Saturday, February 4, 2012

Almost six and nearly three

It's about time to check in and write about some things that I don't want to forget but probabaly will if I don't write them down. We have two birthdays coming up and it's added to my awareness that time is flying fast. Both kids want to have their rooms decorated for their birthdays in lieu of presents. We are still about $10K away from fixing the foundation so that we can patch up the walls and make it a true make-over so we'll see what happens but how very cool that they each wants rooms that represent their growth. Coben is ready for a BIG big boy bed and Cady is ready to incorporate a desk to do her school-work and hopefully a space-saving bed.

Coben is still a toddler but not for long. I LOVE the toddler years and knowing that this is our last child and that this stage is wrapping up is kind of sad. I love that Coben spells his name, "C-O-B-E-N. That spells my name!" and wants everything under the sun spelled to him. Mostly fastfood restaurants. How do you spell McDonalds? How do you spell Taco Bell? How does Burger King spell?  I love his chubby knees and thick thighs but I can see them lengthening and thinning out. When Coben smiles his whole face smiles. He wrinkles up his eyes and nose and flashes his big teeth. And when he gets excited all ten of his fingers wiggle around. He has no endurance for staying up late and rarely makes it through a movie. He even asks to be taken to bed when he's ready but says, "carry me like your baby" which means cradling him and I gladly oblige.  He's very gentlemanly in that he ALWAYS puts the toilet seat down (although he forgot ONCE and I sat down without thinking. But he was present and informed me that my butt is too big to fall in anyhow). He says, "thanks for cooking this" when he likes dinner and when he's eaten all of his vegetables he says, "feel my muscles" and squinches up his fists how someone normally does when they want to make a muscle but then wants us to actually feel his fists (he thinks those are his muscles).
His birthday is in about three weeks and I know there is no going back or freezing time. The most imporant thing on his mind right now is a "Yo Gabba Gabba bed" (guess what? they don't make twin sheets!) and a Yo-Gabba-Gabba party.


When I was a kid I often had these crazy ideas. "Let's organize a community service group", "Let's listen to 45's and make-up weird skits". Some of the ideas weren't too safe. Once, in fifth grade, I found a chunk of wax  on the way home from school. It seeemed like a good idea to make candles from the wax. I invited Sonya over and doled out instructions (based on idea only and  NO scientific evidence that this would work). Let's melt the wax in a pan on  my mom's stove. Let's cut up strings for wicks. Let's melt crayons in the wax. When it's done we'll pour it in an egg carton (lighting candles in an egg carton? Clearly I hadn't though that part thorugh either) and we'll put the strings in for wicks and we'll have candles. The white chunk of wax melted down nicely. I remember very well that we then added RED crayon and then suddenly as our faces are hovering over the pot the wax bubbles and explodes. Red wax splattered our faces and various places throughout the kitchen (I know this because my mom complained for MONTHS afterward as she was scraping newly found wax with a butter knife). I don't remember how Sonya fared but I clearly remember having splatter burn marks on my face as a result of this hair-brained scheme. I wish that had been a learning lesson for me but no. Not too long later I decided that a doll sauna would be a fantastic idea. We made a sauna out of a  cardboard box and then heated rocks up on  the stove in one of Sonya's mom's pans. (Warming up dry rocks in a pan does NOTHING good for pots by the way). The idea is that we would put the pan of hot rocks in the carboard house, throw the dolls in, and then wet the rocks with water to create steam. And again, another failed project unless you consider a ruined pot and melted dolls a success. The real success is that Sonya has remained my friend after all of these years.
So my point with these stories is that I am afraid I have inflicted this character trait onto Cady. I can tell when I walk into her room and see the art work that she has put together and the elaborate way that she has decorated that she has some big ideas in there. It's fun to watch but it's a little scary to think of her having the same trait of creativity+impulsivity and the potential for disaster. Maybe I should be teaching  her about safety goggles and science while she is still young.
It's so much fun to see her growing up. She climbs up on counters to get her own cup. She rifles through the trash cans for art supplies. She uses cute words like "delightful" and "elegant" that cause me to have to suppress a smile when they pop up for the first time. I try not to think that in a couple of months she will already be a 1/3 of the way to grown-up.
School is clipping along well for her.  She won an award for being an outstanding community member and learner. And her teacher always reports that she is doing great. Ocassionally I get to pop in and have lunch in the cafeteria (I think my taste-buds preferred the old school cafeteria food before they healthied it up) and sit with all of her friends who tell me stories and address me as, "Cady's mom". Her best school friend is second grade Sophia who plays with her every other day (she splits up time between Cady and her second grade friends) and Cady loves Sophia days. Cady started attending after-school enrichment classes so for three days a week she has Art (Mondays), Zumba (Wednesdays) and Creative Dance (Thursdays) and it buys me a little more time to pick Coben up and still get her on time since Alicja isn't able to do regular pick-ups anymore.

And finally, the evolution of the sibling relationship has been amazing to watch. They have always loved each other but 90% of the time I've questioned whether they like each other, even a little bit. It took a bedroom brawl that resulted in a bloody nose (Coben's) to turn the corner. I'm not sure why that particular event was the catalyst but there has been such a dramatic change and it happened so suddenly after the fight. Cady ASKS Coben to play with her. She INVITES him into her room. They play toys together, they wrestle, they play hide-and-go-seek and chase each other around the house. They even play board games together. Of course they fight. I never expected that they wouldn't fight but it feels like it's a "normal" level now and not the constant fight fest that was happening previously. Coben will talk to Cady and tell her stuff that he won't tell us. One day, now I can't remember what the particular incident was (which is why I blog) but I think that Coben had hurt himself. I asked him what had happened and he wouldn't tell me. The moment I left the room I hear Cady say, "what happened buddy? you can tell me"  and he told her! Particularly heart-warming was what happened last week. It was a tiring week. I arrived home at 5:30 with both kids and had to get dinner going but Coben was getting into EVERYthing. So much so that I could not read more than a line of the recipe at a time without having to intervene. When I'd had enough I snapped at Coben, "Coben. Knock if off!! I am trying to cook and you are getting into everything STOP IT!" Cady says to Coben, "c'mon buddy let's find you something to do" and takes him into the living room to play. I was BLOWN away!!

And that is that. Like I said, if I don't write it down, I just won't remember. And I want to remember. There may come a time when the kids are teenagers that I NEED to remember a time when I liked them and a time when they liked us! And one day they might like to read these stories and how the stories will take on a whole new light once they have kids of their own. I just hope at some point, they read them and know how much we love them both.