G and F are very excited about the birth of their baby brother O. He was born Nov. 20th and they are wonderful big sisters. His birth has been a great learning experience for them. The biggest change is the increased responsibility they have learned. After all, if you recall their mother had some issues afterward and had to use a wound vac all this time. But now it is almost completely healed and this week the wound vac was removed. In the mean time each girl has become more responsible for their dirty dish, their dirty clothes and actually can now prepare their own bath water to the correct temperature. They are using the phrase "A mess by the inch is a cinch but a mess by the yard is hard" as their guide. I am even hearing F say that when she realizes that if she does not stop now the mess will no longer be a cinch. It is true that during this phase we have not accomplished near as much lesson time as I would have liked but it does not mean that learning did not take place. While living life we find time to have little spelling bees and math facts. At K's house there are strict rules about television and when we all got exhausted we sat back and watched a lot of national geographic shows or the typical children educational television. We also read several Magic Tree House books together and discussed them afterward. Intermittently during this past month we did our curriculum as well.
You may wonder why it was so disruptive. Well, between mother's home nurse visits, doctor visits and such we also had some children who did not feel well. They went to MONKEY JOE'S for a play date with some friends and soon they were ill. That takes away a week right there alone. Then there is the baby. Seems O has a little problem of his own and was not thriving as he should have been. It is so odd! At the time he was born every other baby at the hospital was in the NICU but baby O was in the regular nursery and roomed in with mom and dad. The neonatologist even told K that O was the heatlhiest baby in the nursery. He went down in weight as they all do but gained it back. He was at the doctor every other day for a weight though as he gained it back so much slower than they had expected. Then one day it was clear to K that he was not doing well at all. She blamed in on the illness of the girls thinking that he must have caught a little something too. He ended up being admitted to St. Louis Children's Hospital where a few things in our life changed. He struggles too much at the breast to breath and swallow so he must be fed with a faster flow nipple in a more upright position than at the breast. He got rehydrated there and his weight began to come up big time. He had lost more weight again and was once again below his birth weight. They heard a heart murmur and checked it out with an echocardiogram. There were other test that they wanted to get completed but he was just to frail to perform them. So the plan is to see the cardiologist at the end of the month and assess his readiness for further testing and the surgical correction of a double aortic arch. Of all CHD this is a very rare one effecting only 1% of children. God lead K to help at the right time. It may otherwise had gone undetected for a very long time. His symptoms are just little things right now that we noticed but thought them to be "just him". His voice sounds like he always has a sore throat and there are times his breathing is loud. It seems that the aortic arch creates a circle with his trachea and esophagus trapped in the middle. It does not effect the function of the heart at all.
|G meets O|
|F meets O|
|O after his bath and lotion applied by two happy sisters|
So you may ask--how are you going to catch up?--- I am not! We had all ready discussed the fact that we enjoy our early fall time and hate the thought and pressure to do school when the days are so wonderful and we could be camping or hiking in the midst of fall weather. We planned to do a longer school year and take a July, August, September vacation instead. This will just justify to the girls why we are still doing school in June. Let's face it, they can do school and still hit the pool after lunch time. Where I live the pool does not begin to get direct sun until around 11:00 and it creeps slowly across the pool.
So back in full swing again and the girls are eager. G is begging for a test every day. I think she is worried that she will have forgotten material but she is doing great. I am thinking more and more that we will not seek to complete the first grade material this year anyway. F just turned 5 in October and I am going to take her as she shows ability. With that said, she was excited yesterday. She was introduced to the idea of compound words. She did great with little direction but we only did half of the lesson as it was true work for her. She felt so accomplished! It seems that G enjoys proof reading. She is having fun finding all the capitalization and punctuation mistakes and correcting them. Language classes just come naturally to her. For math class yesterday we priced items in the house and she went shopping. She is doing remarkably well deciding how to pay. She is finding the may ways to get to the total. She also seems to like the fraction intro and carrying numbers. Maybe she will like math more when it has more action to it. Today we will begin teaching G guitar as well.
One of the things they both enjoyed was the chapter on pioneers. They were not to interesting in colonial times but the west is different. So I went to the library last night and gathered up some other books on the topic. I know at this age much of social science/ history is introductory but they seem to both enjoy this topic so I am going to stop in the book for a while and go a little bit deeper today and Tuesday.
It has finally turned bitter cold and we have snow. I use to love this stuff but my house is so cold this year. I refuse to pay another winter of heating bills as high as I have been doing. Bundle up, lay with the dogs and hope for an early spring. That is my plan.