Saturday, April 28, 2007

Are all kids like this or are ours just extra surreal

I've made mention before how our oldest daughter has a habit of saying quirky things and is ahead of schedule academically. Our second daughter is the adventurer and party girl. Our new son is so new it is hard to say (but he is big, very alert, and very happy). Today it hit me how very surreal it can be to live with these little people. The only thing special about today was that we received a visit from Granny, Grandpa, and Great-Granny. Perhaps that made the kids more of everything in their excitement.

The visit itself was mostly play and talk. The kids were revelling in being so loved. They were also bouncing off the walls. At one point, child number one decided to play the game of being the baby. She would play on her brother's playmat with dangly things, then bring a toy bottle to someone to feed her (she doesn't actually drink milk). So we'd hoist her up on a lap and "feed" her a bottle. Then sit her back up to burp her. She would say "BRAAAP!" Then we would do it again or she would go back to playing on the playmat. Then at one point she did the sign for "more" in baby sign language and verbally asked for more. That surprised me. I do actually own a book about baby sign language. But I didn't remember actually teaching her anything from it and we didn't use it when she was a baby. Later when asked, she said that she learned it from us. If so it was in a passing comment about the book Mommy bought. Wow, teaching the baby will be easier with the girls doing it too.

I don't think Rhiannon did anything unusual at that time, But earlier this week while the girls were playing and I was in and out of the room doing chores, I walked in and saw her behind the sofa happily sitting on the window sill. She was in so tight that I couldn't just lift her out. I had to move the sofa out of the way some before lifting. Tonight she did the same thing in another room. This time she realized that she was stuck and called for help. In this case she was stuck between a futon armrest and the fencing that keeps the kids out of my husband's musical instruments.

Our little boy just made points with Great-Granny by being happy and laughing for her (the first time I think, A nice little "Heh-heh-heh").

When the visit was over, child number two decided that she was going home with the grandparents. She wanted to walk them out to the car and get in the car with them and go to their house. At the same time my husband was checking the mail at the mailbox and discovered a very important piece of mail. It was exactly the thing needed to make her forget about her attempt to leave home for greener pastures. Thank you Auntie Jean (yes, I know you're reading this). It was a birthday card for my husband, which when opened played Johnny Cash singing "Ring of Fire" (note: the cover showed a round birthday cake with candles in a circle). this fascinated our two year old and her Daddy took advantage of the good timing to tell her to take it inside to show Mommy. Now I grew up in a house where hearing Johnny Cash singing was a common occurence. However, my husband's tastes, while varied, tend to run more toward classical and opera. The next two hours were a bit trying for both of us while the girls took turns opening and closing the card to hear the song. At one point, during a Mariachi sounding segment, child number one pipes up "Here comes the fire truck!" Needless to say we both lost it. Then a few minutes later she spontaneously composed a poem about birthdays that I wish I remembered enough to write down. It was clearly something she was making up as she doing it. She managed four or five rhymed phrases that were all on topic and didn't wander strangely like her stories normally do. She was practically rapping. The only time that I remember her being exposed to rap music was when she was less than a year old at our old apartment building.

Add to all of this, my husband told me that she told him a story when I was out getting groceries this morning. she titled it "Chickens in the mood." Now to most adults "in the mood" phrased in this way makes them think that something not G rated is being talked about. So he suddenly paid attention to her story this time to make sure that she hadn't picked up something somewhere that she shouldn't have. He decided that it was PG rated. It was a long wandering story (as most of hers are) where, among other things, a chicken and a rooster were walking along holding hands.

Oh yeah, one more thing for the day. This morning I put on the original Fantasia movie for the kids to watch while I did some cross-stitch. Child number one provided us with an audio commentary for the entire movie. The only time she didn't talk was when the narrator was doing his bit. That's a long movie. She can be a pretty long-winded kid.

Auntie Jean, did you realize when you sent the card that it would teach the song "Ring of Fire" to the kids. Child number one was playing it on a kazoo. Child number two was singing the words. It is definitely surreal to hear a two-year old singing "Ring of Fire."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Diapers and bodily functions

The title of this post should be fair warning to those of you who don't want to hear about bodily functions. I have a four year old, a two year old and a not quite three month old baby. My life is filled with bodily functions and I am not going to be apologetic about it.

I thought that I ought to give an update about the cloth diaper situation. I have started using cloth diapers finally. We decided to use disposables until child number three grew into his 3-6 month clothes. This saved me from washing out huge numbers of poopy diapers for my newborn. Now that he is pooping only once or twice a day, that is a much more manageable amount. All is going well. It isn't nearly as convenient as disposables, but not as inconvenient as I first imagined. I went for prefold diapers and diaper covers. I can see why people would like to go for "All-in-ones" (which is as convenient as a disposable), since replacing the diaper inside the cover is sometimes annoying. the nice thick diapers that I use are a little difficult to dry thoroughly in my dryer, so I have to run them through twice. We use the disposables when we go out, but even then, I will leave the cloth diapers on if we go out for a short errand. I suspect that I will go back to disposables briefly when he hits the teething diarhea stage. We are doing the cloth diapers more to stretch our finances than to make an environmental statement.

This summer I plan to work with child number two a little more with potty training this summer. She currently uses pull ups and sometimes tells me "I got poop." Sometimes she does sometimes she doesn't. She is aware of what is going on in her pants, so she might be receptive to some extra attention to get it in the potty.

Child number one has been my tough to potty train child. I think that I can confidently say that she is now potty trained. She takes herself to the bathroom when she needs to and does the whole process herself. I have to remind her that it has been a long time occasionally or insist she use the toilet before we go somewhere. But, otherwise it has been all her responsibility and she does it. She hasn't had an accident in a long time. The last time was when we were visiting grandparents and she hated stopping the play long enough to use the toilet. She was just over excited and distracted with extra fun. I think what finally did the trick was her own desire to do things herself. She hit an age where she wants to do everything that she possibly can, on her own. She was getting annoyed by being told when to use the potty and wanted to do it herself. So we finally gave it a trial after she was consistent enough and it worked. She also had incentive from earning rewards for long term success. She is extremely independent minded and it shows in the potty training, too. Now if we can get her to stop coming out of the bathroom with her pants down.

Well, baby is crying so I need to stop here. I'll do a homeschool update soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I exist on

Do you ever type your own name in a search to see if by chance something comes up? A friend of my brother just published his first book, and I searched his name on Amazon to find it. I found it ,by the way, "A Quest for respect" by Robert Worley. If you like fiction drawn from military history, you might buy it and let me know what you think. I'm more into straight history personally and not the military area of it.

Anyway, my husband had me search on his name, and we found listings for someone with a similar name. Then, on a whim I typed a search on my maiden name. WOW! I found myself. I used to work as a college librarian. One of the professors who writes lots of books, listed me among many of my co-workers in his acknowledgements. It wasn't someone who shares the same name. It was me. WOW! That was really cool. Yeah, I know it's just the acknowledgements. It's not like I wrote a book. But, it still made me feel famous for a minute.

Now I guess I'll just have to go back to my mundane life of making meals, changing diapers and not letting any of us run out of clean clothes. Anybody else want to put me in their acknowledgements page? Anyone... Anyone...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fascinating workings of a two year old brain

I was much amused by child number two today. She decided at one point a little before lunch that it was time to play games. The little party girl loves games. Now two year olds don't play at cards or board games. Those aren't simple enough. But that doesn't mean that they don't play games at all. They just think outside the box compared to us adults. She has always been a big fan of "Peek a Boo," which she refers to as "Boo Boo game." Hide and Seek has been a recent addition to her repetoire. She can also appreciate "Chase." Today she introduced me to some new games. In addition to "Tickle fight" (in which she chases her sister to tickle her) and "Feet fight" (in which the two of them kick at each other under the table during meals), she decided to play many new games today. There was "Dance game" (in which one lifts one's hands above one's head and twirls while on tippy toes). Next came "Hopping game" (in which one jumps around. In one variation the player says "Ribbet!"). My particular favorite today was the "Cat in the Hat game" (in which the player turns until dizzy and falls down while saying "All the things fall." Maybe it's a variation on "Ring around the Rosie.") Later this evening she was in a gaming mood again and played the "Potty time game" (in which she turned a bucket of Mr. Potato Head parts into a potty seat and pretended to sit on the potty. Then she stood up saying "I peed" and then clapped, yelled "Yea!!," and then did a little happy dance.

I think you could call anything a game and that girl would find a way to have fun with it. She is definitely a party girl.

Maybe we adults are too serious about the things in our lives. I have more fun doing things my daughters way and enjoying the moments of the day more. Maybe the dishes would be more fun if I played the "wash the dishes game." Then there's the "feed the baby game" or the "sweep the floor game." I would still be doing the same things, but they could be fun because they are a game. It is all attitude you see. I distinctly remember the first time my Mom let me wash the dishes. I was not much older than child number one. I had to stand on a chair to wash them at the sink. I got the kitchen a gloriously wet mess and I think it took me about two hours, but I loved it and would beg her to let me do it again. I don't remember exactly when I stopped thinking of it as a game, but I know that was when the joy of it left me and it became one of my chores.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Swamped in the little things

OK... So it's been a while. As the title says, I've been swamped with little things that are all important. Little people are important and I've now got three of them to look after. That is going fairly well. The oldest two can usually play together without killing each other when I need to look after the third. The baby is easy going enough that he can play on his playmat while I do dishes, cook, or do homeschooling with the girls. However, there are other little things that have added to the general chaos like finding time to do our taxes and finally, today, take all three kids to the post office with me to mail them. I think it brightens people's days to see me out with all three kids. For some it is nostalgia. For some it is "thank God I'm not her."

I also have to update our financial records to find out if we are still breaking even. I haven't touched them since before the baby was born. Then there is the fact that I can't wedge anything more in the filing cabinet. That needs thinning out of unneeded items (haven't done that in about two years). I can't paint with my oldest daughter until I clean a much used counter so we have a place to dry paintings. We sort of got roped into doing some stuff at a Easter play day at our church when we have sooo much work to in the backyard.

The backyard construction zone is now at the form building stage in preparation for creating actual walkways and a patio. Since my husband is doing this in his almost non-existent free time, it'll take a while. I find it hard to be patient at times and not begrudge time to good causes every now and then.

With the kids, the most recent thing is that our oldest has lost two more teeth. This time they were not symetrical. Her right front tooth on top and a left slightly to the side tooth on the bottom came out on the same day. She now has a really fun jack-o-lantern style smile.

Life is feeling full. And, although the baby is allowing a little more sleep lately, I feel like I'm playing a ridiculously big job of catch-up. I also have trouble thinking clearly during allergy season. So if this post seems a little disjointed, that is why. Allergens are little things, too.