Friday, November 18, 2011

She's a mover & a shaker (but a bit of a crier)

She can't crawl. She can't walk. But, she managed to scoot over to the dog's waterbowl (which is in desperate need of a cleaning).

The days this week have been filled with her getting in position to crawl with one troublesome leg caught under her. Then, she cries. If you push the leg out to crawling position, she cries. If you put her back to sitting upright, she cries and then repeats. If you leave her to figure it out, she cries. I hate to make predictions. Well, actually, I just hate to be wrong about predictions. But, daresay, I think she might crawl soon.

I should be used to this, but dang, they seem to just grown up so fast. Today she clapped at Claire's school fair when other kids were clapping. It was so cute. Earlier this week I was raking with her in the Beco, and I thought "this will be easier when I can carry her on my back." Then, I remembered ,she isn't a baby and she has contentedly been in the back carry position all week. Sniff.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

"I win!"

(Claire and Macy's standard exclamation after walking down the stairs/getting dressed/finishing a meal)

"It's not a contest!"

(my standard response especially to a meal-eating race)

I had been wondering, where do they get this competitiveness from? Is it because Claire's in school now? I certainly don't pit them against one another. And Bob might be the least competitive person I know.

I remember being so competitive with my brother. I thought it was because he was so into sports and had a competitive personality and that we were 14 months apart in age.

I am beginning to think it's some genetic survival mechanism. We are just competitive people, and I created more competitive babies.

I came to this last night when I stepped out for a quick run and was walking with this internal dialogue:

"None of my music is suitable for running"

"Just run. Nicole, you're stalling!"

"I can't start to Jack Johnson. It will just set the tone for a slow run"

"There's not enough daylight left to be so picky, you have already skipped 10 songs"

"Why is this song even on here? It is offering me every slow, sucky song on here"

[Lady runs across the block perpendicular to me]

"You could run faster to Cat Stevens than that lady. And she's skinnier than you, unfair."

"Cat Stevens it is!"

Then, I ran to catch and pass the lady. She had headphones on and didn't hear me coming. There were cars on the street, so I couldn't cross to the other side or get around her. I was stuck behind her going slower than I wanted and thinking this was so not good for my karma. She probably just started running or had a baby. I eventually was able to cross the street and run off ahead. Then, I thought, geez, that lady didn't even hear or see me. I could have been a mugger or a rapist. So, then I was paranoid I should be on high alert for muggers and rapists (though, there's probably no black market for cracked iPods). Or, in the very least, being competitive makes you less aware of what's going on around you and is a bit obsessive.

And that, most certainly, the girls get their competitiveness from me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Great Expectations?

Claire's teacher sends home a newsletter on Fridays. Recently, she reminded parents to let their kids do stuff themselves like put on their clothes, shoes, jackets and winter clothes. My guess is this is a reminder for parents of only children or children further apart in age. Or, I am a major meanie with Michelle Duggar like expectations for my eldest. Sure, I have to help with zippers, but she does all that and when Macy's cooperative, she even helps Macy do it.

I was a bit relieved to read the teacher said that because when Claire was at the doctor with UTI symptoms, the doctor said 4 was pretty young to be wiping herself... I was like, sheesh, I am trying to get the 2 1/2 year old to wipe herself, and you want me to wipe the 4 year old? Plus, it's pretty hard to convince her she can't do it anymore. I am not lazy. I would prefer my more hygienic wiping to theirs, but Macy loves to use the bathroom the second I have a sleepy baby teetering on the edge of going down for a nap.

The teacher probably has an idea Claire's putting on her own winter things since even a not-very-fashionable 33 year old would chose the hat/mitten combos she does...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Over their heads

This morning in a exasperation and sheer annoyance at watching Claire chase Macy with an imaginary needle, I dove into a talk waaaay above the heads of my 4 and 2 1/2 year olds (albeit smart ones).

Despite spending the vast majority of my time with these shorties, I am not a big baby talker. Half for my own sanity, and half for their language acquisition, I talk to the kids in a semi-adult like manner. (You know, trying to avoid the really bad profanities but not over-the-top goo-goo-ga-ga). Claire talks in third person, so I am trying to get out of the "Mama will do that for you," "Bring that to Mama" habit I have going on.

In our extended family we're exposed to talk from all ends of the spectrum. Ga-ma likes to employ cutesy euphemisms like "potty wotty" and "tinkle winkle". I remember reading some of this motherese is good for kids. Like if you say "doggy" or "kitty" it emphasizes the "G" and "T", and hearing it twice will help kids learn those sounds at the end of word rather than dropping them off. Or, slowing your words per minute helps the kids. However, it's confusing, and this is a total Ga-ma thing, too, to call you toes pigs (because there's nothing porcine about those digits!) . So, we got the baby talk on the Ga-Ma end of things, and the girls think Ga-ma's little phrases are hilarious.

This summer we went to the Wisconsin Historical Society where my brother-in-law and sister-in-law work. The girls' aunt was talking about the fur trader's shack exhibit. She was telling them about the various hats, pelts, and tools. I was having a hard time following, and I think the girls were just wondering if the fur on the wall was a live or dead animal. My thought was, does she remember they're under four?

Back to me this morning, I had the Aunt Beth problem. I dove into an explanation of "informed consent" for medicine. They are always playing doctor. All day. I am usually holding Piper while Claire operates on my foot and takes my blood pressure. So, I'm all, "You can't give a shot unless your patient wants you to and you tell her the risks (like it might hurt), it's called informed consent." Granted sometimes people don't kids enough credit for being able to understand things. This wasn't really the case, it was more of me trying to think of a way not to scream "QUIT CHASING YOUR SISTER WITH THAT DAMN TOY SYRINGE!!!!"

As one might guess, this was over their heads. Bored, they wandered out of the bathroom (yeah!) and went into Claire's room where they established a rule where the doctor would poke the patient and then the patient got to poke the doctor. So, basically, the 1-2-3 poking just doubled, but at least I got my hair did.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


They were fighting over chocolate milk. Not real chocolate milk, mind you. Imaginary chocolate milk, and it was before real breakfast. They were at early this morning. Macy had a dish of the imaginary good stuff, and Claire claimed to drink it all. We really can't be sure since imaginary milk is hard to see.

Then, they both took toys from the immobile baby who proceeded to cry and look towards me to get it back. So that's how it's going to be, Piper? You're not going to learn to crawl or walk? You're going to wait for your Mom to swoop in retrieve your treasured items? You know if we go that route, they aren't going to like you. They're going to think you're getting preferential treatment. They might just gang up on you.

They're already ganging up on me. Claire and Macy were continuing to bicker over the coveted (imaginary) chocolate milk dish at breakfast and reaching over their place mats. I was desperately trying to get some coffee made and spilled the coffee beans all over the floor (near the baby who likes to put leaves in her mouth). Claire said, "Ha! WE don't have to help you with that! Me and Macy didn't spill it, you did! So, YOU have to clean it up, WE don't." So now they're buddies all of a sudden?

I suppose, despite how different my brother and I are, we sure like to talk about the antics of our parents...

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seriously, how do lesser women do this? (or people with jobs or no husbands)

Claire's school seems to be operating on the premise that if they give me too much advance notice for anything I will forget. But, I actually would like some heads up. I am a bit of a planner, and I don't even have that much going on.

For Donuts for Dads day they send a note asking everyone to send in a canister of frosting by the next day (or the day after). I don't consider frosting a staple in every home, and I really don't consider a trip to the store warranted for frosting. Heck, I wouldn't even take all three kids to the store after 11:00am for any food. I improvise! When I do shop, I make lists; I coordinate the girls'' happy times. I wondered if I could make frosting and send it in a Ziploc container. But, I can always come up with a few things I need from the store. So, I went and got the damn frosting like a good parent.

Today, I get a note requesting one red apple, one green apple, and one yellow apple by Thursday. Well, don't people usually like one kind and have that kind at home? Or, do other homes have apple buffets? Because I have red apples at present, sometimes green, but never yellow. When Claire gets home from school (when I got this letter), we eat lunch, and then Macy takes a nap. Oh, and the letter suggested I bring my 4 year old to the store to talk about apples. So, if I run out when Bob gets home or have Bob stop on his way home, I am slighting my daughter's education. This note gave me the advance of two evenings and one morning (since all afternoons are shot with naps) to get apples. I don't even care about the apples, I think it's cool. But, why can't they give me notice that next week they will be hitting me up for a rainbow's worth of apples.

How would someone who works like this? They wouldn't even find out about it until they were already home from work (suppertime?) Or a single mom? Or if I had a newborn I didn't want to take out? Seriously, I don't even have much to whine about, but I have to think other people like advance notice on this stuff to?