Tuesday, December 30, 2014

i have a little turtle...

My mother-in-law taught Kiddo the song, "I have a little turtle" when she was tiny. We have sung it with all our children. My sister-in-law added a chorus, which makes them love it any more. For those of you unfamiliar, here are the words:

I have a little turtle, his name is Tiny Tim.
I put him in the bathtub to see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water (slurp). He ate up all the soap (num, num, num).
And now he's sick in bed with a bubble in his throat.

Bubble, bubble, bubble. Bubble, bubble, bubble.
Bubble, bubble, bubble. Bubble, bubble, POP!

The boy slurps and num, nums with us enthusiastically. And the other day while reading a book, he saw some soap. "Num, num, num" he excitedly said.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

christmas traditions

This will be our second Christmas at home (not including the time Kiddo was born, for which I was present in body only), and we are still working out what Christmas traditions we find important. I guess you could say we are still working on our Christmas script.

But, we do a few things consistently. We go an hour west to a tree farm to buy a "real" tree. It was medium cold this year (last year was bitterly cold), so they were happier than sometimes (well, some of them anyway). 
We attend our ward Christmas party, where the girls may or may not visit with Santa, who makes them extremely nervous. This was as close as they would get. The party falls close to Kiddo's birthday.

We also have two birthdays earlier in the month to make sure our attention is split in as many ways as possible.

And to think, it's not actually Christmas yet!

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Yesterday Babs and I were discussing having babies, she wondered why only moms could have babies, not dads. The answer to this question (like so many of the answers these days) is that's just the way it is.

But I was uncomfortable leaving her with the impression that dads have no role in this, so I told her that it takes a mom and a dad to make a baby, but then the baby grows in the mom. Thankfully she asked for no more details. She did wonder about that idea of "parts of mom" and "parts of dad" though.

I told her, for example, she looked like her dad: she has the same eye color, and the same shape of face.

"Everybody has the same face shape, mom," she knowingly replied. Then as an afterthought, "Except Phineas and Ferb."


Three nights ago we were lying in her bed, I was trying to get her to sleep. "You're face looks like a strawberry," she sleepily informed me. "Really?" I replied, "How so?"

"It's shaped like a strawberry." Although I'd never thought about it, I had to agree with her, and told her so.

"But I don't have green hair" I continued.

She mischievously giggled, "We can pretend!"

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

little bunny foo-foo

Note: This story happened weeks ago, so for the sake of my sanity, please just enjoy the story, but do NOT remind Babs that said story exists. Otherwise, I will have to revisit the entire thing.

Are you familiar with Little Bunny Foo-Foo? Who goes hopping through the forest? Scooping up the field mice and bopping them on the head? Well, the good fairy comes by and tells him to stop or else. After three chances Mr. Bunny has not improved his behavior, so the fairy turns him into a goon.

At first we didn't listen to the song because it scared Kiddo, what with the goon talk and all. But that drew Babs' attention to this scary story, and so we needed to listen to it. So when we were in the car without Kiddo (which happens a lot now that we're off to preschool every other day, while Kiddo's in school), we listened to the rhyme/song/ditty. Then we listened to it again. And again. And again.

After Babs had heard the story enough times to really know it, then she had to understand it. What's a goon? Why did the good fairy tell Little Bunny Foo-Foo to stop? What was he doing again? Why was that wrong?

Babs always wants the back story. She wonders about what motivates the characters. She wonders what happens next. She is never content to just hear a story, she has to know a story, to feel the story. Part of this process includes reading the story backwards, page by page. I find her probing question complicated, as I've always just accepted stories at face value. Babs is teaching me to consider more.

Her best question: What if the fairy gave him five chances?


I've started reading her chapter books. It turns out that she is more than ready. We recently finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, then watched the movie (which is legendary in my husband's family, given a certain Aunt's love of the movie.) Babs had a hard time reconciling the differences. For example, in the book Charlie sees the other children leaving the factory, "fixed" from their naughtiness. Babs was disappointed not to see that in the movie. (She thinks there is another movie, and she is anxious to see that part.) I found the book to be so much better than the movie. There is a lot more Oompa-Loompa singing in the book, they have a lot more to say.

We've started a new book, and on the page that Babs was carefully pouring over (she can't read yet, but she knows all those letters become something), she noticed two words in italics. "It looks like there's some singing in here," she wisely pointed out.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

green bananas

Babs usually skips dinner. She sits with us, but will tell us how nasty the food is, or that she hates it. But rules are rules, and the rules of our house are that you have to eat dinner if you want something else to eat later. Her dinner often sits cold, waiting to be eaten just before bed in case she decides she needs a snack before she goes to bed. (But, if she likes dinner, she eats plenty.)

Last night she yet again did not eat dinner. Just before bed she really wanted to eat, so I showed her the dinner she did not eat. She managed to eat it, and then she got her desired banana.

I warned her, it's a little green... "That's okay, I only eat the inside of the banana."

Saturday, November 15, 2014

little empathy

The other day I watched my friend's baby. Except her baby is as much of a baby as my baby, meaning not so much. She is basically the same age as the Boy. When she realized that I was taking care of her, not her mom, and that we were at my house, not hers, she got very sad. So she cried.

The boy was amazing, and let me hold her without getting jealous. We read books, we played with toys, we went outside, nothing made her forget her sorrow. She would stop crying for a moment, then remember how bad things were, then start up again. She also would not let me put her down. Luckily she only really whine-cried, not full out screaming.

The Boy was confused by this constant sorrow, and crawled over to her, and gave her a hug. That made her even less happy, but it thrilled me to watch my little boy already recognize sadness, and know how we take care of it.

(Eventually I took them both downstairs and turned on the TV. Moments later she fell asleep on my lap, in what I refer to as 'protest sleep.')


Although the Boy acts in similar ways. Every so often I find someone to watch him so I don't have to wake him to pick up one of his sisters at school. He inevitably wakes up anyway while I'm gone, and then will not let go of whomever picks him up, and snuggles with them until I get home. Then he tells me the sad story of his sleep ending and someone else being there.

things our parents do for us

We had the sister missionaries over for dinner last night. As part of their spiritual message, they asked our children what their parents do that make them happy. Babs said that we play with her. (As infrequently as we can get away with, but yes, we play with her.) Kiddo answered without guile, "They give me chores. Helping out by doing chores makes me happy." Ironically, chores do not make her happy. (Do they make any one happy?) It is in fact the quickest route to tears and shouts of "it's not fair!" Even the easy chores, the actual fun chores, are hard and left undone without some encouragement. But she believes in her heart that she wants to do chores all day long. Except that she doesn't.


Today Babs shouted to me "It's not fair!" about some injustice of parenting. (I believe I wouldn't let her watch TV, after she'd already watched a bunch.) I looked her in the eye "Have I ever told you life was fair?" No. "Has Daddy?" No. "Did you learn it at preschool?" No. "Good. Because life isn't fair. I need you to know that." My follow-up thought, that I'm sure she's not ready for, is for us, that's a good thing, because we have a lot more than we deserve.


Kiddo lost her next tooth! I pulled it after the dentist said that her three current loose teeth were all ready to go (I haven't pulled the next two yet). She has a slight missing tooth lisp. This one does not have an immediate tooth following in, so there is actually a big gap, which I'm enjoying. She luckily doesn't think about it much, because the night I pulled it, she looked in the mirror and said "Oh, this is terrible. My smile is terrible." It's not. It's adorable.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

summer road trip to Edison

 This is Kiddo and her best friend when she was three. His mom, who is awesome, still calls her each year on her birthday. I try to call them too, but it's awkward because his birthday is four days after hers.

It's also awkward because despite being in the country for about four or five years now, her English is still slim. But it's okay, because all the people in her new neighborhood (she moved the same time we did) speak her same language. (Am I horrible that I'm not sure what language it is?)

We drove back to NJ to visit them this summer. She asks me to visit every summer... sometimes I don't make it. But this summer I did. It was a long day trip. I asked Kiddo to take a picture of us. Just before she clicked it I said "Wait - are our faces in the picture?" She assured me yes. And this is what we got: (faces, check. older women bellies, check.)
 So then I took a selfie. (Incidentally, one of Kiddo's first school project was to draw a "selfie," except she didn't know what it was, so she drew a full bodied portrait. Is is wrong to be glad that my kid doesn't know this term yet?)
What I love about this lady is that she has been my friend since the first day at the library and I showed her where the stroller/wheelchair door was. I love that we can barely communicate, but she wants me to hang out for hours (I have to believe she understands a lot of what I say, even if she can't express much). I love that she can laugh at herself. I love that she's an amazing cook. I love that despite her incredible skills in the kitchen, she's still impressed by my chocolate cookies I make. She loves my little blond children. And she makes this amazing duck sound that they love. NJ was an odd place, but I made some serious friends there.

I brought her some of those cookies, which was basically the only thing my kids ate there because they won't eat her amazing Indian food (although I tried what she made for the kids, and it was more than a little gross...). This meant that Kiddo threw up on the way home. It was an awful mess. Luckily both the little ones were sleeping when it happened so at least I could clean up in peace. And the exit we got off on also brought us to a museum of statues, so we saw these amazing statues as we looked for a place to park (pictures of my favorite).

Will we go again? Maybe next year...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

first haircut

We did it... shaved his head that is. Okay, we just buzzed it. He sat on my husband's lap, and we just took turns with the clippers until it was like this. Babs can't keep her hands off his fluffy little head. (Not that she was very good at it before...) I miss his reddish locks, but is he not still adorable?

(No during pictures, both parents were busy. And the kids are not really photographers yet. Another post on that another day.)

Friday, October 24, 2014

my sweet boy at almost 15 months

This is my adorable boy, looking moderately cute. Should I shave his head? I need to save some of those adorable locks, and that's the only way I can see them being long enough. Since his hair is straighter than straight (something he shares with his dad and a sister) I can brush it out of his eyes all day long, and it just comes back. (Also just like his dad.)

My boy climbs now. On chairs, on beds, on tables... His favorite thing to do in the morning is go climb in bed with Babs, except she's still asleep, and he "pats" her. Once he "patted" her with his metal bus, three times, in one morning. Then he lost his bus for a while. I try to keep him off the table, but yesterday when I stopped giving him the evil eye about it, he not only climbed onto the table, but he also walked across it to me. Wasn't he pleased with himself.

Speaking of walking, in the afternoon now he walks all the way to the school for us to pick up Kiddo. It's mostly downhill, so I'm sure that makes it easier, but he is so happy to be out of the stroller. Tonight was a church activity, and I lost him twice. I'm not used to counting three heads of children following me. I need to start remembering he's mobile. I don't remember having this problem with the first two.

He's having trouble sleeping these days, and has spent a lot of the last few nights up with us, for hours at a time. This is getting old fast. Last night he slept through the night, thanks to my husband's faith-filled prayer. Tonight we are not even in bed and he is already crying. Yuck.

He's starting to understand so much. There is a lot of communication going on, and he is thrilled with it. His two favorite words are "shoes" and "outside." He has a sound for "Babs- leave me alone!" and "I want that" and "get this food off my tray and let me down or I'll start dropping it..." although that one is pretty subtle, usually it takes food being dropped over the side for me to take him seriously. He also enjoys wearing his bibs, until he doesn't. He knows the names of many of his favorite foods though.

He also knows how to clasp his hands and bow his head for prayers. He may well be our most reverent child for prayers currently.

I put him back in footed pajamas last night. I love this age.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Two weeks ago on the way to school there was a dead squirrel in the road, clearly the victim of an unfortunate encounter with a car. I saw it on the way to school, showed it to Babs as we came home, then Kiddo saw it as we walked home that afternoon.

"Did Babs kill it?" Kiddo asked, knowing of her hunting expeditions.


The next day, it was thankfully gone. Babs asked, "Where did my friend 'dead squirrel' go?"

Now she has a lot more respect for the consequences of being hit by a car.

And she cheers on every squirrel that makes it safely across the road.

About a week ago we saw a snake on the side of the road, also a victim as it was completely flat. That night Babs prayed all by herself, "Bless I never see a dead snake again."

Sunday, October 12, 2014

chapel time at preschool

Babs attends the same preschool as Kiddo did. One of the reasons I chose it was because although it was sponsored by a church, the religious aspect was very low key, just prayers said before snack and an actual Christmas program. Two years later, with a different pastor and a different preschool director, there is the bi-monthly chapel time.

Being who I am, I sit in on chapel time, because I want to know what is being taught to my daughter. The first time was a rather benign story about Moses and manna, that contained way more detail than was needed for a bunch of preschoolers. When we quizzed Babs about what they talked about, she replied "A story about Moses." Which one? "They were in the desert, and food came from the sky?" as if in the retelling she thought about how preposterous it sounded, and needed verification that such craziness had actually been told to her. We assured her it was a true story. Food did just appear while the Israelites were wandering in the desert.

The next time, the pastor talked to them about water, and how it can quench our thirst, and clean us when we're dirty. Then she showed them a small basin of water, that looked an awful lot like a medium sized metal mixing bowl. As she held it up for all the children to see, she proudly announced, "This is the baptismal font!"

I think I breathed out very fast, and hopefully quietly. I was totally unprepared for that announcement. She (the pastor) then proceeded to talk about the tradition of baptism, that many of the children may already be baptized, and that "Jesus was baptized by... I mean in, the River Jordan." And I suddenly knew our Family Home Evening topic for the next week.

Babs has never mentioned this event in her description of preschool. For all I know she was oblivious to the entire event. But I will keep attending chapel time, and keep making sure that at the end of the day, my four-year old hears from me what we believe.

(And in the retelling, I am always grateful that this didn't happen with Kiddo, who knows what she would have told the pastor in response to that announcement.)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

going, going, gone (the first lost tooth)

Five months ago at her last dentist appointment, Kiddo was told that she had a number of loose teeth, and she should start wiggling. They didn't feel loose to me, but sure enough, she now has a number of loose teeth. But she doesn't wiggle them much, so they just get looser on their own.

Then one day she complained that there was something poky in her mouth. I looked, and saw a permanent teeth coming up behind her baby tooth. I told she for sure should try to wiggle that one, and we eventually saw the dentist, who said that it was no big deal and just keep at it.

But her really loose tooth was in the front. It got looser and looser, but never ready to just slip out. It was moving though, poking out in different directions and from many angles, it looked like her tooth was already gone. Numerous adults looked at the tooth, and offered to just pull it out for her. This caused Kiddo to scream and cover her mouth. There would be no pulling.

This morning she came in for breakfast crying. "What's wrong?"

"It really hurts, I'm ready to have it pulled out."

At first glance I thought it was gone, because it was caught up under her lip. So then we became serious about this.

I tugged a few times, no luck. Then I asked my husband to try (although I wasn't sure about that, because I'm the cold-blooded one when it comes to unavoidable pain in our children). He tugged once or twice, then stopped.

"Let's say a prayer," he suggested, and he then prayed for courage and that we could do it. Then he gathered Kiddo in his arms, looked at me and said "Do it."

So I got my best grip on a small slimy tooth, and tugged once or twice more, then it came. And as soon as it came out the tears stopped, and it was finished.... this round anyway.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

happy birthday to me, from my four-year old

On Monday, coming home from preschool, Babs and I discussed my birthday. "What will I get you for a present?" she wondered. I suggested, love me, be nice to her brother, and she rejected those ideas. She wanted to get me an actual present. Seeing how on Saturday her dad offered to take her to the store to buy me a present, and she said no, I didn't feel like I needed to help her much.

But, on Tuesday, we needed two things at the grocery store, and she's always more compliant when she thinks she's getting something, so I told her we were going to buy my birthday present from her. "But we need to get something I can share with you!" she reminded me.

I showed her one snack I like, "no." Then another, then another, both rejected. Then I told her I would only give her five choices, and then she'd have to decide, or we just wouldn't get anything. For choice number four, she counteroffered. "How about if we get this instead?" "But I don't really like those..." I replied. She also rejected my fifth choice, with another suggestion. "This is about me," I reminded her. "Oh yeah, oh yeah..."

So she decided, then said "Now close your eyes!" and pulled it off the shelf, then handed it to me.

"Surprise! Happy Birthday!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

math class excitement

Kiddo tells me very little about school. I don't think she's hiding anything, I just don't think she has much to say about school. But a few days ago something really exciting happened in math class, exciting enough that she volunteered it as the most interesting part of the day.

"The projector for the smartboard wasn't working, so we did our math on the CHALKBOARD!"

we're going on a hunt...

Babs, who is a stick collector by love, sometimes makes the trek to and from school with a rock in her hand. It is for hunting. Specifically, for hunting whatever small animals we may run into, such as squirrels. We are hunting so that we can give the animals to the poor people, so they won't be poor any more.

One day I asked her how we would take care of this animal if she were to kill it (miraculously, with her lack of aim with a piece of gravel towards animals we never actually see). She reiterated her desire to feed the poor people, and I had to confess that no one in our family actually knows how to transform a dead animal into food to eat (with the notable exception of her uncle, who lives far, far away). I did tell her other ways that we can help those who have less than we do, but those weren't very exciting. (And since they dealt with giving our money away, concerned her that then we would become poor.)

Last Friday, on the way home from preschool I asked her what they did that day. Getting information about her school day is similar to the game "two truths and a lie" because she can tell some whoppers. She told me that they went hunting... for bears, and racoons... with guns... yes, they got to shoot the guns, but her teachers aimed the guns. Unfortunately, they didn't get any animals. (This may have been the same day that she didn't get any snack because her teachers ate it all, I really can't remember.)

Friday, September 19, 2014

"a-py" part 2

The boy and I were in the kitchen this morning. I was making Kiddo's lunch, and he was investigating the room. These are our roles in the kitchen. He was standing next to the oven, staring at his reflection in the dark glass. He was singing some tuneless song using his repertoire of sounds, but then I noticed that he was repeating one particular sound: "a-py, a-py, a-py..."

I looked at him, and asked excitedly, "Are you singing a song?"

He smiled, immediately sat down, and clapped his hands together, which, as I've pointed out, is how he asks me to sing "If You're Happy and You Know It..."

So, did he understand "sing song," or was he singing his favorite song? I don't know, but I love emerging vocabulary, it's one of my favorite parts of development to watch.

Other words he understands: food, breakfast, both his sisters' names, outside. I'm sure there are more, I just don't know them.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

the first decade

In August, my good husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary. Although we spent months considering what we should do for this major event, we finally decided (okay, I decided, and he didn't disagree) that we would wait and do something special another year. After all, isn't 11 (or 12) years of marriage just as impressive? This year seemed too busy, and too awkward with a baby, who isn't really a baby, so he can be uncomfortable with others, and miss us.

I meant to wax poetic about my lovely family and my amazing husband, but I have a child who can't fall asleep, so I'm going to be a mom, instead of just talking about it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

this boy

So he doesn't have any words, but he makes a noise that is his version of "vroom" for his cars. He's known how to play with cars since he could pick them up, and was thrilled to get lots of them for his birthday. (Now we are never without.)

There was one word he used twice about a month ago, but has never tried it since. "A-py," He said, while clapping his hands, requesting that we sing his favorite song "If you're happy and you know it..." Now he just looks at us meaningfully and claps his hands together.

For FHE last night, I was desperate for a quick, painless activity, and said: "Let's teach the boy 'Ring Around the Rosie'." He was in heaven, walking with us, singing with us, being with us. It was one of our best activities ever.

He's never happier than when he's outside. I used to take him outside every day, but haven't quite figured out our routine now that the girls are in school (it sounds like it would be easier, but actually he sleeps during Babs' school, and it's been hot recently, and ...), so he usually just gets a stroller ride to and from elementary school. Which would be nicer if he wasn't sharing his stroller with his big sister.

He's almost walking. He takes a few steps, but then is too excited, or to impatient to reach his goal. But he is a fast crawler. Sometimes he wants to hold something in both hands and tries to scoot, but he can't remember how. It's funny to see how slow he is, when he used to be so fast. But he stands a lot, especially when he is standing on the next to last stair. He loves to climb, and can get up and down stairs.

Right now, he rarely lets me put him down. It's getting old. I try to snuggle and hold him as much as he wants, because he's so delicious, but by the end of the day, when the chaos and clutter has only grown, because there's been no time to do battle, I get a little snippy about the constant need to be held. Plus my arms are tired. Thank goodness my husband is the one who puts him to bed most nights.

We'll probably cut his hair soon, and lose all those amazing red and blond streaks, and that will be sad. He has wonderful hair.

He loves his big sisters, and loves to be with them. This last Sunday we made sure the gate was closed to the kitchen, and the door was closed to the bathroom then let the three kids play while the parents napped. It's a whole new world, and I could get used to this.

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm bored

Kiddo finally uttered the awful phrase "I'm bored!" last Saturday. Although the plan in my head for this moment had always been, "well, then, let's do some chores!" I decided to just wing it.

"How exciting!" I replied. "Boredom always comes before you come up with some interesting new thing to do. How will you stop being bored? Oh, but get your sister a drink of water before you figure this out..."

She did not think this was exciting, but did get Babs a drink of water.

"I have something I'd like to do..." she started.

"What's that?"

"Could I watch something?" she cautiously asked. I couldn't restrain myself.

"What a great idea! Babs is right here! You can watch her, she's funny." This made Kiddo laugh, but she didn't want to watch Babs. "The Boy?" I offered, "He's pretty cute..." Then my good husband walked in the door. "Dad!" I called out. "You can watch Dad!"

Once she stopped laughing she said "You know what I want to watch."

"Yes, and I'm going to need you to say it."

I did let her watch TV after all that work she put in to see it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

a funny story about Babs

I turned to my husband the other night and asked "Do you want to hear a funny story about Babs?" He replied, "are there any that aren't funny?" which was a valid comment. She's funny, clever, smart, and does things her own way, so all her stories are great. So here it is.

She started preschool last week, and is not a fan. (Can you tell from the picture?) Part of the problem is that she hasn't had recess yet (go outside and play on the playground). Part of the problem is she doesn't like to leave me. Part of the problem is that she's never really gotten into being in a classroom setting (hence, preschool, to prepare her for more school).

But I signed us up to bring the snack on the second day of school, "child's favorite fruit." I asked her what her favorite fruit was, she told me she wanted apples. I didn't expect that. She eats apples, but she loves berries. But no matter when or how I asked, she insisted on apples.

At the store she had me buy strawberries for her, and apples. I then learned her plan was bring strawberries for her, and apples for everyone else. Natural suspicion of those she barely knows, just one more thing we love about our Babs.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

in-and-out day

My boy is nine-months old (and three weeks, so I'm a little late). He's adorable.

Nine months is the big achievement in my world, because now he's been out as long as he was in, and we're making serious progress now in growing up.

So here's the skinny him:
I waited until about six or seven months old before I finally taught him how to sleep. One morning, after weeks of fretting about him not napping (I've heard of babies like this, I don't approve in my personal life!), wondering about sleep training him, it hit me: I'm the mom. Who do you think is coming to teach him this? It's your job. Do it! Three days of crying through naps later, I had a boy who could put himself to sleep. It's a miracle.

He managed to be even worse at nursing that Kiddo (who was pretty bad). So as I watched him go from super chunky, to regular sized, to long and lean (which to my pediatrician's credit, she never freaked out about), I thought, maybe I should wean him. So around eight months (just like Kiddo) we made the switch. Formula is so expensive. Not stressing out on a daily basis about whether my child is starving is so worth it. He was a lazy nurser, which meant limited milk (from me). Now it is plentiful (from the bottle), but often still not wanted.

He loves both his parents equally, which is a first. He gets sad when his dad leaves, and so excited when he comes home. He loves to play a game where he snuggles one of us, then falls into the others one's arms, where he snuggles a moment, then moves back to the first. Sweet.

When he sucks his thumb, with his finger crooked around his nose. Except when he's truly distressed (hunger or fatigue), then he sucks his thumb with one hand, and places the other over his eyes, as if to block out the world. When I see him doing this while he's scooting around on the floor I know he needs to go to bed, right away.

He can now scoot all over the house, and his belly shows it. He is so dirty by the end of the day. My favorite is to watch him scoot down the hardwood floor in the hall. He's makes serious time, and looks like a little boat as he rocks along on his big belly. In the last week or so he has finally learned to crawl on all fours, but chooses not to do it much.

What he does choose to do is pull himself up on to his knees, and find another set of places he can reach. Tables that used to be safe places for non-baby approved items are no longer.

He has never loved baby food (and literally shudders at the taste of vegetables), but finally started eating some. Except now, he prefers finger food. So, in another evidence of "I won't eat unless it works for me" he is subsistence eating baby food, only putting up with it when he is seriously hungry. I don't know about this boy.

He is well loved by his sisters, and loves them too. You know what else he loves? The TV. He thinks it is fantastic, and can think of nothing more exciting that watching it turn on, and characters come to life for about three minutes. Then he has places to explore and things to put in his mouth, and he in on his way.

Early on, in case you forgot, he started skinny too.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

this is the way we walk to school...

...except this is actually on the way home. Babs is really into the stroller now, so it comes with us. But, by the time we get Kiddo, she's too busy running around, so they situate themselves on the stroller, and I push. And the Boy loves his carrier. He starts bouncing when he sees me put it on, he's so anxious to get in.

I'm always tired when we get home (I wonder why), and usually a bit grumpy. I need to figure out how to do this without the grumps. But I haven't figured that out yet.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

lessons about General Conference

Earlier this month we listened to the semi-Annual General Conference, where we get to listen to the prophets and apostles speak to us in our day. Fantastic. Thanks to the miracles of our time, we can watch it at home, on our own TV.

So there we were, listening to the apostles. One of them said something that I felt was important for Babs to hear, so I pointed that out to her.

"Yeah, but they're not real," she replied.

Ouch. Her logic is impeccable. We've been trying to teach her that things she sees on TV are stories, make believe, not true. She appears to be listening. Now how do we explain to her that this one thing, this Conference thing is not only real, but incredibly important?

Thursday, April 24, 2014


For Babs' birthday, the boy got teeth! Two little tiny stubs on the bottom. I'm not sure why, but this is a really great achievement in my book. I find myself so incredibly proud of him, and happy for him. Logically, I am way happier than the event seems to merit, but I can't help myself. I smother him with kisses of joy every time I think of his amazing teeth.

(ps - plus, how cute is the finger hooked over the nose? Yeah, super adorable, it's true)

the pony test

Babs turned 4 the other day, and in one of my many acts of craziness, I threw her a birthday party. It was fine, although chaotic, because, well, it was a party for 3 and 4 year olds. At the end, I offered the final trinket for their party bag, which was either a small My Little Pony figure, or a small toy car. The friends (boys and girls) that see Babs all the time, and know she is rarely without her handheld pony were all delighted to finally have a pony of their very own. Those who only know her from church, or are just getting to know her, gladly accepted the car.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

three sweet kids

Yesterday we watched "Frozen," including the credits. At the end, they list "production babies." I thought one name was way crazy, and exclaimed about it. Kiddo quietly added, "And one was named Wednesday. But let's not tell the people who made the movie, and let's not make fun of the baby."

We also fed the sister missionaries. At one point, when Babs thought the attention had been on someone else long enough, announced, "So Girls," and waited until she had the missionaries attention, "well, I've finally got my own scriptures."

Earlier, I was shopping with Babs and the Boy, holding him on my hip, facing out, so I could focus on what I was buying. It turns out that he was smiling at everyone, with that perfect gummy grin that comes with this age. I could tell because everyone that walked by commented on it, or suddenly laughed in that i've-just-been-loved-by-a-baby sort of way.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

baby wisdom

Yesterday as Babs was trying to play with the Boy, she said "Babies do's what they want to do." I agreed with her. It's true, we can't make him do much of anything, and he certainly doesn't respond when we say "no" or "don't do that" or even "come here." I believe Babs was a little wistful in her comment, wishing she didn't have to comply either.

But as I thought about it later that day, I realized that there is plenty he doesn't get to do, even when he wants. He can't move much of anywhere unless I move him. He can only protest when things don't go his way, not actively change them. He is still figuring out how to even move his body.

So they do what they want, but only within their abilities. Now if I could only explain that to her.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

we're braver when we're together

Yesterday, Kiddo and Babs chose to watch a potentially scary My Little Pony episode (especially if you're my children). They sat next to each other on the couch, sharing my husband's Kindle.

"Let's not be scared," Kiddo suggested.

She amended her idea, "But let's cuddle close together in case we are."

When I walked by a while later, they were huddled next to each other with Babs' arm around Kiddo's shoulder.


They still don't like our basement. They rarely go down by themselves, and never just to hang out there. If one of them needs to go down there, she enlists the other to be her safety. They only play there if someone else is there. But I love what Kiddo says each time they boldly venture down the stairs, "We're braver when we're together!"

(But truthfully, they're getting better. Perhaps by next year they'll be able to handle it on their own, who knows?)

Friday, February 28, 2014

how to move if you can't crawl or walk

The boy can make some serious distance at this point. Any day now I expect him to crawl into the kitchen after me. (But I'd like this to be after my visit to my grandparents, not before. But two weeks may be asking too much.) He's still not crawling though. He pivots. He rolls from one side to another (but not consecutively so he's goes places, just as a thing to do). He pulls with his hands, and he pushes with his hands. Occasionally he lurches, which makes him look like an inchworm.

When he pushes, it sends him backwards. But he realizes that it sends him backwards, and he just uses it as another method of locomotion. He sees what he wants, turns himself so he's facing away, looks over his shoulder and pushes. I love that he watches his backwards movement facing the way he wants to go.

This also means that when he backs himself so that a chair leg or piano bench leg is between his legs, he can no longer move, because he can't back up any further, or roll. It's awesome to watch this development.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

some thoughts about Babs

When she was very little (as in, someone still needed to carry her) Babs was a very serious child - at least out in public. She would stare at people as if she needed to learn everything there was to know about them. And she still is much more aware of relationships than my other two.

Yesterday, I registered her for what I call in my head "official preschool." They asked four or five social/emotional development questions, all of which could have had the same answer: it's complicated. Yes, she throws tantrums. No, I've never known of one to happen in response to an adult who is not her parent (or serving in a parental role). She is suspicious of other children, except when she really likes them. Are you an adult? She will either ignore your efforts at interaction while willing you to disappear, or she will talk to you for hours. It is not clear what moves an adult from outer to inner circle, or anyone for that matter. My daughter will never be easy to pin down (figuratively or literally). 

Some funny moments:
A few days ago she announced that she had waited long enough, and she wanted her "childs right now!" I can't help but think you should at least be able to wipe your own bottom before you take on other peoples.

There are many words we ask her not to say, like swear words (luckily she only knows one so far), shut up, hate, and ugly. Mostly we don't like these words because we can only handle "I HATE this dinner!" so many times. But she hears them in her TV shows (intense ones like My Little Pony) and her music (that Sandra Boynton), so then we discuss them. Today her baby doll was saying about the things she hated. (This is not the first time Babs has used her dolls as scapegoats to see what she can get away with in terms of inappropriate language.) I tried vainly to explain the difference when it's okay and not, and this was Babs' summary, "Baby's mom doesn't letter her use the word hate either, so she says it differently. She says it in Spanish."

We checked out the book "Suki's Kimono" from the library. It's a sweet book about a girl going to school for the first time, and wearing her kimono because it makes her feel special and remember her grandmother, even though all the other kids suggest she should wear other clothes. Finally, she is accepted for who she is. This is Babs' take away:"My favorite characters are her sisters." "Why?" "Because their clothes are so awesome!"

(Babs and her tape. She loves it, and will use as much as I let her, then just a little more.)

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Kiddo and Babs like to hide (in the same four places), wait for someone to come by, and jump out and yell "Surprise!" It is never a surprise because they are always there, and they are usually visible. This has been going on for a very long time. At first I indulged them, now I acknowledge them, but not always in a supportive way. (I once replied to their hiding behind the door in the entry way with "you know what would be a surprise? If you actually put on your shoes like I asked you to.") I keep waiting for this phase to be over, but that may never happen.

Despite the joy of surprising others, they hate to be surprised, so there is now a rule that you can only surprise mom or dad, not each other.

They used to hide between their beds, in plain view where I could see them as I walked in the door. "Hey Kiddo" I would casually say. One day she sincerely asked, "How do you know I'm there?" My first response was, how could I not know you're there? but I didn't say that because she seemed truly perplexed. I paused to think about it and then realized, I'm over a foot taller than both of them. I called her over to her doorway, and lifted her up so she was looking from my perspective. "Now do you know how I know you're there?" And she understood. When she came into the room, she couldn't see between the beds, so it seemed like a good hiding place to her. (I then showed her that if she laid on her side next to Babs' bed I actually couldn't see her, so she's there pretty often.)

The ironic part of the never ending game of surprise is that when the house is dark, and we think they are all asleep, Kiddo is the master of silent movement. She silently pads from her bed to wherever we are, and if we're lucky, we see her before she stands still waiting to be noticed in the shadowy corner. Both my husband and I have been seriously startled by these events more than once, enough to scare her by our responses (man-ly yelps and all).


The boy makes two consistent sounds: "dadadadadadada" and "mamamamamamama"

But perhaps I could call them proto-words, because they have meanings.

"dadadadadadada" means "this is a fun sound, I like life, I am content right now, I like this"

"mamamamamamama" means "life is miserable! why won't someone fix it? ahhhh!" It should be noted that this boy is not a whiner. He has to be really sad to let us know. (Unless of course it's nap time.)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

a conversation with miss silly

Me: Babs, go to the bathroom, and got get a brush for your hair.

Seconds later she comes back in with a wet washcloth.

Me: Babs, this is not a brush.

Babs (cocking her head, and raising an eyebrow): Are yah sure? It looks like a brush.

Monday, February 10, 2014

a note about my boy

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words, well, here are a bunch of the words this picture tells you:
1) See how nicely my husband cleaned this room? I'm super grateful.
2) See that awesome yellow and green blanket? It was on my bed as I was growing up. It keeps me deliciously warm each night when I get kicked out of my bed by my daughter who had a bad dream.
3) Can you find my son? I'll give you a hint, he's not in the panda toy where we left him.
4) He uses his fat little belly (which is much less fat than it used to be) to pivot and scoot. It's classic.
5) The object that inspired such hard work in movement is the paper he is desperately clutching. He LOVES paper. If it is anywhere he thinks he can get to, he goes for it. I am more indulgent of this desire than I was with the older kids. Is that because Babs sweetly brings him paper as a present (because she heard me talk about how much he loves it)? Or is it because I just don't care?
6) He's wearing my favorite outfit for him right now. He's so adorable, but especially in dark colors.

There are other things this picture could tell you, but instead I'm going to see if I can convince the aforementioned daughter to go to sleep!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

choosing the right

Babs came out of her first class in Sunbeams (her sunday school class at church) wearing a large CTR shield. Her lesson was on choosing the right. She promised me on the way home from church that she would always do what I and her Daddy asked her to do, because she would choose the right. Her CTR necklace would help her. Although sweetly sincere, I wasn't expecting great changes in behavior.

A few days later, she was not choosing the right, and I tried to help her see what a better choice would be. She replied, sadly, but just as sincerely, "I can't choose the right without my necklace."

(Even more sadly, she won't accept the repaired version.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

lesson learned

Like any good parents of young children, we've tried to encourage them not to slice their fingers by playing/touching sharp knives. The other morning, it became clear that this lesson was well learned:

I was unloading the dishwasher while Kiddo ate her breakfast.

"Good job, Mom" she encouraged me.

"What?" I asked, puzzled.

"You put away the sharp knife without getting cut."

While teaching her not to touch the knives, we seem to have forgotten to point out there are still safe ways to handle them...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

I hope they call me on a mission

Did you know that sometimes blogger just can't figure out how to turn pictures correctly? This is one of those times.

This is my boy, wearing his awesome shirt-tie (age: 2 months). (He wore it once, because by the time we took him to church, he had outgrown it. It's not buttoned to the top, his neck was too big. But still awesome!) I never expected to have a boy. Oh, well, maybe when I was young, because having only brothers for a long time, I figured I knew about boys, but not about girls. But then in college I realized that I would have girls, because I was good at being female. I knew how to balance the art of nurturing and helping with ambition and smarts. (Now, if I could only do my hair and make-up then I would be truly amazing, but luckily I have friends and family who can help with that.) I expected I would have girls. And I did. By the time child number three was coming, I just expected more of the same.

Plus we were good at girls.We had lots of girl clothes, and lots of girl toys, and lots of pink, pink, pink everywhere. So when the ultrasound technician announced it was a boy, there was some silence on our part.

So now 10 months after learning I would have a boy, as he's approaching six months of age, I am still wrapping my head around this concept. He doesn't whine, he growls. He doesn't look at toys, he bangs them. We have a baby toy with leaves that go in circles, he tries to pull them off. He is clearly a boy (although a boy who rarely pees when his diaper is open, huzzah!) and I keep realizing that this means that he will be parented differently - largely because he will be different. (Not that the other two don't need vastly different parenting styles...) Maybe I really mean he will be taught differently, that his future holds different expectations.

Kiddo is old enough to talk about what she will be when she grows up. She used to want to be an artist, but now she wants to be a mom. (Babs of course has always wanted to be a mom, with six kids, I believe.) I encourage her in this desire. But I also want her to think about what additional things she will do. Motherhood is paramount, but there is a need for an education, or a trade, her other passion.(Did you know your mom has an advanced degree? I used to be a teacher?) Motherhood is enriched by having more experiences than just being a child. And motherhood often doesn't come on our timetable. And although I hardly believe it right now, there are other seasons of our life... Perhaps a mission for them too?

I will tell my son about the priesthood, and honoring it. I will talk to him about his upcoming mission (only 18 years away). I will explain about supporting his family, taking care of his family, but taking care will mean something quite different to him than it will to the girls. I am overwhelmed by this, because this is not the life I lived. Thank goodness I can point him to his father, and his grandfathers as examples of men who magnified their responsibilities as men in the Gospel. There are people in his life who understand his story.

I want them all to know we all have our roles and responsibilites. And I want them to be prepared to fill them.

Friday, January 24, 2014

understanding her time out

Between snow days and sick kids, the three kids and I have been in the house all week long. We made it this long with our sanity intact because being sick slowed Babs down, but she is back to herself again, and there was some friction between the girls.

As I explained to them, I was entirely unclear whether I was more exhausted from Babs' pushing (both literally and figuratively) Kiddo around, or Kiddo wailing each time it happened. But then there was hitting; Babs smacking Kiddo for one reason or another. (Had it been the other way around, it's entirely possible I would have ignored it.)

By round two, she had an immediate time out. By round four, Daddy was home, and he enforced the time out. After Babs was let out, he asked, "Now, do you understand the difference between hitting and playing?"

She immediately replied, "Punishment."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

best FHE lesson ever

Kiddo volunteered to give the Family Home Evening lesson this last Monday. She didn't ask for any help.

She collected some pictures, and then was ready.

"We should prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ (picture). We should do this by following his example.

We should be baptized like he was (picture).

We should pray (picture).

We should be kind like the Good Samaritan (picture).

We should have courage like Nephi (picture).

Well, I guess that's it. Amen."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bab's problem

Here was the plan: I would feed the Boy, then me, then my girls. But before I fed the boy, I left his room to do something (throw out a diaper?), which was when Babs ran out of the play tent crying, and told me:

"We have a problem! I swallowed some money!" Knowing that she sometimes puts coins in her mouth I asked the obvious follow-up, "Was it brown or silver?" "Silver," she replied, and threw up all over the floor. Then she threw up again. I walked her to the bathroom, trying to mentally triage. Clean up the mess? tend to the baby? call the doctor? A third throw-up with no coin made the decision for me. Text my nurse sister-in-law, and call the doctor. The doctor's office told me an x-ray was in order, come as soon as possible. A brief phone call to my good friend around the corner (Babs has swallowed a dime! Send one of your daughters, now!) followed.

As soon as Babs stopped throwing up, I left her standing in the bathroom (because I figured more was coming) watching a show on my iPhone, while I went to feed the Boy. I left Kiddo with important instructions, "When the babysitter knocks on the door, let her in. If it's not her, shut the door as fast as you can." She arrived, I left the Boy and Kiddo with her, and was on my way. (I also called my husband. "Come home now." I am deeply grateful that he has a job where this is possible.) 

As time elapsed, the discomfort grew on Babs, so I started carrying her. It hurt to swallow, so she was producing enormous amounts of spit, that were left on floors, on my shoulder, down my back, etc. She looked so incredibly small as the x-ray was taken. She felt pretty small as we gently rocked while we were waiting for the films. While the initial instructions from the doctor's office were to go home after the x-rays, then call in about an hour, the technician told me to go right back to the doctor's office. I looked at the films in the car. There was a huge spot in her throat. This was no dime.
Bab's xray, pic taken in the car

The physician's assistant told me I needed to get her to a pediatric emergency room, so take her to Baltimore. I sighed, said I'd go home, figure out what to do with the kids, and be on my way. "You need to go soon," she quietly insisted. "Yeah," I replied, "but I also have two other children, one whom is still dependent on me." I called my husband, told him to pack the diaper bag, grab my phone charger, and call another friend to watch Kiddo for some indeterminate amount of time. We dropped her off (I took her to the door and looked at my friend. I said "I don't know when we'll be back," and she just told me not to worry). Then the other four of us drove to Baltimore.

After parking we walked forever, then finally found the pediatric emergency room, where they checked us in. We told the story again and again: She swallowed a coin, around noon. She's 3. She's breathing fine. She won't talk any more, but we're not sure if she can't or she won't. She's very drool-y. Here is an x-ray.
Before surgery, not happy, not swallowing

They took another x-ray, whatever it was was not moving. So they took her upstairs for surgery. They knocked her out, then scooped out the coin, then woke her up again. It's so simple to say, it was so awful to experience. The doctor, a very calm man, who had clearly done this procedure many times (apparently she was the third one to come in during the last 24 hours), brought us out the quarter. He told us that it's not common for someone so little to be able to get such a big coin down. I figure he doesn't know the determination of our little girl.

After, clearly all is better.
When she woke up, it was clear that everything was back to normal. I hadn't heard her speak for hours, now she wouldn't stop. She picked stickers, ate popsicles, pointed out her fancy light-up bandaid (oxygen/pulse monitor), and was fine. We heaved a sigh of relief, said a prayer of gratitude in our hearts, and went home.

I'm so grateful she's fine. I'm grateful that a good pediatric hospital is 25 minutes from my door. I'm grateful that she always could breathe. I'm grateful for friends who helped with the other two kids, and those kids' patience with the crazy day. I'm grateful for health insurance, and my husband's job that provides the insurance, and lets him come home so we can use it. I'm grateful for doctors who know what they're doing, and nurses, and how friendly and caring they all genuinely seemed. As good as the hospital experience was, I'm grateful it only lasted four hours. I'm grateful for my pediatrician, who was out of the office for all the fun, but when she went in the next day, saw the x-ray order, and called me to see how things were. I'm grateful for Babs, who makes me smile every day.