Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Willem!

Happy Birthday Willem! I can't believe you are one year old already!

One day

One Month

Three Months

Six Months

Nine Months

And Now... One YEAR!!!

"My brother is so uncivilized!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mr. Willem

My adorable second son, Willem - You're not putting that thing in my mouth- van Belle is such a joy to feed. Whereas some children like to daintily self-feed, Willem likes to destroy whatever it is that is in front of him. He will mush the banana, pound the bread, squash the peas, drop the cheese, and fling his cup across the room. When you do try to get food into his mouth, on most occasions it's a combination of skillful distraction and steely determination. He will use his karate chop action to swat at the spoon and spew food everywhere. Thank goodness we are transitioning to more and more "people food" and less "mush." That really helps lessen the collateral damage I take in the experience. And right about now, I am loving the fact that we have dogs to help with the clean up.

It's as if Willem has this game in his head- Ah... the food game. Here she comes with the spoon. And... I'll open my mouth to make her THINK I'm really interested... and here it comes... the misdirect and whamo... yeah... three points for flinging food onto mommy's shirt. Two bonus points if the damage is heavy enough to warrant a shirt change.

Whereas Gerrit would fuss any time he had food on him. (Come to think of it, he still does fuss.) A tiny grain of cooked rice, a smear of peanut butter, or a string on his banana was and is all it takes to set Gerrit off. Willem, though he doesn't like to self-feed very often, LOVES to immerse himself in the joy that is texture. When he's done mashing, squishing, grinding, banging, and flinging, and using his food as hair gel, he's a huge mess. Combine that with his usual gutteral utterances - a lot of grunts and groans as he's doing all of this- and he resembles something out of The Exorcist. Still, gotta love my little demon. I'll just save the stories to embarrass him with future girlfriends. :)
Rock Star Willem
Staying Warm while visiting Rothenberg

"Awww... my brother is cute when he's
sleeping. Now let's wake him up!"

Three Year Olds Are Amazing Creatures

"Hey Dad, I'll pose and you be sure to
get a shot of the hot chick behind me."
"Yeah, now that's what I'M talkin' about!"

Three-Year olds are amazing creatures.

Gerrit started at the German Kinder a few weeks back (on this third birthday in fact). So far he seems to be enjoying it and is learning the ropes. All the little guys have an older buddy who help them with things like putting on their shoes, coat, helping them on the playground and on field trips. Gerrit's buddy is a sweet five year old girl named Irem.

A few events...

Gerrit's teachers are friendly and he enjoys going to kinder. However, he did get in trouble
for throwing sand the other day. We had a discussion about it (as much as a three year old can have with you). He seemed to understand and assured me that he would not throw sand at other kids.

The next day, the teachers tell me that he was throwing sand again. Hmm... so we discuss things over lunch...
Me: Gerrit, did you throw sand?
Gerrit: Yes, I throw sand.
Me: Remember that we talked about that yesterday, Gerrit. Remember what mommy told you? You can't throw sand at people. It hurts their eyes, it's not nice, and people don't like when you do that.
Gerrit: Mommy, I no throw sand people, I throw sand up in sky.

Then I realize it's MY fault.
He was telling me that he heard what I said and that he had in fact not disobeyed. I hadn't been explicitly clear that we don't throw sand AT ALL. Oh vey! Gotta love his perfectly valid reasoning, though.

Three-Year olds are amazing creatures.

Gerrit and his kinder class went to die Bucherei (library) today- in the town's Marktplatz. They read the kids a few German picture books and then the kids ate their morning snack. The teacher told me Gerrit had a hard time concentrating and wanted to lie down while she was
reading, etc. This doesn't surprise me, especially given that he currently knows VERY LITTLE Deutsch. Anyhow, when I picked Gerrit up...

Me: Hi Gerrit, what is that you have there?
Gerrit: A worm.
Me: Where did you get your worm?
Gerrit: I read a story.
Me: Oh!!! Did you go to the library?
Gerrit: Yeah, I went to the LIE BERRY.
Me: Wow! That sounds like fun.
Gerrit: Yeah, I have fun. And I ate my bears.
Me: Oh, you ate your bears?
Gerrit: Yeah, I ate my bears.
Me: Did you eat your sandwich and your cheese, too?
Gerrit: I like my cheese.
Me: Did you share any of your bears with any of the other kids in kindergarten?
Gerrit: (With a look that says why on Earth would I ever do that?!) No, I don't want to. I eat my bears.

I just love these little conversations we're beginning to have about his day. He's really starting to get a little personality and express himself. It's a lot of fun.

We went to IKEA so I could pick up a couple of items. We got a cart and Gerrit urges me to go fast.
Gerrit: Mommy, go fast.
Me: But I want to go slow- like a turtle.
Gerrit: No, mommy, go fast like a rocket.
Me: Okay, now I want to go slow like a snail because snails go really, really slow.
Gerrit: Okay, now go fast like an airplane
Me: Okay, now we go slow again. Gerrit, what else goes slow... slow like a....
Gerrit: Choo Choo Train. We go slow like a choo choo... langsam...
okay now choo choo goes schnell schnell schnell.

Hey, working on similes and German while running errands. Woo Hoo!

After the errands we ate lunch at IKEA. Gerrit and Willem rode the motorcycle and deer/horse
thing in the downstairs food area. On the way out to the car, Gerrit helped me push Willem in the cart. We pretended to be going fast like we were in a rocket. We went down the ramp into the parking lot "SUPER FAST" (like Little Einsteins) and then BLASTED OFF into the space
parking lot. We said we were in space and then we had to find our space station, our space car. Gerrit spotted it and we docked at the space car long enough to put our stuff inside (including Willem). Then we took our shuttle cart to the Shuttle Port where they keep all the other Shuttle carts. We detached from the shuttle and floatedinto space back to our space car, got in, and blasted off to home. Gerrit kept laughing and saying he was having fun. At home we built an amazing train track and played, trying to keep the giant Godzilla Willem from destroying our fine work. All in all, it was a great day and I really enjoyed my three year old.

Three-year olds are amazing creatures.

After a wonderful day and a wonderful dinner, we went up to take baths. I was getting Willem ready for bed while Gerrit was still playing in the tub. As I went back into the bathroom to get Gerrit, I nearly slipped and fell on my arse. Gerrit had dumped bucketfuls of water from the tub onto the floor. You could have waterskiied on the floor. Sigh... and after cleaning up the giant mess in the bathroom I kept thinking, "Just when you go and sing their praises."

Yes, three year olds are TRULY amazing little creatures. Oh vey!

Gerrit's First Day at German Kindergarten