Monday, August 31, 2009

All I want for Christmas...

Inevitably when we go to Walmart or Target or anywhere on the planet earth, James sees something he wants. The miracle is that he is almost always placated when we say, "Oh, we should put that on your Christmas or Birthday list."

Today we were watching a bit of TV and an ad came on for a new kind of bathtub cleaner. I said, "Oh, that looks like that would do a good job. I should get some of that."

James says, "Ok, we'll have to put it on your Christmas list."

I am so excited to open presents this year.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Chucky Experience

There are no thumbs up for Chuck E. Cheese here.

When we were in Texas we decided a nice air conditioned activity would be to visit CEC. James had never been there and was MEGA WAY OVER THE TOP EXCITED when we told him we were going. Papa even decided to go with us. Yay! We thought we were all jumping in the minivan to provide James with a one of a kind special experience. The one of a kind special experience we had was probably the most traumatic thing that James has gone through since exiting the womb.

He was fine when we got our hands stamped and ordered pizza and got drinks. His beautiful long lashed eyes were all aglow as we walked through the maze of games and rides. And then it was all over. James spotted him. Yes, him. The 10 foot tall furry rodent staring at him dancing mechanically like the tin man on a stage. James stopped dead in his tracks and could not even say a word. We picked a table to sit at and we led James by the shoulders to sit down because he had his eyes focused on the mechanical monstrosity. He still hadn't said anything and his mouth had been hanging open so long that he had probably begun to drool.
All of a sudden he snapped into life and said repeatedly, "I don't want to see that. I don't want to see that. I don't want to see that." We turned his chair and we thought he was ok, but he continued with the whole slack jaw stare thing. Papa cut up pieces of pizza and put them in his mouth and he just sat there mechanically chewing. (I know it's sounds terrible but Ben and I thought this was all terribly entertaining, especially since James isn't even fond of pizza.)
We sat there and ate for a few minutes more and then I saw HIM coming. Yes, him. The man who comes out every hour dressed up like Chuck E Cheese. We had spent the last 20 minutes convincing James that CEC on the stage was a machine and would not come get him. And here comes trouble, BIG FURRY TROUBLE. Before I could jump up and warn him not to come near us he made his way over. I wish I could convey James' reaction. It wasn't a scream or a cry, but he looked up, saw CEC standing right next to him, and it was one of those moments that would have brought us $10,000 on America's Funniest Home Videos. He startled, just about fell out of his chair and started the whole "I don't want to see him!" thing again. I have to credit the man-CEC for his very rapid backward stepping tiptoe departure. I thought we were going to have to leave before spending any tokens.
However, James was wa-ay excited when Ben proposed that they go play games and ride the rides. He looked around continuously to make sure no CEC was near him and then went on with his business. We won lots of tickets and got him some fun little prizes. We thought all the trauma had been forgotten. How stupid are we.
For the next week. And I mean 7 days, people, James said the words Chuck E Cheese and Chuck E Cheese's approximately 30,000,000,000 times. It was like this:
"We went to see a mouse named Chuck E Cheese at a Place called Chuck E Cheese's. He lives there. It is a machine. Sometimes it is a man in a costume. He dances like this. [does demo of mechanical dance] I don't like Chuck E Cheese. Chuck E Cheese wears clothes that are purple and red. I don't like Chuck E Cheese. I only liked the games. I don't like Chuck E Cheese. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese blah blah blah. Chuck E Cheese." Etc. Granny was pretty sure we needed to get the kid in therapy.
Anyone who came by the house was subjected to his narrative about CEC. He'd tell people at the grocery store, church, on the sidewalk. Wherever. Then after about a week the story changed and he LOVED Chuck E Cheese. Was really excited about it, talked positively about the whole thing. Granny felt tons better and we regained our sanity about having to hear him repeat everything a million times a day. Things sounded so great that Granny and Papa decided to take him again before we returned home. Two days before our departure they told him, "Hey James, we're going to go to Chuck E Cheese today!"
Long story short, we didn't make it back to CEC. It was a major "NO I DON'T WANT TO GO!" I don't know why I'm bummed out that he doesn't want to go back to the land of gross expensive pizza and ridiculous games and cheap prizes, but I kinda am. C'est la vie, right? I don't see Disney anywhere in our near future, either ;)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

James and Friends

After Fruit Snacks soothed the savage beasts!

James and Lilly, being angelic for a moment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sad, But True

These are the only pics I took when we were in Texas. I could have taken pics at Gatti Land, the sea center, the pool, with more family, at the INFAMOUS Chuck E Cheese's (which you will surely hear about soon) The Great Texas Mosquito Festival, The Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory, at the park, etc etc etc, but we just didn't do it. Shame on us.

James finally allowing Aries to be near him.

Styling Papa's hair

Enjoying himself at the beach. All he wanted to do was keep throwing things into the waves and watch them come back.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Shapes, Letters and Numbers

James likes to point out shapes, letters and numbers in odd places. He'll call out numbers on a truck passing by or arrange his noodles to be a certain number. Sometimes he'll make letters out of sticks, etc.

Yesterday I heard him calling, "Mommy, mommy I made a J!" When I realized he was calling me from the bathroom I should have congratulated him from afar. When he demanded that I come see it, I should have politely declined.

At least I didn't take the picture he requested.

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of Preschool

James has wanted to go to school for the longest time. Every time he reads me a word I didn’t know he knew or says something bright I ask him, “Where’d you learn that?” and he always answers, “At school.” He asks about school all the time and frequently our days are full of him asking repeatedly, “What are we going to do next? What are we going to do after that? What are we going to do then? What are we going to do after nap? What are we going to do before dinner?” Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc. Once I started to tell him he was going to get a fun treat called a tranquilizer, but I didn’t think that would sound good if it came out in public.

Ben usually watches James while I teach 1 or 2 classes per semester, but that just wasn’t a possibility this time around. We had to decide what to do with the James. It was pay to have a friend watch him or pay to send him to a bit of preschool. After much agonizing (only on my part) we finally decided to do the preschool thing. (Something that really helped me make the decision is that one of our regular babysitters just got hired as the classroom assistant and knows the owner and teacher.) Today was the first day and I was up half the night worrying about this morning. I can’t really explain my drama; I just knew that things were going to be different now. It’s a small preschool with a certified teacher and includes the kindermusik program as part of the fee.

Today was ‘transition day’ when the parents come and spend the morning with the kids at the school. In other words, transition day = "hold your breath while you hope your child doesn’t do or say something mortifying while you’re actually there to witness it" day. James was in love from the first moment. He just ran in and started playing with the toys and trying to talk at the other kids who were still surgically attached to their parents. I think he went from one room to the other looking at every single thing and touching them and asking about what they were for. I am hoping (really hoping) that he learns the culture and norms of being in a preschool soon. Well, there’s only so much culture (ha!) you can have in a room full of 3 and 4 year olds.

Miss Yvette started putting down circles on the ground for the 8 kids to sit on.

James: I want a green one. I want a green one. I NEED a green one!

Other assorted kids: I want a red (blue/purple/yellow/white) one!!!!

(At this point I once again remembered why I could NEVER have a career with other peoples’ young children. I found myself thinking, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit! If you ask me for a specific color, you can forget about it!” HA!)

Miss Yvette starts reading a story about the first day of preschool. This becomes a heated competition to see which of the BOYS could yell out the end of the sentence first. (Meanwhile the girls were sitting quietly in their cute pink outfits being all polite and quiet.) Seriously, what is with boys anyway? Miss Yvette handles all of this quite tactfully.

The kids go outside for playtime with Miss Audrey while the parents have Q&A with Miss Yvette.

Parent 1: So how was your summer, Yvette?
Parent 2: Anybody see any good sales this weekend?
Parent 3: Oh, so and so’s baby is soo cute.
Parent 4: I can’t believe it rained this morning.
Me: So who will call me if there’s an emergency or something like that?

Everybody gets all quiet and looks at me and one mom says, “Oh, first time, huh? He’ll be fine, don’t worry, blah blah blah”. All the rest of the moms continue to console me until I feel like I want to console their butts right out of the room.

Snack time: The kids get to choose what they want off of the serving plates. You hear a chorus of: I don’t like oranges! I don’t like bananas. I only like oranges. I want a WHOLE banana. My mom says I can’t have cookies. This orange has seeds. My banana has a brown spot. William has more milk than me. I only drink chocolate milk. I want juice. Jonathan took my cookie. I dropped my napkin. AAAAAHHH! So glad transition day is only once a year.

After doing some time at different stations, it’s time to have the going home story and song. Miss Yvette (M.Y.) gets one page into the book:

Kid 1: My dog made poops in the house this morning.

M.Y. acknowledges and goes on with story.

Kid 2: Walmart doesn’t have any more purple notebooks.

M.Y. acknowledges and goes on with story.

Kid 3: I don’t like peanut butter.

M.Y. acknowledges and goes on with story.

JAMES: My daddy says…. My daddy says….

M.Y.: What does your daddy say, James?

(PLEASE OH PLEASE OH PLEASE DON’T LET HIM SAY, “My daddy says my mommy has hairy legs.” Or “My daddy says I need to not touch my face after I pee.” Or “My daddy says President Obama pooped his pants.” (Which James has said before, but Ben did NOT!) )

JAMES: My daddy says I can be Bob the Builder for Halloween.

(Ok, HALLELUJAH it wasn’t “My daddy says my mom should wear more clothes around the house!”

M.Y. acknowledges and goes on with story.

Ugh. Soon enough it is time to collect our belongings and head home. James is weeping because we have to leave and I’ve had more than enough preschool for this year. James goes back solo on Wednesday and I’m pretty positive I’ll be glad to see him off.