This week marked the 36th anniversary of my birth. I am now closer to 40 than to 30, and there is no turning back.
The family was kind to me, probably because at this point it is risky to startle or upset me in my fragile condition. Even the slightest rise in blood pressure might cause me to crumble to dust. In any case, we polished off my birthday cake from the weekend, and opened a few cards that came on my actual special day.
On the actual day, I had a normal long day of work, so aside from a nice note from a coworker, there was not really anything too special. However, I did treat myself to a meal at a fancy German restaurant for lunch. I walked past it every time I was in the city, and always wanted to try it. The meal was good, and it was a good way to break up the monotony of the workday.
Aside from my getting another year closer to my demise, Merritt thought it would be a good idea to wake Kira and me up at 2 a.m. Thursday morning. Hakan was up with some small issue just before then, but Merritt started stirring just a bit then, too. He stirred every few minutes, so I got up to see if I could adjust him. I picked him up to see if he would settle back down in our bed, but that set him off. He screamed. He screamed and kicked and simply would not be consoled for a full 15 minutes. We tried everything we could think of just shy of injecting him with a tranquilizer. It was like he was sleepwalking, but left out the “walking” part and replaced it with screaming. He finally passed back out, but it made it very hard for Kira or I to get back asleep with that live grenade in our room.
Naturally, that morning was my scheduled peer evaluation, where one of my colleagues was supposed to attend my class and offer feedback on everything. I was tired, but felt well enough during the 8 a.m. course. It went well, and then she asked the students to stick around so she could ask a few more pointed questions about me and the course without me there. She came by my office later to tell me that they had very kind things to say, with one student even commenting that each semester he checks to see what I’m teaching and then schedules his semester around that. That was a nice salve on a day that otherwise was destined to be an open wound.
Friday was something new. Carver had a fun sock hop scheduled at school, so Avey and Kira got his outfit and hair all planned out. He went dressed like a greaser, with slick hair and everything. Kira was one of the parents who were invited to help out with the preparations, so I “worked at home” while Merritt napped and Hakan vegged out on the couch so she could go. She had a good time, and so did Carver.
Friday was also the first snow of the season for us. It was a pathetic first snow, with hardly anything sticking to the grass, but there was just enough on the street for some car accidents, so I suppose that makes it official(?).
Merritt has really shown some character lately. He is very much into music. One of Carver’s favorite things these days is to watch and rock out to music videos that we’ve approved, so Merritt has become accustomed to having a steady stream of beats pumping out of my computer. When he’s got the bug, he comes over to the computer, rambles some nonsense words while pointing at the screen, and then dances while imitating a drum beat. Although it’s adorable, it’s also a real challenge, because he seems to want a specific song, but he lacks the language to tell us which one. I make my best guess, and then he screams at me for getting it wrong. He can sometimes point to it if he sees it, but otherwise, we are left with a very angry child.
Hakan’s potty training is pretty much complete. He sometimes refuses to use the potty, but that’s usually right before bed, when everything feels difficult. Those times, he just wears a diaper to bed, but still wakes up dry almost every time. It’s been strange and wonderful to have only one kiddo in diapers, and we can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Carver has been working on mastering drawing since starting Kindergarten, but that seems to mean to him that he draws the exact same thing every time. He presents us almost each day with a new drawing or painting of the whole family, with each member portrayed in his or her favorite color, then with Carver’s name above us. Avey and I discussed this and decided we should perhaps try to coax Carver into expanding his repertoire. Avey then showed him how to draw a simple dog. Carver tried it and had a hard time, but he seems open to practicing some more. If he puts half of the effort into art that he puts into perfecting his tumbling-on-the-couch moves, he’ll be in good shape.
Avey has been in a helpful mood lately, offering even to bathe Merritt with our supervision. She’s been very kind to keep him entertained at times when Kira or I are unable to tend to him (usually because the other boys are having some crisis). We hope that this helpful streak continues. On a related note, while Kira was helping at the school for Carver’s event, Avey’s third-grade teacher pulled her aside to tell her that when Avey was her student, she’d done a little performance where she talked and acted like an elderly woman. The class had thought it was so funny, that this teacher pulled Avey out of her normal class to come and perform in her elderly woman character for her current students. She was, of course, a big hit.
We are so surprised with how quickly the year is coming to a close. We’ll try to wrap it up strong!