Monday, September 01, 2014

Sleep talking and (ALL NEW!) sleep walking

9:30 PM (a rather boring tale)

"Please-y, Mommy!" Benjamin called from his bed. "Please-y. More. Please-y."

I went into his room to see what the problem was.

"What's wrong, Benjamin?" I asked. "What do you need?"

He was huddled against the wall with his back to me, so I flipped him over to see what he was doing. He was fast asleep, sucking on two fingers of one hand, both hands held tightly up to his mouth.

"What are you doing, Benjamin?" I asked. "What's wrong?"

"More nurse-y, Mommy," he said when I pulled his fingers out of his mouth. He quickly—ravenously—put them back in his mouth as soon as I let go of them.

He might still develop a thumb-sucking habit. I'm not sure.

He's really been pretty good about being weaned, but every few weeks he has a moment of weakness when he'll ask to nurse again. Tonight's moment was when he was fast asleep.

10:45 PM (where it really gets good)

Rachel stumbled out of her bedroom with wild eyes, never a good sign.

Flowing with Milk and Honey

There is a 2 lbs. 10 oz. jar of jam sitting on the top shelf of our fridge. Miriam asked for help getting it down so she could make a peanut butter and jam sandwich "in the shape of a heart" (a quote from this book) for lunch. Rachel quickly volunteered to get it.

"Oh, please be so careful," I said. "It's a big jar and I don't want you to drop it."

"Why?" Rachel asked.

"Because it would smash on the floor and make a huge mess," I said, doing my best not to envision that scene.

"Oh, not because of the honey incident?" Rachel asked impishly. "Not so you could tease me about how bad I am at making sandwiches? I think I will drop the jar! Then we could tease me about the honey and the jam!"

What's the honey incident, you're wondering? I'll tell you.

On Saturday afternoon the kids wanted to have a picnic outside. I love when they eat outside because it typically means they don't drop any food on the floor...because they drop it on the ground instead, and then who cares? Not me.

Miriam and Benjamin wanted cream cheese and jam sandwiches. Rachel wanted peanut butter and honey. She got to work making her sandwich while I helped Benjamin and Miriam with theirs.

We have a quart-sized jar of honey that we've been working on for quite a while. There's about an inch left in the bottom of the jar. Rachel was having a hard time scooping out the honey but I was so busy that I didn't notice and since one of our parenting mantras is "think of a solution" she decided to think of a solution. Her solution involved tipping the jar over so the honey would run off the bottom of the jar so that she could scoop it out easier. Unfortunately, the honey was much runnier than she was expecting and instead of slowly creeping along the sides of the jar it came flowing freely out of the jar.

Honey pooled onto her bread, flooded onto her plate, and started dripping onto the table.

"Oh, no!" Rachel screamed.

I glanced up from what I was doing and saw the mess.

"Oh, honey!" I moaned.

Them Sobbin' Women

Sacrament meeting was so awful yesterday. Benjamin was a holy terror. The only parts of the meeting I heard were the parts when Andrew was out in the hall with Benjamin. The only parts of the meeting Andrew heard were the parts when I was wrestling with Benjamin in our row.

He coloured on a hymn book (Who does that?! The girls always seemed to be able to restrain themselves from graffiti-ing church property. Not Benjamin.), he yelled about wanting bread and water, he ran up and down the row gathering all the hymn books into a huge pile, he pushed his sisters, he came up with the choir and ran up and down the row behind the altos and sopranos, he ran out of the chapel yelling, "PUSH!" as he pushed open the door, he scattered our crayons everywhere (twice), he ripped some paper, he kicked Miriam off of my lap repeatedly, he...

At least Benjamin wasn't the only unruly child.

I don't ordinarily get annoyed with children who act up during sacrament meeting (because you read the description of my son, right?) but I was almost grinding my teeth by the end of yesterday's sacrament meeting. It was out of control, folks.

Not only was Benjamin being his charming two-year-old self but two rows back his little friend Rosie was making herself known. Directly behind us Marcella was acting up and Baby Jay was fussing loudly. In front of us my friend Magie's twins decided they'd had enough at exactly the same time, but her daughter wanted to sit on her lap, and her husband was out with their two-year-old. And the speaker? The speaker was talking so loudly that it seemed to me that she was trying to speak over all the noise around me.

The cacophony was deafening. I was having an almost irrepressible urge to stand up and to stop the meeting—like I stop my primary class when things are getting out of hand—and say, "Before we continue I need to know you are all paying attention! Hands to yourselves. Quiet mouths. Eyes on me."

Instead I whispered, "Magie!"

She didn't hear me. She put the twin she was holding (I can't tell those little dears apart) down in his carseat so she could pick up the other one. The one she picked up promptly stopped crying. The one she put down promptly started crying. Magie looked frustrated.

I scooted closer to her and tapped her on the shoulder.

"Magie, give one to me," I whispered, holding my arms over the back of the bench.

You lose

"Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit," I said this morning.

"What?" Rachel asked.

"Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit," I repeated.

"What's rabbit, rabbit, rabbit?" Rachel asked, her face contorted with confusion.

So I more or less explained this, "But," I said, "In the Gillespie household it's kind of a game and the first person to say it on the first day of the month wins, so—haha—I got you!"

"Yeah, you did," Rachel said. "But I didn't know it. I guess you were just getting even for that time I got you."

On Saturday night when we were having dinner, Rachel excused herself to go to the bathroom. As she was walking back to the dinner table her eyes locked on mine.

"One," she challenged seriously.

"Two?" I guessed, not sure what she was doing but assuming she was doing something like the sandbox game.

"You lose," she shrugged.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"You're supposed to say 'buzz.' You lose."

"What? What kind of a game is that?" I laughed.

"We play it at school all the time. We go around the classroom trying to count to 100 but we can't say any even numbers so we go one—buzz—three—buzz—five—buzz—six—bu...oh! See? I just lost. If someone messes up then we have to start all the way back at zero again."

"I see," I said. "This game probably would have been a lot more fun to play if I had known about it before we started playing."

So, you see, I did get her back at her, though Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbi is less of a cooperative game and more of an element-of-surprise/quickest-on-the-draw kind of game. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Teasing Mr. Alligator

Benjamin was taking forever to fall asleep tonight. It took me about as long to figure out what song he was singing to himself in his room (and then later in my room because he insisted, "Me seep mommy 'oom"). I'm certain that he picked it up in nursery at church (because I don't think I've sung it in a while). And he's completely adorable singing it.



I don't usually sing "chomp" when I sing this song (I usually sing "snap") but it sounded like Benjamin was saying chomp so that's the way I said it (because I was hoping he'd just say it himself). 

Miriam's first day of preschool

Yesterday was Miriam's first official day of preschool. Since Benjamin and I had joined her for the open house she hadn't realized that I wouldn't be coming inside with her and instead would just be dropping her off.

"What? What?" she sputtered when I told her that she was supposed to practice her independence—getting out of the van on her own, going inside the preschool by herself, taking off her shoes, hanging up her book bag, and so on. "You're not coming with me?!"

"Nope. I'm just dropping you off. Is that okay?" I asked.

"Okay?" she said. "That's awesome!"

So apparently she's more than ready for some independence.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Slow growing children

So, I'm still stressing out about Benjamin growing properly. Today while Miriam was at preschool I looked up all the stats I have for him to see if he was ever in the 25th percentile and all my records show that he's just always been small. I even called the clinic today to check his records. This flagged my doctor so she called me back (I hadn't intended to bug her at all, I promise) to explain that the 25th percent figure came from his adjusted chart. And now he's sitting at the 5th percentile and she's not happy about it.

How do I explain to my doctor that my child is healthy?

Rachel weighed 26 lbs. at two years (she's always been my middle-ground child), so we'll leave her out of this discussion. But Miriam only weighed 23 lbs. at two years.

Benjamin also weighed in at 23 lbs. at his two-year check up.

But I guess 23 lbs is within the 5–10% range for girls and is below the 5th percentile for boys.

That doesn't change the fact that Miriam was 15 lbs at 4 months old—putting her between the 50th and 75th percentile—and that she dropped down to the 5–10th percentile by the time she was two.

Benjamin was apparently all the way up in the 25th percentile for his adjusted chart at 4 months (when he weighed 12 lbs). But his percentile has dropped quite a bit (like below the 5th percentile).

How is it that Miriam's doctor concluded that she was a healthy breast-fed baby ("Must've been making some creamy milk right around then!" he quipped) and Benjamin's doctor seems about ready to diagnose him with failure to thrive?

The World Health Organization seems to feel that breast-fed babies' weight gain does taper off around six months. They start growing slower than their formula-fed peers (whereas before that time they can grow faster).

I have a feeling my doctor is using the CDC charts, since that's the norm here. Should I ask her to check him on the WHO charts? I can't seem to find a WHO chart adjusted for prematurity...and I'm not exactly sure how to adjust for prematurity myself. Do I just take x-number of weeks off his age when I plot him on the chart (where x=the number of weeks premature)?

Also, I thought that premature babies were supposed to "catch up" to their peers by around two years. Benjamin is caught up developmentally, I think. His doctor wasn't at all concerned that the boy didn't even begin babbling until he was eighteen months old (I was concerned), but now he's a talking, running, jumping, happy little boy.

He's just small. But I thought we allowed premature babies to be smallish. I was told in the hospital that he should catch up to their peers and "land on the regular growth chart by two years of age." Benjamin did that. He's on the chart. So why is my doctor freaking out?

Is it because he's not as "chunky" as he was when he was four months old? Because all of my children chunked out at four-months old...and then their growth tapered off.

Seriously, when my doctor weighed Miriam at her four-month check up he actually did it twice because he didn't think it was possible for her to have gained that much weight—but she had. And then she started tapering off. No one expected her to stay in the 75th percentile.

I guess I'll just keep feeding Benjamin (because I was totally considering quitting that habit before...not) until I take him in for his weight-gain check in four months.

For lunch to day he had a whole container of yogurt (perhaps with a couple tablespoons of sour cream mixed in), a banana, and a plate left-over noodles with melted cheese. Oh, and half a gingerbread man cookie that Miriam shared with him when we picked her up from preschool. And he had a bowl of graham crackers just before we left to pick her up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A morning on campus

When I asked Andrew what the plan was for today he told me that he hoped I could:

  1. Load everyone into the car by 8:45 AM
  2. Drop Rachel off at school
  3. Drop him off at Duke
  4. Go home and do my stay-at-home mom thing
  5. Pick him up from school by 12:15 PM
  6. Drop him off at the bus station by 12:45 PM

"That's not going to happen," I told him. "If you think I can drive to Duke twice in one day and still be happy person at the end of the day when I have to put the kids to bed on my own, you are mistaken."

"Then how is it going to happen?" he asked.

"We'll go to campus a little later and the kids and I will visit Duke Gardens while you're teaching," I said.

He'd hoped to "get some stuff done" before teaching his class, but I think everything worked out fine in the end. He dropped Rachel off at school and ran to Kroger to get some last-minute groceries and some supplies for his class (he needed thirty erasers or something ridiculous like that and we simply didn't have that many erasers on hand), then he came home and packed while I got the little ones ready to go for the day. We packed a little picnic and were in the car, ready to go, by 9:43 (our goal was 9:45 so we felt pretty smug about this).

We parked the car and Andrew gave me instructions on how to drive from the parking lot to the Sanford building so that I could pick him up when the time came, then we took a "short cut" through campus to visit his office.

This was my first time seeing his office and my visit marks an end to a long-standing joke that perhaps he's not even going to school—because I've never actually seen his office. He's taken the girls to his office a couple of times when I've had meetings. But I'd never seen his supposed workspace.

(Truthfully, it's not a very funny joke because it always made me think of this).

Right now he's teaching some microeconomics classes to a group of Chinese bureaucrats for the DCID. He kept talking about the DCID last night and I kept smiling and nodding as if what he was saying made sense to me. Then I said, "So, what's the DCID?"

"What't he DCID?!" he said. "You don't know what that stands for? I've been standing here going on and on about them and you don't even know what they are?!"

"Yup. Nope. I..."

"The Duke Center for International Development," he said.

"Could have been anything," I pointed out. "How am I supposed to know who you're working for? I haven't even seen your office."

I put air quotations around the word "office" to prove my point.

But now I have seen his office so I guess he really does do stuff on campus (go figure).

Now that he's a big third-year student he has a little cubicle with a door and everything. His old "office" was only a desk—no door. He's certainly moving up in the world.

Benjamin was pretty sure that Daddy's office was the potty. When we pulled up to the door and Andrew unlocked it and swung it open, Benjamin said, "Potty!" and climbed out of the stroller.

"That's not the potty," I said. "That's Daddy's office."

"Oh," said Benjamin. "Potty."

"Do you need to go to the bathroom?" I asked.

"Ummmmm..." said Benjamin, who likes to take a minute to think before answer any question. "Yes!"

"Let's go find the potty," Andrew said.

We left Andrew's cubicle behind in order to find both the potty and the pencil sharpener. Along the way Benjamin told everyone he saw, "Me—POTTY!"

Andrew took Benjamin potty and then Miriam and I sharpened some pencils for him while he cut some paper for his class. We sharpened three whole pencils (out of, like, thirty) before leaving for Duke Gardens.

I mostly just let the kids do whatever they wanted while I followed them around. Benjamin's at a great age where he mostly wants to do whatever his sisters decide so he wasn't interested in straying too far away from Miriam in case she did something cool that he wanted to copy. This stage is much easier than the stage where he was always taking off in the opposite direction from everybody else!

Here a bunch of monkey-see-monkey-do pictures of my kids:

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bronto Trail

It didn't rain today so we were finally able to check out Wescott's Bronto Trail for family home evening.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Laughing Gas

Rachel's been doing a charming unit on the states of matter at school. I've been impressed, truly. Her teacher does fabulous science lessons. The other day Rachel brought home a little poster she'd made to show how the particles of solids, liquids, and gases behave (which she wants to keep forever...but it's a paper with dried beans glued on it, so...):*


We've had several dinner conversations about matter and particles and how elements combine to form certain chemicals and so forth. It's been fun! 

At dinner a few nights ago Rachel fell off the bench—something our family has managed to avoid for quite a long time (don't cry when you see how little my kids were two years ago). She managed to catch herself, which was impressive considering how quickly she fell. Still, she started making terrible noises. At first we thought she was crying but really it was only uncontrollable laughter.

"I was just putting my arm down to lean on it," she gasped out between peals of laughter. "But I didn't know how close I was to the edge of the bench! I thought I would put my hand down on a solid, but I put it down on gas instead!"

With that you'd better believe Andrew and I cracked up, too. Those pesky gas particles, flowing freely wherever they may!

*Just thought I'd clarify that this is not a frowny face. It's really just a parenthesis followed by a colon (followed by an asterisk).