Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amazing Girls

I keep putting off posting because I have so much catching up to do, but then there's just more to add, so I've saved a spot before this one for the catch up, and am starting with the present here. Lots to report from the last two months, but I've been working overtime and our social calendar has been full, so there haven't been any free moments for putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

We have the most amazing daughters. I thought the miraculous developments in the first year would be the apex of the wonder since so much happens so fast, but I'm continually surprised by our toddler. I shouldn't be, she's always been so inquisitive and observant and advanced, but I am. The sitter mentioned to me the other day that she's doing 25-30 piece puzzles that 6 year olds do. It is so difficult for me to remember not to expect too much of her because I do often think of her as being closer to 5 instead of almost 3. It's not fair to her; I'm afraid I s
ubconsciously put too much pressure on her. She has started memorizing her stories. It's so cute the parts that she really knows by heart. Lines that I will sometimes skip because the story can go on without them - those are often the ones she recites when she's "reading" to me. Tonight she did something that surprised me. After DH and I each read her a story, she reread them to us, but started at the end with each and made her way back to the beginning. Of course she recognizes the pictures on each page to know which set of text corresponds to them, but it surprised me because I would think it would be more difficult to tell the story in reverse than in the order you always hear it. I wonder if it's easier though because you to remember the most recent events (the last page) best and that helps her to connect to the older events (first pages). Regardless, she did an adorable job telling the stories.

And lest we not forget our baby girl, she is adorable as well. When S was a baby, she would reach up and grab my facial features while she was eating her bottle and trying to settle herself to sleep. And boy did she pinch! I think she started with my lip/mouth, and then as she got bigger and could reach further, she would hold onto my cheeks, then my nose, and finally, my ears. She settled on her own ears for self-soothing. To this day, she still rubs them when she's tired. Baby R's thing is hair. She does care
ss my face sometimes, and grab at the protruding parts occasionally, but if I'm holding her upright and carrying her around, she'll take a tiny fist-full of hair at the nape of my neck. Talk about a controlling place to hold! I can't move without disengaging her first. She has so little hair of her own, just short, fine fuzz all around except for a tuft on her crown with a few dozen hairs that are a couple of inches long. Her short little arms allow her to barely reach them with her fingers, and when she's tired, she pulls on them since their the only ones long enough to do so with. I imagine she'll be a hair-twirler when she's bigger. For now it's very cute; I'm just hopeful she doesn't give herself a bald spot.

We started feeding her solids, though I haven't been very consistent with her. She's not a big fan of cereal, but she does like carrots and cauliflower. I think peas will be next. I need to start making sure she's eating every day. I hop
e that will make her sleep get better. The spring weather is a wonderful change, but the extra daylight is wreaking havoc on the girls' schedules. As S says, "But Mommy, it's not night-night time. The sun is still out." Oy. Room darkening curtains aren't enough. Plus, we've been crazy busy since last Friday, so they haven't been getting to bed on time. My MIL's 60th bday was Friday, so my SIL came into town from Cali, and my FIL took her, us and my other SIL and her two kids to dinner Friday night. We had a sitter and didn't get home til 10pm. Baby R was still awake when we got back. Sigh.

Saturday morning, I took S to get her haircut. She won't let me brush it and she rubs the back of her head from side to side when she's tired and in bed or sitting in her carseat and it gets terrible knots. So I told her we were going to cut it short. She has the cutest angled bob now. Still struggles with letting me brush, but it takes MUCH less time. Anyway, after that, we came home to discover that the baby had only napped for about 30 mintues while we were gone. Not good. S was needing to go to sleep, too, but
it was the first non-rainy day that I'd been home for awhile, so I took them to a park and we had a picnic. It was really hot and muggy though, so we only stayed for about an hour. Then we got back and I tried to put them down for naps, but S was fighting it. She finally went to sleep, but only for a little over an hour. Baby R was about the same. Saturday night my FIL had a surprise party for my MIL, so we had a sitter again. This time at least the girls went to bed a little easier, but it was still a little later.
Sunday was the series finale of "Lost".
I invited a few friends over. I had decorated a little and made "island" cupcakes with "sand" and little umbrellas, as well as had pineapple and other tropical fruit, and made pina coladas. One of my friends and her husband printed out Dharma Initiative Soda and Diet Soda labels for the Dr. Pepper they brought and made Rice Krispie treats with a little bit of orange dye and cut into fish shapes for fish biscuits. We had a great time watching the show - LOVED the first
2 hours - and although the last 30 minutes were a bit anti-climactic, it was still a good finale ov
erall. And talk about a discussion piece! The theories were flying. But I digress... While we were watching the show, DH was putting the girls to bed for me, sweet man that he is. I did go up and say goodnight and snuggle with S a bit, but I left most of it to him. It was about 8pm when she finally went to bed which was a little late anyway. Then around 8:45 she was screaming - turned out she had something in her eye, I thought maybe a splinter. So we tried to flush it, which was of course impossible with a 2 year old. But that resulted in a tantrum and a crying fit which was the best thing for it. Around 9:30 she started screaming again and every time DH went in to ask her what she needed, she said me. He told her I couldn't come up right then and he could help her, but she wasn't having it. He finally gave up and thought she was just being a pill. Unfortunately, she had to go to the bathroom but wouldn't tell him, so she finally ended up peeing all over the bed. So we had to change the sheets and clean her up. So not only did I miss two important chunks of the finale (aack!), it was almost 10pm before the little darling was asleep. Needless to say she was super cranky Monday. And she and her sister have been getting up at 5am or 6am and staying up which is making me tired and cranky.

Tonight we got the girls to bed (I thought) by 7:30ish, so I got ready to go for a run and was just about out the door when baby R started crying. (Side note - I've started running in a 5k group. Well, in theory. I've only gone for about a handful of runs since the middle of April when we started. Between a horrific allergy attack due to running on the day with record-setting tree pollen counts - DUH, working 60 hour weeks, and 5 days of rain in a row, I've been less than successful.) Anyway, I was really looking forward to FINALLY being able to run again, and ended up spending until 8:45pm trying to get Baby R to sleep. Ugh. I did go for a quick 15 min. jog around the block which is better than nothing but not quite what I'd hoped for. So after getting up at 5:30am this morning and vowing to get to bed early tonight, it's now almost 10:30pm, and all I got done after my run was one load of laundry, my most recent photos downloaded and tagged, and the post written. Haven't finished tidying the house, doing the dishes, or doing the work I brought home with me. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Even when you are awakened an hour early....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Catch Up

April was CRAZY busy with work and our schedules, so I need to do a catch up post. Just wanted to tell everyone, that once things settle down after Memorial Day, I'll get that done. For now, wanted to say I found out another post will be featured on Mamapedia - yea!! Til next time...

Friday, May 14, 2010


I have the Hello Kitty song in my head and it's driving me crazy....

S has been wetting the bed about half the time. I'm struggling with deciding if I should put her back in Pull-ups or not. I don't want her to feel she's being punished, and she's so disappointed in herself when she wakes up wet. But I'm also having a tough time keeping up on the laundry. Mom, the further along I get into motherhood, the more I realize you were a SAINT. Don't know how you could handle my bedwetting for so many years without getting completely annoyed at washing sheets every day.

For Mother's Day, we had DH's family over for dinner. S was misbehaving at dinner so I sent her to her room and she had to miss presents and cake, so she was throwing one of her legendary temper tantrums and she hit her head on the door jamb and had a huge goose egg. So I was trying to get her to let me put ice on it and worried she had a concussion. Sigh.

Work has been crazy. I worked 60 hours last week. Physically cannot go one more day with only 4 hours of sleep! My supervisor's mother-in-law passed away, so I was handling his project and while he was gone, a disaster happened every day. The first was an error on my part, but the second day we found out they were moving up the ship date by 3 weeks and could we possibly finish processing the 2000 SKUs we're working on in the new time frame? Mind you, the program was 3 weeks late starting because the buyer didn't finalize anything, and then after we'd done 300 SKUs, she changed the size of the packaging. Ridiculous. I won't go into any more detail, but the whole project has been that way. Can't wait for it to be wrapped up!

The girls are getting so big. R will be 6 months old tomorrow which I can't believe. S is hilarious. I hosted Bunko last night so she's been talking about it for about a week. Last Thursday I went to the ballet so my friend's daughter babysat. She said Sam was talking about going to Bunko all night. Then she took her shirt off and the sitter asked her why and she said, "It's naked Bunko!" Oh my... I have no idea where that came from.


S is a whiz at changing her doll's diapers, but they're dolls. So a few weeks ago I was going to change Baby R, and S asked if she could help. I said sure. I put the clean diaper under Baby R and then turned around to get something - diaper cream maybe? I don't know what. Anyway, in that minute, S took off the wet one, wiped her bottom, and put on the new one - expertly mind you. With a wriggling 5 month old. I was shocked - she's two!

We spent Easter in St. Louis this year. We rented a van which was really nice. It was sort of a trial run because we'd like to buy one this summer. We dyed eggs and went to the park. Sunday before we left, we had an egg hunt. We got back to town just in time for DH's family's egg hunt, too. It was a long day, but lots of fun.

The other day I took S to the sitter's and forgot to bring shoes for her. I had to drop her off and then go buy some at lunch time. Days like those are when I feel like I will never be a good mom.

I've been emailing a sorority sister lately regarding the struggles with the terrible two's. I was always worried I would have kids with my temper. But I honestly thought if I can just be more patient than my dad was (I get it from him) and not lose my cool with my kids, maybe it will skip them. Boy does having kids teach you a lot about nature v. nurture! A lot more is inborn than I thought. S had her first temper tantrum when she was 4 months old. I had not lost my temper with her ever at that age. I had had breakdowns and cried, but never been angry. It took me a minute to realize that she was having a tantrum. When I did, I had to try not to laugh - 4 months old? Seriously? First lesson in her temperament. She's always been stubborn and had a temper. But she's also vivacious and energetic and fun. And that's just her. So I need to focus on helping her deal with her emotions instead of trying to change her and keep her from experiencing them. I'm not very good at dealing with them myself. I'm trying to help her learn to express herself constructively but it feels foreign to me - yelling and stomping is just what I've always done when I was angry. Immature, yes. Thankfully, I don't get that angry very often as an adult. Although, now that I have the kiddos and am sleep deprived, more often than I'd like to admit.

Another concern of hers was cussing. I try really hard not to, but sometimes slip up. S was running around yelling "God bless it! God bless it! God bless it!" at the top of her lungs one day because I say that when I'm upset. I know it could be worse, but that's still not very appropriate.

We also talked about spanking. We were spanked as kids, but never with a belt. I don't think we were spanked in excess, but we also knew that was the punishment and it was never in anger. I always knew my parents loved me. That's been hard because whenever I punish Sam (time out, spanking, whatever), later I always tell her I love her, and I don't like to punish her but she needs to learn to behave. Now when I tell her I love her, she says "No you don't." Ouch.

I think I feel I would be more patient with Sam if I was home in theory but reality is I would probably reach my limit with her sooner than later. :) I think if you work, you feel guilty for not being home with them. But even when I was home on maternity leave, I felt guilty that I wasn't doing enough with her because I was busy with Baby R. And I felt guilty that Baby R's not getting as much attention as S did. I've decided part of being a mom is just feeling guilty no matter what your situation. :)

She had a battle of wills with her DD over getting out of the bathtub. We had a similar event about a year ago. S spilled her Cheerios on the floor on purpose. I told her she needed to clean them up. She didn't want to. We were going to go to the park or something. I told her we couldn't go until she picked up the cereal. She still wouldn't do it. I put her in time out - 3 times. It took about an hour for her to clean them up. I felt like I was being really mean and unreasonable, but she was being stubborn. I struggle because someone once told me that with strong-willed kids you have to break them early so you don't spend the rest of their lives struggling with them, but I don't want to break her - that fortitude can be a good asset when she's older. I just need to figure out a way to channel it while also getting her to mind me. Sigh....

I read something the other day that says when kids are at difficult stages, instead of making it an issue, assume they'll comply. That way if you don't offer a choice, it doesn't give them a chance to reject it. Like instead of saying, do you want to wear the red shirt or the green one, and have them say no, I don't want to wear a shirt, hand them a shirt and say, after you get dressed we'll eat breakfast. I think that helps a little, too, but some days are just tough no matter what you try.

Saturday S was having a really rough day. She was cranky all day. At nap time I told her it was time to go take a nap and she said no, she didn't want to. So I told her she could walk up the stairs or I would carry her (choices again!). I went to pick her up, and she started to have a tantrum and struggled and wiggled away. I hate when we have to "win" because we're bigger. It's so unfair. But I finally got her picked up and we were at the top of the stairs and she was still screaming and crying, and I said something to her, and she said NO! and slapped both my cheeks with her hands. I WAS PISSED. Luckily we were at her door and I said, "NO, we do NOT hit Mama" and put her on her bed and walked out. I was going to spank her but that was really not a time to be hypocritical. She screamed bloody murder for about 15 minutes, and I finally went in and calmly told her that it was not ok to hit me and she needed to apologize. She wanted me to lie down and snuggle with her. I told her I would love to but she needed to say she was sorry first. She wouldn't do it. So I left again. Fifteen more minutes of screaming and I went back and we had the same conversation. It was killing her, I knew she felt awful, but she just was too stubborn to say it. So I let her off the hook by asking her if she was sorry she hit me, and she said yes. Ugh, terrible day.

I feel badly saying all that about her because 99% of the time, she's the best kid.

Poor DH doesn't know what to do with S. I was the one with the temper as a kid. He was a troublemaker, but I was a redheaded monster. Her "terrible twos" started at about 18mos and are still in full-force. Now that she's older and bigger, she screams so loud it literally hurts my ears, kicks and writhes and thrashes. She inevitably hits her head on the floor, arm or leg on the wall, etc. and hurts herself then gets even more mad at me. I tell her I love her, and she says, "No, you don't!" Ugh. Initially, time out didn't bother her either, or it made her so mad she had a worse tantrum, and would refuse to stay in her spot, so I'd have to start it over again and again. Then when her time out was over, and I told her she could move out of her spot, she wanted to stay there. It was definitely a control thing. I'll be honest, I have no moral issue with spanking. I think it depends on each kid's personality. I know there are those who disagree with me, and maybe if I was able to stay home with her, I would be more patient, but I've had lots of people comment that I am really patient with her, so I feel like I'm giving her a long leash. I avoid doing it except as a last resort, but sometimes I've exhausted all my Love and Logic options and have gotten nowhere and need an instant result. For example, when she refuses to get in her car seat when we have to leave to get me to work on time, and I can't just say, fine, we'll just sit here until you decide to cooperate, you'll get bored before me, which I've also used as a tactic successfully, although it took almost an hour.

Everything is a control issue with her right now. Teeth brushing is a nightmare for us, too. We try everything - she gets to brush first, then we do. We give her a million choices to let her feel in control - Mommy or Daddy? In the bathroom or in bed? Before going potty or after? Doesn't matter. The last few days she wanted me to hold her while Daddy brushed her teeth, so that gave us a little leverage. If she didn't hold still/open wider/stop biting the toothbrush, I'd put her down. But now she's over it and back to refusing to cooperate. The thing is, you can let them just not brush once or twice, but not all the time. And DH and I both have terrible teeth and had lots of cavities as kids so we are super diligent about it now, and we are trying to spare her that pain. She doesn't understand that a cavity is a terrible consequence (even though she watched the episode of Sid the Science Kid about it, too.) And even though she likes brushing, she knows we want her to do it, so it's an opportunity to push our buttons. So like last night, DH was at bowling, so I was on my own, and I let her take her time (I think sometimes she balks because she feels rushed), but it wasn't happening. I put her in time out, I took away her story privileges, I reminded her about cavities, I offered her rewards, I spanked her, then, cruel mother that I am, I took advantage of her opened mouth that was screaming to brush her teeth. In the meantime, I was trying to minimize the noise so we didn't wake up Baby R. So exhuasting...

Bedtime is the worst battle for us. It took me an hour and a half to get her ready for bed last night. The teethbrushing was 30 minutes of it. Most of the rest was her stalling. Potty training just makes it worse. You have to let them go in case they really need to, even though you're 99% sure they're just saying they need to so they can get out of bed. So even though I tell her she has to go during our bedtime routine, 5 minutes after she's in bed she says she has to go. I tell her she just went, and she's fine. She insists she has to go, so I let her go. Every once in awhile, she goes a fair amount, but most of the time it's one or two drops, and then she says, see, I had to go. Aaack!

The end of April is DH's birthday. This year it was a Friday, so he took the day off work (well-deserved), and went golfing. That night my best friend from college and her family were in town, so they came over for dinner. It was fun seeing them. What a wonderful husband I have to be willing to entertain my friends on his bday.
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