Jun 22, 2005

Moldy Pits

6/22/2005 — cori

You know how moms like to discourage undesirable behavior by making it sound like a really bad idea? Well, that's kinda how this whole 'moldy pits' thing began.

As all the kiddos were in the bath this morning, Gavin began to lament about how he has to always take a bath. Which I knew would soon lead to a 'what if' question. Right on cue he asks, "Mom, what if I never took a bath?". Oh how I love hypothetical questions. So, I decide to give a hypothetical answer. Mind you, I have zero medical background knowledge to draw from here; so I let my imagination run wild.

I go on to explain to my wet, spell-bound audience of 3, that if you were to choose not to bathe, then you would probably grow mold in your pits (otherwise known to most as the underarm area). They were aghast. My plan is working. I knew multitudes of questions were forming in Gavin's mind, so I just waited. "What is mold?", Gavin asks. He knew it must not be something good, but he wasn't quite sure how truly yucky it is. I inform him that mold is green and gross and grows where it is dark and damp and stinky. I think I have just driven my point home. Since they are so awe struck with mommy's knowledge of moldy pits, I decide to wrap up my dissertation with, "...and if you had moldy, stinky pits none of your friends would probably want to play with you.".

There, I think I have totally curtailed any notion of never taking a bath again. On the other hand, I also probably just created an obsessive compulsive monster with Gavin. Now my poor, conscientious child will probably scrub his pits raw the rest of his life to avoid the moldy pit syndrome that his over zealous mother informed him about during his most formative years.

I actually had forgotten about our earlier hypothetical scenarios from this morning's bath time. That is, until we were having a lovely time playing 'doctor' on the floor after lunch. Mommy was the patient and the boys were the doctors. Bennett was armed with an infant medicine dispenser (empty, of course), while Gavin's doctor tool of choice was an extra computer mouse we had laying around. At first he would stick it in my belly button and try to blow me up (typical 6 year old boy stuff). Then, out of nowhere, he lifts my arm, inserts the end of the mouse into my 'pit area' and tells me he's checking to make sure I don't have moldy pits. Thankfully, I passed the test.

Jun 21, 2005

Drive-Thru Camera Ham

6/21/2005 — cori

Gavin decided that last Wednesday was the precise moment he was to learn all there is to know about the drive-thru window at the bank. So, I pull my minivan thru the designated lane and park comfortably as I fill out my deposit slip. Over my shoulder I hear "What'cha doin' mom? Can I do that for you? Why are you writing those numbers, mom? What does that mean, mom? Where are we going after this, mom? Mom, when can I do this all by myself? Where does your money go in those tubes?" Lots of questions and very few answers. I have a rather hard time concentrating on one thing (especially numbers that are connected to my money) while hearing voices in the background. However, I was able to respond to most of the questions in a manner that satisfied most of Gavin's loquacious curiosity.

He was just thrilled to no end that I allowed him to open the cylindrical tube and place all my necessary belongings inside. A flood of questions ensued, of course....but that is bound to happen when one is learning. I had no clue this lesson was to take place today, therefore, I did not prepare and had no lesson plan outlining the steps of instruction to take when teaching a 6 year old all about the drive-thru bank teller. I was just winging it here. And he seemed to be loving it.

It was especially fun when he was laying across my lap trying to put the cylindrical tube back into the outside, drop holder thingy (I know there is a name for that, but my technical description will have to work for now). Then he had to know which button to press. He really wanted to push the button that allowed you to talk to the teller, but I told him it was only for questions. Come to think of it, I should have pushed it and asked Gavin if he had any questions and let the teller finish his lesson. He kept teasing me like he was going to push the teller button. So, here comes my fatal mistake. I told him, "See that thing right there, that is a camera and it's watching you." Thinking that maybe that would cause him to not be quite so jovial about the random button pressing.

My mistake. The mere mention of the word 'camera' incites such untapped excitement in Gavin that he morphs into some weirdo without even knowing about it. The minute he realized that a camera was on him he starts making the goofiest faces you can imagine and starts trying to jump up and down and do little twirls (all while standing next to/partially on me and my driver's seat). Words cannot do this scene justice. I wish I could buy the footage off of that camera from that day at the bank and insert it in here. My creative writing abilities can only go so far. He was far funnier than I can write about. I was laughing sooooo hard. I imagine everyone around the camera monitor in the bank was too.

I've Heard It All Now

6/21/2005 — cori

Last night, as I was far, far away in the Land of Nod, I felt a nudge coming from that 'other world' that felt like a little person that I knew must belong to me somehow. Not being of the highest cognitive functioning ability while deep in slumber, I managed, miraculously, to determine it was Bennett (I must have felt his face with my hand) and pulled him into bed with us. I'm not exactly sure how I managed to exert such physical activity while not even being awake. The children NEVER, EVER go over to Chuck's side of the bed. That's probably because it is IMPOSSIBLE to awaken him from his comma like state anytime he is in the horizontal position. That, and they just can't seem to handle the deep rooted emotional side effects that come with trying to wake their Dad in the middle of the night, only to be rejected by his lack of attention in the wee hours of the morning. This is an area he knows needs some improvement. Anyways...all that to say...Bennett crawled in bed with us for whatever reason last night.

In the middle of the night, when one decides to crawl in bed with us, I never think to ask why. I just pull them in and try to find that 'comfy place' I was just in. But that 'comfy place' is no where to be found...the rest of the night. Instead, I have a little person now sharing my pillow (remember, they steer clear of Dad during the night hours) and my personal space. I'm left with 6 inches on the far edge of the bed. When I attempt to reclaim that part of the bed and pillow that are rightfully mine, I end up getting shoved in the gut with little knees. At that point, I manage a deep thought for that time of the night and remember that I'm bigger than Bennett so I can just pick him up and place him in the exact spot on the bed where I'd like him (right next to Daddy). However, Chuck has already siezed the whole right side of the king sized bed, leaving Bennett and I to share "my half". Chuck has done this on purpose, you see, because he knows I cannot move him to save my life. Me trying to move my dear husband over an inch, would be somewhat similar to an ant trying to move a Redwood tree - it just can't happen.

So, my little pillow sharer and I are facing each other most of the night. I love my children, but not bad breath. It's cute for puppies and babies - but not 3 year olds. And Bennett has no qualms telling me the condition of my breath either. So now, I'm self conscious about my breath and turn my head so as not to offend him. Yet I have to be ever so careful not to fling my hair in his face as I'm repositioning. The whole hair in the face, tickle thing seems to annoy him in the middle of the night and he gets rather grouchy with me. I wouldn't want my sweet boy to be inconvenienced in any way while he is trying to sleep where I should be.

Somehow, I drift off to sleep for a few minutes only to awaked by Chuck kissing me good bye at 4am when he heads out to work. I am excited because that means I can now lay claim to my porition of the bed once again. But Bennett has other plans. He would rather do the 'perpendicular lay' that children are so famous for. Now, I am still in my 6 inches of space, but instead of cuddling little knees I'm being pushed away by little feet. I cannot complain about this practice because there is pleny of proof that I once did this very thing to my parents. So it seems only fitting that I would have the opportunity to experience the joy I placed upon my parents many years prior.

At 6:07 sharp, I feel a tap on the shoulder and am a little confused because I thought I already had a child in bed with me. I then remember that I have more than one child and try to pull him into bed. But I am met with resistance and talking. That means I have to open my eyes. Once I do, I see Bennett, who I thought was in bed with me. He greets me with his sword and asks me if I can read his Bible to him. Well, I can't say no to that.

Before I read though, I asked him why he came to sleep with me last night and in typical Bennett fashion he announces, "I was scared that I couldn't read". My mind, still being hazy with sleep, just couldn't seem to process this. He is 3. He doesn't know how to read, nor should he be scared of that fact. This fear that acosted him in the middle of the night made no sense to me. Yet, for some crazy reason, it made sense to him and he needed my comfort (all night, evidently). So that's exactly what I gave him. I assured him that he would indeed be reading soon enough and in the mean time to enjoy Mommy reading to him. I guess my words immediately dispelled all fears since he responded with a quick, "okay". Or, maybe there never really was a fear there in the first place. He just felt that he must placate us with some reason, any reason to be scared in the middle of the night in order to justify coming to cuddle us. Whatever the reason, I still treasure all the I must endure during the middle of the night while "cuddling" one of my children, for it means I am blessed to be a Mom and make these once in a lifetime memories.

Jun 19, 2005


6/19/2005 — cori

Let me preface this with: I swear to tell the whole truth, nothing but the truth, so help me God - and I promise not to embellish. These phrases really did come out of the mouth of my adorable 3 year old son Bennett, without any prodding, encouragement or arm twisting on behalf of his older brother. With that being said....

We were doing our nightly ritual of "Thankfuls" at the dinner table. I asked Bennett, "What is your thankful tonight, sweetheart?". With utmost seriousness he responds, "I'm dankful for my butt" and didn't even crack a smile. At first Daddy disciplined him and told him we don't need to use those kinds of words in our thankfuls. Gavin was failing miserably at trying not to smile which would incite Bennett to come up with even more candid things to be thankful about. I was hiding comfortably behind a napkin, while tears were streaming down my face. However, after the moment passed, it hit Daddy at what true humor that really was and eventually joined in as we all started rolling on the floor with laughter. Chuck & I find ourselves repeating that phrase every once in a while. What kind of parents are we?

The second Bennett-ism happened just the other evening - again, over dinner. Evidently, his mind is sharpest at dinner-time. Earlier in the day the boys and I were reading a Magic School Bus book about weather. They loved it because one of the children decides to make a hero out of the Weatherman and dons a costume and appears to have superhuman strength. Right up my kids' ally.

So, we're just all sitting and eating away, pretty much in silence when Bennett declares "I am double wuu man!". Gavin had to explain to us lesser mortals, that the character in the book who turns into Weatherman calls himself "W Man" and has a lightening flash across his chest. Evidently, he is one of the lesser known superheroes of our time. But a superhero none-the-less. Can you guess what the children played once we got home?

The last Bennett-ism, oddly enough, occurred the same day as the 'poopie incident'. Hmmm, I wonder if there is a connection? The kids and I were driving along when Bennett decides it's time to share his thoughts on my parenting ability. He says (and I quote), "It seems to me, every time God is nice, you are not." To which I promptly reply, "Excuse me? What are you saying? Let me try rephrasing this to see if I understand what you're trying to tell me. From your vantage point, whenever God is nice, Mommy is mean. Is that right?" His answer was clear and distinct and is still ringing in my ears today, "Yes".

Although my mind is screaming at me not to take this personally, I'm having trouble listening. Children are the best about speaking the truth - the bare, honest to goodness truth - whether you want to hear it or not. I realized that he was talking about my outburst of frustration earlier in the day. I ended up apologizing and telling him that even Mommy's make bad choices sometimes. That answer sufficed for the time being.

As it turned out, I have been in the process of falling off of the little 'Mommy pedestal' he has kept me on for some time now, next to the 'God pedestal' and he's realizing that I am not like God. Way to go Bennett!! I'm so glad he can see me fail, apologize and try again. I don't want him to think he has a perfect Mommy or Daddy. If he continued to think that, he would probably go on to think that he could attain perfection. Then where would his need for God be? I'm so glad that my failures can help point him to his need for Jesus.

Jun 16, 2005

I love to draw on my kids

6/16/2005 — cori

Doesn't that sound like the most loving thing a mother can do? I actually discouraged drawing on one's self with a marker for quite a long time. That is, until my friend let her boys draw a mustache and beard on her face and I didn't even see a trace of it anywhere. I was flabbergasted! I always thought of her as normal. If she could do something so outrageous and....(gulp)...fun, with her kids, who was I to deprave my children of such a creative outlet? It was at that point I decided to join the ranks of 'fun moms' all over the world and indulge myself in a little body art - only on my children, of course. You will NEVER see me with a purple mustache and a beard (at least I pray). If you do, you know I've gone completely senile and have done it to myself because in a normal frame of mind, I just don't find that too fun.

Anyways, back to the point of the story. The fact that my boys love to be superheroes should be ingrained into everyone's brains by now. Therefore, what, might you guess, do they want me to draw on them? You got it....superhero logos. They LOVE logos. I have actually found a hidden talent I didn't know I possessed....drawing logos on children's chests. They are quite picky, so I must practice my art with great detail and precision. We cannot be confused for a fake superhero. Oh no - that is not acceptable. The logos I can pull out of my sleeve at any given moment with any type of drawing medium would include (but not limited to): flash, batman, superman, green lantern, supergavin and superbennett.

I began to draw on my children using your average tempera paints. We soon found out that once dried, they crack and cause a rather large rash with tiny bumps over the "logo area" for a few days. The boys said it didn't matter, that they could deal with the pain and side effects. But, being the contientious mother that I am, I did not want to accidently poison my children while coloroing on them. It only took about 6 times on intense scientific experimentation to deduce that this may not be the correct medium for us.

Next, I began using your typical Crayola marker. Note: make sure the marker says "washable" on it. Not that I have any experience with permanent markers or anything. Our medium of choice is now the small point crayola marker. The small tip is of utmost importance if you are attempting to do detail work.

I even went so far as to draw on other people's children. The boys' best friends came to spend the night, saw the amazing logos on my children and literally begged on bended knee for me to decorate their bare chests with the latest superhero fashion. How could I say no? After all, their mom is my best friend, I knew she would understand the duress I was under. However, I did not anticipate one of the little boys deciding he would try to out-do my logo masterpiece by adding his own rendition onto his tummy, below the work of art I just bestowed on his chest. This caused mass chaos among the troops and now they all decided they would rather draw on their own chests.

Thus ends my days of drawing on my children...that is until Chloe comes of age and requests my logo rendering skills. I might want to start practicing Wonder Woman, Bat Girl, and Fire Star logo variations.

Jun 14, 2005

A Little Swimming Companion

6/14/2005 — cori

We had nothing else to do today, so, why not go to the pool...again! I think we're trying to set some sort of record to see if someone can actually go to the pool every single day throughout the summer. I think we're leading in the polls. The Home Owners' Association is going to rue the day they let us move in. Unbeknownst to them, they built the community pool just for us and our daily swimming pleasure. :) So, we take advantage of that fact as often as possible. We even went 3 times in one day just recently. Do you know how hard it is to scrub suntan lotion off of children when they have been immersed in it 3 times in one day? They still have a rather oily hue to them.

Anyways, it seems that we're always the only ones up there (at least at 9 o'clock in the morning). Last night we had a horrible thunderstorm that produced alot of wind. Evidently, that wind blew most of the chairs into the pool. The boys were terribly excited about getting each and every chair out all by themselves - this way they would really be able to prove their true superhero identities/superpowers. With so much muscle around me, I only needed to stand at the edge of the pool and help hoist the chairs onto the deck once I was given the appropriate 'signal'. Well, that and keep Chloe from trying to take a running jump into the pool to help her bigger brothers. She was mistaken and thought that the 'signal' was her cue to jump in.

After successfully saving the pool from all unwanted intruders (lawn chairs) we were finally free to play. We were having a grand old time trying to jump through the inner-tube. Rather, the boys were having fun watching mommy attempt to fit her 'motherly' body through a child-sized inner-tube without getting stuck and needing to deflate the entire tube in order to wriggle free. When all of the sudden we see something else in the water with us.

Forgetting the 1st commandment of motherhood (thou shalt not scream or panic when thou seest a bug), I belted out, "QUICK - EVERYONE, OUT - NOW!!! - AND I'M NOT JOKING!". I believe they reacted to my earnestness with appropriate speed. The hibbie-jibbies are coming on strong now and I shiver as I try to regain clarity of mind. There are no rules I've every read anywhere on what to do if you see a little critter swimming in a pool. So, since my husband wasn't here and I couldn't pass the unwanted task off to him or anyone else (since we were the only ones there), I had to think of a plan - quick!

Thankfully, the boys started thinking of one for me. Their curiosty was much greater than mine. They started walking over toward 'it', whereas I was trying to walk backwards away from 'it'. I start assuming the worst, it must be a snake. The little creature is actually swimming (ughh! gross!!!). Once I start inching a little closer I realize that it's too short to be a snake, so it must be a salamander (still gross). But the boys don't seem to agree with me. Bennett makes the all important deduction that he believes it is poopie. Thank God that wasn't it!!! So, what else swims, is short, a little hairy, has little paws.... oh my gosh... IT'S A MOUSE - YUCK!!!!

That's when I put my foot down and declared, "Well, that's all the swimming for us today!" I thought my children would thank me from just rescuing them from imminent danger. Instead, the response I get is close to a full blown temper tantrum. What?? I'm totally confused. You are not happy with your mother for keeping you out of the same contaminated water that a gross mouse has been in? Obviously not since their faces are starting to contort in all strange types of ways as they try to find the right pose that will release the most amount of forlorn tears. Do they really think that that will make me change my mind? I look at them and laugh and say, "You guys can't be serious! We are NOT swimming with a mouse". To that Bennett responds with utmost seriousness, "But I like mouses. They are my pet.".

Instead of high tailing it out of there as was my original plan, I let them stay and search for our little swimming companion (out of the water - of course). I had tucked Chloe safely away in her stroller with a large enough supply of pretzels, so she was oblivious to the entire escapade. She only cried when her food ran out. Oh, how I yearn for the 'simple life' again!

Jun 13, 2005

Not Again

6/13/2005 — cori

Anyone who has been an avid reader of this blog since its inception a year ago would immediately know what this title means. That's right...its another poopie story. I just can't seem to get away from them.

We were having a beautiful, hot, sunny afternoon here in Texas. My friend invited us over to swim at her Dad's pool. Wow! Great idea! So, its just us two moms (my friend is six months pregnant). Two 6 year old boys (fish). One 4 year old boy who is very anxious about the water and therefore wears as much gear as he can find to go into the pool with (1 inner-tube, 2 flippers, 1 pair of goggles, 1 snorkle) yet never gets his head wet. One 3 year old wearing a wet-suit like thing with floaties all around it because he thinks he can swim, but really, he can't - so, we are just fostering his belief by allowing him to swim, unassisted with his precious Spiderman swim helper (obviously, this my son, Bennett). And lastly, on this beautiful day, we have two little toddlers who cannot swim and are always in the mommy's arms or sitting on the steps, ready at any moment, to vicariously fall into the pool. My friend's Dad has also come out to join us and play with the older two boys. He is Capture Man and loves to capture superheroes (which our sons believe they are). There, the back drop is set...now the story begins....

Everything is perfect, therefore, in my world, that means that something is about to go wrong. Right on cue, Bennett calls over to me, "Mommy, I need to go poo-ie". I hand Chloe off to my friend and run over to the bathroom with Bennett. Thankfully, there is an entrance to the bathroom right off the patio, so we don't have to worry about getting his nice floors all wet. One thing about Bennett, when he gets the urge to go - he has to go immediately. That being said...I am hurridly trying to peel this wet suit off my son when he tells me "Mommy, please don't take it off inside out." Oh, now we're suddenly conscience of our clothes being inside out?, I think to myself. Yet, with all the motherly affection I can muster I tell him, "Don't worry honey, Mommy is doing her best to keep it the right way." With that assurance, he allows me to pull his legs out of this silly contraption that is stuck to him like glue with the pant holes inside out. He even waited to get on the potty until his suit was in 'proper order'. He's not even on the potty for 5 seconds before he tells me "I don't have any poo-ies mommy." I'm like, "Yes you do and you will sit there a little longer. I'm still wiping the sweat off my brow from trying to take your Spiderman suit off." So he obediently complies, while I try to stall and pray his 'urge' returns.

Sadly, it does not and we go thru the whole rigor-ma-roll of trying to get the suit back on. In hindsight, I should never have left that bathroom. Never let him convince me he really didn't have to go anymore. Maybe never even accepted the swimming invitation. But life is about learning lessons and evidently, I have many, many more to learn.

I am now completely dry since that whole escapade took about 20 minutes. Both of us hop back into the pool and commence the fun yet again. We are not in the pool 2 minutes when I hear Bennett say (rather quietly), " I have poo-ies mommy". I thought I heard him say he had to go again. But after further investigation, I noticed he was telling me that he had already gone poopie. Last time I checked, there was not a large bump sticking out from the back of the Spiderman wet-suit, yet there was now. A wave of nausea hits me as I try to reach him on the other side of the pool. Thankfully, I didn't throw up in the pool. Poopie and throw-up in the pool all in one day would definately not get us invited back ever again.

At this point, everything is slow motion. All the other poopie episodes flash before me and I think to myself "I thought we were past this" and "well, I guess I've got the material for my next blog". Bennett and I finally make it to the bathroom once again. This time I'm not quite as cheery and optimistic as the last time. I really could care less if his suit gets inside out. I ask him to stand there momentarily while I take a deep breath and try to analyze the situation to determine what needs to be done. The first thing I think is that I'm glad it was this pool and not the public pool - that would really cause a scene. They would have to blow those loud whistles, get everyone out and decontaminate the pool, all while everyone is staring at us. That sceanrio sent shivers down my spine. I could deal with this one. My second thought was, "I'm going to have to get this mass out of his suit - ughhh!!!". And, if I can remember correctly, my last thought was "will Bennett ever be potty-trained?"

Here is where God stepped in and gave me grace for the moment. Because all I wanted to do was yell at him about how he was old enough and how this should never happen and how he should have gone the first time. Thankfully, He gently reminded me that Bennett is still only three, is still learning, and that he needs my love and understanding in this moment, not my judgement and condemnation (that could make this whole potty-training adventure that much longer). It was at this point Bennett told me that he didn't know it happened, it just did. I told him that mistakes happen and that I forgive him and am not mad at him. Evidently, he was very mad at himself and embarassed and really needed the assurance from me that he was still loved and accepted.

Thankfully, it was one solid mass and I was able to dispose of it without too much fan fair. I ripped the suit off of Bennett and told him that Daddy would have to clean it - I wasn't even going to go there. I'm so glad that I had the presence of mind to bring a dry change of clothes for the children. We quietly left the bathroom while I retrieved the rest of my children and told them it was time to leave even though we had only been there for 20 minutes (and most of that, Bennett & I had spent in the bathroom). Gavin was a little puzzled by our sudden need to leave and was putting up a little fight. I was trying to be discreet because I didn't want Bennett to be even further embarassed. I whispered to him to please do as I say, Bennett had a little accident and we need to leave now. He was semi-satisfied with that and went to get changed. As we were preparing to leave and saying our good-byes, Bennett laments, rather loudly, that he doesn't want to leave. And Gavin, always ready with an answer, replies, "Well, if you hadn't poopied in the ..... " (the rest is garbled because my hand was over his mouth). I asked him to be considerate of his brother and not tell everyone about what he did (because evidently, not everyone saw the large protrusion extending from Bennett's butt).

Lessons learned:
1. bring my own hazerdous materials waste disposal kit everywhere I go
2. grace is a gift, give it freely
3. my children are a gift, enjoy every moment - even the poopie ones

Jun 5, 2005

Wisdom of Little Ones

6/05/2005 — cori

We were having a wonderful conversation during dinner tonight. Gavin was sharing what he had learned in Sunday school with us. He was explaining something about the Tower of Babel and different languages. He seemed to understand it for the most part. He then picked up a bunch of grapes and started eating them off the vine. That prompted me to ask him, "Gavin, did you know that Jesus told a story of us being like the grapes and he is like the vine?" Of course this was a new idea to him and he and Bennett enjoyed hearing the analogy. The whole thing kinda fizzled out like a dead balloon since it had nothing to do with superheroes.

But just when you think your kids haven't heard a word you said, they say something that astounds you. Evidently, Gavin had really been listening and had actually understood when I explained what an analogy was. So, about 5 minutes after we had the grape/vine analogy, he busts out with, "Mom, Jesus is kinda like a cat and we're kinda like the mice, right?". Since he just threw an analogy at us, it took us off gaurd for a minute. We then realized he was being very serious and had to quickly wipe the smirks off our faces and regain a 'serious' composure.

I asked him if he could tell us how Jesus was like a cat. Bennett felt like he knew the answer, so he pipes in with, "Vuh-vuh (brother), is it because Jesus mells (smells) like a tat (cat)?" We all busted a gut laughing at that one. Of course Bennett said it with dead seriousness. He concluded, all on his own, that that must not have been the correct answer. So, he tries again with, "Vuh-vuh (brother), den (then) does he mell (smell) like a dog?" Again, we couldn't stop laughing.

I could see the wheels turning in Gavin's head, but he was having a hard time articulating how his analogy worked. He then came out with, "Jesus is like the cat cuz he's bigger than us." I just love our dinner time conversations! The faith of a child is so sweet and innocent.

But of course Bennett, never wanting to be outdone, decides to give us an update on heaven. He tells me, "Mommy, before I was born, I was in heaven." I asked him if he could remember what it was like and he shook his head yes. Then I asked him to tell me what heaven is like. Big news flash for anyone wondering what heaven is like...according to Bennett, it is like Gotham City. :) But that was all the insight he was able to share at this time. I'm fairly certain he will continue to spill more information whenever he deems we are spiritually mature enough to handle it.

Jun 3, 2005

The End of an Era

6/03/2005 — cori

Quite a momentous event just occurred in this very house last week. It is not that our precious, little 13 month old little baby girl just started walking. And it's not that we went to the pool three times in one day and its only May. And, no, it's also not about sweet little Chloe figuring out that if she sticks her chubby little finger up her nose, it illicits much laughter from her brothers. No, even though all those things are huge in their own right, they are not as huge as this....drum roll, please:

Chloe no longer sleeps in our closet!!!

Now, I understand that that particular statement might bring a multitude of questions to the minds of most 'normal' people. Questions regarding our 'normalcy', our ability to parent, maybe, or even the welfare of our poor children might be at the top of the list. Let me assure everyone, I've never qualified myself, or any of my family members as 'normal' - I'm the first to admit that we are totally weird! But that's also what makes this family so much fun - you NEVER know what to expect next.

Maybe it would be helpful to qualify why Chloe was actually sleeping in our closet. When, we first moved into the house, my mother-in-law came for a visit and we gave her Chloe's room to sleep in. We didn't want Chloe to wake her up in the middle of the night, so for just a short little week, we let her sleep in her pack-n-play in our ample master closet. Who knew she'd love it?! She loves to sleep in the pitch dark. Every time we tried to reorient her to her bedroom, she'd throw the biggest fit. These fits were not pretty, they were not quiet, they did not end. It appeared to be in everyone's best interest that we pick up the crying baby and put her in a nice, dark, quiet place where she will immediately fall asleep every time. It made perfect sense to us.

If I've learned anything in my few short years of parenthood, I've learned that once you think you've got a kid figured out - everything changes. Change is inevitable - it will happen, you just don't know when. That's the fun of it. So, we knew that Chloe wouldn't live in our closet forever. Just like Bennett actually was able to be potty trained before he turned 4 (my hugest accomplishment to date). So, every time we tried to put her to bed in her own room, it just happened to not be the right time yet, and we just happened to be the last ones to know it.

Well, after only 3 months - she is out of the closet. We couldn't be more happy for her! :) And us too. Because she slept in our closet which is in our master bathroom, Chuck would have to get his clothes out every night before we put her to bed at 7pm. Of course he would never remember to do this, since he pretty much just got home from work only an hour ago. So, every morning, at around 4:30 or 5, he would have to accomplish quite an impossible mission. With stealth precision he would have to open the closet door, reach in grab the right color shirt to match the right colored pants as well as dress shoes. If you've never tried it, I recommend you don't. It's the ultimate in stress. The lighting has to be 'just so'. The door can't creak. No one can make a sound. If the child awakes, it could be hours before anyone gets back to sleep.

Life just got so much easier for us. Way to go Chloe!

Jun 2, 2005

The Adventures of Chloe

6/02/2005 — cori

Hmmm...where to begin....there are just so many that come to mind. Like the 3 1/2 hour road trip we recently took to Oklahoma where she 'yelled' at us the entire way. If I wasn't appeasing her with food offerings or constantly turning around to pick up the book she threw on the floor for the 16th time, she would be showing us her disapproval with this whole trip idea using her voice, only with no words attached. But then I realize that she is only 13 months old, cannot communicate via 'normal' words like the rest of us and needs to be able to get her point across somehow. However, after about the 2nd hour of me being twisted around in the front seat facing Chloe in the back seat all the while singing such lovely traveling songs as "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "ABC's", I really didn't care about her communication problem as much as I cared about the crick in my neck and the cramp in my back. The minute I turned to sit in my seat the proper way, I was quickly reprimanded with an ear piercing cry that reminded me that life, right now, is not about my comfort, but hers - and hers only. Lesson learned - forgo any and all car rides that exceed the distance of 30 miles and or 30 minutes.

This next one is rather fun, but gets old after a while....Everyday, multiple times a day at that, Chloe goes into my closet, finds a pair of shoes she would like for me to wear and brings one out and insists I put it on my foot, right then. She is quite insistent - she will not be ignored. She holds the shoe up to me and says, "Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh.......ad nausium" until I relent and put it on. The entire sequence repeats itself with the second shoe. I'm very thankful that she always gives me matching shoes though, it could be worse. I never experienced this with my boys. They could have (and still do) really care less about what I am or am not wearing. Lesson learned - put shoes on at the beginning of the day and never, ever take them off - comfort is not the important thing - consistency and style is. I especially look good wearing my pajamas with my sneakers in the morning.

A more recent 'adventure' occurred last night....I could possibly be receiving the 'bad mother of the year' award for this one. I need to preface this with...Chloe just learned to walk, unassisted, this past week. She feels she has mastered the art of walking and really has no use for my constant supervision anymore. The scene begins like this...Chuck just arrived home from work and is back in our bedroom changing into his 'play clothes', the boys are upstairs playing 'super cat' (yet another superhero invention), I am sitting at the computer (right next to the stairway and Chloe- key point) checking emails and our lovely little star (Chloe) is 'supposedly' behind me playing. At least she was 10 seconds ago.

Chuck comes walking out to the front room where I and my little daughter were supposed to be and asks "Where's Chloe?" A very innocent question that should not produce terror in the heart of a mother. We run around the entire bottom level of the house searching for our suspiciously quiet daughter who was not to be found anywhere. We both look at the stairs simultaneously and in disbelief shake our heads no, as if to say "she couldn't have". How naive we were. Independent doesn't even begin to describe Chloe.

Our stairway is very open and large. There are 8 stairs before you reach a landing, then 8 more bring you successfully up to the second floor. We climb the stairs three at a time. My mind is already producing ghastly images of my poor daughter. We reach the top in record time and ask the boys "Have you seen Chloe?" Very nonchalantly, Gavin answered, "Yeah, she went that way." Okay, first of all I wanted to go off on Gavin....like, is this a common occurrence, do you always see your sister climb the steps and walk around the corner by herself, this didn't set off any alarms in your developing brain that would trigger you to yell with all your might for your mother or father? None of those thoughts left my mind, however, because she is my responsibility, but you've got to wonder what was going through his mind.

Anyways, we look in her room, she's not there. Then we look in the bathroom. Finally, we find her leaning against the wall next to the tub like this is her regular hangout. To top it off, she has a purple marker in her hand that she is busily chewing on. My heart stops pounding once we find her safe and sound. Then the reality of what she's done sets in and I give her a very stern "no, no, Chloe". For a second, she looked at me as if she might cry, wetness even entered her eyes, but then her mighty resolve set in and she sucked it up and just stared at me. Ooooh, the battle of wills - this is fun.

I would love to say we solved the problem by just erecting a nice little gate at the bottom of our stairway, but that would be impossible because of it's architecture. So, for the time being, Chloe and I are permanently attached. Lesson learned - don't check emails unless I put her in the crib or some other securely enclosed area.

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