Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama Mama

Given that Leo's highest frequency word is "Mama!!!" we decided that, with just a little bit of shaping we might mold that into "Obama!" Lately, it has sounded more like "Oh.... MAMA!!!" On the other hand, I can't say I mind hearing him practice over and over: Jeff or Aidan will prompt him with "Leo! Say President...." and Leo says "OH... MAMA!!" I could get used to being President around here.

I Will Survive....

If I had to choose a theme song for myself right now, it would be "I Will Survive...." More specifically, I will survive Aidan's year of being the big F word....four. I always used to say that I was going to take the year off of parenting when he turned four.... What a challenge! As my wise friends and family members who have already survived at least one child get through age four tell me, the characteristics that drive me the most crazy now will be the ones that are his strongest attributes in adulthood. So far, Aidan is promising to be one amazing adult.

As far as career paths go, he's got a million potential leads: an architect or builder, for the millions of things he creates out of everything from tiny scraps of paper to bottlecaps to any kind of string or rope... (Did I mention his unwillingness to clean up or - gasp - throw away ANY of this?) He'd make a famously good negotiator, never, ever taking no for an answer, not the first time, at least. (Or really, the second time either). He'd be a terrific defense attorney, deftly manuvering the evidence to look like perhaps Leo did it, or at the very least, Aidan did not do it. A masterful sound effects technician, maybe, given all the very loud, very ear-piercing, very accurate imitations of tools like circular saws, ambulances, smoke detectors, and drills he performs regularly. He'd be a terrific overseer of a landfill, as he likes to dump absolutely every toy bin he has in his room onto the floor, then play "trash compactor." He might get fired from this job, though, because the landfill might never get smaller, just bigger. I know, quite sincerely, that he would make an excellent teacher. For as many of the bad habits or mischevious behaviors he has taught Leo (showing chewed up food on his tongue, spitting his water on the floor or his shirt, running away whenever I try to help him get dressed, running away any time I want him) Aidan has also taught, and is teaching, some of their most admirable and cherished habits and behaviors: carrying dishes to the sink; cleaning up spills of water; reading books together; showing their affection through unprompted, unasked for- hugs and kisses; sharing lots and lots of laughter and kindness, delivering each other's cups of water or loveys whenever one happens to find the other's.

Most days, I feel both unbelievably tired of the daily struggles and challenges of raising children, and unbelievably blessed and lucky and happy and proud to be Mom. I suddenly realized on our walk this morning that this is truly the last year that Aidan and I have together, spending most of our waking moments with each other, before he treks off to Kindergarten next fall. What has seemed like such a distant and remote chapter in our shared lives, that of Aidan heading off to school, is suddenly on the horizon. And I am bound and determined that, despite Aidan being four, we are going to have an amazing year, along with Mister Leo, for whom kindergarten is decades and decades away!!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Second child syndrome

.... and, of course, in the interest of fairness, a Leo story:

At the time of Leo's 18 month check up, he had very few words, spoken or signed. Because Aidan had such a vast vocabulary at this age (30+ words and signs) the doctor was not concerned exactly, but just a little cautious about monitoring Leo closely to make sure that he was developing a rich vocabulary as well. He suggested we might want to have L evaluated down the road if there wasn't a big change in the next few months. Hearing all of this, Jeff put Leo on a "crash course" of signing, and low and behold, a mere month or so later, Leo is fully communicative with the following words and signs:

cat, dog, woof, meow, more, thank you, blanket, pacifier, baby, ball, apple, eat, drink, all done, bye-bye, Mama, Dada, Grandma, ("Ama!") Grandpa ("Bumpa!") book, fish, light, stars, moon, bib, bath, bird, plus a variety of great animal noises, and his pretend talk: "Gapta gapta gapta gapta gapta!"
So take THAT, Mister Pediatrician [who I really adore]! No Second Child Syndrome going on here.....

From the mouthes of babes

A few of my favorite quotable quotes:

Aidan to Grandma: Is that the couch?
G: No, Aidan, that's the loveseat. You sit on the loveseat with someone you love.
[a short time later]
A: Grandma, can you put Leo up on the loving couch with me?

[looking at a newly found puppet of Shakespeare]
Aidan: we haven't seen this guy in awhile! What's his name?
Mom: Shakespeare.
A: Shake beer? Why does he shake the beer?

[In the car, Mom muttering a bit too loudly at the person who tried to sideswipe us]
Mom: You dumbass, watch out!
Aidan: Mommy, why did you call that person a dumbass?
M: [silence]
A: [louder this time] Mom, why did you call that person a dumbass?
M: [silence, louder silence this time]
A: You shouldn't have called that person a dumbass, Mommy. You should not call people names.
M: You're absolutely right, Aidan.


Aidan, getting ready to go on his first golfing adventure, shows me the clubs in his bag:
"This is my putter. And these are my Tigers!" [he meant his woods]


Daddy and Leo, practicing (animal) noises
D: What does a dog say?
L: Woof!
D: What does a dinosaur say?
L: Raaaarrrr!!!
D: What does Aidan say?
L: Mama!
D: What does Leo say?
L: Mama!
D: What does Daddy say?
L: Raaaarrrr!!!!!!! (then grins from ear to ear)

My Knightgown in shining armor

So of course I must begin with the Aidan anecdote of the week. Yesterday we were outside, Aidan deep in his pretending as usual. He says to me, "Okay, I am Mr. King......." (he comes over and shakes my hand. "Nice to meet you," he says.) "I am also a knight...... Here I am in my crumbly tumbly tower" [quoting literature, here - he loves the book Good Night, Good Knight, and the "crumbly tumbly tower" comes directly from that. He is an English teacher's dream! but I digress...] Then he says, "Mommy, you are my page. And Leo, you are my knightgown." [nightgown]. Stifling my laughter, I say, "Aidan, Leo is your what?" And he repeats, rather indignantly [you idiot, didn't you hear me the first time??] "Leo is my KNIGHTGOWN." No clue how adorable and funny this is, making it that much more adorable and funny.

Checking it off the list....

First of all, I've had "start blog" on my to-do list for at least two months now. It stares at me in the face, taunting me, the way it is flanked by "add Christmas photos to album" and "set up 529 for kids".... three tasks that seem utterly overwhelming, day after day. But I am determined to Do It All. And so it begins. I've missed a million adorable stories I wish I had recorded (online, at least) but there's no time like the present, right? Carpe Diem. (Spell that one wrong and you'll have to seize the carp instead. ... okay, not really......) And the photo has absolutely nothing to do with this post. Except that I love the picture, and I really love this handsome King of the Literacy Farm!