Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Volume X, issue xi. November 2014

The Great Debate

This month Holden smoothly transitioned from one extracurricular activity to the next and said, "I went from Cross Country to cross examination."

(A kid who can play with words like that really should be in debate or at our dinner table!)

The whole debating thing is in Holden's blood. My grandfather Orval, for whom Holden was given his middle name, was a star debater in college at UC Berkeley as well as a gifted attorney and orator. I was beyond tickled as my big brother Jon (who is also named after Orval and who is also a gifted attorney and former Madison High debater) and Holden hunkered down before our Thanksgiving feast to energetically discuss resolutions and value premises like most people discuss celebrity sightings.

3......2.....1....Contacts!
Holden tried his first pair of contacts and even the optometrist was impressed at how good he looked with only two eyes rather than four. (Does the eye doctor usually say, "Wow! That makes a big difference!") Holden leaned close to the mirror and carefully studied his eyes in their new lenses and said with a slight edge of awe in his voice, "What color ARE my eyes? I see green. . . and blue. . . and a little brown. They're. . . cool." 

I wanted to say, "I know! That's why I've been so carefully hiding them from the girls at school!" 

What I actually said was, "It's called hazel. You got that color from me."

His smoldering look with the eyebrow arch is one he calls "Skeptical Eyebrow."

Peter the Great is Eight
Peter was the "Top Toucan" in his second grade class for a whole week in November. Do you think they give out failing grades to kids who can't pronounce their middle name? (My apologies to Eric's saintly great grandfather who definitely deserved a namesake, but couldn't be furnished with one who possessed a francophonian tongue.) We even practiced pronouncing the hyphenated tongue twister before he left for school with his poster and it only got cuter and cuter as his eyebrows struggled to compensate for what his mouth couldn't handle. 

After he turned eight, he wanted to try fasting for Fast Sunday the first Sunday of the month. We normally fast for two meals, but I suggested that maybe Peter should start with one. Peter ate a small breakfast and then skipped lunch before going to church with a determined look in his elfish blue eyes. During the sacrament, Eric tried to pass the tray of bread to Peter, but Peter said, "No! Mom said no snacks!" Eric explained that it was okay to take the sacrament when you're fasting, but Peter was still skeptical. 

Turning eight meant that Peter could be baptized. He had to use every drop of his small reservoir of patience to wait until November when his cute cousin, Lydia, was going to be returning from her mission in Peru so he could be baptized the same day as Lydia's brother, Brigham.
Peter and Brigham shared the special day of their baptisms like two cute little peas in a pod. 
My freshly baptized fifth child came up to me after the meeting, hugged me tight and said,"Hey Mom, being baptized wasn't so bad!"
The 8x10 glossy of Peter that bedecked the table with the programs for his baptism mysteriously disappeared after the meeting. I discovered it carefully placed next to Peter's plate at Thanksgiving dinner, looking like a monstrous place-card. He carted his small monument to self-approval around with him the whole weekend, even hiding it in his coat so he could sneak it into Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. Narcissus would be proud! 

Since we're on the Peter train of thought, I need to add one more perfectly Peter paragraph. I was wrapping up a large plate of cookies to take to some friends in our neighborhood and Peter asked sadly, "Are all of the cookies going to their family?" I explained to Peter that our friends had had a really bad day and that we wanted to try and cheer them up with the cookies. 

Peter started to trudge out of the kitchen, but then he paused and turned around and said slowly, "Mom. . . I've had a really bad day."


Chuck-a-Rama
Our little Chuckie Wonder is like a tiny atom, constantly bouncing and whizzing around with completely unfocused glee. I find myself squeezing him every time I catch him in a still moment. The other morning as I was attempting to get him dressed, I put my hands on his chubby cheeks and asked, "Why are you so cute?" He looked at me seriously and said, "I'm not cute. I'm a pirate."
We ate Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday with my family, which meant we got to concoct a private feast in Rexburg on Thursday. We decided to make some jell-o with pomegranates and pecans and whipped cream in honor of my Grandma Hafen. As we cracked open the boxes to read the instructions I realized that in all of the years we've lived in Rexburg we've never made jell-o for our kids.  

Scrunching up his button nose at his jell-o debut, Charlie pointed at his plate cautiously, leaned close to me and whispered,"Mom...It's moving!"

When it was time for dessert, Charlie enthusiastically took a bite of his pumpkin cheesecake, then, with a grimace laced with betrayal, dramatically pushed the plate away and said angrily,"This is not tasty!"