Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

So one of the side effects of being in a house full of boys is the fascination with all things violent. And deadly. And scary.  My boys are totally enthralled with things that would probably make most mothers gasp and feign disgust. Or, they may legitimately be disgusted.  Because watching a snake eating a alligator is pretty gross. And creepy. Don't believe me? YouTube it. I assure you I'm on some sort of watch list at Google because of the things that have been viewed over and over and over at our house.

When my boys wake up, whether it be from a nap or nighttime, they are immediately requesting something inherently violent from YouTube.  It is never something tame or sweet.  "I want alligators eating monkeys!" "I want alligators eating a watermelon!" "I want dinosaurs!!!!"  Seriously. I'm surrounded by boys. All boys.  And sometimes I cave, because laundry needs to be done. Or that room that has been collecting dust for two years FINALLY needs to be painted.  So, sweet innocent children, here's the iPad, with all your favorite Jurassic Park scenes.

Earlier this spring, the Dallas Zoo announced that they had partnered with Dinosaurs Live!, which meant dinosaurs were coming to the Dallas Zoo for 6 months.  Yay!! Put up the YouTube and let's go see these things in real life!  Paul and I had that same feeling you have on Christmas morning as a parent, or possibly the same feeling you have as a parents when you take your kid to Disney for the first time (for those brave enough to make that trek) - we couldn't wait to see the boys' expressions. Shockingly, however, when it came to our oldest child, there was no excitement or fascination.  It was simply fear. Complete and utter fear.  We have very few photos to commemorate those first dinosaur encounters because we were too busy chasing him.  I had no idea that kid was so fast. Because when Henry laid eyes on those things, that boy R-U-N-N-O-F-T.  We did manage to snag one video (just ignore that mean mama baiting the husband into getting a  reaction from Henry for the camera).

So instead of jumping to the extreme conclusion that our eldest was a total wimp scaredy-cat, we chalked it up to the possibility that the dinosaurs were huge and actually kinda creepy.  I mean, he did watch a T-Rex eat a guy huddled in a hut...

But that theory was quickly quashed, since it appears he's also scared of small creatures as well.

Clearly, my kids are very confused about the definition of the word brave.  Henry regularly tells us he's brave, but any child who's choking on his sobs over a baby snake is likely not brave.  And poor Walter... my sister is convinced that he has very good deductive reasoning skills.  If Henry is brave, as he so declares, then Walter must not be brave.  I mean, clearly.

So, because of incidents like these, this has become the summer of bravery lectures and discussions. We've had many discussions about animatronic dinosaurs (or statues, as Henry calls them), costumes, and things that are not real, like monsters in your closet (thanks a lot, Monsters, Inc.).  We've made some progress, although I believe Henry's bravery is going to be years in the making. Unfortunately, we've found that he will eventually cave under peer pressure.  Something to look forward to in his teens...

He also finally decided that the dinosaurs hadn't really moved since they arrived months ago.  So we got a few tentative photos.

And on our last visit, he decided to follow in his little brother's footsteps and fully ham it up.  Like I said, peer pressure.

In the meantime, we've also got a wee bit more brave when it comes to snakes.  Although it may have something to do with his Leonardo helmet and him being fully enclosed.  I bet he'd bolt if Paul took him out of the bike trailer.

But, as with everything in toddlerhood, for every step forward, you must take two steps back.  We discovered, after a few minutes on this fire truck, that Henry is now scared of fire trucks.  We have no idea why, and there is, of course, no rational explanation.

He is also scared of fireworks.  And people dressed in gorilla suits walking in a parade.  And dinosaur parade floats.  My mom was also recently showing him photos of me when I was his age at Disney World.  He is now terrified of the thought of Disney World, and has announced that when we go to Disney World next year, he will go to Grandma and Grandpa's in Pennsylvania. Sigh. But until then, we will continue encouraging our eldest to be brave.  Even if that means dragging him through the gates of the Magic Kingdom, kicking and screaming.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Walter's 2!

If I'm going to update the blog after a 6 month hiatus, what better way than to celebrate my little man's second birthday?!?

This baby child is such a joy.  He smiles from the inside out.  Unless he's hungry.  And then you need to sprint to the kitchen and prepare a meal of his liking.  Otherwise, prepare for immediate crocodile tears (it's like he stores them and always has them ready to go at a moment's notice!), wailing, and gnashing of teeth.  He likes chicken, spaghetti, ketchup, chocolate, candy, and fruit.  Sometimes fruit dipped in ketchup.  Sometimes lasagna. Sometimes beef. Sometimes broccoli (I suspect this is peer pressure from his older brother, who only eats vegetable and never fruit).  Sometimes rice.  Clearly, we're still working on the whole "balanced diet" thing.

His vocabulary is about 1/3 of what Henry's was at this age, but fortunately, Henry can interpret many of Walter's "words."  It's a skill of Henry's we regularly employ.  When Walter sings, he moves his head from side-to-side in the most precious way.  When we are leaving somewhere, he runs and gives everyone a hug and kiss without hesitation.  And by everyone, I mean everyone. Usually including the dogs.  When he kisses, he puckers up his big lips and will slime you. So be warned.  He actually enjoys being rocked (unlike my older one who likes his own space).  

He is OBSESSED with Henry. They are without question the best of friends.  They're attached at the hip all hours of every day, except the few hours each week at church when they are in a different classroom.  If Henry's doing something, Walter has to do it too.  This includes playing with the same toy, wearing similar clothes (heaven forbid I send Henry to school in a super hero shirt and not Walter), watching the same stuff, talking about the same thing, etc.

For some delusional reason, I was worried Walter wouldn't get the birthday recognition Henry does since he's the second child.  Not only did he get spoiled rotten, the celebration went on for an entire week!  It started with birthday doughnuts.

It was followed by a celebration at school.

This is what we call a sugar crash between parties.

We then went straight from school to my parents' house, where again, he was the star of the show!

We then threw a pony party for this animal-loving child.  The child continues to talk about the ponies, horse, bunny, and pig.  And fortunately, despite the snow 48 hours before the party, it turned out to be a gorgeous day with perfect weather!  We needed a redemption after our last 2 year-old party!

So thankful for such sweet friends who would come celebrate my sweet baby!


Henry demanded that Gigi take a photo of his dragon so he could see what it looked like.

A few days after his pony party, we boarded a plane for a spring break trip to Grandma and Grandpa's.  Which, of course, means he needs to be celebrated AGAIN!

We now sleep with this puppy every night.  Which means he gets kicked or knocked out of bed at least once a night, causing him to talk or sing. Every. single. night.

And as I did with Henry, I decided to conduct an interview.  Always a good idea when you have a child with a small vocabulary.

What is something Mama always says to you? [Silence, which is the opposite of what Mama is usually saying to you.]
What makes you happy? [Blank stare, followed by indecipherable mumbling.]
What makes you sad? [Ignores me completely.]
What makes you laugh? [Something not in the English language.]  What makes you laugh? Thomas!
How old are you? [Giggling hysterically over nothing in general. Maybe Mama trying to interview you makes you laugh?]
How old is Mama? How much?
How old is Dadda? How much?
What is your favorite thing to do? My [indecipherable mumbling] mama!
Who is your best friend? Thomas.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I wanna go get my book. Milk.
What is your favorite food? Cereal. [TRUTH.]
What is your favorite song? Spaghetti. [As in, "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese...."  I then proceeded to ask him to sing it, and he got to the second word before pointing to me and telling me to sing it.  Second children are quite demanding.]
What is your favorite animal? Giraffe.
What is love? Elephant! [as he attempts to make elephant noises.]
What does Mama do for work? Airplane!  You mean Mama flies on airplanes for work? Yes!
What does Dadda do for work? Airplanes! [Not true at all, although I'm sure there are times he was on an airplane instead of being trapped in a classroom with his students.]
Where do you live? Airplane!  You live on an airplane? Yup! Fall down! [as he tumbles to the ground on purpose for the 10,000th time that day.]
Where is your favorite place to go? [indecipherable mumbling] Where do you like to go? School, zoo, grandma and grandpa's, gigi and papa's, church?  THE ZOO!!!!! It's fun!

If I was a reporter by profession, this interview alone would get me fired.  Mainly because the above took over six minutes, very little of which contained any actual responsive information.  And for half the interview, he was hiding in his closet having a conversation with himself in another language.

Overall, not a bad birthday week for a 2 year-old.  Especially considering he's the second child! ;)

Friday, October 3, 2014


My oldest turned three today.  Almost to the exact minute that I begin to type this post.  It's hard to believe there was ever life before Henry.  I feel like there are times I insert him into memories of things that happened long before he was born, which I've also found I do with Paul.  You can't believe how many times I've started to ask Paul if he remembers so-and-so from high school, or something that occurred during high school, only to realize as I begin my sentence that we didn't know each other yet.  Henry's the same way, and I've only known this little guy for three years!  Maybe it's that larger-than-life personality that demands constant attention that ends up leading to him being inserted into even distant memories!

We began our morning with an interview (it made a little more sense than last year's interview).  It went a little something like this:

1. What is your favorite color?  Dark blue.
2.  What is your favorite toy?  Turtles [I believe this is TMNT, but since he doesn't actually own one, I'm not exactly sure.]
3.  What is your favorite fruit?  Grapes.
Me: How many grapes have you eaten in your entire life? I think four?
Henry: No, only one. [This is probably true - the kid still fights us on fruit, although I believe he's consumed more in the last six months with bribery than in his prior 2.5 years combined.]
4.  What is your favorite TV show? Frozen.
5.  What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Hamburger.
6.  What is your favorite game?  Chutes and Letters [sic]. [I believe my mother tried to play this one time with him about 2 months ago, and he lost all interest after about 2 minutes and started running and jumping. I.e., normal Henry behavior.]
7.  What is your favorite snack?  Pretzel.
8.  What is your favorite animal? Frog.
9.  What is your favorite song?  Let it Go. [True dat, son. Demonstration below.]
10.  What is your favorite book?  Thomas. [Otherwise known as Mama's LEAST favorite books - they're more painful than the show, if that's even possible.]
11.  Who is your best friend?  David. [Oh, you mean the David at school who you are in constant battles with? Like the one you got in a serious shoving match with yesterday over the purple chalk?  You crazy kids and your interesting ways of showing affection.  Although David is truly a good friend because he did an awesome job helping Henry blow out his candles at school!]
12.  What is your favorite cereal? I like Kix.
13.  What is your favorite thing to do outside?  Cut grass. [Huh?]
14.  What is your favorite drink?  Lemonade.
15.  What is your favorite holiday? Riding on airplane.
Me: Well that's not a holiday.  A holiday is something we celebrate, like Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Easter.
Henry: Easter.
16.  What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Teacher. [No joke.]
17.  What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Oatmeal.
18.  What do you want for dinner on your birthday? I want chicken and cake and pizza and chicken and pizza. Two pizzas and two bags of pizza.
Me: Anything else?
Henry: No, that's all.
19.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  Turtle.
Me: A turtle?!? What do you want to do for work when you grow up?
Henry: Be a lawyer!
Me: Be a lawyer?!?!?  WHAT? Who do you know that's a lawyer?
Henry: I don't know..?
20.  What's special about you? Airplane
Me: Airplane? That doesn't make any sense?
Henry: [silence as he runs off to play with his airplanes.]

Henry's school spoiled him rotten and got him a zebra cake and zebra balloons.  They are truly the best!

Walter pretended like he was going to eat the cupcake, but ended up not consuming one bite.  What a strange child.  I'm pretty sure he's the only child on the planet that doesn't like cupcakes (or Bundtinis)!
And to keep up family tradition, we took Henry to the Texas State Fair to celebrate.  A trip to the State Fair must always begin with a train ride.

First stop is always Big Tex.  Mainly because everyone is immediately hungry as soon as they enter the fair and there's nothing better than a Fletcher's corny dog while sitting in front of Big Tex!
I still can't believe this boy is THREE!
These two were fascinated as soon as he began talking!
 But then they got bored, and Henry started digging for rocks and throwing them at the flowers. Which meant that Walter needed to do the same since he copies everything his big brother does.
A Ferris wheel ride was also necessary.  
Generally, Ferris wheel rides are pretty unexciting.  As we waited in line, there were quite a few empty rows separated by chains.  Henry and another boy his age were entertaining themselves by walking under the ropes and down the empty aisles.  Then, about five minutes later, Henry decided to sprint.  Unfortunately, about three rows in, he forgot to duck and proceeded to clothes-line himself on a chain.  I can still see it in my head in slow motion - his little head snapped back and slapped on the concrete, which was totally cringe-worthy.  Somehow, he managed to cry for all of five minutes, develop a tiny knot on the back of his head, and that was about it.  I can't BELIEVE he managed to keep his corndog down - I guarantee if that had happened a year ago, we would have been sprinting for the bushes because of all the hysterical crying..

All was well with the world by the time we boarded the Ferris wheel.  Walter wasn't quite sure what to think of the whole experience.

 Henry loved every single second.
And then it was time for my absolute favorite part - the Children's Network petting zoo.  

I think my mother saved approximately 10 paper cups from being consumed by goats.  Not the brightest animals.

 I've never seen a baby donkey before - adorable.
 Nice 'do.
Also got to see a baby kangaroo in it's Mama's pouch.  Fascinating.
I am thrilled to report that Teacher (known to everyone else as a Zebra) did not bite Henry this year.  He still talks about Teacher biting him last year.  It was quite a traumatizing experience.

We also tried something new this year - tried a little face painting.  I can't believe he sat still for it, but wonders never cease!

I think the ultimate highlight for both boys ended up being cotton candy.

Between the sugar high, late hour, and sun exposure, Walter didn't even make it to the car before he was out.
Both were out shortly after being loaded into the car.

Overall, Paul and I are so proud of the sweet little boy Henry has become.  While he is all boy, and regularly wild, he tries so hard to be well-behaved.  A common phrase from him, usually as he's being placed in timeout, is, "I want to be a good boy!"  Since he has difficult listening and following instructions, that doesn't always work out, but at least his intentions are good, right?!?  But I'm just thankful that he'll still climb in my lap, ask for hugs, and let me kiss all over him.  I know those days won't be around for long, so until them, I'll be doling out lots and lots of hugs and kisses.