Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Day in the Life of Boys

I wake up at 6:20 AM to the sound of two boys laughing. When I come out to the TV room, Things 1 and 2 are sitting on the couch, eating the banana (T1) and apple (T2) I had left out for them last night. They are watching "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" for some reason. Thing 2 asks me when Christmas will be. I say "in three months." "Three!" he says happily. "That's how old I am!"

When you are three, the correspondence of numbers is apparently enough to bring a moment of joy to your life.

When I come home from my run, I sit out back to drink some water and read the paper. They follow me outside, as they do on most days, to dig around in the dirt or play with Nerf rockets, or whatever happens to grab their attention. Today they have uncovered an old toy of Thing 1's--a box of buttons and blocks, all perforated, with colorful shoelaces for tying things up in a variety of ways. Within minutes they have adorned my sweaty body with strange and fabulous necklaces.

Once I've cooled off a bit, I come inside to make their breakfasts. They sit at the kitchen bar to eat, swivelling back and forth on their stools and singing silly songs at each other, trying to make each other laugh and, I'm guessing, expel food from their mouths unintentionally.

Thing 2 goes off to school and Thing 1 plays with his LeapPad until I've checked email and am ready to start him working. He spends the rest of the morning on schoolwork: he writes a story and does some spelling for English; works on counting by threes, fours, and fives for math; and conducts a brief experiment on mass with his scale and a marshmallow. That, plus trumpet practice, gets him to lunch.

After lunch, he plays Pacman for a bit, but grows quickly bored and logs on to an educational video site where he watches short videos on giant squids, crocodiles, and sharks. We look up giant squids on Wikipedia and I read some of the more complicated information to him. Then he spends some time looking at how volcanoes work, which is one of his favorite things to do.

Just before 4:00, we head off to pick up Thing 2 at school. When we get home, the two boys race off to grab their tape-recorders-with-karaoke-mikes, presents last Christmas from their grandmother. I don't recall hearing them hatch this plot, but somehow, at some point, they have. It's interesting, because they haven't so much as looked at them for months. For about a half hour, they march around the house, singing gibberish songs into their microphones. Then they move to the piano and the trumpet, with a bit of ukelele thrown in for spice. Then, suddenly, all is quiet.

Naturally, I'm suspicious. I go out into the TV room and see the two of them lying on their stomachs, using glitter paint to make Fine Art on lots of pieces of paper. I fetch some newspaper and slide it under their workspaces, then beat a hasty retreat so as not to ruin the mood.

Oh, sure--sometimes they whine. Sometimes they scream at each other. Sometimes all they want to do is watch TV.

And sometimes it's a day like today. A day that is absolutely Nothing Special, and yet, for all that, entirely wonderful.

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