Wednesday, December 17, 2008

tis the season





this time of year is a bit insane. we work extra hours, take the girls to parties, and try to do just a little more housework. that is to say we try to do housework because around here, some IS more. oh sure, we manage to wash the dishes and scrape bits of food off the floor but there is more of an effort when there is a tree decorated to make the house look tidy. i mean you can't have the living room look as if there has been a bird fight and be in the Christmas spirit. (our couch is stuffed with down and when the girls play "build a fort with pillows" the down gets everywhere.)

let's see, where are we? the girls still are somewhat afraid of santa. we had breakfast with santa over the weekend and they wouldn't get close to him. in fact, they hid behind their friend Sophie and let her do all the talking. then we had the neighborhood santa party and there was slightly more interest, what with the bag o' gifts he was carrying. Viv pretended she didn't hear her name called so we almost gave her present to someone else. and Beatrice did the "grab the gift and run" routine. Phoebe? well, apparently she thinks you have to sleep if santa is around. she slept through both events...at least the santa part.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

gratitude

we are blessed. i look around my little world and smile. okay, sometimes it's a grimace but it still is mostly grand. we have a wonderful home in such a beautiful place. our daughters are healthy and laugh a whole lot. they have good friends and seem to like us. and most of the time i understand them. i'm even beginning to understand Phoebe. she even told me that she loves me the other day. i was leaving for work and she said to me bye. and i signed "i love you" to her and said it. she did what she does when i sign that and points at me and then she said "la loo" (V used to say it that way too)how much better can it get?

earlier today Phoebe was fussing because she was trying to wake up and it wasn't working right. Beatrice was in her face and i asked her to step away that she was scaring Phoebe. B started crying and said she didn't want to scare Phoebe. they are all playing nicely in the basement now. i know this is nice because i hear chatter and B is not shrieking and P is not crying. i am a mother who has a full heart. i am grateful.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

building a vocabulary

i had playgroup at my house today and one of the mom's commented on how we really need video of some of our fetes. Vivi had said something that she thought was priceless and should be recorded for the future. unfortunately i'm not able to remember what V said but in substitution i'll record some of Phoebe's favorite words.
at 14 months PO says....apple, more, peek-a-boo, maaama, papa, cracker and of course noooo. i need to start writing things down when she says them because i'm sure there's more.

oh and she says oooo for cheerio-esqe cereal and she will say up.

Friday, November 14, 2008

MY elf


Cover Image

i think this artist was drawing my Phoebe. i'll have to put a hat on her, take a picture and post the similiarity. more to follow....




Tuesday, November 11, 2008

spa day





one day i'm talking with Joy while all the girls are eating yogurt. they all have managed to convince me that contrary to what i have experienced in the past, this time they really want the whole cup themselves. okay, so Phoebe really doesn't do much convincing in the conventional way but if she doesn't get what she wants these days you pretty much need earplugs or want to be very, very far away. Phoebe always wants what her big sisters have. so i decided to set them all up with a cup. about 5 minutes later i check up on them to find Phoebe bathing in her cup. (i tell Joy that i'll have to email her a photo.) now she does have the most youthful glow of all of us so maybe there is something to this yogurt bath. i choose to let her have her fun and continue my phone call. the moments are rare that i can talk for more than a few seconds without mayhem or some such nonsense. this keeps them occupied. of course seconds later B and V have moved on leaving behind about half a cup each. like i didn't see that coming...
so i try to chase them down, (still on the phone) to clean them up so the entire house doesn't get the spa treatment. and when i make it back to the table to finally clean up Phoebe she has relaxed herself right to sleep. now, back in the day of semi-disposable income i would take yoga classes and always found it amazing that during the meditation part of class there would be a few who would have to be awakened at the end of class. now yoga is relaxing, but come on, you're on a hard floor, all sweaty. this is not what i think looking at my youngest foodie.
i'm standing there thinking "how cute" as i look on my totally napping child wondering how this could happen in a matter of minutes. really! if there were a time stamp on these photos you would be shocked at how close all these were taken. this isn't that strange with kids. i've taken my kids out of jumping seats, high chairs, wagons and probably other very active locales absolutely passed out. one minute squealing, the next snoring. i wish i had that sort of "off" switch.
come to think of it sometimes i wish their "off" switch was really a switch that i could flip.

as a side note, concerning elections.... we tried to explain to the girls what voting is all about. we want to raise good citizens and have them understand it's their duty to participate and try to care about others. so we talk about what we are doing and why. when we "celebrated" the next day because our pick won, we again wanted them to know who, what and why. not really getting much of a response, i thought hopefully someday they will know how much this means and vaguely remember that they were "there". so days later Obama is having his first press conference as president-elect. i'm watching the newshour on PBS and B comes strutting into the room, sits down and says to me. "that's rock oBOMba." it was brilliant!! all this at two and a half....could this be the beginnings of a good little voter?

i'm so proud of my girls.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

a thing about voting

"Citizens of the world, accept the glorious liberty of the children of God," and be free! This is your divine right." I've been thinking about this passage from Science and Health a lot lately. what does it mean to be a citizen?

Today, November 4, 2008 is an historic day. if there is one thing i want you girls to know, it is important to show up. there may be the largest voter turnout in history today. this is important for you and me. this means you are a part of something big. there is something else that i think you should know about voting. there will be lots of stories and lies, big promises and half truths. no one is immune and perhaps this is part of being a politician. you have to do your homework. you may have a feeling or idea of how you will vote but you can be talked out of it with one lie. sometimes you may be faced with the choice between the lesser of two evils. don't take anything at face value and always look for the whole story. the internet is good for that. most of all, pray. you will know what you need to do.

you went with your papa and i to the polls and patiently waited while we cast our votes. we didn't have long lines. i believe many voted early. we wanted you girls to be there. B, you tried to write on my ballot and then just settled down and began to write on the floor before i realized it. V, you did loops around us like a little butterfly until we told you we were done. and Phoebe you hung out in your papa's arms and watched while he struggled to mark the ballot one handed. we don't have voting booths and we are a paper system. very much like taking a standardized test, only there is no wrong answer. this is comfortable for us. the most electronic we get is feeding the ballot into the box which happened to jam when i was trying to put my ballot in. even still i am hopeful. i am elated that people care about what happens and that they showed up. only time will tell if our hopes will carry us to a better place. you girls definitely deserve it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

cabin fever? NOT yet!

Font sizetoday is the sort of day that makes me seriously consider why i live in the north and why i chose to have 3 girls so late in life. not that i don't love you 100% of the time, i just don't know what to do with you when it is 35 degrees outside (feels like 26). you all love the outdoors. heck i love the outdoors. but i don't remember young and stupid very well. at this point i just do old and ignorant. V, you want to wear summer clothes all the time. B, you will put on layers but quickly start undressing once outside. P, you just wander around hampered by the added layers causing much distress. i hate the volume of all of you when you are cooped up all day. and i don't tolerate cold like you little people. of course i would last in the extreme cold much longer than extreme heat.

so i'm facing a long winter if this is what's in store. Phoebe will throw a major fit if she doesn't get her way (i.e. doesn't get to play with the computer, remote control, phone....) and Beatrice tries to do things, runs out of patience, and throws a major fit (getting socks on, pushing up her sleeves, getting large items up the stairs...). Vivi just thinks she should be able to do anything she likes and is able to physically accomplish. no matter how many times she is told NOT to do it.

and as much as i see you three being the best of friends, right now you like to bug the crap out of each other (and me, i guess.) chase each other around the house, hug each other to the point of pain. push each other off furniture. and of course try to beat each other to a task. if i want V and B to do something i just have to make it a competition and it gets done. i also have to put up with one possibly getting hurt and one throwing a fit. complete madness.

Friday, October 17, 2008

hands full

everywhere that i go i hear, "you've got your hands full." this is because i am almost always with 3 small girls. to hear this all the time might make one doubt their parenting skills but sometimes the girls, all of them, are asleep in the stroller. i mean it's not like i am constantly running around behind them saying "stop" like i'm trying to herd chickens. although some days it feels that way.

this week was a bit busy. we had the usual preschool thing but we also had a sitting with a photographer to document Phoebe's first birthday. i know i'm a bit late and i'm sorry for that Phoebe. it's just your mom is terrible at organizing things. and apparently to schedule a sitting you must actually schedule it in advance. i'm more of a sneak in under the wire, right on time sort of gal. that is until i had the three of you and now i'm a running slightly behind sort of mom. when i no longer have to do things for you and me i hope that will change. we'll see.

this morning Vivi had to take the class snack which is fine only i didn't get it ready last night. so waking up late was sort of, well, chaos. you did great V and kept going with the getting dressed and having something that passes as breakfast if you're a supermodel. good thing you'll get to school and have that snack i prepared, at the last minute, for you. waffles and fruit.

back to the photo shoot.

Phoebe Odette, i hate to tell you this, but given your performance, you are not a future supermodel. i'm okay with this. V and B however are old pros and i'm a bit scared. but Phoebe you are who you are and the pics will be beautiful because they are of you....with your fingers in your mouth. i'm going with the fact that your teething because you are not normally so disagreeable.

yesterday we had an impromptu game of t-ball with Baxter and Paige. V, you and Baxter were really into it. you need to work on your swing but you are good at base running, although a bit conservative. B, you were dubbed Babe by Derek. you like to swing. you're a lefty at bat. you need to have a drink before you're up, and sometimes you take a pretend nap while running the bases. it really is funny.

this is the sort of stuff that makes it worth it to live here. to have playmates right across the street that are out and active...to run around unstructured and have parents close by that are good people. this is why we try to make it all work here.

yes, my hands are full, but really, (to use Beatrice speak) my heart is fuller.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

painted ladies




it's funny how motherhood brings new images to words once thought of in a completely different way. when i was younger and living in san francisco the painted ladies that always came to thought when the phrase came up was a row of houses on alamo square. now i have a different image in thought all together and it probably changes from time to time...

B, you got your heart painted at the opening of Jennie's new building. it was a crazy day with music, a little yoga, and your face painted after seeing Paige with her's painted. (you had a sun on the other cheek.) V ran circles around the building with Baxter and i had to drag you all away. Nanah was with us and a bit overwhelmed.

V, you had your face painted at a harvest festival. you wanted your face painted like Sophie and you had to wait in line by yourself for more than 10 minutes. i was busy trying to keep track of Beatrice and Phoebe who were trying to run around with Sophie. thank goodness Christy and Jackie were there to help me or i would have not been as patient as you were in your waiting. i was so proud of you.

P, you painted your face yourself the other night when i decided that i just had to let you dive right into dinner all on your own. you tend to screech these days if you can't self feed. if you look close enough you will notice the pasta on your eyebrow. i have another pic somewhere that also shows the pasta you flung on the wall...it stuck so i guess it was done.

watching you girls is very inspiring. there seems to be something new to notice everyday. especially with you, Phoebe. your Papa left for 4 days to go to Aunt Annie's wedding and you finally figured out how to walk your frankenstein walk while he was away. and you are a great mimic. you have a great "uh-oh" when we drop things and if we say peek-a-boo you echo "be-ba-boo" it's the cutest thing. by contrast, you Beatrice love to walk around saying "what 'em that?" it drives Papa a little crazy as he tries to correct you every time...'what is that?' and then you Vivienne, you love a good story. you had a tape measure last week and wouldn't let Beatrice touch it until you told her about it. "let me tell you a story about this. once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a man...." don't ask me to repeat it, i can't repeat something i made up so i'm never going to remember your clever tales. i should just strap a tape recorder around your neck. i might even get a story book out of it.

also B, in the category of "you say the darnedest things"...tonight Grandma was hugging you and patting you on the back. she said, "would you listen to that. it sounds hollow. whatcha got in there?" and without missing a beat you said, "some fishies and french fries." you had fish and sweet potato fries for dinner. you girls make me laugh.

Friday, September 26, 2008

oh...B

i have managed to loose Beatrice several times in the last week. maybe part of the problem is that i have my mom with me and i'm lulled into thinking that it is easier to keep track with two. it's not. it may even be harder because you have yet another person to speak with and distract. it's like the difference between 2 kids and more. for some reason it's seems to be somewhat easier when you have just two little ones because there is less "noise". everyone takes a piece of the action. if i am by myself with them it's difficult but i seem more focused on them.

Bebe is the reason they invented the child leash. i'm considering one as an option.

so B took off down the mall by herself when i stopped to look at a sweater with mom. the next day we were at a used kids store and she was found in the parking lot by the staff. i was looking for shoes for V. i told her that she would not be allow out in public unrestrained for a while. she makes mama sad when she wanders off. it didn't seem to make a lasting impression-- me crying in the store when she was missing. she tried again the next day. leaving the house and going across the street to get a bike to ride around the block. i was supposed to walk with her to find V who was riding with the neighbors but she is just too impatient...apparently her mama is too slow. so she struck off by herself. she knows how to take the child proof doorknobs off so i can't even stop her from leaving the house. it's a frustrating time around here right now. it's amazing how in seconds she will be gone. i think i remember going through something like this with V but with only one child, it's easier to keep up. and B watches and learns things quick, V didn't have anyone to show her.

i'm sure it will settle down and we will get through this. it's times like this that trust in a higher power helps. i often have to throw my hands up and say, "thank you." knowing that her care and protection comes not only from me but in ways that i can only imagine. and i am grateful.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

busted

last week Phoebe found out that she could climb into Vivienne's youth chair which boosts her up to a better height at the table. she used to be single minded in her attempts to sneak past us and climb the stairs when we were too distracted to close the gate. now she has this radar that tells her when we have neglected to hide the chair behind closed doors and we find her sitting proudly in the chair...sometimes. other times she is standing and trying to reach something or just flailing her arms about in some crazy dance. a couple of days ago she made it to the chair just after V had vacated and while i was still in the kitchen unaware. by the time i registered all this, i find her in the middle of the table, on her haunches, grabbing the left-over pop tart shards that Will shares with B in the morning. B won't eat the crusts. crusts on pop tarts? yeah, i wonder about that too. and for the record we don't eat pop tarts every morning. we come across them from time to time on sale at the health food store...they're the healthy kind. hey, i'm a lousy nutritionist.

i would have taken a picture of all this but i was looking at the vase of flowers that PO was in front of and thought better of testing the balance of a one year old while i went to fetch my camera.

meanwhile B has entered a new phase of defiance and i will often spend my days carrying her up to her room for time outs. maybe i will be able to actually loose that last ten pounds of baby fat that i've had since i've been pregnant for the last 5 years. who needs a stair step machine? (and maybe i should forgo the pop tart left-overs.)

Vivienne is doing quite well with school. she was on the play ground yesterday when i went to pick her up and she has made friends with one of the boys, Casey. V's class is very heavy girl, so imagine how easy it is to find a boy playmate.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

let them eat cake!!





happy birthday, Phoebe Odette! it's a funny thing about turning one. your parents can't believe that you are actually one, at the same time they can't remember what life was like without you. you are such a integral part of the family that we just would not be the same.

let's see. you have had a pretty fabulous year. you had a big Christmas with the whole Bell clan. managed to charm everyone. you got to put your toes in the atlantic ocean in florida. (you also flew on a plane. you were very good.) you have been to the lake several times and love, love, love the water. you have a great time in the pool across the street. you don't even mind when your big sisters dowse you in the tub. one of your favorite things is climbing. climbing the stairs, standing on chairs, climbing into your sisters' bed. you get there and roll around giggling with such delight. it's hard to put a stop to it when it's sleepy time.

you try to walk. take baby steps toward me when i sit on the floor. you have managed up to four shuffle steps but nothing with complete confidence yet, plenty of excitement though. that will come. you have a very determined way about you. sometimes you walk around the house holding onto the walls like some little vision challenged person. i almost want to put sunglasses on you.

you approach things with such joy and gusto.

we made cupcakes, both B and V helped. banana with maple cream cheese on top. while we were singing "happy birthday" you tried to pull the lit cupcake off the table. i thought you would light the tablecloth on fire. your sisters so generously helped you blow out the candle but by the looks of the way you attacked your cupcake in your take-no-prisoners way, you got your wish.

i'm so happy to have had this past year with you. i am delighted to witness your days and adventures. we all wish you another year of such joyfulness and love!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

out of control?

there seems to be a continuing theme here with my two "big" girls. they love, LOVE to dress up and dance. last night we received a box from my good friend who has a bigger and older girl. we love to get her hand-me-downs. this box had a few choice pieces. still trying to decide if i should thank her for including the hoochie polka dot bikini. but B was thrilled to have it included....but i'm sure glad she decided to take it off before she went outside.

now Vivi is all crazy to have dance classes.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

fashionistas

last night you girls were in a giggly mood. running about picking things off the floor, playing dress up. this is a good reason, i've decided, to NOT pick up after them. they wouldn't come up with nearly as interesting combos.
they were having such fun and looking so funny that Will decided to do a fashion show for me. so round the corner came first your papa holding Phoebe. strutting and saying you walk like you are walking on a rope. then came V. doing an excellent tight rope walk. and in the end was Beatrice in her sassy swagger. all of you at home on the catwalk. wish it weren't so dark. i would have shot a video clip.

Phoebe Odette is learning to give kisses. it's the usual routine of coming at me with an open mouth. quite wet. but it's a kiss and i'll take it. she also likes to touch foreheads and do a back and forth shake like an eskimo kiss but not always nose touching. she's such a little love.

all my girls are.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

first day of school

a very big day yesterday. Viv started pre-school. we loaded in the stroller and all of us walked her to school. it's actually pretty lovely. bright morning stroll on a path through a wooded area, then down a small residential street to the school. a quick 15 minutes away.

we settled her in and left as soon as we could scoop up B who was trying to make herself at home. looking back through the window she looked like the loneliness little girl. sitting at the table drawing with all the others scattered about her playing in groups. Will said that he wished a little girl would go up to her. i think V likes to ease into things but will be quite the action girl once she gets her bearings.

i called at lunchtime to ask how she was doing. i wanted to gauge the girls' naps with the ability to pick up V should i need to get her early. all was well. she was talking up a storm, making friends. no surprise.

i had a hard time getting the other two down for their naps so i didn't want to wake them to pick her up. in the end i put the two in the stroller while they were sleeping and went to get her almost at the end of the school hours. and there she was helping clean up with two other little girls. i was told that she did great...it was like she had been going to school forever.

B was a bit more of a handful today. it was like she wanted to make up for her missing sis. i think that in time will pass. it always does.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

early childhood training

most people think of early childhood training as something we do in order to work with kids and understand them better. i prefer to think of it as something we do with kids in order to help us, not them. after all didn't we all have kids so that we could teach them to do the things that we don't want to do?

last night Will found Phoebe in the bathroom. just as he was going to start in on the "no Phoebe!" routine he realize what she was doing and started laughing. she had the toilet bowl brush in the toilet, scrubbing. at least we'll have one clean toilet and one person in the family who will do that chore. actually this is the second time she has tried this. one day when i was with her in the bathroom she grabbed the brush and started waving it around. i had no idea that she knew what to do with it. unfortunately since she is not even one i guess i can't assign her chores yet. it's a pity, no one likes cleaning the toilet.

of course what this all means is that we'll have to start a routine check of the toilets making sure they are all flushed and closed. can't have Phoebe playing in dirty water.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

summer waning

this morning i was checking in with a few other blogs that i read. my neighbor and friend writes one that is about being a stay at home dad. he recently posted two of my favorite summer things. our kids attacking the ice cream scooter and blueberry picking. every tuesday night the kids dutifully wait outside straining to hear the bell of the ice cream lady. i work on tuesday so i have only been able to witness this a few times. i usually show up to see the smile on their ice cream smeared faces.
see...

Seasons change


and every summer we have a share at a local farm where we can pick flowers and some produce and have other things like carrots and zucchini picked and waiting for us. V like to show up and pick things like strawberries and cherry tomatoes, just for her own consumption. when we went blueberry picking with the neighbors she was supposed to help me fill our two quarts. i found that i was on my own. see...

Ode to summer's end

baby steps



Phoebe Odette is rapidly approaching her first birthday. you could say she will soon walk right into it. it's about time. she has been furniture surfing for a while now and will walk around gladly if you hold her hand. this morning she was so irritated with me taking away the remote that she took 3 steps toward me before she realized it. so roughly 2 weeks before her birthday she takes her baby steps.... V did it a week or so after her first birthday and B days after she turned one. Phoebe seems to be one step ahead which could be troublesome for this family since we seem to do everything right at the eleventh hour. maybe she will inspire us to get it together sooner.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

oh no! here we go

this morning i went to drink my coffee and a little stuffed bear was floating in my cup. (now i realize this says something about the size of my coffee cup and yes, it is a bit large. it is not enormous, the bear was quite small.) upon finding it, i began the query on how it got there. i got the run around, she-did-it routine. up until now Beatrice has always fessed up to doing things so either she honestly had nothing to do with it or i now have two little ones who sometimes avoid telling the truth. B has been really a handful lately and i can easily see her being the one who did it but maybe V speaks the truth when she thinks that Phoebe did it. fortunately for me the bear did not drink much of my coffee so i am able mull this one over my morning cup.

on a lighter note, we managed a successful trip to Grandma's house. the girls did not fuss too much on the road, slept some and chattered a lot. they got to honor Grandma for all the years of service she has done in helping out the Potsdam Housing Authority as a board member. without any state or federal funding, your Grandma (and others) has managed to help get housing (very nice housing) for a good number of low income residents of Potsdam. she would like to work on assisted living next. anyway you clapped and cheered "yeah, Grandma" and stayed mostly quiet for the speeches. i did ply you with food and crayons but i'm proud of you, really. everyone noticed how good you were since you were the only children present.

it was also fun to see the girls play with their cousin. it makes me wish we could have made it over when the others were visiting this summer. but the girls had fun with Sean, especially V.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

tea for three


this morning as i was trying to wrap my mind around the day, B announced that they were having a tea party. i stopped my attempt at bread making to take a look. i love that they are now capable of playing together. it doesn't happen nearly enough for me but i am seeing it more and more. and it is sweet that they include Phoebe Odette. so there was a little bit of tea and sisterhood served up this morning. it makes up for the fact that PO has been a bit needy and i've had to wear her quite a bit lately. and the fact that B has been sassy and i've wanted to run away from her lately.

i have to say that running away from Beatrice is a bit unfair. she is sassy. but she is also extremely funny. her latest phrase is, "scuse me. i have something to say." and she usually does....and if someone else is talking also she will say, "be quiet." which is sort of absurd considering she is one of the noisiest creatures i've encountered. she also likes to tell me she is "too tired" when i'm asking her to do something that she doesn't want to do, like clean up or eat a food she doesn't like. she will also pull from her bag of favorite phrases the "i'm too busy" if she doesn't want to do something.

today, she announced "bye, i'm going to school." and she mumbled something about needing her book and headed off in the other direction.

she is such the little talker. i'm going to have to do a lot of explaining as she gets older though. yesterday, she told Phoebe that she was going to cut her when they were digging in the yard. "WHAT!?" i said. then began to explain that we never cut people. and of course all she heard was, "Beatrice! blah blah blah. listen to me, blah, blah, blah. understand?" two year olds!

Vivi is my beacon of hope. she helps me when it's convenient and will listen and understand what i say if i get to her level. her actions tell me that it will not always be clinging and crying and shouting "no".

if i can just make it to four with the other two.

Friday, August 8, 2008

things that keep me going

Beatrice, last night you came to me while i was making dinner and asked if i was making ketsup stew. i was making barbeque so i answered in the affirmative. you said that you loved ketsup stew. (clasping your hands with a pursed pleased look on your face)
sometimes you are so cute that i momentarily forget that i was just annoyed with you for screaming and waking up Phoebe.
it's good that you kids balance out at the end of the day.
and Phoebe Odette you have started trying to duck and hide in your high chair when i try to feed you. you seem to do it only when we spoon feed you not when you get to feed yourself. i'm not ready to give the spoon over to you quite yet so this will be a charade we'll go through for a while. it does make me laugh although i try not to show you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

one tiny step forward

this could be the start of a beautiful thing. yesterday while we were searching for something in our scary room.... (a room in the basement where we shove things that we don't know what to do with and we don't want the girls to play with.) we came across the little potty that V trained with. B had been asking for it, or at least had said she wanted it when asked. so we break it out. she plays on it. moves it around like it's a new lounge chair and finally agrees to letting it sit in the bathroom. later B and V go into the bathroom and "practice" this is usually code word for play. much to our surprise B announces that she did poopie. this is doubtful to us since she does this all the time but in the big potty and she flushes so we can't confirm it. this time we could celebrate. she did poopie. and V was her proud coach. we couldn't be happier. could training B actually be easy? not so fast. later in the day she announce she had to go peepee and she had just gone in her diaper. but the thought is there.

meanwhile as we celebrate, Phoebe Odette has been joining in...she now claps when we do but certainly NOT on command. But it is so much fun to clap with her.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

out of the mouth of babes

Vivienne, for about 6 months or so you have had this expression that you pull out on occasion. (should be everyday as far as i'm concerned) i think the first time i heard it you were saying it to Phoebe. tonight you said it to all of us in succession starting with Papa "Papa, my love is always there for you." and tonight you continued with your promise that it would be there even when i am on vacation without you. like that will ever happen. but seriously you are sweet when you do things like this. you have a very sensitive, loving character and i hope you nurture this as you grow.

Beatrice, you are becoming a chatterbox. you take the phone when i am speaking to Nanah or Uncle B and they think they are speaking to V. you are a little on the slurring side though. i'm trying to work on enunciation. Will thinks that you sound like Andre the Giant in the Princess Bride. he says that he is going to start teaching you lines so that you can really sound like him. i have nothing to do with this. but i do see his point. (we won't speak of the fact that Andre was reported to be drunk almost constantly during the filming of the movie.)

Phoebe, you have the ability to charm everyone you see. just take it down a notch will ya? i know it's hard when you have ol' "Andre your sister" bellowing, sometimes incoherently, and V. who dominates the conversation just because she always thinks she has something important to say. (she does. even if she has already said it.) but i do like it when you pour on your happy chatter. we do need to teach you some words. we had a pretty good run going last night when i was saying "mama" and you repeated it for about 5 mins. it's okay that you were saying it more like "mamamam" you were saying it with love... i could tell... and it was for me.


what's cooking?


to most people this would be too many cooks in the kitchen. to this mom, this is a little slice of heaven. thanks for serving it up girls! three little people happily playing TOGETHER without incident or crying. i will say that by the time i thought to get my camera B has lost interest and wandered off hence the impish pose as opposed to the "serious" cooking of the other two. thanks for being a good sport B. it's also worth noting that B had poopies so that may have attributed to loss of interest. it occurs to me girls, that you may read this several times in your lives. it will embarrass you sometimes but ultimately this is the sort of stuff you wonder about when you are old like i am.

well Phoebe, my apologies to you. it turns out your deplorable behavior may have been prompted by hunger. yes, you wouldn't eat because of teething but apparently mother's milk was doing little more than comforting you. yesterday i tried nursing you and after you were supposedly done you slammed about 6 ounces of formula. i guess it's time to wean. you made it a month longer than B and two months more than V. sorry i wasn't paying closer attention. i promise i will pull out the bottle next time you go on a teething induced hunger strike.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

how long must this go on?

so we have hit a nice stride with V. she goes to sleep fairly well and sleeps through the night. wish i could say the same for the other two. PO has become monster baby. crying too much and not sleeping or eating very well. then there's little miss independence, Beatrice. she will not succumb to anyone's command, even if it could possibly be what she wants. we are all walking around in a daze and just a bit cranky these days. except V who likes to expound on what she thinks is everyone's problem which i couldn't tell you about if i tried. i can't hear over the shouting of B and the crying of PO.

this is not a quiet house. it occurs to me that if i begin to talk quietly maybe all my minions will do the same but it would seem that i would have to be saying something that they want to hear and they would have to stop long enough to process all this. so instead if find myself yelling in return and saying things that i hope they won't process. i caught myself telling Beatrice the other day to shut up. i hate that and can't believe i said it.

so while i search for some sleep i find myself wearing Phoebe more than i did when she was a newborn and begging B not to wake her up. which she usually does.

this is not to say that it is all drudgery around here. we have some very happy, funny moments. unfortunately i can't remember them because of aforementioned lack of sleep.

it would seem that i always complain of no sleep. i suppose this is the issue with most parents. i'm admittedly my own worst enemy for not getting them on a strict schedule but i find that to be too confining for me and V has been able to work it out. i hope the other girls catch on a little more quickly.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

reason number 1 to be kind to papa

last week Will brought you girls to see me at work. i was actually just finishing my break so i could not hang out with you but i had just enough time to take V to the bathroom.

later i asked your dad how long you all stayed at the store and he said "long enough for V to have to go poopy"... so V apparently he took you to the women's room and stood outside while you and B went inside. (what was he thinking!?) after a little while a woman came out and asked Will if the girls belonged to him as he might need to go help them. V, you were running around with your pants around your ankles and B, you had taken your pants and diaper off. (didn't see that coming) so you see, your father loves you very much and when you are older, you need to be extra helpful since you owe him.

Okay so there is this thing you do Beatrice that is not so good but i have a hard time not laughing. when i ask you to talk softly or be quiet, you put your fingers in your ears and practically yell, "you can't hear me". well, i can. you also seem to like to sit around singing with your fingers in your ears. you are either going to teach yourself to sing or be completely and utterly tone deaf. i hope for our sake you learn to sing.

Phoebe, i think you will be my little dancer. quite often when there is music playing i will look over and see you bopping to the tune. and you actually lift off the ground every once in a while when you are standing.

really, i'm not making this up.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

the language arts

i am glad that they call language an art because it certainly does come with many individual expressions. take Phoebe for instance, as a baby she talks a lot more than the other girls. not that the others were silent, they cried more. Phoebe is either different or i am. i may just understand her better because i've had experience two other times. her cries sound different according to what she wants. and she has a happy chatter and a cranky one. and i swear she thinks we understand her.

B talks non-stop and she is at the point that others can understand her too. she is in the let's-narrate-everything-i-do phase. she sees our neighbor. "hello, big john. i'm in the pool." her voice is sort of low and monotone which lends a comic element to the exercise. she still doesn't have all the words figured out. she will call a shovel, a shobel. she was yelling at Will the other night telling him that V's flib flobs were in the shed. i'm not sure that i understood her because i am with her all day or that i knew she was wearing her flip flops, but Will needed a translation on that one which V was happy to provide.

V has her own unique phrasing but i am starting to pick out more of her choices in Will's banter. thank goodness she has decided to imitate him since he was the english major. she just imitates me when she is trying to "nanny" her sisters, using phrases like "do i make myself clear?"or "i need you to listen, now" maybe she hears me more than she leads on...

child art projects

okay, so this is yours, V. you did it in summer camp when you were 4. i'm not sure what it was supposed to be. you said it was just something pretty. i'll have to agree with you as you are the artist. what else could it be?

now, don't hate me if you go looking for it and can't seem to find it. it seems to be in a very fragile state even now so i don't think it is constructed to stand the tests of time. that being said i may try to incorporate it in a little art project of my own someday so don't be surprised if it is hanging on my wall. i just will need some time to mull this one over. you modern artists can stymie us old folk sometimes. i do like your use of color.

no more camp

this past week at camp V was asked what she liked to do. some how they asked in such a way that divided the group of kids into clubs. how you can get 3 and 4 year olds to pick a club is a great trick in my book. so i applaud them. essentially it looks as if the little people picked teams so V got to be with her friends from the hood. they were in the art club. they worked on all sorts of little and not so little projects. the mural behind her in photo would be a not so little project. and according to V the hand just above her shoulder is hers. i'm not sure this would hold up under forensic tests but i'm going with it. the mural/banners are fun and i'm sure a great team effort. these things make me want to be a fly on the wall.

she also worked several days on a play dough project. forming and painting this dough. i asked her to tell me about it and i am not sure i understand the whole project. but she did it so i am hugely proud of it and her. even with her friends going, it was hard on her everyday to stick with the routine. if you haven't noticed we don't have much in the way of routine around here. even when she had to get up early every morning, she stuck with it. even when she was exhausted, she still wanted to go. next year both B and V are going. and i will get them to bed early, i promise.

Friday, July 18, 2008

identity crisis

B has been running around lately saying, "i'm Beatrice!" actually it's been more like yelling it but sometimes i think that a 2 year old is incapable of getting their point across without volume. it strikes me as a funny thing because she has known her name for quite a while now and responds to her name all the time so i wonder what's with this pronouncement? it's probably a developmental thing but definitely a comic thing the way B does it. and it always makes me smile so i take what i can get.

speaking of which, i slept through the night last night!!! that is to say that i was not awakened by any of my little people. this would be partly in thanks to my dear sweet Will who decided to sleep with the older munchkins as one or both were calling my name when he was coming to bed. (i had passed out probably hours earlier) it could have also been thanks to the a/c screaming white noise in my ears so that i may not have heard little Phoebe Odette wake (but i don't think she did wake really.) i did hear her at 6:55 am when i was waking as she was yelling at the mobile above her and batting around the objects dangling from it. or rather she was standing and trying to dismantle it, piece by piece. she was happy enough with this and wasn't really trying to wake anyone which leads me to believe she was up to no good.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the need for sleep

around our house there seems to be a real problem with sleep. we all want to stay awake too late and no one wants to wake up. no one but Phoebe. she wakes me every morning (3-4am) for the last week maybe and occasionally before that. depending on my mood, i either am annoyed or feel badly for her. she's been working on getting in her teeth for a while and she finally broke through yesterday. if you know what you are looking at, there is a tiny rice grain of a tooth poking through on the left there(her right side). we are all quite proud of her and hope to get more sleep in the future. unfortunately last night was not one of them. she doesn't cry, i'll give her that. if i don't go to her she loudly complains until i am afraid she will wake the neighborhood. but then she just wiggles so much that she won't allow me to go back to sleep.
(*more about teeth below.)

purely by accident we discovered that PO can wave. Will was saying his byes yesterday and PO was sitting there waving her arm around as if to say "bye". (she actually said the "buh" sound too so i thought i was seeing/hearing things but Will saw it too) later i was on the playground with B and we would stop occasionally to say "hi" to Phoebe sitting in the stroller. every time she would smile and wave her arm around with her hand in this little claw-like fashion. very fun.

on the camp front, V is having such a hard time waking up and getting going. it is almost impossible to get her to eat much for breakfast and then some days she is just in such a daze when we go to pick her up. i think part of that is the lack of sleep but it is also the no food thing. she perks up after lunch. she and her friends from the hood have become manic in the afternoons. running around, all crazy and trying to throw, smash and hit things. the kids are either on high speed or in a stupor. the parents all attribute it to the morning stimulation. it will be interesting to see how long it takes V to get into the swing of things come fall when she goes to pre-school.

a snapshot of our mornings since summer camp started....

this morning V was good about getting dressed but then wouldn't eat much. she and B started running around playing hide and seek.
B: "Vivi you hide in the red room."
B: "4, 6, 8,9,10...ready or not, here i come."
B: " i can't find her..."she starts to get sad until Will goes and spies V in the living room.

V is a very good hider. i won't at all be surprised when one day we find her in her hiding place napping since she hid so well everyone gave up looking and she fell asleep.

finally i talk V into eating a yogurt. then out the door. as Will gets her into the bike trailer, B stands on the porch yelling for the whole state to hear, "bye, Vivienne! see you later. see you later alligator. bye Vivienne!" this goes on in a warped loop until they leave and i have to go out and drag her inside.

*just looked up when the other two got their first teeth. V cut hers just before halloween so that makes it around 4 months and both her bottom two came in almost at once. she had 6 teeth by Christmas. B cut hers at the end of the year so it would be around 7 1/2 to 8 months. Phoebe by contrast has taken her time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Summer Camp

you never realize the magic of summer camp until you send a child to one. i'm sure it's a bit sad when they go away but it is a beautiful thing if it is just a day camp. camps are real big up this way and it amazes me just how many different ones there are. V is in little explorer's day camp. basically they just go and play for 4 hours everyday. the magical part is that V is exhausted. she actually told that to a neighbor on tuesday when he asked if she was having fun at camp. she said "yeah, but i'm exhausted." was what i was told. it makes me wish that i had put her in camp the whole summer and not just two weeks. i have a girlfriend who once told me that she would use school as an incentive to good behavior. like, "girls who go to school don't/do...insert behavior here. i often use it to get her to listen... or go to bed since she is so exhausted. today, they are making ice cream sundays, i think i'll have to go pick her up early.

B on the other hand is very sad to be left out but settling into a nice little routine. she follows me around while i do chores and we talk....mostly about how she will get to come with me to pick up V and "are we going now?" occasionally she will want to do something that i don't really think is age appropriate but she does it with V. when she is told these days that she is not allowed something she is into throwing hissy fits. it is mostly annoying but sometimes just so comical that this little thing would be so intense about something so trivial. i was told that this is what living in the moment is but for the out-of-the-moment parent, it's the worst wake-up call in the world to have a child screech and cry. (okay, okay! i'll come back to this moment!) it would seem that with each child the wake-up screech is just a little louder. Will and i have decided that it is the only way that they can be sure they will be heard. ever heard of a large quiet family? yeah, neither have i.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

things we'd rather not mention

okay, girls, i have a confession to make. i don't really know how to ride a bike. it's okay though, i've been faking it for over 40 years. well....it's mostly okay. so, yesterday i'm riding with all three of you and i try a quick turn in a gravel parking lot. what?! i know you're thinking that you can't do that sort of thing. well, you see, if i knew how to ride a bike, i'd know these things. but since my career at bike riding started with crashing my tricycle and loosing my front baby tooth, i have lots of practice at what not to do. like, you don't race your very athletic sister on a bike down a steep hill. (that time, i chipped the adult replacement tooth, scraped a knee.) and you don't try to jump the ditch in your front yard when there is just a dirt/tar road on the other side. (no teeth were harmed that time.) so let's just say when i was 25 and bought my current bike your Nanah said "why would you want a bike?" nevermind the fact that i thought it would be fun to race down hills in San Francisco. so i've managed to keep myself injury free for the past decade or so. hopefully you will not pay for my folly.... i promise Phoebe that i didn't mean to drop the bike with you on it. it just skidded and with you on the bike it was top heavy. good thing for helmets, you bounced right off the gravel and didn't even get a scrape. i'm just glad that you were in front of me so that i could guide your fall down. needless to say you aren't very happy with the bike riding right now. but i would think that you should like the helmet a little better. it does have great road wear dings on it now. anyway, as they say, get right back up on the horse/bike. and i won't try any more stunt moves when i have you riding with me.

really it's good training. we all need to learn not to be afraid. take B. she fell off the bed numerous times (it was on the floor, short fall) and then took on the stairs and has practice falling down all our stairs, including the outside ones. But B is not deterred or afraid. she is in fact like a cat and always manages to land the right way. hardly ever a scratch really. this has made her somewhat of a daredevil or maybe she did all this stuff because that is what she is. someday i expect her to run off and join the circus. fortunately V, you were watched like a hawk, being the first child. you would not fall until learning how to walk and never went a walking moment without a scratch on one or two knees. (B has yet to teach you how to fall without a scratch.) you are better now, but still you can have a tumble now and again. you will even fall out of a chair with no apparent cause. maybe you are practicing pratfalls and it will be a comic thing. we'll go with that. Phoebe, you have taken a spill or two off the bed when we are sleeping but you are doing fine and you seem to be more aware of your surroundings than your sisters when awake. you will try the stairs but cautiously and always seem to stop yourself before you get to a dangerous point. this is a good thing because with your two somewhat demanding sisters i sometimes get distracted, and you get more free reign than i'd like on some days. hopefully i will be better when you all are in school.

so that's it. my confessions. just in case you were wondering why B wants to be in a circus and P hates riding bikes and V can't really walk in high heels. high heels are overrated.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

glimpse of things to come?

yesterday V and B were playing dress up with some of their hand me down costumes. i am in the kitchen half listening and i hear V say "there. that looks very fashionable." just like that and i have an expert on fashion in the house. i guess i should start consulting with her when i dress for the day. V is very accessory driven as well. it's not good enough to have just a scarf, she must wear a cape too. several more times she says, "that's good. you look very fashionable." I wonder, "where did she pick up this word, fashionable?" i certainly am not fashionable. i'm lucky that the clothes that i pick out of the laundry basket are clean and matching. and i gave up on making the girls look cute and matching when they entered the "little miss independence" segment of their lives.

Monday, July 7, 2008

homo erectus


Phoebe, now 10 months, wants to stand. she does stand. i piddle around my kitchen and she in hers, stands at the sink, the stove, banging just like mom. i look over and there she stands, smiling her toothless grin at me. she still has no teeth but she's so close.

if you give her a hand or two she will walk all over the house. sometimes she crawls to where i am and pulls herself up, looking at me as if to say "could you please help me walk somewhere." she gets so frustrated and crabby when i walk in and out of the room leaving her behind.

B on the other hand is quite proficient at standing, walking, and running. too much so. and she slams into little Phoebe when she gets a chance. she really is every bit the two year old. she doesn't understand yet what things really mean, and she will throw the biggest fit over the smallest things.

this morning was V's first day at summer day camp and we all went as a family to drop her off. we were..."are you alright? we're going now" she was too busy to look around. "bye" she yells. i'm glad that she is so independent but i was a little sad that it was so NOT a production. all said, it's a good thing.

so B has been trouble all morning. she throws a fit that we can't play at the school playground. she says it not fair that she doesn't get to go to camp. she won't get out of the car when we get home. and cries and pushes PO around in her frustration. this is good, i think because V will start preschool in the fall and B will have to find her way. still, she is not going down easy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Celebrations and Free Days

so we had a free day on the 4th. Will did not work. i did not work. the girls, they worked. starting at breakfast they began to talk about how nice it would be for Papa to see the beach that we go to. Will was not particularly engaged as he was looking to give our backyard it's independence from the weeds that have conquered it in a most gruesome battle. clearly we have lost. we lost the battle with the girls too. at 10am we found ourselves scrambling to gather the tremendous amounts of gear needed for a few hours at the beach. by 11am the girls were flinging their cover ups and joining some of their playmate digging in the sand. it was the first time in what seems like forever that i have been to the beach and outnumbered the little ones. (our Florida trip does not count) so i have a small amount of independence. i got to blink.

the girls fell asleep on the way home and i took the opportunity to pick strawberries. we had a couple of quarts coming our way and i felt i just had to try to make some jam this time. it's part of our CSA and paid for so i have to try. no matter how much i love strawberries and eat them i still can't put away quarts before they start to go. Vivi helps and so does Will but i still can't get B to try a strawberry no matter how many yummy sounds i make or bribes i offer. i think i'll have better chances with Phoebe when she's old enough... so far, she'll eat anything i give her and some things she finds on the floor.

Phoebe is still trying to free her teeth. i throw melba toast her way every time she squawks which can be often some days. and she still wants to wake up and play at 5am. i'm considering putting her crib in the basement.

B is trying to become an only child. she strangles her little sis as often as possible and body slams her big sis when she is annoyed with her. i wonder if i will always be a referee or if they will become fabulous friends when they figure out that they can truly count on a sister. i do hope they grow up close.

i was trying to get B to finish her breakfast the other day and just as we were discussing the possibility of her not going to the beach she did an about face and tells me that "it's okay, mama, i will eat my breakfast properly." she actually used properly. is this normal for a two year old? she is often funniest when i'm getting really annoyed with her. maybe this is her self preservation.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

summer routine


oddly the summer seems to have a better routine than winter even though the winter is more predictable. i finally got a bike seat for Phoebe. she seems to like riding but hates the helmet so i'm glad that she is in front of me so that i can see when she is trying to yank it off. i don't think that she could be successful but she would seriously compromise the usefulness of said helmet by, say, pulling it around to her ear. we took a test trip to see Will the other day at work and i didn't crash. a good sign. the other girls are cute in the trailer. yelling at me and shouting weee when we go down a hill or over a bump. it isn't too hard to pull them but then again the area is pretty flat. i haven't tried to do my grocery shopping with them yet. the weather has been threatening rain almost every day and while we usually squeak out a pretty good day overall, i wouldn't want to be caught in a downpour with Phoebe in front of me. if i could only find a little mini rain poncho for her and a bigger one for me, we'd be set.

the beach is becoming a weekly thing and that is both hard and easier for me. the girls pretty much stay together and just dig in the sand while at the beach which gives me hours of just hanging with them. but to get there and then pack them up is quite an ordeal. and no naps to speak of make for a more temper-tantrum prone evening. and what to do with Phoebe is always tricky. she loves the water but i really have to hold her constantly and she is quite active. way tiring. and if i let her just hang on the towel/blanket she always finds a way to the edge to scoop sand in her mouth. blak.

the other day i had all three in the pool in the yard and Phoebe was having a big time splashing and laughing at the others. i wish i had my camera handy but couldn't leave them to get it. one of the many bummers of being with them solo. anyway, i was watching Phoebe and her excitement remembering how hard it is to be the younger one trying to keep up. my heart had a little pang of sadness for her expectations that she can do everything her sisters can. in many ways she will be able to but there is always a point of ability where one is just too unskilled, or at least too small. i already find myself telling B this even though she is physically quite skilled she is just too small to do some things. yesterday she was trying to crawl across some rope bridge at the playground. i'm sure she could do it if her legs were longer, she was certainly trying to figure it out. sometimes i wonder if it is my fear that holds her back. at what point do i recognize that she will always amaze me with her balance and athleticism and i should encourage her to try these scary-for-me feats?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

DAY AT THE BEACH

yesterday was one of those perfect days where there is lots of sun and no humidity. a beach day. one of the girl's friends called and asked if the girls wanted to go to the beach. i wasn't even off the phone with her mom when they appeared in their swimsuits.

so after packing up all the extras...clothes, food, towels. we headed to the beach which according to B is very far away. (13 miles, i think.) and we sit on the beach under a nice tree and i think to myself that this is how i should spend my summer. the girls wander to the water and start the excavation process that seems to be on going when there is sand around. the water is COLD, not freezing by any stretch and downright warm to most but I'm not going in if i don't have to. so i sit in the shade and slight breeze with Phoebe and wish that she was my only one today so that we could both nap. not so fast... i look away for a couple of seconds and when i scan the water for Vivi, check, and Sophie, check, where is B? seconds ago they were all digging. now V and Soph are in the water and B...she is drenched and being carried by some stranger. i plop Phoebe down and run to B. there is no stress or anguish. just a big smile and "a look mama i have a spoon." thanking the woman, i take her and try to go dry her off. she will have none of this. she wants to be in the water. so now that i have two little ones who want to be IN the water i have to come out of my shade and watch them. pity. i was having such a nice day.

the girls had to be bribed out of the water with a cremee. then threatened to the car. i have now promised to bring them back the next nice day we have. it may be a while since the rest of the week seems to be calling for thunderstorms.

V now tells everyone that she learned how to swim. she thinks that since the water is shallow and she can "run" around in it without going under, she knows how to swim. i have to get that girl some lessons. B is just a little caution in the water which is good since there is very little that she is caution with. Phoebe is beside herself and cannot wait until she can join in all the fun.

Phoebe still has no teeth by the way and is quite sufficient pulling herself upright whenever she gets a chance. a few days ago i found her doing a pull up on the oven door handle while standing on the drawer underneath. i hope she isn't the one who learns the meaning of 'hot' the hard way.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

for the birds

Phoebe has taken to long meals, annoyingly eaten and not so very neat. She still has to put her two middle fingers in her mouth between every bite but she also will not open her mouth wide enough and she will shut it just as the spoon is trying to go in. This only allows a minute amount of food in and then smears the rest all over her face and hand. If I decide I have better things to do, she starts a fit and then for a short while opens her mouth wide as if to say see I'm hungry. (just like a good little bird.) At this point she will start clucking her tongue and sometimes she makes smooching noises. This would all be funny on fast forward but it takes soooo long to get through it all I'm banging my head by now and the ringing in my ears won't allow me to fully appreciate her performance.

She is such a happy little one even if she still hasn't successfully pushed through her first little tooth and likes to wake up at 4 am to play and remind me that she hasn't pushed through her first tooth yet.

I am so tired. I can see why people could fall asleep at the wheel. So in an effort to not be one of those AND save on gas I have dusted off the old bike and hooked up the trailer to do my grocery runs and go to work. I'm ordering a bike seat for Phoebe and soon I'll have the whole family on board. Am I nuts? Perhaps that is what sleep deprivation does to you. (or maybe it's the $65 it takes to fill the tank.) In any case, if it's not raining I will subject my kids to rides to the store and other such errands. Who knows maybe I'll finally get my baby weight off?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

small musings

when Vivi was little creeper learning how to crawl and play by herself she would sit for what seemed like forever (but truthfully was minutes) and play with scarves or fabric. she would pick it up and put it down, side to side, watching it flutter. it was fun to watch.

B would just sit and study V when she was little or try to figure out how to climb but i don't really remember any fixation like what V did with fabric. now Phoebe will sit at my feet in the kitchen and play with plastic golf balls. watching them roll and bounce. picking them up and occasionally she will get a larger ball and actually palm it. i was impressed when i saw this.

now V does have a thing for clothes and what she will and will NOT wear. she also does odd combos. i wonder if the two are connected. if so, will Phoebe be a golf star? or maybe she will just be very good with her hands.

Friday, June 13, 2008

of things magical


looking at the date on the last post, i realize that it has been a while since i poured my heart out to you girls. there is a reason for this....let's see, papa's work gets really, REALLY busy the beginning of June and mama barely keeps her head above water with you girls. grandma did come over to help out but we can't expect too much from a octagenarian. she is rather capable but i still feel obliged to keep in the game. then we had to return your grandma to her home so we took a road trip which you all did fairly well, considering.

so back home we celebrate a milestone. i no longer have 3 children under the age of 4 although sometimes i feel that maybe i have more than 3 children....enough of that though. we rolled out the dirt and threw a garden party for your neighborhood friends. a fairy garden party. i would like to take credit for it but have to blame my friend Suz since she had one and sent me the left over wings....one day i received an email that simply asked, "might you have need of some fairy wings." to which i replied, simply..."i have three girls."

Vivi had a good time at her party except for when her birthday balloons were freed. she told me later that she didn't like Mia anymore. Mia had been looking at the balloon weight and trying to figure out what it was. wrapped like a present, it probably looked pretty fun. so when she got the weight out of it's wrapping, off the balloons flew. it was devastating. truth be told Mia was pretty excited that she accomplished such a feat. all was righted with a trip to the party store to pick out another balloon.

meanwhile on the Phoebe front, we have the gates up again. she was caught twice yesterday trying to climb the stairs. now the fun really starts. if we could only teach the girls to leave her alone she might make it to one without any major bruising.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

the week that would never end

I've been thinking a lot this week about what my life would be like if I weren't a mom. It really is the absolute hardest job anyone could have and yet I wonder sometimes if my expectations are just wrong and if I'm too soft to be a mom. I watch as other schedule and daycare ("school") and seem to have lives beyond parenthood and wonder if my life will ever be "beyond parenthood". I barely have time to organize my house much less my thoughts. Okay....so I don't have to time to organize my house. I'm still waiting for the organizing fairy to show up which is sort of like the tooth fairy only they leave things in place instead of money under your pillow.

Today I was searching everywhere for our car stroller and couldn't figure out what we had done with it. I was headed to the farmer's market and mentally went through my blur of a week to discover I must have left it in the parking lot of our local science museum when we visited on Thursday. Made a pit stop and what do you know....they had it! The kind man even left the parking booth to run inside and get it for me, seeing that I would have to move a small tribe without a stroller to get it myself. We live in a very honest and kind place. What more could I ask for my children.

So the girls have decided that their favorite game is A)not listening and B) screeching loudly when I am asking them to do something. This week has really been a test to what works and what doesn't, and yelling in response to their loudness does NOT work. Quietly lifting them and taking them to their room is slightly more effective but doesn't keep it from happening again. I know it's a "pushing the boundaries thing" but I'm ready to move on to another annoying habit. This really wears me out. Twice this week I have gone to bed before the girls and I have to thank Will for taking up the slack.

Meanwhile Phoebe is motoring around like a demon and will not be denied anything her sisters are doing. Beatrice has gotten her up on the first step about 3 times that I know of and Viv keeps trying to "walk" her around the house. She walks too quickly and ends up dragging Phoebe between her legs. AND Phoebe fell off the bed this morning looking for me while I had passed out with Beatrice in the middle of the night. (note to self-- put Phoebe back in the crib if leaving the bed to put Beatrice back to bed.)

Beatrice is having some sort of cough that would not stop and I have to constantly battle my own thought as well as the off the cuff comments of Will. (It doesn't help that his mom was in town last week commenting/worrying on every little thing they do. Good and bad.) He usually is very good about supporting my spiritual work and careful not to malpractice but I guess this one is sticking around just a little too long. So I'm faced with the thought that this is not working. My prayers. I have these conversations with my spiritual teacher in my head that really make all my doubts seem so silly and yet the comments are still slipping out. It may be time to actually call my spiritual teacher.

So as I sit and wonder what my life would be like without children... I think about the laughter of the kids as they ride their bikes up and down the street with their friends, and the way they can be so silly and yet so helpful. Viv and Baxter helped me put away the traffic cones after they were finished riding and the "SLOW" men who were bigger than they were. It was too cute. (The men aren't really slow they are holding a slow sign to caution drivers to watch for children. They are blow up figures like the punching dolls I used to have as a kid. So far I have managed to talk the kids out of punching them but I do see a fair amount of close drive-bys with the bike.)

Who else would I have to comb my hair and hang from it alternatively? The girls had quite the gigglefest on friday while I was trying to talk to my mom on the phone doing just this. It would be kind of nice if I could teach them not to pull so much.

My life would not be nearly as interesting and I would know very little about what is important, really. Don't get me wrong, you don't need kids for this but it does make you give yourself up to see outside of "me". And I really think they make me a better person. No one else in the whole world could get me to question the truth and reality more seriously than those three little people. And it also makes me realize just how much my own mother loves me. Which must be tremendous!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

crawling...check!

All moms think that they could do a better job, even the ones who seem to have the "angel" children. I am constantly amazed to discover that this is a thing that most of us struggle with, and that there are no easy babies, just easy moments.

It is always a slight nod and pat on the back when things go as planned because they almost never do. Phoebe is crawling on all fours with no effort and pulling herself up with some effort. I am told by developmental "experts" that this crawling thing is important although I have met plenty of well-adjusted (?--not being an "expert") little people whose mom's claim they never crawled. So I smugly stand back and nod, "she crawls". Will who has a song for everything now sings when he sees her, "there's no stopping her now, she's on the move," I also remember that this brings shorter naps, a bigger appetite and severe crankiness when I leave the room.

And as I record this I have two little girls hanging on me because they want to cuddle and apparently haven't found a way to do this without their favorite toy, Mom.

Viv has started to cop attitude with me. She now calls me "mother" (or "mudder", if she is really being cheeky) when she is tired of my requests or conversation. I still have struggles with her about using the potty and hope that this too will end before I know it. She likes to wait until it is too late or almost too late.

B doesn't show much interest in the potty but will tell me when she has poopies. Oddly it is not always in an effort to get the diaper changed.

There is more sibling rivalry these days as B realizes that she can pack a punch too. I am have talks with her almost every other day about hitting or biting. It seems to be just aimed at her two sisters though so I think we can work it out. She is actually very affectionate and will be the first to hug and kiss her friends/sisters/mom. It is tough to be two and the middle of the pack. She gets the short straw so many times but does make the most of it.

Never a moment to myself...I have a baby waking, crying and a two year old screaming, crying in frustration. I guess this session is over.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

slowing down

I'm having one of those days where I just watch my girls in amazement. They are such characters. Vivienne can be such a chatterbox, talking up the neighbors and telling me things she thinks I should know. Beatrice is just plain sassy. No doubt about it, she will swagger down the middle of the street and I can say we'll go this way and she just goes the direction she has settled on. Not that she isn't agreeable, she will be the first to hand over a toy or swing when it is someone else's turn. She just knows what she wants. I hope I can nurture that in her.

Today was the first day that I got to witness her riding her tricycle. Really riding it and not just scooting. We made it half way round the block. I was impressed with her determination. And Vivi was such a great big sis, cheering her and telling her "one foot, then the other, one foot and then the other" I hope V will continue this way.

Will was whistling at dinner. He does this off and on and I never pay too close attention. He is a good whistler though and can accurately whistle a tune. It's a nice soundtrack to the day. Anyway Beatrice listens. And tonight she says "Peter". He was whistling "Peter and the Wolf." I have to say that I'm impressed.

Phoebe is just trying to keep up. Gets kind of cranky because she was to be a part of everything and gets stuck or left behind. She can commando crawl to just about anywhere she sets her sights on. I can't leave her in the middle of the room for safe keeping anymore.

She fell asleep tonight in my lap as I was checking my emails. It was so sweet. I needed to put on her pjs though so she woke up slightly and I had to snuggle her back to sleep. Sometimes I just want to hold on tight and never let her go. It is such a great feeling, the love you can have for this little person. In my case the love I can have for my three. There are days that I wish I could just lay in bed with all of them piled on me snuggling the day away. The capacity to love and be love wrapped up nicely for me to see, to really see.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

on holiday

It's not that I've been on holiday from this blog although it may seem like it. It's just that I have been at the beach and our place had no computer or proximity to one. Strange. I would have liked to write during the holiday then I wouldn't forget all the goofy things that my girls said and did at the beach but now I just have to give my tainted version of it. (not that the fresh memory is any better than the week old one.)

So thanks to "Um B" we went to the beach and got to stay in a rather posh condo there, almost able to forget that we were in Florida where the white trash reigns. The girls were able to jump the waves and build sand castles every morning and splash in the pool and jacuzzi in the afternoon. We got to have a quick trip to St. Augustine to see my aunt and cousins where the girls got to play with a young cousin (a few times removed) in a big hamster gym (minus the wheel) and play on a Harley (not ride one). When asked if she wanted to ride a motorcycle when she was a big girl, Beatrice, to my surprise said "no". I'm sure she will set her eyes on one once she has mastered the bicycle. She is after all a bit of a thrill seeker.

Holiday for parents is not really all that it would seem. Let's face it. It's all about the kids. So sitting on the beach with a good book and a possible snooze is just not going to happen. But it is great with memories of Viv and B running in the water while Phoebe laughs with delight. Bebe getting knocked over by the waves and bouncing right back up like a weeble. Trying to do head stands in the water while getting sand in her hair and picking up every shell that seems remotely interesting.

Vivi learning how to "swim" from my college friend, Auntie Gae who did well getting her to kick and blow bubbles in the water at the same time. Wish I lived closer...

We got to see a turtle digging for a place to nest.

Overall being on holiday does give us a break in a sense. The girls had great appetites and slept well. So there were no fights over finishing meals or going to bed. Makes me think I should live near the beach.

I did learn not to leave the girls in the care of my cousin even if she would seem to be a grown and responsible woman/mother. Apparently much against my brother's warnings she encouraged the girls to run in the water with their nice clothes on causing V to take off her underpants so they would not get wet.... only for her to drop them in a wave. And Bebe, well she needs no real encouragement to throw caution to the wind.

It is a challenge to travel with the girls so young but they are good travelers for the most part and I'm glad that we made the effort for them. They will remember this even it is somewhat spotty --like my recollections are.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

i win!

Last week the girls decided to go on tour without me. Now I have been drilling it into their pretty little heads that they may not leave the house without mama or papa. It apparently didn't stick. One morning while in the middle of the dreaded bill paying I was prompted by my youngest to do a thorough house search for the others. I found nothing and when I was really beginning to panic. Vivi came in the the front with the exciting news that she and B were outside. (To their credit they had on coats and hats and boots...good spring gear) Not sure how long or where exactly they went but I was in freak mode. I put them in their room and continued with my chant...."do not leave the house without mama or papa, do not leave the house without mama and papa....(i'm sure they hear) wha, wha, wha, wha, wha,"

When I come to my senses I begin to fortify the entrances. I put baby gates up and find them extremely difficult to enter and exit myself. But the girls will not leave without me. Then talking with my good friend Suz about it, she asks if I have any of those spinning door knobs that make it hard for kids to grip the knob. I run out immediately and and buy a six pack. I want to put them on all the doors. Unfortunately it only fits on the back door. The front door is a lever and the upstairs are all oval knobs. Darn me for looking to have an interesting knob or two. Well the gate is still up on the front but the back is difficult for me to open and now entirely kid proof. Thanks Suz!

Took Bebe to get a haircut today. Her first one...pro-fessionally. She now has a cute sassy cut and is telling everyone that she sees-"I got a haircut". She is quite proud of it. I'm proud of her. And now we will have no more comb out crying. Yay!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

two, tutus and too much

Today little B celebrated her second birthday. As Vivi was quick to tell anyone who would listen, today, is her birthday party but tomorrow is her actual birthday. In some ways I think she loved it. She is still singing "happy birthday to Beatrice" and she will open the birthday cards and read them. "Happy Birthday Beatrice, happy two, I love you" she reads. You would think she has never had a birthday before. She did do quite a bit of hiding. She wanted to be witness to it all but preferred to be on the periphery. At one point, one of the parents said to me, "Beatrice is up from her nap." When I clarified, "Phoebe?" This was the only child that I knew to be sleeping. He said, "No Beatrice." He thought she was sleeping since he had not yet seen the birthday girl. To which I replied "she's just hiding from her birthday. starting early, that one"

I wanted to make pink cupcakes with little ballerinas on them like she knows from Charlie and Lola a fun British animated show, but I had to settle for just pink cupcakes a la Pinkalicious --a favorite book of hers. I spent a good hour searching for little ballerinas that would fit on the top of a cupcake to no avail. I did find it on the internet .... too late to get shipped. I'm the worst mom. I plan a party for her that I know I'm going to do about a week and a half before, then actually start doing the shopping for it the week of the party. LAME. Sorry, Beatrice.

She did sport the outfit of the day with her pink tutu and leggings... A purple windbreaker and rain boots, once we moved outside. The sparkle purple rain boots made the ensemble.

It was a grand day and I made myself only marginally exhausted.

Phoebe slept the entire party and Viv had the most fun with all the attendees. All of my girls...each individuals.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

things that are just a bad idea

Today Vivi and I were sitting on the couch talking. She told me that Papa said he did not like it when she sat on the back pillows (like she happened to be doing at that moment.) I said that I thought that was probably a good idea. She said that Papa thought it was a bad idea. To which I realized my flawed response. I agreed with her (and Papa) that it was a bad idea but that it is always a good idea to listen to her Papa.

Today, I should have listened to her Papa. We were out of a few crucial groceries and I thought I'll just wrangle the kids and do a "quick" trip to the market. His response upon hearing this was "are you sure? well, good luck to you" For the record, it's a bad idea to take 3 children under 4 to the market unless you have 2 of them sedated, heavily. Or you should find a cart that has a couple of straight jackets and continually bribe them with lots of food. I had none of this going for me as we went right after breakfast...not snack time yet. And the kid's cart (the one that looks like a little car that allows them to "drive" around the aisles) it did not have working straps and my little houdinis would have figured them out even if they did since they are only lap belts. So my entire trip was spent trying to get them to stay in the cart, not dance around the cart, or climb on the car or hang to the side only to get smashed by a display. (Vivi is okay, by the way, but my hope is that she now knows to keep her hands etc. inside the ride.) The fun filled trip ended in my shamefully cutting my shopping short with two girls in full meltdown and one of them bleeding from the mouth. Next time I'm giving them the list and just let them have run of the place. Honestly, who can think under such pressure? At least I did get the crucial diapers, juice and bananas. Now the monkeys can be happy.