Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The First Last!

Photos from the first and last days of kindergarten, and with the beloved Jan Hinkle, August 2009 - May 2010

Aidan's first last day of school was yesterday, and what an outstanding year it has been. What a whirlwind year it was, feeling like it was just yesterday when I tearfully put him on that big yellow bus. He has flourished and grown and blossomed and bloomed like a well-nurtured seedling. He is a full-fledged, above grade level reader; his addition and subtraction scores are on par with his peers; he throws out words like "observation" and "fantastic," and even modifies most of his verbs with adverbs. His teacher writes, "Aidan has had a great year all the way around, socially and academically. Aidan has mastered all of the kindergarten skills/concepts and is definitely ready for first grade. He has caught on quickly to addition and subtraction and has increased his fluency in reading. I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching Aidan this year. He is a delight!"

We celebrated his achievement with an ice cream sundae party...( made even more delightful by observing happy hour. Nothing says summer vacay like a cold pitcher of sangria and a great group of moms with whom to share it!)
Raising a glass, two scoops, and a cherry on top to Aidan Carter, First Grader - and all his buddies, too!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LICU update

We are so happy to report that Flat Cat is out of the LICU and is recovering beautifully. Skilled Senior Surgeon Susan was able to permanently attach a prosthetic pair of pants, which Flat Cat has molded and adapted to quite nicely. She removed a section of Flat Cat's leg and adhered it to her tail bone, effectively creating a gorgeous new tail. Leo took one look at Flat Cat, post-surgery, and announced, "Flat Cat! I love her!!!" All's well in the Land of Loveys.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Leo's Parrot, Goggle! (Aidan has Boy... Leo has Goggle!)

Leo introduced us to his imaginary friend - a parrot named Goggle. His parrot is in a cage and the cage is in California. The following is a transcript of Leo's narrative to me about his parrot:

When we go on an airplane to California we can go and see my parrot. He is so nice.

We can get some clay from Grandma's house and make a parrot out of it.

Do you know what? I have a parrot and he name was Blech and I put him in a cage and he got out of his cage. When he got out of his cage he also pooped. He also peed. He also did computer. He also picked the kitty up. He has arms! But his wings are his arms. He also draws some pictures and lays some eggs. You know how they do it? They just poop them out. They don't poop them out, they just go get some eggs and the baby parrots come out. The parrot doesn't poop out, he has one baby and he lays some different eggs and a baby parrot pops out.

And his brother and his mama - his mama is so big and he lives in a BIG cage, like THAT big. And his brother's name is Hair. And his mama's name is Bear. And there's also a Leo Parrot and an Aidan Parrot! Aidan Parrot and Leo Parrot also have a house, like this kind of house. They go up into their room and sometimes they do mean things to each other. They hit each other. Then they say sorry and then his brother tells on him. And then his mama puts her baby to sleep and Leo comes in and stays in and the mama tells Leo to go out - nicely. And sometimes I call her Bad Parrot Mom. There is also a Logan Parrot. Logan Parrot was playing outside. That's all the things.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vacuum:1 Lovey:0

Today, the unspeakable happened. Today, in the blink of an eye, Leo's beloved Flat Cat had the most unfortunate encounter with the vacuum cleaner. Unbeknownst to me, Flat Cat was taking a nap beneath the area rug in the boys' room. Before I even saw her, I heard a terrible noise and smelled a horrid stench of burned fur-- uh, rubber. Frantically, I switched off the vacuum cleaner and stared in horror at the yellow lump tangled up in the brush of the vacuum.
Upon closer inspection, I knew this scene was not for the faint of heart. Urgently I called out, "Jeff, I need you to come up here, alone." Mercifully, Leo was thoroughly engrossed in his Matchbox cars and didn't notice Jeff's departure nor the despair in my voice. "What have you done?" Jeff asked when he saw the carnage.

Deftly and skillfully, Jeff got straight to work. "Kelly Clamp," he requested, holding his hand out in anticipation. I slapped the clamps in his open palm, and he wasted no time. Flat Cat was in capable hands, that much was certain. Finally, finally, after agonizing minutes, she was freed from the vice-like grip of the vacuum. Nurse Jeff held his breath as he surveyed the damage.

In short - Flat Cat looked more like roadkill than ever before. His final assessment -she suffered third degree burns on approximately 20% of her body, with lateral lacerations in her lower back and abdomen. She is currently "para-tail-legic" meaning that her lower quadrant and her tail have suffered major trauma, yet her upper body and cute head remain perfectly intact. Luckily, Senior Surgeon Susan Seehaver will be making rounds tomorrow and is confident that much of the damage can be reversed, with a little help from some new fabric and a zippy sewing machine. (Please note - Senior Surgeon Susan has already provided cosmetic surgery to young Flat Cat, replacing old, cataract brown eyes with bright, happy pink ones. The two have a familiar, nearly filial affection for one another.)
After some gentle kisses, Nurse Jeff laid her in bed to rest as friends gathered to her bedside for comfort. And then, it was my job to break the news to poor Leo.
The boy took the news quite well, all things considered. He asked "Why did this not happen to Flat Lion?" and was very worried that he himself would get burned by Flat Cat. He would not hold her, yet gave her one small kiss on her head. I apologized profusely, and his tender, loving heart offered its forgiveness. (In all sincerity, I was quite struck by how forgiving Leo was in that moment, even when he was obviously distraught by Flat Cat's appearance. I felt so awful about it, I was near tears myself. His forgiveness was a lesson today.)
At the time of this posting, Flat Cat is resting and recovering in the LICU (Lovey ICU); the road to recovery is long, yet we're confident that better days are ahead (or rather, a tail, a back, and two legs....)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bedtime Ritual

On nights when Jeff is working, bedtime can be somewhat of a challenge. All three boys go to bed at about the same time, but getting Pax to sleep first is the key to a successful night. Cumulatively, I have spent hours and hours and hours (days? weeks? months?) trying my best to get Aidan and Leo to understand that they need to be quiet while I put Pax to bed, yet somehow the words "Please be quiet while I put Pax to bed" gets heard as "Be as noisy and boisterous and crazed as you possibly can." (Some nights, I think my efforts would be better spent convincing a herd of elephants to tiptoe through a library.)

Last night, I tiptoed out of Pax's room and was greeted by deafening.... silence. The door to the older boys' room was closed, and I heard... nothing. Holding my breath just a bit, nervous about what I might find, I slowly pushed the door open and discovered this:

Aidan was reading a book to his two baby dolls, which he had lovingly tucked under the covers, side by side. And Leo had his shirt up around his chin when I walked in, and his baby doll pressed firmly to his chest. "Go out!" he whispered. "I am feeding my baby!" Aidan looked over at me and said knowingly, "We are putting our babies to bed."

A most lovely end to what had been a not especially terrific day. I felt victorious in my efforts to have a quiet, peaceful bedtime. It worked!!.... for one night, at least.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quotable Quotes

Here are some of my most favorite recent quotes from Aidan and Leo:

Leo: I wuv [love] putting gasoline on my cheeks." (gasoline = vaseline
Aidan to Leo: Those used to be my pants, but they don't fit me anymore, so they're not mine. They're yours..... You're my little Goodwill.
Mom: Aidan, let me see your shiny penny face.

(Aidan, beaming up at me - )
A: Am I a polished penny? Because a polished penny is even better than a shiny penny.
Aidan to Grandma:
Grandma, let me wash my face and hands and then you can pull my tooth....
....and then I'll have a dollar and a hole in my head!
We were just getting ready to head outside after lunch for some bike riding -
Leo: Ooh, my belly hurts. It feels like... it feels like it needs to go bike riding!
(Discussing the location of a certain store)
Daddy: It's over by the Dollar Store.
Aidan: By the bank?
Daddy: No, the Dollar Store..... oh, I just got it, Aidan!
I recently got my hair highlighted. Leo was very intrigued by this and asked,
Mommy, where did you get your hair painted?

Later, he told Aidan that "Mommy has little hairs that are the same color as my hair." Aidan was thoroughly confused until he got home and saw me, and then I could see the lightbulb going off in his head....
Leo was studying this small chunky batman kid action doll that we have. He stared at it intently, then pointed at him and asked, "Um, is that a diaper?"
Aidan indignantly responded "No!"
Jeff went on to explain that all superheroes wear tight-fitting clothes because they can't let anything get in the way of rushing to someone's rescue. (I was fascinated to see where he was going with the whole tight fitting clothes thing.) He said,
"Look, even Daddy has Superhero pants like those. [he whips out a bright red pair of undies he wore with a Superman costume]. "
Leo: Ooh! Like Superwhy! Superwhy has those too! But why don't I have any?
Daddy: You will have some when you get bigger.
Leo: But I am bigger! I am!!
Aidan was silent through this discussion, but very impressed with Daddy's superhero pants.
We are all riding in the car together, on our way to get ice cream with Grandma and Grandpa.

Leo is talking to himself: There is a hair on my band-aid. Kind of like a camel. A camel has hair. I am a camel. I am a camel...

Aidan: (sigh) Mammal, Leo, it's MAmmal.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grace ful feet

As the seasons have changed and the warmth has settled in for good, I've seen a lot more bare feet these days. Discarded dirty socks litter the house - I find them under the dining room table; beside the front door; trapped in between the couch cushions - and I swear, the boy shoes around here reproduce on their own! But I do not like feet. I do not like getting pedicures; I do not like when other people's feet touch me; I think feet are ugly and smelly and rather gross. I have a bloodhound nose and can smell stinky feet a mile away. Admittedly, Pax has pretty cute feet - but even his feet get stinky at grimy!

My dad built an amazing new sandbox that sits on our deck. It is 16 square feet and holds about 500 pounds of sand. Inevitably, sand gets in every one of the boys' nooks and crannies - and between each and every toe. Without socks on, their feet sweat buckets in their shoes, and they somehow manage to collect a small garden's worth of dirt and mulch on their soles each time they venture outdoors. Their feet reek with the stench of dirty, sweaty, smelly boy.

I love the sandbox, I love the garden, but I do not love sand or dirt in my house, and I cannot stand the stench of their feet. And so I find myself doing a lot of foot washing these days.

I carefully carry each boy to the kitchen sink where I balance him on the edge of the counter. And I begin to wash his feet. I use the spray nozzle and many bubbles and gently clean each toe. I lather up the soles of his feet and his ankles and the tops and the sides and every bit of each boy's small feet. They both laugh and cackle and giggle because it tickles, because it's funny to have your feet in the kitchen sink, because it feels dangerous to teeter on the edge of the counter, because they are so close to me perched on the sink.

And I love it. I love to wash their feet, the symbolism, the humility, the grace of the foot washing. Of all the caretaking acts I provide, this one is my favorite, one that makes me pause and be grateful and love them even more as I wash their feet. I love them unconditionally and without fail, no matter what. I wash their feet.