Monday, November 30, 2015

Things we said today

I don't want to forget- but today:

Charlotte and I went shopping for crafts for her birthday party at Michael's. She didn't want to leave (the light-up wand! The rainbow unicorn beanie baby!) and I was drifting toward the door without her. She has been very competitive lately, so we have used it to our advantage by "racing" her to all the things she doesn't want to do (mainly pee on the potty).  Usually we say, "I'm going to win, Charlotte!" Well, today, in Michael's, with a line of about 12 people, I yelled, in a cheerful and sing-song voice, "I'm going to beat you!"  Excellent.

We had spinach for dinner. I make a faux-creamed spinach (a roux and then milk, no cream) that is a big hit with everyone. Charlotte often eats 3 bowls of it and nothing else for dinner when I make it.  So tonight she was happily eating, and Asher would not stop saying, "Hahaha, We're not going to talk about what happens when Charlotte eats spinach!  Hahaha, that is too yucky to talk about at the table! Ha! We're not going to talk about it!"  The boy reminds me of myself.

Asher was having a tantrum and crying on the floor. To get some of my attention, Benjamin told me that everyone at school was mean to him, his good friend tripped him, and the teacher didn't say anything about it.  I kept asking him and he said YES this was a real problem and I should email his teacher. So I did- and of course his story was completely off, which he admitted when I asked him again. He also cried big, fat tears that I am making capes for the boys at Charlotte's party because he "doesn't like capes!" and "wants something else that is for BOYS but not a cape!" Poor pumpkin just needed a way to get some attention in this crazy house where he is usually the quiet one.

I also took a phone call from a client while wiping Charlotte's behind on the potty. Multi-tasking Mommy!  I am also good with metaphors, I must get that from my dad. My client said, "I'm up shit creek with no paddle AND no canoe!" and I said, "then I sure hope you are wearing a life jacket!"

And that's it- a day in the life.  Now time to confront my mountain of laundry.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving weekend 2015

Every year I list off the many things for which I am thankful. I remember taking a "positive psychology" personality test in graduate school, which said my #1 positive psychology trait is gratitude. I think this is definitely true, because not a day goes by without me pausing with thankfulness about one thing or another. I never forget that I am fortunate beyond all measure.  I have more than I could ever have dreamed of, and how many people get to say that?

This Thanksgiving weekend began with a 5 mile Turkey Trot in Philadelphia. It covered some of the same ground that the half and full marathons used the weekend before (oh, yes, I ran the Philly half marathon a week ago and survived!), and the ground was covered with sticky sugar from the energy gels they had passed out the week before.  My sister and I ran the course in 47 minutes, which is pretty good for me.  Then I came home and took the kids to the playground, because it was a perfectly beautiful sunny day.
My friend's husband swinging next to Charlotte
Thanksgiving dinner was at my aunt and uncle's, as usual.  There were 9 kids, ranging in age from 18 months to 15 years.  The 6 youngest sat together at the "kids'" table, and seemed happy there.  I look forward to our Thanksgiving feast all year long.  I ate more than I do almost any other night.  And of course, my kids want none of it- a few bites of turkey, a few string beans- that's it.  I need to work harder to instill in them a love of Thanksgiving food!

Part of our meal. Does not include the string beans, salads, rolls, gravy, and 2 types of cranberry sauce.
The day after Thanksgiving was also warm and beautiful, so we boycotted Black Friday by going for a hike. We picked a 2 mile loop, which was a little far for some little legs. I got extra exercise by carrying Charlotte for part of the walk (Benjamin pointed out it wasn't truly a "hike" because there was no mountain).

 They were also disappointed by the lack of wild animals on our walk in the woods.  There were signs up that deer hunting was allowed with bow & arrow, but we didn't see any deer or hunters.

Benjamin woke up first from nap (if he even took one), and I took him to ride his bike in the parking lot at his school. He asked Eric to take his training wheels off, and then off he went!  Somehow he knows how to ride with no training wheels, and neither one of us got to teach him!
Benjamin- 2 wheels!
My mom said we should be glad we didn't have to teach him- no running with him, hunched over the back of the bike trying to instill confidence.  He just took off! I am so proud of him. I couldn't stop bragging to everyone, and he told me to stop because it makes him uncomfortable.  

Friday night my sister and I went out for a drink. I wasn't feeling well, but she left for Africa on Saturday night and so she wanted to spend some time together just the two of us.  We had a very nice time together.

On Saturday, I woke up feeling really lousy.  My throat hurt, I had a headache, and I was SO tired. Eric let me sleep until 9, and then I spent the rest of the day on the couch.  I watched many episodes of Master of None, which I enjoyed.

Today I felt better. I don't feel 100% myself but much more so than yesterday. I took the kids to the Delaware Children's Museum.  We've never been, and I had the desire to do something new but not overly adventurous.  They loved it! A lot of the exhibits were more sophisticated than the ones at the Please Touch Museum, so I think it's a place they will enjoy more as they get older, too.  There was a huge climbing structure in the middle which they couldn't get enough of. There was a car repair shop, with actual instructions on what to do to repair the car; another area had all kinds of building tools to build big and small structures. We spent 2 hours playing and could have stayed longer, but I wanted to get them home for a nap.
Charlotte cooking in the kitchen- she made "mash a-tato."
Asher organizing the gears so that each one would turn when he turned the crank

Tonight we had a quiet evening at home.  Charlotte enjoys imaginary play, so she and I had a great time playing with her stuffed kitty cats.  Unfortunately, she also has a great time with repetition, so what was funny once is funny 10 times.  The first time we all hid under the coffee table from the monster was funny; the 5th wasn't so much for me.  I got to pretend to be Black-and-White Kitty, and she thought it was hysterical.  Asher got in on the fun, too, and at the end Benjamin brought his Panda to play with us.

I am very caught up in how temporary all of this is.  Asher is getting so big, and I have a hard time carrying him places.  But wasn't it just yesterday that I was slipping his little body into his crib with no effort at all?  Charlotte is sweet and delicious, but wasn't it just yesterday that she was still in my belly?  Benjamin is riding a bike by himself, but wasn't it just yesterday he couldn't even figure out how to nurse? Any minute now they will be heading off to college, or some other nonsense.  Whose soft and sweet cheeks will I kiss, and whose round little bodies will I snuggle?  I am so thankful for these 3 wonderful, healthy, lovable children.  In whatever stage, at whatever time.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Things I (presumably) Enjoy

I tell myself, I must really enjoy doing these things, because heaven knows, I do them all the time.  These things include:

  • Laundry. Washing, drying, folding, putting away, picking up off the floor.
  • Throwing out perfectly good food that starving Syrian refugees would give their right arm to eat.
  • Asking questions repeatedly simply for the sake of hearing my voice rise in a questioning tone. Please, don't answer me, that would just interrupt the melodious sound of my rising voice.
  • Screaming my children's names. Often the wrong child's name.
  • Thoughtfully planning healthy menus, spending hours cooking them, and then making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for picky children.
  • Doing dishes. See: laundry.
There are many more items to add to the list, but that captures my most favorite past-times.  Fortunately, I get to do all of these things every day!

Friday, November 13, 2015

1st lost tooth!

Asher lost his first tooth tonight- not the one that has been loose for over 2 months (yes, really!), but the one that became loose more recently.  We believe it was helped on its way after Eric caught a washcloth on it last night and yanked on it.  Tonight it was this loose:
Yes, his tooth is hanging out of his mouth
 We told him there was no way he could eat dinner with his tooth like that, and Eric promised him Shopkins if he got it out before dinner.  There was some mild hysteria around possible bleeding, but moments later, Asher popped his tooth out with his tongue- and it flew across the rug!  We all clapped and hugged and admired his tooth.
Showing off his prize
The gap on the bottom is about as big as the gap on top!
He wrote a letter to the tooth fairy- I didn't get a chance to take a picture before he stuffed it under his pillow, but it said something like, "Please leave my tooth because it is in a little bag. Leave my tooth but I would like something like money." My dad has a $1 coin to give him and Eric snuck out to 5 Below for Shopkins while no one was looking.  Asher is sleeping over at my parents' house tonight, so my dad gets to play tooth fairy again!  I am a little sad that I won't be there in the morning to see his reaction to a visit from the tooth fairy, but I didn't want to force him home, or delay his reward from the tooth fairy after all the tooth fairy promotion we did.  He is so proud now, and not afraid to lose that other wiggly tooth on the bottom!

Post-script: In looking at these photos, I feel motivated to begin saving for orthodontia. Oh my goodness.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Kindergarten Conferences

Hurray for the boys!
gap-toothed grin
Goofy guy
Today I got to meet one-on-one with both of the boys' teachers.  We really haven't had much conversation with the teachers about the boys, which I assumed was a good thing.  The boys are loving school and are eager to go every day. They are increasingly interested in letters, words, how to spell, counting, adding...  I love how they are making sense of their world and putting concepts together.

Anyway, both teachers raved about the boys and I couldn't be more proud.  While they aren't reading yet, their pre-reading skills are right where they need to be, and both teachers expected that they will be reading within the next few months.

More importantly, both boys are doing well socially.  They are good listeners, good classmates, and helpful.  I was SO proud!  I asked Asher's teacher specifically about the problems we had at school last year (his bossiness), and she said she doesn't see anything like that, that he isn't even one of the classmates most insistent on being line leader.  She said he is a joy to have in the class.
He is getting so tall!
Still my baby
Benjamin's teacher said that he is always helpful, and she trusts him to walk classmates to the office, to take books to the library.  He has a lot of girl friends and seems to get along with everyone.  She also said that he has an aptitude for math and numbers.  Surely he gets that from me- I almost bragged about my SAT scores just so she would know where it comes from!  But I am so thrilled that he is grasping concepts and figuring things out. Sometimes he is so in his own world that it's not clear what is registering with him and what isn't.

I know there is a very long road ahead of us, that kindergarten is just the start, but I feel pleased that they have made the adjustment well.  I also have to admit that I gave myself a little pat on the back for having TWO kindergarteners who are thus far well-adjusted good citizens.  Asher's teacher made some comment about kids picking up on things in the home- that it was apparent we were calm, that he isn't ever aggressive in school and shows kindness to others.  Hurray! For all our faults, and my self-criticism, it is clear Eric and I have done something right.