Milestones 09 #1

June 5th, 2009

A lot of things have happened in the past few weeks- time is passing and my kids are growing up.

The first major milestone even was Elsie’s second birthday. We had big plans for this day. My father was visiting from Arizona and it was Friend’s Day at the St Louis Zoo, of which we are members, and a lot of stuff was going to be free there so we had the grand idea that we’d spend Elsie’s birthday at the zoo with grandpa. We were all excited about it and had been looking forward to it for a long time. We were even going to call Isaiah off school for a day to be able to go.

Unfortunately, it turned out that we shouldn’t have called Isaiah off school.

That Friday morning was grey, chilly and wet– not exactly good going-to-the-zoo weather. We were all pretty disappointed, but it wasn’t actually raining, just threatening to, so the deal was not totally off yet. It was good that it wasn’t actually raining for another reason, too. I was putting the finishing touches on an unexpected radiatorectomy on our minivan. My dad and I had begun examining the van in earnest the previous afternoon about 3-ish to diagnose frustrating cooling problems and it was evident very quickly that on top of anything else, the radiator would have to be replaced immediately. We wrapped that project up long after dark when we’d gotten the new radiator installed except for the fact that it was just too dark and I was too tired to finish hooking up the particularly troublesome bottom radiator hose and I decided I’d finish it in the morning.

I did finish the radiator that morning and it only took three trips to the parts store for various small crap that had not been planned but was necessary to complete the job- one trip for a tool, two trips for different size hose clamps. Luckily the rain held off till I was just done adding water back into the cooling system. Disappointingly, just after I finished it did begin to rain for real which dampened (literally) all our spirits in light of the plans we had for the rest of the day.

We all kind of moped around the place for a few hours till– guess what? The sun came out and the weather turned beautiful just about the time my dad showed up (and just about the time Isaiah would have been getting home from school). My sister, brother-in-law, and their son, Griffin, met us at the zoo and we all had a most tremendous time for Elsie’s birthday at the zoo– and at dinner with Grandpa on the way home!

The next milestone came two days later when Gideon graduated preschool on the following Sunday afternoon. He did a fine job in the ceremony– even singing and doing the motions with the songs he was supposed to do (which he doesn’t always do). He had a good time in preschool and I am very proud of him. He’s far ahead of the curve for entering kindergarten in the fall. He knows and can recognize in print all the letters of the alphabet, he can count to 100, he knows all the colors, etc. He’s a sharp little fellow and when he wants to be, he is kind, helpful, and sweet. Though he doesn’t always want to be…

Another milestone occurred two days ago on Wednesday when Isaiah completed the fourth grade with one B– in math, and all other grades As. Additionally, he had the highest AR score in his school and was asked to be in the Safety Patrol next year. He also was on the math team for his grade and school this year. I think it was a good experience for him. Perhaps especially in light of the fact that experience can be defined as “what you get when you don’t get what you want”, but he did it and I am proud of him for that.

One other recent milestone that was not an achievement but was an accomplishment which pleases me happened when we paid off our minivan. Yes, the same one that needed the new $200 radiator. Of course the one that needed a new radiator the same week we made the last payment on it. Don’t get me started about cars. It will, however, be nice to have a car payments worth of extra income each month. If, that is, we don’t end up spending it to keep the van on life support.

And while discussing milestones, I’ll mention two more from Elsie. First, her hair is long enough to put into a ponytail now. Well, perhaps ‘ponytail’ is a bit of an exaggeration, but there is enough to gather together and have a bit sticking out. It’s very cute and it makes her look older. The first time Ruth attempted that particular stylistic configuration Elsie wanted nothing to do with it, but she got used to it quickly and now I think she actually likes the way it keeps her hair back. The final milestone is that Elsie has started making up songs with actual words. She’s been singing songs with noticeable tunes for quite a while– Frere Jaques and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. As a matter of fact, now that I think of it she’s been singing the words to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star for quite a while, but the other night riding somewhere in the van was the first time I heard her making up a song from scratch with real words in it. All kids make singy-songy rhythmic noises that seem like songs with lyrics that are mainly comprised of baby-talk at her age and she has been, too, but now she is making up songs that are about stuff. She was singing about ladybugs and butterflies. There was not a great deal of thematic development and the rhythm was not quite as rigorously metrical as, say, Frere Jaques. The song was something along the lines of “Ladybug, ladybug, butterfly, ladybug” but I thought it was pretty neat.