Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Smart and Sneaky

I know I've mentioned to you all before about how smart Lana is. Not in the same way Sonya is, but in that logical, figure how to get what I want, sort of way. I sometimes forget that she is like this. This can also lead to her being sneaky when she knows she's doing something she shouldn't be. Sonya is usually more straightforward, so it catches me off guard when Lana acts this way.

A couple of weeks ago, when my family was here, my mom brought these miniture jars with M&M's in them for the girls. They were party favors at a wedding they recently attended. Nona made sure to get enough so each of her granddaughters had one. She gave them out when she got here. For Lana this was a perfect present. A tiny container! With CANDY?! Is it Christmas?!

She immediately decided this was her new treasure, and began to carry it around in her purse with her other treasures of the day. I let her open it once to take out a couple of M&Ms, but it was just after breakfast and I wasn't letting her eat the whole jar. I'm not that crazy. Yet.

About an hour later we all packed up to take the kids to gymnastics. Lana wanted to take her jar of M&M's with her, but I told her no way. She couldn't do gymnastics with a little jar and we weren't about to leave it in the car where it would become M&M fondue. We argued about it for a minute and then my mom offered to Lana to keep the jar in her purse. She thought about it for a minute and decided it was okay. The only problem with this solution was that my parents left halfway through gymnastics to bury my Grandmother's ashes. They wouldn't be home for the rest of the day. I didn't think about that part until we got home and Lana said,

"Whea aw my M&M's?"

Crap. Ummmmm...

"Sorry Lana, I think they're still in Nona's purse. We'll get them when she gets back," I tried to tell her.

"Noooo! I wan my M&M's now!" She complained.

"Well you'll just have to wait until she gets home," I explained again.

This was not what she wanted to hear, and she proceeded to start crying over her miniture jar of M&M's. Great. Now, most of the time I just let her cry and get over it, but I was trying to get her down for a nap. To be honest, I just didn't feel like dealing with a tantrum right then. So I did the bad mom thing and I gave in. Sorta.

"Look! Here's GG's jar of M&M's. You can borrow them until Nona gets back," I told her.

The fact was she just liked carrying around the little jar and I wasn't going to let her eat any of the candy right then anyway. Plus the lid on the jar was a little hard to get off, especially for the kids.

She stopped crying and agreed to "borrow" her sisters jar until my mom got back. Georgia didn't even know she had such a jar or that it got leant out, so all was well again. I took Lana and her jar to her bedroom for her nap. She wanted to hold the jar, but she agreed to let me place it on top of her dresser instead. This way it was still near her, but she couldn't get to it. Or so I thought. I left the room and didn't hear another peep from her, which I did find a bit unusual because most of the time I get at least one request for something at naptime. I think I was just happy to have three of the five kids sleeping at that point, so I ignored my, "something's a little off" thoughts.

Around three o'clock, I decided Lana needed to get up from her nap. We opened the door to her room to let her wake up on her own. Then I went in to check on her five minutes after that. That's when I found her sitting in bed with an empty jar on her nightstand. The jar that used to have M&M's in it before her nap. I picked it up and looked at her and she just smiled at me.

"Lana, what did you do?" I asked as straightfaced as I could.

"I eat GG's M&M's," she said coolly, while still chewing on her blankie.

I was trying so hard to not laugh. I was the one who left them in the room, although I thought she coudln't get to them. Obviously I was wrong and seriously underestimated what my daughter can do when she really wants something. I have NO idea how she even got that lid off. It must have taken her a while and she was so quiet doing it. None of us heard a thing, and we have a pretty small house.

I did end up punishing her. She was under the impression that when Nona came back, she'd get her own jar once again. When I informed her that her old jar would now be Georgia's, she started to cry and pout as before. This time I let her go. She eventually got over it. She even opened the now empty jar and started to put her own treasures in it.

Later that day when Georgia got the other jar that WAS filled, I let her eat a few of the M&M's. Don't you know I caught Lana sweet talking poor little Georgia into giving her a few of those little candies, even though she had a entire jar for herself already.

See...smart and sneaky. Somebody save me.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Bye Bye Baby

Today is Georgia's second birthday. This means I no longer have any babies in my house. None. Zip. I suppose technically Georgia hasn't been a baby for quite a few months now, but since she IS the baby of the house, we kind of let her hold the title for a while. Now I have nothing but kids. On the one hand this makes me sad. On the other hand, the one where I don't have to get up and take care of a screaming infant three times a night, that hand is very happy. Plus after having my sister here a couple weeks ago with her newborn, Andy and I decided we were most definitely done with that phase of having kids. No offense to little Vivian, but I do NOT feel like going through swaddling, shushing, and dancing around the house again to get a baby to sleep, only to have her eyes pop open, five minutes after putting her down, and hearing her scream again. Nope, I do not miss those days at all. I mean they're incredibly cute when they're babies, but soooo very much work!

I will, however, miss all the firsts. Things like smiling, laughing, crawling, walking, discovering their hands and feet, all those things that make babies so damn cute. I will also miss holding them and rocking them at night. I realized this last night when I was up with Georgia at four in the morning.

I think I've mentioned a few times about my girls sleeping issues. While I don't have to get up to feed any of them, I do still get up in the middle of the night. A lot. Georgia seems to suffer from insomnia from time to time and Lana, we think, has nightmares. Therefore I'm up on and off in the middle of the night. Some weeks are worse than others. It sucks, but it's still better than a newborn waking up, because at least there ARE nights where they don't wake up at all. Luckily, Sonya sleeps like a champ and hardly ever wakes in the middle of the night.

Last night Georgia decided to remind me of what I was missing not having a newborn. She was up for about an hour, maybe more. I guess she just couldn't sleep. Maybe she was excited for her birthday today, who knows, but sleeping was not in her plan for the night. I put her in bed with us for a bit, then back to her crib. Then she wanted me to rock her. I was so tired at this point and all I wanted her to do was go back to sleep. As I sat there in the dark rocking her at four in the morning, it occurred to me that this may be one of the last times I get to do that. I don't rock Lana and certainly not Sonya anymore. Georgia is the only one who still gets use out of the rocking chair, and as she heads into her third year of life, I'm guessing she's not going to need it much longer either.

In that moment, I let go of my annoyance over being up in the middle of the night, and I relished in the moment of rocking my baby to sleep. My last baby. Well, kind of to sleep. She still didn't go to sleep for a good thirty minutes after that, but still. It's funny too, because I can remember her being so little just a month ago, or what seemed like a month ago. As she laid on me last night in the rocking chair, her body felt so heavy and big. I just don't know when that happened.

So while I'm happy to moving past babyland and into complete kiddom, I will always have great memories of my babies and all they did that amazed me... and annoyed me. I know there is so much more to look forward to in the upcoming years,(like getting rid of ALL diapers!) but there is a little part of me that will always want a baby. I'm not sure that will ever leave me. Even if I do enjoy sleeping through the night.

Happy Second Birthday Georgia. My big girl, but forever my baby!



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

No More Green Bananas

When I talked about my family coming in to town last week, I mentioned how it was for the passing of my Paternal Grandmother. Her memorial service was supposed to be this past Saturday. I say "supposed to be", because it wasn't. My family flew out here from Milwaukee and Florida and there was no farewell to Grandma to be had. The reason was because, unfortunately, Thursday afternoon my Grandfather ended up in the hospital with kidney failure. The good news is, he made it to the hospital in time. He is still being treated and for the time being is doing okay. Since it was my Grandpa's wife we were honoring, it was understandable that we wanted to be there for it. There was no way he was going to be out of the hospital by Saturday so he decided he wanted to postpone the service.

Sooooo, yeah. My (almost) entire family, came out here for nothing. Well, it wasn't REALLY for nothing. We did get to spend time together and have a great time. I'm glad they came, but feel bad that the reason they were specifically here didn't happen. It was nobody's fault though. Instead of going to Grandma's Memorial on Saturday, we decided to go visit Grandpa in the hospital. Five kids and all!!

The day before we were going to the hospital I told Sonya how Grandpa got sick, and instead of going to Grandma's Memorial, we were going to visit Grandpa. She didn't really ask too many questions at that point. On Saturday morning, Sonya was sitting in her closet putting her shoes on. I was sitting on her bed helping Lana get dressed. Sonya had a sad look on her face and then she says to me,

"Mommy? Is Great Grandpa going to die too?"

Oh boy. I wasn't prepared for that one. When I decided to have kids, I was ready to change diapers, calm a crying baby, and kiss boo-boos. I didn't think ahead to someday having to explain death. Why does nobody tell you these things?! The only thing worse is this points to the fact that, sooner rather than later, I'll have to explain about getting a period and...(deep breath) S-E-X. Ah, the joys of parenting!

After taking a minute to gather my thoughts I said, "Oh Sonya. No, Great Grandpa isn't going to die today, but everybody does dies sometime." I didn't want to lie to the kid. My Grandfather IS 83. As much as I love him and would love to have him around for a lot longer, time is just not on his side anymore. He even jokes that he won't buy green bananas anymore.

She kind of nodded her head like she understood, but still looked very sad.

"Come over here," I told her motioning in my direction. When she got to me I gave her a hug and told her again, "Great Grandpa is okay right now. He just had to go to the hospital because he got sick, but he's not going to die right now, okay sweetie?

"K," she said back.

"Go finish getting your shoes on so we can go, " I told her and off she went. She seemed to trust in my answer.

I'm not positive I handled that correctly. Who the hell can tell when you're doing the right parenting job or if you're screwing your kids up for life? I guess I'll find out when she gets old enough for therapy. In the meantime, I THINK I did okay. I didn't lie to her and tell her he was going to be around forever, but I didn't scare her into thinking everyone was dying tomorrow.

I will say it caught me a little off guard as well, because she made me see that Grandpa is near the end of his life. Although I already knew this logically, I guess emotionally she made me realize it more. He is my last grandparent, and even though I didn't see him much as I kid, I've really gotten to know him in the past 14 years I've lived here in California. He's a really sweet man who married Andy and I and has been around to get to know my three girls. He comes over to visit at least once a month and is always around for a birthday party or a holiday. He has done his best in the past few years to make up for what he missed with us as kids. He also has some interesting stories about when he was a young man before he and Grandma were married. I always find that kind of history fascinating.
So, I hope he recovers quickly and gets to go home soon. I really want all three of my girls to remember their Great Grandpa. At least to some extent. Plus, I'm not quite done listening to all those stories of "the old days", and if I had to guess Grandpa is not quite done telling them. I mean 83 isn't THAT old.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Tossing Their Cookies

Hey everyone! Much like I anticipated, it was a bit of a madhouse here last week. It was a fun time, but there were FIVE KIDS in this house. Therefore, getting a chance to sit down and write was impossible. Well, that's not entirely true. I suppose I could have written at night after my 3rd glass of wine, but I like my stories to be coherent. I'm still trying to get things back in order, but felt I had to come and share with you a story of what happened last Monday at swim lessons, before all the craziness of my family visit began. I do have to warn everyone, if you have a sensitive stomach don't read this while eating. Or just after eating. Maybe even before. I'd say just avoid food altogether for about an hour.

I don't know if I've mentioned before about how much puke I've had to clean up since having the girls. There was a period of time when Sonya was a toddler when she was getting sick on a bi-monthly basis. Lana wasn't as bad. Maybe that's because she got all of her pukiness out of the way when she had reflux at six months old. She ruined every piece of clothing she had with breast milk spit up. Georgia seems to be following in Sonya's footsteps, getting sick quite often.

They also have seem to have a knack for getting sick in the worst of places. I told you about Georgia throwing up all over me this past Easter at the beginning of Mass. Thank goodness it was the beginning and there were still people walking in. At least I got out of there before the service began, although I had to miss most of the mass, which I was so very upset about. Okay, maybe I wasn't THAT upset.

Then there was the time when Sonya was almost two, and we were on our way back from Andy's brother's wedding. We had just gotten settled in our seat on the plane and Sonya got that look on her face that I knew so well. Before I could act, there was apple juice puke all over her and her blankie. Which was really the bigger problem. We were facing an 8 hour trip with NO blankie. The HORROR! There was also the fact that we had to get out of our seat and change her in the gateway, while the flight attendants got her a new seat cushion and cleaned up the mess. Sonya single handily delayed that flight by about twenty minutes. The people on the plane were super happy with us. Oh well. At least I've never seen any of them again.

Since I've had two out of the three throw up at that most inconvenient times, I don't know why I was so surprised when it happened once again last Monday. At swim lessons. In the water. This time with Lana.

Now, like I said, Lana doesn't get sick to her stomach all the time like the other two do. However, she has a very sensitive gag reflex. There has been more than one time when Andy and I are trying to get her to eat one last bite of food at dinnertime. That one last bite is too much for her, either because she really doesn't like it, or because she already has too much in her mouth. At that point it's only a heartbeat away from her gagging to losing all the meal we just begged her to eat.

Last Monday was the beginning of our second week of swim lessons. Lana was doing well and what was asked of her the entire class. I was so happy she seemed to be progressing, since I wasn't sure she would even get in the water after those first two days of class. Then the teacher came over and tried to see if she could reach the bottom. I didn't see the whole thing happen, but from the information I gathered from both the girls later, when Lana tried to touch the bottom, she got a mouth full of water. This mouth full of water, made her cough, choke, gag and promptly throw up.

In the pool.

The pool everyone was having their lessons in.

It was wasn't a lot, but it was apparently enough to make every class have to get out of the pool. Including the ones aaaallll the way over on the other side of the huge pool, not anywhere near the stomach spill. They even made an announcement ordering all of the teachers to teach their classes outside of the water. Not really the best way to teach swimming, but they had no choice. Little Lana made it so the rest of those classes and half of the next ones were not in the pool. Good times! We were eventually allowed back in halfway through Georgia's class.

Andy was concerned that this would make Lana not want to go back in the water again, because she would be embarrassed, or afraid because she had thrown up in the pool. As it turns out, she had NO idea why everyone got out of the water and could have cared less that she contaminated the pool with her throw up. The next day she got right back in the water like nothing happened. I was more embarrassed than she was. Luckily, I won't see most of those people ever again. Then again, Burbank tends to be one of those small cities within a big city where you run into the same people over and over again, so who knows. I could end up being, "that mom who's kid threw up in the pool" for a while. Yay.

On the plus side, since my girls seem to have a propensity for blowing chunks in the worst of situations, Andy and I were trying to think of ways to use this to our advantage. The girls could be a diversion to rob banks or maybe get free food at restaurants. Get us out of a speeding ticket or a kids birthday party we don't want to be at. OR perhaps we should use this power for good. They could become super heroes of some sort. I mean what criminal is going to run away when he's covered in regurgitated chunks of grilled cheese and goldfish? Maybe we could even get TV and movie deals. The possibilities could be endless for the Puke Patrol!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Family Reunion

I thought I should let you know that posting might be light for the next week, in case you come here looking for your daily fix and find nothing new. I like to try and write at least three times a week, but on Wednesday half my family will be in town, and some staying with us. So it's going to be ten times the crazy around here. More stories, I'm sure, but less time to write. Or less quiet. Probably both.

The reason for the pseudo family reunion is due to the recent passing of my paternal grandmother. Now before any of you become extremely sad or sorry for me, believe me when I tell you this was for the best. Grandma had Alzheimer's for the past ten years. She's been in a home for the last three, and hasn't really been with us for at least that amount of time. A few weeks ago she suffered a stroke and it was down hill from there. It was a blessing when she passed away last Saturday morning, for her and for my Grandfather who has been in limbo ever since he put her in the home three years ago. He was never really able to mourn her and move on since she was still here physically, but mentally it's been a long time. So when she passed away it was not a surprise and somewhat of a relief, I think for my Grandfather especially. Since my Grandparents lived near me, well my Grandpa still does, the memorial will be here this coming Saturday. This means my parents, my youngest sister, and her family are coming to visit. I bought six bottles of wine on Saturday.

I'm kidding! Sort of. I really did buy that much wine, but I'm actually very excited for them to come visit, and we like to drink wine when we get together. My parents try to come a few times a year, but I don't ever really get to see my sisters, especially now that we all have kids. I am sad that Beth won't be able to make it, because she has a belly full of baby ready to pop in about 4 weeks. Megan will be here with my nieces and her husband though. Since Vivian is still new to this life, I have yet to meet her. Lucy I've only met once when we all went to Florida last year. She and Georgia are just 5 day apart, so it should be quite a circus when everyone is here. Megan and her family are staying with us, but my parents are smart and staying in a hotel. Well also because my house is not big enough for everyone, but I'm thinking I may steal their hotel key one night and head over there myself. Then again, I do have my six bottles of wine to keep me sane.

So, while my Grandmother's passing is a bit sad, it's also happy because I get to see my family for a little while. Her death also made Sonya ask a few questions, which I had to field. This is the first time we've ever had to deal with any kind of death. Luckily, she didn't ask too much. She didn't really know my Grandma at all, because she was about three when she went into the home. Lana was just a baby and I don't think G ever met her. Sonya has faint memories of her though, because she did ask me once, a few months back, why Great Grandma never came to visit us with Great Grandpa anymore. I explained a little about the nursing home at the time. When I told her about everyone coming to visit this week, she was curious as to why they were all coming at the same time. I told her that Great Grandma died and went to heaven.

"What does that mean?"

"It means, Great Grandma died. She's not here with us anymore," I told her.

"And now she's in Heaven?" she asked.

"Yes."

She thought about this for a minute then said, "Poor Great Grandpa. He doesn't have a mom anymore."

HA! I'm sure Grandma would have loved that. "No, no Sonya," I said. "Great Grandma was Great Grandpa's wife, not his mom."

"Oh," she said. "Then where is his mom?"

Like I said, we haven't really had to deal with death at all. Just for the record, I'm not complaining about that.

Well, I do have a great story to share with you all when I get a moment, but for the next couple of days I have to prepare for everyone to get here. Then once they're here, who knows when I'll have a moments peace. It'll be a fun, crazy good time, with a tinge of sadness on Saturday when we reflect on the passing of Grandma. I really am looking forward to it. The hanging out with my family part, I mean. Why else would I buy six bottles of wine?




Friday, June 11, 2010

It's Going Swimmingly

I thought I would perhaps give you all an update on the swimming progress of the girls. Well, maybe some of you don't really care, but then again if you didn't really care you wouldn't be coming here to read this. So I'm going to assume that if you are reading this you do care. Or at the very least are mildly interested. So here's how things are shaping up with the Burbank Parks and Rec swim classes.

Sonya has been progressing well and is even going under the water for two whole seconds at a time! By that I mean her WHOLE HEAD under water. Not just her face. That is progress for her, trust me. She seems to be less afraid and is having more fun. I'm hoping this will continue as we go to friends' pools throughout the summer and she doesn't decide to become fearful again at some point.

Georgia absolutely LOVES going in the water. She can't wait for her class, and when Sonya and Lana are at the end of theirs, she begins to yell,

"Mwy tuwn! I go in pool!!"

It's all I can do to keep her from getting in the water before the other class is out. Today they had us practice putting the kids on the side of the pool, either sitting or standing, and "jumping" into us. This basically meant I held her hands and kind of pulled her in the water. She had a blast with this. She must have made me do that with her at least 25 times. She would jump into me then would immediately say,

"I tye again!"

So yeah, she's all good with the water now too.

Then there is Lana. Oh my Lana. Well, we spent Tuesday much like Monday. She was eager to go in the water. She sat on the ledge, when everyone started kicking and she got splashed, she was done. I begged, bribed and pleaded with her to get back in the water, the rest of class. That child is just so stubborn, and it wasn't until all the kids were getting out that she decided to sit back on the ledge again. I didn't know what to do. So I went home and did what I always do when I get frustrated with the kids about something and it's not 7pm or "wine time" yet. I called one of my sisters to bitch.

This particular time I called Beth. She suggested using a reward chart. This is what she did when she was having a difficult time potty training Zach last summer. She told me to get a timer and for every 5 minutes Lana was in the water, she would get a sticker on the chart. It had ten spaces, and when she got to the end she would win a reward of her choosing. Then if I needed to, we could start the chart over again.

So, I logged on to Supernanny.com and printed out a reward chart they had there. (This is a great resource to go for ALL moms! That British lady really knows what she's doing.) We bought some colored smiley face stickers at Target, and a digital kitchen timer, and by Wednesday morning we were good to go. My other thought was to keep Lana out of the water until the rest of the kids were done with their warm up kicks in the water. This way she wouldn't be splashed in the face to begin with.

I had explained the chart to Lana the night before and she seemed to understand what we were doing. She sat out of the pool for the first couple minutes and when they were done with the kicking, I took her over to get in. She sat herself on the ledge and I started to the timer. I also told her that in order to get her stickers she had to do what the teacher told her to. The first time one of the teachers came to do an exercise with her, she shook her head no and began to cry. But the teacher was persistent, yet nice with her. and she did what was asked and sat back on the ledge. Then she turned around to me and said,

"I want to get out now."

"Not yet," I told her. "The timer just started you have to keep it going to get your sticker."

She turned back around and waited until it was her turn to get back in the water. The next exercise there were a little less tears. Then she hit her five minute mark and got her first sticker. I think I was more excited than she was, but I could tell she was getting used to being in the water and collecting her stickers.

She ended up staying in the pool the ENTIRE REST OF CLASS. And, AND, she was even giggling and having fun by the end! I called my sister as soon as we got home and told her what a genius she was. The chart worked! There was no more begging and pleading. She managed to get halfway through her chart on Wednesday and finished it yesterday. Yup, she stayed in all day yesterday and today without any chart at all. She seems to be enjoying it now and is excited to get in the water. Since she has started to trust that the instructors are going to hold her and not drop her into the water, there has not been one tear. I honestly thought we were going to spend the entire session with Lana not doing anything in the water. Instead she's spending time in the pool and becoming less afraid of the water, and actually learning to swim. She's not going to be joining the Olympic Swim Team anytime soon, but at least it's a start. Then again, as you can see Lana surprises us. She may be challenging Michael Phelps before we know it.

So, even though week one of swim lessons started out shaky, it ended pretty successfully. Plus all it cost me was a few stickers and a trip to Menchies for some frozen yogurt yesterday.

And that's waaaayy cheaper than a pony.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Kindness of Strangers

Yesterday I had one of those crazy, when the hell did it get to be 4:30pm kinda days. We had swim lessons, followed by trying to get Lana and Georgia to nap for at least an hour before I had to take Sonya to gymnastics at 2:15. Then I decided we needed to go to Target after gymnastics because we were out of cereal and milk. So, it was really no surprise when one of the girls decided to throw a full blown temper tantrum in Target. Who was it this time? The one headed into the terrible two's. Miss Georgia girl.

When we walked into the store, I had Georgia sitting in the front of the shopping cart, Lana in the back and Sonya walking. After about ten minutes Lana wanted out, which meant Georgia wanted out too. I let them both get out and walk. Lana is good about staying with me and doing what I say, but Georgia is still new to having any walking freedom. Consequently, she tends to wander. Far. Since I'm fond of still having her around (most of the time) and not being kidnapped, I was constantly running after her to bring her back to the shopping cart. This isn't very conducive to getting shopping done in a timely manner. After about the third time she ran off, I gave her the count of three to which she, of course, didn't return. So, I scooped her up and plopped her back in the shopping cart, while she kicked and screamed, thus starting THE TANTRUM.

My, can THAT one scream. And I mean hair raising, ear piercing, horror movie, I was trying to murder her, kind of screams. Sonya and Lana tend to yell more than scream. Georgia may have an acting job in Friday The Thirteenth part 25 someday.

So there we were walking around Target. Sonya and Lana walked along side the shopping cart acting perfect, and Georgia screamed and thrashed her body about in the front seat. This was all because I had the nerve to put her in there and strap her down, when all she wanted was to run around. Horrible mommy that I am.

I've dealt with the other two having meltdowns in Target, so you would think I would be used to it, but you never really get used to having that kind of attention. Believe me. I am someone who likes getting attention, which is part of the reason why I wanted to be an actress. Getting attention because you have a screaming two year old, however, is not the fun kind of attention. The stares that you get from EVERYONE you pass makes you feel more and more judged. I just felt like I was in one of those Southwest, "Wanna get away?", commercials. To which I say-yes, please!

After what seemed like three hours, but was probably about five minutes, I found an unoccupied aisle to walk down and stop. There I tried to talk Georgia down from the crying and screaming. At first she was having none of me, but I continued to talk calmly to her and try my best to distract her with whatever I had in my backpack. Almonds, crayons, diaper rash cream, whatever. There was nothing I could do really, short of pick her up, grab her sisters and leave the store and my cart full of groceries behind. I never want to do that though. I mean I spent 40 minutes shopping already and damn it, we needed milk!

Slowly, though, she started to calm down and munch on some almonds. Thank goodness Sonya and Lana were continuing their good behavior. They sat between boxes of coffee machines and blenders while waiting patiently for me to bring Georgia back to sweetness and light. It seems that when one of them flips off the page like that, the other two instinctially know not to go there too, or Mommy will flip off the page herself.

I started to walk out of my private aisle as another woman was turning into it. She was probably in her late 40's or so, and she stopped and looked at me and said,

"You are such a GOOD mother."

I was completely taken aback and quickly stammered out an, "Oh-thank you."

She had apparently caught part of our act, including me calming GG down, and she continued to compliment me. She told me how patient I was and what good job I did. She mentioned that she had two kids herself, who were older now, but she remembered when they would do the very same thing, just about every time she went shopping with them. She said how frustrated it would make her feel. I mentioned how I mostly just try to get through the store, and keep in mind I would probably never see any of those people with the judging faces again. Then she said,

"People are going to judge you if you don't discipline them and when you do. You did the right thing and a great job, so don't you even worry about anyone else."

I thanked her again, more heartfelt this time, and we parted ways. After I walked away I was near tears. I'm not sure why. I was just overcome with emotion over what she had said to me. I mean it's great when someone tells you what a great job you're doing with your kids, but when a complete stranger tells you, it makes it all that more real. She had no investment in me or my kids, but it was probably one of the nicest things anyone has ever said or done for me. It made me feel so much better about what I do and how I do it.

So as a way for me to "pay this forward", I wanted to tell all of you, weather you are moms or not, that when you see a mom somewhere dealing with a cranky kid and you do think she's doing a good job, tell her. You have NO idea how much your simple words will make her whole day.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Sink or Swim

Just when I think I won't have anything to write about for the day, I take my kids to swim lessons for the first time. Oy!

About two months ago, I signed the girls up for swim lessons through the Burbank Parks and Rec department. I am finally able to put Lana in a class by herself, well without me in the water anyway, and Sonya has been old enough for some time. I signed Georgia up for a "Mommy and Me" class. Sonya and Lana are in the same level one class. I knew from the beginning that this would most likely not go well. If you haven't realized by now, my girls are not the type to" jump in with both feet" to do anything. A pool is no exception, so I was pretty sure this was going to be a tough time.

Sonya began proving my point this morning, when she started to get a pouty look on her face about a half hour before we had to leave. I tried everything from, "there's nothing to be afraid of", to "there are instructors there to help you", and "I used to get nervous about swim lessons myself." All being totally true. I can remember every year taking swim lessons, as a kid, and feeling like I was going to throw up at the beginning of each session. Then I learned what we would have to do and began to relax and have fun. As you can see, the apple did not fall far. Lana and Georgia didn't seem to care, which made sense, since they didn't really understand yet what we were doing. Oh but they soon would...

We got to the pool and the other classes were still in the water. Sonya got even more quiet and nervous. I continued to try and reassure her, but it didn't seem to be working. Lana, however, was ready to dive in the minute she saw the pool. I put sunblock on all of them and Lana continued to beg me to get in the pool. I told her we had to wait until it was our turn and that there were other kids still doing their lesson. Sonya would have been fine waiting until they closed the pool in September, but Lana wanted in RIGHT NOW! Georgia just watched and waited to and see what was going to happen, and who to take her cue from.

Finally, the other class was over and it was their turn. The time had come for them to get in the water. Sonya was hesitant, but managed to make her way over to the wall where all the kids in class stood and clung to the side. Lana eagerly entered the water. Then after placing one foot on the steps, she immediately changed her mind about wanting to get in at all. Still, the instructors managed to get her over to the wall and sat her on the ledge. She looked back at me with that, "I'm all done with this, can I please get out now" look. I encouraged her to do what sissy was doing. She responded by whimpering and threatening tears. I tried my best to ignore this.

Then the lesson began. They started by holding on to the wall and kicking their legs behind them fast then slow. Sonya tried this and eventually got into it, but as soon as Lana got the first splashes of water on her, she jumped up from the ledge and out of the pool, running over to me crying. Yes I have THAT kid. I spent the next 25 minutes of class promising her anything to get her back in the pool. That girl is so damn stubborn though, and no amount of ice cream, Mickey, candy or ponies was getting her back in the water. Great. So we sat on the edge watching everyone else while she whined about not wanting to get back in, and I pleaded with her to try, if even for a minute. I did manage to sit her back on the ledge and put her feet in the water. Then she even play splashed one of the instructors. This was the last two minutes of class, but at least she was in! Sort of.

The good news was, Sonya warmed up to it and allowed the instructors to help her try the things they were teaching. She was still nervous and scared, but she did everything, including jumping into the pool in the end. Well the instructor was there to catch her, but still. Then she got out out of the water and declared,

"That was fun!! I can't wait to come back and do it again tomorrow!" I'm just hoping this sentiment holds until then.

After their class we moved to the other side of the pool where Sonya and Lana sat and ate snacks, while I took Georgia into the water for her class. Lana was totally fine at this point and promised me tomorrow she would go in the water and do better. Uh-huh. Just like I was going to get that pony I promised her if she would just get back in the water to begin with.

Georgia wasn't too excited about swimming either. I'm sure her sisters being so enthusiastic didn't help matters. She cried for about the first five minutes of her class. Luckily I was in the water with her, so it was easier to convince her it was fun when I started to spin her around. I think her problem was the initial chill of the water, which wasn't really that bad, after we got used to it. By the end of her class we were singing songs and dancing in the water and she was having a great time.

Now according to all of them, tomorrow they will all be eager and happy to get back in the water and learn to swim. My question is do they realize that tomorrow is just a day away, or do they think it's some far off time they don't have to worry about for a while? Since they've never seen Annie, I'm guessing they don't know just how close tomorrow is. Unfortunately I do, and now I'M dreading it. Along with the rest of these next two weeks. Classes aren't done until next Thursday. Yay.

I think we might just end up with a pony by then.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Your Next American Idol!

Georgia LOVES to sing. I caught a couple of her greatest hits on the Flip Video. She even comes up with her own song to sing. Halfway through the video you'll hear the older two arguing over who gets to sit in the rocking chair. I think Sonya even sits ON Lana at one point. Fun times! Enjoy!


video

Itsy Bitsy Spider/ABC's


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Book vs Street

Over the weekend, Andy was voicing his concerns to me that Lana isn't, "where she should be", academically speaking. We have this conversation every so often. I always assure him that Lana is exactly where she should be, even if it is a little behind where Sonya was at her same age.

The problem with Sonya being first was that she was WAY ahead of all kids her age. I've mentioned this before. I promise it isn't bragging, it's just fact. I mean the kid knew ALL of her numbers, letters, and colors by 18 months. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it myself. So this is what we knew of children learning. We didn't realize that with most kids you have to actually do some teaching yourself, and that they don't learn by osmosis like Sonya did.

Lana is at a normal pace of learning things. She's where most kids her age are, perhaps even a bit ahead. She knows most of her letters, numbers, and all of her colors. But by the time Sonya was this age, she was starting on some reading skills. Lana still has a way to go to get there. Because of this, Andy gets concerned from time to time, that Lana isn't going to keep up. That and she doesn't seem to have as much an interest or attention span as Sonya did. Will Lana be the straight A student that Sonya most likely will be? Maybe, but she will probably have to work at it harder than her sister. Lana, however, has more of what people would refer to as, "street smarts" or even life logic. She has this all over Sonya. She can figure a way out of or into a situation much quicker than her older sister. This was made even more clear to me on our trip to the grocery store Tuesday morning.

After we finished our shopping I allowed the girls to each get a free balloons that Ralph's gives out. They were all fairly well behaved and they love balloons, so I gave it to them as a reward. Plus they're FREE! Who can complain?

It was a little windy that day and the balloons started blowing around when we walked outside. Keep in mind they were weighted, so they weren't going anywhere. As soon as they started blowing with the wind, Sonya got nervous. I assured her it wasn't going to blow away. I opened both doors to the van and put the kids and the balloons inside. It was at this point that there was a bigger gust of wind, and since both doors were open it created a cross breeze. Sonya's balloon, which she was holding on to AND was weighted, made it's way outside one of the doors. It was only the balloon part and she still had a hold of the string it was tied to, but she started a full scale flip out.

"MY BAAAALLLOOOONNNN!! NOOOO!! MYYY BAAALLOOOOON!!" She yelled.

"Sonya," I said in my most calm Mom voice. "Sonya, calm down and think about how to handle this situation. You don't need to get upset and flip out about this. You're balloon is not going anywhere."

The balloon continued to bob outside of the car and she tugged on the string, trying to reel it back in still yelling, "NOOOOOO!!! MY BAAALLLOOONN!!"

I continued to try and talk her down, then showed her how easy it was to gently bring the balloon back in the car.

"But it's going to fly out again!!" She wailed.

I started to try and appeal to any higher sense she had to think of a solution to the situation. Before I could get two words out, Lana who had been watching the entire scene, took it upon herself to push the button on the van that closes the door. The same door the balloon was trying to escape from. Problem solved.

"Nice job, Lana! That was smart thinking." I told her.

She just looked at me with a "what's the big deal?" look, and climbed into her car seat.

Okay no, Lana isn't as "book" smart as Sonya is, but she's not that far behind and she obviously thinks more logically than her sister. This may just give her an advantage over Sonya's smarts in the long run.

So yes Andy, I think Lana will be juuust fine.