About Us

There are four of Them: three girls and one boy, little stair-steps all. There are two of Us: best friends, co-parents and truly in love. The Six of us have epic adventures full of laughter and love, occasionally containing tears, but always together.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Of Boys and Girls

The differences between the sexes grows more and more obvious to me as time goes by. There is a distinct and fascinating difference between Isaac and (as we call them) "The Girls". The outlook on the world and the way they all deal with it is just, well, different. Take Isaac's deep seated need (and I do mean need) to throw things. Just the other day we were purchasing yarn at a local craft store. (I'm doing some felting and boy is it fun!) I picked out three skeins of yarn, just right, one for each child to carry. We get up to the counter and I ask the kids to place their yarn on the counter. Elie takes two steps up, puts the yarn down and steps back. Talia takes two steps up, puts the yarn down and steps back. Isaac takes two steps BACKWARDS and throws his yarn like a QB throwing a hail mary. The yarn flies over the counter and lands at the feet of the bemused cashier. ARGHGHGHGHGH Why does he need to THROW things? I truly believe there is some sort of constant physics experiment going on, that only he is aware of. Well, the rest of us are aware of it, but only because random, non-throwing objects are being heaved around. He's also different in those stereotypical ways. He has a harder time just sitting still, he views conflict so much differently than The Girls, and of course, there are the physical difference that he is becoming more and more, concretely aware of. In our family we have a story that if you can kiss your elbow, right on the tip (which is, of course, impossible), you'll turn into the opposite gender. This story comes from my mother's father, who told it to my mother when she was a kid. So it's been passed down. The other day I was using the restroom and he came in and sighed, "Why do I always have to point down when I pee?" "Well," I responded "what happens if you don't?" "I spray pee pee all over the place." (he sighs again) The he announces, "When I kiss my elbow and turn into a girl I will not have to point down anymore." Oh poor Isaac, so aware that he is not the same. I wanted to wax poetic about the positives of being able to stand up and take care of business, I wanted to tell him that he could do all sorts of fascinating things that girls, one day, will be in awe of, I wanted him to know that being a boy is a good and cool thing. I did say, "Well, don't you like being a boy?" And he did respond in the affirmative. But I sure hope that being in a family of girls doesn't totally emasculate him.

And on the other side, Elie has been demonstrating some very stereotypical girl behaviors as of late. She was having the worst behavior, talking back, bossing EXCESSIVELY, and crying at the drop of a hat about EVERYTHING. I was seriously about to pull out my hair. The worst part was, even she didn't like the way she was acting, it had a compulsive quality to it. Finally we had a really terrible day and I started talking to her about school. We laid down on the bed, while Leila was nursing and Adam was taking care of the other two, and just chatted about what school (and riding the bus) were going to be like. Magically her behavior cleared up! She had lots of good questions and I realized how much she was going to be experiencing that was completely new! So everyday since then we have "talk about school" time. She asks questions and makes statements about what school will be. "We'll do computers everyday." "I'll probably make friends with the girls first." "I will sit all the way in the back of the school bus." She is much more comfortable and a much happier kid. Thank goodness! I am sure, now, that she is really excited to go. We meet her teacher and see her classroom on Friday and she cannot wait. We've answered all the questions we know answers to and now we just need to get started experiencing!

Talia has also been noticing differences. She's mostly just interested in peeing standing up because she idolizes Isaac. "When I am a big boy, I will pee standing up." It is interesting to see her interactions with the other two. Whatever they are doing, she wants to do. But if Elie is not paying her any attention, she will go and find something else to do. If Isaac isn't paying her any attention, then she torments him until he chases her or fusses at her. She is also convinced that she will be going to school this year, as a panda. Problem is, even if I was sending her, she wouldn't be a panda because that is a three year old class. I'm not sending her to school, for a variety of reasons and we'll see if it turns out to be a good thing or not! Regardless of what happens this year, I think she'll be ready to go next year for sure.

The other day the kids were sitting at the table eating lunch. Elie was sitting next to Isaac, but from where I was, she was blocking my view of his plate. He was supposed to be finishing his macaroni and cheese so that he could get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was turned away from them and he said "Mom, I'm done with my mac and cheese." I was looking and assumed that he was telling me the truth and I said "Okay, what did you want?" And I started talking through the options for his next course. All of a sudden I hear Elie, she's saying "Moooooommmmy, I'm leaning forward so you can see. Moooom, I'm leaning forward. Do you see?" And I turn around and see her leaning forward, so that I can see that Isaac is NOT finished with is mac and cheese. She wanted me to be aware that he was not done, but she knew that I wouldn't want her to tattle. Then I asked Isaac what was still on his plate, if he was finished with his mac and cheese and he said "kitty litter?"

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's too early!

Truth is, it's too early for LOTS of things. Currently the time is 7:01. For those of you who know me, I'm not a giant fan of the morning. But with children I have learned that an early rising time is inevitable. However, as of late, Leila's rising times have been INSANELY early. Last week she was awake (ie chattering, grunting, fussing, non-nursing AWAKE) at around two or three each morning. She would generously get sleepy around eight or nine am (by which time everyone else was awake), but she was fussy and refusing to nurse the entire time she was awake. The other problem is that her grunting (and I mean loud grunting) would wake up and keep awake lots of people in this household, big and small, who need/want/absolutely must have more sleep. I kept thinking to myself, "gosh, I'm so glad that this is the last babe." This is the last time I'll be going through this stage of mystery fussiness and waking/staying awake at ungodly hours of the wee, wee morn. But then I discovered the reason for the early waking time.

My four and a half month old, babe of sweetness and light is getting her first TEETH!!!!!!

Yeah, four and a half months old. UNCOOL. And I know they are teeth. I can put my finger in her mouth, rub on her gum and feel the teeth bumps. I can also see them, if she holds still long enough and allows me to torture her for a few minutes. There they are, little pearly whites. Undeniable truth, in the form of two white lines on her gums, that my baby is working hard on growing up as fast as she can. Of course, that she is *getting* teeth on purpose is a completely ridiculous idea. She didn't wake up one day and think to herself, "Gosh, look at that fun food! Look at my brother and sisters running around and having fun. I so want to be big. I'll grow teeth today." I know she didn't. But somehow, with this being THE LAST TIME, it feels a little deliberate and a lot rushed. The other three did not start teething until somewhere in their eighth month. Elie's teeth came in painfully slow, one at a time, for a year and a half. Isaac was still missing his eye teeth when he turned two. (People used to rudely ask what was wrong with his teeth before they came in.) Talia turned two in May and is just NOW breaking through her two year molars. I do not understand! Yes, this is my last babe and yes, there are so many reasons I'm okay with that. But I am not, let me repeat, NOT okay with my last babe growing up so very fast before my eyes.

It so happens that in addition to teeth, she seems to be in a great hurry to accomplish locomotion. She started rolling over front to back/back to front a week before her fourth month birthday. Now she's a rollin' fool. She pops over, willy nilly, to visit other portions of our bed, the floor, or whatever area she happens to be drooling all over at the time. Of course, it is pretty random and not at all purposeful. She just pops over to visit the world from a different point of view and then she pops back over to roll away.

And with this stage comes all sort of other developmental fun-ness. She grabs things quite effeciently now, including her feet. (Which actually, is a personal fave of mine. There is nothing cuter than a little naked bootie waving around while adorable baby toes are being grabbed by said babe!) She also uses her hands to grab for the other hand. So she often has them clasped in a little self hand holding. This ball of hands then requires deep and complete contemplation, as she attempts to examine them from all angles (as it turns out, when your hands are holding each other, there aren't many ways you can move them). Leila also loves to small, laugh and giggle at any human face passing by. Her eyes light up and she clasps her hands together, while she grins and giggles. Sometimes she even makes her favorite vocal greeting and gasps at whatever face is hanging around.

However, all this locomotion and development also creates some challenges while we're nursing. I like to call it the circus nurse. She'll latch on and immediately begin kicking; one foot, knee to chest, two feet in a bicycle motion. She makes a pointer and pokes it into her mouth WHILE she's trying to nurse. She spreads her hand out wide and rubs my breast, her face, her ear. She grabs her ear and twists it around. She pops off to see what that noise was, she gets back on. She tries to roll over. She pulls both legs up to her chest and thrusts them back down again. She twists my shirt over her nose. I hold on to one hand while holding her body, pinning the down arm under my arm or breast. When we lay down to nurse, sometimes I have to put my leg over her legs, hold on to the top hand/arm, and then use my other hand to pat her. Wow. The skills I have are INVALUABLE for nursing, I'm just not sure they are marketable anywhere else.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Home again...at long last!

Well, after our trip to Oregon, 10 days at home, a trip to Colorado, then a trip to PA, we are FINALLY home! Our tomatoes are producing edible vegies (our watermelon and pepper plants are not, but still growing strong), our kitties are thrilled to finally have us back in the house, the kids are happy to be home with their toys (although Talia did ask where GranEde was and if she was riding in our car, just yesterday) and I am happy to be home again and working on various 'round the house projects. Not that we didn't have a wonderful time. We did. Oregon was a blast and I am so happy that the kids had a chance to just *live* with GranEde and GranDude. We had such fun adventures. Colorado was also a great time. We all had such a good time visiting with everyone who lives there and the visitors who were around too! We got to go to the cabin.

And to the zoo (we fed the giraffes and as Talia said excitedly "We feed the giraffes and one dust (just) licked me!" We saw Alan and Lisa get married and it was a wonderful thing. There is absolutely nothing like being in a room of 200 people, all of whom are bursting with happiness for two absolutely amazing people! We also had a good time in Pennsylvania, where we met Ben and the kids' cousins, Alec and Jack, for three fun-filled days at a huge waterpark resort thingy. But now we are home. And home we are staying for a long, long time. There is so much going on here!

During our ten days home in July, we made sour cherry jam and blueberry jam. The kids just LOVE to help out. They are now professional cherry pitters....

(Yes, they are all in their undies, I figured it would be easier to clean them if they were naked. Cherry pitting is a MESSY business!)
And professional blueberry smashers, they can even operate the smashing machinery all by themselves!

The jam we made is delicious and it was so much fun to make too! During the month of August I am planning to do more canning. The kids just love pb and homemade jam!