Sunday, February 28, 2010

Milestone # 6,492

Banana splits.  They will definitely be coming back for a second round.

Grandpa is Game

Boy, is grandpa game.  We have very specific rules about playing with swords or "shooter-guns", the theoretical weapon Monito barely knows about.  No pain is involved, no actual body-whacking is usually involved.  Then grandpa comes to visit and allows a full-on pirate play bonanza.  There was dressing up, there was Argh-ing, there were weapon malfunctioning as they were beaten into a pile of plastic, foam and coats-of-arms.

Grandpa spent most of the time on the floor, which gave Monito a clear sense of advantage.  He was merciless.

There was about 20 minutes of play before they retired to the couch to watch Peter Pan and admire the sword-fighting skills of Captain Hook and Pan. 

There was a little love expressed, too.  This boy LOVES his grandpa.  It has taken a full week to deprogram the fighting free-for-all skills.  We now have Homestead Rules and Grandpa Rules for duels.  We can't wait for the next altercation.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My days are filled with the regular kamikaze, full-on, balls-to-the-wall, trial by fire, never-a-dull-moment stuff that dreams are made of. We are playing in the snow, baking up a storm, Playmobil-ing with a vengeance, and watching movies that I remember loving as a young child. (Disney's The Sword in the Stone right now; it is good for the bairn to know about Merlin and be able to pronounce Archimedes, even if they think he is an owl.)

However, Homestead Mama is away at work from dawn until about 10 minutes before the children's bedtime on the days we are lucky; 2 out of 5 days for the past few weeks she's missed them entirely. We've been stuck at home for the past two days as we got almost 2 feet of snow and the roads were sketchy. After yelling at my son this morning then bursting into tears, I figured out that I may need a teensy little recharge.

I left the kids with their Mama and went to the library with a decaf latte in my hand. I am sitting now eating Tom Yum soup and reading books alone in a quiet restaurant. After this, I shall go to the bookstore and sit reading glossy knitting and decor books until I am purged of all thoughts of drudgery and the routinization of my life. I'm not sure if I'll go back for bedtime - poor Monito is a tad Mommy-focused these days (=past 32 months) and he cries so when I'm not there.

I'll bring home some Panang curry for my wife, though. Its the least I can do.

Hopefully tomorrow will be brighter. Monday I go to get my thyroid levels checked, and join the nearby gym. Bugger this winter blues crap!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

(Almost) Valentine's Day

The boy and I woke early. 

Read: Monito woke at 7 am, and performed his version of laying perfectly still. This entails lots of jiggling, sighing, standing up to adjust his pillow and flopping back down.  When he isn't bashing his huge hard noggin into me like a billy goat [damn all those farm books we read]* he is the snuggliest child ever. When we wake up next to each other he presses his forehead to mine, rubs our noses together and presses his hot little palm against my cheek while crooning through his spit-covered pacifier, "Mommy, are you awake yet?"  He really does try to allow us to keep sleeping, but I was downstairs by 7:14 nonetheless. 

Luckily, we had a box from my parents full of Valentine's Day gifts for the kids.  I let Monito open his up as I made tea.  My mother is an amazing gift shopper.  She totally hit the nail on the head with the puzzle she gave to my boy who is not into puzzles.  It is a huge puzzle - 2' x 3' - made of cardboard so thick that in 15 minutes of play the boy had been unable to bend or crack any of the pieces.  It has pieces inside other pieces, so I could put together the main puzzle and then he could find the places for the little pieces.  There are also game cards with questions about all the little pieces in riddle so he has to think about habitats, habits and functions in order to guess which animal/object the riddle is asking about.  Amazing!  His older sister, who is already doing 100+ piece puzzles by herself, was also amused.  Win/ win, Mom!  Of course, after a short stint as a puzzle it became fodder for the CRANE!  This is the fate of all things in our house.

*I just had a most enlightening moment checking punctuation.  I am only a geek of a medium order, but have good company.  Hi, Noona!  Hi, Jill!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Immediately upon waking I usually get the dream check in from the kids. Today, Monito sat straight up and said, "My have good nap. I dweamed about carousels, spinning wheels and doctors offices."

Pequita is more excited about her growth right now ever since I told her we heal and grow while we sleep. She stood up with her arms outstretched and said "Look. At. My. Body. I'm huger!"

Me? I didn't sleep but got a lot of blogs read and rested. I love nap time and my Blackberry equally.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Heart

Pequita is going through a shift right now. She is now in a retreat position and freaked out by all the new things she has already mastered. She is suddenly asking to be dressed instead of shoving us away when we try to help. She is shy again around non-family members. After a prolonged session of unexplained wailing and flailing last night, I got her to settle down by arranging for her to spend some time piggybacking in the Ergo carrier on H-Mama's back because she needed the closeness. H-Mama was home from work sick Monday and the first thing that Peuqita did was ask for more Ergo time with her. Clearly, my daughter is in a down cycle.

She very much wants to be independent and not have to listen to us or do what we say. She has taken to freezing her body,expression, and actions - except for a barely perceptible arched eyebrow - when she is grabbed by the desire to defy us. As always (at least once I've figured out what's going on) I've been introducing the language she will need to get herself out of these predicaments, which is conveniently the verbal flag *I* need to stop treating her like the kid she was last week. All week we've been talking about independence, having the space she needs to make her own choices in her own time, and the best way to get what she wants. (Screaming unintelligibly? Not so productive. Reasoning with Mommy? Two thumnbs up!) We are definitely on the path; a few minutes into the latest screaming sobfest today I discerned that the sound that I *thought* was her soul dying was her repeating, "My need to be indepeeeeeeendeeeeeent." I'm taking that as progress.

This morning, Pequita had several meltdowns. The last one evolved as she staggered up the stairs on our way to naps, all the way through getting her book selected and her sleep diaper put on, and into bed. The actual nap happened as always, with me sandwiched between her and Monito. Three books, some discussion about what was going to happen after naps, and they are out like lights.

Pequita awoke with a start ninety minutes later to find me reading, and whispered, "Mommy. I am happier now. My heart is not angry now and my body is not angry. I love you SO MUCH my heart is full of love."

Wonderful, right? Except maybe one day we can skip the screaming part! She does hear through her fugue states, though, as proven after her brief cry when she didn't get to select the music for the player in the nursery tonight. I took her aside so H-Mama could keep getting Monito tucked in and gave her a drink of water. Once she had regained her composure she repeated back to me what I croon to her when I hold her through these upsetting episodes, "Mommy, it is really HARD being three.".

Amen, sister.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


When awakened by the snuggliest, dearest, cheek caressing, finger-lacing hand-holding boy at 6:20 am, there is really only one thing to do. Snuggle on the couch in the half-light of morning, each clutching our favorite things - a foam sword and a mug of steaming half-caf - tangled up together and allow ourselves to be transported to Neverland. My boy, who now denounces his real name for a pirate name for a portion of each day, loves Peter Pan as much as I did as a child. Pequita also loves to join in the magical play, but is distracted easily. Monito sleeps with his sword. The favorite curse in our house at the moment is "You codfish!"

My kids are hitting the really fun play stage and I adore it. However, to keep us humble it happens to occur concurrently with the super-moody tantrum-heavy phase that hits in the late-twos, early-threes. Two steps forward, one step back.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This Week, 2008

A short two years ago. Just look at them. I am already wistful for years past, which seems hard since they are still little kids.

Three Short Years

This month in 2007.

That big blurry thing at the bottom? My 6-month pregnant belly full of Monito.

Watch Out, Coco Chanel

I may have written once or twice about Pequita's love of clothing and changing outfits. She still changes several times a day, and has made the major concession of layering underneath her filmy princess dresses and ballet outfits. After all, I have reasoned with her, even Cinderella wore warm clothes in winter. She now regularly disappears upstairs only to reappear in a weather appropriate new outfit, with at least two top layers and two bottom layers under her princess dress or ballet garb. How a three year old gets two pairs of leggings on without any bunching (a cardinal sin) is beyond me.

Here are some of the many faces of Pequita. She came up with all of these on her own; she (usually) exhibits innate good sense about color matching and has quite a flair for pattern mixing.

The Christmas face paints are still in heavy rotation. She asked to be the ocean, and this is what I managed. She was pleased. Our pillowcases are being washed a lot, as we don't always manage to get her washed off before bed. Below, her unicorn costume. Everyone knows they are usually purple with pink faces and horns. She loves her hair this way, and all her dolls also have ponytails that stick straight up in the air. The more hair accoutrements required for a 'do the better.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hot Wax

Mid-winter kid crafts are plentiful, and we've been doing a lot of baking, play doh making and building, and snow painting. Based purely on delicious smell, I bought some beeswax at our food coop on a whim several weeks ago. What could be better than hot wax and toddlers?

I was inspired by bees wax hearts here and also here. When I found silicone heart-shaped ice cube molds in the $1 bin at Target I committed.

We melted the wax in an extra pan in a boiling water bath. The kids broke up the big chunks into small bits and dropped them in the pan, and they each got a turn stirring the molten wax under my CLOSE supervision.

Then they lost interest and ran off to play with their glass gems on the carpet in the living room. I finished the melting and the string cutting and the wax pouring in relative peace, which is good since I was more worried about sharing the ladling of hot wax with the kids than any other part of the process. I poured the wax into the molds, and quickly inserted the string loops. They hardened very quickly.

After the kids went to bed, I strung them on red wool. I hung a couple strands in our kitchen above my sink, and they smell divine. We have a few packages to send out to grandma and some lucky cousins - the kids are quite proud of how their hearts turned out. Monito loves the smell so much that he can't help tasting them each time he gets his hands on them. He is always a bit disappointed that the bees wax doesn't taste like it smells. (I'm sending Grandma the hearts with the teeth marks. It will make the strand all the more special.)