A few weeks ago I randomly grabbed a book off the shelf of the kids' section at the public library. The title intrigued me as did the cover illustration. Why would a panda be wearing shorts?
Zen Shorts is the story of two brothers and a sister who meet a panda named Stillwater. He tells them simple stories that are interesting to kids and based Zen principles (as I learned from reading the author's note at the end of the book.)
The illustrations are also fantastic. Geeks will appreciate that Muth has worked on several graphic novels, including Neil Gaiman's Sandman series.
We had to return this book before the due date and not for the usual reason we return books before their due date, which is because if I have to read them one more time my head will explode. We had to return it because we were reading it so much that the pages started to pull out from the binding. So, we returned it and I bought my own copy and several extra copies to give as gifts.
I am not a particularly Zen person, but I aspire to be. And I have no idea if the kids understand the principles in this book, but I've always believed that at every stage my kids understand way more than I think they do.
You might be happy to know that Milo, Huck, the other kids in their class, and I all survived the first day of preschool. In the words of their teachers, "they did great."
Play with sand and funnel - A
Pee in toilet - A
Not bite, hit, scream at, or otherwise frighten other children into needing therapy later in life or now - A
And now for my Million Little Pieces James Frey moment. In my list last week I mentioned that an angry mother had called the school to find out if "those twins" were coming. To be truthful, she called because she was behind us on the waiting list and the teacher had told her that if my boys decided not to come then there would be room for her child. However, there were a pair of moms at gymnastics class who used to refer to them in whispered tones as "those twins" because of a biting incident that my lawyers have asked me not to refer to on this blog.
For those of you who have absolutely no interest in the bodily functions of my children, please goreadsomethingelse.
Still with me? Hey, thanks! I know, it's gross to some people, but if you're in the potty training stage or not looking forward to the potty training stage, or so glad that you're done with the potty training stage that you can laugh at me, then you can relate.
When I returned from my trip to Austin with my sister, in addition to bringing home many soothing kid-free memories of massages and margaritas by the pool, I also brought home a bunch of hand-me-downs. Some of those hand-me-downs were in the form of Thomas the Train underwear. (Editor's Note: Please delete this entry when boys are old enough to read so that they never know how excited they were to wear their cousins hand-me-down underwear.)
When Milo and Huck caught sight of the underwear they decided that they were ready to wear them. It was 7 A.M. and I was exhausted from the weekend, rushing around the house trying to get a load of laundry in and convince Annabella to get dressed and brush all the things that needed to be brushed and wash all the things that needed to be washed. My guard was down, so I said "yes."
Two weeks later, I haven't regretted my decision. We've had some accidents, especially when one of them is waiting for the other one to go (the joys of twins!). I keep remembering what Clay from the Dad Labs said on our podcast - "It's only pee." Of course, sometimes it's not only pee, which is a little more difficult to deal with, but certainly not as difficult as carrying and then giving birth to two 7.5 lb. babies and then nursing them. (That is, by the way, my way of coping with anything difficult.)
I should mention that the boys have been using the toilet before bed and naps for several months, but they never asked to use it and their diapers were frequently wet throughout the day. At the beginning I asked them every 10 minutes if they had to use the bathroom and then took them every 15 minutes whether they had to go or not. As the weeks have wore on, I ask more infrequently now they even tell me that they have to use the toilet...sometimes.
One of the highlights of my day is getting to walk Annabella to and from preschool. There are many monotonous parenting chores (baths, for example) that I'm sure I will look back fondly on, but for now I'm just not that into. Walking Annabella to school is something I can appreciate right now. Don't get me wrong, it's not always idyllic. Yes, sometimes we walk hand-in-hand having serious conversations about why some weeds are more beautiful than some flowers. But sometimes I will ask her an innocent question, like "how was school?" and she will shout, "I'm not talking to you!" and then run as far ahead of me as possible. I don't mind this. It's her way of dealing with school and separating herself from me. (Or so said some online advice column I read somwhere.) Plus, I find it mildly amusing to watch her sulk at the corner like a teenager while she waits for me to catch up because she knows she still can't cross the street by herself.