Saturday, June 17, 2017

When Two Year Olds Dream

It was a crazy busy week this week.  I was at a conference in Boston for two days and then in Boston again on Friday.  Bianca did way more their her fair share of taking care of the boys.  This meant that she got a lot of time with them and in this extended time she heard a flight of fancy from Ethan Beethan.

On Friday night she was talking with Ethan and he told her:

"Mommy, we go to gazebo.  Me and Callum.  We go see humpback whales."

Let me unpack that for you.  First, the gazebo is reference to one of our favorite parks--Coggshall.  There is a gazebo on Mirror Lake and around it are a wide variety of animals--fish, snakes, and turtles of all sorts.  Ethan positively LOVES the turtles, so going to the gazebo means that Ethan is going to see some wild life.

The second sentence is a bit easier--Callum is one of his friends at school.  He has three other buddies--Christopher, Luca, and Alex, but right now Callum is the one in his best buddy circle.  Ethan and Luca have been positively angry with each other for all of the sort of offenses you would imagine two year olds would be angry with each other for--toy theft, yelling, nothing more than random mood swings.  Right now, Callum is it.

The third sentence references Ethan's new favorite book/animal.  Last week, it was Balgegle, Balgegle (Bald Eagle, Bald Eagle) but right now he is a whale phase.  And his favorite picture in the whale book is of a humpback whale.

So when you apply all of those things you get Ethan's dream play date circa June 2017--a trip to Coggshall with Callum to see humpback whales.  Unfortunately Mirror Lake is probably no more than ten feet deep, so, well, that's not going to happen.  But it is fun to dream, right?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Isaac, as all kids do, has developed something of his own lexicon.  After watching Boss Baby he adopted a line from that movie--"oh, poop duty!"  Over time he added to it and it became "poop duty Dino charge!"  Do not ask me what that means or how it came about.  But about once an hour he will be confounded by something and say "poop duty Dino charge!"  I have basically come to expect it.

What I did not expect, though I should have, is his two year old brother, whose capacity for language and desire to speak it are still out of sync, dropping this bit of Isaac lexicon.  It was hard to understand and I missed it a few times.  But then he said it again and I asked for Isaac to translate.  He gave me an eye roll and told me what Ethan was saying.

I was kind of stunned as this is not really something anyone else says other than Isaac.  In the end, Isaac is the center of Ethan's world, and, like beer for Homer Simpson, the cause of and solution to all of Ethan's problems.

The monkey see monkey do (MCMD) kid has taken all sorts of Isaac features and made them his own.  Watching Ethan mimic Isaac doing karate is a belly laugh every time.  Ethan doing the splits is a bit hysterical.  And then there is Ethan mimicking Isaac with Nerf blasters.  This is a moment of true hilarity as this little elf gets very serious, despite the fact that the blaster is almost his same size.

What a delight--we get two kids doing funny stuff all the time.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Ethan's language skills grow everyday, literally everyday.  There is some new turn of phrase that he uses and catches us both by surprise.  One of the recent favorites has been what I like to think of as the "Doin' Group."  It is a versatile set of phrases that allows Ethan to interact with the world and ask questions of the people around him, usually his brother or his mother.  They all work the same: Question word + Doin'.

So, for example, Isaac is playing something in the Lego Room making lots of noise and Ethan walks in and wants to know what's going on.  He turns to Isaac and says:

"What doin'?" 

Don't bother with all those unnecessary words when two will get you exactly the information you want.

Now let's say that he is up on his perch in the kitchen and Mom is cooking away. I walk in from work and he sees me.  He screams "DADDY!" and then yells my next favorite phrase:

"How doin'?" 

And I tell him how my day was. 

Right now we have "What..." and "How..." as the most common phrases in the "Doin'" language toolbox.  I am waiting for "Why doin'?" and the slightly dirty sounding "Who doin'?"  Its amazing how much work Ethan gets done with just two words.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Mouse Friend

Our critter catcher has been the home to many a creature--Stripey the snake, three hundred or so earthworms, an assortment of bugs, and now a mammal--a tiny mouse.  Thursday morning as I was getting in the shower I saw a tiny thing move in the corner of my eye.  I saw it move again and I realized it was a mouse.  Despite a lack of clothing, I gave chase and ultimately cornered it on the stairs.  In a loud but whispering voice, I asked Bianca to grab my work gloves.  After a few calls she heard me and came sprinting.  I got the little guy in a corner and then lunged, picking him up in two cupped hands.  

Then I had a thought--now what?  I could kill him, but it seemed pretty brutal.  I could throw him outside, but he would probably just come right back in.  Then I had an idea--the boys would love to see the mouse, but both of them were asleep.  Bianca grabbed the critter catcher and brought it to me.  The mouse fell in and waited. After my shower Ethan woke up and, as we expected, he was super excited.  He got down on his little haunches and said things like--"its okay" and "hi mouse."  

When Isaac woke up some ten minutes later, Ethan was so excited to show him the mouse.  He climbed up on Isaac's bed and told him: "Tome on I-man...I show you."  Isaac, like a good big brother, sleepily agreed.  Ethan escorted him into the room like a mayor showing of a new economic development project. And when Isaac didn't immediately respond Ethan told him: "Its a mouse brudder."  Both boys were, of course fascinated.  

Two days later he has eaten the cheese we gave him and drank the water we put it.  Something tells me the reintroduction into the wild might have a few tears.  Ethan was too little to get Stripey being released but he totally gets Mickey's presence. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Swear Word Obseessed

When you are first grade, you are slowly coming to realize the power of words.  And in first grade no words have more power than swear words.  Isaac, as I have written about before, is 100% obsessed with swear words.  He wants to know what they are, how to spell them, when people say them, and what they mean.  Most of all, though, he wants to know which is the worst.  Other than racial and sexual slurs, we have told him that the "F word" is the worst swear.  I think that is a good consensus pick.  

This morning Isaac had a bit of a temper tantrum and threw some stuff around the house.  I got a bit frustrated and mumbled under my breath.  There was no swearing, but for a swear-obsessed kid anything said in anger without clarity is probably a swear.  When I arrived downstairs he had recounted to Bianca how I almost said the "F word."  She asked and I set the record straight, though Isaac was still disbelieving.  That's when his shadow of a little brother poked his head into the kitchen and yelled with a huge grin on his face "THE F WORD."  Now mind you he did not say "FUCK" but instead the phrase "the F word" as if the phrase itself was the swear.  Bianca and I had to instant turn the other direction so that Isaac and Ethan didn't see us burst into giggles.  

The swear word collector and his assistant Ethan are a laugh riot.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Its starting

As a parent of two boys the dream is that some day I can leave the room and let them play together and not worry that one boy will kill the other or that the play session won't end in howls of pain or disappointment.  

This Saturday morning, with Mom at the grocery, we played around the house.  At the Lego table there was something like agreement.  Maybe not actual agreement, more like detente.  Then we went upstairs and rolled around on our bed and then Isaac's bed.  It was here that I stepped back and watched.  They played for a good twenty to thirty minutes without howls of pain or despair.  Isaac wasn't exactly babying Ethan, but he wasn't his normal wrecking ball self.  I did tell them that if Ethan said stop and Isaac didn't stop that I would force him to stop, but even with that promise, which Ethan might have taken advantage of, we had only two instances when I had to interfere.  

So slowly Isaac is starting to see Ethan as a playmate and Ethan is no longer wary of his brother's every move.  Today it was wrestling, tomorrow it might be Lego, eventually it would be nice to have them in the backyard while Bianca and I, God forbid, have two minutes of quiet in the house.  I don't wish the noise away, not at all (it will be soon enough that they are teenagers wanting to avoid us), but the perpetual screaming and yelling is, after months, fraying.  

Here's to brothers playing with each other.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

How to Define Cabin Fever

December was mild.  January was cold and a bit snowy.  The bulk of our snow came in February this year.  In a period of about 8 days we got about 4-5 feet of snow.  It was tough.  But nothing worse than average.  Then, towards the end of the month, it got unseasonably warm, like nearly 70 degrees.  Isaac and Ethan were outside and Bianca and I were seriously contemplating shorts.  We did yard work, raked leaves, and opened up the "tand box" for the Beeth.  

The the heat lasted for only a few days.  The smells of spring wafted in the window and then the windows had to be closed again.  We got a large dump of snow, probably around 10-12 inches followed by another 5-8 inches in a three day period in March and the snow lingered until this week.  But looking out at the swing set, we were very close to "snow out" in the backyard.  Isaac and Ethan were chomping at the bit.  We had a few cold rainy weekends but nothing that was out of the ordinary.  

Then, this week the weather said we'd get a huge storm as I drove home from work on Friday, it looked like it was coming to pass.  Then I woke up this morning to a hard, wet, crust across everything.  It wasn't a lot, maybe 6 inches, but it was so close to water and ice that my back ached just looking at it.  It seemed clear at this point that there was no chance of an outside weekend this weekend.  April 1st, April Fools was a day for snow.  ugh.

That is the very definition of cabin fever--large April snowstorm.  The boys are literally crawling the walls.