Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Love Affair with Autumn

Fall is here!  Chilly nights that make you want to cuddle under the fluffy down duvet, crisp mornings that wake you with fresh bracing air, trees are getting their natural highlights of reds and yellows, and the softer, brighter golden light filtering through the colored leaves as if the canopy was one giant stained glass window.  Apples are sweeter, pumpkins are growing, Grammy is hard at work on Halloween costumes for the masses.

 Babies are wearing playing with hats.

 Trading sundresses and sandals for legwarmers and suede moccasins.

Getting Llama Llama love at Open Book Fest.

Since outdoor ice cream stands are shutting down for the season, we are opening our own.  Invisible ice cream with sand sprinkles, anyone?

Mowing grass while the sun shines.  Or as the Nugget used to say, "Sunschines."

Friday, September 21, 2012


Have you ever noticed that babies have their own scent?  I don't mean that new-baby smell of a newborn, or the lingering aroma of lotion or soap, but the child's very own musk.  The Nugget smelled like cookie dough or sometimes maple syrup.  Spork smells like balsamic vinegar.  Tater used to smell like peaches, but now she smells like a fresh-baked waffle cone.

I can't wait to sniff our new baby nephew, aka Baby Bean!  Cabbage's baby bro debuted on our 10th anniversary, what an amazing gift, a new nephew to love.  And sorry, Nugget, but his name is not Elliott.  Oh, how I wish I could beam myself west so I could give this little newcomer a cuddle!  Counting down the days until Christmas.

Congrats to Uncle J, Aunt K, and big sister Cabbage!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Parental Empowerment

Often during my childhood, my mom was the one on parental duty from dawn until dusk.  I'm not sure what Grammy put in her coffee back in those days, but I remember her being ever patient and in control of us four "ducklings" (as a shoe store lady once called us as we trailed behind her obediently; J and I were much too old to overhear that and were immediately disgusted with ourselves).  This parenting solo thing that my mom did so well was one of my biggest fears about becoming a parent myself.  Confident co-parent?  Yes, indeedy!  Primary caregiver?  No problem.  But give the kids dinner and herd the tired and cranky rabble to bed all by myself?!  Can I pass?  Call my lifeline?  Even with just the Nugget, it always felt daunting.  But little by little, I'd manage.  Hubby would have a rare night out, a business trip, a work dinner.  Sometimes I'd call in reinforcements, other times I'd try to tough it out.  It was/is never easy, but always empowering to know you can indeed the reins all day and everyone will survive.  (My hat is ever off to military spouses who do this for months, years at a time.)  This week, our second Ergo arrived courtesy of eBay, and while Hubby hosted a work dinner, I strapped both those tired wailings babes to my body, and we kept calm and carried on.  We took advantage of the cool evening to sit outside on the front stoop for a Nugget's bedtime story.

The view from above when I rock the double Ergo.  I admit, it makes me feel like a warrior mama!
Spork is in the phase where he speaks and enunciates confidently....just not exactly in English.  The Nugget calls it speaking Sporkish or Sporkese.  We are very slow studies in Sporkish, but here's what we've gleaned so far.

Sporkish to English
Ort!....Look at this!
Baba....Dog (interestingly he used to say doggie, I think he is trying to pronounce her name now)

Spork is a quick study, he wants to be able to imitate us exactly.  He seriously presses buttons on the toy microwave, babbles out loud when he flips through a book on his own, flings the Nugget's swim bag over his shoulder.
I've just come to terms with Tater being able to crawl, and now she's pulling up to stand.  Today she let go my arm for a millisecond before she toppled.  

To quote Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."  I guess that's why I'm letting the dishes fester in the sink to type this; it's my way of slowing down, pausing and rewinding the little moments so I can savor them again, because I may have had to gulp them down in real time so I could save a baby's fingers from the sit-n-spin.

And this one....his smile, his door-holding skills, his ability to comfort a crying sibling and wrap his long skinny arms tight around me for a hug....he is a laugh come to life (except in the early mornings before school, when he's more like a grizzly awakened from hibernation).  Some gems from the Nugget this week.

(Opening and closing his sandwich bun)
"Look, I am some talking bread.  Hello."
(I may be at fault for this, but I am happy to take the credit for this sort of weirdness.)

"When Ms. K told a joke, all the friends started chuckling, then giggling, then we were laughing out loud!"

(Daddy stood behind the Nugget and applied sunscreen)
"Wow, Daddy, that's advanced."

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A few of Spork's Favorite Things

Spork loves to read.  He often toddles over with book in hand, and if I don't notice, he will physically grab my hand, flip it palm up, and place the book inside.  He's oh-so-subtle!  I am usually more than happy to oblige.  On those times when I can't join him, he is sometimes content to just find a comfy spot to lean back and relax with his reading material.  He's even getting good at flipping the pages of a board book all by himself.  We are boldly letting him experiment with holding paper books too since he is surprisingly gentle with the pages, although it's always a nail-biting situation for the Nugget.  "Don't rip my book, Spork!  Oh no, he's bending it!"

The patented Spork lean.

Here, Spork practices for his next airport experience.  He drags this suitcase all over the house.  Any push/pull toys are well-loved at the moment.

And when he gets tired of that, he whips up a simple lunch.  Spork loves to stir.

But most of all, Spork loves to get wet.  Here he is, enjoying what was probably the last trip to the splash pad for the season.  Unlike the Nugget, who had to be cajoled and tricked into touching the water spray before he realized it was fun, Spork headed straight for the sprinklers before I even had him changed into his swimmies, and whined the whole time I changed him, straining to get to his beloved water.  He made a bee line there, stomping and splashing for well over an hour.  He didn't want or need me to hold his hand this time, proud to be able to play by himself.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Trade Ya

Have I mentioned that we're expecting a new nephew this month?!  Cabbage is getting a baby brother, and we are so excited!  Lately, we've been swapping boxes of green and gray, frogs and dogs...

...for pink and turquoise, flowers and fruit.  It's so fun to open a box of Cabbage's hand-me downs for Tater and marvel that she was ever that small.  And it's equally fun to imagine Cabbage's baby brother wearing the Nugget's teeny clothes too!  In fact, I've been hoarding these clothes for just this purpose, with my digits crossed that my brother would someday have a little boy.

The Nugget insists that Uncle J and Aunt K should name him Elliott.  I don't think that's going to fly, but I consider it an inspired choice.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Guinea Pig Who Bit Me

About 5 minutes after tuck-in tonight, the Nugget stomped to the top of the stairs and hurtled his stuffed guinea pig down the stairwell.  I opened the door to remind him 1.) we don't throw toys and 2.) it's time to be in bed, but before I could get a word out, the Nugget declared, "That guinea pig bit me, and I don't want him in my room anymore."

The Nugget has taken to authoring short stories while swinging in the backyard.  I guess the rhythmic back and forth inspires great ideas.  I really need to get a handheld tape recorder so I can capture some of these beauts, but they've included tales about talking dogs, Superman, storms, unicorns, and CRJ200s.  The funniest part is that he doesn't take credit for his work, he starts each one by saying, "This is a story by Leo Leonni.  Illustrated by Leo Leonni.  And read by Leo Leonni."

He also tells short stories about his school days.  "Today was a bad day for me, because D threw sand in my eye, then I got so so mad, and then he pulled out this huge (spreads his arms for effect) needle and jabbed it right into my leg!"  I have confirmed with the Nugget's teachers that these daily dramatic playground altercations are happening in the Nugget's mind, not so much in the world of reality.

While husking corn, the Nugget nonchalantly mentioned, "This one is very impressive."  I had to clarify, "Are you talking about the ear of corn?"  N:  "Yes, it is very big and impressive."

The scene - Spork waddles in the room clutching a plastic toy fork.
Grandpa:  What are you doing with that fork, sir?
Nugget:  Grandpa, his name is Spork.

Other Nugget updates:
-The Nugget is completely independent on his big boy bike now.  He can start, stop, and turn without adult assistance.  He is bearing some scabs of honor, and I buy band-aids every month (for which he finally begs instead of flees).
-The Nugget has discovered My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, thanks to Aunt E and cousin A, and he will be ready for Brony-Con 2013.  Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash are his favorites.
-The Nugget can swing absurdly high (see above), and he's starting to jump off the swing.  I have really fond memories of my brother and I jumping off swings in our backyard, so I don't stop him.
-The Nugget enjoyed watching bits of the Olympics, and his favorite was Synchronized Women's Platform Diving.  Not men's.  Not springboard.  Not solo diving.  "Mommy, I want Synchronized Platform Diving with Girls!"