posts tagged with 'elijah'

reading practice in math

Elijah mostly enjoys practicing math and mostly doesn't enjoy practicing reading. He can read, but he doesn't love pushing through books at the slow pace he can currently manage, so it's hard for him to put in the practice he needs to get better. That's the curse of a kid who's just naturally good at things, I suppose! Because he's not confident with reading I initially didn't get him started on Khan Academy math, which the other boys have been using since the last half of last year (when I decided I was completely overwhelmed with teaching 7th grade math). It has lots of instructions and things that I was afraid he would struggle with.

Well, as much as I wish we didn't have to use computers I also really appreciate the consistency that Khan Academy lets the boys have in their math learning. They don't have to rely on me to make lessons and check their work! And that applies to Lijah too, so this week I made him an account and sat down with him to try it out. So far he's loving it! He mostly already knows how to do the things he's working on—practice around understanding multiplication—so getting everything right so far has felt pretty rewarding. Which leads to another upside: I already notice him getting more confident about reading the directions! I have absolutely no fears that he'll be able to read as much and as well as he wants, when he wants to... but in the meantime I appreciate him getting some practice in when he doesn't even notice he's doing it!

Elijah's hair

Since Harvey stopped cutting his hair a couple years ago his brothers have been thinking about following in his footsteps, and now for the past year or so they have. Zion is looking towards the future and not particularly interested in grooming, so he's mostly just letting his go wild. But Elijah is a boy who's interested in his image, so we're treated regularly to new and dynamic styles.

Elijah posing in the pond, showing off his pig tails

summer style

He's particularly interested in dyeing his hair. He and Leah have actually tried to do it a few times, but it keeps washing out... even with "semi-permanent" hair dye. He does swim a lot, including in chlorinated pools, which might be a factor. Or maybe his hair is just so strong and naturally beautiful that it resists any attempts to alter it? I think some permanent dye is up next.

Elijah's selfie with pink hair

his selfie of the latest attempt

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to water

This past Sunday Elijah was bored. It was a tired kind of bored: a full day with friends on Friday followed by the fair on Saturday had taken a lot out of us. His brothers were playing games on screens, but he's not interested in that. Because I respect that about him, when he told me for the fifth time that he didn't have anything to do I figured I could try and help him out. It had gotten warm—hot, even—so why didn't we go to the pond? We did.

Elijah waist-deep in Walden Pond

and straight in!

It was delightfully relaxing with just the two of us. Not that the pond was empty, as I had expected; on a beautiful warm weekend day lots of other people had the same idea. Not many of them were swimming though! The water was still pretty chilly. I wasn't swimming either, but that was because I don't actually own a swimsuit right now. I was happy to lie in the sun and almost fall asleep several times. I didn't even peak at the book I brought. Elijah lay in the sun too, in between forays into the water. It made for a good afternoon.

Elijah lying in the sun on a wall by the pond

relaxation

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a birthday like old times

Do you remember March 2020, when Elijah's birthday was the last party we had where we were able to invite people into our house? Well, I don't know if the pandemic is really over, but the weather the last two weeks seemed determined to force us into a symbolic statement about where we stand now virus-wise, two years later. The poor boy had his actual birthday a couple weeks ago, and his party was scheduled for the 12th—outdoors, like things have been lately. But the forecast was terrible, so we postponed it a week. Then, after a week of beautiful clear days, the next Saturday was wet too. But Elijah was determined to wait no longer, and with the extra week to think about it all our friends were fine with coming indoors to celebrate with us. And what a party it was!

Elijah blowing out the candles on his cake with a friend looking on

he still remembers how to do it

Of course, it wasn't all inside. Elijah's biggest hopes and plans were a game of freeze tag at Fawn Lake and a piñata, and neither one of those were really possible to do in our house. The Fawn Lake part was first, and while it felt kind of bad to be leaving our house in downpour by the time we reached the pond—all of seven minutes away—the rain had faded to falling mist. So all the kids were able to have a great time playing tag, and all the grown-ups were able to stand around like grown-ups do, mostly without even needing their umbrellas.

kids in the field at Fawn Lake

I couldn't ever get them all in one photo

After about an hour Lijah called a halt and we headed home (through another rain squall—good timing!). The birthday boy was so excited about presents that he opened them before lunch. Lunch itself was amazing: all those kids around our table for the first time in two years! Amazingly loud, too. The adults stayed in the other room. Besides the pizza the highlight of the at-home part of the party was smashing the piñata, which we did on the front porch—not because it was particularly wet, but because the thing was so big and heavy I didn't think anything but the ring bolt for the porch swing would be able to hold it up! It survived two rounds of kids whacking it with a plastic bat (though it was looking definitely battered and leaking a fair bit) before Elijah dispatched it with the wooden one.

Zion hitting the pinata

Zion showning good form

Then we had cake. At that point it was 1:00, the official end of the party (which had begun at 10:30). We weren't kicking anyone out, though, and I was very gratified that everybody who didn't have somewhere else to go stuck around til almost 3:00. Just like that last birthday, back in 2020! I guess we still know how to throw a party.

Elijah's cake, decortated with sunglasses

the theme was "cool kids"

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longest birthday ever

Elijah's birthday banners are still up. His party Saturday was postponed, which was probably a good call even though it didn't pour as much as the forecast predicted; it was still pretty wet and windy. Waiting yet longer was a tough prospect for him, so to make it up to him Leah took him and Zion to stay in a hotel in Lexington Saturday night. They swam in the pool and jumped on the beds and watched TV yesterday, and then this morning they enjoyed the breakfast buffet before coming to church. Unfortunately Leah came home feeling pretty sick, so I haven't had a chance to hear what she thought of the experience. It was a win for the boys though, that's for sure! And Elijah still has his party this Saturday to look forward to, and those banners have got to be up for another six days.

Yesterday was also an important milestone: it marked two years since the world shut down because of Covid. That seems like something worth marking as mask mandates end—for now?—and we're once again able to sing in Kids Church. But I don't really have anything to say about it: Elijah's birthday is much more interesting.

birthday joy for my boy?

After my birthday on Saturday, Sunday it was Elijah's turn. He didn't have the best day; come to find out that Sunday is actually a hard day on which to feel special in our house. The birthday banners were up, sure, and he got a card first thing, which was all fine. But church is church, and while it definitely has its fun parts, it was hard for him to feel special when I was paying attention to all the other kids... and there were two other birthdays to celebrate too! Even his birthday breakfast was messed up by it being Sunday. Even though I would have made him whatever he wanted—waffles, muffins, fried potatoes...—the Sunday tradition of cold cereal couldn't be resisted. At least we tried to make his chocolate bunnies a little special.

Elijah getting ready to blow out a birthday candle in his cereal

always a birthday morning candle

Luckily, his actual birthday isn't his only chance to be celebrated. On Saturday he and I shared a party at my parents' house (with Leah's parents in attendance too) and he got way more presents than I did. Plus he's got more celebrations to come. His party with his friends is this coming Saturday, and he's really looking forward to it—not just for the presents and cake, but for the epic game of freeze tag he's got planned at Fawn Lake and the totally cool piñata which'll be stuffed with the wide selection of candy he picked out (we've never done a piñata before! so exciting!). Only... it looks like it might rain that day! What'll we do?!

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winter playground

We went back to the cranberry bogs yesterday, from the other direction. They're so easy to get to, going the direct route: just a couple minutes walk through the woods from the road. Then once we got out there we spent an hour or so just playing. We cleared a rink with the shovel we brought, slid, explored, and made snowmen—little snowmen, since there was maybe an inch of snow on the ice. It was so much fun, I couldn't imagine how the woods weren't crowded with everybody in the neighborhood and beyond... it was like the best playground ever!

Harvey and Zion putting the finishing touches on a two-foot-tall snowman on a frozen pond

he's little but plucky

Of course, that's not to say it was all fun and games. Elijah and Harvey had a disagreement about who was responsible for creating the first snowman's face, and Elijah got pretty upset and stomped off to make his own snowman. He was mad at me too, so when I told him to watch out for some thin ice he showed me what he thought of my advice by stomping on it until he broke through and found himself up to his knee in muddy water. That surely improved the situation!

Elijah walking in the snow with one bare foot

he threw his wet boot so hard

Even with one boot off, though, he was determined to finish his work, so we didn't rush off. And despite that bit of grumpiness I think it's safe to say we were all glad for the trip. Hooray for winter wonderlands, right near home!

Harvey and Zion walking on a twisty shoveled path on the ice

the fun you can have with a shovel, snow, and ice

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Elijah's cozy spot

Our house is pretty cold in the mornings, so it's a good thing that Elijah has got a special space he can run to when he gets out of bed. It's a little cave between the arm of the couch and the wall, roofed over by the end-table sort of thing that's built into the bookshelf there. That's cozy enough to begin with, and it's even better because of the baseboard heater that runs through it and the fact that its other use is blanket storage. It might even be better than his bed! So if happen to come by our house before 7:00 and are wondering where are littlest one might be found, look there first. I think there's still a solid six months til he's too big to fit anymore—easily enough to last out the winter.

soap boats!

Harvey owns a set of wood-carving tools, but it's Elijah who uses them the most often. But making a piece of wood into what he can see in his mind isn't always easy for him. So he was immediately taken by a project in a wood carving book we got from the library that's all about carving soap. Significantly easier than wood! The only holdup was that we don't actually have any bar soap, just artisanal pucks and blobs, but he had only to suggest to Mama that he needed supplies and she instantly procured a three-pack of Ivory soap for him to work with. His first boat took a little bit of time, as he puzzled out the instructions; he was so delighted with it that he immediately started on a second one, which came together much more quickly. Then he thought of saving the last bar of soap for its manufacturer-intended purpose, but I told him that I wouldn't be able to stand the smell so he should go ahead and carve it. The third boat was a three-master! Then he molded a lifeboat out of the left-over chips. You can't do that with wood!

a soap boat Elijah made

model 1

The only problem he ran into was in testing the boats. He filled the sink to see how well they floated; they did, but they also immediately started lathering. Ivory soap is soft! So now they're display models on the windowsill above his desk, which is right next to mine. It's just like having an air freshener. I'm going to try and find him some softish wood to carve into a boat along the same lines, but that's going to have to wait a bit: now he's into clay.

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how Elijah sounds

Elijah is a clever and articulate kid, but you'll never hear him say so himself... mainly because he can't say his Rs. So if he were interested in bragging, it would come out as "clevoo and owticulate". His brothers had some speech production issues too when they were little: Harvey couldn't say Ls for a while (he just left them out) and Zion had a whole range of interesting sound substitutions. But both of them either grew out of those idiosyncrasies, or else learned how to actually pronounce the phonemes of concern in a few easy lessons. Lijah, not so much. He's seven now, and still shows no interest in talking like a pirate for a few days like Zion did to learn his Rs, nor any other corrective methods. Of course, I haven't really pushed it: I'm not a pushy sort of person, and also he's still my baby and I kind of like it that he still sounds so cute! While at the same time being clever and articulate, of course.