Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Politeness

This morning, I sneezed in the kitchen, twice. From the dining room, I hear Lilly's little voice:

"Bess oo."

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday morning musings

I've been a little remiss at (with?) blogging, mostly because I was away for the holiday, and then felt sick over the weekend. I'm not sure what was up with me, but today things are better, thankfully. I'm sitting in the nursery with Patrick and Lilly, while they each play on their "puters" and read books. They've been good today, which is a relief.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. As many of you know, I had some misgivings about going to visit my dad's side of the family, but it went better than I thought (then again, I'm a worse-case-scenario person). It was good to see my brothers (3) and sisters-in-law (2) and nephews (2) and parents (...2). V and I watched my nephews so my oldest stepbrother and his wife could go spend some time with friends, and when they came back, V and I talked to my sister-in-law for over two hours.

Turns out, she's pregnant! My family doesn't really pass information around, so it's not a huge surprise that I didn't know, but she's having a little girl in April. I'm so excited--and just a little jealous. But talking to her was a breath of fresh air. She's the one who, about V and I, said, "I don't agree, but you're still my sister and I still love you." She's offered relationship advice, asked about plans, and that night when we were talking, she asked about wedding plans and if we knew how we wanted to get pregnant and when. I knew she didn't necessarily condone our relationship, but that wasn't even a part of the conversation. She just wanted to know about us.

Then last night, some friends from church invited V and me to watch How to Train Your Dragon (cute movie - I almost cried), and we talked for hours afterward. They asked how we ended up together, and we got to tell "our story." I don't remember the last time we did. We both love telling it.

Who buys Pirate and Princess Potato Heads for two-year-olds? I'm going to throw these toys out the window.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Home sweet kitties

Sometimes it's nice to be able to go away for a few days, leave the kitties at home, and relax. That doesn't mean I suddenly don't want kids, though.

Er, that might not make sense. I'm tired. V and I are safely back from what was actually a rather good Thanksgiving trip. Found out my sister-in-law is pregnant again! More on that later.

Everyone else needs to stop having babies. When is it my turn?

Though, I probably won't say this again for a long time, but right in this moment, I'm content.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Almost the holidays

It's almost Thanksgiving. For those who don't know, the last part of the year has never been my favorite. Combine this with the fact that both my jobs seem to have started last-minute schedule changes, and you see my stress level rising. I'm as bad as a toddler in how much I need my routine, and neither holidays nor scheduling helps that.

V and I are headed to visit some family (my side) tomorrow , so we'll see how much posting I get done. Of course, I have the twins in the morning still, and after Lilly's attitude this morning, I'm very much not looking forward to that. But then I have a few days off from them. I am very much looking forward to that.

I'm glad I know that even mothers want some time off from their kids.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fate and families

For those who don't know, V got a job! She's going to be watching a three-year-old girl. And for those wondering, yes, I am jealous.

It's actually made me think a lot about work and families and how things came about. When I first started working with the twins, we needed income. V hadn't started bartending yet, and I'd failed at finding anything so far. So I took it, and it seemed perfect: it was money, it was with kids, it was with toddlers for that matter, it was close.

Watching V search for jobs has been interesting. I'm making money now, so she's not under as much pressure as I was back in July. I'm not saying she can take her time and pick and choose, but there's still a difference (rent will get paid regardless). And her finding this three-year-old is making me want one.

Of course, this is coming at a time when Lilly throws up at least once every time I'm there (yep, this morning too), and they're both started fighting a lot more, and I feel more than ever like I'm not living up to their mother's standards. So it's partially understandable.

But I've always had this subconscious belief that things happen for a reason and work out the way they do... I don't know how to explain it other than the vague notion of "fate." And I remember saying, on more than one occasion, that the families I'd ended up with seemed given to me, in a good way. I'm tangling myself in words. And I'm in a contract with the twins, regardless, and I do like them.

But at the moment, a little three-year-old girl sounds like heaven.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Personality

A recent blog post by a friend of mine (What is an Introvert) got me thinking about introverts and extroverts again. I'm an introvert and always have been; unless I have time away from people to recharge, I will snap and blow up the world, or something like that. I avoid social situations if I can help it, and meeting new people puts a cannonball of fear through me, especially if they are my age.

Yet, every time I tell a mom I'm babysitting for that I'm more along the quiet introverted type, her response is inevitably, "I never would have guessed that!" I chalk a lot up to being a pastor's kid, having to meet and interact with strange adults on a semi-frequent basis. And the fact that they are adults or children helps; put me with other twenty-somethings and I tend to freeze up. But I'm good at "pretending" to be outgoing, though it isn't always pretense, nor is it always even forced. I can be a chatterbox.

I've known extroverted introverts, but I don't think I'm quite to that point yet. I don't like people enough. But I'm an introvert who thrives off professional (and sometimes social) contact. I'm just starting to realize this, and I don't know what to do with it. (I know, I know: why do I have to do anything with it?) I've always been such an introvert.

In other news, remember the "angel at the park" I met awhile back, the mom who basically adopted me in half an hour? V and I are having dinner at her house tomorrow. She and I have continued to email, and I'm excited to reconnect with her.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shopping trip

A friend is in town, and she wanted to go to Plato's Closet earlier. It's right next to Once Upon a Child (of course, since it's the same company).

I lasted about four minutes in Plato's Closet before it drove me crazy and I sought refuge next door. And actually found a Combi double stroller that almost made me want twins. (Kidding.)

Didn't buy anything, in case you were wondering.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Peace part two

This is a continuation of an early ramble related to the Parenting in Peace article. It's a fairly disorganized ramble, though by definition it might be required to be. To resume...

The ideas the author presents don't seem like they should be revolutionary. That's what gets me with that article. She talks about understanding that your child is an individual apart from yourself, with different interests. Obviously. But it goes deeper than "I was a near-champion swimmer, so I'm going to start my daughter in swimming lessons when she's two!" It also applies to personality traits; the example the author gives is a shy, introverted parent urging her social child to not be quite so enthusiastic about people. (Or telling her child that strangers love to kidnap little blond blue-eyed girls, but that's a different story...and part of my problems with V's mother.) That segues (because I say so) into not holding your child to a higher standard than yourself. Spanking is a separate post, certainly, but one of my hypocritical moments occurs when I catch Lilly hitting Patrick, and my first response is to smack her hand and say "No hitting!" I don't, but it's still my first though, and, really, what kind of a message does that send? That (logically) segues into respecting your child. I like her summary:

"Respect your children by listening to them, accepting their individuality, accepting that they are not perfect, allowing them to make mistakes, and allowing them to make decisions and have input about things that affect them (as age appropriate). And remember, if you must demand a child's respect, you don't really have it."

Pause button on the ramble again, because two certain twins are starting to get out of hand. Or rather, Lilly's starting to have quite good control of her hand, and it's aimed at Patrick's face.

Anger

Lilly has anger problems. Of course, that's a statement that would probably apply to most toddlers, but it's much more evident in her than in her brother. He tends to throw himself across the room, diving into his little chair, when something upsets him and he doesn't get his way. Lilly, on the other hand, has taken to squeezing, pinching, and hitting Patrick. Sometimes I'll walk out of the kitchen to find them in the dining room, him on the Thomas ride-on, Lilly violently pinching any portion of his face she can reach, her other arm raised to smack if necessary. It's startling, and often startles me into a more violent reaction than I would like - I grab her away, or hold her arm, or otherwise abruptly stop the scene. Patrick rarely cares, which I find amusing once the whole thing is over. But I'm not used to toddler anger like this.

In other news, their latest phrase is "No smushing," because it's what I tell them related to cheese, cheerios, and, as far as Lilly just told me, apples. She's currently nibbling off my apple (or rather, I'm cutting her tiny bites), and knows she shouldn't...try to make applesauce?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Afternoon off

I, miraculously, had an amazing morning with the twins. We read books; they ran around in circles; we giggled a lot; they drew me pictures. And now I'm home, and don't have anywhere else to be since it is Wednesday.

This is good for my sanity. Very, very good. And V is prohibiting me from thinking about anything work-related. Which, at the moment, includes this rather work-related blog.

Enjoy the day off, everyone.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Falling short

I almost ended yesterday's post with a disclaimer of how that article sounds like what I would want to be, but it should go without saying that it's not how I am. Even though I didn't put the disclaimed, I really didn't need it proven to me.

I try to be good. I do. I have read that article a few times, and (as you'll see in coming posts) it's changed a lot of how I interact with kids, especially the twins. But on days when I really just don't feel like going to see them (today), it's hard. And sometimes I lose it.

"Losing it," in this case, means grabbing Lilly, snapping at her, and plopping her into a corner for timeout, then walking away. It doesn't matter that she'd taken a toy out of her brother's hand for the third time in a row, or smacked him in the face when he took it back. There are always better ways. Sometimes I can do them.

Sometimes I can't. But I try. And, little by little, I think I'm improving. It's the moments - not ten minutes after the timeout incident - when I want to just grab their poppers and put them away, so we can speed up the lunch process, but I breathe, and wait for them to do it, and smile, and hug them after.

I'm learning.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Peace & pride

A friend of mine recently posted an article on facebook which both meshed with where my "parenting" philosophy has been heading, and also shook up my "parenting" world at the same time. It's called Parenting in Peace, and everyone who ever plans to have children or spend time with them should read it.

The author, Daisy Hall, gives a few pointers for parent-child interaction which are easily adapted to nanny-child, uncle-child, teacher-child, or any other circumstance with kids. I'll get to that in a minute, but it's the overall idea that really grabbed me. "Many parents are at 'war' with their children," she states in the second sentence, and that's where I had to pause. It's so true, in so many cases: childhood is a seen as a struggle for parents. Sleepless nights turn into terrible twos turn into "thank heaven you're in school," which turns into bratty behavior which turns into rebellious behavior. That's not exactly how I want to view the eighteen years after I give birth.

On a side note, I've been doing a lot of reading about natural birth and making it a more peaceful process. It doesn't make sense to dedicate nine months to easing a child into the world, only to spend the next two decades scolding him or her.

Back to Daisy Hall, and my mother. My mom's philosophy has always been "pick your battles." It's good to keep in mind, and makes it easier to let truly unimportant fights slide. But now it poses a new question to me: why are you expecting so many battles in the first place? Expect a few battles; parents do actually know better, and often have to make that clear. But the little things are rarely as important as they can seem.

Which brings me to pride. I realized this with Patrick the other day, when he was carrying around his ride-on Thomas train and saying "Heavy! Heavy!" I told him he should put it down because he could drop it or trip, and after about the third time, I thought- why am I so worried over this? It was unlikely he would hurt himself this way, plus, he was learning about carrying things and balance and all that two-year-old stuff. But I ran into another problem: I'm the adult, I'm the smart one, and I told him he couldn't carry it. I can't change my mind now! Now, there is something to be said for not letting kids think they can wear you down, but the less-acknowledged reverse side is that there's also a place for letting a child know you've made a mistake. So I told him that he could carry it, but to please be careful.

This is about to turn into a series, because I have to run to the grocery and pick up V's prescription. In the meantime, read Parenting in Peace and let me know what you think!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Interlude

So, I promise a good post soon, but I'm tired. V came with me to watch the twins tonight, after I emailed their mom to ask; it's been a rough week emotionally, and we've hardly seen each other, so I just needed her. Ended up being a huge help, since Lilly threw up on herself, the bathroom floor, and me, after finishing her nighttime bottle. V changed her into new pajamas while I stripped, and then she ran downstairs to get the jacket she'd brought, which was about halfway to knee-length (or maybe not quite), so I could run around in that. Hazards of the job.

I love being around V when we're both around little kids. Watching her interact with them, her watching me interact with them - it's just so happy. I can't wait to start a family. Patience, patience.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I promise I'm thinking

It's just that the stuff I'm thinking about isn't ready to come out yet.

Lilly threw up on me today. Not bad, but still. Thankfully I had a cami on, so I could run around it in while my shirt was drying after I doused it in water.

V is sick(ish). The taking care of people never ends these days. (I shouldn't complain.)

Did flirt with the cute waitress at Red Robin, where I ate with Timothy and Tessa. Probably a little too flirty, but I needed to cheer myself up. It worked (for a bit).

Scattered thoughts, I know. Coherency is on tomorrow's to-do list, along with the dishes.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A not-so-bright moment

The lesson of the day: driving aimlessly to explore is fun; walking for the same reason, less so.

Let me explain. (No, there is too much. Let me sum up.) Today was a very beautiful day, unseasonably warm, and I thought I would take Patrick and Lilly out in the stroller. We've done all our usual walks so much, though, that they've become boring, so I figured I'd continue up a road we walk on, rather than turning off toward home like we normally do. I continued...and continued...and turned right onto another road I know. And continued, and continued, continued up a giant hill, and continued. About halfway through all that continuing, we entered a park that I know of, but don't know very well. Or, you know, know where anything is in it.

Let me say again that I was pushing a double stroller. Occupied. And I hadn't brought any water. By the time we reach the top of the hill, I'm about to die, and all that there is to be seen is grass, trees, and a boring road. I turn right. Above me, shining like a light-tan-colored beacon, is a giant structure that most likely houses bathrooms and - glory be - a water fountain. After that, I'll need to find a place to let the borderline-impatient kids run around.

I can't figure out how to get up to the beacon on the hill. There's a large staircase, which would work, except for that whole "double stroller" bit. After a moment of contemplation (my brain wasn't working too well), I decide the only way to get up there (since I don't know how big the hill is and am too tired to go around) is to charge the grass hill. With aforementioned double stroller. In, I might add, shoes with no traction.

I make it halfway up the hill and get stuck. (Hold on. I know it's a long story, but seriously. You need to share my pain, then you may mock my idiocy.) I can't go back down, because the hill is steep enough that the stroller would flip. After another moment of contemplation, I turn the stroller around so the kids are facing down the hill, lie it on its back (so the kids are facing the sky), sit down, loop the handle over my knees, and pull. I backwards-crab-walked up a hill, dragging a stroller. Does that even need a comment?

And the stupid building didn't have bathrooms or water. I was about to pass out, so I lay down on the marble in a shady spot, while the twins stared at me like I was insane. Once I recovered enough, we went down a small road on the other side of the hill (which was shorter anyway), found a swingset, and then - glory be, for real this time - found a water fountain.

Watching Patrick and Lilly trying to drink from the fountain almost made the whole thing worth it. Almost. But it was a two hour round trip and I don't even know how many miles. They were awfully cute, though. Alright- commence commenting on my silliness.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Oh no!

Clearly, it was such a rough day that I made an egregious typo in my title.

I'm going to overcome my pride and not fix it, just to prove how out of it I was this morning.

That is all.

I delcare this day over, k?

It's eleven thirty, and I'm ready to call it quits. I've been awake for three hours.

I woke up with a sinus cold, so my head is trying to slide down my throat into my [insert random internal organ here], and the part that hasn't succeeded is throbbing and making focusing difficult. My reproductive system is making itself known, painfully. Nothing is making Lilly happy except Barney (which I don't allow over breakfast, just lunch) or poking "buttins!" on my "puter puter!" And, while I was trying to get the dishes done, Patrick tripped in the dining room and busted his mouth up a bit - thankfully no crying, just looked a little confused, but I had to get the bleeding to stop and make sure it wasn't serious.

I hurt. And Lilly is acting like if I don't push the button to make her stuffed rabbit sing "Jesus Loves Me" one more time, the world is going to end. Sorry kid, but I don't think Jesus cares.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bad days and big dresses

Last night was, for no reason I can totally pinpoint, one of the harder babysitting times I've had. In general (aside from when the twins are being two), I love going to my job, whether it's a regular family or just a one-night-sit (as opposed to a one-night-stand - I don't do those). But yesterday, V and I overlapped (again) (she only has eleven days left!), and we only had an hour and a half together before I had to leave. Jacob and Caroline, my first after-school kids, were in town for the weekend, and V was watching them at our house for the last half-hour we overlapped, as well as for a few hours by herself.

I went to a new family: Seth and Isabella's mom had recommended me to a friend of hers whose sitter had canceled last minute, and she had a four-year-old boy, a two-year-old boy, and a three-month-old girl (who was asleep when I got there and never woke up). The kids were okay, but there was no crazy connection (I'm spoiled on that), and the parents were a bit awkward, and the three hours after the boys went to bed dragged on and on and on. I was tired, and I wanted home. Plus I was hungry and had read the book and magazine I'd brought. Long story short, the mom said she'd definitely call me again, and of course I'll sit for her if I'm free, but I'm not dying to (like I am, oddly enough, with my other families).

In other news, I drove V to work today, and went to Once Upon a Child to kill some time. This resulted in me walking out with a gorgeous $9 Mimi maternity dress that fits me great now, with room to expand (I love sashes). V hasn't seen it yet. Tehehe...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Moments with toddlers

(Now that the dirty diaper has been resolved.)

Me, to myself: Oh goodness.
Lilly: Gooness. Gooness gooness gooness.

*****

Patrick: (spluttering and blowing bubbles) Noise! Noise!!!

*****

Lilly: O-side! [outside]
Me: It's cold outside.
Lilly: Code o-side. Code.
[she repeats this line off and on for the next hour]

*****

Me: Somebody has a dirty diaper.
Patrick: Ewwwww! (holds his nose)

*****

As I'm trying to type this, Lilly is hovering next to the chair, pointing at my phone and laptop and "narrating"-
"Phone. Phone. Puter! Buttons. Buttons. Buttons. Phone. Buttons. Buttons. Puter!"

*****

Every time I bring my laptop here, Lilly looks at the cover and tells me "Apple!"

Terrible person confession

I'm putting off going upstairs with the twins because one of them has a horrifically dirty diaper, and I don't want to deal with it yet.

"Wait till I finish my yogurt, then we'll go up."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boring

Patrick and Lilly are being better. Still age two, but at least inciting less desire to throw out the baby and the bathwater. It's been a long time since I brought my laptop to work with me, but I came early this morning at their father's request. Of course, that didn't stop Patrick from waking up early, but at least I get to import some of their Sandra Boynton cds into itunes.

I have the rest of today off! You really wouldn't know that Timothy and Tessa are out of town, though, at the rate I'm finding other things to do: watching Seth and Isabella last night, watching more kids tomorrow night, and watching a 5 year old Russian boy on Saturday. Plus, since Timothy and Tessa are the ones who went on vacation, not me, I'm still getting paid. (Really convenient, given the wedding and all.)

I feel like this blog has been boring lately. Sorry, everyone. I'll try to have better stories than "So this one time, I really wanted to throw a toddler out the window..." (Note: Not true. I have never wanted to throw a toddler out the window. Me, maybe.)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I can do this, right?

I think I'm just PMSing. Lame girl excuse, you can say, all you like. But I missed the twins while I was gone, and now that I'm back, they were terrible, and I think I'm losing it.

Also, apparently I use too many commas when I don't feel well.

It was good to see them this morning, and I got my wonderful pre-nap hugs. But they are two-year-olds: throwing food on the floor, throwing toys down the stairs, spilling milk for the joy of it.

And I don't feel like I can handle it. I think life things are just getting in the way, and I'll adapt, and they'll grow up and learn not to like timeouts, but until then-

I can do this, right?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Away from the kids

V and I are visiting our old college town and our old college friends, which is a weird experience. Timothy and Tessa are in Disney, and I've moved the twins to later this week. I don't remember the last time I went this long without watching any children.

I still want my own.

But, we went to the used bookstore that we both miss, and picked up exciting memoirs on pregnancy. So of course I'm 110 pages into one already.