Friday, February 26

Ohhhhh boy.

So. A lot of things we've never thought about have come up since we found out yesterday there's a boy on the way. And some stuff that we have thought about, but not really dared to ruminate on too long.

I found a dirt-cheap/high-quality little boy outfit in Italy and bought it in perfect confidence that someday soon I'd be putting it into good use. Not an inkling did I have that it would hang unworn amidst a closet full of fancy dresses for the next ten years! That will be fun to dust off.

Until we found out Mr. Boy is on the way, I'd never thought about participating in Boy Scouts. (Actually, I'd never thought about Girl Scouts!) Zach is playing guitar for a scout meeting tonight. Scouts. Huh.

We're having an ongoing circumcision/no circumcision discussion.

I'm glad that, just in case the next was a boy, we bought one of the twins' crib sets in green. And I'm glad that onesies are gender neutral.

I'm going to have to completely reconsider my modesty-in-the-home policies.

We've never really taken our boy name options seriously. We've been completely convinced about three different boy names during the last pregnancies, and later asked ourselves what the heck we were thinking. I really don't like boy names! Neither Zach nor I even like "Zachary" that much! Trouble. The name-himself option might actually be on the table. ;)

I'm going to be a son's mom, and Zach will be a son's dad. I've not even figured out the daughter's mom part yet.

What if this boy has straight hair? I'm okay cutting Zach's curly hair, my mistakes get covered up and grow out in a day or two. I can trim Anya's and Bree's straight long hair without too many obvious problems. But little-boy straight hair? We might become Cookie Cutter customers if I don't get a lot better at hair cutting.

These are just things that have come to mind in the last day. I'm sure we'll be plenty surprised by what we didn't think of once the kid is here.

Thursday, February 25

Saturday, February 20

Tick. Tock.

I don't think I've ever been so anxious to find out the gender of a baby. I'm not sure if it's because I already have three girls running around, because I'm kind of bored with this snow and would like to get busy preparing, because my back is acting up more than the other pregnancies and knowing who's coming might make the wait feel a little more worth the pain?

The ultrasound is scheduled for Thursday. We're bringing Mia along- who seems just as excited as I am to find out what is in there exactly. Maybe her excitement is just rubbing off on me.

The other day she was trying to come up with names. When all she could think of were names of her siblings and friends, she said "maybe you'd better name it, mom."

Choosing a name, on the other hand, is something I'm not looking forward to at all. We spend so much time on it- and always realize that whether or not we like a name can vary depending on the day. Zach was completely against "Anya" when I first mentioned it. The next time I brought it up, he was all over it. And then, a few months after they were born, he kept wondering to me if we named them wrong- if Bree should really be Anya and vice-versa.

Sometimes I catch myself looking at them and wondering "Are you really a Mia? Did I choose right? How on earth was I supposed to know what you'd be like from day one?"

Maybe we'll be those weird parents who let their kid choose their own name when they're five. Just call it "baby" until it decides it wants to be called "Peek-a-boo." We'll just change the spelling so it seems more like a real name.

Monday, February 15

Food Block

I have forgotten everything I've ever learned how to cook. There wasn't that much to begin with.
But I find it kind of disturbing that I know how long a plate of any number of chicken nuggets (CN) needs to be zapped, I can whip out four peanut butter (PB) sandwiches faster than it took me to write this paragraph, but when dinner time comes- my brain is full of CN and PB.

I am very uninspired to cook a full-on dinner. Zach may or may not be home to eat it, Mia is just as iffy, and the only variable about the twins is how loud they howl when I set something in front of them that isn't CN or PB.

I can't complain, though. They will eat from each of the four food groups. Anya is just basically down to non-syrupy fruit, mac and cheese, PB&J, plain rice, pureed mixed vegetables (pureed?!!! what is she, nuts?) some cereals, and pancakes. And I realize what a miracle it is that I was able to drive in a blizzard today and pick up fresh strawberries per request of the four-year-old. This isn't about desperation. It's about inspiration- or uh- the lack of it. ;D

I'm just realizing that this is the not-fun-to-cook phase in our family. What did you do when you were going through it? What are you doing if you're in it, too? Is it possible to be inspired to cook a healthy meal for yourself? Or is everyone just having CN and PB for dinner tonight?

Friday, February 12

Valentine exchange

This morning we went to the Valentine party for our homeschooling group. About 47 kids were expected, and a good 35 or so showed with decorated boxes in tow. This group meets every Monday for an activity of some sort- usually the mom hosting just ends up bringing lots of sugar and all the kids run around like crazy people. We have had a couple of well-planned activities, though- so we keep going, hoping it will be a good one.

Today was another running screaming sugar-fest, but Mia had a fun time matching names on Valentines to the names on creatively decorated boxes. I recognized the monster boxes featured in Disney's Family Fun magazine- they turned out cute! Mia's was a cereal box wrapped in Christmas gift-wrap with the gift wrap cardboard center stuck through it like a mail box post. That was enough creativity for me- we just bought Valentines for the twins that included boxes. I'm wondering if this isn't kind of a micro-example of my future parenting...
It was a fun time over-all. Despite the chaos and inconsistency of our homeschooling group, lately I’m more assured than ever that my decision to have Mia do Kindergarten at home was the right one. I found K12's reading placement test online and had Mia take it a couple of days ago. She thought the first grade test was a fun game, and aced it. She slowed down on the second grade test because she didn't know the meaning of some of the words she was reading. If I told her what a word meant, she could answer correctly. She's nowhere near that advanced on her handwriting, and in math she's probably barely first grade level. What would a public Kindergarten do with her? I'm just glad we're living in a free country and I don't have to find out the answer to that. I really have no idea whether or not we'll keep going after Kindergarten.

Monday, February 8

Cross your fingers!

When I was Mia's age I bit my nails compulsively. They were always little nubbins, and on occasion- little bleeding nubbins. Once I even started biting a nail from the nail bed up (don't ask me how- I didn't even know then.)

My grandma tried guilt trips. She ran a beauty salon in her basement, and would give Lara and I manicures. I still remember her "Tsk tsk!" and telling me that if I didn't bite my nails they wouldn't look so bad. Did that tactic ever work on anyone for anything? Maybe in her generation kids weren't as shameless as I was- but I didn't care one bite. I mean bit. My mom tried yicky tasting nail polish, rewards, and finally ignoring. Then when I was about 12 or so, she started learning how to do acrylic nails, and practiced on me. I didn't bite them, and it kicked my nail-biting habit for good. (I switched to cuticles.)

So now, my little four-year-old is entering her second year of nail biting. Luckily, she only bites them when they get too long, and hasn't started biting as a stress reliever. She leaves them alone once they get short enough, and hasn't bled yet. But I've been worried it would get worse.

About six months ago I painted my nails. She wanted so desperately to have her nails painted, too. I examined each finger carefully. "Hmm. Nope. Nope...nope," and told her there weren't any nails to paint. I said the second she had some white on top of her nails we could paint them. She didn't know when that would happen. I explained it would as soon as she stopped biting them off. She cheerily said "Oh! I'll just stop biting them then!" Every time I went to clip the twins nails, she would look at her own, mystified. "I bit my nails. Maybe next time I won't." I tried to sound as encouraging as possible, "Yeah! Maybe next week for church or something!"

I could tell she was getting more and more disappointed about never having nail polish, especially when she would wistfully compliment her little preschool friends' beautiful pink fingernails.

A few days ago, I noticed a teeeeeeeeny sliver of white on her ring finger. "Mia! Look! You didn't bite this nail! We can paint it!"
"Really?!! I get nail polish?!!!"
She was so pleased with her one painted nail that I felt awful and painted the one next to it.

Today, I noticed that she hadn't bit either one since!

So, during the twins' nap today (they get naps when they're sick- yaaaay!) we tried an experiment.

They're not acrylic, but I'm hoping the appearance will have the same affect. We'll know in a week or so!

Friday, February 5

Less Mom is More

So what do you do when you and the kids have a trip to the library, a playdate at a friend's, and a quick trip to Giant Eagle planned all in one day?

You stay home and take no less than six baths and four naps!

Lots of snow + me pregnant= get nothing done.

Oh, who am I kidding. Me pregnant = get nothing done.

But I'm starting to think maybe that isn't such an awful thing! At least in some cases.

Every morning, the first thing I do is round up the three girls who just woke me up and plunk them in the tub. For some reason, there is always one bath toy prized above all others, and curiously, it is never the same toy the next day. I try to wash my entire face before the first argument breaks out and then sit on the toilet next to them to referee. At least two kids are always wailing, and from start to finish, bathtime is usually not as fun as it used to be.

Today, I had a chance to see what bathtime would be like without the ref. We forgot to drain the bathwater. After breakfast Mia went back upstairs and said she wanted to take another bath. The water was still warmish, so I added some hot water and in she went. The twins decided to get in, too. I was in the middle of nothing a project, and so I left them in there to play alone.

Not a whine.

Mia got out on her own, and then the twins continued to play quietly for a good half hour before I got them out for lunch.

They don't need me in there. Refereeing is one thing on my "to-do" list I think I will permanently cross off.

By the way- I wasn't exaggerating about the six baths. I noticed the water was still warm and hopped in while a couple of them were napping. Then Mia got in with me and stayed after so it didn't get drained again. I had added even more hot water before I left her in there, and so this evening while I was downstairs getting nothing done busily being pregnant, they snuck upstairs, announced they were climbing into a super-full, still warmish bath, and played happily for almost an hour before I got them out for bed. No, that's not gray Jell-O they're sitting in... it's sixth-bath water. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to skip the soap and just use the film left on them from tonight.