Monday, November 09, 2009

Those three munchkins: no. 2

Atticus: 4 years, 9 months

Middle child and boy does he show it! Everything I read about middle children fits Atticus perfectly.

Middle children are the most enigmatic. The direction they take is most strongly influenced by their next older sibling. They realize quickly, however, that they are not able to do most things as well as their older sibling, because they are littler and less adept. They most often try to differentiate themselves from their older sibling, for example by being athletic if their older sibling is not, or academic if he is. They may resort to bad behavior in order to get more of their parents' attention, under the rationale that even negative attention is better than no attention. Or, they may realize self-importance within their social sphere, and become less dependent on the family for attention. Either way, what most middle children need most is more attention.

Atti is independent when he wants to be. He is incredibly observant and resourceful (he'll notice where the yummy snacks are kept and happily help himself, even if it involves climbing and trickery to get it). He looks up to his big brother immensely but plays more with his little sister. He is wonderful with Elora (most of the time).

But when I recently asked his preschool teacher to describe his behaviour, in one word it was "terrible!" (She wasn't cross or annoyed about it - just a matter of fact). It's not entirely his fault. He is still on his anti-convulsant medication which has very a well known side effect of adversely affecting behaviour. He has terrible outbursts of anger and won't co-operate unless he's interested (and often has to be coerced into joining in... bad when it's a fire drill at school). But other days he is perfect. We had a very thorough appointment with the paediatrician last week and are gradually starting to take him off his meds - over a period of three months! Hopefully he will improve, in time for starting "big school" next year.

Otherwise, he is a very funny kid. He has a great sense of humour and an intrinsic coolness about him. The way he moves, the way he just doesn't care (which can also be extremely frustrating at times). He still loves his toy dog but his interests have started to expand - cars are his thing now. "Hot Wheels" cars are awesome. And he will happily sit down and draw for ages. He has a good ear for music - I've often heard him singing songs after only one hearing (that I'm aware of). He can write his name at last (something he can do earlier than his brother due to preschool, I guess) but he prefers to write just "Atti"... because "he doesn't like the 'Kiss' bit" (as his teacher told us).

I love this recent artwork.

He can almost ride a two-wheeler bike - the training wheels are still there but often go unused. Loves his scooter. And he's tough. Big bumps are dealt with by a shake of the head or a quick rub of the affected area - no tears (unless he's super tired). He loves carrot sticks and french onion dip and would eat it all day every day if we let him. Otherwise he can be a bit fussy with food. Still needs a daytime nap most days. Still wears pull-ups at night-time but seems to be almost ready to stop using them (fingers crossed!).

I find it hard to believe that next year he'll be starting Kindergarten but at the same time I am excited about what improvements the new year will bring. The recent months have been filled with constant worry but at last I am full of hope for him.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Those three munchkins: no. 1

It's been a while since I've done an update on what the kids are up to these days. This pic was from our zoo trip during the school holidays, a few weeks ago now.

Dante: 8 years, 7 months

Eight years going on fifteen. A boy full of attitude, but still very sensitive and prone to tears every once in a while. Topped his class (or so he tells me) in the standard testing earlier this year - our school did not do quite as well as other inner-west Sydney schools, actually below the national average - but the boy did well, way above school and national average. But you all knew he was pretty bright. Loves reading. Fantasy novels mainly, at the moment. Fast, too!

He's still learning piano, now with a second lesson every Tuesday with a different teacher (at school!) who is helping him along with the exam stuff that he learns with his regular teacher. Tennis lessons on Wednesday afternoons. Gymnastics on Mondays. Last term he also attended his Extension Classes but we decided to give them a miss this term - too busy in the lead up to christmas!

He's in Yr 3 at school, but a composite 3/4 class. A brilliant teacher this year: tall, assertive, energetic, friendly, enthusiastic (good looking... am I allowed to say that?) Tall is good - he has a looming presence over the kids (and me!) - but he never yells at them, is always calm and collected. His routines and schedules have worked wonders with the boy. Dante has also calmed down incredibly this year. He has made a new best friend, Will, who is in Yr 4 and surprisingly never been in a class with D before. Another great calming influence!

He has an interesting time with his siblings. There is definitely a rivalry with Atticus there. I can't see why it's there. Boys? The age difference? Sometimes they will get on famously but more often it seems like he spends his energy teasing or taunting his brother. He is quite good with Elora - doesn't tend to stir her up too much. I wonder if it will increase or decrease as she gets older and more assertive. At the moment she is a very willing participant in anything her two big brothers are doing. I hope as Atti matures that Dante will become a more protective and caring brother.

And Dante has grown, physically. Now up to my shoulders - won't be long before he's up to my chin, my eyes, my head! Look at this comparison - the last time we went to the zoo in 2006.

I can't deny that it hasn't been an easy year, or five. It has been hard work. At times he just makes me want to scream! I joke about boarding school... half joking sometimes. He is too much like me - I am too much like my father. He and I still have our arguments (and shouting matches) but they seem to be lessening lately. I hope. I guess we are both growing up.


Well, that's taken me all day to write. I will continue with the other two tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

October in point form

For some out there in the blog world, October was a month of every-day posting. They called it Blogtoberfest.

I would have gotten involved, except that October was quite a busy month for us.

Oct 1: Our dear friends Jaime and Shannon arrived from Holly and we met their dear daughter Holly for the first time (Elora's godparents, Elora's birthday-sharer, two years younger).

Oct 2: Our friends Dave and Kate came over for dinner (incidentally, Elora's other god parents). Miss cranky pants was not in the mood for photos with them, unfortunately.

Oct 3: Party at our place so everyone else could meet Holly!

Oct 5: Public holiday

Oct 6: School holidays began!

Oct 10: Day of parties: 5 yr old at lunch, friends' going away party early evening, then a brief stop over at another house cooling party on the way home. Phew! What a day! We DID buy Guitar Hero World Tour though. Lots of drumming fun.

Oct 11: Another party at a friend's place in SW Sydney, about 45min drive away. A nice relaxed day with too much food and the Bathurst car race on the big TV.

Oct 15: Trip to the zoo with J&S. Fun, fun, fun! But mega crowded due to school holidays and the World Masters Games.

Oct 19: Back to school!

Oct 20: Jaime and Shannon went home :(

Oct 25: Awesome storm! The rain fell out of the sky in bucket loads. Very large buckets.

Oct 28-30: Dante's first school camp! He was so excited :)

Oct 31: Our school fete. Big day. Long day. Lots of fun. Face painting. Spendy spendy. But we did very well. Lots of money made (I'm the new treasurer of the P&C so I had the pleasure of counting the money afterwards... $12k in 50c coins (not quite, but almost!)

As you can see, things have been busy. There's been plenty to write about, just no time to do it.

And now it's November. Things coming up: School Spectacular (some dancing thing that Dante's involved in). Thanksgiving. Getting ready for Christmas. Blargh!!