posts tagged with 'boys'

the pajama game is the game we're in

So as I've mentioned in passing, our kids don't tend to change their clothes in any periodic fashion. That is, they tend to wear the same outfit as long as they're still feeling it (or it gets wet or uncomfortably dirty). Not to say that they always stay in the same clothes for long periods of time—sometimes activities call for several changes in one day. But they don't ever feel like it's necessary to put on something different just because it's a new day, still less because they're going to bed. So pajamas aren't a regular feature of our bedtime routine.

But! On the other hand, it's undeniable that pajamas are awesome, especially when they're new. And this fall all three boys have got at least one new pj outfit each, so at times there's been considerable excitement around them. Tuesday and Wednesday not one of them changed out of pajamas at any point—the same pjs over the two days. Sure, Tuesday was a wet inside sort of day, but Wednesday they were at Grandma and Grandpa's all day, and went for a walk. In their pajamas. Only a trip to the dentist this morning, for all three of them, forced a change. Now they're all in bed in the clothes they wore all day.

I don't see anything wrong with any of that. Personally, I don't care to let my dirty work pants into the bed; but when I take them off to sleep I just put them back on the morning, most days, so I have no room to cast aspersions. But it is funny when, as happened the other day, they slept in their clothes and then changed into pajamas after breakfast. The game they were playing demanded it. It makes sense to them, so who am I to question?

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what the kids are saying

There are times—oh, there are times!—when the boys' voices annoy me. But then there are lots of other moments when the things they say are fascinating and delightful. Lijah, for example, is improving his syntax and sentence complexity by leaps and bounds; to wit: "I'm not in the play, I'm watchin the play!"

Harvey of course has all the vocabulary. The other evening I mentioned all the good books he'd read, and he replied, "amazingly, I didn't read any books today... just peered into the books Zion was reading."

Those were last week; I had to wait to gather a sample of Zion speech, because he's the middle child so sometimes I have a hard time paying attention to him. But this evening he was digging a hole in the garden and contemplating what he might find if he went deep enough. He has a theory: "It goes: treasure, dinosaur bones, oil, hot lava."

As you can see, there are lots of words around here. It's lovely.

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Harvey sharing books

We don't devote much daily time to "school work" here, and pretty much none at all to reading instruction. Our literacy time is all taken up with read-alouds, story-telling, and, this month, poetry. But nevertheless, while I was doing the dishes the other day this is how the boys were occupying themselves in the other room.

Harvey reading to his brothers on the couch

good brother

A couple different things going on. Like me Harvey doesn't want to work on something unless he's good at it, and unless he has a good reason to; he also likes to be helpful, especially when he doesn't have to work too hard. Practicing reading with me is frustrating and annoying to him—totally understandably! But he's spent a couple hours a day with his nose in a book every day for at least a year, slowly figuring things out by himself. So when I ask him to read to his brothers while I do some other work, he doesn't see a pointless difficult task, he sees a chance to be useful while showing off a developing skill—and being the focus of uncritical attention!

Don't tell him, but it's all great practice. He's moving up to comic books now—whether they like it or not!—and apologized to me for not being able to do the voices. I pointed out how well he reads with expression from the books he knows better; I'm sure the comic books will come in time too. His audience is delighted either way.

Of course, remember: he still doesn't know how to read.

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rainy day

It rained all day, and our farm-school coop was cancelled due to illness. Which is just as well, because we had a more-terrible-than-usual night here and were ready for a quiet day at home. The boys, that is; Leah was ready for a quiet day (or afternoon, at least) at work. And we all got what we needed, for a very pleasant day—I was so impressed with how well the boys entertained themselves all day. Of course we did a little school, but not too much: they were just too busy. There was some reading:

Harvey reading at the breakfast table

catching up with the smurves

Lots of imaginative play:

Zion and Lijah in the costume trunk playing with the dollhouse

makes sense to them

And eventually, of course, some outside time:

Zion jumping in a puddle

splash

The only crying the whole day came when I refused to instantly repair a broken plastic toy for Lijah, which ended his universe for 15 minutes until he threw down the broken fragments in his rage and when he wasn't looking I hid them and then he forgot what he was upset about and got involved in something else. That's parenting!

But really, the day went far better than I have any right to deserve, and I can take no credit for it myself. The kids are alright.

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this moment

three boys playing ring-around-the-rosie with Grandpa at the farmers market

ring-around with Grandpa

A moment from the week.

"what did we do today, again?"

At bedtime I almost always ask the boys about their favorite part of the day. I like to pray thanksgivings with them, and it's nice to know what they might feel particularly thankful for. Of course, as I ask I'm pretty sure what I'm going to hear for an answer: "I don't know, what did we do today, again?" Coupled with the other frequent bedtime question—"what fun thing are we going to do tomorrow"—and it's enough to drive a parent to distraction.

In their defense, I must say it's not as bad as it sounds. In Harvey's case it's his natural caution about not wanting to answer any question wrong that's holding him back; what if he forgot something that he should have enjoyed?! But most likely he recalls it all. And Zion's always hard-pressed to name something he didn't love about our day. "Playing with our friends" is almost always his first answer, when he remembers anything; but then when I remind him of the other events of the day he cheerfully adds them to his list of favorites.

So really, there's plenty of gratefulness to go around... even when I have to dig deep to find it!

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this moment

harvey and elijah playing at the farmers market

fun fueled by local donuts

A moment from the week.

this moment

the boys clowning around in front of the fence in their Easter suits

Easter morning photoshoot outtake

A moment from the week.

this moment

all three boys, in summery clothes, having a snack on the porch

spring for a day

A moment from the week.

a morning hike

Harvey and Zion coming up a hill on brightly-lit fall leaves

fall hiking

The boys, Rascal, and I took a hike yesterday a little farther afield: a town forest area that isn't just across the street. Last time we biked there, but with the dog today we had to drive. Which meant a different entrance place, so it was totally new for the boys! Experienced hikers as they are, they were well-prepared.

Harvey and Zion hiking down a sloping path in the pines

sure-footed

Many of paths through this particular woods are up and down steep sandy slopes, and they were fun both up and down and kept anyone from getting bored. It was wonderful to be able to have both the boys and Rascal with me on a walk and not have to worry about the pace either way: even Zion's developing into a fine hiker and moved along at a reasonable speed, and as Rascal approaches his second decade he's willing, if not to walk along with us, to wait up and check in with us from time to time. As happy as we all were with the walking, though, we were even more delighted to come upon a body of water.

the boys on the shore of the pond, watching Rascal in the water

we're drawn to water

Rascal jumped right in and the boys wasted no time in taking off their boots to paddle, but all three of them decided that the water was actually pretty chilly; Harvey stood in the water for no more than a second and Zion barely dipped a toe, while Rascal refused to go in very far after sticks and hauled himself out between each one to shake dry (including once all over Zion's coat; good thing it was warming up nicely!).

After the pond it was a just a little ways back to the car, since we were starting to tire a little bit. The only complaining of the trip came from Zion towards the end of this segment, but as we reached the road and he could see an end to the walking he rallied and finished in good spirits.

Zion looking like a hiker heading back to the car

littlest hiker

Then we were home in time for lunch and an afternoon of further adventures: the advantage of hiking close to home!

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