Friday, December 30, 2011

Re-Creating Christmases Past

Christmas isn't really about the presents.  It's about re-creating Christmases past. Helping your children have that feeling of fun and excitement that lasts for a month. Creating traditions and memories. Here are some of ours that just make Christmas magical.
Making cinnamon rolls.  Thank you Mom for teaching us all how to make these and helping these yummy treats become one of our (and our neighbors and extended family members') traditions!

Gingerbread houses.  They may be a little smaller than we grew up making, but it's such a great tradition to load up on sugar and make these treats. Candy on the house, candy in my mouth, candy on the house...We love inviting friends over to make these with us.

Acting out the nativity scene while reading Luke 2. Dad was an angel, and the naked baby was a sheep.  I wanted him to be baby Jesus, but was told by our 6 yr old director and costumer that he would just get into everything.

Is there any better way to describe the exhaustion of Christmas night after a month of excitement?


What a great time of year for making memories!


Friday, December 23, 2011

To my single friends: The selfishness of motherhood

There is a misconception sometimes in my mind and other mothers that when you become a mother, you become instantly selfless.  It is definitely true that having a baby gets rid of some of your selfishness.  You can't worry about only yourself.  There's another little one relying on you and you frequently have to put your baby's needs before yourself.  But. There's still this reserve of selfishness.  I think we frequently save it to unwittingly display on our single or childless friends.

I was thinking about this as I've had the opportunity in the last month or so to spend some time with several of my single and/or childless friends.  The truth is that not all single people are selfish and not all mothers are selfless.  I find that when I'm chatting with some of these friends, they spend a lot more time asking me about my children and life than I spend asking them about their families and lives.  It's tempting to just go on and on about your own children. It can become a very unbalanced conversation/relationship.  Thank you to my single friends with whom I can hang out and not have it be all about my life or children.  You teach me much about the importance of  a 2 sided relationship and true selflessness!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Confidence in motherhoood

I have confidence in motherhood.  I don't remember when I arrived at this point, but I know it wasn't when I had my first baby.  I think that may have been one of the many reasons why I had such a hard time when I had my first child.  My confidence was shattered.  I was humbled.  I was so used to knowing what to do and how to do it, and it was extremely difficult to admit that in many ways I had no idea how to be a mom and take care of my new baby. 

I've probably mentioned this before, but some of the best parenting advice I ever received was from one of my sisters, who had 5 children already when I had my first.  She told me, "Trust your instincts.  You're the mom. You will know what's best for your child."  I had read too many books from "experts" and wanted them to tell me exactly what to do for my child.  I had to come to a point where I realized I could receive inspiration for my specific child, and that maybe my instincts would not agree with what a parenting book told me.

I look at new moms and see their fumbling with their babies and I can relate and also know that I have finally passed that stage. Every parent is different.  And every child is different.  It's wonderful to get to a point where you feel like you know how to care for your child specifically.  Not that there aren't those many moments of "I have no idea how to deal with this child." But there is a confidence that comes in knowing that you love your child and can care for them adequately. Let them bring on all their problems.  I'll do better than my best.  I have confidence in me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

You're my best friend

"You're my best friend, Mom."  "You're my best friend in the whole world, Dad."  Aren't these words you love to hear from one of your children.  Granted, it's from a 2 year old and sometimes her stuffed puppy is her "best friend ever". But still, it warms your heart to hear it.  Maybe I can remind her of this when she's a teenager and Mom and Dad don't seem like her best friends.  Even better, perhaps I can record it and play it in a repeating loop while she's sleeping after she reaches those teenage years.  I'll take it while I can.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I hate homework

I really don't like homework.  Never have.  Never will.  I was one of those kids who did their homework on the bus or in the hall before class (or during class).  It was one of the things I was happiest about when I had finally finished school.  Working full-time, I could come home at night and not have to worry about any homework, papers, projects, etc.

Enter kindergarten for child #1.  Homework begins again.  Granted, it's kindergarten, so it's not an overly large amount of homework.  But still.  It's homework.  Four days a week.  She's in kindergarten, so it's not like I can have her read the assignments herself and do it without any assistance.  And the homework can be fun for her with things like "write down your recipe for pancakes" as an activity for the letter "P". But it's still homework. 17 more years of this. I'm counting down.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Easily amused

My children are easily amused.  I wish you could better hear the sound in this video.  Did you know that if you attempt to inflate your belly button with a bike pump it makes a fart sound? How do they think of these things?
 I love this link http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/01/the-5-best-toys-of-all-time/ that really explains how easily children are entertained. Once again, who needs video games or TV?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Words of the week

The current words of the week in my home are "naked bum" and "chicken hawk".  Use these words around my children and you will invoke instant laughter.  If you can use these words in the same sentence, you will really be their hero.  Who needs video games for entertainment?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Who will I marry?

"When I'm married..." This is a frequent statement at our house by our 5 year old daughter.  Usually it's accompanied by a statement about how when she and her 4 year old brother are married, and what their children will be named.  I've tried several times to explain to her that she can't marry her brother but she doesn't quite understand why.  I've had to just tell her it's because it's against the law.  I've also tried to explain to her that she can't marry her Dad, because he's already married to me. One time I tried to explain this by asking if I could be married to one of my brothers.  She thought that was pretty funny and then stated that she didn't want to marry my brothers either.

We tried to go through a list of who she or her brother could marry.  Apparently the thought of marrying any of her friends was pretty funny.  So, we concluded that she would probably marry someone that she hadn't met yet.  It's important to have these things figured out at the ripe old age of 5.  Gotta start planning that wedding now I guess!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Time to change the diaper?

Oops. Perhaps I should have changed the diaper a little earlier.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

5 minutes of chaos

We have periods of time in our home that are complete chaos and mayhem.  These usually occur right before another event such as dinner, bedtime, getting in the car, etc.  Granted, there's plenty of chaos around our house on a regular basis, but these time periods are like the buildup of a storm where the yelling, noise, fighting, etc. just seem to spiral out of control. 

I've come to mostly expect and accept this.  Knowing that it only lasts 5 minutes or so helps me to keep under control myself.  I can tell myself "You can handle 5 minutes of this.  It will stop." I wish I could attach a video that shows what it looks and sounds like around my house at these times but I'm fairly occupied at those times trying to keep the chaos from turning into a total meltdown.  If you try to call my house or stop by 5 minutes for a meal, you're sure to see it for yourself.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kid Swap

One of the best things I ever did as a mom was to setup a babysitting exchange with a friend.  We started this about 4 years ago, amazingly enough, and we're still doing it.  Every Monday morning, my friend's kids come to my house and play with my kids for an hour.  Every Wednesday morning, my kids go to my friend's house and play with her kids for an hour.  Best. Thing. Ever. 

Thanks to my sister for suggesting this kid swapping idea.  It's amazing how much I can accomplish in one hour with no kids.  I keep a list in my mind of things to do while my kids are gone, such as: go to the post office, run into a store where you only need one item, exchange/return something, go to the OB/GYN, mop the floor, and definitely make client phone calls. 

We have our times where kids are sick so we don't send them over, and when there's a new little one, they stay home until they're old enough to be gone for an hour without being a burden on someone else, but what an amazing blessing in my life.  Our kids have been playing together for so long now, it's like second family (thanks for all the dirty diapers you've changed, Rachel!).  With 4 kids now, it's not so easy to find someplace you can send your kids without feeling like you're completely overwhelming them. 

Things will change this year, as we're using our switching time to volunteer in the kindergarten class for the hour.  Seriously, though, if you do not have a friend that you can set something like this up with, find someone.  It may seem a little more difficult at first when your kids are little and you feel like you're entertaining twins, but the benefits are worth it.  Thanks Rachel for being such a lifesaver!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nap math

This post is to go right along with my sleep deprivation math post.  I decided that one night of bad sleep equals 2 nights of good sleep to make up for it.  I'm wondering why 15 minutes of napping equals a bedtime that occurs one hour later.  You would think if my older toddlers took a 15 minute nap, perhaps they would go to sleep 15 minutes later, but that never seems to happen.  Their energy seems to grow exponentially.  What I'm really wondering, though, is why 15 minutes of napping for me doesn't seem to equal an hour more of energy at bedtime.  Anyone want to figure the math for me there?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Missing my Hubby

My husband has been out of town for 4 days.  Not a long time, in the grand scheme of things, I know.  (Kudos to all you single moms and those with husbands gone for extended periods of time.)  I've come to realize several things as he goes out of town every couple of months.

1 - I can watch movies like "High School Musical" with my kids without making my hubby suffer through them.
2 - We can eat Tuna Salad or Bean Burritos for dinner. (No real meat for a quick main dish, which is good considering there's no one to help corral or entertain the kids while I'm making dinner).
3 - There's no running or biking in the early mornings to exercise.  (I'm pretty sure DCFS would be all over that if I left my little kids home alone for 30 minutes.)
4 - Bedtime always takes longer when there's only 1 parent.
5 - I miss my husband terribly.

I've learned that the days go pretty much the same as always when my husband's out of town.  He's usually at work then anyway.  Even the evenings are not always that different, as he is gone at least one night a week for meetings.  I don't necessarily miss the extra help or break; I just miss him.  I miss his companionship after the kids are all asleep in bed and I have an hour or two to myself.  I can certainly be productive during that time, but it sure isn't as fun. When he gets back late tonight, I'll have to refrain from singing "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home."  It's a great reminder to me of how much I love my husband and enjoy spending time with him.

Friday, September 2, 2011

First impressions of kindergarten

First impressions of the first week of kindergarten:
1 - Sending my child off the first day was not traumatic like I expected it to be.  The 2nd day, though, it was a little weird to send my husband off to work in the morning and have my 5 year old leave with him.
2 - My child didn't seem to be traumatized at all by going to school. Actually, I expected her to be quite chatty about it all, but she was pretty nonchalant about the whole thing when I picked her up her first day.
3 - Walking with my other kids to pick up my kindergartener from school, though it sounds like a fun family activity, is overrated.  It's hot and it takes a looong time for us to walk home, even if we hadn't stopped to chat with friends.
4 - My 3 year old did okay with his big sister/playmate being gone in the morning; he actually played with his younger sister. A nice thing about having kids close in age, is there's always another one to play with.

As my kindergartener put it (after 3 days of school), "It seems like I just started kindergarten yesterday". But, we've made it through the first week.  I think I'm going to be able to handle it. My child is happy and making friends.  Now, if I can remember to go pick her up in the middle of the morning, we'll be just fine.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Post-toddlerhood depression

My baby is starting school in a few days.  Okay, so she's five and my oldest, so not really a baby. But when did she really get to be old enough to be in school and not be a toddler anymore? [Insert here songs from Fiddler on the Roof and Saturday's Warrior for effect.] Maybe it's because I have 3 even younger children that aren't old enough for school yet that I find it hard to believe one is. 

She may be excited and ready to start school but I'm not.  I fear change.  Not really, but I definitely enjoy the flexibility of my schedule the past 8 years or so.  It's one of the many reasons I'm self-employed.  I decide when and where I want to go anywhere.  School will change that.  Whether or not I want to, every day I will need to take my daughter to kindergarten at 8 am and pick her up at 10:45 am.  Every day.  In fact, I almost felt guilty telling my daughter that yes, she will go to school still when it's winter, and every day until it's May.  I wanted to warn her that she would also have to go to school every day for another 12-16 years after that.

I like having toddlers.  I guess that's my parenting specialty.  Doesn't every parent have a stage they really enjoy? For some it's the new little babies, for others it's teenagers.  For me, it's toddlers.  Maybe it's because I haven't had any older than that yet.  Some of it is because of the control.  I control my children's schedule, I control what friends they play with, what they learn, what they watch, what they hear, what language they use.  School starts, and I know I will lose a lot of that control.  I'm sending my child away to be with other people for several hours every day. 

I loved school and I have no doubt my child will enjoy it as well.  I also love my daughter, though, and I guess most of all I'll just miss her.  I have no doubt how I'll handle her leaving for college.  Thank goodness I've got another 13 years to prepare for that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Family night chaos

Every Monday night our family has Family Home Evening. I completely understand how important it is for our family to develop this tradition of putting other things aside and spending time together as a family.  And about every other week I wonder how effective it really is and whether it's worth it.  Here's a sample of how it went at our house this evening.

By the time we finally finished dinner & treats (we have those before we start), there were about 20 minutes until bedtime.  We all sat down on the couches together, except for the baby who was on the floor making noise.  The 2 year old had been having a fit, so the only thing that made her happy was if we gave her the little American flag to hold that has been perched on top of the bookshelf since July.  This, of course, required that the 3 year old and 5 year old have their flags also. The 3 year old was in charge of music, so we sang Popcorn Popping, with flags waving.  Our 5 year old gave an opening prayer. 

Our 5 year old was supposed to be in charge of sharing a family history story.  She decided she wanted to just talk about families.  It went something like this: "Families should have family home evening.  Some families have gardens with lots of flowers.  Some families have dogs.  [I'm going to talk about the year]. Some families go sledding together."  While this was going on, I was in between 2 children waving flags, trying desperately not to be poked in the head.  Dad gave a lesson then on Jacob & his sons (Joseph, etc.), talking about how we should be nice to others even if they are not nice to us. (A timely lesson considering the amount of fighting going on in our house lately). The older 2 children are listening and giving examples of people doing mean things, while the 2 year old wanders and I have to pick up the baby who is yelling, so that he can be fed.  This lesson was repeatedly interrupted with me saying "No fencing with the flags". This was followed by a closing song of "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission" and a closing prayer and a 10 minute game of Hide and Seek.  Topped off, of course, with some fighting and whining as we head upstairs for bedtime.

I understand that really the consistency is what is key and is what our children will remember, more than whatever is taught in a lesson.  But, wow, sometimes it's easy to see why so many families don't take the time to spend time in a confined space together on a weekly basis.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sleep deprivation math

We went camping last weekend, and so of course my children were awake until about 11 pm.  This is long past their normal bedtime of 7 pm (where most of them are asleep by 8 pm).  You would think that after coming home and having one good night's rest, that somehow this would equal out and they would be back to normal.  I've found that it almost always takes 2 good nights of sleep, though, to make up for every 1 late night.  And it's not just my children.  I think I have this same problem.  I'm never as tired the morning after a late night as I am the following day, as if there's a one day lag.

I started calculating what this means for catching up for sleep in my lifetime, if I have to have 2 good nights' sleep to make up for every 1 bad night of sleep.  I pretty sure I went through 4 years of high school and 5 years of college without many good nights' sleep.  So, 9 years x 2 to make up for it, would mean I would need 18 years of good sleep.  Maybe the first 13 years of my life I slept pretty good, so that gets me pretty close.  Then we get to starting to raise a family.  We can rule out about 6 months of each pregnancy x 4 children, so there's another 2 years.  Oh, and then there's the first 3 months of having a new child when you're up in the middle of the night regularly, x 4, so there's another 1 year.  That's 3 years, so I'll need another 6 years to make up for that.  I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen until all my children are older and done with night terrors, bad dreams, etc.  Oh, but wait, then there's are those teenage years when I'm up worrying about my children or waiting for them to come home at night. 

I've decided I should probably stop calculating it all and just go to sleep.  Apparently I need all the good nights' sleep I can get.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My future dentist

I think my child wants to be a dentist aka Steve Martin style. She has pulled out 4 of her teeth in the past month, and I mean pulled out.  She hasn't just "lost" her teeth.  Her friend who is 3 days older than her was showing her one day how he was missing his 2 front bottom teeth.  By the next day, my 5 year old said her bottom tooth was loose, and she started wiggling it around.  Three days later, at 9pm, when she was supposed to be asleep, she came running downstairs to the kitchen saying "Mom, Dad, I've got great news! My tooth came out!" She was so excited to show us her tooth, and the blood on her face and hands didn't seem to concern her at all.  Less than a week later, she once again after bedtime came running downstairs to show another tooth out.

At this point, we started emphasizing to her that her teeth would come out when they were ready and there was no need to wiggle and wiggle them to make them loose.  About a week later, she apologetically came down at night with a bloody washcloth in hand to say her mouth was bleeding.  She was "cutting" a new tooth like a baby does, and it was bleeding.  I told her to just pat it with the washcloth and go to sleep.  About 5 minutes later, she came down and apologized that the 3rd bottom tooth had come out (with quite long roots, I would add).

I'm thinking of naming her Toothless the Night Fury.  There are 2 bottom teeth coming in now, so apparently those 2 really were ready to come out.  Today (a month after the first tooth), a 4th tooth has come out.  This one she has been playing with for several days, and today I just told her to pull it out.  She was quite excited to do so, and wanted to hold the tooth all evening and play with it.  We nixed that idea. 

As dramatic a child as she is, I assumed the blood would freak her out.  Or, that she would be squeamish like I always was as a child and not want to pull a tooth out, even when it was barely hanging on.  Not so.  Perhaps I should start training her for dental school right now.

 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Norrises on parade

My family outings have turned into parades.  Apparently with 4 kids, you instantly become the subject of comments like "Are they all yours?" "How old are all of them?" "Where do you think they got that red hair?"

I wish I could capture in photo what it looks like as we walk from our car to the grocery store, across the parking lot.  Unfortunately, my hands are too full to do so.  I'll try to describe it for you. The baby's not big enough to even sit up, so he still has to be carried in his car seat.  So, I have to lug the car seat into the store to get a cart.  The 2 year old is a little too wild to wander through the parking lot by herself, so her 5 year old sister and 3 year old brother have been assigned the job to hold her hands and keep her safe.  So, the parade begins through the parking lot with the 5 year old in front, leading the 2 year old by the hand, followed by the 3 year old holding her other hand, Sometimes they want to hold my hand as well, so that we have a parade of 5 going through the parking lot.  It almost looks more like a game of Red Rover. 

Who needs to go to crowded, hot parades during the summer when you can just watch the Norris family wander through parking lots.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Forgetfulness

I always thought being pregnant made you forgetful.  I think having 4 children has the same effect, even if you're not pregnant.  I can't even really blame it on sleep deprivation, as my baby sleeps from 8:15 pm until 5:30-6:30am. 

Someone looked at my baby the other day and asked me "What's your little boy's name?" My automatic reaction was "David".  Then I thought a second and said, "Wait. No it's not.  His name's John".  Besides not being used to telling people my baby's name, he's my "baby", not my "little boy".  My "little boy" is 3 years old.

I also now find myself counting children when I'm out and about.  I'm pretty sure it's just a matter of time before I leave one of them somewhere.  We've started having a roll call when we get in the car, to make sure they're all there.

So, if you ask me a question sometime and I just give you a blank stare, know that I've just forgotten whatever the answer is, or even that you just asked me a question.  Catch up with me in another 20 years or so, and I may start remembering things then.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Family traditions

I love having my very own family traditions.  I have plenty of family traditions that I've inherited from my family or that my husband has inherited from his family, but there's something special about family traditions that we've created ourselves. 

We went to the Orem Summerfest carnival one year out of curiosity and had fun.  The next year we decided we should try again.  Pretty soon it became something our children expected and looked forward to every year, asking when it was going to happen again. 

I think it helps in defining our families as we develop traditions that our truly and uniquely our own.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Laundry fun

I'm pretty sure no one has as much fun doing laundry as my kids.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How'd we get here?

This morning at breakfast I had one of those moments where you just look around you and think "How'd we get here?" I was sitting at my kitchen table eating a pancake breakfast.  My husband was seated across from me.  My 5 year old daughter was also across from me dipping her pancakes generously in syrup as it strung from her plate to her mouth.  My 3 year old son was next to me gobbling his pancakes down like he hadn't eaten for days.  My 2 year old daughter was under the table, incredibly sticky, saying "teeter totter, teeter totter" as she tried to balance on the table legs.  My 2 month old baby was sitting behind me on the counter in a bouncy chair crying because he wasn't being held while we were all sitting at the table eating.  The noise level was amazing, especially for 8:30 am. 

I looked around me and thought, "Wow.  How'd we get here?"  Seven years ago I would have been sitting at this same table by myself quietly reading the newspaper as I ate my Cheerios for breakfast.  Now, here I was sitting there with a husband and 4 children.  I assure you I know the mechanics of how I got to that point.  It was just one of those moments where you realize how blessed you are and how quickly time passes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Emergency plan = sleepovers?

We were having a family home evening lesson this week about emergency preparedness.  We talked to the kids about being prepared for emergencies what to do in case of a fire, earthquake, tornado, etc.  We made sure they knew they could find a police officer if they were lost and practiced telling their name, phone number, parents name, and street address.  We asked them what we could do if there was a problem at our home, where we could go nearby that was safe, and they suggested we go to our friends' house that is just behind ours.  Our 5 year old then said rather excitedly, "If you and Dad both died, we could go over to their house and have lots of sleepovers!"

Um, yeah.  I guess we succeeded in not making our lesson too scary.  Hopefully we prepared them a little bit still. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chanting in Unison

What is it about chanting in unison that is so appealing and enjoyable to little kids? One child will start a comment, and the other child will join in, as they repeat the phrase over and over again.  This week's phrase seems to be "Go awaay, dude!" chanted as only a 3 year old and 5 year old can do.  I guess it's an improvement over "Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat. If you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear".  This one is still frequently chanted, regardless of the fact that Halloween was 7 months ago.  I mean, really, is the a word that is much funnier to a 3 and 5 year old than "underwear"?  Who can blame them?

I guess as adults we're found chanting things in unison at sporting events or even political rallies.  So, maybe we don't ever grow out of it.  The things we chant, though, are maybe not quite so random.  It's like joining in singing when someone else is singing a song, I guess.  There must just be something inborn in us about being part of a group.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who's in charge?

I keep getting asked by my 5 year old - "Are you in charge of me?"  This has many variations such as "Are you in charge of what I eat?" or "Are you in charge of what I wear?" or "Are you in charge of my stuffed animals?" Keep in mind that these are not innocently asked or deep-searching questions.  They usually follow my telling her to do something like eat her meal or get dressed or clean up.  I kept telling her, "Yes, I am in charge of that", until she started asking me questions that I had to answer with no, such as "No, I'm not in charge of what crayon color you should use".  My husband and I finally came up with a standardized answer that satisfies us, and stumps her.  We now say "No, I'm not in charge of whether you do that or not. But, I am in charge of the consequences from what you choose".  It seemed like a good way to teach agency and responsibility, and really, it just seems to have made her stop asking quite so often.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Envy

The following conversation occurred between my 3 yr old son and me while I was changing his new baby brother's diaper:

3 yr old: "What's that under his privates?"
Me: "You have that too."
3 yr old: "His is bigger than mine."

I had no real response to that. Oh, the joy of little boys.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My Amazing Newborn Blog

Welcome to my amazing blog about my newborn baby.  Oh, wait.  He's 2 months old and I have posted on my blog one time since he was born. 

I had all kinds of thoughts before baby #4 was born about how I would blog about those first precious weeks of having a new baby and all the wonderful experiences I was having.  To be honest, though, it was the middle of tax season and I was just so overwhelmed and busy that none of  those posts ever happened.  By the time the baby was finally in bed (or just being held by my wonderful husband so I could work), I was furiously trying to spend an hour or two checking emails and working so that I never had time to even check other blogs, much less post my own.

So, here I am back again.  Life has calmed down, although it's still rather busy.  My newborn baby boy is now 2 months old and starting to have more of a schedule.  I guess it's time for me to have more of a schedule also and start getting things done (or maybe just blogging).

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Claustrophobia

I'm feeling a little claustrophobic these days, and not just because I can't really go anywhere with my newborn. My 3 older children love their new baby brother. A lot.  Is it possible to say too much? They are all really good at getting his clothes, and his blanket, and his diaper, and a wipe, and a bottle, and a pacifier, etc. I really appreciate the help, but I'm kind of missing my personal space right now.  I'm pretty sure the novelty of having a baby around the house will wear off eventually, except for with my almost 2 year old, who sees him as a new favorite toy.  I'm pretty sure it's impossible for her to be in the same room with him and not be touching him.  I don't have to hold him all the time, but if I'm not it means I have to be on guard for him.  I know that I will miss having my children around all the time, but if they could give me an inch or too, it sure would be nice!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Transitions

My 3 yr old son is one of those kids who needs help with change and transition.  He can't be forced into something new, so we usually just have to let him take his time adjusting to things.  For example, when we were moving him to his own "boys" room, we took time putting the bed in first, letting him play in there for a couple of days, having him help us paint, then finally letting him sleep in there.  Actually, he didn't have a very hard time adjusting. 

Maybe I'm the one that needs help transitioning. Getting used to my kids growing up and being able to do things for themselves, transitioning my mindset to having 4 kids instead of 3, learning to live with my office in the kitchen instead of my own office, etc.  I guess some things we never outgrow and have to keep working on!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pregnancy schizophrenia

I've hit that stage of pregnancy schizophrenia.  The stage where in alternating minutes you have the thoughts "I'm in no way prepared for this baby to come" and "Man, I hope this baby comes soon so I can get started on the next phase of life".  I'm pretty sure this is going to go back and forth until the day the baby is actually born.  At least I've finally left the stage of denial I've been in for the past 8-1/2 months of "What baby? Am I pregnant?" I've got to get prepared someday soon!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Those magic moments

You gotta love those magic moments.  The ones that make your heart kind of melt and remind you how much you love your family and how thankful you are for them.  Here are some of them for me.

-Coming into the bedroom after walking/exercising early in the morning to see all 3 kids sitting with my husband as they wake up.
-Having my 3 year old boy wrap his arms around my pregnant belly and tell me he's giving his Baby Brother a hug.
-My 5 year old saying she has a surprise for me downstairs, dreading what I'll see, and finding out she cleaned up the basement without being asked.
-Seeing my husband reading to all the kids on the couch.
-Giant spontaneous hugs from my almost 2 yr old.
-Hearing all my children laughing, yelling and playing chase together without fighting.

Those are the kind of moments that make it all worth it.  What are some of yours?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The inevitable question

So my 5 year old daughter finally asked the inevitable question of her pregnant mother.  No, she didn't ask where babies came from.  But she did look at me kind of funny after breakfast today and say "So, how does the baby get out?"  With her, my 3 year old son and my 1 year old daughter staring at me, I paused as I quickly thought of all the different ways I could answer the question.  Do I give her graphic details? Do I lie? Do I make up a story that explains what a beautiful thing childbirth is? Is there a perfect response to this question?

I settled with telling her that some people have their stomachs cut open for the baby to come out, with medicine given to them so it doesn't hurt and they can't feel it.  I told her girls have a place near where they pee where the baby comes out. It's kind of like when you poop.  They thought it was hilarious to think you kind of poop out a baby.  When they're a little bit older, I'm sure I can have a proper discussion with them about how babies are born, but for now, I think they really just wanted to know in basics.  It caught me off guard.  Hopefully I haven't scarred their views of childbirth and their proper scientific learning for life!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

My toddler the stripper

My 21 month old is a stripper.  We're actually quite lucky that it has yet to occur in a public place.  She thinks it's quite funny to take off her pants (and her diaper) and run around saying "naked girl".  My 5 year old thinks it's pretty funny too, which of course just encourages her.  One day I found poop on the floor after her nap/"quiet" time.  Another time I went in to put a blanket on her before I went to sleep and found her asleep with only a shirt on, in a very wet bed. 

I've heard that putting the diaper on backwards can make it harder for them to take it off, but our little girl is a Houdini and doesn't even undo the straps - she just wiggles out of it somehow.  Footie jammies are out as she just unzips them.  I have found that if I put her in a onesie, she's less likely to strip down.  The pants come off, but at least the diaper and shirt stay on.  If only they made more onesies in size 2T instead of assuming all children who fit into size 2T are potty training and need to not have snaps on their shirts. 

I know this is a phase she's going through (at least I certainly hope it is), but let's hope she doesn't prance into the kitchen or front room naked while I have a client here during tax season!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Breaking Point

Do you ever reach your breaking point with your children?  Actually, a more appropriate question would be: how often do you reach it?  I remember being single and seeing a parent yell at their child in the grocery store and thinking, "How can they do that? The kid looks like he's maybe only 3 years old". That, of course, was before I had my own children. 

I remember reaching my breaking point with my first child when she was just a baby and thinking there was something horribly wrong with me that I could feel so angry at a baby who didn't know any better than to continually scream.  I've learned that there's nothing wrong with me - I'm just a normal tired parent. 

I guess the key is to learn to recognize when you're reaching your breaking point before you get there and learn what helps you to not step over that line of feeling vs. acting.  I've learned to say to my husband, "I can not go into the kids' room anymore right now or I'm going to start yelling and throwing things." Then I can just lay down on the bed with the door closed, trying to shut out the crying while I cry and pray and cry and pray some more.  I understand why parents can sometimes do the horrible things they do.  If you have enough stress, tiredness and pressure, and no support system to help you out, I can see how a parent can cross that line.  I consider myself extremely blessed to have a great husband and a great support system to help me out.  I'm also thankful to know I am not alone in having those moments.  I've talked to a mom who was on the phone while shut in her closet. I guess we all need our own "safe" place to go when we're reaching our limit.

(By the way, don't worry - I'm not at a breaking point right now.  If I was, there's no way I'd have the clarity of mind to sit and blog about it.)