Maybe I should translate this note Milo whipped off for his buddy Charlie yesterday before school.   "I hate you Charlie.  I do not like it when you push me in the nut.   This is how I do not want to play P

Maybe I should translate this note that Milo whipped off for his buddy Charlie yesterday before school.
“I hate you Charlie. I do not like it when you push me in the nut.
This is how I do not want to play” (picture of nut pushing).  “This is how I want to play like this” (picture of kids saying “tag,” “catch me”).  “Please do not run away from me with Ash.”  

It’s a pretty clear communication for a five-year-old, eh?  I did try to explain that it’s not very friendly to start out a conversation with “I hate you,” that the other person won’t be in listening mode if you start that way….

“Charlie didn’t like my letter,” he grumbled, as he pulled the offending bit of paper out of his backpack after school.  No surprises there.

Ah well, I watched those two last week during the school trip.  They play like puppies–chasing, wrestling, tumbling until someone gets bent out of shape.  One of them pouts, and then the other pouts, then they giggle and start their playing over again.  Snipe, gripe, giggle, chase, giggle.

A five year old’s guile

“Milo, what are your plans with that shovel?”  When Milo’s moving that quickly around the corner of the house, my suspicions are aroused.  Call me a pessimist.

“Just going down to the bridge.” He paused, looking around in what I took to be a guilty manner.

“Ok, but you know that the stones need to stay on the bridge, right?”

“Yes, mom!”  Naomi hurried after him, bucket in hand.  I resumed my weeding.

A moment later they reappeared on the patio, bucket and shovel at the ready, laden with stones.  Milo quickly positioned his shovel under his bike jump and started tipping.

“Milo, NO!  Stop!” I commanded in vain.  He feigned deaf and the stones clattered onto the concrete.  “I told you not to take the stones off the driveway!” I’m exasperated.  There’s nothing like blatant disobedience which also involves a mess to get my ire up.

“I’m building my jump up higher!”

“Not with those stones.  You’ll need to pick them up before you’re allowed to go inside.”

“But Naomi needs to help too!” he whined.

“Come on, I’ll help Naomi, you pick up yours.”

I’ll spare you the rest of the dialogue.  It doesn’t get any better.

He lost interest in the bike jump after that and the two of them disappeared indoors.  The birds chirped.  The sun shown.  The quiet was lovely…but vaguely suspicious.  I poked my head through the door, wondering if they were unrolling toilet paper (the current favorite pass time).  But instead I smelled nail polish.  They aren’t allowed free reign of the nail polish!  I followed my nose to the dining room table where Milo was liberally coating Naomi’s and his own finger tips with pink and purple lacquer.  There was surprisingly little on the table, but I was still not impressed.

“Milo!  You have to ask before getting out the nail polish, because I want to control where it goes!”  I swooped up the jars and consigned them to a high cabinet….which no doubt they can reach with their monkey-like climbing skills anyway.

Milo pouted.  I returned to the outdoors.  Upon returning I discovered that I had stimulated the muse for the little man.  He was just finishing his first chapter book.  The first four chapters of “Mommy the Pest.”

He wrote chapters 5-8 after I complained about the negativity, but he’s certainly prouder of his original work.

We’ve made it 5 years!

And no, that’s not our anniversary (we celebrated 10 years last July).  Milo turned 5 this week.

All you encouraging parents that say it only gets harder as they get older, Shush.  I don’t want to hear it.

I'm not sure how, but somehow we managed to avoid the full-blown kiddie birthday party until this year.  The five-year-old party invitations from classmates started to come hot and heavy some time last winter and we realized that at long last it was unavoidable.  We booked Playcentre for the big day, and prepared to go all out.  Well, "all out" is a relative term.  I stopped short of the goodie bags filled with junk plastic toys and candy, but we did invite the full contingent of littlies.  Thankfully some of their parents stayed to help!

I’m not sure how, but somehow we managed to avoid the full-blown kiddie birthday party until this year.  The five-year-old party invitations from classmates started to come hot and heavy some time last winter and we realized that at long last it was unavoidable. We booked Playcentre for the big day, and prepared to go all out. Well, “all out” is a relative term. I stopped short of the goodie bags filled with junk plastic toys and candy, but we did invite the full contingent of littlies. Here they are, ready to run through the obstacle course.

We had cake--albeit a small one--I missed grabbing a shot of the rest of the junk food, but it took us every evening the week before to create. Chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles. Chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles. Chocolate covered marshmallows with sprinkles. Chocolate covered chocolate with sprinkles... Just kidding on that last one; they were chocolate covered cookies with M&M wheels and gummy bear drivers. Suffice it to say that we did our part to keep the sugar growers in business.

We had cake–albeit a small one–I missed grabbing a shot of the rest of the junk food, but it took us every evening the week before to create. Chocolate covered pretzels with sprinkles. Chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles. Chocolate covered marshmallows with sprinkles. Chocolate covered chocolate with sprinkles… Just kidding on that last one; they were chocolate covered cookies with M&M wheels and gummy bear drivers. Suffice it to say that we did our part to keep the sugar growers in business.

We dug for treasure in the sandbox, and Jeremiah applied "washable" pirate tatoos, which ended up being remarkably long-lasting (we're on week 2 for ours).

We dug for treasure in the sandbox, and Jeremiah applied “washable” pirate tattoos, which ended up being remarkably long-lasting (we’re on week 2 for ours).

We pelted water balloons at the target in the fort....

We pelted water balloons at the target in the fort….

Jeremiah was the target!

Jeremiah was the target!

We opened five year old dream-presents, including a water gun.

We opened five year old dream-presents, including a water gun….

....which we squirted!

….which we squirted!

We crashed down dozens of giant block towers, bowling them over at high bike speed.

We crashed down dozens of giant block towers, bowling them over at high bike speed.

We were very pleased with our fierceness.

We reveled in our fierceness.

Bike riding is even more fun with a balloon atop the helmet!

Bike riding is even more fun with a balloon atop the helmet!  And THANK YOU to our friends who stayed with their kids and helped us run the show–you were brilliant!

 

“You’re Not Coming to My Birthday Party!” shouted Milo later this week.  I forget what the offence was, but in his opinion it deserved the full measure of his 5-year-old wrath, and he pulled out the big-guns retort.  I laughed, thinking of all the parental effort that goes into a kid’s birthday party.  “Milo, if parents don’t come to the party, there IS NO PARTY.”  He scowled.  That reality is still lost on him.

“I don’t feel any different being four”

Milo loves birthdays--what kid doesn't?  He's been angling for a digger cake for about 6 months now, and thankfully the one we made at Nana's house fulfilled the high expectations.  I asked him the night before his birthday what was going to be different when he turned 4.  There was a long pause for reflection.   "I'm going to eat my veggies," he pronounced.  I tried valiantly to swallow my skepticism.  Another long pause.  "And I'm going to give up my chewie" (passifer).  Wow, such serious 4th-year-resolutions!

Milo loves birthdays–what kid doesn’t? He’s been angling for a digger cake for about 6 months now, and I think the one we made at Nana’s house fulfilled the high expectations. I asked him the night before his birthday what was going to be different when he turned 4. There was a long pause for reflection. “I’m going to eat my veggies,” he pronounced. I tried valiantly to swallow my skepticism. Another long pause. “And I’m going to give up my chewie” (passifer). Wow, such serious 4th-year-resolutions!

The day after his birthday Milo was sitting eating breakfast when he said “You know, I don’t feel any bigger being four.”  Well now, I’m sure that’s true!  I tried to explain that the growth process is incremental, happening every day even when it’s not a big birthday….but I think it was lost on him.  Cake expectations: met.  Growth expectations: unmet.

 

Hot sun banishes winter

Another hot day for the Hagley Park wading pool!  This photo was BEFORE Milo pooped, and the diaper cover we use as swim trunks did an admirable job of containing the mess....most of it.  Thank goodness for a bathroom with stainless steel sinks, soap in the dispensers, and tremendous water pressure!  If my son pooped in the pool, then how many other....ah, it doesn't do any good to think about it too closely.  Thank God for healthy immune systems!

Another hot day for the Hagley Park wading pool! This photo was BEFORE Milo pooped, and the diaper cover we use as swim trunks did an admirable job of containing the mess….most of it. Thank goodness for a bathroom with stainless steel sinks, soap in the dispensers, and tremendous water pressure! If my son pooped in the pool, then how many other….ah, it doesn’t do any good to think about it too closely. Thank God for healthy immune systems!

Natalie and her mom, our neighbors, met us at the pool this morning.  Natalie loved Milo's rubber duckie, carrying it around and around the pool, and to my relief Milo was amazingly good with sharing it.

Natalie and her mom, our neighbors, met us at the pool this morning. Natalie loved Milo’s rubber duckie, carrying it around and around the pool, and to my relief Milo was amazingly good with sharing it.

There's a playground next to the pool and a school group came while we were there, swamping the playground.  So here is what Kiwi school kids look like:  Uniformed.  Usually there's some plaid involved, and there's always a broad-brimmed hat in summer.  I'm so NOT used to seeing kids in uniform that they always make me think of communist Russia.  But the education system here is top-notch, rated above the USA, and the kids are encouraged to be individuals despite the dress.

There’s a playground next to the pool and a school group came while we were there, swamping the playground. So here is what Kiwi school kids look like: Uniformed. Usually there’s some plaid involved, and there’s always a broad-brimmed hat in summer. I’m so NOT used to seeing kids in uniform that they always make me think of communist Russia. But the education system here is top-notch, rated above the USA, and the kids are encouraged to be individuals despite the dress.