Sunday, February 23, 2014

The George.

George talks like a caveman.  Often using only the first syllable of a word.  In this way, I believe he will be like Matt.  Not that Matt doesn't use full words, but he does try to keep his word usage to an absolute minimum.  He likes efficiency, and feels the need only to speak if it's going to be incredibly funny, or perfectly precise.  George always gets his point across, words or not.  Most frequently his mode of communication includes a hilarious, creative and new facial expression.  One afternoon, George sauntered into the TV room to find his entire family watching "Short Circuit" on the television.  I'm not real sure what prompted it, the funny looking robot, the 90's clothing, the obviously American man speaking with a verging on inappropriately stereo-typed Middle-Eastern accent, the poor acting, but the face he made all but actually screamed, "What the f*$#!!??"  Pardon my language, but honestly, there is no other way to describe the confusion/distaste/intrigue that was plastered across my, now officially, two-year-old's face.
He still, insists on using the word, "hone" for drink.  Will. Not. Say. "Drink".  Just won't do it.  Never heard him say that word.  He will attempt a repeat at nearly every word spoken to him, but you say "drink" and repeats back, "hone".  Every time. For a while, this led me to believe he might have a hearing problem, but I have since ruled that out as a cause.  Either he's stubborn.  Or, well, I think he's just stubborn.  He is the first of my children to consistently use the word "ya" instead of "no".  For most 2-year-olds, "no" is a staple in their vocabulary, along with the likes of "mine", "mama", "food" and "ball".  Not George.  George has already figured out that positive reinforcement gets him WAYYYY farther than negative.  This makes me envision him as a future leader of some sort, coach, principal, professor, CEO (close to GEO), king (I know, I know, that doesn't exist in American, but with a name like George Edward, who knows, he might bring back royalty.)

You will frequently find George pant-less these days, as his brother Curtis is in the throws of potty-training, therefore, pant-less all the time as well.  And anything the one does, the other does as well.  The mantra "monkey-see, monkey-do" is repeatedly daily in this home.  We have a step in our bedroom, and Matt, George and Curtis were all standing near it.  Matt decided to take a seat on this step, and without even a moment's hesitation, 2 little boys immediately followed his lead and merrily sat down on the step. Matt, with an adorable little twinkle in his eye and slight grin, looked my way, as if to say "Did you see these two?  So cute. So predictable. I love them."  George also loves to pretend to eat things.  He is constantly eating imaginary food.  Feeding me, his brothers, his dad imaginary food.  Cooking "neener" on his toy kitchen set.  It freaks me out, sometimes I see him from afar, and it looks as though he has found something on the ground and has just picked it up and ate it...but upon exploring his mouth, it's empty.  He will then grin and run away, making a chomping sound.  Don't get me wrong, I have found questionable items in there.  He will eat just about anything. Once. Lotions, leaves, dirt, food from the trash can, the leftovers on each of our plates. My mother in law has suggested I keep a bottle of ipecac for just in case...might not be a bad idea with this one.

Despite his insane appetite and eating habits and huge head start at birth, George remains my littlest child.  He is in the 50th percentile for height and 75th for weight.  I fear that his younger brother, born just 19 months after him, might be his size before we know it.  Also, as far as milestones are concerned, George is my first child to have "stranger anxiety".  He cries when we take him somewhere new.  He's nervous around dogs.  He really prefers that only Matt, or I hold him, even rejecting his own grandparents at times. He warms up eventually, and his companion ZeeZee helps him a lot, but it's very different behavior than his older brothers'.  He continues to love sleep, taking a 2-4 hour nap daily, and struggling to make it to 8pm at night.  He is now sleeping upstairs with Brock and Curtis.  This disrupted no one.  Thankfully, I mean seriously, I cannot thank god, the universe, genetics, my husband, myself, my children, the "chi" of this house, or whatever has contributed to this wonderful sleep phenomenon enough for kids that love bedtime.
On that note, I shall sign off this post, before The George wakes from his afternoon nap.  I would like to wish him, the happiest of Happy Birthdays.  He is two!!!!  The terrible, tornado, tell it like it is, two's.  So much to look forward to, GeoGeo.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

7 and 13.

"When I saw you I fell in love, and you smiled because you knew." -William Shakespeare
Thirteen years ago, on February 8th, I rushed out of swim practice in order to get to St. Teresa's High school before the end of the basketball game.  These games had recently become a fun hang out for some of my friends, but more importantly, a certain group of Rockhurst guys were known to show up more and more frequently.  I remember arriving about 3/4th's of the way thru the game.  I remember walking up to the bleachers, and glancing down, scanning the crowd to look for a certain person.  I remember spotting him easily and quickly, as he was the only one with a giant fro of curly, dishwater blonde hair (my least favorite color - because it's not a color - but I'll consider looking past this minor flaw) sitting amongst our friends.  Though more often then not, he had found me first. I remember as our gazes met, my heart bounding out of my chest and that pang of happy, nervous energy.  I had just been swimming for 3 hours, but never did my heart get a better work out, than that first moment I set eyes on Matt after days apart.  His lips form a small grin, can't let the excitement be too obvious, but his eyes give him away, he is over-joyed to see me.

This particular night, a few of us drove to Winstead's for dinner.  Matt offers to drive me, and take me back to my car at STA after dinner.  I nervously agree.  I am always slightly anxious around him.  Or is it just my heart continuing to go berserk?  We finish dinner, and head back to the school.  Once in the parking lot, we sit in his Galant.  Niether one of us really want to say "goodbye" just yet.  He reaches in the back seat, and pulls out a single rose.  He hands it to me, and asks me to be his girlfriend (I wish I could remember the exact wording here, but that left my memory, long, long ago).  I smile, I hesitate, (it's so very hard for me to let emotions get the better of me), I really can't believe this is happening, though I am so happy it has.  I am guessing I said, "yes". We then kiss for the first time. Such an awkward, awkward kiss.  Yet the most wonderful kiss that has ever been, and ever will be.  I am hooked.  Every logical fiber in me says, "this is dumb, we are Seniors and going to be 10 hours apart in a few short months, don't even start."  But, it was over before it begun, and we both knew it.

I have long wanted to write about this day. Not sure why. Unless I develop Alzheimer's or a dementia, I will never, ever forget this night, the events, the emotions.  Maybe so that my children, grandchildren, family can understand how much we loved each other from the start. Seems like that would be a fun thing know.  I tried so hard not to make this sound like a couple paragraphs cut and pasted from some silly, romance novel...but that attempt failed.  Love is mushy.  Love is illogical. Love influences us to make decisions we would not otherwise make.  Love helps us accept.  Love allows us to be blind to "flaws". Or not care about them anyway.

I have decided that I will just never understand whether Matt just said 'yah' or 'nah'.  I used to wish he would just say 'yes' or 'no', so it would be clear, but now I just choose the answer that suits my purpose (hoping he will learn someday to enunciate - he hasn't.) Perhaps he does it, because he knows I will likely do whatever I want anyway.  Though visitors may notice our multiple, burnt out bulbs, I have FINALLY, after almost 8 years of living with the man, grown accustomed to having "mood lighting" throughout the house at all times.  I know what you may be thinking, "why don't you just change the bulbs, women can do that too", but apparently, I cannot be trusted to purchase the right bulbs, or I might spend too much money on them, or they won't be efficient enough, or the right white, or something along those lines...I'm not really sure.  All I know is, we need a lot of lights bulbs.  Seven to be exact.  I try my best to build in nap time for Matt on the weekends, and just get over that 2-3 hours of productivity will be wasted.  I have come to realize that our thresholds for what constitutes a diaper that needs changing, is very different.  Same goes with, for how long dog poop or pee can be left on the carpet.  Matt likes to relax first, pick up later.  I cannot relax if things aren't tidied.  We've agreed to disagree on this one.  I leave shoes everywhere, he leaves socks, as well as other various pieces of clothing.  He likes to hug, touch, kiss, etc throughout the day.  I am far too busy for all of that, and he is often hindering my ability to get from point A to point B quickly.

These "flaws" of which I speak, are mere annoyances.  They, in absolutely no way, affect the way I feel about my Matt.  They are fleeting instances, that have become almost comical.  You know those arguments?  The ones that leave you feeling slightly ill to your stomach.  Unfinished.  That perhaps even change how you felt about someone?  Well, we have never had one of those. Perhaps it is because we understand one another so completely, we can always see the other's perspective.  Perhaps it is because our values, ideals, traditions, opinions, just match that well.  Perhaps it's because we are both extremely reasonable people with very appropriate expectations, or even a lack of expectation.  Perhaps it is simply respect.  Perhaps it is any number of things, but we do know it's not for lack of temper.  Mostly, I think we don't argue, because we love.

"He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."  -Emily Bronte

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Things that may cause me to lose it.

I get cabin fever, really easily.  The recent sub-zero temps, the Holidays, the many days off (which I will not complain about) have forced me to be inside my home, with all 4 children, a lot more than usual.  So, add the cabin fever to my naturally short temper (or lack of patience as I like to call it) and my slightly elevated anxiety level at baseline, and you get insanity.  Or really close it it, anyway.

Door slamming. What is it with this fascination of doors!?  Just leave them open. Now, I understand why I find shoes wedged above the top hinge when I get home from work; they never stop opening, then closing, then opening, then closing. And opening.  Closing. One wants it open, one wants it closed.  Eventually it turns into a fight.  Soon the crying/screeching starts (we'll get to that one: squealing).  After one begins the domino-like effect of a toddler melt down, the door motions become more rapid. Finally, it turns into slamming.  Then, inevitably, a finger gets smashed. Now, I'm pissed. Because, during this entire, 45 second process, I have been trying to get them to stop by yelling from where ever I am throughout the house, likely changing a diaper or nursing a baby, and now, they expect comfort for their smashed finger.  After deliberately ignoring my requests turned demands to halt all door touching completely, as well as, forewarning them of the high risk for finger injury long before their actions became violent, they want my sympathy!?  Seriously guys. Not a hard concept. Don't touch the doors.  I have since purchased foam door stops.

Asking for food. It NEVER ceases.  I walk in the door from work, and the first thing I get is, "Mommy!" from 3 adorable, smiling boys.  Then, in nearly the same breath, I get, "Can I have a snack?" I have an ongoing joke with Kerry, our nanny, where I ask her why she doesn't feed my children all day.  Because that's what they would lead me to believe! If I even venture within 3 feet of a kitchen entrance, George hears it.  He comes running and begs for a "'nack" or  "hone" (drink).  That child will be incredible at "boxing out" during basketball games because that is the maneuver he uses in an attempt to keep me headed in the direction of the refrigerator.  They will literally get up from the dining room table, where they are eating lunch to come into the kitchen to ask me for more food, with half their meal still on the plate. Kitchen's closed.  That's right.  The kitchen is closed.  I don't even want to talk about our grocery bill to feed 4 growing boys in their teen years.

Emptying drawers, cabinets, boxes, baskets.  If you fill it, they will come...and empty it. And sprinkle the items throughout the house. Put some pieces in their mouth. Or ears. Especially lotion.  George really likes to eat lotion.  Curtis just screams and starts crying when he gets caught.  Oh, I'm sorry, I hurt your feelings by telling you not to do something for the 600th time, yet you've continued to do it!? And I'm the bad guy? If I have to try to fit all the Tupperware in the cabinet one more time today, it's all going in the trash.  Which would be tragic...because then what would they carry around the house begging me to fill with more cereal. Or Goldfish. Or popcorn. Or raisins. Or peanuts? Left to their own devices, I am fairly certain George and Curtis could have every single item from every single drawer in the entire house, which is 49, yeah, I counted, out and on the floor (or in their mouth, ears or nose) in less than 2 hours.  Brock will, on occasion, contribute to the debauchery if the toddlers have discovered something worth the risk of punishment.
Jumping on Furniture.  Though, I am certain little girls do this also, I just cannot believe it is to the same extreme as boys.  All furniture is subject to become a fort, or a bridge or, a house, or heaven forbid, a "bouncy house".  The bouncy house is constructed via destruction.  Every pillow, cushion and blanket in the vicinity is removed and placed beside the couch to allow for optimal soft landing area.  Let the jumping commence.  They jump off the arm, off the back, off the adjacent chair, off the cushions, off the back of their brother...all with little to no regard as to where they are landing.  After all, the entire room is pretty much a soft, cushioned surface.  Right?  RIGHT!?  As with the doors, this inevitably results in an injury and some more crying, screeching, squealing.  And again, I don't feel bad for them, as I ALWAYS give fair warning.  *Knock on wood* we have yet to require stitches or casts...but it's coming.  Ohh, it is coming.  Look out brothers; Monster Mitch will be a toddler someday.

Asking for dessert, drinks.  This may seem similar to the previous food comment, and it is, but I'm going to be a bit more specific here.  When it's meal time, there are 3 children's plates to be filled, 3 drinks to get, and 3 kids to arrange at the table.  Unfortunately, I was only provided 2 arms at my conception, so I cannot possibly do all of this simultaneously.  No sooner have I set their plate on the table, then someone asks, "can I have a drink?"  When have I EVER not provided you with a drink!?  It's coming.  You probably even saw me pouring the milk into the sippy cups.  I just don't get it, and I am kind of beginning to wonder if you are "special".  Then, when the meal is finished, the inquiries about dessert start coming.  "We don't get dessert with every meal."  "Dessert is a special treat."  "Everyone has to be finished with dinner before we get dessert." "Your mommy is a fatty, and will almost 100% of the time have something for dessert, because she wants it too, so you NEVER have to ask!" Ok, I don't say the last one...but they should have figured that out by now, am I right?

Asking who was on the phone, text, etc.  Brock is the biggest perpetrator when it comes to this behavior.  He must know who is on the phone, every single time I say even one word on it.  He also interrupts approximately 98.4% of adult conversations. Really, he never stops talking. Mom, mom, mom, mom, mom, mom. We've gotten to a point where we mutually do not listen to one another. Because, as you all probably know, I never stop talking either.  He obsesses.  In fact, I spoke with Annora one evening about our plans for the Visitation trivia night, involving only adults, for about 20 minutes.  It was a long conversation. We talked about a lot of different things. I got off the phone and "Who was that mom?"  Nora.  "What did she say?"  A lot of things, Brock, none of which had anything to do with you, and I am not repeating them.  4 days later, "Mom, what did you and Nora talk about, I just want to know."  AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! (Ripping my hair out. Seriously, I think I am having chest pain, just re-writing this story is upsetting me.) Moving on...

Repetition. If its funny once we have to do it over, and over and over, until it's no fun for anyone anymore.  They will kind of continue to fake laugh, but it's lost its original flair. Don't force it, it's ok to laugh at something only one time.  Just enjoy the moment.  After all, I can only trip you while running across the room, or throw you onto the bed or couch, so many times before we all end up at the Emergency room.  Oh, and don't forget, if one child laughs, then EVERY child must get the same treatment. It's 3 for 1 in this house, at all times.
I mean, they just get into shit. Everywhere I turn.  Just stop. STOP.  I don't get it. An ash tray.  Old drinks.  The trash.  The recycling.  The dirt.  Rocks.  Sticks.  Q-tips.  Napkins. George will blindly reach onto the counter and grab or stick his hand into anything.  He is our first child to burn his fingers on a hot pot, boiling water on the stove.  I have to make sure cutting boards with knives on them are far out of reach. They speak too loud. They squeal. Or scream. Or screech. Or whine.  Oh my god, the whining.  It's unbelievable.  They can turn a "thank you" into a whine!!! Guess I shouldn't even be mad...that's amazing.  George wanders into the basement and climbs onto the bar stools, where he becomes "stuck".  He gets stuck in Mitch's Exersaucer.  He gets stuck in the Pack 'n Play (which frequently becomes a mini bouncy house or ball pit).  Therefore, at any given time, you can here George crying due to his self-afflicted positional handicaps.

This list could go on, and on, and on, but Curtis has just woken up from his nap and decided that George needs to be up as well.  Thanks.  So my now, already not long enough break in the day from the terrorist two toddlers, has been cut short.  Back to the grind...they are already asking for food.