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.