Dylan’s 4th birthday is coming right up (FOUR!) and I spent last night scrabbling around in some sort of endless Amazon.com rabbithole, surfing pages and pages of toys and lingering over the reviews in a futile attempt to understand how one person could say the Batcopter was absolutely for sure the best invention since the printing press while the next person vehemently described it as an utter piece of shit that was probably assembled by hallucinating orangutans. I don’t know why I even read the reviews ever, because no matter how many 5-star ratings a product gets if even one crackpot posts something about how THIS IS THE WURST DONT WASTE YOU’RE MONEY!!! I start stroking my chin worriedly and thinking, well, maybe “MJacksonfan4life” has a point.

I ended up getting him a balance bike and some sort of nightmare Hot Wheel configuration that in theory the boys can play with together but will probably just result in a lot of fighting and even more little cars all over the house, like I don’t get up their ass enough already for the constant Lego-spew. Why does boy stuff have to have so many pieces? My ideal toy would just be a big solid, silent chunk of something that doesn’t require batteries and can’t be thrown or moved around the house. Like, say, a slab of granite. Here! Happy birthday! Some India Juparana, just for you!

Anyway, FOUR, I can hardly believe it. I feel like 2011 just flew by in a whoosh of flapping calendar pages.

I put together a video of my goofball kids and I’ve been watching it over and over—not because it’s such a great piece of moviemaking, mind you, but because there’s something so captivating about seeing them through the camera lens. My brain flickers back and forth on how they look to me: so big! So little! Wasn’t Riley just a furrow-browed baby being toted around in a backpack? When did Dylan replace his round toddler belly with all those lanky limbs? (And will he ever figure out how to put on a coat?)

The other day I joked to Riley he needed to stop growing so that I could keep him this size forever, and he laughed and patted my knee. Like, for real: he patted my knee, and said, “Oh, Mom. I have to get bigger, that’s what kids do.” And then he ran off to do just exactly that.


33 Responses to “That’s what kids do”

  1. Donna on January 24th, 2012 8:36 am

    That would have broken my heart….”that’s what kids do”.

  2. Laura on January 24th, 2012 9:16 am

    Amen to the contradicting Amazon review trouble. I hate that!!! Also, you were right on with your mispelling/grammar errors in your example :-).

  3. Maureen on January 24th, 2012 9:27 am

    I just watched the video, unbelievably cute. I love how Riley shakes his fist after talking about those pigs in Angry Birds. The whole thing is just adorable.

  4. pam on January 24th, 2012 9:28 am

    do your boys have stomp rockets? my mom got them for my boys (also just turned 4) for christmas and they are really fun.

    (but i really hope you didn’t get the hot wheels wall tracks. those things suck.)

  5. MRW on January 24th, 2012 9:31 am

    I’d pay good money for some big, one-piece, quiet thing that entertained my kids. Jesus, the Legos, the Hot Wheels, the train set, the playroom is covered. Now my daughter is getting old enough to play with shit like tiny animal erasers and little pony stuff and every square inch of my house threatens to be overwhelmed with small crap. AGH.

    Also the Amazon reviews section stymied me so badly I ended up not getting my husband a video game he wanted because I was totally unable to evaluate whether the comments were (1) valid and (2) involved features that my husband would actually care about.

  6. Gaby on January 24th, 2012 9:50 am

    “that’s what kids do” made me tear up. So bittersweet.

    Also, as a stranger in the computer, I can hardly believe Dylan is going to be four, so I can only imagine how surreal it must be for you. I hope he has a very happy birthday.

  7. June on January 24th, 2012 10:01 am

    I love the instructions on how to choke a bad guy out. JB is an awesome dad (and you and awesome mom, too, of course). My eldest (3.5 yr old) also is very big on doing things her way, which is the only correct way to do things.

  8. telegirl on January 24th, 2012 10:31 am

    Our boy turns five next week and I was just one week ahead of you in the Amazon rabbit-hole. Our son wants a Dragon party and so I spent a good four hours trying to find decent items to decorate with and pull the theme all together. I can’t believe he’s getting to be such a big, loving, beautiful boy. This morning, at daycare he had to go to the bathroom before I left so I walked in to supervise since kids can’t go alone and he came out to wash his hands, “Look Mom! I’m getting so big I don’t need this!” and he pointed to the step-stool sitting there. How did that happen so fast?!

  9. Marolyn on January 24th, 2012 10:34 am

    Coat Issue :

    Put his coat on the floor in front of him –
    Open and head at his feet.
    Have Dylan bend at his waist, slide his arms into the arms of his coat, Stand up strait and as he is standing up he can flip his arms in a backward circle and the coat flips over his head and *poof* its on !

    Good Luck!

  10. Sunshyn on January 24th, 2012 10:45 am

    Yeah, we have a Hot Wheels wall track. The baby granddaughters love it, but they break it. Another big fat FAIL was the Hot Wheels camera the kid just HAD to have. I’m looking at it right now. It’s never been used… Waste of sixty-something bucks. Maybe he’d let me craigslist it… The biggest hits are usually stuff he didn’t know he wanted, like coffee table automobile books and art supplies.

  11. Nichole on January 24th, 2012 10:59 am

    A slab of granite would be perfect. All the pieces drive me crazy.

    Yes to Marolyn’s coat suggestion.

    My 6-year-old likes to talk about what she’ll do when she grows up and moves out and leaves me all alone. She says she’ll visit sometimes.

  12. Sarah on January 24th, 2012 11:02 am

    Ah, Riley is so sweet. I love that he patted your knee and said something so profound. Adorable.

    As for Amazon (or it’s cousin, Target) reviews, I live by them. If others did too, my kid would not have recieved so much plastic crap in the last year as the gift givers (aka grandparents!) would know the toy was built badly and would cause him to cry. But no, they insist on ignoring reviews. I don’t skip a product that gets bad reviews for stuff I don’t care about (features that don’t matter to me) but if some parent says it broke hours/days/weeks after purchase or it made their kid cry to use it, no way no how!

  13. Amelia on January 24th, 2012 11:03 am

    My son’s (he’s three) teacher at preschool taught him how to put on a jacket by putting it outside-down and upside-down (does that make sense? The outer part of the jacket was on the floor and the inside facing up to the ceiling and the neck part at his feet, with the zipper/pockets bottom part away from him – and now I realize that I don’t know the words for parts of a jacket!) on the floor in front of him and then sticking his hands in the sleeves and flipping the whole thing over his head so the jacket went on his arms all at once. He was so proud of himself, and it makes a very boy-worthy display, taking up a load of space and whacking nearby observers in the face with the jacket (so stand back!), always a plus to my little imp.

    God, I really hope this explanation made sense.

  14. Deb on January 24th, 2012 11:08 am

    Balance Bike = BEST THING EVER.

    NOT ONLY is it easier to learn to balance before you have to throw pedaling into the mix, but YOU can sit on your ASS and don’t have to run up and down the street ALL DAMN DAY for a year while they figure it our.

    I like the kind of presents that don’t require any parental interaction to use.

    Because I rock at being a mom like that.

  15. Gleemonex on January 24th, 2012 11:21 am

    BOYS’ stuff has so many pieces? I thought the goddamn Polly Pockets shit my alleged friend gave my daughter for her fourth birthday in October was the worst ever. And I still think so. HUNDREDS of teensy little pieces, all of which were secured individually to the packaging by at least two methods each (little rubber band, molded plastic, twist-tie, invisible tape, wire, etc.) — the set took me over an hour to get out of of the beshitted package (while the kid danced around whining with eagerness) … and she played with it for EIGHT MINUTES (yes, I actually timed it) before she got annoyed with a door that wouldn’t do what she wanted it to and bored with the whole thing and left it. Hasn’t touched it again since October. I want to burn it in a FIRE.

    So anyway. Gosh yes, they do grow up fast, don’t they?

  16. Liz on January 24th, 2012 11:39 am

    Maybe Dylan could watch this instructional video from Allie Brosh on how to put yourself inside of a coat.

  17. sheilah on January 24th, 2012 11:58 am

    hehe…I love the how to choke a bad guy…JB is an awfully good sport, I think…(tho’ it’s probably not the first time his kids have attacked him from behind, a good sport nonetheless)

  18. maggie on January 24th, 2012 1:24 pm

    Who knew watching them grow up would be so awesome and yet so heartbreaking at the same time? I tell my girls they are not allowed to grow anymore and they just roll their eyes and say “Mo-om” (2 syllables) in total exasperation.

  19. Mary on January 24th, 2012 1:49 pm

    Awww I LOVE the knee pat! How cute is that?!

  20. Sara on January 24th, 2012 1:51 pm

    That video is so cute it hurts! When did they get so big???

  21. Sara on January 24th, 2012 1:58 pm
  22. Terri on January 24th, 2012 2:35 pm

    I was just going to say the same thing Sara did!! When did those adorable little guys get so big? I still remember that video of Dylan singing away in his crib like it was yesterday.

    And yeah, that last paragraph just made me bawl my eyes out.

  23. Gigi on January 24th, 2012 4:52 pm

    You have NO idea. That is EXACTLY what kids do…until one day you realize, as you are scolding them, that they are least twice the size of you!

  24. Carrie (in MN) on January 24th, 2012 7:12 pm

    It seems like just the other day that my son was turning four and now he’s 16, 6’3″ and will be indeed leaving me in…2.5 years *sob*

  25. Lindsay on January 24th, 2012 7:29 pm

    Haha! Granite.

  26. Amy N on January 24th, 2012 10:59 pm

    Awww…my little one does those totally adult things sometimes and it cracks me up. Like a little old man in a squishy kid body.

  27. Very Bloggy Beth on January 25th, 2012 8:54 am

    Reading online product reviews tends to end up wasting an entire afternoon for me, while I feel the need to respond to every stupid, non-helpful bad review. Talked myself out of getting my son a mini trampoline for Christmas because a couple of people on Amazon basically said 1 star, “It’s so hard to putz together, whaaaa!”

  28. Jeff on January 25th, 2012 10:00 am

    Great video. What application do you use to create them? Thanks in advance.

  29. Amanda Blair on January 25th, 2012 12:09 pm

    hahaha man kids just have it figured it out huh? At what age do we loose the innocent wisdom??

  30. Jenn on January 25th, 2012 4:48 pm

    This totally won’t help you right now, because they are nowhere to be found at the moment due to flooding in Thailand, but the best present that my four yr old son got for christmas was magnatiles. They have been an endless source of fun for not just him, but all of his friends and for his dad as well. They are pricey, but definitely worth the investment due to the fact that they can keep him occupied for long lenghts of time, they are quiet and because they have magnets in them, they are super easy to pick up. Plus, they are flat, so no jagged little pieces to make their way into your foot.

    And the little pat at the end by Riley broke my heart. What a sweet little guy you have.

  31. Karen on January 26th, 2012 11:01 am

    ok so you had all the coat help…. very cute…. BUT – here is one I learned from a friend re lego — when the kids are about to start a monster lego fest, we spread out a big white sheet (easier to see the bits) and they have fun for at least an hour…. THEN the big mother monster picks up the four corners and tips it bag in the bin at dinner time.

    awesomest boys ever btw

  32. Pamela Brookins on January 28th, 2012 9:06 am

    You’ve made me smile and (good)cry this morning. Thanks! How I look forward to your posts …

  33. Shawna on January 28th, 2012 9:19 pm

    Husband: I can’t believe you’re turning 6 next week.
    Daughter: Well come on Daddy, you know I have to grow up sometime. You turned 6 once too remember?
    Husband: …

    Also, psst, Maxi Kick Scooter. Awesome!

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