Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"But my underwear is CLEAN!"

Juju hates pants with an intensity that is unmatched by anyone else on the planet.  She did not take it well when she learned that pants were just a part of life.

Me: Juj, you cannot wear that outside. You need to put pants on.
Juj: But, I don't like wearing pants! You made me wear pants yesterday and the day before. I don't like pants and shorts and skirts. I like wearing no pants. Do I have to wear pants tomorrow?
Me: Yes. You have to wear pants every day.
Juj: Every day!? (Collapses and starts crying) I have to wear pants for my whole life? (Loud sob) This is the worst day, Mom! (More sobbing) I just hate pants.

She really doesn't like them.  Today Juju and Popeye got in an argument.  Pops said, "If you don't knock it off, Santa is going to give you pants for Christmas!"  Juj came unglued.

Here are some of Juju's responses to being told she needs to put on pants.

Juj: But Mom, pants give me a headache!

Juj: If you make me wear pants, I can't have freedom!

Juj: If I eat my vegetables do I still have to wear pants?

Juj: But Prince Hans wore pants!  He was so bad!  And selfish. ...Do you want me to turn selfish?

Juj: Pants will ruin my day!

Juj: Pants ruin my LIFE!

Juj: Pants will take too long to pull up after I go potty!  I'll miss everything!

Juj: But my underwear is CLEAN!  And they are on the right way!

Juj: But Mom, cold never bothered me, anyway!

Juj: But Mom, wearing pants makes me think of putting all of your candy in my pants and if I think about it then I have to do it!  I DON'T WANT MELTED CANDY IN MY PANTS, AGAIN!

Juj: But the library doesn't care if you wear pants!

Juj: Fine!  Then I'm going to have a baby and I will name him Oh, David and I will NEVER make him wear pants for his whole life!

Juj: If I'm good at the store can I take my pants off when we get home?

I still make Juju wear pants.  Honestly, though, I feel like we are kindred spirits.  I have finally found somebody who likes pants as little as I do.  She might even dislike them a little more.  I still think vegetables are worse than pants.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tempers, Cows, and Underwear

Juj and Popeye were in a heated discussion.  Juj lost her temper and threw a toy across the room.

Me: Juj, do you have something you'd like to say?

Juj:(scowling) What?

Me: You need to apologize for losing your temper like that.

Juj: (Exasperated) I didn't lose my temper!  Popeye lost my temper!


Pops did something nice.

Me: Thank you, ya big sweetheart!

Popeye: Thank you, ya big, sweet cow!

I chuckled because I know Pops is fond of cows and she meant this as a very sincere compliment.

Me: (still chuckling) Pops, that is so sweet and it made me feel good, but you probably shouldn't call other people a cow.

Popeye: (Confused) Why not?

Me: It might hurt somebody else's feelings if you call them a cow.

Popeye: (Dumbfounded) I don't see why.  The cow is a perfectly lovely animal.


Pops has been wearing dresses a lot lately.  She got cold yesterday and pulled her dress up to wrap the fabric around her arms.

Me: P, please put your dress down.

Popeye: Why?

Me: People can see your undies.  It is inappropriate.

Popeye: underwear are new.

Me: I know, but it is still inappropriate.

Popeye: (Very skeptical and snotty) So it's inappropriate?  Even if my underwear are new.

Me: Yes.

Then Peyton exhaled loudly as she slowly put her dress back down.  Guys, I swear she rolled her eyes at me.  A year ago the kid thought I was a genius who knew everything about everything.  Now she doesn't even think I am smart enough to know if it is okay to show the world your underwear.  I hear it is only going to get worse.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Year Ago...

Again, this is an old post from last year, right before I had Caroline.  

*~*At my chiropractic appointment*~*

P: (To the doctor) You can make my mom's back go pop pop.  But don't pop the baby out of her belly.

Dr: Okay, I definitely won't do that.

P: Yeah, because it isn't Halloween, yet.  

Dr: Nope.  She still has to wait.

P: Yeah, and when the baby explodes out of her belly it will be so loud.  Like BA-BOOM! (Jumps with hands in the air).  You will have to cover your ears.  

Juj: BA-BOOM (Covers ears)

She actually thinks my stomach is going to explode.  I really thought that we had cleared that up when we had this talk.  So much hard work and it didn't even stick.


In line at the grocery store P was making everybody smile.

P: Mom, you are so beautiful.  

Me: Thank you!  I think you are beautiful, too.

P: And you are nice, and that is really important!

Me: YOU are nice, too!

P: And you are strong and brave.

At this point older women were looking on with big smiles.  Popeye looked at them and continued a conversation with them.

P: My mom is strong and smart and brave and nice.  And she isn't big like a hippo, no.  There is a baby in that belly!

My cheerleader and advocate.  Love that kid.


P: Mom, do you have an arranged marriage?

Me: What?  No!

P: You didn't save anybody from bad guys?

Me:  There were no people to save.

P: Oh.  Did you marry my dad because you had a duty to your heart?

Me: ...Yes.

P: He's a prince.

Me: Mmm hmmm.

P: Do you think my dad is hubba hubba?

Me: Yes.

P: I thought so.  (Sigh) I hope I get to marry somebody who is hubba hubba.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Birth Story

I wrote this a year ago and never published it.  We just celebrated Caroline's first birthday this week so it seems appropriate to share the story.

I like to read birth stories.  Is that weird?  I'm not one to record birth stories of my kids, though.  That being said, this experience was completely different in every way from my two previous deliveries and people keep asking about it so I thought I would share it for the few of you that might be interested.

Making the decision to birth at home
After I had Juj I had toyed with the idea of having a home birth for the next baby.  I never would have considered it for the other two.  With Popeye, I didn't even know people did that.  I knew that some people opted for midwives instead of doctors but I figured they were weirdos or hippies.  I wanted a doctor and a hospital.  I was convinced that that was the only responsible approach.  I felt very educated because I read What to Expect When You're Expecting (I know.  You can role your eyes with me).  With Juj, my outlook changed a lot and I knew I wanted a midwife.  I wanted a different approach and I wanted a provider who embraced the normalcy of birth.  My midwife with Juj did not do home deliveries.  When I asked her (just out of curiosity, not out of real interest) she laughed and basically explained that she only delivered in hospitals because, "What if something happened?"  I was fine with that.  I still wanted the "safety and security" of a hospital.  I would have been good with a birth center, but there wasn't one that was close.  I still pictured birthing at home to be risky and messy.  Like, I thought maybe you would just throw a tarp on your floor and have a baby?  I don't know...As I was in the hospital with Juj, I found that there were a lot of policies and procedures (and the fact that they kept gluing bows to my newborn's head, making her head gross and sticky) that I didn't like and felt were unnecessary.

With this pregnancy, I wanted a home birth but I never thought Chris would go along with it.  When I brought it up to Chris he was surprisingly okay with it.  I think it was partially due to the fact that he thought I'd change my mind, but I'm not sure.  As the pregnancy progressed I grew more sure of my decision to birth at home and Chris grew more and more excited and supportive.  I think he trusted that I had done a lot of research into the subject and didn't take it lightly.

Reactions to my decision
The local hospital here is not known for being excellent so many people commute to a hospital in the neighboring state to have their babies.  Because of this, people out here often asked me, "So where are you going to deliver?"  When I told them that I was going to deliver at home very few were supportive.  Their eyes would get big and they would start to look uncomfortable and they would say something like, "Well, I guess that's one way to do it...." Others would ask if I was crazy or would ask, "But what if something happens?"  And then they would share with me tales of  terribly traumatic and life-threatening birth experiences of people they knew.  Some thought it was just about avoiding medications.  I didn't want to just do it medication free, though.  I wanted to do it intervention free. I wanted to do it hospital policy free.

If you want a laugh, Jim Gaffigan talks about midwives, home birth, and parenting in this clip and it makes me laugh every time.

My parents were both very supportive.  When I told my dad I thought he'd try to talk me out of it.  Instead he said, "Wow!  That's great!  You are doing the right thing!"  Yeah.  I was surprised by that response, too.

The birth
Anyway, the birth.  I had been grumpy, because I was tired of being sore and pregnant and tired of people asking me why I was still pregnant and REALLY tired of people telling me that I was huge and "there is no way there is only one baby in there."  I had been having regular and strong contractions for several hours a day for weeks.  I was exhausted.

Saturday, the contractions seemed to last longer.  By Sunday afternoon they were intense enough that I told Chris, "I think this is it!"  I couldn't really sleep that night but by morning when nothing had happened I became discouraged.  Monday I went for a walk to try to make the contractions worse.  They didn't get worse.  I ate something and took a bath to try to make the contractions stop.  They didn't stop.  Around noon I called the midwife to tell her that I had been having contractions for over 24 hours.  I told her that I wasn't in labor, they were just Braxton Hicks, but was wondering what I could do to make them either get worse or stop because I needed to either have a baby or get some sleep.  The contractions were not painful at all, just distracting and annoying.

My midwife said she would like to come to my house.  I felt silly and insisted it wasn't necessary because it wasn't real labor.  She counter insisted that she just wanted to check the baby to make sure she was handling the contractions well.  So she was at my house by 3:00 with her student midwife.  I had avoided pelvic exams this entire pregnancy but after witnessing a contraction the midwife said she felt uncomfortable leaving my house because she thought it was real labor.  She lived pretty far away and was afraid that if she left and it was labor she wouldn't make it back in time.  She said that if she checked and it wasn't labor, she would leave.  I obliged.  To my surprise I was almost completely dilated and fully effaced.  She suggested I call Chris to get home right away.  We figured we'd have things wrapped up in less than 3 hours.  I mean, we thought I would be pushing before Chris got home.  At that time I was dilated "more than 9 but less than 10."

I called and Chris came home.  They prepared the birthing tub while I was able to lie down on a heating pad in my bed and work on homework (my midwife frowned upon doing homework in labor but I was working on my final semester of grad school and wanted to finish some work).  Still didn't feel like pushing.  My water still had not broken.  The midwife asked if I wanted to deliver with the waters in tact.  She said some people consider it lucky.  I gave that a hard pass.  She broke my water.

The tub.  Man, oh man.  The birthing tub was AWESOME!  I almost didn't feel contractions at all in the tub for a while.  I didn't think I was in labor until I got out of the water and felt the full intensity of the contractions.  I just stayed in the water and waited.  For hours.  Nothing.  We knew the baby was not positioned ideally but hoped that the baby would move with contractions.  Around 9 p.m. I was disgusted that I was still pregnant.  The back labor was awful and the contractions were getting worse.  How was I not needing to push yet?  It had been hours!

The girls were home for everything and still awake at this point.  I tried not to make weird faces during the contractions because I knew the girls were watching.  Popeye rubbed my back and told me how brave and strong I was.  Juju patted me on the head and said, "Everything is just fine.  Don't you worry!"  They both read me books and sang me songs.  They were awesome.  Around 10 they felt ready for bed. Popeye said, "I'm going to bed but you just call me if you need anything."

By 11 p.m. I was crying.  The contractions were relentless and it wasn't fair that I was still in labor.  By 11:40 my midwife said, "Well, looks like you are going to have your 11-12-13 baby, after all!  That's what you said you wanted at our first appointment!"  I was furious and snapped back that I had changed my mind.

I had been getting up and walking around.  I was so sad and the contractions were so bad that I remember telling Chris, "I'm going to die.  Really.  I'm dying, I just know it."  Kudos to him for being supportive and not rolling his eyes and pointing out how dramatic I was being.

A few minutes before midnight the midwife suggested that she turn the baby because the contractions and weird baby spinning techniques just were not doing it.

Her turning the baby was without a doubt the most painful thing I have ever experienced.  Luckily, it was fairly brief and she was successful.  I wanted to move back to the tub but I felt the urge to push right away and knew that I wasn't going anywhere.  I pushed for a short time and the baby was born.  Truthfully, nobody had any idea exactly what time she was born.  We figured out that nobody checked until 12:05 am.  It could have gone either way.  The midwife called it 12:01 am so the baby was born one minute into 11-12-13.

I was so exhausted.  I kept waiting for that natural high to kick in but it didn't.  After holding and nursing my perfect baby for 40ish minutes, I hopped into the shower.  Then I started to feel great and full of energy.  I felt incredible.  I came out of the shower to discover that my bed was made with freshly washed sheets and blankets, my baby was dressed and entertaining her dad, there was a snack ready for me, and all birthing stuff had been put away. 

I was surprised how great I felt the next morning.  This is definitely the easiest recovery I have had (though, it is still a recovery).

So, that's the story!

People keep asking if I would recommend this to others.  Honestly, it isn't for everybody.  If I had this same experience with my other two, I would not have appreciated it for how awesome it was.  I had to be ready for the experience and since I was, it was amazing.  If you have considered home birth or had any interest in it, then I would recommend it.  If you like your hospital experience, home birth  may not be something you'd like.  Worked for me, though, and I would definitely consider doing it this way again.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Conversations between Baby and Big Kids

So, I had a baby two weeks ago (birth story coming soon, for those of you who are interested in that kind of thing).  She is amazing.  I love that the older two girls love her.  Popeye and Juju always want to watch her and talk to her and read to her.  Here are some conversations with the baby that I have overheard:

Baby: (crying)
Juju: Aww...I like your smile!   You love me so much!


Popeye: Hey, what does the fox say?

Baby: ......

Popeye: (louder) What does the fox say?


Popeye: What does a cow say?


Popeye: What does anything say?


Popeye: (leaning in close to the baby) Why do you pretend to not talk?  Baby Winnie can talk.  (Long pause)  I think you're a spy.  But you're so adorable, too.  (Kisses Baby's head)


We took the kids to a health fair several weeks ago and P picked up a 16 page booklet about strokes.  For a while it was her favorite thing to read and she was really fascinated by the pictures of the brain.
 Recently, she decided to read this awesome piece of literature to the baby.

Popeye: Look, Baby Caroline.  This is a picture of your brain.  These are your brain tubes and blood.  If your brain tubes get clogged you will have a stroke and die.  This happens because when you don't eat vegetables and salad.   Umm........Baby Caroline, you only eat milk....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lies I've Told My Kids

I know it's wrong but I lie to my kids.  I know better.  My mother taught me better.  Growing up, my mother would always tell us that nothing bothered her more than lying.  We could do something really rotten and the punishment was always surprisingly less severe if we just came clean.  Sometimes we wouldn't even get in trouble because my mom appreciated that we told the truth.  But wo, wo, wo unto those who did not tell the truth and got caught.  Major trouble.  What's worse, we had to live with knowing that our mom was "disappointed" in us and couldn't trust us anymore.  Yowza.  That stung worse than any punishment she could dole out.

Still, I lie to my kids.  A lot.  I didn't realize how much until recently.  What makes it bad is that the belief in my lies kind of makes my kids weirdos.  I lie anyway.  I like to think I do it for their own good but I'm still not sure that my mom approves.  Here are some examples.

Lie #1
There are crocodiles that live in the canal and they will eat you if you get too close to the water.

Justification: We lived dangerously close to a canal and my kids are master escape artists.  I swear to you, I heard my neighbor screaming and ran to the front door to find that 3-year-old Popeye was hanging out a 2-story window, reaching for the landing because she had tried to escape.  Canals are too tempting for my kids and I was terrified that if I took my eyes off of one of them for 10 seconds they would end up in the canal.  That is when I hatched the plan.  It was remarkably effective.  You wouldn't believe it.  They wouldn't step foot outside without an adult and they were afraid to drive along the road that follows the canal.  I didn't want them to live in fear, but better fearful than overly brave when it comes to the canal. After a few months, though, my kids did get more daring.  They would go to the end of the driveway and throw things at the canal.  They would lean over guard rails by the canal when we went on walks.  They didn't believe there were really crocodiles in there.  Well, this wouldn't do.  So I had no choice.  I did what any loving, caring mother would do.  I devised a plan to scare the crap out of keep them safe.

I had to run an errand one evening.  I had my brother-in-law hide behind a car with his computer. As the girls were getting ready to wander too far, my brother-in-law played weird reptilian monster growling noises on his computer.  The girls freaked out, believing it to be the vicious sound of a crocodile, ready to attack.  They nearly climbed over each other to retreat to the safety of the van.  The girls never questioned the existence of the crocs again and they never got anywhere close to the canal/road again.

Am I ashamed? A little. No.  I did what had to be done.

Lie #2
"Of course, Santa is real!"

Lie # 2.5
"I talk to Santa and if you guys don't get along I'll just tell him you only want broccoli for Christmas."

Justification:  There are probably better parenting techniques but this was seems so efficient.  I mean, it works instantly.

Lie #3
"If you sneak out of your bed at night and get into the fridge and eat the food, all of your hair will fall out."

Justification:  No justification for this one, really.  I don't even know how I came up with this.  It just sort of spilled out one morning after I went in their room to discover bags of half eaten pepperoni and blocks of cheese and half empty cups of yogurt after their late night food fest.  This lie, too, has been an effective lie.

Lie #4
"If you watch more than one movie a day your brain will melt.  I can look in your eyeballs and tell if your brain is starting to melt."

Justification:  Pops and Juj wanted to watch movies all of the time.  If I had to argue about it one more time I was going to go insane.  It worked, too.  Popeye will tattle on babysitters who "make" her watch more than one movie.  She has me check her eyes, "just in case" after she watches a movie.  She accepts limited television time, knowing it is for her own good.  It makes her a little weird, but it also makes her more willing to do something besides watch TV.

Lie #5 
"'Never' is a bad word."

Justification: Juj kept saying snotty things and following it up with, "NEVER!" (Examples: "I never want to play with you! NEVER!" and, "I won't eat my lettuce!  NEVER!") I was just so tired of hearing it!  It sounded awful.  Now my kids think it is a bad word.  They don't say it and they are appalled when they hear others say it.

Other Lies

I pretend that my kids' muscles are noticeably larger immediately after they swallow their vegetables.

I told my kids there are secret guards in the grocery store parking lot that watch out for little kids who stray too far from their parents.  They catch these kids and draw mustaches on their faces with ugly markers.  (Really, I don't know how I come up with some of these.  I start a lie and it gets huge and ridiculous before I can stop it.  It's terrible.)

Popeye and Juj believe that there are monkeys in the trees.  All trees.  Including the trees in our neighborhood.  While I didn't technically lie to them about it (Papi did), I don't discourage the belief.  Monkey hunting on walks is fun.  I don't want to ruin that.

Go ahead, guys.  Judge me.  I deserve it.  But if you do judge me, your eyes will fall out and your fingers will turn into spaghetti.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I'm trying to catch up on stories.

Me: Popeye, your hair is so beautiful!

P: Thanks.  I brush it almost every day.


Recently, my brother an his wife welcomed their first baby into the world.  We went to the store to pick out an outfit for the new little one.

P: This one!  It has an animal on the butt!  We need this one!

Me: But it says "Grandma loves me."  We're not the baby's grandma.

P: But, Mom!  We need it!

Me: It says, "Grandma loves me" on the shirt, though.

P: I know!  Gramma loves EVERYBODY!


P: Did you marry Dad once or twice?

Me: Just once.

P: But don't you love him enough to marry him twice?

Me: I don't need to marry him twice. We're already married.

P: But I didn't get to see it! And you love him and want to kiss him! And you need to wear your pretty dress! So I can see!


P's prayer last night:

P: Heavenly Father, we're thankful that we were so good today and choosing the right.  Please help Baby Caroline to pop out of Mom's belly.  Umm....maybe Jesus can help us with that.  Please help us to stay in our beds all night.  In the name of Jesus Christ. AMEN!


 P: But I don't WANT a new sister! I want to keep my Juju Bee!

Five minutes later....

P: Can we call the new baby "Other Juju?"


Chris was gone overnight for a scout camp.  Peyton insisted on calling him just before 11 p.m.  I tried to just get her to go to bed but she was adamant that she needed to speak with him.  I called her dad and handed her the phone.  What was so urgent?  She felt she needed to talk to her dad right then about....arranged marriage. 


P: Juj, can you go to the bathroom with me?  I'm scared to go by myself.

Me: P, there isn't anything scary in your bathroom.

P: Yes, Mom!  Remember?  There is water vapor in there!  Don't you think it is gross and weird and disgusting?

(A few minutes later)

P: Are you going to be something scary for Halloween?

Me: Probably not.

P: Are you going to be a big, fat, scary water vapor?


More of P's fears...

P: Juj, I have to go potty really bad but I'm too afraid! Things I'm afraid of are spiders, dolphins, sharks, pencils, and the weirdest man in the world. Will you please go with me and turn on the bathroom light?

Juj: (Confused by why Peyton can't just do this herself) Sure, Popeye.

This is why everybody needs a sister.


P: Mom, can I have dote dote dote ice cream?

Me: What is that?  I don't think I've ever even heard of that.

P: It's ice cream and when you eat it is makes you go "AHHHHH! A doh doh doh!" And then you think you have a pet alligator*.

Me:  .....You know, I think I have heard of that.  I'm pretty sure it is against the law, though.

P: Oh man.  Okay.

*She may have said giraffe but it was a while ago and now I can't remember.  This is what you get for not writing things down as they happen.


You know the "What Does the Fox Say?" song?  I played it for Juj and she loved it.  Popeye had different feelings.  She was confused and really bothered by it. 

P: Umm...Mom, I don't think a fox says that.  No.  And elephants don't say "toot." No.  They say (Insert surprisingly accurate elephant noise).  We can't listen to this song because it doesn't choose the right.


P: Mom, you are so smart and strong and beautiful and lovely and teamwork.  

Me: Thanks!

P: Sure!  May I have some candy?


I got out construction paper and scrapbook paper and cut out feather shapes and shapes of turkey bodies and explained to the girls that we were making turkeys and writing what we were thankful for on the feathers. These were their responses:

Peyton: Umm...can I just make a regular chicken? Because I don't think I like thankful turkeys.

Loralie: Can I just play with scissors?

What Popeye meant to say last night: Trick or treat!

What Popeye kept saying instead: Hi. Can I have some candy for my sister? She's back there. Her hands are absolutely full. Do you have a dog? My name's Peyton!


Our van broke down right after Chris picked up our car from the shop (so grateful the van waited to die until we had the car). We went to the store to get a part to fix the car and I knew that we wouldn't get home for a while and we'd have a late dinner. This is the conversation we had in the car on the way to the store:

Me: Sheesh. We'll be getting home late. What do you guys want for dinner?

Chris: Eh, I don't care. We could probably just eat cereal.

Peyton: No!

Me: How about a PB&J sandwich?

Peyton: No. I had that yesterday for lunch.

Me: Ha! This coming from the kid who thinks it is okay to eat pizza for lunch and dinner everyday.

Peyton: Mmm...we should buy more pizza.

Juj:....we should buy more ice cream....


We recently had the Primary presentation at church. It is where the children have little lines and sing songs in front of the congregation. I was really excited because we worked hard to organize it and it was P's very first program.

It was also probably her last program. Ever. She sat in the front row and played dead for most of the program. Other kids would get up when it was time to sing another song. P would just slump down and pretend to be even more dead. She did get up once and say, "Guys, I need to go to the bathroom or it's going to go 1-2 down my leg." Then she played dead again. When questioned about it afterward she said she was just too nervous to not be dead.


Me: You have to clean your room, kid.

P: (Looks in room and makes a face) Umm..can you handle that? I have to help my dad watch football.

No parent enjoys reading the same book over and over again to their children. We do it, though, because we appreciate their passion for literature, no matter how it comes...

At least, I used to feel that way. It is excruciating to support that passion when your kids' favorite thing to read is an 18 page booklet they got at the health fair called, "Explaining Stroke." Can't they just like "Goodnight, Moon" like normal kids?