Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Does Not Compute.

Breckin has his daddy's movie memory.  It's uncanny.  He's always had a good memory for details and has remembered every little outing we have or place we go for dinner.

But, he kills me with Star Wars.  I know that Dustin has talked about Star Wars with him since he was in my belly and we have a neighbor who has done nothing but fueled the fire since Breckin was two years old.  (That's right, Chully.  He was TWO when you started with Boba Fett and the big R2D2).  Breckin has only seen each Star Wars movie once.  Once.  Yes, he has some Star Wars lego sets and it probably helps that he likes to play the video games but his knowledge of the droids and planets and which part of the story is in which episode is killing me.  It could rival some adults, for sure.  I've never seen all six movies (throw your stones now, please) so I have no idea what he's talking about half the time.

His good night story is the Star Wars lego encyclopedia.  He wants to read each data file and know when the piece came out, which set it came with, and which movie it appeared in.  Now there's a chapter for The Clone Wars- an apparent tv show that continues the movie story line and one I've been avoiding as long as possible.  It's on Cartoon Network, has serious story lines, and is more graphic than the charming PBS Kids shows he loves.  Must.  Let.  Go.  Of.  Childhood reins.  I finally recorded one for him today while he was at school cause I knew he would freak out.  The show starts as soon as he can physically fling his backpack down and not 30 seconds into the opening shot, he gets all excited that it's on such and such planet and there's the blah blah ship and oooo mom, that guy with the blue face is Cad Bane.

Really?  This stuff sinks in so flippin fast.  He's seen them ONE TIME.  And yet he lives and breathes Star Wars and ninjas and wildlife explorers.  If, one day, his high school teachers could make ninja movies that taught about math or sentence structure, there is no doubt he would remember it forever.  Is he really going to be one of those guys who remembers quotes from every movie they see and knows who was in which movie with who?  Cause I already have one of those guys in my house....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ninja- GO!!!

Breckin is really into Legos.  Of the various lego sets, his favorite are the Ninjago.  And, of the Ninjago- the best are the spinjitzu.  Got that?

So, the super genius-now very wealthy creators at Lego came up with a story line of ninjas and skeletons and snakes that battle each other and can turn regular cars and trucks into insane machines that have chopping blades and shoot ice bullets and teach my child words like scythe and katana.  And they have special lego sets that come with a skeleton or ninja minifigure, a little disc that it stands on, and three or four little weapons that range from wooden staff (lame!) to The Sword of Fire (supercool).  You give your guy a weapon, lock his feet on the disc, and spin it with your thumb and finger.  Like I said.  Genius.  There is an infinite number of combinations of dudes and weapons and discs AND they have cards you can play to give your guy extra powers like standing on one leg or adding a lego to the bottom of the disc to make him taller or using two weapons.  Yes, we are creating little D&D kids one at a time.  Different ninjas have different powers- fire, ice, lightning, and earth- and they can only use certain cards.  So no two kids have the same dude and weapon and card and spinner.

Now, because they aren't genius enough, the Lego store in our local mall hosted a tournament for kids to battle each other- beating mom is too easy by now- and have the chance to win the giant Ninjago lego set of "Destiny's Bounty".  The flying ninja ship that they live on.  Ooooohhhh.  Aaaahhhh.  Of course Drew (refer to the post about Breckin and his grown up friends) entered Breckin in this tournament and basically just let us know which day to show up last time we were there.  Of course he did.

We practiced his spinning skills pretty much every day leading up to the tournament.  And so did every other 5-10 year old boy (and one girl!!) so by the time we arrived for our 5:00 show down, the place was manic with kids who were certain they were going to win this ship.  Breckin threw in the added touch of wearing his actual Sword Of Fire.  (He chose, however, not to go with the ninjago tshirt in favor of his Boba Fett shirt as it was opening day of Star Wars back in the theater.  Naturally.)

Drew was hosting the event.  Breckin was up first, as he was one of the youngest, and battled well.  He won his first round by knocking off the other guy twice.  Go Buddy!  Then we had to wait around (oh, look.  a Lego store to wait around in) until his next round.  There were something like 24 kids so it took a while.  He won his second round.  More waiting around.  He got to the last round before the final face off and lost.  Not by getting knocked off the spinner but because the other guy's spinner spun longer.  Weak sauce.  He handled it extremely well, shook hands, showed Drew that he wore his ninja sword, and - because, really? can you leave the Lego store after being there for an hour without picking something?- chose Jay's Storm Fighter plane.  Sweet.

I was so proud of his patience during rounds and, most importantly, how he lost.  Drew came by after the tournament was over and said he was so sad when Breckin lost on a technicality.  He was really hoping Breckin would win the day's event.  We thanked him for hosting such a cool thing for the kids.  Those damn genius Lego people.    

Pictures of Lego time and other February stuff are over there ---->

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Loose teeth give me the heebie jeebies.

I can handle all night vomiting, explosive diapers, head wounds, rashes, cleaning out ears, scrubbing toilets, dog messes, and all of the other joys that come with motherhood.  Lovely, yes?

What I can't handle is teeth.  Loose teeth make my innards crinkle and squirm.  I despise them.  So, of course, Breckin's wiggly tooth that has been hanging on for dear life decides to fall out- with a little assistance from his floss- when I'm home alone.  No Daddy to take the reins.  Bleh.  Super bleh.

But, if I show weakness or fear, he may freak out.  I have to act like it's super cool and normal (I know, it is) and a fun time.  We dabbed the little bit of blood, swished with warm water, and now it's waiting for the fairy to show up and take it back to tooth land.  He could have cared less.  He was off to find the neighbor kid to play with as soon as I said he was done.  No ceremony?  No party?  No moment to relish in this famous stage of childhood?  Guess not.  I tried to call Dad to share this moment but it's rush hour and he's driving the van pool.  Hmmm.  Congratulations, buddy.  I think I need a glass of wine.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I fully agree.

Breckin came home from school yesterday and, as he was opening the door, he turns around and says "Mom.  Boys can marry each other."  I said, yep, they sure can.  Love is love, buddy.  He says "I don't want to do that.  But, it's fine for the ones that do."

Beaming.  Pure, graceful children's wisdom at it's best.  Breckin for President.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

He's kind of a big deal....

I was going to write a funny post about how Breckin walked away from the Pacific Science Center's model train festival on a first name basis with three of the operators.  Then I was going to write a nostalgic, sad post about how Breckin was in tears because Steve and Megan are closing Bounce It Up.  And I've been working on telling you all how funny it is that Breckin is known by the bakery ladies at Safeway cause he always stops by for the free cookie and shows them each time he gets to pick a donut.

But the truth is, this is how life is with Breckin.  Every day.  I LOVE taking him to festivals and the store and museums and parties with grown ups cause he kills me.  He chats with everyone about anything and can make witty jokes.  And fart noises.  And he tells grown ups (and probably kids, too) little details about his day or his new toy or his sister like they are already best friends and he's just updating them on his life.  I am torn, as protector of him, by instructing him each time we go into public that people you don't know are strangers.  And sometimes bad guy strangers dress as nice guy strangers to trick people.  And you shouldn't just talk to every grown up and expect them to be as nice as Grandma.  And you don't have to tell people your name or your sister's name or that you live next to Derek.  I remind him of these things daily.  Most of the time it sticks but sometimes he just can't help himself.  The clerk at Walmart looks nice enough to say "I had a spelling test today and I got 100%.  And I played with my ninja legos this morning.  Kai had to use the sword of fire.  My sister Ella farts like a foghorn."  <---This was actually said to the poor teenager who got us as customers.  She had no idea how to respond.

Breckin had no idea we were going to the train festival until we got off the Mercer St exit and he saw a billboard for the 38th Annual Model Train Show.  He knew.  And he remembered almost every detail from the last time we came to this one.  When he was two and a half.  No joke.  But his memory skills are another post.  After getting through the ticket line, the dinosaur exhibit for Ella, and the paper conductor hat station- we found the first train table.  A cool little siding that the kids could push colored buttons to make the engine drop off and pick up coal cars and box cars.  Breckin waited his turn patiently, chatting with the other kids in line about buffers and fireboxes, and when it was his turn, he fell into a natural conversation with the table operator.  I have no idea what they were talking about as I was busy making dinosaur noises at Ella.  But, when he stepped down from the table and said "Bye, Bill.  Thanks for showing me about those magnets" and was answered with "See ya, Breckin.  You sure know a lot about trains", I was not surprised.  It happens.

It was fate that the young man at the coloring table was named Cole- that is, after all, the name of one of the Lego Ninjas- and therefore warranted a lengthy discussion between Cole and Breckin about earth dragons and whether or not the guy Cole got a new katana for Christmas.  He was impressed that Breckin used the word katana.  Mutual goodbyes were exchanged once our train was colored.  And Cole said hello again when Breckin ran by to test out the light bulb bike- you know the one.  I did smile extra wide when we rounded the corner into the main train room and the first table is one I recognize from the train festival in Ravensdale.  An astroturf double loop for kids to test a big Thomas set.  I didn't expect the hunched, partially senile gentleman in the brown grandpa sweater to say "Breckin!  I knew you would show up here!  You're my best customer!"  Even Breckin was surprised.  He turned to me and said "I remember him from last October.  He loves pushing the button for James (as I look over, he's in line for the James button) and he always tells me about his latest train set."  Sure enough, Breckin chats with him while he's taking his turn and after learning his name is Victor, he promptly tells him that the bad guy from GeoTrax is also named Victor and animatedly recaps the Geo story line.  Victor is, once again, impressed and says he hopes to see Breckin next October.

Breckin's nerd name is Steve.  Just go with it.  And watch Despicable Me for reference.  Breckin's favorite place on the planet is Bounce It Up.  During our very first visit, we were lucky enough to have Steve as the employee in charge of walking around making sure everyone is doing ok.  Breckin, sure enough, told him that his nerd name was Steve and was happy as a clam when the real Steve tackled him in the wrestling ring and pelted him with playground balls.  We saw the Bounce It Up van in the parking lot at Safeway about two weeks later, Breckin saw Steve get out of the drivers seat, and yelled "Steve!" at the top of his lungs.  They slapped each other on the back like they've known each other for years and Steve and Megan have been rock stars in our house ever since.  Bounce It Up is closing it's doors this Sunday and Breckin cried when he heard the news.  He has since told Steve not to do it.  And he's serious.  It's out of Steve's hands, of course, but it chokes me up that the bouncy toys are only half the reason why Breckin doesn't want it to close.  He is concerned that he won't get to see Steve.

Breckin is on a first name basis with two Drews.  The first works with Dustin and is on the cool list due to his collection of Nerf items and the dart board at his desk.  Don't ask.  It's a Seattle tech company stemmed from Microsoft and has ping pong in a conference room.  Work Drew and Breckin must say hello to each other every time we stop by to see Daddy at work.  They are pals.

The other Drew works at the Lego store.  He was the employee who helped Breckin pick the best set his $10 from his piggy bank could buy the very first time we went in that store and Breckin asks for him each time we go.  He spent so much time asking Breckin what collections he liked and who his favorite hero from Hero Factory was that I wrote a generous thank you note via their website to his boss because I've been in a lot of toy stores.  Most young employees are there to make enough money to take their girlfriend to the movies and don't give a rip about the kids.  This guy made me proud.  He and Breckin have fantastic conversations and he makes a point to show Breckin the unique piece that each set has and how you can't get this piece in any other set.  Ok, we go to the Lego quite a bit.  We don't always get to buy stuff but we let Breckin put things on his wish list all year long and that satisfies him.  If Drew isn't working that day, it's a short trip.  If his is, it's not.  Drew knows Breckin by name now and knows him well enough that when the skeleton version of Ninjago was getting discontinued and they only had one Dragon Sword of Fire with the sheath backpack left, he held it in the back room until he happened to see Breckin come in next with enough money to buy it.  It had been marked down from $20 to $4 as time passed but Drew held it.  He could have sold it, I'm sure, several times.  He asked me, before mentioning it to Breckin, if we could spend money that day and once he got clearance, he was excited to show Breckin.  Of course we would like it.  We love Drew.  

The ladies at the gym know him and greet him warmly when he comes in.  He is part of the social circle amongst the grown ups in our neighborhood- even if he's having a rough patch with one kid or another.  He used to walk into kindergarten every day, put his hands on the inside of the door frame, and say "Mrs. Blevins, I'm here."  For crying out loud, when I go through the drive through at Starbucks, the lady at the window leans out to see if Breckin's in the back and asks for him by name.  He has shown her every toy in his hand every time we drive through.  I'm sure there are other grown ups who know him, if not by name, by character.  His character might be my favorite thing about him.  What a kid.     

Friday, January 6, 2012

Little Ones

I don't know why but I'm looking at my children differently lately.  I'm trying to hard to capture them as small people and remember how they sound and laugh and struggle to climb onto chairs.  I think because Ella is the age that Breckin was when we moved into this house and as she does things and says things, I really feel like I've forgotten all that Breckin did and said at that age....  It's a horrible feeling. 

Ella was sitting on one of our tall counter chairs watching Bubble Guppies (Mr. Grouper!) when it struck me how small she was sitting there.  The chair was so big and she was perched on the edge with her feet hanging over and I thought some day, she'll be able to sit in that chair without having to climb on the couch first.  By the time I grabbed the camera, she was distracted by me moving around and stopped sitting so nicely.  These photos are her three reactions when I say "smile, Ella!"  Please remind me of these when she is a teenager and I've forgotten just how little she started out. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Magic

If you live in this area and you've never spent an evening at Bellevue Square without the pressure of shopping, you need to do it.  Just absorb the beauty of the lights, the immense amount of decor, the detail in Santa's Workshop, and the absolute joy of dancing outside with the drummer boys and falling "snow".  We do it every year and I am clinging to the magic in my kids' eyes desperately.  I am so not ready for them to grow up.