Thursday, November 26, 2009

Weather that makes poets

With Mum visiting from Australia I receive daily updates on the weather in South Australia where they have been enduring a record setting spring heatwave. There have been days of heat over 100 and outbreaks of fire after thunderstorms. Meanwhile, those of us in Seattle today were surprised by a milky sunshine which was strong enough to cast a shadow. Mum celebrated by taking Wren for a walk to the bookstore while Josh, Frost and I went to Frosts first SPS Parent Teacher Conference.

Parent Teacher Conference
The conference was interesting and a bit surprising. Apparently Frost does well in class, is charming, outspoken and very excited by his work. His teacher finds him responsive and quick to grasp subjects. She showed us his MAP Scores (standardized achievement tests) and he is in average range for his class in reading but a bit behind in math. Ms A is not concerned about his math (he is about a grade behind the class expectation) because she sees that he has not been introduced to these topics and once he has he scores in the middle of the class at the end of unit assessments. We asked what areas he needs to develop more and it seems that its a combination of handwriting fluency and the kind of in-depth analysis of books and ideas that he will need for their next unit in essay writing. Frost tends to rush through ideas and jot things down in a superficial way rather than investigating in the depth that will sustain and idea or message through a longer passage. We are going to do that with him at home and write for him so his limitations in that area are not an impediment to developing his ideas. On the writing front, Ms A suggested he learn cursive along with the rest of the class rather than trying to reteach him the bad habits of improper letter formation he now struggles with.

Wren recovered
Thank you for all your support and emails during the battle for Wren's mouth. His immune system finally defeated the coxsackie virus but it was a bitter duel and Wren lost a few ounces due to his inability to eat for almost 5 days. He is feeling all better although he remains highly strung and in expectation of constant playmates and milkshakes on demand. I think things will settle within a few days.

Mum's Visit
Mum has been a rampaging shopping doing all her Christmas Shopping. I feel as if mine should have been done but only the overseas family have received my attention (this is a cunning distraction for those in the family who might be spying on me). She has also been working on editing old family films from Zanzibar where Mum lived from age 8-16. If you are interested in seeing some of it we have a short excerpt on Youtube here:

Rain moving through us
It has now started to rain. Again. I am not complaining. I love this weather - the long weeks of misty nights, cold mornings and pervasive damp. The cedars and firs stand in uniform green against a sky which is easy to look at. Its perfect weather for Thanksgiving and Christmas because you want to have lights and a fire and to have a soft blanket and all those snuggly things that make company easy. Growing up in the Southern Hemisphere where we had big leafed subtropical trees, flirtatious flowers, long tongued bats and noisy birds that ate fruit on Christmas Day, I never quite understood the appeal of Christmas Trees and lights. Mum saw her first string of popcorn threaded on a tree at anthropology and considered taking a picture because it is so queer.

Even though I love this place, crafting my Christmas Card list makes me a bit mournful. I wish I could have a day with each of my old friends from various continents and fragments of my history instead of crafting a little note saying I am well and living in Seattle. That said, I am not crafting many. I have decided to just let my mournful whimsy guide my Christmas Card sending rather than any attempt to be exhaustive. If I fail to send you one I was just in a good mood and enjoying a cuppa frothy milk and a piece of shortbread. Happy Christmas anyway :)

Frost is hunkered down. Ignoring Thanksgiving he is already counting down to Christmas and his unknown hoard of presents. He has told us that he doesn't want one good present but rather many small ones because its such fun to open them. I am not sure whether to respect this wish or to break something large up into many pieces. Today, I took a load of old toys to the thrift store so they have a chance to be bought for Christmas and to make some space for more thrifty discoveries.

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