Friday, December 30, 2011

GREAT question!

So tonight at bedtime, Monkeyman & I were doing this thing we do, where we jokingly compete for who loves who more:

Monkey:  I love you!
Me:  I love you 7 times more than that!
Monkey: I love you 10 times more than that!
Me:  Well, I love you 35 times more than that!
Monkey:  Well, I love you 100 times more than that!
Me:  Oh yeah, well, I love you 1,000 times more than that!
Monkey: I love you 100,000 times more than that!
Me:  Well, I love you a million times more than that!
Monkey:  (pauses) Hey, what is the last number?

"Last number" meaning:  "What is the very highest number?" so he can use that to outdo me.  It just struck me as a really great question - I love the way his mind works.  I told him that there is no "last number" and explained the concept of infinity and he thought that was really cool.  "Oh, like on Toy Story, right?"  And I replied that yes, when Buzz Lightyear says "To Infinity and Beyond" he means "On and on, forever."

So that's our math lesson for the day - a review of the concepts of "greater than" and "infinity".  :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Lost my kid at the mall today...

...for about 30 seconds.  The longest, most terrifying 30 seconds of my life.  This is the first time I have ever lost a kid in a public place.  Although I generally abhor malls, we made our annual trek there with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and nieces, to visit Santa.  We had just arrived and gotten in line.  I took off Bug's coat, and in the moment it took me to stuff it into my bag, I looked up and he had vanished.  Completely.  I looked around wildly in all directions, and saw no sign of him.  I asked Monkeyman if he saw where Bug went, and he said no.  I thought of all the different ways he could have gone, all the nooks and crannies he could disappear into, and I was instantly reduced to a blindly panicked mother animal.  I ran back and forth across the fence surrounding the train next to Santa, to see if he had gone around either corner... nope, no Bug.  After a few more frantic moments a woman asked me, "Who are you looking for?" and I replied, on the verge of tears, "A little boy in a green shirt."  She pointed... "Is that him?"  And there he was.  He had squeezed into a small space between a bench and the fence, to get a better view of the train going around inside.  The crowd of people around the bench and the bench itself had blocked him from my view entirely.  I know it can't have been more than 30 seconds, possibly it was even less, but it felt like forever.  I was so relieved, tears sprang to my eyes as a few kind moms expressed sympathy and said words to me that I barely heard, about having had similar experiences.  I had to hold onto the fence to steady myself for a moment.  Every day I feel lucky to have these amazing boys, but for the rest of the day today I felt extra grateful to have my Little Bug in my arms - even when he was grouchy and clingy, I truly didn't mind a bit.

I can't even think about the small number of parents who have had this same experience... only to not have been so fortunate to be tucking their kids into bed later that night.  I can't even go there.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tuba Christmas!

So, today we went to Tuba Christmas for the first time ever.  What a cool experience.  These events are all over the country - if you have the opportunity to attend one - do it!  They are free concerts consisting of hundreds of festively decorated tubas (and euphoniums) playing Christmas songs.

Monkeyman, waiting with excitement: "Only three minutes until the show starts!"

I know this cell phone pic doesn't do it justice, but here are between 400-500 tubas being played by people ranging in age from 10 to 87 years old, with nearly 3,000 people in the audience singing along.  Quite the sensory experience.

Here, the house lights were briefly turned off to showcase the lighted decorations on many of the Tubas.

Quick close-up of a couple of the tubas we passed on our way out.

We will definitely be going again next year.  Next time I will come prepared with:
1. A better camera (I wasn't sure if I was allowed to bring my good one but many people were taking flash photos and it wasn't an issue.)
2. Binoculars, so Monkeyman can study everything on the stage more closely, and
3. Jingle bells.  Many people brought them and enthusiastically jingled them throughout the performance.  An older lady sitting behind us kindly lent hers to Monkeyman for one song and he was in heaven!

Monkeyman definitely enjoyed it, but he did get antsy during the long-ish periods of storytelling between songs.  We went with another homeschooling family with a boy just a bit older than Monkeyman, and both of them began to have a hard time sitting still - and they suddenly, simultaneously developed an urgent need to pee.  So we took them to the restroom and then let them explore the outer parts of the concert hall for a few minutes to let them burn off some energy.  This turned out to be a good workout for both of us moms, too - the boys were dashing up flights of stairs as we breathlessly, laughingly tried to keep up with them.  We also inspected and tested the elevators several times to be sure they were in proper working order.  Thankfully, we could still hear the performance wherever we went.  Monkeyman actually said, "Hey!  We can still hear the music out here so we don't need to go back in!"  We did finally go back in, and the break did help the boys manage to sit through the rest of the show.  Afterward, some of the performers were milling around and we were able to see a few of the tubas up close.  One young musician played a couple notes for Monkeyman as he stood right in front of him, and he was fascinated by the deep, powerful sound.  I wasn't sure where the overall excursion fell on Monkey's personal "boring-to-exciting" scale... until, on the way home, he fervently begged us to stop at a music store and get him a tuba.  He was dead serious, which was quite amusing!  So I'm now considering looking into renting or buying a used brass instrument of some kind for him to try out and see if he's really interested...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

 Good stuff... just had to share.  Came across both of these at Silver Outlined Window.  (Click to see full-size if you can't read 'em.)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dear Santa...

Today I helped Monkeyman write his first letter to Santa.  He dictated and I wrote:

"Dear Santa,

I want a scooter, and I need a helmet and knee pads for it.  And I want a drum set.  Oh, and I want a dirtbike Wii game too.  I want a guitar.  I want my drum set to have cymbals.  Let me think some more.  I'm thinking about having a pet, like a little dog.  I can like Noodle and another dog too.  I want him to be white and brown and red and yellow.  And green.  I want a toy clock that's blue & yellow, with buttons on it.  I want it to be a cuckoo clock with a goose in it.  I want a new toy train to go on the train table on the porch.  A new hat that is red and yellow and blue.  You should give me all these things because I like you, and I like toys.  Also, I'd like my scooter to be red and yellow and blue and green.  So whenever we go to a park, I can have a scooter to ride on.  Also a toy computer with a whole bunch of games on it, with Legos on it.  Also a Lego forest with a whole bunch of guys that swing around on some ropes.  I think that's all.  Thank you.


PS.  My Mommy wrote this for me but I told her what to write.

PPS.  Bug would like a toy piano, that's red yellow green blue indigo and violet and orange."
This was exciting to me because it's kind of his first "writing exercise" and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing what he came up with.  I did try a few times to gently steer him away from all the "I wants" but he wasn't having any part of it, he just had to get his thoughts out.  (Ah well, he's five.  Maybe a bit more decorum next year?)  I think I'm going to come up with some prompts and have him dictate some stories for me, until he learns how to write fluently himself.  I've read about others using this method, and after this exercise, he seems to be ready for it.  It was fun for both of us, and he seemed quite pleased with himself for "writing" that whole long letter.  When he decided he was done, he signed his name and we put it into an envelope which he then "addressed."  I wanted to save it forever, but he is intent on giving it to the mailman tomorrow.  (I did scan it so I have a copy at least.)  Monkeyman was planning on standing out front and holding his hand up *makes a STOP gesture* to get the mailman to stop and take his letter.  However, I assured him that just sticking it in the mailbox and putting the flag up will get the job done just as well.  Gotta love the magic of Christmas!**

**Yes, I know I'm an Atheist, but I have to agree wholeheartedly with Leanna's recent post at Life on the Hill - I have always loved Christmas and I will always celebrate it.  I love sending cards, baking cookies, putting up the tree, decorating the house, driving around looking at Christmas lights, spending time with the people who matter most to me, and finding ways to show my appreciation and love for them.  I don't need to be a Christian to do any of that stuff.  Also, although it may seem like a contradiction to let my kids believe in Santa - it is only a temporary belief.  I think a little bit of magic is okay in childhood.  Some of my fondest early memories involve the wonder of Christmas and I don't think I ever felt damaged by eventually finding out the truth.  Actually, I think that realization may have played a part in helping me realize that certain other things weren't real either - much, much farther down the road...