William Quote: Life Is Tough


Today I sat down to help William with his reading homework, and he immediately leaned in for a hug.  I realized I hadn’t really cuddled with him at all today.

ME:  Aw, William.  Is life sometimes tough for you?

WILL: Yeah.

ME: What makes it tough to be William?

WILL:  Hmmm . . . .

[he thinks for a bit]

WILL: Well, I really like ice cream.


ME: Oh, you mean you like ice cream, but you only get to have it once in a while?

WILL: Yeah.

ME:  And that’s what makes life tough?

WILL: Yeah.

ME: What else?

WILL: I have to do my reading before I can open up any of my Valentines.  And it’s really tough to keep my eyes closed when someone is saying a prayer.

ME: It’s tough to do that?

WILL: Yeah, and when I’m praying, too.


WILL:  And that’s all.

ME:  Those are the only things that make life tough?  Not having enough ice cream, having to do reading before opening valentines, and keeping your eyes closed?

WILL:  When there’s a prayer.  And when I’m praying too.

ME:  Well, let’s take care of one of those right now, okay?

Any guesses as to which one we did?

What’s the Opposite of Belated?

I often see greeting cards wishing people a “happy belated birthday,” but no equivalent for celebrating a birthday early.

‘Cause that’s what we did on Saturday.  William is unofficially five years old.  I wanted to squeeze in a party with his buddies before we moved away.

And boy howdy, how my party standards have fallen.  This is the third birthday in a row that I haven’t made the birthday cake myself.  What  . . . what has happened to me???  (Hint: her name begins with K.)

Anyway, William chose the “jungle party” cake from the big book o’ cakes at the grocery store.  I think it was adorable!  William was delighted!  He talked about it nonstop in his Primary class the next day.  And it hardly took any effort on my part!  (Remind me again why I bother making cakes at all?  Okay, I know: because they taste awesome.  But still.)


The rest of the party was “birthday” themed.  We played Pin the Tail on the Donkey using the Eyeore set my mom made for me when I was four . . .

. . . and played Musical Islands (a non-competitive version of Musical Chairs).

At the end, everyone has to crowd onto one “island” together.  It always ups the cuteness ante.

There was also a game where the kids took turns dropping a wooden clothespin into a jar, but alas, no photo evidence of such.

My family has a tradition called “Heavy Heavy Hang Over” when we give birthday presents.  Each person gets to gently “bump” the birthday kid on the head with a present in exchange for a wish.  I loved William’s reactions to various family members’ bumps.

Cousin June
Big Brother
Grandpa N.
Grandpa S.

The present from Brian and I?  A Razor scooter (or, as he puts it, “Lazer scooter”) which William has been asking for since Eleanor got one for her birthday in April.  For whatever Eleanor hath, William wants to hath also.  Or something like that.


A few days ago I caught William in the kitchen with a big rock in one hand and a butter knife in the other.

“I’m going to sharpen this knife on the stone,” he explained.

Well, no dice, kiddo.  I told him he needs a special kind of stone to sharpen knives.  The one he found in the backyard would just scratch the butter knife up.

“Well, I could just pretend to sharpen it.”

Sorry again — I didn’t want him to carry the knife off and lose it (it’s a dull knife, but he would lose it, trust me).

I suggested he find a toy knife or sword and pretend to sharpen it.  He reluctantly agreed and shuffled off to his room.

Later, he came back into the kitchen with an even larger rock (“I washed it with soap in the bathroom, Mom”) and a big plastic toy lightsaber.  He then put the rock on the kitchen table and did this:

He waved the lightsaber in the air above the rock, without touching it.  (That’s the rock there on the table.  It looks like a potato, but it’s a rock.)

Shouldn’t you slide the rock back and forth along the blade? I asked.

“No, Mom,” explained William.  “It’s a lightsaber.  Lightsabers would just go right through the rock!”

Well, why didn’t I think of that?

Secret Mail

Yesterday I found William standing next to our mail slot and giggling.

“I don’t know if you should look in there,” he said, dancing a bit, “because there is secret mail inside.”

“Is there mail for me?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” he said, near bursting with glee.  “It’s secret, for you!”

I opened the little door, and there in our mail slot was a handful of little notes William had covered with scribbles and random letters.

“Is this for me?” I asked.  William just covered his mouth with both hands and dissolved into laughter.

That evening I had a good time reenacting the scene for Brian, complete with hand-smothered giggles, and he sighed.

“You know, there will come a time when William won’t be as cute as he is now, and that will be sad.”

Yes, it’s true.  It actually makes me physically hurt to think of William outgrowing the lovely stage he’s in right now.  Today his creative dance teacher complimented me on his behavior, saying, “I’ve never known such a pleasant-tempered boy.”  I smiled and thanked her, and she emphasized: “No, really.  I haven’t.”

Well, I would say she hasn’t seen him in what I call “The Realm of Pout,” but she has (on the legendary Thursday when he fell asleep in the car on the way to dance.  He refused to participate at all).  So the compliment is wholeheartedly acknowledged.  He’s our sunshine boy.

One, Two, Three, Four

Since we moved to Utah, my children tend to have multiple birthday celebrations.  One on the official day of birth, one before or after with friends from school, and possibly another one or two at a grandparent’s house.  Oh, the spoilage.

Last year William had three parties.  This year, only two.

The first was during our vacation to Cedar City for the Shakespeare Festival (more on that later).  I made him this shirt to wear, just to keep the general public informed.

His grandparents took him bowling, and at dinnertime he even was serenaded at the Pizza Factory, and as a reward for enduring that travail, he was given an ice cream sundae.  (Ah, the Pizza Factory.  You gotta admire the restaurant that admits up-front that its food is not prepared by humans.)

The second party was for friends and relations, and held the day after we got back from vacation.  (Yes, right after.  It was painfully exhausting.  But it was the best time for all involved.  No regrets.)

It was . . . a COWBOY party!  Woop with the theme pulled from my Big Book of Party Themes!*

We made vests out of paper bags!  (Brian was the one who figured out how to turn the bags inside out without tearing them.  Because what kind of self-respecting cowboy runs around with “Freshness Guarantee” and a giant picture of a peach on his back?

We played “sidewinder jump!”

We lassoed a rocking horse!  And later ran around with squirt guns!

My main contribution was this horse cake.  William insisted on the Life Saver bridle bits.  Yes, the cake design is also from The Big Book of Theme-y Themes:

Why do I always take pictures of the candles being blown out?  It’s like William is frozen in time, forever spewing spittle all over a horse-shaped sugar confection.

The only real challenge now is trying to make William understand that he is just four, not five.

“But I had two birthdays, Mom,” he explained.  “One for turning four, and another means I’m five!”

I explained that this was not the case, but who can blame him for being confused?  We always stick on one extra birthday candle on the cake, “to grow on.”

“You’re just four, Wimmy.”

He nodded his head sagely, then immediately went back to being a “baby bison,” currently his favorite fantasy play.  Who needs to deal with numbers games when the open range awaits?

*That’s right, The Big Book of Parties For People Who Can’t Think of Any On Their Own.  People think I’m really creative, but the truth is that I’m just good at finding other people’s good ideas.  And then milking ’em for all they’re worth.

More Gross Anatomy

William is very much in love with his little sister.  Last week, after the big siblings had gone off to school, William came and nestled up to where I was sitting with Katie.

“No Jeffrey, no Eleanor,” William whispered.  “I get Katie all to myself.”

However, just recently William has been appalled to discover that Katie is different from him in a fundamental way.  In a basic, anatomical way.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute,” he cried, hands on hips, as he examined Katie’s diaper changing.  “Where is it?  Is it tucked away up there?”

I found this both hilarious and odd, since William went through a long — perhaps over-long — phase of making lists of who in the family did and did not have a certain piece of male-ness.

He liked to declare this list loudly.  Especially whenever we were in a public restroom.

I explained to William that Katie is a girl, and in reply he crinkled his little brow.  “Katie is a girl?”


“She can’t be a girl.  She has short hair like a boy!”

Oh, the quandary.  This isn’t the first time I’ve had to explain Katie’s sex, and I’m certain it won’t be the last.  Hooray for gender socialization!

Ce n’est-ce pas une pomme

I found this in the living room last night:

I stared at it for a couple of minutes, then began laughing out loud.

A few weeks ago, William wanted a drink of apple juice, and was convinced that he could get said drink by sticking a straw into an apple.  I couldn’t convince him that this was not how apple juice worked, but I managed to distract him with something else.  I forgot all about it, and I thought he did, too.

So yesterday when he asked for an apple, I thought he was going to eat it.  I didn’t think twice about the fact that he was holding a straw.

I hope he wasn’t too disappointed.  Although you have to give the boy credit for his tenacity — look at the gouges in that apple!  How many attempts did he make before he was able to get the straw all the way in?

Wimmy and the Usurper

The day little Katie was born, Brian spent time talking to the kids about how our family had changed.

“William, you now have a little sister,” he explained to them.  “And Eleanor has a little brother and a little sister.”

Eleanor, who has always been intrigued by the technicalities of family relationships, took it one stop further.

“Yeah, William.  Now you are a middle child, like me, instead of the youngest,” she said excitedly.  “Baby Katie has REPLACED YOU!”

Brian and I found this statement hilarious.  But William has been taking his status change a little hard.  He doesn’t take it out on his baby sister — he is as fond of her as the rest of the kids (although he did admit briefly that he “liked Baby Katie when she was in Mommy’s tummy”).  But his frustration at the changes in his life have come out in other ways.  He’s more likely to throw a temper tantrum, especially when it comes to leaving the house for church or preschool.  His usually hearty appetite has diminished, and he hasn’t been sleeping as well (although this is in large part to sharing a room with Jeffrey).

The rest of our children were too little to really register a change in lifestyle when their new sibling came along.  Jeffrey and Eleanor were just 2 1/2 or 2, and didn’t have the long-term memory to remember life before the new baby.  William’s the first to notice and be upset that he’s not getting as much one-on-one Mom Time as he used to.

We know it’s a phase, and he’ll grow out of it eventually.  But in the meantime, it’s hard not to feel for the little guy.

Hidden Talent

The most annoying quirk that Wimmy’s developed is a habit of hiding from adults.  It began as a game that he does whenever we arrive or depart from preschool.  William (and usually Eleanor, too) finds some little nook or cranny to hide in, and even though I can see him, he won’t come out unless I scratch my head, shrug my shoulders, and say “Where did William go?”

Considering that the preschool is housed in a church, with numerous cloak rooms, potted plants, shrubberies, end tables, and the like, I usually have to say “Where did William go?” about a dozen times to get us out of there.

Once he climbed up into the choir loft and hid under one of the pews.  Took me forever to find him.

He’s even begun to bring this game home, finding some very out-of-the way spot and keeping quiet indefinitely, while the adults run ragged around the house, calling out his name and wondering if it is time to call the police.

William did this at his grandmother’s house last weekend, and stayed hidden for over 45 minutes, driving everyone to near hysterics.

I suppose this is also reflected in William’s new preference for taking naps.  We read a picture book about a little bear whose “special place” was under his bed, and after that William insisted on taking his afternoon naps on the floor under his crib.  This lasted for over a month, and it was great — he’d go right to sleep without an iota of fuss.  Then decided that he was tired of that, and prefers sleeping on the floor behind the big rocking recliner in his room.  Again, right to sleep with no fuss!  I don’t think he’s figured out that he’s free to go wherever he wants when he’s out of the crib.

He’s a fan of dark little cozy spaces, something which I remember enjoying as a child.  The only difficult part is William’s insistance that I sing him a lullaby about his chosen sleeping-spot.  It was easy to think of a bit of doggerel about “under the bed,” and a bit more challenging for “behind the rocking chair.”  But today, he wanted a song about the wall, and I’m afraid I was fresh out.

Wall . . . with you life is a ball . . . I give you my all . . . wall?

What’s in a Name?

William has a new nickname.

Jack Norris!

Yes, it’s a little bizarre. Here’s the story:

Jeffrey gave it to him on Memorial Day. We in the car with the windows rolled down, on the way to a picnic. The wind was blowing William’s hair around, and he was gurgling and cooing in his lovable Wimmy-way.

“Mom,” said Jeffrey, “when the wind is in Wimmy’s hair, he looks just like Jack Norris.”


“Jack Norris,” he repeated. “He’s a guy who looks just like Wimmy.”

Brian and I were puzzled by this. Who in the world is Jack Norris? How on earth did Jeffrey learn about him? We immediately thought of Chuck Norris, but Jeffrey has never seen any of his films (and hopefully, he never will).

“Jeffrey, can you tell me what Jack Norris does?” I ask.

“He’s a guy who runs around really fast,” he replies. “And he’s a dwarf.”


This was ALL we’ve been able to get out of Jeffrey about who this Jack Norris person is. He looks like William. He runs fast. And he’s a dwarf. Once Jeffrey even sang a song about it.

Jack Norris runs around,

He saves the people all around

And he’s a dwarf!

He’s a dwarf, he’s a dwarf, he’s a dwaaaaaaaarf!

Nowadays, it’s become a family running gag. Whenever William is being especially, ah, intrepid — say, stuffing styrofoam peanuts in his mouth, or tipping a bowl of freshly folded clothes over on himself — we punch our fists in the air and say, “Jack Norris is on the case!”

Especially if the wind is in his hair.