a day in the life

0640 — Harry wakes me up by smacking me in the face. At some point in the night (2:30? 4:30?) he woke up and I brought him into our bed and nursed him back to sleep. I try the same again to gain myself a few precious more moments of rest, but he’s having none of it. Instead, I content myself with smiling sleepily at him while he yanks on my hair, chews on my pillow, and babbles away to me.

0700 — Jesse’s alarm goes off and the day is on. I get dressed and washed up while J is treated to Harry’s antics. Then it’s his turn. A change from the norm, I get Harry dressed right away. He dug his face in his sleep and he’s got blood on his sheets and his sleeper, so I’ll do wash right away, hoping to have his bedding dry by nighttime. (*I’ll later regret this, when I change his clothing four times throughout the day.)

0720 — 2 cups of coffee, a brief check of the e-mail and news, and then Liam is up. We all have breakfast together.

0800 — Jesse leaves for work. I nurse Harry while Liam plays.

0830 — School time. Liam does one page from his math book. He asks for more, but he’s quickly distracted by an impromptu game of dinosaur tag. Harry is entranced with his first pair of shoes. He seems to love the way they taste. Chew away, pal. That leather is the closest you’re going to come to eating real meat.

0900 — We sit down at the computer for another exciting adventure with the Super Why gang. This time the story is Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Liam keeps stopping the story and asking me to say the words on the screen without the vowel. He finds this hilarious, and is getting so he can identify the “open” vowel sounds in pretty much any word. Harry sits unassisted on the floor playing with a bead maze. Shoes are soggy but still on his feet.

0927 — In preparation for today, I found several online versions of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Liam’s favorite thus far was this saccharine-sweet movie from 1958. I read him this version, and we still have plenty to choose from in the coming days.

1010 — We made “porridge” — aka Cream of Wheat, since Harry ate the last of his this morning. This was the first time I actually let Liam work at the stove with me. He did all the measuring and pouring, as per usual, but was especially excited to get to stir something on the stove. When it was finished cooking, we added in some of the homemade applesauce Jesse put up last fall. Then Liam settled down for a snack of dried fruit. During this time, Harry was practicing knocking over block towers, chewing on and cooing through a plastic funnel (???), and trying to figure out how to propel himself forward to reach some toys just out of reach.

1040 — Harry’s in the sling helping me do chores — hang laundry, straighten up, etc. Liam opts to play Sorry with the dog. I don’t know how, don’t ask me.

1130 — Lunchtime. Liam has his usual peanut butter sandwich and finger vegetables. I get the brilliant idea that it’s high time I let Harry play with some food, in the hopes that some of it makes it to his mouth. Two minutes later, I vow never to do this when Jesse’s home, as he might just have a coronary when he sees such a mess being made. Two minutes later than that I’m ready to have a coronary. Surely Liam was never this messy?! Two minutes later, Harry is fed up with playing and wants FOOD IN HIS MOUTH, YOU HEAR!!!!! STOP EATING THAT *&$$^ SALAD AND PUT SOME FOOD IN MY MOUTH NOW!!!!!

1155 — Strip Harry out of his now-orange (sweet potato) clothing, pop in a movie for Liam to watch, and head upstairs with the ravenous baby. We lay down in my bed so he can nurse.

1210 — Extricate myself from the now peaceful, sleeping child. Where’s the rabid animal from twenty minutes ago? Gaze longingly at the warm, cozy indentation next to him, and recall fondly the days when I used to get a nap, too. Downstairs, I get a quick cuddle with Liam. Leave him to watch a few more minutes of television while I clean up the mess that is our dining area and take care of some dishes. Guiltily wonder if I use the television as a babysitter. Shrug and have a much needed coffee, and sit down to watch with him.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur. We were too busy living and doing to keep a blow-by-blow account. We played, I went through a few boxes in the attic, Liam “helped.” We made rainbow colors with food coloring and water, with Liam guessing what color we would make by mixing different colors.

Two minutes after this photo was taken, all the water was the color of mud, because he decided to mix them all together. But he had fun, and it was an easy clean up. No complaints.

Lots going on around here as of late. So much, in fact, that I haven’t had time to blog. Good stuff, mostly. Except for Thursday, when Liam was apparently possessed by an evil spirit intent upon destroying my sanity. We were able to exorcize the wicked entity, however, and peace reigns once more.

relaxing with Dad in the living room…

Jesse and I had a pretty non-eventful week. Right now our weekends are spent working around the house. This morning we had the alarm technician come and explain how the alarm worked, had the system maintenance done, and scheduled some further work we want done. The man seemed very nice, and once again I was surprised to find my French up to the task. There were a few things he needed to rephrase, but overall I kept up quite well. The alarm system itself has a few glitches we need to work out. For example, when we came home from a brief outing today, the sirens started blaring the moment Jesse walked into the house. We either need an alarm panel immediately inside the front door, or a delay built in so we can make it the fifteen-second walk to the garage to disarm the system.

Come to think of it, we both worked our backsides off today. I cooked for the week, did all the billing I’ve been putting off for a month, and did the emergency-we-have-people-coming-over-cleaning because we have people coming over tomorrow. Jesse mowed the lawn, fixed the shutter, trimmed the rose bushes, and the hundred other things that go unnoticed.

And we get to do it all again tomorrow.

Harry updates: Harry’s first tooth is firmly established. I’m sure it’ll show in a picture sooner or later. Also, it seems that overnight he’s suddenly decided to start eating. For a time there I was pretty sure I’d be one of those women breast-feeding a five year old. He decided, at about seven months, that maybe real food would be okay. He loves cream of rice and cream of wheat cereals, pear sauce, and applesauce. Oh, and he thinks peaches are the best thing ever. Bananas and carrots, however, are apparently as appealing as cod liver oil to him.

trying to get a picture of Harry…

an actual picture of Harry…

Liam updates: Liam and I are really beginning to settle into a pattern with his schooling. I think we’ve found a good balance — enough actual “school” for me to be able to track and show progress and feel like I’m doing what I ought to be, but still plenty of time for playing, exploring, reading, and just being a boy. I’d say our actual school time takes less than an hour, and it would take even less than that if someone wasn’t such a slowpoke.

For maths, I went ahead and bought Singapore Math. We started with Singapore 1A, which Liam is breezing through. I’m limiting us to just one page a day, so math is never a chore or a battle. At 4 years old, I don’t really think any specific curriculum is necessary, but it makes me feel better to have a good resource in my hands to follow. Math is not a strong point for me, and I want to ensure I cover the basics solidly with our kids and get them off to a good start. We’re also doing lots of “living math” — playing Sorry, Shut-the-Box, Go Fish, Memory; counting the flowers in the yard, the tiles on the floor, his Matchbox cars; measuring ingredients in the kitchen; and so on.

We also do phonics every day. We’re using PBS’s “Super Why.” Those of you lucky enough to live in the states get this for free. We paid 20 bucks and got it from I-Tunes, money well spent. Liam enjoys the stories, practices air-writing his letters with his own magic wand (an antenna busted off a radio control car control), sounding out the words, etc. For those that may know the show, he is Super Why! He likes to reenact the shows and he always gets to be the superhero. We also use Starfall, a great resource. Between these, refrigerator magnets, and coaxing him to sound out the occasional words in simple books, we’ve got phonics covered for a while.

We read throughout the day, of course, but Liam now understands the term “literature,” and we incorporate some really good books into our day. Now that we’ve started “Super Why,” I’ve been finding good versions of the fairy tales et al they refer to on the show. This last week was “The Tortoise and the Hare.” So I found multiple versions of the tale online for us to read through, and a couple versions at the library. Comparative literature at 4 years old, eh? Liam’s favorite version is the one found here, probably because the detail given allows us a much more animated telling of the story.

Art, science, social studies, etc., are just subjects that occur throughout the week. I don’t feel at this age a need to schedule and cover certain topics. Right now Liam is into dinosaurs, so we look them up in his DK dinosaur encyclopedia, find info online, etc. This week we Wiki-ed (is that a term?) “tortoise” and “hare” to find out more about the animals. Liam also made his very own tortoise and hare:

the Hare…

the Tortoise and the Hare…

Given that I have pretty much ZERO artistic ability, and only slightly more creativity, I thought we did pretty well!

Liam: Look at this plate-asaurus.

Me: Do you mean stegosaurus?

Liam: Ummm, it’s really a stegosaurus, but I don’t know what stegos are. I’m just a little boy. But I know what plates are. So I’ll call it a plate-asaurus. When I’m an adult, I’ll call it a stegosaurus.

my cute kids

Just a couple shots of the kids, because they were so beautiful today.

Harry, sitting up and being oh-so-proud. The pillows look much more fluffy and supporting than they really are; they’re just there to keep him from bonking his head on the tile floor. That’s one perk for kids growing up in the states — chances are they’ve got wall-to-wall carpet to cushion the blow.

Yes, they are both in need of a haircut, but isn’t brotherly love a wonderful thing? Liam can make Harry laugh at will. Right now it’s Liam that’s laughing, because the instant before I took this picture, Harry knocked down his stacking cups with great fervor. Is it my imagination, or does Harry already have a here-comes-trouble glint in his eyes?

In the 60-odd seconds between the last picture and this, Liam managed to crack the left side of his face into the corner of our fireplace. 60-odd seconds after he cracked the right side of his face on his construction set. He has matching bee stings under his eyes. Jesse’s gone to Germany for two days — when he comes back he’s going to think I beat his boy.

Iguanadon Museum

Liam’s version:

Yesterday we goed to the museum about the dinosaurs. They had an iguanadon. An iguanadon has a spike for a thumb. See, spikes everywhere right through you. You’ll soon see if you ever mess with me! We saw an iguanadon at the museum; it was big and the white one was small (1/10 scale copy). It was black, dark. The ribcage moves the belly around so you can wiggle-walk and do this (jiggles around the room uncontrollably). It’s also there to protect things like the heart and the lungs. It had a long tail. It wouldn’t be able to fit in this whole room! Iguanadon’s used his pinky fingers to pull plants out with them. He was an herbivore.

Mom’s version:

I’ve been promising Liam I’d take him to the Iguanadon Museum in a nearby town for weeks now. Yesterday, despite a poor night’s sleep and innate laziness, I finally packed both kids in the car and made the trip. I didn’t tell Liam where we were going, just in case they were closed or some such thing. You should have heard him when he finally realized where we were going. The breathy, excited giggles made my day. Of course, that was nothing compared to getting inside and seeing the fossilized skeleton of a real dinosaur.

The kids with the Iguanadon. The largest find of Iguanadon fossils actually happened not a twenty minute drive from here, in Bernissart, Belgium. The area was heavily coal-mined, and miners discovered what turned out to be about 30 complete skeletons, plus bits and pieces of many others, and other species as well. At the time, in the late 1870s, these were some of the first dinosaur skeletons to be found intact. To learn more about Liam’s latest obsession, turn to Wikipedia.

The rare Liamasaurus Rex. Scary, isn’t it?

Liam: Mom, remember Stephen Hawking? His body doesn’t work anymore, but his brain is incredible.

I’m a little scared that I might be raising a genius (or two). Yesterday Liam surprised both Jesse and I when we were sitting down to watch a new film none of us had seen. When the title screen appeared Liam said, drawing it out, “Around the World in 80 Days.” And then later, when the word “Paris” appeared on the screen he piped in, “They’re in Paris now.” Chances are he saw the Eiffel Tower or something to tip him off to the latter, and something most likely prompted the former. Still eerie, you know?