During this walk, Devon would take his Tootsie Pop out of his mouth, stab it in the general direction of one of the girls, and proclaim "With this sucker, I am going to change your life!"
Note to self: stop using sarcasm around my children unless I want it repeated back to me.
Last week, in hope of an end to the Great Potty Training Stalemate of 2012 I enticed Devon with some new reward treats. I tried to build up some excitement by doing a little dance as I unwrapped a sucker.
"Wow, Buddy, this is going to change your life!" I crowed.
Well, he sucked, he savored, and it wasn't a breakthrough. It has changed my life, though. Now all three of my kids bob and point when they see a sucker, and I'm in a tough spot. If I say "no" I look like Vegan Mom who needs to loosen up, and if I smile and say thanks I look like Overindulgent Mom who doesn't know how many kinds of artificial dye are in those things. Pretty soon somebody drops theirs on the ground and I become Sticky Mom, wrestling the dirty treat from a gummy-handed, drippy faced child who doesn't understand why the fun has to be over. Or better yet, Mean Mom, explaining Melina's hair wrapped around your sucker does not constitute her stealing your treat. You need to stop lecturing the girls and using your sucker as a pointer stick. Now I have to go dunk her head under the faucet until the sucker comes free. No, you will NOT be allowed to have it back when I am done.
Yesterday Carrie fussed and Devon looked at her and said patiently "I know you're upset, but there's not a lot I can do about it right now!", one of my trademark exasperated responses when someone's tugging at my leg as I'm changing a diaper. He's become quite the little recording machine. He also has lifted many of his recent expressions from books.
"Mommy, you are tall and tall and tall, but you do not mind that I am small." My Mother is Mine, by Marion Dane Bauer.
"Why do you sit there like that?" The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss, and for the record I had just sat down after forty-five minutes of making breakfast and lunches.
"Bottles of creamy milk, and peppermint drops and lollipops for after-meal treats!" The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper, when asked what he wanted for breakfast.
I am delighted that another thing he has learned by repetition is prayer. I really didn't want to force it, preferring to ask him if he wanted to pray after me instead of teaching him a rote prayer.
They must have worked on it at Awanas, because the last time I picked him up he told me "I prayed and prayed!" Now he says spontaneous prayers often. We stopped four times at breakfast to pray for Mr. Adam and Ms. Michelle. Visitors to our house would probably think they aren't doing very well, seeing that they need so much intercession on their behalf, but they are. Better than fine, actually, they just bought a new house and are moving this weekend.
Devon started praying for Ms. Michelle when she hurt her arm diving for a stray volleyball several weeks ago. He must have realized how charmed I was the first time he asked to pray for her and made it a habit.
"Dear Jesus, help Ms. Michelle's arm. She needs to pick up all these trains!"
This week I suggested that he add their upcoming move, so now her husband and their twin daughters get factored in.
Jesus, pray for Ms. Michelle help Mr. Adam lift the boxes. Heavy on the fingers. And a Kaley and a Ryley. Ayyyyyy-MMMEEENNNNNNN!
As we finish yet another prayer and pick up our forks to resume eating, I have an odd sense of things coming full circle. At a very young age I remember praying a nightly rote prayer for Lisa, my babysitter, who had broken her leg in cheerleading practice.
"Dear Jesus, Thank you for this day, and help Lisa's leg to feel better. Ay-MEN!"
November in Florida is a lot like April everywhere else, with seventy-degree days that beg us to go outside. I took the girls to the park on Wednesday while Devon was at Tots.
We lasted a half hour, leaving only because the girls started fixating on finding things to put in their mouths. Whenever I see a smoker stub out a remnant on the ground, I feel like walking up to them and asking if they feel okay about that butt ending up in a baby's mouth. My children can take an acre of freshly-mowed fescue and a white beach-sand playground and find all eleven of the cigarette stubs that have been casually left somewhere. It's like Where's Waldo to them.
I wasn't too sure I could do three mobile children at the park by myself, but I figured I owed it to them to try it at least once. If we left in tears after ten minutes of terror I'd know that we needed to take a season off. We went to playgroup on Thursday and stayed three hours!
In an odd way, it was actually easier than two babies squirming on a blanket and a young, accident-prone toddler trying to dive off the equipment.
A big reason why my life includes outings right now is my moms group. I find I'm able to attempt things in a group I wouldn't do alone. If Carrie tries to eat an acorn at the park, while I swab her mouth for it a friend watches my other two and another friend googles "How toxic are acorns?" on her smartphone. It's great!
The kids rested in the wagon and ate lunch when I got tired of chasing them around. Packing lunches is a chore, but so is cleaning up the kitchen three times every single day, so I'm a sucker for eating meals outside.
The first Friday of every month is gymnastics. It's popular with multiples moms because it's the only Mommy and Me class in town that doesn't require one adult present for every child. I'd love to do it more often, but to attend the Wednesday class I'd have to pay tuition for all three and hire two babysitters to come along.
I titled this picture "One of these triplets is NOT like the other". Finley, in the middle, came dressed in the same fall outfit as Carrie and Melina. Two other sets of twins can be seen in the picture.