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, January 29, 2008

Reading is Magic!

I was at the commissary with Isaac, Talia and Leila on Sunday. We were walking through the cereal aisle and I asked Isaac which kind he thought he wanted. He said "I want the Crunch kind." I said "what?" Because I wasn't looking at any box that looked like a "crunch kind". I said "Come over and show me which one you want." He walked over and put his hand on a box that said "Crunch" in big letters on the front. I could not believe that he was really reading the box because we'd been standing there for, oh, five seconds and he hadn't said anything out loud. I then asked him "what does that say?" He said "Crunch. That's what I want...crunch cereal."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why Am I SO Tired?!?!?!

I have written before about my constant state of exhaustion. I feel terrible for my poor husband because it is a regular occurrence that I fall asleep with Leila while she is nursing to go to sleep. He is very sweet though and never complains. But it does happen quite a lot. And I often find myself confused as to why it happens. During the day I feel like there is a lot going on, but I don't feel *that* busy. Then nighttime comes, in the quiet and dark of the house a magic spell falls over me and I become unable to wrest myself from the clutches of my soft, warm, nursling-inhabited bed.

I was puzzling over this phenomenon one Tuesday morning (because the previous evening had been spent snoozing away) and then on Wednesday afternoon, I finally registered why I'm *so* tired.

On Monday and Wednesday Elie and Isaac have swim lessons. They are only 30 mins long and Elie and Isaac are currently in the same class. During swim lessons, Talia, Leila and I go into the little pool and play in the water. I usually make sure that the kids have their bathing suits on before we get to the pool, so getting in the water is as pain free as possible. So it was a normal Wednesday. We got to the pool in plenty of time, everyone shucked out of their clothes and Leila and I got dressed in our swim suits (and swim diaper, respectively). We all headed out to the pool deck and got Elie and Isaac off to their lesson. Talia and Leila and I splashed in the little pool and had a nice quiet time. After the lesson was finished, Elie and Isaac were so cold their lips were purple and they were shivering so hard they could barely walk, so we headed into the locker room to change. Elie and Isaac decided they wanted to sit in the warm shower, so I told them to get their wet clothes off and get in. While they were getting their wet suits off, I was trying to get the shower head to point in the right direction. That was proving VERY difficult because I was holding Leila with one arm and only had one hand to attempt to rotate the flexible tubing and the shower head. When I turned back around, Elie had gotten undressed, but Isaac was still standing there freezing, making no moves to get undressed. I reminded him that he needed to get undressed to get warm and he starts making the motions to do so. Talia decided that she didn't want to get in the shower and had undressed and was standing naked, in the middle of the changing room, shivering. I couldn't help her to get dressed though because I was still soaking wet and holding a soaking wet Leila. I convinced her to put her towel back on despite her protests that it was wet (due to her dragging it in a large puddle of water...) and asked her to wait until I changed Leila and could help her get dressed. I laid Leila down on the bench and attempted to get her wiggly, age-appropriately-non-cooperative self dressed. Finally, I got her in all her warm clothes and buckled her into the stroller. Elie and Isaac, by this time, were bickering in the shower. A couple of mommy-to-Elie-and-Isaac reminders later, I moved on to getting Talia dressed. Of course, the floor was wet and so she needed quite a lot of help getting dressed so that her clothes weren't soaking wet when we left. By that time, Leila decided that she had enough of the stroller and she was doing everything in her power to throw herself out of it. I had her buckled in, so she was leaning waaaay over, which made it look like she was going to launch out of the stroller, headfirst. I got Talia dressed, while standing with my leg in between Leila's legs so that she could not launch herself. Then Elie and Isaac got out of the shower and I gave them their clothes and got them situated on the bench so they could get dressed and keep their clothes dry. Leila was trying to exit the stroller the whole time AND she wasn't doing it quietly. Once Elie and Isaac were dressed and their shoes were tied, I quickly got dressed, trying to keep my clothes dry and keep Leila in the dang stroller.

Somewhere in there, I saw myself from above, harried and multi-tasking, and I realized why I am so dang tired all. the. time. It's not like that all the time, everyday. But I'd venture to guess that at least once during the day, things get that hairy, or worse. It's possible that other people could, upon seeing the brood, immediately hypothesize about why I am so tired. But it took that scene for me to have an epiphany. I know that there's nothing to be done, but I wanted you all to share in my exhaustion for a brief while. ; )

The other day Leila was not feeling well. She's been not feeling well for quite a while and I was concerned because she kept having a day or two worth of fever. It's happened like three weeks in a row. So I took her into the pediatrician, just to make sure she was okay. It turns out, she wasn't. It's nothing major, but the dr said she has a raging ear infection. Blah. I had no idea. In addition to the ear infection, she's getting four teeth. All at the same time. Blah times two, because I also had no idea about those. Taking Leila to the dr made us a bit short on time to get to our swim lesson. So we were in a hurry. We got to the pool deck right on time and the kids shucked out of their clothes and went off for their lesson. Lesson got done, we got dressed and headed out to the car. As we are buckling in Isaac says that he lost his sweatshirt, which he was sure he was wearing when we got to the swim lesson. We all get unbuckled and troop around the pool deck, life guard station, front desk and locker rooms to see if anyone has found this sweatshirt. I suggest to Isaac that just possibly he wasn't wearing it when we left for swimming, but he is convinced that he had it. Having not found it at the rec center, we head home. Lo and behold, we walk in the door and there is the sweatshirt, laying on the living room floor. And that little boy says....

"I know I had it on when we got to swimming. I must have taken it off and it must have flown back to the house. I just know it."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Condundrum Calamity

The other day I was grumbling about how the car has recently needed a spate of repairs and is having some problems. Elie suggested that we get a new car. Isaac piped up and said we didn't need a new car, we just needed to put "sparkles" on the old one. And that would make it "just like new."

I've been having a bit of a conundrum lately about co-sleeping with Leila. She still wakes up lots in the night to nurse. This is no problem when she is in bed with us. I just wake up and latch her on. I hardly even register it, so it makes little to no impact on my sleeping. But, I'd really, really, really like to wake up early everyday and exercise. I have no chance to do it during the day (or I feel guilty for taking an hour out of the middle of the day OR I really just want to exercise without an audience) and by the time the kids go to bed, I'm so exhausted I hardly have the energy to stay awake (hence my spotty blogging) much less exercise. The problem is that when Leila is in our bed (always) when my alarm goes off at five fifteen or so, she wakes up. Then I'm not exercising by myself AND I've got a cranky, wakened babe on my hands. There is no way for me to get out of bed with out waking her, I've tried. The alarm goes off and she starts to stir. Of course, then I have to take her down stairs with me while I exercise and because she was prematurely wakened, the rest of the day sucks. Or in the other option of the choose-your-own-parenting-adventure the scenario plays out that she doesn't wake up right away, but I get half done with exercising and she wakes up. Then because she's in the bed and will crawl right off and hurt herself, I have to book it upstairs in an effort to keep her from doing so. Either way, it just isn't conducive to exercising. I find that if she does wake up when the alarm goes off, I tend to lay back down and nurse her back to sleep. Also not conducive to regular-pre-awake children-exercise.

None of this would be an issue if she would a)sleep well in her own bed, through the night and b)transfer. Currently she is sleeping in her crib, but this worked out for only one reason and that is because she was up at six this morning and was EXHAUSTED by the time I nursed her to sleep. So I nursed her to sleep in the floor of her room and plunked her in to her bed when she was solidly out. But she won't stay there. She'll wake up sometime between eleven and midnight and I'll go in and get her and take her back to bed with me. I don't mind nursing her in the night, but I am not going to lay on the cold, hard floor and nurse her, only to have her awaken when I attempt to transfer her in to her crib!

All of this is compounded by the fact that I secretly (well, now it's not a secret) love, love, love having her in the bed with us. Truth is, with Adam gone so much, it is nice to have little bodies in the bed with me. They are warm, smell sweet, and I love looking at their little sleeping faces. I look forward to the olders waking and joining me and I really do enjoy having them in the bed with me. And when I like having her there, it is difficult to justify the exhaustion and tears that would follow me attempting to force her to sleep in her own bed. I know she wouldn't sleep through the night and so the scenario would be as follows: she would wake, I would go in and lay on the floor and nurse her, she would go to sleep, I would put her in the crib, she would wake after an amazingly short time, repeat ad exhaustion. It is, as my father would say, all trade-offs, but I'm having trouble.

Adam and I were having a disagreement about what "gullet" meant. So I looked it up and it turned out that he was right. So Elie chimes in, looking directly at Adam, "CERTAIN people know things....And certain people don't know things!"

We've been having some trouble with Elie, and actually still are. She is so danged bossy. I have a really hard time with this. She comes from bossy lineage. I'm bossy, my mom is bossy, Adam is a first born and so is my dad. All of this makes for lots of chiefs and not so many indians (as the saying goes). So I can't blame her for being bossy. Plus she's starting to get in to the age where it is (as unfortunate as it is) developmentally appropriate for her to be bossy. The idea is that they experiment with bossing, learn that no one wants to play with them when they act like that, and then they learn not to do it. Problem is, everyone in this house wants to play with Elie no matter if she is bossing or not! Last week we had a big blowup when she tried to take away a cheerio from Leila when I had just, moments before, asked her to leave Leila alone. This was the morning after a really long day of bossing incidents. I got very upset and didn't deal with the situation well (lots of yelling and an unreasonable consequence). I felt sick all morning because of the way I had handled it. Adam called and I talked to him about it. He brainstormed and came up with the idea that maybe Elie has a hard time choosing a new course of action, once she's decided on one. So she starts to boss (or whatever it is in her mind) and then when we step in and ask her to stop, she (for whatever reason) is compelled to continue on the predecided course of action. His suggestion was to remove her from the situation once we see that she is having trouble keeping to herself. I reasoned that it was worth a try, since yelling is NOT the way to go and I wasn't sure what else to do. That afternoon, I gave Talia a task of putting away some clean dish. It was a challenge because the strainer had to go in a certain way, but I knew that Talia would figure it out. Over comes Elie "Talia, do you want me to do that for you? I can do it. Let me do it for you." I asked her to leave Talia alone and Elie said again "Don't you want my help, Talia?" (The whole time Talia was telling Elie to leave her alone, please.) It was clear that Elie couldn't stop getting in Talia's way and so I gently took Elie by the shoulder and moved her away from Talia, positioning myself between them. Lo and behold it worked! Talia was able to figure out the strainer by herself (good and important for her) and Elie was removed from the situation, calmly. Whew. Of course, the bossing hasn't really gotten better, but again tonight Elie got removed from a playing situation because she couldn't stop. However, there was no yelling or tears, so we may have hit upon another tool in our box. Now if I could just control myself and quit yelling....

The bossing thing is another conundrum. Elie bossing really takes lots of choices out of the play that the three olders do together. But when they are all happily playing, while she bosses, is that okay? How do I encourage the younger two to speak up when they are tired of being bossed? Do I ALWAYS get on Elie when she bosses? Why does Talia ask for Elie to be the teacher/mom/dr/boss? Is it okay to allow them to play that way, if Talia is enjoying it? Is Talia going to learn to play with her own imaginary story line or will she always follow the one Elie sets out? I know the answer to some of these things; that Talia and Isaac will speak up when they are tired of being bossed, that Talia and Isaac will deviate from the preordained Elie storyline, that Talia knows how to engage in imaginary play without Elie there to tell her what to do. So I guess that everyone is pretty emotionally healthy, for now. And I know that it is an ongoing process. Ah parenting.

Leila is so dang cute lately. We say "uh, uh, uhhhhh" instead of "no" a lot of the time around here. But now, when Leila is crawling towards something she's not supposed to play with/do (the outlets, stairs, doors, fireplace tools) she says the sound. Or when we say it to another kiddo, she mimics us. It is hilarious!!!!! She also has started kissing (a favorite of mine) but it is the typical learning to kiss, kiss. A wide open mouth. So if I kiss her, she immediately turns her head, mouth open wide, and falls on my mouth with hers. Ha! (As an aside, all our other kids started kissing this way. Elie was especially forceful and wouldn't give up until she made complete contact!) She has also started *dancing* which means that when music or a sound comes on that she likes, she bounces up and and down and side to side on her bum. When we ask her if she's dancing, she smiles and claps her hands, and *dances* more vigorously.

Isaac has been hilarious lately about reading. When he is around and Elie is sounding out something, he will always figure it out before her. However, she has made some astounding advances in her reading and is reading everything, voraciously and really well. Isaac was reading about math in the car today and kept saying "hmmmm isn't this odd, 2 plus 4 is 6!" (or whatever the numbers were, but it was always "isn't this odd?")

The other day in the car, Talia was singing. She started off with "Little bunny foo foo" and then moved in to "Itsy Bitsy Spider." By the end of the singing though, she was doing a mash up of the two, it went like this..."Little bunny foo foo hoppin' thwough the fowest And down came the wain and washed the fowest out."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Back From the Dead

You may think the title of this post is an exaggeration. I am sorry to share with you that it is not. Dadam and I just spent the better part of the last week so sick with pneumonia that we had difficulty carrying Leila around, walking down/up the stairs, and/or making meals for our children. It. Was. Awful. I sincerely hope that I am never that sick again in my life. Or if am that sick, that my partner in crime, rock, and truest help is not in the same (or worse) shape.

It all started while we were visiting Ping, Mike, G, Lo and Joe in NY. We try and get together a couple times a year. It is always nice to see one another and get to visit. We were having a really good time visiting and hanging out. On Sunday morning we got up and headed to Ithaca to go shopping and check out a hands on science museum that is there. Adam started feeling a bit under the weather. We stopped for dinner at Moosewood (an yummy vegetarian restaurant) and I really noticed that Adam wasn't well because he didn't finish his dinner. Monday morning we woke up and he was SICK. He had a fever and was achy and really was moving slow. It got worse. We continued with the visit (played in the snow - cute story later, went to hear the high school pep band that Mike directs, and ate dinner) all without poor Adam. Monday night Leila had a bit of a fever and I slept with the kids to give Adam the best possible sleep for the car ride home the next day. He was feeling better, but I was going downhill fast. We got in the car and THANK GOODNESS the kids were really content and the ride went smoothly because I was really starting to feel ill. We got home and we thought we were feeling better. We fed the kids, though neither one of us felt very hungry. Then we all headed to bed, sure that we would get up and feel better.

No dice. We woke up the next morning, feverish and in much worse shape. Adam mustered the energy to get the kids off to their respective schools, while I laid,comatose, around the house. Wednesday night we went to bed as soon as the kids were asleep, thinking that we'll feel better in the morning. Thursday morning we were feeling even worse because we both tossed and turned with fevers the entirety of the night. I got up with Elie on Thursday morning, but had to lay back down, almost immediately, in her room. Adam headed to the dr in the afternoon and got some antibiotics. I spent the rest of the day out of it, but then Friday morning I got some antibiotics. Last night we had a wonderful meal brought to us by the director of the preschool Isaac attends (I LOVE our community) and Adam's Dad came over and spent a majority of the day with us, doing laundry and having brought lunch with him.

Probably the worst part of the whole thing was that we were so sick, taking care of the kids was EXTREMELY difficult. Adam and I were, literally, only capable of the smallest tasks. I'm pretty sure we had a fever for the better part of three days. I'm glad that the kids were not sick. I'm glad that we never watch TV so that when I needed it to hold their attention, it did. I'm glad there were no emergencies. Looking back it seems like it was such a short time, really what's a few days. But it seemed like forever in the midst of it, so hopeless and really, really painful.

Now the kiddos are sick. Isaac and Talia got a fever yesterday, Elie got it this afternoon. I'm hoping they can push through it without getting pneumonia. I guess we'll see. In true Isaac style, he puked last night, twice. The first time I was sitting with him, all wrapped up in a blankie, in my lap. He started throwing up and he just emptied his tummy. Poor thing. Adam came down and got him. Thankfully he had not a drop on him. Me, not so lucky. But I scooped as much of it off and I went straight to the wash and stripped down. (The second time we were all dead asleep, but Isaac woke feeling urpy and was standing on tiptoe with his head in the trashcan that sits on top of my bedside table! Clean up was much, much, much nicer that time 'round.)

While he was throwing up all over me, I started thinking about my Mom. Okay, okay, not the association you might expect. And no, it's not that my Mom makes me throw up or throws up or whatever. My Mom spent some time during my childhood cleaning up my barf. She cleaned it out of her bed, off her clothes, off my bed, out of my hair, out of her hair, out of the car...you get the picture. And not once do I have ANY recollection of her cringing, gagging, barfing herself (while she was dealing with me that is, I distinctly remember her barfing when she was sick), or generally making a big deal about the situation. She would comfort, hold the bowl, wipe our mouths, offer us water, and then go about the business of cleaning up. So matter of fact and without much trouble. (Maybe there was a bit of exasperation when I was sleeping in my parent's bed and sat straight up and threw up directly in front of me ALL OVER THE BED. If I had just turned my head it would have hit the floor instead, so I don't blame her for being a bit exasperated.) And here I was, in the same position, just letting him get it out and waiting to take care of it. Really, it was totally disgusting. Barf is gross. It smells and stains. If I had my druthers none of my kids would ever.barf.again. But it doesn't work that way. So I'll just get barfed on and then clean it up. Thanks Mom, for always being cool under pressure and calm when the barf hit the bowl (or not, as the case may have been). You've always been my hero and, since becoming a mom myself, now it's more like hero-worship!