"If the spirit of Him who created you resides within, then you should hug yourself often...because you will also be hugging Him."
--from a book of poems and thoughts by my friend's mom, Mary Kloepper
- Matthew, looking at a toy truck the other day: "Mama, F-O-R-D spells 'pickup truck'!"
- Matthew, taking a look around the house recently: "This is still America!"
- Matthew, tonight before bed: "Daddy, Matthew and Joel are Japanese!" When Stephen asked him if I was Japanese, Matthew looked at me intently, thought about it, and answered, "Yes, Mama is Japanese, too."
- Joel's favorite new word is "too". If Matthew is doing something Joel wants to do, or eating something Joel wants to eat, he always lets us know he's interested by saying "Joel, too!"
We've never taught Matthew what these letters spell, but Stephen thought he would test the Bean this evening.
Stephen spelled out C-A-K-E and asked Matthew what he thought the word was.
The answer? "Love." Smart kid--both have four letters and are pretty sugary!
(By the way, he does know how to spell the word "love" and gets it right if he sees it spelled out anywhere.)
We've never taught this to Joel, but somehow he's picked up the difference in distance between "this" and "that". He'll point to something close by him (or something he's holding), and ask, "Mama, see this?" and will point to something farther away and ask one of us, "See that?" What a smart little McMonkey McBean.
The other day at breakfast, Matthew was chewing very verrrrry slowly and I could almost see the wheels turning in his brain. I asked him what he was thinking about and he replied, "Sneetches have stars on their bellies..." in a very serious tone. (If you've never read The Sneetches, do so immediately--it's not only highly entertaining by also has a very good moral to it. And I personally really like Sylvester McMonkey McBean. I think those are good new nicknames for Matthew and Joel, actually, but I'll let you decide who should be McBean and who should be McMonkey.)
Another cute Matthew story--while at my parents' church this morning, because there are no kids M and J's ages, Stephen and I were playing with the beans in the nursery. There's a plastic playhouse in the corner (that Joel McMonkey was getting into by climbing through the window), and Matthew was standing inside making Matthew jokes. All of a sudden, as he finished laughing about something he'd just said, he jumped up and down and shouted, "Matthew's funny in the house!" To which, of course, we all laughed and thereby confirmed his statement.
Matthew: "Mama, the big pickup truck is huge and massive!"
- During the boys' naps the other day, I made a key-lime pie (to remind me of Florida), and as Stephen brought Matthew and Joel down the steps after they woke up, Joel shouted, "Pancakes!!!" Evidently the pie smell reminded him of one of his favorite treats.
- Recently, Matthew came running out of the bathroom, shouting, "Matthew did a pee-pee on the potty!" [He says this every time.] Joel opened the kitchen pantry, pointed up to the special bag of M&M's, and said, "Matthew, two chocolates!"
- At dinner the other night, Matthew turned to Stephen and said, "I want a Bugatti, please, Daddy!" [Referring to a toy Veyron we have.]
- After the toast caught on fire Thursday morning and filled up the house with smoke, my dad woke up after smelling it and came downstairs while Stephen and I were frantically trying to open windows and doors. Matthew wanted everything back to normal and calmly told all of us, "Pop, it's just fire. Mama, it's just fire. Daddy, it's just fire."
- If there is ever an unexplained mess or problem and I ask who did it, Joel always says, "Matthew."
- Matthew's prayer tonight: "Thank you, Jesus, for Mama, Daddy, Joel, Matthew, and for all of us staying together at Mimi and Pop's house."
Matthew's prayer tonight: "Thank you, Jesus, for Mama, Daddy, Joel, Matthew, for the sky, trees, snow." [We have lots of that white stuff around here to be thankful for!]
After naptime today--
Abigail: "Joel, would you like soup for dinner?" [He always wants soup.]
Joel: "How 'bout, um, how 'bout orange juice?" [Said with a very cheeky grin and wrinkled-up nose.]
Matthew's prayer tonight before bed: "Thank you, Jesus, for Mama, Daddy, Joel, Matthew, and for all of us watching The Electrics [The Olympics]."
We're loving the winter Olympics (go, Apolo!) and Stephen said they need a new sports category that would certainly get me a gold: toddler chasing.
Joel is really into hugging--he's such a sweet bean and now even his stickers get in on the action. He put these together on paper the other day and said they were "fish hugging". (Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa, for the lovely sticker care packages.)
You try to scrub off your makeup before bed, wondering why none was coming off.
Then you realize you didn't actually put any on that morning.
Maybe your kids are different, but mine don't tell me every day that they love me. There are some completely random moments when they run to me and tell me they want cuddles, or that I'm a good cook, or that they love me. It doesn't happen all the time and I think if they sat in my lap 24/7, gazing adoringly into my eyes, I'd actually get a little worried.
Got me thinking about Papa-God and my hang-out time with him; I think he thinks of me like I think of our boys. I don't put guilt trips on them for spending time with their friends, or playing with their toys, or reading their books.
I don't yell at them for accidentally spilling their drink or their oatmeal.
And I do laugh with them at their jokes, praise them for their Lego towers, smile at their insightful comments about life, and sometimes cry with them when they are scared or hurt. These guys amaze me--they came from inside my body (still very fushigi) and I adore them like crazy.
Who's the little kid in this scenario?
I knew this for sure the other day when the guy at Costco laughed out loud at me when I asked if they sold seaweed.
I must be acclimating a bit to Wisconsin as apparently the high today was 27 F/-2.7 C and it felt balmy, even a bit warm. The sun was shining and we ran some errands in the morning and did some snow sledding in the yard in the afternoon.
Still getting used to driving here again (though I drove in the U.S. for 10 years before I even went to Japan) - the hard part is remembering which side of the street to drive on and I still hesitate when I try to figure out which side of the car to climb into. One thing I've gotten good at again is head-in parking (which flummoxed me for a while after we got here in October).
As we were driving this morning, Matthew was looking around and telling me how Japan is too far away. When I asked him if he'd like to live there again someday, he answered, "I love America, too!"
I guess we're all acclimating and acculturating (and re-acculturating) in our own ways and in our own time.
So much to (re)learn, so much fushiginess to encounter and appreciate.
All in a day's reverse culture shock. (I can definitely get used to dishwashers, clothes dryers, Green Goodness, paying only $3 for a big gorgeous loaf of sourdough bread, and Lindt chili chocolate!)
Our big bean is quite the little alphabet man - he loves "reading" books to himself and to Joel (he pretty much has all of his books memorized, which is how he can "read"), reading letters everywhere we go and telling us what each letter stands for (W-A-L-M-A-R-T today, and he even mentioned the star in the middle), making up songs with his own lyrics, and now writing! Check out the "M" he wrote the other day (without any guidance):
- Having Matthew "read" to him.
- Toilet time.
- Flashing his cheeky grin.
- "Ketchup and fish".
- Having his teeth flossed (like his big brother).
- Climbing (we discovered he can now climb up into his highchair!).
- Lying on the sofa just like Mimi does, though he never stays still for very long (see following photo).
- Playing guitars with Pop.
- Helping Pop with the plumbing.