Right after we woke up yesterday morning Fritz accidentally hit my eyeball with his fingernail. He left behind a little scratch. Ouch.
Nine hours later the pain was worse, my eye was still very red and wouldn’t stop watering, and my vision was extremely blurry so Jamie called the eye doctor and off we went. The bad news: My eyeball was scratched. The good news: It was only scratched through the first layer. So now I am on eye drops to soothe my eye as needed and antibiotic eyedrops four times a day.
Tonight my vision is basically back to normal. My eye is no longer red and watery and I don’t feel like I have sand in my eye anymore. It’s still a little sore, but not too bad. And every time Fritz’s fingers get near my face I shut my eyes up tight!
My cousins and aunt came over yesterday to celebrate Christmas. My cousin is a teacher. She teaches special ed. I was telling her about how difficult it is to teach Cameron because he is so vastly different from Ani. So we had him count for her. Right away she noticed he was moving his fingers as he recited numbers. She held his hands and he did have quite a bit more trouble counting out loud and really fought having his hands held. She said he is definitely a kinesthetic learner. He identified the letters A, B, and C, but was able to write letters much, much easier than seeing a letter and telling me what it is. He showed her his awesome Science Stuff box Santa brought and made some letters with Wiki Sticks and explained and showed her why he couldn’t make an A with just one stick. He wrote his name pretty easily when we talked him through or showed him in the air what the next letter was. He wants to learn to read, but letters and their sounds don’t make a lot of sense to him by themselves and he learns best by doing and listening, NOT by seeing.
We put a mattress on the floor of the library and Cameron showed everyone how he jumps and flips. My 13 year old cousin is a gymnast and she worked with Cameron a bit and showed him how to do some things. We had hesitated putting Cameron in any gymnastics classes because he prefers to do his own thing (though my cousin said several years ago that was the only complaint the coaches had about her daughter and today she is at the gym 36 hours a week and is very disciplined). But, Cameron really listened to his cousin and did what she said to do. So we are strongly considering gymnastics classes for him after his science and woodworking class is over.
My cousin asked me if he likes to jump down stairs. Of course he does and he does it often. She suggested having him jump down the stairs WHILE he is saying letters and sounds. She suggested making letters of “dinosaur bones” and burying them and having him be a paleontologist and dig them up. We got Cameron an alphabet punch set and she said to let him use that as much as he wants to learn the letters. Anything that gets his whole body engaged in learning is what he needs. She is a big fan of Handwriting Without Tears. I am not especially. It wasn’t great for Ani. She strongly suggested we get it for Cameron. Perhaps it would be better for Ani now (she has pretty bad handwriting). It’s worth a try.
For my brother’s family I made a quilt called Child’s Play. 30 blocks have opposite matches, 2 blocks are identical, 1 block is solid colored, and 1 block has no match at all. Also, the 19 letters that appear in their names are embroidered into the centers of some of the squares.
We finished our Christmas in… unit this morning. Now we’ll take off a couple weeks or so from formal school. Not that the Christmas in… unit has been all that formal.
We read the book over the course of the week. This one is a little different from the others. On Monday we read the last chapter which is about how Christmas is celebrated in Bethlehem. The rest of the week we worked our way through the Nativity story. It was very interesting to read the scriptural version followed by an explanation and historical perspective starting with Mary learning she’d be mothering the baby Jesus and ending with Joseph, Mary, and young Jesus settling in Nazareth. It was a lovely story to learn in depth the week before Christmas.
We made a Christmas wreath. It’s basically a rice crispy treat made with corn flakes and green food coloring. Of course I couldn’t have any (and I LOVE rice crispy treats) since Fritz is sensitive to corn (and so the corn flakes and the corn syrup in the marshmallows).
The kids insisted they needed to put a candle in the center of the wreath which meant they needed a huge glob of the stuff right in the center. Somewhere in there it really is somewhat a wreath shape. The kids were so proud of it, though, since they did the shaping all by themselves.
And then there were the candy cane cookies that weren’t. We decided to try to alter the candy cane cookie recipe so I could eat them. This was apparently a bad idea. The kids made the cookies with their dad. Instead of butter (Fritz is sensitive to dairy) they used coconut oil. Instead of egg (another food Fritz is sensitive to) they used oil and baking powder. And then there was the problem of not having red food coloring. In one of his exploration experiments Cameron used up the red food coloring. And the blue. And the green was used up on the wreath. So that left a little bit of yellow. So the two colors of dough were pale yellow and not so pale yellow. So far so good. The batter tasted pretty good. Pale yellow dough was flavored almond, not so pale yellow dough was flavored peppermint.
But then we discovered a problem. Jamie tried making snakes out a bit of each type of dough and then making it into a cane shape. The dough sort of made snakes decent enough, but it broke when he tried to form it into a cane. So he decided candy sticks it would have to be. The kids chose to make cookie patties instead of canes or even sticks. And so the cookies were baked and they didn’t turn out half bad despite not being red and white and not being shaped like candy canes.
It’s been fun learning about Christmas in Ireland, the Philippines, Poland, and the Holy Land. I’m looking forward to learning about Christmas in four more places next year. In among learning about Christmas in those countries, we learned to sing the first verse of Adeste Fideles (in Latin) and Ani has learned to play a simplified version of We Three Kings. And now we look forward to a week at the zoo (aka my parents’ house packed with us, my parents, siblings and their spouses, nieces and nephew, and uncle – 16 people in all).
One of our fish died a few days ago. The big kids noticed it at the bottom of the fishtank. They asked me if they could get the net and scoop it out. Cameron actually jumped in the air and said “Woohoo!” when I told them they could. So Cameron got the net and scooped out the dead fish and dropped it in the toilet and Ani flushed. They thought it was great fun flushing a dead pet. My kids are so weird.
Cloth diapers have come a really long way since my mom was folding and pinning and covering with plastic pants. For that matter they’ve come a long way since Ani was born almost 7 years ago. By the time Ani and Cameron potty trained I had fallen in love with Fuzzi Bunz. Back then they were a bit different than they are today and only came in white.
We used prefolds and Bumkins covers on Fritz for his first nearly four months. Then he got a bit too wiggly for them and not too patient during diaper changes so over the last couple months we tried out lots of different diapers. Most of them were pocket diapers. Some of them were okay, some were good, some were great. Fuzzi Bunz, bumGenius 2.0, and TK Cuddlers Cubbies are the best we’ve found. The best place to buy cloth diapers (aside from the Cubbies since those are custom made) is Abby’s Lane (tell her I sent you!).
Here’s Fritz trying to crawl while wearing a green Fuzzi Bunz.
And here’s Fritz playing with his new toy from his Nan while wearing a grasshopper bumGenius 2.0.
A couple or three Christmases ago I made no-sew fleece throws for everyone. I always intended to make one for myself but I never got around to it. My favorite one was the one I made for Grandmomma. Bright pink with flowers on one side and psychedelic neon colors on the other. It was just so cheerful.
Yesterday the beautiful blanket was returned to me. Grandmomma died in February. A few months ago I asked my aunt if she would give me the blanket I had given Grandmomma (my aunt said of course – she has her own I made her in a fall leaves theme). Yesterday my brother and sister-in-law and their girls stopped by on their way to celebrate Christmas with my sister-in-law’s family. They brought the blanket with them.
Last night I fell asleep in the chair cuddled up under the blanket with my baby boy. It’s warm, it’s beautiful, and it belonged to Grandmomma. I am so glad to have it back.
A while back I related the story of the postal worker that wanted me to pay for shipping to Northern Ireland instead of the Republic of Ireland to save me some money. Well, once again I am wondering about the geography knowledge of some postal workers. Yesterday Jamie mailed his mother’s Christmas present. He sent it from a different post office in a different county (but still in VA). And this time he couldn’t convince the woman to charge the higher amount. She told him she was the postmaster and she had to enter the code for Northern Ireland if he was sending something to Ireland. She would not listen to him that Northern Ireland is not the only Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is not part of the UK. She said she was right about how she was charging him and knew what she was doing. Apparently being the postmaster excuses lack of geographical knowledge. Now I am curious to see if/when the gift will get there and if there will be postage due or if the lower than actually required to send to the Republic of Ireland postage will get it there as normal after all. I’m not sure exactly how international postage costs work since it is only handled by the US part of the time.