Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My own happiness project

I was on amazon the other day and found a book called The Happiness Project.  I read a snippet and decided that I needed to work on my own happiness project.  Now, I am not the type to make big resolutions at the start of a new year, because I used to make a big list and then give up after a few days  weeks..  Rather I like to focus on one new thing, big or small, each month.  January was a small start - washing my face every night before bed.  Doesn't seem like a big deal, but I wear make-up on most days so my co-workers can't see how exhausted I really am.  At night, I was getting quite lazy about removing my make-up, so I made it my January resolution.  February was a bad month with the kids being sick quite literally everyday, so nothing really got done.  I did however attempt to get more sleep.  Most nights I am in bed by 10.  Still no where close to 8 hours a night, but it's a start.  March was used to focus on unpacking boxes and organizing our newly remodeled family room and office space.  (Office could still use a little work, but oh well.)  April was supposed to be my month to focus on my body, but Colin chose that month to be my bedtime buddy and required my presence in his room most of the night.  We are slowly stopping that fun game, so now it's time to focus on ME.

May will be my body happiness project.  I said in an earlier post that I actually weigh less than I did when I got married five and a half years ago (has it really been that long???).  Anyway, that's what lack of sleep, running in 3 directions after 3 kids, and sharing my meals - because why eat off your own plate when you can eat off mommy's - will do to you.  But I'm not all toned and pretty yet.  I've got my Self magazine exercises.  I'm focusing on my arms - last night, Keith said they were Santa Claus arms because I was calling them jiggly - and my thighs because I just don't like them.  If I could really add cardio, and if I liked to run or something, then maybe this twin belly thing I've got going on would also go away, but I kind of have a feeling that's the one thing I'm stuck with.  Well that, and those lovely stretchmarks that run rampant...

But I'm not just going to focus on the outside, but the inside as well.  I drink too much pop, eat too much junk, and just don't pay attention to the food I eat.  So starting on Sunday - because I'm weird like that and like to start things on the first day of the week - I'm cutting out pop and coffee.  Well, maybe not coffee.  I mean, I am still a mom of multiples, with one kid who gets up at least 1-2 times a night, and I get up between 5 and 5:30 a.m., and I work full-time... yeah, maybe I will keep the coffee for now.  Ok, so no pop.  And what I'd really like to do is quit the pre-packaged, processed stuff that I usually eat.  Replace it with healthier things like nuts, and fruit and veggies. 

Right now, I am not setting my goal for the whole month, but rather for the first two weeks of May.  Because I know if I set the goal for the entire month, I won't make it.  Two weeks will be my start.  And because I know myself, I will allow one day a week as a free day, because everybody deserves a break.

I have a few other ideas for my body happiness project, as well as what my goal for June is going to be, but I will save those for later and just focus on these few things for now.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I think my children are cute, just not during the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Bedtime for the twins is 7 p.m.  Bedtime for Connor is between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.  So why, at 8:40 p.m., was I still hanging out with three kids in the twins' bedroom???  Because I am a sucker.

I just don't know what Colin's deal is.  When you put him in his crib, he screams bloody murder while you try to walk out the door.  And he got his sister in on it too.  Now she cries until I come back in and lay on the floor.  In fact, they point to the floor and refuse to stop crying until I lay down. 

Yes, I know it's a bad habit.  But unless I want Colin to scream all night, and I really think he would, I don't know what else to do.  I know he had some separation anxiety a few weeks ago.  And ear pain from the chronic ear infection he had, but since he's had the tubes, he doesn't seem to be in pain anymore.  I've tried night lights, no lights, door opened, door closed, shades open, shades closed, me in my bedroom so he can see the light is on and know that I am right there.  Nothing works except for me (or Keith) hanging out in there until they fall asleep.

The other problem is that with me in there, they think it's a party.  They talk to each other, play, throw things (like sippy cups of water) at me, read books, etc.  If they are that busy, why do they need me to hang out with them?

Not only that, but Colin usually wakes 1-2 times a night, and only wants me.  To lay back on the floor.  It sucks.  My back and hips hurt every morning. 

I know I've started a bad habit, but unless I want him to scream (and scream he does!) I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

It is pretty cute though to hear Keira talk.  She will lay there, sucking her thumb, then suddenly sit up and say, "Wubby?  Oh.  Baby? Oh.  (Wubby = Lovey.  And she says "Oh" very contently when she finds them.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Finding Time

"It is good to appreciate that life is now.
Whatever it offers, little or much,
life is now -
this day -
this hour."
~Charles Macomb Flandrau

I was able to take a personal day on Tuesday.  It was a long time coming.  I had previously scheduled it for back in March, but it was a busy time at work (well let's be honest, it's always a busy time at work) but the kids had been sick, and I had been missing a couple days here and there for them, so I felt like I shouldn't miss another day, even though this time the day was for me.  And since I was trying to schedule it on a Tuesday (because the twins are at daycare and Connor has school/does errands with MIL on Tuesdays), it got pushed until the end of April.  Even this week wasn't the best, because Colin got tubes on Thursday, so that meant I was missing two days of work in one week, but I didn't care.  I needed a day to myself.  Do you know I haven't been alone in my house for more than 30 minutes since January 1, 2009???  That's a loooong time. So I made myself keep the day off.  And then the only real plans I made for my personal day was to clean out my closet and switch out my winter clothes for springy/summery ones.  Which, since I keep my off-season clothes in tubs, tubs which are both in our crawl space and garage, tubs which are filled with tons of clothes that no longer fit me because I had babies, actually took a good portion of the day.  But I was able to clean out lots of clothes that I no longer wanted/needed, and packed up THREE garbage bags of clothes to donate.  My closet looks nice and pretty too. ;)

At one point though, I was out in the garage and was headed back into the house.  Keith and his dad had put our gazebo up, so the patio chairs were just sitting there on our deck empty.  I decided to take a break and just enjoy the outside for a bit.  As I was sitting there, watching a robin on the fence, I thought to myself, why am I sitting out here when I have so much to finish up inside?  I was reminded of a part of a book I'm reading, written by a mom of twins.  She said a fellow MoM went to get a facial and then called her to complain that the person doing the facial didn't maximize her time very well.  The MoM went on to say that if the girl would have multi-tasked better, the 45 minute facial would have only taken 20 minutes.  The author tried to explain to her friend that the point of a facial is that it's supposed to take a long time!  It's supposed to be a relaxing experience, where you aren't supposed to keep thinking how long it will last, but rather you should just sit there and enjoy it. 

I realized that I was being her friend.  I mean, when else can I sit on my deck, in silence, just watching the birds?  Um, let's see.  The last time was about the time I was home on maternity leave with Connor.  Way back in the summer of 2006.  WHAT?!?!  That was almost four years ago.  That was the last time I sat on my deck and enjoyed the view.  And now I finally had the chance again, and I was fretting about how it wasn't the best use of my time. 

I realized that I may never get a quiet chance like this again until the kids are all in school.  So I continued to sit outside, watching the robins, forcing myself not to worry about all that was left to do before everyone came home.  For a full TEN minutes.  Hey, it's a start.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You know you are a mom when...

  1. You drive half way to your destination realizing that the whole time, the Wiggles CD has been playing and there are no children in your car.
  2. You go to work with a Mickey Mouse bandaid on your finger.
  3. You make sure all three of your kids have outfits that match, the diaper bag is packed, coats and hats and shoes are all on, yet you are almost to Target and realize you aren't wearing a bra.
  4. You are so hot from running around and getting things ready to go that you aren't even wearing a jacket, so you can't cover up the fact that you are not wearing a bra.
  5. You have extreme interest in how the contents of a diaper look.
  6. You don't know what it's like to eat your dinner while it's still warm.
  7. You decide that since your husband is gone for the evening, it's easier just to feed your kids french toast sticks for dinner than try to make something.  You throw in a banana for good measure.
  8. Since you don't like french toast sticks, especially since this is the third time you've served them for dinner this week, you choose to eat the leftover Easter candy for your dinner.
  9. You know that it is easier to eat the leftover Easter candy on the stairs - away from the prying eyes of your children who will insist on eating it too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What is normal these days?

Background: I was talking with a co-worker about her granddaughter today. Her granddaughter, E, was born a month after Connor. Connor will turn 4 in July. E doesn't talk. Well, she babbles a lot and she says her little sister's name, mom, dad, a couple of other random words, but she doesn't talk-talk. She doesn't have conversations, she doesn't explain to you what she wants. My coworker, D, has said for a long time that it worried her, but her daughter, C, tends not to listen when D makes comments about the way she lives her life. E's little sister was born a few weeks before the twins, so she will be 2 in June. She also has an E name, so I will call her E2. E2 was born with spina bifada. They knew about this before she was born, and she was rushed into surgery a few hours after birth to fix some things. E2 doesn't walk. It took D's daughter a loooong time to get E2 into physical therapy. D doesn't know why. D's daughter lives in my neighborhood. She is a couple of years younger than me.

Where I am going with this: D told me a few months ago that E2 finally was in PT. She is learning to walk with the help of braces and other devices. From what D tells me, she will always need these things. I had Keira at PT today. It was a later appointment, since the PT place took away our early morning time slot. I saw a little girl getting therapy. She was a cutie, smiling at Keira and saying "HI!". As we headed out to the waiting room, I ran into D's daughter. The cutie I had seen inside was E2. C and I chatted for a bit, and I said that I would stop by her house sometime so we could get the kids together. As we left, E said something to us, but I honestly have no idea what she said. It was some sort of babble. Now I know sometimes it's hard to understand Connor when he is talking, especially when he is talking fast, but I can usually figure it out.

When I got to work, I told D that I had seen her grandkids. She was really pushing for me to get together with C and the kids. She thinks that it would be good for C to see what an almost 4 year old should sound like. She thinks that C thinks that there is a stigma associated with kids who are in therapy. D remarked a few times about how she thinks C will respond well when talking with someone who is so calm about having kids in therapy (ME). Am I really that calm about it? I've got two kids in physical therapy and one beginning speech therapy. Is there anything wrong with that? I'm doing what is best for my kids. But when I tell people, mainly people I work with (because let's be honest, I barely do anything besides work and be at home with my kids), they all get a look when I mention therapy, EI, lack of speech, developmental delays. Like, OH, glad I am not her. Glad my kids were all normal. But my kids are normal.

Aren't they???

Even family seems put off when I mention how the twins need these extra services. It took months before my mom accepted that Keira really needed PT. She kept saying they just wanted our money, so of course they weren't going to release her. Then she noticed more and more that Keira's foot turns in when she walks fast, and that her right leg is weaker than her left (hypotonia). My MIL asked me if I really needed to get the twins' evaluated for speech. When I explained that, by 18 months, kids should technically be putting two words together, she thought about how all mine did was scream at 18 months and seem to then be ok with it. Even a co-worker whose son is the same age as the twins asked me just last week where they were with speaking. His son says two words. I started talking about EI and how Colin qualified and he looked at me funny. Well my kid doesn't need that, was expressed on his face.

How do I respond to those sorts of looks?  Comments people may make? I act like it doesn't bother me.  And that is why I appear so calm.  Because maybe it doesn't really bother me.  The kids need the extra help.  They will get the extra help.  Who cares what others think?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Fostering independence, or something like that

There comes a time in every child's life where his/her mother/father/whoever has to step back and let the child play unsupervised.  Clearly, however, the time for my children is not now.  When you leave the twins and Connor unattended for more than 3 seconds, wonderous things happen.  Games, such as, "Let's see who can run on the couch the fastest" and "I can climb higher than you" take place.  Keira also enjoys "Give me back my toy or I will bite you" although she doesn't actually tell the sibling she is going to bite, you just see her lunge at someone with her mouth open.

I should mention though, that even when the children are supervised (by the parent who is not me), fun things happen too.  I came home a few weeks ago to a piece of beautiful crayola artwork.  On the front of my oven.  The drawing was created while the parent who is not me was a few feet away, making dinner.  Or when the parent who is not me was getting stuff ready for the bath and noticed that Colin had climbed into the water-filled tub, fully clothed. (Please note our children are NEVER left alone with a tub full of water.  We barely let them near the bathroom now that they all know the fun that comes with flushing a toilet.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Things I always want to remember about my kids

Or, things I should write down in their baby books but I never have the time to pull the baby books out of their closets because I am too busy chasing after them…

Connor – 3 years, 9 months:
  • Connor sitting on my lap, after getting yelled at for hitting his sister, and asking me, “You happy Mommy?’
  • Laying in bed with him at bedtime and Connor asking me to say prayers.
  • Connor being so excited to help his Daddy make dinner. “I help Daddy make dinner tonight!”
  • Connor asking, “What I help you with mommy?”
  • When you ask Connor if he is a big boy, he will say, "No, I'm Connor."
  • He told me the other day he played in the gym at school with "all my friends."
  • I needed to keep him busy one afternoon, so I gave him a large poster board and some crayons.  When Keith got home, he proudly stated, "Look Daddy at my project!"

 Keira – 21 months

  •   When Keira sees a hair tie in my hair, she will pull on her hair and say “pretty”, letting me know she wants a barrette. (And then Colin pulls on his hair and wants one too!)
  • She has had a word explosion in the past few weeks. She seems to “talk” nonstop.
  • She also loves to march around the house singing some song that she made up.
  • She is the culprit who colored on my stove door while her father was making dinner.
  • I call her the “hoarder” because she is constantly collecting things and carrying them around. Yesterday it was a flashlight, an etch-a-sketch, and a Minnie Mouse pez dispenser.
  • She loves to dress herself. As I was putting away clothes, she stole a Dora shirt and one with Winnie the pooh. I turned around and she had three shirts on. The two that she put on herself were pushed down to her waist. Combined with just a diaper and Dora sandals, she was such a cutie pie walking around.
  • Keira, pushed Colin, then hit him in the head for some unknown reason. Then, because he was crying, she went and found his pacifier and gave it to him because he was crying.

Colin – 21 months

  •  Colin is obsessed with brushing his teeth and going potty. Whenever he see big brother going potty, or just when the mood hits him, he will make a fuss until you sit him on the toilet seat. Not that he actually goes. But he does act so proud of himself.
  • Standing on a bucket. And when the bucket is removed, he walked over and got a diaper box that was in the kitchen and used that instead.
  • Lying in bed with us last night because he was having some sort of fit every time he was put in his crib. He apparently just wanted to be near his mommy. He held onto my finger until he fell asleep.
  • The impish grin he gets when he knows he is being naughty.
  • He loves walking around the living room wearing one Mickey slipper and one brown croc, both of which belong to his big brother.
  • Stealing his brother’s Mickey Mouse shirt and trying to put it over his head.
  • Taking his diaper off, then bringing it to me to put it back on him.
  • Colin is my little monkey.  I have fears of what heights he may climb someday.  Like the kitchen counter.  Or the refridgerator.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Conversations with Connor

It seems like in the past couple of months, Connor's verbal skills have increased ten-fold.  Enough to the point where I actually will ask him to please stop talking for a minute (or ten!) Here are some of our conversations:

Connor: Mommy, you go to work tomorrow?
Me: Yes, I have to go to work tomorrow.
Connor: Oh.  Can Daddy and I come to your office and eat Panda like last time?

(Last time refers to 9 months ago when Keith and Connor surprised me at work with Panda Express.)

Connor: Are the babies older yet?
Me: What do you mean?
Connor: When they are older, Nana and Bumpa can take everyone to McDonalds to play. They can't go yet because they are babies. And we have to take Nana's car and Bumpa's truck so there are enough seats.

Me:  Here are two Hershey kisses.  (Connor asked for some Easter candy.)  Don't tell Daddy I am giving you two of them.
Connor:  Okay Mommy.

Minutes later...
Keith:  Hey bud.
Connor: Hi daddy.  Mommy said not tell you I have two Easter candy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

When is enough, enough?

Last night, as I was rocking a sick little boy, trying to wait for a cue he might throw up, (those cues I missed the night before when he did throw up, all over me...), I thought back to a conversation I had with my mom on Easter. We were at my grandma's house, and she was resting on the couch. We were sitting in the middle of the chaos of five children, 5 and under, running around and creating general mayhem. Out of the blue, my lovely mother said four very shocking words: "You should have another."

I looked around in general disbelief, wondering who she was talking to. I could see my three children: Connor, fighting with his cousin Lexi, over who got which Mickey figuerine (they were basically the same), Keira, marching around singing her made-up song and eating a pretzel stick, crumbs flying everywhere, and Colin, standing on a small chair and falling backwards into my arms because he thought was a fun game, over and over again.

I responded with, "Thanks, but I'm good."

She looked at me with the all-knowing eyes of a mother. "But you want another one, don't you?"

Truth be told, I do and I don't. I grew up with one sister. In my head, before I got pregnant with Connor, I told myself I only wanted two kids. Keith was fine with that as well, coming from a two-sibling household. But then I had Connor. And decided I wanted like a million of them. I had an awesome pregnancy. I was trotting around Disney World, six months pregnant, felt fine the whole time, went into labor the day after my due date, and was up and walking around after giving birth within an hour or so. I could do that again and again.

Keith and I wanted the kids to be roughly 2.5 years apart. I got anxious though, and we started trying just a little earlier than we should have. The morning sickness the second time around was awful. We were planning on our second baby coming in July of 2008. In my heart, I knew I wanted at least three, Keith was still set on this was our last. Surprise, suprise, that 20 week ultrasound showed our two little miracles! I thought twins was God's way of giving me three kids without having to fight Keith for another one! For a twin pregnancy, it was a pretty good one. I worked up until 36 weeks, had the twinkles (no c-section!) 6 days later, and except for Colin's two-week stint in the NICU, had basically healthy babies on my hands.

After the twins were born, and we made it through that first (tough) year, I waited to get the baby urge again. I still don't have it. In my heart, I go back and forth between wanting and not wanting. I think my family is complete with the three we have. But other times, I think, maybe when the chaos is over, and the twins are potty-trained, and I'm not so exhausted all the time... maybe then.

But I think that Keith would leave me if I did get pregnant again. (Not really, because he is not like that. But he might consider it!) He's made it clear he is done. He wants to officially be done DONE, if you know what I mean. He is weird, he is not into adoption. I could see that in my future as well. Maybe if I don't want the morning sickness, the pregnancy exhaustion, the one in twelve chances of having twins again, I could still have another child. I know I've got the love in my heart for him/her.

My mom's comment makes me wonder how many kids she really wanted. Why she stopped at two. Could there have been more? She had preeclampsia with my younger sister, so maybe she was advised not to have another. She is one-third of the daycare team that cares for my kids while my husband and I work. And at this time in our lives, we have to work. She seems stressed out quite a bit on the days she gets 3 kids at a time, could I imagine adding another to a mix? Probably not.

For now, I will just be content with my family of five.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sometimes I wonder about my husband...

I love my husband. He is a wonderful father. He spends time with the kids every day. On those rare occasions where he works late and they are in bed by the time he gets home, he talks about how it sucks that he missed seeing them. He cooks us dinner every night and even does the dishes!

However, on Saturday, I actually said to him, "If you weren't their father, I don't think I'd let you watch my kids alone."

I didn't mean it to be harsh. In fact, he even agreed with me.

The following event actually took place:

On Saturday, while the twins were napping, Connor got out his moon sand (it's like moldable sand) and was playing with it on the kitchen table. Some of it got on the floor, and some of it got on him. I stripped him down to his pull-up (potty training is a work in progress) in the kitchen. He asked to go watch "CARS". Keith was in the kitchen with us.

Me: Can you take him downstairs and put on Cars?
Keith: Sure
Me: And find him some clothes in the laundry basket on the couch.
Keith: Ok.

Keith and Connor walk downstairs together.

About 10 minutes later, I walk past the doorway and look down the stairs. There is Connor, still naked, sitting in his chair watching TV. I come downstairs. There is Keith, on the other side of the half wall, on the computer.

Me: What happened to his clothes?
Keith (looking at me incredulously): He must have taken them off.

I look at Connor. There are no clothes around him. Just the ones still sitting in the laundry basket on the couch.

Me: Um, did you get him dressed?
Keith: No, I mean, what?
Me: You guys walked downstairs together. He was not clothed at the time.
Keith: He wasn't???

Fearing for his safety, I walked back upstairs without saying a word.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Easter Baskets:


Trying to recreate last year's great shot (Connor was purposely pouting, and Keira started saying "cheese!" moments after we put the camera away...)

Everytime we go to my grandma's,
she asks, "Do you think we can get a good shot of all five kids together?"
And everytime, I say, "Probably not."
Someone always has to cry:

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Some new pictures

They all have been beasts this afternoon, so while I wait for them to actually fall asleep, I thought I'd post a few pictures from the past week:

Yes, that's Colin wearing a stocking cap on a 78 degree day.
At least he took the mittens off before I snapped the picture.

Keira's first time with painted nails.
If you ask her to show you her "pretties" she puts her hands out.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Dear Twins...

Dear Beloved Twins of Mine,

We need to have a talk. I think you two underestimate the importance of bedtime. Not for you, but for me. Your mommy. I know bedtime seems to come early to the both of you, but one would assume that after a long day at daycare, preceded by a long night where you two partied it up, that you would both be exhausted and fall right to sleep. However, that was not the case. Let's discuss the unacceptable behavior from last night:
  1. It was warm last night, that's why we left the window open. Yelling out it to the neighbors = unacceptable.
  2. Spitting water at each other, thus soaking your pajamas, bedding, and somehow - the carpet on the other side of room = unacceptable.
  3. Screaming as though I was beating you just because I had to take off your soaking wet pjs = again unacceptable.
  4. Dropping books (Colin) and your lovey (Keira) behind your crib - more than one time - and then saying - "uh-oh" and "oh no!" = as cute as it may have been, still unacceptable.
  5. Unzipping your pajamas, and then undoing your diaper, then fussing because your diaper isn't on correctly anymore = VERY unacceptable

In case you misunderstand me, the issue is this: mommy depends on your bedtime. Immensely. You don't go to bed at 6:30/7 p.m. because you need the rest. (Although you do. Because you insist on only having one nap a day.)

Mommy needs to pick up the house, and do laundry, and play with big brother and put him to bed too. Having to pause mid-sentence during Curious George to go ask you two to keep it down gets tiresome. Plus it's hard enough having to lay in a race car bed with your brother while he says good night to all objects outside his window ("Good night trees. Good night houses. Good night grass. Good nights roofs???).

Also, having to watch Castle in 10 minute increments because we have to keep pausing the DVR to attend to your screams, is quite annoying. We live in a tri-level. That means I have to run up two flights of stairs to get to you.

How about tonight we try something different? How about when we put you to bed, you actually go to sleep? It's a novel idea, but I think something we should try.



P.S. Another thing to try - let's keep diapers on all the time. I know it's the hip thing to undo your diaper, throw it, and run away in the opposite direction, but try not to follow the crowd (aka your twin) and leave the damn thing on! Mommy's getting tired of trying to get the Desitin out of her carpet.