Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Come Fly the Unfriendly Skies

Here is my email. More later.

Dear Sir or Madame,

Yesterday I arrived with my two small children (a baby and a 3 year old) at the airport and discovered that my flight had just been delayed for 2 1/2 hours. So far no problem, I could keep them amused for a few hours and then they could nap on the plane. An hour and a half later I found that the plane would leave at 5:15 (probably). Okay- I figured we're here at the airport with one of the car seats checked- we'd manage somehow.

At four o'clock the departure board listed the departure at 5:50, and I thought I'd check out at the desk to find out what was really going on. In addition, my children were very tired and I wanted to find a quiet place in the airport were they could rest. When I finally got to the front of the desk I found out the flight had been cancelled, but no one had bothered to inform the passengers or update the departure board. I was pretty displeased at this point and my babies very tired and cranky. My ticket was rescheduled for the next day with an arrival at noon.

I went down to baggage claim and requested my bags. Forty minutes later they still hadn't appeared. I went back to baggage claim and spoke with a different lady and found the claim hadn't even been processed. The first women I spoke with announced that she didn't even recognize me or remember my claim! Anyways 20 minutes later I finally got my baggage. My husband picked me up and we left.

When I got home I found out that my current arrival would cause me to miss the funeral. So I called delta. After waiting an hour I got through to someone from India who spoke poor English and had difficulty understanding me. He told me that no earlier flights were available but I could book one later. Not sure if the times would work for my family to pick me up in Seattle I asked if I could book and then call immediately back to change the times if they didn't work. Nope, that would be an additional $50 a ticket. Ahhhh! So I hung up and called my family to work out the time, waited another hour on hold. This time I got the ticket change, but when I received the email confirmation was charged $140.00! I'd already paid full price for the 3 tickets, was missing Pop pop's funeral, had two less days to spend with my family to mourn and comfort them. Both times when I talked with the reservation agents and explained the circumstances and my frustrations I never got more than, "I'm sorry Ma'am" I have never had so much difficulty flying before and I am angry at the poor treatment I and my children have received at the hands of Delta. If this is "customer service" is it any wonder that the company is facing finacial difficulty?

Delta cannot make up for the loss time at a funeral that I will miss today. At the very least I expect the $140.00 refunded.

Thank you for your prompt attention,

Rachel Ellis

Little monkey

Melissa is a climber. I've written about how she climbs the backs of chairs at church. I haven't mentioned others, like climbing a near-vertical picture frame, or the bookshelves, or others.

But sometimes she bites off more than she can chew. This morning she went off to play and all was well for a time, but then I heard hoots coming from the guest room. She'd climbed onto the coffee table, but wasn't sure how to get down, so she called for help.

Pretty handy with a multidisk gun

Matthew beat the 16-round weapon-switcheroo challenge in Ratche & Clank 3's Annihilation Nation, but then got tired of the arena matches. He prefers the "maze" ones now. He hasn't beaten any yet; the timed jumps are tough for him. But he's getting close.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A call from a friend

Uncle Grant called Matthew yesterday.

Uncle Grant called Matthew yesterday.

Matthew was thrilled. He kept telling me about how he talked to Uncle Grant on phone!

If making a three year old's day is not good karma I don't know what is.

Walking update

Melissa has been increasingly confident in her ability to walk. At first she'd only go in straight lines, but now she's starting to be able to turn without falling, too.

Today was another first: she got to her feet without holding on to anything. I wonder if this is another skill that she'll only do unconsciously until she gets more comfortable with the idea.

Babies are so easily amused

[Hands Daddy some object.] Daddy: "Thank you!"
[Holds out hand for Daddy to give back object.] Daddy: "You're welcome"
Melissa: [giggles]

Repeat until Daddy's attention span runs out.

(Sometimes she will play this with Matthew, too.)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Baby talk

Melissa's starting to say words besides mamamamama and dadadada.

Yesterday she said "aw duh" [all done] when she was finished eating her beans (black, like her older brother at this age); today Rachel said she said "kiss" in an appropriate context.

My dad thinks when she said "meh" in church that she was imitating the "amen," but that one's close enough to random baby noises that I'm less sure of that one.

I suspect Melissa will be speaking with facility sooner than her brother.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Patience? In Matthew?

I came into the kitchen and was confronted by Matthew in superhero costume, holding an extra "cape" in front of him.

"Dada," he announced, "dis [this] dae'."

Matthew's pronunciation still leaves a lot to be desired.

"Uh... Cape?" I guessed hopefully.

"No. Dis tape [cape, motioning towards the one he was wearing]. Dae'."

"Jake? Day?"

"No. Dae'."

I repeated my earlier guesses but I was drawing a blank. Usually at this point Matthew would get increasingly frustrated. Instead, he explained himself:

"Dae'. You tant [can't] go troo [through] it."

"Oh! Gate!" (Normally the purpose of gates is to be passed through, but Matthew meant it was impassable without his august permission.)

"Yes. Dae."

Crisis averted.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Correction: Matthew REALLY likes being a superhero

The blue mask I wrote about several days ago is now Matthew's essential accessory. He wears it at all times except when he sleeps. I've been to the library, outside, and stores while accompanied by SUPERMATTHEW. He's been especially helpful lately too. All I have to do is ask SuperMatthew to assist me in someway, and he cheerfully says, "Sure!" and zooms off to accomplish the task.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

At the cabin

This last weekend we went up in the mountains near Huntsville (absolutely gorgeous! I'd love to live there, at least until the first winter.) and had a cousin get together. Lot of fun. Matthew and Melissa had a grand time in the house. Matthew was thrilled that the house was laid out so he could run circles around and around. Melissa enjoyed the stairs to the loft. Up and down. Up and down.....

Matthew was pleased that Alycia's husband, Justin was there. Now if anyone can keep up with Matthew my bet would be on Justin. And for about the first hour and a half he did. They discovered the water pump, a little stream, birds and raced across the property and house. Then Justin pettered out. He looked over at Jonathan as Matthew zoomed by, "Is he always THIS busy?" Jonathan just smiled.

Matthew was exceptionally good on the trip. He only had a minor fit when he realized we would not be driving home to put him in his bed for the night. Once having a new bed was phrased as an adventure, he was cool.

Makes me hopeful that traveling (by my lonesome) to Grandma and Grandpa's in a few weeks will go smoothly. Please?


Naughty Goat!

Yesterday for family home evening we took the kids to a petting farm. Matthew enjoyed the pony rides and Melissa liked petting a baby goat. It's nice to go this time of year because of all the baby animals, from tiny chicks, to little calves. There were "dairy themed" activities for kids this time. Matthew got to "churn" butter by shaking cream in a small container and then ate it on crackers with a carton of chocolate milk to wash it down. He also made a cow mask out of paper. A good time was had by all until Matthew met his nemesis.

As we were preparing to leave Matthew decided he wanted to feed a goat some corn. Fine. I boasted him up to reach the goat. All of a sudden, the goat climbed the rails, and lightening fast snatched Matthew's mask and proceeded to eat it. I recovered part of the mask, but wasn't fast enough to rescue all of it. Matthew was distraught.

Today his favorite topic is that "naughty goat."

The first thing he said to me this morning-
"Naughty goat eat Matthew's mask. Make Matthew cry." "Bad-guy goat."

While picking up his room this afternoon, he ran across some goats that went with his barn and that started another discourse on the failings of goats in general. All other animals have risen in his esteem.

"Dog good. Dog not eat Matthew's mask."

As consolation for the loss of his mask, we made superhero masks out of blue foam. Matthew likes being a superhero.


Sunday, June 04, 2006

Boys are different from girls

Matthew's baby doll was sick when last he played with it. (A couple weeks ago.) Now it's All Better.

And flying around the house, shooting things. Whrrrrw. Prrw prrw prrw! Tschhhh!

The amazing transforming bear

Matthew has three teddy bears, but Melissa's was the one he wanted to play with. I can see where he was coming from, though, because Melissa's was a transforming bear. It looks like a normal teddy bear, but when Matthew scrunched down its head and folded in its limbs it was a ... spaceship bear! Whoosh! Zoom!

With age comes wisdom

This morning, Matthew saw the bowl his mom and I had been eating popcorn out of last night. Naturally, he wanted popcorn for breakfast. Being the pushover that I am, I said he could have some after a bowl of cheerios.

He ate his cereal in record time and I made him some popcorn. He ate a little, then took a 5 minute break to get a piece of kernel out of his teeth. (He loves popcorn but he has had a completely unreasonable phobia of kernels lately, thanks to a joy school lesson that he blew all out of proportion.)

So he got the one kernel out, then started trying to get another one out. "Matthew," I said, "did you know that if you just eat more popcorn, it will often dislodge the kernel in your teeth?" Matthew decided that was worth a try. A couple minutes later he ran over excitedly. "Dada! More popcorn get kernel ou' [out of] my teeth!"

That's your dad, the Sage of Snack Food.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sweet Dreams

Matthew told me that he went to the "candy land factory" last night.

(There's a candy factory not too far away and I've taken him a few times to watch the lollipops and candy canes being made.)

"Last night?"

"Yeah. And Michael there. (Michael is Matthew's best friend.) The candy roll round and round. Get longer and longer."

"Was it good?"

"Yeah! Matthew eat it all gone."

Well, now I know what he dreams of. Sweet dreams indeed!


The facts of life, three-year-old style

Tonight was tiring. Rachel had orchestra practice, and Melissa was sick, so Matthew didn't get a whole lot of attention from Dad, who was kinda of snappish anyway.

I put Matthew to bed first. (Otherwise, he'd come and chatter at me while I was trying to get Melissa down.) When Melissa was asleep in her crib I went back to Matthew's room and sat with him in the rocking chair. I told him what a good boy he has been tonight and I was sorry I was impatient with him. "Das' awight, Dada," he said. "Iss not you fault."

Then he started talking about all the body parts he had. I pointed out his heel and his ankle. He probably already knew what they were, but he asked anyway: "Where ankle come from?" Our favorite question of late.

"Mama made your ankle before you were born. You were inside Mama. Mama and Dada made you."

"Really?" "Really."

Matthew thought for a bit. "Mama, Dada sad -- no Matthew. Mama, Dada make Matthew. Mama, Dada happy have Matthew!"

Yes, we're happy we made Matthew.

(Then he postulated how Matthew help Mama Dada make Llissis. I told him that No, Mama and Dada made Melissa without Matthew, but Matthew was a good older brother all the same.)