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 29: A Day for the Siblings


Today was a day at home with the children. No work. I had all four of them since Big Bro’s public school is still closed, and since Red became VERY upset at the thought of everyone home except for her. So I gladly kept her home from pre-school today as well. You would think – 4 kids – all day – man that woman must be wiped out. Truth is, I’m not. I’m surprisingly very, very relaxed. No tension in my neck. No sadness. No aching. No worrying. I’m just, well, “being”. And it feels wonderful.

We spent the day eating, playing, building legos, playing doll-house, setting up LeapPads, having the kids teach me about their LeapPads, napping, going to the library, cooking….. some fighting, some biting/hitting/yelling. But it was mostly laughing. It was mostly excitement. The kids really enjoyed being together. And playing together. Big kids interacting with the little kids – in a good way and also not-so-good way. But they were together. And they were being kids, being siblings with each other. I loved it.

Some of the highlights that really grabbed me today:

  • Waking up to Red smiling next to my bed. She was in a great mood. Then suddenly, and out of nowhere, she turned crabby. I think it’s because she realized that she was not staying home ALONE with me – that the rest of the kids were going to be there too. So I sat with her. I rocked with her in silence. She needed to calm herself down and I needed to hold her.
  • Big Bro holding Twin Crazy – he asked her and she said “yes”. They were both really having fun – Twin Crazy with a HUGE grin on her face that she was being taken care of by her big brother. He did the same with Twin Husky but it did not grab me in the same way…
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  • It took an amazingly LONG time to get out the door today. I really don’t know why. Red was really a problem this morning. She was taking her time and changing her mind about pants. Pants. I must have touched and retouched 50 pairs of pants. I eventually told her that I was losing my patience and we were close to not going anywhere so she better decide and SOON. I think she needs more of my time but I don’t like giving it to her in this way — its too draining; no fun at all.
  • Walking into the library with my four munchkins in a line; the librarians all know our family. They are patient with us and our noise. Each of the Twins introduced the librarian with their comfort toys (a tiger for Twin Husky, a lovely blanket for Twin Crazy). Twin Crazy and Twin Husky wanted to spend most of their time drinking from the water fountain. They started fighting and I knew it was time to gather the kids quickly when I heard Twin Crazy screaming at the fountain and Twin Husky bending over to bite her. As we were checking out our books, I asked the librarian if she could make our check-out into several “transactions”. She “got it” immediately and was so good with the kids. The kids wanted to check out their own books with the one library card so she rung them each up separately (except for Twin Husky, who was wandering around with his thumb in his mouth, not interested in checking out books).
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  • Grabbing ice cream with the kids at 11 AM. We were the only ones there. Big Bro wanted to go there in daylight so we could eat in the outside courtyard. I usually get little cups for the Twins but they amazed me – they sat there and held their little cones and ate their cones without any major spills or losses of food. They sat on a bench that circled a HUGE tree and were so cute. Afterwards, the sugar started to kick in and they started to play follow-the-leader on top of the bench that encircled the tree. I sat there quietly and watched them. I was taking it all in. I took some movies. I captured how Big Bro was interacting with the little ones and how the little ones were having so much fun doing the same thing the older kids were doing. They are a pack of four now. It is now that REALLY feel like I have four, distinct, separate, individual, and lively children. I am very lucky that they are all happy, healthy, and honestly look out for each other.
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  • While Red was napping, her LeapPad arrived. I thing Big Bro was more excited about it than she was today. Anyway, Big Bro wanted to surprise her so he set it out by her bed so she could see it and be surprised when she woke up from her nap. I love how he can be so sweet. I love how he thinks of his siblings. I love how he just “gets” them. Knows what makes them happy. Knows what they need. He is really amazing.
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  • I wanted Big Bro to rest/nap – but he wanted to put his Lego space shuttle together first. Together we worked to get it finished, quickly. I looked at each instruction page and gathered the pieces needed, and handed them to Big Bro to stick them on. I know he enjoyed me helping him with his Lego set, just the two of us. But I think I enjoyed it more than him.
  • I made a roast today. I am having fun “nesting” with my babes. I sat on the floor and showed Twin Crazy and Twin Husky the peeler and taught them about the skin on the carrots and potato. I showed them how I peel the skin off and they felt the strips and laughed at the ones that went flying over the trash bucket I was using. Both were running to grab the strips and threw them in the trash bucket for me. I had them smell the peeled carrots and the peeled potato and explained that we could really smell the food now that the skins were off. I love spending time like this with them. I know that our daycare provider does not interact with them in this way. I love teaching them new things. And talking about the world around them. After dinner, Red was sitting on my lap and then leaning over, laughing and saying “ouch – mommy – my head is going into the hot lava”, pretending that the floor was a river of lava. She cracks me up.
  • We closed out the night watching a Sponge Bob show about Christmas and Santa. I had Twin Crazy on my lap. I then had Red laying next to me with a blanket. Then Red was on my knee, with a blanket, covering Twin Crazy and putting her arm around her, still on my lap. Then Twin Husky came over and sat on my other knee. So I had three kids in my lap, with my arms around them and talking with them about the show. Too cute.

    I had four kids today, got impatient with them yes, but had a different kind of fun with them. They were all together. I mostly sat back and watched the interaction. I was essentially a person shuffling them between different activities but really stood on the sidelines and just watched them. Watched them talk. Watched them laugh. Watched them care for each other. Watched them share.

    Where I could, I stole one-on-one time. But it was mostly a day for the siblings. And tomorrow will be another such day. I’m looking forward to it.

    It’s amazing how my life has changed — thinking back to my 20s, my 30s — one decade totally selfish while the next totally self-less. And now. How I revel in moments with my children whereas before it was a good dinner out, or dancing with friends, or doing shots in Hoboken, or… … … … I know that these days when my kids are very young will fly by. I’ve heard it soooo many times before. That’s why I’m choosing to be with them now and soak them in now while I have this time. While I can make them laugh. While three can sit in my lap. I’m soaking it in and smiling – knowing that I’m lucky.

    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    December 9: Tantrums, sickness, lack of sleep X FOUR


    Happy Friday! Today is a “stay-at-home” day with me and the Twins. It has been a bit of a rough day so far…

    Highlights of the Morning and Early Afternoon:

  • I woke up a big hungover to three kids in my bed – Red, and the Twins. What was absolutely adorable was Red was reading to each of them.
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  • Big Bro put on a t-shirt and shorts. Mind you, it’s 37 degrees outside. I pleaded with him to think about the cold outside and think about pants. The problem is that it does actually warm up during the day, and he is very hot-blooded. So my pleading went ignored – but I left it up to him to make his own decision.
  • Everyone was a bit cranky this morning. The Twins both are sick. Sneezing and big red rashes all over the place. Roseola? Not sure. But they are cranky and clingy. Big Bro is whining about everything. Red starts her whining when it came to her socks. By the time we were on her jacket, she was in full-fledged tantrum. I think the Twins’ bad moods for being sick kindof rubbed off on the older two who maybe didn’t get enough sleep last night. Anyway, all four of them were not very enjoyable this morning. Or, maybe was it the wine I drank last night??!?!?!?
  • Big Bro scootered to school while I strollered the Twins. We were extremely late. By the time we got there he was the last one in but at least we caught up with the group. He then runs outside to me in tears because he forgot his library book. I said I would go back and get it. I looked into his eyes and he looked terrible. I’m putting these kids to bed early tonight.
  • On the stroller ride home with the Twins, I took it slow. We talked about things that we saw. I miss this with them. When Big Bro and later Red were small and we were living in the city, I would stroller them to daycare which was in my office building. So at that time, I had the opportunity to talk about so many things with them – it was city living so there was just a lot to look at and teach. Water fountains, big buildings, lights (and counting the lights), going into building lobbies and talking about the holiday decorations, pointing out the flags, etc. Now with the Twins, we commute primarily by mini-van. On days that I stroll with them, particularly on Thursday and Fridays when we are coming back home, I really want to take it slow with them. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do with these two. We talked about the crows and how they fly away and how big their wings are. We saw two dogs playing so we pulled over to watch them play and we talked about how funny it is to see dogs and how they play and wrestle and run around in circles. We talked about the holiday decorations that we saw. Twin Husky initiated conversation about the playground and the slides. Twin Husky is still pointing out all of the basketball nets. We talked about the busier road and how cars drive fast on that road. We talked about flowers and spent some time looking at them. I talked with them the whole way home and felt better that I am doing more now to teach them about the world around them.
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  • I started looking for Big Bro’s library book and found it. I threw 2 diapers and a small package of wipes in my handbag. Also two little cars to keep the kids entertained. I’m taking them out to breakfast! I went to drop off the book, and Big Bro’s class was not there – so I left a present for him….
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  • Then we headed out for breakfast. I parked and decided NOT to stroller them, but to walk the two blocks. The kids had a great time and Twin Crazy almost looked proud to be walking with me, holding my hand, and crossing the street like a big girl. While at breakfast, our table was close to all of these holiday decorations and the board underneath a HUGE penguin kept getting pushed in by Twin Husky, therefore leading the penguin to almost coming crashing down on us twice. He is such a boy. He needs to touch everything. The penguin incident happened TWO times so he didn’t even learn from the first time. We had a good breakfast nonetheless, and the twins had lots of fun things to look at in this greasy spoon of a diner.
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  • Once we got back I had to care for sick twins. Both were extremely cranky. I had snot to deal with, red skin to deal with, sore noses to deal with, and medicine to give. It took about 15 minutes for the caregiving to kick in and after that they were much more pleasant.
  • We headed upstairs and I read them books. I love how they get so excited over the books. They each run for a book for me to read. Sometimes I read to them, and sometimes they read picture books to me. They love it. They love turning the pages. They love making the sounds that animals make. They love talking with me about what they see on the page. Once I say that the books are done and its time for their nap, they don’t even fight it. They welcome it. I kiss them and they grab hold of their stuffed animals and blankets and begin to doze.
  • They’re down for a nap now and I am getting some things done around the house. I enjoy this quiet time where I can focus on things that I normally would not be able to. The sun is out and I’m feeling good. The twins are quiet so it seems like they are busy sleeping.
    • The Rest of the Day:

    • The twins both woke up in foul moods. Twin Crazy was having a hard time sleeping the entire time because of her stuffed up nose. They’re both sick and struggling. I packed them up, picked up Big Bro, and headed out to a friends house who had a HUGE hand-me-down dollhouse and lots of hand-me-down clothes for all of the kids.
    • The dollhouse was bigger than expected. I thought I’d be able to slip it in the back and cover it up quickly before Big Bro would see it, that way it could be from Santa. No such luck. This thing was HUGE. Four feet tall, at least. I think 4 floors. It wouldn’t fit in the trunk of the mini-van. I tried over and over to shove it in. Of course Big Bro saw it. So I tried to get one of the seats to fold under to give more room. It was stuck. Me and Big Bro were trying to figure it out. He noticed that his car seat was in the way. I eventually got it. Both of us were excited and proud. What a team!!! The thing took up a big part of the van on the way home. Too funny.
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    • Hubby picked up Red while I cooked dinner; Flat Meat with chicken and I did a marinade with mango jelly and basil. Big Bro was throwing tantrums left and right. He was really, really difficult to deal with tonight. The dinner was very good. The kids ate well but it took them awhile to get started — again, their crankiness was a bit too much to bear. I started to drink a Guinness..
    • After dinner we brought out the dollhouse and Big Bro, Red, and Twin Crazy had fun cleaning it. The three of them seem really excited about it. I would have loved it if I had it when I was a kid. Maybe Santa can get Red some proper dolls to play with it, and maybe some more furniture.
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    • There were huge tantrums tonight with the older kids about graham crackers, going to the potty, etc. I just think that both of them were way too tired.
    • So, today was great in that we have all of this new “loot” in the house – clothes, dollhouse, etc. But honestly ALL of the kids were so hard today. All the result of too little sleep and being sick. I really need for Big Bro to nap this weekend. And I hope the kids sleep in a bit tomorrow. Because I know I’ll be moving slowly…

      Have a great weekend everyone –
      Til next week –
      – Mama K

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