Now We Are Six

Last month we celebrated Elliot’s birthday twice, once on his actual birthday with ice cream and sprinkle donuts


And then the following weekend with an ice cream social at a nearby park complete with old-school track & field day games.


Six has proven to be a roller coaster. As his teacher says, there’s a lot of emotion. Actually, it should be Emotion. Capital E emotion. He’s testing his boundaries. He’s testing us. Every. Single. Day. Fortunately, it’s more good than bad. Every. Single. Day.

No, I Did Not Forget His Birthday Post

Elliot turned six a few weeks ago. Generally I commemorate keeping my children alive another year with a witty blog post and a cute picture. But this year? This year I couldn’t do it. I had nothing to be witty about and getting a cute picture was out of the question.

That is to say, Elliot and I were having issues. I wish I was the only adult in his life that could make that statement as of late. But I am in the good company of his father, his grandparents and his teacher.

It’s been hard. And heart breaking. There was even the night I laid in his bed with him and cried. An all time winner on the sadness scale. I think the last time I cried in his presence we were making him cry-it-out, and that was less “in his presence” and more “sitting outside his door.”

I tried writing a birthday post leaving out the drama of our lives. But I couldn’t separate all the good from all the bad – it was all so overwhelming. It was like someone had taken the kid I had known for the last six years and replaced him with a less evolved, more emotional, jerk version of him.

So, yeah. The weeks leading to his birthday and even the week of his birthday were horrible. The day after his birthday he had three new toys taken from him as punishment. Three. In one afternoon. It was a stellar day.

His teacher was struggling too. So we talked and made some changes. She wanted consistency, I wanted my happy kid back.

And then the clouds broke and the sun came out again.

She gives him more individual attention at school. Nothing all that interesting honestly: five seconds here, a shoulder squeeze there. I have stopped taking Audrey with us on the carpool run. And I walk him all the way to class. And I hug him in front of his friends and he acts like he doesn’t LOVE it.

In hindsight, it seems that Elliot felt he wasn’t getting enough attention. So, he started doing whatever it took to get attention – even negative attention. That kid of mine, text book example of behavior patterns if ever there was one.

Yesterday his teacher told me, “I had no idea he was so, so … affectionate.” Yes, that is an accurate description. He will hold hands, sit on laps, hug legs endlessly. Really, if you’re sitting down and he wants to sit down too, your lap is probably where he’ll land. It’s been that way his whole life. I think it’ll make high school a little embarrassing, but what do I care since I’m going to be his prom date?

Now you can look forward to his birthday post. The one where I tell you about grown-ups doing a pillow case race. It was awesome.

Bean Bag Instructions

To make 9 triangle solid shaped bean bags you will need the following:

  • 3C uncooked pinto beans
  • 6 ounces lemonade
  • 2 ounces sweet tea vodka
  • fabric remnant
  • a sewing machine

Ask someone else to cut the fabric remnant into 36 equilateral triangles. While they are doing that, pour 6 oz lemonade and 2 oz vodka into a ice filled glass. Take a drink. Check the progress of the person cutting the triangles. Finish your drink and go to bed.

Wake up the next morning refreshed!

Sew triangles together forming a pyramid shape, leaving one side open. Find a willing preschooler to turn the fabric right side out and fill with 1/3 C uncooked pinto beans. Help her pick the beans up off the floor. Sew the bags shut, you will have one seam on the outside. It’s okay. The kids at the party aren’t going to critique your sewing skills and if they do, trip them during the three-legged race.

So You Say It’s Your Birthday

Today Audrey turned four. This is the first birthday of hers when she’s had honest-to-goodness directed attention. Last year she and Elliot shared a party, the year before that she didn’t have a party, the year before that she was one and he thought her party was for him and the year before that she gave him Thomas Duplo to commemorate her own birth.

But this year? This year she had a party that he wasn’t invited to. She got presents he doesn’t want to play with. He had a supporting role in the Audrey show.

He’s so good at doing her bidding that he made her breakfast. By choice. He wanted to do it! That’s how good she is, he offers to do stuff for her and he thinks that he’s coming out ahead.

Other than her uncanny ability to wrap her brother around her finger, she can also push his buttons. Without even breaking a sweat. She is the typical little sister.

Today they were best friends. He struggled with the attention she got, with the getting to spend her birthday money and he wouldn’t be getting anything tangible. And through it all he hugged her. And held her hand. And was a great big brother. Even though it was really all about her.

Or maybe it can never be about one of them without how the other impacts them. She wouldn’t be the articulate, silly, wonder-filled kid she is if she didn’t have Elliot as a big brother. So while happy birthday wishes are in order for Audrey, happy anniversay-of-the-day-you-became-a-big-brother wishes are bestowed on Elliot too.

Ultimate DIY

It was hot outside. There was a slide. And a hose. And a mom without a lick of sense who decided to turn the slide into a water slide. I think we’re lucky that no one got hurt. The slide was fine, it was the dismount that got a little dicey.

Summer Fun

We’ve had a cool, wet summer here. It’s weird. Ask anyone that’s lived here more than 10 years – we haven’t seen the likes of this since 1992 (I might be making up that year, it’s one I heard on the news – the specific year is immaterial, the point is that it hasn’t been H-O-T all summer).

We went to our outdoor pool on the first day of school. Of course, AFTER school. Nothing says, “yay Kindergarten” like a few rides down a water slide.

Casa Bonita

On Elliot’s last day as a free kid, that is a kid not tethered to the school calendar we visited a Denver landmark: Casa Bonita. It’s so fantastic. And no, I am not talking about the food. I remember going there as a kid. It hasn’t changed one bit.

You order, grab a tray, your food is placed on said tray and you are taken to a table. On a weekend night the line can be very, very long.

Since we were there in the middle of the week for lunch we were able to sit near the main stage. Black Bart, Sheriff, a gorilla and his trainer all ran right by our table (not all simultaneously) much to Elliot’s delight. We had a great view of the cliff diver too.

Elliot was entranced by the whole thing. If you haven’t been, it’s a little like dinner theater for children. He even liked most of his lunch (I can’t blame him for skipping the enchilada, corn tortilla + velveeta <> enchilada), he especially enjoyed the limitless sopapillas and the self-serve honey.

Before we went to Black Bart’s cave we snapped a happy picture. He didn’t enjoy the cave (it’s a little dark and creepy and makes weird noises). After the cave he was done with Casa Bonita which was fine, I didn’t want to go to the arcade.

First Day of Kindergarten

Elliot started school last Wednesday. To say he was excited would be an understatement. On Friday when I picked him up he declared it “the best day of Kindergarten EVER” because he got to do some math.

I didn’t cry.

His teacher is (so far) awesome. She just returned from teaching for a year in China. She’s so enthusiastic, it’s hard not to be affected. We’re all very excited for this year. Even Audrey, the sooner it’s over the sooner she goes to Kindergarten.

Self Portrait

Elliot took this picture while we were out camping with Peter’s parents.

I wish I knew what he was looking at.

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