Saturday, December 31, 2016

Holidays 2016

I already wrote about our Timberline adventures this year, but that was just the start of our three weeks of merriment and holiday fun.  Well, actually, Timberline was sort of the middle.  The weekend before we left for Timberline, we went tree hunting with Cathy, Aaron and Will.  We headed out to Apple Hill, where we got to cut down our own tree, go on a train ride, eat apple donuts and drink apple cider, and have a nice lunch.  Once home, we decorated the tree.  The kids had a blast, exclaiming excitedly with each ornament that we pulled out of the box, claiming each one to be a favorite.  Alden loves plugging the tree in each evening.  It was nice to have a tree up leading up to the two weeks we were away (and, of course, it was nice to have the decorating all done when we got home the day before Christmas!)




Then there was Timberline, which I already have written about.  After Timberline, we headed into Portland to visit friends and family.  We spent time with Amy, Dave, Leo and Soren doing puzzling and making our annual feast.  The twins are great cooks, and wowed everyone with their pumpkin pie, apple pie, waffles, pork chops and gravy. 

Next, we headed to Grammy's house for movie watching, present opening, and feasting.  It was a relaxing few days.  It was at Grammy's that we learned what a great present opener Alden has become.  He really got into unwrapping gifts this year.  He would dance around, grinning ear to ear, and yelling, "yes! yes!" as he opened his gifts.  Then, once opened, he would clap and exclaim at whatever he had just opened.  I hope he maintains this ability to be so enthusiastic about gifts.  It is a trait that Kailey and I don't share with him.  Both of us tend to be rather reserved when opening gifts and make expressions that are not congruent with how we actually feel about the present.  Kailey loves giving gifts and also receiving gifts.  But, her exuberance doesn't come across in the moment. With the presents she is most excited about, she tends to make a funny face -- overwhelmed at having gotten something so spectacular. I get where she is coming from.



Anyway, so Alden was a joy to watch as he opened gifts and delighted in both the unwrapping and in whatever it is that he uncovered.  It was fun to watch him dance around, get wide-eyed and then break out in a goofy grin with each new gift.  (Alden got a LOT of horses, stables, barns, and other horse related paraphernalia from Grammy.  Kailey got crafting supplies, including a lot of paints and new paintbrushes.)

After Grammy's house, we headed to my parents' house for a couple more days and to celebrate Nonnie's birthday.  It was fun making cookies, stomping in puddles, playing Tripoli, and taking Nonnie to Mexican food for her birthday, where they sang to her while she wore a massive sombrero. 











After our week in the Pacific Northwest, we packed up the car and headed home.  We left on the 23rd, intent on getting home by the morning of Christmas Eve at the very latest, so we would have time to get ready for Christmas morning. We got on the road at 9 AM and had planned on stopping at the outlet stores for some last minute shopping.  Things did not go as planned.  Instead, about an hour into the drive, Alden started saying he felt sick.  Now, Alden says this all the time. One of his new favorite sayings is, "I'm sick", which he says while looking rather pathetic.  And, then he claims his toe or his finger is sick.  And, Kai also complains about being carsick with some frequency.  Basically, any time she knows we are in for a long car ride, she starts to say she doesn't feel well.  Fun times.  Anyway, so Alden said he was sick.  We were getting ready to stop anyway, so we told him we were getting off the freeway and he could have a break.  Apparently, that wasn't enough.  And, apparently, this time he meant it when he said he didn't feel well. We were literally on the off ramp of the freeway, and Kai yelled, "MOM... DAD... Alden is THROWING UP."  Everywhere.  It was everywhere.  All down his front.  Pooled up in the carseat.  All over the floor.  Ugh.  We pulled into the nearest parking lot and assessed the situation.  It required two outfit changes -- one at the car, just to get him into something clean to get into the grocery store where we could bathe him in the sink.  And another to wear after the sink bath.  Then we had to mop up the floor of the car and figure out what to do with the car seat.  It was a mess.  There really was no way to clean it -- and we couldn't imagine living with the smell for the next 12 hours while we were all cooped up in the car together.  So, we decided the only thing to do was to get rid of it and buy a new car seat. This required a short diversion to Target -- and for the drive over, Alden sat in Kai's booster seat and Kai got to sit in a seat with no booster at all.  Both of which are technically legal ways for them to travel, but far from the safest.  They both considered it a huge adventure and laughed hysterically as we made our way to Target. It was funny in an otherwise annoying and disgusting morning. 

Once we had the new car seat, it was time for lunch.  We had barely gotten out of town, but had been on the road for 3 hours. It was far from the trip home we intended and meant no stopping at the outlet stores.  It also means we hit the mountains as the sun was setting.  It had been a somewhat warm day, so the roads were clear.  But the temperature was dropping quickly and there was moisture in the air -- which meant snow.  We knew if we didn't get over the mountains that night, we'd likely be either stuck or dealing with chains the next day.  Neither sounded fun, so we powered through the snow and darkness (not a fun combination -- it causes quite a bit of vertigo to drive in snow at night!).  Once we got through the snow, we had to contend with thick fog.  Given that we had just spent money unexpectedly on a new car seat, we decided to just power through to our house, arriving at midnight.  It was a LONG day (and I don't have any pictures from our "adventure" getting home).

Once home, we discovered that a water pipe had burst and a good chunk of our front yard was flooded.  As was our basement.  Ahh... home sweet home.  So, Eric spent Christmas Eve fixing the water pipe and then, after that was fixed, ran out to do his shopping.  It was all a bit stressful, but we managed to have all the stocking stuffers and gifts ready by Christmas morning, the water turned back on, and a prime rib roast ready for our Christmas dinner.

That night (Christmas Eve), the kids were bouncing off the walls.  I thought for sure they'd be up  before dawn the next day. But, instead, they slept until their usual time (about 6 AM) and then once they were up, they played together in the playroom rather than begging to go downstairs to open presents.  So funny -- when I was a kid, I was so excited about Christmas.  I couldn't wait to get to the stockings and presents.  But, Kai and Alden take it in stride.  We made our way down to the stockings about 7:30 AM, and they were excited to see their stockings full, the cookies they left for Santa gone (although, I put the kindness elves near the plate of cookies -- leaving Kai to wonder if it was Santa or the elves that ate the cookies), and about all the presents under the tree.  We took our time opening everything, and spent the rest of the day playing with all the new games and toys. It was a relaxing day and the start of a relaxing week at home.  The kids had a few days at school/winter camp, we had a few days to ourselves, and we've had a lot of time together at the house around the fire, playing Wizard's Chess (which Kai got for Christmas), watching movies, and puzzling.  It's been nice to have a week at home together after our two weeks on the road. 






 I've written before about our evolution with Christmas, but at this point, we've just given into the madness.  Clearly. The kids LOVE the holidays.  They love Christmas. They love the kindness elves, stockings, presents, lights, the tree. It's fun to go tree hunting with them.  It's hilarious to watch Alden imitate Santa.  Kai refuses to not believe in Santa, despite the fact that we continue to be completely ambivalent about his existence (and she has never gotten a present that has been addressed from Santa).  There's simply no avoiding the holiday -- so, instead, we've given in. And, it's fun.  The whole holiday season is filled with excited children, anticipating each new stop along the way, relishing in Timberline, family visits, and the actual morning of the big day itself.  In fact, at the start of our trip, Kai exclaimed from the backseat, "I LOVE the holidays.  I love everything about them.  I love family, friends, decorations, skiing.  I LOVE this time of year."  It's all it takes to completely remove the bah humbug that I held onto so many years.  It's been a total transformation for me.  I would have to say that, at this point, I love the holidays, too!  Thanks to our beautiful children for helping us find all the love, joy and togetherness that is at the core of the season.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Alden Sayings


Alden is full of hilarity these days -- I need to carry around a recorder to capture all that he says.  But, a few highlights from recently:

- "it's wake up time... the sun is up" (while pushing back the blinds to demonstrate that I should no longer be in bed)

- "Mama, I'm sick".  When I ask him what feels sick he responds, "my toe!"

- "Santa is coming... I'll show you" and he stands up and walks around the table with his arms trailing behind him and says, "do do do... I'm Santa... and PRESENTS!"

- "the peoples is HAPPY" said in response to me saying no to him for some reason.  He also says, "I'm not whining... I'm happy" when trying to get something he wants.

- "I LOVE that song" said in protest to me skipping over a song on his Music Together CD.

In addition, he frequently breaks out in the ABC song, counts to 13, and sings other random songs he knows.  He changes the words of songs in order to make us laugh and acts out scenes from movies that tickle his fancy.



When opening presents this year, he was SO excited and would get a big, open-mouthed grin at each new gift.  He danced around saying, "YES! YES! YES!" and squealing with delight.  My parents got him rain boots that look like a fireman's boots and the box had flames on it.  When he opened it, he exclaimed, "I got FIRE."

He is so strong willed, a born lobbyist who understands the power of just keeping at your request.  He can wear me down with his persistence, but more often with his humor.

He has the most expressive eyes - instantly changing from bright and cheery to stormy and cloudy.

He's our expressive, independent, lovable, hilarious little boy.  A wish I could bottle his expressions and antics.  But, instead, I'll try to capture his essence here.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Timberline 2016


We're in the middle of our holiday break, and this year we started with our annual trek to Timberline.  We've mixed up the timing of Timberline every year -- but, we've managed to get there for about 13 years in a row (and probably a total of 16 times).   My parents joined us this year, which was their first time coming to the lodge (well, they may have been there once before -- but it was many moons ago and not during winter).  It was fun to have them there and to share our annual tradition with them.  This was Kailey's ninth time at the lodge!  She knows all the secret passageways and all it's special treats -- Heidi the St. Bernard, the fabulous hot chocolate, the pizza place tucked away in the corner (which wasn't open this year).  And, Alden was old enough to really get into all of the special things about Timberline this year.  He loved playing shuffleboard -- and was even pretty good at it (I wish I had gotten a picture of that!)  And, he loved running around the lodge, playing in the hot tub, going in the "big" pool (that is heated, but still a bit cold since it is outside in winter time!), and even doing a snow roll with Kailey (there's nothing like a big sister to encourage risks and adventure!)  I, on the other hand, did not partake in the snow rolls, but enjoy watching the kids (and Eric) be maniacs. 



And, this year, we ALL skied together!  We tried to get Alden on skis last year, but at a year and a half, he was too young (and it was a bit dangerous to have a tantrum-throwing toddler on a chair lift!)  But, this year, he was into it.  He LOVED it.  Eric skied with him, of course, but by the last day, he was managing to be upright on the skis himself in the lift line and sliding towards the front of the line (on a flat surface) all on his own.  He also skied a few feet by himself on the hill, with Eric braced to catch him.  
 
 



And, because my parents were with us, I was able to ski with Kai and Eric for the first time.  I've been slow learning to ski.  It turns out that one or two ski lessons a year is a slow way to learn.  But, after 15 - 20 lessons spread out over 20 years, this year I think I finally got the hang of it!  Kai, Eric and I were able to ski the Magic Mile together -- something I've heard so much about, but never done.  It was so fun!!  And, it was Kai's first time down the Magic Mile too.  It was great to get to have that experience together.  Kai wasn't super happy on the long chair lifts -- but, her skiing is fantastic.  She is much better than I am -- but, I was happy to just be part of it for the first time in all of these years of going to the mountain together!  I even ended up going down a black diamond (inadvertently -- and badly!) but, I managed to get down with the coaching of Eric. Go, me!


Dinner time at Timberline is always a bit of wild card with small children.  Kailey has gotten to the point that she does a great job through long dinners.  She colors and engages in conversation.  But, Alden is another story.  He is not a fan of the dinner table under any circumstance, and formal dinners are among his least favorite.  In order to try to get Alden to behave through dinner, I decided to resort to bribery.  Alden asks to watch videos about every 5 minutes.  And, although he doesn't get videos very often, it felt like the promise of a video might be enough to get him through dinner. He asked early on for a video and I told him he could have it if he was good through dinner.  After about 5 minutes, he said, "I'm good!"  I told him he needed to be good for all of dinner and he said, "I already did!"  He was mad that he wasn't getting to have the video immediately, and not understanding that he needed to keep it up for another hour or two while we ate.  So, I switched tactics and pointed to all the people in the restaurant and said, "Alden, all the people are trying to eat.  They have to be happy for you to have a video.  You have to be quiet so that the people will be happy."  For some reason, this resonated with Alden.  After a few minutes, Alden spread his arms out and declared, "the PEOPLES are HAPPY!"  We agreed and then told him that the people needed to stay happy.  About halfway through dinner, Alden had enough and started to protest, loudly.  I told him the people were mad and made a mad face.  He looked alarmed and looked around and said, "the peoples are mad?"  I told him they were and that meant no video.  He quieted down and asked if the people were happy again.  I told him they were.  This back and forth continued throughout dinner.  And then, at the end of the meal, Alden said, "the PEOPLES are HAPPY.... ASK them!"  I laughed and asked him if he wanted to survey the people and he said, "SURE!"  So, off we went to the nearest table where Alden said loudly, "ARE YOU HAPPY?"  The surprised patron turned to see a toddler standing at his elbow, imploring him to opine on his emotional state, and said, "what?"  Alden asked again, "Are you happy?"  Yes, the man stammered, "yes -- I'm happy."  Alden beamed from ear to ear.  "He's HAPPY!  Watch Elmo!"  And, so he got a video. 

Some how this tactic of keeping the people happy worked for every other meal for the next few days.  And, we had a number of mostly pleasant meals with a minimal number of outbursts. 

It was an absolutely fabulous year -- thanks for coming, Mom and Dad!  Can't wait for next year!


Friday, November 25, 2016

All or Nothing



Alden is a very even keeled little boy. He is very kind and tuned into the feelings of others.  He's made tons of friends at preschool and gets along with the older kids as well as the kids closer to his own age.  So, when I say that his approach to life is all or nothing, I don't really mean that he is extreme.  Or a dare devil.  It's just that he tends to go from not doing something to doing it fully and completely.  He doesn't do things half way.

He skipped over walking and went straight to running.  Our friends would joke on the few occasions that they saw him walking that he had the funniest stride -- he kind of stuck his tummy out first, slapping his feet in down.  But, he almost never walks.  He runs. And hops. He's been doing a two footed hop for over a year.  He's a hopping machine. 

Potty training proved to be no different. We've had a little potty for about a year.  Every once in awhile, we'd sit him on it.  And, he actually went on it a few times.  We also asked his daycare providers to sit him on the potty once a day, which they were doing, but being met with resistance (he's sit for about 2 seconds and demand to get down).  Then, about a month ago, he woke up on a Saturday morning and said, "I have to go potty!"  I got up with him and we went into the bathroom and he went.  A lot.  I know, TMI.  But, this is a blog about children -- TMI is sort of the whole point.  He was so pleased with himself and danced around the bathroom clapping for himself.  Eric had bought jelly beans and lollipops to encourage potty training, so I ran downstairs and got him a jelly bean and told him what a great job he had done.  And that was it.  I kid you not.  I asked him if he wanted to try out his new underwear.  He did.  We went to music class with him in underwear, which seemed pretty daring given that he had only gone to the potty ONCE that day (a feat he had accomplished previously).  I don't really know what compelled me to do that -- I just knew it had clicked for him.  He got through music class, a trip to Home Depot and Kai's soccer game without incident.  He was using the potty and even telling us when he had to go.  He did have one accident that day and one the following day. 

I took him to school on Monday in underwear.  I had a feeling that wasn't going to go over so well since the last time they had seen him, on Friday, he wasn't even a little bit potty trained.  I dropped him off and told them he was in underwear but he had diapers and a change of clothes in his backpack.  The Director wasn't there when I dropped him off, so I called a few hours later to talk it over.  She was highly skeptical of the wisdom of dropping Alden off that morning in underwear and gave me an earful about how young he is and that even if he was successful at using the potty at home, it was different at school because he would be distracted by his friends and forget to go, and them - again - emphasizing how young he was and that we were probably getting our hopes up and pushing him too fast.  I listened patiently and told her I had no expectations and that if he had an accident, we were totally fine with them reverting to diapers.  I told him that we were just following his lead and that I had a sense that he was ready, even though it had happened rather quickly.  We agreed to play it by ear and see how it went.

And he didn't have any accidents that day.  Or the next.  Or the next.  He went three weeks with no accidents at school.  He has sense had a couple when he got too into an art project and forgot to go, but at that point, everyone agreed that he was potty trained.

From 0 to 100 in a single weekend.  That seems to be Alden's approach, thus far, to mastering new skills.  I'm sure there will be instances when this particular trait might be frustrating, but with regard to potty training... it was awesome. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hipster

Kai recently decided that she wanted to wear glasses.  The only problem is she has perfect vision.  I remember wanting glasses really badly when I was her age -- well, a little younger.  I wanted them so much that I purposefully flunked the eye exam at school, earning me a trip to the eye doctor.  I didn't know that eye doctor's were not so easily fooled -- and that when he peered into my eyes he could tell I was a faker.  I didn't get glasses.  I did get in trouble.

Kai knows this story and is also smarter than I was -- so she didn't try to get glasses my faking bad vision.  Instead, she just started begging for glasses and insisting that she could have them with plastic lenses.  It turns out, two other kids in her class wear glasses at school that do not have prescription lenses.  It's a thing.

She wanted frame that cost $60.  Both Eric and I agreed that it was ridiculous to spend $60 so that she could wear glasses she doesn't need.  We refused. 

Kai has an allowance, though.  An allowance we frequently forget to give her -- so she tends to get it in $50 to $100 chunks a couple times a year.  This has happened a few times and she isn't much of a spender (she doesn't need to be -- we buy her all sorts of stuff!) so she had savings to spare and suggested she buy her own frames.  At first, it seemed crazy to let her buy her own frames, too.   She doesn't need glasses!  But, then we relented.  However, I told her that we could find them for less online. 

So, after a quick online spree, Kai chose her glasses and then set about waiting 2 days for them to arrive.  And, she's been wearing glasses nonstop ever since.  Although, when she first sees people that she knows, she freaks and won't wear them.  Even though the purpose, to her, is to trick people into thinking that she got glasses.  She can't keep up the hoax because she gets so freaked out and embarrassed by the theater of it all.  So, she rips them off and then announces that she got fake glasses.  And then proceeds to wear them as though they are real. 

 An 8 year old hipster.  Who knew!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween


Halloween has become one of our favorite holidays.  Orange Food Day used to be my favorite holiday -- but, that was because it was a day to watch trashy movies, play LOTR risk, drink far too much wine, and eat the orange processed food until I started sweating from sodium overload.  It's a holiday designed for adults (adults in their 20s that don't have children). We've continued the tradition since having kids and, truthfully, they LOVE it.  Who wouldn't? It's an excuse to eat Cheetos, drink Fanta, and play with friends.  But, since having kids, we haven't really been able to relish in the debauchery that is Orange Food Day.  So, it's lost its luster a bit, for me. 

I guess that's the way it goes with all things parenting -- the things you once did (and loved) become traditions you hold onto in an effort to hold onto the person you were prior to kids.  But, I'm not that person anymore and those traditions are more enjoyable for the folklore than the actual experience of it.  Not that we're going to stop having a day of Cheeto eating and Fanta drinking once a year.  Kai thinks its a legitimate holiday.  But, Halloween has become a bigger deal for us.  Which, I never would have expected, as I generally hate dressing up and could care less about candy. 

But, the kids LOVE Halloween -- and, really, that's all it takes for me to love it too.  They love the weeks leading up to it when they are planning and then trying on their costumes.  They love decorating the house and seeing all the decorations around the neighborhood.  There was a zombie like character on the porch of a house near Kailey's school, and Alden would crane his neck in anticipation whenever we got close to the house asking, "see scary little guy?  See scary little guy?"

Our neighborhood is a scene on Halloween, and so it's fun to get into decorating.  This year, Kai and Eric constructed a coffin together and then made a pumpkin-head man that was attached to a string so that he would sit up in the coffin to greet the trick-or-treaters as they came by.  And, of course, we had the giant spider that we lowered from the tree.  And glowing, huge eyes in the upstairs windows. 


Alden was equally into Halloween this year. He loved his costume and spent weeks leading up to the big day galloping around the house.  And, Kai spent endless hours practicing her gymnastics moves. 

 
 
 
 
The day of, we had neighbors and school friends over to the house for pizza (that no one ate because of the constant interruptions by trick or treaters at the door and the frenzy of the kids to get outside and GET. SOME. CANDY.)  Alden was a wreck during the dinner portion of the evening because he was so worried about not getting to go trick or treating and he wanted to eat candy so badly. 

Once we got out, we had 4 toddlers and 3 third graders -- which, is really not a great combination.  The third graders were fast.  They wanted to buzz from house to house and get as much candy as possible.  The toddlers were confused, overwhelmed, and easily distracted.  We quickly decided to split up -- the third graders going with Leanna's parents and Cathy, Darcey and I stayed with the little ones.  Eric manner our house and handed out candy.  It would have been fun to stick with Kailey -- she was having such fun -- but, it was also fun to be with Alden.  He wouldn't go to the scarier houses and was ready to head back home after one block. 

Once back at home, the party continued.  The kids played upstairs, eating candy and making up spooky stories.  We handed out candy and had fun with the other parents. 

 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Horses!

Alden loves horses.  He has a couple of toy horses that he plays with all the time.  But, he prefers real horses.  He often wakes up and one of his first requests is to, "go ride horsey!"  When we're driving around time, he'll shout from the backseat, "ride horsey?" We got invited to a birthday party recently that had PONY RIDES.  This was great for a multitude of reasons.  First, because I had started entertaining the notion of throwing Alden a party with pony rides, but I feel like now that he's done that, I can save that pretty penny. And, who knows if this will still be his obsession come March.

We got to the party, and Alden's face lit up when he saw the pony.  No one else was taking a turn, so Alden offered up himself.  During the course of the party, there were many points where no one was riding the pony.  Alden wanted to hang out nearby in case there was an opening, and the owner of the horse was so nice in obliging him whenever there weren't other kids in line.  She also let him hold the reins while other kids got off and on and let him help to load the pony into the trailer at the end of the party. I felt a little bad -- it was almost like it was his party.  In fact, I'm pretty sure the birthday girl never went on the pony.  She was in tears for much of the party and had no interest in the pony. Alden was more than happy to take her place of honor in petting, feeding, riding and looking after the pony. And, there were so many kids and other things to do at the party (including a petting zoo), that no one seemed to notice Alden dominating the pony.  Look how happy he is!




Alden also had fun petting the animals and playing with his friends, when he wasn't lurking around the pony:




Alden's obsession with horses gave us the perfect Halloween costume idea -- a cowboy riding a horse!  I wasn't sure how Alden would feel about a pretend horse to ride -- but he LOVES it.  He asks to put on the costume all the time and goes galloping around the house, making his "click click" sound to imitate the sound of the horses' hooves.  I'll have to post pictures after Halloween night to capture the full cowboy costume.  He tends to reject the boots and hat -- he says, "I don't need those" and tosses them aside before setting off for another gallop around the house. 


The Dilatory Tooth Fairy


I've written before about how we don't really do Santa Claus at our house.  Heck, for the first four years of Kai's life we barely celebrated Christmas.  We didn't get a tree.  We didn't really do presents.  She didn't notice -- and we still did plenty together as a family over the holiday period (camping, Timberline, visiting family, spending time together). 

We also don't celebrate Easter.  There's no Easter Bunny at our house. 

But, somehow, the Tooth Fairy is a thing. I'm not really sure how that happened. I think with the other holidays, we were more in control.  We just didn't really do the traditional thing so the thing we did was what became normal.  But, Kai was not the first among her schoolmates to lose a tooth.  Not even close.  She has many friends who were visited by the Tooth Fairy and was eagerly anticipating her turn.  So, the Tooth Fairy gained prominence in her mind before we had a chance to come up with our alternative. 

Anyway, Kai has lost about 8 teeth now (I think -- I'm really not sure.  I don't like teeth once they have fallen out of someone's mouth!)  Anyway, for the first 6 teeth, we were on it.  She'd leave the tooth under her pillow.  Then the Tooth Fairy would take the tooth away and leave her a silver dollar.  Then we ran out of silver dollars.  And we had a big lag between teeth falling out. 

Anyway... Kai has recently lost two more teeth -- in the same week but on different days.  With the first tooth, she left it under her pillow and woke up in the morning to find the tooth was still there.  She was crestfallen but concocted a story, with the help of Eric, that the tooth was so small and had gotten knocked out of the bed and so the Tooth Fairy couldn't find it.  I told her to put it in an envelope and write the Tooth Fairy a note so that she'd be sure to locate it the following night.  And, I put a reminder in my calendar to make sure the lazy little fairy did her job.  That night, all went well and Kai was thrilled with the $2 she found under her pillow the next morning.

Fast forward a couple of days and in the morning -- really, at the crack of dawn -- Kai comes bounding into our bedroom declaring that she lost another tooth.  I was barely awake but told Kai that was awesome.  She hollered something about going downstairs to write the Tooth Fairy a note and make an envelope so the Tooth Fairy would be sure to come the next night.  The next night that wasn't going to start for another 15 hours.  I thought to myself that I should probably create a calendar reminder since 15 hours is a long time to forget something, and then rolled over and went back to sleep for another half-hour until Alden woke up with a fever, throwing the day for a bit of a loop.

The next morning, Kai woke up distraught yelling -- "the TOOTH FAIRY DID NOT COME."  Crap.  I kicked myself for forgetting AGAIN and also cursed whoever it was that made ME the tooth fairy!   I went downstairs to shower and, before hopping in the shower, ransacked Kai's art desk locating a piece of paper and a felt tip marker in order to write a quick note from the Tooth Fairy.  Then, I scrounged up $2 in quarters since we were out of dollar bills.  When I got back upstairs, the envelope tucked under my towel, Kai was in our bedroom complaining to Eric about the Tooth Fairy.  Perfect!  I snuck into her bedroom, grabbed the envelope with the tooth, crammed the enveloped with the quarters under the pillow in its place, and walked back into our room without being noticed.

"MOMMY!!" Kai yelled as soon as she spotted me.  "The Tooth Fairy did not come... AGAIN!  Come see!" 
 
I followed her into her room and she yanked away the pillow with an annoyed flair and then stopped in her tracks. "WHA?!  Mommy!  Look!!!  She must have just been here."

And, indeed, the note said, "Kailey -- I'm so sorry this is late.  I had a crazy night.  Thanks for the tooth!  Love, the Tooth Fairy"

Kai was so excited.  The Tooth Fairy's sub-par performance was immediately forgiven. 

I walked back into our bedroom, glad to have averted another Tooth Fairy meltdown of a morning, and Eric said to me, "what we are observing is why religion continues to exist." 

Truth. 

Also, our Tooth Fairy sucks.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sibling Love


Alden has started saying "I love you" - unprompted and unsolicited.  He'll turn to one of us and say, "I love you."  Or, he'll be petting one of the kittens and say, "I love you".  He also loves different shows and songs.  I tried to skip a song on the Music Together CD that was on loop in the car (Music Together is really all we listen to), and Alden shouted out in protest from the back seat, "Hey! I love that song!"  So, we listened to it. 

I've written before about how Alden radiates love and joy -- he is such a cuddly, sensitive and sweet boy.  At preschool, they report that whenever someone gets hurt, they know that Alden will be the first on the scene.  He kneels down in front of the injured child, inquiring, "what happened" while patting them reassuringly.  I have seen Alden attend to Kailey when she is inured in exactly the same way.

Kailey has always had these protective and empathetic qualities as well.  When she was Alden's age, her teachers reported the same thing about her attention to others. Just the other day, Kailey's preschool teacher from Kids Into Speaking Spanish emailed out of the blue.  She wrote, "I was talking about Kailey to a new teacher and how smart and beautiful she is and how she learned to speak Spanish so fast.  I watned to say hi to tell you guys and tell you that I really miss my sweet Kailey.  I hope she is doing well.  If you can please say hi to her and send me a picture." It was the sweetest email to get out of the blue -- and a real testament to Kailey's character.

Kailey remains one of the biggest recipients of Alden's love and admiration (and he hers).  Sometimes he expresses that affection in ways that are rather imposing.  For example, for the last few months (and with increasing frequency), he wants to "sit with Kailey" (his words) while eating his meals.  And, he means it quite literally.  He doesn't want to sit near her.  He wants to sit WITH Kailey.  As in, on the same chair, basically shoving her aside so that she is balancing, one leg straight supporting her, while she attempts to balance on the chair.  I know very few siblings that would tolerate sharing their seat at the table more than a few times.  But, this has been going on for weeks, and Kai just says, "it's fine.  He can sit with me."  More incredibly, he likes to eat off her plate, and she allows that too (of course, when he's eating the broccoli that she is trying to avoid, it is a bonus to have Alden sitting next to her!)


Kai and Alden argue now more than they used to - often vying for the same toy or treat.  But, they continue to be very mindful of one another and loving, too.  I love watching them cuddle up together and I love the way they look after each other, inquiring about each others injuries, providing comfort, and enjoying one another's company.  Who knows if it will continue as Kai moves into pre-adolescence and then the teen years -- but, they've built a strong foundation.  These pictures are just a few of them together.  I love how they look at one another (see the picture at the top, too).