Monday, January 31, 2011

A Ball of Wild, a Pile of Mischief

I blogged a week or two ago about how my formerly do-no-wrong toddler son had jumped ship from sweet and innocent to wild and crazy.  Now?  He's added mischief to the mix.  With a dash of humor for good measure.

It started a few days ago when I was making dinner.  The kids were playing in the other room, generally doing a decent job mediating squabbles and as usual, making a grand mess.  I stopped mid-stir when I heard this weird clattering sound coming from the living room.  The sound was accompanied from the (decidedly delightful) eruption of my son's giggles.

So.... weird sound + laughter = well, I'm a quasi-experienced parent... and I'm fairly good at deductive reasoning so I'll clue you in just in case you're not following yet.  It equals trouble.  It's one step from hearing a loud bang followed by silence or generally, any long stretch of silence at all that does not involve sleeping children.  (Funny how the absence of sound can be more telling than a pile of noise).

Anyway, I put the spoon down and peeked around the corner into the living room.  My son was standing on the art table, sans pants. His arms were in the air and he was CRACKING up.  Moments later, I discovered what the weird noise was AND what was tickling his funny bone.

He was reaching in the color box with both hands, pulling out handfuls of crayons, and throwing them straight up into the air with wild abandon.


I stood there in a sort of dumbfounded awe for a few seconds which was exactly enough time for Caly to shoot a sidelong glance around the room, and, seeing no one, to climb onto the table and gleefully join Sayer in the chaos.

Apparently, there's a new ringleader in town. He's cute, he's pants-less, and he's ready to rumble. I'm so not ready for this.

(And for the record, I am STILL finding crayons in weird places).

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Five Years and Some Change

My oldest turned FIVE on Thursday. FIVE, people. Which means that not only is my kid halfway to double digits, but that I've been doing this mothering thing for five years. And I've blogged 'em all. Dang!

My delightful first born is less likely to be the subject of my blog posts as she ages, most notably because she's actually developed a decent brain to mouth filter and doesn't say things like, "MY MOMMY MADE A GIANT POOP!" to ladies in the grocery store at this point.

Thank goodness.  

So, I hopped back to read through blog posts from the beginning.  Here's the first where we introduced her to my humble little following.  

They start out so, so small, don't they?

Her cheeks grew faster than the rest of her: 

She grew to explore local gangs and got her first cold:

She turned one...

She started walking... and running

She became quite the little mommy, explored alternative bath places, developed a preference for a football team, and then she turned two...

She had questionable conversations on the phone with boys, she became a great big sister, almost had a throwdown with mommy, and developed quite a fashion sense

She learned to be thankful for EVERYTHING, refined her Beanisms, and turned three:

Then, she tortured my sleep and developed a penchant for dress-up

This was followed by her becoming an expert at procrastination, further refined her Beanisms, and became cousin to Joe Cool, 

And faster than I was ready, she turned four...

Four brought an attempt at a foreign language, her looking WAY too old in my wedding veil, 

A passion for dance, and nature, 

And a host of other things that have me looking at her sometimes and wondering who took my baby and left this tiny girl with the huge personality.  

And now?  Now she's five. 

A pretty little, big-hearted, smart as a whip, silly, passionate and compassionate, lover of animals, friend of anyone, thoughtful, laid-back, easy-to-please, decidedly more little girl than baby, delightful burst of five.  

Happy birthday, sweet girl.  You made me a mama.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I admit it, I'm kind of behind the times on the whole Skype technology thing.  Which is sort of embarrassing.  I like technology.  I'm interested in new technology.  I like gadgets. Right, so anyway, with Shaun traveling randomly, or even working weird hours, we decided to start using Skype as a good way for the kids to get some face time with Daddy before bed.  The other night, we had our first test.

The kids, as expected, were completely awestruck.  Our biggest problem was their fight to be the person in front.  You know that game you played as a kid where you alternate your hands in a stack and take turns pulling your hand out of the bottom and smacking it on top of the pile?  Yeah, it was like that.  With heads.

But I gradually convinced them that they all could, in fact, fit on the screen view if they would just back the heck up and sit nicely.  They backed up.  They were still climbing over each other like spider monkeys.  They'll get to the sitting nicely thing.  When they're in their 30s.  

So, they had their fun chatting with Daddy and we said goodnight and closed my laptop.

Sayer promptly flipped right on out.  "DAAAAAAAADDDDDDDYYYY!  DAAAAAAADDDDYYY!"  The boy was royally peeved that his beloved Daddy dared disappear before he was ready.

So, I did what any sane mother would do before bedtime.  I opened the laptop again and called Shaun back. He was surprised to hear from me.  Sayer practically fell over with delight when Shaun came back on the screen, "DADDY!!  HI DADDY!"  So Shaun made small talk for a minute, said goodnight and then he quickly brought his hand up to the camera so the screen went dark.  Sayer said, "Daddy?"  Caly was silent and Lexi... well, you can't fool Lexi.  After a beat, she shouted,

"Daddddddy!  Move your big old hand!  We can't see you!"

Shaun started laughing, which made Sayer yell for him again, and so we had to start over.  But eventually, goodnights were said, we let Sayer shut the lid, (because letting him have a modicum of control works major miracles), and I hustled three giddy kids off to dreamland.

Ah, technology.  Not sure what I'm going to do when Sayer tries to dive through the screen, but for now?  Works just fine.

Monday, January 24, 2011

And Now For Something Gloriously Self-Indulgent: Stream of Conscious Monday

So.  It's been awhile.  I'm chalking it up to this weird plague I'm fighting.  I'm not exactly sick, in the lay-in-your-bed-and-moan-for-a-day-or-two sense, but I have this stupid hacking cough and feel like I could sleep for about 27 hours a day.   Other than that?  Peachy keen. Or something.

The kids have been remarkably well up til this point, too.  Shaun and Lexi(4), haven't gotten sick at all.  Caly(2), had a runny nose, got better, and then got a runny nose again.  But aside from last night, she's as perky as usual.  Sayer(1) got a runny nose and also acquired the same cough I have, but isn't remotely bothered and has more energy than the rest of us combined.

I seem to be the only one who feels moderately flattened.  As such, my waking hours sans children have been generally spent in a half-asleep stupor or bundled under the covers.

It's cold here. 7 degrees when I woke this morning.  I've completely commandeered Shaun's new fuzzy blanket.  I have no remorse.  It's fuzzy.  It's big.  It's warm.  And I'm pregnant and sort of sick.  Dibs.  

Caly took over the bed last night and got a nosebleed on my flannel sheets.  She's lucky I have a spare pair.  Not that she can help the nose bleeds, but I NEED MY FLANNEL SHEETS.

I use them year round.  I'm weird.  I don't care.

We have entered the season of preschool birthday parties.  I'm not sure what wasn't happening in the world in the spring of 2005, but we sure know a lot of new 5 year olds with birthdays in the next few weeks.  What was that word in Bambi?  Twitterpated?  Uh huh.

I'm still trying to figure out what the epic preschool birthday present would be.  I suppose it'd differ from kid to kid, but there's always those things that all kids just love.  Anyone have input?  I like giving fun presents.

Speaking of birthdays, my first baby is going to be FIVE on Thursday.  FIVE!  Eegads.  I remember things about being five.  I guess this means I have to start operating on the "she's going to remember this in therapy" side of parenting.

She's the only kid in this house with a birthday before the baby comes.  That means that for a short time, I'll have a five year old, a two year old, a one year old, and a newborn.  I'm going to throw a poopy diaper at the first person to make a smart alec remark to me about how my hands are full.

I'm ridiculously excited about this new little man.  Oh!  And we're very, very close to finalizing his name.  (I don't suppose we'll be 100% until he's born, but we're close).  The current choice is unusual like Sayer and was chosen for meaning.  We'll see.  Take a guess if you wish :)

Remarkably, Shaun and I have been able to keep our house at a level above chaos.  That's an accomplishment. Of course, considering that we've reached this milestone, we'll have the baby and possibly descend back into the world of laundry piles and dishes in the sink.  Then, in 2 years, we might have our act together again.

(But that does NOT mean another baby.  At least that's what Shaun says.  OK, I'm thinking that too).

Lex wants these for her birthday breakfast.

She's gotta twist my arm.

And now that I've dumped my brain onto the screen, I'm going to close my eyes for a few minutes.  That'll pretty much ensure Sayer wakes promptly from his nap.  Exactly as I planned.

Monday, January 17, 2011

When Did My Ball of Snuggles Turn into a Ball of Wild?

Sayer's almost 18 months old.  Which, in and of itself, is a bit hard for me to grasp.  I don't know whether it was his personality or the fact he was a boy or even that he was the third child...  but he has always, always been the kid to fully embrace being the baby.

But now?  Now he's a TODDLER.  And being a TODDLER does not warrant being treated like a BABY.

The high chair has been utterly scorned in favor of the elevated kid chair.  (Which works out fine so long as his peanut butter and jelly painted face doesn't decide to go on a rogue mission in the midst of lunch).  The sippy cup is eschewed any time he catches sight of an open cup without a lid.  (This does NOT go over well as he's still mastering the cup arts and tends to dump the contents all over his shirt and lap).  Don't even think about carrying him when the opportunity arises for him to possibly walk.  Never mind that he likes to walk in the opposite direction of his sister. In parking lots. Where people DRIVE LARGE METAL CARS.

Yeah.  He turned 1.5, (well, almost), and suddenly he acquired some seriously strong opinions.

But I can handle all of that.  It happened in varying degrees to the girls.  It'll happen to his little brother.

But here's where I'm polishing off my crash helmet and asking, "what the HECK?!"

He's changed into the Jekyll and Hyde of snuggles/attacks.  He'll climb up into my lap and ask, "Hug?"  (Yeah, try denying that).  So we'll hug and he'll be resting his head on my shoulder when all of the sudden, he moves his head slightly, opens his mouth, and BITES me.  Of course, I screech, pry him off of my shoulder, and push his head away from my body while saying, "NO BITING!  NO!"

And he giggles, says, "BITE!" and dives in again.  So I fend him off with my hands.  When he realizes he can't bite me, he settles for repeatedly head-butting me instead. While laughing his pumpkin head off.  Eventually, I peel him off of my lap, stand up, and walk away.  Non-plussed, he'll go to play.

And then he comes back.  "Hug?  Kiss?"  And we'll snuggle for a minute until he gets that gleam in his eye... "biiiiiiiite.... BITE!"  And comes headlong at my skin for a nibble.

Wash.  Rinse. Repeat.  Sometimes we pass up the bites for head-butts.  If I'm on the ground in any fashion, he passes up both for full layout tackles.  "TACKLE!"  (Which he tends to confuse with "tickle" so he's often covering both bases by tackling and then tickling).

If I'm reading something / using a computer or a phone / trying to eat a snack, he's generally climbing on my head or shoulders.

Granted, the kid definitely still likes his snuggles.  But being that I can't ever tell when he's going to get all feisty, I can't relax...  He's like a little ninja.  A ninja with big dimples and a totally disarming smile.  I'm never going to win.

(Hmmm, wonder where he gets that look from... and the mischievous streak?  Yeah, thought so).

(And yes, we're obviously working on teaching him not to bite, etc.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The "Lovey" Conundrum

I'm a big believer in the "lovey"...  You know, the random object that your kid latches onto and then can't be without during sleeping hours, (and some awake hours!) for most of their early childhood years?  Yeah, that.

(Though when I put it that way...)

Anyway, I love that my kids love me, but I've always wanted them to have an object of comfort that they could cuddle also. Lex, now almost 5, has had the same little blanket since she was born... Remarkably, we've never lost it for more than a few hours, (which is good since they stopped making it by the time she latched onto it...   and have you SEEN the price for those out of circulation blanket things on Ebay?! Craziness!  But I'd have paid).  She's since added a second, similar blanket and sleeps with them both.  Normal, you know?

So, seeing the success of Lex and her "night-night," we decided to introduce one for Caly when she was a baby.  This time, knowing how random the attachments could be, we guided the process a bit.  We chose one of these cute blankets and added another just in case.  In the course of her life, we've purchased 4, lost 3, and found 2...  so the kid now has FIVE of these blankets.  And insists on using ALL of them every night.  (And they're all different animals).  Bedtime is easy, so long as Monkey, Giraffe, Bear, Duck and Bunny are in bed with her.  Slightly weird, but again, not bad.

Now, Sayer.  Oh man.  I TRIED to get that kid to take a lovey. I gave him his choice like we did with Lex...  I held soft blankets while nursing like I did with Caly... But apparently, *I* was his lovey.  And he was quite content with that.  Considering that I most often nursed him to sleep, that worked out fine for the most part.  But then when he weaned, things got a little strange.  He was old enough to ask for things or to run and get them, and would frequently climb into my lap to be rocked with weird objects.  Balls... plastic figurines... nasal aspirators, (yes, that happened...  for like a week, he wanted to fall asleep with one in each hand).


As he got older, he got way more vocal about what he wanted.  For a time, he had this strange looking baby doll, ("BABY!") that he demanded.  Then he moved onto stuffed animals.  Occasionally, he'd want to snuggle with a book.  Or a sippy cup.  Sometimes it'd be an article of clothing, like a sock. It was generally whatever happened to be in his hands before bedtime.  But it was always something.

But yesterday, things got a little hairy.  He had somehow procured the sound pad from one of those Play-A-Sound books... an Elmo one.  And every single time Shaun tried to get it away from him, he screamed like someone was pinching him.  So Shaun shrugged his shoulders and picked Sayer up to rock him, the sound pad clutched in one chubby toddler fist and a sippy cup of water in the other.

Now, not a big deal, you'd think.  But it's amazing how utterly obnoxious Elmo can be when he's cackling in YOUR SLEEPING CHILD'S EAR and causing him to WAKE UP.  Yeah.  So we had a predicament.  Take it away, and pretty much guarantee a big wake up and a screaming fit or take the chance that he would sleep through any rogue Elmo mutterings and slip it out of his hands when he lay soundly asleep.

We opted for the latter, but not without penalty...  Elmo and his evil energetic chatter roused the toddler twice but he was quickly settled.  Before we went to bed, I snuck in and slipped the offending sound pad from under his arm.

Now... now I'm sure to steer him towards softer and quieter items before bedtime... and though I'm still hoping for a conventional lovey...  I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snippets from the 'Ville

Lex (4) woke up yesterday, tiptoed into the living room where Shaun was hanging with Sayer (1) and exclaimed, 

"Daddy!  Last night I actually slept!  I mean, normally, I just close my eyes and pretend to sleep, but last night, I actually slept!  I don't know what happened!" 

Hmm, maybe the Monday crankies are due to all of that pretend sleeping she does.  

Caly (2) has been fighting off a little cold that's making her nose run.  No other real symptoms, but the snot bugs her. Generally, she asks for a tissue and wipes her nose herself.  Before bed the other night, I went to pick her up to take her to bed and she wrapped her arms around my legs and gave me a hug.  I smiled at how sweet it was.  Then she let go, looked seriously at my stomach and said, 

"Mama, I put boogers on your baby."  

Then she walked away.

Sayer (1) has learned a new word.  Well, he's known the word for awhile, but he uses it with a vengeance lately.  I'm becoming impressed with the versatility of his uses 

"No!"  "NO."  NOOOOOOO." "No?" "Nononononono!"

But my favorite, (yes, there is a favorite way to use the word), is when I ask him where my kisses are.  Instead of leaning towards me with a smooch, he tucks his chin inward, turns his head away, and with a smirk on his face, he says, "Noooooooooo..."  I pretend to be sad and he plants one right on my cheek.  Then he asks to do it again.  


"Mommy.  Mommy.  MOOOMMMMY!"  I vaguely registered Caly's whisper near my ear.  Bleary eyed, I peered at her in the darkness and wondered what dark hour of the night she had wiggled her way in between us.  "MOMMY!  Are you s'eeping?"  

I gave her a raised eyebrow and said, "Well, I WAS.  What's the matter?"  She wiggled closer to me, got her blanket and closed her eyes.  "Caly, what's the matter?"  

"Mama.  I am S'EEPING!"   And then she refused to say another word. 

I am SO paying her back when she's a teenager.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Everyone's doing it...  who am I to run away from the bandwagon?

So here's my resolutions, in true Looneyville style:

1.  I will say yes more often.  My kids are kids.  They ask for things.  They ask to do things.  They ask to eat things.  Sometimes I say yes but many times I say no.  I'm going to say yes more.  But I still reserve my right to say no when they're asking to paint their room with chocolate sauce.  Lex, if you're reading this?  NO.  It's still not going to happen.

2.  I will get rid of stuff.  My kids have more toys than a dang toy store.  I have a fairly good system of rotation which gives them "new" things to play with every couple of months, but then there are those things that they hold up with two fingers and an upturned nose and say, "Momma?  What IS this?!"  I don't know.  But I do know it can go away.  Far away.  I could probably stand to lose a few pairs of shoes and about 16 thousand pounds of paper.  

3.  We will go outside more often.  Because fresh air is quite good for little bodies.  And when they're outside, they're not destroying the inside of my house.  Preservation: it's what's cool for the new year.  

4.  I will help the girls do more crafts.  They love crafts. I mostly hate them, (at least for the preschool set).  But we'll do more.  And then?  I'll have them gift the completed projects to relatives.  You can thank me now. Or later.  You're welcome.  (And I won't be drowning in 17 macaroni sculptures, countless finger-paintings, piles of coloring pages and various cotton ball creations.  Self, you're welcome too).  

I'm sure I'll think of more.  But I think with the new baby boy coming in March, it's smart to leave off things like, "I will get out of my PJ's at least 3 days a week" and "I won't pretend not to notice when the kids are emptying the kitchen cabinets."  I'll stick with these for now.

Happy New Year, friends!  What's your resolution?

I'd resolve for more snow and icicles, but I'm afraid that's beyond my control, sadly.  Sorry teacher (and student!) friends!
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