Friday, March 29, 2013

success (soon)

This morning Babs and I were playing with her dollhouse dolls. A mama doll (voiced by Babs) asked a grandpa doll (voiced by me) where his baby was. I made him hug Babs, and gush "Babs is my baby."

She replied indignantly, "I not a baby, I a big girl."

Grandpa Doll continued "Oh, how do you know you're a big girl?"

"Cause I wear underwear like a big girl."

It's important to note that not all the details are worked out. She still goes through multiple pairs of underwear each day. But she wants this, and is proud of it, so I'm sure it is just a matter of (a short amount of) time (and prayer on my part, because I'm convinced that is the secret, oh and timing, that it is working now.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

deep religion with a two year old

Last night with all the lights out, lying in bed, Babs asks me "How do worms and cats talk?"

"They don't."

"But Sally, Huckle, and Lowly do."

"I know, they're just make-believe. They're pretend." This is the first time Babs has considered that her TV friends may not exist in reality. (Although, given the full presence of the internet in their lives, especially their future lives, perhaps existing in reality will have a different meaning for them afterall.)

While she digested this information, I hoped she would fall asleep. But she had more to say.

She then brought up the other thing that she's been thinking about a lot lately, Mary Magdelene and seeing the resurrected Christ. We talked about how Mary was sad, but now she's happy. She was sad because Jesus' body was lost, but then she found it. She was also sad because his hands were broken, but she'll be happy when they get fixed.

How do you discuss resurrection with an almost three year old? You let her drive the conversation.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

shaking the baby

I'm not convinced that the transition of adding a baby will be a smooth one in Babs' life. She has always been rather exclusive about her attention from me (boxing out Kiddo from a double hug or lap sitting from fairly early on), and is suspicious of all children smaller than her. One of her first interactions with our new baby was hitting my belly.

"Don't hit momma." I reprimanded. She looked up at me with her two-year old guileless (and impish) face and replied "I not hitting momma; I hitting the baby!"

So, with this history, I was more than a little concerned to hear her joyfully singing this morning, "We shaking the baby now!"

Until I recognized the tune, and remembered we listened to a kid's version of La Bamba this morning. I'll need to help her learn the correct words soon.

Monday, March 25, 2013

becoming a big girl, step three, day 1

Today we started potty training again. At some point last week I realized that since it was Kiddo's spring break, I didn't have to leave the house unless I chose to for an entire week, and that was a good time to help Babs learn to use the potty. Our day can be summed up by my husband's positive reinforcement as we were getting ready to put her to bed:

"I'm so proud of you for wearing underwear today. You even got to wear about seven pairs!"

We certainly have buy in. She wants to wear underwear. She will sit on the potty when I ask her to (I'm sure the baby marshmallows that come along with that are only part of the draw). She just hasn't quite figured out how to go when she sits there. But she is willing to try, which is way better than last time.

I could write more, but does anyone actually want the gory details? Do I want to relive them? No. And, I need to go clean those underwear (and pants, she insisted all day that she needed pants) so we can try again tomorrow.

a good nursery leader

Babs has been struggling to stay in nursery for the past while. She either wouldn't go, or found an excuse to come out (she's very good with the "I have to go potty" even if it's not true) and not go back, or even just mournfully telling the nursery leader that she wanted her mommy.

But, we weren't sure how long this phase would last (she used to go pretty well), and there was a lot of transition in the leadership, so we just ended up having Babs with us for a lot of church. But two Sundays ago, a new nursery leader was called.

And on her very first Sunday on the job, I dropped Babs off. She directly asked me, "What can we do to help her like nursery?" I told her I had no answer to that, but one thing she could do was not let her leave. Just keep responding all her excuses that she should stick it out a little longer, and that I would come back soon. I gave the same instructions to the music leader, who I work closely with since I play the piano.

When I dropped Babs off though, I immediately saw the problem. She is the oldest in the nursery, by at least a year. (There is one other kid her age whose attendance is currently spotty.) And Babs is a little to a lot nervous of smaller kids. No wonder she wants out every Sunday. (This also leads to questions of what will happen next year with Sunbeams, but we'll solve that problem another day.)

Yet the nursery leader took me at my word, even if there were some tears involved. So Babs stayed the whole time. I told her all the way home how proud I was for doing such a good job of staying in nursery. I guess my message sunk in because she told me she was proud of me for staying at my class too.

Friday, March 22, 2013

thoughts at the end of the week

Last Saturday I attended a consignment sale hosted by some moms at the preschool Kiddo attends. I figured it was time to actually buy an outfit for a boy. I managed to find some things I thought were cute, for very cheap, and came home pleased with my purchases. When I took them out to show my husband, I realized I only thought they were cute because they were compared to really ugly boy clothes. (I'm sure they'll look better on my little boy.) I lacked my usual excitement to show new baby clothes to my husband. I don't like little boy clothes, at least not in comparison with baby girls clothes. I am sad I don't get to buy little girl clothes, or at least revisit them this time. My consolation is that I have a lot less I'll have to teach him about modesty. (I'm also trying to determine if I can put this little boy in my carefully chosen gender neutral clothes from Kiddo and Babs' time. Even if the colors are not pink, won't I still associate them with girls?)

At said consignment sale, I also bought a small chalkboard and felt board easel. I envisioned it being for Kiddo, but Babs is the one that colors on it every day. She especially loves the red chalk. I still need to find some felt activities to make the other side more interesting.

Last week we visited my aunt who lives in Virginia. I love to visit her because I do. My kids love to visit her because they adore her doll house, which happened to be out of commission this visit. That was a hard thing to understand. But I saw her vision for her basement, and they will really love it next time.

Almost every day this week one or both of our girls has wandered down to our room, after we thought they were settled and asleep. Babs accompanies her appearance in our room with "I had trouble falling asleep." I know she is getting less sleep that she used to get. I am very concerned that it will catch up with her soon, and she will get a fever. But, so far, she is just a little extra crazy in the afternoon and evening.

Today Babs looked at Kiddo and said "Kiddo's a little hiv-ing." It is an apt description because Kiddo is red and blotchy all over. As I looked at her rash/hives, I asked my husband (who wonderfully stayed home today so she and I could have minimal contact while she finishes being contagious) "How do we know if it's her illness, or a reaction to her medicine?"

A friend at church is pregnant, and due just a few days after me. Like me, she already has two little girls. She seriously wanted a boy. Although my husband and I were mostly neutral, we were thinking it was a girl. And now that we've both had our mid-term pregnancy, I'm having a boy, and she's having a girl. I find this amusing.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


My kids woke me up this morning, because I forgot to set my alarm. I had a really hard time actually getting out of bed (sleeping for the next four months sounded much more attractive). I finally rolled out of bed, and convinced them to go upstairs, and wait for me.

Once upstairs I made Kiddo her chocolate milk, and started to make my own breakfast, all while trying to convince Babs I was not playing dolls with her yet. As my eggs cooked, I listened to Kiddo sniff and cough a bit, and determined that today was the day she would go back on her allergy medicine. She's been trying to convince me for a few days now, but I didn't agree that her symptoms warranted it (I assumed she wanted some yummy grape tablets). I called her to kitchen to get it.

As she stuck it in her mouth I thought to myself, 'I'm really glad I'm giving this to her, she has circles under her eyes.' Then I thought, 'And she's splotchy.' Then my brain caught up, and I called her back to me so I could really look at her. Her eyes, nose, and mouth were all splotchy; she had hives. Oh great.

I called my mom, who said, there's not much you can do except Benedryl. Then I texted my sister-in-law who said wait to see what the Claritin does, then try Benedryl, see how the hives react. Somewhere admidst all this communication I had Kiddo check the rest of her body, she had hives all over her trunk, arms, and legs.

Around mid-morning, with two antihistimines in her system, and zero improvement, plus the knowledge that she had a big preschool event tomorrow morning goaded me into action. We went to the doctor.

Most of the time, the reason for hives cannot be identified. But occasionally it can, like when they're caused by strep, which Kiddo has.

I feel really lucky that we got to see the nurse practitioner, who's grown son has had hives on and off his whole life. So it's something she's really familiar with, and all the possible causes. She was not expecting the strep test to come back positive, but sometimes it does. And Kiddo is one of those cases. Now we can fix it. She will not be attending grandparents day tomorrow, much to her dismay.

"What are the chances this will be heading through my whole family, like her little sister, or her pregnant mom?" I asked the NP. She said to not be surprised if Babs gets it, but if I'm careful I should be fine. So careful I will be. (If Babs gets strep next week, that will really get in the way of my plans to potty train her...)

our friend Huckle

My children, especially Babs, are obsessed with Busytown Mysteries (available on Netflix). They are so excited for the fun theme song, and every time Huckle solves a mystery, they all yell "hooray for Huckle!"

So it should have come as no surprise that as Sacrament Meeting was wrapping up last Sunday, Babs yells "Hooray for Huckle!"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

two things that make me smile

It takes a while to get Babs' socks on these days. She has to stop and "get rid of my toe jam." She carefully looks between every set of toes to make sure they're clean. She also checks on her toe jam when it's time to put on her jammies. And any other time she feels the need.

About a year ago, she hated her feet to be touched. After a lot of foot and leg massages, the problem seems to be gone. Sporadically between then and now, she's needed some additional help. One way I could convince her to put up with the leg/foot rubs was to talk to her about getting rid of toe jam. Now she takes this job very seriously. And it makes me laugh. I'm also grateful it keeps her toes loose.

The second funny thing she does is while she sleeps. When it's time for Babs to actually sleep, she pushes her sleeves up above her elbows. Then when she wakes up, she pulls her sleeves down to her wrists again. Except she calls pushing her sleeves up "get my sleeves down" and pulling them down "get my sleeves up." We suspect it's because her last set of jammies were hand-me-downs from Kiddo, who pushes her sleeves up above her elbows all the time, so that's now just the way the jammies fit her, and it's how she likes to sleep.

picture day

Saturday was picture day for Kiddo's ballet class (and the rest of her studio). See her incredible sparkly costume? Her less-than professional make-up job (go ahead, zoom in, see how great I am)? Her mediocre hair-do?

My advice to her studio is this: don't ask a mom who never does her hair, and never wears make-up to do the hair and make-up for a five-year old. The results will probably be less than satisfactory. (After her class went in for the picture, the teacher came out to grab some wipes for some touch up of someone. Plenty of moms said "please don't let it be my child." I instead was hoping she was helping my child.)

But, if she's entirely beautiful anyway, it won't really matter.


Friday, March 15, 2013

one more thought

This morning I opened the dishwasher to find it empty. That meant my husband took the time before work to empty it, and I didn't have to. I am grateful. I am especially grateful because although it sounds like a small act of service, it is not. He was up at least once last night with a kid. He already gets up early to go to work so he can come home and spend the evening with us. And I know he doesn't actually like to unload the dishwasher. But he did.

thoughts at the end of the week

Babs is singing loudly in her room, clearly not taking a nap, yet also not fighting being in her room for "sleep time." Did changing her bed coincide with outgrowing her nap? or is this just another step towards her utter exhaustion? Last night after a mighty battle, I finally left her there to put herself to sleep. When my husband checked on her later he noted there were lots of toys on the floor. I replied "Yeah, those got thrown there while she threw her first tantrum." In the middle of the night, I heard her crying to me on the stairs. She had made it half way down, but lacked the courage to make it all the way down in the dark. This transition (which I was so smug about) is still going better than with Kiddo, but not going so well at all.

Kiddo watches about 30 minutes of YouTube each day, it's part of her (our) quiet time. I used to supervise it pretty closely (after the Grand Theft Auto incident*), but now I just listen to it. It also helps that she only watches non-fiction science videos and cooking videos. I guess I'm glad she's learning. It also gives us another opportunity to discuss fiction and non-fiction.

The other day Babs was pushing at Kiddo. Kiddo cried out like always, and I ignored her, because I'm just as sick of the crying as I am of the pushing. Then I saw Kiddo push back. Hard. Babs was horrified. I pretended not to see a thing, because there was no way I was telling Kiddo that she wasn't supposed to push, I was just so grateful to finally see her fight for herself.

We heard this week that an offer we made on a house was yet again passed over for a different (better) offer. This is at least the fifth house we've made an honest effort to buy. We are apparently no good at it. We are desperately trusting that when it is time, Heavenly Father will show us how to be good.

Yesterday Kiddo wrote a thank you card. She actually wrote "thank you" on the back, but filled the inside with scribbles "so Babs can read it." She then walked up to Babs and read the note. To the best of my memory, it told her she was glad they were sisters. "Can you imagine how much I love you? No, I love you more than that. I love to play with you. I love to do things with you." She reiterated how much she was grateful to have a sister like her. It is likely that listening to her recite that card was the best moment of my week.

*I see no record of that stellar moment of parenting. Last April, Kiddo asked to watch YouTube. Although I started her on something benign she managed to browse to a recording of someone playing Grand Theft Auto, and was watching blissfully when my husband walked in and figured out. He mentioned to me later that we needed to supervise all internet carefully. I totally agreed. I then confessed: normally I do. I wasn't right then because I wanted to be left alone so I could watch General Conference.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

honesty, about the bed

The second day of a big girl bed was not as smooth as the first. It was Sunday, so there was no nap (curse you - 1:30 church!). So Babs was exhausted by the end of the day. But by the time we'd got her ready for bed, she had her second wind.

In some familial delusion we put her down at her regular time. About three minutes later, she emerged, telling us happily that she woke up. We let her stay up for a while, then tried to put her back down again the same time Kiddo went. Again, she came out five minutes later. I finished settling Kiddo (have I mentioned Kiddo reads before bed, which means it only takes 15 minutes to put her to bed? I love it!), then went back with Babs. (All her other puttings to bed were done by my husband, so it seemed like my turn.) She and I talked about big girls staying in bed, I sang her some songs, and left. I also locked the door behind me. (I unlocked it before I went to bed myself.)

Upon reflection, perhaps changing her bed the day before daylight savings time began was not our best move. But Monday went very smoothly, so maybe it was just the typical hiccups. It's so nice not to lift her in and out of bed any more.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

becoming a big girl, step 2

One (but only one) of the reasons potty training failed for Babs our first time around was she had no desire to be a big girl. She (still) thinks being a baby is good stuff.

But, since that fiasco, I got pregnant, and told the kids. So when our book "I'm a big sister!" found its way back into circulation, Babs saw this as a great how-to guide. The girl in the story is a little unsure that she's ready to be a big girl, because baby's get so much attention. But as she interacts with the baby and her parents, she learns that there are three differences between babies and big girls. One is that big girls eat regular food, whereas babies drink from bottles. Another is that big girls sleep in big girl beds, not cribs. Also big girls wear underwear, but babies use diapers.

Babs has really studied this book. She knew that moving out of the crib was an important step to becoming a big sister. And we've been talking about giving the baby her crib. Recently she's become quite insistent that she needed a big girl bed. (The other night I dumped her into her crib crying because she was so sure it was too small, and I just needed her to be asleep.) So today my good husband went out "on an errand" and came back with a bed. She was, she is, so excited. Then we bought magnificently pink sheets. And she's now gone down for both a nap and bed time without a single hiccup. (This may be the only transition in her life that is going more smoothly for her than for Kiddo.)

My favorite part? So far it gives her magnificent bed head. (That and I'm desperately hoping that in a few weeks, she'll be ready to take on the last step of big girl-hood.)

Friday, March 8, 2013

thoughts at the end of the week

This was my week to sign Babs up for preschool next year. But I chose not to. I feel like she needs some different arrangement than formal preschool this next year (she can do a formal one the year before kindergarten). I'm not clear what that arrangement will be, but I have plenty of time to think about it, and hope I can figure out what she does need.

One of my really good friends from NJ came into town last night for a wedding, so I got to spend some time with her. It was so great to talk and talk and talk. Plus, I need to buy make-up for Kiddo's ballet pictures (then recital in a few months), and she knows all about make-up! So she helped me pick out what I needed. It was an an incredible blessing.

At the end of the ultrasound, the tech announced to us that our boy weighs 11 oz. The thought I can't get out of my head since then is that he has a lot of weight to put on in the next 20ish weeks, and that's going to really expand me fast. The other main result of our visit is that we now need boys clothes, and a boy name. We've never even considered boys names, but it's clear to me that I'm picky about names.

I finally put on some maternity pants today - jeans to be specific. I feel much less like a slob than I have for the last two months as I've worn extra baggy sweats. (Perhaps my new sweatshirt is helping too.)

On Wednesday, winter storm Saturn blew through. I know it did a lot of damage in a lot of places, but once again, it passed us by with hardly any impact. But, it was a snow day for both my husband and my daughter, so we got to spend the whole day as a family together, with no place to go. It's really nice to have extra time together. We were supposed to make cookies at some point, but it didn't happen. Instead I made cookies with Kiddo yesterday. Chocolate chips, just like she asked. Except we had no chocolate chips. But the batter was good enough that we cooked some of without the chips. We'll finish them up today.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

well that was unexpected

I called today to schedule the anatomy ultrasound for this new baby. They had a cancellation today, so I took it. With just enough to time to dress my children, and drop them off at a good friends' house (you know, the kind of good where you can call her up, and drop your kids off at her house five minutes later), I headed to the office. Oh, there was also enough time to call my husband, and make sure he could come too. We met at the hospital where the procedure was done.

So on the big screen, we watched the baby's heart beat, saw two hemispheres of the brain (my favorite part), and counted fingers and toes (20 total I'm happy to report). Near the end she showed us a shot of the baby, and showed us the umbilical cord, and suggested that it had been hard to get a good look...

"But I know what you're having..." she continued in a sing-song voice. Then she showed us our boy.

I think she wanted us to start cheering, or get excited, but that's not our way (we are pretty private people after all). Plus, we were surprised. We hadn't really considered a boy, I mean, we gave the idea lip service "of course we'll be happy with whatever we have" when people asked if we were hoping this one would be a boy. But we expected a girl. Yet that's not what we're having.

Kiddo is thrilled about her new brother. And since Babs takes most of her cues from Kiddo she's pretty excited too.

a dinner conversation

The other night while we were having dinner, my husband turned to Babs and asked her "How you doin'?" She smiled broadly and answered "Great!" (or "gweat," as she says it). Then she asked him, and he said fine. Then she asked Kiddo, who said she was doing good. Then she asked me, and I said okay.

Then I asked her (again), and she answered again, with the same smile, "Great!" And I was wise enough to see the moment for what it was. She was great. She was sitting at the table, involved in the conversation. She wasn't hungry, she was with the people she loved most, and we were playing a game. She is great, and I am glad to see it.

the skipping girl

I went to Walmart twice yesterday. The first time it was just me and Babs, during preschool, and I felt very productive for having done a hard thing like that (yes, going to Walmart is hard for me). After arriving home exhausted, I realized I had left a bag there. And all my proud, productive feelings went away, leaving me with frustration and more tiredness.

After picking up Kiddo from preschool, we went out for lunch (cause I could not face making them lunch). Then we headed back to Walmart to see what we could do about my missing bag. We waited in the customer service line for about 10 minutes, which is about an eternity for a tired two-year old. Finally we got to the front of the line, where the lady told me I could go pick up replacement items (they were perishables) and bring them back to her to be bagged. So, my kids and I headed to the back of store (carefully avoiding any place where they could see toys) to get my yogurt and cottage cheese. Did I mention I was tired? And Babs has a tendancy to act crazy/run off/crawl on the floor in public places, especially when she is tired? So I was weary as I tried to keep track of the two of them through the store.

Kiddo, as she is prone to do, skipped ahead of us. She seems to be skipping most of the time now. My mom often talks fondly about the years I spent skipping. (I remember skipping, I did it for years.) I always thought she was a little sentimental. But now I have a skipper. And it's wonderful. She is pretty much joy embodied when she skips from one place to another. Surely you could not move so freely and happily if you had a heavy heart.

As we finally reached the dairy section I pulled her close and said "You are a happy girl, and I am a better person because I get to be with you."