3 going on 13

How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child. — King Lear

“You know what I was thinking today?” asked Finn as we walked away from our first baseball game.
“Uh, what?” I asked, kind of taken aback. (I’d never heard him initiate that kind of question.)
“You say too much silly stuff, Dad-O. It’s a bunch of jibber jabber.”
Now I was really surprised. “Well, I’m just trying to be funny, bud. You don’t like it?”
“I like it,” Finn replied, trying to humor me, “but… it’s just not cool to listen to.”

And thus a very small fist landed in my solar plexus.

Later in the tub, I broached the issue again.
“You don’t like it when we joke around, Finny?”
“No,” he shook his head. “It’s just too nonsense-y.”

Now, I’m sure that anyone who has kids older than 3 will say that this is about the mildest rejection/rebuke one could experience at the hands of one’s child. Still, though, “the first cut is the deepest,” and it’s hard to hear of one’s uncoolness–especially from such a young guy!

Not to worry, though: Finn’s with me in the gazebo now, firing off streams of jibberish and proudly declaring, “That’s Spanish! I’m talking like a baby speaking Spanish!” There is no escape from the old man’s weird undertow. 🙂



John has been away in Germany all week, so I have been solo-parenting. This sometimes means that the guys get to watch a little more TV than normal because it lets me get a few things done around the house either before I leave for work or before the kids go to bed. They’d watched a couple pre-bedtime episodes of “Mighty Machines” (so Mom-o could clean up the kitchen and get laundry going without stumbling over toddlers!), a program they really enjoy. Basically they’re 30 minute-long shows about various gigantic vehicles in action–in mines, at airports and fire stations, in forests, and at cement plants. To say the guys love Mighty Machines is an understatement.

Last night, our last solo-mom night, Henry had already gone to bed, and Finny approached me.

F: “I want to watch Mighty Machines before bed!”
M: “I don’t think so, buddy. It’s pretty late, and besides, you’ve watched a lot of TV this week already. I think we’ll skip TV tonight.”
F: “But I want to watch TV before bed every night like you and Dad-o do.”
M: Speechless. Sort of ashamed, and embarrassed! Thinking about what a lame role model I am! Seriously reconsidering my TV-watching habits!



Deciphering Finny

Sometimes I think we need to hire some of the WWII Navajo Wind Talkers or build our own Enigma machine to decipher what exactly Finny is talking (or not talking!) about these days. Recently, while I was getting ready for work, Finny and Henry were poking around our bedroom, and Finny exclaimed, “I want to play with that Scramble under the couch!” My response: “Whaaaat? What is Scramble? Can you describe what you’re talking about?” He said “The little pieces with letters on them that go in this big box. It’s right here under the couch.” It was then I figured out he was talking about the Scrabble game under the bed!

Sometimes, the challenge is not even to decipher the words coming out of Finny’s mouth, but the things he’s feeling when he chooses not to use words. This has become more common lately, as he tries to noverbally exert his will in various situations. He’ll grump around because he wants you to bow to his bossy demands, or he doesn’t want to do something he knows he should (like ask for things politely). He’s trying to see whether he can get away with being rude and bossy instead of polite (short answer: NO.).

Last night, Finny was terribly grouchy, whiny, and petulant (without giving me anything to go on), and he was raising a big stink about wanting to watch one of his fire engine videos. I refused on the grounds that he had been a totally grumpy handfull all night long, so I wasn’t rewarding that with a video. He was unhappy about it, but seemingly went to bed quietly after we read a book. An hour or so later I heard him moaning and crying in bed, and when I went down to check on him, he wouldn’t explain why he was crying…but I figured out he was still upset about the video.

Tonight, after a prolonged late-afternoon doctor visit where he was a total gem, he asked about the fire truck video, and told me he would not cry, whine, fight, or kick like he did last night, and that he would be good so we could watch the video. I was impressed that my 3 year-old boy had sorted through last night’s episode and decided at last to verbalize his feelings. It just lightens my heart when we make tangible progress through these kinds of rough patches.

[“These tiles don’t want to be obedient!” said Finn the other day, mashing the Scrabble set. “They just want to friggin’ *panic*!” Oh boy: we tell Finn not to “panic” when he’s emotionally derailing, and as for the language–well, more on that in a bit. –J.]

Photos Videos

Baby Herc

From very early on Margot & I have noticed Henry being a weirdly strong little kid, giving powerful hugs & often trying to climb up things like sinks. Now he’s taken a shine to pulling wagons–often alongside Finn, but just as often containing Finn. One recent evening each one grabbed a wagon & hauled them all the way to the park (nearly half a mile away), and the other day Henry managed to pull Finn some chunk of that distance on his own. Check out the brawny man in action:

Marathon Photos

More giant tree adventures

If you’re going to drive hundreds of miles with small children, then lie in bed for hours while one jumps excitedly on each of your outstretched arms… well, you could pick a far worse destination than redwood-rich Northern California.

Our trip up to Fortuna, CA saw us…

  • stopping off to drive through the colossal Chandelier Tree
  • picking up a toy ice cream & VW for the boys (“Like… Jose’s Beetle!” says Hen)
  • stopping for lunch beside a monster truck school bus, where the guys climbed onto a forklift (“Driving Guido!” from Cars)
  • losing the ice cream truck at a gas station (big freak-out!!)
  • amazingly, finding the truck at the same station the next day!!*
  • listening to Henry narrate the Avenue of the Giants (“Tree tipped over, Dad-O. Scooper [garbage] truck did it.”)

Without further ado, check out the gallery!

* Finn recounted the experience rather breathlessly to Mom-O: “I was just so excited about it, I couldn’t even give the truck a smooch!!”

Marathon Videos

Greetings from inside a giant tree!

We all had a ball cruising the Avenue of the Giants following Margot’s half marathon, just listening to Henry’s mind being blown as he tried to count redwoods: “3! 2! 6! 10!… 3!!” We’ll have more photos to share soon, but in the meantime, behold Margot’s surgical piloting of a large German car through an even larger redwood:


“Smoochas Gracias”–aka Eustachian Invasion!

Lately our guys have been enjoying “weirdo smeech” (plural of smooch), a little gross-out trick where we make our tongues into second “lips,” then give each other big wet kisses. During a recent session our little “ear, nose, & throat” men followed by giving me a crazy oral exam: check it out!


Declarations of Independence

Boy oh boy, there are a lot of decisions being made around our house these days. Mr. 3-year-old Finny is testing out boundaries like it’s his job (which, I suppose, it is!). Never shy with an opinion, he’s started experimenting with if/then statements as well as linking together completely disparate ideas or actions. Here are a few examples:

“I will get out of bed now, but I want to stay in my peej (pajamas) for a little while. I will get dressed after breakfast.”

“If Henry’s going to play with my ice cream truck, I’m not going to go into the kitchen with you.”

“I am going to play with my legos over here, and you should go into the kitchen and clean up.”

“First, I am going to eat my banana chips. Then I will eat my toast, and if I am still hungry, I might want a little yogurt.”

“I want to play in the backyard, so we should skip bath tonight.”

He’s also still quite interested in freestyling when it comes to his bedtime routine. This has evolved to a regular little ritual. Finny and Dad-o do “talk a little bit,” then he and I do our song. After I say goodnight and leave the room, Finny gets up, goes to the bathroom (even though he just did that at bathtime), then goes back to bed. The other night he took it a few steps further and after a few minutes of overhearing him rustling around in his room, I opened the door to find the bathroom lights on, his bedroom lights on, his bedroom door open, and him standing in the middle of the rug, seemingly trying to decide what to do next! We settled on a minute of backrubbing, followed by his committment to staying in bed.


Dr. Livingston, I presume?

Camo-clad Henry “walks with the big dogs in the tall grass,” so to speak–only in our case we’re seeking neighborhood cats (“Gato licking! {slurp!}”).


A perfect day

Downside: Our sewer pipe went haywire, necessitating some expensive driveway surgery (“Double Double, Toilet Trouble!” as Finn declared).

Upside: The boys got a bay window seat to jackhammering plus a garbage truck PLUS a scooper truck! Great morning for tots, or the GREATEST morning?? 🙂

Ever since, the boys have been playing “busy workers” as Henry says. “I’m Adam!” the little guy proclaims, while Finn adds, “I’m Uncle Louie!” (I enjoy imagining my own Uncle Louie being their jackhammering hero.)


A Very Happy Mother’s Day

When I think back to a little over three years ago, there’s no way I would have ever guessed what my life would be like. Sure, I hoped I would have at least one kid, but there’s just no imagining what motherhood will ultimately be like. I feel so lucky to be the mother of Finny and Henry. They constantly surprise, amaze, and yes, sometimes frustrate me…all of which have expanded and deepened the definition of who I am, and what family means to me. I couldn’t ask for greater gifts than my two boys and my wonderful husband, their Dad-o. I knew soon after meeting him that I wanted him to be the dad to my kids. Viva Dad-o, and viva los Micronaxx!


Natural Philosophies

A recent cosmological discussion at Chez Nack:

Me: “Did you have a good weekend, Finny?”
F: “Yeah!… Are the days hooked together?”
Me: “Yep. The days & nights hook together like train cars.”
F: “Yeah! And they’re pulled by a big engine–a Sky Engine!”

Not to be left out, Henry pointed at a very diffused sun & said, “Look like… big truck!” So now maybe we’ll have a great debate of prime movers, Sky Engines vs. Sky Trucks. 🙂

Marathon Photos

Mom-o’s 13.1 Miles!

This weekend was action packed! All four of us drove up to the beautiful redwood forests of Northern California so I could compete in the half-marathon I’d trained for. All three of my guys came to cheer me on and cavort amongst the giant trees.

It was a fantastic weekend. Sunday was race day, and it couldn’t have been any better. The sun was shining, the air was cool, and the course, along the famous Avenue of the Giants, was beautiful. My training paid off, and I finished the race even faster than my target pace. I felt great almost the entire race, only starting to feel tired and a bit sore during the last couple of miles. The last mile went by quickly, with tons of folks from my Team in Training support team cheering me on, and then as I caught a glimpse of John, Finny, and Henry close to the finish line. Here’s a gallery of pics from race day. And for all of you who supported me, both morally and with donations to LLS, your name made it onto my jersey so you were right there with me the entire time!

My experience with Team In Training was fantastic–the training, coaching, support, and inspiration of our honorees made for a truly memorable experience. It just couldn’t have been any better, and I am proud to have participated on behalf of blood cancer patients and their families, whose lives and experiences are affected by the research, time, money, and support they receive from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.