Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What is it about boys and guns?

Today Rigel caught me off guard with a pretty serious conversation for a 3 year old. Based on the question, I thought the conversation was going the same direction as a recent topic, "Mommy, do police cars have strings on the back...so they can pull over the bad cars?" Not quite, I was soon to find out. While playing at the train table, he asked, "Mommy, do robots have guns?" I responded carefully (yet casually, so as to not call attention to my alarm) in a way that downplayed the significance of guns and emphasized the idea of "good guys" that help people. That didn't seem to satisfy Rigel's curiosity. Again, he inquires, "do robots have guns so they can shoot at the bad guys?...They shoot them and then throw 'em in the trash can." First of all, where did he hear about guns? I just had this conversation with another mom regarding shielding her 3 year old from the reality of guns. Kids figure things out faster than we want them to, that's for sure.

I decided to ask Rigel where he saw or heard about guns and what they were, and got no response (too much interrogation for his age level). Then, I deducted that Rigel and Daddy watch TV together from time to time in Mommy and Daddy's room at the end of a long day, and Daddy loves the history channel. "Did you see guns on TV?" I asked. Rigel lit up and began to talk and gesture faster than he could articulate full sentences. "Yeah, and they were shooting at the bad guys (sound effect), and (sound effect), and then (sound effect)... and the guns shoot all the bad guys and make them broken." I nodded, confirmed that "yep, guns make them broken all right." Time to keep it simple. "Only policemen and soldiers (our word for military personnel he sees on base every time we hit the commissary) have guns because they went to a special school to learn how to use it (more emphasis on good guys who help people)..." By then, I had already lost his attention, and decided not to push the issue. Daddy and Mommy will have to readdress this with Rigel more as the issue arises.

Regarding "throwing 'em in the trash can:" That in Rigel's imagination is the ultimate demise. When he came home from his first day of preschool, he claimed the teacher threw him in the trash can (to let us know he didn't like her), and on another occasion when a play ground kid pushed him down, he cried to me to "throw that boy in the trash can right now, Mamma." Perhaps all innocence is not lost, or do I need to re-examine things a bit?

P.S. Rigel woke up when Daddy got home late tonight, and the two of them lay next to each other talking as I wrote this. I listened in via baby monitor, and guess what I overheared Rigel recapping to Daddy? "...The robots shoot the bad guys (sound effect)...with their arrows (sound effect)...like this (sound effect)...and their heads fall off and they shoot their arms (sound effect) and their arms fall off and and... and their legs come off in pieces--so they can keep people safe from the bad guys." Um, I think I addressed the issue of guns pretty well, right...?

Almost time to start the hunt for costumes again...

We are thinking of hosting an October Party for the little ones this year, since both Rigel and Izzy are really excited about the whole idea of Halloween. They both "get" that Halloween means costumes, Jack-o-Lanterns, trick-or-treating and the likes (...it's no longer about Mommy trying to get their costumes just right for that perfect picture before they start to fuss and squirm).

Bobbing for apples, eating donuts dangling from a string...can you imagine getting 2 and 3 year-olds to eat a donut without using their fingers? The challenge may be worth the comic relief involved in accomplishing these feats.
Spooky-fun snacks, and maybe even pumpkin pizza decorating... Now the decision of hosting at home or elsewhere. More ideas posted later...any comments / ideas out there?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Creative Mom Project

Murals for the kids' rooms... made of their own recycled outfits...depicting their favorite stories... custom-made by Mom (from a kit soon to be available from Sugar City)...
Hhmmmm.... as great as this kit sounds, perhaps it can be accomplished from scratch? Believe it or not, I have a box full of all my favorite outgrown kiddo outfits, set aside to cut and stitch into a quilt one of these days. This mural idea is another alternative to recycling that fabric.

Early Trip Out to the Pumpkin Patch

Scarecrows, hay bails, tractors, farm animals and classic cars--all toured by Izzy and Rigel while towed in a wheelbarrow.

Lots of fun--hay rides around the pumpkin patch and riding ponies under the mulberry trees

Rigel took one look at the very first pile of pumpkins he ran up to, and had his pumpkin picked out within seconds; Izzy was more picky. She didn't like any of the orange ones, but luckily there was a variety of sizes and colors to choose from. White was her final choice.

Taking a break after a busy day on the farm

Carving pumpkins late at night (kiddos should be in bed by now!)
Rigel absolutely could not wait any longer to carve his pumpkin. As soon as we got it home, he decided his pumpkin was to have "a spooky face." We had to reassure Izzy several times that the pumpkins weren't scary (her face scrunched up: "scary, no spooky pumpkins!" as she scrambled away), especially when we opened the pumpkin "lids." I think she wasn't sure what to expect or why we were opening up the pumpkins, and she sure didn't want to find out.
There are still a couple days until October begins, and our family is almost done with Halloween!

If I Could I Would (...make skirts like this for my baby girl)

This is a child's skirt made from a vintage apron. Stylishly sweet! Just another bit of inspiration to break out the sewing machine and attempt the impossible...

P.S. Photo courtesy of This Mama Makes Stuff, another fun blog

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Desperate times call for desperate measures...

Being a mother of a 2 and 3 year-old has challenged me many times over, on a day to day basis (I love being a mother almost as much as I love my two babies, so this is not a complaint--just an observation), and still sometimes it can be a minute-by-minute struggle: Wouldn't it be so much easier to run into the store and grab that milk rather than wake the kids from their carseats and bring them with me? (of course I can't and don't)... I can chase the dog as it escapes down the street and the kids will be okay for a minute (of course not)... Is a spanking what it would take to finally get the message through for the 3rd time that it is not okay to squeeze shampoo out all over the floor? (of course not)... Doesn't it seem obvious that stomping all over a mess while I am cleaning it up is inappropriate--why should I have to even explain that one over and over?... How many times do I have to repeat myself before I will be heard?... How many times will my little one ask the same question--over and over--before he, if ever, accepts my original answer?... If I look half as frustrated as I feel, how is it that they still don't seem to understand and/or care that what they are doing is not okay? Why is it that the more obnoxious the sound, the more it amuses these guys?... How ironic is it that my absolute worst displays of frustration become a part of my kids' everyday repertoire? Why can't my best behavior be the examples from which they follow?...Etc., etc., etc.... Anyway, enough venting, back to the point of this story: the many challenges of motherhood. How many times have I been almost out the door or even strapping my child into the car seat (elated to finally be on schedule), when the smell of a poopy diaper permeates the air? Well, at the county fair this year a similar incident occurred. Our family was awaiting the opening of the Monster Truck show (Rigel's favorite thing in the world second only to trains) when the juiciest of diapers intoxicated the grandstands with its stench. I ran (baby in tow) to the nearest restrooms, none of which had any changing tables or counter tops. No benches or grassy areas were in sight, just crowded dirt pathways and sidewalks... what to do? Behind a line of game booths was a patch of AstroTurf, creeping out from the back of a netted batting cage--better than nothing. I laid my baby girl down and quickly began cleaning her up, unnoticed by all until I heard, "Lady, I thought I'd seen everything!" announced on nearby speakers. It was a carnival MC with his headset microphone joking to the small crowd gathering behind him. And, he was pointing to me. I pretended not to notice, hurried through the diaper change, and covered my baby girl's face as we quickly walked away... Another incident relating to potty breaks occurred while walking out of Souplantion. Rigel found the nearest bush, unzipped his pants, and "whipped it out". "Whoah!" I exclaimed, attempting for the sake of all passerbys to look more surprised than I felt. I explained when and where it was appropriate to relieve oneself, trying not to think about how much this was my fault seeing as I allowed him to mark his territory all over the creation when he played outside--why shouldn't it extend beyond the borders of our yard? And to all the guys at our swim school who were ever trying to relieve themselves in peace, so sorry for my intrusion. I have a 3 year old who loves to feel like a little man and therefore races into the men's room before I can stop him, leaving me to stand guard while poking my head in to check on him (praying he is alone in there, and grimacing when a grown man walks out before my son). I'm sure there is not a mom out there who has not experienced trials similar if not more humorous than those described above.

Why Grandma Lana and Grandpa Gary's House is So Fun

The kids always love going to Grandma Lana & Grandpa Gary's house..."Can we ride golf carts at Grandma's house?" is a frequent request. Tucked away in a retirement community, their house is fully equipped with everything needed for fun-filled visits: a rec center with 2 swimming pools and a spa, an 18-hole golf course loaded with rabbits to spot while golf cart blazing, a pond to fish perch and the occasional bass (as well as tadpoles, crawdads and toads), and the grandparent's 1/4 acre yard upon which lizard catching, digging in the dirt, and exploring is always welcome.

Gary and Lana's fountain and lazy hammock...

Lana's beautiful roses (among other flowers) can be found all over their property

Lots of comfortable areas to lounge and dine (and enjoy Lana's cooking!)

The drive to and from their home is just as enjoyable, with horse stables and a pumpkin patch less than 2 miles away.

Going for an after dinner swim (ssshhhh...it's after hours at the rec center, so don't tell the neighbors!)

Citrus fruit, stone fruit, and apples grow in Gary and Lana's orchard behind their house...we love Lana's homemade apple pie.

Here's Tiko and Tootie, who grace our arrivals with extensive toe lickings... Tootie keeps Izzy entertained with her bouncy playfulness.

Lana is a fabulous cook, and always has an elaborate meal prepared for us before we arrive, usually complete with a dessert. She's a big fan of southern chef Paula Deen (among others), and you can click here to view some of the magazines you'll find scattered around her house.

Gary loves wood working, and has turned his garage into a work shop for his many projects. He would love to one day have a sizable enough supply of aspen wood to create a lamp shade comparable to those of Peter Bloch. He is a big fan of art, particularly Tomasz Rut.