March 30, 2009

Cha, cha, cha

We've had birthdays here. A couple of them, actually. The first one was Thomas' on Saturday, but it really began on Friday and, according to him, is still in season today.

Friday was treat day at school. Thomas and I slaved over some really gorgeous blue and red cupcakes on Thursday evening, that were frosted in white, in preparation for the big KU game on Friday night. He was delighted to take these to share with his "triends" and the report from school was that the kids sang Rock Chalk while they ate them. When I mention that Thomas helped with their preparation, I of course mean that he was really excited about the project up until the time we put them in the oven. He then lost interest, leaving me to frost and package a couple dozen red and blue beauties.

Saturday ushered in a lovely winter storm that pelted us with sleet and freezing rain all day long. The boys and I baked Thomas' "real" cake that morning. I had white cake mix already but he informed me on Friday afternoon that his "real" birthday cake would be chocolate so I did what any softy mom would do and went to Dillons to get more cake mix. This time I had literally more help than my kitchen can hold. Picture me, Andrew, Thomas two step stools plus the mixing and baking accoutrements in approximately six square feet of countertop. It's a little tight but we got it done. Because chocolate cake with chocolate frosting wasn't quite chocolatey enough for the birthday boy, we stirred in some chocolate chips for good measure. Hey, it was a snow day.

While Thomas napped with his new truck from Aunt Steph and Uncle Jeff, I frosted and assembled the cake and he decorated it with sprinkles when he woke. That brought us to about 4 p.m. and he wanted to know if we could eat it RIGHT NOW, so we did. It was a snow day.

We opened presents, sang to him and all ate cake in the late-afternoon, with sleet still pelting the windows and the neighbors' trees beginning to wave their arms in slow-motion like trees do that are getting oh, so, heavy. We ventured out for a late birthday dinner and by then the rain had stopped and Great Grandma agreed to join us. The boys thought it was hilarious that daddy pulled the gold truck clear up on the sidewalk at Great Grandma's so the trek to the car would be shorter! Shockingly enough, Thomas announced he didn't want us to order him any food at dinner because he thought he'd had too much cake at home. He's so wise now that he's three.

We wound down that evening with more playing, baths and a late bedtime because it's not like we had used any energy just sitting around eating cake. As I rocked Thomas that night he asked me to sing Happy Birthday to him one more time. He wanted me to sing it like the Pre 2 kids do - complete with "cha, cha, cha" after each verse. Me thinks he liked being the center of it all around the house.

So, here I sit with my baby a three-year-old and his big brother nearly six. How did that happen? I wonder who stole all this time from us and how to slow the clock just a bit. How do I best remember to not sweat the small stuff? How do I best teach these boys to go out and be good people? How do we keep them talking to us instead of about us? How do we make the absolute most of everyday? It makes my head spin. I'm sure I'm the first parent to ever feel that way.

For today, I choose to concentrate on the fact that Thomas is perfect for us.

He loves to read books, he can imagine anything into a vehicle, he colors and play-dohs for hours a week and he loves his brother unabashedly. He remains basically scared of our dog, he still ends up in my lap at the end of most meals but he's not one bit scared to traverse the house in the dark of night. He is riding a bike with training wheels as if he's done it all his life and he steadfastly refuses to be interested in the toilet. He has a laugh that can warm me for hours but he saves it for the really important stuff. He's kind of a tough audience. He has gamely worked on perfecting difficult sounds for the last year and can now get a /w/ worked into conversation with the best of them. He loves to get his own water from the refrigerator and open all doors himself, but he's still the best handholder I know. He is delighted by the broom and dustpan that we gave him for his birthday and he remains convinced his birthday is still happening because we still have chocolate cake. He is not perfect, but is perfect for us.

Long live the triple chocolate cake!

March 24, 2009

Our little realist

Tonight at dinner, Mark was joking around with Thomas about what he was made of and telling him that he was made up of the food he was eating. He didn't like that joke and was protesting. That lead to me say that he was made of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. He definitely didn't like that joke, but Andrew thought it was funny.

I then turned to Andrew and told him that's what all little boys were made of and that little girls were made of sugar and spice.

He gave me a funny look, paused for a split second and said, "Mommy, you shouldn't really believe that. We're all made of nerves and tendons and bones and veins."

It's so good that one of us is thinking clearly.

March 22, 2009

Life of the party

Two things happened around here tonight that were a bit unusual. The first is that Andrew readily agreed to eat shredded pork for dinner, just like Mark and I were eating. He knew I had prepared it and he even knew that we were eating leftovers and yet, he still ate two servings. You just never know.

The other story of note involves Thomas. The kid was running on fumes by bedtime, as the result of a nap protest and lots of bike riding today. I asked him to go in the bedroom and take off his clothes after dinner so we could get a shower started. He disappeared and then returned to the kitchen with a bag of saltine crackers, informing me that he had made a mess with some crackers in the hallway outside the pantry and that I needed to clean it up for him.

While I was working on that he began yelling down to Andrew, telling him, "I having a party in the shower and Andrew's invited!" This was funny and made us all laugh. He repeated it several times, more animatedly each time and then went into the bedroom to get undressed.

Andrew came upstairs and headed in to get ready for Thomas' "party in the shower" as well. But, he quickly returned to the hallway asking if he could have crackers too. I assured him we didn't need to eat crackers before showering and reminded him of all the good pork he had eaten at dinner. He informed me that the crackers weren't for eating, they were to take to the party in the shower like Thomas.


Upon entering my bathroom I was greeted by Thomas on all fours, crushing saltines on the floor of the shower. When I asked (maybe in a loud voice) what he was doing, he calmly explained the crackers were party decorations. And also, would I please turn on the shower now?

p.s. ROCK CHALK!!!

March 15, 2009

Different strokes

Andrew has been sleeping in a "big boy" bed since approximately mid-April 2006. During that nearly three years he has NEVER gotten out of his bed and come downstairs during the night. In fact, he was in it for three months before he figured out he didn't have to have permission to come downstairs in the morning. He also still doesn't like to go upstairs by himself, even during the day.

Thomas has been sleeping in a "big boy" bed since February 24, 2009. Approximately three days into that nearly three weeks, he figured out he didn't need to ask permission to get up in the morning and he has also boycotted naps consistently. Rather, he is perfecting the art of launching himself off the bed, destroying his bookshelf and yelling downstairs every three minutes during naptime.

We have always hoped that our kids would be scared to come downstairs during the night by themselves because they have to traverse the stairs, a dark living room, a dark hallway and then get to our bedroom. It turns out, Thomas isn't scared.

He appeared in our room at 5 a.m. today telling me he was cold and needed to get in our bed. I somehow convinced him that he needed to just be recovered in his bed and he eventually acquiesced. It was somewhat difficult for me to take him back up because I know he would burrow in between us and sleep like a log and we would probably all actually enjoy it but I know about the precedent it sets. Five a.m. is one thing, 1 a.m. is another.

As I carried him back upstairs I asked him if he was scared while he came down by himself and he assured me he wasn't. "Me not scared in our house," he said. When I got him resituated in his own bed he politely asked me to "get out and go down."

And, right now? He's upstairs in his room, by himself, singing songs at the top of his lungs and doing something in his rocking chair that makes it sound like the ceiling's about to fall.

The funny thing is that three years ago at this time I was simply sure that I was about to give birth to a second Andrew, having no idea that two boys with the same parents, raised in the same house would take us on such vastly different rides from day-to-day.

On that note...

I'm about to be an aunt again, twice over in the next month, and we can all hardly wait to meet the new additions to the family. Now we know that just like adults, no two little people are the same in any way. We're so excited to welcome two new personalitites to the mix.

March 9, 2009

Red tape

Each evening when it's time for me to go into Andrew's room and do the tuck-in, hugs and kisses, he greets me with some topic for the day. It's usually related to something we've done or seen that day and it's also, most definitely, a stall tactic.

Tonight's conversation went like this:

Andrew: Is it an honor to be in a band?

Me: I'm not sure I understand your question.

Andrew: You know, if you play an instrument in a type of band, is it an honor?

Me: I suppose that if you're asked to be in a band then yes, it's an honor.

Andrew: But why?

Me: Well, you would generally be asked to be in a band because you're a good musician and you practice hard.

Andrew: I don't think I would like to be in a band, because I wouldn't like that other part.

Me: What other part?

Andrew: All the paperwork.

Me: I don't think there's a lot of paperwork involved in being in a band.

Andrew: Oh, good. Then I will do it.

What a relief that must have been to him!

March 3, 2009

Happy, happy

Things that made me unreasonably happy today...

1. When Thomas came running down the hallway at school this afternoon - wearing his coat, hat and mittens because they were just coming in from outside - yelling, "my mommy!" over and over when he saw me.

2. Discovering something called a Vanilla Spice latte at a coffee shop near where I was enduring 8 hours of software training. That first sip was heavenly.

3. Getting a call from our local school district this afternoon informing me that after evaluating Thomas at school last week, they will definitely not be providing speech therapy services for him once he turns three. The therapist reported that she understood him easily, that he has a good vocabulary and that she thinks his remaining difficulties will improve on their own. Whew.

4. Having Andrew "read" And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street to me tonight. He only got about 25% of the words right but he's trying soooo hard and he wants soooo much to do it. I had a (happy) tearful moment of realizing that it's going to click for him and when it does, look out.