Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The measure of a man

At 6 months Ray Kon is 20 lbs even and 27.75 inches, with a 18 inch head. He's 90 percentile for all. Our little big man.

Monday, January 28, 2008

And whatnot

Where does the time go… blah, blah, blah. I’m harried, frazzled, tired, grumpy but yet happy. I know – it makes no sense. I’m behind in everything to everyone – except of course the boys. We’re still getting out to see things and people, keeping busy and whatnot while trying to maintain some semblance of order. So far so good, I think. At least with a passing grade from those who don’t grade too harshly.

Ray has is 6 month check-up tomorrow. I am sure we will discuss his early teething, early attempts at locomotion and gargantuan size and strength. Also that he doesn’t love the baby food, merely tolerates the fruits and sweet potatoes. And is still nursing every three hours like clockwork, even during the night. But aside from waking to nurse and then dozing right back off again, he is still a decent sleeper getting a little less than twelve hours a night typically and has one long (1.5 to 2 hour) and one short nap a day. Things you might not know about Ray – he is a drool fountain. It’s not just teething. This boy has dripped drool every second of every day since his birth. He’s always wet. Though he is generally good natured, he has quite a temper. If he merely SEES a piece of paper in your hand that he wants to put in his mouth and you do not give it to him – all hell breaks lose. Red faced, shaking, shrieking anger. “RAHHH! I smote you mortal.” Two sure fire ways to make him happy and chill him out – Noah or kitty! A passing notice of either will set the world right. And once again Ray of sunshine.

Noah is still my shy, smart boy who becomes ridiculously extroverted when he’s performing. And the imagination of this kid is outrageous. He’s making up scenarios, stories, and people every second. I know I was never this imaginative – he definitely got the fantasy gene from Dad. He’s still having nightmares – some about monsters and some just about getting his toys taken away from him when he misbehaves. He’s still a really well behaved boy but his three year old emotions cause ridiculous meltdowns when “No” or “Wait” are mentioned. Thankfully this only ever happens at home when he’s got no witnesses. He’s very good with his brother, for the most part. Unfortunately he’ll often snatch a toy out of his hands despite our protests – won’t he be surprised when Ray can kick his ass. Noah’s loving school – the four hours a week he goes really is perfect for him at the moment. I’m already thinking about what the next two years will look like for his schooling and where we should send him for kindergarten in Fall 2010. Since the Philadelphia school district has issues we have to do a lot of research into the many options for education. To me it’s a good thing – we can’t just take for granted that the local school will work. Instead we really have to think about what will be best for us and for Noah. And careful consideration is never a bad thing. Time consuming, yes. But not bad.

And the big people? We’re well. Budgeting is still the big new thing. This year we decided to compartmentalize Mark’s income so that each month we set aside a certain amount for groceries, home improvements, vacation, entertainment, the boys, etc. It makes me edgy to think that much about money – but I realize it will really work well for us. This way we don’t just overspend in some areas to the detriment of others. So now we’re entering everything into designated columns in an Excel spreadsheet. Fun, right?

What should I be doing right now? Slogging through stuff in the basement. Tomorrow we are getting some of Mark’s late Grandmother’s furniture. This means that some of our old stuff has to be moved and some stuff has to be stored in the basement. Are we ready? Now we ain’t. Our basement is a pit of crap. Things that have no home go there never to be seen again. But somehow we’ll manage to make some more room. With what energy and time? I have no earthly idea.

Ray's frustration

He can get up on his knees and bounce. He can go backwards a bit.
He can get up on hands and toes with his butt up in the air. But mostly - he's just PISSED OFF.

Saturday, January 19, 2008


Yesterday we went to The Children's Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill for the first time. Noah thought he reached nirvana. He spent almost an hour on the stage in the theater - putting on costumes and dancing. Right before I shot this video another little girl dropped a witch hat on his head to complete the look with the cape he was wearing. I don't think he could see a thing but he just kept going. And keep in mind I shot this while nursing Ray. I'm going to add multi-tasking to my resume.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nuts and bolts and flights of fancy

- Noah, struggling to pull the plug out of Ray’s bath tub, said “Damn. I can’t do it.”
- Ray is totally rolling, slithering and sitting up. And of course as a result he had his first roll off the bed. He managed to survive with little else than a bruise – and the same can be said for Mark who left Ray on the bed.
- Noah was making a frowny face when I buckled him into his carseat before school. “Is something wrong?” “You know my friend Annie.” “Yes.” (She’s imaginary.) “Well she is very old and today when we were coloring in the kitchen she died.” “Oh… I’m very sorry. It’s very hard to lose a friend.”
- Noah informed me that some day he and Ray will be floating together in space. He was heartbroken when I told him he won’t be able to make that a reality in the near future. But later seem placated with the idea of going to a space museum. I told him there was one in DC, but that it was three times as long as the trip to Grandma’s. He said “I’m sure I can be patient if you bring a lot of snacks.” However I was a bit irritated when he started insisting we go to DC NOW. So I took him to The Franklin Institute thinking they had some lunar landers or something to look at. Unfortunately they didn’t. Their space command section is made to look like mission control but you don’t actually see any space gear. Bummer. The museum is geared for older kids but Noah really enjoyed a handful of things – the Imax movie on the space station, the train and of course walking through the heart. The heart was a favorite of mine too. This time however I felt panicky and claustrophobic. I was an amazon woman with a 20 lb. baby strapped to my front and a large shoulder bag flung across my back and I was certain I was going to get stuck. Somehow we made it through. TWICE.
- Noah told me recently he wanted to be a Daddy when he grew up but a few days later said he wanted to be an astronaut instead. After watching the Space Station movie he thought better of it and said “I want to be a Daddy when I get big. A Daddy is a better thing. I don’t want to do all that astronaut stuff. That’s a lot.”
- In mid-December I was way overdue for a hair appointment and then we were sick and I had to cancel my hair appointment. So I was REALLY overdue for the cut I finally got yesterday. Earlier in the week I was lamenting to Noah about my hair and he comforted me with “You look nice even when your hair is bad.”
- So yesterday was haircut day. Thank God. Me and the boys took the subway to see our stylist and Mark met us there. Noah sat on my lap and got shorn while Mark wrangled Ray. Then Mark handled both boys while I got my cut. Then we hiked it a few blocks to have a truckload of dumplings at our new favorite Chinese place. It was an exhausting evening - Ray was fussy and by the end of the night Noah was exhausted. Occasionally going out with the kids is more work than it is fun – and it’s rarely relaxing. But it’s SO very necessary. We need to get out and be a part of the world and the kids need to see the world and be reminded how to operate within it. My Dad always commented that kids that never get taken out to dinner don’t know how to act out and I firmly believe that and make sure we get out fairly often. But sheesh - last night there was a moment where I was like "ABORT MISSION! ABORT! Return to the station at once!"
- And the most blogworthy thing going on in our house is that for the last three days Noah has been pretending to be his “new” 5 year old girl cousin Jordan. And that isn’t all – he has decided that Mark is Jordan’s sister Sammy and I am “Jordan’s Mama” though I have tried to explain to him that Jordan wouldn’t call her Mama “Jordan’s Mama.” Oh and Ray is cousin Chase. So when I slip up and call Noah by his given name I get “I’m not Noah.” I told him I missed Noah and he informed me that he WAS Noah, that he was just pretending. So I asked when he would be done pretending and he said “When the story is over.” Yesterday he told me it was over and half an hour later was looking glum. I inquired about his mood and he told me he was sad he wasn’t Jordan anymore. I told him he could still be Jordan if he wanted to – and we were back on story. Ahh… three, it’s an imaginative age.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Bless America

Santa finally sent Noah a keyboard to replace the one the reindeers busted. And this one is an upgrade. It's even got a headset mic. And now Noah... the singing sensation. And Ray on backup vocals.

You've got that look.

Ray is getting SO big, so fast. And by that I don't just mean size wise. In a week he will be six months old - he's almost twenty pounds, has two teeth, sits up and is definitely going to be on the move soon. I just can't believe how fast it is going. He's a funny little charmer. And the ease of him and his generally sunny demeanor definitely suggest that his name suits him.
Today was an unusually warm day for January so we hit the playground outside of Noah's school. Today Ray rode his first playground swing!
Oh and in the last picture - CHECK THOSE THIGHS! I couldn't resist sharing them.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The year in children

2008 is treating us well thus far. Today was Mark’s last day home for holiday break and we went out for my holiday employee lunch at Rangoon. We started this tradition last year after Mark had his departmental work lunch and I was all jealous, mopey and remarking “but nobody takes ME to lunch for a job well done.” No drama queens here. So over Burmese food we discussed 2007 - we’ve experienced a lot of growth and doubled our output. As for goals for 2008 – more growing, learning and loving while holding it all together. Or at least trying real hard while enjoying the ride. Oh, and we’ve got to create and maintain a more regimented budget. Please kill me. (Again – no drama.) I don’t consider myself a shopper or a spendthrift but I absolutely abhor having to account for every cent so this will be quite a challenge.

As for New Year’s Eve, this year we decided to check out First Night Haddonfield after I heard an ad on KYW saying that they have a countdown and fireworks at 9 pm. We weren’t sure until the afternoon if we were really up for going but we pulled it together and had a really nice time. Some of the performances were too packed for us to see but since the fireworks were the main goal going to some of the shows was a bonus. Noah nodded off during an acapella show (hysterically funny acapella faces) and had to be prodded repeatedly to wake up for the fireworks while Ray stayed awake during the show when I’d have preferred him to be napping (typical!) The fireworks display was small but great because we were right underneath it rather than the typical miles away. And the best part is that we took the Patco train to Haddonfield so we didn’t even have to deal with the nightmarish traffic to get out of there. I’d totally consider doing the same next year.

New Years Day is my mom’s birthday so we typically see her and eat the requisite lucky pork and sauerkraut (we are of PA Dutch descent though I didn’t realize until adulthood that this tradition was regional) but this year she ditched us for her new in-laws. Therefore I was forced to make a pork roast my damn self and accidentally made enough to feed 10. Aside from the fact that our house is a wreck, I was wishing we had invited people over to eat. We ate the same thing for dinner again tonight even though I dislike leftover pork as much as I love sauerkraut on top of mashed potatoes – but hopefully we will be twice as lucky. And because Noah obviously did not enjoy sauerkraut last night I didn’t put any on his plate this evening. His response - “Where is my sour crap?”

I have to admit it. I’m feeling a bit burnt out. Just tired a lot and wanting a break that feels impossible. I hate missing time with my kids so instead I am daydreaming of freezing time so that I could pull myself outside of it to have a quiet lunch, read a book and take a nap. I’m sure some of this feeling has to do with post-Christmas crash so hopefully I’ll be able to get myself and the house in some semblance of order soon.

And in the world of giant infants – Ray is still a frontrunner. He’s just more and more massive, squishy and sweet. But he’s no fat, lazy baby – the boy is strong and seriously on the move. He is slithering and rolling all over the place and I have no doubt he’ll be crawling in the next month. He’s also grabbing on to anything he can get his death-like grip on and shoving it in his mouth. And if you take it away from him – he turns from good natured cuddly bear to vicious maneater. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The only hope of escaping his wrath is to get Noah to smile at him and he melts into a puddle.

Noah is THREE now. And three is, above all else, EMOTIONAL! I was comparing parenting notes with my friend Wendy the other week when I noticed her looking at me with an expression of grave concern on her face. It was then that I realized that she took my saying that Noah’s three year old mood swings seemed ridiculously bipolar to mean that I really thought he was bipolar. HA! No. THREE is bipolar. Ecstatically goofily happy one second and the next OH THE HUMANITY! He can’t possibly bear these atrocities for one more second. And what puts him over the edge is typically the most ridiculously small thing. But crazy mood swings aside – THREE is so incredibly smart and charming. Noah says the most amazingly astute things followed by the most loving and then the most cute. Three year olds seem to me a case study in extremes. And then there is the learning. Picking things up out of nowhere, mastering them in seconds. Noah can write his name now and is letter and number obsessed. I keep thinking back to when I taught first grade in the poorest section of the city and how so many of the kids came to school not even knowing their alphabet. And all I can think of is how those kids must have been kept in a box. Must have been so neglected, so traumatized, so overwhelmed by troubled home lives. That is the only way to explain a three year old not learning even the slightest letter lesson by accident. Kids seem so naturally hungry for learning at this age. Noah wants to know everything and more. I’d love to bottle it and put it in my coffee.