Thursday, November 12, 2009

Daddy's Big News

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
So this photo is not perfectly current, and it does not match the news, which is that Ryan's book, a collection of critical essays that he and a colleague from GW edited, and contributed to and generally ushered through the (grueling) publication process, is officially available. Rush to pick up your copy today!

However, the picture is posted because of this story:

Ryan (showing twins the book): Hey, guys, do you see this book?

Lilah: Is it for us?

Ryan: No, this is a very special book. See the two names right there? Those are the people who made this book possible. One of them is my friend Randi and the other name--see that other name?

Collin: (ignoring Ryan's pointing finger and instead responding to the enthusiasim in Ryan's voice) Ben Roethlisberger!

Ryan (deflated): Well, no. It's Daddy.

Collin: Oh.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Ian and his Fairy Godmother

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
This is not the most flattering picture of Ian ever taken (go to flckr, really. There are more.) But this is Ian and Erin, his godmother extraordinaire. If Fairy Godmothers were real (not that they aren't), Erin is one, no question, and Ian is never going to have to wait until he's sobbing in the back garden for her to appear. (And I bet she never misplaces her wand, either.)

Ian was baptised Ian Beckett Claycomb on Sunday, October 18 at St. Thomas a Becket Episcopal Church. The congregation, mostly WVU faculty, groaned appreciatively when they were told that his middle name does not reference the saint who gives his name to the church, but rather a certain dyspeptic Irishman with a penchant for writing in French. Ian didn't cry at all, during the ceremony, and fell asleep shortly after he was "official."

Meanwhile, Collin and Lilah took Communion for the first time that same day, an event made memorable by Lilah's attempt to take her Communion wafer back to her seat with her to munch on like a cracker. ("But I'm not DONE," she hissed when Ryan tried to get her to hurry up.)

And for the entire (Blessed) event, we were most grateful, now and ever, to have Erin there, to share it with us, to hold the baby, and to pour the wine later that night after the children were asleep.

Now We are Six

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
Wow. I know that this entry should be a reflective piece on how old the twins are and how amazing that is. That we are all still alive and sane (relatively) for one thing. But all I can think of when I see this is how bad Lilah's hair is (bear with us; she's growing it out).

Nonetheless, here are a few current highlights:

both are reading, Collin EVERYTHING in sight, out loud, and at the top of his lungs

they played soccer this fall and Lilah was (so says Daddy) the fastest kid on the field. Collin was chagrined by this, so Ryan took him aside and explained (truthfully) that Lilah's speed is paired with a complete lack of control over her body, meaning that she falls down VERY easily. Collin was pleased to hear this, so pleased, that as soon as he saw Lilah next, he marched up to her and said, "Lilah, Daddy says that a feather could knock you down when you run, so it's okay that you're faster than me because I'm stronger."

Dental hygiene

Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
No, Collin isn't losing all his teeth already (I know what you were thinking, you West Virginia-stereotypers!). He has, for the record, recently lost his first tooth and is on his way to losing his second. But this lovely image is the result of him eating a cucumber moments before we snapped the picture and thinking it would be funny to shove the rind up under his top lip like a "grille." Hilarious, Collin. Thanks for ruining an otherwise stellar shot. Well, except for Ian's mismatched socks.

What this does capture is the three (!!) children all together, a occurrence that seems likely to be ever more common as Ian gets older. Why? Not just because we are at our wits end and have no choice but to throw them all together (though that is true). No, it's because Ian already LOVES his big siblings.

Evidence: The other day he was sitting in his bouncy seat and C & L were on either side, talking (as usual) a mile a minute, to me, to each other, to the air, but completely ignoring Ian. He flipped his poor little head from one side to the other for about 3 minutes, his mouth open in amazement. And then, when he realized that they really were just that fascinating and that they were not paying any attention to him, he burst into tears.

Just wait until he can talk.

The Red Ninja

The Red Ninja
Originally uploaded by Ryan Claycomb
So this is Lilah, the Red Ninja. If she wears this outfit with black pants, she calls herself the Red Ninja's bulldog. The Red Ninja is evil; his bulldog is good. Lilah herself is somewhere in the middle, and also, now, 6 years old. Amazing. Check out other flickr pictures of the birthday festivities and Halloween celebrations to see more of what's been going on, though nothing will quite capture the temper tantrum extravaganzas that have capped off the holidays for us. There was an article in the New Yorker recently about how children in picture books seem to be getting away with more outrageous behavior than in days of yore (e.g. Frances the Badger was threatened with spankings just for not going to bed, while Olivia the Pig paints the wall of her room Jackson Pollock-style and just gets a time-out.)

Well, Lilah puts this "new moderation" in discipline to the test. Sample lines, uttered full-voice on the front steps of our house:

"No! YOU compromise! If you don't do it, I'll never come inside! No! Not EVER! I don't CARE! I'm NEVER calming down!"

As she told me Friday morning, dressed in her birthday finery (mauve sweater, lavender sweats, purple flowered sundress over top it all), "Mommy, I know I'm six now, but I really usually still act like I'm only five."