April 3: Big Brother and his sisters’ tears


Chocolate Tuesday!

Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Red woke up at 5 AM; I went to check on her. There was no heat on. It was 66 degrees. I put the heat on and decided to bring her down with me since it was almost morning anyway.
  • All kids were going crazy with chocolate tuesday. Red was a bit finicky and having problems communicating what she wanted for breakfast. I asked her what bread she wanted. Regular bread or tortilla? She wanted a tortilla and her face lit up with a smile.
  • The kids were “testing” the chocolate Nutella to see if it was OK. [A hypothesis of the reason why Red was rejecting her breakfast was that the chocolate was not good. So we did an experiment and checked the Nutella chocolate to make sure it tasted OK. It did.]
  • Kids were acting silly with head motions so I asked them if they were stretching and exercising. That really got them going with more movement.
  • Red and Big Bro were already dressed from the night before. They wanted to get ready fast this morning so when they set out their clothes last night, they decided to get changed into them and sleep in them to save them time this morning. I told them last night that they were ridiculous, laughed, told them to wear what is comfortable, and left their room. They were ready very quickly this AM!
  • Everyone was ready so early that there was plenty of time to play. Big Bro started to read Twin Crazy a picture book.
  • We did drop offs all together this AM. We were ready quickly so all got in the van and dropped off Twins first, and then Red/Big Bro at Red’s school [he is on spring break so we are paying extra for “camp” for him this week]. They enjoyed all being together in the van. I felt a pang of sorrow for them and their excitement.
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    I am now on the ferry with a lot on my mind. I will be busy at work but I think everything is under control, at this point. I also have things to think about related to personal items…. some things I need to check on to prepare for big meetings at the end of the week.

    Today at work I have one team working session scheduled to go over the team’s analysis and one client touchpoint meeting. This gives me a lot of time to focus on other work and actually get work accomplished. Some sell meetings to schedule, some follow up with speakers, confirmations of speaker times, etc. I also have to think through revamping the entire work product that our company presents at the forums. It is extremely manual to update for each meeting and also the story/takeways are not compelling. Visually it is hard to digest. The files are at graphics now and I need to think through the work product and make changes to format, insight, structure, etc. to make the presentation more concise, compelling, and visually easier to digest. That will take some time but I think I can get to it today. I would like to have a final re-vamp done by end of week for Director review. I think it will be a good day. I’m not stressed at all about where we are in terms of meetings and deliverables.

    Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I spent time with the project team on our client work and also client update.
  • I spent time reaching out to potential speakers and guests to our forums
  • I remembered to grab printouts of our work product for the forums but did not have a chance to review
  • I spent quite a bit of time on personal things – necessary personal things
  • I’m on the ferry home and am feeling angry. I really want to see the kids. They put a smile on my face and make me relax. They can sooooo effectively use humor with me and they know what to do to get a laugh out of me. It’s easy for them to do. And we enjoy these times. So, I’m looking forward to seeing my kids and laughing with them tonight.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • I picked up Red and Big Bro, and then we went to pick up Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. We found them taking a walk along the sidewalk with their daycare provider as we pulled into the courtyard with the van. Red and Big Bro went nuts. I pulled over to the side and drove up very slowly…. Red and Big Bro both unbuckled their seatbelts and flew to the windows demanding for the windows to be pulled down. There we were, in the van and cheering outside of the window, to Twin Crazy and Twin Husky who were both very excited for the warm welcome.
  • At home I started cooking fish and rice. It was baked, so I had some time with the kids before it was ready. We played for a bit, went potty A LOT (Twin Crazy getting used to the chocolate chip rewards), went for a walk to the mailbox to get the mail, ran around a bit…. Twin Crazy then had a poop accident. While I was upstairs getting her new clothes, somebody (still not sure who) climbed up something (still don’t know what) and grabbed the huge bag of chocolate chips from Costco… there were chips ALL OVER THE KITCHEN FLOOR. I threatened to put locks on all of the cabinets since the kids have proven to me that they cannot be trusted. Everyone was silent.
  • We had some problems with Red during dinner. She was saying that she wanted carrots but not talking clearly. So she eventually threw herself on the floor after we were not able to understand her. Eventually I asked her to either speak clearer, or go into the other room with a book because I did not want to hear it anymore. I eventually had to pick her up with a book, and take her into the other room. At that point she clearly told me that she wanted carrots. I gave carrots to her. She was smiling.
  • After dinner I played “tickle monster”, cleaned up from dinner, and then became the “tickle monster” again. The kids were playing well with each other – Big Bro putting everyone’s stuffed animals to “night night”, giving them wagon rides…. helping Twin Crazy get her new underwear on…. they really were getting along very well.
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  • I was on Twin Crazy and Twin Husky duty tonight. They went down OK, Twin Crazy a bit tough. Red was having a very difficult time. She wanted to stay with me as I read to the Twins. I let her. The cutest thing was the big, big hugs that the Twins gave each other tonight. They embraced, held each other tight, pulled away looking at each other and laughing, and then embracing yet again. IT WAS SOOOOO SWEET I couldn’t believe it. I haven’t seen this affection in this way, with this intensity, so far. It was too cute.
  • I went downstairs and heard so much commotion upstairs. I had to go up. I knew Red was having a really rough time so wanted to go to her. I found Twin Crazy and Twin Husky up in Big Bro/Red’s room reading a book with co-parent!! What?!??!?!? What is this routine? I already put them to bed. “They were crying so I’m reading them a book.” Are you kidding me??@!?!??! Not the kind of routine that I want to start. I brought them both back into their room. Twin Crazy was VERY upset. I sat with her and hugged her and calmed her down. She told me she didn’t want to go night-night. I told her that it was time for everyone to go night-night, that she wasn’t missing out on anything. Eventually I saw that the bathroom door was closed. She is now scared of the dark. I asked her if she was scared because the door was closed and she said YES. I asked her if we need to open the door and she said YES. I asked her if that was the reason why she was so upset and she said YES. I consoled her and told her that yes, the dark CAN be scary and that she must have been very scared with the door closed. I rocked her. I asked her if she was OK now and she said Yeah. I asked if it was better that the bathroom door was open for her and she said Yeah. I asked her if she could go to sleep now and she said Yeah. I put her back into her crib, her little face looking up at me, and told her that it was OK, that it was OK to feel scared, but the bathroom door was open and it wasn’t so dark in her room anymore. I left the room, kept her bedroom door open a bit, asked if that was OK and if she was OK and I heard her say Yeah.
  • Then it was working on Red. I sat with her in the hallway and hugged her in silence. I walked her back into her room. She did not want me to leave, but I did. I went downstairs and she followed me down in a fit. I dried off her face and carried her upstairs. I sat down with her and read her a book. I held her some more. I put her to bed. I put on her special blanket. I brought up my iPad and am now typing in the hallway outside of her room, which I promised to do for her. She hears me typing. She knows I’m closeby. I hear her sighing from time to time and know that she is relaxing and going to sleep.
  • I am so tired. I am so scared for these kids. It will just get worse for them. As it gets better for me, it will get worse for them… so in the end it gets worse for me too. These kids are going to be put to the test. And I know them. I know what gets them upset. I can understand them – and when I cannot, I take the time to figure it out. I let them know, and I prove to them, that it is important to me to understand them and connect with them. I try to understand their fears, their needs, their emotions…. even when they themselves cannot. I am taking the time because it comes natural for me. And also because I know that I cannot be there for them all the time – so I’m trying to do my best with the time that I have to give. To reassure them and help them when I see that they need the help.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

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    March 29: Sitting in the Hallway


    The end of a Thursday. I took some time off to take care of personal things but had a leisurely drop off with the kids and an early pick up with them too. So I feel like I had some good time with each of them. I’m looking forward to calling it a night. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to the weekend.

    Highlights of the Morning:

    • The SECOND morning that Twin Crazy woke up with a dry diaper!!!! We all were excited for her and we all looked into the potty after she was done.
    • I had some cuddling time with Twin Husky after the kids ate breakfast and before they got dressed. It was nice to sit with him and talk with him.
    • I asked Big Bro to take a picture of me and Twin Husky and he had fun taking pictures of himself. We all started cracking up at the picture of him, particularly when we were reviewing the pictures and got to the one of him looking goofy into the camera.
    • Red wanted to take a picture too – I have a bunch of photographers on my hands. I wonder where they get that from….
    • I got the Twins in their jackets and they wanted to each wear their rainboots. They were in their stroller in no time and together with Big Bro we went out to meet the Motley Crew.
    • We dropped of Big Bro, and then I dropped of the Twins. I walked home with an empty stroller thinking about the things I needed to get done today. I was ready to get started.

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    Once I got home I cleaned up from breakfast, loaded the dishwasher, straightened up a bit, and took a shower. I took all of my paperwork out, booted up my computer, and made sure I had my phone plugged in to recharge. I got started and was efficient. I actually got done the two major things I needed to complete today (my own self-goal) and also caught up with some friends on Facebook chat. I actually laughed out loud several times today. It was sunny. I felt good.

    Highlights of the Rest of the Day:

    • At 3 PM I called the quits. I wanted to see the kids.
    • I picked up the twins first. They were busy eating pretzels at daycare.
    • I then picked up Big Bro from the playground. He went to get his bike and he met me by the van. He rode his bike and I followed along with hazards on to Red’s school.
    • We got to Red’s school and Twin Crazy went potty, washed her hands.
    • We rode back to the house – this is great exercise for Big Bro. He winds up falling right to sleep at bedtime because of the physical activity. He did a dance when we got back to the garage. He’s acting sillier and sillier, which I love.
    • At home, we played outside in the backyard for a bit. We kicked balls and ate snacks. Unfortunately I offered red grapes but they had seeds in them. So all kids (including me) rejected them and I wound up picking up chewed up grapes all over the place.
    • I started to make some dinner – flat meat chicken fried up with homemade breadcrumbs. YUM.
    • Big Bro read one of his “easy reader” books to his siblings. As the dinner was cooking, I sat down with Big Bro and then he read to me. I loved it.
    • After dinner, I quickly cleaned up and loaded the dishwasher.
    • We played hide and seek for quite awhile. Red was my partner. Twin Crazy was with Big Bro. Twin Husky was with co-parent. It was a lot of fun. Twin Crazy is REALLY adventurous and independent. Not scared. She played really well with Big Bro.
    • We then rough-housed a bit. Tickled. Did horsie-rides. I also got some exercise in with a new move I do with the kids… they straddle and cling to the bottom part of my leg while I am lying down and I do leg-lifts with the child on my leg. I can even do this now with Big Bro and he is at least 55 pounds. I feel like I’m getting back into shape. I now have to come up with some ideas for upper body toning…. maybe push ups with a child on my butt or something…

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    I had Big Bro and Red tonight for bed. They did great. The Twins each came in their room to get a kiss goodnight. Twin Husky pointed to the part on his head where I could kiss him. Twin Crazy just gave me a full fledged kiss right on my face. So cute.

    I talked with Big Bro and Red about their owies and put A&D oinment on his elbow and on her scratched face. We talked about Big Bro’s owie and how it already looks so much better. They both said their owies would get even better overnight as the medicine works and as their bodies heal. I tell them that it is amazing what their bodies can do. How it can heal and how you need to take care of your body. Big Bro said he knows how the owies go away. He said the new skin comes in and the old skin with the owie falls off. I think he’s right. I taught him about scabs. So yes, I think that’s part of it. I also told him that in addition to that, broken skin knows to come back together and heal. So that’s probably something that is also happening as an owie heals.

    I love having these kinds of conversations with the kids. They hang on every word. They remember everything. And I can tell that inside of their heads they are making connections with other experiences they’ve had in their past. I love being a teacher to these kids.

    *****

    I’m sitting outside of Big Bro/Red’s room now, in the hallway. I think me being at least close to her helps. There is no crying. No fussing. She just relaxes and goes to sleep. It’s as if I’m in my own room next to theirs…. the room I used to sleep in. Just knowing that there is a parent close-by who will come to them if needed I think really helps. I know it would make a difference to me if I was a 3-4 year old. So I will continue to do this, even if it is not on my nights. And I will gradually go downstairs back into the depths of my den until her crying at night is no longer an issue. At least it is not physical contact. She does not see me. But she knows I am there. And that makes me feel better as a worried mom, particularly for my child who I know has been described as “emotionally needy.”

    So, I’m feeling good overall. I’m headed downstairs after I make sure the heat is turned on.
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    March 27: Lots of rain but no heat.


    Rain! Rain! Rain! I’m moving slowly this AM. A bit from the rainy gray day, and also lack of sleep. Red was up crying last night at 1 AM and co-Parent was barely getting out of bed. She went right back to sleep but the heat was not on!!! [How much money does it really save to keep the heat off during the night?] It was 62 degrees in the house! So we were moving kindof slow today, and now ALL FOUR KIDS are sick. Sneezes, runny noses.

    Highlights of the Morning:

  • Chocolate Tuesday!! Twins were happy eating, even though they were sneezing intermittently.
  • Red and Big Bro were still upstairs, slumbering. It was hard to get Red up. She was moody. I had trouble with her picking out her clothes [this should be done the night before]. She had issues with the shirt, the pants. I sat with her and talked with her. I told her I felt tired. And a little bit sick. And that sometimes its hard to get moving in the morning when you feel that way. But I said I was going to eat breakfast to give me some energy (I usually don’t eat at home – lack of time). I asked her if she could help me pick out my breakfast (cream of wheat packets) and that I would eat if she would too. That seemed to work. She embraced me and we went downstairs together with her pile of clothes.
  • Red picked out my breakfast and she got ready for Chocolate Tuesday.
  • I took Twin Crazy to the potty for positive reinforcement. I told her how proud of her I am. Her face squishes up in a big smile whenever I say that. She is doing soooooooo good with potty training. Hopefully she does well today.
  • I next went to work on Big Bro. He was upstairs still in bed. I mentioned Chocolate Tuesday. He still wasn’t moving quickly. I talked about last night and how he went to sleep late and that’s why he must feel a bit tired this morning (and I do too). Then we started talking about the funny things from last night… how Red was asking in the monitor “[Big Bro], where are you?”…. and “Mommy….. I’m scared.” And we talked about how I hear them at night when they are talking to each other as they go to sleep and how I laugh when I hear them laugh and say funny things. We both were laughing at that. I put a pile of clothes together for him (favorite pair of jeans) and gave him privacy to get changed upstairs by himself.
  • I ate breakfast!!!
  • Got Big Bro’s breakfast
  • Dished out the vitamins for all of the sick kids
  • Helped Big Bro with his sneakers (our little together time)
  • Helped Red get changed; she had her backpack ready.
  • Found out that the Motley Crew was still going to RIDE today so we got Big Bro’s helmet on and off he went. I text with the other mommy which makes things really easy in the morning.
  • I packed up the Twin bag and Co-parent dropped off Twins.
  • I dropped off Red and we made a quick pit-stop to the bathroom to wipe off the chocolate off of her face. I like this one-one time with her. I took my time wiping off her face and was gentle with her. We talked about how Twin Crazy likes to wipe our faces and laughed about that. We walked into her classroom and again she was proud of her HUGE backpack. Once we got there, I realized that she showed up to school with FOUR jackets…. two spring jackets, one fleece, and one raincoat. All but one shoved in her backpack. Too cute.
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    I arrived in the Ferry parking lot a bit early, was able to get a parking spot without a problem. Then the rain started. I sat there for a bit since I was early. I checked my email. I wondered how Big Bro’s ride was going and that hopefully they reached the school in time.

    Now I’m on the ferry and it is bumpy. It’s supposed to rain the rest of the week. I will be busy again today. I have seven meetings today and am overbooked for two of them — 3 related to forum planning, 2 related to client project, one performance review (mine), one firm-wide staff meeting/conference call. PLUS I need to still get work complete for a different client project. It will likely be quite impossible. I’ll have to lug that binder back home and focus on that tomorrow, I betcha.

    Highlights of the Working Day:
    Another busy day —

  • 2 planning meetings for forums;
  • 1 interview with a potential speaker – we are going to bring her in for the Fall, but not for the Spring since her data will be more relevant then
  • 1 primary interview for the client project
  • 1 status meeting with the client to preview initial insights from interviews and our refined thinking of the quantitative analysis
  • my annual review. It was OK. 2011 sucked and my review reflected that. But my new role with the forums is working and they will continue to focus me in that area, while allowing me the time to cultivate client relationships/project sales, but also reducing my direct involvement with project delivery. I have to keep myself focused on work and on the kids. I need for both of these aspects to stay on track – I will worry about myself later. Overall I’m pretty satisfied with the discussion.
  • So now I’m on the ferry and it is a completely rough ride. We are tossing and turning all over the place and its actually quite fun. We’re hitting big swells and I’m getting that negative g-force feeling in my stomach. Fun.

    I’m looking forward to an evening with the kids. Not sure about dinner – I have not planned that far in advance. Maybe fish since that cooks up quickly in the oven, even frozen.

    Dinner and Bedtime:
    Rain, rain, rain…

  • I picked up Red in a downpour. She wore her cute little cat raincoat.
  • We picked up Twins next. And then Big Bro. Big Bro and I ran through the rain to get his bike. We were both soaked by the time I loaded it into the trunk. Looks like we’ll be dropping him off tomorrow – we’re expecting rain the rest of the week.
  • I got everyone home and started dinner. Red was having multiple breakdowns. Crying and not talking. Not communicating the issue. She gets that way sometimes. I think the lack of sleep and feeling sick are impacting her today.
  • We found two different spiders and the kids went nuts looking at them each. I was brave and got some paper and collected the scared creatures and returned them outside. I probably drowned the poor things – they were probably escaping the rain; we rarely see spiders at all inside the house.
  • Kids ate reasonably well. Red had one or two tantrums.
  • Twin Husky has been crying on and off all night too.
  • Big Bro has been teasing a bit.
  • Co-parent is playing with the kids on the floor. He’s actually awake. No… wait… he just put his head down and is now snoozing with the kids around him. Typical. He’s just laying on the floor with his eyes closed with all of these kids surrounding him. It makes me ill.
  • Twin Crazy just came over to me for a visit. I’m going to play with her now.
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    I’m sitting down, feeling like crap. I can barely swallow. My head is pounding. My throat hurts and my nose is running. I’m achy. I want to curl up and make this go away. I can’t stand the sound of his voice.

  • I had bedtime with Big Bro and Red. It was really fast. Twin Crazy paid us a visit and sat on Big Bro’s lap for a bit during booktime. Big Bro was trying to get me to read a second book and I wouldn’t give in. Red was acting playful despite the lack of sleep. Big Bro looked exhausted. I tucked them both in, gave them their kisses, and headed out the door.
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    So I’m downstairs now, feeling like poop. I just ate a huge bowl of ice-cream with Rice Krispies mixed in (my favorite). This is not a very healthy living environment. I feel like this is my bear den and my cubs are upstairs too far away from me. I want to fast forward. Red is crying. Let me go to her.

    After talking, reassuring, laughing, more hugging, and I love yous, it is now 9 PM and this child has started to cry again. Wish me luck tonight.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    March 19: Power Day! No, roller coaster day….


    This was an AWESOME day. It just all sortof came together – very busy, but very smoothe. Update: no, it ended on a really sour note. Blech.

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Twin Crazy was excited about bringing her bouncy, laughing, jumping doll to daycare. She was also excited about bringing her new backpack (thank you Nana!).
  • All kids ate quickly, and got dressed AOK. No problems. No issues. No crying over socks. No crying over shirts. Their clothes were out, their favorites were clean.
  • Even though Big Bro lost his bike riding privelege this AM, he did not put up a fuss. He knew that he wasn’t able to ride and just dealt with it. There was no whining about it, which I was grateful for.
  • We all got ready so quickly that we all took the same van together for drop offs. We dropped of Twin Crazy and Twin Husky first, then Big Bro, then daddy off at the ferry station, and then I dropped off Red, solo. We looked at the rainbow that her class painted and I had to take turns with her to get a picture of her with it.
  • I got back home and started my working day – ate breakfast, cleaned up a bit, and got my computer and phones out. I was ready to begin.
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    Highlights of the Working Day:

  • I reviewed a client presentation that we gave today. There were a few changes that needed to be made before we could present it to the client.
  • I must have reached out to 20+ people to confirm partipation, speaking spots, etc. I confirmed topic and focus areas with the clients of one forum.
  • There were lots of emails to trouble-shoot today.
  • I started to get ready for my client presentation. Hair dry, make up, suit. I got my lunch ready – 2 cheesesticks and a Pepsi. I got my car phone charger and also my ear bud microphone. I listened to Metallica on the car ride until I had to turn it off to get ready for a conference call.
  • I had a conference call on my drive to the client as a status check for one meeting in April we are spear-heading. I finished the call in the parking lot of the client office building.
  • We had our interim review with the client and they seriously love us. I presented the work and it was very much “work together” – bringing the boss up to speed on the analysis, discussing highlights from interviews, and working with them to think through initial scenarios to run with our market sizing model. We mapped out what we will be able to deliver by next Tuesday’s status meeting and I believe that we continue to impress them with the analysis, thinking, and teaming along the way.
  • I drove back home and blasted heavy metal. Scorpions. Tesla. I felt alive.
  • I got home right at 5 PM and had time to switch to the mini-van. I went to pick up all the kids and start my 2nd shift.
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    Dinner and Bedtime:

  • All pick ups were great; I gave them a snack while I cooked dinner. Dinner was ready shortly after 6 PM and they ate really well. I made a trip with them to the mailbox while dinner was finishing up. Red ate 6 pieces of broccoli.
  • Afterwards the kids played, I folded laundry, got the Twins changed.
  • Twin Husky now points to the part of his head where he wants me to kiss him. So cute.
  • Twin Crazy started wearing my shoes around; Twin Husky started wearing Red’s summer flip flops.
  • I talked with Big Bro about numbers and infinity and how there is no last number. I can’t believe I’m getting into these discussions with him already. He’s not even 6 years old.
  • Big Bro also wanted to talk about dolphins. How he knew why they jump in the air… to play, and to breathe. He’s right. I asked him where he learned that. He said he just was thinking about it.
  • He also wrote a note to a leprachaun telling him to come in for some gold and a surprise. He said that he was going to catch him and laughed.
  • Red wanted airplane rides but wanted my pajama bottoms to be pulled to my ankles since I didn’t shave my legs. They all hate the stubble on my legs when I rough-house with them.
  • I did bedtime routine with Twins – Twin Crazy has gotten into a routine of wanting to kiss her brother. I first would dangle her over his crib, and then put her inside his crib where they lay together and laugh and blow kisses. So cute. When I put her in her own crib she was really upset, calling for her brother. So sweet.
  • Big Bro was hiding in the Twin’s room, not wanting to start bedtime routine.
  • Red had a hard time with bedtime routine tonight. It’s almost 9 PM and its still not over….
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    [Note; 8:30 PM: OMG Red is screaming right now and daddy is on night-time routine. He just lets her scream and come downstairs to me. He just ignores her and reads to Big Bro and lets her come down here to me… what happens when I am not here? Are these kids going to be screaming and ignored? She keeps running down here. OMG it is now 9:08 and she is screaming for me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I went up at 9:10 and talked to her and settled her in bed. I talked to her about her breathing and how I sometimes have a hard time going to sleep. I talked to her about relaxing her arms, shoulders, fingers, elbows, legs, etc. I said I would come back in 2 minutes to check back on her and I did. Now I’m in the middle of a “4” minute check in and writing this. I’m listening to her sighing in the monitor – knowing that he will never have the patience for this and that these kids will need me now more than ever.]

    So this is the roller coaster I live. Seriously. I spent 95% of the daytime feeling on top of the world. Kids were cooperative, playful, intelligent, ebbing and flowing with me. Work was great. I was jamming on things that needed to get done, multi-tasking, getting revved up for a client presentation, and knocking their socks off. I felt alive on the drive home and happy. I ran to get my kids to embrace the balance that I need. They were happy, jumping, playing with me and playing with each other. They were engaging and I felt proud of them….

    … and then bedtime. And Red. And screaming. And prying her off of me.

    I can’t wait to get out of this house – I can’t stand to hear it anymore. I need to know that we are doing the right thing by these kids given this situation and this does not feel right to me. This is sink or swim. And I can’t stand to see my kids sinking, and flailing, and standing by without doing anything. This is the worst possible situation to be in. Force the separation for what you think is best in the long run, but I don’t believe in that long run scenario. And she was happy today but in pieces tonight. And I was pumped all day today, and feel defeated tonight.

    The end of the school year cannot come fast enough for me. We just have a lot of ground to cover between now and then. I am ready for it and ready to be there for my kids and fight for them along the way.

    Til tomorrow,
    – Mama K

    December 13: Reconnecting with my little ones


    Chocolate Tuesday! Last night I arrived late and was not able to spend much time with Big Bro and Red (and no time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky). So this morning was great for me and I spent a lot of time re-connecting with the kids — I also feel like I have a lot more to say about my morning with them since I missed them last night.

    HIghlights of the Morning and Commute:

    • Twins got up, “Mommy, mommy, mommy!!” I gently kissed their heads, touched their faces, said good-morning to them and that I missed them last night – we didn’t get to see each other last night….. they both seemed to be in an EXCELLENT mood.
    • We all went into Big Bro and Red’s room — Twin Crazy and Twin Husky were having a great time running around while Big Bro and Red were still stretching and waking up. Somehow we got on the conversation of things the kids used to say when they were toddlers. For Big Bro, it was, “OK? OK.” and we were laughing. Then Big Bro got excited to tell me about a story. “Remember when [Red] used to say, “I love play, I love play.”? [She used to say it in a sing-song voice with inflection, so cute]. “Well remember that time when she was saying “I love play, I love play” and you said: “[Red], I know that you like to play. But it’s not time to play right now. Now it’s time to go to bed.” And he started laughing. Both were laughing. I guess it was amusing to him that night long ago as well. How does he remember that? I certainly don’t. But I do recognize how she would have said that, and how that would have been my response to her given that same situation. I had him record the story so I could post it here, but I’m having technical difficulty UGGGGH — I’d like to figure this out so he can start doing more voice recordings… I suspect it would help his story-telling and boost his self-confidence.
    • Big Bro and Red had their clothes all ready for the AM….

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    • Red made her bed and ran into my room to tell me. So of course I had to go and check her work and make a big deal about it….

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    • Downstairs, Big Bro and Red fought over the bar-stool at the corner of the counter. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Twin Husky and Twin Crazy were busy eating breakfast right on top of each other. They really are inseperable.

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    • I made a mistake about referring to Twin Crazy and Twin Husky as “the babies”. And then I immediately looked at everyone and said “wait a minute…. you are not BABIES…. why did I say that???!?!??! You [Twin Crazy] are a little GIRL….. and you [Twin Husky] are a little BOY. Why did I call you babies????!?!!? That is so silly.” And everyone was laughing and then Twin Crazy and Twin Husky in their own little way were participating in the story — Twin Husky by uttering one or two one-word phrases (baby, boy), and Twin Crazy by mumbling something and using inflection and long sentences that are not understandable by anyone (well, except maybe by her twin brother).
    • Twin Crazy told me that Twin Husky’s animal (tiger) had suffered a spill, in her own way….. mumbling, inflecting, “spill”, pointing. I understood and repeated what I thought she was saying and told them that “it’s OK, its just a spill, I will clean it up”…. and then “there, I’m cleaning it up, and that seems better. Is that better?” And both Twin Husky and Twin Crazy agreed. “Better” they both said. I love that we are having “conversations” at this point. I just have to be careful not to make it too easy for them to just mumble something. I want them to try to get the words out. But this stage is honestly a lot of fun. Their development as individuals and hearing and understanding what they are thinking about.
    • We decided to make the drop-offs all together today, but it was going to be tight. I dropped of Red and it went very smoothly. She knew I was in a rush so she went to her teacher with open arms very quickly. We hit traffic on the way to drop offs #2 and #3 so I decided to take Big Bro off at a stop sign and continue with the Big Bro drop off while Hubby took the Twins. Hubby then picked me up and we made it just in time to the ferry.

    The commute on the ferry was interesting today. I’m getting to know the people who make this trip daily. Today I sat with “Joe” who is probably in his 60s but is on his 3rd masters degree – he is a New Yorker who relocated to the West Coast in 1992. He was complaining about his class – something about applied mathematics in physics or astronomy or something – and how it was so over-the-top. I love people like this. Still with energy. Still going for his dreams. Talking with people and interacting and living life. I am automatically drawn to people like this. I love people who LIVE their lives versus those that just go day-by-day. You only get one life in my opinion and you have to make the most of it. It seems like Joe is.

    We couldn’t help but talk about New York City – and how I used to live there and miss it there and how I feel comfort in hearing his voice and hearing his accent. I told him my story about how I knew I would someday live where I am now – and how after my MBA I just picked up and moved cross-country by myself to fulfill that dream. But also how now, 10+ years and four children later, I believe this city is not the best place anymore for me or my family. Joe agrees. He says “Yes, well if you put your children first, there are a lot of other places that you should be looking at to live.” Yes. I agree. 100%. But some things I cannot change. No matter how much reason and logic and communication goes into the effort. Hoooooo hummm. What to do? Go to work and make the best of the situation.

    Highlights of my Working Day:

    • I had the bulk of my day as quiet time. No meetings scheduled. So I used this time to focus on completing / refining my client deliverable. It was good to get that part done. Once we get feedback from the client I will have an analyst complete the work based upon the structure that I developed today.
    • I also spent some time preparing for my day tomorrow (my work-from-home day). I gathered documents that I will need to reference for some work I plan to do.

    It was a quiet day. It was a relatively productive day. I am on the ferry home now and thinking about dinner. I think we’ll have flat-meat steak tonight. I miss the kids. I miss them from not being there with them last night. I hope to reconnect with EACH of them tonight. And maybe get some more voice recordings out of Big Bro.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I had all pick-ups tonight and got Red first. She was excited to show me Christmas confetti. She told me all about it – how it is smooth, and shiny, and how the pieces are hard to pick up when they fall on the floor. She struck me as such a big girl then – how she was talking, the words she was using, and how she was teaching me something “new”.

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    • I then picked up Big Bro, and Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. There was one house on the cul-de-sac at the Twins’ daycare that was completely drenched in lights. So we went further down the road to check it out. I heard “ohhs” and “ahhhs” and we talked about all of the lights, the trees, the reindeer, how they ran the lights up the driveway, etc. On our way out Twin Husky started the song of “bye-bye lights”.
    • I cooked dinner while the kids entertained themselves. Red shared her confetti with Big Bro after Big Bro asked her politely (and with my guidance and prompting). I am proud of both of them.
    • Twin Crazy kept standing on the stool and turning on and off the kitchen lights.
    • Kids ate well – steak, string beans, cous-cous. Hubby came in and everyone was well behaved and eating great.
    • After dinner was bathtime. I had fun playing with Twin Crazy about “bath, book, night-night”. She was so excited for a bath. She was literally jumping up and down dancing. Imagine each week cutting 80 fingernails and toenails. Yes, I do it.
    • Bedtime was easy for the Twins, but was really rough for Red and Big Bro. Red was cranky when I got to her. I helped her brush her teeth but sat her in water. So we changed. Then I made the mistake of making her laugh while she was rinsing, so she spit the water all over herself. We both cracked up and then got changed again.
    • Now Big Bro is STILL crying outside of my door because of his “owie” skinned knee. I already went in there once to talk about his feelings and how its normal for owies to hurt like this, and that there really isn’t that much that I can do except to tell him that I understand, to tell him that I know it hurts, to tell him that I know he must be mad and frustrated, but to also know that his body is doing its work by healing itself — and the best thing he could do is to get some sleep so his body can be strong enough to heal itself better, faster. Now I know it hurts him, but there’s something more to this… I personally think he needs more “mommy time” – looking back on tonight, I spent a lot of time with the Twins and then with Red since she was cranky. The most he got out of me tonight was the time I had with him cutting his nails! He didn’t get booktime with me or individual time with me… I really need to fix this tomorrow. I’ll pick him up early tomorrow afternoon.

    So today was a long day; filled of things that I am reflecting on. I feel like Tuesdays in particular are intense for me since I’m trying to reconnect with everyone and sometimes I fall short on a child. In this case it’s Big Bro. I need to better figure out how to divide my time and make it seem more equitable – if at all possible…

    Till tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    December 8: All day keeping me on my toes…


    Today was a bit of a strange day. I am normally off from work on Thursdays. But when I started my “new” work arrangement with my company, one of their conditions was that I would/could be flexible if push came to shove, particularly supporting client projects. So of course I granted them that wish. After all, this is management consulting, and flexibility to meet your client need is an absolute minimum requirement for the job. So, I worked today since I had a client meeting scheduled for today.

    But, Hubby had a meeting at 7:45 AM, and I had a conference call at 8:30 AM, which complicated things a bit… I would be on my own for all drop offs and we also had to leave earlier so I could be back in time for my conference call….

    Highlights of the Morning and Commute:

  • Older kids were up and excited to get dressed by themselves, since their piles were already out and they were looking for positive reinforcement. Big Bro was excited to wear a new spiderman shirt I got him yesterday.
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  • We were talking about the need for everyone to be ready to leave early, and for Big Bro to have his backpack ready (as an example). The next thing we knew, Twin Husky came walking into the kitchen dragging Big Bro’s backpack and using all of his body strength to lift it up and hand it over to Big Bro to help. That was just so cute I couldn’t stand it.
  • Honestly, the rest of the morning was a bit of a blur. I can’t think of anything else that stood out…there were the diaper changes, the lunches to pack, the shoes to put on, the jackets to put on, loading the kids in the car…..
  • I did all the drop offs; Red first, then Twins, then Big Bro. I made it back home with 10 minutes to spare to prepare for my conference call. I re-filled my coffee mug and booted up my computer.
  • Highlights of My Working Day:

  • I had the conference call and got some good feedback from one of the participants of the forum that we are trying to sell a membership to. He liked the forum but their business may not be big enough to be relevant for the group. I would not take “no” for an answer so I invited him again as a guest for the next meeting in April in hopes that he wants to become a member.
  • I jumped in the van, and drove into the city. I was starved. I was contemplating a McDonald’s run, but feared I would be late. This was a good call, since there was traffic on the highway. So I blasted loud music and enjoyed my drive into the city, yes, with a minivan. uggh.
  • I made it to the office just in time to shove some graham crackers in my mouth and then start at 10 AM conference call with a Director and another new member to one of our forums. I lead the meeting and focused more on how this particular person could help us drive additional members. I’m in sales mode. He has contacts at great companies and he is really easy to collaborate with – I’m enjoying working with him to build this forum and grow it to something much bigger than it currently is….
  • I grabbed lunch. Grilled cheese. Comfort food. I’m starved and it is cold outside.
  • We then had our client meeting. We’ve done good work for them, but this is a kind of project where you just want to shake some sense into your client. Their business idea doesn’t make sense given the risk and reward and they are very naive about some obvious aspects of the business. So I’m hoping things go well with them, but we’ve raised the issues so we’ve done what we can do to provide our advice.
  • I did some admin items afterwards and then headed home. I picked up take out dinner (BBQ) and picked up the Twins.
  • Dinner and Bedtime:

  • Dinner was BBQ. It was delicious. Kids ate well. Twin Husky was eating ribs like they were going out of style and I was calling them “dinosaur bones”. He is such a boy. Almost reminds me of a pint-sized man.
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  • After dinner, Hubby took out a “Santa train” that essentially goes around the Christmas tree. All kids were going nuts. Twin Crazy wanted to dance with me to the Chrismas music. Big Bro was all over the tracks, the trains, and the controls. He was observing everything and figured out why the train wouldn’t work at any given time. He loved controlling the thing. Red was being such a big sister/mother to Twin Husky and to Twin Crazy. It was really too cute to witness. She was instructing them on where to sit (far away from the tracks) and how it works, and hugging them and holding their hands. It really was too much for me to watch. They are so sweet with each other it is almost crazy.
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  • Bedtime with the Twins was great. They grabbed their animals/blankets and walked upstairs, blew kisses to folks below, brushed teeth, read books, sang a song, and willingly went to bed in their cribs.
  • Bedtime for the older ones were a different story. Whining, crying, defiance, more crying, etc. etc. I finally had to leave. I said I would not read books if they did not cooperate. I gave them a chance to cooperate. They did not. So I left. I left Hubby up there dealing with two cranky crazy kids because I want to teach them to understand that I follow through with what I say. If they don’t follow instructions and are defiant even if I’m trying to understand the issue, I warn them what will happen and then I need to follow through. So I left. They’re quiet now so I guess they were just super-tired.
  • I had two glasses of wine tonight. I am not working tomorrow. I may take the Twins to the doctor if they have room in their schedule for us. If not, I want to take them to a museum. I’m sure I’ll figure something out over a big pot of coffee….

    And now Red is screaming upstairs so I guess I’d better go and see what’s wrong…

    Until tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    Staying Sane: Are you speaking your child’s “Love Language”???


    What is Your Child's Love Language?

    What is Your Child's Love Language?

    We all know that our kids are unique individuals.   Despite being created from the same set of genetic material, their personalities, despositions, strenghts and quirks are all so unique.   We know this already.   We are the mothers to these unique children — who are really just little people.

    Do you ever feel like you are just not connecting with your little one, thus creating friction between you and he/she?   Or do you wonder if you should be interacting differently with your child to make your relationship stronger?

    I think one way to help you “stay sane” is to give your child your love in the way he/she naturally desires to receive it.   Let me explain…

    For those who are not familiar with the “5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, I highly recommend getting this book for the sake of the relationships around you — it boils down to a theory that each individual has one or two distinct “love languages” that are favored over the others.   So for these people, the way they naturally express love aligns with those languages, and the way that FEEL love also aligns with those languages.    The implications to this run even deeper — a person may be VERY loved by another individual, but if “the lover” is not showing their love in the recipient’s primary love language, the recipient may actually not even notice the efforts of the “lover”, but even worse, they may feel totally unloved.  All of the languages are meaningful to you in one way or another, its just that each person has one or two that dominate the rest.   The languages include:

    • Words of Affirmation
    • Quality Time
    • Receiving Gifts
    • Acts of Service
    • Physical Touch
    I found this to be very enlightening with the relationships around me; I was so intrigued that I wanted to do more research and found the authors website where he has tools where you can answer simple questions to identify your primary love languages — go to this link.   The answers really shouldn’t be a surprise to you.   BUT HERE IS THE AMAZING THING….. you will notice at the above link that there are also assessments for your CHILDREN (one for teenagers, one for smaller children).
    I found this to be extraordinary and potentially very powerful.  Big Bro is over 5 so we did the test with him.  His primary love languages were Quality Time and Receiving Gifts (no surprise here, he is five!).   This was VERY useful information for me.   So now I know how best to communicate to him that I love and cherish him.   I can do things that speak his love language.    I’m sure he also adores the hugs and kisses that I give him non-stop (my love language is Physical Touch), but for him, he would rather spend quality time with me.   I’ve even heard him say this.  “Mommy… why aren’t you coming to the dinner table to spend time with us?”.     He also is the child that will flat out ask for more “mommy time”.   He loves for me to simply sit next to him and watch a movie, read a book, do a puzzle, play an interactive computer game, or simply go for a walk.    So now I know how best to spend my precicious time with him.  I know how to satisfy the methods for which he most feels loved.   Not that my hugs and kisses are not important, its just that the time that I choose to spend with him is more important to him to feel the love that I have for him.
    I thought that this was a really powerful tool and unique thinking between parent and child.    I encourage you to take the assessments for yourself, have your partner take theirs, and also have each of your kids take theirs.  And let us know what you think!!!!!!!
    • Do the results seem true to your child’s personality?    Were you surprised in any way?   
    • When reflecting back, do you think you’ve put too much emphasis on YOUR love language versus your child’s?   
    • If so, can you try to more directly speak your child’s love language — and after doing this for a week or two, have you found any differences in how they respond and/or connect with you????
    I am so curious!!!!  Please comment!!!!
    – Mama K
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