Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Overheard in Looneyville

We're driving home after picking up our farm share last night and I realized that I forgot something. "Oh! I forgot something!"

Lex looks up from the book she was reading and with a perfectly flat tone, says, "Well, crap."

I unsuccessfully tried to swallow my laughter and she busted into giggles. When we calmed down, I explained that it wasn't a pretty word to come out of her mouth and asked her to refrain from using it, like the word "stupid".

She said, "Yeah! Like freakin'!"

Um, yeah. That.

Shaun and the kids were naming book and TV characters and matching them to our family,

Lex: "I can be Belle because I like to read! Caly can be... Daisy Duck because she likes to help people..."

Shaun asked her, "What about me?"

Lex: "You're totally Goofy. Because you're goofy!"

Shaun: "And Mommy?"

Lexi: "Mommy can be Sleeping Beauty!"

Shaun: "That's nice! Is that because she's--"

Lex interrupts, "It's because she's tired all the time!"

Well, hmph.


Zoen has a new word. It's his first non-babble word. (Like "mama" or "baba" or the like).

It's "RAR-RAR"

He says it while running around the house or when he has something in his hand that would or could make a roaring sound. Like a dinosaur.

I think this is the most appropriate first word any of these kids has ever had. He's a mess.

I like to chat with the kids while driving home, (namely because it keeps me awake because kids are so hilarious when they're candid). I was asking Lex what she wanted to be when she grew up.

(Oh, and for the record, when questioned, Sayer said, "I WANNA BE A NUFFIN!" So there's that).

She thought for a minute then launched into a 10 minute monologue about how she wanted to be a singer THEN a paleontologist THEN a mommy.

She paused and then said, "Or, maybe I could just sing songs about dinosaurs and babies!"

A beat later,

"But man, dinosaur names are hard to rhyme."


Monday, March 26, 2012

How I Do It All... Or Not

When I'm out in public with my four little people and they happen to not be acting like howler monkeys, I occasionally get the comment, "Oh! Look how sweet your kids are! You have it all together! How nice!"

When I stop laughing, I assure the person that they're merely witnessing a ripple in the force. Because I decidedly do NOT.

Because before we left the house that morning, it looked more like this:

My 2 year old's face is inches from mine and I wake to feel him breathing on my eyeballs. I pull back in confusion and he whispers, "No, Mama mama! Hold still. I'm a makin' dem warm!"

I then notice that he is without clothes.

I debate closing my eyes and throwing my phone in his direction, but I've seen the variety of places he can pee, especially when his business is free in the wind.

Besides, the baby wakes up and is chattering and roaring from his room.

I free Zoen from his crib while a very grumpy 3 year old stomps in and says, "I want breakfast."

Sayer pipes in, "NO! I want lunch!"


In the midst of this, Zoen has emptied the entire contents of the laundry basket of clean clothes by tossing each item into the air with glee.

They're about to escalate into full-fledged screams, Zoen's are because the basket is now empty, so I discard my idea of fun pancakes for breakfast and consider tossing them boxes of cereal and letting them go to town.

I settle for the middle ground and fix the big kids bowls of cereal with milk. Zoen gets a banana which he happily eats until the very last bite. This is the bite he chooses to use as hair gel. It's effective. He now looks quite a bit like Bozo the Clown with his side tufts.

The kids finish breakfast (LUNCH!) without further drama and I manage to drink three gulps of coffee while it's actually still hot. We have a family wrestle session which leaves all of us giggling and ends when Sayer picks a monster booger from his nose and attempts to wipe it on my forehead. Ew. "But MAMA! Dis is a BIG ONE!"

Despite being 15 minutes removed from breakfast, the kids clamor for a snack. I dole out the goldfish. Sayer insists on taking them from my hand using only his mouth.

Zoen gets his legs stuck sideways in the kids' rocking chair and I have to rescue him. He rewards me with a bite on the shoulder. Affectionately.

I wrestle Z into clothes and start to get Sayer dressed. He insists that he does NOT WANT the bad guy batman underwear. Sadly, they're the only ones clean. So I think fast and tell him that because the bad guys are on the bottom part of his underwear, he'll get to squish them every time he sits down. He's delighted and puts them on. Naked crisis averted. 

The girls get themselves dressed without incident aside from Caly's propensity for really weird color and pattern combinations. So long as it's weather appropriate, she can wear what she likes. (And really, I love her free-spirit).

I grit my teeth and tell the girls it's time to brush their hair. Caly comes without a problem, gets her requested, "Just ONE pretty ponytail". Lexi looks like I've sentenced her to 100 days without food. The brush barely touches her scalp and she screams, "OWWWW!" I tell her that I'm glad to shave her head and she is quiet for a moment before saying, "Then I would look like Aunt Shell and she's beautiful! OK!" Yes, my oldest rocks. 

But since I don't have a set of working clippers, I gingerly finish brushing her hair between howls.

Caly and Sayer decide to hold hands and trot around the house calling each other "Mom" and "Dad" 

I put on a video for the kids and head back to my room to get ready for the morning. In the course of the 7 short minutes I'm gone, Caly and Sayer got into the markers and artistically decorated themselves. Zoen is in the midst of eating a marker and sports the purple lips to prove it. Lexi is zoned out by Electric Company and oblivious to the surrounding chaos. But then she busts out with a song describing a phonics skill so I call the video a win. 

At last, I'm ready, the kids are not in the buff, and the diaper bag has at least a diaper in it. Out the door we go!

I used to say that getting kids together to do one thing is like herding cats. But then someone used the term, "herding turtles." I find this to be ever so much truer. 

Our car is parked 10 yards from the front door. I think it took 92 minutes before everyone was in their seat without tears. 

We arrived at the grocery store and started walking around. The two middles rode in the front of the car cart. Zoen sat in the top. Lex walked. We happened by the lady who made the comment about me having it all together while we were next to the donut case. The kids were still because they were busy salivating over the sugar high waiting to happen.

I graciously said thank you to her anyway, and she turned down the pasta aisle. I watched her go and when I turned back around, Sayer had escaped the cart and was making a beeline for the deli counter. Zoen had resumed licking the handle of the grocery cart. Lex was begging for donuts and Caly was remarkably quiet.  Mostly because she spotted an old lollipop on the floor of the cart and was attempting to dislodge it with her hand, presumable to eat it. 

I removed the lollipop, handed Z a cracker, herded Sayer into the cart again, and deferred Lexi's request for donuts with promise of something slightly less awful for her. 

And then I started laughing again. Because I definitely don't have it all together.

But I like to think I definitely have it all.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One Year and Babyhood Has Disappeared

Dear Zoen-Bean,

Just a few days ago, you crossed over out of babyhood into being a ONE YEAR OLD. I would say toddlerhood, but since you started walking just after you turned 11 months, you've been toddling before your birthday.

You're a fun kid. The word that perpetually flies out of my mouth when describing you is "fierce."  You're fiercely happy. Fiercely stubborn. Fiercely persistent.

You can throw a dramatic temper tantrum that rivals both of your sisters'. This morning, as you threw yourself onto the ground like a limp noodle, I caught you WATCHING yourself have a fit. I think I have more than I bargained for in your drama department. I've never seen a kid reach to be picked up and then dive out of arms to arch their back and flail their arms and legs quite like you do. Why? Because I wouldn't let you put keys into the outlet. Forgive me for saving your life.

You're pretty bent on trying to test those boundaries of mortality. At 10.5 months, Shaun called me into the room because he looked up to see that you had used the toddler rocking chair to climb into the arm chair and you were steadily trying to scale it to reach the window sill. A week or so after that, we discovered that you could climb every step in the ladder that goes into our attic. Yesterday, I found you standing on the toilet. This morning, I found that you could climb the stool and attempt to belly-flop onto the stove.

And you know how mischievous you are because you'll look around to make sure one of us sees you and when we make eye contact, you grin like a little loon. Seems you like seeing Mama's heart jump into her throat.

Your daddy thinks you're a stinker because you are VERY opinionated about what you want. Generally, you want me, and that's it. I am quick to remind him of your second sister and how she still has him wrapped around her finger, so you're not alone in your stubborn preferences.

I know every parent thinks this about their children, but I think you're an incredibly smart kid. You know how to follow countless directions. You hear a word like, "phone" or "cup" or the like and immediately make a beeline for that (usually forbidden) object. You size up obstacles and spend an inordinate amount of time working your body around to master them. It astounds me that your attention span lasts so long. It's a little frightening how intent you get on what you want and how unwilling you are to let anything distract you. You're not speaking very clearly or much yet, but that's normal. You say Mama and have consistent sounds for "uh-oh," "that," "up" and "ball". I'm trying to start early in getting to make an attempt at a word before getting your way. You can imagine how that's going.

You're a semi-picky eater. Favorites are blueberries, strawberries, cheese, and sweet potatoes. Other rotating items are various carbs, eggs, and avocado. Least favorites are broccoli, green beans, and anything that's not your favorites.

You love to play chase games and absolutely thrive when your siblings engage with you. You make it difficult for them to play things that you don't understand, like board games or puzzles, because you toddle over and plop your behind directly into the middle with a grin. They alternately find this charming and maddening.

You're a terrible sleeper. I'm sure I have a great deal to do with this, but at this point, I've made my proverbial bed and find myself counting down until you're one and a half, when sleep SHOULD be better.

You hate to be told no and still give me the best pouty face ever. I laugh sometimes. It's hard to take you seriously when I'm telling you that you can't chew on a plug and you're utterly ticked about it. Some would say that redirection would be a gentler approach. I'd mentioned to them again about your fierce determination. You aren't deterred. I moved you away from something the other day 14 times before giving up and taking you completely outside so you'd forget. Only to have you head straight for it again when we came back in.

You are easily the happiest baby I've had and that makes up for you total maddening stubborn streak, (especially in the sleep area). I mentioned this morning that it's hard to be irritated with a wide-awake baby who's insisting on covering your face with open-mouthed baby kisses at 3am.

So, little Mr. Busy Pants, I'm looking forward to toddlerhood. Well, almost. I'm a little terrified. You're a force to be reckoned with. But you'll be a crazy force with a smile. And that certainly wins me over every time.

Happy Birthday Zo-Bean!



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