Friday, October 12, 2007

The World is Her Sandbox

Eleri was born to be an eternally denied only child. She's learned to share toys a bit more, and she's trying to understand the concept that she has to share lap time and attention, as well.

She, in her little four-year-old mind, has made the observation that in order to be *ahem* important, she must be "a boss" of something or someone.

I've heard her whisper to herself things like, "I am the little boss. I am the boss of the little people." She makes friends in preschool the ones who cry and miss their parents--Eleri takes them under her wing and shows them the ropes. In their thankfulness, they seek her approval because she treats them well and compassionately.

Her preschooler teachers are impressed with Eleri's empathy. I think she's parlaying it into a group of kids who will let her be their Benevolent Dictator.

Yeah, I confess to being concerned about a four-year-old with that kind of ambition. But then, she could be the next congresswoman or student body president or something BIG. My only hope is that she'll find that spot in her world where she'll be her happiest.

Like Sand in the Underpants . . .

. . . so are the days of our vacation.

We've been on the Outer Banks for the last week. We scrimp and save and--barring that, even borrow--to make sure we have one week in an oceanfront beach house.

This year, it's been Grandma and Pa Pa, Aunt Tammy and cousin Marshall, cousin Christian (who, at sixteen, still thinks it's cool to have his other young cousins worship him) and two dogs. Count the five of us, and yeah--it's a full house. Ethan and Eleri and Marshall have been sharing the bunk room, and we've been getting them to tell us their adventures at the end of most every day.

Ethan and Marshall are all about challenging the waves and letting them toss them like fish flopping on the shoreline. Eleri now loves getting into the surf, too, but for a different reason--she is a huntress of bugs usually, and now she's turned her attention to water creatures. She finds tiny clams by the handfuls and picks up the mole crabs and puts them into her bucket. We make her set them free after we take the pictures for her to keep.

Emmory wants nothing to do with the beach, yet. She wants us to carry her; she runs from the water. At best, she will play in the sand, but it's one of the few times she prefers someone's lap to running and exploring.

Why do we spend so much time and attention and money for one week out of fifty-two? Because in this one week, somehow, we distill time and make it count for more than usual. Because this one week reminds us of what we miss seeing in each other when we're too busy, too tired, too stressed to notice. Because it gives us something to shoot for--that oasis we see in the deserts of our lives that gives us the water to wash off the sand.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


We are having our first real snow of the season, so I bundled all three kiddos up and out we went. The snow wasn't sticky enough for a snowman, but it was perfect for making soft snowballs. Ethan and I had a snowball fight, and by the end of it he was getting pretty darn accurate. (No, I have no pictures of me with snow on my face.) All the kids got to sled down our hilly front yard with the saucer sled.

Eleri wandered around eating snow and making snow angels. Once in awhile she'd throw a snowball at me, and I returned it in kind. But we have to be careful with her--she takes issue when someone accidentally brushes against her and will start screaming, "YOU HIT ME!!! WAHHHHH!!!!"

Well, you can see by the look on Emmory's face that she loves the snow! She didn't like the hat on her head, but when I put the mittens on her, she started clapping her hands together and laughing.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ethan's Big Battle Adventure

My son Ethan loves making up stories. This summer he got a pirate journal in his Happy Meal. Instead of being disappointed because he didn't get a toy, he became very excited. "Mom, will you draw the words for my story?"

So every night at bedtime, he dictated. And my husband and I took turns "drawing" his words. Like every rough draft, it meanders and stalls and repeats in places. But not bad for a four year old, eh? (Yes, I'm bragging!) He's got his imaginary friend Bella, a dinosaur; a wise teacher, and lots of action with whatever buddies he's seen on the Nick website. It's a neat window into the mind of my son. (BTW, he chose his picture for the blog--he's adamant that he look "serious" for the story.)

Ethan's Big Battle Adventure

Ethan gets to the pirate's boat. Then he saves Bella.



Then, Ethan throws the the prates into the water. Then, Ethan saves Bella. His mission is complete. Now, he goes to his lab and he figures out how to defeat the pirates.

He needs a big, golden sword. And then he needs to get back to the pirates' boat.

Ethan uses his powers he got from his teacher Superday to lift the sword and the boat. His team--Bella, Bleepy, Power Rangers, and Tredex--help Ethan to defeat them.

Then the team uses their thinking to think out the problem of how to defeat the enemy Zonko. Zonko pops out of the lava, and round things come out of his mouth.

The pirates fall down. The blood sucks back in to the pirates. The pirates thought they could defeat Ethan and his team. Ethan is a dalmation, and powerful. He has a deal to defeat the pirates with his team--he does that, and he saves the day.

Ethan goes back to his lab again. He figures out with his teacher how to defeat the pirates. He uses a super trick to make the pirates foam and fake.

And then, Ethan and his team make the pirates die by using laser watches on them. Hoo-hoo!

Then, they hit two rocks and the ship crashes and they sink. A big fishie eats them, like this: "Homp!" Then the fish spits them out of the top of his head.

Well, then the fishie swims away and then the fishie swims back. Ethan shoots lasers at the big, mean fish! Ethan gets away and swims with his friends--swim, swim, swim!

Ethan gets back to his lab. He wants to suck a little life out of the pirates.

Ethan finds a trap. The trap has a lever to make the trap go down, but then Ethan's team says, "Don't shoot it! It will make us foam and fake!"

Ethan uses his laser on the next wall to make a hole. He uses his binoculars to see up close. Then they run quickly so they don't get shot.

Ethan turns the power button off. The lights flicker off and on, and the lights stay on. Then a hand points "that way." The hand has a laser watch and shoots it to the breaker which breaks the trap.

And then, Ethan and his team go to a spaceship. Ethan was the copilot and Bella is the pilot. The spaceship has two guns. The Monkey Team Force was in trouble, and they were part of Ethan's team, so Ethan was going to save them. The Monkey Team Force was stuck on planet Mars.

There was a Martian that was controlling the spaceship and making them do loops and then crash. Mayday! Mayday! Ethan's teacher's enemy is a Martian, and he was making the lava on Mars go higher and higher. Ethan gave his teacher a golden rock. His teacher put the rock down and pressed a lever and the lava went down.

Ethan defeated the Martians, and the Martians said, "Die, die, die, die, and die!" the whole time Ethan was there. Then the Martians said "Die!" one more time, because Ethan was a superhero, and they were mad at him. They had a lava gun and started shooting lava at him, but Ethan had a forcefield on.

Ethan turns off his forcefield. Then he does something to free them from the Martians, but the Martians continue to shoot lava from their lava guns. Bam! Bam! Bam!

Ethan has a tiny hole in his laser watch and a little thing he likes to call a "tracker-downer." He had a million robots to attack. Well, it was seventeen. And they were red, yellow, and green and black and white and silver. And also blue. Ethan used his super punch and kick and he used his finger to knock them down like dominos.

Ethan found a golden rock that had powers inside. When Ethan picked it up, he had powers, and he did have his robot finder.

And that's where it ends, for now. But it begs questions: will Ethan and his team ever get off the planet Mars? Did he finally defeat the pirates, or will they return in the sequel? And when will Ethan discover that while he might be a superhero, he is not really a dalmation, no matter how powerful? And what the heck is "foam and fake?"