Monday, January 31, 2011

Double Dippin'

 
Double Dippin', originally uploaded by cheryl.

That's right. Two teeth in as many days. The kid must have a direct line to the tooth fairy.

Of course, he's kind of forgetful. He didn't put his tooth under his pillow last night, so he missed out. Maybe the tooth fairy does next day service.

Spring, Anyone?

The snow was pretty. For a while. But now we’re over it. Really, really over it.

We’re all ready to move on to spring. We’d actually like a chance to enjoy summer, but with all of these snow days being tacked on to the end of the school year, we may never make it.

Connor, in particular, is ready for spring. He’s been asking about it since early November. You know, when fall baseball ended, and we told him it wouldn’t start again. Until spring.

This weekend was a good one. It was actually warm enough to melt all but the biggest snow drifts from the yard. The world is no longer white and grey (from the salty mess). My truck, not so much. But I digress …

Friday was even better, at least for some of us. The boys and Daddy are finally recovering from their bout with the stomach virus last week. The boys probably could have gone to school on Friday and been fine, but I didn’t want to risk contaminating the rest of their class. It would, after all, just come back to our house again. I also felt pretty terrible Friday, so we took another day off.

But by Friday afternoon, the boys were starting to be more active. Daddy even took Connor to sign-up for spring baseball. He was so excited, he actually thought he was going to get to go play, not just fill out the paperwork.

It actually won’t start for a little while – early March, I think – but he was quite excited. The twins, if they understood, would not share that enthusiasm. At all. They will not enjoy more afternoons at the ball park.

This year will be a little different. The neighborhood park right down the street from our house is small – only two baseball fields. The league tried to get permits to add additional fields, but there isn’t enough parking as it is, and the neighborhood fought the change. So the league took a divide and conquer approach. The older divisions will stay at the smaller park just down the street, but the two youngest divisions will move to another park just a few miles away.

That would, of course, be Connor’s division. So, not as convenient as last summer, but still close. And hopefully the novelty will help the twins adjust to another season at the ball field.

Soon we will be dusting off old uniforms and cleats (even assuming they still fit), moving the baseball tee out of the garage and into the back yard, and packing our bags to head to the baseball field several days a week.

Sigh.

Well, at least Connor is excited. That’s what counts, right?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Oh, Tooth Fairy ...


Broken Smile, originally uploaded by cheryl.

The good news is Connor finally lost his first tooth - one of the bottom center ones. The bad news is that we're not sure exactly where it is at the moment. Lost in his bed. Perhaps in the washing machine. Maybe in the couch. His stomach. It could have even been flushed down the toilet, to tell you the truth (see post below, and you will understand this one).

Where that tooth is right now, we really have no idea.

The two bottom center teeth have been loose for a while, one more so than the other. The loose one was the first to go. The other one will not be far behind. Hopefully we'll have better luck actually keeping track of that second one. Because the first one is long gone.

Not to worry, we've made a note for the tooth fairy. He still expects some kind of awesome present. Not sure what the going rate is these days, but we'll figure something out. It is his first lost tooth, after all.

Big boy, growing up on us.

Quarantine

Let's just say that you probably want to avoid our house for the next few days.

It started Tuesday night. Xander got sick in the middle of the night. All over his bed. All over him. And all over his pillows. But, thankfully, not all over the floor. We got him up, got the pajamas, the pillows and the dirty sheets into the tub for the first rinse. Xander got a scrub with a warm washcloth - mostly his hair, because it took the worst of it, especially when we pulled his shirt off over his head. This would be the first of three different times this night.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sawyer was looking tired early in the afternoon - always a bad sign. He's never tired. Ever. He fell asleep on the couch around 6 o'clock. We carried him to bed and he slept for a few hours. Until he woke up to get sick. All over thebed. All over him. All over the floor. We got him up, got the pajamas, the pillows and the dirty sheets into the tub for the first rinse. Sawyer got a scrub with a warm washcloth - which he did not appreciate, let me tell you. This would be the first of four different times this night - for him.

Just after Sawyer's first bout of sickness, Connor decided to join the fun. It was all over the bed. All over him. All over his pillows. And all over the floor (on the way to the bathroom). We got him up. His dirty pajamas and pillows and dirty sheets joined Sawyer's in the tub for the first rinse. Connor got a scrub with a warm washcloth, and then he got put back into bed with a trashcan near his head. This would be the first of four different times this night - for him.

Our washing machine has pulled round-the-clock duty the last few days. Sheets, mattress pads, comforters, blankets, backup sheets, backup mattress pads, backup blankets. Not to mention dirty pajamas, dirty washclothes, dirty clothes. I stayed up until 2 last night just getting the basic bedding clean again for the next round.

And this morning Daddy decided to join the fun. I honestly have no idea what time it started, I crashed after I finally got the other two settled into a somewhat restless (but at least no longer actively getting sick) sleep. They were laying on makshift covers and under random blankets scavenged from every corner of the house, but they were on and underneath soft cover (even if they didn't have any pillows - they were still draining in the tub).

The snow wasn't enought to call school off today, but the boys and I called it a day anyway. I e-mailed all of their teachers to let them know they wouldn't be in school today and why. Daddy gets the trooper award - he had to go to fire school whether he felt like it or not. There are no sick days in the fire academy, so he had to tough it out.

Everyone appears to be on the mend. We're still living mostly on toast and juice at this point, but there was some limited movement off the couch and some actual playing. Everyone had a warm, bubble bath and got tucked into bed a little early. We will see what tomorrow brings as far as school or another day of recovery.

Here's hoping that we're on the downhill slide ... and that Mommy has managed to evade it (I have had a sinus cold all week long, so surely that will suffice the sickness gods that every member of the family has suffered this week).

And, like I said, you might want to avoid the house for a few days. I started cleaning and sanitizing today, but you just never know. Better safe than sorry, right?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Five.


Cake Time!, originally uploaded by cheryl.

It does not seem possible. Sawyer and Xander turn five today. Where does the time go? Not only are the boys now five years old, but it has been that long since I worked a full-time job (well, one that you get paid for)! It does not seem that long ago.

I don’t remember much at all from those early months. It’s a very hazy blur of feeding babies, changing babies, attempting to sleep, attempting to eat, and attempting to shower. There also was a lot of television. The Incredibles, one of our few Pixar movies at the time, was Connor’s companion those first few months. He was also fond of climbing in the toy box playing with his toys, while brothers took their turns sleeping in pack-in-plays or on the couch, eating, and being changed.

There were stroller rides – three boys squeezed into a double stroller at first. Connor up front, the twins in the back seat (the one that would lay all the way down). That didn’t last long, as both twins were full-term weights even arriving early. Eventually, the very expensive triple stroller arrived, and freedom came with it. We took long stroller walks in the neighborhood, ventured out to grocery stores and running errands, finding our new normal.

At some point, though I don’t remember when, colic came to visit. It took a while to figure it out, because we got lucky with Connor. We eventually realized that if you put the twins in their swings, in the empty living room on the first floor of our then-house, they would be content. For hours. Completely wide awake. Happy, just swinging in a big, empty, quiet room.

Crawling, walking, babbling. All of it followed the normal pattern. Xander was mobile first. Sawyer had a cute little army crawl that he used until one day he just decided to pull up and take steps. The gated house emerged. There were locks and gates on anything and everything.

Picky, picky eaters. We probably didn’t help by letting them push vegetables away and letting them just eat the fruits. They would condescend to eat sweet potatoes and corn, of all things. But nothing else that wasn’t sweet. At the time, it seemed more important that they eat something, anything, rather than push it all away.

Language was slow, but we weren’t alarmed. Connor was a late talker, too. Boys are late, twins are late, or so we were told. Mama. Dada. Ball. Hi. Bye. Simple words and interactions were there.

Until they weren’t.

And other signs started to fall into place.

That’s when life changed course.

Evaluations. Therapy. Diagnoses. Preschool.

And now here we are.

Five years later. The boys are finishing their third year of Early Start. They will move on to kindergarten next year. I’m still not thinking about that, not yet.

Xander has found his words, though they may not be typical. They are rigid, often scripted from favorite shows or movies. But they are still there, and they are functional. He is actually quite chatty these days. Sometimes the context is off, or the transition is abrupt, to say the least. It’s actually funny, how much more like his older brother he seems than his identical twin. But so it is. Chatty. Dramatic. Feisty.

Sawyer is his opposite. When it comes to language, he only uses one word consistently – “Bye!” It is his universal way to say “All Done!” with whatever he doesn’t want to do anymore. Other words are sneaking in there, but they are not consistent just yet. And Sawyer knows basic signs - both boys do - but he is stubborn and does not use them often. He has to want something very badly, and then you might see a sign for “more” or “please” out of him. He also does the sign for “all done,” though it is usually a very agitated one. He is much more laid-back than either of his brothers. He can take or leave most things. But when he really wants something, watch out. He is persistent. He will stalk you (or the pantry) until he gets what he wants.

The twins are not typical five-year olds. They do not know their birthday is today. They do not care if they have a cake or presents, though they will certainly eat their cake and may – if the notion strikes them – help open presents. They might even play with some of their new presents. But they might also just play with the ribbons and boxes. And if there happen to be ballons (which I'm pretty sure there will), those will trump everything else. Especially for Xander.

Today is not important to them. Not the way a birthday would be to Connor, or to most other kids. It is just another day.

We will take them out to eat with close family. Still picky eaters, there will be no fancy restaurants for them. We will go to one of their fast food favorites where they will mostly eat French fries and drink soda. Sawyer will also eat as much chicken as he can get his hands on (he will absolutely reach over to your plate and steal it, so consider yourself warned should you sit next to him).

Next we will take them to Monkey Joe’s – a place filled with inflatable bounce houses and slides. They will spend hours in sensory heaven.

And then we will make our way home for the ice cream cake and presents.

They will enjoy their day.

French fries are always good. Mountain Dew, for Sawyer, even better.

Both boys will love bouncing at Monkey Joe’s, though they will not particularly like the crowd or the noise. But they have come a long way, and things that once would have caused a major meltdown – like other people and loud noises – are now only mildly irritating. They will still bounce and play. They will, in fact, probably be upset to leave. Because they will not understand we are going home to cake and presents. And, truth be told, even if they did understand, they would likely still be upset. Bouncing would trump just about anything for them.

But once they are home and the cake is presented, they will be fine again. They will eat – maybe not all of the cake - but at least the parts of it that they do like. There will be presents, which they may or may not be interested in. There will be balloons, which they will carry around with them the rest of the night. Xander will collect any strays he can find and add them to "HIS" collection.

And there will be family, which will signal that today is a little different, but will not affect them. They will still do the things they normally do, almost as if no one else were around.

Unless they want something. Other people are often more obliging than Mommy and Daddy. They will take their hands, lead them places, make their cute little verbal and non-verbal requests.

And they will mostly be successful.

After all, it is their big day.

Today we will celebrate them and how far they’ve come. Five years. Their journey is not the typical one, to be sure. But their progress is so much more amazing for all the effort they have to put into it. Every single minute, of every single day.

At five, they've come a long, long way.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Cheese!"


"Cheese!" Smile, originally uploaded by cheryl.

Eyes looking straight at the camera.

Smiling and saying "Cheese!" all by himself, without prompting.

HUGE, huge, moments.

Xander is making so much progress these days. Words. Expressions. Communication. Interaction. Engagement.

Each step, so incredibly hard won. But so much more amazing for the effort.

PJ Kind of Day


Exercise Ball, originally uploaded by cheryl.

More snow in our part of the world. It's actually getting kind of old. We're missing so much school that all of the built-in breaks in the schedule (teacher work days and such) are being cut out and days are still be adding on at the end of the school year.

Another winter storm moving in today cancelled the twins' "afternoon" Early Start session (it starts at 10:35 in the morning, instead of 7 o'clock). Connor went to school, but early dismissal was called. That meant we got a phone call at 11:50 this morning telling us school would be dismissed at 12:35 - just 45 minutes later. Nice, since school is about 15 minutes away in good weather and car line starts backing up about 35 minutes before dismissal. We were later getting into car line, so we were further back than normal. And it didnt' start moving until 12:50 anyway. Hurry up and wait, apparently.

Poor Daddy has the worst of it. Tonight was his scheduled night training at the fire academy, so they're going to be out in this mess all night long. On the plus side, they'll be burning stuff - so hopefully that will keep them warm. But I doubt it. It will probably just make the water from the hoses and overspray that much colder.

But the boys and I are home, sitting in our PJs and curling up on the couch with our blankets and a good movie or two. There will probably be popcorn, and leftover milkshakes, too. We were even so ambitious we rotated the toys - switching the ones in the play room for some different ones in the toy closet. Hopefully that will keep the boys entertained for a while.

Our chances for school tomorrow look slim, so we'll probably be doing more of the same. Connor's already asked to go outside and play (he wanted to go out tonight - practically in the dark). We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Depending on how it goes, I may be a little too happy to go to work tomorrow night ...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Connor's School Pictures


And then there was Connor ... our little ham, our old pro at picture taking (two years of preschool photos behind him). Just one picture for him, one with his big, fake smile. That, or the photographer simply took too long to snap the photo and this is what you get, holding a smile for so long it does become a little fake. So it goes ...

Sawyer's School Pictures


The before ... and the after. Now do you see why we did retakes ... and reorders?

Sawyer the first time - sad, tired and not at all happy. I got a phone call from one of his teachers warning me the photos, if there were any, would not be pretty. Second time around he's all smiles. Another one of his teachers was tickling him in that one to get a smile and a laugh.

Xander's School Pictures


The before ... and the after. Yes, we bought both packages. They sucker you in that way. Apparently if you do retakes, you don't order the first time around. You wait for the second order form. Who knew.

Xander's actually weren't that bad. It was twin brother who wasn't happy the first day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Life Isn't Fair ...


Pitiful, originally uploaded by cheryl.

You have no idea how often we hear about that in our house these days. I'm not sure where Connor picked the phrase up from, but it's one of his new favorites.

Life isn't fair. That's not fair. It isn't fair. Or some other variation, but you get the idea.

Yesterday in the snow, wanting to throw that large chunk of ice, I was told how unfair life was that he couldn't throw it at me or his brothers. Yes, indeed. Keep in mind that while we tried several times to make a snowman, the snow was too fine to pack. And yet there he held this giant clump of hard ice covered on the outside with snow, wanting to throw at someone.

Today, Connor wanted to play video games. Never mind that his brother asked first and is just not settling down to a game. Never mind that he never thinks to ask first, that he only wants to play after his brother has made the request. When you tell him he's going to have to wait for his turn, well you can guess what he tells you.

This weekend is a long weekend off from school (maybe really long if this stupid snow doesn't melt), but it's at least supposed to be a three-day weekend. Connor knows this. And do you want to know his first question once he spies the three days off on the calendar?

"Where am I going to go?"

Yes, my have suitcase-will travel child really asks us this all the time. And he naturally assumed he was going somewhere. The beach. The mountains. The lake. Somewhere. Anywhere but home. What kind of people are we, anyway?

Life is not fair.

Connor and his brothers get some candy for an afternoon snack. Everyone gets the exact same amount - two pieces of Starburst. Connor wants more. They all probably do, but that's all they're getting. He asks for more. He even asks nicely (and that's been an issue we've been working lately - none of this "I want" or just reaching out and taking). But we haven't had dinner, which I explain as I refuse.

That's not fair.

This morning at breakfast, we had cinnamon rolls. There are eight in the container. There were four of us (Daddy was at fire school). That meant everyone got to have two.

It's not fair.

No, of course not. Everyone needs at least three or four cinnamon rolls just to himself. Sawyer certainly would have eaten more. Xander probably would have passed. But really? Two whole cinnamon rolls, after snacking on dry cereal and a cup of milk, with lunch only an hour or two away. Really?

Life is not fair.

It's tough to be six, let me tell you.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

10 Years



The photo is actually even older than ten years, it was the summer we started dating. But I always liked it. I actually made this for Josh some time ago. I'm not even sure how long ago that's been. It sits in a frame on the dresser of our bedroom. It was maybe a birthday ... or even a different anniversary ... but I can't be sure which one. Time just keeps moving on, and it still seemed appropriate.

Ten years. So many more yet to come ...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Moments ...

Life has been busy lately, to say the least. Here are a few little moments worth noting ...

The boys haven't even had time to watch all of their new DVDs from Christmas yet, and today Connor was determined to watch Toy Story 3. I was impressed with how quietly and intently he watched the movie. All the way through to the end. It wasn't until a few hours later, when we sat down to dinner, that his true reaction came out. I look up to see how he's doing with his food, and he's sitting there with big, wide eyes and trembling lips. When I ask him what's wrong (spoiler alert - stop if you haven't seen the movie and want to) - he says "It wasn't nice when he took that away from big baby!" Keep in mind, this is hours later. It takes me a minute to catch up to what has him so upset. It's at the end of the movie, when the bad toy is being mean to another bad toy. And it has my six-year old in tears. Didn't see that one coming.

You remember a few weeks ago when Connor showed a little meanness of his own (see here). Well, his then-victim picked up one of his tricks. Today Xander decided to push Sawyer into a room and keep him closed in there. It was the half-bath, so it doesn't lock from the outside, but he kept pulling the door closed on him every time he tried to open it and come out. Fun stuff.

Last, but not least, was another first. Xander usually comes running out of school every day. Don't get me wrong, he's gotten over his "No!" and head-banging refusal of going into school (well, mostly). He actually usually runs into school in the mornings, too. But at the end of the day, he's bolting out the door. He pushes people out of his way, even (well actually especially) his twin brother. He wants to be there first. Not today. Today he started walking about, was about half way to the car line, and then turned around and bolted back toward the door to go back in to school. Yes, that's right. He wanted to stay at school today. I stopped in my tracks. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen, and I had no idea what to make of it. The teachers helping with car line were baffled, too. And then Mrs. D, the speech therapist, clued me in. Apparently Xander's teachers had balloons - and not just any balloons, but balloons with letters on them - in class today. He had to be physically walked out to the truck and practically shoved inside. He kept saying "Balloons, please!" and even going further and requesting "I ... want ... balloons, please!" He asked for them all day. And all evening. And it was the last thing he said to me before bed, too. Looks like we're going to have to find out what kind of letter balloons he has at school. Because clearly we need them at home, too.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Wow!


Wow!, originally uploaded by cheryl.

So many things to post about, so very little time at the moment. I'm keeping a list, and I'll eventually catch some of them up. But, for now, a moment captured in time - Xander, enjoying his twin brother's new cuddle swing. Yes, it's suspended from the ceiling. It bounces. It spins in circles. Or it simply wraps all the way around you, if you wish. It's been a big hit so far, and apparently Xander needs one, too. Good thing he has a birthday coming up ... but then what will be do about Connor, because he makes the third brother to like it, too (and his birthday is another 10 months away)!