Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mind of his own

This afternoon I was thinking about something I was discussing with the Math teacher in our school. Pablo & I have been working on multiplication on-and-off for the last few months. Every so often I’ll throw him a math question so he gets to practice without it feeling like a chore for either of us.  

Me: "Pablo, what is 8 times 4?"

Pablo: "32.
 I did 8 times 2 which is 16.
 Then I need to add 16 and 16.
So I did 10 + 10 = 20, 6 + 6 = 12. Then 20 + 12 = 32." 


Big smile from the little boy, then he goes back to whatever it was he was playing with. I’m a little bug-eyed. 😮  I’ve always known that he does Math in a different way but I was very surprised at the difference in our approaches.

I don't mind that it's different. It's a gentle reminder that there are different ways of finding a solution and that I need to give him space for that.

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Caped Crusader

Yesterday Pablo found an old cape in his room. It was from one of the Shakey's birthday parties that he attended back in Subic. He spent several hours running around the house, making up stories and just having a good time. To our surprise, he decided this morning that he would wear it to school. Uh...ok son.

For most of my school life, I always flew under the radar. It's not something that I did on purpose, it just sort of happened that way. In a class of 40+ kids, it's very easy to get lost in the crowd. I was always surprised when a teacher mentioned any particular insights about me. It was only much later that I became comfortable with sticking out, but even then it was only about things I felt very strongly about. The tendency to go with the flow is both a cultural and personal thing.

So for our soon-to-be 8 year old to be ok with being different is a BIG deal for me. Our current school culture doesn't exactly tolerate differences, much less celebrate them. But his wonderful teacher kept an eye out to make sure things were ok. Apparently it was quite a hit. When he started running around in class some of the boys chased him and made a game out of it.

Go get 'em Bubba. We're behind you all the way. ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Time and Perspective

It is amazing what time and perspective can do for a person. Admittedly I've been feeling very sentimental lately although work has been keeping a lot of it at bay. We don't have our visas yet so there's still a lot of uncertainty. But one thing is for sure, in maybe 6 weeks time we'll be saying goodbye to this place that we've called home for the past 8 years.

All the little aches and pains of our life here don't seem significant at all. They're not even annoying. The leak under the kitchen sink. The unsealed bathroom floors. The back wall that looks like it's slowly making it's way into the cliff behind the house. The ever increasing number of lizards that scurry about all over the place (one guy surprised me a few minutes ago when I was rearranging dishes in the kitchen sink and there goes another maybe just two feet from my computer).

And these last 6 years with our Bubba boy, I wouldn't call them perfect, but it's been very, very good. It wasn't all smooth sailing. I remember moments when I wondered (with some sadness in my heart) if this is what life was all about. Adjusting to having a newborn, then toddler, the pressures of trying to balance home + work + personal needs...oh boy. But it really is true what they say, it does get better.

It's funny how the universe plans things out. Big brother is going through the same thing and they're moving in late August. To say there was a point in our relationship was strained would be an understatement. But when Pablo was born I made a conscious decision to let go of the hurt and things are a whole lot better now. He's been reaching out these past couple of months and I do appreciate it. And with both of us having little kids, the need to keep the ties that bind is even stronger. Who knows, we might even spend Christmas in what will be their part of the world in a year or so.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Our next adventure

New country. New school. New place to call home. It'll be quite an adventure!

We've had weeks to digest the news and now we're starting on the paperwork that will make this whole thing a reality. We initially decided not to let Pablo know until a month (or so) before we leave but we've got an appointment with the embassy coming up and he will need to be briefed about it.

It's been a roller coaster ride. We (rather Eric) started job-hunting in earnest around October. December was one of our most subdued Christmases. Pablo was shielded from the stress but gosh, it's hard to feel the spirit of the season when you are uncertain of the future. We left in January for the job fair which was a learning experience for all of us. February is Pablo's birth month and I was able to set aside all other worries to focus on that. Towards the end of the month that's when we received the email...oh joy! Things went quite quickly after that and by mid-March we had said yes to the next phase in our lives.

The hardest part of all this was keeping the faith and trusting in the grand master plan. Shortly after we said yes, I was puttering around the kitchen and enjoying the comfort of being home. We've got a very good life here. Life is stable and we've got a wonderful support system -- and now we're uprooting our little family? Eep. Scary thought. But that's just worry and fear of the unknown speaking. Must not let such things deter us. Change is a good thing, at the very least it leads to growth. Eric and I have been feeling it for awhile. It's time for us to move on.

Friday, September 12, 2014

What are boys made of?

Pablo asked me that question while we were winding down for the night. And before I could answer, he launches into something about puppy dog tails and frogs so I'm guessing he heard the poem in class today. But then he doesn't stop and includes stuff about Lego, and robots. Whu? I'm sure there was nothing in the poem about that. ;)

So when I woke up this morning I tried to find the "correct" lines to the poem so we can say it together later. It's "Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of." Hmm...looking at it now I'm not too happy with it. Bubba has got sugar and a whole lot of spice too. Then I found this pretty book:

That's our little boy right there! Running around with a cape and a rocket (sans shoes and pants of course) with our Duchess right beside him. I must get this book.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Timeline Project (Part 2)

Now that I'm not feeling so stressed (amazing what a weekend will do), I'm really enjoying this project. 

The goal is to make a timeline of the child's (albeit short) life. We're supposed to put milestones and/or memorable events. Funny, many of the "significant" events are things that he doesn't remember - birth, baptism, eating solids for the first time, first steps. We figured we'd just have photos for every year of his life and below is what came out of that idea.

As tempting as it is to just print everything as is, I decided to go with the handmade route so that Pablo can help out. It's supposed to be a poster but I didn't want to go the illustration board route. We're making an accordion-type book that you can view either stretched out, or flip the pages like a book. The photos, Lego blocks (12 blocks for every year) and text will be printed and attached to several pages of drawing paper that have been taped together.

Last Tuesday Pablo and I worked on the main framework (I cut & taped the paper while he "decorated" it). I also started working on the draft on my computer. Thursday night was more draft work (with Eric pitching in for photos). I finally finished the draft before going to bed last night.

Today it's all printing, cutting, taping, wailing in anguish (made a major boo-boo on the darn thing). Short trip to the bank and the mall with Bubba in tow to get money, food and craft supplies. Then back home for even more cutting and taping.

Pablo has been helpful for the most part. It's a long and slow process -- he'll come and join me by the table, help for a bit, then run back to his play area. To his credit, he repeated this several times and seeing as it was taking me forever finally said that I should just do it on my own. Gee, thanks son.

We're still not done. I had to take a break so we could eat dinner and now he's bugging me to make him something that he saw on YouTube. Maybe later Pablo will be in a better mode so we can stick the pictures and the text. I'm still waiting for inspiration to hit me so that I can make the cover.

I enjoy craft work a lot. It's one of my very few creative outlets (I can't draw/paint/play an instrument). I think it's very important to be able to create something. Unfortunately I have no talent for art or music so craftwork is it for me. I can learn to do something, I may not be an expert but with practice maybe I'll get good at it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Let's get the parents involved."

Pablo I received an assignment recently - his teacher admitted that it's really a parent's project and not the kid's. I saw last year's batch of projects and was a little taken aback because it didn't look at all like the child had any input at all. Then I received the instructions last week and yes, very little involvement is expected from the child in actually putting the poster/timeline together. But the kids will need to present it in class. So aside from making the presentation, I also need to get it done early enough so that Pablo & I can practice this weekend.

Can you tell that I'm not happy with this scenario? Oh, and there'll be a project every quarter.

Maybe it's because I teach Middle School where parental involvement just means supervising their kids. Or maybe it's because I have a full-time job during the day and evenings are spent chilling with my family, but I am not a huge fan of let's-get-parents-involved type of things. Last year's projects were fairly simple so it wasn't very stressful - Pablo's teacher really made it a point to keep things low key. But this time around, it was emphasized to make it pretty/artistic and all that plus little nudges here & there in the letter to guilt a parent into doing it well AND on time. This does not bode well for the Type A side of me (which I am usually able to successfully smother into silence).

So I've been working on this thing since I got home yesterday afternoon. Trying to keep my balance between a little boy that wants to play, the project I'm drafting and the pork chop defrosting in the sink. And because I insist on involving Pablo in some way there's the added fun of setting things up for him and cleaning up afterwards.

Did I mention I have to plan for my classes tomorrow? The 3 different grade levels that come one after another. Yeah. Good times. (Not.)

After dinner I continued working on the thing while Pablo played beside me. When he asked me join him I had to say I couldn't. When he asked why not, I said it was because I was working on a project for his clasd. Again he asked, "Why?"

Why indeed. Because your teacher is an arts & crafts person and probably does not understand that it does not come as easily for others. Because your teacher thinks that the long weekend last week should be spent doing homework not realizing that families need time to unwind together. Because your teacher thinks parents need to be more involved. I. Am. Involved thank you very much.

I know I'm not the target audience, but man this stinks. I wish we had been given more time (like a month). It annoys me that we were expected to use our holiday time last weekend to work on this thing (which I didn't). Now I'm too stressed to enjoy the project, which is a shame because it's a cute little thing and the draft is working out nicely. And I hated the sound of disappointment in Pablo's voice when I couldn't play with him because of a project that is supposed to get me more involved in his life. The irony of it all.