Tuesday, March 22, 2011

If ever there was proof that Edward and Daniel are all boy, witnessing their absolute glee when I told them that we were going to watch a building being knocked down by a wrecking ball certainly sealed the deal. These two spend so much time reading books about construction equipment (or rather, having said books read to them), playing "construction guy" and generally building up and knocking down things that I knew a trip that involved a wrecking ball would be a hit.

I learned of the event thanks to a press release from the University of Iowa, which advised that members of the media that wanted to witness and/or photograph an old building on an outpost of campus being torn down should report the next morning at 8. The boys aren't members of the media (yet), but I didn't figure anyone would kick them out. Sure enough, while they were the youngest witnesses by a couple of decades, everyone seemed charmed that they were there.

The prelude to the wrecking ball's debut was almost as exciting as the main event. In the space of about 10 minutes while we waited, the boys saw a train, two diggers, a dump truck and a tipper truck (they can explain the difference) a police SUV and a police car and a police officer (who they spoke with). When the wrecking ball was put into action (by which time Grandpa Kenyon, who lives about 2 blocks from the excitement, had walked over to join us), it was actually a bit anticlimactic. They dropped it on the roof of this three story building, and it made a dull "thud" and kicked loose a couple of bricks. The boys were riveted nonetheless. Soon, the ball was doing more damage, and Edward, despite complaining of cold feet, vowed to stay until they "wrecked down the windows." That accomplished, we headed out.

The various media representatives who were there all seemed to suddenly realize that the most photogenic element of the day was taking off, and shutters soon started whirring (or whatever digital cameras do). The boys and I ended up in the Cedar Rapids Gazette in a huge photo (seen at the end of the post linked above), and Edward's quote about "wrecking down the windows" was captured for history. A student from the college paper tried to interview them on video, but she has yet to learn the trick about interviewing children under the age of 8 or so: Don't. By all means, take their picture, especially when they're as cute as these two, but Art Linkletter's prowess to the contrary, kids give lousy quotes (particularly when you ask them questions that can be answered "yes" or "no"). She kept asking them if they liked seeing the wrecking ball, and they would nod. Not even a soundbite from these two. Alas, they were left on the cutting room floor.

As I drove them to school (all of this taking place before their day truly began), we recounted all of the things they had seen and experienced so they could remember to tell their classes. After reciting the litany of vehicles and such they had seen, I reminded them that they had been interviewed and photographed by people from the newspaper. "Oh, yeah," Edward said, with all the gusto of someone reminded he needed to clean his room. Is it any wonder the media is dying?

Mary, claiming she was looking for a way to kill an afternoon but surely not-so-secretly jealous of our super-cool morning, took the boys back out a few days later, this time with their construction hats as accessories. They again had a great time ("there were TWO wrecking balls, Dad!" I heard when I got home) and wanted to make sure the "worker guys" saw that they, too, had their hardhats on. They also played at a little park near the building. Note that they kept their hardhats on then, too.

They're going to knock down some more university buildings soon. What are the odds we'll be there?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Look at these two little leprechauns! Have you ever had this much energy at 7:30 a.m.? Thank goodness for warmer weather. These walls just can't contain us anymore. We were reduced to this for the last few weeks:

Riding bikes in a circle around the pool table in the unfinished basement. Boy do we know how to party! The boys actually loved it. Coming in from some outside play on Monday, Ed said, "Now can we take our bikes to the basement?" I however, was going a bit stir crazy. Never in a million years when we were considering buying this house did I think I'd spend time in the basement other than to do laundry!

Following up on the last post, Daniel got over his fever but remained congested through all of last week. Toward the end of the week he was occasionally saying his ear hurt, but it didn't seem to be slowing him down at all, and I know that most doctors don't automatically treat ear infections with antibiotics anymore. On Monday morning he actually woke up talking about his ear so I called in to report the symptoms and duration to see if he should come in. They gave him an appointment for 4 p.m., but when 3:45 rolled around and he was still napping, I called to cancel. Last thing I wanted to do was wake him up! But the afternoon was difficult--inconsolable wailing with a rage-like quality. I kept asking if his ear hurt, and he'd just scream NO!

Once John got home he tried to make some headway, but to no avail. Finally, around 6, Daniel said Yes when I asked if he wanted the doctor to look at his sore ear. (I had to promise that there would be no shots involved.) So I took him to urgent care, where they diagnosed an ear infection. He still had no fever and was actually at the height of his cuteness in the doctor's office (perhaps his good mood had something to do with me entertaining him with the only accessible item in the exam room--a flip book of the digestive system. He LOVED when I showed him, "This is where the poop comes out." Oh, my goodness.) But the NP said it was red/bulging and even if it was viral to begin with, the fact that he'd been talking about it off and on for several days led her to prescribe amoxicillin.

This turn of events might also explain why he was sort of indifferent to our Sunday evening swimming adventure. We spent the day with John's family in Chariton celebrating his grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary. Wait, just stop to think about that for a second. Seventy years! They are truly an inspiration to us all! On the way home, we stopped at a hotel about 20 miles from Iowa City that has an indoor waterpark and charges half-price admission on Sunday nights. It wasn't as grand as the park we've been to in Dubuque, but still, we thought the boys would be more excited about it. We found the ventilation to be poor--Daniel was coughing quite a bit even though he hadn't coughed otherwise that day and didn't cough after we left. They must have been aware of this issue because the overhead fans were blowing, but that made it pretty cold to wait for a turn on the big slides. We only took a few slide turns and spent most of the rest of the time in the (crowded) pool or in the zero-depth entry kiddie splash area. When we left, the boys were gleeful saying it was "Super fun!" but we probably wouldn't go back. We can have as much fun in our local pools for less than half the price!

I'll close with this picture of the lovely anniversary couple.

P.S. John owes you a description of taking the boys to see a wrecking ball demolishing a campus building last week. Feel free to harass him electronically until he shares the experience.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Poor, sad Daniel has been sick since Wednesday afternoon. (Picture at left is to remind us of his goofy normal self--it's from our blizzard day last month.)

Germs have been rampant at daycare the last few weeks, so basically, it was just his turn. But whereas Ed had a fever last Wednesday afternoon that broke sometime overnight leaving him feeling fine (if a little congested) by Thursday, Daniel has had the fever off and on for three days now. It's gone as high as 102.5 (and we measure under the arm, which is supposed to be low compared to orally.) We thought he was over the hump this morning after a rough night, but by nap time the temp was climbing again. Could be a long weekend.

But even when he's not at the top of his game, he entertains through his direct and literal observations and pronouncements. For example, on the way to pick up Edward from school (Daniel in a footie sleeper w/coat because he just couldn't bring himself to get dressed or even put on shoes, and who was I to argue?) announced from the back seat, "I'm getting angry because my window doesn't have a windshield wiper!" It was raining and he was not pleased to observe the world through the drops.

To distract from this anger, I pointed out a guy standing high on a billboard preparing to install a new sign. We talked about how he got up so high and what he would do up there. Daniel thought we'd see a new sign by the time we were coming home (he was right.) As for how it would be installed: "Well, he has a hammer, so he's going to 'ham' the pegs."

No wonder I'm so worthless when it comes to all things home repair. I never knew I was supposed to use a hammer to "ham!"

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Ever since half his class went to kindergarten last August, Edward has told anyone who asks him about school, "Next time it's August, I'M going to kindergarten!"

Today in the car on the way to kindergarten registration, a small voice in the back seat said, "Mom, I think when it's August and it's time for me to go to my kindergarten school I might be a little scared."

Oh, my melting heart.

So we talked about how things that are new and different sometimes seem scary but it doesn't take long until the new things are fun and familiar. I imagine we'll have many versions of this conversation in the next six months as we count down to August 18, 2011.

While I was filling out the paperwork, Ed seemed to be taking it all in--"huge" cafeteria, new kids, different adults. After I was done, we walked down the hall to see the kindergarten classrooms (there are three this year.) We stopped to see the gym, pointed out the bathrooms, peered through the window of the library and art rooms. Two of the three kindergarten teachers were in their rooms and very welcoming. Today is a teacher conference day so no students. We were lucky to walk by while they were between parent meetings. (Later this spring they'll have a kindergarten round-up with plenty of time to see everything, meet teachers and other kids.)

The rooms are sunny and inviting and both boys were ready to make themselves at home. We also saw the mom of one of Edward's preschool friends, so he'll know at least one other kid on the playground, even if they aren't in the same class together.

Daniel, never one to believe he can't do every single thing his brother can do, said, "Mom, I want you to sign ME up too!" When I told him he had to be five to go to kindergarten, he said, "No, Mom, three-year-olds can go to kindergarten too." Later, when we walked by the drinking fountain, we discovered that Ed is tall enough to get his own drink, but Daniel still needed a boost. This seemed to be the most persuasive argument in my favor.

Oh, and we already had to visit the school lost and found because Daniel left his hat in the cafeteria.