Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jack's Party

Today we had Jack’s 5th birthday party. It was supposed to be where he goes to gymnastics, but a freak October nor’easter took out the power at the gym, so we had to cancel it. I did have the option of rescheduling the party, but seeing as how I’m 36-ish weeks pregnant (I honestly can’t remember; I’m due November 29) and November is the official start of the holiday season, I canceled it. It was pretty disappointing since this was to be Jack’s first “friend” party, which I plan to have only for a select few birthdays. I was double disappointed, because I was looking forward to meeting his school friends and their moms, but what can you do? Who would have predicted a snowstorm on October 30?

However, although we’d invited seventeen kids, ten of those kids were his cousins, so we had them over to our house to make sure we wouldn’t be stuck with an entire half-sheet cake. And also so Jack wouldn’t have to go from “I get to have a party with a bouncy house and a tumble track and an obstacle course! WOOOOO!” to “I get to… hang out with my Mom and Dad and not have any presents because they already gave me theirs! Woooo?”

It actually turned out just fine. Jack and Nora love their cousins, and, if you’ll indulge me a minute, I’d like to say that this group of kids are just about the sweetest, most well-behaved group of kids I’ve ever had the privilege to know. We had ten children here aged nine-and-under, and you would never have guessed it. There was no screaming, fighting, or thundering around the apartment, and the older kids included the little ones in all their games. Everyone waited patiently for cake and ice cream, and my four-year-old nephew was heard to say, “I’ll take whatever piece you give me!” What sweethearts they all are.

As for presents, can I just say that five-year-olds get WAAAAY better stuff than babies. Playmobil, Transformers,Perfection… Andrew’s favorite though was from my parents. When my mom told me what she got him, she described it as “Mario Kart, but without the wheel.” I was confused, so she elaborated with, “You know? The old Mario Kart? Without the wheel?” I wondered if she perhaps meant Super Mario Brothers? She did. Andrew’s pretty psyched. (Well someone is going to have to teach Jack how to play it.) (And in my mom’s defense, we did not have Nintendo when I was a kid, so her first introduction to the Mario Brothers was Mario Kart. As far as she knows, Mario Brothers equals Mario Kart.)

In unrelated news, last night we had a family Movie Night and watched Babe. Nora sure knows how to ruin a Movie Night. First she whacked Jack smack in the forehead with the door of the medicine chest, then she whined and cried - loudly - about wanting more popcorn (among other things), then she just would not stay seated! Man, sometimes she acts like a two-year-old. But in one of her calmer moments, she rested her head on my belly. The baby gave her a good kick, and she sat up and said to me, “Why you DO that?” while rubbing her cheek.

“That wasn’t me, that was the baby!” I said. “The baby kicked you!” She told everyone today how the baby kicked her in the head, and she’s been trying to get him (or her) to do it again ever since.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Five! Five! Five! Five! Let's sing a song of five!

So this kid here:


Has somehow morphed into this one:


And yes, that is another Chirp cake, the third one in a row. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted, and that’s what he chose. I think maybe he thinks he’s only allowed to choose characters from Peep and the Big Wide World. Convenient for me, I have to say, since the characters are all very round and simply drawn. I’m not including a shot of the cake from above, because it looks pretty much the same as the last two Chirp cakes I made, but I this year the icing was a lot closer to actually being red this year instead of pink. (It seems I never posted a photo of the cakes from last year, but they were Chirp and Quack, and Chirp looked the same.)

In honor of turning five, Jack got to try gum for the first time today. Jack has literally been looking forward to this for two years. Since I wasn’t about to let a three-year-old chew gum, I arbitrarily chose five as the age of reason as far as chew-but-don’t-swallow is concerned. I didn’t think he’d remember it or anything. I was wrong.

“When I’m five, I can have gum!” he told anyone and everyone for the next two years. I actually started to feel pretty bad for him, because there was no way The Experience of Gum was going to live up to his expectations. At any rate, today he had gum. And, as it turns out, we have not yet hit the age of reason as far as chew-but-don’t-swallow is concerned, but at least he got two minutes of chewing in beforehand.

Gum-swallowing aside, Jack had a good day. He got to hand out his cupcakes at school AND he got to be the line-leader THREE TIMES. Top that with a dinner of pineapple pizza, banana ice cream, and birthday cake, throw in a remote-control race car, and you get a pretty perfect birthday.

Jack, you’ve grown into such a fun, inquisitive, silly goofball of a little boy. You are just the best kid. I love you.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kids, eh?

Nora woke up from her nap in a pretty decent mood, but when Andrew asked her if she wanted a snack, juice, etc., she just kept saying, “No.” Finally he said, “Do you need a clean diaper?” and she held up her hand and said, “Just leave me alone.”


I was folding laundry and told Jack I needed him to put away his clothes. “No, thanks,” he said.

“Uh… the correct answer is, ‘Sure thing, Mom,’” I told him. There was some more argument and I finally said, “We’re going to make you a chore list, Jack.”

“Nooooo!” he said.

“Jack, how old are you again?” I asked.

There was a brief pause. “Not very,” he said.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


One thing that constantly amazes me is the way my friends’ kids, who are all the same age as or younger than Jack, can watch movies. All kinds of movies! Movies with scary parts! Jack cannot. I am always trying to find movies that we can watch and enjoy together, as opposed to watching Cars for the four frillionth time, but every movie that I can stand has scary parts. This is because Jack’s personal definition for “scary part” is a squidge wider than the average person’s. For example, we tried Ratatouille a month or two ago because I couldn’t think it of any scary parts, but I didn’t realize that Remy and the kid shouting at each other during an argument would count. We had to shut it off because of angry shouting. So. It seems we are rearing a sensitive soul. I guess it’s karma, because I am personally responsible for my siblings’ not being allowed to watch Scooby Doo.

Nora, meanwhile, is newly frightened of monsters, despite the fact that she keeps catching monsters in her hand and they appear to be only two inches tall. Nevertheless, we have to wave a monster stick around the room every night before she goes to bed just to make sure the room is cleared. (During the day, we store the monster stick on the kitchen blinds. It’s also handy for opening and closing the slats.)

And both children have been having nightmares fairly regularly. Nora had one recently that made her run to our door and cry, “I scary!” The poor thing was actually trembling with fright. Jack has at least one a week. (His are usually pretty scary too, but his most recent one which was based on his not getting any lullabies before bed. It was a bit harder than usual to work up sympathy.) But what this all boils down to is that we just never know if we’re going to sleep all night or not, and these are the last few precious weeks before the months of no-more-sleeping smack us in the face.

My battery is about to die, so I’m going to wrap this up with some unrelated photos of Nora eating a giant pickling cucumber like an apple, and of Jack standing next to the robot he designed and built with Andrew. He hasn’t decided on its primary function, but it does have invisible arms.