Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like...

We set up the Christmas tree last Sunday. The girls helped for the first time ever, and the experience was quite amusing.
Thing 1 was so excited to help me get the tree out of the garage attic, she was dancing around underneath me while I carried it down the ladder. We brought it in and put it together and they both were so excited. I plugged it in and Thing 2 said, “I don’t like it.” I asked why not and she said “Because it doesn’t have any color.”
Admittedly the lights are not very big, and they’re all white so she does have a point. Maybe when I take it down I should take off the white lights, and I should go buy some colored lights for it. I saw a home decorating show where they had big colorful bulbs on their tree and I thought it looked great… I just wonder how much I’d have to pay for them.

Then we pulled out the ornaments. Thing 1 and 2 had so much fun helping put them on. Their strategy for ornament placement was… somewhat limited. “Put them right in front of you.” After a while of this, almost every ornament I gave them was on about four branches, of course all about the same height on the tree, right by where I was opening up the boxes. Several branches had five or six ornaments on each twig, with a half a dozen nearby ornaments so close they were bumping into each other. I suggested that Thing 1 move the balls apart, so they weren’t all so clumped up and she said, “But Mommy, they’re Friends!”

Thing 2’s expression was fantastic, each time I pulled out a new ornament her jaw would drop and she would gush over the new ornament. I tried to wait until she’d hung one before I gave her another, but seeing as how she was only putting them on those four branches and was having trouble finding space for new ones, she’d often turn around with the previous ornament still in her hand.
Then Thing 1 found the hook bag, and decided since we have so many empty hooks it was up to her to make new ornaments for them. She came in and raided my sticker drawer and started making paper faces, with a combination of stickers and her own drawings. She cut the faces out and then brought to me to pierce with an ornament hook, and she’d place them on the tree.
They both really enjoyed the whole process. Of course after they went to bed I spent quite a bit of time re-arranging all the ornaments.

The next day I put out all the rest of the Christmas decorations, the nativities and snowmen and stuff. Thing 1 and 2 hung out in the living room, sort of helping and sort of entertaining themselves. Thing 2 found the Robert Sabuda books and started reading them, to my dismay. They’re rather delicate and she seems compelled to touch all the moving parts. As I tried to do what I was doing, yet keep an eye on her, I kept reminding her to not touch the paper. Finally she looked up at me quite annoyed and said, “Do I have to go somewhere else to read it?” Remember she’s THREE and talks with a funny little three year old voice. I had to leave the room so she wouldn’t see me laughing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dinner out

Taking the girls out to dinner is a crap-shoot. We do it fairly frequently because neither Hubby nor I are very enthusiastic about cooking dinner most of the time…
We went out last night, to Old Spaghetti Factory, and they did great. Tonight we tried a new place, Cowboy Grub, and Hubby and I spent the whole meal telling them as sternly yet nicely as we could to:
1. Stop disturbing other diners
2. pipe down
3. sit up, or sit down (depending on where they were at that moment)
4. eat their dinner
5. come out from under the table
6. take a bite
7. stop whining about honey on their hands and wipe them off
8. hold still
9. start at # 1 and repeat for the next hour.

It was a rather frustrating experience, to say the least. They can go from being fantastic to frustrating as fast as I can blink an eye.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Good and bad

We have our good days and our bad. Last night was one of the bad ones. I had been dancing with the girls instead of getting ready for Jeff to arrive with dinner, and when he did I was in the middle of fixing one of their light-up necklaces that had broken. The girls launched into each other because we’d gotten Thing 1 something from Wendy’s and Thing 2 something from the Mexican restaurant we got our own food from, and naturally, Thing 2 wanted Thing 1’s nuggets, toy, and all-around exciting dinner instead of her own anonymous white Styrofoam container. I didn’t step in to help, hoping to hurry and fix the necklace before the glue dried, and left Jeff to deal with cooling food, starving stomachs, and Thing 2 marching over to steal Thing 1’s food, and Thing 1 coming unglued… it was not pretty. I should have helped but….

Other than that, they’ve been pretty good.

Our wall is finally getting fixed. I need to paint, but once that’s done, it will just be an unpleasant memory behind us.

I’m trying to think of what’s happened in the last month since I wrote… the only thing that immediately comes to mind is the other day we were all out playing… Thing 1 was playing, Thing 1 was napping, and it was getting dark. The neighbors were out, Wytie, Ellie, and Charlie, who is a couple of years older. I was the only adult, as Ellie and Charlie’s folks rarely come out, and Wytie’s Grandma was inside on the phone with her daughter having a somewhat heated conversation. Charlie doesn’t usually play well with the littler kids. He starts teasing them and picking on them, usually he focuses on his sister… I didn’t quite know how to handle it. But it kept escalating until all three of the little ones were running away from Evil Charlie, and Ellie in particular had a light sweatshirt she was swinging around to use to whip at him. I wasn’t too worried, she kept missing him, but I did finally tell her to stop because I was worried about the zipper hitting someone. She insisted it wasn’t a problem. Right when I was wondering if I step in and take it away or not, Charlie collapsed for the others to come and pounce on him or whatever. Thing 1 got there first. She was kneeling next to Charlie when Ellie arrived, swinging. Sure enough, the jacket whipped around and the zipper caught Thing 1 in the forehead above her eye. She hesitated for a minute, then started to cry and of course I was halfway to her before she figured out she was upset.
It raised a welt the size of a pea under her skin and broke it open a little, it was bleeding a drop. I snapped to Ellie that this is why we don’t swing coats around, the zippers can hurt someone. She insisted that it was all right. I said “Yeah? Then why is she bleeding? Everyone go home, the fun’s over tonight!!” Then I picked up the sobbing Thing 1 and carried her into our house, and everyone else went home. No one ever said another word to Thing 1 about it, Ellie never apologized anyway. The next evening when they were out together, Ellie wouldn’t meet my eye and I never really got an opportunity to suggest she apologize to Thing 1. But I am happy there are other kids Thing 1 can play with.

Speaking of which, Thing 1 has made a new friend. We'll call her Sophia Blue and she’s in Thing 1’s class at school. We kind of have an arrangement to swap kids on Wednesday. One week Thing goes to play at Sophia’s, and the next week Sophia comes home with us after school to play. The problem with this is I don’t have enough car seats to get all three girls home, so on our “Sophia days” I walk over and get them from school. I often take a route home that is a little off the beaten path to avoid traffic as the girls seem to wander around a bit. A couple of weeks ago as we were walking home we came to an area where there were a whole lot of fallen leaves that no one had raked up, and Thing 1 and Sophia were in nearly knee deep leaves, crunching along. Thing 1 encouraged Sophia to walk with her and listen to the leaves crunch so they could experience “the joy of discovery.” She said it quite sincerely, with her arms outstretched to embrace the day. It was incredibly charming.

Mom and Dad are coming up today to hear Thing 1 say a line in the Primary program in Sacrament meeting. She says “Helaman teaches me about faith.” It’s hardly worth Grandma and Papa coming down, but I did mention it to them and they said they want to support Thing 1, and they want to support our church attendance. So I should be cleaning up the house, even though I’m suspecting we’ll go to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner.

I’ve already got a good jump on the girls’ Christmas. In fact, all I’m really looking for now is stocking stuffers. If I find something amazing between now and then, of course we might have to accommodate it. I’m still working on everyone else. And of course I’ve got Kristin’s and Mom’s birthdays to contend with…