Monday, July 14, 2014

Crazy kids.

It is a point of fascination to me that the parents who have the most to say have the least time to say it.  I seemed to have a lot to say, and a lot of advice to offer, when I had a wee 3-month-old.  I am embarrassed to look back at those posts.  Truly, I knew so very little.

And the more I have to say, with real meaning and content, the less time I have to say it.

I haven't had time to say how I lost Greta at the playground the other day.  Only for about 2 minutes, but goodness, that girl can run, and I know how far she can get in 2 minutes time.  I found her happily kissing a baby she had just met.

Which she is wont to do.  Kiss babies she has just met.  She is the sweetest, gentlest little girl with other people's babies and other people's dogs.  Not, so much, with her own dog and her own baby.  Though she is obsessed with always making sure Teddy has a toy (even if it may be a terrible choking hazard) and feeding the dog, so at least she's interested in their well being.

I haven't had time to discuss watching MJ flirt with a boy at the same playground.  How she stuck her hip out and perched her hand there, taunting "You want someone to kill?  Bet you can't kill me!"  (Which sounds weird, but the boys were apparently playing a shooting game and that was her way of working herself in).  One boy, in particular, chased her all over.  And then she stole his sword (I kid you not) and he wrestled her to get it back.  It was so awkward and so terrifying of things to come that I had to remove myself to the other side of the playground so I didn't lose my mind.  I'm sure she didn't know she was flirting, but that's exactly what it was and she wouldn't have talked to another girl that way.

MJ has become obsessed with history.  "Real stories that really happened".  We've read about Harriet Tubman and Harry Houdini and Jumbo the Elephant and Annie Oakley.  She wants to be a pioneer for Halloween.  It is the first academic interest I've seen blossom in her and it's wonderful.  I constantly have to remind myself not to push her, because any time I do she rebels and gives up.  If I let it come to her in her own time she is usually quite determined to figure it out.  Which is why our attempts at reading so far have not been very fruitful, because I push her and it makes her hate it.  I remember feeling the same as a little girl, when I was pushed to ride my bike or swim.  I still feel antagonism towards those activities, and I don't want to curse her with the same feelings.  So I try to be patient, and encourage these passions when they arise.  Sometimes I do better than other times.

Greta, however, will sit and work at a puzzle until she figures it out.  I remember sitting down with the same puzzle with MJ at 2 1/2 and her struggling and getting so angry.  G is definitely the more patient of the two.  She is also fascinated by building things, legos and and shapes that fit together.  But her language is slower to develop, as well.  I am so curious to see how these little differences will shape them into different people.  

Greta, already grabbing things from me and saying "NO, I DO IT".  Insisting on dressing herself, which she is not at all capable of doing yet.  Today she spent ten minutes walking around with both legs through one short hole, simply because she wouldn't allow us to help her fix it.  

And then there's Teddy.  The baby.  He is off in the corner, quietly teaching himself to crawl.  And, really, he's basically done it.  He's slow, but he moves where he wants to and gets his hands on all sorts of things.  In some ways he's being forced to grow up a little quicker than the others at this age.  He's six months now, so he's starting to eat solids.  But I don't really have time to sit and feed him purees so I am basically giving him things to feed himself.  Baby led weaning, out of necessity rather than out of choice.  

Our house.  It is a crazy, crazy place.  Walking in the door if I've been away from them is like crossing a threshold from the calm, sane place the world generally is, to a screaming, hairpulling, wrestling whirlwind of little children.  I like to take them into the world, because I get to step back (sometimes) and see them for the cute that they really are.  We took them to a "Music in the Park" event last week, and it is always so enjoyable to see the smiles they bring to strangers faces.  Greta stomping her one foot while twirling, completely out of time to the music.  MJ prancing around, pretending she's a ballerina.  Teddy grinning, toothless, at everyone who walks by.  

It is a privilege to spend my days with them, when I can remember to let the little things go.  Like the 3rd spilled cup of milk, or 2nd time G has stuck her hand in her poopy diaper, or the 5th time MJ has burst into tears because I've told her no more sweets.  I always said I wanted a house full of chaos, and it turns out that is exactly what we have achieved.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Half a year

Goodness.  It seems that if I didn't do these monthly posts I might just never post.

It was a really, really good month with this little guy.  This month he gave us a few sleep-through-the-nights, including last night (3 days past the 6 month mark).  So really, once that's taken care of, what else is there? He puts himself to sleep on a regular basis.  When he wakes up in the morning, MJ will often crawl in his crib and play with him for a while. The sounds of them giggling warm my heart (and allow me a little more sleep).

He now rolls both ways on a regular basis.  In the past week, he has started to get up on all fours and rock back and forth, as though he's trying to figure out how to move his leg and crawl.  He has started to get places; not very fast or very far, but places.  Also in the past week or two, he is sitting pretty well.  Still needs a pillow around him because he falls over on occasion, but it never bothers him or frustrates him.  Instead, once he finds himself laying on the floor he seems to see that as his opportunity to practice crawling.

This past weekend, I got to spend more solo time with my baby than I have ever before had.  My Grandmother passed away, so Teddy and I went back to Oregon for the funeral.  Although it was a sad occasion, it was wonderful to spend some one-on-one time with my little man.  And it was freaking easy!  How did I ever think babies are hard?  (Though, to be fair, he's not crawling yet, which makes a huge difference).

I remember. when MJ was this age, getting tons of comments on how cute she was and what a sweet baby she was.  I haven't gotten that with either Greta or Teddy, and last weekend showed me why.  Because I'm always wrangling other kids, too, and no one wants to interfere with that!  Teddy got boat loads of comments this weekend, because he was the only baby in my arms!  Furthermore, we got to play with cousin Kessa, 5 months older than Teddy, which was absurdly adorable.

Although I love my girls and missed them, it was a bit hard to come home.  After the ease and relaxation of dealing with just one immobile baby, it was tough to transition back to craziness.  The first day back was really hard, but after a few days I got back in the groove.

But back to Teddy boy.  This is such a sweet, wonderful age, and I love soaking up the chunky thighs and full-body guffaws.  This boy has been practicing taking steps since about 4 months, and is dead set on learning to crawl, so I know it will be craziness soon enough.  Sooner, I suspect, than either of the girls.

Greta continues to be a threat to him.   Although I had previously thought we were past the abuse-of-brother stage, we seem to be back in it this past month.  She will just walk up and slap him out of the blue, or grab his face as hard as she can.  It is always worst when she is tired or frustrated, but there's no guarantee she won't do it at other times.  I'm truly stumped how to make this better.  I keep hoping time will do the trick, but every time he gets hurt I feel just awful that I haven't figured out how to make it stop.

He continues to chew on anything he can get in his mouth and soaks his clothing in drool.  Lots of teething happening, though who knows when we'll actually see a tooth.

I love this little guy fully and completely, and often feel bad that he gets so much less Mama time than his sister's had.  Then I see them coo and fuss over him, tickle him and do silly things to get him to laugh, and I realize that whatever he lacks in Mama time he makes up for in sister time.  He has been born into a crazy house full of life and love, I guess what could be better than that?