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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mother's Day at the Park

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Before the month of May gets away from me (how can half of 2014 be almost gone already?!), I wanted to write about what we did for Mother's Day this year. When Andrew asked me what I wanted to do/where I wanted to go for Mother's Day I didn't have to think about it, I knew I wanted to take the kids to their favorite park which is about an hour away. If you're ever in the Lakeland, FL area check out Common Ground Park. It is a gorgeous...and clean...inclusive playground where kids of all ages can play side by side. Lily asks to go there at least once a week. Andrew was a little curious as to why I would want to spend Mother's Day at a playground watching the kids run around and play, but I couldn't think of anything better than spending the day that celebrates moms enjoying some time with the little people that bestowed that title upon me.

Little did I know how hot and humid it was going to be that day but we brought a picnic lunch and plenty of water and we survived. We actually did more than survive, we had a ton of fun too! Its really nice this season of life we're in right now. We seem to have settled into a comfortable existence just the four of us. The kids are gaining more independence and its becoming easier to relax around them and let go since one of us isn't chasing a baby or having to sit and watch everyone else have fun. We were able to run around the park, climbing ladders and sliding down slides with them. Its funny because every time we take a day trip some where or go somewhere as a family I think to myself "two years ago I was doing stuff like this at 8 months pregnant and 2 years before that I was too." Since the summer of 2010 I've been pregnant and having a baby every 2 years. So its strange not being pregnant and having a baby this summer. I'm enjoying it while I can. Nothing to read into there. Haha.

So here, in pictures, is what we did for Mother's Day. Not included were a trip to Target (super fun because we don't have one here) and a quick stop at Old Navy to return a vest I had purchased for myself online that turned out to be too big. Exciting stuff.

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^^This is the kids' favorite thing at the park. They call it the pipe slide. I have to admit, its pretty rad.
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After looking through all 357 photos we took that day I realized I need to make it a point to get in front of the camera more often. Especially when its my day.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Back in the Saddle

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I was down for the count the past several days and boy has this house felt it. If you ever have any doubts as to your importance as "just a stay-at-home-mom"...get the flu. Or whatever it is I had (actually I don't recommend getting what I had - now I know why they call it The Runs). O.o So, because I was sick I wasn't able to give the kids the kind of attention they need and they have been showing us how they feel about that. I mean, Andrew was here for about a day and a half and rocked the whole stay-at-home-Dad thing but there's no substitute for good ol' Mom to an almost 2 year old. Or almost 4 year old for that matter. Anyway, the kids have been arguing more often between the two of them and both have been losing their tempers with each other. The endless hours of TV watching while I was bedridden didn't help matters either. I've been on a mission since this morning to reconnect with each of them and help them deal with the stress of basically having Mommy gone for a couple of days.

Its not easy getting back in the parenting saddle when you've had a "break" for a day or two. Except for the trips to the bathroom every 15 minutes and the confusion that accompanies a 2 hour nap in the late afternoon (Is it getting dark outside? Or is the sun coming up and I slept all night?), its kind of like a mini vacation. At home. In bed. By yourself. What I'm trying to say is, even I'm not quite back on my game yet. I've yelled. I've threatened. I'm not proud of myself. But sometimes you have a breakthrough that validates everything you are as a mom...and not just the give-her-a-break-she-just-got-over-being-sick kinda mom...but the kind of mom you dream every day you can be and work hard towards becoming. The type that is just there. No ulterior motives. No agenda. She just...is.

I had the opportunity to be that for Lily this morning. Right before lunch Lily was playing by herself in her room and Reuben kept coming in and turning the lamp on and off. Yeah, he was being annoying on purpose (Lily never had the opportunity to do that to an older sibling...the tragedies of being the oldest child) and she was getting more and more frustrated and eventually yelled at him and pushed him down right in front of me. He started crying and she ran away to her room. I consoled him, helped him feel better and then went to her. I started out with the standard "You know you shouldn't be pushing your brother, I know he was frustrating you, but that doesn't mean you can push him...blah, blah, blah." She didn't care. She wouldn't listen to me. She was angry and justifiably so. I picked her up and put her in my lap. She was having none of that and arched away from me and tried kicking me while yelling "let me go!!!" I held her little struggling body close and told her that I needed to talk to her about what she did and asked how she was feeling. She seized struggling as much and was simply crying when I suddenly had a realization. I got really close and whispered in her ear "Little brothers can be really annoying sometimes can't they? You just want to play in your room and they keep coming in and bothering you. I bet you would love to have your own house. You could have your own room and-" She instantly stopped struggling, her body went into a sort of calmly alert state and she whispered back "I would play in my room and he wouldn't be allowed in...Would you like your own house too Mommy?"

For the next minute we discussed the merits of having our own homes and she snuggled in close and said "I love you."

Sometimes you just need someone to understand your wildest fantasies and how difficult reality can be to bear.

I can't take the credit for this nugget of pure parenting genius. Seriously, go out and buy the book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Or see if your library has it.

Its worth triple its weight in gold.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Conversations With My Daughter: The Anthropomorphising Fruit Edition

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January 21
Lily says she's "swishing" me away with her shirt (meaning she's hitting me with it) and telling me "You're a fly and I'm swishing you dead." I ask her to please stop hitting me because I don't like it. She continues "swishing" me. I get down on her level, look her in the eye and explain that when someone asks you to please stop doing something you respect their wishes and stop. She tells me flies can't talk so she doesn't have to stop. What the...?! What do you say to that?!

January 23
Lily (watching as I trace pants for her paper doll): He'll get a wedgie.

January 25
Lily: Reuben is big enough to flush the potty now! I didn't do it. He was the honors to do it! And he did it.

February 25
Lily (hugging me before bed): I give you all your love you need.

February 27
Lily: I don't like it when flies get smooshed. Then they hafta fly home to their mamas so they can get medicine to feel better.

March 21
Lily (upset because I wouldn't cuddle her when she was supposed to be going to bed): Do you feel bad about that?
Mommy: Yeah.
Lily (sadly but sweetly): I forgive you.

April 24
Lily (matter-of-factly discussing the chicken dish we had for dinner): Its not real chicken. Cause they run. Food doesn't run.

April 26
Lily (speaking to Mommy): I try to do things on my own. I try, try really hard and I do it. Let's find something that you can do.

April 27
Lily (laying Mommy and Daddy's bed): I'm afraid of the dark. I want to sleep in Reuben's room because someone's in there to take care of me. (sobbing) Reuben's my big brother and I love him!

May 1
Lily: But I don't want to go to sleep cause I have strange dreams!
Mommy: Well you could have a good dream.
Lily: No its going to be a bad one.
Mommy: What do you dream about?
Lily: Talking strawberries.
Mommy: Talking strawberries huh?
Lily: Yeah. That's not a good one.

May 4
Lily: Dad I'm going to draw a canvas out of paper.
Dad: Ok.
Lily: Dad, what's a canvas?
Dad: It's a drawing medium.
Lily: I can draw something medium.

May 15
Lily: Hey Mom. Maybe its not a safe idea to put this (ironing board) in the hall.
Mommy: Ok, I'll move it. Thank you for letting me know.
Lily: Yeah, cause we (her and Reuben) play in the hall a lot and we don't want to get a bammed head.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

22 Months

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Weight: 28 lbs. 6 oz.
Wears: 24 mo./2T
{New} Words: puppet (puhpuh), socks (sah), more (mo), sorry (sah-ee), I love you (ah you), outside (ah-sie), What's that? (ah-sah?), excuse me, Lily (yih-yee or wih-wee), sister (suhsuh), mine (nie)
{New} Signs: bath, train, baby, excuse me

Here are some new developments from this past month:

Does a somersault. Or at least a half...sault. :)

Pretends to eat pretend food complete with gobbling "umyumyumyum" sound effects.

Signs all the time now. I've even caught him making up his own signs!

Apologizes and says sorry at every opportunity. Even if its not something he needs to be apologizing for like dropping a toy or tripping over his feet. But on the other hand he apologizes for things like hitting his sister or bumping into people. I think he hears me say it so often for things I don't have to either (working on that but it really is a difficult habit to break isn't it?). So he's learning a great skill even if he is applying it across the board. He'll catch on eventually. One day we were shopping at Publix and I let him walk next to the cart. He stopped to play with a large jar of pickles on the lowest shelf. Before I could intervene he dropped the jar onto the floor. It broke of course. I overreacted a bit and said "Oh no Reuben! No, no." He started crying and saying "I sorry. I sorry." He was so upset and so was I over the way I reacted. I picked him up and snuggled him right there and then he was over it just as quick as it happened and back to tormenting his sister in the cart.

Gives smacking kisses and the most wonderful hugs. I know the hugs aren't anything new but he has the cutest little routine now. When he's about to go somewhere like off on his bike for instance, he'll glance up and see me just watching him. So he gets up off his bike and comes running to me with arms outstretched. I get a tight squeeze and one smacking kiss right on the mouth. Then he waves and gets back on his bike. Sometimes its rinse and repeat. I love it!

Upon waking in the morning, and after Andrew has gone in to get him out of his crib, and after he comes walking and crying into our room and climbs into bed with me, and after he has his morning nursies, he asks for his "choo choos." I must then immediately get up and set up a track for him on the living room floor if one isn't already set up from the previous evening's play. He plays trains until his sister wakes up. Then they watch a little TV together and have breakfast. Its the loveliest little morning ritual actually.

Loves to help clean up. He sings the Clean Up song while we're picking up train tracks and cars. You know "Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere. Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share." It sounds like "Ee up, ee up" and then some other sounds.

He does this thing we call "pinchy fingers" where he well, pinches his thumb and index finger up and down and makes growling noises. He mostly does it when we read the part about the crocodile in his favorite book Tumble Bumble.