Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Put on your yarmulke...


Have a Happy Happy Happy Happy Chanukah...
(This NEVER gets old)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kids say...

Yesterday, my father, or "Boppa", as Ry has named him, came down to visit for the annual family holiday party. In common grandpa fashion, my dad approached Ry with the giant proverbial *I-haven't-seen-you-in-so-long*, hug. 

Ry's response...

"WOW! That was a really strong hug for an old man."

Sheesh. Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What A Boy Wants

Hello Blogesphere! This Mom has been incredibly swamped and has clearly skipped over some monumental times in our family's 2011 history. For example, Ryder started Kindergarten this year, then there was the infamous Venus Fly Trap costume for Halloween, and so on and so forth. I believe for the next couple of entries, I will be skipping around a bit...you know, to keep life interesting. Just to stay relevant, and to make me feel like I am on top of things, I'll recap yesterday...

Grandma Bevy invited us to the Hyatt Regency for Breakfast with Santa. Sadly, I think it was the first time either of our kids had actually sat on Santa's lap...not sure why, but I have a feeling that Daddy & Mommy's crowd-aversion-illness is to blame. Regardless of their lack of practice, these two little people had no problem climbing into the Jolly Old Man's Lap and rattling off their wishes. 

Santa: Hayden, what would you like for Christmas
Hayden: A Pirate

Santa: And...
Hayden: A crocodile trap

Santa: Um, okay... that might be tough. Anything else?
Hayden: Candy

We had to later explain that a certain unwelcome house guest and one non-approved-by-Peta item would be a tad hard to come by.  He's 2...he may forget he asked anyway...although Candy seems to be a recurring request.

Now, it was Ry's turn.

Mommy: Ry, it's your turn to tell Santa what you want for Christmas.

Ry: (in his best "he should already know" voice) Well, I already circled it all in the catalog.

Santa: Ho Ho Ho! What would you like for Christmas... 

How much time do you have?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day

Straight from the mouth of our 2.5 year old:

I'm having fun at the beach...capiche?

Hope you are having a great holiday weekend as well!

Monday, August 22, 2011

This is how BOYS do it

{Ready for anything}

This. Is. Normal.

Did you know that this is how boys watch TV? They stand on the sofa, occasionally launch into a trampoline-like seat-drop, ready to do the next karate chop, with one- singlehandedly armed with the remote, ready to ward off the evil that is...a commercial break.

And that Moms & Dads, is how Boys watch TV*.

*please note: the slouched position with hands-in-pants does not come into play until televised sports enters their reality. The only exception to this is the 4th quarter or 9th inning stance (10th, 11th or 12th if watching the SF Giants) when they are perched at the edge of their seat spewing profanities.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


{I think we have EVERY fallen lock. *sniff*}

It has been 2 years and 4 months and not a hair has been snipped from our youngster's head. Beautiful, bouncy, soft, golden curls flowed from Hay Hay's head and were a popular conversation starter. Conversations like, "How old is your daughter?" "Your daughter's hair is beautiful!" "Is your daughter okay?" were commonplace. My mother's favorite conversation starter of late has been, "When are you going to cut his hair?" My response was usually, "Never. Leave me alone. Stop asking."

We always knew we were going to have to cut it at some point, but we were having a terrible time taking the leap. The hair had become such a major part of him that we felt as if somehow, he was like Samson, and that cutting off his hair would result in the loss of some sort of power...or incredible cuteness. We couldn't let Hay Hay suffer the same fate as poor Keri Russell when "Felicity" cut off her beautiful mane and caused the show to "Jump the Shark." No. Hay's series would not be cancelled.

Today, we decided that we could no longer let our selfishness drive this train. It's summer, he's hot, and constantly pushing it out of his eyes. It was time. The second part of the haircut equation, was finding a place where he would sit still long enough to not only get a haircut, but get a GOOD hair cut. The "not moving" issue trumped all others and so we opted for the kid-centered, television-zombie-making locale. Reluctantly, we ventured out the door on our quest and headed to Snip-Its.

As he sat in the chair, thankfully DIEGO played on the screen. Diego and Dora are good friends of his, so there was an instant comfort in that.  We got off to a rough start, but once we introduced more Diego, bubbles, and candy, we were well on our way. And we have to say...it turned out great.

Mommy & Daddy failed at one major thing... we didn't bring the good camera. Enjoy our cruddy cell phone shots. At least our subject is cute.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Special Guest Star: Siriously Delicious

{please note. I tried to display this cookie as large as possible. It deserves it.}

 I love marshmallows...in all forms...even peeps. Peep-lovers, I mean no disrespect. I only say it that way because most people think they are gross...I say... MORE FOR ME...well, and now Ry. The marshmallow force is strong in my young Jedi.  I can be caught year-round, nuking my peeps in the microwave to make them bigger and enjoying the burnt sugar goodness in yellow, pink, green...you get the picture.

So today I was scrolling through my RSS Feeds and had to stop and marvel at this delectable cookie. I zoomed in until it was larger than my head. It combines all that is good in the world. Check out this recipe for S'More Cookies (all the yum and no mess) and more from Siriously Delicious. She's also Siriously funny. And no, I CAN spell, her name is Siri, it's supposed be like that.

I haven't tried them yet, but a picture is worth a thousand calories.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anatomy of a Ride Home From Swim Lessons

We were driving along today and I pulled up next to an SUV, like one we are considering buying for our next car. This conversation ensued...

Me: Ry, look to your left, that is one of the SUVs that Daddy wants to get.
Ry: You mean that one over there?
Me: Yes
Ry: with a hint of annoyance Why does Daddy want that car!? I want a minivan!
Me: Why?
Ry: It has a TV.
Me: An SUV can have a TV too.
Ry: But I want a sliding door.
Me: Why?
Ry: I dunno. Kate's has a TV.
Me: When will you watch TV in the car?
Ry: On long trips, or I can use my screen time on the way to school.
Me: If we get a TV it will only be used for long trips. Anyhow, Daddy would never own a minivan.
Ry: Why?
Me: Because it doesn't do what Daddy wants it to do.
Ry: What's that?
Me: Lots of things.
Ry: Well, I want a TV.
Me: We're not getting a minivan.
Ry: I'm hungry what do you have?
Me: I have a car to take us home to the refrigerator...
Ry: No Mom, what small objects do you have?
Me: A cell phone and a wallet. You want to eat that?
Ry: No....get my flip flop or I won't love you anymore.
Me: Ry, number one, I am driving, two, that was very disrespectful, I won't get you anything if you talk to me like that.
Ry: Can you get my flip flop, please?


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Another Day at Summer Camp...

{Making friends at camp. A GIANT Millipede "feels like a giant toothbrush"}

We are LOVING Summer Camp. It's bug week and there is a lot of creepy crawly fun happening daily. We pick Ry up every day soaking wet from "swimming" in the creek, shoes crusted in dirt from nature hikes, completed bug crafts (did I mention my son doesn't do crafts? He DOES at camp!) and smiling from ear to ear. Since I work for a City and am involved in Parks & Recreation, I am fortunate enough to get the inside scoop daily via texts and photos from our fantastic staff. I hear of him making silly "Scooby Doo" faces, singing the Addam's Family theme in the bathroom, and making his counselors laugh. I have recently learned that he also created a critical mass of kids sliding down the hillside into the creek - sorry about the soiled shorts Moms. He has good ideas. His preschool teacher has told me this.

And then today, there was this...
Verbatim from camp staff:

Alec: Ryder, be careful, don't run down the hill, it's steep!

Ryder: (in full sprint down the hill) I can't stop!

Ryder arrives at the bottom and Alec catches up to him. Ryder looks at Alec and says...

"now THAT'S inertia!" 

That's our Boy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

All I Need...

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about her 3 year old daughter's need to try on a zillion outfits to then proceed to change them a billion more times. It reminded me of Ry getting ready for school. Here are his rules:

Mom, please have the grace to accept with serenity the things that I cannot change, Courage to not change the things which should be changed, And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

  1. I will only wear black or navy t-shirts
  2. Nothing with Jack Skellington on it (I now hate him)
  3. I will only wear shorts
  4. Flip flops or Crocs, I hate socks.
  5. My Chinese Silk Pajama Top from Grandma Bevy is always appropriate as a jacket.
  6. I will take as long as I want to do these things, no matter if we have 30 minutes or 2 minutes to do them in.
In addition to getting dressed, more often than not, he would somehow need to take something with him to school. He used to stuff a magnet into his pocket, a junky plastic toy, a puzzle piece, etc. As he has matured, it launched into a book, a transformer or a "Go Go." Said object would likely hit his cubby, only seconds after entering school, thus making the motive unclear at best. No matter what, it would command a tedious visit to the toy bin in the corner of his bedroom and some rifling around for some time, only to find that perfect "thing." There was never a real plan for which item was going to be selected, RIGHT AS WE'RE TRYING TO LEAVE THE HOUSE... as if the act of getting dressed was not enough of an arduous task. I am sure there will come a day when I miss these little quirks, but in the throws of it, you are not always thinking about how interesting or cute something is, just about how the heck you are going to get out of the house. BUT, I think we are at the tail end of this ritual.

Daddy says Ry reminds him of Steve Martin in The Jerk. "All I need"... makes us laugh every time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kumon....COME ON!

{...because she looks super happy.} photo by James Estrin/The New York Times
I just saw this article, printed in the New York Times, entitled Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten? and it made me want to cry. I was trying to picture my 2 year old, (with his arm finally freed from the fire hose hook up) sitting in Junior Kumon, in front of a work book, being yelled at to fire off answers to math problems by a cold, militant math teacher. Maybe I am exaggerating, but maybe not. I quickly shifted my mindset to my 5 year old who adds and subtracts nightly at the dinner table with Tater Tots, Dino Nuggets, Broccoli etc. It's still math...and he is doing it on his own, without me forcing the topic. 

As there is no data to support that early reading suggests increased success later in life, I have to imagine this over-tutoring in math runs an easily assumed parallel (because I am a brain surgeon). But to my point, I am NOT a brain surgeon, but a Mommy whose instincts are setting off alarms telling me that this phenomena is nuts. Parents are growing increasingly worried that their kids will fall behind this new curve- a curve they are inflating due to their own fears. People, you are perpetuating the problem...and in turn, creating worry in parents like myself who have decided to let their children grow-up in a more organic fashion.  And so the cycle continues...

You should probably put your kid back in the sandbox. They'll thank you for it later.

Here is the Article... enjoy. Fast-Tracking to Kindergarten?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

An Unfortunate Day of Firsts

Originally when we set out with our camera this morning, it was to document a monumental event in our second son's life, his first train ride. Unfortunately, this was not the only first he would experience on this day.

The morning started off great. The family packed up for a late-morning jaunt to a city only a few train stops away. The kids were really excited, especially Hayden, who is a Super Fan of trains. As the train approached, we all boarded and embarked on our adventure.  

Note, for the faint of heart, nothing bad happened on the train, keep reading. Plus, I am actually writing this, so how bad could it be? Well...

{Happy Campers}

We continued on to the park.  Still fun...

We then set off for a nice leisurely lunch at Hola! on the Avenue.  Ry was resting in the stroller - that was being pushed by me, and Hay Hay had just dismounted from Daddy's shoulders. 

Unaware of potential danger, we walked past this... a fire hose hookup, with missing caps. Two small holes that someone at it's eye level, would find interesting and quite irresistible.

Daddy had just recovered from letting our little one down off of his shoulders, when I turned around and saw Hay, up to his elbow in the brass abyss.  Unfazed, we told Hayden "DON'T STICK YOUR ARM IN THERE!" We assumed he would easily slide right out.... unfortunately, what happened next was one of the most horrific moments we have had as parents to date.

{Yes, I took a photo. It only took 2 seconds. Don't judge.}

Hay pulled and pulled, and with every tug, the cries became worse. Our fears had escalated as well as those of passers by who were kind enough to call 911 and offer to help "our daughter" (hair reference). Daddy quickly realized - with limited viewing- that inside of the hose hookup was a butterfly valve. Basically, this valve is in place to regulate water flow, but if you stick an object inside - such as a small hand- with every pull, the disc will compress harder and harder on the inserted object - or small sweet fingers, in our case. 
A kind gentleman, whom we wished stuck around so we could properly thank him, was calm and supportive and helped us to trouble shoot the situation. Daddy was asking anyone in ear shot for some sort of narrow rod. A lovely manager from Banana Republic, named "J.J." was persistent in her efforts to help us and returned to our aid three times with a barrage of hangers and items to help us to push the valve back in, and free our precious toddler. Finally, a metal rod came to the rescue. Hay was free, and then, four emergency vehicles pulled up. The call probably incited a fear of a "Baby Jessica"-like situation.

Of course, words cannot express the pain we all felt in our hearts during this terrible 10 to 15 minutes of our lives. So many things went through our minds during this time. Thoughts ranged from "How do we keep Hay comfortable?" to "Why is he screaming- what is happening in  there?" to "Who the heck is responsible for this avoidable situation" to "Will they have to cut the pipe from the building?"...I can go on forever... It was a horrible test of patience and self-control, but thankfully there was no permanent damage and we went on to enjoy the rest of our day- albeit a little shaken.

I just remember the tears didn't fall from my eyes until he was free and I was able to digest what had just happened. It is unfathomable to consider what parents of children who have suffered real tragedy have endured. This small incident was enough for us.

Friday, May 20, 2011

There's Nothing Mellow About This Yellow

Yes! It's pee. In the potty. Unsolicited. All Hay Hay's!!!!!

Today you are 2 years and 49 days. We haven't felt the need to start potty training you nor put you through the rigors of Potty Boot Camp. All we did was take the potty out of the garage...wait...that wasn't us, it was your loving Nanny...but I think we told her to...right?  Anyway, it has been sitting in the bathroom for weeks. Occasionally you will sit on it before bath time, but we could care less what you do with it. Sometimes the seat comes out and gets worn on your head. Clever. Just get comfortable with it, we say.

Today was different. As we got ready for bath tonight, you decided to sit on it. You see your big brother pee all the time...it's gotta be fun, right? You sat on the potty, I told you to pee....and VOILA! If you don't do it again for another year, I won't care. I am just so proud of you today.

PS- you have 479 days to get it down - that's when you start school. No pressure. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

This is How We Do It

Many of you have asked from time to time, "Wow...how do you do it?" Well, today is your lucky day. Here is my secret...

So yes. I have a full time job. Yes, I have two kids under 6. NO, I can't cook. Yes, I do it anyway.

First you need a plan.

What more do you need to hear? Oh, that this little box of floofy sourdough breadiness, takes only 5 minutes to make! Genius. Then, make it healthy. I choose Smart Balance as opposed to butter, because it's smart. Duh.

Now, make sure the kids are planted in front of the TV. This is more for the 2 year old so he won't be loose in your home. See how happy they are? Well, one is posing for me and the other is having the life sucked out of him by Scooby Doo. He's happy. Promise.

Now, start cooking. Get the 5 minute Stove Top Stuffing going first. Here's what it looks like in case you are nervous about the directions. Yes...just BOIL the water & butter SMART Balance and let the mix sit in it off of the flame for 5 minutes. Seriously, it works! Just fluff!

Time for greens. Get some fresh broccoli and then ruin it by nuking it. I like Ziploc Steamer Bags (remember these?)

Lastly, Dino Buddies. The box says it all...YUMMY! Done in 3 minutes for 10 dinos.

Plate and serve. Make sure you have a variety of  T-Rex, Pteranodons and Brontochickens on each plate.

And if you haven't stretched yourself too thin, feed the dogs. This is just for one of our pooches. So times 2.

And that folks, is HOW YOU DO IT! Not this...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Let it Glo... Finally, Great Customer Service!

For the record, I am not good at returning things. I have friends that return about as many items as they purchase. I am not the run-in-and-a-grab-a-few-in-a-couple-different-sizes-and-bring-back-what-doesn't work, Mom. Oh, and if it is a mail order return...consider that a wash. So, when I received my Night-Light order from one of the many "Sale" sites I subscribe to, and a part was broken, I became stressed. This came not too long after my Amazon Operation game debacle, so needless to say, I was having one of those "WHY CAN'T ANYONE GET ANYTHING RIGHT" moments. What makes matters even worse, is when your kids are extremely PSYCHED about the impending delivery.  

Now that I have 2 kids, I have to order many "cool" things in duplicate. When the charger for my Brontosaurus night light was shipped broken, I entertained the idea of just using the T-Rex charger for both lights and not bothering with the "return" that was destined to wear on my patience for the next several days weeks month. I knew that there was no way I could have opened these awesome gifts in front of them, to only disappoint one child by stuffing one back into the box to return it....so I waited.

Mommy, I LOVE these!
These fantastic lights came from Kinderglo. They come in different characters, change colors and have a nifty timer. They are TOTALLY safe, and never get hot (Hay Hay sleeps with his T-Rex under his arm). The Boogie-Man does not have a chance in our house with such illumination! Kinderglo has a fair 90 day warranty on their products, of which I was destined to fed-ex my return on day 89. I finally caved, and this past Saturday, I took some screen shots of my receipt as well as a pic of my Fed-ex shipment date as proof of my timeline. I also included some photos of the damaged charger. I explained how it was delivered broken and how I would have to pry it from the white-knuckled grasp of my child in order to send it back- if they would even take it. Important! Keep in mind the part about me contacting them on a Saturday. 

In ONE HOUR AND ONE MINUTE, I received this email (slightly edited, but you get the gist!)....

I am sorry to hear that you are having a problem with our KinderGlo night light.  The factory sometimes sneaks some of these in on us. We will get you a new charger sent out. The newest have slightly longer contacts so the both should charge fine.

All the best

Did I need to box mine up and send back the WHOLE THING? NO! Did I need to beg and plead for them to believe me, or do something about it? NO! Did I need to even wait more than an hour and one minute on a Saturday? Um...NO!

All I can say is WOW! Please buy this product from Angela & Jon at Kinderglo. They rock and you will too when you buy these because your kids might just love you a little bit more - at least for a day. 

This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Letter of the Day is "M" for MESS!

I will say it right now. I LOVE SESAME STREET. Who doesn't need a Sunny Day, Sweeping the Clouds Away? The show is EDUCATIONAL right? My all time favorite Street Muppet is Cookie Monster. I was elated when Hay Hay began to show the same admiration for the blue, cookie-eating, raspy voiced character. Unfortunately, there's a hitch. Here is what my child has taken away from all of the Sesame-Ed with which he has been tutored... 

This has been going on for a LONG LONG time. I give up. It's hard to ask funny to stop.

Here's the real deal. See if you can tell the difference. My vacuum and I sure can't.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Twenty Minus One. My Tooth Fell Out Today.

A few days ago I came home and Ryder told me he hit his tooth with a fork and that it was now loose. After some consoling from our nanny and a slew of "I Lost My Tooth" YouTube videos on her iPhone, he soon became excited about the idea of losing a tooth. He's been singing a song from one of the YouTube Videos -that I can't find- and we've been hearing "My Tooth...Fell Out...Today..." for several days now.

Well, at dinner tonight, he bit into a pancake (Yes you heard me correctly... Dinner... Pancake...) and then started screaming. No, the pancakes were not rock-hard (they were microwaved perfectly), but somehow he bit it in such a way that the tooth became even more loose. There was quite a bit of blood so I sent him into the bathroom to rinse. Finally he stopped crying and I suggested he try to pull it out. He did!

"Mommy! Take a picture of my Tooth!" Is it just me or does it look like he has an odd number of bottom teeth?

"Here's my envelope!" Mommy drew the tooth how she thought I might draw it, but I wrote the rest.

 "I hope the Tooth Fairy gives me 5 bucks!"

(not sure we'll be setting that precedence).

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

This is What They Call The Muppet Show!

Selfishly, we have introduced our 5 year old to the Muppet Show. I say this because WE LOVE US SOME GOOD OLE JIM HENSON FUN! Sadly, Mr. Amazing, Jim Henson, has left us far too early, but his incredibly enjoyable legacy remains. 

This morning, Ryder asked to watch one of the first season episodes that we borrowed from the library...

"I want to watch the one with Peter Ustinov."


Oh, and then he asked if I could "sew" him a Mummenschanz outfit.

I'll get right on that.

Friday, April 1, 2011

We will not be turning the car seat back around...


So, here we go again. Being a parent totally takes a toll on your neurosis. Every time you think you have done something right, some article quoting the American Academy of Pediatrics (this one about rear-facing car seats) comes out and debunks what you THOUGHT was right. Now, while we don't dismiss these well-researched conclusions, based upon years of quantitative analysis, we can't help but feel that this list of ever-changing threats makes us a little nuts. No peanut butter until 1 year, then 2, and now it's 3 years; formula is bad; vaccinations cause autism...etc. Click. That is the sound of us tuning out. Why? Because today, our insanely cute, full-of-personality, hair-never-cut boy turns 2! AND THAT MEANS, WE DON'T HAVE TO TURN THE CAR SEAT AROUND.

What we DO need to do, is to tell you all of the things we love so far about little Hay Hay. This is as close to a baby book as we have. We will narrow this down to a few favorites.
  1. The Hair. We have not cut your curly, golden locks. We can't. We are afraid. Even though your older brother was coiffed at 1 year, we are at the 2 year mark and we are going strong. It can tuck behind your ears now, so you can see again. That should buy Mommy & Daddy some more time to adjust to the reality of the first hair-cut.
  2. The Dancing. You have this amazing move that involves only one arm in the shape of a chicken-dance wing. It flaps while you skip in circles. Maybe you once saw a chicken after a stroke, but you have this look on your face that tells me you are waiting for the laugh. Your go-to dance favorite right now is, They Might Be Giants', "HOT DOG" song.
  3. The Language. What comes out of your mouth is not only funny, but well-timed and delivered with a cute little voice with a slight hint of rasp. Your word choices are what I find most endearing. My current favorite is the term "Happy Boy" which is code for Apple Bar. I am sad that you will soon progress past this amazing phase where complete sentences are brand new and nothing evil has come out of  your mouth yet. You have always had me at "Piggy, Paci, Mommy."
  4. How Much Light is In You. You are ALWAYS happy from the moment you wake up, to the moment you close your eyes and say "Gooh Nigh" and give us a fake snore with your eyes squinting shut. You recently had a stomach virus and in between "episodes" you still remained happy - so happy in fact, that Mommy & Daddy were still laughing at 2am, 3:30am, 5am and so on.
  5. You Have Cute Tantrums. Because you are our second child, we have a different take on your tantrums than with child number one. We definitely are seasoned pros and there are a lot less child development book-checks happening post trauma. For some reason, these outbursts are not only brief in nature (oh please stay short) , but somehow, a little bit cute. It's not that we are insensitive parents, but we don't know a single soul who wouldn't smirk at the sight of a miffed Cherub...which is what you resemble most.
  6. Your Smile. The best. No words. And constant.
Granted...you may look like an Angel, but you are quite mischievous, and we're on to you. We will see beyond the cheeks and the hair and the constant phrase "Meewlk Please" at some point. Until then, we will remain what Mommy likes to call "Obliviously Aware" (What does that mean? Who knows, it's 1:45am). You do make us a little ticked when you throw food, head butt us (or the floor), and want to run "Ousside" every chance you get. Still, it's all a part of who you are. We love every minute of it.  

 One last important mention, your quick birth story- without the yucky parts. Mommy started having contractions at 5am on your due date, April 1. This date is a very special day in our family, as it also your Great Grandma Rena's birthday, who is turning 104 on this very day! By 8:30am (yup 3 1/2 hours from the first contraction), you made us a family of 4. Also noteworthy, is that your Centenarian Great Grandmother was chosen as one of Willard Scott's birthday wishes on the TODAY show that day, which happened to air, coincidentally, at 8:30am. Hmmm....

As Daddy & I finish this, we realize there are a million more things we need to write down. It is impossible to capture your essence in a measly blog post.  We will just have to enjoy you in person and cherish the indelible imprint you have already made, and continue to leave on our hearts.

Hay Hay, we LOVE you! Have the BEST 2nd birthday ever!


Daddy, Mommy, Ry Ry, Sierra, and Otis

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tim Burton Ate My Son...and then SPIT HIM OUT.

We feel so used.

So,  there is this popular book out right now for Moms of Girls. I mean, I think it is geared toward girls since it's called Cinderella Ate My Daughter, but I have seen my sons don a dress from time to time. The book discusses the firestorm of the Princess-Obsessed Culture many Moms of Girls are experiencing today. Circle back to last summer's Disneyland trip - I believe the Happiest Place on Earth is also the place where many little girls are converted to Princesses and Fairies. My son was enamored by Jack Skellington of the Nightmare before Christmas Fame. We, as parents of boys, were not immune from immersing ourselves in an obsession.

Halloween kicked-off our Jack fascination as Ryder transformed himself (well with my help) into Jack. Now, one thing I HAVE to mention is that before he could qualify himself as Jack, I felt he was to understand what part he was playing. This clearly a repercussion of my Thespian days, and of course the imparted skill of "Method Acting." Without doing any research, I let him watch the film...and left the room (I guess that's a no-no.).  I need to tell all of you that THIS MOVIE IS NOT MEANT FOR 5 YEARS OLDS! You probably already knew that...but I of course, did not. I have heard from other parents since then, that they would NEVER let their kids watch this movie. I will say that my son actually enjoyed the DVD extras even more than the film. He watched a 2 hour "How it was made" and the "Tour of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland" several times by choice, beyond the film itself.

Thankfully, my son did not spook - even though they try to kidnap Santa Claus and say they want to "chop him into bits." Yup, they say that. I will tag this post with "Awesome Mom."  I am sure you are seeing a trend by now...and I have enough posts regarding my awesome mothering, that we now have a "series."

Back to Halloween...I had to buy an adult size costume and break out my 2 year-old-brand-new sewing machine to make it happen! I cut a men's size 42 jacket down to a 4T. My handy-work below...

CD Label
As his birthday approached and the theme was a no-brainer, we made sure to encourage his love for Tim Burton's Nightamare, by purchasing everything we could possibly find that was Jack (see above for just SOME of it)...including the Soundtrack on iTunes. Since we have historically given mix CDs as party favors, I felt that this was going to be perfect.  I downloaded the album, and guess what? After listening to a bit of Marilyn Manson and choruses that included lyrics like "Kidnap the Sandy Claws, beat him with a stick, lock him up for ninety years, see what makes him tick," ONLY 2 SONGS WERE SUITABLE FOR OUR MIX CD. At this point, I was starting to wonder if we would get a lot of "No" RSVPs due to the theme. My son would not budge...this was it.

The party was held at a Bounce House Party Place - basically that was the criteria. He wanted a Jack Skellington party at Bounce-U. That is what he got. From Jack cupcakes at school, made by yours truly, to Jack clothes, a Jack Cake, Jack invites & favors, and a Jack pinata - lovingly made by his Nanny/BFF, Ana, I think it was awesome. We won't talk about how he vomited that morning before the party...another story in itself.

What did we learn? Well, honestly, my husband and I were thrilled in so many ways that our son found a love for Tim Burton. The man has created so many incredible, whimsical and creative- despite dark- accomplishments. Who are we to squelch our sons innate interest for the macabre animated arts. We have opted as parents to do damage control, rather than to censor his creativity. Ryder is no worse for wear from this experience and continues to be his amazingly creative and cerebral self, who is now 5 years old and on to the next big thing. Tim Burton has temporarily been replaced by Captain Underpants (not appropriate, but found in an older cousin's room - again...damage control) and a daily barage of joke telling. He really wants nothing to do with most of the Jack things we bought him at this point - which is a bummer on a financial front, but normal in the timeline of childhood obsession. I am surprised by him every day and will close off this birthday recap with something his teacher said at our parent / teacher conference that will stay with me always:

"I am so glad that I get to be a part of Ryder's life, because he is going to do something great someday. I can say I played a part in that." Makes me cry every time. I believe her.