Friday, September 28, 2012

Being Literal

Sometimes Philosopher Child is delightfully out there.  I remember when he was very young and asked me if God ate breakfast.  Other times, he is so narrow and to the point that he struggles to understand what he is being asked to do, even when it comes to simple tasks.

Yesterday I asked him if he understood the material for his math test.

"Yes," he replied.  "A piece of paper and a pencil."

He wasn't joking.  He really thought that was the answer.

"No, as in the text."


"The book."

"We don't use our books for the tests."


Looking through his school papers from last week, I found this (click the photo to see the whole scentence)

He's not wrong... strictly speaking.

A few days ago, we were in Target and both the boys were misbehaving.  I told them that if they didn't stop, I'd put them in the cart.

Little Viking looked at me and said, "Mom, only one of us will fit in the cart."

Crap, I'm outnumbered here.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Dang it all!

Full disclosure: Body image and weight issues have been a life long problem for me.  I was the fat sister.  My two sisters were tall and fah-reaking gorgeous, my parents were strong and lean.  I didn't fit.  Once, when we were very young, me (or one of my sisters, my memory is fuzzy here) asked about an overweight woman with an overweight child that we saw outside.  We were innocent and were just trying to figure out the hows and whys of the world, not calling anyone out to belittle them.  My mother, however, did not mince words here.

"Because fat mommies make fat babies," she said.

Ouch.  She could have said that they didn't get enough exercise, or ate unhealth foods, or had a glandular problem, but she didn't.  The words, "Because fat mommies make fat babies," stuck with me to this day.  This happened when I was around 5.  I'm now 30.  Because of what she said and the way she said it, I wondered what she thought about me, the one that doesn't fit.

When I was about 12, I shot straight up and got thin, but the negative speak, both internally and externally, was still there.  I had no idea that I got thin and healthy during this time and only realized it years later when seeing the rare photos of me.  Around the same time, a relative was in Germany and sent my sisters and I each a *small* box of chocolates.  One day I was walking through the kitchen and took one of the small pieces of chocolate out of the box.

"Go ahead, have another hip pill," my stepfather said when he saw me.  (My mother and father had divorced a few years earlier.)  It's no wonder I still thought I was fat, even when I wasn't.  Not knowing that I was in good health, the weight came back on without me ever even realizing it had come off.

I remained a little heavy, with my weight going up and down as much as 15 pounds year to year.  Finally, one summer I was training to be a lifegaurd and shed several pounds due to all the swimming I was doing to prepare for the physical activity portion of the test.  Around the same time my father came to visit.

"Look how much weight Kristina has lost!" was one of the first things my mother said to him.

A few years later I became pregnant with Philosopher Child.  I had no concept of healthy eating (does anyone else think it's funny that my family, especially my mom and sisters, were obsessed with weight but never discussed healthy eating?  I do), and at lots of junk food because that's what I craved.  I gained around 50 pounds.  A year after pregnancy, I tipped the scale at nearly 200 pounds.  Enough was enough and I made the conscious decision to get healthy.  Notice I didn't say thin.  I said healthy.

I joined my local Curves (now closed, unfortunately) and paid more attention to what I was eating, but still didn't have a good concept of what foods I should be eating and how much.  I dropped about 20 pounds then became pregnant with Little Viking.  My midwife had a much better understanding of what foods were healthy and how much of what I should be eating.  I owe her quite a bit.  I gained very little weight during this pregnancy, but Little Viking was growing like a weed and when he was born was in the 90th percentile for weight and height.

I continued to struggle with my weight going up an down.  To date, since I first decided with seriousness to get healthy, I have lost 35 pounds, and now weight around 165.  For my height and bone structure (yes, bone structure), I'm shooting for 155 to be in the top end of the healthy range.  I'd be happier with 140.

What was this post about...Oh, yes.  Dang it all!  I had some issues when I got stressed, depressed, and my hormones went all wonky and made me nauseous.  Therefore, I missed several weeks worth of workouts and ate some very naughty foods.  I support naughty foods now and again, but I had too many of them.  Like, daily.  I went from 160 to 165.  Crap.  Now I'm back on the ball, working out with a combination of walking (2 miles 5 days a week), body weight exercises (occasionally), yoga (occassionally), and Zumba (2 times a week), and eating right.  I don't want to feel denied or overly strict with myself, I just want to be healthy.  I will never be extremely thin like you see in the movies and magazines.  The size of my bones (no kidding, I'm actually big boned!) make it a physical impossibility, and knowing that is very freeing.

At age 30, I'm finally starting to love me, who I am, where I am, without judgment.  Yes, I have 10 pounds to go until I'm in the healthy range, and I'll get there.  In the meantime, I'm loving my awesome, sexy self.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Intrinsically Special Part II

Click here for part one.

Intrinsically Special: noun.  A child who is special or different in a positive way.  This specialness comes from fact, not the opinion of the parents.

Summer came.  We suspended any travel plans we had since we didn't know when the call would come.  The call that asked us to come to the school for the IQ test.  We had no idea how much notice we would have.

In May I finally received the call, and the psychologist asked me to meet her at the school in a few days.  She was kind, cheery, and even asked me if Philosopher Child would be more on-the-ball in the morning or afternoon.

The day came.  The psychologist introduced herself and Philosopher Child announced that he hoped he "passed" the test.  The psychologist said she hopes he does, too.  She then asked me to wait outside and whisked him away.

Nervous, bored, and edgy, I took Little Viking for a walk.  When I returned, it was over, and the psychologist called me in.  This was the moment of truth.  Would he be around 100 (average), 120 (above average) or 130+ (gifted)?

She opened her folder and showed me some graphs and numbers and statistics.  Then she showed me Philosopher Child's IQ.  I just stared at the number, then let out a nervous laugh.

"Are you sure?" I asked.

"Yes, I'm sure.  I did the math again, just to make sure."

The IQ before me was much, much, much higher than I expected.  Heck, it was much higher than she expected!

"He's a genius," the psychologist said.

I went home in a daze to inform interested family members.  "A genius," I said, not sure if I really believed it.  "He's a genius."

I felt vindicated for sticking to my guns and not letting him get labeled.  That burden lifted, but was replaced with a new, heavier one.  I was raising a genius.

There was only one thing left to do: sign the official permission slips and formulate a plan with the gifted teacher and his regular teacher after he entered the 3rd grade.

In Philosopher Child's school, there is only one gifted teacher.  The gifted students see her by grade, once a week.  The rest of the time, he'd spend in a regular classroom.  I was assured by other parents that the teacher that he would be getting for that year would be the best that we could hope for.  After two very difficult years, I was ready for a break and a good year.

A few weeks into 3rd grade, I was called to a meeting with the regular teacher, gifted teacher, guidance counselor, and some sort of specialist that had to be there for the signing of the papers.  This is where I started to lose heart again.

As I looked at the papers, I noticed something disturbing.  Philosopher Child's birth year was wrong.  I pointed this out.  This caused a bit of a fluster.  Was he tested under the correct age to begin with?  Was it a typo?  Does it change the scores?  No one seemed to know.  The best they could assure me was that even if he was tested under the wrong age, it wouldn't change the score significantly enough to be worrisome.

The gifted teacher then told me that Philosopher Child has the tendency to stare off into space.  "It's only because he's thinking," she said.  "He's a deep thinker.  His mind is always going."

Regular day teacher had a completely different story.  "He can't follow directions.  He doesn't listen.  He won't do well on the standardized test at this rate.  We've done activities where he was the only one who got it wrong.  In the whole class, just him.  He doesn't follow directions and his grades are starting to show it.  I even told them how to do it!"

Part of me just wanted to burst out and scream, "Yes, he's the only one because he is different from the others!  You can't make him do this unless you change the way his mind works.  You are asking him to think exactly like everyone else!  Is that really what you want?!"  Instead I just nodded my head.  I knew that if he did poorly on the state standardized test, he would fail the grade and I would have very little recourse except to pull him out and homeschool...our last resort.

I left the meeting feeling irritated, sad, and worried.  I made a mental note to talk with the gifted teacher later and get a better feel on how he was doing with her, and see if she had any advice.  Could I really make him turn "normal" thinking on and off like a switch?  Do I even want to?