Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Three Under Four: April 30, 2013

We've just finished our first month as a family of three kids under four years old.  It makes us seem so normal.  Some people achieve that number without having twins.

My kids make up an odd trio.  Last night they sat in their chairs in the screened porch, "typing" on the screen bar in front of them and staring out into the back yard.  I tried to figure out what was so interesting.

They play together well.  Sometimes.

 "No grabbing, Devon!"  I say as he swipes a toy from Carrie.  He looks at me expectantly, the theme from Jeopardy playing in his head as he wonders whether he really has to give it back.

Time out.

"Mommy!  I'm ready to come out and say the rule!" calls Devon from his bedroom.  When I say it's okay, he reappears and thinks for a while.

"No hitting?"

"Not this time, Devon.  What is the rule?"  He starts naming substitutions.  Kicking?  Pushing?  Shoving?  Playing rough?  I shake my head each time.  He gives up.

"DON'T DO SOMETHING!" he finishes, a little Napoleon with his hand stabbing the air.  We sit and talk about obeying Mommy and he finally says the rule.

They play some more.  Devon has started imaginative play this week.  He pretends to be a vacuum cleaner, a squirrel, and in the pool a shark.  Most of all, he's Winnie the Pooh stuck in the hunny tree.  He lays on the kangaroo slide with his body half in-and-out of the hole.

"Heeeelppp! I'm stuck!  Pull me!"  the girls grab onto his legs and pull him out.

And then the game starts over.

Devon's checkup revealed that he grew an inch and lost a pound in the last month.  He's in the 70th percentile for height and the 20th per weight.  The doctor calls my kids "those skinny Keathley chickens" and they are.  We took advantage of the rare babysitter I'd hired for the morning and had a date at Panera.

We're pretty sure this is why it's hard for Devon to make weight.  I must have told him about fifty times to sit on his bottom and eat his food.  We do the same thing at home.  Devon wants to eat a few bites and then grab fistfuls of his dinner to eat in various places around the house.  Mommy isn't okay with stepping on cheese in the living room and scrubbing oatmeal off her throw pillows every week.  Devon can be pretty sneaky in his attempts to dine al fresco.  Last week at breakfast he asked beautifully to be excused from the table.  Five minutes later he was sitting on the potty completely naked, eating bites of yogurt with Cheerios that he brought with him and wiping his hands conveniently on the carpet next to him. 

Every meal we pray and set food before him.  He can then eat.  If he asks to leave the table to go potty, his food is taken up, preventing Devon from taking it with him or circling back and assuming that the sitting part of the meal is over and he can finish however he likes.  When he asks to be excused, the food goes up and doesn't come back down until it's time for a snack.

I'm not really surprised he's lost a little weight, judging by the meals of three bites and a tantrum that surely burned off way more calories.  Meanwhile our plates lie untouched.  I wonder how much weight Mommy and Daddy have lost over this?

Three years old means lots of messes.  We've made Devon an art closet full of supplies that he can use.  What we really need is a padlock to keep him from sneaking in there when we least expect it.  During the times that we swear we're watching him but are really trying to pay a bill, wash a dish, or get something..... anything..... done.

Devon's night-waking spells have stopped.  Mommy is thankful.  He passes out every night at least by nine and wakes at seven.  He's still in his Big Boy Bed, though, so he has control over where he falls asleep...

Naps are now so rare that I have to take a picture and text it to Craig, my parents, and three of my friends.  Most days from 2-4 I'm in a state of mourning for my lost nap time.  I feel guilty for missing it, and my sense of balance that went along with it, but I do.  Who wouldn't miss a pin-drop silent house, the chance to cook and clean in peace, and happy times recording these little moments so I don't forget them or spending time reflecting on what I'm doing and how I can do it better?

(NB: I interrupted typing that sentence when Devon yelled from my bedroom "Look, Mommy, I'm spraying water!".  It wasn't as bad as I feared.  He had just removed the hose from the vacuum cleaner and was pointing it at an imaginary fire on my bedclothes, pretending he is Fireman Sam.  I leave him alone at my peril these days)

We're filling the extra time in the afternoon with play dates.

Devon plays with a little friend while the girls nap.  If I'm lucky, I can snatch a few moments here and there to wipe a tabletop or empty the coffeepot.  Mostly I follow them around and make sure they are sharing the toys and taking turns.

Last week they handed me a bug.  They were confused as to why it wasn't moving.  I'm sure you can guess.

I miss these days.

I had a precious half hour this week when Melina was in the mood for a snuggle.  Sniff.

The girls are now sleeping with their dollies, creatively named Pink Baby and Yellow Baby.

Mommy and the girls went shoe shopping on Monday while Devon was at Tots.

It took them about two minutes to demolish a display of Crocs.  I quickly set to work putting them all back.  When I finished, I turned around to see that Carrie picked out her own pair of pool shoes.  They weren't the ones that came home with us.

We're still working on spoon skills.  Now that Carrie's right thumb isn't sore from sucking, she eats with her right hand most often.  Melina too. 

The girls had a play date of their own last week.  It made them pretty tired.

On Saturday we went to the art museum for Free Kids' Day.

It was a real breakthrough for Devon.  Just when we resigned ourselves to taking him in the stroller even though he's way too old and desperately needs the exercise, he decided that handholding really isn't the parental equivalent of waterboarding.

He got to play bongos as a reward.

He almost got to watch his aunt and uncle get married, but started yelling and was sent to his room.


Yes, that's right.

Mommy and Daddy clicked on FaceTime to see the ceremony joining Bojana Jovanovic and Tim Weimer.  Their official wedding will take place in October, just enough time for the girls to turn two and make Mommy and Daddy pay for FIVE airplane seats.  Fun times!

It was an informal and refreshingly fun ceremony.  They honeymooned in San Francisco over the weekend.

That night we went to the beach.  For about six minutes the kids played in the sand.  Then the girls ran in separate directions and Devon ran straight for high tide.

Time out.

"I'm ready to say the rule, Mommy!  NO RUNNING INTO THE OCEAN!"

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Disney World: March 10-14, 2013

 We've been friends since junior high.  When in high school, we'd go to Disneyland and swear we'd never bring young kids there.  We'd see these dirty, tired moms pushing strollers or holding toddlers in mid-tantrum and shake our heads at each other.  Not for us.  Wait until they're old enough to be taken out in public.  That's the way to go.

Amy and I had an overdue but very welcome Skype date in mid-February, in which I begged her to fly out here and take the kids to Disney World with us.  Despite our earlier conversations about Disney and toddlers, she agreed.

It really was a good time to go.  Since Buddy Boy gave up naps, and consequently the ability to behave from 4 p.m. until bedtime every night, the days have been long.  To be honest, the lines start to blur between a busy day at home and a busy day on an outing.  They're both exhausting.  They're both long.  We're at the point where we might as well go somewhere.

We tried for a bon voyage picture with the kids and their new Disney toys.  Now that we've lived in Florida for a year, we do as Floridians do.  As big fans of all things Disney, they go often but buy as little food and merchandise there as possible.  Instead, they go to Sam's Club and buy $200 worth of groceries to take to the resort with them, and then to Walmart for Disney clothes and toys.

It was a pretty good plan.  The Minnies were a hit.

Devon loves his Dumbo, but was only in the mood to pose for a picture with the Froggy Potty.  Okay...

On our first day, we checked into The Cabins at Fort Wilderness.  Amy was already at the cabin and surprisingly lucid considering she flew redeye from Sacramento to LA and then cross country to meet us.  We spent a lazy afternoon catching up at the pool...

...and a crowded evening at Downtown Disney.  It was the only time we were able to coax the girls into wearing their Minnie ears. 

The low point of the trip according to Devon was having to ride in a stroller again.  He usually doesn't anymore, but we didn't think he was ready to brave the crowds and stay with us.

Monday we spent the day at Magic Kingdom.  The train was a favorite, of course...

...and, of course, the Dumbo ride!

By two o'clock we were getting pretty hot and tired.  It was the perfect time for a change of pace.  We had taken another piece of Floridian advice: the more high-end restaurants at Disney are totally worth it, providing a nice break and a good meal in the middle of the day.

We chose the Crystal Palace, where the kids could meet the Winnie the Pooh characters.  Carrie was skeptical.

Devon was excited at his first meet and greet.

Carrie was not.

Of course, all three kids are big buffet fans.  I'm still amazed that Disney allows kids under three to eat for free.  My kids put away as much as we did.

Devon LOVED Pooh Bear.

Carrie did not.  Going over these pictures, it occurs to me that poor Melina didn't get any pictures at
 the dinner.  I just double checked.  Not a one.  Sheesh!  Mom of the Year!

Devon got a special birthday cupcake, since he was turning three at the end of the month.

Aha!  There's a picture of Melina!  I swear we didn't leave her at home!  We got a lot of attention on the buses.  One good thing about this age is that any motor transportation qualifies as a really exciting ride.

This is my favorite shot of Epcot, our Day 2.  Amy snapped the picture because the Monorail went by and Devon's expression was just too priceless.  We were not staged and therefore look tired.  We probably were.

Staged version.

Staged version with Amy.  That pretty much wraps it up for pictures that day.  It is one hardship to life as we know it.  Who holds the camera?  Even my iPhone stayed in my pocket all day.

Wednesday we went to Animal Kingdom.

We enjoyed the parades and the lines were not bad.

All three kids were pretty tired by then, but still it was a really good day.  Amy came back to Vero Beach for two fun rest days, and then back to California.  I still can't believe we not only survived a four-day Disney vacation with three kids under three years old, but thoroughly enjoyed it.