Friday, February 21, 2014

Let's rodeo, San Antonio!

After a night where almost no one slept in the Mammen house, I stuck to my guns and packed up the kids for a rodeo adventure. We were at the grounds by 8:30a.m., and it turns out that early morning on a Thursday is pretty much only attended by people there showing animals, their grandparents, and the Mammens. I think there were no other folks there just enjoying the show, everyone else seemed pretty...authentic. :) 

This rodeo story is really a little love tale between the lentil and the lolly. It is getting to the point where the obsession is mutual, not just Zayd smothering Zahra with "love".

Honestly, I say, "Say Cheese" and this is what Zaydie comes up with. I think he might be a romantic. (Mommy: One point.)

We enjoyed the HEB Buddy Farm and Zayd was more agreeable than I have seen in a long time. Heck, he wore the cow ears, and didn't freak out when someone touched him. (I can't count lately how many times I have told people, "Sorry, he doesn't like being touched." Though it also makes me wonder if people are touching ME that much...)

Um, this happened. His choice. He really looked happy for most of it, but the sun was in my phone so I couldn't see how terrible the photo was until it was too late.

There was a petting zoo. Check!

We spent a solid 30 minutes climbing tractors.

And this might be my favorite. We walked much of the enormous grounds in a chain of three. Me holding Zahra's hand and her INSISTING on holding Zayd's. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nature week continues! How a flower drinks water.

I let him practice cutting the flowers from the stems.

Then he was able to fill the cups with fresh water from the teapot.

We did a little dyein' and a little mixin'.

Finally, we put them in the window to soak up the water! I will admit that after almost three weeks, they have plenty of colored spots but are not at all "dyed" like I expected. Truthfully, I can't get Zayd to inspect them enough to illustrate the change. I think I might try celery next time as I have heard good things about that "experiment".

And then we painted on paper towels with the dyed water!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Houston. My first true love.

This little visit to my hometown couldn't have come at a more apropos time. This weekend is buttressed by two preschool tours last week and two next where I have spent a lot of time investigating diversity at San Antonio schools and playgrounds. (I didn't see an Asian till school number 3.) I feel some times like maybe I should get off my whole diversity kick, most people grow up in places where everyone looks the same and they mostly turn out fine. Certainly, I don't believe that bad eggs are bad because of homogeneity. But I do think that with two little mixie babies like mine, they are better off in an environment that's a little mixie too. And then I arrive in Houston and solidify that what's here is better (for us) than what's there. Period. We drove past the Turkish Institute for Interfaith Dialogue on our way to the zoo yesterday. Just took a wrong turn and there it was. Its a small, possibly non-relevant symbol but it struck me. If I need more proof, check out the Fort Bend ISD diversity page, and notice the stats. Done. Sign me up. How do I convince Sam though... That's the looming problem. Oh, and where will we work!


On to our Houston adventure to date.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Firsts. Beautiful firsts.

I feel like I have to post because it's such a momentous day and I also feel like it's silly to post because no one will understand.   Zayd ate his first meal tonight. That might be hyperbole because there's probably been some other day where he ate food but nothing like tonight. Never a meal. Never have I had such a calm meal where he fed himself and chatted and smiled.

We had rubbed chicken breast, black bean and rice stuffed peppers, and Mexican-ish salad with "chips" crumbled on top. Zayd had carrots, chicken, plain brown rice, and quinoa and flaxseed tortillas chips. For the record, Zahra eats what we eat.

I didn't do anything differently. He wanted chips and was happy (eager?) to eat the other things on his plate to get them. He used his own fork. He didn't cry. There was no vomit or vomit-threats. It was peaceful and amazing. Rice! He ate rice! He has not touched the stuff in at least 90 days, maybe six months.

It was wonderful to sit through but I have no illusions that we're cured. I assume the vomiting will return. The refusal. The tears. Truthfully, the fear. BUT, I can see a light now. "They" are always telling "you" that the kids will "grow out of it". And I have reasoned with myself that everyone thinks their kid is the unique one who has something wrong and almost always everyone is wrong. He must grow out of this, right? But I've spent a lot of energy worrying that I wasn't wrong. That this was a real thing. A thing that was a sign off some other worse thing that would hurt my sweet boy. But then, tonight, he just ate.

You just can't understand unless you've sat night after night for so long with a lovely lentil who cries at the thought of most food and vomits in protest. We eat 14 minute dinners. I time them, an alarm goes off, and (the torture?) it's over. It's actually improved things a bit. Tonight we stayed a little later at the table to get more chips (and chicken, carrots, and rice). I never would've dared to dream it.

Here's the little guy who was "proud" and happily enjoyed his marshmallow dessert. (Check his hand.)  To prove myself not crazy here, I will let you know that he doesn't eat the marshmallow. He put his teeth on it once and that will likely never happen again. He holds his dessert and thinks that's good enough and gives back his dessert when he's done.

Zahra's learning to use a spoon!

Cotton balls and aquarium rocks to experiment with weight and texture. Hand eye coordination with the muffin tray. Using three senses (trust me those rocks make a bang!). Great easy idea so you can empty the dishwasher!

Monday, February 10, 2014