Monday, October 20, 2014

Changing to a private blog

I've been wanting to change to a private blog for a few months now and have kept a page open on my phone explaining the steps to do so since the end of the summer. It's getting annoying looking at that open page all day; so I'm going to bite the bullet and do it.

Starting next Monday, McMissis will be a private blog. I'd love for you to keep reading and commenting if you want. If you do, you'll need to send me your email address so I can add you to the safe list. You can leave your address in the comments below or send me an email directly at

Some of you might remember that I haven't told my friends and family about my posting here. I always have a fear in the back of my head that one of them will somehow find it and be upset that I haven't let them in on it. Other than the first few months when I didn't really know what I was doing, what I wanted out of the blog, and where I saw it going, I haven't promoted it anywhere other than commenting on the very few blogs that I read. So really, I have no reason to keep it public and many reasons to make it private, not the least of which is that the girls are getting older, and the stories are becoming theirs, more than mine, every day.

So, those of you who are reading this right now, don't leave me! Send me your email address and continue to watch my girls grow, continue to watch me grow, and continue to give me all your kind and wise advice.

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You have been an integral part of my village raising these three so far, and I would be honored for that to continue for a long, long time.

Edited to add: Also, you guys, I just figured out after posting this that I haven't been getting any of the emails to that email address. I thought they were forwarding to my normal email, and they weren't. So I apologize for not getting back to you on a lot of stuff :/ I promise I wasn't ignoring you, just not having any idea what was going on!

Welcome back, Puddle Season. All nine months of you.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

The girl who cried middle child

A few weeks ago, Lyla was screaming and crying from down the hall.

"What is it, Lyla?" I shouted out to her from the bathroom sink. I didn't even turn my head away from putting on my mascara.

"Moooooommmmmyyyyyy!" she wailed, her voice getting closer to me.

When she finally walked in the room, I glanced over to her to ask what had happened that was making her so upset, and her toe was covered in blood!

My heart sank immediately and I dropped down to my knees. "Honey?!?! What happened?"

She had cut the tip of her toe standing on top of the air conditioning unit McMister had, seconds earlier, taken out of her window for the winter. I had heard him telling her over and over again not to stand on it. He went downstairs to get a tool, and that's where the story began.

She ended up being fine, and when I told McMister about it a minute later, I said, "Man, talk about the boy who cried wolf!" (Edited to add: meaning we didn't believe her when she really had gotten hurt, not that she was faking it this time.)

Her sobs mean nothing to us right now. Can you even believe how horrible that is? We're her parents. The ones who should being running to her without a second of hesitation when we hear crying, and yet, the vast majority of the time, the hysterical sounds coming from her illicit nothing but an eye roll. And almost every single time, we're right.

The time with the AC was the only time I haven't reacted when something was really wrong, and I felt awful -- rightfully so. Most of the time, I can tell when she's really hurt. Just yesterday, I had to change my entire outfit because she fell down in the driveway after splashing in puddles, and when I rushed to her and picked her up, she soaked me. It's not that we (usually) don't respond when she's in pain, it's just that we know that she's not hurt the entire 80 percent of the day she spends in hysterics.

She and I had the most horrific screaming match the other night. After months of easy bedtimes with her, she's been yelling at the very top of her lungs for about an hour every night for weeks now. Tuesday night was the first night I've had to put all three of them down since she's kicked back up again with the bedtime screaming.

After round after round of screaming at each other, yes, I was screaming at a 2-year-old, she finally ended up calling my bluff on an empty threat to make her go downstairs by herself.

"I WANT TO!" she yelled in my face. "I WANT TO GO DOWNSTAIRS BY MYSELF!"

And that's what she did. She went downstairs, laid on the floor between the back of the couch and the kitchen, face down, and stayed there silently for about half an hour while I was finally able to put Poppy down. I checked on her twice during that time, and she wasn't sleeping. She was awake, spoke to me both times, then chose to lay back down on the floor.

Poppy was so overtired and worked up that every time I put her in the crib for a second to deal with Lyla, she started blood-curdling screaming. Truly, a sound I haven't heard from her since she was in the hospital as a newborn.

I cracked and completely lost it, engaging in a ridiculous, on so many levels, yelling war with my toddler. I texted my sister and told her it was the worst night of my life. And it was. I failed. Completely. And terribly. And I'm in tears just thinking about it.

Sure, her sobs don't mean she's in physical pain, but that doesn't mean she's not emotionally hurting. When she screams and kicks and cries in the bed every morning for McMister to wake up and make her breakfast, it sounds like the. brattiest. thing. EVER. But she just wants to spend time with him.

When she wails and pounds on the shower door while he gets ready for work, it drives us both to the point of yelling at her to "stop banging on the door and use your normal voice!" But again, she just wants her daddy.

When she hangs from my waistband with the entire weight of her body at the bottom of the stairs and screams, "Carry me on the other side!!!!" she wants me to pick her up on the side I'm not holding Poppy. Hauling the two of them up the stairs after we drop Gracie off in the morning is hard, physical work. But does that mean I shouldn't do it to make her feel loved?

A lot of the time, we're responding the right way. She is only wholly happy when she gets 100 percent attention from an adult (or Gracie, if McMister's not home.) That is just not a realistic goal for a child with siblings. We need to teach her to deal with that.

But a lot of the time, we're responding the wrong way. She needs our love. She needs us to show our love. She needs it differently than her sisters do. I just don't know how to give it to her and still care for those sisters. A popular suggestion for dealing with tantrums is to give "time-ins." Spend a few minutes hugging or focusing solely on that child to give them the security they need to feel safe and happy. I try that again and again with Lyla because that is exactly what she's looking for. But the problem is, the second I stop, she sobs even harder, screams even louder. Reacting to her tantrums by giving her what she wants doesn't work because that is all she wants.

All she wants is love and attention and affection. And as a mom of three, I can't give her as much as she needs. And that SUCKS.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 2014

Hi girlies,

The weather has finally turned away from summer here. It took a lot longer than usual this year, and I'm not complaining. Most of the time, I am, but this year was a glorious, sunny, not hot like the end of summer, but still fantastically warm September and early October. The rain has come now, and we're starting to ease indoors.

Gracie Girl, sometimes I forget how deliciously fun you really are. You, of course, are much calmer than your days as a younger toddler, and sometimes I think that means you're not that way anymore. But then I hear people talk about you who don't know you well, and they always gush over how wild and, well, just GRACIE you are. Over the past week, three different people have just beamed talking about the incredible way you live life, and I beam right back with pride.

Lou Bear, we've had a rough week. I'll probably post more later about the details, but maybe not. For every moment of chaos and frustration you bring, you bring so many more of happiness. Your sweet smile, cuter-than-anything-on-Earth accent, and shockingly generous heart wrap our home in warmth every day.

Anytime you see anything you like, even a little bit, you ask, "Can you get that for me for my bootday? A pink one?" I'm not sure you even really like the color pink that much, but it's always what you ask for when it's not right in front of you.

You count 1, 2, 3, 14, 15, 14, 15, unless we prompt with 4 after 3, then you can count to 17 for real. You don't know many letters because I haven't taught you, but you always ask what real words say. Is it possible to learn to read without learning your letters first? You adore cooking and spend a little time every day looking at cookbooks. You can't be found during the day without Bitsy in your shirt, sunglasses on your face, or your doggie backpack with those and your water inside them on your back. Or all three at once.

Poppers, if you could decide how to live your life, you would spend every waking moment standing up, pulling hair, and eating stickers. You are definitely afraid of strangers holding you now, but if they're just looking, you flash them the biggest smile and lay your head on my shoulder. Not a soul has met you without cooing over your sweetness and your beautiful red hair.

When I look back at your early infancy, I will most definitely remember all of our walks. For a while this summer, it was the only way you'd go to sleep at night. So while Daddy put the big girls down, you and I walked and walked and walked around the neighborhood. A few nights ago, Daddy took the big girls to the store after dinner, and there was a break in the rain. You and I took our last evening walk for the year, and it felt so final. The sky had already darkened almost all the way, and the wind blew strong. With every gust, you buried your head into my chest and smiled. I told you it would be the last like it for the year, maybe for a long, long time. The changing season felt all too real. The weather and your little life.

I love you forever,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Weekly Wednesday Photo - October 15, 2014

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2 years, 4 months

Sometimes, consignment sales have the best stuff.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nighttime friends

We don't use the word "lovey" in our house. It's not that I'm against the word or anything; I had just never heard it before I started reading about baby sleep, and something about it weirds me out. Anyway, not because of my so-so feelings on the word "lovey," nighttime friends somehow became the term here for the items the girls need to fall asleep.

Gracie has been sleeping with Pooh since she was one month younger than Poppy is now. (Seriously, click the link. You want to see Baby Gracie.) It was one of the easiest tricks of the baby sleep trade so I instituted it immediately, looking for anything that would help.

On our way to Zoo.lights when she was one month younger than Lyla is now, she bit Pooh's head so hard that she started sobbing and saying he was broken. I had had an extra one stashed away for months just in case the original got lost. I ran back into the house before we even left the driveway and grabbed New Pooh. She immediately named them Broken Pooh and New Pooh and quashed any ideas I had of replacing the old with the new.

She's slept with Two Poohs every night since. (OK, one more click-through: Gracie wrapped in a beeto with Two Poohs at the exact age Lyla is now.) Two Poohs always have another friend, whoever she's most into at the time. At first it was Elmo and Duck; then Fairy Godmother enjoyed a long stretch. Recently, Elsa Dolly was a staple for a while, but someone ripped her leg off so I threw her away. Currently, the third friend is a stuffed shark.

Poppy doesn't have a traditional nighttime friend yet. As with the other two, I've been hesitant to introduce anything because of the insane amount of SIDS fear cast upon all of us parents. Right now, she falls asleep eating (I know, I'm the worst mom ever for letting my baby fall asleep eating.) And while she does, she either pulls my hair or plays with my birthday gift from McMister.

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A sideways cross necklace just like the one I already wore every day, but this one's covered in diamonds! (I told you McMister was a good gift-giver.)

Lyla pulled my hair so hard every single night for the first 8 months of her life that Santa brought her a dolly that was chosen specifically for the realistic nature of her hair. It didn't help. So even though it is still attached to me, the necklace is something that is not part of my body that Poppy has attached to. One teeny, tiny baby step toward something she could actually sleep with all night.

And Lyla. Oh, Lyla.

She went a long, long time without any nighttime friends because she never seemed to attach to anything. What I suspected even then, but couldn't possibly have known for sure like I do now, is that she just attached to everything.

Now that she can easily voice her opinion, she sleeps with 845,985,403 things. Baa Baa, Lindy, Raccoon, Woof Woof, Bunny, three pillows, her water bottle that looks just like Mommy's, and the crown jewel: Bitsy.

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The thing about Bitsy is... she must be inside her shirt. With her head poking through the neck. Not only does she sleep like this, but she wears her like this almost 24 hours a day. When we're out in public, I can usually convince her to wear her in the baby Ergo instead, but not always. Many, many, many Gracie preschool drop-offs are complete with Bitsy inside Lyla's shirt.

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Bonus for Poppers: She'll get her first set of new clothes on her second birthday because none of the 3T hand-me-down wardrobe will have necks that aren't too stretched out. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

When I went to grab the camera for our trip to the pumpkin patch on Thursday, there was 2% battery. My sister and I agreed to be super selective with picture taking. Then the first activity we did was a hay jump, and Gracie, of course, was climbing to the very highest point and then jumping, arms and legs spread wide, into the hay over and over again with looks of pure glee.

"BATTERY EXHAUSTED??!?!?!" my sister said, looking up from behind the lens.

So, we now have 430 pictures of Gracie jumping in hay on the real camera, and all of these on our cell phones.

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She was this dirty about 15 minutes into the trip.

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This picture is so absurdly accurate.

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As is this one.

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McMister made this hilarious face and noise and movement right after this. I thought one of the goats had kicked him where he shouldn't have, but once he regained a little composure, he told us the goat had stuck it's nose in between his shirt and pants and licked his tummy.

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Many, many, many pictures are taken that look like this before we get any that look even remotely normal.

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