Thursday, October 24, 2013

the "best"

A few weekends ago, Eric and Asher stopped at CVS for a prescription, and Eric bought him a little hot wheels car.  Of course Benjamin was jealous, and the next day, Eric took Benjamin to buy a toy car.  When Benjamin got home, Asher was so excited.
"What kind of car you get, Benjamin?"
"I got a police car like you, Asher!"
"Let me see, Benjamin!"
Benjamin showed Asher the car, and Asher instantly lost it.
"I want Benjamin's car! I don't like my car!" and threw it down on the floor.  He was absolutely hysterical, because he had decided that Benjamin's car was nicer than his.

After calming him down a little, we had a talk about wanting other people's things.  I explained that it would happen a lot, that someone we know will have something nicer or better than what we have.  That it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the things we have.  I told Asher if he wanted a new, better police car, that he would have to earn it- by using the potty.

Well, Asher has not suddenly started using the potty, and he managed to move on and hasn't tried to steal Benjamin's car too many times.  But the incident, and the envy, has made me think of my grandmother.  I've been thinking of  my grandparents a lot anyway, just because we are at my parents' house, and so many of their things are here.

About my grandmother and envy- she was the least envious person I knew.  Not only did she not want or envy, but she was completely satisfied with the things she had.  As my cousin noted in his eulogy, she believed everything she had was the best.  She had the best family (husband, children, grandchildren...), the best houses, the best friends, even the best furniture.  You could even say she was delusional about how wonderful her things were- she once had their house in Cambridge appraised by a realtor, and decided their estimate was completely wrong because SHE thought the house was worth much more (since it was the best house on the street, of course!).

But underneath this was a deep satisfaction with the things she had, and an ability to choose things that reflected her taste so well that she never tired of them.  My grandmother always picked things she loved, and she loved them forever.  Like she loved my grandfather.  In their bedroom in their house in Cambridge, she papered the walls with blue toile wallpaper in 1964.  She never re-papered them, and then, when she and my grandfather moved into an apartment in 2009 and she had the opportunity to decorate a new bedroom, she chose blue toile yet again.

My grandparents certainly had the money to afford almost anything that they wanted.  The things that most others pine for as status symbols were unimportant to them.  They drove Buicks, and they drove them until the cars died.  They didn't wear fancy clothes or shoes, but what they bought was good quality, and they wore what they had until it fell apart.

She knew who she was and what she liked, and she was sticking to it.  Did her pleasure with the things she had, versus an envy of the things others had, come from her confidence in herself?  How much is our envy of others about feeling that we are inferior, and that if we only had what someone else has, we would be "good enough"?  Some of the things my grandmother loved became laughable to the rest of the family (the pink carpets in her Paris apartment), but that didn't change how she felt about them.

When I gave Charlotte her Hebrew name, Sarah, after my grandmother, it was in the hopes that Charlotte would carry on some of my grandmother's characteristics.  But this is a characteristic that I hope all my children will have- a true and lasting satisfaction with the things you have.  Not just that, but a love of the things you have, and a value for them, and an understanding that because those things are yours, they are the best.  And for them to know themselves well enough to choose the things that make them happy in the present, and will make them happy in the future.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Charlotte: 10 months old

Charlotte's first ride on a carousel

Height and Weight:
Charlotte is still topping the charts!  We had an appointment at the Monell Center today and she is 22 lbs, 14 oz and 29 inches tall.  She is delicious and has yummy thighs.

Clothing size:
Charlotte is wearing 12 months or 12-18 month sizes.  I need to stock up in fleece, footed pj's for winter, but other than that, we have plenty of hand-me-downs to keep her clothed and warm. She wears size 4 diapers during the day, but size 5 at night after a series of pee-outs and poop-outs that have roused us all too early in the morning.

So many!  Charlotte is walking, and can stand up from sitting in the middle of the room.  She can go up and down the stairs.  She waves bye-bye, and can sign for "more."  And, she finally got some teeth! She has 2 teeth on the bottom now.  I saw she might be getting an incisor on the top- if it comes within the next week, she will make a beautiful jack-o-lantern for Halloween.

Outings and Adventures:
We haven't ventured far in the past month, but Charlotte had her first train ride, and her first carousel ride.  We've been to our usual haunts: the playground, the zoo, the please touch museum, and our friends' houses.

We remain loose on the schedule.  She will often take a 45 minute nap in the morning, if given the opportunity.  Otherwise, she only gets one nap/day, and it's of varying lengths, but generally at least 2 hours.  Her bedtime is around 7:30.  We all eat breakfast together around 8, lunch around noon, and dinner around 6.  Charlotte eats a snack after her nap most afternoons, and still nurses several times a day.  She's STILL not sleeping through the night, although her sleep got much better while my parents were in Paris and she slept in their room (in her pack n play), but now that they are home, and she has a small cold, her sleep is terrible.

Favorite food:
Charlotte loves all her food!  She likes eggs, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, yogurt, peanut butter and jelly, clementines, strawberries, melons, applesauce, and pasta.  She loves fruit and vegetables, and if they are on her tray, will eat them before the other food on her tray.

It is funny to me the things I was strict with when feeding the boys that I no longer care about- I used to feed the boys only one food at a time: first vegetable, then protein, then fruit.  With Charlotte I put whatever it is on her tray as soon as it is ready for her, and she feeds herself everything.  I am also not regimented about whether she is getting a vegetable at every meal (she's not).  Life just doesn't work that way anymore.

Favorite person:
She is such a loving girl, with a smile for everyone.  She adores her daddy and her brothers (and me!), as well as her grandparents and my aunt Jane and uncle Ed.  As far as I can tell, she has no single favorite person.  She has just started to really seek me out for attention and ask for hugs and kisses, which I love.

Two of my friends have had babies in the past week.  I have found myself thinking about my fears at the end of my pregnancy with Charlotte- would I love her? Would the boys love her?  Would the boys be mad at me for having a baby?  I cannot believe how well things have gone.  The boys, after a very brief period of adjustment, have been absolutely wonderful with her.  I don't sense resentment or jealousy.  I'm not sure if it is because they always had to share me, or if I did something right, or what, but I feel lucky at how it has all turned out.  And, as for the question of whether I would love my baby girl...  I most certainly do.  She's such a pleasure to be with, a joy to have.  I have some sadness about the fact that her babyhood went by so quickly, but I love watching her develop, and receiving love from her, too.

On Sunday I got a haircut, and the assistant said, while she was washing my hair, "Enjoy your boys now! They're tough when they grow up!" Later, another friend, whose daughter is 18 months old, told me to enjoy Charlotte now, because these days are the best.  I do remember 18-24 months old being a particularly tough time with the boys, that is true, but in general, these 3.5 years have been good.  At every stage, something is wonderful and fun, and something else is difficult.  Right now, things with all 3 are going well.  I feel lucky every day- even the worst ones.

Friday, October 18, 2013

1st train ride

I am ashamed to say that up until a week ago, my boys had never been on a train.  There are many local trains nearby, but we've never taken one.  Last weekend, our friends had a birthday party for their son on a train- and we went!  All 3 kids got to go for their first train ride.  Asher was enthralled and loved watching the scenery, Benjamin was wary and took time to warm up, and Charlotte thought it was no big deal and practiced her walking on a moving train.
Since the trip, the boys keep asking to go on another train ride.  We'll see- Amtrak is way too expensive, but maybe SEPTA will do.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

she's walking!

Charlotte really started walking this week!  I can't believe it- she's not even 10 months old.  She's in such a hurry to keep up with her brothers!

She's really growing up so quickly.  Along with learning how to walk, she got her first tooth on Tuesday.  Maybe the tooth thing didn't happen so fast, since that is pretty late for a first tooth.  I think there's another one right behind, too.

Charlotte is able to go up, and down, a full flight of stairs.  We found out she could go down the stairs after my dad appeared in the kitchen, holding her.  He said, "look who came downstairs and found me!"  She has already mastered the silence-while-making-trouble maneuver, and had quietly pried open the basement door, and slid herself down the stairs to the basement on her tummy.

She's also intermittently waving hello and goodbye- sometimes in a timely manner, sometimes after we've already walked away and left the room.  And she does "ta-da!" by raising her arms over her head and saying "dahhhhhhhh!"

Along with all of these milestones, her sleeping has been pretty off.  A week ago she was on a nursing strike, and sleeping through the night.  Then she was waking up once a night.  Then last night, she was up once around midnight, and again at 3:30- and stayed up til 5:30!  She's never done that before, not even as a newborn.  I hope she figures out the sleeping thing again, because Eric and I are very tired.

Monday, October 7, 2013

a good day

Asher and "Charles Broccoli"

Nothing special happened today, but it was a nice day- a bare minimum of tantrums and whining, all 3 kids ate all 3 meals, 2 out of 3 kids had good naps.

We went to the Please Touch Museum with our friends in the morning.  The boys have been asking to go for weeks (since we last went), but the weather has been too nice to be inside, so I kept pushing it off so we could do other things.  Today it rained, so we went.  Asher was so excited, and both boys kept talking about what they wanted to do when we got there.
Boo in a shoe

At the museum, they were well-behaved, stayed close by me so I never panicked one of them had been kidnapped, and cooperated whenever I said it was time to move on to the next activity.  Usually, by the time I am loading the kids into the car, I am at the end of my rope and considering a one-way ticket to Bali if they don't take a nap that day.  But today, no exasperation.

Even the weather cooperated!  As we left the museum it was drizzling, then when we got in the car, it was pouring.  By the time we got home, it was sunny.

Asher went up to his bed and took a nap, and Charlotte had fallen asleep in the car on the way home.  I didn't need Benjamin to nap, because we had a doctor's appointment for him.  He was such a pleasure at the appointment.  He told the janitor in the elevator that he was born at this hospital.  Then, in the doctor's office, we had a long wait and he was getting impatient but not acting up.  So we walked up to the desk and he asked the receptionist "How long until my doctor ready to see me?"  I thought it was super-cute.

It was just a visit to the ENT- I had been worried about his hearing due to his mispronunciation of so many of his words, and the audiologist found fluid in his ears and referred us to an ENT.  The doctor today said the fluid was completely cleared in his left ear and 75% gone in his right, and that everything looks good. At the end of the appointment, Benjamin got to choose a toy from the treasure chest, and I told him he could pick out a treat at the cafe in the lobby.  He chose a humongous chocolate chip cookie, but wouldn't touch it, because he wanted to share it with Asher.

Maybe that doesn't sound like a big deal to someone else, but it makes me want to cry- I must be doing something right if my son wants to share his special treat with his brother.

When we got home, Asher was still asleep, so Benjamin waited, and still didn't eat his cookie, even though we were having other snacks.  Finally, Asher got up, and the boys sat down at the kitchen table, broke the cookie in half, and shared.

Charlotte was her usual lovable, easy self- she crawls around and explores things.  She is taking a couple of steps at a time, so we are encouraging her walking.  She has taken to screaming if something hurts or surprises her- this may be a coping mechanism since she is so undemanding that we would be likely to ignore anything less than a blood-curdling screech.  She also had a mini-tantrum when Eric shut the door to the mud room in her face- she lay face-down on the floor and cried.

Asher helped me give Charlotte her bath, and she just loves having him there.  Asher has a new stuffed toy from Ikea: it's a head of broccoli with a face on it, and he called him "Charles Broccoli," which we think is hysterical.  He is carrying Charles everywhere with him.

The boys went to bed with a minimum of fuss and monkey business, and they picked a book I enjoy reading.  Things just went more smoothly than our average day has been going, so I hope this continues!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

apple picking 2013

Another successful year of apple picking!  We met our friends last weekend on a beautiful fall day- which felt a lot like summer- and picked our apples.
Apple family
the boys with their friends
Asher and his friend Maddie holding hands
Everyone liked the apples, except for Asher, who says he doesn't like apples.  He does, however, like apple cider and apple cider donuts.  We picked a bushel of apples and split them among the 4 families.  Benjamin and I have been eating an apple a day since!
"Who you calling BABY Charlotte?"

loves her sippy

While we were there, Eric and Benjamin pulled Asher and Charlotte in the wagon.  I cannot believe this is MY beautiful family!  It also made me think about when we went to pick apples 2 years ago.
Family 2013
When our family looked like this:
Family 2011
A lot can happen in 2 years!