Friday, November 30, 2007
Hopefully we can gently help her eliminate her need to have the bucket by her side. It's kind of grossing me out and reminding me of a plague I'd rather forget as quickly as possible.
p.s. this was my 500th post!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
It's so great to see Iris dancing around the living room, coloring, playing with toys, beating up on her sister, you know, the normal stuff. She is finally acting like herself again! Fans of Yo Gabba Gabba know what a dancey-dance is, and today Iris was teaching her dancey-dance to, well, to no one and everyone, I suppose. It sort of went "Raise your arm, raise your other arm. Raise your leg, raise your other leg" and was totally adorable.
I've been trying to get our home cleaned this morning, as well. We haven't been able to stay on top of chores as much as we usually do so things are in a state of grubbiness. Luckily living in a small apartment means that it's pretty easy to clean in a short amount of time.
Now I'm trying to figure out how to get the girls out of the home today without bringing them anywhere where any lingering germs can infect other children. I might just take them shopping or something and contain them a well antibacterial wipe swabbed shopping cart. I'm actually glad they will be well enough to be out and about this weekend so we can enjoy some stuff as a family again. A friend invited us to see a kid's musician that we all really like and it will be fun to do that, too. All of this sickness has meant two short weeks of work for Matt, as well, which we always like!
Ahhhh . . . it's like a light at the end of the tunnel :)
Iris, who is feeling MUCH better thankyouverymuch, is sitting at the table coloring. She soooo wants to be able to write but is so much a do-it-myself kind of girl she absolutely rejects any offer to show her how letters are made. Sigh.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Then I remembered this cool store I had heard about from a couple of people called Daiso. It's a cool dollar-type store. Most everything in the store is $1.50, some things a little more. I ended up finding TONS of perfect little things for the girl's play kitchen. Wooden spoons, spatulas, tongs, melamine dishes, wooden crates, baskets, wooden salt and pepper shakers, bento boxes, tiny cookie sheets and cooling trays, measuring cups, my, I am sure I forgot a few things. I got a whole basket full of stuff for $60. I was in total and complete heaven. To make my shopping even more enjoyable the staff was playing the new Band of Horses CD which is pretty much the closest thing ever to perfection. Why Japanese girls in a Japanese store were playing this kind of music is a bit perplexing (and very stereotypical of me!) but it made me want to ooze all over the floor and stay there forever browsing and handling every beautiful little thing.
I came home and told Matt all about it without really saying TOO much since the girls were standing right there, but I can't wait until they go to bed so I can pull the bag out of the car and show him the goods.
The girl's eyes are seriously going to pop out of their heads on Christmas morning. They are getting a refrigerator, sink and stove plus we're going to set their table and chairs back up and stock it all with all the new play food and kitchen gear. I wish I could be a kid again! Of course, I get the next best thing, two kids in my home to play with all day long :)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
This morning Matt went to get the car ready to leave for work and he rolled the power windows down to clear the condensation. And then they wouldn't roll back up. None of the windows would work. I called the shop at the dealership to ask for advice and he told me to check the fuses. Ah, okay. So I get out the manual and figure out where some of the fuses were. That's the furthest I got. Matt took over and talked to the dealership again and got some more advice and he ended up driving down to the auto parts store, buying a new fuse, taking the old one out and putting the new one in and voila! It was fixed! I couldn't believe it. Anyone who know us knows we can barely put gas in the car, let alone do any kind of repairs. This was so exciting!
By the time the car was fixed Matt just decided to work the rest of the day from home, which was just as well because he started feeling crappier as the day wore on. I hope he is just a little bit sick, we'll see. He talked to his sister this morning and found out that in the 20 minutes we were at her house on Sunday night we infected her and her boyfriend with our plague. What an awful thing for us to do! Luckily we didn't infect the other folks we saw on Sunday. Phew.
I'm doing surprisingly well keeping my anxiety in check about all of this sickness. I am keeping myself super busy so I don't let my mind focus too much on it. I did the dishes four times today, if that's any indication of how much putzing around I've been doing. Eloise and I also spent a good deal of time in Fred Meyer tonight as a way to get out of the house and kill time. You know Eloise is ready to get out when she throws her coat at you and starts making demanding grunting sounds!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Let me start at last night with a quick brag about how Matt has locked in his father/partner of the year award. Matt's work got him four tickets to see the Sonics last night. We gave two to our good friends Julie and Christopher and my SIL was going to watch the girls for us. On the way to SIL's house we pick up a bunch of Thai food, happy as can be, then Eloise starts throwing up in the car. Hmm, that was weird, we thought. She's not a puker, so we didn't really know what to make of it. We keep going to SIL's place and figure we might be okay if it doesn't happen again. But it does, several times. We barely touch the food and gather up the kids and take off.
Most people who know me know that I am emetophobic-- meaning I have a severe and irrational fear of vomit. I can't deal at all and I start panicking and freaking out. I did a pretty good job trying to keep it together, but on the inside all my alarms are going off. Matt suggests he drops me off at the Sonics game and he go home with the girls. Now, most people who know Matt know what a huge basketball fan he is. I could tell he was trying to be nice by offering for me to go to the game still, but my anxiety was rapidly building and so I took him up on the offer to stay away from the puke for a couple of hours. Iris decided to come to the game with me, which was oodles of fun. We went in and found our amazingly good seats (10th row!) and hung out for a while. We ate popcorn and french fries and it was a ton of fun. Iris was ready to go home about half way through the last quarter, so Matt bundled up the still sick Eloise and came back and got us.
After putting the girls to bed we sit down for a breather. Not thirty minutes later, over the monitor, we hear the unmistakable sound coming from Iris's room. Matt goes in there to start project clean-up number two. He agrees to take on Iris for the night and I take on Eloise and we all retreat to our bedrooms. I got lucky. Eloise didn't get sick any more for the rest of the night and actually slept fairly well. Iris, on the other hand, wasn't so lucky. Matt reports she was up getting sick at least once an hour.
Iris is still pretty sick but fortunately she's sleeping on the big living room chair in front of Nick Jr. Matt is snoring away on the futon in preparation for a big meeting he has to be at later today. Eloise is sleeping soundly in bed. I'm keeping myself busy because sitting down for even a second means my head start racing with all my negative thinking and anxiety and fear.
Even though this all sucks a whole, whole lot, I still think we're very lucky. This is the first time Eloise has been this sick and really, she's not even THAT sick. Even between bouts of throwing up she wanted to play. Iris has been amazingly healthy her whole life and even though I've never seen her so under the weather, she's still a trooper. So far it appears neither of them have inherited my phobia, which I am beyond thankful for. Hopefully I can do everything I can to keep it that way.
I know they got some bug from either the mall or the kids play area at the jewelry store on Saturday. I am a freak about germs-- a FREAK-- but on that day, for some reason, I didn't insist on any hand-sanitizing before they ate their snacks. It's funny because my phobia makes me react irrationally to some things and I always worry I am being to freakishly stringent about washing/sanitizing hands. Turns out the answer to that is a big NO.
Oh, and the laundry! Every time people talk about their kids being sick with tummy stuff they talk about the laundry. I had no idea. It's insane. I am using the pay machines in our building to help tackle it since our hot water heater is about the size of a sippy cup.
Allright, off to throw another load in . . .
Friday, November 23, 2007
On the way home I was saying to Matt how unbelievably lucky we are that everyone in our life is happy and healthy. Every year it seems there is more good news and more excitement spreading around amongst our friends and family. We have so much to be thankful for, indeed.
I was so happy to spend a little time talking to my brother on the phone yesterday, as well. He told me that he and his family are planning on moving back to Milwaukee and buying a house after living in Brooklyn close to a decade now. Some of the friends we saw at Thanksgiving dinner were from Seattle and are now living in Milwaukee, as well. Matt and I tabled the idea of moving to Milwaukee but I have to admit I got a little heavy hearted thinking about our friends and family who are there and wondering, still, if that would be a good move for our family. Sigh. Now that we are planning for a late summer wedding in Seattle our plans for moving anywhere have been temporarily put on hold, likely until the spring/summer of 2009 at the earliest. It feels like we'll just end up staying here until something forces us to move since we don't ever really make a decision either way.
Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, but it is what is on my mind right now.
Today we put up our Christmas tree, which was a ton of fun. Eloise was napping while I put it together and strung the lights so when she walked out in to the living room she wasn't quite sure what to make of it. Once she realized she could pull on the branches, the lights and the ornaments she was thrilled! Iris keeps asking when Santa is going to come. Apparently putting up the tree means, to her, that Santa will immediately show up. As a parent I feel like Christmas is coming up crazy fast, but I know in the eyes of a child four weeks is an eternity to wait. Matt and I get an amazing amount of excitement over planning the gifts for them. In fact, just tonight I ordered the girls a new kitchen set because the one I originally ordered may be on back order long after Christmas. The one I ordered tonight didn't state it had any back order issues, so we should be golden. We got this sink and this stove. I also sent off an email to the grandparents hinting at our hopes that they might pitch in to purchase some more pieces of the set.
I'm such a hypocrite because I was so proud of my vow to not spend money on "Black Friday" but alas, I got sucked in to the deals at Cotton Babies. To my defense, I did my shopping at 9:30 at night from the comfort of my futon and not while beating off other shoppers at the crack of dawn in Wal-Mart. I still retain some of my no-spend cred, right? Well, I can keep telling myself that ;)
Monday, November 19, 2007
We are still doing well with our baby steps with Iris. Baths continue to be separate every night and I have yet to yell once during a bath time. Ahhhh. This is nice!
Tonight Matt brought up the topic of having some sort of system in place for discipline in the evenings. He thought that the first time Iris was sassy (and by sassy I mean, hurts her sister, screams, etc etc) she got a certain punishment. The second time, a bigger punishment, then the third time, an even bigger punishment. Although I liked the idea of giving Iris these chances with the consequences being bigger each time, I am starting to shy away from the idea of focusing that much on what she's doing wrong and instead I wonder what would happen if we focused more on what she's doing right. Even though I consider our family to be in to gentle discipline, in reality, we have a long ways to go. We have tried time outs for a long time and they just aren't working. Not for Iris and not for us. Initially they were set up to be a punishment for hurting her sister but lately they've morphed in to a leverage point over lots of behavior issues. This doesn't sit right with me.
I wonder what would happen if, instead of working on a plan to discipline her when she's been sassy, we worked on a plan to praise her when she's been awesome. Would the earth cease to rotate on it's axis? Would our child be better behaved? Who knows, but it would be an interesting experiment.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Eloise has been full of all sorts of excitement this past month. Her second tooth is finally about halfway through, so we can no longer refer to her as the "One Toothed Wonder". Sigh, how clever was that?! She still doesn't have that many words but every so often Matt will tell me he was reading a book to Eloise and she repeated some animal names or sounds. I suppose I would know this all first hand if I read to her more (let me go slink off to accept my terrible mother of the year award now . . . ). "Mama" is still her most preferred word. She'll just walk around saying "maaaamaaaaa". She is practically running now and garners lots of "How old is she?" from other parents at the park when they see her scurrying up the jungle gym headed towards the slide. People also like to say to me "she must keep you busy!". Uh, yeah. Just a tad.
We got through a month of a dairy-free diet without any change in Eloise's coughing, so we added that back in and are now off wheat. At first I wasn't that concerned about the wheat but it's hard to just open the fridge or cupboard and grab a snack that is wheat-free but still soooooo satisfying. It's also hard to go places with this limitation. This morning we went to a brunch birthday party and all I could do was stare longingly at the bagels and cupcakes. Of course, once I hit my "Belly After Baby" yoga class after the party I was glad I was forced to avoid the carb-laden temptations. Later in the day Iris and I went on a date (more about the later) and I was the a-hole who had to make the woman at the cafe check the ingredient label of the falafel mix before I ordered my meal. I hate being that person.
Eloise is still very clingy, but she's alot more fun at times, too. She loves to dance and mimic Iris. The other day Iris was laying on her back and moving her legs like she was pedalling a bicycle. Eloise thought that looked like booty loads of fun and laid down next to her and started doing it, too.
Looking forward to the coming month!
Friday, November 16, 2007
Lately I felt like a floundering fish when it comes to handling Iris. It feels like it's getting harder and harder to get through to her and she is getting more strong-willed every day. She also has been having some strong outbursts of anger that totally knock me off-kilter. On Wednesday I had a particularly hard day with her. It was just one thing after another the whole afternoon. By the time Matt got home from work that night I was so upset with her that I just wanted him to take her away from me and never return. I sent an email to the founder of Iris's school asking if she could talk to me or if she knew of someone I could speak with that could offer me some suggestions on discipline measures. I was totally desperate and totally at a loss. Tonight I got a chance to talk to the founder and I am so glad I did. She had several really great ideas for us to try with Iris and I wanted to write them all down here on my blog for a couple of reasons. One is so I have it to refer to when I need it and two is for anyone else who might be reading this who can benefit from any of them. I have taken her advice and twisted it in to my own language and in to a way that makes sense to me. None of this is her exact words, but rather my interpretation.
So, let's see, I'll just go in bullet points to make it easy to follow:
- Always keep in mind that Iris is who she is-- which is that she is a strong-willed child who is in the first half of her threes. This is a tough age for most kids. It is important to be aware of what stage a child is at and what you can reasonably expect from them at that stage in life. This might seem totally obvious, but honestly, I don't know what three year olds are supposed to be able to do. I know I've been expecting things from her which she just isn't capable of realistically doing. I need to honor where MY child is and what her exact needs are. Along these lines, we need to be more proactive in keeping the girls apart when we aren't watching them. If we have to go out of the room, we need to take a child with us. At this point, it just isn't a good idea to leave them alone together. Yes, this will be alot of work, but less crying (on Eloise's part), less disciplining (on my part) and less sassiness (on Iris's part) will be worth it.
- Figure out what is causing Iris's behavior problems so we can try to prevent them. So, for instance, why does she hit/kick/push her sister? Is she mad because Eloise is in her space? Well, then help Iris get her own space. Also, it's important to reinforce positive behavior. If Iris does not hit her sister, she gets to do something that's really special to her. I struggle with the reward system because I have heard that the goal is for children to be able to do these things of their own volition. Well, that's all good, but at this young age children don't know empathy. They are completely egocentric. As positive reinforcement continues to work and changes the behavior for good (or good enough) then it can be phased out if it needs to be.
- Break the cycle! When she mentioned this to me I thought of a common phrase: "if you do what you've always done, you get what you've always gotten". For instance, I always give the girls a bath together. Sometimes they do okay, but most of the time bath time ends by me yelling and Iris being forced to get out for hitting/kicking/splashing her sister. The same thing ever night. It's exhausting. Why do I expect it to be different? How about trying something different and seeing if I get a different result?
- Make more one-on-one time. This is something we very rarely do with Iris. Every day Eloise takes a long nap and I very, very rarely spend that time giving Iris my undivided attention. I spend it catching up on chores or taking a needed break for myself, often hiding behind the computer while Iris stares at the television. This was a huge wake-up call for me to hear this. I really don't spend enough time with Iris. I mean, not really with her. As much as I can recall, the days she is on her best behavior are ones where she has the most attention from me. I can't be completely involved 100% of the time, but in all honesty, I have much more time to give to her than I do. It also made me realize if I expect a change in her behavior, I need to make a change in my own. Less tv time, less computer time, more play time. More together time. More creative time. We are also going to take time to have special out of the house one-on-one time. Something we make a BIG deal out of so Iris knows that it is her special time and is well aware of the attention we're focusing on her. Iris feeds off of attention, so I think this is going to be huge for her. And us.
- Make a progress chart. Some kids this works for, we are going to try it with Iris. We can sit down and make an agreement with Iris (her school is big on agreements between adults and the children) about what type of behavior is expected of her. For instance, we expect her not to hurt her sister. If she can go a whole day, or afternoon, or an hour even, she gets a sticker on a chart. When she gets to an agreed upon goal, she gets an agreed upon prize.
Okay, so this is all I am thinking of for now. I'd love to hear any and all suggestions.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Recently I found HFCS-free ketchup and BBQ sauce at Trader Joe's. I believe TJ's is a company that doesn't stock food with crap in it, but it wouldn't hurt to check the labels. It's the worst when you just assume something will be fine then you get home are like "wha?!?!?!"
In addition, I just wanted to point out how sweet and generous and thoughful my future in-laws are. We were visiting them this past weekend and every time we go there his mom goes out and buys all of the things they know we like, like avocados, organic milk and yogurt. She had milk in the house, but she knows we drink organic milk at home. We would have drank her regular milk, it's not that big of a deal, but it touches me to no end that they would go out of their way to get the kind they know we like. We really had a lovely visit despite not getting very much sleep. It's too bad they aren't a little closer (and aren't on the other side of a mountain range) because we could see them more frequently but be able to go home and sleep in our own beds :)
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Our current camera I had to purchase in a scramble because I dropped our old one in the Puget Sound two days before Iris's second birthday. Oops! I DO like it, I just want something better, I guess. Ours is a Canon Powershot A610, for the record. Again, it's good, but not great.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
All of these photos were taken with my new T-Mobile Shadow. It's such a fun phone!
I just had to share something about Iris that blew me away today. She was sitting in her chair eating frozen cherries and kept asking for more and more. I'd give her a few at a time. At one point she said "I want three cherries and two cherries" and I said "if I gave you three cherries and two cherries how many cherries would you have?" and she thought for a second and said "five!". Um, okay, I thought that must have been a fluke, so I asked another question: "if you had five cherries and I gave you two cherries, how many would you have?" and she said "seven!". I tried again with a couple more low numbers and she got it right again. Addition is something we never even talk about with her, but it is likely she learned the concept from school.
Mostly I think it's so cool that children really do learn on their own. I have heard so much about the theory of un-schooling and just couldn't wrap my head around how or why it works-- but now I have seen it in action.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Last summer he decided he was going to stop drinking alcohol. This was a big deal for him, because the man likes to drink. Not like in get trashed every night sort of a way, but more like the day isn't perfect until there is a beer in his hand sort of a way. He goes out to see alot of bands, he goes out with buddies after work, he has business meetings at bars, drinking just goes along with the territory on all of these things. Quitting drinking requires a whole lifestyle change. But, he is doing it. Since August he's only drank like three times. It's amazing. We haven't had any alcohol in our home, either, until my birthday party last month. Now there's a few bottles of wine. It's so much better for Matt's health and so much better for my health. If I'm not having a drink at home, well, then I'm pretty much not drinking, either, since I rarely go out.
In solidarity, I've given up something, too. I've given up eating anywhere that has a drive-thru. I'm not counting coffee stands in this, more things like McDonald's and Taco Bell. And anyone who knows me knows I love to make a run for the border. I haven't slipped up once, and in all honesty, unless we're trapped in the middle of nowhere and the only thing to eat is a big mac, I won't have a need to. My body is thanking me.
Matt has also quit smoking. A few weeks ago he got a lung infection and decided he was done with cigarettes. He hasn't smoked since. Again, I'm so incredibly proud of him. He has been smoking for years and it was one of those things that seemed like it would just always be a part of him, no matter how gross or unhealthy it was. He made the decision to quit and has stuck to it. He has what we like to call "sticktoitiveness". He is a man of his word. No more alcohol? Check. No more cigarettes? Check.
I think as we grow older we start to realize that some of the behaviors we had when we were younger just will no longer cut it. We can't hang in there for the long haul carrying around destructive habits. Matt and I have both made some huge changes in our lives over the past year to step up to the plate and improve our physical and emotional health. It's really been amazing to see how much better things have become. It's hard to let go of old habits. Even if something isn't good for your health, there is a reason we cling to them, like they are security blankets. They provide comfort and it's scary to let go, even if we know it's the best thing to do.
Friday, November 02, 2007
A while back I was writing about the book Deceptively Delicious by Mrs. Jerry Seinfeld. While I technically haven't tried any of the recipes from it, I have employed the techniques. Last week I snuck spinach and carrots in to spaghetti sauce. Matt was on to me, as well he should have been. Spinach does weird things to the color of spaghetti sauce. This week I was much more deceptive. I put carrots in to the spaghetti sauce again and, my personal favorite, I mashed sweet potatoes in to the refried beans. Both of my daughters, who lately have been spitting out steamed cubes of sweet potato, gobbled up the beans without incident. Score one for the mama.
Eloise and I are still off dairy, which has helped out over Halloween. I can't steal Iris's candy if I can't eat it, anyways. Whew. Not only that, but I've been doing a bit of yoga every day, as well. I'm trying to focus on whittling my flabby post-baby tummy down to something a tad bit skinnier for the wedding. We'll see.