Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Princess and the Pea

Listen.  We are in full sleep deprivation mode over in this neck of the woods.  Who knew such a tiny person could wreak such havoc on an entire household?  Oh.  Right.  Every mom knows.

It has been over a month now since Emily has slept through the night.  It is never fun to be on the night shift, but when you have a new baby, your body eventually adjusts to the new schedule.  When you've been off the schedule for a bit, getting back on the night shift=getting backed over by a semi.

We all know this momma needs her sleep.  I was just lamenting to a friend not long ago that I wish this weren't so for me.  But, it totally is, and always has been.  I am ti-red.

One positive is that I'm no longer a "new mom".  This does not mean there is not great depth of mystery wrapped up in why my 2 1/2 year old is suddenly refusing all forms of sleep, but it does mean that I have a tiny clue of how to start unraveling the rats nest.


This is where all good moms start when their kid is doing something wacky.  After some quality time with the Google, I found out (again, I'm sure I knew this at one point) that this age is known for its bad sleep habits.  Kids are going through a lot developmentally: learning new things, gaining more independence and developing new fears.  In our case, we are rapidly developing MANY fears.  So there's that.

Also, it would seem that it's at this age when my children begin to develop their sensitivities.  These are those sensory issues that seemingly float right by other kids, while putting mine into orbit.  Emily has about three outfits she will wear right now because the other ones "bother her".  Don't you dare get any type of collar anywhere near her neck or there will be hell to pay.  Also, if you could please smooth out any and all creases in the bedding, her highness would much appreciate it.

And of course, our dear friend reflux.  You may or may not know that most kids who have rough cases of reflux as babies will be revisited by their friend randomly throughout their life.  (If they get a break at all...) This is not based on scientific research, but rather is based on a whole bunch of reflux moms I have the privilege of knowing.  The tricky thing is, once your child has been off medication for a while, and has not been dealing with reflux, it can take you a minute to figure out it's what you're dealing with.  But the signs have all been there.  Not sleeping, decreased appetite, clingy-whiny mess all day, aggressive.  I joke about Emily being a handful, but she is certainly not these things all the time.  In fact, most of the time she's hilarious to be around.  I would not describe the last month as hilarious.

So, now we're on the slippery road of trying to sort things out.  We started with a trip to the doctor where he double checked nothing else was wrong with her and I diagnosed her with a reflux flare.  He's very used to me by now.  He prescribed her a new kind of medication which I was eager to try until I found out the generic was going to be $92.00.  Yeah, that's never happening.  So after a call to the nurse, we settled on the over the counter version of the medicine.  It's a complete pain to give, but at approximately 1/10 the cost, I'll take the headache.

After you get the reflux under control, you start sorting out what part of the behavior is pain related and what part is now a habit.  It's a fun time.  Riding the line between a life of misery for the family unit and emotionally scarring your freaked out 2 year old.

Tonight I did what any good mom would do.  I bribed her.  If she sleeps in her bed all night with no crying, tomorrow-we make cupcakes.  I do not feel one bit ashamed over the bribery.  If I can sleep all night long, I'll let her eat cake for three meals a day.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Friday Fun Day

I know.  It's Monday, not Friday.  But, my life blows up at Friday at 4:30 and doesn't reconfigure until I drag my bones out of bed on Monday morning.  But.  Fridays are dedicated days of fun.  As much as possible, that is.  We all know how it works out when I declare something definitively.

Last Friday, Katy and I took the kids to one of our favorite haunts.  The Discovery Center in Murfreesboro.  If you troll around on this blog, you will find old pictures of Drew and Lyla at this same spot.  We had a great time today.  The bigs are old enough to pretty much turn loose to explore.  Since they aren't seeing each other every day they LOVED hanging out.  I only got a few pictures-they are a hard crew to keep up with!

You'll notice Em is no longer nervous about climbing in trucks...

See?  Every time she did something new, she would say, "Take my picture!"  I think she was trying to make up for last week.

This is Drew under the car in the "Fix a Car" exhibit.  It's been his fave since he was little!

"I was born a coal miner's daughter"...and her cousin.

Drew on the Penny-Farthing bike

Lyla on the Penny-Farthing bike

SpiderMan and his beautiful Mom.

You didn't know I got to hang around with SpiderMan did you?  He would only let me take his picture if Katy stood with him.  I promise, you never have to doubt his love for her!

Next week my other sister and her kids will be here for Friday Fun Day.  I don't want to wish my life away, but I wouldn't mind it being Friday tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

All The Fun

Have I mentioned I'm big into making memories?  I am.  My own mom was beyond fun and I have some of the best memories from things she did with us.  The world is a rough place.  I really want my kids to remember their childhood as fun!  My oldest is a serious guy, who has his parents' tendencies towards realism (note that I did not characterize it as pessimism...optimistic of me, huh??) and over responsibility.  So, whenever I can encourage him to get crazy, I do.  My little girl loves to have a good time, but she's going through some wonky stuff right now.  She's afraid.  A lot.  Of everything.  Being the good googler I am, I've read up.  Apparently, it's developmental.  Somehow this never makes me feel better.  Life can be quite hellish during "a phase".  So, I'm pushing her to get crazy, too!

Anyway, last week my good friend Lissy invited us to meet them for an event called "Touch-a-Truck".  Whoever thought of this idea is a genius.  I have so many memories of being a kid and seeing a cool vehicle on community helper day and thinking, "I really wish I could just get in there."  Well, at this event everything is fair game.  The kids had a blast, and to be honest, I thought it was super cool.

Drew and Etta learning about all the knobs and buttons

Drew IN the fire truck driver's seat!

A "punch buggy" state trooper car!  We are WAY into punch buggies!

My little farmer girl

Drew on a police motorcycle

You might be tempted to think I was shunning Emily all day.  What with the one picture and all.  I wasn't.  It just took her a minute to warm up to things.  And then of course, I had to watch her a little closer while she was exploring the vehicles.  Her favorite of the day was the Nashville Party Bus (is anyone surprised?)  It was the "Glow Bus" edition and had black lights and sparkle lights and hip hop music.  And a pole.  Emily had a great time dancing on the pole.  I tried to take a picture of that and send it to Big Dan for Father's Day, but it didn't turn out.  I didn't hate the Party Bus.  It was air conditioned.  It was also some mighty fine people watching.  

The last thing we checked out was the Nashville Swat Team Hummer.  I really struggled with how to tell Drew about a Swat Team.  I just told him it was special forces for the police department.  I was on one side of the vehicle while he was climbing around inside.  All of a sudden he came running up to me and said, "MOM, there is WAR stuff over here!!"  Here's what he found:

A gas mask-he had seen one of these in his war books (You can see Emily holding her ears...)

I think the skulls on his shoes really add to the effect, don't you?

The highlight of the day was watching a helicopter take off.  I had never seen that before!  And then, it made a surprise reappearance so we got to see it land and take off again.  We were tired, and sweaty, and excited when we were done.  Great memory!  Great friends!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Finish Line

I'm in bed and it's around 9 p.m.  You know why?  I don't have any homework!!  It's only because I am between courses, but no homework is no homework!  This summer schedule is nothing short of brutal. I'm sorry I keep talking about it, but it sort of invades my every waking thought.  And sometimes my sleeping thoughts.

I finished up my course on Interdisciplinary Methods, which is a fancy way of saying "How to teach Science and Social Studies".  I liked the class, had a really good professor.  And it's not like it's brain science.  The material itself is not hard.  It's the time frame.  I'm all for making a science board game and planning a pretend field trip if I have more than five minutes to get it done.  Throw in a scholarly presentation (yes, ANOTHER powerpoint) on "Lecture", and you have one toasty brain.

Last week was the wrap-up week, meaning all of my assignments were coming due.  Wrap-up week equals, the house looks like someone picked it up and shook it, I'm up until way past midnight every night, the kids are strung out, and I have anxiety dreams all.night.long about talking too long during a presentation.  I told my professor on Saturday morning that he and I had a very lively debate all through the night.

When class was over (2 hours early!) on Saturday, I had one assignment still due.  It was not due until Monday at midnight, but I'm here to tell you I hightailed it over to the library and got that sucker done.  I was determined to walk off the campus with nothing left to do for the week.

I knew if I could just hang on through three classes of preschool Sunday school on Sunday, I was home free.  I made it (barely-that third service keeps running a little longer each week...) and shortly thereafter slipped into what can only be described as a semi-conscious state.  I had promised Big Dan the day off and instead he got to referee children upstairs while I drooled on the couch for more than a couple of hours.  My dad declared that a major Father's Day "party foul" had occurred.  I know he's right.  It wasn't in my plan, exactly, but that's the way it happened.

So.  I'm relishing a week to get caught up on laundry and straighten up the piles around my house. (You didn't really think I'd get RID of the piles did you?)

And, GET EXCITED!  Tomorrow's post will have real, live pictures.  Albeit ones I took with my phone but photos nonetheless.  Just because I'm a maxed out grad student doesn't mean we haven't been having all the fun!

I'm off to do something super mindless.  Like cruise Pinterest or watch Netflix.  For approximately 10 minutes before I fall asleep!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On a Thursday

Today I started out the day rescuing my neck from a tick.  Apparently there is a whole tick habitat out back.  This is a teeny bit disconcerting given the amount of kids in my backyard each day.

I followed up that bit of fun with fishing a giant wad of toilet paper from my toilet. WITH MY HANDS. I didn't know what else to do.  In the moment I stood looking at the toilet, listening to a little girl apologize profusely for using too much paper (she was having a little anxiety about wiping enough-think we covered it...)  I tried to fish it out with the toilet brush.  Nothing doing.  As I looked at it some more I went through various items in my head-tongs, spatula, handle end of the plunger.  For sure if I used a kitchen utensil it was going in the trash.  If I used the handle end of the plunger I would have to hold it near the toilet end of the plunger.  I couldn't do it. At the last minute, I just lost my head.  I  stuck my hand in, put the wad in a plastic grocery sack and threw it away.  And washed my hands for an hour.  To my credit, I just did not have time to really think it through.  It just had to get done.

These events pretty much set the tone for the day.  I had kids falling down left and right.  Siblings punching each other, and a lovely mixture of black beans and play-doh coating my floor by the end of the day.  This is not a bad day.  This is a normal day.

Try not to be jealous.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Take a look, it's in a book

If you are of my generation, there's a good chance you may be singing the theme song to "Reading Rainbow".  I hope so.  I am, without a doubt, a product of public television.  Back in the day, before cable, we were a PBS family.  Do any of you remember the "Friends of Sesame Street" program?  It was a fund raiser and when you donated money you received a "Friends of Sesame Street" t-shirt.  We took turns-donating every year, but only enough for one shirt.  When it was my shirt year, well, excited doesn't even cover it.

In addition to public television, I've always been a huge fan of the library (even when they are putting on sub par environmentally themed puppet shows).  I may have mentioned before that when I was in fourth and fifth grade I was a library aide.  And y'all?  I thought I was AWESOME! Nobody really had the heart to tell me that I was just in shy child's paradise.  My elementary librarian was amazing.  And I fell madly in love with books.  Fourth grade was the year I was introduced to Beverly Cleary.  And Ramona.  Oh, how I love Ramona Quimby.  I harbor a secret dream that my kids will love books, too.  I keep it a secret because you know as soon as I say it out loud, they will, on purpose, not like books.  Kids are that way, you know!

Along the way, I have shared some of my favorite story books with Drew.  Suffice it to say, we have slightly different taste.  I'll read him what I think is a FABULOUS book and he will say, "Mom, I liked it, but I didn't love it."  Ok then.

Monday when we were at the library we were having a discussion about fiction vs. nonfiction books.  He was way excited to check out some books about "the old days."  Then he looked at me and said, "Mom, do you think this library has any books about World War I?"  Ummmm....what????  How do you, five year old child of mine, even know there's such thing as World War I much less want to read books about it??  I showed him the "war" section (heaven help me) and he picked out books with "really good pictures".  When pressed a little more, he told me he overheard Big Dan and his boss discussing World War I (because what else do attorneys talk about while they're filing??)  I'm amazed he remembered, and a little impressed he wanted to learn more about it.  I'm also quite chagrined about the whole "war" aspect of it all.

This is not exactly how it played out in my "dreams"...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Some felt, clips, and a big purple dog

Today is the first day  I didn't have a massive agenda.  Not because I'm all caught up, but just because nothing is absolutely urgent.  So, I wanted to make time for the kids today-do something summery and fun.  I will admit that I may or may not have had a tiny bit of trouble getting out of bed this morning.  Tiny bit.  However, I have become fairly adept at determining the point just before things turn real "Lord of the Flies" downstairs.  I try to get up and head that off when possible.  I feel a lot of pressure to be that mom who is up before her kids cooking breakfast and having quiet time.  Considering my son gets up some days before the sun?  And I can't go to bed at 7:30 p.m.?  I'm not exactly there yet...

So, getting back to all the fun today.  I told Drew we would go to the local library and get him his very own library card.  We cleaned out a tote bag and converted it into his official library bag.  In response, Emily took over a tote and put two key items inside-lip gloss and an ipod.  (Note: she carried the bag all around the library, reapplying her gloss as needed)

When we got to the library, I could tell right away there was some sort of hullabaloo brewing.  Lots of kids and noise, which, you know, isn't exactly typical at the local library.  Then I noticed a guy with a guitar and a headset mic.  I got sort of excited-had I stumbled onto a super good time without even meaning to? As soon as we got the card procured we headed over to the puppet show area (by now there had been an announcement).  This guy looked so official with his guitar and his headset mic.  He even bounded to the back, checking his equipment because he was hoping to record the performance.

Ya'll.  Kids are fairly easy to entertain, but this was an insult to kids everywhere.  There was a purple dog and a "litter bug" and "Curby" the recycling can.  The guy was somewhere between an amateur puppeteer and a beginner ventriloquist.  He pronounced all of his b's as d's.  For example, he said how great it was to be in "Dellevue"  instead of "Bellevue" where we actually live.  It all got a little confusing when the kids thought it was a "litter dog" instead of a "litter bug".  "Mom, why does that dog look like a bug?"  It was painful.  I finally let Drew get up and start looking at books.

In case you were hoping to make a career out of puppeteering, apparently all it takes is some large sheets of felt, some giant binder clips and some trash.  You'll be good to go.

Don't let the litter dog get you down.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Summer Vacation?

Hi!  Ya'll, I'm tired!  But wait, you say!  It's summer!  Time for leisure and fun.

Thing is, it's not exactly panning out to be that way!  I know you're shocked that my life is not filled with leisure and fun.  This little post is just some random tidbits about life currently.  I keep hoping I'll find the time to post more regularly.  I'm telling you, grad school just sucks the ever lovin' creativity right out of you.

First, I wrapped up the year at preschool, and while I was glad to close a "drawer", I was pretty sad.  This little class of eight magical kids was so special.  I have no doubt God hand-picked these kids (and their parents) because he knew exactly what kind of year I would have.  I have known a lot of kids in my life, and more often than not I think the naughty ones are mostly funny.  So, just know, when I say I never had to get on to the this group of kids, I mean NEVER.  They were just all good, kind, funny, smart kids.  I'm going to super miss them.  They made me feel like a great teacher.  I have a feeling I might have a "humbling" year coming down the pike!

Second, I'm back in school.  I don't know if I ever mentioned the insanity that ensues in this program in the summer.  My first course (yes, it's already over. Scary, huh?) happened in May before preschool finished.  I had the privilege of attending class Thursday night, Friday night and all day Saturday.  I know.  Try not to be jealous.  I will say, when I started this course, I was giving serious thought to taking some time off from school.  I had been praying about it for some time.  A soul friend had mentioned it might be a good idea.  I thought maybe God was moving me that way.  THEN.  I went to that first class, and the professor spoke right down into my heart.  It was JUST the confirmation I needed that I was indeed in the right place at the right time.  Sometime I'll share that story.  I'll warn you first.  You'll need tissues.  So, now I'm on the greased slide of summer grad school, trying to hang on for dear life and get those As!  I don't usually talk about my grades, but I'm pretty proud of the A I got in my spring class since I had a few life crises happening at the time.  Once I get the summer over with, I'll only have two more courses to go!

Third, Ms. Kelly's summer play days are in full swing!  Thursday I had 9 kids here in addition to my own two.  It was a crazy good time.  I feel blessed that I am able to be home and still make some cash.  I always wanted to have a camp of my own.  While this wasn't exactly what I meant, I 'll take it.  Turns out I quite enjoy being my own boss.  (For some of you this comes as little surprise!)

Fourth, Drew is taking karate!  I finally cashed in my lame mom card and got the boy registered for kindergarten (don't even get me started...) and signed up for an activity.  The whole family went on Wednesday night to watch.  It was one of those complete surreal "I'm a for real mom" moments.  I'm excited for him-I think this will be a good confidence builder before he goes to school.  Poor kid had to be coaxed to holler when he kicked!  It'll do him so good to let out some of the emotion!

Last, I'm still walking the mourner's path, trying to be intentional about my inner life.  That sentence.  It's pretty churchy, huh?  Not like old days churchy, but these days churchy.  Words like "intentional" and "inner life".  Ha!  I'm such a jargon lady.  The week between preschool and summer camp, my siblings and I started the task of cleaning out mom's condo.  It was every bit as hard and sucky as I had imagined it would be.  It basically came down to putting on my business lady face and getting it done.  There were moments of cracking up and breaking down, which is basically how it's always been in my family.  Like walking in a mine field, you never knew which random item was going to bring you to your knees.  My hardest moment came when we were going through mom's DVDs and my brother asked me if I wanted "Mama Mia".  My mom loved this movie, and one of the last times I stayed with her before hospice, we watched it together.  I'm so glad we did.  But, it will probably be a while before I can watch it again.  A friend of mine asked me if I was "camping out" with my grief or on the path.  Such a great way to describe it.  I told her I felt like my grief had become portable.  It is still with me every minute, but the fog is starting to lift and I'm starting to be able to get some things done.

I'm thankful for these days and who they are shaping me to be.