Plomin Family Bragablog

April 17, 2009

Home-Schooling

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcmom @ 5:53 pm
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It seems from the 2,873,401 books I’ve read about parenting, creating great kids is 50% good parenting, 50% good schools, and 2% luck.  I think we’re okay on the parenting, but I still worry about schools (and I’ve got 3 years til Karol even starts!).  That’s where kids get bullied, learn about sex (the wrong way), and spend 7 hours a day with a teacher whose  attention is split at least 20 ways.

When I was working on Tom Dermody’s campaign in Northern Indiana (2006), I met the most amazing woman.  She was a farmer’s wife who home-schooled her two children.  I know that description probably conjures up this image:

American Gothic

But this family was nothing like it.

A five minute conversation with her made it evident that this was an intelligent, grounded, and practical woman, and her children seemed to share those same qualities (Interesting note: attending the town-hall meeting we hosted was a part of their curriculum).  I have no doubt that if she’d chosen a different path she could have been CEO of a major company by now, and I got the inkling that’s the sort of success she hopes her children achieve.

Ever since meeting this lady and her great – not socially inept – kids, I’ve seriously considered home-schooling as an option for my family.  

Having spent a few months as ‘stay-at-home-mom’ during maternity leave, however, I really don’t know how I would do it.  It seems like I’m actually able to accomplish more with my kids, spend more quality time with them, when I’m working.  On top of that, I see the obvious benefits they are getting from their current care situation – the perfect amount/level of socialization, exposure to another parenting style, learning that caters to and stretches their abilities, and a ‘home away from home’ that they are completely comfortable in.  

Matt and I have pretty much decided that a Catholic Montessori school is the right fit for our kids’ formal education, if we are lucky enough to find one (if we re-locate to Chicago, for example, it shouldn’t be hard).  But if we can’t, the idea of home-schooling always creeps up in the back of my mind.  

Here’s the thing: I don’t doubt that I would do a decent job at it, but I would want to do an awesome job at it.  If I’m with them 24/7 I know I won’t be able to do that and I’ll beat myself up over it.

The other thing is, how would I go about doing it?  What would the structure be?  What if I have kids at varied stages of learning?  When do I quit working to focus on educating full-time?  Do I quit completely, or work part-time?  How will my kids make friends?  

So, friends and family, what do you think?  Any experience in this arena?  Any new ideas I may not have thought of?  Please comment if so!

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April 10, 2009

Tummy Time

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcmom @ 1:59 pm
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Oh my, there’s so much to report this week!  Let me run down the list:

1.  Patrick didn’t poop for about 4 or 5 days over the weekend.  Lori and I were beginning to get concerned, but I figured as long as it looked healthy when it did come out, it’s probably okay.  He still wasn’t pooping, but he kept getting gassier and gassier and gassier!  Tuesday night I said to Matt, ‘Man this kid really stinks!  He must have finally pooped.’ But no.  No poop!  Finally, Wednesday morning he let it all go.  Lovely mustard-colored poop was overflowing Patrick’s diaper (and they hold a lot), onto his outfit, my shirt, his sheets, his sock…needless to say, it was a mess.  I was happy, however, that it finally came out.  I wondered if it would be another 4 or 5 days before he pooped again.  When I picked the kids up from Lori’s Wednesday night, I found out that a second, equally explosive episode had occurred just minutes after I told Lori he’d finally pooped the big one.  He seems to be back to normal now though.

2.  Karol is learning things faster than we can keep up.  She says all kinds of words now, way too many to list.  And she’s starting to make 2-word sentences.  Some favorites are “Elmo diaper,” “Mom and Dad,” and “letter (whatever letter).”  She’s getting really good at recognizing the letters of the alphabet and can say pretty much all of them.  I didn’t expect that to happen until later, but then again I have no previous example to compare her to.

3.  Yesterday (Thursday) night we had a package opening party.  We’d gotten a box from Aunt Carol, a package from Aunt Dine, and some stuff I ordered online.  Even though two of the three had been here for days we didn’t have time to open them!  Or maybe we just weren’t thinking about it.  Anyway, we decided to make an event of it.  Karol has a truckload of new books, which is GREAT because she’s kind of ‘over’ the board books that we have.  She got some new Dr. Seuss, ALWAYS a favorite in our house, and a whole collection of books about a DOG named Biscuit!  Naturally, we had to read a couple of those right away.  Both Karol and Patrick got some awesome new clothes, too.  Luckily Patrick isn’t too big for them!  He’s wearing a lot of 6-month stuff right now, and I’m gradually weeding out the 3 month clothes as he outgrows them.  The clothes he got were 6 month but they look like they might actually fit him around 6 months, because I think they’re a little bigger than the average 6 month size clothes (thank goodness!)

3.  Patrick found his hands about a week and a half ago, and they’ve been entertaining him ever since.  And just within the past couple of days I’ve been able to get him to laugh.  He has to be in the right mood, though.  He’s starting to get really interested in the kinds of toys you hang above him that he can bat at with his hands.  He also has a little horsey/silky-smoothy thing that he likes to shake and suck on.  I want to get him one of those gym play-mat things this weekend, but we’ll see.

4.  We are finally moving to Arlington in five days!!!  It seems like it’s taken forever to get here, and yet I can’t believe it’s actually happening either.  It hasn’t really sunk in yet, I guess.  I am really worried about how Karol will handle it.  I’ve kind of explained it to her, but I don’t think she will understand until she can see it.  I want to take her to the new apartment on Saturday just to play a little bit, but I doubt it will be open.  Maybe I’ll take some time Monday for that.

5.  This is the last week of the sixth class I’ve taken in my master’s program, I’m almost half-way through 🙂

6.  And lastly, I made a little video of Patrick and Karol enjoying some tummy time together. Here it is!

April 2, 2009

An Update

 

Karol is trying to make Patrick as addicted to the pacifier as she is.

Karol is trying to make Patrick as addicted to the pacifier as she is.

There really isn’t much to report right now, as everything is still very much in a state of flux. We’re waiting to move, struggling through our classes, and lovin’ our babies as much as we can.  

 

Karol seems to be reaching a ‘mommy-itis’ stage (missing mommy/separation anxiety, or, inflammation of the mommy…it works either way).  It breaks my heart if she gets upset when I leave but it’s a real boost to my maternal ego when she reaches her little hands up, wanting to be held.  How can you say no to that?

Patrick is just as content as ever.  He’s really strong, sometimes to his disadvantage!  When I rock him, he’s so tall that if he starts kicking his chubby little legs, he ends up basically standing on my lap.  I have to stand up in order to bounce him.  I’ve started reading Raising Boys and I’ll probably finish it in no time.  I have a pretty good grasp on what little girls are like (I have first hand experience, in fact), but I wanted some insight on what it means to be a little boy.  So far it’s a pretty fascinating read.

Matt is gearing up for his school trip to Turkey (yikes!) which is over the same time frame I’m supposed to have my ATX (double yikes!).  Next week is the last week of my current class, and Matt have FOUR exams on Monday!  Wish him luck 😉

February 10, 2009

“Smile or Gas?”

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcmom @ 8:57 pm
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Well Patrick is already at the ‘is that a smile or just gas?’ stage, Karol is now addicted to Sesame Street (specifically the character Elmo), and both children are pretty oblivious to each other.  Patrick is a royal poop machine!  Karol is definitely a ‘toddler’ now, jumping into the ‘terrible twos’ a little early.  I have to say though, she’s not that terrible.  She’s quite adorable most of the time, but definitely knows what she wants and knows how to manipulate (or wear down) Matt and I to get it. 

On that short note, I think nap time is coming to a close.  I promise a full update next week, as this week is my last week of classes.  My GPA is currently 3.57 and I’m hoping this class doesn’t drag me down too much.  Wish me luck!

December 18, 2008

Contemplating Labor

Filed under: Uncategorized — dcmom @ 8:48 pm
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I don’t have anything in particular to say today, but the onset of the holiday season has slowed the pace at work quite a bit, and I’ve had too much time to sit and think.

Recently, I’ve been getting a little homesick for Karol in the middle of the day.  I could walk the 2.5 blocks around the corner to go visit her, but at pregnant speed it’d take me 15 minutes to get there, plus I don’t want to interrupt her busy day.  So I hop on Facebook to go through my countless photos of her.  As I type this I have less than 2 hours before Matt comes to pick us both up, and I can’t wait.

I’ve also been utilizing this free time to stress out and worry about everything I can possibly think of.  Since the semester is over for both Matt and I, that’s no longer an issue, but I’ve moved on to next semester’s stress already.  I called the school to check on my financial aid status, my reimbursement from last semester, and of course it’s all too early to tell.  

Not surprisingly, I’ve been fretting over the snail’s pace of this pregnancy, wishing like crazy it would just hurry up and get over with.  When I was pregnant with Karol, I was pretty proud of the fact that I didn’t really complain much, and was a highly functional worker all the way up to the due date.  This time, however, every single day seems to drag, and even though a co-worker recently told me I was ‘the most laid-back pregnant person’ she’d ever known, I feel like I’ve been the total opposite.

For the most part, Matt and I have basically ignored this pregnancy until recently.  Since taking care of Karol is a 24-7 task, and we’re both working hard in school and work, and we both kind of feel like we’ve got the skills down now anyway, until Patrick really started making life difficult for me the past few weeks we haven’t thought much about him, I’m kind of ashamed to say.  But now he pretty much dictates our lives because he has control of the Mommy!  It must be his vengeance for ignoring him.

Lucky for me, Karol is very much a daddy’s girl, so he’s been able to progressively take over basically the entire evening routine with her.  Making dinner has been an afterthought.  My appetite is next to nothing, probably because of the giant fetus crushing my stomach.  Matt’s appetite seems to be mirroring mine, so we generally just fix something for Karol.  She’s the only one who’s really been eating hearty recently!  Yesterday Lori said she scarfed down a ton for lunch and she still ate a lot at dinner, too, so we may be seeing a growth spurt soon (as if she wasn’t growing too fast as it is).

Then, it’s bath time and play time with Daddy, and eventually, usually around 8, Matt starts the bedtime routine with stories and cuddling and rocking.  Matt said Karol fell asleep pretty quickly last night, out by 8:30.  I wouldn’t know because I was snoring on the couch long before then.  Apparently Matt flipped on ESPN and joined me, because I woke up around 1 in the morning with him snuggling as best he could with the Belly.  Sometimes I think I’m more comfy on the couch than I am on the bed, but both locations are practically impossible to get out of after I’ve been sleeping a while.  The motion of going from horizontal to vertical after a few hours is really painful!

Just thinking about it now, I’m really, really grateful that Matt has so much time off between semesters right as this pregnancy is seriously wiping me out.  He’ll have a lot more energy than I will and relatively few distractions.  Although, it is time for him to really buckle down on this internship hunt.

As for me, I’m focused completely on getting this baby out!  When I found out that Patrick was measuring big, I began praying in earnest he’d come early.  As far as I’m concerned, I’d be totally fine if he came anytime now, since we’re past the 36 week mark.  But I’ve been thinking about how I’m going to schedule my maternity leave, and all that staring at calendars has made me realize that even ‘early’ is still weeks away, and maybe I should just come to terms with having to live through the 9th month.

In the meantime, I can still pack our hospital bag and put together my hospital music list.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on the actual labor–something I didn’t think I’d need to do much this time around–but even though I can’t really complain much about my experience birthing Karol, I’d still like to do a few things differently with Patrick.  Ironically, whenever I am reading and thinking about the actual labor too much, I start to feel icky and get contractions (Braxton-Hicks, unfortunately).  So I’m trying to lay off.

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