Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Road Trips and Renovations!

So this is Jabberwock at the beach, on our trip last week to see my friend M. You wouldn't necessarily think, from looking at this photo, that he was screaming hysterically like fifteen minutes earlier, would you?

So I know I've talked about Jabber's fears, his hesitancies. Dogs, heights, the sound of the coffee grinder, public singing and/or doing hand motions. Well, you can add swimming to that list. Before this picture was taken, he was clinging to me with all of his limbs, screaming at the top of his lungs as I carried him out into the water. No, I wasn't throwing him off the end of a dock, and I wasn't even carrying him out where he couldn't touch. No. I was ON MY KNEES in the water, holding him, with his legs wrapped around my neck and his little razor toes (did I mention he's also afraid of the toenail clippers?) clawing for a toehold to launch himself up onto my shoulders, even as I soothed him and whispered to him and eventually even yelled at him a bit.

"Relax, honey, you can put your feet right down on the ground, and the water is only going to come up to your tummy. I won't let you go, Jabber, I've got you, I've got you, I've got you..." Rinse and repeat. Still he screamed. Loudly.

Friend M. smiled and dove in, leaving us to our own devices, while a couple watching the sailboats sat on the bench and looked slightly worried. Jeez, this lady is forcing that poor child into the water when he is clearly terrified. It looks a little like she might be scarring him for life.

They weren't there last week, though, when we did the same song and dance, almost exactly, at the indoor waterpark pool. That was a little more embarrassing because there was a waayyy bigger audience, though. The thing is, it seems like no matter how many times I take him into the water, his first reaction is just pure panic. If I let him be, he will remain panicky, unable to relax for even one minute next to the water. If the water touches his shoes, he will be afraid that a wave is coming to sweep him off and carry him away. I don't know where this fear comes from, really; I just know that if I hold him long enough and soothe him and keep on trying to make a game out of it until he forgets to be afraid for a little while, eventually he gets comfortable enough to have a little fun!

Like this picture, where he and SuperGirl were making an inland sea or something like that. (Notice, E, there are no pictures of you in or almost out of your bikini top...)
Here is a moment of silliness with friend E and well, let's call him HeroBoy, because he is clearly Jabberwock's Hero!
M has this really awesome guest book that is really a slice of a tree trunk that you sign with a woodburner, and here are E and HeroBoy signing in. Even Jabber got to write his name on the book, although we did have him do it on the practice side, since he still writes it awfully HUGE!
And here's a cute one of SuperGirl, just looking so cute. I mean, I can totally see why Jabber clear forgot about his peanut allergy when this lovely one handed him a cookie. He was under her spell!

Jabber's mad photography skillz...apparently I am breaking up a pretty intense fight. Just for the record, when confronted with a situation in which punches are being thrown, I am not all that likely to be in the middle of it. Especially if the punchers/punchees are girls. Luckily, even in the middle school, I am not in this situation all that often.

OKAY. End of fun road trip pictures. However, NOT quite the end of this picture post extraordinaire! The next two shots are perhaps not quite as cute as kids frolicking at the beach and teachers throwing punches, but they make me just as happy. Probably happier.

See, about two years ago, actually a little more, my dad called from Topeka to ask me some questions about my fireplace, which at the time we had been using sporadically for the ambience. Nothing like sitting in front of a crackling fire in the middle of winter. Cozy stuff. Anyway, he was asking for things like measurements and I forget what else. A week or so later, he came to visit us and bought us this fireplace insert thing. Well, it was the middle of winter, and the roof was all covered in ice, and David didn't really know how to install the thing anyway, so we just set it on two 2x4's about five feet to the side of the fireplace.

And there it sat. There were a number of issues, one of them being the fact that we had a second child, and life got decidedly more full. Another was the fact that the insert itself didn't really FIT into the fireplace, without substantial alterations to the chimney or whatever. Everyone had their theories. Grind away at the inside of the firebox and take out such and such. No, just bend the sides of the stove in to match the dimensions. Well, and then there's the fact that the stovepipe thing was coming off at such a weird angle that the insert was going to have to stick out of the fireplace like ten or twelve inches. So then before we could do that, the hearth needed to be torn out and replaced. Did I mention we had another kid?

Okay. So basically we had this really heavy, really expensive, sharp-edged end table sitting about five feet to the right of our fireplace. Enough is enough. I almost put an ad in the paper last fall--"Come and get it and it's yours!" But life was too busy for me to even get around to that. And plus, it was a gift, a spendy gift, and I didn't want to hurt Dad's feelings, you know?

So, Father-in-law to the rescue! Here is David and his dad going over the plans for the project this afternoon.

And here, TA-DA!!! Is the fireplace insert ACTUALLY INSERTED! Hurray!!! Of course, it's still not connected to the chimney, but we've got a while before the roof is covered with ice. Maybe it will happen? I don't really care; I've got a little more room in my living room now!

(Room to dance with happiness, that is!)


CDP said...

Jabber is so cute in his vest. My older one was afraid to let go of me in the water when he was little. I had a lifeguard at our pool give him lessons...he was much more inclined to listen to her and obey her instructions and it made an enormous difference. He was independent in the shallow end by the time he was four and a half. Now, at 7, he's just finished his second year on a swim team and loves to swim for fun. It might be worth a try.

liss n kids said...

Yeah, I think we're going to do some kind of Aqua kids thing this year, and then swim lessons next year. I'm just kinda worried that the lifeguard would freak out when my kid gives her/him a four-limbed stranglehold.

Anonymous said...

Great pictures! Can I use the one of the "fighting teachers" for the yearbook next year?!

liss n kids said...

Lisa, Go for it! Just remind me to email it to ya, or you can just download from here, maybe??? I'm kind of technologically challenged.