Tuesday, November 25, 2008

In the Spirit of Competition

Nicole pointed out to me the other day that with Gamble, everything is a competition.  

"How much do you love me?" he'll ask, but then if you don't respond with a number, he'll ask you to.  And then if you give him one, he'll respond with, "Well, I love you seventy quajillion, pabillion, million, thousand terjillion!"  And then if you say, "I love you that... plus one!" thinking you've gotten the best of him, he'll say, "Oh yeah?  I love you that plus a hundred bajillion fazillion million million million!"

He always has to point out who makes the best Mac 'n' Cheese, the best waffles, and the best pancakes.  He's very concerned about who's winning, and when, and how often, and by how much.  

And he hates to lose.

Like the other day, he asked Nic, "Mommie, what's your fourth favorite color?"  She wasn't immediately sure what he was getting at, but she calls them his rants, and knew he was ramping up a competition of sorts.  She avoided the conversation altogether, but as he gets older, that's only going to get harder.


Another from Mommie:

"It's been about a month or so since we weaned Pobbes off of the bottle.  Okay, so we cut it out cold turkey.  She has adapted well but has taken to a new routine.  She loves to have her razzberry pacifier .  We got this early on because of her in-utero name 'Razzie'.  We never realized she would actually like it, especially since she never really used a pacifier.  Anyway, she loves to take this to bed as well as this hard, sharp and ugly crane from Kung Fu Panda.  I have also started rocking her to sleep and boy howdy, do I love this time.  

"I never got a chance to rock Gamble as there was always too much stuff in his room and I was so sick.  So now that we are finally settled into our house and R has the room, with the rocking chair, I cheerish this nightly routine with my baby girl.  She now says 'nigh nigh' to the boys and off we go to 'ock.    She is now even starting to sing along to some of our songs, which now include Christmas songs.  She is lovin' 'Silent Night' and 'Jingle Bells'.  Sing them to her, and you'll see.  But you will also see that Random and Mommie are 're-united'."

The Graduate

From Mommie:
"It finally happened.  

"Last Thursday, we learned that our little boy was officially being skipped ahead to the 1st grade starting this Monday, November 24th.  The school thought that with the shortened week and the shortened days (he only had school on Monday and Tuesday and he got out at 1:40 each day instead of 3:30), it would be a perfect time to introduce Gamble to the full-day 1st grade program.  

"Given that Gamble had developed a lot of anxiety about the full-day program, we thought it best to just let him know that he would be enjoying lunch and recess with his first grade friends today and that he would finish out the day with them, on a sort of trial basis.  So, with anticipation and excitement, he went to school Monday morning, ready to get a hot lunch from the cafeteria and play with his friends.
"I picked up Gamble and his two friends, Alex and Tyler, from school today, so I didn't have a chance to ask him how he liked 1st grade.  These friends are in his Kindergarten class and I didn't want to point out to Gamble nor his friends that he wasn't there in class with them today.  So, once we were home, I asked him what he thought and the conversation went something like this:
Mommie:  So, Gamble, what did you think of first grade today?

Gamble:  It was great.  I didn't like gym class though because we had to run a lot, and I don't like running.  I got pretty sweaty.

Mommie:  Well, how about lunch?  (Not sure what I was in for, I thought I would change topics to something I thought would be more amiable.)

Gamble:  That was lots of fun.  I got a cheeseburger and... Oh, Mom, I got Chocolate Milk and so I guess no more sweets today.

Mommie:  That's okay Gam...  It's a special day.

Gamble:  Really?  Why?

Mommie:  Well, because we were trying this out to see what you thought.  What do you think?

Gamble:  Mom, I don't need Kindergarten anymore.  I love first grade.  Math was so much fun and we get Science tomorrow and lunch and recess.  It's so much fun Mommie.  Can we do this every day?
"With these simple words, all of my hard work, stress, effort and frustrations meant something.  I worked so hard to get him to this day.  In my heart of hearts I knew that this is where he belonged and while the path wasn't easy and there were times that I second-guessed things, I am so glad that we kept on the journey.  Gamble does love it and this is, academically, where Gamble belongs.
"I will rest peacefully tonight, but only for a night.

"And then I'll start thinking about the turkey...."

And that, friends and family alike, is that.  It's like a switch flipped in his head, and his behavior has turned around.  He seems lighter in just a couple days.  Happier.  And to hear him say that he's happy with his situation, instead of the things he'd been saying...  Well, that was just music to Mommie's ears.  Music to all our ears.

And for that, we give extra thanks this year.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Zap Happy

I don't know whether it's the new couch. I don't know whether it's the change in weather and subsequent lack of humidity. I suspect it's a combination, since it's a new phenomenon, and it only really happens on the couch.

The kids are electric. I mean, they've always been energetic, and many times I've said they were scintillating. But now, they're shocking.

Each other.

I noticed it the other day, when Gamble crawled quickly across the couch. The snap, crackle, and pop that followed him around was constant. As he crawled over to me, I could feel the gathering static.

when he finally touched me, it was with an audible snap that sounded like a whip crack in the relative silence of the evening.

This morning, both kids were crawling around on the couch. Pobbes' hair, being fine and long, stood up around her head like a halo. And they chased each other around and around, zapping each other and laughing on every contact. They had gone completely zap happy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Step Independent

Pabu is getting independent.

She really really likes the stairs.

She likes to take them on without help. I get very nervous, but she takes each step with caution, as she always has taken her steps on foot.

But it's not just stairs she wants to take independently. It's everything. She's become most willful, and naps have become great battles. Fun and exhausting, she's clearly growing into the twos.

Pretty in Purple

Okay, so I'm pretty sure that we identified Random's favorite color yesterday.

I had the kids helping me with laundry (Gamble was helping do inside-outing, and separating the clothes into piles by owner. Random, having recently learned to throw paper in the garbage, was more than happy to throw away dryer sheets as we found them in the drifts of clothing). She grabbed at a pair of royal purple pants as I threw them in the pile.

"Pabu? Do you want those on?"

Big grin. She held them out to me, and I put them on her.

I have a pair of royal purple running shorts. They're shiny, the way that some gym clothes material is, and when I say royal purple, I mean *obnoxiously* royal purple. She grabbed for those, too. I used an office binder clip to clip the shorts like a cape around her neck. You'll probably see pictures on the Phanfare website soon.

On top of that, she was able to repeat the word purple. It was so cute to hear her repeating it over and over.

We went outside, and the royal purple pants got wet, but later, we found more purples in the laundry, and when I held out some new lavender pants to wear, she immediately started trying to take off her pink ones. She couldn't wait for it to Then last night before bed, I went to try to put on jammies. It's hard for me to figure out what fits her, so I picked some pink pants that I knew would work, and a purple top. I gave her the purple top to hold, but when I tried to put the pink pants on her, she freaked out. I got them on her and showed her that the purple shirt was still going to be put on. When I put it on her, she sighed and looked down her arms with a smile.

So I guess we'll be retooling the wardrobe...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wake Up Call

Gamble is pretty sensitive about bedtime.  He likes it if we're both able to give him hugs and kisses, and when one of us isn't home, he's at least a little torn up about it.  Even though we usually wake him up and hug him to let him know we're there, he never remembers it.

Last night, I was out with Uncles Johnnie and Chris throwing the darts and drinking the beers.  I got home before Gamble was totally asleep, but outside his door, I found a note, written out in crayon:

"Daddie, please wake me up."

I went in.  He was still on the phone with Nic's folks, so I got to hug him.  And he remembered it today.

So tonight, with Mommie gone, I was clacking away on the computer in the loft, and he was on the phone.  He came out a couple times with toys that were stuck together for a little help.  The second time I took the toy back to him, I nearly stepped on another note, written out in crayon:

"Mommie, please wake me up."

Adorable.  He's such an awesome little guy.

Uh Oh

Nic went out tonight, so I was flying solo with the kids.  That's almost always a recipe for interesting encounters, since Nicole knows the kids so much better than I do.

Tonight I put Random down.  She didn't seem that tired, but she was getting cranky like she always does on days she's been to day care, so I put her to bed.  She did her normal trick of screaming.  Often she does that, and then Nic goes to her when she calms down and rocks her to sleep.  I thought I'd do the same.

But it wasn't normal.  Usually, Random wails for about five minutes straight, and then cools out.  Tonight, she seemed extra mad.  But there was something else.  In between screams, she'd yell "Uh oh!  Uh oh!"  

It went on like this for about 10 minutes.  Scream!  Uh oh!  Screeeeeaam!  Uh oh!  Uh oh!

Meanwhile, I'd started in with Gamble on his homework, but I had the monitor on.  Eventually, I paused the homework and told him I was going to check in on Pobbes.

I walked into her room, and she was standing up at the rail of her crib, crying.  She pointed at the floor.  "Uh oh!  Uh oh!"  And there on the floor was her blankie.  As part of her little tantrum, she'd thrown her blanket on the floor.  And then realized her mistake.

Uh oh, indeed.

I got her the blanket and rocked her to sleep.  When I put her down, I covered her with that blankie and she fell fast asleep.

It's a beautiful age.  First "no," then "uh oh."  

What's next?

Backpack Buddies

Tonight I was working with Gamble on his spelling words and other homework.

During a break, Gamble pipes up, "Hey, Daddie!  Guess who has the same backpack as me!"

"I don't know, Gamble.  You mean someone else has that same Clone Wars backpack?"

"Yeah, Daddie.  Reno has the same backpack as me."

"Really?  Cool! ... Wait.  Let me get this straight.  The two kids that have the Clone Wars backpack are named Gamble... and Reno?"

"Yes, Daddie."

Right.  What are the odds?  And shouldn't I be playing them now?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Spelling Test

As part of first grade, Gamble needs to do spelling tests.  He has spelling words (super easy), and high-frequency words (intermediate to challenging).  

Every week he has a spelling test, and we study pretty much every night for it.  Most of the time, the only real challenge is to get him to try to write.  He can spell most words out loud, and can sight-read almost anything.  

To give you an idea of how easy the spelling words are, one recent one was the word "we."  

Of course, Gamble got it wrong the first time we asked him.  He said, "Oh, that's an easy one, Daddie.  W-i-i!"

He got it right on the test, though.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I've noticed that the kids behave differently in the morning. Random wants to go to her highchair right away, but Gamble could really give a toss about eating, at least right when he wakes up.

Funny thing is that Pobbes usually doesn't eat that much at her first sitting. A banana, and a slice of american cheese.