posts tagged with 'elijah'

how we deal with cold weather

The cold weather is upon us. I react by switching over to my winter outfit: long underwear, wool socks, and lots of layers on top. I love the cold, but I hate and fear being cold. So I wear the right clothes; the two things are connected. Harvey, on the other hand, doesn't need any such precautions. Today the temperature was maybe peeking into the 40s and, after a few minutes of running in the yard, he had to take his boots off because his feet were hot. At Market Basket the other day the elderly cart-retrieval man commented (positively!) on his choice to wear shorts with the windchill in the 20s. And while he has a new winter coat, he hasn't felt any need to wear it yet—just its fleece liner, over a t-shirt.

Lijah also hasn't worn his coat much, but that doesn't mean he's as cold-tolerant as his big brother. On the contrary, he complains bitterly whenever he's uncomfortable—yet still tries to go out for the morning walk in cotton pajamas. He said a blanket over him in the stroller would be enough; I convinced him to at least put on a sweatshirt and hat. (The hat is important, actually. When you're three your head is like 40% of your surface area, so...) For playing outside this afternoon I actually got his coat on him—the first time this year—as well a pair of actual pants over his PJs. No boots, though: only slippers will do for this determined boy.

Still, we all adapt in our own ways. We're getting used to this cold thing. Now all we need is snow; this morning we were placing bets on when it would show up. Do they make snow slippers?

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Lijah's hat

You may have noticed in yesterday's post that Lijah wore a fleece winter hat to the 4th of July entertainment. I guess he wanted to top Monday, when he wore long pants—also fleece—and a long-sleeved shirt for our hike in the blazing sun. Well, at least we didn't have to worry about sunburn.

Lijah smiling in his fleece hat

hot but cheerful

Who knows why he does the things he does. All we know is that he's determined. Always determined, in all things: he now finishes every sentence with a grumpy pout. I should try to take a picture. Some times we do need to try and convince him to change his mind—like when he wants nothing more than to break his brother's toys—but his need to wear winter clothes is more or less ok with us. Sure, we try and suggest more seasonably-appropriate attire, and we make sure to bring a sensible change of clothes on all our outings in case he relents. So far he hasn't, really, even when prostrated by heat. I carried him for a while on Monday's hike, since he couldn't really move he was so overheated. I figure he knows his own mind, and there are few enough areas where he really has control of his life, so this isn't the worst thing. Plus the hat is super cute!

Lijah, in long pants and long sleeves, walking on a road through a marsh

on a lonely road

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agglutinative character creation in imaginative play

Another post about Lijah, since I get to spend so much time with him these days. He likes to play imaginative games with us—well, sort of imaginative. Mostly it's about deciding what character he wants to be, and then announcing it repeatedly. For a while it was pretty simple: a cat, or a pirate, or spiderman (in rough chronological order). But then he started to get a little more baroque. For example, on the playground the other day he and I (with a little assistance from Zion) played a rousing game of robot pirate bugs.

Then yesterday it got even more confusing, when he decided he was a robot dinosaur pirate baby. I said I could be the mama, so after a little while—and I should reiterate just how many times he announces what he is, to the point that it forms at least fifty percent of the play dialogue—he said something like, "ok, I'm the baby robot dinosaur pirate baby and you're the mama robot dinosaur pirate baby." I guess it makes sense at some level, and I was happy to roll with it for a minute or two until he changed me into something else. I can't wait until he's writing stories down someday...

playing dirty

The first heat wave of the summer has struck (that one in February didn't count) and we're responding with less clothes and more dirt.

shirtless and dirty Lijah posing holding his staff

a pause to pose

Besides enjoying our sandbox and hose-derived mud, the boys spent an hour or two yesterday evening playing at their friends' house across the street. They just finished up a renovation and still have two good-sized dirt piles just crying out to be climbed. While the bigger kids amused themselves with ball and imaginative games, Lijah just grabbed a hoe to use as an ice-ax and headed up one of the mountains... again and again and again. I made sure he had a nice bath.

Today the baths are already over with, after an even sweatier day hiking in the woods and walking around town, but with the heat fading a little bit in the twilight the kids are all back out in the dirt. Oh well, the bedding will wash. And though they do clean up alright, they're pretty cute dirty as well!

Lijah's dirty face

showing his work

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happy spring

Harvey walking in the snow in shorts and sandals

the spring look

There was some debate in the neighborhood as to when spring officially begins, but it's got to be around here somewhere. Yesterday was a lovely early springish day: bitter cold at sunrise and barefoot-worthy by mid afternoon. So we spent some time outside.

Lijah on his new birthday scooter

lookin like he knows what he's doing

We did some running and some scootering—Lijah working on his new birthday scooter for the first time!—and some wagon hay-rides, all together with a great crowd of friends. And then when the kids all got tired of running they brought ten thousand legos out onto the front porch to play with them in the sunshine. I should have taken a picture, but I was too busy talking about great picture books and home improvements with other homeschooling parents who Know What It's Like.

You know, it's funny. Lijah didn't get nearly as much exercise as the bigger guys—he can't keep up the scootering for long, and he was in the stroller for our walk rather than running back and forth like a spring-mad puppy—but he was the only one to actually fall asleep outside. I guess growing up so fast is hard work!

Lijah sleeping leaning forward in the stroller

zzz

Happy Spring, everyone.

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celebration weekend

chocolate bundt cake with three candles

chocolate cake no frosting

This past weekend was devoted to celebrating Lijah's birthday (and mine, to a much smaller extent). On Saturday he had his party here. He invited three guests his own age, but they all came with parents and two with siblings, plus we had a bonus Harvey-friend guest at the last minute—so it was a pretty good crowd. Good thing I made lots of hot dogs and mac-and-cheese.

the crowd eating lunch

hot dog party

You'll notice Lijah isn't in that picture. He didn't actually come to the table for lunch, on account of he ate constantly all morning (up to and including the pretzel and veggie straw appetizers we had out to start the party). He really enjoyed having a day where his every whim was recognized and catered to. But you can bet he was there for cake time!

Lijah blowing out the second of his three candles

blow Lijah blow

Like both his brothers when they turned three, he asked for a chocolate cake with no frosting. I'd remembered Harvey wanting that, but it wasn't until I went through the blog in search of a photo to show him—to make sure he was ok with the hole in the middle—that I was reminded that Zion also had the same cake. He was quite satisfied with it.

Both before and after eating there was lots of running around and various independent play. Present opening happened sometime in the middle of all that, so I didn't get any good pictures. But there were good presents, not least a set of books from Harvey's friend Jack, invited only 45 minutes before the party started—good job Jack! They were just the thing when attention finally started to flag.

Tim reading to a crowd of kids

the quiet part of the party

As if that wasn't enough party, we did it again yesterday evening. Well, not quite again, because with just grandparents it was, if not calmer—playtime with Grandpa is never calm!—at least more contained. Rather than a cake, Lijah asked for a specific cupcake from Wilson Farm:

a giant cupcake frosted like a happy red monster

monster cupcake!!

Then he asked me to take off all the frosting so he could just eat the chocolate cake part. Which he did. There weren't many presents, but there was a big one. He knew what to do with it.

Lijah enthusiastically unwrapping a big present

tearing into it

It was a beautiful green scooter, which I'm sure he'll be delighted to try out when he manages to pry it away from Zion. But not tomorrow... it doesn't look like there will be road to scooter on, with the blizzard warning at all. I'm glad we had fine weather the last couple days for a great party weekend.

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happy 3rd, Elijah!

Lijah turned three today. He was cogniscant of the fact, even though he didn't get a party (yet). It helped that his brothers showed a charming level of birthday loving kindness; here's Zion giving him the homemade present he made for him last week (!).

Zion giving Lijah a teeny birthday present

it was a piece of embroidery

Harvey hadn't actually made a present in advance, but he quickly threw together a fabric letter "E"; seven-year-olds are resourceful.

Besides those gifts, Lijah enjoyed the opportunity to pick what he wanted to eat for all three meals. Bacon, eggs, and pumpkin bread for breakfast, chicken nuggets for lunch, and popcorn and pickles for supper. Yes. He actually only asked for popcorn; I supplied pickles and hot dogs based on my knowledge of his tastes. He had two pickles, and the members of the family with more mature tastes appreciated the presence of the hot dogs. There was no cake, but when he asked for a marshmallow for desert we did the obvious thing.

Lijah smiling at a candle burning in a marshmallow held before him

it was hard to pick which sweet expression to include here

He's a wonderful boy, and it was my treat to get to spend the day with him. Happy Birthday Elijah!

Lijah on Lexington Green holding a musket

heart pirate minuteman

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still napping after all these years

Lijah turns three in a few days, so every afternoon at nap time I have a moment of doubt about whether he's actually going to fall asleep. Not that three is a magical age; I'm told that plenty of kids are still napping well into their fourth year. It's just that Harvey and Zion both gave up any pretense of sleeping during the day when they turned two. Not Lijah! He's still going strong.

Lijah napping, bare feet tucked up under stripey butt

expert napper

Of course, he's always needed more sleep than his brothers do: we noticed that when he was just a month old. And then we also figured out some things about parenting as we practiced on our first couple children. I figured out that, if a boy needs to sleep, I need to make him sleep whether he wants to or not! And with Lijah the key to doing that at nap time is music by the Youngblood Brass Band.

When I wrote about his affection for the group back in 2015 I noted that the soporific effect their tunes had on him was wearing off. But then Leah started working more hours and, in an effort to keep our homeschooling days sane, I instituted a hard line on nap time based on mandatory listening. It works! (I wrote about the first day of the program, before I knew it was going to be a thing.)

Lijah's reaction to the prospect of napping goes in phases. At first, fully cognizant of how tired he is mid-afternoon, he was happy to relax and fall asleep. Then he started to push back some, by whining or by trying to start a conversation. With the magic music backing me up, I could indulge him a little—with the reminder that we were going to listen to our three or four songs regardless. Lately, I just turn on the songs and give him some time to finish up what he's doing; before too long he comes right over for me to pick him up. It's kind of nice! (it also helps that the other two boys have their own rest time routine down pat).

Not everything is lovely and easy. As ever, there are many ways in which he is horrible, or at least ridiculous. But I love him a lot, especially when he's had enough sleep. So I'm glad that part's still working out!

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Halloween retrospective addendum

This evening when we got home Lijah whined for candy for a little bit, but he was mellow enough after a day and Grandma and Grandpa's that we could hold him off with the promise of dinner. After he ate his noodles Leah gave him his candy bag so he could pick out one piece for his dessert—a Snickers bar, today. He trotted off to eat it, but in a couple minutes he came back into the kitchen. "I don't like it," he told me. "I want some more real food."

So we gave him more noodles, which he ate happily, and then he asked to go to bed. The end.

Lijah language at two-and-a-half

Lijah is growing up—moving from toddler stage to pre-schooler in the ever finer gradations of American marketing—and he's starting to lose some of his cutest mispronunciations. He can say Ls now, for example, when he remembers; so no more "yibary" (or "Yaya" to refer to himself). I wish we were videoing him all the time.

But he does say a lot of words—talks all the time he can get a word in edgewise in our talky home—so there are still lots of language features of note. One interesting development is how he's started changing the "ah" sound at the end of polysyllabic words to more of an "aow". We hear it most in "Mamaow" and "bananaow" (hundreds of times a day each) but it also occurs in less frequently spoken words like "Dadaow".

Why does he do it? I have no idea. Generally, he tends to get less intelligible when he speaks with greater emphasis (no Lijah, talking without closing your mouth does not actually make you more persuasive), and it may be his latest quirk comes from something like that. He also seems to be pretty interested in the sound of words generally, and in the sound of his own voice, so maybe he just likes the effect.

Something else that's been amusing us lately as the weather turns is how he talks about being cold. Until recently he pronounced /k/ as /t/, like the baby polar bear in the joke ("my tail is told"), so when he copied Zion's exaggerated fake-shivering it came out as, "I'm t-t-t-told!". He's got the /k/ now, but I guess he internalized the beginning of that stock saying as /t/ so recently we've heard, several times, "I'm t-t-t-cold!". Although I laughed in delight the first time and told Leah about it, in Lijah's hearing, so it could be he's doing it on purpose now for effect. And I don't have any idea how aware he is when he adds even more emphasis: "I'm t-t-t-freezing!"

Probably pretty aware. Look out for more jokes coming soon.

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