Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Cushions

Last night I rotated the couch know so they don't all get warped into one position.  It's been way overdue, at least 6 months.  I found the following things:  a bat, a snake, a dragonfly, a frog, half a horse, a dinosaur, a praying mantis, a green bead, a frog's hand, a key, a granola bar wrapper and a penny.  Well this has got Aiden written all over it.  Ella never loses her stuff, so it doesn't really come as a surprise that all of these toys belong to Aiden.  Funny how we go searching for stuff, yet I never thought to look in the couch.  He gives up pretty fast, so our expeditions don't last long.  I have to say though, I've been wondering were that penny went!
So it got me to thinking...what you find under your couch cushions actually reveal a lot about your life.  Let's start with Ella.  She likes little things, tiny little choking hazard type toys.  Anything that she is attached to that day goes into either her purse or her Tinker Bell box.  She totes it around, regardless of whether or not she actually plays with it, she just likes to know it's there.  She's the responsible one in the family, always has been, hoping she always will.  Then there's Aiden.  Sweet and loud and crazy.  He likes little things too.  Typical boy stuff.  He's constantly flitting from one thing to the next.  He's the spontaneous one.  Careless and free.  I'm pretty sure he'll be a stunt man when he grow up. 
Then there's me.  I have to say, I'm glad there wasn't a lot of trash under there, but then again like I said, it's a story of our life.  I'm not really a messy person, and the kids are really good about throwing their stuff away.  I'm also pretty anal about everything being in it's place.  I have to admit though, the granola bar wrapper was mine.  Ever have those times when you are actually scared of your kids?  For example, it's 2am.  You've already been at this for an hour.  Up and down with a crying child, soothing them, putting them back in bed...only to be at it again 10 minutes later.  You finally cave and sit in the room with them until they fall asleep.  Then, as though the clouds part and angels begin to sing, they're asleep.  Finally!  But then you find yourself sitting there in their room, in the dark, AFRAID to move.  Don't want to wake them up so what do you do next?  Crawl out of the room of course!  Or another scenario.  To the nursing mothers:  You are lying in bed to feed your baby.  She falls asleep in the middle of eating.  Unfortunately, you can't stay and sleep...gotta get up and tend to other things.  Same problem, don't want to wake the baby.  So you do a ninja roll out of bed to make it a smooth transaction.  You stay crouched on the floor for a few seconds to make sure it worked.  But then as you are walking out, she wakes back up.  So immediately you drop to the floor, hoping she didn't see you.  It worked.  She drifted back off to sleep.  So naturally, you crawl out of the room.  I don't care how scary movies can be, there's nothing like the feeling of being afraid of your kids.  So back to the granola bar.  I'll admit it.  I was scared.  I mean is it too much for me to ask to be able to eat a stinkin' granola bar without somebody coming along wanting to eat off of it too?  So when I heard them coming I shoved what was left of the granola bar in my mouth and hid the evidence.  Then of course they say "What you eating mommy?"  Nothing...I don't know what you're talking about!  Come on, who hasn't snuck food from their kids?  And then there's Brian.  He's the one bringing home the bacon, so I'm pretty sure the penny is his.  You know how it is.  The husbands come home and empty out their pockets.  Brian will give Aiden his loose change.  He likes to put it in his bear bank and see it fall through the bottom.  I like that he's teaching them the value of money at such a young age.  Riley's not exactly old enough to be losing anything yet, but she definitely contributes to the couch.  I clean up spit up and poop frequently off of my cushions and pillows.  So there you have it.  Our life as we know it as told by our couch.  Looking forward to what I find next time I rotate the cushions.  So I encourage you to look under your couch cushions and see what's happening in your life.  You might be surprised.  Phew, so glad the walls can't talk...they'd have a lot more to say! 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sleeping on the Job

Now I'm sure this has happened to every parent at some point over the course of the years, probably more than once, probably more than twice.  I'm just willing to admit that I allow this to happen.  Now I just want to say that my mornings start anywhere between 5:15-5:45.  I am fueled by roughly 4 1/2 hours of sleep on a nightly basis.  I say nightly because I catch a nap when the kids sleep, and any spare minutes here and there during the day.  I mean honestly Ella and Aiden are watching a movie, Riley is taking a nap... how can you resist letting those heavy eyelids to close?  Even for 5 minutes?  I'm here to say, I can't!  Isn't it a guilty feeling when you wake up from nodding off and you don't know what time it is or even what day?  Now that was some pretty heavy nodding.  But the relief is that the kids haven't moved and you realize it's only been 2 minutes.

This morning Brian called from work to see how things were going.  Now if you call me, 9 times out of 10 Aiden will be the one to answer.  For some reason he wants to be the one to do it, talk for a few minutes then he's cool.  If he doesn't answer he is usually having a meltdown in the background during my whole conversation.  This is why I like having ring tones for people.  There's only one ring tone (which is unknown callers) that I don't let him answer so it's worked out pretty well.  Call it enabling or whatever, but I've chosen not to fight this battle.  Anyway, back to Brian.  Phone rings, so I gave the phone to Aiden.  "Talk to Daddy" I said.  So Aiden happily takes the phone and starts pacing around the room.  I guess somewhere between me handing him the phone and him pacing I fell asleep.  Upon waking up in that delusional state I saw Ella sitting in the floor stringing beads, remembered that Riley was sleeping, and Aiden...where's Aiden?  "Aiden!" I yelled.  I heard him in his room.  OK.  Every one's accounted eyes began to slowly close again.  Then I abruptly sat up.  Oh, yeah...Brian!  I had Aiden bring me the phone.  "Brian?  You still there?"  "Yeah, I'm here."  "Umm, long have you been on the phone with Aiden?" (you know trying to sound all innocent like)  "Four minutes."   *sigh of relief* Well I have to say it didn't really come as surprise when I told him what had happened.  His response was, "Who can we call to come over and watch the kids so you can sleep?"  Oh, what a sweet husband.  Now don't everyone volunteer at once!  I would never allow anyone to come watch my children so I could sleep.  Just seems wrong.  But if anyone else wants to come forward and admit that they too sleep on the job please, say "I".   

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ducks in a Row

I was telling Brian about my morning and he thought I should blog about it, so I hope you find this as entertaining as I did. This is a lot of dialouge and I'll be moving fast so try and keep up.  Ella will be in pink, Aiden will be in blue and anything I say will stay in black.  Got it?  Good.
This morning was like any other.  The usual, nothing out of the ordinary.  The kids played, ate breakfast, swam in the pool (well more like jumped off the top of the slide into the pool), took a shower...I bathed Riley twice, changed her clothes twice (the baby food poop is brutal).  Got the kids dressed...Ella in her Monkey Shirt, of course, and Aiden picked out his Lightning McQueen shirt.  He's also getting into this whole 'picking out my clothes' deal.  So upon his decision they decided to watch Cars.  Now the reason I'm telling you all this is because their morning had nothing to do with ducks whatsoever.  Infact, they've been playing with bugs and butterflies.  
So lunchtime rolls around and I decided to give this whole cookie cutter sandwich thing another whirl.  Aiden picked a tree and Ella chose an elephant.  Still no ducks.  They sat down to eat and Aiden took one bite and said he didn't like it.  *Sigh* "Do you just want some bread then?"  He nodded.  He took his bread and started breaking it into small pieces.  Then he wanted me to feed him.  "Quack, quack."   OK.  I can play this game, if it
gets him to eat some lunch.  Then Ella starts disassembling her sandwich that I had so carefully put together, takes it off of her plate and onto the table.  Then she starts eating it off the table, nudging it around with her nose.  *Sigh* 
"I'm done, quack."  "Do you want some pretzels?"  "Quack, quack (nodding)"  Aiden is on his second piece of bread now...not the greatest lunch ever, but it's whole grain!  Ella is eating her pretzels off the table.  Riley is eating Little Puffs.  For the next 10 minutes there are random "Quack, quack.   Quack Quack Quack, quack.....quack."  "I'm done, quack."  She runs off.  "Quack Quack Quack."  "You're done too?"  "Quack (nodding)"  I wipe his hands and mouth and he runs off quacking and flapping his arms.  Ella runs back in "Quack."  "Whatdaya want?"  "Quack Quack quack Quack"  "What?"  "Quack Quack quack Quack! (rubbing her hands together)"  "Go wash your quack quacks in the bathroom."  Although it's cute that the kids are pretending to be ducks, it's hard to communicate with them when all I'm getting are different variations of 'quack'.  In runs Aiden.  "Quack, quack."  "What do YOU want?"  "Quack, quack! (pointing to the microwave which by the way, is our bread box as well)"  "You want more bread?"  "Quack (nodding)"  I went back to cleaning up.  Then the kids went from running and flapping to JUMPING and flapping.  As in jumping off the couch, flapping their wings and landing on their tail feathers.  Now the first time wasn't all it was 'quacked' up to be.  OK, I couldn't resist.  Aiden jumped off and landed on the floor, and sat there for about 4 seconds to decide if he didn't need to cry.  He's a pretty tough kid.  "Why don't you use the pillows?"  So they stacked up all of our couch pillows and used those as a landing pad instead.  That worked a lot better.  Except for the couple of times when they missed the pillows... 
Well this whole duck thing went on up until nap time.  They were still quacking during their story and I closed their doors saying "Night, night quack."  Kids are so weird.  And cute.  I wonder if I could apply this same type of communication out in the 'real world.'  "Was I speeding?  I'm sorry officer, Quack Quack quack Quack quack!" 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Ring Leader

So I guess it's only fair that I keep Ella in the loop of this 3-ringed circus.  Needless to say she is definitely the ring leader.  She is really starting to be my great big helper.  The best part about it is that she observes what's happening around her and she decides to take charge.  I'll start with an example from just the other day.  I was getting ready to feed Riley and I knew that Ella and Aiden were in that 'let's aggravate each other because we're bored' mood.  So planning ahead to try and avoid any confrontation, I set them up on the computer.  Now trying to stay one step ahead of your kids only works out about 70% of the time.  The other 30% usually comes back to bite you.  I'll just put this in that 30% category.  So they have a little Thomas laptop that has several learning games. Ella plays the 'Find the Letter'.  So to even out the playing field I put Aiden on the laptop and set him up on the Fisher-Price website to play the ABC zoo game.  Both were lying on their bellies on the floor with their computers side by side.  All is well.  Now I can feed my patient baby in peace.  A few minutes go by and Ella needs to go potty.  It's nice that she can take herself, wipe and wash her hands now all by herself.  In the meantime Aiden decides that he's bored with ABC zoo, so he waits for Ella to come back, looks at her and closes her Thomas laptop and sits on it.  So of course Ella reacts with a shrieking "NO!!!"  And get this, then he hits her.  What?  Shouldn't this be the other way around?  "Alright Aiden, time out."  And Ella says "It's OK Aiden, I'll take you."  Then she precedes to take him by the hand and walk him to the bean bag.  After finishing his time he comes back to the computers and resumes his game.  Can I please get some insight as to what goes on in his brain?  A few more minutes go by and Ella starts sniffing.  "Mom, (Yes, my 3 year old demoted me to Mom, it's so depressing) Aiden has stinky poo poo."  Pause.  She sees that I am still feeding Riley.  "Let me check your diaper, Aiden."  She peeks in the back of his diaper, "Yep, he has poop."  Oh, where's Daddy when you need him?  *Sigh*  Come on, Aiden...sorry Riley, I guess this whole eating thing is just gonna have to wait...

Nap time.  Stories are read, songs are sung and Ella and Aiden are in bed.  2 down 1 to go.  Now all I have to do is feed Riley and then I will have my hour of solitude.  No sooner do I get her latched on I hear a door open.  "Mom...(it's Ella) I have to go potty again."  While she is wrapping things up I hear another door.   "Aiden close your door and go back to bed."  "My bwankets, I can't do it."  He likes his blankets to be perfectly laid on him or else he doesn't sleep.  Next thing I know Ella comes running out of the bathroom and says to me "Mom, I'll be right back, I have to help Aiden."  Let's just see how this pans out.  I guess Riley's meal will have to be interrupted yet again.  Surprisingly she covered him up, gave him a kiss, closed his door and that was it.  He was sleeping minutes later.  She then goes back to her room closed her door and went to bed.  At this rate in another year or so I can put her on diaper duty! 

On a different note, Ella has really been into dressing herself lately.  Not only that, but picking out her own clothes as well.  Now I don't have a problem with this, but I do have a few issues.  If we are gonna do this, it's going to be done right...the outfits need to match.  When she picks out a shirt I will show her options of pants.  We've talked about matching and finding other colors in the shorts that match something on the shirt.  At first it was, this is green and this is green so it matches.  No, doesn't work like that.  Ella has violet, lavender and magenta in her color purple repertoire so I know that she understands different hues of the same color.  She's getting a lot better at picking out pants completely on her own without my help, also learning that you can put denim with just about anything.  The other issue is the dern monkey shirt.  I swear it will be my demise.  We receive hand me downs from her cousin, Lauren.  Ella looks forward to going through these bags of clothes and the latest jackpot for her was a green monkey shirt that says 'No Autographs Please'.  Now as grateful as I am for the clothes, this monkey shirt has about put me over the edge.  She wants to wear it EVERY single day!  It's actually only available every other day because of the way laundry rotates, yet everyday she still wants it.  I've even tried to hide it when I put it away and she digs through her entire drawer looking for it.  It's like she's thinking "OK, it wasn't here yesterday so technically it should be here today!"  Everyday, immediately after getting out of the tub she says "I want to pick out my clothes", then runs to her drawer and says "How about my monkey shirt?"  Eye twitch.  Deep breath.  Eyes closed.  A reluctant OK.  But there are just some days when I can't handle the shirt and my response (before she even makes it to her room) is "anything but the monkey shirt!"  And then in a very sad voice and her head hung low she says "OK..."  Now call me crazy or think whatever you want but I am telling you I am counting down the days until she grows out of that thing.  But considering it's only been a few months upon receiving this little treasure I don't think I'm going to be sane again anytime soon.  Can you tell that today was an 'anything but the monkey shirt' day?  Gotta love a girl that knows what she wants, I guess it takes years for most women to figure that out.  My little girl's all grown up. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Baby Beef

So Riley is on her 2nd day of baby food and I am finding myself wondering, "What I am supposed to do with her?"  I have been Googling things about babies starting solids, when, how much and how often.  You would think that by the third kid that I should already have this stuff down pat by now.  Especially considering the age gaps are 1 year 17 days between Ella and Aiden, and 20 months between Aiden and Riley.  Even as an infant I still had the 'is she still breathing' moments when she was sleeping.  Which got me to many babies is it gonna take before I can stop feeling like a first time mother?  I mean sure I am not nearly as up tight and I realize that it's ok for them to cry.  They aren't as fragile as I thought they were.  One thing I have learned, however, is how to down size on all the baby stuff.  It seems that with each kid I begin to feel more and more ripped off.  For example:  the Diaper Genie.  Now as snazzy as it may seem, promising to eliminate odors, the genie actually begins to take on a smell all of it's own.  The refills give you an endless supply of  scented bags so as a result all those 'wrapped' up diapers just end up sitting there for a week.  I mean it's not exactly an air tight seal so the baby powder poop smell just seeps out over time and soaks into the plastic.  It's like trying to wash spaghetti sauce out of tupperware.  It ain't gonna happen!  That stuff is here to stay.  Needless to say, I got rid of the genie with Aiden.  Wal-Mart bags tied up work just as well.  And guess what...that gets taken out everyday AND it's free bags.  Know what else is a big seller that you don't really need?  Diaper bags.  It took me 2 years to realize that I could ditch the bag.  Here's an idea I thought, "Why don't you just keep spare clothes, extra diapers and wipes in the van?"  That's right we drive a van.  So anyway I have these great plastic bins that have all that stuff the kids need plus first aid, Litttle Swimmer diapers, bug spray, etc...and it all stays in the van.  There's really no point in me lugging a huge diaper bag into the grocery store for a chance that there may be an accident.  I can actually carry my purse with 1 diaper and travel wipes and so far I've survived.  Speaking of survival, I've also ditched the bumper pads.  With Ella I thought I just had to have them.  Like you couldn't have a baby in a crib without them.  Now aside from the occasional leg stuck in between the rails, what's the point really?  I think they were more of a hazard than anything.  Ella would stand and jump on them to try to get out of the crib!   One more thing, Lavender scented lotion.  I mean it's good in theory, but are you telling me that if my baby is crying, all I have to do is slap some of that lotion on her and she will go to sleep?  Nuh, uh, I'm not buying it.  Bring it on baby #4 because next time I'll be ready, who knows, maybe he'll end up sleeping on a yoga mat.  And no, I'm not pregnant, I'm just sayin...

On the flip side, 3 Baby B's I couldn't live without:  the Boppy, the Bumbo, and a bouncy seat.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Noodle

I won't pretend that I know everything there is to know about parenting.  All I can say is that I know what the 'perfect' parent is supposed to do, but it's easier said than done.  I've come to the realization that everybody is just doing the best they can.  So to kick off my first entry I wanted to start off with an incident that happened last night.  Mealtime.  Doesn't really matter which one, but it seems like 1 out of 3 meals will be a struggle.  Lately it's been lunchtime, with Aiden in particular.  He just doesn't want to eat.  Little background on Aiden:  he never ate baby food.  Complete texture aversion, even the slightest bit on his lip would make him gag.  He has basically put himself on a liquid diet.  Anyway, well I thought I'd be really clever and use a cookie cutter on his sandwich.  Since I'm not a baker, all I had was a gingerbread man and a Christmas tree.  Phew, one for him and Ella.  The first couple of times it worked!  They both loved the new way of eating and I thought I had it in the bag.  I had mentioned to my mother-in-law about my limited number of cookie cutters.  Next thing I know she shows up with not 1, but 2 boxes of cookie cutters!  One is an animal assortment of 50 and the other 101 random things.  So now I've gone from 2 to 153 cookie cutters.  Oh, grandmothers, what are we going to do with you?  As good as these intentions were, I now have two new problems on my hands.  They want to dump out the box(es) and pick a new cutter for everything that can be cut, and  I have no idea where to store them.  It's been a week now since the cookie cutter overload, and Aiden has lost interest.  We're back to eating peanut butter on a spoon now.
So with this aside, there still is the issue of yesterday.  Now, I'm not one to serve my kids only organic foods, and make them happy vegetable faces out of tomatoes and celery sticks.  Like I said, we're all doing the best we can.  So, we have a rule here at our house:  If you don't like dinner, fine.  All you have to do is take one bite, say you don't like it, and you get a bowl of cereal.  Nothing else.  Just cereal, that's the only other option.  I'm not hard core enough to put them to bed without eating.  Last night was Zitti.  Simple pasta, sauce and meatballs.  Ella decided when she saw the noodle box that she didn't like it.  She ate her bite and got her cereal, no big deal.  Aiden had a royal meltdown, and ended up sitting for 2 hours with a cold, sticky, sauceless noodle sitting in front of him.  We went about our evening cleaning up, giving the girls their baths and putting them in bed and yet there he sat.  Anytime we'd come near he'd start up again with the crying.  I was ready to hit the lights and leave him there and act like we were going to bed too.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, he finally got him to eat the stinkin' noodle...and Aiden ate his cereal.  He went to bed an hour late, but I went to bed feeling proud of us for following through.  On the other hand, was that too harsh?  He's 2 and I'm 25 but we are equally stubborn.   I was so glad he ate the noodle.  I honestly didn't know how this would end up.  What was I gonna do, give him his blanket and pillow and let him sleep at the table?
Mommy 1   Aiden 0