Thursday, July 23, 2009


I couldn't think of a title and since I sat down in the spirit of "bust this out as fast as possible so I can wash the dishes, go to the bathroom and apply a little make-up before Super Why is over", I decided to forgo coming up with something clever or meaningful.

There a few things I want to remember from this week. And a few I would like to forget! (i.e. lots of pee running down Manny's legs at inopportune times).

Two days ago, I got the kids situated with their dinner. When I sat down with my plate (which is the plate I feed the babies off of- I have no idea how much I eat anymore. I eat off the collective plate, off their trays, off their clothes, off their arms, legs, pretty much anywhere I find food, I just eat it because I don't know where else to put it. Thank God for Aslan or I would probably sit on the floor and eat there too.) Anyway, I sat down and I sighed a big, "Thank you Lord for this food", which is about all the grace that gets said around our table anymore since we never all begin our meal at the same time. Manny reached out his hand to me and said, "Hold hands?" about five times before I finally figured out what he meant.

Then Sam came home and changed his clothes. He came down in a pair of navy cargo shorts that he wears all the time. Manny saw Sam and said, "cool pants Daddy." This was the first time he commented on fashion.

Yesterday was a tough potty training day with lots of pee. At "naptime" I drilled Manny on what to do if he needed to go potty. He was instructed to yell out, "Mama! POTTY TIME!" When I left him in his room, I was full of household ambitions- so much cleaning, laundry and refrigerator work to do. But I found I was a bit paralyzed. I didn't want to make any noise, lest I miss Manny's verbal warnings for the poo I knew was coming. So I was very quiet and folded clothes slowly and noiselessly just a few feet away from his door. When he started to make some noise, I rushed in, sure that we were going to have our first successful poop in the potty. Instead, what I found was Manny standing naked on his bed, pointing at the large turd on the carpet like I was the maid and I had missed a spot while vacuuming. Then I realized it was smeared all over the sheets and all over him.

I threw him in the shower and as I was rubbing soap between his cheeks and trying to dislocate all the bits of poo that had been drying while I was quitely folding laundry, I began to doubt my potty training plans and strategy. A woman needs some kind of warning. I'm not a freaking mind reader! Though perhaps I should become one.

Once I got Manny all squared away, I needed to wake the girls because we had a drama camp dress rehearsal to attend. Manny entered the girls' room with gusto banging and singing/screaming. Elena immediately sat up with a dazed look on her face. I went to her first and realized she was holding a diaper. She was also wearing a diaper.

I looked over at Glory, still sleeping like an angel. A bottomless angel. She was all curled up, sucking her thumb with no diaper on. And she was dry! Maybe she is ready to use the potty.

When we got to the dress rehearsal, all the kids were transfixed by the songs and the monologues that the teenagers were performing. One boy got on stage and began a monologue where his character is trying to pick up a woman and convince her that he is a good guy and not weird in any way. As he explained to her that he is not into little boys, Manny sauntered on to the stage. The whole room broke into spontaneous laughter and my friend Ryan scooped him up since my hands were full of babies. I think that must say something about Manny that he saw someone delivering a monologue and wanted to go on stage anyway.

Now he is watching Super Why and wearing a diaper and I have no idea what to do next. Oh wait. I still need to go to the bathroom. Maybe I will reward myself with an M & M when I'm done.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Glory Walks!

A Common Scene at Our House

Glory took her first steps yesterday. Go Glory! I didn’t see it myself so I can’t say too much, except that it happened, I still didn’t cry, and look out world.

The potty training is going swimmingly if you don’t count the poop I keep scooping out of Manny’s underwear. He has yet to do that in the potty. After it happened again today, I decided to adopt the quizzing strategy and began to ask him, “Where do big boys poop? “ until he answered with enthusiasm, “in the potty!” “Where does Manny poop?” “In the potty!!” Eventually, I’m sure. Tomorrow? Eh. I choose to remain neutral.

We are using Baby Bjorn toilet seat inserts. They are great. And the opening is exactly the size and shape of Manny’s head. I know this because he put his whole face in it directly after using the potty on his way to washing his hands.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A fact of Life

One year ago. And two years ago.

It is a fact of life that everyone has to pull their underwear out of the space between their butt cheeks on a regular basis. This is something that Manny is learning since the spontaneous decision to turn my back on diapers yesterday.

He had been down for his "nap" for about fifteen minutes when he started shouting for me. I went to his room and he was naked, his cloth diaper wadded into a ball with its soggy insert wadded next to it. Manny has been removing his diaper a lot lately and it dawned on me that perhaps this is a sign. So we put on underwear and besides the small ball of poo that appeared this morning while I was putting Elena down for her nap, we are doing okay.

I am going through a stretching period again. I have several moments a day where I am stunned at the constancy of needs, not including my own! And I keep reminding myself that there is no use in fighting it. It makes things worse. It is so much better just to ride the wave and get a lot of salt water up my nose (which hurts and is frustrating) than it is to fight the gigantic force and drown because I was too obstinate to just accept that I am never going to get on top of this particular wave.

Since the potty training thing was a split-second decision (which seems to be my pattern with big changes regarding the kids), I was a bit busy with other things- trying to bake for New Horizons, feed all the children and keep Manny from pulling every last thing off the counter. When did his arms get so long? I seriously think he might be Inspector Gadget.

By the time 4:00 rolled around, Manny was totally fried. It is exhausting to take your clothes off every 20 minutes to deposit four drops of pee into the toliet for one measly M&M.

Somehow we managed to get out of the house and go to the Queen Anne Farmer's Market. It felt great to be there. My late Grandpa Hal grew the most divine raspberries in his garden and every time I buy them fresh from the farm, I feel like I am honoring him. I have found a few farms that I really like and I patronize them every week.

The guy that sells me delicious cherries is tall and good-looking. I feel like there is a tiny part of him that notices that a tiny part of me is more than just a disheleved, stained, aging mother. This week he advanced our conversation by asking how my week has been. He does recognize me! I thought. Of course he freaking recognizes me. I have the same three children with me every week.

I try to think of how to answer and the first thing that comes out my mouth is weird and awkwardly phrased. "I am surprisingly potty-training today." This almost beats what I wrote in a card to the Canlis family after a complimentary meal during my Taproot days. "Even my dog liked the leftover lobster tail!" I wrote. I am getting flushed just thinking about it. (For those of you that don't know, Canlis is arguably the nicest restaurant in town.) The cherry guy didn't respond except to give me my total. There is the end of that farmer's market romance.

I literally laughed out loud at myself all the way home and stopped laughing when I saw the man sunbathing in his speedo right next to the chain link fence and public garbage can where I often throw away Aslan's poo because I didn't want the man to think I was laughing at him.

Today is Sam's birthday and we are going to go celebrate by getting off our computers and doing something else. 32 years old and fabulous. If it was junior high, I would vote him "Best All Around".

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Post-nap smoothie face. He has my furrowed eyebrows, I'm told.
Today, I was out on the deck with all three kids. Elena started to walk. I said, "Look! Manny! Elena's walking!" Manny looked at Elena and pushed her down. That's one way to respond.
This afternoon I took the kids to Banana Republic to find a birthday gift for Sam. I picked up a kelly green polo shirt that I thought Sam might like. I showed it to Manny and said, "Do you think Daddy would like this?" Manny pointed at the shirt and said, "Mama's shirt!" We bought a long-sleeved white button-up instead.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Elena Walks

The long-ago promised picture of Manny's dance routine to The Killers.

Elena waving to the crowd after her Olympic victory in splashing.

Elena has sort of taken a step here, a step there and I haven't known when to call it her official first step. I know lots of mothers cry when their children take a first step and I waited for that sign, but the tears never came. Finally, while I was on the phone with Aunt Pat yesterday, Elena took a clear series of five **tiny** steps and I have decided to declare if "official".

This picture is old because it consistently takes me at least six weeks to upload pictures onto my computer, but it reminds me of the night before last. Glory and Elena were playing in the bathtub and we have never seen them crack each other up as much as they did splashing back and forth. I ran to get the camera, but only got 16 seconds of film minus sound because I don't have enough memory. I am such a bad 21st century mother. I was thinking about running to get Sam's work camera when we realized that one of the babies had laughed so hard that she pooped and it was in a million pieces all over the bathtub. Who dealt it? Who knows? But that was the end of the "precious" moment and the beginning of the "wash the babies from head to toe in the shower as fast as we can" mission.

There are so many moments where Sam and I look at each other and it's so clear we are both thinking, "Can you believe this crazy stuff? No! Can you? No! WOW." And then something else happens and we're off.

Manny's new favorite saying is, "Oh no! What's happened?" It is the beginning of the era of explanation. We will sit with a book and he will ask that same question about one picture ten times before we move on, but I love it and hope I never lose patience for the answering.
I guess, in a way, that is the question I am constantly asking myself. "Oh no! What's happened?" What's happened between the children? What's happened that all three are in hysterics? What's happened to my midsection? What's happened to my memory? What's happened that I am living such a dream ballet of discovery and fatigue? What's happened that I grew up and it's so much better than it was to be 20, overwhelmed and asleep? What's happened that Clifford the Big Red Dog is over and I haven't done the dishes yet?
And that is where the pondering ends and the diaper changing begins.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Tomorrow Babies!

Glory and Elena on the ramp that Mike and Manny built.

Elena looking sporty at the playground.

Manny's new bulldozer- a thank you gift for a year of exceptional patience.

An older picture of Glory, but too cute to pass up.

I am sitting in bed, drinking a toast to myself. I did it! In two hours, I will mark the anniversary of when I went into labor with the twins. One whole year. It has been a purifying experience to have occasion to love this much and this often. I am going to celebrate by reminiscing tomorrow and enjoying the full night of sleep I didn't have last year! Except it's sweltering in my bedroom and people are setting off obnoxious fireworks all over. Oh well. These are small obstacles to sleep in comparison to contractions.