Wishlist Wednesday: The Boy’s Christmas List

The Boy finally wrote his letter to Santa last night. Unlike prior years, he only asked for one thing: The LEGO Lord of the Rings Battle of Helm’s Deep.

LEGO Lord of the Rings Battle of Helm’s Deep, the only thing on The Boy’s list to Santa.

Yes, The Lord of the Rings is pretty big in my house right now, so much the he asked me if I had The Lord of the Rings series on my Kindle.

He hasn’t specifically asked for anything from Cute Husband, but he’s told me that he wants an acoustic guitar for Christmas. I made a deal with him: if he masters the F chord (arguably one of the most difficult chords to play on the guitar) and if he agrees to take lessons until he is 9 years old, I would get him a guitar. And look what he chose:

Martin LXM Little Martin Acoustic Guitar

Martin LXM Little Martin Acoustic Guitar

It’s a Martin & Co. guitar; no cheap toy acoustic guitars for my little man. And it will last him well past the age of 9.

A part of me thinks we got off easy this Christmas since we aren’t searching for specific Beyblades or scrambling to fulfill surprise wishes like we’ve had to in years past. But even though what he’s asked for is very durable and will last a long time, this is by far my most expensive Christmas yet.

I’m afraid to see what’s in store for me in Christmases Yet to Come.

Growing up too fast

The Boy is growing up too fast. As he approaches his fifth birthday, he is quickly shedding elements of his toddlerhood that I held so dear. He still lapses into baby talk from time to time and is still prone to throwing tantrums, but he’s beginning to act less like a pre-schooler and more like, well, a Big Kid!

This past week, I’ve been asked to put away two Yo Gabba Gabba! toys that used to hold places of high importance in his toy collection: Dancey Dance Brobee and his Muno guitar. I have videos of him dancing with his battery-operated Brobee; he used to love playing with it! And the Muno guitar was a present from Grandpa. He used to cycle through the songs and dance (or jump or run around) to each one. It also used to be his instrument of choice whenever he’d pretend to be in a rock band.

And now both of those toys have had their batteries removed and are now waiting to be packed in a box for storage in the garage.

But perhaps the saddest thing for me is that he has now told me that he doesn’t want me to kiss him anymore because (and I quote) “kisses from girls are yucky!” He will still cuddle with me a little, though not nearly as much as before, and he still tells me about his day and about what happens at school, and he does still allow kisses at bedtime.

[sigh] It just makes me a little sad because I’m just not ready for my (not-so-) little (no-longer-a-) baby to be so grown up that he doesn’t want a whole bunch of cuddles and kisses from me.

But as Blink 182 once put it, “I guess this is growing up.”

Puzzles

About a year and a half ago, I bought a Melissa & Doug puzzle of the United States. The Boy likes puzzles, after all, and I’m the crazy mom who loves to give my kid educational toys (he likes them, too, you know), so this was perfect. I didn’t break it out until last week, though, partially because I realized upon closer inspection that it may be a little too challenging for a three-year-old (it’s for ages 6 and up) and partially because, well, The Boy has so many toys.

Anyway, The Boy had seen it in my room for months and asked if he could please have it many times. Last week, I finally relented. Despite the email from school (and especially after it), he had been very well-behaved. So I opened the puzzle and laid it out on a blanket in the family room for us to assemble together.

Now, I love this puzzle. It’s got 51 pieces, which is to say that most of the states have their own, individual pieces. (The Northeast is largely lumped together, Michigan and Wisconsin share a piece with the Great Lakes, and Alaska and Hawaii are both on the border.) But because the states mostly have their own pieces, it’s not like a regular jigsaw puzzle. I mean, there are quite a few states that have straight borders!

The Boy and I pieced together the puzzle last week. It was mostly me doing it; after we set up the border, I started with California (where I grew up) and moved east to Florida, then pieced together the Northwest before moving east to New England before filling in the states between. And he watched, and I talked to him about all the states as I placed them on the map puzzle. (Oklahoma, in his opinion, looks like an axe; and Tennessee looks like a knife.)

This afternoon, after a morning full of weeding out my garden bed, he pulled out the puzzle and began putting it together, this time on his own. He place Maine first, then Florida, California, and Washington. And then, using the picture on the box lid as a guide, he filled in the rest.

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I really am so proud of him.

The Boy at play

I watched The Boy piece together and later put away his collection of dinosaur puzzles this morning, and it amazed me how much he already knows.

“These are the dinosaurs,” he said to Cute Husband after he put them together. “Well, that’s not a dinosaur,” he said, pointing to one. “That’s a pteranodon, so it’s a pterosaur, not a dinosaur. But it’s just with them.”

Later, we played a few rounds of Zingo and a game of Super Why, and what amazed both Cute Husband and me was the ease at which he can (and does) read three-letter words.

He really is growing up so fast. The other day at bedtime, he told me he wants to be in Kindergarten. I told him it’s just a matter of time; he’ll get there soon enough.

In the meantime, I need to soak up these moments as much as I can.

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I still can't get over how much he's grown - and how self-sufficient he's become in so many ways.

Geeking out over the new LE Star Wars XBox 360

I already know that I’m raising a geek.

After all, with parents like Cute Husband and me, The Boy really has no choice but to be, well, a bit geeky.

So I had to beam with motherly (and geek) pride as I observed The Boy completely geeking out (for lack of a better phrase) over yesterday’s announcement at Comic-Con that Lucas Arts and Microsoft had teamed up to create a limited edition Star Wars XBox 360 and Kinect bundle.

As the images flashed on the screen, you could almost see excitement pulse throughout his little body.

“It’s Guddoo Dee Too!” he shrieked when he saw the R2-D2 console. And when they pulled out the gold controller, he exclaimed, “That looks like C-P-E-O!”

I so adore this child.

Bridges, supports, and gravity

The Boy is learning a lot about gravity and the importance of building supports under bridges.

He loves his Thomas the Tank Engine toys. Usually, Cute Husband builds elaborate railway systems (that take over the living room), and The Boy moves his trains around the track for a bit. Recently, he’s been helping Cute Husband build the track, and that includes making hills and bridges for his trains to go up and down.

This morning, as The Boy plays with his trains, he’s discovering that he needs to have supports under each of the joints or else the weight of his trains will destroy the track. Cute Husband has been called back to the living room several times already to repair the bridges (I’m not really certain why he thinks it’s ever safe to retreat).

“Oh, noooooo! Daddeeeeee! Look!”

Thankfully, Cute Husband is better able to explain the laws of physics than I am, and The Boy seems to understand why his trains (and the track) keep falling down.

He may be an engineer, yet!

And just like that, he’s earned James…

I am so proud to announce that The Boy pooped in the potty this morning!

It’s a really big deal, and I even called Big Sis E (but only left a message on her voicemail) to share the news.

He was (rightfully) very proud of himself, but I think he was happier to finally be able to open and play with James.

These are just baby steps, but we’re on our way to becoming a fully potty-trained house!

Doing something right?

The Boy threw me for a bit of a loop this morning.

You see, our AM routine is pretty standard. He wakes up, we snuggle for a little while, he may or may not take a shower with his dad, he gets a new diaper and new clothes, and then he eats. After he eats, if there’s still enough time, he’s allowed to watch one (and only one) 20-minute program (of his choice) so that I can get dressed to go to work.

Today, however, this little routine was shaken a bit.

We did fine until it was time to eat. He eagerly ate a banana (though Cute Husband wasn’t allowed to give it to him – “No, Da-ee! Mama gets!”), then proceeded to play with his cereal. He started putting Cheerios into his milk (I’ve been having him eat dry cereal to be washed down with a glass of milk), which only meant I needed to show him how to eat cereal with milk. He got the hang of it pretty quickly, then after five bites, decided he was done with cereal and wanted yogurt. One food at a time is my rule, though, so I had him finish his cereal before I took out the yogurt.

I opened the yogurt, he took one bite, then took off running. “No Blues Clues unless you finish your breakfast, Little Man,” I said to him. Usually, this results in a scowl and a slow walk back to the kitchen to finish his food. Not today. No, today he looked at me, shrugged, and took his plastic carrier containing the Gabba Friends and their train cars.

“Help, Mama, please?” he half-demanded from the family room.

“No,” I said firmly. “I won’t help you until you finish your yogurt.”

He responded with a frown, came back to the kitchen for one bite of yogurt, then returned to his toys and partially unzipped the pouch himself.

So, he didn’t need me after all.

Once again, I threatened him with no TV – and then it dawned on me that he was engaging in free play on his own. Yes, he was playing with licensed characters, but he was creating his own world. I was suddenly reminded of an article I wrote earlier this week about the waning trend of overscheduling your kids, and another article I read about the need for kids to have occasional unplugged days at home.

And here I was, put off because it threw me off my regular schedule.

After that realization, I went to my bedroom and changed my clothes. He joined me as I was brushing my hair.

“Mama? Brush?” he asked as he opened the drawer, reaching his little hand into it for a hair brush. I slid it closer to his fingers, he grabbed it, quickly ran it twice through his hair, then returned it. “Shoes, Mama,” he reminded me. I put on my shoes, and he ran out of the bedroom.

I paused in the kitchen to grab my bag (forgetting my cell phone in the process), but he was waiting for me in the hall.

“Mama! Come on!” he said.

And as he ushered me out the door into the garage, I was suddenly grateful for those few moments he opted to creatively play on his own.

Already making a wish list…

Our typical Sunday morning paper routine involves removing the ads from the news, then putting the news in the recycling bin and combing through the ads. Normally, The Boy has very little interest in any portion of the Sunday paper, but there was a Toys ‘R’ Us ad this past Sunday.

Several times on Sunday, I caught him intently studying the ad. He’d hone in on one item, then stare at it, analyzing every part of it. Of course, the ad was full of things he loves: a 7-piece drum set (out of our price range right now), several backyard sets (no room on our lot), various Thomas the Tank Engine toys… Each item was carefully scrutinized, and it was as though he weighed all the choices on the page before calling out, “Mama! Da-ee! Dis!” and pointing to his item of choice.

Yesterday morning, he spread open the ad on the couch, then stood before it, staring at each of the pictures. He propped one arm on the ottoman and leaned into it, adjusting his stance from time to time. I watched him from the kitchen as I dried and put away dishes, careful not to disturb him with my presence. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (but was really only about five minutes), he looked up, caught my eye, and beamed. “Mama! Mama! Mama!” he said, running to me, the ad flapping beside him, clutched in his tiny fist.

He threw his arms around my leg, then motioned for me to sit down. “Down!” he commanded. When I obliged, he turned around and backed into my lap, spreading open the ad for me to see. “There!” he said excitedly, pointing to the Thomas the Tank Engine table (currently on sale but both out of our price range and too big to store anywhere in our house).

“Yes, I see! That’s a very nice table!”

“Thomas,” he said, correcting me. “Mama! Thomas!”

I wouldn’t dare ask him if he wanted it. I know full well what the answer would be. Instead, I smiled, nodded, and said, “Yes, Baby, that’s a very nice table where Thomas can play!”

He seemed content enough with that response. He handed me the ad, jumped out of my lap, and turned his attention to his Yo Gabba Gabba! friends.

I caught him looking at the ad again this morning. Thankfully, it was a different page, but it was with the same intense concentration.

This behavior is eerily similar to mine in the weeks leading up to Christmas or my birthday. And with The Boy’s second birthday only days away, it’s almost like he knows!

Tommy Bear, revisited

A little less than a year ago, The Boy received Tommy Bear from one of my coworkers when he visited me at work. It was the first stuffed animal that he took to, so I ordered a second one from Amazon a few weeks later. I’ve dutifully swapped one for the other so that they could be frequently washed and remain indistinguishable, but The Boy wasn’t insisting on taking Tommy Bear everywhere, so I wondered about my decision to get a second bear.

I can now say that I am elated I did so.

Tommy Bear is a near-constant companion when we’re at home. For the past three mornings, Tommy Bear sat with The Boy at the little breakfast table, and he accompanies The Boy for diaper changes. Tommy Bear was almost fed applesauce yesterday morning and needed to have his own bowl of Cheerios today. I watched this morning as The Boy interacted with Tommy Bear, cuddling and cooing to his bear the same way he’s cuddled and cooed to by me. It warms my heart to see him with his faithful bear!