Oct 27, 2007

Stinky Lips

10/27/2007 — cori
Every morning when my dear, darling daughter comes to snuggle in bed with me the first thing I'm greeted with is, "Mommy, you have stinky lips."

Thank you, dear, for stating the obvious. And every morning, we have to explain why our "lips" stink, even though we brushed our teeth before bed. I think stinky lips sounds more appealing that bad breath anyways.

Of course, Chloe is immune to the stinky lip syndrome. She can't possibly imagine herself, a 'real mommy' and 'princess' ,ever having something so yucky as stinky lips.

Oct 26, 2007

A Good Day

10/26/2007 — cori
What constitutes a good day around here? How about setting a goal and then accomplishing it? Bennett did just that and I have to say, I am super proud of him! This was his goal:

We made a chart of all the chapters in his phonics reader that he needed to read. My son is highly motivated by outside influences. I'm hoping he's just still too young for intrinsic rewards. Even though this went against what I was hoping to instill in him (learning something new for the sake of personal pride and satisfaction and to know you can do it if you try), the same character outcome was achieved - much to my surprise.

He gained a new love of reading which before seemed to be more of a chore. He gained a sense of self confidence which before was a sense of inferiority since his older brother could read and he couldn't yet. He's gained a love of learning which before was a sense of procrastination. He begs me to sit down and do his workbooks with him. It is an odd day when I don't find him sitting down with Chloe trying to teach her something he just learned. All this was accomplished by a silly little sticker chart with a costume as a 'prize' at the end of it.

This is what you get if you are Bennett and you just accomplished what you previously thought was impossible:
My son: The Ninja. I can't tell you the multitude of thanks that was lavished upon me. He now knows the effort it takes to earn something, the joy in a job well done, and the sense of satisfaction when you complete a task. It is good day indeed.

Oct 21, 2007

Taking Risks

10/21/2007 — cori
I thought it would be fun to do a sudoku puzzle with Gavin the other day. We sat down at the table and I began to show him the 'secrets' and 'skill' involved in being able to successfully complete an easy, mini, sudoku puzzle. I, myself, am still in the early stages of learning how to do these without throwing my pencil down in frustration. It's such an exhilarating feeling to complete a puzzle and actually get it all right. It makes me want to do it again and again. Honestly, they're rather addicting. Thus was my reasoning to introducing my young son to this clever form of entertainment (and math).

I walk and talk him through my puzzle. He totally gets it and is antsy for his turn to start. Finally, his turn arrives. He sits there and just stares at it. I wonder where all the excitement went. He tells me, "Mom, what if I mess up. I don't know exactly where all the numbers go." Duh! "That's the whole point" I tell him. I explain that this is a great way to learn how to problem solve and trouble shoot. I give a fantastic speech, highlighting all the brain benefits that this genius game has to offer my son. Yet, it doesn't seem as if I've convinced him. He replies to my over excitement with, "Ya, Mom, but I'm not much of a risk taker."

WHAT?!? Is this my superhero son talking to me? The one who walks on top of the monkey bars. Who climbs tree limbs too narrow and tall for us normal human beings. Who tries new foods or ways of doing things even if he's not sure he'll like them. Who picks up any bug he sees. Do you even know yourself Gavin? Not a risk taker...whatever.

Instead of voicing my true thoughts and feelings above, I give him the 'mommy' version, "Honey, if you don't feel you're much of a risk taker, then this is the perfect place to start. You can take a 'risk' by writing down the wrong number and then use this new fangled device called the eraser to eliminate any trace of your wrong choice. That's the best risk I've found yet." In other words, it's not that he's not a risk taker, it's that he doesn't like to be wrong. Big difference. But I have another mommy solution up my sleeve for that one too, "Honey, I WANT you to make mistakes and mess up, that's how you learn. How much better to make your mistakes around mommy where I can be there to help you and guide you on how to do it." I think that was the real lesson of sudoku.

Needless to say, he's hooked and taking quite alot of risk with his little eraser close to his side.

Oct 16, 2007

Tony Romo

10/16/2007 — cori
Bennett has been bitten by the football bug. Life will never be the same now. On this, almost his 6th year of life, he has come to the realization that such a game exists. He is attentive through-out an entire 3 hour game. He has even taken to wearing his Dallas Cowboys football jersey on game days - much like his father. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

I found this drawing on the white board one Monday morning:


He tells me, "This is Daddy's and my new superhero - Tony Romo!" Of course he is, Honey...why would I think otherwise.

Oct 12, 2007

19th Century Wisdom

10/12/2007 — cori
I love old books. I have a huge collection of them. I have learned so much by reading things written in the style of times gone by. I especially enjoy old school readers. One of my favorites is a book called "Osgood's Progressive Third Reader" that Gavin will read aloud to me once in a while. From this book,I have learned many a valuable lesson. I came across this beautiful story the other day and thought it was worth sharing. I hope you enjoy reading it:

Improve the Intellect
by Lucius Osgood, 1855

Look at the spreading oak, that pride of the village green! its trunk is massy, its branches are strong. Its roots, like crooked fangs, strike deep into the soil, and support its huge bulk. The birds build among the boughs; the cattle repose beneath its shade; the neighbors form groups beneath the shelter of its green canopy. The old men point it out to their children, but they themselves remember not its growth; generations of men, one after another, have been born and died, and this son of the forest has remained the same, defying the storms of two hundred winters.

Yet this large tree was once a little acorn; small in size insignificant in appearance; such as you are now picking up from the grass beneath it. Such an acorn, whose cup can only contain a drop or two of dew, contained the whole oak. All its massy trunk, all its knotted branches, all its multitude of leaves, were in that acorn; it grew, it spread, it unfolded itself by degrees, it received nourishment from the rain, and the dews, and the well-adapted soil; but it was all there. Rain, and dews, and soil could not raise an oak without the acorn; nor could they make the acorn any thing but an oak.

The mind of a child is like the acorn; its powers are folded up, they do not yet appear, but they are all there. The memory, the judgment, the invention, the feeling of right and wrong, are all in the mind of a child - of a little infant just born; but they are not expanded, you cannot perceive them. Think of the wisest man you ever knew of heart of; think of the greatest man; think of the most learned man who speaks a number of languages, and can find out hidden things; think of a man who stands like that tree, sheltering and protecting a number of his fellow men; and then say to yourself, The mind of that man was once like mine - his thoughts were childish like my thoughts - nay, he was like the babe just born, which knows nothing, remembers nothing, which cannot distinguish good from evil, nor truth from falsehood.

If you had seen an acorn, you could never guess at the form and size of an oak; if you had never conversed with a wise man, you cold form no idea of him from the mute and helpless infant. Instruction is the food of the mind; it is like the dew, and the rain, and the rich soil. As the soil and the rain and the dew cause the tree to swell and put forth its tender shoots, so do books and study and discourse feed the mind, and make it unfold its hidden powers.

Reverence therefore, your own mind; receive the nurture of instruction, that the man within you may grow and flourish. you cannot guess how excellent he may become. It was long before this oak showed its greatness; year after year passed away, and it had only shot a little way above the ground; a child might have plucked it up with his little hands; it was long before any one called it a tree; and it is long before the child becomes a man. The acorn might have perished in the ground, the young tree might have been shorn of its graceful boughs, the twig might have bent, and the tree would have been crooked; but if it grew at all it could have been nothing but an oak: it would not have been grass or flowers, which live their season, and then perish from the face of the earth. The child may be a foolish man, he may be a wicked man, but he must be a man; his nature is not that of any inferior creature, his soul is not akin to the beasts which perish.

Oh, cherish, then this precious mind; feed it with truth, nourish it with knowledge; it comes from God, it is made in his image: the oak will last for centuries of years, but the mind of man is made for immortality. Respect in the infant the future man. Destroy not in the man the rudiments of an angel.

Oct 10, 2007

Bennett's Dots

10/10/2007 — cori
This evening, Chuck and Bennett spent an hour and a half outside playing all things football - catch, tackle, running. It was pure heaven for Bennett.

As I was tucking him into bed he says, "Mom, I've got to show you something." He stands up to make the image more dramatic and shoves his leg in my face. "Look, Mom, I have the red dots of sickness." I tried desperately to not laugh. But I failed. I knew these were not red dots of sickness, just itchies from rolling around in the grass. I asked him to expound on his theory. He told me, "Well, maybe they could be chiggers."

Then Gavin decided to join in and tell me what Bennett was really trying to say, "Mom, I think he means chicken pox." Bennett is relieved that at least someone understands him and is taking his red dots of sickness seriously. "Ya, Mom, I have the chick pox" he emphatically states.

As I look over his little legs, I notice only little scratch marks from the rough grass. I pull him to me in a bear hug and tell him not to worry, that he doesn't have anything a nice little chewable Benadryl can't cure. He's pleased that I'm finally taking his illness seriously.

We can all sleep better now knowing that Bennett is cured of the 'red dots of sickness'.

Oct 8, 2007

Solution for Excess Mayonnaise

10/08/2007 — cori
During lunch today, Bennett educated Chloe in the finer points of ettiquette. This is the quick lesson Chloe received, verbatim:

"Chlo, if you ever get mayonnaise on your arm while you're eating, just rub it in. It's just like suntan lotion." Then he proceeded to demonstrate for further clarification.

Moments like these make me appreciate the multitude of wisdom he's accumulated over his short five years with us.

Oct 3, 2007

Adventures with Lipstick

10/03/2007 — cori
This is my sweet baby girl, who, the moment she wakes up can't wait to put on her 'brown yipstick'. She is intent on being a 'real mommy' right from the get go. Not that she has even once witnessed me do this. She even applies the lipstick all on her own. The image is priceless to me. That lipstick is all important. She feels that the only way it will stay on her lips is if she doesn't lick her lips at all. She also doesn't want her lips to touch so that the lipstick, in her words "won't disappear". Thus the reasoning behind why she holds her lips like this:

This is one of her more dramatic poses. I haven't been able to capture a still shot of her walking around the house with her casual 'model lip pose'. You know, the slightly pursed, made to look fuller and bigger than they really are so that your lips are accentuated look. Again, nothing she got from me. As you can see, she was born with a natural pouty lip and has practiced it so much, she has it down to an art form. She's a natural .

But my favorite part of the whole lipstick routine is the sound she is constantly making. I wish there was a way to insert a sound clip so that I could forever remember this. Pretend you are 31/2 year old Chloe for a moment and try this with me:

The lipstick is aptly applied - the more the better. Since you don't really close your mouth or lick your lips in order to preserve the integrity of the lipstick, you hold your lips in a slightly open, pouty fashion. But then you start to notice a problem, excess saliva starts building up in the inside of your cheeks. This spit is typically used to moisten one's lips -but not if you are 'real mommy' Chloe. So, every few seconds you slurp up your excess spit by inhaling air through that tiny little pout hole you've got going on near your lips. This creates a vacuum type sound. But you believe this is perfectly normal and acceptable behavior - afterall, you do have lipstick on.

Let me reiterate here: she has seen me do none of this. This is not imitated behavior, it is totally of her own doing...unless I've just never noticed myself doing it and the boys think it's perfectly normal since they think I'm normal and have never thought to mention it to me....I need to go ponder this...

Chloe you make my heart smile! I adore your pouty lips, the slurpy sound you make all day and how you do it in such a beautiful, innocent way. It is music to my ears and I hope I ncver forget it.

Oct 2, 2007

My Latest Super Hero

10/02/2007 — cori
At dinner last night, the kids ask me, "So, Mom, who's your latest super hero?" I was unaware of the fact that the kids thought I spent all hours of the night and day dreaming up the powers of a new superhero like they do. I didn't know that was in my job description. This is just casual dinner conversation, mind you. I would highly warn anybody who plans to ever have dinner with us to be prepared for this line of questioning.

I successfully evade giving an answer on the grounds that I can't talk with food in my mouth...that buys me some time. I don't even know where to begin, my mind draws a blank. There is zero creativity left in my brain by this time of the day. We're busy eating my creativity. But the kids don't want excuses, they want another superhero...think, think, think.

Then Bennett offers a possibility, "How about '2 Drink Lady' since you always have 2 drinks in the morning?". Hmmmm, I think to myself, not a bad one, but I'm not seeing alot of cool powers that come from just stating the obvious. I do, in fact, always have a cup of hot tea and a glass of orange juice in the morning - but, that one just doesn't do much for me. Daddy ends up shooting down the idea anyways. Bennett tries to defend his lame suggestion with, "But remember Mommy used to be 'Super Carrot Woman' cuz she always ate carrots. I was just copying that." Nice try, but we can do better than that in this house.

Chuck is certainly not helping matters by sporadically saying, "Come on Babe, what'cha got?" This isn't our typical, 'hello, welcome home from work, I haven't seen you all day' type of conversation I'm accustomed to. I'm suprised that he's throwing me to the wolves so easily.

Dinner comes and goes and I still can't come up with one viable option. Why did they ever have to ask me this question? Now it is going to haunt me until I can measure up to the high bar of superhero expectation set for me. We don't take superheroes lightly in this house - as if you haven't already noticed.

Later in the evening, I think I finally came up with one. I announce, "How about 'Decorating Diva!" Now it has to stand up to the 'test' . Not bad, Gavin admits, but he wants to know what noises or sounds I would make. What??? Nobody told me I also had to make superhero sounds! I told him my noise button was broken. Then he informed me that my latest superhero wouldn't qualify as such unless I could do tricky maneuvers on the floor (meaning roll around on my back and end up dizzy or bumping my head on a wall) and at the same time give sound effects (meaning weird noises only boys can do). I told him I was doomed - I can do neither.

I guess I will just have to learn to accept the fact that I will forever be a mere mortal living amongst a house full of superheroes - and I'm okay with that!

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