posts tagged with 'elijah'

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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the state of the family, early September

When I look back at my photos from the last month and a bit I despair—so many adventures un-written-about! But then I look at the dirty dishes and adjust my priorities: an unusable kitchen is more serious than a blogging deficit any day, even if it does mean that Zion's "first day" of "school" has to wait to be described until we have a little more time—to say nothing of a terrific last full day of our August camping adventure and our lovely mini-vacation this past weekend.

But all hope isn't lost! Yesterday was the first day of the school year program at church, and I managed to make it all happen the way it was supposed to—a big load off my mind. Even better, Lijah went to his own Kids Church class happily (reasonably happily) and made it through the whole hour-and-a-half without needing us to rescue him! Actually, it seems like he loved it; it may be that he's been waiting his whole life for a chance to play with toys by himself, without his brothers bothering him. Sure, I wouldn't be surprised if we have to deal with some tricky drop-offs over the weeks and months to come—Harvey is in second grade and sometimes has tricky drop-offs, for goodness sake!—but it does feel like we're starting to turn a corner back towards being real humans who can have interests beyond surviving. I'm even working on building a third kid bed!

Maybe I overstate our difficulties: Leah is in the midst of painting the interior trim downstairs (not right this second, but generally) and I'm learning to play guitar, among other useful amusements. But those are only in spare moments amongst piles of laundry and kids' toys and assorted detritus. Just think what things'll be like when we don't need to read to Lijah for two hours every day! We'll be unstopable. And you'll get to read about that camping trip.

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pick!

No, this post isn't about catching the end of the blueberry harvest: we did one trip at the beginning of the season and were satisfied with the 17 pounds we brought home. Instead, it's about Lijah's latest demand.

Two-year-olds are interesting: they spend a lot of time expanding their independence, but when they want babying they want it now! When Harvey and Zion were that age, they asked for "uppy" when they wanted to be carried. Sometimes "I want uppy!", but mostly just "uppy!" Or "UPPY!!!" Lijah will have nothing to do with such baby-talk: with him the demand is simply, "PICK!!"

That's short for "pick me up", of course; I suppose he doesn't have the solid grounding in syntax and pragmatics to know why his shortening doesn't make sense. Though it's certainly not like he can't make perfectly respectable sentences when he's a little calmer, like "I'm drawin a knight with a sword fightin a monster with a sword". Just a couple minutes ago he was failing to go to sleep and Leah called me in to hear his joke. "Why did the chicken cross the playground?" he asked me.

I know that one! "To get to the other slide!"

"No, I was goin to say that part! Why did the chicken cross the playground?"

"Why?"

"Because he wanted to get to the other slide!" Or maybe he said side. It's actually impossible to distinguish, the way he talks, so that joke is maybe not the best one for him to tell. (In case you never heard it before, it's not original to him: he got it from Harvey, who got it from a book.)

In any case, all that is to say he speaks pretty well most of the time, which is why it seems all the funnier—or more infuriating, depending on circumstances—to hear him crying repeatedly, "pick! PICK!!"

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big kid outings

the three boys hiking way ahead of me, walking into a clearing

look at them go

A couple days ago I took the boys out for a hike around the Old Reservoir. We walked over a mile, and Lijah was on foot almost the whole time. I was pretty confident he would be, so I didn't even bring anything to carry him; correctly so, because even when he was getting tired he couldn't stand to see his brothers walking for long without wanting to join them. He just needs to be a little quicker—as well as his legs, his voice gets a workout as he shouts after them to wait up. Sometimes they even do! Of course, every strenuous hike needs to include a snack break!

the boys sitting on a bench eating their hiking snack

just desserts

The only bad part of the outing was that Zion lost the water bottle he was carrying in the side of his backpack; it rattled right out as he ran along the trail, and we didn't notice at the time. We tried to retrace our steps to find it—and the boys were all very patient with the change in plans—but without any luck. Too bad... it was one of our best ones!

the Old Reservoir in Bedford

somewhere around there is a red water bottle...

Today it was too hot to do any hiking, or really anything at all, except go to a pond that we'd want to jump into. Other people had the same idea, so we were able to meet up not only with friends but with Grandma too! It was a great time, and all three boys—and their friends too—put in some quality swimming practice. Lijah was particularly impressive in how comfortable he is with the water: he just lay there chillin, with his hands on the bottom and the rest of him floating comfortably... He'll figure out how to swim before his big brothers if they don't hurry up!

Mama watching Lijah as he comes pretty close to really swimming

like a fish to water

Leah got to do some swimming too, all the way across that big pond. Based on past performance she was a little nervous about leaving Lijah for long, with nap time approaching, but he continues to surprise: he played happily with the big kids the whole time, and didn't mind a bit about her being gone. And I was delighted to sit in the tent out of the blazing sun and watch him.

the boys and friends playing by the water, seen from some distance through the opening of the tent

everybody's happy

This time the well-earned dessert at the end of the outing was ice cream from Bedford Farms, but I was too sticky to try and take a picture. It turns out ice cream is pretty melty in this hot weather! Harvey and Zion each almost finished a kiddie cone, which is really something—Zion actually ate more of his. Lijah isn't quite there yet, and he was still happy to share with me... but the way he's going I guess pretty soon he'll be ready for his own cone too!

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feeling abundant

One of my delights at the farmers market is checking out the prices for things that are growing well at our own farm. Seeing that raspberries—which we have so many of that they're a chore to pick—are going for $4 for a half-pint eases the pain of having to buy kale, because I didn't plant nearly enough. Seriously, I think we've brought in four or five quarts of raspberries so far; say $64 worth, at the low end. Not counting my labor, of course, but any real work (besides the trouble of picking) was so long ago I hardly remember it anyway.

some raspberries

two minutes' work

I've always felt that way about crops that do well here—in this culture even we anti-capitalists like to reference market economies to help us feel our efforts are worthwhile—but this year there's a new extreme: purslane for sale, at $4 a bundle!

purslane for sale at the farmers market, on a table next to some basil and mint

can you believe it?

Now, we've been eating the stuff every now and again for a while, so I won't argue that it doesn't belong on that table next to the basil. Lijah wouldn't either; he's a big fan. As we were picking some the other day—and I was trying to pick faster than he could eat—he exclaimed unprompted: "I like purslane... ice cream and purslane!" (I assume he didn't mean together).

But if you want to count dollar values, we've probably eaten about $8 dollars worth, fed $20 to the chickens, and thrown $60 or $70 on the compost pile. Probably because I always let it grow a bit here and there, purslane is a serious weed on our farm. I wonder if there's any chance we could get in on the market! Actually, as I think about it I assume it's pretty win-win for the farmers: they can set aside a few bundles of the stuff each market day and if it doesn't sell, it's no loss. If I had more space in the garden I'd have at least one dedicated purslane bed and would be willing to sell to all comers.

As it is, I'll pull out most of it and rest happy in the knowledge that, whatever else happens, our garden will always be full of something that somebody, at least, thinks is valuable. And we also have lots of zucchinis.

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