Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bedtime

This evening Andrew was working on the van with our neighbour, which meant that I was in charge of getting the kids to bed. We have great kids (not that I'm biased or anything) but lately I've been feeling like I've been burning the candle at both ends. I'm so exhausted by bedtime that it's difficult to remain patient through each child's individual shenanigans.

Zoë went to bed around 10:00 last night, which was amazing, and she stayed asleep most of the night. Andrew and I went to bed around 1:00 (we're both swamped with projects right now so we're staying up far too late (1:00 was actually early for this week)). Zoë only woke up once to nurse but then she got up at 6:00 this morning...for good. She took a one hour nap this afternoon.

She is still awake. (It's nearly midnight).

Benjamin was his little energetic self, Miriam must be suffering from middle-child syndrome because I can't think of anything to say about her, and I caught Rachel eating spoonfuls of sugar directly out of the sugar bin today. So...

By the time bedtime rolled around a little peace and quiet was sounding awfully nice. After scriptures and prayer and stories, I told the kids it was time to get into bed.

"And by 'get into bed,' I mean get into bed. I want you to go and get into your beds and then I want you to stay there. I don't want you to come out. I want you to get into bed and stay in your bed."

Both Miriam and Benjamin obediently bid me goodnight, hopped off the couch, and...ran to the kitchen where they started fighting over access to the ice machine.

Could I have been more explicit?

"That's not bed, guys," I sighed.

After getting their drinks, they headed off to bed. I helped Benjamin say his prayers but he was still feeling rather silly and while I was singing him his lullaby he suddenly did this flip-dive thing in his bed and smashed into my face. So I growled at him to "LIE DOWN!" before singing a hasty lullaby to Miriam and hurriedly exiting their room before really losing my temper.

No sooner had I sat down to nurse Zoë than I heard a doorknob jiggle.

"Don't do it," I warned. "Stay in bed."

Then I heard the door open.

"Get back in bed," I said.

A little head popped around the corner.

"Benjamin, go to bed."

"Mom," he scoffed and then ran over to me and gave me and Zoë a hug.

"Thanks, sweetie," I said. "I love you. Now get back in bed and stay there."

"But what if I need to give you another hug?" he asked, the saccharine words slipping through his pouty lips with ease as he expertly cocked his head and batted his eyelashes.

"Then you'll just have to save it up for the morning," I said, steeling my rapidly-melting heart against his four-year-old wiles.

Sometimes bedtime has to mean bedtime.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

We've started our lasts

This morning when we went outside, Benjamin skipped down the front steps and then froze in his tracks. "Wow! Wow! Wow!" he said, "It's brrrrrrzy out here! I gotta go get my coat!" And he ran back inside to fetch a jacket. 

It was a little chilly. I pulled out my phone to see exactly how so. 

It was 67°F (19.4°C), basically room temperature, and there we were, contemplating sweaters and stuff. 

Granted, we were wearing our swimming suits. But still. 

Next (because I was still waiting for Benjamin (we haven't worn sweaters in months so I don't know how we even remembered where to find them)) I decided to check the forecast for one of my home towns: High River. Their high for the day was only supposed to be 65°F. 

I rather value being warm, so it always cheers me up to see that—haha!—I don't live in such a cold place anymore. I mean, look at this chart:

from http://us.worldweatheronline.com/

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Animal crackers and van trouble

I took Zoë out of bed this morning and put her directly into the stroller so that we could walk to the pool in time to meet our friends. Knowing that she'd probably think she needed to have breakfast (these kids—they think they need three meals a day or something) I put some animal crackers in a little container for her.

Not exactly a breakfast of champions, but honestly if she expects more than that she's got to got to bed before 2 AM. Last night she went to bed at 2 AM, woke up twice before 6 AM, and we had to meet our friends at the pool at 9:30. Technically 9:30 isn't early, but we had to walk to the pool so we had to leave at 9:00 because it takes us about twenty minutes to walk to the pool (if I make Benjamin walk) and I wanted to be sure to be a little early.

Lucky for us, our first lesson of the day had to cancel or we'd have had to leave the house even earlier.

And why were we walking? Well, because on Sunday morning when I turned on the van there was a terrible shaking and grinding noise. It sounded like the van was a gravel-chewing monster. I quickly turned it off and texted Andrew.

"Uhhhh...I think we're going to be late," I wrote.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Homework, pasta, and a sick baby

Miriam's class is doing take-home reading books this year, which I shouldn't really complain about because conceptually I understand why they're beneficial. Every child in the class always has a book to read at home that's at their level. They're supposed to read it aloud to their parents a few times and the parents are supposed to ask them questions and then we sign a log and it's all hunky-dory...except that signing papers is always the straw that breaks this camel's back. I don't know why.

I can read with my children. I can listen to my children read. I can remind them to record their reading in their reading log. But when it comes signing those papers...I don't know what happens.

My arms are always full of baby or I'm busy fixing dinner or I can't find a working pen or it's bedtime so I put it off so I can keep this factory running smoothly and then I forget about it altogether and then my kids are left making excuses to their teacher like, "Well, yes, I did my reading but then my mom forgot where my paper was so she couldn't sign it."

Seriously, Miriam told her teacher that this week so that she could bring a new book home.

I can imagine her teacher saying, "Your mom couldn't find the paper in your folder, in your backpack?"

Well, yes. That seems to be about the long and short of it.

Friday, August 19, 2016

So many pictures, so little time

Rachel has figured out how to give Zoë piggyback rides. She balances Zoë on the arm of the couch and then lets her cling to her back...and also flip backwards so she's dangling upside-down (which is slightly terrifying for me).


More pool talk

I've been meaning to write for several days in a row, but things have been busy around here. I've had meetings for school stuff on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; swimming lessons on Tuesday and Thursday mornings; in addition to everything we normally do. This Friday we were actually scheduled for play group in the morning and ukulele in the afternoon, but we're taking the day off and not going anywhere (thanks to Zoë, who is running a fever).

On Monday we had Family Night at the home of Rachel's now-former primary teacher. We're so sad about this shakeup because we love her teacher (Sister N) so much! She hosted a little family night party for the class as a final hurrah. It was fun to get to spend time with some other families in the ward, but it was especially fun for me to see how much the children's swimming has improved over the summer.

We went to Sister N's house at the beginning of summer for a pool party as well. Way back when Miriam was still wearing ear plugs because she'd just gotten over her hard-to-vanquish ear infection and we didn't want to risk getting another one (we've since relaxed); way back when Benjamin was worrisome enough that we kept him in the puddle jumper; way back when Zoë preferred to be held in the water and wouldn't dream getting off the top step of the pool.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Potty training, part the ∞

It's probably no secret that I have been in tears—multiple times—over the difficulties we've had with potty training Benjamin. Sometimes I feel like we're almost over that hurdle and other times I feel like we keep tripping and landing flat on our faces. It's been a long, hard road, but I can honestly say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Soon I won't have to stress over it anymore, but for now, although things have been pretty great lately, I will continue to sprout grey hairs, worrying about whether he's going to make it to the toilet or not.

He's only four. I know some kids struggle a lot longer than that.

But at the same time he's four. He is three years older than Zoë, who today communicated quite clearly to me that she wished to do her business on the potty. So I took her to the potty and she did her business and we all sang glory hallelujah. Because I will sing glory hallelujah on practically any day that I don't have to change a poopy diaper.

There are exceptions to that rule. For example, if the lack of poopage is due to extreme constipation or if the poopage happens outside of the diaper and outside of the toilet (like on the carpet). I probably wouldn't be singing glory hallelujah then. But otherwise, I probably would be.

My babies have always been excellent poopers. I'm not going to lie. Like, I seriously have friends who tell such outlandish tales as, "My baby doesn't spit up and only poops once a week." Meanwhile, I was always dripping with spit up or runny, golden newborn poop. My kids would poop upwards of five eight times a day, when they were brand new. And before I switched to cloth it would always go straight up the back (or would start dripping through their leg holes).

Every. Single. Time.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Benjamin

This evening Benjamin settled down on a stool and opened his little set of scriptures to participate in family scripture study.

"Is this it?" Benjamin asked, wanting to know if he was at the right spot.

"Yup," Andrew said.

Benjamin closed his book and opened it again, to a different spot.

"Is this it?" Benjamin asked.

"Yup," Andrew said again.

Benjamin closed his book and opened it, yet again to different spot.

"Is this it?" he asked.

"Yup," Andrew said.

"What?! Why is it always it?" Benjamin wondered.

I suppose we've figured that since he can't follow along it isn't necessary for him to be open to the right spot, but now that he's realized every spot is always it he knows that he's never in the right spot. All part of the learning-to-read process, I guess.

We had him say family prayer tonight as well, giving him special instructions to think about what he's saying, to say thank you for three things and then ask for three things. He's in a terrible habit of offering a rote prayer of bless-the-food for everything. So tonight he said, "Thank you for this good day that we could have. Thank you for this nice day. Thank you for....you know..."

Evidently we have a little bit of work to do in that department as well.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Meetings of all sorts

Today we met with one of Andrew's advisors. We brought along Zoë and Benjamin to spend some time on campus as well (because what else was I going to do with them?) so when we went to meet this professor the kids were in tow.

"And how old are you?" she asked Benjamin.

"I'm four," he said. "But I'm almost ten."

"Not for a few years, buddy," I whispered.

"That's okay, that's okay," she said. "Because do you know what? I'm almost 100 years old. It's true. Very soon I will turn 100. Yes, in about fifty-one years."

"Whoa!" gasped Benjamin.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Rocks vs. Clouds

"What one do you like the best?" Miriam asked when she came home from school. "Rocks or clouds?"

"I don't know," I said. "How was your day? Do you have homework?"

*******

"Which is better?" she asked while she ate her after school snack. "Rocks or clouds?"

"I really don't know," I said. "They're both so different."

******

"If you had to choose one," she asked as she put away her ukulele, "Would you choose a rock or a cloud?"

"It depends what for," I said. "If I wanted to break a window I'd probably choose a rock, but if I was hoping for rain I'd probably choose a cloud."

******

This went on the entire afternoon and I really couldn't figure out her fascination with rating these two seemingly arbitrary items. After dinner, however, we went on a family walk and it all became clear.