Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who Pantsed Santa?

*  Note:  The following post is slightly explicit and, some might suggest, sightly irreverent...however innocent.

Duncan and Jamie were writing Duncan's first letter to Santa Claus today. Asking for gifts didn't seem relevant to Duncan. He invited Santa to visit and said he hoped he'd see him soon (at Amenia's tree lighting ceremony). He decorated his letter with stickers and a drawing of Santa.

Jamie:  What's that, Duncan?

Duncan:  That's Santa Claus' penis.

Jamie (trying to decide what the appropriate response is, and going with logic):  OK.  But usually people keep their penises in their pants.

Duncan:  But I didn't DRAW the pants yet. Santa is naked.

What we wish for you this Christmas is that Santa will be wearing pants (or not...however you prefer).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Duncan's Halloween Dinner

Fun, hunh?

Boys and Ghouls

Halloween was a bit of a letdown at our house. The good part was that Paul came to spend the weekend with us, and that was the end of the good part. Duncan didn't have much of an appetite on Thursday or Friday.  On Saturday, Paul, Jamie, Duncan, and I went to Dasi Hill Farm to pick out pumpkins and then out to lunch at Four Brothers. Duncan squirmed, hemmed, hawed, crawled under the table, and engaged in a wide variety of avoidance behaviors. At the end of our collective ropes, we announced that he would not get any candy until he finished the last three bites of half of his grilled cheese sandwich. He ate three bites, lifted his plate to show us he had finished, turned his head, and vomited on the booth.

After we cleaned him up (and the booth) and took him home, he napped (yes, you read that correctly) until around 4:00. We asked him if he still wanted to go trick-or-treating, and he chose to stay home. We gave him a BRAT-ish sort of dinner (he doesn't like bananas) and embarked on about 4 days of stomach bug. We decided that jack-o-lanterns don't care about calendars and carved pumpkins on Sunday (Nov. 1). Duncan wound up staying home Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before he was finally back to normal.

We didn't even get a picture of his Halloween costume. He did get to wear his costume at school on Friday and did a little trick-or-treating. He chose to be an old-school ghost (of the Charlie Brown variety, bed sheet with eyeholes cut out) in a blue sheet with a striped, knit hat to keep his sheet on. It was a costume of his own design. I haven't been able to get him back into it for a picture; it's our first Halloween to live in infamy. It was still great fun to have Paul around, and he turns out to be fearless when it comes to preschoolers and their body fluids. Unfortunately, Paul spent the following week sick was a Halloween that kept on giving.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


As I was heading out the door this morning, I was struck by the changes that had taken place in the house in the short period of time while I was in the shower. I didn't know how or why that duck was on the couch, why that Valentines' Day card was propped on the dining room table, or why the collage Duncan made yesterday was moved from the sideboard to a prominent place on the refrigerator. Well, I DID know, actually. All those changes result from a small person with a developing psyche wanting to make his own mark on his environment.  The misplaced objects all tell their own stories; sometimes they are shared family stories, and sometimes they are an individual's stories. They are everywhere, and yet they go largely unnoticed and undocumented.

In my World Series, sleep deprived, state, I mused about the hundreds of tiny stories around our house, stories that an outsider (or even an insider) would never know. I am fascinated by the way objects move about the house, alighting in areas, spending a little time, and moving on. We are as tidy as we can make time to be. Eventually everything goes back where it belongs, but some things stay in strange places a little longer than others.

This is Ducky, who was an Easter present from Nana, and "bug blanket," which was a baby present from Uncle Vernon's mom. Ducky came downstairs this morning while I was in the shower and settled in on the couch. Apparently, he was having a sick day.

This is an octopus Duncan drew yesterday. Duncan is going through a huge drawing and writing phase, a renaissance of sorts. He INSISTS on displaying his work all around the house. Yesterday, we were running a little low on wall space so the octopus was displayed in the bathroom.

The pumpkin was a project the preschoolers did in the spring (go figure) at the local retirement home. I unearthed it last week to use it as a decoration, but Duncan moved it to the lamp to share space with the star art that he did with Jamie earlier in the summer. It hung on the window in his bedroom until it moved down to the lamp. We have a similar piece in our bedroom.

When I made paper cranes for Christmas ornaments last year, Duncan really wanted to make one. His skills were not quite up to origami so I told him that if he colored the paper, I would fold it into a bird. I thought that within a few days, we'd toss it in the trash, but he wanted to hang it up, so it hovers in the kitchen door.

Yesterday, when Duncan started to recuperate from his stomach bug, he developed some cabin fever. We went outside to do some light yard work and collected pine cones and leaves for a project. The pine cones lay in waiting on the kitchen table.

As I mentioned above, Duncan is newly obsessed with writing. He has a renewed interest in drawing as well, but he will write, undisturbed, for 30 minutes at a time. The time between our return home and dinner is turning out to be a great time to practice writing, and I try to slip in a little light reading instruction as well...This is one of four pieces in our dining/living room. (Some of the writing is mine...don't be too impressed).  In the bottom, right hand corner, he turned an f and an h into mailboxes. On the bottom left, he turned my h into a b. On another piece (not shown), he turned the letter k into a teeter-totter.

This concludes my little tour into the landscape of our daily life. Take a look around yours. The artifacts are all around you, especially if a child spends time in your life. What can you learn from them? What do they say about you? I don't care if ours say that we're untidy. I care more that they show that a child's work is valued, that he has enough confidence in himself to want to display his wares, that we appreciate the outdoors, that we endeavor to bring the outdoors indoors, that our child is developing a sense of agency, and that he appreciates the time we spend together. He is the newest curator of our house and our personal history, and there is so much to learn from his exhibits.