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27 February 2015

Games I Have Been Forced to Play Today

With The Bairn:

"Mom, you be Buzz and I'll be Woodland." (You know, from Toy Story.)  This involves insisting I can fly while The Bairn tells me I can't, agreeing to (pretend to) fly over the truck and into the car ahead while driving, and calling The Bairn Woodland while I instruct him to put on his coat, get in the car, etc.  If I forget to call him Woodland, he doesn't respond.

The Moon is Made of Cheese.  Rules:  The Bairn asks, "Is the moon made of cheese?" and I respond, "What?!  No!  You're teasing me!"  Repeat 11 thousand times.

Knock Down the Fence.  The Bairn sets up some frontier logs in a row and then crashes a tractor into them.  My job is to watch intently from the couch, and shout, "Oh no!  Don't knock down the fence!"  Repeat.

Dinosaur Mom.  The Bairn calls me "Steggie" because I'm a stegosaurus.  He asks me why I have spikes on my back a lot and I come up with answers.  Sometimes my answers are not good enough and I have to come up with better ones.  This is more like our everyday reality, so I don't know if it counts as a game.  It's only suspended when we're playing a different game.

With Ellen:

Poor Blind Baby.  Rules: Ellen walks around with her eyes closed and her arms out until she runs into me.  I tickle her.  Ellen walks around with her eyes closed and her arms out until Steve says, "My poor blind baby."  Ellen laughs like a crazy person.

Water in a Cup.  Ellen insists on receiving water in a cup.  I give it to her even though I know she won't drink it.  She pours it over a recipe she finds and then tears the wet paper into tiny pieces.  I ignore her because I'm writing a blog post.  When I ask her to clean up, she picks up the papers and puts them in the trash, because she's the best.

Private Time.  I try to use the bathroom by myself.  Ellen stands next to me and demands, "Pen'uin," while pointing at a book of penguins.   We go to the couch and read.

With Old People:  

I struggle to get kids who are bundled up in coats and hats in and out of shopping carts/stores/libraries.  Old people chuckle and say, "You've got your hands full."  If the old people are really good at the game, they add, "Can I take this one home with me?"  Ha ha.  It's a funny game.

20 February 2015

Potty Training by E

Little E spends a considerable amount of time potty training her dolls.  She's very serious about it.

18 February 2015

Stupid Groundhog

It was -19 C on Groundhog Day, but we hauled the kids out to see Shubenacadie Sam anyway. He predicted six more weeks of winter and then he went into the interpretative center and let The Bairn watch him eat yogurt off a spoon.

This is not Shubie Sam.  This is Gertie Groundhog.  She was also there.  Steve claims that this is a picture of him offering up his firstborn in exchange for a better weather report.

Sadly, Sam seems to have made an accurate prediction this year.  We got a huge amount of snow on Sunday.

Today was the first day the kids got to go outside and play in it.

We paid to have the driveway plowed when our snowblower couldn't handle the job.  It left huge snowbanks for the kids to enjoy.

There's another storm coming through tomorrow.

I would like to move to Miami.  And I don't even like Florida.

11 February 2015

Arts and Crafts

The Bairn loves his arts and crafts projects, and I recently started hanging them up in our dining area. Last week a dinner guest asked The Bairn if he had made the paintings and mobiles on display. "Oh yes," The Bairn replied. "I do them for crafternoon to make the house fancy."

01 February 2015

And Here's What He's Like at Three

At three-years-old, The Bairn

He was thrilled by the animatronic dinosaur advertising an upcoming
exhibit at the Natural History Museum.
'It's trying to tell us something," he said.
  • loves dinosaurs.  This is new but I'm enjoying reading every book written about dinosaurs more than reading every book written about tractors, which is what I've been doing for the past two years.
  • has imaginary bird friends.  He asks to talk to them each morning, and they tell him 'tweedle tweedle tweedle.'  They have a nest on a stool in his room.  The other day I found him standing on the stool 'protecting the eggs from oviraptors.'
  • regularly pretends to be a kitty or a turtle.
  • prefers 'toys with wheels.'
  • helps.  He puts away his folded laundry, takes the trash to the garage, holds the dustpan while I sweep, and even empties his own potty.  He's very happy to assist me, especially if he can do it while pretending to be a machine.
  • hugs, kisses, and tickles his sister.  He tells me he's a tickle machine and must make her feel better.
  • asks 'Why?' all the time. We've just started with this and if I can't come up with a decent explanation for the motivations of fictional characters or for why his friend lives in his particular home, The Bairn commands me, 'Sink about it, Mom.  Sink about it.'

26 January 2015

Three Feels Big

The Bairn turned three-years-old today.  When I was growing up, it never occurred to me that my birthdays might be more significant to my mother than they were to me.  She wasn't getting gifts or cake or the ability to go to school or drive a car like I was.  In fact, until The Bairn had his first birthday, I never considered that while I reflected on my previous birthdays each time I turned a year older, Mom was probably remembering my birth day.

Today I watched the clock and said to myself (and sometimes to Steve), this time three years ago . . . I was having contractions in the corner market.  I was still 10 hours away from having a baby.  I was on my way to the hospital.  I was a brand new mother.

I can't ever think of The Bairn's birth without thinking of all the kindness we received, far away from family, in a moldy, mouse-infested tenement, and so bewildered by parenthood that I couldn't even figure out how to take care of a newborn and fix myself lunch simultaneously without help.  Just getting to and from the hospital (three trips) took six different kind people. I had planned to use taxis but was told again and again by our friends (and sometimes mere acquaintances) that I was to call them day or night for rides. Maureen, who drove us to the hospital when we actually stayed and delivered The Bairn, chatted merrily to me, occasionally glancing at me in the rear view mirror and assuring me in her Scottish brogue, "I'm just trying to take your mind off it.  You'll be fine!" and Charlie, who drove us to the hospital 3 days later when I had a panic attack and who is the father of 10 children himself, asked me if Steve was taking proper care of me and told me stories about his first child.  Tina and Angela found me at the hospital that night after Julie, who had brought us dinner, didn't find us at home.  Angela took me to her house the next day where Aileen sat next to me for hours and taught me how to breastfeed.  And Tina kept me at her house for weeks after that, planting me on a couch with a plate of chocolates and whisking The Bairn away for some snuggling in a different room so I could sleep.

I don't know if The Bairn will ever meet any of these people who now live across an ocean from him, but they are the angels present for his birth.  He will surely hear stories about them, as they've rooted themselves in our family history through their service to us.

This is my friend Emily's blog.  We were roommates at BYU and at Sunday dinners she used to lead the discussion among roommates on topics such as which superpowers we would most enjoy.  She and her two children are in the middle of a year-long trip abroad and I love reading about her travels and her insights into her experiences, but this post, about kindness, is my favorite.  It's what I want to say about our friends in Scotland.

Happy Birthday to my three-year-old boy!  I'm so grateful for him and for all the new helpers in his life, because I can make lunch while I care for him now, but I'm still a bewildered parent working out how to raise this clever kid.

Chatting with Aunt Jean over Birthday Cupcakes

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