Category Archives: boys

Nearly Normal

I toted Sean to an ‘unfamiliar to us’ playground. We gathered our things, exited the car and headed for the location.

As we walk through the gate and onto the splash pad, I instantly feel something is different. This is a completely foreign experience and I am not used to it.

Mom’s keep talking to each other, and no one turns around. Not one little kid stops in their tracks to watch us as we come through the gate. There is no undo attention. He simply joins the other kids.

No one pretends that they are not looking at us.

This is because it is the right season to be out of school. Not one person – never mind three – ask him ‘What, no school today?’ He is not a teenager, missing some class period, in the middle of the day. He has just the right skin color for no one to be concerned that he is at the park alone. He matches me perfectly and no one asks ‘is that your son’ or where I got him. He has all of his hair and no one gives him that pitiful looks reserved for children with cancer. He has just the right number of chromosomes and his behavior falls into pretty acceptable social norms.

So we blend.

It is incredibly strange. I don’t often realize the way that I steel myself for the situations I will find myself when I am in the company of several or all of my boys. I get it, and I don’t. Some days I have more tolerance for it and some days less. It’s always there, but during this experience, in it’s absence, I feel a hard time relaxing and settling into quiet oblivion.

It’s odd being nearly normal.

7 Weeks Away

Gavin will be spending 7 weeks away from home this summer. The first week will be spent at high-adventure Boy Scout Camp and the additional six weeks as a staff member at another BSA camp.

There will be a seismic shift on the Costello household with Gavin gone. He is often a bastion of reliability, he is a good conversationalist, and he is full of fun & frivolity. He is the only one who can hold down the whole fort, besides Dennis & I.

He is also a teen…and well, things can get a little hard when your a teen. And things can get a little hard when you are the parent of a teen. You know – the ‘regular’ stuff.

But, truth be told, I am really glad he is leaving.

I am glad he will be leaving behind the monotony and mundane tasks that winter brought us. I’m glad Algebra & Anatomy have been put on hold for firebuilding, metal-working, ecology, and canoeing.

I am glad that he will be disengaged from all his gadgets, screens, the internet and TV for a period of time.

I am glad that he will be surrounded by fresh air and lake water, trees and grass, bugs, birds, forest creatures and nature sounds.

I am glad he is carving out a space where he can cultivate his independence – where he will be responsible, solely, for himself, including his own health and hygiene. Please tell me he will be responsible for his own hygiene ๐Ÿ™‚

I am glad that he will experience a time to discover who he is outside of the circle of his three brothers. I am glad he can investigate who he is outside of the centrifugal force of family life.

I am glad he will be developing serious leadership skills in a structured and progressive program like BSA. I am glad that he will be forming new relationships and navigating the balance of the responsibilities he’s been given with personal time & relaxation.

See, I’m glad he’s leaving.

“In scouting, a boy is encouraged to educate himself
instead of being instructed”

~ Sir Robert Baden Powell

Be A Ghost

When Ethan is in a particular mood, on most afternoons after school, he perseverates on a certain topic.

‘You die mom?’

‘Mom, your dead. Be a ghost.’

‘Mom? Gonna die, mom?’

‘Mom? Mom. I love grandma. I love dad. I love Gabby-boy. Not you – I ‘X’ you.’

Then he makes the sound you would hear if you gave an incorrect answer on a game show.

Peals of laughter commence – only from Ethan, of course.

He goes on and on about me becoming a ghost and haunting our present house. He maintains that it will then become a ‘Spooky House’. He tells me that I am ‘old’ and ‘yucky’. He rarely expresses this about Dennis – and he is old and yucky too!

Sometimes I ignore him – to the extent that it is possible to ignore Ethan. If he chooses, he can keep this up for hours. Sometimes I respond.

‘Yes, E, we are all going to die.’

‘Yes, E, if given the opportunity I will definitely haunt you.’

‘Ethan, if I die, who is going to make the food and do the laundry?’

He says he’s going to take over. Maybe he could start that now?

He has expressed these sentiments from the time he was very young. We can come up with no good reason for this particular behavior – or so many like it. It is inexplicable – like so much about him.

It is a hobby, a habit, a compulsion. My mom is often concerned that it upsets me. It does not. I recently had a compassionate friend concerned that it is hurtful. I am not sure why it does not bother me. I don’t believe that he secretly hates me and also, a lot of what Ethan does is confounding. It is far from the most difficult facet of his quirky self.

It’s fine. I love Ethan enough for the both of us. And if it turns out that it is, in fact, possible to haunt him or become a ghost when I die – I’m in.

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“It’s how you ride the trail that counts.”

~ Dale Evans (Rogers)

Did you know that Roy Rogers and Dale Evans had a baby girl with Down Syndrome? This book is a little beauty.

Indoor Activities

We are busy here. I think we are trying to move. Strange words to use in a sentence about moving – ‘think’ and ‘try’. But it’s true. The market is unpredictable and there are not too many houses that I would leave our current house for. Right now, the count is at 1 – and it is in town. But, we are cleaning, culling, redecorating, carpeting and painting none-the-less. Let’s see what happens.

Otherwise, I would crochet all day if that was possible because it is one of the rare times that I can think in a straight line (or in rounds). It just feels good. Late at night I get a chance toย  sit down and here are some products of that stress-relieving activity. DSC05066 DSC05069 DSC05067 DSC05071 DSC05074 (1)The patterns are here, here and here.

There are other mundane activities and way to many of them are occurring within my own four walls.

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Teeth

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I LOVE Ethan’s artwork

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My very 1st Kombucha brew. I received a SCOBY as a gift from a friend

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He insists the cat loves him

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Serious ‘Poke’ play at The Only Game in Town

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King & Queen of the Hill

10 days until Spring. I hope it’s not a rumor.

School Boy

We enrolled Mikey in school. Public school. It’s been shocking for sure. He is mesmerized by all of it.

He gets up with no trouble in the morning and feels that it is very important not to be late because then he would have to get a ‘late pass’. What would happen then? He does not know and does not want to find out. He believes that ‘walking on the right’ and having to raise your hand are good ideas. He likes his classes. He says the work is interesting and most of teachers are nice. I noticed him putting LOTS of extra gummy-fruit snacks into his lunch bag and questioned him. For his teachers. Good idea, Mikey.

He says the kids yell ‘Hi New Kid!’ in the halls and he yells back ‘Hi!’ Last week he told me that he was a celebrity. This week he says he’s a legend.

He says he has a teacher that has a very snotty and rude tone of voice…unless another adult enters the room or is on the phone. He says that he does not believe that another of his teachers likes children. When this teacher was shaking his head and stated that he did not know what they were all laughing about, my own little Amelia Bedelia asked him if he should explain exactly what they were laughing at. He reports that both of these teachers enjoy gummy snacks ๐Ÿ™‚

He says everyone is jealous of his self-made lunch. It’s totally a ‘homeschool’ lunch. Fruits & veggies, cheese & crackers, nuts & yogurt – inย  a cool, little bento box. You just have to laugh. He’s rocking it.

Today he told me a story about having to eat lunch in his math class, with his math teacher because he did not finish all of the previous evenings homework. I asked if it was a ‘punishment’ – he stated that it was not – just a time to do the work. He proceeded to tell me that eating in the math class, with his math teacher, doing math with three other students was WAAAYYY better than eating in the lunch room. It’s the little things.

He informed me that he was not finishing all of his math homework tonight either.

This is strange for me. I did not like school. I do not like rules and regulations. I do not like a whole lot about school. There are things he tells me that make me cringe. I hold my tongue and listen to him recount it all in his own way. Things that would really bother me, don’t bother him. When I ask him what he thinks of a situation – he usually has a very different take than I would. I dislike structure and he seems to be enjoying the routine.

Mikey calls Gavin ‘homeschooler’. Gavin calls him ‘schoolboy’. All is well.

schoolboy

The heading of my blog says ‘I Blog 4 Boys’, right? Lately I feel like ‘I Cook 4 Boys’ and ‘I Chauffeur 4 Boys’ – but certainly not blog.

I know a Sunday has come and gone without posting ‘Sunday Scenes’ because I slack like that and several others ways I could admit too.

The house is in flux because Ethan has been displaced from his room. There are few holy rules in our house – one is not to displace Ethan! You have seen Rain Man? Welcome to my world. His room is being renovated, so his hoard has been moved to the kitchen, dining room and living room. You know we live in a tiny space, right? This does not help anyone. Ethan is doing as well as he can with the situation and I am doing as well as I can with the clutter – which I despise! I’ve tried to embrace my inner hoarder, but I don’t have one ๐Ÿ™‚

Did I mention we are looking at a giant space? A big house. I’ve been trying to wrap my head and heart around the concept of moving. <Insert distasteful sound here>. Some things about it would be amazing and some would be downright scary – like heating and cleaning it. Pray for us.

Otherwise, I am battling the daily urge to crawl back into a warm bed – so I make it quickly in the morning. Then I stand in front of the warm dryer and I leave the oven open after baking to benefit from the ancillary heat. I have even resorted to filling the tub with hot water, rolling up my jeans and reading while seated on the edge.ย 

I’m cold, but I’m not as SAD as last year. That is so good.

I wish the weather was warming up. I wish the trees were blooming. I wish I could watch Downton Abbey from my hot tub – I wish I had a hot tub.

I wish I could find my blogging mojo.

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Something New

We knew that change was on the horizon.

So, there were inquiries and phone calls, conversations, debates and paperwork. Next, there was a tour and a talk, a physical and a shot, and piles of more paperwork. Finally, there were meetings and signatures and a paper grid of boxes with words like ‘Phys. Ed’ and ‘Social Studies’ in them.

In the end, Mikey was all set to go to school. But it’s not the end – it’s actually the beginning of a new adventure.

School clothes and name brand sneakers (so sue me) have been procured. A new hoodie, a backpack a lunchbox were selected and a three-ring notebook full of loose leaf was added.

We even covered a textbook in brown paper.

DSC04758After all the appointments and hardwork, there was very little fanfare. He looked like every other kid walking up to the school – except he was shooing away his mother’s camera. As it was time to go, he was shooing me away too and ducked away from an attempted kiss. We would never have sent him if he was not going to be ‘fine’. He was fine.

I wish I could say the same for me.