October 25, 2011
My dearest Travis-
Happy 7th birthday to my favorite big guy!
It’s hard to believe another year had already flown by. But looking back at all we did and all the ways you’ve grown makes it seem a bit more possible. Continue reading Travis’s Birthday Letter
I pulled Travis out of school a little early yesterday to get in a doctor’s appt. before Mark’s insurance runs out. T’s had a wart on the bottom of his foot, probably courtesy of swim team this summer, and it’s started to bother him. We happened to get an appt. with Dr. Bodenstine, T’s regular doctor, who I really, really love. Dr. Bo really “gets” Travis and they have good scientific Q&A sessions with each appt.
Dr. Bo decided to freeze the spot on T’s foot. He was really good about explaining the whole process and really engaged T. He was clear that it would feel very strange/hurt but that it would feel better soon. About halfway through the dabbing process, Travis started to get uncomfortable. Dr. Bo suggested he go to his “happy place.” This distracted Travis enough to start talking about where his happy place might be. Before T jumped in with his own suggestion, I was going to guide him towards kayaking on our trip. But once Travis understood what Dr. Bo meant by “happy place,” Travis immediately announced, “I’m going to the Lego store!” I should have seen that one coming!
At least for this particular moment, I’m caught up on posting! I’m sure I’ll think of something I forgot. Or something will happen. But for now, I’m done!!!
It’s really amazing to look back and see how much growing up Travis has done in the last year. Some of it has come as 1 step forward, 3 steps back. Much of it has been very loud. And there continue to be contradictions along the way. But there’s lots of movement in the right direction and it’s fun to get to know the young man who is emerging.
For the past year or more, Travis has been desperately wanting to be heard, to have control, to be independent–to be treated like a big kid or a grownup. But more frequently than not he demonstrates this need for autonomy through whining, being demanding, and throwing “temper fits.” Continue reading Travis works on growing up
Hallie and Travis have acquired quite a few nicknames over the years. I think I’ve captured many of them in their various birthday letters. Two more have come up that I don’t want to lose track of.
Mark’s called Travis “T-Bustle” for a while but I don’t know if we’ve ever posted about it. Or, for that matter, if that’s how you spell it.
Yesterday at breakfast Mark called Hallie “Boogle Magoo.” I’m not sure where that came from but it tickled all of us, and I’d bet it’s likely to stick around a while!
I’ve had a big post to do about each of the kids for months now. They both promise to be long ones, so I keep putting them off and adding notes to them. Maybe I’ll finally get them both finished in my “the kids are in camp at the same time for exactly one week this summer and I hope to be working in the fall and if I don’t catch up on posts now I’m never going to” burst of writing. Just two more to go! Continue reading Maturing Hallie
Overall, Hallie and Travis get along beautifully. They spend hours of time in creative play together, and I can’t imagine how different all of our lives would be if they didn’t have each other. They do, though, know how to push each other’s buttons!
There are so many spats and conflicts that could so easily be avoided if one of them just refused to engage. Often one will be in a bad mood or misinterpret something the other said or did. Or there will be an accident and either the “victim” will be less than forgiving or the “perpetrator,” often embarrassed at having been careless or reacting to the victim’s reaction, will get sulky and defensive and fail to give a sincere apology or try hard enough to make things right. Then begins the downward spiral. Continue reading Someone please take the high ground!
I remember being about 8 or 10 years old and mentioning an Agatha Christie book I was reading to my mom. When she said she couldn’t remember if she’d read that one or not, I was astounded. How could you not know whether or not you’d read a book? Of course now I can’t remember the title of a book a read four weeks ago. But at the time I probably retained details of every book I’d ever read, and that someone else didn’t was shocking.
For the longest time when they were younger, Hallie and Travis seemed to remember EVERYTHING! I’d be amazed at the stuff they’d come up with, thinking that there was no way they could remember what outfit someone was wearing at someone’s second birthday party. But they’d always be right! Continue reading Forgetting
Letting Travis take a break from piano after his time with Miss Ann was definitely the right thing to do. It had become miserable for everyone, and clearly the group lessons and the focus on reading music weren’t a good fit for him. After a few months, T was messing around on the piano more often and expressing interest in trying lessons again.
About a month ago he started lessons with Miss Julie, who teaches private Suzuki lessons. She’s Evelyn and Stefan’s teacher and came highly recommended. Her focus is on training by ear first and then working on reading music. This seems a much better fit for the way Travis learns and what he’s interested in. Continue reading Travis’s second try at piano
A few weeks ago I got an email from my friend Marc, a children’s author who’s had several books published. He’s trying to create interest in two new nonfiction projects by inviting children’s illustrators and kids to create covers for his manuscripts that he will display on a website. I shared the idea with Hallie and she was really excited. At the time she had about three weeks until the deadline, and she dove right in to working on her sketch.
She chose a story about the Afghan woman whose photo was featured on National Geographic many years ago, and about the photographer’s search to find her again. Hallie started by sketching the woman’s face from the image that was on the cover of the magazine. Continue reading Hallie’s Book Cover