Thursday, December 02, 2021

Beat poetry

Today we read First They Came... by Martin Niemöller because it was used in the book we're reading aloud in the mornings (Efrén Divided). We talked about it a bit and I had the kids write a reflection. 

Zoë asked if she could instead write a poem because she was so inspired by Niemöller's words, so I told her she could. So while I sat down to have a reading lesson with Alexander, Zoë sat down and wrote this:

Slavery. Death. I saw it all.
Punishment. Crying. Why?
Gunshot. BANG. Justice.
Death again. Sickness. Ruins
Of what used to be
Africa. Regretness. Jail. Rags.

And I...

I mean...


Happy Due Date

Today is Phoebe's due date—just another milestone on her journey to becoming a Real Girl. She's still very much in a newborn stupor, and I expect that will last for a few more weeks yet (she's allowed to be a few weeks "behind" her peers since she was a few weeks early). We don't mind the sleepiness, though. She's a cuddly little squish. 

She actually did quite a bit of awake time yesterday morning, falling into an exhausted slumber that afternoon. She even let me place her in her bassinet and stayed sleeping soundly there until I got into bed to take a nap. It's so interesting to me that the current recommendation is to have infants sleep in their parents' room but on a separate sleeping surface when studies show that babies who can smell their "own mother odor increased mouthing" (source: Sullivan & Toubas, 2007 (this article is also interesting, though it doesn't quite support my argument)). This is something we learned when Benjamin was in the NICU—our favourite occupational therapist, Annie, told us that babies begin stirring in the bassinets the minute their mothers walk through the door. They recognize their mothers and want them almost immediately (Annie also explained that young children still have this instinctive desire to come to their lactating mothers and, indeed, whenever I've been nursing my newborns my toddlers have flocked to me). 

So it seems almost like a recipe for disaster, trying to keep baby in their own sleep space but in the same room as their mother. My babies always just fuss and fuss and fuss until they're back in my arms. So...we usually end up co-sleeping (which isn't as risky as it sounds).

In fact, we've started having Phoebe "hang out" in Daddy's office while I'm trying to work because there she'll peacefully rest...until I walk into the room (and then she immediately starts acting like she needs milk now). She can't hang out in her bouncy chair in my "office" because...she just fusses. 

Like, why can I smell you...but you're not here?

Anyway, Phoebe has reached her due date and is quickly coming up on being three weeks old. She's sweet and squishy and is starting to spend more time looking around at her world. But mostly she's still very sleepy. 

Last night, bedtime was rather peaceful. I read to the kids while I nursed Phoebe. We're reading The Good Master right now, which I'm really enjoying (and I think the kids are, too). It's like The Little House on the Prairie but set in Hungary (and possibly less problematic). It's rather bucolic, so it makes for a cam bedtime read. Alexander fell asleep on my bed while I was reading last night. I can't lift him yet (in fact, I forgot I'm still not clear to lift things yet and when I checked on Zoë last night her head was hanging off her bed—she was nearly horizontal—so I tried to hoist her back onto her pillow and...I could not! Somehow she weighed a billion pounds; I don't know when she got so heavy)!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Phoebe's Blessing Day

Last Sunday I realized two things: (1) we hadn't made any plans about Phoebe's baby blessing, and (2) we only had Grandpa here for another week. So I brought up the topic with Andrew and he said he'd ask the bishop for permission to bless Phoebe at home this Sunday. And then I forgot about it (because I have a few other things on my plate) until yesterday afternoon when I asked Andrew if he had heard from the bishop.

He had not because he forgot to contact the bishop at all, so he quickly texted the bishop and got an equally quick response. So, we blessed Phoebe early this evening (or late this afternoon). It ended up being 5:00 because that was a good time for Brother McClure to pop by. 

Phoebe, of course, wore the same blessing gown that I wore, which Auntie Josie later wore, and which Rachel, Miriam, and Zoë all wore in turn. Phoebe was just about drowning in it—compared to her sisters, who were each a few months old when they were blessed—but I think she looks quite similar to my picture in the blessing gown. Phoebe hasn't quite had time to grow her cheeks yet...

Still the first week?!

That's it, guys! I'm calling it!

I'm never going to get caught up on sharing all the pictures I'm taking. And I just keep taking more. Like, eventually I have to stop taking pictures of every child holding this sweet baby every day, right? But so far I am not sure that's happened.

But so much other stuff is happening that I can hardly keep up. Today we put up the tree. Tomorrow we're blessing Phoebe. I'm still working on finals. And somehow Phoebe is two weeks old and we're getting ready to say goodbye to Grandpa (I'm a little bit scared of that because Alexander has basically been glued to him the whole time he's been here and...once that's not an option...*gulp*). We've been playing games and celebrating Thanksgiving and...I'm still working on last week's pictures.

Some games:

Friday, November 26, 2021

What Phoebe's Thankful For

I wanted to acknowledge Thanksgiving really quick (I'll do a more formal Thanksgiving post later) by sharing some pictures of Phoebe dressed up as a pumpkin. She's wearing the hat and booties I crocheted for Miriam (and I actually still have the nightgown Miriam is wearing in her pictures as well, so I should redo the pictures with Phoebe wearing that as well). 

Rachel and I took these on November 17th, I believe. We had been taking pictures using the actual camera but just as I got Phoebe into this outfit the camera battery died so these are from my cell phone camera.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Phoebe's first few days (in pictures!): part III (plus a figurative tale)

Okay; these pictures are all from my phone over the last 12 days or so. I only know that because Phoebe is twelve days old. I feel simultaneously like I'm taking too many pictures and not enough pictures. But mostly I'm just trying to survive. I think I'll feel a lot better after finals are over (this group project is killing me (figuratively)). 

Last night I broke out in hives! 

Apparently postpartum hives are a thing (I'm assuming my root cause is stress (see: group project, above)).

So that's been a fun little side effect, in addition to some pretty wild afterpains and some wicked engorgement and lack of sleep forth. But all those things should be coming to an end soon (except, I suppose, for the lack of sleep). 

Anyway, I'm not sure how much dialogue I'll share regarding these photos that I snapped. Mostly I just think my children are adorable.

But I will tell you a quick story about Alexander. 

For whatever reason the boys were fighting over a Jedi robe before bed. Alexander wanted to wear it in the morning so that he could be a Jedi Master. Benjamin also wanted to wear it, presumably so that he could be a Jedi Master. 

"But if you wear the cape tomorrow then I can’t be the Jedi Master!" Alexander whined.

"Well, that will be too bad if I get to the cape first," Benjamin said, darting upstairs (presumably to hide the cape/robe).

"I want to KILL you!" Alexander fumed.

"Oh, Alexander!" I gasped. "That’s a pretty strong emotion you’re feeling. You are free to be angry or sad—and sometimes those angry and sad emotions feel very powerful—but surely you don’t want to kill your brother!!"

"FIGURE’tively, Mom!" he reassured me. "FIGURE’tively!"

All the grown ups in the room exchanged looks of disbelief. Did he just say what I thought he said? What was it that he said? 

"Figuratively?" I repeated.

"Figure. Tively," Alexander affirmed. 

And we lost it. Grandpa, Andrew, and I were all just cracking up (while trying to remain serious). How does this sweet little four-year-old baby (who just started talking intelligibly in June) know and use that word correctly?! It was comically shocking.

"Even so," I said, trying desperately to regain my composure. "We don't want to use such strong and hurtful words figuratively."

He really is a sweet little guy even if he uses colourful figurative language sometimes (while other times he wishes for "actulal" swords so he can "defense" himself against his older siblings). Here he is helping Phoebe maintain a good nursing position (look at those innocent blue eyes—who knew they were figuratively capable of so much!?):

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


 I interrupt the Phoebe feed to bring you a story about Zoë. 

We accomplished a lot of things before Phoebe was born. For instance, on Friday the 12th we finished reading the Articles of Faith (by screaming reciting them at top volume), which means we finished with our course of study for Sunday School this year. Unfortunately, while the older kids were able to join in our lively recitation, the younger kids were a bit lost. 

During Christmas we like to have Christmassy devotionals, so we aren't too worried about "what" we'll do for scripture study during December, but we still had the rest of November to go, so we decided that we'd work on helping the younger children memorize the Articles of Faith. 

So we started with the first one because that's the shortest and the easiest and we've been working our way up. But on Sunday I skipped ahead to eleven and twelve because they had to do with the lesson we were on for Sunday School and so that we could "surprise" Daddy with how well they already knew it (he was at church being the organist). 

Number eleven is kind of a fun one because whereas the remaining twelve Articles of Faith begin with "We believe..." number eleven begins with "We claim..."

More specifically it begins, "We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God..."

So I told the children about this anomalous Article of Faith and Zoë leapt out of her seat, stood up on the couch, pointed her finger to the sky and declared, "I CLAIM THE PRIVILEGE OF WATCHING A TV SHOW BEFORE GOING TO BED TONIGHT!"

And, like, she was dead serious. 

She surmised that if she could simply...claim the would be a done deal.

But one does not simply claim privilege. 

I told her that in order to claim a privilege, the privilege had to first be

It worked out for her in the end. Daddy was so charmed by her pronouncement (and the way she memorized the actual Article of Faith) that he's been letting her watch an episode of Maya and the Three every night before bed since Sunday (we're on holiday; it's fine). I'm not sure how we'll ever undo the idea that she can simply claim a privilege, but I'm sure it's fine. 

Also, it reminded us of Michael Scott declaring bankruptcy. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Phoebe's first few days (in pictures!): part II

What I want most in the whole wide world is for finals to be over with. I just want to snuggle my baby and not feel completely stressed out. But, here we are...

Since I only have my digital resources class left and since we discussed memology and since our final is a group project (worth 40% of our grade), I will ask you, "What is the worst kind of assignment and why is it a group project?"

Ugh. I'll get through it, I guess. But what I really want to do is hibernate a little bit. 

I finally took pictures off my phone from the last week, so let's briefly revisit Phoebe's birthday. Here she is all fresh and new:

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Happy One Week!

Phoebe's been here for one entire whirlwind of a week. So far she seems like a pretty chill baby. She's an avid nurser by now (though she got off to a bit of a slow start). She does not appreciate being put down (I know you can't spoil a baby...but it might just be possible that Phoebe's a little on the spoiled side). She likes to be swaddled. She's starting to lift her head a bit when we hold her and that's about what her tummy time is for now because she does not like floor tummy time (Andrew and I tried putting her on the floor this afternoon and she got her legs underneath herself and did a wild donkey kick flip-thing onto her back and then we picked her up because she was really upset about whatever it was she'd just made her body do). I'm sure she'll warm up to tummy time eventually.

Terminology: Phoebe /ˈfiːbi/ FEE-bee Φοίβη Phoíbē

Phoebe was actually a name that Zoë suggested because at the time she was loving the Phoebe and her Unicorn books. There was a little confusion over the name Phoebe, of course. Both Benjamin and Zoë kept wanting to say Fo-ebb. But we're all clear on her name our house...


Poor Grandpa Frank just can't seem to put his finger on it. He called us at the hospital to congratulate us and asked us if we would spell her name for him so he could write it down (unbeknownst to us Reid had already walked him through Phoebe's name before). So we're trying to spell the name P-H-O-E-B-E but it's not going well. 

Why do so many letters of our alphabet rhyme?! P-E-B-E...

So we tried the whole "P as in pizza, H as in horse..." clearly we're not fluent in Alpha Bravo, but eventually Grandpa Frank had the letters down in the right order.

"Now how do you say it?" he asked.