~ Ilan likes to count. He'll say: "Mommy, let me count your buttons." He'll start counting: "that is one, that is two, that is three, and that is four (pronounced poor)." He'll smile at me and say proudly, "I know all my colors!"
~ Every night after dinner Roan and Ilan are allowed to watch about 20 minutes of TV. They take turns choosing which show or movie. Though lately it doesn't matter whose night it is to pick - they both always want to watch the movie Wreck it Ralph. Since they agree on the movie, there's nothing to fight about, right? Wrong. Instead of fighting over the content, they fight over whose turn it is to pick Wreck it Ralph. A completely pointless fight. Yet they've staged it, with feeling, every night for the last two weeks.
~ Whenever I play a song on my guitar that Ilan doesn't like, he points at me and screams, "Mommy, stop that noise!"
~ Roan sleepwalks. He's in the habit of drinking water before bed, so almost every night he wakes up a few hours after he falls asleep and shambles around the house, looking for the toilet. If we don't help him, he doesn't always find it. Most common is that he pees on the toilet lid, since he isn't quite awake enough to lift it up. But he's peed in corners, on our bookshelves, and into his dump truck. The dump truck is my favorite - some nights I try to leave it in his path. It's the easiest the clean up. One night, Roan peed on Ilan. Ilan didn't even wake up. I only figured it out when I checked on them before going to bed myself. Roan still doesn't know - I haven't quite found the right way to tell him.
~ Ilan is very preoccupied with everyone's happiness. He is constantly asking us if we are happy. When we read books, he needs to know if each character is happy, or will comment on whether they are happy, sad, worried, mad, or asleep. When he gets mad he'll say, "I'm not happy," and puff out his lips in what we call his "mad lips." Or he'll say, "Mommy, you don't make me happy." Once I snapped at him: "it's not my job to make you happy! Your happiness is not my responsibility." It felt so good to say it, that now I say it all the time. I find it very relaxing to remind my children (and myself) that their happiness is not my responsibility.
~ One day, maybe Mother's Day, Roan was supposed to bring a dollar to school and buy me a flower to plant. But I forgot to give him the dollar. When I picked him up from school he was one of the only kids without a flower. I told him I was sorry that I forgot, and asked him if he felt bad that he didn't get to pick out a flower. "No Mommy," he said, "I'm glad I didn't spend one dollar on a plant because now you can spend that dollar on something more important." I looked at him in horror - he sounded so frugal and logical and unsentimental - he sounded just like me! Then he said, "and anyways Mommy, do we even have room for another flower in our backyard? We have so many flowers already, we don't need another one." And I realized that he must be listening to me, at least some of the time.
~ Sometimes, when my children say "that's not fair!" it dislodges some deep seated need in me to deliver a passionate and scathing lecture on what is "fair" on a macro level. "You want to know what's not fair?!" I'll start, "children who don't have enough to eat, that's not fair. Daddies and Mommies who have to work 16 hours a day and never see their children, that's not fair." And I go on and on. Until one day I overheard Roan lecturing Lani, "you want to know what's not fair Ilan? Little boys who only have rocks instead of toys." So I try and take it easy on the Not Fair lectures now.
~ This morning I was dancing in the kitchen and Lani was looking at me funny. "Mommy, are you doing karate?" he asked. "No!" I said, trying not to be offended, "I'm dancing." Lani laughed. "No Mommy, you are doing karate."
~ Whenever I take the boys places, like to the park, or the beach, or to Kids n Action (our local Hassidic version of Chuck E Cheese) Ilan says "I want Roan." He gets very sad when Roan choses to play with kids his own age, instead of helping Lani climb the ramps and go down the slides or wade through the ball pit.
~ Roan likes to tell people that "Lani is attracted to doggies." Naturally, people look at him funny when he says this. He misinterprets that look to mean that they probably don't know what the word "attracted to" means, since it's such a big word. So he tells them: "attracted to something means that you follow it around everywhere."
~ Ilan and Roan are in the habit of asking us, "can I tell you something very important?" And then they say something silly, like, "I'm poopy man," or "I'm fan marker," which is the height of hilarity and wit among my boys. Lately though, Ilan has been shouting, "I'm gay!" I don't know where he picked this up, but he's figured out that people react to a 2-and-a-half year old shouting that he's gay and so now he says it all the time. On the airplane from Salt Lake City to New York he lost no opportunity to inform all the passengers that he was gay.