Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Homemade Perfume

Gage doesn't nap anymore, and hasn't for at least a year. I wish he would, but he just doesn't require much sleep and he never has. Even at Lila's age he was a 12-hour a day guy; 11 hours at night and a 1-hour nap. These days he sleeps for 10-11 hours at night and that's all. Some days he seems to really need the nap, and some days he falls asleep in the car. But the most I can get out of him is the rare and often-interrupted 'rest.' When he 'rests' he plays by himself, quietly, in his room while Lila naps and I decompress by myself. Every five minutes or so he pops his head out of his bedroom, calling "Can I come down now?" That's my cue to call back "NO!"

Anyway. And as a point of interest: Lila sleeps for about 15 hours a day. No joke. 13 hours at night and a regular 2-hour nap every afternoon. She takes after her Mama that way.

So a few days ago Gage was 'resting' in his room and I was resting on the couch. He was quiet for several minutes (which, in retrospect, should have been my first clue). The next time he appeared at the top of the stairs, asking to come down, I turned to tell him "No" and saw that he was holding a plastic bowl with both hands.

"Um. What's that?" I asked. "I made you a gift," Gage said happily. He carefully carried the bowl down the stairs to me and presented it with a big smile. "It's perfume. Doesn't it smell wonderful?"

I peered into the was significantly full of murky-looking colorless water, with a few bubbles popping on the surface. "Wow," I said. I sniffed. The sickeningly sweet, thick soapy smell turned my stomach - no woman in her first trimester should be made to smell homemde perfume.

"Wow," I repeated. I forced a smile and nodded my head. "Wonderful."

"It's a gift," Gage said again. He held the bowl closer to me. I pulled back an equal distance, then made myself accept the bowl with what I can only hope was a gracious expression (what part of clenched teeth and tearing eyes doesn't indicate gratuity?).

"Thanks," I said. As soon as he was distracted I went upstairs to see what he'd gotten into. Apparently my 'gift' was comprised mostly of home fragrance oil (sans reeds), foaming hand soap and water, with approximately 15 damp paper bathroom cups somehow having been involved.

Now. I love homemade gifts as much as the next person, especially gifts from my kid. But I think I need to draw the line at perfume. Maybe perfume is just something you ought to leave to the professionals. After a long and gentle conversation Gage reluctantly agreed.

Lila is on day three of a particularly independent streak. She has been in a terrible mood, and much more difficult than usual. I love her to bits, but she's been working my nerves like you wouldn't believe. She's usually pretty easy-going, which makes the recent naughtiness that much more surprising. But...naughty as she is, she still manages to be as cute as a darn button.

This evening I was driving home with the kids in the car. We'd gone to the health food store (at Gage's request. This is what he said: "I want to go to that store. The one where we sometimes go that's not Wegmans. With the peanut things. But not Christmas." After a moment of confusion and several stores mentioned: "Do you mean Target?" "No." I said, "The health food store!" "Yes!" But I still don't get the 'But not Christmas' part of it.) and then I had a couple of errands to do. Five minutes from home Lila started screaming. Like, just out of boredom. But that drives me nuts, so I told her to stop.

Me: "Lila, that's too loud. Please lower your voice."
Lila: (screams)
Me: "Lila, stop screaming or you will go right to bed when we get home."
Lila: (screaming) "NO!" A pause while she takes a breath, preparing to scream again. "I NOT!"
Me: (stunned silence, trying not to laugh) "Oh yes you will..." (weakly) "Young lady."

I gathered myself and delivered the time-out, and she apologized very sweetly, but five minutes later she kicked me while I was putting her pajamas on and she went right back to bed, this time for the night.

I feel more prepared with Lila than I did with Gage - naturally, I guess. When Gage went through phases at this age (like this naughty phase Lila's going through) I always thought, "Oh, great. We had such a good thing going, and now this. Now this is what I have to deal with for the rest of his childhood." We'd battle constantly - he fighting for his naughty independence and me fighting to maintain the upper hand and, of course, a few days later everything would even out and he'd be back to his sweet self. Armed with this knowledge, Lila's phases, while still trying, don't force that same cloud of gloom to hang over me.

Nowadays I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I just need to keep clawing my way toward it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Money, Money, Money

My two have been mischevious the past week or so, for sure. They've had Spring Fever, I think, and until this weekend didn't have much of a chance to get their energy out outside.

Gage has become very adept at slyly mooching money off my dad. Pop-pop has been giving Gage 'pay' when Gage helps him with a chore. At first this meant something substantial, like Gage cleaning up after a messy project or pulling weeds from the garden. Gage receives a dollar as his pay, and this thrills him. Sometimes we go to the local old-schooly drug store, where they have the best selection of candy, and Gage gets to choose something right away. I don't mind this one bit, because he is learning so much through these transfers...what he can afford for a dollar, how to wait in line and receive change, all of it.

Plus he is SO careful to get something for Lila as well as for himself. The first time he spent his pay it was around Halloween and he had his eye on a Reese's Peanut Butter Jack O'Lantern. I told him that was fine, he could buy it. It was $.75. He asked if he could buy two and I said no, he couldn't afford it. He frowned for only a moment, put the Jack O'Lantern back and picked out a regular 2-pack of Peanut Butter Cups. "How about this?" he asked. "Yes," I said, "You can afford that."

"That's what I want, then. One for me, one for Yi-yah."

I don't need to tell you that my heart nearly broke. He has always been careful to have enough candy to share with his beloved baby sister, and I never fail to warm at his generous spirit.

Anyway, back to the story. So lately Gage has been getting away with doing less and less work yet still expecting - and receiving - pay. He'll ask Grandma if he can help her make dinner. She'll say "Sure" and hand him a pile of mushrooms to drop in a soup pot. Gage will happily comply and cheerfully crow, "Now I get pay!"

Or he'll hand my dad a screwdriver when he's working in the garage and practically leave his hand outstretched, ready to receive his dollar. And my dad never fails to deliver.

We save most of the dollars (he gets maybe 2 a week) but the odd trip to the candy store and the carefully folded bill in his tiny pocket is enough to keep Gage going.

All this learning about money is great, and Lila has been picking up on it, too. She doesn't earn pay yet (you have to be three to make wages in this family - we don't want to risk any child labor issues by hiring a one- or two-year-old) but she does get quarters from Pop-pop, which she dutifully drops in her owl-shaped piggy bank.

A week ago Mike was washing my car for me, with the kids' help, while I was away for the afternoon. We bought a new 2008 Mazda 5 in February, our first-ever new car. I love it and I'm happy as can be - it's a sweet ride. It came with all sorts of features that I wouldn't have requested had they not been standard, but I'm certainly happy to have them. One such feature is an in-dash 6-CD changer.

While Mike was scrubbing the tires that afternoon Gage asked to climb into the car. Mike didn't see why not, and opened up the door. Gage and Lila both scrambled inside and pretended to drive for no more than a minute before Mike peeked in at them. What he saw was Lila happily poking quarter after quarter into said brand new in-dash 6-CD changer.

Mike shouted and delivered a time-out and panicked and worried and spent hours taking the CD changer out of the dashboard and fishing all the quarters out (about a dozen total). Thankfully he was able to restore it to its original beauty.

When asked about this transgression all Lila did was smile and say "Piggy bank!"

I have no idea where they get this fascination with money. No idea at all.

Incidentally, here I am with my arm around my money, a year and a half ago:

But I have no idea where they get it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thinking on Their Feet

There are times when the kids don't know the word for something, so they make up a phrase that they figure best suits the definition. I love when they do it, because I totally still do the same thing. I remember one such instance that still makes me laugh...I couldn't think of the word 'antler' and sputtered out "Ear...horn...." instead.I was, like, 20 at the time. Everyone is at a loss for words sometimes, and I consider it a wonderful example of how imperfect we all are. ;)

So two days ago we were riding in the car and Gage was looking out the window. He spotted a yard that had a couple of pinwheels spinning in the breeze. He smiled and said, "Look! That house has two...(silence while he's thinking)...wind...propellers."

Wind propellers! What a great description!

During another car ride this week Lila was snuggling a stuffed puppy and barking softly, "Woof, woof." She was so happy when I said "I think I hear a doggie in the car!" that I couldn't help but carry on the joke.

Me: "I hope I hear a kitten soon."
Lila: "Meow!"
Me: "Oh, I did hear a kitten! I hope I hear a cow."
Lila: "Moo!"
Me: "Great! Now how about an owl?"
Lila: Silence. Scanning her brain for what noise an owl makes. Finally, taking on a deep parody-voice: "Hello, Lila!"

So...just so you know...that's what an owl says. It says "Heyyo, Yi-yah" in a comical toddler baritone.

We're entering Birthday Season. My kids, as well as almost all of their cousins, have birthdays between May and August. It will be a whirlwind of cake and presents, and Gage is very excited to begin partying. We made cookies on Tuesday that Gage insisted were "For Lila's Birthday party" although we have another five weeks to go. I'm so happy to have warm weather and good times to look forward to.

I'm feeling well. Surprisingly well, better than I did with either of the other two pregnancies. I am definitely larger than I was for those, but that comes with the territory. As soon as I have a recognizable 'bump' I'll be sure to post pics. In the meantime I'm craving fresh fruits and veggies, lots of avocado, and of course seltzer and milk.

Lila has decided that she also has a baby in her belly, and her baby's name will be 'Lila.' When I suggested that it might get confusing she changed her mind, choosing the name 'Baby' instead. Ahhh, the creativity my kids have when it comes to names. We have the afore-mentioned stuffed dog, who is named 'Puppy' and a stuffed duck named 'Ducky.'

My baby, on the other hand, they want to name 'Yellow Tree.' It was a compromise; Lila chose 'Yellow' and Gage (who, incidentally, was looking out the window at the time), chose 'Tree.'

I can see it now. "Meet my children: Gage, Lila and Yellow Tree."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

And Another On the Way

We're expecting again (!!!). I'm nine weeks pregnant and we're due in early / mid November. We're really excited. Nervous about how we'll handle three kids aged four and under, but excited.

Both Gage and Lila want a baby girl ('baby guh-whirl'). I think it's a boy. I have an appointment in a week and a half for my first ultrasound, and we'll be happy to see how big the baby is and watch the sweet swishing heartbeat.

Today Gage asked me how the baby's going to come out. He's asked me this a couple of times before, and I've gotten away with saying "My body will let me know when it's time. I'll call the doctor and he'll meet me at the hospital. The doctor will help me get the baby out." Short and sweet, right? Well, today he wanted more information. He said, "Will the doctor use a knife?" I had to get more specific. I had to say the V word.

Gage: "Where's your bagina?"
Me: "It's in my private area. Do you remember where that is?"
Gage, puzzled, points to his left bicep with a curious look on his face.
Me: "No. Um. No, that's not it."
Gage shrugs his shoulders, unconcerned. I don't know what's worse, that he considers his arm his most private body part, or that he thinks my baby will come out of my shoulder.

Either way...I see we have more work to do.