Micah has been going through some emotional turmoil lately, we assume due to feeling jealous of his brother and some normal “threenager” angst. I’m sure it doesn’t help that Kenny and I have both been going through a busy period at work, so Micah is probably getting a bit less one-on-one time than usual. And I hear it’s hard to be the middle kid. So we’ve been seeing some tantrums, hitting, and overall destructive behavior lately (e.g. writing on furniture, throwing objects across the room), interspersed between his normal cute cuddly spells (like “mommy I love you, you’re the best mommy in the world!”). Fortunately cute/cuddly Micah is still more prevalent than angry/destructive Micah.
Micah was ill and needed to stay home from school today. When Kenny was at school dropping Ezra off, he had a short conversation with Micah’s teacher, and he mentioned some of the behaviors we’d been observing.
His teacher’s response:
I don’t think he’s displaying any attention-seeking behavior at all. If we had seventeen Micahs then [co-teacher] and I would be out of a job. He’s amazing and so helpful with everyone. He helps take care of the other kids. I can’t believe he’s the youngest kid in the class.
Maybe she’s talking about a different Micah?
Lauren and Gloria had the following conversation on the way home from ballet today that I’m glad they shared with me:
GLORIA: Mommy, we practiced fact groups at school today.
LAUREN: What is a fact group?
GLORIA: A fact group is when we get a number and have to show all the different ways to make a number.
LAUREN: What is the fact group for six?
GLORIA: 3+3 is 6. And 2+4, and 1+5, 0+6, 5+1, and 4+2.
GLORIA: There’s also 7 takeaway 1, and 8 takeaway 2.
LAUREN: Do you guys do subtraction also?
GLORIA: No, but I needed to try more ways to make six.
On our outing to Seattle Center today, Gloria noticed the signs for Seattle Children’s Theater and asked if she could see Stellaluna. I told her that we had tickets to see it two days before my birthday, which led to the following conversation:
GLORIA: What kind of dessert do you want for your birthday daddy? Do you want cupcakes or ice cream or cake or cookies or donuts?
KENNY: I hadn’t really thought about it. Those all sound pretty good.
GLORIA: But which one is your favorite. Cake? Ice cream?
KENNY: You know, I do really like ice cream cake.
GLORIA: Well daddy, you can’t have ice cream cake. It has too much sugar. After the frosting and the ice cream there’s too much sugar. You should just have the ice cream, I know how much you love ice cream.
If Gloria remembered the D’Ambrosio gelato cake we ordered for my 37th birthday maybe she’d change her mind.
On Thursday morning, while we were having Challah French Toast for breakfast, we had a very instructional conversation. Gloria had asked for some strawberry preserves to accompany her French toast.
LAUREN: “Here you go, strawberry jelly.”
GLORIA: “Mommy, why did you call it jelly and not jam?”
LAUREN: “When I was a kid we always called it jelly”
GLORIA: “But they’re not the same thing”
KENNY: “What’s the difference again? I can’t remember…”
GLORIA: “I know, for jam they don’t have to remove the seeds”
Once Gloria reminded us of this, I remembered that the fine folks at Alm Hill Gardens had communicated this tidbit last year at their farmer’s market stand. Those kids really are sponges.
Usually the one moment of predictable downtime on weekends is around 2pm, the (short) overlapping stretch of Micah and Ezra’s afternoon naps. But in honor of Father’s Day, Micah decided that this Sunday was going to be different from all other Sundays.
We haven’t been getting enough sleep lately, so to help me get some rest Lauren graciously took Gloria out this afternoon right after I put Micah in bed for his nap (and about 20 minutes before Ezra was due for his). Shortly after Lauren and Gloria left, Micah came upstairs to inform me that he didn’t feel like taking a nap. This from the kid who had turned to me during lunch today and said “Daddy, I’m done. Let’s go downstairs and have a nap.”
This had never happened before, so I brought him back downstairs, put him in bed for a second time, and went upstairs to get Ezzy ready for his nap. As I was about to put Ezra in his crib I heard Micah walk up the stairs, open the door, and announce “the bunny’s awake!” Now I knew full well that the bunny wouldn’t wake up until 2:30PM, so I just gave him this look of disbelief and said “really?”
Without skipping a beat Micah said “yes daddy, I woke him up!” I finished putting Ezzy to bed and sure enough when I went down to Micah’s room he had figured out the switch to change the bunny from asleep to awake. While I didn’t get a rest, at least Micah was good natured this afternoon. Perhaps he was running a bit of a sleep surplus. Hopefully we aren’t set up for a more challenging week (behaviorally) as a result.
He’s my best friend….and my daddy too!
Hope she still likes me this much when she’s 13…
Spring is a very festive time for Jewish holidays. In the lead up to Purim, there are a number of themed dress up days. Last Friday was “dress up as your favorite character” day. As might be expected, Gloria chose to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Micah then decided that he wanted to be the Wicked Witch of the West. This was at 7:30AM, about a half hour before we had to go to school. Lauren and I had a quick brainstorm at the breakfast table, and whisked Micah into some of Gloria’s old clothes plus a black T-shirt of mine. For the final touch, Lauren put together a quick witch hat out of construction paper. He was a hit at school drop off time.
Yesterday, for the actual day of Purim, the kids were supposed to dress as Purim characters. Gloria chose Queen Esther so that she could wear the crown she made at school. Micah was originally going to be King Ahasuerus, but then over dinner decided he wanted to be Haman instead. Fortunately we had some advance warning this time and I followed these helpful instructions to make him a three pointed hat. Again we got out the black T-shirt, my grey shoe laces for a belt, and with a moustache flourish our little Haman was ready to go. Micah was really excited to be the “bad guy”, running around yelling “I’m the bad guy! I’m the bad guy!” At drop off Micah’s teacher commented that Micah was making his way through the list of super villains this week.
This morning culminated with the annual Purim carnival. The gym is converted into a festival of bouncy slides, face painting, games, and balloon artists. And the kids get to play all day in their pajamas.
As part of her curriculum, Gloria spends a few hours a week in a program called Chalav u’Dvash. One of the teaching tools in Chalav u’Dvash is Bentzi, a turtle puppet ‘visiting’ the children from Israel to teach them Hebrew. Bentzi only speaks Hebrew, and keeps all sorts of fun things in his backpack shell.
Every week one of the students gets to take Bentzi home for the weekend, take care of him, and then write about their experience in a class notebook. This past weekend was Gloria’s turn. We took Bentzi with us on all of the weekend activities, keeping a photo journal of our experiences. Gloria had a great time!
Montage of the weekend’s adventures for Bentzi’s journal
Bentzi was nice and cozy in our living room furniture
Hanging out with his nutcracker buddy at Seattle Gymnastics Academy
Bentzi was enthralled by legos at Wunderkind
Let’s make a turtle!
Ezzy’s been giving me these great open mouth smiles when I play with him, which reminded me of an old picture of Gloria. Today Lauren and I recreated this scene from January 2011:
Left: Gloria ~6 months old, Right: Ezra ~5.5 months old
Back in the old days, when we only had one kid, it was easy enough to maintain many of the spontaneous behaviors of our prior DINK lifestyle. For example, we could decide what to have for dinner based on what we were in the mood for at the moment, and even pop into the grocery store on a whim if we were missing an ingredient. Because Gloria was a consistently good sleeper with an early bedtime, we had our evenings to ourselves and could use the time however we liked. It was relatively easy for one of us to disappear in the evening for a yoga class or to meet up with a friend. We even had significant free time to devote to this blog, as evidenced by our careful documentation of Gloria’s first two years. Looking back at that time, I now believe that it doesn’t take much in the way of planning or lifestyle adjustment to manage one child — you may need to adapt your schedule, but you can get by without being terribly organized.
It’s when you have two kids that things get chaotic (and now we have three – yikes!) Kenny and I, having spent enough time managing software projects, zealously believe that the way to counter chaos is with systems. Until I reflected on it today, I didn’t even realize quite how many systems we had devised for managing our household. And given that we still feel like things are out of control much of the time, we likely need more! Here are a few useful systems we have in place:
Continue reading “All Systems Go”