Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Stinky Cheese


Whether we have simply gotten used to it or whether it has been an acquired taste, life with our three-year-old, two-year-old, and three-month old boys has gotten progressively easier as we have aged. If using the word "aged" seems silly in light of the fact that it's only been three months since Van was born, think again. BJ and I have aged like fine cheeses since December, far more than the calendar would suggest. It feels like Van was born a year ago. It blows my mind to think that Van was sick in Children's Hospital just two months ago; BJ and I both feel that it seems like an easy six months since that experience. Van seems like he should be crawling, and yet he still has those jerky reflexes that indicate that he really still is a newborn. Like an aged stinky cheese, BJ and I have developed as parents a subtle but complex genius that serves us well during the chaotic moments (i.e. all moments) of our everyday. Simply put, we're rockin' it. Diaper blowouts in public? We got it. That last-minute rush before dinner is served for five? Nah, that's nothing. Riots from toddlers when we refuse to dispense second dessert? Oh, baby, that ain't nothing. I don't react kindly to stepping barefoot on the crest of a Parasaurolophus (see Exhibit A) or kicking a "herd" of trash trucks (see Exhibit B) in the dark living room in the middle of the night, but come on. Ain't nobody got time for that!

Exhibit A: Parasaurolophus

Exhibit B: the Silas-dubbed "herd" of trash trucks
I'm assuming that the intensity of our three-year-old son's affection for dinosaurs is normal among other similarly-aged boys. I hope. Let's just say that Silas' interest in prehistoric lizards borders into obsession. BJ loves this and encourages it, but I must say that I find it disconcerting that a preschooler knows so much more about something than I do. Silas, for his part, is never shy to correct an imperfect pronunciation or misunderstood dinosaur feature. For instance, take Exhibit A, our resident Parasaurolophus. This, my friends, is a creature that I never knew I was missing, and yet in the past few months Silas' never-ending interest in having thick-volume dinosaur encyclopedias (I kid you not) read to him has resulted in the knowledge that Parasaurolophus was a plant-eating hadrosaur that lived in herds in the late Cretaceous period and used its crest to blow sounds to others in the herd to warn of predators. In the last three or four months, my knowledge of terrible lizards has gone from being able to spontaneously name five dinosaurs off the top of my head to being able to quickly type out the list of dinos in Exhibit E during a bowl of Rice Krispies before I had to abandon my breakfast to change a diaper. The list is yet another example of how parenthood has improved my resume. And yet I can't brag too much because clearly Mama doesn't know all. During our "Guess Which Dino I Am" game the other night, Silas gave me the clues that he is a meat-eater with horns above his eyes. At a loss for the correct answer (which is Allosaurus, for those of you with piqued interest), I feebly guessed, "Triceratops...?" I was met with the most disdainful and withering eyes that a little boy can muster. He said in disgust and disappointment, "I said I'm a MEAT-EATER!"

He's not the only one who thinks he knows everything. George has hit his terrible twos in full-stride and can level a glare that reeks of entitlement (see Exhibit C). Although George throws occasional tantrums, they never last for long and he never pouts. Like his older brother, this little boy has a way of lighting up my life with his adorable face (see Exhibit D) and hysterical perspective. For instance, the other day as I was putting shorts on him for the first time this spring season, it became apparent that George does not remember wearing shorts from last year because he kept insisting as I pulled them on him, "No, mommy, these are Van's pants!" And last week, as I was loading the boys into the minivan, Van began wailing his usual 'rage-against-the-carseat' battle cry. I buckled in George and then turned quickly to the baby and said, "Van, you're just going to have to chill." George helped to recenter my patience by informing me, "Van no be a chill, mommy. Van no be a chill." He has a point.

Exhibit C: The Glare

Exhibit D: In this short video, George exhibits his apparent inability to voluntarily close his eyes. Disclaimer 1: Yes, that's a scab on his nose from a face-first meeting with the sidewalk. Disclaimer 2: Sorry about the unmade bed in the background. That's how we roll these days.

Life with three boys is lovely and exhausting and beautiful. BJ and I could never ask for more. We go to bed tired and we usually wake up tired, but these days won't last forever and we'll miss them when they're gone. At least I know I will. Right now the boys really need me and openly love me. Their tiny hands hold mine, their small voices ring in my ears, and I know I have it good. At this point I need them every bit as much as they need me. But if they just needed me a little bit less in the middle of the night, dang it, we'd all be a little more chipper in the mornings.

Exhibit E: Dinosaur Skills Acquired... A Breakfast-Time List

Brachiosaurus- Stegosaurus- Triceratops- Pentaceratops- Utahceratops- Tyrannosaurus Rex- Troodon- Velociraptor- Microraptor- Oviraptor- Kaan- Utahraptor- Struthiomimus- Gallimimus- Giganotosaurus- Iguanodon- Hadrosaurus- Archaeopteryx- Pachycephalosaurus- Parasaurolophus- Diplodocus- Apatosaurus- Argentinosaurus- Spinosaurus- Maiasaura- Styrachisaurus- Ankylosaurus- Elasmosaurus- Europasaurus- Zigongosaurus- Huayangosaurus- Pteranodon- Quetzacoatlus- Carnotaurus- Corythosaurus- Lambeosaurus- Nurosaurus- Mamenchisaurus- Ornithomimus- Compsagnathus- Megaraptor- Deinonychus- Deinosuchus- Falcarius- Tsintaosaurus- Dimetrodon- Eoraptor- Euoplocephalus- Therizosaurus- Allosaurus- Rabdodon- Baryonyx- Edmontosaurus- Gargoyleosaurus- Helioceratops- Juravenator- Kentrosaurus- Torosaurus- Tenontosaurus- Xenoceratops- Herrarasaurus- Camarasaurus-- Albertosaurus--Time to change a diaper!

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