Thursday, May 2, 2013

Volume IX, issue iii, April 2013

The Writing on the Wall 
Our cheerful, creative Caleb has spent the last eleven years finding ways to make other people happy. Almost every afternoon I hear him explaining to his younger siblings the complicated rules to some new game or role-playing activity.

Lately, verbal explanations aren't enough, so he's taken to taping up posters all along the walls downstairs. Our hallways feel like the common room for a much-less rowdy and drunk Delta Tau Chi.

The Magical Mind of Marie 

On her birthday, Marie had a complete menu of gourmet meals planned for the day. She requested ebelskivers for breakfast, fish tacos for lunch, and three kinds of pizza for dinner. Out petite gourmande was shocked when we served her Ramen Noodles for lunch and pouted as she indignantly slurped up her unsatisfactory fare.

I explained to her that I had been cooking all day to get the three kinds of pizza and cheesecake ready for her dinner and that I didn't have time to create a special birthday lunch. She rolled her eyes and said with an exasperated tone, "Why didn't you tell me that earlier?"

At each child's birthday dinner, they get showered with compliments as we take turns telling the chosen one our favorite thing about them. This year, I teased Marie and asked, "Marie, what do you like about Marie?"

I didn't actually expect her to answer, but she reported, "What do I like about myself? I like that I am kind to everyone." 

* * *
As I was gathering up the littles for the tri-weekly kid-exchange before I teach my classes, I saw Marie's two favorite plush cats that are her constant companions and said, "It's time to go! Get your girls!"

Marie responded, "Mom, they're not girls. . . They're womens."

* * *

Marie loves to write "notes" to her siblings that proclaim her love and her thoughts. As she was writing her name, Peter complained that her "M" looked more like a "W."

Marie shrugged and said, "Well, I'm writing in my French way."

* * *
Recently, Marie wrinkled her button nose and said, "Something in this house smells terrible!" I asked her what she thought it was and she pointed her accusatory finger at poor Charlie.

Never Petered Out

Peter was a be-muscled strongman in his class play, with his massive biceps capable of being used as a flotation device in an emergency. His drawn-on mischievous mustache with its curls at the ends caused his eyes to twinkle with delight, making him look like Appollon the Mighty, circa 1916.

I walked down the nostalgic hallways of Lincoln Elementary with Peter and he showed me his newest artistic creation that was hanging on the wall outside hiss classroom. It was a paper turkey with painted handprints for feathers. Peter had given it the title: "Powerful Turkey of Awesomeness."

One of his classmates had created a similar project and Peter pointed to it and asked me to read the title. I read, "The Painted Turkey."

Peter frowned slightly and said, "Well. . . that's not fun."

Registered Offender

Marie was a bit trembly as she contemplated her kindergarten registration this month, so she begged Peter to accompany her to help calm her nerves. (It's so nice to have a strongman when we need one!) Peter took his role seriously. When we got out of the car, he acted like he was our paid tour guide, and even though Marie has been to the school dozens of times, Peter pointed to the building and said with authority as he slowly swept his hand over the brickscape, "Marie. . . THIS. . . (insert dramatic pause) is Lincoln Elementary!" 

He gave Marie a minute to let the information sink in and then he continued: "It's named after Abraham Lincoln. . . He's dead."

One of the kindergarten teachers tested Marie on her knowledge of letters and numbers, and I warned Peter that he could sit next to her as long as he was quiet.

When the teacher asked Marie to point to the picture on the page that started with the letter "H," out of the corner of my eye I saw a cute little Peter-finger creeping slowly towards the picture of the hat. I quietly put my hand on his before his ever-helpful finger arrived at its intended destination and gave him a warning look. 

A few questions later, Marie paused when the teacher asked her what sound the word "duck" started with. I watched as Peter tried to discretely whisper the answer to Marie out of the corner of his mouth and then suggested that he go and play with some of the classroom toys for a few minutes.

He is such a supportive big brother/cheater. . . 

Party! Party! PARTY! 

We're stuffed with birthdays in April, which means we are bursting at the seams with celebrations, presents. . . and calories. Our pants are a little tighter and our hearts a little lighter because of all of the birthday festivities this month.

I'm always tickled to hear what the birthday boy or girl requests for his or her special Birthday Dinner. You can learn a lot about someone by analyzing their ideal menu. 

In chronological order:

 Now you can see where Marie got her grand illusions about her birthday meals. To be fair, though, it was General Conference Sunday and we would have had a big, fancy breakfast anyway. . . (maybe not this big and this fancy. . . )

Marie's Mom Overdoes it (and Marie Gives Her FIVE!)

Marie didn't have a birthday party last year because Charlie was so sick. Marie didn't have a birthday party the year before that because I was so sick with Charlie. So this year I don't think I left any stop unpulled.

When I was a little girl shivering and growing up in Rexburg, I dreamed for months of our annual trip to Utah for a BYU football game. My favorite part of the trip, though, was entering that magical place called. . . University Mall.

For me, the moment I entered that massive white rectangle of joy was just as good as Christmas morning. My heart would start jingling and as I sped towards the most magical place of all--the Sanrio Kiosk. My parents let me pick a single, cherished item. After studying each notebook, pencil, and sticker, I would always select something with Hello Kitty plastered all over the front. I used to save the wrappers and glue them in my journal.

When Marie chose a Hello Kitty Birthday Party, I lit up the same way I did on those shopping days of my youth.

Are you ready? Here. . . we. . . goooooo!

Caleb Cranks it Up to an ELEVEN

 Eleven years ago, I girded up my loins and politely asked the OB if I could please push as hard as I wanted to. He looked at me condescendingly as he slowly put on his gloves and said, "Sure," not realizing I'd been down this road before. All 9 pounds 7 ounces of Caleb came storming out with only one push, and the OB yelled, "Whoa! I've never seen that before!" Sweet Caleb has been charging forward with his Belgian charm and wit every day since.


Nicole said...

I'm glad I know you. You're so inspring, I hope your kids know how lucky they are!! I want to come to one of your parties someday!!

Daniel and Lindsey said...

I love Caleb's "...I hope you're happy note." I have a few family members that I could leave a similar-type note for!

I love that Peter was willing to be a big brother/cheater to help Marie officially get into Kindergarten.

The food creations for this month were fabulous. Good choices birthday people!

I loved looking at all the Hello Kitty stuff that didn't come home with Carson...the cake, the cake pops, the decorations, the games and the adorable cupcakes/rings. You're amazing...if not a little sleep-deprived. (Thanks again for inviting Carson)

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