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Journal Key:

Green = Steve | George = navy | Janet = Purple | Evelyn = Black

12/27/12 (Thursday)

We had a Family Fun Night sort of evening, going out to dinner and Barnes and Noble. Owen was, unfortunately, quite excited and bouncy. He spent a lot of time dancing around on the seat of the bench, with Steve telling him he had to sit down and be quiet. We've moved on to a new era: instead of Cara eating her own kid's meal and part of Owen's, she got a grown-up meal. She got chicken fajitas and Owen got quesadillas, and there was a very symbiotic exchange of chicken and quesadilla. He also got French fries, which he very carefully dipped into ketchup before eating. He may possibly have gotten enough ketchup on one or two to be able to taste it, but that was probably a mistake.

At Barnes and Noble, he picked up a story book from a display at the front of the store. I told him we could find the same book in the back, so we headed that way. Of course, by the time we were in the back, he was interested only in superhero books. I've discovered, though, that there's a whole other shelf of them above the shelf we usually look at; it's above my eye level when I'm sitting on the floor, so I'd never noticed. That should help provide some variety. Unfortunately, I'd already picked out several books we'd read before.

A miracle occurred: Steve read so many books to Owen that Owen felt that he was done with them.

Steve and Owen decided that some of Owen's little guys could come in the bath with him. I took a nice picture of Spiderman and Robin (Batman has a non-bath-friendly cape) playing on the mermaid playset.

12/28/12 (Friday)

Eight little guys hung out with us in the living room this evening for Family Fun Night. They did a lot of heroing up. Some of them had to go under a blanket to hero up in private. Owen spent a lot of time putting them into a line, because "they're awfully crooked." He also dropped several of them into Cara's boots, which were in the living room for no reason. Darth Vader and Han Solo both "meet the eye!" very emphatically.

12/29/12 (Saturday)

Today we had a very lazy day. Most of us stayed in pajamas for most of the day. We saw Scooby-Doo, She-Ra, the "DC Super Hero Friends" (a DVD that came with Owen's Green Lantern playset) and we played with a lot of little guys. I have to admit that I almost reached my capacity for being able to play with little guys. We looked out the window and watched the snow come down. We had soup for lunch, some hot chocolate, and we baked. For dinner, Evelyn roasted a chicken and mashed potatoes and made biscuits. We had a very pleasant hot meal, which Owen actually ate (eventually).

One of Owen's favorite little He-Man books is He-Man and the Insect People, in which He-Man and his friends foil a considered but poorly-executed attempt by Beast Man to appropriate an insect army. In the end, he is chased by the rightful queen of the insect people, while he cries out, "No...no...keep her away!! AAAAAaahhhh!!" Owen likes it when I read this part. So he has started to say it himself, when he plays with his little guys. He says it with such feeling that it can be kind of unnerving.

12/30/12 (Sunday)

Owen has a whole lot of guys, and he really likes his little guys. I had to play a lot of guys today. As I write this, he is busy playing guys in his bath. However, he has still not forgotten his He-Man. We haven't played with any He-Man toys today, but we did watch some She-Ra this morning. And I have also been reading him the mini-comics (as noted yesterday). He did in fact claim that he wanted to play He-Mans today, but I think it was just an expression for wanting to go to the playroom and play guys.

Cara and Evelyn were out during the day, so Owen and I hung out. After visiting with the guys for a while, I got us both all suited up for the outside. I even put mittens on Owen, something I've been very lax about doing this year up until now. He's a bit rusty at fitting his hands into mittens, so it was a bit of a challenge. I kept telling him to put his thumb in the thumb part, but I don't think he knows for sure which part of his hand his thumb is, which somewhat complicated things.

The reason we went to all this trouble to go outside was to pick up some pizza. I usually save a trip to Little Caesars for those days when I'm by myself, but today I figured I would share with Owen. He discovered Crazy Bread, and went crazy for it. He got a lot of the seasoning on his hands and though I gave him a napkin, I think that a lot of it ended up on the kitchen floor by his chair. He also had a little bit of pizza.

This evening we had some more guys, and some tussling on the bed, and then an interesting dinner. We all started looking at the Sunday paper, which none of us had had a chance to look at until then. It was fine for Evelyn and myself, and even Cara. Owen had to be somewhat imaginative. He rejected many advertisement sections, but kept coming across pages on which he claimed there were pictures of Superman, or "a Star Wars guy." Then he would wander into the other room and scream about something with his toys for a while.

12/31/12 (Monday)

The twins came over to play for a couple of hours this morning, and everyone had fun. Owen was shy with the girls a little, at first, but he brought toys to show to Shannon. There was a lot of running around, but eventually the girls settled at the dining room table to work on bead projects. Cara's been playing with the beads that stand on peg boards and get ironed together, and Owen's been occasionally turning up and deciding he wants a turn: his turn consists of scooping up lots of beads and putting them into a big overturned lid in which there is a pegboard. He came over this morning, and I distracted him with his Scooby Doo sticker book. Soon, the girls had gathered around to help him, and Shannon and I left them to that and got to finish the twins' projects so they'd have something to bring home.

The ironing board was in the basement, right next to the cardboard house. I'm glad I kept unplugging the iron in between projects, because all four children, three of whom are fairly large girls, were crawling under and around the ironing board to get into and out of the house. Eventually I rousted them all out by promising them a snack.

After Owen's nap, we drove down to Claire's house for New Year's Eve.

We'd brought a bag of Owen's little guys, and he commenced to dump them all out and go to town. We ate lots of snacks and generally relaxed. Owen preferred the crackers. He also located some chocolate-covered pretzel balls, which we eventually had to take away from him to make sure we all got some sleep that evening.

Claire's friend Moira, her husband Tony, and their baby Maya also came to visit for a while! It was so weird to see little Maya, who is only a few months old, and who is so clearly a beautiful little baby, and so clearly nothing like our children now. We don't have babies anymore! I have to admit this made me kind of sad.

But at the same time it is also nice that we were not nearly delirious through lack of sleep, and that our children actually slept through the night (though admittedly Cara stayed up until past midnight for the first time ever; but that was because we let her).

1/1/13 (Tuesday) - Happy New Year!

Owen had gone to bed at a late but still not entirely unreasonable hour, after being read some books. When it got to be 11:55 or so, we switched off Netflix and went to a network station. Then, I was surprised to find, we had to try to explain to Cara why we were about to watch a big ball drop down on top of a tall building in the middle of New York City. I think the explanation ended up being something like, "because that's what we always do." This was Cara's first time that I know of when she actually was awake when the new year started, instead of our just pretending it was the new year and then putting her to bed early.

The actual first day of the new year began at around seven in the morning, as I listened to Cara and Owen in the next bedroom over. Owen was saying things like "Carrie? Carrie?" to Cara, and she was saying things like, "Be quiet!" At one point she even resorted to saying his full name in a threatening manner. I decided to go in and get them up. It wasn't long before we were all up, so we got ourselves into our clothes and went to a diner for breakfast. Owen was very chipper and silly. We returned to Aunt Claire's house and proceeded to laze the day away and into the afternoon, luxuriating in our last day off before the return to normalcy.

Owen continues to push his limits. The return to structure will be good for him. I tried to return him to his bedtime routine tonight, but it still got a little out of hand. First he had to carry eight or nine little guys up the stairs and into the bath. Then we had a complete Babar story while he sat on the potty. Once out of the bath, we transferred all the guys but he insisted on bringing more up from downstairs. There were many library books, and then he tried very hard to stretch things out by laying across my legs, and flipping his light switch on and off, and moving all his guys into his crib. But at last he was in bed with the lights off, and he carefully scraped all of his little guys toward him and lay down on top of all of them, like a dragon on its gold.

1/2/13 (Wednesday)

Owen went back and shut the front door as we left YBR.

"Mommy, I did it like that!" he said, showing me his elbow. "I did it like that because He-Man did it like that. He was punching the door, and Skeletor was in the house, and He-Man was saying, 'Skeletor, are you in the bed?' and he was punching the door!"

Owen claims that this happened during a He-Man episode which I have seen.

In the car, he was excited about seeing Christmas lights. I tried telling him that Christmas is over. "No, it's not over", he insists. "It's coming. Santa is coming." He sort of monologues in the car, though I try to insert myself when I can, and soon he had decided that Santa had come. I asked what Santa had brought him. "A present." What was the present? "A bag." What was in the bag? "Just nothing." We went through this a few times. Santa brought him just one present: an empty bag. He was very happy with it.

It was playdate night, and after dinner poor Owen, running around with his sunglasses (they're pink and say Barbie on them because they were Cara's) on upside-down (the only way he wears glasses), fell down and bit his lip or his cheek or something that left him a little bloody. We gave him a popsicle. I brought him out to the living room with it in a bowl. He pitifully asked me to cut up the popsicle for him. I explained about the licking.

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