Saturday, December 24, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Thursday, December 08, 2011
(Special shout out to our AZ crew for today's wardrobe selections :-) )
Until he didn't.
I looked up from helping one of the other kids when I heard him scream and saw him splayed out belly down on the ice. I attached the other kid to the wall and skated up to assess the damage. He was screaming so much I didn't know what exactly had happened. I thought at first someone might have skated over his hand. But he finally screamed, "I twisted my ankle!"
Of course we were at the far opposite corner of the rink from the exit, but thankfully the hockey team pens (or whatever they're called) were just a few feet away. I managed to scoot him over and get us both to the bench and get his skate off. I noticed the laces had come loose from one of the upper hooks. I held him for a little while thinking he'd calm down after the initial shock. Nothing doing. He was simply screaming. I didn't think I could carry him across the ice on my own skates, and was a bit at a loss for what to do. Luckily my friend noticed that there was a non-ice exit from the other hockey pen, so we scooted over there and got out. I tried taking off the other skate to see if he could walk and he just crumpled to the floor.
With help from Edward and my friend (who also had her own kids to help de-skate) I managed to get him out to the car, where I called John and asked him to meet us at the urgent care clinic near our house. There the P.A. was able to manipulate the foot up and down and, noticing no bruising and only limited swelling, was confident that we did not need to head to the ER for an x-ray. We took him home to rest, ice and elevate.
Monday morning he still would not put an ounce of weight on the foot so he obviously couldn't go to school. I decided it was worth a trip to the pediatrician for further examination and possible x-ray. But again, he did not indicate excessive pain from pressing at any point on his leg or foot and allowed his foot to be moved in all directions. So we went home to continue rest, ice, elevation ( P.S. How on Earth does one entertain an immobile child whose life's work is centered around dashing from one place to the next? Lots of books and games and much more TV and computer time than is standard around these parts.)
My back was screaming from lugging his 43 lbs. around for three days so I tried to force him to walk from the car to the school door. Inside, an elevator awaited, but this was not enticing enough. I ended up carry/dragging him up the walk and through the door, much to the horror of the head of the school, who stands outside each morning to greet the arriving children. She's not aware that Daniel's favorite attention tactic is to scream "Owie! Owie!" regardless of whether any part of him is actually afflicted. I explained that he had hurt it on Sunday (this was Wednesday) and that he'd been to the doctor three times and had it x-rayed. He would be fine. She did not seem convinced.
His teachers, on the other hand, were fabulous. The whole Montessori program is about fostering independence, so they were fine with letting him get around by whatever locomotion he chose, which turned out to be crawling for most of the day. (This apparently was a bit disturbing to several of his female friends, whose parents stopped me in the hall the next morning to get the full story after hearing dramatic tales from their daughters.)
He made it through the day and then seemed to be more willing at home to try putting weight on it. I should say that through all of this, HE was totally convinced that he could not walk. This was not a "milking it for attention" situation where he'd walk if there was something he really wanted and then turn around and pretend he couldn't. I'm sure it was a combination of actual discomfort and memory of the pain of the original injury that made him afraid to risk a step. He would push against our palm, and bend his foot in the up and down motion of walking. But actual walking was simply out of the question.
When he started taking steps again on Wednesday night, we made a BIG deal about it, cheering and jumping and high-fiving. I also reminded him that once he was all better and walking on his own we could celebrate by going out for ice cream. This morning he crawled out of bed, but then once downstairs was willing to take some tentative steps. He did much better at school until he slipped in a puddle and hurt it again (though not as badly.) I think he'll be back to normal by the weekend. Such drama!
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Here's how Ed came home from school on Tuesday (should have taken the picture sooner--the beard didn't start out quite so bedraggled. Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like a kid in a paper pilgrim hat.
On Wednesday we made pies for Thursday. Ever since we read Amelia Bedelia for the first time, the boys have been asking for lemon meringue pie. And of course they had to have pumpkin too. Both pies were consumed with gusto after Grandma's delicious Thanksgiving feast on Thursday. (P.S. we skipped the meringue and went with Cool Whip instead, which led to Daniel's hilarious quip when I was persuading Holly to keep some of the leftover pie as we were leaving. "We don't need all this pie," I said. Daniel didn't miss a beat: "But we DO need all the Cool Whip!")
On Friday we took a trip to Davenport to visit the Putnam Museum, where our membership gives us free entry and also included four IMAX movie tickets. After spending the afternoon exploring the permanent exhibits, we took in a late afternoon showing of Puss in Boots in 3D.
This part of the museum was focused on the river. We were a little worried that there wouldn't be enough to occupy them until the movie started. Little did we know they'd spend an hour climbing in and out of this boat and attempting to walk around wearing the flippers, pretending to be sea divers.
We didn't know if Daniel would look up from his slushee long enough to see the movie, but in the end it did hold his attention. The kids didn't really like wearing the glasses, but still enjoyed the show. We also managed to get our outdoor lights hung and take a family bike ride on Thursday morning, since it was a 60-degree Thanksgiving day in Iowa this year. What a treat!
Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon we had friends over to play. Two words can be used to describe foul-weather playdates for boys: loud and messy. OK, three words--add "fun." Saturday evening the whole family went roller skating at the community center. At dinner before skating, Daniel was being quite squirmy and ended up tumbling out of his chair. He seemed quite perplexed when he landed on the floor and declared, "These are NOT my good falling-down pants!" We attempted to stifle our guffaws enough to inquire as to what the qualities of good falling down pants were. He said he thought his sweatpants would be better because they're soft. (He was wearing jeans, which is unusual, as the button/zipper is problematic for someone who ALWAYS waits until the very last possible second before dashing to the bathroom to take care of his personal business.)
We will have to remember to wear "good falling-down pants" for the next roller skating adventure, as you can see in this video John prepped. Be sure to stick around for the grand finale of our holiday weekend: Edward's first loose tooth falling out.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Edward bites into a banana (store offers kids free bananas while parents are shopping) and exclaims, "Mom, my tooth is crooked! This one right here on the bottom!"
"Oh, really? Is it loose?"
(feels with fingers) "No, it's not loose, but it's slanting back." (begins mild panic)
"And it hurts!" (wailing, loudly, middle of store bakery)
"Edward, I think you might just have a loose tooth, let me see." Teeth appear to be in alignment, but further exploration with finger (eew...in banana mouth) reveals that one is indeed out of alignment from the tongue side of the tooth (insert appropriate dental term if you must.)
Gently pinch tooth with thumb and forefinger to demonstrate wiggle. "See, Edward. It's a loose tooth. It's your first loose tooth, isn't that great?!" (Attempting to shift panic to joy. Maneuver successful.)
Continue through rest of brief trip discussing how weird it feels to have a loose tooth. And, of course, when Daniel can expect his first loose tooth. (Sorry, buddy. Gotta wait about two more years on that one. Blame the "borner.")
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Sunday, November 06, 2011
Daniel's school celebrated on Halloween itself (Monday) also with an in-school parade and treats. How thoughtful of the schools not to expect me to be in two places at once! Here is Daniel with his friend Opal, whose mother spent more than two minutes on her firefighter costume--fashioning it from sweats and reflective tape.
Over the weekend in between the school celebrations, we traveled to Evanston for the occasion of my 20th high school reunion.Our class had never quite gotten it together to organize a reunion before, so for most of us this truly was the first time we'd seen each other in 20 years. It was shocking how easy it was to recognize these adult women whom I'd last seen when we were teens. It was a fun night, although not much chance to get into conversation any deeper than "Married or not? Kids or not? Employed or staying home?" with most. I was one of the few to travel from out of state. Most of those who attended still live in the area. Several out of town classmates wrote to say they couldn't make it back.
Putnam Museum in Davenport. Without it, it would have cost our family $100 to go to the Field, in which case we would not have gone, since we knew at the outset that we had about a one-hour attention span to work with. Here are the boys, dwarfed by "Sue," the Field's famous T-Rex.
We learned right away that while most of the bones here are real, the actual head is too heavy to be supported in this display, so we had to look for it elsewhere in the museum. By the time we got there, Daniel was in over-stimulation mode, but Ed was still interested.
Even though I laughed about the absurdity of taking our Iowa kids to Chicago to play with corn, this "Kid Zone" activity was a favorite. It was a mock-up of a Pueblo where the kids could "plant" and "harvest" corn and then take it in the hut to "cook" in a large pot for meal.
Our strategy of arriving when the doors opened at 9 a.m. worked well so that we never felt crowded. We left by 11 or so and headed back to Gram and PopPop's for lunch, where Aunt Nora joined us in between two social engagements that day. Then the boys and my parents went across the street to the fall festival at the local elementary school, and John and I sneaked in a quick run to the mall. (And I do mean quick--we were gone less than 2 hours and it takes 20 min. each way to get there. I do hate shopping, but sometimes it's a necessary evil.) When we got home, the boys and PopPop were vegging out to some SpongeBob Squarepants. Life can certainly be exhausting when you're three and still physically need a nap, but are stubborn enough to refuse at all costs. (Note he's not actually sleeping here, just watching TV.)
Monday, October 24, 2011
Since we were going to be in the area, we planned a trip to Bloomsbury Farm in nearby Atkins. I'd heard lots of friends talking about it as a great fall family activity. I knew it was an all-day adventure though and in past years we really haven't been "all day" people. Since naps have mostly fallen by the wayside (shedding a tear for those bygone days) we thought this would be a great way to spend the afternoon. Grandma and Grandpa even joined in the fun.
It's hard to describe, but basically, it's a family's working farm where they've carved out a section for a whole host of kiddie entertainment including a big slide made from some sort of agricultural tubing (tiling?), hayrack rides, pumpkin patch, pig races, animal feeding/petting, a big barn of hay for jumping, pedal carts, a corn maze, a haunted house, a fun house (more goofy than scary) and the piece de resistance, a HUGE jumping pillow. Holly was looking up the directions on Google maps and this pillow is big enough that it can be seen in the satellite image.
After a lot of jumping and falling, Daniel discovered that it's even more fun to let others do the work. His giggling was so infectious, you can hear the adults joining in.
Of course, our kids wouldn't be our kids if they didn't eschew a whole new realm of fun activities in favor of playing on the most mundane, everyday item in the area,
but we were able to persuade them to take in the rest of the fun.
county fair when the "ride" operator wouldn't let me send them through without me, and I was unwilling to use all of our tickets for all three of us to go through. I promised him then that I'd take him to a "real" haunted house, and he has not let me forget for a second. The impulse may now be quashed however, as he did not like the loud noises or the uncertainty of finding our way in the dark. And this was a very tame haunted house with no monsters jumping out and with daylight peeking through the cracks in the walls.
If the boys and I have our way, we'll be back next year for another photo:
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Putting on the snowpants triggered some sort of sense memory though because as soon as I was done with my inspection, they both raced up the stairs to slide down (extra fast) on the slippery pants. This occupied them without need for parental participation for more than an hour this afternoon. They did have to stop at one point due to excessive heat. But they solved this on their own by running upstairs to trade their sweats for shorts and jump back into snowpants action.
I was in the other room, listening in case of fighting or injury, and close enough to veto the idea of sending their large metal Tonka dump truck down the stairs to give their stuffed animals a chance to join the fun. I kept hearing things about "tractor" and "car" but I knew there weren't any actual vehicles involved. It wasn't until John came home, witnessed the spectacle and doubled over with laughter that all was revealed.
I give you
P.S. I started the season a little annoyed at Lands End for eliminating 2/3 of their kids' boots selection, leaving only the most expensive model. But I emerged victorious when they marked them down 30% for the Fall Sale and my Parents magazine came with a coupon for $10 off next LE purchase plus free shipping. Ended up with quite a steal #pattingselfonback.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Edward: "Awww, COOOL!!! Daniel, come see this!"
Daniel races to the bathroom, "What is it? Oh, cool!"
Edward: "See how great it smells. It's like Gram's!"
Daniel: "Yeah, it smells GOOD! And it's pink!"
We got new soap in our bathroom. Pomegranate Mango hand soap from Target. And people wonder why we don't bother with big events and flashy toys for our children.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Before John starts getting blog hate mail, I should specify that it was only coincidence that our ancient opener happened to conk out last week and that the first available time for replacement was today. I was already planning to take the day off with a simple goal of quiet "me" time, so I went ahead and scheduled it. I'm sure there are other lovely presents from my boys in my future. Though the youngest two of those boys did not at all understand why they couldn't stay home from school to help me celebrate. I mean, if you could spend your birthday doing this
why would you choose anything else?
While the boys don't totally grasp the concept of "someone else's birthday" yet, they sure are into the other approaching October holiday. I may have fed the frenzy a bit when a trip to the consignment store turned up the fabulous viking hat along with another set of plate armor so they can now both be fully outfitted for battle.
The only downside from the consignment treasure trove was that the 5T frog costume doesn't quite fit both boys. I thought it would be a little big for Daniel, a little small for Ed, enabling them to share it. However, it's basically a perfect fit for Daniel and a pants-splitter for Edward (literally--it's already required repair, though I can't say for sure it wasn't like that when I got it.) Ed has a bit of costume envy on this one, but luckily he has plenty of other items to distract him.
And while we're looking at that cookie picture, let me just say that allowing Daniel to handle the food coloring for the frosting was a serious rookie mistake. I can't believe I could have fallen for it. I mean he so earnestly wanted to help, and I thought, "What a great lesson in color mixing--red and yellow make orange!" So, subtle and delicate are two words I would never use to describe either of my boys, but especially Daniel. And after all, I did neglect to specify that the dropper should be pointed down when squeezing out those three drops. He may have squeezed hard enough to empty about half the bottle all over the table and my hands thrown up in self defense against the onslaught of red dye. And it may be three days later and my hands are still stained, but you know, they had a great time and they love deliberating over which shape to choose at dessert time. So we'll chart this one as a qualified success.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
John and the boys were busy handing out water at mile marker 1, and I waved as I passed, but didn't stop. They were done with their work in time to get back to the finish line just after I crossed, but my parents, who were visiting for the weekend, were there to cheer as I crossed. My running mantra is "slow and steady finishes the race." Today's time: 36 minutes. The men's 10K winner finished about three blocks ahead of me, and at one point while I was running, I got passed by a guy pushing a double stroller. Well, we all have our own strengths.
Daniel needed a fall picture to share at school this week, so on Tuesday after dinner we raked a small pile of available leaves for jumping. Looking up, we knew it was an exercise in futility.
I've mentioned before that we often stop on our way home from school to play on the playground at one or both of the boys' schools. I am amazed a their abilities and determination NOT to use the equipment as the designers intended. Not just climbing up slides instead of sliding down, but attempting to shimmy up over the top of a covered tube-type slide and climbing up over the tops of the railings. These are things that are against the rules during school hours, but we allow a bit of flexibility after hours. I never have a camera to document the acrobatics, but I remembered to grab one for a trip to our downtown playground on Friday afternoon. My brother-in-law who teaches elementary school music and pitches in with playground duty says it's the monkey bars that "separate the men from the boys" in kindergarten.
We're looking forward to another beautiful fall week here in Iowa, soaking up every last ray of sunshine and ounce of warmth. The boys are starting another four-week session of swimming lessons, which they love, but have noted the contrast to their summer experience: much colder getting out of the pool these days (even though it's an indoor pool and heated to the point of serious discomfort for the fully clothed and dry!)
Another major milestone for Edward: he's nearly up to current in our reading of his favorite series of books, The Magic Treehouse. With the extra reading brought on by a visit from Gram and PopPop he's now down to just two published books to read. (It takes us about 4-5 days reading aloud 2 or 3 chapters a day to finish one of these books.) After that, the next book won't be published until December, so we'll be on the hunt for a new series. He really loves the historical characters and time periods he's been introduced to through Jack and Annie's adventures. I wonder if he'll re-read the series when he's a fully independent reader? Right now he can read simple books and will ask about certain words on the page as we're reading to him, but he's not ready to dive in solo just yet.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
"Well, whoever made Edward get born first," he said, "I don't like that 'born-er' anymore!"
This morning, while visiting a local church for its pancake breakfast, Edward elicited the usual, "Look at that beautiful red hair" comments from the senior set. When one varied the script and asked, "Where'd you get that red hair," Daniel quickly replied with a huff, "He's had it for a LONG time!"
Given how the world revolves around him, it's tough to imagine any sort of attention deprivation, but apparently he feels the need for a bit more personal focus. Luckily, today was the day for his school's annual fall festival so we all went to enjoy food, games, and a peek at Daniel's world. Now we're in a bit of a state though because the party was from 2-4 p.m. so we've had zero downtime for the whole day. Headed for early bedtime!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
So even though Edward's school is four blocks away and Daniel's is only another two blocks from there, the walk home is never expeditious and rarely direct. Sometimes we stop to play on the playground at one or both schools. Sometimes we stop for an impromptu picnic of whatever is left in their lunch bags. Sometimes we stop to pick up items of interest to add to the collection of pine cones, acorns, sticks, bark strips, et. al. on our front porch. Sometimes we stop to have meltdowns about brothers who won't let us be first.
Thus, we rarely make any plans for the after-school/before-dinner hours. With nowhere to go and beautiful fall afternoons that beckon us outside, we're wide open for bike riding, frisbee throwing or even the latest obsession, front porch pulley.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
When Mary asked the boys if they wanted baths or showers tonight, Daniel declared that he would be taking neither. He had been contrary all day. Tired of it, I offered a third option that involved him in our backyard and me with a bucket filled from the hose. I had hoped it would convince him that a warm shower sounded pretty nice; instead, he thought the backyard bucket wash sounded perfect.
As the evening drew to a close, I thought he had forgotten. But when he got undressed and went into the bathroom where Mary waited to give him a shower, he said, "I am not taking a shower, so you can turn that water off right now!"
My bluff called, I grabbed some soap and a towel, and followed my naked son down the stairs and out onto our screen porch. He stood on our (secluded) patio and waited while I filled the bucket. I let him feel the water coming from the hose, and while he agreed that it felt cold, he said he still wanted a bucket wash. Edward tried to warn him as well, but he would not be denied.
I poured a little on his head, and he giggled. I poured more and really soaked his head, then asked if he was done. Nope. So, I poured enough that it cascaded down his back. He let out a "whoah!" and shivered a bit (keep in mind that it was about 80 degrees at this point). I told him he needed to look up so I could pour water on his front to get the rest of him wet, but he would not do so. Finally, Mary asked if he was ready to go in and take a warm shower. "Yeah," he said, padding into the house wrapped in a warm towel.
He certainly held out longer than I expected, just another sign that we have a very strong-willed (and tough) little guy on our hands. The next few years should be very interesting.
Monday, September 05, 2011
With the onset of cooler weather (and earlier darkness), I thought it might be a good time for a backyard campout. I located my tent and our sleeping bags and then, while Mary set the mood by helping them to make s’mores over the grill after we cooked some burgers for dinner, I got out my tent without comment and began setting it up.
“What is that, Dad?” Edward asked. I told him it was my old tent that I had found while cleaning the basement, and decided to set it up to air it out. He and Daniel were wide-eyed. I heard them ask Mary if they could sleep out in it. I feigned reluctance. “I don’t know. That’s a big thing to do…” I finally let them convince me and we began planning our campout.
Because it was only 7 p.m. and still very light out at this point, we headed back inside. They put on sleepers and then we watched some DVDs for the next hour or so to let them calm down (ha!) and let it get dark out. About 8:15, we headed out. We read a few books by the light of our battery-powered lantern (exciting in and of itself), then turned out the light to sleep.Trip back inside #1: I forgot about Ed’s glasses, so I took them inside for safe keeping.
Trip back inside #2: Daniel had to go to the bathroom.
Trip back inside #3: They wanted their “guys:” stuffed animals they sleep with.
Safely back inside by 8:45, we then hunkered down for an hour of stories, songs and goofiness. This is where an actual campsite with a fire would have come in handy. Instead, we were shoulder-to-shoulder in my pup tent, too hot thanks to very well-insulated sleeping bags (and their sleepers) and completely wired with excitement. They finally calmed down shortly before 10 after I told them they had 5 more minutes to settle down before we’d go back inside.
Once they calmed down for good, they fell asleep instantly. Nothing woke them: the neighbor kid who decided to start practicing drums at 10 p.m., the same kid who gave that up after 5 minutes (short-lived thanks) before starting to play basketball outside for another 15, the concert wafting through the air from Regina High School a mile or so away.
They each work up a couple of times because of cold or because a brother’s leg was on them or simply because they didn’t remember that they had fallen asleep in a tent.
As the night progressed – along with the tension of the knot in my back – I checked my phone to see the time. 4:20. 5:40… at this point I got through by telling myself we’d go to the new donut shop in our neighborhood when we got up, then wondered how early they opened.
After willing morning to come for the past few hours, I now was in no hurry for it to arrive. I told Edward that the first hint of morning light didn’t mean we had to get up just yet, but a tickle fight between brothers quickly put an end to such foolish thoughts. So, at 6:34 a.m., the brave adventurers emerged from the tent to proudly stride across the backyard in their footie sleepers to head inside the house.
“Dad, if you could do it, we would do that every night,” Edward said as we walked inside.
I was thankful for that qualifier, knowing he knew this was a rare treat. Once inside, they were amped and wanted to play. The first thing they requested? The indoor tent that has been in storage in the basement for months. It seems they hadn’t quite had their fill.
Sunday, September 04, 2011
In the first week of school, we asked what the kids call him so they could call "Hi, Mr. Smith" or whatever as we walked past. Both of our kids, but especially Edward, are really into names. He seemed surprised and in fact at first said, "Well, nothing!" when asked what the kids call him. Then he regrouped and told the kids to call him Ben. Then he showed them his name tag and explained that he worked for the police department, even though he's not an officer. They liked that.
The next morning, after he let us cross the street, Daniel started telling me a long, detailed story about "One time? When I was at Ben's house for pretend?" He told me about the toys they played with (many trucks), the snack Ben made (eight different kinds of juice with crackers) and Ben's backyard (big for running.) I found it all very entertaining and kept pumping him for details. Eventually I went too far because he trotted out his new standby "I won't tell you any more. I will tell you tomorrow morning." (This is frequently his response when we ask him about school.)
I didn't bring it up again, but the next morning after Ben let us cross, Daniel started telling me a new installment. Every few days he thinks of something new to add, sometimes when we've just seen Ben, but sometimes out of the blue.
In the meantime, Ben is a very friendly, conscientious crossing guard who never fails to greet the boys with a cheerful, "Hi Edward! Hi Daniel." He admired Daniel's painting on Tuesday and Edward's cicada on Friday. This is the cicada Edward picked up at his school, carried to Daniel's school, showed to Daniel's friends and then carried all the way home, despite the fact that he realized about a block after he picked it up that it was a stink bomb. Or maybe because of the stink. When we got to Daniel, Edward held it out and said, "Here Daniel, smell my cicada." Daniel was quite revolted--nearly to tears, "Edward! Why did you make me smell that. It's P-U stink!"
I'll close this post with another Daniel gem. Yesterday I invited him to the basement to help me with the laundry (he considers this a treat, not a chore) but he informed me, "Dad and I already took stuff out of the 'wetter' and put it in the dryer."
Sunday, August 21, 2011
And to top it all off, Edward learned to ride a two-wheeler! We'd brought his scooter and Daniel's bike and the Wisconsin cousins brought their bikes too. Seven-year-old Maggie was cruising up and down the block on two wheels and Ed wanted to give it a try. Her bike was a little too big, but luckily my parents had a slightly smaller (yet still purple) bike on hand in the garage (perhaps left from summer visits from the now pre-teen Arizona cousins?) My dad pumped up the tires, and we took a spin.
I could tell right away that it wouldn't take long for him to be riding on his own, but I never would have predicted how fast he picked it up. Once my Dad showed him that if the bike tipped to either side he could immediately put his foot down and not fall over he was full of "confidence," which Maggie told him was the most important thing about learning to ride a bike. I ran up and down the block holding the seat to keep him steady about five or six times and John took a couple of runs as well, but honestly, he was on his own within about half an hour.
And I must say that every rider should have a 23-person cheering section for his first ride. Many of my aunts, uncles and cousins were in the front yard for my mom's birthday party so there were lots of cheers and shouts, which you'll hear in the video. (His tutor/cousin Maggie is seen running along side in the third segment and says, "That was awesome, Edward," at the end.) My mom was thrilled to bequeath the bike to Edward--she's all about removing things from the house/garage. Now I just hope some little brat doesn't give him a hard time about it being a "girls bike." He LOVES that it's purple!