Before I became a parent, I had no idea what potty training entailed.
I still don’t.
This is the blind leading the blind here. No amount of research or reading I have done has prepared me for this journey of three thousand steps that it feels like we have barely started.
Rule #1 of potty preparedness seems to be body awareness. In other words, your kid figures out that it feels yucky when they pee or poop in their diaper and wants it changed right away.
My kids are not exactly there yet.
We instituted a sticker chart with two columns: one for telling us right away that they’ve pooped, and one for sitting and trying on the potty. The stickers were high motivation for about a week. Now, we ask whomever is odoriferous at the moment, “Did you poop?”
And then, after we carry them protesting to the changing table, they announce, “Mommy, I pooped! I get a sticker!”
Oh, kid. That is not the way it works.
How do you teach your kids that their bodily waste is not supposed to be up against their skin, when it has been their “normal” their whole lives?
How do you teach your kids what “the pee feeling” feels like on the inside?
How do you do any of this with three children at the same time without going batty?
I’ve heard all the strategies. The potty boot camp that guarantees toilet-trained children in three days. The M&M reward system. The new toy reward system. The underwear reward system.
I have nothing against bribery (I prefer to call it incentivizing). But I feel like bribing will only start working once we “get it”–once they understand the correlation between feeling like you have to pee and peeing.
This morning one kid sat on the potty (by invitation, not self-initiated) and pooped there. Huzzah! We did the potty dance, displayed the poop for the siblings, and flushed it. The successful kid got to wear underwear as a reward (in addition to a much-coveted Hello Kitty sticker).
Then I shuffled between helping a kid who was still eating breakfast, reminding another kid that I couldn’t read a story just yet, and brushing successful kid’s hair in the bathroom. During all the shuffling, that kid peed in the underwear. Which a sibling, newly released from breakfast, tried to inspect and nearly walked in.
This is why the potty boot camp–the naked-from-the-waist-down method–might work but also might march me into madness also.
Because that strategy is great if you can focus on one kid. One kid’s cues. One kid’s accident that can maybe still make it to the potty if you catch it in time. For us, this strategy might require six agile adults and warmer weather.
Then, even after they start to “get it,” Rule #2 of potty preparedness seems to be that the announcement of “I want to sit on the potty” is equivalent to the following:
HOLY SHIT! STOP THE PRESSES! CODE RED! AAWOOOOOGA! AAWOOOOOOGA! Drop that kid you’re holding; let that food catch on fire; just GET THAT KID ON THE POTTY STAT!
Then, for us, one of the following usually happens:
- the kid is “all done” after thirty seconds of trying, or
- the kid wants to stay on the potty ad infinitum because they really, desperately want the Hello Kitty sticker, so one of us is stuck next to the potty for the foreseeable future.
In either case, 95% of the time, nothing comes out.
The other night, a kid announced they wanted to sit on the potty mid-bathing, and wound up naked on the potty with a head full of shampoo.
We invite potty time a lot. We do not get a lot of success. We suspect that one of our children has the bladder control to sit on the potty for ten minutes, ask for a diaper, and then immediately go in it. (This is tied up with all kinds of anxiety about accidents that is taking its toll on bathtime too…6 weeks of sponge baths and counting…).
I know this has to happen on their timetables, not mine. I can’t force them to do something only they have control over.
It is hard to be patient. Not because I want to be done with diapers, or I’m ready for my kids to be “big kids,” but because now I know that “potty training” is this weird misnomer that makes it sound like “basic training”: tough but finite.
Potty training encompasses the following stages:
- learning to pee in a toilet
- learning to poop in a toilet
- holding it during nap
- holding it all night, or waking up if you have to go
This takes years. And we are only just beginning. Oy.
We have been sick for approximately 80% of 2014.
In my previous post, I said I could handle sick kids: snot, crabbitude, etc. The past two days made me retract that statement. I railed against my powerlessness, the fact that I (again? still?) cannot find things in my own house, that I am sick of being sick. Sick of kids who have limited patience or coping skills. Sick of my own limited patience. Sick of not being in control of All the Things.
So the upside of the plague followed by another virus is this: I have been in survival mode. Not worrying about anything other than meeting minimum requirements: keeping my family fed and clothed in (mostly) clean attire.
Not doing massive projects. Like, you know, folding laundry and putting it away. Or bringing food to friends with newborns, or finishing those baby albums, or whatever.
Surviving was the only thing I could muster when Theresa was so sick, all she could do was curl up on my chest and wheeze, eyes closed and body limp. Surviving was the most we could handle through a week-long hitting phase and a strong resurgence of the anti-diaper-off anxiety. The to-do list was minimized, a blip at the bottom of my screen.
And it occurred to me that this maybe was not a bad thing.
We got better for a week. Alan traveled for work, and I became a cleaning-and-organizing dervish. I accomplished tasks that had been on the back burner for years. It felt so good.
And then we were back to survival mode with another cold, and I was so frustrated.
Because I want to be in control. I want to be the pigeon driving the bus. I want to be productive and efficient and task-accomplishing.
But being those things don’t make me me. The love and nurturing and patience I have shown to my children and my students do. And those have nothing to do with being in control, and everything to do with surrender. Not in a weak, white-flag-waving, quitter sort of way, but in a real, true, I-need-to-let-You-be-in-charge sort of way.
Tonight I finally found our baby nail clipper (after buying a new substandard one because I needed to trim kids’ nails and couldn’t turn my house any more upside down to find it), and was telling Alan about how I hate losing things, etc. etc.
Audrey put her hand on my leg and said, “Don’t be frustrated, Mama.”
I stopped cold in my rant.
“Don’t talk,” she said. I knelt down to listen to her. She stared at me with those green eyes that mirror mine. “Just be quiet,” she said.
And turned to continue sweeping up around her baby’s “car seat” with her toy broom.
Just be quiet. Don’t talk. Just listen to the stillness, the shard of the greater Stillness and Peace.
My daughter, with her old soul of gentleness and generosity and ability to respond to others’ emotions, told me exactly what this experience of the plague has been trying to.
That lesson the universe keeps trying to teach me, and that I, like some of my well-intentioned students, keep saying, “Yep, got that. Ready to move on to the next thing” but really I need to learn it over and over and over.
Slow down. Take your time. Be quiet.
Sick kids, I can handle. Snot rockets, the grump factor when they don’t understand why they’re sick and refuse most soothing remedies (warm liquids, honey, etc.). I can do colds.
The illness that has been living with us for almost two weeks is a shade of pure misery.
So much so that I threw myself a pity party (read: posted a status on Facebook whining about coughing, snotty kids who can’t sleep and who therefore make me sleepless and did I mention I barely got over a bad bout of laryngitis only to come down with another cold?).
Thus, tonight: some little victories to compensate for the “just survive” mode we’ve been operating under.
1. One of our children, who is anxious by nature, got super-freaked-out by a sibling pooping in the tub incident in mid-December. Alan and I did not get upset, but there was some rush to get the bathing kids out of the tub in order to sanitize it and get them, shivering, back in. Child X has had bath / potty anxiety for the past month–previously loving bathtime, suddenly refusing to go in at all, or even refusing to take the diaper off in fear (I presume) that an accident might happen.
Where did Child X get fear of mistakes or accidents? Fear of not doing things the Right Way? I have no idea…(and poor child, I am so sorry for whatever genetic code I passed on to you in that regard).
Yesterday, after a triple screamy, whiny morning of much hitting and pushing, we went to the library, and Miss Claire helped me find a potty book. An ABC potty book which starts, “A is for Accident. Adam had an accident. It’s all right, Adam.”
Child X requested this book several times this afternoon, and we read it in the bathroom while contented siblings splashed in the tub. And then:
Child X got the diaper off. Stood by the tub watching a sibling get clean.
And got in. And loved it.
Thank goodness for getting rid of bathtime trauma.
2. Library related: A couple of months ago, we went to the library this afternoon.
The four of us.
We read together. Audrey played on the computers and with blocks. They (mostly) used their quiet voices.
We did not get kicked out or receive dirty looks of any kind.
We all held hands crossing the parking lot to and from the van.
It was a minor miracle.
3. Jamie refuses most new things, and certainly most suggested things (he has an independent spirit–again, no idea where he got that from…).
We had to give him some anti-inflammatory prescription medication for his croup this week. The pharmacist recommended crushing it in some food.
This for the kid who has refused quesadilla because they used the wrong kind of tortilla, or spit out all manner of other usually enjoyed food because the texture was off.
I made their favorite ravioli, cut it in quarters, and mashed bits of tablet into each quarter. He devoured it. Mama for the win.
4. I had a mini-meltdown yesterday after reaching my limit of patient, “Hands are not for hurting,” and “You sound sad; can you tell me why?” and “Use your words.”
The Should Mama spoke up. I called Alan and vented.
The Should Mama shut up.
That’s right, sister. I’m human. I have limits. I don’t have to wallow in guilt or self-flagellate or moan. I can just move on.
These remind me that things change. They get better. Eventually.
I spend a lot of time hearing the Should Mama’s voice.
However, these past few weeks have seen a mini victory of sorts.
We had the rush to get work completed before Christmas break, and an unexpected snow day that prevented me from finishing things at school. The basement is (finally, finally, oh happy day!) finished, so we spent that weekend assessing and moving and organizing a tiny fraction of what will go in there. There were a couple of days to prepare for Christmas and our Christmas Eve open house. The day after Christmas we flew to Boston,
then drove to Connecticut for Jen’s annual Christmakkah celebration,
then visited with family and friends,
then drove to Maine to visit with the cousins, and awesome aunt and uncle,
then experienced the snowpocalypse that initiated the New Year (please note: Audrey wishes to be a snow plow driver when she grows up),
then dealt with two cancelled flights–one discovered at the airport after schlepping all our gear there, rescheduling for a flight that might or might not make it out of Logan (but hey, we met Elizabeth Warren, who was so nice to our kids), racing to barely make our connection in DC, dealing with at least one kid always awake on the cross-country flight, one puker (thank God we bring extra clothes in the carry-on), and exhaustion reminiscent of newborn parenting,
and my nasty cold combined with laryngitis, which passed to Theresa as croup. I sat for three steamy bathroom sessions in nine hours, took her to the pediatrician’s, gave her the prescription, and rocked and whispered and tried to convince the other two that they did NOT want to be sick too.
And I did not lose it with my kids.
I got frustrated, sure. For the ten days of our trip, there was usually one extra adult around to help distract or calm or entertain, but even during the mealtime fights, the non-naps, the throwing of objects…I didn’t lose it.
And I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but here is one I can try to keep:
- limiting my consumption of digital media, inspired by the Hands-Free Mama.
My friends share all kinds of interesting parenting articles on Facebook. I subscribe to a couple of parenting blogs. I read these because I want to be better, to learn new strategies or hear different perspectives on how to raise compassionate, resilient, independent, confident children.
Although these articles have good ideas, often I end up feeling inadequate. The Should Mama gears up again: are you letting your kids be bored enough? are you developing their right brain enough? are you letting them eat too much bread? are you setting enough boundaries? are you setting too many boundaries?
These two-plus weeks have made me realize two things:
1. I can cultivate more patience with my kids, and
2. When I lose my patience, I am given the opportunity to show them how to make amends. Not a reason to berate myself for always doing it wrong.
My kids don’t care what Korean or French or attachment mamas do.
They want me. Me, with my imperfections and humanity. As another imperfect mama said, “heroic and horrible, and magical and messy, and beautiful and bumbling, with love and laughter and light, and grace and gratitude and grime.”
Of course I want to improve as a parent. This learning curve is steep and the Stuff To Be Learned is always shifting.
I also want to own the good. It’s mine, all of it: the little victories, the mistakes. The moments of holding my daughter as she wheezes and curls against my torso, of helping my son have “calm down time,” of watching my daughter imitate me as she cares for her baby doll: “It’s all right. I help you feel better.”
Own it, mamas. Own the good. You have so much of it to build on.
This is going to sound cheesy no matter how I tell it.
But here it is: my Dad saved Christmas.
A friend recently posted on Facebook that she had overheard her six-year-old son “questioning Santa.” She wanted a man who didn’t know her kids to call her, pretending to be the Big Man.
I volunteered my dad. She accepted.
Then I had to tell him what I had signed him up for. His reaction: “Do you think I could?”
That, sir, is a no-brainer. My dad’s voice is legendary. He’s often asked to emcee tournaments, banquets, ceremonies; has been an announcer for various sporting events; and was the sports reporter on our high school tv news show.
Plus, he is particularly amazing with kids.
So last Monday, he called the little guy’s mama. He talked to B about Christmas and what is real. B and his little sister asked about Santa’s elves.
That six-year-old believes again.
And there may be people out there who think this perpetuates a lie. Of course Santa isn’t real. My dad isn’t Santa Claus.
But he is.
He even saw the Easter Bunny hop through our backyard and into the woods one Easter morning, a fact so staggering that my brother and I could not believe his luck.
And so is my mom, who wrote notes from Santa to us with her left hand. And so is B’s mom, who sent Santa a script so he would sound credible.
And beyond that: all the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” rhetoric. Santa is magic. And magic is real. Maybe not tangible, but real.
In this season of gift-ordering, card-writing, decoration-displaying, event-going, may I remember the magic. Of slow drives through neighborhoods looking at Christmas lights and listening to the squees of my children. Of their learning to put mailed presents from family under the tree and wait until Christmas day. Of their singing the new songs they’ve learned: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Must Be Santa.” Of their new love of the story of Clara and the Nutcracker, and the magic in it.
As they get older, they’ll learn different kinds and facets of magic. But I hope they believe in it always. Just like B. And my dad.
Elizabeth Bishop wrote a poem that I have always found lovely, but now really, really relate to:
The art of losing isn't hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent. The art of losing isn't hard to master. Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel. None of these will bring disaster. I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went. The art of losing isn't hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster. —Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
I can’t find anything in my house.
It drives me crazy. Especially “the hour badly spent.”
We lose toy parts. Yoga pants. Keys. Shoes. Strainers. Spatulas. Dish towels. Binkies. Sippy cups. Periodically, my sanity.
There is a toy diaspora migrating from the kids’ bedroom to the living room to the car and back through.
Today alone I made three separate offerings to St. Anthony, patron saint of lost things.
Some of these have been reclaimed, and some seem to have disappeared into the void (like the yoga pants–weird, right?). Some of these things are lost not because of my own doing, but another’s, which drives me even more crazy.
The “I just put that there a second ago…” but some little person decided to move it, so my attempt at organization (i.e. staging something that I will need later) is foiled by entropy personified.
The more out-of-control I feel about Life, the more everything becomes a symbol of how discordant everything is. The freezer that has buried items from a year ago. The car that has needed cleaning out of old Cheerios and stomped-on books and a broken basket organizer. The piles of clean, folded laundry from our amazing friend Cleo, stacked in laundry baskets for weeks because I am too tired at the end of the day to put it away.
Everything we own, flung wildly into corners, screams of instability and powerlessness.
It’s easy to prioritize when one thing has a clear immediate need; these days, everything feels like an immediate need, and many not of my choosing.
After being in CA for six days for Thanksgivukkah, we packed up to stay in a rental house for 3 days because our basement was being painted. We returned home and immediately got and put up a Christmas tree, because, you know, it’s the HOLIDAYS and we need to have the CHRISTMAS SPIRIT.
The other night I was determined to go to bed early, nearly falling asleep in my dinner. But there were Christmas decoration boxes to be stacked in God-knows-what-corner of the already overflowing office/guest room, and having to figure out what Fun Holiday Things we were going to do with our kids, in this their first season of magic and mystery.
I find myself raging against this disorganization precisely when I have the least amount of time to tackle it. Sometimes the sheer number of Things-That-Must-Be-Done coupled with Things-We-Want-To-Do (like finding the pizza wheel cover, or clean socks) paralyzes me. My friend asks me kindly what I can let go, and I feel like all I do is let go, until “the center cannot hold” (yep, I just compared the craziness of our life to Yeats’ apocalyptic poem. Take that, W.B.).
Maybe this is the life of every parent, this rollercoaster of chaos and calm. With this new job and having toddlers and renovations, it feels like we have been at 200% chaos capacity for months. Maybe after the renovations, something else will replace that stressor.
Since our recent family cold, Theresa has found comfort in us rubbing her back at night. Earlier, it probably distracted her from not being able to breathe through her nose (but bonus: we are down to only one binky-dependent child). Now, she asks us sleepily, “Rub my back, rub my back.”
If this physical comfort mechanism is the price we pay for binky removal, I’ll take it. It soothes my own spirit to know that my hand massaging her little back under fleecy pjs calms her, helps her rest. It reminds me of my own parents putting me to bed, rubbing my back, the solace of weight and warmth, love made tangible.
It is what I asked of God tonight as I walked back under trees strung with lights to care for my children after grading at a coffee shop. These days, the disorder strings me out, frazzles my nerves and makes me stuck. Rub my back. Let the slow circles slow my breathing, my heartrate, my mind. Help me find the peace that is not the absence of stress and anxiety, but that is the centering within the chaos.
This Thanksgiving, we flew to the North Bay Area and spent five days with family and friends for Thanksgivukkah. We are grateful for:
- the kindness of TSA workers, flight attendants, and other random passengers who helped us lift car seats down the aisle, roll car seats to an emptier section of baggage claim, hand us our shoes or other gear.
- two great flights with kids who found joy in a plastic cup, full of ice or empty, who handled an hour-plus flight delay by buying into the explanation that the pilot had to go potty (Audrey announced to our gate neighbors that the pilot “had to pull his pants down”), who got up early and pushed nap and slept in the car and only had minor crabbiness to show for it.
- celebrating Hannukah and Thanksgiving and 5K races and chickens and music and family with Aunt Karen and Uncle Kevin and their friends.
- time outside in the warmth and sunshine: at the parks and neighborhoods of Santa Rosa, and in Palo Alto.
- a visit from Aunt Maya and her parents.
- meeting Baby Calvin and seeing his parents, John and Thuy.
- hanging out with always-gracious hosts Aunt Mary, Uncle Mark, and Bailey, and for Kirsten letting the kids play with her old toys.
- dinner with always-gracious hosts Slam, Rachida, Aya, and Noor.
- our first Christmas tree lighting.
- our first menorah lighting, with music.
- San Francisco (When we came to the MacArthur tunnel on Saturday evening, Jamie announced, “We’re going over the Golden Gate Bridge!” He had seen this tunnel several days before, in the light. Also, they like that it is orange.)
- Uncle Dan, for his boundless generosity, patience, and good humor, who helped us get from baggage claim to the rental cars at SFO, who chased kids around Stanford with us, and who hung in during our flight delay and helped us corral three tired and squirmy toddlers to security. Theresa has bestowed the highest honor she knows upon her godfather: she named her polar bear “Uncle Dan” (this from the girl who used to say any animal or doll’s name was “Theresa”). It’s no wonder we chose him as one of our kids’ godparents: we hope they all grow up to be as kind and thoughtful as he is.
A few weeks ago, I managed to go for a solo run in the morning.
A man pruning his hedge a few streets away in my neighborhood greeted me as I huffed up the hill. “You’re doing the right thing,” he said.
Dude, you have no idea.
You probably meant it was good to take advantage of a sunny, relatively warm day in October. You may have meant it was good to exercise.
You have no idea how much that meant to have a total stranger say that. You have no idea how hard it can be to claim “me” time.
Last Sunday at Mass, we gathered our kids from the babysitting room (our kids call it “Andrea and Lorenzo’s house,” named for the high schooler and her middle-school brother who babysit toddlers during Mass) and headed to Communion so they could get a blessing.
As we rounded the front row of pews to head to our spot at the back, John–a father of high school twin boys–said gravely, “Good job, parents.”
This, after weeks of stress and anxiety about wanting our kids to experience a spiritual tradition, wanting them to be part of the community, and spending that hour in agony over their very LOUD and CONSTANT narration of everything. Paranoid that the people who sit nearby secretly hope we are gone that Sunday. Apologizing to everyone around us to try to avoid the potential dirty look (which has never happened, but still…).
And the other day, I got this e-mail from my dad:
I loved reading the updates. They get cuter by the day. The FaceTime is awesome too, keep up the good work. You are an incredible mom!
So I decided that the world (or at least the world who reads this blog) needs to hear a Public Service Announcement:
Tell young parents that you notice they’re doing a good job. Even total strangers.
As a friend commented about this blog post recently on Facebook, I don’t know what it is about this generation of parents that makes us so neurotic. Did our moms agonize over every decision? Did they pore over parenting book after parenting book, hoping they didn’t screw up their kids’ emotional intelligence or prevent them from academic success?
I talked to a new triplet mama the other night for 40 minutes. She was having family issues with visits to the NICU, and worried her milk wouldn’t come in.
I listened. I told her my experiences (especially that those hospital forms that say your milk should peak at 10 days post-partum are horribly, horribly wrong; my milk peaked at 4 weeks post-partum and I am so glad I didn’t give up).
I told her, “You are doing everything right.”
She burst into tears.
I’m not sure how we got here, to this place of constant self-doubt and questioning and anxiety and fear. I’m not sure how we got here, but I know how we can lighten these burdens for each other.
We can tell those who come after us: You are doing it right. You are doing a good job. Keep at it, parents. It is unbelievably hard. There is no one true way other than the way of Love, and that we have in abundance.
This post is dedicated to the arrival of Ellie to our dear friends. Jen and Colin, these next few weeks will rock your world. Know this: no matter what you do, you are doing it right. She could not possibly have better parents than you.
I consider myself an organized person.
My former office mate, whose desk was almost spotless (even his stapler and paper clips were kept neatly in a drawer organizer), might beg to differ, having witnessed my piles and post-its and more piles. But I stacked neatly. I knew where things were.
And then we had triplets.
And then we decided to remodel our basement.
Our basement is under renovation so we don’t have to Shop-Vac up water that seeped through the carpet and pad from a hard rain (though Dylan did warn us that it was a-gonna fall…).
Which means that everything that used to be stored out of sight is now either in storage at our gracious friends’ house (in their basement), or in our bedroom and office/guest bedroom/crap storage room.
Our house wasn’t so horribly disorganized. I mean, I have been to homes that are clutter-sasters, the owners unwilling to part with items due to sentimentality or frugality or some other reason unfathomable to me. I am a ruthless purger.
But you know those houses where no matter what time or day you walk in, things are organized? Because the people living there have, like, systems, and they actually maintain the systems all the time? My sister-in-law AJ is like that. It’s amazing, and slightly intimidating.
I aspire to this. It makes me feel better to live in a clutter-free space. But we have so little time. When exactly do we claw our way out from under the piles–after the dishes are done, the e-mails responded to, the how-was-your-day-honey conversations had?
Since starting my part-time job this September, I had to figure out some things. First was how to feed myself and my family. Once we got that down after a few weeks, it was will I exercise or blog ever again? I strategized and got a schedule that worked.
And a few weeks ago, I realized that I was keeping up with the basic necessities as well as I could, but all the other things–the organizing, the paperwork, the volunteer commitments, the stuff that was backlogged in August–kept piling up. And piling up. And ohmygodI’mdrowning.
I couldn’t find socks because I hadn’t put away three loads of laundry. My sunglasses got buried in what is ironically termed our “organization station” on our kitchen counter. I wasted time I don’t have hunting things down. Everywhere I turned, I was tripping over STUFF: things we didn’t have a place for, or didn’t know what to do with, or were holding until we could donate it or give it back. SO. MUCH. STUFF.
And then our former nanny, the inimitable Abbie, volunteered with her boyfriend to take our kids out for most of a day so we could work on our house kid-free.
On this Saturday, after the kids left with Abbie and Gavin for the Children’s Museum, we spent an hour going over paperwork from six months ago. We spent an hour and a half cleaning out our bedroom, including the closet, which housed:
- approximately 82 dry cleaner hangers I’ve been meaning to bring back to the dry cleaners’
- enough cat hair to construct another cat
- a pair of shoes, not mine, that I borrowed probably four years ago and whose owner I have yet to find (are they yours? I can ship them back to you)
- Jimmy Hoffa
And then, Alan and I–gasp!–went out to lunch. In our neighborhood. By ourselves.
The office / guest bedroom is the next big project, as we only scratched the surface (but the surface revealed that we do actually still have a floor underneath all the cycled-out toys, bike tools, old birthday cards, and miscellany).
So thank you, Abbie and Gavin. Thank you for liking our children enough to take charge of them for five hours. Thank you for giving us the gift of time.
Updates: August to November
- Makes up his own lyrics to songs: “I love my elevator” (to the tune of Pete the Cat loving his white shoes)
- Loves singing “The Hello Song” to everything: “Hello, Mount Rainier, so glad to see you…”
- Quoting from Corduroy: “Quite by axskident…” Actually, he quotes from Corduroy all the time, including: “I didn’t know I’d lost a button!” The boy loves bears. Especially Bear, who goes with us pretty much everywhere.
- Sings loudly and long in his crib after lights-out, which often prompts Audrey to cry for us and ask us, “Make Jamie be quiet.”
- On descending the stairs: “I’m coming down so you better get the party started!”
- Master of the sideways shoulder hug
- Remembers so much: at bedtime, he said, “We maked the beach ball go up,” referring to the Children’s Museum air blower that lifts a beach ball inside a cage (which we have not been to in over a month).
- Favorite thing at playgrounds: climbing. Up ladders, stairs, stumps, etc. Often involving slides, but not always.
- Other favorite thing: running.
- Favorite favorite thing: drumming. On hippo statue at the zoo, on the bathtub, on a low wall at the aquarium, on upside-down strainers, on tabletops and trays, on cups, every available surface.
- Has become a fantastic helper (this from the little dude who used to cry whenever we asked him to put the book he was done with back on the shelf).
- Favorite exhibit at the zoo: water. Favorite exhibit at the aquarium: seeing the ferris wheel on the pier outside.