Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Hey, Huckleberry...

Great parenting moment tonight. I was putting Liam to bed. His usual routine is that I offer to read him three books. He insists on four. I give in. But tonight, he noticed one of Jen's books sitting on the night stand: "Huckleberry Finn." He picked it up and asked me what it was. There were some rought sketches every few pages to hold his attention. I asked him if he wanted me to read it, and he said, "Yes."

So we lay back on the bed, and read the first two chapters of Huckleberry Finn. Liam seemed to follow along fine and understand a good bit of it. Though it was tricky explaining Jim's relationship. But Liam totally understood that Huck didn't like to follow the rules, and so he snuck out in the middle of the night to meet his buddy, Tom Sawyer.

Hopefully that didn't give him any ideas....

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monday, Monday...

Jen elbowed me in the ribs.

"Can you take Kalian to go pee?"

It was 6:45 a.m. A good morning. This is about as late as we can hope she sleeps. I rolled over, and Kalian was peeking over her mother's shoulder. I slid past Liam, who had crawled into our bed sometime in the middle of the night.

"Pee-pee?" I asked Kalian. She replied, "Yeah!" I walked to the bathroom and she followed, pulling down her PJs and sitting right down on her potty. I was slowly waking up. Kalian, did her pee, then reached down, lifted the basin out of her potty, dumped it in the big toilet, and then replaced it. After washing hands, we headed to the kitchen.

"What do you want for breakfast?" I said.



"Yeah!" and then "Bo--" as she pointed to the bowls.

I complied. I made coffee. I ate. I catered to her whims ("Mo' wa-wa.")

This is the rush morning. We have to be out of the house by 7:30 a.m. to get Liam to his occupational therapy appointment at 8 a.m. across town. I make lunch for him. I get her diaper bag ready. I change a shirt, brush my teeth, in a half-hearted nod to personal hygiene. I gather some food Liam can eat in the car. He's still sleeping and it's 7:20 a.m. I lift him up, now he's screaming. I change his clothes, brush his teeth, and carry him down to the car. It's 7:30 a.m.

Liam, Kalian and I fly through the Cambridge traffic. I'm driving and handing them bananas and rice cakes with almond butter at the same time. We get to the school early for a change, and head down the therapy room, where we find Tina, Liam's occupational therapist. For the next 45 minutes, Liam runs through a variety of tasks to build his coordination and planning skills. He swings from a harness while picking up stuffed frogs; he pulls putty apart to dig out little plastic animals, and he paints a mural by dipping a toilet plunger in some paint.

Then we're back in the car, scrambling back across town to his preschool. We arrive at 9:10 a.m. I park and we escort Liam to his room (the Blue Room), which is already packed with kids. This is an overwhelming time for Liam, and he wanders from group to group, trying to figure out who is doing what, before finally settling in. We hug, and then say goodbyes.

On our way out, we bump into one of the other Blue Room moms, Julie. She invites Kalian and I to join her for coffee around the corner at Darwin's, our favorite cafe. Julie's son is about Kalian's age (21 months!). We make stabs at adult conversation in between subduing the kiddies. And then we have to go, across town again, to Trader Joe's. It's 10:00 a.m.

I plow through the aisles, grabbing food, stuffing snacks into Kalian's mouth. We check out, and drive home where we unpack the groceries. It's 11:15 a.m. We play for a bit, then eat some lunch. Then it's back into the car to pick up Liam at preschool.

A new feature of our Monday is Sports Class at the Little Gym in Woburn. The Little Gym is a local chain of gymnastic studios. We signed up Liam for a "sports class" which is a mix of gymnastics and learning basic sport skills. The current focus is hockey. Liam loves it. He's enthusiastic, coordinated, focused, and follows direction during the hour-long class. In other words, he becomes a kid I hardly recognize, but in a good way.

Only drawback: The class is in Woburn, a 30 minute drive north. We're in the car. Again. I'm handing food back over the seats as we work our way to the highway and then up to Woburn. But once we're there, Liam is bubbling with excitement.


The class is over and Liam is still bursting. I coral him and we get back into the car to drive home. We arrive, ramble up the steps and sit down for a snack. It's 3:30 p.m. We play. Liam wants to build a car wash and begins furiously cutting some paper which we tape to a box. We also play some music, which Liam is rediscovering. Kalian is coloring. Then it's time to make dinner.

Jen's schedule is even crazier this semester. She doesn't get home until 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. So the three of us eat. Fish sticks. My ambition was once to prepare an elaborate, well balanced, home cooked meal every night. That lasted a few weeks last summer but was abandoned by Fall. The bar for meals continues to drop. After eating, I do the dishes while the kids run around.

Jen arrives at 6:30 p.m. I am already putting on my coat and packing a backpack for the gym. Monday nights I've been taking a Scottish fiddling class. I haven't played the violin much since high school. But the class has been great. It's taught by an oustanding local fiddle player named Hanneke Cassel. The class is a blast, though my playing is woeful. Judge for yourself. Here's me practicing a tune we're learning, "Stella's Trip To Cam Loops":

After class, I rush to the T which I take to the gym for a quick workout until the gym closes at 10 p.m. I take the T back, and then walk home. It's just starting to snow. I arrive home and Jen says she's feeling horrible. She asks me to go out and get her some heartburn medicine. I drop my stuff, get back in the car, and drive slowly to the pharmacy through the snow which is really coming down now. I get home with the medicine. It's 10:45 p.m. Jen is getting worse and has the beginning of the flu, which later causes her to cancel a trip later in the week to Berkeley.

We go to bed at 11:15 p.m. Jen is feeling awful. It's going to be a long night.