Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Paging Doctor Dan

Danny may need to lay down his lasso and pick up a stethoscope. His diagnostic skills certainly surpass those of his parents, as we learned last night.

Danny had a very active day, particularly in the afternoon. Grandpa showed up, which jolted Danny into overdrive. He proceeded to run around like a maniac while Clare was in her gymnastics class, so much so that by the time we got home he was hoarse and obviously tired.

He ate some dinner, during which he announced that his cough was back (back from several months ago), and then looked very accusingly at Tim (who has, to be fair, been laid up with the flu and then an allergic reaction for a solid week). Tim apologized profusely, Danny pitifully agreed to forgive him, and then asked me if he could go to bed. Okay, sure!

He then began giving me instructions for setting up his humidifier. Because, you know, his cough was back. Mind you, I had not heard him cough once. So Tim and I laughed, and I told Danny that I thought a good night's sleep would suit him just fine. He proceeded to ask me for his humidifier for another five minutes or so, but finally realized I was not going to relent and cheerfully headed up for bedtime.

At around 11 p.m. I was suddenly aware of some strange sounds coming from Danny's monitor. I would hear him mumble something, and then make seal-like noises. I really thought he was pretending to be a seal. And then I woke up further and realized he was probably not playing. Sure enough, I opened his door and he was crying to me, "My cough is back!" and then making those atrocious sounds that only the croup-afflicted can make.

So, Danny and I spent some time in the bathroom with a steamy shower running. My sweet boy cuddled with me on my lap and at one point even apologized for waking me up! Meanwhile, Tim set up the humidifier in Danny's room, and we got him back to bed. He slept fine the rest of the night, and today is a chipper chicken. We can't even tell if he remembers last night's episode. He must not, or else we would have surely heard those four little words: I told you so!

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Tale of Two Valentines

Sometimes the opportunity to compare the differences between Clare and Danny is irresistible. The valentines they chose to make is one such example. Succumbing to her love of arts and crafts, Clare opted to make her own with some great supplies we found in the Target dollar spot. She had scalloped paper printed with different variations on the theme of hearts, pink and red. She added to this lots of love phrases, and she painstakingly used stencils to write "Love, Clare" on each and every one with a fancy silver pen.

For his part, Danny was very excited to go to Target to select his valentines. There was quite a selection to choose from, too: Toy Story, Cars, Spider Man, Transformers... But once he locked eyes on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, featuring a bad-ass, black-clad ninja on the cover, there was no going back. Because really, nothing says "love" like a man in a black hood. And I have to say, the opportunity for him to give his dad a valentine that said, "You're a true ninja" really was priceless (at least for them).

Yes, they are very different, but at the end of the day both exceptionally sweet.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This is How Tim and Danny Passed the Snowy Morning

Drawing lots and lots of pictures of ninjas and knights (and amusing himself where Tim could).

Behold Danny's work:

And one of Tim's fine pieces, titled "Breast-cancer-aware Ninjas vs. Environmentally-aware Knights"

Bitter Cold

So yeah, the ATL got a bunch of snow yesterday. I grudgingly admit that it's gorgeous...but it's also a sight that really makes Tim and I do a double-take every time we look out our windows. An activity, might I add, that I am doing far more frequently than I would have liked. You see, as I write I am supposed to be in Copper Mountain, Colorado with three of my best friends from college. A girls' weekend, full of skiing, and Euchre, and, well, not being a mom.

But here I am, writing this in between fulfilling requests for more cereal, another episode of Dinosaur Train, or listening to yet another explanation of what Clare is doing in her room. The snow yesterday wreaked utter havoc on the airport, so ultimately my flight was canceled (but not before they strung me along until 40 minutes before scheduled take-off). And I know I owe it to my family to take the high road, conceal my bitterness and basically just suck it up. Which I will do, I swear. But man, it would sure be a lot easier to do that if I could actually leave the house for a bit. Icy roads, you can feel free to thaw any minute now. Really. My family is begging you.

In the meantime, here is the view from the front of the house:

And here's the view from the back:

I realize this pales in comparison to what our friends and family in D.C. have experienced lately, but it sure defies our typical impression of Hotlanta!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

No Passing Fancy

Several weeks later, Danny continues to be devoted to his Playmobil knights. Of course, nothing fuels a passion like having one of your very best friends similarly engaged. Parker received a bevy of knights and pirates for his recent fourth birthday, so a playdate was clearly in order. Fortunately it went well, as the above photo demonstrates.

However, Danny (who has demonstrated more than once that his sister does not have a monopoly on dramatic outbursts) is not nearly as interested in playing Playmobil with Clare. Any other game or activity, he is typically begging her to play with him. But knights, not so much. Case in point: This morning, when she awoke and came downstairs to find Danny peacefully playing with his knights, Clare knelt beside him and attempted to play. Danny immediately grew fussy and informed her that he wanted to play by himself. I scolded him and told him to share, at which point he said, "But if I do, I'll be doomed!" Clare and I instantly dissolved into gales of laughter, and also ignored him, prompting him to burst into tears and repeat over and over, "I'm doomed! I'm doomed!"

Oh, Danny boy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Budding Author

This past week was "Catholic Schools Week." In between things like "Silly Sock Day" and the like, CKS takes the opportunity to recognize each student in a morning ceremony (usually two grades at a time, so we parents aren't subjected to a program that runs too long). Last year, we discovered that the Kindergarteners were grouped into three categories. So while they did indeed call Clare up individually, she was just one of several kids who received the "Understanding" award. Therefore, I wasn't expecting too much from this year's event. I was pleasantly surprised.

This year each class had a distinct award for every student. "Curious Scientist," "Golden Rule," "Miss/Mr. Manners" are some examples. There were also awards for "Super Spellers," "Avid Readers" and "Bookworms." When Clare was not designated with one of these reading titles, I began to wonder just how well her teacher knows her...or if the competition in her class is stiffer than I realized. But then Mrs. Roux called out, "Clare Seymour, our Budding Author." In my totally biased opinion, I think that's even better! Her teacher went on to say (as written on the certificate), "Clare writes her stories with great expression and creativity." Yes, my chest was puffed out just a little.

If she would get around to finishing them, I think she already has two bestsellers in the works. One is a story wherein Katie Kazoo meets Judy Moody at the park. Those Grey's Anatomy/Private Practice crossover events have nothing on this story concept! And for the testosterone-driven, she's working on a story that incorporates ninjas, knights, dinosaurs and Darth Vader. James Cameron, give us a call.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Little More Conversation, A Little Less Action, Please

Last night Clare uttered the dreaded phrase, "You just don't understand!" Not so much uttered as sobbed the words, actually, quickly followed by, "You just don't understand anything I say!" Several hours later, I'm still horrified that we got to this point so early in her life. Did I expect to hear this in her pre-teen and/or teen years? Yes. At age six? Not really.

Consequently, I've been thinking long and hard about why we got to this point, and if our relationship is doomed to a downward spiral. (Okay, so her penchant for dramatic conclusions might be hereditary.) It was obvious to me, even before she fell to pieces, that Clare was very, very tired last night. This is not unusual on a Tuesday night, given that she has Irish dance class on Tuesday afternoons, preceded by gymnastics on Monday evenings. On top of this, yesterday she went over to the Kings' to read for her Mustard Seed project after Irish dance. With such a schedule, anyone would be tired. And I know Clare is not alone in the fact that when she is tired, she is grouchy or overly sensitive, or both. (Imagine if you will, then, her reaction when Danny responded to her outburst by later saying, "Clare, that was really weird when you cried.")

For the record, I quietly but firmly informed Clare that she was being very disrespectful and that I would be willing to discuss her issues with her once she calmed down. (I also informed her that she would be going to bed soon. It was 6:45 - and she didn't protest.). My sweet girl was clearly mortified by her response, and later very sincerely apologized to me and explained that she was tired. As I continue to think about this, I wonder if I owe her an apology, too. I want her to experience a variety of activities, but isn't it disrespectful of me to get her scheduled to the point of agonizing outbursts?

I realize, of course, that exhaustion, conniptions and general emotional anxiety are part and parcel of any child-parent relationship, no matter how healthy. But I think I might be falling down on the job a bit when it comes to doing what I can to minimize them. After all, I want to understand what Clare is saying, but I often find myself too busy to stop and really listen. I guess I should go sit and read the book Allyson just loaned me, Crazy Busy. As soon as I finish this, and the listings for the magazine, and the solicitations for the auction... Hmmm. Should I look at my own schedule first?