Thursday, October 23, 2008

I Love It When You Say That

As I've mentioned before, I LOVE the kids' ever-expanding vocabularies! They are always amazing me with the new words and phrases they pick up. Lately I've been particularly impressed by three things:

1. The use of adverbs (maybe that's an English teacher thing!) Like when Thomas told me that his blanket was PROBABLY on his bed. Probably? It's PROBABLY on your bed? You understand and can properly use the word PROBABLY?!? To me, that's a serious jump in cognitive development, the idea that something may or may not be in a particular place. I don't know, it really struck me.

2. Saying "please" and "thank you" without being prompted and understanding that "please" sometimes gets you things you wouldn't have gotten if you hadn't said "please." Every morning when I hand out the kids' breakfasts, they almost always say, "Tanks, Momma!" And if I don't say "You're welcome!" right away, they keep thanking me until I do!

Sometimes, when they ask for something and don't get it, they repeat the request with an added "please," which I have to admit, usually works. But not always:

Example: Reagan has eaten the fruit off her dinner plate, but nothing else.

Reagan: Mo pears?
Me: No, you can't have more pears. Eat your chicken.
Reagan: Peez? (Please)
Me: No, eat your chicken.
Reagan: Peez, mo pears? Peez? Peez!
Me: NO, eat your chicken.
Reagan: PEEEEEEEEEEZ! PEEEEEEEEZ! (with tears even)
Me: I appreciate your good use of the word please, but no, you have to eat your chicken.

3. Being specific. That is, actually telling me what they want instead of just pointing, gesturing, and making vague references and hoping I figure it out. For example, instead of handing me the bubbles and grunting eagerly, Reagan will hand me the bubbles and say, "Bow my bubbles, peez." And since she asked so nicely, I will stop what I'm doing and blow her some bubbles.

Unfortunately, this skill rarely extends to explaining why someone is crying, unless it's Thomas. He's pretty good at telling you who pushed him or that he fell down or he hurt his knee. The others are more likely to just look at you and continue crying.

There are also some special words and phrases that I LOVE to hear the kids say, either because what they are saying is so cute or HOW they say it is so cute.

I love it when I grab hold of Jonathan's leg and he says, "Weggo! Weggo, Momma!"

I love to hear Zachary say his own name "Za-say!" especially when he declares, "It's me! Za-say!"

I love to hear Reagan call Zachary "Ya-ya"

I love to hear Thomas shout after someone or something "You come back here!" He always changes up the inflections or runs words together: Youuuuuu comebakere! YOU come BACK here! You comebak heeere! It's too cute!

I've got no time for pics right now, but I'll try to get some posted really soon!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

When Your Own Bed just Won't Do

In the last week and half or so, on four separate occasions, I have gone in to check on the kids at night to discover an empty bed. It is a very disconcerting feeling to open the door, do a quick scan of the room, and only count three children. Although rationally I know that there is no way that one of the kids could have DISAPPEARED from the room, I can't help that little bit of panic that starts to grow inside me!

Of course, the missing child is always found, sleeping peacefully somewhere else in the room. The first night it was Zachary missing. I found him curled up in bed with Jonathan. I probably would have left him there if he hadn't at that moment rolled over and kicked Jonathan in the head. The next night it was Reagan. Strangely enough, she was asleep in the floor beside her bed, but not at the foot end of it where there is no railing and she might have rolled off in her sleep. She was asleep at the head end right next to the railing. Odd. The next night it was Zachary again. This time he was in bed with Thomas and actually laid out across Thomas' legs. I don't know how Thomas was sleeping with him like that!

And then there was last night...it was Zachary again. Whose bed is he in this time? I wondered. I scanned the other beds for extra bodies, but found none. I scanned the floor between the beds, nothing. I turned in a circle and scanned the rest of the floor. Had he curled up in a corner somewhere? Nothing! I checked the beds again, looked more closely, lifted blankets, NOTHING! Where in the world could he be?!? I could feel the panic rising. He HAS to be in here! Where? WHERE? In the closet? In a drawer? Under the bed? Hmm...under the bed...Zachary's bed is missing its drawer underneath because the kids played in it and broke it, so there is room to crawl under his bed, and Zachary DOES like to crawl under there. I looked under the bed and sure enough there was a dark toddler-sized mass there. I reached out to feel for skin and make sure it wasn't just a blanket. Eureka! I found him! But did I get him out? No. I went, laughing, to tell Jim first! I wish I could have taken a picture! Jim returned with me and expertly lifted the side of the bed and removed the sleeping child with minimal disturbance.

It reminds me of the time my parents came to check on my sister and me one night when we were very small. We were sharing a double bed pushed up against the wall. Jodie was sleeping next to the wall and I, as the older sister, was sleeping on the outside to make sure she didn't roll off the bed. However, when they came in to check on us, there I was sleeping away, and Jodie was nowhere to be found! They finally located her under the bed. There was no way she fell through by the wall, so we assume she rolled over me, into the floor, and then under the bed, and we both slept through the whole thing. Seriously heavy sleeping!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves

OR "Big Kid Beds Part 2"

Yes, we are still struggling with our transition into big kid beds. For part 1, click here.

The kids have been in their big beds just under 2 months now. Little has changes since my last post, except the furniture in the room! A couple of weeks ago I went in to get the kids one morning and was surprised to open the door and find two children on top of the dresser, one half-way there, and the fourth waiting her turn to "climb the ladder" they had made by pulling out the dresser drawers. That same afternoon, a loud clunk followed by screaming brought me quickly to their room during "naptime" to discover one child on the table and Thomas wailing at the base of it with a mouth full of blood. I scooped him up and rushed from the room (I think I might have taken a second to get Zachary down off the table before leaving the room) to assess the damage.

Thomas had some extra skin attaching the underside of his upper lip to his gums which we had been warned would bust someday in a fall and bleed a lot, but that it was fine. Well, he had certainly busted that and it did indeed bleed a lot! He had also busted his lip. But I could find nothing more serious, and he perked up pretty fast.


Thomas proudly displays his battle scar
Both of those pieces of furniture were removed from the room that night before bedtime. This brought on a rearrangement of the beds, so now they are all in a row. I like this arrangement much better, and it has certainly been kinder to my legs. I don't run into the beds every time I turn around anymore, and the huge bruises have been allowed to heal!




Four little beds all in a row, but Daddy didn't put them in birth order, and REMARKABLY I haven't changed them

So I continue to be the warden in their room when it's time to go to sleep. At naptime I stay in their room until all four children have fallen asleep which has taken anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half. Most days it's about 30 minutes. In the long run this is worth the effort because I am almost guaranteed a full hour if not more of total sleeping peace once they are all asleep. If I don't wait until they are all asleep, as soon as I'm gone, whoever is awake jumps out of bed and wakes the sleepers up and it's party time! Then there is NO PEACE AT ALL! So it's worth the sacrifice of time to wait on them to all fall asleep.

At night I don't wait for them to all fall asleep. I stay in their room until they seem calm, and then I leave. Then Jim and I trade off going back in there when they are too loud or out of bed or whatever inappropriate behavior is going on. Eventually they all go to sleep. Some nights we only have to go in a handful of times. Other nights it feels like one of us is in there every five minutes for up to two hours!

It seems like we get into a pattern of good nights, but then if ANYTHING out of the ordinary happens they get all riled up and we start a series of bad nights. Just about the time we get back into the good nights, something disrupts the pattern and we start all over again. But it just can't be helped!

And so we continue this big bed transition. I keep reminding myself that it won't be like this forever. Someday they'll understand. Won't they? Sigh...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just for Fun

I was introduced to this website when my good friend Becky posted about it on her blog a little while ago. It's called Yearbook Yourself, and it allows you to upload a picture of yourself and try out your face with some classic yearbook styles and poses from 1950 through 2000. Her pics were great and I just had to try it out for myself! Here are the ones I liked most:




1966

1968

1972

1976



1996


How fun is that?!? It was really interesting to see myself as a blond! (And for some of you it may have been interesting just to see me without glasses! Back in the good old days, my eyes tolerated contacts, but alas, those days are no more!) There were other great styles, but I just couldn't get my face to look right in them. Either the angle wasn't right, or the lighting was too different, or whatever. Still it was way fun and I think everybody should go do it too!

And as the grans finale...here is a shot of me in real life with my real haircut which is much less new now than it was when I first mentioned it. It's not the best shot of my hair, but I think you can get the picture!

Mom and her sweet girl!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Who Are You?

I love that the kids know their own names and each other's! I think it's unbearably adorable to here them say what their names are! They are also learning that they are two years old and how to hold up two fingers and whether they are each boys or girls. Usually we get this information right, but not always, and sometimes they say things wrong on purpose, which is a new and entertaining development. They have learned that they can say something they know is wrong and that it's funny to do so. For example, I was pushing the kids on the swings the other afternoon, and Thomas kept asking me what I was doing and I kept telling him I was pushing him on the swing (endlessly repetitive questions, another development, not quite as amusing) and then i asked him what he was doing and he grinned and answered that he was eating a graham cracker. I laughed because he was obviously NOT eating a graham cracker. Every time I asked him what he was doing, that was the answer he gave me, and he laughed and smiled and was so proud of himself because he knew he was being funny. Too cute!

Anyway, here's a video of the kids stating their names, ages, and genders with some accuracy. Note that Reagan calls herself "Me" instead of Reagan, although I assure you that she does know her own name (Way-gan). I had hoped to get Zachary saying his super-cute "It's me, Za-say!" but instead he only says "Za-say" but that's pretty cute too! And excuse my voice. I'm suffering from allergies, much like I have since oh, about April. Relief will come with the first frost! Enjoy!


video

Saturday, October 4, 2008

It's the Thought that Counts

Last weekend we went to Memphis to celebrate my dad's birthday. We had lots of fun activities planned, and the kids were so excited to go visit Bud and KayKay!


Unfortunately, things did not go as well as planned...


The drive to Memphis went pretty well. The kids took a great nap in the car, which was really nice! But then, about 30 minutes outside of Memphis, Jonathan threw up in the car...and then he threw up again...and then he threw up a third time just as Jim was trying to take him out of the car, so it went everywhere! Disgusting! After that, however, he seemed to feel fine, so we thought maybe it was just car sickness.


The next morning we had plans to meet up with Jodie, Jeff, and the girls to go to the zoo. I was so excited because the kids have never been to the zoo before! And then Reagan woke up with a fever. She was pitiful. We gave her some medicine and she perked right up and seemed to be great so we decided to go ahead and go to the zoo.


Thomas threw up in the car on the way there.

But we toured the zoo anyway and had a fabulous time! The kids, even Thomas and Reagan, seemed to feel fine, and they loved seeing all the animals. For those of you who have never been there, Memphis has a really great zoo! Lots of shady walkways and they've really put a LOT of effort over the past several years to renovating and providing more roomy and natural habitats for the animals.



The entrance to the Memphis Zoo

Some of us with some of the kids--would you believe my sister actually had enough strollers to accommodate her two children and all four of mine! And yes, this is the first published pic of my new haircut, but it doesn't do it justice so don't pay too much attention!

This MAY have been the kids' favorite part of the whole day because we actually let them get out of the strollers and climb around in the canoe. From the left: Thomas, Jonathan, Reagan, Kallen, and Zachary climbing out in the back.



The rest of the afternoon passed in good spirits, although Reagan continued to be feverish and Jonathan seemed headed that way as well. We went to Jodie's that night for a family get-together in honor of Bud's birthday and so we could check out their new house! (It's beautiful, by the way!) We played in the playroom, we ate dinner, we played outside. Everyone seemed fine. Then it was time for cake and ice cream. We got desserts passed out just in time for Reagan to throw up all over me and the floor and herself...and then again outside on Jim.

And that pretty much ended the party. Two children with fevers and three had thrown up (not to mention Jim hadn't been feeling well either and I was ill the night before we left town) and Jim and I decided we had best just take our disease-ridden family home. The only thing worse than throwing up is throwing up in other people's houses! If we were going to be sick, we'd rather be sick at home. So we packed up all our things, put the kids in their pajamas, and hit the road to home. Mostly the trip was fine. The kids slept for nearly all of it and went back to sleep quite easily when we finally got home around 3 in the morning!


Sunday was a puny day, especially for Jonathan who was content to lie around a lot. But no one else threw up.

I wish things had gone differently. We were so excited about the visit! It was so short I barely had any time at all to spend with my family or do much celebrating for Dad's birthday. Oh, well. We just have to hope we can make up for it next time! It was nice to see everyone even if just for a short time! We love you!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2222

Not long ago we marked the day the kids turned 2 years, 2 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days old because that's just a fun date to notice! In my post that day, I said I would try to get a picture of the kids. What I actually got, purely by fate, was 2 pictures of 2 kids each, which I thought was quite fitting with the theme of the day. Here they are for your viewing pleasure:

2 kids sort of cooperating

Jonathan and Reagan



2 kids sort of NOT cooperating
Zachary and Thomas (notice the grip I have on Thomas' arm to keep him from running away and the obvious joy he has in foiling my attempts to take his picture!)