“Where I’m From” by Oliver

I am from Whole Foods Cheese Pizza
with multi-grain crust (sometimes),
Battleship with Evelyn,
spider plants around the house,
making applesauce,
and wanting to be a soldier when I grow up
is where I’m from.

I am from birthday cheesecakes,
a brownstone house,
and Wisconsin is where I’m from.

I am from the Packers,
A Series of Unfortunate Events,
and homemade bread is where I’m from.

I am from time-outs
and butterflies.

This is where I’m from

I love this poem to pieces. “Time-outs and butterflies” is about the concisest, most accurate description of Oliver I can imagine.

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Oliver bought cookies at a bake sale today, and they look gooooooood.

So good, in fact, that he is now turning a profit by selling them to Sara and me for more than he paid for them. In fact, after dinner he was too full to finish his cookie and he offered to sell me his leftovers for $0.25.

The irony is that that boy is loaded and refuses to spend any money anyway. On the other hand, if anybody was going to raise cheap kids, you knew it was going to be Sara and me.

Happy Birthday to Ollie

The year of first grade is such a big year, and Ollie has changed so much. Reading and writing, having real friends, just being like a person rather than a little kid. He has real interests, he has things that he’s good at and things that he’s not good at, likes and dislikes…he’s not a baby anymore.

At the same time, though, there are so many things about him that are exactly the same. Do you know how many pictures I have of Ollie making a goofy face? He’s still goofy, still such a sweetheart.

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One pretty significant change in the last year is Alex, and how much he loves his big brother. “Oliver!” he tries to say the moment he wakes up. “Oliver! Oliver!” It is so…heart warming to see the way that he looks up to his big brother, and I’m interested to see how that continues to develop.

Here’s to another year, buddy. Hope you continue to carve your own way in the world.

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(Photos courtesy Jeremy Sanderlin)

Battle Baby

Oliver is afraid to go downstairs by himself. Who can blame him? I sure as heck didn’t want to go into the basement at my house when I was little. Unfortunately, his bedroom is down there so he has to go down there about 30 times a day. “Oliver, you forgot your socks.” “Oliver, put all of this stuff away.” “Oliver, that’s enough, go to your room.”

I tried giving him different strategies, like “try singing a song” or “maybe take this fierce dinosaur stuffed animal with you” but he wasn’t having it. For some reason, he has decided that none of that is sufficient.

However, he spontaneously came up with his own solution. Out of nowhere, he decided the only thing that can protect him is this sweet little stuffed baby, which he has dubbed “Battle Baby”.

Behold the might of Battle Baby! Look upon it’s terror and weep!

ASSUMING YOU ARE STILL READING AND HAVE NOT FLED IN TERROR:

When things get particularly dangerous he grabs the strap at the top of Battle Baby’s hat and swings it around like nunchucks. I’m not sure how Battle Baby feels about using her body to batter his enemies, but hey! At least he can go downstairs without accompaniment. I mean, look, I’m not sure why he’s decided this baby can keep him safe, but he’s happy, I’m happy.

Kids, man. Kids.

Missing: two front teeth

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Oliver has lost his two front teeth and, in exchange, has instead acquired the MOST. ADORABLE. lisp.

This picture looks a little familiar…looks like he is just a shade ahead of his sister:

They grow up so fast

So most of you probably saw this video from over a week ago now, but I’m saving it here for posterity:

With all the new stuff that Alex is getting up to, it’s easy to forget that the other kids are growing up too!

Ollie in particular just suddenly seems so old all of a sudden. I went to get him out of class early one day for a doctors appointment and I just had to laugh. He’s in real school now! They were doing math, and then when I got there he took care of his math notebook and I was just like, “Wow, he’s like a real kid!”

In fact, Evelyn had some multiplication flash cards the other day, and Ollie was pretty dang good at them.

He has gotten so good at reading all of a sudden. I remember this with Evelyn too, but it’s like he just got to that point where he realized that there’s writing everywhere, and he can read it. He’s reading billboards, the backs of cereal boxes, and addresses on Christmas cards. It’s like a whole new world! It’s so much fun to listen to him read an Elephant and Piggie book.

He’s also a very detailed artist. He can sit and draw for HOURS, and he draws these really elaborate scenes. He loves to explain to you all the little nuances and hidden things he’s added to his drawings, and he gets very clever with them.

And if that wasn’t enough, Ollie started taking piano lessons! It seems absolutely crazy to me, but there it is. He is so excited about it! I can tell he feels grown up too; he’s very proud. And even songs like “Mary Had a Little Lamb” seem so impressive when this little boy is playing them!

Not too long now before he starts writing his own blog!

Billy Elliot Fan Art

Obviously Evelyn’s play has really stuck with Oliver, because he has taken to drawing some extremely elaborate pictures of some of the scenes.

For example:
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What you see here are striking miners and police (plies). The miners are holding signs like “not enough $”, “not enough protection”, and, of course “not a naf brts”.

I said, “Not enough birds?” (you get pretty good at guessing these things after you’ve seen enough of it). Ollie said, “When the birds die, the miners know it’s not safe. So I guess that one is the same as ‘not enough protection’.”

Not enough birds indeed.

The bottom is the lyrics of the song accompanying that scene:

solidarity, solidarity
solidarity for ever
all for one, one for all
solidarity forever

I had forgotten about that picture altogether, when I came across this one a week or so later:

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My first guess was (naturally) someone killing a zombie, but then I followed the arrow and flipped the picture over…

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And you can OBVIOUSLY SEE it is not a zombie who has been shot in the head coming to terrorize frightened children, but rather Tony, his face bloodied by a run in with the cops, accidentally frightening the ballet girls, who run to Mrs. Wilkinson for comfort. And of course the miners are chanting, “Scab! Scab! Scab!” at those who chose to cross the picket line.

Ollie did see the show twice, but even so I’m kind of surprised at how much some of these images have stuck with him. These are definitely specific scenes from the show, and it’s interesting which parts call to him. He doesn’t, for example, draw Billy’s triumphant dream sequence dance. No, it’s all bloody miners and police brutality.

I do kind of wish he wouldn’t draw them at school, though.