Wednesday was just about the hardest day we've had in a long time. The kids simply didn't want to do anything they were asked to do...so they just didn't. I was absolutely swamped with work and drowning in baby spit up and the kids simply walked all over me.
I say "kids," but really Miriam and Rachel were helpful and on task most of the day. But those younger three. Oh, boy. I was about ready to sell them to the circus.
Andrew is usually around on Wednesdays, but he had meetings on campus all day. And it was just...a hard day.
Thursdays are traditionally my hardest day of the week because that's when Andrew is usually gone all day so I'm on my own from sun-up to sun-down (and then some), but today Grandpa came over to have dinner with the kids while I holed up in my bedroom with Phoebe and did schoolwork. It worked out really well.
Phoebe was exhausted from playing at the park all afternoon, so she took a good, long nap (and I took a little one, too, since she was up until 3:00 last night). I wrote an entire paper and sent some important emails. Rachel fixed dinner, and then the kids ate dinner, watched a movie, and played a round of UNO with Grandpa. He even stayed to pace the floor with Phoebe while I read bedtime stories (while Rachel was at seminary (on zoom) and Miriam was practicing the organ). It was the most relaxing Thursday we've had in ages!
Despite the kids being...the way they were...yesterday, here's some cute pictures from recent history...
Phoebe grinning up at us from her stroller:
Here's Phoebe dressed up as Artemis. This was all Zoë's doing. I'm not even sure where she found that crown thing. But she declared that Phoebe looked like the Goddess of the Wilderness, who is Artemis.
Zoë got changed so she would match her, requested that we go outside to take pictures, and then refused to smile. I'm...not exactly sure why...but Phoebe was into it!
Alexander was so sweet the other day. He was helping Phoebe "soothe" by holding the soother in her mouth. She's not very good at keeping it in (on account of her shallow palate, I'm sure). He said, "Phoebe did a secret smile at me! Phoebe loves me so much! I might have to sit here all day!"
In other news, Phoebe has been experimenting with rolling quite a bit lately. She can get from her back to her tummy, and she can get from her tummy to her back, but she's not very consistent with either yet. She's excellent at curling up onto her side.
Anyway, she started rolling over and Benjamin gasped and said, "Whoa! Look at Phoebe!"
"Yup, she's a-rollin'!" I said.
"And a-soothin'," Alexander added. "Just as soon as I stick this soother in her mouth. Oh, Phoebe, Phoebe, Phoebe! You are so amazing! Phoebe thinks I am her mother. Silly baby!"
He's not all sweet, though. He jammed a little chew toy down her throat (the pineapple one from this set my sister Josie gave to Alexander when he was a baby) soon after this and it made her cry and cry and cry. She was very offended.
And then this morning the little stinker was emptying the dishwasher voluntarily (like, I didn't ask him to do it; he just started doing it because it's his job) and I was really impressed. And he seemed to be in a really good mood. But I guess he was doing some thinking while he was emptying the dishwasher because suddenly he charged at me, all full of rage, and spat out, “YOU ARE A TOO STRICT PARENT BECAUSE YOU COSTED ME MY STREAK!”
Quite taken aback—because I haven't had a kid who yells at me in quite a while (Rachel used to, and Zoë did a little, but my kids are all pretty mellow...(usually) including Alexander)—I tried to get to the bottom of his anger. I asked him for clarification.
"On Duolingo!" he clarified. "You cost me my streak yesterday because you called me downstairs when I was doing Duolingo! You are so mean because you didn't let me finish my lesson! And I lost my streak!"
He was yelling this whole time so I told him (a) to cool his jets a little and (b) that while it's true I called him downstairs in the middle of his lesson yesterday, it's not true that I cost him his streak because he spent the whole day pretty much not doing as he was told, wasting a lot of time when he could have been getting stuff done, including, but not limited to, spending quite a long time playing TeachMonster before dinner (when he (a) wasn't even supposed to be having screen time and (b) could have been doing Duolingo instead (I mean, like, if you're sneaking screen time anyway, you could just finish your lesson on Duolingo, right?)).
I'm not sure that really made him less mad. And I'm all for validating my kids' emotions and apologizing when I mess up (which is frequently). But, like, don't blame me for your mistakes.
Total bummer you lost your streak, dude. Totally not my fault. That's on you, little man.
Other than that outburst this morning, though, the kids were pretty cooperative today, which I (for one) really needed after yesterday. They did their schoolwork. They maybe did a few of their chores. We went to the park. And we ended the day with Grandpa entertaining everybody. It was a not-bad day.
Here are some pictures from yesterday (our bad day) when we headed out for a little fresh air (because sometimes that helps a bad day turn around). We're having a little bit of a cold snap, so Phoebe went out in her red sweater, swaddled in a grey blanket with pink flowers, and—of course—she had a collection of burp cloths around her (all varying shades of pink).
She rather matched our springy world, with the cherry blossoms and red buds bursting against the grey sky. Here's Zoë with our neighbour's cherry tree (holding a fallen Japanese camellia blossom):
Oh. This. Girl.
Zoë's been losing teeth, as you're probably aware, and was super excited about this. But now her teeth are growing back in. And she's noticed that they're bigger than her baby teeth.
"Well, they're permanent teeth this time," I told her. "So you have to take really good care of them because they've got to last you into your old age. It's the only other set you get."
"Are my teeth going to grow in as big as yours?" she asked.
"Oh, probably similarly sized," I said.
"Seriously?" she asked.
"Yes, they'll be grown-up sized teeth."
"In my mouth?"
"Yes, in your mouth."
"They're just soooo big!"
"They'll seem big at first, but you'll grow into them. You can't keep your baby teeth forever!"
"But, like, do you really think they'll be as big as your teeth? I just...am imagining having teeth that big and...I shudder at the thought."
You guys! She shudders at the thought of having teeth like mine?!
Which, I mean, fair enough. I also rather hate my teeth and smile, so, like, that doesn't really offend me. But she shudders at the thought?! Could she be any more melodramatic?
Also, I'm pretty sure that has sealed her fate. She's going to wind up with teeth like mine simply because she's dreading it now. It's just the way it's gonna be.
She inherited my toe-thumbs, too, poor sweet thing.
Anyway, here's Miriam smelling some blossoms:
She didn't inherit my teeth. Who knows where she got hers from?
And, finally, here are my sweet matching boys: