Onward, Upward & a Little Bit Sideward
Hulk Phone Smash

Three Hermanos

In other, less polarizing news*, you want to know who's doing great?


These fools. Or more accurately, these three wise guys. Are just great. Can't really speak for the cat, though.

Over the past couple weeks, we've had both all our parent-teacher conferences AND Noah's IEP meeting, re-evaluation/pre-middle-school year edition. Let's recap.


Noah's self-confidence has EXPLODED this year (possibly thanks to the social skills program he attended over the summer, plus a med switch that's been like night and day), and it's showing in just about every aspect possible at school. After almost failing math last year (but turning things around in the last semester), his latest report card was all A's and B's, he enjoys tests and studying and writing, keeps himself organized and on schedule, and is starting to open up to new topics and interests and friends. He continues to be amazingly self-aware and self-advocating, and just overall seems much happier and bubbly and just...yeah. Confident. It's a really good look for him. 

At his conference, his teacher mentioned his (obvious) love and passion for history and social studies, but said it was a struggle to redirect him from the non-fiction section and into more literary texts and writings. So I bought him a copy of good ol' Johnny Tremain, hoping that maybe historical fiction might appeal to him. No surprise, he loves it, and is breezing through it. 

At his IEP meeting, I mentioned this to his teacher. She raised an eyebrow and casssssssually mentioned that's exactly the book the Gifted & Talented class is reading right now, how innnnnnnteresting, and suggested a couple extra educational/cognitive assessments be added to the re-evaluation line-up. 

(I also bought him a choose your own adventure-type book set in the Revolutionary War, in hopes that it might help with some of his rigidity, as it includes choices to fight for both sides. It completely infuriated him at first, but then his insatiable curiosity for All Things History got the better of him and he read every possible path through the book, and he chose to participate in his school's mock debate after all, as a Neutralist. YAY NOAH BUT ALSO YAY ME RIGHT? I DID A THING! THAT WORKED!)


Ezra's parent-teacher conference lasted all of 10 minutes, because the teacher ran out of ways to say "Yeah, he's doing really great." Ezra also struggled with math last year (maybe there was just a county-to-county transition issue for everybody?), and now THIS YEAR, he's doing an entire weeks' worth of math packet homework in under 15 minutes on Monday nights. On whatever latest formal math assessment he was given (there are seemingly 486 different formal testing/assessment things going on every week, I swear), he got exactly one (1!) question wrong on the whole damn thing. So there's re-placement talks going on for him as well, to make sure he's being challenged. 

Whatever was going on with his hearing last year seems to have resolved on its own -- we had several visits with several specialists and got several conflicting possibilities, but everybody agreed on a wait-and-see approach. Best guess is that he had several un-diagnosed/stealth ear infections that were causing fluid/inflammation without the typical MY EAR HURTS I'M GOING TO DIE-type symptoms. Whatever it was, he's hearing just fine now. And the ADD diagnosis has also been tabled, as we now think his attention issues were more due to his ear problems, with perhaps a side of boredom-related daydreaming. The cirrrrrrrrrrcle of WTF WHO KNOWS I GIVE UP. 


(Pics are all from his recent birthday party at SkyZone. Which is a super fun place for all of us, especially in crap weather. I get exercise and plenty of opportunities to safely fall on my ass, Jason gets to play dodgeball with small children and accidentally beam them in the face until they cry.)


(True story!)


And then there's Ike. Oh, Ike. Here he is at Ezra's party, nursing a broken leg. 


(He was miraculously healed after another kid's mom gave him a foot massage. Mmkayyy.)

Out of all three report cards, Ike's was the one I opened with the most apprehension, only to be the most surprised by how universally positive and glowing it was. He loves going to school, gets along with all the kids, follows the rules, comes home every day happy and proud to show off his latest artwork or library book. 

But then, at his conference, his teacher admitted that he's been wildly inconsistent about what he knows and doesn't. One day he knows all his letters and numbers, the next day he can only identify about half. If asked what sound a letter makes, he'll almost always say he doesn't know, but then enthusiastically (and pretty accurately) phonetically sound-spells a ton of words to label a special drawing. He says he's not a good reader but I've "caught" him reading things enough times to know he at least knows his sight words and then some.

I spent 45 agonizing minutes trying to coax a word that rhymes with "cow" out of him for homework one night, only to overhear him THE VERY NEXT DAY randomly come up with "doctor" as a rhyming word for "proctor."

"Ike," I asked him after the conference. "Do you ever say that you don't know things even when you do?"

He looked immediately stricken. He crawled on my lap and buried his head.  The jig is up. They're onto me.


"Do you let your teacher know how smart you are or do you hide the things you know from her?"

"Sometimes," he admitted.


With a bit more prompting, he told me that sometimes when it's time to work, he like to "play pretend" instead. He says "I don't know" because it means whatever grown-up he's talking to will either 1) spend more time talking to him about it, so ATTENTION, and 2) let him get back to what he really wants to do, which is dress up in costumes from the Dramatic Play corner and be a humongous human ham in front of his friends, so EVEN MORE ATTENTION.

Enrolling this one in a drama club, stat.


Heaven. Help us. Every one.  


And this concludes today's update on the wolf pack. Keep Yellow House weird, you goofballs. 

*EYEROLL, SORRY. But not really, at all. Proud bleeding-heart feminist environmentalist pro-choice pro-LGBTQ BLM pro-refugee pro-gun-control democratic socialist heathen liberal AF up in this bitch. And have been, this whole time! Dun dun dunnnnnn. 



Ditto eyroll...there are more of us than you think. So proud to be from the blue state of Colorado, but dying in the red county of Park. Heaven help us all!

Angela Mott

Cannot even love this post enough!
I literally just had the same IEP meeting with Nick's teachers (Nick's 6mo younger than Noah if I recall right). We'd finished his annual IEP in early Nov, but I said I wanted him tested for gifted before middle school, so we just decided to do the triennial early. So we met yesterday to talk about what testing to do. They'll be doing the whole shebang including giftedness (social studies and science are his gig) and also testing for ASD which he has always probably been on the spectrum but his ADHD was so so obvious we went with that for his initial label when he was 4. He's doing so much better in school now than the early grades. Although he still I think struggles more socially. He is doing strings this year (violin) which seems to be a lot of fun for him. We'll see how he's coming along at his first performance next week!


Thanks for reminding me about Johnny Tremain! Michael would love it!


Love you and your family so much. You are a great mom!


DUDE my two and a half year old pulls an Ike with pretty much everything. When he's by himself he knows all his letters in order, can count to 15 and knows his colors. But god forbid I ask him any of those things. Everything becomes pink or blue, he needs "help" singing the alphabet and can't count past 4.

Seriously he's so good at this that I was wondering if he was color blind. He's playing me at two. I fear for myself.

Heather Laura Clarke

Love this update! Been following since Noah was a baby (at which point I went alllll the way back to the very beginning and read through until I caught up to present-day) and I feel like I know all three of them. They're wonderful and you're such a good parent!


A lightbulb went off for me when I first learned the term "twice exceptional". My son's obsession is science, and I always find it unfair when the gifted kids are doing experiments that I know he would love, but he's never invited to enrichment classes--so I end up finding my own outside of school. I love how you are challenging him. Also--I read some of the comments last time and wondered if you have considered approving comments before they are published? Just curious about your thoughts on that.


I'm a bright blue dot in a (slightly less red recently but still really red) state of Georgia. Keep on keeping on.

Love to hear how well the boys are doing. I have a smart, anxious, hyperactive child who is currently giving me ulcers.


Talk to me about the Noah med switch. We are at the exact same place we were and Hudson is drowning. And I'm going nuts.


I hope you don't mind too much, but I would like to put "Proud bleeding-heart feminist environmentalist pro-choice pro-LGBTQ BLM pro-refugee pro-gun-control democratic socialist heathen liberal AF up in this bitch." as the new header on my Facebook page. I want to see just how many of my family and friends have a literal cow. I shall then begin the Purge. (although I might add "backsliding Southern Baptist' in there somewhere. ) Love you!!

Donna P

Noah, Ezra and [Baby] Ike are growing up WAY too fast! Plus, the photos you post always show them having so much fun. You're making a lot of great childhood memories in that Yellow House.


Love you Amy! I've been feeling pretty lonely in this ultra red state of Missouri and after living in the liberal city of NYC for over a decade it is a shock to my system. It's nice to be reminded there are others (lots) of female liberals who care about and are thus terrified for our environment, gun control, civil rights, religious freedom, etc, etc., and what the hell is going to happen to this country in the next 4 years. We are witnessing the rise of an evil empire here with people like Bannon, Sessions, Haley, and of course our Glorious Leader, Trump.


Can't remember if I recommended this book to you guys or not: How They Croaked. It's about how a bunch of famous people died - my medically/veterinarily interested child liked it, and my history buff too. ALSO -There's a series of historical fiction novels that are written as diaries (or maybe some are letters?) called Dear America that my daughter read basically every one of. These have heroines but given the openness to Lego Friends, maybe your son would be interested in the content without regard to the protagonists's gender? There is a smaller series, many out of print, with heroes - called My Name Is America. Great stuff.


Can someone tell me how to make a mattress out of the pit of foam blocks? It looks so comfy!!!


Liberal AF! :)

I know I don't know you, even though I pretend I totally do, but just wanted to say that I'm super proud of your boys! And you! Congrats!


I think not having anxiety about the Oompa-Loompa-in-chief-elect is abnormal..... even if you're a conservative. Also, complaining about someone expressing their opinions on their own damn blog is kind-boggling to me.


Love the stories about the boys, but love you more for the asterisk and every word that followed.


Hey, we old hippies are just over here knowing that you are right and everyone else will either figure it out or not.


He might like reading Carry on Mr. Bowditch. It's a book that I thought sounded (and looked) so, so boring until one day at school it was the last thing to read on the very small shelf of books in my 4th grade classroom. I loved it. And learned the truth in "don't judge a book by its cover."


Dying with your asterix. Asteroid. Astericks. Asterisks. That last one. You know what I mean. Love you being you, and not being sorry about it. Also good job with the choose your own adventure book!

Sue W.

Your boys are gonna be fine. Because their momma is fine.


Hooray your asterisk. We are legion. Even if it sometimes feels lonely.


I think this is just so wonderful. Those are some lucky boys.


Ditto the asterisk!! So glad your boys are doing well. And the thing about Jason and dodgeball gave me the heebies. Thank God I'm not a kid anymore... lol. :D


Love the asterisk. Glad your boys are doing well.

Rachel M

I'm not at all surprised they are considering the gifted and talented class for Noah. Noah reminds me a lot of my father-in-law who teaches rocket science at a top engineering university.


LOVE YOUR ASTERISK. Fist bump of solidarity.

Book recommendations (historic fiction all up in here):
Ben and Me
A Light in the Forest
Indian Captive
Streams to the River, River to the Sea,
The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Maybe the Horatio Hornblower series?




Bet Noah would like the Revolutionary War trilogy of novels: Chains, Forge & Ashes. Centered around the life of a slave during the revolution. Laurie Halse Alderson is awesome and she is a total bleeding-heart feminist, liberal, BLM, etc. And kids (and adults) love her books. Check her out.


One more book recommendation. My son read My Brother Sam is Dead last year with his fifth grade class and enjoyed it. Very similar themes to Johnny Tremain. Love to see them discover something new!


Sounds like you're doing an excellent job with these 3 critters :)

Katie H.

I guess my reaction to said eyeroll is with one of my own. I mean, I've read you since Noah was born and I was pregnant with my own child and I've always loved you. You are witty, downright funny, smart, poignant and emotional; all things I admire. But when it comes to this all out fury about being Liberal (with a capital "L"), it disturbs me. I've always thought Liberals were people who wanted inclusion for all, help for all, understanding, peace and everyone to be heard. And yet, here you have been more EXclusive, NON-understanding, DEVISIVE in your stance. I totally respect that, I just wish you gave the other side the same respect. You have every right to say what you want on your blog, but the more you (and other Liberals) label everyone and put everyone into their own special category, the more we lose what is so great about this country... discussion and being proud as Americans no matter what (not name-calling or outright hatred and destruction in the name of one's cause, which I'm not accusing you of, just what's been going on in our country) and the idea of listening to both sides to come up with what might be a good solution for both (not just "it's my way or the highway and I'm taking my toys and going home if you don't like it"). I have many friends that told me they were voting for Hillary and I said "Well, that's your choice", but when they found out I wasn't, they literally wanted nothing to do with me. I find that truly said in today's times when we so desperately need to stick together. There are far worse ills out there, I'm afraid we're going to find out. Always be you though... unless you can be a unicorn; then be a unicorn!

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