Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not so fast

And on the topic of bedtimes, this week one night I put all three kids to bed, only to find Skyler popping out of his bedroom a few minutes later with a novel explanation.

"I need walk!"

Night delights

Many years ago, I remember my evening routine as being something like this: Eat something good. Relax with a good book, maybe take a hot bath, snuggle into bed with a good book, turn out the light when I was too tired to read anymore. My main complication was that I didn't always get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

I was pondering the comparison between this and my present evening routine this week. Here's a sample of my present evening routine:

Make something good to eat. Repeatedly shoo small people back to table to eat it. ("You guys, remember, when supper is finished, you're not going to eat again until morning." "I want more smoovie!") Gulp down a little smoothie myself between cleaning up disasters and mediating between little people. ("Sethie talked to me!") Wash sticky little hands and faces and put some water in the bathtub. Undress small bodies and shoo toward potty, then soap and rinse one by one. ("Please quit splashing water all over the floor. Stop pouring water over your brother!") Go find pajamas for everyone. Towel off slippery, wriggling bodies, and release them to dash around the house briefly, squealing. ("Mommy, I a noonist!") Then diaper and dress sweet-smelling little bodies appropriately. Mop up bathroom floor with towel reserved for that purpose. (Don't ask me why it always ends up sopping wet.) Shoo leaping little bodies toward couch. ("But I hungwy, Mommy!" "No, you're confused. Supper is over.") Fill Sippy cups for bed, and bring pacifiers and clothies (Seth's comfort--cloth diapers) to couch to help calm little people down. Shoo everyone back to couch. Sing a few songs. (Skyler's plea every night right now is, "I wan' sing, 'Sing, sing, sing, sout, sout, sout, I gon' sing, I gon' sout, pwaise da Yord!--wan' sing dat song!") Read "stowies" while hugging writhing small bodies, disciplining when necessary to preserve some semblance of order. ("But it's my turn to sit on you yap!" "No, I wan' sit on Daddy's yap!") Then it's time to wrestle little squirmers down while I brush two small mouthfuls of teeth (Anaya brushes her own). This necessitates some creativity, by the way, since I need the small mouths to be open. I used to have them sing the chorus of "Angels We Have Heard On High." Gloooooria... But then I realized that someday they were going to be in church and when the hymn was announced, someone would be sure to bellow, "The toothbrushing song!" Hence, we abandoned that method. Currently I request animal sounds. "What does a baby lion say?" "ROWR!" "What does a big bear say?" "ROOOOWR!" "What about a baby monkey?" "HOO-HOO-HAHAHA-HEE-HEE!" The atmosphere is rather zoolike already.

Then, depending on the rambunctiousness of the evening and the time of night it is by now, events vary. Skyler usually goes to bed first (because putting both boys to bed at the same time provides severe temptation for small giggling people to leap around on beds instead of snuggling into them). Seth and Anaya get a more advanced bedtime story after he retreats for the evening. Usually I lie down with him, sing him a song ("When He Cometh" is his special song), tell him a "talking stowy," (which consists of telling about a little boy with brown eyes and tiny nose and tiny toes, who grows up to read the Bible and teach other people to love Jesus, until Jesus comes in the clouds to take him and everybody he loves flying up to heaven), and help him pray.

In the meantime, Daddy is reading and/or acting out stories with Anaya and Seth. When all is finished, they, too, are trundled off to bed for "talking stowies" and prayers. After all of this, two parents collapse in a heap to recuperate and catch up on cleaning, emails, reading and such for an hour or so before we crawl into bed ourselves.

It's hard to remember what it was like to be a lady of leisure, relaxing at the end of a long day instead of dragging myself through the hectic routine.

But I'll tell you a strange secret: I like this routine better.

Genuine repentance

We've been working on potty training for Skyler. I would especially love for him to make his "guckies" in the potty. When asked, he always assures me that he is going to make his guckies "in the potty" today. However, until recently, he has been happily announcing, "Mommy, I making guckies!" immediately after the dirty deed. My remonstrances are met with a cheery, "Sowy!"

But the last couple of days, he is getting better at warning me mid-stream. Whenever we succeed, we have a "chip parade" in which everyone marches around the house singing and eating corn chips. (This has been a motivational hit.)

This morning, I asked him again, in hopes of jogging his weak little memory, what he would do when the need arose. "Where are you going to make your guckies today, Sweetie?"

He grinned. "In the potty!" (Of course.)

And when you need to go, what are you going to say?"


Friday, June 26, 2009

I'm dweaming of a white Cwistmas...

Today Alan and I were discussing what to do for Christmas. "Would you like to go see Uncle Roland and Auntie Mandy, and Kirsten and Craig?" I asked the kids.

This was met by squeals of glee. "Yes! Yes!"

Seth was especially enthusiastic in his response. "Yet's go see dem!"

"We have to wait until Christmas," I reminded him.

Two minutes later Seth was back. "Is it Cwistmas yet?" He peered out the window at the blazing heat outside. "Is it snowing?"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Raising cannibals?

This morning for Father's Day, I made a pancake breakfast, complete with scrambled tofu and fruit smoothie. However, the highlight of all pancake breakfasts for our children is the "tiny pancakes" made with drips of batter. This morning they featured as the morning's entertainment.

The fun was sort of my fault, initially. Anaya bragged to me, "Mommy, I have little pancakes in my tummy!"

"Wait, I hear them!" I gasped, cupping my hand to my ear. "They're crying! They said they are lonely!"

That was all she needed. Grabbing several other pancakes, she named them all. "This is Aile, and these are Sarah and Daniela," she explained. "Here we come!" The enthusiastic pancakes leaped at the chance to "go down the slide."

Suddenly little pancakes were everywhere. Skyler soberly introduced me to his pancakes. "Dis one is Daddy. Dis one is Mommy. And dis one is Saralyn!"

Seth's pancakes were all little boys we know. A tiny one was his "baby," which he cradled in his fat hand. "Dis one is Caelum," he informed me. (Caelum is a baby we know.) His dramas took a slightly different turn than Anaya's. While Anaya's pancakes were thrilled at the prospect of "going down the slide," Seth's were not. "He scared," Seth assured me. "Aaaagh!" his pancake promptly yelled. "I scared!" Then things took an even more sinister turn, as Seth took a bite out of his pancake. "Aaaagh! I yost my head!" Not to worry--soon the rest of the "body" followed the head merrily down the hatch.

We didn't have enough little pancakes to satisfy Anaya, of course. Soon her bigger pancakes were being torn into little pieces to accommodate the other pancakes' social needs. She divided them into two equal piles. "These are my friends in Tennessee," she explained, pointing to one pile. "And these," she gestured toward the other, "are my friends in California."

"I see you have lots of friends in both places," I pointed out.

"Wait!" she swept the majority of pancake pieces over to the California side, leaving only a few on the Tennessee side. "I have MORE friends in California!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Planning ahead

So I'm still studying all the time, right? Still slaving away on that elusive master's degree.

Today Anaya came to flop down beside me and ask what I was doing. "I'm reading a book about how to be a good mommy," I explained. (It's for my Counseling Adolescents class, and by the way, there's no better remedy for the toddler blues than reading about parenting teenagers!)

"Just before you die, you should give me that book," she bubbled, "so I can learn to be a good mommy too!"