Archive for May, 2010

Happy Birthday Sylvan! 4 2/3 is here.

Posted by julie on Thursday, 13 May 2010, 20:18

Sylvan's high school senior portrait

Dear Sylvan,

Today, Elena and I waited in your classroom while you finished up your cinnamon toast and fruit snack. You washed your hands and gravitated toward the touch table, filled with cornmeal and black beans (mmm, tamales). Ready for resistance, I reminded you that we were on our way out the door. “Okay,” you said. No problema.

We headed into the lobby, because Elena wanted some milk. You settled into building and stacking with the wooden tree house, keeping yourself fully occupied. When she was done having milk and wanted to play, you grabbed wooden discs from her, snarling, “No! I’m playing with that.”

I loaded you and Elena into the double jogger, with a little coaxing necessary for the toddler one of you. We crossed the street right behind a 5-year-old girl. You leaned out and said, “That’s Julia.” You and Julia smiled at each other, and Julia told me a story about a skunk and a raisin (not really, but it was a 5-year-old’s story; it could have been about a skunk and a raisin).

We reached University Park, and Elena practically stopped the jogger by sheer force of will: slide, slide, slide, slide, slide, slide. “If I think it enough, I will make it happen.” You hopped out of the jogger and walked directly toward the 9-year-old girl building teepees with sticks in the sand, trying to avoid her own little sisters. As I tried to make sure your daredevil sister didn’t tumble off the slide, I occasionally watched your interactions with the girl. You talked, she talked, she built, you watched, you knocked down her structures with a stick, she clapped, you talked some more. When I approached you once, you said, “I don’t want you here.” She told me, when you came over to slide, that you reminded her of a much older boy she knows and that you’re sweet.

At home, you played in the sandbox for 30 or so minutes on your own before coming in to make your sister cry.

All this is to say that you’ve become a complex and interesting little man, not easily distilled into a few words, but I’ll try anyway.

  • You offer little resistance to suggestions that make sense or that are routine: leaving school, leaving the playground in 5 minutes, getting into the jogger.
  • If you’re building or digging with items that interest you and with which you feel competent, you’re content to be on your own for 30-60 minutes at a time.
  • You don’t like to share with Elena, especially when you’re playing with a toy first, despite the fact that the roles are reversed quite often, and you become insistent that the 1-year-old should share with you (Let me tell you something about role modeling, Sylvan…).
  • You enjoy the company of girls quite a bit. I have seen you play with boys, and you seem to play best with boys a little older than you, boys who don’t threaten to act like little brothers, swiping your stuff or dumping sand on you. You worship those well-behaved boys , at least a little, making Star Wars ships that look exactly like Robbie’s, for instance. But I’ve seen your eyes light up when you talk about girl friends at school (and Camilla’s in a whole other category, really, one that makes you jump up and down).

Sometimes, you still say funny things: “We’re going to Mars. If we smell a bad smell, it might be Martians.”

I love you, even if I can only get a kiss by telling you I don’t want one,

This kid is so delighted. Can you tell?

Power you wish you had

Posted by jonesey on Monday, 10 May 2010, 17:00

After a discussion in which Sylvan said only God could “stop an earth-crank from happening”:

Chris: “What’s God?”

Sylvan: “A person who if he gets eaten by a orca has the power to make the orca spit him back out.”

Two Eggs (Ubb)

Posted by jonesey on Friday, 7 May 2010, 22:29

When Sylvan was about 20 months old, he went from waking up a zillion times in the middle of the night, every night, just because he wanted company, to waking up at 1:30 in the morning and absolutely not going back to sleep because he was starving. After a few nights of this, one of us figured out that we should take him downstairs and stuff him full of scrambled eggs, then put him back to bed.  He slept well.

Then we got really smart. We started feeding him two scrambled eggs immediately before bedtime. And when I say immediately, I mean get your pajamas on, read some books, then go back downstairs, eat two eggs and straight to bed with you, mister boy.

It worked.  He slept through the night, just like that. We fed him two eggs, immediately before bedtime, for months, according to my hazy memory. We went through a lot of eggs. We considered making sacrifices to the chicken gods to ensure plentiful, but what do you sacrifice to chicken gods?

Elena was different.  She slept through the night — most nights — until a few months ago.  We were spoiled. Then she started waking up once a night. Then twice, then three times. Sometimes she would go right back to sleep with a little help, but usually she needed some milk, or a walk around the house, or a walk around the block (ugh). We tried to feed her some eggs right before bedtime, but she has never been the voracious eater that her brother was, and she wasn’t all that interested.

Two nights ago, she woke up at 1:00 and absolutely refused to go back to sleep.  We walked around.  We talked about what we saw outside the window. We went downstairs.  Finally, I offered her some food.  She wanted cheese (she says “gee!”), so I sat her in her chair and fed her a piece of cheese. Ten pieces of cheese, half a peanut butter sandwich, and a cup of cow milk later, she was ready to go back to bed.  She slept well.

Last night, we finally got smart. I got her ready for bed, then fed her two eggs (“ubb!”) right before putting her to sleep.

I awoke in the pre-dawn light, all by myself without an alarm, without hearing any yelling. I was completely bewildered and completely refreshed. What time is it? Heck, what day is it? Am I late for my race? Is it Saturday? Friday? I had just slept all night.  All night! Straight through, without waking up. I can’t remember the last time that happened. Really, I have no idea. It’s been many months, for sure. Wait a minute, if I just slept all night, that means… that means Elena slept all night!

Oh, glorious eggs (ubb!). How I love you. How I cherish you.

Two Eggs (Ubb!)

Elena and Ubb, about fifteen minutes before bedtime