Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thoughts on Stages/Phases

It is a bit weird having two children with such a difference in age. Its like being in a time machine, going backwards and forwards and sometimes I forget one stage and recognize it only too late. Or sometimes I realize this is a stage that is yet to be.

Today, Michael is at a sleep over in another state (okay, its New Hampshire, which in NE no state is really that far, and frankly he is about an 45 mins away)...its the first time he has been this far away from me on his own. And, despite the fact that it is 11:30 at night and normally he would be in bed...I still miss him--miss his presence in this house. And there it is--a glimpse into the future...the teen years when he will be in and out of the house, out on his own...college where he will not be here at all for weeks/months on end.

Today, Willow continued on her two year old rampage...putting cat food into the new water receptacle for them; defiantly saying "NO" back to me when I was telling her "NO!"; opening up my wallet and throwing all my cards around the car (not malevolently, she was playing--I was wondering why she was singing so much in the car ride home--then I found out when we got home) arguing over the clothes she was wearing--she wanted to wear something "prettier"; not taking a nap; asking every couple hours--"Where is Michael?"

And then there is potty training. That is starting up and I tend to have forgotten a lot of this from when I doing this with Michael. And all the horrible-ness of it is coming back...ah, yes, the intermittal waiting to see if she has gone. The many false callings of nature...the accidents...and I want to fast forward to the times I remember with Michael when he was four years old and so much fun...so innocent but not a Terrible Two (he was actually never a TT--I must be getting double karma on Willow!), potty trained and curious.

And then I realize that I don't have a four year old Michael anymore. And I never will. And I have traveled to the past and future...and find myself yanked back to the present....

when I realize that Willow has actually put an apple slice in my shoes....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Snuggling Siblings

Michael and Willow hanging around the other night.

video

Show & Tell

My friend Suzy has decided to revive one of my favorite things--Show & Tell!! I am so excited, I am taking some blurry photos from my cell phone and sharing them, just so I can do it!

So, please stop over to her blog and participate!

So, I have been showing a lot of the kitten, etc. I figured I would go somewhere else on this one (HA! You thought you would get cute kitten pics!!):

This is Willow in a Time Out. That is her corner for Time Out, she picked it, she sulks in it. And, until recently, she went there without a fuss. NOW, she is starting to understand that this is not a good place to hang out. Time Outs are going to be frequent, I am afraid.

(Awww, but look at how pitifully cute she is!!)



And here is the kitty photo anyways! This is Kif when we first picked him up...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

All Not So Quiet on the Home Front...

This is going to be more of a jumble of stuff going on, because the chaos meter is unusually high around our house lately (um, yeah, some of that we created ourselves with the kitten,right?)

Kif and Gabrielle are working things through. We are starting to see Gabby return to more of her normal routines and we are starting to see Kif create some of his own. Last night he slept underneath Willow's crib (she has a trundle drawer underneath with blankets in it--perfect for a cat snuggle). Gabby tolerates Kif more--no more growling, although the occassional hiss still--however, Kif is holding his own--he arches his back (then backs off)and he even hissed at her last night. Oh, and Gabby and Kif have no problems trying to gobble up each other's FOOD(!) And tonight I will be cleaning out the litter boxes and hope to transition them to just one litter box...

Willow and Michael are enjoying the kitten. Willow especially sees a smaller creature that she can "control". We have to watch her with him because he is so small, but she is generally gentle with him (she just wants to play with him and hold him CONSTANTLY)

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Michael is in his last week of the Wizards & Warriors Camp. He has enjoyed it, however yesterday he did have several blow outs...he needs to learn to control his temper and deal with his frustrations (easier said than done!). It was a shame too, because the day before I had gotten glowing reviews from his counselors about him. Hopefully, he will make up for it on this last three days and leave on a good note so that when he comes back for after-school care he can start out fresh.

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Willow is in a growth spurt..not necessarily in the physical sense...more in the emotional/intellectual sense. This has its good and bad ramifications. The good definitely out weigh the bad, but...oh the bad!

She is much much more verbal, stringing thoughts together with sentenaces and phrases. She perceives situations more and understands more of the relationships of time and space. She pretends a lot with her baby dolls, often walks around with cellphones and keys, taking them "out" in their stroller, taking them for ice cream, to the daycare provider (me), changing their diapers and putting them down for naps. Her facial expressions and attitudes are much more expressive...slyness/coyness being one of her favorites of late.

The list of Toddler Destruction is long but the most costly will be the Wii.

Things Willow did just last night:

--"Helped" with the cat litters by trying to scoop it up, thus making sure it was ALL over the bathroom floor

--After "reading" to her a general merchandise catalog (she brought it to me to read to her), she took the shoe rack picture seriously...and preceded to bring down ALL my shoes in my closet to our small shoe rack downstairs. She did this by wearing them, coming down the stairs on her butt (leading with her shoed feet) and putting them beside the rack.

--Picked up the kitty after many attempts by us to tell her NOT to. Kif was not amused.

--Played with Kif with a cat toy, gently at first, but after a while she was much more batting him with it (that was stopped)

--Dipped her feet in Kif's water bowl (as if she was in a pool)

--Repeatedly asked for butt medicine (Diaper Rash cream) even tho she has no rash

--Continued her nightly routine of pulling out book after book after book

--Ate five squares of cheese, one or two green beans, no spaghetti, and some kitten food

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday

We are at her home, after picking out the kitten. She puts him into a big dog crate so he will be safe and then we debate about what to do next. Originally, we were going to go blueberry picking (my son was not too keen on it, although he has never been). Or we could go to the river with my friend's dogs. Or...and then, she has a gleem in her eyes--"How about the community pool?"

Knowing that we might go to the river, I had brought my son's swim trunks, but I am currently doing a swim class with my daughter on Saturday mornings, so of course, I forgot to pack those with us.

No problem, she says--I have spares. And she does. A swimsuit for me and a swimsuit for my daughter...and they both fit fine! And I happened to have a swim diaper in my diaper bag--whew! And she has towels, and clogs for us all too!

So...off we go to the community pool (an hour away from where I live) with my friend who I don't see as often as I wish.

And we have a blast. And it is so fun to watch her play with my children. I never have to worry about them with her and I even get a chance to swim by myself, enjoying the nice sun, the breeze, the trees and clouds. And to see her smile with my children...truly a perfect moment!




More Perfect Moments Here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Introducing.....UPDATED

Our newest addition!

He is an 8 week old black & white kitten. I think his name will be Kif (as in Kif Kroker from Futurama). My husband and I are advocating for this name, although Michael initially named him Inky (his shelter name was Rinky Dink).

So far, Gabrielle is going between amused and bemused--it helps that I bought some new toys for both of them . Tonight we will have Kif separated in a small room (the upstairs bathroom). (In fact, we have just set him up up there--food, water and litter--Gabby is now playing with the track ball toy in the video)

I am excited and a little intimated--we did not get Gabby as kitten (she was from the same shelter, we got her when she was a year old). And we have Todd-lor in the house--so, I might be crazy having two such creatures sharing space...but I think that so far, it looks like it will work out fine...

Here are some pictures and a video of our new pet.



Michael about 20 mins ago deciding that maybe "Kif" is a good name...


Arrival home meant that our neighbor came over to see him...


Willow playing ball with the kitty...



video


UPDATED: Here is a video of Kif this morning, where you can see more of his face and personality. (This is the kid-cat-worn out couch, as one can tell...)

video

Gabby's reaction--um, well, growls and a big hiss this morning...giving her some more time to get acostumed to Kif. (Have a feeling that Kif is going to become the children's cat; Gabby has been becoming and will become more of the grown-ups cat)

Kif has eaten well--dry and wet food; has only eliminated liquid once tho...figuring that will change soon enough!

Michael...um, he was up most of the night playing in the upstairs bathroom with Kif. (Reminds me of myself at that age, which is when I got my kitten Licorice).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interpretations

This is Willow's interpretation of Spongebob:



She did this last night. We have a playdough kit that has many faces, arms, etc. for you to create different Spongebobs. But, being two years old, she sees the many options as all the options. She cannot distinguish choices as well, and to her, assembling something means using all the parts (because, of course, why would there be spare parts?). She starts off with putting the eyes, arms (the ones with a spatula and krabby patty--she knows her Spongebob!) and the hat on. Then, she puts on the first mouth/nose combination. Then some eyes go next to the hat, some arms next to that, etc. Confident that this is Spongebob, nonetheless.

This is Michael's interpretation of a situation (and apology):



It reads: "Dear ________: I am sorry about what I acted like on Friday. The last camp I went to was experienced with that sort of stuff and I reacted differently to it. Sorry to everyone especially Lauren for getting too far over nothing."

When I read this, I stiffled a laugh...and then worried that this apology may sound snarky--but it is not meant to be...this is his interpretation of something I had said to him this weekend.

Some background: On Friday, he had a temper tantrum at camp. He is generally well behaved, but he gets frustrated, and his frustration sometimes comes to a head and he then stomps and rages as if he was 5 years old (the meds help him to focus, but sometimes help him to OVER focus and this is one of the results--it is also excerbated by his pragmatic social issues). So, at Camp on Friday, he misinterpreted something and thought they were going ahead on the adventure without him. And I got The Call from Camp. Oftentimes, at this age, most teachers/instructors are not sure how to handle an eleven year old throwing a tantrum...and with Michael, he really just needs to be left alone (not comforted) and he will calm down and then be reasonable and apologetic (although sometimes still insisting his interpretation of the situation was correct).

When dad picked him up, he read him the riot act, and suggested that he write an apology to the instructors. I said nothing until this weekend (I had talked to him on the phone during the incident), when my son mentioned writing the apology. I then took the opportunity to point out to him that previously at the Y after-school care, the counselors were used to dealing with him and other children with similar issues, as they are more of an open-door community (i.e. they will not turn down a child for care for monetary reasons, etc.). Whereas this summer camp is run more like a business (i.e. if one mis-behaves, they can more easily dismiss you from the camp).** He likes this camp very much (and they have after-school care which we are thinking of registering him for) so he understood that I was saying that he needs to watch his behavior more carefully, because those incidents will be less tolerated. I then ended the lecture with pointing out that with more opportunities as one matures, one has to take more responsibility of one's actions.

Probably the camp will be happy that he wrote an apology at all and will not mis-interpret his intentions...

** This camp does know about his ADHD and does have experience with kids like him...this was just his first incident.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday

Been a while since I have been able to post one of these (mainly because I have been having a ton of 'em and no time to blog!)

But, sometimes the Perfect Moments are from the not-so-perfect (or decent) times:

Moment #1: Last night we had company over and we were all sitting down for dinner. We had an unexpected additional person show up, so the my son offered to have my daughter sit on his lap (actually they shared the chair). Everything was going along well, until we saw the monkey-see-monkey-do going on--my son would pick up his corn on the cob and eat; my daughter would pick up her corn on the cob and eat; my son would take a drink of milk; my daughter would take a drink of milk; my son would stick his finger up his nose and play around being silly; my daughter would stick her finger up her nose--and they would both giggle incessantly. And while dad was expressing his displeasure at the rude behavior at the dinner table--inside I was laughing over the interactions of my children.

Moment #2: She is sort-of on her way to potty training (in fact she did both types on Saturday morning--but nothing since then). On Sunday, she wanted to sit down on the potty. I took her diaper off, she was wearing a dress, she sat and sat. And then got bored. And as I was about to get her diaper, she wanted to play--I thought no harm--if she seems to need to do something, the chair is just there---so she precedes to run around and around me (as she has insisted that I sit down on the kitchen floor). At one point, I am thinking--"Yeah, I better get up and get her diaper on" and as I think this, she stands right behind me and liquid can be felt on my backside and on the floor...and yet...I am not mad, but chuckle and go get the diaper.


More Perfect Moments Here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pooh Bear Revisited

Pooh Bear has been in and out of my life since the beginning. When I was really small (like 2 – 3 years old), I would tell my parents that since Winnie the Pooh had it (“it” being a toy or other item I wanted), I should have it. Later, at the sophisticated age of 4, I married Pooh Bear (in a polygamous relationship with some other toys, and catch phrases I had learned).

I watched the Pooh Bear movies over and over again. I loved the songs and would sing them often and listen to records featuring Pooh and his friends. As I child, I never had much use for Classic Pooh. I don’t think I even knew about “Classic” Pooh as a child, so dominant were the movies in my imagination.

Pooh and I had a separation for a while. I was more into horses, movie stars and science fiction.

It was only after I had grown up and had my own child that Pooh entered my life again. I did not decorate Michael’s nursery with Pooh or have a lot of Pooh items (although given my previous inclinations, I am not sure why—perhaps my irritation with Uncle Walt’s commercialization?). My mother-in-law gave me a Classic Pooh Nursing Pillow. And it was well used by Michael and me. Oftentimes I would look at the characters and imagine them playing across the pillow (like they came off the pages in the movies). That pillow went through a lot with me and I regret that it had an unfortunate run in with the dryer a few years back.

Reading the books to my son was a highlight of our bedtime routine for a while. I particularly remember the first time I read the last book. Michael was seven years old and I had bought him an unabridged collection of the books. We relished each chapter, sometimes going past normal reading time to finish. As I read the end of the last book, I started to tear up. I cried as I read about Christopher Robin growing up and he and Pooh going off into the sunset together. It was the first time I had really acknowledged that my son who I was reading to—was growing up too. Willow has a pop-up book of one of the stories—but she will not inherit that collection—that is Michael’s and I treasure that time with him and hope that he will think of it too years from now when he reads it to his children.

And now we come to the reason I have thought of this Pooh Bear…this silly old bear is soon to be inhabiting the nursery of my dear brother’s children. And I am so happy that Pooh and I will have some more good times together soon!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fast Time

It used to be that only during the winter holidays would I occasionally get melancholy over the passage of time. Some thing to do with the traditions of my childhood intermixing with my new traditions for my family; some thing to do with my actually becoming a year older; some thing to do with seeing my son (and now my daughter) grow up before the presents and carols and candle lights and memories flooding me.

However, it’s the middle of summer. And I am feeling melancholy again. And I can rationalize why. We just had a whirlwind the past month and ½ of the school year ending (a big one too, as it was Michael’s last grade school year); then right into a friend coming up for a visit; vacation on the Cape; then our traditional Fourth of July festivities; and my mother visiting. In a way we are all going to be happy to get back into more routine schedules in the next few days/weeks. But it is also time gone by. Some of the things I look forward to about the summer have already gone by.

But it is more than that. Having people visit reminds me of the passage of time. To see old friends, who, like I am, are getting older. To realize the age of people and places and things long forgotten and memories dug up to reminisce.

That time keeps moving along and while my memories sometimes want to stand still—more memories are being made and we all run to the cameras to capture them. But that is only fleeting too. I have memories on film and yet they do not always bring me the soft breeze on a summer afternoon, the salt on my lips, the ocean in my ears.

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I wrote this a few days ago, wanted to finish it up and post--but time has done that other thing it does to me--become to busy to finish my thoughts, deep and melodramatic as they are...ah, well...back to the daily thoughts, half-thoughts and whimsys of daily life!

A less jumbled post tomorrow, I think...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Kids in Shirts!

Grandma has come to visit and she brought shirts for the kids. Last night I showed them to Willow and Michael. Willow said "OOOOHHH, Pretty!!" and pointed out the cute animials on the shirt. She immediately wanted to wear it, so, since it was 9 p.m., I let both kids model their shirts and wear them to bed. They actually liked these shirts a lot, and they fit (with room to grow). These are "Fort Wayne, Indiana" shirts--where my mom lives (and where I was born, actually).

Here are some blurry cell phone pics!





Monday, July 05, 2010

Canobie 4th - 2010



video



Willow rode several rides this time. Most of them she had no problems however, the Alpine Swing ride was a bit too much for her (so hard to watch her crying on a ride and still keep encouraging her--"Yay, Willow!")



We had fun at the waterpark, the bumper cars and the arcade. Michael especially enjoyed the arcade.



And, of course the fireworks were wonderful. Willow's reaction was great...except that one her actions during the fireworks was to play with my hair--as in sweep it into a ponytail as if she was styling my hair.



Pictures before the fireworks...






Yes, she is wearing pjs...we put her in them just before the fireworks.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Notes from Vacation...

Just some things I want to jot down before I forget them...

Willow and flip flops--oh my. She will not wear anything else now. The damn flip flops I bought on a whim from Target--she is now addicted to them. (Wonder how we are going to get her back into regular shoes--hiding has already failed)

Love, love, love...The Lobster Pot, had forgotten about their homemade salad dressings--YUM!

Dyer Street--remember that one...

The beaches we visited each had a different flavor and I love how they went with our moods. I loved every one of them. I especially liked ending our vacation in Provincetown with the calm beach and capturing hermit crabs and other little beasties...


Such fun can be had with simple little toys in a bathtub...including the plastic spaghetti strainer in the kitchen.

So much wonderful, wonderful food--and checking the scale today--no gain!


IMAGE: Willow dancing in a sunbeam at breakfast at a restaurant.
IMAGE: Michael standing and looking out at the waves and water, contemplative.


Tom's french toast--YUM! Who can just eat one!?

Kites on the beach -- such fun! And the castle making expertise of Tom--and the destructive techniques on sandcastles of my children.

Ahhh...sunblock is such a friend--No Sunburns this time!!


Enjoyed the Oceangraphic discovery tour--found out how to sex lobsters...and then we ate some lobsters (YUM!)


Good books and magazines, DVDs and Wii games--all good for some relaxation after a nice day outdoors!

Taking 2 cars has its advantages, as Michael and I surprised dad with a B-Day cake and presents (his birthday is Monday)when we got home first.

Also nice to surprise Michael with a Weird Al Tour shirt when we got home. (which he then wore 2 days straight)

Back Home...

Suitcases are all over the place, laundry going, our friend going to the airport in the morning. Finished up our dining out with take out sushi/chinese. Kids put to bed finally and now some adult time with our friend.

Here is some videos from our last day:



video

We caught many hermit crabs, but this one was a different type of crab...



Bye Bye to the Crab

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Busy doing that Thing called Life...

October is a busy month and we have been pretty much on the go for most of it---I cannot believe Halloween is almost upon us!! I often t...