We did our 3rd (the group's 4th) annual egg hunt with my Meetup group. The Nugget is aging out of the group as he'll be in preschool 5 days/week next year so every event this year has tasted bittersweet. The organizers' children are his peers, and this group of 5 children has grown up together from toddling babies to the big boys and girls they are today. Bear with my nostalgia.
2010 - 2.5 years old
2011 - 3.5 years old
2012 - 4.5 years old
And I'm counting my lucky stars that I get to extend my visit to childhood wonder with Spork. Spork didn't hung eggs this year, but posed like a pro with his bucket.
1. Have a whippet and 3 cats. The cats' names will be Chasie, Runny, and Charles. I don't know what my whippet's name will be yet.
2. Be a daddy, and a teacher, and a ballet dancer
3. Have a jogging stroller so I can use my running feet.
4. Never ever like brie cheese or olives
5. Like mushrooms and peas
6. Drink beer
The Nugget is also planning for his golden years.
"When I'm 100 years old, I'm going to..."
1. Pilot a helicopter
2. Drive a racecar
3. Buy a minivan
4. Ride on a rocketship
5. Run a marathon
What a kick-ass (excuse my language but there's simply no other word that'll do) centenarian he'll be!
I'm starting to ace this living in the moment stuff, but spontaneity is still not my bag of chips. Decided to wing the morning's grocery run and parade, and I will spare you the gory details but it involved a forgotten bag of groceries left in the 80 degree car (thankfully not the dairy!), a badly twisted ankle (mine), and a missed third of the parade. Apparently, I just can't deal when I don't pre-pack and pre-plan every outing.
On the flipside, I surprised the Nugget with a festive green-sprinkled donut, and we made it in time to see a burro, multiple dogs wearing clothing, 3 troops of step dancers, and a kind family of boys next to us who generously shared their parade swag with the Nugget when they noticed that he continually was passed over for treats and necklaces.
And there was a chubby baby in awe of (his first?) bagpipe music!
Spork ate his way through the entire parade, polishing off an appropriately green cup of bean-pear puree, rice cereal, mum-mums, and puffs. The Nugget was able to stay headphone-less until the very end when the firefighters sadistically made all the babies cry. Sorry, Spork, your headphones are waiting in my Amazon cart, although I'm kind of hoping they won't see as much action as the Nugget's do.
After a nap break at home, we headed back out for a family park date and a picnic snack. The river was sparkling, and our picnic blanket was properly baptized for the season with crumbs and baby drool. The boys were clearly outdoor children from the get-go, but perhaps those are summer babies for you. Tater has been somewhat more hesitant about this whole wilderness experience, but is warming up to the sensations of spring breeze on her skin and fresh air in her lungs. C'mon, girl, this is heavenly, is it not?!
As if that weren't enough to do St. Patrick proud, we took advantage of the 80 degree weather to introduce Spork to the sprinkler for the first time. My friends, Spork is what you would call a water baby. As a former water baby, I should know. I think he's going to be thrilled with his swim lessons.
This winter has been so nuts for us that I forgot to share some very exciting news! Noodle's aunt got in touch with me via Facebook (right in the middle of adoption planning for Spork) and even was willing to share her address. Thanks to her generosity and open heart, were able to send him a care package and see new pictures of him. He is beaming that great gummy smile in every shot, and we feel so relieved and thankful to know he is thriving in his new home. We still miss him and that fuzzy-soft-peach head of his. What a gift to be able to watch him grow up, even if only from afar.
One of the Nugget's favorite bedtime stalls is the extra bathroom trip after tuck-in. He knows we can't fight it, and he still needs enough supervision that we can't leave him entirely to his own devices either. (He uses tp a little too generously.) As a compromise, if he needs that extra trip, we go downstairs and he can call us when he's finished. The other night, he shouted magnanimously from the top of the steps, "Mama, Daddy...you may come up now."
When we pretend to take naps (a new favorite past time of the Nugget), he insists, "Don't say night-night, because it's not nighttime yet. You could say nap-nap!" He ends each pretend nap after about .75 seconds with a loud alarm clock, "Brrriinnnng!"
N: Here, Spork, you can play with this (a frisbee). Oh no, you don't chew on it, it's a frisbee. You have to frizz it. (throws it across the yard)
The Nugget has recently learned about germs. So we have this new schtick now. At first, I gave the germs a high nasally voice, but the Nugget said, "Mommy, that's really annoying. You have to make them have a deep voice."
N: Germs, I'm gonna wash you away!
M: Oh no! But we want to make you sick!
N: No way, Jose. I'm going to use water!
M: Oh no, not water!
N: Annnddd soap!
M: Oh no, not soap!
N: Yes, the soap is going to make you slip off my hands and go down the drain!
M: Oh, we're doomed, DOOMED!
N: (cackles maniacally as he washes)
M: Bye-bye-bye (said like Mishka, the YouTube sensation).
Speaking of drama, the 4.5 year old is a mostly smart, logical, compliant creature who is willing to listen to reason. Except when he's not. Because a 4.5 year old is also going on 15 and knows everything about everything and certainly doesn't want or need your guidance. Like today when I requested politely that the Nugget buckle up, and instead he wiggled wildly, played with Spork, and did everything to avoid buckling. After repeating the instruction more firmly, still nada, so I reached over and took the seatbelt myself to help him when he burst into tears and screamed, "Mommy, I want to do it myself! You ruined my day, and you're a bad guy!" (This was following a special outing to the bookstore for gelato and a walk on campus that doubled as a mission to find a climbing tree and to "meet" the Kugel ball that he's become obsessed with after watching Newton's 3 Laws of Motion, so clearly I am the very worst of all "bad guys".)
Of course, I don't like to end a post on a sour note, so I'll share this entertaining Nugget monologue:
"I was super hungry so I was running fast like a fox, and I went faster than the speed of sound. So fast I went all the way up to 100 (mph). Because I didn't want my tummy to hurt, and it hurts a very lot when I am hungry."
Our typical days are a mixture of chaos and calm. At first, they were mostly the former, but now we have a nice balance, if you will. I know when to expect the chaos and what I can do to extend the calm as long as possible. And I'm learning to laugh in the face of chaos, put my head down, and keep on going, one diaper change, one meal served, one child cuddled at a time.
Calm: Getting out of bed before the children wake and brewing my first cup of coffee. Greeting early bird Spork with a song and a cuddle.
Chaos: Dropping an ambivalent Nugget at school which happens to be Tater's preferred time to fill her diaper and teetering on the cusp of a grouchy Spork's naptime.
Calm: Taking advantage of Spork's afternoon nap to play memory with the Nugget, a cooing Tater in my arms.
Calm (pictured): Witnessing the Nugget rock and feed his baby brother while I spot Spork discreetly. At first, Spork was definitely alarmed whenever the Nugget tried to hold him, but now if he's in a good mood, he snuggles up against his brother, and my heart melts into a puddle right on the floor.
Chaos: Attempting to make dinner while the Spork screams that he wanted dinner 5 minutes ago (he could easily be mistaken for a torture victim when he's hungry), the Nugget is sneakily trying to disassemble the cd player, and Tater wakes up hungry.
Calm: When the last child has been tucked into bed, and I can snuggle up to Hubby on the couch and once again decide that sleep is more important to me than getting the clothes fresh from the dryer.
So far, the boys both thrive on routine. They are both intense personalities, both demanding but able to light up a room with a single smile. They like to bring the drama and live large. Mess with their routine, and they sort of fall apart from the loss of rhythm. It's like the backbeat to their melody.
So far, Tater goes with the flow. She is the calm to their storm, the eye in their hurricane of motion and sound, the Impressionist painting to their fireworks show. She is serenity personified, and takes it all in with wide brown eyes, a coo, and a smile. Grandpa declared her, "An old soul...with the wisdom of the ages." Although he laughed when he said it, he's usually right about such things. (After all, he took one look at a 4 week old Nugget and declared him, "Mr. Funny Business," and that was even before the Nugget learned to laugh.) I am thankful for Hubby, who is also mellow as they come, that he has a fellow grounding presence in the house, even if only temporarily.
March was in like a lanb today, with temps in the 60's. It was like Mother Nature's way of saying, "Happy 8 months to Spork!" The only thing to do this afternoon was to dig out the vests and hoodies, pack the diaper bags, and take the kids to the park. It was our first outing for the year, and Tater and Spork's first visit ever to our local park.
Big brother immediately took to the equipment, and once again, he is stronger, faster, taller. I swear it was yesterday that he kept toddling towards this merry-go-round, and I'd have to keep removing him kicking and screaming, because the darn thing threw him off every time. Now he's in complete control of it, whether he's riding or (more likely) pushing. "Mommy, I can climb to the tippy top of this web! Watch me!" And his interactions with peers and bigger kids are amazing; empowered, friendly, brave, kind, confident. "Stop bouncing it, I don't like it when you bounce it because I could fall and hurt my body." "Are you going to climb to the tippy top too? You can do it, you just climb and keep climbing." "Don't push it (the merry-go-round) yet because he's (a small boy) not holding on. He might fall off."
Spork was content to watch big brother for over an hour, jazz hands waving furiously. The wind ruffled his brown curls, and his dimpled hands waved as he giggled and gasped at the Nugget's daredevil stunts. Tater gazed at me wide-eyed from the stroller, wanting assurance that I wasn't leaving her in the breezy wilderness, and finally napped peacefully after a beverage on the park bench. Towards the end of our visit, I took Spork out of the stroller and letting him feel the rubbery ground surface for the first time. He marveled at the dry leftover leaves, inspected a large piece of bark, and laughed at the stroller wheel from his new perspective, down low on the ground. He walrus-ed about a bit, charmed the locals, and nearly passed out on the 60 second drive home. He's been teething all week, but getting him outside cheered him up much more than any teether or Tylenol could. I think he'll be very pleased that our summer routine involves a daily park n' picnic.
I know it's a tease, and we'll see more frost and snow before spring arrives in earnest. Still, I am so thankful for the beautiful preview of the season.
It's official. Spork is on the move. We call his crawl, "The Walrus." Instead of an all-fours or an army crawl, he starts on all fours. Then he lunges forward, slapping his belly on the floor just like a pinniped. He catches himself with his hands before his face hits the floor, straightens his arms, gets his knees back underneath him, and prepares for the next lunge/flop. It's very cute, gets him where he's going, is thankfully a slow process (for now), but the only downside is that all the smacking his belly on the floor forces out more than a little spit-up, so we keep the burp cloths handy and expect a wardrobe change or two or three each day. Like his brother, Spork's favorite motivators are electrical cords and choking hazards, so we've got some babyproofing to do around these parts. Luckily the Nugget finds baby toys fascinating, so his big boy marbles and Legos haven't been out much lately.