Sunday, May 20, 2012

Wonderful Weekend Weather

This week is Wiggle's last week of school, except it's not really. He goes to summer school for a few weeks starting the week after next, but he will have a different teacher and there will be new kids. His first year of school really flew by. He has changed so much in the past year. He's so mature in some ways, in others he's all three. When he goes to sleep at night he says "Goodnight Mommy! Goodnight Daddy! I'll see you in the morning!" He helps C take out the trash in the morning and unload the dishwasher. When he wipes up a spill, he rinses and wrings out the sponge when he's done. I can't believe how quickly he's growing up.

Friday at school they had "water day." The kids had a blast in the pools and the sprinkler, but the biggest hit was washing cars. They had shaving cream which they put on sponges to "soap" the cars. Wiggle was a little confused after awhile because then the cars were covered in shaving cream and actually needed to be washed. He stayed until the end and helped hose them off before they were put away.
Hard at work
When we woke up yesterday morning to a beautiful, clear, sunny day I thought it would be fun to wash our car. So C and Wiggle went off to the hardware store to procure a big sponge and some soap to wash the car. Cleaning the inside of the car took longer than we had anticipated, but the payoff was huge. I can't remember the last time we cleaned under the car seats. Kids are dirty. C and I are messy; the front seats had errant receipts, a straw wrapper, dried out pens, etc, but the backseat was all goldfish crumbs, glitter, beads, and a pervasive unidentifiable stickiness. Totally gross.

Finally after nap, the guys got out the hose and the bucket and got to work. Buster and I got to sit on the sidelines in the shade and watch. I wasn't able to take any pics really because the only shady spot to sit in with the babe was a little far away, but it was a joy to watch. I hope it becomes another father-son tradition.
Let the washing begin!
Buster making eyes at me while the other boys washed the car
Then we went out back and listened to some opera while Wiggle and I, wearing Buster, played some Frisbee, and C grilled some chicken. When the yard got too buggy, we went in and ate bbq chicken pizza together. The boys had a bath, stories, and went down. Even I fell asleep while sitting in Wiggle's room waiting for him to go down. A great day overall.

Today after avocado toast and getting to read a few headlines in the NYT, we all went outside while C did some poison ivy removal. I had to show him where I had seen it in the yard, but I didn't dare remove it on the remote chance that I would transfer it to Buster while breastfeeding. C got all decked out in double gloves, long pants tucked into socks, a long sleeve shirt, and went out with bags and a shovel to try and dig out roots and then bag the offending plants. There didn't seem to be a lot, but what there is is intertwined in our blackberry thicket, which are also leaves of three, so identifying it is tricky. We will have to do more investigating before berry picking time unless all the birds get to the berries before we can.

In the afternoon, I put Wiggle down for his nap and then decadently had my own nap with Buster. Wiggle woke up before us, and C took him to buy me a bird feeder and seed, so I can really put my birdwatching book from Mother's Day to use. My boys really know how to pamper me! Then we set it up, and painted with watercolors on the patio while waiting for some birds to arrive. I think we were making too much noise for the birds today, but they were starting to fly by to investigate, so I'm hoping the feeder will get some action this week.

C ground meat for burgers and then grilled them while the boys and I played. Topped with some pepper jack, avocado, and mayo, the burgers received an A+ from the three of us. A giggly bath time followed, and then we put both boys down.

If every weekend could be like this one, I would have no other ambition than to do this day in and day out. I am really looking forward to summer.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day Rundown

I had a fantastic Mother's Day this year. First of all, Wiggle's preschool had a Mother's Day brunch on Thursday. The kids sang a song and did a dance; Wiggle charmed everyone by turning to face me during the song and yelling "Mom! Mom! These are called pom-poms!" before he picked up his pom-poms. He then alternated between following the directions for the dance and having a loud conversation with the girl next to him. In other words, he was awesome.
Then we sat down to open presents of handmade picture frames and a card in which he said I was as beautiful as "silence." His teacher came by and said that everyone else pretty much said "flower," and she doesn't think Wiggle likes silence that much, but that he can always be counted on for a different sort of answer. As I write this, it makes her sound rude, but she meant it nicely; she adores him and his idiosyncrasies.
Yesterday, C took Wiggle out to shop for me and then came home and they made a card and wrapped my presents. Wiggle hid the presents and the card under his bed, and as I was putting him to bed, he made me promise not to look into the orange bag and spoil my surprise. He said I could have them "at seven o'clock!" which is the time we say morning activities can start for our early riser. Then around midnight I heard him wake up followed by a large amount of banging and rustling. He burst into our room and asked "is it seven yet?" with the orange bag in hand, when I replied that it wasn't, he retreated, I heard telltale rustling of an orange bag being re-hidden under the bed, and then there was silence. I asked if he wanted me to come and sit with him while he went back to sleep, but he called out in a very sad voice that he didn't want me to come in, he was just going to sit on his bed by himself. C went in with him and consoled him about it still being the middle of the night and not being able to give me my present yet.

At seven on the dot, Wiggle rushed into my room and gave me this.
Two lipsticks and some stress balm
And this...
His handmade card. He even signed his name on the inside!
My kid must know me well because his gift was perfect. Even the lipstick colors were good and Wiggle had chosen one himself.

I also got a Sibley guide to birds and a Peterson guide for trees and shrubs for the East Coast. Since we moved to Virginia, I have been wanting to get into birdwatching. I have never seen so many varieties, and even our common ones are cool. Our yard gets as many visits from cardinals and blue jays as it does from sparrows, which is something I've never experienced before. I also probably need a wildflower guide, but for now I will try to identify some of the vegetative beasts growing in our backyard. There might be some plants worth salvaging and for the things not worth salvaging, I want to be able to spot them early so they don't take over. This is to say my gifts are awesome and I love them.

This morning C made me poached eggs, one Benedict and one Florentine, with pancakes. He also had grapefruit juice which is my favorite. I even had time to read one and a half articles in the Sunday NYT. I read the entire article about diagnosing child psychopathy and half of the one about the rising burden of college costs. I found both of them frightening.
My excellent breakfast
In the afternoon, we went to the Kennedy Center for the first time to hear a concert. In fact, it was the first cultural event we had gone to since we moved here (outside of going to museums), which is a little sad to think about. I like the building and the terraces are beautiful. I would love to sip a drink and look out over the Potomac at intermission in the evening sometime.

We were going to the National Symphony Orchestra Family Concert -Carnival of the Animals. Before the concert, they had a musical "petting zoo." We had waited to tell Wiggle about it until last night because he is obsessed with instruments and we were afraid he would get too worked up if he knew about it well in advance; he and C cut out cardboard representations of whole symphonies every week it seems. Then we spent a long time managing his expectations by telling him that he would not probably get to make sounds on many brass or woodwinds because they use mouthpieces and reeds, and you need to hold your mouth in certain shapes, etc.
It turns out all of our prep was silly for several reasons. We walked in to a cacophony of symphonic sounds, all propagated by children. Kids were blowing tubas, mouthing clarinets, banging drums, and bowing cellos. Each instrument had a dozen or so mouthpieces or the like, and volunteers took the used ones washed them in a bowl and set them out again. Wiggle, however, was completely overwhelmed and almost shut down. He clung to me and said he didn't want to try any instrument, not even the French horn, which he talks about at home incessantly. He eventually agreed to try one... the violin.
What can I say? Suzuki may be in our future.

The concert itself was wonderful and trying at the same time. Wiggle enjoyed the first ten minutes and then declared that he wanted to go; C had to take him out for a few minutes because he was going tostart to yell in the concert hall. When they came back, he was remarkably well behaved, a little fidgety, but generally quiet and attentive. Then towards the end he became restless again and was attempting to talk. I was trying to get him interested in the music, whispering about the likeness of a movement to an animal and such. Just when I thought he was really into it, he broke into a wide grin and said "I peed." C whisked him off to the bathroom while I tried to corral Buster, the acrobatic nurser, to my chest and keep him under the scarf I was using as a cover-up. Wiggle managed to make it back for the finale and clapped in earnest for the performance. Afterward the narrator and author, Jack Prelutsky, was going to sign books. I really wanted to get one for Wiggle, but waiting in the lines would have pushed a nice day into a potentially disastrous one, so we opted to play outside and have a snack until the crowd died down instead.
Me- tired, Wiggle- distracted, and Buster- upset and hungry. Not actually a very good representation of the day as a whole.
We came home and had grilled pizza with fresh mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes for dinner. Both the boys were down by 8:30, and then C and I watched last night's Saturday Night Live. All-in-all a fabulous Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Third Load of Laundry

That's what really kills my day. The third load. I used to be a person who only did a few loads a week for two people. We had to pay for the use of the washer and dryer and go down three flights of stairs into a cold, or hot, or damp basement, so we worked at minimizing our loads.
Then last year, we had laundry in the house, on the same floor as the bedrooms no less, and I did a load every day. I still tried not to go overboard, an eye to conservation and all that, but it was blissful. I could finally sort lights and darks and faithfully wash the sheets and towels every week. Plus, it was really, really easy to do a load a day and always be caught up.
Now there is a load of diapers every day, in addition to whatever our needs are. And then there is the potty training toddler. So many underpants, extra pants, sometimes even new pairs of socks, and then perhaps sheets and the mattress pad after naptime. Not every day has three loads, but definitely a few times a week it gets there. Often the third load will not get entirely finished until the next day, so even a two-load-day gets bloated with the weight of yesterday's third.
The switching of loads never matches up either to further complicate things. The diapers require an initial rinse, a long, hot wash, and then they are dried on low for an eternity. The extra absorbent liners that are so useful on the baby absorb extra time in the dryer. And then, of course, there's folding. So much folding. And putting inserts into diapers. And stripping and making beds. Over and over again. I will be happy when the potty trainee is finally potty trained and we can go back to two lovely, manageable loads. Until then, I will listen faithfully for the water to drain, for the drum to stop spinning, for the rhythmic clack of snaps and zippers to quiet.