Monday, September 28, 2009

Pediatrician's Office

On Friday, I took the boys into the pediatrician to get their flu shots. Now, I should say up front that I really like our pediatrician and have no complaints about his professionalism, knowledge or personality, but there is one thing about going to see him that drives me NUTS. Every visit, without fail, I end up trying to entertain and control two kids in a tiny exam room with dozens of things they shouldn't touch and almost nothing that they should. Of course, I bring a few toys and books from home, but they are completely ignored by my little explorers. Would it be that hard to put a few toys in the exam rooms? Or maybe just improve the organization of the practice so that mommies and kiddos are not left alone in exam rooms for 20-30 minutes each visit. I would much prefer to do our waiting in the main waiting area, where there are toys and TV, than cooped up in the exam room, hoping as each second passes that the door will open and put me out of the misery of incessantly distracting two small boys!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just As I Am

This is going to be one of those deep-thoughts posts that might annoy you if you are not in the mood, so be forewarned :)

In truth, I doubt I will get through typing this without shedding tears. First and foremost, I want to say that GOD HAS BEEN SO GOOD TO ME. Despite being raised in a loving, Christian home, attending excellent Christian schools all the way through college, and even being a missionary in China, I did not understand much about God's love until this year. Without even realizing I was doing it, I have spent most of my life striving to earn what was already mine: the love and acceptance of the Almighty. I have been overwhelmed of late with His grace. God has used some very dear friends to show me that He treasures me just as I am. He has filled me with grace for myself and for others. I am not sure that I have ever in my life felt as loved as I do right now. I praise Him for this gift, and I hope that every person reading this is blessed with the same assurance of His love.

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Got Nothin'

No, really, I got nothin'. Check again tomorrow :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Caleb (Monthly Update)

Today is Caleb's half-birthday...he is 3 1/2 years old today. Years before I was a parent, I remember hearing (and believing) that children learn most of what they are going to learn from their parents by the time they are three. Wow, do I ever hope that is not true. But it makes me take a hard look at the things that I have succeeded in impressing upon Caleb's little psyche, and they seem very paltry compared to where I thought we would be by now. Fortunately, I'm not seriously discouraged because I no longer believe that age three is a magic number. I expect that Caleb and I will continue to learn from each other for many, many years to come.

Anyway, on to Caleb's monthly update... All of the pretending he was doing last month has dropped off quite a bit. He still pretends sometimes, but most of the time he "dust wants to be CA-leb" (he always puts extra emphasis on the first syllable of his name). I think this is a change for the better since he almost never wanted to "be Caleb" before :) His favorite thing this month has been coloring with markers or crayons. I'm still using to print out just about any kids-themed coloring page. (Caleb's favorites are Nemo, Spiderman and Peter Pan pictures.) He colors 3 or 4 pictures every day, and he has even started coloring in the lines on his own. I haven't encouraged him to do this because I don't want to add to his genetic proclivity to OCD, but I haven't discouraged him either.

As to the pre-reading stuff, Caleb definitely knows all of his phonic sounds now. He can tell me what most words start with when prompted a little with the sound: like if I ask him what "u-u-umbrella" starts with, he takes the "uh" sound and connects it to "U" in his mind. Of course he has no idea with words that don't follow the most basic phonetic rules. A couple of days ago, Marcus even had him sounding out 3-letter words ending in "-an" (Pan, ran, fan, can), and he did really well. I'm going to hold off a while longer before doing much sounding-out, but it's neat to see that he can do it a little already.

Behaviorally, a new whining stage has descended and is being complicated by the emergence of a rebellious streak. We still have more good days than bad, but I have been surprised by some of his behavior this month (not the least of these is the book incident). At the same time, there have been some changes for the better. He is much better at playing with Ethan now than ever before. He lets Ethan contribute what he can and is actually very good at explaining things to Ethan. It's funny to hear and see my words and gestures coming from him to his brother. He has no patience for Ethan being "wrong", though. For example, Ethan loves the phonetic sounds, but he does not know the letters nearly as well as Caleb does, so he often spots a letter somewhere and labels it with the wrong sound. This drives Caleb nuts. He argues with Ethan about it and gets angrier and angrier, while Ethan just thinks its funny. I think we will be working on that for a long time.

This may be TMI for the casual reader, but for posterity I want to record that we started Caleb on a daily dose of MiraLax this month. For the first time in his life, he is having a bowel movement every day. We probably should have done this earlier (Marcus wanted to), but I resisted daily meds of any kind. Even so, I'm very glad that we've made this change because he is eating better and his stomach is rarely bloated/distended anymore. A friend/pediatrician told us that when the bowel gets used to being stretched out all the time, using laxatives for a couple of months can help the muscles contract back to a more normal size and begin working properly on their own again. I think what happened with Caleb was that the dairy products we introduced when he turned one started causing some constipation, and he has remained stuck in that cycle ever since then (despite the fact that we greatly limit his dairy now and only give him Lactaid milk). Hopefully, another month of MiraLax will allow his system to reset, and we can handle his contistipation issues with diet control.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sleep Elf

I'm starting to think that there is a little elf in my house who is pulling all-nighters for the sole purpose of destroying my sleep! Here's how the past two nights have played out:

Saturday Night:
I went to bed at midnight because Marcus was up studying and I don't like to go to bed alone. At 2:15 am, one of our Irish setters (Riley), started barking. Just once or twice, but very loudly. Three minutes later, he did it again. He continued this intermittent barking for OVER AN HOUR. I tried everything I could think of to get him to stop: refilled his water and food bowls, let him into the yard in case he had to potty, scolded him, petted him, and finally yelled at him (whisper-yelled, since everyone was asleep). I don't know if one of these things worked or if he just got tired and ready to go back to sleep, but the barking finally ended. Unfortunately, I was all worked up and couldn't go back to sleep until around 4:30 am. The kids were up at 6:15, so I went into Sunday with exactly 4 hours of sleep.

Sunday Night:
Sunday was a very busy day for me, and I was ultra-exhausted by the end of it. I went to bed at 9:30, only to be woken up an hour later by a really, really loud thunderstorm. I couldn't fall back asleep until shortly after Marcus came to bed at 11:15. Then, the mischevious sleep-stealing elf made its way into Ethan's room. Ethan woke up screaming "Mama!" (as only he can) around 12:30 am. I gave him a cup of milk in case he was hungry, and then rocked him back to sleep. Over the next four hours, Ethan got up FOUR MORE TIMES. That's as bad as he was when he was a tiny baby! I tried everything I could think of that could be bothering him. At one point, Marcus suggested putting warmer pajamas on him in case he was kicking his blanket off and getting cold. Neither this nor anything else we tried worked...he just kept waking up every 45-minutes and yelling for me. Finally, around 4:30, I gave him some Motrin (hoping that it was the molars that are breaking through his gums that were bothering him). After that, he slept straight through to 6:45, giving me a full 2 hours of sleep (longest stretch of the night).

Needless to say, I did NOT enjoy this flashback to tiny-baby days, and I am very glad that weeks-on-end of sleep like this are not on my near-horizon :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

"Through Ignorance"

I set up a RSS feed from Bible Gateway's website to give me a daily Bible reading through my blog. It just so happens that the schedule was deeply immersed in Ezekiel when I jumped on board, so that is what I've been reading for the past couple of weeks. I've always found most of Ezekiel to be a rather tedious read (sorry all you OT scholars out there), and this time through isn't proving any different. However, just as it always happens, a verse or two that I never noticed before has stood out to me in a new way.

An example is Ezekiel 25:40: "You are to do the same on the seventh day of the month for anyone who sins unintentionally or through ignorance; so you are to make atonement for the temple." Now, I realize that the context and wording of this verse refer to atonement for the temple, not for individuals, but something about the words "sins unintentionally or through ignorance" struck a chord with me. One of the aspects of my faith that has always caused me some confusion is the fate of those who live their whole lives without ever hearing about or connecting with Christ. I do believe the words of Jesus that "no one comes to the Father except through me," and therefore Jesus is the cornerstone of relationship with God, but I've always wondered what provision God makes for those who never meet the Savior. This verse gives me hope that, whatever it is, the Lord has a path of salvation for every sinner, even those who never had the opportunity in their lifetime to call on the name of Christ.

Friday, September 18, 2009

You Don't Know What You Have...

until it's gone :) This whole no-nap thing is brutal. I didn't realize how much of my energy and motivation depended on my (at least) 2-hour break every afternoon. Ethan was up at 5:30 this morning, and I will not be "checking out" until around 7:30 tonight when they both go to bed. I've gotten used to staying up til 11:00 or later because I know I can take a short nap while the kids are asleep. So this week I've still been staying up late and just trudging through the day. I think I miss the psychological break even more than the sleep. We had such a nice little routine: get up, home school stuff, go out, eat lunch, take a nap, and then play on the deck until Daddy gets home. Now there are still 5-6 hours to fill after lunch. And I'm having to fight Caleb's boredom (which quickly turns to mischieviousness), because he's not really interested in doing repeat activities again in the afternoon. The idea of preschool for Caleb has never looked so appealing as it does right now! I guess its time to adjust, but boy do I miss the way things used to be :)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Own Mouth

All parents know how much God uses children to teach us, but lately it has been more obvious to me than usual. When I repeat a truth to Caleb or Ethan, I immediately hear the Lord's voice echoing the same truth from Him to me. Here are just a few examples:

"Don't take the food from your brother's plate. Ask me and I will give you more."
"I understand that you are angry, but you still have to speak to me respectfully."
"What you want is not the most important thing."
"It is always better to do what makes other people happy than to do what makes you happy."
"I tell you not to do certain things because I don't want you to get hurt."
"I love you too much to let you get away with allowing your emotions to control you."
"If you choose to disobey me, the consequence is going to hurt."
"Be thankful for the toys that you have. Some other boys do not have toys to play with."

I've been convicted by many people's wisdom, both written and spoken, but it makes me laugh when God uses my own mouth to remind me of His truths :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Alas, The Day Has Come

So the day that every stay-at-home-parent dreads has finally visited our home: Caleb has given up napping. Now, I know that many of you out there lost your "break" time months before your child was 3 1/2, but I was holding out hope that I was one of the really lucky ones, and that Caleb would keep napping until he was five :) It is now the fourth day of no afternoon sleeping, and I am officially giving up. I would have tried for a few more days, but we had a naptime disaster yesterday that deterred me from further efforts.

I tucked Caleb in for his "nap" (it was in quotes in my head because I doubted that it would happen), and went downstairs. Unlike the other days, where he kept coming downstairs and being put back in his bed, he stayed put. I thought, "What luck! He went to sleep!" But alas, this was not the case. About 45 minutes after I tucked him in, he came downstairs and said, "Mommy, I made a real bad choice. I'm real, real, real sorry." I realized while he was talking that he had not gone to sleep at all and that he had been up to some mischief in his room the whole time instead. With dread I asked him, "What bad choice, Caleb? What did you do?"

"I tear all the books up, Mommy. I real, real sorry."

I raced up the stairs to assess the damage. Sure enough, he had taken four library books, no less, and decimated the pages. Struck dumb from the horror of a book explosion in the room, I truly had no idea what to do or say. He had never torn a book on purpose in his whole life. And I'd never seen him do something so completely destructive, either. Usually I am pretty quick with consequences, but this situation warranted a call to Daddy for some ideas. What we came up with during the phone conference was this:

(1) All other library books would be returned and no more would be checked out for a month.
(2) All of his own books were taken out of his room.
(3) No reading books with Mommy or Daddy before bedtime for three nights.
(4) He would clean up the entire paper mess by himself (which he did).

I went over the consequences with him, and he was distraught, particularly about the books being taken out of his room and not reading books at night. We hope that these consequences will impress on his little mind the absolute unacceptability of destroying books (or anything else for that matter). Overall, not the most encouraging parenting day, but they can't all be encouraging :) Hopefully, I won't be even more upset about it when we go to the library tomorrow and pay for the books.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Train Track Fun

Lately, the boys have been spending hours a day playing together with their wooden train track. Ethan figured out about a week ago how to interlock the wooden pieces by himself, so he is now a cooperative player instead of "The Destroyer". Caleb is a little bossy about where the pieces go, but he is getting better every day with "Letting Et'an make some choices, so he will like playing with me" (as he echoes my regular reminders). They've never played peacefully together for such a long time as they have with this train thing. Sometimes I can unload and reload the dishwasher and get a good start on dinner without hearing a peep from either of them for 20 minutes or so. After mediating every joint activity since Ethan could crawl, it is incredibly enjoyable to watch them playing together without any help from me.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Pictures of the Boys

Sorry for the continued blog-slacking. It sounds impossible even to me, but it seems that I may have finally run out of things to say :)

Some of the pictures are a little dark. I've been saving up my fun money to buy an external flash for my camera to fix that problem.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"IT'S TOO HARD!!!!!!!!"

For several months, this was Caleb's distraught refrain whenever I would ask him to start picking up the toys in the play room. For a while, it just annoyed me because I thought he was purely throwing a fit. But then I began to realize that I do the same thing on an "adult" level because of the way I look at the world. When Caleb looks at the messy play room, he sees all of the scattered toys and feels overwhelmed with the impossibility of picking them all up at once. When I am in the midst of a struggle or trial, my default is to face it in terms of the rest of my life, rather than facing it one day at a time. When I face a change I need to make, I sometimes think with incredulous hopelessness, "God expects me to overcome this weakness for the rest of my life?"

So, in the midst of trying repeatedly to explain to Caleb that he just has to pick up one toy, put it away, and then pick up another one, I have been convicted of my own resistence to doing just that. In the areas of my life where submitting to the Lord's will for the rest of my life seems insurmountable, I just have to remind myself to live obediently TODAY. I cannot follow my Lord next year, next month, or even tomorrow. I can only follow Him today. So now, I am much more patient with Caleb's "I CAN'T! IT'S TOO HARD!!!" than I used to be, and I am quicker to remember that the Lord wants my heart and my obedience in this moment. Nothing beyond is even possible.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Weekend Away

As I mentioned yesterday, we went to Mentone, Alabama for a little vacation with some of our closest friends from church. We had so much fun. It was so relaxing to talk late into the night without feeling the pressure of getting to sleep so we wouldn't be grouchy in the morning.

Our friends were kind enough to plan and shop for all of the food, and we ate very well. The first night, Quenta had stuffed mushrooms waiting for us when we arrived. The next day, we enjoyed a late, leisurely breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast. That afternoon we went hiking and enjoyed a picnic of sandwiches. Saturday night, we feasted on the best steaks Marcus and I had ever had, as well as a delicious goat cheese appetizer and roasted asparagus. We truly felt like kings because we almost never take the time or money to make such delicious meals. Sunday was more bacon, eggs, and toast, followed by leftover steak for lunch and then bacon-wrapped shrimp for dinner. We were going to have scallops with the shrimp, but we were so stuffed that the scallops had to go back in the cooler for the trip home.

The cabin and the weather were both just beautiful. The temperature hovered in the upper 70's, lower 80's during the day, and 60's in the morning and evening. Just the perfect temperature to take advantage of the firepit by the front porch. Every night, we roasted smores and talked for hours. The boys (men) also found plenty of time to battle it out on Al's video game system, while Quenta and I chatted or slept. (We attempted a chick-flick once, but didn't end up watching more than about 20 minutes of it.) We also filled several hours playing Jenga, Texas Hold-em, and even spoons. Apparently, the care-free weekend really took us back to our younger days because we even got into a hilarious acorn fight while on our hike. Somebody picked up a little green acorn and chunked it at some one else, and the war was on. We were exhausted and out-of-breath after about 15 minutes of darting around trees and tossing acorns at each other, but it was FUN!

I can't believe how energized I feel from this weekend "off". I told a friend today that I feel like my cup of stress has been at least half full ever since I became a parent (often just an inch or two from overflowing), but this long weekend of being responsible for no one but myself has actually gotten me back to a practically empty cup. Knowing me, it will not take me long to begin refilling it, but I'm really enjoying how I feel right now.

On another note, I'm planning to take the rest of the week off of blogging, so don't worry about me if you don't see a post for a while. Enjoy the pictures from our weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Leaving the Kids

Well, Marcus and I navigated yet another parenting milestone this past weekend. We left the kids here in Birmingham with the boys' Mimi (who flew in from Florida), and drove a couple hours north to stay in a rented cabin with some friends for three nights. This is the first time that we've left the kids overnight, and we were a little nervous about how they'd do (particularly Ethan). This nervousness found its outlet in typing up a five-page document (that we both contributed to) with all kinds of information about the boys' eating, sleeping, discipline, playing, safety, etc. Mimi laughed when we gave it to her, commenting that she used to only have to read one page when she babysat Caleb back in Florida. Then we dilly-dallied for about an hour past our planned departure time, and were finally advised to go ahead and cut the umbilical cord and head on out. So we did.

And it turned out the boys did just fine without us. They definitely gave Mimi a full workout, complete with incessant energy, nap strikes, and a good amount of Ethan-whining, but she survived and even thrived. She took them to the mall, and to the library and to church. They built a fort with bed sheets and the dining room table, and piled toys underneath (they are still playing with their fort today).

Caleb is old enough now that he can tell long and detailed stories from the weekend, and my favorite story that he has told so far is about Mimi showing him where Mommy and Daddy went. I was very impressed with this idea. She had taken the name of the cabin and the town we were staying in and googled it. Then she sat the boys down on her lap in front of the computer and showed them pictures of the cabin from the rental agency website. Caleb told us laughingly that the cabin was silly because it had a bathtub outside (i.e. a hot tub). He also told us there were no toys to play with in the cabin and that's why we didn't take him and Ethan (good one, Mimi). This was a very wise and creative way for Mimi to show the boys that we hadn't just disappeared into the unknown, but that we were visiting a very specific house that they could see, and would soon return to be here with them again.

So, despite our belatedly severed umbilical cord, we had an absolutely wonderful, relaxing weekend, which I will post more about tomorrow.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pregnant Rachel

I bet I'm getting a lot of hits because of that subject line :) But, no, it is not what you think. I am not pregnant. Nor am I trying to get pregnant. Though I did take a test a few days ago due to the possible ramifications of an ill-timed event :). And I owe the inspiration for this blog entry to the barrage of thoughts that went through my mind during the 24-hours before taking that test.

On to the point: I am a COMPLETELY different person when I am pregnant (at least during the first trimester). I'm not more moody or emotional, but I go from very high-energy, productive, creative and social to a motionless couch potato who does absolutely nothing and doesn't even answer the phone. My friends in Gainesville have seen this transformation twice, but my friends here in Birmingham have no idea. Normally, I have a ridiculous amount of energy to go places, plan things, spend time with friends, cook things from scratch, bargain shop, play with the kids, blog, clean, etc. But when that first day of morning sickness hits, it is just me, the puke bowl, an ice pack (for the back of my neck, to ease the naseau) and the easy chair. I felt SO SORRY for Caleb when I was pregnant with Ethan because my answer to almost everything he asked was "Not right now, sweetie, Mommy feels really sick." At one point, Caleb actually started carrying a bowl around and pretended to puke in it. I don't know if that should have made me feel sad or made me laugh, but it did neither because I was too sick to feel anything.

With both boys, I felt seriously naseauted 85% of my waking hours, and occasionally the naseau would wake me up at night and I'd have to throw up before I could go back to sleep. From the 5th week to the 15th/17th week, this was my life: phone calls don't get returned, dishes piled up in the sink, no cooking of any kind was done (Marcus doesn't cook), and Marcus and I hardly spoke because as soon as he got home, I went to sleep. For me, the second and third trimesters and the first few months postpartum had their challenges, but they were cake compared to the first trimester. (The nice part is that it's all uphill after the morning sickness ends.) Anyway, since I doubt I'll do any blogging during my first trimester, I thought I'd give you all a heads-up of what is to come (though hopefully not until sometime next year). If you are reading this and you are one of my Birmingham friends, be ready to give me some grace as I drop off the face of the earth for three months and abdigate all church and relational responsibilites to whoever can pick them up. And feel free to come over and play with my kids when you have time...they are really going to need it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ethan (Monthly Update)

Ethan is 17-months-old today. His favorite thing in the world right now is drawing. He says "Draw! Draw! Draw!" while pointing at the little craft table at least a dozen times every day. It used to be that he just wanted to draw when Caleb was drawing, but now he wants to draw for his own sake. He prefers markers, but he will use crayons or even pens and pencils. And there have already been several times when I have forgotten that he has a marker in his hand and I have run up to the kitchen for something, only to return to a big marker streak across the wall or the carpet. (I think he immediately jumps down and starts drawing on forbidden places the moment I hit the stairs.) Thankfully, they are washable markers and come out of everything very easily. Another change from last month is that Ethan says "Please" and "Thankyou" now, though they come out as "eeze" and "ay-oo".

A funny bi-product of the homeschooling stuff I do with Caleb is that Ethan is addicted to the phonics website. All day long he begs for "leh-lehs" (letters). He even asks for specific letters now! He'll say "wan ah!" when he wants us to start the animation for letter "A" or "wan puh" for letter "P". I think he may learn the phonic sounds for each letter before he learns their actual names. Probably no harm there. It's also funny that he is afraid of several of the animations. The bear in "B" or the dinosaur in "D" causes him to slide off our laps and run away from the computer crying. He calls "Bye-bye, bye-bye" from across the room, which is his polite way of saying "go away" (his impolite way is screaming "NO" at the top of his lungs). When we click to the next screen, he runs back and clamors to be back in our laps. It really is hilarious. Both Marcus and I deliberately go to the "scary" ones sometimes because it is so funny to see Ethan go through these antics.

I am using time-out with him a lot right now, and it seems to be having somewhat of a positive effect (or else he is just outgrowing his impulsive hitting a little bit). He sits in time-out for hitting, pinching, pushing or snatching a toy. I usually give him a short chance to apologize and make it right (give the toy back) before doing time-out, but if he refuses, its to the booster seat he goes. He sits for about a minute, and then I ask him "Are you ready to say sorry?" He says "Yes, yes," so I unstrap the buckle and lead him over to the victim (usually Caleb), where he says "orry" and gives a hug and a kiss.

Ethan is a pretty good sleeper these days (and has been since he got his ear tubes at 11-months-old). He goes to bed around 7:30 pm and gets up between 6:00 and 6:30 most days. He's down to one nap, which lasts for about 2-hours (usually from 1:00 to 3:00 pm). So he sleeps 13 hours out of 24, which I think is pretty average for his age. He is easy to put to bed as well. We just read him a few baby books in the rocking chair in his room, and then rock/cuddle him while he drinks a cup of milk. Then we put him in his bed, say a little prayer, and leave the room. He plays in his crib for a little while and is almost always asleep within 15 minutes.

He is a cutie-pie, and we are so glad that he is ours!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stubborn Morning

As I've mentioned, Caleb is generally a compliant child, but he has his days. We had one of those days on Monday. Monday is our grocery shopping day, and the boys love to go grocery shopping because I always let them get a free cookie from the bakery at Publix. We were all getting ready to leave, and I said to Caleb, "Son, please pick up those toys and put them back in the basket before we go." Usually, he would pick up the toys without a word. Not today. He fell crying on the floor, wailing that he didn't want to pick up the toys. I calmly reminded him that what he wants is not the most important thing, and that it is his job to clean up toys when Mommy asks him to. (These are phrases he hears many, many times each week.) The fit continued. I saw that he was losing control of himself in his emotional storm, so I tried another tactic that has worked before:

"Caleb, do you like crying? Is it fun?"
"NOOOOO!" (wailing)
"Who controls your crying? Who makes it stop and start?"
"CAAA-LEEEBBB!!" (wailing louder)
"Well, then, why don't you make the crying stop since you don't like doing it?"

Sometimes, he chokes back a couple of sobs and gets control of himself, but not this time. Running out of resources and time, I sighed and made a decision to put the morning's plans on hold to see this battle to the end.

"Caleb, I have asked you to pick up those toys. We are not going to go to the grocery store or anywhere else until you do as I asked. You are also not allowed to play with other toys or read books until you pick those toys up. In addition, all of your crying needs to take place upstairs in your room, because Ethan and I do not want to listen to it."

I repeated my ultimatum, just in case he hadn't heard me completely. Then I carried him upstairs and put him in his room to finish his fit.

It has been a long time since Caleb pushed me this far, and I really didn't know what to expect. What ensued was another hour-and-a-half of coming downstairs tear-free, being reminded to pick up the toys, and then being carried back upstairs, wailing pleads and protests. (He was particularly upset when he came down and Ethan and I were having snacks without him.) Finally, after the third or fourth round of this cycle, he came downstairs and said, "I real, real, real angry...but I gonna pick up the toys now." And he did. Every single one.

After he was done, he was immediately cheerful again, and ready to go to the grocery store. He was very disappointed when I explained that all of his crying and waiting had used up the time we were planning to go shopping. But he accepted the natural consequence pretty well, and I think that he understood his responsibility for it.

I'm glad these kind of days are very few and far between!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why Are You Whining?

Last week, a friend and her 3-year-old son were over at our house for a play date. The boys were playing with some blocks together while my friend and I chatted. I stopped talking for a minute to listen to the boys work out a conflict. Caleb had placed a block and the little boy protested, "Not right there. Put it over here." Caleb said, "Hmmm, okay, we'll put it over there, if you like that," and proceeded to move the block. For some reason, right at that moment, the other little boy made an unhappy noise of some sort. Caleb stopped moving and looked at his friend with the most incredulous look I've ever seen on his face. And then he said in a voice and tone much older than his three years: "Why are you whining? I gave you what you wanted!"

My friend and I laughed so hard that we were holding our sides.

And, yes, I admit that, in moments of confused frustration, I have said that exact some thing to Caleb's demanding little brother.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

No Apologies

I have never used this blog as a political platform, and I don't intend to make a habit of it, but the quotes below came to me as an email forward and I decided they were worth sharing.


At a time when our president and other politicians tend to apologize for our country's prior actions, here's a refresher on how some of our former patriots handled negative comments about our country.

JFK'S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60's when DeGaule decided to pull out of NATO. DeGaule said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible. Rusk responded "does that include those who are buried here? DeGuale did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop .


When in England, at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of empire-building by George Bush. He answered by saying, "Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return."

You could have heard a pin drop.


There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American. During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying "Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has pulled? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intended to do, bomb them?"
A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly: "Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships. How many does France have?"

You could have heard a pin drop.


A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies. At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of Officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, "Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?" Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, "Maybe it's because the Brit's, Canadians, Aussie's and Americans arranged it so you wouldn't have to speak German."

You could have heard a pin drop.


Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane. At French customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.
"You have been to France before, monsieur?" the customs officer asked sarcastically.
Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.
"Then you should know enough to have your passport ready."
The American said, 'The last time I was here, I didn't have to show it."
"Impossible. Americans always have to show your passports on arrival in France!"
The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look. Then he quietly explained, ''Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn't find a single Frenchmen to show a passport to."