“Bob Books”, Maverick’s “Lesson Tree”, and Ethan Scaring People

About three months ago I went through this phase of putting decals on my walls. You know what I’m talking about: stencil outlined dark black images, quotes, etc. My significant other was not a huge fan of the tree I put on our living room wall (this is an understatement) even though I thought it was elegant. I’ve converted this tree into Maverick’s “Lesson Tree”. Every time he masters something we put a symbol for it on the tree. Originally it was going to be a place to display his various worksheets and craft projects but that got out of hand entirely because I keep him so busy. Now, it’s a visual progress report that he can see and add to himself every week.

Today’s major accomplishment was recognizing all three sight words and reading most of a first grade level book on his own. This is the second book in the Bob Books series, and it took him about a week to master it. We actually had two big steps in one day, he’s able to recite “itsy bitsy spider” on his own now, without any help. He’s very proud of this and entertains his brother a lot with the rhyme. So, today, the sight words “he”, “ate”, and “little” got added to the tree along with an “itsy bitsy spider”. The worksheet for the spider also was a test of his skill with scissors, as he had to cut out the legs following a zig-zag line. He did great. Already on the tree we have the sight words “are”, “good”, and “now”, along with some plums, to celebrate his mastery of the first book in the series “Plums are Good”.

Maverick's Lesson Tree

Tomorrow we are starting on the third book in the sight words series, and this weeks letters and phonics are “H”, “short O”, and “S”. Concepts for this week are “rhyming” and “opposites”. Theme this week is “Mardi Gras”, I have two craft projects lined up. Tomorrow we will make a “Mardi Gras Float” using a shoe box, and Friday we will make a “Mardi Gras Mask”.

Ethan’s major accomplishments so far this week are way more walking going on in this house, and extreme levels of independence displayed. Poor kid has an ear infection and upper respiratory infection right now (because Louisiana’s climate is RIDICULOUS and the mold levels are EXCEPTIONALLY HIGH) but he is still ripping and roaring (quite literally). He has recently learned how to say “RAWWWWWWR” and uses it pretty frequently to “scare” people. He will launch at you with incredible strength for a fourteen month old and shriek “RAWR” then pretend to eat you. I’m pretty positive this is behavior learned from Maverick’s obsession with zombies, since I caught Maverick yesterday trying to make Ethan say “BRAAAAAAAAAINS”. Ethan also has developed a general disregard for all things potentially dangerous. Namely, the staircase. Sometime this weekend I am going to install a hardware mounted safety gate at the top and bottom of the stairs, because both he and Maverick know how to take down the tension mounted ones: just throw yourself at it. Lately my security for the stairs has been a giant recliner pressed up against the bottom so they cannot climb up unattended, and just keeping the door shut when I’m upstairs in their room with them. It works, but I’d like to have a gate installed. Ethan is also talking a lot more, and Maverick seems way better at understanding him than we are. He will say “Yes Ethan, that’s right!” when Ethan even sounds remotely like he’s pronouncing something correctly. All I can understand from Ethan is whenever he screams “DADA” which is synonymous with “mommy”, basically all adults are called “DADA”. He says “bubba” for Maverick, “bobba” for bottle or sippy cup, “eat” when he’s hungry, and “bye bye” pretty much any time you wave at him. He can say “dog” if we see one, “duck” if we see one, and “book” if we’re reading. Mostly it’s a lot of babbling, though. If I’m watching the news, Ethan will walk up to the television and yell vehemently at the “talking heads”. He even slaps his hands in defiance of them talking over him. He’s far more vocal than Maverick was at this age but way behind Maverick in physical development. He’s not behind according to his pediatrician, but Maverick was a mostly silent walking, climbing, crawling, running toddler.


It’s funny, last night I was talking to Michael about Maverick, thinking how incredible it was that at his third birthday we were begging Maverick to speak, and now we can’t get him to shut up and he’s saying words like “incredible” and “awesome”. He still gets subject-verb agreement messed up but pretty much anyone can understand him. His godmother says Maverick was just waiting until he was ready, and I can agree with that. The language explosion I’ve seen from him in the past two weeks is literally shocking. I’m not sure if it has much to do with being taught one-on-one now, or if he’s finally figured it out. Either way, he’s amazing.


Today Started Early, in Crisis

Typically, I wake up my children around 7:30 AM. Typically, I give Ethan a quick sponge bath because he’s always covered in drool and snot from sleeping with his mouth wide open pressed into his blanket. Typically, Maverick gets dressed while this is going on. This morning was not a typical morning in my household, however.

I woke this morning to Maverick’s pained scream of “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM, ETHAN IS COVERED IN HIS POOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP” and Ethan making loud ‘dinosaur’ sounds as Maverick has recently taught him to. I roll myself out of bed and half walk, half crawl to their bedroom. “What the hell time is it?” I think to myself. It’s 5:45AM, the yellow numbers on my bedroom cable transmitter tell me. 15 minutes before my usual wake up time but I’ve only been asleep since about 2AM, six hours past my normal bedtime. I open the door to the boys’ room and the smell hits me immediately. Maverick looks at me as if I’m the one covered in my own excrement. Ethan is standing in his crib, both hands smeared with light yellow remnants of last nights’ dinner, poop all over the crib and his diaper halfway across the room. “MOM, ETHAN TOOK HIS DIAPER OFF AND HE THREW IT ACROSS THE ROOM AND NOW HE IS PLAYING WITH HIS POOP THAT IS SO GROSS!!”

I pick the baby up at arm’s length and carry him into the bathroom. He is shrieking at me with contempt because he wants me to hold him and I can’t. The smell has taken root in my nostrils so hard that it’s still there, nearly five hours later. I place shrieking Ethan in the bathtub without any water and move all soaps, shampoos, etc out of the way. In an attempt to erradicate my house of the smell I grab a plastic grocery bag from my collection beneath the bathroom sink. I gather up the blanket, fitted sheet, teddy bear, diaper, and Ethan’s onesie, all covered in poop, and throw them in the bag. I tie the bag at the handles, and place it into another grocery bag. I hurl it down the stairs on my way to bathe Ethan.

I leave the bathtub drain unplugged and run warm water, essentially rinsing the poop off my child as if he’s an object because I am so disgusted. The entire time he is laughing hysterically and Maverick is standing behind me, holding his nose, stripped down to his underwear, asking in a pinched voice “MOM WHY I CAN’T TAKE A BATH WITH ETHAN?” I correct him “Maverick, you can’t take a bath with Ethan because he is covered in poop and I am trying to get it off of him. Please go put on some clothes, it’s not your bath time right now.” Apparently, this translates in Maverick speak directly to “The second I turn around to plug the bathtub, take off your underwear and jump in!” Because that’s exactly what he did. NOW, it’s bath time / play time at 6:15 in the morning and all I want to do is stick my head in the toilet next to me because drowning has got to be easier than settling these kids down for breakfast at this point.


"Hey mom's camera, all the poop is off me now!"

By 7:00AM both boys are out of the bathtub, Ethan’s butt is sufficiently covered in baby powder and the rest of him in cocoa butter lotion. Maverick’s teeth are brushed and the television is on Nick Jr. and they are both waiting for breakfast. Maverick assists me in making blueberry pancakes which he eats precisely one half of one pancake (from a batch of 10) and Ethan eats three whole. I couldn’t make this up if I tried. This morning I am thankful for my Keurig coffee maker, I have had six cups so far. I am thankful for the rain holding off, that was Ethan’s last pair of bedsheets (I just can’t stand the thought of touching the poop enough to wash them, not the greenest thing I could do and I’m aware of it but let’s face it… they’re five dollars at Wal-Mart and it’s POOP. GROSS.) and I need to make a trip to the store to get more. I am thankful for the giant ridiculous clump of trash bags beneath my bathroom sink which I complain about almost every time I have to grab a roll of toilet paper. I am thankful for my kids, because covered in poop or dirt or chalk or whatever mess they create, I always have something to laugh about.