Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sibling rivalry. It doesn't *just* happen to other people's kids.

Micah is all about spy robots and butterflies, monster cats and purple ducks, flying bagels and teeeny tiny dinosaurs with razor sharp teeth. He's super imaginative and loves to narrate elaborate and highly inventive scenarios (which, incidentally, often involve a robot wielding an ax). I think it's awesome. I've been gaga about him from the start, but this brings the ol' parental awe to a whole new level. He's an amazingly verbal, smart, creative kid (And hilarious!! Did I mention hilarious?!?). Turns out Eli, however, is not so gung-ho about the whole thing. You might even say that this particular development drives him APE-SHIT-BAT-SHIT crazy. I think, because, as the older sib who's been guiding the imaginary play for years, he's accustomed to being the one in charge, the one who directs the flow of play, the one who bosses Micah around, the one who gets to use the baby as a prop. So these days, when he sees Micah getting his ax-wielding groove on, he's quick to step in, demanding command of the play. Case in point, a little story from last week:

Micah, playing outdoors, holding a vaguely ax-shaped piece of trash: "Watch out you robot. I'm gonna ax you."

Eli: "No, Micah!!!! That's not an ax; it's a gun. Let me show you."

Micah: "No, Eli. Leave me alone! I'm playing by myself."

Eli refused to back down and trailed uncomfortably close to Micah, purposely preventing him from carrying out his play.

Micah: "Eli!! Stop following me!"

Eli: "No!"

Walking on tiptoes, arms raised above his head, Eli then proceeded to very dramatically follow Micah around. And to top it off, he started chanting, "Follow, follow, follow, follow..." Just in case Micah hadn't noticed, I reckon.

They sorted it out pretty quickly and I have no real point here; just wanted to share this story and express something like: "*Sigh.* Having two kids is INSANE sometimes." I'm certainly not looking to offer any advice on how to deal with sibling rivalry. Other than, for the love of GAWD, those of you with just one bundle of joy, please *please* quit while you're ahead. And if you insist on having another (or more... gasp!), quick grab yourself a copy of "Siblings Without Rivalry" cuz for serious it's, like, amazing and *saves my shit* on a regular basis. Best 5 bucks I've ever spent (actually scored it free at the Book Exchange... but still!). Okay, I'm officially rambling and you all know that I'm mostly joking and actually love being the parent of two such brilliant and charming chiddlywinks and think you should go forth and make as many babies as you damn well please, right?

Micah the space lego man was designed by the amazing Teri Strelchun. Cool, eh?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring in the Garden and munchkins munching greens

Our afternoons, these spring days, generally proceed as follows: shortly after Micah wakes up from his nap, he and Eli race (racing being their current preferred way of getting around) up to the garden, armed with two kid-sized chairs and two bowls of dip. They then pick a handful each of sorrel, park themselves in their chairs and *hork the fuck out.* After devouring his handful, Eli often moves on to broccoli then kale then lettuce, all of which Micah eschews for more sorrel.

They both love picking and eating greens from the garden, but let's be honest: the real key here is The Magic Dip (they actually stick their faces in their bowls to sop up the last leeeeetle bit). For those who are interested, the ingredients are: yogurt (plain, unsweetened), agave, flax oil, ground-up walnuts, vanilla. Eli describes it as "pretty yogurty."

So on to the garden details:

What we're harvesting: Broccoli! Also: sorrel, lettuce, arugula, green onions, herbs. But mostly broccoli :) We snack on it regularly, and yesterday, had it (steamed, with cheese sauce) for dinner. Deelish.

What we've planted in the past week: More broccoli (what can I say? apparently we're fans), peas, chard, cabbage, onions, potatoes, spinach. Oooh ooh, flowers too! Glads, dahlias, lilies, petunias, verbena, snapdragons.

Well that's about it. The big summer garden (tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplant, way more flowers, etc.) goes in soon. Maybe in the next few weeks.

How about you? What are you planting (both literal and figurative responses are welcome)?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Chiddler update

Yep yep. That time again! I think I'll make it a quicky (haha, yeah right...).

Micah, now two years old (!), is full-fledged unstoppable walloping force o' toddler! He's funny and charming and *loves* to make people laugh. Some of his favorite ways to do so include: saying things deliberately wrong ("No, I don't want mac 'n cheese -- I want back 'n cheese!"), randomly inserting "pee", "poop" or "fart" into the conversation ("A, B, C, D, E, F, poo, HAHAHAHHAHA"), which makes me very happy and proud, and cracking jokes about letters. Yup. You heard me. Letters:

Micah: "D makes a buh-skah sound!"
David: "So then D-T-T-I spells biscotti?"
Me: (pees myself)

He loves to sing, mostly nonsense songs (last night he busted out with this: "You have three nipples... three nipples. Yeah yeah yeah!") but also loves to sing the alphabet and other familiar tunes. He's been really into letters and numbers for some time and recently taught himself to recognize all (yes ALL!!!) the upper- and lower-case letters. And numbers zero through nine! He's also curious about spelling -- though he persistently reads the letters of each word backwards. When we walked by the "Sarah Lane" street sign on our hike the other day, he muttered to himself: "H-A-R-A-S spells Sarah" :)

He received one of these for his birthday (It's fridge magnets on crack! Seriously, imagine the fridge magnets of your childhood crossed with a GIANT ROBOT) and now knows the sound associated with each letter. (The sound quality is terrible though, so he's a little mixed up: "An x makes a *crackling noise* sound!")

On another hike, riding on his pop's shoulders, he had the following stream of consciousness: "You have eyes and a mouth and ears and your name is David. Sarah has eyes and a mouth and ears and his name is Sarah. Eli has eyes and a mouth and ears and his name is Eli. I have eyes and a mouth and ears and my name is Micah. Fury cat has eyes and a mouth and ears and his name is Mr. Fury Cat. The tree... the tree has no eyes, and the tree has no mouth, and the tree has no ears. What is his name?"

Other toddler odds and ends: he is completely disinterested in the potty. He loves to eat the food that he loves to eat -- these days: bananas, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, bread, chocolate, beans, cold medicine ("I'm thirsty for my medicine Sarah!") -- but anything new is highly suspect. He loves any and everything to do with art (finger painting, scribbling, playdough, working with scissors and glue, dumping a container of paint-tinted water all over the table and then sopping it up with construction paper...). He's totally fearless and not in the least bit obedient. Saying "Please don't touch that, it's poison oak" has no bearing on whether he'll grab the plant. Fortunately, no harm done (so far...).

He and Eli love each other to bits and are best friends. Micah's first three sentences when he wakes up are: 1. "Get me out of my crib," 2. "I have a big poop... change it," and 3. "Where's Eli?!?." And Eli's first thought when he's a little bored is inevitably: "Where's Micah?" This is not to say that they get along all the time -- on the contrary, they fight a lot. But they are (slowly) learning to cope more smoothly, and David and I are (slowly) feeling more confident that, left to their own devices, they will sort out their differences without any life-threatening consequences.

Speaking of Eli: holy beejeeeeesus, the kid is almost 5!!! He's still into much the same... and by this I mean he's very *very* into messing around with computer games :) Until recently, he was pretty much game (haha. get it. GAME) for anything, but has become pickier. Turns out he doesn't like the ones in which a protagonist can "die", or where there's a time limit. "David, let's play another game, this one is stressing me out," he squealed the other day, covering his eyes :) Currently topping his list of faves: desktop tower defense, indestructo tank and the "robot smashing game." He's also way into movies. His favorites being... honestly, whatever's available :P Not so picky on that front.

He continues to pick up reading by some combination of magic and memory. He has little interest in "sounding out" words, yet can quite handily navigate websites (or boss us around: "No, David, click on 'menu' not 'continue'") and read simple books (last week he read aloud a few pages of "A Fly Went By"!!). And he's been spending quite a bit of his computer time practicing his literacy skills at, which is fast becoming one of his favorite websites.

He's still a total math nerd, especially now that he's discovered that arithmetic goes hand in hand with M&Ms. Well, hippy M&Ms... but still: he's suddenly asking to play "math games" a whole lot :) He's particularly keen to improve his subtraction chops (so to speak).

Eli: "Hey Sarah, I wonder what ten minus ten is-- I think it's zero, but I'm not quite sure. I guess I'll just eat these ten M&Ms and then we'll see!" :)

He also loves to incorporate math into his imaginary play. Yesterday, in the sand box:

Eli: "David is this a troll bridge? Yes?"
David: "Yes."
Eli: "Well, how much is the troll?"
David: "Six dollars." (would *you* correct him?)
Eli: "Well, I only have more than that. I only have eight dollars."
David: (takes pretend money) "Okay, how much should I give you back?"
Eli: "Um, two dollars!"

He still loves to be outdoors, especially if he feels like he's participating in some grown-up activity -- either going for a jog with me or working in the garden or woods with David. He loves to cook and eat ("Hey David, I can eat pie even when I'm not hungry!") and he's super excited about the railroad park reopening next week (aren't we all?!?).

Well, that's about it. I could go on, but I won't :) Thanks for being updated.