Thursday, September 13, 2007

Declan the Lothario

My son is a stud.

It's true. I'm not just saying it because I'm his mother.

At his birthday party on Saturday, I heard first hand from the parents of all his lovesick girlfriends:

"Brooke called me at work and said, Daddy, I have a boyfriend and his name is Declan."

"I saw Jessica in the hall at school and she told me Declan was her boyfriend."

"I know Declan has a lot of girlfriends, but don't he and Avery look perfect together?"

Later, I verified this with Declan. "Who's your best girlfriend?"

"Ava," he said solemnly.

"Second best?"


"And Brooke is third?"


You would think such a ladies' man would be the life of the party, but when Matty took Declan to Brooke's birthday party the day after his own, Declan turned the wallflower. He and Matty wandered the outskirts of the party, Declan completely engaged in his own play but not willing to actually speak to any of his friends.

Is this why he's so appealing to all the little girls in his class? Is playing hard to get (and being attracted by it) so innate a human behavior? Is that why Declan's so popular with the girls?

Probably not. Yesterday, Declan's teacher sent home a picture of him and Brooke, her arm draped around his shoulders, a satisfied grin on his face.

"He looks like a pimp," Kylie observed.

Hard to get, indeed.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Just a Walk in the Park, er, Zoo

Yesterday, Jonah asked to go to the zoo. It was a beautiful summer day, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so Andy and I decided to load up the minivan and head over. Although we usually have my father-in-law helping us out on Sundays, this particular Sunday he wasn't with us, so it was just me and Andy and the five kids. But we certainly didn't want to sit around the house all day, and all the kids love the zoo, so it seemed like a great idea.

Things did not start off well. We actually got out of the house a little after nine - quite timely for us - which allowed us to enter at the zoo shortly after the 9:30 opening, before the crowds got there. The problem was, Jonah always wants to eat "ketchup and french fries" immediately upon arrival at the zoo - which is usually fine, since we rarely go that early. But clearly 9:45 was too early for lunch, so we told Jonah he would have to wait, and he became extremely agitated. Waiting on line for a ride on the gigantic balloon didn't help matters, and as I held our place with the girls and the twins (who were themselves cranky, since they missed their morning nap), watching Jonah crying and flailing and throwing himself down on the concrete while Andy tried to calm him down, I wished we had never come.

But Jonah enjoyed rising 400 feet in the air, as we knew he would, and Andy and I made the executive decision when it was over that 10:20 was not too early for lunch. So we headed over to Nathan's, where we ate the best meal we had ever had at the zoo. I guess the food is better when the oil is fresh and the french fries haven't been sitting around under heat lamps for two hours. And we had no trouble getting a table.

Afterwards, Jonah was in a much better mood - which made one of us. Hilary spent most of the morning whining that she wanted her face painted, she wanted a ride in the swan boats, her feet hurt (we really need to toughen her up). Erika thought it was too hot. The twins cried off and on because their sleep schedule was thrown off. But we did end up seeing some animals before we left at around 1:00: we saw flamingos, elephants, giraffes and bears. The three older kids saw the vampire bats being fed dishes of cow's blood, which Erika thought was adorable.

We are so fortunate to have all the help we do with the kids - an amount of help I'm almost embarrassed to tell people about, between the two nannies and the housekeeper and the aides and the grandparents who come several times a week. But all I really want is to go out as a family without any help at all - me, Andy, the kids, that's it. That's when I'm most jealous - when Keri and Matty take their boys out to dinner, or when my friends plan amazing family vacations at all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. And I think we'll get there. The twins will get easier as they get older and stop napping and start being able to talk and follow directions. And Jonah is already so much more verbal and better behaved then he was when he was younger. I can't wait to see what he's like this time next summer, after a year at his new school. Maybe we'll always have to make certain accommodations - but, as we learned, there may actually be no better time to have lunch at the zoo than at 10:30 in the morning.