Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bella on Anatomy

Before I had Wees I was one of those people who was never going to do so many things as a parent. You see my future Wees were going to come out of the womb perfect. Little child rearing was actually going to be needed, and I was never going to be flummoxed, at a loss for words or frustrated. Life was going to be like a mix between a Norman Rockwell painting and a 1950's Coco-Cola commercial - all technicolor and flawless. Then something happened - my first pregnancy test came out positive and all my plans of grandeur went by the wayside.

A particularly strong pre-Wee stance I took was that I would never use baby talk. No ridiculous words for using the bathroom, no made up code phrases for disciplining or warning children and above all no imaginary body part descriptors. As the following incident highlights - clearly I have abandoned my position on all of these fronts.

Because we lived in an almost all female world (dad was the only rooster in the hen house) before the birth of Wee 4 my girl Wees thought they had the nuances of life figured out - especially biology and anatomy. They (especially Wee 2) figured everyone looked the same, every where. After all dad has two ears, two eyes, two legs - what would possibly be different about boy Wees and girl Wees?

Now that Reid is five months old and the girls have seen 100s of diaper changes they are very aware that some things are definitely different and now they are trying to process those differences in their age appropriate ways. It seemed we had laid the matter of biological differences to rest when after much thought Bella decided that boys had "tinkle sprayers" and girls had "squatta majigs" and that these differences in private areas were due to gender preferences on how one uses the toilet. It never occurred to her that the reality was spurred for opposite reasons - but I had no plans of stirring up a hornet's nest. An additional benefit of this made up nomenclature was that if they began talking about their bodies in potentially embarrassing situations - say in the line at the deli or while dropping off the dry cleaning - no one around us knew what they were talking about.

Something interesting happened yesterday though. Wee 4 needed his diaper changed (again) and I asked Bella to bring me a new diaper. This she did and than she waited around to see if anything exciting was going to happen. She once caught him peeing on me when he was only a few days old and has been hoping for a repeat ever since.

While I changed Reid, the following exchange occurred.

Bella: What is that?

Mom: What is what?

Bella: That thing below Reid's tinklesprayer. What is that?

Mom: His bottom Bella, you have one too.

Bella: Mom - not his bottom - that other thing, I don't have one.

Mom: Oooh, that thing.

Enter a pause here. As a more experienced parent I have discovered the miracle of the PAUSE. Never rush to fill empty space, whether its during a PTA call for volunteers or a child asking those hard to answer questions. Take a pause - in most cases it will resolve itself without your intervention.

As I sat back and tried to think of just how much I wanted to tell my four year old about the differences between boys and girls and Heavenly Father's divine injunction to go forth and be fruitful, she interrupted me and the conversation continued.

Bella: Reid has a little brain down there. It looks just like the brain we saw in Victoria's Science book.

Mom: Ummm, Bella that is not a brain.

Bella: Yes, it is. It looks like a little brain - is this why boys are always saying they are smarter than girls? Because they have an extra brain down there?

Mom: No, Bella it is not a brain. Boys are not smarter than girls.

Bella: Are you trying to not hurt my feelings? I am going to go and tell Victoria about this.

So as I washed my hands and redressed my son, my two daughters carried on a furtive conversation about biological gender inequity. I had decided I would have to be upfront with them and have a conversation I had been hoping to put off for a little longer when Bella came back in the room with a big smile on her face.

Mom: Is everything okay Bella?

Bella: Yup, Victoria says boys don't use that other brain so we are still even.

It is with a huge sigh of relief and only a bit of sheepishness that I say that I let it go at that.

A bit brainless,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Victoria on Unmentionables

I am lucky to have a husband who realizes that after singing the best of Journey for 5 hours straight each night to a cranky and ear infected Wee baby that I have nothing left to give to the "get on the bus right now" pandemionium which ensues each morning as Wees 1 and 2 prepare for school. This means that though I lay out what I want them to wear each night before - I don't get to see what they actually wore until they get off the bus in the afternoon. This is where all of you experienced Wee raisers should be chuckling and shaking your heads as you murmur "foolish woman."

Last Friday, I met Wees 1 and 2 at the bus stop as usual. I grabbed their backpacks from them, got out the snacks and did all that super cool June Cleaver stuff that makes our home the place they want to be after a hard day of singing "Kumbayah" and building paper mache replicas of famous people.

After snack time Wee 1 even volunteered to help me load the dishwasher. As she bent over to drop in a few spoons I noticed something very concerning at her waistline - the clearly discernible band of a pair of my underwear. Now, this was PG stuff, it was not like the child had gone digging where she should not have been in my dresser, but it was still definitely not her normal My Little Pony or Pretty Pretty Princess fare.

And so the following conversation ensued:

Mom: What are you wearing?

Victoria: Clothes.

Mom: No, on your bottom what are you wearing?

Victoria: Pants

Mom: Underneath the pants???

Victoria: Underwear!

Mom: Whose underwear?

At this point Wee 1 begins to look at the floor a wee bit embarrassed. She begins to stutter and attempts to stall for an opportunity to make up something, like she was held captive by a striking 6 foot tall blond who held her down and forced her to wear my unmentionables. Oh, and this woman had on big wings and a foreign accent.

Mom: Victoria, you know very well those are not yours! Weren't they uncomfortably big on you?

Victoria: No - not really - I am getting very big you know these days. Besides they were in my laundry basket to put away.

Mom: If I had mistakenly put one of Reid's bibs in your basket would you have worn that or would you have returned it to his dresser?

Victoria: (incoherent mumbling noises)

Mom: Well, did anyone comment on your 6 sizes too big grown up bright red underwear at school?

Victoria: Oh, yes my friends and my teacher. She asked me why I was wearing them.

Mom: Great - what did you say?

Victoria: I said they had my name on them after all and I wanted to know what I was supposedly hiding from everyone.

Mom: Excuse me?

Victoria: They say "Victoria's Secret" right on the band mom!!

Mom: (Rolls eyes and walks out of room - to commence giggling where she will not hurt Wee 1's feelings and where she begins to write her 1 millionth note to school "Dear Ms. X....."

A wee bit unwearable,


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dad on Wee Rangling

To any soul who was brave enough to even peak in the window of a toddler nursery it is obvious that Wees between the ages of 2 and 4 are super busy. Whether it is climbing up the front of the fridge to get to the year old Halloween candy on top, or emptying an entire roll of toliet paper into the tub to make their own paper mache - toddlers just can't keep themselves out of trouble.

Wee 3 is especially busy. Busy like a tornado that mated with an acrobat with ADD. The impressive side of it is her amazing ability to multitask. Maddie can eat jougart, paint a picture and sing songs to Wee 4 all at the same time. In fact she is often befuddled by why I don't wont' to complete all the items on my to do list at exactly the same time.

Last night as Dad boldly attempted to read Scriptures to the entire family Wee 3 wouldn't leave him alone. She tugged up and down on the zipper pull on his fleece, messed with his socks, peeked in his sleeves, patted his head, peered in his ear and finally just plopped herself between his arms and the Bible.

Having been patient through most of it, Jansen finally said firmly to Maddie, "Daddy is not a busy book!"

Wee 3 thought about this assertion for a moment, and apparently disagreed as she only ramped up her exploration of his clothing and body. I assure you Lewis and Clark were less thoroughly interested in discovering the unknown than Maddie's desire to poke and prod every crevice in her daddy's jean pockets.

A wee bit bombarded by busyness,


Maddie - I am not a busy book - leave my zipper alone!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bella on Reverence

In Weeland it is our custom to attempt to be grateful for what we have and part of that is offering thanks through prayer. We pray before meals, before bedtime and before we read our scriptures. We encourage the Wees to pray when they need guidance or when something wonderful has happened. Because we speak positively about prayer there is much not so positive posturing over who gets to say which prayer and when.

As the heart and soul of most religious actions is to avoid contention, we created a system in which the Wees are each given an opportunity to lead the prayer equally. Much like the electoral college it seldom reflects the will of the constituency, but it attempts to keep chaos from breaking out each time we break bread.

As is taught in our faith, it is not only praying often which is important, but how one prays is critical too. We have been teaching the Wees about reverence - though Heavenly Father is always listening I have a feeling he is tempted to be less attentive when one is jumping on a trampoline, playing a Ninetendo DS or doing the hooky poky during prayer.

We begin each prayer by reminding the Wees to fold their arms, bow their heads and close their eyes. Wee 2 has a really difficult time with that last part. As the mother, I of course retain peeking privileges to make sure the Wees are doing what they should and I am fairly sure I have never peeked when Bella's eyes were actually closed.

Having her eyes open is really not that serious, what is of concern is how distracted she becomes when they are opened. A prayer to bless dinner all of the sudden becomes a National Geographic narration on the squirrels mating in the trees out the window or her voice simply drifts off into nothingness mid-thought as her eyes are reminded of the dessert on the cake plate.

Attempting to get to the bottom of why she won't shut her peepers I asked Bella why that was so difficult for her. Her response "I don't like closing my eyes, because it is dark when your eyes are closed"

Hmmm ... that's true and for a 5 year old I can get the whole fear of the dark thing. I then pointed out that when she sleeps her eyes are closed.

Bella then looked at me with a shocked expression and queried, "Mommy, why do you think I hate going to bed? I don't like the dark part of going to bed so that is way I need stories, songs and as you say ANOTHER DRINK OF WATER?!"

After this enlightening exchange Bella and I set a new goal for reverence during prayer. I let her know she could keep her eyes opened if she could stay focused. Early poll results show her improving in sitting still and being quiet, but it appears she is now afraid to blink.

A wee bit penitent,


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mom on Baby Monitors

A few days ago both Wees 3 and 4 were napping. For a moment I was stunned by this co-incidence of sleep patterns and forced myself to go outside and look for some sort of odd planetary alignment. Once I confirmed that aliens weren't coming to invade northern Georgia or an asteroid wasn't headed our way I paused to think on how I would spend these precious moments of silent solitude. I decided to work on a few thank you cards in my craft room downstairs. To keep track of the Wees I brought our baby monitor with me.

About 20 minutes into my creative bliss I heard some static come through the monitor and then a blood curdling child's scream. It did not sound like one of my Wees, but a scream like that could not be ignored. I jumped to my feet only to be stopped cold in my tracks by the sound of a man's voice coming through the monitor as well.

My husband was at work.

My heart began to race and my adrenaline surged through my body - there was an uninvited man in my home somehow hurting one of my Wees and making them cry.

Like a mama grizzly I immediately went on the defensive. I had to protect my Wees. I needed a weapon of some sort and I needed it fast. The closest thing I could find was one pink leg from a "Nina, Nina Dancing Ballerina" ballet bar and my daughter's giant Fisher Price Counting Piggy Bank. They would have to do.

With the bar in one hand and the pig in the other I began to climb the stairs. Calling on all of my military training I slid around angles, peeked around corners clearing rooms in my home one by one until I got to the kids' room. I paused outside their closed door. I couldn't hear anything - what if he had taken them out the window? What if they were gone? I had never been so scared in all my life. I burst through the door and shouted "leave my kids alone." Now I know cursing is not the thing a lady should normally do, but I am fairly sure I strung a few doosies on the end of this statement - though in all honesty I can't remember what they were.

But to my amazement there was no man in their room and Maddie had clearly been sleeping soundly. My S.W.A.T. like entrance had her dazedly sitting up and rubbing her eyes. I sank to my knees in relief and I am not ashamed to say a few tears rolled down my face. My Wees were okay.

Now that I was calm I realized how ridiculous I looked. Was I planning on pirouetting an attacker into submission with my ballet bar? At best I would have gotten one shot with the piggy bank at the assailants head. Afterward, my assault would have been accompanied by "the counting song" as the pig's 30 second music program cycled through.

As the piggy bank and I sang Wee 3 her favorite song to get her back to sleep - I tried to figure out what had happened. Then it occurred to me - our neighbor (a work from home dad) had the exact same baby monitor which must have been operating on the same frequency. His daughter was the possessor of one opera singer like scream. Case of the mysterious baby monitor transmission solved.

Snuggled between my Wees and exhausted at my attempt to act out my own Die Hard movie, I resolved to nap with them right where I was - quiet, alone time is severely overrated. I also made the mental note to speak to the neighbor about using separate frequencies - goodness only knows what he thought about the impromptu rendition of the musical "Greece" I sang in the shower yesterday.

A wee bit relieved,


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Maddie on Obeying the Letter of the Law

I imagine that in biblical times when prophets and kings stood on mountain tops and stared each other down there were some pretty good confrontations. Between sacrificing first borns and enforced slavery one had to imagine tensions ran high. Today, in my living room there was an epic showdown. For sure no one turned water into blood, but there was some definite posturing taking place.

Wee 3 does not like nap time. Mommy LOVES nap time. Mommy lives for nap time - Mommy will throw down to protect nap time.

Five minutes before today's nap I gave Maddie her first prompt. "Maddie, lets finish up our snack so we can go read our naptime story."

This elicited a not-so-promising look. The story (which normally seals the deal easily) did not appear to be appetizing in the least.

Maddie's reply, "No, story - I play now."

The five minutes passed in stony silence. I then said, "Hey babe, let's race to your room - winner gets the first snuggle." Wee 3 is intensely attracted to any form of competition, but even this enticement elicited only a grunt of mild acknowledgment. Perhaps she had figured out that both contestants would actually be snuggling simultaneously? Note to self - up the reward for future races.

I thought I would try one more carrot before pulling out the stick. "Maddie, what songs should we sing, you pick the night night song."

No dice. And at this point she made her move - Wee 3 slowly, deliberately - much like Patton speaking before the troops - planted both feet and squarely placed her hands on her princess pull-ups. She then shouted "No NAP!!!"

Enter my internal monologue, "Oh, I see - Game ON."

I took Wee 3's hand, and guided her to her bed. I read her the story, sang the song and said in my sweetest and firmest voice, "nighty, night."

What happened then was an exhibition of pure frustration and childishness on both sides. Imagine in fast motion a wee leaving her bed and being placed back in it about 100 times. Then rewind and do it again.

Exhausted, perspiring slightly and very annoyed I told Wee 3, "The next time I see you - you better have your head on your pillow, your blankets on top of you and your eyes closed - got it Missy!"

I then went downstairs to check on Wee 4. But, before I even crossed the threshold to the hallway I heard defiant stomps. I turned, and I kid you not this was the sight I beheld.

Wee 3 had one hand on her Strawberry Shortcake pillow, which was indeed held behind her head. The second hand clutched her beloved blankets "Pink" and "Purple" to her chest and yes folks her eyes were indeed closed.

Wee 3 - 100 points, Mommy defeated.

A wee bit past the Rubicon,