Sunday, March 28, 2010

News Flash: Major Aquatic Breakthrough in North Liberty, Iowa

This afternoon we headed to the indoor pool in a neighboring town, a favorite because it has a zero-depth entry for the kids. We had braved the cold a few times during the winter for an afternoon of exhausting activity, but hadn't been there recently. As we were getting ready to leave, Edward suddenly decided he was ready to put his face all the way in the water. He bravely plugged his nose, took a deep breath, and then sank under the surface, splashing up a microsecond later. There was exuberant cheering and high-fiving and he did it three more times before we decided it was really time to leave. He and John went to change, and I took Daniel. John told me later that after they'd dried themselves and were about ready to change back to street clothes, Edward said, "I want to go under water again." Somewhat reluctantly, but not wanting to do anything to dampen (ha ha) the enthusiasm, John trekked back to the pool and let him do it a few more times.

Edward has been extremely tentative about even drops of water touching his face. When he took lessons, he only went as far as bending at the waist to dip his face (really, just the forehead, nose tip and lips) in the water. He also would not jump into the pool unless we were physically holding his arms or body. That changed today too, and I think a little peer pressure was involved. Daniel actually has no fear. Of anything it seems. He accidentally dunked himself two or three times today in the pool and though he was brought up sputtering a bit, didn't seem too bothered overall. He started jumping to my open arms, and when Edward saw this he decided he needed to join the action. He was still hesitant at the edge of the pool though until John told him, "Edward, it's just like jumping off the couch into soft pillows. The water is soft like that." That did the trick.

And as if all these pool triumphs were not enough, Daniel ended the outing by sitting on the lockeroom toilet to pee. Much to my surprise, it appears we are heading into the toilet training phase. I was expecting this to be a summer activity, with Daniel running around without pants, but he's been announcing his wet diapers as soon as they happen and wanting them changed. He also occasionally wakes up dry from a nap or even in the morning so we've had him try the bathroom at those times with some success. Edward is a great cheering section and Daniel loves everyone jumping up and down saying, "Yay, Daniel." Edward told him about getting an M&M for peeing in the potty and this is a huge hit. However, soon after Daniel's first reward, Edward took himself to the bathroom and then demanded his M&M. We discussed that he is big enough that he doesn't need a treat every time, but decided he could have one when Daniel got his if he helped us teach Daniel by cheering and encouraging.

Side note: we continue to be amazed that neither boy questions the "one M&M" ration.

We attended an Easter egg hunt on Saturday morning put on by one of the local sororities. I think the kids had fun, but it was a bit tough to navigate with kids of all ages participating. Our kids each got one or two eggs with a few treats inside though so they were happy. We discussed with the friends we went with the idea of getting a bunch of our friends' families together next year for a more focused backyard hunt. We'll see if we actually remember to make that happen.

We enjoyed a fun visit with Gram and PopPop Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Edward forgave Gram for leaving the heaping pile of books from her own library in the back seat of her car in Evanston and instead enjoyed sharing a few new books from our own collection and a recent library visit.

This last photo is Edward's latest adaptation of a hodge podge of "toys" in our play area. These are actually an old set of canisters that I got at Goodwill for my Iowa City apartment before John and I were married. They are metal. LOUD. Our kids' "kitchen" toys also include a couple of old muffin tins and various mixing spoons of different shapes and sizes. Before Edward deigned to sit down at his new drum set, he insisted that he find the two matching white spoons. Not just any old spoon would do for a drumstick. He also, for unexplained reasons, decided to put on his "Mama Bear" costume from his class play last month.
If this shot is not enough for you, I think you can see this video even if you're not a member of Facebook. If it asks for your login/password and you really want to see it, just send me an email and I'll repost directly to the blog.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day from our two favorite leprechauns!

And speaking of these two, we're just one month away from our annual March for Babies, a time to join with other families in celebrating the healthy babies in our lives and remembering those like Will who will be forever babies in our hearts. Our family and friends, near and far, have offered us such amazing support in the five years we've participated in this event. As always we welcome you to join us in person or in spirit. By clicking on the link above you can register as a walker or make a donation to Team Kenyon. Last year we were the sixth highest fundraiser among Iowa City teams!

A few more photos to add to the day's festivities. After our Valentine cookie adventure, we thought we'd go another round with shamrocks. We had to temper some vigorous sprinkle shaking, but got them all done and even managed not to eat them all before the big day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring has sprung! Just when we thought this winter would never end, the rain melted the snow last week and then the sun came out to dry up the mud. Hooray! Of course as hearty Midwesterners, we know that we must still brace ourselves for the possibility of a late March or early April (May?) final blast of the season, but we're soaking in the sun while we can. On Sunday after naps we walked to a park that we generally avoid on summer afternoons because there is no shade. However, that makes it a perfect choice for this time of year--a little warmer and drier than other nearby options. We even ran into another family on the next block who were also on their way there. Their kids are the same ages as ours, but we haven't seen them all winter. Edward had a blast running and chasing with David, who he declared "is my best friend!" Not to diminish, but Edward's "best friend" tends to be whomever he has played with most recently.
Daniel had fun peeking over the edge of the slide and shouting "No tickle!" as John attempted to reach over and administer said tickles as he twisted on down to the bottom.
Edward was very happy to swing and swing, and I finally don't fear that he'll fall off or decide to get down while the swing is at its highest point. Maybe this summer he'll even learn to pump himself.

This afternoon it was even warmer and another day of sun had decreased the swamp factor in our backyard. It was still a little squishy, but we put on our old shoes and went out anyway. Every dirty porch toy came out and they were even asking for others that had been put in deeper storage for the winter. We restricted ourselves just to what was already outside and it was sufficient to fill two hours.
Daniel took the toys in this basket outside one by one, scurrying across the back porch like a little squirrel. Then he heaved the basket itself across the porch and out the door. A few minutes later, I heard him grunting and groaning as he lifted the basket, once again full of all the toys, up the two inch step onto the porch. After that, he settled for pushing it across the porch to its final resting place. Not too long after that, he started the whole process over again, carrying the toys out one by one.
Some hoops.
Baseball anyone? Daniel learned to stand "on deck" at the tree after one of Ed's first hits sailed within inches of his head. Ed was admonished to wait until no one was standing in front of him. I have no illusions that this will be the last such incident of the season.

Crocus! These poor flowers are hearty enough to be snowed upon, but did not quite stand up to exploring fingers. We tried to practice "looking with our eyes" but at least one flower was decapitated.
If you click on this picture to see a larger version, you can see the tongue-out determination with which Daniel is pushing this load of rocks.

Last week, we spent a much cooler afternoon outside in winter jackets riding bikes around the block. It's actually more like two square blocks, which is a pretty good distance if you're still unable to manipulate the pedals on your big wheel, as is Daniel's current lot. Ed was charging ahead on his bike, but patiently waited at mid-block and corner for us to catch up. We encountered some mud along the way, which necessitated changing clothes when we got home. I put on shorts as a way to force myself down to the treadmill after the kids' bedtime. Ed thought that was a great idea, and once Ed was in his shorts, Daniel demanded a pair of his own. These were dug out of storage and then he ran around for a few minutes pulling on them trying to get them to cover his legs. He has also worn short sleeve shirts a few days recently to school and I've seen him try to pull the sleeves down after washing his hands.

Even with the active afternoon, there was still enough energy for this post-dinner activity. Needless to say, they slept soundly that night!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

OK, a cute story with a caveat: We are not indoctrinating our kids. In fact, we rarely if ever talk politics around them for one simple reason: they ask too many questions. An aside to explain this. After the earthquake in Haiti, Edward had questions (probably brought on by a discussion at school) about what happened to the people whose houses were destroyed. I told him that people would help to rebuild. Like who? he asked. Well, volunteers from our country, people like the Red Cross, and the government there. What's a government? he asks. So, I tried, as simply as possible, to explain representative government to a four year old. I dare say he has a better grasp of it now than most of his fellow citizens.

With that in mind, we don't talk politics. He knows who Obama is, mostly because it was a name and face that was hard to avoid during the campaign (plus, when you're 4, "Obama" is fun to say). So, Edward got a ruler at school today with all of the presidents pictures on it. He showed me tonight, and asked if the last one was Obama (the photos are very small, otherwise I'm sure he would know). I told him it was. Then, to test his memory, I asked if he knew who the president was before Obama. He didn't remember, so I told him it was President Bush.

"He didn't do a very good job, right?" Edward asks.
"Well," I say, surprised and not wanting to tread into this mine field, "what makes you say that?"
"Am I right? He didn't do a very good job?"
"Some people didn't think so. Others did."
"Did you think so?"

Adhering to the rule not to discuss politics or religion in polite company, I'll end our exchange here (though it didn't go much further). I'm not sure what to make of Edward's budding punditry; perhaps he absorbs "The Daily Show" by osmosis when we watch after he goes to bed. Regardless, it is just the latest in a long line of tough questions from him that will only escalate as he learns to grasp more of what goes on around him.

I'll leave you with a couple of cute (and tasteful) photos that Mary got at bathtime tonight: