Thursday, October 14, 2010

Little brother's turn

This morning I was driving my three-year-old to preschool and as we turned the last corner, he exclaimed from the back seat, "That's my school! That's my school!" It was a cool moment, and not just because of his excitement about going to school.

His big brother David went to the same preschool for two years, and Grayson was always the tag-along. I hauled him in a stroller, or with my hand firmly gripped around his wrist, for many a drop-off and pick-up. More than once I had to drag him out of there bodily because he wanted so badly to stay and play with the toys. But it was always "David's school" and Grayson's turn would have to come later.

It's not always easy being the little brother. He has to watch his big brother do things and go places he can't. He has to sit on the sidelines and watch while David plays sports, sit out of the big boy classes at the Y, and stay home with mommy when David gets to go places he's too young to visit. Not that he gets the shaft all the time. But his awareness that David gets to do things he can't do has grown and he has an insatiable desire to be just like his big brother.

School started about a month ago and things have come full circle for my little man. This morning he showed how much his school means to him, in that it is HIS. He doesn't call it "David's school" anymore, but always "my school," or "Grayson's school." He runs in the door each time, finds the box with his name and picture and deposits his coat and backpack like a pro. Then he's off to the tables with toys spread out for free play, without so much as a glance in my direction. That is his time, his chance to be the big boy without the shadow of his big brother.

Not that he minds that particular shadow most of the time. But I love that he is getting old enough for it to be his turn for the big boy stuff. I can tell it means a lot to him.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Halloween Season

Hallween is a big deal in our house. Ever since David was about 3, he's been a HUGE fan of Halloween. I think the only reason Christmas beats it out as his holiday of choice is the presents (despite our attempts to emphasize the REAL Christmas, he is a kid and presents are pretty awesome).

Now that we're well into October, the countdown to Halloween has begun. I made an impromptu Halloween countdown to hang on the wall (simply a page of orange construction paper and black squares where they can put stickers for each day). This will, hopefully, cut down on the number of times I am asked "When is Halloween?" At least David can go to the countdown chart and count the blank squares.

This year we're all about Star Wars in this house (and Legos, but that's a whole other post). David will be going as Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who captures Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back. How do little boys all seem to know who Boba Fett is? He appears in the movie so briefly, and I don't recall ever knowing he actually had a name. But boys seem to gravitate to him. I think it has something to do with his jet pack. Jet packs are pretty sweet.

Grayson will be Darth Vader, which is utterly ridiculous in it's cuteness. The best part is that he says "Dark Mater," so our neighbors are sure to be greeted by a masked three-year-old exclaiming, "I'm Dark Mater!" And he does the breathing sound really well too.

Even Miss Ella will be in on the Star Wars action. I originally planned to dress her in something ridiculously girly involving tutus and lots of sparkle, but I couldn't resist the coordinating costumes - so she'll be playing the part of Princess Leia. They actually make a baby Leia costume, with a hat that is made to resemble the dinner roll hairdo. I don't know how long she'll actually wear the hat before ripping it off to chew on it, but if I can manage a picture or two, it will be worth it.

I have to admit, I love Halloween too. Our neighborhood is really festive - lots of houses decorate and some go all out. There is a house up the street from us that does a huge homemade banner over their entire front porch every year. This year it is a ghoul holding a flaming-eyed pumkin. They mak a tunnel to their front door, so only the bravest of kids will venture inside to get their candy. My boys, young as they are, have yet to bat an eyelash. If I walk through the dark, foggy tunnel I get candy? I'm on it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

A good mommy day

I had a great mom day today. And after the weekend we had, I needed it.
I won't go into the gory details of what made our weekend so particularly awful. Let's just say it involved a husband recovering from surgery, a little boy with an ear infection, a little girl waking at all hours and up for the day long before the sun and a mommy with a severe, and as yet undiagnosed infection in her upper jaw/lower sinus as well as a very adverse reaction to vicodin. And very little sleep.
Today I was feeling much more like myself, and managed to get a lot done this morning to help the house recover from my illness. Because if you're a mom, you know how insane the house gets when you're out of commission. It's ridiculous.
This afternoon I took the kids on a nature walk. There's a trail through a rather narrow greenbelt across the street from our house. It isn't exactly the deep woods, but it's close and offers enough in the way of pinecones, leaves and sticks that the boys like it. The boys carried plastic bags to load their treasures, and I carried the Bean (aka my daughter) on my back. We wandered around, looked at things on the ground and looked up to see where they might have come from. We picked up leaves and examined their color. We found sticks with moss, and found trees with more moss growing on the trunks. We found tiny mushrooms, and the boys got a lesson in never, ever eat anything you find growing on the ground in the woods. We saw a tree that had fallen, only to sprout a new trunk growing straight up out of the bent part. We talked about evergreens and deciduous trees and David was delighted to learn a new fact to amaze grown ups with.

We got home and they proudly showed their finds to Daddy, who was working from home. Then they drew pictures, telling the story of their day.

David drew the half fallen tree that looked "like a rainbow," ferns and rocks on the ground, and two little figures with bags full of leaves and branches in their hands.

Grayson's was a little more abstract, but he is three. He told us all about what his scribbles meant, so the intent was there.

Ella wandered around the dining room playing with her sippy cup and a pan lid, occassionally peeking up over the table to see what her brothers were doing.

It was a totally random idea, and it went so well, it made me feel a little like supermom.

Then after dinner, the boys wandered outside as I made orange popcorn balls. They noticed something in the sky, so we went out to investigate and after conferring with my astronomy expert (aka, my mom), we think it's Jupiter. So we talked about the differences between stars and planets, and why they look the same in the sky. Then we looked up pictures of Jupiter, and various other planets and astronomical things on the Internet. I think David may be developing a new fascination with space and astronomy, but we'll see. The kid loves to learn how things work and why - he's a little scientist already.

All in all, a good mommy day. Goodness knows on this crazy journey, they aren't always this way. But this one certainly made up for the awful weekend, so I'll take it!