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Archive for March, 2013

What parents do…

…when they get a night off:

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I’m tired, my back hurts, the baby is so low I can’t bend over (which is annoying as 87% of my life is picking things up off the floor or dressing people shorter than me)…

… so it seems reasonable (if boring) that I’m becoming well acquainted with the evening t.v. schedule. What is possibly less than reasonable is the acute (over-?) reactions I’m finding I have to commercials.

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ImageMuch of winter has been sunny and nice this year. The boys have been enjoying it.

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Our ”kveldsmat”/pre-bedtime snack family conversation turned to the topic of the new baby. More specifically, what we should call the new baby. Karel has been an active participant in this topic before and has set some strict guidelines. 1) The baby cannot be called something that anyone in the rest of the world is called. No repeat names. 2) He has to like it.

So far, none of the names Bjørn or I have suggested have fulfilled either criteria.

Our firstborn is closer to five than he is to four now, but don’t mention that to him. He doesn’t want to grow up. I’m okay with that. But he IS growing up. He’s learning things — words, play, behaviors — from sources outside the house. He’s confused when others act unfairly, upset by conflict, learning to be empathetic. I think both Bjørn and I flash back to our own four-, five-, six-year old selves when we watch Karel learn to navigate social ins-and-outs as a borderline introvert.

So this evening at the table, when our little grown-up suddenly said ”I’ve got it!” after rejecting every name suggestion we came up with, we waited to hear what his undoubtedly brilliant suggestion would be.

”We can take ‘Karel’ and ‘Emil Birk’ and put them together for a name for the baby,” with a finger emphasizing the sounds of names. We’ve been working a bit with letters and phonetics, and I feel fairly certain he was visualizing letters and trying to put them together, like they do on one of his favorite t.v. programs.

Then he turned his head away from us in order to think. We started coming up with our own combinations: ”Karmello!” ”Kamil!” A quick turn, pointed finger, and stern ”Hshhh!” came in our direction. Trying to be sensitive, I said ”okay, we won’t talk about names while you’re thinking about this.”

”No, you can’t talk AT ALL while I am thinking.”

Eyes under raised brows meet across the table. Ohhhhkay. Silence it is.

But the seriousness on his little face; the energy going into just thinking, idea generating… Our eyes became a bit shiny. Closer to five than to four. Closer to school than to daycare.

When he finally turned back to us, he pronounced that his new little brother shall be named Karel Emil Lyngstad. Not bad, we said, wondering why we didn’t come up with that combination four, almost five, years ago. ”I’ll tell him,” and lifting up my shirt he put his blond head next to my stretched out abdomen and said softly, ”Hello, baby. Your name is going to be Karel Emil Lyngstad.”

(Emil Birk followed suit, his mouth pressed to the other side of my belly, and recited all of our names to the baby. This has been his mantra for the last weeks. ”Æ heter ‘Milian. Du heter Kimberly. Pappa heter Bjørn Magne. Karel Magne heter 4 år.” I’m called ‘Milian. You are called Kimberly. Pappa is called Bjørn Magne. Karel Magne is called 4 years. He tries so hard to do what his big brother does, and the look of mild confusion on his face as he mimics Karel or tries to follow Karel’s directions is both endearing and a tiny bit heartbreaking.)

I missed something in what was said next by Emil Birk, something that prompted Karel to ask me half-seriously if I was their mama.

”Yes. I am most definitely your mama. Do you know how I know?”

Wide blue eyes, shaking blonde head.

”I know because I remember every minute of when you were born.”

And then we told him, Bjørn and I, about the night before he was born, when I had to go into another room while Pappa and Grandma were watching a movie (the brilliant La Misma Luna) and the contractions became too strong to ignore. About how at the hospital I felt him flip and flurry inside me into new position, and then it didn’t hurt as badly. About how I was concentrating so hard on pushing that I didn’t even know he’d come out. Pappa had to tell me to look, Kim, here he is, it’s a boy!.

”And do you know what I thought when they gave you to me?”

”That I was a girl?’

”No, that you looked just like Bjørn Magne. You looked just like Pappa when you were born. Now Grandma thinks you look like me. Which is funny because when Emil Birk was born I thought he looked just like me, but now I think he looks like Pappa.”

Without skipping a beat, four-going-on-five half asked, half stated:

”Because he’s crazy.”

And our sentimental reminiscings shifted into gut laughter. ‘Cuz everything happens so fast with kids.

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