Here is an excerpt from an email I wrote to Gramma, Ben, about spending time with you today (Fri Nov 2). We had gone for a bike ride (you) and jog (me) at Battle Point Park, played on the playground, watched geese diving in the pond for food, then went to lunch at Bainbridge Bakers, and then checked out a preschool – your first time in one. Turns out they didn’t have room for drop-ins – lucky me! No pressure to leave you with anyone else so I can spend a dumb hour at the gym wondering about you. I didn’t want to do that anyway. 🙂 Here is what I wrote to mom:
> yes you are right about the commitment to continuing to know your > little dears, and the humility to fully appreciate the tremendous gift > of a little hand holding yours, not someone else’s, every minute it. > I felt little Ben’s hand reaching up for mine today as we walked > around and was so grateful. I tell him that all the time. we stopped > to look at a delivery truck parked in the middle of the road. Just > stopped the entire world from spinning and focused on him – little > nose, little eyes, lips parted studying it. He picked out all the > letters and actually read the word “food” on his own after blending > sounds. That is the first time he has actually read a word on his own. I am so proud of him, so proud to be his mom, and will be so > very sad when he starts school. I am so very grateful for this time > with my boys. I do understand very > definitely that it is a gift that I am thankful for every day, to have > TIME with them, to know them intimately, better than anyone else ever > will. I am so lucky. but yes, it is hard work to take care of the > home, chores, volunteer and work, and still make sure your little one > gets big doses of love and attention as often as possible. :0
Little Ben – I love you very much! Your strong grip on my hand sometimes prevents me from getting my keys, or from saving my phone from another fall (at least I have learned how to replace a cracked faceplate now!), but I wouldn’t trade that vice grip for anything. You and Sam have colds today, and I am counting my blessings that I can snuggle you perhaps a few minutes today because you won’t feel like writhing to get away 🙂 Sam is too big – he may still get away. But you…I have you for a little longer my friend! You guys have just woken up – I hear your little voices! I’m running in to get you!
Mom: Uh, no. I don’t think so. (Because I’m tired.)
Sam: But you don’t know. He might.
This is what Sam said in the pool yesterday as I was teaching Ben to “fill up!” with air before jumping in. Sam is very funny but sometimes I’m so distracted by Ben and his antics and lack of listening and daring-do tendencies that I miss Sam’s jokes until later. I laughed as I fell asleep the other night and made a mental note to come back to Sam the next day to tell him how funny he was. This picture above is of feverish boys (mostly Sam) outside for a little air. They’re resting on soccer balls. Ben jumped up and used his soccer ball to “crack open” a “nut” – like a brown tufted Capuchin monkey. Then he proceeded to “eat” the “nut”! It was so funny to see him come up with this move after watching some nature DVDs which show these little monkeys learning how to get into the yummy nuts. My boys are NUTS!
We had a fun tailgate with Ben’s friends yesterday for his birthday (invitation to left). Ben loves (LOVES) trucks, and especially MONSTER trucks. He wanted to sit in a pickup truck and have cupcakes with his friends for his birthday. While we were waiting for the biiiig truck to show up (Giji’s big truck with her three kids!) it started raining, so we all piled into the Xterra and listened to the Boss’ “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day” 🙂 After messy cupcakes in the back of the pickup, we went for a swim in the tide pools. Sam built the foundation for a building from huge pieces of rock that he moved around using a boogie board for a float, just like the way coral was harvested and hauled to build Kawaiahao church in Honolulu. After tide pool time, Ben took mommy and daddy to a fancy birthday lunch of his choosing – Taco Bell! Sam went shopping with Gramma and Richard to pick up a present for his brother, then lunch at CPK.
Happy Third Birthday, big man! We love you very much!
Ben thought it was a big truck, actually. But Sam really enjoyed building a real fort. Lots and lots of driftwood on the beaches this year. I think more than I recall in other years? Who knows. But it is lots of fun to see what kids – young and old alike! – build out of them all along the Kailua Bay beaches. This one is on the Marine Corps Base where we went for haircuts first (and WAHWIPOPS! says Ben). We also scored new amphibious hikers for Ben (who is a size 11 now) and new slippers for Sam (who is size 2 or 9 – not sure how the sizing works, it’s very confusing but suffice to say Sam’s feet are almost as big as mine). I got new running shoes on sale (size 9 1/2 if anyone cares – my feet are a size and a half bigger after carrying two huge boys around!). Maybe for posterity it’s worth noting that at age 6, Sam is 51 inches tall and 63 pounds. Ben (almost 3) is 40 inches and 37 pounds. The boys have been trading colds for three weeks now, but I think they are both finally on the mend. I have been spared, mercifully, for the most part. Mom got it good when Ben sneezed right into her eyes. Poor mom. But she is on antibiotics now and seems to be on the mend. Quote of the day, Sam, carrying a rock to show me which he’d dived down into the water to retrieve: “Mom, see this red? This has (pause to think a second) HEMATITE in it!” And the other day while chatting with my friend Ang about how everyone in the family was trying to shed a few pounds which had creeped on over the holidays, I noted that we’d all GAINED weight after starting a diet. Nice. Sam overheard me say “What are we drinking, heavy water or something?” and said “Mom, heavy water is D-two-oh.” Right he was. D2O. Funny that I have to Google stuff he says pretty regularly now. Rest assured, though, he is being fully schooled in pop culture by…drum roll…the school. They watch 1/2 hour of TV a day. Shows we’d never seen before because we don’t watch PBS. Caillou who? Anyone have good suggestions for first chapter books for a guy who is reading second grade level? He hasn’t seen Harry Potter yet, so I don’t know if that’s a good chapter book to start? Aloha all and happy President’s Day. Did you memorize the Gettysburg address? I still remember the feeling of accomplishment getting through that – sixth grade I believe.
OH! Finally activated the ability for you to subscribe to posts via email at top right. Should make keeping up easier on you – no need to remember to check back. Thanks so much for staying in touch with us! Looking forward to being driving distance from EVERYONE! Watch out! No one is safe!
I feel like I’m somehow cheating on Sam if I take Ben out on an adventure while Sam is in school. I talked it over with Sam this morning and he said it would be ok provided I took him sometime later. So off we went, and I bought annual passes for us so we could head down after school sometime. Every time I go to SLP it is a great adventure. Today’s highlight was a scuba diver (woman) feeding the rays! She came up really close to the glass so we could see her hand feed shrimp into the ray’s gaping mouth. They were so gentle with her, giving kisses, coming to her when motioned to. It was so fascinating.
So Sam is back in school – a few minutes late this morning because both boys slept in until 7:30! (My “policy” is not to wake sleeping children until they are in 3rd grade.) We enjoyed bike/running over listening to Beethoven and talking about what life was like 200 years ago. Sam was very intrigued by how long people tended to live, how they had to heat their homes with coal, no bathrooms or phones, etc. Life was a lot harder in some ways, but in other ways they were slowed down enough to appreciate beauty all around them, much as we were during our “grounding” for Thanksgiving. Beethoven started writing music about the age Sam is now, and found his inspiration during long walks in the woods.(This is from memory reading a great biography about him 6 years ago, so hopefully I’ve retained these tidbits correctly ;0 ) Music is a really important part of life for us, and I am so grateful every time Sam picks up his uke to play.
I’ve been meaning to jot some notes down about two books, one of which I recently finished and the other is on my bed stand.
The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast, Too Soon (Elkind) This book struck a chord with me when I stumbled across it – our family was in a phase where the calendar had booked up quickly, we were double-booked often and having to choose between equally good opportunities, and it seemed like I was saying “hurry” from 7:07am straight through for 12 hours. When I noticed this book was in its 25th year of print, I had to pick it up – how could things have been so crazy even 25 years ago? Elkind observes that dual income families have placed a special burden on children – not just the mad dash out the door to daycare, but the multiple transitions we ask of children throughout a day, from home to preschool/daycare, from daycare to after-school care with a neighbor or friend, and back home for an hour before bed. He notes that the meltdowns upon returning home are likely due to the release of tension built up during the day – the child manages his or her feelings and “adjusts” but the fallout happens when the child can finally relax at home. While I think much of it could have been stated more concisely, it is a good read and helps parents reprioritize so that these very brief early years are healthy and nurturing for the whole family. It doesn’t have to be a period of life we “survive” until the kids are old enough to be more self-sufficient. This should be a time to embrace their dependency, create special bonds, and not hurry up all those developmental milestones to suit our own needs.
Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Kids in a Mixed-Up, Muddled-Up, Shook-Up World (Esquith) This book was sent to me by a friend (also a client) and I am grateful for it. The author is a teacher and parent with profound dedication to helping kids develop into extraordinary beings. He infuses his teaching with life lessons (about being on time, about valuing time and managing it so that it isn’t lost or squandered), and taking them on adventures such as a ball game for his fifth graders. I find that much of his philosophy is like mine – that important life lessons are all around us and certainly not confined to the mastery of sight words or basic arithmetic. While all that academic stuff is vital, it’s not what makes us extraordinary. Using our minds to think creatively about the world around us, to perceive the nuances of life and people, to have the freedom of time to dream about goals and pursue them…all that is important. It is part of why I am waiting for home school and public school to join forces for those of us who want the best of both: three months of school, one month of holo holo time with the kids. I think elementary school could be completely overhauled for the good of families and kids. So if I don’t head out this week, we’ll stay put for the month (Dave isn’t home to nay-say my ideas!) then go holo holo in March when we’re not competing with so many people.
We had such a wonderful time together – lots of laughs, peace and quiet, the sounds of birds dancing in our ears, clouds drifting by high above the trees, and cool breezes at night. Enjoy the pictures and little vignettes from our trip by clicking the photo above 🙂 Funny side note from last night – just before bed Sam had to use the bathroom. He was so deliriously tired that we heard him talking from the bathroom loudly “We got there TWO HOURS EARLY!” then “We were there at EIGHT and setup by NINE!” or something to that effect. Then “I SEE YOU IN THERE!” So I went back to peek – he was yelling at his reflection in the toilet paper holder – the little mirror ball thing at the end! Tooooo funny!
Thanks to great friends who have kids about the same ages as ours, we were able to enjoy a relaxed beach party to kick off the weekend. The party continues on Monday and Tuesday when I take the boys camping 🙂
And TODAY is my brother’s birthday – I am so happy that Ben and Doug are connected by a birthday that is only 1 day apart. I hope you are having a great day, Dougo! I love you very much! Talk to you in a bit 🙂 Yer sis…
Thank you to everyone who sent us fun presents and wonderful clothes! I hope you enjoy this uncut video of Sam and Ben performing a series of thank-you episodes. They were so funny, but you know what was funniest was watching them watch themselves! Squeals of laughter as we all huddled around my little camera to replay the video (before it made its way onto the computer, and now finally onto the web). It’s 8 minutes… I thought you might enjoy seeing the boys vs getting a card or email as I have not been good about posting video lately! We love you! Click here: 2010-feb-mahalo-the-sam-and-ben-show