Sunday, August 28, 2016

Oh what a summer!

I had so looked forward to this summer! I had so many visions of our days.
I'm pleased to say that we lived out quite a few of those visions and many days were spent in the sun and sand, in parks and in water, with friends and just by ourselves. We snacked, we lunched, we played, we applied and reapplied sunscreen. I requested they wear hats, they complied occasionally.
We were back home mid day every day for Cierra's nap, tv watching and lunch, which meant we had 2 potential outings every day, one 9-11, the other 2-4. I tied the practical neccesities into those outings, like groceries or other shopping.
I'm a bit surprised at how little we were at beckwith park, it's so close I figured we'd live there this summer. But I wanted to avoid the crowds there from 10 am till 3 so we spent more time exploring other parks and beaver lake and more time in our own yard, playing in the sprinkler, with the hose making 'cake' with garden dirt and other yard ingredients, having snack picnics on the grass.
We hit up the library every week, the kids enjoyed their 3 camps they attended. they were the perfect age!
It was a great summer and also an exhausting one for me.
Some things didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked. Cierra was so easy to take places until May/June when she decided she was not interested in the stroller, she's a big kid too! So no stroller meant one less thing to lug around, but not having it quadrupled the danger factor with Cierra being mobile and me still having to occasionally have eyes on the big kids. That made outings quite stressful, especially if we were by a lake or in parking lots or by busy roads. Not fun! Also no stroller meant I had to carry our bags and other outing requirements.... Plus keep a hand on Cierra.
Cierra also is pushing her own agenda more and more, wants her own more complex needs attended, and desires to join the big kid play, which leads to friction. But she also still wants to be super physical with me, lots of wrestling fun.... Which, of course!, the twins want in on too!! But they are soo freaking big now they pummel me!
So by the end of July I felt physically dragged down, anxious, burdened, burned out, short tempered, unheard....On the verge. Ya know what I mean? The veeeerge!
At 4 years old and 20 months old, these kids are LOUD, vibrant, demanding, creative, chaotic, absorbed in their own worlds. They do not listen! They follow their own agendas when I have to turn my attention to someone else's needs. And there is ALWAYS someone else needing something!
Why, oh why, do I have to yell to get anyone to do anything? The whining, the fighting, the intense immediacy of every single thing going on in their heads or with their bodies that I MUST know about! or attend to! right now!  for three kids! at the exact same moment!
Lord, have mercy!
It's nearly driven me to drink! It's definitely driven me to chocolate.
Bring on kindergarten!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Heartmelts

Today my heart melted a few times.
Cierra and Sam were in a kind of hug-a-thon which was adorable enough, Cierra holding on and lifting her legs up to try to wrap them around his waist, but then Rachel joined in making a Cierra sandwich hug. Then Sam suggested a family hug. it was super sweet, enough said.
But at bedtime Sam topped himself.
I sing them a little song when I tuck them in a night and my repertoire is growing. When they were tiny it was twinkle twinkle, then it was somewhere over the rainbow, then parts of song bird, then true colours, and now it's the final part of 'the rose'.
When I finished tonight Sam said, "that song makes me feel kind of sad." And I said I could find a happier song to sing him. He said, "no, it just makes me sad because I love you so much. I just love you so much I'm kind of sad about it."
How is that for 4.5 years old?
If only he knew how often I feel like crying because I love him so much.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Sam logic

I'll kick myself if I don't write the one down for posterity.
Sometime last month we finally visited Fort Rodd Hill. We walked around the old buildings and under the bunkers and looked at all the old pictures of the cannons and such.
We walked all the way down to the lighthouse, the kids loved playing with the old lights, Cierra was absolutely tickled to push the buttons and see them light up over and over.
We tried to keep the explanations light but also truthful in explaining what we were seeing and what the buildings and dugouts were for. Since a lot of area is underground, the twins had a lot of questions but very little context for understanding our answers. (Thank you God that we live in a country of peace.) So when our explanations of why the rooms were empty but the pictures showed the old ammunition that was once stored there fell short for them, they asked more questions.
We said they had to remove the ammunition because it wasn't safe, it was dangerous. It was what was used in the big cannons. It was dangerous ammunition, stored below ground to keep people safe.
Well, to 4 year old Sam this was beyond his intellectual reach, which was unacceptable to him. He asked again and again, where did the scary magician go?? Why was the scary magician under there??
Because dangerous = scary and ammunition = magician.... Or close enough, they sound practically the same right?
We laughed and tried to explain more but he had a very clear vision, which, no matter how hard we tried, we could not shake. So Fort Rodd Hill will forever be where the scary magician was ... once upon a time.
Maybe that's how fairy tales are born. :)
I love my boy!

Friday, May 6, 2016

A kiss and she is on her way

Yesterday, at17 months, she learned how to do the perfect kiss smack when she kisses our cheeks. We all got a lot of kisses yesterday and today. She is very proud of her new noise/ skill.

Today she put her own shoes on her feet when we were getting ready for school. I wa stunned! She was particularly motivated because yesterday she had to stay home with grandma for the morning, as  Mommy was volunteering in the big kids class. She was NOT impressed with being left behind so I guess today she was going to ensure no one left without her. 

This morning she said perfectly "cheese" in the teensiest little voice:  Chiss.

She is so freaking cute!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

sisterly love

Rachel and Cierra already have a slightly tense dynamic which I can see might be very challenging in the teen years. I'll write more about that someday but suffice it to say hair pulling, biting, screaming, crying and closing herself into her bedroom to get away are all things we see on a regular basis! Like daily! Cierra is always the perpetrator, Rachel the victim (willing????)
Yet Rachel is very quick to worry and act to protect Cierra if ever there is perceived danger like out in the yard or driveway and Rachel wants to help Cierra whenever necessary, like helping her down the front walkway steps.
And no matter how tense things have been on a given day or week when we say our family prayer at dinner time (which happens a few times a week rather than daily but we are working on it) Rachel almost always ends the prayer by adding, "and thank you God for our baby."
I tear up almost every time.

Comprehension, Consideration, Cooperation

Cierra's body language is so obvious I think she could train dogs, let alone her parents and siblings. Who needs to work on words when you can point to something, then yourself and then sit down and wait to be served? Or hand something to someone and pat your head or arm and wait to be adorned with said object.
Of course she does do a lot of babbling and has quite a few clear words and word combinations and many more indistinct but obvious repetitions of our sounds. But her understanding is what surprises me and I remember this with the twins too. They go from not doing anything you say to suddenly cooperating, becoming helpful even!
Example 1: Cierra is grumpy and just wants to nurse and I say 'OK but we have to do the laundry first' and she considers this and then helps be throw all the wet stuff into the drier and is in a better mood after the work too.
Example 2: The twins are taking too long getting their shoes on and still need their coats. Cierra and I have our coats but are waiting to get our shoes on till the space is cleared and I say "guys don't forget your coats!" Cierra helpfully gets each coat and gives it to the appropriate kid. Adorable or what?!?Example 3: we are trying to get out of the house (sense a theme here?) and I say oh I still needs socks! Cierra looks at my feet and walks to the bedroom and emerges with a sock which she puts on top of my foot while making noises like 'here you go you need sock I bring you sock!' I went to the bedroom and sure enough age had gotten it out of my sock drawer even though she isn't tall enough to see into it, she knew what was in there. She failed to close it after she got the sock .... Ah our little imperfections. (I'm kidding!!)
She is growing up way too fast for my liking.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

All by myself...but not really!

I'm so glad that I am able to walk through this life with a partner. My husband is the guy who I depend on to BE there, to pick up what I put down, bolster what needs bolstering, take over and carry on with me or without me through whatever comes our way.
There are definitely days when we would both like to just phone it in and not really 'show up' for the daily routines and responsibilities. But for the most part we are both devoted to being here emotionally, physically, and spiritually for our kids and for each other.
I am blessed!
However, Andrew had two business trips this winter. He was gone for a whole week at the very end of January and gone for 3 days near the end of February. I was nervous before he left the first time.
How to handle 3 small kids on my own every single day? How would I keep up with all the needs 24/7, every whine, every request, every emotional meltdown? When would I shower and how would we get out of the house on time? And would I be totally crazy by the end of the day each day?
I mean come on! By 5:00 most days I'm counting the minutes until he is home and I have another adult to help buffet the energy that two four year olds and one 15 month old can exude.
AND I have to say, it went well. It went better than well, it was totally fine!
There are several factors that made things run smooth:
1. I think the kids were a bit calmer and more considerate of me because they knew I was all they had.
2. I took things slower and had fewer expectations of us all and that lead to a calmer household and daily schedule.
3. I did ask for help: I hired a babysitter for Cierra so I could take just the twins to their soccer game. I accepted the offer of a friend to take all 3 kids so I could go grocery shopping one day. What a glorious 1.5 hours that was! I asked another friend to take care of Cierra while I took the kids to school the first morning.
4. I still had my partner ... although he was quite distant, we were still able to email, Skype with the kids and just generally connect each day, which did wonders for my mood and feelings of support.
I was really proud of all of us for doing so well without Daddy. And I learned things from each trip, the biggest one being that most of my stress and frustration can be limited (if not entirely eliminated?!) by adjusting my expectations.
When Andrew came home from the first trip he was terribly jet lagged and by day #2 I was already back to my usual weekend mode/expectation level of 'hey there are two parents here, we should be able to do X and Y, maybe even Z! And when that was really hard to accomplish, I felt really frustrated with Andrew. So I took a breath and fessed up to my feelings and my thinking and we had a laugh.
Andrew related it back to project management theories: throwing more people at a workload does not necessarily improve the timeline for a project! 9 women cannot give birth to a baby in 1 month! No matter how we wish that were possible. :)
So, in the end, I have a better appreciation for the pressure my expectations place on us as a family, and a much greater confidence in my skills at parenting all three kids by myself and I'm so grateful that that is a rare occurrence.... and I'm never truly alone.

Monday, February 22, 2016

CC's got personality

Oh boy am I sad that I haven't written in so long. Life has been good, so good! Christmas was wonderful. Since then we've had a long series of colds but overall, were still enjoying our life routine.
The twins have made leaps at school, including writing their names, doing their own chores with the help of our new chore chart, and just generally being more fun and funny. Sam still amazes me with his considerate questions. It brings me such joy to hear him ask, 'how was your morning mom?' or ' how was your day dad?' or 'what did you do today?'
Rachel is showing her sensitive side these days more and more, being a very huggy girl and asking, 'what can I help you with Mom?' ....not always at the most opportune times, but it's super sweet in a 4 year old none-the-less.
Cierra is a total joy! She reminds me every day that she is both just like the twins were at her age and she's also all her own girl. She so enjoys doing all she can alongside the twins but she's also learning about her own power.
She regularly steals things from Rachel just to make her mad. Steals things or pulls her hair or pulls on her clothes or trys to sit on her or get in her way because Rachel responds with such indignation, such lovely shrieks and screams of anger, screams for me to help her. Cierra knows Rachel won't push her back or hit her, would never hurt her. Oh the power she wields, the evil little pixie.
Cierra teases me by standing up in the bath. I ask if it's time to get out, "all done?" And she will smile but then sit back fast when I get the towel. And get mad if I make her get out.
She just loves chasing Sam and he loves being chased so they are a match made in heaven at the end of a day.
She hasn't gathered too many more words but doesn't need them either. Her communication is very clear; she gives me something to open for her (usually something she shouldn't have like the band aids or a big kid puzzle or toy) and makes it perfectly clear that she wants it. She hands it firmly to me, sits down on the floor, puts her legs out straight in front of her, looks at the floor, up at me, down at the floor. I'm ready momma! And I can't bear to say no.
Cierra has a deep, abiding love for Sam's shirts..... Yeah I have no idea why! She loves to pull them out of his drawer one by one or a few at a time and distribute them on his floor or make piles around the house. Then she will try to pick up the pile and make new piles. It keeps her very happy and occupied for quite a while. The other day I was asking her why and saying she needed to put them back and she looked at the tshirt I was holding and lifted her little arm up to me, maybe she even touched her sleeve with her other hand. And I caved, I put Sams shirt on over her own and she wore it so proudly for the rest of the day.
Sam is as risk of losing his position as chief laundry helper. Cierra insists on helping put the wet stuff into the dryer. And anytime I'm putting away clean laundry, if she sees an opportunity, she grabs something and I end up finding it in the dryer.
We are still nursing in the morning, at night and before naps. It's a pretty good routine and Cierra is very clear that she isn't ready to give it up. She also has a lot of fun pretending to go to sleep on the bed as soon as she finishes nursing then popping her head up shrieking with a laugh. Then immediately lies down again and closes her eyes, peeks to make sure I'm looking and jumps up again laughing. This will go on for many minutes.
Her little cheeks are getting softer every week and slowly disappearing as she grows but she is still my baby in so many ways and I'm determined to smooch those cheeks every day until she tells me not to. :)