Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Great Debate

As a parent, you bear witness to your child's journey through many stages. Some are tough and some are just plain hilarious. One I find hilarious is that of our three year old, Sam, discovering his voice in the family.

My two boys get along pretty well despite their difference in ages (Alex will be 7 in April). Sam, of course, has missed out on many of the typical toddler interests in trying to assimilate to his older brother's hobbies. I think he went from sleeping in a bassinet and drinking from a bottle to battling Star Wars figures and trying to figure out how to transform those pesky Transformer robots. There was no Barney time, Teletubbies, or Blue's Clues. We went from baby to big boy in a rather rapid fashion.

In a lot of ways, this is nice. Because of their common interests, they play together all of the time. But also because of these common interests, there are many arguments. You take two little boys, who are passionate about what they are playing, opinionated and stubborn about just about anything and you are bound to hear some hysterical discussions. There are times when I just want to tear my hair out as they argue about whether or not Commander Cody has actual gloves on (Sam) or that they are just part of his suit (Alex). Or the other one about whether there really is a Clone Trooper named Bill (Sam). Or then there is the constant battle about whether that picture in the magazine is Rex (Sam) or someone else whose name I can't recall at this point (Alex).

Anyway, I try to remind myself that even though these arguments seem pointless to me, they are as important to them as the arguments over whether or not the new economic stimulus bill is going to save us all or not. And now that I have learned to stay out of them, I have been privy to some of the funniest conversations I have ever heard.

For example, one night, as we are driving home, Alex and Sam begin arguing about whether superpowers are real or not. I am not quite sure how this started but it soon became clear that Sam felt very strongly that they were and Alex was arguing in the negative. This went on for some time until Alex said, "Well, you know, Sam, maybe when you get bigger, if you drink a special drink of DNA (Don't ask---I have NO idea where that came from either!) you will have superpowers."

There was a long pause from his three year old opponent. I think both Alex and I felt that Alex had done it. He had satisfied both sides with his theory. Until Sam piped up with, "I don't drink DNA, Alex. I drink apple juice." And that was that. Another victory for the three year old debator.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bubbilicious vacation week....Eleven days of just being mom. My only duties were to my children and husband and we could do all of the things that we never have time to do normally. No schedules, take out all of the messy arts and crafts things more often, visit museums, playdates.....That's what they used to consist of. However, these weeks, once sacred, are turning out to be more trying than balancing my family and professional lives.

The steady demise began last April. Our then 2 year old, Sam, came down with the stomach bug so badly that he couldn't even move off of the couch. He wouldn't talk, walk or even smile. For a worrying mommy this was just excruciating. I spent the week with my stomach in knots, not due to these invasive little germs but to my nerves. Luckily, no one else caught it and by the end of vacation, he was back to normal.

Fast forward eight months and we are at the glorious, magic-filled Christmas vacation. We thankfully celebrated our holidays in a healthy way but soon after, all three children and mom came down with fevers and colds. There went that week.

And now here we are at February. A wonderful span of days where there are no holiday to-dos and lots of fun to be had. Wouldn't you know that Friday night around 7:30, Sam wasn't looking so good. We were up until 2 am with the bucket. Fighting the germs off with bleach and hope that this wouldn't last long. It has now been seven days...the bucket is confidently put away but in the interim, our 19 month old, Emma, caught it, both parents fell very ill, and our oldest, Alex, has a fever and cold. Oh and who can forget the trip to the doctor's with the instigator (Sam) because he also has a raging ear infection.

However, my point to this piece is not to simply bemoan my ill fortune (pun INTENDED). You see, through all of this, my husband Glen wins the best man alive award. (He deserves this for many reasons but this is the most recent one.) Glen saved the day like the superhero he is.

Being stuck in the house when you are expecting to have this fun-filled week really wears on vacation spirit. Not that we had huge plans for the week but anything is better than being stuck in for an interminably long time because your family is sick. While picking up our meds and other get well supplies, Glen bought two items that made all of the sickness and vacation disappointment disappear (even if it was for a short time): new paints and brushes and a bubble machine.

On Wednesday when we were all medicated and feeling a little better, we had a grand old time playing Picasso. To clean off our creativity, all three children got in the tub where the fun they deserved finally began thanks to the clever invention of the bubble machine.

The vacation fun I was looking for had finally arrived, packaged in various sized opalescent orbs. As the soapy spheres spiraled their way down to the children's reach, their faces lit up with unadulterated joy. Happiness was found in bubbles stuck to arms, legs, heads, and hands. At one point, we had "bubble beehives" growing on the tub wall. We had thirty minutes of laughter, silliness, and good old vacation memories all thanks to the age old practice of bubble blowing.

So as Alex's friends arrive back at school sharing their vacation adventures of playdates, museum trips, and trips to far off places, he will be able to put a big smile on his face and tell them about his magical bubbles that cured us all!