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.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

All By Myself

The last two nights, for the first time since Elie was born seven years ago, I have been outside of the house.  Not only have I been not in the house, I've been several states away from the house where my hubby is EveryParenting our four beautiful children.  I have never left any of them over night before.  In addition,  before now, Dadam has never had them all by himself for more than 12 hours.  It's a few days for firsts 'round these parts.  

Two years ago a friend of mine had a baby.  She worked very hard to breastfeed and for a whole confluence of reasons, was unable to.  I could not go to her and help because I was pregnant with Leila and didn't feel like I could up and leave.  My friend got pregnant again last June and her due date was in the end of February.  I offered to her that I would be more than willing to go to Ohio when she went into labor and help her out with breastfeeding.  So, Dadam and I talked about it and we thought that Leila would be down to nursing so little that it would be okay for me to leave.  Dadam also said he could take some days off work, so he could be the stay-home-dad.

Well, the baby came earthside on Thursday night and so I hit the highway and drove from NOVA to Dayton.  I've been here since, supporting my friend and helping her figure out breastfeeding.  It's been a great experience; mom and baby are doing great!  But it's also been really, really weird to only be concerned with my own needs.

I don't have anyone hanging on me or asking me to feed them, no one who wants me to read to them or sing with them, I've got no schedule and very few demands.  It's not really the amazing experience I sort of expected.  Sure, it's nice to be all by myself, with only me to worry about.  But I also feel like I'm missing a limb or something really, really important.  For seven years now, I've been at the beck and call of these little people for an overwhelming majority of the time.  It's so odd to instantaneously step completely out of that role.  It makes me, well, more than a little sad.

I'm glad that I came out here to help.  I'm thrilled that my wonderful husband and amazing Dadam was so supportive of me wanting to come out and help.  I'm glad that I had a little break and I feel refreshed and refocused.  I'll be happy to go home and sqeeze my beebees and go back to being The Mom.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Different Choices

Isaac has a friend, E, in the neighborhood who is also in kindergarten. She isn't in his class, but they get off the bus together. From the start they have been fast friends. They play very well together and really enjoy each others' company. It seems like it could be perfect. But, of course, it isn't.

The biggest issue is that E's family has some different standards of behavior. E is the baby of the family and can definitely act like it. She tends to want things her way and her way only. She even can be pretty demanding to me, which I resist. But Isaac likes playing with her when she is not being obnoxious and since he's the one who is playing with her, I don't want to say that she can't come over. When they play at her house, I know that she has a tendency to throw temper-tantrums when she doesn't get what she wants. Isaac wants to just move past it and so he gives in to the behavior that her own mother won't stop. This is mildly frustrating to me but I had sort of resigned myself to it. As long as he wants to play with her, I'm okay with it.

We also had an issue earlier in the year when they were out and playing outside and he went on a scooter with no helmet. I talked to him about always wearing a helmet when he gets on something like that, but he can easily be swayed and I'm not sure he would stand up for what he knew was right if pressed.

But today, I went to pick him up from their house and they were watching a movie. This I find sort of unpleasant because he is there to play and not zone out in front of the tv. Worse, it was a movie that I would not consider appropriate for a five year old. It was a PG movie. I think the rating system can be pretty bogus and I think it is important (as a parent) that I make a case by case decision about what I think is appropriate and what isn't. I sent my kid over to another house to play and they end up watching a movie, not only that, but it's a movie that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't let him watch!

I'm really pretty bent about the whole thing. And I think that I'm going to ask them to play over here from now on. The worst part is that I feel irresponsible. I feel like I should have gone with my gut about this whole situation and not allowed him to go over there this afternoon. I should have respected the part of me that was questioning some of the prior situations. Of course, he's not damaged by what happened, but it makes me uncomfortable and that's enough to make sure it doesn't happen again.


I suppose it's official, though it's been happening gradually for a while now, Leila is a baby no more. There are all sorts of physical signs; she's jumping now, acutally getting both feet off the ground, she's wearing 2T clothes and walking up and down the stairs all by herself. She's also completely without diapers. (I can't tell you how nice it has been to not have to worry about that any more!) And we can't avoid noticing the emotional and verbal growth that has been happening. She's cut way, way back on nursing and isn't nursing at night any more, at all. In fact, last night she slept in her own bed for the whole night! She didn't come in to visit us in the middle of the night like she's been doing since we took her out of the crib several months ago. She talks non-stop, usually the same one or two words repeatedly until we correctly interpret for her and then she emphatically says "yeah, yeah!" I am sure that she is learning new words everyday and I think she talks more everyday too.

It is so fun to see her grow. I love talking to her, she is very perceptive and wants to tell you everything she sees. She often surprises us with what she remembers and knows. She has some favorite narratives; when we talk about snow she tells us all "tummy! led! led! (sled) tummy! down! yeah, yeah!". She has discovered her love of reading and is constantly imploring us to "wead, wead, book, book." She has her favorites and will tell you the characters of the book she hands to you. Of course, you have to be able to translate her still developing language skills (she tends to add "eee" sounds to the end of everything and can't say "r") but once you can do that, it is adorable to listen to her talk about the books. We got some books at the library about a mouse named "Maisy" that the Bigs had all enjoyed; Leila has moved past enjoyment and straight to obsession. Anytime we talk about books, we have to talk about Maisy. We currently have four books from the library and she has them all memorized. She can tell you plot points and story details from each of them. And she knows all the characters. I think we may have to procure some, she loves them so much.

"Nah-neeee. Nah-neeee." - Leila (This is her word for breasts/nursing and she says it when she wants to nurse.)
"What do you do when you nah-nee, Leila?" - I ask her
"Ummmm, Ummm, Nuwse!" - Leila (her way of saying nurse)
"And what comes out when you nurse?" - Me again
"Ummmm, Ummmm, Miwk!" - Leila

Of course, now we are starting to enter the live-free-or-throw-a-temper tantrum stage. She has this hilarious way of dramatically putting her head down, chin to chest and screaming at the top of her lungs. Well, it's sort of funny and really loud and hard to deal with. She knows when the Bigs are playing without her and she really doesn't like it. If they can't find a way to include her, she will let us ALL know.

I can't believe she's going to be two in a month and a half. Two years old! It's official, she's a toddler and getting bigger everyday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lucky Number Seven

Today we celebrated the seventh birthday of Miss Elie. Wow. I can hardly believe that seven years have gone by so incredibly fast. It seems like just yesterday we were in the NICU with her trying to get her to nurse, holding her through our tears, kissing her sweet and oh-so-tiny head and struggling to remember that we weren't going to spend the rest of our lives in the hospital with her.

And now she is so big; growing fast, learning faster. She is incredibly perceptive and sharp as a tack. I love spending time with her, talking to her and hearing her views on the world. What an amazing young lady she is growing to be!

It was a spectacular birthday, if I may say so myself. I can only hope that Elie thinks so too, though I'm pretty sure she does due to the fact that she was so happy/excited/wound up that she could not get to sleep tonight.

Since the beginning of the school year, Elie has been talking about how special it would be if I would come to school and have lunch with her on her birthday. It clearly was a very important and special occurrence. So, Dadam arranged to be home with the others, so that I could go to school and have lunch with Elie. Elie had also requested that I make some brownies and bring them to school as a special after lunch treat.

In I went, with brownies and books for reading after lunch. It was so fun to sit with Elie and see what her lunchtime consists of. Many people complimented me on how helpful and polite she is. She was confident and excited to show me the ropes. In some ways it was hard to see how well she functions without me, though I know this is the way of the world and what all parents ultimately want for their children, and in many ways I was proud of and impressed with her. We talked about her day and her schedule. She told me what books she wanted me to read to the class. She helped me pass out the brownie treat that I had made. She thanked me many times for bringing it. After lunch we headed back to the class where I read the books she picked. They were a big hit with her classmates. I kissed her goodbye and headed home.

When she got home from school she played with her siblings, self-motivated and did her homework, and played some more. She was thrilled to recieve all sorts of phone calls wishing her a happy birthday. G-Daddy came over and ate dinner with the family and stayed to watch present opening and, of course, have cake. Elie requested a strawberry, vanilla ice cream cake with pink, purple and yellow flowers. And of course, that's what she got!

Wow, seven. It just seems so much bigger than six. It will be an amazing year, I am sure, full of challenges and growing, learning and love and laughter. Hold my hand and we'll do it together. Happy Birthday, Big Girl Elie!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Four is a Magic Number

Whenever I go out with all the kids, which happens quite a lot, people make comments. This doesn't just happen occasionally, it happens all. the. time. We will be at Wegman's and five or six different people will stop and make the same inane comments.

These comments make me crazy for many different reasons. I don't think four is *that* many kids. Sure it's close to twice the national average number of children, but many of the people that I know and come into contact with have three. I've even had people who have three children, tell me that they don't know how I do it with four. WHAT? Four is only ONE more than three, people. It's more laundry, but not *that* much more work. ;-) I also don't feel like I'm *usually* overwhelmed by my children. I don't feel like I seem frazzled or frustrated or vacant, any of which would make it seem as though four was, indeed, too many.

(As a side note, one day I foolishly took everyone to the Wegman's at 4pm. This was a terrible idea for many reasons, it was the end of the day, everyone was extremely tired AND very hungry. At one point in the shopping trip, every.single.child. was crying. I had several very kind people ask me if I needed any help. There was nothing they could do, but it was very nice of them to ask if I needed assistance. I'm sure I seemed frazzled, frustrated AND overwhelmed that day.)

The most popular question I get is, "Are they all yours?" What does this even mean? Why the hell would someone who had children hanging around that weren't hers take them all on a grocery shopping trip? This just seems like an amazingly ridiculous idea. There is NO WAY that I would take more than one child, who wasn't mine, on a trip to the grocery store. Do they think they are my daycare kids, neighbor kids, strange children I picked up in the parking lot? Why do they think that I would be insane enough to take said children to the store with me? I must seem slightly unbalanced. Unfortunately, my parents raised me to be polite when people ask questions. Usually I just smile and said "Yes." Sometimes I don't smile when I say it. And sometimes, when it has been a long, stressful day, I just nod, tight-lipped and curt.

The second most popular statement is, "You have your hands full!" What? Really? What are you talking about? I have four children? You're kidding! Oh my gosh, it's true! Let's count them together, one, two, three, four. Well, knock me over with a feather! I had NO IDEA I HAD SO MANY KIDS AND THAT THEY COULD BE A LOT OF WORK.....whew. ZenDuckMommy, Zen DuckMommy, ZenDuckMommy..... This statement just kills me. I do have my hands full. Yes, it's true that four kids is a lot of work. It's a lot of little people, with a lot of little (and big) needs, needing a lot of attention and love. But it's the work that I've chosen at this point in my life. I suppose people see us and all the noise and chaos and feel like they *need* to say something. Though I do wish that they would find something else to say....

I've spoken to other moms who have four children. They say they get the same sort of comments. I'm really not sure why four is the magic number. What is it about four little people that elicits all these comments?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Don't Worry, No One Will Escape

I am certain that I am being seriously punished for some terrible something that I did, either in this life or a past one. I have bad karma out the wazoo.

This evening, after a wonderful day during which everyone seemed healthy and happy, Talia started barfing. I got her cleaned up and settled down and about 45 minutes later, Leila woke up and barfed. Now, Talia is not so much of a surprise. Everyone else got it, why wouldn't she? But Leila is a big shocker. Why is she still throwing up????? She's not puking during the day. She's not eating a normal amount either, but I know that an appetite can take time to recover after a GI thing. She is drinking just fine and keeping her fluids down, so I think we just have to wait it out.

And Dadam is still gone. And I'm EveryParent. And I'm tired of laundry and barf and searching for clean clothes in the middle of the night. I want to sleep in my bed, by.my.self. I want to just sit down and throw myself a big ol' pity party, which is what I am doing right now I suppose. Waa waa waa, boo hoo hoo.

Now I'm moving on. Someone's got to be the Mom around here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Are We Done Yet?

With four kids, three of whom are in school, we get lots and lots of germs. In January four of the six of us got strep throat. We struggle through and generally do a good job staying healthy and dealing with the germs we can't avoid.

My least favorite sicko situation of all is Gastrointestinal Viruses. Yes, that's right, puking, vomiting and diarrhea. It is AWFUL; not only does it sound horrid while it's happening, it makes a HUGE mess AND tons and tons and tons of laundry.

Unfortunately, we haven't been able to avoid the pukes this season and currently we are in the midst of an awful bout. Sunday morning we were awakend by Leila, with Isaac following close behind. Elie didn't get sick until about mid-afternoon and Talia has yet to show any symptoms at all. (Though I'm not holding my breath that she won't get sick.)

Thankfully I'm not ill, but Dadam is gone, so I'm EveryParent this week. It won't last forever, right?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Whistle While You Work

A week or so ago, Isaac became very interested in whistling. He wanted to see me do it, hear me do it and he wanted me to describe (in excruciatingly painful detail) how I am able to whistle, over and over and over again.

Then he started practicing whistling. In the beginning it was just air going through his lips. After about three days, he could make a high pitched airy whistling sound. We had a few more days of that noise and today (bumpa da bum) he started whistling!

I wish I could say that I was excited. I was excited he was interested in it and it was awfully cute to hear him practicing and working so hard on figuring out how to do it. He started being able to do a full whistle at about 5:15 this evening and by 6:00 I was totally and completely irritated by his one shrill note, being repeated ad nauseum every seven seconds or so.

I am certain these are eternal consequences coming back to me.

In other much cuter news, Leila can now say her own name very clearly. It is absolutely ADORABLE. She will, out of the blue, say it several times in a row and then when anyone asks her who Leila is, she points at herself and says brightly "me!" I'm going to try and get it on video....It is so cute.

Don't worry, there will probably be some whistling in the background. ;-)