Sunday, March 30, 2008

Soooo ready for Summer

Ahh Summer, a loose term also meant to be Spring way up here near the border. Winter goes on forever and then suddenly you find that you have made it all the way to Summer. We had snow on friday and today it is quite warm by our standards. We got to stay outside without having to check for frostbite. Running around on snow mounds and checking every so often to make sure we haven't stepped into hibernating dog poop.

The family is planning for a trip to Florida to convene with as many family members and friends who are just brave enough to show up. The girls are taking inventory of all their belongings, trying to decide what they simply must take with them. I think their "water" glasses are on the list. I have a feeling they would have need of sunglasses more but we'll see. I will have to edit the list drastically when all is said and done. There will be tears and negotiating and when I have gotten control of myself I will have them down to one suitcase. It will be an exercise in imagination. You want that toy? Okay, let's pretend we are playing with your.... I love traveling with children.

Grandma is visiting at the moment and we all know what that means... tons of sugar. G thinks that graham crackers are a healthy lunch. She gives them ice cream in the afternoon before naptime. (Now what incentive do they have to actually nap?) And she always thinks that they need something. (of course they do they're toddlers) She is from the camp that thinks if you put it in front of them, they will eat it. (and they won't, they're toddlers) I have lots of inappropriate snacks prepared in my fridge of things they will not touch. But she is a marathon book reader and will run back and forth to the kitchen a million times over to wait on them. Got to love the attention that she showers on them. It does make it easier for me to make it through a day without a meltdown. Me, not the kids... they still meltdown. Like when I tell them they can't have yet another piece of candy before dinner. Sure, G makes me look like the bad guy. I guess I'll do the same if I'm ever one. But girls, I'm putting this in writing...I will try to listen to you when it comes to your kids.

V loves having Grand around. They spent a good half hour playing waitress. G already has Vivi working up at the Friendly's. (I'm telling her to hold out for a place with good food.) But it is cute when V takes an order and comes back to the table with a good approximation of the order in her plastic toy food. And she never forgets dessert.

Beatrice would just have G read a thousand books if she didn't put a limit to it. And Grandma picks up after her so she doesn't have to. Bebe is always first to start the clean up song but the first to get distracted. I do hope that it is developmental and not laziness.

But I love to see my girls each find a place in their day for their Grandma and learn what it means to be a part of something bigger than our little five.

Friday, March 21, 2008

hop, hop, hopping....

I have good parenting days and bad ones. Today was both. The morning was spent running errands and I consider myself lucky that no one had a melt down including me. In and out of carseats and cars is bad enough but today there were high winds and I thought we all were going to end up under a house or on the yellow brick road whichever shoe fit.

While B took a nap Vivi and I colored some eggs because that is what you do this time of year. We used this new stuff (new to me) that is concentrated dye and you sponge it on instead of dipping the egg. The egg color turns out much more brilliant and the process poses less chance of a fatal egg dipping. You know when you hear that crack as the egg gets eased into the bath with a little too much vigor. V does everything with vigor so the new method is preferable. It is also very messy. I now have pink and purple fingers and Viv's whole hand looks a bit speckled. Oh well, the things we do for the sake of art.

When B woke from her nap she was a bit needy but soon was running about following YaYee or LaLee (her way of saying Vivi can vary according to the distance she is from you and what she is doing when talking). It is very cute. But then they spent an uncomfortable amount of time up in their room....quiet. Now there are two things that you love, LOVE and hate as a parent....the sound of silence because it is rare and the sound of laughter because it is affirmation that you must be doing something right, being rewarded with a moment so golden. Both also could mean that something dastardly is going on and I will not like what I find. Like when they were giggling at lunch while I was cleaning the kitchen and I come to find that food is being scattered about the room, all over the floor. (This is why I need an eat in kitchen.) So imagine my horror/delight to have V come and say "mama, come look...see what I did" wearing that grin like the cheshire cat looking so awfully proud of herself. After being assured that I will actually like it, I go up to their room. Vivi dances and twirls about the room and says "seeeee....i picked up."--emphasis on every word. And she did. I'm not sure what happened to all the stuff but I could see the floor. And the room felt big. I looked around and there is Beatrice propped up on pillows under her comforter reading a book. After I shut my mouth and pitched myself, I just stood there, grinning myself, taking in the moment and remembering that I do have good kids. It's not all just "no"s and negotiating (begging). My eyes got a little teary even. Sometimes the cuteness is overwhelming.

And short lived....V decided to try to make her own mac and cheese while I was feeding Phoebe and she first got powdered cheese stuff all over the kitchen and then got it all over her when she desperately tried to clean it up.

Phoebe is now sitting up on her own for fairly long stretches and she is gobbling up the banana and cereal mush that I feed her. She especially loves the yogurt and banana combo she got for dessert because she ate all the cereal and I'm too lazy to mix more up. She does it her own unique way, which is what I've come to expect of her. Yelling and sucking fingers in between bites, but staying fairly clean, considering. She will soon be a pro, though. It's like someone said "your six months old now, stop acting like a baby," and she understood. For the record, it wasn't me who told her that. I want my baby a little longer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

a landmark day

In kiddie world where I live, sometimes you can just feel like you are caught in this endless cycle of diapers, food battles, and "no"s. I have to remember to remind myself that there are very sweet moments in my day. Beatrice telling me she loves me while patting me on the back. Viv announcing that she thinks it might be a good time for tea. Both B and V having a friend over to play and each giving her a great big hug goodbye. (Bebe actually ran across the room and almost knocked her friend down.) Phoebe smiling across the room just so thrilled to see me that she can hardly contain herself. Seeing the girls run to the door when either one of us comes home from work, just to give us a hug, and excited that we are home. I know that these things will not last forever. On some days I am more than grateful that kids grow up so fast. Each milestone is such a bittersweet pause in a life that is hectic.

Today, Vivi announced that "Beatrice used the potty, I heard it, mama" I am happy to hear such a thing even before she is two, and I am thrilled that V is teaching her good things. Never mind that B was running around "naked girl" for a while after that. If that is why she takes her clothes off, I can get on board. Peeing on the stool after bath time is evidence that we can't quite pull out the big girl panties yet. Oh well....

Phoebe is getting the hang of eating. She had a great load at breakfast and didn't do too badly at dinner. I have found that to get her to actually eat I have to restrain her hands and not let her take the spoon. She then will open her mouth like a little bird and she makes a decent effort at keeping all the food inside. I think she likes it when I spike her cereal with fruit. Today the menu had apple. She gets a A for excitement. It's more than I can say for her sisters on some days.

Vivienne continues to remind me that she is ready for school. When will she get to go? We're working on it but it's good to hear that she is so ready to learn. I do hope that will always be the case.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

things that we choose to forget

So I've started feeding Phoebe real food. I can't remember exactly when I started food with the other two except I know with V it was early because she had teeth like at 4 months and I thought if she had teeth she must be able to chew. It turns out she, like all little ones who aren't used to having foreign substances shoveled into their mouths, kept spitting it out. So I stopped trying to feed V and started up again closer to 6 months. With Bebe I didn't try until she was swiping stuff off my plate and I felt it was an act of preservation to give her a meal of her own. Then I find out she really doesn't want to eat her food and to this day will still eat food off my plate but won't eat the very same food off of her's.

Now personally I wasn't quite ready to start feeding Phoebe but at one of her wellness checkups I was told by both the nurse and her pediatrician that she should be eating solids now. I came home hanging my head for not being the forward thinking mom and had to face the fact that now I had to enter the food battle with yet one more child. I say this because it is always a struggle to get the two toddlers to eat real meals. Vivi will eat all kinds of fruits and some veggies if she can "swipe" it off the counter and then leave it half eaten at some highly inappropriate spot. Beatrice will eat no fruits in real form and very few veggies and I'm convinced that she eats them just to mess with me. Like just when I have told someone that she won't eat anything that appears to be good for her, she will eat an entire plate of broccolli. Go figure. So now I have to redeem myself as a mom and somewhat healthy cook by breaking in another little foodie.

So far, I am fighting with Phoebe over who exactly gets to hold the spoon. She wants to but won't take it out of her mouth if I try to feed her with a different spoon and yells at me if her spoon doesn't have food on it. I have been feeding her about two "meals" a day for a week and so far I would be surprised if she has actually consumed an entire bowl (about 3 tablespoons) of cereal/banana. She does wear it well.

And just so I don't forget.... Will occasionally asks me if Beatrice cracks other people up as much as she does him. And I have to say yes. She is really a nutter, in a good way. Today we were at the science center looking at frogs and fish and turtles and she found a turtle tank that has a tube in it so that the kids could crawl under the tank and stand in the tube putting them basically in the middle of the tank. Now we frequently go to the science center and I have never seen a kid in the tube so I think it must be blocked or it really isn't a tube. (I'm too big to investigate this.) So B finds the tube and stands up in it yelling "hello turtles!...I see you turtle" cracks me up. Of course this doesn't count in the answer to Will query about if she cracks others up. So just to prove my point we are in another part of the center and she walks up to a tank that has a rather large turtle in it and while this family is trying to figure out what is in the tank she yells "hello big turtle!" smashing herself against the glass and making them all laugh. I turn to Will and say...there you go.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is there an echo here?

Beatrice is at that crucial point of development in which she repeats 80% of what you say. Vivi says "i want waffles for breakfast" Bebe says "waffles for breakfast, pease". I have to give her kudos for not only expanding on what V says but also makes it more polite. Bebe is quite good at remembering polite. Vivi, not so much. We try and try to impress upon her to always say please and thank you but still seconds later she will say "I want...." I wish I knew what it was that I was doing wrong.

We did have a great mother/daughter outing on Sun. although I had get over myself. I got tickets for us to see a puppet show of some Eric Carle stories..."The Very Hungry Caterpiller" being one of them. It is a black light show so the lights were dark and the music was very soothing. Being so excited about the show V did not take a nap and after the first story she said that she was tired. I tried to keep her up but by the second story she was out. I got a little put out that I brought her to a show that she would sleep through but then I just let it go and decided to enjoy the show. She actually did wake for the last story, "the Very Hungry Caterpillar" The little girl next to us was narrating the show in her own way and V decided to join in. They went back and forth telling us what was about to happen. After a bit V turned to me and said "she is my new friend" I hope she always makes friends so easily. It ended up being very delightful and V had fun.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

little miss "tag"-a-long

Lately I've been struggling with the phenomena that happens when you put two toddlers together. Vivi does something then, of course, Bebe has to do the same. Then Beatrice will do something that V has to join in. It tends to drive me crazy when it is something like slinging food or shrieking in a very high pitch. (shrieking in stereo....yeah, fun.) So I'm trying to impress upon Vivi that she gets to do big girl things that Beatrice does not and in turn she has to teach Beatrice how to behave like a big girl. If she is going to act just like Bebe then she will be treated like B and not get to do fun "big girl" things.

It seems to be backfiring a bit. V has started to blame B for evil doings that I'm not exactly sure B has done. Beatrice still owns up to things she does. Like the other day when I was making breakfast, Bebe is tagging the house with crayon. Yes, our freshly painted walls are decorated with the little tagger's marks. And V didn't stop her. Beatrice did admit to her "murals" even after I was raging through the house like a mad woman brandishing a squirt bottle and sponge. Yet today she would not admit to throwing Vivi's sandwich on the floor when V very adamantly claims that she did. What to do! No, really what can I do? And how do you get crayon off without scrubbing paint off the wall with it?

Friday, March 7, 2008


This morning we were waking up slowly, cuddling in bed and there was the sweetest moment between Phoebe and Beatrice. Normally I am wrestling B away from Phoebe to keep the littlest safe but today there was no struggle. Beatrice was in my lap and Phoebe beside me. As B snuggled her hand dangled down over Phoebe and Phoebe reached up and clasped Bebe's hand. There was such tenderness between the two and everyone felt the presence of Love. Phoebe smiled and a second later I heard the familiar pop of Beatrice's thumb coming out of her mouth. She turned to me with the most delighted look of amazement. "That's your sister." I said, "She loves you."

It was beautiful.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


A brief siren and flashing lights woke me around 3:30 this morning. At first I am annoyed at this because sleep has been particularly scarce lately. Then I am alarmed because I wake enough to realize the entire street is lined with emergency vehicles. This isn't some mistake or little medical emergency (which is tragic to be sure) this is big, and I can see flames out the window. The kids sleep through it until Will wakes up and we start to talk. Then Phoebe wakes up and it's all over. She's really awake and delighted at the light show that is going on around her making shadows and colors on the ceiling. Thank goodness V and B kept sleeping.

The house one down from us was on fire. The fire got put out fairly quickly. The firemen were on the scene until well past noon. It is scary this whole fire thing. I couldn't really get back to sleep. I think I got 4 hours last night. I might be up to about 10 hours of sleep for the week.

I found out from a neighbor that the elderly man who owned the house was probably killed by smoke inhalation. He was a pack rat in an extreme way. He had trash piled at his front door, evidently more in the house, the second floor gave way from too much weight, presumably from his hoarding. His two cars were so packed with bits of paper and garbage that there was only room for the driver in the cars. He had been sited several times for the trash problem.

This man was once a fastidious and intelligent man. He worked for IBM and has two grown sons who are accomplished, and yet he lived alone. He would not even see his sons when they came to help.

He was courteous and friendly enough, a good neighbor. He always waved at me and the girls and never drove too fast. (sometimes a problem in our neighborhood)

There was a lot of excitement about the fire trucks out front. Vivi is very happy that they are there to help. The whole day was full of talk about house fires. I'm glad it does not impress the girls in a serious way.

A local news woman caught me and one of the dads in the neighborhood discussing the tragedy and asked if she could interview us on camera. We were on the news for 20 seconds maybe. My neighbor being quoted on camera and the girls clinging to me. 15 seconds of fame....there you go girls. (i shake my head in disbelief)

I spent the day in a sleep-deprived stupor going between snapping at the girls because they are toddlers which I have no patience, and hugging them close, telling them I love them because they teach me about life which it is so precious. They are so precious. I am sad today. I am not myself. I am "mommy dearest" and I wish I could just go to sleep and start over. I don't get a do-over but fortunately my daughters love me anyway. I am blessed.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Monsters and other things fantastic

There has been quite a bit of talk around this house about monsters. When there's a noise, it's probably the monster. When it gets dark out, the girls need a flashlight to keep away the monsters. Bebe walks around all wide-eyed whispering in a hoarse Bebe way, "monster". You can tell though that it is play for B. While Vivienne, I think, was once actually alarmed that there was a monster; she now plays it up. She is convinced by her papa and me that monsters aren't allowed in the house. So she tells Beatrice in a most authoritative voice, "There's no such thing as a monster. They don't exist, like the Ogres don't exist." (Great, now we have Ogres too?) Vivi is at the wise age of almost 4 when she is realizing that knowledge is quite a fun thing. And so she tells everyone all that she knows, and if you don't comment on what she expounds, she continues to repeat herself louder and louder until you hit the snooze button, or say in your most in-awe voice, "really?"

It is quite fantastic to actually sit down and have a chat with my girls. With Viv, it actually is two sided. She tells you what she thinks. Like today when she told me that she thought Christa was Joy's daughter. (Christa is younger than Joy but only by about a year.) So we had a little conversation about what a daughter is, to which she replied, "then she must be her son" So I went through a whole list of labels like son, daughter, mama, daddy, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, husband and wife. And looking at me for quite a few seconds, she decided that Christa was a wife. Okay. fair enough. I'm not going to really define each of these labels since she is still working on he and she and the difference in that. I'll just build on that for another day.

She also tells me things like "I love everyone, mama, no one excluded" she actually said that, "no one excluded". LOVE that. I also love the time she told Will that "God did it" when he asked her "Who made you so pretty?"

So having a conversation with Beatrice goes something like this.
Me:"So B what's happening?"
Bebe: (she shrugs) "cookie mama?"
M: "how do you ask?"
B: "pease?, cookie mama?"
M:"here you go, sweetie"
B: "tanks, love you, mama"
We get to the essentials. I like that about Beatrice. She just cuts to the chase. It is nice though when out of the blue she will tell me that she loves me. Viv doesn't do that too much and usually she is trying to make amends because of something she did. Bebe just loves.

Having a conversation with Phoebe is very one-sided verbally but she has quite a style of her own. Moving her eyebrows as she coos and giving me an award-winning albeit, toothless and open mouthed, grin. She has a thing she does with just one eye brow going up making the other go slightly down that seems to say "I don't know about that one, mama" and her raspberries are surprisingly well placed. It's an incredibly fun thing to speak nonsense with an infant, but it's even better to speak in a very coherent way. She is quick to respond.