Evan's Garden

Friday, November 21, 2014


Evan had other buddies besides Bear Bear. Before Evan was born we decided we wanted to decorate his room with a bear theme, so my in laws gave us a bunch of adorable bears to do just that. Except bears are more for playing with, snuggling, and toting around rather than sitting around looking cute. (Although, they're good at that, too.) 

A favorite bear with all of the kids is Snowbeary, aka "Mommy's Bear." Yes, that little polar bear is all mine! But I have had to be careful. We have kids with sticky fingers around here that sneak him into their rooms for snuggles.

Another favorite is "Gorilla" also known as "Monkey." Although, we did explain that he's not really a monkey. Gorilla (we're really clever with names here!) was a gift to Evan when he was just a few months old. Gorilla was bigger than he was! I thought for sure he would terrify Evan. Nope. He loved him from the start. I'm not sure if you can tell, but Gorilla's arms face forward, so he is permanently ready for a hug.

This is Evan with his buddies in the little bounce house we bought for him as a "Here's a cool toy, and guess what, you're a big brother to this loud, screamy guy!" present. You can see he's got Gorilla, Piggy (his real name is Hamlet), and Blue Bear. Evan would tuck all of these animals (and more!) in his arms, and walk them down the stairs, saying, "Got my buddies!" With all of his buddies at his side, he was ready for anything!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bear Bear

I would be remiss to not include Evan's favorite bear in a little compilation of Evan memories. Evan's bear was his bear before he was even born! We picked it up when I was a few months pregnant. We immediately fell in love with Cloud (that was the name on the label.) We couldn't help it. Sure, he was a cute little bear, but we are also Bear People. I can't say that the bear was an instant hit, but he definitely grew on Evan.

And before long Evan was toting his bear with him everywhere. We even got a back up bear in case the first one went missing. Around this time (or maybe shortly before), we discovered that Evan had named his bear. We had always just asked him, "Do you want your bear?" and never really called him anything. Apparently, when Evan was in the church nursery, he called his bear, "Bear Bear." And it stuck! Unfortunately, Evan discovered the back up bear and insisted on having both bears. When one of them went missing, we still had one, but he did miss his Bear Bear 2.

Evan played with Bear Bear constantly, and just had him around as his companion. He's showing him the cool vacuum cleaner here.

When it was time for bed, we always had to find Bear Bear first. There was no going to sleep without Evan's best buddy. There was one night when I couldn't find him. We were both upset. I told Evan to go on to bed and try to sleep, and I'd keep looking. I eventually found him, and tucked him into bed with my sleeping boy. In the morning Evan came running into my room all excited, "I found Bear Bear!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sometimes a Boy Just Needs His Mommy

When Evan was about 5 months old, we took him to see one of my best friends and her family. He was scooped up immediately by the baby loving mamas there, and passed around aplenty. After 30 or 45 minutes of this, however, Evan had had enough. He wanted his Mommy, and he wanted me now! He was so upset, poor little guy. I tried to calm him down. I tried to nurse him. Nothing doing. He was inconsolable. He also had a vice like grip on my arm, as though he was telling me, "You're not doing that to me again, lady!" We managed to get him to the car and drive over to Grandma and Grandpa's house. He was back to his normal happy self after a little car ride.

Less than an hour after that traumatic experience, and Evan is ok again, and ready to be snuggled.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

There's More than One Way to Get from Here to There

Sometimes it seems like little boys (and little girls, for that matter!) are in a state of perpetual motion. And they don't saunter. They don't lollygag (unless Mommy really needs to be somewhere now! Then they're all, "Look at the pretty flowers! Let's stop and smell them, shall we?") The ordinary pace of a little kid is fast. They don't want to walk, they want to run! Every time the whistle blows at the swimming pool for a little speedster, I can't help thinking of telling the lifeguard, "They can't help it! Running is the only way for little people to get from here to there." Running is fun. Running away from someone (especially Mommy!) is even more fun! The look of glee as a toddler runs out into the parking lot! "Oh, the Thrill of the Chase," he seems to be thinking. With poor, terrified Mama desperately trying to catch up. Evan was a runner. He'd run off at the store. He gleefully ran from me at the park. Sometimes he just ran for fun, cheeks jiggling, wind in his hair. But there were times when he slowed it down, and kind of speed walked. This wasn't a situation where he was randomly running around (or escaping), he was on a mission. Evan walked with A Purpose. A purpose known only to him. Well, until he excitedly told me all about it. But when he did this power walk, he'd pump his arms up and down like in the picture. It was an exaggerated arm movement. When I saw him start to do this, I knew he meant business. Usually the business of getting to a special part of the playground. Sometimes I catch myself pumping my arms like this, and I always think of him with a smile.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Way We Said Goodnight

Before Duncan was born, as I mentioned previously, we had bedtime as a family. Well, when I say we had bedtime, I mean Justin and I read to Evan, and then Evan went to bed. Evan loved books, and even at other times of day, he could be found pretending to read. Of course, there were favorites. He loved Corduroy, and The Day the Babies Crawled Away. We had fun doing a Henry Builds a Cabin and Henry Climbs a Mountain mashup. I was able to do this relatively easily, because I had them memorized. We read the same books so often, that many of them were committed to memory. We got into the habit of reading Goodnight Moon at the end of each story time. And pretty soon, I was just reciting it to him. This picture is referencing Goodnight Moon. In the book there are "three little bears, sitting on chairs." In our version there are three little bears sitting on Mommy's head! Of course, Evan loved it!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"Speaking of Thomas..."

I'm going to pull a Duncan. Well, kind of. We'll be talking about something, topics from school or other items of interest when he'll say, "Speaking of Frederick Douglass (or insert other recently covered topic), can I play Minecraft?" I ask him what does Minecraft have to do with Frederick Douglass. "Nothing." I ask him if he's built an Underground Railroad in Minecraft (because that would be awesome!) "Nope." So, I explain to him that usually when people say, "Speaking of Frederick Douglass..." that usually means they're going to say something else related to Frederick Douglass. Or how that topic reminded him of something similar. Not sure that it's sinking in just yet. So, in that frame of mind (and the fact that I wasn't just discussing Thomas), "Speaking of Thomas...."

We were somewhat strict with Evan. He had definite boundaries and rules. And we took those recommendations of two hours or less screen time very seriously. Evan didn't even watch TV until he was 18 months old. Most of his friends were Elmo fans by then. So, we started with a little Sesame Street and added other shows on Public Television. But never more than that two hours. Then I got pregnant with Duncan and put on bed rest at 32 weeks.

The Thomas movies that Grandma had given Evan for his birthday suddenly became a Thing. I didn't like them at first. Why didn't their mouths move when they talked? Are they communicating by telepathy? Why in the world would they send a sentient machine to scrap, even if he was no longer useful. It seemed so cruel! And what was with that music?! But the stories were cute and not beating you over the head educational (shows can be educational and entertaining, ya know!) We started having special Mommy and Evan Thomas time. I began to learn all of the train names along with Evan. After Duncan came we bought some of the movies on DVD. When we were visiting the grandparents, we got him his very first set of plastic tracks and a couple of engines. I think he may have already had a Thomas by then. Usually at Grandma and Grandpa's house, Evan would wait for permission to leave his room in the morning. But the morning after he got that set, he was up with the sun pushing his little engines around the track. He was over the moon! In October I secretly went and purchased a used set of wooden tracks and buildings and a train table. I was so excited to give Evan his first wooden train set for Christmas! But it was not to be. He never got to play with any of it. It still breaks my heart. I did pull the set out of the garage several months later for Duncan. And then when Miranda came along, I had another Thomas fan. Of course, now the show is a cartoon instead of a train set. The engines mouths move when they speak (which now strikes me as odd!) And the stories are terrible. It's like they fired the writers when they spent all that money on the graphics. Miranda is even growing out of Thomas now, but I told her how much Evan loved Thomas and trains. I think he would have loved playing trains with his little brother and sister!


Last night before Duncan settled down to go to sleep, he appeared at the top of the stairs. He should have been in bed. It was late already, but he said he was scared. My thought was, "What is it this time?" After watching some space show a while back, he appeared at the top of the stairs and said, "I'm afraid of the sun becoming a red giant." I told him we probably have 5 billion more years till that happens, but he really did seem upset, so I went with him to his room to snuggle and help him get to sleep. Last night he said he was scared because of The Dark. He has double windows onto the dark back yard. I always close the curtains, but he knows it's still back there. He doesn't seem terribly upset, but I go anyway. He may be taking advantage of his pushover mommy. But I don't mind hanging out with my little guy. Sometimes I fall asleep, too. One time I went in there after giving up on sleeping in my own bed because Justin was snoring like a bear using a chainsaw. That time every time Duncan turned over he hugged me and said, "I love you, Mommeh!"

Evan had his little night time rituals and needs, too. After bath time with Daddy, they'd go to Evan's room for story time and some snuggles. I came up later, because I was usually in charge of feeding Duncan and trying to get him to bed. Before Duncan was born we had family story time, and a snack. It was fun, and Evan was never ready to go to sleep. He'd fuss for a while, and then eventually settle down. Once little brother was in the picture, Evan had to share. It was hard on him. But Evan always insisted that I come see him at bed time. My job was to sing what he called, "Our Father." Also known as The Lord's Prayer. I'd pick him up and snuggle with him, and sing. After the song we'd snuggle some more and talk. He was never ready for bed then, either. But didn't fuss as much. There was one time I remember watching TV downstairs. I heard footsteps on the stairs. I turned to see Evan coming down with the look on his face like, "Yep, it's me!" It was 11 pm! Kind of late for a 2 year old! It seemed like he just came down stairs to see what we were doing! We got him back to bed, and he slept the rest of the night.