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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Four’s a Zoo

My mother has an old VHS tape of our family when there were just four boys, and it is entitled “Four’s a Zoo.” Growing up, I didn’t really understand the title. Now I do. 

It’s been a very busy week, but not because we have a lot on the schedule – there’s just so much work to do all the time. Fortunately, we’ve had very pleasant weather this week, so I try to get the kids out of the house for an outing each day, and they can often find some fun in the backyard.

It’s funny how the boys suddenly become willing to eat when they get the chance to do it outside. Unfortunately, it lasts only a few minutes before they become more interested in running around. Still, it’s better than arguing with each other inside.

The beautiful weather also allowed us an excuse to plant flowers in our flower pots, and for me to hang up a birdhouse that Avey painted a few weeks ago. I saw these sparrows checking out a smaller house that had been hanging for some time without a buyer (I’m guessing it swings too much in the wind), and so I figured I had to get Avey’s out while the market was hot. Sure enough, later that afternoon the sparrow family started moving in. Here’s a shot through our dirty window:

I think I have the most fun out of all of us watching their activities from the kitchen table. I also found a chance to catch a picture of a young rabbit that’s been hanging out in our yard a little bit most days. It likes to munch on all of our weeds:

Naturally, the wildest wildlife is inside our walls. Merritt has been doing very well – it’s just the combination of the four children’s needs along with our own that is keeping us busy and exhausted. Merritt sleeps comparatively well. He even gave us a 7-hour stretch a few nights ago. Otherwise, he eats well and spends his free time either sleeping, filling his diaper, or looking around. His eyes get clearer each day and he is starting to grow into his face. He gives spectacular smiles when he’s asleep, but we haven’t witnessed any really clear ones while he’s awake. Those should start up pretty soon, though.

Surprisingly, we’ve been so busy that good pictures of him have been hard to come by. Avey is the one snapping most of them with her little tablet. We’ll do our best to get some more over the next few days.

In the meantime, Carver has taken more interest than ever in learning to read. Avey taught him how to spell his name today, and he and I worked on reading a book for about 20 minutes earlier in the week. He seems genuinely excited to be like his big sis’ and start ignoring his parents by sticking his nose in a book.

Hakan’s behavior has been little changed since Merritt’s birth, except for today. He would not leave me alone for most of the day, following me around pleading, “Daddy, daddy!” He was especially tired, so maybe that’s got something to do with it, but I also wonder if the additional person in the family is beginning to affect him. I did my best to give him plenty of attention, but it seemed that he just could not be satiated. One effect that might be resulting from the tension is that he is forming more complete sentences. One such gem he has been using is, “I hate it!” in his soprano as he throws whatever it is on the floor in front of him. It’s more of a whine than anything, but he puts full emphasis on the “hate,” which is pretty hilarious. He also has been favoring the sentence, carefully enunciated, “Let me show you,” as he grabs me by the finger and leads me to whatever.

Avey is nearly done with school, and cannot wait to have more free time to hold her littlest brother. She’s had a great year, and will surely miss her teacher, but is looking forward to next year. This summer should be full of adventures.

More to come very soon…

#Happenings #LittleGems

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