I love this piece at the Oakland Museum

My car was in the shop the other day. Claire and Ronin were at a playdate. I told Soren I wouldn’t let him be bored. I ended up taking him by bus to the OMCA, and we checked out some of the new and old exhibits there. One of my favorites is this one, which is a box with mirrored surfaces on the edges and glass in the middle.

If I rock back and forth while holding the camera, it shows my reflection at the end of each arc. Soren is on the other side of the box, running back and forth, and visible when he is in the middle. It is such an amazingly bizarre optical illusion.

Fashion Camp

Claire with a turn at the sewing machine

Claire with a turn at the sewing machine

After Spring Break at school, I signed Claire and Ronin up for Fashion Camp. It is not as girly as it sounds. In fact, a number of boys attend the camp as well, and that is not the full name of it–that’s just the nickname. They learn to cut and design and make patterns and invent and measure. This session they dyed fabric to make Monpe pants (Japanese gardening pants) and shirts and bags to go with them. That was the big project.

Claire and Ronin, with work aprons made from repurposed jeans

Claire and Ronin, with work aprons made from repurposed jeans

For the first class, they designed and made work aprons out of old jeans, so they would have something to cover their clothes when things got messy, and also so they would have pockets for scissors and tape measures and fabric markers. Each one was unique. I think there were eight kids in the class, ranging from Kindergarten through 5th grade, and they all had different styles. The class was four hours long, after school on Wednesdays. That is the short day here, so school lets out at 1:15 PM and Fashion Camp starts then and lasts until pickup time between 5 and 5:30 PM.

Ronin made this hat with ears for me

Ronin made this hat with ears for me

They have plenty of time to work on their projects, and they have free time to play in the back yard or work on smaller projects. Ronin made three or four shimmery silky pillows during his time there, including one for Claire, who was getting frustrated with not being able to complete one pillow successfully.

Claire, delighted with her dyeing moment

Claire, delighted with her dyeing moment

I have gotten a lot of these pictures from the Fashion Camp director, so I have tried to obscure some of the other kids’ faces when possible. I know that she asked permission for the pictures to be published when she originally shared them, but I try not to post pictures of other children when I don’t have explicit permission. Thus the blur. I like it a little better than just putting a sticker over someone’s face.

Ronin with a classmate

Ronin  and another boy discussing the finer points of measuring pants. Or maybe video games.

Pattern making, Monpe Pants

Pattern making, Monpe Pants

Ronin and Claire both have some experience sewing. They have worked on the sewing machine at my mom’s house. They have each made a small quilt (slightly larger than doll-sized) to cuddle with. They have each made clothes they can wear, although it’s easier for Ronin because the shirts he’s made recently don’t wrinkle as badly as some of the dresses Claire has made, and Claire has also chosen fabric like old curtains with big faded areas in the middle. Claire once designed an Easter Dress for her doll, Little Claire, which was completely fantastic. The doll was actually named Claire when we got her, so it’s not that Claire was being self-aggrandizing to name the doll after herself. In fact, she tried in vain to name the doll something else, but nothing else stuck.

Little Claire

“Take a step into a world where girls are empowered by each other and can be who they want to be. Explore with me a world of endless possibilities, fun, and adventure.”

 At the end of the school year, there was a Fashion Show where kids from previous sessions and the current session brought back completed projects and showed them off on the runway (or bench in the back yard). Parents and friends were able to attend. Claire hand-sewed an invitation for a best friend, who came to watch. Soren played on the tire swing or in the little clubhouse with a friend while we observed.

Fashion Show

Fashion Show!

In the video below, Ronin is wearing a baseball cap to which he hot-glued all of the decorations himself. He is carrying one of the pillows he made himself. He dyed the fabric for the pants and shirt. He measured and cut and sewed the pants. He really put on a show, too. He loved the attention. I don’t remember being like this at all as a child, but on the other hand, being the new kid every year probably made me want to hang back more and not stand out.

The next video shows Claire on the runway, followed by another model, followed by Ronin announcing the next segment of miscellaneous items.

Claire shows off the outfit of Monpe pants that she dyed, cut and measure and sewed. She is wearing a shirt she dyed herself and is carrying a bag she dyed to coordinate with her outfit. Not to be outdone, Soren tries to vie for a little attention from the house he is playing in. You may think this is odd that he is wearing a fleece jacket in June, but it was freezing that day. It had started out warm and pleasant, and I hadn’t been home for hours when I had to scramble to get to the fashion show on time. I was wearing a tank top and skirt and sandals, and the temperature dropped about 20 degrees. I was freezing.

After the fashion show, all of the attendees gathered for snacks and drinks and to discuss the marvels we’d seen. I noticed the models’ biographies and aspirations hanging on the line behind the table. He wrote that his favorite fabric was French twill, and his future was in Iceland.

Ronin's future lies in Iceland

Ronin’s future lies in Iceland

Textile Titan

Ronin, Textile Titan

Follow the yellow brick road (of magical graffiti)

So Happy!

So Happy!

Soren and I were out geocaching last month, and the cache was somewhere in one of our local parks. So I thought. The GPS seemed to pinpoint it right on the edge of the upper trail.  We scrambled up through some thickets and found the cache right away, but it wasn’t in the park. We signed the log book and left a little prize for someone else to find in the future. The cache was hidden in the guard rail at the end of an abandoned road, and as I looked up the road I saw a rainbow of colors stretching out as far as I could see. I had been to this park more times in the past seven years than I could even remember, and thought I knew every inch of it.

Soren standing on the magic road

Soren standing on the magic road

It was amazing. I instantly regretted not bringing my (real) camera, but I remembered that phones are able to serve in that capacity when called upon, so I let Soren play and I wandered around and took pictures. He found an old wire spool and thought it was a great ride. I can’t see those things without thinking about them being pretty much the only furniture in our house at one point when I was growing up. They make great tables. I am not sure if they were ever turned up on their sides when I was a kid to make a fun ride. They definitely were not painted like this.

Spool ride

Spool ride – it’s good for learning balance

The graffiti was really incredible. The people who did the art must have had a great deal of time to do it, uninterrupted. This site seemed quiet and isolated. It is next to and over a freeway, and adjacent to and overlooking a regional park, but it is sheltered by elevation and by vegetation. It takes deliberate effort to get there, and once there, there is little chance of being disturbed. It’s a perfect situation for a graffiti artist.

Looking around

Looking around

We took a last little bit of time to admire all of the graffiti. I realize that I am teaching two very distinct lessons when I can admire this singular pocket of urban free-form art yet still don’t condone graffiti in general. I think our kids understand the difference.

The park overlook

The park overlook

We found an easier way back, and before we knew it we were on our way with a little time to spare. It felt like our little secret to have this incredible view near the park. We headed back to the car and nosed home.

Transforming back into a park

Transforming back into a park

Our backyard clubhouse

Shelter, shutter, and swing

Shelter, shutter, and swing

Last year for their birthday, Claire and Ronin received tool kits from my mom containing real saws, hammers, screwdrivers, levels and work aprons, all kid-sized but totally functional. I thought since they were having so much fun building stuff at Adventure Playground in Berkeley, it might be nice for them to have their own tools and get to work on actually building things on our own back yard. I sent out a message asking for scrap wood from the neighborhood, and picked up a lot of supplies. I looked up plans for a basic backyard fort or clubhouse online, just to get an idea of how to lay it out and build a firm skeleton for the kids to add on to, since I wouldn’t expect them to do it entirely on their own. I sent it to Justin to see what he thought of the design.

Claire standing on the framework

Claire standing on the framework

I thought I remembered discussing all of this with him at the time, but when I asked what he thought of the plans I sent him he said he was not in favor of it and thought we might need permits and didn’t like the idea of the kids playing out in the yard with tools and said we didn’t have enough room. This is why it’s been almost a year since they got their present and they still haven’t started using their tools. I showed him where I thought about putting it and said that I could do it all, but then all of a sudden, with the kids asking about it more and more, Justin got very enthusiastic about it and just started building. And building. And building.

Soren standing on the second story, late April

Soren standing on the second story, late April

He did all of it. The kids were out there with him and helped him with bits and pieces sometimes, but he pretty much did all of it. Then he decided to add a second floor. Maybe the kids asked him to do it. I think once he got started, he began to have a lot of fun and things got easier and he used the opportunity to get a few new power tools. He would come home from work and add a wall, or a ladder, or steps up to the front door.

Justin taking a break on the top floor of the clubhouse

Justin taking a break on the top floor of the clubhouse

As it went on, more things needed to be done. A neighbor suggested that we should add some height to our back yard fence, because everyone was very visible while playing on the top story and “as someone who can think like a criminal,” he said it would be better to have our yard hidden from the busy street. To add to the fence, branches needed to be trimmed from some of the trees.

Ladder in place, Claire on swing

Ladder in place, Claire on swing

In the meantime, Justin was busy with his last weeks at his old job and rapidly researching everything he needed to know at a job he was going to start soon. Within a month, his travels include Toronto for his old job and Tokyo and Germany for his new job. He did all of the building on the weekends when he was around.

Beginning of May, fence additions in place

Beginning of May, fence additions being installed

The kids helped pick out what materials would go on the walls. Those were made out of the scraps I’d collected from the neighborhood. The front side of the clubhouse has some old redwood planks from a dismantled hot tub, a white board, and a shutter.

Second week of May, wall in place

Second week of May, wall in place

Our pear tree is carefully tended and growing through the inside of the clubhouse.

Our pear tree is carefully tended and protected by the clubhouse

Four walls and a back door are added by the end of May

We are still trying to decide what else to do. We dream about zip lines, or adding a slide from the second story down to the lower yard. Maybe a full wall with rock climbing holds on it on one side. It is just full of possibilities. In any case, I definitely think it’s sturdy enough now that the kids can add things onto it, right? And paint it.

As it looks now

As it looks now

Even if they didn’t get to build it themselves, it is definitely a kid paradise, and all of a sudden everyone wants to come play over here more often. Our neighbors’ daughters are showing up at the door and running straight through the house into the back yard on a daily basis now. Their dad has to stand on his roof next door and yell for them to come home. I exchanged phone numbers with him the other day so he wouldn’t have to do that if he didn’t want to.

It looks like it will be a good summer.

A Saturday in mid-May with a creek, a typewriter and phở

I’m posting this as an incidental entry. Today has been a particularly challenging day. Justin is in Tokyo, Soren tried to ride a cat and flush a roll of toilet paper down the toilet – complete with the cardboard tube – because “I don’t feel like doing you any favors, Mom,” and Claire yelled at me because I couldn’t help her build a birdhouse after school while I was dealing with all of the other mini-disasters. I thought I would comfort myself with a mini-blog entry to remind myself we still have some really nice times together.

Not too long ago, my own Mom saw this video I took of Ronin typing at an old typewriter she’d brought over. She thought it would be nice to show to Annie, the woman who’d passed it along, since it had previously belonged to Annie’s father. It would be nice to see that it was still getting good use. The kids do love typing on it, and although I sometimes have to detangle the ribbon and wind it up again, I have instructed them enough on using the keys carefully and one at a time and they are able to type coherently on it, at least as well as they can actually spell. They love watching the ribbon move up and down to make red or black letters, and see how the keys work to press the letters onto the paper through the ink. Machines are fascinating. The ribbons are almost out of ink, so they have to press the keys decisively to get text on paper.

While Ronin was typing, Claire was drawing on the other side of the table and I was making Vietnamese phở for the first time. It is a savory broth that takes hours of simmering exotic spices (cinnamon stick, cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, clove) as well as charred onion and charred ginger which are later strained out. After the broth was ready, I added cooked linguine-shaped rice noodles (bánh phở) to it, thinly sliced rare beef which cooks in the hot broth, and a variety of toppings. I set out plenty of mint, basil, scallions, lime, cilantro, bean sprouts and Sriracha. It was delicious.

Phở  toppings

Phở toppings

My bowl, heaped with toppings

My bowl, heaped with a combination of wonderful flavors

Earlier that day we’d explored a new spot in our Regional Park system. We’d been to Wildcat Canyon before, but Alvarado Park is down at the far end and has a well-reviewed playground, a creek, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The playground areas were really nice. They were surrounded by boulders that kids could climb up on and jump off, and they had some space between them and lots of trails and areas to explore. It’s something I would never have been able to do when all the kids were younger and I was out by myself, but it was a bonus that day. We played for a while and then hit the creek.

Water striders

Water striders

Some of us literally hit the creek. We spent a long time there, to be sure, but Soren eventually went in head-first. It wasn’t a big deal, though, and I’m thinking he must have been in the bathtub while Ronin was typing, because otherwise we would have heard him.

IMG_3364

Soren exploring the creek

 

I have been cooking a lot lately, and love finding new recipes. I have been making Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches for a while, and it was nice to explore another option from that region. This day, with a combination of a new park with exercise and exploration, a new recipe that turned out amazing, and some quiet time at home with everyone working on their own projects, seemed like the perfect kind of day for me. I love that I can browse through my photos and see that, especially after a day like today. I now feel like I am ready for anything again. Or at least ready for tomorrow.

We went on a safari and it was great!

A reticulated and a Masai giraffe share a log

A reticulated and a Masai giraffe bond over a branch

We spent the night at Safari West, a few hours away, for Soren’s big birthday present. According to their website, “Guests may explore the Sonoma Serengeti on an African wildlife safari alongside romping herds of exotic wildlife or relax in a luxury safari tent under the gaze of a graceful giraffe. Our goal is to actively promote conservation and environmental education concepts to our guests, whether they are with us for an hour or a week.”

Our luxurious family tent

Our luxurious family tent

There was no school on Friday, so we went up on Thursday night and stayed in a family tent, which is furnished with a king-sized bed and large bunk beds. It had a roomy bathroom, and thick canvas walls. It had a solid wood floor as well as a nice deck and table outside. There was a cooler with ice provided for us on the deck, and a heater inside for the chilly nights. It has been unseasonably cold lately, and we were sent instructions about bringing warm pajamas, slippers, and possibly hats for the night.

Claire took this picture of the inside of the tent

Claire took this picture of the inside of the tent–much better than any I took

The beds also came furnished with electric blankets, and the kids were super excited about that. There was a lot of discussion about when to turn them on  and how soon and how high. We ended up having a great night’s sleep, because the tent got really dark with the canvas flaps closed and the heater providing a soothing white noise. It was almost too warm, and I walked around and turned the electric blankets down low and pulled the covers off of the kids and turned the heater down. However, when we went into the screened bathroom, it was chilly and reminded me how cold it could actually be.

Small lake in front of our tent

Small lake in front of our tent

Well, everyone almost had a good night’s sleep. All of the kids kept getting confused at various parts of the night. Soren woke up a bunch at the beginning, thinking he was somewhere else and getting upset. I had to stay with him for a while because he was yelling and thrashing around. Ronin woke up a couple of times, disoriented, and climbed down the side of the bunk bed that didn’t have a ladder and wanted water or something else, but couldn’t find it in the dark and got really upset about it. Later on, Claire had some bad dreams. Still, the sounds of the birds and wild animals that Safari West had warned about were pleasant and distant, and I would call them mild instead of wild animal noises.

An open air dinner at Safari West

An open air dinner at Safari West

We spent the afternoon and evening after our arrival wandering around and marveling at the animals. There is a lot of ground to cover just outside of the gated areas, and we walked around the lake, watched the flamingos eating, saw a lemur pouncing on a toad in the tall grass, and observed so many other beautiful and interesting creatures.

We had made dinner reservations, and although they offered a tasty and wide variety of food, it seemed like several of our children were only content with multiple pieces of bread with butter. Even the macaroni and cheese was “weird.” Justin and I thought it was delicious, and Ronin went back for several helpings.

Taking time to stop and check out the flora as well as the fauna

Taking time to stop and check out the flora as well as the fauna

It really was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I don’t know if we are unusual to know so many people who have traveled in Africa, but it doesn’t seem like an everyday experience to go on safari, or to be surrounded by so many exotic animals. Even when I was in Indonesia or Thailand or Fiji, where I got to see fantastic birds and animals sometimes lounging around at hotels or in back yards, they weren’t all together unless I went to a sanctuary. The insects in those countries were pretty much all over the place, but they usually are. I guess that our children think that traveling to Africa is something most people do, though, since they know a lot of people who have done it.

Soren, trekking along the road

Soren, trekking along the road, finding feathers

Despite the fact it wasn’t a real trip to Africa, or any other continent or country, they (and we) were all very happy. Justin must have coached them, because they all kept telling me thank you for coming up with this great idea, and thank you for taking us here, during the whole trip.

You must be THIS tall to ride on the top of the jeep

You must be THIS tall to ride on the top of the jeep (Soren made it!)

It seemed like our afternoon and evening lasted a long and pleasant time, with lots of walks around and stops back at our tent and walks around again, even with going to bed remarkably early. Maybe it’s just because we had so many unique experiences.

Ronin running down the road to meet up with everyone near the gazelles

Ronin running down the road to meet up with everyone near the gazelles

The next morning we woke up and walked over to the cafe for breakfast and coffee and milk for the kids. We had a couple of hours before check-out time, and my mom was going to meet us for our jeep tour. It was hard to believe that we could have a three-hour tour of the area, but that’s what the flyer said. The kids were absolutely manic with excitement during breakfast, and we were just thankful that we beat the rush and only a few other people were there, because Soren ran over and knocked a six-foot-tall zebra figurine over before we could stop him, and the twins were enthralled with the idea of a serve-yourself breakfast with multiple offerings (not like I don’t do that at home) and tried to grab something of everything before we even got a table or plates.

Flamingos in the early glow

Flamingos in the changing light

I was wrong to think we would not have a three-hour jeep tour. It probably did end up being a little less than three hours, because there was additional guided tour at the end around the grounds with the animals that we’d already seen quite a bit during our stay. We’d been listening to some of the other tours during the previous day and even seen the kookaburra being fed little mice and bits of ground meat, all nicely arranged on a platter. Our guide was terrific. She laid down the essential ground rules and safety rules right at the beginning, was very informative and knowledgeable about all of the different animals in addition to the old jeep she was driving, and could handle interruptions from kids without being rude but without letting them take over. She had a lot of finesse. This was a tour that was dependent on which animals were out and when, and what her groups were like. We lucked out.

Rhi

Rhinos were romping

First of all, our guide asked how many people wanted to ride on the top level, and which ones wanted to ride first. Almost all of the kids raised their hands. Our three kids rode up there on the first leg of the trip, along with another girl. The jeeps were open on all sides and easily sat 15 people. Mom and Justin and I sat in the back row while the kids were on top for the first part of the trip. The animals were kept in large enclosed areas that we accessed through gates, and we sometimes drove for times outside of the enclosures. The guide reminded us that if we needed bathroom breaks we should ask a bit ahead of time, especially in enclosures, because it could sometimes take up to 15 minutes to drive out past a gate. Bathroom breaks inside enclosures with wild animals were not allowed, and facilities were trees and bushes. That had been a question on my mind ever since I learned about this place, because I wasn’t sure if Soren could go for a three-hour jeep tour without a pee stop. He only needed to stop once, and that was definitely a sign of his new-found maturity.

Mom got to hold an ostrich egg

Mom got to hold an ostrich egg

We were impressed with the care they were taking with the animals. It did seem to be an area dedicated to education, conservation and preservation of wild animals.

Ronin taking pictures of the zebras

Ronin taking pictures of the zebras from the jeep

The kids employed their new cameras quite frequently. I think Ronin was taking videos almost constantly during the entire tour. I have hours of jeep and animals and facts from the guide from his camera. Claire does great short video clips with narration, but has been running around with it and making enough jerking movements when she’s on the go that they are difficult to watch. I’ve been asking her to slow down a little bit. Soren only took a few pictures and videos on the trip. I need to get some editing done on these and put them all together to make a great kid movie.

Herd of Cape Buffalo

Herd of Cape buffalo, lazing in the sun

I didn’t get to the best, most spectacular part of our tour though. We were (possibly) the first to see a newborn zebra, fresh out of its mother, on wobbly little legs. Soren asked, “What is that red thing hanging out of the mom?” and our guide said, “That’s the umbilical cord.”

Newborn zebra

Newborn zebra

Baby zebra, getting around a little better

Baby zebra, looking alert

It was hard to believe that we could be so fortunate. We’d been warned ahead of time that it could be hard to see any of the zebras. We saw the whole herd, plus the newest addition. It was incredible.

Claire's picture of a lemur

Claire’s picture of a lemur

It was an incredible trip. We have only been back a week and I can’t count the number of times I have been asked if we can go back again SOON. Still, I would recommend it, wholeheartedly, and would also suggest that Spring is a great time to visit, when it’s not too hot, not too cold, and it’s likely that babies are being born.

Soren turned 5 on Monday!

Soren says thank you for the wonderful birthday presents

Soren says thank you for the wonderful birthday presents

Soren’s Birthday

I didn’t want to have a big party this year, so I decided to have a very special birthday expedition for Soren after a tiny get-together at our house. It seemed like it would be special for him and less work for us, especially since Justin was right in the middle of switching jobs and was going to be out of the country the whole week before his party. Omie was going to be passing through town on the weekend before Soren turned 5, so it seemed perfect.

Omie and Soren at his birthday party

Omie and Soren at his birthday party

Presents and Cameras and Videos

We had just our family and a few friends, Janet and Maiya, and their new(ish) addition baby Nolan and Janet’s mom Joni. Dinah and Manuel joined us. My mom was here, of course. Justin had just come back from Toronto late the night before. Despite it being a little chilly out, we were able to go out to the backyard for some time where the kids all climbed on the big swing and played a bit on the two-story clubhouse that Justin has been building.

One of the best presents was a set of cameras that my mom got for the kids. Omie helped with accessories. The kids had recently broken the shared one they had been using for years. They started taking millions of pictures, but what surprised me the most was their ability to switch back and forth from camera to video to panorama to other settings, and how quickly they started making videos.

Claire recording a vlog

Claire recording a vlog

Claire used her camera to start recording a video diary (I had to explain to my mom what a ‘vlog’ or video blog was). I found at least twenty video clips starting out with, “My name is Claire, and I’m in second grade…” whereas Ronin had a real knack for zooming in on close action and then moving around the room to zoom in to something else. Ronin also kept his video going for long periods of time unbeknownst to us, while going in and out of the house without it actually in front of his face. That was quite interesting to review!

I didn’t tell Soren ahead of time what the big expedition would be. I kept it a surprise from all of the kids, and they asked about it every day. I gave little hints. That day I finally told them that we would be taking them on an overnight trip to sleep in a canvas tent at a safari park, and then go on a jeep tour the next day among all of the wild animals. He was thrilled.

He also got some lovely books that he’s been reading over and over and over again, balloons, some toys, and of course the camera. He’s been sick for the past few days and has been asking for the new books to be read to him at least ten times a day.

Me reading a new book to Soren, surrounded by kids

Me reading a new book to Soren, surrounded by kids and cats

Soren was so excited about turning five. He said he’d been looking forward to this moment his whole life. He said that Once de Mayo should be a holiday just like Cinco de Mayo. For the few weeks before he turned five, many times a day he would turn to me and say, “Mom, I’m wondering, do you know when I’m going to be five?” He enjoyed being five for about a day. Now he’s started asking when he’s going to be six.

Ronin demonstrating Soren's card to Justin and Omie

Ronin demonstrating Soren’s card to Justin and Omie

Sorenisms

I have a few “Sorenisms” to share, but my posts this year have been so few and far between that my saved Soren files date back for quite a while.

From this March, said to my mom: “Any toy inspires me when it is new.”

From February a year ago (I wonder if I already wrote this?), said to me with a completely deadpan expression when I asked him to find his socks and put them on: “No hablo Español.”

To all of us, more than once: “The best way to not have bad dreams is to stay awake all the time.”

From this March, said to me, while I was brushing his teeth: “I love it when people brush and floss my teeth, because it makes me feel like I have servants.”

Also from this March:

Soren: “Mom, you know when I grow up my last name is going to be Driver.”
Me: “Why?”
Soren: “Because I’m going to be really good at driving. Why do you have your last name?”
Me: “Because I married your dad and I now have his last name as a symbol of our connection together. Most people in our culture no longer have a last name that is connected to an occupation or a talent.”
Soren: “Oh. So that means that Maiya will be Maiya Driver when she grows up and gets married to me.”

Soren and Maiya at his birthday party

Soren and Maiya at his birthday party

From February, this year, said to me: “I am not sure how many children Maiya and I are going to have, but I DO know that we will be very good parents. Maiya is an animal rescuer and she will be a good mom, and I will be an animal doctor and a police officer and a dad and I will be good at all of that.” I told him he was also going to be very busy.

Soren, heaving a big sigh, “I don’t understand why I always have to be Spike when we play My Little Pony at school. Why can’t I be Rainbow Dash or the pink one?” He said that to me last September. I told him it might be because he didn’t even know the name of the pink one.

From last October: “Mom, I love you more than I love anyone in the whole world, do you know that? Do you know? I love you that much! Do you love me that much? I even love you more than I love Maiya!”

From last June, when I tried asking the kids “If you could ask me any question, what question would you ask me?” Soren said, “WHY didn’t you put any sprinkles on my pancakes, Mommy? WHY?”

Soren, building a magnatile tower last week while Claire and Ronin were getting ready for school

Soren, building a magnatile tower last week while Claire and Ronin were getting ready for school

Five-Year-Old Appointment

Soren had an eye chart and an audiology exam, and passed both of those. He is very tall for his age and is starting to develop the posture of a child, without a tummy sticking out all the time. Soren and Ronin can wear many of the same clothes, except Ronin’s arms and legs are longer.

We are busy filling out all of the forms for Kindergarten, which starts in August. Soren has an advantage because he is very familiar with the school already, and at least one of the teachers is lobbying hard to have him in her class. Many of Claire and Ronin’s friends have siblings that are his age, so they are starting school at the same time he is. He has several friends and dozens of acquaintances already. I anticipate his biggest problem being too familiar with the school and maybe thinking the rules don’t apply to him as much. Soren and I are volunteering to host some of the Kindergarten playdates that take place this summer, where new students and their parents meet before school starts so they can meet other kids and families and familiarize themselves with the school and get questions answered. Soren is great at helping shy kids feel comfortable.

Soren's 5 year old appointment

Soren’s 5 year old appointment – I like to make designer gowns out of the plain blue drape they give us

His growth percentiles are summarized below:

Wt Readings from Last 3 Encounters:
05/05/15
21.773 kg (48 lb) (88.77%*)
03/12/15
21.319 kg (47 lb) (88.68%*)
05/13/14
19.958 kg (44 lb) (94.18%*)
* Growth percentiles are based on CDC 2-20 Years data.
Ht Readings from Last 3 Encounters:
05/05/15
1.149 m (3′ 9.25″) (90.82%*)
03/12/15
1.143 m (3′ 9″) (92.34%*)
05/13/14
1.06 m (3′ 5.75″) (81.09%*)
* Growth percentiles are based on CDC 2-20 Years data.
79%ile based on CDC 2-20 Years BMI-for-age data.
89%ile based on CDC 2-20 Years weight-for-age data.
91%ile based on CDC 2-20 Years stature-for-age data.