Sunday, August 21, 2011

Cooper's Best Friend

Cooper has a new best friend. A stuffed stegosaurus named Jimmy Jim.

Cooper tells us that Jimmy Jim lives in a house near the Blackhawk Hardware store. (I think this is a lie because Jimmy Jim seems to spend most of his time at our house).  Jimmy Jim also takes yoga classes, and after yoga he eats lunch at IHOP.

I can't make this stuff up.  Neither can Cooper.  This is the stuff that Jimmy Jim tells him.

Charlie is a bit afraid of Jimmy Jim, and I've had to take the dinosaur out of the boys room at night to protect Charlie from being bitten.

That's not all Charlie is afraid of lately.

The boys are I were discussing who looks like who. "You look like me," I say to Zach. I told Charlie he looks a lot like daddy. He started crying. "Nooo! I don't look like daddy.  He doesn't have much hair!!"

In addition to being afraid of losing his hair, Charlie is also afraid of Jeff Burton. That's because Brian found a life-size Jeff Burton cardboard cutout in the garbage at work and just had to rescue him and bring him home. So the tacky piece of trash treasure ended up in the boys' playroom that night, and the next morning, around 6 a.m., the boys discovered the creepy man in the orange jumpsuit. I'm not sure poor Charlie will ever be the same. On the bright side, he probably won't ever be a NASCAR fan.

And now... the scariest thing of all.  Our house.  Please, no judgement.  The other 99% of our day is pure bliss.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Field Trip

This summer I’ve found that the only way for me to keep the big boys from destroying my house, killing each other and driving me insane is to keep them as busy as possible -- usually out of the house.
So the 5 of us take lots of trips.  To the pool, to the park, to the mall, to the Teeter, to the library, you name it.
Yesterday we took a trip to hell.
It started with a Groupon to a place I’d never heard of called Zootastic.  Advertised as kind of a mini-zoo, full of exotic animals, about 45 minutes away.  Sounded like the perfect way for 3 4-year-olds and a 7-month-old to spend a morning.
I should have turned the van around about 20 miles from home when Charlie started shrieking for me to “TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF TURN IT OFF…” --- referring to the DVD I checked out from the library about clowns, which apparently scared the crap out of him.  Damn clowns.  Charlie was traumatized 20 minutes into our field trip and never fully recovered.  
At about 9:15 we arrived at Zootastic.
There was nothing tastic about this place, at least, not to the group of 4-year-olds I was traveling with.
The “zoo” was basically a large piece of farmland, with a bunch of random, fenced-in animals.  You get assigned to a group with tour guide to take you past each animal.   It wasn’t one of those places you could simply wander around in on your own.
And let me tell you.  Four-year-olds love guided tours. 
In the heat.
With swarming bees.
Cooper was stung about 5 minutes into the tour.   This trauma, compounded with the clown trauma, made Charlie a basket case.  (Perhaps he overheard the helpful gentleman who was worried that Cooper would go into anaphylactic shock and die).  Charlie really needed a Band-Aid too.
After we rejoined the tour, the boys were patient (for about 5 minutes) because I   promised them that (at some point) our tour guide (who was actually very sweet) would let us feed some animals.  After all, I’d paid $6 for them each to have a huge cup of foul-smelling animal feed, which they dutifully carried.  Until the bee sting incident.  After which Charlie and Cooper abandoned their cups (to me).  Zach insisted on carrying his and dropped it about every 100 feet.  Each time he dropped it, he was devastated beyond belief, and I had to bend over (with Michael attached to my back, mind you) to scoop the foul-smelling stuff with my hands. 
At 9:30 a.m., just as we were entering the barnyard animal portion of our tour, Charlie demanded lunch.  And Zach needed SOMPHING TO DWINK MOMMY SOMPHING TO DWINK. Cooper just kept on the lookout for bees.
And so it went for the next 45 minutes, as we continued our tour down “safari row” (which contained fenced-in cows, goats, donkeys, and other assorted safari animals).  When is lunch?  Can we leave? What DVDs do we have in the car? What are we doing after quiet time?  This is not fun.  Bees!?! Somphing to dwiiiiiink. Somphing to dwiiink.
At about 10:15, when Zach collapsed and claimed he could no longer walk because of the volume of wood chips (and animal feed) that had gotten into his sandals, I gave up.  We abandoned the tour.
I tried to give the boys a snack and feed Michael some pureed sweet potatoes at a picnic table, but when the bees started to swarm, we made a beeline to the car.
And poor little Michael had been so good, so patient the entire trip that he decided to scream the ENTIRE 45 minute drive home.

And the boys (despite being terribly unhappy by the selection of DVDs I’d chosen for the field trip) complained the whole way home that they couldn’t hear said unsatisfactory DVDs because of the constant screaming.
All in all, a great day.  Can't wait to go back.  I think Zach still has some feed in his shoes we need to return.  Next time, though, I'll find some extra preschoolers to bring with me, just to make the experience that much more delightful.  

[This incident aside, we've had a really wonderful summer.  Will post some pics of the gang and an update in the next day or so!]