Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Help

I have heard mothers complain about onlookers that make comments like, "you've got your hands full." I never really understood why that bothered them. People would say it to me, and I heartily agreed. Yep, lady, lots going on here.

But lately I kind of see how it's annoying. Maybe it insinuates that you aren't juggling it all, but you have an excuse because you have three kids three and under. The part I start to hear is, you are not handling this well.

I've been home alone with the girls since Friday. It has been going better than even I expected. (and really, I think how I handle things is to keep expectations low, really low - like if one kid has a meltdown that's better than two kids having a meltdown, right?). My mom seems to be under the incorrect assumption that I need company (I am loving watching hulu and staying up late) and her assistance. Oh, I don't get me wrong, I do need her assistance. She took Claire & Macy on Saturday night, awesome, and she is coming over tomorrow. But I explicitly told her I did not need her to come today. She comes anyway. During. Naptime. Spoils Claire's nap by "checking on her." I know she is trying to be helpful. I know this makes me look ungrateful. Can she not give me the satisfaction of doing it alone one day? On Sunday she really fought to let me buy my dad lunch - on Father's Day!

That's the counter-intuitive thing, sometimes it's hard to receive help because kids are better alone with me. Help sometimes gets them too excited. Help sometimes lets them stay up longer and throws off the routine. Help is often convinced a hyper kid isn't a tired kid by a really tired kid.

But, my mom had a good point. You get what you pay for. And, the kids do love their ga-ma and bumpa. And, my parents do make the most delicious homemade ice cream...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Picture my husband with a lightbulb overhead

The only time the inability to breastfeed is handy is in the husband helping department. I have seen enough of my friend's husbands dump a crying baby on their wife's lap lamenting the baby must be hungry. If Bob thinks the baby is hungry, he can give her a bottle. (And seriously, there are other ways to soothe babies!)

When Claire was born, after my 12 weeks of maternity leave, Bob stayed home for 6 weeks with her. Plus, he had her during the summer while I worked. It made him way more comfortable around babies and appreciative.

I really like being home. My main gripe is the cleaning. It never ends. The dishes never end. I have been saying this all school year. And, when Bob's summer break started I was definitely feeling the need for cleaning skyrocketing. He's a slob.

This past week I have been leaving Bob with the girls a bit to prepare for the week of single motherhood while he is on vacation. He says to me, "you know, what I was doing the other day that isn't that even that annoying, dishes. All I ever do it dishes!" I was like, "Amen!"

It's kind of like a natural consequence. I can tell the girls, "you won't like it, it's spicy" until I am blue in the face, or I can let them try it and & tell me that it's too spicy and they don't like it.

Because if I had a quarter for every time I told Bob how the dishes never end and I spend my entire day in the kitchen serving snacks and meals, then we could pay some poor sucker to wash dishes and load the dishwasher! But hearing him say it was priceless.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

For the love of God, please be nice to your sister!

It's been a rough week for me at Chateau Lemke. I got a urinary tract infection. Yeah, too much information, I know. But seriously, haven't I been through enough? In the spirit of TMI, the hemorrhoids from pushing out the 9 pound 3 ounce baby haven't been healed long enough for this to be fair. On top of that, after 5 weeks on a 1,500 calorie diet I have lost one pound. They have ruled out a thyroid problem. The doctor recommended 1,200 calories a day. Someone needs to invent calorie-free beer.

But, the saddest thing of my week was when Claire was mean to her sister. Sure, they bicker over toys incessantly. I am used to this. But, Claire started summer school this week. Maybe that change is throwing her off a bit. I got a glimpse of her nastiness earlier in the week when she was playing with the Nursing Nina cat. Mama cat has magnetic nipples and three little kittens that latch on. Claire had a random orange cat not part of the set. She was telling me the Mama was the Mama, the baby was the baby, and she kind of wondered what the orange cat was. I suggested the orange cat was the older sister. She liked this idea. And then proceeded to have the big sister cat drink all the mama's milk and laugh & tease the baby that she drank all the milk. I don't think you need to be a psychologist to read into that a bit...

So later in the week it's bedtime. Our typical routine of late is Bob puts Claire to bed, and I put Macy to bed at the same time. Claire asked for me. So, I suggested, well, let's read our books together and then separate. Macy loved this idea; Claire not so much. By then, Claire decided she wanted just Bob to read to her and Macy was not invited. Macy was devastated. Sometimes, I think she cries about something when tired and forgets what she is crying about. Not this. She was inconsolable. She was sitting on the rug outside Claire's door crying, crying, crying. She could not be distracted or redirected. Finally, Bob talked Claire into letting Macy in
for the second book - probably because Claire couldn't hear the story over the wailing. Macy was so happy. She hopped into Claire's bed, was all smiles. After the book, she told Claire she loved her and kissed her. Claire didn't reciprocate. It broke my heart seeing Macy swoon all over Claire, and Claire be a jerk. I can't force her to be nice. I just need to keep being nice for an example, but, it's not easy when she acts like a major a-hole.

Macy will be ok. I don't think she noticed the cold shoulder treatment. She was just pumped to read one story with her big sister. And, I have a feeling a little someone will be looking up to Macy with the same reverence....

We're blowing her mind

The other day I went to a local babywear's group meeting. Piper is a big one, and she only likes to face outwards when awake. She will face in when sleeping, but she is sleeping less and less. I wanted to see what other options might be out there. I had heard bad things about the crotch dangler baby carriers, but I had thought it was all physical. (and seriously how much time would a kid be in a Bjorn to have such effects?). A woman told me there is some argument that babies shouldn't face out because it is too much stimuli. I felt like a freak (already a pariah with my bottle), but I swear Piper likes to look out at her sisters. Piper is smiling. I can't read minds, but she seems quite happy, I swear.

The woman equated facing outward (rather than at my sweaty cleavage) to a newborn watching television. The infant can't process the images. I wasn't sure I was buying it, but was I wrong? This hippy had a pretty mellow and happy baby... Surprisingly, Bob was the voice of reason on this when I reported back. He said something to the effect of, "it's not like your sprinting through a fun house, it's life she is looking at!"

Either way, I'm pretty sure she is too little to be pushed on her outside swing. That's probably blowing her mind, but, man, everyone got a kick out of it...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


The only good thing about Claire telling me twice this morning in her megaphone voice that "Her is FAT!" is that it reminded me that my friend Katie's son said, "What's that fat chick's problem?" at McDonald's once.

Seriously, the word "fat" is not even in our lexicon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Boo-hoo Cry Pants

Apparently, my body has not got the memo that I am not pregnant. Seems odd it wouldn't remember pushing out a 9 lb 3 ounce baby about 3 months ago....

But, my body insists on storing fat, especially in the front, and I have been crying over some dumb things (you know, occasions where only overly-emotional or pregnant women would tear up). At church on Sunday I was tearing up during confirmation. You know, the long church service where most non-hormonal people would be checking their watches annoyed at the extended service. I didn't know the name of a single kid up there, but I was wiping tears out of my eyes. Look them, all grown up, getting confirmed.

Yesterday, Claire started summer school. Open the floodgates.

At naptime, Macy was taking off her sandals to get into her bed. I was holding Piper above her. Piper puked on her hair and arm. I thought it was hilarious. I bust into Claire's room to tell Bob about it. He said it was not funny but rather gross. Apparently, I am a stark raving mad lunatic because I am laughing like a hyena. Bob is looking at me like I am certifiable for interrupting his story for that nugget.

Seriously, this can not be the new me. This emotional crap should wear off after 3 months, though, right?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Maslow, be damned!

The big girls have a definite problem distinguishing their needs from their wants.

I can't think of a scenario where a two year old actually needs a horse, dinosaur and a cat especially in a twin bed...

What's in their bag of tricks?

All of a sudden Claire can draw things that look like things! It started with an octopus with hair, then rainbows and, now, people!

I had no idea when to expect this. I pretty much don't know what sort of things older kids can do. The other day the neighbor boy who is 8-ish (yeah, can't gauge older kids' ages either) looked at me like I had two heads when I asked him if he could physically turn off the sprinkler. Apparently, that is something very easy for a child his age, but he still enjoys running through sprinklers with pre-schoolers, who knew?

Likewise, I have very little idea what sorts of tricks other people's kids can do even if they are at an age my kids have already been. I like to ask kids questions they can answer, not stump them. I was trying to get my nephew to do the animal noises he knew. Eventually, my sister-in-law said he knows wolf. That wouldn't be my first guess. I wouldn't expect an 18 month old to howl on demand until they have mastered all the barnyard animals. But, there's no order to this.

This week we visited my mom's school. To every question an adult posed to Macy, she would exuberantly respond, "I'm 2!" The girls talk about their age a lot. How old is MaMa? How old is DaDa? Seriously, I don't know how old my brother's girlfriend is. Do I guess? Ask my brother and get back to them? But, they aren't asked, "What's your name?" at home. (She eventually was able to tell them her name. Kinda freaky, though, two different people were "guessing" her name and said George.)

So apparently, this parenting gig doesn't provide one with many transferable skills. It basically is teaching me how to talk to my own kids. This is probably good since I couldn't handle more than the kids I got!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Is fat the new skinny?

I wish 33 year olds looked this cute with chubby arms. The next person who tells me how the weight just "fell off" due to breastfeeding, might see my not-so-cute chubby arms around their neck...