Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The day with all the food stuff

When Poppy woke up from her afternoon nap yesterday, I went upstairs to try to feed her back to sleep. I could tell it wasn't working, and then I heard Lyla scaling the stairs and sobbing.

She walked in the door, blubbered about whatever it was Gracie had done to her downstairs in the three minutes I was away from them, and Poppy was most definitely not going back to sleep after that.

I played with the two of them for a few minutes before deciding I needed to check on Gracie. She had been quiet down there by herself for too long; so I popped my head over the half-wall.

"What are you doing, Gra..." I shouted before I saw her. "Why do you have that egg in your hand?"

"Can you make this for me?" she asked.

"No," I said, hesitantly. "You don't like eggs and don't eat them when we make them for you."

"I will eat it this time," she said. And I still said no.

She says she put it back, but when I checked the egg carton later that afternoon, there was only one egg in there. I don't know how many there had been in there before, but I really don't think McMister would have left one egg in the carton when he made a big breakfast for everyone over the weekend.

I really, really hope he did.

A while later, it was time to go grocery shopping. I told Gracie I'd grab her some clothes (since she was wearing her Elsa dress, itgoeswithoutsaying.) When I got up to her room, I found a lovely trail of bloody, mucous dog diarrhea across the carpet.

I ran back downstairs and put Poppy in the Johnny Jump-up we dragged back out this weekend. I had left her on the floor playing when I was just running up to get some clothes, but the amount of time I'd be gone cleaning that up meant I'd need her more stationary.

It took me a few minutes to clean it up (I mean, it's still clearly visible on the while carpet, but I did what I could) and came back downstairs to see Gracie and Lyla straight-up chugging sippy cups of water. Their guilty eyes peeked over the top of the cups, and I stood there for a second, thinking, "What on Earth could have led to this?"

That's when I saw this open next to them.

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At the store, Gracie spotted "princess soup" on an end-cap. "Can we get that? Can we get that?" she pleaded.

"No..." I began. Then, I saw the shelf above it had Elsa and Anna on it. After checking to make sure the price wasn't completely insane and searched the label for what kind of soup it actually was (chicken noodle, BTW), I said, "But we can get the Frozen soup!"

I decided then and there we'd have soup and sandwiches for dinner. Super easy, but McMister would think it sounded somewhat fancy. Win-win!

We got home from the store just a few minutes before I needed to start making it, and Poppy needed to be fed again. I went upstairs to feed her and left the big girls in the kitchen. I got distracted by something else while upstairs and decided to come back down to check on them quickly before I really started nursing her.

"Look, Mommy! We made soup!" Gracie shouted.

"We make soup!" Lyla added, excitedly.

"We really did! We know how to do it now," Gracie went on.

A frantic scan of the room showed me Lyla holding one Frozen soup can upside-down. It had just a tiny slit open on the top, but she had still managed to spill broth all over the floor and two small tupperware bowls. Gracie was sitting at the table with an enormous plastic bowl, a second Frozen soup can with the same size slit open, and the can opener.

My initial reaction was to yell, but I caught myself. They weren't purposely doing anything wrong. I took the two cans away and put them in a spot on the counter they couldn't reach. I grabbed the two tupperware bowls from Lyla and put them in the dishwasher and turned around to see Gracie doing this.

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Licking the straight-from-the-can, room temperature broth off the bowl.

I told them to go play something else and went back upstairs to feed Poppy. Most of the time, I'd just feed her downstairs with them, but she's been cranky again the past few days with her second tooth coming in. So I wanted to give her a chance to really focus and eat.

At first, I heard the crashes and cries, and then I listened for more clues.

The water running.

"TURN THE WATER OFF!" I shouted down the stairs.

Whenever they have a minute without me, they end up concocting some sort of plan that includes water from the bathroom sink. They get it all over the wood floors of the entryway and kitchen, and then they slip and fall on the puddles running back and forth from room to room doing whatever "project" they've come up with. Lyla cries every time she falls.

"Girrrrrrls," I shouted down the stairs again. "Clean the water up, and you'll stop slipping and getting hurt."

Just as Poppy finished eating, my mom called.

"Hi, Honey! What are you doing?" she asked.

"Avoiding going downstairs to the big girls," I told her. "They've made some kind of water mess and keep slipping on it and crying."

We had a quick chat, and the girls heard me talking to her so they tromped up the stairs. They both walked in and shouted, "Granny!" into the phone, their entire front halves dripping wet.

"Hi, girls!" she said on speakerphone. "What were you guys working on downstairs?"

"Ohhhh, we were just making pie," Gracie said with a smile.

After a couple minutes, I told my mom I had better get off the phone and go clean up the "pie."

Just as I hung up the phone, I heard McMister walk in the front door early from work.

"Uhhhh, Babe!" I shouted. "Don't... Don't go in the... Just don't."

I gathered up the girls, and we all walked downstairs.

"Sorry," I told him. "Girls, grab some towels."

"What were you guys doing?" he asked them after I explained the situation, and he was happy with their drying progress.

"Making pie," Gracie told him. "Poop pie."

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lyla: Loving and LOUD

Every morning, Lyla cries through the monitor for me or McMister. If I'm with Poppy, I send McMister in and they lay together until he eventually comes back and coos, "She gave me the sweetest hugs." Every time. If I go in, she says, "Is it wake-it time?" Then puts her arms around me as I pick her up, lays her head on my shoulder and says, "I love you, Mommy."

Those first few heavenly minutes with her keep us from absolutely losing it on her every morning for the next hour while she screams and cries and whines and pushes and kicks and fusses and fusses and fusses and fusses.

The thing is... what she's fussing about is our attention and affection. She kicks Gracie to get her away from McMister's snuggles. She whines herself into hysterics if Poppy's in my lap when she wants to be. "No! She my sista! You too big," she shouted at Gracie the other day when she tried to hold Poppy.

From "wake-it time" to bedtime, our little Lyla Lou is a tightly-wound ball of happiness and rainbows ("I like allllll the colors," she says if anyone asks her her favorite) and Earth-shattering sadness and moans.

"Mommy," she said one morning before any other words were spoken, "I love all animals."

"I know you do, Sweetheart. You have the biggest heart."

And the biggest voice.

Even if she's not whining, she must. be. talking. Seriously all day long. The girl does not stop. She asks the same ridiculous questions again and again every day, and I just realized when thinking about this post that it's because she can't stand silence.

"Where Daddy?" she asks, in her signature British accent, never pronouncing word-ending Rs. "Where Gracie?"

"Daddy's at work, Lyla." "Gracie's at school."

"Why those people there?"

"They're waiting for the school bus, Lyla. Just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before."

When we're home, she must be in my lap. Sometimes Poppy can be, too, but usually not. She's the snuggliest snuggler there ever was, and I love it. Even when I am about to scream, OK when I am screaming, she can cut the tension in an instant with a hug.

She is always singing. Songs she knows and songs she made up. I'm telling you, she is never quiet.


She can smell candy on your breath and sense when you're about to leave the room. She spends hours every week petting Britney. "She my doggie. I love huh." Griffey's just too fast.

She wants to help me make dinner every day and cannot wait to go get Gracie from school.

Her fussing makes my ears bleed. "STOP MAKING THAT NOISE, LYLA." It can be heard, shouted or hissed through clenched teeth, almost every hour.

"I can't hear you when you talk like that."

"I seriously can't even understand what you're saying. Talk normal!"

We've said from Day 1 she was a drama queen, and maybe she's just living up to our labels. She cries at the drop of a hat and literally gets two bandaids every night during her nighttime routine from McMister.

We put her to bed earlier than we should because that's the way it's always been done. Gracie doesn't nap anymore and she still does. So she's not as tired, but every one of us would freak out if anything was different.

So, she lays there. Some nights she lays there and screams. Some nights, she lays there and sings.

You never know what you're going to get from Lyla moment to moment. Will she be singing and dancing and screaming and crying?

But you always know what you're going to get with Lyla. She'll drop everything to make you happy. "He ya gooooo" she says as she hands you your unasked-for water. "Is that foinnnnn?" she asks with her Grease Lightning pink ladies accent.

And she'll fuss and fight to the death if she thinks you're focused on anyone but her.

Erma Bombeck said, "There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt." We walk that line with Lyla every day, and it's a hike I will cherish forever.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Weekly Wednesday Photo - September 24, 2014

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Digging for treasure

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2 years, 3 months
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7 months, 2 weeks

Those overalls. And that hair.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Defending the castle: Pirate Crawl 2.0

We used to call Gracie's crawl, the Pirate Crawl. She'd kind of hitch one leg up with her foot flat on the ground like she was walking with one foot and crawling with the other knee. 

Well, in another one of a million ways Poppy reminds us of Gracie, she has also created her own pirate crawl.

I absolutely love how loving and gentle Gracie is with her in this video. It was the first time Poppy went to destroy something they were working on, and while Lyla gives her some gentle "nudges" we'll call them, Gracie very sweetly tries to hug her away from the situation and show her from afar.

I told them both how I proud of them I was for how they dealt with the new situation. Even though Lyla pushed her a bit, her typical response would be to absolutely scream bloody murder and go completely sobfest cray. So, I was actually quite pleased.

Poppy, on the other hand, was not.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

When I cried over a Frozen game

Gracie got a box of Frozen games for her birthday. It has six games, like Go Fish and Bingo, in one box and says right on the package that it's best for ages 3 and up. Last night, I cried over it.

It looks nice and manageable on the Target website linked above, but what you don't fully get by looking at it is that next to the neatly strewn cards are piles of many, many, many more cards. Just Go Fish alone is 52 cards. Add in all those tiny circle things for Bingo, the two different matching games, a just-turned-4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and a crawling 7-month-old, and basically this shit spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R.

We've only had it a week, and I've already picked up every single piece countless times and made the big girls do it on their own almost as many. And since Poppy learned to move halfway through that week, I now spend an absurd amount of time trying to keep those tiny pieces out of her mouth. I will not even mention how many times I've failed at that and how many of those things will be showing up during... other activities at a later date.

So, last night, after Poppy finally fell asleep and I plopped on the couch around 8:45, McMister saw me looking at the mess on the floor with a look of defeat.

"Just throw that out," he said. "They're too young for it, and it's just a giant headache every day."

"I know," I said, "but it says right there '3 and up. We could teach them how to play it."

"No, we can't," he pressed. "They're too young to understand any of it. I mean I guess Gracie could do the matching."

"And Go Fish. And Bingo." I sounded like I was pleading.

"I don't know," he groaned. "Just throw it away."

Then, the all too familiar sting of tears hit my eyes.

"I don't want to throw it away because it feels like admitting I don't have time to teach her the games," I explained, quickly turning the conversation from simple solution to this-is-not-what-I-had-in-mind-by-telling-you-to-toss-it.

"If I throw it away, it's admitting that I'm failing her. That I don't have time to teach her how to play games because I'm too busy taking care of the other ones. It makes me feel guilty for having more kids," I went on.

He was dumbfounded.

"Don't think that," he said. "If you don't want to throw them away, then just put them away, and we'll get them out another time."

I did. But I did, knowing that I wouldn't get them out later to teach her. That someone else was going to need to teach her. Or that she wouldn't learn until much, much later.

This morning, McMister got himself ready for fishing and said he could take one of the girls if I wanted. For a while now, if he was going real fishing, meaning not just out puttering around our lake, and could realistically only take one girl, I declined. It's honestly been so much easier for me to have both Gracie and Lyla here together than just Lyla.

But today, I changed my tune.

"Take G.B.," I said.

Lyla and I have spent a lot more time together, just the two of us, since Gracie's been back in school and Poppy's napping. So I know that spending time, just the two of us, will be fun.

But far more importantly than that, I want the girls to get that one-on-one time, even if I can't give it to Gracie as much as I'd like. For her to have it with him is just as important. And truth-be-told, she has more fun with him anyway. The things he likes to do are the things she likes to do, and I've been keeping them from doing a ton of it together. One, to protect Lyla from feeling left out, but also, very honestly, to make things easier on myself.

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Watching them leave

Last week, my sister took Gracie on a special outing for her birthday since she couldn't be at her party the next day. They went to a local pottery shop, and I was so jealous. What a special afternoon they had together. I just don't ever get that time to talk to Gracie without the other girls for more than a few minutes after her quiet time while they're still napping.

I know it won't be like this forever. I know I'll feel freer to leave the younger ones for alone time with my oldest. It's just that right now, I spend a ton of time alone with Poppy and a ton while Gracie's at school with Lyla, and none with her.

It goes without saying that I would never want a life with just one child. But I will admit that, in cases like this, I feel guilt and a bit of sadness.

As for this morning, though, while McMister and Gracie fished, my sister took Lyla on a special trip to get donuts. Poppy napped, and I wrote this. So, in the end, everyone had a fun, special morning anyway.

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I included all these pictures of Lyla assuming McMister would take some of Gracie out on the boat. He didn't, but said she didn't stop smiling the entire four hours they were out there. Later this afternoon, while the adults outnumbered the kids at family dinner, I took Gracie on a walk, just the two of us. Here she is stealing Asian pears from the Granny Garden.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The 5-year can

One thousand, four hundred and sixty days ago, McMister and I had a wedding without a guestbook.

Instead, we had three cans set out with the numbers 5, 15, and 25 on them and invited our friends and family to write down a prediction of where we'd be as a couple at any or all of those anniversaries down the road. Serious or silly, it was all up to them.

And that means, this afternoon we're going on our first date since Poppy was born, and after the girls go down, we're opening a bottle of wine and this. I am so excited.

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Happy anniversary to the man of my dreams!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

September 2014

Hey girls,

We're going to switch things up a bit this month and talk about Poppy first because, Poppy, you learned to crawl today!

You turned 7 months old just under two weeks ago and in those 12 days, you've struggled mightily with teething (those suckers are still just below the surface,) learned how to clap (it is your favorite thing on Earth,) and just this morning learned how to crawl.

You already love to pull up to standing and almost always immediately drop one hand down to show off your balancing skills. I've seen you try to take a step toward me twice now, but both of those severely beginner-status tries were a few weeks ago now; so I think you'll hold off on that until you can stand a little better first. I hope.

In the past week or so, you've also begun laying your head on our shoulders for a hug right when we pick you up and nothing in the history of the world has ever been so sweet.

Lou Bear, I take back my last sentence because you started saying "I love you" to us all the time this month, and my eyes still well up every time you do. I'm not surprised at all that you say it to us so often and so sincerely because you have always been our passionate one.

Speaking of passionate, I'm going to cut your section of the letter off short this time because I have a whole post in my head about your "passion." It goes both ways, sister, and it is a challenge.

Gracie started school this month, and you miss her something terrible, but we started all your Mommy and Me classes this week through parks and rec, and you are the perfect little eager-beaver student at them. So I know the time away from Gracie will be good for you to learn and grow on your own.

And Gracie Girl, you turned 4 this month. Hello?!?! Can you say "real kid?" It's incredible.

I videoed a birthday interview with you about all your favorite things right now; so I'll just post that here instead of writing. Your Elsa costume is 100% a staple in our lives, but you were fresh off a weekend of Frozen birthday party and a bazillion Frozen presents; so you do talk about Elsa in the interview more than you would have a week ago, but I guess it is a true representation of how you were the day you turned 4.

(Blog friends, this video is more than 4 minutes long so don't feel like you have to watch it. I know a year from now, I'll be soaking up every word, and Gracie will herself someday down the line.)

I love you three more than I'll ever be able to express. Even on nights like tonight when I want to rip my freaking hair out,
Mom :)