Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kid Tech

So, my middle child, E, turned two last March.  She talks incessantly.  And I LOVE it.  I mean… really LOVE it.  This is my favorite age so far, between 18 mo and 3yrs.  I absolutely enjoy watching their language and concept development.  I love watching the wheels turn in their head, waiting with anticipation of what amazing thought might pop out of their little mouths.  My two oldest kids both talked earlier than pediatricians’ averages.  C had more than fifty words at 18 mo, but E, oh E… she was there at 15 mo.  I can only guess at the reasons they are so talkative so early… I’m sure the research is out there, which is probably why experts say things like: read to your child from birth.  And we do that… we read LOTS of books, at least three every night before bed and even one before nap time.  We also never used any baby talk, and just explain things as they are with regular meaningful words.  Whether they understand every word is not important, they are hearing and absorbing.  My little sponges.  I also don’t lie to avoid a lengthy explanation.  That just seems so unfair… kids get it.  They can understand lots of things if I take the time to explain it with the correct words and then us some analogy from their world so they can understand it in their terms.  It’s actually really fun for me to try to figure out a way to answer some of their questions like… “Is God ever disobedient?” or “Why was M in your belly and how’d she get out?”   Those were doosies.  We used sign language starting at 12mo, which helped tremendously to avoid lots of tantrums over frustrating misunderstanding.  C knew about twenty signs by the time he was ready to full out talk, but E only learned about eight before she was using words.  “Forget this signing thing, I’m just going to say ‘thank you!’” is what I assume went though her head.  So I don’t say all of this to brag about my kids… I am leading to a point here.  What I’ve been thinking about is our kids’ development in the land of ever changing technology…

May 15, 2012: Where is my iPhone?  I know I left it on the living room couch.  I was using it as a remote for our Apple TV.  Hmmm… Where is E?  and why is it so quiet around here?  I find her in the playroom with her back to me, as she’s leaning on her elbows on the couch.  I hear her voice, only it’s not coming from her mouth… it’s coming from a video she’s playing back on my iPhone.  She notices me, and giggles, runs to the corner of the room and hides her new-found toy behind her back.  It was all I could do not to laugh and try to reprimand her for taking my phone.  This girl is smart.  She’s smart because she’s observant and acts on what she’s observed.  I’m pretty sure all kids do this.  She watches me swipe the screen, take photos, look at photos, find music, whatever, and then she tries it… usually without my permission.  But sometimes I give her the green light… and watch her work.  I am utterly amazed by how much she can do on that phone.  She and C are obsessed with the William Tell Overture, and just a few days ago she figured out how to find it, play it and turn up the volume.  Her sentiments about it all were: It’s LOUD!

But I was so proud.  Proud because our world is changing, and she the one who is going to be in the midst of it all.  Our kids will need to learn how to interface with technology.  Not that they need to spend all their time doing so… I still want them to be kids who run, climb, jump and play outside, read books made of paper, color, paint, and build puzzles.  However, they are going to need these tech skills  as much as they need language skills... and they have already acquired some of these skills much earlier than I would have anticipated.  For goodness sake, my baby hears grandma's voice on my iPhone and expects to SEE her too!  I guess it might be truly time for an iPad.  Daddy?!  Are you ready for this?  Christmas might come a bit early this year.

Naval Wifery Part 3: Drum Roll, Please...

Ahhh, yes.  It is official.  The slate came out about a month ago (sorry for the delay in posting!)...  AND... drum roll please... we are staying put in sunny SoCal!  A huge answer to our prayers.  Thank you, Jesus.  This is exactly what we wanted!  Except... oh wait... the deployment schedule.  The tour we are currently undertaking is a sea tour... so is the next one.  Back to back sea tours is usually what happens in this stage of an aviator's career.  We knew that, but hoped that he'd join a squadron that was just getting back from deployment.  If that were the case, we would have a nice break, sitting the bench for awhile with K at home.  Well, turns out that's not the case.  We're looking at another 7-9 month deployment early next year.  yep.  That's right.  K just returned, as you can see from my photos, at the end of February this year.

We were in South Lake Tahoe in July.  We split the drive into two days, Saturday and Sunday, because I've learned that with three kids four and under, we need to add an hour for stops for every three hours of driving.  E, our 2yo, was also wearing big-girl-pants for the trip, since she had just reached that stage where diapers had become unacceptable to her.  Don't get me wrong, that's fantastic.  Just have to make sure we stop as soon as she says she has to go, and it takes time to help her on the potty.  Anyway, we finally got there and met up with my mom's side of the family for our reunion.  It was a long two days and we were ready to get our vacation on!

Monday morning.  First day of vaca.  K was taking a rather long time coming down for breakfast.  He finally appeared, and said to me, "Well the slate is out!  A friend texted me.  I called the placement officer and left a message.  He should call back soon."  My heart jumped and my stomach flew to my throat.  I needed to go to the store, so K and I left the kids with the grandparents, and hopped in the car.  While I was in the store, K got the call.  When came back, his face was sullen.  I think he tried to hide it, but I could tell he had the news... and his face told me it wasn't great.  He told me the squadron and the report date: fall of THIS year.  I knew instantly what that meant, and my heart sank.  Bottom lip quivered.  Tears welled and overflowed.  Then the quiet sobs.  I couldn't help it.   Deployment was going to happen MUCH sooner than later.  K was silent for awhile, then finally said, "You're not making this very easy."  "I'm allowed to have my moment," was my immediate response.  All I could think about was the list of things he was going to miss.  C and E's birthdays were the first to cross my mind.  And little M... he'll miss the SAME age with M that he missed last time with E: 15-24 mo.  Once I calmed myself, I hugged him.  I just wasn't prepared to step back into deployment mode so soon.  I guess I should have been because any of the ten squadrons were a possibility.  I mean, we were pretty sure we were not moving, but didn't think enough about this part of the equation.  It shocked me.

This will be our second deployment since having kids.  I am by no means seasoned.  After eight years of this Navy life, I often still feel like a novice Navy wife when it comes to deployment.  And now I'm not just a wife, but a mother too.  A mother of three.  Three under five.  It's been said by many experts that the first five years of a child's life are so crucial for development... and I agree.  What pressure.  I am solely in charge of their foundational development as people.  Thank the good Lord that He is with me.  Jesus promised to never leave me or forsake me.  He is my Rock and my Refuge in whom I take shelter.  He will make sure by His grace that I don't screw them up too badly.

So after the tears and the hugs, we started to brainstorm all the good things that will come from joining this squadron at this time.  1) the people.  Three of my friends, with whom I did a Bible study during the last deployment, are in this squadron.  2) sooner than later could be a good thing.  THe kids are already in the "deployment mode."  They understand that Daddy works on a big ship and takes long trips some times.  If we had a long period between deployments, I think they would got so used to having K home, that we'd have to go through all the emotional preparation from square one.  Not that it will be easy, but hopefully, a little easier. 3) after this deployment, K should really have a solid break and be home for a few years.  4) this blog is up.  I can actually write about this deployment as it's happening, instead of having a newborn to nurture without Daddy like last time!

Yeah, so... we're ecstatic that we are staying in CA.  Truly a great thing, especially now that deployment is looming.  Trying to move AND start a deployment cycle would be insanity.  At least for me.  Other do it, I'm sure.  Don't know how.  More power to you, ladies.  My time may come for that, but not this round.  Apparently, my Lord knows me and knows I'm not ready for that yet!  And if you're wondering what "specific" plans the bureau had for K... No. Idea.  Go figure.  If you're wondering how our Tahoe vacation ended up after day one... M was teething and up almost every night for about two hours at a time.  We didn't sleep, and needed a vacation from our vacation.  Drove 10 hours in one day just to sleep in our own bed.  Good times!!

PS. I promise to write more often.