...our tree, that is. Not only did we get it on the early side, so it's getting really dry, but the cleaners are coming tomorrow. It seems early, but we might as well put away the Christmas ornaments and take down the tree now. And try to get the house under control; every room was strewn with toys.
An unusual event today at the Doudna house: a playdate! Here? Us?! No thanks to me. So far, every home playdate the boys have had -- about 4 all told -- have been arranged and overseen by Dave. Dave's former coworker has an 8-year-old 3rd-grader, Kirin, who lives in Ohio, but visits his Dad during holidays, and his Dad looks for kid-company for him. (The Dad also flies to Ohio every other weekend to see his son, and talks to him at least twice a day.) He's a nice kid -- plays the piano and takes Spanish, so we had a lot to talk about. I was surprised how much the boys were looking forward to it, and overall they all had a great time.
Still, there came a time when I had to pay more attention than I really wanted to or could, as Gabriel and Kirin were acting bored. Unfortunately, when two 8-year-old boys are bored, by far the best entertainment is beating up on the 6-year-old younger brother. Like tormenting him by playing Monkey In The Middle with, of all things, his favorite monkey. Julian's no match for Gabriel and an older pal, but he wants to play with them, and so can't be persuaded to just avoid them. Still, I can see that future playdates will take some planning. Gabriel is highly liable to butt in and take over Julian's playdates too.
Julian is loving the book The Stunning Science of Everything. Tonight, he went in search of a pencil to fill in some blanks on a sort of quiz page the book has, but it's really not a workbook; the blanks are small and on glossy pages and really are more for verbal quizzes. Dave wouldn't let him have a pencil to ruin the book, but I intervened. I try not to intervene most of the time, but I could see Julian had his thinking cap on. It's his book, and it does have blanks, but mostly, he REALLY WANTED to do a project.
This is a quality in him I never really saw until kindergarten, but I see it all the time now. He doesn't have Gabriel's intense focus -- few do -- but he is very very committed to projects and completing things. I found him studying the Spanish books I got him for his birthday today too, books I thought we'd mostly do together. (We're going to have fun with this, both boys want to learn Spanish now, and I do too.) Dave and I are surprised -- and shouldn't be anymore -- on a weekly basis at how much information Julian absorbs -- and retells. Gabriel might have learned the same amount in kindergarten, but he never talked about it to the extent Julian does. But Gabriel never took it upon himself to do workbooks (or things that look like it), and was far far more difficult to motivate to do school projects.
Katrina was funny with Uday today too (Kirin's Dad). She's not super social, we're learning, but one-on-one with some adults, she turns into a chatty little star. And she did that with Uday today, clearly taken with him, vocalizing whatever little thought flitted through her head. When she does this, people always exclaim they never heard her talk so much, which is odd to hear for me, though I know it's true. She's very very talkative at home, but she reserves this quality for certain people and situations away from home.
Maybe it is time to venture into the world of playdates, if I can figure out how to juggle my self-centered life with my childrens' needs! (I really do need to work on those closets...)