Monday, September 29, 2008


Nobody can say Nate doesn't have rhythm.

The large "box" you see Sam and Levi playing in is actually the shelf that belongs in our bedroom. We had left the back off so that it didn't cover up our thermostat control, but the shelf wasn't sturdy enough without it. So yesterday I brought it out to the living room to finish up. I figured Sam would have a great time helping me nail (which he did). I put on some music to help us work, and the shelf was christened "the dancing box".

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Musings on Books and Sports

We've been reading a lot of books lately. In fact, we always read at least 2 a day during bedtime. Sam has a school assignment to read at least 100 books this year, so we're trying to fit in more and varied selections.

A few years ago I considered writing a children's book. Take a look at some of what's available in the children's section of your local bookstore and you'll come to the same conclusion I did - anybody could write a children's book. Not necessarily a good one, and who knows what it takes to get a publisher to look at yours, but still.

My motivation was fueled by my attempts at finding books for little boys that didn't include dump trucks or trains. I even came up with a few titles and concepts:

1. The World Is My Drum

2. Sometimes Mom Lets Me Drive

3. It's Not A Stick

The titles (and bare bones concepts behind them) are as far as I've gotten. If anyone wants to take a stab at any of these, go for it, because I think they would be great little boy books! Or maybe, someday when I'm a little more ambitious, I'll try myself. These days my main ambition is to get a decent night's sleep.

Speaking of books for boys, the David Series have become favorites around here. They are about a toddler named David who gets into all sorts of trouble. This used to bother me -- a book series about a boy whose parents are usually scolding or reprimanding him? But the illustrations are priceless and my boys love them. They show what a toddler's life is truly like, and the kids can relate, I think.
But I digress.
In our attempt to read more books, we've been raiding our bookshelves for some that haven't been read lately. Recently I pulled out our well-read copy of Goodnight Moon for Levi. He enjoys going through it, pointing out the pictures.
He points at the clocks, the socks, the kittens, the mittens... the little toy house, and the young mouse... the comb, the brush...
But when we get to the page that says "goodnight nobody, goodnight mush", he points at the bowl of mush and says, "Nobody!" He won't call it mush. In fact, if I tell him, "no, it's mush" his response is, "oatmeal".
And it makes me wonder if this book is even appropriate for 2-year-olds. The "nobody" page is simply in there for the sake of the the rhythm of the poetry, but it confuses my kids. Also, it's a little spooky. I mean, saying good night to nobody? And really, who is the old lady saying hush? Why does she just sort of disappear? Yikes.

Just kidding. We love that book.

On another note, Sam and I played a modified version of one-on-one soccer today at the playground, and it was tons of fun for both of us! I've been a little frustrated when trying to engage him in play at home - seems like he's always bored or just doesn't want to play. Soccer was perfect. Not only did he suggest it, but it got us both laughing and some exercise, too. Soccer mom days, here I come!

Monday, September 08, 2008

After only 10 days of School...

... Sam has a runny nose.

And so begins the war against the common cold.

Common Cold: 1
Jen: 0

So, here's my gameplan: I'm regularly disinfecting our home (counters, doorknobs, light switches, toys...). Upon returning home I require all hands to be washed. When I remember, I use waterless handwash on the kids and myself when we're out, especially if I give them snacks. I'm going to start Sam on AirBorne Jr., and find out if Levi can also take it. We're all going to get flu shots. And every night I pray that we'd all stay healthy.

I don't know if all this will help. I'll let you know.

On a lighter note, here are some fun pictures:

Check out this cutie! He's not crawling yet, but he's starting to scoot just a little if there's something he's trying to reach. And can you make out those pearly whites? They came in about 2 weeks ago.

Rub-a-dub-dub, three boys in a tub...

And I couldn't resist including this one:

Monday, September 01, 2008

Return to School

Ah, the first day of school. The transition back to the school routine has gone so smoothly, I can't believe it has only been a week since it began! No worries about wanting to stick too close to home.
Here's my excited boy, all ready to go. The whole family went along to see what his classroom would be like. The experience was much different this year; most of the kids had been in Pre-K last year, so there wasn't too much clinging and crying involved.

I'm enjoying the new routine, too. I realized that having all the kids with me all the time was trying because they all wanted mommy all the time. Now I can easily spend one-on-one time with each of them: Levi during Nate's nap and Nate during Levi's nap, and because they are happier after some mommy time I am able to spend extra time with Sam in the afternoon. I can also get some housework done.

Speaking of housework, I've been doing some major cleaning lately. I feel as though my household is recovering from infant-hood, a time during which it has endured no deep cleaning or organizing, but much dirty-ing and dis-organizing. I've organized several bins of hand-me-downs, as well as some boxes of books that were given to us. I've cleaned the bathrooms, washed windows, washed slipcovers, disinfected doorknobs, and mopped floors. It feels sooooo good. It's therapeutic.

And speaking of feeling good, I'm also starting a routine of walking Sam to school a couple of times a week. I strap on the running shoes, put the little brothers in the double jogging stroller, and out the door we go. Sam actually enjoys jogging alongside me, so we do that on and off during the walk to school. Afterwards I take a longer route home to get in a little extra distance.

Levi and Nate get to bond a little in the stroller. Hopefully I can keep up the jogging throughout the fall, at least until it gets too cold!

And just for fun, here's a little playtime Levi and Nate had the other day, while Sam was in school:

For the Love of Boys

Upon arrival at our favorite park last week, Levi spotted one of his favorite things: the red ride-on speed car, left by some well-meaning neighbor whose kid had outgrown it. There are several of these ride-on toys that now have their home in the basketball court of our park. And as he was imagining himself buzzing down the speedway, he found himself surrounded by not one, but 5 boys, all at least 3 times his size. He realized what was happening and started to back away until I came and let the boys know they needed to wait until he was done.

I remember when Sam was a toddler and I'd take him to the park. He'd be precariously climbing the stairs of the play equipment, using great care while I stood right next to him to catch him if, heaven forbid, he fell the 8 inches to the wood chips below. Then some big 4 or 5 year old would push past us, and try to climb on the handrail Sam was using. I'd think to myself, "jeez, can't they see there are little kids here who can get hurt?! Where are the parents of these crazy, huge kids?"

Now I realize, the crazy, huge kids are the ones who really need some time outside their home, climbing on the park equipment!

The boys who tried to steal Levi's car turned out to be kids from Sam's school, mainly 3rd and 4th graders and a little brother, who had been in Sam's Pre-K class. After I chased them away from Levi, they proceeded into the basketball court and used the other ride-ons for a game of smash-up.

As I watched them, I saw my future pass before my eyes. Boys play hard. Really, really hard. These boys were not being mischievous. In fact, I know them to be really good kids. Sweet, even. But wow, kind of scary, full of testosterone even though they are hardly close to puberty.

Another mom of a 1 year old boy who had also been playing with the ride-ons later said to me, "Man, those boys were crazy!" And I remembered my own past thoughts. And I realize that boys who were older than 3 really used to make me cringe. But now, as I watched these boys, I felt a little proud for all their physicality, and the fact that they were not afraid of running at each other at full speed in puny little plastic cars and smashing them together. I though, Sam would love to do that, too, if he were a little bigger.

Another visit to the same park gave me a different observation. I was nursing Nate on a bench while Sam and Levi played. A little boy I knew was playing nearby with a dump truck, loading it up with wood chips. Suddenly, it seemed as though a light bulb appeared over his head. He stood up, pulled down his pants, and peed into the dump truck. I knew where his dad was (only several feet away), but he was preoccupied with another child, and I was nursing. And I kind of wanted to see how far this would go.

The boy poured the pee down the slide. Then he filled the truck up again. Then he added some wood chips. This continued for several minutes, until the dad turned around and realized what was going on. He rushed the boy off to clean him and the toys up.

I can't say I felt particularly proud, although I do admire something about the scene. I mean, a girl would never in a million years be so creative. (Yet, I'm glad that I don't think that Sam would ever act on such a thought. We'll have to wait and see with the other two). More than that, I got a really good laugh.

So this is a post, not about my kids, but about boys. I am learning about them. And I have to admit, they are not what I expected. But I sure do enjoy having them around.