Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Monthly Reed: 70

We were at the park waiting for Ryan to come meet us with my parents, whom he'd just picked up from the airport. Reed wasn't feeling great and was tired of playing so we laid on the grass to wait. A party nearby had jazz music playing and Reed said, "At least we have fancy music to listen to!"

One day I told Reed something and he said, "But are you positive?" Then I told him I was pretty sure. Later he told me something later and said, "I'm almost sure. I'm about 90% sure." He's also been known to ask, "Are you certain?"

I was having a hard night. Reed stopped in the doorway on his way to the bathroom and told me, "I love you mommy." Then he came and have me a hug. I told him I'd missed him while he was at school and he said the he missed us, too. I said something about how he probably doesn't have much chance to think about it, though, since he's been having so much fun at school. That's when he turned to me and said, "Yeah, but I love you more than I love school." Coming from him, that's a big deal.

We were listening to the song "Keep the Commandments" when the boys asked, "Why does it say 'eating the prophets?'" Good question, boys. (The actual words are "heeding the prophets." Reed and Asher's version is certainly more interesting.)

One day he told me that when we were finished we'd have "time to spare." It seemed like such a grown-up phrase to come out of him!

Reed has invented a game for us that we play during Mommy and Buddy time. It's kind of convoluted and the rules often changed but it is quite inventive. Usually, Reed is the Chief of Police. His job also includes being the bank. I get to choose a job. One time I was an architect and I had to draw tiny pictures of buildings to earn my money. A few times I've been a teacher and had to teach other guys math and science. (By the way, we are using Imaginext guys to act this out, not acting it out ourselves.) When I'm a teacher Reed is also the bus driver. Another time I was a vet and healed a family of Zoobles. Lately, though, we've morphed into being a family. One time I was the mom and suggested we go out to dinner. Reed, the dad, said, "Did they [the kids] hear that? Let's go make our plan in the living room"--which is hilarious because that's a conversation Ryan and I have had many times. Last time our guys put on a magic show, after which the audience was invited to come up and share talents. And today we were bad guys who robbed a bank! You never know what is going to happen during M and B time.

Reed decided he wanted to be a red ninja (it had to be red) for Halloween. After we got his costume, he wore the headband thing for a week solid and even cuddled with it in bed. We have a t-shirt that has a ninja graphic on it and as soon as he took his costume off he put the ninja shirt on. The shirt has made it's appearance more than a few times since. The costume didn't come with weapons but we went to the store to get a few, since Reed really, really wanted weapons, and he thanked me for the weapons over and over. And, while my dad was here for a day, he and Reed played ninjas (Reed was the trainer) pretty much constantly.

Speaking of M and B time, one day Reed needed to go to the bathroom during our M and B time and he told me, "Mommy, I have to go potty...but can we not count this as part of our M and B time?" He cherishes every minute.

Reed and I, along with Asher, have been working our way through Phonics Pathways. Reed was already doing a pretty good job at reading but Phonics Pathways has really worked to solidify his knowledge and his confidence. We've worked our way through short vowel sounds, two letter blends, and three letter blends, and are about to move on to two-consonant endings. Asher takes a little longer to sound out each blend but Reed generally gets them right away. I'm proud of both of them for working so hard!

The Monthly Lila: 20

Lila has finally accepted and embraced hairbows. (Or bow bows, as the case may be.) She loves having a bow in her hair and generally keeps it in. She often goes to the drawer where we keep the bows, finds a bow, then brings it to me so I'll put it in her hair. She's also developed a love for hats, particular beanies. She wears them around the house all day when she finds them.

Lila recently discovered a Winnie the Pooh board book and has fallen in love. She very quickly picked up the word "pooh" and now yells "POOH!" every time I tell her to get a book. She also loves our peek-a-who book. The pages go something like this: peek-a....moo! peek a....boo! peek a...zoo! peek a....choo choo! peek a...you! She LOVES it and says all the rhyming "oo" words with me. Another character she has randomly fallen in love with is Mickey. Her only exposure to him is from her diapers and one board book we love but now she freaks out if she sees "mi-mee" in the store.

(She wanted to be in the picture. And to put on her shoes)

If Lila wants a drink (which is often), she finds a cup then stands by the fridge yelling, "BEEEEEEEES!" (please) until someone comes and fills her drink for her. If you ask her where something is she either locates it or puts her hands up in the air and says, "Know?" It's so cute.

(Still worried about her shoes)

When Lila needs a boost, she stands next to the item she's trying to climb, puts her hand on her bum (in boost spot), and looks at me imploringly.

Lila is starting to say more words and is also starting to copy more of the words we say. Here are a few of her new words: bow, pooh (as in Winnie the Pooh), know, m-ow (meow), dodor (doctor), moo, deeees (geez or cheese), de-dus (Jesus), beeeees (please), dooo (Goo aka Ashie), daw daw (dog), muh-mee (monkey), bow wow, bah bah (ball) and my. She has also started very occasionally combining two words for one thought. She says most words twice, which is actually pretty cute. Some of the words she always says twice are "bear bear," "Jae Jae," "my my," "ball ball," and "bow bow" to name a few.

Lila loves rolling up my yoga mat and turning off the TV when I'm done with my workout. She yells "ROLL!" and comes running over. She usually *tries* to put the mat away, too.

Recently, Lila was sick. She drank a sip of water before we knew she was sick and almost immediately threw up. An hour later she was begging for water so I gave her some and she immediately threw up again. After that we decided to take a little break from water until we could figure something out. Lila was so mad that I wouldn't give her a drink. She kept finding cups and water bottles, then bringing them to me saying, "Beeeeeeeees!" (please) so I would fill them up. The real killer was when she found my water bottle and told me, "Mama Jae Jae nee nee!" (need need)

One day I was singing along with a Taylor Swift song. The song was on a part where Taylor sings "ahhhh," so I sang along. From the back seat Lila yelled, "AHHHHHHHHHH!"

Lila knows a ton of body parts and loves to identify them. She knows head, hair, eyes, ears, tongue, mouth, teeth, belly, arms, eyes, legs, feet, hands, and buns.

Lila also knows a few animal sounds. Her favorite is doggie: bow wow. The way she says bow wow is fantastic--she says it with a growling voice. She also knows what a monkey says: Ahhhhhhhh. I was trying to teach her ah-ah-ah, but she just keeps it with the one ah. She says her ahhhhh in a very low voice without fail--I'm not really sure where that came from. She also sometimes knows cows: Moooooooooo! If you ask her what any other animal says, she growls.

One day I was carrying Lila up the stairs when she started excitedly pointing at the picture of Jesus on the stairwell yelling, "DE-DUS!" (Jesus!). I don't know if she hadn't noticed the picture before, but she was super excited about it this time. 

If we ask Lila to fold her arms, she sometimes listens. If she does fold them, it's only for a few seconds until she's ready to move on to something else. She does generally fold her arms if she hears someone say "amen," so at least she associates amen with prayers. One day, though, she decided to say her own prayer. She folded her arms, yelled, "Jesus! Yeah!" then continued on her way. 

For the past few weeks Ryan has been home after dinner time but before bed time. He usually eats dinner when he gets home. Lila usually perches on the chair next to him begging for bites, even though she has already eaten dinner. She has tried a few approaches: outright stealing bites off his plate, pointing to a bite and saying "Jae Jae," and opening her mouth and pointing inside. She's generally successful.

We had joy school at our house a few weeks ago and Lila hopped right in the middle of those four four-year-old boys and was pretty sure she was a school kid, too. She was not intimidated at all and tried to be a part of everything!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Giving Tiger

One day the doorbell rang at 7:00 p.m., which was a surprise in itself. The even bigger surprise came, though, when we opened the door and found this guy:

Yes, The Giving Tiger. A generous tiger who likes to share treats with neighbors. When I first opened the door, I was a little taken aback; I thought an animal of some kind was really perched on our doorstep. I was quite relieved to find that the tiger is not real, though he is huge--as big as Asher--and heavy! 

The boys were mostly excited about the treats. And about the prospect of ding dong ditching a tiger on someone's doorstep. They immediately landed on the next recipient (they are lucky to have best buddies who are also brothers), and we kept the tiger around for a few days until Ryan could help us drop him off.

Lila loved the tiger; every time she saw him she'd say "die-duh!" (tiger!) and point. I think she was kind of disappointed to see him go!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mama's Helper

I've been posting about Lila a lot lately and, because I worry about things that many other people don't even fathom being worried about, I'm pretty sure that one day the boys are going to be reading the blog books that I will hopefully have finished and will be super offended at the slew of Lila posts. Sorry, boys.

Back to the matter at hand: Lila and dinner prep time. Dinner prep time is the bane of Lila's existence. She loathes dinner prep time, because it is the one time a day where I am completely inaccessible to her. She is baffled when she holds her hands up to me and makes her pleading eyes and I don't pick her up because my hands or covered in chicken or some other substance I don't want covering him. She is not impressed by my requests for her to "go find a toy" or "play with her brothers" or "just do anything." So I generally park her on the counter because, for whatever reason, she'd rather be sitting on the counter next to me and not doing anything than playing with a toy she likes or a brother she adores in a room without me.

Anyway, suffice it to say that Lila spends dinner prep time on the counter. 

Lila has recently developed a love for socks. I am quite sure that this love stemmed from watching her brothers--particularly Ashie--who adore socks. Asher has been known to trade socks several times a day because he just can't decide which pair to wear. Or he'll wear three pairs on top of each other so he doesn't have to choose. Lately, each time Asher gets socks, Lila decides she needs socks.

Then sometimes they both decide they also need socks on their hands.

And after hand socks, oven mitts become quite amusing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Monthly Asher: 47

One day something broke and Asher said, "Awwww, now it's all jacked up!"

We were driving and Asher was counting by tens: "seventy, eighty, ninety, tenty, eleventy, twelvety..."

We started school with Ashie's buddies recently and he loves it! The first week was at our house and he was beyond excited to have it there.

Asher listens to a mix of Disney songs at his nap time. He and Reed listen to different songs at night, so he's the only one who listens to these songs. Anyway, one day he was telling us about a song of his that goes, "Sleeping night in jail, sleeping night in jail..." As it turns out, the lyrics are actually, "Sing, sweet nightingale, sing sweet nightingale..."

When Reed is at school, Asher chooses what we do together. Every day, without fail, he's chosen games. Our go-tos (because Lila can't do anything badly to them) are Hi-ho Cherry-O and Pop Goes Froggio.

One of the two roads that leads to Reed's school is currently under construction and closed. Because there is only one road now that leads to the school, the traffic backs up quite a bit. We've found a shortcut, though, through a neighborhood called Huntington that bypasses the traffic and doesn't put us too far from where we want to be. Now, Asher requests to go through Huntington every time we leave Reed's school. One day he told me, "Mommy, you know how it's called Honeytin? I get the 'honey', like honey you put on a sam. But I don't get the 'tin'."

Another cute thing Asher says: "their chuther" means "each other."

Asher has a hard time pronouncing the letters 'R' and 'L.' We have been working on L's toether (saying luh luh instead of wuh wuh) and he is doing pretty well with L as a beginning sound. He is even starting to catch himself saying wuh and will occasionally correct himself. He's always so proud of himself when he does!

Asher thinks that any injury, no matter how minuscule, needs a bandaid. Even small scratches that are mostly healed but still have a bloddy spot--a scab--need a bandaid, for sure. One day he had a bandaid on his chin, then scratched Reed's face so Reed had a bandaid on his upper lip. And we went out in public like that.

Asher has started to measure himself lately with the stairs and the couch. He is happy to report that he is one stair long and also one short couch long. He's pretty proud of how tall he is.

Asher has invented something he calls a tornado. Basically, he spreads a blanket out, then rolls himself up in it like a burrito. And then he just lays there giggling. He and Reed love it.

Asher has always loved his hats, but lately he's found another accessory: he's created a "suit" for himself. The suit is his scarf, which he passes across the back of his neck, makes an x across his back, then ties in front. Speaking of ties--Asher recently learned how to tie a know and is ridiculously proud of the fact. He ties his suit, his hat earflaps under his chin, basically anything that can be tied will be tied.

Just Like Bubba(s)

I was going to choose just one of these photos to put into Lila's monthly post, but I couldn't even narrow the choices down to three photos. So of course these pictures needed a post of their own.

Our Lila. Girlfriend loves to accessorize. If she finds a necklace or bracelet or shoes or a bow or anything that can be construed as an accessory, she asks not so much, "Mom, can you put this on me?" but "Mom, how am I not already wearing this?!" She often wears four or five necklaces at a time. It's riciulous. But cute.

In addition to accessories, Lila LOVES clothes. She especially loves to chose her own clothes. She eats in a diaper only (less laundry) and she is okay with roaming for a little while after meals without her clothes, but once she sees any article of clothing she is reminded that she doesn't have any clothes and needs some, now.

One day, she was roaming post-lunch and stumbled upon some clothing: a pair of Reed's chiller shorts and one of Asher's chiller shirts. We are serious about our chillers. She was suddenly seized by the need to wear her brothers' clothes. She brought the clothes to me, indicated that she most definitely needed to wear them, then waited impatiently until I dressed her.

Then she was on the runway. She was so impressed by her outfit that she strutted around the room looking pleased with herself, flashing us grins and poses like nobody's business. 

Love her.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mama's Girl

Lila has always been kind of a mama's girl, but lately has taken her love of mama to a new level. If anyone else is holding her (even Ryan) and they come near me, she immediately makes a dive to try to get to my arms, instead--even if she had been perfectly content before she saw me. If one of the boys comes to sit on my lap, you can be sure she will be there within seconds, yelling and pulling a their shirts to try to move them off my lap--even if she had been across the room doing her own thing before the boys had the audacity to try to sit on her mama's lap. If I'm laying on the ground at all during my morning exercise, she thinks I've given her an open invitation to come lay on top of me. Honestly, I think it's sweet that she loves me; but it can also be a little maddening.

One of her more endearing mama's girl habits, though, that has only emerged over the last week or two, is her cuddles. She hasn't been napping amazingly (that's not the endearing part), but she has been waking up in quite a cuddly mood. Her first order of business upon me lifting her out of her crib is to lay her head down on my shoulder and park it there for the next 5-20 minutes, depending on her mood. Even when she has had an excellent nap, she still gives me her ritual post-sleeping cuddle. And it's just so cute. 

Earlier this week, she had commenced the cuddling and continued to do so while I walked down the stairs. She seemed extra groggy, so I swayed with her for a minute before settling down onto the couch. A few minutes later, I realized she had fallen asleep leaning against me. For some babies, falling asleep on mama wouldn't be an oddity; but for Lila, it was quite strange. She hasn't been willing to fall asleep on me without a gigantic battle since she was around seven months old. So on that day, when she fell asleep on me after her nap, I was shocked. She woke up just a few minutes later and was done cuddling soon thereafter, but still.

Then yesterday came. And Lila took an awful nap. Asher was asleep, so I told Reed he could play his game thing and asked him to stay out of Lila's room. I went in, gathered up my crying girl, and rocked her. She cuddled, of course, and let me rock her for a long time. I think she was in and out of sleep for a little while, but it was hard to tell since her face was burrowed into my neck. As I rocked her, I started to think of how many hours I've logged in that rocking chair. We had a different rocking chair with the boys, so Lila has been the only baby I've rocked in this particular chair--but I've rocked a lot. That chair is where I nursed her once she started being too distracted by the boys running around--and we spent a lot of time nursing. That chair is where I've rocked her before almost every nap and bedtime of her life. That chair is where I'd hold her in the dark to the background of her noisemaker, trying not to make any sudden movements, because I'd finally gotten her back to sleep after one of her signature 20-minute naps and she needed to stay asleep or we'd all go crazy. 

Lila was such an awful napper when she was little--really, awful. She'd be relatively pleasant, even if she didn't really nap, so you'd think it wouldn't matter that she was an awful napper. Then you'd try to put her down for her next nap, and the going to sleep part would be harder and the staying asleep part would be shorter. She was happy when she was awake, but the more tired she got, the more awful her sleep was. And if her daytime sleep was horrible, her nighttime sleep was extra bad. I spent a lot of time holding her and not a lot of time doing anything else at all. To get us out of the overtired cycle, I made a compromise: if she was sleeping poorly, I'd hold her for one nap a day, so I could ensure she got at least one solid nap a day so we wouldn't perpetuate the cycle of sleeplessness. My deal worked for the most part--the boys would either by sleeping or quiet-timing and if they weren't they'd usually play together decently in their room or downstairs while I held the baby. But my deal also meant that I spent at least an hour each day in a dark room, sitting in my rocking chair. 

At first I passed the time on facebook or pinterest or instagram, perusing various blogs, generally doing nothing, really. After a while, though, I decided to start reading talks from General Conference. I read my way through the entire April 2013 conference, then moved back to the October 2012 conference, and then on to the April 2012 conference. I began to appreciate the solitude of holding sleeping Lila in the dark while reading these conference talks. When Lila did finally become a sleeper and I didn't spend an hour of each day holding her, I found I missed that quiet time with her.

The other day, when I found myself once again rocking an almost-sleeping baby in a dark room in my rocking chair, my thoughts drifted back to those days of trying to get Lila to sleep. I remember telling myself during those months that I needed to be savoring this. That one day I was going to miss holding a sleeping baby. That even though those first few months with three kids were really more about surviving than anything else, I needed to remember what it felt like to hold a sweet, sleeping baby who felt safe in my arms and who I loved completely. Holding my still sweet, though not-so-little sleeping baby yesterday reminded me of that. Too often, I'm waiting for the next thing. The big things, like Reed starting Kindergarten and potty-training Lila (soon) (maybe), and the small things, like when it's going to be naptime and what time I need to get dinner started and when we need to leave to pick up Reed. And I worry that I'm missing the in-between things, those living-in-the-moment things people like to talk about. My back-to-school goals and schedule have made me more motivated to finish my to-do list things so I can then pause and notice what's happening right now; now I just need to take the opportunity to do so. I want to stop worrying about next and start focusing on now.