Zacky's language skills are so adorable right now - he can speak in complete sentences and express thoughts that pop into his head, but he does it in such a ridiculously cute way. For example, instead of "pumpkin" he says "fumpkin" or "funkin." Then when we were singing "Where is Thumbkin?" he was singing "Where is Fumpkin?" He drew this picture of a face which is about the technical level of where my art skills end, and he's only three. He loves to sing and will sing various songs from "Annie." He was calling my name "Momm-eee" over and over and then started singing "Dumb dog, why are you following me?" He also loves to say "She had to go bathroom." Maybe all of this is stuff you need to hear, but man is it cute.
We are still fighting to keep that potty train on track, and we seem to be actually getting somewhere, but it's slow going. We ran out of Starbursts, which were his original potty treat, and when I was renting some videos on Saturday night I grabbed a box of gummy worms as his new potty treat. Well, that seems to have made all the difference. He loves the gummy worms, and refers to them as Potty Worms, and when he is given one he will carry it around in his hand for at least half an hour before eating it. It's almost like we've given him a replaceable, edible pet. Yesterday I was nursing Darcey and he had his potty worm crawl up and down my leg. He took one to bed with him the other night. He carries them in his pockets. And then, after a while, I'll ask him where his worm is, and he'll open his mouth and point to it. I'm sure there's a metaphor for life in this, but it escapes me at the moment.
Darcey is sleeping anywhere from 12-15 hours a night straight through. If the only way to get a baby this good was to go through 3 months of hellish nausea, it's a fair tradeoff, I just wish I had known the results back then, it would have made life a lot more bearable. As it was, I was laying in bed trying not to die and thinking "I could go through all of this and end up with a screaming, colicky baby!" I'm glad that's not the case.
Noah won an award at school yesterday, for being a "Team Player." Now, when I win awards, which isn't often in my profession, they don't hand out awards for "Didn't Kill My Children Today" or "Least Greasy Meatloaf" or "Picked The Quickest Line At The Grocery Store," but like I was saying, if I did win awards, I think I might be prone to brag about it a little bit. Or at least mention it to people, possibly even remembering what it was that got me the award in the first place. But no, Noah hands me this certificate and shows me a journal and a pencil he was given. Then it was up to me to try to draw out of him the details of what the heck actually happened. I felt a little like a detective interrogating a criminal, piecing together clues and making inferences from the small bits of information the guilty person drops accidentally. But in this case, he got an award! Why should I have to divine the truth from a bunch of cryptic clues for a good thing? I think he's been more forthcoming when he's actually been guilty of something bad, although those details are more likely to be lies.
Anyhow, here's what the conversation looked like, roughly.
Noah: Here. (hands me a certificate)
Me: (reading the award) Ace Award given to Noah Simmons for being a good friend, following the rules, or being a team player. So which of these things did you do?
Noah: I don't know.
Me: Who gave this to you? Your teacher?
Noah: The principal.
Me: The principal? Did they call your name over the announcements?
Noah: It was at an assembly.
Me: There was an assembly with the whole school there, and the principal called your name to give you this award?
Me: Wow, that's great! Did you get to go up on the stage?
Noah: Yeah. And they took our picture and it's going to be in the newspaper.
Me: You're going to be in the newspaper? That's great! So, what did you do to get the award?
Noah: I don't know.
It continued on in that vein for awhile, and I never did figure out what exactly he did. He's a great kid at school, both he and Brad are incredibly well behaved and good students. I got some more details when Brad's friend Parker came over, he was the one who finally explained that all of the teachers nominated some kids from their classes that had been caught doing something good and so it was quite a few kids who won the award. He said that the kindergarten classes gave awards to like a million kids and they were for stupid things, like sitting still, and there was someone in 5th grade who similarly did something really minor. Brad replied that just the other day he lent his pencil to a kid next to him that didn't have one and he didn't get an award for it. I told them that sometimes they give awards like this to kids who have a hard time obeying the rules to encourage them to do better. To which Brad said, "So it's like an insult and a compliment at the same time? So Noah is really a bad kid?" Arrrgh. That wasn't my point.
I've been renting the tv show "House, M.D." which I like because it is not so gory a medical drama as E.R. and mostly the people live. I love the obnoxious sarcastic remarks that House makes to people - I wish I could come up with such intelligent barbs, but I'm not that quick on my feet plus I also want people to like me at the end of the day. I have to say, though, the show is fairly predictable - he has to get the diagnosis wrong at least twice, whatever treatment he gives them has to bring the patient to the very edge of death, and then inevitably when he finds out the crucial piece of information that was not mentioned in the patient history he comes up with the exact right diagnosis which is always some incredibly rare disease, like Potty Worm or something. No one is allowed to leave the hospital without a couple of MRI's and a lumbar puncture, which apparently they haven't found a suitable anesthetic for because the person is always in a lot of pain. But it gives me something to watch in the middle of the night when ... oh yeah, I forgot, I haven't been nursing the baby in the middle of the night. So I guess it gives me something to watch during the day when I'm nursing the baby.
I was lamenting yesterday that the season only had 12 episodes, since I've rented all three discs and they have 4 episodes each on them. Then I went from the last episode on disc 2 to the first on disc three and there's all of a sudden a new character on, and all this conflict that made me think I was missing something. I went online to verify the number of episodes in the season, sure enough, there were supposed to be 22 episodes on the three discs. Then I realized - they were on the other side of the dvd. What kind of moron company would expect its moron consumers to intuitively know that if I put the dvd in upside down I'll find twice as much content? I had ripped the episodes onto my computer so I could watch them on my ipod, so I hadn't put the disc in to watch like a normal person would, or I would have recognized that the numbering was all wrong. Fortunately, I hadn't returned the final two discs, so I ended up with 18 out of 22 episodes which is good enough for me, but man did I feel stupid.
Brad has finally started reading Harry Potter on his own, which he has been threatening to do for over a year. All it took was some good, old-fashioned peer pressure. Apparently all of his friends read Harry Potter at school during their reading time, and so he grabbed the Order of the Phoenix which we've been working on forever, and now he's almost done with it. That's so awesome. He said he can't wait to get to the end of the 7th book to find out what happens. I'm not holding my breath that this is some kind of reading turning point for him, I don't think he's going to magically overcome his many years of reading non-interest and become a mini-me. All of the kids have so many of Ryan's tendencies (i.e. loving to draw in particular) that it makes me all glowy inside to think that maybe a kid might have a little bit of me in them too.
The Owlz made it to the playoffs, and had the first game in the South division playoff on Saturday. They won the division, and now they are playing the North Division champs for all the marbles on Wednesday. We weren't able to go to the game on Saturday because Noah and Brad were both complaining of an upset stomach, so we gave our tickets to Josh's family across the street. They came back with, drumroll please, OWLZ DRAWSTRING BACKPACKS FOR OUR KIDS!! Yes, you heard it here first folks, we live in the best neighborhood on the entire planet. I'm guessing the crowds were light that evening, so Mike just went up to someone and said that his neighbors couldn't go and could he have some extra backpacks. They gave him enough for my kids and also two for the Carters, who would have been to the game also except they were in the process of digging giant 8 foot holes in their front yard in order to fix the main water pipe which had burst on Thursday, flooding their basement. Zack and Noah took their backpacks with all of the stuff they are allowed to bring to church on Sunday. Brad asked if I thought the backpack would fit his math book and Harry Potter book to take to school (not a chance). Zack carried his blankie and binky in it. It is just as big a hit as I had anticipated, and they are in heaven.
So we get one last live baseball game of the season this week, and that's great. I think it's interesting that they make such a big deal over a championship when the total number of teams competing is 8. Yeah, it's great to be better than everybody, but calling themselves "Pioneer League Champions" makes it sound slightly more impressive than maybe it is. It's like naming myself "Best Cook in the Cul-de-sac" - sure maybe I'm the best cook, but there's only 7 other people in the running. (And I'm not, by the way. I saw this apple pie that Jen, Josh's mom, made last year, it was so gorgeous it could have come straight off the cover of a Martha Stewart cookbook. Holy cow. I can call myself the best cook in the family, I think it's safe to say that I'm better than the other 5 people in my house.) Ryan said that maybe it doesn't sound too impressive (back to the Owlz, I mean) but it does show how the Angels, the Owlz parent organization, have a good scouting system and the coach can take a new team every year and turn them into the best out of the 7 other teams. That does mean something. We are all excited to see Tad Brewer or Jay Brossman or Gordy Gronkowski make it to the big leagues someday, they are my kids' favorites.
Well, that's about all. We are on our way to a new normal in our house. Life gets pretty turned upside down when you add a new family member, and then with visitors and travel and the rest of the kids and whatnot piled on top of it all, it was a longer adjustment than with other kids. But life is settling fairly well. Fortunately Darcey is an absolute angel. She really is everything you could ask for, except maybe she could use a little hair. I could dress her as a boy and pass her off as Zack with no problem. Ryan got it right when he took Zack's baby picture and drew a bow on it, that's exactly what she looks like. Hey, maybe that's what we should dress her up as for Halloween - Zack!
Oh, one other thing. I have been keeping a copy of my blog entries in a word doc, and the other day I noticed a counter at the bottom that said the total number of words in my doc was over 10,000 words. Whew, that sure makes me long-winded, doesn't it? Well, it just gets worse - I actually read it wrong and the total word count is over 100,000. That's right, including this entry I'm up to like 108,000 words, and 196 pages. Now that's something to be proud of. Do they hand out a "Most Long Winded Blog" award? In my acceptance speech, I'd have to thank all my readers (I might be up to about 10 now! and that's including some people that aren't related and therefore obligated to read it!). You like me, you really like me!