Tuesday, March 25, 2014


A few recent gems..

Me: Levi, did you just eat two Big Macs??
Levi: Yes.
Me: You're going to regret that.
Levi: When?

Jesse: Mind your own beeswax!

But, at another moment:
Betsy: Jesse, you can use my markers. Because I love you! Because you are so sweet to me!

Mark: Haley, we really need you to hurry and get ready. Can you hurry?
Haley, stopping in the doorway to examine her nails: Yes.

Jesse: I can spell it if I say it in a British accent.
This is actually kind of genius. Now that I think about it, English words are spelled more intuitively/phonetically when pronounced with a British accent.

Jesse: You know how holidays aren't real? Like there aren't really zombies at Halloween? So we should just go in these 3D boxes. I'm making a Valentine's one. I have an idea for a Halloween one. Paper spider, glue it to a nano bug's back, and tie a rope to it, tie it to the wall. And then you turn it on so it's like buzzing. So it's actually scary. And if you pop out, you're like, 'How do I get out of here?' Because whenever you shut it, it looks like the door is nowhere, and you're like, 'It's actually just a box! How do I get out!' It's actually creepy.
This particular thread went on for about ten minutes. I just typed what I could while he continued blabbing.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Too Many Tabs

I was in the van this afternoon. I had picked up Logan from school, then picked up the Hawthorn carpool. Jess and Haley had finished their homework. Betsy had fallen asleep in the car, then woken up grumpy just before we needed to head out to take Jesse to karate. I was on the phone with my mom. We got Jesse settled at karate, then loaded back up to pick up Levi from soccer. Then we'd go back to retrieve Jesse before heading home, at which point I needed to serve dinner before meeting the Mia Maids for an evening of Zumba and milkshakes. In the meantime, I still need to check Haley's math homework, and there were a couple client emails I hadn't responded to. In fact, how many clients are still pending? And it feels like there are a few more pressing items on my to-do list, which I would remember if I only had a moment.

So I'm driving along in my nice little minivan with my cute little kids wondering why my teeth are a little clenched, why I'm not enjoying tooling around on this nice sunny afternoon.

Later that night, I saw this:

my brain has too many tabs open...

That's it. Too many tabs open.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Repent

...of ever dreading Betsy as a three-year-old. Three has always been one of my favorite stages. And look at all this wonderfulness:

One of Betsy's talents is melting the heart of Logan.

Foam curlers on a Saturday night!

She chose this outfit, right down to the striped leggings.

Stories before naptime.

Swathed in cuteness.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Play Group

Right now, there are six little three- and four-year-olds in my playroom. The boys are searching for cars, which we don't have many of anymore--not enough little boys around here for my taste. One boy is unhappy because he feels another won't let him do the Batman elevator. Betsy is a little worried that one of her friends is drawing in her coloring book. Someone is throwing blocks, which we all agree is unsportsmanlike. In  a minute I'm going to break out a page protectors where the kids can practice tracing their names.

Fridays are Betsy's favorite day of the week because Friday is playgroup. She and about six of our little neighborhood friends rotate houses each week. We play, do a snack, maybe a little activity. Social Betsy loves it.

I've done playgroups like this since approximately 1999. Not too many more are in my quiver.
There's nothing more delightful and good in the deepest, fullest senses of the word than clumps of little children playing together. To me the charming thing about toddlers and preschoolers is that their tiny, ridiculous, pudgy bodies contain fully actualized human beings--with infinite personality, and uniqueness, and unknowableness--in shockingly immature form. I mean, what was it like to be a person who could come to tears over the sharing of a coloring book, who felt no compunction in asking a woman to unbutton one's pants, who could unabashedly demand that one's apple slices come without peels?

One part of me is more than ready to say good-bye to a phase of life in which one's houseguests are likely to pee on the back porch. But another big part cannot fathom how a life without things like playgroup and washable markers and Fisher-Price Little People--and the little people who play with them--wouldn't be a flat and empty.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Elizabeth Gold Is 3

A day to completely surrender to the glory of Betsy--sounds like a treat, right? I sort of dreaded it. Two-year-old Betsy has been completely delightful. She's so verbal and so rational that you can say things like, "No, you can't have a cookie now but you can have one after your lunch" and she totally gets it. Very few tantrums from her, and constant sweet lisping, twirling, and singing.

Also, I think the Big 3 means that finally, truly she isn't a baby. I have to admit that I'm grieving the end of babies. If I were a few years younger...

Anyway, she made it a great day nevertheless. She spent the morning playing with her cake supplies. Then helped me bake and decorate cupcakes with all manner of sprinkles.

The highlight for me was this adorable little trike. Isn't it just too much? I now get to spend the whole summer watching her tool up and down the sidewalks on this thing!

I'm sure I'll learn to like her now that she's three.

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Room of His Own

I've always been a proponent of children sharing rooms--for reasons of camaraderie, exigency, and communalism. So I was a little surprised to find myself a few Fridays ago making a grand announcement that tomorrow I would move Jesse into Roscoe's now-empty basement bedroom.

The kids had been lobbying to move Levi into the basement with Logan, but we felt that was a bad idea. Levi tries mightily to keep up with Logan, and the fact is, eleven-year-old Levi should not walk in step with his sixteen-year-old brother. And adjacent siblings bully and compete more than non-adjacent ones. So to the basement for Jesse.
Jesse in his new boy cave.

It was a long day of disassembling and reassembling bunk beds, schlepping stuff up and down three sets of stairs, and vacuuming, vacuuming, vacuuming. (Mark still laid up.) At the end of the day, each boy was the proud occupant of their own cute little boy cave.
I love the little treasures kids display. Jesse has a little missionary in honor of Roscoe...

...and a picture of Roscoe proudly displayed next to a chunk of lava.

And of course, a plunger.

I cannot believe the huge impact this has had on the peacefulness of our family. Levi and Jesse fight less. Levi gets the space he craves. Jesse gets the peace and solitude he needs to keep his little self together. Levi and Jesse go to bed peacefully. The first night, I came downstairs to tuck Jesse in and found him looking at a magazine in bed with his covers pulled up around him.

Okay, that doesn't sound amazing, but in the past, getting Jesse to actually lie atop his bed at night was a struggle.
I love Levi's carefully arranged shelves of fantasy books and sports junk. See the proudly displayed deodorant? Big boys stuff like that has real cachet around here.

Without one boy's mess impinging on the other's, they are each better able to keep his room clean. Mostly. The good news is that Jesse's project supplies (basically anything from the recycling bin) no longer litter the entire house. The bad news...
At least it's not in the kitchen.

I'm working on convincing him that his creativity will be enhanced if he can keep his bro cave in order.

What Jesse created from the detritus in his room last week. I think it's completely awesome.