It started last night. The kids and I went for a walk after Josh left for class, and since my new (but broken) camera lens arrived back from the manufacturer this week (whole again), I put it on my camera and took it with us for some test shots to make sure it was working well. I had planned on putting these pictures up last night, but since God's little workers left a gift at our door, I got all emotional and forgot.
Remember the tractors that arrived across the street not long ago to start working on the new house? Well, they haven't moved. Literally. The workers drove them up, parked them on a hill, and drove away -- apparently never to return. We see kids out there all the time climbing on the tractors, and while I refuse to let my three scale the big, yellow CATS, I did let Jack walk up there for a closer look. He was in little boy heaven!
Look at the size of this thing, though! (Disclaimer: No children were harmed during the snapping of these shots.)
The next part of our evening was a really special time for me and the children. It's a time that every mother longs to experience with her precious little ones.
Now I don't know about other children, but mine polarize and head toward extreme ends of the spectrum when it comes to Clipper Time. Abby and I play this goofy game where I pretend to work in a fancy salon (not that she even knows what that is). I look at her fingernails and say with my most dramatic and fake rich-person accent (or at least what I imagine a very rich person's accent would sound like), "Oh dah-ling...we simply must cut your nails!" She hoots and howls with laughter, and a splendid time is had by all.
With Izzy, there's not as much pretending, but there's a ton more "This Little Piggy..." playing. She probably wishes she had at least three or four more hands and feet so she could enjoy extra rounds of "Weeeeeeeeeeeee, weeeeeeeeeeeee, weeeeeeeeeeeeee, weeeeeeeeeeeeeee...all the way home!" It's pretty adorable.
And then there's Jack.
To say that Jack despises getting his fingernails and toenails cut would be a gross understatement. I'm trying to think of the perfect word to describe his emotion toward the task, and the best I can come up with is that he absolutely loathes having it done. Insanely loathes it.
So yesterday, I gently took him onto the back porch (because I can't handle little white moon-slivers all over the living room floor) and told him it was his turn to have his nails clipped. He immediately arched his back in protest and began screaming, "Mommy, please!! Please, Mommy, NOOOOOOO!!!!! Please don't cut my fingers!!!!!!!!!! Don't do it, Mommy!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
I'm sure the neighbors have the Department of Children and Family Services on speed dial by now.
The thing is, Jack's normally an incredibly docile, mild-mannered child. His "fits" are typically equivalent to argueing with something we've asked him to do only until we remind him of the consequences of disrespectfulness...at which time he says "Yes, ma'am" or "Yes, sir" and goes about his merry way.
But when toenails are involved, he turns into a raging toddler madman.
Once the deed has been done, though, he settles right back down. And it's usually into a weepy heap right where the detached nails lie.
That's drama if I've ever seen it. (Although I would probably collapse in exhaustion if I had spent the past few minutes pleading with someone not to "cut my toes" as well.)
Finally, I've heard from countless sources that when preparing children to go to bed at night, you should develop a relaxing routine that transitions them from the loud activity of the day to the quiet peacefulness of the night.
And I can confidently say that we do things a little differently around here. Take a look at Jack just before bed tonight...
And if you think that's good, check out Abby's acrobatics. That girl can fly!
After a few attempts, they even mastered the art of Tandum Couch Jumping...
And sweet Isabel? She got in on the action for a few minutes, but then she decided she would rather just cuddle with Daddy.
In case you're wondering how the bedtime routine is working out for us, we've been doing things this way for almost five years now...and the kids were asleep about 2.5 minutes after we turned out their light.
Maybe we're onto something.