Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thomas The Tank Engine.

We have been through many periods of obsessions in our family. We call them stages and usually we make fun of each other because at the beginning of the stage, the world revolves around it but after a period of time it dies out. That's why it's called a stage. Nathan has had several stages. The longest one was Thomas. The boy lived and breathed Thomas. Everything he did or everything we did for him revolved around Thomas.
When we traveled, either by plane, boat or car, Thomas and his friends went with us.
We had the deluxe table and all the track he could possibly squeeze on to it. He would get it fixed one way and then change the tracks around to go another way. Thanks to family members he had every accessory, engine and car they made. Some of them he had duplicates of in different colors or anniversary editions. Thomas is so wholesome, what's not to like about him and his friends.
We had almost all of the videos. What kids like about those videos, I can't figure out. There is nothing animated about Thomas videos. But, Nathan loved them. And would watch them for hours. He would watch the same ones over and over.

We went on vacation to Bryson City, North Carolina and went to the train museum. Nathan loved it. We had a really hard time trying to get him to leave. I think we bribed him with another Percy.

On his fourth birthday we were camping and every present he received was of Thomas. He had Thomas coloring books, sheets, lamps, lunch box, stickers, t-shirts, placemats. If they made it he had to have it. And of course the birthday cake had Thomas on it.
On one of our vacations we went up to see my brother in North Georgia. He told us that Thomas was coming to Bryson City, North Carolina and did we want to take Nathan to see him. Of course, we did.
We drove over to Bryson City and it was like a Thomas amusement park. There were tents set up for the kids to play with the trains. There were more kids fighting over more engines and then the temper tantrums these kids threw (not mine of course) when their parents told them it was time to leave were unbelievable.

Nathan even got a tattoo that he was oh so proud of. The one thing he wouldn't do was get his picture made with Sir Topham Hatt. (Nathan use to call him Mr. Top Hat.) He hated clowns and anybody dressed in a costume.
So, a picture with him was out of the question.

Then the moment that we all anticipated. My son got to see his hero in real life.
To my great surprise, when he arrived, I cried. I normally am not real tender hearted. But, when I saw that Thomas engine and realized how excited my son was to see him. I cried. It really was a moment for me and my son and a crazy train engine. My brother and my friend Sherry were with us and they cried too, but they cry at everything.
As parents we love to do things for our kids. This special day was one of those days that as a parent, I was so glad to be able to give to my son.
But, like most stages in life, one day he waved goodbye to Thomas and just like that the stage was over.

Monday, October 20, 2008

No Cool Weather Here!

Everyone I have talked to and every blog I have read has commented on the cool weather that they have been having. So, I searched my archives of pictures and found some that brought back cool memories. And, let me state for the record that there is no cool weather here. None. Nada. These pictures were taken at Amicalola Falls State Park in North Georgia. My brother has a cabin in Blairsville, Georgia and we went up with him for a visit. He took us over to the park for the day.Along the trail we stopped to look at the flowing water and climb on the rocks. And like all good parents, we like to document our children, but my child has never liked his picture taken.
And so, although you may think he is scared because he is about to fall off and crack his head open, that would not be the case. He is mad because we wanted to take his picture. If memory serves me correctly he proceeded to pitch one of his finest fits. Which resulted in him getting in trouble.
Strolling along enjoying the cool weather and the beautiful sights that Amicalola Falls State Park offers.
After we finished hiking, we headed to the lodge. At the entrance they had these huge stuffed black bears. Nathan wanted to crawl all over them. I think we let. At least he cooperated and let us take his picture. The Lodge also sports a beautiful view and a yummy buffet.
So, yes I am envious of the cool weather. The only coolness here is when I have my air conditioner on for hours. Which I don't enjoy as often as I would like because I can't afford the electricity. To see some more beautiful pictures of North Georgia go to my brother's blog here. He just returned home yesterday after spending a week there and may post soon about his beloved North Georgia.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Son, The Artist.

I have to emphatically state that he did not get his artistic ability from me. I taught ninth grade science for fourteen years and whenever I had to illustrate something on the chalkboard, my kids would always laugh at my drawings. I quickly learned to warn them that I had trouble drawing stick figures. Thankfully, most of my illustrations were of the energy levels of atoms which only require circles.

My earliest recollection of drawing was being made to draw in second grade. My family was living in Chile at the time and I had to be homeschooled by my mother. The curriculum included art and I hated it. We use to have the worst fights about it. I would sit for hours and just stare out the window, because I just couldn't draw what they wanted me to. I remember the day my mother, exasperated, drew a simple flower and told me to just copy it.

My son on the other hand, now loves to draw. I am so glad he does. It took him awhile to catch on, but thanks to his buddy, Jaleel, he is doing quite well. I can remember just a few years ago when I would beg him to just sit quietly and draw or color. Nope. That was boring. I must admit that I think his interest was sparked by the fact that he lost the privilege of playing his DS and watching TV whenever he wanted to. But, even now that he can enjoy those privileges occasionally, he sometimes chooses to draw.Most of his drawings are of fish. He started out drawing just Blue Marlins but he has since branched out to drawing other types of fish.

He has found a website that has hundreds of pictures of different types of fish. He sits at his desk with the picture of a fish on the screen of his computer and draws it.

Here are samples of his fish drawings:

He and Jaleel have enlisted some of the girls in their class to grade their drawings. He got an A+ on this one.

Check out the detail on the above fish. I would not have the patience to draw all those little bitty marks on it.
Even though he draws mostly fish, he has branched out to draw other things. Here is some kind of super hero and the next one is of dinosaurs.

The first thing he showed his DeeDee when she arrived last Monday was his drawings. I just love his body language as she brags on how good his drawings are.
Nathan has never been a child to make messes or color on walls or anything that has required a lot of clean up on my part. I remember, my sister in law telling me that when her son was small he got a hold of a large jar of Vaseline and smeared it all down the walls of their staircase. Or when my cousin's little girl dumped out a bottle of baby powder. Several years ago, you can imagine my surprise when I saw the masterpiece Nathan drew with a Sharpie permanent marker on the white paper covered boards we had to set our Christmas tree on. My shock was that he found a black permanent marker, managed to draw himself and a reindeer and not get any of the marker on our brand new carpet we had just installed. All without me knowing it. The new carpet was so thick that the Christmas tree wouldn't stand on its own, so we set it on these boards. When I asked Nathan why he drew on the boards without asking he said, "Mama, I was just making it pretty." He was right. It is so pretty, the board with his masterpiece on it is safely stored in our barn at home. Don't you just love the antlers on his reindeer?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another "Funny" From Nathan.

Do your children always have to go to the bathroom right when the food arrives at a restaurant or is it just my son? I swear, that boy always has to go at the most inopportune times. Last Sunday we went to a restaurant we haven't been to in a long time and as always he had to go. Thankfully, this time we were finishing up. So, off we went. Now that he is seven he thinks he is old enough to go in the men's bathroom by himself. You would think by now he would know that that won't happen until he is at least thirty two. In the ladies restroom, I did let him go in his own stall.

I don't know if it is just my son but he is so easily anything. He can waste more time than anybody I know. I want him to get in, take care of business, and get out. Of course that doesn't happen. At the table, when he tells me he needs to go I try and get him to wait but he can't. He's got to go baaaaaaad. But, when we get in the bathroom, he has to check out the soap dispenser, see if the water works, if there are paper towels or a hand dryer, oh and of course he must make sure he picks a stall that will lock. Once on the toilet, he can sing and hum, lean over and play with his shoes and do anything, but get done, which is all I want him to do.

I use to try and encourage him to hurry. That did no good. He just won't be hurried. Now that he is older he pokes around just to irritate me. So, on Sunday, I waited a good fifteen minutes for him without saying a word. And, I was proud of myself. Finally, I heard him pulling the toilet paper out of the dispenser. And I waited, and waited and waited. And he never pulled anymore out. I couldn't stand it anymore and said,"Son, are you about done?"

"Mom, I'm still wiping," he said.

"Well, if you are using that much toilet paper, you better go ahead and flush so you don't stop up the toilet."

"I'm only using one square at a time."

"That's not a very big piece to wipe with."

"Well, Mom, I'm trying to use it wisely," he retorted.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Swimming Lessons

Is this not the cutest little face you have ever seen? Look at those pretty little baby teeth on that smile. I'm surprised that he is even smiling because this picture was taken just before his third birthday and he had just finished swimming lessons for the day with the Redman sisters in Plant City, Florida. His swimming lessons were for a week every summer. He started just shy of his second birthday. The Redman sisters warned all the parents that most kids would cry the first two or three days but that it was okay and they were use to it. They assured us parents that by Thursday they wouldn't cry anymore. They were wrong! At least for my son. He cried the whole week for the first two years. I think maybe by the third year he was prepared for it.

Now that he is seven, swimming lessons are less stressful for me. There is no crying. Well, except when I have to make him get out of the pool so we can leave. He is now taking lessons through Swim Jamaica in Kingston. On our first visit, Coach Omar assessed his swimming at a level three. There are seven levels in the program.
Class begins with a few warm ups. He makes them touch their toes and swing their arms to loosen up."Auntie" Joyce shows the class how she wants them to enter the pool. Joyce is head of the Montego Bay program.
Perfect form.

Once everyone entered the pool. They were all lined up along the edge waiting for further instruction.First up is floating on his back. Coach Omar makes sure his chin is back and both arms and legs are spread out.

Same thing, only face down. Again perfect form.

Lined up again. Everyone gets a floaty in front of them.

He had to demonstrate that he could swim on his back while holding the floaty against his chest by only kicking.

The class had ten students and it was divided in two. Here they had to hold on to the side of the pool with a noodle under their belly and demonstrate proper kicking by keeping legs straight and kicking from the hip.
At the end of the class they were lined up for a relay race. Nathan loves competitions. He was first in line for his team. They had to swim to the other end of the very loooong pool with the noodle out in front of them. Touch the wall and swim back. Nathan easily beat his opponent but kept slowing himself by looking back to make sure he was still ahead.
On the way back they had to swim through a hoola hoop as well. I can't remember if his team won or not but being the impartial mother that I am, I'm sure they did. I can't imagine where my son gets his over confidence from.