Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mother's Day Out.

It didn't go so well that morning. For all my worry and over-preparedness, and stomach knots it still didn't go the way I had hoped. It snowed and I had too many babies and things to carry and not enough arms and we were too early and the girl child had to potty and they both screamed when they left my arms. There was also the matter of peanut products, which apparently aren't allowed but because we were unaware, my child had a lovely PB&J in her backpack- crust neatly removed. (Although they assured me that it would be okay this time). And I must admit, I rushed. I had somewhere to be and I knew that the best way to make it easy for my kiddos would be for me to make a hasty retreat. So after their tears began to fall, but before mine could flood my face, I told them to have fun, and quickly made my way to the car.

Then there I sit, in a train-themed dentist's waiting room with a train buzzing around my head. I clutch my phone because I just know that any minute the teachers will be calling to inform me that my child has been screaming for twenty minutes or I forgot to leave enough diapers or the peanut butter has in fact caused another child to go into aniphalactic shock and they would like for us to leave and never return. 
Nearly an hour since I left them screaming in their classrooms I think, surely by now their little hearts have quieted and they have found a way to have fun. I keep reminding myself that I want to raise intelligent, well-socialized, kind, patient, loving children. And the best way for them to learn these qualities is to have opportunities to apply them. 

I return home to a silent house and realize that this... this moment where I am disheveled and worried... this is the first time that I have ever been alone in this house. But I glance at the clock and realize that any minute, my babies will be going down for their first nap in a strange place and who will sing to them? Who will hand him his bear? Who will brush the hair from her forehead and pray over her before she sweetly sings herself to sleep? Standing there in my sundrenched living room, I finally release what I held together in the hallways of the school and the waiting room and the dental chair and I... cry. It's ridiculous, the tears that spill from my face. I pray. For myself and their teachers, but also for their little hearts. That they would be quieted and calmed and soothed and find rest. It lasts only a minute or two, but the release is cathartic and as I find my feet again, I feel entirely embarrassed. Only three hours have passed since I left my children in the care of well-qualified teachers.

Simultaneously, I realize I have a mere two hours left before I am to return to retrieve them and my heart begins to pound. How can something feel like a race and an eternity all at the same time? I force myself to rest. I leave the mess. I tell myself that just this once, I need to just listen to what my body is telling me to do. Rest... but I am awakened by the pounding of my own heart every few minutes and all too soon, my alarm is telling me hurry hurry hurry... they need you. So I pull my weary, aching head from the couch and reach for my keys. Rush... they're waiting!

I make the quick drive to their small school and as I pull into the parking lot, I brace myself to wipe hot tears off of red cheeks and soothe tiny heaving bodies as they cling to my chest. I breathe deeply and walk into the hallway, bustling with other moms and dads picking up their children.

Many steps before I reach his classroom, I hear him. Loud shouts and squeals. Babbles and coos. He's always had quite a volume. But he isn't unhappy. In fact, as I approach the door to his classroom, I see him excitedly chatting up a bouncy seat and swatting at the toys. No tears. Not even a frown. He sees my face and his eyes light up. He smiles his entirely too large, drooly, toothy grin, and quickly crawls toward me. As his teacher places him in my arms, he bounces and laughs and babbles as if telling me all about his first day. She tells me he had a wonderful time, and that he loves his teddy bear. I also learn that he has used a fork for the first time!

We make our way to the girl child's classroom and despite my worry that I'd find her in a corner being comforted by her teacher, she is engrossed in play with another little girl. So engrossed, in fact, that she doesn't see me even after I call her name a few times. So instead, I watch her. She is so naturally social. She loves people so much. And in this place she seems truly... happy. I call her name again Birdy... and she looks toward me. I found Momma! she squeals, running to me with her arms stretched upward. She colored a picture. She had a snack. She took a nap. She tells me all in one breath and as I crouch to hug her, still balancing her baby brother on my hip, she says, I cry at school but now I so essited! I not scared anymore! And again I choke back the tears. Happy ones this time. It seems so silly now to have ever been worried.

We celebrate with cookies. She eats two. And as she tells me over and over how she's not scared anymore, I decide I need to follow her lead. I start by having a second cookie. And then I resolve that next week I will not be scared.




Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tunnel Vision

Just stopping in to share some gratuitous photos of my Baby Bear playing in our tunnel.

You're welcome.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Potty Like A Rockstar

We started potty training Vesper last week. We started off slow. I put her in pull-ups over the weekend (the kind with the design that fades when wet) and talked a lot about how she can't potty in her pull-up- always making sure to NEVER refer to them as diapers- and asking frequently if she still had her bow/ flower/ seashell as were the various designs. Then that following Monday, I had her run around bottomless. I cleaned up a few messes here and there, and she had a few fits as I rushed her to the potty the first couple of times, but over all, her response was positive. I attribute this to one thing: treats.
Vesper sharing her "potty treats" with Lucy

Apparently, my child will do anything for a couple of sweet tarts and some dollar store toys. By day two, she was going regularly as I reminded her and staying dry during nap time. By day three, she was dry over night and asking to go potty. In the past week, we've only had two accidents, one occurring because of a stomach virus. We also took a road trip and didn't have any issues. I'm just shocked. It's not supposed to the be this easy, right?

I would love to tell you that we used some sort of tried and true method, but the truth is that I think God was really gracious in increasing my patience and enthusiasm with her over the past week. I made sure that she never felt ashamed or frustrated during the times in the first couple of days that she didn't make it to the potty, and I made a huge deal out of it when she was successful. We even went so far as to sing what became known as "potty anthems," where I would take various songs with the word "party" in it and change it to "potty." For example, "Potty Like A Rockstar," and "Potty Rock," and "Potty In The USA." They were a pretty big hit, although her favorite was a chant set to the conga rhythm. Yeesh. The ridiculous things we do for our kids...

I can't believe how much she's grown. It seems like just yesterday I was stressing out over sleep-training her, and now I'm shopping for a twin-sized bed for her to sleep in. By herself. With no pacifier. And no diaper. It's like she's not even a baby anymore or something! It's not right!

But I digress. All of this to say that I'm truly impressed by her maturity throughout the process and I'm extremely grateful to God for answering my prayers for patience in my heart and peace in hers. I think the Lord really uses the strangest situations to speak to me sometimes. Training up my children has resulted in more training of myself than I ever imagined, and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

ten. months. old.

How dare he. What is the appropriate punishment for a baby who refuses to remain a baby?! This I need to ponder because I'm desperate to stop time. Nevertheless, our little man insisted on turning ten months old this week. We love him more every single day! Here are a few things we want to remember about Grey at ten months:

1. Climbs over, under, around, and through everything. In fact, I found him halfway up the stairs the other day. He's going to give me a heart attack for sure!

2. Starting to be quite picky with the foods he eats. Current favorites include Totinos pizza, sliced peaches, and fruit wafers.

3. Shy around men, but a total flirt with women. I attribute this to the fact that he's at home with his mother and sister all day, but he's pretty shy around men. On the flip side, he flashes those big eyes and gummy smile at every lady in line at the grocery store and leaves a trail of swooning mommas behind him!

4. Eyes are still a muddy hazel-blue.

5. Taking small steps with the walker, but quickly gets distracted by the dog and would rather use his well-honed crawling skills to pick up speed and chase her.

6. Loves to be chased! He speeds away, then stops after a few feet to make sure you're going to chase him.

Time to start planning his first birthday party! I've got a really fun theme in mind and I can't wait to get started!

Happy ten months, Baby Bear! We love you so much!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


The kids got a teepee for Christmas and we've had so much fun playing in it. I added some Christmas lights so we can read in there at night too! Our friends love to come over and enjoy it as well. Both kids had a stomach virus recently and now they're both suffering from a gnarly cold, so we're sticking close to home most of the time. No need to get the rest of the world sick, right? Now if we could just find a warm day or two to play outside...
I hope you're staying warm and well!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Resolution: Make More Messes

I had wanted to get Vesper a little tree of her own to decorate, but I realize she's probably just a bit to little for that still. So we did the next best thing: we decorated a paper tree with paint and "ornaments". She loved it and it actually turned out very pretty and colorful! This girl loves to paint. It's in her blood. She's constantly asking me to paint! It's just so much work to get out the drop cloth, cover the high chair, get out the paints, set up a palette, and get her started. And of course there's always this mess to clean up:

But then we end up with something like this:

And this little smile:

And I realize it's worth it. I don't want to be a mom who's afraid of messes. Sometimes the mess is where we learn the most.