Reading, Karate and Sleepwalking… oh my!

I could have sworn I made a promise to myself to write here more often. That apparently didn’t work. Internet time in February was dedicated to Egypt, Bahrain and Libya. Dad blog fell by the way side.

During that time, however, we crossed a milestone. C has had an epiphany with respect to reading and spelling. He is sounding words out, acing his spelling tests and even his handwriting is improving. I’m not sure what the trigger was, but he recently sat down and started reading to his brother and has read his own bedtime stories to us. We knew he was reading, he’d refuse to do it when we asked, but we would catch him asking us about signs, reading the names on food, etc. There is, as always, a downside to this development.

Parents spell things they don’t want their kids to hear/understand. I remember this, I remember my grandmother still doing it when I was in junior high school, and we have used it ourselves. Its days are numbered. It doesn’t really work with big words because you have to think about spelling it (and your spouse may not be the best speller…), and small words are now starting to merge with C’s spelling homework.

Next up, we have started studying the martial arts. Okay, not we, but M. We’ve been joking about “ninja lessons” for a while, sometimes a little too seriously. A few weeks ago my mother called me because she had talked to M and she was a little disturbed. “He tells me he’s taking ninja lessons,” she explained, “and that he’s sneaking out of the house at night. He gets up, listens to make sure you’re asleep, gives the dog a treat and sneaks down to his dojo.” She chuckled, “it sounds crazy, but the detail he had and the sincerity he told me with, I just thought I would call and check.” He was not sneaking out, thankfully, and his “dojo” was a tree we pass on our way to school each morning. “It’s in back, dad, where you can’t see it,” he told me when asked the next day.

But, we are at a real dojo, he has his own gi, we know never to wash his belt and he takes lessons 3 times a week. We have some minor concerns about one boy studying martial arts, while the other learns soccer, but hopefully it won’t come to our testing the hammer punch against our goalie skills. We have, however, become well versed at the first two Karate Kid movies.

Our most recent adventure involves honest to God sleepwalking. This past Monday I heard footsteps in the hall. My first thought was that it was the dog, but then I realized that the dog doesn’t shuffle her feet. The next thing we know, C is whispering in hallway, “come on guys! Let’s go!” K wakes up and calls his name. He wanders into our room, eyes wide open, but looking at neither of us. I ask him what he’s doing. No answer. Just staring. “Son,” I say, “it’s the middle of the night. Did you think it was morning?” He stares off, “it is?” I get up and start walking him back to his bed. He lies down, eyes still as big as saucers, staring at the bottom of his brother’s bunk (another story). I cover him up. A quick glance at me, and he turns onto his side, closes his eyes and is sound asleep again.

He had no memory of anything the next morning, but I will remain creeped out by the blank stare for a long time.

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