Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Santa Baby!

Somehow the past 8 1/2 months have snuck by with many fewer pregnancy-related postings than I'd anticipated. So with only about 2 weeks to go, I thought I'd post a picture of me and what I'm guessing will be our biggest newborn yet! (Well...our biggest newborn period. As much as I love being pregnant, three is it. I'm cherishing these last few weeks...days...moments!?) If you remember my posting a few weeks back about measurements, today I measured 43 cm at 37 weeks. Doc is saying we are just not capable of making small babies. Bring on the baby rolls!

This time around we're struggling with names. It shouldn't be, but this is stressing me out. Bill says we can just wait and see the baby, and maybe the name will just come to us. Or maybe it won't. He's comfortable with waiting a day or two or three to name the baby after it's born. Me? I try not to think about it because it may just put me into labor...

Anyway, it's been fun to get suggestions from friends and family as to what we should call this little one. The fact that we don't know if it's a boy or girl makes it even more fun, in my opinion. I do have to share a couple of the names that were recently posed to me. Boy - Simon. Girl - Simone. Neither name terribly unusual nor particularly funny, but it was the reason behind the suggestion that has left me somewhat perplexed, and gave me a good chuckle. Said Wendy, a friend and fellow mom, just last week, "Remember...Simon or Simone. Both great names! And besides, you look like a Simon..." Wha--what?! Maybe it's the glasses? The chipmunk-like buck teeth? My hair? She was kidding, of course, at least I think she was, but it still took me totally off guard. And to know me is to know that's hard to do. Good one Wendy...but I still don't see it. Do YOU?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

In-School Celebrations

Laurence is very excited to celebrate his birthday at school this year. He's had me check and re-check that it falls on an actual school day, and I think I finally have him convinced that it is, indeed, on a Wednesday. (It's also in the middle of January, so we could be dealing with a possible snow day, but we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.) Anyway, during one such conversation the other day, I was explaining to him that Loic will never celebrate his birthday at school (end of July) and neither will the new baby (winter break), so that he should realize just how lucky he is. I said how glad I was to have my birthday during the school year, and Bill said the same about his. Laurence said, "So I'm the only kid in this family who will get to? I AM lucky!" End of conversation. Or so I thought. Just tonite however he says, "Hey, Mom, what about Eimer? Her birthday is close to mine, so she can celebrate at school." I said, " IS 2 days before yours, but she's a dog...and she won't be going to school." He didn't say anything for a minute, opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again and said, "I know THAT!" Nope. Trust me, he DIDN'T know that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Things I'm Hearing These Days

I'm getting to that stage in my pregnancy where people, even perfect strangers, are taking delight in making comments about my freakishly large belly. I don't mind, really. I find it rather amusing, actually, and figured I'd make note here of some of the things I've heard of late...will make for some interesting reading someday once this baby is grown and starts asking questions about when he/she was in here. Let me also just state for the record that he/she is doing some strange rolling & nudging maneuvers under the right side of my rib cage at this very moment...

About 2 weeks ago we went to eat at our favorite local Chinese restaurant, where the owners have gotten to know us pretty well -- they are always welcoming & very friendly. This particular night we walk in and then wife flashes us a huge grin and says, "Oh, the baby is coming THIS month!" I said, "No, end of December..." She sort of does this sideways glance thing, checking out the rotunda and says, "But it's so BIG!" And so it began.

A day or so later my doctor confirmed that it's so BIG when I measured 38 centimeters at 32 weeks -- for those of you that don't know, at this stage of pregnancy centimeters are generally equal to the number of weeks, though measuring off by a centimeter or 2 is not unusual. Off by 6? Yeah, that's BIG. Doctor said, "Surely you've noticed...I mean that's a BIG jump in 2 weeks..." Well, now I've noticed, so thanks.

Saturday we were at Best Buy and a saleswoman approaches and says, "Any day now, girl!" I think I scrunched up my face or something because she said, "Right? I mean, when are you due?" "December 30th," I said. "Oh NO, girl. You're BIG! You're going long before then. Oh, and it's another boy," she said, tousling the blond hair on the 2 boys at my sides.

Just yesterday our errands took us to Lowe's where the very young salesman who was being ever-so-helpful, stopped dead during his speech about floor tile and exclaims, "Hey, would you like a chair!?! I can get you one from the desk! It's small, but if you'll be more comfortable...I don't want you to pop or anything." Oh, but popping in Lowe's sounds like fun, don't you think?

So that's it. For now, anyway. I've realized I should expect these comments daily from here on out. In fact I found myself a little disappointed that I didn't get any today...oh, except for from Laurence at bed time. He didn't embellish, just stated the obvious, "Mom, your belly is BIG. Good night."

Thursday, November 19, 2009

When Clothes No Longer Fit

Laurence must have dug deep in the closet today, because he came downstairs with a shirt he hasn't had on in a LONG time. The shirt was hitting him right at the waist, bordering on too small, but it's a favorite so I couldn't bear to ask him to change. I tried to break it to him gently with, "I love that shirt, but it looks like we'll have to retire it soon." (This is what we call putting clothes away to hand down to Loic.) He said, "Oh, I hope not TOO soon -- I really like this one!" I said, "But soon we'll be able to see your belly button, and that would look pretty silly!" And his response: "Well, yeah, but that's how Dora's shirt can see her belly button. And she doesn't even seem to care."

Friday, November 13, 2009

That's the Way God Made Us

I know, it seems like I just posted yesterday, right? But I couldn't let this one pass me by. Short and sweet...

Last night Laurence asks out of the blue, "Is the baby naked in your belly?" I had to giggle and said, "Yes, definitely." He said, "But why? Where are it's clothes?" I replied, "We'll put the baby in clothes when it comes out. Besides...where do you suppose the baby would get clothes in there?" He thought for a moment, and said, "Maybe there's room for a little dresser!"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

O'Neil's Anatomy

There's always something fun and educational going on at Laurence's school, making for great conversation at our house. This week alone there was a rainforest assembly, complete with exotic animals, and a dairy association presentation, the highlight of which was the opportunity for the kids to "milk" a glove. I'm sure the presenters allow plenty of time for questions and comments, but Laurence always saves the best for me.

Last night he was studying a tiny plastic (and blue) cow that he received at the end of the dairy extravaganza...I mean really studying. You know, upside down. After a few minutes he says, "Mom, do cows pee milk? Out of their...teats?" I responded, "No, only their milk comes out of their teats." Laurence: "Well then how do they pee?" Me: "They have peeps (our word for it), just like all animals." Laurence: "But where are their peeps? I've looked and looked, and I don't see it." (Apparently this little cow of his is not anatomically correct.) Me: "Sort of in the back..." I trail off, seeing on his face that he's not going for my verbal explanation. So, I do the next thing that comes to my mind. "Eimer, come!" I command, and Laurence starts, "Mom, what are you--" "Just wait, you'll see." I have the dog lay down, which is still a struggle for her, being the dominant being she thinks she's supposed to be, and coax her onto her back. The professor in me comes out, and wishing I had one of those cool pointer things, I explain, "Now here are her teats, sort of like a cow's, but she's got more of them. If she had puppies, they'd get big, like a cow's. And back here, right between her legs is...." You get the idea. Behold, the curious young mind was satisfied. Way to go me! And the best part was that the dog wasn't even the slightest bit humiliated. But just now, as I'm typing this, I'm wondering how long it will take before someone in this house attempts to milk her...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What He Really Means to Say

Last weekend we dealt with a bit of a stomach bug in our house, but luckily only Loic really "dealt" with it. Unfortunately it started at a friend's house on Saturday night, creating an embarrassing and rather disgusting mess. Thank goodness for understanding friends with kids! The experience left quite an impression on Loic, for during the 3 days following the episode, at various times he would suddenly remember and, looking quite fretful, utter, "Icky throw up Babby's house!?" With a bit of reassurance that all is forgiven, he would go about his business, and he seems to have since forgotten all about it.

The morning after the spew-a-thon has clearly not escaped him, however. Upon waking Sunday morning (at 5:15, thanks to the time change) he was feeling pretty rotten so I did the only thing that seemed fitting. "You're a little sick," I said, and asked, "Want to take a bath?" He did of course, and perked up quite a bit. Luckily he was feeling almost back to normal by lunchtime that day, but that hasn't stopped him from using his short-lived condition in attempt to jump into another tub-full of bubbles every morning since, before 6 a.m. (no, somehow we still don't seem to be over the time change). It may seem like this would get old, but you see Loic is learning proper usage of pronouns ("I" vs. "my," for example), and has trouble with certain sounds, like many 2-year-olds do, substituting "d's" for "s's" in his case. So while what he's trying to yell each morning to wake me at 5:45 is, "I'm a little sick and I want to take a bath," imagine my grin from ear to ear when what comes out instead is, "My little dick...take bath!" No, this doesn't win him a bath each morning, but it does make it a little easier to get out of bed...of course I can't wait to hear what he attempts to say next.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Just Say No!

A couple of weeks ago Laurence's school sent a letter home about a week-long program they were planning for last week to keep kids away from drugs & alcohol. Basically they were asking for student participation by dressing a certain way to go along with the slogan of the day. It sounded like a good idea, but I figured with Laurence being just in Kindergarten I wouldn't go thru all of this with him...give it a few years, right? Well, on Wednesday of last week when we were walking home from the bus stop he said, "Mom, why were some of the kids were dressed mismatched today?" I remembered "Drugs and Alcohol are No Match for Me" being one of the daily slogans, so I started in on a very simplified explanation. Surprisingly (no, really not surprisingly), he had a ton of questions, but he did seem to understand the concept. He said he'd heard of alcohol before, and knew that was "like wine & beer and stuff," and I said, "Yep, drinks for adults only." But he was confused about the drugs part. "Like what we get at the Target Pharmacy?" he asked, when I started the explanation with "drugs include pills & medicines..." I said, "Well, yes, but there's also drugs you can smoke, sniff in your nose, give with a shot, and people use them because they think it will be fun or make them feel good, but mostly they make people make really stupid decisions and do things that can hurt themselves or other people." That made sense to him. Not a bad explanation, hey? I was repeating this story to some friends today and they were impressed with my ability to think on my feet, and asked if I was available to talk to their kids, too. Why not? Though we didn't talk about compensation...

Anyway, clearly my little talk with Laurence last week had a big impact. Thursday he wore red (though I can't remember the slogan), and Friday he dressed in a Packers t-shirt to "team up against drugs and alcohol." So, we're off to a good start. It really sunk in, based on the conversation he had with some friends that were over the other night. They asked what he'd been doing at school and after some hesitation, I prompted him to talk about "mismatch day," etc. They seemed impressed and he proceeded to tell them, "It was to keep kids away from drugs and....." Then he looks at me, puzzled. I said, "That's a big word, do you remember? Starts with al..." and he shouts, "allergies!" (Insert giggles here. I tried not to laugh, really I did, but how could I not?) "Alcohol," I said. He smiled and said, "Oh yeah, alcohol. That's stuff only adults can drink. You know, like soda and stuff." Like I said, let's wait a few years to introduce this topic. Now hand me that Diet Pepsi!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Take a Deep Breath, Count to 10, and Eat a Raspberry Danish

That's what I kept telling myself yesterday morning when I needed an extra dose of patience. The deep breaths and counting were supposed to keep me calm until my company arrived and we could dig into that raspberry cream cheese danish ring that was staring up at me from my standard-height countertop. I knew that would take away all my frustrations with Loic, who was being...well...very 2. While he can be extremely loving, affectionate, caring and downright funny, there are plenty of moments throughout the week when he tests my patience time and time again with his defiance and thirst for independence. Most people don't believe me, because he tends to be rather angelic when we're in the presence of others (we're talking scale the bookshelves, jump from the back of the sofa, have-no-fear angelic, but angelic non-the-less). Yesterday was one of those moments. He was finally calm at one point and involved in some important building block project in the living room, so I retreated to the bathroom for 1.2 minutes to comb my hair. Imagine my surprise when I returned to the kitchen to find the danish gone! Completely gone. Loic? No, he's still building. I rush to the other side of the counter and there she is. Eimer the lunatic d-dog, licking her chops. Not a crumb of the danish (that was bigger than her head, by the way) in sight. Great. Company arriving in 10 minutes and all I have left are the mini blueberry muffins, which she apparently turned her nose up at, and which I do not really care for. Clearly I need to raise the countertops. Thankfully my friends brought snacks, and I was able to rummage thru the cabinet & fridge and find some other stuff -- can't even recall now what the "stuff" was, since it came nowhere close in comparison to the scrumptious-looking danish. Not to worry, no one went hungry. Certainly not the dog! And not only did she deny me of my danish, but she didn't even get bloated. Nope, I could still see every one of her ribs. She can take her high metabolism and...oh, never mind. I'll forgive her -- she managed to make me forget my frustrations with that loving, affectionate, caring and downright funny, 2-year-old living in my house -- without even having to worry about calories.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things

Last night I went to a meeting and when I left, Laurence was busy making a gift for me which I was not permitted to see until complete, of course. Upon waking this morning he presented the gift to me. A handmade envelope held what I thought was a card, and is pictured to the right. On it, he'd printed the words, "An I Love You Book When I'm in School Mom." A smile spread over my face and he said, so seriously, "You can only look at this when I'm at school and you REALLY miss me." Guess how many times I've looked at it this morning, during the hour and a half he's been gone? Anyway, I opened the envelope to find the small cut up pieces of paper, each with a picture he drew. "I drew some of your favorite things!" And sure enough, he did. Above you'll see a giraffe looking down on an otter swimming, Eimer the lunatic dog (though I guessed a bird on this one -- oops), a waterfall, and my lilac bush bathing in the sun. I also found a jigsaw puzzle (another one of my favorite things) of a giraffe; this to keep me busy when I'm not blogging, of course. Has this boy got me pegged, or what? I was (and am) so touched by his thoughtfulness.

This morning before school he made "An I Love You Book for When I'm at School Dad," too. As he's drawing the individual pictures and I'm struggling to guess each one (they weren't nearly as obvious as my own), he said, "Here's a squid. And a diver's mask. This one's a stinky shoe..." I said, "Wow, I guess I didn't realize Daddy liked all of those things." He smiled and gave me a look I can't even describe and said, "Oh, these aren't things Daddy likes! They're things to make him laugh. I know Daddy loves to laugh!" He wouldn't tell me what Bill's puzzle is a picture of, and I can't wait until he gets home and puts it together to find out. In the meantime, I'm missing Laurence, REALLY missing Laurence, so I'm off to look at my gift.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Stranger's Curiosity

I went out for pizza last night with the family, and while we were searching for the perfect table I felt that somebody's-staring-at-me-feeling. Once we sat, I glanced around and sure enough, there's a woman staring right at me; she flashed me a pleasant smile when our eyes met, I smiled back, looked away, and thought, "Uh, oh. I must know her. But I DON'T know her. At least I don't think I don't... Maybe I do?" Something like this has been happening to me quite a bit lately (well, 2 or 3 times in the past few months, which is a lot more than usual), where I have an entire conversation in a public place with someone who clearly knows me, and I walk away completely dumfounded as to who they are. Must be the pregnant brain, I guess.

Anyway, back to the restaurant. A few minutes later I'm glancing around the room again and she's STILL staring -- we smile again, but nothing more. I whisper something to Bill about the woman sitting at 3 o'clock looking at us, and does she look familiar, but he says, "No." I figure she's listening to the kids and is simply amused. Soon the waitress comes by, takes our order, and is off again. Curious if we still seem intriguing I glance in the strange woman's direction once more. This time she speaks, "Do you know what you're having?" Oh! Sure, now it all makes sense. "No," I say, "we like to be surprised!" I focus back on my family and Bill gives me the strangest look and says, "But we just ordered...Cranky Sticks and a large cheese." I bust out laughing, containing myself enough to say, "She was talking about the baby! Clearly my belly is getting pretty obvious." He's laughing now too, and says something to the effect that I must be used to the questions strangers ask, because who wouldn't assume she was asking about food when we're sitting in a pizza joint? Imagine, as we did, how much more comical the situation could have been had HE answered her question with, "The usual. Cranky Sticks & a large cheese. And you?"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I'll Have an Egg...Hold the Pan!?!

Much as I'd like to block out Loic's eating habits of late, I've decided they are too strange not to share in writing, and save for some future occasion when I need a good...reminder of how "Icky" he can really be. I've said it before -- this kid will eat anything I put in front of him. And then some. His hearty appetite, adventurous spirit, and unfathomable gymnastic skills are together enough to make any sane mother lose it. Good thing I already lost it a long time ago.

Loic's experimenting goes well beyond the concoctions he creates on his plate or in his bowl, consisting of every food & drink given to him at any meal. Although those are worth mentioning, too. I've heard or read some parenting rule about not letting your kids play with their food, but the thing is, he actually eats the stuff after it's all together. Might be orange juice in his oatmeal, or applesauce in his spaghetti with meatballs, milk in his green beans -- all delicious. Ah, but any mom would tell you this type of thing is nothing unusual, I know.

But that's not really what this post is about. The questionable foods I'm speaking of all make their way to his mouth by his own gathering process. The kid is resourceful, that's for sure. Take Sunday, for example, when during the 1-minute ride home from the grocery store, Loic somehow managed to get the eggs out of the grocery bag and had one halfway in his mouth prepared to take a bite when I opened the door to get him out of his seat. Of course I said the only logical thing one would say in this situation, "Don't bite that egg! Don't you know what a mess that would make all over the car?" (Come to think of it, there's another rule about consuming raw egg, isn't there?) Then there was the other day when he made his way up into the refrigerator and got down the butter, removed the lid, and ate a few fingers-full before I caught him. He's started answering me before I even ask, "What are you doing?" because he's knows it's coming. "Mmm, Icky like butter!" Not sure where I was then -- perhaps just at the sink, 8 or so feet away with my back to him. He's sneaky...and quiet! And of course I have to mention last week when I took 45 seconds to visit the bathroom, came into the kitchen and found Loic standing on the counter, a bottle of oregano in hand. "Oh, Loic!" I sighed, while rushing over to get him down, expecting to see a nice pile of oregano on the counter. "Eccchhh!" he replied, sticking out his tongue, which was covered in the dried green leafy spice. I couldn't believe it! I've finally discovered something he doesn't like. And looking back, I'm wondering what kind of parent I am...for not grabbing the camera to take a picture before I wiped his tongue clean with a wet paper towel. Ah, well, next time. Oh, there WILL be plenty of next times, don't worry.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Trouble with the Bus

Today marks week two of riding the bus to kindergarten for Laurence. After a rough first two days, things were much improved and he was boarding before and after school without hesitation. Today brought a new issue, however. He bounded down the bus stairs this afternoon with this issue to report, "There are two girls who want to be my girlfriend, but their perfume smells awful." It didn't hit me at first that he was talking about girls on the bus, so I said, "Oh, two girls in your class?" "No, Mommy, on the bus!" Oh boy. This means it could be difficult to avoid the stench, which by the way, is NOT flowery, according to Laurence, because it doesn't make him want to sneeze. Flowery perfume was my first thought, of course. Anyway, he continued with, "I just don't know WHY they want to sit on my seat, with all the other seats on the bus. And their perfume is just awful. I need to be gross, so they don't like me." Oh, the trials and tribulations of a 5-year-old. The conversation went on and we came up with a plan -- tomorrow he is going to sit in a different seat to try and avoid any nasal unpleasantries. In the meantime I also discovered that this is a problem only in the mornings, as these girls are in 4-year-old kindergarten and have only half days. Is it me, or does it seem disturbing that 4-year-olds are coming to school wearing perfume?

Friday, September 4, 2009

What's that sound?

Oh, what a crazy & emotional week it's been. Monday the family got to get a glimpse of our newest family member at my ultrasound, one day shy of 22 weeks. Laurence was thrilled, and loved hearing the heartbeat, but wondered if we could hear the baby fussing! The technician told him the heartbeat was the only sound we'd hear, and he seemed satisfied. Oh, and no, we didn't find out what we're having, and yes, we didn't find out on purpose. We love being surprised on the day of delivery! I thought both boys were girls, Bill thought both boys were boys...this time I'm sure it's a boy and he's convinced it's a girl. Chances are...

That night after the doctor's appointment we went to the open house at the elementary school where Laurence is starting kindergarten. He's been quite excited ever since he finished preschool in the spring, and this night was no different. Then Wednesday we went to meet with his teacher and have his 1:1 assessment, which he also found intriguing and he was certainly not ready to leave! Today was his first full day, which was all he could talk about yesterday. Even this morning he woke up all smiles...yet, I still had this nagging feeling... He did great up until we got to the playground and saw all those kids. The tears starting flowing, followed by "I'm not going!" repeated over and over thru the sobs. He calmed down a bit when we lined up by the kindergarten door, but as the kids starting filing in he lost it again. This time it was screams! There was my kid, the only kid screaming and yelling, or even crying for that matter. Oh, help. The teacher & I pried him off me, and I walked away. Yet I could still hear the horrible sound from the playground...Laurence screaming inside the hall. Needless to say it was a very hard & sad day for me. Luckily, when I picked him up the teacher said he had a great day, which Laurence followed up with, "Once I got into the hall, my heart felt better and I stopped crying." He concurred that it was a great day. Phew. Now we must tackle riding the bus...

There's no mistaking baby heartbeats & kindergartners screaming, but this morning there was a mysterious sound in the house that had me stumped. As I shut off the shower, I heard what sounded like a motor running, and it appeared to be coming from the shower head. It got louder and softer as I moved the head around, turned the water on & off, and played with the water flow settings, but it did not stop. I tried turning on the sink, thinking the two must be linked and maybe that would do the trick. Nope. At one point Bill called from work and I asked him if he heard the sound earlier, and even held the phone up to the shower head. He said he thought he heard something after his shower, but that it sounded like it was outside. He encouraged me to check the basement to be sure there weren't any leaks...or flooding! I finished getting dressed and was about to go downstairs when Laurence stopped me and said, "What were you and Daddy talking about?" "The sound in the shower," I said, "do you hear it?" He stopped, listened, then said with a hint of "duh, mom" in his voice, "Is your razor on?" I burst out laughing and said, "Yep! That's got to be it!" Sure enough, my fancy little Gilette Power razor had apparently gotten bumped and turned on without me realizing it. Laurence giggled and giggled and felt so proud for solving the mystery. We even called Bill back on the way to school to tell him, and he got a good laugh, too. Thank goodness for laughter - like the other sounds this week, there's no mistaking it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kid's Got a Point

Laurence has a couple of joke & riddle books that somehow have managed to make their way into my car time & time again, meaning that when we're going places I'm subjected to hearing the same jokes & riddles over and over and over again. It's become excrutiating. I've memorized a lot of them, of course, and the newest game has become me quickly and flawlessly answering riddles as soon as he asks them. "You are really good at these, Mommy!" he says each time in amazement. One of these days he'll catch on. Until then, though, I'll blurt, "It's hard to tell which witch is which!" to his question, "How can you tell one witch from another?" or "No, they only have giraffes!" to "Can giraffes have babies?" (one of my personal favorites, because of the giraffe thing).

Anyway, today, on the way to & from the grocery store, which is approximately 2 minutes from our house, we went thru several of the same old riddles. Suddenly Laurence stops and says, "Mom, you know that riddle 'Why did the chicken cross the road?'" "Yep," I said. "The answer is, 'to get to the other side.' Once someone hears that once, it's just not funny anymore." Before I could reply he says, "Actually, it's not even funny the first time you hear it." This time I blurt, "I couldn't agree more!" And he says, "You mean you're NOT going to argue with me?" Nope, I'm not. The kid has an excellent point. It's a really stupid riddle. I've thought so ever since I was five. And how nice to have something for us to agree on after the last couple of days we've had together. Perhaps riddle time isn't such a bad thing, after all.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Texas Instruments Rooster

I hear it from other parents and know that I'm not alone when I say that my boys play with their own toys only on rare occasions. Instead, they are continuously fascinated with what is not theirs, and I'm forever finding objects such as kitchen utensils, rolls of tape (usually empty), and plastic storage bowls in very strange places. Loic has recently taken a liking to my calculator. I find it at least two or three times a day in various places around the house, and always return it to its drawer. Just the other morning he was at it again and came marching into the bathroom holding it and said, "Iddie play this!" (Iddie is his version of "Icky," our very affectionate and appropriate nickname for him.) "Sure," I said, "but what is it?" He got a puzzled look on his face, and I thought for a minute I had him stumped, but then I could see it -- the word on the tip of his tongue. His mouth started getting all twisty and a look of satisfaction came over his face, when after a few moments he proudly he states, "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hello, Buckwheat!

The boys and I were leaving the grocery store this morning and a man walking toward us looked right at Laurence and said enthusiastically, "Hello, Buckwheat!" Laurence was actually speechless, but did flash back his pearly whites. As we got into the parking lot he says, "Mommy, why did that man say that?" I wasn't really sure, especially since Laurence's hair is looking especially tame today, but I said, "Oh, he was just being friendly & jolly." He thinks for a moment and says, "Well, just between you & me, Mommy, I don't really think it's nice to call someone a bucket of wheat. But I wasn't going to tell HIM that, so I just smiled and pretended it made me happy." Ah, one of life's most important lessons learned and put into play today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Proof is in the...

I had an OB check-up yesterday and the boys went with me. Laurence didn't say much about the appointment, though I know he enjoyed when the nurse, medical student, and doctor all asked him whether he'd like a boy or girl. Each time he responded, "A brother would be fine, but what I really want is a sister!" Then last night at dinner he says, "Mommy, I thought you were kidding about a baby being in your belly until today when I heard the heartbeat. Now I know it's real!" Awwww! So sweet, but I do could he not believe me when I look like this? -------------------------------->

Friday, July 24, 2009

To Do Today

Laurence woke up this morning and the first thing he said was, "I better make a list of things to do." (Gee, I wonder where he gets that?) So, he got a piece of paper, a pen, and worked for about an hour on this, his T0-Do List:

Get your pj's off
Put your clothes on
Eat brecfest
Go out to play
Meat gest in afternoon
Read with gest
Eat dinr
Go get your pj's on
Brush your teeth
Go get in bed

I wish you could see it in his writing. I tried to take a picture to post, but it didn't come out quite right. He put his list in his pocket and has been looking at it from time to time today, feeling pretty good as he's able to check things off. Currently he's waiting for "gest" (guest) to arrive, and writing a book in the meantime. I know, I know, there's no mention above about writing a book, but he said he might as well write one, now that he's finished writing a whole day's list.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm Back

Hello, Eleven...Hello?!! My, how I've missed you. Where have I been, you ask? For starters, Bill, the boys & I spent the last week of June in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula. We met some family there and stayed in a wonderful cabin on a private lake. Enjoyed fishing, boating, hiking, and oodles of waterfalls. Three days after we returned, the boys & I hopped a plane to Maryland, for my family's annual reunion. Spending time with 7 of their cousins, there were certainly plenty of blog-worthy moments, but I didn't have the time, energy, or peace & quiet to concentrate. Now those funny moments I wanted to share have all but escaped me. So, instead of my usual format, I'll recount bits & pieces of our whirlwind of a month.

A highlight of our trip to Maryland was shortly after our arrival at my parents' home, when I got to surprise my family with our BIG news -- we'll welcome a 3rd child into our family right around the new year! What a relief to not have to keep the secret any longer. My belly became pretty obvious quite early, this 3rd time around. Laurence is sure he's having a baby sister, and has chosen 2 names -- Queen or Opal.

My sister & her family live in South Africa, and it's fun to compare accents and our different ways of saying things. Laurence quickly adapted to using "swimming costume" in place of "bathing suit," while some of the other cousins preferred using Loic's version -- "baby dupe" (which I believe I posted about previously. Cute enough to mention again, of course). At one point I thought my sister had lost it when I heard her giving directions to someone and she said, "Turn left at the robot..." their word for traffic light! Perhaps most enjoyable are their accents alone, especially my niece's since she was born in raised in SA. She's one of the few kids I enjoy hearing say "no" -- we say she actually chews the word. It's hard to put in writing, but it's something like this: "nahorw." Watching their mouths when they talk provides a huge clue to the sound of the accent -- they keep their lips completely flat. Readers from the US - try it, it's rather tough for an American.

Loic was his usual friendly and social self, quickly warming up to his extended family, though he struggled with some of the names. There's Uncle Marc who became "Daddy Bart," Aunt Keri, or simply "Dee," Michael (Mike) was "Mite," Matthew was "Maa-mew," Marc was "Bart," Madison was "Maa-men," and Grandpa and Grandma were affectionately referred to as "Mam-paw" and "Mam-maw." My favorite was his cousin, Pia, who I'll forever call "Pizza!" Surprisingly he said "Elliot" (Pia's sister) very well, sounding a bit like E.T.

If I had to pick a favorite moment from the last month, it would be when my brother-in-law, mom, 2 nephews and I were sitting at the kitchen table playing cards one night and out of the blue and related in no way to the game, my 10-year-old nephew breaks out in song, singing none other than "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?" from the greatest musical of all time. One by one we all joined in and sang as much of the song we could remember. That wasn't enough, so we moved on to "Doe, a Deer" and were all in stitches by the time we reached "fa!" None of us have particularly good voices, and I'm sure we sounded a bit out of tune, but for those few minutes we WERE the VonTrapps and loving every minute of it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Enter Here

We've had a great few days here weather-wise, and have spent hours upon hours in our big backyard. This morning was a little chilly for the little pool we set up for the boys, but that didn't mean playing with water was out of the question. Laurence was using the little watering can to water his new seedling -- the inside of a helicopter he'd just planted. Of course Loic wanted in on the action, and 5 can-fulls later, the boys had created a very nice, messy & fun mud pit. They were delighted to discover they'd flushed out several earthworms in the process, and spent about an hour finding them & watching them wiggle. As lunchtime approached I noticed Laurence had disappeared and we came inside to find him working intently at the counter. "Whatcha doin'?" I asked. "I'm just about done, then you'll see." I went about my business of preparing lunch and a few minutes later he says, "There! Look mom." I turn to see him holding up the tiniest piece of paper with "ENTR" written on it. "It's for the worms, so they know how to get into the pool we made for them."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In other news, Loic is talking more and more and more and more. My new favorite word(s) of his .... bathing suit. He says "baby dupe." I find myself making him say it over and over, and dreading the day when he learns how to say it correctly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

This one's for you, JoePa!

Yesterday Laurence says, "Mommy, do you remember that man who broke his foot?"  No one comes to mind, so I say, "What man, Laurence?"  He says, "You know, that old man, with the shrinkly skin."  This is still not ringing a bell with me, but then he adds, "The football man."  OK, got it!  "You mean Joe Paterno?"  "Yesssss!  Joe Paterno.  I hope he doesn't have to still be in the box."  Another very touching moment in our house.  If you don't "get it," read on...

Joe Paterno, affectionately referred to by many as JoePa, is the head football coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions, Laurence's favorite football team (somewhat by coercion, but I'll take it).  JoePa, who is 82 years young, has been coaching at Penn State since 1950, and was named head coach in 1966.  He has coached thru 11 U.S. Presidents, and 4 of my family members' days at Penn State (my dad, my brother, my husband, and me).  With a 3-year contract recently signed, retirement is nowhere in sight.  This guy is a legend, and in my eyes is certainly considered a hero and wonderful example to all humankind.  I don't care how much money he makes & I don't mind the occasional losing season.  His leadership, coaching style, and dedication & generosity to the university and community are inspirational to say the least.  

Four days before the season-opener last fall, Paterno, 81 at the time, injured his leg while attempting an onside kick during practice.  Imagine that!  Laurence remembers hearing about the incident, and during each televised game would watch intently for JoePa's face to appear from the press box, remarking on how sad he looked.  Not that Paterno always appears to be a barrel of laughs during any game, but he certainly seemed rather subdued not being on the sidelines where he belongs.  I'm touched that Laurence picked up on all of this -- clearly he really pays attention -- and that he continues to be concerned this many months later, as the beginning of football season once again approaches.  

I hope Joe Paterno coaches for as many more years as he desires, but certainly long enough for my boys to learn from his example as I have.

Monday, June 1, 2009

O Lilac, My Lilac

I absolutely love lilacs.  I look forward to them all year, and enjoy every moment of their short bloom-span each May.  I grew up with a row of them between our house and the neighbors' and though I took them for granted I do think they laid the foundation for my healthy obsession.  When we moved into this house I was thrilled to discover there was one in our yard.  We'd never planted any at either of our other houses because we tend to move around so much, and lilacs take a long time to become established.  Anyway, this year was an especially good year for our bush.  I could tell early on that it would have plenty of blooms, and when it was finally full I was amazed.  It was gorgeous.  And it lasted two days.  That's right.  Only two days before the torrential rain stripped every last beautiful flower.  I felt robbed.  What a waste, huh?

Anyway, today we were in the yard and the boys were playing in the "woods" next to our yard that I've mentioned before (see "What is that, Velcro?").  Loic kept bringing me leaves, which he calls flowers, and Laurence decided to get in on the action.  He comes walking up, hands behind his back, and says, "I have a very special surprise for you."  He brings one hand up in front of me, and there between his thumb and forefinger are 3 tiny purple wildflowers.  He says, "Here.  These are to remind you of your lilac.  I know how much you miss it."  Ohh!  His thoughtfulness overwhelms.  If not for that rain we would not have shared that very special moment, and I would not be re-telling it here now because I want never to forget it...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

None of our Business

We moved into this house almost 3 years ago and discovered there was a rather elderly couple living next door.  We saw the man quite often out mowing the lawn, working in the yard, tinkering in the garage, what-have-you.  He kept to himself, but was always good for a friendly wave or warm smile.  His wife, on the other hand, rarely came out of the house except to get the mail, and she certainly never offered a friendly gesture.  

Well, after about 9 months, we suddenly stopped seeing the husband.  Shortly after he disappeared we started seeing her ALL the time.  Ever since then she's been the one tinkering, swinging on the swing, and working in the yard.  All while still being completely unfriendly.  Also, there have since been numerous visits from, we assume, their children, who we never recall seeing before the disappearance.  On top of that, various older male visitors appear from time-to-time (sometimes more than one at a time) and we often wonder why such a crabby woman has so many suitors.  Not that any of this is our business, whatsoever.  So, I'll get to the point.  

Two summers ago Laurence was quick to notice that the man wasn't around any more.  He asked about it, and we told him what we assumed, though never confirmed, to be true - that the man became sick and passed away.  He seemed fine with that, and has never mentioned him since.  The boys and I spend a lot of time in the yard when the weather is nice, so he's been witnessing all the comings & goings of the gentlemen friends right along with me.  Well, just the other day we're out there playing and he's chasing a ball or something toward their yard where the woman and a random "friend" are swinging.  Suddenly he stops in his tracks, and yells loud enough for the whole block to hear, "Well, Mommy!  It looks like that man didn't die after all!"  Guess who else stopped in their tracks?  That mind of his!  Why now, after 2 years, would he think the man that lived there has reappeared?  Anyway, I quickly ushered him over to the deck, and trying to hold back my snickering, explained that we don't talk about other people's business unless invited to.  Or at least not loud enough for them to hear us...

Friday, May 15, 2009

You Fill in the Blank

On the way home from school yesterday Laurence was reading a sheet the teacher sent home about their year-end carnival.  He read the date, the time, what types of activities there wil be, etc.  Then he tells me there are some parts I'll need to fill out. "Like the number attending, OR I will be unable to attend with my..........sugar cookie."  I said, "Are you sure that's what it says?  It doesn't say 'I will be unable to attend with my child?"  "Nope," he says.  I repeat, "It doesn't say 'child?'"  Oh, well, yes, but waaaaay underneath.  There's a big space and you have to fill it in, like with 'chocolate chip' or 'sugar.'  I will be unable to attend with my.......cookie."  I've gotta see for myself, so I ask him to hand me the paper, and here's part of what we need to fill out at the bottom:

___ I can provide __ dozen bars or 
___ I will be unable to attend with my cookie

I know it's dangerous to read while you drive -- and even more dangerous to read AND laugh while you drive, but it was worth it!  The moment almost made me get over the fact that they left an "s" off of "cookie."  Almost.  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Go to Your Safe Place

Today was Part 2 of kindergarten orientation.  Part 1 was a couple of weeks ago, and was just for parents to provide an overview of the school and what kindergarten is all about.  (It's true that it's no longer all about playing, by the way.)  Anyway, this afternoon Laurence & I went together.  He was quite excited about it all morning, and couldn't stop talking about it all the way to the school.  Things changed drastically the moment we walked thru the doors, however.  Laurence clammed up and his face lost all expression.  That is, until the tears started.  Poor kid was terrified.  He would not let go of my hand, and certainly wanted no part of lining up with the other to-be kindergarteners who were getting ready to tour the classrooms.  The plan was for the kids to spend an hour with the teachers, and the parents to meet with the principal to talk about important adult stuff.  Instead I tagged along with the kids & teachers.  Better to make it a positive experience for Laurence than to have him fear everything kindergarten, the teacher said.  I agreed.  He did rather well during the classroom visit, and by the end was feeling quite comfortable.  He even told the teacher as we congregated with the other parents, "I wish I could stay!"  

He will be fine.  Of that I am certain.  He just takes extra time to warm up to any new experience...because he thinks too much, I believe.  And he still needs his mom most every step of the way.  That became even more clear this evening when we were messing around in the kitchen and Laurence walked over to me, shoved his face in my belly and said what sounded like, "E woth e vemaollo etca eoge stel mdar."  He said it a few more times, we giggled, but I finally got him to repeat himself clearly, "I wish I could be in your belly because it's safe in there."  Seems like not long ago he was in my belly, but now in just a few months he'll be off to the big scary world of kindergarten.  And I have to let him go.  I will be fine.  Of that I'm certain. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

These Dreams

I had a conversation with a couple of friends today about dreams.  I find dreams so fascinating!  I love hearing about other people's, and I love to recount mine.  I remember a ton of them, I suppose because I'm such a light sleeper.  At least something good comes out of a poor night's sleep, right?

Shortly after this conversation, the boys and I were in the car on the way home and I asked Laurence if he ever has dreams.  He said he does and I asked if they are ever funny.  He said some are scary and some are funny.  He categorized dreams like this:  medium scary, really scary, medium funny, and really funny.  "Really funny ones are the best, because they're laughable!" he said -- yep, he really used "laughable."  A kid after my own heart.

My dreams are generally funny.  But I do have the occasional medium scary dream, many of which have a recurring theme.  But two night ago there was one I'd even classify as really scary.  I'll spare you the details and hope that the theme does not pop up again any time soon.

I find recurring dreams to be some of the most interesting, yet extremely annoying.  Up until a few years ago, I dreamed frequently of trying to find my classroom and not succeeding until class was almost over.  I struggled with that one for years, but I guess now, in my mid-30's, I've finally outgrown that fear.  I've moved on to bathrooms.  This is a pretty common theme from what I've read, but it doesn't make my own dreams any easier to take.  (Remember my last post about trying to find some humor?  The same would apply here.)  Let's just say that in my dreams when I gotta go, and I have to choose between a completely filthy private bathroom or a clean yet doorless and very public one, I choose to wake up. 

But as Laurence so expertly stated, the laughable dreams are the best.  I've had many of them over the years, but I have one particular favorite.  It was during the time that I worked in a nursing home, some 14 years ago now.  There was a female resident whom I did not care for.  She was a crabby old curmudgeon in the truest sense of the word.  She was demanding, impatient, rude to the other residents, and expected us to be at her beckon call; she tested my patience every day.  Anyway, in my dream a guy I worked with was coming out of a building and stepped out the door onto a landing at the top of an accessible ramp, holding a tupperware-like container.  Just your standard container, maybe 10x10x5 or so -- perfect for holding cupcakes or some other very edible treat.  "Oh!  What's in there?" I asked, grabbing for the container.  "Careful!" he said, but let me take it.  I started to open it to take a peek and he said, "Don't open it!  Seriously, don't!"  He was making this too much fun.  Of course I opened it, and out pops the woman, full-sized, wheelchair and all.  Miraculously she landed on her wheels and went safely rolling down the ramp.  "How did you get her in there?" I asked, trying to hold back my laughter, but he just shrugged his shoulders, smiled...and then I woke up.  In real life, she lived another year or so and continued to challenge me every day.  Sadly, that dream is by far my fondest memory of her.  Thanks for the laugh, JP...may you forever rest in peace in your Tupperware container.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm Trying to Find Some Humor... Eimer eating a dead bird on Monday.  I'm trying to find some humor in the bagger woman at the grocery store reprimanding me for allowing Laurence to assist me using the debit card on Tuesday.   I'm trying to find humor in the woodpecker turned feral cat that may possibly have taken up residence in our chimney yesterday.  And today, TODAY I'm trying to find humor in Eimer pooping on the stairs & ripping half the cover off of a book that belongs to a friend, and Loic demonstrating his ability to climb out of the Pack 'n Play (where until now he's happily played while I'm in the shower), then dumping a bowl of pasta & tomato sauce all over the floor (though the two incidents are unrelated).  

Those who know me would say I can find humor in many situations, it's true.  That's what this blog's mostly about right?  So here goes....there's my friend who reminded me that it's not like the the bird was an emu, it was just a little, tiny goldfinch (this happens to be the same friend that loaned me the book -- I hope she can find humor in that, too).  There's the fact that the bagger woman at the grocery store called my debit card a "charge plate."  And there was the scene after one of the incidents this morning -- Laurence using all of his power to drag Eimer to her cage so she wouldn't continue gulp down the pasta & sauce, then saying, "Phew!  I'm glad I'm not a part of their tag team because I don't want to drive you up the wall!"  Cute, right?  Funny, right?  The chimney resident, Pack 'n Play and poop, however....definitely NOT cute or least not so far.  

So that's a glimpse of what my week's been like until now.  But top it off with playing games with friends, good food, a nice long dog walk, lots of sunshine, interesting and though-provoking conversations & plenty of laughs and it's shaping up to be a great week.  I have so much to be thankful for and I have to look back at those other incidents and chuckle.  

I generally end each post with a silly Laurencism or otherism to hopefully spread some laughter, but as I sit here and recall for you my silly little challenges this week, I'm feeling a little somber because right beside my every thought are Bill's sister & her family who were evacuated from their home in Santa Barbara yesterday because of the threatening and encroaching fires.  Scary and very serious stuff.  Whether you pray, think positively or meditate, please take a moment to do it for this family that is very dear to me, as well as the others there and around the world who are facing real challenges this week.  

Monday, May 4, 2009

Translation Frustration

Loic has entered one of my favorite stages of language development.  He's now stringing 2, 3, and sometimes 4, words together at a time.  Understandable words, that is.  Or at least understandable to me.  Bill is amazed at how well I understand him, and I must say that I AM getting pretty good at it.  But I do spend all day, every day with the kid, so the fact that I have picked up on many of his words and phrases is no surprise.  I'll jot (can you say "jot" when you're typing?) a few of my favorites down here --

Lee-lee:  blanket
Doe-toe:  motorcycle
Dottij-jee:  cottage cheese
Nahnume:  vacuum
Dee-Do:  Thank you (he uses this one a lot, and it can also mean "me, too.")
Eee-uhh:  See ya!
Lurlie:  Laurence (my personal favorite)

Of course there are plenty more, and many, many more that he uses that he can say clear as day.  The kid talks a lot.  He talks to anyone, anywhere.  Thankfully, he doesn't seem to get frustrated that most people can't understand him most of the time; he's just happy to talk.  At this point I think he's just glad that I can understand him, since I tend to most of his needs.  This morning, though, I clearly let him down.  

He was eating his breakfast -- Ut-eel (oatmeal) -- and said "Oh, Mommy, D-Dog moon!"  The first three words were obvious.  "Oh" - got it.  "Mommy" - got it.  "D-Dog" - got it.  (He calls any dog "D-Dog," and though he knows Eimer's name and can say it rather clearly, he continues to affectionately refer to her as D-Dog, usually when she's doing something wrong.)  "Moon" had me stumped, however.  I immediately located the dog, who was happily working her rawhide bone, a few feet away from Loic's chair.  Ah, ha!  Perhaps moon = bone!  I said, "Yes, D-Dog is chewing her bone."  "Oh, Mommy, D-Dog moon!" he said again, louder, meaning I didn't get it right.  I looked around a bit, hoping & praying that he wasn't using "moon" for "poo" this morning (D-Dog has been known to have an occasional accident in the house), but that didn't seem to be it, either.  I repeated, "D-Dog IS chewing her bone, isn't she?"  Loic, clearly irritated, yells, "Mommmmy!  D-Dog moooon!"  I went over to him, and calmly said, "It's ok, Loic, D-Dog is fine, can you eat --" and suddenly realized the issue.  Moon=spoon.  Apparently dear D-Dog had taken Loic's spoon from his tray.  There it was, on the floor, licked clean.  The deed done, she'd moved on to her bone and left poor, frustrated Loic unable to finish his ut-eel.  

This certainly doesn't add to the humor of the situation, but for the record, I DID get Loic a new spoon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Difference between Boys & Girls

Warning:  Contains material some may consider x-rated.  I chalk it up to a child's innocence and curiosity.  Either way, if you don't appreciate body-part humor, read no further. 

Laurence was in the bath Sunday night and asks, "Mommy, tell me again why your peeps is inside out?"  Yes, we've discussed this subject once or twice, but the "inside-out" description is new!  I said, "Well, girls and boys have different parts, that's the way we're made."  He thought for a while and said, "And when girls grow up to be adults, they grow hair there, right?"  I explained that teenage boys & girls both grow hair there, and he wondered why.  "For protection," I said.  "Oh," he said, and paused, "and little boys & girls don't need protection because we wear underwear!"   

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Good nap, apparently.

Nothing seemed different when I heard the same sweet little voice calling "Mommy!  Mommy!" that I hear thru the monitor every afternoon at the conclusion of nap time.  It was like any other day.  

But I get upstairs, open the door, walk to the crib and find this ---> 
grinning up at me!  That's some of the best bed head I've ever seen, and I just had to share.

Besides, Loic needs a bit more representation here on "Eleven...Hello?!" don't you think?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Santa's Native Language

Out of the blue today Laurence asks, "What do they speak in Spain?"  I said, "They speak Spanish there."  "What about Brazil?" he asked.  "Their language is Portugese," I responded.  "Oh...well, what do they say at the North Pole?"  Oh boy!  I was about to say something about Santa speaking all of the languages, thinking if I didn't he'd ask how Santa reads all the kids' letters.  But then I thought that seemed too far-fetched for the big guy in the red suit.  So, just as I was about to say that Santa's elves are not only handy but speak a variety of languages and are very good interpreters, Laurence pipes up and says, "They say 'Ho, ho, ho!'"  Of course that's what they SAY!  Who could argue with that?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Keeping Up with Haley's Mom

Laurence goes to school on Thursdays and Fridays, Thursdays being "cold lunch" days, meaning I pack him a lunch.  I don't know what it is, but this is one task I'd rather not have to do.  But I do it anyway, and do it with love, of course.  When Laurence isn't watching I sneak a little treat in there -- a fruit roll-up, a couple of cookies, or something along those lines.  On the way home from school I always ask him if he ate all of his lunch because when he happily says, "I found a fruit roll-up in there!" (or whatever it was that day) it makes the dreaded lunch-making almost worthwhile.  Today it was some candy from his Easter basket.  I was anxious to hear his response to my usual question, but I never got the chance to ask.  We weren't even out of the parking lot at school when he said, "Mommy, can you pack a card in my lunch next week?"  "A card?  What do you mean?" I asked.  "A card that you write to remind me that you love me.  That's what Haley's mom does."  He continued, "I want one of those every week."  Ouch.  I guess Haley's mom truly knows how to pack a lunch with love.  Maybe this is my problem with packing lunches.  My approach has been all wrong.    

Saturday, April 11, 2009

His Gears were Turning

I was in the shower yesterday morning while Loic was happily playing in the Pack 'n Play in the bathroom.  Well, playing AND pooping, apparently.  Wow, can that boy stink up a room!  Anyway, I dried off, threw on some clothes, and called to Laurence to bring me a diaper from the living room.  I thanked him and said something like, "We should keep some diapers in here," then proceeded to change Loic.  While I was drying my hair Loic wandered in & out as usual, opening and closing the vanity drawers each time (also a daily occurrence - emptying the drawers, filling the drawers, emptying, filling, etc.).  I thought nothing of it until he said "Mommy!  Bipe!"  (That's what he calls diapers.)  I looked at him and he pointed, clearly pleased with himself, to the bottom drawer, now overflowing with size 5 Huggies Natural Fits.  Ah ha!  By "Mommy!  Bipe!" he meant, "Mommy, you told Laurence we should keep some diapers in here, so why don't we?  This drawer is the perfect spot, so I brought several from the living room to put in it."  Little minds amaze me.  Not only had he comprehended what I said to his brother, he had the problem-solving skills to come up with a solution and the follow-thru to act upon it.  I must say that I find his initiative rather inspiring.  Good work, Little Man.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Heard Over a Cup of Hot Chocolate

I keep telling people that Laurence can read, mostly to convince myself, I think.  I don't mean to brag, nor sound like a broken record.  It's just that I'm not at all used to this new skill.  No, not "new" skill.  Growing skill.  RAPIDLY growing skill.  When I hear him tackle a new word or use a rule he's just learned, I find myself at a loss for words.  And that's pretty rare -- me at a loss for words.  

Just this morning he was looking at the folder we got from the vet and read "My Important Documents" with no hesitation.  I looked over at him, mouth wide open, and could think of nothing to say.  I know I looked like a fool.  "WHAT, Mommy?" he asked.  "Did you just read 'My important documents?'" I replied.  He giggled and said, "Yes, but why are you looking at me that way?  That IS what it says."  Right.  Of course.  "Oh, I know.  I just forget that you can read such big words," I told him.  With that, he went to take another sip of his hot chocolate, but paused, looking thoughtfully at the mug he was holding.  "Duke Schedule Training...June 2007."  Perfect.  Right down to the non-American pronunciation of schedule.  (You know -- "sh" instead of "sk.")  OK, I'm convinced.  Laurence can read.

Friday, April 3, 2009

What is that, Velcro?

The boys have become fascinated with this little patch of woods between our house and one of the neighbors'.  I suppose these woods are technically IN our neighbor's yard, but who's getting technical?  I use the term "woods" rather loosely.  It's actually about 8 mature trees, planted very close together, with some dead bushes and brush underfoot, all surrounded by a border made up of some pretty good sized rocks.  The entire area is about the size of my living room, but to the boys, it's the woods.  Anyway, we were out there this afternoon -- I sitting on my favorite rock, the boys exploring.  It was chilly, so the boys had on cotton gloves, and Loic was sporting this great knit hat I got for myself in Switzerland, made of the softest yarn you can imagine (yes, this becomes important later).  I hear Loic's panicked little voice saying, "Mommmmy!  Mommmmy!" so I look around and can't see him -- he's behind one of the trees.  I stand up and he's standing there, a look of fear on his face, stuck to this dead-looking plant type thing that's covered in burrs.  The more he wiggles and tries to get free, the more burrs he acquires on his gloves and my hat!  I was so tempted to leave him there and run to the house to get my camera.  It was cute & pathetic, the combination of which always makes for some good pictures.  But, I resisted, pried him away from the burr-plant, and stripped him of his winter accessories.  I spent the next 15 minutes pulling burrs off of the gloves & hat, all while answering Laurence's never-ending questions about the annoying, prickly little suckers.  Those things are persistent!  And Laurence, too.

The whole episode reminded me of my first trip to visit Bill the summer after we started dating.  His parents live in the country with plenty of acreage on which the various dogs they had over years could explore to their hearts' content (yeah, they even had some real woods).  Anyway, their Irish Setter, Erin, ran up onto the porch one day covered in burrs.  She looked ridiculous, and I figured she was uncomfortable, so I painstakingly picked each and every one out of her hair.  She seemed grateful and laid down in the sun, letting me pet her for all of 5 minutes.  Then, up she got, ran off, and came back a few minutes later...covered in burrs.  I can only hope Loic has more sense than that darn Irish Setter.  I want no more burrs in my near future.

Interestingly enough, I looked up "burr" on Wikipedia just before starting this entry, to make sure I had my terminology right (no, the site doesn't refer to anything as the "dead-looking plant-type thing"), and learned that burrs were the inspiration for velcro.  

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Child's Sense of Time

Let me introduce you to our newest family member, Anderson's Silber Hund Fraulein Eimer.  That'll be her official AKC name, the registration and the "Anderson" being required by the breeder.  We'll call her "Eimer."  As we poured through about 75 names, Bill suggested "Bucket."  It was definitely high on the list, but we wanted something German, thus "Eimer," German for bucket.  Anderson's Silver Dog Miss Bucket.  Has a nice ring, don't you think?  

Eimer is a Weimaraner.  She was 10 weeks old on Sunday, the day we brought her home.  She is slowly getting used to her new pack & surroundings.  She has warmed up to me quickly, but is still a bit nervous with Bill, and certainly with Laurence & Loic.  She's quite unsure about these little people!  I am impressed with how they've been with her, though.  Soon the 3 of them will be best of friends.

By yesterday afternoon I could sense Laurence's frustration with Eimer still being unsure about him.  At one point he said, "Is she EVER going to like me?  She's already been here 3 weeks!"  I think it had been 19 hours since we walked thru the door.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Teeth (and Tomatoes)

Time for another rewind.  For whatever reason, there's been no fresh material around here for a few days.  Perhaps it's because I've been coming down with a cold and just don't see the humor in everyday life as much as I normally do, or perhaps 3 days of dreary, cold, damp weather has gotten the best of my boys and they are just not themselves.  Anyway, I know I could use a good laugh, so what better way than to re-tell one of my favorite, yet most embarrassing, moments as a mom.

Let me start by saying that Laurence talks a lot.  Nearly non-stop, and to the point where it exhausts me, almost daily.  Those of you that know him will not disagree.  Anyway, this particular day we were at a local grocery store, at the check-out.  Laurence had just turned 4.  I was emptying the groceries onto the conveyer belt and was enjoying a few rare moments in my own little world.  Something had caught Laurence's attention and rendered him speechless.  As I approached the little debit card machine my moment was over when Laurence announced, "Hmm, looks like SOMEBODY lost some teeth."  I look at him, then slowly turn and there she is.  The checkout lady, smiling a sweet, yet nearly toothless smile.  Oh good lord, what do I do?  Do I say anything?  Ignore him and risk him repeating himself?  Maybe she didn't hear him.  Yep, I'm going with that.  By this time I'm sure I'm every bit as red as the tomatoes I'm about to purchase, but I keep my cool.  "Where are your teeth?" Laurence suddenly blurts out.  I turn even more red.  "You were right," she replies.  "I did lose them."  Apparently he's satisfied with that answer, and the conversation ends.  Phew.  "Have a nice day!" I say as she hands me my receipt and we're already in motion.  At least I think that's what I said.  Who knows?  We got out of there before she could even respond.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Where Does He Learn These Things?

I had some left over supplies from a tissue paper flower craft I put together for our playgroup, and since Laurence doesn't get to participate very often in the things I plan (because of school), yesterday I asked him if he wanted to make one.  We worked together to create his masterpiece and then he said he wanted to make another one, just for Loic (awww, right?).  He did most of it on his own and then proudly presented it to his little brother.  Loic said "Dee do (thank you)" and walked around holding it for a while.  Then, like a normal almost-20-month-old, his curiosity got the best of him and Laurence caught him pulling off some of the tissue paper.  "Loic!" he exclaimed, "Don't do that!  I made that for you."  Sadder now, "Give it back to don't even deserve it."  

Have I said that?  When did I say that?  Must have been someone else.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Man in a Grey Car

The boys & I were waiting for Bill to come home tonite so we could go out to dinner and Laurence decided to watch out the window for him.  When he got to the window he said, "Hmm...Mommy what's that grey car doing in front of our house?"  I called from the other room, "What grey car?"  "That one, RIGHT in front of our house."  (I assume he was pointing.)  I went into the living room and there was a car parked across the street (not RIGHT in front of our house) and a man with a briefcase and in business casual dress got out and headed up the driveway opposite ours.  "Who's THAT?" he asked.  (Man, what about this situation was causing him such great concern?)  "Oh, he must just be visiting the neighbors," I said.  "I know!" Laurence declared.  "Maybe he's the health inspector!"  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Crazy English Language!

I am so proud!  Laurence's reading is really taking off.  He has always loved being read to, and there have been days when we've done it for hours on end.  Now he's able to read quite a bit on his own, and will read anything and everything he can  -- books, greeting cards, cereal boxes, street's amazing to see.  As his reading ability improves, I'm finding myself having to rack my brain for those long lost rules of reading.  He's caught on really well to the silent e making the vowel long, vowel blends, that tricky letter "r," some of the silent letters, and so on.  Others rules are a little tougher for him, such as "c" being hard at the beginning of a word but soft inside a word (unless followed by "k," of course!).  He often confused "c" and "s," and "b" and "d" -- common mistakes, I have to assume.  I have no idea if I'm teaching him the rules in the right order, or if there even is a right order.  I used to tutor a 50-year-old man when we lived in Illinois who was reading on a first grade level, but I remember very little about what to teach when.  My friend who's a kindergarten teacher encourages me and helps me work thru the snags, and also says I'm on the right track, so I'm grateful for that (thanks, Gina!).  

As much as I'm loving this, it's also reminding me how frustrating and complicated the English language is.  Once I work through a rule with Laurence, we almost inevitably stumble upon a word that just doesn't obey.  And he catches them...and challenges me!  The past few days we've been working on the "gh" sound ("ff") at the end of a word.  You know, "rough," "tough," "cough," (which doesn't rhyme, by the way).  Just this morning he was reading and came across "through."  He worked the complicated "thr" consonant blend just fine, and proceeded to follow our new rule, thus uttering "thruff."  See?  I rest my case.  I had to correct him and watch the pride on his face disappear, but encourage him all at the same time.  For once "just because" really did seem like the best answer to the question, "But why?"

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oooo, Bubbles!

I went into the bathroom this morning, followed closely behind by my 19-month-old shadow, Loic.  He kept himself busy while, I...kept MYSELF busy, when something suddenly caught his attention.  "Mommy!  Oooo, oooo, oooo!" he said enthusiastically, pointing at what seemed to me to be the wall just above the bathroom window.  "Oooo, oooo, oooo!" he continued, while I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was so fascinating.  "What do you see?" I asked.  "Oooo, oooo, oooo, bot moem lusg shomt....bubbles!"  He answered, clearly pleased that he'd gotten his point across.  Or had he?  Bubbles.  Hmm.  This was one of his first words, and has since carried multiple meanings.  For a while anything round was a "bubble," but for the last few months he has reserved the term exclusively for apples, pumpkins, and of course, bubbles.  I can honestly say there are no apples or pumpkins in our bathroom, nor anything that resembles either.  Bubbles are known to pop up from time to time, but certainly not this morning.  "Mommy, oooo, oooo, oooo -- bubbles!" again, this time waving his hand in the air like he was actually trying to catch or pop the bubbles.  I'm wondering if he's pretending.  That would be kind of cool!  Or hallucinating?  Not so cool.  When I stood up I looked one last time for the bubbles and then it happened!  I saw them, too.  They were teeny, tiny little things, but there they were, plain as the dust particles floating ever so bubble-like in the bright morning sunshine coming thru the window.  Thank you, little man, for helping me see dust in a whole new light.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oh, nuts!

If I had a dollar for every time I heard "I'm hunnnngry!" a rich woman I would be.  (Side note:  I'm including the times I hear "Eee, eee, eee!" which translates from Loic language to "I'm hungry.")  Today was no exception.  Loic ate almost non-stop all day, and Laurence started in as soon as we got in the car to come home from school.  Honestly, it's amazing we have any food in this house at all.   In case you're wondering, this post is not simply about the bottomless pits living in our home and how I sometimes wonder if I serve any purpose other than attempting to fill them, but it does feel good to talk about it.  I don't want to disappoint and not include a daily chuckle.

Laurence could barely get in the house fast enough to have a much-anticipated snack.  Much to his surprise, his beloved little bro found some almond rusk-type cookies from Italy in the cupboard today (from Bill's last trip to Europe, probably a year ago!).  "Mommy!  What are THOSE?" he asked when he saw them on the kitchen counter.  "Some kind of almond cookies," I respond, half expecting him to turn up his nose, because I honestly don't think they look the least bit appetizing.  Oh no, "I LOVE almond cookies!" he exclaimed.  So, he eagerly bit into one then promptly handed it to me.  "I can't eat this," he said, "I don't like walnuts."  Snack time was over.  Appetite ruined, apparently.  How the walnuts got into the almond cookies, I'll never know.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some Oldies but Goodies

Now that I'm off and running with this blog, and having so much fun with it, I really wish I had started this 5 years, 1 month and 11 days ago, when Laurence was born.  Or 18 months later when he started talking, perhaps.  Today I happened to stumble upon a few of things he has said in the past that I now remember jotting down in his baby book.  I believe my journaling was as a result of my sister-in-law's encouragement..."I sure hope you're writing these things down!" she's been known to say.  Apparently I followed her advice a few times (thanks, Mary!).  So, what better place to share them, but here.  

Let's back up to....November of '07.  Laurence would have been 2 months shy of 4 years old.  I'd made a trip to Victoria's Secret, THE only place to buy bras in my opinion.  OK, I know they're expensive, but totally worth it.  Like a really good pair of shoes.  I'm not one to splurge on clothing, unless it's for the feet or the girls.  Money is no obj -- oops, sorry, I digress.  Anyway, I must have been shopping without Laurence this particular day, which doesn't happen very often.  Later, at home, he saw the pretty pink bag and said, "What's in there, Mommy?"  "Just some clothes," I said.  Not satisfied he dipped into the bag when I was not looking and, pulling out my purchase, said, "Oh, I see you got some booby traps!"  Too good not to share, right?

Stay tuned for more re-runs.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Eat Up!

My 19-month-old is not a picky eater.  He'll eat anything you put in front of him, and then some. Well, except for Oreo Pudding, of course.  Why eat it when you can do this?

No, apparently he prefers to tempt his palate with more exotic flavors.  A bowl of New England Clam Chowder, for instance.  Chili's chips and salsa.  Perhaps some garlic pretzel crisps to dip in spicy queso dip - mmm, good.  Oh, and I can't forget last night when he insisted on trying some sauerkraut with his kielbasa and spaetzle.  His plate was empty and there wasn't a speck left on his face.  All this and fruits & veggies, too - if only all moms could be this lucky.  Bon appetit!

Poultry, or...?

I love misunderstandings.  Anytime, anywhere....take 7:30 this morning in my kitchen, for instance.  We were finishing up breakfast and Laurence says, "What's cock?"  My mind first went...oh, you know.  Anyway, I kept my composure and thought (hoped) this must be another "poultry" question (see my very first post - February 7th).  "A cock," I began, "is a man chick..." but was interrupted by Laurence, "Like glue or something?"  "Oh!" said I, "you mean 'caulk!'"  "Yeessss, caulk.  They said putting it on can be pretty messy, but you can buy 3 tools to keep it neat when you use it, AND you get a 4th tool to remove the old caulk....for free!"  Ah, yes.  The miracle 3-in-one caulk tool currently being advertised on the DIY network.  Have you seen the thing?  Every handyman should have one.  It's incredible.  Even Laurence thinks so.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

More about our President

Imagine my surprise when my sister-in-law informed me today that my niece asked her the very same question about Barack Obama that I posted yesterday!  (Well, except she said "Orock Obama", which is just too cute not to mention.)  My surprise quickly turned to disappointment -- clearly my boy did not come up with this question on his own.  Said sister-in-law explained that she believes the kids had both seen a segment on TV about this very topic.  Shoot.  And this after I asked him yesterday what made him think to ask about Obama's snoring, to which he responded, "I don't know, I was just wondering," in my eyes deeming his inquiry blog-worthy.  So, I asked Laurence again today, when I picked him up from school, and sure enough he managed to remember seeing some little ditty on Nick Jr. between Diego and some other show -- "The president in pajama's, what a sight!" and so on, concluding with the bit about snoring.  Oh well.  

In effort to take advantage of a teaching moment, and to test him as I've been known to do now and again, I asked, "Who is Barack Obama, Laurence?" and he says, matter-of-factly, "The President of the United States."  Onward we go, "And when did he become president?"  "On U-nauguration day....AND my birthday!"  (Yes, it's true!)  After a brief lull he asks, "What does that mean, 'President of the United States?'"  "Well, he is chosen to make very important decisions about all kinds of things, and he is the most powerful man in our country's government."  Laurence pondered this and rebutted, "But I thought God was the most powerful man in the government?"  Whew, now look what I started.  I think I'll wait until tomorrow to visit separation of church and state.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Key to a Successful Presidency?

I was heading up the stairs this morning, when Laurence says, "Wait, Mom......when Barack Obama sleeps does he snore?"  

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

According to Laurence

I found this little exercise floating around Facebook, and decided to post it here.  About halfway through me asking him the questions, Laurence says, "Mom, are you typing this on the website so everyone can see?"  I asked if that was ok with him, and he enthusiastically said, "YESSS!"  So, here goes....

1.  What is something mom always says to you?  I love you, too.
2.  What makes mom happy?  When I don't teach Loic bad stuff.
3.  What makes mom sad?  When I teach Loic bad stuff.
4.  How does your mom make you laugh?  By tickling me on my ticklish parts.
5.  What was your mom like as a child?  That's a hard question.  I wasn't even born then...I can't answer that question.
6.  How old is your mom?  37.
7.  How tall is your mom?  Can you stand up?  Ummm...(counting....)....14.
8.  What is her favorite thing to do?  Play games with me.
9.  What does your mom do when you're not around?  Plays with my brother.
10.  If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?  A famous cook.
11.  What is your mom really good at?  Typing.
12.  What is your mom not very good at?  Can YOU tell me something you're not good at?
13.  What does your mom do for a job?  You take care of me & Loic.
14.  What is your mom's favorite food?  Dumplings.
15.  What makes you proud of your mom?  Everything.
16.  If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?   The princess Shrek turned into an ogre.  Don't worry, she looked like an ogre, but she still had the crown & stuff.  I think everyone was afraid of Shrek and he felt alone, so he turned her into an ogre so he'd have a friend.
17.  What do you and your mom do together?  Lots of stuff, like sometimes we clean the house together and put away blankets.
18.  How are you and your mom the same?  Well, we're the same right now because we're both wearing blue & white Penn State shirts.
19.  How are you and your mom different?  God made us different.
20.  How do you know your mom loves you?  Because she just does.
21.  What does your mom like most about your dad?  That sometimes he cooks dinner.
22.  What is your mom's favorite place to go?  Target.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Rare Phenomenon

The boys & I ventured out to a playgroup dinner last evening, despite the rapidly accumulating snow and warnings of a major snowstorm hammering the area.  I was feeling the need to get out, and the house we were going to was pretty much a straight shot on one of the main roads.  Anyway, while eating dinner we experienced a brief thundersnow, which paled in comparison to most good springtime midwestern thunderstorms, but nevertheless caught us all off guard and sparked some interesting conversation.  One friend mentioned she had just heard how rare thundersnows are, with only something like 6 reported annually in the United States.  Laurence was pretty fascinated with all of this, but the concept of snow + lightening + thunder was clearly concerning him somewhat.   He talked about it quite a bit during the ride home, and as usual, he left me wishing I had more information stored up here (pointing to my head just now) on his current topic of fascination.  We made it home safely and were pleasantly surprised to find Bill waiting for us.  "Oooo, wait 'til Daddy hears..." he's saying, mostly to himself, as we pull in the driveway.  Bill greets us at the door and Laurence eagerly exclaims, "Daddy, guess what?  We just drove thru a blister!"  In total the storm left only about 6 or 7 inches of new snow, and I believe we only saw & heard 2 thunder/lightening episodes, but in our house, the Blister of February '09 will go down in history.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Definition of a...

Bedfish:  Any stuffed animal that is a sea creature, like Opitah the octopus or Bob the dolphin or a whale or anything like that, that you really like to take to bed with you.  (Example: "Opitah is my FAVorite bedfish!"  This is precisely the statement that prompted me to seek out the definition of this curious word.)  To be clear, bedfish is not to be confused with the similar term, "bedshell," which is a stuffed animal like a lobster or crab, but ONLY if you take them to bed every night.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Them Strawberries

I'd like to thank my eldest for today's post and eliminating my worry that it would be weeks before I'd have something worthy of sharing.  I should have known better!

The scene: snack time at our house.  Laurence is perched on his stool at the kitchen counter, drooling over the snack of choice, Multi Grain Cheerios.  He asks if we have some fruit to have cut up in his cereal, so I open the fridge and he spots the strawberries.  "I'd like some of them strawberries, please!"  I cringe.  Yikes.  I have taught him better than this, right?  My mind's working quickly, coming up with how best to correct him without allowing my blatant disappointment to show through.  As I turn I see his sly grin...."I know, THOSE strawberries.  Just kidding, Mom!"  Whew!  "Good one, Laurence," I say....wondering how I ever got this lucky.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Let's Start Off with a Bang!

Well, here it is.  My first official post.  Credit for this blog is due in huge part to my friends who enjoy reading my Facebook mini-blog, "Things that made me laugh today..."  So it seemed fitting to archive those posts here to get the ball rolling.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Laurence asks, "Mommy, why can't organic people eat candy & stuff?  Faith (a girl at his school) is organic, and she can eat fruit leather, but no REAL candy.  People that aren't organic can eat all kinds of candy and dessert and other bad stuff.  Why can't organic people?"

Saturday, Februrary 7, 2009
Yesterday on the way to school, Laurence was telling me that his teacher sometimes polls the students on their favorite things, for example carrots vs. peas.  Then he said, "We also talk about poultry.  What IS poultry?"  Seemed strange for a preschool discussion, but I said, "Chicken, turkey, duck, pheasant...any birds you eat."  He was quiet for a moment and said, hesistantly, "I don't really think that's what the teacher meant."  Another pause.  "You know, rhyming words and stuff."  Oh, POETRY.

Monday, February 2, 2009
Today's laugh is at my own expense, but I'll risk some snide comments to share my moment with you.  I was getting Laurence a bowl of cereal with blueberries and as I'm turning to the refrigerator he says, rather impatiently, "MILK PLEASE!"  To which I replied, "Just a minute, Laurence, I only have one hand!"  Of course he caught my error, and said, "Mommy, you have two."  I was glad I was facing the fridge -- it was easier to hide my embarrassed grin!

January 31, 2009
Laurence asked me to put his temporary dinosaur tattoo on him, and I reminded him, "Better let Daddy do it - he's better with those."  To which he replied, "Oh, right.  Because he's an engineer."

January 28, 2009
Studying a  box of raisins, Laurence declares, "Hey! Grapes plus warm sunshine equals Sunmaid Raisins!"

January 26, 2009
Laurence asked this morning, "Mommy, did God make stuffing?"  I started in about the ingredients in stuffing and where they come from and that God made plants, etc. when he interrupts and says, "You know, the stuffing in stuffed animals."  Duh, Mom.  Of course.

January 20, 2009
It has been so fun watching the inauguration with Laurence!  Had to share his reaction to Aretha's version of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" -- "Her voice is squeaky and sounds awful!"  Then, as the violinist starting playing "Air and Simple Gifts," he said, "Now THAT'S what I call a musician."

January 17, 2009
Laurence & I were discussing teeth -- when he'd get his next set of molars, when his first tooth would fall out, etc.  And finally it hit him, "So, the difference between baby teeth and permanent teeth is that you LOSE baby teeth, and you NEVER have trouble finding permanent teeth."

January 16, 2009
Laurence:  I can't hear Tyler very well when he whispers in my ear.
Me:  Do you ask him to speak up?
Laurence:  NO!  If he talks too loud I might get an ear confection!

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