Saturday, January 14, 2012

Score 1 for Team Mommy!

Daddy was home last night and Ry still insisted on a girl's night. Score 1 for Team Mommy!

Being "mother" to three little girls, I've always known that my days of being cool were numbered. Honestly though, I thought Ry wouldn't officially jump ship until she was in the age 10-12 range. Lately, I've started thinking my calculations have been off. Somehow, somewhere, unannounced to me, Ry met and befriended "sassy pants" and if that isn't bad enough, she quite literally could Go For The Olympic Gold if eye-rolling was an event. So needless to say, its been difficult for me having to watch Rylee learn how to grow...... into the beautiful, smart, INDEPENDENT, young girl she is. We're nearing the age of seven.

Most nights, Ry chooses to speak "nerd" with her father. This is not a bad thing at all. Ed thoroughly enjoys explaining in great detail "how the world works", Rylee thoroughly enjoys learning, and I appreciate their bond and love for knowledge. At age two, Rylee was told Archimedes' principle by her father who was giving her a bath. At age three, Ry came running into the living room screaming "my panties are not COOPERATING with my bottom." And today, at age six, she dreams of being a Paleontologist. Oh! And by the way, what three year old says cooperating in context? Yep, that would clearly be the girl who speaks "nerd" with her father. Truthfully though, only the ones who have had the privilege of witnessing one of their encounters can fully understand the magnitude. These lucky individuals can also fully appreciate the beauty. 

Em and I regularly witness Team Daddy cozied up with one another but we choose to let them do their own thing because we'd rather spin in circles, dream of daisy fields, eat candy or ice cream, and force awkward conversations between Ken doll and Ariel, the Little Mermaid. When Ed and Rylee decide to watch boring TV, Em and I take turns drawing pictures on each other's backs and guessing what pictures have been drawn. Sadly, no one knows which team Lucy will choose. She continues to stare from afar as if she's wondering how she fits into this chaos. We wonder too.

Because Ry has gotten too old for lovin' her momma and because she leans towards Team Daddy, I tend to pull out the extremes when I feel the need to get a little love from her. Admittedly, I usually force every bit of it. That's right, sometimes, well most times, I tackle, sit or pin her down and ultimately squeeze too tight. I even stoop so low as to tickle with all my might. Ed keeps telling me that no one voluntarily cuddles with me (including the dog and cat) because my tactics are all wrong. Yeah. Yeah. I hear him but desperate times call for desperate measures and sometimes this momma just needs to feel the love.

So last night, recognizing one of my most favorite of all things right in the world - cuddling - Rylee Potter invited me to cuddle with her. I can't even begin to tell you how big a deal this was. Actually, it was more than a big deal. It was a privilege. Ry, Em, and Lucy all grabbed their blankies and the four of us girls went into the bedroom for an all out no boys allowed cuddlefest. Laughter was abundant. Everyone was in a good mood. No one was fighting or whining. It was perfect. And I know it was perfect because even big girl, to cool, sassy pants Rylee said so.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Little Brownie Purple Coat

We never bought into the whole Elf on the Shelf trend. For one, I do good just with the daily task of raising three girls, loving Ed, and making it out of the house with matching shoes and my bra. Most days I forget my purse but at this point it's a given and I've accepted defeat where that's concerned. Luckily, Rylee now ask if I have it before we leave the driveway and if I don't have her as my reminder, Ed always meets me at the gas station when I'm so out of fuel that I can't leave the pump. Granted, he gives me the look of disappointment upon arrival but I know it's well deserved and the fact is he still comes to my rescue. For that I love him very much. So factoring in all of the above, I acknowledge the risk of potential failure if "Elfie's" needs had to be added to the five already in our house plus the dog and cat.

The second reason Elfie has been excluded from our family may not matter to most but it's a big deal to me. Sadly, all the elves are just a little (and by little I mean a lot) creepy looking. To start, their face haunts me even when they're not around. And then there's the fact that they are way to skinny to be from the North Pole. I mean I would assume that all elves would have a little plumpness to them. Think about all the cookies and treats that Mrs. Claus bakes. Plus Santa is supposedly a really nice and jolly guy. You know, the kind that would share really well. And since Elfie and his buddies don't require a bigger dress, I can only assume that they are very bad elves and that they get excluded from snack time regularly. This leads me to reason number three.

I've been hearing reports that elves everywhere are having fights with exploding feather pillows and are baking cookies in the middle of the night leaving flour scattered throughout the kitchen. And furthermore, they don't seem to clean up after themselves. Hearing all this just reinforces my belief that Mrs. Claus really does send all the elves to bed without dinner and dessert - probably more often then not.

Don't get me wrong. Ed and I like to have a good time and love even more to see our children have a good time. We're very aware that we are not perfect parents nor are we uptight. On occasion we have been known to look the other way but we also understand that our kids thrive when we provide them structure without mixed signals. I can't help but get a little confused by an elf that moves in temporarily to watch over "who is naughty" and "who is nice" that in essence breaks more rules than the children themselves. If this confuses me, I can only imagine the explanations we'd have to create just to get "hall monitor" Rylee off our back.

And lastly, we need our children to be on their best behavior in public places AND at school not just at home. Elfie on the shelf doesn't fit the requirements of being in all of the places that we need him. That's why in our family we have Little Brownie Purple Coat, Santa's Chief Elf in Charge.

You see, Santa is a very busy man. So busy he has to have lots and lots of help. One of those helpers is Little Brownie Purple Coat. LBPC typically starts making his rounds the day after Thanksgiving and works all the way up until Christmas Eve. He visits each and every little boy and girl in the whole world and reports back to Santa. The catch is, his schedule is very busy considering he only has a month to see every child and we don't know his schedule. That's why we have to be good all of the time. How devastating would it be if the one time we were fighting with our siblings or not respecting adults was the one time that LBPC was watching?

Our children love talking about LBPC. They look for him and imagine what he looks like. Rylee at age three determined that Santa could not fit into LBPC's jacket because he was way to big for a little coat.

Many parents that I encounter don't quite understand LBPC, mostly because Elf on the Shelf is so popular. Friends and other moms frequently ask what mischief our elf has been up to. It seems to be an assumption that everyone has at least one if not multiple. When confronted with the opportunity to discuss, I don't feel guilty or inferior for not buying into the new rage. I actually feel relieved that our elf is imaginary and that we get to "create" his being and our memories by simply using our imagination. The added bonus is that each of our children will be able to take their own memory of LBPC with them as adults, without us having to purchase multiple elves.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Trees and Birthdays

This has been one of those weeks! For starters, Great Grandaddy came home from the hospital last Friday after ICU and two additional weeks of care. Because he still needs round the clock love and Gee Gee is limited in the time she can leave her house Paw Paw, Ed, the girls, and I went to a local Christmas Tree Farm and picked out two perfect trees - one for Gee Gee & Paw Paw and one for us.

Although, we've always cut or purchased live trees, we've never had a Leyland Cypress. Traditionally, it's probably not the first tree someone would think of for Christmas but it is gorgeous. Plus, the experience of watching the girls run through the rows and play in the paths was more than memorable.

Once home, Ed put the tree in the stand and the girls danced around the room singing "more lights daddy, more lights!" Ed teased back at them and the room was filled with tons of laughter. Sunday was truly a wonderful day.

On Monday, I picked up a cake and pink party plates from Publix. Having waited til the last minute, I think the cake we ended up with was perfect. And all became even more perfect when I got home and our wonderful nanny Bee had made Lucy a tutu and monogrammed shirt. The funny thing is, Bee and I never discussed Lucy's impromptu party however the cake and tutu matched as if we had. I guess great minds think alike or at least know pretty girl colors when they see them.

After a quick dinner - and I mean quick because the girls were already chanting "cake! cake! cake!" -  everyone sang Happy Birthday to Lucy and then we finally cut THE cake. Lucy was a little unsure at first. She looked at us and the cake and back at us. Eventually she stuck one finger tip into the icing. Then three full fingers. And then her entire hand. After "fisting" a few mouth fulls she transitioned to alternating both fists. When all was said and done, little Lucy sat back with a FULL belly and smiled with contentment.

In just two short days, MeMe and Grandaddy will be here from South Carolina. Everyone is thrilled to have them visit for Lucy and Ed's birthdays. Oh, did I mention that this week is not only Lucy's one year but Ed's, well..... let's just leave that at birthday. Numbers don't matter much when you're older.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why she do that?

Em's been using the potty off and on since she was 18 months old which is the same age that our oldest Ry started to show interest. Although there are a million and two different ways to get to the same end result, Ed and I have always opted to start slow and build up to the "being trained" part as they begin showing more interest.

At first, Em showed signs of possibly being an easy trainee. Then she changed her mind. Rather quickly, she decided she was more than okay with using the diapers. In addition, she no longer wanted to discuss using the big girl potty nor did she care that Elmo used it. That is until she realized Target sold "PRINCESS PANTIES".

In order to strike a deal, Em assured us that she would not have accidents in her fabulous new undies. We assumed that meant she would start trying to use the potty more often and would eventually give-up the diapers. The reality was Emory out-played us. She began wearing her princess panties on top of her diapers or clothes. She got the panties. We got no accidents. And she didn't have to "go" potty. Perfect plan! Nicely executed.


Daytime Clothes
Nighttime Jammies
Emory's most recent responses to needing a diaper change:

"No. Baby needs a change. Not me."

"Lucy pottied in MY diaper. Why she do that?""

"Baby has poo poo. Not me."

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Draw a picture to describe the word odor

Recently, Ed and I were scheduled to meet with Rylee's teacher. We were expecting and preparing for the obvious - "Rylee is a good kid but.........she talks too much" speech.

You see, Rylee has been talking and I do mean talking since she was a year old. At two she entered the living room and said in a complete sentence "My panties are not cooperating with my bottom!" Lucky for us and the rest of the world - her mouth and vocabulary have not slowed down since.

On parent-teacher meeting day, we ended up getting the expected "she talks too much" speech AND a little more. The conference also focused on Ry's academic levels. One area of strength for her is her ability to share expressions through drawing and writing. She also pays great attention to detail which we have now noticed more in her recent schoolwork.

Assignment: Draw a picture to describe the word odor.

Rylee draws a beautiful flower and....... a baby's diaper with poop in it!

Go to sleep baby

Lucy has been working very hard lately. She's been growing new top teeth. It's been rough for all of us to say the least. Lots of crying and drooling and more crying. Her little nose has been runny and she's even had some congestion. Her discomfort has caused multiple nights of no one in the house sleeping.

On one particular evening, Lucy was so sleepy that she couldn't stand herself any longer. Unfortunately, the pain was too much for her. We had given her Motrin and Orajel and a cold wet bath cloth to chew on. Eventually she would get comfortable and then....... NOT so much. Ed and I had been taking turns throughout the evening. He, being the night owl, usually pulls night duties and I typically get the morning shift. At about 12:30 or 1:00 am, Ed clocked out and came to bed. Within an hour or so the crying resumed and the baby monitor lit up as if it might explode. I rubbed my eyes and began to sit up just as the sweetest most matter of fact little voice came over the monitor.

"Go to sleep baby. You okay."
"Baby! Baby! BE QUIET. Go to sleep."
"Baby you O.....kay!"

Listening to two year old Emory comfort her baby sister completely broke all tension caused by lack of sleep. Ed and I laid in bed and giggled together as Emory worked to calm Lucy. In that instance we were reminded that parenting is not only feeling like you are too tired or beat down but it's also about the little moments. The moments of answering questions that make you smile. The moments of hearing the laughter of everyone playing nicely. The moments of witnessing the showcase of affections amongst sisters.

A year of being loved to death

Ry & Em
Adding baby number two was an easy transition for us. Not only was Rylee 4 when Emory was born but she was practical, reasonable, and logical. Ry has always been an easy child who played by the rules. Heck she even followed rules that we didn't know existed. And because of these qualities, Ry quickly adjusted to being a BIG sister. She shared and she cuddled and kissed. She helped give baths and she stayed semi quiet during Emory's naps. The only duty she refused to assist with was diaper changing and frankly I didn't blame her. I too would have refused if "THE" incident happened to me.

Ry & Em
What incident you ask? "THE" incident occurred when Em was new to our home and Ry asked to learn how to change diapers. I was helping when all of the sudden Em sneezed and Rylee screamed in horror. When I collected myself and looked at Ry, I noticed poop on her forehead. From that point forward, Ry has never ever EVER been in the same vicinity of a diaper changing. And again, who could blame her.  

Adding baby number three was much more difficult. For starters, Ry had turned 5 and was over the coolness of being a BIG sister and Em was only 18 months old. Also, Em was proving to be a different personality than her bigger sister. Emory was and is a very hot mess who seems to thoroughly enjoy the fun in life........ with a tad bit of disregard for consequences.

Em & Lucy
Shortly after Lucy's arrival from the hospital, Em grew so curious that she began knocking over the "baby filled" bassinet not once but multiple times, dragging the baby across the floor to cuddle and kiss, and brushing the baby's gums with adult size toothbrushes WHILE the baby was trying to nap. As time went on and milestones were met, Em began mastering the art of knocking the baby over when she sat up and sitting on the baby - in the swing or wherever convenient. When Lucy began to crawl, Em began riding her back while screaming "giddy up" and "GO BABY". And when Lucy began walking, Em started trying to get piggy back rides. Then there was the day that I rounded the corner and Lucy was covered in stickers and Em was "just" reading a pretty (sticker) book.

Don't get me wrong, Emory is a fantastic, funny, and loving child. She's even a helpful MIDDLE sister. At the end of the day, she's thrilled to have a new baby. So thrilled that we quickly realized she quite possibly could love Lucy to death.

Monday, as we celebrate Lucy's one year birthday, we will also celebrate a much bigger accomplishment. We will celebrate one full year of her surviving...... being loved to death.