Dino drama

Our house is inundated with dinosaur toys. Kids have been collecting them for years; they want each of every kind (and the variety is endless). When I store the dino toys away in the closet, they are adamant these ferocious looking animals stay in open view.

Baby-rex out for dessert with his pet dog. The geese background is from a wooden tray my neighbor made for me. She decoupaged and painted the sides and back an ocean blue color.
Baby rex reassuring pony that hedgehogs are not scary but friendly.
Ball toss at the beach!
Back and forth…

I like the dino figures made specifically for the toddler age group, which Ellis got as introduction to dinosaurs. She was frightened to play with her brother’s dino collection yet she wanted to have her own that was not to sharp and plastic-y. These toddler dinos have round features, friendly smiles, and soft bodies. Fast forward three years, and I’m the only one who still likes the toddler ones. I’m told: “it’s so baby looking.”

Ok, that was a long introduction to this post. Will not digress anymore. Kids decided to bring out boxes of dinosaurs into the living room and have created a beach setting for them. Walking from couch to kitchen requires special footwork and keen vision; one misstep creates a domino effect of the town collapsing and tearful children. Lately, setting up toys for pictures has been lots of fun. People on the internet have done some marvelous and creative things with toys looking like real people or characters doing everyday things.

I wanted to try. Here are some pics:

Kids say funny things: Part 7. Birds are chirping

With warmer weather and more sunshine trees are shaking off its winter slumber and birds are getting more vocal too.

On a stroll last weekend, kids and I walked near a tall tree with chirping sounds coming from above; but no sight of birds. This tree however kept its leaves and its sprawling branches made a ring of dark shadow on the ground. We peeked underneath carefully and quickly: wanted to avoid any bird dropping surprises.

A Eucalyptus tree from Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve. (Not a picture of the actual tree I’m referring to)

Me: “Can you guys see any of the birds?”

Kids: Looking up at the tree and its intertwined bare branches…They could hear varied chirping sounds from different tree spots but none were visible.

Me: “I guess they’re busy building nests.” I’m not sure of that statement’s accuracy, but in passing I learned that birds build nests and lay eggs in the spring when leaves start to grow on trees. Good time for baby birds to hatch and get stronger so they’re mature by summer.

Ellis: “They are singing loud.”

Silence. Everyone doing their own thing. Me: sipping coffee from my tumbler and checking out new flower buds. Elliot: hopping on lines of the sidewalk.

Ellis: “I think they’re practicing a song.”

Me: “What song?”

Ellis: In a low voice, she mumbles to herself. “Maybe they’re practicing the happy birthday song to sing for my birthday.”

Elliot: “What song?!” He asks loudly like he couldn’t believe what he heard.

Ellis: “To sing happy birthday for me for my birthday.” She shyly responds putting her hands in her jacket pocket.

Elliot: “Oh Ellis. I don’t think they know that song.”

I wish I could see the world where birds sing only for me and the same squirrel, named Fretz, pops up to say “hello” whenever we see a random one around town. If the squirrel looks different, it’s assumed to be Fretz’s girlfriend or uncle.

It’s part of my mom job to say “no” to my kids

My kids despise hearing me say “No” to them. They think it’s a personal attack on their being as though I had cursed them out or something to that degree.

I understand that it’s not the easiest word to hear or accept no matter the age. But how can you avoid not saying or hearing it?

I could use my softest voice, but it still gets them sad, mad, frustrated, or even teary eyed. It’s baffling. I tell them it’s my job as mom to say “no,” because I know what’s good for them and I have more life experience to make better decisions. (omg, I sound exactly like my parents!!)

It would be much easier to comply and say “yes” to all their demands, but that wouldn’t be in their best interest making me an irresponsible parent.

So I asked them to give me a thumbs up or down on me using different tones to say “no.” None got approved.

Usually, I don’t raise my voice, but according to them, I’m yelling while fuming smoke of my ears. So Elliot came up with a “brilliant” (his words, not mine) idea to wave a “no” sign instead.

Guess what? I made little signs for each of us to wave while we do school lessons. One side says “no” and the other says “yes.” This won’t last long; but for today, it diffused conflict, gave me something crafty to do, and generated some wild laughs.

“No is a complete sentence and so often we forget that.” – Susan Gregg

This conversation reminds me of how miffed I get towards God when I think he’s saying “no” to me. Raising kids makes me aware of how our parent/child relationship reflects our relationship with God. If I want good for my kids, how much more does our holy God have for us. I need to trust his promise when things aren’t going my way and interruptions drive me crazy! In retrospect, I’m so grateful that he said “no” to some of my prayer requests: I had no idea what I was asking or hoping for.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 12:11

Kids say funny things: Part 6, The agony of brushing teeth

Brushing teeth is the dreaded chore my kids want to avoid at all costs. Every time I ask, “did you brush your teeth?” my tone and decibel go up each time I repeat (or yell) this despised question. It seems a simple task but to them it means war.

Below is a snippet of our typical conversation:

Mommy: “Did you brush your teeth?”

Elliot: “No, not yet…(moping around)…do I HAVE to?”

Mommy: “Uh…yes. You have some grown-up teeth now and you need to take care of them. Do you want the dentist to yank out your tooth like he did mine? You want a fake tooth like me (referring to a long, expensive, and inconvenient implant process the kids witnessed)?”

Elliot: “I know…I know (Sounding exacerbated, perhaps with some eye rolling). But why does Ellis get to rinse her mouth instead of brushing her teeth?”

Ellis: looking guilty and darting her eyes back and forth from me to her brother. holding her blankie and sniffing it while brother and I heatedly discuss her teeth-brushing habits.

Mommy: “Because she may throw up again. You know she does some mornings. She’ll brush tonight, ok?”

Ellis looks satisfied with my response and nods in agreement with a serious face.

Elliot: “No she won’t! Ugh, why does grown-up teeth take so much CARE???” (Grumbling while getting his toothbrush ready)

Many more battles will come throughout day. Then, we do it all over again with nighttime brushing.

This conversation occurs almost everyday. By the time both sets of teeth are clean, I’m pooped out. This is just one battle to start the day.

Maybe when they start brushing by themselves I’ll miss these talks. I try to remember that so I don’t drive myself nuts. Situation has improved however in the past few years: they’ve stopped chomping my finger while I brushed their tiny teeth.

Insightful poem about being six-years-old by A.A. Milne

“Now I am Six”

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six
Now and forever.

Poem by A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh character and books

When I found this poem, I immediately thought of my 6-year-old daughter. In the past year, she has matured so much in the way she talks, behaves, thinks, and feels. Here I go…a proud mama.

She surprises me with her use of words and information she retains. I still think of her as a baby and don’t realize how much information she comprehends and retain. Last week she asked me, “Mommy, what does Hypoplastic Left heart mean?” “What’s happening with my vocal cores (she doesn’t hear the “d” sound when it’s pronounced)?”

Elliot 6 and Ellis 4 in this photo Looks like he’s trying to push sister away.
Ellis, our 6-year-old diva

Her loud laughs, thoughtful questions, and dance moves she does when she thinks no one is watching make my heart cartwheel. For Elliot it was only 2 years ago, but he talks about being 6 like it was eons ago. He refers to it as his baby days: maybe it’s a big brother thing.

Sometimes, I get reminiscent and talk about the days when they were born or toddlers. They can’t get enough of it and want me to keep remembering, which keeps getting spottier over the years.

Another thing about being six: Ellis starts some stories with the preface, “you know when I was young, I used to…”

When she figures something out for the first time that 10+7=17 and 7+10=17, she snaps her finger, taps foot, nods head up and down, and stands akimbo. She says, “I need water. I’m parched.” It’s like she saying, “Look at me. I’m growing up. I know stuff that I didn’t know yesterday!”

Me too, kid. I’m learning and relearning for the upteenth time something new with you everyday!