Tuesday, September 22, 2009

avert your eyes, then...

Scene: living room, after dinner. Monkey plays on living room floor.

Monkey: LOOK DADDY! Look what I can do! (throws plastic hammer up into the air and makes a half-hearted attempt at catching it)

David: Oh, Monkey. We don't throw toys.

Monkey: But I like it! (throws hammer)

David: Yeah, but we're in the house. And that's a hammer. We don't throw hammers.

Monkey: I do! (throws hammer)

David: No, Monkey. I really don't want to see you throwing hammers.

Monkey: Okay! So go away, Daddy!

Baby Neal Cassady?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

before I forget...

Earlier this weekend, I was reading a book with both boys about a firefighter, and I asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up. I expected them to answer that they wanted to be firefighters, since that's what we were talking about.

Just as I suspected, Monkey talked about being a firefighter (but also a zookeeper, which surprised me), but Jabber shook his head.

"No, I'm not going to be a firefighter," he said. He seemed so completely certain--totally confident in his decision.

"You don't want to fight fires?" I asked.

"Well, no," he said. No hesitation. "Because I'm going to be a tattoo artist."



I know I've already written about this, but life with a toddler and a kindergartener is not free of repetition, so my art shall imitate life. (oh, stop scoffing. I didn't make it Art with a capital A or anything...)

Monkey astounds me all the time with how vehemently he declares his likes and dislikes, and although these are sometimes changeable (for instance, last night he fell asleep while muttering over and over, "I love my daddy and I hate my mama. Mama is a bad mother bad mother bad mother. I love my daddy and I hate my mama..." but this morning he loved me again), one thing he does not change his mind about is fashion.

The child knows what he likes. And even more, he knows what he detests.

He's also very good at making it impossible to dress him in anything that falls into that last category.

Each morning when I help him dress himself (he will no longer allow us to dress him, which is unfortunate on the days when I am particularly rushed...), I have to offer a broad selection of clothing for him to choose from. Right now, he is not interested in any form of clothing for the lower half of his body that isn't "JEANS JEANS JEEEEEEEANS!", for instance. There are some shirts that, inexplicably to me, are completely unacceptable, even when the laundry situation is such that there are no other options. His Star Wars shirt and a T-shirt that proclaims him to be a "Noisy Little Monster" are two such shirts. I mean, I understand his reluctance to wear the monster shirt, especially because when he does, everyone reads it and laughs at him, but Star Wars??? Come on, kid.

Anyway. On to our latest vicious battle of wills disagreement.


He refuses to wear the diapers we bought, which are generic because as any parent knows, diapers are freaking expensive, and dude, if it doesn't give you a rash and it's on sale, that's what you are wearing.

He refuses to wear these diapers. Kicking, screaming, thrashing, wailing, hitting, biting--refuses.

As in, "WHAT? I cannot possibly wear those ugly ass diapers that have polka dots on them! I HATE POLKA DOTS. How could you even imagine that POLKA DOTS were an acceptable pattern for something as respectable as a diaper. How can I even take myself seriously in POLKA DOTS? Have I mentioned I HATE POLKA DOTS? Sure, Blues Clues was a bit demeaning, but I endured it (except the green ones. God, I hated wearing the green ones. I don't mind the pink, the purple, the yellow, and the orange Blues Clues but I have to draw the line somewhere, you know? And green...it was just too much.) with only a modest amount of protesting. But this...this is an abomination. I will not wear them. I WILL NOT. YOU CANNOT MAKE ME."

And you know what? I can't, either. With all that kicking and thrashing and...undulating...I can't get the damn things on in any kind of manner that will actually accomplish the one thing it is meant to accomplish, which is NOT to make a fashion statement. And the one time I did get it on straight and fasten it up properly? He ripped it off in mere seconds.

Like, okay, you're almost three years old, child. Don't like your diapers? You can go on the potty. But seriously. You don't like your diaper because it has polka dots?

We battled. We tried to force him into wearing the damn diapers. No dice.

We bribed. We cajoled. We bargained. We made promises. We explained.

"Monkey, we don't have any other diapers. These are the kind that Daddy bought. When we get a different kind, you can wear those, but look, baby. WE HAVE NO OTHER DIAPERS."


And then.

"All right, Monkey, let's put on the diaper."

"I HATE POLKA DOTS!!! NO NO NONONONONONONO!" (kicking, thrashing, etc.)

"Oh. Well, good. These diapers don't have polka dots."

(stops thrashing) "They don't?"

"Nope. These have balloons. Without strings. Free balloons that float through the air and have dance parties all over the place."

"Oh. Okay."

Diaper success. For now.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Well, we all survived the start of school, and Jabber seems to have enjoyed it the most out of all of us. He sums up his experience with these great words of wisdom: "Kindergarten is...um...kindergarten is cool."

We've had some good conversations about the process--one rather amusing one in which Jabber told Ms. N. and me about making a new best friend.

Jabber: Well, you know, I made a new best friend today, but I don't remember his name. He had a coat with stainless steel buttons, though. They were shiny. And he had a voice like a doctor.
Me: (laughing) A voice like a doctor? So like, did he use really big words or something?
Jabber: (shrugs) He just sounded like a doctor.
Ms. N.: What does a doctor sound like? Can you show me what he sounds like?
Jabber: (gives Ms. N. an incredulous look) Well, I can't repeat it, you know, because I can't change my voice. I have MY voice, not his!

We laughed. I have to admit, I want to meet this nameless kid with the shiny buttons just to hear his voice.

On the second day, the bus--which picks Jabber up from my school--came early, and we missed it. Ooops! MOMFAIL. David drove over quickly and picked him up, and all was well, but the next day I suggested that Jabber accompany Mr. L., the "Assertive Discipline Coordinator" for our school, down to the buses, since then he'd be sure to not miss his bus. I had a meeting, so I asked Jabber if he'd be willing to go alone with Mr. L. He surprised me by agreeing without hesitation (Mr. L. is a very nice guy, but I'll admit he does look capable of some pretty assertive discipline). After school, I said, "Jabber, I'm proud of you for being brave and going down with Mr. L. all by yourself."

He shrugged and said, "Oh, that's okay, Mom. I just pretended he was you." Um, okay.

In other news, he has started reading after one week of kindergarten. The two things may or may not be related, but all summer we read together and occasionally talked about letter sounds and stuff. At the time, Jabber didn't really "get" it; he totally nailed the initial consonant, and everything else was a big mystery. But the other night we went for a drive in our new car, and suddenly we heard Jabber shouting from the backseat, "PISS! PISS! PISS!"

I turned around, rather alarmed at the language (he MUST have picked that up from school, I thought), but Jabber was gleeful and excitedly pointing at the red seatbelt buckle. "IT SAYS PISS!"

"Oh. I think you're missing a letter," I said, laughing a little. "There's an R in there."

I didn't really expect him to be able to change his sounding-out strategy, but sure enough, he whispered back there for a few moments and then correctly said, "PRESS! PRESS!"

It was exciting, but not nearly so exciting as the following morning as I was driving Monkey to daycare, and I overheard Jabber teasing him from the backseat.

"You have letters on your leg, Monkey," Jabber said, and I didn't pay too much attention, my mind on the day ahead. But then I heard him back there making those "sound it out" noises, and eventually, he said, "F...R...S...A...L!"

Well, that doesn't actually spell anything. I dismissed it as jibberish. jabberish. But then.

"MOM! I'm going to write letters on Monkey's leg that say FOR SALE! Can we sell him now?"