Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cranksgiving

With the days off of work and school this week, we decided to take advantage and get family pictures. Like last time, we scheduled it for a weekday, in the afternoon so that we could work in naps and such. We somehow still managed to show up late, but we went right in. Getting four kids to smile at the same time is about as challenging as herding cats, so I imagine. We got some pretty decent photos, and managed to survive the rest of the trip. Although I can't share the professional photos here, I took some this morning of our handsome oldest boys:
Thanksgiving was somehow very stressful even though we were not cooking our own meal. We had been invited to some acquaintances, and I agreed to make a blueberry pie and some potato rolls. It was my first time baking the rolls from scratch, so I ran into a couple of roadblocks, forcing me to take two last-minute trips to the grocery store. In the end, they turned out alright, and I learned a lot for next time. The pie was pretty good, at least.
We have otherwise been preparing the house for when Kira's brother and his family drop by on their tour of the surrounding states. We expected them today, but the fates decided to make them available to watch someone's kids while their mother had a baby, so we will see them later on in the week. That was nice to have a few extra days to prepare, but sad that Avey and I will be at school and work (respectively) when they are here. 
We were all very excited to deck out the house with Christmas decorations. Avey and Carver had all sorts of fun trimming the tree. Hakan is too young to remember either of his previous Christmases, so he is relearning what all goes into it. We are looking forward to seeing family soon, and are a little excited for some snow.

Until next time, we'll try to stay warm. You do the same.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

"Wuh, wuh, Enunciation"

As a two-year-old, Hakan is learning to do many things. One of these things is using new words. Because he sometimes struggles to pronounce the subtle phonemes of his native language, we often give him tips. A while back, we tried to help him understand a word that begins with the "w" sound. We emphasized the sound by stating, "Wuh, wuh, water," (or whatever the word was). Hakan caught on, and now uses our tip all the time for help with pronouncing other words. For example, "Wuh, wuh, dinosaur," or "wuh, wuh, pancake," and so on. Although he clearly misunderstood the purpose of our little tip, at least he remembers and uses it. 
Merritt is getting more mobile with each day. He rolls around back and forth until he works his way to a new part of the floor, and just in the last two days he's been scooting on his behind to move forward just a bit at a time. He's a pro at sitting up unassisted now, remaining perpetually propped up for as long as he desires. We are nowhere near prepared for him to have free reign over the house (we've never had this much square footage with a mobile infant), so we are a little nervous as he spreads his wings wider, as it were.
Carver has been attending a preschool for a few weeks now, twice a week. We are trying to prepare him for school next year and trying to give Hakan and Kira a break from him every now and then. He is still so picky about his foods and so finicky about napping that we worry a little that he'll be hungry and tired at school, thus making him a terror to his teacher and classmates. On the other hand, maybe he'll succumb to peer pressure when seeing his classmates eating their food, and he'll join the ranks.
Avey is looking forward to the school break this week, as am I. She's been working on various projects at home, including comic strips with different takes on the Star Wars® universe. We are constantly amazed at how creative she is in both art and writing. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, she took it upon herself to write, design, and create a texture book about animals. She gathered all manner of household objects and treasures from outside and then affixed them to pages she had drawn and colored so that her little brothers could touch the objects and learn about the corresponding animal. For example, she made one page about a snake, and searched high and low for an appropriate texture until settling upon the fabric of an old lawn chair. Under our supervision, she cut it out and then taped it onto her book page, filling in the rest with a scene of a snake out in nature. She's sure to publish a book or dozen someday.

Kira met with the therapist from whom she'll be subleasing an office, and got that all squared away. She had a client all set up for last Monday, but when she had to postpone due to an awful migraine, the gentleman made some delays of his own. We hope to have her set up with clients soon.

The big news of my week was that my grad student had a project accepted for a national conference in March, and I had a solo paper accepted at the same one! I've been trying to get this paper up and running for some time now, but keep running into other projects. We'll see how it's received and maybe that will give me the motivation to focus on it.

We're excited for Thanksgiving this year, although we are sad to be so far away from family. We've been invited by some acquaintances of Kira, so it looks like I've got a pie and some rolls to bake. Either way, we'll get stuffed. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dependence

Hakan is the oldest 2-year-old I've ever met. Compared to his older siblings at this age, he does far more by himself, and is more adventurous. He brushes his own teeth, dresses himself, showers rather than bathes, embraces new foods that Carver would never dream of trying, and engages in pretend play more than did his older siblings at this age. 

We figure that witnessing his older siblings' independence inspires him to strive for the same, so he challenges himself, and models their behavior to overcome fear and doubt. His efforts to be his own man are mostly very nice for us parents, but have proven difficult as his vigor outgrows his ability.
Over the last few weeks, he wants to do literally everything by himself. Although that is not so bad, what is is the fact that he adamantly refuses any form of assistance. For example, earlier in the week it was time to get ready for bed. He usually puts on his pajamas with little to no assistance from us; he just takes a little longer and has a 50% chance of getting them on backwards. This time, however, one of the sleeves to the shirt was inside-out. Normally, he would let us turn it right-side-out before commencing to dress himself. This time was not normal. 

He fiercely insisted on getting it right himself. He would try something, then scream and cry when it wouldn't work. I offered assistance, to which he reacted with the fury of a rabid wolverine. He tried again to right the sleeve, with the same frustrating result. I tried to subtly correct where he was holding it so that he could fix the problem by himself, and he reacted as would a hand grenade whose pin had been pulled. 

In another particularly explosive incident, he refused to undress himself for bed, so we were left to do it ourselves, which resulted in flashover. We had him in pajamas, screaming at us like a scene out of the Exorcist, until it became clear that yet another approach needed to be tried. He eventually agreed to let me dress him back into his clothes on the sole condition that he be the one to undress himself, with nary a hint of assistance from another living soul. The dust eventually settled, and the beast slumbered.
His delusions of ability are sometimes entertaining, though. Just a couple of days ago, he carried a little bag of carrots to the table, then gloated like he had lifted a Buick over his head. "I'm awesome!" he exclaimed. "I'm strong like a superhero!" he declared. And then, running off to his room to complete the image, "I need my cape!"

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Gnarly November

Does that count as alliteration? 

The week began with a bang on Halloween. As I was driving home from work (my satellite office = the library), I noticed all manner of terrifying toddler and petrifying pre-teen scurrying about the neighborhoods door to door, offering to bypass the home without incident in exchange for a tasty sweet.
When I got home, I informed the children that it seemed everyone was already out, so they had better get in their costumes before all the good stuff was taken. The boys switched up their costumes, and Avey stuck with her variation on the Princess Leia. 
Merritt stayed home and kept me company while I manned the front door to ward off the little demons, and tried to squeeze in a few more minutes of work. Kira took off with the kids to get far more candy than we could/should consume over the next year. Hakan needed to go to sleep, so we tried to get him to bed quickly before the older kids went back out for the night, but he caught on and threw one of the biggest fits of his life. It was no doubt fueled by his exhaustion. We were eventually able to calm him down and get him to bed.
We were otherwise troubled by Merritt's sleep disturbance in the early week. He continues to get up one to three times at night. That wore us out all week, but thankfully, he slept through the night last night.

Wednesday was a fun and historic night as we watched the Cubs win the World Series for the first time since 1908. The game was especially exciting after the Cubs led nearly the entire game only to have the Indians tie it up in the last few innings. That took it to a 10th inning (a very rare occurrence in game 7 of the World Series), and then they finally clinched it!

I made it through the 9th inning, but with Thursdays being my long and early day, I had to call it a night. Kira was up with Merritt until the end of the game, and told me what happened when we were both awoken by Merritt in the wee hours of the morning.
We spent part of Friday raking up the leaves into a nice pile so that the kids could roll around in it. They had a grand time, and we got some nice pictures. Merritt even enjoyed himself, sitting and ripping fistfuls of leaves, and sampling the flavors of each shade of leaf. 
Avey and I enjoyed a daddy-daughter date yesterday when we went to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was an enjoyable time, although Avey got worn out after a while. 

We also spent part of Saturday preparing for and celebrating my upcoming birthday. Kira made a doughnut run for breakfast, and then we enjoyed a pizza dinner (thanks to a generous cash gift), and a variation on Boston Cream Pie that my family enjoys. 

This upcoming week, we expect to witness the nation elect one of the worst human beings ever to seek the office of the President. If we survive it, perhaps there will be another post in a week. What a strange time to be alive...