Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One more sleep

Our household has been counting down to Halloween for quite some time. I always try to get our costumes organized early, but someone always changes their mind or we’re missing some props or I realize the costume’s not going to fit over a snowsuit. The kids don’t seem to care what they dress up as, except Spencer was adamant about not wearing the cat costume. I bought him a ninja costume, but he wasn’t as excited as I thought he’d be and it looked so cheap and stupid that I returned it. For the kids, it’s really not about the costume anyway. It’s just a necessary hurdle to get to the candy. So everyone is happy to wear costumes we already had: the girls will be fairies and Spencer will be Superman. Neve has never really gone trick or treating before; last year she was too grumpy to go out, and she probably doesn’t remember the few houses we took her to when she was a baby. I can’t believe this is only the third Halloween that we’ve had her. But this year, she’s starting to catch on. The last two mornings, her first words were: “Me fairy. Me candy!” She’s worn her costume both days; yesterday to a friend’s house and today to the playgroup at the community centre. She got a bag of candy from Jen yesterday and has been carrying it around ever since. I think she thinks that’s it – that’s the candy we’ve all been talking about. And she’s thrilled. Here she is putting face paint on at playgroup today.

And here’s another van conversation from yesterday.

Spencer: I’m hungry as heck.

Spencer: (Fifteen seconds later, after not getting a response) I’m hungry as heck.

Spencer: (Disappointed about the lack of response) Isn’t heck a bad word?

Me: No, not really. It’s just one of those words that are more appropriate coming from an adult than a kid.

Spencer: (satisfied) I’m hungry as heck.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Spencer: never at a loss for words

Here are two conversations took place yesterday; thought I'd write them down while I still remember them. For some reason, it seems easier to record funny conversations on the blog than in a notebook or baby book.

Since the re-implementation of the pee smarties, Neve has suddenly been going to the bathroom a lot. She runs to the bathroom and a minute later we hear the toilet flush, but we have no proof that she actually went. Spencer expressed his doubts first, and I agreed. When Dale came home from work, this is the conversation that took place:

Neve: “Pee comes!” (runs to the bathroom)

Dale: “Good girl, Neve!”

Spencer: “Dad! Me & Mommy are not exactly on the believing side!”

Another conversation:

Neve: “Me hot.”

Spencer: “Yeah, Neve. That’s because there’s insulation.” (in the house)

Funny how these conversations seem cuter to me when I haven't seen my children all day, except for 15 minutes before I left for work this morning. Neve went to my parents' last night and will return tomorrow night, so I have the entire day to myself tomorrow. That makes me purr.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Things

I finally got a minute to play around with the template - I still need to do some more adjusting, including getting Spencer in the picture. We do love Pooh though.

Besides the look of the blog, here are some new things:

• Three blog posts in four days
• Spending $470 at Target in 90 minutes
• Buying all three of the kids’ main Christmas gifts before Halloween (absolutely unprecedented)
• And yes, Robyn, thankfully a first and hopefully a last, my child throwing up in a hotel room

This is certainly not a New Thing, but it has become much more intense since she’s been sick. I am referring to Neve getting her way with everything. As an example, when she first started peeing on the toilet, we rewarded her with Smarties. Always three Smarties. Never four or two – three every time. She’s been going on the toilet for quite a while now and we’ve gotten out of the smarties habit; she rarely asks for them anymore and I never offer. But since she’s been sick, every single time: “Me peed! Me candy!” So fine, I still have some left in the pee stash (sounds yummy) so I give her some. Suddenly yesterday, she looks at the three smarties in her hand and says, “No! One!” (as in one more). That girl is stubborn like you wouldn’t believe. I tried reasoning with her, ignoring her, distracting her, and tricking her. Nothing worked. The three smarties were melting away in her hand, but she wouldn’t touch them until she got one more. Finally she broke me. Tears one second, then giggling the next as I gave her the fourth one. And of course, every single pee-time since then, she has insisted (and received) four smarties. Life is a lot easier if we just accept who’s really in charge.

(This was not a posed photo)

Monday, October 22, 2007

the good (as opposed to yesterday's "bad")

I had ten uninterrupted hours of deep sleep last night and it was wonderful. The kids had even more – the girls both slept 14 hours. It’s a dilemma – it’s so much fun going to a hotel, but the nights are so rough (even with no throwing up involved). A suite or an extra room would help a bit; but ideally I’d like a room for each kid, exactly like their room at home so it would all be familiar. Is that too much to ask?

But lest anyone get the impression that the weekend was spoiled, here’s the good part. This is a partial list of what I bought. If you have something more pressing to do than to read my list, I understand.

For me: (this never happens – it’s usually all about the kids)
Dress pants
4 tops

For the kids:
4 pairs of jeans/pants
8 tops
Winter jacket for Chloe

For Dale:
Running shoes

Also: each of the kids’ major Christmas gift and a few smaller ones

I really wanted to buy more house things like pictures and decorative things and a table cloth, but time ran out. I had planned to do more shopping on Sunday, but Chloe was translucent and shaking so I felt too guilty. My truemomconfession: The first thought in my head when I heard the gushing Saturday night was “does this mean I won’t be able to do any more shopping?” (A little disclaimer here: I really don’t like shopping that much, but this is my major annual spending spree and I get totally caught up in it.)

And shopping aside, I really enjoyed just sitting around with my Arbour Mist ($2.97 in the U.S!! Yeah, I know it’s not exactly a fine wine, but $2.97!! That’s cheaper than bottled water! And it tastes like punch!) and reading trashy magazines (to go with my trashy wine) and just hanging out with friends. It really was relaxing and a much-needed break from everyday life. I still feel like shopping though.

And I’ll leave you with a Spencer moment. We were the only ones in the pool and I was holding him, relaxed and floating. He said, “Ahhh. This is the gentlest I’ve ever been in water or on land.”

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Weekend Away

We were in Grand Forks this weekend and had a great time. With our dollar better than the U.S. one, the shopping was a success. We went with 3 other families and besides shopping, we spent lots of time just sitting around talking and laughing and eating and drinking. Our family has never mastered the art of shared sleeping arrangements though, so the nights were a bit rough. Neve didn’t nap on Friday, so she went to bed for the night at 6:00. Or so we thought – she re-appeared later that evening and despite repeated attempts to force her to fall asleep, nothing took effect until I finally got into bed with her at 10:30. Even then, she still didn’t fall asleep until midnight. She insisted on sleeping in “Mama-bed” but eventually I moved her to a bed I made up for her on the floor. She woke up at 5:00 a.m. saying, “Me. Fall. Out. Mama-bed.” So back into my bed she came. At 6:00, Spencer started jumping out of bed at half-hour intervals to look out into the courtyard to see if it was time for breakfast.

But that was a good night compared to this last one. It started out well; Neve & Chloe were fast asleep by the time Spencer (he had a nap), Dale & I came to bed. Spencer, Dale & Neve were in one bed, so I went to sleep with Chloe. Then Neve half-woke up, and insisted on sleeping with me instead of in her playpen or on the floor. Ever since she’s been sick (she’s still not totally well), she gets whatever she wants so Dale & I switched places. Then Spencer was sad that he couldn’t sleep with Dale, so he and Chloe switched. After all the commotion, we realized we could have just switched Neve, but no one was thinking that clearly. Eentually everyone settled down, and then I heard the sickening sound of gushing liquid coming from someone in my bed. Turns out it’s Chloe’s turn to be sick. Everyone in the room bolted upright, and then froze, which was too bad, because it would have been nice if we’d gotten Chloe to the bathroom before the next batch came out. Dale & I were running around with no idea what to do, Neve got out of bed and was wandering around dangerously close to the vomit, and Spencer was beside himself with joy to be witnessing something so horrifying. His first question (in a genuinely interested way) was, “Chloe, how much junk food exactly did you eat?” He kept asking if he could help, and was told he was helping the most by staying in bed and not talking. “But I feel so useless!” he said. The housekeeping staff was very gracious in dealing with our situation and after a while everyone was back in bed, except for Neve. I made her sleep on the floor after that, which displeased her. So I lay down with her on the disgusting hotel room floor til she fell asleep. She had potent gas all weekend, and that’s all I could smell as I lay there. Finally she fell asleep and I tried to sneak back into bed. But I stepped on her foot by accident and had to start all over. Just when I did successfully make it back to bed, Chloe went for Round 2. This time she hit the garbage can for the most part, and fortunately the other kids didn’t even wake up. I spent the whole night jumping up with my heart pounding every time Chloe moved. There was also a round 3, but I think that’s more than enough details already. Let’s just say I don’t think Chloe will be wanting sushi or red licorice for a long long time.

So as soon as Desperate Housewives is over, I am off to bed in hopes I will have a good long solid sleep.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sick Girl / New Thing

I keep forgetting to change the look of this page – it’s so ugly. When I do think of it, I don’t have the time or energy to work with it. I’ve been working pretty much all weekend, although I did fit in a round of bowling with the kids, raking leaves, and a fondue dinner at Rob & Gab’s. And about 5 loads of vomit laundry. When I went to get Neve up this morning, I saw she was covered in dried puke. A few posts back, I believe I said waking up on a deflated air mattress is the worst way to wake up; I was wrong. If hearing about throwing up makes you want to, you might want to skip to the next paragraph. This is gross, but it looks like she threw up shrimp peel. There was shrimp on the table last night, and I didn’t notice her taking one, but I could have been distracted with trying not to lose my meat chunk in the fondue oil. I will spare you the details, but it looks like she ate a LOT of shrimp peel. Very strange. Later this morning she threw up water, so I told everyone not to feed her. Dale decided to give her 3 raspberries, which was great fun to clean up 45 minutes later (Dale wasn't #$%&#* home). Poor girl, she is whiter than my shirt was before she threw up on it. She has been nice and cuddly though, and despite the endless stack of poorly written Pooh books I had to read to her, it was sort of cozy. Fortunately Neve still doesn’t have a bed, so I just threw her mattress down the stairs (I was carrying her so my arms were full) and made up her bed in the living room. Life can be easier when you live simply.

It’s safe to read again.

That’s about all I have to say, except I may as well write my New Thing for the week before I forget. On Saturday morning, I participated in my first-ever walk for charity (AIDS in Africa). It was a gorgeous day; I took the kids and did a loop around St. Vital Park. It was only 2.5 km; I actually wished it was longer because it was so beautiful. Although next time I will not wear the jeans with the hem that drags on the ground and gets saturated in duck poop. Who am I kidding – those are my only jeans and will probably still be next year. I don’t think my sentence structure would win a prize today, but I’ll blame it on the vomit. Off to bed I go.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Things I get tired of hearing / New Thing

Every single time we get into the van, before Neve will climb into her car seat, she points to the seat beside her car seat and says, “Me older. Me sit there.” (when I’m older, I’ll sit there). She doesn’t EVER forget to say it.

A few weeks ago, a friend was over with her newborn boy. He was lying on the couch and when Neve went to look at him up close, his little fist happened to grab some of her hair. It wasn’t a big deal; she just said, “Baby. Pull mine hair!” It wasn’t mentioned again until a few nights later, when I checked on her before going to bed. In her sleep, she said, “Baby Sammy. Pull mine hair.” Now she mentions it several times a day, and resentment seems to be growing against poor baby Sammy.

One last recurring Neve quote – every single time we put her shoes on: “Socks. No work. Flops.” (Flip-flops don’t work when you’re wearing socks.)

They say kids love repetition and learn from it. I don't love it so much and I don't learn anything that is printable here.

And Spencer’s in a violent phase. He is always saying stuff like this:

Me: How was school today, Spencer?
Spencer: Bad. There was a bomb and everyone was killed.

Or this:

(when looking at the Sears Wish Book): I want all the dangerous and bad stuff.

Or this:

If you send me carrots in my lunch again, I’m going to scratch your face.

This kind of talk does not make me feel kind and loving towards him, so I can only imagine how people who did not know him when he was a sweet mute little baby feel about his violent boy-talk. He says he doesn’t say stuff like that at school or at friends’ houses, but I’m scared it’s becoming a habit. So today when he told Chloe he was going to punch her face, I told him it was time for a Chart. Charts are not happy, positive reinforcement, sticker-collecting things in our house. Five X’s on the “Violent Talking Chart” results in some huge unspecified punishment. I didn’t exactly read this in a parenting book; I suspect the negativity and unknown punishment aren’t recommended techniques. (Who has time to read parenting books anyway when you’re busy with little kids? If I want to read, I’ll read something fun. I suspect most “child experts” have grown children and lots of time to reflect on nice little theories and principles.) Anyway, Spencer was quite upset about the whole Chart idea so hopefully that works out okay.

And now for my New Thing. I had to wait til tonight to post this, because I just came back from my first Norwex party. Our very own CoJu was the hostess. I thought she did a great job; very relaxed and casual and though she obviously believes in the products, isn’t one bit pushy. She even loaned me her super duper mop and I’ve already washed my floor. It’s shiny and clean and the mop was way more fun than my old one. There are a lot of great products; if anyone’s interested in ordering something, let her know.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Halloween costumes

Spencer wants to be an army guy for Halloween. He saw it in the Party Stuff flyer among all the pornographic costumes (my favourite one is the sleazy Dr. Anita Lay. You can’t tell me inventing costumes wouldn’t be a fun job.) Anyway, the costume is just a guy wearing army fatigues and carrying a huge assault rifle. I said no. Then he wanted to be “Death Eater” which is as stupid as it sounds. Now he wants to be a witch. I’m trying to convince him to wear the cat costume, but the negotiations aren’t going well. Chloe has decided that she, Neve, Pink Ee-ee and several of her dolls will all be fairies. She has been busy making wings for everyone out of paper and rubber bands.

And here’s another van conversation:

Neve: Me. Button. Out. Mama drives. Fun!
Chloe: (without skipping a beat) You want to press the button (to the automatic sliding van door) and get out of the van while Mama’s driving?”
Neve: Yeah!

I’m multi-tasking and watching Brothers & Sisters right now. I’ve got to say, Rob Lowe is ageing very well.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Thing #3

This week’s New Thing is again not very imaginative, but since I’m under pressure, here I go. This is turning into a list of things-I’ve-been-procrastinating-about, but I feel good about it and that’s what counts. It’s all about me feeling good. I finally painted the trim around our front windows. It was a dull peeling gray, now it’s bright white. I also painted the lamp post; now I just have to put up new house numbers and a new mailbox and we’re done. Oh, except for the botched stucco job. I passed the stucco guy’s number on to Clay, our project manager, and asked him to try his luck. He can be quite persuasive, but apparently he’s no match for the stucco guy.

Shannon’s comment to the last post almost convinced me to run to the basement and get the crib up again, but I resisted. I took the car bed out of Neve’s room because it loses air during the night and I know from personal camping experience what a horrible way that is to wake up. So now she’s sleeping on her crib mattress. Or, sometimes beside her crib mattress. The whole sleeping arrangement looks like a third world situation. An old flannel sheet on the window, mattress thrown in the corner of the room, mismatched bedding and junk on the floor. All we need is a big aggressive rat to complete the scene. Now that Spencer’s room is pretty much done, Neve’s room is next on my list. I guess I won’t be putting up any bead curtains.

Here she is tonight:

And a little closer view. Another one she’ll hate me for posting. Sorry, Neve.