Friday, August 24, 2007

Chewer Man

Did I mention that Kwamai chews things?

I pick up crayons with intricate rings carved into them. I pick up little plastic dinos with no heads and no tails. A little plastic octopus with nibbles off of each of his tentacles.

Kwamai loves those inflatable toys the county fairs are always selling. I think he has forgotten and bitten little puncture holes into three or four of them now. (I'll state the obvious: I'm not the one buying them!)

If you find a pen in our house that hasn't been flattened on one end, I think you win a prize. The ends of his sippy cups (ok, his knock-it-over-and-it-won't-spill-as-much cups) are so rough they are barely recognizable as cup lids.

The mouse pad at my fingertips has holes in it and bites all around the edges of it.

I know he grew out of thumb sucking. But I wonder a) how long chewing will last and b) what it will be replaced by!

Mom Stops to Ponder Today

We had valiant plans to wake early today, go to Mass at our parish, and then either go to the zoo in Wheeling or to the Science Center. The zoo idea got nixed by the excessive temps and humidity. Then when I woke at 7, witnessed the pin drop silence of two sleeping children and realized I really wanted more sleep myself, the early Mass idea got nixed. "What the heck," I thought. "We'll just do the 11:30 Mass."

I know, it's not Sunday. It's not a Holy day. We don't *have* to go to Mass. But the day just flows better if we have something predictable in it, and Mass it is. But today's 11:30 Mass at the University was the opening of new student orientation Mass, and the Oath of Fidelity Mass. So there were about 1,200 people in the Fieldhouse with the hot sun beating down on the roof, making it toasty despite the best efforts of the A/C.

Let's just say we spent most of the Mass in the hallway. It bothers me not a whit these days, at least if I can keep Kwamai from jumping off furniture and landing on other small children.

We went out for Chinese for lunch; that was about as much of an outing as we did.

I read a bunch of this blog this afternoon and found that already, in the not-quite-one year that it has existed, my kiddos have grown up quite a bit.

It also made me want to redouble my efforts to record little daily trifles, since that is mostly what life is made of, after all.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hot Dog

Kwamai did a great job reading this book which we got from the library yesterday. It is a simple book, but it came much easier to him since the last time I asked him to read to me. I'd say our program of reading non-instruction is working nicely!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Living and Learning This Morning

I was inspired by Leonie's recent Day In the Life post to try one of my own. However my camera batteries went dead around noon, so I only got photos of the morning.

Today was Papa's first day on his new job, so he's not in any of these pictures. :)

Kwamai was up before the females were ready to appear in public, so he watched two library videos: one about how money is made (i.e. the Mint), and a Rand McNally video about Chicago.

Felicity's interest this morning was a Japanese book I have floating around (I'd say "strewn", but it really isn't that organized ;)). It is a child's book about the Lord's prayer, and is just beyond my Japanese capabilities.

Felicity observes my breakfast cooking on the stove.

Kwamai spent quite a while constructing this contraption using pencils and rubberbands. He discovered it could shoot a pencil placed in the middle with some force.

What morning could be complete without a sibling fight? Here is Felicity trying to regain composure after Kwamai insisted on taking a little trinket away from her that they both got interested at the same time. It was a good opportunity for me to discuss with him how he and I are very alike in our intensity, which is sometimes very hard for both of us to control.

We decided on a quick outing, given how cold and rainy it was today. We drove to Chester, West Virginia, to see the World's Largest Teapot. As you can see, we got there and were able to take pictures just before it started to pour rain. Yes, it was about 11 am!

On the drive there, taking a road we'd not taken before, we listened to the Glory Story of St. Martin DePorres and St. Claire. On the way back, Kwamai asked me some deep questions about how it is possible to trust that God exists, and that He's real in our lives. And he also filled me in about everything he learned from watching the money video.

Upon our return, we went to Mass and came home for lunch. Kwamai and Felicity both went to play with the neighbors, who later joined us here. In the meantime, I was able to work on excavating our guest room with a view of transforming it into Felicity's space soon. After dinner, and an excited greeting of Papa by all of us to congratulate him on his first day of his new job, Kwamai and Felicity were back over to the neighbors and I, well, I have a quiet moment to enjoy for myself :).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Parents, By Any Other Name

When Kwamai was on his way to us, we decided to go with parental monikers Mama and Papa. (Maybe it is the 60s music influence in my life?) This is what we have been now for 5 years or so.

Until recently, that is. Felicity has suddenly taken to calling me Mommy. It really is extremely cute. Today she started calling Erol Poppy. Kwamai, in imitation of his older friends, has taken to calling me "Mom", but only in a certain mood, like when he is working on a project and wants my help or input. I've also heard him call Erol "Dad", but that is rarer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Fly Season

Once again we seem to have flies literally coming out of the woodwork at our house. Once again I go nuts over the irritation, and once again Kwamai deplores my attacks with cries of "Don't kill God's creatures!"

I have found an effective compromise in sucking the buzzing pests into the dustbuster, and then letting them go outside, where Kwamai has a fly hospital and rehab center.

Do you think he's destined to become a Franciscan?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Isn't English Entertaining?

Tonight Felicity was reading through her "Wiggly ABC" book. She has it mostly memorized, but in a way what she does is true reading, because the letters clue her in to what the page says.

When she got to the "R" page, she was remembering that we have a foam letter R that has been floating around the living room lately. She said, "That's just like our R." Then she said that over again, and again. "our R" "our R".

So much fun to watch a complex linguistic concept come to life for her!


Felicity's latest fascination is taking things apart. Especially CD, DVD, and video cases.

Erol took K and F to the library today, and as usual they came back with a significant stash of videos. Within a few hours, Felicity had enjoyed opening and closing each case several times, and then had taken every video out, opened all the cases, and stacked the open cases on top of each other. I hope, though, that I have persuaded her not to take all of the liners out of the cases, because in the process they tend to get ripped, and the library does not appreciate that very much.

She also likes to go through my stack of classical CDs and separate liners, cases, and CDs. She has also mastered getting a chair and pulling them off of the high shelf, much to my dismay. A few days ago she also put each CD into the CD player, closed it, opened it, took it back out again. All without actually playing any music.

Cause For Hurt Feelings

The other day Kwamai was eager to go to the neighbors' house in the afternoon. So I was a bit puzzled when he was back within minutes. "Are they not available?" I asked. "Oh, they're there." I tried again a few times to work out the puzzle. Finally he spilled the beans: "Someone who is visiting over there said I have a girlfriend, and it hurt my feelings," he emoted with just a hint of intensity.

Hmm, I thought to myself. How many years until he is hurt by someone insinuating he doesn't have a girlfriend?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Birthday Pictures

It was hard to get pictures yesterday due to the fast-moving action, but I did manage to get a few to capture the feel of the day.

This depicts the unwrapping of Tama Bonnie presents. In the background you can see one bulging bucket of water balloons.

Here is Kwamai posing with his new swords.

This shows the balloons: almost finished filling those buckets!

We fast-forward to cake and ice cream time. We tried at least to get a group shot.

Some quieter members of the group (not that I obsess about noise level or anything!)

Kwamai opens his gifts. And he received nice ones, too!

There was, of course, a lot of interest in checking out those nice toys, and seeing who would get to "demonstrate" for Kwamai how they worked.

Birthday boy was a little tired out by all the events of the day. That is, until his next door neighbor friends came home from vacation two hours after the party ended! Here he has a reflective moment watching his jack spin around.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Made It!!

The boy guests have all gone. Kwamai's godfather is helping him put together their gift: a nice helicopter lego type thingy. His two daughters are here. Amazing, completely amazing, how the noise level instantaneously goes down.

Well, fun was had by all. One of my friends, mom of one set of invited kids, stayed and helped manage the kids, without which I'm not sure I would have survived. Total count of kids: 11, including Kwamai and Felicity.

My, those water balloons went fast.

Cake and ice cream keep boys quiet.

Oh, time to take a breather....

First Five Minute Report

So far...

Five boys

Five minutes

Two buckets of water balloons ---

all popped.


Did you know that if you run out of powdered sugar in the process of making chocolate butter frosting, that hot chocolate mix is a great stand in?

I do, now!

So Far, So Good

The Birthday is underway. Kwamai and I have been diligently filling water balloons, and a load of presents from Tama Bonnie just arrived, opened, and much enjoyed by Kwam. Two foam swords, a deluxe bubble set including pipe wands, chalk, and a jump rope, and two sets of pool/sand toys which he is graciously sharing with Felicity who is just a tad more excited about them than he is.

I have yet to frost the cake, tidy the porch, and fill the little wading pool (really a sand box) outside.

The heat index is supposed to be 97 degrees this afternoon, with a chance of scattered thunderstorms.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Birthday Drum

Finding value in spreading out the receiving of gifts, we gave Kwamai his birthday present from us tonight.

A djembe drum. He likes it :)
I gave him the lecture about how instruments are just one step away from pets; you don't have to feed them, but they do need special care.
He'll be looking forward to getting together with Mr. Pathakamuri to practice his rhythms!

Party Pending

I'm counting down. In roughly 15 hours, somewhere around 10 kids will descend on our house for Kwamai's 6th birthday party. This is our first attempt at a kid party. My plan is to stay low key (shooting for about 5 octaves below middle C), encourage water balloons outside, the girls can hang with Felicity and blow bubbles if they want... the boys can run around in our neighbors' yard (such a kind sharing relationship we have!). Then some cake and ice cream and send them off home. Two hours.

See, I'm psyching myself up. It's survivable. Right? Twelve kids; one adult; two hours.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....