Friday, July 10, 2009

A Letter to Gwendolyn, on Her 3rd Birthday


Gwendolyn, Gdub, GMills,

            Tomorrow you are turning 3 years old.  I cannot believe that my baby is… well, not my baby!  You are a little preschooler now.  You tell the funniest stories and say the silliest things.  Sometimes I just listen to you talk and laugh thinking about where your imagination leads you.  A few weeks ago I told you that you were silly.  You said “that’s not silly, Mom”.  I asked “Then what is silly?”  You thought about it and said “Banana Pants.”  Well, you were right, banana pants are silly.

            We are working on potty training, after a few failed attempts.  Right now, it seems like you just don’t care.  You feel no shame and no remorse if you have an accident.  Bribes are not working, threats go unnoticed.  I guess we just have to wait for you to be ready.  I am sure that in a few months this will be a distant memory, but right now it consumes a large part of our time with you. 

            You still sleep with baby bear, a soft baby doll, and a floppy frog.  Oh, and as many blankies as you can sneak into your bed.  The floppy frog, or “Froggie”, is often kicked out of the bed, you seem to have a love-hate relationship.  A kitty has recently joined the gang as well.  Your favorite show is still Dora the Explorer, followed by Diego.  In a few weeks we are going to see Dora Live, so I hope that you enjoy it.  You like to dress up like a princess and talk on your toy phone.  Just like Mommy, you often just listen and say “uh huh”, as though you are listening to Aunt Jenna tell a long story.  You like us to read books to you.  And you are loving when Daddy rough houses with you, but it makes me nervous.  You really love candy, and get all wide eyed and wild after eating it.  You love shoes, pretty shoes, and wearing dresses.  Going shoe shopping with you entails you trying on 50 pairs of shoes, all of them too small for you.

            Madeline & Jack adore you.  They follow you and try to climb on you, which you don’t appreciate.  Now that they are crawling you are getting annoyed that they are in your toys and try to touch you.  Yesterday on the way to school Daddy said you suddenly screamed and said that Madeline pulled your hair.  I’m sure it won’t be the last time that happens.  Generally, you are very, very sweet to your brother and sister.  You talk to them, bring them toys and tell us when they are doing something they shouldn’t.  Sometimes you get jealous, but haven’t acted on it yet.

            You are still pretty shy.  It takes you awhile to warm up to new people, kids, animals and places.  Sometimes you get so nervous you lick me!  It’s a little odd.  But on our recent trip to Michigan you warmed up to your cousins, Megan and Marissa, quickly after they started playing tag – you love to chase and be chased. 

            This Fourth of July you saw your first fireworks.  You and I went to the end of our street and we could see the fireworks show a mile away.  The look on your face when you saw the first one go up was awesome, you were amazed.  A few minutes later you were using the flashlight to look for monsters in the grass.  We also had our first family road trip to Michigan last month.  You would not let me sleep in the car and cried if I tried to close my eyes!  You loved staying with Nana and Grandpa.  They have dogs, cats and a little swimming pool.  You would start out the day in your bathing suit, but would always end up running around the yard naked by the end of the day.  We went to a family reunion; my Aunt Pat brought you a bathing suit.  You wouldn’t talk to her, or smile, or anything, but when she showed you the suit, you slowly started to play with the straps of your dress, then pulled the straps down, then took your dress off, followed by your diaper and shoes.  We all laughed at your innocent way of saying “yes, I want to wear that bathing suit!”  You also made a great friend of ‘Uncle Joe Koester, one of Nana and Grandpa’s friends.  Anyone who will take you to the beach and play in the sand with you is OK in your book. 

            You are still a Mommy’s Girl.  If you ever have a choice, or even when you don’t, about who is going to help you or do something for you, it is always MOMMY!  When you cry, you weep and say “I want my Mommy!” almost like I’m an object.  At night, after I tuck you in, you always grab my hand and ask me to stay.  It is so sweet.  But, when you are playing, you still love your Daddy. 

            So tomorrow is your special day.  I hope that you enjoy your party and your gifts.  I am excited to see the day through your eyes and have fun with you.  There will be many more birthdays to share with you, each different as you get older and wiser. 

            I love you very much, Gwendolyn Lottie.  You are my little girl.

Love - Mommy

Never Shake a Baby... Even if They Totally Deserve It

This is one of those awful realizations.  Before having kids, I would hear about parents, step-parents, babysitters shaking kids and doing really terrible things in frustration.  How could anyone shake a baby?  What would be the purpose?  Obviously, it won’t make the baby stop crying!  And it’s a baby, defenseless, crying because something is wrong and needs your help.  But now, as a mother of 3, I can kinda see how in the heat of the moment, when you’ve been up for hours with a screaming kid who cannot be consoled, you would reach your limit of sanity and go to a crazy, crazy place.  I got a glimpse last night (or this morning) after being up with wee Jack until 2am. My legs were sore from leaning over the pack’n’play to pat his back, I could barely keep my eyes open.  He would get so close to singing, lulled by my singing and back rubbing and them “Waaaaaaaa!”  Just go to sleep already!!!  I know you’re teething and your mouth probably hurts like hell, but cut-it-out already!  GRRRRR….. Finally, I had to put him down and walk away for a few minutes.  He got even more pissed, but it was for his own good, and mine.  After his 4th bottle he finally fell asleep for a few hours in my arms.  Now I just have to pray there isn’t another repeat performance tonight!!


For the record, I love the little bugger with my whole heart and soul, but man alive Mommy needs her sleep!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Baby is Growing Up!

Just a few more days and she'll be THREE years old!

That's a Whole Lotta Gray

Wow, they have a lot of grandkids. From the left: Alexander, Madeline, Gwendolyn, Jack, Andrew, Henry, Sam and Lilah. All 6 and under!

He's Bringing Sexy Back


Notes from the MiniVan

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that we survived the trip to Michigan.  Now that we’ve been home for a week, I would even say that we’ll do it again, but not more than once a year.  The trip north was ok – for the first 11 hours.  The kiss of death was John commenting (from the front seat) that it was going so well.  After that the babies reached their car seat limit and let us know for the next 5 hours.  We stayed the night in a hotel and it took about an hour to get everyone settled and to sleep.  Gwendolyn wasn’t too happy about the hotel stay (“What is this place?”), she wanted to get to Grandpa and Nana’s right away.  The second day is a blurry haze.  I rode in the backseat with the kids and was not allowed to even close my eyes – Gwendolyn cried when I fell asleep.  We arrived in Lexington about 9:30pm.  Grandpa made a welcome sign for the kids and they were really excited to have us.  We took over their house, baby stuff in every room.  We spent the week seeing family and friends, going to my cousins wedding and we even got to see a movie one evening. 


Note about my cousins wedding: At the reception, after they did their first dance, father/daughter dance, they had a dance for the bridal party.  It was some slow country song, I wasn’t paying much attention.  After attending wedding after wedding in my 20’s (which are almost over), the moments that are so special for the bride and groom seem very similar to me.  Anyway, all of the sudden, the music cuts to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  The bridal party breaks into the zombie dance, perfectly coordinated and executed for about 3 minutes.  They even had smoke pumping.  It was pretty awesome.  Then they just went back to finishing their sweet slow dance like it never happened.  They must have practiced a lot!  I just hope they got it on video!


We also had the babies baptized.  The priest who married John and I and baptized Gwendolyn is retiring, so we took the opportunity while we could.  John’s brother, Jeremy and his wife Tara are Jack’s god parents and my sister, Jenna, and John’s sister Jennifer are Madeline’s god mothers.  We attended mass and then the baptism was after.  Gwendolyn was dreadful during mass, I think she had reached her vacation limit.  The babies did ok, but were getting tired, hungry and hot by the end of the baptism.  Afterward, my parents hosted a party at their house with lots of food and drinks.  Lots of our family came and enjoyed the beautiful weather and food.  It was great.  Grandma Mills cornered Father E and told him, what I can only assume, lots of inappropriate stories. 


The trip home went better than we thought.  I think everyone knew what to expect this time.  Or maybe I just handled it better.  We were all very happy to be home.  I was a good trip, but hardly a vacation for John and I.  I would be so bold as to say you cannot take a vacation with little kids.  They are just way to demanding.  Even with my parents helping there was always something that needed to be done.  I’m looking forward to John and I taking a mini-break in October when my parents are here to watch the kiddos. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

Everybody Poops - Just Not Always Where Appropriate

This is about poop, so if you don’t want to hear about it, move along to the weather channel.  While a friend of mine has finally undertaken putting her 3 year old in a big girl bed, I have finally gotten around to potty training.  I have a million excuses for why we put it off (pregnant, pregnant with twins, pregnant with twins and moving – twice, having the twins, being lazy, taking a road trip, lazy, fear).  But she turns 3 on Saturday and we had a 3 day weekend, so no more excuses.  It went as expected, sometimes better, sometimes worse.  We are in no way “done”, but we’re in process.


Friday I stayed home with Gwen all day to focus on potty training.  She had 1 pee accident first thing in the morning (no surprise there). Then around lunch, John had taken the babies out and I was making lunch.  Gwendolyn wandered into the front room (should have been my warning sign), and runs back and says “Mommy!  There’s poop on the floor!”  Like someone had snuck in the house, pooped on the floor and she discovered it.  I was really banking that if she wasn’t wearing underwear or diaper, she would not just poop on the floor!  Then in the afternoon she did it again!  Gah!  She was being punished for something, I forget what, so I put her on the stool and went into the bedroom for a couple minutes to wait for her to stop crying.  I come back and there is a terd on the stool.  She didn’t even feel bad!  She was very matter of fact, yeah, there’s poop there, what of it?


Saturday was better.  She actually had no accidents, but didn’t poop all day.  She even held it while we went out to lunch and Target and ran in and peed all by herself on the potty.  We were very impressed.  It helped that she gets candy anytime she pees on the potty.  A fact she never forgets (even this morning at 7:30am).  There as a block party on the street one over in the evening, we went to that for awhile and then Gwen and I walked over to see the fireworks.  She was very impressed with the fireworks. 


Sunday I took the babies out during lunch and went to Ikea.  At this point, we are on high alert because she hasn’t pooped in 48 hours now – DANGER!  If she poops in the potty, she gets a ballet skirt and an ice cream cake.  John and I really want to eat some ice cream cake.  We are moving the potty room to room, so it is always with her.  Emily came over to do housework, and had a long conversation, via a puppet, about Gwen’s baby bear pooping on the potty.  She talked to that puppet for a long time.  Gwen is really getting annoyed with us talking about the potty all the time.  She has 2 accidents (pee) in the afternoon, even though we asked her 22 times if she had to go. 


Today she went fine before school, but it has been almost three days without pooping, so if she doesn’t go at school, we will have a problem.  Now I just feel bad, she must be really backed up by now. 


This is definitely a stage of parenthood that I don’t enjoy.  John was said that he had never talked or thought about poop some much in one day.  We both went to the bathroom more than usual, all that potty on the brain.  All this, and I get to look forward to Jack and Madeline going through this.  Oh Joy!