Friday, October 22, 2010

Sunny days, sweepin’ the clouds away …

Adam’s new favorite song lyrics are: “Sunny days, sweepin’ the clouds away …”
It’s weird to hear him singing the same song I used to sing when I was a kid. Who knew Sesame Street would still be popular, 30 years after I watched the show? I can remember sitting Indian style in front of our TV, watching Mr. Rogers and his land of make-believe, the Electric Company (“One-two-three-four-five, six-seven-eight-nine-ten, eleven twe-ehl-ehl-elve!”), and Sesame Street. I remember learning sign language from Linda, Spanish words from Maria, and watching the Twiddlebugs on Bert and Ernie’s windowsill. And I vividly remember how badly I wanted to tell Mr. Hooper when he was talking to “Bird” about his “fictitious friend,” Snuffleupagus, that “Snuffy was REAL! Look! He’s RIGHT OVER THERE! LOOK!”
The song might be the same, but the characters have changed since I watched the show. I grew up without Elmo, Prairie Dawn, Baby Bear, Abby Cadabby, or Zoe … and now that I really think about it, why weren’t there more girl muppets on the show in the late 70s/early 80s? I mean, they hired a multi-racial cast and a woman with a hearing impairment, they had two boy puppets “rooming together,” and yet didn’t create ANY girl muppets to represent the xx chromosomes? What’s up with that?
And even though it’s still educational TV, some of the messages are different today than they were “back in the day.” We watched Sesame Street before it was PC.
For example, Cookie Monster was allowed to eat piles of cookies without introducing a ‘healthy habit.’ We didn’t have to worry about childhood obesity because we were too busy riding our bikes around the neighborhood. We didn’t have to worry about moderation because we knew to only take a few instead of eating the whole box. And we didn’t have the song “A Cookie Is a Sometime Food.” We had “C is for Cookie”!
“C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me, C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me … cookie-cookie-cookie starts with C!”

Another similarity between my youth and Adam’s: Candyland. Only, to Adam, it’s SANDYland, and when we play, he dictates what color your game piece will be (he's always yellow, his favorite color) and he likes to be in charge of drawing the cards. He doesn’t really get the whole winning and losing thing, so we don’t have to worry about letting him win (actually, even if he did care about winning/losing, I wouldn’t let him win). And so far, he’s been a very gracious loser. The last time we played, Aaron won, I finished second, and Adam was last, but rather than letting him think he came in last, we told him he came in THIRD PLACE, GOOD JOB!

He has named various toys Walter, Craig, and Emily. And he still has his baby doll, Sobie, who sometimes acts out Adam’s fears. “Sobie doesn’t want to use the potty because she’s scared of the flush. Sobie doesn’t like the Easter Bunny because he’s too big. Sobie thinks those firecracks are TOO LOUD.”

Adam loves going to Aaron's softball games because he knows he'll get to play at the park.

After we arrive home from daycare, he usually asks if he can have something to eat or drink before dinner, and by drink, I mean he wants juice. The doctor told us that toddlers should drink milk and water and only have juice once a day (at most), so I told him no, he already had juice at daycare.
“I’m obsessed with juice, Mom, right?” he asked with a grin. (Only when he said ‘obsessed,’ it sounded more like ‘assessed.’)
Did he learn that from us? Or at daycare? What three-year-old uses the word obsessed?

He loves to do what we’re doing, whether it’s “lawning” the grass (he follows after Aaron with his toy mower), doing the dishes (resulting in a huge puddle of water on the floor), or helping with laundry (I let him put the clothes in the dryer). He feels so grown up and important when he helps out. There will come a time, in the not-so-distant future, when we’ll have to force him to mow the lawn or do the dishes, so I’m trying to appreciate his eagerness to help before he becomes a lazy teenager.

He's a lovable little goofball.

He is athletic already, just like his dear ol’ dad. He can hit a ball without using a tee, kick a soccer ball across the yard, and make contact with a golf ball. I think that sports will come naturally to him, just like Aaron. And he genuinely enjoys sports. He could spend hours outside, playing ball.
I played summer softball from third grade through high school, I was on the gymnastics and cross-country teams in junior high and high school (my best mile time was 7:30, what I wouldn't give to run that fast again!), and I competed in indoor and outdoor track even at UW-Eau Claire, but aside from being pretty good at the 200 and 400 meter dash and triple jump (love), I was middle-of-the-pack when it came to sports. Average Joe. I would almost bet money that Aaron was picked first in gym class. He’s 37 years old and he can still hit a home run, spike a volleyball, and fearlessly ski or snowboard down black diamond runs. I mean, he finished his first marathon in 2005 in three hours and 30 minutes — just a few minutes shy of qualifying for Boston. He’s "that" guy (without being a pompous a-hole). I’m glad Adam seems to have Aaron’s natural athleticism.

He enjoys meeting new people and having friends over to our house and saying hi to total strangers and socializing, just like his dear ol’ mom.

Good fathers make good sons.

Adam is definitely in the “why?” phase of learning, which I find equally charming and irritating. I think it’s wonderful that he’s curious, unless I’m in a mad scramble to get out the door and he’s drilling me with “What are you looking for? Why can't you find your keys? Why are you wearing your black boots today? Why are you running upstairs? What did you forget? Can I come with you?" and then - when we're on the road, it's more questions: "What are those trucks doing to the street? Why is that guy on a motorcycle? Why are you slowing down? Where is that bus going? Birds fly, right Mom? Why do they fly? What is that billin over there? OH, it's an apartment BUILDING. Why do people live in apartment buildings? Why is that lady standing there? Oh, it's a BUS STOP. Why is she taking the bus? Oh, maybe she doesn't have a car. But we have two cars, right Mom? Why do we have to bring the library books back today? Why is that policeman there? Oh, he's PULLING HER OVER for driving too fast. Are you driving too fast, Mom?"
I try to answer all of his questions, even if I don't really know how. (That truck is fixing the street because it was broken. Birds fly because they have little legs and it's easier than walking. People live in apartment buildings because they like that they don't have to shovel snow in the winter. *Had to get creative there.) I'm just waiting for the day when he asks me why the sky is blue or the grass is green. Better study up on that answer right now.

Sometimes Adam acts so grown up, I forget he's only three.

Yesterday he told me he needs to eat dinner to “keep up his en-erz-jee.”
Omg was that cute.
“Right Mom? My en-erz … en-erj … en-erz … what did I say Mom?”
I laughed out loud as he tried to figure out the correct pronunciation.
“Yes, your ENERGY,” I said.
“Oh, yeah, my EN-ERZ-JEE,” he responded while shaking his head in an all-knowing way.

Speaking of eating, he is an incredibly picky eater. At three years old, he weighs 28 pounds and is exactly three feet tall. We worry about his lack of an appetite because he’s so pint-sized. We constantly introduce him to new foods and encourage him to try everything once. Aaron has used Green Eggs and Ham as an example, and it even worked: “Remember how Sam I Am tried to get his friend to eat green eggs and ham and he wouldn’t try it? And then, when he tried it, he liked it?”
A few of his favorite foods = French fries, hummus with pita chips, rootbeer “popicos,” eggs, watermelon, mac and cheese, sloppy joe’s, bananas, apples, corn on the cob, and hot dogs. I realize this could be a better (more nutritional) list, but I also realize it could be a lot worse.

Adam and his Benny Bobber.

He is a kind and loving big brother and told me that he “protects” Ben at daycare. (From what? Flying peas? Germy hands? I don’t know, but it was a sweet sentiment.)
When Ben is crying, he approaches him with a big smile on his face and says in his cartoon-like animated high-pitched voice, "It's OK, Benny Bobber. It's your Big Brother Adam. Don't cry."

The best thing about digital cameras = capturing moments like this.

He has an absolutely incredible memory. I hope he uses it to his advantage once school starts.

He loves it when he read him books at night. His new favorite is Curious George.

He is strong-willed (aka stubborn) and will sit at the kitchen table for TWO HOURS rather than take five bites of his meatloaf. He has also received numerous timeouts for screaming, running away, and defiantly refusing to listen. Whoever dubbed it the 'terrible twos' clearly did not have a 3-year-old, but I'll save that for another post.

Adam on our vacation in Okoboji, Iowa singing "Tonight's gonna be a good night." He knows almost all of the words and refers to it as "his song."

When I’m feeding Ben, his jealous side comes out and all of a sudden, no matter what he’s doing, he wants to be right next to me. He'll stop playing Legos or cars and climb onto the couch and wedgehimselfagainstmelikethis. I feel sorry for Ben, who gets jabbed in the head with Adam’s elbow or knee while he’s trying to eat. And even though it can get crowded with all three of us smashed together on one side of the couch, it’s also really endearing. Having little kids is kind of like your wedding day, when everyone tells you to remember to step back and take it all in, because it will be over before you know it. I’m trying, really trying, to soak it all in and appreciate every day.
I hope I will be reading this post one day years from now and the memories will come flooding back ... how small and innocent my boys were and how life was filled with endless possibilities for their future ... how I could grab them and hold them close to my heart and kiss them over and over and tickle them and squeeze them and laugh as they'd giggle and squeal and let me do it. And when we fall asleep at night, Aaron is beside me, Adam is sleeping soundly in his bedroom next to ours, and Ben is sleeping in his bassinet beside us and we’re all together, safe and healthy and happy and loved and in love and tomorrow is another day for more of the same, in only the best possible way.