Thursday, October 30, 2008

Adventures in Learning

Kwamai is at what one would call a low-tide in learning right now. Which just means he is processing rather than doing a lot of taking in right now. According to the library books we get coded by level, he can read at a 2nd-4th grade level. What is more important to me is that it is not unusual for me to find him sitting down to read just for the fun of it. Tonight he was reading one of his comic books to Felicity (who was rather bored by it). He also reads books to Blacky sometimes. He also gets fascinated by science tidbits and experiments and has an interest in learning. This is what is so valuable to me. If I give him something too structured, he shuts right down on me. If he can initiate a project, he's loving it. So be it.

The other morning, right after Felicity opened her eyes and found mine, she said "Mama, what's ten plus ten? Twenty plus twenty? Forty plus forty?" "How many years until I'm 11?" She apparently dreams like this. This morning she was remembering one of the Croatian songs Erol plays in the car sometimes. Last night before bed we read Dick and Jane. We got through about half the book, and she read the title of every story, with help only sometimes. She is going to be a completely different sort of learner than Kwamai has been.

What they like to do together these days (besides fight, right before dinner nearly every day like clockwork) is play imaginitive games, like Indian alien scouts who build fair rides or cooking show hosts. They also still make up rhythmic songs and sing together, and of course hide from the bad guys, who are usually Erol and me. Oh, and chasing the poor cat through the house is another new pasttime. She's still skinny enough to hide under the hutch. That area is getting a pretty good dusting these days.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Blacky Picture

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

She's Growing on Him

Kwamai has taken some time to warm up to Blacky, despite being the main protagonist in her joining us in the first place. Touching her has been something he's worked up to, but the other day he graduated to being able to pick her up. And then, like the rest of us, he didn't want to put her down.

Kwamai, Recycled

Felicity enjoyed her "new" outfit, despite there being nary a pink thread. And we won't tell her if you won't that they were once boy clothes. I don't think Kwamai wore the sweater more than once, and he never did like the pants.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Introducing -- Blacky!!

We have a new kitten.

Monday morning, Kwamai was playing outside and suddenly came running in the house, anxious about being chased. I poked my head out the door to see the tiniest, cutest little black kitty trundling down the driveway. I realized Kwamai's angst had come from this kitty (he's still a bit phobic about all animals), but my heart melted! We had just had a discussion around the dinner table not a week before where Erol revealed that he actually sort of liked cats. With an excitement that surprised even me, I said "Well, let's get one, then!"

Back to Monday. The cat followed Kwamai right up onto the porch and in a short minute was in my lap. Kwamai and Felicity headed off to catechesis, and Blacky (whom I had already named) sat in the yard, waiting. She became the talk of the neighborhood, and all the kids came to see her and to take turns holding her, and to come up with all sorts of reasons why Kwamai would not be able to keep her (fueled I think by jealousy, and the excitement...)

Erol came home from work, and I explained that there was this cat, she was cute, Kwamai and Felicity already loved her, and I'd heard how cats could even live outside. Erol said not much in reply (which is sort of his way, I guess!) Five minutes later, I opened the door, and -- imagine that -- in walked Blacky. Hmm. I guess she was an indoor cat now!

Long story short, we got all of her supplies the next day, got her thoroughly de-fleaed, learned she knew exactly what to do with a litter box, and that she was a bit tuckered out. She's much more playful now, loves to cuddle, and Erol even fell asleep with her nestled in the crook of his arm tonight.

We might need to get her a bright fuscia collar, though. When she sit on our black couch, you can hardly see her. By the types of teeth she has, I'm saying she's at least 8 weeks old, but she's almost small enough to hold in one hand.

"Blacky" is the most unoriginal name, but it just sprung from my lips when I first saw her. Felicity calls her "Red and Blue." Kwamai calls her "Black-Black," but also though Cesar would be a good name.

And if I thought it weren't enough that I occasionally get Kwamai and Felicity's names confused, once now when Felicity woke up in the middle of the night I called her "Cleo," the name of my cat when I was growing up.

The interesting thing to me is that the arrival of Blacky has finally made very evident to me the developmental difference between Kwamai and Felicity. She is so verbal, and so many of her interests over lap with Kwamai (although vice-versa does not always prove true) that I sometimes forget that she is only 3. But with Blacky, even though Kwamai still gets panicy when she runs to him, he understands her as a fragile creature. Felicity sees Blacky as a fun, living toy to play with. Blacky is very patient about being carried in gift bags and in general being picked up and carried everywhere (and she has not scratched anyone yet). But I need to repeatedly remind her to be gentle, to let her eat, etc. And we discovered tonight that Blacky is not too fond of Felicity's harmonica playing. She ran and hid under the china hutch!
Stay tuned for further adventures!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Social Circles

Felicity has a new neighborhood friend. Her name is Maggie; she's 4 and she lives right across the street. They are happily playing together right now. Kwamai is off to a birthday party tonight for his friend who just turned 9. It will be a bowling party. Kwamai picked out a few small gifts for him and bought them with his own money. He also did not get all itchy to buy one of the same for himself, as he did just last summer, the last time we were birthday gift shopping. He is becoming more mature by the minute.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Gang's All Here

Here is a photo of Erol's whole extended family, taken at my mother-in-law's recent birthday party. Felicity the blond looks a bit out of place, doesn't she?