The Tovsky Tribe

Chocolates, Cocktails, Friends, Babies...A Girl Should Never Have Just ONE!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Santa Claus, Someday!

Ryder has been climbing as long as he has been moving. At 8 months old he would climb up my body, up the couch, or up the coffee table. Then, in his near infancy, I felt the need to have extended arms below him in case a 14 pound meteor came crashing from the highest point.

As he got older I just expected to find him atop tables or bookshelves or windowsills.

Around 14 months the Tovsky men gene for car fascination kicked itself into high gear and Ryder would do whatever he had to to get himself into the drivers seat of our parked cars. He would handle the steering wheel as if he was cruising the Autobahn and touch every button (another of his favorite activities) just waiting for a jack-in-the box to jump out. The next time we would start the car we were usually greeted with blaring music, high-speed wipers, blinking hazards, and high beams. And, often, a quarter stuck in the CD loading slot.

As Ryder got older he got smarter, more capable, and more agile. He became a sort of Spiderman/gymnast/MacGyver hybrid of nimble mind and body. Climbing walls became no challenge, and for hard to reach places he learned to move over chairs, toys, or stools. He learned which buttons operated which functions and which key started the engine.

Recently, we've gotten smarter too! We've learned to lock the doors after leaving the car so that he can't get in! Genius, I know!

Today I found a very wet, very naked Ryder taking a break from his skinny dip to play in my locked car! How'd he get there? He climbed up the truck, across the hood, up the windshield and in the sunroof.

It won't be long until he is sliding down chimneys to get into the house.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

King Pin

We've spent this summer living in Margate. It has been as wonderful as living at the beach sounds. Despite the location, I don't actually put my feet in the sand daily because it is no easy schlep with three kids, four blocks, and lots of crap. And, I am often manning this chaos alone. The downside to the situation is that Todd is only with us 3 or 4 days a week. We go about our busy week days and manage without him, but of course I miss him. The boys miss him. I miss my teammate in this game of life, I miss my best friend for daily chats, I miss my husband. Then, with the way time passes, we are together again for three or four days!

Last week I made a deal with Todd. If he came down the shore on Wednesday night so that we could hang out I would take all three boys out of the house most of the day on Thursday so he could work. This was a fair exchange and he agreed.

As promised he came Wednesday, the babysitter came over, and we enjoyed a summer rare mid-week date night.

On Thursday it was rainy and overcast. There was not much to do outside and all summer long we have slowly tackled a lot of the indoor activity places nearby this beach town. My one idea, Bounce U, backfired when I learned they did not offer Thursday open bounce! So, I asked the boys what they wanted to do. As if they had been thinking about it for days, and as if I often give them free range of every choice in the universe, they looked at me doe-eyed and said "we want to go to the bowling alley!"

We took them bowling once, they were 22 months old. For Emma's fifth birthday they had a bowling party. So we went and laughed our way through ten frames. They could barely lift the balls and even though there were bumpers in the gutters the ball kept getting lost on its way to the pins. Mid-way through the alley manager offered us a ramp! This helped. They would push the ball down the ramp and it would go straight down the alley! The boys laughed every time they gave the ball a push down the sliding board. At game's end we made the mental note that bowling was not for two year olds.

So, when they asked to go to the "bowling alley" I wondered what 14 months had done for their game. Doubtful, but in need of an activity we headed to King Pin Lanes.

For beach bums who rarely want to wear shoes at all they were pretty excited about the bowling shoes they had to wear. And, they were thrilled that the 6 pound ball was a bright orange color that, though it was not tested, may have glowed in the dark. They did some sort of excited dance that made them look like bouncing robots when they saw the computerized screen and they started pushing all of the buttons before I even had Turner and his stroller down the one step to our lane. I let them each type in their own name, trying to use the opportunity to teach them letters. After that I spent the rest of the time caught in Roy Munson type humor trying to referee whose turn it was, trying to prevent them from sticking their little fingers into the ball return, and stopping them from rolling their balls at the same time, down the same alley.
They did knock some pins down, occasionally. We weren't keeping score but since it is all computerized I think I noticed the high score lingering around the mid-thirties. Of course, the score would have been higher had it not been for the innumerable foot fouls which scores you a zero for that frame. Yea, we had a lot of them. And, though no points were accumulated nor deducted, the timing of our game was directly related to the amount of time it took for the ball to get down the alley after being pushed from a straddled position. I am not sure how they did it but they rolled the ball so slowly that other lanes were finishing their games before our balls reached the pins. I mean really slow. Like, watching snails cross the street. Sometimes, actually many times, they had such little spin on the ball that it would stop, just STOP, dead center of the lane. And that was it. Nothing, no movement at all. The technician would have to come to our rescue very often and after a while he just hung around our lane, waiting.

We bowled eight frames in no apparent order and even though I was considered a player in this incomplete game my turns were usually far and few between and used for the sole purpose of speeding things along. At the fourth frame we paused our playing for a potty and snack break. French fries and lemonade had the boys sitting in their seats for nearly 20 minutes, which may be their personal bests. After the eighth frame, when we called it quits, we inserted some dollars into the dancing video game. After all, no trip to the bowling alley is complete with out shaking your booty to an electronica version of "Centerfold!" Chase and Ryder did not get the concept of following the commanded steps, but they did jump around pretending to follow the lights thrilled that their day ended with a dance off!

Overall it was a moderately successful outing, though I am not yet ready to invest in a monogrammed fluorescent orange ball just yet.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Letter to my Son oh his 7th Month Birthday!

Turner on his 7 month birthday

My Dear Angel,

Today you are seven months old. Admittedly, this makes me a bit sad. How has the first half of the first year of your life passed by with hardly a glimpse? How have you evolved so quickly from a tiny, squishy faced newborn to this big, energetic wind-up toy with a smile on your face?
You are such a good boy, you love to laugh and to just be included in whatever is going on.
You are learning to crawl. You get up on all 4 and rock, then inchworm your way across a room.
You can often go the distance and everyday the speed at which you do so increases exponentially.
If I put you into sitting position you can now sit there for a few minutes, enjoying the view from a postured back seat. After a bit, you fall back, not so gracefully!
You can hold your own bottle but only do it occasionally, usually when mommy falls short on the job. Otherwise, you prefer to lay back and relax and let me feed you and cuddle you!
After many weeks, the tooth which has been working its way out has finally broken through and though it is not large enough to show with your smile you definitely have your first tooth!
Just this week you've given me the gift of putting your arms out to reach for me. These little things are my reward! Not that your smile, your laugh, and your warm, snuggly hug are not reward enough. They are. In fact, they are what help get me through my day.
Your laid-back demeanor has a calming effect on me, on everyone. You have a laugh that echoes and makes the room laugh with you.
And, though it may not be often, when you cry you cry so loud it is such a shriek that I feel the need to plug my ears!
Your hair is coming in thicker and curlier every day and it is lighter than either of your brother's hair was when they were your age. Your eyes remain a stormy mix of blues and greys and greens. Just when I think they are on their way to turning the inevitable brown they will be this beautiful light blue and we go back to thinking perhaps they will stay.
On the beach this summer you have been enjoying yourself. We put you down on a clean towel under the umbrella and you manage your way into the sun and sand begging for more. You lay your face into the sand and are only happy when you are fully covered! Your brothers' first time at the beach did not go as well, but within time they were sand eaters themselves.
You are ready for some activities, this I know, and in the Fall we will start filling up your social calendar.
You are getting big (and heavy!) and full of life and it is wonderful to see. I anticipate your growth with delight. Every moment of every day I love you so!!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Super Heroes!

A few months ago Chase and Ryder had a thing for tying their blankets around their necks and throwing their arms straight out in front of them pretending to fly. They even went so far as to have alter egos.
I found this interesting because at that point they had had no exposure to superheroes of any kind, evidence that some things are just innate. Girls want to meet Prince Charming long before they get to know Cinderella and boys want to don capes and shoot webs from their wrists even before they learn who Peter Parker is.
This phase, as most things with toddlers, lasted a bit and eventually faded into the next obsession.

Until now.

Last week the boys decided that they wanted to see the movie Spiderman. I am not sure where this idea came from.
As a party favor from a boy in their class they received a light-up Spidey. When you squeezed the trigger the light tubes that came out of his arms spun around. This toy captivated them so much so that the batteries ran out almost instantly. Maybe the spinning light toy sparked their Spidey interest, maybe it was a camp friend, maybe it was turning superhero age appropriate. Either way, suddenly they were begging for Spiderman instead of High School Musical.

Spiderman 2.1, whatever that means, was on TV the other night. I caught it about 20 minutes in and recorded it. This, an incomplete version of Spiderman 2 loaded with commercials, was how Chase and Ryder came to know of the friendly neighborhood Spiderman!
Spoiled children of the electronic age that they are however, they took no issue with missing the first half-hour of the movie, nor with missing the original, but the fact that there were commercials sent them into instant whine mode the minute the Geico Caveman showed his face. Despite the fact that the caveman is so annoying it makes me want to throw a toddler tantrum, their disapproval was with the break in their viewing pleasure, something On Demand viewing has deprived them of.

Anyway, I went to Target to get a birthday present. While there I noticed the Spiderman 1 and 2 DVD's were on sale. So, I bought them both. As a gift for me kids. My three year olds. These PG-13 movies. Parent of the year, clearly.

And now we have seen both movies about a hundred times. Chase, who does have a tendency to get scared of things: loud noises, life-sized Sesame Street Characters, fireworks (at least the first time around), or our first hibachi experience, somehow watched all of the semi-violent Spiderman 2 without being scared only to jump in my arms whimpering when, in Spiderman 1, Peter Parker gets the fate-changing spider bite. So far, the hero vs nemisis battles have spawned lots of questions like "is spiderman nice?" And "is Doc Ock a little bit nice?
And,though these movies have taught the boys words like punch and fight and nemesis and evil, I am grateful that they see Spiderman as a hero and walk around pretending to shoot silk from their wrists and attempting to scale walls rather than emulating Doc Ock or the Green Goblin. And, they are learning a little something about good vs.evil, in that good wins, always. Every time. At least that is what I am teaching them.

I constantly remind them that the movie is make-believe, that in real life there are no human spiders and that people can't fly even with a cape. I tell them that fighting is bad, and ask them why they think Spiderman is a hero which gets them pondering how saving lives and fighting crimes is noble.

Everybody wants to be believe in Super Heroes! Hell, most of wish we could even be one. Three year olds are no different!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Six Months with Three

I remember the day I found out I was pregnant with Turner. I was blown away. I was a bit surprised, very excited, and I admit, I was scared. Perhaps scared is not the right word, nervous. Yes, I was nervous. I will be the first one to say I always wanted three kids, in fact, I wanted four but that is for another story. I pushed for a third child not unaware that I would be complicating our lives.
When I saw the two lines I was beyond thrilled for my growing baby. As my heart beat faster in delight it would, occasionally, also skip a beat in fear. Holy cow, how on earth would I handle three kids under three?
When Chase and Ryder were born I was told by many to get through the first six months and things would get much easier. Interestingly, be it the first time mom high, or the few years younger self, or even the thrill of knowing we had overcome so much to get that far, I did not find the first six months of thier life all that difficult. (Ask me about twin toddlerhood, and well, it is a different answer.) But, still, when that six month marker came I felt the need to say, "OK, we did it!"

Here we are six months into life with three and things are a bit different this go round. Turner is an angel of baby. I call him "my angel" because he is as laid back, easy-going and as flexible as they come. He laughs and smiles all of the time, despite minor neglect, a schedule dictated by his brothers, and form of love from Chase and Ryder that borders abuse.
But, happy baby aside, life with three young kids is even more hectic than I had initially been nervous about. Even more hectic than life with twinfants. Someone always needs something, always. Sitting only happens at night and by then it is more of an exhausted crash into the first safe and soft piece of furniture that my body passes. Chaos is just a natural part of our day, promptness is impossible, an absurd level of hectic is the new bar for normal, and until the recent potty training, the number of diapers we went through in a day was higher than my children can count. I have to find the time to squeeze in a shower, and I have not cooked a meal in way too long. I probably have not returned your phone call nor your email, and I mean to, both are probably sitting in the "saved message box" waiting for my first five minutes free. Waiting.

But, so what? All of this is just a hiccup, a minor hurdle into the rest of our lives. There was a time when I took a shower everyday, which was nice, but then I did not have a daily dose of a child's love.
Believe me, there are days when I crave nothing more than some "me" time and from the outside it may sound like walls are crumbling, but along with all of this chaos comes much more laughter, and much more love!

I have always felt honored to be a mom to twins. The relationship and dynamic of twins, or at least of my twins, is thrilling and interesting to watch, and irreplaceable. It was also all that I knew until January. Now, I know that the dynamic between older and younger siblings, at least my older and younger siblings, is thrilling and interesting and irreplaceable, as well. Only different.
I love watching as Chase and Ryder encourage Turner as he tries to crawl or sit up. They clap and they cheer and look at him proudly, as only a mentor could. True, Chase and Ryder encourage each other as, together, they learn new skills, and that too is heartwarming. But, they watch their brother through older, wiser eyes and you can see them wanting to teach, to help, to be a big brother!!
Turner looks up to his big brother's in every way. He laughs when they are in the room, no matter what they are doing. Of course, his laughter is the catalyst for a room full of hysterics because Chase and Ryder want to keep making him laugh so they act silly and before you know it we are all doing the crazy dance in our underpants. He wants to be where they are which is igniting his spark to crawl and as long as he is in the same room as them he will endure the smothering of hugs and kisses, the loud screams of excitement, and the occasional bop on the head. All of this, often, while skipping a nap.
We are climbing a mountain right now, we knew the beginning would be a hands full while tied in knots type of chaos. And, it is.
Want to come over? The door is open, but watch the toy in the middle of the floor! The house is messier, the laundry is unfolded, and if you need a plate we, apparantly, now store them in the dishwasher. It is clean, just unloaded.

Perhaps all of this has nothing to do with the three little kids and everything to do with the time management skills of the person in charge of it all? But, if you had a choice between folding laundry or playing a game of tickle monster with three adorable boys, what would you choose?