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.'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?