Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Light Saber Fiasco

As Kira had an appointment with her client Monday afternoon, I had all the kids in my charge. They were in need of an outing, and were in the market for a new beach ball after discovering a hole in one of ours that is essential to a game they recently developed. Ergo, the five of us headed to the Dollar Store nearby in search of a replacement beach ball.

The first problem was that Merritt was in need of a nap in the near future. The second problem was that the other three cared little for his predicament. They sorted through the toy section of the store, finding nary a beach ball. Apparently, the dead of winter is not the season for them. As time wore on, we needed to finish our business and get home for Merritt's nap. I told the children to make their selections if they had money and coveted any particular item. Avey chose something that caught her fancy, but the boys chose nothing. Then we got in line for the checkout.

It was at this moment that Carver decided he wanted something after all. He claimed to want a knock-off light saber, so we sent Avey to get one. Pressing the little button was supposed to make it light up and make some sound effect, but it did nothing. We sent Avey for another. That one did not work either. I questioned Carver once again about his decision, because he had shown no interest in the toy earlier, and this was a last minute (literally) decision, so perhaps he would rather save his money. He insisted that he would rather die than leave the store without the object, so we arranged to purchase the non-functioning toy and then go find one that worked on their rack. 
On the way to the car, Carver waved the sword back and forth, testing out its weight distribution, its feel, and function. Hakan asked to hold it in the car, but Carver refused, seeming never to tolerate parting with it. An argument ensued, but then was settled by the time we arrived home. 

I rocked Merritt to sleep for a few minutes, and when he was finally asleep, I came out to see how the older 3 were faring. Carver begged permission to play video games. I declined, pointing out that he had a brand new toy with which to entertain himself. He insisted that he did not want to do anything but play video games. After some more back-and-forth, I made him a bargain: if he chose 10 toys of his to give or throw away, then he could play video games for a few minutes. 

I thought myself awfully clever to occupy him with such a task, while getting him to evaluate his decision on different terms. After about 10 full seconds of consideration, he held up the very same toy sword he had just purchased at great emotional and temporal expense, and said, "I can get rid of this!"

I will spare the reader description of my outrage and dismay. Suffice it to say that Carver got a sound lesson in impulse purchasing, the value of a dollar, and why Daddy's hair is falling out.
One big development this week was Merritt's attempts to feed himself. He consistently tries to grab spoons we use to transfer food from a container to his mouth, so we've tried more finger foods to avoid that. He enjoyed crispy rice cereal, and Kira recently got him started on ground up broccoli and chicken. As one can see from the video footage, that has gone over well, albeit messily.

Hakan has been in his biggest Batman phase ever. Each morning, he wakes and puts on the same uniform: tan pants, a Winnie the Pooh sweater, cowboy boots, and a black and blue cape. Any time I am within earshot, he orders me to "do Batman," which means I need to talk in a low voice, almost whispering, and conversing with him about whatever is on his mind. Most recently, he has made Batman befriend a spherical plush penguin toy. Although they have little in common, aside from being mostly black, and not really built for flying, they often find things over which to converse, such as whatever food is on Hakan's plate.

Carver turns 5 this week, which has us all excited and wondering where the time has gone. We can hardly believe that he will be starting kindergarten in the fall!

Avey keeps busy with school and her Star Wars obsession. The franchise sure timed these movies right if they intend to secure our children as lifelong fans. Avey often recruits the boys into her role playing games, so even though they've not got a full grasp of the story or the customs of that galaxy, they are already familiar with key terms like "dark side," and "hyperdrive," etc. Avey even chose to do her school biography project on George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars.

This week also came with house guests for one night. Kira's college friend came through with her mother to spend the night and then catch a plane for foreign lands. It was a brief stay, but still something for the kids to enjoy. They are always up for a fresh audience.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

This Week's Battle Scars

Last Sunday evening, as Hakan was gathering his things for bed, he retrieved his water bottle from our kitchen table. Normally, he uses a small stepping stool to reach things, but on this particular night, the stool had been removed by one of his siblings. Hakan usually makes a huge fuss about things like that, but that night he decided to just climb up his chair to grab the water bottle. He tucked it under his arm, and slipped off the chair, landing his chin on his water bottle. The impact tore his chin quite a bit. It wasn't very deep, but certainly frightening and painful. After some ice, a bandage, and lots of cuddling with his mommy, he fell asleep in her arms and then transitioned to bed a bit later. He's healing up nicely now.

The weather over the last few days has been gloriously (and unseasonably) warm and sunny. It's allowed us to enjoy our back yard again. As the kids were playing a few days ago, the celebration of outdoor play got a little out of hand, as you can see in this video:
Carver was fortunate that the disc hit him in between the eyes and not in one of his eyes. Hakan is apparently more powerful than he looks, as Carver's little mark shows:
With clumsy little bodies with brains that don't think ahead very well yet, we are sure to have a few scrapes now and then. At least there's nothing too serious so far.

Merritt seems like he is on the verge of a tooth, but I realize we've thought so several times before. He has a little white dot on his gums that's been there for a long time now, and he seems like his sleeping has gotten even worse lately, so a tooth sounds like a good explanation (and easy solution) for both.
Miracle of miracles, Kira had an appointment with a client yesterday! This one has been on the schedule for several weeks, but found reasons to postpone each time. Finally, Kira held a phone appointment with her, and she agreed to meet in person this coming week as well. We hope to get something regular scheduled so that we can avoid the constant planning and re-planning.

We have this beautiful weather for a few more days, and then we imagine it will be back to frigid winds, so I'd better stop spending my time at the computer... See you next week!

Sunday, February 12, 2017


As mindful parents, Kira and I strive to teach our children the value of a dollar, as it were. Carver earned some money early in the week and then received a generous gift for Valentine's Day of some more cash, and the kids all needed an outing, so we took a trip to the thrift store - always a treasure trove. 

Carver purchased a stuffed bunny toy, and after we were home, Kira found it and asked whose it was. Carver proudly announced that it was his, adding, "I wasted my money on it!"

With some clarification, it became apparent that he had meant to say he had spent his money on it. 
In other news, all three boys have had the stuffiest noses we've seen in some time. We are blowing (no pun intended) through our bulk-purchased facial tissue stockpile like there's no tomorrow. Fortunately, there are no other symptoms adding to their discomfort, so Kira and I get awoken only a little more than usual each night (which is still considerable). I suppose one can't spell "Illinois" without "ill."
Merritt is growing bored with his usual spots to explore, so he is making it more difficult for us to open any access to restricted areas. Any time someone opens the refrigerator, he makes a beeline for it, desperate to get a peek and maybe slap a little hand on the pickle jar, if just for a moment. He maintains a fascination with Avey's room especially, as it is sealed off from just about everyone in the world. When he sees her door open, he cautiously and quietly moves toward it, keeping an eye out for Avey, like a mouse moving toward an unprotected piece of cheese, keeping watch for the cat. Sometimes he gets a foot or two in before she snatches him up, so her room remains the final frontier.

Avey's constant chatter about all things Star Wars has infected Carver, so the two of them watched Episode I this week. Maybe now they will have something over which they can bond instead of just video games.

Avey finished her after-school art class, so now she will need to find new ways to avoid arguing with her brothers.

Hakan is still preoccupied with his super hero toys, constantly asking for me to do their voices. Maybe he just needs some coaching in sound effects. He also loves being chased around, and riding on my back. Both of those activities require energy: a commodity in short supply, so we do our best. Why can't our kids ever ask if we would like a back scratch or something?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Voices in My Head

About a year back, Carver fell into a habit of wanting to watch some short show on a smartphone right before he would lay down his head at night. We happened upon some fun videos showcasing superhero toys for boys about his age. He loved the videos so much, I thought that for his 4th birthday I'd get him some of the toys. They have been a source of fun off and on since then for both Carver and Hakan, and several more heroes and villains have joined their ranks. 

Still, it seems that the boys have run out of ideas recently. The poor superheroes went unloved for a while. Earlier this week, Hakan was bored while he was eating, and needed something to entertain him. Usually, a fork that talks like Captain Hook will do, but that game seems to have gone by the wayside. I found a couple of the superheroes and struck up a conversation between them, including some encouragement for Hakan to eat. He kept eating, so I kept the show going. Hulk and Batman kept throwing the Joker in jail, but he kept getting out until they realized that the jail was our napkin holder, and it doesn't have 4 walls. 
Hakan Rides the Reading Train
It was fun, and sparked new interest in the toys. However, Hakan now relies on me for all of the dialogue. He'll approach me in the middle of something and say, "Dad, do the Flash!" He then expects me to come up with some elaborate situation that will entertain him. He usually catches me at a busy time, so I have to turn him down, but otherwise I am getting to a point where my creativity is spent. The superheros are now reduced to talking about the weather.

I need to figure out a way to get Hakan to come up with ideas for the superheroes himself. He's gotten better, and it's pretty funny when he tries to talk like them. When he imitates the Batman voice, he basically just whispers in a serious tone.
He's also randomly integrated a toy sheep into the group, having each hero take turns petting it and commenting on how soft its wool is. I suppose that deserves some points for creativity.