Friday, August 31, 2007
On Wednesday he was cruising around the living room, toddling and holding on to the furniture. To my amazement he let go of the side table and took THREE steps towards the coffee table. Then, in slow motion as I was reaching for him, he fell right into the corner of the coffee table. It was one of those incidents where you know what is going to happen, but you can't stop it in time. From where I was, it looked like the corner had gone into his eye. Fortunately, it was just his forehead. But he cried and I cried and the girls freaked out. Now he has a knot on his forehead above his right eye. I'm just so glad his eye is fine.
About an hour after that, he was walking behind his push toy when it rolled away from him a bit. He let go with one hand as the toy rolled away, so he spun around and landed flat on his back. Now he has a knot on the back of his head.
This morning I walked into the living room just in time to see him pick up my mug of coffee and try to take a sip. Anyone who has spent time around 1-year-olds knows that they take sips by opening their mouths in the general direction of the cup and hoping for the best. Campbell poured hot coffee into his mouth and down his whole front. Fortunately, it wasn't a fresh, scalding cup, but it wasn't cool either. I snatched him up and put him in the kitchen sink and just poured cold water into his mouth and all over his front while he screamed and I panicked.
As I was washing Campbell off, I sent the girls out to get in the car to take Ella to school, and Ella saw the neighbor and told her what had happened. While I was stripping Campbell's coffee-covered jammies off and examining him for burn blisters, Lisa poked her head in and said she'd take Ella to school with her son. I love my neighbors.
Campbell is fine. No burns anywhere, not even in his mouth. Phew.
About an hour after that, Campbell, Lily and I were in the front yard waiting for Heidi, who was taking Lily to school. When Heidi arrived, she and I chatted with Lisa for a minute while Lily climbed in the car. As we were talking, Campbell was pushing his stroller around the grass in the front yard. Yet again, I tured just in time to see him hit the border of the garden with the wheel of the stroller and take a slow tumble into the plants. He ended up flat on his back on top of some Mexican Heather. He stayed still for a moment, almost like he was thinking, "really? again?" I scooped him and just started crying. It was one accident too many for me.
In the midst of all the chaos this morning, I drank WAY too much coffee, and I'm still buzzing like a hummingbird, which doesn't help my nerves at all. If I weren't running a race tonight, I'd already have poured myself a glass of wine. But in the meantime, I'd love recommendations for a good colorist. I'm thinking I'd look good as a red-head.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
I had been doing well at running with other people at least twice a week, which is good for me. I tend to run farther and faster than I would if I were running alone. But then my problems with plantar fasciitis popped up, and I took some time off. When I tried to run with people again after that, it was a disaster; I couldn't keep up and had to cut runs short or walk.
When I whined to Jen about how my running was going so badly, she asked a crucial question: "Are you starting out slowly enough?" Slightly offended, I responded by saying, "Of course I am. I know I have to start slow and work into my pace." But then I thought more about the two runs that were the worst and realized Jen was exactly right - I hadn't started slowly enough.
The first run was with Liz; we did 5 miles on the trail. I told her I was going to slow her down at the start because I've run with her long enough to know that she tends to bolt from the get-go. And she was pretty good about going slowly, but after the fact I knew it hadn't been as slow as I needed. Plus she'd do these little speed bursts any time someone fast passed us. She wasn't aware she was speeding up, but suddenly she'd be four steps ahead of me and taking off. I ended up dropping back at mile 4 and going into tippy-toe mode just to be able to finish.
A few weeks after that, when I was still nursing my PF, I ran with Anne, and I fell apart on a three-mile run. Again, even though we started slowly, it obviously wasn't slowly enough.
So on all my recent runs, which I've done solo, save the one time I had Campbell in the jogger, I've started out at tippy-toe pace. Walkers probably could have passed me, but I didn't care. I crept along, slowly building momentum until I was moving along at a speedier pace. On all of the runs, I felt comfortable AND I was able to tack on extra distance. And I finished each run with strides.
I needed those runs to keep up my enthusiasm for running. I'm not sure how many times I can start over again before I get so frustrated and chuck my running shoes in Town Lake and never go back.
But before that happens, I'm running in the Fila Relays tomorrow night. I'm on a team with Heidi, Anne, and Julia. Our team name is "4 moms, 10 kids." Wish us luck.
I know it's mean, but really I'm just so excited about the gift that I can't wait to give it to her. I may not even save it for our party next Sunday. We're having a joint early celebration for Campbell's first birthday and mom's somethingth birthday. It will be very low-key - family and neighbors at the Central Market playground for play time, cake and ice cream.
I wasn't even going to do a real party, but the girls have been talking of nothing else for the past week or so. And when I told Ella we were having an early party for Campbell, she asked if we could have another on his real birthday and invite some of his baby friends for cupcakes. As far as she and Lily are concerned, it's not a birthday unless there's a party and cake.
I understand their feelings, though. I remember my sister fell asleep during dinner on her first birthday, so mom decided to put her to bed and save her cupcake and candle for the next night. I was horrified that she wouldn't get a cupcake ON her actual birthday. Mom's assurances that Sarah wouldn't know the difference didn't help me at all. Fortunately I've grown a bit more mature about birthdays, but only a bit.
To make the girls happy, we will probably have cake again on Campbell's real birthday, but only because I love cake.
And I can't wait to give mom her gift so I can post what it was. That's how much I love it.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
This picture really doesn't even do the mess justice. It shows only a small part of the scattered noodles and peas. I actually found noodles stuck to the wall. So after Campbell was in bed and while the girls were in the shower, I got down and cleaned up the mess. I never knew angel hair pasta could be so hard to pick up.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
But I am so glad that school is back in session. As my husband will tell you, I'm a creature of habit and routine. Take me out of my little rut for too long and I fall apart and get cranky. B could have stayed at the beach another week, but I needed to get home to my own house and my own bed and my own shower and my own stuff. Plus I needed to get the kids back into their routines; I firmly believe kids need a set, predictable routine in their lives.
Campbell had been sleeping really well in the months before our trip, but it all fell apart while we were at the beach. One night I had to nurse him back to sleep four times. I didn't want to let him cry it out because I didn't want to wake up the whole house, so I fostered bad habits by getting him up and nursing him. Our first night home was miserable. He woke up at 4:00, but I didn't get him out of bed. I just patted him and gave him back his blanket, and he was NOT happy about it. It took an hour for him to go back to sleep, and I lost track of the number of times I went in to settle him down. But last night he went back to his old routine of sleeping until 5:00, nursing and going back to sleep until 7:15. I finally feel like I'm getting over my sleep deprivation.
Routine helps with the kids, too. We'd been lax about bedtimes during the summer because we didn't need to be anywhere until 9:00, when I took Lily to preschool. But now we need to get back to our dinner, bath, stories, bed schedule, and I couldn't be happier. I like having a plan to follow every evening. The girls are happier because they're getting more sleep at night. Which means they're easier to deal with during the day - except for Lily yesterday.
I'm also getting back into my daytime routine. I take Lily to school and then come home and straighten up the house while Campbell noodles around. When he goes down for his nap, I get work done - without having to entertain a bored, floppy Ella. Getting work done during the day means less work after the kids go to bed, which makes B happy.
A few more days, and I'll have every little bit of my day accounted for, and I'll be so happy.
Monday, August 27, 2007
She can write in cursive (sort of)
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Mostly it was because of my kids. Campbell decided yesterday morning that he just didn't like the beach - not one little bit. He spent most of the time we were down there clinging to me and whining. Lily was just exhausted, so she spent most of the morning crying over every little thing - putting on sunblock, hot sand, waves, salt water. You name it, she cried about it. So after an hour, I gave up and trudged back to the house, lugging Campbell and dragging Lily, who protested the whole way that she was NOT tired. I hosed them off and settled Lily in her bed with Bitty-Baby and Baby Maggie Eudora and told her I'd put on a movie after I fed Campbell his lunch. Of course, by the time I was finished bathing Campbell and feeding him, Lily was sound asleep.
Lily woke up a new child after her three-hour nap, but Campbell was still miserable. We spent an hour at the beach in the afternoon before I gave up again and headed back to the house. Once we were cleaned up, I took him to the store to buy baby tylenol since I suspected his teeth were bothering him and stuff for dinner. Then we went back to the house where I cleaned up the kitchen and swept the floor, grumbling about how I was doing the same thing I'd be doing at home, just with a different view.
I was not in a good mood by the time everyone arrived for the group dinner, and B's pouring a drink down my throat didn't really help. I sat in the corner and glowered before finally going to bed.
But I woke up this morning feeling so much better about the universe. I dropped Campbell on B at 8:00 so I could go running, and I actually had a decent run. Campbell was a much happier baby and actually loved the beach today. He spent an hour in the shade moving seashells from one bucket to another and back again. When I took him down to the water, he happily crawled around in the shallows and splashing in the waves. Everyone took a good rest time and we had a great afternoon at the beach. It was a wonderful way to finish up our time here.
So now we pack and round up towels and bathing suits and books and head for home tomorrow, back to real life and work and school - Ella starts first grade on Monday. It doesn't seem possible.
Friday, August 24, 2007
This house has been the perfect place for us to stay. It's right on the beach, which means we can come and go all day long. We usually head down to the beach at about 10 am, once we've gotten everyone in suits and slathered in sun screen. We stay at the beach until kids start complaining of hunger and then come in for lunch and rest time. The older kids watch a movie or play board games while the littler ones and parents nap. We head back to the beach at about 4, after the heat of the day, and stay until 7, or the kids start begging for dinner, which ever happens first.
This year's trip has been especially fun with Campbell along. He loves sitting in the sand and "digging" with his shovel. And yesterday he spent half an hour crawling all over the place, looking very like a small sea turtle wearing a hat. He's not sure about the waves, but he eventually works his way up to sitting and splashing in the waveletts.
Lily has been a rockstar so far this trip. Her sudden love of the water has been on display here. She's been boogie boarding for hours each day; yesterday her knees were rubbed raw from landing in the sand after riding the waves. This morning she crashed big time, though. She spent most of her time on the beach crying about everything that was wrong. So at lunch time I brought her and Campbell up to the house to rest. She was asleep within minutes of crawling into her bed.
Ella, of course, is having the time of her life boogie boarding and floating around in inner tubes with the other kids. Today she was the last one out of the water when it was time to come up for lunch.
We have one more full day at the beach tomorrow before heading home on Sunday. Our stay of five days and four nights is always the perfect length - the kids are always wiped out by the time we leave and sleep the whole way home.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
I think this hits home especially hard for me because one of B's younger brothers died in a horrible, senseless accident involving a gun when B was 14 and his brother was 12. His family is still dealing with the effects of J's death, more than 2o years later. I feel so sad for the Jenkins family and what they will be going through in the weeks, months and years ahead.
So last night I gave my kids extra hugs and snuggles and didn't get too upset when Campbell got up three times in the night.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I'm a bit nervous about the drive with the three kids. I've decided I'm packing a stroller, just so I have someplace to park Campbell when we go into restrooms. I don't want to have to put him down to crawl around in god-knows-what. I've also decided that we're eating at "real" restaurants - Applebee's or Luby's or the like, just so I'm not trying to wrestle three kids and trays at a fast-food place. Fortunately, it's only one meal that I have to worry about. I'll put a small cooler in the front seat with juice boxes and bottles for the kids and a bag with lots of easy-to-distribute snacks. Each girl is allowed to pick out three movies to take with us, and I'll be allowing them to veg out the whole way there. Driving solo is not the time to encourage activities like license plate bingo and I Spy. The girls will be fine - it's Campbell who's likely to be the big problem. He still faces backwards, so he can't watch movies, and he doesn't like being trapped in his seat for more than an hour or so. I foresee lots of rest breaks.
I'm reminding myself to treat it as an adventure, not a source of stress and frustration. We'll get there when we get there; B can easily cool his heels waiting for us. Plus I will earn SO many bonus points on the marriage/parenting scorecard for this one! I'll win any debate with, "Remember the time I drove for six hours with three kids all by myself?"
So now I'm off to make lists of things to remember - keys and instructions for housesitter; power cords for the laptop, cell phone, and iPod; my work files; dictionary and thesaurus for my new work project; clothes for the kids; etc.
Wish me luck!
Monday, August 20, 2007
It's the little things that you don't think about that are the hardest. Like I need to get the oil changed in my car before our possibly canceled trip to the coast on Wednesday. But doing so means dragging all three kids to the dealership with me, which isn't high on my list of fun things. I bartered with a neighbor, and she watched the kids for an hour this morning so I could take the car to the dealership. Turns out there was a wait of more than an hour (they didn't tell me this until after I'd been there 20 minutes). I didn't want to make the neighbor stay at the house that long with six kids - her three, my three - so I left. But the oil still needs to be changed. I'm planning to go tomorrow morning when the shop opens and bribe the kids with promises of treats from the bakery if they behave. That'll work for the girls, but not for Campbell. It could be a difficult 30 minutes.
Or running - how do I get to go running? The girls are going to a party tomorrow morning from 9:30 until lunchtime. I suppose I could pop Campbell in the jogger while they're gone, but I don't relish the idea of running that late in the morning when it's nice and hot. But it's what I need to do if I'm going to get a run in.
And who relieves single parents when they're sick? I wound up with a killer migraine at about 11 this morning, so bad that I was nauseated for several hours. I packed the girls off to seperate rooms for quiet time and let the baby crawl around in the living room, destroying the newspaper while I rested on the sofa. The headache's mostly gone, but I still don't feel well, and it's still four hours until bedtime. How do I keep everyone entertained, especially since I don't feel well enough to load everyone in the car for a field trip to the bookstore or library?
These brief spells of single parenting make me so profoundly gratefull for B and everything he does around the house, even if I do grinch about how he doesn't take out the garbage. Having a partner in this adventure called parenting makes things so much easier. My hat is off to all those who are doing it on their own.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
The comments on the post were interesting. One woman said that having more children has become acceptable because families are willing to hire "support staff" to help with raising the children and that if she could afford staff, she'd have more. I felt the need to throw my two cents in, which I shouldn't have. I posted that I have three kids, not out of a need for competition, but because I love babies and that if we had a larger house, car and income, I'd be tempted to have more kids.
But then there were other responses that got my hackles up. One said that only wealthy people can afford to put gas in the huge SUVs, so they might as well have lots of kids to fill up the seats. Another said that anyone who has kids as a status symbol has something wrong with them. One other mother adopted a holier-than-thou tone about her one kid and her Prius. Even though I'm neither an SUV driver nor a status-symbol mom, I felt the need to defend myself. But I held off. I worried that if I posted a response, it could start a flame war. I know and like Bitsy, and I didn't want to be the cause of unpleasantness on her blog. However, I feel the need to say something.
So I'm responding here. This is what I almost posted:
I'm not a member of the country club set. Not even close. We don't belong to a country club, never have. We live in a 1600 square-foot house in one of the not-quite-gentrified neighborhoods in north central Austin. We have to rely on our free neighborhood pool for splash time, not the residents-only pool you find in the more exclusive sub-divisions. I drive a Hyundai Tucson, with all three kids crammed in the back seat, not some ginormous SUV with seating for 10. Except for the cleaning lady who comes once every other week, I don't have support staff. It's me and my husband raising our kids, cooking, cleaning and caring for them. We didn't have kids to show off how wealthy we are. Instead, we've deliberately chosen a streamlined and economised lifestyle that allows me to be at home full time. I'm proud that I'm an ordinary mom raising her kids. I enjoy what I do, aside from the occasional temper tantrum, sibling war and long rainy day. I'm sure there are parents out there who have kids to show off, who look at them as status symbols, but please don't lump everyone who has more than two children into that category. Some of us have larger families because we like having kids and being parents.
There, now I feel better.
Friday, August 17, 2007
It was a bit tough for a while this morning. A wanted to play with Ella, the big girl, but Lily didn't want to do more perler beads with them. I finally asked Walter's mom if Ella could go over there to play. Once Ella left, Lily was much happier - she had her friend all to herself to play dress up and babies with. O and Campbell and I did puzzles, which was fun. Campbell destroyed the puzzles as fast as O and I put them together.
This afternoon Walter is here while his mom is at the store. He and Lily are watching Winnie the Pooh while Ella does perler beads, again.
I really like that our house is a popular play place for my kids and their friends. I hope that I'm something of the "fun mom" to visit. Despite the noise and mess, I like the commotion of lots of kids hanging out and playing. It makes me feel like I'm doing my job of "mom" right.
Now I'm going to go make popcorn and lemonade for the kids' movie-time snack.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
At dinner, my dementia got much worse. I actually told Lily to turn off the table and come to the TV. The girls just stared. Then I told Lily to eat more of her corn, even though she had finished it and I really wanted her to eat her chicken. There are other examples of mangled sentences that I can't even remember. B will confirm that I was a mess. The finale was realizing, just as everyone finished their meals and cleared their plates, that the bread was still in the oven. Big sigh.
I'm hopeful that once everyone is in bed I'll be able to unscramble my brains and get a good night's sleep. Maybe by then my whole body won't hurt from all my injuries. I went on Ella and Lily's theory that band-aids make you feel better and bought a new box of SpongeBob bandages at the store. So far they're not working. The cuts on my knees still hurt. I took pictures of my wounds, but they didn't come out well, so I'll spare everyone the scary sight.
Until next time, "Wha?"
I blame the fall on my stiff neck, which I got as a result of inner-tubing behind the boat this weekend. Ella and I were on the tube together when B decided he needed to whip across the wake really fast. I lost my grip first and went flying. Julia said I did at least one somersault, but it felt more like three. Ella went flying, too, and when I popped up she was floating beside me with big, scared eyes. That night something in my neck popped and I've been sore and stiff ever since. It hurts to look down, so I wasn't watching my footing while running like I usually do. I have no idea what it was I tripped over: It could have been an ant.
Despite the bangs and scrapes, I was more worried about my glasses and my iPod, which were both tucked in the waist of my shorts. Fortunately both survived without injury.
I'm already worried about my left knee. The knee cap has already turned purple and started to swell beneath the cuts. It would be just my luck to have done some real damage this time around. I just can't seem to catch a break with running this summer.
Lily seems to have to inherited my lack of land-based coordination. Her poor knees and shins are a mess of bruises and scrapes from her many falls. Last week she wiped out at the Central Market playground and came over crying and bleeding. Once B cleaned her up, we realized that she didn't have a new injury - she had just ripped the scab off an old one.
Most of the time Lily pops right up after she falls and shouts, "I'm OK!" I would have liked to have done that this morning, but instead I just sat on the sidewalk, using my bandana to wipe off the blood and muttering miserably about how much I hate running right now.
Monday, August 13, 2007
These are this year's Christmas sweaters for the girls. The top is Ella's.This is a sweet little sweater for Lily. Here's a close-up of the knitted lace that's on the collar, waist and cuffs and the cute bunny buttons.
Mom made this pink sweater for Ella's second Christmas. Looking at it now, it's hard to believe Ella was ever small enough to wear it. If I remember correctly, it's a shaker knit pattern.
She wanted me to get in the water and swim with her and a noodle. I convinced her to come down the ladder without my help and got her to hold onto the noodle instead of my neck. After a few minutes of floating like that, I slowly edged away from her until I was just holding the very end of the noodle. Then I let go. She bobbed around for a minute before she noticed I wasn't holding on. Before she could get upset, I told her how great it was that she was FLOATING BY HERSELF!!!! That was all it took.
By the end of the day she was climbing into the lake with her noodle without any help and without a grownup with her. We had to keep an extra-close eye because she kept getting in without telling us what she was doing.
I think next time we go she'll be ready to just swim with her life jacket on. I'm so thrilled at the progress she's made over the past few months. It was more than I hoped for.
Lily also had another exciting first this weekend. On Saturday she figured out how to climb up into the front tree and get back down again without any help. Now she can get in the tree just like Ella, even if she can't climb as high.
Saturday, August 11, 2007
It was even worse when I decided I needed "Target stuff" like dog food and paper towels AND groceries, because then I'd head off to SuperTarget. I'd come out of there with all the usual random Target stuff and expensive groceries. They advertise lower prices, and some stuff is less expensive, but the overall bill is always more than good old HEB. Plus there's the 20-minute drive to get there.
I just love going to Target. There's no other way to say it.
So I cut myself off, cold turkey. I buy the dog food at HEB even if it is $2.00 more expensive there, and I order diapers from 800diapers.com, which delivers them to my house.
But tonight I broke down. I made my first trip to Target in two months - to buy Ella's school supplies for first grade. I was a little nervous about going. It's my equivalent of sending a compulsive gambler into a casino for a quick hand of poker. I found everything on Ella's list except the red pencils with erasers, and I didn't buy any extra supply stuff like a backpack or lunchbox. Hers from last year will work just fine. I also didn't buy her a first-day outfit because I want her to pick out her own. I've decided that's our little ritual.
Other than school supplies I bought snacks for the lake trip tomorrow and some baby food. I can almost honestly say that I only bought necessary items; "almost" because I did break down and buy a People magazine and a bag of Twizzlers. I couldn't help myself.
Friday, August 10, 2007
I had that kind of a moment yesterday. I had ordered pictures of the kids from Ofoto and had them printed at the CVS on Guadalupe so that I could use one of the prints for my m-i-l's birthday present. I stopped in at the CVS on the way home from fetching Lily, so I had all three kids with me. The photo counter had a self-serve (and why does every store feel the need to let us serve ourselves? I do enough serving of others around the house. I go to stores so someone else can do things for me, for a change) basket, but I didn't find my pictures in it. So I gathered a few items and stood in line with three impatient kids while the apparently only employee in the store slowly rang up people's purchases.
When it was finally our turn, I asked if she could look for the pictures for me. She drifted over to the photo counter and rummaged around for a moment before remembering that she didn't know what name to be looking for. After poking around for another moment, she came back and told me she didn't know where they were and that I'd have to come back later when the manager was in the store - he was out on a coffee break. My jaw literally dropped. I asked for the store number, paid for my purchases and left, trailing kids and muttered curses behind me.
A few hours later I called and asked for the manager, who put me on hold for ages so that he could look for the photos. He finally told me they were ready and that I was free to come by any time and ask for him so I could pick them up. I drove over to the store, fuming. When I arrived, the manager, Ben, was sitting in the photo lab doing nothing but twirling slowly in the spinny chair even though there was a line of customers at the check-out register.
After he handed me my pictures, I thanked him through gritted teeth and he responded, "No problem at all!" You know the scene in "High Fidelity" when John Cusak fantasizes that he punches Tim Robbins in the face and one of his staff members clobbers Robbins with the cash register? That's what I envisioned doing to the guy. So I stomped out before I really did throw a punch.
About halfway home, the perfect response came to me. Here's what I should have said:
No problem? Of course it wasn't a problem for you. You're just sitting there twirling in a chair. It was a HUGE problem for me. I had to make two trips here, once with three kids in tow, because apparently you're such a lousy manager that you can't provide quality customer service. Instead of telling me it wasn't a problem, how about thanking me for coming back and apologizing profusely for the the problem that you caused.
But of course, it was too late for that. And I wouldn't have been able to deliver the speech in anything resembling a calm, rational manner. I would have ended up screaming and cursing. So instead I vented to B when I got home. And now I'm blogging about Ben, the horrible manager.
But to all you reading this in Austin - stay away from the CVS on Guadalupe and 29th!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
For a long time this was Ella's favorite sweater because of the polka-dots on the buttons. She was really upset when she grew out of it and Lily was able to start wearing it. The newest version is in Campbell's room, so I'll have to add a picture of that one later.
I'm afraid Ella loved this sweater to death. It's showing the wear and tear. If you go to the large version of the picture and squint at the lower left corner, you can see that mom knit EG into the pattern of the sweater. Ella absolutely loved that it had her initials, especially once Lily was born. Ella knew that she'd never have to share the sweater with Lily because she didn't have the right intials.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
First I missed Wednesday morning running because of the after-effects of a migraine last night. Then Campbell woke up on the wrong side of the planet and nothing made him happy. The first of many rounds with Ella ended well, but after that things deteriorated - especially after she jumped on her brother's head after climbing a door frame. I sent her to her room so I could calm down and get Campbell settled. But that sent her into hysterics about how unfair I was for sending to her room for accidentally jumping on her brother. Nevermind that we've told her time and again she's not allowed to climb door frames when Campbell's on the loose. While I was trying to explain things to her, she threw a lovie at me, which got her sent into time out, leading to more hysterics.
After getting jumped on, Campbell was just plain miserable for hours. He whimpered regardless of whether he was in my lap on the sofa or if we were sitting on the floor playing with toys. Even nursing him didn't help. His crankiness lasted until his bath time, when he perked up considerably.
While I was picking up Lily from school my iPod died, again. I'll probably have to send it back to HP, again. This will be the third time I've had to send it back for replacement. And because it's an iPod + HP, I can't just take it to the Apple store. They won't touch it because it has HP software on it, or so a snippy 19-year-old informed me the first time the thing broke. If I didn't love my iPod so much it wouldn't be so bad, but I've gotten used to not having to listen to radio stations.
As I was messing with my iPod, refereeing the girls and attempting to soothe Campbell, B told me he has to go to Mexico City for a meeting about the development project in San Miguel de Allende. It wouldn't be a big deal except for the timing. I'll have to drive down to South Padre for our annual beach tip with the kids and pick B up at the airport in Harlingen on the way. Sigh. I'm not looking forward to 6 hours in the car with three kids and no reinforcements.
Dinner was the final straw. I actually cooked a meal tonight instead of just heating something up. As I was getting ready to plate everything up, B strolled out dressed in work clothes. He claims he told me that he had a 6:00 meeting, but I have no memory of it. So I plated up dinner for me and the girls, but of course Campbell was ready to go to bed. So I left the girls at the table while I nursed the baby. Ella and Lily both came into the living room to tell me they didn't like dinner, which was roasted chicken, wild rice and steamed broccoli, not exactly exotic fare. I spent the afternoon cooking a dinner that no one but me ate, and mine was cold by the time I got to eat it.
The girls are in their jammies, teeth brushed and ready for stories. Campbell's in his crib slowly winding down. I'm dreading the evening ahead; I have hours of work ahead because it was impossible to work during the day.
I think I'm ready to resign my job.
This has been tough for me. I think it's human nature to defend your actions no matter what, even if you have been dead wrong about something - our president is a prime example. It's also in my nature to get completely stubborn about things and refuse to back down. But sometimes Ella is right that I'm not being fair to her or that I've done something that I shouldn't have.
This morning was a good example. I told Ella not to do something, and she looked at me and did it anyway. So I sent her to timeout. I stand completely by that decision. Later, I found a note from Ella on my desk asking why I don't put Lily in timeout every time she hits, kicks or pinches her. My immediate reaction was to argue that I can't put Lily in timeout each time because it happens so often - Lily would spend her entire life in timeout - and because often Lily does stuff while we're out in public or in the car, when it's impossible to put her in timeout.
But instead of arguing with Ella about this, I took a deep breath and a step back and switched courses. I wrote a note back that said, "You're right. I don't do a good job of putting Lily in timeout each time she hits, pinches or kicks you. I'm sorry. I love you."
Lily delivered the note to Ella, who came out and gave me a big hug. Sometimes sorry really is the best thing to say.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
This morning I celebrated another first. Ella has finally figured out how to ride her bike without training wheels. She's been close for so long but just lacked the confidence. Two weeks ago B took her up to the parking lot at our neighborhood school and turned her loose. Once she didn't have to worry about riding off the sidewalk or hitting bushes or cars, she took off. He said she rode up there for close to an hour. Now that she can ride, I get asked, "Can I ride my bike?" at least 10 times a day.
So this morning I decided I'd take Ella down to the Trail and let her go for a ride. I put Campbell in the jogger and off we went. Ella did a super job of staying on the right side of the trail and passing people very carefully. Before we started out, I talked to her about the rules of the road to make sure she wasn't one of those kids who plows over runners. She took the lessons to heart and was very, very careful.
She rode 2 1/2 miles without a problem. Although, at the end she did say her legs were tired. She came home and ate a huge snack and chugged a ton of water and then asked if she could ride her bike around the block. I wish I had half her energy.
But I was so thrilled to be out there running with Ella riding ahead of me. I love that I can teach her to lead a healthy lifestyle and share my love of running and the Trail. Plus it seems like just yesterday she was riding in the jogger while I ran. But now here she is, leaving me in her dust.
Monday, August 06, 2007
We spent yesterday at the lake with friends, which was wonderful, as always. I love watching all the kids floating around in the water on their noodles, screeching every time a boat makes huge waves for them.
Several notable things happened yesterday, though, that made it particularly memorable.
Molly had a similar day. Usually she is content to hang out in the hammock with Lily or splash in Campbell's little pool on the dock. But yesterday she floated around in the water on a raft with her mom. It was so cool to see both her and Lily make such a giant leap in their comfort with the water.
Finally, Luke surprised the heck out of us all. Back in June he started copying Ella's giant leaps out to the floating raft - about 4 feet from the dock. Lisa was stunned that he had attempted it - he's not really a risk taker. Now he jumps to the raft without even thinking about it. A few weeks after that, he worked his way up to jumping off the diving board without someone below to catch him. Lisa and I were talking about whether Luke would ever follow Ella's example in jumping off the roof of the dock. Lisa just didn't think he would. But towards the end of the day, I looked up to see Luke and Ella up on the roof. Ella counted to three and jumped. Luke hesitated for a moment and then went for it. Lisa was helping Molly with something and missed the great event. Fortunately, Luke gave a repeat performance.
I am so proud of all the kids for the progress they're making at the lake, but especially these three yesterday. We'll have a whole little tribe of water rats by the time the summer is over.
Friday, August 03, 2007
Not so much.
I've taken all three kids swimming by myself once before, but it was at Shelly's in-law's house, not a public, crowded pool. Things went ok that day because it was easy to keep an eye on Ella as she swam all over the place and because Shelly's mother-in-law was there helping with the little ones.
Tuesday, or maybe it was Wednesday, was a disaster. It took forever to get everyone sunblocked and in the water. And just as I got Campbell's floaty-boat blown up and him in it, the lifeguards blew the whistle for their ten-minute break. So I dragged everyone out and plied them with snacks.
When we got back in, I put Campbell in his boat, which he decided he didn't like after about five minutes. Then Ella wanted me to go in the deep end with her, but Lily decided she needed to cling to me while we were in the deep water. I had Campbell in his boat, but the only way he wouldn't cry was if I had my arm around him from underneath, which sort of defeated the point of the boat. After five minutes I dragged everyone back to the shallow end, with much protesting from Ella.
I put Campbell in the stroller in the shade and let him have rice cakes, even though they had caramel on them, just to keep him happy. I played with Lily, clapping when she glided to me. Then we went back to the deep end with Ella for a while. Things went ok like that until Ella and Lily discovered that they could a. fit in Campbell's boat, and b. actually float in it. Sharing the boat quickly turned into arguing over who had the longer turn in the boat.
That's when I decided to call it a day. It was just too hard, even with Liz and Shannon there for support. I spent the drive home trying not to cry in frustration. I've gotten quite adept at going places with three kids, so it's hard when I find myself in a situation where I can't cope. I descend into a pity party, thinking about how I'll never be able to go the pool, or the park, or breakfast with friends ever, ever again. I know that's not really the case, but it's hard to remember that in the midst of great chaos and fighting.
Today I decided that I needed to get back on the horse and try again to take all three kids someplace. I heard through the running grapevine that Nordstrom had running shorts on sale.
I had a Nordstrom gift card left from my birthday, so I became determined to brave the mall. I promised the girls cookies if they behaved. And miracle of miracles, they did. I was able to get running shorts and a shirt from Nordstrom. Then we bought cookies to eat on the ride home. We also went to Bath & Body Works to get shampoo for the girls. We have nightly fights over shampooing, and I figured that maybe we'd have fewer fights if Ella and Lily got to pick out their own shampoo. We now have apple-scented American Girl brand shampoo. We'll see how tonight's bath goes.
Things went great until we pulled onto our street, then all hell broke loose. Ella was doing something that Lily didn't like, so Lily bit Ella's finger, hard enough to almost draw blood. So Ella started screaming in pain. Lily started screaming when I told her she had to go into the "time out" corner as soon as we got in the house. Campbell started screaming because his sisters were screaming. Sigh.
Despite the bad end to the trip, I felt much better about my life as a mother of three when we got home. I proved to myself that I really am capable of taking all three kids out in the world successfully. I'm not destined to be a shut-in until all three kids are in school full time.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
L: Mom, mom, mom!
H: Not now. I'm on the phone.
L: But I need to tell you something!
H: Lily, I'll talk to in a minute when I'm off the phone.
L: But Campbell's splashing in the potty!
H: $(*%(_)*( Is there pee in the potty?
L: Yes. But no poop.
Gran: Hysterical laughter
Scene 2: Running around trying to get three kids in the car.
H: Ella, after we take Lily to school Miss Kristen is coming over to stay with you and Campbell while I'm at a work meeting.
E: Yay. We can listen to Joe McDermott while Miss Kristen's here!
H: Oh I bet Miss Kristen will just LOVE that.
E: I don't think you meant "love" in the good way.
H: Nope, I sure didn't.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
I first noticed a problem a few weeks ago; by the end of the day my heels would be throbbing. It felt like I'd been in high-heels all day instead of my Keens. I asked Liz and mom about PF since they've both had it, mom badly enough to need surgery, but they both said their pain was worse first thing in the morning. So I figured my pain was due to being on my feet a lot.
Things got much worse though. I especially noticed the pain when I was up with Campbell in the middle of the night during our week of Ferberizing (which is going much better now). I'd get up to check on Campbell and end up hobbling to the front of the house.
So I switched to wearing my Birks and my Danskos, both of which have good arch support. I started stretching obsessively and icing the bottoms of my feet with a frozen water bottle. I even took a week off running. I thought things were better, so I went running this morning. Part-way through the run, as we were running backwards up the spiral ramp at Lamar, I felt something in my right foot pop, and I spent the rest of the run in pain.
I'll continue icing and stretching and not wearing my super-cute new shoes and take the next two days off. My goal is to be able to run with Liz on Saturday. Of course, with all the time I'm taking off, I may not be able to even remotely keep up with her.