Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pictures from this week

Benjamin started wearing underwear on Sunday. That's the big news around here. Unfortunately I can only find one pair of the tiny kind—the others are in a box in the attic, I'm sure. The question is...which box?

We're pretty good at catching his pees. It's his bowel movements we really struggle with (which is the complete opposite problem the girls had). I would much rather deal with wet pants than messy pants. In fact, my real preference is to always have clean, dry pants. I'm sure Benjamin will eventually come around to my way of thinking.

Our garden is still giving us plenty of tomatoes and we've even managed to find a few handfuls of figs on our fig tree, which was rather unfruitful this year.

Here's a picture of Benjamin masterfully taking up much of the usable space in the bed:

And here he is enjoying a plate of hummus (there's a pita chip on his plate, too, but he prefers to use a spoon (kind of—in truth he prefers to use his hands)):

The kids went out to play on the back deck and came inside with absolutely filthy feet. Benjamin's feet were so black it looked like he'd stepped in an ink pad. Unfortunately the flash made his feet look much less dirty than they were. And it totally looks like I'm pinching his leg in the first picture...but I don't think I'm bothering him. He thought this was quite a funny game and kept trying to kick me.

Here is Benjamin enjoying a tower of pop-ons that I made for him. With Rachel on break, the girls have been spending a lot of time playing behind closed doors so that he can't steal their toys or break their block towers or wreak havoc in general. He hates being left out so I find myself having to create new games to cheer him up.

We found a rather large box that will eventually be turned into Rachel's Halloween costume. I brought it out earlier this week so that we could work on it but Rachel was out of sorts so mostly Benjamin and Miriam played in the box while Rachel sulked. She eventually confessed to having a splitting headache. I can only assume it was a migraine  or something—she went around all day turning off lights and closing blinds, willingly took a nap, and cried because her head hurt so much.

Rachel's feeling much better now. And we sure did enjoy playing in the box.

On Friday Miriam was invited to a birthday party. Since it was rather low-key (just cupcakes at a local park—no presents, no games) siblings were welcome to come so Benjamin and Rachel tagged along with Miriam. It was a great park and they had fun running around with all their little friends. Rachel even saw a boy from her school class there and played with him, too (so she didn't feel like she was babysitting all the time, which was nice).

Benjamin thought squishing his face like this was hilarious:

This little see-saw thing was quite popular with the little girls (and Rachel, who would be rather offended if I were to toss her in the category of "little girl").

The other little girls in the picture are Sunbeams, like Miriam, but because we have so many Sunbeams they're not in the same class (we have three classes of Sunbeams at church—2009 was a popular year).

We took a friend home with us from the park and all three girls played very nicely together all afternoon. When our little friend went home, we had dinner and then went on a family walk. Rachel rode her bike—she's getting much better at balancing! I took the kids to a park with a paved path and a basketball court earlier this week and just let Rachel have at it while I played with Miriam and Benjamin. She practiced and practiced and eventually called me over to watch her push off the ground, lift up both feet and glide down the path. She said it felt like riding a Nimbus 2000 (she's in the middle of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban right now)!

She rode her bike all the way to the park and all the way home and only had one major crash (you should just see her knee—it's gruesome...but she didn't even cry). Rachel amazes me with what she can learn and what I can't teach her. She's very much a self-made woman.

I tried giving her reading lessons when she was younger (using How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) because she loves stories and was always asking for way more stories (either invented or read-aloud) than I was able to actually tell her. But she would not learn.

Do you want to know how fast she learned to read once she put her mind to it? Super fast.

She went from reading Dick and Jane to reading Harry Potter in the blink of an eye.

Trying to teach her how to ride a bike was so painful for both of us—emotionally and physically. There were tears and bumps and bruises. Letting her learn how to ride a bike is seeming a lot simpler.

I need to remember to just give her the tools and let her have at it. She won't be pushed unless she's pushing herself. Miriam, on the other hand, adores having reading lessons and will sit through three or four at a time and is reading remarkably well.

Swim lessons have been about the only thing (so far) that Rachel has let me take charge of as far as her education is concerned, and seems to be the only thing Miriam won't trust me about.

How grateful I am for Rachel's inspiring kindergarten teacher and the enthusiastic teacher she has this year! I don't know how I'd be able to teach Rachel a blessed thing without their help!

In the same vein, I'm thankful for our children's primary teachers, who love them so much and reach out to them in ways that I can't. And I'm thankful for extended family who've helped my children become the wonderful little people they are.

I do my best to influence my children for good and to fill their minds with wholesome things and to encourage them to become better people, but I am so grateful for all the others in my life who do the same. I really believe it takes a village to raise a child!

Anyway, here are my kids enjoying the park once again. We're "on break" but are also a little housebound due to Daddy's schedule but the kids don't even mind because all they want to do is play outside, ride their bikes, and read stories. Their low expectations for vacation are making this break quite lovely.

When we got home from the park we ran races on our street with Diego until it got dark. With two trips to playgrounds, an afternoon playdate, and then all those races with Diego, the kids were quite tuckered out!

Our last picture for this week is one I snapped of Benjamin in the kitchen this afternoon. I was tidying up another room of the house (obviously not the kitchen—look at that counter) when I heard him grunting. I went to investigate and found that he'd pushed a chair over to the counter:

I can tell we're really in for it now!

I wouldn't be so nervous about the climbing stage if Benjamin had better balance, but he doesn't. His head is still in the 60th percentile while his height remains off the charts (below the charts, technically—he's still in the 0th percentile) and his weight is steadily in the 5th percentile (and we're just happy he has a number at all). Needless to say, he's a little top-heavy. He falls over all the time and always seems to land on his head simply because that's what's dragging him down.

What we don't need added to this equation is more altitude and yet that's exactly what Benjamin's after. He thinks everything's meant to be climbed on.

And I don't have a picture of this but thought I'd tell you about it anyway...just for fun.

The girls went across the street to play today and I took the opportunity to get some cleaning done (while Benjamin was apparently pushing chairs around the kitchen so he could peek at the counters). I was off cleaning somewhere when I heard a pounding at the door. I ran to see who was there and found Rachel, clutching her face, blood dripping down her arms and falling from her elbows onto our welcome mat.

"Oh, no! Oh, no! Oh, no!" she stammered.

I ushered her inside to the bathroom sink where went went through over a mile of toilet paper trying to stanch the flow. By the time we were finished she was a royal mess. She had blood crusted all over her face from her nose to her chin and from ear to ear. She had dried blood streaked on both her arms and her hands were unspeakably bloody. Her shirt was bloody. Her pants were bloody. Her shoes were bloody.

"What happened?!" I finally asked her when she'd stopped crying and panicking and the blood had stopped flowing.

"Nothing!" she said. "I don't know! It just started to bleed!"

Later she admitted to picking...a little.

I haven't seen this much blood from a bloody nose in ages. My brothers used to get bad bloody noses and Andrew used to get bad bloody noses (but I missed out on that part of his life, though he's still prone to nosebleeds to this very day) but I never have been and my children have mostly avoided them as well...until today. It was bad. She just hopped into the shower to clean up (with her shoes—because she was wearing crocs, thank goodness, which wash off easily in the shower) and I took her clothes out of the bathroom to pre-soak.

Part of me wonders if the migraines Rachel had earlier this week and nosebleed are related. Part of me hopes they're all just flukes and we'll have a better luck next week.


  1. Yikes. You will have to teach her to stamp her foot!

  2. What is it with the poop! This is why Aylin is not potty trained because I hate cleaning the poop out of her panties, and worse still, off the floor. I've never had this problem before. Ahh, oh well ....

  3. Too funny, I was just telling Dusty about the foot stamping for bloody noses. He doesn't believe it works but it really does. I used it all through my lifeguarding years.