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.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Differences

"I love Chwisamas." says Talia

"No you don't!" says Elie

"It's only one day." says Isaac

We've been having lots of disscussions lately about the differences between Christmas and Hanukah. Elia has been asking about Santa ( which we have dodged due to her attending school with kids who ALL believe in him) and recently there was a dinner discussion about how many days the Christmas celebration lasts. Elie's opinion was that Christmas was boring due to it only being one day. We've discouraged her from saying those things, but it does seem interesting that they are making those connections.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Family Days!

What a lovely day it has been. We had a really nice Christmas Day. Some Jews get a little morose, depressed, and whiny around Christmas because everything is closed and there's not much for the Chanukah celebrating folk to do. I suppose this is really changing with the advent of superconsumerism in this country; while we were out today we saw that the movie theater was open and several restaurants that were either open or going to be open for dinner, but that's not really here or there. We decided not to sit around the house today, we decided that we were going to take advantage of the beautiful weather and do a day of caching! Last night Adam and I made a delicious picnic lunch and this morning we got up and headed out. We had a GREAT day! (Well, Talia did fall down and smash up her face something terrible. She was walking with her hands in her pockets and, in true Talia style, fell down and crashed her forehead and cheek into the pavement. But that happened on the first cache and she got calmed down pretty quick and had a great day after that.) We did a couple cache and dashes (where you do a quick grab) and some more take-a-walk-to-find-the-cache caches. There was a playground near one cache, some historical stuff near another and then we had our yummy picnic lunch at a fun amphitheater type place. It was a beautiful day and we had such a great time hunting our caches and being a family. After we were finished we came home and the kids had enough energy to go ride bikes on the sidewalk out front.

"When you are wearing *shades* that means you look cool. When you don't look cool they are just called *sunglasses*." - Isaac

Yesterday we had a quiet morning. I'm not really sure what we did. Oh yeah, Adam took the kids on some errands, I exercised, we did some laundry. In the afternoon we took a nice long walk. Elie rode her bike and the other three rode in strollers. We went and did the first stage of a multi cache. I think we walked about 2.5 miles. By the time we got home Elie was saying how much her legs were shaking. But she is really doing well riding her bike. She was starting herself very consistently and even took the bike down a couple of big hills. Last night Adam and I admitted that we were both a little nervous about one of the hills, but Elie just took it in stride and headed down with nary a blink.

On Saturday night we had some people we know over. I find it hard to qualify them as friends because we just know them, we aren't really involved with them. Does that make sense? Anyway, they also have four kids - three girls and a boy. There are twin girls who are in second grade, the boy is 3.5 and a little girl who was born in February. Their attitude toward parenting is, well, different. And it isn't the different parenting that bothers me, it is that the parenting is creating children that are downright unpleasant to be around. Now, I like this couple well enough. I could see Adam and I hanging around with them on a regular basis and having a good time. But I know that I will never have them, with their children, in my house again. The boy is absolutely out of control. He hits, bites, spits, smacks, pulls hair, punches and is physically violent towards just about anyone who attempts to get in his way. He punched Elie several times in the stomach when Elie was trying to get him to stop playing with the lights. (As an aside, we are still working with Elie to just come get help when someone is doing something that is unacceptable/harmful/against our rules. I'm not sure why she just can't ask the person to stop and then come get us if they won't. Of course, when it is just her and her siblings we can't get them to moderate their own disagreements. shrug) After that I spoke sharply to him and told him that hitting was not acceptable in my house and if he hit one of my kids again, he was going to answer to me. Following that he just hit his sisters. Part of the problem is that the parents are totally inconsistent. There is absolutely zero follow through. Part of the problem is that I am SURE that is the example he is getting at home; when they don't like his behavior, I am sure that they are physical with him. In addition to the boy and his extremely violent behavior, the older girls are whiny, rude, and extremely disrespectful. There were several instances that just left me with my mouth hanging open in disbelief. The mother kept saying how she didn't like her house and she was so tired, so worn out, how she just doesn't know what to do anymore. Well, I can see why she doesn't like her house. I didn't like having them all over for a few hours, I certainly wouldn't want to live there all the time. The worst part was, after they left, I felt all ratcheted up and tense. I felt like yelling, even though there was absolutely no reason to yell.

Truth is I'm tired and worn out a lot. But I LIKE my house. Adam and I work hard and make conscious decisions to parent in a way that, hopefully, will guide our children to behave in a positive manner and help create adults that we like and want to be around. There's a lot of thought that goes into that and sometimes we go down the wrong path and have to backtrack. I'm trying not to be judgmental, but I just can't imagine living in that house. I know that everyone parents differently and everyone has to figure out what their priorities are, but I just don't understand that family. It bums me out because I like the parents, but I don't want to be around kids like that. Which brings me to one of the hardest parts of being a parent and having other parent friends. Sometimes the differences in parenting styles are so vast that they just cannot be overcome. No matter how much you might like the other parent, the experience that your child is having and behaviors that your child is being exposed to and will try at home all makes a difference. It's a bummer, really, but there have to be limits.

Anyway, enough of that. I hope that you had a Merry Christmas, if you lean that way. I didn't blog much about it, but we had a lovely Chanukah with lots of latkes (potato pancakes), light, and love. I always love seeing the Menorah with all the candles, glowing so brightly in the dark. I'm looking forward to the New Year and all the adventures it will bring. Merry Family Days!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This is How We Do It

At Chanukah it is customary to give chocolate. Usually the chocolate is in gold and silver aluminum foil, made to look like little coins. It's called gelt. We had our fair share of gelt this year and so did the kids. However, someone generously gave us a GIANT chocolate/almond bar as well. I had put it away, but pulled it out tonight as a post dinner treat. Talia was done with her food first, so I quietly got up and got out the chocolate and gave her some pieces. Isaac said "What is that, Mom?" I was feeling like a smart-ass, so I said "A poke in the eye with a sharp stick." Isaac says "hmmm", takes a few bites of food, chews and then says "Talia, how is that poke in the eye with a sharp stick?" He was completely serious!!! I started to laugh and laugh. Then he said "Can I have some poke in the eye with a sharp stick?" Still completely serious. It is so funny how literal they are!

Last night I made a delicious (if I may say so myself) alphabet soup. There were nice chunks of potato, tomato, carrot and peas in it. I ground some up in the food grinder for Leila and she gobbled it down. Then I struck upon the idea (duh) to put some chunks on her tray. She LOVED it. Every time she would pincer-grasp some peas, she would proudly hold it up at arms length until someone, anyone made enthusiastic noise about her having picked it up. Then she would either try and put it in the closest sibling mouth or try and put it in her mouth. A couple of times she actually did get it in her mouth! It was so exciting and she just kept eating and eating and eating and eating. She's still nursing a ton (mostly at night), but she's well on her way to being a big kiddo! I think she was dancing in her high chair tonight and she can wave, clap, and make a touchdown to be a performing monkey. It's just going by so fast......

Adam has been gone this week, but this time I'm not feeling so completely overwhelmed. The kids have all been REALLY well behaved; lots of good listening, sharing and less bickering. I'm feeling much more zen about life in general and my outlook has definitely improved. Today the kids and I made snowflakes most of the afternoon, then they proceeded to decorate the basement with them. Yesterday we played and did some laundry. I don't quite know what the cause of it is, but I'm diggin' the change!

Monday, December 17, 2007

There is too much...let me sum up

It is ten pm. I ought to be in bed. Yet every time I sit down I think of how I haven't updated my bloggity blog in a gazillion years...or three weeks. Uncool. Completely uncool. I keep going over in my head, trying to hold on to all the tiny stories and fragments of things that have happened, thoughts I have had and stories I want to tell, in some hope that I can regurgitate them back out for public consumption. And now I feel I must write something down...even if it is bullet style, bare bones summation of the last few weeks! So here goes:

Leila
- Now has two top teeth
- Likes to bite me
- Doesn't want to sleep in her own bed because she likes mine better. I like her in my bed BUT I want to get up at five am and excercise and cannot seem to do this w/out waking her up. big conundrum because I like her cosleeping and enjoy having her there w/me.
- Related to above, I can no longer leave her alone in my bed because she will crawl off of it. I have empirical proof that this will happen and now leaving her in the bed, even while asleep, makes me very, very nervous.
- Continues to love love love love big people food. when I get out the food grinder she about squirms out of my arms trying to reach for it. is starting to enjoy feeding herself bits, but wants me to keep stuffing it in with a spoon at the same time. tonight she enjoyed a meal of black beans and rice, yummy!

Talia
- Is experimenting with physical temper tantrums. The other day I put her in the shopping cart when she did not want to be there and she started kicking her feet and arching her back.
- Is hilarious! "I do not like the thunder. It wakes me up. But I like the rain. The rain pats me back to sleep." The other day she was trying to get down from the table and we had a whole seven minute exchange regarding her getting down, excusing herself and being stuck. I can't even appropriately sum it up, but Adam and I were wiping tears from our faces when the whole thing was done.
- Has had nother language explosion and now talks my ear off even more than before. But it is sooo cute!

Isaac
- "Please close the door when you are using the bathroom and guests are over." I said to him. "The door is closed...halfway." was his response.
- Is doing a GREAT job reading. He's probably on the same level that Elie was when she started school. Language development/Reading skills are sooooo coooool.
- Can't seem to keep track of his gloves/mittens. I found them the last two times they were lost sitting on the the playground at school. Apparently he gets too hot and just takes them off and throws them on the ground. ARHGHGHGHGHGH. I'm going to staple them to him. I swear I am.
- Got a hair cut after trying to grow out his hair for a pony ala GranDude. He picked the style and it is SHORT. But so cute. Post haircut G-Daddy admits that he liked it long. Adam and I gasp!

Elie
- Is experimenting with some not following the rules behavior at school. Has a "yellow" day. (Green is a day w/no problems, yellow one, blue a few and red...well you understand.) Doesn't tell me about it when I ask, waits for me to find the note the teacher sent home! I make her explain, then I make her write a note of apology to the teacher. Hopefully I've managed to make an impression. We'll see. (yellow day was just last Thursday - shrug)
- Has decided reading is a decidedly cool thing. Is now voluntarily reading books, over my shoulder at the computer, words on food labels etc. Does a really good job, if she's not trying to guess.
- Is love, love, loving her hair cut. She brushes it herself, can put it in a pony by herself and is generally thrilled with it!
- Has moved into her own room! We moved Talia and Isaac into the bunk bed, put the crib in with Talia and Isaac and moved the twin bed that Talia was in, into the old crib room. Make sense? This was all so that Elie could get an alarm clock, so that she could get out of bed on her own. I was tired of the whining - I'm still tired, I need to sleep more, I don't want to get up etc - that was occuring when I would attempt to awaken sleeping beauty in the morning. Now she has her own alarm and it is working smashingly!

Whew...I'm sure I've missed things. And dumb windows internet explorer has crashed THREE TIMES while I was writing this. Maybe tomorrow more hours will appear in the day...but for now I must sleep!