On the way to the Splash Pad on Tuesday Melina figured out how to shimmy her chest buckle down to her waist, shuck off her shoulder straps, and inch her way out of her infant seat using her heels as leverage. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw her stand up and reach for the ceiling and had to pull over. The girls are a few pounds shy of the weight limit of an infant seat, but I still decided to move them up to their convertible seats this week. Here's a peek inside the remodeled second row of our Toyota Sienna. Melina hasn't attempted any more escapes, although I can't say she's shown similar restraint in her exersaucer, high chair, Combi stroller, or little red wagon.
Melina sits in the middle. She's still the lightest and easiest to hoick up into the middle seat. If Devon decides to engage in sibling rivalry behavior while safely buckled out of Mommy's reach, Melina is also capable of defending herself.
One more year and I'll have three in front-facing car seats. I'll open the doors and let the kids climb in their seats by themselves and wait for me to help buckle them.
I have one two-year-old and two one-year-olds.
I can't say it five times fast. Can you?
Devon has finally warmed up to his Magna Doodle. He loves to sit with Mommy in the comfy chair and watch her draw pictures. This time he asked for "Mommy, Ba-Weeners and the OTHER Ba-Weeners!"
It's a fairly accurate rendition of us walking into church, although the smiling stick figure at my side usually decides that he "needs hugs" and Daddy carries him.
Last Sunday after church I popped into Devon's classroom to talk to his teacher. When Craig came out of the baby room with a girl on each arm, he was mistakenly told I had left. He reached the car, extracted his keys, opened the door, and buckled the girls safely in without dropping anybody. I was impressed when Devon and I walked up a minute later.
After Sunday dinner we realized that to accomplish all this he'd had to drop the diaper bag in the parking lot, and forgot to retrieve it before we drove away.
Looking back on this week's pictures I realize that both the girls are officially walking! The last time I remember Melina crawling was at a weekend birthday party at the Fort Pierce Causeway.
When we dangled her feet in the inlet Melina plunked down and started crawling. I walked beside her as she went deeper, the water swirling around her shoulders and then her ears, lifting her scrawny rear end. As her head went under I grabbed my sputtering girl and took her back to a safer depth. Lesson learned: none of the kids went too deep again.
The girls made silly faces when they tasted the salty water.
Craig and I took turns wading with the girls and following Devon as he ran three circles around everyone and everything like a Family Circus cartoon.
This is Melina's recent favorite thing to do: folding her skinny legs indian-style and hunkering down in the drum. Carrie and Devon are skeptical yet tolerant.
"Meeners is in Bum the Drum again!" Devon tattles.
She quickly decided she couldn't fit the lid on top of herself...
...so she settled for bringing lots of toys in with her. When she tired of the game and climbed out, she left a teacup, a plastic orange slice and Little People polar bear. She was sitting on them like eggs waiting to hatch.
Carrie has discovered her tummy. She loves walking around the house with her fingers in her belly button, ruffly pants exposed. Two weeks ago she went into her room and chose her shoes from the shoe basket that holds her pink ones and Devon's white ones. She presented them to me triumphantly and said "Shoes!"-- her first word!
Since then I often find her walking around the house with a shoe in each hand, saying "Shoos! Shoos!" I'm not sure if she just likes items of clothing or sets of things that match. After the kids get up from their naps and drink their sippies-- I call it "happy hour"-- she collects up all three sippies and walks around triumphantly. Sometimes her hands get too full of things and she loses her balance. She's sporting a shiner on the top of her right cheek because she overbalanced while carrying squeezie bear, starfish, and a cup of Cheerios and bumped her head on the wall.
This is Melina's teething face.
This is Carrie's. The girls are getting their upper molars, so evenings have been loud and bedtimes pushed way back. They can't seem to get comfortable. Nothing makes them smile like a pink dropper full of Children's Tylenol. I've been pondering the implications of raising a generation of addicts.
Carrie fell asleep at midnight on Monday after Mommy gave up on a reasonable bedtime and took her to Walmart at 10:15 to grocery shop with the crazies. This picture was taken right before we put her down and Melina popped up in the crib next to her, bright-eyed and ready for a three hour fussfest.
Meeners isn't the only one who gets overwhelmed and feels the need to catch a nap in the middle of the day. It's cold comfort that the girls are getting enough sleep if they do it in shifts and Mommy stays up with them around the clock. I used to call this tag-teaming. When in college I took longer naps than some nights of sleep I've had this week.
I'm tiring quickly (no pun intended) of the sleep deprived fog that wrecks my normal brain function. Last Wednesday after cooking the pasta I turned the gas burner all the way right to "low" instead of all the way left to "off". I figured it out the next morning when the empty pasta pot I'd left on the stove overnight felt warm to the touch when I picked it up to wash it out.
Every once in a while things ease up and I'm able to get one or two seven hour stretches of sleep or work in a nap in the afternoon. When I do, I sometimes wonder what challenge ahead I'm resting up for. I usually find out a few hours later. God gives me what I need when I need it.
Sometimes what I really need is the kindness of strangers, like the pastor's wife who rescued our diaper bag from the church parking lot. Kind people surround me whenever I am out with the kids: doors magically open, the cashier at Chick-fil-A jumps over the counter to follow me to a seat with our kids meals, and the checker chases me out the door with a bag of groceries I forgot to put back in the cart.
My friends watch out for me, too. On Wednesday I buckled the girls into the car after dropping Devon off at "school" and drove away, leaving the Combi stroller sitting empty in the parking lot. Half a block away I glanced in the rear view mirror and realized my mistake. I circled back to see my friend Erika wheeling it inside to keep it safe for me.
People always wonder "how we do it."
We just do.
Some days we make it look easy, and others we just manage to get our family of five safely home. We've left a stroller and a diaper bag, but we've never left anyone behind. That's the answer to the question we hear people whispering after us.
We remember the important things.