Monday, April 27, 2009

William goes to camp

Spring is here at last. Hallelujah!

This picture...

was taken on Saturday afternoon at Camp NaCoMe, just west of Centerville, Tennessee. Our church had a family retreat all weekend, so William and I spent the day there. He spent most of the day, I should say, wading in the stream. It made me a little homesick for Montreat, though, and for all the rock-hopping I did there as a child (er, and as a teenager). I hope to take William there sometime soon, too.

I joked with someone that the two things that William was likely to remember from his first time at camp was 1) wading in the stream and 2) having a blue Slush Puppie drink from the canteen. And sure enough, that's exactly what he told his Sunday School teachers yesterday--that he got to drink a blue slushie at camp.

But you know what? If that's his first camp memory, that's okay. I grew up going to camp (camps, actually), and it meant a lot to me to take William to camp for the first time, even just for the day. My parents took me to a camp--Camp Hopewell in Mississippi--for the first time when I was about William's age. I only have a few hazy memories of it--but I have them. William is finally at the age where he may start forming permanent memories. And it's sort of neat to think that hey, this is something that he might rememember even years later, just like I have my early camp memories, too. He'll be 34 years old one day and recall how he waded in the creek in the sunshine and watched the older kids catch crawdads and turtles. He might remember how he asked for a blue drink and then wanted to know what color everyone else got so he could compare his slushie to theirs. Or the memories might be less specific and more impressionistic than that. Either way, it's sort of quietly awe-inspiring to realize that he's finally old enough for these memories that I have to also become his own memories, in some form or fashion.

(It also puts additional pressure on me, of course, to behave so that he can't haul out the old memories and make me look bad one day. :) )

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

William is three!

At precisely 8:35 a.m. this morning, I sang "Happy Birthday" to William. We were riding in the car on the way to school when the digital clock flipped to that time. That's the time, adjusted for the time zone change, when William was born, exactly three years ago today.

And as I say every year on this date now, I am SO GLAD that it's this year and not 2006. Labor and delivery? Not so very much fun. I didn't tell William that part, though. However, he was charmed to learn that I got to eat waffles for breakfast the morning he was born. He also was interested to learn that David brought me an Oreo cookie milkshake from Carl's Jr (obligatory "Carl's Jr what?" remark inserted here) later that day, too. And again, as I always say, those were the best waffles and the best milkshake I have ever had in my entire life.

So, without further ado, let's have a brief retrospective, shall we?

William David Wyckoff, born at 6:35 a.m. pacific time on April 22, 2006, in Twentyine Palms, California:

William David Wyckoff at about 8:15 a.m. central time on April 22, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee:

In the hospital on April 22, 2006 with David:

In front of our house in Nashville this morning before school:

I still can't believe William is three, though. That cool April morning when he finally--finally!--was born took place three years ago.

It's even a little hard for me to believe it's the same person. I know, I know, that's such a cliche. I'm sorry. But it's true. I look at the photos of that tiny little baby and think about how I had no idea who the baby would become. That little seven-pound baby became a 34-pound boy who wore his Halloween wizard costume over his pajamas to watch "SuperWhy" on television this morning. That baby became the person who picked out popsicles in Publix this morning to take to school (he proudly announced to everyone he encountered, "It's my birthday! I'm three!").

And I changed from the person who endured multiple middle-of-the-night feedings with something less than a stoic attitude to a person who endures temper tantrums over snacks I won't let my son eat with something less than a stoic attitude (but I'm working on it). I won't go so far as to say I know exactly what I'm doing now, but I do think I know more than I did three years ago.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Catching up with Easter photos

We have been so busy lately that I still haven't gotten around to posting Easter photos, and it's been more than a week. I'm so embarrassed to be so far behind.

But as my friend's mom pointed out, hey, Easter season technically lasts for the 50 days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost. I guess as a preacher's kid, I should've remembered that. Ah well. Like I said, I've been busy. So we're good now, right?

William, all dressed up in his JFK, Jr. coat:

The outfit under the coat. It was a little too big but he wore it anyway.

Putting flowers on the cross in front of the sanctuary at Westminster:

At church. I actually let him stay in the balcony for the first 15 minutes of the service, and he did very well. He told all the men around us that he wanted to see his daddy march in with the choir.

At Diane and Aaron's house in front of the flowers:

My favorite picture of the day:

The three of us:

William and his Uncle Mark:

We had a very nice Easter this year. The weather was lovely, and we didn't have any trouble getting to and from churchm, which is almost a miracle in and of itself when you consider all the people who turn up out of the woodwork on Easter. And we had a terrific Easter lunch at Diane and Aaron's house. For the record, William received some books, lollipops, a remote-controlled Geotrax train and a bubble machine from the Easter Bunny.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Two good things

We've had a very up-and-down week here. But I did want to share two of the highlights.

The first was...William asked me last night at dinner if he could say a prayer for all the people who lost all their things in the storm (we had a bad tornado come through Middle Tennessee last week). And he remembered and included them in his night-night prayer.

The second was...we asked William what else he wanted to have for breakfast this morning to go with his oatmeal. And I swear to God, the boy said, "How about some vegetables?" David recovered his composure first and said, "Well, sure, William. Um, how about some carrots?" And William said, "Hmm, no. Can I have some broccoli, please?" I am not making this up. I couldn't make that up. You can ask David if you don't believe me.

If nothing else, this sort of thing reminds me why I still love my child even when he takes the Terrible Almost-Threes and rachets them up by a factor of about, oh, infinity.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Egg Dyeing 101

As promised, here are some photos from the Great Egg Dyeing Session of 2009:

William's DeeDee did all the hard work, the drawing, the dyeing, the mopping up. I just took pictures.

Oh, and you can get a mini-tutorial on creative egg-dyeing and watch William ham it up a little bit here:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Egg "Hunt"

Whew. Two Easter egg hunts in one day. That's a lot of Easter egg hunting.

We went to one in our neighborhood, which was very very nice, and then we went to Cheekwood to attend the Easter festival there. As part of the festival, there were egg hunts every 30 minutes for several hours.

Although, to be accurate, these really weren't Easter egg hunts, not in the "hunt" sense of the term. There was no actual hunting involved. At both "hunts," the organizers merely rolled dozens of eggs out there and let the kids run for 'em. Someone at the neighborhood hunt did get very ambitious, though, and scattered some eggs on the playground equipment. So there was some climbing involved in that, at least.

But they were fun. William was big enough this year to pick up the eggs by himself with no trouble, and I think he thoroughly enjoyed doing so.

And here are some photos from Cheekwood.

We opted to attend the Cheekwood Easter egg hunt this year instead of the one at the zoo, and that turned out to be a good decision. The parking was a little more challenging, but the set-up at Cheekwood was terrific. Since there was a new egg hunt every 30 minutes, it wasn't like all your child's egg-hunting dreams hinged on one little moment when they might get stuck behind an oversized kid who should probably be studying for his geometry mid-term instead of hunting for eggs. Or a parent who doesn't get the concept that it's an Easter egg hunt for the children, and the children are supposed to pick up the eggs. We picked up Diane on the way, and then we met up with Leland and Mary-Allen and their families when we got there.

We couldn't get them altogether to pose for a picture. This was as close as I got.

Yes, that's my son with his Easter basket on his head. We're expecting him to be valedictorian one day, of course.

A rare photo of me with William. We were opening his eggs to find out what was inside. Mostly caramels, as it turned out.

This was an unexpected hit. After the kids picked up a handful of eggs, we all meandered down the hill to the little pond. A bunch of frogs (toads?) live there, where they showed off for their enthusiastic audience.

Photos of yesterday's egg-dyeing session to come!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Edge moments

Just when you think your child is going to push you over the edge--and you just realized that there really is an edge and that it's not just a figure of speech--he does something really sweet.

Last night, William was saying his prayer. It was a fairly short one, mostly thanks for his mommy and daddy and his big boy bed, but then he added, "and please help my friend (A) from school feel better soon." His little friend had been absent from school the day before because she had been sick, so he wanted to pray for her to get well.

I love those moments. I think those are the kinds of moments that help parents like me to get through the other kinds of moments, the edge moments. You know. The moment when you find out your child had to go to the director's office at school for misbehaving again. Or the moment when you have to literally wrestle your child into his room for a time out because he just. won't. go. Or the moment when your child flings M&Ms across the bathroom because you won't let him pick out his own massive handful of candy as a reward for going poopy on the potty.

As for future edge moments, well, let's just say that I'm reading a book called 1,2,3 Magic that multiple people have recommended to me. I'm learning about how to react with less emotion and more consistency when William deliberately does something that he's not supposed to do. I'm learning that I need to stop explaining so much to my son when he misbehaves. (That, of course, is hard. I'm a writer. I use words for a living.) And I'm trying to coach myself into believing that it will work...eventually.

And in the meantime, I am going to keep believing in the good moments to get me through the hard times. Like the moment this morning when my son crawled up onto my bed and gently kissed both my cheeks and said cheerfully, "I love you, Mommy!" We'll get through this Terrible (Almost) Threes. We will.

(We will, won't we?)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Send me away

I so need a vacation. I need to go away to a nice beach where I can lie on the sand with a fruity drink and doze under an umbrella. And when I come back, I will be rested and refreshed. And my son will be fully potty-trained and will have stopped hitting and kicking and spitting and all the other horrible bratty behaviors that he's shown such an affinity for of late.

What? A girl can dream, can't she?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

How to discuss death and all those cheerful topics

I wrote a piece for an online publication called've never written for them before, but an editor contacted me recently. I pitched a few ideas, and lo and behold, my first piece is up today.

So here it is: How do you talk to your young child about death? It came up because our Sunday School class has been discussing the best way to handle Easter with our kids. As I write in my article, it's a lot easier to explain Christmas from a Christian perspective to a preschooler than it is to explain Easter. For fairly obvious reasons.

Monday, April 06, 2009


So William's friend Sammy came over to play a few days ago (and Sammy's mom Jaclyn came over to play with me). Jaclyn asked Sammy to spell his name, and he did!

I was very impressed. Sammy won't be three 'til May, after all.

Then last night, during the traditional Wyckoff family Opening Night Hot Dog dinner, Diane asked William to spell his name. I just figured he'd spout off some random letters. But to my shock, he actually spelled his name correctly. I think my jaw nearly hit the floor.

So I worked very hard this afternoon to convince William to perform his little trick for the camera....

(Bonus: you get to see the big boy bed here, too.)