Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Naken boys

It's that time again --- I can't let the events of yesterdays' afternoon go without repeating.

It's getting closer and closer to Halloween and we needed to add a little decoration to the house so after lunch I set the kitchen table up for an afternoon of crafts. Painting pumpkins (using marker), creating pumpkins for the front door, playdough, etc. The kids were happy and I was getting the dishes cleaned - all was well...for the moment. Shortly into the pumpkin decorating Calum decided it was best to decorate himself. No problem - marker comes off. I simply went over, reminded him that the marker goes on the pumpkin or the paper, and gave him his choices --- marker the pumpkin or get down. He decided to get down...with a marker. I'm blissfully soaping up a plate when I hear the sound of marker on the floor. Ugh. Ok - wet paper towel, Calum helping to clean, remove suspect marker from his hands, remove suspect kid from craft area. All is well.

Calum decides to return to our table of creation to complete his glue pumpkin. He does a great job all by himself w/ very little help. I get up to burp one of the babies I was nursing only to turn around to find Calum back on the floor, gluing orange construction paper to the floor. Is he trying to tell me he'd like a new kitchen floor? When did it become his canvas?! Again, being the calm & ever-present mother (wink), I remove the glue stick from his hands and guide him along to a more practical activity.....and by guide him & practical activity I mean drag him up off the floor screaming and crying and beg him to play with his cars....his other sibling is now ready to nurse. I need a few minutes since my arms will now be occupied with hungry baby.

Cut to an hour later. Calum's older sister is wanting to work outside on the front porch so I'm helping her get socks & shoes & a jacket. It's raining and cool outside...but she's happy and being very patient so she gets whatever she wants...survival of the fittest here! I look into the kitchen to see Calum standing on his chair throwing all contents from the kitchen table, onto the floor...crayons, napkins, orange paper. Oh my goodness child, what ARE you striving for today - Mommy's meltdown. You're close. Let's see how close you can get.

So, at 4:35pm yesterday this is the scene in the Levy household....babies waking up from their naps - crying from their cribs. Ella on front porch doing some 'challenging' work (her words, not mine...but fitting), Calum - back porch, naked. Back porch and naked. No shirt, pants, diaper, shoes. I put him on the back porch in an effort not to kill him, or scream at him. He didn't quite see it that way & in protest, stripped. Surprisingly, he didn't pee out was a bit cold. There was a battle of the wills for the next 10 minutes or so - up to & including my calling Adam to say, 'Fair warning --- DO NOT come home right now. Drive around the block for ten minutes. You DO NOT want to walk into this house. If you do, I cannot hold myself responsible for any screaming that comes your way. You're likely to get caught in the crossfire and I'm deadly this afternoon.' He giggled, I giggled, Calum screamed as he sat in time out. Ella -- still working on the front porch.

Our day ended a few hours later with me cuddling that boy and asking him what was his favorite part of the day. He thought for a moment and responded, 'naked on back porch.'

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thank you Super Mommy

Happy Fall! The weather is cooler, the apples are yummier, the noses are drippier! Yep - Fall has arrived along with more containers of applesauce and greater need for Kleenex! Oh well - the standard 'Back to school' cold can't compare to the excitement of Ella & Calum for their annual hayride or their proud little faces after a day at school.

Yesterday was a fun day. I was going through some cooler weather clothing while the kids were playing dress up. Ella & Calum soon became fascinated with the plastic garbage bags holding all the clothes. For awhile, these most amazing-spectacular-ripped-trashed-best new toy on earth trash bags were kites that the kids flew around the house....we learned to fly a real kite just days before. Calum ran with such excitement flying his kite - it was all I could do but stop and watch him. Picture that scene in your head...toe-headed blond boy, running in the field of wildflowers, his kite string in hand, galloping of sorts, looking up high into the sky at his fascinating kite. OK - that's not exactly how it was inside our house but it was close. Keep the image of blond boy, replace the wildflowers with dust & laundry piles, keep the galloping, keep the fascination, lose the cool kite and replace with torn up trash bag. But it was good -- really really good.

After the kite fascination wore off we turned to Super Heroes. At some point Ella turned the trash bag into a book bag, taking the handle loops and putting them over her shoulders. As they were running amuck I said, 'Look at the Super Heroes, flying through the house keeping everyone safe.' We went on like this for a good while...SUPER Calum and SUPER Ella. A bit later Calum had asked for some milk. Upon receiving his now filled cup of milk his response...wait for it....'Thank you Super Mommy.' YES!!!! He said it...I certainly could have made that up but I didn't have to - he actually said it. For ever in my life I will remember him saying those words. He turned an ordinary trip to the kitchen, the standard 'fill my cup please', into one of those great kid/mommy moments. I love that boy. And yes, I am Super least to these little heroes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weeks and weeks

Again -- way too long since my last post but the previous two weeks have been filled with vacation activities. Adam took two weeks off from work for the 2009 Levy family stay-cation. We're a family of six - there's not much traveling outside of about an hours radius. Maybe next year ;)

Our time together at the end of the summer consisted of playground trips, the start of ballet & tumbling, bike riding, ALOT of pool time, Calum talking more, plenty of hours playing in the dirt pile, our fair share of Popsicles (we should have bought stock), all four kids getting to know one another a bit more, family visits, getting through hair washing without tears (accomplishment!), and many other silly triumphs only a mom & dad can fully appreciate. One morning we had all four kids in our bed waking up together. We popped the TV on and Calum said, 'Oh, I wuv Tigger & Pooh' - this was so dear and Adam & I shared one of those great moments of just smiling at each other. We are the parents to four amazingly beautiful children. Wow!

Some funny things from the mouth of babes:

"Mommy, Drew just spat on herself"....Ella was channeling her proper English background.

"" ----- Calum asking for a hole for Christmas after playing for two hours in the a hole.

"Mommy, can I have a Popsicle" - "Yes, Ella, after lunch." - "Um, no no no no, Mommy. That's just not going to work." ----- Ella. I didn't know where to go with that one.

"I don't want to play. I just want to have fun." -- Ella

"Yet's yump...(Let's jump)" --- Calum asking Drew to jump w/ him......"Ok, 'oney (honey), broda (brother) 'ere (here.)" --- Calum soothing Drew after he attempted jumping w/ her...he was holding her hands while she was in her bouncy seat.

"It's ok Mommy - just show me one cartwheel" --- Ella's request followed by, "Mommy, let me teach you how to do it right." --- Ella's response to my cartwheel. It's a good thing all of this wasn't followed by emergency vehicle sirens. It's been years, and three pregnancies since my last cartwheel.

"baby giggle giggle giggle" ---- Oliver's response to me kissing the sugar from his neck.

"Mommy, let's call Drew 'Charlotte' - it's a better name." --- Ella renaming her sister to follow the recent 'Charlotte' trend of our friends.

"I love school. I want to sleep there." --- Ella - what a difference a year makes!!! "Me too!" Calum's response to his sister's enthusiasm.

My response to all of these? My heart soaring & breaking, all at the same time. How exactly does that happen?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Birthdays, Babies, and Boys

It's been wayyy too long since my last post, and many of you know all the happenings of our last few weeks, but I'll do a rundown to catch the rest of you up....Ella's 4th birthday, twins, 2-year old boy, dog, house, 2-year old boy, a birthday, and twins. These are the things that occupy my days, my weeks, my life.

I decided to write this blog as a memoir of sorts. So - let's remember. Ella's 4th birthday was Saturday. Four years - I just can't believe it. Adam and I have a picture of each baby shortly after birth. Oh that picture from four years ago. We look so young, a little scared, but so young. I probably look my best in the picture after Calum was born. Ha - I knew what I was doing with baby #2. The birth was exquisite and I was relaxed. The difference in those pictures is simply in our confidence. Cut to the picture of us shortly after the twins arrived (via c-section.) I look beat. I was beat. Adam's smile is a little more tired. It's the same, happy smile, just through a thicker vale of tired. We look at those pictures and we still repeat 'four' to one another before falling asleep at night. How far we've come in these four years.

So Ella had a princess themed party. Her choice, not ours. As much as Adam hoped she'd be his little tom-boy, she loves tappy shoes and skirts. She'll get them covered in mud but she wants to dress up like the best of them. I think she enjoyed herself at her party. It's difficult for Ella to be the center of attention --- don't laugh people. She is a girl, so there is some level of attention getting, but when the chips are down and the drama is weak, she'd rather you not pay attention to her...she gets away with more if we're not watching. I was proud of her though - she actually let everyone sing happy birthday. Last year she had us hum, and we couldn't clap. Seriously.

Moving on from all things Party --- Calum. Let's review Calum's activities of days past. Yesterday he knocked over a lamp, breaking the light bulb - one of those energy efficient those have mercury in them? I had the babies in my arms when this occurred so I quickly set them down to address the glass all over the carpet. I shoo'd the older kids away to pick up the pieces only to turn to see Calum pulling at his brother, Stretch Armstrong style. I finally had to put him in his room to keep him (and the rest of us) safe. And this is exactly how I explained it to him, 'You have to stay in your room for a few minutes while mommy makes the house safe again for you. You're not safe right now.' WHAT?! Why are these words even coming out of my mouth? How has it come to this? Oh yeah - 2-year old boy. After picking up glass shards, vacuuming, removing said lamp, and retrieving the ill-equipped babies, Calum was allowed out of solitary confinement, back to our general population. I'm not sure how these things happen. I'd say he's like a spinning top but he doesn't actually move that fast. A better description would be bowling ball. A bowling ball that never quite settles but just rumbles from room to room leaving a path of destruction, and saying sweetly 'Sorry, Mommy.'

Also on our docket yesterday was some painting for the kids. Calum lasted about 7 minutes. I was impressed with his focus and the limited mess. Only one swipe of the mop was necessary to wipe up the splattered paint. Ella enjoyed painting with her 'special' paints. She made about six different pictures before she discovered that she could 'layer' the pieces of paper. Lots of layering of art projects these days....I need to pull out some tissue paper and let her explore her need to glue/paint layer after layer after layer.

After the painting we headed outside. It took me some time to get the babies out the door. In the meantime, Ella pulled out the hose and turned it on. This was fine as I needed to water the plants. I have pictures of the fun that ensued but they'd be pulled from the website as explicit. Just picture two sweet, naked babies (big babies, that walk and talk) filling up a large ceramic pot with tons of water and making mud soup. The clothes came off in an effort to make Calum more comfortable...water and diapers don't mix well. I pulled his bottoms off and this just opened the door for Ella to be naked. My kids just like to be naked. So - for the next three hours - yep, three - we played in the yard. Naked bodies, water, mud, slip & slide and mommy. The dishes weren't cleaned, the house was torn apart, there was some laundry in the dryer, dinner needed prepping and I needed a nap but the sweet sound of two happy kids squealing as I shot them down the slip & slide balanced out the days' trials. And this is why these days are precious.

We also visited a dairy farm this week. Kids enjoyed seeing the cows and the similarity between milking the cows and milking mommy were a little frightening. It's strange when you can relate your child's daily experiences of watching mommy feed the twins to the mass production of milk. Those cows were amazing though as was this large tractor that caught Calum's attention.

And, at the end of the day - we sat out on the front porch, visited with our neighbors, tried to catch bugs, and cheered as Ella practiced her cartwheels. When the babies started to grump we brought everyone inside for 'vitamins, teeth-brushing, and milk' (our evening montage.) And a mere hour later this is the scene in the Levy house. Bliss...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lesson Learned

Ok - so I've read several books on the 'Stubborn Child', trying to understand my daughter better, but after yesterday I realize that she comes by things naturally. As if my experiences last weekend with Calum, some flour, and his bedroom weren't enough, yesterday I finally learned that I needed to remove ALL powdery substances from the kid's room. Why you ask? Well, if you have to ask then the following has never happened to you & probably for good reason, you're smarter than me. Let me set the scene...

My friend and I are catching up in the kitchen. She's eating some lunch, I'm folding some clothes. Babies are asleep and three little friends are playing in the bedroom. It's that 'sensitive period' for closing doors around here - 'I need my privacy,' so the door to the bedroom was closed/ajar. I start smelling the sweet scent of baby powder but it doesn't even register as a potential hazard...I'm folding laundry remember, all baby laundry smells to some degree of baby powder. Until WHAM! The scent is so strong and my slow-ass synapses finally fire in my brain - oh shit, baby powder, a closed door, and three kids. I best investigate.

I open the door only to be greeted by the thick fog, yes fog, of baby powder. It was as if I'd stepped into a smoky bar at 2 in the afternoon. I had to close the door quickly so the children wouldn't see my face - the huge smile and heaving chest from laughing would NOT indicate that this scene was unacceptable. Once my friend and I regained our composure we opened the door and dealt with the kids, picking them up off the floor as they practiced 'swimming' in the layer of powder. It's amazing we didn't hear coughing or choking. We dusted the kids off and sent them out! Funny - for the whole hour prior to this incident they were all over us -- Mommy this & Mommy that -- but for the hour and a half it took us to clean the room, the kids were miraculously able to play on their own - no fights, no interventions, no attention needed from the mommy's. Nope - they left us to our work/ a room full of baby powder. Where do you even start on a project like that one?!

So, the next time I say to myself, 'Sometimes Ella and Calum just have to learn things the hard way, ' I won't be so judgmental. I'm the idiot that had to clean flour & baby powder up from a bedroom twice in one week. Oh, and I forgot to mention the petroleum jelly that was smeared on the wall. Yeah - nice. Needless to say but all jelly, lotion, powder, oil - anything of this nature, that would require more than two minutes to clean up if spilled or smeared, has now been removed from the kids room. And we don't close doors anymore. Lesson learned.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Topic of conversation

Just a quick list of conversations from yesterday:

First thing in the morning:
1. Mommy to Calum - 'Calum, we use the flour in our kitchen, NOT in the bedroom. Help me clean your mixing off the bedroom floor and furniture.'

2. Mommy to Daddy - 'Daddy go get the camera, this will be a funny memory once we get past the cleanup.'

3. Daddy to Calum - 'Stand by your mess, son, so you have some evidence for the judge.'

Sometime, mid-morning:

4. Ella to Mommy - 'But Morgan was using the toilet and I really had to go.'

5. Mommy to Ella - 'You can use the toilet in Mommy's room anytime. Please don't pee in the sink anymore.' and 'Please don't tell your brother why we're throwing his toothbrush away. He can't use a toothbrush that's been pee'd on.'

Later that evening:

Mommy overhears Morgan to Ella - 'Ella, why don't you talk when you come to my house but you talk all the time at your house?'

And the last conversation before bedtime:

6. Ella to Mommy - 'But I have been to church before. When Uncle Tyler & Aunt Gwyn got married, so I should be able to go to church with Morgan. I love her.'

7. Mommy to self - 'I don't want to have a conversation about church and God right now - it's 8:30pm. I want to watch Food Network.'

8. Mommy to Ella - 'I'm glad you have found a friend that you love but little girls go to church with their mommy & daddy's first. When you get older you can choose to go to church with Morgan but not now.'

9. Ella to Mommy ------ no words, just the 'I hate you right now' look that only a girl can give to her mother.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bee stings, Boyfriends, and Bowel Movements

Ella got stung by a bee yesterday. She ran out into the clover and stepped on the sucker. All was fine though. No abnormal swelling or closing of her esophagus. I knew she wasn't having breathing problems by the screeching that was going on right outside my ear. My eardrums are still vibrating today. This was another very clear example of the differences between boys & girls. Well, a clear difference between my boy and my girl (oldest.) Calum was stung by a bee a few weeks ago. We heard the cry across the yard. He walked over to Adam holding his finger high - this is where he was stung. His crying stopped after a few minutes. He whimpered for another 20 minutes or so, holding his hand gingerly and saying 'boo boo.' We moved on. Cut to last night. Ella runs out into the yard and after a few moments begins screaming and crying as if her arm had been ripped off. She lays there, waits for Adam to come get her. Granted, she was stung on the foot and probably couldn't walk well but she laid there the clover, with the bees. She screamed for 30 minutes - top of her lungs 'I got stung by a bee.' SCREAMING, CRYING, SCREAMING. The dramatics were worthy of a Tony Award. We had to process the incident throughout the evening, as a family. She seems better today - perhaps this experience will only be worthy of one therapy session. I truly believe she wills these things onto herself. She wanted so badly to have the same kind of 'medicine' as Calum when he was stung. But this time we were smarter and simply chewed up some plantain and put it on the sting. Worked wonders. Last week she was disappointed because Calum had a fever and was given some Tylenol. The next day she got the fever...the first thing she asked for was Tylenol. Oye! I cringe to think about high school and 'experimental drugs.' And that covers bee stings.

Boyfriends...Ella had her boy Brady over today. She hasn't seen Brady in over a year but she asked for him this morning every three minutes until he got here. A little shy at first but soon was running the halls with him. I might have to say he's her love. She just treats him different. At one point they were playing in her room, sitting on her bed reading books or something. We called for them to come out and Brady jumped off the bed and Ella followed. Her hair was a bit mussed up - again, high school crept to mind. If they were teenagers we'd be yelling at them to leave the door open. So fun to see them together again, sharing food, playing, doing things for each other. A sweet little friendship.

Lastly, I had to laugh the other morning when I realized I had spent a full hour wiping bottoms of poo. It's the first hour of each morning, when all the kids are finally awake together. It's like round-robin pooping. Poop, wipe, diaper change. Poop, wipe, diaper change. It has to be the most unglorified part of this job - motherhood. Even Ella needs help in this category so I don't even have a reprieve from her. Oh well. Once you become a mom you realize that poop is a barometer of health so I guess it is really best that I wipe and change. And by having four, I'm surely guaranteeing that at least one of these kids will wipe my bottom when it comes time. Ha - planning. Always plan for the future - ;)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tuesday Tornado

Today I successfully managed five kids. Everyone lived, the house didn't implode - neither did I, only two 'time-outs' were used, and everyone wants to do it again tomorrow, though I'll have more mommy hands around. What a great day for me as a mom, and for my kids because now, finally, life is getting back to normal. Friends are coming over, they are playing, I am playing. Just me, my kids, their friends, my friends. I miss my family and all their help, don't misunderstand, but after today I now know I can do it. I can mother these kids, allow them their lives, and still be sane enough to smile at the end of the day. No promises for tomorrow but today worked.

Pause -- who is my husband talking to outside? I don't recognize the car but it must be a neighbor. This is the dynamic of a stay-at-home mom. We know EVERYTHING in the neighborhood. I know that if my neighbors don't open their blinds by 8am then they are sick, out of town, or at the hospital. Seriously. If someone gets a new car, I know about it. I know when the school kids from down the block bring home friends. I can set my schedule to the mowing routine of my neighbors. So - who is this newby taking up space in the road. I'll just have to wait & see. Yep - I'm nosy. But nosy isn't a bad thing when you're home all day with kids. We have to be aware of the workings in the neighborhood so that we send the signals of concern when something doesn't add up.

Back to the day.... Ella told me she was going to be a grown up, when she grows up. Calum fell asleep while hanging off the couch. Imagine a small child leaned over the seat part of a couch with his feet dangling, not touching the floor. This is how Calum slept for 45 minutes. Ella's friend told me today that gum makes a tummy happy --- in response to my 'no' when asked for some gum. Drew & Oliver are sitting next to me right now in their respective bouncy chair. Oliver is slobbering bubbles and getting a work out - don't come a knockin' if the chair is a rockin'. Drew is having quite an angry conversation with a bird. I retract, she's having an angry conversation with the backside of the bird. Now she's smiling because I turned the toy around. Funny -- all of my babies have a love/hate relationship with this bird. I might have to rip the thing off the chair as a momento. But ahh - who will get it when I die; they've all loved it so.

Dinner is waiting for attention. Leftovers tonight from one of the freezer meals we prepared last week. I think we have 14 dinners in the freezer - all prepped and ready. We won't have to think about a main course for for at least two more weeks. This coupled with the occasional meal with family - we're good to go. So nice not having this be a main focus of our everyday. Adam can come home and catch up with the kids and we can have a home cooked meal every night. Now if I could get on the same sort of rotation for desserts...

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Death talk - to a four year old

Ok - so when we went out today Ella saw a cemetery and started asking questions. Three hours later we're still talking about death. What it means to be dead. Where you go when you die. When will I die? Who died today. Who will die tomorrow. I used the example of my grandmother dying to help Ella understand. So now - three hours later - Ell is reassuring me that even though my Grandma is 'died' she still loves me. And she just now asked, 'Are beetles eating your Grandma up?'

To be continued....

Moving on from the death talk - Calum sprayed Oliver in the face/body today with the hose. We were all out 'cleaning' the playhouse, Calum got ahold of the hose. Not a bad thing except for the infant babies unaware of their fate, swinging away in summer bliss. I guess Oliver looked in need of a spray - he was soaked and screamed bloody murder. Thankfully he recovered quickly as soon as I rescued him from the typhoon.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Blog

With my friends as inspiration I've decided to start blogging. I realize my computer time is now much more limited than ever before but so is my time to chat on the phone. I'm hoping my blog will help document my days (& not in a Jon & Kate 'document our lives' kind of way --- I'll try to keep the Winchester paparazzi down to a minimum.) Hopefully the blog will help family & friends whom I'm less able to keep up with, keep up with me and my family.

So - as I write my first blog I look out the window and see Ella & Calum out in the street riding their bikes. Adam is there talking with a neighbor while wearing, yes I said wearing, Oliver. He has started to wear the babies in the wraps to save my back a little. I appreciate his help and any respite I can get from carrying both of them -- one is in the front and one hangs out back. I may not give them as much individualized attention as I once gave Ella and Calum as babies but I do wear these two ALOT more than the others. I'm hoping that balances things out a bit.

Calum learned to swing on the 'big boy' swing for the first time this 4th of July weekend. So proud. And Ella has spent most of her weekend in the pool. Every day it's something new for the two of them. We're discovering that Calum gets in trouble when he gets tired so a few minutes in his room usually turns into a short nap - just enough rest to get him to bedtime. They're so wonderful - and I'm very proud of them. Ella just wants to help these days. Today it was the laundry though she realized her lap was too small for folding a towel so proceeded to fold it on the ground. We were outside in the yard.... I just looked up at Adam and remarked that I'll need to redefine my thoughts about what's 'clean.' I love this reworking of ideas - this organic way of living. Find what works for the day and go with it but no strings attached. I woke up yesterday so grumpy and spent an hour grousing (word?) at the kids. When my mood finally lifted I felt it important to apologize to the kids for my grumbling. Maybe this will teach them that it's ok & natural to sometimes be angry for no reason, but it's not ok to treat others in a mean way. No ones perfect.

Well - we've managed 11 weeks as a family of 6. Eleven? or Twelve. Hold on. I need to check. TWELVE!! My babies are twelve weeks old. OMG. Oh - how sweet. I need to re-lable some of the pictures I took today. Ha - my brain on six. It's not a brain on drugs it's just a brain on 6. Six Levy's in this house. Couldn't be a luckier number.