Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The magic library

It’s been hot. It’s been really hot lately, and aside from church or eating out, we have been stuck at home a lot, trying to get the house back in order after nearly two months of traveling. Being stuck inside at home though has a negative effect on Joseph’s mood and behaviour, which in turn has a bad influence on mommy’s mood. To avoid spending a day in the grumps because I couldn’t get in gear, I promised Joseph a trip to the library.

Joseph loves the library. I guess it sort of falls in the same category as those bookshelves we talked about earlier. He loves books and, in the interest of full disclosure I must mention that the library also has lots of computers which he loves. So, around eleven we happily set off to the wonderful Richland County Public Library. The people there have known him since he was barely two months old. They’re kind, helpful, and the library itself is so child friendly. Joseph loves it.

So, of we went on our adventure. First of all Joseph got to go on the elevator. He loves elevators, and escalators. And they have BOTH. Then, into the children’s section we went, with Michael slowly waking up in the stroller, and Joseph ready to explore. Up to the puzzles first. Then some books. We read 'Gossie“, and “I love trains.” and Michael listened along and looked at the pictures.
I am trying to teach Joseph more and more about the library, and I want him to be as enthousiast about it as I am. So, when he rushed past some more books, and wanted to go on the elevator, I swallowed my first reply which was: “No Joseph. We can’t. See? Mommy has the stroller.” Which would have probably be followed by much arm pulling and progressively more exasperated “No, Joseph. No!” Instead, I sort of forced myself to think: “Why not?” And unbuckling Michael, I left the stroller between the up and down escalator and up we went. Then down we went. My boys loved it and then I got a further idea.

I crouched down, Michael on my arm and holding Joseph back who wanted to go for another ride up and lowered my voice. Children seem to automatically know that when grown ups lower their voice a bit, things get interesting. I pointed at the desk and asked Joseph if he saw the people behind the desk. Of course he did. Then I told him that these people are…. Magic! I am not sure if he really understood the word, but at least he grasped that it was something very special. Then I went on and explained to him that if he wanted to read a book about anything… anything at all, he could just go up to them, and ask them. And they would find him that book. That at least sounded cool. So up we went, but when he stood in front of the desk, my little boy couldn’t think of a single subject. I had the impression that some of the librarians had actually heard my little ‘magic’ comment, because they seemed to have a twinkle in their eyes. I suggested a book about Jesus and Joseph immediately grasped at the idea. So very officially I asked the librarian if they had a book about Jesus. And yes indeed, they had. We followed the very kind man to the right section and he pulled two books for us. Joseph was impressed.

One of the books was an absolutely beautiful illustrated book about Jesus by an author called Demi. The writing was a bit too difficult (the book is based on the KJV of the bible), but he does recognize the scenes of course. We talked about it, pointed out sheep and birds with Michael sitting on my lap. We pointed at Mary in the nativity scene. We talked about what was happening at the wedding in Cana. We pointed at fishes and bread. We went over the last supper and I told him that was what we remember at mass (Theology in kid size! I should write books) And then it became harder. How do you explain the crucifiction to a two year old??? Joseph in the mean time had grown slightly impatient. He skipped a few pages and we saw the descent from the cross. I explained that Jesus had died. Before I could ask him if he knew what death was, he flipped forward to the end where we see the resurrection and concluded “And they lived happily ever after. The end”.
What more was there to say? No way I could explain it better, right? So I put the book away and ran after him.

On the way to the puzzles he was distracted by two other boys who were cutting and coloring at a table. He joined them and immediately started talking about his new friends. Zeke and Cody were wonderful, including the much younger boy in, and offering him scissors and crayons. I think I scored some mom points in the eyes of all of them by folding a little boat, and after admiring triangles and alligators, we went home.
I LOVE the library.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A three bath day...

Today started pretty well with church and the chance to see our wonderful faith family again after a month of (wonderful) holiday in Belgium. The weather was hot, there were no big meltdowns and Michael slept his way through our little lunch at the Chinese restaurant. Joseph behaved very well there and all was well with the world.
Then the day started to go south a bit. I discovered when looking into the car mirror after exiting the chinese restuarant I had a blue smudge on my neck. To my horror my new beautiful natural stone necklace was bleeding colour not just on my skin, but on my beautiful blouse, the one I was wearing for Michael's baptism. Despite putting stain remover on it immediately after coming home, I am not sure if I can fully get it off. Still, I spoke sternly to myself not to make a mountain out of moleshill and shrugged it mostly off, hoping it could be righted.

Then there was the poopoo incident. Potty training is not easy, and Joseph seems rather resistant. We asked him if he was making poopoo and he firmly denied doing so, but was discovered a bit later not to have told the truth. He had so much not told the truth that both pants and shirt needed to go in the laundry immediately and mommy had to put him in the bath tub to scrub him clean. (Bath number one here) I managed to hold on to patience and used the opportunity to tell him about the difference between telling the truth and lying. And reminded him of the ten rules that Jesus wants us to follow. Well, we have only just started with two of the rules: listening to mommy and daddy and now telling the truth.
It was rather hard to stay angry though, since he strutted around after the bath in his bath shrug with the bunny hood proclaiming how cute he was. Hmmm guess he has heard that somewhere....

The boys did pretty well after that, though Michael for some reason still wants to be carried mostly by mommy instead of dada. After Joseph went to bed, Bill and I had great fun feeding Michael his first bite of solids, and the accompaning pictures turned out so adorable, I forgot any remnants of a bad mood and uploaded them for everybody to see.

Shortly after Joseph's nap ended dadda went to the radiostudio for an interview with Cynthia Hardy of On point and mommy stayed home with her two boys and a music dvd to dance on. Joseph being curious wanted to play with mommy's camera. Now this is a boy who is drinking out of a wedgewood cup without breaking it. While he is as wild as they get, he can definitely be careful. He has played with that camera hundreds of times, though usually within armslength of mommy. Today I let him just play with it and try to take pictures while I nursed Michael. And of course that is when it happened, my wild boy forgot to be careful and.. broke the camera! I am not sure if he dropped it first or managed to get the lens stuck first and then dropped it in frustration, all I know is that I looked up, saw it drop, saw the batteries roll out and when I grabbed Michael under my arm and went to the camera... it was broken.
Joseph kept trying to take the camera and repeating "camera, camera... Joseph has the camera". And I admit I raised my voice when I answered him sharply: "No more camera, Joseph has broken the camera. It is broken!"
He started to cry and I felt even more miserable. Not only was my camera broken, but I had yelled at my son for something that was essentially my fault. After all... I should not have let him play with it. I apologized, and told him that mommy should not have yelled at him but also that she was sad that Joseph had broken her camera and that he should be more careful.

I definitely felt somewhat blue the remaining time while I was waiting for Bill to return. After he did, he spoke to Joseph about being more careful as well, and I took a moment for myself. Just a moment to load the little toy I had kept for just such an occasion: A BUBBLE GUN. We took Joseph and Michael outside and while Bill started to water the newly laid sod, I took out the bubblegun and blew hundreds of bubbles. That was fun. THere are very few things in my opinion that work as well against the blues than bubbles. Unless it is... a two and a half year old running like mad through the water of the garden hose. He had such fun... so much better than any water park could be. Then I had a brilliant idea. Joseph is resistant to having his hair washed. I dashed inside for some shampoo, and put it on his hair while he continued to run in and out of the water. (bath two right there) There we were on our front lawn, Joseph with foaming hair running up and down like a lunatic. Bill holding the garden hose with one hand and Michael under the other, and I blowing bubbles and laughing till I had tears in my eyes. Especially when Joseph managed to fall down in the sod, get mud all over him and tried to run on even when his pants was falling down to his knees. It was too good an opportunity.
Bill went inside and got out the big canon camera and we snapped up some pictures.

Then Joseph took another bath (yes, we are at number three) inside and is currently running around in his bunny towel again proclaiming his cuteness.
Ahhhh... life is good!