Dropping Like Flies

Posted in Kids on September 28th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s been really difficult to blog with a 2-year-old in the house, especially because mine is a boy.  He just seems to get into anything and everything, and this phase of his is lasting longer (and is much much messier and harder on my house) than was any of his 3 sisters’ terrible twos.  Complicating my schedule is the fact that he seems to be growing out of his naps, so now Mom’s daily time-out has been reduced to mere hopefulness for a time-out.

So anyway, this explains my blogging absence, and now you know why it’s taken me so long to blog that…

My 6-year-old daughter Samantha lost her first tooth last week!

She was SO excited, and of course the tooth fairy made her nighttime visit.  You might have read that I’ve been teaching 1st grade Sunday school (which just happens to be Sammie’s class), and that’s been going very well – I really enjoy it.  Sammie’s lost tooth prompted me to ask last Sunday how many of my students have lost teeth, and they were all full of stories.  One little girl (who is missing her two front teeth) told about how she lost this one and that one in the same day – and she was pointing to her missing bottom teeth, not even  the top two that were visibly missing!  So it seems that Sammie is just beginning – she has lots of teeth to lose, and because teeth seem to drop out of 1st graders’ mouths constantly (dropping like flies?  That doesn’t sound quite right now that I think about it), it makes me think that I had better bring a little container or two with me every Sunday just in case I need to send a fallen tooth home with its owner.

What an exciting time in a kid’s life, and it was neat to hear how enthusiastically all my first graders talked about losing their teeth and getting visits from the tooth fairy.  By the way, the going rate for a baby tooth seems to be around $5 these days – WOW!  Do you remember how much the tooth fairy gave you for your teeth?

How much did the tooth fairy leave you per tooth when you were a kid? (Feel free to check all that apply and leave your comments in the box!)

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Congratulations Sammie!


Posted in Kids on August 27th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I actually ran out of room in my previous post to talk about my little ones, my non-schoolers, so it’s time for an update!

The baby, soon to be toddler, Christopher (we call him Beeber since that’s what his big sister used to call him) is getting so big and is now probably closer to toddler than baby 🙁
He walks while holding onto things, and climbs onto anything within reach!  He has recently learned where his tongue is, and if you ask to see it, he will stick it out – awww!  He still loves most kinds of fruits; his favorites are strawberries, peaches, pears, and oranges, but he really doesn’t like cantaloupe nor tomatoes.

Disney is just about the sweetest thing imaginable.  Of course, she is still 2, so occasionally she gets loud, whiny, and insistent.  But she is a very thoughtful little girl, and a very unselfish 2-year-old.  Case in point:  the other day, the girls made macaroni necklaces at our church carnival, and a piece broke off of Sammie’s after we got home.  Sammie was launching into a tantrum, when all of a sudden, Disney jumps off my lap and starts to take her own necklace off, saying, “Here Sammie, you can have my necklace.”  I can’t imagine any other 2-year-old capable of such sweetness!  Add that to her little pageboy Buster Brown – as Carol calls it 🙂 – back-to-school haircut, and she is a living doll!  Oh, and I forgot to mention, Disney is much admired by her older sisters for her ability to whistle!

Having the two of them together during the day is so fun!  A lot of busyness and some mild frustration, but only because of the many messes Beeber makes and the fact that they’re both still in diapers.  I really need to work on Disney’s potty-training.  She has her little potty and likes to go in it, but it’s not always a priority for her…  One of the secrets to harmony in a family with more than a couple of small children is divide and conquer.  My children are so much better behaved when they are broken into groups of two or sometimes even three.  It’s really neat to give each sister the chance the be the BIG sister, and Sammie the Kindergartner gets her chance with Disney in the morning before her afternoon Kindergarten, and Disney gets to be Beeber’s big sister while the two older girls at school.  Back to school time is so fun, and my oldest daughter is really excited about attending her first football game Friday night!  I was a little hesitant to let her go; especially after Wednesday evening when I hung out with a pack of 10 seventh grade girls (a new endeavor of ours – we will be leading youth groups on Wednesday nights!  More on that later; I’m still grasping the um, entirety of the situation).  Seeing that my daughter is only 3 years away from the ages of these boy-crazy, cellphone-obsessed, “like”-spewing, makeup-toting ‘tweens tempted me to buy the totally awesome house on the way to Fort Wayne and lock my 9-year-old daughter in the top of the turret!

But I love where I live and wouldn’t dream of leaving, no matter how cool that house is (or how far it would leave us in debt).  The bottom line is, my daughter is a great kid, and I have to learn to trust her to hold her own – she’s not going to be that type of kid!  She acts mature and logical most of the time; helping her little sisters and brother and she deserves to get away from all the little kid stuff in our household to step out with her friends.  Perhaps volunteering with this (insanely girly) group of girls (have you ever noticed that if you close your eyes, you can mistake a group of pre-pubescent girls for a gang of wild turkeys??) will prepare me for what’s ahead with my 4 home-grown tweens and teens.  At least that’s what I’m hoping…

(In case you’re wondering about the title of this blog post…  Poults = baby turkeys.  I have 3 daughters and one son.  Within a decade, my house will no doubt sound something like a turkey farm!)

Our Friend, The Doctor

Posted in Kids on November 12th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , ,

With 4 kids, many of them small in years, we are at the doctor’s office lots.  We are so lucky to be really happy with our pediatrician, especially since we see him often.  Today was another such visit – time for our 2 year and 4 month check-ups for the little ones.

Disney (2 yrs. old) liked the fishies in the waiting room and the Dora sticker she got at the end but that’s about it.  She didn’t want the doctor near her, she didn’t want to be weighed, measured, nor have her heart listened to, and she didn’t want to walk in front of the doctor like he asked.  Best we could tell during all the kicking and screaming, she is 2 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 25.5 lbs.

On the other hand, Disney’s baby brother Christopher seemed to love the doctor’s office.  Then again, he smiles all the time, so it’s hard to tell.  He smiled when they measured his head – both times, since the nurse forgot the measurement from the first time (43 cm).  He smiled when he was weighed (15 lbs. 6 oz.), and he smiled some more when his length was measured to be 25.5 inches.  He’s a really good baby – the doctor says he acts more like a 5 month old than a 4 month old because of the strength in his limbs and how he uses them.

Disney’s a great kid also, but she is two years old.  And “terrible two’s” is not just one of those sayings; it’s based on truth.  Disney was the sweetest baby and toddler you could imagine…  then she turned two.  And she’s still sweet, she just has a miniscule amount of patience and tolerance for things that don’t go her way.  She could be chatting happily about doggies one minute, and the next thing I know, she’s melted onto the floor into a puddle of two.

But there must be something going on with the body chemistry of two-year-olds.  Everyone knows they’re like that, and it’s not just an unearned bad reputation.  If it weren’t for the “terrible two’s”, I think I would want an even larger family – but it’s the dreadfulness of the terrible two’s that give me pause – only one more bout of terrible twos to battle, if we can survive Disney’s, of course!

Back To School And Redirection

Posted in Kids on August 19th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today is the first day back to school (already?!?), and it’s really quiet around here.  I guess my oldest two are my loudest two, and we have reduced the traffic in the house by 50% since half the kids are now at school during the day.  Thank goodness for school; I’m enjoying myself already.  So far, I’ve gotten two loads of laundry done – folded, put away and everything, and I have somehow also found the time today to put away most of the clutter that’s been haunting our dining room table for the last week and a half.  I even got to work on my e-book a little bit, and it’s not even 1 o’clock!  And, the kids at school are learning stuff, getting exercise, and socailizing with their friends; they’re not vegged out in front of the tv or outside fighting in the wading pool.  Everyone wins!

While the oldest 2 kids are in school, I also have time to focus on my toddler, Disney, while her baby brother is napping.  Today, I got to sit on the floor and play puzzles with her; something we haven’t done together in months, almost a year because of my pregnancy and c-section.  And she was down for her nap by 12:30, which not only means some quality time together for me and baby Christopher, but also that my toddler should be to bed at a decent hour tonight.  Win-win!  While I was on the floor playing with my daughter, I was getting up to tend to the laundry and whatnot.  My daughter was following me around the house, and this is where my day becomes challenging – trying to keep our clingy almost 2-year-old out of my husband’s home office so he can work.  The home office isn’t  a room where he could close the door and utilize the out-of-sight-out-of-mind tactic.  The office is on the landing on our second floor, so if my toddler begins to head up the stairs or even looks up the stairs, she sees her best friend, Daddy, and it’s over.  She tantrums until he holds her, and he can’t get any work done.  Today she got upstairs and in the clutches of Daddy, so when I chased her down, of course she was upset.  But I used one of my favorite child-rearing techniques: redirection.  I taught her how to clean the toothpaste off the kids’ bathroom counter, which she happily did.  We went downstairs for a popsicle, puzzles, and Barney, and all was forgotten.  Wow.  I had totally forgotten about the magic of the redirection technique because the last 2-year-old I had in the house was our “spirited” child, Samantha.  Sammie was never re-directable.  She has always been so strong-willed that it’s literally impossible to re-direct the kid, let alone being able to trick her into helping around the house.  To this day, she will fight for her cause, whatever it may be, until she gets what she wants or she passes out.  And now that she’s older (she’s 4), the crying doesn’t last as long, but she will remember what it is she wanted and bring it up throughout the day (or week or month) until she gets it.  So I am actually enjoying Disney’s terrible twos a little bit – it’s so refreshing to have a kid who listens.  I know, she’s not yet 2 and things could get worse – so much worse.  But I’ve been there, done that, and after what Sammie put us through, no wonder Disney seems like a breeze.  And even if she does get completely crazy, soon she’ll be old enough to go to school, and we’ll start the terrible twos all over again with Christopher.  After 3 tantruming girls in their terrible twos, I’m curious to see what a boy will be like.  Probably no big deal, at least compared to Sammie 🙂

We’ve Got To Get Away… We’ve Got To Run Away!

Posted in Kids on August 13th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This post is titled after a line from my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz.  In case you live in a hole or you’re Amish, the movie is about a girl named Dorothy who runs away and gets swept into a mystical land.  Of course, if you’re Amish, I don’t know why you’re reading my blog, but I’m glad you are.  But the reason I’m writing this is that it’s happened – we’ve had our first threat of running away from a kid.  For those of you who know our family, you get only one guess as to who it was.  Got your guess?  Ok, it was Samantha – SURPRISE!  It’s funny because my husband and I were just discussing this a few days ago.  We talked about how seemingly every little kid plans to run away at one time or another.  We also talked about how if any of our kids were going to run away, we both thought it would be Samantha (she’s 4, by the way, if you don’t know us, and she’s always been a firecracker, even as far back as her womb-dwelling days).  And now here we are, mere days later, and she brings it up.  She didn’t attempt it or say it out of anger; what happened is this:  She was bouncing on our bouncing zebra toy, which actually belongs to her little sister, Disney.  Since Disney is almost 2, seeing Samantha on the bouncing zebra made her suddenly decide that she wanted to play on it, of course.  So I asked Sammie to give Disney a turn, and she refused.  I started threatening things like making her take a nap, time-out, and taking toys away, and for each punishment, she had an answer.

“I’m going to have to make you take a nap then.” was met with  “I won’t sleep.”

“Then I’ll have to take away one of your toys.” was followed by “Then I’ll run away.”

Well, the situation was resolved when Disney asked for a popsicle.  I was more than happy to give her one because she is being SO good today; polar opposite of the hellish day she made for me yesterday.  The new popsicles I bought today weren’t frozen yet, and all we had was some random soccer ball popsicle I found in the freezer.  I gave it to her, totally over-emphasizing what a good girl she’s been today so hopefully she’ll get the message and stay this way.  But I gave it to her knowing we might have a problem when I didn’t have any for the other kids, which is a golden rule of parenting that must not be broken:  if you have 2 kids, obtain things and give them out in twos.  If you have 3 kids, you must always have 3 treats, toys, what have you.  Whatever it is, there always has to be one per kid – I call this the ‘separate but equal law of parenting’.  So today I broke the separate but equal law, and guess what I got in return?  A tantrum, of course.  I explained to Sammie that Disney got the popsicle because she was being good, and that Sammie was not being good.  She said, “But I’m being good now!”  And I agreed, but I also explained that I had said she would be punished for not doing as I said by sharing with her sister and so this was her punishment.  She threw a tantrum, but got over it rather quickly.  I think she might have actually learned a lesson.

But back to the running away.  I think every kid tries it or at least thinks about it.  But of course, since they’re kids, the plans are never very well thought out.  Like everyone, I tried it to, and my plan was packing a can of spaghettios in a suitcase.  I was thinking ahead about being hungry, but of course I hadn’t planned where I would be going or even how I was going to open that can of spaghettios.  I don’t even remember what prompted my decision to run away, which says something about how insignificant my parents’ wronging me really was.  One time when my sister wanted to run away, she went so far as to call our aunt to come pick her up – luckily my aunt called my mom to double-check, but at least my sister had a plan.  Most kids who think about running away don’t have a good solid plan, and many of them realize this before they actually leave the house.  Let’s hope we are lucky enough to have that happen with Samantha if she decides to follow through on her threat.

Nocturnal Purple-Legged Baby

Posted in Kids on August 6th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

So how is life with 4 kids?  One word – chaotic.  I suppose some of that can be attributed to us not taking any time off from volunteering with the various community groups we are involved in…  Most logical people would have done the smart thing and laid low for awhile.  But us, we did just the opposite and jumped into a few new projects head first – oops.  But, I do enjoy getting out and spending time with fellow adults, and besides, we’ve already committed ourselves, so it’s too late now.

But anyway, the kids are adjusting just fine to having a new little brother.  Our almost 2-year-old has reached the terrible twos officially, and she spends most of her time being upset or making messes.  Figures, doesn’t it, that she would reach this stage right as there’s a new baby in the house.  But it can’t be helped, and we just have to grin and bear it for awhile until it passes.  The upside is that her terrible twos are no where near the magnitude of the turmoil that her older sister caused in the house when she was going through them, but it’s still hard to see our once sweet little girl being so nasty.  I don’t know what it is about the terrible twos, but every kid goes through them (maybe the terrible twos aren’t so bad with boys?  I’m hopeful…), and they can totally change a child’s personality for months, even years.  Little Disney was the sweetest baby and toddler, and now that she is almost 2, she has begun tantruming (almost constantly), hitting, spitting, and biting.  Much, if not all of the behavior comes from being so frustrated – she gets frustrated when people don’t understand what she wants or when she thinks her sisters are taking things from her.  Even if they’re just trying to help her, if anyone is doing anything she doesn’t like, she’ll throw a tantrum.  But what keeps me going is knowing that it’s just the age, and she’ll magically return to normal one day; that’s how it works.  It usually happens suddenly, almost as suddenly as it began – it’s like a spell is broken, and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later; but I’m prepared for the long haul because her sister’s terrible twos (and boy, were they terrible) lasted from about the ages of 16 months until she was 4 years old.

And speaking of our 4-year-old, Sammie loves her new little brother and always wants to hold him.  I’m trying to get better about how nervous it makes me; especially because Disney sees her older sisters holding him and then of course she wants to do it.  But as time goes by, he gets stronger and less floppy, so eventually I can let them help more and be relaxed about it.

Taylor, our 8-year-old, loves her new little brother also, although with 2 younger sisters, she’s kinda been there and done that, as far as new babies go.  She is still a big help, especially with Disney, but she and Sammie fight constantly, and now Disney is starting to join in…  If we could get a handle on some of the fighting, things would be much better around here.  I feel like my kids fight, argue, and bicker constantly.  I probably feel this way because it’s true.  Part of it is Disney being so frustrated all the time, and then neither she nor Sammie like to share things with others; and then also Taylor can be really nasty to Sammie, probably just cuz it’s summer and they’re sick of each other.  Thank goodness school starts in less than 2 weeks.  I say that now, but I’ll also be losing my day-help when Taylor goes back to school, so we’ll have to see how things work out.

As for the little guy himself, Christopher is almost 4 weeks old, and he’s doing well.  He is a constant joy to have around, but aren’t they all at this age?  The only problem with him is that he seems to be nocturnal – wakes all night and sleeps during the day.  Luckily for me, my husband is a light sleeper and wakes with him before I even hear anything.  He is getting no sleep, but I told him weeks ago, once you let me start sleeping through the night, my body will get used to it and I won’t wake up…  I don’t think he listened.  But my sleeping-lightly days are over – during my pregnancy I awoke very easily at every little noise, but now I’m back to my I-could-sleep-through-Armageddon phase.  I also warned Hubby that this baby was going to be nocturnal because in the womb, he wouldn’t move much during the day, but he’s start going crazy about 9pm until after I went to bed.

And almost all new babies bring with them the fear of something being wrong – the other day, Christopher’s legs turned purple out of no where…  I had just gotten him out of his stroller, but his straps weren’t too tight or anything like that; I checked on them later.  It was horribly scary to see his little purple legs, and I’ve never experienced that with my girls.  But the doctor didn’t seem to be too concerned; just something to take a look at next appointment – might be a blood vessel spasm, which I found out is not terribly uncommon in infants after looking it up on the internet.  There is a condition called Raynaud’s Syndrome that is characterized by purple limbs, however they’re accompanied by extreme pain, and little Christopher was sleeping calmly while this happened.  We’ll see what the doctor says on Monday.

That’s about it for now; it’s good to be sitting here blogging again – it’s been so hectic for a few weeks that I was not in front of my computer enough to even blog.  But then I started thinking of all my faithful readers I was disappointing, and I thought I’d better make the time to give them something to read 😉 

Family Update

Posted in Kids on April 30th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t been posting as much as I used to lately.  This is because of the surge of activity in our lives…  It’s also led to me making less phone calls to catch up with people, so let me fill you in this way about what’s been going on with us…

Taylor has been needing lots of dental work in Toledo.  It’s been treacherous, but we have only ONE appointment left, and her teeth look (and now that the pain is gone today – feel) great!  She’s been handling it all SO well that she is the dentists’ and dental assistants’ favorite patient.  I think they will really miss her.  After she leaves the office though, she has a really hard time with the bleeding, and today was especially bad for her, and she also had some pain.  But she came out of it all ok, and if she takes good care of her teeth from now on, we shouldn’t have to go through anything like this again!

Despite all the bleeding, pain, and the $30 price tag for gas (!), our trips to Toledo have been kind of a fun time for just the 3 of us – Mom, Dad, and biggest sister – to hang out.  We’ve been going out to eat, and stopping at the zoo a lot.  That zoo membership they got me for my birthday last year has REALLY paid off!  We’ve been watching the family of orangutans they have at the Toledo Zoo – there’s a mom, dad, a 4-year-old, and an almost 2-year-old.  Seeing them week-to-week, I’ve gotten to know their personalities and have grown a little attached to them – when our trips to Toledo stop, I will miss them!  The patriarch of the family, a VERY large orang named Boomer, is a gentle giant.  His hands alone are about the size of my 8-year-old’s leg from hip to knee!  While most males of his species are solitary creatures, Boomer enjoys being with his family, and he even assists with the rearing of the young, something almost unheard of for male orangs!  Today, Kutai, the mother, carried her youngest baby with her and sat on the window of her exhibit that positions her directly above the guests.  People were looking up at her, and when they took their camera out, she smiled, teeth and all!  I of course did not have my camera with me today to capture this awesome zoo moment  🙁  The keeper was saying that Kutai enjoys looking at books, and she can recognize pictures of herself vs. pics of other orangs, so is it possible that she understands what a camera is?!?  I think the orangs have taken over the gorillas as my favorite zoo animals to watch.  They are just so intelligent and their actions are so individual…  Last week when we were there, we heard the zookeeper talking about how they escaped from their exhibit after it was first built.  Seems they watched the contractors build their new exhibit from an adjacent one, and apparently noticed when they missed caulk in one little spot.  As soon as they were let into their new exhibit, they went right over to the spot, pulled the fence from the wall, and out they climbed, leaving the zookeepers to fetch them from the roof!  Sounds like something that would have happened to Jack Hanna 🙂  The orangs were inside on such a nice day today because the keepers were hooking up their water toy – when they push a button, it soaks guests who walk by on the outside of the exhibit!  That should be lots of fun; I really hope I can make it there at least once this summer to see them activate it, but with the new baby and all, it’s doubtful…  But anyway, it was a great day at the zoo, and we even saw a wild woodpecker, pecking away high in a tree!

Monday night, the girls had their “sibling class” at the hospital.  It was really fun and informative.  They saw the room where mom and baby will be staying, then they diapered and swaddled “babies” (fake of course!) and made little t-shirts for their new sister.  The one thing I would recommend for the class that they didn’t include however, is an emphasis on how older siblings can even help mom way BEFORE the baby comes by being well behaved, picking up some extra chores, or just doing the chores they are asked to do.  We’ve had some difficulties in these areas lately, and they are lucky their wonderful father has picked up all their slack around the house!  But other than that, the sibling class was great and they loved it.

Zoo trips aside, just the same business around here as usual…  Taylor is still taking her piano lessons, her school will be over for the summer in June (5 or 6 weather days to make up; I’ve lost count!), Sammie really likes her school, especially now that they go outside every day they are able, and Disney is growing by leaps and bounds, totally walking, totally talking, making her way towards two…  help us all 😉  Seriously, though, Sammie’s terrible two’s had already started by the time she was the age Dis is now, and I wouldn’t say they are over yet!  So I am optimistic that Disney’s will seem like a piece of cake comparatively…  and hopefully 🙂