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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sometimes Single Mommy

Adam left on Sunday for three weeks. Yeah, three weeks. Three weeks of single mommyhood. We're only on night four, but things are going alright. Talia has asked every.single.time. we've driven by the airport (which happens twice a day) if we are going to pick up Daddy. And I have to answer no, every time.

During the day, during the week it's not *really* such a big deal that he is gone. He'd normally be at work, so we just do our normal routine. Getting ready for dinner, dinner and bedtime are all really, really tough. It's the end of the day, everyone is cranky (including yours truly), everyone is worn out and everyone deals with those feelings in a different way. Isaac tends to mess around (like you couldn't have figured that out) and get hyper in other people's space, Talia tends to space out and Elie tends to just get extra bossy. Then there's little Leila, who is often cranky and tired and wants to just do whatever she wants to do, ie if I let her have her toothbrush she REFUSES to let go of it and screams if I take it away. I'm trying to corral and wrangle everyone into completing three little tasks...pottying, teeth brushing and getting dressed for bed. It seems like such a small sequence of events, but it takes like 45 mins. Seriously. It can be extremely painful. But it can also go remarkably smoothly, if I can take a deep breath and just remind myself that they need reminding and nudging.

They are so cute when they are finally ready for bed and winding down from the day. All sorts of information comes spilling out. It's like their little minds are reviewing what happened during the day and trying to process it, either for permanant remembering or for discarding. On Monday one of Isaac's classmates brought her hampsters in to class for show and tell. Monday evening Isaac revealed to us that they "had their own languuuuage. They went squeak squeak squeeeeek." He also did a little demonstration about how they ran around and how he and his classmates got to hold them. Of course, he didn't share any of that information when I picked him up from school. But I was glad he shared it, better late than never. Elie often picks tuck-in-time to do her discussing. When I am not EveryParent, I try and take a little time to talk with her. She often comes up with fascinating observations and comments on the day. When I am EveryParent, I try and make time for just her, earlier in the day. Currently Talia doesn't understand why I won't let her have her sleepers anymore (it's too warm and she bakes and then takes them off and then gets cold) and so we've been trying to process that....At bedtime, when we're thinking about sleepers and unable to sleep wearing anything else....

So, I'm off to bed. EveryParent has to take care of everything, all the time. But he'll be home, faster than we know it, and there are much worse situations to be in than sometimes-single-mommy.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Please, Please Help Me

Elie is an extremely thoughtful little girl. In kindergarten children can bring in a special treat for snack around or on their birthday, to celebrate with the class. There are several children in the class that have food allergies and Elie was very concerned that the snack she bring be something that everyone could eat. That way no one would feel left out of the celebration. She also loves to help out and lend a hand whenever and wherever it is needed. She will often ask if there's anything I need help with, volunteer to help Isaac, Talia or Leila or will jump in and give assistance in most any situation. She was recently at a birthday party and they did some stuffed animal project. The mother of the celebrant called me the next day to let me know how thoughtful and helpful Elie was. Apparently, while the other kids were just reaching and grabbing stuffing, pushing each other out of the way, Elie was standing at the side of the stuffing bin handing handfuls of stuffing to the littler kids and kids who couldn't reach. It is really cool to see how giving she is.

However, like most situations in life, there are some protocol, grey areas and limits. And as of late, we've encountered a few of those with regard to *helping*. For instance, the other day Isaac was in a big hurry to get inside after we got home from picking him up because he needed to go to the bathroom urgently. Elie volunteered to bring in his backpack and jacket. Isaac said that would be great, thanks, and he ran in to use the potty. Elie came in with the backpack and jacket. Then she proceeded (with Isaac's blessing) to unload the backpack. She removed his lunchbox and set it on the table, then she took out his folder and removed the papers. Then she decided that she was done. So she announced to me "Mom someone didn't put away their backpack." ARGHGHGHGHG Here she had been so sweet and kind to Isaac and then she decided that she was done and threw him under the bus.

How the heck do I explain this? She was doing something that wasn't her responsibility to take care of, but she volunteered and so it is important to finish the job that she volunteered to do. So she finishes the job and off she goes.

We also have a problem with too much help. She will often take it upon herself to take things away from Leila. Or she'll try and move Leila. Or help Isaac and Talia when he asks for help from a parental unit. All of that *help* usually ends up creating a problem, which is NOT helpful at all.

I don't think that she means harm when she gives help that is unasked for. She honestly wants to be helpful. But she also thinks she's a grownup. Which I'd like her not to think. There's plenty of time for her to be a grownup and there are already two adults in this house, which is enough.

It's very interesting to watch. There are all of these situations occuring where there has to be education given about the social grey areas that we as adults navigate daily. It's less interesting to be doing the education. I'm not sad about passing on our values and attitudes, I just find it frustrating to say the same thing over and over and over and over again. Until then, we're valuing the helpful-helpfulness and teaching about unhelpful-helpfulness

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Long Sleep!

Leila actually slept last night from 10 pm until 5 am. Glorious, glorious. Of course, I was asleep, so I didn't *really* get to enjoy it. ; ) I was trying to recall today, but I'm pretty sure that's the longest, not interrupted for nursing/potty/bad dream sleep I've had in a looooong time. Possibly over a year?

I think her teeth are finally coming through, which is a nice contributing factor. No pain in mouth equals more restful nights. Who'd have thunk?

It is also possible that she's sleeping due to her approach of another huge milestone: walking. She's gotten more and more brave in the last couple of days. She's now voluntarily letting go of objects, so that she's standing on her own. She'll even try and take a couple of steps, if encouraged. She's getting closer....

Monday, April 21, 2008

Baby On My Back

Lately Leila has been needing her afternoon nap a little more regularly. However, she doesn't really like to go down for a nap. She. Hates. Napping. When I try to get her down, if there is the slightest noise (like it's ever completly silent in the middle of the day in THIS house) she will not go to sleep. She hits herself, hits me, pinches me, squirms, laughs, pokes her finger in my nose, in her eyes etc etc etc. But if she doesn't get a little sleep in the afternoon she's a bear while I'm trying to make dinner, a beast by the time we're eating dinner and a complete mess right up until she falls asleep. So I've taken to wearing her in the Ergo (a soft baby carrier) while I'm making dinner. She gets a bit of a nap, I get some quiet to make dinner and we're all happier.

I was thinking about baby wearing on Friday, as she was sleeping on my back, while I had two hands free to make dinner. It amazes me that people, in general, are so amazed that I can get anything done. I guess I don't understand what is so amazing. How do they think that pioneer women, slave women, cave women were able to continue the species AND take care of themselves and their families? They had their babes, breastfed them and carried them around. They didn't take six weeks off, they probably didn't take a week off; they popped 'em out and got on with the business of living. So it's not really so amazing that I can get anything done. I'm just doing what generations of mothers have done before me. There's nothing better than a contented babe hanging out or sleeping on mom or dad, while mom/dad get other tasks accomplished. What's more amazing is that I don't get *more* done!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Freckle Juice

Talia is growing FRECKLES! Yes! I just noticed that is what they are and I've been looking at them for a couple weeks now.

We all know that Talia is a little clumsy (Adam and I privately call her T.W., which happen to be her initials but also stand for *train wreck*) and she has bumped her forehead, oh, multiple times in the last few weeks. The other day I was wiping her face before bed and I noticed some brown dots on her forehead. I thought they were just little bruises, so I didn't give them much thought. A few days later I was looking at her closely and then thought they were some dirt on her face. I tried to wipe them off, but they didn't come off. So I looked REALLY closely and realized that they are FRECKLES! She has them on her forehead, nose and cheeks. They are a light brown and oh-so-cute! I wonder how freckley she's going to get?

(I'll post pics on flickr tomorrow, I promise!)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Little Talking Heads

"Eenie meenie minie moe. Ketchup tiger by his toe....." - Talia

Isaac - "I look cool in my green shades!"
Me - "You look awesome!"
Isaac - "Yes I do. I look awesome. I look.....Shady!"
(refer back to the-if-they're-cool-then-they're-shades conversation)

Isaac was climbing up a jungle-gym at the park. "Look, Daddy, I'm downloading myself!"

Elie had come home from a birthday party and we had this discussion:
E - "Mommy, we played pin the microphone on Hanna Montana!"
Me - "Oh, was that fun?"
E - "Yes, it was. Do you want to know who won?"
Me - "Sure, Elie, tell me who won."
E - "I, I, I......I don't know! But it wasn't me."

Elie and Isaac know a very little bit of sign language. And so they'd say "Do you want to see some sign language?" And show off what they knew. Talia would always say "Do you want to see my SPINE language?" And then she would show the hook 'em horns sign. (this)

"I call Sponge Bob "Square Pants" " - Talia
"Today we saw Sponge Bob THE Square Pants in the cache!" - Talia

"Baa Baa Black Sheep Any Any Wool...." - Talia

Leila can now make a "tickling" noise and scratch her fingers. Like she's trying to tickle.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tiiiime, Is On My Side, Yes It Is.....

My son drives me crazy, insane, completely over the edge. He seems completely incapable of focusing on any task for any amount of time, no matter how small. I don't know if he has this issue because he's four, because he's a boy, because of something I did to him, because of something I didn't do to him or for some other reason I can't think of.

This morning it took him 20 mins to eat one container of yogurt. One of those little single serving cups. Yeah, 20 mins. He talked and talked and talked and would only take a bite when I directed him to do so. Then we moved upstairs, where I asked him to get dressed. After 10 mins I went into the room, only to discover that he had not yet even removed one piece of his pajamas and was standing there talking to Talia. After I lost my patience and told him that I was picking his clothing for the day since he didn't seem to be able to, he got dressed. I asked him to go downstairs, get his shoes and bring them back up to put them on. So he went downstairs and got his shoes. He then proceeded to untie them, hold the ends of the laces together and perform some sort of physics experiment involving dangling the shoes and swinging them!!!! So I reminded him of what he was supposed to be doing....and he got one shoe on before he was distracted by what Talia was playing with and took it from her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HOLY GODDESS OF MOTHERHOOD PLEASE GIVE ME PATIENCE! What the hell am I supposed to do?!?!?! That wasn't even it for the day. This evening I went downstairs to feed the cats. I asked him to take off his day clothes, put them in the laundry basket, get dressed for bed and begin to brush his teeth. (Adam is gone so I'm EveryParent.) When I got upstairs he had his pajama pants on and was hitting Talia with the top, his dirty laundry was in the middle of the floor and he hadn't even gotten started brushing his teeth.

I am completely tired of reminding him once, twice, ten times to do something or finish a task. I honestly do not know what to do. The other day, Adam was taking him to a birthday party and came in half an hour before they were supposed to leave. I said, "Why are you in so early? You don't have to leave for another 20 mins." He said "Who am I taking? Isaac. He won't be ready until the last moment." And it's true. It took him 20 mins to get his clothes changed, shoes on and out the door. BLARGHGHGH.

So here are the options I've come up with:

Setting a timer - This seems arbitrary and difficult for a child who doesn't understand what five minutes is. Though he might get a quick idea of what five minutes means. But what happens when the timer goes off and the task isn't accomplished? Beatings? Push-ups?

One reminder, then consequence - You get one reminder, if the task isn't done there's a consequence. So if he doesn't get ready in the morning, we leave the house w/out him. If he won't eat breakfast, the kitchen closes and he goes hungry. He doesn't get ready for bed in a timely manner, no story.

Sitting with him and harping on him - This totally sucks. I don't have time/energy/volition to do this. And I can't put him in a white room, with no distractions and no noise. And truth is he'd probably just distract himself with a good imaginary story and singing to himself.

I don't know if this really covers it. I've racked my brain about what to do. I know for sure that I am absolutely tired of harping and harping and harping. I give him plenty of time to do what he needs to do and he just will. not. do. it.

Writing this was supposed to give me more ideas. Or at least help me process. But I'm just as befuddled as before. Oh well. We can just hope the Godess of Motherhood blesses me with lots and lots of patience while I'm sleeping tonight, otherwise I may loose my mind tomorrow!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Had Sprung

Well, really spring HAS sprung, but you wouldn't know it from the weather the last couple days. The end of last week was glorious, truly. It was seventy and deliciously warm, with sunny blue skies. The kids were jazzed because they were able to wear shorts, sundresses and sandals! But yesterday and today it's been downright chilly. Today it was 10 degrees cooler than average, not warm, that's for sure. However, even this brief foray into cooler temperatures was not enough to dampen our outdoors loving childrens' enthusiasm for, well, going outdoors.

We stayed to play at the preschool playground today and then we headed to the Wegman's. When we got there, I managed to lock my keys in the van (henceforth known as "Odz"). Well, not too big of a deal because it was 2:15 or so and I thought that I could waste enough time with the kids that Adam could just swing by on the way home and let us in to the car. Between grocery shopping (which often takes over an hour) and playing at the new playground, I was pretty sure we could make do. And it worked out just fine.

We spent quite a while on the playground - Leila LOVES slides and Isaac was just hilarious with the other little kids. Elie went up to a boy and said "My name is Elie. What's yours?" He answered and they went on playing. Then Isaac decided that introducing himself was the way to go and so he started running after the group of kids saying, "My name's Isaac. My name's Isaac." Over and over again. Finally the same boy who Elie had introduced herself to turned to him and said "Hi Isaac. No time to talk, I have to get away from the monster." Talia spent most of the time wandering by herself. She doesn't quite get the group play dynamic yet. She also finds it necessary to check in with me occasionally. I think she's just making sure I'm still around, though she does enjoy playing with Leila and will come and play with her for little bits of time.

We left the playground and meandered through Wegmans to get our shopping done. We got our passover shopping done and our shopping for this week done. I thought Elie was going to have an apoplectic fit when I picked up a loaf of bread! "It's Passover next week. You can't have that in the house. We can't buy that!" I assured her that it would all be gone by Friday (or in the freezer where she can't see it) and told her that I would make sure she didn't accidentally eat any chametz (stuff you can't eat at Passover) during Passover. Holy cow, that kid has issues!

Adam came and let us into Odz. We loaded up and went home. The kids got a piece of candy from their huge birthday-party-goodie-bag-stash (blarg, another reason destination birthday parties bug me) and went outside. Where they played for a good hour, even though their little selves were practically frozen because of course you HAVE to wear sandals out, even if it is too cold.

I'm looking forward to it warming back up at the end of the week. I'm ready for fresh air all the time and shorts and t-shirts and playing outside. Lots. Oh and sunshine. I LOVE spring!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Baby is One

Well, it happened. I don't know when, or how, or how come I didn't notice, but my babe of sweetness and light has turned one year old.

Yesterday we celebrated Leila's First Birthday. I suppose as birthdays go, it was good. She did(still does in fact) have a fever (poo on spring sickness) and so she wasn't her usual charming self and since she's one she doesn't *really* understand the whole situation anyway. But she seemed to enjoy the giraffe cake that Adam and I created for her. I made mac and cheese and roasted vegies for dinner, as she really enjoys those two items. I think she also really enjoyed when we were all singing "Happy Birthday" to her; she LOVES to have everyone singing together. She didn't really *get* the presents and was just interested in playing "thank you" (a little game we play where she hands someone an object and they say "thank you" and then hand it back to her and she says "ankoooo" and hands it back) with the small pieces of tape and bits of wrapping paper she would tear off. The olders were all excited about helping and so there wasn't much of a chance for her to figure out the presents. But she did get appropriately excited (enthusiastically shrieking) when something new was opened up. It was a nice day, but so weird that she's already one.

Leila's recently started holding both hands, outstretched, palms up, when she's on the floor (or in the highchair) and wants up. It is the cutest thing. I could also swear that I've heard her say "up" and "bye" clear as day, but just in passing and I've not been able to get her to repeat it. All of a sudden she's been cruising like mad (walking with the shopping cart and strollers) but still refusing to take any steps. She'll figure it out in her own time, I'm sure. But she is a BIG climber and will climb up ANYTHING now that she has figured it out. She seems to have very good bodily awareness and we have yet (fingers crossed) to have a big crash or fall. I'm sure it's coming though. Most of the damage that has occurred to Leila has been perpetrated by inattentive older siblings who aren't looking at what they are doing OR who are being a bit too rough while "playing". She's still working on getting the four molars all the way through and is finally working on cutting her fourth tooth on the bottom. I'm glad about the fourth tooth because she looks a little lopsided with just three in there! Oh and one more exciting development is that she is getting very proficient with a cup. She'd still rather we hold it for her, but she is drinking now with very little, or no, spillage. It's nice that she's not taking a bath every time she wants water.

I don't think I ever wrote down Leila's birth day story and I'd like to do so here. So, warning: what follows is a graphic, personal version of the birth of my daughter.

On Sunday the 8th of April it was cold and VERY windy. My parents were here for a nice long visit, hoping to be present for the birth of their fourth grandchild. I very much wanted them to be present and so I was a bit antsy that I was a bit overdue. But we were just taking it day by day and enjoying the visit. That day we had decided, despite the blustery conditions, that we would walk around Manassas Battlefield. We bundled everyone up and out we went. We had a great time! We walked around and read the signs and joked and laughed. I had lots of little contractions, but nothing major and nothing any more intense than I had had previously. Mom and I stopped off at the bathroom and after I had finished and was wiping, there was mucous plug on the tissue! I was immediately excited, so this baby was not going to stay in there forever. Someday (soon) a birth would, in fact, take place. Mom tempered my exuberance by saying that it could still be days, but I was excited none the less.

We finished up and went home. It was a long day and I was tired. I started having some more intense contractions, but they were spotty in regularity. We got the kids to bed and I was still having contractions, more regularly, but still not so intense. I remember that I was feeling really tired and worn out, but I really wanted to have the baby (and soon!). Contractions got more intense and so we decided to call the midwife and the assistant to come out. I was having to walk through some of the contractions and was trying to stay on my feet to help them become true labor. I remember going through a brief panic that the house was a mess and so my parents and Adam helped me to clean it up. Then Adam and I went for a long walk around our neighbourhood. I was trying to relax and allow myself to go into labor. I remember feeling like I needed to release and let go; not much of a surprise that control freak oj was having trouble with those things! We got back to the house and our midwife, Alice, and the assistant, Hillary, were there, chatting with my parents.

As soon as we got back my contractions petered out, almost completely. Alice asked me what I wanted to do and I said "I just want to get some sleep." She asked if she could check me and I consented. I was barely a fingertip dialated. I was very dissapointed. I felt like I was *in labor* and that I was for sure having the baby that night. It was close to midnight by then I was exhausted. So everyone went home and to bed.

It was a strange couple of hours. Talia was restless and came to join us in bed. I was having contractions while I was sleeping, but they were just enough to disturb my rest and not enough to wake me up completely. At 2:30 I had had enough and got up to get in the shower. I did not feel well and thought that a hot soak would help me settle down enough to get some good sleep. I got in the shower and after a few minutes found that I was having contractions. A few minutes more and I was having to moan through them. Suddenly Adam came in and asked if I wanted him to call the midwife. I had woken him up with my moaning! I said I didn't really know, but asked him to wake up my mom. Things get a little hazy for me, as I was having lots of contractions. I remember Adam saying he was calling the midwives. I remember sitting on the toilet and trying to wipe the bloody show, only to have it get stuck to my hand and having a little panic attack about that. "Get it OFF!" I yelled at Adam. Back in the shower I went then out again to barf and sit on the toilet. Back in the shower again. Alice arrived, asked if my mom could come in (I'm not sure why she was out of the bathroom.....I wanted her to be in with me, but didn't say so, I don't know why). I started to feel pushy. I remember that my vocalizations got deeper. Alice asked me if I wanted to get out of the shower. I did and so we went into Adam's and my bedroom. I leaned on the yoga ball and threw up some more. I got the shakes, I got the sweats. Alice was concerned because my pulse was racing. Somewhere in there Elie and Isaac were woken up because we thought the baby was coming soon. But I felt like it would be ages before the baby came and so I sent them down stairs with my dad as I went into the crib room to see if rocking on the rocker would give me any relief. No such luck. I turned, crying out "I don't think I can do this. it hurt. it hurts." I turned to my mother, held her arms, and I pushed. Ah sweet relief, my water broke! Holding on to my mom, I buried my face in her neck and I pushed as hard as I could. I rember using a few choice curse words, I remember Alice telling me to slow down and stop because the cord was around the baby's neck. And then the baby slipped out of me. I reached down to grab a hold of her and saw that it was a girl. I held her to my chest and leaned back against Adam, together we sat down on the floor. Elie and Isaac and my Dad came rushing upstairs and my Mom asked them to tell everyone what the baby was. They gleefully announced "A girl!" "It's Leila Naomi!" She was born at 5:43 in the morning, April 9th, 2007. She weighed 8lbs 3oz and was 21 1/2 inches long. A few minutes later, Talia woke up and joined us. The sun was rising, the birds were singing. It was a glorious spring day. We were a family of six!!!