Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Little Daddy Time

I have written many times about how much my older girls love their time with their Daddy.  When he comes home from work, they shriek and run to him.  As soon as dinner is over they're begging him to play "monster" with them or read to them or dance with them.  They are definitely Daddy's girls.  

Baby Sis is following right in their footsteps.

Every night she has a little special time with her Daddy and seems to enjoy it thoroughly.

Daddy's Girl.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What Do I Do All Day Anyway?

If you aren't or have never been a stay-at-home mom (or dad), you might wonder what someone does who stays home with her kids all day.  I know I did before becoming a full-time mom myself.  I didn't wonder about this in a malicious way, in a "what the H-E-double-hockey-stick-does-she-do-all-day?" kind of way.  I just wondered.  

Well.  Now I know.  So, what do I do all day?  Here's an idea:

I create mountains with couch cushions.  I encourage.  I insist "you can do it."  I cheer for accomplishments.  I help when necessary.  

I do laundry.  

Lass was having a really hard time climbing over this cushion and was getting frustrated watching her sister go up and down with ease.

I encouraged her to keep trying.

Here she's saying "I did it!"  I love that moment.

I have tea parties.  I color.  I read aloud.  I ask, "What color is this?"  "What does (fill in this blank with some animal) say?" "What sound does (fill in this blank with some letter) make?" "What do you think about that?"  All. day. long.  I sing songs.  I sound out words.  I count everything out loud.  I answer "Why?"  and "Why?" and "Why?"

I watch.  I praise.  I watch again.  And again.  And again.  I teach.  I spot.

Miss is really into working on headstands and handstands and showing off various other skills she is learning at gymnastics.  This reminds me of when my mom helped me learn how to do a cartwheel.  I wonder how many hours we spent working on them in our living room.  I want to do the same for my girls.

I kiss boo boos.  I teach manners.  And responsibility.  And problem solving.  And everything.

I discourage whining.  I try to reinforce more effective ways of communicating.  I try to teach my girls to be strong and direct.

I do laundry.

I referee fights over who gets to wear which headband.  Over who gets the little Cinderella doll (or "Wedda" as Lass calls her).  Over who gets to hold Baby Sis first.

I change diapers.  I wash diapers.  I fold diapers.

I nurse a newborn. I take forever to get out of the house.

I cook.  I clean up.  I cook.  I clean up.

I wipe mouths and noses and counters and hands and tables and rear ends.

I give baths.  I comb hair that is like silk.  I fix pony tails.  I say "You're beautiful."  "You're smart." "You're strong."  "You're funny."  

I do laundry.
Baby Sis right after a bath

I help to outfit Super Heros.

Daddy helps them to fly.

Sometimes they crash.

I do more laundry.

I give lots of hugs.  And kisses.  I snuggle.  I tickle.

Sometimes I just sit.  And watch.  And I'm thankful that I am fortunate enough to be able to do all of these things and so much more.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Song Bird

Last night I had some special girl time with my eldest before bed.  We painted her fingernails.  She chose blue, of course.  While waiting for them to dry we made some funny faces and sang some songs.

My girl loves to sing.  Both of my older girls do, in fact, though Lass is still working on the words a bit...  Miss goes all out in singing her favorites.  She lifts her chin up and belts them out at full volume.  In the car, in the playroom, at the store, on the swingset, wherever.  We were even informed by her teachers that she sings like this at school.  I absolutely love that she does this.  I think it might be a little bit hereditary, because I think I used to sing like that when I was a kid too (okay, I still do).  I remember singing with my mom and my Grandma a lot.  My Mom and I used to rock out to "Barbara Susanne Stripe" (a.k.a. Barbara Streisand), Neil Diamond, and Barry Manilow on 8-track. Or we'd sing all sorts of kid's songs: You are My Sunshine, Eensy Weensy Spider, Gray Squirrel, Gray Squirrel, and so on.  My Grandma is a very talented musician, and she used to play the piano and teach me lots of old-timey songs.  I think singing is an expression of happiness.  It's good for the soul.

We sing a lot in our family.  My husband plays the guitar and we sing along with him in the evenings.  The girls and I sing lots of little songs during the day.  We sing while we play, while we are in the car, while we do just about anything.  I've had strangers chuckle at me for singing with my girls in the grocery store.  I think it's usually a nice, friendly chuckle.  I hope.  I'm no vocal sensation, but I can carry a tune.  And who doesn't love a moving rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star in their grocery's produce section?

Anyway.  Back to last night.  After Miss and I finished with her nails, while they were drying, she was singing her latest favorite song, "Whistle While You Work."  I especially love when she sings the songs from Snow White, because she doesn't just sings the words, she does the vocal trilling "ha-ha-ha-ha-ha..." like Snow White does.  I don't know if that's the right term to describe it, but it's so cute.  And since I can't really describe it well, I captured it on video.  Though my girl sings loudly and unselfconsciously almost all day long, like most kids her age she was a little less willing to do it on command.  When I first asked her to sing for the camera, she said that she had "run out" of singing.  But then when I told her that I wanted to take a video of her and she could watch it afterwards, well, I could just see the wheels turning as she thought about that.  The video below is not characteristic of how she usually sings.  She's more timid and much quieter than usual.  But I couldn't help but smile when I watched and listened to her sing her song.  I hope you will too.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

One Wonderful Guy

I'm enjoying having my husband home this week.  We have been relaxing and he's helping me get as much rest as I can.  Other than the days Miss went to school, he's been letting me sleep in, which is such a wonderful luxury.  I slept until 9:30 one day!  It was amazing.  He's been outside with Miss and Lass a lot too, which they love.  They're working on getting our garden planted.

The girls helped him plant some veggies in these boxes today.

Then he opened the sandbox for them.

Oh, how they enjoyed the sandbox.  This was Lass's first experience with it.

I must admit, I'm usually not a great lover of the sandbox.  But I think my lack of enthusiasm comes from having Miss in it last year in the middle of summer when she was hot and sweaty and sunscreened and it was nearly impossible to get the sand unstuck from her.  Today, it was no prob. Brushed right off.

Miss found a worm.  She didn't want anything to do with it.

But Lass thought it was pretty darned cool.

It was a great day for lots of playing outside.

I love looking out the window while cooking dinner and seeing my husband chasing my girls around the backyard, playing "Monster," or teaching them to kick a ball.  Sometimes I glance up and see them all just lying in the grass chatting and snuggling.  It warms my heart.  He is such a great girl daddy.  He is so thoroughly outnumbered, and I think he loves it.

I'm taking advantage of having my husband home this week and trying to spend some good one on one time with each of my girls.  My older girls have been such troopers through the whole adjustment to having Baby Sis home.  Miss loves to help with her, but I'm trying to give her some special attention all of her own too.

When I first brought Sis home, I was worried that Lass might get lost in the shuffle.  Miss was so interested in Sis and wanted to hold her and help with her all the time, and Sis of course just needs lots of attention and time.  I felt nervous that Lass might get left out.  So I have made a special point of trying to make sure that doesn't happen.  She's such a little lover that it hasn't been hard to get in lots of extra snuggles with her and give her some special time.

I am not going to make the mistake I made with Lass of not introducing her to a bottle until she was five or six weeks old, at which point she flat out refused it, and continued to do so until I gave up trying to get her to take one.  Sis isn't necessarily loving the bottle yet, but she has done pretty well taking it both from her daddy and from me this week.  I'm trying out a few different bottles to see which one she likes best.  I have just about every type of bottle ever made from my attempts with Lass, so she has lots of choices.

She is such an amazingly easy baby so far.  I'm finding it so easy to just soak up the sweet moments with her.

Unfortunately my sweet littlest one has had a little tendency to scratch the heck out of her face.  Poor baby.

You would think, this being my third time doing this, that I would have mastered the art of cutting newborn fingernails by now.  No.  I suck at it.  I tried three times yesterday to get those suckers trimmed and she was so squirmy I couldn't get them done.  I know.  I'm a total wuss.  Today I finally wised up and cut them while she was sleeping.  Mission accomplished.  Why didn't I think of that before?

I'm loving having three precious girls.  And one wonderful guy.