Thursday, September 29, 2011


Two years with you
flown by like time always does
you're much muchier, even more than last year
so many new things
over a hundred words
we waited and worried and waited for those words and then suddenly
the floodgates opened and you haven't stopped talking
10 numbers and 26 letters, usually in the right order
colors, vehicles, places, things, animals
speaking of animals
thanks to you everyone calls Yoda the cat "Dodo-cat"
(I don't think he appreciates that much)

so many other things happened this year
4 molars
several haircuts, all pretty much against your will
one little increase in clothing size and a whole 2lbs gained
still a little guy but yet the most active person in the house
jumping climbing sliding pushing tumbling
a spill down the stairs, then another, "childproof" gates be damned
paints and crayons and markers and puzzles and tearing up paper
everything (everything!) is fun, but
for you nothing compares to music, our musiqsoulchild
playing on the piano and drums and guitar
always singing
and dancing
and dancing
and dancing, it's like Flashdance up in here you never stop dancing
recognizing the lyrics to songs on the radio
you now have favorite songs with your big brother
your idol, your mate, your favorite person on earth
(except for Mommy, but I know that won't last much longer)
let's not forget tantrums and getting mad and saying "No!" and "mine!"
and laughing while you put things together and take
many many many things apart (so many things)
and recognizing words in your books
you love the books just like J
now you have your own favorite TV shows
Bubble Guppies, Scooby Doo, Diego, Sesame Street

it's been a crazy year, you and J are
seasoned travelers, planes, trains, and automobiles
so many road trips this year
not to mention the big move to Colorado
but still in the same crib
still a snuggler in the morning
still a rocking chair at bedtime
still the occasional warm milk bottle (it's our secret)
still about 7.87394% a baby
that percentage is shrinking
and now you're becoming the most spirited
most awesome
most fun
most ALIVE
little boy.

You're still my heart.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Manny!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Well, it made me feel better.

For the most part, we're loving 5. It's an adventure every day. J says the funniest things, makes up the most imaginative stories, is so enthusastic about life and everything in general.

And yet.

He's also had some of the biggest meltdowns and tantrums of his ENTIRE LIFE. Epic. Monster. Effing ridiculous. Over some really silly things.

And the sass and smart mouth and occasional forays into disrespect? Don't even get me started. It's a battle of wills over here and I'm not always the one winning.

As he approaches 2, Jr. has also started in with the epic, monster, effing ridiculous tantrums. Although I expected it from him.

So my aunt has been coming over to help us care for Jr. while we figure out a new daycare situation. She just became an empty-nester as her youngest of 3 kids started college last month. We were chatting the other night about the boys and how things are going with school, the move, the daycare drama, etc. I was telling her how challenging both kids have been sometimes lately, and she said, "Well, with all three of my kids, 2 and 5 was the worst."

I was really surprised by this. No one told me that 5 was one of Those Ages. 2 and 3, I knew would be bad. 5 has honestly snuck up on me. But fear not, fellow parents of 5 year olds. According to my aunt, after 5, it's smooth sailing.

Until 13. But she didn't want to talk about that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Random musings after volunteering in the kindergarten classroom

On Back to School Night I signed up to be a classroom volunteer in J's kindergarten class. Since I'm home during the day I figured this would be a good way to get involved. (I did not, however, consider how unbelievably dumb I was to sign up to be a class mom on days after I work. Get off at 8am, go to sleep by 8:30, wake up 3.5 HOURS LATER to get to the class by 12:30pm. Like I said, dumb.)

Wednesday was my first afternoon in the class. It was very eye-opening, a little sociology study right in front of me. I know these are generalizations and even stereotypes but I made a few interesting observations:

  • Boys are waaaaay more fidgety than girls. Something I suspected but only having boys I wasn't sure. My mother has told me this many times after visiting with my kids, that my sisters and I did not jump/run/move around as much as my kids. It was interesting to watch all the kids sitting on a circular rug together in the middle of the room, you could really see how the girls were sitting "criss-cross applesauce" as instructed, talking and giggling but not moving around much; while the boys wiggled, rolled around, pushed/poked each other, kept getting up & down, etc. It was distracting. J was no better than the rest, at one point he must have forgotten I was there because he started crawling around under the chairs.

  • Girls have waaaaay better handwriting than boys. Across the board. Again I suspected this but as we worked on writing exercises it was astounding just how much better the girls' letters/words were. Straight lines. Even spacing. Cute little curlicues or "tails" on some letters. The boys handwriting was.....yeah. Illegible? Chicken scratch? What's the PC word here? Not being an educator of small children, I don't know if it's the difference in motor school development, a difference in attention span (see above), or some Y-chromosome thing I wasn't aware of. Either way, it was noticeable.

  • Boys cry just as much as girls. Maybe more. Actually I think I saved this little factoid to share with my husband more than anyone else. For future arguments.

  • When allowed to pick their own "center" activity, the kids drifted into gender-specific play seemingly subconsciously. All of the girls, ALL of them, headed toward the play house/kitchen/babies area. None of them opted to use the adding magnets, geometric puzzles, or cars. Most of the boys immediately chose cars or airplanes or other vehicles to play with. A few (including J) went for the science/math type stuff. But none of the girls. That made me a little sad.

  • Girls have way more fashion and clothes choices than boys. I didn't realize how much I've been missing out on with 2 sons. Glitter/sparkles. Skirts. Skorts. Dresses. Leggings under skirts/skorts/dresses. Costume jewelry. Bows and headbands and barettes. Braids. Mary Janes. Floral print, lace, and ruffles. Pink and purple in general. Rainbow stripes and heart motifs.

  • Well, on second thought...I'm glad to be missing out on pink and purple.

Other random thoughts on my Volunteer Day:

  • The teacher is a ROCK STAR. There are too many kids. A few of them have learning/developmental disabilities but are mainstreaming (which I really like). Some of them cry alot. Some (like my little shnookums) are, uh, very active. Some are just...the opposite of well-behaved. Some (J) can read the newspaper while others have obviously and sadly never been exposed to reading/writing of any kind until now. And she handles them all beautifully, with that perfect kindergarten teacher authoritative-but-still-really-nice voice. "We don't do that." "Let's work on sharing and being polite." "My para-professional will now take over while I sip a vodka & Red Bull in the closet." (JUST KIDDING. Maybe.)

  • While I was there they had a special Spirit Day or something where the kids from the local high school came over in their school colors, with the marching band and cheerleaders and football players in jerseys (maybe it was homecoming?), and the little kids stood outside while they had a kind of mini parade. It was weird, disconcerting. The high school kids looked huge yet impossibly young, and it suddenly didn't seem that far away for J and Jr. I had that sense that the next 12 years are going to FLY by. I wished kindergarten could last forever.

  • Another teacher stopped by with a birthday gift for J's teacher, whose birthday was the Sunday before. As in, September 11. Unthinkingly, I was all, "Your birthday is on 9/11? That must be weird." She just looked at me. I lost my gold star for that day.

  • So far, this school district and school have been impressive. I don't know if we could have done better with private school or a charter. J is doing well. He likes his teacher and she's been able to give him what he needs academically. The building is not new but the classrooms are beautiful and they seem to have decent resources. The class is very diverse without trying to be very diverse. The school feels safe and happy and modern in its thinking but traditional enough that it's not really that different from when I was in kindergarten 30 years ago. Which is a good thing. J has friends. He's happy.

  • I am 100% most definitely in the right profession, dealing with wild animals all day instead of wild children. One word: leashes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The unintentional joke

J finds ways to make me laugh on a regular basis. Unintentionally.

From yesterday:

Me: So what do you guys do at recess?

J: We play the chase game!

Me: What's the chase game?

J: The girls chase all the boys and we have to run from them.

Me: Why don't the boys chase the girls?

J: (rolling eyes) BECAUSE WE DON'T LIKE THE GIRLS. I told you that before!

Me: Do the girls catch you?

J: No my new shoes make me run really fast. Like a thousand miles. Some boys get caught though.

Me: What happens when you get caught?

J: If the girls catch you, then you're their prisoner and you have to play for the other team.

Me: (snickering) You have to play for the other team?

J: Yes! And I don't want to get caught, because Mommy, I don't want to play for the other team.

Me: That's good to know, sweetie.