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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Things Kids Say

My three-year-old daughter is convinced that she arrived in the world after being in her Papu's tummy (my dad). She is adamant that this is the way she came into the world. This makes Ella's brothers COMPLETELY dissolve into giggles. No, we all explain as we chuckle around the dinner table, you were never in Papu's tummy. You were in Mommy's tummy. But Ella declares we are gravely mistaken, and that she WAS in fact in her grandfather's tummy. 

Ella has taken to threatening me lately when she is very upset with me. Here's what she says: "Mama! If you don't ____, I'm NEVER going to wear SHOES AGAIN!"

I guess she told me.

This morning she yelled from downstairs that she needed me to come from upstairs where I was trying to fold laundry. I asked what she needed because I was busy. She just kept yelling "Mama! You better come! I need you! You better come before you run out of TIME!" in a sing-songy voice. I came downstairs to see her and the puppy wrestling over one of the boys' shirts. Pretty funny.

Aidan has a before-bedtime ritual that he very rarely changes. It involves snacks and snuggling. After dinner, Aidan says he needs either ice cream (with caramel and chocolate sauces), and/or cereal. Sometimes both, sometimes just ice cream. After he eats his snack, he asks sweetly if he can snuggle with Mommy or Daddy. Then he heads for the couch. He curls up, often with his head covered by a blankie, and if Daddy or I don't make it there within approximately 32 seconds, Aidan is off to Sleepy Land. Then we carry his warm, snoozing body up to his bed. Now that he shares a room with Ella, he does sometimes come to their room while I do bedtime books with Ella. He'll snuggle in his bed and listen to me read. Then he'll fall asleep in his cozy bed. But usually it's ice cream, couch, fall asleep.

Last night I heard Ella's demands yelled down the hallway at 3 a.m. for "MOMMY!" I went to her room and climbed in her bed with her. I fell asleep and woke up to her sweet, toddlery, fantastical chatter to herself at 6 a.m. She turned to me and said "I really love you. Now it's just us two girls in the room! Because Aidan already woke up and went downstairs." Just the way she said it was so sweet. Some things my kids say I want to remember forever. 

The other day, Alex, Ben and Jonah were out together doing some Boy Stuff. Ben accidentally called Alex "Mom," followed by "Oh, sorry. I have gender issues." So funny.

Jonah YouTubes and Googles all sorts of random things all the time. His latest interest is "Anti Jokes." Jokes that aren't really jokes. This is my favorite, delivered by Jonah with a deadpan face and dry wit: "Roses are red, violets are blue. I have Alzheimer's, cheese on toast." I just laughed so hard. He cracks me up, the way he says that joke. 

I love kids. I love the way they think, the things they say, the way they see the world. Especially at certain ages, when they think they have everything figured out and want to share all their knowledge with you. Ella will sometimes say "Can we just start the day over?" That means she wants to be little again. She wants to start over. She wants a do-over. Just the fact that my preschooler thinks this thought makes me chuckle. I hope I never forget all the funny, incredible things my kids say. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Waiting Room Date

Another waiting room. It’s a new one at least, one we haven’t perused before. Jonah is in the process of having his neuropsychological exam, so this is our waiting room for the day. I just held Alex’s hand from across our chairs, we looked into each other’s eyes (didn’t have to dart our gaze around at various children to make sure they were safe and being appropriate in public), and said THREE whole sentences without being interrupted by a small person!! We decided we’d go to lunch with Jonah on his break, then bring him back for more testing, and Alex will go get us Starbucks as a special Waiting Room Date Treat! I’m so excited. Excited to be with Alex. And excited for caffeine. I said to Alex, isn’t it sad that these are our only dates? In waiting rooms at various therapies and hospitals? And isn’t it sad that I get so excited about caffeine and waiting room dates?

Jonah has his neuropsych exam this week over two days, then Aidan and Ben’s testing will be next week over three days. Fun times. I’m hoping we uncover some more answers to the great mysteries known as “my boys.” Alex laughs at me because I get so excited when a doctor hands me questionnaires I have to fill out about the boys, because as a social worker I used to give those all the time and it’s so fun to fill them out myself. Just to be nice, I always ask Alex if he wants to do them with me, but he knows I love doing it so he smiles as if he’s giving me a gift of diamonds and lets me have all the questionnaire fun. Love that man.

I wanted to get a great night’s sleep last night in preparation for today’s marathon of questions and doctor meetings. I tried to go to bed at a good time but my insanely ferocious allergies kept me up a long time. Finally got to sleep, only to be awoken at various times by Ben, Aidan, and Ella. Oh, and Sammy. At 4 a.m. when a certain child had peed in his bed and couldn’t get back to sleep, we discovered Sammy the hamster had escaped from her cage. There is nothing in this world that is as much fun as a 4 a.m. Sheet Change and Hamster Hunt, rolled into one. When I had finally rescued Sammy, who had climbed all two flights of stairs to join us upstairs, and returned her to her cage, and gotten snuggled back in next to Alex (and Ella between us), Ben came in and said he was STARVING. I said “Go get something to eat.” He said loudly and incredulously, “But it’s 4 AM!!” I said “Then go back to bed.” To which my darling replied, “But I’m STARVING.” We went in this circle until I finally just yelled at him to go figure it out because I had to get up in 45 min to get ready for Jonah’s neuropsych that was an hour away and we had to get all the kids ready and dropped off at the babysitter’s before that!!

I never did fall back to sleep. Hence the excitement about the caffeine.

Neuropsych exams are exhausting for all of us. There’s a 2-hour parent interview where the doctor gets all the information she needs on your child. Not to mention the mountain of forms you fill out about your child and their history and your concerns prior to even getting to the appointment. And any additional forms you get to fill out in the waiting room (hurray!) After the interview you feel like you’ve jumped on a trampoline for 2 hours. A little wiped out. And we get to do this two more times, Alex reminded me.

The kiddos are put through a battery of testing to see how their brains work, IQ, what weaknesses and strengths they may have in particular areas, whether they have any other things going on like a learning disability or ADHD or Autism. It’s intense. But it will be so good to have this testing done. Ben and Jonah had neurospychs done several years ago, so I’m anxious to see the results from this test and how things have changed, if they’ve changed at all. Aidan has never had testing done, so that will be really interesting too. I’m so anxious to see what the results uncover and whether there are new things we can try to help the boys be successful in all areas of life.

Ella was thrilled this morning because she got to go to a new babysitter’s house for the day with Ben and Aidan. The babysitter has children also, and Ella couldn’t wait to play with the girl stuff. No separation problems at all, hurray! She needed “one more huggy” at the door and then was off to play. Bless our babysitter’s heart. Taking all three kiddos who are not being tested today, feeding them, playing with them…so I can have a Waiting Room Date with my sweet hubby. I love finding little jewels of time like this- you think it’ll be boring sitting in a waiting room all day but then you realize you’re there with your best friend who you never get to spend time with AND you get to have caffeine AND uninterrupted conversation!! What! How awesome is that? That’s at least one fabulous thing about neuropsych testing.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pockets Full of Pine Cones

Have you ever walked a puppy and a toddler? If you went any slower, you'd be going backwards. I've been trying to teach Ollie, our 4-month-old Shih Tzu puppy that when I put the leash on him, that is a sign to move his little legs, not lie down and take a nap. So Ella and I have been trying to take Ollie for walks. She takes her bike or scooter and I take Ollie and his leash. Ollie puts his leash in his mouth at an apparent attempt to help walk himself.

Originally, I had thought that with a toddler on a vehicle made for zooming, it would keep Ollie motivated to keep moving too. 

That was before I realized that my toddler and "zooming" do not go hand in hand. At least not when I want them to.

I've discovered that small humans and small dogs have the exact same attention span. About 27 seconds long. Ella and/or Ollie has to stop every square of sidewalk and pick a dandEElion (as Ella calls them). Or eat a dandelion, if you're Ollie. Luckily Ella hasn't tried to ingest any wild vegetation on our walks yet. She gives the scrunched, wilted little "flowas" to me for my hair. I am very yellow and weedy by the time we get home from a walk.
Every bug we see, we have to stop and investigate. Every blade of grass is more interesting than the last. Sometimes, gasp, there are even PUDDLES that we have to splash through one-hundred-and-twelve times each! If there's a butterfly flitting by, forget it. We just have to stop and stare for 7 solid minutes. And if there are clouds, we have to lay down on our backs and see what shapes we can find in the sky. In the middle of our walk.

Taking a "walk" with Ella and Ollie is more like an excruciatingly slow, meandering, distracted, exploration of minutiae we find on the block around us. 

At first I was getting really irritated with the two small beings. I wanted to go for a walk. I wanted to move quickly. Get this accomplished. Move on to the next part of my day. And the small beings were SO INCREDIBLY SLOW. Ella was off her scooter investigating the world more than she was on it, scooting. Ollie was lounging in the grass, eating weeds, more than his legs were moving in a forward direction. Can we just move forward for more than THREE STEPS?? We're supposed to be WALKING here, people, WALKING. Very irritating.

But then I thought about how the world must look to these two little beings. I tried to see our block through their eyes, just to understand their perspective. I realized how big the trees are that they just plop under to take a rest in the shade. I realized how tiny the roly-poly bugs are that Ella found under a rock, and how she's never seen them curl up before. I thought how both of my precious small beings are smelling, seeing, and feeling things for the very first time. Even a simple walk around the block is full of adventure and excitement for Ollie and Ella. They are both so curious, of course they both have to stop and investigate every single pine cone they find. Ella is so sweet, of course she has to move every small stick off the sidewalk for Ollie, just in case he wants to eat one and gets an owie from it. I tried to view our walk from their perspective, and I tried to be ok with slowing down a bit. I made a conscious effort to enjoy the walk through the eyes of the little ones who were with me.
Sometimes I try to see things through my kids' eyes to see what's going on with them. What they're thinking, seeing, experiencing. I'm sure they often feel that they are rushed. We have a schedule, appointments, school, whatever, and we have to GO. My kids are more the meandering type rather than the GO type. It must be hard to live in a state of feeling rushed. So sometimes I try really hard to go against every fiber of my being and slow down. I try not to rush the kids. Just let them experience life the way they want to while not being on my schedule. It's amazing what comes from letting the kids do that. You might come home with a head full of beautiful weeds and pockets full of pine cones. And a new appreciation for the huge, amazing, intriguing world around you.