We're doing a trial run of homeschooling this summer, just to see what that's like. Iris managed to finish first grade reading on grade level, but it still feels like she's got a ways to go before becoming a fluent reader. (Right now, she can stumble through a Frog and Toad story, but it's rough and not something she chooses to do for fun.) We've been doing afterschool math with her since Christmas break because the math curriculum her school was using (TERC investigations) was NOT working for her. Neil and Zinnia often ask to "do math too" when I sit down to work with Iris, so I'm going to try doing a bit more school-ish stuff with them too. They know some but not all of the letters of the alphabet and mostly don't know their sounds. They can "count" by reciting numbers, Neil is doing pretty well with counting objects (Zinnia not so much), and they both recognize a few numerals but not all of the digits. Zinnia likes to color and draws some representative images; Neil doesn't.
I managed to paint some of the inside of our house. The parts I have done look brighter and less grimy (and are done in paint that doesn't wash off when you try to scrub it). It was quite helpful to realize that I didn't have to clear out a whole room at a time and find an entire day to get it prepped and painted. One wall at a time is more manageable, even though it does look a little strange when I've only done 1-2 sides of a room.
Wendell had a pediatrician appointment earlier this week and has only managed to gain 3 oz in the past 3 months. He grew half an inch or so in length as well, but he keeps dropping on both percentile charts. I was pretty surprised because he eats SO MUCH; he'll often consume more than Neil & Zinnia at dinnertime. He's still a very happy baby (not quite a toddler yet since no actual walking has happened), very communicative, and not in the least intimidated by 13 first graders wanting to pet him all at once when we joined Iris's class for her "live share".
Neil is obsessed with pterosaurs and other prehistoric animals and loves chasing and wrestling games until he suddenly doesn't. He loves building "Quetzalcoatlus, the biggest pterosaur ever" out of Legos (usually with Ben), and will talk your ear off about prehistoric animals if you show the slightest bit of interest. He's also been playing "Spy Puppies" with big groups of kids at preschool.
I've been a bit worried about Zinnia lately. She gets sad a lot. Not so much in the usual melty toddler/preschooler way (see http://reasonsmysoniscrying.tumblr.com/ ), although she does that at times too. She'll just have a sad look to her and be on the edge of quiet tears, and it seems to be over big stuff, like her best friend not wanting to play with her or feeling like Ben and I don't love her enough. For example, she was very upset that I dropped her off at preschool on Monday instead of bringing her along to my OB appointment, for which there is usually >1 hour waiting time. She seems to be getting less self-confident, hangs back and looks lost during group play, and is reluctant to talk to other adults.
Iris is still beautifully sweet and innocent, and it makes me sad to think that she may grow out of that soon. The other day at lunchtime, most of the first-grade girls were doing this thing where they'd run up and talk to three first-grade boys (who were busy making balls out of clay-ey dirt) and then run away and whisper amongst themselves. I finally got an idea of what was up when the girls wrote on a piece of cardboard, "Which girl do you love the most?" followed by their names and handed it to one of the boys. In the meantime, Iris came up to the boys with a green bug (a really neat-looking one that I'd never seen before) perched on her finger, and they followed her off to go look at the tree where she'd found it. On the one hand, I think it's pretty awesome that she looks for insects during recess (rather than gossiping) and that she has friends to share with when she finds something cool. And on the other hand, I hate seeing that all of the other girls seem to be doing "girl things" that she's not part of and doesn't seem to get - not that it's a problem so much now, but just because I remember being on the outside of it and wishing I could be one of the kids the popular kids liked.
The fetus still seems to be doing well. If you ask Zinnia how many children are in our family, she'll hold up 3 fingers and say, "This many." "Three? What about Wendell?" "He's a baby." "Oh, so 3 children and 1 baby?" "No, 2 babies - you forgot the one in your belly!" I think this might be the opposite of "counting Catholically".