Friday, September 19, 2014

Picnics










So, The Baby has really turned a corner in regards to his potty training. This morning, he got up out of bed, by himself, and said, "Gotta run run run to the potty!" and did both possible items, all by himself. That's a huge, huge step. His nighttime sleeping is starting to improve, too: he gives no resistance to going to sleep by himself, as long as he has his music playing. We use the Austin & Austin "Deep Sleep Melodies." His middle of the night is still not smooth - he wakes up screaming, like an infant, and screams until somebody comes to get him. We'd love it if he'd actually get out of bed and come into our room by himself, like The Boy does.

We don't have an issue with kids sneaking into our beds; we do have an issue with kids who are screaming for no good reason, when they're perfectly capable of climbing out of bed and coming in on their own.

He's doing well in school - apparently has not had a single accident so far this year, and it's been two weeks. He has the same teachers as last year, with which we're cool; they're neat people and our kids love them.

"Daddy, would you like to play a game with me? It's a game called SESAME!" He says that, carrying the Sesame Street playhouse with him. He likes playing one character while you play the other, and the characters walk around the playset and talk to each other. He carries those guys - he calls them his "Sesame Street Friends" - with him all the time. Last week, at my chorus picnic, he had the bag with Telly Monster, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Zoe, and Spider-Man (who was on Electric Company, not Sesame Street, but I'm not going to crush his dreams) on his shoulder all day, without fail.

He's been unhappy since Wednesday, because he can't find Cookie and Telly. They're likely in Grandma's car, which they rode because our car had a flat tire.

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The Boy is giving us some pushback about his homework and practicing his violin. It's not that he can't do it, but he's a procrastinator. If he doesn't feel like it, he'll sit at the table and stare at it for an hour, whining the whole time, until finally taking the 3 minutes that it takes to finish the worksheet. In the morning, if he doesn't feel like moving, he'll sit in his underpants on the beanbag chair for twenty or thirty minutes without getting dressed.

We're been reading "Bone," the fantasy adventure comic by Jeff Smith, that my brother bought for me twenty-ish years ago. It's an amazing comic: funny, slapstick humor, great use of visual and written words to show motion in the story, and great, deep characters. He's really into it; we finished chapter four last night, and he's "threatening" to read ahead while I'm away at the Sweet Adelines event this weekend. I'm cool with that. He didn't let me get far into Harry Potter, which does - in fairness - have a lot of words.

Guess it's going to be a while before he lets me read him Tolkein.

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The chorus picnic last weekend was amazing. My chorus ladies are incredible people, uniformly: warm, friendly, and inviting, and they have been unfathomably patient with my little boys. We had the picnic at a church in Butler, which had a picnic area with overhang, and a soccer field right next door. We brought wiffle balls and bats, other people brought soccer balls, nerf guns, and frisbees. There was an 8 year old boy - just a year older than The Boy - and a 12 and 13 year old there. The 12-year old, who bears more than a passing resemblance to my niece, J, played with the boys all afternoon. They played baseball, soccer, frisbee, various shooting games with the guns, and sometimes just sat in a circle and talked. It was really pretty awesome.

(Little Bear, on the ride home, said, "I liked playing the K because she looks just like Cousin J. I miss Cousin J and can't wait to see her again." Very sweet. But, I digress.)

I did play with the kids on and off during the day - pitching when they were playing wiffle ball, and chasing them when they needed a monster, and getting tackled by a large group when necessary. That's what I do, right? But, it was still nice to be able to take the kids somewhere like that, by myself, and not have to hover over them all day. I'm ready for the next stage in parenting, I think. I love babies and I love my babies, but I'm ready to deal with little kids instead of infants.

Little Bear did NOT want to leave at the end of the day; he had such a fun time that he was willing to stay even if everyone else left. I feel for him; he was a real star at the picnic, and there are not many areas where the middle boy stands out above the first or third.

Shockingly, the boys did not fall asleep on the way home, but all four of us were asleep before 9:00. As it turns out, I was already pretty sick by the end of the day, but I didn't know it yet.

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The next day, there was an Apples and Honey Festival at Anderson Playground, sponsored by the local Jewish Federation. It was on a big field adjoining to the castle playground, and various groups had booths with treats, apple-themed arts and crafts, snacks and drinks, and one booth with a small, live beehive. The day was a little chaotic, as I took the boys by myself and none of the three children chose to stay with me for any length of time. I tried my best to keep The Baby within arm's reach, but that was easier said than done. Still, all three kids had a great time and ate lots of apple-type things (and candy and honey). We saw their friends (and our friends) from preschool and Sunday school, which was pretty cool.

All three children made it home without incident, although I didn't really enjoy hunting for them in the HUGE crowd of kids.

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Monday and Tuesday, I was sick. I am so, so, so, so thankful that my boss lets me work at home occasionally. In my position, I don't have to actually talk to people - so a sore throat is not necessarily an impediment to work. I was able to nap during lunch and still get my 8 hours of work in on Monday, and I took a half day on Tuesday - worked around a long rest in the middle of the day. I have good people above me in my job, and I'm happy that they're looking out for me.

This weekend, I'm headed to Cleveland for a Harmony Weekend. It'll be nice to NOT be woken by screaming children, and being sick (still not feeling well) is a great excuse to go to bed at, like, 9.



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