Saturday, June 27, 2009

Painting Pictures

Lazy picture post again today...sorry, I've been working on a new novel, and all my words keep getting diverted to this new creative venture...but we had some fun today while Jabber and David went "rambling" for the afternoon...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

monkeying around

Just a quick picture post from today...Jabber and his cousin enjoying our climbing tree.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

shackin' up

We moved Monkey's bed into Jabber's room today, and both boys seemed to enjoy the idea of it. Monkey jumped into the bed and pretended to sleep right away, so we let him try it, but the two boys got so wound up that it didn't work. Tomorrow night our niece will be sleeping in there maybe, so Monkey just went to sleep in our bed, like usual.

But here is Jabber showing off his new room. He was so excited by it, he asked me if he could "just sit and look at his room for a while." Luckily he hasn't asked for any of the toys I threw away in the process of cleaning and reorganizing his room!

And here's proof that I did try to organize the bookshelf. The boys each have a treasure chest on top full of all their favorite things!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jump Right In!

So we got to Jabber's first swimming lesson early. Too early, I guess. The lessons themselves were running late, so when we got there, apparently the older, bigger, more experienced swimmers were still in the pool. Which caused us some drama, but I'll get to that.

First, we arrive and check in, and we are told that adults of the opposite gender cannot accompany children into the locker rooms and that kids over four (actually it says kids who "look four or older" as though if you have an uncommonly tall toddler, he is automatically a pervert or something) can't be in the opposite gender locker room. Okay. So this means I have to drop Jabber off at the door to some weird, labyrinthian locker room, clutching his little bag of stuff, and have him enter alone, get himself changed into his swimming suit alone, take a shower alone, and find his own way to the pool.

"Oh, but there's a locker room attendant, don't worry," she says, beckoning to a boy who might be sixteen. I restrain myself from asking for a copy of his background check. I mean, I'm trying not to be a helicopter parent, but there's also the fact that he's only five years old. He doesn't go into men's rooms alone, and he can't really find his way out of a paper bag by himself, much less find his way through a crowded locker room. (At the restaurant where we ate breakfast, I sent him back to put the tip on the table, and he couldn't find it. It was three tables away from where we were standing at the time.)

Anyway, so I get him dressed in the bathroom instead (in the girls' bathroom, omg I'm such a rebel), and it was a good thing, since he didn't remember that underwear need to be removed first. Then I bring him to the door of the locker room and luckily, a kind grandfather with a small boy of his own offers to help Jabber to the door of the pool. I figure to hell with a shower; do they understand that the child has to be bribed to let us pour water over his head to wash his hair like twice a month?

Then I have to walk all the way around to the other side of the pool and in through the girls' locker room. I find my way through my own labyrinth and emerge in the pool room, only to see my son being taken by the hand toward the water, where those aforementioned bigger kids are splashing away.

"This is Jabber," I hear her say. "Go ahead, Jabber. Jump right in!"

So my son, who is cautious and hesitant about everything in life, jumps right in. And goes right under. And has no clue that he could just stand up, because he has never been alone in that much water before in his life.

(edited to clarify: she did help him to the ladder, and she didn't mean this literally...but he didn't understand how to use the ladder and jumped off the ladder. The pool lady was very sincerely sorry and said that Jabber just seemed so confident, but still. It was scary for everyone.)

At this point, people who have seen me take Jabber swimming (Mary? Ellie? Remember that?) might recall that even when I walked into the water with him, he scrabbled at me like a barnacle and nearly strangled me with his frightened grip and screamed in a way that made me nervous the spectators would call Child Protective Services when I tried to get him to enjoy the water.

Yeah, I was actually pretty proud of him for doing little more than blinking back some tears when the pool lady hauled him back out of the water and set his shivering little self back up on the edge. But in the next fifteen minutes, while we waited for his real beginner lesson, he began to cry and told me he didn't want lessons after all.

In the picture up there, you can see the way he was *supposed* to be introduced to the water, surrounded by two licensed adults who are being careful and supportive. Even so, once his toes hit the water, he latched onto the side and clung to it, shaking and crying, for much of the first lesson. They were really good with him, and got him relaxed and talking, but he still would only go in the water attached to one of the trainers (like a barnacle, with a stranglehold). Now he says he doesn't want to go tomorrow.

I don't know what to do, really. It seems awfully callous to say, "Too bad. I paid forty bucks for this, and you're going." We talked and talked about how he can touch the bottom of the pool (he can), but he doesn't believe me. I asked him one thing he was proud of about today and one thing he wants to try tomorrow, and then I told him six or eight things I am proud of about today and one thing I'd like him to try tomorrow. Right now I'm not even sure he will get in.

On the positive side, he did manage to get himself dried, dressed, and out of the locker room, unlike the other little boy with an opposite-gendered adult; he got lost for a little while. (His mom, carrying a toddler and an infant in a car seat, handled it much better than I would have, I'm sure.)


Sunday, June 14, 2009

beach bums

Just a quick picture post today: my boys at the beach, watching some random scuba diver guy braving the freezing cold water and big waves to explore the unknown. The kids were fascinated by watching him wade out and slowly, bit by bit, disappear under the water.

"Hey, Jabber, where did he go?"

"He's under the water, Mom!"

"He just disappeared, though."

"I know! Wouldn't it be weird if he was under there when we were throwing rocks, and then we threw a rock on his head?"

This idea now has me actually worried, a little. I could be happily chucking rocks into the waves and clock some poor diver in the noggin. Oh, dear.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

a tough call

Jabber: Mom? Which do you love more, me or your computer?

Me: I love you way more than my computer, sweetheart. Way more. A bazillion times more.

Jabber: Well, if the house was burning down, which one would you grab first, your sons or your computer?

Me: Baby if the house were burning down, the ONLY things I would care about would be you, your brother, and your Daddy.

Jabber: What if your computer burned all up?

Me: As long as my family was safe, it would be okay. What about you?

Jabber: What about me?

Me: If the house were burning down, and you could only save ONE thing, would you save your Mama or your toy cars?

Jabber: I would save you AND my cars.

Me: (laughing) No, no, no, you don’t have time for saving both. Which one would you choose?

Jabber: (also laughing) I would push you out the door and then go back for my cars.

Me: You goofball, you can only choose one.

Jabber: Well, our house would never burn down.

Me: Well, okay, that’s true, but IF you had to make the choice, would you choose me or your cars?

Jabber: I would throw my car out the window while I was saving you.

Well, at least he would save me! :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Backyard Boys

Before the Big Leaf Burglary Drama that hauled us indoors...

("The sound you make when your little brother steals your pile of leaves should not resemble the sound you make when a rabid alligator tears off both your legs, Jabber. That's enough. Get in the house. NOW.")

...we actually had a nice time this evening hanging out in the backyard. So here are a few pictures proving harmony sometimes happens.

Here's Jabber actually enjoying himself.

Jabber holds the leaves in question, while the perpetrator digs a hole to hide the evidence.

Monkey denies all charges. He is outraged at the accusations.

Elbows off the Table

My kids are currently impossible at the table. Every single meal involves at least five or six occasions of me or David asking them, "Is that good table manners?" and them replying with a reluctant "Noooooo...."

I would like to be able to eat at a restaurant someday, not that we used to eat out all the time or go to super fancy establishments or anything, but we never had to completely abandon restaurants when Jabber was a baby. Sure, we had to bring a lunch from home for him since the odds were extremely high that he would be allergic to everything on their menu, but at least we could bring him places. He would sit, mostly quietly, and color/snack on Cheerios or whatever until it was time to eat, and then he would eat in a way that suggested he was a slightly inexperienced but well-meaning human, and we would clean up, leave a big tip, and go home. No dirty looks or anything.

Now that Monkey has joined us and become mobile, etc., we cannot even handle the most casual of formats for a dinner outside the home. I mean, we can barely keep it together for a meal at McDonald's. Once we went out for a sit-down dinner at a very kid-friendly casual place, and I swear, neither David nor I had a chance to say one word to each other, what with all the trips to the bathroom and the picking things up off the floor and the walking the baby to the windows, etc. That was a year ago, and I cannot even begin to imagine what a restaurant trip would look like today, now that Monkey is firmly entrenched in the terrible twos, so to speak.

Dinner at our home now includes things like constant interruptions (conversation? only if it closely aligns with Jabber's agenda), spitting, tossing, scraping of forks, tipping over of chairs, yelling, funny noises, standing on chairs, food stolen from other people's plates and eaten, food removed from the mouth and placed on my plate, clothing used as napkins, beverages used as fingerpaint, table used as jungle gym...basically it bears little resemblance to dinner.

It's not that we don't value manners; we're constantly trying to show them good manners and enforce/reinforce them. I don't get it, but we've informed them that we'd like to eat out occasionally but can't until we see that they are capable of exhibiting human-like behavior during the course of a normal dinner.

How do you teach your kids manners, or are they just beautiful little darlings who wouldn't ever dream of using yogurt as hair gel?