Monday, November 19, 2012

Hello My Name Is: Private Parts

There is no reciprocity in Florida for therapists from Missouri. So, my mom, much to her chagrin, has been “forced” to take a few college courses so that she can oh-so-willingly sit for her counselor’s license – again. First off, she hates taking tests and secondly, she’s been licensed for over ten years I believe (if not longer). Needless to say, she is not thrilled.

If I had given it more thought when she was looking for the classes she needed to take, I would have realized right then and there that Mom’s class work would most probably involve me to some degree. First off, she is not a fan of writing and since she has a daughter who loves that, it works well that I get to edit all of her papers. This experience has reminded me that I too am not a fan of AP style … really is a royal pain in the butt.

I’ve also had the pleasure of answering Christian questions presented in a couple of her classes and offering my perspective (even if unasked) on whatever topic she was researching.

This last (and final) class she has though has proven the most fun for us all. The state of Florida requires that all therapists take a Human Sexuality course. So, now when most of my friends are probably talking to their moms about golf, over 50s groups and shopping; my mom is showing me diagrams in her textbook of, well, various human-sexuality-related items and talking to me about how we as a society refer to and represent our viewpoints on sexuality.

Who knew when she started this class that I’d get homework as well? She needed a sex survey filled out and well, being new here; she wanted my help to find more women to answer these questions. I have to say … I was pretty proud of my friends and bible study gals who helped out.

I actually don’t mind. I was raised to be quite open about sexuality. My parents didn’t make it taboo and therefore I don’t see it as taboo either to talk about sex. Of course, when in the presence of the proper age group (my peers).

Mom was recently assigned the task of reviewing a blog or some sort of medium. So, she reviewed this blog. In her review she pointed out that in fact, I don’t mention anything about sexuality – ever. And suggested that I did. So, I’m rising to the challenge and, well, here we go. 

Here’s the thing. I’ve not posted anything on sexuality really because in my house it hasn’t really presented the need just yet. I’ve not been graced finding my kids discovering God-made “rocket ships” and no one talks yet about how the shrinky dink … grows.

I’ve of course had many conversations with my friends on the looming topic: when to discuss sex with your kids. I’ll tell ya, as open as I am and plan to be on the subject matter, I’m pretty content that I don’t believe NOW is the time to start that conversation in my home. ;)

So I’ve not had much to discuss on the matter. I can tell you with the fun conversations I’ve had with many friends … boys seem to enjoy the toy God made for them … and that’s normal. Which is good to know for when my boy find “it.”

Really, thus far in my parenting journey, I’ve only had one big thing to deal with … what to call “it?”
It was years ago when I began potty training Saylah. I wasn’t sure what to call the little girl part. I asked my friends who also had girls and really no one has a great answer. Some call it, “your girl part,” or “your pee pee,” or nothing at all. But no one had a wonderful answer for me. As a starter-Mommy, I used to call it a “who” … which I really don’t know why I started that. But that was great … super cute … and worked well … until … Saylah started talking. She’d say something I didn’t quite catch and I’d say, “who?” to which she replied, with a giggle, “no Momma, not my who … “

Plus, around Christmas time when the Grinch showed up on TV and the Whos in Whoville came to town, I kind of thought that might be a tad bit disturbing to Say. So we had to change it. We changed it to a shortened version of the big “v” word. Which was okay until Saylah realized what its real name was, and then had no problem speaking the word in it’s fullest whenever we were anywhere. Yep … we became THOSE parents. You know the ones who teach their kids the proper name of the parts? It wasn’t intended … we simply didn’t have a better option.  So, we use the real word – and I think we are weirdos for that.

But I came to grips with being a weirdo and all was well. Until now, when I’m faced with potty training Isaac. Here’s the deal: I just can’t bring myself to call it a penis to him. It just seems weird. When he was a newborn I told the girls that was what it was – since they were incredibly curious about that little “tail” he had that they didn’t. And I thought it was hysterical when one night when eating a dessert that contained peanuts, Audrey piped in with “Isaac has a peanuts.” 

But with Isaac in the parrot stage (you know, where he repeats every new word he hears) I’m not so sure I’m down with my 22-month-old saying penis. So, like I swore I never would be, I’m just non-descript about it. Which has turned out odd, because well, now he calls it a bug. I can’t quite figure out why he calls it a bug. But I’m pretty sure that can’t turn out well, since his sisters lately have also been all about teaching him to squash bugs when they are outside. I can see a rather bad outcome on this one.  

So, alas, there it is, this is where we are on sexuality at my house. I’ve got great plans and strong beliefs about the importance of talking to kids about sex. I believe both mom and dad should talk to both our sons and our daughters about the matter. That we teach them our morals and values about sex and that we keep it so that it’s not viewed as the forbidden fruit … because we all know what happened with the forbidden fruit.

I’ve got big plans for them on this matter … but when they are older. Until then, I’m going to relish that my biggest sexuality issue is what to call Isaac’s thing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Let's Play Doctor

I didn’t grow up having a relationship with Christ. In fact, I didn’t begin to know Him until I was about 27 or 28. Often I reflect on the blessing of my “late blooming.” Had I become a Christian when I was a child, there are a myriad of things I wouldn’t necessarily understand or things by which I would empathize. Had I been a Christian my entire life, I often wonder if I would take for granted the beautiful community that surrounds and supports us when we most need it.

In this day of high-tech communication and abbreviated emotive expressionism, I find it rather endearing and comforting when a friend texts me “praying for you.” I love that with a quick text or a Facebook post I can communicate with people my support for them, and vice versa towards me. 

We've had a doozy of a time the last two weeks and the out-pouring of love I got from my immediate community humbles me. I can sum up our last two weeks in the fact that last Friday we joked with our pediatrician that we were going to move closer to her office … and she replied with, you might as well move in to my house. LOL

It all started when a Leave-it-to-Beaver scene turned a little bumpy. The kids were staying at Mom and Dad’s house for the weekend, allowing Ben and I a kid-free, 48-hour date extravaganza! Now, my dad makes it a point to have at least one special thing he can do with each of his kids, and subsequently, each of his grandkids, simply to have a special point of connection with those he loves.

He’d decided that he wanted to take Saylah fishin’ as his “thing” he does with her (BTW, when a Grandpa takes a kid fishing … it’s necessary to leave off the “g” in fishing– makes it sweeter ;)) So Dad bought a brand new (princess) fishin’ pole for Say and had held on to it for weeks and weeks until we all finally were able to coordinate schedules (btw – it was my parents who were sooooo busy, trust us, we’d have given the kids to them any weekend – tee hee). ANYWAY, Dad gave Saylah the fishin’ pole and they practiced casting on the back lawn all Saturday morning. When finally it was time for Audrey and Isaac to take a nap, Say and Dad hopped on their bikes and headed to the pond Dad had been scoping out for the occasion.

They fished and we got cute text pics of the momentous event. On the way home, Saylah (going too fast on her new bike Gma and Gpa bought for the kids – who’s spoiled?) CRASHED into the side of a bridge. About 3 p.m. I got a text from Dad, “Say wiped out on her bike, she’s fine, lots of drama” – to which I replied. “Welcome to my world. Did you catch any fish?” you see, at the time, the crash wasn’t that big of a deal, aside from a little red cheek and some scuffed up knees.

She got back to the house; they gave her Motrin (for a sore throat she’d been fighting) and put ice on her cheek. Basically, all was well (aside from a little drama, of course). From there they went to Barnes and Noble with the kids, out to dinner and watched a movie. SIX hours later, things started to get wacky. We suppose the Motrin wore off and her cheek swelled – a lot.

After calling after hours, we deciphered urgent care wasn’t necessary. At 5 a.m. we got a text with a picture of Saylah’s eye swollen shut. Ben and I, recognizing the irony that we had pawned our kids off to Mom and Dad during Daylight Savings Time and YET still got woken up by them – got dressed and headed to Litha, FL, where we took Say to urgent care. $100 later we were told by the doc, “yep, it’s a really bad black eye.”

The rest of the week looked like this: Saylah looked like she lost a prizefight. Big time. She vomited every morning from Sunday through Thursday when she was given medicine to make her stop throwing up. She began to throw up again the following Tuesday and hasn’t ever since. She has complained of stomach pain and now has a stiff neck. (Which actually is most likely attributed to a second fall as she was running across the street a week later – eesh). We did a CT scan, an MRI, blood work and an X-ray -- all of which came back clear. Thank God. We basically ruled out that anything measurable resulted from her bike fall.

Yet, she was still having weird symptoms. We swabbed her for Strep, took a urine sample, had a meningitis scare, and had numerous, numerous doctor’s exams. Literally, in 14 days we’ve been to the doctor at least 5 times and the hospital, twice. Oh, and the X-ray place and lab once as well.

During all of this, I am certain I maintained my sanity because of the support of those who love us. We have had so many prayers and every friend I think I know in town has offered to, or actually, babysat my other two kids so I could focus on Say during this. I’ve changed plans, cancelled plans, and needed last minute help. All of which was of course graciously understood by the other party. Every need has been met by those in my immediate community; done with smiles and offers to help even further. 

Perhaps this is commonplace for you? To me, when I think about it, I know would do the same for them. But, I am still humbled and endeared by how awesome it is to know we’ve built these relationships and are blessed to be part of a community where if we need help, it’s there. There is nothing better than knowing you can trust someone with your kids. There is nothing sweeter than getting a text at 10 p.m. saying, “praying for you.” I’m thankful to be a part of that world.

These last two weeks have left an impact on Saylah. From her crazy black eye, she’s earned numerous stares, comments and lots of sympathy. She’s learned the phrase, “you should’ve seen the other guy” (lol) and once I gave her the line, “do you want me to show you what a black eye feels like?” (Don’t judge; the kid was a punk). She’s missed a lot of school, been bribed with a toy for getting her blood drawn, obtained a cute purple bear from the MRI team at Arnold Palmer Hospital, and given a free cookie the size of her head from Panera. I’ve bopped down the stairs a couple of times to overhear her playing X-ray or CT Scan with her sister or her new bear, which makes me giggle and think, well, at the least, this experience has rendered her a bigger insight to the medical profession, right?

All in all, I’m grateful for the love of our family and friends, who took the time out of their crazy lives to pray for Saylah, care about her well-being and to help me out – so that I might maintain my sanity. ;) Love to you all! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Woman's Juggling Act to Vote

I know that we are all incredibly over the political discussions. And I hesitate to even mention politics or voting for fear that you stop reading right here.

But if you’ve dared to read on … I have a thought about voting I’d like to share.

Every election since I’ve started staying home with my kiddos, my husband wakes up a little earlier than normal, gets ready and heads off to the polls before work. As I am preparing the younglings for school, I typically get some kind of text update on how long it took him to vote ...  by way of a kind reminder to me to vote.  (Not that he didn’t remind me the night before as well, and it’s not as if I really live under a rock and didn’t realize it was Election Day, but none the less, the reminder is nice.) 
This year it occurred to me when I was at the preschool to drop off my middle, that a husband voting before we even get out of our houses is not an anomaly in our home. It happens everywhere.
I think their commitment is awesome. I’m glad they get up early and make the extra effort to get to the polls. But, I have to say … we should really stand up and take notice of the dedication of moms who vote.

You see this seems no easy feat for a mom. For me alone, I think we had four different families helping each one of us get to the polls. Gone are the days when we just wake up and head to our poling spot, place our vote and get our little sticker. It’s not about getting up early. It’s about getting one kid to the bus by 8 a.m., one to preschool by 9 and one fed before he melts down. It’s about packing enough snacks and games and toys and flashy lights to keep one occupied while you wait three hours to vote and hopefully get done before you have to pick up the other from school.

I know one mom who dropped off her preschooler early and attempted to vote before she had to pick him up three and a half hours later and was unable. No fear, she figured out plan B after looking at the polls and was able to vote.

I’m not whining that we are busy or live by scattered schedules, ignorant or not, that decision was made when we chose to have kids. But I am impressed and honored by the community of women I know who support one another with such important matters. For us, we could have used a playbook or diagram to know who had whose kid and who was being picked up when last Tuesday. My friend offered to pick up my middle so I could go to the polls. In turn I was going to pick up her oldest from the bus stop after I voted and after I snagged another friend’s daughter from my eldest’s bus stop. Turns out friend one was in line with another friend (we’ll call her friend 3) who got out a might bit ahead of her, so she got her kid from the stop.

With long lines and staggered pick up schedules, I heard story after story of moms juggling drop offs and pick ups and multiple kids just like us, just so we could all vote.

Yes, it’s nice to get up early to vote. And man, I wish I had that luxury too. Because quite frankly, there are not enough “future voter” stickers to make taking three kids under the age of 8 to the polls sound like a fun time. Of course if I had to I would do just that. It is our right and privilege to vote. But, I am so very thankful for my community of women that help each other so that we can all exercise our right to vote – and maintain just a touch of our sanity in the process. =)  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

In Loving Memory

I’d like to take a moment to pay my respects to a dear couple of friends who met their demise this week.
After a least four years playing antics in our house, taking innumerable trips around the world, protecting Saylah when she was scared, and serving as great siblings to Saylah, I am sad to say “Ghost and Another Ghost” were outted yesterday, along with their co-horts; Wally Weeber and Pirate.

I can’t exactly remember what they looked like, though she described them to me several times, and I’m unclear of their ages because they seemed to have birthdays like every five days for a while. I do know though that they were great kids who apparently were very mature (for whatever age they were), frequently sick with some weird ailment, and able to float through glass doors. Ghost and Another Ghost, Wally Weeber and Pirate offered endless heart giggles to me and many in our family.

If you’ve not figured it out yet, G and AG, Wally Weeber and Pirate were Saylah’s imaginary friends.

Ghost joined our house when Saylah was around two, shortly after Audrey was born, if I recall correctly. Soon after observing me with my brothers during a family visit, Another Ghost joined the scene. Even though Say was a new sister, apparently she wanted brothers because she has held on to the stance that Ghost and Another Ghost were her brothers ever since that time. Beginning her trend of social non-compliance with typical family rules, such as having the same mom and dad, Saylah insisted Ghost and AG (who had different parents) were her brothers. (Not adopted btw, because I asked that too.)
When they first arrived on the scene, my mommy skills were immediately tested. It was funny how Saylah would be sitting nicely in her chair, but Ghost would throw food on the floor or tell a tall tale. Not to be out-witted just yet by a then-two-year-old, this Momma got quick, real quick, and immediately put Ghost in time out for breaking the rules. Funny thing, he quickly stopped breaking the rules. (There’s a tip for you parents out there should you be visited by any imaginary friends.) 

My mom was the one who noticed that Ghost and Another Ghost tended to show up whenever Say was nervous about something or in a non-familiar place. I’d get a tickle watching her in my review mirror on the way to somewhere and she’d be giggling and talking to her “brothers.” Often they would help her stick up to someone or lend her an ear to vent her woes.

I can only assume that since Ben and I played along so well, she was inspired to invite Wally Weeber into our home. However we didn’t hear much about him too frequently because Ben and I adopted a theme song for Mr. WW. It went to the tune of “Let’s go Cardinals, clap, clap, clap clap.” Sung like: “Wally Weeber, clap clap, clap clap.” She, nor Wally Weeber, were amused. I guess that’s why he didn’t come around as often. Let this be a lesson to you – imaginary friend teasing is NOT. Nice.

After the pirate craze took over in Central Florida, Pirate joined their crew. We didn’t hear a lot about him either actually, but the foursome traveled together a lot. 

Once Audrey claimed Ghost told her something, but Saylah of course was quick to let her know that she in fact did not hear anything from Ghost because he only talks to her. Poor Audrey, even her imaginary ghost brothers ganged up on her!

As the years went on the brother crew “showed up” less and less in our house. I’d occasionally ask her how they were doing and she’d reply, “Oh fine. They are spending the night at their mom’s house tonight.” Or, “They’re good, but Another Ghost was just sick. Ghost coughed on him and now he’s throwing up.” (Probably should have washed his hands more.) 

She is now seven and up until last night, she has sworn they were real. I never came out and directly asked her if they were or weren’t, but she would describe them in great detail, so I know she 100% believed in them. But last night during tuck in, after I asked how G and AG were doing, and after she said fine, she sheepishly leaned over to me and whispered, “Mom, Ghost and Another Ghost aren’t really real.” Then she looked a little nervous. I replied, in a whisper, “I know.” She giggled.

I’ve been wondering for years when her friends would disappear for good. I’m kinda sad to see their time complete. I’d like to give them a hug to say thanks for all the fun they brought to our home and all the comfort they brought to Saylah. Unfortunately, I can’t find their shoulders to do so. 


Monday, October 15, 2012

Green with Envy

Birthdays are a tricky nugget in a family’s dynamic. 

My parents (well, mostly my Dad I think) have always stood on the box of “if it is one kid’s bday then don’t buy a present for the other kid too.” My friend’s mom has a different belief all together and refuses to be the grandma who only brings a present for one child and no others. I’ve heard parents who believe it is paramount to encourage sharing of the new toys as soon as the bday giant opens them. And other parents who believe it's that kid’s new toy and he doesn’t have to share it.

Although we’ve tended to lean towards the, only give the birthday kid a present and she doesn’t have to share it immediately, but does have to share it at the latest, by the next day, I am aware that as they age, I'm often rethinking my own soap box on the subject.

We just celebrated Saylah’s birthday about a week ago. It was a blast for everyone … that is, well, except Audrey.

It all started off amazingly well. Grandma and Grandpa have created a tradition where they take the birthday kid to pick out her present and then go have a little treat together. So Saturday they take Saylah out for a shopping extravaganza! Audrey was soooo excited for her big sister. And I was rather proud of myself, because I had prepped Saylah how to respond to Audrey when she got home in order to share in her fun. So Saturday went off without a hitch. 

Sunday we had a little birthday party and again, Audrey was soooo excited to celebrate with her sister and see her get cool gifts. Second celebration day completed melt-down-free. Phew! 

Monday (Saylah’s ACTUAL birthday), Audrey woke up before Say and bounced in her room sooooo excited for her to see her decorations and celebrate her real day. She was thrilled about her special birthday dinner, loved singing her happy birthday and was pretty excited about Saylah's presents … until, well, about 2/3 of the way through the gift opening. That was when poor Audrey apparently reached capacity and simply … lost it.

I can’t blame the little thing. First, she’s four. Second, three days of birthday festivities for someone else is more than anyone should be expected to endure. And third, when your sister gets the presents you want, time and time and time again … that gets to be a might bit annoying I’d have to think.

So, Audrey turned from Saylah’s birthday cheerleader to what I can only describe as the birthday basher from hell. I imagine her behavior is probably what a child would look like if one parent favored another sibling over him all the time. She was into everything. She was mad about any little thing. I’m pretty sure she was making it her goal to get in trouble, just to get some sort of recognition. All this was frustrating and even a bit maddening to Ben and I as it was going on. But my heart truly hurt for her when I noticed she had given up and quietly retreated to simply “read” a book on the couch while the rest of the family played with Saylah’s new toys.

To me, it’s “funny” how these parenting things happen so quickly, before you are even able to pinpoint why your child is behaving the way she is. One minute we’re all hyped about presents, the next Audrey’s getting yelled at, the next she’s getting put in time out, the next she’s being corrected again and finally (three minutes later) you are realizing, “Hey wait.? She doesn’t typically act like this  … what IS going on?”  The parenting light bulb goes on and finally you are able to swing into action and try to curtail the impending train wreck that is going full-steam ahead.

And full-steam ahead it went. I did my best to encourage her to interact and changed my tone to help her work through it. But the best thing I did (not bragging, just glad I thought of it) was when I tucked her in. I let her melt down; in private, room door closed, and in my arms.

She wailed and cried. She was sad about the cool toys she didn’t get, wishing she had a big birthday party and wanting to go shopping for presents too. Three days of unrecognized angst needed to be vented. Sometimes we all need to vent don't we? And as parents, it is cool that sometimes we have the head about us to actually be able to listen and tolerate the vent as well.

She cried, we talked, I held her, we hugged and she went to bed with tear-stained cheeks highlighted by a beautiful smile and a sweet little giggle.

In the end, it probably makes little difference the soapbox you stand on about presents and such on birthdays. But I believe it certainly means a lot to take heed regarding how the little hearts in your family endure and accept your stances.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

And the Fun Keeps Coming ...

This is an addendum to the last post.

There is no sadder sight than seeing two parents lying in misery on the floor while a toddler bounces around the house, eating cheerios, playing blocks and watching Cars … all day long.
That’s right, the midnight creeper didn’t strike at midnight, but he struck about 6 a.m. and he struck the parents!

I’m sorry but it’s one thing for the kids to be sick. Your heart goes out to them and you really wish you could do something to make them feel better, you really do. But when the parents are sick … both of them for that matter … well, it’s down right pitiful.

This is one of those things no one tells you when you decide to be a parent. Um, there are NO sick days. That’s right. Oh and even though you feel bad for your little one … well, they aren’t emotionally mature enough to feel sympathy for you. So, you still have to function … at least somewhat.

I woke up on Tuesday and immediately knew I was sick. I stumbled out of bed, hunched over, NOT amused, and went to make sure the girls were up. Thankfully they’re already in the habit of getting up and getting themselves ready for school. And since Isaac was born, they’ve found it a treat whenever I let them make their own breakfast. So, I gave the “go” command and they were off. That gave me minutes to lay back down and feel sorry for myself.

Saying they have no sympathy isn’t entirely fair. Actually, Saylah made Isaac’s breakfast too. And once he was downstairs, and I was again lying on the floor, she put him in his booster seat and buckled him in.

Thankfully I had made lunches the night before, so no need to get myself near to any food – or food smells. Shoeless and still in jammies, I think, I herded the three kids into the car to get Say to her bus.
We returned home and my brain started focusing on how I was going to get Audrey to school and what on earth was I going to do with Isaac all day? If you’ve not been sick with a baby in your house, you are in for a treat should you ever have the experience. They don’t understand, don’t care, and quite frankly they seem on that particular day, like they have more energy than they’ve ever possessed.
Lucky for me I’ve got many options for help. So I set out to call in the reserves.

First on the save-me-list: my husband. Who, when he answers the phone sounds a lot like I feel. Uh oh. He informs me that he thinks he’s sick and contemplating coming home. Okay, strike one.

Second on the save-me-list: Mom. Grandma loves hanging with the kids and I just know her mom-instincts will kick in just as soon as she hears my pitiful plea.  Strike two.

Whereas she did feel bad for me, she had appointments all day. And, well, she even asked if she should come on her normal day (Wednesday) since she didn’t want the creeper either. So much for mom instincts. LOL To give her credit she IS coming on Thursday. She just wanted to give those creeper germs a day or so to die. Which really I don’t blame her.

Option three: neighbor. I saw her car at her house. If she could just take Isaac for a couple of hours I could sleep and then maybe, just maybe I could survive. Or, I could grab him and put him down for his nap and sleep some more. I. Just. Need. To. Survive. The. Day.

Strike three: it seems the midnight villain attacked her, her 19-month-old and her 3-year-old! Poor thing!

So I had really struck out on the help with Isaac thing.

I did however luck out on the taking Audrey to school thing. One friend offered to take her and another offered to bring her home. So, I could at least enjoy my misery in the comforts of my own house (with my really pretty hair, lovely sweats, and pale face).

Ben got home and we literally both laid on the couch or floor all day long, napping when we could sneak it in, letting Isaac walk around with food (something I NEVER do) and trying to entertain him from a horizontal position.

Our day ended early; we put all kids down by 7:15. I let Saylah read books and play blocks in her bed. Audrey had proven by the nuclear meltdown she decided to have that she needed to go to bed early anyway. And, well, Isaac, he pretty much got the shaft all day long. I hit the sack at 7:17 and slept until 7:05 this morning.
Today Ben and I are back in the game today. My house … well, that’s a different story. Did I mention I hate this time of year? 

Monday, October 1, 2012

'Tis the Season

A nightly invader has been creeping into our home and attacking the tummies of my children. In fact, this sinister monster has invaded the tummies of many of our school-aged friends around town as well.

Although we welcome the cute little monsters that appear in the form of spaghetti faces, muddy paws and even occasionally accept the crank-pot kind that show up after a day of fun and ultimate exhaustion, this little night creeper is not welcomed.

Rewind two weeks ago, time: 2 o’clock in the morning. A little voice comes into my room … “Mom, I threw up.” From a sleepy stupor I mumble in my pillow, “what?” Little voice (Saylah I later realized), “I threw ….” Yack all over my floor. “Shoot.” (Truth be told, the word was a little more forceful, but I’ll refrain out of respect for blogging etiquette.)

I immediately hopped out of bed (did I mention it was TWO a.m.?), realized it was Saylah, and started mom’ing the situation. Poor little thing had been sick several times (I’ll spare you the details) and would continue to be sick until about 4:30 in the morning.

It was so odd because she had no fever at all. In fact, she wasn’t even clammy. But for sure you could tell when the invader would strike because her breathing would quicken and she’d begin to whine. I tried everything to sooth her. I laid down next to her in bed, I gave her a heating pad, we even tried to watch a movie to distract her (btw, Barbie and Princess Charm School – equally annoying at 3 a.m.), and finally little one was able to catch some rest after a warm bath.

Aside from the early stages of pregnancy, I cannot recall a time when I have been as tired as I was the next day. Little miss however, was bouncing off the walls and ready to play. As were the other two who had slept very nicely that night. Like a good (aka desperate) mom would do, I put on a movie (Barbie again) and stuck a bowl of Cheerios in front of them and fell asleep on the couch in the next room.

That was strike one of the midnight creeper. 

Fast-forward to this weekend; exactly 7 days after the first attack. Isaac wakes us up at about 3 a.m. In my new, peach-colored jammies, I stumble into his room. His cry is evident of something wrong, but I’m not quite sure yet what it is. I feel his head, no fever. I check his mouth – yep the bink is still in it. (A typical cause of late night wakings). So I climb into his crib to cuddle him and help him sooth. No sooner do I pull him onto my lap, in the dark dark room than do I hear the telltale sign that my new jammies have been splattered! Again … shoot. ;)

Unlike a six-year-old, there’s no talking a baby into calming down and that being sick will be okay. Isaac was nearly as unhappy with the situation as I was. For several hours Isaac continued to sooth, then be sick, sooth, then be sick. We tried sleeping on the couch, the floor and finally succeeded (well he did) falling asleep while I rocked him. Me? The only parts of me that slept during that time were my arms and legs as I sat contorted in the glider.

The next day, the creeper had disappeared, thank Goodness! And of course, I was exhausted. Three hours and three jammie outfits later (me not Isaac) I can say that I was thankful Ben was home that day because I slept the greater part of it while little man and his sisters played it away (with no tummy woes). 

Note to Mr. Midnight Creeper going around Orlando. You need to go away now. You are not fun. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Sibling Games

I’ve been waiting for years for the kids to begin what I call Sibling Games. You know the ones, if you have a sibling, you did them too.  These are the games where the story is better than the game.

For example, when I was little my older brother and his friend would be playing outside in our backyard and would tell me that they were going to Six Flags. As any 5-year-old would, I engaged. “I want to go too!” So Matt and his friend would say, “Okay, you just gotta keep up!” And off they would run, faster and faster around the house, until they were so fast I couldn’t keep up. And somehow, magically they were transported to Six Flags. And alas, my little slow legs were still stuck in the backyard. … Mean big brothers! ;) (We won’t comment here about gullible little sisters.)

Today I loved watching the girls play in our backyard for a little October mud and water happy hour! To my glee I witnessed two oldies but goodies. Saylah figured out that to gain hose possession all she had to do was bend the hose. Audrey however got the better of her older sister when she told her to pull the hose real hard. Subsequently letting it go resulting in a toosh crash for Saylah. I admit, I laughed out loud.

Proper sibling order was regained when Saylah gained possession and followed Audrey around the backyard drenching her! However, poor Isaac got the brunt of it all. Every time little man wanted to go near anywhere they didn’t want him … or perhaps just close enough in firing range … he got hosed!

Call me crazy, but I’m a little excited for this next phase of sibling standings and antics. I just can’t wait until they take each other snipe hunting. What? You’ve not gone? Come on by … I’ll take ya!

What Sibling Games did you play? Or were played on you? 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Ahoy Matey!

If you missed it, last Wednesday was National Speak Like a Pirate Day. Alas, that’s right me matey, if ya missed it, yer gonna have to walk the plank.

Luckily for us, we did not miss it. Thanks to the fun antics and child-like spirit of my mom.

As circumstance would have it, I had to take the kids to school before she arrived at our house that pirate-y morn. So after dropping Audrey and Saylah off at school, Isaac and I walked into my house and were boisterously greeted by the scurvy pirate MOM and her first canine mate, Charlie. Yep, that’s right, Mom was dressed up in pirate hat and eye patch and lucky Charlie, my parent’s 9-year-old beagle, also adorned an eye patch for the occasion.

Needless to say, I laughed my soon-to-be pirate bootie off at the sight.

Shortly after, I headed off to work and the rest of the day was ship shape as normal. That is, until the little scallywags returned from school. As tale would tell, pirate antics were abound the rest of the afternoon. Unlike most pirates, Pirate Grandma is rather generous. Instead of squandering her fortune, she lavished loot on the kids, including pirate patches and hats (of course), a treasure map, treasure (in the form of chocolate coins) and a whistle. I’m still not sure what a pirate does with a whistle but my crew loved theirs!

When I got home from work I found Pirate Punch in my fridge and three little swashbucklers keyed up on sugar, pirate speak and pure fun! The marker board offered lessons in pirate speak and remnants of eaten gold chocolate coins were strewn about the deck.

Pirate day was more fun than a peg-legged pirate in a sword fight. And I’m certain my bitty buccaneers scored the biggest treasure of all by having a grandma like my mom!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Everyone Gets a Tent

We’ve had a big week at the Fauser house. Saylah finally has loose teeth … I was pretty sure she was going to be in a training bra before that actually happened.

And, I got a whim to move the girls into separate rooms. Actually, it was no whim at all. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks. Call it mother’s intuition or a blatant “duh” but after nights and nights of the girls keeping each other up until nearly 10 p.m., constant bickering, and a room looking like what can only be described as the  aftermath of a tornado – I decided it might be good for the girls to have their own space.

Really all of the tangibles could have been addressed and corrected if Ben and I had decided to actually not plop ourselves down in pure exhaustion every night after throwing them in bed, and instead taken the time to monitor what they were doing when they were supposed to be sleeping. But, odds had it that we were not going to muster the energy to tackle that mountain. Moving a desk down the stairs by myself and rearranging bedrooms seemed a much easier option.

The key factor in my decision was actually the notion that Saylah’s little spirit was in need of her own space and time for her thoughts. Say is one to enjoy her own time. When she had outgrown naps, but before I was ready to give them up, I used to put her in her room for quiet time. For TWO hours that child would play contently on her bed, coloring, reading and singing to her heart’s content.
Two years later, she still needs that type of time for herself. And there is no way I’m going to convince my big first grader that quiet time /alone time is anything different than her younger siblings’ nap time.
So the move had to be made.

WOW! I am soooo thrilled with the results.

A. Each girl used to get out of bed at least two or three times every evening before the move. Now, we don’t see either one until morning. Wa hoo!

B.  Each girl had been telling me that they weren’t sleeping and that the other one was waking them up early or keeping them up late. Now both girls are telling me how they love their own room and that they are sleeping all night long. (Audrey even re-enacted it for me by showing me how she kept her eyes closed all night … apparently before that she claims she slept with her eyes open … wonder if she was worried what Saylah was going do?!?!)

C. I’ve been looking for time each day where I could have one on one moments with all three kids. I FINALLY FOUND IT! Tuck in time starts at 7:15 with Isaac, about 7:30 with Audrey, and then 7:45ish with Say. All kids are in bed by 8, which is nice, but even more so I’m having a little bit of alone time with each of my babies. Isaac I rock and sing lullabies to, Audrey wants her back scratched while I tell her a story, and Saylah wants to chatter my ears off. Which I adore!

The girls are loving their own space and I am loving this precious bonding time! Last night I knew we had a winning situation when I went in to Say’s room to check on her before I went to bed.

She’d made a makeshift tent with her top sheet by attaching it to the bedpost with a  ponytail holder and a couple of her stuffed friends were in there camping. Then she’d used three pillows to concoct a shelter for her Care Bears and her last couple of baby dolls were set up in yet another tent created by her yellow blankie. Saylah? Well she was sleeping outside of the tents in the middle of the bed … I suppose she was protecting them during their camp out. =) 

Even though she’s got a big girl’s room, I’m thrilled that she’s not that big of a girl just yet. ;) 

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Little Friday Gender Contemplation

Since we found out we were expecting a boy, my dad has loved to tell me that this boy is going to rock our world. He has this impression that with the girls it was calm and serene. And the introduction of Isaac in the mix would really shake things up. Well, it was sweet that he thought we were "calm" when we only had the two, but well, serene simply has never been us.

But, he is right about the distinct differences between the genders.

For starters, I went away this weekend and came home to discover that my sweet little BABY boy turned into just BOY. A boy who likes to stomp, and say "BAM!," and who has started standing on the stage and free-falling to the couch. I have noticed, maybe because he's a boy or because he's my third, I'm perfectly okay about the couch free fall thing and have little worry that he'll hurt himself.

But this little video is one of my favorite noticeable differences between the genders. Watch him as he discovers the light aisles at Lowe's. He's like a kid in the candy store ... or the girls in Build-a-Bear. =)


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Drive Time Drill Sergeant

Most weeks if I’ve reached the peak of my frustration I’ve found myself telling my friends how sick I am of being “freaking Mary Poppins!” My neighbor even personified me as such one day as she commented on how I deliver discipline, explanations and direction to my kids.

Although I am FAR from Mary Poppins with my kids, I know I do take great pains to try to be fair, explain things well, and ATTEMPT to be considerate of my kids’ feelings when I tell them something.
However, that game is completely thrown out the door, into the rain, and ran over by the garbage truck when it comes to getting them ready for school each morning.

As we enter our first full week of all three kids at school, Girl Scouts starting and dance lessons beginning, precise measures have to be taken to keep all kids, schedules, lunches, homework, binder signing and such in order.

We had delayed “gratification” in the school routine establishment this year. Week one, we had only Saylah to get ready before the bus arrived. Week two, Audrey was thrown into the mix with VPK, but at least I drive her to school. This week, Isaac started Mom’s Morning Out on Mondays. And, boy was Monday a “treat” for all involved. =) 

I do start our days somewhat Ms. Poppins-ish. Thankful (for the first time actually) for those energy saver lights Ben put up in the rooms because they take a little to warm to full glow, I pop on the girls’ light with a gentle good morning ladies, time to get out of bed greeting. Audrey grumbles and reaches out her arms for a little a.m. snuggle. Saylah groans and turns over, pulling her soft blankie over her head. I partake in the slumber moment and then kindly walk out of the room reminding the girls, “time to get up and get dressed, you’ve got school today.”

And that is the last we see of the M.PoppinsMom. In to her room goes sweet, loving mom to get dressed and five minutes later (hair not done, makeup not on, of course) out pops Drill Sergeant Mommy from Hell.

I realize they are only 4 and 6, but if I can put on clothes in five minutes, they should at least have on half their clothes by the time I head downstairs. But, as I glance across the hall and at best see a naked toosh (most likely arguing with her sister over Goodness-knows-what) I am inspired to pull out of my carpet baggers tool bag the toosh-swat threat. “Get dressed girls, before I have to come in there and swat those tooshes.” This seems to get them into at least a forward moving motion.

I then go downstairs and quickly make something easy for breakfast. For good measure I throw in a banana. Three minutes later I’m hollering up the stairs, “Breakfast! Get a move on!”

At this point one of them (never both) will saunter … yes saunter, there is no sense of urgency … yet, down the stairs. Whichever child it is will want to tell me something about something. At which point Mrs. I-Really-Don’t-Care-I’ve-Not-Had-My-Coffee-Yet arrives in my body and replies, “Are you ready for school?” Blank stare. “No? Okay then, let’s stop talking and finish getting ready ... … please.”  Child follows directions and proceeds to chair. Second, missing in action child, is now barked at: “GET DOWN HERE NOW! Hurry up, we are going to be late.” (Okay we aren’t quite late yet, and I’m certain they really don’t know what that means, but the barking does have the needed effect.) Second child, scrambles down stairs. Then she too will start to chatter on about something. Feeling slightly bad about barking at her and ignoring the first child’s story I try a nicer approach (see Mary’s in there somewhere), “Honey, I would love to hear what you have to say, but let’s wait until you are all done with getting ready for school and if we have time you can tell me then. Cool? “ Happier to see a glimpse of her normal mommy, this child smiles and agrees. I then direct her to sit for breakfast.

Now, here’s the thing: My kids are known as slow eaters among our friends. I know I could curtail this to some extent, but at the end of the day, there are other battles to be fought. At least that is my feeling for any other meal except for the one preceding the departure for the school bus. And whereas I wish we could skip breakfast all together, I am aware of the literature claiming it’s significant importance. ;)
Every time, a couple of bites will be had before one tries to tell me something else or debate something with her sibling. Then whamo! Drill Sergeant Mom lurches into full force. “No more talking! Finish your food. Then you can talk. No talking, at all.”

Seriously, even I think I’m nuts at this point. But there is no other route that yields a successful departure time. So my poor little kiddos eat in silence (seemingly content at least.) and half of me feels a little like a heel and the other half, I will confess enjoys the morning silence (As if this needs to be said: I am not a morning person).

After breakfast we’re down to just minutes. By this time I’ve drug Isaac out of bed, put a sippy cup of milk and his breakfast in front of him while I tend to signing binders, finishing lunches, warming up coffee for the first time of what will be at least five times and locating shoes.

The last minute or two is reserved for giving orders such as: “Run. Run. Go brush your teeth. Fast, but do them well! (ha) That’s not running. I mean it run, we are going to be late! I am not missing the bus. Tomorrow we are getting up earlier tomorrow. (ha again)”

My very last shred of decency is used to brush hair. As gently and quickly as I can I throw their hair into some sort of  “style” (term used loosely), much to my chagrin, as my girls used to be the two who always had cute hair, neatly tucked and accented with a cute bow.  Now we’re more like bobby pins and maybe a matching ponytail holder. Maybe.

We run out the door, backpacks in their hands, baby in mine, and pile into the car. As I back the car down the drive, a cool sense of relief has washed over us and we decompress from our 45 minutes of chaos before we have to part ways for the day.

Thankfully this is the primary time this nuttiness happens in my household, and I’m glad my kids seem pretty strong in spirit and overall happy. Each day I think I’ll get them up earlier, so that I can put the drill sergeant out to pasture, but as of yet, we’ve not managed that feat. Perhaps, tomorrow. ;) 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Little Bit of a Texting SoapBox Post (but please read)

We all know it is a bad idea to text while driving. And let’s admit it … most of us do it still. Perhaps we do a quick glance at the screen, or type and drive, or text back at the stoplight. But at one point or another I would guess we’ve ALL texted while operating our car. A while back, I am embarrassed to admit that even my 6-year-old was more astute than I when she asked, "Mommy, how can you type on your phone and drive?" THAT was humbling and eye-opening. 

Then, a few months ago a friend of mine convicted me to stop doing it after telling me of a story of a mom texting, looking up to see a car right in front of her and swerving the wrong way, into traffic and killing her toddler. That was enough to remind me to stop the quick looks, quick texts and what not. But it got me thinking. First off I will admit, I am not perfect at my conviction and I am reconvicting myself to become perfect at it … for the safety of anyone in my car.

Second, this is not a guilt you story to get you to stop texting and driving. Other than that story above, I have (thank GOD) no awful texting stories to share. But this is a promise to my friends and a request firstly to all those who drive my kids around and then to anyone else reading.

With the school year in full swing, so too comes carpool mania. We trust our friends to transport our very most precious gifts nearly everywhere around town. I’ve had numerous conversations with friends about how particular we are about letting people drive our children around. We fret over what they might listen to in the car, what other moms allow as conversation topics on the ride home, whether or not they can sit in a booster or a five-point harness. We make sure we know the families well before we allow our kids in their cars.

But, with knowing them well, also comes our knowledge that they too text. In fact, we’ve probably spent lots of time texting back and forth throughout the day, weeks and years of our friendships.
After diving into carpooling with some activities over the summer, and my friend’s story of her friend’s friend … I got to wondering … do my friends text and drive? You know, it’s the one conversation that we really don’t have with our friends. It’s something that most of us would NEVER admit that we do. Worse yet …  Do they text and drive when my kids are riding in their car? And, have I texted and drove while driving their kids?

I mentioned this quandary to another friend and she’s been encouraging me to write this blog for the last couple of months ever since.

Again, we don’t ask this question to our friend, who we trust has good content for our little ears in her car and safe seats. But are our driving practices the safest that they should be? That thought honestly makes me shudder … because I partake in a lot of car pools with those I trust.

Those of us on the “conservative side” I would guess refrain from texting and driving … but probably text while at stoplights. But think about this … if the city of Orlando thinks that it’s a big enough problem to put up signs posting fines for people running stoplights … is it really a good idea to be distracted at those when they turn green?

And as already mentioned … quick glances while driving can lead to bad knee-jerk reactions while the car is in motion.

The best people that I’ve seen practice safe driving with cellular devices honestly has been my teenage Girl Scouts. Who reminded me not to look at my phone, even if I was only driving 10 mph in the campground. Their parents make them put their phones in their purse, in the trunk of the car. Which is brilliant. I probably won’t go that far with my own phone, but I am promising that I will have it not in eyesight while driving so as I don’t see the text pop up and be tempted to glance over and less tempted to reply at a stoplight.

My promise to my friends is that I will not in any way, shape or form, text while driving. And those who see me around town, you can hold me to that. And I ask you to do the same, for the safety of all of our kids. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

In Closing … I’d Like to Thank the Little People

It seems like only yesterday that I wrote about not being the Summertime Super Mom and here we are, only a few short days before the kids go back to school.

As much as I’d like to be Saylah’s cheerleader to encourage her that she wants to go back to school, I get the melancholy and apprehension of starting a new school year. To some extent, my sentiments echo hers. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to the school year routine and hanging up my cape of summer superhero fun maker for the next 9 months. But I’ve kinda grown accustomed to these little creatures roaming my house and I rather like having them around. Well, that is until 7:30 bedtime … then, well, to be frank … I’m done.

All in all, I feel we’ve had an amazing summer and I am totally blessed that I got to spend this fun time with my 6, 4, and 1 year old.

I’ll admit; it started out a little wacky. Ben had a weird work schedule for a bit, then started a new job and has been crazy busy every since. We were supposed to go to Italy but due to said weird work schedule ... that got nixed. My work has taken off (Thank You God), so I’ve been an amazing juggler (if I do say so myself) between working and hanging with the kiddos. As summer progressed, we settled into a groove and have done some pretty fun things.

First, I’d like to brag that I did indeed accomplish my big tasks of having the kids read for 30 minutes every day and we did learn about a new family member every week. I will also admit however, I only got so far as buying the math and science activity books and doing a couple of pages over the summer days. I suppose I’ll have to re-goal that idea for next summer.

Beyond brain enhancement (or at least maintenance), we’ve played games, had a jammie party day with friends, visited with relatives, had a couple of sleepovers, practiced our posh talking during an impromptu tea party, trekked all the way to see Winter the tailless dolphin, indulged in popsicles galore, and enjoyed countless summer camps and water activities. No kid could want for a better summer … and no Mommy either.

Mostly I’ve re-realized how much fun it is to be around my kids. 

It’s not that I thought otherwise, but I do think I wasn’t really focusing on it. My kids inspire me.

In fact, when you stop and look at your kids, I bet they do as well. If you’ve got younger ones like I do, have you ever noticed just how happy they are? Like, I mean, nearly all the time. It’s like a little HappyLand utopia in their world. Sure, they have drama moments; temper fits and boo boos that cause a scene. But as only a kid can do, they cry one moment, pick themselves up, get a kiss from Mom, and are right back to their sun-shiny-state of being. It’s pretty cool.

I’m in awe of their ability to seize the time they have, be IN the moment, and enjoy the heck out of life. I’m sure as the school year begins, contrary to their apprehension, each one of them will make new friends and have even more fun than they did the year prior. I’m excited to watch them as they learn new things, are exposed to new environments, and have more great experiences.

Good luck to everyone as they begin their school year. I’m thinking I will first shed a few sniffles, then I’m going to go home, put Isaac down for a nap, and have myself a cup of coffee in sweet, sweet silence. (Hey, there’s always a silver lining, right?) ;)