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!"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Son #2 has been learning to identify different parts of the body.  We have a game that we play often.  I'll say.  "Show me your nose."  Then, Son #2 points to his nose.  I'll ask.  "Where's my nose?"  Then, he puts his finger on my nose.  Sometimes, I mix it up a bit by pointing to my mouth and asking.  "What's this?"  Most of the time, Son #2 will shout out.  "Mouf!"  We have a lot of fun playing this little game. 

When this game first began, Son #2 could only identify the ears.  He learned about the ears first because he used to hold my ear while I rocked him to sleep in the rocking chair.  His sleepy, little eyes would blink open and then close while he grasped my ear lobe with his tiny fingers.  I would laugh and whisper.  "Do you have my ear?"  Son #2 would pull at my ear and mumble.  "Earw."

Now, Son #2 is getting quite good at identifying different parts of his body.  However, he still loves to pull on my ear randomly throughout the day.  Sometimes, he reminds me of a honey bee in the vegetable garden flitting from flower to flower.  All of a sudden, the honey bee will abandon his game in the garden and rush over to a spot of honey hidden between two pieces of siding on the house.  There is no bee hive.  (We've checked.)  Yet, the bee sits on this spot of honey for a moment.  After the moment has passed, the honey bee will return to the garden to fly among the flowers once more.  I can only guess at what the bee is doing.  In my imagination, I can picture the bee playing among the flowers until it realizes that it needs to check its surroundings.  Then, it rushes over to the honey spot almost as if checking a map.  I can hear it buzzing.  "Bee #2 checking in.  Looks like everything is all clear.  Returning to the flowers.  Over and out."

When my youngest son stops a game to pull on my ear, I wonder if that is his way of checking in with the grown ups.  He will usually tug on one of my ears and then turn my head to pull on the other.  Then, he smiles at me with an impish grin and says.  "Ear?  Ear?"

I nod and assure him.  "Ear."

Then almost like the honey bee, he runs off to play with his toys again.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Abuelita is 93!

One Saturday afternoon after a fabulous meal of enchiladas at my mom's house, Son #1 sat with his Tia (Aunt) on the landing of the staircase.  We had just gotten done eating cake and ice cream in celebration of two birthdays.  The presents had been opened and the cards had been read.  One of the birthdays was mine and the other was Tia's.  Son #1 was curious about our ages and asked innocently.  "Tia, how old are you now?"

Tia smiled and said.  "I'm thirty."

"Oh!"  Son #1 exclaimed.  Then he looked at me repeated his question.  "Mommy, how old are you?"

"I'm thirty-eight."  I answered sweetly.

Son #1 thought for a moment and then questioned.  "Who's birthday is next?"

"Well, your baby brother has a birthday next.  Then, both of your Tios (Uncles) have birthdays.  After that, Abuelita has a birthday."  Tia replied.

"I know my brother is going to be three but how old are my Tios going to be?"  Son #1 asked with a puzzled look on his face.

"One of your Tios is turning thirty-eight and the other is turning thirty-six."  Tia responded.

"O.K."  Son #1 paused to absorb this information.  He fidgeted with his fingers as his mind processed everything he had learned.  You could see his mind analyzing our ages and forming conclusions.  He hadn't asked about Abuelita's age yet but he did realize that she was his grandmother.  Son #1 also knew that his dad had a grandmother that was in her mid nineties.  He thought for another moment.  Then after a couple more seconds, his face brightened as he cried out.  "After my Tios' birthdays, Abuelita has a birthday!"

"Yes.  You're right."  Tia said calmly.  She smiled and wrinkled her nose at me in amusement.  "How old do you think Abuelita will be on her birthday?"  Tia asked.

"Abuelita will be ninety-three!"  Son #1 shouted with excitement.

Poor Abuelita.  She can't catch any breaks.  A few months ago, Son #1 practically fell over when he found out that "Abuelita" means grandma and is not her actual name.  Now that he knows she is a grandma, he thinks she is almost one hundred.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

I Wanna Do It!

Son #2 admires his older brother and wants to be just as independent.  Sadly, Son #2 is only two years old.  His older brother, Son #1, is an agile seven year old that jumps, climbs, runs, rides, scales, and slides across many different things inside and outside of the house.  Of course, Son #2 wants to do it all, too.  When I try to help my youngest son, he screams.  "No!  I wanna do it!"  He is even becoming more independent about using the restroom or taking a bath.  I'm very proud of his new found independence yet sometimes I wish he would let me help him.

A couple days ago, Son #2 danced into the living room holding the front side of his pants.  "I need to go potty."  He announced with a little smile on his face.

I jumped up from my chair and cried.  "Run, Baby!  Hurry!  Let's go potty!"

Son #2 ran quickly to the bathroom and waited at the door until I turned on the light.  Then, he pulled down his pants and underwear.  I began to lift the lid of the toilet when my youngest son yelled.  "No!  I wanna do it!"

"Fine."  I said as I rolled my eyes.  "You do it."

Son #2 pushed the lid up and cheered.  "I did it!"

I smiled sweetly at my young son.  "Hurray!  You did it!  Now, get on the potty."

Son #2 scooted onto the toilet and proceeded to poop and pee into the toilet bowl.  He grinned proudly.  "I did it!  Oh! Wow!  Look at the poo poo in the potty!"

"Good job!"  I said.  "You're such a big boy!"  I helped him wipe and then I reached around him to flush the toilet. 

Immediately, Son #2 scowled and fussed.  "No, Mama!  I wanna do it!" 

"But it's all gone.  You can flush the toilet next time."  I consoled as Son #2 wiped tears from his eyes.

Son #2 slowly pulled his face up from his hands.  He looked into the toilet bowl once more and then shouted angrily.  "I want my poo poo back!"