The Birds and The Bees and….Hot S*x?!?

Such is the craziness of my life that the sex talk we had with Golfer last week is only managing to find it’s way on the blog today.

And, to be fair, it wasn’t THE sex talk. At 9, we haven’t really gone there yet. But as will often happen, one comment led to another, and Hubby and I found ourselves discussing sex with Golfer in the middle of watching the Nuggets game.

I don’t believe in sitting down and planning for the official ‘talk’, because 1) I’d sound awfully nerdy and totally nervous, 2) my kids naturally tune anything out that is staged like that, and 3) I don’t want to overthink it. I tend to overshare when I plan a speech rather than let it spring organically from a situation.

As luck would have it, one of the Nuggets got tagged in his nuggets during the game. I pointed out, “Golfer, you’ve got to keep those things safe, you know? You can’t be too careful when playing sports…you wouldn’t want to damage your babymakers.”

Because we haven’t broached this subject before, Golfer didn’t know to avoid walking into the trap. “Babymakers? What?”

“Yeah, your balls (sorry, not the proper term, but now isn’t the time to get all boring and technical) make the sperm, and the sperm make the baby!”

He started looking suspiciously uncomfortable.

Hubby jumped in. “Girls have the eggs, and we have the sperm. It takes those two things to make the baby.”

Golfer turned his back on us and pretended to watch the game.

Hubby pressed on. “Do you know about any of that stuff? Babymaking stuff? Sex stuff?”

I tagged in. “Yeah! What do you know about sex?”

Golfer slowly turned back around and said, “What kind of sex do you mean?”

This caught us off guard. OMGosh, is he talking about positions? And I didn’t even know he knew what it was? Hubby and I looked at each other. It was our turn to get uncomfortable. We started giggling at each other. When this happens, I talk as little as possible while asking tons of questions back at them.

“What do you mean, what kind? What kind are you talking about? How many kinds of sex do YOU know?” we asked. (giggle, giggle)

“I know it takes two people. And one of them has to be pretty” Golfer said.

(giggle, giggle) Hubby said, “You’re on to something, there, buddy.” (giggle, giggle) I shoved the testosterone aside and added, “So you have pretty people…then what happens?”

Golfer rolled his eyes, wishing he were far away from his giggling parents. “Well, mom. Then you have Hot S*x.”

Hubby and I weren’t giggling anymore, we were howling. It took quite a while for us to control our laughter. I was crying, I was laughing so hard. Golfer went back to the game while we composed ourselves.

I piped up, “Golfer, what happens if they aren’t pretty?”

Golfer sighed, continuing to watch the game, “That’s why I asked you what kind of sex you were talking about.”

Hubby whispered (giggle, giggle), “They must have not hot s*x…”

(giggle, giggle) “So, Golfer, do they have hot sex? Or do you have to be pretty for that? Huh? Huh?”

He ignored me, rightfully.

I couldn’t delve any further into the subject, I could barely talk through the giggles. I poked Hubby hard in the side, “This is because of all the super bowl commercials, and ads they show in basketball games. Hot sex and pretty girls? He doesn’t even know what sex IS, and he’s talking like THAT?!”

Hubby pleaded the 5th.

We wiped the tears from our eyes, and finished watching the game.

Next time we have a talk like this, maybe I will prepare a little more.

(* added to keep pervy search terms from bringing this up)

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To the Theatre!

Naturalist and I had a chance to jet into the city and go to the Theatre! With a capital T and -re on the end, pronounced “Theatah” like an aristocrat. Not like the theater, lower case T and -er on the end…as in, movie theater. I mean the real deal, with live people running around on a stage and an intermission in the middle.

We got all dressed up, did our hair up nice (not her favorite thing), and drove down to see Shakespeare’s “Richard III”. My first experience with Shakespeare was my high school “Romeo and Juliet” English class, and I swore off Shakespeare for the rest of my life. All that decoding the iambic pentameter stuff nearly did me in. Thank goodness for Kenneth Branaugh putting Shakespeare on the big screen, where I could just watch it instead of comb through it line by tedious line. If Shakespeare wanted me to read his stuff, he would have written books, not plays.

We did prepare for our experience, however, by reading plot notes, character summaries, themes and motifs, and key facts of the play at Sparknotes. We learned the play was about the bloodthirsty humpback Richard III who killed just about everyone in his immediate and not so immediate family to ascend to the throne. We learned the play was full of murders, curses, foreshadowing, ghosts, and psychotic characters…what’s not to love?!

I told her that whenever I watch Shakespeare, I get about 10% of what’s being said. If I watch it again, I go up to 20%, and maybe after the 4th time I get to about 50% comprehension, so it was OK if she didn’t really get everything as it was happening. For help, we brought along a cheat sheet (from Web English Teacher) that broke each act down into a cartoon reenactment. It turned out to be a great resource–how can it not, with this kind of narrative:

richard

The play was fantastic. Amazing! The actors were so good, I was up at about 30% comprehension my very first time watching it! Naturalist said “I get everything…about 3 minutes after they finish saying it…” She was enthralled for the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes it took to complete it. It was right up her alley, especially the way Richard III was written. He’s definately the antagonist, running around killing off brothers, uncles, nephews, and wives, but he has monologues with the audience that make him kinda likable. Kinda funny. Kinda the protagonist…to a point. By the time he has his young nephews taken to the Tower of London and killed he stopped being so funny.

And then, at the very end, a scene developed that I expected to be like this:

richard2

and it turned out to be pretty (very) scary. Everyone that Richard had killed up to that point (which is like, most of the characters) reappears bathed in red light and somewhat hidden in a ghostly fog. They each take their turn reenacting their death on him while shouting, “DESPAIR AND DIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!” Naturalist didn’t mind, but I was totally freaked out. All those murders left me a little jumpy by the end.

The Theater.

Aside from the amazing play, a highlight of the night was each chugging 12 ounces of soda pop in about 5 minutes during the intermission.

She loved the theatre so much, we’re going to Phantom of the Opera next month! Next time, I think I’ll skip the soda pop at intermission…

2e Tuesday: Animal School.

And I’m not saying ‘Animal School’ because we’re a bunch of animals over here.

What I mean is, I just came across a video I haven’t seen in a while. The last time I watched it was in California almost 4 years ago, while I was anguishing over my decision to pull Naturalist out of school. I had only ever hung out with the parents of Naturalist’s schoolmates, and so had nowhere to turn to for a sympathetic ear and good advice. Everyone I knew thought I was crazy for doing it, but I’d finally reached a point where I knew I’d be crazy if I didn’t. (It only took me 4 years of her crying every day to reach that point…hello?!?)

So anyway, when we bailed on 3rd grade towards the end of the year, we thought….”Hey! Everyone else is in school…let’s go to Disneyland!” and then I started feeling really great about our decision. Also, I met up with a friend of the family who homeschooled each one of her 8? 10? kids through high school. She could tell I was stressed about the whole situation…the education system, my dependence on that same system, my stress about Naturalist not thriving there (was it her? them? me? what?!?), and a million other things that jump up on ya when you run and leap into homeschooling at the drop of a hat.

She shared with me the video for the short story, ‘Animal School’. By the second sentence, I was crying. I realize that’s not a real great incentive to get you to watch it if you haven’t before, but I gotta be honest here! After struggling so hard for 4 years to get Naturalist to ‘fit in’, this movie cleared my vision a bit and I had a ‘Eureka!’ moment. Maybe it’s not Naturalist! Maybe there is hope for us after all!

“This story is reproduced from Preparing Our Children for Success, by Rabbi Z. Greenwald with permission from the copyright holders, Artscroll/ Mesorah Publications, LTD.
*****
Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had to create a curriculum that would satisfy everyone, so they chose four subjects: running, climbing, flying, and swimming. All the animals, of course, studied all the subjects.

The duck was very good at swimming, better than the teacher, in fact. He received passing grades in running and flying, but was hopeless in climbing, so they made him drop swimming so that he could practice climbing. After a while he was only average at swimming, but average is still acceptable, at least in school, and nobody worried much about it except the duck.

The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In his climbing class he beat everybody to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there that was against the rules. He always had to stay after school and write, “Cheating is wrong,” five hundred times. This kept him from soaring, which he loved, but schoolwork comes first.

The bear flunked because they said he was lazy, especially in the winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn’t open then.

The zebra played hooky a lot because the ponies made fun of his stripes, and this made him very sad.

The kangaroo started out at the top of the racing class, but became discouraged when told to move swiftly on all four legs the way his classmates did.

The fish quit school because he was bored. To him, all four subjects were the same, but nobody understood that because they had never seen a fish.

The squirrel got an A in climbing, but his flying teacher made him start from the ground up, instead of from the treetop down. His legs got so sore practicing takeoffs that he began getting Cs in climbing and Ds in running.

The bee was the biggest problem of all, so the teacher sent him to Doctor Owl for testing. Doctor Owl said that the bee’s wings were too small for flying and they were in the wrong place. The bee never saw Doctor Owl’s report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway. I think I know a bee or two, how about you?

The duck is the child who does well in math and poorly in English and is given tutorials by the English teacher while his classmates are doing math. He loses his edge in math, and only does passably well in English.

The eagle is the child who is turned into a troublemaker because he has his “own style” of doing things. While he is not doing anything “wrong,” his non-conforming is perceived as troublemakeing, for which he is punished.

Who does not recognize the bear? The kid who is great in camp, thrives on extra-curricular, but really just goes flat in the academics.

The zebra is the heavy, tall, or short, self-conscious kid whose failure in school few realize is due to a sense of social inadequacy.

The kangaroo is the one who instead of persevering gives up and becomes that discouraged child whose future disappears because he was not appreciated.

The fish is a child who really requires full special education and cannot shine in the regular classroom.

The squirrel, unlike the duck who “manages,” becomes a failure.
The bee, oh the bee, is the child who the school just feels it cannot deal with, yet, against all odds, with the backing of his parents, has enough self-motivation to do well even though everyone thought he couldn’t. I had the pleasure of knowing many bees.

Your child is a unique blend of talents, personality, and ingredients nowhere else to be found.

Some children are skilled intellectually, others are blessed emotionally, and many are born with creative ingenuity.

Each child possesses their his own exclusive collection of gifts.

Your child did not come with a direction booklet.

Effective parents are always learning, studying, and customizing the instructions for their individual child.

Each and every child is as unique as his fingerprints; a sparkling diamond of unparalleled beauty.

Don’t let your child be a kangaroo!”

Raising Small Souls

Math Monday: What’s cooler than a number line? A number CIRCLE!

I’ve written before about the Naturalist’s non-linear type of thinking, especially in regards to math. This has made finding a math program impossible, since they are all based on a number line. I compared her style of thinking more ouroboros symbol than linear.

As nervous as it made me to drop all math curriculum, I’d read enough John Holt to know that first I needed to trust her rather than force her into doing a curriculum that was unsuited for her style. Working with numbers ‘naturally’–doing things like cooking, sewing, shopping, etc., gave her a great number sense and literacy, which I hadn’t seen before, and life was good.

Then, I happened upon a Vedic Math book. I’d abandoned my search for math curriculum from anywhere here in the West, and had gone Eastward. Vedic math comes from India and is quite trippy compared to how we learn it over here. It is mostly done mentally (great for kids who don’t like to write), working from left to right (great for speed and harder to get confused), and based on breaking numbers down into smaller units (nice and simple). When I leafed through the book, instead of a number line, I saw a number circle, like this one:

Vedic 10 point circle

It’s a vedic 10 point circle. Just like the Ouroboros symbol, only for math! I immediately checked out the book and brought it home to study and share with the kids. Naturalist immediately responded to it. For instance, in the above 10 point circle, you see the circle is broken up into 10 places. Directly across from each number is a corresponding number, that coincidentally add up to 10 in every case. ::pause for effect::

This was quite dramatic for both Naturalist and myself because up until we saw that circle, we each would add numbers by adding on by one. 7+3 was us going, “seven, eight, nine, ten.” 7+4 was us going, “seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven.” It’s very laborious to do it this way, but that’s the only way we knew to do it. Finger counting at its finest. All of a sudden, we realized that if we could remember which numbers added to 10, it was a jumping off point. 7+4 was just 7+3 (automatically 10) + 1. 7+5 was just 2 more than 7+3, and adding 2 on to 10 is much more automatic than counting up by fingers. By pegging numbers that add up to 10, we saved our mental energy and could quickly work with numbers. I suspect that most of you reading this already do that, Golfer and Hubby (who are great at math) already had figured it out. I didn’t realize they were using a basic algorithm to do math so speedily–I always wondered how they could count up so fast, lol.

Once Naturalist and I grasped the concept of making 10, we quickly learned how to apply this to doing MULTIPLICATION! ::pause for effect:: Did you hear that? I said MULTIPLICATION! The two of us! At the table! Doing multiplication! Without crying! Here’s a quick tutorial to explain how we did it. In fact, because multiplication had tortured us for so long (don’t even get me started on how I didn’t get an ice cream party with the other 4th graders who had memorized their facts up to 12, while I was still stuck at my 3 tables 😦 ) we did it while giggling, like, “Look at me! I can do it!”

And this is how our math program started. Encourged by our newfound success with addition and basic multiplication, Naturalist and I decided this Vedic math stuff was worth learning more about. Golfer is always up for doing math, and he was all in. So, every morning, after we eat breakfast, we clear the table, make some hot chocolate, and do math for (I’m not kidding about this…) AN HOUR! Sometimes more. It’s not uncommon for Naturalist to spend longer than Golfer doing math, because the patterns and number relationships are simply delightful, especially for someone who was so tortured by it before.

Here’s a link to the first Vedic Math book I discovered: Vedic Mathematics Teacher’s Manual, Vol. 1

Other great vedic (or, vedic-ish) books we’re enjoying:

Arithmetricks: 50 Easy Ways to Add, Subtract, Multiply, and Divide Without a Calculator

Rapid Math Tricks & Tips: 30 Days to Number Power

Speed Mathematics Using the Vedic System

The highest recommendation for any ‘education’ type book is one from an unschooler, simply because if my kids didn’t like it, we wouldn’t be doing it. For an hour! Every day! If you have a math phobia, have dyscalculia, greatly dislike math, or have a child who is any of those things, definately check Vedic Math and these books out.

******************
Quick math trick to divide any number by 5:

23 divided by 5
take the number. (23)
double it. (46)
place a decimal point one place to the left. (4.6)
There’s your answer!

83 divided by 5
83+83= 166
16.6
!!!

77 divided by 5
77+77= 154
15.4
!!!

You can do the same for 50, 500, 5000, etc. Just keep moving the decimal number over to the left equal to the digits in your number.

Viva la Math!

“Let Your Love Fly…”

Let Your Love Fly...

“Let your love fly like a bird on the wing
And let your love bind you to all living things
And let your love shine and you’ll know what I mean
That’s the reason…”

Happy Flare Friday!

I’d write more, but I’ve been attending to 3 kids who have come down with the stomach flu….TWICE. I didn’t think it was possible, but yes, last week they were sick, and now this week they got re-sick. It aint pretty over here, as you can imagine. Or wait, don’t try to imagine.

So excuse me while I go (re)sanitize my house and (re)clean the carpets. Unless one of you volunteers to do it?! I’d be really really totally your best friend forever…

How To Rock, a tutorial from Golfer.

How to Rock

1) decorate your guitar hero guitar with stickers.
2) play “The Joker” (Steve Miller Band), “No Sleep ‘Till Brooklyn” (Beastie Boys), and “Eye of the Tiger” (???) over and over.
3) If you have a rock star dog like Frito, put them in your lap while you play.
4) Put on your best snowman/penguin fleece pajamas.

Voila! Now you rock!

2e Tuesday: “A misfortune is a tragedy, and a joy is an ecstasy”

The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.
To him…

a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – – – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.”
-Pearl Buck-

A moment of silence for Pearl Buck, who didn’t know my kids but managed to describe them to a T.

On a good day with the kids, this sentiment (and I do love the poetic wording of this!) makes me feel so lucky to have kids that are in this world to create something better in it. Who see and feel deeply and passionately, which to me makes them super alive and totally tuned in to their inner selves.

On a challenging day with the kids, this sentiment makes me want to cry. Tonight was one of those times, and it left Hubby and I sitting on the couch together in stunned silence, thinking, ‘Kids really shouldn’t be so….bizarre. Or exhausting. Or weird.’

The fact of the matter is, the twice exceptionality of these kids means they have it all…passion, drive, self awareness, creativity, perfectionism, sensitivity, frustration, self doubt and hyperfocus…and they feel it all deeply. So deeply, that often I wonder about my sanity or theirs. Because the sensitivities can drive. me. crazy.

It’s well known among re searchers of the gifted, talented and creative that these individu als exhibit greater intensity and increased levels of emotional, imaginational, intellectual, sensual and psychomotor excitability and that this is a normal pattern of development.

Which means that OK, they aren’t the crazy ones, it’s all me.

But really?! Tonight, alone, there were tears from Naturalist and Golfer over: feeling isolated, being unfairly treated, over the thought of being irresponsible, over being afraid of the unknown, over not being ‘enough’…good enough, smart enough, nice enough, prepared enough… Oy vey.

But here’s when it’s important to have a network of support from other parents and/or other therapists who understand 2e:

Most people don’t know that what is considered normal for the gifted is most often labeled as neurosis in the general population.

Therapeutic assessment of gifted persons with asynchronous development, heightened levels of awareness, energy and emotional response, and an intense level of inner turmoil often results in their developmental transition being mislabeled as a personality or attentional disorder. Histrionic, dysthymic, cyclothymic, borderline, narcissistic, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) are a few of the diagnostic labels mistakenly used to describe normative stages of positive disintegration.

I know that when we pulled Naturalist out of school, they were throwing around terms like ADD, but also more serious disorders like OCD and generalized anxiety disorder. When really? They were failing to diagnose either giftedness or learning differences. Because those you can’t take a pill to make go away, and even though it is illegal for a school to recommend medication that’s EXACTLY what they were saying about Naturalist (which is about the time I pulled her out.).

Whenever I get overwhelmed by the intensity of my kids, I repeat Pearl Buck’s words in my head:

a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.

and I try to remember that my exhaustion is a drop in the bucket compared to their inner turmoil when they come to me all freaked out. And that their intensity is what will ultimately make them into amazing and dynamic creators. And that today, they may feel deeply hurt…but tomorrow (or, even in a few hours!) they will feel deeply happy and all the world will be right again.

And, that I have a stash of chocolate macadamia nut clusters in the cabinet that I can raid when everyone is finally asleep.

Any of this sound familiar? Come check out the Out of the Box Thinkers group for parents of kids that are totally out of any box around.
Out of the Box Thinkers Group.

Want another look at 2e? Check out “Still Waters Run Deep” over at Never a Dull Moment!