February 28, 2012

benjamin: on friendship

i have always believed there was much to be learned from children. . .

February 25, 2012

shove with love

tonight, bern and anth are headed to campus to watch the opening ceremonies for BuckeyeThon.
BuckeyeThon is OSU's 12-hour dance marathon, raising funds for the Pediatric Oncology Unit at Nationwide Children's Hospital.
much love and support to the students and staff dancing tonight, and to all those they dance to help.

right now, benny and i are having a low key evening.
benny is watching Dumbo and i am sitting next to him sneaking in a blog post.
of this gem that i heard as i walked down the upstairs hallway last night.
the boys were in their bathroom.
anth was brushing his teeth and ben was standing next to him, leaning his chin on the counter.
"no, anth. i was pushing you off the stairs gently."

surprisingly, anth didn't comment back.
because, clearly, the force of a push down the stairs is what truly matters.

February 24, 2012

why i am not technically a person

today, i recieved this request in an email from Benny's pre-school teacher:

Our classroom friends have started showing some interest in what moms and dads do at work all day and what they could possibly do when they grow up. Starting next week we will be discussing jobs that grown-ups have and what they do at their jobs. If you have any interesting brochures/books or props (syringes, scrubs, construction tools, old or broken cameras, etc.) to enhance our dramatic play area that you would be willing to share for a few weeks it would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance and have a wonderful weekend!!!!

this made me laugh.
mainly because i have spent a good portion of my career trying to explain what my career actually is.
maybe a room full of 3-year-olds will understand. . .

this also made me laugh because of something ben said last night that reminded me of an earlier iteration of this same career dilemma.
i did my undergrad at University of California, Irvine.
while i was there, i served as an RA.
my RA friends and i would joke that we just needed nametags that said, "RA," our "your RA," or "the RA," or "my RA," depending on the occasion. 
generally, once we started working, that was the only way we were ever introduced.
if we were in the lobby with our residents, and a friend or parent walked in, they would go around the room and do introductions.
"this is Kari and this is Katie and this is Joy," and they would point to me and say, "and this is my RA."
if i knocked on the door during an incident, we were to identify ourselves as staff.
"hey, i'm an RA, please open up."
if students were doing something ill-advised, you would hear, "shhh! the RA is coming."
of course, the students actually knew my name.
but most of the time in this particular role, the title trumps one's name.
i'm sure staff of all walks of life have been part of this phenomenon.

this brings me to last night.
we had just been through the usual brushing of teeth, reading of books, and re-arranging of blankets.
i had snuggled in with ben to trace his face, and we were chatting about silly things.
i made some statement to the effect of, "mommy being a silly person."
ben stopped what he was doing and put his arms around my neck.
as always, my hair was in the way, so he spent a moment or two rearranging it so that he could whisper in my ear.
"you're not a person, mommy. you're my mom."

February 20, 2012

questioning the curriculum

recently, we were around the lunch table at home. 
which means it must have been a weekend. 
benny was, miraculously, quietly eating his macaroni. 

suddenly, he looked up, spoon midway between mouth and bowl.
"hey, mom. first cats kill us. and them vampires drink our blood."


in my best approximation of casual, but interested, i asked, "where did you get that idea, benny?"
"that's what i learned today at school."

i imagine that was not actually on the syllabus for February. 

February 17, 2012

tick tock...

apparently, telling me i am wasting his time is benny's new morning routine.
because, once again, we were doing our last minute drill before we piled into the car.
i was prepping my coffee and ben was debating what snack to pack for school.
again, he looked at me, "mommy. you. are. wasting. time."
(yes, he has actually learned how to talk in one word sentences. oops.)

i explained to him that mommy making coffee was never wasting time.
and to trust me on that one.
his response?
"okay, mommy. i don't think you are wasting time."
"but the clock does."

February 14, 2012

ben brings on the valentine's day love...

today, i felt truly grateful. 
at Ohio State, there are a slew of events going on right now to celebrate the 50th anniversary of John Glenn's orbit into space. 
as a part of one of these events, Bern and i had the opportunity to spend a lunch with some of our colleagues, during which Senator John & Mrs. Annie Glenn took the stage to share their love story. 
they have been married for 68 years, and have known each other since they were 2 years old. 
it was so touching to watch these two people who have been through so much history, space, and politics together simply dote on one another after so much time. 
i'm fairly certain that i teared up over 5 times. 
it was that sweet. 
so, i felt really grateful to be a part of such an endearing tribute to the the way relationships can sustain us throughout life.

similarly, benny started out our day on an equally touching note.
he has been itching to bring his "valentimes" to school. 
anth knocked out his valentines in approximately 30 minutes. 
but our sweet benny put a good two hours, and all his heart and soul, into writing out his name 20 times:

bern and anth left the house early today, and benjamin was standing in the middle of the kitchen, munching on a granola bar.
ben looked up to me and asked, "mommy. you know how you are making coffees and snacks?"
me, in the middle of mixing creamer into my coffee with one hand and pocketing a clementine with the other, "um. yes?"
ben, stopping his munching for a moment to look straight at me, "it's wasting time."
duly noted, sweet boy. 
and a happy valentine's day to you, too, ben. 

whether you adore the thought of valentine's day, or you are waiting for 12:01 am on the 15th, i wish you and yours a happy heart today!

February 13, 2012

the WORST kind of dragon

just when i write a post that is a testament to benny taking on some of his father's tendencies, he delivers this new dragon-related story at preschool: 

we are not sure if the dragon would be like benny, or like his teacher, "Big Ben."
neither of these bens are green.
but the fact that he is "so big" leads to me to believe that it is "teacher Ben."

how is this a nod to mom? 
clearly, one of the worst crimes a dragon could commit would be eating office supplies. 
especially, my favorite of all supplies, pens. 
and, to boot, not even a plain old Bic, but a fun, colored pen. 
benny and i are clearly on the same page about what makes dragons scary. 

February 10, 2012

fail photo 50: what we know about dragons

points to clarify:

#1 -  this might not actually be the 50th fail photo.
i lost track somewhere in the 40's and decided to just start with an even number.
which means we will likely be to 60 in no time when i lose track again.

#2 - i have been sick.
i am going to blame the codeine for the fact that i forgot i was supposed to be in the middle of a series on monsters when i posted about shoes last night.

we're back...
to monsters that is.
i recently shared that benny's class has been working on storytelling.
and is obsessed with monsters.
so, when i walked into his room recently, and saw this on the door, i thought it was pretty cute:

it was titled, "What We Know About Dragons."
by and large, i would say it is what most of us would say they know about dragons.
i think we would all agree that they are rather dangerous, have really sharp teeth that can bite you, and can blow fire out of their noses.
more surprising?
i was not aware that the diet of the average dragon included turkeys and polar bears.

but, my favorite thing that ben's class knows about dragons was a stand alone item.
i am thinking that, to the average three-year-old, having just conceded that dragons can burn you, bite you, and eat animals 10 times your size, it would probably feel pretty important to clarify that said creatures do not, in fact, "live in Columbus."
Cleveland, however. . .

February 9, 2012

put on a pedestal

we often say that anth is a bit more like daddy and benny a bit more like me.
this is, by and large, probably true.
but sometimes, we see little idiosyncrasies that truly belong to the other parent.
benny's recent shopping adventure has brought this to light.

our kids are growing like weeds.
this means it was time for new shoes.
last weekend, we wandered off to the mall to get the kids measured and see what was in stock.
benny. was. ecstatic.
when we got to the store, we realized that none of the shoes in his size had the extra rubber on the toe that keeps him from damaging them on day one.
so, we told him we would order his online.
he. was. crushed.
this meant no shoes today.
bernie, understanding this penchant for new shoes, sat benny on his lap in front of the computer immediately when we got home.
he let benny help him pick out a pair.

the last three-four days have been excruciating for ben.
each day we drive home, and he runs over to the porch to see if they are here.
though we explained several times that it might take a while, he still got his hopes up each day.
then. last night. it was delivery day.
the kid literally ran over to the porch, squeaked, and did something resembling a touch down dance as he entered the house.

the boys immediately worked with dad to try on their new shoes.
i had some work to do, so bern helped funnel the kids through bath and bedtime last night.
when i went in this morning to help him get the kids out the door, i saw this:

apparently, last night at bedtime, benny insisted that the shoes go back in the box.
and be put, almost literally, on a pedestal.

if you know Bernie you know that,
a) he takes really good care of his things,  and
b) he loves a good pair of tennies. (while i somehow manage to scuff up each pair of shoes i own within a week of purchase.)

bless our sweet benny.
i gave him feisty.
bern gave him fashion sense.

February 7, 2012

a note from ben's teacher

recently, the kids in ben's class have developed a small obsession with the book Where The Wild Things Are.
apparently, they have found an old version of it on tape and the kids are listening to it on repeat whenever allowed.
bless their teachers.
i can't help thinking of my first year at UC Irvine, and my RA Jenn, when i see this book, as it was the theme for our hall that year.

anyway, this is the first of three "from the classroom stories" this week.
this one came over email straight from one of ben's two teachers.

Hi there,
I’m sure you have a million adorable moments with Ben, but this was a fun conversation that shows just how caring he is, even as a 3 year old…

Ben: Hey Devan, can you read this book?
Devan: What book is it?
Ben: Where the Wild Things Are.
Devan: The monsters in that book are kind of scary.
Ben: Will these guys give you nightmares if you read it?
Devan: Maybe.
Ben: You better not read it then, I don’t want  you to be scared and have nightmares.
(He was so sincere and cute during all of this)

A few minutes later he came to me and asked me to read it, but prior to opening the book it he asked if I would have nightmares too. I responded no and he was happy to have me read the book to him. It was just a wonderful Ben moment I thought I should share. Have a wonderful afternoon and weekend!!!

i love that his teacher takes the time to send these little moments along.
it makes for a nice giggle in the middle of the work day.
two more posts to come on the topic of monsters in the classroom.
sans the wholesome cuteness.

February 6, 2012

sitter stories - part 3

i don't know if this is really the third sitter story i have posted.
but, i feel like i post them here and there and should start keeping track.
really, i should call them Kelsey stories, because they usually happen while she is watching the boys.
ascots and lightsaber shows and all.

bern and i went to watch the OSU v Michigan State men's hockey game on Friday night along with some of my colleagues on USAC.
anth and benny went to hang out with Kelsey and her boyfriend Zac at his place.
seeing as she is a Resident Advisor, her four walls are a bit limited for an evening with the boys.
they watched Thumbelina and The Secret of Nimh (one of my childhood favorites) on Netflix.
and, more importantly, they made brownies.
kelsey thought the brownie-making would be fun for the boys.
they usually enjoy baking.
but, that night, they were so riveted by the new movie that they suggested she go and make the brownies and bring the bowl into the living room for them to help stir.
they can be highly gracious guests when they want to be.

after an evening beginning with our usual we-have-to-get-the-kids-right-after-work-and-get-them-straight-to-a-sitter-stat Happy Meal, i received the following text from Kelsey:

at a certain point in the day in our house, we enforce the healthy snack rule.
however, i can't think of the last time that this involved vegetables.
usually it's a fruit or cheese kind of affair.
mainly, i was curious what a "little vegetables" snack would be.
so, i asked.

benny informed me that a "little vegetables" snack would be broccoli.
with pretzels.

February 5, 2012

while i was out

i am totally blogging during the Super Bowl.
i fully admit that i am only in it for the commercials.
and snacks.
and the fact that it means the new show Smash will be premiering soon.
this really should not suprise you from a girl who openly shares her love of musical theatre and women's gymnastics.

each night at bedtime, i "trace" ben's face.
this was something i remember my parents doing to me at bedtime as well. 
essentially, it means that i use my pointer finger to lightly make a circle around his face, then gently make my way around his eyes, nose, cheeks, mouth, ears, etc. 
i do this a few times until he is relaxed.

for a rather high-energy little nugget, ben very much enjoys this part of our nightly routine. 
he typically sleeps on side, but while it's time for tracing, he rolls over on his back to make all parts of his cute little face available. 

as i've mentioned, i was recently out at a conference for 5 days. 
i flew in too late to be a part of bedtime my first day back, but i was able to put the boys to bed the next night home. 
as i crawled in to tuck benny in after we both listened to anth read, ben leaned over and whispered in my ear, "mommy, i had to trace my own face while you were gone."
this tiny little sentence, and the mental image of my sweet little wild man quietly tracing his own face in the dark, made my heart melt. 
then, another whisper, "i love you more than lightbulbs and the earth."

kind of specific. 
but than you, benny. 
i think.