Saturday, March 28, 2015

King of the Rock

A couple of weeks ago, several members of our immediate and extended family took a road trip to a nearby mountain town.  During the day, we skied down the slopes like lunatics trying to keep up with Son #1.  In the evenings, we took leisurely walks through the charming town.  Son #1 and Son #2 found the walks to be very exciting.  There were so many things to explore, climb, and inspect.

On one particular walk, my mom and I strolled with the boys past shops in the cold mountain air.  An icy breeze nipped at our cheeks as the boys jumped on large boulders strategically placed in the landscaping.  Son #1  bounded easily from rock to rock.  Son #2 analyzed every step that Son #1 took before attempting to climb the very same rocks.  The boys shrieked with laughter as they played their little game. 

Suddenly, Son #1 saw a huge boulder at the edge of a parking lot.  He sprinted to the rock and scrambled to the top.  My eldest son pushed his chest into the air, extended his arms high over his head, and cried loudly.  "I'm the king of the rock!"

Son #2 took notice of his older brother and raced to the large rock.  He stretched his hands over the top of the boulder, dug his knees into the sides, and dragged himself to where his brother stood.  Carefully, he balanced his weight as he slowly extended his arms above his head.  "I da king of da rock!"  My youngest son roared.

Son #1 hopped down from the boulder and leaped to another.  He glanced at his younger brother with a cheerful smile and yelled again.  "I'm king of the rock!"

Son #2 laughed with delight.  Then, he held his tiny hand out and shouted.  "Help me get down, Mama!"

As soon as I placed Son #2 onto the sidewalk, he raced to the next rock and crawled to the top.  With great care, my youngest son stood with his hands reaching to the sky.  "I king of da rock!"  He screamed.

Son #1 giggled and said to his brother.  " I bet I can beat you to the next rock."

"Les race!"  Son #2 responded gleefully.

"On your mark.  Get set.  Go!"  Son #1 and Son #2 began to race but had to stop because it was too dark to run like wild minions.

"Come back and hold our hands!"  My mom and I called out to the two little monkeys. 

"Aww!  Do we have to?"  Son #1 complained.  "We were racing!"

"Yes.  You need to hold our hands.  It's too dark right now."  I explained.

Son #2 squirmed and wiggled trying to avoid grabbing my mom's hand.  Son #1 pouted and placed his hands in his pockets.  Eventually after a bit of discussion, the boys did hold our hands as we continued to walk down the street.  Soon, the boys yawned and rubbed their eyes.  It was getting late so we turned back toward the hotel.  As we walked down the moonlit sidewalk, the boys spied one last rock to climb.  They sleepily clambered to the top of the rock and called out once more for the town to hear.  "I'm king of the rock!"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Mowing with Dad

A few weeks ago, my husband stepped out into the front yard to mow the lawn.  Son #2 tagged along to peek at the mower.  As my husband fueled up the tank, Son #2 chattered away with excitement.

"Daddy, you gonna mow?"  Son #2 asked with wide eyes.

"Sure am."  My husband replied as he attached the bag for grass cuttings.

"Oh wow!"  Son #2 exclaimed.  "I wanna mow, too!"

My husband grunted absentmindedly as he inspected the mower one last time.  Then, my husband pulled back on the starter and began to cut the lawn.  Son #2 was amazed at the loud noise.  He placed his hands over his ears and shouted to my husband.  "Too loud, Daddy!"

My husband could not hear a thing as the engine of the mower roared.  He motioned for our youngest son to stay close by as he pushed the mower across the lawn.  Son #2 obediently ran after his dad.  Periodically, my little boy patted the branches of bushes or peered at the naked limbs of a small tree.  Then, Son #2 got an idea.  Quickly, my little boy ran back to the garage and grabbed a dolly from among the tools.  Using his tiny muscles, Son #2 pushed the dolly forward with all his might.  Eventually, my little boy got the dolly onto the grass.

Son #2 followed my husband with his own "mower" turning at the appropriate times.  My husband looked back at his youngest son and gave him a thumbs up sign.  Son #2 yelled.  "Look Daddy!  I mowing!"

My husband laughed.  "Good!  Follow me!"

Son #2 followed his dad without deviating from his path.  I happened to be outside while this all took place and snapped a couple pictures.  For a second, I was transported back in time to when my oldest son would follow my husband with his own "mower".  I could visualize Son #1 toddling behind my husband with a sit-to-stand walker shouting.  "Look Mommy!  Look Daddy!  I mowing!"  Once again, a wave of nostalgia passed over me.  Then, I leaned against my car with a sigh and thought.  "Kids grow up so fast."

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Playing in the Snow

We have had snow (and ice) off and on for a couple weeks.  Nothing makes me happier, than looking out my window into a yard covered by a fresh blanket of snow.  The clouds hang low in the sky and create a grey, dreamy haze.  At night, the moonlight bounces off the snow drifts  lighting up our neighborhood like a winter wonder land.  Then, the sun comes out.  Sun rays cause the snow to gleam with intensity.  I love winter and I love snow.

The boys love the snow as well.  Each time the first few snowflakes begin to fall, the kids beg to put on the skis and ski in the backyard.  Usually, we'll ski in the backyard if there is good snow cover.  If the yard is mostly ice, then we just play.

The other day, sleet began to fall.  Son #1 and Son #2 sat by the window in the living room with their noses glued to the window pane.  Their eyes lit up as the ground filled up with ice.  "Mom!"  Son #1 shouted.  "I bet they will cancel school tomorrow."

"We'll see what happens."  I said cheerfully.

"I wanna go ski."  Son #2 called out.

"If there is enough snow on the ground, I'll bring out my skis."  I responded.

"Hurray!!!"  The two boys cried out together.  I laughed as the kids continued to watch ice bounce off the grass.

A few days later, a layer of snow covered our grass.  The boys cheered as they gazed at the winter wonderland before them.  I fixed a hearty breakfast, dressed the boys in their snow clothes, and shooed them out into the backyard.  Socks, the dog, scampered after them as they stomped across the small mounds of snow.  After I ate my breakfast, I threw on my jacket, grabbed the skis, and ran out to play with my kids.  Son #1 and Son #2 screamed as I closed the back door.  "The skis!  The skis!"

I gazed at my two children hopping up and down in the snow.  They were so excited.  To avoid any fighting, I suggested to Son #1.  "Hey, let's have your little brother ski first.  Then, you can ski after him."

Son #1 thought for a moment about my suggestion.  Then, he smiled and agreed.  "Yeah!  That sounds good."  Quickly, Son #1 turned to his brother and said.  "Bro, go get into the ski boots."

I lifted my youngest son off the ground and removed his shoes.  Carefully, I placed his feet into my ski boots.  Once he was secured into the boots, I began to push him across the yard.  Son #2 screeched with delight.  "I skiing!  I skiing!"

When Son #2 had skied a couple laps around the yard, I called out to my oldest son.  "O.K.  Now it's your turn."  Slowly, I lifted my little baby out of the ski boots.  As I held him in the air, I dusted the snow from his legs.  Then, I slipped Son #2's shoes onto his feet.  Once the shoes were on his feet, Son #2 quickly wriggled out of my arms back into the snow. 

Son #1 tugged on my jacket and asked.  "Can you help me get into your ski boots?"

"Of course!"  I said with a smile.  Son #1 held onto my shoulder while I removed one of his shoes.  He carefully stepped into the first boot.  Then, he lifted his other foot so I could remove the second shoe.  Once his feet were secured into the ski boots, I gave Son #1 a push across the snow.  He skated smoothly from one end of the yard to the other end several times.

Eventually, the snow melted away. However, winter was not over yet.  Today, we were blessed with another round of snow.  Overnight, a strong wind blew the snow up against the house creating a good sized snow drift.  The boys shrieked with joy as they ran out to play in the snow again.  This time, they created forts and oblong snowmen.  They even drove their toy cars through the snow tunnels inside the forts.  By the time the boys finished playing, their cheeks were bright red and their shoes were soaked.  Once inside the house, they stripped off their snow clothes and collapsed onto their beds in exhaustion. 

Note to Self:  Playing in snow = a great nap for the kids 
(I REALLY love snow!)

Monday, March 2, 2015

I Crying

Last weekend, my sister and brother-in-law whisked the kids to my mom's house.  I was sick with the flu and wanted nothing more than to curl up in bed with a cup of hot tea and medicine.  The kids were terribly excited to go with Tia (Aunt) to Abuelita's (Grandma's) house.  In their excitement, they ran screaming to Tia's car.  I shivered in my blanket and giggled with joy as the car pulled out of the driveway.  There would be nothing but silence for several hours.

At Abuelita's house, the kids sat down for a fun lunch filled with pancakes, eggs, and potatoes.  After scarfing down their food, Son #1 and Son #2 raced up to the game room.  They pulled out cars, board games, and Veggie Tales movies.  Soon, they were perusing their collection of goodies.  Each searched for their favorite toy.  Son #1 immediately began to amuse himself with the toys upstairs.  However, Son #2 remembered the toy closet downstairs and carefully made his way to it.  Once inside, Son #2 began to pull out the toy kitchen from the closet.  When toy kitchen was in the middle of the downstairs living space, Son #2 cheerfully "cook" a meal.  The kids played peacefully for quite a while.  Eventually, they began to get tired and wanted to do something more sedentary.  Son #2 bounced over to Abuelita and asked.  "Can I play with my iPad?"

Abuelita smiled at her grandson and said.  "Sure.  You can play with my iPad but you have to sit on the couch upstairs." 

Son #1 overheard the conversation and yelled.  "I wanna play, too!  I wanna play, too!"

"O.K.  Both of you guys have to share.  Son #2 will go first.  Then, it is Son #1's turn.  O.K???"  Abuelita instructed.

"O.K."  The boys responded in unison.

Son #1 and Son #2 snuggled together on the couch upstairs with the iPad.  Son #2 played a game of Minions first.  Then, Son #1 played a racing game.  All seemed to be going well so my mom walked down the stairs back to the living room.  My sister and brother-in-law lazed by the fireplace.  My mom sat back on the couch and smiled.  The kids were relaxing in an upstairs room and the house seemed very peaceful.

As the kids played, my mom, sister, and brother-in-law chatted on the couch.  They talked about their jobs, church, current events, clothes, funny stories, sports, and the latest gossip.  While in the middle of a particularly interesting conversation, they heard fighting coming from the game room.  My mom sighed.  My sister and brother-in-law rolled their eyes.  Lately, the boys fought about everything.  Hopefully, they would learn to share and work things out.  My mom, sister, and brother-in-law continued their conversation but the fighting did not stop.  From the game room, the boys' sharp words shattered the calm.

"It's MY turn!"  Son #1 screamed.

"Give it BACK!"  Son #2 roared.

"You're MEAN!"  Son #1 yelled.  "You're hogging the iPad!"

"It MY iPad!"  Son #2 shouted as he pulled the iPad away from his older brother.

Son #1 shrieked in anger and grabbed the iPad out of his younger brother's hands.  Son #2 balled up his fists and pummeled his older brother on the back.  Son #1 retaliated by popping him on the shoulder.  Son #2 wrinkled his brow.  His lips quivered and tears began to roll down his cheeks.  He let out a long, pitiful cry and ran down the stairs to find Abuelita. 

As Son #2 neared the bottom of the stairs, his crying increased with intensity.  Abuelita eyeballed him from the corner of her eye but wisely decided to ignore the show.  She knew that Son #2 was not the innocent victim but had played a significant role in the scuffle with his brother.  When Son #2 realized that he was being ignored, he stepped in between his Abuelita, Tia, and Tio (Uncle).  Then, he began to sob brokenheartedly.  Son #2 squeezed his eyes tightly as if to produce more tears and garner the sympathy needed to rip the iPad away from his older brother.  Abuelita, Tia, and Tio continued to ignore Son #2's attempt at manipulation.  Finally, Son #2 could stand it no longer.  He place himself directly in front of Abuelita, squeaked out a few crocodile tears, and sorrowfully announced.  "I crying!"

Abuelita patted Son #2 gently and asked.  "Why are you crying?"

Son #2 tattled.  "Brudder took my iPad!"

"It's your brother's turn."  Abuelita reminded.  "Aren't you supposed to be sharing?"

Son #2 crossed his arms and pouted.  Abuelita took his little hand and led him up the stairs to where his older brother was sitting.  Then, she carefully placed her youngest grandson on the couch.  Son #1 looked up from his game into Abuelita's eyes.  Son #2 also looked at Abuelita expectantly.  Then, Abuelita spoke.  "Both of you need to share.  Right now, it is Son #1's turn.  Son #2, you can sit beside your brother.  Now look.  You're both sharing.  Isn't that nice?"  Without waiting for an answer, Abuelita strode to the stairs and glided to the living room.  Son #1 and Son #2 watched her disappear with their mouths hanging slightly open.  For the rest of the evening, my two sons sat together peacefully sharing the iPad.  Abuelita had established that she was the queen of the castle.  Troublemakers beware.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Three or Four

My youngest son is a sweet, sensitive, yet rambunctious three years old.  He loves to sing and make noises as he plays with his toys.  Sometimes, he will get rowdy while singing and begin to growl out the lyrics.  Other times, he will race through the house with zooming jet planes.  My husband and I are constantly picking up the same ten toys around the living room.  My husband and I can also be found kneeling on the floor beside our youngest child listening to his latest adventure.  Sometimes, we comment on the exciting things he tells us.  Sometimes, we ask him questions.

One sunny and wintry afternoon, I asked Son #2.  "How old are you?"

Son #2 stopped mid run through the kitchen and replied.  "I four."  He proudly held up four fingers to confirm his answer.

"Hmm."  I said and bent over to count the tiny fingers.  "One.  Two.  Three.  Four.  You're right.  That's four fingers but you're not four.  You're three."  I knelt down and held up three fingers as an example.

Son #2 eyed my fingers and then counted.  "One.  Two.  Free.  You wight, Mama!  You free."

"No no no.  I'm not three.  You're three."  I laughed as I helped him form his hand into three upright fingers.

Son #2 looked at his three fingers and giggled.  "I not free.  I four!"  With that exclamation, he promptly changed his hand to four upright fingers.

I chuckled in amusement.  "Nuh uh!"  I said in a playful voice.  "You're three!"  Again, I held up three fingers.

"No Mama!  I four!"  Son #2 squealed with delight.

We went on like this for quite a while.  Finally, I was able to convince my youngest son that he was three years old.  Also after a bit of practice, Son #2 successfully held up three fingers when announcing his age.  I was so proud of my little boy.  Quickly, I jumped up and said.  "Go tell Daddy how old you are!"

Son #2 ran to his dad's office as fast as his little legs would go.  From outside the office, I heard the following conversation.

"So, how old are you little son?"  My husband asked kindly.

"I four!"  Son #2 shouted out with a small touch of defiance.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Great Debate

As is our custom at bedtime, I had the boys bathe, dress in their pajamas, brush their teeth, and listen to a Bible story.  After our regular bedtime routine, the boys said their prayers and hopped into bed.  Then, I kissed them on their cheeks and crept out of their rooms.  From each room, I could hear their sweet little voices call out.

"Goodnight Mommy!" 

"I love you, Mommy!"

"Goodnight!"  I replied with a smile.  "I love you, too!"

I tiptoed to my room and turned on the computer.  There was a stack of papers that desperately needed organization.  As I sat in my chair to peruse the pile, a little boy peeked around the doorway.  "You need to go back to sleep."  I said as I eyed him from the corner of my eye.

"I need to go potty."  Son #2 whispered from around the dark corner.

"O.K."  I sighed.  "Let's go potty."

Son #2 pranced to the restroom.  He pulled down his pants and underwear.  Then, he sat on the toilet and proceeded to potty in the toilet.  He grinned at me proudly.  "I did it!  I did potty in the toilet!"  He cried.

"Good job!"  I cheered.  "Now, flush the toilet and I'll help you get dressed."

Son #2 obeyed quickly.  With the toilet flushed and my little boy clothed once more, we turned the water on at the sink to wash his hands.  Son #2 poured a huge glob of soap onto the palms of his hands.  He rubbed the soap across his fingers with delight and then watched the water from the faucet rinse the soap away.  When he was finished, my youngest son looked at me thoughtfully and said.  "I need to go potty."

"What?  You already went potty."  I countered.

"I need to go potty."  My youngest son insisted.

"Fine."  I rolled my eyes.  I knelt down to help my son onto the toilet again.  Once he was finished sitting on the toilet, we flushed, dressed, and washed his hands for a second time.  "Good job going potty again."  I said encouragingly.  "Now, let's go to bed."

"O.K."  Son #2 replied with a laugh.  As he crawled into bed, my youngest son whispered.  "I need to go potty."

A black cloud of irritation began to form over my head.  I wrinkled my nose and squinted my eyes at my little monkey sitting ever so innocently in his bed.  "You just went potty.  There is no more potty in your rear."  I argued.

"I need to go potty."  Son #2 responded with determination.

"Fine.  Let's go potty."  I said as I led Son #2 to the restroom for a third time.  This time as he sat on the toilet, my youngest son sang and played with his bath time toys.  I leaned against the sink waiting for him to use the restroom.  As time passed, I began to wonder if my little guy was constipated.  "Baby, is the poo poo stuck in your butt?"  I asked.

"No."  Son #2 smiled.

"Do you need to go potty?"  I asked again.

"No."  Son #2 continued to play.

"Then why are you sitting on the potty?"  I continued.

"Because I playing."  Son #2 said seriously.

"Alright."  I said in a no nonsense voice.  "Time to get off the potty and go to bed."  Son #2 hopped off the toilet.  We dressed, washed hands, and jumped back into bed.  "Goodnight."  I whispered as I kissed my youngest son's forehead.

"Goodnight, Mommy."  Son #2 said as he fidgeted with his stuffed animals.

I returned to my computer and began to sort through the unopened envelopes.  Soon, I was completely absorbed by the work laying on my desk.  Ten minutes passed uneventfully.  Then, I heard a pattering of little feet running across the house.  "Go back to bed!"  I called out from my room.

There was no answer.  The only noise I heard was a persistent scampering across the living room and kitchen floor.  I called out once more.  "Go back to bed!"

From around the corner of the door frame, Son #2 peeked into my room.  "I need to go potty."

"Again?"  I asked.  "Are you sure?"

"I need to go potty."  Son #2 insisted.

"O.K. Let's go potty."  I said as I got up to accompany Son #2 to the restroom.

For the fourth time, Son #2 sat on the toilet.  He asked to hold two of his duckies.  I complied as I wondered about my youngest son.  Was he getting sick?  Was he constipated?  Did he have some sort of infection?  I decided to let my little one sit for a while on the toilet just to see if that might help his situation.  While I waited for my youngest son to use the restroom, I washed a few dishes and put away a bit of clutter.  Then, I returned to the restroom to check on my youngest child.

There sat my child on the bathroom floor playing with his bath time toys.  Son #2 was making quacking noises for the ducks as they splashed about his imaginary pond.  I bit my lip before I asked.  "Do you need to go potty?"

"No."  Son #2 responded.

"Are you sure?"  I asked again.

"Yes."  Son #2 said politely.

"What are you doing?"  I asked a third time.

"I playing!"  Son #2 yelled cheerfully.

"It's not time to play."  I said firmly.  "It's time for bed."

"I not tired."  Son #2 replied.  "I playing."

"Get to bed!"  I commanded as I helped him dress and run to his room.

"I not tired!"  Son #2 yelled from under his comforter.

"Go to sleep!"  I responded with irritation.

"Fine!"  Son #2 muttered into his pillow.

I returned to my room to contemplate whether or not Son #2 was trying to manipulate me.  It seemed as though his master plan that night was to stay up as late as possible.  Hopefully, I had foiled his plans.  After a few minutes, I returned to my work.  Once again, I was completely engrossed in the task at hand when I heard little feet skittering across the kitchen floor.  This time, I did not stay in my room.  I immediately got out of the chair to investigate the kitchen.

When I turned the kitchen light on, a naked child streaked by my legs.  "Why are you naked?!"  I yelled.  "Get your clothes on and get back to bed!"

"No!"  Son #2 chugged.  "I racing!"

"You're naked!"  I called after him.

Son #2 giggled.  "I playing!  I racing!"

"Where are your clothes?"  I huffed as I chased my naked child across the house.  "You need to get your pajamas on again."

"No no no no no."  Son #2 chortled.  "No clothes.  I naked!"

Eventually, I found the missing pajamas and redressed my child.  As we walked hand in hand to bed, Son #2 tugged at my pant leg and whispered.  "I need to go potty."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Handwritten List

Son #1 and my husband were preparing to go to Lowe's.  There were several things in the house that needed to be fixed.  Before leaving the house, my husband sat at the kitchen table to write out his list for the shopping trip.  Son #1 jumped around as if he had ants in his pants.  He was thrilled to be going with his dad.  My husband muttered to himself quietly as he added more items.  "Hmm.  We need some 2x4s and some concrete."

Son #1 peered at the list as his dad wrote.  My husband continued to scrawl the items needed across the paper.  Son #1 wrinkled his nose and asked.  "What does that say?"

"Dirt."  My husband responded.

"Oh."  Son #1 mumbled. 

Son #1 continued to watch as his dad completed the list.  The wheels in his mind began to turn.  I wondered if he was mentally comparing his handwriting, the handwriting examples in his lessons, and his dad's handwriting.  Why can't I read my dad's handwriting?  Son #1 thought.  Why does the handwriting in the lesson look so neat?  Why is my dad's handwriting so messy?  Will my handwriting look that way when I grow up?

My husband frowned and furrowed his brow as he reviewed his list once more.  Then, he stood up and said.  "Alright Son, it's time to go.  Go get your jacket and meet me in the car."

Son #1's head bobbed up from the table.  However before he ran to retrieve his jacket, my oldest son gazed at the list and asked.  "How can you read your handwriting?"

My husband glanced down at his oldest son and laughed.  "I just can."

"I can't read it at all."  Son #1 continued.

"You can't?"  My husband said with mock surprise.

"No!"  Son #1 exclaimed.  "It's messy."

"Well."  My husband drawled.  "Don't worry.  Yours will look like this when you're my age."

"Nuh Uh."  Son #1 argued.

"Wanna make a bet?"  My husband chuckled.  "Go get your jacket and get in the car."

With that, Son #1 ran from the room to find his jacket.  Then, he hopped into the car eager to run errands with his dad.