Sunday, February 28, 2016

Calling the Kettle "Black"

In one of Avey's and Carver's most recent scuffles, there was apparently some shoving or even hitting involved. Naturally, the customary accusations then followed. However, this time it was particularly enlightening. Carver said to Avey, "You hit me!" to which Avey firmly replied, "I did not!" During these battles of the titans, little can be done except to try to cool things down, but fortunately Carver unintentionally did this for us. He shot Avey a look and said, "You're just like me - you say you didn't do something, but you really did!"

It was not very surprising to learn we have a three-year-old who fibs, but it was pretty funny that he expects Avey's behavior to be so much better than his own. 
This week was fairly trying compared to others. It was busy, with Kira away at various events some of the evenings, and we must have been spoiled with our sleep because the few interruptions we had in the last few days seemed to take a real toll. This morning, Carver awoke about 3:30, an especially early time for him. Fortunately, after some coaxing he did agree to lay back down, and then slept until after 6 - an unusual treat.

We've had another round of health issues too. My elbow's swelling had diminished almost to the point of forgetting about it, but has flared back up this week. It's the strangest thing. Far worse is that Avey reported feeling strange around a late lunch, and then quickly descended into some illness. She turned down dinner last night and breakfast this morning, spending most of the last 24 hours lying down. We're keeping a close watch on it to see if it gets any worse. We just hope that nobody else catches it.

On a hopeful note, this is my last week before spring break! I hope to get a little ahead of my many work-related tasks, but I also need to help relieve some of the stresses around the house because I will be flying to a conference halfway through the break. What would really help is another spring break the week after spring break.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mental Mentor

With baby Merritt's inevitable arrival, we are taking stock of many things in our family. Trying to prepare the children for the little one is one of those tasks, and it has been fascinating to think of what the little guy will experience in his first few years.

Avey will naturally be a doting second mommy, willing and wanting to read to and hold him at any given moment. If Hakan's coming was any indication, Merritt will be Avey's first thought of the morning, last thought at bed time, and most of the rest in between.

Carver is another story. He will no doubt be a good brother, but what kind of role model? Just this morning, he told me, "Dad, I want breakfast, but I want you to think about what I want to yourself." He has done this for several weeks now. What he means is that he does not want me to list off some possible foods he might like, because he would turn most of them down, and that takes up his brain power. He would prefer that I just pick the one food that he would eat. The problem is that I have no idea what he wants at any given meal. I confidently suggested that he would eat egg, which he turned down. After I thought for another moment, Carver had an epiphany - "Dad, how about I just tell you what I want?" Stroke of genius. Poor Merritt is going to think mind games are a normal pastime.

Hakan will undoubtedly have an enormous influence on little Merritt. They will be less than 2 years apart in age, so they will probably be best friends when they are both able to run and climb. Hakan has been mastering his climbing skills as well as he can. Just last night, he was scaling the little futon mattress trying to reach things on a ledge above it. He is also a little daredevil, dashing through the house as fast as his little feet will carry him, and sometimes faster (of which the little bumps on his head often bear witness).

Luckily, through all of the fighting and arguing over toys and attention, the little ones are sure to find a few moments of laughter and giggling. We'll try to catch as many as we can on film.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Cupid's [El]bow

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone!
Tuesday began with a rough night of Hurricane Hakan. It wasn't that bad, really. He just got us up and insisted he spend the rest of the night with us in bed. As I would turn over during the night, I noticed that putting any weight on my left elbow was very painful. The pain was outdone by my exhaustion, so I did not inspect my joint any further during the night. As the morning began, I found that bending it hurt, but not enough that anything was clearly wrong. Leaning on it at all, on the other hand, was agonizing. I hurried through the rest of my morning routine and got off to work, where I then inspected further and realized that my elbow was clearly swollen. Most disconcerting was that I had no recollection of any injury that would have caused all of this. I kept an eye on it, and when it did not get worse or more painful, I left it alone. It's been shrinking each night, and the pain is hardly noticeable now, but this has been a strange experience. I am starting to wonder if those dreams I had on Monday night about being abducted and operated on by aliens were not just dreams.
Kira's major trial of the week was Friday. Avey was excited to hand out some valentines to her classmates, but in the morning rush had left them at home. Kira realized it as soon as she dropped Avey off, but circumstances kept her from bringing the valentines until later in the afternoon. When she went to leave them at the office, the kind receptionist told her that the children were not allowed to give candy with their valentines, meaning that Avey's valentines were contraband. Why this information had not been delivered to us parents was unclear, especially because it seems that sweets are a Valentine's tradition. Kira did not want Avey to be the only one who was not participating in the valentine exchange, so she hurried home with the boys in tow, and improvised with what materials we have around the house to make enough valentines for Avey's class, and then rushed back to the school just a few minutes before Avey came to the office to see if anything had come for her. Avey was surprised to find her candy valentines replaced with the new ones, but she was glad to participate. We were even more surprised when she came home with lots of candy from her classmates.
In a rare Valentine miracle, Kira and I actually got to go on a real date last night! We have a sweet neighbor we've befriended, and she has two girls of her own (both a few years older than Avey). She offered to come and babysit for us on Saturday while we went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant I pass every day on my commute. The food was excellent, and the company was even better. Maybe we can make date night a Valentine's Day tradition...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Queen of Misinterpretation

Yesterday, Carver and I were driving home from some errands. I thought I'd see what was on the radio, and settled onto a station playing classic rock. Two of the songs were by Queen. We recognized them, because Avey has liked Queen for a while, and will play them at home while the kids dance around.

Today, as we were all together after breakfast, Carver remembered that we had heard some of her favorite music in the car, and tried to tell her. "Avey," he said, "we heard that song you like in the car yesterday." Then he tried to sing it, "We are the chapters..." We all laughed, because he had the tune correct, and we immediately recognized that what he meant to sing was, "We are the champions." It's hard work to train children on the rich history of classic rock, but it will pay off, I'm sure.
We had parent-teacher conferences on Thursday this week, and again were impressed with the excellent reports of Avey. She is reading at the high 4th Grade level, far exceeding the expectations for her grade. Her teacher could not say enough good about Avey's writing skills, demonstrating that Avey has even used words like "sauntered" in her homework. She was also one of two students in her class to get 100% correct on their most recent math assessment. We are so pleased to hear that she's doing well and getting along with her classmates.
We are excited to share our next boy's name, although we reserve the right to change our minds about it before we actually fill out the government paperwork. We are still firming up the middle name, but for the first name we continually come back to "Merritt" as our favorite. In keeping with our somewhat accidental pattern so far, Merritt is a last name in my family ancestry. We like the sound, and the name's uniqueness, and I am especially drawn to the idea of my son's name serving as a constant reminder about "merit," or the sense of worth and commendation for which we should strive. We are still working on poring over Kira's family names to settle on a good middle name, but we will let you know when we have. Until then...