Thursday, November 29, 2007
I really need to work on extracting ourselves from my gracious parent's house (P has been kind enough to reeeally make himself at home here) but I thought I'd get out a couple of P pics first.
After the balmy fall we finally had a little snow. First, we had a fake snow storm inside with flour. Bless my mother for embracing this unschooling lifestyle of ours! Phoenix has claimed the center island of her kitchen as his and most projects occur at this central location. This was So much fun that said storm has been repeated numerous times in the past week. ("I really like the feeeel of it mama!") . It all started with an innocent 1/2 cup of flour and true to toddler form (jeez, 3 isn't really a toddler anymore is it?) 1/2 cup is never enough. Or, in P language "No, that not too much." So cup by cup he depleted my entire bag of flour onto the center island. Our old Star Wars craft and his recycling truck then navigated the snowy landscape. He truly tried to keep it on the table, but when his knees, toes and elbows were saturated with the stuff it was inevitable that dustings would make it to the floor. When he saw how cool that looked he forgot all about keeping it on the table and shoved a bunch off onto the floor, right when the chocolate lab happened past. My mom handled it beautifully, letting the dog outside to shake without missing a beat. This from the woman who had me dust crevices with a toothbrush as a teenager :) Grandkids have it good.
P has enjoyed that same (ever dwindling into the vacuum) bag of flour countless times now and his recycling truck has a permanent white sheen to it. But the seeming seriousness of his pursuit and his extreme homesickness for his dirt-pile makes the mess worth it. I don't know if my mom's kitchen floor would agree...
Then when we woke up one morning there was real snow on the ground and P was psyched. Holding him and saying good morning to my mom, I hadn't yet seen the snow. He grabbed my face, turned it to his, gave me a very pointed look and then turned my face to the window. I hope I never forget the excitement that look held. Then he wanted his boots, NOW, and to play in the snow. As you can see, he didn't feel the need to bundle. He raced willy-nilly, looking just as frisky in the cold as the horses and dogs. Then he remembered a book where the snow is describes as biting. He picked some up and then threw it down saying he had "snowbite." When he really was finally frostbitten we headed inside to work with some warmer snow on the center island. Happy trails on my mom's floor (flour or muddy boots), either way :)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Phoenix has lacked a certain level of excitement for Thanksgiving. When he found out there were no presents involved he wasn't quite sure it deserved the name "holiday" or "special." He was thrilled it called for making his all time favorite dessert this morning, pumpkin pie. He was even more thrilled that the entire bag of flour that he emptied onto the counter fit into the back of his birthday recycling truck. But he still wanted to know when Winter Solstice or Xmas is. Then, tonight at dinner, I told him all of his Uncles would be at Grandpapa's house for T-day. Thanksgiving quickly changed for P. This Was a Special day. After affirming Uncle Seth had already arrived at Grandpapa's house he requested that I open the side door. He was leaving. Despite the dark and the freezing temperatures, not to mention him being mostly naked, he was ready to find his way to Seth. I asked him how he planned to travel. He said he'd drive the white car. I asked him how he'd reach the gas pedal. He thought for a moment and said "Papa do it." Ethan told P he'd call Seth after he finished eating, so Phoenix climbed onto E's lap and started shoveling the food into poor E's already full mouth. The man is generally a fast eater, but P managed to speed the process up even more.
After playing hard with Jace, Seth, Marielle, Alicia and, of course, Grandpapa, P was a tuckered boy. Just as we were leaving Uncle Ian arrived. We didn't stay to chat, but P overheard Marielle mention that she had been worried about Ian and Grandpapa mention Ian's broken cell phone. P quizzed me for details that I didn't have as we drove away. Without any hard evidence, he had to write the story himself. "Oh. I have a plan mama. Uncle Ian need to go to a phone store to get a new phone! And I know! There a phone store in New York! He need to go to New York and get a new phone. A green phone. A white phone. Orange! He need to get a new orange phone." We were in a phone store in Brooklyn once. I'm guessing they sold green, white and orange phones.
At any rate, now he's excited for Thanksgiving tomorrow. He wants more time with Ian and Seth. And he wants some of the chocolate he saw on Grandpapa's counter before we left. I said that would be no problem, Tday is dedicated to eating yummy stuff. To this he replied "Yay! Tomorrow we get to eat and grow!"
Until today, this week was a ballad to Global Warming. For our NY friends reading this and thinking that Kansas must be a "southern state," I say to you, nay, it is not. Generally, November is blustery with a few fall days of warmth, just to tease us. But this month has been a continuation of summer, and while enjoyable to the wee one wanting to play outside, it bodes badly for said wee one's future. Big sigh.
But P knows of none of this, and thoroughly enjoyed the sunny days. How warm was it here? The child played Naked in the Sprinkler. As promised to Marielle, there will be no naked P pics on the web, so no pics of the water play. But you can see him hamming for the camera outside, still naked, eating pretzels. Did I mention its November? After chasing the cat around and running pell mell through the grass he decided to climb a tree. He finally found something that wasn't all that fabulous disrobed, but he refused to pull on pants. He was just so happy that he had a moment of freedom from his binds :) We've tried to keep him covered at my folks house, a fairly constant struggle.
At our flat there isn't much room to roam. Certainly not enough space to lose each other in. Here it is another story. And while P wants tabs on me at all moments, he's greatly enjoying "disappearing" into other wings of the house. At lunch yesterday he tested his happy independence by wandering outside while we ate. We could see him playing out back, knew he was safe, and then he slipped around the side of the house and disappeared. And he didn't quickly reappear. Between the ponds, the pool, and his new proclivity to explore alone we figured we better check on the little guy. After E headed out one door I heard P come in another. Prancing. Glowing. The definition of "walking on air." "I took a nice little walk" he announced. After rounding up E, P took 3 or 4 more "nice little walks" around the house all by himself - feeling like the big man he believes himself to be. Then he peed on the floor. Three walks forward, 1 step backward...
Friday, November 16, 2007
Despite the 9 siblings between Ethan and I, there isn't a single cousin within spitting age of Phoenix. He has 4 lovely college age cousins, but toy trucks aren't their thing. So we've really appreciated getting together with his second cousins this time home. Trucks aren't really Elizabeth's thing either, but she's a kid and super sweet to P, and that's all that truly matters to him. We had a lovely time playing in the brisk breeze at the Riverside playground. The space boasts 3 equipment sets and some Awesome climbing areas. The climbing rope Eiffel tower area did not boast the foam pit I would have preferred :) but it was admittedly very cool. You can also see P mid-air in an above pic - he's really into jumping off of things lately. High things. In my cousin's words "You have emergency room visits in your future."
I've mentioned before how, um, particular, P is about his clothing. I'd call about a playdate with his buddy Malek and his mom would tell me she just had to throw some clothes on her kid, they'd be ready in 5 minutes. "Throwing clothes on P" and "5 minutes" are generally two phrases that don't go together. Then when we'd meet, Malek would look cute in his blue jeans, button down shirt and sweater. Often he even wears a heavy coat or a hat. This seems like a normal thing, sure, but when I see a kid in jeans, or anything bulky, I always wonder, was there a thirty minute wrestling session involved there? P would no more wear jeans than a colony of ants. Pockets? Nope. Patches? Nope. Collars? Nope. Zippers? Zip, zilch, nada. It took us a little over 2 years to understand why getting the child out the door was such a miserable affair, but we're finally getting him figured. He's super sensitive to smells, bright lights, and, apparently, anything non-cashmere touching his body.
I've hoped all along that I didn't Do anything to encourage this (while still trying to honor his needs); nature/nurture is such a bitch for a parent to ponder. So I listened with great relief when my cousin Gretchen mentioned Elizabeth is the same way. Her older son, Caleb, will wear anything, so she knows it isn't Her fault :) P and little E even share some of the same quirks - occasionally, neither can stand the bottom of their pants to touch the top of their feet. As skinny little P shivered and jumped around the playground sans coat I was pleased to hear Gretchen tell me Elizabeth used to be the same way but will wear her coat now. So, he may be stylin' sweat pants for the rest of his life, but at least he won't have frost bite if he can make it to the ripe age of reasoning at 5.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Phoenix has become an old pro at flying to Kansas. While he still obsesses about the call button on the airplane (he Really, really, really wants to push it) and he detests releasing his shoes and toys to the x-ray machine (who doesn't?), he seems to understand the drill. He always looks forward to our trips "home"; he Adores our families. But E and I have secretly worried that he will break our hearts one day and not want to return to our home. E's closest childhood friend has a teenage daughter who has grown up in locales like Moscow and Toronto and is now in NYC. As a teen she is thrilled to be there, but there was a time that she visited Wichita and wanted to move. The space, the yards, the cars, it was all so big and exotic, in a different way. So each trip home I wonder if my little man will yearn for big and bucolic over close-quarters and culture.
The days are filled here with Barry Bobbit on the tractor - an all time fave for P. Trees to be felled, towed and tossed onto the burn pile. The immense fire of the burn pile and more sticks to be thrown into said pile than P could ever wish for. The pond for rock tossing with that limitless supply of rocks and skipping stones. The hay bales to climb and jump. His little John Deere to ride or my dad's mule to adventure in. (Sidenote: Phoenix just woke up from his nap and informed me that a nice alien shared one of his cars with him.) At any rate, there is outdoor fun to be had everyday and a large house to roam. This doesn't even factor in the amazing attention he gets at E's house with his most favorite playmates in the world and more cars than you can count. When I look at it all I think he'll never want to leave.
Which, of course, makes it unusually sweet to hear him ask to go home every couple of days. Usually at the end of a long, eventful day. Sometimes just because he's thinking of a toy we didn't bring. Sometimes because he wants his bed or his stoop or his aquarium or his dirt-pile. But at the end of the day its nice to know he likes both of his "homes."
Monday, November 12, 2007
Phoenix's excitement for Halloween was only surpassed by his pants-peeing excitement for his Birthday. He started a list months ago. He has spoken of his birthday on a daily basis for a month. Much like Halloween wasn't about the costume but the candy, his birthday wasn't about the new digit but the presents. Phoenix LOVES getting presents. I know, he's three. This seems too obvious to even mention. But P will spend Hours putting a new toy back into its packaging, putting it in a shopping bag and pretending to be surprised. When he tires of this he plays shop with it and buys the darn thing for the next couple of hours. Its not just the new toy bit, but the actual Getting of the Gift.
His day didn't disappoint. He had ice-cream cake and a hot-potato led scavenger hunt with E's family. E and I steadfastly uphold a one-gift-per-occasion rule. So understandably, he was glassy eyed with sheer ecstasy as he was led to one hidden present after another. He was too stoked to fully capture hot-potato, but Grandpapa, Jace and Mimi deftly helped him scout out his treasures. His new recycling truck (dare I forget and call it a Trash Truck, he'll point out the words for me on the side and fake-read "No, mama, it says Re-cy-cling truck. See?) beeped with constant attention for the next 3 days straight and we had to tote all of his new toy cars with us in his backpack for a week.
After play-time with E's family we had pizza (P's choice) with my folks and brother Greg. He had also chosen carrot (over chocolate or gingerbread) cupcakes with candles for dessert. I knew from last year that the whole candle-blowing moment is gone in an instant and I was determined to capture it on film this time around. To that end I purchased the candles that suddenly re-light. Since P never feels he has adequate time to play with fire, he greatly enjoyed this treat and I could play with my camera And enjoy the moment :) After such a fun-filled day we planned to wait until the following morning for my parent's present, but my Father was too excited. Seems we have two gift lovers in this house :) I have yoked my parents into the "one gift" rule too, so my mother tries her best to appease me And please P. She found him a toddler size Vespa (its only one gift!) to putter around on in NY when he misses his John Deere. It was dark by then and he has been scared of the dark since Halloween (thus curbing a trek around the dimly lit drive), so he careened around their house shrieking with pleasure until E and I called a halt to this gut wrenching, house ruining activity. Needless to say, we were up bright and early the next morning to play with everything. Interestingly enough, with so many new things he didn't re-wrap or re-receive even once. Seems he was finally satiated :)
First, sorry for the delay. My computer has been under the weather.
Phoenix has been "preparing" for Halloween for weeks. Literally. He practiced trick or treating (and candy eating) at our house daily last month. He would instruct me to be a witch or Mildred (the toothless old lady) and then knock on doors and make noises to give me hints concerning his numerous pretend costumes. Despite his real life choice of a motorcycle, his pretend play typically featured him as a mouse or a dragon. Even during these dry runs he had a hard time asking a stranger for candy. (Its me, sure, but he seems confused on that topic. If I ask him a difficult question while pretending to be someone else he always says "I want mom to come back for a minute." Then I have to tell him that I'm me, and he'll ask me the question. Then he'll request the pretend character again and give "her" the answer.) So usually he would just hang around making squeaking sounds and sniffing towards his candy bowl until I proffered the sweets.
So after so much pre-holiday fanfare, he was pretty psyched on the big day. We went to E's parent's house because their neighborhood is a Never-land for Halloween. The block of Broadview is decked out with flying ghosts, alien spacecraft, ginormous spiders and five thousand children. After trying the madhouse for a while, losing grandma Mimi and E, Phoenix requested we leave the mayhem. On the walk home we tried some quieter streets and he seemed to enjoy it.
He Really enjoyed himself back at Grandpapa's house. Mimi and E had made it home and Uncle Jace and Grandpapa were there. Generally those characters are enough to ensure a memorable evening for P, but that night he also had a bucket of never discovered before Candy. His allergy to food coloring is pretty strong, but we told him it was his choice. He chose to try everything. Fortunately for his skin, try was the operative word. He licked and nibbled from every wrapper, but consumed very little. He wanted names and descriptions and poured over the contents of the bucket for the next three days. Granted, he had to do so sitting on his stuffed hippo, ala a hemorrhoid ring, due to intense discomfort from said food allergy, but the brightly colored parcels thrilled him. His skin is still less than thrilled, but I don't think he regrets it one bit(e) :)