Tuesday, October 05, 2010


This morning Kemper asked me what "sex" means.  I explained that it means a couple of things.  The first is that whenever you have to fill out a form for school, camp, etc., it asks you what your sex is and that they want to know if you're a boy or a girl.

Then I said that it also is something that two people do together when they really love each other.  He thought about this and replied, "So when people love each other, they say 'sex' to each other?"  Um, not quite.  But that was the end of the discussion so perhaps he got what he needed for now.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Summer Lovin'

We just returned from a week of camping in Maine.  This was our second year at Papoose Pond, though this year there were nine families in our group.  Some from church, some from the boys' school, and a couple of others from Waltham.  It was a great week.  The kids were able to run around with all of their buddies, and there were enough adults to keep an eye on them pretty much all the time.

One of the boys' friends has two younger sisters, ages 5 and 3 1/2.  A day or so into the trip, Kemper and Ava, the 5 year old, really seemed to hit it off.  That evening while he was getting ready for bed, Kemper found an inchworm, which Morgan suggested he release outside.  When Kemper seemed sad at the prospect of letting it go, Morgan asked if there was a problem.  Kemper replied, "Well, I really wanted to show it to my girlfriend before I let it go."  Needless to say, we were both completely surprised by this.  But they spent a good amount of time together, even holding hands when the group went on a hike.  It was incredibly sweet.  Though I have to say I never thought this sort of thing could start this young.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Last night Rowan and Kemper attended an overnight out at school.  This is the first time they've slept away from home without mommy and daddy.  They have been talking about the sleepover for weeks, and could barely contain their excitement yesterday while they waited for carpool.  They were a bit confused about how much stuff they needed to bring; somehow they got it in their minds that they'd be staying at school for three days.  Rowan packed his backpack the night before.  When I checked it the next morning, I found he'd packed three pair of pants, one pair of clean underwear, and a pair of socks.  For a single night.  No shirt, no pajamas.  I helped him choose a more appropriate set of clothes, and sent them off.

Morgan and I dropped Cannon off with a friend, and went to test out a few canoes.  We're thinking of buying one, and this seemed like a good opportunity to put them in the water.  We then went to dinner, and collected Cannon.  It was a very pleasant evening.

This morning it is so quiet in the house.  No fights over Bionicle parts or who sits where on the sofa.  No nagging from me about getting ready for school.  No one has stolen anything from the baby.  All in all, it's very peaceful.  And while I miss the boys, I have to confess I'm glad to know they're ready for sleepovers.  They should do them more often.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Cannon doesn't have the privilege of listening to many "children's" songs.  With Rowan and Kemper, I indulged them a fair bit, mostly with things that I found minimally offensive or outright enjoyed.  Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner, Jazz for Kids, Tom Chapin, and a few collections of folk songs for kids.  They of course also had Raffi, which to me was barely tolerable, along with some classics from The Sound of Music and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  And we occasionally managed to put some of our own tunes into the mix.

But while I occasionally still put Dan Zanes on, we're mostly doing "adult" music.  Johnny Cash is fairly popular ("Folsom Prison Blues" is a particular favorite), as are "Jumping Jack Flash", "Mexico", and "Slip Kid"  just to name a few.

Not long ago, the older boys watched the movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas".  There were two song in particular they liked, so I bought them on iTunes:  "This is Halloween" and "What's This?".  Collectively they refer to them as the Halloween Songs, and request them frequently.  Cannon apparently is also a fan; I was surprised not long ago when I heard him shout from the back seat, "howeensong"!

Another of his favorites (actually this is the only other song he requests by name) is what the boys refer to as "Mexican" but is actually called "Mexican Radio".  This is another iTunes purchase, a blast from the past indulgence of mine.  I don't know about anyone else, but I loved this video and was always thrilled when it came on MTV back in the day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyCEexG9xjw&feature=fvsr  (Sorry, but this video won't let you embed it here.)

I find it very amusing that my kids beg to hear this song over and over.  But perhaps my favorite thing is when we're in some random store and Cannon will start clapping and bopping to the music.  He'll say, "Like song!"  And when the song ends, so does the dance.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


There are certain things that Cannon does that Rowan and Kemper never did.  The older boys never took off their diapers.  I heard horror stories of kids ripping off a dirty diaper and smearing the contents all over their cribs, walls, and bodies.  There was not a single incident of this with them.  Not that there has technically been one with Cannon either, but if he's not wearing something with a snap crotch, he will definitely try to get the diaper off or loose.  Which is why he almost always has restricted access.

Rowan and Kemper had baths maybe once each week.  Not only was bath time a nightmare, it irritated their eczema.  Cannon would live in the bath if that were an option.  I can't even say the word in conversation without him chirping, "bath! bath! bath!" and running full speed into the bathroom.  For that matter, I can't get into the shower without him either having a full on fit or getting in with me.

With the twins, I never had problems with them using writing implements in a problematic way.  Not so lucky with Cannon.  His latest activity involves pens, sometimes Sharpies, and our flat screen computer monitor.  This is not a good combination, I can assure you.  So far we've managed to prevent him from ruining our new kitchen cabinets, but I expect this won't remain the case for long.  Kitchen table?  It has pen marks.

"Put them away", you might suggest.  I've done that.  The problem is that his older brothers don't seem to be able to ever put anything away when they're finished with it.  Which brings me to another difference.

Cannon is a cleaner-upper.  He continues to amaze me with this.  After I change his diaper (which I do on the floor, on a changing pad), he folds the changing pad as best he can and puts it back on the shelf where I keep it. He will then pick up the bundled dirty diaper and trot into the kitchen to throw it away.  He'll dump out a plastic container of crayon pieces, draw for a while, then put them all back in the box.  Then he'll put the box back in the cabinet where he got it.  When we're done reading books before bed, he puts them back on the shelf.  Honestly, it makes me wonder where he came from, since no one in our house puts anything back where it belongs.

The big boys, on the other hand, are complete slobs.  I don't force them to clean their room; I figure, if they can't find anything, then they'll have to live with that.  My rule is, if there isn't a clear and safe path to the beds, then I don't come in to kiss them goodnight.  They have to settle either for a kiss blown from the doorway, or going upstairs on their own.  Currently there is so much crap on their floor that I can barely get in to put away clean clothes.  But I've sworn I won't clean it again.  Maybe I'll strike a deal - I'll clean it up, but I can get rid of anything I deem no longer useful.  I wonder if they'd go for that?

Well, here's hoping Cannon sticks with this particular attribute.  It would sure keep my life marginally easier as he gets more independent.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Spiritual Child

Kemper has been asking a variety of questions about God and Jesus lately.  Or simply announcing that he "believes in God and Jesus".  Now, those who know me well know that I am not much of a believer, or particularly spiritual in the traditional way.  I'm hoping he will eventually feel like he can talk to our minister about much of this, but so far he hasn't seemed inclined to do so.

Yesterday we drove down to D.C. to visit the cousins.  At one point while Rowan and Cannon were napping, Kemper randomly announced, "I think that God is reading a book and we're all in it."  I thought this was a very interesting perspective.  Even for an unbeliever like me.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


All of my kids have certain things they say/said as they were starting to talk.  Rowan (and then Kemper), at somewhere around age 2, would point each morning to my "gagn", or "coffee".  This is how they said the word for a really, really long time.  They also would say "buzzuhderr" instead of "bulldozer".

My favorite Kemperism was "tomorning", which meant "tomorrow morning".  I still love that one, though he's outgrown it.

Cannon's current one is "huckaluppuh".  It just makes me want to find him helicopters everywhere we go just so I can hear him say it.  He has no trouble pronouncing "coffee", but does say "tomomow".

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Words, Loud Words

Yesterday Kemper was having trouble with his electronic microscope.  The light you put the slides over was flickering, so I suggested we try new batteries and see if that solved the problem.  I dug out the appropriate size, did the switch, and had the old ones sitting on the table.  Cannon wandered into the room, climbed up on a chair, picked one up, and said "battery" as clear as day.  I have no clue where he learned that word; it's not like we work it in to our daily conversations or anything.  It's truly a mystery.


I was working on dinner the other day and Rowan came in asking for a snack.  "No, because dinner will be ready in about 10 minutes."  I turned around and found him standing right next to me with his hand in a big bag of dried cranberries.  Again I said, "I don't want you to snack right now because dinner is almost ready."  At which point he shoved a fistful of cranberries into his mouth, looking at me the entire time.  Frustrated at this point, I shouted, "Put the cranberries away!!!"  He immediately tossed them into the cabinet and said, "I heard you that time!", then hightailed it out of the kitchen.  Sheesh.  Selective hearing is going to drive me mad.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This past weekend was both my birthday and mother's day.  To be honest, I've kind of stopped having very high expectations for either event, based on previous years.  But this year turned out to be very nice.  Morgan and I had a great dinner at Tupelo, a relatively new southern restaurant in Cambridge.  I got the stand mixer I've been coveting, and the kids were remarkably well-behaved.

On Saturday afternoon, Kemper and Morgan went out on an errand.  Turns out Kemper had asked if they could buy me some flowers for mother's day.  I didn't know this until after he presented them to me, but apparently he insisted on choosing red flowers because "red is the color of a heart".  How sweet is that?

Thursday, May 06, 2010


This past weekend we went to Cape Cod.  Morgan had a conference there starting Sunday afternoon, so we went a day early for a change of scenery.  I was intending to drive back on Sunday with the kids.  While looking at the news on his iPhone, Morgan learned that a water main had broken and there was a boil water order in about 30 communities in the metro Boston area, including ours.  So the kids and I ended up staying put in the hotel for an extra couple of days.

I don't know if it was the enclosed space, the rainy weather, or if the planets were simply aligned in a very bad way, but I can honestly say that I was feeling like we'd have been better off having to boil all of our water at home than being trapped where we were.  Cannon was actually perfectly agreeable.  Rowan and Kemper, however, were pretty much horrific.  Even allowing for the change of location, the lack of toys, etc., they were awful.  By extension, I too was pretty awful.  It was one of those times when I was convinced I am just about the worst mother on earth.  It is so hard when I know my kids can be such sweet, polite, caring people yet they act so badly.  You would think their parents had never taught them any manners.

This must be one of the down sides to being a stay at home parent.  Breaks from the kids are few and far between, and "vacations" are anything but.  Morgan at least gets a vacation from his job; I continue with my job, just in an unfamiliar place and without any of my usual tools of the trade.  Yes, there's another adult to help out, but still.  (And in this particular case, that extra adult was missing, as Morgan was in meetings all day.)

Hopefully I'll feel somewhat recovered before our next outing.  On the up side, the boil water order was lifted the morning we drove back.  So I didn't have to deal with that mess.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Curse of the Not First Born

Poor Cannon.  He's suffering the fate of the second (or later) born.  Today I took him for his first real haircut.  I had trimmed his bangs a while back, but this time he got the full cut at a salon.  He did great, even if he had to sit in my lap instead of on the mini carousel pony they have just for kids.  And while I did remember to save some curls for posterity, I of course didn't even think to bring the camera.  Mind you, I don't know how I would have managed a photo with him in my lap, but I realized after we left that I really should have captured the event.  I definitely have pictures of Rowan and Kemper at their first haircuts.

I remember a running joke in our family was that there were no pictures of me as a baby or toddler.  This isn't entirely true, but compared to the number of photos of my older brother, it certainly seemed like there weren't any of me.  I swore that if I had kids, I would make sure the youngest would be equally documented.

There's one goal I can say I utterly failed to reach.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Yeah You Right!

Well, the Saints won the Super Bowl last night.  What a massive party there must be in New Orleans right now.  I wonder if anyone will show up for work?  I'm really not much of a sports fan, but even I watched the game.  I'm really happy for the team, the city, and all the fans who have been following them since they were the Aints and fans wore paper bags over their heads at the games.

Meanwhile, the big boys turned 6 a few days ago.  The party was on Saturday, and while it was essentially 3 hours of mass chaos, we all survived.  I made my very first layer cake and it was only marginally lopsided.  Of course, neither of the birthday boys liked it, but everyone else seemed to.

And both boys are getting much better at ice skating, even after just 5 or 6 tries.  Kemper is super fast and not really afraid of falling.  He's even goofed off with a hockey stick with surprising success.  Rowan is still much more cautious, but getting braver.  If I can figure out how to transfer video from the camera to the computer, maybe I'll post a clip.

Who Dat!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


As of this evening, Cannon's vocabulary consists of the following words (which he started saying in approximately this order):

bye bye
uh oh
banana (sort of; this is more like "buhlala", but it's pretty clear that's what he means)

These are all very typical of first words.  Except for the last one.  That one I find rather odd.  But hey, the reason he knows that word is because he loves to brush his teeth.  He doesn't much like it if I brush them, but he'd do it all day if he could.

And speaking of teeth, Rowan lost his first one this evening.  It was very exciting for all of us.  For me, it really felt for the first time like my boys are growing up.  Kemper was mostly jealous that he didn't have a tooth to leave out for the tooth fairy.  And Rowan was just glad to have the loose tooth not bothering him anymore.  I guess they really do grow up fast, don't they?

Thursday, January 14, 2010


One morning each week I have the privilege of driving carpool to school.  I take this opportunity to walk the boys down to the building, check the lost and found, and chat with staff members.  This is my favorite part of the week, as I get a glimpse of what they've been doing and hear stories from the staff.

The other day was one such day.  Rowan typically darts off the second we enter the building, while Kemper usually hangs around me and says he wants me to stay all day.  This time they both disappeared right away, leaving me in the entrance hall with Cannon as Hannah, one of the founders of the school, came in.  She said, "Oh, I have to tell you the funniest thing I saw last week.  Rowan was helping Kemper zip his coat, being all nice and helpful.  As soon as the coat was zipped, Rowan shoved Kemper so hard he fell over, then ran off to do something else."

Yep, that pretty much sums up their relationship.