Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Thesicle

Broccoli tastes best when served in little orange cups while singing the chicken song.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Born to Fly: On the Death of the Cribs

The inevitable happened. The boys flew the coop. Well, to be accurate, Cal flew his coop, and Clark became curious about flying his own coop. I was advised by several wise people to not take the boys out of their cribs into big boy beds until they started climbing out. The other day I heard laughing, jumping, the typical pre-nap squeals, and then a loud BAM! followed by screams. I went into their bedroom to find Cal in the middle of the room in a heap, probably a good four feet from his bed. I’m glad I wasn't there to see the acrobatics that must have taken place for him to have catapulted himself so far across the room. After comforting the sobbing, shaking gymnast for a few minutes I placed him back in his crib with a warning to both boys of future crib-jumping that could result in similar pain. I left the room with a brief sweeping sense of sadness that my boys are growing up, and texted Brian that we need to figure out the bunkbed situation soon. Some friends bestowed on us some old bunkbeds from when their boys were younger and they have been stored at Brian’s parents’ house for a few months.

Cal cheers Clark on in his climbing practice

It has been around a week since the jumping-out, and we are sneaking by on the fear that the experience apparently elicited in both boys. No one has flown the coop since then. I do not look forward to them being able to walk around the room and even out of the room during naptime and bedtime. I can’t imagine them ever falling asleep that way. They also started to enjoy climbing up the sides of the cribs from the outside. They discovered that the same day, and wouldn't stop giggling about it. Really the only exciting part about this is that I get to figure out new bedding and perhaps a new general theme of the room. So far I've got nothing and the only bedding I like is super expensive and and I don't love it, I only like it. I want to love it.

Speaking of escaping, Clark has also recently learned how to unlock the deadbolt on our front door and open it. So that’s great. We tried a sticky strap-y thing from Home Depot, but it didn’t work well. Because of the rounded corners on our door frame and the fact that the door is metal, Brian couldn't find any little latches that looked like they would work so he rigged something up with a dowel that is doing the trick for now. I put it up if I am in the back of the house and they are in the front. We also are using a dowel on the sliding glass door. Hopefully soon the boogers will not leave the house simply because they know they are not supposed to. 

The dowel that keeps the boys from flying down the stairs and outside
So as we are trying to get the bed situation figured out we are also coming to grips with not having cages to put the boys in anymore. The cribs have served us well as little cool-off stations during tantrums in addition to sleeping traps. I always knew this would happen. They are finding their wings. Next thing I know they will be driving and growing beards, I suppose. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another Post About Ceiling Fans

The ceiling fan obsession is still going strong with the boys. It seems like it should fizzle out any day, but it’s not. They remember people based on their houses and the number and location of the fans.

Scratchy and Smoochie live it up.
On our Virginia Beach trip they could not hold back their elation at the seven ceiling fans at their cousins’ house. There was even one in the room we stayed in! They ran back and forth between the office and living room fans and the bedroom fans upstairs. Now, a month later, they are still talking about the colors and sizes of the fans and their locations. When we mention their aunt or cousins, they immediately say, “Have ceiling fans!” The best part about that trip was that even though they left Scratchy Cat and Smoochie Bear on accident, their aunt took pictures of the adventures Scratchy and Smoochie had riding her ceiling fans before they were mailed home. The boys could not get enough of looking at that picture and discussing it. Also on that trip we stopped in Richmond at my aunt and uncle’s house, where Uncle Pierre made a ceiling fan in blue tape on their deck. They ran in circles on it until they got dizzy.
Uncle Pierre makes a tape ceiling fan!

Other ways in which the ceiling fan obsession is manifesting itself is in any artwork we do. Finger paint, bath crayons, window markers, they want us to draw ceiling fans with. They also enjoy arranging objects in the shape of a fan, though that can get a little frustrating for them at this point in their developing hand-eye coordination stage.

Welcoming the fan-gazers
The boys' best bud Nick has been away in Scotland for the past month. We've missed him and his mom, but the boys everyone once-in-awhile check with me to make sure that they turned their ceiling fans off before they left. I assure them they did.

We went to a party at our friends’ house the other day, where we found a sign posted on their office door granting exclusive access to the “Dawnklets” (we can get into the reason for the nickname later, or not at all) for them to enjoy optimal fan-viewing.

I’m not sure what will cure the boys of this obsession. Maybe nothing. Maybe they will continue to be enthralled with them and then revolutionize the ceiling fan industry.

Finger paint ceiling fans with Dad

Veggie straw ceiling fan

Attempting to arrange veggie straws to Mom's pattern


Crayon ceiling fans
ceiling fans in  bead necklaces with Cousin Jen
fan-gazing at Uncle A's office


Monday, July 25, 2011

Bread Experiment Update

Almost two months ago I read a bread label. There were a staggering amount of ingredients, and many of them I could not pronounce. And that was organic whole wheat bread! Inspired by In Defense of Food and reading a blog post from Fat Duck Farm about bread baking, I decided to try to bake bread and work toward not having to buy it.

My first attempt was horrible, my second attempt looked a little like bread, but that's where the similarities ended, and my third attempt was downright edible. We were still buying bread at the store. It's been almost two months since I started and as of last week we have phased out all store bread. The real challenge is yet to come as I have not yet attempted to make a grilled cheese sandwich for the boys. I don't know how I could cut the slices thinly enough so they could get their little mouths around both pieces of bread. I'll let you know when I'm brave enough for that.

I tried yet another recipe today. It's a honey whole wheat bread with a little molasses in it and it came out delicious. I have more recipes I'm excited to try. I make two loaves and keep them in plastic bags in the fridge. Since they have no preservatives they don't last long, as I found out from making a batch of four loaves to start out with.
Today's loaves

Friday, July 22, 2011

Frogs and Snails and Puppy-dogs’ Tails and Pooting

Oh, little boys. As our boys are getting more and more verbal we are hearing such boy things from them. Correct me if I’m wrong, but holding a book and pointing to each word while exclaiming, “Poop! Poop!” while the other brother laughs hysterically is not typically something that a girl would do. Maybe I’m just na├»ve and sexist, but… I’m not.

If one of them farts, he usually says loudly, “I pooted!” with a self-congratulatory smile, or else, since they are still not strong in the personal pronouns department, “You pooted!” about his own gas. They exhibit curiosity about each other’s diaper changes lately that is a bit off-putting. Today Cal wanted to see Clark’s poop. Then he said, “eat it, eat it,” which made them both giggle like crazy. Gross. I mean, I grew up with two brothers so not a lot shocks me...but that did.
Cal views the world upside-down/shows what he thinks about the fountain
Today their friend Andrew came over to play. Out of nowhere, as they were silently eating snacks, Clark said, “poop.” Andrew laughed. Cal laughed. And then again. This probably doesn't have anything to do with their gender, but they've both taken to sticking their little butts in the air and their heads on the ground occasionally in public. I like to think of it as creatively viewing the world from an unconventional angle, but maybe it’s simply sticking their bums out at the world. Who knows.  

So it’s more than finding train tracks in the bathroom sink or Buzz Lightyear in my bed or stepping on cement trucks and bug vacuums at 2am that serve as reminders that we’re the parents of little boys. Now it’s the language. Oh boy(s).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

MMD

I don’t know what I was just sick with over the past few days so I’m going to henceforth refer to it as Mad Mom Disease or MMD. (After Mad Cow Disease. See what I’ve done there? My wit astounds me.)

I first believed my MMD was an allergy attack late Sunday afternoon, but it stayed with me and today is the first time that I feel…real again. 

Basically over the past few days I have had a mild headache, mildly sore throat, sometimes runny nose, and no energy. Add to that a scorching heat index of something like 118 today, whatever that means, and similarly hot weather the previous days. Fortunately Brian stayed home yesterday, allowing me to remain in a puddle state most of the day. I don’t know how I normally do everything I do. The thought of making dinner or taking the boys outside just made me want to curl up in a corner and moan in a barely audible but continuous Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Everything looked different and dark with MMD.

I think those days are behind me and I think what cured me was time and a seriously potent cough drop. That is all.
Artistic rendering of my life the past 3 days, in Sharpie, blueberry, and half-eaten cracker

The First-Ever Thursday Thesicle

Thesicle

Type: n.
Definition of Thesicle: A little or subordinate thesis; a proposition.

I hereby begin my Thursday Thesicle segment.

Today's Thesicle: Little kids like big shoes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Costco and Goat Milk and Stuff

We have a complicated past, Costco Wholesale and I. 

When I was growing up in a family of six somewhere out in the pine trees and gravel roads of Idaho, the Costcos were few and far between. Actually, come to think of it, the one we went to was across the line in Washington State. I’m not sure they had a single Costco in all of Idaho when I was little.

In those days we did a lot of living off the land and organic this and that back before it was trendy. We had a robust, beautiful garden every year at our house, as well as a garden plot at a friends’ house. There we grew corn and potatoes and melons and squash—things that need longer growing seasons than we got down in our little valley.

A goat

My dad hunted. My grandfather raised cattle and so we got our beef from him. We had goats and sheep and chickens. For awhile there we had milk goats as well as both kinds of chickens—one kind for the eggs and the other kind for meat.

My mom bought a little wheat grinder and we would buy wheat to grind into flour for our own bread. Once she even went through a phase of making her own yogurt but if I remember correctly it looked more like cups of white mucus than anything else, and the phase didn’t last long. 

When we didn’t drink the milk from our own goats, we usually bought fresh milk from our neighbors who had a milk cow. They kept the milk in an old green fridge outside their garage in those big gallon jars (think Costco size) and we’d pick up a couple gallons on the way home and shove the dollar or two that it cost into a plastic tub next to the fridge. Not always, but sometimes we would literally hand-shake the thick cream we skimmed off the top until it turned into butter, then we would salt and refrigerate the butter, and save the rest of it as buttermilk.

And then there were the fruit and berries. We would go to orchards for peaches, pears, and apples and make our own apple cider and applesauce every fall.  My grandparents had cherry trees and so we spent plenty of time picking and canning cherries. Between the patches of strawberries and raspberries in our garden and my grandparents’ gigantic patches of the same, we had more red berries than we ever needed. We also picked wild huckleberries and wild blackberries. My mom had a drying rack for fruit and so we’d make fruit roll-ups and dried fruit snacks. We made jam. Oh man. Did we make jam. And we cut up and canned so many peaches and cherries that now, probably 12 years since the last time I heard the squeal of a stovetop pressure cooker, I think I could do it in my sleep.
Dramatic reenactment of apple-picking

We kept it all in had a separate building next to our house that we called the Fruit House. In it was our chest freezer with all the frozen beef and elk and deer meat. The shelves that went from floor to ceiling were stacked with Kerr jars of brightly colored preserved fruits, vegetables, and jams. In the fall I loved walking in there and just looking at all the neatly-arranged jars and thinking about all the hours of labor that went into each jar.


We canned the same green beans that in the spring we had planted by hand and watered and transplanted and in the summer weeded and fertilized and watered some more and in the fall picked and cleaned and snipped. I probably took a picture of the inside of the Fruit House with my 35mm camera or maybe even my 110mm camera after harvest time one year, but if I did I don’t have the picture anymore.

Anyway, back then each trip to Costco took up an entire day with all the driving and filling two gigantic carts with a million staples and eating and driving home. We got things like pasta and sugar and oatmeal and old fashioned peanut butter and chocolate chips and toilet paper and laundry detergent. When I was little it was exciting to spend a day like that, but it lost its appeal. 


My mom ordered a lot of natural and organic food on top of what we could make and grow ourselves or buy at Costco also. We always teased her about buying whole wheat toothpaste and organic mascara and things like that. She totally would have if she could have.

Costco chocolate chips with foot for scale
You have to understand that during most of the time this was going on, it was very much NOT cool to be the one kid with the crumbly, thickly sliced whole wheat bread with organic peanut butter and homemade jam next to everyone else’s thinly sliced Wonderbread with Jiffy peanut butter and Smucker’s grape jelly.

And it was certainly not awesome to wake up when a friend was sleeping over to find that Mom had put out goat’s milk and some weird whole grain-y hot cereal for breakfast. I had to go along with the lie that the friend was genuinely not hungry, not that she didn’t want anything to do with Mom’s Whole Earth breakfast. Why not just Cornflakes like normal families?


I have some coming-out to do: there were many times that I lied about having already consumed my goat milk and I didn’t. I tried to like it, but I never could. My brothers say they did. My parents say they did. My sister might have, but I sure never did. And if I ever take a bite of goat cheese now on accident (because I will never do so on purpose anymore) all I can taste are the stalls of the barn where we kept the goats. So putrid.

But I am forever grateful for all we learned from our parents about taking care of ourselves and eating well. If my life depended on it, I’m sure I could still milk a goat or plant a garden. And I do hope to have a real garden again one day. Fresh homegrown tomatoes. Sugarsnap pea pods bursting at the seams. Dainty carrots. Yum. Way better than anything at Costco.

Anyway, I got carried away with nostalgia there and I almost lost sight of where I was going with this post.


Fastforward life. Wikkiwikkiwhizzableebleep.
My omelet from this morning


The sole plant I have in my balcony garden is a basil plant (just made basil, red pepper, mozzarella, spinach omelets for breakfast this morning!) unless you count the lavender plant, but it is fading quickly and I mean, I don’t eat lavender. I would love to have my own garden and my own fruit house and eat my grandpa’s free-range, grass-fed beef but I can’t.


I am not sad that I don’t have a chicken coop. I’m sorry, but living chickens are filthy and disgusting. I do not wish I had a milk goat. Goats are also gross and smelly and I think you’ll remember how I feel about goat products.

Cal helps my mom transplant seedlings for her garden
So, I have no garden or berry patches or wild game or livestock in my life at the moment, but I do live close to about five or six different Costcos.


Not too long ago I absolutely hated going to Costco. It would make me gag to think of it. I liked that Costco was a thing—that it existed out there in the universe and that because of its existence I could get toilet paper and laundry soap that would last for a year. But I abhorred walking into the place. The parking lot that takes a mile to walk through. The bright lights that are at least two stories above you. The windowlessness. The extra-wide carts. The dull cement floor. The wooden pallets stacked to the ceiling with apple boxes. The moms on missions that crowd everyone out with their heaped-up carts. The ALL-CAPS signage. People pushing in line at the sample table for the microwave eggrolls. The waiting in line for them to look at your receipt as you leave. I wanted nothing to do with it.

Fortunately my husband has been and is still in love with Costco. He does the Costco shopping. Actually, he does almost all of our shopping of every kind since I don’t drive. So he picks up the milk and cheese and…wait, there’s no need to make a list here, because we basically get everything at Costco now. Our list of things to not get at Costco has gotten smaller since having kids. We’ve learned the hard way that buying things like gigantic bags of potatoes or gallon cans of tomato sauce is not for us. Not yet, anyway.
The boys visit my grandpa's cows in Idaho

But Costco has also now become somewhat of a destination for us as a family. Most Sundays we go Costco after church or even (gasp!) instead of church and run the free sample circuit with the boys as we pick up ridiculous amounts of diapers, among many other things. If the circuit is a meager one then we will also buy a slice of pizza for afterward and sit there at the tables close to the only natural light peeking in through the front doors. The boys like going, so I kind of like it. Going more than once a week, however, would certainly be excruciating over the top.

Costco does sell some organic products, but is nice that we have several farmers’ markets close to us as well as a Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s that I can walk to. We supplement our Costco goods with them and when I want to spring for organic or use more exotic whole grains and such, I can do it easily.

I did not mean to wax so wordy. Hopefully the images made the post more palatable. Go forth and have an open mind about Costco and harvesting your own produce.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pool Wars I and II

This summer there have been two pool wars.

The first one was so horrendous, so heinous, so traumatic, that no photographers were able to capture a single picture of the incident. According to alleged eyewitness accounts, the timeline of events went something like this:

POOL WAR I

1.    Happy, excited parents get ready to take 2 year-olds, who liked the pool last year, for their first swim of the season.

2.       Parents load said 2 year-olds into the stroller and stroll over to their clubhouse.

3.       Children are chatting, talking about the pool and swimming.

4.       Children are divided up, one per parent, and ushered into separate dressing rooms.

5.       Parent 2 hears shrieks and screams coming from other dressing room as Parent 1 attempts to wrangle Child 1 into his one-piece floaty swimsuit doo-whopper.

6.       Parent 2 tries to wrangle Child 2 into the other one-piece floaty swimsuit doo-whopper and hears eerily similar shrieks and screams in the process.

7.       Flustered parents make their way out to the pool, dragging tear-stained Children.

8.       The scene: A father and his two happy sons frolic in the perfectly blue water and two willowy women of leisure recline with chunky sunglasses, discussing yoga and wine-tastings.

9.       Parents, thinking the children will calm when they enter the water, quickly enter the water, Parent 1 by way of jumping in and taking Child 1 in his arms, Parent 2 by carefully walking into the water from the shallow end.

10.   Childrens' bodies stiffen.

11.   High pitch shrieks of terror reverberate off the white pool deck.

12.   Parents talk calmly, exchanging panicked glances with each other, trying to comfort and soothe the monstrous creatures writhing in their arms.

13.   Foreign exchange student lifeguard shifts uneasily in her chair.

14.   Happy young boy swimmers offer Screamers their kickboards, hiding their shock at the sound level reached.

15.   Women raise waxed eyebrows.

16.   Parents return Screaming Monsters to the deck.

17.   Parent 1 jumps in the water, showing Screamers that he is fine, that he is having fun, that nothing bad is happening to him.

18.   Screamers start gagging they are crying so hard, “Daddy get out!”

19.   Daddy gets out.

20.   Screamers huddle together for comfort, still shrieking, but calming slowly.

21.   Parents agree they cannot continue to torture their fellow swimmers and must leave.

22.   Parent 2 points out a spider on the edge of the pool on the way out.

23.   Both Children stop fussing and bend over to see the spider.

24.   Spider goes into water.

25.   Children don’t want to leave the spider and start screaming again.

26.   Parents haul Screamers out.

27.   Lifeguard chuckles awkwardly in Polish.

28.    Parents exit clubhouse and stuff children, now calm, into the stroller, still in their one-piece floaty swimsuit doo-whoppers.

29.   Children look at each other and say, “Fun pool.”

30.   War ends, Children having defeated Parents.

POOL WAR II

For Pool War II, which was a good solid month and a half after Pool War I, the parents were much more prepared for possible reactions and sought to minimize all reactions beforehand.

Children were shown a slideshow of pictures of themselves enjoying the water last summer as little 1 year-olds. This time the destination was a backyard and the pool was a blow-up pool with water maybe a foot and a half deep. There was temperature control. There was a lot of talking about the pool being a big bathtub. There were several toys to play with in the pool. The stage was set.

Upon time to enter the screaming began anew. Just as loud. Just as dramatic. Just as violent. It was neighborhood noise pollution in its most natural form. This time we did have a photographer on hand and so it is with pleasure that I present to you Pool War II, as a photo story.

Children watch slideshow of water fun last year

Brilliantly fun little pool

Drama increases as Children pace, wailing

After shrieking does not subside, Parent 2 enters pool fully clothed

Agony!

WHY?

I do not deserve this.

Okay, this actually feels kind of good.

Child 2 humors Parent 1 with shark face

Fun toys!

Can I slide down the tail?

No, but the car can!

I'm still not sure, but I think the Parents won Pool War II. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, those of you whose kids are normal like the pool, count yourselves blessed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Old Pictures

Last fall I had fun going through tons of old pictures and found some similarities between Brian and me and the boys. I just now stumbled upon them again.

Brian
Clark

Me (and Aunt Jane!)
Calvin
Everyone always says the boys both look just like Brian, and I think they do too, but I also see my side of the family in Calvin quite often. You can go ahead and tell me I did a good job finding parallel poses. Thanks.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lentils, Zucchini, and Spinach, Oh My!

Something has been revolutionizing my kitchen life lately. It started a week ago when I found a cookbook in the library. It’s called The Sneaky Chef to the Rescue and it’s all about sneaking nutrition into your kids’ meals through pureed veggies and fruit, and on top of that, it has unusual recipes for kids who are bored with regular sandwiches and other run-of-the-mill food presentations. 
Monkey Pancake batter
Sweet potatoes and carrots

I’ve been hunting and gathering vegetables and fruits in order to make the purees and then be able to try the recipes.

The other day I mixed up tuna salad with some sour cream as well as mayo, and added a pureed mix of sweet potatoes and carrots. Scrumptious! The boys ate it just as well as they eat regular tuna salad on crackers. They’ve had it several times since then and so have I.

This morning I made Monkey Pancakes. Here’s what’s in them: whole wheat and white flours, wheat germ, pureed carrots and sweet potatoes, bananas, and some baking powder, salt, egg, and milk. 
Cal gobbles Monkey Pancakes

Sounds gross, right? But they were delicious! Calvin ate most of the batch, and I’m not exaggerating. Brian liked them but he wasn’t hungry when I was done with the pancakes and so he only got Clark’s leftovers. Cal ate a bunch, got down to play, and came back to eat more. I felt a little like what a spy might feel like after intercepting a top secret plan from the Russians. Or something. They had no idea they were eating vegetables that they typically refuse to eat on their own.

On top of the colorful veggie and fruit purees there is a lentil puree, a nut puree, a flour blend, and a better breading blend. Let the food processor begin!

I don’t want to get out of the habit of always offering them veggies and fruit in their natural forms, but for now I am slipping them in on the sly and I feel pretty good about it. It’s basically like dropping a couple tablespoons of fresh, preservative-free baby food into every meal you make. The purees of every color blend in naturally to foods and provide a spectrum of important nutrition.

cauliflower and zucchini puree 

I encourage any parent to use this book. Eating smashed lentils and blending your spinach with blueberries has never felt better.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Take Us Out to the Ball Game

Wow. There are so many things to write about! I’ll start with the most recent one. Last night we took the boys to their second major league baseball game this season. For a girl who grew up in Idaho with the closest MLB team being in Seattle, a days’ drive across the entire expanse of nothingness beautiful open country that is eastern and central Washington State, our proximity to professional baseball to put it mildly, makes me smile a lot.  

We can decide in the morning or early afternoon to go to the game that evening and hop in the car when Brian gets home from work and be in downtown DC walking in the gates as the first pitch is fired across home plate. Goose bumps. 


When I was young there were two ways to experience a game:

1. Drive to Seattle for the weekend, stay with relatives or in a hotel and go to the game (getting there when the gates opened for autographs and batting practice). The next day we would do something like walk downtown by the Space Needle, Pike Street Market, the first Starbucks, marvel at buses with Ken Griffey Jr. on the sides of them, and buy a souvenir.

OR

2. Leave at some ungodly hour of the morning like 5am, packed to the brim with carrot sticks, sandwiches, and fruit, and drive basically nonstop to the Kingdome (rest in peace) in time for batting practice and dinner and then drive home after the game and arrive at 4am. 

The first was the more pleasant experience, the second the more exciting.

Anyway, the Nationals are nowhere near as good as the Mariners were in the mid 90s, (1995 ALCS!!) but they have been making other teams in the NL East shake in their cleats winning more games this past month, have promising young players, a beautiful new park, and they are drawing some
fans even in the sticky weather.

I am so happy that my boys love baseball, even as 2 year-olds. They watch it on TV, they play it, they love to read books about it, and they do very well at the games. They watch the game and have their own little sayings. When a batter takes a pitch Clark says, “Don’t like it,” and when someone hits the ball he says, “Baseball player hit the ball SO far!” Cal says “Mans hit the baseball far!” When they aren’t watching the game they are watching the big screen, eating cracker jacks, flirting with the adoring women around them, drinking from their juice boxes, or pestering the guy below us to look at the pictures on his phone.


Last night we left early…it was a long game that that Nationals would really rather not talk about. When we left our seats it was 8-0 Nationals on top. When we walked out the gate of the park it was 8-6. When we got in the car and turned on the radio it was tied at 8. When we got home the Cubs won 10-9. On the upside, we saw the right part of the game and it seemed more like an American League game than a National League game with all that offense.

It is such fun to be able to give my boys these experiences. I sure hope they don't outgrow liking baseball.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cal-isms

Cal has been entertaining us with some great lines lately. Here are a few:

Lately the boys love to listen to the radio while we are driving. One time a few weeks ago Clark got a lot of attention and laughs for saying, after a John Mayer song, “I sure like that song.” We were in the car on the way to the store yesterday, and during a song I saw Cal lean over and touch Clark’s arm and look at his face searchingly. He said, “What do you say, Shark? Do you like this song?” I like to think he was trying to get Clark to make us laugh and not stealing the show, but he sure did steal the show.

Yesterday at home Brian was trying to get Cal to come over to him so he could get his diaper changed. Cal was playing hard to get so Brian instructed Clark to go get Cal and bring him to Dad for a diaper change. Clark, the one who always loves to be physical, ran across the room, put Cal in some kind of a friendly-toddler chest hold, and dragged him across the floor to Brian. Cal didn’t protest, and when he was down on the floor mid-diaper change, he said to Brian, “Sharky pulled me like a wagon.” There goes Cal again with his brilliant similes. As an English teacher and poet I couldn’t be happier to hear his cool takes on his world.

Curious and Cautious Cal with his Cousin at a Coop
Cal and I went on a date the other morning while Brian took Clark to the doctor. We went for a walk to town center (without a stroller!) and Starbucks and threw coins in the fountain. We sat outside the coffee shop on the bench while I prepared Cal’s juice box for him. I set my iced coffee down on the bench for seriously what seemed like two seconds, looked across the road for some reason, and looked back in time to see Cal come up for air after taking a sip of coffee out of the straw on my cup. He puckered up and looked at me, his nose all wrinkled up. “Kids don’t like it,” he concluded.

Today in the car I gave the boys each a cracker. Cal nibbled around all the sides of his, making it jagged and said, “It’s a star!” Again with the figurative language. Love it.

I'm including this picture of Cal and his cousin at a petting zoo chicken coop because I think it nicely captures his delightful mix of curiosity and cautiousness. Also it proves that he is like me because he called the chicken "yucky" on the way home. Maybe I prompted the response from him, maybe I didn't. I can't remember.
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