Friday, April 24, 2015

Take Your Child to Work Day

Yesterday was Take Your Child to Work Day. Last year Zack chastised me for not taking him, so I knew I'd better plan on it this year. NIH does a really great job with this day. Most of the institutes put on activities for the kids, so there is tons to do. I pre-registered him for four things and then I figured we'd wing it from there. We started out with a presentation on bones and muscles. We left that one early so that we could meet Kelly and get a tour of the wing she works on at the Clinical Center. I thought that was pretty cool because I'd never gotten to see the hospital part of NIH. Zack was most impressed with the internal "train" system that transports supplies within the building. 

From there we took the shuttle to the National Library of Medicine for a magnet demonstration--very cool. Then we shuttled back to my office for lunch, where he tried out the Director's seat in the conference room. We all decided that he'd be an excellent candidate for our new director. 

Then it was on to the Fire Department. NIH has their own department, also something I'd known about but never seen. They did had a great program--a video on fire safety and what to do in a fire, a tour of the building, then outside for a demo. They put out a "fire" on the roof and rescued Sparkey (kind of like Smokey, but a human in a Dalmation costume and for house fires, not forest fires). It was pretty impressive to see the trucks zoom in, set up, and maneuver. Then we went back in the firehouse, where they talked some more and showed all the kids what firemen would look like if there were a fire and they were searching through the house. This was really great because their 60+ pounds of gear make them look a bit creepy. The kids learned to Stop Drop and Roll, and they got a chance to put out "fires" in a house. I have to say, the firemen were awesome about talking with the kids and answering questions. I feel safe knowing they're protecting me here at work. 

The final stop (after a quick snack) was a presentation on how they take pictures of body parts from outside the body using CT scans and MRI's. I wasn't sure how this one was going to go--scientists aren't always known for being able to bring the science down to a popular level, much less a kid's level--but this one was pretty good. They'd taken scans of a lot of non-human things (like oranges, iPhones, etc.) and got the kids to guess what they were, and the whole talk wasn't too technical. 

Once that was over, we decided to call it a day and headed back to my office to pick up our things. Zack said goodbye to everyone, and we headed out. 

He told me a few times that he liked my office and campus a lot, and that he had a really good time. I'm really glad we had a chance to spend the day together, and I'm sure we'll be doing it again in the years to come. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Progress Report

We got his report card today. I won't bother to tell you his exact grades because they don't use ABCDF, and I'm not entirely sure I understand it all myself. That said, he's doing great. He has improved in reading so much this year and is exactly where he needs to be. We knew that he'd improved substantially just from how much more he reads voluntarily and how much better he does it. All the other metrics on the report card were really good, too. Notably, he got the very best grade possible in art. 

The chatting issue that he had in class has subsided. He no longer has a behavior plan; his teacher suggested that it wasn't necessary any longer. 

He's got a lot of friends and seems to pretty much get along with everyone. He has a lot of male friends, but his closest friend is a girl, and he often asks to have play dates with Ariana, who lives down the street. We think it's great that he has no qualms about hanging out with girls or boys. 

He's still loving KAH. I think he's gained so much confidence from being a part of that. He's made so many friends there, and gets involved in so many activities. He plays group games like dodgeball and gets involved in all the clubs and activities. It makes me so happy that he enjoys it. 

And he continues to be a really fun kid. He's funny and sweet and cares about his family and his pets. He loves hanging out with Kelly. She took him to the movies last weekend and they had a blast. He watches over the dogs, telling me if one threw up, or if they need to go out. He's picking up on sarcasm now. I have a tendency to be sarcastic (shocker, I know), which he didn't get for the longest time. Now he calls me out on it: "You're being sarcastic, Mommy." One day Kelly was going on about how much she loved JoJo, and Zack quips, "EVERYone knows how much you love JoJo." We nearly bust a gut laughing. 

He's a really good kid and this seems to be a really fun age. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


This boy of ours is growing up so much. It seems like a switch flipped on when he turned 7. He'll get his things ready in the morning (getting his backpack ready, filling his water bottle) all by himself without too much reminding, if any at all. He'll take his dishes over to the sink all by himself. And just tonight he finished a book report for his homework all by himself without prompting from me. This is huge--even up to a week ago homework usually bordered on a struggle. 

He and I have such interesting conversations now. Two come to mind. 

Last Sunday he and I walked down to the park. We weren't there long when he fell in the creek and got soaked. I could tell he was embarrassed and he wanted to head home right away. I started telling him that it wasn't really a big deal, no one there knew him, and stuff like this happens to everyone. I told him that I've had some pretty embarrassing falls, too. Of course, he wanted to hear an example, so I told him about the time I was chasing geese at Lake Towhee and fell in the mud, then had to ride home on the back of my mom's bike in my underwear (I was around 3). The look on his face! He loved hearing that something like that could happen to someone else. We also talked about how the best way to deal with situations like this is to laugh them off. 

Last night I was lying with him as he was falling asleep. We'd had an off night; we were both tired and a bit grumpy and we'd gotten angry with each other. Somehow we started talking about emotions once the lights were out. I told him that I get angry and sad, too. He asked what made me sad. I told him a few things, then I asked him. Then he asked me about what made me angry, and then he told me. We talked about happy, too. It was such a sweet conversation, a great way to end the day on a good note. 

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Guys' day out

Zack didn't have school or aftercare yesterday, so Rob stayed home to hang out with him. First they went swimming, then they headed over to Sligo to hit some golf balls. Rob got this shot, which might have just become my all-time favorite picture of Zack. 

I asked Zack later if he had a good day. He nodded, then perked up: "No, no, it was an AWESOME day!"