Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Stand By Your Brother

Gus and Owen have wrapped up their first year of preschool. They have "graduated" from the toddler class and will be entering the 3- to 6-year-old class in the fall. In the meantime Amy squeezed out two more weeks of child care in the mornings as we enrolled them in music camp and cooking class. Last week they played drums and guitar while grooving to Elvis & the Beatles. The jury is still out on which one liked the King and which one liked the Fab Four. This week they have made pizza and pancakes at cooking camp, and Amy & I are determined to have them working the grill by the end of the summer. After all it's hard work coming up with dinner ideas every night as working parents everywhere can attest.

Tess has started to roll over. She can manage the belly-to-back move pretty easily, and with some more effort she has started to roll from back-to-belly. One funny thing she has started doing is kicking the fish aquarium that hangs on the side of her crib to turn on the bubbles & music. Amy & I heard this a few days ago through the baby monitor and thought that she must have thrown a lucky kick into just the right spot. But Tess's good fortune led to determination as the past two mornings she has maneuvered her way over to the aquarium and to kick start her day with fish sounds.

The boys are really ready for a break from the schedule & routine of school. I think it will be good for them to enjoy summer and the relaxed schedule that always accompanies it. Meanwhile their vocabularies continue to expand as they throw together some sentences that make us as parents do double takes. Gus's new thing is "Dad, you are a crazy old man!" which is now commonplace around the house since his first exclamation of it drew such a laugh from Amy and me.

Another thing that we have noticed emerging is Gus and Owen's protectiveness for each other. Last night the boys were rolling around the front yard with their friend Logan, rough-housing and tumbling over each other. All of a sudden Gus stood up and had enough:

"Logan! You! Get! Off! My! Brother!!"

Logan was a bit stunned at the command and limped back to his mom for some reassurance. Apparently only Gus is allowed to beat the snot out of his brother.

In another incident last week at music camp the boys reported back to us that they were not fans of a little boy, Ben, who was also attending the camp. Gus explained that he was not happy at all with this Ben for taking his drum away from him. Amy & I inquired of Gus how he reacted to his drum being taken. Did he use his words to tell him that it was his drum? Did he hit Ben?

"No, I didn't hit him, but he is not nice."

Amy & I smiled at each other and were thoroughly pleased as we are constantly working with the boys to share their things and to work disagreements out by talking rather than cold-cocking when they get mad. So next we turned to Owen.

"Owen, did you see Ben take the drum from Gus?"
"Yes, Ben is not nice."
"Did you use your words to tell Ben that it was Gus's drum?"
"No, I hit Ben."
"Oh. You hit him?"
"Why did you hit him?"
"'Cos he took my brother's drum."

Well 1 out of 2 is not so bad. We'll get there.

Amy & I are gearing up for a big family weekend. GJ, Pappy, Aunt Mel, Uncle Dude, and Corinne and all the pups will be making the trek to North Carolina for a few days of R&R. The boys ask us every morning if it's Friday -- they are clearly looking forward to the company. It will be a good break for us as well as Amy has really been surfing the stress waters with all her responsibilities -- work, 3 kids, husband, house, more work, etc. etc. We hope to have one of those weekends where nothing is planned and we can turn the kiddos loose outside while the adults enjoy a few happy hours on the patio marveling at their energy. Should be a great time.


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