Sunday, June 27, 2010

Panic! At the splashpark

Our zoo has a wonderful splashpark to enjoy all summer long. It's a great way to stay cool and let the kids run around (make that walk around) and have fun. We usually allow time to dry off and feed the lorikeets nectar. It's one of our favorite ways to spend a hot afternoon.

Batman and I were excited to take all three kiddos to the splashpark today. I have taken the boys and Maddie on several occasions, but we've only enjoyed the park together as a family once.

Fountains spouting, buckets pouring, children squealing; it was all going so smoothly. Gabriel was super excited about the little waterslide- just his size, Maddie enjoyed pumping water so it would spray out the top of the water tower, and Julian was off splashing in the water by himself, probably enjoying the solitude of being in his own little world. I alternated between sitting in the shade enjoying conversation with my husband while keeping tabs on the kids, and making the rounds actually watching each of them. The cool spray was refreshing each time I made my rounds, and I was relishing the enjoyment on each of my children's faces as they played.

And then it happened.

Somehow, Julian and Gabriel collided (there is some debate over whether or not actual pushing was involved), and Julian fell, whacking his chin on a metal spout close to the ground. I watched him fall, and it really did look like it hurt. When I checked him out, his chin was already swelling and turning blue. A tiny bit of blood rimmed a bottom baby tooth, and he was wailing loud enough for one of the employees to come check on him. We were grateful when she brought an ice pack. No stitches required, and no teeth lost. We decided to pack it up and head home.

He is absolutely fine, but the huge bruise on his chin has continued to change colors as the evening wears on. It almost looks as if he has a small purple goatee. It doesn't bother him to talk or eat, so I'm thankful for that.

We took it easy the rest of the day. I joined the kids in a board game while Batman dozed on the couch. We enjoyed copout pizza for dinner. The boys helped out at the grocery store, and later settled down for a story before bed.

All in all not a bad day. I feel bad for my kiddo anytime he gets hurt, and am stunned Gabriel has yet to break a bone or somehow land us in the ER by now. But today could have been much worse, so I am counting my blessings and at the same time waiting for the next mishap that is sure to happen when there are three healthy, active children in the home.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fishy, Flappy, and Stripey

I will begin by saying Batman feels terrible about it. Just terrible.

The day before Father's Day we had a mishap with our aquarium. We lost all of our fish.

It was a true accident. The aquarium had been quite successful for many, many months. Each child chose two fish of their own to keep in the 55 gallon tank. We had an interesting variety of semi-aggressive fish, and they all got along very well. The kids chose a Silver Dollar fish for Batman, since silver is his favorite color. Julian chose one of those little catfish-like sharky-looking things, Maddie had a colorful catfish type as well, and Gabriel had two large goldfish.

And Stripey.

Gabriel was so very excited the day he picked out Stripey at the pet store. He showed the helpful lady the exact one he wanted, even though they all pretty much looked the same. When she went to scoop him with her net, Stripey leaped out of his tank, and fell, like, seven feet to the floor. He flopped around while we searched for him. Gabriel spotted him, and the very nice lady offered to get us a different fish, just in case. Of course, Gabriel was SET on this one, and started talking to him in his little plastic bag right away. He thought the whole incident was hilarious, completely unaware that his new pet may have a concussion, or worse, and may not make it throughout the week. I thanked the woman, and told her we would risk it. She reminded me to keep my receipt in case I should need to make an exchange.

We never needed it.

Stripey thrived and grew and had his own little personality. He became the biggest fish in the tank! Gabriel took very good care of the fish, and enjoyed his responsibility. Fishy, Flappy, and Stripey were Gabriel's actual pets. He fed them twice a day, talked to them every morning, told them to be nice to each other, and really loved them.

The unfortunate fish incident seeped into our planned grilling time. By the time we broke the news to the kids, it was getting a bit late. The older two were disappointed about losing their fish, but Gabriel was truly heartbroken. He cried, I cried, Batman felt just awful. We decided to forgo the grilling, and distracted the kids by taking them to IHOP as a treat. Batman and I exchanged amused glances when Maddie thought she might want to order fish (he convinced her otherwise). And the most touching moment of the evening was when Gabriel put his hand on his stepdad's arm and said, "I'm really very sorry that your fish Silver Dollar died."

So we are taking the week to get the aquarium cleaned out (again) and ready for a new family of fish. We explained to the kids that of course it wouldn't be the same, but it would still be lots of fun. We are all looking forward to it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Boys Are Gross

Boys are gross.

Or is it just kids in general?

Yeah, maybe it’s just kids, period.

My boys used to have good aim when going potty- I don’t know what’s been happening lately. I am also finding giant globs of toothpaste all over their damp hand towel. The same kind of hand towel that Julian decided was enough to soak up an entire sink full of water. All that did not make it into the towel wound up all over the floor. And the other day, I found a booger stuck to one of my books. The one entitled- get this- “The Everything Guide to Raising Boys”.


Where is the chapter called “Tissues: the Complete Users’ Guide”?

Yesterday, Gabriel’s T-shirt sleeve was encrusted with yogurt because he had used it as a napkin (again), and this morning swung a belt around just enough to break the glass globe on the ceiling fan in his room. He sports a nice little scratch on his forehead from this. We later came home and immediately Maddie was yelling that the cat yarked on her bed (guess that is more of a pet thing. Still…). Later in her room I found she has shredded chunks of her cocoa butter lotion bar all over a fabric-covered Dr. Seuss book.

And nevermind the constant string of potty talk, which I believe my kids are getting just a bit old for. Surprisingly, though Gabriel tends to be the worst offender in this category, Maddie, who is eight and a girl, is often the instigator. It doesn’t take long for the two younger boys to join her in the hilarity.

I have found myself saying sternly to my children, “will you please act like you have parents who teach you manners?!” I feel like I have been working diligently and consistently day in, and day out, three meals a day- plus snacks- to teach them how to behave at the table, and it’s all just not sinking in. I thought they’d sort of get it by now. I am hoping if I stay patient (and consistent, and diligent), that it will pay off one day, and there will be well-mannered, conscientious, somewhat tidy people sharing my home with me. Of course, by the time this happens, they’ll be mostly grown, preparing for life on their own, and it just won’t be near as amusing if one of them wipes a booger on my book.

So I will keep trying, very consistently, ever-so-diligently, to do my absolute best with these little beings in my care, and all the while I will squirrel away these little tales for later. And not just so I can reminisce about their precious younger years.

But also for blackmail.

Catching Up

Yes, it's the middle of June already. Yes, I have missed capturing all the weird and wonderful-ness that is our family on here. Yes, I have failed once more on doing something for myself on a consistent basis. And yes, I have had a long day, not spent any time with my husband, and probably should be in bed.

Lots to catch up on, will probably have to fill this in as I go. The school year ended wonderfully for Maddie and Julian. Gabriel and I shared our "last" lunch together at home, without the other kids. He is going into kindergarten in August, and I am having a bit of a hard time with this.
This means a complete end to an entire chapter in our family's life. No more toddlers, no more preschoolers. No more sippy cups, stroller rides, car seats, or watching Blue's Clues in the morning. I have big kids now. It's just...different.

With three children between us, my husband and I have decided we are finished. So we have "his," we have "hers," but there will be no "ours." Batman feels very strongly that the three we have are definitely "ours" together, and I love that he has that sense of family. Oh, I could be talked into another very easily. I loved, loved being pregnant, and it sure would be nice to actually raise a toddler together with a partner (someone I like, even!), something I missed out on the first time around. This decision is a good one for our family, in our circumstances, and I am okay with it.

With Gabriel off to school next year, the possibilities for me seem endless. I work part time, so there will be days when I can, say, go grocery shopping by myself. What a treat! I can start a task around the house and be able to finish it! Imagine the things I will get accomplished without constant interruptions. Maybe I will actually read something more than two paragraphs long. That doesn't rhyme! Entire novels even! Try on clothes before I buy them because I don't have an impatient preschooler with me, asking LOUD, inappropriate questions in the fitting room? Yes I can!

Our yard needs attention, the basement is in desperate need of being organized, and after thoroughly enjoying my boys' preschool years, there are things I actually want to do for myself. I am almost giddy with anticipation of this time I will have for myself. I do wonder if I will even know what to do with myself, after being a two- and three-people unit for so long.
In the meantime, I am enjoying my time with them this summer, bickering, bruises, and all. I am focusing on really being present with them, soaking up the joyous (and even not-so-joyous) moments we have together, because it will all change, all too quickly. Life is always fluid, ever flowing, ever changing. Tiny tweaks made to our daily routines, little changes here and there, and pretty soon, you look around, and it's all very different. And it didn't happen all at once. And I think that's why it sometimes happens without our even noticing. Because it happens in tiny increments, little bits at a time. Which is probably the only way some of us could handle it.
So we're off to a great summer.

I look forward to sharing about our anniversary dinner. It was lovely. And in true Batman fashion, it didn't go off without a hitch.