Saturday, December 17, 2016

what shape are you?

The boy and I were discussing what sort of cake to make for Kiddo's birthday. The question was whether she would prefer a heart cake or circle.

Me: "I think maybe Kiddo's a circle kind of girl."
Boy: "She is not a circle!"
Me: "You're right. She's not a circle. What shape is she?"
He pondered this question a moment, the announced, "Kiddo is a line." I laughed at his accurate perception, then he continued, "a big, fat line!"

Although the words big and fat are not good descriptors for Kiddo, if she were a line, they would be. I love three year old understandings.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

apology not accepted

In the car last night, Babs said something fairly rude to the Boy. While the parents and Babs tried to settle whether she knew how rude she was, why she should have not said that and the like, he continued to babble and sing happily in his seat, obviously not bothered at all.

But we were bothered (and Babs was too, I don't think she realized how much we would not approve), so I told her to at least apologize. She got an "I'm sorry" out through her tears.

Despite his own conversation, the boy was obviously paying attention, because the minute she choked out her apology he yelled "BIG GIRL VOICE!" repeating a common refrain around the house, "stop talking like a baby and use your big girl/big boy voice."

Luckily it was dark, and the children couldn't see the parents almost cracking up in the front seat from his reply. We explained that she had used her big girl voice and tried to move on.

Friday, November 18, 2016

to care, or not to care

Tuesday morning was rough. I was trying to volunteer at a before-school reading program (chessie), which meant we needed to leave the house 10 minutes earlier than usual. I moved the routine up 10 minutes, but somehow, that was not enough.

One child in particular had her own agenda, and we did not leave on time. After I had dropped off the boy, we were driving to school. I told the girls this was "not okay." That if they wanted me to help sometimes in the morning (which they do), they needed to help us leave on time. They needed to get dressed quickly. They needed to do what I asked, and not continually say "let me do this first."

"But I'll forget," Babs pointed out. "I have a terrible memory."

"That's not true," I countered. "You have an amazing memory for things you care about."

"Yeah, and I don't care about this," she replied.

Yeah, I know.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Ah Tuesdays...

Babs takes martial arts classes. She loves them. My husband takes martial arts classes. He loves them (and they are oh so good for him). Kiddo attends activity day events (in the evening). She loves it. And Tuesdays (luckily only twice a month) these all collide.

It's a complicated schedule. Dinner is precisely at 5, so Babs can eat and be settled and ready to go by 6. She and Daddy then leave. Around 6:15 I take Kiddo to a friend's house who will then take her to their activity a little later. Babs gets home just before 7, and we hang out until Daddy leaves for his class. Then we hang out a little more until just before 8 when we head off to pick up Kiddo, and her friend (and her brother), from their activity so everyone can come home.

It sounds benign, but here is the secret. The boy cannot stay up late. He gets tired, then oh so wired and hyper, and uncooperative. It is fairly miserable. But we all take turns sacrificing for each other in a family. So every other Tuesday, he sacrifices his bedtime.

Two activities ago, it was a week or two before Halloween, and as we drove home the older kids decided to entertain themselves by telling (not very) spooky stories. (But plenty spooky for them.) Ever observant, the boy felt the need to participate. And so he kept trying to tell a story after the other two kids were dropped off, and he could finally get a word in edgewise.

Babs decided it was too spooky, and kept asking him to stop telling it. He wouldn't stop. She asked, begged, pleaded, cried, and he kept doggedly starting again. Finally I snapped at him, "Stop scaring [Babs]! Don't tell the story!"

"I not scaring Babs!" he replied, "I scaring Kiddo!"

(Here is his story, or at least all that we heard, "This is a spooky story!")

Sunday, November 6, 2016

in his nose

The boy has had a runny nose for days, which means sometimes we spend of a lot of time cleaning it out. After a particularly long session the other day, I finally announced that his nose way clean, and all his boogers were out!

"Now I can have grown-up boogers!" he announced with joy. Just like grown-up teeth, except not...

Friday, November 4, 2016

civic duty

My boy and I participated in early voting yesterday. We stood in line for about an hour to do it. That was pretty bad, but I figured it was better than standing in line for over an hour with three kids on Tuesday.

He was so patient. I held him some. He stood some. We were silly sometimes, and sometimes still. But he just patiently waited and waited.

Until we got inside the library (where early voting takes place) and he realized we were not going in, but heading off to some strange room. Then he was done. (I believe he thought the whole time we were waiting to go to the library, and it was worth the wait. That's impressive.)

"I not want to bote!" he complained. I assured him we were almost done, and then we would go into the library. When they told me I could finally start the check-in process I was thrilled, until I realized he had collapsed on the floor in protest of this further delay.

I scooped him up, then checked-in, then got my ballot, and found my booth. In my excitement to be finished, I almost marked the wrong candidate! But I didn't. I voted. I scanned my vote, and finally (!) we headed to the truck books.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

yellow (a memory)

There are moments of my children's lives that are still with me years later, but I can't be sure they always will, so as I remember, I'm trying to write them down.

Babs was about two, and we were sitting in church. No two year old is easy to keep quiet-ish in sacrament meeting, and she was no exception. So anything that would buy us a few moments was fair game.

She had a yellow crayon, and started to color on my face. I figured that had to be fairly harmless, everyone knows you can't color on yourself. It kept her busy for quite a while.

When we sang the closing hymn I turned to my husband and asked, "Is my face yellow?" because, well, what if you could color your skin with a crayon? At first he shook his head, thinking my question didn't make sense (it didn't), then his eyes grew wide, and he said "Yes."

Apparently if your face is oily, as mine is, you can color on your skin.

I'm glad she chose yellow, and I'm equally glad it wiped right off.

gentlemen prefer blonds

This is my girl Babs. As you can see she has super long straight blond hair. Every one comments on it. Last year when someone said "your hair is so long!" she replied "Everybody tells me that." This year she has moved on to "I know." (But really, what is the right response to that comment?)

A few weeks ago, I was at a parents' meeting at the school, and figured out that the lady sitting next to me had a little boy in Babs' class. He actually sits across from her. (The conversation, always, goes something like this: me: "Oh, your child is in Ms. C's class? What is their name?" other: "blah-blah, and who is your child?" "Babs." "Oh! we hear so much about her." All the parents know of her.)

"I think your daughter is the reason I have blond highlights," this mother (of middle eastern descent) tells me.


Apparently her boy has told her all about Babs, and also begged her to get blond hair. He promised to not need anything else in life, no toys, no games, just he needed his mom to have blond hair. After explaining to him that her hair wouldn't do blond, and much more pleading, the father just told her to get highlights. And so now she's (partially) blond, because of my daughter.

(While this story cracks me up, I have not told my daughter. There is just too much she wouldn't understand. I'll tell her later. Much later.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

bucket minus "k"

My boy loves trucks. My boy LOVES trucks.

He discovered his first car at around age 9 months, lurking in the bottom of the toy bins. We had some because I was an equal opportunity parent, girls can like cars too, except they didn't. My girls never touched the five or six small cars we had lying around the house. But when the boy showed interest, they tried to claim them: "That's my car!" And I quickly told them no, it's his, because he's the one who cares about it.

Fast forward two years, and he is patiently trying to explain to me as we head to the library that he needs books about trucks. So I ask the librarian, who guids us to the easy reading non-fiction selection, where there are short books about every type of truck you can imagine. Bucket trucks, skid steer loaders, snow plows, cranes, earth movers, etc. And our life has never been the same.

First, we never go to the library without checking out at least five books on trucks. Second, when we read one book about trucks, we read all of them. And third, we now know a lot about trucks. A lot.

Booms, dippers, tracks, wheels, front-loader, we've just all learned a lot about trucks.

When we are out in the car, when we see trucks, the boy will identify them for us.

Except he can't always use the "k" sound. If a word starts with "k" then he'll replace it with "t" (like "o-tay." But often in the middle of the word, he just leaves the sound out. (He can use it at the end of the word though, for words like "truck".)

So he shouts things like "look! that truck does have a bu-ut!" I try not to smile every time.

(And at least one of my girls has learned to play with trucks.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

should it stay or should it go

We were going to get rid of a bookcase, then I suggested to my husband that we move a bunch of unloved toys out of the girls room, and put the bookcase in instead. It would be perfect for paperbacks.

Except the bookcase doesn't have a back. He joked that we could staple some cardboard on it.

I seriously replied "Yes! And we could let the girls decorate it first, then we could feel like we were letting them be creative and involved!"

He replied, "You worry about things I have never even considered..." 

That's because men don't worry about this stuff, I thought.

Friday, October 21, 2016

that was long...

When we returned home from vacation in early August, we realized that we had a slow leak in a water pipe, which had destroyed a wall, and water was under all of our basement flooring. AUGHH!

Ten weeks later, after being gutted of our stuff and the flooring, our basement is finished. We actually changed the color of the room, the floor, and it is beautiful. I'm so grateful that it's done.

It looks so good I'm just a touch reluctant to fill it back up with my stuff...

Thursday, June 9, 2016

potty success... sort of... mostly!

We're now at five days with no accidents. None.

Some how we finally found the right incentives (bribes) (youtube time and matchbox trucks taped to the wall to help him remember what he wants), and he uses the potty.

Interestingly enough, last week I was almost ready to put him back in diapers, because he just didn't seem to care, and was passively resisting all my efforts. ("Uh-oh! I did peepee on the floor. That is NOT awesome!" he would report.) My efforts were failing, and I wasn't sure that I wanted to fight. I prayed a lot to know if there was a correct answer, and what that might be. While we were failing, he was wearing pull-ups because he's right, peeing on the floor is not awesome (but it is super funny to hear him talk about).

But he was getting a rash. So one day I put him back in underwear. And I remembered, this is what I want. And sometimes its okay to do things according to a parents schedule. That day I was supervigilant about taking him, often, and we found the right bribes, and here we are, with everything working the way it should. It's a miracle. (A miracle that happens for almost all people, but every mom thinks its a miracle every time, I'm sure!)

He's still not good about using the potty outside of the house, but he can hold it for forever, so I'm sure that will come when it's time. I'm so relieved.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

three versus seven

We were talking about our family at the dinner table. One of the kids asked if we would have any more kids, and we told them no, and discussed some reasons why, and how that would change their lives if we did.

Without giving any details, I mentioned that we wouldn't have any more babies, because we were being very careful not to have more babies.

Babs thought about that for a moment, then said "Grammy wasn't very careful."

Monday, May 30, 2016

new attitudes about church

The boy did not want to go to church yesterday. He wanted to go outside and play in the sand. He cried as we headed to church. "I want to stay with daddy," he called out. I would then tell him (again) that Daddy was already at church, and we were going too.

"I not want to go to church!" he said again. Having grown up since Babs said the same thing every Sunday, instead of saying "we go to church, and that's what we do," I explained that we love Heavenly Father, and going to church is one of the ways we can show that. None of this made him want to be at church any more than before.

During Sacrament Meeting, he heard a baby crying. Instead of last week's sweet comment about the sad baby, but he's happy, he said the following: "Hear that sad baby? He not want to be at church." (I may have laughed a little.)

He was happy to be heading off to nursery after sacrament meeting though. Except the building A/C was broken, so we only had Sacrament Meeting. The kids were surprised when we told them we were going home. The boy recovered quickly when I told him he could play in the sand when we got home.

But Babs cried the whole way home, because she couldn't go to primary. She was so sad to miss her "little class." There was no distracting her from her sorrow. The crying was irritating, but it couldn't quite take the joy out of my heart that Babs actually wanted to be at church!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

what's your name?

For many weeks, when the boy was asked his name, he would reply: BOY!

Of course, they would then ask again. Then he would reply: BIG BOY!

 (Well, big boys are stinky, so they use deodorant, probably not their mother's though...)
(And big boys smile.)

And sometimes he is, a big boy that is. For example if he has an potty accident it's because he chooses to, not because he doesn't know how to do it right (which is small consolation in the moment).

But sometimes he is a "small boy." That's when he either a) doesn't want to do things that big boys do (participate in scripture reading, use the potty, come when he's called), or b) can't do the things that big boys do (go to school, reach high things, mow the lawn, etc.) So when he announces to us that "I a small boy" it is either with defiance, or sorrow.

Two. It's a confusing age.

Monday, May 16, 2016

in my ears

The boy is really focusing on what he hears right now. (I have never worried about his hearing.)

He pauses, then says "I hear something in my ears..." This means we have to identify the noise. So I have to stop filtering the background noise, focus on it, and figure out what sound he is paying attention to. I listed a bunch of things the other day, none of which were right.

"It goes 'ti ti'" he said, as I figured it out. "Oh, it's the clock," I said, pointing, where he can see the second hand move with each tick. He was very pleased.

He also hears babies crying. At the store I mentioned that usually means the baby is sad. So now when he hears a baby cry, he tells me, "You hear that baby cry? That baby is sad. I not sad. I happy!"

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

the cheshire cat

The benefit of the prophet getting older is that he gives very short talks, and I can make my kids listen to the entire talk. Which I did for the first two Mondays after General Conference. I gave exactly the same lesson both weeks, once to just Babs and the Boy, and then the week after to all three kids.

I had guessed that the second time through Babs would complain, but she didn't even seem to realize we were hearing it multiple times.

Then a few weeks later she was leafing through the Friend magazine, which had a picture of Alice talking to the Cheshire cat. "Hey," Babs told me, "here's the story Pres. Monson told!"

I was thrilled. She recognized the story. She realized it was associated with the prophet. She could read enough to identify the picture. Oh wow! We may make it!

Monday, May 9, 2016

well contented child

At church, the boy was sitting on my lap. He was being snuggly, sucking his thumb and massaging my neck. Then he leaned over onto his dad's shoulder, and grabbed his neck too, then maneuvered himself so he was snuggling with both of us. He does this often, and also in the morning when he wakes up before we're ready to be out of bed.

I looked at him, and thought "This is a child who is surrounded by love, what a tremendous way for him to start his life." And I was grateful I could provide that for him.


A few days ago he announced to me "cheeks are for kissing!" and I've been taking advantage of that statement ever since. (Not that I wasn't before.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

long term to do list

We have a list of things we'd like to get around to doing, but usually don't because we're busy doing the short term to-do items (e.g., feed children, get them to school, buy groceries) or the crisis items (are those termites? let's call a pest control person).

But last Saturday, for Babs' first day as a well person, we weren't ready to do big activities, but we thought we'd do something small. We'd finally get around to opening bank accounts for the children. Except it was huge. We were opening three accounts. And because they're insane they put us with someone in training. She was clearly at the beginning of her training. But then, oops, the person training her didn't know how to open this type of account, and did it wrong, so we had to start again. We spent over an hour in a very small office with two workers, two parents, and three children. (Only four chairs though.) I suspected we may all go crazy.

The good news was that we made it through, and our kids were very well behaved. The boy made it about 30 minutes before he started to crack. Babs made it 45 minutes. Then Kiddo jumped on the band wagon, until my good husband dangled ice cream as a reward, and they all found the remaining minutes of good behavior needed. Had we known, or even suspected, it would be that long we would have brought things for them to do, or brought them individually, or something!

The other good news is that it is finally done. One thing off the long term to-do list done. Only a billion left to go...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

you know you're sick...

Babs spent most of the month of April sick. First she had a headache. Then she had some sort of tonsil infection. Then a reaction to the antibiotics or a stomach bug, but definitely something that made her throw up. Then she had a headache and general weaknesses. She didn't go to church at all that month. She attended school at most two times each week. (We would think she was getting better, then, oh no!) She took her skinny little body and made it skinnier. And then she had been sick so long that she sort of forgot how to be well.

So we canceled her birthday party. Well, postponed it. We are in fact still waiting to have it. We think she is finally better. We did of course still have her birthday. And she got to stay home for it. What a lucky gal!

Monday, May 2, 2016

sweet music

I just needed 10 minutes to rest. I've been fighting a headache for days now, and I just needed a few minutes. The kids were all playing quietly, it seemed the right moment.

First the boy told me he had spilled his yogurt. And sure enough he had. So we cleaned that up. Then I walked back to my room to try to reclaim the seven minutes I had left.

Then the boy climbed up into the bed with me. "Play kindle?" he asks. My gut reaction was: no! No more screens! But then I thought about how he'd played nicely with the little girl I babysat that afternoon. We'd been outside twice. He helped clean up his snack. And it seemed like maybe it would be okay. But I just wanted to rest...

So I told him: I need to rest. You cannot play kindle until it goes off. You can sing songs, or read books until I am ready to help you.

A few minutes later I hear a decidedly atonal, but gentle, music coming from the piano. Who is playing the piano I wondered? then heard his sweet little voice. He was singing songs, just like directed. He's such a good little dude.

failure or success?

Have I failed my children because I have long breaks in writing about our family, or have I succeeded because I have written a lot, and many things have been remembered? I believe that it's some of both. Which, is probably just an accurate reflection on life.

Potty training the boy is another example of balancing between failure and success. We are succeeding, slowly, slowly, with plenty of hiccups along the way. For example, yesterday for the first time ever, he used a public restroom! And it's not guaranteed that he'll do number 2 in his underwear. And number 1 is fully settled, unless he chooses not to. Whenever I get disappointed by the time frame of it all, I remember that we have only been doing this for three months, and we're making lots of progress. I expect to be done by summer, which in reality, is how long it takes to be truly done. Some days we do great, and some days we don't, but every time I am ready to throw my hands up in despair, he manages one more success, real success, so we keep moving on.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

making plans

Babs loves a good plan. She especially likes to make a diagram so we can see just how the plan will work out. (I love this.)

Two Sundays ago, she had the markers and paper out on her bed, making a plan. She ran to the living room where the boy was, then shouted at him. He looked at her for a moment, then went back to his toys. "Hmm," she muttered, then ran back to her room.

She drew another plan, chortled, then, paper in hand (so she could refer to the plan) she came back to the boy, and did something else. Poked him maybe? Same bemused, quiet, reaction from the boy.

This process went through at least 5 iterations, possibly more. Finally, he could take no more, and when she bugged him again, the boy let out a yell of frustration.

"YES! My plan worked!" she triumphantly cried.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

growing up

Babs stood on her tiptoes and hung a hanger in her closet.

"Wow!" I exclaimed. "I didn't know you could do that. You're getting so tall!"

The boy, who was in the room at the time, drooped his little shoulders and sighed, "I not."

He is in that awkward middle phase. Too small to do the things he wants to (go to school with the girls!), yet being told daily that he is a "big boy" because he uses underwear (mostly successfully). We don't know what size you are either, little guy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

angles and geometry

Kiddo was starting her homework last night, and asked me what an angle was. I answered the question without much thought, helped her distinguish it from a vertex, and went on making dinner.

She wrote a song about angles and vertices (using both the singular and plural version correctly!), instead of doing her spelling. But it's a great song.

Then later I felt guilty. If Kiddo doesn't know something about the homework, then it wasn't explained well, or at all. And not every kid has parents who can answer any question about the homework. So I really should let the teacher know. Or in other words, I shouldn't feel the need to help her with her homework every again. Wa-hoo!

(It turns out I don't know how to type any longer without emoticons. I'm not sure how I feel about that.)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Easter cantata

I am singing in the choir for an Easter Cantata in a few weeks. I signed Kiddo up to sing in the girls' choir portion. Given her size compared to other girls, I'm pretty sure she's one of the youngest. But today at the dress rehearsal I heard her sing out loud and clear.

And before the rehearsal started, I saw her share her jokes with the girls, and befriend them in that easy way that 8 year old girls have (especially my girl).

I was so proud to be her mom today. She's really growing to be a beautiful person.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

we got ourselves a runner!

I've taken up sprinting in the last few weeks. I would probably enjoy it more if it wasn't always accompanied by the heart pounding fear of whether I would catch up with the Boy in time to stop him from running into the road (a super calm parking lot at the elementary school, not a highway).

I guess I could start running sooner, but then how would he have the thrill of the chase? And the opportunity to practice a little independence?

On the other hand, he almost ran into a moving car (which was going approximately one mile an hour) today, so whatever slight free range opportunities he had in a parking lot are gone, gone, gone.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

with a wink and a smile

I volunteered in Babs' classroom the other day. As I was getting ready to leave, she smiled and said "have a good day, honey."

It was a good impression of me, I have to give her that.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

now I know my a, b, c's...

The boy is loving his alphabet (even if he does call them "numbers"). For a long time he only knew "O" (and would spot it everywhere). He now knows, well, more than I think he does, but less than half. He also does a fantastic rendition of the abc song, thanks again to nursery.

So we read alphabet books. And talk about what starts with the various letters. He may know some of his letters, but he has no sense for the sounds and correlating that with words. (Which is fine. He's two. I'm in no rush.) I have two stories about this:

The other day I was reading a magazine article about cattle, well it was actually about big animal veterinarians, but because most of the pictures were of cows, that what we called it, the pictures of the cows. Like any good article, the first letter was in a large font, followed by the tiny letters. "Whatz that?" the boy asks as he points at the letter. "A 'T'" I reply. "Oh, T for tows!" he happily announces, because he can't yet pronounce the "k" sound. I have no answer for that one.

As we were going through the alphabet, "B is for baby," "R is for rhinoceros" etc., until we got to the end. "Z for seeping!" he tells me. I pause, about to say, no z is for... until I realize he told me "z is for sleeping." It most certainly is.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Magyk and brave boots

I've been trying to make sure I have time for Kiddo these days. Between her good temperament, her sister's slightly more demanding personality, and the fact that I have a 2 year old, sometimes there feels like there's not enough time for her.

But then at the library the other day, she showed interest in a book that is at the right reading level for her, but I was concerned the content might scare her (everything scares her...). So we checked out the book with the caveat that we had to read it together.

Which is awesome. It's been years since she's willing let me read just to her (and it's so important!). More importantly, I now search for time to spend with her, so we can read together. She wants to read over my shoulder, so she sits right next to me. And since we're trying to read a chapter, I often put off the desires of her brother and sister so I can be with her. (What sweeter words can a child hear than, "no, I won't do that with you, I'm with your sister right now?)

The downside? It's a good book (Magyk, by Angie Sage), and I want to know what happens next. Instead, I have to be responsible and send her to bed. (If it were just me, I would totally let myself stay up.)


Speaking of everything being scary, she is still reluctant to go downstairs (to our finished basement) by herself. This is a problem, because the door to the garage is there, so coats and shoes are usually there too. The other day she needed something, but was scared, and I was out of patience, so I said "Put your brave boots on, and go get it."

That phrase has entered our lexicon. Some days she can find her brave boots, and some days not. But she at least knows she has some.

small person in underwear!

still working on it...

Thursday, February 11, 2016

the last two weeks

This is what the boy and I have been doing for the last two weeks. We really are making progress. Ups and downs, but progress. What a sweet little boy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

we love trucks

Surely there is nothing more adorable than a little boy who gets excited as the mail is delivered.

"It's the mail bus!"

oh, yes it is.

Monday, February 8, 2016

"what happened to my parents?" - a post by the boy

Just two weeks ago my parents and I had a robust relationship. They read me books, played dinosaur, helped me find my trucks 10 times a day, and mom took me shopping multiple times a week (I love shop-ping!) but recently everything has changed.

They have taken away my diapers and insisted that I wear these underwear things. Don't they know they get wet? And when they get wet, so do my pants and socks! Talk about uncomfortable.

But I can't wear them all the time, no, multiple times a day I have to take them off and sit on a small green chair with a hole in it. Sometimes they read me stories there, or let me watch videos on the phone, but sometimes they look sadly at me, and sigh heavily. They also try to feed me M&Ms there, but how many M&Ms does a boy really need?

And now the only thing they talk about is the potty. "Do you have to go to the potty?" "Come sit on the potty." "I'm so proud of you for using the potty." "It's time to use the potty."

When do things get back to normal?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

girls and boys

Many years ago we got some fine socks for Babs, with grippers on the bottom, that stayed up, were just the right weight; frankly, I loved them. While they are "girl" socks, with their scalloped edges, cupcakes and butterflies designs, they are not pink with glitter. I almost didn't let the boy wear them, even though they were in good condition, until I thought, I would have totally put my girls in boy socks that were still usable. Let's be fair here.

And given his older sisters, the boy loves Anna and Elsa (Frozen), barbies, and dolls, and has no problem with pink. He may, but not yet. (He also loves cars, trucks, and "hulk smash." He just came that way.)

I spent effort with the girls making sure they were exposed to things that society labels as for boys or girls. It is actually harder to be equally mindful for my son. At least now I am expected to tell my girls they can be anything. The expectations for my little man are not as wide.

The other day I found myself shying away from a book to read to him, concerned that he wouldn't enjoy it because the main character was a girl. WHAT?!? my brain shouted, you've never worried that your girls couldn't relate to a boy! and so I read the book anyway.

I am frustrated that despite my best efforts through my life, that these stereotypes of what girls and boys can do have sneaked into my mind anyway. I carefully walked a tightrope today to maintain his interest in the fireman rainboots, not the pink flower rainboots. I refused to use as an excuse "those are for girls." (That would have been extra ironic given that I had just bought a set of spiderman boots for her older sister.)

I just want them to be able to be who they want to be (ideally that would also be who I want them to be).

day three

No dirty underwear today. There were two (three?) reasons for this:

1) Between helping a friend with a life crisis and nap time (plus playing in the rain time), he spent a lot of the day in diapers. I kind of feel like I'm shooting myself in the foot with this choice, but I'm also not clear how to work around it.

2) When I tried to get him back out of diapers at the end of the day he just yelled "No, no, no!" and I didn't have the emotional strength to fight back.

3) When he wasn't actually wearing diapers, he wouldn't wear underwear either. He went commando under his pants.

But, when he had no diaper, and no underwear, he was successful at getting all his business in the potty.

I am now praying for him to have a change of heart and desire to wear underwear. It is clear that he can handle it when he chooses too.
(Look- all the children have rain boots that fit and have no holes. It's a miracle! and fun... if only my winter boots that I chose to wear yesterday didn't have holes in them, it would have been a great afternoon. But my feet got really wet.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

diapers are not forever

Three weeks ago the boy wouldn't put a diaper on in the afternoon, and instead wandered the house with no pants. I asked if he wanted underwear and a potty, he answered yes. So a very happy husband (who's wanted to do this for about nine months) took his son out to Target to buy a little potty and some underwear, with "dinosaurns". Except that wasn't a good week to start. And the next week the girls had early release every day. The week after that was no school because of the storm. I told myself: once they are back in school, we're doing this!

Why am I so reluctant? Babs. We first tried when she was 2 years 4 months (aug 2012 if you want a refresher of good stories). Then we potty trained her on an off for years. We'd start and stop, and start and stop... It was then that I learned she was truly unbribe-able (which is, yeah, a good thing, but still, I needed her to take the bribe!). At her parent teacher conferences for preschool (age 4 1/2), the teachers mentioned she'd had two accidents (in three months). I replied, "I know! Isn't that awesome?!" And with new perspective they cheered along with me. (A shout out to my fellow home preschool teachers, who let me send a partially potty trained girl to their house in underwear many times.) I just can't handle that again.

So I put off training the boy. And I've fully informed my husband that if this doesn't take quickly, I'm shelving the project for another few months.

BUT- Yesterday, Day 1, he had two accidents, and both of those were my fault, because I let him go too long without putting him on the potty. We have five pairs of underwear, we finished the day with 2 left over. (Yet, his diaper from his nap was VERY wet, so obviously he was holding some in.)

Day 2, he's had more accidents (largely because of the 16 ounces of water he drank while the girls did gymnastics), no left over underwear today. But, he also successfully did #1 and #2. He insists on emptying his potty into the toilet. He was happy at the end of the day. He even happily told me about his accident, and showed me the cloth he used to clean it up. (I had to do some touch up work.)

It's entirely possible that he will be in a good place by the end of the week. I am trying so hard not to sabotage this by my ambivalence to the process. Diapers are so easy..., but, as our book says, diapers are not forever. And maybe, just maybe, they'll be out of our life very soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

consider the source

I have recently taught the girls how to check the temperature on my iPhone, hoping to reduce arguments from Babs about when a winter coat was necessary.

One morning they determined it was 31 degrees, which I told them was cold, and certainly coat weather.

Later that afternoon, Kiddo announced to me, "I think your phone is wrong."

I asked for more details.

"My friend told me that it was 29 degrees this morning, so I think your phone is wrong."

I really didn't know where to start. That the difference between 29 and 31 is trivial, and could be from time or place of measurement, but would not actually influence whether or not she needed a coat? No, there was a bigger problem.

"So, you're telling me that you believe your 8 year old friend over the weather channel, that is run by people who have studied for years about how to understand weather?"


I didn't want to teach her to distrust her friends, but the more my brain caught up with the situation, the more I was less irritated and more desperate.

"There will be times that you hear things at school that don't match what we you know from home," I told her. "First, I want you to talk to me about it. Second, you should always assume what you learned at home is true, until we can figure it out."

I hope she was listening.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

their electronic life

My mom sent a text to the boy, after he wanted to facetime with her, and she was unavailable.

I have often been reluctant to share text messages to my children, wondering how on earth they could understand the idea of a message being passed from one of us to the other so quickly.

Then I thought, I never explained a plate to them, I just used the word of something that was clearly part of their life until they put the item and the label together. Same with phone call. A text for them is like a phone call for me when I was little. Just a part of life.


Yesterday when I was trying not to be a dragon for my kids (my husband was off the hook because he was making dinner), Babs replied "She can't be a dragon, she can only be the woman who looks at her phone." Ouch.

In my defense, I was reading an ebook. But is that really better than browsing the internet in how it looks to my kids? Also in my defense, we'd had two extra little people at our house all afternoon (an early release day) so I was a little frazzled. I also wasn't currently on my phone, but trying to set the table. After allowing enough of a gap that she wouldn't know that comment was what changed my mind, I was (briefly) a dragon.

In my attempts to find the right balance of how much time to be electronically engaged around my children, clearly in the last few days I've missed the mark.

Monday, January 18, 2016

the neck squeeze

The problem with not blogging consistently is that I don't know what I've covered and not.

So first a memory: when the boy was very small, he would cover his eyes and suck his thumb. Adorable. And hysterical.  Here's a good shot:

Then as he got bigger, he stopped covering his eyes, and instead started burying his head in my neck, so his face wouldn't show. Here he is last winter, at a friend's house. He didn't open his eyes the entire time we were there, but did hold his hand out for a donut when he heard the bag rustle. He ate it with his eyes closed.

And for a season he grabbed his neck and sucked his thumb.

And then it was his armpit, which was really funny.I don't think I ever got a picture of that, though I tried.

And now his comfort item of choice is... our neck (mine or my husband's, whoever is holding him).
Head on shoulder (sometimes facing out, sometimes facing in) with hand firmly there. Sometimes he squeezes a little. He used to squeeze a lot, but it hurt so we convinced him to be gentle.

The other day a friend was saying something to me, then stopped mid sentence to laugh, "I just noticed you were being strangled."

I really don't notice any more; it's what he does. As I said to her, "Yeah, it's weird, but I know I'll miss it when it goes away."

Then there's the story my husband told me. He puts the boy to bed most nights. The other night the boy was very restless. He tried to climb down from the chair they were rocking in, he tried to climb off, and finally just sank down as low as he could on my husband's lap to protest the going to bed. Then suddenly the Boy's hand shot up, grabbed my husband's neck, squeezed for a bit, then he quickly fell asleep.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

I was looking for some pictures...

... to text my brother-in-law for Christmas. I thought one of my two poorly shot Christmas pictures would be appropriate.

I opened my camera roll to this:

This is only one of many series of the same subject.

(A note about selfies... When Kiddo was asked at the beginning of 1st grade to draw a selfie, she drew a full body shot, because she didn't know what a selfie was (she does now). Babs clearly understands the selfie spirit.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

family home evening success story

(Note the title is singular, I'm not anticipating this again any time soon.)

After yet another disheartening night of Babs being crazy while we tried to read scriptures as a family, and this sending her parent off the rails, when all was quiet my husband and I brainstormed how we could change things. Although we made no decisions, I mentioned I thought we should use a paper Book of Mormon (as opposed to the digital ipad version) so we could point to the words and Babs could follow along.

On Monday, we finally sat down for FHE at 7, which is yes, bedtime. So I wasn't expecting great things. But we got them.

First my husband led a discussion about how we keep the Sabbath Day holy. My favorite moment was when he reminded them that we don't go to stores or restaurants on Sunday. He asked them why not. Babs was sure she had the answer.

(I paraphrase, but not much.) It's to show Heavenly Father that we are thankful for what we have. We show him we don't need more food and we don't need more things, but that we have enough so we don't go get any more.

Wow. We both told her what a great answer that was.

Second, after the lesson we read scriptures. We pulled out a paper Book of Mormon, and sat Babs on her daddy's lap. She read most of her portion by herself. She even read the word "vineyard." (Yes, we're in Jacob 5. And will be forever.) And then she read for part of my turn.

Finally, as she was getting ready for bed, I had her kneel down to pray. She started on her own, giving thanks that she could finally read the Book of Mormon by herself.

the animal in the house

Although the choice was to sit in the car while running errands in the freezing cold with mom or watch TV cuddled up with dad, the boy chose to come with me in the car. As I scooped him out of the car to run into the house (he of course was only wearing jammies with a blanket poorly thrown around his shoulders) he put his arms tight around my neck and his legs tight around my waist.

"Are you my little monkey?" I teased.

"No!" he laughed.

Knowing that he is sensitive about his status as a boy (and sometimes a baby), I continued "Are you my little boy?"


"My baby?"

"No, am porupyne!" he replied with a laugh.

"Wait, did you just say you were my porcupine?" I asked him.

"Yes!" he gleefully called out.

So right now, he's my porcupine... unless you ask, then "am monkey!"... unless you ask, then "am porupyne!"

Saturday, January 9, 2016

yay at the dentist

Took these beauties to the dentist last week (clean dental bill of health!). As the dentist caught me up to speed at the end, he mentioned how much he likes to see their names on his schedule for the day. He gets excited about Kiddo, because he chose that name for his daughter and loves to see it in use. And Babs makes him smile because she is so clearly her own girl: fitted out in batman shirts and spiderman shoes.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

prayer police

Often as we bless the food, each of us just clasps our hands, instead of folding our arms. But the Boy has learned from nursery (yay nursery, we love nursery) that one should fold their arms. So while we pray, he corrects us one by one. "No, not that way daddy, like this," until he improves his form, then on to me, then the girls.

This morning, as he quietly insisted "Like this [Kiddo]" throughout the entire prayer, I was reminded of another prayer police. Except when Babs was the enforcer quiet words were never enough.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


For the last three days, it's been below freezing when we took the girls to school. (Drastic, considering we were wearing shorts for Christmas.) The boy insists on bringing his "helmit" when we go out. "Your mittens?" "Yes." (He also uses them when he can convince me to go outside in the backyard.)

Except they're not really mittens. They are ornaments, gifts from my husband's grandma that come with money and chocolate (thank you!). But they fit, and keep his fingers warmish. And he loves them.

Monday, January 4, 2016

in pursuit of fairness

Won't the boy be sad when all the kids are grown up and we know all about the girls when they were adorable toddlers, and nothing about him, because I just didn't make the time to blog? Yeah, I think it will be sad too. So, at least tonight, I am trying to rectify the situation.

(He's not naked, he just looks it. He has a diaper on, and socks.)

He can really talk now, sort of. He speaks in sentences, with most of the words there. I understand a good deal of it. (His dentist asked if his thumb sucking was interfereing with his talking, which I thought was a weird question to ask a mom who's primary responsibility right now is to understand, no matter how anything is said.) And other people understand a lot too.

His cars go "gro-shee shop-ping." I love it. He is obsessed with "Bob the builder," and when you ask him if he can do something for you, he replies "I sink so" [I think so] just like the truck on the show.

It is important for him to do as much as possible "by self!" which includes serving himself dinner. And he wants a little of absolutely everything: every sauce, every condiment, every dish. If it's being served he wants some. Then he eats almost none of it. There are a few exceptions, but mostly he just doesn't eat dinner. (Although he has tried some in the last two days.)

(Grabbing the shot for his dad's birthday.)

Ever since we got home from Texas for Thanksgiving, when he slept on the floor, he has been less than impressed with his crib. But he is so good, that he keeps using it. But at the end of each nap or night, we are called to get him with "get me out here!"

This weekend we picked up a hand-me-down toddler bed (which we're missing some of the parts to, but that's another story), so I promised him that today he would sleep in the bed. Which we can't put together. So I moved his mattress to the floor. Nap was skipped (although he obediently stayed in his room for an hour), but he's asleep there now. We'll see how this works out.

He wants Kiddo to play with him all the time. "E, play with me," he asks.

Often as I'm making dinner he'll ask me to do something. "I can't" I reply. "Oh, how 'bout [person of choice]?" he'll suggest. I encourage him to have that person help. Kiddo is fabulous about reaching out to him. Babs wants to, but also wants to have her own way, push him around, never have him touch her things, and to touch all of his things, especially whatever he's using right then, so their interactions are a little more complicated.

 He loves to play outside. Except there are some neighborhood cats that are often outside, and he is petrified of those cats. So he won't play outside by himself. "Do flow-fels?" he asks me if he wants to head out. The words he's saying are "do flowers?" The suggestion he's providing is I can weed the sandbox/pool footprint, while he does trucks. I say yes as often as I can.

Today he found a plastic golf club carrier that has seen better days. He thinks it's a vacuum, and says "do zum-zum?" Every time I asked him to put it down he said "zum-zum for more mimutes."

He's fantastic. Really.