Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I woke up this morning to my newly arranged bedroom and wasn't quite sure where I was. Nor was I sure what day it was but it slowly all started to come to me that I was home, and it was Tuesday. It was not yet 7:00 but all three kids were awake so why fight it? Why try to bargain for just a few more minutes? After we hoisted a happy Claire and Finn out of bed, Duncan wanted to immediately find his Hot Wheels cars and have "the big race", and I was invited. I told him, just like I do every morning, "Mommy can't do anything until I have coffee." He then remembered that today is his Easter egg hunt with his class and was quickly distracted from the race. Claire and Finn were also very happy to have a bucket of plastic eggs to take apart and throw around the room. Tiny! Stickers! Everywhere!

It's very predictable that about ten or fifteen minutes before it is time to leave for us to go to school, Duncan decides that he is ready to go and grabs his things and heads for the door. This fills me with happiness because it takes me that long to wrangle Claire and Finn and him into the car with all the lunch boxes, special pillows and blankets, egg buckets, eggs, etc...that are necessary to deliver one four year-old to preschool. And while we are on the subject of Easter eggs, I will go on record to say I am not a huge fan of the massive egg hunt. We could attend as many as FIVE this year, but so far, only two of them are on my definite "yes" list. One at school today, and one on Easter Sunday at my mom's house with just our kids. More about that later.

So, with Claire and Finn's help I continued to work on getting our house ready for the Realtor to come tomorrow and take pictures. It is looking so good I think I want to just buy it from myself. And now it's 8:40 and the babies are asleep and Duncan is at my mom's and the house is quiet and still and it's nice. These moments at the end of the day make all the day's craziness okay. And I think tomorrow, when I wake up I'll know just where I am and what day it is.

Monday, March 22, 2010

  • The driver's side window in my van (it's really my mom's van, we've just driven it ever since the twins were born and oh my it's a beater...but I digress) rolled down yesterday so I could brush SNOW out of the way and it will not roll back up. This is really a problem when you have three small children.
  • The tile guy is coming today to grout the new backsplash. Last big item to do before we put the house up for sale but oh, the million little ticket items we have to do in the next 7 days. Heaven help us.
  • I still am not sure how I feel about the healthcare bill, but oh the news is so entertaining...from both perspectives.
  • It rained and snowed all weekend but now on Monday? It is sunny and bright. We all have a bit of cabin fever so this is good news.
  • We have a very large snowball in our front yard. It amuses me.
  • My children should have very good immune systems, if you get my drift.
  • I am so happy that Finn and Claire have reached the stage where I can take all three of them in the backyard. Even though Claire walks like a 90 year-old woman, she is walking and is very focused. She can even walk across a room with Duncan's Crocs on her hands.
  • Sometimes, when I look at my children, I think, "it wont always be this way...they wont always be dying to be right at my feet every moment of the day." And I don't feel so harried...well, at least not for very long.
  • Finn and Claire have started hiding in the pantry.
  • Sitting around a coffee shop laughing with girlfriends is good for my soul.
  • All is well!

Friday, March 19, 2010

The hour and a half that almost sent me to the brink.

Today was going to be a great, but busy, day. We started off early, going to Aunt Clo Jean's house so that Duncan and his cousin Fletcher could ride their battery-operated race cars. This big race was supposed to happen Tuesday, but it rained so we rescheduled for today. My aunt lives out in the country, with a huge hard, huge flat driveway and plenty of space for boys to race. My cousin, Fletcher's mom, offered to let me drop Duncan off and take the babies back to my sister's and mom's and she would bring Duncan over there later. Finn seemed sick yesterday, so it was going to work out great.

At my mom's, I got both babies down for naps by 11:00. Finn is super clingy right now and kind of loses his mind when I walk out of the room, and isn't eating anything but Cheerios and crackers, but I digress. My sister was going to take Claire out to lunch, so when she woke up I put her in a totally cute dress, tights and Mary Janes and sent her on her way for a big girl outing. This is building, I promise.

Duncan was back at my mom's by 2:00, and Finn awake shortly after that. He even seemed to be feeling a little bit better. As an aside, I still am not sure if it's teething, an ear infection, or a virus but more about that later. Then, things start to go south. My sister is home before 2:30 with Claire. A red, puffy-faced, itchy, scratchy Claire. She has had one allergic reaction this severe before. To strawberries. We still aren't sure what caused this one. She had lettuce, grilled chicken, mandarin oranges and grapes. I have her some Benadryl and within 30 minutes she was fine. Sleepy, but fine. So, after letting all the kids romp around outside on the patio for a bit, we piled in the van and headed for home. I was looking forward to seeing my new backsplash.

We had a tile guy come and tear out the very home-grown mosaic tile backsplash that I started when I was pregnant with Duncan. At some point my belly got too big and I couldn't finish it, but I was very close to being done! But, you know how after a while your eyes don't even see the flaws? I will post pics later. Trust me, y'all will not want to hire me to do any tile work at your house. So, anyway, I was excited to see the plain white boring backsplash that would help us sell our house. Claire fell asleep the minute we got on the highway. Duncan was very quiet in the way back, because he had been going all day. Finn was quiet too, but I knew he still wasn't feeling great. So, I had a pretty quiet ride home.

We pulled up at home and Iain suggested I check things out before we turned all three kids loose with a tile guy working in there. I did and made sure they could not interfere with him and we got them all inside. Then quickly decided to take them outside. Can I just say how happy I am that the babies are now old enough to take them outside to play? Because I am very very happy. I love spending afternoons in the backyard when the weather is nice but have not been able to do that, until now! Hurray! But this is about how difficult my hour and a half was, so I will not let myself show too much joy.

I decided it was time to feed the babies so I brought them both inside and put them in their highchairs. I also need to point out that Finn had seemed so much better today. We had one random vomit episode yesterday, and I chalked it up to mucus and drainage because he had made it through the night just fine and we all know that kids wait until night time to really let loose on the vomit thing. I got them in their chairs and gave them each some raisins, cheerios and peaches. Claire got busy, and Finn seemed hungry. I then tried to turn on the kitchen light and saw that it was not working. Things kind of get blurry from here.

I ask the tile guy if I can "turn the electricity back on." He says sure, so I go into Duncan's closet and look at the breaker box. Nothing has been switched off. Well, that is strange. You know how you slowly realize things? You don't really process it all at first and keep trying to rationalize or make sense of it? I stood there looking at the breaker box not able to comprehend why, if the breaker box looked fine, the power was not on in the kitchen and the TV. OH YES! The TV! It was not coming on and Duncan was saying over and over and over, "Mom, can I watch one of MY shows? Mom, when can I watch one of MY SHOWS?" It was just at this moment that I heard gagging and crying and I rushed in to find Finn, gagging and crying. Then puking. All over his highchair tray. Oh it's a trifecta people! I have a demanding four year old wanting his way, an inexplicable power failure, and a vomiting toddler. I do not do well in this kind of scenario. It is hard for me to focus. But I was able to do some Mommy Triage and recognize that Finn needed the most attention so I wiped up his vomit, got him out of his clothes and he actually seemed to recover nicely. You know how kids are. They vomit...they go on. I try to explain to Duncan why he cannot watch TV. Then I talk to my very confused and now, grossed out, tile guy. Something to do with a GSI plug or something and he wont touch it because it was sparking, blah blah blah. I think to myself, "Iain needs to be in on all this fun" so I go to his office and mouth to him "you need to come inside as soon as you can."

So, by the time he gets inside the tile guy is gone, Finn is RUNNING around chasing Duncan and Duncan could care less that the TV wasn't working. But I calmly explain all the excitement and ask him to take a look and tell me if we need to call an electrician. Oh, and figure out what we are going to do about the MILK! Because we drink alot of expensive, organic, whole milk. Iain assesses and tells me we need to call Bob the electrician, we can use an extension cord for the refrigerator. I start to breathe again. I get the very tired, cranky babies ready for bed and they are grateful. Duncan, Iain and I sit at the table while the two of them eat and we laugh and have some fun family time. So, I did not go to the brink. Indeed, I cope better than I used to. When I am in that stressful moment I now am much better at taking a breath and calming myself down and realize that this will pass and I just need to relax.

Oh, and my backsplash will look great. And the electrician is coming in the morning. And the refrigerator is plugged somewhere else. All is fine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Iain comes home tomorrow, after being gone for ten long days. Hopefully, he will be home for a while and Duncan will get to check things off of his to do list with his dad. That list includes but not limited to hockey, basketball, running, wrestling, and reading. With each passing day of this trip, I could see him missing his dad more and more so that by yesterday, well, it was kind of all he talked about. Boy loves his daddy. Even little Finn walked up to me holding the phone saying "Dada!"

Since he has been gone Claire has started walking, which is so heartbreakingly cute I can hardly stand it. She is pretty wobbly and I think it's because her feet are so small.

I have also been working really hard getting the house ready to sell. I have had painting done, had it power washed, a broken window fixed, and have packed, packed, packed. I have someone coming to fix the backsplash and wash the windows and I think we will be ready to sell our house. I have a few ideas of what I'd like in a new house, and do get kind of excited when I think about them. A bigger kitchen, more room for entertaining friends and family, and a bigger bathroom for Iain and me...cuz ours is waaaayyyy tiny, people. I would love for our house to be the place where our family comes for Christmas, and we have lots of friends who love to come visit and enjoy our home. I have another list, of wants and hopes, but those listed above are my biggies. The boys will likely always share a room, which is totally fine with me. Duncan already has big plans for that whole scene. I also like the idea of a Jack and Jill bath for the kids, just because I like them.

One of the things I do like about our small home now is the fact that we are all close. The kids' rooms are right next to ours and for a worry-wart like me, that is comforting. I have gone over and over again my escape route if the house should catch fire while Iain is gone, and how I would get all three of them out of here and the house's smallness helps with my crazy, obsessive, over-the-top worry. Because I don't have enough to worry about in the real world.

Anywho, I'm going to watch The Tudors and go to bed!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Longest Saturday

For some reason, I woke up this morning thinking it was going to seem like a very long day. Iain is still traveling, and he is almost always home on Saturdays. That, coupled with the fact that daylight savings time starts tonight and I think I'm correct. Which means it will be full on daylight for bedtime. And then I will lose an hour of sleep.

Also, the DVR did not record the hockey game last night and we've already had at least one meltdown before 8 a.m.

I would pay a king's ransom to have a five year-old boy next door right now. Don't y'all remember Saturday mornings as a kid? I would always get to my BFF's house as fast as I could and be gone most of the day. Or, she would come to mine. Either way, we did not expect our parents to play with us. I realize there is some middle ground, and doing things with our kids, as a family, has great deal of value. There is also a great value in him having friends to play with and I can see almost weekly how that need gets bigger.


12 Hours Later:

We got through the day just fine. Sometimes a change of scenery is all you need. And to throw a ball around with your almost five year old.

We drove across town to my sister's and mom's. Through some pretty hairy, wild, post-St. Patrick's Day parade traffic. Oh, and you drunk people on the back of that flatbed trailer...thank you for the show. I spent about 15 minutes trying to explain to my almost five year-old what you were doing.

And we will start all over again tomorrow, just with one hour less sleep.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Oh man. I think what I need to do is just start my blogging in the morning so I can accurately write down the things that happen during the day. Because sometimes, I think to myself, "I can't make this stuff up."

All three kids were up just after six o'clock. So, naturally, the first thought in my head is, "they will all go to bed early." Because I like to live in the moment like that. Duncan loves to go in and see the babies, but I try to persuade him to at least let me have one cup of coffee before they are all three up and at 'em, since the babies seem happy and are just talking to each other. That argument does not work so I go to lift Finn out first and he joyfully laughs at Claire, still held prisoner in her crib. I lift her up and carry them both, excited to be alive and facing a new day, to the living room.

Once I have three cups of coffee, things get much better and the morning moves quickly. Both babies go back down for morning naps around 9:30 and I take a shower. When I get out, Duncan comes to tell me he's made himself a snack. I hold my breath until I get to the kitchen and see that he's made three huge mustard and pickle sandwiches. So many questions fly through my head. How did he get the pickle jar open? I cannot even do that. It was one of the brand new ones, that you have to pop the seal. Where did he get the knife? So much mustard. But he has not made a huge mess, and tells me one of them is for me! Mommy panic. I thank him and tell him I will save it for later. He eats his, but tells me the mustard is very spicy. Oh yes, my sweet boy, when you put a fourth of a cup of the stuff on your sandwich, it will be a bit on the spicy side.

But we had no time outs, no time in red, no big problems today. It was a good day at home, all day, all four of us. Plus a painter and a guy doing an appraisal for the square footage for the tax rolls and listing the house. And **poof** it's ten o'clock and the day is done.

Friday, March 05, 2010

At our MOPS meeting today, the speaker topic was "Sensitive Parenting". Before you fall asleep, briefly, it was basically that to prevent behavior(s) that we don't want to see, and to create strong and healthy relationships with our children that result in an array of good things like stronger cognitive skills and other things that I simply cannot remember and am too tired to go get my purse and notes, we need interact with them in a more sensitive way. Pay attention, not be dismissive, acknowledge their feelings, be present, etc...I'm not fully expressing it like I want to, but again, I'm tired. It's been a long day.

I buy into all of it. Really, I do. However, this speaker was a Ph.D. and presented a room of (mostly) stay-at-home-moms who are with their children for all intents and purposes, all day every day. I sat there and started thinking about how many (millions?) of times per day Duncan tries to get my attention. Whether by saying, "hey mom! Look at me!" or by something a bit less subtle. And I try, every time to at least acknowledge him. But how many times do I say, "Honey, I'm cleaning the kitchen right now" or "Give me a minute" or "Mommy's on the potty." So, where is the balance? This kid loves attention, and we do give it to him, but some days it feels like no matter how much I give it's not enough.

I wont even get started on Claire and Finn...and the guilt...because that's another post for another day.

Then, the videos. Videos of parents and their children, in fabricated scenarios of sensitive and insensitive parenting. In one scenario, the mommy was playing with her baby, tickling him. He loved it! She would stop, and he would kick his little legs practically begging her to tickle him again. That was sensitive! She knew he loved it! And when he turned away, she knew he wanted a break. More sensitivity! Then, it showed less sensitive parenting. The mommy instead was tickling the baby with a toy, and was waving it in his face, about an inch or so away, and would not stop even when it was clear the baby was (really, really) wanting her to stop. That's when I got the giggles. Like, the kind of giggles you get in church. Because that is also what goes on in our house every day. Not by me...but by a certain older brother. I thought, "that's exactly what Duncan does to Finn and Claire." And I got the giggles so bad I had to get up and walk to the back of the room because I had those laughing squirty tears. Insensitive brothering.

Ah, good times.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Trifecta of Awesomeness

As long as Duncan stays in green at school, I let him choose something to do that afternoon. Today was one of those perfect early spring days, so along with friends, we went to the park. Four and a half is a fun age, because they really do have little friends that they care about and like to play with. So, we got to the park and were not out of the van for twenty seconds when the boys spotted a large pile of wood chips. About seven feet high and maybe ten or twelve feet long. Big pile. Climbable. So, the boys were having a ball on the wood chip pile, when the first train went by. This park is right on the light rail line, so trains go by every ten or twenty minutes depending on the time of day. Then, as if that wasn't enough, the house across the street was doing some remodeling. A Bobcat. A cement mixer. It was...amazing. I wish I'd had a camera to take a picture of the backs of their heads as they all sat, still as stone, watching the driveway being poured.

Claire and Finn grow restless in the stroller after well, not very many minutes, so I pushed them over to the swings. They can still fit back to back in one of those bucket swings and love it. Very much. Baby laughter. So the older kids played, the babies swung (swinged?) and the mommies chatted. Great day.

We got home around 5:00. I drove around for a bit because Claire fell asleep and you know what they say...fifteen minutes in the car is like fifteen minutes in the car. But it was enough that she would not completely melt into a puddle before bedtime. Got the babes in their chairs and Duncan at the table and gave everyone dinner. Baby girl can eat. Finn? Could live in Ritz crackers, raisins and milk. Claire eats anything I give her, with few exceptions.

Got the babies in bed, Duncan in the bath and the house cleaned up a tiny bit. Got Duncan in his pajamas (okay, the tee shirt I intend him to wear to MOPS tomorrow) and we got in the bed for stories and books. And planning his birthday party. It's not for three months but he is making his lists and going over plans. Currently, he wants a hockey party at "The Plaz" (a/k/a Plaza of the Americas) and only boys are invited. Although tonight he did start to make exceptions to that rule. The sister of his current BFF is invited, and I can go to look after Finn.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

By the end of the day, all the witty thoughts and clever quips that I think of during the day are almost completely gone. I will be in a strange place and think to myself, "oh, I should blog about this" and even write the entry in my head and think, "that will be so funny and get me some comments." Yeah well.

By the end of the day, I am usually in full blown mee-maw mode. Mind? Empty. Back? Hurting. I get everyone to sleep and walk back into the living room...the sanctity of a now child-free room, get on my couch (and tonight, with a heating pad!), make a cup of hot tea and zone out to American Idol or Survivor. All day I think to myself, "I will get that done tonight, after the kids are asleep." Then, I get them all to sleep and I feel triumphant just to get the dishes loaded in the dishwasher. Much less, make the next day's lunch(es) or organize all my coupons. I will work on this.

Today was not really a bad day, just kind of wild. Claire and Finn are entering full-blown toddlerhood and their antics are becoming more and more dangerous and funny. One toddler is daunting. Two is...well...unspeakably daunting at times. Today, somehow, Claire got the dryer open, crawled inside and was licking my new Bounce dryer bar, when Finn was about 2 seconds from slamming the door shut on her. I tell you this because it did not end poorly, but oh...I know all too well it could have. Note to self to start using dryer baby proof latch thingie again. And pulling her out of that dryer? Was as if I was taking away all of her Easter candy. Girl was not happy with me.

Finn is like a bulldozer. He runs everywhere he goes and often will just slam into things. He is also a sensitive baby, so I guess that makes him a little sensitive bulldozer (might be a good idea for a children's book!). He does this crazy thing now when he bows with his hands on his knees when he laughs. It's hysterical. But I digress. Anyhoo....I had boxed up some things, in preparation for getting the house ready to sell, and had left the sealed up boxes by the back door. Claire and Finn saw the opportunity and seized it. They pushed the boxes up to my "desk" (and I use the term loosely), and began pounding on my keyboard. It was about five minutes before I realized it and came back to all kinds of new screen savers and files being pulled up onto my desktop. Again, much weeping and wailing when I pulled them off the box. They egg each other on. They seem to plot and plan. They smash each other's fingers in cabinets. That old game of slam the kitchen cabinet door against each other? Does not end well for one of them, 9 times out of 10.

So now, I will go make myself another cup of tea and finish American Idol.