Quarterly Update

What can I say? Marcoda’s Blog has been a little lack luster lately. I won’t make excuses. I’ll give you the truth:

I’ve been busy.

Sorry to be so blunt with you there but I’m trying to keep it real. Before Europe, I was going through some personal stuff which explained the lack of updates. Since I’ve been back from Europe I’ve been sick 75% of the time (I’m not really exaggerating there. Ask anyone in my life.). The other 25% of my “free time”  has been spent with the family, editing pictures of the trip, trying to motivate myself to continue with my new cooking blog I started before the trip, squeezing in some Sims time (which, honestly, has only happened twice and don’t THINK I’m not upset about that.), and deciding to start a new project that is Creating Yearbooks for Each of the Kids Starting with Their First Year.  Note: I said “deciding to start” not “actually starting.” I HAVE to finish Europe first so we can order a photo book of the trip, then it’s the Holiday Season which means creating calendars for the Grandparents plus the family year book for 2009 and then 2010.

And that’s just the PHOTO stuff I’ve got going on.

Then there’s the self-reflection and spiritual quest I’ve realized I’m on. This is not the place to go into details as I think one’s spirituality is a very personal thing but let me just say that I’m looking for something and I haven’t found it yet. Throw some spiritual schools of thought at me so I might investigate further. I’m really open to everything.

This quest led me to thinking about my children and how we are raising them. We’re not a church-going family; we believe in teaching them to treat everyone with respect, especially those they don’t agree with. When it comes to religion…I’m lost.  I haven’t really spoken with the kids about the original idea behind the Christian Holiday of Christmas or the Wiccan celebration of Samhain – Beltane or the Islamic Ramadan or the Jewish Passover or the Hindu Holy Day of Dasera or the Chinese New Year or on and on and on. And I’m not really sure where to begin because lord (no pun or offense intended) knows I’m not a theological scholar. SO, I went to Barnes and Noble looking for a Children’s Introduction to World Religions. I know that’s asking a lot because, goodness, humans like to worship different things. I figured I could find something that covers the major ones and that would give me a starting place. I went to the Children’s section and found the “Religious” section.

Please understand that what I’m about to rant about is in no way an attack on Christianity. I was raised Christian and have a deep respect for it.

THAT SAID:

If you’re going to call a section of books “Religious”, maybe include more than one religion. Otherwise, just call it what it is: “Christianity”. Now, I’m sure they couldn’t “just call it that” because people would be all offended that there wasn’t an Islamic section or a Daoism section or a Wiccan section. Those people would be justifiably offended just as I was offended that there WERE NO BOOKS FOR ANY RELIGION BUT CHRISTIANITY. If you’re going to go through the trouble of appearing open and accepting of all religions, then at least have the decency to follow through with it completely. I know for a fact that there are many parents and other people that teach children other faiths and would like to go into a MAJOR book store chain and find some kid-friendly books.

I did perform a quick google search last night and found a few promising ones and when I’ve had a chance to review them further, I’ll let you know what I find. If you’re interested.

Ok!

Now that the heavy stuff is out of the way, how about an update on the kids whose spiritual knowledge I’m so deeply concerned about? We’ll do this according to age, only we’ll start with the youngest first this time, shall we? Yes.

Jonas (Jojo): Over the summer he discovered shapes and fell in love, particularly with ovals (“obals”). If you check out my cooking blog, you’ll see the Elmo cake I made for him that was not only a round cake but also had a soccer ball and ovals along the side. He loved it. In addition to circles, he pointed out rectangles, triangles, hearts, stars, squares. He loved them all. While Matt and I were in Europe (which I still love saying) Jojo started TALKING. Like, two weeks after the panicked two year check up with the doctor reassuring us that he was fine. TALKING. So now he can say all the shapes, well, the basic shapes. My favorite is when he says triangle or rectangle which both sound like “dah-teegle.”

In addition to the shapes, kid started pointing out numbers to me. I was all, “Wha–? Where’d you learn that because I ain’t teaching you nothing but fist bumps and high fives.” After numbers, the letters came. It’s just amazing to me particularly because when Jaden was two, she didn’t show such eagerness towards these things. She liked them but she didn’t point them out with such ferocity and I don’t think she did that until later in her twos. I could be wrong and I’m not saying Jaden was stupid, far from it, I’m just trying to demonstrate how crazy it is hearing Jonas point at the “b” in the giant Cub store front and cry “B!” or look at my license plate and say “NINE!”.

Another difference between Jonas at two and Jaden at two (ok, I’m throwing out all pretenses of not comparing because now I’m straight up comparing) is the “No, mine!” thing. Jaden NEVER went through that and maybe it’s a first born thing. At least that’s what people that don’t know our situation would say because being first born, she never had to share. To which I say “Nuh-uh” because she and her cousin have been in daycare together since she was born and there were plenty of fights over toys. Jonas’ “No, mine!” is just so delightfully classic Two that I still giggle inside when I hear it. Sometimes it’s a straight forward, “No, mine” in a “No, actually, I’m sorry but that particular item is part of my personal inventory.” sort of way. Other more hilarious times, it’s a flat out scream, “NO! MINE! NO MINE!” Oh, and he’s got quite the temper and is prone to the classic temper tantrum: on the floor screaming or just screaming in my face. “RAW!”

He also says, “tickle” now when things, well, tickle him. It’s cute.

Skills: he helps clean up toys, he “reads” in his room a lot, he lines up his cars and blocks, he sets the table, and climbs into my bed at 5-5:30 every morning.

Jaden (Jay): Jaden started kindergarten and it’s amazing the change I’ve seen. She loves to tell us what she’s learned but she does it in a roundabout way. It’s more like she shows us. The other day she was showing us addition and subtraction by way of her pieces of broccoli and bargaining what would be considered “done eating” that night. It was great! Her drawing has changed in such dramatic ways. Before school, we’d get a stick figure and most of the faces had three eyes and a smile and she’d declare it an alien, which was great and I love them. Now, she says her teacher said stick figures are not allowed and so she’s pushing herself to draw full bodies. This weekend she drew a picture of an old lady with a cane. Once she sat at the table with her drawing pad and drew picture after picture after picture. This is remarkable because while she liked to draw before, I usually had to suggest it to her and even then she’d lose interest rather quickly. Now, she draws all the time! OH!! Also, she “Writes” stories. She draws those classic squiggly lines that look like writing and then “reads” the story to me. Her favorite topic is still aliens which is ok with me.

Mid-September Jaden started a self-defense class. It’s a really neat set up for kids that can’t afford the expensive studios. It’s $6 a class and you pay by attendance (if you can’t go one week, you don’t pay.) It’s a mixed martial arts class that I researched and determined could be considered Kung Fu. Girl is Kung Fu Fighting! She is doing well with it, although her coordination is still wobbly, and practices her Kata every day for her belt test in December. I think she’ll pass.

Her sassy-pantsness is growing and growing. It’s not a bad thing. Well, sometimes it is, like when she loses her temper and punches her chair or the table. Her precociousness is…well, just read the following and you’ll know what I mean:

Matt took Jaden to see that Owl Warrior movie (I can’t remember the movie title) and he told me that during the first part, the owls were being bullied and Jaden said, “I didn’t sign up for this.” (She still does not like seeing other people being hurt. Even cartoon owls. Maybe especially cartoon owls.) They came home awfully early and I asked what happened: He took her to the 3D showing which didn’t work out. If I’d known there was a 3D version (which, really, I should just assume there is always a 3D version) I would have warned him that she doesn’t like the 3D glasses. Half-way through the movie, after she’d given up on the glasses, she turned to Matt and said in complete earnest and politeness, “Daddy, I understand if you want to stay and finish the movie but I’m going to go wait in the car.”

THE END.

Jay and Jojo: People, I know this is short-lived but for the time that is DOES last, I am sucking it up: these kids get along great. Oh, they fight, yes, but overall, Jaden looks after her brother (she shared her apple with him yesterday when he dropped his), Jonas hugs his sister when he wakes up from his naps, they share toys (with the occasional “NO! MINE!” from both parties), read together, and are just so darn sweet together.

This update is awfully flowery and rainbowy.  I’m not trying to put out a “oh, my family is SO wonderful and SO perfect.”  front. We’re not perfect.

We’re happy. And I ain’t apologizing for that.

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