It seems to be one of those universal truths of parenthood that when you reach a frustration point sufficient that you break down, everything automatically gets better afterward. Maybe it’s because of hormone shifts. Or maybe it’s because when you break down in the presence of your kids, it puts the fear of God into them and they shape up. In any case, whatever the reason, it’s been a much better week. Michael gave up being stubborn about the toilet and is in full-on, extremely successful toilet training mode. Despite his lack of words, he’s even telling me when he’s gone. (It’s in the tone of voice.)
Last night when I was getting him back in his diaper for bedtime (hint: toilet training seems to work better if you just remove the clothes altogether!), I was nibbling on his nose, and he was giggling about it and signing “more.” By the time we were finished, I’d chewed on his thighs and belly and arms and ribs and cheeks and pecs. That giggling is more addictive than baby skin itself, and that’s saying something. And I thought back over all the times someone has countered my I’m-overwhelmed-and-all-these-tiny-kids-are-driving-me-crazy moments with You’ll-miss-these-days-when-they’re-gone. I said to Michael, “Now this I admit I will miss!”
(Because even chewing on 4-year-old Nicholas, when he permits it, just isn’t the same. Boo hoo.)
This weekend is Christian’s birthday, and that means ice cream pie. On the way home from choir practice this week we were discussing what flavor he’d like to have in it, and we got to talking about a really interesting/funny thing that happened the last time we got both our families together. We had two choices for ice cream. One was black raspberry-dark chocolate, the other was some chocolate peanut butter concoction. As we went around the table asking who wanted what, every single person in his family asked for the raspberry-chocolate, and every single person in mine went for chocolate peanut butter. In my own little family, everyone went for chocolate raspberry except me, because I don’t like chocolate and fruit together. Now there’s gotta be a whole study in nature vs. nurture contained in that anecdote.
I got stung by a wasp last week and it itches like the dickens.
So we realized this week that there are six Avengers and six of us. Halloween is decided. Now we just have to settle who gets which hero. Exhibit A: A few Christmases ago my mother gave Alex an Iron Man helmet that talks when you touch the “ears,” and when you put that with the well-worn Iron Man costume, it has become hot property in the house. Exhibit B: The other night we were watching the final battle scene from The Avengers. The Hulk appeared and flung his arms out and went, “RRRRROOOOOOOAR!” Nicholas leaped off the couch, flung his arms out and yelled, “RRRROOOOOAR!” And then Julianna flung her arms out and went, “RRRRAAAAAAAHR!” which was the funniest thing of all.
Meanwhile, Michael was in the corner like this:
The best part? Well, there are two. #1: We cannot convince him to put it on any way but backwards. #2: He sticks both hands out, palms flexed, as if he’s shooting pulses or rocketing. This kid is only twenty months old, people. That just makes me laugh!
We found out this week that Alex has been accepted into EEE, which is a sort of gifted program done through the public schools. He didn’t make it in the last time he was tested, so I’m pretty thrilled, because I’ve heard nothing but glowing praise of this program.
Okay, to end on a more serious note. Christian and I participated in a book study at our parish this July. The book was Matthew Kelly’s The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Aside from wishing he’d stop wasting words saying the same thing three or four times in a row, it was a very interesting book. 7% of Catholics do 80% of the work in any given parish, his surveys indicate, and those people have these traits in common: methodical approaches to prayer, study, generosity and evangelization. So he outlines them and suggests ways to incorporate them in our own lives, with a long-term goal of engaging others so it becomes 8% instead, and thus increase what our parishes are able to do for the world. This week we wrapped up with a really good discussion, and I’ve got something percolating in the back of my mind. Stay tuned.
(So maybe this post wasn’t mostly Michael, after all…..)