Saturday, August 23, 2008

Snakes, Snails, or Puppy Dog Tails?

 

Well, lately snails have been the subject of Ben's fascination. We were at Mom and Dad's on a really rainy day, and the porch wall was covered with snails of all sizes. As always, Ben wanted to pick the snails up, and when it was time to get into the car, he couldn't bear to leave his slimy new friends behind. Someone (it wasn't me, was it?) came up with the idea of making a snail house, and before I knew it, we were cutting holes in the lid of an ice cream bucket to take the snails home--i.e., to my house.

I knew I was in over my head and that some research was required, so we left the bucket of snails on the porch and logged onto the internet. Ben and I found a short, well-illustrated article about keeping snails, and I was excited to learn that snails make GREAT pets. All we would need was a glass container, a lid that would let in some air, and plenty of leaves, grass and dirt. We had everything readily available except the glass container, but a quick call to Mom and Dad solved that problem.

Jason picked up the huge glass jar from Mom and Dad on the way home from work, I hammered some holes into the metal lid, and Ben's 20+ snails had a new home. Every time we go outside to check on them I'm holding my breath and crossing my fingers that they're still alive (do any of you remember Ben's first "pet" snail, Lucky?), but so far so good.

 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

If You Insist!

 

You know you've reached a low point when your husband has to say, "Uh . . . I don't think those shoes match your dress." Before Jason and I got married, one of the things he said he liked about me was that I didn't really like shopping--but now I don't think he's so sure! All of my capris have holes in the knees, my shoes are falling apart, my blue bathing suit is so faded it looks white--and so stretched out it looks like a maternity bathing suit (well, I DID wear it during two pregnancies), and I have no shirts to match my pants--it's to the point where Jason is practically begging me to go shopping. So . . . I've got him right where I want him--now I can buy whatever I want, and I'm pretty sure he's not going to complain!

I'm just joking, of course. In our family, I'm the one who doesn't want extra money to be spent--I'm always looking at Jason's receipts and asking questions like, "Did you really need that chocolate bar at Canadian Tire?" or "Couldn't you find a less expensive place to repair your power tools?"

But I have to admit that over the past few weeks I have bought a new pair of shoes (they won't match any of my dresses, but they are SO cute!), a new swimming suit (originally $115 on sale for $39.99), and a new hoodie (my old one was bought in 1999 and its pocked was ripped)--and I actually did enjoy shopping. Who knows, maybe I'll even break down and buy some shoes to match my white skirt--they're probably even on sale now that summer is ending! I'll see you at the mall :)


 

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tomboy or Girly-Girl?

 

During one of our summer excursions, three of my nieces called me aside to ask a probing (and top-secret) question: "are you a tomboy or a girly-girl?" I immediately thought of my lack of athletic ability, my whimpy approach to manual labor, and my dislike of getting dirty and said, "girly girl"--but then I thought about the stereotypical girly-girl who loves to shop, fuss with her hair and make-up, and go crazy over boys and realized that didn't fit either. So I guess I'm neither. . . . and--in this regard--Janae seems to be a lot like her mama!

 

Janae is kind of a tomboy in the sense that she loves to play with all Ben's stuff--cars, trains, trucks, motorcycles, etc. While we were driving the other day, I was singing some kids' songs, and Janae was listening quietly--then Ben suggested I sing the theme song for "Mighty Machines" (I'm sure you're all wishing you could have been there to hear that!), and Janae started saying "sheeeens! sheeeens!" then sang along :) Janae also loves to get dirty, scare people with toy snakes, and to climb, run, shout, and generally be wild. She hates having her hair done and isn't too enthusiastic about cooking (Ben always loved to help me cook!).


 

On the other hand, Janae also LOVES trying on shoes, talking on the phone, wearing dresses (and scarves, hats--all the dress-up stuff), pretending to put on make-up, looking at pictures (especially of birthdays), cuddling with stuffies, and being around her girl cousins (she mentions Manda and Becca by name every day). She also shows strong potential for being boy crazy someday: the other day at the park there was a group of boys running around the track before a soccer practice, and Janae pointed to them with great interest. I said, "Those are boys," then Janae--in a very mock-shy almost flirtatious way--said "Boyyyyyyys." She then ran over and grabbed their soccer ball saying (in a very high-pitched voice), "Ball . . . a ball . . . a ball . . . ball" (This, by the way, is what she says whenever she sees kids playing with balls--Janae definitely has a natural interest in sports!).

 

So . . . tomboy or girly-girl? I guess time will tell for Janae, although if I had to answer today, I’d have to say tomboy—which is probably for the best, because I’m sure it’s a lot more fun to be a messy, adventurous toddler!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Taking Time to Smell the Roses

 
When I lived in Provo, I used to walk by a small house that had a rose garden in front of it. The rose bushes were all different colors, and I always thought they looked so beautiful. This began my dream of having a rose garden of my own someday. When we moved into our place here at the co-op, we had several ugly (not to mention dead) plants lining our walkway . . . so I suggested to Jason that we plant rose bushes there instead. Despite our neighbor's warning that roses are A LOT of work and very difficult to grow successfully, we planted them all along the driveway.

 

It's true that we don't take care of our rose bushes like we should and that they have aphids, black spot, and sometimes grow into the walkway before we clip them back, BUT I think they have turned out pretty well. I really enjoy watering them in the evenings (and even enjoy our neighbor's lectures on how to rid the bushes of their above-mentioned flaws!), and I love seeing them when they are all in bloom (we have about 10 flowers out right now!). It is especially nice to come home and see them lining the driveway, and--of course--Ben and Janae LOVE to smell them!

 
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ahem . . . Library Research

 
A week or so ago, Jason and his crew were working outside at the co-op, and Ben was talking to the boys (teenage boys from the church) as they sat down to eat their lunch. I was a little way's off, supervising Janae as she chased after two of the neighbor's cats, but I could hear the conversation. Ben was telling the boys about how grown up he was. All of a sudden he said, "And I don't nurse!!" The boys all laughed, and one of them said, "That's good." I, of course, was a little embarrassed at the thought that I might have recently nursed a 4 year old--which I HAVEN'T--Ben was completely weaned by 14 months, which I always think of as quite respectable.

But, as most of you know, Janae is not yet weaned (and for those of you who didn't know, I guess the "secret" is now out!). This is actually a huge understatement, since she is still nursing at least 4 times every day/night, and she shows no sign of stopping. While the BC Nurses Federation recommends breastfeeding "until age 2 and beyond," and we've all heard of those TV shows where they bring out the 7 year olds who are still nursing, I sometimes feel that Janae should be weaned by now! So I decided to take my usual approach to such matters: I went to the library to check out some books that could give me the answers. Well, our library--which I have always found sadly lacking (after being spoiled by the 5-floor library at BYU, I guess)--actually had two books that mentioned the topic of weaning. One was published by La Leche League International and titled "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler"; the other was written by someone calling herself "Dr. Mom," but who actually did have an M.D.

Anyway, I brought my books home (after being a little embarrassed at the checkout desk--thinking the attendant was eyeing Janae and wondering if such a grown-up girl could actually still be nursing) and started to read them while Janae slept and Ben watched his science video about alligators and other lizards. As I read the first book, I started to say aloud things like, "Oh no," and "Oh dear" (which worked nicely because Ben assumed I was talking about his video and thought I was paying attention!). Listen to some of the chapter/section titles: "Part 3--Nursing Your Toddler Year by Year," "Nursing in the Second Year," "Nursing through the Terrible Twos," "Nursing a Three-Year-Old," "Nursing Past Four"--I bet you're saying the same things I was: "Oh no!" "Oh dear!"

The book went on to discuss all of the horribly cruel ways mothers might try to force toddlers to wean, depriving them of comfort and setting them up for a disturbing range of psychological problems. Then it had a chapter called "Some Less Dramatic Weaning Techniques," which basically advised mothers not to offer but not to decline "requests" to nurse. The other book by Dr. Mom agreed.

So what does this mean for me? Sleepless nights when Janae "requests" nursing several times, never again wearing a dress that does up at the back, nursing a child before dropping her off for kindergarten??? I sure hope not! I think I'm going to distract Janae as much as possible, make sure she's filled up with other food before bedtime, give her lots of extra love and attention in other ways, and move the rocking chair to an out-of-sight location. Oh, and I definitely need to find a bigger and better library, because I'm sure there is a book somewhere that can help. We'll see how it goes. . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Love My Ponytail!

 
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As far back as I can remember, my hairstyle of choice has been the ponytail (yes, the side banana clip came close, but isn't that just another form of the ponytail?). It's not that I think I look particularly good in a ponytail; in fact, whenever I see a picture of myself with my hair pulled back I always think, "I should wear my hair down more often." But ponytails are easy to put in (I've never been very skilled at styling hair or any other aspect of makeup or fashion) and convenient to wear (they keep all that hair out of the way, even in the winds of Rexburg!). And nothing feels better than taking a ponytail out at the end of the day! But sometimes I've wondered, "Why have long hair if I'm just going to put it back in a ponytail all the time?" So in March, when my hair was extra straggly a year after having Janae, I decided to try a short haircut. This was a big mistake. I'm sure you all remember how I cried and cried--I refused to go to church the next day, even though it was Easter Sunday, and I almost missed Mom's turkey dinner and the kids' Easter egg hunt because I didn't want anyone to see me. I looked so ugly with short hair, and there was nothing I could do about it! I consoled myself with the old "It will grow back," but I had no idea how long that would take. Now, almost FIVE MONTHS later, I am finally able to put my hair back into a ponytail. Yes, it's a ridiculously short ponytail, and I have to hold some of the shorter pieces back with clips, but it is a ponytail nonetheless. It feels so good to have my ponytail back!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Perfect Picture?

 


Some of you might know about my occasional attempts (okay, OBSESSION) with getting a nice picture of Benjamin and Janae together. I've tried doing funny things to make them laugh, getting Jason to do funny things to make them laugh, offering them bribes (this works with Ben but not Janae), startling them, and even threatening them--but it is so hard to get them to look at the camera! And to get both of them to look at the same time--impossible . . . or so I thought. The other night when we were at the park, I actually got a nice one of them together! I'll probably keep trying--they do look a little rosy from playing in the hot sun, and Ben's smile is a bit fake--but I thought this one was much better than some of my other attempts!

 


 
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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Everything I Need to Know . . . I Learned from My Baby Sister

  I wrote last time about how being born first or second might affect a child's personality, but with Ben and Janae, there are also some interesting reversals to what you might expect from the oldest/youngest or even from a boy/girl. Although I am proud of my kids for transcending conventional stereotypes (I think that phrasing came straight out of my master's thesis!), I have to admit that I worry a bit about some of the things Ben has picked up from Janae. For example, Janae is the one who taught Ben to pick his nose! He actually never even thought of putting a finger up his nose until he saw Janae doing it . . . and then he decided to try it--while watching TV, lying in bed, sitting in the front row at story time, etc. Janae has also taught him some pretty interesting dance moves, which he loves to show off whenever music is playing, and--of course--there's the "Janae scream," which they do together while running around the house (maybe you've heard it if you've driven by while we've had our windows open!). She also loves to get REALLY DIRTY--in mud, sand, food, kitty litter--and Ben is starting to throw caution to the wind a bit more often (or at least get his hands a bit muddy once in a while). The problem is, Janae is so cute while she does all of these things that we can't help but laugh . . . and Ben has ALWAYS loved to make people laugh. On the more positive side, Janae also has no fear of climbing, sliding, talking to strangers--so she has helped Ben become more adventurous (he and Janae love to say "hi" to everyone they meet now), and Ben has helped Janae learn to love drinking from sippy cups, playing with cars/trucks/trains and reading books--and he's helped her learn to run to Mommy if she hears me start to count to three. Anita (who happens to be MY baby sister) was right when she told me that every mom should have at least two kids--because there really is nothing like seeing them together! We'll just need to keep an eye on that Janae :)
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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Imagining Janae As Ben's Big Sister

This morning I went grocery shopping with just Janae, while Ben stayed home and played outside with Daddy. I think this is the first time that's happened, although I've been out with just Ben lots of times. As I was pushing Janae in the stroller and talking to her, it got me thinking about how different Janae's life would have been if she had been born first instead of Ben. When Ben was a toddler, I took him everywhere with me, and we'd talk about what he was seeing. But when I go out with Ben and Janae, I usually still talk to Ben--mostly because he is talking nonstop, asking questions, etc.! Janae usually sings and chatters away, too, but it's more of a monologue. Janae is definitely more independent than Ben--probably because of things like this. The two love each other so much, and I don't wish things had been any other way, but today it just struck me that Janae's life might have been really different if she had been Ben's big sister instead of his little one.
 
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