"We don't have any popsicles and we don't eat them for breakfast." I say.
"Choc-laht!" She yells.
"No, we can't eat chocolate for breakfast. How about cereal?"
"NOOOOO! No cer-rail! Want dot dogs!"
Note to self, never give an open ended question when freedom of choice doesn't actually exist...
Yesterday, like most days, had a moment or two of madness. The most obvious was when we decided to use our left over Easter Candy to make cookies. I looked up a somewhat healthy recipe for cookies online at my new favorite website, hillbillyhousewife.com (think Steal Magnolias mixed with June Cleaver on a budget....or better yet, June Cleaver married to Jed Clampett before striking oil...) and found a great Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that i HIGHLY recommend (especially when you are adding a pound of M&Ms and a couple dozen smooshed Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Eggs). I actually had to adapt it since I didn't have the entire 2 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour so ours included about a cup of oat flour as well. They are fabulous but after turning around to find the kids quietly rummaging through the baskets of candy I had thought I put up out of reach (as if anything is really out of reach for my monkey child, Lily) I noticed Lily was trying to figure out how many jelly beans she could stuff up her nose while simultaneously choking on a chocolate egg and Aidan and Madeline were making snow angels, or something along those lines, in the remaining trash. Quickly recalling God's Grace and our goal to follow God's lead, I went with the humans-fall-considerably-short-approach, raised my voice to make it known how irritated I was and had them cleaning up the mess, at which point Madeline broke out in song, (Hard Knock Life from the musical Annie); she grabbed a few chairs and had Lily singing backup and actually it was pretty well choreographed for a 3 and 1 year old. For any of you who don't have kids, they call it the terrible twos and I would say it is followed by the theatrical threes...three year olds can make anything look like a five-star drama.
After regaining some calm, Aidan began vacuuming the rice noodles he had allowed the girls to pour out on top of the candy wrappers and crayons, while Lily went all stealth-like around the ground looking for anything edible (or at least anything small enough to stick up her nostrils where I am guessing we will later find the remains of any jelly beans she hasn't pulled out to snack on) and Madeline, happily hopped around, picking up art supplies as if this were the best day on earth. Finally, I did a little chicken call "Tck Tck Tck" since the cookies were ready and that's when Lily reappeared....
"Look!" Lily announced. "Chocolate!" She stood there proudly holding up Liam's now chocolate-covered pacifier. (At least, I think it was a pacifier...)
Oh yeah, I thought, Liam...
I was reminded of our sleeping baby and gave a little prayer of thanks that he had slept through the entire thing. Ahhhh, this is the life!
Robin Eggs (made by Whoppers) however only have about 22.5 calories per egg. (And there is no reason to buy organic, because they don't make them and oh, it wouldn't help anyway.) And they, too, play a role in weight management, albeit a negative one...
So, I have reached a new low in my Robin Egg addiction: stealing them from my son's Easter Basket when he isn't around...and I would be totally ashamed if it weren't for the repulsed look that took over his face when he tried one on Easter morning. I figure, although he likes to hoard his candy (as well as the majority of the candy from his sisters' baskets that they supposedly "gave" him) he probably won't mind me eating one or two of these beloved eggs...an hour... Hopefully he won't miss them because I may have just eaten the last one. Ho hum. I suppose I need to run an extra mile tomorrow to make up for my vice. Why, oh why, can't I love real eggs this much?
Ok, I vow now that today will be the day I break my habit...DOH! I just had another one! ARGH!
Ok, for real this time...
Madeline is our verbal child. She is the child, whom given the chance, (or not) will talk to you about everything under the sun (and beyond). She is the child, whom after dosing up with Easter candy (which I swear has the addictive properties of street drugs...I seriously cannot stop eating those Robin Eggs and the only thing preventing me from going out and buying a dozen more bags while on sale is that we have hit our food budget for the month and I made a New Year Resolution to stick to the darn budget)...anyway, so she was riding quite the sugar high when she proceeded to go up to the front of the church during "children's time" and make it her platform for Madeline's Stand Up Hour. She's cute, especially in her little pig tails and party dress, which means most of what she says is hilarious, whether it is or not. (You can catch her next episode during her bedtime...oh and sometimes she's been known to carry on in her sleep as well. I have even watched her wake herself up while talking to herself in her sleep! No kidding.)
So there she is, up in front of the church and the Pastor makes the mistake of looking at her or at least being present and then he goes on to top it off with ASKING A QUESTION and even Aidan, who typically wouldn't even raise his hand if asked "which child up here loves ice cream" starts to answer away in some sort of sugary speak. But it is Madeline who continues the conversation as if the sanctuary wasn't filled to the max with over 200 people watching. And I couldn't hear what she said over Liam who was persistent in his quest for MORE food, MORE, MORE, MORE NOOOOOOOOOOW but whatever it was had the entire church rolling. And when the pastor paused to take a breath after reining it back in, she interrupts the millisecond of silence to answer the question from earlier, again...this time I caught something about eggs... Kurt looks at me in horror, asking if he needs to go tell her to be quiet and with the image in my head of a really big 3-year-old-fit in the middle of the 11:00 Easter Sunday Service, I replied: "nope," the pastor could handle it, which he did, kind of.
The thing about having a child that talks incessantly is that you never quite know what direction they will take you. Today for example, Madeline asks: "Mom, what is that squished food that dad eats that I don't like?"
Quite honestly, I haven't a clue as to what she is talking about so I ask her, "What does it look like?"
She gets flustered, of course, because apparently "squished" was enough of a description and she nearly screams "WHY DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN MOM? That SQUISHED food that has the cheese on it!"
Still clueless, I ask if it contains meat, which about sends her over the edge. How on earth could I think it might have meat in it for crying out loud?!
After a very brief second she responds, "What's on the spider, mom?"
Now I am really confused. "Madeline, daddy doesn't eat spiders."
"NO MOM! What's on the spider's legs?"
Feeling in a bit of a daze, either I am not getting enough sleep or she is making no sense whatsoever, or both, I ask, "You mean the web?"
"Yes, the web!" she says excitedly as if I had told her we would be eating the rest of our Easter candy for dinner before staying up to talk all night. "Spiders make webs mom!"
And now for something totally different. Perhaps I'd do better to talk with the chickens...tck tck tck...
Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, Jesus was sentenced to die, Peter denied Jesus thrice, the cock crowed, Jesus was crucified, died and then taken down from the cross, wrapped in burial clothes and laid in the tomb. Now, not to make light of what is one of the most important days in Christianity but that is a crazy busy day. And I also have to point out the rooster: the male chicken, the big kahuna of the chicken family, Papa Chicken, is an important symbol in the world's biggest religion. Some say it is symbolic of morning, of resurrection and awakening. Others say it is a reminder of the denial of Jesus. I say it is a perfect example of God's grace. (Ah ha! Graceful like a chicken perhaps?) You see, Jesus knew Peter would deny his relationship with him. Peter denied he would deny Jesus and then went ahead and denied him anyway; not once, not twice but three strikes, he's out. But that is the beauty of it. He isn't out! Jesus forgives Peter and Peter goes on to be the foundation of the church. In other words, God knows we are going to mess up before we even do it (we are human after all) and yet He's already forgiven us and has plans for us to go and do great things! And as for the rooster, well, he's just another player in the story, but gosh darn it, he's a CHICKEN and that very fact makes him SUPER IMPORTANT because how else would I tie my blog into the most chicken-friendly religious time of the year?? Happy Easter to you all, and while I am stepping down from my pulpit, please fast forward to Good Friday, 2008.
It was an ordinary, crazy busy morning. No roosters crowing nearby or denials taking place mind you but the kids were getting in the last remaining bits of quality time with their cousins (in front of the computer...where they were all enjoying WORDGIRL, a mighty great PBS creation might I add.) Anyway, it was time to take Aidan to school and Lily, having already put her shoes on and blocking the door with her 25 pounds of muscle, was determined to go with us. I figured, heck, why not. It's always nice to get a little one on one time where I can.
So, we get to school, where Lily immediately walks up to the front desk and awaits her conversation with the administrator there, as she does every day and won't move until she gets at least a "hi Lily" and then we head back to Aidan's room. After dropping him off and convincing Lily that it would be much cooler to go home than to watch the fish and hermit crabs and dump all the teaching materials all over the floor, we make our exit. The teacher had asked me to read the newsletter as there was a little blurb in there about me teaching music, blah, blah, blah. I put Lily down so she could go look out the glass door and in the matter of seconds I hear a scream and she comes running to me, bleeding. I look over and she had somehow managed to open the door to the fire extinguisher box and the pane of glass had fallen out ON HER FACE! It had sliced her eyebrow and scratched her cheek and HELLOOO??? This is a school. Whatever happened to child-proofing? And did I mention a pane of glass, about the size of oh, I dunno, LILY, had fallen out on her FACE?! Seriously!
Anyway, the significance of this story is in the fact that Lily is now 21 months old and I am now 3 for 3...all 3 of my oldest kids have now visited an ER to get something put back together at 21 months old. Aidan had, in a very calm moment, fallen into the corner of a cabinet, needing one stitch next to his eye. (We are still tortured to this day about the horror of watching them papoose him...) Madeline, having already had 4 staples to hide her skull again at around 18 months, bit through her lip, ALL THE WAY THROUGH HER LIP, at 21 months, requiring 3 stitches (and about oh, 2 years now of guilt for mom because the stitching had hurt Madeline so terribly that she cursed the nurse out through the entire process...yes, at 21 months...) and now you have Lily, 21 months old. And after a record 2 hours in the ER, all the kings horses and all the kings men were able to glue her back together again. Now that is some quality one-on-one time right there, I don't care who you are!
So, there you have it. Roosters remind us of God's grace and 21 month olds remind us of the fragility of life. And thank goodness for them both. Happy Easter.
P.S. Liam beware: your toddler years are right around the corner....
Now, sleep deprivation is no laughing matter but there are some things you have to stop and laugh at for sure. Take the other day for example when I couldn't find the left over tater tots from the night before. I was so sure I had packed them up and put them in the fridge. I looked thoroughly through everything in the fridge to no avail. Well, turns out I put them back in the tupperware drawer. Doh! (And had I looked in the toaster oven, I would have found the breakfast that I forgot I made for the kids that morning as well...)
Then there was the next week when, pulling into my garage I swiped the car against the side of the garage...because I was giving directions to Aidan and didn't think that perhaps I oughta stop driving forward into an enclosed area when turning backward to address my son.
Or what about a few days later when I was taking Aidan to school and as we were walking toward the door Aidan turns and says, "Mom, why are you leaving Liam in the car?"
HOLY SWEET MOTHER OF GOD!
The simple answer: because although I look awake (I talk and walk and seem like a functioning human being) I'm actually just mostly awake which means that in actuality I am still partly asleep. It's the same reason I was able to look away and pretend not to notice when Lily tried to vacuum her tongue! It is also the same reason that the other day when I was trying to clean a bathroom, I didn't immediately stop Lily from giving the baby a hug while he was laying on the floor...which of course caused Madeline to plunge on top of Lily (possibly seeking her opportunity to rid the house of the competition), followed by Aidan who jumped at the chance to be on the top of the pile...and the baby was on the bottom! AHHH! And, instead of my normally lightening-speed, super-mom reflexes propelling me to stop the mess from occurring in the first place, I practically had to convince my brain that yes, my kids did just dog pile the baby and yes, the time to save him is NOW!
*Just for the record, no one got food poisoning, left behind or hurt in the above stories...(although the car begs to differ.)
"Well?" He asks. (Apparently not...)
11 p.m. - Liam is finally asleep, for real this time (because the last 3 attempts I made to put him down failed miserably). I put him in his crib and crawl into bed.
12:30 a.m.- Aidan comes in. "My bed is wet," he says. Finding it humorous that he doesn't claim responsibility to have wet it himself, instead just making a simple statement of fact, I follow him to his room. Sure enough, his bed is wet and he didn't 'wet' it. I suppose his fever broke because I am pretty sure he wasn't up running a marathon, in the peak of a Florida summer, at high noon. But his bed is drenched from sweat so I send him to sleep in the extra bed in Madeline's room while I take the soggy sheets off and shuffle back to my own room.
1 a.m.- Liam awakes to feed.
2:45 a.m. - Aidan comes in wondering if Kurt has gone to work and can he sleep in my bed. I take him back to his temporary room, feel his burning head and go to the kitchen for some Children's Motrin. "Can I have the cold pack, too?" he asks. Back to the kitchen freezer to grab the cold pack for his head. "I need more water, too," he attempts. His water cup is full and I tell him he will have to make do.
3:49 a.m.- Liam joins in the chorus, hungry, again. I finally get in bed and think lovely thoughts about getting no sleep.
5:40 a.m.- Liam, up again, diaper issues...."oh, and while you are at it, I could use a snack," he cries.
I reply, "Left or right, you choose, because I lost count about 4 hours ago..."
6:00 a.m - Kurt says, "Man, I'm exhausted! Did we not get good sleep last night?" Glancing up from my rocker I think, you are one lucky man because Liam just fell asleep and there is no way I am taking the chance of waking him up to chase you off the cozy top of the pecking order.
6:15 a.m.-Feeling energized, (insert sarcasm where you will) I put my running stuff on and head to the treadmill...why not?
And this was a good night, only two of my brood were up needing me.
Aidan got in trouble yesterday at school on account of a dancing chicken. (I just knew this blog title would serve me well! I had no idea how much influence the simple chicken has in our lives!) Seriously though, I am not making that up nor did I send in a dancing chicken to Aidan's class for some blog fodder.
Aidan is usually a very respectful and well behaved student, from what his teachers say, but what's a 5 year old boy to do when one of his buddies takes a dancing chicken into school? You know, the kind that upon pushing the correct wing it starts doing the chicken dance to that annoying song everyone plays at their weddings? Ok, I must admit, this toy is rather cute and it kind of does make ya wanna run wildly around like a chicken with its head cut off (which the boys did), even though the teacher has told you to settle down and get back in your chair (which the boys didn't). And I am sure that had I allowed it to be played at my own wedding, I too would have acted in such a fashion (and most gracefully so)...it is almost contagious don't you think? I thought it very funny though that when talking to my friend, whose child took the chicken to school, she said, "How did I know it would cause such a distraction?" I love her to death and all but seriously? If a little lamb can do it, then certainly a dancing chicken will cause some havoc in the classroom.
Anyway, Liam is 6 weeks old today and I feel like I am doing better than just keeping afloat now. Sure we have our days, or at least some crazy moments in each day (like today I learned that when your toddler finds a bottle of sunscreen and applies it to her ENTIRE HEAD, even after you wipe the majority of it off, don't allow her to stand next to you when you chop onions! Apparently, onion juice and sunscreen make one lethal combination when applied to an eyeball.) So, a toddler in the aforementioned state, does not take kindly to a 6 week old who wants to be fed...ah, what's a mom to do? My poor neighbors! I imagine that at times like this they are standing with their phone in hand, not sure if 911 or social services is more appropriate. Oh, and for the record, Visine does NOTHING to relieve the situation.
But honestly, life with four kids is a beautiful balance of calm and chaos...ok, perhaps without the calm...or the balance. But after the first 6 weeks, it really has been quite beautiful. Now, if I could just get that silly song out of my head... Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap!...
So, there really wasn't a whole lot of humor in today. I tried to see it and maybe there was a moment here or there, (like my latest 'Graceful Like a Chicken' moment. You see, I can understand the wisdom in the farmer trying to contain his flock to a particular location. We have a few little kiddie chairs that we keep around the computer table for the kids to stay put in (as if THAT works.) Well anyway, I was going to help the kids with a computer activity so I sat on the little, red, plastic toddler chair I bought 5 years ago at the Dollar Store (best dollar I ever spent!) while holding a feeding Liam, and my extra 20 pounds (consisting mainly of doughnuts, curly fries, a few chicken nuggets and post-pregnancy weight) sent the chair legs out to the side, popping the entire chair out from behind me, much like a hen laying an egg, only it was a red, plastic chair and oh, it wouldn't let me sit on it...luckily, it is very close to the ground but the eyes of Aidan, Madeline and Lily....well, that was a priceless moment, glad it was at my expense) but all in all, this was a run of the mill kind of day.
At any rate, the only thing that really caught my eye today, or ear as the case may be, was Madeline, who at one point during the day announced: "Liam is a little wet behind the ears, mom."
Well, truth be told, at just under 6 weeks, you could say that about Liam in regards to just about everything really. But I went ahead doing whatever a mom of four does during the day and forgot about it until we were eating dinner.
I introduced edamame tonight, thinking it would be a fun little change. Lily acted like she had an eating disorder, chewing up the beans and then spitting them out all the while saying they were good; Aidan acted like they could gag him on sight alone and Madeline thought they were pretty darn cool. As she went along, popping the beans out of the pods, she said, "Mom, I'm turning over a new leaf."
Ok, so where on earth is my 3 year old getting these things? Her father and I certainly don't talk like that. (It's more like: "No Aidan, you can't hit your sister over the head with the broom" and "No Madeline, bite marks do not help Lily look pretty" and "Lily, don't step on the baby's face" and "Seriously Liam, are you done (crying) yet?")
Anyway, it was a great day and although not one for the memory books, I'll take it, "graceful" moments and all.
The conversation in the car this morning went something like this:
3 year old Madeline: "Look, Aidan!....Aidan, look!....Aidan, AIDAN!" (I glance back to see her holding up a Scholastic Reading Club flier.) "Look!"
Liam starts wailing from behind me, most likely translated as: "COULD YOU PLEEEEEEASE GET ME OUT OF THIS SORRY EXCUSE FOR A SEAT WOMAN!"
"Aidan, LOOK!" Madeline shouts again.
Aidan, age 5, turns around to see. "Oh yeah. It's a rooster."
"No, it's not." Madeline argues.
Aidan, uncharacteristically calm says, "Yes, Madeline, it's a rooster."
Madeline, chuckles. "No, it's nahhhh-aht. He's from Chicken Little!" She insists....
So, I must admit, when I went broody, I never imagined the kids squabbling in the rear of the car over chickens, whether roosters or Chicken Little or what. Seriously, how many of us ever thought about the squabbles that would one day take place? Although minor, this little one started the day out just right, prepping us for the witching hour (or as my mom also called it, suicide hour, although I am guessing that is not quite as PC....)
And I can't help but burst out laughing. Now that was what I call graceful...like a chicken.
Yesterday, we took our four children to dinner at a semi-nice family restaurant. Before you assume we are crazy and flip to the next random blogger, we had four adults (including two grandparents) so this should have been relatively easy: man-to-man coverage for our 5 year old son, 3 and 1.5 year old daughters and the newest addition, who just hit 1 month. The adult meals came out about the time our kids had finished eating and the baby began to vocalize, in no uncertain terms that "I MUST EAT NOW! NOW, NOW, NOW, NOOOOOOW!" As I stood there in the bathroom stall with one foot up on the toilet, simultaneously breastfeeding and changing an obviously well worn diaper, I felt a wave of super-mommy triumph. I might not be able to sit down to eat another normal meal for the next 18 or so years, but gosh darn it, I can change a diaper while preventing one more child from starving while surrounded by the sound of flushing toilets and screaming potty training kids! The only hiccup was when the toilet next door flushed and Liam's usually groggy-milk-drinking eyes bulged like a chicken on the chop block and he pulled as far back from my body as he could WITHOUT LETTING GO...ouch...and seriously, I had no idea that that particular body part of mine could stretch like that...but, to paraphrase a famous builder, "Yes, it can!" (thanks Bob), and like a rubber band it just snapped right back to me as if THAT were a normal part of its daily routine...if only the rest of us were so resilient.