Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Nightmare

There are a few things you should never tell a 3-year-old. Namely, when I was younger I jumped out of a plane. God bless my husband, he told Mason and Cooper about his skydiving experience in about this many words. I was unaware of his storytelling session until about three days ago.

I've heard about nothing else from Mason since.

Mason: Daddy jumped outta a plan when hes was little.

Mommy: He did? Actually I think he was like 28.

Mason: He was little and he didn't even get blooded.

Mommy: I don't know about that. He has a hurt back.

Mason: Oh yeah, right.

Cooper: (!) Oh that's why he's always asking us to rub his back and stuff. (For the record, I don't think I've ever heard my husband ask for a back rub, ever.)

As this ongoing concern from Mason has played out and he's discussed the event with me many times over the past few days I've realized a new nightmare. It's unsettling imaging your children doing mildly dangerous stuff. It's hard not to tell them they should absolutely not do the same thing. I've had to steer the conversation in other directions.

Mason: Mommy when can I jumped out of the plane.

Mommy: When you are 21, make that 28. I think your father was 28 when he did that. And he did NOT have a wife and kids. You can't do it if you are married. AND you have to pay for it with your own money. It's really expensive. That's all I'm saying.

Mason: Oh yeah, right.

In conclusion -- and I'm mostly speaking to the highly influential people in my children's lives -- please do not tell them about "cool" stuff you did when you were younger. I am not interested in sending my children off to war, out of an airplane, or onto a bull (even if it is for 8 seconds). Zip. It.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Abundant Sunshine

Imagine if Abundant Sunshine were the forecast on your birthday? On my youngest son’s birthday the Weather Channel literally used the words, “Abundant Sunshine.” I guess they got the memo.

Since the day we brought Mason home from the hospital – though that was a wet, dismally grey, and cloudy day – our lives have been filled with abundant sunshine. He’s just a bright spot and we all appreciate his warmth.

As a 3-year-old he is filled with splendid wonder. The morning of his birthday he was the last to rise – as is usually the case – and peered down on the rest of the family from his perch. He was grinning from ear to ear and when we all shouted, “Happy Birthday!” he was instantly gobstopped and nearly skipped down the stairs toward us. Then he repeated over and over again, “Is it really my birthday?!?!?!”

In everything we prepared for him that day I was reminded of all the characteristics of Mason that I love the most. We took him to breakfast at our favorite spot and he ordered his usual. He ate with gusto and only pushed away his plate when he’d eaten a tremendous helping of scrambled eggs.

Our race home to prepare his party was filled with darling moments. When he opened the gifts our little family had picked out for him we giggled as he squealed and screamed and acted as if he was having a stroke. Mason lets excitement take over his whole body.

He could hardly wait to don his costume – Indiana Jones. He knew he looked good and he strutted around telling me things like, “I’m so strong,” and “What letter did I turn?” (He meant number.)

This past week it’s become clear that Mason loaded his Mason 3.0 software. He is brilliant. I’m not even kidding. The things he is talking about with us are astounding. You’ll notice in the pictures just one little girl in a clutch of boys. Mason was adamant that she attend and kept telling us she was going to be Indiana Jones’ girlfriend.

Interestingly enough, when I had him to myself in a waiting room just days before the party he picked up a wooden replica (toy) of a chicken drumstick. When I asked him what it was he replied, "Oh, girlfriends hit with this." He is a scream.

Just as the past 3 years have been, I know the next 3… 6… 12… 24… with him will be filled with abundant sunshine.
PHOTO NOTE: Mason's face and seriousness in this present opening picture absolutely sum up his entire attitude. Love. It.

PS -- In case you're wondering if it is a good idea to arm five 3-year-olds with whips, the answer is decidedly NO. Also, chocolate cupcakes with black candy tarantulas may be a liability.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Music Is

I find that music has a way of finding its place in our home. And so I've concluded it's meant to be there and I will just back off and see what happens. My husband and I -- once adolescents with music lessons and aspirations to play our way to fame -- have the relics of musical dreams scattered around the house. Though neither of us play our instruments much anymore you would be hard pressed not to find a piano, or a guitar, or a bass guitar, or a drum set, or a flute, or a something in every room of our house.

And yet, it always takes me by surprise when my kids gravitate to these "toys". Is it something amazing when your baby reaches up to the guitar hanging on the wall and starts to strum it? (We finally took it down and let him try to play it.) Gosh, it's not a bombshell that they would be interested. It's something they can wail on, screech with, bang away, even strum with skill without using their voices. I hear them. They feel like they are expressing themselves. But there are no pesky questions from mom. And no showboat answers from the precocious set.

Music is here to stay. Peace out, Colorado!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Interrupt Me!

Two months and two weeks ago my boys learned a knock-knock joke. I have heard in numerous -- we'll just use numerous rather than curse -- times since then. But I finally rediscovered the humor in listening to your children tell jokes when I caught Cooper trying to teach Mason how to tell it.

The joke is:

Knock knock

Who's there?

Interrupting Cow.

Interrupting Cow who?

Interrupting ...

-- MOO --

Very cute, but it's all about comedic timing. Ever try to teach that to someone? Cooper is a pro. First he informed Mason that he, "tells the joke wrong."

Mason tried again.

"No, you got to stop my taking with the Moo, Mason. That's interrupting. Now, do it, again."

Mason begins again and just as Cooper gets to the end, you know, the part where Mason should interrupt him with a MOO he slows down so it sounded something like this:

Knock knock

Who's there?

Interrupting Cow.

Interrupting Cow who?

In......(waits) ter..... (waits) rup....... (waits) ting ....... (waits)

Mason! You're supposed to say Moo. Now, say moo before I say cow so that it's an interuppted. OK?

Exasperating, isn't it?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Unexpected Life Lessons

Remember when you sat in Mrs. Grush' algebra class and you could neither understand a blooming thing nor muster the courage to ask for help? Finally resigning yourself to math dumbness and comforting yourself with the adage you'd never use that skill in real life anyway? Oh, was that just me?

Well, there is one skill I learned that I use almost every day, sometimes twice. But I didn't learn it in math class. I learned it from the chubby girl who lived around the block with parents of questionable hygiene. (They might actually have been hoarders.) Can't remember what her name was, but she did teach me the nifty trick of tucking the bottom of your shirt through the top and in so doing creating a Daisy-Dukesque top out of a Holly Hobby t-shirt.

No, I don't use it on myself. Though the thought has crossed my mind. No. I use it on my boys when they are standing at the toilet. Too often those longer shirts hang down into the stream and create a quintessential mess -- as it turns out a $2500 mess. So, I started tucking up their shirts. Works like a charm. Try it. And thank that hapless little hooker-in-training from the hood.

PHOTO NOTE: Cooper helping out with the other bathroom remodel that he caused.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Zoo Funny

Sometimes you just have to suck it up and stand with the crowds to watch the crazy animal demonstrations. Which is how I found myself trying to keep three top-heavy little kids from flipping over the top railing into the Sea Lion habitat. We survived it and the kids genuinely enjoyed the tricks. Following the show the zoo keeper permitted kids to ask questions. Before I knew it even happened, Cooper's hand shot up and he asked why sea lions can jump so high.

That's not really that important. What's so amazing is how proud he was following the Q&A. He turned around with a gigantic smile and said, "Mom I asked a question!"

As we were walking away Mason asked me, "Where are the harder seals?" He meant Harbor Seals. I hope.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

We Started with Suckers

I took three kids to the zoo. That's fun. On its own the carseats, lunches, backpacks, and respective lovies of each was a logistical challenge. There are mothers out there that do it all the time. I'm not one of them. I'm rusty, well, actually I'm not even rusty. I'm a rookie. But we survived and I didn't loose anyone, execept for the moments when I was dangerously close to misplacing my mind.

At the end of our hours and hours of walking beside the wagon, pulling the wagon, and pushing the wagon I succeeded in getting all three buckled into the carseats in my car. I turned around before starting up the car so I could look at their smiling faces and asked which of the animals they had seen today was their favorite.

Two answered the elephants, and the third something about a tiger.

That's funny. We didn't see elephants, nor a tiger. Zoo fail.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Heart Eavesdropping

I have a gigantic pit of an unfinished basement. But it is where the boys and I spend a majority of our time. We love it. It's cool in the summer and surprisingly cozy in the winter. We can make big messes and then just close the door behind us and come upstairs at the end of the day.

I sew downstairs and from my chair behind my bernina I can watch my kids play, and eavesdrop. I especially like the eavesdropping. While playing a game on the computer, one that is full of encouraging soundtracks, I heard Cooper exclaim, "Oh Yes! My hard work will pay off!"

Can you imagine if life was like this? Someone -- a complete stranger -- tells you that you can do something, and you believe them. Let's all just believe.

PHOTO NOTE: An old picture of Cooper that exhibits his personality.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tickled Pink

I consider my work in the yard to be about a deep desire to create beautiful days. That's right. If I'm quite honest -- and you know I can be -- I appreciate what a lofty goal this is, an altruistic myth, even a big farce. But the reason why I pick through and dawdle over seeds and seedlings and love photographing the buds is to add sparkle to a 24-hour period that more often than not includes cleaning toilets, wiping bums, and other daily drudgeries.

It's the one chore that I inflate the actual return on investment. I know I've been known to say, "Why make a bed if we're just going to crawl back into it later?" But I would never say, "Why pick a weed if it's just going to grow back next week." For now I'm tickled pink because that's what's showing up in the flower beds. Roses, whirling butterflies, hydrangeas, and even a few leggy geraniums.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Unwilling Participants

I recently called upon my little men to model the newest chef sets to run through my Bernina. Cracks. Me. Up.

Cooper told me the apron made him look like a man. I asked him what he meant and he put his hands on his belly and said, I look fat.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Tale of Two Breakfasts

As I eat my breakfast of spicy mustard on a hotdog I'm reflecting on what and how my boys eat their own morning meal. As with many other things, the two could not be more different in their preferences.

The oldest takes breakFAST according to the strictest sense of the word and wants to be able to get up and go. Most days of the week, this bugs me. I want him to sit down to eat a nice big helping of pancakes or eggs or waffles or bacon. (Yes, I'm that weird.) But he prefers the style of the "walking breakfast". This is a term we stole from our princesses. They call a pop tart (though be it an organic one) a walking breakfast. But our family branched out. Walking breakfast at our house is quite literally anything you can walk and eat at the same time. Dogs need not apply.

The two days of the week that I appreciate this sentiment are school days. We have an issue with tardiness already, so the fact that he would rather nibble on cornflakes as he mosies to school is a relief to me. He requests this breakfast as he's pulling on shoes and socks and strapping on his backpack.

In the flurry of getting ready to take Cooper to school Mason is a small, quiet, still spot in the mix. His hair is usually all crazy and his eyes still a little puffy from sleep. He doesn't ask for any breakfast at all. He patiently walks to and from the school with us. On the way back he usually smells and often picks every flower he sees. Then when we get home he perks up and declares he is ready for his breakfast.

As a rule he picks scrambled eggs. If there are none in the house he settles for other things -- but always something with a little more heft and few thousand more calories. He likes his banquet, but only if he can first help me prepare it. Unaided and without prompting he hunts down his footstool and scoots it up close to the countertop. He helps crack the eggs, shred the cheese, toast the bread. Then he scurries over to his favorite bar stool and waits.

He generally eats every scrap he's presented with. Never a word to me about the day ahead, or the dream he had. Just eats. When he's finished he sighs a big sigh, pushes away from the table and sometimes comes and gives me a hug. He enjoys the drawn out experience of eating his favorite fare.

And for my part, I enjoy having breakfast twice.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What We're Reading

I pretend that people care about what I've read and might be interested in reading the same things. Here's what's on the bookshelf around here:

Chicken Butt
What Color Is Your Underwear?
DC Super Friends, Flying High

The Reader
The Count of Monte Cristo (I know, again!)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
When Madeliene Was Young (I might not finish this one)

Home Remedy

Mas has itchy skin. He always has it and he's always pulling off his clothes to get to it. He's an itchy scratchy kid. The fix? I lather him in lotion (I prefer Renew) and then I put these socks on him. Actually the socks were his idea. But it works, so I'm not changing the remedy. Take that, fancy-schmancy healthcare overhaul.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Teenage Mutant

Clad in a polyester Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume -- for the third straight day -- and flanked by his younger brother, who was dressed as Darth Vader in sneakers, Cooper approached a high-school-aged cheerleader and said, "I like your costume."
Are. You. Kidding. Me!?!??!!?
Quite literally I laughed, only on the inside, so hard I just about peed in my pants.
Needless to say the cheerleader was nonplussed by this description and sweetly -- but ever so fakely -- corrected him with, "This isn't a costume, it's my uniform."
And dear, frank Mason said, "Oh yeah, right."
Oh. My. Gosh. Dying, I was dying.
So then, costume versus uniform. You decide.

PS -- Her mother, who was clearly over her daughter's cherry tattoos (on her cheeks and shoes), was equally amused.

Happy Birthday to Uncle Trent -- the original TMNT.

Friday, September 4, 2009

He Likes His Shoes

I will concede that this whole mothering bit is one big lesson in, "Oh, that's why it's done that way." I just learned why no one in her right mind will go shoe shopping in late August and or early September. Because there are no shoes left on account of all the "back to school" spending -- oh, except for the radically expensive ones. And this is how I ended up spending far more on my children's footwear than on my own. (That is really saying something.)

The good news is that Mason likes his shoes. And clearly, nothing else.

PS -- It's someone's birthday. But I'm not saying anything. You know, out of respect for the old people.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

First Field Trip

Cooper went on his first field trip today. And Mason and I tagged along for the ride.

The train was popular, but not nearly as much as the snacks.
Mason had to check out the chicken butt, I knew that book would come back to haunt me.
Cooper looking all of 14, and not a day younger. (He did pick out his own outfit and dressed himself before 7 a.m. How's that for enthusiasm?)
He enjoyed the day this much...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sometimes I Lie

I took my kids to the resevoir and told them it was the ocean.

Just kidding. I didn't actually tell them it was the ocean. But I do believe I referred to this as the beach. Small stretch, but not really. Right? Ahhhhh... such is life in a landlocked state.

PS -- Is it really September?