Monday, August 31, 2009

And Here We Go!

Today is the first day of the new school year. Evan has his first day of preschool tomorrow. This school seems like a vibrant, caring place that will be a wonderful place for him to make friends, learn exciting things, and maybe even help him with some of his "less than stellar" behaviors. ;-)

He really is a wonderful child, but he has some of the typical 3 year old tendencies. And I'm still struggling to figure out how to discipline in some situations. Since I can't carry him or even drag him to his time out area, when he needs a time out I just hold him and not let him go...and that's his time out. But if he's running around I can't grab him for a time out.

But today has been a pretty good day so far. There has been nutty-ness...he bit his little sister (lightly, thank goodness), and they both dumped a box of blocks onto the floor on purpose. I smiled inside at the proud way they "presented" it to me, arms outstretched singing "Mess, mess!". I didn't make them put them back in the box, because if they didn't comply there is no was I could enforce my expectation...one of many things I need to figure out this year, one day at a time.

They we came downstairs into their "playroom" (it's really the "family room"...but for now, its just their play room for the most part). Evan picked up his violin and pushed the yellow star on it, the "yellow button song", his favorite song the violin plays. I'm so tired of that one melody...there are at least 8 songs on this toy, but we only hear this one. But he was "playing" his violin, holding the bow and the tviolin in his chin just like a professional. (He's done this almost from the first day he got it). And his sister was holding her red guitar, like a little rocker. This guitar doesn't even play anymore, but she doesn't care...she rocks back and forth to the music like a pro. It was soooo cute.

Amelie handed me a little shaker/scraper toy instrument to play along. Evan doesn't like it when I sing along, so I wondered how he'd feel about this...but he just stood next to me and jammed along with me.

I have so many other memories I want to record here so I never forget them...like the way Amelie picks up a little microphone and does a "Biz's beat" a la Yo Gabba Gabba...but she wants me to read a story now. So for now...it's back to "real life". :-)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Growth

I just finished reading "Pat the Bunny" to Amelie, and playing a good old game of peekaboo. She just *loves* peekaboo. Evan had his lunch out of his new lunchbox today, to 'practice' for lunchtime at preschool. He did a really great job.

I was very emotional about the passing of Ted Kennedy since I heard the news. (Kevin asked me if I was going to be as emotional about him as I was Tim Russert. This was his way of *telling* me, and I instantly knew it.) I knew it wouldn't be long, he had a dire diagnosis. But I'm sure his family also hoped he'd be the one exception and beat it.

It's hard to lose people who represent things that are important to you. For me, he represented overcoming adversity, and developing a sense of purpose from it. He represented the continuous fight for justice and equality. And all of the tributes to him on the news have taught me about what an important role he played in his family.

Certainly all that he accomplished in terms of civil rights in his job as Senator, makes me feel like I just sit on my butt. (I heard someone else say that on the news last night, and thought "yep".) And he wasn't just sitting 'on the hill" and passing legislation, though what he did in in that arena is incredible...his part in the Civil Rights Act, the ADA, the Family and Medical Leave Act...he's done so much to further the cause of justice in the country. I wasn't as aware of all of the personal relationships he forged, and what a personal interest he took in so many people in Massachusetts.

On a more personal level of his life, I hadn't realized how much he served as the "glue" of his family during their many tragedies. Up until now, when there has been a major loss in my family, (my father and my aunt) I've pretty much been only on the receiving end of support. I wasn't strong enough to be of much support to anyone else. That's a special kind of strength. It made me think about all the new responsibilities, including the emotional ones, that come with being a parent.

The world has lost something very special in Ted Kennedy. I can only hope we all do as Caroline Kennedy suggested, and pick up the torch and work to change our world for the better.

Note: I've read some wonderful tributes to Senator Kennedy...Bill Harley's "Thinking About Teddy" is one of my favorites...it says much of what I wanted to say in this post...but is much more eloquent (and less rambling ;-)).

Friday, August 28, 2009

Health Care

I don't usually use this blog to post about political things anymore. I couldn't help myself doing the presidential campaign, and felt it was "relevant" because it had to do with the kind of country I want for my children.

And well, so does the health care issue, especially the issue of a "public option". I have very strong convictions that if the health insurances companies were that inclined to make sure EVERYONE had affordable, quality health care, they would have already. This is why I don't believe it can just be left up to them to be sure EVERYONE is covered. And this is why I believe in the public option element of reform. I know that my children have the privileges such that they will never have to worry about having good health care. But I don't want them growing up in a country with injustice. And not having the basic HUMAN RIGHT to quality health care is the greatest injustice I can think of.

Here's hoping that Senator Kennedy's dream of affordable quality health care for ALL is a reality very soon...

Fall

I historically hate fall. I just have a really hard time with it. Feeling the warmth leave the air, watching the days grow shorter, it's all just so melancholy to me. And most of all, with the change, I can't help but think about the impending winter. I know that sounds so crazy, since winter is months away...I waste an entire season (and a very pretty one at that, here in New England) dreading another one. But I suppose you could understand, even if you aren't disabled yourself...that being so much less mobile, so much more house-bound, and having each outing take so much more physical and mental energy...would depress anybody. ;-)

All that said, I am very hopeful for this fall season. Both of our children are now sleeping in their own beds, which means Kevin and I both get a much more restful sleep. (Kevin gets less sleep than I do because of the number of hours he works planning his classes, but even his smaller amount of sleep is more comfortable now ;-). Right now, Evan is on a play-date at the house of a new friend from playschool.

He starts his full days on Tuesday and Thursdays next week. (We hope he'll love it as much as he has on his visits, even after he realizes Daddy won't be staying with him at preschool anymore). Amelie is sitting coloring at the dining room table. It is such a sweet, peaceful time. Amelie will have me all to herself for the first time ever in her little life. She will have a space to play and explore on her own, without anyone directing her, or taking her toys when she is playing. She and her brother love each other very much, and have a lot of fun together, but naturally there is a fair amount of time when her older sibling can be overwhelming. So I'm excited for her to have this time on her own this year, before she starting going to preschool with her brother.

I'm also hoping there will be a change in me. I'm on Wellbutrin, because I realized that my reaction to my stress was over the top, even though I know feeling stressed by taking care of two toddlers by myself on crutches is totally normal! I'm going to use my light box again, when we head into the shorter days with less light. I'm hoping that, coupled with a break from the intensity of watching two children, one with an incredible amount of energy and penchant for looking for something to do that he shouldn't be, will help me feel less overwhelmed this year. And mostly, I am hoping all of this will help me have the focus and energy to be a more focused, engaged, better parent.

Evan and Amelie are doing more and more new things every day. They are acting so grown up! Amelie has such nice manners, she doesn't just say "no" to something she doesn't want, she says "no, THANK YOU". Unfortunately, this is also something she says to a request to do something she doesn't want to do. ;-) And as maddening as the non-compliance can be, it also is just so freakin' cute...its hard to stay stern about my expectations sometimes. (This is definitely my biggest challenge, the fact that I can't physically pick them up and direct them to what I want them to do when they are refusing).

So fall is just about here...I can't believe it. But here we go!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Music music music

A staple of quiet moments this summer has been "Let's Hear it for the Laurie Berkner Band"...we DVR'd it when Noggin aired it mid-July. They never tire of it. They also love They Might Be Giants "Here Come the ABC's" and "Here come the 1,2,3's". Evan especially loves the song about the 7's coming into someone's house and eating all the cake.

And our car ride home from NJ last night (many moments, but especially about the last half hour) was saved by Laurie Berkner songs, especially Victor Vito. And I love that song too, so it didn't become painful after the 20th repeating. ;-)

Evan and Amelie had fun with their cousin Nora this trip. They especially liked playing "Tent" with blankets on the living room floor and the couch.

Just some cute moments that make me smile.

Amelie says Amelie!

So we've been trying to get Amelie to say Amelie for quite a while now. She names all of her family...especially loves to say Evan (whether it is in a loving way or an annoyed way ;-). But when you ask her to say Amelie, all she'll say is "me!" or "no". (She now says "no thank you" very politely, although she uses this response to refuse to do things as well.)

But yesterday morning at breakfast I asked her "who are you?" or something that phrased the question differently than "what is your name"...and she said "Amelie"...not excitedly, but very quietly. And now she won't do it again. She'll even say "Daddy" or "Evan" if you ask her her name. Oh well...it was a thrill for the moment it lasted. ;-)

Amelie loves all of the little people she has in her toy collection. She has actual "Little People" (the trademarked name) as well as some castle characters, and she loves to line them all up in a line. She sometimes puts them all lying down and covers them with a blanket. And she loves to carry them around in her little bug house (its like a cloth basket), or other baskets she has like her Halloween pumpkin or her yellow easter bucket.

Evan and Amelie both do such funny cute things, and I'm grateful for this space to write them down. I'm terrible about picking up a baby book and recording things, so this is a great place to make sure I don't forget these small, sweet moments.

Click here to view these pictures larger

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's a car, no it's a wheelchair...wait, it's a bed!

So I thought Evan was pretending that the Diapers.com box he and Amelie were sitting in was a car. But then he informed me that it was a wheelchair (no, not because of mommy I don't think...I think the kid in the wheelchair on Pinky Dinky Doo actually gave him the idea ;-).

Then while I was reading HuffingtonPost.com, I look up and he is dragging it up the stairs. As he tries to drag it past my chairlift, he snags onto the switch on the arm of it, and it starts going up the stairs with him, and the box. "Why are you bringing the wheelchair upstairs, honey?"

"I want to turn it into a bed."

Busy box.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My Big Boy

The kids are growing up so fast. The other night while we were having dinner on the porch, Evan turned to me and said, "Thank you for making us a nice dinner, Mommy!" (a dinner Kevin had cooked but oh well ;-). And today he drank from a big boy cup for the first time. (This is good, since I'm sure they don't serve drinks in sippy cups at playschool ;-).

I am so excited for Evan to go to preschool. Aside from getting a break two days a week, Amelie will get me to herself for the first time ever. And Evan is such a friendly, sociable boy, I'm eager for him to make more friends. It will be fun to hear about all the fun things he does at school, and maybe even get some ideas from school about fun things to do at home.

Right now they are clapping along to a Laurie Berkner song from the Noggin special "Let's Hear it for the Laurie Berkner Band". They love music and love to sing. Evan will only sing the theme from Fifi & the Flowertots on the way to the Flatbread Pizza near us....he says that's the "Flatbread song".

The children love to go places in the car. They love the car. And they are very appreciative. When we go out to the car now, they often will put out their arms and give the car a big hug and a kiss.

Heh...Laurie just sang about gettin' tired and they laid down on their blankets. But the next verse is "I'm jumpin' up", so no nap. ;-)The next song is about Energy...how appropriate, because they have SO much! LOL. They mostly play together very nicely. We're still learning "share" and "no take", but it will come. The crisis of this afternoon before lunch was the missing "remote" (a play remote that lights up but does nothing else). There was a lot of screaming. We finally found it in the sink of his Dora kitchen in the kitchen.

Evan is looking forward to going to Nana's house and see her washer and dryer downstairs. Whenever he mentions going to Nana's house, Amelie is sure to make sure her cat isnt' forgotten by chiming in, "Tommy too!" Every time.

And life goes on....