Thursday, November 08, 2007

Dirt Gets Under the Fingernails

Kemper's nails grow unbelievably fast. I could probably cut them once a week and that wouldn't be enough. (Which is not to say that they get cut once a week....) And he plays dirty all the time. We haven't managed to get him to be able to wash his hands well enough to get that dirt out, so he basically has permanent black stripes at the tip of his fingers.

Rowan, on the other hand, hasn't needed his nails trimmed since he was an infant. He just takes care of it on his own. It's not that he's a nail biter or anything, and I don't actually see him picking at them all that often. I know he does it, but I don't know when. But honestly, I don't clip his nails. The exception is when he gets a hangnail and begs me to fix it. This usually serves as a bedtime stall tactic, and almost always involves toes rather than fingers.

On another note, I've noticed a recent change in Rowan at bedtime. To date, or goodnight ritual ends with a hug, kiss, and what we call a bip. The bip is a gentle pinch of the nose with your thumb and index finger. Morgan started it, I think, and "bip" was the sound he made the first time he did it. Anyway, each boy gets "a hug and a kiss and a bip" before we leave them for the night. (This is usually what finally gets me to cut Kemper's nails - when he gives one of us a bip that leaves a scratch on our nose.) Well, the last few nights, when I've asked Rowan if he wanted his hug, etc., he said he didn't. The first time he said no, I was certain that I would barely make it down the stairs before he called me back up because he'd changed his mind. Imagine my surprise when there wasn't a peep. Same story the next two nights. I guess he's growing up. And I guess I'm supposed to be sad about that. The jury's still out.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Civic Duty

Yesterday we took the boys with us first thing in the morning to vote. We've been doing this since they were born, more out of convenience (getting a sitter or switching off with the kids is more trouble than just bringing them to the polls) than anything but I also think it's good for them to learn about it.

It was cold and rainy, which meant a short line inside. Last year we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes, but it was really quick yesterday. I have to say, Waltham is about the worst place I've ever voted. They give you your ballot and a file folder with the words "privacy folder" or something to that effect on the front. You are then directed to the flimsiest voting "booth" you've ever seen. It's about as sturdy as a three legged easel used in meetings to hold the big pad of paper. And no curtain. Not that you could see your neighbor's ballot or anything, but the people in line to turn in their completed ballots are directly behind you while you're filling in the circles. I don't particularly care if people know who I voted for, but the point is to have secret ballots and this doesn't seem to qualify.

After filling out our ballots, we got in the line to shove them into the machine. Don't you know, the machine wasn't working. So our secret ballots had to be left with one of the volunteers until the machine got fixed. Who knows? Maybe I didn't actually vote.

Morgan finished first, so he took the boys outside while I waited my turn to check out. When I came out a few minutes later, Rowan was screaming bloody murder. Apparently he and Kemper were running up and down the wheelchair ramp, and on one of the down trips, Rowan fell and landed on his face. He scraped his cheek and nose, bumped his forehead pretty hard, and ripped the skin off one of his hands in a couple of places. It could have been much worse, but he's sure looking like a bruiser. I wonder if he'll think of this when he votes in the future?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Messy Situation

Rowan has been having some tantrums again lately. The littlest things set him off. This morning, for example, he was holding the TV remote while we were watching The Best Of The Johnny Cash Show. I was trying to find a particular clip to show Morgan (using the DVD remote), but Rowan had decided he was done watching and wanted to turn it off. Well, the batteries are old and sometimes the remote doesn't work, which happened. Plus we told him we didn't want the TV off yet. He kept trying to push the button, not listening to us, so Morgan took the remote away.

The tantrum that followed was so bad, he had 6 time outs, lost his favorite cars for a week, and lost Halloween candy privileges for 3 days. But what's really annoying is the new thing he does when he's mad at me. He'll blow snot out of his nose and wipe it on the walls, floor, door, table, whatever inappropriate surface is around. Man I hate that!

Friday, November 02, 2007


No, not actual photos. Instead, let me give you a mental image of some of our more interesting moments.

One morning last week, at the ungodly hour of 5:15 (sleeping in vanished shortly after the jet lag from our west coast trip wore off), I hear the stampeding of little feet into the bathroom. Then a brief scuffle over who had to pee first. Followed almost immediately by, "MOM! Kemper's peeing on the floor!" And you thought your alarm clock was bad....

The weather has been mild here this week, so the boys have spent a fair amount of time playing outside. They're finally old enough that they'll stay in the back yard instead of wandering down the driveway and into the street, so I just leave the back door open so I can hear them. Usually they ride their bikes, play in the sandbox, build airports (or so they say), etc. Well, the other day I was working on dinner when I heard the sound of raucous laughter coming from the yard. They were clearly having a great time. The cackling continued for quite some time. It suddenly occurred to me that I should probably see what was so darn funny. Yep, you guessed it - they were definitely up to no good. Our neighbors have some tomato plants that hang over onto our side of the fence, and the kids had picked a couple of partially ripe tomatoes to throw at the house. Repeatedly. The back wall of the house was covered in tomato pulp.

And no matter how hard I try, I can't get them to stop climbing the back porch railing and hanging from the clothesline.

On the other hand, I was able to give away their outdoor playhouse without incident. They decided they wanted to give it to someone younger who really wanted it, and so far there has been no regret as far as I can tell. I'm pleased, since they weren't playing in it anymore. No, they were climbing up onto the roof, making me eternally nervous. At least this worked out well for all of us.