Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Imitation Game

...but not referring to the movie

Hakan has not eased up at all in his attempts to be somebody else. If anything, he may have doubled down in trying to be a little Carver. For a couple of days now, he has completely refused to wear any of his own clothes, insisting instead on wearing Carver's clothes and pajamas. He looks like a shrunken toddler inside the shorts and shirts that are two sizes too big. His shorts slip down to his ankles regularly, but he only makes some joke about seeing his underwear [sic] and then goes right back to following Carver around. 
Hakan simply will not leave Carver alone, either. He is persistent in spending virtually all of his time with Carver, so much so that he braved another shower this week so that he wouldn't have to leave his older brother's side. 

Carver has taken it all in stride so far. He has been angelically patient with his little brother in tow, and has used this development for some wonderful teaching moments. For example, Hakan was long overdue for a haircut this week. Hakan hates haircuts. He loathes them. I think it's fair to say that they are even traumatic for him. Carver stayed by his side to encourage him, but when the little guy still refused to let me touch his hair, Carver even offered to demonstrate by getting a haircut himself, showing how it didn't hurt at all. Then Carver stayed right by his side, covered in hair, as Hakan agonized his way through, then they shared the shower. 

Carver even offered to stay in his bed to try to encourage Hakan to take a nap, when Hakan just couldn't be torn from his big brother's side. It didn't work out too well, but we were so impressed at his willingness. We hope that their mentor/mentee relationship lasts through their teenage years (at least, we think we hope).
After our illnesses last week, we boys are just nursing runny noses this week. The girls never did get it, thankfully (and suspiciously). School starts up tomorrow, reminding us just how little we've accomplished this summer!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Black Eyes and Runny Noses

We got pretty beat up by this week. It all started when Carver was doing one of his ill-advised stunts. This time he decided to dismount the bathroom stool with a big leap toward the bathtub, but failed to factor in that his underwear were wrapped around his ankles, preventing them from moving. He smashed pretty hard, and his eye has cycled through just about every color in the rainbow so far. Fortunately, he says there is no pain.
The health troubles were only beginning for us, though. Hakan and Carver both came down with a cold that made it hard for them to sleep at night. Their noses got stuffed up, leaving them to breathe through their mouths, making their achy throats even worse. They had one really bad night but seem to be mending quickly.

Just as we were going to bed on Friday night I could tell that my throat was getting sore, and sure enough, I awoke on Saturday feeling like garbage. Last night was even worse as I barely slept. Luckily, the kids all had a great night, so Kira got to sleep through the night. I am still pretty out of it, but am planning on loading up on the medicine tonight. Poor Merritt seems to have come down with this cold, too, but he is handling it even better than I; He slept the best out of the whole house.

I am a little weirded out that this particular strain seems to target only the males in our family, because Avey and Kira have thus far gone unscathed. I have been licking Avey's dishes before she eats her meals just to see if she can actually get it, so we'll see how that turns out.
Hakan has been struggling to find himself this week. At one moment he will play in all of Merritt's toys, and squeeze himself into Merritt's chairs, but then at the next moment he wants to be just like Carver. He insisted every day this last week that he needed to wear a pair of Carver's pajamas to bed. That turned out to be quite the sight, as they nearly fall off of him while he runs around. His modeling of Carver turns up all over; he doesn't want to wear a bib unless Carver does, he has started showering with Carver instead of taking solo baths like usual, when Carver went into the backyard barefoot Hakan decided to take off his own shoes, and so on. The poor guy seems to be working on finding out where he fits in, but we're sure he'll figure it out.
Avey found out this week who will be her teacher for 3rd Grade, and then she excitedly called her best friends from 2nd Grade to find out to whom they were assigned. She was disappointed to learn that of her three best friends, only one will be in her same class. At least she can have lunch with the others, but we were all pretty bummed at the news. 

This is our last week before school starts back up. Still, I need to head to campus twice this week for various meetings. We completed Avey's school supply shopping at least (which was a nightmare), so at least there's that. It's going to be strange getting back into the normal routine with Merritt hanging around, but if anyone can do it, we can!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Powerless

The battle continues here at the Ricks residence. This seemed a particularly difficult week for many reasons. Kira was coordinating a baby shower at the end of the week, which took up much of her brain power and added little errands and many phone calls to our already overloaded schedule of begging children to eat. It finally took place yesterday, so she and I are thrilled to have it behind us.
Another unexpected challenge to our sanity was our electricity. The flow of electrons we usually take for granted to charge our phones, cool our home, light our path, and entertain ourselves and our children was disrupted twice in one day. They were brief outages of just a few seconds, so were no more than an annoyance. However, the next day near dinner time, without warning the power shut off entirely, and remained off until about 9 p.m. We had to light candles to see our books, and Kira had to cancel her plans to do laundry. The worst part was that the boys' room got warmer and warmer in our summer heat, with no air conditioning to relieve them. Carver slept right through it, but Hakan woke a few times very cranky and sweaty. Thank goodness we didn't need to deal with that all night!
Perhaps the worst part was that we thought we had the power issues all behind us, only to have it shut off again two days later! It was in the middle of the day this time, again for several hours, limiting our functioning significantly. We are keeping our fingers crossed that the problem is solved now, and are thankful that this particular luxury is normally a given.

In other news, Merritt rolled over unassisted twice this week! We were practicing tummy time like always, and he managed to do it. He is no doubt inspired by the Olympians he's caught occasionally on the television. He'll be crawling in no time!
Carver had a couple of particularly funny moments this week. Just this morning, as we were at the breakfast table, he seemed deep in thought for a moment before turning to me and saying, "Dad, I bet a DVD would not float on water." I'm not sure it sparked the intellectual debate he sought, but we all weighed in. What goes on in that boy's head that he doesn't say out loud?

Avey has been into pranks recently, and decided to plant a few signs on people's backs. She put one on my back that said "Kick me!" I pretended not to notice, and then went to help Carver with something. Carver, aware of the prank, and not wanting to ruin it, shot a glance at my back, and then his eyes darted right back to mine. A tiny smirk appeared in his cheeks as he fought the urge to giggle, and just to make sure that I did not suspect anything, he said, "Dad, there's nothing on your back." I was glad he told me that, because otherwise I would have been suspicious.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Visitor

This was a very special week for us because my mother was here to visit. She's gotten some quality time with all of her grandchildren this summer, and our kids are especially grateful. It's been amazing to have an extra pair of hands ready to hold Merritt, but perhaps even better to have an adult who loves children and knows how to treat them. 
Avey, Covered With Mud
Avey has had some excellent tutoring in beginning sewing, and is already starting to plan out clothes she might make when she has the skill.

Carver is mostly enjoying having an audience for all of his mind-blowing moves. He also enjoys having another person available for reading books. He impressed Nana and me when he was finished playing in the mud at our nearby splash pad; he explained that he had a pet parrot on his arm, whom he introduced to us, and then proceeded to tell us all about. The invisible bird even lifted him into the sky for a moment or two.
Carver, the Mud Monster
Hakan has been thrilled to have a warm lap to sit on, and to have another pair of listening ears. He tries to join in with the older kids and Nana as they play card games. 
We were fortunate to have a nice visit from my great uncle and his wife, who live about 3 hours away. I had never met him, and my mother had not seen him in many years, but we had the most pleasant visit, and the kids behaved surprisingly well. We hope to see them more often.
Our biggest adventure was an excursion to Chicago to give my mom the full Illinois experience, complete with heat, humidity, sweat, lots of walking, and noise. We ran into some major headaches when it was time to feed the kiddies, but the boys wanted one restaurant and Avey wanted another. We split up to accommodate all, but realized too late that Kira, in an effort to travel lightly, had not brought her wallet. We had to meet back up (thank goodness for cellular phones) and then part ways again, only for them to wait in a very long line while Nana and I fed the boys. We adults spoiled ourselves with authentic Chicago-style stuffed pizza for our meal, after the boys were in bed, and that made a nice end to the hard day. Perhaps the best part of the Chicago trip was that we were finally able to find postcards for my mother - she and I had tried 3 stores in the suburbs with no success.

We are heartbroken that she has to leave us tomorrow. It will no doubt feel empty and alone here without her calming presence, but I suppose it's good motivation for us to make it back to Colorado in the near future.

School starts up in 3 weeks, so now begins the desperate efforts to squeeze a little more fun out of the summer...