Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Season Opener

Before t-ball started, we were given a list of items to buy, which included baseball pants.  "Seriously?" I griped, "Can't they just play in sweats they already own?"  Ok, now I see that wearing baseball pants increases the cuteness factor about a zillion percent, so I'm ok with our (really Grammy's) $7 investment in the season.  Also, I'm not going to waste time stain-treating those suckers, because I think they are made out of Teflon.

So, the season opener...tiny children wandered the field looking for second base...or dandelions...or rocks, while a half dozen coaches and parent volunteers try to herd them to the appropriate spot.  (Making dandelion chains and praying the ball wouldn't come near me was my main memory from my own t-ball m.o.)  The Nugget, however, watches the ball intensely and wants to be where the action is, which bodes much better for his athletic future.

His favorite is going to bat though, of course.

He was sure he'd hit a home run and rounded all the bases but the t-ball rule is that each child goes to first base and stops.

While I cannot remember my own team sports days without my stomach turning several flops of panic, I do have very (mostly) pleasant memories of being a sports sister tagalong.  My brother J is a very accomplished athlete, the kind of kid who could pick up any sport in the blink of an eye with raw talent and coordination, while his peers turned green with envy.  He was especially gifted and interested in soccer as a kid, so much so that the league bumped him up a couple grade levels and he ended up playing with my classmates instead of his own.  So I remember my mom packing up the minivan with folding lawn chairs, Oatmeal Creme Pies, baggies of quartered oranges, and a big cooler of water.  I'd grab my walkman and a Babysitter's Club book, and we'd be off to the fields.  We'd spend hours sitting on wet grass cheering for #9, I'd make dandelion chains for my little sister (see, my failed t-ball experience was good for something), and the highlight would be taking a wrinkled dollar bill to the old white barn on the hill that doubled as a concession stand.  We'd trade our cash for a stale donut that would leave powdered sugar drifts on our shirts on the way back.  

Now Spork and Tater are creating their own memories of picnics by the baseball diamonds, running through the grass, drawing in the gravel with sticks, and peering at big brother through the twisted metal of chain link fences.

A side benefit of choosing How It's Made for his screen time is that the Nugget is preparing for the SAT.  A recent off-hand comment:  "The sand is very soft and malleable."

Things I never thought I'd say to my kid:
"Please don't bite the tree."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

My favorite sport is ?

The theme for this weekend was definitely sports.  The Nugget has yet to settle on a favorite sport, so for now, he is just enjoying "shopping around" and trying different experiences, which is all kinds of awesome!  Coincidentally, all on tap for this weekend was...

College scrimmage game - his first live football spectating experience.  He asked to leave twice but changed his mind both times.  There were empty bleachers for climbing and popcorn and pretzels to eat.  It was chilly but sunny.  The band played some of his favorite songs "from the radio!"  Daddy was very excited to share one of his favorite sports with the Nugget.

Right after the game, I shuttled the Nugget to a friend's football-themed birthday party.  The guests all received an inking of grease paint upon entering, which was beyond adorable, especially when half of them smeared their paint all over their cheeks before party's end.

Last but not least, the Nugget's very first t-ball season has finally started!  The Nugget has been counting down the days since we signed up in February.  The coach is a newbie but seems very competent and patient, authoritative without being scary, "let's do this!" without being pushy.  He didn't even flinch when a kid accidentally whacked him with the bat.

The complex itself is a huge space with about a dozen diamonds; we had no idea it even existed before today.  The babies, safely strapped into the stroller out of ball range, gaped at the "big kids" practicing throwing, "catching" (I'm not sure any child made any catches), hitting, and running.  Spork had been in a terrible mood all day (still jet-lagged with a cold to boot) but something about being out in the fresh air studying this new activity closely seemed to cure him.  Once I tried to take him out of the stroller to explore the little playground around the corner, but he immediately demanded to be re-seated, "Can't you see I'm watching the practice, Ma?!  I don't have time for the stinkin' playground!"

The Nugget even wore himself out at practice, which is really saying something.  He was tentative and nervous at first but by the end he was cackling his patented laugh and making friends, and he said he wants to do t-ball forever and ever.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

In the eye of the beholder

Your daily Nugget

"Did you see that wall of sunglasses?  They were so, so beautiful!"

M:  Look at that artwork!  It's made of glass.
N:  Wow!  Yeah, it's probably thermo-fused glass.

"Coloring and painting are fun activities.  I just love activities."

The Nugget has a strange fascination with kitchen implements.  Examples below.
1.  At Pike Place Market, I spied a kitchen store and knowing my child, asked if he wanted to look at the whisks.  Oh, he wanted to see them alright...and have his picture taken with them.
2.  When asked what he was looking forward to about our trip to WA, he stated without hesitation, "Riding airplanes and the ferry boat...and using Grandma's (manual) eggbeater."
Why whisks and eggbeaters?  Well, if you know this child in real life, it's because they spin, of course!
I am not sure if it's best to write about the 5 day trip now while it's fresh, or later when the jet lag and tremors have worn off.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  At any rate, the jetlagged babies are still sleeping and the Nugget's at school, so here we go...

The Nugget used the airsickness bag on a very bumpy scary flight.  Twice.  Emetophobic mama holding the bag and holding a squirmy fussy Tater.  When Hubby asked how that was even possible, I likened it to the adrenaline rush that helps moms lift cars to get to their kids after an accident, to a lesser degree of course.  As if that weren't exciting enough, we had to wait an hour after landing to deplane, because lightening threatened the safety of the ground crew.  Ok.  Then our next flight was delayed once, which was fine.  Then delayed again.  And again.  We got the inkling they would cancel it, so we cut our losses and rented possibly the last minivan in Chicago plus 3 car seats to get home.  15 hours after we started the travel eastbound, we got home...but then Hubby had to return the rental car!  Our flight did indeed get cancelled, so despite the roadblocks, we were just thankful we did get home last night, as we didn't have any overnight supplies in our carry-ons.

This is packing light with 3 kids.  This was our checked luggage stack, and we were pretty proud of how "small" it was!

5 days in WA really means just 3 days because of the travel.  It's always worth it, because time with grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends is irreplaceable.  And when I see the kids struggling with jet lag or I'm stressed about planning details, I remind myself that on top of quality time with loved ones, they are also getting valuable exciting travel and cultural experiences (and earning frequent flier miles).


Pike Place!

Watching cheese making at Beecher's.
Appreciating the creative talents of street musicians.

This time, we rented a house instead of using a hotel, because get this...renting a house was cheaper than renting a suite!  The only "downside" to the house was that the only one that fit our needs and schedule this time was on a tiny island that while not too far from the in-laws, was accessible only by ferry.  But the ferry ride ended up being a romantic wind-down to our day, and some "selfish" time for our little family to regroup and center ourselves.  Plus, the Nugget and Tater found the indoor passenger deck a fabulous place to play sheepdog/sheep, which has really been a positive bonding activity for them.

Having way more fun than he is letting on.

Well, I need to track down our luggage and go pickup Doggie from the kennel as soon as the babies wake.  I'm aiming for a slow re-entry and takeout for dinner.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Three's Company

Stream-of-consciousness post in 3, 2, 1...

People congratulate me for taking 3 children out of the house for playdates or errands, but it's not getting out of the house that's tough.  That's just time-consuming.  Spork and the Nugget are actually easier when we are out of the house.  It's the coming home with tired, grouchy kiddos and a bag full of stuff that has to be washed/laundered/put away that's hard.

A peaceful Spork about town.

Home sweet home.

When having 2 babies is easier than having 1...
a.  Eating.  The babies are usually good eaters and efficient too.  They've been raised on tandem feeds - 2 bites for her, 2 bites for him.  They know if they miss their turn, the ready bird gets the worm so to speak.  They know if they turn down a food item out of general malcontent, the other might get it.
b.  Entertainment.  They play/fight/discuss things amongst themselves.  They have no choice but to coexist, so while they scrap with each other often, they generally get along well.  Tater sneaks Spork her unwanted cereal, and in return he delivers toys to her.  They keep each other occupied while I fold laundry or make dinner.  
c.  Built-in patience life lessons.  Obviously, the babies like all humans would prefer instant gratification.  It is a curse but also a gift that they always much share with each other.  Even now, I can see the seedlings of patience and cooperation starting to grow.  (And other times, they are trying to physically remove the other from the preferred chair at the baby table.)
The babies are starting to gang up on me.  Spork hates having his diaper changed, and he has abs of steel, so I usually pin him into a corner and change him standing up, quick as a flash.  I think he's convinced his sister to try to climb me like a tree while he tries to squirm free from the corner.
I'm holding my breath and knocking on wood, but I think we can finally declare it really and truly spring.  I'm washing and packing away snowpants, our rain boots are right by the front door, and we are layering like crazy for chilly mornings and warm afternoons.  When the sun shines, we can be found in our backyard all afternoon.  The Nugget and I are sniffling and hopped up on Claritin and Zyrtec.  Spork marvels at airplanes passing overhead, "Wook!  Wow!"  And Tater decides that the wilderness she found worrisome during her immobile days is now just new turf to be conquered and declared Taterville.

Tater wearing my vintage gingham jacket handmade by Grammy several decades ago.  Yes, that's my camera strap and a dog butt too.  Not quitting my day job.

We've started committing ourselves to taking our little engineer/contractor to Home Depot for the free kids' workshop every month.  It was basically that or continue to witness him destroy everything in the house for the sake of his burgeoning curiosity.  Between this and watching How It's Made on Netflix (thanks for the tip, K!), our belongings seem to be safe for now.

And speaking of How It's Made, the Nugget keeps inviting random adults over to watch it with him:  student teachers in his class, friends' parents, cashiers, servers, etc.  I should probably prepare myself for a Pay it Forward type scenario when he's older and has generously invited a homeless person over for dinner...and How It's Made.
The beginning of life, according to the Nugget:

N:  Did you know what happened before people were born?  Well, before the earth was born?  Oh, I mean after the earth was born but before people were born?   Ok, first there was an astronaut in space, and she hatched a baby, and it was a girl.  And the other astronaut in space hatched a baby, and it was a boy.  Those were the first people, and they landed on earth.
M:  Wow.  But where did the astronauts come from?
N:  The International Space Station.

We made the decision to leave the moms' group after nearly 5 years.  It was just time - my commitments are piling up, the Nugget has basically aged-out, many of the membership and events are shifting to a city 20 minutes away (which I know is nothing and yet so far when you have to factor in throwing food in the crockpot on time, getting the babies down for naps, and picking up the Nugget from school), and while it's still fun to meet new people, it's not the core group of friends that was our community for years.  Still, we're walking away with so many friendships and much to be thankful for, and we are wishing the group all the best.  I thought it was fitting that our last event was the egg hunt.  Babies were napping, so it was just the Nugget and me, the way we began.  It was a perfect sunny day and possibly the only group egg hunt where wellies were not required.

And now my stream of consciousness goes to chocolate, so it must be time to sign off and raid the Nugget's plentiful candy stash.