Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sir Collin Goes to the Faire

We went to the Renaissance Faire this weekend. To say that Collin enjoyed himself might be one of the biggest understatements I could make. From the moment they let him try on mail, he was in heaven.

For months, I've been telling him that "real" axes and "real" swords are too heavy for him as an explanation as to why he can't have one, forget all the other logical reasons. His exact words when he picked this up: "See! This isn't too heavy! Now, I can have one." And, no this isn't real.

He did however find that the mail shirt was too heavy for him and wanted it off pretty quickly.

He did look totally adorable, though.

Once he realized that he could eat meat with his hands, and in large portions, he was sold on the Middle Ages, and I think I have a complete convert to my side.

I've heard those turkey legs are good, but even before I stopped eating meat, I never liked turkey so I've never tried one. All I know is that you could barely pry it out of his hands. He gnawed on it for hours.

Because he's my son, there's no way to escape the Renaissance Faire without swords and a shield. No, he didn't get "real" ones; not yet, anyway. I'm glad that I am holding fast to that rule, since he insisted on carrying them jammed down the front of his shirt, instead of in the leather strap that a kindly leather shop owner made for him.

Once he had swords in hand, he insisted on challenging every costumed person that came across his path by jumping in front of them and shouting, "I have a sword!" or by simply brandishing it in their faces until they noticed him. No amount of my stopping him or correcting him seemed to work to quell this behavior because, as you know if you've ever been at the Renaissance Faire, all these people are in character all the time, and they took kindly to his antics and responded to him as if he were performing a little skit and just played along, which only encouraged him.

So, he kept challenging.

And challenging.

And challenging.


Yes, that's right. He attempted to challenge the QUEEN!

Seriously. The procession was coming along and everyone was doing their little shouts and yells and trumpet thing and, of course, everyone got out of the way for her, but not my boy. He simply saw an opportunity to challenge fancy people. He saw a clearer shot at costumes because the crowd dispersed.

He charged right into the queen herself before the guard, or anyone could stop him and bam, challenged her. Thankfully, she thought he was adorable and a conversation ensued in which he charmed her.

The captain of the guard said that when he turns sixteen, he could come see him and he can become one of her knights and help protect her but Collin said, "No thanks, I only protect my Mommy." Awwww. So, the Queen gave him one of her jewels and had him kiss her hand.


For one dollar, you can buy a head of cabbage to feed the goats at a local farm near Granny's house. Which means, for one dollar, you can make Collin's face look like this:

It was worth it.

Besides, not feeding the goats didn't seem like an option. This guy kept attempting to climb over the fence, and I'm pretty sure he knew we had lettuce at home and he was guying to get salad out of us, come hell or high water, whether it was from the farm stand, or out of our fridge.

It was a more amiable arrangement to receive it from my handsome boy.

Collin would have fed them all day if we let him. And, the goats and sheep would have eaten all day if we had let them. The way they were eating, you would have thought that was they only food they'd ever had. There was a creepy guy that followed us from pen to pen, which made me slightly uncomfortable, and glad that Granny was with us. It also made me feel a little lonely for Daddy because I thought to myself that creepy old men don't target ladies and little boys to follow around when there's a man with them.

But, all was well after the goat feeding because Collin had a moment of zen. He posed with this little statue for the only four seconds that he was still all day. This is his imitation of the statue. Not bad, eh?

And, since I haven't embarrassed Collin in the tub in a while, I simply must do it here, because, after all  it's a vacation bath. 

What a ham-bone. Different tub, different toys, same boy, same cheese-ball. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things to Consider

1. I will never get sick of hearing Collin read, although everyone else will already be sick of it. Mostly, these things are just for Daddy, who can't hear it.

2. I am amazed at how the little mind works as it learns. I remember as he was learning new skills like walking, how singularly focused his body was, and it seemed like he could only be learning one skill at a time and things he already knew sometimes almost regressed; or he had to focus really hard to retain them. It's almost nostalgic now to watch him struggle with things that were so easy for him a few weeks ago. He never struggled with recognizing letters before, but those pesky "p's," "b's" and "d's" seem to be giving him a lot of trouble in the last few days as his brain tries to process new ways of using them.

3. I do not normally keep a pile of garbage in the corner of my kitchen. In fact, I did not know it was there until moments before we started our work this morning. Collin has a bin of coloring books and papers there that he can access anytime he likes. Apparently, this was his way of cleaning that area up last night. Nice.

4. I wish I'd never offered him a treat the first time he read a book. Now, he thinks he's getting something to eat, anything to eat, after every time he reads anything at all. Last night, he read three books to me before bed and he asked for a pudding cup. This was after he'd brushed his teeth and was in bed. The child is insatiable. One cupcake has ruined my life.

5. Helper words suck. We were stuck on "the" for about two days. I tried to explain to Bryon that I think it is hard because the "e" in "the" is a swallowed schwa sound and the "th" is, I think, a digraph, and I've only really been teaching him simple sounds, so far. So, sounding it out doesn't work. Bryon decided that, at that point, I was lame. I am.

6. I am glad I'm documenting it. I only ever record the first time he reads a book, or anything for that matter. And, I'm not recording everything, but it's so fun to watch them and it will be awesome to have these memories when he's an adult. He and I have had a rough few days and it's been nice to have some rewarding moments together. I really hesitated about trying to teach him this. He's a frustrating student and I was really intimidated by such a large concept for him. I'm so glad that I did it. It's been so rewarding.

7. This is still the coolest thing I've ever seen. I hope I'm this excited when I see him do his first quadratic equation. Or, the first time he goes to the moon, is elected president or the first time he wins a gold medal, whichever comes first.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Scared Straight: Preschool Edition

I have the bravest child that I have ever met. Space Mountain. Haunted Mansion. Roller Coasters. Scary movies. Nothing has phased him yet. Not so much as a peep. I've seen him look a little nervous for a second on occasion, gather his composure and then immediately ask to do whatever it was that irked him all over again. Well, apparently I haven't had enough discussions with him (or any) about what "jail" is or about the "judicial system."

We went to Alcatraz and took the audio tour. A quick little pre-brief of it being an old abandoned prison and a definition of jail seemed seemed sufficient. He understood what all of it meant clear enough but when he got a good look at what a jail was all about. Well...

It was the first time I saw that apprehensive look on his face permanently.

He has been talking my ear off ever since about how badly he wants to make sure he never, ever, EVER wants to go to jail.

It all seemed well and good to broadly tell him that people who don't listen and follow rules go to jail. But, he got kind of freaked out and needed a lot more information.

So, we've been doing a lot of talking over the last few days about laws, the judicial system, court and exactly what jail entails.

He seems awfully confused about why Alcatraz no longer operates. He can't seem to wrap his head around what jail is really like if it isn't like Alcatraz and his main concern is that the food in jail would not be good. I feel like he might be considering a life of crime, if only he could be sure to get three good meals a day out of it. He keeps asking about cake.

He did say that he doesn't want to return to Alcatraz again, even to visit. And upon recieving parole from the tour, he was alive with glee.

Talking to the nesting seagulls was the first time I saw him smile. He's like the bird man of Alcatraz.

Sometimes I'm Glad I Bring the Camera

It's no secret that we go to Disneyland a lot. We go so often, that I don't really lug the camera anymore. It's just one more thing to carry around the park, when we are already carting snacks, water, a stroller, and all kinds of other junk. To be honest, half the time, we go empty handed. It's just easier. That's what drinking fountains are for.

But, when I do bring the camera, I am always happy to go through the pictures I took. Goodness knows when he's forty what I'm going to do with seventeen pictures of him on the train from June 29th, 2011. I'm fairly certain that I'll look at them and bemoan the fact that he's no longer four, pick up the phone, call him, and leave a message that sounds something like this:

"Collin, this is your mother. I haven't heard from you today (because he will call me every day when he's an adult) and I miss you. Remember when you were a little-widdle baby? I know your wife made me promise to stop leaving these messages. But I can't. Please don't change your number again."

Anyway, this is why I'm going to still be charmed by him. He's so cute on a train.

And handsome.

And, if you make him, he'll sit by you for six seconds to take a picture. If it's your birthday.

I think the best part of bringing the camera along though is snagging those firsts that aren't all that important in the grand scheme of things but count if you have them on film. For example, Collin has never had cotton candy before. Why? Because it's a messy disaster and he's had every other treat under the sun to try first.

He liked it.

By the way, fun fact about Bryon: he pretty much has no interest in sweets. He won't even have a single bite of cotton candy. I know. Weird. Not even a single bite. More for us.

Why Bother with Disneyland?

For my birthday, Bryon was home. That should be present enough, right? We thought it would be fun to actually spend the evening at Disneyland, instead of heading home towards dinnertime, for a change. In all the time we've lived here, and all the times we've been, we've only stayed for fireworks once. I know, we are like Disney novices.

So, we decided to hang out for a while and then check into a really nice suite just down the road that Bryon booked for us, have some dinner, and then go back. Thanks to all the travel that he did last year, he has so many hotel points racked up, it didn't cost us anything. I suppose having a busy husband has its perks.

Our son was so impressed with the hotel, that we couldn't pry him away from it to get him back to DISNEYLAND. Seriously. Disneyland couldn't compete with the manager's happy hour that came with free popcorn and apple juice (all he could eat!) and a pool.

Monkey approved of the place. And, he got to sleep on a magic bed (aka a pull out couch in the living room portion of the suite), so he was enthralled.

So, I'm thinking that next time I want to wow the boy, I'll just check into a Day's Inn. Unfortunately, as we were checking out, he opened the door to the room right across his foot and sliced his toe open. I'm kind of hard on him when he gets hurt, so I hugged him and told him to walk it off, at first but it didn't take long to realize that it really, really hurt. The poor boy had quite a cut there and he really cried. I felt awful for him. He sobbed all the way down the elevator and all the way through the lobby and even in the car on the way back to Disneyland.

I think he might have been equal parts injured and heartsick over leaving the hotel.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Vote For Collin

I told you he would be President. Just you wait and see.

I'm so proud of him. Ignore the request for a cupcake. Of course, the way to my boy's heart is through his stomach.

When he's concentrating, he can do amazing things. When he isn't, he's pretty sure that all words are "nap," or whatever word he read last. It can be very frustrating, but it's so worth it to see how excited he gets when he knows he's done it. I love when he is looking out the window and tries to tell me he is trying or is reading and says letters that aren't even on the page. Say, when the word  is "cat" and he says "zap." Ahh, the joys of my easily distracted son.

Happy Fourth of July!

Collin thinks he knows the "Pledge of Allegiance."

Collin is wrong.

It's cute though. And he kind of knows it, so I'm not complaining. He only messes it up a little, and who could fault him? He's so darn adorable.

Who cares if we are divisible? I mean, it's nicer his way, in a way. Maybe we shouldn't be so concerned with the indivisible part. Aren't we always stressing being individuals and not following the crowd?