Sunday, November 25, 2007

"I Can Read!"

Tala can read all by herself! She is reading Clifford's Phonics Fun Pack #1 and is almost done with the 12 books in the pack. I hardly have to intervene or correct her. She is doing great sounding the letters and the words.

Like everything with Tala, it happened all of a sudden على غفلة! She is an observer. We don't witness her trying things or learning her way to doing them. She would observe and then decide to do whatever it is when she feels she's ready. And it all takes us by surprise to realize that she can! I remember we did speech therapy with her when she was almost 2, because she was silent. Few months after she started, it was like somebody pushed her "Talk" button. The therapist was amazed as much as we were. Tala knew how to talk, but she didn't try it out. Once she started, there was no stopping her... Up to this day!

Tala is so proud of herself--rightfully so. When we went shopping yesterday, she told every cashier and person she had the chance to talk to, "I can read!" For some reason, I thought we were late in starting Tala to read. I thought that Moody started reading at an earlier age. Moody learned reading using the same Clifford Phonics Packs. And actually, he read his first book by himself on March 7, 2006. He was 5 years and 9 months. Tala was a week short of 5 years and 3 months when she read her first book. Way to go, Tala. I am a very proud Mama!

On the nanny front. We found a nanny that started on Monday. Her name is Jeanne (pronounced like genie of the magical lamp). It looks like we found our magical nanny. I told Moody that she made our (mine and Sol's) wish come true of finding the perfect nanny for them. Moody had to take her down the power-struggle lane. He likes her a lot, but he does not like the fact that she has rules, lots of them. He tried to gain some ground on her, but was unsuccessful. I really hope it works out. She is coming to watch the kids today so Sol and I could go to a fun gathering. Her birthday was yesterday, the kids are ready with a cake and candles to celebrate with her!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dregias Thanksgiving menu:
  • Turkey
  • Peach and mango chutney
  • Gravy
  • Rice with lamb, almonds, pine nuts, and raisins
  • Candied yams
  • Green beans casserole
  • Baked potato casserole
  • Cranberry poppyseed salad
  • Pecan pie
  • Pumpkin pie (Moody is officially a fan now!)
Guests: Taher, Alicja and Lec and 'drum roll'... BODO!

I went shopping yesterday after work; got home and started cooking while Sol went to fetch us dinner. I cooked the rice with the nuts, sweet potatoes, and baked potato casserole. Moody commented "It already smells like Thanksgiving!" The kids are so excited that Alicja... or Bodo is coming. They have been checking the dining room, anxious to see it set up and take part in that. Last night they wanted to "practice sitting for Thanksgiving dinner." They are also making a list of what they are thankful for.

I am off to finish cooking, shine the silver, and set the table... to be continued!

Today, Sunday, ends the 5-day long Thanksgiving festivities. Good times were had with our guests on Thursday, especially Bodo! He found it in his heart (or tummy) to make peace with Sol. He used to bark at Sol really hard when Sol got home from work and Bodo was here. He did that to me, but not as aggressively as he did to Sol.

I didn't bake any pies this year. We bought both the pumpkin and pecan pies. Moody said he prefers the pumpkin pie I baked last year. Next year I will have to do better at that.

At the dinner table, Moody announced that we need to say the Thanksgiving prayer. He made us all hold hands around the table and he led:

Mashed potatoes
Turkey and gravy
Sweet potatoes
All that stuff
It doesn't matter
The thing that matters is that everybody is here!

Taher was off to take a place in line in front of Best Buy at 11pm so he'll make the 5 am opening with those sweet deals. They call it Black Friday, and it boggles my mind why! I hate shopping in regular days, let alone when people spend the night outside of stores to beat the rest of the crowd.

We did some shopping of our own; got a new Dell for the basement with all the cool gadgets and Windows Vista. A very nice toy. We have a total of 7 computers in the house! Two of them are going out for sure once we clean them of data. Friday's highlight was Sesame Street Live. The kids had a blast, so did we. Saturday was movie night , Shrek the Third, and pizza.

Tala said of Thanksgiving "It was the best time ever!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Life's Happenings

Ohio Map by Moody
We had parent-teacher conferences last week. They both went very well. Moody is confirmed with tests to read at the 3rd-grade level. It was recommended that we introduce him to 2nd-grade math to keep him challenged. Tala's report was impressive too. She is in her way to reading. We have to do more of that with her. Fortunately for Moody, we had Barbi, the nanny, who worked diligently to teach him to read. We were very lucky with Barbi and Alicja.

The nanny saga still continues. On Friday, we fired the second nanny we had since Alicja left in October. That one was a pathological liar... a psychopath. We are on the hunt again. A temp is coming on Monday and we agreed to try it out and see if we should offer her the position.

Columbus Meusum of Art
I am slacking behind in so many things. I have been enjoying the free time on the weekends, just being lazy with the family and not doing much on the piles of things that need to be done! I need to sort out the piles of books and notebooks from my studies. I need to organize the piles of pictures scattered everywhere around the house. I need to sort the kids' closets and do away with the summer clothes and small clothes. I need to launch the 2008 Tibra Awards. That is another story, I'm slacking not just because I am being lazy, but also because I am tired of running it year after year with minimal contribution and help. It is just tiring, daunting, and makes me wonder why the hell do I need to do it? I will have to get to it before December. Or, I will get to it when I get to it.

Moody's face in COSI's Pinwall
Those piles can wait. It is more fun to spend time with the family. Last Weekend, we took a hike in the dark in Sharon Woods' nature trail, with the park naturalist, looking out for flying squirrels. We didn't see any flying squirrels, but lots of deer, and had lots of fun. A trip to the Columbus Museum of Art was entertaining to the kids and to me. Yesterday, we went to COSI and it was the first time in a long time for the whole family to visit it together.

It's Thanksgiving time! The kid are buzzing with excitement! My shopping list is ready. The turkey is ordered. The list of guests not confirmed yet. The kids want to see Sesame Street Live, which had been a Thanksgiving tradition for us. It would probably be the last since they are growing it.

Cat by Tala

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

From Tala to Bertrand Russell: Dad said "W" is a number

Today was one of those days! Not a bad day, really, just different from normal. Things started to split off their normal track pretty early in the morning, when our nanny (de la semaine) called in to let us know she'd been in an accident on the way in, and she naturally would not be coming. Great! Hana was at work, so it meant I had to get Moody on the school bus and that would give me just enough time to get to my class this morning. But what should I do with Tala? Yes, my only choice was to take her with me. Ahem, cause to pause!

Tala was the quietest, most peaceful 5-year old student I could've ever imagined! After I introduced her, she sat exactly in the center of the front row, and as we'd agreed, pulled out her coloring book and markers and started to color away. And she stayed that way to the end, about 50 minutes! I was just thrilled that part worked so smoothly.

In lecture I introduced some equations, one involving a variable "W" and I said something like, "W is the number of different configurations..." On the way home after class, I was chatting with Tala about her visit to my class and whether she took away anything from my lecture... She thought the whole thing was boring, and added, "Dad, you said 'W' is a number." I thought to myself, sure W is the number of configurations... It wasn't untill a while later when it dawned on me that Tala meant "W" is a letter not a number. lol lol lol.

Tala is right. I should've said "W denotes the number of ..." not "W is the number." I was reminded of my student days and courses I took in logic and philosophy, thanks to the US university education system that requires grubby geeks to take courses in humanities and social sciences. I recalled memories about Bertrand Russell's paradox of self reference and his famous article "On Denoting," and the whole business of confusing the name of something with the thing itself. Tala is a logical little girl, it's just her nature. In about two decades of teaching, I never had a relative in class. Tala was the first, and I was lucky to have her feedback. All n' all, a beautiful day it was, the kind that I'd say is downright spiritual!