Sunday, November 14, 2004

Another 2 birthday party weekend. Aidan had school off Thurs & Fri - and Quincy ended up getting off on Fri as he got all teary eyed and quivery voiced at the thought of going to school when his brother got to stay home (guess who told him all about it?). Friday twin boys from Aidan's school had their party at a "local" playground which has recently been renovated meaning has all the cool play equip like the spiderweb and xmas tree thing. They even had Gayle come and do music with the kids - she goes to both boys schools and both of them really like her - usually. Here at the party they pretty much only played with each other and when Gayle was there they took it as an opportunity to play on the equip at the other end of the playground where they had the place to themselves. I was a bit disgusted. Party #2 was Theo - old best friend from Miraloma. It was at Theo's house and there were not very many kids - Ella, Theo, Aidn & Lillian from Miraloma, Kai neighbor, Margaret & Jamie from new school (and old friends). Worked out great from Aidan's perspective. They had pop rock things and Theos Dad did colored smoke bombs outside much to the kids fasscination. Guess what color smoke you get when you have blue bomb next to yellow bomb? Then came Strawberry Teardrop - a clown. Karen the mom told me about 10 more kids had beeen invited and I have to say it would have been a positive madhouse should they all have attended! There were lots of balloon things she made - mostly "swords" as it turned out - by request. Oh well - they are all in a violent mock fighting phase - what can I say.

My kids are still all about "the bad guys" and jail and what dastardly things they can do to the bad guys. Aidan being the worryer that he is once asked me "but there aren't any REAL bad guys in this city are there? Or maybe just one?". I dont remember if I blogged about our trip back east but we got to listen to 20 min monologues about what they would do to the "bad guys" - I remember Aidan would pour maple syrup in his eyes so they would stick shut... then there was something about making them dead and mixing them up in a bucket and then throwing them in jail. Hmm. I am considering putting down as one of my elementary school choices (which I would probably get) Harvey Milk - it is very close and several friends who go love it - and our local principle's kids go there. One of the things making me hesitate is that 60% are bused in from the really poor parts of town - where kids really do see some horrible things by bad guys. I am not sure Aidan will be up for hearing about any really bad stuff. The school is really warm and inclusive and one of the small schools where teachers know everyone, they have morning circle with the whole school, all spend time with the PE Coaches learning about takign responsibility for self and various self-esteem building things, paid art teacher, salad bar 2x a week (only school to have - and I have to believe may be only time some of these kids see fresh fruits & veggies). They also say their own pledge of allegiance to the world instead of america which i really like. And the fact that the kids do get bused out of there neighborhood means that their parents do care and want something more for them - they could be going to their local school instead. We'll see - I still have some research to do on this school and many others.

The last few days the kids have been playing "kitty" (altho Q already had been pretending he was one) and concurrently "mommy & baby". It is pretty funny to watch mommy Q comforting / hugging baby A. Lots of high pitched talking and meowing. I think part of this game was started with our visit to Thomas on Thursday - he has been into mommy & baby since adoption of baby sister Ella is imminent. In fact they left Thurs around midnight for China. Should you want to see more visit altho I guess you need username etc - if interested let me know and I'll forward them via email.

The boys have also been very into building "Forts" this week. Altho guess who does the actual building? Yours truly of course. At least they are pretty easy to clean up and have the benefit of not having lots and lots of little pieces of things all over the house.

I set up a Kindergarten blog for use for people from our coop and Aidan's school in their search. I am hoping that people will share impressions and pepole actually with kids there will share their experiences. So far 1 friend wrote me back a long email with her thoughts - I then cut and pasted it into site. And 2 others have made comments. I really get annoyed sometimes how if you want something done you have to do it yourself - and even then participation is so hard to come by - several people thanked me for it and have looked at it but of course haven't actually made any comments themselves. I send out alot of emails on our listserve at the preschool and sort of feel like they don't even get read anymore - or people just arent' interested in helping out etc. I just furnished our new Break Rm / Office. Some people seem to love it, some people don't understand why we didn't use all "free" stuff (I bought stuff from IKEA). It is a really tight space and I spent alot of effort to try to maximize storage and usage and have it look nice on a tight budget with of course no help - so I do'nt really want to hear any comments about how else it could have been done. Put up or shut up.

Pete is trying to get our 2 indoor kids to go outside and enjoy our nice weather this weekend. Ha ha!

Yesterday I left the top of the car open abit. When we came home I threw on my vest. Upstairs I felt something in my shirt and reached back and got stung! I thought I had brushed it out but didn't see anything on the floor so after a moment or 2 I took my shirt off and saw a bee crawling around in it! Yikes! My first ever bee sting - it hurt off and on most of the evening. In my shirt in my home.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

the test email does indeed allow others to add to your blog.
I like the addition of pictures to your blog, now that google owns blogger pictures are free unlike the old days when you had to pay...
looking forward to Santa Barbara with the family... Rob T


Just wanted to see if this new feature works.

Do you Yahoo!?
Check out the new Yahoo! Front Page.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

sporting our new tie-dye efforts Posted by Hello

Quincy, Aidan, Thomas & Ellie Posted by Hello
I compose mental notes to my blog quite often. Too bad I don’t get around to typing them up!

Tonite I went to a Day of the Dead exhibit downtown with a friend. A friend from school was doing a performance piece on pregnancy loss. She with 2 others were doing about a 7 minute repeating piece. There were quite a number of other artists’ installations ranging from very personal traditional alters to one with tens of white shirts hung down each with the name and location of death of a local man to a moving one of the dead in Iraq on a video – the faces just flew by in the one corner of it. Some were quite beautiful. Nice to be out and doing something not school related! I put in quite a few hours helping my friend Val do the environment for their piece – we glued feathers from down pillows onto two 8’ x 10’ walls and did a variety of other things including nailing branches to the walls and gluing handmade birds nest to the branches. It was great to see how it all came together with the performance. When they weren’t there Val had a repeating audio of women telling of their miscarriages. I had helped out with that and also recognized quite a few of the voices – some their stories, others just reading from quotes Val gave us.

Since I finished helping Val I’ve moved on to spending the 3 mornings Quincy is at school without me looking at Kindergartens for Aidan. SF is a lottery system and theoretically we could go to any school in the city. The reality is that we wouldn’t want to – either school isn’t any good, location isn’t any good, or it is a good school and only 6% of the people who apply get in. We all get to put down up to 7 choices – and 84% of folks last year got one of those choices. Sounds good until I realize that out of about 20 people I knew 4 or 5 got assigned either nothing or something that wasn’t on their list. They all ended up in schools that worked out for their kids in the end – just a few anxious weeks or months while they waited.

I have been thrilled with Aidan’s new school Eureka Learning Center. He is in their Transitional Kindergarten program – 8 boys and 8 girls with birthdays ranging from March of ’99 to Jan of ’00. Some kids are in it because they have fall birthdays and will go onto private schools that have summer or Sept 1 cut offs. Others are their as they have social, emotional or academic reasons to not be ready for kindergarten. It is a really diverse group in terms of abilities. One little boy has some real anger management problems (and others) and yet reads at the 3rd grade level. He can be a really sweet kid – or scary. Aidan had 3 others from his preschool join him there. Twins Henry & Zoe and friend Sashi. None of them were particularly close friends at Miraloma but Henry to my shock immediately became his new best friend. Henry is much louder and more boy than Aidan and Aidan has been reveling in it to some degree. Aidan is slow to classify kids as friends and only invited one other child to his party in late October – his little girlfriend Ellie. She is a really nice girl and teacher Laura tells me that they have really elaborate imaginary world play that they enjoy together. Apparently both with her and Henry the play is really verbal which is great for all of them.

We have had concerns about how Aidan can get so “wiggy” as I like to call it with new situations or large groups sometimes. But he has just dived into these new experiences at school. He so clearly was ready for the challenge of something new and the academic component. We just had our teacher conference and I was surprised to hear that he was very good in “math”. She said he has been really strong in the pre-math skills such as patterning and he has great attention to detail and good retention of what he learns. All good to hear. She said when they were sorting keys most of the kids were sorting into silver vs brass – but Aidan went at it by different size holes etc. Says he notices a lot. They do a lot of different kind of projects to capture all the different kind of learning styles. Most work comes home but several pieces make it on the wall at school too and it is nice to see that Aidan tends to be one of the better performers although not really a surprise – he is good at doing what he is told and he has pretty good small motor skills.

Thursdays Quincy & I pick up Aidan at noon and we head out for a nice Vietnamese or Thai lunch before heading down to Redwood City for soccer class. Soccer 30 miles away may seem crazed but it works for us. Aidan did 12 weeks last fall of soccer. I spent the first 4 running around the field holding onto his hand. Not fun! Then he got into it and once he forgot he was scared or whatever and got engaged he did great. He has some natural ability and is competitive enough that he gets in the pack and goes after the ball with relish. But he told me enough was enough and he didn’t like running after the ball so we put away our shin pads. This summer he was counting down the classes until he didn’t have to do Acrosports any more – Thomas stopped coming this summer and he was in a different coaches class – someone he knew (and was better IMO) but different. He always acted so scared to start class but then once he got running he forgot and was clearly having a good time although he wouldn’t really admit to it. Anyway – Thursdays are our day for the kids to spend some extra time together and for us to see Thomas for the last regular time probably ever. In the morning after we drop Aidan off, Quincy & I head to Acrosports. He is at the stage when he loves it. He is one of the older kids now and clearly ready to move on to the next class – which he will do in January when he is 3 years old. He is so eager to do it all and actually works on making things harder or more challenging as we go. One day he decided to do his rolling up hill. Other times he’ll take things backwards. He is such a happy little guy that it is really fun to take him.

Quincy started school mid- September. I had assumed that since he knew Miraloma so well and always loved going there that school would be an easy transition for him. HA! He was so sad the first couple of weeks and didn’t understand on my teaching days why I couldn’t be at his side. It was really rather heartbreaking. He spent at least 45 minutes one day on the ladder by the fence just watching after I left. Fortunately like Aidan he is a pretty winsome kid. The teachers all tell me how they really like having him in their group / do their project / how much they like him etc. And now he is back to his normal happy self, singing to himself, starting to interact a bit more with other kids. The Director Moira was really happy this week that he finally wanted to sit on her lap at circle time. He is getting comfortable. It is nice too that his friend Lillian is there MWFs too. She misses her mom and has really sad moments – but she used to when I babysat her too but always snapped out of them quickly – she doesn’t bounce back as fast now. But she and Quincy do pal around some. Quincy surprises me how well he knows everyone’s name – Aidan didn’t. But so far Lillian is the only one he will acknowledge as a friend. He does the daily project most days now. I am glad to see that as I know from past experience that often the boys especially won’t do the project unless directed to. – and the morning program doesn’t direct kids toward projects like the afternoon used to. Despite how incredibly well I thought I knew the school, the morning program was a transition for me too. Funny enough but I have now been paired with Anna Scanlon – my first teaching partner my 1st year there – Friday afternoons and new we do Monday mornings. I enjoy her company quite a bit so it is nice to be with her although we both have pretty similar artsy/crafty interests and sometimes it is nice to teach with someone pretty different from you (ie who likes to play ball with the kids outside).

At a mid-July Board mtg this summer the Enrollment Coordinator was talking about how many families were pulling out due to lack of potty training. I began to get nervous – here these folks were pulling out and I hadn’t started with Quincy! Yikes! I won’t go into TOO much detail. I had started Quincy in the spring with some potty awareness stuff – reading some books (he liked), buying a little potty he could sit on (a couple of times), standing him at potty occasionally etc. So one Saturday late in July I decided we had to force the issue. Pete & Aidan headed off to a party. Quincy and I got on with it. After about 4 hours and 6 changes of clothing I was beginning to despair. He didn’t seem to have any control or time between piddling in his pants – and I knew he went several hours typically in the morning with dry pull-ups so how could this be?! So at one point I remember just deciding naked on the wood floor was the way to go. And him begging me to put on his diapers! Later in the day he was washing his hands after some pee accident. I was reading a book out in the hallway. He was in there a LONG time – but he likes to play with the water. Then I see him running out with a cup full of water in his hands – not OK. I go in to check on things. Uh oh!! He had done a poop on the wooden puzzle stool. He proudly told me that he was trying to clean it up. And he was. Too bad our sink barely drains and he was trying to stuff it down the sink and also to wipe it up with the bath towels. WHAT a mess! I couldn’t yell at him though because he really was trying hard to do the right thing and clean it up. It was a pretty awful day. It actually did seem to work pretty well however and within a week or 2 he was down to just 3 changes of clothes or so a day. I was aiming for pee training as he usually pooped in the evening and I figured I could get away w/out the poop training. Of course today is November 6, 20004 and he had at least 3 accidents in his pants. Normally however he is pretty dry. He actually poop trained himself when we were traveling back east in late August. Before he would tell me that it wouldn’t come out on the potty etc – he was scared about it or something. He is much more private than Aidan – who always wanted company when he was going (still does). Quincy would have me put him on the toilet in public restrooms then tell me to go outside the stall and shut the door. He takes a while so it wasn’t the most fun but could have been worse! He’s only come home with different pants on 2 or 3 times from school. Not bad. In general (although not today) he only gets a tiny bit of pee in his pants then runs to the bathroom. Lillian I remember all summer had no idea how to stop it when she had an accident – what a mess! Quincy may get a bit soggy at times but rarely do you have any puddles to deal with. OK – enough of that topic!
We had Aidan’s birthday at Miraloma this year. He informed me that next year’s should be there too – so I think he liked it! It was actually a soggy day so we were just inside. We actually had a bit too much scheduled. I had made a ghost and the kids helped me glue napkins to it and I cut out eyes & mouth for a ball toss game. I also had some fish I had cut out and put paperclips on for a project I did once at school (and kept afterwards). So we had a little “fishing” going on. The kids were all so happy to see each other (mostly ex-Miralomans) that interestingly they didn’t play with the school toys. We did a little blindfolded “pin the leg on the spider”. Pete was down on “pin the” games but I know the kids always seem to like them (and perhaps expect them) and it was popular as usual. Pete did a little “magic” show for the kids – he did a great job but they were a tough (and numerous) crowd. Val really helped us out with the party (thank goodness!). I had a nice variety of food and the very decorated homemade white on white train cake per Aidan’s request. We also had Aidan’s first train piñata. As usual it took an adult whacking at it to get it to give up the goods but was enjoyed by the kids. Pete is a good ringleader and had all the kids nicely sitting down on the mat waiting their turn at bat. Our finale was to hand out “treasure maps” where they had to find their goodie bag treasure in 4 different locations (oh yeah – when they arrived they picked out their goodie bags and colored them). Aidan had also wanted to open his presents at the party – and with him at the helm even moving really fast (for him) it took a long time to get through half of them. Quincy is quite eager for his birthday to come and has been busy telling me which of Aidan’s presents he wants one of etc. He is having a joint party with cousin Ellie at Acrosports and is quite excited about the idea. Ellie on the other hand has yet to even hear about it. The difference when you have an older sibling!

Friday, June 04, 2004

I ask Quincy 1st thing after he wakes up “what do you want to do?” “PUZZLES!” is often the reply these days. I bought a box with two 20 piece Thomas The Tank Engine puzzles in it. The kids love to do them and that seems to be Quincy’s primary choice. He loves trains. Aidan does his in nothing flat but Quincy does a good job with his too. I got out a 100 piece puzzle that Phyllis once gave us – it is Bill & Hilary Clinton in the picture “American Gothic” (dressed up as farmers with pitchfork in hand) and Aidan made pretty short work of it – I did sort it into colors for him first but he put them all in place by himself.

Quincy is loving Acrosports these days. He just goes thru with a grin on his face. He is ready in some ways for the next class up although he isn’t old enough – he still struggles to “jump” – or rather put several jumps or hops together and move forward – Aidan was the same although he started jumping a few months earlier. Aidan was also a whiz at the balance beam from 18 months on – Quincy hasn’t mastered it or have a comfort level with it. Quincy likes to challenge himself in ways that Aidan (or the other kids) don’t think of – a week ago Quincy chose to go over the horizontal ladder (about 2’ off the ground) BACKWARDS. Quite interesting to see. He is doing really well at “Circle Time” following the coaches lead / directions. In my opinion Aidan has always really wanted to PLEASE. Quincy I think wants to do it right – but not to make me happy. He lives more in himself and is MUCH more comfortable with being alone and self entertaining (birth order?). He is also a natural joker and loves to be funny. Aidan on the other hand was a natural flirt – and still quite good at it.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The kids have a new game. “Meeting”. Seems to involve all possible “friends” (stuffed animals and the like – sometimes trains & tow trucks are invited). So far I think it has always occurred in Mom & Dad’s bed (involving covers being completely disheveled and often leaves behind little sand granules under the covers). I don’t think too much more than that happens although it is a popular game that is played at least once a day for at least a half hour. I haven’t been invited to a Meeting you see… Mommy heads off to Meetings at school at least twice a month (and tonite I am about to head to my 2nd of 4 meetings this month not including “graduation” next week). Daddy also heads off to work and we hear about his meetings. Interesting to see the interpretation – I think the kids have more fun than Mom & Dad have!

“Give me a hug ladybug!” is a popular phrase right now. I think Pete coined it and the boys embraced it. Quincy is pretty adorable when he runs up and with arms up asks for his hug ladybug! I remember a year or so ago Pete was always a bit disgruntled at the lack of attention his comings and goings received. He has to be happier now. The kids almost always wave bye out the window after a big hug.

They had 4 or 5 weeks of “Kindergarten Club” at school recently. They have the graduating kids once a week play Kindergarten. They have to sit quietly and respond to their name being called and then are given a short project to do. The first week was a self portrait using a mirror to see themselves. They then had to color and cut out some shapes and then paste them down on top of same shapes on different page. Aidan was so so on that one. He has one of the clearer written names. His person was middle of the pack or slightly better. One project was to do Dot To Dot around a bird and then color it in. I personally liked his the best. The last was to listen to the story Swimmy and then draw a picture about it and do a little dictation about picture to the teacher. He did a nifty job there too. Just lately he has really started using multiple colors (previously pictures were very action oriented – he narrated whole thing – and all in one color). Now pictures seem to be more conceived and carefully executed – although still quickly done usually. Now they are practicing a couple of songs for Graduation which will be May 23rd at 11. I am helping out with making some pantyhose and wire coat hanger butterfly wings for kids who don’t already own a pair (like us). They have turned out quite nice and are very pretty once painted with the sparkly paint by the kids. Aidan is really proud of his. I am also making Antennae out of elasic headbands and pipe cleaners for the kids (I got about 8 or 10 kids to do their own on Friday). But I think the upshot of all this has been a bit unsettling to Aidan. He just wants to go to the same kindergarten as his best buddy Theo. He knows he will be going to Eureka Learning Center and Sashi and twins Henry & Zoe will also be going. They are all fall birthday kids – this will be a year of Kindergarten but in a very small setting – class of 16 with 2 teachers. And almost all the kids then go on to repeat Kindergarten at the elementary they get into. Aidan has started telling me he doesn’t want to go to school. And he doesn’t see why he needs to go to several schools for the next 20 some years.

The best quote was last week “I wish Quincy was my twin. Then we could go to school together, and come home together…”. They really are such good buddies these days and when they have both had enough sleep (and food) they play really well. Quincy is quite advanced (IMO) for his age in certain things as he gets lots of practice with Aidan – building train tracks (linking the wood tracks), building towers / buildings / vehicles from various block sets we have, imaginary play – it is quite involved with little figures speaking various things and seems much more creative than Aidan at that age – probably because it is often led by Aidan at this age. He is great at puzzles. He comfortably does 12 piece true jigsaws and can and often does them by himself although he does like an audience. Sometimes he likes to say “Does it go here? No! Does it go here? No! Silly ME!” Aidan was always better than many of his peers but true jigsaws came a bit later I think – he was very good spatially but sometimes didn’t look at what was on the picture that clearly so when the pieces all looked pretty similar… I just got him a little “mini” puzzle with 50 pieces – I think it is 5”x7” – the pieces are the size adult puzzles come in. He did it with a couple of suggestions from me the 1st time, completely independently the second time. The next morning he did it for Daddy. We were timing him and it was exactly 20 min which happened to be what I set the timer for. It was pretty impressive watching him – he did it pretty much just like a big kid would and completely by using the visual clues obviously.

This morning I heard Aidan leading a game. “I’m pregnant! I’ll have a baby come out of my tummy. Got to go to the hospital. Here come the legs! Now the tail! Now the whole body is out!” And just like that a stuffed zebra was brought forth from under his shirt.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

I thought I should share some of our recent activities. I was particularly amused by Easter and leads ups to it. For some reason Easter really captured Aidan’s attention as something coming close to Christmas – did the Easter bunny always know what we were doing just like Santa Claus? And a week or so ago – How does Santa get down off of the roof? And I know how he goes up the chimney {how} by putting his finger by his nose. He so truly believes at present – what fun. He and Quincy have been practicing their bunny hops up and down the hall. He can do a standing jump 3’ long. He also hops over the train track quite a bit – and sometimes his brother… Quincy loves to practice his hopping too – I have far from natural bouncers here – other kids have been making that trampoline at Acrosports go up and down like crazy from their start at 18 months. Quincy was over 2 when he figured out how to do a 2 footed jump – and he can’t put them together yet. He does a mean Seat Drop however. And very nice forward rolls. He also led the way in hands free off the sofa rolls at Cousin Ellie’s house onto the sofa cushions on the floor. Soon imitated by all.

I haven’t gone into any of the religious aspects of Easter and have just talked about it in terms of a spring celebration – hence the eggs, bunnies etc. Aidan really wanted my Friday before Easter school project to be Easter or bunny related. Instead I thought we should make birds nests (for eggs to go in). I had an early chiropractor appointment then the kids and I hit a median and picked up a few bags full of sticks and grass and other natural debris. Then off to walk to lunch with friends Theo, Lillian & mom Karen – she watches Quincy for me now when I teach and I watch Lillian on Thursdays. At school I had the kids build their nests in paper bowls “since we couldn’t take home trees” you know. They were also allowed to cheat and use glue to hold everything. They all received a plastic egg of their choice (with 3 jelly beans inside) to take home in their nests. It was a fun project.

On Saturday we awoke to a nice sunny day (apparently the fog rolled in midday) – by 11.30 we were on our way south to Redwood City and our 1st brunch and egg hunt of the weekend. Ahhh. Up in the low 80’s, brunch on the deck, a warm swim for all afterwards to work off a few of the calories before the dessert course. Sarah had each kid find different colored eggs in the garden – about 5 or 6 maybe per kid – a couple with chocolates and others with small toys, and a couple presents besides. My kids were liking this Easter thing. We left around 5.30 only to shortly afterwards stop off at a park/playground for a little bit before stopping at a bar-be-que place. Home at 8.30 or 9. Exhausted kids! Aidan started to get a bit worried about the Easter bunny visiting his home while he slept and requested sleeping in our bed. Pete told him that the Easter bunny didn’t come right until dawn so no worries. I worked diligently at stuffing quite a few eggs – either 2 jellly beans or 3 chocolate covered soy beans per egg – or a small rubber animal or car. They got about a heaping tablespoon of candy each – poor deprived children! Also small chocolate bunnies from Sees Candies. I spread eggs throughout the house – some right under Pete’s nose while he read – he had no idea! Too funny. In the morning Aidan woke up first – and I think maybe I was in with him or I was already awake. Pete went back to sleep with Quincy in our room (Quincy had already come in in the middle of the night). Aidan was very excited to see eggs and was busy scooping out their locations all over the place – but was OK about waiting for Quincy. When Quincy woke up 45 min or so later (he had had to go w/out his nap the previous day after all) Aidan was very very cute – he tried to give Quincy helpful hints on where to look for eggs. No desire to gather them all to himself. Quincy just very earnestly asked when could he open his eggs?! Quincy tends to stall at about 3 eggs – wanting to open them and eat or play with the innards and we have to remind him he can put them in the basket and gather more…

We then had to hustle a bit as we were due downstairs at 10 for another hunt. John & Kerry have been hosting Jake & Kazayah from next door for years. There were 10 eggs per kid in the backyard – some quite hard to find although others in plain sight. They set a beautiful table as usual – complete with Royal Worchester (?) Beatrix Potter figurines. Fruit salad followed by warm cinnamon buns. Good eats. The boys all headed back outside to play for a while after eating. Fortunately! Kazayah started opening her eggs – they were all STUFFED with candy. I decided to liberate my kids of some candy and left them with only one or 2 pieces each. Then it was time to head off to Cousin Reiffs house where we were supposed to show up at 11.30 (joining a gang of 27!). Phil & Julia really have party hosting down – she is 8 months pregnant and makes it all look so easy. They had rented a couple of tables and all tablecloths and dishes – which all can be returned dirty! What a nifty plan. Yummy food as always. My contribution was a tart from a new cookbook – actually 2 tarts stacked – a pecan nut one on the bottom topped with the chocolate truffle filling. Rich. We also had our last (4th) egg hunt of the weekend. Phil hid the eggs – and let me say he was by FAR the hardest bunny! Eggs were NOT visible – you had to dig inside bushes or stand on parent’s shoulders. But with enough help they were all uncovered.

We of course have been trying to limit the kids candy intake. I had bought them a count down chocolate calendar from Trader Joes – a deal at 99 cents. One chocolate each morning in April until Easter. That was quite a hit. Aidan is diligently asks before eating any of his egg candy (I think they are just about done with it all now a week later) – and I think he doesn’t think about it except that he sees Quincy diving in. Quincy is smarter – he doesn’t ask (as we often say “not now – after dinner/lunch/tomorrow” – he just opens and eats. He is much more secretive about his escapades than Aidan (who broadcasts everything he is up to). One day we found Quincy with his hand inside Aidan’s piggy bank (paper mache pig – Quincy made the hole a bit bigger…) – he was mining for change to put in HIS froggy bank. I have also caught him several times having dragged up a chair and opened the drawer where we keep loose change – for the same reason of course.

So Easter weekend was a big one for the kids. They also received their fleece blankets grandma Thompson had sent their way. Every night since they have insisted that they must sleep under those blankets (although Aidan is long enough that he pops out the bottom end so we add a blanket at the bottom). That led us into Spring Break week. We joined some school friends at Crissy Field on Tuesday – a remarkably warm and sunny day after all. Wednesday we joined quite a lot of school folks over in Oakland at Fairyland – although we mostly hung out with Theo & family. Thursday we had a stay at home and play with our brother and toys day while Mom struggles with ESPP tax implications for hours. The boys really needed some downtime and playtime together. Friday we headed over to hang out at Cousin Ellie’s house – Julia is now a stay at home mom. She made us very nice paninis for lunch… We got home around 1.30 – Quincy was about to drop from so many missed naps. I managed to persuade Aidan that a nap wouldn’t be so terrible. I grabbed maybe an hours rest and the boys were down for THREE hours! Wow. I got a lot of stuff done around the house – some countertops that hadn’t seen the light of day in 6 months or so got cleared off. We had to get ready for Saturday you know…

Saturday Nanma arrived on The Big Plane. I had a haircut scheduled downtown mid-afternoon and Pete had the idea to head to Coyote Point Museum (very near airport) so I was left behind. I got the place in reasonable shape for the cleaners and then cleared out. A beautiful day in the mid 60s. I decided to head down to the Ferry Building where the Farmers Market was going on. Such a great location on the water and a beautiful remodel to the building – and great produce – much of it organic – and several cafes etc. I grabbed some English Shelling Peas (the kids love them) and a few other things before sitting down overlooking the bay to enjoy my beet, candied walnut & feta salad. I topped it off with Cabernet Blackberry Sorbetto and Mocha Chip Gelato. Yum. Nice to have an afternoon to myself. The rest of the gang enjoyed a Thai lunch and the Museum – they got to try honey from their bees even! The kids passed out late afternoon on the way home although Aidan’s nap was short. They managed to make quite a large train track out the bedroom into the hall before dinner was served up. Aidan couldn’t wait for Quincy to wake from his nap – so they could blow up Nanma’s bed on the floor for acrobatic time.

Today, Sunday, we made plans to meet Aunt Ginette back at the Ferry Building. Too bad it has been grey and a bit drippy all day. We still had fun as it involved a train ride. And Aidan got to start out with some of the local artisan cheese and bread followed up by an hour of a singer/songwriter performing in a bookstore there – with full kiddie participation. It was really just our 2 and 2 other kids for most of the time but they had fun. Sunday is Garden Market day so we bought a couple plants and I got some more yummy organic strawberries and some organic veal shanks. We tried out a new restaurant there too which was good. The kids have enjoyed having the afternoon to their own imaginary games though here at home. They played train for a while. Then pretended to sleep (complete with many blankets and animal friends). Aidan has this past week been very interested in giving hugs – especially to Quincy. He is quite cute and asks him first if he can give him one – but he does this at least ½ dozen times a day! They also played “heading off to the office” – had to hug everyone goodbye and grabbed the car keys and pretended to leave. Well, that is probably more than anyone wanted to know about our past week! Bye for now.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

So time passes… A random quote from Aidan a couple days ago while riding in the car “Sleeping Beauty is a story. And girls like it VERY much”. And at Valentines cards when I was attempting to get him to hand do 30some cards for kids at school “I’ll use pink. I hate pink but girls like it very much”. Then a couple days ago I asked him the standard “who did you play with” question – knowing “Theo” would be answer one “I wanted to play with Jenna but it was show and tell time so we couldn’t – we were going to play Baby but no one wanted to be the baby”.

Quincy is quite the little song bird these days. You should hear the Baa Baa Black Sheep and Twinkle Twinkle at the top of his lungs as we cart through the grocery store – audible from aisles away… I taught him Old MacDonald a few weeks back. He picked it up immediately and sings it often as does Aidan – I think we hadn’t sung it in a couple of years! He also just sings and hums gently when he is playing by himself – I remember Aidan went through a real singing period too. Quincy is much much louder than Aidan at the same age – but he and Aidan egg each other on until you can’t hear yourself think. Quincy is (I think) quite sophisticated in his make believe play (again compared to same age Aidan) – and uses little people and animals and has them talking and doing various things – pretty much playing along at a similar level to Aidan.

I think we are finally out of the Separation / Stranger Anxiety phase with Quincy – Aidan never really had it and Quincy had it for a very long time (big tears when Mommy left him with sitter etc). Amanda Salamanda just got an afternoon job with a preschool – which means I lost her as my sitter for Quincy on my Friday afternoon teaching day. Fortunately Theo’s mom Karen was willing to take him on – she has a 2 year old as well – Lillian – who is a couple months older than Quincy and who will also be starting at Miraloma in the fall. We have often gone over to their house after school for an hour or so as they live ½ block from school so Quincy was comfortable with them. They have a very yappy dog Zapf who used to really scare Quincy. Now Quincy seems happy to see him and waves hi to him and says “hi Zap” and was even petting him the other day. Last week was the 1st time we tried it out. All was going pretty well until the Director pointed out that Aidan’s eye was really pink – I had seem some goo in the corner of his eye in the a.m. but man was it ever pink at 2 o’clock! So we ended up being banished from school mid-afternoon so we took Quincy away with us as he hadn’t fallen asleep yet and dumped him at home with Pete (who was working at home) while we headed off to see the Dr. But yesterday all was well and he did fine with them and both he and Lillian took 2 ½ hr naps. I will try taking Lillian one afternoon next week and see how it goes. She’s a pretty together little girl with no fears so I don’t imagine any troubles. Theo on the other hand is a very timid kid – he is a full year older than Aidan although you would never know it as he is only an inch or so taller and slight like Aidan – and they have always seemed very similar in their play and general developmental level.

Quincy is pretty easy to put down for a nap – although he always tries to deny he needs one. When we get home from school he always tells me “do puzzle! No take nap!” But I say puzzle AFTER nap and off we go. Unfortunately he often sleeps so long that he wakes up just in time to go get Aidan so no puzzles… He likes to try to do Aidan’s jigsaw puzzles. He is surprisingly good at them but they really are beyond his level.
By the way Quincy did come down with pink eye 2 days later – fortunately neither Theo nor Lillian did. Pete and I both sometimes feel like we may be but so far so good. We all have a cold – Aidan coughs a couple of times early morning and shortly after going to sleep and has blown his nose a few times. Quincy has been Mr Goo Running Down His Face for a week or so now – when it hits his lips he comes running for a tissue / wipe. He sometimes even grabs and wipes himself. Good boy! Pete and I are both miserable on the other hand. Pete is having sinus pressure and headaches – 1st time I think I’ve heard him complain. I am going on about 2 weeks now on verge of sinus infection with tons of crud. We have discovered the joy of Nyquil however and are both pounding it. A couple of nights ago I had my first uninterrupted sleep in – maybe 5 years? Quincy has started occasionally sleeping through the night (assuming he has eaten well all day and various other factors) – maybe once a week. Anyway – he did that night and I didn’t wake up once. Last night Quincy appeared in our room at about 3 a.m. – he had dog, pig, bear, zebra and a baby doll all with him. He had to line them all up on the pillow next to him. He is much more “nurturing” than Aidan ever has been and is quite cute with his animals. When we head off in the morning or to school he has usually put some of his animals very carefully on a pillow and covered them with his great-grandma blanket or grandma quilt. Aidan now sort of cares about animals too as he sees Quincy cares.

Christmas was fun with the kids this year. We were here for the holidays and Pop was able to join us. Aidan had been getting all primed up for Santa coming – he’s in the age sweet spot for that. Santa had the room all decorated (all by myself I might add!) and included a new kid-sized fold-up table and chairs and train set – and the stockings were a big hit. Quincy at some point realized that there was candy in some stockings – including the adult stockings – and he quietly started to raid our stockings. I quickly caught him. Aidan isn’t sneaky in quite the way Quincy is – Aidan fully and loudly announces exactly what he is getting into. The kids got some good new train stuff from various grandparents to add to the Santa haul – so Mom has had a great time building track lately and the kids have been loving all their new trains. Win win all round! I tried to be modest with my gift giving to them – but still between that and gifts from grandparents we were unwrapping for hours – they enjoy playing with their toys as they go so the pace is leisurely. Quincy kept Aidan moving forward in the unwrapping department. In the evening we headed over to the Eggerths to join the cousins for a nice dinner and a few more presents.

Christmas eve the boys got to go to church probably the first time in their memory. It was a lovely church, St James, for the evening family service – remarkable not at all crowded. The interiors were beautiful wood with candles everywhere. Predictably there was lots of singing and also we all got to light and hold candles. There was a period in the middle where the minister called up the children to have a musical “parade” around the church to look for baby Jesus to go in the crèche. Aidan didn’t want to go at first but ended up running up and joining in without any of us at his side – I can’t remember his instrument – a tambourine perhaps. Anyway – they looked all over and found a bunch of other characters for the nativity – but Jesus was no where to be found – until they got back to the front and found Jesus in the crèche… It was quite well done and the kids had a really good time. We ended up at Yummy Yummy’s for dinner (quite a few places were closed) – but we love Yx2 so that worked out well.

I continue to be a bit absurdly involved with school. I am still on the Board and I decided to organize a “Playground Committee” to try and figure out how to move our outdoors area forward – we need some better development especially for some of the older children. I had a couple of meetings at school during the Christmas holidays – and both boys came. Boy did Quincy fuss and kick and scream when school started up again and we had to leave Aidan at school and Quincy couldn’t stay too – he had gotten used to having the run of the place for a few hours. Luckily after I got the Committee up and going – and seemed to have no real help with the actual DOING (other than the brainstorming) – I was assigned a somewhat new coop family to have it as their family job – and they are great and are really taking it and running with it. There are several brand new playgrounds here in the city that we have been checking out – with nifty new equipment – some by the same manufacturers I first saw when we were “down under” – nice to see them here in the US as I really like it better than the “standard” playground equipment.

Before I sign off – one thing both kids gleefully like to sing “Trick or Treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat, if you don’t, I don’t care, I’ll pull down your underwear!” they then say “That’s not nice Froggy!” as they learned it from the Halloween one of the Froggy series books (a favorite with both kids). The book doesn’t say “that’s not nice” – but we do!

Today, Sunday, is a glorious San Francisco spring day. Flowers on the trees, about 70 or a bit more, no wind, no clouds. Pete took the kids to Golden Gate Park this a.m. and they biked from the car to the large kids playground. I walked down later from here and picked up some Mexican food from Zona Rosa on the Haight on my way – a big hit with the boys – all 3. Then the kids spent a good hour in the metal hexigonish structure – I’ll upload photos tonite to ofoto. A good day.