Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Beauty of Big Kids

As my kids get older, I am often reminded of my pre-child days when I
     a) thought I'd never have kids, and
     b) said that if I ever did, I wanted them to pop out and immediately inflate to around 7 years old. I guess I've been so caught up in the whole 'raising babies/toddlers/preschoolers/etc' thing for the last 12 years that I forgot that dream. Now that my lastborn is hovering toward the last quarter of age 8 however, I totally remembered those silly fantasies, and I still absolutely agree with my pre-kid self.

Don't get me wrong - those early years are magical and sweet and glorious and all of that bullshit, but man is it ever nice to have a conversation with a kid.

Laying with Evie at bedtime and discussing the day, her dreams, other kids at school, geography, all sorts of other things... it's my favorite time of the day with her because that time is about she and I only - no brothers for her to nag, no pets for her to dress up. It's where I get the scoop on which girls in her class are casting the friendship net, how something she said was misinterpreted and how she resolved it, who didn't want to play but later did...can I just pause here for a moment and wonder at the amount of D R A M A in girls' lives? I mean, this kid is 8 and already her social life gives me a headache. I'd like to say things have changed from the time I was a kid, but there's a certain sparkly pencil incident I've never quite gotten over, so, I guess it's just an unavoidable childhood negotiation process.

Anyway, Evie is brilliant at articulating her thoughts and bedtime. During the day she gets a bit more, erm, easily frustrated. So it's really lovely to have that time to just lay down, sing songs, snuggle, and dish.

Meanwhile Jonah has begun Middle School and seems to be grasping the most important basics. For example, the other day I quietly observed while he asked a girl out on behalf of his friend who was watching from behind a tree. It was magical. He also joined a Music Club where he can play his ukulele, and is considering joining the Salsa Club. As in, they eat salsa. If you know me at all you know that this is one of my all-time favorite foods, which Jonah is finally starting to get into. So yeah, we've got plenty of salsa-eating and discussing ahead of us, which has been a long time coming. You can't exactly give a baby a jalapeno and a knife and expect the proper results. Trust me on that one. Please.

There's more! For the first time in his whole life Jonah and I have a TV show we're both interested in at the same time! (Sorry Little Einstein. And My Little Pony. And that YouTube Minecraft guy).

We recently started watching Once Upon a Time together and, jeez! Who knew trying to solve fairy-tale related mysteries with your tweenaged son would be so damn fun! I watch very little TV so I generally miss out on the "I'm so obsessed with this show" crazes out there. I kind of get it now. Although if Jonah weren't my watching companion, I don't know if I'd take the time to sit down and watch it on my own, but that's what makes it so sweet. Me, my boy, our show. I'm totally digging it.*

It turns out pre-child Amanda was pretty smart.

Here is a somewhat random video of Jonah trying to sell some stuff. Sorry, that stuff is no longer available, but I think this video perfectly captures the...awkwardness awesomeness of having a Middle Schooler.

In short: big kids are the best!

*We're only on Season One so please, as much as I want to know who the stranger on the motorcycle is, NO SPOILERS!!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween 2015

Last year I had the BEST idea. I wanted to re-purpose my old-timey sailor costume into a group costume with Liam and Finn. I was going to be "Jack" from the Cracker Jack box, Liam was going to be his dog "Bingo", Finn was going to be an adorable toy prize, and the three of us were going to win hearts and contests the world over. I took Liam to the costume store to get a doggy outfit but he spotted a "Woody" costume and that was the end of my dream.


So this year we just went to the costume store and I let the boys pick whatever costume they wanted. I guess it is kind of supposed to be about them.

We went down to Railroad Square to check out 'Disguise the Limit' and upon entering Liam immediately covered his eyes and leaped into my arms. Costumes are fucking scary this year. I blame The Walking Dead.

I held him tight and looked for the least gory, kid-friendliest isle. Liam glanced at a few things between his fingers but was ready to get the hell out of there in under three minutes. Meanwhile, I'd lost Finn as soon as we crossed the store's threshold, but figured he'd be fine (second kid syndrome). I found him in a decidedly adult section where he had found a Jessica Rabbit dress-wearing-mannequin and was getting to third base with it. I'm worried about him.

We gave up on costumes and got a cookie instead. While we were headed back to the car Liam said "bee please". Apparently he HAD chosen a costume, so we went back to the store, grabbed one of the three honey-bee costume packs that looked like it had been opened the fewest number of times and was therefore likely to still have all of it's parts (it didn't), let Finn cop a quick feel, and made our purchase.

It needed a few accessories but the end result was pretty damn cute:

As for Finn, he was indifferent so we let him rummage through some hand-me-down costumes we keep on hand. He chose 'Thomas the Tank Engine': cute, timeless, and consisting of only a hat and a poncho thingy so it was easy to put on and take off. I have no pictures of him wearing it because about an hour before our big Halloween party, Finn took a header into a laundry basket. This left him with a bloodied fat lip and NO TOLERANCE for any sort of dress-up shenanigans. He immediately tore off his Thomas poncho which left him in his ill-fitting, but comfy underclothes. I considered telling people he was dressed up as an 'abused orphan' but thought better of it.

(Don't worry. He still had fun)