Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Exhaustion

This week has wiped me out.  The only reason that I'm not in bed right now is because a)  I need to get the laundry, b) I need more food, and c) it would require getting up off the couch.

I can't wait for this week to be over.  It hasn't been bad, but for some reason, it's been utterly exhausting in that can't keep my eyes open way.  They really want to close.  Now.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Busyness as usual

It's a fairly non-noteworthy, busy week.  V has started classes now, so I have Essie and Anne briefly in the evenings - which lately has been sandwiched in between the twins and Kali.  So many children.

I've been exhausted today, for reasons mysterious.  Patrick and Lilly and I went to the art museum: Lilly asked to, and then when we were halfway there and she was talking about it, I realized she meant the children's museum.  Oh well.  They spent half an hour pointing out all the babies (Jesus, that is) in the Renaissance hall, and animals they found in paintings.  Then I took them to the playground so they could actually, you know, run and scream.

Did I mention Patrick's cast is off?  It came off yesterday morning, and we're all happier for it.  Poor kid; so glad that's over.  Not sure what the rest of the week holds.

Monday, August 29, 2011

About that potty thing

Lilly blew my mind on Saturday.  After dinner, I asked if she needed to go potty (not a common question, as I usually don't bring it up).  She said yes, we went upstairs, and she peed.  A lot.  Then I asked if she wanted her diaper back, or underwear; she picked the latter and selected a purple polka-dotted pair.

I took her to the potty about every twenty minutes, and she went every time.  She asked for a playground, so I put a towel in her carseat, put the kids' potty in the van, and off we went.  She took potty breaks there too.  When we were getting ready for bed, she drank her milk, then told me she had to pee.  It took me awhile to convince her to put her diaper on for bed.  She really liked her underwear.

It turns out that their mom had just so happened to pull the little potty out of the closet that morning, and both kids had wanted to use it.  I have no idea what happened yesterday, but today I offered Lilly underwear again and she wore some - though she never peed on the potty, and she was playing in a sprinkler so I have no idea if she ever had an accident.  Either way, we're on our way!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pizza and panties

I've been with the twins from 4:45 through now, and, since they don't go to bed until 10:30, we had a lot of time together.  And you know what?  Most of that time was great.

Their dad suggested we make pizza; he had dough from Trader Joe's that he pulled out of the fridge for us.  I put the twins in the chairs at the high table in the kitchen and put flour all over the wooden cutting board.  Patrick and Lilly got it all over everything, thankfully including the dough which they shaped into mostly circular shapes.  We each made our own mini pizza.  They spooned sauce from the jar, rubbed it around with the back of the spoon, and then took great handfuls of cheese and dumped it on top.  Into the oven on the pizza stone, and back out to cool off.  While the pizzas were baking, we cleaned up.

In thinking about Montessori and talking to V last night (now that she's started classes, she's a wealth of information), I realized that I tend to make a common mistake.  Kids tend to be rendered impotent.  Sure, they can "clean up," but there's almost always an adult after them to do the actual cleaning.  I'm now trying to weed this out; just because they are young doesn't mean they can't contribute meaningfully.

With that in mind, I gave them wet paper towels and told them to wipe off the table and chairs.  If they got it on the floor, that was fine.  We would sweep later.  The two of them totally cleaned off the area where we'd been.  By themselves.  I swept the floor, and Lilly held the dustpan while Patrick picked up crumbs with his paper towel.  And just like that, it was clean.

The pizza was yummy, too.

Okay, this is getting long, so I'll hold off on the tantalizing second half.  I think their parents are home!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Processing

I'm still processing the first day of Patrick and Lilly's weekly outdoorsy preschool.  I think I liked it?  It definitely wasn't what I was expecting, which startled me considering I'd already visited (though not for a class).  I'm hesitant to say too much, because everyone knows the internet is forever.

Suffice to say, though, that their dad had them ready to go and at 8:30 we were in the van - this for the kids who usually wake up between 9 and 9:30.  We ran to the store after school, made it home just before noon, started lunch at ten after (instead of one o'clock!), they ate remarkably well, and we played upstairs from one till one thirty.  I told them one more book and then naptime; Patrick announced he was sleepy and ready for bed.  Worked for me!

Tomorrow late afternoon, I'm watching them and V is watching Kali.  Then we have a whole day off!  (Sorry, my sarcasm slipped out.)  (I know I should be grateful that we can support ourselves comfortably, but every now and then, I just need to whine.  And maybe wine.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Food drama

This is copied directly from the email I just sent to the twins' mom, upon realizing it was way too long to leave her a note about.

We started lunch at five till one: they each had taco meat with cheese on top, some taco shell, mickey cheese, plus Lilly had peas and Patrick had carrots.  Both started eating well, and that lasted for about ten minutes.  Patrick asked to take his boot off, and I asked him to please not because then he wouldn't be able to get down after lunch [he can't walk on his cast on the wood floor].  We went back and forth a few times, then he started throwing a fit, then he picked up a piece of meat and dropped it on the floor.  I put him in timeout.  I also cleared his tray, because both of them have a penchant for rubbing their hands all over it and knocking stuff to the floor, whether by accident or on purpose.  He started whining - just a low hum-type noise - and he kept that up from just after one o'clock until about 135, interspersed with occasional conversation/observation.  Any time I asked him if he would like a bite, or if he was ready for lunch, he'd just whine like that at me.

Meanwhile, Lilly ate her taco meat VERY slowly.  Today was the first day she didn't scream at all, which made me (and my ears) happy.  By about 125 she'd practically stopped chewing, so I brought up the TV as an incentive.  She chewed another bite or two, but then began saying she wanted TV, and that turned into a tantrum.  She did actually calm down, and I asked if she wanted any more taco meat.  She politely said no, and again when I asked if she wanted any peas, cheese, or squeezie.  She said yes to her milk and drained it.  I asked her if she wanted a baby veggie, she said no.  I gave her her medicine and then she decided yes to the baby veggie - she ate about 1/3 of the container, said she was done, and about a minute later, threw up - first time in a LONG time.  Threw up all the veggie and some of the meat, as far as I could tell.

I cleaned her up, took her shirt off, and asked if she wanted to come downstairs with me to put her chair cover, bib, and shirt in the wash.  As soon as Patrick realized she was going downstairs, he asked for his taco meat and started shoveling it in his mouth.  By this point it's about 1:40.  She and I go down, then go all the way up to get her a new shirt.  When we come back down, Patrick is still eating, but it's 1:50 and I tell him lunch is over.  I get him down, we go upstairs, and they are in bed just before 2.

Ridiculous, no?  The rest of the email is me asking for advice.  I'm at my wits' end - not a place I'm used to being, when it comes to children.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trial

Lunch has always been a trial with the twins.  For a long time, it was an hour to an hour and a half ordeal, mostly in front of the tv.  There is significantly less tv now; the focus has changed from making sure they get enough calories to making sure they're behaving...and they aren't.

For the past two or so weeks, Lilly has taken to screaming through lunch.  Frequently, it's five minutes of eating, ten to fifteen of screaming and crying, and then she finishes her food with no problem.  Patrick will eat okay, but if I try to get any fruits or veggies besides carrots or edamame in him, he stops chewing.  He's kept the same bite in his mouth for hours.

Today was a new low.  Lilly ate for about seven minutes, and then alternated screaming and crying for the next half hour.  Patrick ate his chicken and rice, but sat with a bite of peas for fifteen minutes.  I finally just asked if they wanted to go upstairs: Patrick said yes; Lilly screamed some more.  We all went up...and as soon as we reached the bathroom to brush their teeth, they were happily chattering about what they did today.  Down for nap almost forty-five minutes early.  I went up there once to settle them, and they were asleep within twenty minutes of first putting them down.

I give up?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blown away

This is a text I have locked on my phone, from V's mom, from yesterday:

"It was great having you here! Hope you don't mind my claiming you as my own :)"

I cried, a little bit.  Just a teeny little bit, before becoming suspicious.
But still.
Progress, any way you slice the cake, isn't it?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Saddle

I guess the full title of this post should be "Saddle, Back in the, Again."  V and I made it home last night, and now she's off at work and I'm about to shower before heading there as well.  Her classes start tonight: she's stepping closer to being a Montessori teacher!  We're both so excited; I'm going to demand to know everything she learns.

Patrick and Lilly also start "school" this week: their awesome outdoorsy weekly preschool begins on Friday.  At nine in the morning, so we'll see how that goes since they usually don't get out of bed till quarter till ten.  But I think it will be worth it.

Life is starting to settle down.  It's been an insane, busy summer, but we only have one trip a month (I think) for the rest of the year.  I'm ready for a tiny bit of normalcy.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In law

So far, so good, with V's family.  Her mom particularly has seemed warm toward me; I'm still skeptical, but  things are smooth for now.  We're going out to dinner tonight for V's birthday.  She and I still haven't broached the fact that we're not going to church tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes.  Today has been sleeping in, swimming, sandwiches, and other things starting with S.

The only moment I've had to bite my tongue came when somehow the subject of taxes came up, and V's mom made a comment that she wished you could claim dogs as children.  I came very, very close to snapping, "At least you can claim your spouse."

But other than that, truly, things have been alright.  Here's to hoping that the next 24 hours go as well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Trust

I don't have time for a long post, because I need to pack so V and I can leave for her parents' house as soon as she's off work.  But this morning, to block out the light, I shoved a pillow over my head...which also nicely blocked out my alarm.  And V's texts.  And the twins' mom's first phone call.  And her second phone call.  I finally did hear my voicemail noise.

As soon as it went off, I snapped awake, realized I was probably late, and said a lot of things that would make this blog significantly less family friendly.  I hightailed it over there, needless to say.

What I love, though, is that their dad said he and his wife were worried more than anything.  They were concerned that something had happened; they checked to see if they had V's number.  They weren't fuming or irritated or apoplectic (I've been trying to work that word into a conversation lately).  They trusted that I wouldn't run late on purpose, so when I did, they had concern.

This makes me feel so good about myself.  It almost makes up for the self-frustration of oversleeping in the first place.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Spontaneous

We went to the children's museum this morning, and as we're walking in, we ran into Kali, Laura, Danielle, and their parents.  The five of them and the three of us hung together - we'd actually been planning on going to natural history (it's all in one building), but decided to follow them to the children's museum.  Everyone had fun, of course, though the kids didn't interact much, of course.

My favorite moment was when I was holding Kali (because how could I not?), and Lilly pointed to me with a confused look, pointed at her, and said, "What's that?"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On high

Every so often, V and I have conversations about God/religion/faith.  We were both raised, well, let's just say our mothers are Michele Bachmann fans.  One of the biggest revelations of my recent life is that I was brought up in a manner and with beliefs that the majority of the country considers downright weird.  That'll put things into perspective.

One of those conversations is happening now.  (Does this count as live-blogging?  It's boring, if so.)  I can branch out from the Pentecostalism of my youth.  But in branching out, I'm suddenly faced with not only the God/Gods of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc, but also the God of the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians...and those can seem just as foreign.

Who is right?  Is everyone?  Is anyone?  If so, what about the atheists - are they then "wrong"?  How much does it matter, and what even is "it"?

And then I end up trying to figure out if some sort of god-figure has been so ingrained in me that it's impossible for me to ever be atheistic or even agnostic.  And I have so many more questions than answers.

I've been much more anti-god lately.  We snuck out of church, the one time we've made it in the past month, because I was just ready to go.  A prayer at a friend's wedding bugged me by its very existence.  Singing "Jesus Loves Me" to Bug, her goodnight ritual, grates.  But I'm not actually anti-god...I don't think.  I don't know.  That's the moral of this post: I just don't know.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Quit

That four-letter word up there is what V and I both want to do.  Things have not been going well.

Patrick and Lilly have been not feeling well, and whinier and grumpier than I think I've ever seen them.  Every meal is a battle.  Lilly threw a fit in the car today because we passed a horse and then didn't pass any more.  Usually they are rational.  The past two days they've been acting like small annoying terrors.  It makes me dread the rest of the week.

On V's end, Anne is teething, and her parents don't believe it or don't think it's bad.  I guess they have to believe it, since a tooth just popped up, but they're not doing anything about what seems to be extreme pain.  Last night, V stayed late, and I went over to help.  Anne screamed for an hour solid - and we tried rocking her, feeding her, everything; it sounded like a pain cry.  She finally stopped when V brought her down and I gave her a teething ring from the freezer.  She glazed over like that for half an hour, and then we gave her infant tylenol (after trying to contact her parents and failing).  Ten minutes later she was smiling and kicking her legs.  Awake, but at least not wailing.  According to V, she did the same thing this afternoon at naptime; she eventually went to sleep in the swing, but not before an hour of screams.  And her parents don't give medicine, and don't like anyone to, unless there are specific doctor's orders.

I'm going crazy.  V is going crazy.  I hate my job right now.  I hate being powerless.  I hate having to deal with things I can't control.  And people.

And I ate a giant piece of chocolate cake to make it all better, and now I just have a stomachache.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cast

I had a rough morning with the twins today.  I'm tired, they seemed tired, and I was freaked out by Patrick's cast more than I thought I would be.

First of all, it goes up to mid-thigh.  Didn't see that one coming.  He seems pretty adjusted to it by now, but it's still just weird.  Put his boot on when we come downstairs.  Take it off when we go up.  Carry him up and down stairs a lot more than previously.  Note that for the first time, his sister is faster than he is.

I don't know why it unnerves me so much.  It's going to be around for the next two weeks, so I'd better get over it in a hurry.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

(Really) wed

The wedding is over; I did nine hours in a gorgeous but tight lace-up dress.  Everything was beautiful, and V and I had fun dancing.  We're exhausted now.

In other news, it turns out that Patrick has a stress fracture in his foot.  When he tripped at the playground a week or so back, it didn't seem like much, but he's still been limping some, so his mom took him to the doctor.  Now the poor thing has a cast.  According to his mom, he keeps saying his foot is better so take it off.  I feel so bad for him!

And that is as coherent as I get.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wed

Right now, I'm in a plushy hotel bed under a plushy comforter.  Can you tell I like my sleep plushy?  At the rehearsal tonight, one of the girls asked if V and I are sisters - a common question we get.  I already knew from talking to the bride that she didn't want us to hide anything, and without any sort of setup, I squealed, "Married!"  Maybe it was being around a wedding that brought it out, but I don't know.  The poor girl's face was hilarious.  She seemed totally fine with us being married, but it definitely came from left field; oops.

Then another girl looked confused when the bride mentioned that all her friends were married and couldn't catch her bouquet.  She asked V and I if we were engaged, and I told her married, and V clarified "to each other."  We both thought she knew, but hey, I'm always up for telling people I'm married.  Gay-married, sorry.  Don't want to confuse it with that holy God-ordained institution blessed by the Founding Fathers.

I'm sleepy, giggling, and somehow still snarky.  Goodnight world!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Labor

For once, V and I will be laboring on Labor Day.  Sort of.
The Friday before, we're going to be traveling about two hours away, to a nearby city, in our own car but following Essie and Anne and their parents.
We'll stay in a room in some hotel/resort/place adjoining theirs, watch the girls Friday and Saturday evenings, and have Saturday day to ourselves.
Gas and lodging are paid, and we'll get paid for watching the girls.
I'm looking forward to it.  In a way, this is our "frivolous" trip.  I can't wait.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Class time

I just got a text (well, four) from the twins' mom, overviewing the two options she's narrowed down to for "school" for the twins.  I put school in quotes, because they won't be three until October, and she's only looking at one day per week classes.

One of the options is a pre-pre-school.  Literally: it discusses how it prepares kids for preschool, teaching them how to stand in line, take turns, share, etc.  The other one is a nature program run through a Waldorf school.  Guess which one I voted for?  Super super excited about nature!

I texted her to let her know that I emailed with elaboration, and now I'm refreshing my email every thirty seconds.  I say I'm a nerd; V says I'm just invested.  I'm going to go check my email again.

Stress

It's a stress day for me.  It's been a few days, so I guess it's about time.  V and I are going to a wedding this weekend, which, while we're excited for the wedding, is somewhat stressful: she's having a hard time getting off work, and we're worried about the car and gas as usual.  The weekend after that, we're going to visit her family, which is stressful as always; plus, the difficulty getting off work thing makes that 6 hour drive stressful.  Both of those trips, while we're looking forward to them, are "obligation trips" - not vacations, even though we're looking forward to them.  (I stress that last point because certain people involved in these weekends may happen to read this!)

V is PMSing now, and I think I'm getting it off her.  I'm just ready for life to settle down, mkay?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Appearance

I watched Katie and Sean today for the first time in months, or, more accurately, I watched Katie, as Sean slept the entire time.  She turned 5 a few months ago, and is headed off to kindergarten next week.

She's grown up, thankfully.  She used to be a bit of a terror - hyper, demanding, in-your-face.  Today she played nicely: by nicely, I mean, I was a giant on the couch with a sword trying to eat her as she crawled around.  But she was polite, and played by herself for awhile, and was quiet at times, and we generally had a good afternoon.  I'm going back Wednesday, too.

In other news, I took the twins to Essie's house today and we finger-painted and played and ate.  At one point Essie was twirling and saying "I'm a princess!"  I am so not okay with that...I asked her if she was a ballerina.  "Yes! I'm a ballerina!" That's what she continued to be.  I considered my job done, for the moment.  She still has way too much pink and pastel.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Makes my life

The twins and I had an incredible night tonight.  Their parents left the van out, so for the first time we could go somewhere in the evening.  Problem was, everything closes, and I wanted to do something special that we couldn't do during the day.

I debated taking them for ice cream, and then thought it would be fun to take them downtown to the ice cream place there.  I drove down, parked, and promptly blew their minds.  "Horses!  Neigh, neigh, neigh!" - who needs a petting zoo when you have carriage rides going by every thirty seconds?  There was music, including a loud drum, so I was treated to a full Kindermusik-style concert by Patrick and Lilly.  There was a large fountain and little ones, and they got soaked - and loved it.  Lilly would put her face by it, then look up and squeal "I got wet!"  No duh, miss adorable.  Then we got ice cream, which they wolfed down.

I love it.  I love experiencing things through kids' eyes; everything is so much more exciting.  And boy were they tired when we got home, about ten minutes after bedtime usually starts.  But as always, I loved putting them to sleep.  Such a wonderful night.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Play and fall

The weather is finally under 90 (or was this morning), so I told Lilly that yes, we could go to a playground.  "With Essie?" she immediately asked, so I texted V and we agreed to meet at the giant, fenced-in playground that I'm in love with.

When we got there, Lilly ran in circles for awhile saying "It's so exciting it's so exciting!"
(I think we made her happy.)

Toward the end, Patrick tripped (no big deal), and started saying his foot hurt and he couldn't walk.  Everything moved fine; he was just limping and whining.  I had his dad take a look at it before nap, and he seemed to think it was mostly drama.  We'll see if he's over it by tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Natal

This will be a short post, because it's still V's birthday, but I thought I'd share.
We went out for breakfast (which involved poached eggs and ham and fruit and yogurt!), went to the zoo (and fed the giraffes!), watched Kali for awhile and took pictures of her (3 month olds are hard to photograph!), and then had a phenomenal dinner at a fancy restaurant downtown (so much goodness, so much money, so much worth it).
Splendid, awesome day.
(Except for the me getting my period part.)
An hour and a half left!  It feels like a weekend, though, so we'll see how work tomorrow goes for both of us.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Leave

Patrick and Lilly are awesome listeners.  I've always been impressed by their abilities to follow directions, be patient, and take turns.  I tell them every gymnastics class that I appreciate them waiting for the other kids to go first and paying attention to the teacher.

Today was...not so much.  And it wasn't just one of them.  Lilly was actually in time out in a chair for awhile, because she just sat down on the mat where she was supposed to do a somersault and refused to budge.  For the third time in a row.  Patrick wasn't coming over to where the teacher was (which he always does), and after asking him too multiple times, I asked him if he'd rather go home.  That got him to listen.

I've never had to do that.  I was actually embarrassed of my children.  Only two of the other kids were in class, and they weren't being super behaved either.  But still, no excuse.  I'm less than pleased.  Strangely, though, it was a great morning until we got there, and now that we are home, they're behaving again.  But they love gymnastics!  I give up.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Duh

Me: We're going to a different library today; we haven't been to this one.  We'll have to see what they have here!
Patrick: Books!
(Well, yes.  Definitely those.)

Other than that, today's been less than stellar.  A snippy note from their mom (though I don't think it's meant that way), fruit flies, no air conditioning, stupid fourteen year old telling me he liked my shorts...I'm PMSing.  This ought to be fun.

Right now Bug and Andrew are sleeping.  He turns 8 months tomorrow: he's got teeth, he does the worm (as his mom says), and he's just plain growing up.  Still cute as ever, though.