Dual Personalities

The Jekyll and Hyde behavior of Thing 3 continues.? We’ve already seen how he is a completely different person at preschool than he is at home.? And now we find out he’s the biggest story teller in the class.? Each day, during group time, the teacher asks a question and writes down each answer on a sheet for all the parents to see.? Usually the questions are “What is your favorite barn animal?” and Thing 3 will have a one word answer like “Duck!” (the exclamation is necessary because he really, really likes ducks).

On Monday, the question is “What did you do over the weekend?”.? Most kids have brief answers like “Played with my mom and dad”, “I drank milk”, or “We made cookies”.? Here is what Thing 3 recalled:

I played with toys and went to bed with Buzz. I got coffee and ice water and went to Chuck E Cheese. Buzz was in trouble and went to time out for taking a cookie. I’m going to watch Buzz tomorrow. I had an apple.

Here’s the interpretation: He carries his Buzz Lightyear doll with him everywhere. The coffee is a reference to trips with SuburbanMommy to the Caribou Coffee drive-thru which we do often on weekends when we need to strap him in one place for a while. I did take the 3 boys to Chuck E Cheese on Sunday. It’s a madhouse on a rainy day but necessary sometimes when there is nothing to do. It wasn’t Buzz who got the timeouts, but sometimes after Thing 3 gets a timeout, he recreates the moment by giving his Buzz doll a timeout. I don’t know anything about taking a cookie as a reason for the timeout. I’m sure the timeout was for hitting his brothers or spitting on the wall. Saying he will watch Buzz tomorrow is a given because we’ve watched Toy Story 1 and 2 a hundred times.

Worst Thing That Happened Today

Now that Thing 1 has started 1st grade in a new school, we want to know more about what he does all day and how he is doing.? But you won’t get any of that information from him.

Me:? “How was school today?”

Thing 1:? “Good”

Me:? “What did you do?”

Thing 1: “I don’t remember”

So I rephrased the questions so I would have to get some kind of answer.

Me: “What was the best thing that happened today at school”?

Thing 1: “Playing outside at recess.”?? Of course

Me:? “The best thing other than recess”

Thing 1:? “Going to the library.? I got two books”.

Wow, actual information!? Further questioning revealed that he checked out two sports books (of course).? One all about the Pittsburgh Penguins and another about the Pittsburgh Pirates.? I’m not sure about the sudden interest in Pittsburgh teams, but hey, he’s reading.

Me:? “And what was the worst thing that happened in school today?”

Long pause.? I wanted to see if there were kids that he wasn’t getting along with, or maybe some bully 4th graders on the school bus or in the cafeteria.

Thing 1:? “The worst part was in gym class when we had to sit still.”

Not sure what that was about.? So I did some more questioning and found out.? It turns out they were learning about different intensity levels of physical activity.? Level 1 is being stationary.? Level 2 is light walking.? Level 3 is jogging.? And so on.? They simulated each level and for Level 1 they had to sit still in one place in the gym.? For 4 minutes!

And that was the worst part of his day because he wanted to run around during gym class.? I forgot how horrible first grade can be.? Hopefully tomorrow will be better for him.

Lessons From Our First Football Game

Yesterday was our long anticipated first trip to a pro football game. We’ve been to baseball and basketball games this year, but there is something about your very first football game that you never forget. Being there yesterday brought back my first Giants game with my dad. Also, having not been to a football game myself in many years, it brought back all the not so great memories that makes football probably the worst live viewing experience of any sport – the traffic, crowds, bad weather, poor views, and outrageous prices.

But it was all worth it to see Thing 1 and Thing 2 experience it for the first time. I hope they have vivid memories because it may be a while before we go to another one.

Lesson #1: “Possible Obstructed View” means you have a big pillar right in front of you which kids can’t possibly see around. This was the view from our original seats.

Leave it to greedy NFL owners to have the nerve to build a stadium with seats like this and charge good money for them.

Since it was preseason we were able to move to empty seats in the upper level where we could see the entire field even if it looked like a bunch of ants playing.

That is, until it started to rain and they wanted to go back to our original seats because the seats were covered.

Lesson #2: When you have young kids with you, splurge for the parking lot closest to the stadium. I pre-paid $35 to be in a grass lot that was ideal for tailgating. We threw the footballs around and had a fun time eating sandwiches, snacks, and peeing in the portable potties (Thing 2: “How do I flush?”, Thing 1: “Where does it go?”). They were very intrigued by the games of beer pong going on all around us and Thing 1 wanted to know the rules.

But then we had to march from the parking lot about a half mile through the other parking lots to get to the game. Which was fine, except I didn’t realize how hard it would be to do after the game in reverse, in the dark, with Thing 1 and Thing 2, exhausted and 2 hours past their bedtime. I may have been completely slightly at fault for taking us in the wrong direction after the game but it doesn’t help to hear “is that the car?” and “maybe they know” and “are we lost” and “I’m tired of walking” every 10 seconds. It took us nearly an hour of walking to find the car. Which didn’t matter, in the end, because we still sat in a ton of traffic.

Good Intentions Gone Bad

Sometimes the best intentions yield bad results. Last week, for Mothers Day, Thing 1 pledged to help. He even made this in school. How adorable.

So, with Thing 1 leading the way, he and Thing 2 set out to clean the basement. They may even have told me first. I don’t remember, they tell me a lot of stuff.? SuburbanMommy was enjoying her Mothers Day outside the house, so I had my hands full.?? I’m not sure what they were doing, I was just glad they weren’t fighting.? I assumed cleaning the basement meant what it always had until that point, which consisted of picking up all the toys and balls and other stuff.

A little while later, I spotted Thing 2 on his way to the basement. He was wearing goggles and had a roll of paper towels. His socks were soaking wet.

Me: “What are you guys doing down there?”

Thing 2: “We’re cleaning”

It was time to take a look.? With Thing 4 in my arms, I went to the basement to check out this cleaning operation.? I found the basement carpet was wet.? Really wet.? There were puddles of water on the floor in the bathroom.? Several towels were soaking wet.? They were wetting the towels, then carrying them, dripping wet, to parts of the basement to “clean” them.? How adorable.? To be more efficient, Thing 1 instructed Thing 2 to use the other sink at the wet bar.? Now there were two sources of puddles on the floor.

Let’s look at the bright side. They were trying to help. How often does that happen? They were also working together without fighting. That’s a good thing.? After using nearly an entire roll of paper towels to soak up the water, I asked:

“Is there anything else you cleaned I should know about?”

“No.” Then he thought about it. “Yes.”


“The pillows”

They had taken the pillows from the couch and held them under the water in the sink to wash them.? Then put them back on the couch.?? Adorable.

A New One For Me

After four kids I thought I had seen everything disgusting that was possible involving poop.? There are the incidents I’ve posted about before involving the swimming pool, at the McDonald’s play place, in the washing machine, and at the zoo.? And now I can add another – the bathtub.

We did the usual triple bath last night – all three boys in the tub at the same time.? It can get crazy and cause a mess, but it’s the quickest way to get baths over with.? Thing 3 likes to has to stay in the tub until all the water is out.? Even then it’s a fight to get him to come out.? This kid loves water.

He was sitting in the tub, with no water, when I was helping Thing 2 brush his hair.? When I looked back at the tub, whoomp! there it was.?? I had my iPhone handy to snap a photo for this post but I thought I’d spare you all and leave something to the imagination.? Since he isn’t potty trained I tried to turn it into a teachable moment.? “Poop goes in the potty. “? He wasn’t very impressed.? I fear we’re in for more of these adventures as he goes through potty training.?? Does anyone know a potty training “expert” I can call?

Don’t Assume Anything

When it comes to Thing 3 it’s best not to assume anything. Don’t assume all is well in the next room just because it is quiet. Don’t assume he won’t run away from you at the mall.

And, apparently, I shouldn’t assume the shoes I put on him in the morning are the same ones he’ll be wearing when I pick him up at preschool.

Notice anything wrong with these shoes? I didn’t. Until we got home.

You might see that one is newer and cleaner. You might also notice, upon closer inspection, that one is 1 1/2 sizes bigger than the other. And, if you are really sharp (I’m not) you’ll see they are BOTH right footed.

That’s exactly what I learned only after we got home. I’m just glad to know the other parent did the same thing.

How A Two Year Old Can Get You Fired

Two year olds can get into a lot of trouble. Thing 3 certainly gets into his share. Breaking, climbing, running off, throwing, hitting, screaming are all part of the daily program. But now I’ve seen how this trouble can cross over into a parent’s work life.

This week Thing 3 found my work Blackberry. Normally, it password locks the screen after a few minutes of inactivity, but he got it too fast. Still, I didn’t think there was too much trouble he could cause.
Continue reading How A Two Year Old Can Get You Fired

So Much For Sleeping

We are in the middle of probably the biggest snowstorm I’ve ever seen. Snow was coming down last night at a rate of 3-4 inches per hour. We let the kids stay up late last night because we aren’t going anywhere for a long time, and hoped maybe they would sleep late.

Shortly after 6am this morning, Thing 1 woke up and ventured downstairs. Normally that wouldn’t be a problem because he is 6 and knows how to turn the TV on and usually waits for everyone else to wake up.

Except this morning he was excited about the snow and wanted to see how it looked outside.

So he opened the front door to look out the glass storm door. Which set off the alarm and abruptly woke everyone up. If you think waking to an alarm clock is unpleasant, imagine a high decibel, high pitched noise designed to scare burglars away.