Tank turned three, or "fwee," last weekend. If he were telling you about his birthday here is what he would say. . .

Fwee. No Two. Chorch. Cake. Hat. Nonnie. Papa. Cake. Fwee. Yaaay. Cake. Pwesent. More Cake. Eat.

Translation: He is now three, not two. He went to church on his birthday and in his class everyone wore hats and ate birthday cupcakes. Monday he went to Nonnie and Papa's and had more cake and opened presents. It was all very fun.

Happy Birthday My Sweet Boy!

At three you are full of energy, curiosity, confidence, determination, affection, enthusiasm, silliness, and humor with a large dose of stubbornness.

At three your communication is succinct. You don't mince words. If you don't want to do something you simply say, "don't like." When you wake in the morning you say, "done bed." Whey you are thirsty you look at me and say, "water." And after you have had a temper tantrum of epic proportions you get up and say, "Timmy all done skweme."

You have become quite independent. In fact, you insist on doing most everything yourself, from opening and closing doors to turning off lights, to putting the laundry in the machine to removing the groceries from the cart and placing them on the checkout counter. By insist I mean if you aren't given the opportunity to do these things you scream and flail about as dramatically as possible. I know you are thinking of me when you do this as you know how much I adore the disdainful and/or pitiful looks of onlookers.

At three you really look up to Spinner. You scream in delight when he comes in from school and beg his attention. With Bean you vacillate between adoration and irritation but you can't go to bed without receiving a hug from him.

You call our back yard the "park." I love that.

Like your brothers, you love a good round of wrestling. It is made even better when dad joins the fun. You love to ride on your dad's back and beg for more when he tires.

At three you have a bashful side. When you meet new people you try with all your might not to make eye contact or let them know you have any interest in them at all. But you do. You cut your eyes to see what's going on while pretending to play elsewhere. You pull your mouth down in an effort to keep the emerging smile from busting forth and betraying your interest and delight until finally you give in and start speaking ever so softly.

You are a fantastic sleeper. As long as you have your special blanket covering your face.

At three you can say the alphabet and recognize each letter in print. You can count to 14 but often leave out six. You know your primary colors and shapes. You have a love of learning just like your brothers.

You also have a love of food. A serious love of food and have inherited your mother's sweet tooth.

At three you still love to snuggle. And I enjoy every minute of it!

It's all about the chalkboard

If I were to homeschool my three ruffians we would set up shop around our kitchen table and I would have a really cute chalkboard on the blank yellow wall behind the table, where I would teach all sorts of interesting and fabulous lessons. Okay, not really.

I have thought about homeschooling. For a nanosecond. Then I realize we are not meant for one another, homeschooling and me. I lack a critical gift, immeasurable patience. I just don't have it.

Then there is the social factor for Spinner who absolutely craves constant interaction. Today I got a note from his teacher (with a smiley face) that read, "please talk about personal space." His homework today was to write about an imaginary pet. Spinner wrote about a parrot being his imaginary pet because "they will talk and talk and talk and they won't ever tell me to 'sit quietly,' unless I tell him to." These two things cemented what I already knew. I will never homeschool.

Plus, let me be perfectly honest here, I am just a tad selfish and really love having time alone during the day.

Still, I want a chalkboard on the yellow wall behind my table. I'm sure I can find some educational purpose to justify it. But, yikes(!), they are expensive.

This one is from Sundance. It's great. And I love the ledge for the chalk. But $165? For that tiny thing?

This is better in terms of size. It's from Pottery Barn. It's $150. Again, just a bit pricey for me.

So, I took matters into my own hands and with the free time I have while my kiddo's are in school I made my own.

I wish I had taken a "before" photo but I forgot. My materials were 1. an old mirror I bought at a thrift shop. The frame was two toned wood and pretty beaten up. 2. Plywood cut to size by Lowes, 3. some chalkboard paint and 4. spray paint. After spray painting the frame with some paint I had on hand and painting the plyboard with the chalkboard paint my mom had on hand I took the mirror out and inserted my new chalkboard in it's frame.


Hmmm, I think I feel a lesson coming on.

The R word. . . do you "get it?"

Chances are, if you are around kids at all, you have heard the 'R' word used in derogatory ways. To describe themselves, or someone else, as being or doing something stupid. Or silly. Or goofy. Sometimes it is used to be cruel.

The other day I was walking out of the YMCA with Bean and I observed a group of middle school girls on the playground. The group of them watched us, conversed a little, then looked back at us when I heard one of them say in a disgusted voice, "I think he's retarded." I didn't say anything. My immediate thought was that I was glad Bean didn't get it yet. And then I wondered when he would. And what it would do to him.

Kids aren't the only one's guilty of using the 'R' word. Adults are too. I suspect that kids pick up the word from adults as much as they do their peers.

Part of why I didn't say anything to those girls on the playground was because I had that punch-in-the-gut feeling that Tammy and Parker describe here at Praying for Parker. Please take the time to read her post.

It's time that more people "get it."

Conversations with Spinner, #82

I took the big first grader out for dinner tonight, for a little one-on-one time before a Cub Scout meeting. It was very enlightening.

Me: So, Spinner, what do you think of first grade so far?

Spinner: I LOVE it!

Me: Yeah? What do you love about it?

Spinner: Well, we have more "must-do's" than kindergarten and I like that. I get to be a learning partner and help 'T' with his writing, I like that. And we have a different playground and Olivia is on the playground at the same time my class is!

Me: Oh, Olivia (a crush from pre-school) does she remember you?

Spinner, chuckling: Uh yes, sometimes she pretends like she doesn't see me but I know she does. And then today she said, "Hiii Luuuke." Everybody knows we love each other.

Me: Really?

Spinner: Yes, it's common knowledge.

Me, trying to change the subject: Huh. Okay. So, what about the kids in your class? Have you made some new friends?

Spinner: Yes, I have made lots of friends. One of my new friends is 'E' but when I try to talk to her she tells me to go talk to 'L.'

Me: Why do you suppose she does that?

Spinner: Because she doesn't want a boyfriend and she thinks I love her.

Me: Oh, I see. Do you want a girlfriend?

Spinner, snorting: YES, I want to get as many as I can!!

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