Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Adult friend of family says to Q, "I think you're the apple of your grandma's eye."
Q replies: "Yeah, I think it's my super power."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hide and Seek

As I sat down to carve out a little time to myself while the kids played happily together, I was quickly disillusioned.

"Mom? Can you play hide and seek with us? Could you hide with Noodle and seek with Noodle?" Two hopeful faces looked up at me.


Noodle and I sit down to count. "1,2,3,4,5...11,15,13,18,19..." I see the first problem.

We go to seek out Q and find him hidden where he'd been hiding not 5 minutes before. Well, that should make things faster.

Now Q counts.

Noodle persuades me to carry her. We hide behind my bed.

Q enters the room. I put my finger over my lips. Noodle calls out, "Here we are!"

Both kids collapse into giggles.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Glorious Moment

Today as I drove the exhausted Noodle home from lunch with in-laws and friends, she has the nerve to start whining.

You have to understand that I don't believe any child who has a lollypop in their mouth has any right whining.

I explained to Noodle that I cannot understand her, and add the above statement.

There is a little pause.

Noodle very politely uses her best Not Whining voice, "Um, Excuse Me?... I want a blue one."

Although I went on to explain that, again, a) she's fine and b) even if she weren't fine, I do not have a blue lollypop, I relished the moment. The phrase, "Um, Excuse Me?" is pure Q, substantiating my theory that if I can drill manners into Kid 1, my chances of Kid 2 simply absorbing them is excellent.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Child's Christmas in Chester

It's traditional in my family to gripe about Christmas: decorating, cleaning, shopping, baking, gift-giving.

Since Q became large enough to have an inkling of what was going on, I have grown decreasingly prone to gripe. He loves it so... So much that when people casually offer me their leftover Christmas decorations, I actually agree cheerfully to take them. Each layer of sentimental adornment on our home escalates Q's pure delight. And how can you resist that?

I realized the other night that in addition to a fairly ridiculous accumulation of decorations hanging heavy on the boughs of our home (Thank you by the way! They look great!), we have an unacknowledged tradition which is entirely my husband's brain child. Since J is being dragged with loud cries of protest into holiday cheer, it was a bit of a surprise when I realized what has developed.

A few years ago, J had a cool idea to recreate a feather Christmas trees (see: Feather Christmas Trees) out of, essentially, sticks with lights strung around them. We stuck it into a large can filled with rocks. My description cannot do it justice.

The next year, J was dissatisfied with simply restoring the little tree to its place in the living room. Much to my disapproval, he disassembled it, and the Frankenstein Tree was restored as a flat Christmas tree to hang on the wall. Cute. No, really. And less work than trying to keep the Feather Tree upright.

This year, J enlisted Q's assistance and they abandoned the sticks altogether.

I think you can see our living room from a block away. And I'm not griping at all.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I had lost the faith

but I did it. I would weep for joy, but I think I'll go to bed instead.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Apologies to anyone who uses this blog to get their fix on Q and Noodle. I'm trying to finish Nanowrimo this month and blogging is definitely not a good excuse nor a good distraction when I'm ignoring my writing obligations.

That said, the children have some science facts to share.

Q on 11/22/09: "Coprolites are what Scientologists call poop."

Noodle on 11/20/09: "Baby ducklings are made of...duckling."

Photos and commentary will be back in December.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Last spring, the kids and I were inspired by Tracy Kane's book, "Fairy Houses Everywhere" to create our own little fairy house in the backyard. Although the activity was just one afternoon, the kids had a blast and the house remained, more or less, intact for the rest of the summer.

This fall, we had some terrific luck when the Florence Griswold Museum did an exhibit on Fairy Houses. I wasn't fast enough to get Q signed up for one of their classes on making fairy houses, but Grandma did score us a "Twinkling Twilight Firefly Tour" - an evening tour of the fairy houses.

When Noodle saw our tour guide, her eyes widened. He was a slim man, dressed entirely in black, with black wings. Henceforth she referred to him adoringly as 'The Butterfly Guy' or 'The Fairy Guy.'

Our tour started at 5:30, in the pouring rain. We were in the midst of a cold snap that had dropped the temperature to 35 degrees. The children happily tromped behind the guide, who explained which fairies lived in which houses, and pointed out special features of each. The grown ups whimpered and wished for snow rather than rain.

The next week the temperatures soared into the 50s and we returned with J and discovered that the twilight tour had, by necessity of time, skipped more than half of the houses. An hour and a half wasn't enough time.

The fairy house tour, complete with a 'Do It Yourself' area, whetted Q and J's appetite for architecture and last week they built a loftier fairy house on the foundation of the previous house in our backyard.

As we left home the next day, Noodle pointed to a pile of leaves in the street, "There's a fairy house!"

Monday, October 12, 2009


After a busy weekend with late bedtimes, Noodle is struggling to fall asleep tonight. Even after Q fell asleep, we can hear her chatting away to herself, getting rowdier and rowdier.

I go upstairs to turn off the doggie light and try to settle her down again.

"I want to sleep in your bed!" She claims.

This is highly unlikely. But she's loud enough that I'm concerned she'll wake up Q. I pick her up, turn off most of the lights, and lie down with her in my bed.

She snuggles, just barely wriggling her feet, rolls over. She breathes rapidly and loudly through her pacifier, holding her breath when the furnace kicks in, then breathing regularly again.

We lie companionably for a while. Then she murmurs something. "What?"

"Gook is painting the leaves yellow tonight."

"Gook is painting the leaves yellow?" I ask. Gook is the first imaginary friend to last more than a few hours. Noodle constantly changes her own identity: Dora, Mop, Diego, Boots, Tinkerbell. But Gook seems to be lasting several weeks now.

As if sensing my thoughts, Noodle says, "Gook is Real!"

"Gook is real." I repeat as I carry her back to bed. "Gook is painting the leaves yellow tonight?"

"Gook is painting the leaves yellow tonight."

I kiss her cheek and imagine her dreams filled with fairies.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Call it what it is

I say to Noodle, "Please stop yelling at me."

She pouts. "Not yelling. It's whining."

Friday, October 02, 2009


In a recent post I mentioned that Q got his first library card. What I don't think I touched on was how Q developed a happy little scheme to go with his library card.

Perhaps two weeks ago, Q asks me if Someday we could go to the place where they make cards and get him a library card. "Absolutely." I replied, "Did you know that the place where you get a library card is actually the library? And I think that now that you are 5 years old, you are probably old enough to have your own library card?"

Q is all over this. When we go to get his card, he gets very specific. "Can I put my library card on a key chain?"

Our particular library does not make the small bar code cards that fit on your key chain, so I have to think about this. We agree to ask Miss Linda if we can punch a hole in his library card so he can put it on a key chain. Miss Linda not only agrees, but actually punches a hole for us. Librarians are very helpful.

Q then asks if we can go downtown and get him a keychain. I have a gift certificate, so we head down. He picks out one that is obviously a Halloween themed key chain with a mummy like character (name on the tag is Charlie Ribs, since you can see little wire ribs) with a tiny bell that gives the key chain a happy jingle. Q is thrilled.

The next day Q earned his first token for running and walking. The tokens have a small hole, so he can add it to his key chain.

Last week, Q received a 'Fancy Nancy Treasure Box' from a kind friend. It includes a tiny portrait of Fancy Nancy ready to be made into a pin or necklace. This too is added to the key chain on a safety pin.

Thursday Q comes home from school with FOUR! new tokens for all the running and walking he's done. He's thrilled and manages to lose one before we get home from Grandma's house. After we relocate it, these four get added to the key chain concoction as well.

When I suggest he will need a larger ring for all his tokens, he steals one from my strainer ("I thought you could hang it by the handle instead." He justified.) and loops it through the whole tangle of charms. He hooks it on his shorts, which immediately drop below his knees. The accoutrements of increasing responsibility.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

If You Pee Pee on the Potty, Say "Hooray!"

Noodle has developed a new fun game for naptime and bedtime: strip the diaper.

Sometimes we find her naked. Sometimes she gets stealthy and puts her pants back on, so a quick glance implies she is still diapered.

After a few full bedding changes, we decided that pleading with her to "PLEASE keep your diaper on!" was not working effectively enough and started duct taping her into her diaper. I believe that, with effort, she might be able to get duct taped diapers off, but not when sleepy.

However this implies that she doesn't like having a diaper so much, so we're working on potty training. With absolutely no success. I'm thinking that she's not really interested, she simply wants to take off her diaper. But nonetheless, we've got the little potty set up in the hallway for what is evidently entertainment purposes.

Last night I put her into the bath, only to have her being crying, "I want to sit on the potty!" Okay.

So she sits naked on the potty and I sit next to her and read the entire book of potty songs. Or sing, rather. Then 'The Carrot Seed.' Followed by 'One Sea Horse.' She gets excited at one point and says, "I pooped!" Sadly, no. On to bath time.

After the kids are in bed, J says to me, with all the sentimental fondness of a parent realizing how fast their child is growing up, "I can't believe Noodle is potty training."

I begin to laugh.

"She's not."

This evening Noodle spent another 20 minutes on the potty as I read to her, hoping in vain for success. Poor child.

Monday, September 21, 2009

"Feelin' Good Mileage Club"

Last week Q came home with a letter from the PE teacher. Nearly every day brings letters from school, which is bringing out my bad attitude (which is weird, I was totally conforming as a student). But this one caught my interest.

The PE teacher is keeping track of laps done at school. Any mileage of walking, jogging, running or biking done at home can be reported as well. After a certain distance, the kids earn a "colored toe token" (which Q corrects me, "No! It's a TOE-KEN."). All students can earn a "marathon token" after completing 26.2 miles. Ongoing until June 15.

So Wednesday, when I received the notice, I suggest we take action on this and go for a walk. Q walked a whole mile (of a 1.7 mile loop, where's my token?). Kindergartners earn a toe token for each mile. I sent in the note, and he received the first token (Of the class? of the school? it's difficult to get any information out of said kindergartner.) The token joined his library card on his key chain.

Now I'm getting ambitious on his behalf. Saturday there was a local 5k, and beforehand there was a 1 mile fun run. At least one other 5 year old did the fun run, so I realized that perhaps with a little preparation, Q might enjoy running the fun run next year. (The mother of the other 5 year old confided that there was whining all through the race.)

But after my less than stellar performance, someone asked if I was planning another road race soon. I hadn't really been - although I'd like to run the 5 mile race on Thanksgiving - however I take a look and in October there's a race in Higganum, the next town over. And ooooooh! There's a 1/2 mile fun run for kids!

I ask Q if he's interested. Oh yes.

So today we went for our first training run together. After trying the high school track (soccer practice) we end up at the nice ash path at an Essex park. Q is certain he'll be very sweaty, so he didn't bring his shirt with him. We have water bottles and my watch. I'm all but certain that one lap is .25 miles, so we set off.

Q laughed, almost all the way around the lap. Which he finished in a quite respectable 2:10.

I was starting to doubt that it was actually .25 miles, except then he had to walk a good bit of the next lap. (Mind you we're stopping to swig water and boast after each lap.) And he walked a good bit of the third lap, all of the fourth, and some of the fifth. A mile took about 13 minutes or so, but the kid did a very respectable 1.25 miles and giggled a large percent of that.

And when he was walking, he strutted, bare chest thrust out with pride.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Tantrum, The Thinker and Clothes

Yesterday all the kindergarten stress came to a head. I thought it would be lovely if we all walked Q to school. And it was lovely. Noodle was in the stroller, we looked at the excavator digging up the water main, we held hands crossing the street.

But then when it was time to leave his backpack and go play, Q didn't want to. And he didn't want to stand with his friends who were standing near the backpacks. When I tried to detach and leave, he clung to my side. I didn't think it was really a problem until we got serious about leaving and he started to wail about staying with me. J took Noodle and walked away and I kept trying to walk away, reassuring him, 'Today after school, we'll go get your library card and we'll make scones.' He was not interested, he wanted to stay with me. I explained that I was going to work. He needed to go to school. I would see him in a few hours. Finally managed (luckily a kindergarten aide was there) to peel him off of me and walk away. He was crying/screaming so loud I could hear him ALL THE WAY HOME. A disadvantage of living close to the school.

They called about 5 minutes later. They'd gotten him into the building, and had taken him to someone's office (the counselor?) and were trying to calm him down with no luck. They asked me what our afternoon plans were so they could reiterate them with him, tried to put me on speaker phone, he covered his ears rather than listen, finally they told me they'd let me know how they made out and we hung up. I guess they managed to get him calmed down and the principal talked to him about the touch a truck event and then walked him to class. They gave me a call to tell me he seemed to be reintegratng just fine...

When I asked later what was up with that, he responded in a fragile voice that he wanted to be with me. I nicely let him know that sometimes I need to be at work and he needs to go to school and that we'll always come back together later. And then I doted on him for ages, taking him to get his library card, and a key chain to hang it on (he'd spotted it earlier at lunch with J who took refuge downtown because we had no water from 9 to 1), cookies and cash and then walked back up the hill. That seemed to be enough because then he went off to play happily by himself rather than helping me with scones (which I think he would've done if he was still feeling fragile).

It's good that he acts out once in a while so that I know he can, but wow.

Other recent stories:

Recently the kids have been allowed to play in the cars, pretending to drive, turning all the buttons and switches and creating havoc. Our motivation is to keep the kids outside where we can watch them, without having to constantly chase them, so that we (and by we, I mostly mean J) can work on painting the house.

After a few of these play sessions, I realized that they were trading jobs. One would be the Driver and the other would be the 'Thinker'. The Thinker is the person sitting in the front passenger seat - perhaps a version of Navigator?

Pulling away from the house with Noodle this morning, she softly says, "Daddy not in Thinker seat."

This morning Noodle was a riot of colors. She wanted to wear her Elmo shirt - a bright red shirt with a pencil drawing of Elmo from Sesame Street. I opened the shorts drawer to grab a pair of jeans and she spots her 'cousin's pants' - bright orange shorts. It was a little cool, so she selected a lavender sweatshirt with a lobster on it and pairs it with her rain boots, which are dark blue with pink ducks. And a brilliant yellow hat. I managed not to giggle hysterically.

But the boots are causing some problems. As I'm shutting the fridge door, she makes an unexpected rush for her sippy cup, trips and bangs her head. When I suggest that her rain boots are tripping her, she is outraged. "No! They're perfect!"

She did, however, concede that they were on the wrong feet.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Self indulgent post

I walked in to get Noodle after her nap.

"It's you! You came back! You came back!"

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Second Week of School

I walked Q to school today and I'm getting ready to leave him. I ask, "You all set?"


I squat down, "What do you need?"


"I asked if you were all set. That means 'Do you need anything?' If you don't you say, yes. If you need something, let me know... So, are you all set?"

"No." He shakes his head firmly.

"What do you need?"

"A hug." He grins at me.

Then he went to look at the stray lamb.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

More from the First Week of the Rest of Kindergarten

Q seems to enjoy kindergarten just fine. It's hard to peel any information out of him, but that's nothing new.

Today at dinner, I attempted to stimulate conversation. "What was your favorite part of today? Mine was walking with you guys and Daddy to take Q to kindergarten."

Q responded, "I think: kindergarten on the playscape."

I turn to Noodle and ask her for her favorite part of her day.

She replies, "You guys. Come back."

The girl is darn good.

Other amusing lines from today included Q: "Mom, when I grow up I'm going to marry Jack." ("If that's okay with Jack," I replied.)

Noodle in the back garden: "Here worm. I cover you up." She pushes mulch gently onto one of the dozens of worms writhing as they're uncovered by my weeding.

After dinner, complete with ice cream, I attempt to go for a walk with the kids, up the hill and back. Our usual evening walk when we are being usual. Q first tries to defer us to the climber, which I'm tempted by, since he's really, really wired. However, I have this idea he'll run more if we go up the hill, so I persist. Q runs ahead, and then runs back to us. Rinse, repeat. This becomes a problem because Noodle is a genius mimic and when he runs back down the hill, Noodle turns around and runs back down the hill herself. She can run downhill at least twice as fast as she goes uphill, so we're making no progress at all.

Finally I give in and abort the whole mission.

Q throws a tantrum. I take Noodle by the hand and lead her inside as he follows us screaming. I realize that despite the earlier poopy diaper, Noodle is poopy. Q continues to scream and kick, sitting down to get a good momentum going. I take off Noodle's boots and carry her upstairs. Q follows us, putting full lung capacity to use. I begin to change Noodle's diaper. Q screams more.

Finally I tell him I'd like him to go to my room please. This is not a time out. This is because he's totally out of control and needs to be by himself. But he's out of control, so he's not about to follow instructions. I ask Noodle to stay put on the changing table, walk over and pick up Q. I carry him to my bed and shut the door.

Noodle and I finish the diaper catastrophe. (Really I should know better than to give her blueberries, but she loves them so...) I put her in the bath, scrub her up, listen to the faint sounds of Q screaming, wash her hair, and leave her to play while I find a copy of 'Winnie the Pooh'.

I walk into my bedroom and Q is buried under the covers, screaming, "I DON'T WANT TO!!!"

I sit down on the other side of the bed and begin to read aloud. Within five seconds, Q is snuggled up next to me, listening.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Real First Day of Kindergarten

Not just the 'Try It' Day, as Q referred to the visiting day last week.

Q was thrilled. He woke up early and cheerful and wanted to get started on the day right away. He fed the cats, picked out a photo to use for Show and Tell from summer, ate breakfast fast, got dressed quickly, chattering the whole time.

The feedback I've managed to squeeze out after the event was that they had Art, which he enjoyed (crayons, not paint) and the teacher read at least one sign to them. (Indications from his book bag are that he had at least one book as well, but he seems to have no recollection of that.) In addition to his usual friends, he remembers at least one other child, who was in preschool with him last year, but in a different class.

He's willing to go back tomorrow, so overall, I'd say a solid success.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Not Quite Q's First Day of Kindergarten

Q has seemed entirely confident about kindergarten. Why not? He had a grand time in preschool. He'll be with a handful of friends. The school is walking distance from home. He's visited the classroom, read books, tried on his backpack. What more would a kindergartner do to prepare?

Except...well, he isn't sleeping that well. He's been in our room, usually on the spare bed, a lot lately. Last night, he talked his way into our bed, tucked between us. Once there, he explained his bad dream, "There was a motor boat! And no one was driving it!"

A gem.

Later in the wee hours he mumbled to me that we need to clean the living room so that we won't trip on things when it's time to go to kindergarten.

Perhaps, just perhaps, he's a little worried.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Q as the 'Telegram Man'

I wish I knew who played 'Cheesy'. This makes me laugh and laugh.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Big Day

I have no idea how to rotate or edit videos. My apologies. That is Q singing his solo from Music Theater Camp. He chose the song ("Two of Us" by the Beatles) and no one seems to hear the same song he does. You'll have to crank the sound way up.

I expected to have a blog entry about how funny and sweet the performance was yesterday (and it was). But the cough that I attributed to a summer cold, and which woke him (and us) early Friday morning with unrelenting hacking turned into a disturbing wheeze in the afternoon. J took them to the pediatrician, then for x-rays at the clinic, then back to the pediatrician and then the pharmacy.

When I got home everyone seemed fine, although a bit jazzed up from all the excitement. The tip off for how stressed Q is physically was that he took a nap, at 5 pm.

J and I left him in Grandma's capable hands, and returned to her looking a bit distressed. Once I sat with him, I understood why. His wheezing sounds like a fireplace bellow. Noisy, shallow, quick breaths. Since he'd taken a late nap, he needed to burn off mental energy, but had no physical energy. We watched the dance routines from an episode of 'So You Think You Can Dance' (cheesy title, great dancing). Q was impressed and asked if he could be on that show some day.

J dosed him with more inhalants and he is considerably better today. The cough is still there. We're still in managing breathing crisis mode for a while. I'm kind of freaked out (especially about the inhalers, which I will need to do solo with Q this evening), but I'm relieved that Q is markedly better. Hopefully since this is the first distinct asthmatic incident, we'll learn how to manage it before school starts.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Assortment of snippets

Q pet Savannah (the cat) as she balanced on the arm of the glider rocker the other day. "Cats snuggle to say I love you." He informs me. "They have to snuggle because they don't have words. But we have words."

I picked up a bunch of jammies for the kids yesterday. I indulged and got Noodle a 3 piece jammie outfit that includes a tutu. Seriously. Much to my bemusement, the jammies she excitedly chose for last night were the 'car jammies'. Girly, but lots of little cars on them. Cracked me up.

They didn't have many summer jammies for boys, so Q's selection was more limited. (I picked up some for next fall.) He chose to wear the hand me downs left by his cousin. Very sweet.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

"When I grow up..."

Driving home from the library today, Q starts a sentence, "Mommy? When I grow up-"

Q's voice drops. Preparing myself for something I might need to pay close attention to, I quickly roll up the windows to listen.

"...when I grow up, I'm going to wear a pencil behind my ear so I'll always have a pencil when I want to draw something."

Thank goodness. "That seems handy."


I continue driving.

"And mom? When I grow up, I'm going to marry you."


"I love you too."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Birthday Ruminations

One of the ways in which our slacker parenting style comes out is that we'd rather not do high stakes parties with all the preschool friends and outside friends complete with games and party favors and headaches. I'm sure if we were good parents we'd do this. I just can't drum up any enthusiasm for it at all.

What we did instead was an Adventure. Q has been asking to go to New York City for months. It's less than 2 hours away, so it seems like a reasonable request. But we don't have any real reason to go - other than his little heart's desire. So we planned out a day in New York City: Train, subway, Museum of Natural History, Central Park, back again. In some ways it feels so wasteful. There is so much you can do in the city that to keep to so small an itinerary seems a shame. But more than this would overwhelm all three of us.

So Sunday we left Noodle with Grandma and had an Adventure in the city.

All day long his delight warmed my heart. Entering Grand Central Station, he looked up, awed. "Wow. This is beautiful."

He seemed to enjoy the museum and the dinosaurs, but when you can't yet read much and your grasp on evolution is nonexistent, the museum has a hard time holding your attention. After two hours, he was begging to go to Central Park.

Park means something different to Q. Park means 'playground'. He loved climbing the huge rock we found almost immediately outside the museum, but it took us about twenty minutes of walking to get to the playscape.

On the way he waved to park employees in a small electric vehicle. I heard him say, "Hi!" and looked over to see he was greeting pigeons. We passed a long row of benches with people sitting and Q carefully looked in everyone's face. A bald, older black man stared right back at him, then twitched his eyebrows up and down rapidly, keeping his expression deadpan. Q showed no immediate reaction, but when I cracked up, the man twitched at me as well, a corner of his mouth curling up. Another man simply greeted Q, "Hey, how's it going?" and returned to his cell phone call.

It was totally worth the long walk. After running around the castle like structure for a while, we stripped him down to his underwear to run in the fountains.

It was a really lovely, long day.

Last night we had our birthday picnic. Noodle fell in the water while wading, reminding me that I should never leave home without spare diapers and clothes for her. The kids happily played in the water and sand.

I try to remember that I don't have to do it all perfectly. Q doesn't have to get a birthday party. He can have an Adventure and spend the day actually enjoying our attention all day, rather than our stress over hosting a fleet of preschoolers. It's fine to do it differently.

There is a recent study which determined that children under 2 who watch television get far less adult/child interaction and suffer from language deficits. I read this with pangs of guilt for my toddler, who, due to accident of birth, gets far more television than her older brother ever was exposed to. Look! I thought, she's going to be behind in - wait, language development? Never mind.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that the experts are not always talking to me. The teachers at Q's next school who told us that we should read to our kids and take them to the library, they don't know that I'm a librarian and that Q can sound out words.

They might be experts, but they're not experts on my kid.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Q conversation

"Noodle, I'm going to make sure your testicles are okay."

Noodle Conversation

"The log babber gabs logs and puts them in jail!"

(It's unclear whether she said that originally or just started repeating it when Q told her logs don't go to jail.)

Sunday, May 24, 2009


I've resisted the croc fad. Sandals, especially nice water proof sandals with velcro, are so sturdy and practical for summer, that I felt crocs were redundant. They even seemed impractical. Can you really run and climb in them? There are rumors of crocs trapping feet in escalators. (I've heard the same thing about shoelaces, but that never deterred me. Not to mention that the nearest escalator is probably a 30 minute drive that I rarely make.)

But I've been trying to find some of the sturdy water sandals for Noodle, and I cannot find anything that resembles them. Sandals for toddler girls are flimsy, pretty little things that fall off, trip the kid, and fall apart. Sandals for toddler boys make it clear that it's only the age restriction that prevents this kid from joining the Marines. I just want what we had last year, in a bigger size, and perhaps not black this time. (Those were hand me downs that she loved; they looked just like Q's.)

So I caved. I took the kids to the outlet and managed to direct them away from the brilliant pink crocs long enough for Noodle to spot these. (I believe these are not the 'croc' brand, but called 'pollywogs.') I put them on her and told her to run. I put a pair on Q and told him to match her speed. Hopping, skipping, jumping. They passed the test. And after watching another toddler effectively climb the side of her porch in a pair recently, I'm satisfied they're fine for the playground. I'm still looking for a nice pair of water sandals for Noodle, but I don't feel desperate any more.

...and their obvious enjoyment of the shoes makes me feel my reservations were those of a crank.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Noodle - Sentence of the Day

Upon being put down for a nap:
"Pacifier. At Night. Fall Out. My Mouth. Far Away."

Not quite a haiku.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Quick Catch Up - but not thorough

Lately the kids have been doing so many cool things, and I'm not getting it posted in the blog. I'm going to lose track of the progress they make if I don't document it, and that will make me so sad later.

Mother's Day 2009

Today we went up to Kid City, which is free the 3rd Thursday of the month between 5 and 7. We didn't make it there till 6:30. But the kids had a BLAST.

Wandering into one space, sort of made up to be a fortune teller's room: silver ball, dark, mirrors at all different angles on the wall. Noodle says, unprompted, "That's Fan-cy!" I've no idea how she knew it was the right phrase to apply. Her favorite phrase lately is, "That's si-ee-y!" (silly)

Verbally, I think she's wildly precocious. She used the word 'tangled' the other day to describe a pretzel. Today she used the word 'gobbled' correctly. (That's assuming I understood her, which I think I did.) She uses 'I' and 'me' and 'you' often and in reference to the appropriate person. She also uses the third person to refer to herself ("Baby do it!") and other people ("Mommy help?"), but for a 2 year old, she's way ahead of the game. I'm blown away by her long sentences sometimes. Today's masterpiece: "Q's balloon way way up there."

The verbal competence seems to help a lot with her cooperation. We can get her to tell us most of what she needs, and we try to insist on this instead of whining/crying. We understand most of what she says...

Last night she was crying late at night. I went in and asked what she needed/what was wrong. She usually needs her pacifier, but she actually had it for once. She kept repeating something that sounded close to her "pass-i-fy-er" but not quite.

This morning I finally figured it out. She wanted her pirate shirt.

Q performed in his first concert last weekend. I was really looking forward to him singing. The kids were going to sing, then kazoo, then sing. Unfortunately, the kids had never met the kazoos before, and they were so exciting that some children, including Q, forgot about the singing part and kazoo-ed all three verses.

Coming home, Q asked me if I ever wanted to play an instrument. I told him I took piano lessons when I was little. Then I asked if he wanted to play an instrument. He repeated his musical desire, "I think I want to play the French horn." I don't think I had the foggiest idea what a French horn was when I was 5...

Saturday was busy. In addition to the concert and a birthday party (source of the beautiful face painting), we had the start of some serious septic problems. Which were finally resolved Tuesday with the kind assistance of a helpful and adorable excavator:

Q, of course, was thrilled by the septic guys. He and J hung around while they did the exploratory digging to determine the problem, whispering to J that he'd like to get closer to the actual tools, repeating and summarizing how the plumbing and septic system work. Earlier in the week, he'd helped the plumber at Grandma's house find a leak, trekking up and down stairs following Joe (seriously, he's named Joe) and asking questions. Joe offered him a job at the end of the day. His face lit up with pride.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Prelude to a Meltdown

Today we went to a 'Touch a Truck' event. This was fabulously cool. They had excavators, backhoes, skid steers, ambulances, garbage trucks, big rigs, a fire engine, a school bus, a tractor, fancy tow trucks, dump trucks. Whoa I don't even know all they had.
Q tells me this is a backhoe

So from 10 to 11, we chased little kids who swarmed trucks and tried dismounting without safety nets.
Q's friend driving what Q informed me is a garbage truck

At 11 (the event went till mid afternoon) our kids were done. Noodle was muscling kids out of her way and smearing the EMS lollypop on the Mickey Mouse car's leather seats.

Noodle on a tractor. Pre-lollypop.

The adults were reeling from the sound of big rig horns. We managed to bribe the kids with the promise of pretzels and hit the playground next to the parking lot. They each ate 1.5 pretzels before moving on to the slides and swings, followed by digging for treasure on the beach.

It was a blast. Followed by the inevitable meltdowns and cranky sibling interactions. They crashed hard at bedtime. I love adventures like this, but I'm grateful we don't do them every day.
Q and Noodle on the beach being picturesque.

Friday, April 17, 2009

There and Back Again

The kids have come home after exhausting the Massachusetts grandparents. Noodle was a champ, appearing to be unworried that her parents were nowhere to be found. Until bedtime, when Q sang her to sleep. Everyone was grateful.

Q was quiet and well behaved and seemingly relieved to come home where he can be naughty again. "Next time," he asked me, "Can you come too, Mommy?"

The break was lovely lovely lovely. Just having a morning or two to wake up at my own speed is incredibly nice.

And having our children snuggle between us as we read bedtime stories, Noodle's curls damp from the bath, Q's hand in mine, that is all more than lovely lovely lovely.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scrambled Eggs

Q went to a friend's birthday party last week. Watching him romp, another mom commented, "Have you noticed that Q is being chased by 3 girls?"

I responded, "And loving it?" Q's ideal play date is for his friend KtR to beat him up. And how can the girls resist, when he's so adorable?

Okay. Requisite doting parental moment is over. I promise.

Q loves arts and crafts. Specifically using scissors and paint. Marker is good if he can come up with a good excuse for it to get all over his face and hands. So we painted the eggs for Easter this year. Then when Q was in bed, I dyed them as well. And desperately called J to direct him to the one store still open to bring home candy so Q wouldn't be disappointed. It's a little tricky when they're this age. You know they're likely to be thrilled, but you don't know exactly what they think the holiday entails.

Happily for us, J found candy on his way home from work. We filled plastic eggs with enough chocolate calories to fuel an insurrection. Q, sure enough, bounced through the Easter egg hunt. Noodle took it very seriously. Nearly every photo you can see her thinking, "They're all filled with candy?"

She's kind of amazing these days, using complicated sentences with correct pronouns when she feels like it. I'm stuck in that parenting rut where you wonder how much of your kid really is unique and wildly different from their sibling, and how much is just that parenting robs you of your memory, making each kid's discoveries unique and new.

(Noodle and her Daddy contemplate the spoils.)

The two are off to visit the Concord grandparents tomorrow. Everyone is thrilled - especially the kids. Noodle has been repeating Q, "Grampa L, Granmary, Soon?" The drive to meet them is likely to feel very long.

And I'm going to miss them far more than I can admit.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Writhing with Germs

Above photo is the epilogue from the previous post. Q saying good night to the finally sleeping Noodle. She fell off that mattress an hour later, without waking up, and was put to bed in her crib. The light of the room is nearly entirely from the camera's flash.

My parents came to visit this past Saturday. This is, for me, always anticipated with excitement and a small sense of dread. I'm going to have to clean. It never fails that this dread keeps me anxious with little productivity until approximately one minute after they arrive. Then we finish what is absolutely crucial (groceries, bed linens) with no worries and forget about all the other grime encrusted parts of my house until their next visit.

Saturday started out well. I got up before the kids woke up and got in a run. But when I returned upstairs for a shower, Q wailed from my spot in my bed, which I had finally yielded to him at 6 am. "I can't open my eye!"

I have inherited my mother's lack of sympathy for illness. Most of the time, I figure that the kid is scamming me. This particular complaint (combined with the fact that he joined us in the middle of the night claiming something was in his eye and I told him that if he shut his eye, his eye would wash it clean) got my attention. I got a wet wash cloth and gently wiped his eye. Funny, but when you see pink eye, it's pretty obvious.

Since Q is riddled with contagion, he is bumped out of his seat for the grandparent pick-up in favor of Noodle. She is good as gold. At lunch, she blatantly flirts with her grandfather and charms everyone with her enthusiasm for noodles with red sauce.

We return home to find Q in his jammies still. I don't get too uptight, although if my husband's parents were coming to visit, I would definitely have the kids out of their jammies by 2:30 pm. The mystery becomes clear when I eventually locate J, sprawled on our bed, close to drooling. It turns out he has lost all track of time while busy fighting a stomach virus. He had bribed Q with one video before passing into the land of misery, and Q had gone feral, without food other than the ample droppings from the kitchen floor. To keep himself busy, he produced this masterpiece in the newly usable, and quite close to finished, downstairs bathroom:

But despite the conjunctivitis and stomach flu and my mother's allergies to cats, the visit went very well. We took a trip on Amtrak to the Mystic Aquarium.

(A repeat of one of Q's absolute favorite adventures ever.)

Noodle wandered happily around saying, "Baby fish! Baby fish! Baby fish!"

Sadly, Noodle is incapable of handling a train ride, plus a trip to the aquarium, without dissolving into hysterics. She had to be removed from a closet sized restaurant when other patrons began suffering from hearing loss.

After Grandma got to watch Noodle's music class on Wednesday, we returned the grandparents to Florida where we got them.

Today, through no fault of the grandparents or themselves, the kids are wiped out and Q is coughing badly. Later in the morning he was diagnosed with an ear infection that I am sure my mother will nod her head with sage recognition, having commented that, "Q just isn't himself."

But before breakfast, I doctored them both with honey and made 'honey tea' from honey and warm water just for Q.

I told him that his honey tea was on the table (he's spending inordinate amounts of time admiring the new bathroom). Sitting down next to Noodle, she informs me in her slow, pausing, language. "I - like - hun-ee - tee."

I begin eating my oatmeal.

She repeats herself: "I - like - hun-ee - tee."

I ignore her hint.

Once again, "I - like - hun-ee - tee."

I try the golden oldie, distraction. "Oh, Noodle! Do you have oatmeal this morning?"

She looks at me reprovingly. "Talkin - 'bout - hun-ee - tee."

Friday, March 13, 2009

Noodle is sad tonight

Q is out at a play (his first real evening play!) with J. And Noodle, while happy to play with Em instead, is now very, very sad. Sobbing in bed and screaming sad. Exhausted, but heartbroken and not wanting to even try to sleep sad.

Poor Noodle.

Later: I finally persuaded her to fall asleep on a mattress next to Q's bed...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

You know there's a problem...

When you get to Preschool and one of the teachers pulls you inside, holding a backpack, but no Q. "Q's mom? Q is in the nurse's office..."

Evidently Q was wrestling with another child, I hope playfully, when they rolled off the wood chips onto the black top, where Q's head made contact. Loud enough that Miss K heard it. When she asked if she could take a look under his coat's hood, the formerly stoic Q, burst into tears.

When I got there, not long after, Q was in freeze out mode. He'll answer some questions, but only the ones he deems necessary. "What happened?" is not one of them. "Does it hurt?" is always answered with 'no.'

It's funny to me that this is Q's second remarkable head injury at preschool. Third if we count when Miss Wendy hit him in the face with a wiffle ball. In normal home life, injuries are pretty rare. Does he just play harder at preschool? The fact that I find it unusual that my kid has been to the nurse's office 2 times in 2 years perhaps indicates how few injuries we've had to endure.

I don't like to overreact, and Q hates to be messed with. So instead of going to the pediatrician's office right away, we opt to go home, have our scheduled playdate, and see how much blood keeps coming.

Well, at bath time (not the one pictured above, but they all basically look like that), I took a wash cloth and gently checked out the injury with just warm water. Oozy. I decide to call the pediatrician's office before they close. I meant to only ask advice, but they tell me to bring him right in. Armed with jammies, firefighter boots, and bedtime books, we enter the office to find the place deserted. We're seen right away and Quinn gets what they call a 'Glue-it' - basically a bit of something like glue that seals the injury shut. Like stitches, without any. Nifty. Q is good as gold. He moves back into freeze out mode, but cooperates.

On the way home, he asks me, "Mom, why do they ring the bell and say, 'All hands on deck!' at Trader Joe's?"

More and more we see a bond between the kids that we're just in awe of. Tuesday night we settled in to read bedtime stories. Q snuggles under the covers and says to Noodle, "Noodle, do you want to sit here next to me?" Ohhhh yes. She ditches her usual throne (the lap of the reader) and joins Q under the covers.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Photo Sampler: February Vacation Week

They are genuinely this sweet. It's crazy. Good thing it's not constant or I'd suspect their father of drugging them.

This past week was February Vacation Week. In Florida they don't get a week off randomly in February. Here in Connecticut, everyone who can afford to take time off, goes to Florida this week. In Florida, they don't need a week off to go to Connecticut in February. It all makes sense now.

Since we weren't going to Florida, we decided to sign Q up for 'Circus Camp' at his gymnastics school. Nine to twelve each morning, they did fun things like this:

The boy has slept hard.

Wednesday, while Q was playing at Circus Camp, Noodle had her second professional haircut. As you can see in the top photo, she was looking a little shaggy. I was expecting some trouble, but here we go:

And twenty m&ms later, we're done:

I'm already missing the shag.

In this photo you can see the top of her boots. She wears these every time we leave the house, and about 50% of the time she's inside the house. If I mention that we're going somewhere, she gets all excited. "BOOTS!" she says, and takes off for the kitchen where I put the boots after I've tripped over them.