Saturday, December 30, 2006

The baby whisperer

Matthew recently gained the ability to interpret Melissa's babblings.

Or rather, he thinks he can. If he wants ice cream, he'll tell us, "'Lissa say she want get ice cream" as a way to bolster his case.

But other times it's kind of bizarre. Today he told Rachel, "'Lissa say I not a big boy!" He was really mad! In fact, a lot of his interpretations involve tattling on her. Sheesh, she's not even two yet.

In completely unrelated Matthew news, I found out today that he can tie knots when he tied off the end of a newspaper bag to put his "bomb" in. (This is some hemispherical piece of plastic, entirely inert, that for some reason he decided looks like a bomb. We do not plan to let him take it anywhere near an airport.) Rachel says he's been knotting things for a couple weeks now, but this was the first I noticed.

Monday, December 25, 2006

In the kitchen

Rachel got this extremely cool play kitchen for the kids. It has things to do on all sides, so fighting should be minimized. Both of them like it, but Matthew's play is a little more literal than his sister's.

He came rushing in just now: "Mama, mama! I burned my finger!" On your kitchen? "Yes! It hurts!" Mama took it in stride: "Well, run your finger under the faucet in your kitchen." "Okay!"

We heard him making "shhhhhh" noises for the faucet, and his finger was all better.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ray of Sunshine...

...on an otherwise cloudy day. I am sooo glad the kids are in bed now. Let's just say that Matthew was stinky today and leave it at that. However, he did play well with Melissa for part of the day. He got out his yellow dump truck and was hauling toys around when he got the idea in his head to push his sister in it instead. She thought this was a grand idea and happily sat in the back of his truck while he pushed her all over the house and made appropriate "truck" noises.


Silver linings

It's Christmas time. With all the present-wrapping going on, Matthew's had ample opportunity to appropriate some scotch tape and get it all over the house. On the positive side, it occupies him for far longer than it has any right to. On the negative, I've been peeling tape off furniture, toilets -- he taped the seat closed -- and socks for the past few days.

Then he lost his tape roll. But this morning he found it again. Great.

(Rachel's addendum: and tape on the windows, major appliances, the floor, his sister, the couch, his toys....)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Matthew and the Nativity

We invited the Casslers to come to the nativity our stake puts together each December. Unfortunately the night they could come was also the night Jonathan voluteered to help with parking, so he didn't come with us. Matthew was SO excited when he heard the Casslers were coming. They have four boys and baby Eve. I think Matthew is a little covetous of so many brothers, because he informed me that he wanted four brothers and some more sisters too... As soon as he saw their van, he ran out of the house waving his arms wildly and yelling. It was pretty bitter so we all bundled up and walked to the church. Little Eve looked so snug in her bunting and carried in her sling. She is such a peaceful, happy baby.

The nativity our stake puts each year has sheep, goats, a goose, a donkey, a camel, and a lama (for good measure I guess- our neighbor owns the lama). Many people come, so there's a long line to get to the stable. While waiting in the line you see Isaiah writing prophecies, people strolling along dressed in Bethlahem garb, shepards, animals, the three wise men, ect. Thankfully, there are barrels of burning logs along way, because it was COLD. Matthew was okay with the scenery for about 20 minutes and then started to get restless.

"Mom I ready to go home now."

I told him that we still needed to see the camel and also baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. After that we would go home and drink hot chocolate. He accepted that (it is nice to be able to reason with him some of the time). However, Jimmy Cassler was not so easily pacified. He got upset about the wait. Matthew saw this and tried to comfort him.

He patted him on the back and said, "It okay, we see baby Jesus, then go home, drink hot chocolate and eat cookies!" "It's okay, Jimmy." Matthew's comfort measures, though well intended, were not effective. Only being held by his Daddy would do.

While waiting Matthew also made a friend. She looked about his age, so he went up to her and said, "My name Matthew Browning Ellis. What your name?" She told him and they struck up a friendship. They held hands and looked at a busy goat. He came up to me, "Look Mama, my new friend!" Pretty cute.

So, we finally get into the stable which is heated. This was good because Melissa was getting pretty restless herself. A publican counted taxes, a carpenter carved, a potter molded clay, and a leper rang a bell inside the stable. Matthew asked countless questions about everything. Then we got to the manger scene and he got silent. He went down on his knees and just watched the baby held by Mary. After a few minutes I tapped him on the shoulder to go, he stood up and then went back down. It was a powerful moment. The Spirit touched his heart and he didn't want to leave. Our friends had left a while ago, and we really needed to leave, so I gently extracted him, though I hated to leave too.

As we left, he told me, "Mom! That was great!"

This from the little boy who couldn't wait to be done so he could have hot chocolate. We raced home to keep warm and enjoyed steaming mugs of hot chocolate and cookies. Despite the cold, a good evening.


A concert to remember

I took the kids to Rachel's concert tonight. It went about as expected: they lasted through one song in their seats, then no force on earth could keep them still (and quiet), so we got through another song roaming the aisles, then I had to take them home because Matthew kept noisily calling for us to "Follow me!" despite shushings.

What was interesting was how going to see "Mama ortess'ra [orchestra]" jogged his memories of the last time he saw Rachel in concert. That was their Independance Day concert in the summer, part of the Riverton fair, and great fun for Matthew. There were all kinds of things to do, but his favorite was the rocket ships kids could make for a dollar, then put on launching tubes to be blasted hundreds of feet high by compressed air. Matthew had a TOTAL blast with this; once he found that, he lost interest in everything else.

So I had to tell Matthew the bad news, that this one wasn't going to have any of that; just music. It wasn't even going to be outside. He was a little bummed, but still excited to see Mama Ortess'ra. And he did have a good time -- too good -- exploring the hallways at the concert hall cum high school auditorium.

But on the way home he returned to his subject: "There was a boy, not a nice boy, he took my rocket -- it had my name on it, not his name, it said Matthew -- he took it and put it behind his back and that wasn't nice and I was MAD, so I told him that I spank him, and my Daddy spank him, and he gave it back, but he wasn't nice." The orchestra really unleashed a flood of memories! "The mean boy" made quite an impression on Matthew when it happened -- he went back to playing afterwards, but kept talking about the mean boy. Still, I didn't expect him to remember so much six months later! I mean, it has been only six months, but that's 1/8 of his lifetime and an even larger fraction of how long he's been verbal. So it still catches me off guard, a bit.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Where's Matthew?

When Daddy comes home it's time for play! One of M&M's favorite games involves one child ridding on Daddy's back horsey style, and another being chased. Incidentally, I remember playing this game with my Dad when I was little. I think daddies instinctively know the fun games.

Jonathan had already tossed the kids in the air (Matthew counts to 10 for 10 tosses and Melissa mimics Matthew. She can't count, but she calls out "one... one... one...") and he'd just settled on the floor to read the paper. He'd hoped to get a few minutes of rest after a long day at work. Ha! Melissa toddles over, clambers up on Jonathan's back and calls out "Wher Ma'shoo!" (where's Matthew?) This is the rallying cry of the game. Jonathan chases one child while saying "Where's Matthew or Where's Melissa?" To further get her point across, Melissa bounced up and down on Daddy's back repeating, "Wher Ma'shoo!". Giddyup Daddy! And Daddy couldn't resist. Daddy chased and tickled kids. Then he tossed them on the bed where it was mutually agreed upon to have a pillow war. Aren't dads great!