Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Here we go again....

Analese is sick.


She was fine all weekend, just a runny nose. And then Monday morning she woke me up around 3 am because she was thirsty. I could tell she had a fever as soon as I touched her.
She has spent the past 2 days sleeping, and laying on the couch. She still has a fever, and now has a cough as well. I am guessing we'll be calling the doctor tomorrow if her fever hasn't broke by then.

I feel so bad for her. She is miserable, and keeps asking me if she can go to dance class. I have a feeling she'll be missing class again..ugh.

So the cycle begins once again in our household. It is so frustrating! I just do not understand why we seem to pick up every virus out there, especially when we live pretty healthy lives. I really hope this winter will not be as bad as last years, but I have this funny feeling it will....

On the other hand, Mara has been in the BEST mood all day, she is finally feeling better. Her nose is still a faucet, and she still has a cough, but she is improving. She was so silly today, trying to make her big sister laugh. When Analese was lying in bed, Mara brought her back her water and a bunch of toys and laid them around on the bed. So sweet.

And the great news? Mara has been sleeping until 5-6 am for the past 3 nights! I have been almost too scared to mention it, because you know what happens when you do... Oh course, Analese has been waking me up around 3, so I haven't been able to enjoy any extra sleep just yet. I told Greg it was a conspiracy-the girls are trying to see how many years I can go on just 4 hours of sleep at a time.

Oh, and it was 91 degrees outside today! The end of September and it's 91 degrees outside. Where is our Fall weather?
There just isn't enough evidence to suggest that global warming is happening? Anyone who believes that really needs to just look outside.

Need a reason to smile?

Here it is! This photo perfectly sums up Analese-a tutu and necklace wearing girl going off to work on cars like her Daddy! I hope she will always feel free to do what she wants, and never feel pressure to choose one over the other.
And Mara? She just makes me smile-her crooked goggle-wearin, booger-lickin self!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Rest and Relaxation

Is there really such a thing once you have children?

After being sick all week, Greg and I were determined to do just that this weekend. Things didn't quite work out as we planned!

I had originally planned a busy but fun weekend. On Friday night we had plans to go to a campfire and night walk at the local nature center. Analese was so excited to look for night animals! Saturday's activity was a big consignment sale and Sunday was the D.C. Zoo with some friends.

We canceled them all, hoping to just give us all time to recuperate.

But Saturday morning, not wanting to miss the chance to get some great deals, we head out to the consignment sale. It was an hour away, and so extremely humid outside. Add the fact that none of us felt great...what were we thinking?
We were there for two reasons: fall clothes for Analese and toys for Mara. I really have this desire to get Mara her own things. I have been feeling guilty lately that she really doesn't have anything of her own that is age appropriate for her right now. We used to be able to give her Analese's old toys, but as they have gotten older, Analese isn't giving them up too easily anymore! So that was our mission for today.

Lucky for us, everything was organized and clothes were divided up by size, so we breezed through there pretty quickly, getting lots of good bargains! Analese is set for the colder months, and Mara even got a few new sweaters. And then on to the toy section. Analese picked out a dinosaur set, which was really cute. Mara had been relaxing on my back the whole time, but she made it perfectly clear that she wanted a baby doll. I kept picking up each one and she would tell me yes or no. I love the doll she picked-she has good taste! We also got her a tool set full of tools, and some ponies.

As you can see, the tools were a big hit!

We ended up switching toys later, giving Mara the dinosaur set and Analese the tool set, as they were both interested in each others. Mara now has all of the tools that make noise-they were much too loud for my sensitive-eared child!

Mara absolutely loves her new baby, and I think they even look alike! New Baby has come everywhere with us today, and even got to slide down the slide a few times.
Last night New Baby won out on who Mara wanted to sleep with. Tonight, both babies are in there keeping her company.

On Sunday I spent the morning studying, while Greg spent it cleaning. The girls and I had some fun playing outside this afternoon-sidewalk chalk, swings, slides and balls. It was so nice to just be outside, as we spent too many days inside.

So no, not much resting went on this weekend, but we tried. We really did.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Art of Potty Talk

(This is what I overheard Analese singing to herself yesterday in her room)

Down on Grandpa's farm there was a GREAT BROWN POOP"
"Down on Grandpa's farm there was a GREAT BROWN POOP" (giggling to herself)
"The POOP, he makes a sound like this.....BBBSSSSSTTT BBBBSSSSSSSST"
"The POOP, he makes a sound like this.....BBBSSSSSTTT BBBBSSSSSSSST"
"OH, we're on our way, we're on our way, on our way to Grandpa's Farm......."

Why is it that poop has suddenly become such a funny word? Everything is poop, poop, poop. This, from the child who now corrects me when I say the word potty. "It's the bathroom Mom".

Last night at dinner, Analese looked at me funny so I asked her if I had something on my face. She nods her head, and I said "What is it?"

"POOP!" she screams, laughing at how funny she is.

Sigh, I have a feeling this is only the beginning....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Conversations with Mara

Up until recently, Mara has not been much of a talker. She is, instead, a hummer.

She hums her words, usually keeping the same pitch, and isn't bothered with things like words or syllables. Our conversations are simple. She hums her words and I "pretend" that I know what she is saying, and she'll either nod in agreement or shake her head no. It's often a guessing game, but one that I have gotten quite good at with lots of practice!

It drives her daddy crazy, and even I will admit that it can be tough to listen to at times. I remind myself that this is just how she attempts to communicate right now, and the words will come.

So tonight is my study night. As soon as Greg gets home, I gather up my books, say goodbye to the girls and head downstairs to work while Greg finishes dinner and tend to the girls. Mara becomes very upset, wanting me to take her with me, but I remind her that Daddy can give luvins just like Mommy.

It is definitely hard to hear your child crying and calling for you from the top of the steps. I keep reminding myself that Daddy-time is just as important as my much-needed study-time. I turn on my music to drown out the cries, but am continually reminded of it in-between songs.

Once dinner is ready, I head upstairs and we eat. After dinner, Greg and Analese are out in the other room, and Mara is still working on her THIRD piece of chicken (yes-our little peanut likes to eat!)

As she was finishing up, I asked her why she was crying earlier.

She put hers hands to her eyes and pretend to cry.

I nodded my head, and said "yes, you were crying earlier. Why were crying?"

She puts her hands out towards me and says " oo Ma Ma" . She looks very concerned.

I asked her if she wanted Mommy, and she nodded her head yes. She wraps her arms around her own body, and rocks back and forth.

I said " Oh, you wanted Mommy to hold you?"

She again nods her head yes. I told her I was sorry, and that I could hold her now if she wanted me to. She shook her head yes, and I got her out of her chair. She gives me a quick hug, and squirms down to go find her sister.

A very simple conversation between Mara and I, and I hope this is just a start of many conversations to come.

This is what I want to remember about today.

Not the fact that I don't feel well, or that the house is a mess.

Not the fact that the girls decided to color with markers all over the dining room wall, table, chairs and each other.

Nope, those I think I will choose to forget.....


Thanks for all the well wishes! They seem to have worked, and the girls both seem to be doing better this morning. They even slept in, giving me some much needed rest!

Of course, now both Greg and I are feeling a bit under the weather....I have a sore throat and hope that will be it for now! Greg seems to be feeling worse, but that is always the case when we are both sick. I could have 109 degree temp, and he would still be feeling worse...hee hee. I suspect we'll be seeing him home a bit earlier then usual today!

I canceled our play group this morning, so we have another day to recuperate. The Natural Parenting group I belong to is having a "playdate/cloth diaper meeting" where those of us who use cloth diapers can help new members who are interested in doing the same. I was looking forward to bringing some of our diapers that we no longer use and possibly sell them. Oh well, another day, I guess!

Yesterday I had to drag my sick children out to go pick up our food order. We belong to an organic/natural buying club, and it has been such a blessing to us. We are able to buy in bulk all of Mara's special foods, like her hemp milk, rice yogurt, corn spaghetti, and the oh-so important rice cream (which is for me-the next best thing to ice cream!). The girls were not too happy leaving the house, and cried the whole way there. Luckily I was able to park right in front of the store, so I did not even have to take them out....they just sat and watched me load up the van.

The buying club is through a holistic health studio, so I also picked up this "natural herbal sanitizer" to use on the children's hands when we go out. We have always hated using Purell and other alcohol-based sanitizers, so I am excited to use this. I am really hoping this current illness is not the start of our typical "pick-up-every-germ" winter! I was also able to order some more lavender oil for Mara's eczema. That has been the only thing to really help clear it up, I love it.

So a somewhat productive day! It has been so beautiful outside, I love this time of year. I hate that we have been stuck inside. Hopefully today we will be able to run around out back for awhile.

Any ideas on how to disinfect a cloth doll? I do not want to use anything harsh, since she is kissed ALOT.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pass the tissues......

The girls are both sick :(

Analese woke up Friday afternoon with a sore throat and has gotten progressively worse over the weekend, with a runny nose and fever.

Mara got it Sunday night.

Now, just Analese being sick is bad enough, as she is a bit of a drama queen..especially when it comes to being sick.

" MY TEETH!!" she screams every time she swallows. (she swallows A LOT).

" MY NOSE!!" she screams every time she needs her nose wiped (her nose is currently a faucet)

Yesterday I created a "steam bath" for them, and they painted with dish soap and food coloring. They loved it, and spent over an hour in there. It was a nice, relaxing time and one that may be repeated today!

I have gotten very little sleep since Thursday night. The past 2 nights have been horrible. Yesterday I was a zombie-luckily Greg came home and took over everything: dinner, kids, pets. If he gets sick, I am really in trouble!

Let's hope they get over this soon.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mara and her new love

Mara has a new love in her life.

It started a few weeks ago, when she had her first opportunity to hold a real baby. This seems to have awoken Mara's biological clock, and baby fever has begun.

I have now seen Mara nurse her baby, although she has also demanded quite loudly for a bottle for her baby. I find this particularly funny, since our Mara has never taken a bottle to her lips.

If I am changing Mara's diaper, then I have to change baby's diaper too.

If Mara needs luvins, baby needs luvins too.

I find the whole thing just too cute to describe. For one, the baby is quite big, so the sight of Mara carrying her down the hallway most certainly tugs at my heart.

She is now bringing baby to bed with her, and I often find her sleeping with her arm wrapped tightly around baby's head.

Of course, we have used this new found love to our advantage. When Mara wants us to read her a book, we have lovingly suggested that she read baby a story.

And she does.

She props baby up next to her, and loudly reads to her baby.
Every other word is "Ma Ma".

So precious.


sharing secrets..

Friday, September 14, 2007


We have been busy the past few days!
Yesterday was dance class, which was again, as adorable as ever. The hour class was a bit harder on Analese this time, and she was so focused on getting her heels together and toes out. So focused that she spent at least 5 minutes looking at her feet, and the feet of the two girls next to her! It was so cute. They do tap and jazz last, which is nice because the girls can bounce around a bit more.
It is interesting to hear the other mothers around me talk while class is going on. I can already see that some are...hmm, how can I say this, a bit, uh, pushy? Like their child will be a dancer for life, that sort of thing. I have learned more about the other dance studio-that they focus on preparing the children for the Peabody! I think I surprised a few mothers when I said that, after hearing that, that I was happy with my decision to come here. She's only three years old and loves to dance...that's it at this point. She might become bored with it next month, and then we'll stop going and find something else that interests her.

Last night Analese had a really hard time sleeping. We left her door open to see if that would help, since Greg found her out in the hallway three times before 10 o'clock. I later woke up around 2 to find her out there again, with her bedroom light on. She did this over and over again, until at least 3 o'clock or so. I really do not know how awake she is-I tried talking to her about it each time she was up and she really didn't say much. She goes back to her bed quite easily, but is then up a few minutes later. Sigh.... I think we may try a night light and see if that will help.

This morning we had a play date with one of Analese's oldest friends. We met Noah and his Mom at a Gymboree class- Noah was 4 months old and Analese was 6 months old. We have been getting together ever since, although our play dates are more spread out now that we each have two children and the distance between us has grown.
Anyway-it was a great time for all of us. I loved watching them play and interact together. They both have gotten so big-it really hits you when you see how much the other one has grown!
Of course us moms were obsessed with getting a photo of the two of them together, but the kids were not having it. We did the best we could though :)

So, we've been busy but having lots of fun!

Here are some pictures from today!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Spectacularly spectacular Day!

Today was such a "spectacularly spectacular" day-to quote one of our favorite children's book!

We started a new playgroup this morning. The weather was incredible, with a high of 71 degrees today! After a week of hot and humid days, this was such a blessing. We met at the park, and played all morning. The new group was a hit-everyone was instantly comfortable with each other and we all had lots in common. I am definitely looking forward to more play dates with this group.

We got home around 1, and I let Analese stay up and color while I nursed Mara and put her down for her nap. She hasn't been taking good naps, or naps at all for that matter, so I thought I would try and just give her some down time for awhile first. She sat and colored at her table while I attempted to get some studying done. No such luck. Every few minutes she would say "Hey Mom, come take a look!" and she'd eagerly show me her drawing.
Now I am always careful not to ask what her drawing is, but try to comment on the colors she used, or patterns, etc. But today I noticed something in her drawing, and just couldn't resist. I had to know.

"What is this?" I am not sure what I expected to hear, but I certainly wasn't expecting her to say "oh, that's a cowboy. See his hat?" I did see his hat-that's what I had first noticed. A cowboy hat! Where did she learn about cowboys? My mind raced back to recent Curious George episodes, since she is so enthralled with him right now....I don't remember a cowboy!

She then told me she was going to draw a smiley face, and started talking herself through the steps. Daddy has been showing the girls how to make smiley faces on the bathroom mirror every night after he takes a shower, and I could now hear his words through her voice. I didn't want to hover, and still thought that perhaps I could work on a problem or two, so I left her to her work and went on with mine.

"Mom, come take a look!" Again, I am delighted by what I see. I ask her to describe her picture to me, and she does. "This is my smiley is his eyes, nose, and mouth. Oh-he doesn't look too happy, does he?" She giggles to herself. A line goes across two dots. "that's his glasses". Around her smiley face was a bunch of smaller circles with what appeared to have eyes, noses, etc. So I ask about those, half expecting to hear that these were friends or family..."Oh, those are potatoes". Potatoes? "He really likes potatoes, and they are really nice to him". At the bottom of the page was a circle that was filled with lots of color. What was that? "a pa-pa. It's like a purse for him to carry his things. A pa-pa".

Yes, three may be an intense age, but wow, is it so much fun!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Night Sky

Tonight it was just me and the girls. We started our usual bedtime routine-the girls drink their milk while I read them a bedtime story. Tonight was special; I read them two stories. The first one was silly- "The Ten Rubber Ducks", which both girls love because it has a squeaky button to push at the end. After they each get to push the button a couple times, we move on to our second book. I chose to read "Going to Sleep on the Farm" because it has such a nice rhythm to it, hoping the rhythm will gently prepare my little ones to sleep. By the end of the story, I am feeling their weight on either side of me...ahh, my plan has worked!

We get up to proceed to our next nighttime step: putting our milks in the fridge and then brush our teeth. Every night it's the same thing. The girls each put their milks in the fridge, fight over who gets to close the door, and then run to the bathroom because each one wants to be the one who gets to wet the toothbrushes. As soon as the refrigerator door closes, Mara gives me the pacifier out of her mouth. Every night, without fail. On the nights that she does not happen to have her pacifier in her mouth, she will still put her hand to her mouth and give me "air".
Every time.

But tonight went a bit differently. As we got up to walk to the fridge, Analese says "Look at the sky, Mommy. It's beautiful". It was beautiful. The sun was almost down, and the sky was streaked with orange and blue with gray clouds floating by. We walked over to the window and looked outside for awhile. (This took quite a bit of convincing my little Mara, who was screaming by the fridge, and not at all prepared to break her routine!)

Analese stared out the window for awhile, and talked about all the colors she saw. Then there was the clouds. She said she could see things up in the clouds, so I asked her to describe to me what she saw.
This is what she saw:

" a crocodile eating a pickle"

"a little tiny mouse drinking a really tiny cup of tea"

" a roe
(?) eating a bug. It's a very special bug, called a Round. It's really, really big and special, and round..."

"A lion eating up some bones and things"

I wanted to hear more, but my impatient child was crying by the fridge. I went into the kitchen to open up the door, and Analese came in and said 'That was really beautiful Mom. Thank you for sharing the night sky with me". As I kissed her goodnight in bed, she thanked me again, and told me we had to be sure and tell Daddy about the sky...oh, and about the crocodile eating a pickle!

That completely made my night.

The Allergist

Our appointment went well. Like always, we waited almost an hour for a 5-10 minute appointment. Oh well, the girls were so wound up during our wait. Captive audience! Analese showed off her dance moves, and Mara was only interested in climbing up and down off the chair. It gave people something to watch!
The allergist told us we were doing a great job, and that we should be allergists since "it's all about observations", which we have clearly mastered with Mara. It took us awhile, but I do think we understand the whole reaction thing and what to look for now....and it's much easier to trace back what she ate. But the biggest thing we have gained is more confidence in actually what we are observing, and just eliminating the food instead of questioning ourselves.
So he did a quick exam, and then just took notes of everything we told him regarding her gluten and soy experiences, and that was it! We go back in 6 months, and he also wants to get her re-tested then as well. He feels that as she is getting older, the tests will become more accurate.

So now the girls are hopefully asleep for awhile so I can rest and possibly study a bit! Mara was up ALL night last night with her tummy troubles, so I am exhausted once again. Greg has pool tonight, so hopefully she'll go to sleep a bit earlier for me. Let's hope......


Here I am!

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a day!

Oh what a day! Mara is JUST getting to sleep, she is sleeping with Greg in our bed at the moment. I am not sure what was going on with her tonight. She was a bit gassy, so that may have been the issue. All I know is that the girl wouldn't go to sleep, and just wanted to nurse constantly. I finally handed her off to daddy for awhile so that I could have a break.

I have no idea how I am going to fit studying in........

This morning both girls slept in a bit, and were pretty unmotivated to do anything. I finally got them outside before lunch but it was too humid to stay out for long. We had gotten a new playset for the girls-well-new to us!- and finished leveling it this past weekend. The girls love it! Neither one is too sure of the swings though-I have to push it really slow or they get scared. Mara looks like she is sitting still :) Can you see how much she loves it?

We have an appointment with Mara's allergist tomorrow, so it will be interesting to hear what he has to say. We are expecting the "keep doing what you are doing" response that we keep getting from everyone lately. Greg wanted to cancel this appointment, but I think it's important to keep seeing him now, because we may need him in the future. I wish we had the option of seeing another allergist-I hear great things about other doctors, but we go to the allergist that Greg went to as a that's that. The appointment is at 1 pm, so chances are high that at least one of the girls will lose it at some point during the appointment!

So now I am off to bed, if I can find some room in it!

An "A"

So I had to share my wonderful news......I got an A on my paper!!

I was surprised to get a grade so quickly. As Greg told me when I told him "Oh, now my nightmare has begun..." referring to my slight obsession over grades. BUT I am determined not to do that this semester, I am going to be relaxed and calm....sigh, is it possible?

anyway, I just had to share, but I promise I won't share ALL of my grades :)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A child learns through play.....

What are we learning

Sunday morning

Good morning! Analese and I have been hanging out while Greg and Mara are sleeping in. We snuggled on the couch for awhile, but then she got bored and is now playing with her pile of necklaces. She has her own system in playing-she sorts them all out and then puts one color around her neck, and then the next....once she has them all on, she takes them off and starts over!

Analese still is not sleeping well at night. The other night Greg came home and found her wide-eyed, bedroom light on, at 1:30 am. That same night, I woke up around 3:30 to find her standing in our doorway. She is pretty unemotional about it all. When I ask her why she is up, she simply states "I don't like the dark". She goes back to bed very easily, no protests at all. Her behavior causes me to think that perhaps she isn't fully awake when she does this, but who knows at this point! All I know is that she isn't sleeping at night, up at 6 every morning, and only sometimes takes a nap....She has always been such a great sleeper, I hope this phase will end soon. The other night I left the door to her room open to see if that helped make her feel better, and it worked that night-no more getting up. But then last night I had just finished getting Mara to sleep and found her laying out in the hall again!

Mara is another one having issues with sleep. Why doesn't anyone want to sleep around here? For Mara though, the problem is clear-it's her teeth. My poor baby is getting one after another, and it is really causing her pain. The past few nights she just wants to nurse constantly, draining every bit of energy out of me. But this is easier to take, since I know this is only a temporary thing.

So of course if the girls are not sleeping, then neither am I. Greg is more then willing to help out with nighttime parenting, but it often takes so long to get him coherent enough to understand what he needs to do, and then keep him awake long enough to do's just not worth it! It's funny-when Analese was a baby, he handled all of the nighttime diaper changes, and now-Mara could be screaming in his ear and it simply wouldn't register.

On Friday we were supposed to start a new playgroup, but I had to cancel. This no-sleep thing is definitely impacting our schedule. Mara slept in until 8:45, and by the time she finished eating, it was almost 10 o'clock. Both girls were pretty unmotivated so I didn't push it; we spent the morning down in the playroom instead. I may have to rethink our Fall schedule, I'll see how next week goes. We have a busy week, with an allergist appt, 2 play dates, and dance class.

Yesterday I spent the day writing a paper for my sociology class. Greg volunteered to take the girls out of the house so that I could actually get some work done without too many interruptions. I was actually able to finish it! I am really trying to put less pressure on myself this semester regarding school, I don't know if it's possible but I will try. As Greg tells me, I am a bit of an over-achiever:)

Today I hope to just relax a bit, and have some family fun. Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

"Analese the Ballerina Bernhardt"

So today was the BIG day! Analese was finally able to begin her dance class. I was a bit nervous, as we had received a phone call last night informing us that the pre-ballet class we had signed up for was canceled. They suggested placing her in the "tot combo" class, which was a combo of ballet, jazz, tap and tumbling. I was pretty hesitant-it was an hour long and I was worried it might be too much for Analese to take in. BUT-I also had the dilemma where she was expecting to go to dance class that we decided to give it a try.

This morning Analese was soooooo excited, mainly to put her leotard on again but also to go see all the mirrors in the studio :) We talked about listening to her teachers-I asked her what she was going to do if Ms. Dar said to sit down...she said "I am going to dance!" and that was her answer to everything.

As we drove to the studio, she kept saying "I am just so excited!" I just crossed my fingers that the excitement would continue once we got there. Once we walked into the studio, she became a bit nervous but still kept the smile on her face. She wanted me to hold her as more and more girls came in all dressed in their leotards, so I did for a bit. We put her ballet shoes on, and her teacher told them to come into class and sit down. Analese took a few steps into the classroom, and then turned around. We made eye contact and her eyes started to get wide...uh-oh, I thought, she's going to cry. But, her teacher noticed her standing there and told her again to go join the kids and have a seat so that they can start class. Surprisingly, she headed over and sat down.

Greg showed up to watch her first class too. I love that about him. He doesn't want to miss out on these moments, and will work late in the evening if he has to so that he doesn't. He also helped take Mara for awhile so that I could just watch Analese. It gave her such a thrill when she looked out into the window and saw us there.

The first few minutes she just watched, taking it all in. But as her teachers began to show them warm-up exercises, Analese slowly began to copy them. She watched her teachers very intently, and I was so proud at how hard she tried to do what they asked. Even the other mothers commented on her level of concentration. Yes, my baby has no problems concentrating! She is the smallest in the group, and one of the youngest. I am so mad that I did not bring my video week.

Of course, I will admit to feeling a bit choked up from time to time. I couldn't help but think of a time not too long ago when no one could look at Analese-let alone touch her-without invoking a stream of tears. My baby has come a long way, and is now ready to take on some new adventures on her own. It took awhile, but she got there.

So she did very well, but I knew the hour was long for her. Once we got into the car, she broke down crying. First-because Daddy had to go back to work, and then she just wanted me to hold her hand for a few minutes. Finally, we were ready to go home.

The funny thing-I had agonized over this studio because of how expensive it was, at $20.00 a class. The tot combo is $26.00, but Greg and I just decided we had to do it. I found out today it is "26.00 A MONTH!! How great is that?

As we pulled into driveway after class, Analese told me that she just wanted a carrot for lunch. When I asked her if she was turning into a rabbit, she said "No, I just Analese... I just a girl" I told her she would never be "just a girl" and she screamed "oh that's right! I ANALESE THE BALLERINA BERNHARDT!!!"

This had both girls giggling, so of course it was repeated, over and over again......

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


Patiently waiting for a ride......

THREE is the magic number.....

Yes, I now have Jack Johnson singing in my head :) The girls love his music and we felt especially blessed when he did the soundtrack for Curious George-another favorite in this household :)

Mara has been waking up on and off since I put her down. This may be a looong night for me! Her teeth have been bothering her all day, so I had a feeling tonight was going to be tough.

My sweet Analese is such an intense child, and the age of three has brought about many changes for her. It has brought the concept of fear into her life, and she has had some problems sleeping. A few weeks ago, she kept seeing a crocodile in her room, and it caused her to keep getting up and turning her light on. We came to realize she was seeing what she thought was a crocodile in a shadow on the wall, so Greg did some rearranging and the croc went away. Now she just doesn't like the dark. I am hesitant to bring in a night light because of the shadows it will create. Last night she was up several times and was up at 4:45 this morning. When I came in to her brightly lit room, the first thing she said to me was "I don't like the dark". I told her to close her eyes and she wouldn't see worked!

Being three has brought out some very raw emotions. It is often surprising to me just how upset she can become because something is a bit out of place, or her train fell off it's track, etc. Often I have to help calm her down before I can even learn exactly what the problem is. Over the past few months, the intensity of these emotions have become even more elevated, and I am often at a loss as to how I can help her. For one, I feel like she has a right to feel whatever emotion she is feeling. It bothers me when people try to downplay her emotions, or tell her to stop. But then I have even been guilty of doing this after the tenth outburst of the day! I usually try to give her clear messages..."it's OK to feel angry, NOT OK to kick, push, throw5", etc. Sometimes its successful, sometimes not. I feel like she will eventually "get it", and learn how to self-regulate herself. We just have to be patient with our little monkey :)

When she first becomes upset, my first goal is to remove Mara so she doesn't get hurt, and then move Analese to a location where she will be safe (and away from things she can throw). I usually give her a minute to scream, cry, etc. and then ask her if she would like a hug. This usually works-she'll come lay in my lap and cry. Often she'll tell me "I can't stop crying" so I just tell her to cry. The biggest cause of these situations happens when Analese is trying to play with something a certain way, or build something...and little sis comes and wants to help. My biggest challenge seems to be finding the balance...finding ways to give Analese some alone time, but also requiring times when they need to play together.

It is often funny to see how others interpret one of Analese's outbursts. You can tell what they are thinking just by the look in their eyes. For those with children age three and above, I often see a sense of understanding.....they have been there and it doesn't phase them. This is such a sense of support for me, and keeps me grounded that this is indeed a phase. Then there are those with a) no children, or b) children younger then 3. I often get the sense that they truly do not understand, that Analese is misbehaving, being a brat. I get the sense that they feel I need to do something, to stop her, put her in her place. I feel like saying "just you wait!" but that wouldn't be very nice now, would it? (and of course no one would ever believe that this could be their child one day)

Today was one of those particularly tiring day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

I just found Analese laying outside her room in the hallway, her bedroom light on... Yes, this may be a really, really long night.