Sunday, May 20, 2012

Miscellany

Hello again. Sorry, I've got no idea where the past couple of weeks went. You know how it goes.

Well, okay, let me think. Week before last, we thought we might have been exposed to Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease at a playdate. Yikes! Not wanting to risk infecting others, we laid low for several days until I was sure we were past the incubation window. Fortunately, neither of the kids actually came down with anything, and Soren didn't have to miss any school. Phew! We've been up to our usual assortment of activities this past week (school, park, visiting friends, mall walk, errands). On the potty training front, Eleri's been accident-free for thirteen days! This is pretty excellent. She still does have the occasional "oops" (starts to have an accident, catches herself, makes it to the potty mostly in time), but I'll not complain about that. Yay Eleri!

On the 11th we had a Mother's Day Tea at Soren's school. Poor El was confined to the stroller in the corner of the classroom (this was two days after the Hand, Foot & Mouth exposure, and she'd developed a slight rash around her mouth the night before), but she was largely content to sit & play her iPod games. Soren & I shared some coffee cake and played with a couple of toys in the classroom, and all the kids had made crafts for us moms. It was sweet.

I've been tearing through books lately, relative to my sloth-like reading speed of recent years. I think I've finished 4 books in the past month, though admittedly, three of those were shortish works of fiction. I do really seem to get bogged down with the non-fiction stuff, but hey, I do what I can with limited time. Nothing quite like getting sucked into a story though. I've also been reading Farmer Boy (by Laura Ingalls Wilder) with Soren in the evenings. We usually do a chapter or two per night, and while I think it's probably still a wee bit beyond him, he seems to be enjoying it. I'm really quite excited to be entering the stage when we can read chapter books and series together. I fondly remember being read books a chapter or two at a time at bedtime; it was one of those things I looked forward to being able to do as a parent, and here we are. Pretty great. :)

I also picked up some Spanish language CDs (Pimsleur) from the library, and the kids & I have been listening to those in the car. That's been the source of much amusement, and the kiddos seem to be actually retaining bits & pieces. I don't think they're remembering much in the way of the meaning of the words, but the occasional "De donde?", apropos of nothing, is pretty hilarious.

Our balcony garden is looking quite good. I've got recent pictures which I will put up soon. Our herb seeds are stubbornly refusing to sprout (except for the basil), so that's a little frustrating, but everything else seems to be growing well. Now if we can just stave off a bug attack like last year's, we'll be in good shape to have a bunch of delicious stuff.

One last little thing and then I'm off to bed. Tom & I got married six years ago today. Soren went with me yesterday to buy a card for Tom, and Soren insisted on getting one too. I think he was expecting a party or something (he's been introduced to the concept of birthday parties this year, so he seems to think every celebratory occasion needs to be accompanied by a party). Hehe. Sorry, kid. It was a nice mellow day. I'm awfully lucky to have found someone with whom I'm so well matched.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

And so it goes

Taking a break from "all potty all the time" (I know, try to contain your disappointment) to write about something pretty cool.

My dad's side of the family is quite musical. All 3 of his sisters sang professionally at some point or another, and two of my cousins on that side are also talented musicians. When I was a young'un, my Aunt Colleen put together an album of kid music, songs she'd written & recorded herself. They were not your typical kid songs, especially not kid songs of the late 80s. Clever, silly but parent-friendly, great stuff. We listened to that cassette tape over, and over, and over. When Tom and the kids and I were in New York with my cousins this past Christmas, the three of us cousins busted out the chorus to one of Aunt Colleen's songs ("Egg Salad Sandwich") without so much as a moment's hesitation. Those lyrics were right there, two decades later.

(By the way, if there exists some sort of digital copy of that album, I'd love to get ahold of it.)

My cousin Shannon has one of her songs available on iTunes ("Centralia" - Shannon Kealey). Back when I was weaning Eleri, I used to play music on my iPod for her at bedtime, to help her settle and such. After a while I noticed that Shannon's song could fairly reliably soothe her and knock her right out, more so than pretty much anything else I played for her. Since then, she's learned to identify Centralia as "The Shannon," and just yesterday I heard her singing along with the song on the iPod for the first time. Not every word, of course, but good heavens was it adorable and awesome. There is something so incredibly cool about watching history repeat itself in a way, with the next generation.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

I should write a book

Eleri's had her potty training sticker chart up for almost 2 weeks now. She has a grand total of 2 stickers on it (one sticker per accident-free day). I'm not saying this to pick on her, but to merely illustrate that it's still not super easy for her to go all day long without any accidents. Usually she has one, sometimes two, late in the day, once we've returned home from whatever we've been out and about doing all day. She's great about focusing when we're out of the house, and I'm also better about reminding her to go fairly regularly.

But none of this is really the point of this post.

The thing is, Soren's been eyeballing this sticker chart of El's for, like I said, about the past 2 weeks. He would very much like to earn rewards (and stickers) like she's doing, and has repeatedly asked me if he could have a chart of his own. For a while I just kind of brushed him off ("Dude, you already know how to use the potty...I'm not going to reward you for that. Look how difficult this still is for Eleri.") but then I thought about it some more and decided to come up with something that would be equally challenging for him. Say...not whining, for instance.

Anyone who's dealt with a 4 year-old for any significant length of time knows that "no whining" is a pretty tall order. (Yes, all kids are individuals, your mileage may vary, yada yada, but in my experience, 4 year-olds are a whiny crew.) I actually worried for some time that I was maybe setting him up to fail. No whining? At all? Get real. But we talked about it and agreed that, just like Eleri has to work hard not to have any potty accidents, Soren could work hard not to have any whining accidents. Eleri's stakes are currently higher - for each accident-free day she's earning not only a sticker but a lollipop - and Soren was extremely interested in being able to do the same. So I told him if he could make it a whole day without whining, he would earn himself a lollipop and a sticker chart, from which he could earn more awesome prizes, just like Eleri can.

I will freely admit that I did not anticipate his being able to collect on this offer any time soon. But then, two days ago, he almost made it. We had a whine-free morning, and a whine-free mid-day, and it wasn't until about 4pm that he had "an accident." Quite impressive, actually.

And yesterday? He did it. He actually made it all day long. Oh, he came close to whining a few times, got right up to the edge of a whiny tone, but he held himself together and soldiered on to earn that lollipop and sticker chart. I can hardly believe it worked.

Less than two weeks to a day without whining? Damn right I should write a book. ;)