Alijah started preschool on Monday. This will have been the third school he has attended in his short span of 3 years of being—oh, my bad, 3 and 3/4 years. The first school he attended was a private clinic mainly for children with developmental delays, and it was a wonderful place that we still miss. The teachers and therapists there were very patient, loving, and nurturing and it is the place that helped Alijah to begin to walk at the ripe old age of 28 months when most children his age had been running circles around him for months. It was a place very focused on setting a routine for the kids and Alijah became accustomed to that and to the friends he was making for the first time. He learned how to sing songs, and use more sign language than what we were teaching him at home to communicate as he barely spoke when he started there, and when he turned 3 he graduated from that school because they only treat children under 3 years of age.
We then enrolled him into a public school curriculum, yet still a class that was centered around developmentally delayed children his age, as Alijah still has some speech and social delays. This school and his last school were like night and day to us. The teachers were all great, but it seemed as if they did not have as much time to give the kids the one on one attention we had grown accustomed to. I am sure the private funding in the school he came from made all the difference but to a 3 year old, that doesn’t add up to a whole lotta’ beans. He was used to things a certain way so it took him a while to get adjusted to the kids and new routines. Besides that fact, this was a whole new class with a whole set of new germs so Alijah was out of school more than he was in class due to catching one thing or another every other week—-no exaggeration.
Being forced to sleep in his own bed tonight that Andru and I decorated with Thomas the Tank paraphernalia in the hopes that he would actually sleep in his room, Alijah had this prayer for God before Andru tucked him in. Adding to the drama, crocodile tears streamed from his eyes as his bottom lip puckered into the saddest frown he could muster.
“Heavenly Father…for this day, I go bed, Lijah’s room, dada night night, I wan see Mama, Amen.”
Now if it was me putting him to bed, I would have cracked and brought him straight to our bed just so I could see his contagious smile through all the tears before he fell asleep; but Andru, he does not crack under pressure…and I tell you, this 3 year-old boy, he deserves an Oscar. Especially when he feels his bottom lip as he is frowning to make sure it is in the correct position.
The funniest thing I heard today came from an actor in the movie How to Eat Fried Worms. I was watching this with my two kids while Andru is at Gnomedex literally all day and night. I will be joining him, kids in tow, at the party they are throwing tonight at the Seattle Aquarium where they have giant octopi that suck your brain out quietly while you are none the wiser, or so Nate says. But till then, I had to try and get the two boys to sit still and not argue for at least an hour. It seems that I enjoyed the movie much more than they did…okay now who couldn’t with a line like this? Uttered from a preschoolers lips to his older brother—“You’re shaking my bike and it’s touching my diddly dink!”
I have never heard that expression before, I think I will start using it in random conversations as it will go down as one of my favorites. No, I’m not 12.
I was reminiscing the other day about Alijah and the cute things he used to do as a baby, then realized that everyday he says something that cracks me up and that I should be writing these things down to look back on with fondness because he is growing so quickly. I thought I would share some of his gems with you…
1. We have two new puppies, a girl and boy, and my 12 year-old is holding the girl and I am holding the boy and he says to me, “Mom, is Zelda a girl?” and I reply “yes, of course” and he says “how can you tell, cause she has one of these like Luigi (pointing to her pee pee as I will refer to it). I reply “yes, she does, but she does not have these” while pointing to Luigi’s scrotum. And he asks “what does he have?” And again, I hold up Luigi and say this time, “she (Zelda), doesn’t have balls…see, Luigi, he has balls>.” To which, Alijah, who I did not know was listening very intently, promptly replies very loudly, “I want balls mama!”
I am sure a great many of you have read Andru‘s blog post about our recent scare with our son Alijah‘s health. I could not decide if I wanted to post something about it because it seemed to strike a different emotional chord with me than it did Andru and I just did not know if I could share something that personal with everyone. I read Andru’s post about an hour ago and it is still playing over in my mind and though our own individual experiences with what happened are very similar, I know that I have something to share that is from a different perspective. I feel this great need to share with everyone how grateful I am for the support our friends and family poured out on us while we were waiting for answers from the doctors who were running the gamut of tests on Alijah.
Alijah has developed a strange hyper-sensitivity to heat, any temperature above Arctic cold, he immediately goes into hyper-drive, fanatically announcing to anyone within earshot…“AH, WHAHM!!! AHHH…WHAHM!!” or “AHHHH…H!! MAMA, DADDA,MMMAAAMMAA, AAH HODT!!!” So when you see us immediately transferring his piping hot or soothingly warm meal fresh from the oven or microwave, directly into the freezer to thaw for 5 to 10 minutes we are not trying to cause his untimely death by way of food poisoning, but rather making sure that he will get something in his belly besides string cheese and yogurt.
I don’t know when this obsession with heat came about, maybe it stems from my neuroses when first feeding him baby food warmed in the microwave; I always made sure that he knew it was HOT so we had to wait. Also maybe it has to do with the times I hysterically yelled, “NO, DON’T TOUCH, HOT, HOT!!” whenever he stepped a toe into the kitchen as I was cooking. You think I could be the cause of all this drama? And it is very dramatic because it does not just affect how he eats his food, but also the temperature of his bath—now lukewarm is tooo hot, washing his hands—the water has to be cold or else it is “hodt’. He cannot sleep with covers on, they end up on the floor while his tiny body is blue and cold to the touch because he has been sleeping in his diaper and t-shirt all night.
So, following the mass hysteria of crazed parents dying to lay their grubby hands on the new Tickle Me Elmo TMX, we shelled out our grocery money for the week, a whole $200 for the rights to spoil our child the way we see fit. Okay, we gave up our food for the week for a good cause, we bid on Elmo at a silent auction at our older son’s school to raise money for the kids, so we can live with having to starve our children for seven days.
What I am hesitant to mention though is that my brilliant husband in his greediness to win said auction actually guarded the piece of paper with his last winning bid, as if his life depended on it. He actually created a sort of hood around the piece of paper with his ginormous shoulders so that no one dare ask him to move out of the way. What he did next he will never live down; the announcer counts down 2 minutes left till the silent auction is over, so hurry and get your bids in. A woman approaches, another psycho parent with that hungry look in her eyes, wanting to take a peek at the last bid on Elmo, but Andru pretty much shoulder blocks her, like he was in the freakin’ NFL. What I did not know was that he was so freaked out by her presence that he pretended to be actively looking over the last bid and when she made another move to see the bid, he takes out his pen, crosses out his last bid, and OUTBIDS HIMSELF.
My favorite blogger whom I have admitted to being a groupie of, Heather Armstrong of Dooce, writes a newsletter every month for her ‘cute as can be’ three year old daughter Leta. She recounts each past month for her in a way that touches my heart and makes me envious that I do not have the discipline to put down in words the very memories that she is able to; words that will hold them together as a family forever. Everytime I read one of these newsletters I just want to say to her, wow, you have described the very feelings that I have for my 3 year old. I did not think such deep emotions could be put into words, but there they are.
Andru and Alijah left for New York Tuesday morning, and I feel like they have been gone an eternity already. This is the longest stretch of time that I will be away from Alijah since he was in the hospital for 11 weeks after he was born 2 1/2 years ago. I don’t know if I can take the withdrawal.
After the harrowing trip all alone with a two year old that has discovered the independence of his own two legs since the last time we flew, they finally made it to their destination after the most awful trip in recorded history. There were moments I imagined that their plane had gone down, or that they were sitting in the airport, disheveled and too tired to move. Andru emailed from the plane that the flight would be delayed for take-off for an hour because of inclement weather in N.Y. but that they could choose to get off the plane as long as they took all their belongings with them. Do these airline pilots not have kids? What are they thinking? After lugging an awkwardly huge carseat, a laptop bag, and a diaper bag, as well as trying to keep a hold of a 2 year old that just wants his freedom, the last thing a parent wants to do is try and maneuver all of that mess off the plane just to turn around 15 minutes later (because it took 45 minutes just to get off the plane) to get back on the dang thing again. My poor boys, they had only the snacks I had packed for Alijah- a granola bar, raisins, grapes, and a pudding cup to keep sustained.
I am such a proud mother. Alijah has got the Latino blood flowing through him-he is a dancing machine!! Anytime there is a beat on, his hips start swaying, his arms do their own jig and his face is aglow with joy. You would think that there is a master puppeteer at work, the way his body contorts in all those silly ways, but that is all him. He just loves to dance and he ain’t gonna hide it, no sir. All the while we get to see a spectacular show and realize that this may be one of the great moments in time that we will have on record to blackmail him with when he hits his rebellious teenage years. The magic of video. Catch a glimpse for yourself as he outdances Benji, (my favorite), while watching So You Think You Can Dance. At the end of his dance he jabbers something in his own specific language, let me translate—he says, “That was fun!”
Trust me, you may be blown away by his superior dancing ability.
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