February and March weather has not been kind to us here in Massachusetts, so we have spent a LOT of time inside. The kids are pretty good about playing together and finding things to do, thankfully. But we have had our share of cabin fever around here, for sure! One good thing about March birthdays is that the event breaks up the winter and adds some excitement. I just realized that I called March 'winter.' If you live in New England, you understand.
My parents were lucky enough to be in Mexico for the first week in March, so they gave the boys their birthday present a little early. It's a pretty cool city that has a motorized train, a hospital, fire station, and helicopter. It talks and makes other cool sounds. They boys were so excited about it! Dave was not excited about putting it together while they boys asked, "Is it done, Dad? Can I play with it now, Dad? Is it ready?" But it was worth it in the end.
We have been lucky to see a lot of Lily and Kellan this winter. It's nice that they live only 20 minutes away now. The kids have a lot of fun together and on the days they don't see each other, they ask when they can visit again.
Kellan is a sweetheart and is lately realizing how much fun it is to get attention. He gives great hugs and is into everything!
Mairead colored this picture of Beethoven at school, so she was telling Kellan about the composer one day.
I came out of the shower one day to find this scene. Apparently, they are all in a Batmobile.
This brings me to talk about a sad subject- the loss of interest in Thomas. For nearly two years, the boys were OBSESSED with Thomas. They would play only with Thomas, watch only Thomas on TV, read books about Thomas, pretend to be Thomas, eat from Thomas plates, etc. Now that Batman is on the scene, the boys tell me that they don't like Thomas anymore, and that they only want Batman. Since there is something every day that makes me see just how fast the time is going, and that makes me wish for a 'pause' button, hearing that they are 'too big' for Thomas breaks my heart a little bit. I keep trying to re-ignite their interest, and sometimes it will work for just a few minutes, but we are inevitably back to Batman. I think Ben would hold on to Thomas a little longer if he weren't so eager to do whatever Jack is doing, but Batman always wins out. I'm holding on to these trains and tracks, though...more for me than for them. I have this hope that they will return to their first real love and happily imagine adventures on the island of Sodor.
The other hard part about the end of Thomas is that, to me, it's symbolic of a loss of innocence. In Batman, the boys see sadness, pain and cruelty. They see that there are bad people in the world and that bad things happen. On Thomas, the worst thing that happened was that a cow was blocking the line, or that James needed a new coat of paint. When the boys were two and three, they didn't know that the world could be a violent and scary place. Their ignorance truly was bliss- for them and for me. I felt like they could just live in their little bubble for a while, and that it was easy to keep them safe. Now, they are older and that bubble is bursting. They know words like 'criminal,' 'dead,' and 'gun.' I wanted to keep all of these words away from them forever, though I know that is not possible. It happened that this loss of innocence coincided with the Newtown shootings, and that made me so much more painfully aware of the world that in which our kids are growing up. The places they should be safe are no longer havens. Kids are learning that Mom, Dad, teachers, and other people they trust can't always keep them safe. Bad things happen every day, sometimes terrible and inconceivable things. How do we protect them? And, how do we balance teaching them about the realities of this world with making them feel safe?
I know that it is inevitable that our kids will see the ugliness in the world, but just because I know it will happen doesn't mean I'm not doing whatever I can to keep that ugliness out just as long as I can. So, I'll be setting up those train tracks just as long as there is hope that they will return to the island of Sodor, and I'll always keep those trains to remember how simple things once were.