Thursday, November 25, 2010

Overheard in the Car

Eli (Sam's cousin): Sam, did you make up Changing Town?

Sam: No, I found Changing Town. I made up the real world.

(a little later)

Sam: babble babble babble babble babble babble (non-stop talking)

Eli: Sam, I have something to tell you.

Sam: babble babble babble babble babble babble

Eli: Sam, I have something to tell you

Sam: babble babble babble babble babble babble

Eli: Sam, Stop talking.!

Sam: babble babble babble babble babble babble

Eli: Sam, I need you to listen to me!!

Sam: babble babble babble babble babble babble

Eli: Sam, I need you to stop talking and listen!!!!

Sam: (short pause)...Energy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Noah's Sleeping Adventures

Sometimes I feel as though I'm on a bad reality television show.  Perhaps it is "Sleep Deprivation Island" or "When Children Won't Sleep!"  Whatever the name, I'm ready to get voted off the island.

Back when Sam had trouble sleeping and going to sleep and staying to sleep, Joy and I had several excuses - Sam had been in the NICU, Sam had reflux, Sam hit his head on a giant falling mirror.  Whatever the reason, it was not us.  Now that Noah has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, we must confront the idea that we create children who won't sleep.

I should qualify that statement - we create children who won't sleep for their mother.  For the longest time, Noah, our mellow child, easily fell asleep.  Joy would nurse him, they'd smile at each other, and Joy would read while Noah drifted to sleep.  Over the past year, that idyllic picture of maternity has steadily tarnished until Noah refuses to go to sleep for Joy.  On the weekends, I put Noah down for his nap, and he is asleep in ten minutes.   In the evening, I snuggle with him for ten to fifteen minutes, put him in his crib, rub his back, and he drops on off to sleep.  When we have babysitters, he lays down in his crib, snuggles down under his blankets, and goes to sleep.  When Joy tries to put him down for nap, he flounces, struggles, makes requests, and fights sleep for two hours.  In frustration, Joy spent the last month driving Noah around at nap time for thirty minutes to an hour just to get him to sleep.  Yes, our child is a major source of global warming.

At night, Noah has developed a pattern where he will call for the parent who will help him do what he wants.  For instance, when Noah wakes up at 3:00 in the morning, he's still tired and wants to go back to sleep.  So I hear his little voice intruding in my dreams calling "Dada.  Dada!  DADA!"  I go in to him, pick him up for comfort, he falls back asleep, and I return to bed.  When Noah wakes up at 6:00 or 6:30, he calls out "Mama!"  The difference in who he calls out for is clear in what he always says when Joy arrives in his bedroom: "Want to watch someting on T.E!"  When he's ready to get up and play, he wants Mom.  When he just wants to sleep, he wants Dad.

We have hope in Sam.  He now goes to his room and reads after his bath and comes down a little while later asking for a story and a snuggle.  One of us obliges, and Sam goes on to sleep.  Here's hoping that day comes soon for Noah.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Think I'll Write an Opera

Every week I grow more and more impressed with Sam's Kindermusik class.  He just started Young Child this year and he's learning dictation and instrument sounds and rhythm and all the things that some Freshman music majors struggle to learn.  This week, the curriculum even exposed the kids to foundational classical pieces starting with Mozart's The Magic Flute.

Since Sam's class only listened to selections from the opera (and because I'm never one to pass up a musicological teaching opportunity), I brought home my DVD copy of the opera I use in class every year to show Sam, and we watched a few selections from Julie Taymor's version produced at the Met a few years ago.  From Tamino charming the animals with his flute to the Queen of the Night's aria to the Papageno Papagena Duet, Sam and Noah were enchanted.  Noah probably would have watched the entire opera and certainly will some day, but Sam declared that action was needed.  He was going to write an opera.

Over the past day, Sam's plan for his opera has slowly developed.  The title is "Elephants Sing at Night" and it features seven elephants, one of whom is the star and sings alone and six that always sing together (notice that he already has a diva role prepared).  Each elephant wears a waterproof costume because each has a bucket full of water next to them in the opera.  During the rests in the music, the elephants dip their trunks into the bucket and turn and spray water out over the audience.  He's already got a cast picked out and told me that at school today he plans to ask one of his best friends, Cole, to be in the show along with one of his teachers, Ms. Lori.  Joy and I have standing invitations to come and sit in the audience where we will sit on a bench that is as long as the stage (I suppose we all sit on one bench so that everyone gets wet equally).  If you're interested, I'm sure we can swing more tickets as the parents of the composer - just let me know.