Monday, September 20, 2010

How children wake up.

This morning I woke to the dulcet tones of my youngest.  She woke up to her fathers alarm, which I did not hear.  I could tell that because the sleep clogged form of my husband loomed in the door way.   "I will get her"  I said. 

"Oh"  He said, pausing.  "that's good."  As he went into the bathroom, the releif evident in his shoulders.  We've been fighting a family cold.  My dose is the slimmest, but I'm also dealing with all the sick-o's and sleep deprivation.  Hence, my being up to get the morning call made his morning easier; that and tylenol.

"Thank you dear"  I said as I carried her gift into the living room.  It was my husbands camera, almost identical to Nahnis, save the lack of a swanky strap.  Rolling my eyes I set it up out of easy reach.  The siren in the other room was at "Get me now" levels.  When I picked her up, Nyobi at my heels, she immediately started giggling.  The younger two jumped up and down and tried to help me make milks and coffee.  They helped me fold up the futon.  They insisted upon snuggling with me, and then tickled each other on my lap.  This is how they wake up.  Fast easy and ready to go!  They have no tolerance for my clueless stumbling.

A half hour later, my eldest floats out of the bedroom on a cloud of sleep fog.  She shifts back and forth finally resting on the futon.  She climbs up next to me and sits side ways.  

"Morning"  I say.
"Mmmmm"  She says.  Then she realizes she is sitting on her blanket.  She pulls on the edge of it.  It will not move.  She shifts her weight, and pulls harder. Before either of us can react, she flips herself off the edge of the futon, as the blanket pops free.  In a stunned heap on the floor she begins to pout.  I have to lift her back up on the futon.

This is how I wake up.  My husband has learned (he tells me through survival instinct)  how to cope.  Offer the morning beverage of choice and back off until they start talking. 

Where IS my coffee?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dinner and a Doughnut

Today at Meijers, my eldest managed to figure out how to employ the pouty face with the correct social interactions.  First she asked why I didn't let her take Magic blanket into the store if the OTHER girl they met who was older than her could have her stuffed kitty.  Then she stared longingly into the doughnut case as I tried to whisk them past it.  Then she said with a slight pouty face,  "I've never had a red doughnut before." 

That was all.  She just stood and stared.  A few minutes later there were four doughnuts (one red, one containing a Bee acceptable worm, one Anya sparkly and one chocolate chocolate) in a box in the cart.  My willpower and reason were abandoned in the face of self restraint and non-bugginess.

We brought them home, along with the milk that we were supposed to buy.  I unloaded them from the car, and designated the donut box to Cora.  Our new place requires a few yard hike from the car port to our door.  The doughnuts arrived with very little frosting smeared off considering they were flipped twice and tossed willy nilly onto the kitchen table.  I quickly seated small ones and plated doughnuts.  Cora received her whole pie, as well as Bee, whose appetite at lunch lacked her usual vigor.  Anya, who consumed copious amounts of hummus for so small a child, I gave a quarter of a chocolate sprinkled special.  I had no intention of allowing her the entire doughnut.  There was no way she could fit the whole thing in her stomach, and if she tried to, she would probably return some of it early. 

Then I made my first mistake.  I put the milk away without consuming my own doughnut.  As I walked back into the room, my elder children fled back to their seats, and my own doughnut and Anya's remaining three quarters had several large chunks missing.  Admonishing them to stay seated I took a few bites, and slipped off to the bath room. 

That was my second mistake.  They DID listen, and only ate their own doughnut.  In fact, my own sweet stood temptingly upon my plate when I returned.  However, Anya's plate was empty. "What happened to Anya's doughnut?"  I asked. 

"She couldn't reach it, so I gave it to her."  Cora explained.  At this comment, the sugar high, chocolate smeared one year old smiled.  I re-assessed my opinion of her stomach cavity, and reminded myself not to put any pressure on her abdomen while holding her over carpet.

"Done!"  Anya said,  waving a frosting and sprinkle covered palm, then pausing, she stared at the center of her hand.  She licked it, giggled and reached for her hair. 

Nobody ate much at dinner tonight. 

As for that special red frosting, for the girl whom adores red,  it tastes "scrumptious, like cherry tomatoes." 

Glad I had the chocolate on chocolate, cherry tomato flavored frosting sounds just a bit odd to me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Games Infants Play

Anyas new favorite games include peek-a-boo, ambulence siren and mountain goat.  All children must play these games, and I am certain my elder two did their fair share of peek-a-boo.  However, the penetrating noises at volumes expected of megaphone enhanced speakers are singular to my third.  She will make you deaf.  I have noticed an impairment to my elder twos hearing already.  No wait, that is normal child behavior.

It is the game of Mountain Goat which is aging me the quickest.  She insists upon climbing everything.  While moving into our new place, she managed to reach the apex of a computer monitor, attempt to position herself on the bar (from the floor via the futon)  and stand on the childrens rocker.  I would not mind her interest in the child size rocking chair, if she would just put her butt down on it.  yesterday I watched her attempt to stand on the arms, to reach something on the book shelf. 

At eleven months, she already managed to sit on top of the kitchen table, proud as punch.  When I walked into the room she did what every brave shnookie attempting to grey their mothers head would do.  She stood up and took a couple tremulous steps across the flat surface. 

Upon finding herself hugged sharply and deposited on the safe fluffy carpeted floor she smiled at me.  Then she crawled back to the bottom of the high chair to try it again. 

The games infants play are why parents drink.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Week with a Dog

After spending a week with a dog in the house, my youngest learned many new skills.  At the end of a meal, she now joins her sisters in a chorus of "Done".  She also politely tosses her surplus off the edge of her tray.  Poor Sammy is probably going to have a tummy ache after all the childrens bits they fed him "accidentally"  and his job cleaning up thier usual surplus left in the high chairs. 

The real problem comes in differentiation though.  If Nanis pet loves leftovers then our pet must as well.  Our cat Bombay views small chunks of chicken hurled at her not as a blessing, but as lava fire balls from hell. 

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shopping with children

At the bulk discount grocery store I frequent, the sales man who checked us out gave me a great deal.  He sold me a free toddler with the box of diaper wipes and a free infant with the box of diapers.  I asked him how much I owed for my four year old, and he shrugged,  "She comes as a bonus with the vodka."  Before I could close my mouth I had said it.  "Thats how we got her in the first place!"

Then there is the farm market.  Nyobi beat Cora for the most produce procured because of nibbling.  she added two salad cucumbers, one zuccini, one banana pepper and a hand full of blue berries to my fruits and vegis.  I have to admit though, that it feels awesome to walk through the market with two cucumber munching children.  It felt even better today when we passed the Mom of the child crying for cookies, and my kids didn't even look at the confections. 

Here is another parenting blunder that we encountered today.  There were two separate parents using their cell phones to entertain their children, one with precisely the same phone that I have.  Perhaps I should have shown them the pointed impact that Nyobi made on my phone.  Then again, I doubt they would have believed it.  To finish off our marathon shopping trip, Anya decided she wanted to drive the car home after I was done nursing.  Being a Mom, I'm certain she said "drive!"  when she grabbed the wheel.  Is it too soon to move to Mackinaw Island?  They do not have cars there. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Learning to Speak

Helping three small children learn to speak creates some interesting moments.  Dinner last night was punctuated by Cora repeating one by one all the bad words she has learned in English, waiting for the reaction and then repeating the suggested substitutes.  This is advanced language. 

Nyobi is learning enunciation.  Removing her nuky from her mouth creates three or four words distinguishable sentences.  "Ice Cube Please Mom"  is one of my favorite. "I like coffee, MMMM"  is another.

My favorite is Anya though.  She can say Mama.  "Caaa" for Cora.  "Kiii" for Kitty.   "NNNNN"  for nyobi, and "IEAAAIE" for Dad.   Right now she is saying "WAAAH  punctured by "YAAAAA"  because I'm not holding her.   Laptop time has ended. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Exiting an Age

Yesterday I started the process of clothing shifting.  Most people change over their clothes in the spring and fall to match the season they are about to enter.  I am changing them in accord with life seasons rather than the four seasons of the year.  I took down the changing table, put away the baby burp cloths, and removed all the 0-3 months and 3-6 months clothes from the room.  I threw in recieving blankets, infant bath supplies and the bumper set that now only serves as a foot boost towards escape.

As my "going" pile grew, I realized that this was the exit of an age.  Next time I went through the room I would be removing the rest of the infant-esque clothes and putting toddler wear in the drawers.  As I found the small anklets that my three daughters wore home from the hospital, I felt a pang of remorse.  It is a very sacred gift to be able to create life.  To carry a child under your heart, and prepare a safe haven for it to emerge and begin life.  It is a gentle gift to care and nurture a newborn. 

Then Anya smiled up at me from a pile of stained clothes whose destination was the trash heap.  There were two teeth and a wad of indistinguishable paper in the smile.  As I reached over a pile of diapers to remove the mashed up pulp, my remorse vanished.  As if to hammer the point home, my elder two children started to bicker from the living room. 

I might be exiting an age, but we are entering a life of constant adventure.  Now I must nurture these small beings with my mind and heart not just my body.     There would be new mysteries rather than the mystery of babies.

For instance, what WAS this wad of paper before it was gummed up?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Uncle Beers Playground

At Uncle Beers house, his community has a play ground area.  You have to jump across a small creek to get to it.  Whomever built this does not have children.  it took a lot of planning to cross the creek without anyone getting wet. 

At the playground, we met several other parents, all of whom were pleasant and chatty.  it was a nice change from our usual sulky parents we end up meeting.  They shook hands and compared childrens ages.  After they learned I was the visitor they were still pleasant.  Their uncle was distracted by the hot Mom of the group.  He was also very concerned over Nyobi. 

"She's deaf"  he concluded after listening to me scream at her and she failing to respond in the slightest. 

Nothing I said could convince her otherwise, and floating in her own little world, she was happy to maintain toddler "deafness".  I tried the other approach.  "She choses not to hear me."  I told him,  "call her yourself"

Of course, Nyobi didn't respond to that either. 

But on the walk home, a plane flew over.  "Plane!"  Bee mouthed,  pointing up to the dot in the sky. 

"What?"  Steffen said, then looked where she was pointing.  "I guess you aren't deaf after all." 

No,  she's not deaf.  She is two, and at a cool play ground.  Not quite as cool as the house with the fridge that gives you ice cubes by pressing a button, but its up there.  Note to self,  do not invest in ice cube dropping fridge.

Monday, June 28, 2010

When all is quiet

When all is quiet during the day, I get suspicious.  Today there was a good cause.  Anya was napping in her crib.  Bee was asleep in my chair.  However, Cora whom usually siezes upon these naptimes to induce direct Mom attention was far too quiet.  I went to the kitchen to check on her craft project she needed her scissors for earlier.  She was not there, but her scissors were.

I found her in her room, playing quietly.  Cora is not a playing quietly child.  My suspicions were confirmed when she said "I'm sorry about the hair." 

"What hair?"  I asked. 

She reached up and pulled a few wisps of hair on her forhead.  "It was in my eyes and you would not help me find the salon.  They cut hair at the salon, and you do too for Bee and Daddy, but it was just in my eyes..."  She really was remorseful.  "You make it look nice...and easy..."

She really was remorseful, probably more so because the Cora self cut was so dramatic.  It took me thirty minutes to even it out enough and hide the damage.   When will I learn that when Cora says bangs I should just cut them?

Why is it that in the middle of her Mom hair cut I asked with growing horror "You did not cut Bees did you?"

Thank God she did not.

I breathed in hair fuzz and can not stop coughing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lunch a la Children

Incidently,  if you act like buggs bunny and chew carrots, your children will spend the next twenty minutes nibbling away and hopping around the kitchen.  I must find some Popeye the sailor man cartoons.  Then my spinache souffle will dissappear in the right place.

Lunch for children is no different than lunch for adults, only it comes with a side of complaint.  Evidently my kids will not eat open faced sandwiches.  Anya does not want help getting her egg salad sandwich nuggets in her mouth.  Why should she want assistance when she can make a big mess doing it herself.  Oh, and now Cora will only eat red peppers and Nyobi will only eat green. I would threaten to buy yellow, orange and purple peppers the rest of the summer, but then neither will eat them because they are not their perspective colors.  I feel like I'm in fashion color pepper school.

Complaint;  my daily side dish at lunch.  But in all fairness my children will comment happily about food.  For instance last night my Husband made dinner in a snap.  This consisted (wisely)  of mac n cheese, noodles (for the cheeseless), saurcraut and hot dogs.  Cora tasted her small portion of saurcraut after her complaint about it was rejected for "non-tasting".  She looked at me and her Dad and said "MMMMMMM,  this is delicious!  This is one of the most delicious things I ever have eaten." 

Surprisingly we fell for the trap.  When she cleared her plate the heap of pickled cabbage was still there, untouched since the tasting.  She didn't like it,  but she learned the fine art of cover lie ing.  I am so proud and so irritated at the same time.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Voluntary and involuntary muscles and brains

One of the odder things I purchased over the years was an anatomy and physiology coloring book for adults.  It has all the line drawings from cellular structure up to entire organ systems.  I patiently colored the first few chapters and learned names and characters before losing interest while discussing nerve synapsis's and trying to learn chinese cooking techniques.  One of those hobbies is tastier than the other. 

In an effort to show Cora why Nyobi might look a little like Dad but was NOT a boy, I pulled out the book and flipped to the scientific line drawings.   The coloring book aspect made it very attractive to her.  After talking about boys and girls differences, we talked about the skeleton.  I faithfully read all the bone names, and we actually made a large cardboard skeleton and wrote them on the back of the bones.  What a great halloween decoration. 

I figured that the complex latin words washed right over Coras head until I touched my collarbone in the car and refered to it by the laymans term.  "Its the Clavecal"  sounded from the back seat. Some of it stuck. 

Today  while I was throwing breakfast together, she asked for the coloring book.  We usually do some learning stuff at the table, but I was surprised by this request.  "the one with the skeleton in it Mom"  We read through muscles and organs and the nervous system.  Some names came up, like the heart arteries and veins, ligaments, tendons and cells.  We mostly talked in concepts.  Muscles are like rubber bands, they can be either voluntary and involuntary.  Nervous system carries thoughts from the central place (brain) to the tips of the fingers.  As I flipped through pages she stopped me and points to a squiggly picture. 

"Thats a brain mom!  I have a brain, and its right here (pointing to her temple)  in my skull." 

Yes you do have a brain darling,  and I am going to have to read the fine print in my coloring book at the rate we are going, because it is super active and absorbing things like a little sponge. Those girls have involuntary brains,  they can not seem to stop learning.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The dangers of a shared sewing room

This last Christmas, Santa brought my eldest the gift of her dreams; a children's sewing machine.  She adores the incredibly badly made pile of junk.  I adore it!  It makes her feel active without her little fingers getting into my big machine.  We go down together to "sew" which really includes her liberally distributing needles, material scraps and other fru fru around the sewing room, while I try and ward the cat off the material I am cutting.

Today we went down for some shared sewing time.  After removing my foot from the pedal of my serger, I stepped on a needle.  I did a good job of stepping on the needle.  As I lifted my foot, non-child freindly words pouring from my mouth, I found only about half an inch of the barb sticking out of the pad.  The other inch or so was wedged straight in.  It hurt!

"Are you okay?"  Cora asked.

"Damn!"  I said to myself, realizing I was going to have to pull the needle out myself.  "yes sweety!"  I said to cora.  "I just stepped on a needle and it hurts."  My "nnnnn"  as I removed it was not nearly as elegant, but at least Cora would not recieve a second litany of bad words.  Maybe,  I thought to myself, she was not paying attention and did not hear the first installment.

"I could tell it hurt."  Cora said sagely.  "Because you said all sorts of unfriendly words."

So much for that.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Just an update...nothing more.

Nature Girl #2

Nyobi was playing in the toilet when I walked into the bathroom.  That is the only reason I can think of why Cora set up the water pitcher on the floor.  I arrived just in time to watch her squat over it and poop into the container.  She successfully figured out that toilets are not the only place that you can "do your business".  I am sort of impressed, but not really happy.  All hail nature girl!

Talking Bee

Nyobi is talking but not necessarily using the words that you want her to.  We've been trying to get her to say Please when she wants something.  The other day she wanted an ice cube.  She would just stand, point at the freezer and whine.  I told her to say ice cube please.  She didn't.  she just said ice cube and then started forcing out crocodile tears.

"Please, say Please, Bee" 

"No.  ice cube  waaaaaa"

"Say Please."


"Say I would like"


I gave a deep sigh, realizing that it would come with time.  "Say jalopy then."  I threw out. 


We purchased a small lot of fireworks to celebrate Memorial day with.  I am a weird person.  I like to remember the fallen with acts of joy rather than tears.  We sat outside on the steps and lit them off.  the first few were beautiful colored fountains.  The girls loved them, even Anya was happy with them.  the third one had a loud whistle chamber in it.  When it went off, all the girls jumped.  Anya clung to my arm, burying her face in my shirt,  Cora gripped my leg, and Bee's eyes lit up with delight. 

"Whoa"  said Cora.  "That was very so loud!" 

Bee was clapping excitedly. 

Anya wasn't so sure about the rest of the show.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Plate Envy

Anya is a peculiar eater.  She reacted poorly to oatmeal and milk products.  She reacted poorly to breastmilk when I ate oatmeal and milk products.  She likes baby pea puree but not pears.  She loves carrots but not the texture.  Recently her food preferences have fallen into the "little to nothing" catagory.  Frustrated on Friday I handed over a slice of french bread in an attempt to at least get her to pretend to eat something. 

Guess what?  She loves french bread.  She whined when I took the soggy chewy crust away. 

Yesterday she refused to eat bananas and sweet potatos.  I was eating chinese fried rice.  She wanted that instead.  Handfuls of rice later,  I moaned quietly in prayer that the Chinese restaurant didn't use any substances to cause Allergy Anya to erupt.  This was not the first time I just gave in, nor my spouse either.
There was some stew she got from Pete, and a couple pieces of french toast until the spoil sport mother pointed out that maple syrup should not be fed to babies. 

It is sad but true.  My seven month old has plate envy.  If its YOUR dinner, she wants it.  Unfortunately, two teeth and tiny tongues are really not ready for chewing up calories.  There is only one solution.

My food should go in the baby jars, and hers on a plate!  The bonus of this program is that I would lose a lot of weight quickly.  Six ounces of space is not very much. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Foam Swords

Yes, I bought my two elder children foam swords.  No, I am not crazy.  I got tired of getting sword fought by overenthusiastic fencers with wooden blades, dowels and sticks.  Foam is softer, squishier and doesn't leave a mark. 

Of course, beating up on eachother gets boring quickly.  While sitting and reading my news, I hear from the bedroom.  "Lets go beat up Mom!" 

"Da!"  says Nyobi.  

I look up to see two small musketeers charging down the hallway.  They attack amidst the screams of their victim.  "Don't step on Anya she's at my feet!  Be careful of Anya!  AAAAAAAAH!" 

I peak out between foam whaps to see what the smallest girl is up to.  Just her head is visible, but the older two girls are avoiding her body.  I go back to my dramatic cries for mercy!  "Quit teaming up on me!"  I add. 

"Anya SAVE me!"  I continue. 

Thats when I feel it.  "OUch!"  

I grab both swords to stop the onstaught and pear down at Anya.  She smiles at me, slobber leaking out of her mouth and proceeds to bite my toe again. 

Foam swords don't protect you from every danger. 

How can three on one be fair?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Strange Conversations

Yesterday I married two lego people.  I talked about where Gods Garden is, and our job to take care of each other.  I also said  "Please don't eat the garbage can."  and "What did you do with the clothes you were wearing?" 

When you have children, your conversations are often strange and discombobulated with minor distractions.  Sometimes though they are so to the point that they make your heart ache.  Today I witnessed Cora attempting to kill a large fly on my window, with a thirsty stone coaster.  It attracted my attention because of the loud clang the first attempt made. 

"Don't do that!"  I yelled.  Then calmed down a bit. 

"Why?"  she asked impudently. 

"Because the stone will break the window." 

"But its a BIG BUG"  She said. 

"Yes."  I said.  "But it will nto hurt you as much as broken glass.  Beleive me.  Mommy did that once."

Of course I was using a baseball bat and it was a giant mosquito.  She killed it with her hand instead. 

Why am I still imagining her hand through the glass?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Nature Girl Strikes!

Because of an exceptionally pleasant road trip back from Ludington, we stopped at a rest area. It had scenic overlooks. After we finished making certain Anya was not dieing from some horrible disease (like her constant "bunny in pain" pitched wails broadcast) we relieved some stress by hiking to the overlook.

At the very end of the hike, ten minutes from our car, the restrooms and probably my sanity, Cora announced that she had to pee. "Can you hold it?" I asked.

"No." She answered.

Being a country camping girl, I took a deep breath, handed off the smallest one and proceeded to educate my daughter in the squat/hold position. Once correctly postured and informed, she decided she could not go. She repositioned her outfit and started to hike back to the car.

Not ONE minute later my husband says "look at Cora!" I turn just as she announces. "Gee! I really had to pee after all."

Peeing in the woods is difficult for girls, and a useful skill for you children to know. We praised her. I praised her to my Mom at lunch the next day also.

As the girls played outside and we sat and talked, my Mom interupted me. "She's showing off."

Sure enough there was Cora demonstrating these new skills in the middle of the yard. "Well," I said, turning back to the table. "it was bound to happen."

"Um," My Mom said. "She's not done."

I'm so blessed to have children who make it necessary for me to poop scoop my yard.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


As Nyobi grows, her personality exerts itself.  She is definitely a unique character.  She lives with reckless abandon, but she also lives in her own world.  She will phase out and stare at an ant colony for ten minutes, barely moving a muscle.  Then the next moment she zips sideways and finds the only puddle deep enough to soak her sneakers.

Last evening, we asked her to go get her blanket and lovey out of her room.  She took a couple steps down the hallway, tiptoe hopped faster for the length and then paused in front of the mirror at the end.  Cocking her head to one side, she spoke to her reflection, gave it a blown kiss, then flopped over on the ground.  She lay there on her back, arms crossed on her chest, humming to herself for over a minute. 

"What are you doing?"  Her dad asked when she turned to look at him. 

"Daddy!"  she said then,  and raced down the hallway to give him a hug.  I went and retrieved her lovey and blanket. 

I really want to know what goes on inside her head,  but I am afraid mine will explode in an overabundance of butterflies.  They will float out with all my thoughts for the last ten years. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sharing Toys

Slowly but surely we are learning to share toys.  I look forward to the day when I go in to check on the elder two and find them sharing Coras loft bed.  Mostly it would give me warm fuzzy feelings because both of them are asleep. 

Nyobi is learning to share too.  In Nyobis case, she is also learning to not share.  Not sharing must be one of those things they do not write about in baby books because they want the human race to continue to procreate.

Not Sharing goes something like this;  Cora is playing with her pink rubber snake.  She sets it down for a moment to adjust its pillow.  Nyobi grabs it and takes off down the hallway giggling hilariously. 

This game is only fun until Cora loses interest.  Then Nyobi sets down the object and searches for the next great thing to not share.

Actually I wish she would stick to not sharing.  As aggravating as that game is for the other two it beats pounding your six month old on the back to dislodge the Lego head Nyobi decided to share with her. 

Congratulations Dad,  you have joined the ranks of the parents who have performed the infant Heimlich. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

I have a walker.  One of those odd contraptions that let crawling age children propel themselves around the room in a standing position.  I was informed that there is risk of death associated with it.  "The baby can propel themselves down the stair case!"  Deformity "It will corrupt their posture and they won't be able to walk properly."  and Serious injury "They can go through one leg hole and break their back!" 

Nyobi adored it.  Anya loves it.  I think it is brilliant, simply because my six feet radius infant can mush around the kitchen when I cook, but have a foot wide circle of plastic for me to bash into rather than tender little limbs.  having almost stepped on hands and feet, and pretty much body checked my elder two, extra padding is awesome.

So why does the world seem so against my baby walker?  I mean, we advocate the use of them for the infirmed (albeit without the bear print and chewy toys).  There are risks associated with every aspect of life.  The stairs are there regardless of the walker.  Posture can be ruined by bad habits as quickly as a chair.  As for injury, that is just as likely from her sisters trying to pick her up.

I am not an advocate of throwing infants in traffic, but rather a reasonable understanding of risks and benefits.  A safe world is one where we assume risks these and deal with consequences.  It is the parents job to get the legs in the right holes, not over use a baby care item, and block the stairs.  As for my walker,  the giggly Anya just grabbed the edge of the trash can, so i think responsible me must go.   

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Pigeons are Eating My Grass Seed

My two year old is "playing" a vacume part at the top of her lungs. Anya is screaming because I am typing between spoonfuls of sweet taters rather than holding the spoon in readiness while she finishes what is in her mouth. Cora wants it to be Nyobis nap time, so she is constantly telling her to go lie down.

But those do not bug me nearly as much as the pigeons who are gorging themselves on my carefully laid grass seed. I have large areas of my lawn that need coverage, and I seeded early. I thought that it would be sprouting nicely by now, but it is not. Now I see why. The early morning breakfast of a couple of trumped up game birds is ruining my lawn.

Where are all the neighborhood cats when I need them?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lesson Learned

For the last couple of weeks, Cora dominated her sister.  She covered her when she did not want to be covered.  She whacked her when Bee got in her way.  She pulled her, pushed her, and coddled and tattled on her.  I found myself repeating again and again that Bee needs space to learn her own lessons and do her own things.  I told her that hitting her sister was not the best choice.  Cora did not listen.

Today, I listened from the kitchen as Cora tried to take toys away from Bee and cover her with a blanket.  Bee whined.  I yelled into the mix, "leave her be, Cora.  She doesn't want to be covered."

Cora did not listen.

All of a sudden, my eldest appeared in the kitchen, tears streaming down her face and hands clasped over her head.  "Nyobi hit me over the head with the fife!"

"Were you still trying to cover her with her blanket after I told you not to and taking it away from her?"  I asked.

The tears were extra heavy now.  "Yes"  Cora said in a small voice and then began to wail even louder.  "She hit me!"

Inside me,  I felt very bad.  Here is my daughter standing there in pain.  I love her.  I do not want her to suffer.  On the other hand a secret possibly evil thought popped into my head.  This was an ideal lesson in how to treat others.  This was the incident that the last few weeks built towards.  I knelt down and gently reminded Cora of every injury such as this that she had done to Nyobi in the last week.  "Now, where do you think that Nyobi learned to hit someone?"

Cora gulped.  "Me..."

"So lets teach her not to hit people.  And also, Cora, you HAVE to give her space.  She can do things for herself now.  She does not need as much hands on help from Mom, Dad or Cora, okay?"


Then I kissed her owies, and went to talk to Nyobi.  I yelled at her for hitting her sister, but secretly I was elated.  My political science classes taught me that a balance of power is the most logical cause for peace.

Of course, it is also cause for mutual annihilation...

Wait,  did my children just whack each other with a fife?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Fridges and Kisses

I began purchasing the big boxes of eggs. Rather than just a dozen, these boxes hold 2 1/2 dozen eggs in a cardboard tray. Around it, a cardboard box bears all the labels. With small children, we eat a lot of eggs.

Last week, when I purchased one and slid it into the fridge, my Husband stared at it and grumbled. When I asked him to clarify, he told me he hated having to open the box and move it around to get the eggs out. To please him, I took the box and threw it out, just sliding in the tray and eggs. The tray looks good up there.

Its aesthetics vanished this morning when I walked in on my 2 year old dipping her fingers into the partially opened vegi drawer. She places them in her mouth, looks at me, says "mmmmmmm" then smacks her lips and offers me a yolky kiss. Prior to my arrival, she had cracked three readily available eggs into the vegi drawer and scrambled them with her fingers.

My fridge needed cleaning anyways. But yes, that would be why I left the eggs in the troublesome box.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

How my four year old views her world

Yesterday a friend of ours stopped over for the first time in a couple of years.  My eldest gave her a tour of the important parts of the house.  here is the list of pictures that Cora wanted to share. 

First, she showed off her room.  She wanted to show how she and Nyobi shared it.  She showed how bouncy the bed was.  It is "very so bouncy." 

Next she showed off the swing Gramma gave them that is hung on the tree in the back yard.  That is "very so fun".  She commented on the sand box, and bike and trike and wanted to play outside.

Then she commented on our modest TV.  In a world of 54"ers, she said how "very so big" it is.  It is definately not a big TV by objective standards. 

The things she showed off that I as most proud of though, were her manners.  She ate politely, didn't squirm at dinner, cleared her place, washed her hands and even initiated conversation.  She even came up with a relevant to her topic to ask our friend.  "Do you have any sisters?"   How many four year olds attempt to make polite dinner table conversation. 

She is very so wonderful! 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Summer Routine

Yesteday we drove into allegan to visit a new store, drop off books at the library, and go to the playground.  As we arrived at one of the main intersections there was a sign in the corner for an upcoming Soup Dinner.  From the back seat Coras voice rose in giddy excitement  "The FARM MARKET Mom, we can go to the FARM MARKET." 

She can't understand why we aren't planting seeds in the gardens yet either.  How my children love the summer routine.  The play ground trips, the weekly farm market mornings and the beauty of eating fresh.  It was so sad to explain to her that the farm market did not start until May. 

Why did she think of it then anyways?  The Soup Dinner sandwich board was located at precisely the same place the farm market sandwich board gets placed.  The sign was another small signal.  I never pointed it out to her before, but she remembered that a sign at that intersection and farm markets coincided. 

I am so proud of her skills of observation and reasoning, especially when exercised over time. 

In the time it took me to make this post, Anya covered her face with a blanket and Nyobi and Cora raided the cereal.  I need to feed them before I post from now on.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lilac Hideaway

The girls started to hollow out the lilac for a secret hide out.  Unfortunately hollowing out is fun too.  I must be vigilant to protect the lilacs interests or I will have several tall leafless twigs.  They will smell so lovely after hiding out in their fort.

Actually I'm quite excited by the advent of the "fort" stage of childhood.  I now know where to find things they borrow that they are not supposed to have.  I just look back in the lilac.  Without the cool secret fort, it is a bit of a challenge to find all their squirrel sites.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Morning People

Nyobi is a morning person.  I pick her up totally asleep and within five minutes she is bouncing all over the living room and her big sister.  This is a problem.  Cora is definately not a morning person.  I have never witnessed fangs on a child so young be so long or lethal.  You fork over her milk and allow her to sack out for twenty minutes at least. 

Cue problem.  Bouncy toddler sits on big sisters legs, giggling.  Big sister kicks her off, crabbing.  I can't really be upset or happy with either one of them.  I need a couple of arm chairs to seperate the morning moods. 

I also need some coffee, evil bad moods on wake up are heredity. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Beach

One of my friends showed me a play ground and beach place in South Haven, Michigan.  Aside from the pirate theme, the flat, low traffic park sits across the street from the beach bluff.  A helpfully sturdy stairway allows for immediate access down to the sand and shore.

It is April in Michigan, so after consulting the weather forecast, and seeing that the temperature would be high of seventy five, in between two days of rainstorms, and a low wind from the lake, I decided that the selling point of our adventure would be the park.  The wood play structure WAS a hit.   There were abundant swings, lots of nooks and crannies, and several steel built slides.  Several other girls appeared as well, making it the perfect play date for my eldest.  It was a treat for me as well, because the extra hands made the new place less daunting.

Then we walked down to the beach.

I know what I was like for my parents at the beach.  There is something about a giant sand box and a vast expanse of water that just calls to children.  Its a magnetic force.  I swear that both children started vibrating when they saw the slow waves lapping at the windless shore.  As we neared the bottom of the stairwell, I admonished both children, "take off your shoes but just your toes."

It was a waste of breath.  The first wave to hit my sturdy toddlers ankles and her diapered butt wumped in the water.  As we attempted to lift her back up, and steady her, she leaned forward and put her face into the next wave.  After convincing her that she must hold an adult hand and only get her toes wet, I turned around to check on Cora.

My four year old playing chicken with a wave.  The depth of the lake made her feel it was necessary for her to hold up the corners of her shorts.  This kept the outside of the leg about one half an inch further out of the water, bringing its total lull clearance to about an inch.  The wave soaked her to her neck.

The two elderly people sitting on a bench at the top of the bluff drinking coffee found my frantic search of the car for dry clothes and towel substitutes hilarious.  They were kind enough to tell me I was a good parent.  I have no idea what they thought of my patient attempts to convince Cora that clothing WAS NOT optional.

I have learned my lesson.  Even if the weather forecast says it is going to snow, taking children to the beach requires dry clothes swimsuits and towels for everyone.  Now if you excuse me, I need to go vacuum my car.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


My eldest decided to give her polly pocket a bubble bath, in a cup on the counter of the sink in the bathroom.  Unable to reach the bubble bath, she looked under the sink for a spare.  She found another white bottle and added some to the cup.  No bubbles.  She added more and stirred with a paint brush. 

I do not know when in this repetative cycle I appeared.  What I do know is that Cora was so frustrated she turned to me and said  "its NOT bubbling" then put her hands on her hips to frown at the cup.  Suddenly it dawned on her that bathing toys in cups on the sink was not an activity I usually condoned, and she looked back at me with a look of horror that said "Shoot, I'm caught."

Its frustrating when the conditioner refuses to act like bubble bath Cora.  Next time use the baby soap.

My bathroom smells like coconuts.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Children See, Children Do.

Which is why my eldest uses a napkin like her Nani, and poses with hands on hips like a miniature Chelsea or Gramma.  It also explains why I am loathed to show the girls movies with excessive teen angst, but happy to show them films with bad words and great deeds and hearts.  One of my sister in laws described it as strong female protagonists. 

Maybe thats why I'm not so worried about kissing or fighting with my husband in front of them.  I certainly don't mind breastfeeding with them around either.  My two daughters learn by seeing and doing so much, they can operate a laptop better than some of thier adult relatives. 

What I cannot figure out is why my eldest thinks clothing shopping is so much fun, and why she has such refined and peculiar fashion sense.  Would the relative responsible please step up and fork over some plastic?  I'm going to need it in about ten years when she enters the teens...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Museum Trip

I took all three children to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum yesterday.  Its mostly a science and technology museum with some small displays about collecting.  We listened to a video about how they reconstructed their mummies face.  We observed various aspects of how robots are created, and we explored natural phenomena.  Its facinating to share science with children.  It is also facinating to observe the children. 

Nyobi show attraction to words and art.  Cora likes mechanics and movement.  They both love the knights from the chess board.  Nyobi will stare in facination at displays and meander slowly.  Cora loves hands on, and is constantly moving and touching.  Anya thinks the stroller is only fun if its moving.  Then there are the random things you realize about the environment you live in. 

For instance, the collection displays that are panned out opposite a three story stair case are only worth looking at if you can press yourself against the railing above a gaping abyss, not if you are actually on the same level as them.  Similarly, two children always go in opposite directions.  Maybe that has something to do with magnetic fields. 

The fire alarm in the elevator is conveniently cute and located right at toddler eye level where as the number buttons are higher up and blank.  That, and the thrill children get from going round and round a parking garage is similar to their enjoyment of a roller coaster.   

All in all, we had a fun time, and learned some things too.  I will be opening my cliff side museum right after I figure out how to avoid liability for all the  parental heart attacks. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The "I Pooped" ballet

It started.  Three times now, Nyobi, who is not quite two exclaimed to the adult in charge "I Pooped".  On Monday she removed a wet diaper as well.  The delicate and fragerant ballet of potty training has begun.  This evening I will piroette up the stairs with the potty chair.  The magical padded big girl panties will leap off the shelves and out of the drawers like a few dozen sugar plum fairies and I will spend a messy week cleaning urine out of innumerable objects, hopefully the potty chair topping the list. 

My eldest is logical and straightforward, imagine it as the swan lake driven potty training situation.  Nyobi is a space cadet.  I have watched her get distracted by the noise the velcro on her shoes makes.  I expect this dance from diaper to throne to be filled with many Sleeping Beauty moments.  Here is to the second most frustrating lesson of childhood, just please plie over the toilet not the floor.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Modern Children.

Having just purchased a new laptop, the old one was shuffled off into the multi-use pile of computer refuse that every house with a tec nerd possesses.  Then the four year old pops up in front of us with big eyes and her "reasonable negotiating" face on.  She eyes the laptop enviously. 

"Can I use it?"  She asks. 

"It can be yours and your sisters."  We tell her. 

My four year old can plug in this laptop, turn it on, open the web browser, close out of extra stuff, use the bookmarks to find her web pages, and navigate a web page.  Cora can also distinguish when the laptop is asking her to type, and present it with letters.  That is pretty impressive.  Now if only she could put the letters in her name in the right order instead of signing things ROCA. 

We also got new phones.  They flip open and contain a mini-screen and a querty keyboard.  She explored mine yesterday and looks at me.  "These are really nice Mommy.  I think you need one more, for me." 

"What?"  I said. 

"One for Nyobi and I, so we can call people.  These are very so nice."  As she flips it closed like a professional texter, I realize that modern children have different envies than I did in my youth.

These modern children play digital paper dolls and want to instant message daddy.  They video chat with gramma and think that all phones have cameras on them.  I wonder how my grandchildren will think of communication and toys?

Do you hear that girls?  You will provide me with grandchildren.  Real ones please.  No virtual babies.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What nobody ever told me about Co-Sleeping

The hot topics on all the parenting blogs revolve around "natural parenting". And include concepts like natural diapers, organic baby formulas, the health benefits of prolonged breastfeeding and co-sleeping. My feeling for the first three are mildly ambivalent. Organic foods, diapers with smaller carbon footprints than something made of petroleum oil, are all rather personal choices. Co-sleeping however is dangerous! What if you roll over? What if baby falls down a crack? What if baby dies of SIDS right next to you and you go through the rest of your life convinced you suffocated your own child?

What if a meteor strikes your house while you sleep and your baby dies because it takes out your bedroom, but it somehow misses the nursery and the aliens institute a protective globe around the crib to keep the shrapnel and ensuing flames from harming your child, but he or she isn't there because you are a rotten parent and put them on the bed with you?

Unreasonable fears aside, I did not, per se, approve of co-sleeping. It seemed to me to be a great way to get extra snuggles, but create all sorts of separation issues later in life. My husband is such a sound sleeper, I was certain he wouldn't notice a screaming infant under his leg. It took me five minutes to wake him up to when we were having our first child, shaking him and yelling at him. So I went through life full of snotty superiority, especially when my single girlfriend told me her 2 year old still snuggled in bed with her.

Then Anya hit.

This child does not need alot of sleep. I think I need more than she does some days. She has serious separation issues, and has since birth. After trying for months to get her to settle into a normal baby pattern, my husband came up with a solution. He sleeps on the extra bed, and the third child sleeps in bed with me.
Suddenly I was sleeping! ME! I could close my eyes and sleep!

Oh yes, Co-sleeping is important. I've apologized to my girlfriend, and quit worrying about meteors, flopping on the baby and other crazy and obviously societal fears. Some children just need that extra love and touch. Parenting is part science but its also part instinct.

As for the Aliens. I'll just leave a note in the crib informing them where the baby they need to protect is located.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snowball Fight!!!

Cora and I just came in from playing outside.  The snow is perfect for packing, but not thick enough to form a big snowman.  Our play degenerated into missile filled attacks.  I need to take her outside more often.  Its nice to hurl items at your child and have them giggle in pleasure rather than scream in pain.  Not like I throw things at the children regularly, or in anger EVER.  It still was nice frustration relief. 

In the midst of a snowball battle, Cora goes "stop stop stop!"  Then walks up to me munching on her current projectile.  Then she says with a piously serious face "Once Daddy threw a snowball right in my face!"  

Awwww, I think.  Cora is explaining to me a scenario that she does not want repeated.  I kneel down to explain to her that Mommy aims for her butt and chest.  "Did he?"  I start.  "He probably didn't mean to do it on purp..."

My speech halted as I received a mouthful of fluffy white snow.  "Yeah!  Like this!"  She said, running off and scooping to refill her mittens. 

In snowball fights, I show no mercy, none.  Not even if you are four and half my height. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Master of Elimination.

Some babies are born to sleep, some to scream, and some to eat.  Anya was born to poop.  Neither of my previous two children had quite the nack for filling their diaper, or rather for missing it.  In ten minutes I have changed four diapers and three outfits.  All three outfits covered in giant bright yellow poop stains.

This morning she crabbed a little sighed, smiled and then gave a grunty squirt.  She relaxed against me then, snuggling into my shoulder.  I felt something warm on my stomach.

Having once again defied the laws of human excrement toward mass relationship, I discovered poop leaking out of her diaper, down the leg of her outfit.  It stained my shirt, and completely soaked the front of my pants.  It coated the pillow cover on my lap.  I rushed her to the bathroom and stripped her and myself.  That is when I found two surprises.

First,  there was less than a one inch square section of the diaper covered in poop.   How that little poop went into the diaper, and that much ended up all over I will never know.

Second, my underwear was soaked with baby poop.

Changed and wrapped in a new outfit, Anya was happy and sleepy.

I still feel like taking a shower, only three is a bit excessive.  I do believe my daughter is a master eliminator.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Mom:  "Go put all the books back on your bookshelf, and put your princess stuff away please."
Five minutes later Cora emergest from her room.

Mom:  "are all the books picked up and put back on the bookshelf correctly?"
Cora:  "Yep"
Mom:  "Is all your princess stuff in the trunk?"
Cora:  "Yep"
Mom:  "If I go in there now I will throw out any princess stuff not in the trunk and any books not on the bookshelf, should I go in your room now?"
Cora;  "um... No...  I'll be back."