Sunday, October 30, 2005

Children + Housework

Children have complicated my life in ways that I had not anticipated in pre-child years. I knew that things would take longer, the house would be messy, I wouldn't be able to get up and go whenever I felt like it, etc, etc. But yesterday I was reflecting on how they can make normal household chores a bit more difficult, and that they are often literally, underfoot.

Doing the Dishes: Last night after dinner, if you had looked in my kitchen window, you would have seen me washing the dishes in a somewhat awkward position. I was about a foot away from the counter, stretched forward to reach the sink and faucet, my legs straddling both of my children who had wedged themselves between me and the cabinets. Why they had chosen this particular moment to sit in that particular spot? No other reason except that I needed to stand there. So in addition to dishpan hands, doing the dishes gives me a strained back!

Vacuuming: Whenever I get out the vacuum cleaner, it is like a siren call to the kids, especially N and Erika, to come from wherever they happen to be happily playing and plant themselves in front of the machine. I have to constantly vacuum around them and find creative ways to move them out of my way (like throw a ball across the room so they chase that instead and then quickly clean the spot they were just standing on before they come back). So what would usually be a quick 10 minute job turns into a 20 minute juggling, dodging, racing act.

Making Meals: I have a small kitchen. By small I mean tiny- 9 square feet of floor space. Sometimes I have to put a child gate up and endure the outraged wails of my toddler rather than share this space with 3 or 4 kids and a dog. Because seriously, I will be making dinner and there will be bodies wherever there is spare space on the floor. I have to work around them, stepping over them, cracking the refrigerator so I can get an arm inside to grab what I need, holding back grabby hands as I open the cupboards to retrieve ingredients. At least once a week it gets to be too much and I call Ed to pick up a pizza or some chinese food on the way home. Thankfully, he is always willing to help me out.

And that is what keeps me sane. Having Ed, another adult to share my burden, to take a child when I need a break, to give me a hand when 2 aren't enough. To give me a kiss and a pizza at the end of a long day.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Finally some Sun!

Finally!! We had some blue sky and sun today. I really think that having rain and clouds makes you appreciate the sun that much more. After a week of sogginess, the kids were glad to go outside and play. Especially N-- everyday he goes to the back door and says hopefully,"Car? Car?", and then when I tell him no, he has a fit of crying. Today I said,"N-- we are going outside to play in your car!" He immediately came over and wiggled in my lap with excitement as I got him ready to go out. The kids had a blast in our garden, and I had a chance to photograph our zinnias. Man, I love these flowers!

Monday, October 10, 2005

You can't judge a book...

Ok, so E has a ballet class every Saturday morning at the Y. While the kids are dancing, the parents wait out in the hallway in folding chairs. I bring a magazine or book, but usually end up chatting with one mother or another. Two weeks ago a new little girl showed up with her parents. My first assessment of them was that they are rednecks. The mom spoke with a southern (as in WV) accent, they looked a little unkept, the dad's hair was long, bushy moustache, etc. Well, this week the mom and an older (16 yr old) sister came with the little girl, and the mom sat next to me. I turned to her and asked the usual question when you see a pregnant woman, "When are you due?" She told me that the baby is due in mid November, but she'll probably be induced early because her other 4 kids were big. So I asked about the other kids' ages, and they were 18 down to her 3 year old daughter. All of this further reinforced my earlier assumptions (large family, young pregnancies), in addition to the fact that she was wearing shoes with holes in the toes, dirty jeans, and an old t-shirt. She then went on to say that her daughter would be 4 this week, and she hoped it would stop raining because she had an outdoor birthday party planned- a woodland fairy theme, and they couldn't go indoors because they were renovating the house. That got my attention, and then I realized how off-base my first impression was when she started to describe the how they have prepared for this party, how her "tree man" got logs for her to make into moss covered stools for the girls, they have tulle tents to hang from the trees, a decorated gazebo, and rented a pony. A pony?!! This woman was not fitting into the image I had created in my mind. She went on to tell me about the work they are doing on their 23 room house (located in a neighborhood with 2-3million dollar houses), and how she homeschools, and is a Christian. I couldn't believe how wrong I had been, how much I had assumed about this woman and what she would be like, based on just her appearance.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

2 Years without Yai

Thursday, 06 October 2005

Today is the 2 year anniversary of when my grandmother, Yai, went home to be with Jesus. When she first died the pain was so sharp I couldn't even think of her without my eyes filling up with tears. She was such a sweet presence in our family, and there have been many moments in the past couple of years that I have thought of her and wished she were still with us. Each holiday, but especially Thanksgiving when we looked forward to her special mashed potatoes, is difficult. I miss her spidery handwriting across the bottom of birthday cards. Seeing the example that she and my grandfather, Dappie, set before us of a very loving, happy and content marriage. How she would shake her head and laugh at a funny story and say, "Oh _____! (insert name here)". The interesting stories she would tell of people she knew, or things she had done. The way she would cup my cheek in her hand when I kissed her in greeting. Her joy in E and how I know she would have loved N and found such pleasure in him as well. Her interest in my life and how I know she loved me. Her hospitality, opening her home to our family through the years for delicious dinners and get-togethers. I miss knowing that she is close by, to visit with or talk to. She was the first person to die that I had a deep attachment to, and love for. I know that she has such beauty and joy right now, but I still grieve our loss. At her funeral reception there was a slide show of her life that my uncle put together. The song that played throughout was "Going Home" by Sara Groves. I must of sat there and watched that show five times through (it was on a continuous loop), weeping each time. I still cry when I hear that song, because it reminds me of her. But I know we do not mourn her without hope. I might have said good-bye to her earthly body, but because of Jesus I can rejoice and have the assurance that I will see her smiling face again.

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

18 months old

N is 18 months old now. Here are his stats:

weight- 22 pounds, 4 ounces (8%)

length- 30 inches (3%)

head- 19 inches (64%)

Ok, so you might think that his head would look unbelievably big on his little body, but actually, it is proportioned correctly, because if you take age out of it, the percentiles for weight and length actually fall in the 50-75%. Which is somewhat comforting-- he might be small for his age, but at least he has normal proportions.

And he is walking (finally), and talking. He can say some form of the following words (although the average bystander wouldn't necessarily understand): Mama, Dada, E, sis, tickle, shoes, hat, please, thank-you, truck, car, ball, cup, push, plane, bye- bye, uh-oh, ow, bath, cracker/cookie.

His favorite activities include being pushed in his red car, going down slides, climbing steps, throwing (we try to encourage soft balls), baths, dancing, singing songs with hand motions- his favorite being "This little light of mine", and climbing on Holly like she is a big black mountain. He finds such joy in these things, smiling, laughing, his whole face lit up with happiness.

His least favorite things are getting out of his car, getting his diaper changed, being told "no", seeing me hold someone else (like Erika or E), and getting his hair washed. His reaction to these things is screaming and crying until he is red in the face and sweating, throwing things, and then a final backward thrust of his head and body if you are holding him, or rolling around on the floor in a tantrum. If I ignore him, he will sometimes pick himself up and go on his way, but usually he follows me around the house, snot, tears, and saliva making their way down his face onto his shirt and the floor, inconsolable until I pick him up.

Despite these fits of rage, I love this age. He is still cuddly, and baby-like, but has a small measure of independence. His features are soft and rounded, his legs, arms and belly are squeezably chubby. He walks with his legs wide apart, a little wobbly still, but with determination. I know that all too soon this will pass, and I will have a preschooler, long and lean, on the run. I will love that preschooler, but for now I want to savor this last little bit of babyhood.

Monday, October 3, 2005

A day in the life of Daisy

So tired. Some days are like this-go, go, go. And I didn't technically "go" anywhere today.

6:30 am -Noah and Ellie wake up. So I'm up too, after a restless night of little sleep. I decide to skip the gym today. Instead I make breakfast, take a shower, and dress the kids.

8:30 am- I take the kids outside and water the flowers. After watering, I tell E I will push her and N in the Little Tikes red and yellow car. So we go, up and down the sidewalk. It is N's new obsession. He loves being pushed in it, and E rides on top (since she is too big to sit inside).

9:00 am - I drag the car and carry N, who is screaming and kicking, up the steps. Steph arrives with Peter and Erika.

9:30 am -I put the babies down for a nap and then do the dishes and vacuum.

10:00 am- Short break, check my email--delete, delete, delete, laugh at Jess' comments on Dina's blog.

10:30 am- N is still awake (Is he trying to drop his morning nap?). Get N up, take E, Peter and N out front. Push the 3 kids up and down the sidewalk in the red car. Carry N up the steps, kicking and screaming to the backyard. Push N in the car while E and Peter play on the swingset.

11:00 am- Wake up Erika, feed her a bottle. Make lunch for the kids, force them to eat it. N refuses and sends it across the dining room. Cries, Cries, Cries (He is really tired, but it is too early for that afternoon nap).

11:30 am- Make my lunch, check the time (Is it still too early to call California?) N is still crying, hanging on me.

12:00 pm - Kids finally playing happily in the other room, I clean up after lunch.

12:30pm - I give up on N, put him in his crib where he happily curls up with his blanket and baby.

1:00pm - Feed Erika her lunch. Call Jess, who is not answering, leave a somewhat confusing message.

1:30pm - Jess calls back and I put Erika and Peter down for naps. E happily watches t.v. while I talk.

2:30pm - Aimee and Allison arrive for a playdate. N wakes up, refreshed and hungry. I feed him a snack, and talk with Aimee while the girls play.

3:00pm - Erika wakes up, Peter wakes up, everyone wants to go outside. We go out and I push N in the car. Then I fix a snack for all the kids.

4:00pm - We go back inside, clean up the toys, and Jim arrives to pick up his kids, Aimee leaves with Allison.

4:30pm - Is it really only 4:30? N is crying again. I decide to put him to bed so I can start dinner in peace. E watches a video.

5:00 pm - I start to make pasta and realize I don't have any sauce. Decide on chili instead.

5:30 pm- Call Ed, find out that he won't be home until 7:00. Get N up (who didn't sleep, but at least wasn't crying around my ankles, and seems to be happier from his little rest) Feed him as I finish up dinner.

5:45 pm - E and I eat, E doesn't like the chili-- too spicy, so I make her a PB&J sandwhich. N eats some sandwhich too.

6:15 pm - N is fussing again, and so I decide to kill some time before bed with a bath.

6:30 pm - While the kids are bathing, I clean the bathroom.

6:45 pm - Get N and E out, dress them for bed, sing songs, and put N to bed.

7:00 pm - Read to E, Ed calls and says he won't be home until 8:00. Put E to bed, clean up kitchen.

7:30 pm.- Check e-mails again. And here I am.

Where did the day go? It seems like it was full of insignificant moments, a blur of activity, a juggling act. Lord help me.