I haven't written much about the boys lately, mostly because they are all changing so quickly I can hardly keep up.
Carmine is on the verge of turning 3, and although I have a hard time not thinking of him as my baby, he most definitely is turning the corner toward full-fledged toddlerhood (and soon to be preschooler!). I still can't quite wrap my head around it, but he reminds me of it constantly - mostly with his nonstop chatter.
He is very much like Dante, in that he starts talking when he wakes up in the morning, and he doesn't stop until he falls asleep at night. At the rare moments when he's not talking, I get concerned about him.
He very generously offers me a running commentary of his day. "I'm not cold anymore, Mommy. I take my coat off, Mommy. I sit on couch now, Mommy. I play my guitar now, Mommy." He also keeps me apprised of the time - pointing to the clock and saying "It's time o'clock, Mommy."
The two of us were on our way home from Newport last month when the car broke down, and it was quite an adventure, and I have to say, he proved to be very good company as we waited on the side of the road. We chatted, and he asked me many, many, many times about the car - "Car won't go, Mommy? Awww, darnit, cheese cracker!"
And now that the car has been repaired, every time we go out to get in the car, he asks "Ours car is back now?" I guess he just wants confirmation of that very obvious fact.
Gabe has gotten Carmine hooked on his favorite radio station, too - every time we're in the car, Carmine asks me to put on 93-3. And he's now in the habit of walking around listening to my old iPod. He's even getting the hang of working the buttons. And when he saw the cover of a book called "Corduroy Goes to the Doctor," with a picture of Corduroy wearing a stethoscope, he pointed to it and said "Corduroy have iPod."
He also is under the impression that everything in the world is his. We drove past a farm, and he yelled from the backseat "I see my cows!" And when we were in Maine a few months ago, Gabe and Dante were walking my Aunt and Uncle's dogs, and Carmine kept asking "Where's my dog?"
He loves to play pretend - much more so than either Gabe or Dante did - and I get a big kick out of it. He'll make his stuffed animals dance and walk around and hug each other. And when he wants to have them go to sleep, he doesn't just lay them down - he lays them carefully on their side. He did the same thing with his tractors one day, too. Because everybody knows that tractors sleep on their side.
Like any kid his age, it doesn't take a lot to make him happy - evidenced most especially the day he discovered pockets. He got his hand into one of the pockets on his pants, smiled, and yelled "Hey - this a pocket!"
He walked around like that for a few minutes, then, lo and behold, he discovered that there was one just like it on the other side. He quickly shoved his hand in that one and yelled "Hey - this ANOTHER pocket!" Life is pretty great when you're almost three.
Trick-or-treating was quite an experience. Last year it took him a little while to figure the whole thing out, but this year there was no learning curve whatsoever. He was sprinting from house to house, bounding up the stairs, knocking on doors, and yelling "TRICK OR TREAT!!!!" It was hysterical! And as we went from one house to another, he kept peering in his bag and telling me "Yook (look) Mommy, I got all these candies!!!!"
I love seeing him grow up, and seeing him get smarter every single day. But I will be sad when he leaves behind some of his baby talk/mispronunciations. My favorite one is "doog" for "good." I love to ask him how his meal is, just becuase I like to hear him say it's "doog." And when I ask him where something is, he points and says "There IS it!"
He's so polite, too - he'll try eating things that I know he doesn't like, and he'll very carefully take a teeny tiny little bite, while enthusiastically telling me "This is doog, Mommy." And then he'll quickly spit it out onto his plate. I give him serious props for trying to be nice!
Dante has always been a bundle of energy, but as he approaches his seventh birthday, his already excessive energy levels have absolutely exploded, and he honestly can't contain himself most of the time. He's constantly whirling, jumping, spinning, skipping, bouncing, running, hopping, twirling, dancing, or otherwise in motion.
And all of these motions are accompanied by noise. Sometimes nice noises, sometimes very not-nice noises, and sometimes indescribable noises. It's like living with a sound effects machine. And much of the time, I don't think he even realizes he's doing it.
He's sort of a cross between the Tasmanian Devil and Winnie the Pooh - crazy and in your face, but also still so loveable and sweet. It's a very delicate balance!
He continues to amuse us with his very unique outlook on the world. I think I need to put together a book just filled with Dante-isms. He remarked to me one day - completely out of the blue - that it would be good "if you were allergic to camels, because then you wouldn't have to worry too much about it, since camels really aren't around here." An odd thing to say, but you can't argue with his logic.
He also asked me to take a picture of him and put it on Facebook, "so that he could be famous." I obliged, adding that one picture to the hundreds of others of him that are already on Facebook. Famous, indeed : )
Gabe is planning to gain fame through his writing. He has notebooks chock full of stories. "Diary of a Wimpy Gabe," as well as his own takes on "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Harry Potter." His writing is pretty impressive, too. Dialogue, cliffhangers, accompanying illustrations - he's got it all.
I'd be much happier if he did all this writing during the day, though. His preferred creative time is at night, and he's often awake until 10pm. We try to make sure his lights are out by 9, but sometimes he sneaks the light back on. I'm not crazy about him being up so late, but at the same time, I can't force him to go to sleep, and if he's sitting in his bed and writing quietly, I don't see any reason to get too upset.
After having a few kind of rough weeks at school, he seems to have really turned things around, and is getting many, many good reports sent home. Last week we even got a call from the principal to tell us what a GREAT week Gabe had. I was honestly almost in tears, I was so happy to hear that.
We still struggle with a lot of things at home, though. Lots of problems with listening and paying attention, not following directions - and one of the biggest issues - instigating. He has a terrible habit of stirring up trouble. So many times, Carmine will be playing quietly, not bothering anyone, and Gabe feels the need to go over and get in his face and get him all riled up - either angrily, or just crazily and goofily.
And of course once Carmine gets going, Gabe and Dante get going, and before I know it, I've got a three-ring circus on my hands (remember I described Dante as part Tasmanian Devil? Carmine's got a little bit of that in him, too).
I try so, so hard to keep my cool, but when all three of them are bouncing off the walls, that is a very tall order. It's something I'll continue to work on, though. And I know that I can't be expected to be calm and patient all the time - nobody's perfect, and we all get frustrated and angry sometimes. But it is something I want to work harder at.
They're a crazy bunch, and they test my patience, and life truly is a three-ring circus most days - but they are also growing into very smart, funny, interesting little people, and I'm so lucky to be their ringleader.