Sunday, November 6, 2011

Unseen Kindness

Yesterday all the kids had a great time: they all went out with friends, Olivia to go shopping and everyone else to go sledding.  But the great thing about it all was what I understood after they got home:

  • Olivia was invited out by a girl at her school.  As you may know, Olivia is mentally handicapped, so the fact that they did this is a real testament to their character... and it provides a great memory to Olivia who is extremely happy to have gone to the ballet, to McDonald's, and shopping together with someone.
  • Ella took Thomas with her because her friend has a little sister for him to play with.  That was nice to see, but what was cool for them was the kindness of her friend's mom, who fed them hot chocolate and pizza and chips.
I didn't see any of this, but that makes it all the more valuable.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Kids Are Playing Together

We got a trampoline yesterday.  It rained this morning, and it's a bit cold, but that's not stopping the kids from playing on it.  But the greatest thing is that the three of them (Ella, Tolman, and Thomas) are all laughing and playing well together.  It's been about 15 minutes and they haven't argued yet!

It's incredibly satisfying to watch.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Interactive TV

Last night, PBS aired the Nova show "Making Stuff: Cleaner".  The ads for these Nova shows looked interesting, with some technology journalist doing a colorful tour through some new developments; other editions were entitled "Stronger", "Smaller", and "Smarter."  I don't really watch TV, I thought the boys might enjoy these.

So, after their bedtime at eight o'clock, I invited them in to watch.  Tolman, age 9, is always interested in new stuff, so I figured it would hold his attention; Thomas, age 6, was a bit more questionable... would he actually stay and watch, or would he wander off or even distract us by trying to do something else?

It was fantastic.  They would comment and ask questions from time to time; I hate that when watching movies, but this was exactly what I was hoping for.  Halfway through, Thomas got a little blanket to cover himself and get comfortable, and Tolman joined us on the couch.  They asked if we had any solar panels; Tolman's favorite parts involved the expanding foam made of food, the time-lapse decaying strawberries, and the way they processed "peas" (actually wheat) into plastic-like car parts.

And afterward, they went to right to their beds.  Tolman asked if I knew that the sun is 93,000,000 miles from the earth and the moon is 250,000 miles away; he's into details like that.  Then they both quietly read their books.  Aaaaah.  Now that's a good night.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fresh Air and Conversation

Yesterday was Sunday, and I planned to do some of my own thing, but I wanted to at least show a little effort at being with the kids, so I did take a bit of time with each of them.  (This is my weekly program of spending time about 30 minutes with each of them on Sunday.)  I threw a bouncy ball with Thomas, but made it short.  Then I went with Tolman out to his tree-house (actually a tree-platform right now); he likes to talk, and I mostly just listen.  I actually ended up taking half-an-hour with him; I think being outside did me some good.  Then I went in and woke up Ella who was still in bed; we talked for just a minute, and that was that.  I also sat by Olivia for a minute and we reviewed the calendar for this week since she likes to know what's going on so she can remind us ad nauseum.

I ended up getting nothing of my own done.

So I'm sitting here reminiscing, and I realized what an accomplishment that was: to have a teen do nothing but lie in bed and talk with me is something I've got to appreciate.  :-)  I don't remember many specifics, but I believe the pleasant attitude of the day will linger somewhere in our memories for a while to come.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When a baby smiles at you...

A friend of mine just told me that recently his one-month-old son "woke up, looked around, focused on me, and gave me a big smile.  It was pretty awesome -- the first real smile I've seen where he was clearly smiling at me."