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.