Monday, December 24, 2007


My mom claims amnesia about many of my childhood misbehaviors, and now I can see why. These are the kind of things you would rather forget, filling your memory banks instead with visions of warm family dinners, laughing children happily playing in the glow of the Christmas tree, and GRATITUDE.

I realize it's not in the nature of a Five to be gracious and appreciative of how much he has, and I realize he just had his birthday AND it's almost Christmas, but after he has spent four days being treated to the following activities:
1. Trip to downtown Seattle for a ride on the holiday carousel, lunch at McDonald's (added bonus of a Bionicle toy in the Happy Meal), and a tour of the gingerbread houses
2. Fun evening with Nanny and Papa, including ice cream bars and staying up late
3. Trip to Bellevue to see Snowflake Lane (another McDonald's dinner and Bionicle toy), where people dressed as tin soldiers drum along the street and it "snows" outside
4. Trip to the Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place Market, complete with s'mores brownie and Pike Place doughnuts
...... you might think that a simple box of Christmas presents on the porch wouldn't send him into a tizzy of unhappiness.

Short version: (Bad decision of Mommy #1) Opened box from Auntie Em, which contained (gasp!) TWO presents for Bitty Girl and (horror of all horrors!) ONE present for him. We discussed the fact that when we visit said Auntie in 3 weeks, we were going to do birthday/Christmas presents then. These were just sent so we didn't have to haul them home, since Audrey isn't coming. (Bad Mommy decision #2) And his present is a lovely wooden fire truck, but since it's not a hunk of lead-painted plastic crap with weapons attached, evidently it's not enough to be exciting. Then a box of presents from my dad--books, which he liked, hand-knit sweater (see above about plastic, lead paint, and weapons). Hence the Christmas Eve Tantrum of Ungratefulness.

While I left the house to brave the grocery store crowds, he recovered while making pizza dough with Daddy. (Addendum to list of Fun activities above: #5 - Special homemade pizza dinner, with toppings he chose, for Christmas Eve) We ended up having a nice dinner and everyone got to bed, complete with the Night Before Christmas reading, letter and cookies for Santa, but it just set the wrong tone.

Maybe we did too much in the days leading up to it? We spaced things out, made sure everyone got good sleep and plenty of time at home. I just think we can't underestimate the power of presents and Christmas, especially in The Boy who is too young to really understand the whole "spirit of the Season" thing. But we talked about it in small doses--baby steps.

I'm sure I was the same greedy, ego-centric five year old. My mom just doesn't remember... Lucky her.

Next year, it's the soup kitchen for him. Or something that will help us all realize just how lucky we are.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The December 12 Curse

December 12 just doesn’t seem to be a great day in our family.
Flash back to 2002 – my water broke and I went to the hospital, delivered The Boy 2 days later 6 weeks before his due date.
2003 - Getting ready for Pat's neck surgery
2004 - Can't remember, but there must have been something
2005 - Had my amnio with Bitty Girl the next day, worried about a bad ultrasound
2006 - Complete blur, I'm sure someone had a tantrum
2007 – The Boy, almost 5 years old, is up all night throwing up, after Bitty Girl had her own barf-o-rama the two days prior.

The Boy is five. So many changes in the last year, evidenced by the comparison of his birthday and Christmas lists.
2006 list, which fits on the front of one page
Dinosaurs, bike with training wheels, scooter, skeleton model with body parts, watch, Spiderman costume, Red Power Ranger costume, Playmobil traveling farm, Darth Tater Mr. Potato Head

2007 list: (three pages long): condensed version includes:
Star Wars: various battle packs, action figures, light sabers, books, and videos
Power Rangers
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: various costumes and action figures
Bionicles: Red, Green, and black
Books: Dinosaurs, Superman
Knight and dragon figures
Robot hands from the museum store

So there you have it. At Nearly-Four, he was just beginning the transformation (to use one of his favorite action figure lines) into a full-fledged, marketed-by-Target-and-Toys-R-Us preschool boy! Now at Five, he’s deep, deep into it. And my attempts to thwart it are getting weaker by the minute. I just don’t have the energy, nor do I want to make something so forbidden that it becomes his one-track obsession.

But every time I hear angry words or see some violent act, I can’t help but wonder….am I encouraging it? I’ve read the studies, but I’ve also seen how boys play guns with sticks, straws, and their fingers, in the absence of any violent toys or television.

On one hand, I am SO proud of the boy he’s becoming. He is smart and funny, helpful, loving toward his sister (most of the time), curious and interested in the world around him, dramatic, assertive, strong-willed, tall and thin—all muscle and bone, talks non-stop, and you can see the new ideas and bits of knowledge exploding in his brain.
On the other hand, he’s bossy, quick to get upset, very impulsive, whiny—especially to Mama, loud, constantly badgering us with questions or requests for toys or treats, complaining that someone else has a better house or toys or life or parents, slow to warm up in a new situation, and not easily adaptable.

I’ve said it before—I am alternately delighted with him and completely annoyed with him. I either have this overwhelming rush of love for this amazing creature I helped create, or I want to run screaming from the house to get away from the World’s Most Obnoxious Boy.
I guess that’s the charm of being Five…

Saturday, December 1, 2007

I can't help myself

I just feel like I have to write a blog post, even though I'm free of the daily requirement of NaBloPoMo.
Two big things today:

1. It snowed about 4 inches. Not expected to last, just exciting enough for one romp in the snow and a few pictures.
Audrey was introduced to the concept of snow as a snack..

2. I crunched the Volvo. I rear-ended a Sears delivery van going through a big intersection. My light turned yellow as I was crossing the intersection, so I kept going, and all the cars in front of the van stopped. I couldn't see them because of the van, so poof! Luckily, I wasn't hurt. The van wasn't hurt - tiny scratch. But my poor bumper.. oh my. The worst part is that we have no collision coverage on this car, because it's so old. So it may be totaled, depending on the cost to fix it. I'm in big trouble, because Pat loves this car almost as much as he loves me. Maybe more now.

So while I thought I was only getting a new furnace for my birthday, I may be getting a furnace AND a new (read that cheapest decent used car we can find) car. I must have been really good this year!