Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Go Play In The Leaves

I love Thanksgiving.

I love that it's a holiday all about food, friends, and family. There's not a ton of extra stuff that goes along with it (like cookie exchanges and mall Santas and all the other fun, yet stress-inducing, calendar things that come along with Christmas.)

I love that it marks the beginning of Advent. The beginning of the Christmas season. The beginning of longing, of hoping, of waiting.

I love leaves and apple cider and going home to see my family and I love mashed potatoes and pecan pie and, honestly, I love any excuse for a long-weekend.
 So, Happy Thanksgiving, friends! Go play in the leaves your dad raked and then beg your mom for hot cider.
Or, just watch Netflix on your parents couch all weekend.

Both are equally amazing pursuits.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where Do Babies Come From?

Today, at 8:15 am, before I had ingested a SINGLE DROP OF COFFEE, my four year old son waterboarded me with questions until I confessed to him and his 2 year old sister (who was within earshot) that babies come out of vaginas.

I was not ready.

It was under duress.

I just... I just don't know.


First, I dodged with, "Well, the doctors did a special operation on me, and that's how YOU came out."

But then, he moved on to questions about how his SISTERS got out.

I tried to be vague. I tried explaining about a uterus and a birth canal.  At one point, I said, "Buddy, they just POP out! The doctor's say, "Ok it's time" and then the baby pops out!"

(That may be the biggest lie, disguised as a half-truth, that I have ever told my kids. Bigger than Santa, for sure.)

"BUT WHERE DOES IT POP OUT?!?" he yelled. "You said it wasn't the belly button, so WHERE DOES THE BABY POP OUT??"

This was the moment when I decided that I was cornered, and the truth was my best option, so with the straightest face and the most casual tone I could muster, I explained that the mommy pushes the baby through the birth canal, and then the baby comes out of the mommy's vagina.

And then I held my breath.


I casually held my breath.

And waited.

He was silent for a few seconds. Pondering.

Then, Maggie looks up from the floor and says  in her surprised, lilting, 2-year-old voice, "Da vagina? I comed out of your vagina?"

This was the beginning of an avalanche.

It's not that they were concerned with the mechanics necessarily. The next 35 or so questions were all about confirmation. Clarity, so to speak.

After confirming Maggie's delivery and checking on Rosie's manner of birth, they proceeded to ask about every child and mother we know, all pregnant woman that we know, and all relatives. Every question was in this format:

Did Robbie come out of Betsy's vagina?
Will Sally's baby come out of her vagina?

To all of my female friends & family members: I am sorry. This morning, I discussed your vagina with my children. If you have more than one child, I discussed your vagina more than once. I didn't want to do it. They made me. Again, I am so sorry.

Finally, we ended like this.

H: But I didn't come out of your vagina. I came out in an operation.

R: That's right.

M: But I came out of your vagina! And so did Rosie?

R: That's right.

M: And when I am a mommy, I can have babies out of my vagina.

R: That's right.

H: But not me. Because I have a penis.

R: That's right.

H: Yeah. Can I have a cheese stick?

M: Can I have a apple AND a cheese stick?!?


Because, apparently, my kids don't care about how babies or made, or where babies come from, they care about HOW THEY GET OUT.

Which is a legitimate concern, I know.

The real kicker is that I always thought I would be SUPER COOL talking about sex with my kids. Really! I try to be sex-positive, we use the real words for stuff, up until this morning, I've answered all their questions as they come, bodies are cool, sex is important, I READ PARENTING BLOGS, I AM AN EXPERT, EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE.

But it turns out that while I love talking about birth, sex, and vaginas with my girlfriends, it's a completely different experience with my kids. At 8am. Before I've had coffee.

BEFORE I'VE HAD COFFEE, YOU GUYS. It's like they know it's my most vulnerable state. I'm praying the next set of questions come after 10am. Preferably noon.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Nerd After My Own Heart

When I was a kid, my mom taught me how to read before I started kindergarten. Probably because I was just so dazzlingly bright and precocious and a perfect little snowflake.


Well, my OWN bright, precocious, perfect, little snowflake, he's pictured below, isn't he darling and delicate?!

This snowflake has been showing some strong signs of phonetic awareness lately. Also some strong signs of morphing into a dragon, but for now let's focus on the pre-reading skills, shall we?

I knew it was time last week, when he was standing at a chair on the counter, looking at my Crock-Pot and he said "Hey, Mom, do these letters say 'off'? Aww-ff-ff?"

Guys, those letters did indeed say 'off'! My inner teacher did a cartwheel! My baby is a genius!

He went on (with a little help) to sound out 'on' and 'low'. High was a bit much. No one had prepared him for the silent G business.

He's also been talking about words and sounds more recently, asking me what things say on signs, spotting different letters in text, accurately brainstorming words that start with a certain sound, identifying rhyming words, and if I spell anything to David, like b-e-d-t-i-m-e, Henry immediately yells "WHAT WORD IS THAT?? HELP ME SAY THOSE LETTERS!"

So last night I pulled out a box that my mom had given me of the Sing, Spell, Read & Write Phonetic Readers that I learned to read with when I was small!!! I should also say, that those readers taught many Earley children to read, so they're a bit... loved.

But they work! Last night, Henry sounded out and read his very first sentence.
"Nat had ham and Al had jam."

Guys, I totally remember that sentence. I totally remember reading this book! And, lucky me, no worries about my vintage readers falling apart, THEY STILL MAKE THEM. For real. Thank you, internets. Tonight I'll begin convincing David that we need to buy a fresh set.

$117.95!!! A small price to pay for knowledge. (Wish me luck.)

Henry really did love it. He was so proud of himself and excited to keep going. It truly was A Moment. We got through about 5 pages before Rosie started loudly announcing that it was her bedtime and we had to quit. But, he's already asked me today when we can "work on that book some more."

Sigh. A nerd after my own heart.
After I came back from putting Rosie down, I found him like this, perusing this LEGO magazine he found at the library. He looked up and said "Mom, what is The Hobbit? I need Dad to tell me all about The Hobbit." And I was like, "Buddy, Dad would LOVE to tell you all about The Hobbit. L.O.V.E."

But really guys, forget about The Hobbit, I cannot WAIT until he's old enough for me to read Harry Potter to him. Quick Poll: When exactly do you think that is? Sevenish? Younger? Now? Probably now?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Esther Rose; A Mini-Dictator In Training

So, normally when I talk about Precious Baby Rosie I have only good things to say because she is my baby girl and I love her. It also might be becuase she never tells me no, or throws a temper tantrum because her socks are too hard to put on, or because she asked for an apple and I gave her an apple, but NO, NOT THAT APPLE.

Once there were verbal toddlers and preschoolers in my house, I realized that babies are amazing. AMAZING. Yes, they are absolutely a lot of hard, practical, sleepless work, but it's just so different from the emotional toll of parenting the other very small, irrational, violent, mini-dictators that I live with.

Just look at that face!

That face will NEVER throw a bowl of frosted mini wheats on the floor because it's the PURPLE bowl and she wanted the ORANGE bowl. That face will NEVER tell me that all the other kids at preschool have light-up shoes and that she is going to be sad every day until I buy her hideous light up shoes. That face will never scream for the ENTIRE time she is in time-out, not because she is sad, not because she is hurt, but because HOW DARE YOU.

She will be perfect forever! I need to believe this! I will have her cryogenically frozen in time as a baby! She is light and joy and snuggles and cupcakes!

Rosie is now seven months old.  Seven WHOLE months old. That's big in baby land. And, truth time, she is currently 95% light and joy and snuggles and cupcakes.

She's doing some awesome things, like laughing more and recognizing people and saying "bababababa" and starting to sit on her own. And, for the record, babbling and sitting up are two of my FAVORITE baby milestones. The babbling, simply because it's so freaking cute. The sitting because it makes babies so HAPPY to be able to sit on a blanket with toys. Way happier than laying on the blanket, that's for sure. Plus, once they're sitting up, it's only a matter of time before I can put swings and bouncy seats and other baby-holding devices back in the attic and win back some precious floor space.

But, despite all these lovely developments, at 7 months I am beginning to suspect that Esther Rose does have her own mini-dictator brewing inside her. I can tell. Every once in a while, it peeks through. She's most likely to show her sassy side in the dark of night.

Le sigh. Yes, that is an adorable baby girl. She is not asleep. She is not in her crib. We do not know why. (WHYYYYYYYYY?) 

First she had a cold. Poor baby. 

Then she cut a tooth. Poor sweetheart. 

Then the #$%*&@ time change. Poor honeypumpkin. 

Then... just... I don't know. I just don't know. She's up a lot. She wants to eat a lot. Sometimes she goes right back down, other times she's fussy. One night this week she slept for 11 hours straight and I wept with joy, and then the next night, she woke up four times to nurse. I just don't know. Poor mommy. Poor, poor mommy.

So, of course, I'm doing the classic Mommy brainstorm. Maybe it's another tooth! Maybe it's a growth spurt! Maybe she needs her third nap back! Maybe she should drop the third nap! Earlier bedtime! Later bedtime! Maybe if we all stand on our heads and sing Happy Birthday backwards in a round while praying the rosary with our toes!

Or, maybe she's just a baby. A (mostly) sweet 7 month old baby who prefers to be laying across a parent whenever possible. I'm no sleep expert or anything, but I think I may have just cracked the code on this one.

And then, food! Rosie is David's child for sure, becuase for the most part, she's unimpressed with food. As a food-lover, this is unfathomable to me. Oh, sure she acted interested at first. But once the novelty wore off, she settled into a habit of eating maybe 4-5 bites of whatever I offer, and then gnawing on the spoon, spitting out the food, and carefully massaging it into her ear hole.

Like Maggie, she much prefers to have little bits of things to put in her OWN mouth, thank you very much. But her pincer grip, while impressive for her age, is still not quiiiiiite accurate enough to get that many calories into her mouth at any given time.

She does LOVE the little mesh pouch thing, so I fill that with all sorts of goodies and let her go to town on it. I like to believe that counts as eating.

But her favorite part of solid foods thus far? Far and away the best thing her mother has provided her with?

Puffs. Nutrient-void, sugar-added, stupidly-overpriced Gerber puffs. She loves them. THAT'S how you can tell she has my genes, too. Us carb-lovers gotta stick together, Rosebud.

Other than mysterious sleep patterns and refusing 99% of calories that do not come directly from her mother, Rosie also has decided that it's high time for a bit of separation anxiety. If she notices that I am not in the same room as her, she is unhappy with me. If she notices that someone other than me is holding her, she is unhappy with me. I tried to explain to her that yes, we are best friends, duh, but sometimes even besties need some space.

She fundamentally disagrees. (refer back to: preferring to sleep on top of me, eat only from me, be held by only me. Besties!)

However, despite her budding tiny-dictator traits, I'm confident that we will continue to love her forever and ever, as is the habit of parents everywhere. So far, we still love her brother and sister and they have totally perfected their dictatorialness.

This is their current response to being told that I am not buying them a bunk bed.

You do have to respect their ingenuity, yes?

Plus, I gotta say, Henry and Maggie both slept through the night last night, which is more than I can say for SOME people around here...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Concession Speech & Halloween

Well, I made it to the 27th before I fell off the wagon. And only 4 days short of the finish line, too.

But instead of a Failure Post, which is what I had been calling this in my head, I've decided to instead call it a Concession Speech. Because, the elections. And it sounds nicer.

I'm formally conceding that the insanity of life at the end of October has beaten me fair and square. I fought bravely and valiantly, but alas my best efforts were in vain. I concede that the last week of October, with it's pumpkin carving, Halloween prepping, Trick or Treating, candy-induced frenzy is superior in every way to my weary will and weak dedication.

I missed posting on the 28th, and then, because I like to be reliable, I went ahead and kept missing it for the last week and a half. I have lost. October has won. The End.

But, maybe not really the end, because I don't feel like I TOTALLY lost. I did get up 27 posts in October, which is not nothing. And I mostly enjoyed it, too. I really did! And there's always next October! I'll be a year older so I'll probably be MUCH more dependable.

Plus, I have good news! Despite my not blogging about it in a timely manner, HALLOWEEN DID INDEED HAPPEN.

Yes it did.

Here is Maggie, "practicing" her Halloween costume:

And Maggie on Halloween. She was convinced that pirates should not smile.
Here's Leonardo, aka the Blue one:
And HERE, is the CUTEST little elephant you've ever laid eyes on:
 I KNOW, RIGHT?? I need to find another excuse to put her back in that elephant suit!!!
(And, if you're in the mood for a flashback, here's Maggie rockin' the elephant suit back in 2012. Also the cutest.)

And, in case that's not enough adorbale, here's the sweetest SpiderMan in the entire world:
I have no idea how I missed getting a picture of Asher, but he was a dino, and of course, he was adorable. Adorable!

Happy Belated Halloween, friends! Our November is off to a pretty good start, and I hope yours is too. More soon! I promise! I just have to dig out from under this pile of Twix wrappers, first...