Friday, November 12, 2010

More Snippets

(Halloween: Rockhopper Penguin and "A Princess called Cinderella")

Q and I have had a spotty series of Wednesday morning breakfasts out at Kristin's. First we had car logistic problems. Then I got sick. Then Q got sick. But we were back again this Wednesday morning, Kitty tucked under his chin. I think Q was abashed that we weren't the first ones in. He shoots math problems at me, and I shoot them back. Simple addition and subtraction facts up to 12s.

He's absolutely certain that Santa is Mom & Dad, but we are unable to fully discuss the issue since he only brings it up in Noodle's hearing. We're left to vaguely threaten him if he says anything to any other child, but I think we need to schedule a meeting to firmly instill the importance of Not Ruining Santa for his sister. He's gotten quite blase about God as well, which is understandable, but now we need to have a meeting on Not Ruining Religion for other children and Not Getting in Fights.

Lately I've really been doing my homework. Honest. So I've only got bits and pieces of thoughts and nothing linear. But gems fly past me all the time. Today was a gold star day.

As I posted on FB, this morning's Noodle soliloquy was about how cats and people are different. Cats have fur, people have hair. Cats' feet are called paws, we have hands and feet. We walk on two legs, cats walk on three...

Cats are evidently on her mind. Her dessert tonight was chocolate fish (like goldfish crackers, but cookies). She offered Savannah one. I told her that Savannah wasn't really interested, although it was thoughtful of her. "Well, cats sometimes like fish," Noodle pointed out.

This evening, we sat watching a cartoon in which one character pops into the air and flies across the room. Noodle stretches out her arms to catch it.

She's made it into the months of golden threes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Although, like texting, I have not yet succumbed to twittering, I have to admit most of the time, the interesting notes of my life do come down to small bits.

Just now, for example, Noodle informed me that she and Q were playing 'Cat and Cellar-person.' I haven't the slightest idea what the second half of that means.

Earlier, as she sobbed because she'd been ripped from the warm bosom of her BFF and brought home, Q asked her, "Noodle? Is New York City going through your head a lot?"

My illness of the past few days has left me with a ragged throat, visiting the pharmacy at 8 at night, where the pharmacist was so kind I wanted to hug him and then use him as a prop to drag myself back to my car. I let the kids watch an hour of unsupervised television yesterday (it started with something benign, but I know it didn't end there). Now Q is singing an ad I find so irritating I'm filled with irrational rage every time I hear it. Let that teach me to not be inattentive.

I had hoped this time off from work while my body temperature whipped up and down like a desert on fast forward would give me time to do homework, but I find myself becoming an increasingly passive observer of life. It took me at least an extra 10 seconds to respond to Q's suggestion, "Let's play that you're a bird and I'm a hunter!" (You know that won't end well.) I become winded just walking up the stairs. Forget folding laundry. It's not likely to happen.

On the bright side, we discovered that Noodle can be motivated. She whipped into top speed when we told her we were running late for preschool this morning.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Noodle has started preschool with a persistent enthusiasm that is endearing and nearly distressing. Every day during breakfast she asks, "Am I going to school today?" Seven days a week, she asks. If the answer is negative, she turns quickly to her next most favorite topic, her new friend. "Can I play at my friend's house today?" We have explained that inviting herself over is not good manners. Noodle is undaunted. "Can my friend come here to play?" This past Sunday, as I was making dinner, Noodle burst into tears, "My friend isn't here!"

Q is settling happily into first grade. We met his new teacher last week, and she seems perfectly lovely and good natured, no doubt a job requirement. He's often tired and is battling with me over whether he can only eat the fun items I pack in his lunch box or whether he must also eat the sandwiches and/or yogurt. My current strategy is to pack only 2 sandwiches and yogurt. In a day or two we'll discuss how if he continues to eat these items, perhaps I'll give him tortilla chips and a granola bar on parole. (Honestly, all food battles seem dangerous to me. I'm the one who will suffer if he chooses not to eat and then has an epic meltdown later. Hopefully he won't figure that out.)

Recently we scored a library book by Dan Yaccarino called Every Friday. It describes Yaccarino's weekly breakfast with his son, a tradition they started when he was 3. Thinking over the matter, I decided, especially with my own classes starting, that it would be really nice to have some dedicated time with each kid individually. So Q and I have been getting up early on Wednesday mornings and trying to sneak out of the house early to have breakfast at Kristin's in Deep River. Q orders a 'dirt bomb'(a sugar and cinnamon muffin) and I get a bagel. We watch the early morning small town traffic and I try to get actual information out of Q. I now know the children whom he sits clustered with in class ("It's not a table, Mom. It's desks pushed together.") and that he gets sweaty and that's "boring." We have discussions on word choices like "boring" versus "annoying."

It's magical. I owe Yaccarino one.

Monday, June 21, 2010

NYC: Q's birthday trip (yes, from June)

I do know that it is August and Q's birthday is June. I postponed this blog entry when Q got all excited about creating his own blog. See My Adventures. He is planning his next entry on watching the fireworks. That is, the ones he saw back on July 5th. Evidently this delayed posting thing is hereditary.

The birthday trip was another golden day. We took the train from New Haven again. As we walked into the train station, Q began skipping. My heart just swelled up. The kid really knows how to make a treat rewarding.

We've figured out that to enjoy a trip to NYC with a small child, we have to keep our plans very simple. So we had only two objectives for the day: visit the Statue of Liberty, and visit the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park.

We were a little naive, however. When we got to the statue of liberty they were making loud, grumpy announcements. You couldn't get tickets for the crown, they were sold out for the day. Worse, you couldn't get tickets to enter the monument (the lower part of the statue). Most intimidating, there was a frequent announcement that the wait was one and a half hours AFTER buying tickets, before getting on the ferry.

Q still wanted to go.

Q was still lovely, even waiting in line for a remarkable amount of time (perhaps not quite 1.5 hours, but still, a long wait).

When we returned to Castle Clinton, there were acrobats performing in the street. They had a terrific banter, and were pretty impressive. Watching them perform, I realized that in NYC, the typical summer weekday is what I imagine a typical summer weekend day anywhere else. There is no avoiding crowds. NYC is always crowded.

We took the subway to Central Park to look for Alice. We overshot the statue with the expectation that we would walk to find her. We should never walk in Central Park without a map. We walked for a ridiculous amount of time (looking for bathrooms, then Alice), despite the meandering and distance, Q only got upset when he thought we were leaving the park. I'm always awed by Central Park. Despite containing thousands of people at any given time, there is a sacredness and a serenity that is breathtaking in the heart of this huge city.

Finally we did find Alice in Wonderland and her many friends. She's meant for climbing on, and we watched Q and other children swarming over her for probably half an hour.

After Q had his fill of climbing, J sat down in front of Alice, and read another chapter of Alice in Wonderland from his ipod.

Q chose to have dinner in Grand Central Station, but he barely touched his dinner, much to my bewilderment. After all the walking we'd done, I was starving, but Q could barely pay attention to his french fries.

Q loves NYC. He did charming things like put his ear to the ground on a street corner to listen for the subway.

On the subway Q distracted himself by leaning over and watching the young man next to him play a video game on an ipod. Amused the heck out of the random young guy and us.

As a parent, you can have wonderful intentions of making a day special for your children. Actually fulfilling those intentions always feels like a miracle.

Mini Update

So in honor of Father’s Day, I peeled the whining, fighting, sulking, tantruming children out of the house at 6am (YES BEFORE 6am THIS WAS GOING ON! Sorry for screaming.) J got to sleep till 8:30 or so. They continued to be awful until we went outside a second time and they played in the kiddie pool and with the hose and generally the screaming mostly evolved into good humored screaming. And supportive yells of, “Mom! Noodle pooped!” (in the potty. I’m sure you wondered.)

J was working today, and while I’m sure he would’ve loved to do something with the kids, he was grateful to sleep in. At least past 6:30, when normally he’d have gotten sucked in while I was hopefully out for a run (which I gave up on when Noodle spotted me after I treated Q’s cough with an inhaler).

But this evening, after dinner (lasagna, in honor of the day) and dessert (carrot cake, in honor of the day) J looked wiped. And I could’ve just taken the kids up and started baths and end of day routines. But I dug deep and took the kids out for a puddle splashing walk, which Q loved, and that turned into a trip to the small farm at the end of our road, and feeding the bunnies clover, and walking home on an early summer evening when a nice storm has cooled things off.

Then we did all the normal stuff, although it was so late we didn’t read, and I got caught up in finally doing laundry, and escorting Noodle to various potties (she’s independent in there, but doesn’t want to be all alone on the first or second floor).

And being kind to J led to being the kind of mom to my kids that I want to be more often. Must be karma.

Updates with photos on Potty Training and the new pets coming soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First HOT day of summer

Noodle had her first dentist appointment today. She was GOOD as gold. Q had his first since he was 2. He was also very good. But he's not 3, so that's not quite as impressive. (Although he is a bit wired about being messed with.)

Afterwards, over Q's objections, we went to the nearby beach in Old Saybrook. It was low tide and we walked around looking at the crabs and broken shells and being generally happy on the beach. Some friends turned out to be there with their 3 kids, which was nice.

Noodle wanted to be carried. A Lot. My back is not good right now, so I was aware of it. She was Not Into Wading. Or the muddy sand. But we wandered into an area of hard packed sand/mud and she scampered happily away looking for shells and animal prints, a spot of brilliance in a bright yellow tulle skirt.

Every once in a while I'd look for Q & J. They were almost always hunched over checking out a tidal pool or stream. It was great to see Q do a complete reversal on his attitude.

By the time we got home, the little one was done in. She had near hysterics when we didn't let her snatch a shell from her brother. It was suffocatingly hot upstairs, and she kept getting wound up over small things ("I can't get my dress off!") and calming down only to lose it again ("Q broke my hat!" -she acknowledged it was an accident- and "I don't want to wear a tank top!").

Finally I gave up on getting her to bed quickly, stripped her down and gave her a rinse in the tub. While bathing her, and worrying that the late afternoon sun had possibly fried her skin, I realized it had been a week since her MMR shot and they warned that she might run a fever in a week.

Applied ibuprofen (always cheers up the kids) and she settled into back into sane...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Candles - by Wendy Cope

Three little candles
On a birthday cake.

Count them very carefully
So there's no mistake.

We counted three and there's no doubt
Now it's time to blow them out.


Happy Birthday Happy Nuala.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'd be embarrassed, but I'm too tired.

Scrolling through the blog to share pictures with the kids today I had several revelations. Not that I have neglected the blog, I blush whenever I think of it. But first was a revisiting of the fact that I cannot remember anything unless I have written it down, and sometimes not even then. Which is more motivation to blog.

Second, I found entries from when Q had just turned three. He was pushing my buttons constantly. I'd totally forgotten. He's become such a reasonable and easy going child, that I lost all recollection of previous behaviors. As I type this, he's scolding Noodle, "It's not funny! Go to sleep!" She's giggling hysterically at him.

I find this terribly reassuring. While we've recently turned a corner with Noodle, I was beside myself with impatience recently, trying to deal with her behaviors, whining, demanding, etc. In three years, she could be a mellow easy going child too.

Or not. But still, she's three (tomorrow) and I need to remember that threes are just a handful. On the grand scale, she's actually pretty cooperative and has surprising self control.

I'm actually feeling very clever right now. My boss (I have a new job working in a preschool) was giving some instructions for dealing with inappropriate behaviors from one of our kids at school. I realized I could use the same drilling technique with Noodle to avert bad behaviors. So when I really want to make my point with her, we repeat the desired language (eg: "Can I play with that please?") over and over and over. Followed with praise. I modified this with another technique recommended for use with the kids: physical prompts rather than verbal prompts. I'm tired, really really tired, of asking Noodle to say something nicely, or say please. So now, if she forgets, I hold up one finger. She often stops, mid-sentence, calms her voice out of a whine, adds please. If she simply says, "Please" I rotate my finger in a circle to indicate I want the whole sentence.

And it's working. No really. It's working.

I've also gone back to quick implementation of time-outs with the 1-2-3 warning. Usually she just needs a "One" to modify her behavior. She's such a good girl.

Of course, since hitting gets her an automatic time-out, it's hard to warn her ahead of time with that behavior. But I can only be so much of a genius at a time.