Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, Monday

So, it's ten to ten and I just remembered that I forgot to tell Rachel to go to bed. It's not like she's six years old and has to catch the bus at eight o'clock in the morning or anything like that. Oops.

She's just so quiet now. It used to be that we'd put her to bed and she'd be obnoxious until she'd finally fall asleep. Now she does what we'd call USSR in my grade three classroom (that stands for Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading—and it's funny because USSR (even though I started grade 3 in 1993 so the USSR was no longer the USSR but the Russian Federation)). Rachel, if left uninterrupted, could probably sustain reading silently all night long (and that's no exaggeration).

Miriam likes to read in bed as well—she even set up a "reading center" at the foot of her bed with a special pillow, some reading buddies, and a "library" of books to choose from—but she has self control (and a killer need for sleep) and will turn off her lamp and be fast asleep long before her sister.

Benjamin, I'm proud to say, has taken to sleeping quite well as of late (I hope I didn't just jinx myself). Last night I was having a hard time getting him to believe it was bedtime. I must have tucked him five or six times before Andrew took over. He helped Benjamin lie down, tucked him in, kissed him on the forehead, said, "Good night, Little Monkey!" and walked out of the room.

Within a minute Benjamin was sound asleep.

Tonight bedtime went a little better for me. I tucked Benjamin in and told him I was "going to go get my book" but really I was going to see how long he'd stay in bed by himself. He lasted for quite some time but eventually I heard him get out of bed, muck around in his room, and make his way to the door.

I met him at the doorway with my book in hand.

"Back to bed," I said, ushering him along.

I smiled when I saw he'd stopped to tuck in three baby dolls before coming out to see what was taking me so long. I moved the dolls out of the way, tucked him back in and settled down on the floor next to his bed with my book. I don't think I'd even turned the page before he was softly snoring (I finished the chapter anyway).

I could get used to having everyone in the house go to bed (more or less) when they're told and even when they're all crazy on sugar and/or Olympics.

Family Home Evening was a mix of telling romantic stories at the dinner table (how we met, our first date, and our engagement), watching some Olympic bloopers (it started with Sarka Pancochova's epic fall and went downhill from there (Hahahaha—downhill from there!)), watching some amazing figure skating courtesy of Julia Lipnitskaia, and playing Don't Eat Pete with multi-coloured marshmallows.

Needless to say, things got a little wild.

Both girls have decided they want to be figure skaters when they grow up. They're in a bad location for that dream, unfortunately. We don't have many local ice rinks. (Though there is one in Raleigh that offers all day skating for $3, including skates—Tuesdays only, but still—that's a great deal!) With the immediate thrill at having made such wonderful career decisions, both girls started twirling and around the house and sliding on the floors in their sock feet.

Beautiful 3-bedroom home: 1000-ish square feet, wood floors throughout—that's a lot of sliding.

Did I mention we have a walk-through kitchen? It's like a track. Maybe instead of figure skating the girls will end up speed skating. Or perhaps the Olympics will adopt sock-sliding as a new winter sport since they seem to be having trouble coming up with enough events. My kids will probably be good enough at that to make it into the Olympics by age 10. Youngest Olympiads by far.

My girls sometimes get a little carried away with their day dreaming. I really don't know where they get it.

Don't Eat Pete was a hit with all the kids (even Miriam who couldn't turn off the figure skater within and had to intermittently jump up and prance around the house). Benjamin desperately seemed to want a turn (he kept yelling, "ME! ME! ME!") so we let him take one. I had very low expectations for how his turn would go but he surprised me.

He covered his eyes when we asked him to—not that he has any idea of how to cheat yet (I'm still not convinced he understood the object of the game other than that he knew he was allowed to snatch marshmallows until we yelled, "Don't eat Pete!"). Then he'd reach his little hands out and grab a marshmallow from the board, smiling widely the whole time. When he got to Pete he'd yell out "PETE!" with us and then fall on the floor laughing.

Because he did so well he got to take more than one turn. It kind of ruined him for when it wasn't his turn (he was much better behaved when he wasn't allowed to ever touch the board and had his own treat to enjoy on the side) but I suppose he's growing up and the time has come for him to learn to take his turn. He can't just screech to get whatever he wants anymore because this boy is talking.

On one of his turns he was doing so well that he'd nearly cleared the board. Instead of being greedy and finishing his turn by taking as many marshmallows as he could, he filled his two little fists and then refused to continue his turn.

"Keep going," I told him. "It's still your turn. You haven't found Pete yet."

Benjamin put down his marshmallows so he could sign "finished" for me.

"All gone," he also said—like, with his mouth. That caught me off guard because he has never said either of those words.

Granted, the marshmallows weren't really 'all gone' but I knew what he meant and I was over the moon that he told me what he meant (in two different ways)!

He was quite talkative during story time, too, eagerly pointing things out on the page and proudly naming them: shoes! moon! pig! moo! quack! bear! shhhh! car! *pant, pant!*

(The panting is the sound a dog makes, naturally. For the longest time the only animal sounds Benjamin would make were that of a dog panting, a bunny sniffling, and a giraffe being silent. But now he moos and quacks and growls, too. Progress!)

He can identify many more objects than he can name but he does seem to be adding words at a more rapid pace than he has been. He even copied me when I read the title of Rosemary Wells' Yoko. He never copies anyone (anyone speaking, that is—he will gladly copy his sisters' wild behavior, just not their words).

And since I'm on the topic of language development, I may as well talk about going potty, too, since we use the elimination communication technique (or our own variation thereof) and talking about going potty is rather crucial to the whole communication aspect of elimination communication. So, here's the scoop: Benjamin has some potty words!

He still won't say potty but he will tell me when he has to go pee. He will also tell me when he is going pee. And he will tell me when he has finished the act of peeing. Mostly I think he likes to use the word pee.

He still won't use the word poop. He insists on calling them "fish." So, there's that. I'm sure you have a lovely mental picture of what gave him that idea now, don't you? He'll either say the word or sign the word and we've adopted it for the sake of effective communication.

Here's what a conversation in our bathroom might sound like:

"Okay, Benjamin! Do your pee-pees."


"Good job! Are you all done or do you have some more to do?"


"You need some fish? Okay, push!"


"Not yet. Give it another push."


"Good job! Let's wipe your bum and then you can flush the toilet."


"Yes; you like flushing the toilet, don't you?"

"Buh-bye, fish!"

Doesn't that sound like fun? Sometimes I feel like we're having a mini-funeral every time he uses the toilet, but probably only because he insists on bidding his fish farewell...


  1. Yay for sock skating! I remember that from my childhood, and it was a lot of fun!

    I enjoyed reading about Benjamin's new words, and "fish." :) And that he is doing better sleeping at night!


    "For the longest time the only animal sounds Benjamin would make were that of a dog panting, a bunny sniffling, and a giraffe being silent. "

    made me laugh.

  2. Thank you for the laughs, Benjamin. I busted up reading your potty dialogue about fish which caused the girls to wonder so I read it to them and now they are giggling instead of falling asleep.