Sunday, February 19, 2017

Jada Party

Last year Jada's ice skating party was in the single digits.  Yesterday it was pushing 60.  A good day to have fun on the wet ice and to gorge on ice cream.  The River Rink at Penn's Landing was a fun setting for Jada and her pals to pal around.  I played chaperone, being careful to stay close enough to keep an eye out but far enough to not annoy them.  (Sigh, 12 year old girls...) 

Friday, February 17, 2017

2nd Marking Period

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend Aaron and Jada's parent teacher conferences, to pick up their report cards and find out what was going on in the classroom.  I was out of town for the first marking period so this was my first contact so far this school year.

Aaron was first.  My 10-minute meeting with his 4th grade teacher was great, since Aaron is doing well grade-wise and also habit-wise.  He lifted B's in writing and math from the first marking period up to A's this marking period, and his only non-A was in social studies on account of one bad test.  Also, I am hearing confirmation of classroom characteristics over the months and years of parent-teacher conferences that make me happy, such as that he is a diligent worker, works well in groups, and is becoming less hesitant in talking out possible solutions even if they're not quite right.

Jada is in middle school, so just like how she is adjusting to having to traipse from classroom to classroom and learning different teachers' styles and expectations, so I was thrust into a circuit of short meet-ups at four different stations, speed-dating-style.  Jada's grades have slipped a bit, from 5 A's and 2 B's to 2 A's and 5 B's, so Amy's meeting at the school earlier this week to renew Jada's 504 Plan is proving timely.  A 504 Plan provides specific accommodations for students with mental or physical disabilities, and in Jada's case the extra support is minor but potentially impactful, in terms of requesting teachers to offer additional nudges to her about remembering homework assignments and taking tests seriously when she might otherwise muddle up those connections.  Every teacher agreed that Jada was smart enough to do better, so hopefully these little nudges will keep her from sliding on homework and tests.

I'm thankful for their school and its teachers, and proud of the ways our kids are growing up and finding their way.

Monday, February 13, 2017

23 and Us

Being adopted often means not knowing where you came from, in terms of family lineage and health vulnerabilities. Amy and I would benefit from knowing what medical issues to keep an eye out for, while the kids are curious about the countries and peoples they came from.  If only there was a way to know...

Hello, 23 and Me!  We ordered the skits, had the kids do the spitting, and are now eagerly awaiting the results.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Word Count

We're not sweating it, but it does seem like Asher is a little lighter on the vocab for his age.  This is, perhaps, an inaccurate assessment, since our easiest comps are kids whose well-educated parents have been hyper-vigilant about constantly chattering to them since even before they were born.  So we're not worrying.  But we are keeping tabs, to see if extra help is needed in the same ways we stepped up for Jada and Aaron as they have had their issues.

Until then, more for my own personal documentation, here are the words Asher seems to have in his arsenal, as he is about to turn 2 in a couple of months:

1. Mommy.  Sometimes it is a call for Amy and sometimes it is just a general call for care or a general lament when in need.  Seems appropriate.  By the way, he doesn't appear to know "Daddy" yet.  Once again, I am chopped liver.

2. No.  This is, of course, both quite a useful word to say, and a common one that he hears.  Interestingly enough, he does not seem to have mastered "Yes," although his can nod vigorously and beam his million dollar smile to connote the same sentiment.

3. Mine.  Also a useful word to master, although not one he says that much.  Still, he uses it enough, and in the right contexts, to let us know he understands the concept of possession.

4. Bye.  When it's time to say goodbye (to babysitters or when we pick up him from Child Watch at the Y), he's quite good at these transitions.  He'll put away toys, look for his jacket, and blow kisses to everyone.  He's got a cute hand wave to go with his "Bye" too.

5. Yay.  Related to the putting away things, he likes cheering for himself after he's done a good deed.  We like cheering along with him.  

6. Up.  He's a man on the go, so he knows how to signal that he's ready to get out of his high chair and back to puttering around.  Used to be more like "up'm," but now says it more clearly.

7. Ba ba.  Cheating a little here, since that's not a word.  But he and we know he means "Bottle."  Usually preceded by a whine that is supposed to mean "I want," as in "uh uh ba ba."

8. Bee.  Again, cheating a little here, since that's not a word either.  But this is how he says "TV," and when we say "TV?" back to him, he nods vigorously and beams his million dollar smile.  (This is also preceded by that "uh uh" whine, as with "ba ba.")

9. Beep beep.  Kind of sounds like "bee bee" above, but referring to the sound cars make.  He'll do this when he hears actual cars beep, or when he's playing with cars.

10. Oooh.  Is this a word?  It's the sound he makes when he sees or does something he really likes.  

And that's about it.  There's a lot of baby chattering, and there is the beginning of some ABCs, and he understands a lot of our words, but as for his own speaking it is a lot of grunting and whining and not a lot of words.  I'm sure they will come, and I know that if they don't we will find help.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Sleepover Party

Aaron had his birthday party last weekend and it was our first boy sleepover party (Jada having done a few already with her friends over the years).  No comment as to whether it will be our last such attempt, but I will say that boys are different than girls and I will leave it at that.  The important thing is that Aaron had fun...and that we finally have the house back to its original condition.  :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Huang Family Newsletter, January 2017

Rough month for the Huangs, who all took turns being quite sick and plowed through extraordinary amounts of cold medicine and tissue boxes in the process.  That made for a scramble between work, school, choir, gymnastics, swimming, and karate.  Lee (44) and Aaron (10) had birthdays somewhere in there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Fair Weather Dad

Pick your favorite metaphor for family life, and it suits our situation.  Fire drill?  Pit crew?  Perpetual motion machine?  Yes, yes, and yes.  Like all families, we have our shortcuts, hiccups, and idiosyncrasies, and we make it work.  Just barely.

Ah, except when illness invades.  Then the well-oiled machine falls apart.  Illness saps us of feeling good, of course, but it also adds complexity and uncertainty when we are trying desperately to keep things simple and certain.  What if Aaron has to stay home from schoo
l?  Is Asher too contagious to leave in Child Watch at the Y?  Amy's sick, so will I or won't I have to cover picking up Jada?  I'm sick, which means sayonara to grabbing all the kids and taking them out to breakfast so Amy can get a break. 

Life is full of complexities and uncertainties.  Surely, as I've been a dad for over a decade, I get that and can flex with it.  But not so much, especially when it comes to complexities and uncertainties I didn't expect.  (Yes, I understand the irony behind the previous sentence.)  Life's hard enough when everything's going right, but I love it.  Here's hoping I can learn to live and love when things fall apart too.