Sunday, September 21, 2014

Made Up Words

This summer, the boys developed their own language.  I could hear bits and pieces of it being carefully constructed throughout the first few weeks of their vacation.  It was interesting.  It was weird.  I was completely amused.

Then, we took a five thousand mile road trip.  (No. Really.)  Somewhere just after the Colorado border, the boys began to whisper a secret phrase to each other .  They repeated that particular phrase over and over in the midst of a thousand giggles.  Soon the whispers turned into indoor voices.  Over time, the indoor voices morphed into outdoor voices.  As we neared Denver, their outdoor voices quickly escalated to shouts and peels of laughter.  My husband and I were beginning to develop headaches.  Hopefully, there would be a strong tail wind behind our car that would propel us to the next stop in our journey.  Unfortunately, a traffic jam began that slowed us down to nearly a crawl.

However, the traffic jam did not put a damper on the boys shouts and laughter.  They screamed that phrase at the top of their lungs.  I was pretty sure I would dream about this phrase in the middle of the night.  My husband pleaded with the boys.  "Guys.  Be quiet."  The pleas soon became shouts of desperation.  "Be quiet!  I need to concentrate!"  The traffic was bad and people were beginning to develop road rage.  Yet,  all we could hear was their secret phrase.  "Scarm!  Scarm!  Det e one!!"

Scarm.  Scarm.  Det e oneDoes anyone know the meaning of that phrase?  The boys won't tell me when I ask.  I don't think they know what it means.  I think they just like the off beat rhythm of the phrase.  They whisper it.  They shout it.  They chase each other while screaming it.  They repeated it for days as we drove across the flat plains, around dry mesas, over the Continental Divide, down winding mountain roads, and across desolate deserts.  We would whiz past roaring rivers, thick pine forests, tall ocean cliffs, enormous Sequoias, and prickly Joshua trees all while hearing the phrase.  "Scarm!  Scarm!  Det e one!"

Now, you might say.  "Why didn't you just hand them each a DVD player or your smart phones?"  Ahh!  We don't have all that stuff.  We just expected the children to play while we drove.  Well, our children exceeded our expectations.

Right now, it's September.  I've finally grown used to the phrase.  "Scarm.  Scarm.  Det e one."  Sometimes, I use it in jokes when talking to my family.  The kids think I'm weird.  My husband laughs hysterically or eyeballs me with a stinky eye.  The phrase is being repeated less often now.  We're grateful.  Yet every now and then, the phrase makes an appearance.

The other day, Son #1 ran up to me with a serious look on his face.  He whispered in my ear.  "Mom, I have something important to tell you."

I leaned over and asked.  "What is it?"

Son #1 stepped back with a smirk on his face and yelled.  "Scarm!  Scarm!!  Det e one!!!"

Oooh, little boy!  I'll get you and your puppy dog, too!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Chinook and Doggie

A few months ago, Abuelita (Grandma) went on a cruise to Alaska.  While she was there, she bought the boys each a stuffed animal (Siberian huskies).  Son #1 and Son #2 were immediately enchanted with their new, plush toys.  As they held their treasures tightly, my husband and I suggested that they come up with names for their stuffed huskies.  Son #1 was unsure of what to name his new toy so his Tia (Aunt) and I began to do a search of Alaskan names. We tried out several names before Son #1 finally settled on the name Chinook.  Son #1 hugged and kissed Chinook affectionately.  Then, he ran off to play a new game with his stuffed friend.  Next, we turned our attention to Son #2.  He was clutching his stuffed dog to his chest as he strolled around the living area.  I caught my youngest son's eye and asked.  "What's your doggie's name?"  Son #2 paused for a moment and replied seriously.  "Doggie." 

From the moment they named their stuffed pups, our boys and their dogs were inseparable.  They ate with their dogs.  They slept with their dogs.  They played cars with their dogs.  They played trains with their dogs.  Chinook and Doggie even went with us to visit Grandma and Grandpa during summer vacation.

The boys were very excited about visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  They were particularly excited about staying at the beach during our visit.  Upon arriving at the beach, our sons unpacked their friends and ran up the stairs to the condo.  Son #1 chattered nonstop with Grandma about the ocean waves, the sand, and the supplies we brought to make sandcastles.  Son #2 quietly explored the balcony with Doggie. 

At first, Son #2 and Doggie peeked through the railing at the beach just yards away.  Then, my youngest son investigated the wooden rocking chair behind him.  He touched the chair with his hand and it rocked backward.  Son #2 jumped back, startled.  Slowly, he walked toward the chair and pressed it again.  Instantly, the chair began to swing back and forth.  Son #2 laughed and rattled off a few phrases to Doggie.  Then, he sat his dog on the chair. 

Son #2 rocked Doggie on the chair for several minutes until he realized that he had not explored underneath it.  Quickly, he slowed the swinging chair to a stop.  Then, he grabbed Doggie and crawled underneath to gain a whole new perspective.  Son #2 started up a new conversation with his stuffed friend.  I'm sure they discussed their surroundings and the fascinating chair.  They also played peek-a-boo when their conversation had grown old. 

Eventually, the sun began to set along the misty horizon.  Son #1 and Son #2 gathered up their stuffed friends.  They stumbled sleepily to bed and cuddled with their pups.   My husband and I tucked them into bed.  Then, we kissed them goodnight.  As we turned to leave, Son #1 cried out.  "Chinook needs a kiss, too."  My husband and I laughed.  "Oh no!  We forgot."  We bent down to kiss Chinook as well.  Son #2 was not going to be left out.  "Doggie needs kiss."  He commanded holding out his dog before us.  "Right.  Right."  My husband assured.  We each planted a kiss on Doggie's head.  Now that everyone had been kissed, we tucked our kids and their dogs into bed once again.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Fountains at the Water Park

One day, we took the kids to the local swimming pool with their older cousins.  Son #1 and Son #2 were thrilled to be hanging out with their teenage cousins.  My little ones admire their cousins greatly and try to act just like them.  Their cousins are absolutely amazing particularly because of the sincere attention they pay to  their ankle biting relatives.  A lot of teenagers might be annoyed by two young tots shadowing their every move.  Yet, these two teenagers take the time to talk and play with Son #1 and Son #2 on their level. 

When we arrived at the pool, Son #1 and Son #2 sprinted to the booth.  They hopped up and down screaming with excitement as my husband handed several dollar bills to the cashier.  The cashier gave us a brief synopsis of the pool's amenities and then motioned for us to enter.  We parted ways as we each took a child to the changing rooms.  Son #2 pulled on my hand straining to exit the boring changing room.  I laughed and said.  "Alright.  Alright.  We'll be outside in a second." 

My youngest son and I passed through the dimly lit hall into the bright sunshine.  A clear, gleaming pool stood before us with small fountains, a splash pad, and water slides of varying sizes.  The kids' eyes grew wide with awe.  Then, they raced to their relatives lounging by the water.  Son #1 whirled in circles, tugging at our arms and shouting about the water.  Son #2 pushed on my legs and pleaded.  "Les go wim!"  Finally, my husband and I took the kids to the shallow end of the pool and entered the icy water.  (It may have been hot outside but the water in the pool was definitely not bath water.)

Son #1 played with one of his cousins in a couple of the interactive water features.   They ran from buckets of water and slid under mushroom waterfalls.  Son #1 practiced swimming in the slightly deeper end of the shallow area.  Sometimes, his cousin took off to the water slides in the deep end of the pool.  Son #1 even made a few friends while sliding down the water slide at the shallow end of the pool.

Son #2 was a bit more timid about getting into the water.  At first, he tiptoed around at the edge of the splash pad and avoided the interactive buckets and waterfalls.  Then, he noticed something odd about the edge of the pool.  Every now and then, tiny fountains would pop up as if from nowhere.  He yelped out in surprise the first time the fountains popped up beside him.  I placed my foot on top of one of the holes and blocked the spray the second time the fountains appeared.  Son #2 grinned impishly and copied my moves.  Pretty soon, he was hopping up and down the line of fountains covering as many of the holes as he could. 

As time passed, we began to play another game.  When Son #2 would get close to one of my fountains, I would splash him by kicking water into the air with my foot.  Son #2 gleefully laughed and ran away.  Sometimes, he would retaliate with splashes of his own.  We kept at our game for quite a while until Son #1 called me over to watch him swim.

While I watched my oldest son swim, Son #2 continued to stomp on the tiny fountains.  Another toddler soon joined his game.  They leaped from fountain to fountain in an effort to stop the spraying water.  Son #2 thought their game was fun but decided to ramp up the excitement.  The next time the little friend came near, my youngest son swept his foot across the water to splash him.  His young friend looked confused.  I strode across the pool and admonished my naughty son.  "No splashing babies!  O.K.?"  Son #2 looked at me sincerely and said.  "O.K."

The two little ones continued to play peacefully until Son #2 splashed him again.  I gave my youngest son the stinky eye and shook my finger at him.  "That's not nice."  I said sternly.  Son #2 meekly replied.  "I sorry."  Then, he resumed playing nicely with his friend.

Some time later, I noticed that Son #2 had splashed his tiny friend again.  This time, his friend decided to get even.  The little one swiftly scooped water up into the air and skillfully splashed my youngest son.  Son #2 looked shocked for a moment and then began to cry.  The little boy's father quickly came over to scold his young son.  Before the little one could get into trouble, I ran over and explained.  "My son splashed your little one a few times before your son finally splashed my son.  I was actually hoping your son would get him back."  The young father and I laughed at the situation. 

After the father and his son were gone, I picked up my baby and wiped his face.  "See what happens when you splash other people?!?"  I said in a playful manner.  Son #2 grunted and wiggled down from my arms.  The little rascal had not learned his lesson because he began to splash at me once again.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Mini Shopping Carts

Grandma and Grandpa live in a college town that is dotted with charming mom & pop businesses and mid century bungalows.  The town is surrounded by fields of onion, wheat, corn, grapes, and various orchards.  The grocery store lies on the main road within walking distance from their house.  My husband graduated from the high school in this town and has fond memories of the many people who still call this town home.

While visiting Grandma and Grandpa, we decided to swing by the grocery store and pick up some fruit.  Being that it was a hot day, we decided to forgo the walk.  The kids hopped into the air conditioned car and buckled their seat belts.  Then, we leisurely drove to the store.

Once at the store, the boys spied the mini shopping carts tucked in with the other carts.  They ran and screamed.  "I wanna little cart!  I wanna little cart!"  Son #1 sprinted along the front of the store and quickly selected his cart.  Son #2 raced as fast as his little legs would go but fell behind his older brother.  Seeing that his big brother had beaten him to the carts, Son #2 threw himself to the ground and began to wail loudly.  "Brudder got der first!  I wanna get der first.  You go back wite now!"  Son #2 shouted from the floor.  My husband and I shooed the kids over to their respective carts quickly as people turned to view the ruckus.  We smiled wanly and then tried to disappear into the produce section.

When the excitement had been forgotten, we perused the fresh fruits.  I wanted bananas.  I also wanted strawberries and blackberries but after some discussion we remembered there some back at the house.  My husband and I wandered around poking at various types of fruit while the kids jostled the carts down the aisles.  Finally, we decided to pay for the fruit we had selected.

My husband motioned for the boys to follow us.  Son #1 and Son #2 spun their carts in our direction and raced down the aisle like NASCAR drivers.  Just before they reached our shins, they skidded to a stop.

Son #2 breathlessly laughed.  "Again!  Again!"

Son #1 responded with a smile.  "Not yet.  We have to go."  Then, he turned to me with an angelic gaze and said.  "You can put the fruit in our carts.  We're really careful."

"Umm.  I don't think so."  I shook my head and eyed my fragile bananas.  "I'll just carry the fruit if you guys don't mind."

"Awww!"  The boys replied in unison.  Then, they squealed the cart tires all the way to the check out counter.

Monday, August 11, 2014

What are you doing?

While we were relaxing at Grandma and Grandpa's house, our little boys played with a box of toys in the living room.  Son #1 sorted out the jet airplanes and began an intricate game of fighter jet attacks around the coffee table.  Son #2 methodically pulled out a wooden train track set and held up a piece of the track in his hand.  "Help me?"  He asked.

I leaned over in the chair and reached for the pieces.  "O.K."  I said happily.  "I'll help."  Then, I knelt on the floor and spread out the tracks. Son #2 handed the pieces to me as I put the train track together in a figure eight shape.  When the last track was connected to the group, we cheered with delight.  "Yay!  We did it!"  Then, I asked.  "Where's Thomas the Train?"

Son #2 searched through the engines until he found his favorite train.  Then, he shouted.  "Here it is!"  Quickly, we placed the train on the track and proceeded to play a fun game of trains in Sodor.  Son #2 immediately became engrossed in the game.  Eventually, he pushed my hands away.  "No Mama.  I do it."  He said firmly.

I retired to the chair once more and settled in to watch a show with my husband.  Both of the boys continued to play their games on the floor.  Thirty minutes passed.  The games had not ceased.  An hour passed.  Finally, Son #2 grew tired of playing with the trains and went to explore the kitchen.  He looked under the table and at the magnets on the refrigerator.  He played with a towel on the oven door handle.  Then, he began to open cabinet doors.  My husband glanced into the kitchen and said.  "Son, close the cabinet doors."

"O.K."  Son #2 replied.  However, he continued to open and close one particular cabinet door.  As the door would close, our little son would give it an extra shove just to hear it make a noise.  I popped my head around the corner and said.  "Son, you heard your daddy.  Leave the cabinet door alone."

"O.K."  Son #2 replied.  Still, he did not stop.  The little rascal continued to slam the cabinet door.  My husband wrinkled his face irritably and then asked loudly.  "Son, what are you doing in there?"

Son #2 cheerfully replied.  "Daddy, I'm banging!"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Brother's Eyes

I love summer.  There is nothing like relaxing with my kids on a hot summer day.  There is always a new place to visit, person to befriend, or thing to discover.  It's magical.  It's especially magical when you are a young child.

The other day, my kids and I sat at the kitchen table in Grandma and Grandpa's house eating a simple lunch of sandwiches and smoothies.  It was a beautiful, summery afternoon with birds flitting their wings in the birdbath.  The large shade tree draped its branches over their grandparent's house as the breeze gently pushed the leaves up and down across the eaves.

Son #2 was enchanted by the rustling leaves.  He absentmindedly sipped his drink.  With his chubby hand, he reached about his plate feeling for his sandwich all while still staring out the window.

Son #1 smiled as his younger brother nibbled at his lunch in a distracted manner.  My oldest son quickly swallowed the bite of food in his mouth and then pointed to his little sibling.  "Silly baby.  He's not paying attention to any of his food."

I giggled at Son #1's comment.  "Yeah.  I guess something outside has his attention."

Son #1 glanced out the window and asked.  "What is he looking at?"

"I don't know."  I replied shrugging my shoulders and wrinkling my brow.  I took another bite of my sandwich and drank a bit of my smoothie.  While I ate, I watched my youngest child intently gaze out the window.  What could be so fascinating?

Son #1 quietly finished his sandwich.  Periodically, he raised his head to look out the kitchen window.  I could see the wonder in his eyes as he strained to see the things that had so amused his brother.  Finally, Son #1 sighed.  Then, he turned to me and said.  "I wish I could see through my brother's eyes."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wake Up, Mommy!

I miss staying up late and sleeping in until mid morning.  Once we began having children, sleep went right out the window.  We eventually got them into good habits.  However, we never did salvage our time to sleep late. 

It all stems from the time we taught our oldest son about going to bed early.  He did not like to go to bed at all.  So, my husband came up with this little jingle that said.  "When the sun comes up...time to get up.  When the sun goes down...time to go to sleep."  Son #1 loved the jingle and would repeat it often.  He also internalized the jingle and began to get up at the crack of dawn.  Then, he would come to our room to make sure we were getting up as well.  Son #1 would sing.  "When the sun is up time to get up!"  Ack!  I just want to sleep!  Fortunately, I have made peace with the fact that I will almost always have to get up early.  However, there are rare moments when I do get an extra hour of sleep.

When Son #1 was four, I would have him sit at the foot of my bed with a pile of books whenever I tried to get a bit of extra sleep.  He would read and look at pictures for ten minute increments while I blissfully kept my eyes closed.  After a while, Son #1 would get up from his spot on the floor and tap my arm.  "Mommy, wake up."

"Mmmm."  I would grunt.  "Ten more minutes."

"You said that the last time!"  Son #1 would complain.

"Ten more minutes."  I would continue to mumble sleepily.

"Alright."  Son#1 would say in exasperation.  Son #1 would plop down onto the floor and flip through his books irritably for a moment.  Finally, he would pick up something that looked interesting and continue to read.  Then, I would continue to sleep until the next time my little boy got tired of his books and tried to wake me again.

Now, Son #1 is more independent and will play in his room in the morning once he awakes.  Son #2 has taken his older brother's place tapping my arm and pulling at my eyelids as I try to get an extra hour of sweet, precious sleep.  The other morning, I peered through half closed eyelids at the clock on the shelf as my youngest son patted my face.  The clock said 6:50 a.m.  My baby began to pull the comforter off of my arms.  "Mmmm.  Let me sleep."  I muttered.

"Mommy, get up!"  Son #2 demanded.

"Shhh!  I'm trying to sleep."  I whispered.  "Go play.  Ten more minutes."

"O.K."  Son #2 ran to get his trains from the other room.  He happily chugged into my bedroom and drove the trains across the furniture.  "Choo choo!"  He puffed loudly. 

I pulled the covers closer to my head and squeezed my eyes shut.  I needed more sleep.  "Shhh!  Your dad and I are trying to sleep."

"O.K. Shsss!"  Son #2 replied.  He continued to race his train around the room albeit in a more silent fashion.

I fell asleep and began to dream again.  Midway through the dream, I felt a little hand poke my eyelids.  I clumsily swatted the hand away but did not open my eyes.  "What?"  I asked.

"Wake up, Mommy!"  My youngest son commanded.

"No."  I responded defiantly.  "Ten more minutes."

Son #2 would not be dissuaded.  "No Mommy!  Get up!" 

"No.  Ten more minutes."  I implored.  Then, I thought of a new tactic.  "Where are the helicopters?"  I asked trying to redirect him to a new activity.  Sadly, that tactic failed.

"NO HELICOPTERS, MOMMY!"  Son #2 shouted.  "GET UP!"