Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kiera Pancakes

When I was little, my dad used to make us special pancakes. Sometimes they were Jenny pancakes, or hearts, or Mickey Mouse, or the Virgin Mary. It wasn't until later that I realized he pretty much just plopped batter down and let our imaginations run wild. After awhile we would put in requests and he loved the challenge of trying to meet them. A few years back when I had a few less kids and a few more minutes in the morning, I made my special princess Kiera her very own pancakes. With a spoon , I fashioned all the letters of her name on the griddle and carefully flipped them. They were placed on a big plate and she was ecstatic. From then on, I often get the request for "Kiera pancakes." Sometimes she would want her 'i' dotted with a heart, or a flower, but mostly she just wants Kiera pancakes. This morning was no exception and after a 2 year boycott of pancakes, Phillip also asked for Phillip pancakes- which means I then had to make Lily and Bella pancakes- poor Bella who can't read yet is going to consider all silver dollar pancakes Bella pancakes because I ran out of steam after Lily's Y and she was chanting-Gungry mommy gungry mommy. I probably should have plopped the batter down and let their imaginations run while- next time...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Public Displays of Nudity

We had our first "work" get together in quite awhile. Of Course it was the day after Phil returned home from his vacation- I mean very important training mission to Colorado and Florida- so I pretty much wanted to lay in bed for 24 hours straight. We are on our way to the party. It's a KU party. Ku is the Hawaiian god of war- and a few years back a Ku statue became the way to force socialization upon the squadron. Because with a bar in the actual squadron - socializing is a rare event....but I digress. The Owner of KU has 199 days (we are the 199th Fighter Squadron)to throw a party at which Ku gets "awarded" to the next lucky family. This past Sunday was the first family friendly KU event. It was a lot of fun- beach volleyball, a bounce house, bbq- good stuff. Bella did not want to wear clothes. But she agreed to wear pajamas. Ok. whatever. pick your battles. She did very well- I figured she'd be a cling-on, but she went off on her own and played and it was good. At one point Phil was chatting with a new lady at work and Bella decided she was "gungry". She pulls his hand towards the buffet"gungry daddy, gungry". The lady looks at Bella, looks at Phil and says- That's not your daughter and then to Bella- who's your daddy honey? Bella looked at her like she had lost her ever lovin mind. GUNGRY DADDY! If I weren't the baby mama, and didn't have a degree in genetics, I might be offended- but let's face it what do I care what other people think? And then Bella started pulling her shirt off- the international signal for "it's time to go home" -before we have to take KU with us.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hands on Potty Training

By denying diapers and underpants- Bella has forced me to throw myself into potty training. This means many things. We go on fewer outings and the carpet shampooer is a permanent fixture downstairs. I am considering selling or trading one of my children for pergo. We were into the evening of a good day. Bella had gone on the potty consistently and I was preparing dinner. She starts doing a little hoppy dance and I know what's coming....Mama! Gotta go poop-poop! Well go on the potty the time I had rinsed my hands off ,I hear her perky little voice Mama! I poop-poop in the potty!!! This is a new occurrence, a milestone, a definite step forward. I run into the bathroom with the exaggerated glee appropriate for the occasion and sure enough- she is perched on the potty and there is in fact proof of her deed. But what is that smudge on the counter, ooh on the potty too- and why is she wiping her hands on me- ick ick ick ick. My first thought is she tried to wipe, but nope- no toilet paper. Hmm- I glance in the trash- sherlock holmes has got nothin on me- and there it is-- the pull up with smudges. Yep you guessed it- she pulled the proof out of the pullup- threw it in the potty and hoisted herself up to claim the rewards. I have reached a new low in the battle. I have few reinforcements and morale is low. But today is a new start and she is asking to wear diapers again. I'm guessing my ick ick dance probably freaked her out a little.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

You want me to go where???

There comes a time in all potty training fun, that you venture out, without diaper, without pullup- and try to get a good feel for where you stand in the public potty realm. One would assume it would go well since the 2 year olds in my past have felt a need to visit all public restrooms for the mere joy of seeing how many disgusting surfaces they can touch. It does not end well. Phillip's 1st outing- Burger King in Virginia. It was not good. The most memorable for me perhaps was the time we went to the beach and he was finally potty trained and I wasn't really worried about him. He runs up, grabbing himself as boys do- with the declaration that he has to go potty. There were no facilities available- so I do what any good mother would do - I pull him close and whisper go potty in the water! He looks confused for a second- I urge him- Go on, it's okay. So he runs to the water's edge, pulls his trunks down and proceeds to wave the little hose around like a mad man. I think I was surrounded by 3 other moms with a collective 6 boys who all giggled at my embarrassment- mostly because I think they all knew precisely what was going to happen.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

There's a Shark in My Tub.

Yep. One of the stages of Potty training. The shark in the tub stage. The good thing is that this stage marks progress. The bad thing is that it is disgusting and it requires a good deal of attention. Bella is there. Usually as I scrub her sister- Mama! Poop-poop coming! Which means the shark is already swimming. This means immediate tub evacuation and child quarantine until the affected area has been disinfected. Fortunately we have multiple tubs and with a towel wrap and help from an older child- the transfer is relatively painless. I try to postpone bathtime until after the blessed event- but her regularity is not so reliable. The other night Elmo was involved in a most egregious shark attack. Do not fear, it was handled swiftly and effectively. Bella was Burrito-fied(wrapped in towel) and watched as Elmo was evacuated to the sink. Fortunately Elmo is Bath friendly and with a good bleach soak followed by a soapy scrub- he was ready for snuggling following Bella's second bath.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Beach Bums

Bella and I were supposed to go grocery shopping yesterday- but we went to the beach instead. She kept rolling down the beach and of course was dismayed when she ended up with sand on her hands. At one point she took her swim bottoms off and streaked down the beach....I have a great shot which will be perfect for a graduation or wedding slideshow. Phil vetoed internet publishing of his youngest's I will have to giggle privately!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A day in the pool....

I got a great deal on a baby pool for the backyard. It's 8 feet wide, so the bigger kids can soak as well. It takes FOREVER to fill up. The whole time the kids are pacing around like caged monkeys. It's been warm - a whopping mid-to high 80's with 60% humidity- I LOVE the weather here. Keola is here for the day and we start the swim diaper/sunscreen routine. An hour later- everyone has gone potty and they are rearin to go. Lily does a running jump into the pool- Bella follows a little more cautiously. Keola requires hand-holding, but once he's in the pool I am allowed to sit approximately 4 feet away in a chair. 5 feet is too far- I have tested the boundaries. AN Jen I swimmin! Yeah good job buddy! Mom! I'm swimmmmmmin! Allright Lily! Bella has that faraway look on her face- Bella DO NOT go potty in the pool! She hops out- Poop poop comin! I change her- fortunately we got her out of the pool in time- but wait- what's that faraway look on Keola's face? Too late this time- he's surrounded by a cloud. Allright everyone to the hose. I hose them off and tackle the pool. I know the lawn needed fertilizer, but this was not the way I was going to go about that. I go inside to grab the bleach spray and when I come out they are all slidin around in the murky dregs in the pool. Oh Gag! Into the tub with all of you.

Primal instinct......

When in we walked along at the zoo on Friday, I look back to my Bella straggler. She's distracted easily, and has very short little legs. And now she has taken her shirt off and is struggling to get her skirt off. One of the Japanese tourists is hurrying their child past the indecent exposure and I know it is going to be difficult to remedy this situation. So I do what any good mother does in such situation -I reward poor behavior with a bribe. If you want shave ice you have to have your clothes on. Don't want it, clothes on. Bella says matter of factly. Ok, Lily lets go get shave ice. Want it, shave ice! Bella runs after us pulling her shirt over her little red noggin. Inside out, and backwards- but ON! Little steps, little steps.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lily's Body Image Issues Resolved

Man Preschool Art is a RIOT! I'm a control freak. I like things done my way, if you don't want to do it my way- that's OK- just move out of the way and let me get it done. This personality trait does not mesh well with the growing independence of 2-3 year olds. Preschool allows a level of self expression that generates big messes. I usually try to contain big messes. I also like things done right, which as I've found out is truly in the eye of the beholder. As I mentioned before, Lily's 1st art had arms that were upside down and backwards. I asked her about her picture. I asked if she was all excited and was raising her hands. She giggled at me and said No mommy, her's wavin her hands, like THIS! She then waved at me with both hands and a precious smile. Silly mommy, body issues are for grown ups. Of course the big listening ears she came home with today cracked me up. No wonder they don't listen, their normal ears are WAY too small.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lily's 1st Day of Preschool!

It's here! It's here! It's here! What a fabulous morning! It began in the usual way...mama. mama. mama! Yes Lily, I'm awake. I look at the clock- 6:02- not bad! Anything with a 6 or higher is good. Where's daddy? At work. Daddy's workin? yes. like this is a shock. Every morning we go through the same conversation. Is Ola playin with me today? Not today. So the conversation ends. If the answer is yes- then every 5 seconds she asks when Ola will get here. But today she was distracted, because it was her 1st day of preschool. She put up a minimal fight over brushing her hair and didn't even argue when I informed her that her outfit choice was not what we had agreed on last night. Instead of a t-shirt and skirt, she was now wearing a leotard, Kiera's shirt and a skort, non of which remotely went together. That would have been a great picture, but the coffee was still brewing....and she trudged back upstairs and changed. Bella gallops upstairs to get dressed as well, because since she got a backpack when Lily did, she MUST be going to school WITH Lily. I had to carry her out screaming on Meet the Teacher day. We make it to preschool, not on time, not early- but crazy early. It's a rare event that I am early anymore. It usually means I got the time wrong if I am. So we head over to the park to play for a few minutes-much to Lily's dismay. But finally we go to school and she puts her bag away and we give the teacher a sack full of supplies and she plops herself down in the circle with the rest of the kids. Bella plops herself down after I snap a picture, I whisper- wanna go for a walk at the beach? Zoom- the little red spitfire is out the door-so I chase after her- get to the car. My keys are still in the classroom. What am I- a rookie? Seriously. I'm not worried about Lily- but all those first-timer moms, pacing by their cars- their kids MAY freak out when I open the door. Fortunately Ms. Chris spotted them and has them ready by the door, crisis averted. And so Bella and I head to the beach for a walk. Lily had a fabulous time with her new friends and had cheese, crackers, and oranges for snack. According to her "art" for the day, her arms are upside down and backwards- but we have lots of years to work on body image issues.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dirt, dirt and more dirt.

For children who seem to be so bothered by being dirty, they sure are, well, dirty. See mommy- diiiirteeeeeeeeeeeey! It requires utomost sensitivity and instant cleansing. Mind you, they are covered head to toe in the red clay that is the result of the high iron content here...but that speck of grass, mud, whatever icky- must be eradicated RIGHT NOW! Pig Pen was a neat freak compared to my children. That taupey beige carpet with stainmaster(yeah right) that we opted for- BIG mistake, huge. What we should have done is go to the lot our house was to be built on- grab a jar full of red dirt and find a high pile carpet in exactly that shade. If money were no object- a nice tile, pergo or all out hard wood in that shade. While we were at it, we should have had more reddish children and I should invest in all reddish brown clothes.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle....

The Lion may sleep...but Bella does not, at least when I do. For many years, I enjoyed my quiet evenings. There weren't a lot, because there are always dishes and laundry and things that need to be done. Every so often when Phil was TDY I'd get a night to scrapbook or make cards or sew some fun project. Last week when Phil was in Alaska, eating King crab legs and seeing exotic animals at a zoo- I was living with exotic animals in my zoo. One night I managed to glue the pictures on a scrapbook page that I started months ago. Thumpty thump thump thumpety thump- here comes Miss Bella down the stairs. She, like Phil and Phillip, is a night person. I am not. I used to be a morning person. Now most days I question even my own humanity. So Bella helped me glue the pictures on the scrapbook. And then she fell asleep on the couch. Since a few months ago, she has been desperately trying to

give up naps. I have desperately been trying to keep them. If she does nap- she then will not go to bed until 10 or later. This does not work for me. When I found out I was pregnant with her and most of the shock subsided, I realized that any last shred of personal time was going to be a memory. I knew that if ,by chance in the next 10-15 years I got to go to the bathroom or shower by myself it was probably an accident on their part. Lily wakes up at the crack of dawn- sometimes before. She even beats Kiera up most mornings. Phillip knows how to fly quietly under the radar at night. He knows if he doesn't ask me 20 questions and minds his own business, I will get involved in something and zone him out until 9 or so. But I have always been lucky. They all usually just go to bed when they get tired. I don't like nighttime battles. I'm not going to quibble. Bella likes to quibble. She's very stealthy too. Like a little mouse. I'm going about my business and turn around...there she is on the couch, pink blankey draped across her lap and thumb in her mouth. It takes me 3-4 tries a night. She shares a room with Lily- so she goes to bed, but gets bored when Lil crashes. Then she sneaks down to see what I am up to. She stopped napping, and so the visits have become fewer- but she tends to crash in strange places in the afternoon or early evening. Most often she falls asleep on the couch, sometimes the stairs, a couple times in the hall- usually right in front of her door. Early on in my learning curve, I would open the door to check on her and end up schwacking her with it and waking her up. Now- if it's quiet- I know she's asleep or playing quietly and leave well enough alone.

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Hanai Monkey

In Hawaii, there is OHANA which is family. Ohana also means "nobody gets left behind or forgotten". The Lilo and Stitch reference is for Bella who we swear is the personification of Stitch. She has this deep little voice and tends to growl and half the time I just know she is swearing at Lily in an alien language. Now there is traditional Ohana where everyone is family, because let's face it-back in the day there wasn't a whole lot of new blood bein introduced on the itty bitty little island in the middle of the Pacific. And as we have learned- everybody knows everybody or someone's aunty or uncle or cuz. Instead of Mr. or Ms. you refer to "elders" as Aunty or Uncle here. It is also perfectly acceptable for many generations of family or close friends to live together under the same roof and/or raise someone's children. So Hanai loosely translated is "adopted".

We have close friends here who in addition to 6 biological children, have 2 hanai children. Their youngest is 8 years younger than his brother, and was a big surprise. When his mom needed to go back to work, I offered to help out until he could get in their church day program. His name is Keola and he is almost 2. He blends right in to the chaotic scenery we call home. He is my shadow for the time he is here- which is for a few hours 2-3 times a week. If I leave the room, I hear "An Jen! An Jen!" because he hasn't gotten the whole Aunty pronunciation down yet. He, like Bella is just as comfortable naked as anything. I figured I should introduce you to him- as I know he will be involved in many of the stories I will have to tell!!