Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ethan as of Late

Ethan, Ethan, Ethan.

Ethan has undergone a major transformation in the last 7 months. Ethan was by far my easiest baby: very mellow, easy going, sweet, cuddly, independent. He is still sweet, cuddly, and independent – when he wants to be. Mellow? No. Easy going? Ha!

He has turned into a little fireball of intensity, which intensity he uses to delight, irritate, and anger the rest of the family. Here is Ethan in a nutshell:

Potty Training
I'm pretty tired of changing Ethan's diapers. Let's just say he likes to eat fruit. A lot of fruit.

So we tried the potty training for...a day. I had to coax him into his Thomas the Train underwear; bribe him with candy to sit, even for a second, on the Winnie the Pooh potty; and after every potty session (none were productive), we'd put his undies on, he'd run off, and promptly tinkle on the carpet. So I gave up after one day. One day! Good effort, Emily. Good effort.

So we continue to change his diaper. During the night, because he manages to fill not only his diaper but his jammies and sheets too, we change his diaper before we go to bed. The routine is this: We pull him out of bed. He never opens his eyes, but stirs a bit. We lay (lie?) him down on the changing table, where we wait while he stretches. Then, as we pull off his jammies, he props his head on one or both arms, like so:

And the best is when he then scratches his tummy and smacks his lips.

He's onto our little tricks:
So, we all have our little tricks that manipulate our kids into doing what we want them to do without having to beat them, right? One thing I do often with Ethan is to say, 'Ethan, can you do it all by yourself' or 'Show me you can do it all by yourself!' He's excited to do it “all by myself;” I get my way; it's a win-win situation. But we recently had this conversation; it was rather alarming to me:

me: Ethan, go throw the banana peel in the trash please.
E: Mommy, you's do it!!
me: No, it's Ethan's trash. You go throw it away...
E: (sweetly) Mommy, you's do it all by you-self? Show me you's do it all by you-self!

What a smart cookie.

And what parent hasn't used the (legitimate) “I'm too tired” excuse to avoid doing something? Today, we had conversation that went something like this:

me: No, Ethan, you can't climb on the counter. (he wanted a banana)
E: I too liddoh? (little)?
E: You's get it for me?
Me: not right now.
E: Ohhhhh. You's too tie-oh'd (tired)?

Well, shoot. He's onto me.

Boy, oh Boy

Is it too cliché to say that Ethan is all boy? He loves sports. Anything that involves a ball is his favorite. He spends a good portion of every day pretending to play sports. We have all sorts of balls and bats and hoops, but those often aren't required. He's happy to pretend dribbling his pretend 'backet-ball' and dunking it into the pretend hoop you've made with your arms.

Or he'll pretend that one Star Wars blankie is the baseball; the other Star Wars blankie is the baseball bat. I throw the 'ball' to him; he swings his 'bat' (complete with sound effects); and then we repeat. Sometimes he'll pause this game for a moment - just long enough for him to walk over to me, ask me for a hat, which I pretend to hand to him, and put on his pretend hat (again with a sound effect) - and then he walks back to home plate to resume the game.

Even two found scraps of paper – each the size of a string bean – are sufficient for playing baseball during Church. It keeps him entertained, so I don't interfere.

He loves tools and loves to fix things, just like his dad.

He loves 'fwoggies' (dinosaurs). So much so that that was the theme of his 2nd birthday. After an hour of searching, I stood in line on Black Friday at Walmart for another hour, just so I could get a Fisher Price Dinosaur Volcano Mountain for his birthday. He loved it, especially, I think, because it makes chomping and belching noises. Nice.

At the aquarium at the Outer Banks during Christmas break

And because he is a boy, he loves to fight and punch and kick, and everything can be turned into a sword. Thank heavens he hasn't figured out guns yet.

So, church with Ethan is...a struggle. He loves his nursery class and is always excited to show me the picture on which he drew 3 scribbles that day. But Sacrament meeting. Wow. He's not really naughty. He just can't sit still. Or quietly. Getting him to whisper is like pulling teeth. We have practice sessions at home, where we practice whispering and sitting still. At home, he gets it. At church, not so much.

The only way I can get him to whisper at church is if I say to him, "Shhhh, the baby is sleeping." To which he responds in a whisper, "Baby 'leeping?" Then he resumes his only other volume of talking, which is LOUD.

I have found that he likes for us to draw pictures of food while we sit, which he then pretends to eat. This keeps him occupied and relatively quiet for a good 10 minutes. Pretending to eat the drawn food includes blowing them off when they are too hot; taking off wrappers; and tilting his head back to get the last drop of juice, finishing with a loud "AHHHHHHHHHH."

He also enjoys sitting on my lap facing me, and pulling all my meticulously arranged hair around and onto my face in order to make a beard or mustache, or to encourage me to pretend to eat my hair.

Don't be deceived by that cute little face...

Generally Speaking
Ethan loves fruit. He especially loves to eat whole "happles" - and has eaten as many as 3 in one morning. I often find apple cores on the floor in the basement. Gross. And he loves strawberries. Last week he ate 1 lb of strawberries while I was out mowing the lawn. Grapes are also preferred. A few weeks ago, I gave the kids some grapes for snack. I caught him doing this:

He had pulled all the grapes off of the vine. Then he decided that he wanted them back on the vine. You may not be able to see it well, but here he is putting the grapes back on, one at a time, sticking the vine ends into the little holes where the grapes used to be attached. (What I didn't get a picture of was Ethan pretending the reassembled grapevine was a Bad Guy, making it walk around and scaring his sisters.)

I love the way he talks. Instead of a simple "No," he says "Nopes!" or even "Nopesies!" And more than one person has observed that it sounds like he speaks with a French accent. "Diaper" becomes "Dia-puh." "Pepper" becomes "Pep-puh."

He can be a bit dramatic. Once I told him, 'No, you may not have that.' And so he collapsed to the floor, hands over his eyes, bum in the air, legs tucked underneath him. Then, he began scooting across the floor towards me in this position, every once in a while pausing to peak through his hands to make sure I was watching. Sometimes he climbs under the table to avoid being put into Time Out.

In spite of what we say, Ethan really is a good kid. He loves Good Night Moon and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, and reads them along with us. He can get dressed all by himself. He can put on his own shoes. He knows his ABC's and can count to 20. He loves music (he busts out his air guitar daily), and he loves dancing with his sisters.

He can be so sweet. If someone is hurt, he'll ask: "You's okay?" and give hugs and kisses. Sometimes in the morning he crawls into bed with me and rubs my face or softly pats my cheeks until I wake up.

For a little boy whose shirts are always filthy, he does have a clean streak in him. Over Spring Break, Melinda and I took the kids to Virginia Beach. He was way uncomfortable getting his feet all sandy; it took him a while to relax and not worry about getting his feet "all doh-dee" (dirty).

And that is what you've missed from Ethan during my blogging hiatus.

My Goal...

...is to blog about what each family member generally has been up to for the last 6 or 7 months.

The End.

ps- this could get lengthy. don't say i didn't warn you.
pss- this is my 2nd or 3rd attempt at rejoining the blogging world. don't judge me if i fail. again.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shell Shock

Please note that this is a whiny, poor-me, Debbie Downer post. I just need to write this, get over it, and get on with my day. Please feel free to not read this post!!

Last night, I put the kids down to bed. I put the leftover perishable foods in the fridge. I brought in the scooters and bikes from the front yard.

But I left out all the dirty dishes. I left out the cake. I left out all the food that didn't require refrigeration. I left the mound of torn wrapping paper on the floor. I left the pile of wet towels on the bathroom floor. I left the half-done laundry in the laundry room. I didn't even go through Andrea's backpack or get it ready for the next day. I DID brush my teeth, because my diet has been about 89% sugar as of late, but I skipped the floss. I left the sticky kitchen floor. I left the basement a disaster. I left up the birthday decorations. I left the trash can spilling over onto the kitchen floor.

And instead, I went downstairs and turned on the TV. Do you realize how long it's been since I've done that?

I'm not sure when life is going to slow down. I used to be busy. I used to think, 'It has to get easier than this.' And in some ways, it does get easier. But then there are always other aspects that get harder, more complicated. I used to be busy, but I could usually put the kids to bed, and at the very least sit down, watch a movie and fold laundry. But before last night, I don't remember the last time I sat and watched TV, even to do laundry.

My kids, on the other hand, I think have a special relationship with the TV. I think they spend more time with it than they do with me. As I type this, they're down there watching TV. I'm supposed to be showering. But I'm tired of doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing.

I have received comments in the last few months from well-meaning individuals that it seems like my kids are overwhelming to me. And in some ways, they are. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's not my kids that are overwhelming. It's the other 100 million things going on in life that take my attention away from my kids that make it all overwhelming.

And the thing is, it's not like I'm doing anything extra. It's not like I have a hobby that I devote any time to. I don't look at my day and see things that I could have done without. (Well, maybe spending 3 hours making butterfly cupcakes was a bit superfluous) It seems like all I have time for are the essentials, the essentials being:

clean house=dishes done and having a cleared path from one room to the next
laundry=washed, heaped in piles in laundry baskets
callings=lessons done the night before; practice the organ 1/2 hour before church starts
feeding my children=lots of tacos and trips to chic-fil-a
nurturing my children=planting them in front of the Disney channel

And all my other time goes to other essential things that just come up. A friend has a sick baby. There's an EQ activity. I leave my keys in Anders' car, which gets parked at the airport while Anders is out of town. Andrea has art class. Andrea has a birthday. Natalie has a birthday. Friends have birthdays. There are people that need a lot of help. The basement floods. There are Natalie floods. There are doctor's appointments. I have to do PT so I can walk. Ethan covers himself in Desitin during nap time. Ethan fills the bathtub with every toy that he owns. Ethan draws on the walls. Ethan...no, I'll stop there.

But the list goes on. And on. And on.

Having said all this, I think I'm a bit ridiculous for complaining about life. I'm not dealing with very sick children; I'm not dealing with a bad marriage; I'm not a single parent. My kids love me. My husband has a great job that more than pays the bills. We're all healthy. I have the Gospel. Life is good.

Okay, DONE! No more complaining. My next blog will be filled with pictures of smiling people and funny stories and happy things. I needed to get the Eeyore out of my system and now I'm fine :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Love thy Neighbor

I have this list of about 37-100-thousand-million things to do (that's the format the girls use when talking in big numbers). And yet one thing remains constant amidst the jumble of things swarming through my mind: I must blog. It's for my posterity. It's how I participate in my family history. It's how I find my sanity. It's my alone time. It's one of the best ways to make my mind stop and concentrate on one thing and one thing only.

And, I really REALLY need to be focusing on the good things in my day. Even though it's spring, and the weather is beautiful, and flowers are in bloom, and the sun is shining, I'm still having a hard time shrugging off those winter blues. Here are my 3 things I'm thankful for today:

1) Good neighbors.

Our neighbor Kathy is so good to my kids. She is interested in what they have to say; she remembers their birthdays; she doesn't get upset if they play in her yard. And today, as we were outside enjoying the warm weather, she invited each of my 3 kids to come choose a flower to pick from her garden. They came back absolutely delighted, carrying lovely tulips and daffodils that now make a bright, cheery, slightly squashed bouquet on our kitchen table.

2) Good neighbors.

Our next door neighbors, the March's, have three children - 2 girls and a boy - all a little older than our 3 kids. Today Dad March offered to take Andrea and Natalie along with his 3 kids to the park across the street. The timing couldn't have been more perfect - it was right around 4:30 - right around the time things start to fall apart in our house. It's when everyone starts to get a little tired. It's when everyone needs a little extra love and attention from Mom. And it's when Mom has just (coincidentally?) run out of love and attention for the day, and right when Mom has to go start dinner and not be bombarded by demands for help and justice and snacks.

And so our good neighbor took all the kids - his and mine - out of their mothers' hair and to the park for a while. And I made tacos in peace.

(Ethan stayed behind, but he is a delight when he is an only child. He played trains for an hour, and no one interfered or grabbed or annoyed. Heavenly.)

3) Good neighbors

So Anders is out of town for the next few days. And, since I've done such a poor job of updating the blog, I should explain that my sister Melinda is living with us. So tonight, the kids and I were having a little Family Home Evening (try explaining the story of Joseph being sold into Egypt to a 3 year old, and tell me how that works for you...). After explaining the meaning of "famine" and "slave" and "food storage" a dozen times, we ended our discussion, said prayers, brushed teeth, and I got the kids to bed without incident.

Then the phone rang. It was Melinda. Her car had died and she was stranded at Walmart. And since Anders was gone and the kids were in bed, I called our friends the Wolfords to see if they might come over and sit at the house while I retrieved her. They were so kind, and even as I type this blog, they are out rescuing my sister, whom they do not know, all the while acting like it is no big deal. I know that's it's a big deal. I know that it's their toddler's bedtime. I know they are busy and have better things to be doing.

How did I get so lucky to have such kind, generous, sincere people placed in my life?

I'm not sure, but I am truly thankful for them.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


...It's March. The latter part of March.

My last entry was in December.

And I still have a Christmas background on my blog?


This. is. pathetic.

I don't have time right now to catch up on the last 3+ months. In fact, I may never catch up. But waiting to blog about TODAY until after I've blogged about YESTERDAY is a recipe for BLOGGING FAILURE.

So I'm starting fresh. I'm returning to my original format: Three things that I'm grateful for today:

1) Chic-fil-A. I have yet to dedicate an entire blog entry to this admirable establishment, but it's pretty much inevitable. I love Chic-fil-A. It is a great place to take the kids when Anders is out of town and you just need to be out of the house during those difficult dinnertime hours. And so tonight, we did just that. We went to Chic-fil-A, where we:

a) were given free ice cream cones;

b) were given free Chic-fil-A hats;

c) enjoyed a clean, un-smelly indoor playground;

d) were asked by courteous and helpful staff if everything was to our satisfaction;


e) had the option of participating in Craft Night, where they were celebrating National Noodle Month by creating artwork made from dry pasta. Rock on.

2.) My kids. With only a few minor exceptions, the kids were extremely cooperative, cheerful, and obedient today. Getting everyone dressed and ready to take the girls to school was a delightful experience. There were no potty mishaps. Children remembered to use such phrases as, "Help, please!" and "No thank you!" (rather than the usual "MOOOOOOOOM! He's {insert transgression}!" and "STOP IT!" followed by much screaming).

And when it was time to leave Chic-fil-A, instead of the coaxing, pleading, and desperate threatenings that are usually requisite for us to leave, everyone exited the playground immediately, put shoes on right away, and left without a single tear (usually my tears).

3.) Spring weather. This has been the longest, dreariest, most oppressive winter of my life. (Is that a little over-dramatic?) It wasn't just the multiple blizzards, keeping us indoors for days at a time. It was the blizzards, combined with constant colds rotating through the family, plus the usual short, dark days of winter, in addition to a hectic schedule that has been unrelenting, times a million other little factors, that have all added together in a synergistic way to make me absolutely NUTS!!

And so I am so grateful that winter is coming to an end, that we've been enjoying lovely, invigorating weather, that the days are longer and lighter, and that our crazy schedule of events seems to be lightening up, even if it is only in the slightest bit.

And hopefully, with life calming down, I won't wait another 3-4 months before posting again. Maybe I'll even change my background from Christmas to something more seasonal. Maybe.