Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The One Where My Kid is "That Kid"....

Ethan has what one might refer to as "an excess of energy" most days. Its one of the reasons I believe he's weighing in at a whopping 33.8lbs at almost 6 years old (the other reason being that his favorite foods are watermelon and cucumbers. Seriously?! Eat a donut, kid!) So we try to keep as busy as possible. Park trips, play dates, light saber battles, and, on Tuesday afternoons, we head to little kid gymnastics place, where running around like a lunatic and turning summersaults until your equilibrium is permanently skewed is encouraged. The perfect place for Ethan.

But every once in awhile, Ethan goes beyond the realm of appropriate running and summersaulting. And he becomes....that kid. The one other parents can't help but watch with a mix of amusement and horror (light on the amusement, heavy on the horror), peeking around and wondering where is the woman who is raising this child to be just this side of neanderthal? Yesterday was that day.

Every 6 weeks or so, the gym has a parent participation session, where we're allowed to take off our shoes and go sit on the big red mats inside the gymnasium while our little ones show off their monkey-bar skills and chase the teacher around the room skipping and leaping and pretending to be ninjas, or whatever the hell it is they're doing. It's adorable.

Until your kid licks his own foot. Licks. His. Foot.

WHY why why would he do that?! I don't know, people. But he did. While sitting with his friendly little friends on the mat, waiting for instructions on what feat of strength and gymnastic-y skill they were to perform next, Ethan picked up his own little bare foot, inspected it seriously for a second or two, and then licked it. Twice. To, of course, the utter glee and fitful giggles of his friends. Thus proving to me that Ethan will do just about anything for a laugh and an adoring audience.

And I can only assume whatever he licked off of his foot had some sort of hallucinogenic property (or more likely, he was egged on by the laughter of the other kids), because after that, he was pretty much the whirling-est dervish that ever whirled. He could not contain his energy while his teacher was giving instructions and while the teacher was mid-sentence, Ethan decided to pop up and yell in my general direction, "I LOVE YOU, MOMMY!!!!!"

I whispered, "love you, too. sit down and listen," and hid my face in my hands while the other moms were either snickering or tsk'ing. I could tell the teacher was getting frustrated by Ethan's complete lack of even pretending to pay attention to anything he was saying. I was torn between taking over and disciplining him and sitting back and letting the teacher deal with him. None of the other kids seemed put out by his momentary lapse in self control, but every time he interrupted or got up to jump around while he "should" have been sitting, my inner highly-strung-overly-self-controlled 8 year old self got twitchy. I have issues.

As the teacher was finishing up giving instructions, Ethan decided that, having exhausted the taste sensations of his own feet, he would have to branch out, and he popped up again, grabbed his teacher's hand, and swung on it a couple of times.

And then licked it. Oh dear god. *twitch twitch*

Thankfully the teacher took it all in stride (and thankfully the gym comes equipped with all kinds of hand sanitizer dispensers), and after explaining kindly to Ethan that licking other peoples' hands was A.) not very polite, and B.) GROSS, he sent Ethan on his way to show off more epic gymnastic skills.

Like these:

A little pre-vaulting jazz hands...

Are you watching me? Are you watching me?! Do I have 100% of your attention?!!!

And post-vault jazz hands!

so. much. rolling.

going that way....

...and this way....

This is what he looks like most of the time--blurry from all the moving.

He's looking at the guy's hand like he's going to lick it again, isn't he?

Never happier than when he has all eyes on him.

And then there was much twirling....

crash landing...

And don't forget to swing on the bars...

look how happy he is--think he knows that some germ he licked off his foot is going to have him puking by Thursday? Probably not...

look how hard that girl's working to swing herself around the bar. My kid looks like he's sitting at a bar waiting for a margarita. Bless his little heart.

In hindsight, he was far less "that" kid than I initially thought in the moment--he was just so much more of a kid than I ever was. Sometimes its hard for me to gauge where the line is and when he's actually gone over it. True, licking his foot? And someone else's hand? Mortifying. But only for me. And only for a minute.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Knowledge Hodgepodge...

Ethan's brain seems to be expanding by leaps and bounds on any given day (or, more exactly, on every given day). He simply NEEEEEEDS to know and understand everything that is being said, and will ask an incessant stream of questions. It is for this reason that I can no longer listen to the inappropriate morning radio talk show on the way to school and why I refuse to let Ethan see an actual news broadcast. I am not prepared to answer all of those questions. As it is, questions about G-d and heaven and dinosaurs and tides and Star Wars and why leaves are green and worm holes and......omg, I need to lie down.

And while he is simply thirsting for this knowledge, he has a bit of a problem keeping it all straight in his mind. This is evident in his imaginative play. While a grown up would probably play Spider Man when s/he played Spider Man and dinosaurs when s/he played dinosaurs, Ethan tends to jumble them up....

Exhibit A: Spider Man rides the baby T-Rex...

Exhibit B: Mama T-Rex eats Spider Man...(cue Debbie Downer music...)

Exhibit C: "Spider Man head...nom nom nom...."

And he tends to get his history timeline a little mixed when the "big bang" hit the dinosaurs....

please note the mangled Spider Man splayed out in to the side of the picture.
By the way, it seems my fate in life to never live in a house that has decent lighting for any type of photography. That's not at all frustrating.

I feel like Ethan knows SO much more than I did at his age--lunar eclipses, super novas, Martin Luther King Jr., Star Wars, how babies are born (born, not made. I'm not ready for how they're made.), super heros, how planes fly, what gravity is. He's asked questions and/or spouted out facts about these topics and countless more for at least half the amount of time he's been alive already. He can't seem to get enough knowledge. I don't remember being like that.

And I love that having all those little tidbits, however incomplete and over-simplified, in his mind gives him such huge leeway in what sort of imaginative play is possible.

Echo gets to join into the play as an "Echosaurus; he's a carnivore cat dinosaur, and he's the biggest dinosaur, even bigger than the T-Rex." Of course he is....

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Another 60 Miles? Yeah. I Can Do That.

Do 1 in 8 women in the United States still get invasive breast cancer in their lifetime?

Is breast cancer still the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide?

Is a women in this country diagnosed with breast cancer every 4 minutes?

Were almost 40,000 women expected to die of breast cancer in this country in 2011 alone?


Until the answer to all of these questions is "no", I can walk 60 miles.

I can walk for a friend and a former class mate who are fighting to rid their bodies of this disease.

I can walk for the researchers who live their lives to save the lives of others and need precious dollars to continue their work towards a cure.

I can walk for the uninsured single mom who can't afford her own screening or treatments and has kids at home who need their mother.

I can walk in memory of the almost 40,000 women who died of breast cancer last year.

I can walk for the teenage girl who held up a sign as I passed her on the Berkeley campus last year that read, "My mom had surgery yesterday; thank you so much for walking." I think of that girl, and her mother, and wonder how they are, often.

I can walk to celebrate the millions of women in this country who have stared down breast cancer in their own bodies and survived.

It is not easy; there are hours of commitment to training, fundraising, and blisters, and aching muscles and cramping arches and calves. There were moments last year during the walk when my feet barely fit back into my shoes and I wanted to get on the bus & give up. But it is nothing compared to fighting for your life against breast cancer.

I hope you'll find a way to donate to this cause--all of us know someone who has been, or will be, touched by this disease in our lifetimes, unless we can stop it. Please take a moment to click on the Susan G Komen link to the right of my blog and make a donation, however small, to help me reach my goal of $2300. There are no words to express my gratitude, but you will know, when the cure is found, and I believe it WILL be found, that you had a hand in making it so.

Thank you so much.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oh, Happy Day!

And I'm not even being sarcastic or ANYTHING!

Last Thursday, I picked Ethan up from school determined that our afternoon would not be our normal, "I want a playyyyyyyyydate," "I want a snaaaaaaaack," "momma, watch me battle Darth Sideous, Darth Vader, Darth Moll," and then, "watch me battle Obi-wan, Captain Rex, Luke Skywalker..." (somewhere in there he leaps over to the dark side with a little more glee than I'd prefer, but what are you going to do?) After several hours of this riveting entertainment, sprinkled with maybe a walk outside, some coloring (Ethan's newest obsession--as long as its a Star Wars coloring book), we generally come to the "I want noodles with butter and sprinkle cheese for dinner. NOthing else. Don't even try to trick me," portion of our day. The routine is getting a bit soul-sucking boring, so instead of going home and letting the aforementioned chain of events unfold for the next 5 hours, I packed up the car with snacks, coloring books, sand toys, and Ethan's collection of "interesting sticks" (translation: "these are my sticks that make good light sabers when I don't have my real light sabers.") and told Ethan we were going on an adventure.

After a few moments of lamenting the fact that his only companion for said adventure was, well, me (I am apparently super boring and lame, because my 5 year old is really 14), we were on our way to Santa Cruz.

First we stopped at Seabright beach for some "interesting stick" collecting and some sand castle construction. I spread a blanket as close to the water as Ethan would let me get (read: not close at all), and dumped a bag of sand toys. I buried Ethan's feet, he buried mine (digging bare wiggly toes into the sand in January? Heaven.), we constructed some sand buildings and roads, then Ethan went off in search of sticks and I took eleventy billion pictures of seagulls and watched a chihuahua named Zeus chase a frisbee. My Thursday was soooooo way better than your Thursday. Just sayin'.

shiny happy people...

After absorbing the sound of the crashing waves for about an hour, we were drawn to the wharf by the sound of the sea lions cavorting (or beating each other up--the sounds are all pretty much alike), so we hoped in the car and headed over to see if we could find their not so secret hiding spot.

Ethan's favorite thing to say about the sea lions? "Momma, they stink." Indeed they do, little man. Indeed they do.

sleepy sea lions...

Cranky sea lions (no booze allowed...)

taking "the family bed" just a bit too far, thank you very much...

After watching one giant sea lion (the one under the "no alcohol allowed" sign) hulk his way back to the water by squirming over the entire pile of sleep sea lions (each one he jumped on raised their heads, "quuuuuuuuooooooooaaaaannnnnk"'ed at him and then put their heads back down and went back to sleep), we noticed that the sun was rapidly making its way towards the horizon, so we got back in our car and headed to the next beach on our list. We made it just in time to catch the sun setting

Sunset on Natural Bridges beach

we weren't the only people there to watch the sun go down...

Jedi knight using the force to try to keep me from taking his picture....sorry, young Jedi, the force is strong with this iPhone....

The drive home was quiet and sleepy--Ethan tried to convince me he didn't need a bath when we got home, but then proceeded to take his shoes and socks off to dump a metic ton of beach onto the backseat floor of my car. Whatever sand didn't end up on the floor remained lodged between his toes and I assured him that yes indeed, he was taking a bath when we got home. Boys.

After stories and some snuggles, before he fell asleep, Ethan said to me, "we had the best day, didn't we, momma?" Mission accomplished.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In Between Days...

This morning I scraped frost off the windshield. This afternoon, Ethan and I are going to the beach. I left the house this morning in a fleece, scarf and mittens. I'll return at the end of the day in a sandy t-shirt. Such is winter in California. Lovely in its own way, but so different from what I experienced for the majority of my life that I'm still trying to adjust to the inbetweenness of it all.

This is the time of year when I miss the piles of snow from the Januarys of my childhood---like the bank of it that used to sit to the left of our front door, under a steep slope in our roof; the snow would slide off the roof in a low rumbling that was like our own personal 4.5 on the richter scale, and leave a pile of snow that was still working on melting well into the month of April. I mean, if I'm going to have to head outside early to warm up my car in 36 degree temperatures and scrape the windshield, I should get some pretty, fluffy, sparkling in the sunlight snow to go along with it, right?

But then I think of what that snow is like in February (or March); grey and dingy from the car exhaust driving by, the blinding glare of melting snow on the roadways, and the cold that just never seems to go away, the summer that seems to be receding into the distance instead of getting closer. Yesterday, with the thermometer reading 68 degrees at 4:30 in the afternoon and the sun still high enough in the sky to spend some time outside playing, I felt a million miles away from the cold winters of New England and DC.

I still hope that it snows here (well, in Tahoe) so we can spend at least a weekend flopping down into powdery snow, making snow angels and sliding down hills, either in sleds or on skis. A few days ago, Ethan spent a good 30 minutes recounting specific details of his experience in ski school last year in Tahoe (the whole 1 day of it). I love that he loves the snow. I want to foster that, but its hard in a place where you have to drive five hours to get to a flake of snow.

But still. It's not a bad trade off when you can go play on the beach without a coat on one day before New Year's Eve...

fish eye of Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz

hanging out at the pier with friends; these boys are my life savers--they are a few years older than Ethan and know ALL about Star Wars AND Legos...

One wonders what surfer dude does with his board when he's riding his bike to the beach...

digging in the sand

Bombs away! Yes, that is a cannonball into a dry pit of sand. Boys.

Playing catch? With my kid. Awesome.

He holds his own with the big kids just fine, thank you very much!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ah, That's Better.... Or is it?

As you see, some....thing (again with no feet), wearing black pants up to her stick-armpits, minus hands and/or fingers (note Husband and Ethan both have fingers extending from their identifiable arms), wearing no top and apparently having been shocked by something (or yelling, perhaps more likely, asking "where the hell is my shirt???!!!), has found its way into Ethan's family portrait. And I'm sorry, but what exactly is that line coming down between my legs? Am I really a cross with a yelling head on it?

Bless his wonderful sweet little heart, I love that boy. But this picture, and my late arrival to it, is a therapist's dream. Husband's wearing no pants, I'm wearing no top. Husband is smiling (of course, he's not wearing any pants!) and I'm yelling. None of us have feet, I have no hands or fingers, but I *might* have a penis. Oy.