Monday, March 30, 2009

Adam and Eve

For Lent, we are talking to Ander about God everyday. The other day, we talked about Adam and Eve. We tried to explain the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Then we gave up, and just explained it was the "to not to" Tree. You know, because Mater says, "to not to." Sigh.

Ander listened patiently.

Then he exclaimed. "I know Eve! She's on Wall-E."


Loki ate half a jar of carrots and half a jar of green beans today. After 4 weeks of trying, at almost 7 months of age, he deemed to swallow a couple of bites, before restarting his game of clap, spit, and smile.

Progress. Baby steps. Appreciating the little things.



Wednesday, March 25, 2009

To Not To

"Mommy, I hurt myself when I fly."

"Then, Ander, what did you learn about flying in the house?"


Mommy sighs and answers her own question.

"To not to."

Thank you, Mater, for supplying the words when I am too tired to do so myself.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why Do Certain Things Never Get Done

I know the dishes have to get done. And I am really good about unloading the plates and the silver (stainless stain...but you know what I meant) while warming supper in the microwave. But I never reload the dishwasher and turn it on. I clean the inside of the tub. But I rarely wipe down the part where the soap and shampoo sits. I clean the toys from the living room, but leave the baby nail clippers sitting on the counter.

Alan is worse than me. He unloads the groceries, but leaves anything that doesn't go in the frig on random counters. He puts pacifiers on top of the tv (not the usual spot) in hopes he will use the paci later. (He won't, because when Loki is screaming for the paci, Alan won't think to look on the tv.)

Things in our house have a home. And if we just put things there, or talked about it and created a home for new stuff, we'd have a much neater, easier-to-live-in home.

So what's stopping us?


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Working Out With Kids

I'm really trying to train for next year's March for the Cure 5K. Yes, a 5K is only 3.2ish miles. But that's IN A ROW. Timed. So girl-who-has-never-ran-over-a-mile-in-a-row has to train.

But I have a 3-year-old and a baby.

So I run when Daddy is home to watch them. I run with them in the double stroller. I go to Jazzercise when the weather is bad or my muscles are too tired to run and for some strength training. I stretch at home, on the floor with the kids. I do push-ups and sit-ups (attempt, not do...attempt is a far more accurate word :/...yikes) with Ander. I do Loki lifts. (Twenty-plus pounds of solid lard, people. TWENTY. At 6 months!)

It's hard to work out and have kids.

I miss Strollerfit classes, but know I couldn't have done them with these two kids.

So I run.

If anyone else runs really, really, really slow and wants to do a mile and a half with me, let me know.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Homeschool - One Hour In

I've decided that on days Ander and I stay home (most weeks, that's a Friday, and some weeks, it's two or three days, if there is a holiday or something), we will homeschool during the day. I have an education degree, after all, and Ander turned three this month. Unfortunately, all the three-year-old preschools that are near my work (essential criteria) don't start for his age until August, plus they don't have openings. So I figure we'll do a structured (or, really, as structured as preschool gets) day once a week until Pre-K. We also plan to put Ander in an activity this summer and I am looking into storyhour at the library.

I have some goals.

I have a letter of the day that we will work on. (It will probably be A for several weeks, since his name starts with A and it's an important vowel.) We will add saying the ABCs soon, but he pretty much can do that.

I will introduce writing his name at the top of every page of "homework." I mostly write it, though we trace the letter A together. The goal is for him to get familiar with the concept that we write our names on things we do. If he learns some letters or his whole name - BONUS! We are working on the proper way to hold a pencil, at my second grade teacher/sister's insistence!

We will check the weather and the calendar everyday. Later on, we'll add saying the days of the week and the months of the year, but not yet.

We will do a daily tracing/coloring activity. Today, we did tracing the wings of a butterfly and then coloring it. The teacher in my naturally prompted - are you coloring inside or outside the wings? (Not that it matters at this point, but a good way to review inside/outside concepts and the parts of the butterfly.)

We will practice cleanup time and transitions. This is the hardest part! Ander just wants to move to the next activity quickly. I learned to hide the next activity.

Ander really needs to work on coordination, so we practice 2 handed ball throws. Then we subtracted a hand by putting it behind our backs, and did 1 handed ball catches and throws. We pushed the ball in circles around the island in our kitchen and counted the rounds. I'm a big fan of getting kids - little or otherwise - active while learning.

Finally, we did a worksheet where we traced the letter A with our fingers and then colored it.

As I type this, we have out some Melissa and Doug architectual blocks (thanks, Parrain Brien) for free play, while watching the Leap Frog Word Factory Video (which has tons of focus on the letter A).

I'm taking careful notes of everything we do today, so that I can better plan next week based on Ander's needs. I'm also keeping all the activity sheets and taking videos/pictures, so I can track progress over time. I'm using a U/N/S (unsatisfactory/needs improvement/satifactory and mastered) system to note what he can and cannot do. Obviously, Ander doesn't know about that system. In a few weeks, once he is used to the idea of school, we will do a red light/yellow light/green light chart for behavior, but not yet.

He did get one timeout this morning. For projects where he works with me directly (like tracing and coloring the letter A), he sits at the big table. But for mere coloring, he sits at the little table (even though I am hovering and assisting, I don't want him coloring - anymore than he already has :/ - on my real table). He resisted sitting at the real table to the point of hitting me, so he got a timeout. I suspect he didn't understand that, yes, school would continue. He was liking it and didn't want it to stop. :)

Loki slept from 9 - 10 a.m., so all went smoothly. But Loki is waking up, and working him into this will be a challenge.

Have I mentioned that, the moment a school is available, I will not be homeschooling, Masters in Education degree or not? One hour in, and I am exhausted and running out of ideas.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Showing A Preference

Loki is showing a preference for certain people at certain times. He is particularly fond of my dad, probably because my dad has a "never put a baby down policy." The stinker (my dad, not the baby) hands the baby off for someone else to put him down. So Loki knows he gets to keep arms (which is what we call being held).

Loki also likes anyone who will bring him outside. I'm pretty sure he understands the word "outside."

Oh, and he likes me the most! :) He said, "ma ma ma ma ma" yesterday, at my urging, though I suspect he is still just babbling.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

I Had A Date

Sunny called on Friday night. "Want me to watch the kids?" I swear, I was in the car and headed to her house faster than you can sneeze. I wanted a date night. I needed a date night. (Said date night ended with me snoring by 10:15 p.m., because I'm old and all, but, over a table, without a burb clothe in sight.)

Alan and I need to have more dates. I like him more after a date. I feel rested and refreshed. Our house is a wreck, but I feel like I might be up to tackling the disaster areas after the date night off. We need to plan these things, but if you plan then, and then have a bad night with the kids or something, date nights become a chore.

We ate at Portobella's. I love that place! The salad dressing is to die for. Then we drank hot cocoa at Barnes and Nobles. (Clarification - I drank hot cocoa. Alan drank some nasty lemon tea stuff. I commented on how I never thought I'd date a tea person, but especially not a COLD tea person.)

Then we walked the overpriced windows of Perkins Rowe. Teeny bopper hell, really, but it was sort of nice to be a couple of decades more mature than the other people in the area. It was very anonymous. And the moon was shiny and the night was clear and cool.

Alan and I never really talk like we do on a date. It's funny how you can live with soemone, day after day, but not connect until you leave the house.

Nice date.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Other People Need Less Sleep

I think I understand why I'm so tired. Other people just need less sleep. I need 8 hours. 8 solid hours, and not a moment less. If I sleep less, I am incapacitated. I don't mean I get lazy. I mean I get blazing headaches, I fall asleep while driving, and I got sick, both with stomach illnesses and colds. I do other things faster than other people (like writing a letter or making a trial notebook or cleaning the kitchen), so I guess it evens out in the end.

Unfortunately, my children do not understand that mommy NEEDS eight hours.

At least they seem to have inherited my affliction, but they need to learn that it has to happen AT NIGHT.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Religious Teachings

I'm Catholic. Well, I'm mostly Catholic. Except that, on moral grounds and on the basis of my conscience, I support gay marriage, female priests, and keeping the government out of reproductive decisions (though I think people should make those decisions erring on the side of life). I want to teach Ander about Christianity and Catholicism, but I would like to expose him to other religions, and even athiests and agnostics, so that he can make his own decisions about faith. I'm reading "Year of Living Biblically" by A.J. Jacobs, which is a funny, charming story of a "reverant agnostic" who tries to live the Bible literally. I'm learning a lot that I never knew about the Bible and about other religions. For Lent, I am giving up meat on Fridays (which is the Catholic tradition), but not fasting (as I am a nursing mom, so I am excused). I am not telling you all this to cause controversy. Instead, I need some advice and want you to know where I'm coming from, so you can help.

I am making a Lenten promise of teaching Ander about God everyday. (Except Sunday. Sunday is a day of rest for Catholics, even during Lent. My husband objects, saying it's the most important day to discuss God. Hmm....interesting point. He is free to teach him on Sundays. I'm resting.) I'm trying to teach him basics. Yesterday, I asked him if he knew who God was. "Daddy" Um, no, despite Daddy enjoying the answer. LOL. "Where is God?" In heaven? Not according to my darling child. "In the state capital." (Where Daddy works...seriously, this Daddy equals God thing is a bit much. I suspect it's teaching him the Sign of the the name of the Father... ;)) Another day, we talked about Loki (his brother's namesake) and how some people thought (and some still think) Loki is a god. We talked about how we believe in one God, but that other people believe different stuff.

The problem? Despite being a former school teacher, I am out of ideas. How do I give him a broad perspective on religious beliefs? What are some things I can teach him? I know the Catholic stuff, but I will be doing that his whole childhood. So what other stuff can I teach him? Any good activities we can do?


Starting Solids

So, at 5 months and 11 days, and one day before Ander's birthday, we are starting solids with Loki. He spit them all out, so that's a start. A bad start. But it was something.

I'm thinking of running a 5K. Yes, I know other people run marathons. But a 5K would be further than I've ever ran in my life. I've been doing Jazzercise, and plan to continue, because it's totally my kind of workout. But I need to supplement it with something more intense. So running it is, I think. And 3.something miles is a lot for me.

And maybe I'll get off my butt tonight and pack my bags for daycare/work/court tomorrow. That'd be a REAL start.


MIL - What Is Appropriate?

For Burnell, MIL means "mother in law." :)

I believe that the commandment to honor one's father and mother is a good one. I include MIL in my interpretation of the commandment. That said, I don't believe that honor means obey or do things only their way. But, oy, it's been a long weekend of balancing that commandment with raising my kids, because, man, do those two things clash.

MIL basically things that drive me crazy. One is to ignore me. If Alan isn't around, she doesn't speak to me. If I try to maintain a conversation, she gives a brief answer and then shuts down. (Imagine, if you will, having a phone conversation with Alan. It's just like that, only in person.) If Alan is around, she talks to me just fine, even if he's not talking, so I really wonder if it's personal. I want to believe she is shy or something, but if Alan is on the couch, even snoring, she talks to me just fine. That's not shyness.

She also ignores us. Last night, I asked her to wait one moment for Alan to get her bags out of the baby's closet because the room had little toys (aka tripping hazards) all over the dark floor and because I didn't want her to wake the baby. She said, "no, it's no problem for me to get them." And promptly tripped and woke the baby. It is CLEAR that her problem is that she would rather disturb anyone else, including the baby, than inconvenience Alan. Sigh. I also asked her to keep stuff off the island in the kitchen for two hours, while I got ready for Ander's party. Nope. She kept putting stuff there, and when I would move the stuff and say, "look, I'm moving your water over next to you on the coffee table because I'm using the island to cook on," she would roll her eyes and say, "oh, Kristy" as if I am rediculous for needing space in which to cook and serve food.

She brings tons of leftovers with her, for us to eat?!? or serve ?!? It confuses me. No, we don't need bananas, stale half-eaten cake, or rotting fruit. We NEVER eat it. So why do you keep bringing it, even after we say, "please stop bringing all your leftovers over here. We don't have room in the frig for it."

Oh, and her gifts were extra special. A THIRD toy that laughs and giggles without pause when you throw it across the room. And this despite us asking her not to give loud toys like that anymore.

Plus, she gives Ander too many rules (don't touch the syrup or you'll get sticky, pull your chair to the table, sit down, come over here and hug grandma, but don't touch grandma with your sticky hands...and on and on). He can't follow them all, but no worries. THERE IS NO CONSEQUENCE. Instead, there is constant begging and nagging for him to follow the rules.

She won't make a decision to save her life, but when we go ahead and choose for her after asking three or four times, if we make the wrong call, we get the silent treatment...or worse, the dreaded dramatic sigh.

But the MOST annoying thing...the one that I feel undermines my parenting and leaves a lasting impression in the form of a whiney, stressed out when she REPEATS everything I say to Ander. Ever watch Galaxy Quest? It's a movie where they mock Star Trek. There is a character, a woman in a short skirt, who repeats whatever the computer says, even though everyone in the room can hear the computer.

Captain: Are the Vulcans coming?
Annoying Character: Computer, are the Vulcans approaching?
Computer: The Vulcans are 2 lightyears away and approaching at 20 knots.
Annoying Character: The Vulcans are approaching, Captain.

This is my MIL.

Kristy: Ander, sit on your knees or bootie.
MIL: Ander, please sit down. Your mommy wants you to sit down. Please sit down for Grandma.
Ander (uncharacteristally, as he usually just politely sits then): No, I want stand.

Kristy: Ander, you have to pick up the blocks before you get another toy.
MIL: Ander, please please pick up your toys or mommy will be mad at you. I don't want her to punish you. Come on, Ander, pick up your toys.
Ander (again, unlike his usual self, because he sees a break and thinks he will get away with it): NOOOO, I want all my toys.

Now, I'm sure you are thinking...just tell her to let you discipline Ander. I do! I'm very blunt. "[MIL], I will take care of this. Let me deal with it. Ander, mommy is not going to tell you again...pick up the toys or no more toys allowed." But NOW I have to be the heavy. Now I have to be the meanie, when, before, I was just the mommy.

I don't have a ton of rules for Ander. I don't believe in micromanaging my children. I do believe in some important rules (knees or bootie on chairs so you don't fall, for exmaple), and I am nonnegotiable on those. But since I am so strict and nonyielding on the rules I do have, I am very easy-going about everything else, figuring that Ander needs to learn to cope and experience natural consequences. But MIL constantly makes up new rules and then begs him to follow them. UGH! First, we don't just make up a rule (like her favorite, "eat your second serving of bacon" - even though he is full and it's bacon and not broccoli...sheesh). We teach a rule, we have a good reason for it, and we follow-through. Second, if there is a rule, there is no begging for Ander to follow it. Rules are there for a reason, and when Ander is 18 and out own his own, he can make whatever rules for himself he wants. And we will love him and accept him, even if we disagree with his choices. That's WHY we let him have so many choices now - so he can learn to make good choices. BUT...rules we make now are nonegotiable. Sigh, sigh, sigh.

Oh, and she volunteered me to play Playdoh with Ander, when I had to nurse the baby. NOT COOL. I told her to stop promising him that I would do things without checking with me first, and she just repeated, "Oh, I'm sure you were planning to play with him." Um, no. AND I JUST SAID I WASN'T, SO WHY ARE YOU DELUSIONAL?!?

Is it passive-aggressive? Is she just thoughtless? Or unintelligent? I cannot tell if it is intentional or not. But I have to deal with the fallout and it's miserable.

Why can't I just be the good DIL and let it go? But I can't, because I feel like my family suffers from it.

And, no, the kids will not pose for one more damn picture.

Karma is going to bite me so hard, isn't it? Or maybe this is karma, biting.