Thursday, May 13, 2010

Parenting Lessons Learned From a 2 Year Old

I think I've had a glimpse into the future. At least in regards to what it is going to be like to raise teenage daughters (and at least one son!). I've learned a lesson or at least gained a little bit of understanding that will probably prove to be very useful if I can hold onto it through the next several years.

A couple of weeks ago we were at my in-laws' home and we were quickly approaching the point of no return of Elli being able to successfully take a nap. All you mothers know what I'm talking about. There is a fine line that we sometimes walk with our children and their sleep. If you put the child to bed too early, before they are ready for a nap, they will alternate between playing and tantruming for more than an hour before finally succumbing to the Sand Man's attempts. But if you wait too long to put them down in hopes that they will then be so exhausted that their little eyes will shut the second their heads hit the pillow, then my friend you just may be in for a great surprise. It will backfire! I promise you this.

If you wait too long then your child will have caught their second wind and will not be able to go to sleep and will instead cry for more than an hour because their little bodies just can't shut down. Then you will have a very cranky, tired (but unable to settle) baby or toddler. Not a fun combination. In fact, we probably could get Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to surrender all their nuclear arms at the threat of putting them in a room of sleep deprived, way past nap time toddlers.

So anyway, this is the situation I was envisioning myself in with Elli if I didn't act quickly. So I informed everyone that I was going to try to put her down for a nap. We retired to Tio Rudy's room and she immediately started balking at my efforts to get her to lie down. Shoot, I was already too late. She started wailing and thrashing, kicking, rolling. Anything to resist my efforts to get her to lie down next to me.

So I lay there on one side of the bed while she rolled around, crying the angriest, saddest cry you've ever heard. Calling out for "daddy," "tia becky," "abuela." She wanted anyone but me. I was enemy numero uno. I was faced with either getting angry and trying to enforce my will on her or lying there patiently, waiting for her to settle down. I opted for the latter and during my patient waiting it dawned on me how I will need to hone and adopt this line of acting and thinking for when she is a teenager. I was able to clearly see the parallels between this situation and later situations, possibly much more important, life altering situations that tend to arise when you are in your teenage years.

I was able to see that while she wanted somebody other than me at this time, I was the best person for the job. Anyone else would have given in and let her get up, and thus she would not receive the much needed rest that her little body and mind needed. And that is why she wanted them, because I think instinctively she knew that mama wasn't budging but that she could probably get what she wanted with someone else. But me, well, I was in it for the long haul. I was willing to stay in there with her until she was finally calm and ready to give in to sleep.

I would reach for her and pull her close to me. Spooning her little body next to mine trying to comfort and calm her. Instead she would wrench away from me and my efforts, crying out for someone else. In my mind's eye I could picture us several years from now. She a girl of 15 maybe, and me, well, older. I can see us in some struggle that often arises during those hormone filled years. I can picture me pulling her in to me, if only emotionally, with my advice and concern, and her rejecting me and my efforts.

In the present time, after pulling away from me, I would just sit there patiently, quietly. Attempting to comfort her from a distance. Telling her it was okay, to calm down, mama loves her. When she had settled a bit, or at least the volume of her cries had decreased, I would once again pull her towards me and the scene would replay in exactness. She'd pull away and I'd wait patiently.

After a few times I stopped trying to pull her close to me and just waited and comforted her with my words and sometimes a gentle touch. Minutes passed and I could sense her resolve waining. She was no longer sobbing, just whimpering now. She would furtively glance at me and I knew she now longed to be close to me. I opened my arms and that was the signal she needed and she was instantly curled up next to me clinging to my arms. I was finally able to comfort and calm her like I had aimed to do from the beginning. But I needed to wait until she was ready for it.

Again I was able to envision how this would play out in later years. I knew there would be times when she wouldn't want me. That she'd want to go to anyone but me. I also knew that in those times I shouldn't give up because I would be the best person for the job, then as now. I was able to see that as I would try to pull her to me, that she'd resist and reject. And I was able to understand that if I would just wait, patiently, still comforting from afar, giving her my example and love, that she would eventually come to me and desire the guidance and relief I'd been offering all along.

As her little body rested next to mine, I could sense her breathing slowing, her muscles relaxing, her eyes shutting. Finally. And I know that in the future I'll have that same satisfaction of being able to help my child with something she will need, but maybe not want. That she will fight against me but eventually come to see that I had her best interest in mind all along. I hope to be able to keep this lesson learned with me as my children grow, I know it will help me keep the right perspective when dealing with the troubles that are bound to come. I look forward to that day with anticipation and a little bit of dread. Just a little, hoping that I'm up to the task. I pray that I am...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Dia de las Madres 2010

Hi. Happy late Mother's Day. Hope you had a good one. Me? I had a wonderful one. It started out with Carlos letting me sleep in, which normally would have rocked but not on a Sunday when we have 8am church. I think he has his holidays mixed up because he thought it would be hilarious to change the time on my phone to read two hours later than what it actually was. Which sent me into a panic thinking I had completely missed church. Turd.

Once he saw the anxiety rising he was quick to let me in on the joke. Uh it's Mother's Day not April Fool's. But he redeemed himself with a Nikon Coolpix L110 so we're on speaking terms once again.

The kids were great, so enthusiastic with their greetings of "Happy Mother's Day!!" and bursting with pride at the priceless works of art they scribbled in anticipation of gifting to me.

(Look at Lexi's freaky pupil in her right eye. It's a coloboma. But don't stare for too long, it'll hypnotize you and take you to a magical place filled with unicorns and butterflies and you won't want to come back.)

I didn't have to change a single diaper which in itself was gift enough.

Saturday night we enjoyed a meal of Olive Garden take out while watching a Redbox rental.

Pretty good weekend, afterall.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Vomitus Maximus: Part III

This time it's Carlos asking me to open the front door, Elli had gotten sick again and thrown up all over him and Tio Rudy's bed and they were now outside. This blows. Chunks.

Carlos and Elli come inside. She's already cleaned up, daddy had done that part at his parent's house, thank goodness. I place her in the king sized VRB and Carlos retires to Lexi's bed and as he's entering her room I hear him tell me he's not feeling so well. Greeaaaatttt.

Sunday morning comes and goes without anymore up chucking from the kids. We miss church naturally and I'm sure my ward thanks me for this. You're welcome. Carlos is now fully experiencing the wrath of whatever stomach bug has taken over our house but he's a big boy and can make it to the toilet on his own. No puke bowl for him. The kids are still pretty tired and we spend the day in bed watching Disney and Dreamworks flicks. I check on Carlos periodically and he sleeps most of the day, doesn't want to eat or drink much and starts to run a fever. I make him take some tylenol and he starts to feel better. Somewhere in the day we find out that Carlos' mom and sister have now fallen victim to our nasty little stomach assassin. I'm still holding out though, strong willed and steel stomached.

CJ and Lexi start to perk up and begin to play a little. Elli, again, has appeared like her usual self. That is until 10:30pm rolls around. CJ and Lexi are in bed asleep. Elli, Carlos, and I are lounging on our bed, no longer the VRB, stripped of it's armor, when Elli turns to me and starts to vomit. Again. This time all over me and the blankets. Dang it! I let my guard down! We were almost at the end of this sickness with relatively few messes to be cleaned and little laundry to be done. When the waves had ebbed Elli gets put in the bath and I get cleaned up. The dirty laundry gets put in the washer and new bed clothes placed on the bed. We retire to bed, this time with towels underneath and a bowl by our side.

Monday morning comes with no further incidents. CJ and Lexi are up before anyone and dressed for school. Carlos is recovered sufficiently to attend work. And me, well, now I'm feeling a bit rumbly in my tumbly.

Vomitus Maximus: Part II

I answer and sure enough Becky informs me that Lexi just made a mess of the bed she was sleeping in as well as leaving a trail down the hall. Again, lovely. I tell her I'll be right there but she offers to drive Lexi to me instead. What an angel Becky is, I truly mean this, it was 2:45 am at this point. We hang up and I go to the livingroom to wait. After about a minute I call Becky and tell her to just bring CJ as well because he'll likely be next. They arrive roughly 10 minutes later. I hug Becky and thank her sincerely and we get the kids in the house. Lexi begins retching. Luckily, I am prepared with a bowl!! Ha ha, no mess this time evil flu virus!! After this episode I get Lexi settled in the VRB and assess CJ. He tells me his stomach feels fine and I believe him. I set him up in bed with Carlos. With a towel underneath and a bowl just in case.

As the night gets closer to morning Lexi gets sick a few more times and each time disaster is averted with the trusty bowls I so carefully placed next to each sick child. After each occurance I swap a clean bowl for the dirty one and empty and thoroughly clean and dry the used bowl and place it ready for the next swap. I had 4 bowls that were being rotated, one next to each child and the spare to swap in and out. It worked beautifully and no towels were soiled in this business of being sick.

Flash forward to 6am and CJ slips into our room and wakes me with "Mommy, my tummy hurts." He then kneels down, cups his hands over his mouth, and starts to heave. I grab the nearest bowl and manage to catch, again, roughly 99% of the expelled stomach contents. The other 1% being on the wrist of his long sleeved shirt. Once he's done, he gets cleaned up, clothes changed, and set up in the VRB. So, now we have 2 five year olds, 1 two year old, and 1 very tired 28 year old in a full sized bed loaded with towels. And where is Carlos you ask? Oh comfortably sleeping in our king sized bed and blissfully unaware of the scenes that have unfolded that night. Oh so wrong, I know. I'm not bitter though, not much anyway.

At around 9am I kick Carlos out of our bed and tell him to move into Lexi's room, I'm setting up the VRB in the king bed. He obliges and I set up the room and bed. CJ and Lexi are still in the middle of the muck but Elli seems to be doing a whole lot better at this point and is very playful. Carlos decides to take Elli and go to his parents house to keep her out of my hair as I tend to the twins. Overall, it worked well. The kids slept most of the day away when they weren't experiencing tummy tsunamis and so I was able to recoup some of my lost sleep. The dvd player played a steady stream of all the Shrek movies, Little Mermaid, Cars, Up, The Jungle Book 2, etc. I could probably recite the Shrek movies from memory now, we watched them so. many. times. this. weekend. Again, no bitterness, I promise.

Towards late evening, I called Carlos and told him that he and Elli should just stay the night at his parents'. It would be easier that way. She had felt fine all day, playing and eating as normal. He agreed and we said goodnight. CJ and Lexi fall asleep early which is unusual especially with all the sleep they had that day. They were really sick. I fall asleep early, once again a semi sleep, my hyper vigilant vomit detecting mode still in full effect, although not needed that night. I get awakened by my cell phone again at 2:45am. What the heck is this?! Am I stuck in some disgusting, puke filled, Groundhog Day?!

~To Be Continued~

Vomitus Maximus: Part I

The title of this post is the perfect description of what my weekend consisted of. Shall I give you a run down of the events? Too much information? Maybe, no probably. Not interested? Oh well, here I go anyway. Misery loves company afterall and after what I've dealt with I can't not share the splendor of dealing with a family sized stomach flu epidemic...I'm apologizing up front.

So Friday evening I head off to the gym with the kids in tow. I love my gym because the gym that I frequent (yay YMCA!!) has child care that I can utilize for up to 2 hours a day whilst I try to drop the pounds and baggage that the last 6 years have bestowed upon me. My kids get to play while I sweat off Tuesday night's Cheesecake Factory dinner, can't think of a better scenario.

Flash forward to 8pm and I am done at the gym. The kids and I are now driving to my in-laws' home where Carlos is waiting for us. I park, get CJ and Lexi out of the car, unbuckle Elli and she promptly begins to regurgitate dinner. Now I, being equipped with lightning quick motherly instincts, instantly place my hands underneath the flow of my child's half digested dinner in a cupping fashion and manage to catch 99% of the nastiness.

After waiting to see if she is done I turn around and begin to look for some way to dispose of the contents of my hands. I begin pacing and weighing my options. My first instinct was to just drop it where I was on the street but then I realized I'd then be stepping in it. Not desireable. I then thought about the sidewalk. No, gross. I would hate to be taking a morning stroll and come across someone else's vomit in my path so I decided I wouldn't do that to someone else. Ooh the grass! My in-law's lawn or the neighbor's lawn? Hmm, decisions decisions. Again my conscience pricked at me and I threw that option out.

At this point CJ and Lexi come back out of the house to see why I hadn't followed them. I yell for them to get daddy and tell him Elli had thrown up and to bring a trash bag. My command was immediately followed by their running shrieking back into the house "Daaaaddddyyy Elllliiiii threeeewwww upppppp!!!" Carlos comes rushing out and gets as far as the end of the house and I see he doesn't have a bag. I yell "Go get a trash bag!" If I start to give you the impression of Kate Gosselin from Jon and Kate Plus 8 right about now, remember that I've been holding vomit in my hands for roughly 3 minutes now. A little abruptness is understandable dontcha think?

Carlos returns with the most wonderful trash bag I've ever seen and I instantly drop the muck in my hands down into the bag. Carlos, oh great husband and father that he is, has quite a weak stomach when it comes to bodily fluids especially when those bodily fluids are not where they're meant to be and he drops the bag and staggers several feet back retching and heaving. Thank goodness they were of the dry variety and none of his stomach contents were expelled because that would've just ticked me off. I mean, if he were to throw up on the sidewalk at that point it would have rendered my holding the vomit for over 5 minutes meaningless. Thankfully he was a good husband and didn't disappoint in his ability to hold back the floodgates. But not for long (oooh the foreshadowing, I need the sound effects they have on TV "dun duun duuunnnn")...

We get Elli inside and cleaned up. Not much of a mess to clean up though, remember my heroic effort at containing all the vomit in my hands! She is acting fine at this point. Her usual playful, ornery self. No fever, no lethargy. We decide that maybe she had eaten too much at dinner and played a little too hard at the gym with perhaps a little car sickness thrown in. Carlos and I had plans to go out on a late dinner date and went ahead with the plan since Elli seemed fine. We put the kids to bed at Carlos' parents leaving Elli in the care of Tia Becky and off we went to Carraba's Italian Grill. Mmmm.

We return about an hour later and find Elli alseep on the downstairs couch in different clothes than what we had left her in, being watched over by Carlos' mom and sister. She had indeed thrown up again. All over Becky's bed. Sorry Becky...

Since CJ and Lexi are asleep upstairs we make the decision to leave them for the night and just us three go home. We wrap her in a blanket and I pick her up and lay her head on my shoulder. We head out the door to the car when she starts to throw up again. This time down the front of my shirt. Lovely. We decide to just press on and clean up when we arrive home.

We arrive home and get both myself and Elli cleaned up. I set up a Vomit Ready Bed (VRB) in CJ's room for Elli and I to share. This VRB consists of towels lining the bed and pillows, a medium sized bowl within easy grasp, roll of toilet paper, and sippy cup of water. I lay Elli down on the towel covered pillow, pull the blanket over her and then place a towel over the top of the blanket so that if she does up chuck again I'll be washing towels instead of bedding. Ingenious I tell you.

We retire to bed without anymore incidents and I fall into a semi sleep, afraid to fall deeply into slumber for fear of Elli drowning me in a stream of puke. I am awakened by the sound of my cell phone ringing and once I'm able to locate it among all the towels I realize it's Becky. Oh no. One of the twins is sick.

~To Be Continued~

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Background For A New Start

Hello world,

So, how ya been? Me? I've been just peachy. Not that you'd know that, I've sorta fallen off the face of the planet as far as this blog is concerned. BUT, I've just wasted more time than I'll admit trying to get a new background up so I'm recommitted! I'm not very savvy at digital scrapbooking or html so now that I've got a pretty good headache from scrolling through 25 pages of backgrounds at cutestblogontheblock and finally did the whole eeny meeny miney moe to pick one, I'm sitting down to type up my first post in, oh I don't know, 9 months.

Yes, NINE freaking months! Long enough to grow a baby. No, I didn't grow a baby in the months since my last post, just in case you were curious. Would have been nice though to have that as a handy excuse for why I still haven't lost the weight I want to. Sigh. Or an acceptable reason for why I haven't blogged since June. Instead I can only offer the reason that I discovered Facebook and felt satisfied at leaving little snippets of my life on my status update. It was easier than the blog, but ultimately not as satisfying. What finally convinced me to start again was going through all the posts on here and seeing the pictures of my kids and reading the stories that I hadn't thought of in so long. I need this, to document for me and my kids the life we enjoy. So here we go...

I'll spare you a long, boring recap of the last nine months, just rest assured that the kids made messes, threw tantrums, discovered new things, grew several inches, wore out of most of their clothes, and made my life generally wonderful.

We are nearing the end of this school year and CJ and Lexi's last year of preschool. And with that end we will be embarking on a new chapter for our entire family - homeschooling. Yes, you read that correctly. I just might be nuts, I'll let you know for sure in a couple of months. Lunacy aside, I'm really excited about this decision. I didn't always look so favorably on homeschooling but I'll just leave the explanation short and simple, we've been led to this decision by Someone who knows a whole lot more about a whole lot more things ;-) Who am I to argue?

I've been researching curriculum and reading blogs, books, websites, forums, pretty much anything I can find on homeschooling and it just feels right. So, if you think I'm crazy and going to screw up my kids just be grateful they're my kids and not yours. Oh and remember that just because I'm choosing this for my family does not make it a judgement on what you choose for yours. A little reciprocating can go a long way. Wow, haven't even started homeschooling yet and I'm already defensive. I've just come across some rather negative and judgemental attitudes about it when, frankly, I can't for the life of me figure out how it affects the other person.

Okay, sudden topic change, I'm finding this writing thing a little difficult. I feel out of rhythm and choppy. Sorry about that, I guess it'll take me a while to get comfortable again. This place feels a little foreign, or like a childhood home you're visiting again after 20 years. I'll get the hang of it again, bear with me. So with that I'll end it here. I've missed this, and the comments people used to leave. Dang, that's another thing, I'll have to get my readers back. Baby come back, you can blame it all on me!! (I'm thinking of the Swiffer Wet Jet commercials, lol).

Monday, June 29, 2009

Translation Please...


Hotgod (this one sounds a little blasphemous or irreverent)

Libble litt

Back cack


Any clues? No? Okay, since I have superior lingual skills I'll translate for you...


Hot dog

Little bit

Back pack


All words that I regularly hear from my kids. Well, except for libble lit. CJ no longer says it that way, he now says it the right way and it made me so sad the first time he said it correctly.

And now for a musical bonus. What song is this?

"Harry had a little man, little man, little man"

That's right folks, Mary had a Little Lamb with a twist sung by none other Lexi!!!


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