Sunday, March 30, 2008

Easter 3.0

While my folks were visiting last week, Sam entertained himself (and the rest of us) with his new favorite pastime. Laughing hysterically while trying to touch Grandpa's mustache (aka "musn'ttouchit).


Grandpa Tom couldn't get a minute to himself without Sammy climbing all over him.



Or both boys.



Sam doing the bunny hop


Grandpa Tom's Hot Cross Buns nestled under a towel that my grandma embroidered last week. Could not be sweeter.


Little duckies searching for clues from the bunny.




And now for something completely ridiculous....


Hard boiled egg bunnies!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Baskets, Bunnies and Bro Bro Madness

The past seven days have been a whirlwind of activity and freakish global-warming warning weather patterns. Take for example, today's snow contrasted with last Saturday's beautiful spring-like day of Easter Egg Insanity at the park near our house.

My mom flew in for the fun and was a huge help as Sammy almost took down a toddler with a Lightning McQueen Easter basket (silly wabbit). Her laughter and hugs are always a hit with me and the kids, and the two extra arms were an amazing resource on this crazy day.


Here are the little bunnies gearing up for the big event. Sam is practicing his "Derek Zoolander on a Baby Gap shoot" pose. Gettin' all steely eyed for the competition.


Here's where we work out the strategy.


It seems to work very well for Max - he cleans up in the 0-3 age category (technically he was still legal - two days shy of moving up an age bracket).


Sam savors the goods. Notice that he cannot be bothered with an Easter basket since his trusty Lil' Mater needs to be with him at ALL times.



Sorting the bounty.




"Whah mokwhat?"


And then, right after the camera went "click", I heard a "pshhhhhhh" sound as millions of air molecules were freed from the bunny's innards.


How come no one else is wearing their ears? The ears, people. The ears!

And the night before the large rabbit arrived, we put out a plate of treats for the guest of honor.
Max suggested carrots, radishes and corn.



Sammy decided that he needed to sample a radish before heading up to bed.


"Duuuude. Why in the hell are you poisoning the Easter Bunny? That stuff is nasty."


So Max, proving that he TRULY is my son and that DNA is magical stuff, showed his little brother how to make it all better:


"Here. Just put it on and let her get a picture and then it's all better. Trust me, the Easter Basket makes all this ridiculous humiliation worth it, I promise."

The plum trees are blooming -- better get out the Kleenex.

No it's not allergies. It's my gestational memory.

Four years ago this week, I held this little bundle of goodness for the first time and experienced the greatest transformation of my life. I went from a swollen, wobbly and miserably uncomfortable weeble of a woman to this:


A sleep-deprived kangaroo.

And you know what? It's worked for me.

The years are flying by, just as promised by the millions of moms and dads who warned me of the rapid passage of time. I live the adage of preschool moms everywhere "The days are long, but the years go fast."

If I close my eyes I am still in that hospital bed holding my babe, watching Mr. Wonderful sleep during March Madness basketball, looking out the window at the brown hills turning pink from the plum trees of spring. It feels like just yesterday that I held this sweet little potato nugget on my chest for hours and hours on end, watching as the plum petals in our back yard burst open one by one into all their pink and purple glory. Never wanting to move from that moment with my newborn nestled in the crook of my arm, asleep in the milk coma that was his world.

And on his first birthday, I watched in wonder as he drooled and crawled and pulled his way up to the window to watch those same trees bloom the lyrics to "Happy Birthday". And on his second birthday, when again I was big in the belly, we watched the trees bloom in a new house with his new friends and he wore yellow boots and a red shirt and stomped in the puddles as the pedals swirled around us. And last year, he kicked it with Shamu as the trees opened up and he ate a hot dog under an umbrella in the San Diego sunshine.

And this year, I walked with my dad to pick up the birthday boy from preschool and take him to the park so that he could run and jump in the freezing rain with all of his friends. And as we left the yellow streamers and charcoal bbq behind in the rain, we walked past another spring tree bursting in blossom. And I told my dad that they always remind me of the week Max was born, and that I think it's so sweet that Max's description of a baby being born is that they "bloom out of their mommy's belly."

Because bloom is just what this little guy does.





Every year on his birthday. And all the other days in between.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Making it all worth the ride...



Our big man turned four this week. I think this picture says more about his day than I could ever write.

Happy Birthday, Maxcavator.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Go Ask Alice When She's 10 Feet Tall



The White Rabbit was a wee bit creepy, in a Jefferson Airplane kind of way.

The kiddos weren't quite sure what to make of the Easter Bunny or its furry paws.

Jelly beans, however, they are very certain about.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Guess Who is Pretty Special??



Max got to have his Special Person's Day at preschool on Tuesday. He made and wore a crown, got to bring his favorite story to be read at circle time, and gave a brief power point presentation on John Deere tractors.

Okay okay, so we left the laptop at home, but he did make up the names of six different tractors that were decorating his Special Person Poster.

"Thats a John Deere 250, and that's a J-5, and that's a J-one one one with a super cutter " and on and on. Totally. Made. It. Up. Right there, in front of the whole class, with his little star wand pointing with emphasis and assurance.

Totally cracked me up.

Here's a little video of his very special teacher and his friends singing to him at the end of school before they went home.

video

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's like, the radio is talking to ME!

No no no, it's not the random voices in my head. Honest, the radio really is trying to tell me something.

This week has been ALL about me.

Check it out: 9@9 on The Mountain (where they play a set of nine songs from one year or with one common theme without divulging the year/theme until a listener has guessed correctly.)

First, earlier this week they played the year I was born (and admitted that they rarely go back this far into the music archives). I totally remember all these songs from en utero and probably entered this world listening to Maybe I'm Amazed or Truckin'. I'm pretty sure I remember the obstetrician singing some Grateful Dead, but it was a big day for me so maybe I'm mixing things up a bit.
1970
In the Summertime -- Mungo Jerry
Big Yellow Taxi -- Joni Mitchell
No Matter What -- Badfinger
Roadhouse Blues -- Doors
Maybe I'm Amazed -- Paul McCartney
Stoned Love -- The Supremes
And It Stoned Me -- Van Morrison***
Truckin' -- The Grateful Dead
Southern Man -- Neil Young


Then, they played the year in which I got married. I put "Kiss Me" on our wedding favors (a mixed tape - how old school is that - a tape!).
1999
Kiss Me-- Sixpence None The Richer
Last Kiss-- Pearl Jam
Room At The Top-- Tom Petty
Brand New Day-- Sting
Run-- Collective Soul
Everybody's Free-- Baz Luhrmann***
Fly Away-- Lenny Kravitz
Put Your Lights On-- Santana Featuring Everlast
Ice Cream (Live)-- Sarah Mclachlan

Best Of Set***

And today, they chose the year in which I graduated from high school. This was probably the pinnacle of my interest in popular music and so was therefore a big thrill to listen to all these songs again. Without braces or acne or driving through Taco Bell.
1988
Bring Me Some Water -- Melissa Etheridge
Roll With It -- Steve Winwood
(Nothing But) Flowers -- Talking Heads
Fast Car -- Tracy Chapman
Handle With Care -- Traveling Wilburys
Better Be Home Soon -- Crowded House
Circle -- Edie Brickell
Angel of Harlem -- U2
Under the Milky Way -- Church

Easily amused I am. But it's my morning pleasure, driving in the rennievan and NOT listening to the musical choices of my Back Seat Boys.

And, if those three sets hadn't been enough to get me thinking that this was a really good omen week, they also played this set, which I thought was super clever...

Nine Songs Based on Literature
Moon over Bourbon Street -- Sting ("Interview with a Vampire" by Anne Rice)
White Rabbit -- Jefferson Airplane ("Through the Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll)
Ramble On -- Led Zeppelin ("Lord of the Rings" trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkein)
Mama -- Genesis ("Moon's a Balloon" by David Niven)
Ground Beneath Her Feet -- U2 ("Ground Beneath Her Feet" by Salman Rushdie)
Sympathy for the Devil -- Rolling Stones ("Master & Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov)
Romeo and Juliet -- Dire Straits (that Shakespeare play)
Rain King -- Counting Crows ("Henderson the Rain King" by Saul Bellow)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road -- Elton John ("The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Top 'O the Mornin'

Elton O'John wishes you a happy St. Paddy's Day




I remember when my kids were young,
Max and Sammy had so much fun

Holding hands and hauling trash

Had a old gold excavator and a long long run

But the biggest kick I ever got

Was doing a thing called the mornin' rock

While other kids were sleepin' in their beds

We were wailin' and cryin' and putting fresh band aids on our head


Laaaa la la la laaaaaa
la la laaa laaaaaaa

Well mornin' rockin is something shocking
When your kids are almost still
I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will
Aw Lawdy Mama those Monday morns
When the kids built legos and loud loud horns
And the fresh brewed coffee was out of sight

Well the years went by and my kids did grow

My boys went and left us for a truck that tows

Memories of nights cryin' in their cribs

I'm still dreamin' of the primary years and what we did

But they'll never kill the thrills we had

Burnin' up pancakes in the mornin' rock

Learnin fast as the days flew fast

I really hope the morning laughs and snuggles last


laaaaa la la laaaa

Oh, the mornin' rock
etc.

With apologies to Bernie Taupin and Elton John






And just in case Mr. Wonderful views this and worries about my culinary hygiene...


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March


Or, Life with Brutus Maximus

One more gaping head wound on my firstborn. Third time's a charm, buddy. Next time you're getting a helmet.

It happened at the YMCA today (so not on my watch) and I didn't see the plundering. I mostly just got lots of wailing, crying and bodily fluid. When he talked about it with his dad tonight it went something like this:

"I was playing outside, and then I came inside and I turned left, and then I turned right, and then I hit the table. They shouldn't have that table right there. I think they should move it."

Do you think this kid's getting a little accustomed to filling out incident reports?

Fortunately for us, we saw our neighbor while waiting for the paperwork to be completed. Even more fortunate is that our neighbor happens to be a doctor. A pediatric trauma doc, who gave the bloody wound a good look over and said he was fine.

"While you're at it, do you mind looking at this one, too?"

Thursday's injury looks to be healing up nicely.

All good preparation for future gladiator roles, eh (tu) Brutus?

Lost and Found Update

Good news! That pesky Lil' Mater has been located. I found him hiding on a bookshelf between The Borzoi Handbook for Writers and The History of World Opera.

Naturally.


It's like a Trading Spaces episode where the Cozy Cone gets updated with a college dorm room theme.

Now why didn't I look there earlier?

Poor Mater, he was probably looking for a quiet respite from all the yelling, tugging and towing that's plagued him since he joined our household. Maybe he was looking to better understand the falsetto opera that plays in stereo with our two young vocalists. With all the wailing, dancing and costume changes (at least three loads of laundry's worth) that we go through, we could very well be mistaken for a Puccini performance.

We're glad to have you back, my friend.

Friday, March 14, 2008

You did WHAT in your cup????

If Route 66 is the Mother Road, then yesterday we hit the Mother Load.

A very thoughtful friend, (who shall remain nameless in case her children learn how to read and discover the blogosphere tonight) showed up with a large bag o' Bob the Builder toys and Pixar crack that she was offloading from her kids' room. It was imminently thoughtful of her and her generous boys (although they know not of their noble deed, -- yet) and the joy in our house has been plentiful. Cheers of glee abound with Scoop, Muck and Lofty (and Rolly, too), as well as a surplus of Flo, Ramone, Luigi and all the good citizens of Radiator Springs.

Like most kids their age, my boys are very clear about "possession" and get great satisfaction from the assurance that something belongs to them. Sharing is so hard for little ones, and I wanted to make it easier for them to feel comfortable with this newfound abundance.

I thoughtfully divided the toys and offered up the goods based upon the boys' likes, interest, and existing household inventory.

But, as would occur with lads of this age, there soon erupted a bit of a territorial war. I thought I had divided the goods fairly, but, much like President Wilson's Fourteen Points in the Treaty of Versaille, I was actually setting the stage for a great battle. My strategy for dividing the bounty proved to be fateful.

I offered up Big Mater to Sam, since Max already has a very prized Lil' Mater. Thinking that this would give each boy a distinguishable tow truck, I was not worried. Except for the crucial fact that Lil' Mater was missing. We can NOT find the one-toothed wonder ANYWHERE. I spent a very long time hunting down that redneck with a tow cable, hoping to ward off the battles raging in my living room. Arguments and tears ensued, time-outs were administered, and we were really working hard at sharing.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Later that night, while Mr. Wonderful was upstairs and I was doing the dishes, Max seized his brother's Big Mater and made a 90 yard dash that, had it been caught it on video, would probably earn us a nice NCAA scholarship or at least an out-take on ESPN's SportCenter. Full speed into the couch, jumping over the cushions that he had so mercilessly removed earlier in the evening, Max made a dive bomb into the end zone with his plastic tow truck cradled under his arm. Nice moves...except that he missed.

Plastic tow-truck met tender forehead and there was blood.

Lots of bodily fluid, lots of screaming. Eventually, after much bribing, consulting, and hugging, the wound was cleaned and we opted for the ever-therapeutic Curious George band aid vs. emergency room visit.


The stoic patient


Nurse mommy even offered to let the obliging patient practice his future medical degree on my forehead. And hold my camera. And take a picture:


Given all the trauma and drama of yesterday's events, imagine how pleased I was to catch my kids snuggling on the couch tonight.



WHILE I WAS ON THE TELEPHONE! Having a conversation with a very dear friend. Unbelievable. I had to take a picture. They were so cute and snuggly and melted my heart and almost made me forget about Mater.

Almost.



"Sam, do that one where you look exactly like your dad. Great, that's it. Thanks."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Goodnight Mush

Word of the day: "Boon"



Book + "Goodnight Moon" = "Boon"

Required reading on the toddler syllabus. Sam must have it, in his hand, in order to fall asleep. And he calls it "boon."

I will read it to him at his wedding. After I tell him about the addition that we've built for him and his bride on the side of the house.

But right now, he's a quiet little baby not whispering "hush".

Monday, March 10, 2008

Beans, Beans The Magical Fruit


Does this kid have a future in accounting or what?


Allow me to introduce you to his crew...

(He set up the shot and asked specifically for the excavator's boom to be extended. Yes, he used those words. All of them. I think I will frame this picture for him as a wedding gift. When he and his new bride move into the room above our garage.)



And these are a few other members of his posse.



The camera is not the only thing focusing.


Wait a minute...what's going on here?


There's nothing age-appropriate or safe about this activity (seat that could fall out from underneath at any moment, small objects that will get lodged in his throat, touching his brother's tractors, etc...)


But at least he's not shouting "CARS!"

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Such a helper, he is.

I swear, the leprechauns are in my house.

Perhaps we're feelin' a wee bit 'o the green, or maybe I'm just losing it, but lately...I've been losing it. Well, things, really. A lot. And it scares me.

Yesterday, the medication that I disperse daily disappeared. Cannot find it anywhere. I know I keep it out of reach of my little people, so I cannot blame it on them.

Today, the cordless phone was missing. I had put it down when grabbing dirty laundry and never would have looked for it there until putting away clean laundry nearly twelve hours later, but there it was. After I had searched everywhere for it. Ha ha.

Tonight, I couldn't find my camera. Anywhere. Searched through my purse multiple times. Over and over. Could NOT find it. Retraced my steps, called the places where I thought I might have lost it. Freaked.

"You guys! Did anyone see my camera??? You didn't touch it, did you?"

Innocent little eyes peer up at me, slightly scared by the crazy lady running around the house opening the same drawers over and over again.

"I know, Mommy", Max suggests with true sincerity and eternal optimism, "for Christmas, I can get a search and rescue helicopter and then we can look for all the lost things."

And he gestures, in kind of a reassuring way, like "There, there Mommy, don't go crazy on me."

Thanks, buddy. I love your optimism and total lack of sense of time. Now go to sleep, even if it is not dark outside.

(As an aside, I blame everything that is wrong in my life on George W. Bush. Seriously. It's kind of a running joke in our house, if something is wrong, I just say it's W's fault and we all now what I'm talking about. Door got left open, it's W's fault. Dishwasher broke, W's fault. Perhaps I take a little levity on the subject because to me, the true gravity of the past eight years is too painful for me to contemplate, let alone debate, so I have to laugh. Insert nervous laughter here.)

All joking aside, Mr. President, you're not fooling ANYONE with this quote unquote energy saving Daylight Savings Time heist. Yeah yeah yeah, I know it's a good thing to have it lighter later, but DUDE! I just got my kid back on the sleeping track. Why you gotta do this to me??? If that kid wakes up at five a.m. again, you KNOW who I'm going to blame. You and your energy cronies who know the real truth..DST probably sucks up more energy than it saves.

I think it would make a great tv political ad... "It's five a.m. and your child is awake. Who do you want answering the phone?"

George W. Freakin' Bush --- so I can blame all my sleep ailments on him --- that's who!!!!

Oh, and my camera was right next to the cordless phone that I found when putting away the laundry. I was talking on the phone this morning when I unplugged my camera to move it to a safe place where the kids wouldn't touch it and then I hung up the phone and put away the pjs and set the stuff down and then there was a poop to wipe so I dashed into the bathroom, and then a head got bonked, so I went to check on that, and where's my coffee cup???.... It's ALL George Bush's fault.

I swear.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Somebody Get Me A Spoon...



Because, seriously, I could eat this kid up.




Word of the day: Humry
Either he wants an H2 or he's hungry. We prefer to offer food.


Oh, if it were that easy...

Max: "Come on Mom, let's go get a new baby."

Me: "Where do you get a baby, Max?"

Max: "At the baby store. You pick one out and you put in your belly and when you're ready, you bloom it out and have a nice, tiny baby to hold. Come on. Let's go. I'll show you."

________________________________________________

Yesterday, there was a helium balloon tragedy, where upon a red balloon escaped the hands of a 22 month old boy's pudgy and inexperienced paws. In an instant, it floated to the very tallest part of the house where it was cearly out of reach and teasing those below.

"Mom, " Max informed me in all seriousness, "I think we need to get a giraffe."

Of course we do.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Impending Births and Existential Crises

I woke up this morning when it was light outside. Without anyone screaming "Cars!" or wandering into my bedroom wishing to discuss poop. It's a great way to start the day, and I highly recommend it.

Sam and I walked downstairs to find Max snuggled on the couch with a blanket and some books, reading quietly. He shined a huge grin at us and proudly announced, with a dramatic blanket flourish, that he had a baby in his belly.

With blanket pulled back we saw that, indeed, Max was expecting under his pajama top. I truly could not have been happier with my offspring at this moment due to my well-rested state, so I played along with all the child-like excitement that I could muster sans caffeine:

"Oh, what are you going to name your baby?"

"Mommy, I don't know yet. We haven't found out if it's going to be a baby boy, or a baby girl, or a baby dino."

And with all the joy and pride of any new father, he happily produced a beautiful baby dino. To celebrate, there was oatmeal and milk for all.

Baby dino was later named "Lovely Tovely" by his father.

-----------------------------
During a car ride yesterday, when Mr. Wonderful and I were in deep conversation, Max chimed from the back asking if his car seat was real. And if my hair was real. And if the song on the radio was real.

"What do you mean by 'real', Max?" I asked, and he repeated the questions to us.

"Do you mean is it alive?" I asked, trying to see where he was coming from.

"Nnnnooooo. I mean is it real?" he replied emphatically and with pleading in his sweet voice.

"Having an existential crisis back there, buddy?" Mr. Wonderful inquired. (Earlier in the day we had been asked if Max had difficulty grasping abstract concepts. Apparently not.)

If love is what truly makes us real (philosophical manifesto of that haunting tale, The Velveteen Rabbit), then I suppose the answer to my little Max is, yes.

Yes. All that you see and all that you are, my dear little existential rock mover, is very real.

All the love and light that you and your sweet brother bring to this world make it all very, very real.

You are so deeply loved.

Keep it real, kiddo. Keep it real.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Divide and conquer- a parenting campaign strategy

No, it wasn't our Ohio/Texas primary election strategy, but Mr. Wonderful and I did try a little two state parenting experiment last weekend. He stayed at home with the Mayor of Radiator Springs while I took the Maxcavator down to my parents' home.


Mac n cheese, airport excavators, and a two-hour delay. What a great way to spend a day.

It was brilliant and wonderful for all parties involved. Max is a great travel companion and leaves nothing to sublety. His enthusiasm is boundless, and he finds joy in everything.

Everything.



"Oh, is the Skeerity line next? Oh, Mommy, I LOVE GOING THROUGH SKEERITY!!" Emphasized by jumping up and down with his Scooby Doo backpack slamming down on his tiny shoulders.

Um, did someone from TSA just hear that? Because I'm pretty sure this preschooler could do a better job with program management than you people, but I digress.



Traveling with Max requires an adjustment in perspective. Take, for example, Airport Security. If you look at it from the perspective of a four year old boy, things that suck can really be fun if you try hard enough. For example, the security line, a huge hassle. But those retractable barriers that hold us in place? How fun are they to unhook, snap back, and then watch the immediate reaction of everyone around you.

And all those big plastic bins stacked up neatly at the skeerity line, just waiting for you to TOUCH them. PICK THEM UP. Begging, I tell you, for you to use. In multiples. And then you get to take your shoes off, pull the snacks, tylenol, hand sanitizer and all the other mommy-sanity-savers out of your bag and show them to the totally bored and disinterested TSA employee whom you've just introduced to your stuffed animal who will now disappear through x-ray. And the conveyor belt! It's pure joy. Pure cause and effect joy. And nothing delights a boy more than turning the corner and finding all of his things waiting for him in those same bins! Waiting to be dumped out! Ah! This is great!


Even the Emergency Procedures for a Boeing 737-700 are interesting to kids. Just ask Max to tell you what's going on in these pictures. For example, I never knew that lava might enter the cabin, but now I will know what to do if it ever does happen.



"Mommy, look at that JET! I LOVE that JET!" or "Mmmm, this MILK is DELICIOUS!" Remembering that everything at the airport tastes better when drunk from a straw and a cup with a green siren on it, I know of which he speaks.


And truly, there is no place more relaxing than my childhood home. My mom baked special treats, both of my parents cooked wonderful meals, and they even had the kindness to order a brand new comfy couch perfect for me to snuggle on. With a very soft cozy blankie, too. We watched "Once" on their new tv and I then I slept. Through the night. And no one yelled "CARS!" at me at 5 a.m. It was heavenly.


Sunshine! Fruit Trees! Bubbi Sky! Oh My!


And how did the littlest Nascar fan do at home without moi? Just fine. Absolutely great. And Mr. Wonderful was pretty fantabulous, too. They built super tall towers, played outside for hours, grilled steak, and took baths together.

And the sleeping? Oh, you know the daddy whisperer solved all problems. Sammy slept through the night until after 6:30 a.m. and hasn't stopped yet. As Mr. Wonderful told me, "I fixed him. Now don't you go and break him."

The only downside of my separation from my youngest is that now it's ALL about Daddy. "Daddy, daddy, daddy." This morning Sam had the pretend pink phone to his ear and this was what the conversation went like...

"Vrrooom, vrooom. Cars. Daddy. Cars. Dump dump. vrooom. daddy. cars. bye bye." And then he waved and put the phone down. Oh, he loves his daddy.

And so do I.