Monday, October 6, 2008

Doing More Than Is Humanly Possible

In an effort to be superhuman, or rather, in the course of my mundane day-to-day existence, the children and I began the day waking late and rushing about to get out of the house to a late-morning appointment with the pediatrician for a well-child check. Many of my colleagues do not adhere to a regular well-child routine, but likely due to Aleks' ongoing health needs, I got in the habit. As unschoolers, it's also handy to have somebody who is familiar with our family and our children's health so no one thinks we're locking our children in the basement and just claiming to homeschool. Additionally, I just like seeing whether my super skinny children are growing or not.

Aleks appears to be. I can tell because all the fancy Hanna Anderson pants my mother bought him last Autumn which were too wide but long enough are now still too wide, but no longer reach past his ankles.

What was funny is that last year he only gained a pound in weight yet two inches in height from the year previous and thus according to his Body Mass Index, he actually shrunk. This year we did much better. I wonder if introducing meat may have had anything to do with it. It's not like he grew that much.
Sebastian always had a nice little curve going as he got food straight from the tap and didn't have any mouth challenges like my poor little Aleksander. Still, my kids, like me, are on the little side.

He appears to have grown wider than he has grown taller, however.
And all that boring statistical analysis was really for the benefit of the family members who like to check in now and again... We also discussed Aleks' upcoming surgery with our doctor, who mentioned that his ear where his tube recently fell out (and was thus extracted from the wax by our otolaryngologist and placed in a box then promptly lost when Aleks played with it) looked good and not red and not swollen though there was some fluid behind the ear drum. I had hoped for this news after making the surgery appointment at the end of August when Aleks had a touch of a cold that I thought all the apparent gads of fluid behind his ear drum might be attributable to. So I canceled this upcoming fifth surgery and opted for another visit to the ENT (Ear, Nose, & Throat doctor = otolaryngologist) instead, thinking that perhaps Aleks' Eustachian tubes previously effected by the disjointed musculature of the soft palate (which Aleks had sewn together nearly six years ago) might actually be functioning well enough now. Or they might not. A hearing test might be in order as well, which would be yet another visit to yet another specialist. What a life!

Afterward, we headed across the way to a Whole Foods, where I would ordinarily try to never step foot inside, but we were far far away from anything better, so we had wheat grass smoothie and slices of pizza for lunch. Bastian pushed himself on his back on the slippery floor in the eating area and I repeatedly retrieved him. Aleks asked again and again for ice cream, which we conveniently forgot about before leaving.

Next, we decided to go to the Botanical Gardens to make more use of our membership. Aleks immediately peered in at the coy in the reflecting pool (filled with dozens of varieties of water lilies). He wore his new thrift store clothes which included two finds of the century for the 6-year-old boy: size 5 slim red corduroy pants (for the boy who literally shrinks) and black cowboy boots which are adopted as permanent costume now and sometimes encourage the accessory inclusion of straw cowboy hat from the costume box.
Bastian follows along and they run dangerously close to the edge (if you ask mom, anyway).
One of the many varieties of water lily. I think, though I cannot be sure as most of the blooms look quite similar, in my opinion, that this blossom may very well be a Texas Dawn. Who can be sure with these photos, though? Oh hell, come to think of it, it might be a Perry's Double White.
Round and round they go, should they fall? No one knows...
Aleks requested a penny to toss into the fountain.
Bastian just dropped his handkerchief in. We set it in the sun in the children's garden for the rest of our visit.
Twice today I saw kale and got tremendously excited. While we were sitting in Whole Foods munching our pizza, a gentleman walked by carrying a boxload of kale for the produce department and I got a huge ridiculous grin on my face just looking at it. We have been eating kale once a day or more lately as there always seems to be a bit left over after City Fresh, which I then take home to make into slightly wilted greens or raw kale smoothies for the children. I love kale so very much. Then, on the pathway to the Children's Garden, here was all this ornamental kale sitting there looking happy. In fact, in recent years, there seems to have been quite the explosion of ornamental kale (which, you should know, is not nearly tasty as its totally edible counterpart, though this looks edible enough - the red leaves taste quite literally like dirt, in my experience). I see the stuff everywhere, all along city sidewalks tucked into autumnal floral arrangements and in long rows for sale at the nursery when Aleks and I go to buy mums and neem oil. I should write love poems to kale, really.
In the Children's Garden the boys raid the tool shed for sand toys.
Aleks brings along a large truck, pushing it through the gravel. It is such a lovely day and quite warm in the sun. We've come to the garden late in the day when there is hardly anyone there at all. The women running the show said that hardly anyone had come in anyway. Monday's are not exactly big outing days. Especially since so many are in school. Lucky us not going to school.
Then Aleks had to go potty which required a trip through the huge glass house to see the desert and the rainforest. He had his heart set on butterflies, but settled for every lizard, giant insect, and small mammal on the way in addition.
First stop was a massive millipede, which we learned is quite harmless - centipedes are the ones who bite. These look like the scary things sent to kill Senator Amidala in the worst of all the Star Wars series, Attack of the Clones, though, which doesn't make me think they're harmless much.
The gardens recently got two Panther Chameleons as a breeding pair. I'm pretty sure this is the female. She hung right on the side of the cage at eye level, which was great because we got to see her super up-close.
I was fascinated by the strange feet. They're "zygodactyle" and the chameleon is the only lizard to have these which provide them with a strong pincer grasp for climbing.
The chameleon has five toes on each foot; the back feet have three toes outside and two inside. The front feet are the opposite way around.
It's kooky.

The sweetest part, though, was the tale curled tightly 'round the wire. Aleks was really keen on seeing them change colors and thought that they changed their color by literally "evolving." He was mixing up "evolve" with "transform" or "change" or "have a chemical process in the skin." Either way.

This spiny ball is actually a sleeping hedgehog.
We were not fond of the giant Madagscar Hissing Cockroaches.
Finally in the rainforest, the boys got to see the butterflies, though they moved a little too quickly for them to get a good look. Aleks did appreciate my photographs and was impressed that I was able to take them at all.

Back in the Children's Garden, the long day and Bastian's cold (which I was worried was croup because of a barking cough, but which turned out to be just a cold) started to make him feel groggy and slow. When asked to help put toys back in the tool shed, he just stared off into space, lazily touching the sand.

On the way home, we stopped in the Food Co-op for a few things we needed. Aleks put his Darth Vader cape and mask on (which he wore to the doctor's as well, incidentally) before going inside. As I was very tired by this point from all our running around, I made a deal with him that he needed to stay with me every inch of the way in the store. I just didn't have it in me to chase him about or fight over sweets or feel on edge if he were going in and out of the children's area. So he rode on the back of the cart then helped me load things onto the conveyor belt for ringing up by our artist-in-residence (or rather the local art school grad who has to work four jobs to survive), Noah.
I remembered to get Anna a new creamer as the one she bought a few weeks ago got broken at Jonas' birthday party. We also got garlic, tofu, cashews, carrots, and frozen peaches (for raw kale smoothies).
Finally, we went home, did laundry, drank tea, and watched movies. Oh! And we made apple sauce with our remaining City Fresh green apples to freeze. And nobody ate it and the consistency was a little weird.

But the boys enjoyed cutting up the apples.

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