Sunday, April 13, 2014

It Is Morning

It is 3:30 am in a dark house. A fan blows. A distant window chime is heard from the sliding door that is opened a crack. A baby whimpers and then starts crying.

A weary mother rises mechanically and plucks the child from his bed. His feathery hair smells like a bath and is sticking straight up on his head. He makes eye contact with his mom through the grey shapes of the house, and he smiles. He squeals happily. The mother smiles back and sighs. She slips down the hall into the living room and sits on the couch with the baby, who bounces on her lap. He wants to play. She tickles him and he giggles.

She hears a soft pad, pad, padding of a sleepy boy's feet as he slowly enters the room-- a silhouette against the living room window.

"Mommy," he croaks.

"What, Calvin? Why are you awake? It's not morning yet."

"My bed woke me up."

"How did it do that?"

"I don't know, it just did. Just all of a sudden. It keeps happening," he explains. "Also my turtle light keeps waking me up."

"Well why did you turn your turtle light on?"

"I don't know. I guess it was too dark."

The little boy snuggles on the couch with his mom and baby brother for a few minutes until she gets up to go nurse the baby.

"I'm going back into my room to nurse Teddy now, Calvin. You need go back to bed too," she says calmly, as she rises and walks down the hall.

A quick intake of breath is followed by two other quick intakes.

"But, but, my bed is waking me up and the light is too bright," the young boy sputters. "Is it morning yet?"

"No, it's not. Turn off your turtle, Cal," she patiently explains again, "and it will be darker."

"But it's too dark when it's off and I can't sleep and my bed wakes me up." The whimpering gets louder.

"I have an idea," the mom says. "Keep the turtle light off and open the door to your room so it will be a little lighter but not too light."


"Ok," he whines painfully, into the night air of the house.

The little boy shuffles into his room and the mom goes to her room and sits down on the glider, having solved the problem. She closes her eyes, breathes a big, long sigh, and begins nursing. Sleep is close.

Shuffle, shuffle, pause. Shuffle, shuffle, pause. Boy feet on carpet.

The mom lifts her eyes to see her other boy in her face.

"Mmmmoooommmyyy?" Sputter, sputter. Whine. "Did you really say we have to sleep with the door all the way open?"

"No. No I did not say that, Clark." Frustration is setting in. Really? 4:00 am and all three boys are awake and two are arguing? The mom rolls her eyes in the dark room. Massages the back of her neck with her unoccupied hand. "If you want you can sleep with it open, but you don't have to."

Sniffle, sniffle. "Okay, Mommy," he quickly leaves, eager to tell his brother he was wrong.

The mom sighs again, stretches her legs all the way to her toes, and nuzzles Baby Teddy's warm little head.

Shuffle, shuffle, pause. The mom lifts her head and sees two swaying heads in the hallway on the other side of the crib. They appear to be deciding if bothering her again is worth it. She pretends to be asleep. They move away from the hall door. Then she hears their little breaths, their tiny whispers, as they look at her from out of the bathroom door this time. Still, she feigns sleep and hopes for the best. Their sounds disappear from the bathroom door and she thinks she has won.

The swaying, bobbing heads again silently appear on the other side of the crib. One boy enters the room. Immediately his is there, in her eyes.

Sniffle, sniffle. Louder this time. His heart is broken.

"Mommmmmm?" he moans.

"What, Cal?"

"Did you really say to Clark that we have to sleep with the door all the way closed? Not even open a crack?" he holds his hands out, palms up, and slouches his shoulders to show his utter despair over the door's possible position. "When will it be morning?"

She wryly smiles to herself at the ridiculousness of the whole situation. Kisses Teddy on the head and lays him in his crib. She stretches to the tops of her fingertips.

"No, Cal. I said sleep with the door opened. Or closed, or partway open or partway closed. And no, it is not morning." She gains volume as she walks closer to their bedroom door. Becomes more and more irritated. She grabs the doorknob and illustrates her points, swinging the door open and closed in various stages-- various options of openness that they have. Maybe she does it a little wildly, a little desperately.

"Ok," they murmur, obediently filing into their bedroom, perhaps regretting their decision to rouse their mother again, but happy to know that they are not being forced to do something as abusive as sleep with their door a way contrary to the way they think it should be.

"I don't care how you do it, just go back to sleep," she loudly whispers.

Back in her room, she slips between her cool sheets and snuggles onto her pillow. Deep breath. Closes eyes. Peace.

Suddenly she opens her eyes with a jolt. Clark is standing there. It is light-- 6:30am.

"Mom, just so you know, Dad gave us milk to drink while he takes a shower," Clark explains, as if this makes any sense, as if the sleeping mother needs to know this nugget of information so badly that she needs to be wakened. She is speechless.

"Okay, bye Mom!" Clark is gone, yelling something about Spiderman's webs to Calvin.

The grumpy mother pulls the covers back to her chin.

The baby whimpers and moves in his crib. He squeals. Sunlight pokes her in her eyes through the slanted window blinds. Feet run up and down the hall.

It is morning.


Bonus Teddy picture



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Can I See Your Sock Marks?

Cal and Clark are changing, but still refreshingly weird. They both have their interests and little obsessions. Their personalities are becoming more and more their own. Clark is the rule-follower; Cal is the mischievous one. Clark listens to instructions, but while instructions are being given, Calvin is climbing a fence or skating slowly in a circle or talking to a girl. Occasionally something will get through to him and he'll obey. But they both have endless imagination.

Dressing up is something they still love-- especially Clark. He went to the playground as The Incredible Hulk the other day and yesterday did his reading lesson through the eye holes on his Spiderman costume. Not too long ago he dressed up as a breakfast sandwich before he would eat his breakfast sandwich for breakfast. This morning he floor-squirmed out of his room dressed as a mermaid: a mermaid who plays baseball. He was flapping his one cleat around on his pajama-leg fin and tossing his golden hair (yellow shirt) over his shoulder. He wouldn't cooperate for me take a picture though, because he couldn't find anything acceptable for his clam shell bikini and I think he was a little embarrassed. The mermaid fascination is thanks to a Peter Pan beginning reading book we found at the library. Seriously. Those boys love the mermaid page. Which is weird yet predictable and inspires questions that are uncomfortable for me to answer.

Calvin seems to be developing his own special sophistication. Last night he told Gammy he preferred his juice with Pellegrino water. A few nights ago he asked if I cared to join him for a drink on the balcony. He said he'd drink out of his Superman canteen and I could have "wine or something," and that he'd get me a chair. What a guy. I don't use Pinterest often, but I've been using it while planning their birthday party. Now if he sees a picture on the internet that he likes, he says, "Pin it, Mom," with a very serious, all-business face. He was telling me about Twitter today. He still turns many things into space shuttles, rockets, lunar modules, etc. The other day, much to my surprise, he put toy astronauts into my water canteen for their return to Earth-- and it was a safe return.

But the weirdest thing of all lately, is Cal's marks obsession.

Over the past few months he has become obsessed with anything that leaves a mark on something else. Let me explain: if you move a piece of furniture that has left an indentation on the carpet, he wants to feel it and talk about it. He likes to move the hair rubber band that I keep around my wrist and feel and look at the mark that it has made on my skin. He likes to push things into his skin and see what happens. This began with his own fingernails and has broadened to include pencils and lids, among other things. He pushes hard too, and sometimes the marks on his own arm do not go away quickly. This troubles me a little.

His main marks obsession though is sock marks. After hockey and tee-ball all he wants to do is look at the marks the socks have made on his legs, and on Clark's legs. Each sock leaves a different mark and the way that the sock is worn also makes a difference. He mumbles about their differences and why they look different or the same and if one leg's marks is different that the other leg's marks. He delightedly proclaimed he had found Teddy's first sock marks! a few weeks ago. It seems that sock marks are often at the forefront of his mind. It's what he wants to check on when he has a spare moment. He wants to see if Brian or I have them, if Clark has them, etc. When he asks Clark to see his sock marks these days, Clark yells that he won't show him and that he hates showing Cal his sock marks and he runs away. Understandable. Honestly though, I don't mind letting him look at my sock marks because it astounds me how interested he is in them. Also it means I can sit down for a minute.

Hopefully the marks obsession will get toned down a bit before long, but I hope the imaginations never slow down or grow old.

The only picture I could get of my little mermaid

Cal checking Brian's sock marks...
and Clark's sock marks... 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Other Half of Idaho

I've been blog slacking.

About a month ago I wrote about our Idaho surprise and posted some pictures from our first few days there, but thought I'd add some other pictures from the rest of our visit. It was so nice to have that time with my parents, sister, and grandparents. It was also nice for Teddy to have all that time with his grandparents and aunt; it meant that I had so much more brain space than normal. Didn't have to think about the everyday responsibilities that come with keeping three small, moving children alive and well.

I did some reading. I cooked for fun. (what?) I watched Pride and Prejudice with my mom and sister while we wore irrelevant skirts and drank tea. I worked out to an exercise video (yes, a VHS) that we used to work out to when I was like 12 years old, just for kicks. I did a lot of sitting and laughing around a roaring fire by my parents' wood stove. Just relaxing. Stretching. Foot-rubbing. Cat-petting. Striking pensive poses. I even tried to cross country ski for the first time in something like seven years. The result was beautiful scenery and great exercise but did not end well. (See how it ended.)

On the other side of the country my husband and our amazing friends took wonderful care of Cal and Clark. I was wondering how the boys would do in my absence. I missed them-- I'd never been away from them for so long. When they picked me up from the airport they were decidedly indifferent to the fact that I was now with them. Then there was an adjustment phase where I was reintroduced to life with three children by myself all day. They seemed a little put out that we did normal stuff like clean their room and eat sandwiches after having gone to a movie, made mini pizzas, gone duckpin bowling, skating, ate a lot of pizza, ice cream, cheesecake, played a lot of Wii, watched movies, in general were treated like little princes. I think we are now adjusted back to reality.

Here are some pictures from the rest of our Operation Ted Sneak Idaho trip:

Four generations!
Great Grandma eats some little feet.
Walking on Papa

Heading uphill on cross country skis

Teddy had lots of hands eager to feed him.

The scene from my parent's dining room one morning-- that's the frozen
lake out there


Super adorable pygmy owl that hung out for hours one day

Pride and Prejudice watching

Pinkies up!
This was my handmade and hand-painted chair when I was little.

Afternoon snuggles with Aunt Bean

The rocket ship birdhouse Cal and Clark painted for Papa last year

Grandma loves Teddy

and so does Aunt Bean!

Meeting Winnie the horse-- not so sure about her

Meeting Great Aunt Gwen and
Something-or-other once removed Anna, visiting from Ecuador

Little grocery shopping with Grandma

Rocking with Great Grandpa Joe

Making Great Grandma laugh

Teddy found his best friend. Turns out he likes to hang
out in the locker room of Grandma and Papa's gym.

First swimming pool experience was a smashing success!
Soaking up the fire

Me attempting to cross country's been awhile

Out on a walk with Papa

Teddy's friend is also in the Denver airport
after a poop-splosion!

Watching the planes in Denver on the way home

Teddy is now an experienced traveler.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thursday Thesicle

You can take the girl out of Idaho. 
You can't take Idaho out of the girl. 
But apparently you CAN take cross country skiing skills out of the girl. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Operation Ted-Sneak: A Midnight Idaho Surprise

I kept a secret for about two and a half weeks. It was hard. I'd make a terrible spy.

The first part of February I accidentally found a super-cheap flight to Idaho-- an unheard-of rate that only lasted two weeks and then the price sky-rocketed to its normal rate again in March. My grandmother has been in and out of the hospital lately and my mom has been busily taking care of her and my grandfather and it felt like they could all really use a little Teddy time. Plus, my grandparents had never met Teddy-- their fifth great-grandson. I made a few calls to see if friends and family could help out by watching Cal and Clark while I was gone, and Brian looked into taking some days off, then we bought the ticket! Did I mention that we have amazing friends and family who will watch twin boys at the drop of a hat?

I didn't tell anyone in Idaho except my sister, who coined the trip Operation Ted-Sneak, and we thought up ways for Teddy and me to make our grand entrance.

We had some elaborate plans, but what complicated things the most is that our flight arrived in Spokane at midnight West Coast time. It was then another 45 minutes to my parents' house and of course they would be asleep, and, being light sleepers, would probably notice an infant who doesn't understand covert operation silence. Teddy is smart, but not that smart. Not yet.

So instead of hiding us in my grandparents' basement overnight, we decided to try to sneak into my parents' house anyway, spend the night in my sister's room, and surprise them in the morning. Well, the dog scampered in the front door with us, causing more noise than we had bargained for, and Teddy didn't cry, but he kept loudly cooing and talking-- wide awake for some reason. We figured they had heard us and that we wanted to control the surprise to make sure we got it on video, so we sneaked into their room and put Teddy on top of them in their bed at 1am.

Mom was so incredibly startled and sat up so quickly, that Crys accidentally hit the power button and stopped the video camera running at the part where Mom started screaming, "WHAT??!!" We did capture the very beginning of it and some footage from directly after the surprise attack. Nevertheless, Operation Ted-Sneak went off without my parents having any clue that we were coming, which was our goal.

So, on Tuesday Teddy had his first flight, as we flew across the country for the surprise. He was an amazing traveler. I don't know how I got such a perfect baby. It helped that we had the entire row of seats to ourselves both flights.

Now for the past few days Teddy and I have been laying low in Idaho. Enjoying sleeping and watching snow and the mesmerizing fire in the wood stove. Teddy has been petting/attacking the cat and dog and surrounded by cooing grandparents and great-grandparents. Operation Ted-Sneak Success.

Teddy, taking his first flight delay like a champ

First leg-- had the whole row to ourselves!
In-flight literature

Specially handled all the way to Denver

Wide awake and smiley in the Denver airport, where I thought
he'd sleep for the whole layover. Ha. He wanted to see it all.

The flight attendant on the second flight arranged for us to have a
whole row to ourselves too! 

Sleeping soundly when we arrived in Spokane at 3am our time,
midnight local time
Total travel time, VA to ID: 11 hours

Plopped in the middle of Grandma's toys

Did a little grocery shopping with Grandma

Great Grandma, Great Grandpa, meet Theodore John!

I think he likes them.

Teething time

Playing with /slapping Roxy Dog

Breakfast with Papa

Feline introduction

Reading with Aunt Bean

Everybody look at me!

Hey Teddy, the dog is behind you.

TEDDY ATTACK! Eat the dog!

Silly Teddy, dogs aren't for eating

They're for petting

Waking up with Grandma and Papa for the third day!

Eating Grandma's measuring cups
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