Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'll Come In When I'm Ready, Mom!

Matt and I were talking together about why this Halloween has been such a big deal for our big boys, when it never has been in the past.  Last year, in fact, we just ignored it altogether and they never even noticed!

We agreed that there are many reasons contributing to their excitement over this somewhat made-up holiday.  First, their school made a big deal and had a lot of activities and crafts and projects pertaining to it.  Second, they just LOVED the decorations all over the neighborhood, which were constant reminders of the holiday.  We regularly had to take "Halloween walks" over the last month, to see and re-see all the scary and silly decorations that our neighbors have gone a bit crazy with.  Thirdly, I think spooky and scary and silly are all things that just make sense to these two boys at the moment.  Fourthly, (and I think this is the main one), they are just finally at an age where a holiday actually means something.  They know it is coming, they are able to count down the days until it arrives, there are activities leading up to it, and, in this case, there are costumes to be worn and played with.  Not even for Christmases past have they had this much excitement leading up to the actual day.  I think they are just at that magic age where this sort of thing is simply perfect!

The magic culminated tonight as we suited up, met up with some friends from the neighborhood, and hit the sidewalks for some trick-or-treating.  What a great neighborhood we live in for kids.  Everyone was out participating, whether giving or receiving candy, and hardly any house was "closed" to the kids.  It only took a few blocks for the dark to settle and their bags to be full to overflowing and we headed home.

But for Mitchell, the best part was still to come!  He just LOVED manning the candy bowl here at home.  He sat out on the front doorstep with his strobe flashlight, a voice-distorting megaphone, and a giant bowl of candy, calling one and all to him for some Halloween treats!  Ben and Mitchell did it together at first, but Ben kept hearing the call of his candy upstairs, and decided he'd rather keep an eye on his own candy (and organize, sort, and stack it like Scrooge with his piles of gold) than keep sitting in the cold, supplying the stragglers with treats.

Mitchell was just in his element though and flagged trick-or-treaters down with style, shining his flashlight in their eyes, handing out giant handfuls of candy to each person, trying to convince adults to partake, laughing a crazy laugh into the megaphone, and dancing around holding himself as he refused to take a bathroom break.  I wonder how many parents got a kick out of the potty dance as Matt and I did.  We finally had to give Mitchell the dentist a five-minute warning for coming inside, and he turned around and said, "I'm not ready yet!  I'll come when I'm ready, mom!"  We stuck to our five-minute time limit, but he managed to get rid of most of that candy for us!

So it has been a fun fall season for us, thanks in part to our friends' and neighbors' decorative efforts, and Halloween came and went and left us all with belly aches.  Tonight was a blast for the kids, but I am so glad it is finally over!  Now I can take down the spider webs in their room, I can stop trying to "save" Mitchell's costume from certain destruction, and we can get on with preparations for more real and meaningful holidays.  

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Part Puppy

I sometimes wonder if the stork brought me the wrong species of baby.  Based on his behavior, Jack often acts more like a puppy than a human.  For example: he LOVES to play fetch!  He even plays it all by himself!  He will throw a ball, then pounce after it on all fours, pick it up with his teeth, laugh a bit, then throw it again.  

And speaking of putting things in his mouth - the boy doesn't just hold things with his teeth or gnaw on a teething toy.  He puts ALL objects he can find into his mouth and really attempts to tear pieces off of it!  I have never observed him actually swallowing the chunks, but he really can rip things apart.  I have found bite marks in many toys and non-toys alike and even found completely shredded things, with a trail of pieces leading back to my little puppy.  

He also uses those magnificent teeth of his to bite me if he can and also uses them as an extra hand, since the two he has are used for getting around.  It is really so cute and quite puppyish when he comes crawling up to me with his little blankie in his mouth; big, round eyes looking up at me, begging me to pick him up.

He pees and poops about as much as a puppy as well and, just like with a puppy, I have to get up in the middle of the night every night to, well, not take him outside to poop (that's kind of a funny thought) but to change his poopie diaper.  

Ah, well.  Puppy or baby boy - he's pretty stinkin' cute and a constant source of laughter and happiness for the rest of us, despite his nightly middle-of-the-night-poops!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Shtarting To Shound Shilly

So far, I am nothing but pleased with the school year.  The boys and I are quite happy with how things are going - they are learning, having fun, and making friends.

I only have one complaint so far, and while it isn't the school's fault, I'm not really sure who specifically to blame it on, so I just say, "he picked it up at school."  Mitchell, who is normally a very clear annunciator and only has a few words he routinely pronounces incorrectly, has picked up a lisp!  Suddenly, he has replaced his "s" sounds with "sh" sounds.  I will finish my entry in Mitchell's new language.  

At firsht, I jusht tried to ignore thish new development.  After all, it'sh not like he doeshn't know how to shay hish "sh's" and needsh to be taught.  I figured it wash shomething one of hish friendsh wash doing and he wash jusht trying it out.  Well, it hash been a week or sho now and it ish shtarting to get on my nervesh.  Sho now, not only ish he talking like thish, but I correct him every time he doesh it, making it doubly annoying for ush all!  Hopefully, thish ish going to be a very short-lived experiment of hish.  I may jusht end up doing it myshelf if he doeshn't quit shoon!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Posing With Pumpkins

Why is it that we all want to take pictures of our kids with, on, or around pumpkins?  This time of year rolls around and we all travel as far as we need to to make our kids pose with this big, orange vegetable.  I suppose if there was such thing as a zucchini patch, we'd flock to that as well?

I realize the draw of these places is not just the pumpkins, but the family fun to be had there, but still, some of the poses I have seen (and taken pictures of myself!) of a kid and a pumpkin crack me up.  Nothing says "frame-worthy" like a picture of a kid on a giant vegetable.  I love it when parents (mothers mostly, I imagine) set up a whole bed of sorts amongst the pumpkins, complete with blankets and stuffed animals, for their infant to be properly posed and photographed.  I've also noticed that a lot of moms actually dress there kids like a pumpkin for these pictures too - kind of a "Where's Waldo" scenario, I suppose.  

I sometimes imagine what parents are thinking/saying as they scramble around the pumpkin patch, taking pictures of the produce: 

"Hey Ben, go hug that pumpkin!" 
"Ben, see if you can put it on top of your head!"  
"Matt, put Jack between those two pumpkins and then put one on his lap too so he can't get up so I can take his picture!"  
"Mitchell, peek out at me from behind that pile of pumpkins!"  
"Jack just fell down in between two pumpkins and is stuck with his legs in the air.  Can you reposition him and make him stop crying, please?  I haven't gotten the shot yet!"  
"Can't you all just sit and smile in the pumpkins for a few seconds while I take your picture?" "Hurry, take the picture of Baby Jack on top of this pile of gourds before he and the whole pile topple over!" 
"Honey, go ask that lady if she'll take a picture of us kissing while I hold a pumpkin!"  
"What do you mean, 'that's not a very safe place to put him,' it'll look great if he can just stay put!" 
"These pumpkins all look the same!  How do I decide which one to take a picture of!" 

Like I said, I am as guilty as the rest of you for these silly pictures, to the point of being disappointed in myself for not ending up with a picture worth framing somewhere in my house.  When I really think about it, how important is it in the end to have pumpkins in my pictures which are displayed all year 'round?  Not very.

Blame It On The Sun... This Time

I suspect many of you with children struggle with this same problem: a good picture of your whole family is difficult to come by!  I have many good pictures of each boy and even pictures of all three boys together, but precious few of all 5 of us together.  

There is always a reason why getting a decent picture of all of us is more of a dream of mine than a reality.  There are many many reasons, actually: I don't want other people handling my camera, it's a bad hair day for me so I don't want to be in the picture, Jack is asleep when I need him to be awake, Mitchell is in a "mood" and won't cooperate, Ben can't keep his tongue inside his mouth where it belongs, turns out someone had a booger sticking out of his nose, Matt is gone... you get the idea.  There are A LOT of reasons why getting a "keeper" is a rare occurrence around here.  Five people are just never on the same page!  

A couple weeks ago, we all went to a pumpkin patch, which, last year, yielded so many great pictures of my kids that I had high hopes for at least one good one of all of us.  Well, it turns out that this time, it was the sun that kept this from happening.  Normally, the sun is a help when it comes to taking pictures, but this time, it was a menace!  Everywhere I plopped the boys down for a picture, that sneaky sun shone right in their eyes!  Even candid shots were wrecked.  I have never wished the sun to go away before, but I was just praying for some cloud cover for just half an hour!  

Well, here are some examples of how our wonderful family shots turned out.  

As you can see, we never did get that "family shot" I was hoping for.  This time, it was the sun, next time, it will be something else.  I really should just give in and get some professional shots taken of us all, if for no other reason than for me to actually have a record of me even existing in my 20's, but they are so expensive and so much hassle to plan, prepare for, then agonize over which shots are best and worth so much of my money.  These pictures really are quite representative of our day anyways - it was way too bright and way too hot for the way we dressed!  I'm pretty sure we were all relieved when I finally gave up, put the camera back in it's bag, and headed home.

I did get a couple decent pictures of the boys though that I feel I should share after the terrible ones I have shown:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Oh, Barf...

I don't have many words to express how much I love to be thrown up on, so I'll let my picture do most of the talking.  However, with the intention of grossing you out as much as possible, I'd like to remind you that Jack no longer just "spits up" a little milk, his barfing is the real deal, folks!  This was a full meal, about an hour into digestion that went straight into my hair and down my cleavage, then slid down to rest under my shirt wherever it could find a stopping place.  

You know I'm a blog addict when my baby barfs on me and, rather than immediately cleaning myself and baby up, I run for my camera.  Something is wrong with me...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Trading Flab For Scab

Ew... Just writing the title to this blog makes me cringe a bit.  The word "scab" is just one of those gross-sounding words - to me, at least.  What is to like about a scab, other than that it means your body is healing itself?  Ok, that is a pretty good positive aspect of a scab, but I mean other than that, of course!  They are ugly, they itch, they beg to be picked off, and even if you don't pick it off, it often gets scraped off on accident.

Well, apparently, we don't all feel the same way about wounds and the scabs that follow.  As I was shaving my legs last night and having to maneuver yet again around the giant scabs running up my shins, I cursed my husband for the workouts that cause such ugliness.  Every time a scrape is finally healing up and the nasty scab is gone, he writes into my schedule more dead lifts and SCRAPE!  Off goes a chunk of skin on the front of my leg again!  

When I complain to him about this, reminding him that the point of doing this exercise in the first place is to have better looking legs, not uglier legs, he checks out the scrape and just says, "Looks good to me!"  When I ask him to clarify, he says something about how sexy these scrapes/scabs (and the scars that are surely forming) are because anyone who knows anything will see them and know that I am "seriously working out now" instead of messing around with some cardio (and really, according to him, I might as well just officially not try if that is going to be my only work-out anyways.)  

Apparently, these scrapes mean I have good form or something?  To me, trading flab for scab isn't quite what I had in mind.  Can't we come up with an equally effective exercise that spares my skin and doesn't leave me scarred?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dragons 101

The first thing you need to know about dragons is what is and is not an appropriate name for this fierce creature.  

I discovered this a few days ago when Ben insisted that I be a dragon with  him.  Of course, the first thing we had to do in order to become a dragon was name ourselves.  Not feeling terribly dragonish and distracted by something else, I was not coming up with much that he found satisfactory.  When I finally asked if I could just be "Mommy Dragon," he sighed and said, "Mom, let me teach you something about dragons.  You have to have a scary or tough name if you want to be a dragon.  'Mommy Dragon' isn't scary.  It has to be something like Horny Face or Volcano Fire or Lava Spikes or Fire Breath!"  He just rattled off these names and more without much pause in between, as if he learned these in Dragon 101 and had them memorized for time such as this when a dragon amateur needed some schooling.  

We finally decided on "Dragabelle" even though that is not very scary because it is a name from one of his favorite Dragon books and is actually a pretty good name for a mommy dragon who isn't really all that scary... unless her little boy dragons are misbehaving, that is.  

These are pictures of Dragabelle and her twin sons: Dragonix and Dragonux.  As you can see, she knows how to take care of business!

To help us along with our dragon learning, we read (and re-read... and re-read... and re-read...) a few favorite dragon books.  

The Woodland Folk in Dragonland, by Tony Wolf, is probably our favorite and is where one can read about Dragabelle and her little rascals.  The pictures are amazing and my boys love it!

This book: How to Train Your Dragon Mix & Match, is so much fun!  The pages are divided into three sections so you can create your own species of dragons.  The boys love this book!

Add ImageAdd Image

We also love My Father's Dragon (and the other two in the series) by Ruth Stiles Gannet, about a boy who rescues a baby dragon.  It is a fun and silly tale and also has cute pictures in it, but it is a chapter book, so not really for the littlest of listeners.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Wisdom of a Fish

There are plenty of times throughout my day where I find myself singing a wonderfully written and brilliantly performed little ditty by none other than Dori the fish from Finding Nemo.  It pops into my head any time I am encouraging one of the boys to try again.  I think of it when Ben is frustrated and wants to quit and cry.  It starts playing in my head when my eyelids feel too heavy to keep open any longer and it's only 10am.  When Jack is attempting (yet again) to walk from the table to me but falling on his squishy little bottom, I sing this to him (and am always rewarded with a giant smile.)  It was our theme song for Mitchell successfully learning to ride his bike sans training wheels this summer.

It gets a lot of use, let's just put it that way.  It really does just pop into my head at least once a day.  I can't help it and then it is stuck there.  I really empathize with Marlin on that thought.  But you won't understand what I am saying until you watch the clip and hear the song.  Here you go:

Yes, I sing that song to myself and my kids, trying hard to sound like Ellen DeGeneres, and even attempting the wild notes toward the end.  The boys get a kick out of it at least.  It would be nice to be a bit more like Dori sometimes (minus the short term memory loss bit) and really have the attitude of "Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.  What do we do?  We swim, swim, swim!"

Suspicious Behavior

Last night, when I announced that it was bedtime, Mitchell immediately stopped what he was doing and climbed up the stairs.  Usually, it takes some convincing or even threatening (at least a little conversation of some sort!) to complete this process, but this night, he needed nothing but that first suggestion.  Weird.  

I followed him up there and when I entered his room, there he was, in his bed, laying on his stomach, with eyes closed, pretending to sleep.  Just as I was about to compliment him on his amazing listening and obeying skills, he opened one eye, peeked at me, then whipped his hand out from under his belly, brandishing my new pizza cutter at me with a look of pure mischief on his face!  I should have suspected roguish activity from the start, knowing Mitchell as I do.  He has been eyeing that new "tool" and attempted many a swipe ever since I bought it a few weeks ago to replace the old one that had been abused by him.  This night, he finally succeeded in getting it out of the kitchen and out of my sight.  No wonder he was in such a hurry to get to bed.  Sneaky little guy...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Exercise Game

Matt and the boys have started a new nightly routine: they call it "The Exercise Game." It's a "dude thing," which means no moms allowed, but I was privileged to get to observe tonight. I don't laugh out loud very often, so this was quite a treat for me!

The rules are pretty simple: draw a card from a deck and whatever number you get, that is the number of times you perform an exercise of your choice. Matt, Ben, and Mitchell take turns drawing cards and coming up with an exercise for them all to do.

Tonight, they did 21 different exercises. Don't think young boys can come up with that many different types of exercise? Well, they began with some normal sounding ones such as squats, leg-lifts, push-ups, and lunges, but then started getting a bit more creative. Ben's turns resulted in exercises named dinosaur leg lifts and pooping dogs, but at least the activity to go with them closely resembled a more traditional type of exercise.

Mitchell's turns got funnier and funnier (to me at least. The guys were all taking them quite seriously.) He invented exercises with names like breeps, proos, bleems, and blaxopes; and the corresponding actions to go with these names were even funnier. There were spin moves and jumps and kicks and flexing, always with claw-like fingers and sound effects. He'd draw his number card, invent his exercise, demonstrate it to the other two, and around the living room they'd go - mimicking Mitchell's every move, as if it was a perfectly normal exercise routine. It was hilarious!

The nightly exercise game is always followed by a glass of milk (to help the muscles grow, doncha know) and some good "dude talk." Oh, it was an entertaining evening.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Ogre Food

Now that Halloween is near, my little ogres finally have eyeballs to eat... and play with... and make silly faces with...

Now, if we could just keep mommy out of them, they might actually get to eat a few!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fort Couch Cushion

Creating forts out of my living room couch cushions is one of my boys' favorite indoor activities.  I can always count on that to buy me some extra time doing whatever it is I am doing.  Just when they are running out of steam and beginning to annoy each other and need a change of pace, all I have to do is say, "Hey guys, I have a great idea!  Let's make a mess of cushions!"  

"Mess of cushions" is the term we use for this game because it often doesn't even involve making anything really, other than a giant mess.  Now since our last move, we have WAY too many couches in our living room still, which is great news for Ben and Mitchell - plenty of walls, roofs, slides, and parts of caves, cars, boats, and volcanos to use!  

They pull them all off the couches and begin by just making a giant pile on the floor. Next, they wrestle around on this for a while (usually until someone gets wedged head down with feet in the air and can't get out or sandwiched under a large cushion and sat upon until they are tired of it.)  Once they have jumped around in this manner for a bit, the game gets a bit more organized, especially if Matt or I join in and help out.  Matt likes to get technical and build cars and boats with all sorts of details like convertible roofs and windshields and opening doors.  

My construction of choice is just the classic fort.  It is easy, it is sturdy, and all three boys can play in it without having to hold it together in some way, continually fix it, or shoe the littlest brother away again and again.

When we first moved to our newest place, I put a ban on this game because I no longer had a separate family room that could be messed up without messing the whole house up.  They could build forts in one room while I relaxed in another and still have a couch to sit upon.  Now that we are here, I have to sit amidst the wreckage as it happens and know that with each cushion that comes off, is one more cushion I have to help put back on.  

I have recently lifted the ban on "mess of cushions" though because they boys were constantly asking for it.  It really is a fairly easy mess to clean up, it keeps all three of them entertained and playing together, and even burns off a lot of that abundance of energy they always seem to possess.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Probably a Pretty Good Rule

As we watched Shrek and Fiona give each other a kiss tonight, Ben started chuckling and said, "Mom, can I tell you one of my rules at school?"  Wondering what kissing and school rules had to do with each other at the kindergarten level, I asked him to continue.  "No kissing allowed!"  

Well, that certainly sounds like a good rule to me, but I was curious as to who was doing this kissing in order for the rule to have been made, pointed out, and enforced.  I figured some girl was the culprit (you really can't trust those girls, you know.)  When I asked him who was kissing people, he said, "Well, Johnny kisses just about everyone."  Johnny is the guilty party here?  I was not expecting that one.  

Friday, October 8, 2010

When Is It Ok to Fight?

Matt and I somewhat disagree on how our boys should handle disagreements and physical altercations with other kids.  Matt is pretty decided that if someone is rough with you or your brother, you get rough back.  I, as the mother (and the one who is likely there when it happens and actually has to defend my methods against the other kid and mother involved), have slightly different ideas as to how it should go down.  Actually, to be honest, I don't really have a good idea how it should be handled.  I'm still working on it.

I had better start working a bit harder on figuring out a game plan on this whole issue though.  Today, we had a bit of a fight at the park.  One of Ben's friends was upset at Ben so tried to turn Mitchell against him.  Ben, not used to Mitchell not wanting to play with him and choosing someone else over him, was beside himself.  He finally got to the point where he was physically holding Mitchell, with both arms around him, trying to keep him from following this other boy.  He just could not believe that Mitchell would pick someone else over him and leave him out.  His hurt feeling toward Mitchell over this turned to anger toward the other boy and I could see his anger brewing as he followed after the boys, telling Mitchell he was making poor decisions.  

I stepped in before things got any worse and actually left the park altogether, as I felt the boys and I needed the peace and quiet of our own  backyard, uninterrupted by any other kids or their moms to talk over what was happening.  Ben really was upset that he couldn't "win" Mitchell in this game of tug-of-war with his friend.  I reminded them both that, while they were allowed to have their own friends and didn't always have to play together, that they also were each other's best friends and they should always stick up for each other and not let any other kid come between them or make one of them upset like this.  

What would I have done if the fight had gotten more physical with the other boy - if Ben had decided he didn't want his little brother to be drug away from him and then told not to play with him anymore and started shoving or punching?  To be honest, I would have been happy to see Ben fighting for his brother in such a way and proud that he was brave enough to stand up to the other boy in this way, but also would have cringed at the sight of my little boy hitting someone.  Where does one draw the line?  What is OK to teach our little boys about standing up for oneself and one's brother?  Certainly, at some point, a little boy needs to be able to defend himself.  On the other hand, I don't encourage violence in any way.  

This incident has not helped me in any way.  I still have no game plan here.  I am still uncertain as to how to deal with the toughness training of little boys.  I am still working on it.

The good thing that came from today's skirmish is that the boys are in agreement as to how to handle this specific situation again.  They "talked it out" and decided that they will never play with another kid who is purposely trying to upset the other.  As soon as we got home, they were best friends again.  No harm done.  They had a taste of being pulled in opposite directions and didn't like it.  Oh, to be a young child again and not have any desire to form or inability to let go of a grudge.  I hope you two boys (and Jack someday too) remain able to "work things out" like this and always remain the best of friends.  Stand up for yourselves, stand up for each other, and we will figure out the specifics of what that actually means as we need to.  

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What We're Listening to These Days

While running an errand with Mitchell a couple days ago, a song by Eminem came on the radio. Yes, I listen to more than children's music and Sunday School songs in my car.  I admit it.  Don't get me wrong, I love Puff the Magic Dragon as much as anyone and a good, rousing rendition of Bear Hunt is always tons of fun, but even I have limits as to how many times in a row I can hunt this bear, especially when the motions are so exuberant my poor car takes quite a beating.

Now Mitchell has this thing where he has to know the name of every person who is singing every song.  Every time a new song comes on, I can count on him to ask, "What's this man's name, mom?"  And yes, he always says "man," even if it is a woman singing.  Welcome to my male-dominated world.

Anyways, like I said, Eminem was busy angrily shouting his lyrics into my car via radio waves (by the way, try explaining how radio and radio waves work to your kids!) and I was not paying attention at all to what as on until, sure enough, from the back seat came the voice of the inquisitor: "Mom, what's this man's name?"  He did not believe me when I told him his name was Eminem.  "Like the candy?"  After convincing him that I was not joking with him, he decided that was a pretty cool name.  He then went on to comment on the song: "Mom, why is he shouting and why is he so mad?  He really sounds mad.  [long pause]  I like it."

So Mitchell is an Eminem fan, apparently.  Not sure I'm too happy about that or think it is the most appropriate music for a 3-year-old, but at least he has moved on from Katie Perry (she just had to say something about a popsicle in one of her songs.  Curse you, Katie Perry!)

When we got back in the car after our errand, Mitchell asked if we could listen to the "angry Neminem guy" again.  

Beware of Falling Objects

Jack has made an important discovery: gravity.  I'm sure he is not the first to discover this amazing phenomenon: seems like I've heard of it before, but he is pretty excited about it, nonetheless.  It seems there is no end to the fun of dropping things and watching them fall.  I load his high chair up with as many toys as I can and see how much I can get done in the kitchen before they all hit the floor: not much, I can tell you that.  

The bookcases in my living room are a great place to practice this idea of gravity as well.  He can reach the three bottom shelves and he regularly empties them of books, one by one, holding a book at eye level, then dropping it and watching it fall before grabbing the next.  This morning, he thoroughly explored my Stephen King collection.  He must really enjoy Mr. King because he took a break from dropping him to actually sit in a pile of his books and chew on them.  I think he enjoyed those books almost as much as Matt did, and was only about as hard on them as Matt already has been.  (I feel I should clarify here that Matt doesn't chew on books, just really "breaks them in.")

He loves to stand at the couch while I sit here and drop the same toy over and over again (provided I continue to pick it back up and hand it to him again and again.)  

As if I needed yet another mess-maker in my house of messy boys.  We are really working on teaching the big boys to clean up their own messes, but let's face it - I still do the bulk of picking up and cleaning up.  The book mess got old after about 3 seconds.  I'm not sure how to keep him away from bookcases and I certainly can't just leave the bottom three shelves of all 4 bookcases empty.  

I really can't enter a room now that has not been ransacked by Jack.  I know that soon, he will move from this dropping stage to the dumping stage though, which, in my mind at least, is even worse.  My older boys are not allowed to dump toy bins, but Jack has yet to learn that valuable lesson.  

So for now, I am on pick-up patrol.  Kids are messy, right?  Toys are meant to be played with.  Kids can learn to clean up.  Jack can be distracted from the books (sometimes.)  I do sometimes feel like I need to wear protective head gear around the stairs though when he is standing up there.  He has discovered that dropping toys makes WAY more noise if he systematically drops toy after toy through the railing, watching and listening to it crash and roll and clatter down each step.  Thank you, Jack, for giving me some more to do with  my days.  I was feeling a bit... bored and lazy.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Men At Work

Mitchell has created a new game for himself: he is no longer a boy going to school in the mornings, he is a man going to work.  Clearly, he has gotten over his aversion to "becoming a man."  It isn't enough for him to participate in this fantasy though - I have to join in as well.  He meticulously packs his "work bag" like daddy does each morning (his backpack is so full each  morning that I feel sorry for him when I lift it onto his little shoulders.)  He insists on me calling him either "man" or "Matt."  When we get to school, he no longer wants me to walk him to the door or give him a kiss goodbye.  He stops me and says, "Mom, I'm a man and I'm going to work.  Pick me up in a little minute.  I can walk to the door myself."  When I pick him up a "little minute" later and ask him how school was that day, he patiently reminds me that he was not at school and I should refer to him as "man" or "Matt" (or "Mr. Leem today - whoever that is...)  
It only takes a couple minutes of faking though before he forgets his own game and begins excitedly telling me about how he chased Charlie around the playground, breathing fire at him and trying to rescue Big Boy Jack (not to be confused with our own Baby Jack) from the dungeon, and singing his newest song he has learned in music class.  I'm pretty sure Matt and Mr. Leem do not play dragons, get stuck in dungeons, or sing B I N G O and Twinkle Twinkle at work.  

He really has fun with this game and I am thrilled that he wants to emulate his daddy.  I can play along with his "man" game as long as, in the end, he is having age-appropriate fun at school while looking forward to being a man at the same time.  It seems to me he is doing both quite well.  You are a funny boy, Mitchell. 

When I asked him to "look like a man" before school this morning so I could take his picture, this is the face I got.  Mr. Leem sure is a strange dude...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Strange Sleep Habits Of My Kids

This morning, we had a discussion about sleep.  Mitchell was trying to tell us (in great detail) about the dream he had last night, while Ben constantly interrupted to point out flaws in the content: "That couldn't happen, Mitch!"  At one point in his story, he pointed out the fact that he had his eyes open during this dream, to which Ben really took exception to!  "Mitchell, you cannot dream or sleep with your eyes open!  You can dream that your eyes are open, but they actually aren't!"  Mitchell was not to be convinced and stood his ground: he had, indeed, kept his eyes open all night long, even though he was asleep and dreaming.  

This isn't the first time Mitchell has admitted this strange habit of sleeping with his eyes open.  He regularly tells me that he will lay down for bed and even sleep if he has to, but he is not going to close his eyes!  He makes that very clear.

Ben also claims an unusual sleeping habit: he doesn't sleep!  Quite often, he tells me that he was awake all night long.  When I ask him if he is tired then because of that he says, "No, I laid there quietly and rested, but didn't sleep."  Sometimes he claims to have looked out the window all night, sometimes he read throughout the night.  Sometimes he just played with his toys in bed until morning and was waiting for me, awake, when I came in to get him up for school.  

Both boys make their claims with a straight face, no tell-tale giggling, and an honest look about them.  I think they really believe it when they say it.  No biggie to me.  I don't really care how they sleep as long as they actually do sleep.

So one boy doesn't sleep at all, the other one sleeps, but keeps an eye or two open, so as not to miss what his sleepless brother is doing, I assume.  


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