Category Archives: Kindergarten

Summer Break Day 1 Fail

It’s the first day of the summer and we are in big trouble here, people. I was so happy to have a loose day finally, even though we had so much to do. It’s been a super crazy few weeks.

The boys spent the better part of the morning (while I tried to clean up the kitchen and get some laundry going) arguing in the playroom downstairs. Matt and I stared at each other in disbelief at how they were acting.  Within three minutes I turned off the monitor so I didn’t have to hear it, but before long it found its way to me. Lyle had produced a “magic balloon” which was said to create imaginary, invisible toys overnight that only belonged to him and couldn’t EVER be seen by Baxter.  For his part, Baxter went completely bananas over this.  He is, um, literal. And sometimes less than flexible.  He couldn’t handle that Lyle kept taunting him, saying, “It’s REAL, Baxter!”  This, by the way, made Lyle a “liar”. No one could let it go and I could not stand the inanity of it all.

Before too long, we left to go on some All-Important Secret Mystery Errands. (Let me remind you: Father’s Day is Sunday, June 20.) One or the other of them complained bitterly the whole way there, which only indicates to me that they haven’t had to go on enough shopping trips lately. Guess who’s going to a LOT of stores with me this summer? Ahem. Anyway, there was a lot of attitude from both of them along the way, but they soon realized they only got to play Angry Birds between errands if they’d behaved themselves in the store.

We had a decent stretch for a while there, eating lunch and taking Gus out for a walk that ended at the playground.  Lyle climbed a tree and Baxter played on the swing for ages, and there was peace in the kingdom. But on the walk back home, conversation turned to summer camp, which begins for both of them the second week of summer break. Lyle has never been, but has always loved it when we dropped off and picked up his brother. Furthermore, he was so excited at the camp orientation that he wanted to start the next day.  But somehow between that night in May and the transition of kindergarten ending, he has not only lost enthusiasm but seems to believe his life will end the day camp starts. He bitched. He moaned. He raged against camp and us and the entire world, calling all of it “stupid”.  He won’t go, he’ll stay home. When I pointed out that we’ll all be at work or camp, he yelled that he’d call 911 and the police would come take care of him (!). He was acting like an out-of-control spoiled brat, to put it bluntly, all the way down the sidewalk.

Then he began kicking as he walked, and I sternly warned him to stop because he had almost kicked Gus in the head. Sure enough, along came another kick that DID catch Gus in the head.  The dog who is already incredibly uncomfortable with a few hot spots and is going to the vet later today. I blew my top, friends.  I angrily hauled Lyle back next to me by the arm and moved him over to sit on a grassy lawn next to us. There was a whole camp group leaving the beach walking past us so I wanted to get him out of the way fast so that I could deal with him. It is possible that I let loose with a “Goddammit” as I did so, but I cannot be sure. He was shocked and outraged by being moved in that way. I never manhandle my kids. I felt horrible and he was infuriated, but I was still at the end of my rope. He suggested afterwards that instead of grabbing him I should’ve “stuffed a donut in [his] mouth”, which broke the tension for Baxter and me but our laughter only upset him further. He mouthed off the rest of the way home.

When we got home he was sentenced to time out until he calmed down. Later, we talked about all the changes going on for him right now and how nervous they make him.  I had tried to bring that up when he was raging about camp, sure that anxiety was the root cause of his misbehavior (it usually is), but he was already too far gone at that point. He admitted to being sad about kindergarten being over. He loves school and his friends, and said it’s not as much fun to be home. I suggested that this is why kids go to camp in the summer, to play with lots of kids again and have fun, and he didn’t argue this time. However, he did tell me afterwards that if we talk about camp again he’s going to go into the bathroom and flush himself down the toilet. He’s not at ALL dramatic.

I don’t know how I can still be blindsided by this behavior when we’ve experienced it so many times before, but it’s just impossible to believe it’s around the corner when he’s skipping merrily along, confident and loving school and friends, looking forward to everything about summer.

So, yes. Day One of Summer 2010 and already a parenting (and child behavior) low. I’m so proud.

To Bike…or…Not to Bike

On Memorial Day two years ago, I wrote a post about the way we taught Baxter to ride his bike without training wheels.  It worked great and he was able to do it in a single afternoon.  The process involves removing both the training wheels and the pedals and essentially creating your own balance bike (these little pedal-less bikes that have become so popular) because the idea is that once the child learns to balance himself you can then add steering and then pedaling and voila! We wished we’d known to do that earlier and vowed to try it sooner with Lyle.

Last summer we were prepared to try it with him, but he was so freaked out about the upcoming kindergarten year that he declared on an almost daily basis that he wanted to be a baby again, NOT a big boy. (Here’s some proof of that.)  Therefore, instead of taking his training wheels off he went back to using his tricycle, tear-assing on that thing around the bike path like it was his job.

Fast forward to this weekend. Lyle was desperate to take his bike out to the park and learn to ride without training wheels. (Yes, he really has come a LONG way; he is also super-pumped about first grade!) And so, Matt took off the training wheels and pedals and once some massive thunderstorms had moved through, we all went to the park.

It started out pretty well.

Getting ready…

The send-off… Look! Feet are off the ground!

He was a little unsure of the landing in the grass but only his pride was hurt.

But then things started to go downhill – and not just his bike. We saw the look on his face and knew things were taking a turn for the worse. After only a few tries we had to take a break on a bench to collect ourselves.  And by “ourselves” I mean “our child”.  We were kind, we were understanding, we tried to figure out what we could do differently to help him. Then we were cheerleaders, letting him know HE COULD DO IT! and YAY HOORAH HOORAY! as we walked back to the top of the rise.

He staged a sit-in.

If you listen hard enough, you can hear the loud wailing. I’m sure of it.

I really wanted Lyle to try again, not because I care if he learns to ride his bike without training wheels this summer but because I know him – and I was pretty sure that if he left the park without some sense of success it would be a very long time before he would attempt it again. But he would not try again. The training wheels went back on.

On the walk home he and I talked about it. I praised him for trying and being so brave, and reminded him of all the times he picked his feet up off the ground.  Lyle confessed that he thought it was going to be easy – I’m sure it looks that way when other people do it.  His expectations were too high. I explained to him that when Baxter did it he learned so quickly because he was 7 1/2 – a full two years older than Lyle is.  That seemed to help a bit.

We’ll see if he’ll try anytime soon but we made sure he knew that anytime he wants to attempt it again we’ll take the training wheels off.  In the meantime I’m focusing on how many ways Lyle has come out of his shell this past year and moved out of his comfort zone.  Only he can control that, and that’s the way it should be. The rest of us just need to sit tight and enjoy the ride.

City Living

Raising kids in a big city can be challenging.  The difficulties that typically send parents running for the hills aren’t necessarily the things that have been difficult for me; I revel in the busy-ness, the racial and economic diversity, and even the loud Loyola students and occasional singing drunkard in the alley outside our bedroom late at night.  Those things give the neighborhood a lot of character, and I love that there’s a coffee shop, bank, movie theatre, used bookstore, Chinese take-out, dry cleaners, and music store all within half a block of my front door. I don’t mind that we lack a backyard for the kids and dog to run free and the privacy of a single family home: I like our daily forays into the big park along the lake or the small play lots nestled between houses where we run into friends and neighbors and meet new people.  And we’re lucky enough to like our condo neighbors and have a great situation where kids can get together and play in their pajamas if they so choose (and they do).

But other things are challenging about raising kids in a city as big as Chicago. Getting them into a good public school takes time, energy, and the resources to know how to navigate a complicated and often frustrating system. Happily, there are quite a few families close by whose kids attend our kids’ magnet school (which is 20-25 minutes away), so the boys do have friends very nearby and we have a great carpool community, but it’s still not the same as walking to school with friends every day. (There are no school buses here for public school kids unless your child has transportation written into an IEP. By the middle school years – and certainly high school – my kids will be on public transportation to and from school.)

Although they have many benefits, by and large, city schools don’t have the resources many other schools have.  One reason we chose our kids’ school was because of the strong level of parent support and commitment we saw there. Parents raise tens of thousands of dollars each year for the music program, among other things, and we make an automatic donation to the school’s fund-raising organization every month.  The school is amazing and well worth the extra funds and commute – I always say if this were a private school I’d gladly pay the tuition – but once in a while I dream of being at a neighborhood school where the daily logistics would be easier and my kids’ friends wouldn’t live all over the north side.

Despite the day-to-day challenges, there are near-constant reminders of why I love raising my kids in this urban environment. Over the past few days my kids have had a string of really amazing opportunities that remind me of the advantages of our city life.  And if you’d like to consider the following to be three-posts-I’ve-been-meaning-to-write all crammed into one, I would support that.

First, on Saturday morning, I took the boys to a family drop-in class at the fabulous Lill Street Art Center.  I love Lill Street, and not just because I am obsessed with both First Slice Cafe (where a portion of the proceeds go to the homeless) and the gallery shop inside. My new office is only two blocks from there so they may fear I have actually moved in.  I’ve been encouraging the boys to consider taking an art class or camp session but they’ve been reticent, so when I noticed this family drop-in hour for only $10 per person, I signed us up so they’d get more familiar with the place.  We all loved it. For an hour, we sat together and let our creative juices flow. The boys made dogs, each in their own way (Lyle’s has a miniature bowl of food and Baxter’s has a huge bone and stands on a rug) and I learned to make a bowl. We used various tools, chatted with another family, and had fun painting on the glaze. We’re looking forward to picking up our work in two weeks.  The boys were so enthusiastic about the class that we decided to go back frequently and make Christmas gifts for relatives there this year.  They are disappointed that I suggested we go once a month; they’d like to go more often. And I’ll add that it was wonderful to see my two boys engaged in a fine motor task that was so motivating for them.  I wanted to take a photo or two here but since my hands were covered with clay it just didn’t seem like a good idea.

On Saturday afternoon we drove Baxter up to Northwestern University, where he is participating in the 4-week L.A.B.S. program (Laboratory Adventures in the Biological Sciences).  This is an incredible opportunity for kids interested in science – they wear real lab coats and work in small groups with students in an actual university science lab for two hours a week. The department has a grant to run this program, making it very affordable.  I can’t express how much Baxter loves it!  I am also pleased with the emphasis on health in their experiments.  One week they studied the effects of SPF-30 on cells and last week he ran an experiment on the effects of nicotine on human cells, and he’s been struck by the very obvious results. Yesterday he sat with me and showed me all the work and information in his binder and I was impressed with how much he knows and how much of it I didn’t learn until high school.  He goes into the lab with his widest grin. The older he gets, the more I see his strengths in math and science. The dude impresses me.

And finally, today: Baxter’s school band performed at Meritfest, playing three challenging pieces of music on the main stage at Chicago’s Symphony Center with other bands from the city.  As my mother-in-law wrote after looking at the photos tonight, “Can’t believe our Baxter is sitting just feet away from podium used by CSO greats like Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim and Riccardo Muti.” My boy asked to iron his own clothes (and quite nearly ironed his entire hand before I jumped in, which proves that mothers are helpful!), strutted into the kitchen proudly this morning, and was incredibly excited to be on that stage in front of a big audience playing his flute.  The acoustics were – naturally – beautiful.  It was a special day and I was reminded of why we work so hard to raise money for our music program (run by Merit School of Music).

So, yes, there are challenges to raising our kids in an urban environment.  But we also live in a world-class city with all kinds of unique opportunities right outside our door. Every time we are involved in one those things I am reminded that our efforts are worth it.  Tenfold.

One Lucky Mama

It was almost time for Lyle to change into his pajamas this evening when I offered to take him on a short dog walk with me.  We decided to walk just down to the beach and back to get a little fresh air.  As Lyle ran ahead, screeching to a halt as if his shoes had some sort of braking system at each driveway and alleyway, I took in how still the night was.  It had been a chilly and windy day here, necessitating my winter down coat for our earlier walks; I didn’t need it anymore tonight.

The beach lured us in, sunlight glowing on the rising waves.  The air was still and we watched a dozen seagulls coasting over the water, waiting to see one diving for a fish. We talked about different types of shells we found and I showed him that there were huge shadows over the lake because the sun was setting behind us, behind the buildings at the end of our street. But where the sun was bright, the light on the water, the sand, and my boy was beautiful.

The scene reminded me of one of my favorite Mother’s Days, when we lived in San Francisco, a few months before Lyle was born.  I woke up in our apartment that day to breakfast in bed brought in by Matt and Baxter (probably from Arizmendi Bakery), and we looked out our bedroom window at a clear, sunny spring day.  On a fogless day like that we could see the ocean about 30 blocks away from our bed, and suddenly being there was all I wanted.  And so the three of us headed out to play at Ocean Beach after breakfast and it was a glorious morning. My sense memory of the clear California sunlight and that blue, blue water is very strong. I felt lucky to be in it.

3-year old Baxter patting unborn Lyle on Mother’s Day 2004

As I thought about that long ago morning, I was overwhelmed with the realization that I was standing on a beach in Chicago this time, talking to that once unborn child, six years later on the eve of Mother’s Day, when suddenly it started to rain. Hard, and from out of nowhere.  “Lyle!” I said, delighted, “the sun is shining and it’s raining! We should look for a –” I turned as I said it and there in front of us was suddenly forming the most incredible rainbow I’ve seen in my life.  It extended over Lake Michigan in a perfect arc, both ends resting atop the water right in front of us and appearing to be close enough that we could reach out, grab it and take it home in our pockets to admire later.  As the colors became brighter and stronger, there emerged a slightly lighter second rainbow – a double rainbow! – above it.  I looked around but we were the only ones on the beach to witness this wonder so close up. If I’d had my camera with me you would have thought I’d photoshopped it in, it was that unbelievable.  I searched for an image similar to it and it was somewhat like this one without the landforms behind it and a little brighter and closer.

We stood there in amazement. I told my boy that seeing a rainbow like this will bring us great luck and we talked about how special it was to have seen it together. We stood back on the sidewalk before it faded and carefully made our own visual memories of it so we’d never forget it.  I know we never will.

I now have another amazing Mother’s Day memory from another beach in a different city with my second child to add to my cache. I felt like the luckiest person in the whole world.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Lyle’s rendering: to help him remember

Circles of Kindness

Oh, the squabbles. You know the ones I mean: not the Real Arguments™ or Actual Disagreements©. The ones that start small and stay small but go on endlessly, throughout an entire interaction such as a car ride or an after-school snack. They begin as a few off-kilter notes and usually they continue along, a quiet low disgruntled hum. On occasion they hit a sudden angry crescendo when you least expect it over something minor that turned out unpredictably to be The Last Straw.

I am fortunate.  My kids don’t tend to squabble that much.  In general, they get along better than most siblings I know, and are genuinely good friends. But when one of them is tired or in a bad mood, things get rolling in a bad direction quite easily. I generally try to stay out of their arguments, counseling them to talk to each other about it and work it out. Sometimes they get really stuck and do need my help.  My tendency is to listen while they each share with the other what their needs are and facilitate them working it out.

But recently the two of them were grumping at each other incessantly as we walked to the car after school. Little nitpicky, mean comments were flying back and forth. I stopped short and crouched down next to them.  At first I was at a loss for words (yes, me!) because I was so incredibly annoyed with their behavior.

Finally able to talk, I noted sternly, “You two are stuck in a circle of unkindness. It doesn’t matter who started it or what it is about. The problem is that this could go on all afternoon because you both keep it going. This will take all the fun out of our afternoon and I will be much less likely to want to spend time with you.” They were listening intently. (Although maybe this is because I was kneeling in front of them and had them backed up all the way against the schoolyard fence.  But, hey, small details.)  I went on, “The only way to stop a circle of unkindness is for one of you to make the choice to start a new circle: a circle of kindness. It’s not easy but I know you are both capable of it.  I hope one of you will choose to do that so that we can have an enjoyable afternoon.”  And then I stood up and walked with them to the car without another word.

For a moment both walked along quietly. One (and I won’t name names here, but one of my children might be a wee bit less flexible than the other and it might surprise you to know which one that is) continued to walk with a deep scowl on his face.  The other, however, walked alongside him a few paces and then suddenly addressed his brother in a cheery voice about a new topic. And it worked.  That particular meaningless spat was over and he’d effectively hit the reset button on our afternoon.  You’d better believe I heaped on the praise.

It sounds so basic. If you told me this was trite I wouldn’t argue. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  I believe it’s one of the hardest things to do, because you’re not only “dropping it”, you’re given the onus of making the effort to start over in a kinder way. It requires practice. A lot of it.

Please understand, I am not suggesting we should all just get along.  I don’t think we ought to stop fighting the good fights, and we aren’t always going to be nice about them, nor should we be.  But I do believe that if we stop and think about it, there are many people in our lives (partners, siblings, neighbors) with whom we have these relationships filled with meaningless, continuous little spats that really amount to circles of unkindness no one is willing to break.

I challenge you with this: if my grade schooler can do it?  So can you.

On Quitting, Judgment, and Choosing My Battles

As you may recall, Lyle took up the violin last fall around the time Baxter started playing flute in band at school and in private lessons. He was an interested and willing participant, but I certainly drove the decision and made it happen.  After a horrible start, we found a wonderful teacher who has done a fantastic job of moving him along at an appropriate pace.  Throughout the winter, he was willing to practice with only minor cajoling and made nice progress.  He was proud to have an instrument like Baxter does and loved earning stickers and moving through his book. He was never the kid who just picked up his violin and started playing on his own for fun – never once – but he did okay when I asked him to practice with me. However, as he moved from plucking strings to putting the bow to them – and then putting his fingers on those strings – it’s safe to say he shut down.  He went from being a willing participant to what my grandmother calls a “reluctant dragon”.

From there it went downhill to the point where the very idea of practicing or even listening to violin music that happened to come on the radio in the car made him apoplectic and nasty.  He stomped and fussed through the few practice sessions I could get out of him.  He didn’t want me to play my violin and he sure as hell didn’t want to play his. Everything to do with the instrument felt like pressure to the sensitive little dude. He started asking to quit about a month ago and I’ve worked hard to encourage him to keep it up by making it fun and not stressful.  Finally last week he really made it clear that he was done.  I asked him to sleep on it, and told him that once our violins went back to the rental place we wouldn’t just get them back right away if he changed his mind.  This slowed him down a bit and I know he did think about it.  The verdict: he was done.

Although I felt some sadness about this, having greatly enjoyed our early violin practices together, I wasn’t upset. After all, the child is only five years old.  I don’t see the point of a major control battle over playing an instrument when a child is five, and I feel that by letting this go without it going downhill further, he may be more willing to try another instrument later.  I’ve said on a weekly basis since he began that even if he quit that day, I’d be thrilled with how much he’s learned about music, and I absolutely am.  As one friend pointed out, we didn’t do any activities at age 5, and she used the word “dabbling” to describe what kids this age do in activities; I love this perspective.  At this point, Lyle has dabbled in violin and soccer and hasn’t particularly enjoyed either of them.  Next up we’ll check out swimming and art, things that he seems to be more naturally drawn to.

But today we ran into the violin teacher when I took Baxter in for his flute lesson. Our conversation was a difficult one for me and I’ve been turning it over in my mind for the past few hours.  When I’d let her know that Lyle was discontinuing, I was extremely positive about her work with him and how impressive it was, also noting that if he ever went back to violin or wanted to try another instrument (such as the piano I think we’ll be getting this summer) I’d love to go back to her.  I talked about the motor challenges involved for Lyle and that I didn’t want this battle to get out of hand.  I don’t want him turned off to music.  But our young teacher was dismissive of the situation, telling me that the control battle was to be expected and of course he just wanted to quit because it was a “challenge” and he’s so “bright and airy” that he is used to things being easy all the time.  (Wow, that’s SO not the child I know!)  She told me that really it’s the parent who’s the teacher and suggested that I keep him thinking about the instrument by playing fun rock violin to inspire him while we clean the house together (which happens when, exactly?), because that worked for her husband, who started violin at age 3 and is a professional musician. Obviously, she hasn’t been in my car when violin music is playing.

In other words, I’m supposed to be firmly in control of Lyle’s violin playing and stay in that driver’s seat, and I’m a total wuss for letting him quit.  I was told that no one plays violin without going through a period like this.  I noted that I suppose I didn’t go through it myself because I started in fourth grade; I should’ve also pointed out that my motor coordination was a little better than his. Oh, and that I thoroughly enjoyed it and that’s what I would want for my child.

I think what’s difficult for me is that I know she’s right – it’s hard and there are going to be challenges and of course we should encourage our kids to handle challenges and work on being disciplined as they get older. But I do that all day long.  I am working with this kid on fine motor and emotional regulation challenges day in and day out.  I’m the mom who sneaks into a room before Baxter puts on his sneakers every morning and unties them so that he has to practice tying his shoes more often, for God’s sake.  I just believe in choosing my battles and since I have nothing invested in Lyle becoming a violin virtuoso, I’m willing to let this one go.

I tried to say these things when I could get a word in – and in between calling the kids back from their attempts to exit the building without me – but I don’t think it mattered.  I also tried to explain that next month I’ll start working out of the home a lot more again and our life will change.  I noted that Lyle needed to have at least a modicum of motivation to practice with other people when I am working a few long days a week, and that we wouldn’t even have a spot in her schedule anymore soon, given my new schedule.

But in the end I felt crappy and misunderstood.  I had clearly gotten my name added to the list of Lame Moms Who Let Their Kids Quit As Soon As Things Get Hard.  I’m not a big fan of that list and I’m pretty sure I don’t belong there.   I guess what I have to remember is that I’m only on that list in one person’s mind – it just gives me pause that it’s someone I like and respect.

But, really, what I guess I want to say about this is something that is probably obvious to all of my readers: judgments don’t do anyone any good.  No one knows my child the way I do, and no one could possibly see the Big Picture of our family life the way Matt and I do.  And therefore, flippantly suggesting that I just need to persevere and make my child push through this challenge without understanding more about us is not appropriate.

I always say that the longer I parent the better I become at understanding and working with families.  Let’s chalk this one up to another notch on that belt, shall we?

Lyle: Spring 2010

We are Studious…

…very, very studious.

Meltdowns of Volcanic Proportions

It was an emotional afternoon for the Wonderfamily today. Baxter, who has been out of it all day and brought home some less-than-stellar papers from school, melted down about school work that is apparently simultaneously too easy and too difficult, and informed me that he’s exhausted all the time at school, despite his 10.5 solid hours of sleep every night.  “Maybe it’s because I’m growing so fast,” he suggested tearfully.  Indeed; he has grown an inch since Christmas.  We cuddled on the couch for a while and talked about feeling overwhelmed and the winter blues, and a while later when I turned on some music I watched him whirl in circles and boogie to his heart’s content.  He seemed more himself afterward.

For his part, Lyle pulled a stunt I hadn’t seen in a long while, that of purposely making requests that he knew I would say “no” to (such as getting McDonald’s for dinner out of the blue, or getting his bike from storage and riding it just as I was beginning to make dinner) and then falling apart over each denial.  “I haven’t gotten to make a choice in YEARS!” he wailed.  (Matt later pointed out that just last night he got to make the choice to wear his swimsuit to bed in lieu of pajamas, so that isn’t 100% accurate. But you probably already knew that.)

I’m not entirely sure why the crazy hit our little household this afternoon all of a sudden – and for both of the boys – although in hindsight I realize that I talked with them about the fact that I will increase my work hours again this summer on our drive home from school.  At the time they seemed to take it in stride, but I have a feeling it had an impact on little Lyle.  Perhaps it didn’t help that we happened to have our former nanny (who took care of him 3 days a week when he was younger and I was working intensely, something that upset Lyle) here babysitting this evening. It’s possible that I didn’t time that conversation so well.

Or maybe it was a fluke, a one-off.  Whatever the cause, I was most fascinated by the way Lyle handled it.  In the middle of more loud demands from him, I observed aloud that he was really very frustrated and angry, and that I’d like to see a picture of how mad he was.  He likes to draw, and went right at it.

First, he brought me this scribbled piece of his mind:

“I’m so mad, this is all lightning around me!” he yelled angrily. (He didn’t mention that he had become an At-At.)

Then he took off and created another:

“I’m as mad as THIS VOLCANO!!” was his next very loud assertion.

Finally, he grabbed two pieces of paper and asked for help finding some tape.  While I stood by the stove, maddeningly not doing what he wanted, he created his piece de resistance:

“This is me exploding with anger!” he shouted,  his tone matching the violent eruption of this very tall volcano.  “There’s lava EVERYWHERE!”

I exclaimed over the magnitude of the eruption and how angry he must be. I noted that it must be awful to be so very mad.

And you know what?  That was it.  Emotionally, he erupted right along with that massive volcano, and the catharsis of drawing it and showing me just how bad it was seemed to be what he needed.  Without another word about it from either of us, he puttered around the kitchen, chatting happily about Bakugan toys while I made the wrong dinner and didn’t ride bikes.  It was a win-win.

More Better than Money

In the middle of the night last night, Lyle woke to find something in his mouth.  “I thought it was an Umbreon,” he stated most bizarrely at breakfast, flashing his adorable grin with the new hole, “but then when I spitted it out I saw that it was my loose tooth!”  He put it on his nightstand and carried it up in his hand this morning to show us.  (What, no drama?)

Putting him to bed tonight, I had him check to make sure that his teeny tiny tooth was tucked inside his Tooth Fairy pillow – the one that was mine as a child.  The kid was fairly jumping out of his skin with excitement.

“I’m going to get money from the Tooth Fairy!  What’s more better than money?!” he yelped.

Laughing, I suggested there were actually many things more better than money.

“Oh, yeah!  Cupcakes!” he exclaimed.

“Can’t you think of anything ‘more better’ than money and cupcakes?” I asked him. This led to a long, convoluted conversation about how on cable he once saw a commercial for Cupcake Pebbles cereal – my utter disgust was interpreted as a sign that I didn’t actually believe there was such a thing and he had to bring Baxter (resident expert on cable commercials, apparently) in to prove that these existed. No one seemed to understand that I was just grossed out, not actually disbelieving.

“What about your family??” I asked, trying to get back on point, which prompted him to say, “Mmmm…” as if unsure, and he held up his two hands about six inches from each other, adding, “about this much.”  Ah. Thanks.  When I named specific people in his life, and say, the whole concept of LOVE, he readily agreed that all those things were “wicked awesome” (I’ve trained him to speak ‘New Hampshire’ just for kicks).

“But…nothing is more better than money,” he concluded.