Last year on Memorial Day weekend I spent Thursday and Friday nights in the Yale New Haven Hospital with Noodle as she was pumped full of antibiotics. I flashed back to that this Friday when I ended up in the ER, getting pumped full of fluids, pain killers, and something to relax my stomach muscles. The whole household seems to be feeling pretty puny: J picked up my GI bug (although he had a milder version and didn't get felled by dehydration) and the two kids are snot-nosed and tired. Hopefully we're all on the mend now, and to remember a year ago definitely puts colds and viruses into perspective.
Saturday we tried to take things easy, but still have enough activity that the kids would fall asleep when their heads hit the pillows. After an easy walk around downtown Essex, we stopped for ice cream, and I shared my scoop with Noodle. J has been trying (with some success) to teach her to say, "MMMMM" when she wants more of something. This was being reinforced very solidly with the ice cream- until I ran out. She got a bit upset. So J coached her on the "MMMMM" some more, giving her tastes of his. Which worked until he ran out. We tidied up as she voiced her protest, and buckled her into the stroller. She settled down a bit as we explained that it was all gone. Then she spotted the two teenage boys eating huge cones nearby. Pointing at them, she screeched, "THERE'S MORE!" in every way except actual words. Terribly funny.
She's actually starting to do this quite a bit. She points out when even complete strangers have something- anything- she doesn't have. It's obviously unfair. Her main desire is food, or drink, but she can get quite worked up about the car keys hanging in the kitchen. "THEY'RE RIGHT THERE! YOU'RE NOT USING THEM!"
Q is starting to fall into the 4 year old narration pattern of announcing every single detail of everything he's doing and seeing. It can be charming, albeit with some reservations, when he pops into our bedroom at 2:30 am to tell us he can see the moon through the window! But it can also be a bit exhausting when you've asked him three times to do a particular task and he's explaining instead what he is doing which is totally unrelated in excruciating detail. It'd be fascinating, except if he doesn't get his underwear and pants on in the next five minutes, the chances of getting him to preschool, and me to work, on time, are remote.
His favorite line currently is, "I like Noodle." He says this so many times each day that the phrase about 'doth protest too much' comes to mind. Except, most of the time, he really seems to like her. He shares with her, tries to play with her, giggles at her. He's a remarkably kind big brother. Fingers crossed.
Q is also in the delightful stage where he adores helping and (this is key) can actually help! He's practically desperate for me to make dinner in the evenings with the hope that he can help me. Tonight he was unable to sleep at bed time because he had one of his rare car naps. So we ordered groceries together, put the recycling into the bin and brought it out to the curb with the trash, cleaned up Noodle's exersaucer (she's too big for it, but has been delighted by the novelty of being placed in it lately), and as I cleaned the kitty litter he supervised and discussed the delicate distinction between kitty puke and kitty poop .
The key to finding ways he can help is to remember: No Task Is Too Small. "Could you throw this in the trash for me please?" "Can you put this washcloth in the hamper in Noodle's room please?" The main difficulty lies in thinking ahead to the next small task and having it ready for his return. Otherwise I end up asking him to use sophisticated tools with mixed results. The salad spinner and grater were successes, but the peeler incident resulted in blood and bandaids, and a tragic waste of parmesan...