Sunday, November 12, 2017


Somehow it is Sunday afternoon again. I am starting this blog before the boys even leave for Awana, because I am letting them have some "extra" screen time this afternoon, and because Scarlett is taking an early nap which means she will be up in the space before JT gets home and after they leave.
They won't all be leaving though tonight. The Dude came down with a fever yesterday afternoon, and though I thought that was it this morning and it was just turning into a cold, he came back up to 101 a couple hours ago. He is heartbroken. He is probably the one who likes Awana the best.

I am trying not to think about everyone else getting it over the course of the next week, because by now I know that it is inevitable. I am not going to necessarily say that we are overcrowded, but with everyone sharing a room, and with The Dude's disinterest in giving anyone personal space, I just have to be realistic.
Whenever I look at him, with his fingers inching toward his nose, with his harsh asthma-mixed-with-chest-cold cough, the only words that come to mind are from nursing school: viral shedding.
I snuggle him anyway.
It's kind of a bad week to be getting sick, because I am working every day this week in preparation to be off all next week for the cruise we are going on with all of JT's family for thanksgiving.
But then again, it is better that we are sick this week than next. Although I already found myself counting on my fingers....if Scarlett gets this very nasty cold in the next couple of days, that mean she will also develop her 2nd ear infection while we are somewhere in the Caribbean.
But oh well, it is what it is.
One thing is for sure though, I am looking forward to vacation. I dragged my feet about going on this cruise, which JT's parents are very generously paying for, for quite a while. I was worried about motion sickness, and am not a big fan of crowds, particularly since I became the mother of boys, and one in particular who gets very overstimulated by a lot of action. I especially don't like crowds during flu season, see above regarding overcrowded conditions.
But I also know that my kids are just going to have a blast. They will get to have so many new experiences, and I am all for experiences. On top of that, I spend the majority of my life, when I am not working, in the kitchen making or cleaning up food, or in my bedroom sorting and putting away laundry. And those are 2 things I will not have to do for an entire week while we are on the cruise.
JT will have 10 days off in a row, I will have 9, and we will be able to spend a lot of time with his family.
It will be perfectly exhausting, I am sure, as all things are with 4 children, but it will be a trip to remember forever.

Well, Scarlett woke up. I played the Lady Bug game with Greystoke for a few minutes, got everyone's shoes on, and we played in the garage for a while waiting for Grandma to pick up Aquaman and Greystoke.
Now The Dude and Scarlett are playing on the floor. I asked The Dude to give me a few minutes of quiet, but he keeps forgetting. He is sitting indian style on the carpet asking me questions like "At Doubles do you make your own ice cream? How do they put in the cone. They hand you the cone? Grandma has a nicer house than you do. Why are you typing so fast?"
We moved outside to the Johnny Jump up and hot tub, and then I got a call from my sister K, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to talk to her for a few minutes.
The Dude is back inside now, he had enough of the hot tub. Scarlett is trying to eat my leg while she stands up in the jumper. I swear, she wants to run before she actually crawls.
She has been rocking on all 4s for weeks, and I kind of figured she would have taken off by now, but she is still kind of just creeping along inch worm style. Every now and then she'll get a coordinated looking rhythm going, but then she will fall on her nose or something and have to start over.
Actually, I think there is a chance that she would be crawling had she not had a corneal abrasion followed by a yucky cold followed by an ear infection. But to be honest, I am not complaining.

She is the happiest little thing, for the most part. She always has a smile, and usually a laugh for her brothers.
She loves to be out and about, watching everything. I always say she wishes she had a lego man head so it could do a 360 wherever we go and she could see everything at once.
She hasn't been a huge fan of the solid foods, and it is complicated by her shuddering spells, which worsen when she eats with a spoon, but she is getting a lot better. Actually she loves meat and vegetables much more than fruit. And she prefers all of her foods warmed up, thank you very much. She tolerates everything, like the good sport that she is, but she is not terribly enthusiastic about any of it.
Not sure if that is a girl thing, or a Scarlett thing.
But her most recent weight was quite well established on the charts, at least in part from eating all night long which she has done for the past 2 months.

In fact, her sleep has been getting so bad that I have started grinding and/or clenching my teeth during the few hours that I do sleep. So a couple mornings this week, I not only woke up completely exhausted and overwhelmed, but with my jaw and teeth hurting so much that I could barely eat anything and ended up with a throbbing headache as well.
So the 2nd day in a row like that, trying to keep my cool with 4 kids, working 24 hours a week, caring for a baby all day and all night with barely a 5 minute break, I decided something had to give. I nursed all the boys to the age of 2 most of the night because I couldn't figure out what else to do. We lived in tiny houses and they cried so much. On top of that, I somewhat relied on night nursing as birth control.
But this time, Scarlett takes a pacifier, and it is a lot of work to get her to sleep with that instead of nursing, but it is not impossible. Everyone has their limits. This is mine. So this week I started night weaning her, but as usual that is a time consuming process, and it is always complicated by illness or teething or travel or anything else when it comes to babies. I did great making her wait 4 hours between feeds, though she continued to wake up every 60-90 minutes, though when it was time to feed her, I would often fall asleep and wake up 2 hours to her still attached to me.
But I do have hope now, and that counts for a lot.
Scarlett is fussing at me right now. The Dude keeps interrupting me every 3 seconds to say "Mom. The clock says 4 dot dot 47. I just thought you should know. This is my quiet time. My few minutes each week to try to think straight. I find myself wishing I had given him ibuprofen and sent him on his way to infect his little awana friends. But I am trying to hold it together.
He is so into math right now. At night he lays in bed listening to audio books and doing math problems on his white board. It is totally adorable. He wishes he could read. Sometimes he will take a favorite chapter book and count the page numbers since he can't read the words yet.
I am listening to an audio book lately called "The gift of dyslexia" and have found it totally fascinating. Not only have I come to understand a lot more about The Dude, but about JT as well. The theory is that dyslexia is simply a different way of thinking that can cause a learning disability. I have long suspected that The Dude's writing problems were related to dyslexia, despite his being able to struggle through and stay on grade level for reading last year. And for the first time in this book, the author described his problem: some people with a severe form of dyslexia cannot see diagonal lines. This is exactly The Dude, and why it took him so long to learn to write.
This guy's theory was that the child has to create the pathways of diagonal lines in his brain by creating the letters correctly themselves. He recommended clay, which we used a lot of last year, but connecting dots have also helped.
We are using an Orton Gillingham approach to reading homeschool curriculum after school, because it is supposed to be the most effective in teaching someone with dyslexia to read....and actually comprehend what they're reading. I am more and more convinced that once it clicks, it is going to take off and he will be reading with the best of them. I hope so.
Greystoke is now 3.5, and he is without a doubt, a threenager. He tells me every day that he hates me. Especially if we are in the middle of doing something fun, or if I suddenly tell him how much I love him, or if I give him a hug after he hurts himself.
The past couple of days he has been something....extra. I really don't know. I guess it is just the cold he has had, and adjusting the tortuous time change, but it has been something to behold.
When he is sweet, he is completely adorable. That is usually when you are giving him whatever he wants, or for me at bedtime, because that has always been our special time, and probably because I am extra patient with him then because most of my work is done and that is my time to just be with him.
Aquaman is just at the most incredible age. JT always likes to quote something that he heard about age 10 being "the golden year of childhood". As far as I am concerned, Aquaman at 9.5 is totally golden right now.
He is so independent, but at night when I come in holding Scarlett and rock in the chair next to his bed, and reach over to him as he is falling asleep, he folds his big boy hand into mine and tells me he loves me. He picks up all his legos all day long with very little complaint. He will do anything to get Greystoke to stop screaming, and he loves to hold Scarlett and make her stand up, or laugh.
When I get completely overwhelmed with everything that needs to get done, with the impossibility of dinner time, and homework, and taking care of a baby, and a job, sometimes he will come pat me on the back and tell me he is sorry that I am so stressed, or that I am having a bad day. It makes me feel so much better. Partly because someone cares, because a lot of the time it is just me and the kids, JT has been working most weekends, has been off only when I am working, and is gone for 10 hours which include the worst hour of making dinner and finishing homework and a cranky baby. But also partly because he's my son, and he is a kind and compassionate person, and I am proud of him for that.

The Dude just asked me if I liked dried pickles. I told him I didn't think so, and then he asked me "what's a dried pickle?"
He then informed me that it was 5:17 pm, which totally stressed me out because I need to get to Doubles to pick up dinner before JT gets home.
I was going to make dinner, because it is so much cheaper, but I lost my energy when I knew that The Dude would be home with me during my quiet time, so I am doing it the easy way, even though the easy way actually sounds exhausting to me.
There are 2 more loads of laundry upstairs that need to be put away, and new sheets on the boys' beds.
I really wanted to spend this time writing about what I have been learning during my quiet times lately.
They have been anything but quiet this past week since the time change. I have been up with Scarlett most mornings before 5, and the boys have been down before 5:30. That means I have been able to get a lot done in the mornings, but it also means my quiet times have been pretty busy.
I sit in the corner of the kitchen reading my Bible and drinking my coffee. Sometimes I leave my Bible there all day just so I can see it when I pass by, since I spend so much time there, and I can remember in the chaos, in the feeling like I am somehow going to implode from all the details there are to remember, that I am loved and cherished, and that Jesus likes to spend time with me too.
When I am tempted to empty the dishwasher instead of sitting down there on the floor, I imagine Jesus sitting there, like a real person, waiting for me. He would wait quietly for me all day there in that train station of a tiny stuffy kitchen because He likes to sit with me. Sometimes I apologize as I plop the baby down on the floor with her toys beside me, and I imagine Him smiling at me. I imagine him saying: "I love to see you as a mother."
It's a big part of who I am right now. But it's not all I am to Him. I am me. And He loves me. He longs to sit with me. He loves to walk to me. He is happy to join in the chase with me. But He is often urging me to slow down. Not everything gets done. Not everything can.
But life is not meant to be lived frantically, or anxiously.

And now I must go. Scarlett is nursing again. The Dude just said "Mom" for the 400th time, and I could feel the virus shedding on me. JT will be home in about 10 minutes, and we all need some dinner.
Thanksgiving will be here in just over a week, and I am so thankful that I could sit here and type for a few minutes.That I have something to type about. That I have so much to love.
And mostly that I am loved.