January 2: My buddies and back to “normal”?


Today was the last day off and wraps up several weeks of holiday breaks, school closures, and the resulting extra time off with the kids. It was a quiet day today but still one with errands and activities with my older kids, Big Bro and Red. Hubby and I went our own ways today and he had the Twins.

I gladly embraced the day with Big Bro and Red. They were my little side-kicks. They were so good today – it felt a bit strange not having the full set of kids together – and we did miss Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. In fact, there were several points in the day when something would remind one of us of them and we would all talk about it. Separation of the kids — there’s something that I REALLY do not like about it, especially since they’ve really started to play all together. But, the change in dynamics is really quite incredible. I felt so close to Big Bro and Red today. I felt calm. I felt like I was having actual conversations…

Big Bro was able to ask me questions about how things work (picture frame hooks, factories, online shopping and delivery, delivery tracking, paper clips, light switch dials on cords, jet fighters …. …. …. …. ) and I had the time to focus on his question and follow through with the answers, or at least hypotheses. He has such an inquisitive mind. He really needs to understand how things work. And I enjoy teaching him. I enjoy talking things through with him. I enjoy seeing his expression as he soaks in the information – how his eyebrows furrow and even today he paused a bit, and then told me, “So now I understand what jet fighters do and why they call them that.” He is such a serious child but in a second later his face lights up like a five year old child and reassures me that he is balanced. We bought Star Wars sheets for him through Amazon and he was so excited about it that he jumped up and down on my lap, turned to me, and said “I love you mommy.” oh my heart stopped for a second. A set of sheets. Bedsheets. And I am his hero over bedsheets? Too cute.

Red and I kept talking about getting haircuts together but in the end they never happened – she didn’t want to go. But she was beaming with independence today. She helped me with bags, she can completely buckle herself in her carset, and she had no problems going potty in public restrooms. I think she enjoyed it so much we went a few times and then in mid seating she decided that she didn’t have to go. She had opinions during shopping and she had opinions going through hand-me-down clothes from a friend. She is growing up.

It was a day of errands; eating bagels together, returning some things at Macy’s, then checking out Kohls and Bed Bath and Beyond for bedsheets for the kids (NOTHING was there… hence the Amazon shopping trip in the evening), buying decorative wall hangings at Pier 1 (and the kids had their opinions on what to get and made some EXCELLENT choices), and going out to lunch at In and Out Burger – they were thrilled for chocolate milkshakes.

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Big Bro got extra alone time with me when the others were napping. He was helping to fill up a frame set that has clips on it to hang pictures or drawings – so he was busy writing all of our family members names and drawing pictures and finding photos to include in the set. We also did pre-shopping on Amazon for the bedsheets and picked out several options for Red to decide on when she woke up from her nap. We had fun together.

I reunited with the Twins and gave them baths. Dinner and bedtime ran by me like a storm.

So it was a normal sub-urban day, but it was extraordinary for the three of us. It was a nice way to end the long break. Tomorrow will be back to normal; all kids in childcare, 3 drop offs, a commute to the city for work. Things are twisting a bit in our household so there are other changes too – we are all getting used to the “new normal” and I myself am not used to any normal routine – this new routine is kindof unfolding and being refined day-by-day. I know I’m being cryptic but for good reason.

Hope everyone’s day on Tuesday goes well – the return to work, the return to the normal routine – but at least it will be a short week!

Til tomorrow –
– Mama K

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December 28: Working with Big Bro


Wednesday – a work from home day. Big Bro’s school is closed so I decided to keep him home with me instead of pay for “camp” – especially since I am home, and only working 4 hours today. He was looking forward to the day. Red – well, not so much. I think she was jealous.

Highlights of the Morning and “Commute”:

  • I got up extra early, showered, started a big pot of coffee. I did not get much sleep last night. So I needed the extra caffeine and would be home to drink it. I got Twin Crazy and Twin Husky up – they are always already up, but just hanging out in their cribs at 7 AM. So I went to their room, they jumped up and were excited about starting their day. I did quick changes for them while they were in the room so they were contained and that task would be done with.
  • Red was up, Big Bro was still slumbering. I let him sleep. There was no need to get him up; as long as he was up by 8 AM for us to drop folks off.
  • Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, and Red were busy eating cereal and oatmeal. Twins are talking and repeating words non-stop. I love it. Absolutely love it.
  • The morning went smoothly. Except for when Red heard that Big Bro was staying home and she was not. That threw her into a fit, I rocked her, and then asked her if she wanted to help me with my coffee. That worked. She put sugar and cream in my cup – and all kids looked at it. Then I poured the coffee and talked about how the coffee was first dark, but when you put cream in it, it turns light. Of course the Twins were repeating all of this in their own way.
  • We headed out; I dropped off Hubby at the ferry and we talked about the boat. I dropped off Twin Crazy and Twin Husky, and then we dropped off Red. She was pretending to be mad at me, but just couldn’t play the part consistently. She kept laughing at me – couldn’t hold it back.
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    Highlights of the Working Day:
    Remember… I’m working from home, for 4 hours, and I have my son with me. And its a slow week. During the holidays…

  • While back at home, Big Bro and I ate pancakes and the cutest thing was said: “Mommy, can you eat these pancakes with me because I have a TON of whipped cream on this plate.” How cute. He is a guy that feels loved by doing things together – and this comes out so strongly now that I am aware of it.
  • I filled out administrative forms and benefits while Big Bro played with his new LeapPad and watched some Dora. He got anxious and played a bit outside.
  • In the middle of work I decided to use the leftover ham from Christmas and made split pea soup. In typical fashion for me, I overdid it. I just wanted to use all of the dried split peas we had. So I wound up making I think 2 gallons of split pea soup. It’s actually a bit ridiculous. I don’t think I have enough containers to hold it all to freeze. I may have to give some away to neighbors. Too funny. Some people give cookies, I may give soup. Note: My holiday cards are STILL not sent out.
  • I finished up the forms and needed to fax them in. So me and Big Bro head out to Office Max to fax and FedEx. It took a lot longer than expected. Poor Big Bro. While going to the store he said he was too tired to put his shoes on (jokingly). He was doing and saying a lot today to make me laugh. He is becoming a simple and funny guy – with a smart sense of humor – one that makes me laugh at a drop of a hat (OK, I’m biased. Maybe he’s not that funny after all).
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    The Rest of the Day:

  • We went to lunch together. We talked. I blogged a bit while he LeapPaded. He made a comment that we were both doing computers together. Again, his mention of togetherness. It means so much to him.
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  • We got some food from Trader Joe’s. Again, he was my buddy. We talked during the shopping trip about the stuff we needed or would like to get. He was great company and sooooo well behaved.
  • We made it home and I packaged up the soup – ridiculous, I know.
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  • I cleaned up and got ready for the arrival of the rest of the kids. In doing so, I sat with Big Bro and together we completed his Lego space shuttle together. I had fun doing that with him. I’m amazed at how quickly he has mastered this thing. He follows all of the pages and puts this thing together effortlessly. I think his request for “help” again was a ploy for together, Mommy time. I happily caved.
  • Pick up for Red was fine; on the way to pick up the twins, Red asked if she could stay home tomorrow with me, all by herself. I reminded her that NEXT Wednesday would be her day. I reminded her that I have Twin Crazy, Twin Husky, and Big Bro tomorrow at home, and asked her if she would want to stay home too. She immediately said “YES!!!” and then they both started talking about how everyone wants to stay home with mommy tomorrow. It melted my heart. I asked if they liked it better with extra time with me and less time for me at work and they agreed – they like it better. I know, this was a “leading” question, but hey, I needed an emotional boost. 🙂
  • Getting everyone home was fine. We saw an amazing sunset and I pulled over with them to talk about it and the colors. The kids still saw lots of lights on the houses so we drove around talking about lights. By the way, I don’t know if I mentioned Twin Crazy’s new skill – buckles. She MUST buckle her top buckle on her car seat. I love her intensity and the fact that we can communicate with each other.
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  • While at home, I cooked Tandoori Chicken with yogurt sauce (Amazing!!! Thanks again Mama S!) while the kids went a little bit nuts I must confess. They were VERY loud and VERY physical and teasing each other and being bratty kids. Poor Twin Husky was being battered on. He spent most of this time crying, or being held by me while resting his head on my shoulder and sucking his thumb.
  • Dinner was amazing; half the kids ate well. Red was tired and pouty. The rest were running around the house at least not thrashing each other. I’m OK with running around the big circle of our house as long as they are keeping their hands to themselves and not screaming. Tonight after dinner they were cracking up and I loved to see Big Bro interact with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky (a four year difference). Big Bro asked me to see how fast he could run and of course I applauded him and then Twin Crazy the rest of the night asked me to see how fast she could run. How cute. Each time they ran around they stopped where I was and laughed, rested, or I tickled them. It was fun and they had me laughing.
  • Then suddenly one of the kids mentioned chocolate ice-cream and then ALL of them started whining for chocolate ice-cream. I couldn’t take it. It was early but I sent everyone upstairs to bed. The older ones were really putting up a fuss about the ice-cream thing which just ticked me off. Big Bro and Red were both hysterical about it; Red was being carried up by Hubby and she was kicking and screaming. I rarely see anything like this from her. We talked about how they felt, and how sad/mad/unhappy/disappointed they must feel. And I said how I used to feel the same way when I was a kid and my parents didn’t give me dessert when I thought I was going to get some… how I would be thinking about it and expecting it and then my mom or dad wouldn’t let me have it, how it made me mad/sad/disappointed. And how it is OK to have those feelings. THEY SETTLED DOWN SO QUICKLY I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. I then commended them on how they pulled themselves together and how they moved on. How they calmed their bodies down and started to accept it – they still feel mad, but at least they are calm about it. I love connecting with them this way – I find though that you really need to be patient with them; it is easier for me to do this when I have days like today – versus days when I am stressed and/or tired from long or complex day at work. Or, even after a long day with all of the kids. I really only had Big Bro today and he was a breeze, solo.
  • Big Bro and Red and I wrote down a list of things we are DEFINITELY going to do tomorrow (e.g., eat breakfast, vitamins, etc.) and some fun things we COULD do (beach, museum, library, etc.). I’m looking forward with my time with all of them tomorrow but hope I get more sleep tonight!!!
  • I had a bizarre work day, and do not feel so good about my productivity, but I toss it up to the week between the holidays…. right??!?! Am I the only one out there?

    I’m feeling happy and much more comfortable in my own skin today – thanks for those who reached out to me yesterday and today to send me cyber-strength. It means so much, seriously.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    November 30: Stealing Red


    Half of a work day! From home! YES!!!!

    Highlights of My Morning and “Commute”:

    • Red woke me up proud that she was already dressed for the morning. However, she only changed her top. So she did great, 1/2 of the way.
    • The Twins came bounding into the room – lots of hugs and jumping. I love that part of the day when the kids are excited to see us. By the time they reach Big Bro’s age, I guess they lull in bed and you have to tear them out and ask if it’s OK to give them a morning hug and kiss. 🙂
    • Downstairs, all kids were at the kitchen counter on stools. It was so cute. They were all lined up and sharing space and eating. As Hubby made lunches, Twin Husky hurled himself on the counter to reach for sliced apples. So they really had a diverse breakfast this morning.

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    • The older kids knew that I was working from home today, and a 1/2 day. So Big Bro knew that I was going to walk the Twins to daycare and also have him scooter his way to school. He was thrilled, but Red was upset about this. But then Red also knew that I was going to “steal” her from pre-school today early, and spend some 1:1 time with her (since Big Bro had time with me 1:1 last week). She was thrilled, but Big Bro was upset about this. So there they were fighting about the time they were going to spend with me. Big Bro wants Wednesday afternoons to be “Big Bro and Red” time together with me, versus 1:1 time. I asked him if we could talk about it later since Red would also have to agree. For now, she is excited about potentially going on a choo-choo train ride, and at that point Big Bro threw himself on the floor in a tantrum.
    • The walk to school/daycare was great. We by chance met up with our neighbors who also walk/bike to the school. I call all the kids together the “Motley Crew” — I laugh about that, and of course the kids have no clue what I’m alluding to. So together we all walked/strolled/scootered/biked to school. Big Bro had a great time and felt grown up as he locked up his scooter to the chain-linked fence.
    • I then strolled the Twins to daycare and brought along a potty for Twin Crazy, just in case she feels brave enough to try the potty at daycare. The Twins love the stroller rides in the morning. I have a feeling they do not get the chance to be “really” outside during the day at daycare. We talked about the falling leaves, the leaves on the ground, the sound of barking dogs….
    • My walk back was great. It felt good to get out, walk the trail back home, see the leaves on the ground, know that the kids were all close-by. So that stroll back by myself was my “commute” home and to work for the day. I LOVE THIS NEW WORKING ARRANGEMENT….

    Highlights of my 1/2 Working Day:

    I had a great day at home working and I think that working 1/2 days at home are so much better than full days. On full days, I tended to get sluggish from the absence of people. But 4 hours at home is a breeze. It gives me just enough time to be productive and not waste time. It occurs to me that I have so many pictures posted of my kids but nothing related to my work. So here it goes — below is my working set up while at home. Comfy couch, wired computer, plenty of coffee and water. And my phones close by.

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    • I had to troubleshoot some reporting problems we have with one of the forums I am managing. There are data issues and report distribution issues that I was not aware of. I think the problem is being addressed, but it does not make our firm look good to our clients. I need to make sure this type of thing does not happen again in the future…
    • I am happy to report that I received the work in progress work for my client project from the consultant who is helping me, and it looked like a REALLY good first start. I therefore was happily and aggressively working on the deliverable – it is so much easier for me to pull something together when I have good, strong, smart people working with me and creating materials that I can simply review versus re-do. So I had a very productive morning and sent off a first draft of the deliverable to my Directors for their first review. I will need to focus on content early next week and we will meet with the client at the end of next week. I think we are in good shape so I feel great about that.
    • I then submitted my timesheet and signed off for the day. 🙂

    The Rest of the Day:

    • I went to lunch at 1:15 and ate at a great sushi place while typing on my iPad. I called Red’s pre-school to see when they wake up from nap. 2:30. Great. That gave me time to go food shopping before I stole her for our 1:1 time….
    • Red was so excited to see me. She was smiling and jumping up and down. She was literally speechless.

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    • I asked her what she wanted to do and she wanted to go shopping for new underwear for Twin Crazy. So cute. I suggested feeding the ducks first. We had a great time. She sat on my lap. There were four different kinds of ducks there all with different looks and different quacks. Some were meek and some were aggressive. We talked about the different kinds of ducks and tried to throw the bread to the meeker ducks.

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    • We then went shopping. On our way we made a list. I never walk into a store until I make a verbal list with the kids. This prevents melt-downs when I say we cannot buy random stuff at the store that they happen to fall in love with. So on our list was 1) underwear for Twin Crazy, and 2) sneakers for Red. When we walked in there I was sidetracked by blankets and Red quickly remarked “No Mommy. That’s not on our list.” I couldn’t believe it. “Thank you [Red] for keeping me on track.” So cute. Then she got sidetracked with the Christmas ornaments but she did not break down in a tantrum when we moved on because they were not on the list. We shopped for sneakers. She needed a pair with lights. We went shopping for small underwear for Twin Crazy. She picked out a package that she thought Twin Crazy would like. We stopped at a drug store for pull-ups for Twin Crazy. I found the right size and gender, and Red picked out a package that she wanted us to buy. She is so sweet. Shopping for Twin Crazy was the first thing she wanted to do with her alone time with me. I am so lucky that these kids are so empathetic with each other.

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    • We then picked up Big Bro and the Twins; I cooked a quick dinner; we tried more potty time with Twin Crazy without luck – but she loved the pull-ups (so much so that she had on about 4 or 5 pairs all over her legs). I felt like I didn’t have enough time with Twin Husky but I’ll make it up to him tomorrow.

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    I had a great day. I felt like I contributed to our family finances and then had the opportunity to steal my child for 1:1 time. Dinner and after dinner was a blur with kids and a flurry of activity but I enjoyed it; and am enjoying my couch now even more than earlier today! Wait a minute…. I hear some stifled laughing at the steps…. I better go now and be a tough-ass so these kids respect me and go to bed.

    Till tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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