It’s been a season — well at least, a couple of weeks — of leaps and bounds around here. Rowan turned six and promptly lost not one but two teeth (ironically, the first two teeth he grew in the first place; they were so hard to come by, those teeth, and now they are gone without so much as a fare thee well. I remember rocking him, rocking myself, thinking, We have to do this 18 more times? How will I survive?). And then, in the same week, he figured out how to propel himself forward not only on ice skates but in the swimming pool. Then he peeled himself his own Clementine orange and pulled on his own snowpants. There’s got to be some kind of metaphor for all this development, but I’ve been too busy marvelling at Isaac’s tear-less three weeks at preschool to come up with one. The nights, they are still touch and go, but I will admit that am giddy after two full nights of sleep in my own bed, and thus kindly disposed to the three-year-old who, sometime after 6:30 AM, crawls over from his “mat” to cuddle in between me and Rachel. I could get used to this, even, perhaps, embrace it fully, which is likely a good thing, given that Isaac has begun to refer to his bedroom as “my old room.” Rachel’s mother, a.k.a. Gaga, is here, refusing to let a dish linger unwashed for more than three minutes and playing countless board games with Rowan. Yesterday they got out that old classic, Connect Four.

Except that now it is not simply Connect Four, but THE ULTIMATE UPRIGHT CHECKER-DROPPING CHALLENGE.

Who knew? I would like to have been a fly on the wall of the marketing meeting that came up with that tagline:

— "Okay, okay, okay, guys: nobody leaves here until we come up with something that exactly describes this game!”

— "Hey! I’ve had 10 cups of coffee! I think, I think, I’ve got it…!”

I am unsuccessfully resisting the urge to try to describe everything in such terms: The [superlative adjective] + [temporal/spatial/otherwise obvious adjective] + [description of activity so literal that it is non-specific] + [noun in the family of “challenge / solution / conundrum, etc.]

We have also been playing lots of the ULTIMATE CLOCKWISE SPINNING OF THE JEWISH FOUR-SIDED TOP ENDEAVOUR, also known as the dreidel game. We held a fairly impromptu Hanukkah party on Saturday, and I made a triple batch of latkes, almost all of which are gone. Gaga, cleaning around me as I wielded two frying pans’ worth of oil and potatoes, commented that I must have fond memories of my mother making potato pancakes every year. And the truth is, I don’t. I remember latkes, and lots of them, but not the specific making of them, although the sense memory of it seems to be just under the surface of my skin, much like the scent of deep-fried potato with a trace of onion that has permeated the house and my pores. Not that I’m complaining. Yesterday, we attended a synagogue Hanukkah party, during which many children ate copious quantities of sugar and engaged in the time-honoured tradition of running gleefully in large circles around the common room. “I bet there wasn’t a single kid who didn’t have a meltdown before bed after that,” said Rachel, and I wouldn’t bet against her on that one. No sir.

And then, after the party, as I helped Rowan brush the traces of the afternoon’s excesses from his teeth, we both realized that he had cut his first “big kid” molar, which had almost fully erupted, nearly unnoticed. He still has his fallen baby teeth, which he has declined to put under his pillow for the tooth fairy, so I guess that they haven’t quite departed without a fare thee well. He wants to keep his teeth, and I can’t really argue with that, so now they sit in a little plastic tooth-shaped container that travels around the house. One day we will lose it, and one day, we will find it again, and finding it will be a little bit like finding the remains of my brother’s lost hamster, Buddy, at the bottom of a Mason jar in the deepest bowels of our basement several years after he initially disappeared in the GREAT SUBURBAN SUBTERRANEAN RODENT-ESCAPING ENTERPRISE. If you know what I mean.

Or maybe you just had to be there.