Monday, September 23, 2013

All Day Long: September 23, 2013

This week started out with a short work trip for Daddy.  Before he left, we all gathered in the living room to hear him practice his talk. 
It was a tough crowd.
No, seriously.  One hour is, like, three years in baby time.  The first ten minutes were pretty peaceful.  The last ten minutes involved hitting things with bubble wands.

On Tuesday we dropped Daddy off at the airport.  This was very confusing for some.  There were some curbside tears.

D: (as Daddy disappears into the terminal) Daddy is going to get Grammy and Grandpa!!!!
M: No, sweetie, Daddy is going on an airplane.  He'll be back tomorrow.
D: (as we pull away) No, Mommy!  Stop!  You're leaving Daddy!
M: I know, sweetie, he's staying here for right now.
M: It's okay.  We'll come and get him tomorrow.
D: No.  We will not get him tomorrow.  Get him right now!  Get on your own airplane and go get him back!  Right Now!!!  One....Two.....Three!

A slight sense of unease and confusion followed us until bedtime and through the next morning.  The next evening I brandished the camera, asked the kids to look and smile for Daddy, and got this.

Duh, Mommy, Daddy's not here.
A peaceful drive later, Daddy was back home.  Since Devon got a brand new Lightning McQueen to drive to the airport with, he's now convinced that all new toys come from Delaware.
I've picked up working on the baby books again.  These pictures of Miss Savannah go in the "favorite babysitter" spot.  "Manana" is a favorite topic of conversation, even when she isn't here giving Mommy and Daddy a rare evening off.  We sing Happy Birthday to her at least once a day, and we can't drive by the turnoff to get to her house without the whole car erupting into cheers.

Last night at Walmart Carrie gestured excitedly and shouted "Manana!  Manana!"  I looked around for Savannah, expecting to see her.  When I didn't, I tried to figure out what was going on.

Carrie was pointing to a rack of bananas.

Even now as I type this, the girls point at the screen.

"Manana!" they say excitedly.

I scroll down to the next picture.

"Manana!" they say again.  Same word.  Same inflection.

I just have to ask...  do the twins think her name is really 'banana"?
We took some mananas home and made pancakes with them.
Wh, oh, why don't I cook more with this boy?  He clearly enjoys it.  I go down my usual list of concerns: sharp knives, hot burners, tile floors that shatter dishes, and Mommy's rather exhaustible store of patience.  The fact that his favorite game right now is to climb as high as he can, yell "To Infinity and Beyond!" and jump off.  The fact that he still has all ten fingers and no major scars and I'd like to keep it that way...  Hmmm....
We've beta-tested and rejected TWO multiples carts this week.  Memo to Walmart AND Target: if you need a multiples cart, it means that your children are small enough to need actual working restraint belts.  Five-point harnesses that lasso loosely around and sort of adjust to fit everybody while not really restraining anybody don't cut it. If you're wondering why I had to barrel around Target with three kids standing up in the cart and my items on the child seat topping speeds of 10 mph, that is why.  Any slower and somebody would've jumped off.

They should hire me as a consultant.  It would solve the problem of how to fund my life of leisure...
The combination of actual working seat belts and cheap ice cream make Sam's Club the only place I can go with more than one child.  I'm just sorry to anyone who wore good shoes to Sam's last night.
Yesterday was a huge milestone.  We took our first family outing without a stroller. 
Craig and I had to be pretty athletic, manning the leashes and passing them back and forth so someone could go after Devon if he bolted.  Still, a day without a stroller felt like freedom.
Even our pictures seemed to go so much better, as everyone held still!
The girls rode on the train for the first time...
... and the whole family finished out the day at our favorite, the river otters.
Outings in general are becoming easier. Fewer moments of kids running in different directions or screaming in concert.  More sweet moments of positive sibling interactions and smiles.  At one point, as I gathered Carrie up in my arms and whispered to her as we watched the Blue Macaw, a woman watched me sentimentally and whispered to her husband "I miss that!"  Wow.  Usually we're the ones who are constantly reminded by strangers to cheer up because it doesn't last forever.
They're stable enough for the carousel at the mall.  Mommy now carries a wad of singles and saves her spare change.

"Again, Mommy, again!" says Carrie.  By far the most talkative one, I sometimes call her The Official Spokesperson of The Twins.  Melina occasionally interjects a word or two into Carrie's constant verbal onslaught.
Beach outings are still popular as ever.
With such busy days, you'd think everyone would pass out without complaint at bedtime, but that is seldom the case.  This week everyone wants to be awake hours after bedtime, calling messages to each other across the hall or crib hopping.  Mommy tires of this when she hears cries in the middle of the night and finds the girls sleep-wrestling.

On the couch with a girl in one arm and my phone in the other hand, I wonder who I'm sitting with.  I aim at her face and take a picture.
This is what I get.  Boy, do I look tired.  No help.
I try again.  Hmmmm....

Scrolling back to the first photo, I determine from their original positioning that I must be holding Meeners. 

A few minutes later, she wakes up and starts talking.  Now that The Official Spokesperson of The Twins is asleep, my other girl starts talking up a storm.  She's a little more tentative than sissy, but still learning so many new words.

I smile back at her in the darkness.

Monday, September 16, 2013

First Day of School: September 6, 2013

I wish that Devon was this excited about going to school the next morning, but he was just buzzed about the Thomas jammies that Grammy sent.

 No, I ask Devon if he wants to go ANYWHERE these days and I get a very predictable response.

"No, I am NOT going to church.  I am FAR TOO BUSY!"
"NO! Tots is not good for a boy!  I don't WANT to go!"
"(crying) I can't go to the beach.  I just can't..."

He's mad.  Or sad.  Or scared.  Or frustrated.  He's been learning about emotions on his LeapPad.  It's good, but I'm not sure just what to do with all these emotions going everywhere.  Or the unspoken expectation of Devon's that if he speaks his emotion others will change their behavior.

To get him to go anywhere, I have to invoke Ms. Pam.

M: Time to get in the car.  We're going to Tots!
D: No!  I'm frustrated at you, Mommy.  I am not going to Tots!
M: All your friends will be there!
D: No!
M: You will do painting there!
D: No!
M: Mommy can have a break so she will have enough energy to take you to the park this afternoon.  When she comes back to pick you up, her eyebrow won't even be twitching!
D: No!
M: (pause)
D: No!
M: Okay.  That's your choice.  I'll go across the street and knock on Ms.  Pam's door and tell her that you're not going to Tots and ask her to come and stay with you.  She has plenty of grandchildren, so I'm sure that she will know just what to do to make a frustrated little boy behave.  You'll probably have to take a nap so Ms. Pam can get her stuff done, but if you don't want to go to Tots it's your only other option. 
D: (pause)
M: (moving towards the front door)
M: Okay, Bud, let's go.
D: Let's go now, Mommy!  I want to see my friends!

Just for the record, Ms. Pam really does live across the street.  She's incredibly nice, she goes to our church, and I've never had to call on her for babysitting (although in an emergency I'd head over there in an instant).  I wonder how she'd feel about being my constant fib/threat for getting Devon out of the house each morning.

Tots is such a godsend for parents of multiples.  You'd think I could just run my house like a preschool, teaching them all their letters and breaking out a new, cute craft at every half-hour mark.  After all, preschool teachers do that all day, don't they?

Yes, teachers do.  They also get a lunch period, bathroom breaks, prep period, and a 4:00 end to the workday.  A janitor cleans their room every night, and a principal is just a phone call away if there is a discipline problem.

This is what happened the last time I attempted craft time.
Yup.  Lots of marker got on the paper, but plenty got in other places.  Goth Boy was still green the next day after a trip to the pool and a long bath, and these are washable markers.

"Mommy, I have marker on my tummy, Mommy," says Carrie.  I'll give you one guess for her favorite word.  She begins and ends every sentence with it.

"Mommy, I love you, Mommy."
"Mommy, I want that sippy, Mommy."
"Mommy, that's just nonsense, Mommy!"
"Mommy, Devon's eating the marker again, Mommy!"
Yup.  Craft time works better somewhere else.  Not that it wasn't fun....
I've been rehearsing dropoff for weeks.  Two on a leash and one orbiting.  After a few rough starts it's going pretty well.  If I'm ever standing there with all three pulling in different directions, I usually gasp and say "Look, guys, is that Daddy?"  All three snap to attention and start purposefully moving in the same direction.  It's like saying "Mush!" to sled dogs.

Yes, that is the second time I'm confessing to fibbing to my kids in the same post.  I'm keeping track.

Look at these grown up girls in their seats! 
At parent orientation I was able to sneak some shots of their play.  So cute!
They made their babies a pizza and set them up to eat it.
The day didn't end there.  We went straight from Tots to fall gymnastics kickoff.  So much fun!
As always, it was quite a workout for Mommy.  It's a big place and my maniacs don't exactly stay together.
Monday found us back on the leashes for the official first day of Tots.

The official first day picture is already in the baby books.  The girls look unsure of what to do...
Devon's an old pro.  He's done this before.  He settled right back in, even finding his old seat.

"Mommy, I'm painting," he exclaims.  I circle, making appropriate interested noises, snap a photo, and then slip out.
Aaaaaaahhhhhhh. Two hours to myself.  I don't listen to music.  I don't read my book.  I don't do anything.
Drive-thru pickup is a new feature of tots this year.  I think I'm a big reason for this.  I am sooooo grateful.  I can't say I was always dressed well and coiffed at pickup last year.  At least this time if I go home and clean house like a crazy person I don't have to drag my sweaty self back inside and drag the kids out to the car looking like that.

All three kids are full of conversation after tots.  The craft.  The snack.  The songs.  We talk all the way home.
We eat lunch on the porch. 
"Look, Mommy, I'm holding your hand!" says Devon.  We play a rocking game.

Mommy and Devon snuggles.
Mommy and Devon hugs.
Mommy and Devon kisses.
Mommy and Devon tickles!!!! 

the game starts again.
Ally kitty finds me after the kids go down for naps.  Still hungover from staggered wake-ups from all three kids, I curl around her and close my eyes.  Ahhh.....