posts tagged with 'elijah'

the zeal of a convert

Lijah doesn't eat very many different things. He's not picky in a traditional sense—he'll eat sweet potato, for example, or pickled garlic—but he knows what he likes and doesn't like foods that aren't on his list. Not that the list is static; that would be too easy. A couple years ago he liked his hot dogs without buns; the year after that he only wanted the bun. This week we saw a change in his diet happen.

Yesterday morning I made scrambled eggs for myself, Harvey, and Zion. When he saw them Lijah asked to try some, approved, and asked for more. Well, I wasn't going to cook more eggs so I told him he'd have to wait. Could he have some for lunch, he wanted to know? Remember, this is the child who needed separate breakfast food every time I cooked eggs for the past 18 months.

Well, you can guess what was on the breakfast menu this morning! I admit I felt some pressure as I scrambled today's eggs: what if he didn't like them this time? Would I be doomed to another year of short-order breakfast complexity? Happily, he once again approved. Of course, he also turned down the toast I made him, but I suppose you can't win em all.

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Elijah's celebration

Lijah's friends around the kitchen table

a crowd to celebrate Elijah

As I mentioned, we cleverly scheduled Lijah's birthday party before society closed down. He invited six friends—appropriate for a sixth birthday!—and those friends brought along enough family members to bring the total number of folks in the house, including Archibalds, to 26. Pretty good! The party had a dragon theme, officially, though as the day got closer the birthday boy decided he wanted to give unicorns equal billing. The short notice didn't bother me since I didn't have any particular dragon-based activities or decorations in mind anyway; he wanted a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting so options were limited in that direction, and I was too overwhelmed with other life to think too much about activities. (I did make a fantastic rainbow unicorn card that I gave him on his actual birthday on Friday.)

kids and a dad working on making construction paper puppets

craft table

Of course, with all those kids in the house we needed to do something! As the kids arrived we had material out for them to make puppets—or any other project they cared to attempt with construction paper and lunch bags. I had prepared a dragon puppet as an encouraging example. Lijah made a unicorn puppet (with terrifying sharp teeth); there were also a couple other dragons, a knight, a dog, and two penguins. The more active kids played outside on an obstacle course that Zion and I had set up. Then we had lunch—plain pasta and chicken nuggets for the littles, home-made pizza and African food for those with more discerning palettes (who am I kidding, the kids ate most of the pizza too). After lunch I sent them out on a treasure hunt to find a dragon's hoard hidden in the yard (totally not a pirate treasure: that was last year). They couldn't figure out one of the clues but it didn't matter: they brute-forced it by blindly searching the whole property and finding the clues out of order. I knew I should have buried them! The prize was a bag of candy for each kid.

Which hopefully they didn't eat right away because next we had cake. No ice cream, but there were also chocolate chip cookies... does that count? After the cake Lijah opened his presents, and besides the musket and knife from his parents he got so many beautiful and thoughtful dragon-related gifts. A Dragonite doll, a dragon puppet, an amazing homemade costume, an embossed leather journal... He was delighted.

Lijah in his new dragon costume exclaiming at a Dragonite doll

exciting!

It was a three-hour event; the morning of I was actually worried I scheduled it to be so long, and I wasn't sure what everybody would do. I needn't have been. The folks who absolutely had to be somewhere else tore themselves away after three and a quarter hours, and everybody else stayed for four. Maybe we had an inkling we wouldn't be partying together again for a while?

Lijah and four friends on the roof of the playhouse

birthday boy and his cool-kid friends

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happy birthday Elijah!

Lijah ready to blow out his birthday pancake

birthday boy

Lijah turned 6 today—can you believe it! We celebrated him with a card and a few presents this morning, plus the traditional pancake with a candle in it (his had chocolate chips, but that wasn't special: all his pancakes have chocolate chips). Harvey and Zion each made him something in Minecraft, whatever that means; from his parents who give tangible real-world gifts he received a rainbow unicorn card, a stick unicorn, a heart necklace, and pink nail polish. Oh, and gum. (Along with Minecraft gum is currently a mania in our house—probably because I hate them both.) For upholders of traditional gender roles, I will say you don't need to worry: at his party tomorrow we're additionally giving him a musket and a pocket knife. These are all things he asked for, which I think says we're doing something right. Or maybe he's just an awesome person on his own. Happy Birthday Lijah B!

our baby loses a tooth

This morning I was lying in bed thinking how much I missed having little kids around. I mean, really little: parents with teenagers might argue I've got two or even three little kids right now, but I mean more babies or preschoolers. That was our life for eight years, and then it wasn't any more. It's kind of sad! And then just about first thing after I get up, Lijah lost his first tooth!

Now, in and of itself that's a good thing. His loose tooth had been giving him trouble off and on for a couple weeks, and this morning it was especially bothersome. He was actually pretty grumpy. But then as soon as it came out he cheered right up: the excitement and the absence of constant tooth sensation made his morning 100% better. And we were excited for him of course. But I also felt a little wistful—if he's not my baby, who is?!

Zion also lost a tooth, the night before. It was his fifth or something, so much less exciting; but he was just as glad to see it gone. It came out in the middle of dinner, and after it stopped bleeding and he was able to take another bite he remarked on how nice it was to be able to chew on either side of his mouth again. For close to a month he'd only been able to use the teeth on the left; you should have seen him eating apples! His two front teeth on the top are almost all the way grown in, so he totally looks like a big kid.

Now don't get me wrong: there are wonderful aspects to having all these grown-up boys. We went to a classical music concert this morning, and nobody died or made a fuss in the quiet parts! But today at least I'm feeling that there's also something to be said for the little ones. If you have any that you need a break from, we're available to babysit!

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two Elijah moments

When he's not yelling or whining, Lijah is a joy to be with and his sparkling utterances light up my life. Like this gem from yesterday: "there once was a man from Peru, who dreamed he peed in his shoe. That's poetry!"

Lijah in cold-weather gear sitting up on a wall

curious cat

Earlier, I asked him to please join me in cleaning off the table, since I was ostensibly helping him with his job. "I will," he told me, "but first can I finish taping up my mouth?"

birthday celebrations

Lijah and I just about share a birthday, and we marked them this past week. He had some parties. We kicked things off last Monday with a relaxing dinner at my parents' house that ended with a cake for each of us. My birthday was Tuesday, and I was treated to another couple of cakes; and pancakes too, since we also celebrated Shrove Tuesday that evening. Lijah turned five on Wednesday and, as has become traditional, requested pancakes for breakfast so he could have one with a candle in it. The main event was Saturday, when we hosted Lijah's friends for his long-awaited Pirate Party.

Lijah blowing out candles on his pirate cake

happy birrrrrthday!

He's had a birthday party every year, but you know it's not really the same when you're turning one, or two, or three. Four is the real deal though, and last year felt like our first experience throwing a winter party—which is to say, one where the kids might need to be inside the whole time. I think we got it now. The pirate theme absolutely demanded a treasure hunt, and unlike the one at Zion's 5-year-old pirate party it would have to be indoors. I had my doubts the kids would be able to interpret the maps I drew of our house, so I enlisted parents to help if needed (not big siblings—that would have been a disaster!). But it turns out Lijah is great at reading maps! And while he still can't find something lying on the ground if he's standing right over it, his friends were prepared to handle that part of the task. There was plenty of gold (twix bars) to share at the end of the hunt.

Lijah with Liam and Henry looking at a treasure map in the living room

"north five paces..."

Besides the treasure, we also had lots of arts and crafts supplies available, which were appreciated by adults and kids alike. And there was lots of food. Especially potato chips. With all my planning for indoor fun, the weather was actually pretty nice Saturday, so after Lijah opened his presents we all went out to run around and ride bikes on the street. The best part of March is making snowballs with your bare hands... just for target practice though. No fun to be hit with a snowball while wearing a t-shirt!

We capped the celebration week with one more party, this one at Leah's parents', on Sunday evening. Lijah got a yellow sweatsuit with a tiger face on the hood; he may take it off in a week or two, maybe.

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Lijah had a party

In our house most days, breakfast is eggs and toast, pancakes, or waffles; maybe some bacon or potatoes every once and a while. So the kids all look forward to Sunday morning, when they get to eat cold cereal before we head off to church. I think the cake situation is similar. Used to a daily dessert menu of homemade cookies, pie, or cake, they stare in fascination at the wall of cake mixes at the grocery store. Well, when it's your birthday you get to pick what you want, and Lijah picked out a double chocolate cake from the fine chemists at Betty Crocker. He wanted a Pokemon cake for his Pokemon party, but he only wanted it to be chocolate with chocolate frosting, so I was limited in my decorative options. This is what I came up with:

a chocolate cake with a pikachu on top

birthday cake for Lijah

It was delicious. And the party was lovely and relaxing; all three of his friends came, along with their families, and enjoyed three hours of free play with a few short breaks for Pokemon sticker arts and crafts, a Moana singalong, and some eating. And then presents. Lijah has never yet been satisfied by presents, quantity or quality, in the short term; maybe his expectations are higher. But I think he was satisfied with his day, and his birthday week. He was roundly celebrated. And now he's just four.

Lijah and Henry with their matching Pikachus

PikaPals

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Elijah is 4

Lijah looking at a candle on his pancake

birthday (pan)cake

Today was Lijah's birthday. We celebrated by letting him choose the menu for breakfast and lunch; pancakes and chicken nuggets, respectively. He also wore a Pokemon party hat for part of the day. I dream of being a proper homeschool blogger and asking him some birthday questions, but we didn't get around to it today... maybe we'll manage later in the week, before his party on Saturday. Because we're making this a whole birthday week!

Happy Birthday Lijah!

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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