Wednesday, December 20, 2006


J: Mommy, I want a glass of wine.

Me: (Thinking quickly...) Uh, wine is only for grown-ups.

J: When I grow up, I want to have a glass of wine.

In 1982, when I was eight or so, my dad and my stepmom were quite young and spry at the ages of 30 and 26 respectively, and they were out-and-about on the town with their friends on the weekends my brother and I were not at their house. I continually asked them to recount their adventures to me in detail, fascinated as I was with the lure of bars, clubs, dancing, bands and the grown-up world of "going out". (I was also fascinated with my roller skates, leg warmers and the soundtrack for Flashdance, if that helps to complete the 80s picture I'm trying to paint here.) After each (surely heavily-edited) story they related to me about their "going-out" experiences, I would wistfully reply, "I can't wait until I'm grown-up so I can go to a bar."

I'm sure my parents exchanged equally appalled glances with each other - as I did with B when J said this to us. And I'm sure they - as I also did - hoped for more ambitious aspirations from their child than a desire to imbibe.

I turned out okay in the end - mostly. So I guess J is allowed to have his dreams as well.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Simon Says...

This morning, J&N told me they wanted to play Simon Says. I was very excited as I didn't even know they knew what this game was. I quickly started in with "Simon says put your hands on your toes!" and "Simon says touch your nose!" I tried to call them out when I said "Put your hands on your knees!" which they dutifully did, but they didn't know what I meant. Apparently, they've been playing the nice version of this game, rather than the cut-throat experience I remembered from my own childhood.

Then N gave us a good one: "Simon says hop on one toe!" I didn't know how to hop on one toe, so I just hopped on one foot instead and N didn't disqualify me. Score!

Then it was J's turn. He shouted his commands out in rapid succession: "Simon says put your hands on your head! Simon says put your hands on your toes! Simon says put your hands on your boobs!"

Oh dear...

I can only guess Daddy is the one who has been teaching them to play this game.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Christmas Story

Last night I brought out our big "Christmas Treasury" book to share with J&N. My mom got us this book last Christmas. It's a huge tome, nearly 16 inches by 18, full of Christmas stories and carols and classic paintings. I'm sure my mom pictured us all curled up on the couch together, reading through the pages, engaging in family together-ness. I confess I pictured the same thing as I hefted the enormous thing off the shelf (or rather, from on top of our stereo speaker - we don't have a bookcase in the living room) and heaved it onto the floor in front of the boys. They were immediately excited by the Norman Rockwell Santa painting on the front cover and eager for me to start reading. I lay between them, opened the book, and started reading the story of baby Jesus. I quickly realized it was going to be hard to keep them interested - too many words, not enough pictures. I read faster then resorted to just flipping through to find paintings or illustrations. I could tell them were trying to humor me, remaining quiet and yet doubtful, while I excitedly showed them Christmas scenes painted in classic style, picaresque and beautiful. N finally solved the problem. He grabbed the back cover and closed the book, announcing "The end!"

And that was the end. This year, at least.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Reading Rainbow

Three nights ago, at bedtime, N requested to take "What Makes a Rainbow?" to bed to read. They take books to bed with them every night, but this was the first time he had ever requested a book by name (other than "the truck book" or "the sandwich book"). His request was so specific and tugged my heart so strongly that I searched high and low for that book, yet was still unable to find it. He was consoled with other books, but I still felt so disappointed at not being able to fulfill his request.

It took me a few days to realize why this affected me so much. Books are very important to me. I have been an avid reader my entire life - in my childhood, not a day went by that I didn't read or devour book after book - and many of my best memories are savored story lines and characters from childhood favorites, images and phrases that stick with me to this very day. Books played such an important role in my childhood that even today my memories of growing up are mixed with scenes from books I read at the time, intermingling to create a seamless past where I rode with Laura across the prairie or celebrated with Anne as one disappointment turned into a blessing. The very houses in which we or our friends and family lived served as the settings in my mind's eye for the stories I read, so that when I see their homes or their yards or the woods behind, I see also the characters that I placed there as I read their tales.

I know my little guys like to read - and I love to share that with them each day. They lay in bed at night, the light of their little lamp illuminating their room as they flip through the pile of books they have selected for bedtime. Last night N read Dr. Seuss' "A Fish Out of Water" out loud to J, across the room in his own bed - and I couldn't believe how much N had memorized from the exact wording of the book (either that or he really can read - I guess it's possible!). He read the book to J just as we read it to them: "A boy has fed a fish too much? Oh no! I will come at once!", his little soft voice carefully pronouncing the words as J listened intently.

I hope that reading is as magical for my boys as it was and remains for me. "What Makes a Rainbow?" or "A Fish Out of Water" may be N's first step on that journey. I want to be sure to be there with him and J, to talk about what they read and experience that magic all over again for myself.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

At Least They're Not Asking Me...

"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"
"What's that, Daddy?"

Monday, December 04, 2006

Babysitter: 1, Parents: 0

Um yeah - over the weekend, we went back to a rigorous combo of diapers/Pull-ups. So today I tell J, one of our fabulous babysitters, that we have regressed - and gave her the option of following the lead of the bad, lazy parents or using big-boy underwear. Her choice! Oh boy! Later I talked to her and she informed me they were both wearing underwear and neither had had any accidents. I am speechless. Maybe I could pay her enough to just live here??

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Score

# of days wearing big-boy underwear: 1.5
# of potties in the potty: 14
# of potties on the floor/furniture: 7
# of poops in the potty: 2
# of poops on the floor/furniture: 1
# of outings in big-boy underwear: 1
# of accidents while out: 2
# of gummy bears given as reward: 37
# of stickers on sticker charts: 16
# of BIG SURPRISES promised if can keep dry: 5
# of loads of laundry done in 1.5 days: 2
# of glasses of wine drunk by parents: 3
# of birthdays it will be until potty training is complete: 14