Friday, March 19, 2010



Rude Awakening

Well, we are all healthy & ready for spring--thank god for wellness and for the coming of spring!

Scully is in Texas with family. Her dad is scheduled for heart surgery tomorrow. She flew down to Dallas this morning. On her way in to town she was rear-ended in the rental car. Police report--the whole works. Hamdillah, no one was hurt, the damage was minor, the car was still driveable & the other driver was clearly at fault. Additionally, if something needs to go wrong on this trip--this was a gift!

Thumper is back to being a fully-powered baby. He is in to everything like he's making up for lost time when he was sick. We had an incredible day today. Thumper & Khubz & I woke up and saw the sun and said, "YES! We WILL!" Okay, so it was actually too cold this morning to go on a long wagon ride to the park. but we said "Yes! We Will!" And when Khubz went down the slide into a puddle of cold, yucky water we not have stayed and continued to play. But we said, "Yes! We Will!" And when the children's cold, pink noses indicated that we need to take the shortest route home (which means cutting through the mall) we said, "yes! We Will!" And when Khubz pointed out that there is an indoor play area at the mall and could we go please? please? please? "Yes! We Will!"

So after all that we finally wagoned home. Quick change of clothes and we headed over to Grandma's for lunch. Thumper fell asleep immediately--he was bushed! Khubz and Maj ate and headed down for nap or "nap" depending on how we look at it.

I ran a quick errand and when I returned 30 minutes later Thumper was awake. That was it. He is no longer a baby that can be coerced back to sleep. He is a kid. A "one-shot-at-a-nap" kid. So he and I took a long walk while Khubz was sleeping.

Then Maj & Thumper & Khubz and I all headed back to our place and dug for worms in the mud and ate dinner outside on the step and played ball and played chase and played chased the ball and basically frolicked in the sun until Tia Lila picked him up.

It was such a great day.

Khubz had taken a long nap and was having problems getting to sleep. I let her curl up on my lap and we talked about what had been fun in the day and how our dear friends had gotten a puppy and how we were going to get to meet that puppy. And I said, "I had such a nice time with you today." And I scrunched my nose up against hers and gave her a kiss. The whole time I'm thinking, how did I get so lucky as to be with you every day?

She looks at me and gets sad and says, "but mom, I'm not a nice kid. I'm a rude kid."

"Who says?"

"My giant."

"Well, my giant says you're a nice kid."

"No I'm not. I'm not nice. I'm a rude kid."

"Let me check. Let's check your label." I lift up her jammie shirt and peer into her belly button. "Ops. Sorry, kiddo. It says you are nice. You are a nice kid."

And we talked a minute about what kind of dream to have and I sent her back to bed.

So an hour later as she has gotten out of bed 6 times and even tried to wake up her brother (thank jesus he is completely exhausted!) I have to remind myself of this conversation I had with her. She is getting that from somewhere and that somewhere is me.

"Only nice kids get to come on the adventure!" "You are being *rude*" "Quit! That is rude!" "Rude kids do not get to eat dinner with the family. You can be polite or you are excused."

I totally go ape-shit on her when I shouldn't. And other times I feel like I let her walk all over me in very unhelpful ways.

I don't think we have a super-nanny situation on our hands, but I do wish I had an unbiased assessment of my discipline and what I could do better.

Khubz hits me when she's angry. She kicks. Yesterday she bit me. And I've tried throwing away toys to make her think about it before she hits (this only worked for 2 days and yes, I know, kids don't get punitive punishment.) Time outs done to the super-nanny T do absolutely nothing for Khubz. Lately I've been scoping her up (as she hits me) putting her gently down on the mommy's bed and telling her she's not in time out, but it is clear she needs to think about how to be gentle. When she has gentle hands she is welcome to rejoin us. I can't tell if that is helpful at all.

So when she bit me I totally lost it on her because it took all the will in my body to not bite her back.

But I didn't. I yelled at her that she does not get to bite me. And I got right in her face (like a dog) and snarled that she was not a dog and she does not bite.

It was pretty hideous. And all her hollering and screaming then woke Thumper up which made me feel furious.

Oh, it was really hideous. In fact, I am ashamed of myself as I write this for how I acted and also ashamed that we had this enormous battle.

And all 3 year olds do battle, right? Of some sort. And all mommies lose it. And I totally did.
It makes me feel really sad that the take away for her is that she is not a nice kid.

Because she totally is. And she is also extremely cunning, ingenious, crafty, sweet, snuggly, naughty, determined, daring, stubborn, creative and surprising.

So, back to the parenting books.

She is a nice kid. A nice three year old kid. And she needs to know that I know that.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Thumper Report

(written a few days ago)
He is still sick. Not puking all over sick. (Hamdillah!) But periodic fever, please don't put me down, can't you see I'm suffering here!! kind of sick.

Good for him, he is also adorable and knows it.

He says "book" if you listen carefully to "bbbK!" He's crazy about waving and saying "buh-bye." He loves to do his part setting the table. Khubz puts the napkins on and he reaches up grabs them off and then shoves them at you.

I read the kids "the going to bed book" and Thumper's favorite, "Pajama Time". They both end with a sleepy scene. I lowered my head to my shoulder, closed my eyes and began to snore. Thumper did not miss a beat. He rested his head against mine and started immitating my snore by loudly blowing out his mouth. I cracked up.

He runs all over everywhere, mostly chasing his sister. He also likes to bring treasures.

Our friend Juan visited us and Thumper took one look at him and toddled out of the room. He returned and presented Juan with a gift: the cow says MOO book. And then he walked away. He came back presenting Juan with various other treasures only to take them back, slobber on them and return them.

Friday, March 12, 2010

There are these days where I feel like I am brimming over with this amazing life. I really, really love my children. We had a blast today even though we spent 2 hours in a doctor's office and the rest of the day locked in our own house. We made cut out paper flowers, played hide & seek (we truly have just two rooms to hide in--the living room & the kiddo room), doubled up on the bath, ran around the house joyously & totally naked screaming "two naked bottoms!!!"

Finally (sometimes even early) the kids are asleep.

And then its like I just feel like there is absolutely nothing more for me to give. And then I look at the kitchen or whatever I feel like I need to do next and just can't make myself care. And I am fixing some yogurt for my sick partner and I drop the whole pint which splatters all over the floor and I JUST CAN'T FUCKING BELIEVE I DROPPED THE GODDAMN MTHRFUCKING YOGURT ALL OVER THE FUCKING KITCHEN FLOOR WHICH IS DISGUSTING ENOUGH ALL READY! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

(deep breath)

Okay. Just clean it up. And get a grip.

Sometimes the thread feels a bit tenuous.

So yes, there's more to be said about this (a la womanhood) but not tonight.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sisyphus Yo

Yesterday I woke up with a mission.

I picked the living room up and had the rugs vacuumed & the floor swept before 8:30 in the morning. Recreational wardrobe change # 1 for Khubz at 8:45. Muffins baked at 9 am. Dishes unloaded from dishwasher & dirty dishes (including those produced by the muffins) loaded by 9:15. Start boiling some chickpeas for dinner. Threw some laundry in the washer. Constructed a giant cardboard train out of three large boxes at 9:45. Created "Warning: Tiger Car!" and "Attention:Flamingo Car!" signs with two preschoolers to hang on the train cars at 10.

Threw some laundry in the dryer and more in the wash. Chatted with my Mom who was cradling my sleeping, sweaty & slightly fevered Thumper. Read 137 library books with the preschoolers at 10:30. Resolved a low-level, preschooler violence situation with a high-intensity, crazy-making-mommy time-out situation at 10:45. Recreational wardrobe change # 2 for Khubz at 10:55. Changed the laundry over and started another load. Got two loads put away.

11:13 Reapplied the time-out technique for a subsequent low-level preschooler violence situation. 11:15 Read two books to the injured party while the aggressor threw a phenomenal fit in the mommies' room. 11:30 Rallied the preschoolers to assist in the kiddo room clean up. Changed the laundry over and started another load. 11:48 started on dinner: cheese quesadillas, black beans, guacamole and blueberries(not all together). 12:20 got preschoolers in diapers for nap, said goodbye to Maj & grandma and began the naptime battle with Khubz.

12:30-2 After an hour of solid screaming, fighting, door slamming, hitting and sobbing Khubz passes out asleep. Thumper who is still sleepy nuzzles into the crook of my neck, coos at me and vomits. For real. All over me. Quick bath for thumper, wipe down for mommy, start a vomit-filled load of laundry.

2-3 Stories and song for Thumper. Clean up the living room again. Toddler play & frivolities in the kiddo room. Clean up the kitchen. Cuddles & stories with Thumper and a newly awake Khubz. Assist Khubz with recreational wardrobe change # 3. Put some laundry away. (where does all this laundry come from I wonder?)

3-4 One half hour of television for Khubz. Arthur--who I love. Get Thumper down for a second nap. Get snack set up for Khubz. Clean up the library books strewn around the living room. Get rice started for dinner. Unstop the toilet and explain to maximum toilet-paper usage to Khubz.

4-5 Cook with a 3 year old: flat bread and hummus and a tomato/basil salsa. Run interference with a 3 year old who is "doing the dishes" with actual water, dishes, soap and brush. Assist with a necessary Khubz wardrobe change. Rescue the newly awakened Thumper, post-nap snuggle time. Clean up the kitchen.

5-6 Welcome home Mama. Take a quick shower because I can't stand the lingering odor of vomit. Get dinner set up. Tag-team with Mama to get the kitchen cleaned up after dinner. Wave goodbye to Mama & Khubz as they head off to the library.

6-7 Sit down to watch some TV with Thumper because I am just tired. Rock Thumper in a chair with a sippie cup of leche. Get vomited on again. Get Thumper into a quick bath and into jammies. Take a super-duper quick shower while a screaming Thumper cries and cries. Get our clothes and towels and a bath mat into the laundry. Sit back down with Thumper and give him some water. Sing some songs to calm us both down. Get vomitted on again. Get Thumper to the bathroom. Hold him as he cries and we both get in the shower. Quick soapy scrub to get the vomit off. Into the next set of jammies and next set of clothes for the mommy. Laundry into the dryer and next round of vomit-filled clothes into the wash. Use a washcloth to clean Thumper's teeth but allow him to ingest nothing.

7-8 Welcome home Khubz and Mama from the library. Pass Thumper to Scully because I just cannot get puked on again. Battle with Khubz over bedtime (Bedtime is not usually a battle. I guess it was just my lucky day.) Pick up my book and go read in the Mommies' room while Scully gets Thumper to sleep. Throw the last load of the day into the dryer.

Who even remembers what happened next?
Then this morning Khubz woke us up to report that Thumper was awake and, in fact, it was wake up time. I go to get him out of the crib and holler "Mama! Red alert!" In the night he has puked all over his crib and slept in it. Mama takes the boy into the shower and I start a new load of vomit-filled laundry.

Hamdillah, he seems to be doing better. The doctor said it was likely rotovirus. We are keeping him hydrated and low-key. Khubz is also having a better day as we have been time-out free so far.

It's not that anything is bad or even that I am feeling crispy, because I'm not. It's just that the kitchen is disaster again, the living room looks like wild horses bed down there at night and I just needed some sort of documentation of the stuff that I do.

Because if I don't write it out, there's no evidence that it has ever happened. Can I also point out that I did not even both to include diaper changes, assistance with toileting or handwashing, retrieving my phone from a toddler's clutches or reminders to not bounce on the couch?

I certainly don't need or want a Mommy TESS or stay-at-home time sheet. But there's not a lot of accomplishment with the stay-at-home gig. Plenty of satisfaction, gratification, battles and snuggles, sure.

But, for real, I did vacuum. I really did.

Monday, March 8, 2010

All Grown Up

Khubz was packing for her very first big-kid overnight. We had packed Thumper's bag to go stay with Tia Teefa. Tia Lila was the lucky lady who was getting Khubz. And Khubz was excited.

We had her toothbrush & toothpaste and Scully asked Khubz to go in the kitchen for a plastic zippie to put them in. She dashed off. We were all in the kiddo room waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

"Khubz?" Scully calls. No answer. This raises my alarm and I go into the kitchen to check on her.

She is bent over the floor wiping something up. "What happened?" I ask.

"I spilled." Very matter-of-fact. I see that she has taken a kitchen chair and pushed it over to the counter so she could climb on the counter and get paper towels down by herself. "Wow, honey. I see you've gotten paper towels down so you can clean up the mess. I'm proud of you for being so responsible." Even as the praise comes out of my mouth I am surveying the area. What was it that spilled? Cup of milk? One of Thumper's bottles? Mommy's water bottle? My eyes, they see nothing.

"Um, what spilled sweetie?"

"My pee."

Oh. Okay. Carry on.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Learning Curve

The kiddos are sharing a room now. We switched to take the smaller room and the kids have the larger room. This is awesome because having a kid in the room (even one asleep in the crib) can put a damper on mommy-time. And I love playing with them in their room. It's not huge, obviously, but there is play space. And I don't get all "uptight/anal-retentive mommy" when there's a mess or if all the costumes are out of the costume box or whatever. Whew!

But bedtime is still a bit of a trick. Khubz is usually great at bedtime. We brush teeth, get on jammies, read a story (or two or three), pick a soft toy to sleep with and get our song. If she's having a hard time going to sleep we pick out a dream to have together. Her favorites right now is going to Mama & Mommy's wedding (she has seen pics of the mommies dressed like princesses--though mama is always Jasmine because she wears pants) where she gets to wear a fancy dress. She also likes to dream about being a flamingo and we bury our long pink head into our long pink feathers and tuck our long pink legs up so we can be warm in our nests. And we agree that we'll meet in our dream and do whatever pink flamingos do at lesbian weddings or whatever.

Thumper, on the other hand, would much rather sleep with the mommies. He will wake up and be sure that someone somewhere can hear his cries and if not, he will cry louder to ensure that someone somewhere will hear him and respond appropriately. In his perfect world this would mean being picked up by one of the mommies, brought to the living room and rocked until he falls asleep again. But the mommies have determined that this is unsustainable.

So our theory is that he will wake up, cry, get tired and eventually figure out how to get back to sleep. This is one of many things in life that someone else simply cannot do for you. He is obviously independent enough to climb up on the couch and blast off it like a rocket. He is independent enough to pull on the tablecloth until he has the salt shaker that he covets. He is independent enough to open up the diaper bag, take everything out until he finds the container of yogurt drops, pry it open and then stuff his cheeks like a hamster. He can figure this sleeping-business out.

He has an advocate, however, in his room that knows how to do things he cannot do. Get out of bed, open a closed door, petition one of the mommies directly even in the middle of the night. It goes like this.

Khubz goes to sleep around 7:30. Thumper about 10 minutes later. They sleep peacefully until 11 or 1 or 2 or 3:15. Thumper wakes up and begins his protest. Because he is in a cage he can only wail and hope that his advocate responds to his alarm.

Khubz, his advocate, wakes up and relays his distress to one of the mommies. She gets out of bed. Seeks us out in our room. Refuses to let us sleep through her message. "Thumper is awake. He needs someone to help him."

And this was cute. At first.

"Thumper needs to learn how to get to sleep. You can help him by getting back in bed, rolling over and showing him how to sleep. He needs to watch you sleep so he can learn."

This worked the first week.
No more.

"He's NOT LEARNING!!!!" she now protests, bleary-eyed herself. I think she is distressed by his crying but also a bit desperate to get to sleep herself. Sometimes we will hear her singing ABCD to him to try to soothe him. We have gone in the next morning and found his crib stuffed with soft toys (stuffed animals) that she provided to give him comfort. But most often we just let her get in bed with us so she can get some sleep. Awake, me or Scully will sit up just listening to him cry and agreeing that he is not learning.

It doesn't help that about once a week one of us will crack and just go get him for some rocking chair assistance.

At some point, we will have a kiddo room and a mommy room.
He will eventually learn. And at some point, so will we.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Hello again,

Thumper is walking. He says Mama and [B] "anana", signs for leche (which I just stopped personally supplying yesterday), answers with a hug for "abrazo" and a kiss for "beso." His favorite books are Sandra Boynton and any book that gets in a "Moo" or a "Quack" sound.
Khubz is all about reading books and being contrary. She wants to do everything herself from putting the toothpaste on her toothbrush, to getting her own water, to doing the dishes, to battering eggplant for her own eggplant parmasean.
Scully is busy as hell with work and mommy-ing and dissertation-ing.
And yet the mommies are going to get their very first recreational kid-free overnight since Khubz was born. I cannot wait.
We are good. We really are.