Yesterday, the boys got free helium balloons at a craft store. When we got home, Lego asked me to draw a face on his, and he specified that he wanted the face to be a girl’s face with eyes and lips and long hair. So I drew a woman’s face on the balloon. He seemed satisfied and said he’d name her Balloona.

All evening we got a running commentary on Balloona’s whereabouts and actions. In fact, at dinner, Lego told me that now we had two girls in the family because Balloona was like me.

He held Balloona’s ribbon while we snuggled and read stories and also while I sang him lullabies. He decided she should stay outside his room while he slept, though.

This morning, she was on the floor, but that didn’t deter him much. Unfortunately, she’s lost a lot of air by now, and it will probably be time to retire her soon.

Farewell, Balloona. It was fun while it lasted.

My crazy little boy

At around 2:30 a.m., Duplo woke up crying loudly. I waited a minute or two to see if he’d go back to sleep, but he just got more upset, so I went in. I picked him up, found his water cup, and snuggled him for a few minutes, but he wouldn’t stop crying. He wouldn’t drink and would not be comforted.

I kept talking soothingly to him: “What do you need?” “Where’s your ow?” “Mommy’s here, you’re all right.” Finally he listened and said, emphatically, “Mummum!” In Duplospeak, that means “food.”

I staggered into the kitchen, trying to think of what I could feed him without turning on a light or making a mess. I wasn’t really surprised he was hungry; he was sick yesterday and didn’t eat as much as usual. I remembered half a pear in the fridge and thought maybe that would work.

I handed it to him, and he grabbed it, clutched it to his chest, and stopped crying. So I sat down and tried to get him to take a bite. He refused. Instead, he rolled over onto his stomach, cuddling the pear, and calmed down like he was going to go to sleep. I tried to slip the pear out of his hand, but the second I did, he started crying again. I decided to wait until he was almost asleep to try again; it wasn’t like I was going to let him sleep with the pear for the rest of the night.

After about ten minutes of quiet, I tried taking the pear again, with the same results. Okay, maybe I could let him sleep with the pear. I’d just change the sheets in the morning.

I put him back in his crib, and he immediately started crying and saying “Mummum!” again. Knowing he had a pear and a cup of water to eat and drink, I left the room. He cried and cried, though.

I said a prayer to know what to do and thought about trying Cheerios instead. I got a bag of Cheerios out of the cupboard and put it on my dresser, then went to get Duplo. He was pretty upset, and at first, he wouldn’t let me put any in his mouth. Once he knew what I was doing, though, he really got into it. He ate five large handfuls of Cheerios and drank about half a cup of water. Until he was completely full, though, he wouldn’t let go of that pear.

I wish I could say that was the end of the story. He did go back to sleep, but he woke up 1.5 hours later and again 3 hours later. I was up a whole hour the first time, and the third time, I made Jon Boy take care of him so I could get some sleep (Lego had woken up with a runny nose and needed tissues for about half an hour in there somewhere).

It’s been a rough night, needless to say, and I have to wonder what was going on in Duplo’s brain regarding the pear. Did he think that if he hugged it tight enough he’d somehow stop feeling hungry?

Updates on the boys


Lego’s growing up fast. He can sound out small words (like cat and pen) all by himself, and he’s really into drawing. Some of his pictures are actually really good. Throughout the day, when we’re away from home, he’ll tell me the things he’s going to draw when we get back. It’s a real window into his mind and what he finds interesting. We just got him a set of paints, and he’s done some great little paintings of faces and rainbows and whatnot. He’s also discovering the concept of jokes but isn’t quite there yet. Sometimes he’ll forget the punchline part.


Duplo is slowly but surely learning to talk. He’s also causing all sorts of trouble, as my last two posts probably indicate. Hahaha. He’s really curious and great with his little hands and feet. He can climb just about anywhere and open even the heaviest drawers. The only obstacle left is opening doors (heaven forbid).

I wanted to list the words he knows so I’d have a record, and this seems as good a place as any: uh-oh, down, shoe, mm-mm (“no,” which he shakes his head while saying), milk, yum, tickle, hot, hat, eye, beep (when poking noses), car, ruff-ruff (which is seriously cute, especially when he’s in his dog costume), mine. He also says “da” a lot when he’s pointing at something or handing us something he wants us to look at. I’m not sure if he means “that,” or if it’s just a random syllable. And it’s hard to tell, but I think he’s saying “Mommy” and sometimes “Daddy” too. Anyway, it’s nice to finally hear his little voice more.

“Controlled” chaos

Parents of young children speak of how their homes are constantly in a state of “controlled chaos.” I guess the controlled part means that the parents step in to discipline when the chaos puts people or property at risk, and that they’re running along behind the kids, putting away the messes they make as they go. Sometimes (yes, only sometimes), I feel less like I’m controlling the chaos and more like I’m the designated disaster cleanup crew.

Like this afternoon. We’d come inside after two hours of playing outside in the gorgeous fall sunshine, and Duplo was hungry. He climbed a chair to get to the table, and before he could do anything terrible, I snatched him up to put him in his high chair. Of course, on the way, he snagged a glass that was on the table and pushed it off, where it broke on the tile floor.

I smoothly (if I do say so myself) finished putting him in his high chair, got him a snack, and started working on sweeping up the broken glass. Lego wanted to come into the kitchen, probably to see if what I was doing was interesting, but I told him to stay out because the glass might hurt his feet. So of course, the most logical thing for him to do was to put my high-heeled boots on and come stomping in onto the glass. He simply did not understand (or was pretending not to) that there were no conditions on “stay out of the kitchen,” and that the order still stood regardless of what kind of footwear he had on.

Once I was finished sweeping, I decided that now might be a nice time to wash the floor too. I’d been meaning to do it for a couple of days but hadn’t gotten to it, and now I had my toddler occupied and away for a few minutes, plus I’d just swept. I planned to mop, but as soon as I mentioned I was going to mop, Lego got two washcloths out and told me one was for him and one for me.

So I got a bucket of soapy water and dipped my rag in. Lego did too. Pretty soon we were well on our way to a clean floor. Except for Duplo getting bored with his snack and Lego wanting to walk on the wet parts of the floor, all went well.

Afterwards, I decided to do what I’d been dreading all day: can the ripe tomatoes from our garden. Not that canning in and of itself is unpleasant, but it’s not really a job little ones can help with, and it takes a long time. It also makes a big mess. But it had to be done.

I figured Lego might be able to help me skin the tomatoes, so I helped him scoot a chair up to the counter in front of the bowl of cold water. Duplo tried to climb up onto the same chair, so I got him another one. I also opened a container with some cereal in it for him to munch on while we worked.

Instead, just as I put the tomatoes in the boiling water to scald, he poured the cereal on the counter and then spread it all over, onto his chair and the floor. Cereal rolled into every corner of the kitchen on my still-damp floor.

I had to get the tomatoes out of the water, so I did that, watching as he continued to spread the cereal everywhere, crushing some of it with his hands.

And then he climbed down from his chair and walked on it. Crunch crunch crunch.

A sound came out of my mouth that was a little like a siren. I’m not sure exactly where it came from, but it startled the kids enough to make them run out of the kitchen. I used the ottoman to block Duplo’s way back in, at least for a few seconds, and asked Lego to guard him.

I swept up the cereal and crumbs as quickly as I could, and then the kids were back. As I peeled the skin off the tomatoes, Duplo kept finding stray pieces of cereal on the counter and putting them into the water. Over and over, he’d put one in, I’d say no and take it out, and he’d put another one in. And over and over. Next it was a container lid. And the container to match. And a piece of paper.

And then he lost his chair privileges.

Is that the part where I controlled the chaos?

(I did get the tomatoes canned in the end. And nobody was even injured.)