopy filth... of his contest with a friend at who could flick a certain bit of something from a facial part the farthest, as I walked into the living room and was HIT. He was FIFTEEN then. At least he had the decency to be embarrassed. And tales of clarinet lessons and practicing.

Yup, it all takes me back. So as you await the birth of your goldfish, I'll keep struggling with PAINTING my orange fish... I hope that you are right about the pregnancies.

This entry was lots of fun Swistle who rhymes with Whistle. I am enjoying your blog.

Christina said...

I love love love the picture of Elizabeth looking at Henry. As an older sister to a younger brother I totally understand.

And for future reference and for NoWheyMama -- I also am a home hair cutter. Recenlty I discovered YOUTUBE videos for all diff. hair cutting styles/tips. Check it out!!

Stimey said...

1. Love that you got the shirt. I think those random kindnesses are wonderful. And there was an obvious reason behind it, not just, "here's a shirt," feel free to assume that I think your child is woefully badly dressed.

2. That picture of your kids. Oh, that's the best.

3. I regularly want to use "the more you know" in a post, but have never managed to figure out how to do it to evoke that multicolored star. You nailed it here. Kudos, ma'am.

4. I GUARANTEE you that if I had a lightbulb that was supposed to last for twenty years, I would break it within five minutes of screwing it in.

CARRIE said...

I think the "buying the shirt for classmate" thing was cool. I wish I wasn't so cheap that buying something for someone else (or even myself) was like a mortal sin (in my head). I know I would be thrilled and amazed at someone's generosity if they did that for my kid.

Jen said...

I take back everything I said about your fish not being pregnant. She looks REALLY pregnant. Although you shouldn't ask me because I just found seven baby fish in my tank and all my fish that looked pregnant before still look pregnant and the ones that didn't ... still don't. So don't ask me. Not that you did.

Kelsey said...

I have an ongoing resolution to "obey kind impulses" which are not always the same as generous impulses but share a certain spirit, I think. I love the shirt thing - but I would have probably had the same concerns over whether someone would perceive it as strange vs. awesome. (For the record I would have thought awesome).

I like the clarinet resolution - I wonder if he has any trouble w/ it on the school end and maybe that will up the motivation to practice? (I mean, I hope a grade school band instructor wouldn't be too hard on the kids, but I remember how I hated to feel unprepared for my piano lessons.)

Glad the finger is okay. The only stitches experience we have was a pretty clear cut case of forehead split wide open - not too deep or too much blood, but definitely not going to heal with a band aid. Sorry if that made you woozy.

I'll be excited to hear how preschool goes for Henry. Loved that photo.