Thursday, October 24, 2013

But now I am six, I'm as clever as clever.*

After I finished my workout this morning, I tip-toed into the kids' room to wake them up.  Both were asleep in Zeke's bed, snuggled up with their arms around each other.

"Good morning, kiddies," I whispered.  I rubbed their backs.  "Josie... Zekey... Good morning.  Happy birthday, Zeke."

Zeke rolled over, opened his eyes a little, and smiled at me as he stretched the sleep away.

"It's your birthday!  Happy birthday, honey."

"Thanks, Mama."

He put his head on Josie's shoulder and kissed her cheek.  "Josie, are you ready to get up?"

Her eyes were still closed and she shook her head.

"Zekey, let's go downstairs and you can open your present.  If Josie wants to sleep a little more, we can get her up in a little while."

Zeke popped up and jumped out of his bed onto the floor.  His bed is a low loft, so it's a jump of about 4 feet.  He landed and said, "yep, six-year-olds are tough."

We proceeded to go downstairs.  I was going to give him his present (a skateboard and a new helmet), but he said, "Mama, let's wait until this afternoon, so Daddy can see it, too."

We had birthday doughnuts for breakfast, I picked out all green clothes for him to wear (it's his favorite color), and he happened to have a field trip for school today, at which he claims he will have a ride on a roller coaster.

It's good to be Zeke.  As my mom said, "his life is firing on all cylinders these days."

It's really true.  He's learning to read, and digs it.  He loves encyclopedia-type books -- when my parents were visiting, they got him a kids' encyclopedia book about animals, and he sits and reads it for hours.  I'll sit with him at bedtime and we'll learn about mammals and birds and primates and different kinds of bats and big cats and insect eaters.

He loves to be outside, and is allowed to go out by himself to ride his bike in the neighborhood.  He LOVES it.  He loves riding, he loves stopping at friends' houses for a visit, he loves getting exercise.

The other day he found his Batman costume (from Halloween last year), put it on, and went for a bike ride.  I couldn't stop laughing as I watched a little mini-Batman (wearing a bike helmet, natch) ride off down the sidewalk.

He loves to go hiking.  He loves to go camping. He's good at rock climbing.  He loves to go to the science museum and the children's museum and the zoo.  He has tons of friends.  He's doing great at school.  He's excited about having lost a couple of teeth.  He's a great athlete, strong and coordinated.  He started taking drum lessons about 5 or 6 months ago, and it turns out he's a natural -- his teacher raves about how he's never seen a kid his age pick it up so quickly and easily.

Sometimes I worry about him.  I worry that it's not good to go through life having everything come to you so easily.  To be handsome and healthy and fit and charming and smart and a good athlete and on and on.  To be good at almost all the things you like to do, almost immediately.  Adversity and challenge build character.  So I try to praise him for his efforts, rather than for being good-looking or smart.  He gets bigger kudos from me when he's kind to his sister or when he behaves himself at school than when he brings home schoolwork that is noteworthy.  I push him to try hard and stick up for people that are having a rough time, because I don't want him to go through life thinking he's such hot shit all the time that he doesn't need to make an effort or be a mensch.

But as far as I can see, he is a mensch.  His approach toward the world, and the people in it, is benevolent.  He's a happy kid, and he radiates that happiness out onto everyone he encounters.

For today, on his birthday, he gets to be King of the World.

Thanks to my friend Vicki, for reminding me of this A.A. Milne poem:

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 for ever and ever.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


"Mama, it's not daytime,"  Josie insists.

I have just crawled back into bed -- my bed -- with Josie and Zeke, where they are cuddled up together.

"It's time to get up, kiddies."

"Noooo, it's still dark out.  How can it be daytime if it's still dark out?"

"Well, it's fall now, and soon it will be winter.  When it's fall and winter, the days are shorter, and it stays dark longer."

Josie sits up and looks out the window.  "Look, Zekey!  Look!!"

Zeke sits up.  "Oooooh, the sky is turning pink!"

"I know!  Isn't it beautiful?  Look, Mama!  Pink sky!  It's very beautiful."

Then they lie back down, each with their head on my shoulder.  I hug them close and kiss them on the tops of their heads.

"Mrawr.  Mama, I'm a baby tiger," Josie says.

"Me, too," says Zeke.

They both start talking baby talk, cooing and nuzzling up against me.

"Good little tigers," I say.

I think about how sweet they both are, and how I should appreciate the fact that they still love hugs and snuggles and cuddles.  And one day they won't.

"Mama, did you know that bats are nocturnal?"  Zeke asks.

"I did know that."

"Nocturnal means they sleep during the day."

"Yep.  Very good!"

Zeke sits up.

"Look, Josie! Look at the sky now!"

"Wow!  It's pink and purple now!  Mama, pink and purple are my favorite colors!"

"I know, honey," I respond.  "What a beautiful sky."

Josie looks over at Zeke.  "Zekey, lift up your arms."

He gives her an amused look.  "Why?"

"Just lift up your arms."


He lifts up his arms.  Josie wiggles her finger into his armpit and giggles.  "Pit potatoes!  I'm pulling out your pit potatoes."

Zeke laughs, giving her a look like she's the cutest little thing in the world.  Then he turns around and sits facing us.

"Mama, am I going to be hairy when I grow up?"



"Well, you've got the skin and hair from my side of the family, and the men in my family are pretty hairy."

"Will I be hairy like Sam and Josh?  Will I have hair on my chest?"

"Yes, I think so."

"My legs are already pretty hairy.  Feel them!"

I rub my hands on his legs, chuckling to myself.


"Yes, Josie."

"I love you."

"Me, too, Mama!  I love you!"  Zeke adds.

"I love you, too.  I love you both very much."

Josie sits up and looks at the sky again.

"Aaaaaaand it's blue."

We get up and get ready for the day.