It had to be done. We’ve been saying we would do it for years and so we had to do it. We had to run the Brooklyn Half. It’s a terribly competitive race to get into—it sells out within hours, so you have to be on top of things to get in. And, oddly enough, I was accidentally on top of things so we both got a spot.
What we didn’t get was time to train. Now, I will be honest and say that I didn’t NOT train, I just didn’t follow a training plan or do any long runs, really. But I did run a couple of times a week. Micah wasn’t so lucky. Work schedules and such meant he only got a handful of runs in the month before the race. We did one “long run” (about 9 miles) on Easter weekend. So as race day approached, we were a bit apprehensive.
The question was not whether or not we would finish, but how much it would hurt. (And also: would we get home? We almost forgot our metro cards and would have been stranded at the finish line if Micah hadn’t run home from the start line to go get them. Thankfully it was only 4 blocks away.)
The answer was . . . not too bad.
We pushed ourselves. We definitely didn’t hold back (I was concerned about throwing up as we approached the finish line). But we managed to keep up a good pace and while it wasn’t a PR, it was a respectable time: 1:39:16. I was glad for a sub-1:40.
It ended at Coney Island and while we had entertained thoughts of a beach day, we later realized that Oliver’s swim lesson would interfere. Plus, it was overcast and cold. So we finished the race, stretched out a bit, and boarded the train for home.
I’ve been quietly dreading this event for years: the science fair. It was bound to happen, and it finally did. Both boys had to do a project and present it at school.
They were both pretty quick to pick a project: Simon wanted to make a lemon battery, Oliver wanted to make sparks. And going into it, it seemed pretty simple. But we quickly learned that making a lemon battery, while not terribly difficult, does require a degree of precision—at least when gathering materials. And if you want to make that lemon battery do something—like light an LED—it will also take actual experimentation.
The sparks project went fairly smoothly, but it required additional help from Dad because the power tools belong to him. He and Oliver spent an hour or so putting different materials on the end of a dremel and spinning it against other materials to see what made sparks. Thankfully, we did get sparks. And also smoke.
But then there was the presentation. I wanted to be sure their projects looked clean and clear. And of course, they had to do it themselves. (With much guidance and insistence from parents.) Oliver’s project was finished before 11:00pm the day before it was due, so not exactly a win, but not exactly a loss either. And Simon, who had one more day, was done by dinnertime the next day.
That night we went to the science fair and saw all the projects and all the presentations and decided that we did just fine. Yes, there were tears and stressful moments and more work than we anticipated, but it happened and we survived.
Simon said that next year he is going to do more research before he gets started, which was a perfect conclusion to draw from this particular experiment.
Felix loves to be out and about and will start hyperventilating if you tell him to get his shoes. (He is also very good at putting his shoes away.)
He has taken it upon himself to make sure all the doors in the apartment areclosed at all times, but if the front door is ever open, he is always either halfway down the hall or a puddle of tears because he is not invited to leave.He can say “nana” as in banana, but who knows if he actually will. (Other “words” include “mama” “da” and “no.” Although he rarely finds a use for any of them except “mamamamama.”
He loves bath time and gets pretty impatient when the water starts running.He sleeps through the night pretty consistently and has been fairly okay with sporadic, unpredictable nap times.
He has no patience for us reading books at dinner time and tries to talk loudly over us.
He likes Goodnight Moon, or at least to carry the book around with him, above any other book on the shelf.
He still just has two teeth, though I could swear I saw the imprint of two more coming in on top.
He likes to go for long walks around the block before bedtime.His true love is stairs, or any other uneven surface on which to walk. He will spend . . . a long time going up and down stairs, or retracing his steps again and again and again so he can walk over that uneven bit of sidewalk one more time. I don’t think he is going to rest until he can take the stairs two at a time without holding anyones hand.
It was a birthday party. There were balloons (not helium). We got to take some home. We walked out of the building and the balloon some how got loose and sucked right into the little draftway between buildings. There were tears. Micah evaluated the situation and said, “I can do that.” So I pulled out my camera and this is what happened:
And this is why I am out of the running for favorite parent with 3/4 children. But I’ll gladly let Micah have that distinction as long as Felix still reaches for me first.
Among the difficult things Elsa has had to deal with this month are the graying of one of her front teeth (Oliver knocked her in the face with the back of his head when she climbed on his back unexpectedly . . .), she fell and scraped both knees pretty badly on Easter, and then last Saturday her foot got caught in the spokes of the bike wheel and . . . it wasn’t good.
Micah carried her home while Simon wheeled the bike, (Oliver and Felix and I were doing different things on the other bike) and we patched her up as well as we could. We didn’t think anything was broken, so we took care of the open wound and had her rest as much as she could. She didn’t complain of any pain, but was very protective of her wound and needed to be carried a lot.
But the next day when we went to change the dressing on her wound we were surprised at the swelling and decided to take her to the doctor the next morning. So I did, and the doctor sent us to the ER for x-rays. Thankfully, we were correct in discerning that there were no broken bones, just a bad sprain and lots of swelling. We’ve been icing it and it is looking much better. Fingers crossed she’ll be bearing weight on it in a couple of days.
It was interesting in the doctor’s office and in the hospital . . . the doctors all wondered if we had given her anything for the pain, and at first I felt silly that I didn’t even think of that. But then I realized I didn’t think of it because she didn’t need it. She cried when it first happened, but then she took a nap and she woke up and never complained of anything.
And while it has not been a picnic to have two kids that need to be carried most of the time (though Felix would probably disagree with that statement), the bike has been perfect for getting Elsa around town. We had to take the stroller one day because of rain and while it worked, it was much trickier than putting her on the bike and just going. The only struggle there was that she fell asleep every day and was freaking people out because they worried she would fall off. (She won’t.)
It’s been a rough month for her, but she’s a tough cookie.
My hope for Easter this year was that it would be simple but special. Simple because I didn’t have it in me to go all out, and special because, well, it is a special day.
We did go Easter egg hunting the day before, and you wouldn’t believe it but WE CAUGHT THE EASTER BUNNY. And he’s just as cute as you would imagine, though slightly less furry. Also, he only has two teeth and they are on the bottom, not the top like you would expect.
We planned to go on a walk after dinner, but we put Felix in charge of forging the path, so we spent a few minutes trying NOT to wander into the street before Elsa stole the show by running, tripping, and scraping both her knees. We got her patched up and determined to forge ahead with our plan, but Elsa was just as determined to not walk and to loudly protest. Her brothers tried to help her out as much as possible, but by the time we got almost halfway around the block, we realized it was a bust and went back home.
And so we read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while sitting on the balcony instead. It actually tied in quite nicely because Voldemort is so scared of death and so we got to talk about why that is and why we don’t have to be scared of death.
It hardly seems possible because, you know, I’m practically still in high school, but Simon turned 10. We’ve been parents for a decade. He’s been teach us for that many years. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and yet I can’t argue with the math, nor with the evidence that my butterball of a baby is old enough to help out quite a bit with my other (less buttery) butterball of a baby.
We talked about what 10 year olds can do and decided that they could probably ride their bikes to the library by themselves (a little over half a mile). They could probably go to the grocery store to buy a few things (on our same block). They could be left home alone for over an hour. And they can be left in charge of 1-year-old brothers for . . . not very long. They can also, with supervision, make ice cream. (Though, sadly enough, they haven’t really done it yet.)
And while all of those things could happen, the only big change we’ve made so far is to let him use real dishes, instead of the plastic IKEA kidsware. Haha. It’s a silly thing, but we wanted him to feel and see that he is growing up, and that we notice it too.
I would love to write a novel about all of the wonderful things Simon is and does, but I don’t think that could really do justice to the boy and what he means to our family. Even if he has started rolling his eyes at me occasionally and being embarrassed by our family. Sigh. They really do grow up so fast.
We are all about encouraging/bribing our kids to make goals and work toward them. They each have a reading goal and Oliver (of all children) reached his first. Not that I’m surprised! But maybe he is just not usually the first one to do anything, ever.
But he reached his reading goal and he got to pick something fun to do with me and Micah. It turns out that our 7-year-olds idea of a good time is to ride his bike from Brooklyn to Manhattan and then to see a foreign film with subtitles.
(Or maybe he just wanted to see a movie and the one that worked best with our schedule happened to be a foreign film with subtitles—and not, say, Lego Batman.)
So Oliver and I rode together from our place, across the Williamsburg bridge, to the little theatre on the Lower East Side, and Micah met us there after dropping Simon off at his friend’s house. (We had a sitter for Elsa and Felix, obviously.) Oliver got a bag of gummy bears to munch on during the movie, and we all enjoyed “Your Name,” a Japanese anime film that I HIGHLY recommend. Oliver said that he really liked it and that he mostly followed it even if he couldn’t quite read the subtitles fast enough all the time.
(I would also say, the plot is pretty cerebral and is so complex that it feels like it could fall apart at any moment, but it doesn’t and so it feels magical.)
And then we rode home and got pizza for everyone, because Oliver wanted to do that too. He’s nice like that. And a good reader. And rider. And sport.
In my wildest dreams, we would hop in a/our car the minute the kids got out of school and drive up to a/our lake house to spend the week and a half of spring break.
In my wildest reality, we spent the break playing games in the morning and going to parks in the afternoon.*
And now that I write that down, I think we did just about exactly what we would have done at our theoretical lake house as we did at our little apartment, only at the lake house we wouldn’t have even made it as far as a park. We would have just played in/by the lake all day.
So I guess we did alright, even if it was nothing exotic. The kids were happy. I was happy. (Micah, who had to go to work every day, was less happy to miss out on all the “fun.”)
Best/worst of all, the days flew by and we never felt like we were going crazy with boredom nor that we were having so much fun that we were loathe to go back to school.
I’d rank it a solid 7/10 and do it again next year if we have to.
*We hit the nature playground at Prospect Park, Coney Island beach, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Central Library (you can say that’s not a park, but think about what bookworms my kids are), Mount Prospect Park, Long Meadow in Prospect Park, and Brooklyn Botanic Garden.