Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Haircut for Janae

Janae has had a few different hairstyles in her short life. Being born with lots of hair, it seems to have been inevitable!

First there were the wild hairstyles of her baby days:

 

 


Then we tried to do something a little tidier--like pigtails, and finally, ponytails. I normally put the front off to the side in a little ponytail, because if I use a clip she takes it out (and sometimes tries to eat it, too!).

 

 


I guess we were asking for trouble, though, with that tempting little ponytail sticking out of the side of her head.

This morning, while I was putting on make-up, Janae and Ben were playing with a nail kit (nail files, nail clippers, etc.)--I know, what kind of a mom lets her kids play with that kind of stuff? But they were getting along so nicely, and I heard them laughing and having fun in my room as I sat in front of the hall mirror.

Then I thought I'd peek in and see what was so funny. Ben said, "I cut Janae's hair." He said it proudly, as if he'd done something I'd think was wonderful. (I think this is my fault because I was so happy with Jason when he cut Ben's hair, talking about how nice it looked and how much money we'd save.)

At first I thought he had just pretended to cut her hair, but he was holding a little pair of nail scissors--and when I looked at Janae's ponytail, I saw that half of it had been snipped off, close to the elastic band.

I then explained to Ben that he is NEVER to cut anyone's hair again (to which he replied, "Not even my wife's?"). I think he got the message--when he talked to Grandma on the phone later he said, "I accidentally cut Janae's hair, and now it looks terrible!"

So now Janae will have to keep her hair in a ponytail so nobody will see the patch of inch-long hair in the middle of her head.

I know, I know . . . it will grow back :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'll See You in Court

 


When I checked the mail Thursday afternoon, I saw that I'd received a letter from the government. This was not unusual; we often get information in the mail about child tax benefits, as well as forms for payroll deductions or GST payments for Jason's business. Occasionally we get an unexpected cheque, and this is what I thought I had in my hand on Thursday afternoon, because the paper showing through the envelope's window was blue, rather than the usual white. I was not in any way prepared for the contents of this letter:

"You are summoned to appear as a Juror in this Court . . . upon the criminal causes to be tried by Juries; and not to leave without the consent of the Court
as required by law."

Needless to say, I was stunned. My first reaction (which I can only blame on paranoia and lack of sleep) was alarm: "What criminal act have I committed and then forgotten about?" Then, realizing that I was NOT the criminal, I felt a surge of excitement as I pictured myself in the middle of a courtroom drama (I used to watch a lot of Law and Order before I had kids).

Now that that roller coaster of emotions was out of the way, I started to think about how this would actually work. I never leave my kids, let alone for several days while I attempt to determine whether or not a criminal is guilty. And then there was the matter of that criminal--would I be safe after serving on a jury? (remember that paranoia I mentioned?). And the crime--could I really handle hearing all the grisly details of some horrible thing that happened? (like I said, I used to watch a lot of Law and Order before I had kids). I've watched enough television drama to know that juries are only used for pretty serious cases.

So I started to read through the list of things that might disqualify someone from serving on a jury, but none of them seemed to apply. I AM a citizen, I AM over the age of majority, I'm NOT a warden or correctional officer. This list was a bit discouraging. But then I came to the list of reasons a person might be excused from duty, and I thought I might be able to make a case for myself.

Nursing mother: I still nurse anywhere from 3-15 times a day, but who would believe this? Janae is almost 19 months old! And how could I prove that I'm still nursing? The letter says that documentation is required. I was thinking, though, that I might be able to forge a letter from my Leche League team leader, verifying that I am, in fact, a nursing mother.

Self-employed: Yes, I do run Jason's business, but again--I need proof!

Subject to a mental infirmity incompatible with the discharge of duties of a juror: There is NO QUESTION about this one--I am way too sensitive to anything sad (I still cry whenever I see a kite, even though it's been 8 months since I read The Kite Runner), anything scary (I refuse to watch the preview for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, even though I've read the book), or anything violent (I have to look the other way when we pass holes that have been cut in our fence). And then there's my insomnia, which comes back any time I hear or see something even remotely disturbing--for example, I can't sleep at night after hearing stories like "The Little Match Girl" because I feel so sad for all the children who grow up in poverty. Could you imagine how serving on a jury would affect my sleep?

But how could I make the judge aware of my danger of falling off the edge if I have to serve on the jury of a criminal case?

Of course, my first court appearance is only to determine if I am suitable to serve on a jury. I may or may not be kept to hear an actual case. And part of me thinks it would be really interesting. I can hear the theme from Law and Order playing, even as I write this post. Maybe I will see you in court. . . .

Monday, September 22, 2008

Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?

I've been talking a lot about sleep lately, and I still have more to say :) One of my children has slept all night in his or her bed for the past two nights--
any guesses on who?

 


If you guessed Ben . . . well, that hasn't quite happened yet, although he does sleep very well with me and Jason. Ben starts out every night in his own bed. He loves his nightly routine of brushing teeth, saying prayers, giving and receiving hugs and kisses (sometimes even from Janae), reading stories (2 if Daddy is there and 8-10 if it's Mommy's turn), and then listening to his Primary Songs for Bedtime CD. He always falls asleep by song #4, which is "I Am a Child of God." And just as predictable, at around 3 a.m., he crawls into bed with Mom and Dad--he's out again right away ("out" as in back to sleep, not out of the bed!), but sometimes inflicts a few karate chops during his sleep, luckily on Daddy's side of the bed :)

 


If you guessed Janae, you are right! This little girl has realized that there's no point in getting up during the night because all she will get is an "I love you. Go to sleep"--from DADDY, no less. True, it's only been two nights, but I have to say that I like this new pattern, and I really feel that we've turned a corner. You don't think I've jinxed it now by saying that, do you? Maybe I'd better stop writing about sleep. . . .

 

Friday, September 19, 2008

No More Tears: A Quick Update on Janae and Sleep

 


Well, things last night could not have gone better . . . for Janae. She went to bed just after 10 and slept until 4:40. When she woke up, Jason opened her door and said, "Go back to sleep." She then went back to sleep without any crying and didn't wake up until 7. She's a fast learner!

But unfortunately, being the chronic insomniac that I am, I was awake ALL NIGHT--I seriously didn't get more than half an hour of sleep. But I can't blame it on Janae!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Time for Some Tough Love

 


If you've spoken to me at all during the past decade or so, you know that I consider myself one of the most sleep-deprived people on the planet. It is hard to have a conversation with me without hearing how tired I am, how long it takes me to fall asleep, or--most recently--how little my children sleep at night. This week hit an all-time low as Janae has been up from 1-4 a.m., 12:30-4:45 a.m.--and not just up, but up and MAD. She wants to play, she wants to find daddy or Ben, she wants to leave her room, she wants to nurse 10 times, and when I say, "Time to sleep" or "Daddy's sleeping" or "Milk all gone," she says, "WAAAAAAAA!" But the past few nights she hasn't just screamed and cried and called out for Daddy or asked for milk, she has also HIT me, and finally--the last straw--BIT me when I said no.

So, I pulled out my parenting books again, and started to look for more answers. One of my favorite books (which I didn't actually like at first but now love) is called The Happiest Toddler on the Block. It's one of the few books that when I apply some of its advice the suggestions actually work. Anyway, I read again about why toddlers resist sleep and some options on how to help one-year-olds sleep.


 


One technique suggests comforting the child, then peeking back in after 3, then 5, then 10 minutes to say, "I love you. Go back to sleep." This continues until the child falls asleep (which the book warns might take up to an hour). We tried this with Ben and it DID NOT WORK. Ben screamed more and more, and I am convinced that he would still be screaming now if we hadn't actually gone in and picked him up. With Ben everything was so different. All we had to do was take him into our bed, and he would sleep all night (and that's still his night-time routine--I should write about that next time). But if we take Janae into our bed, she gets super-charged with hyperactivity . . . and for some reason Jason finds it hard to sleep while someone is playing with his face. So that option being out, I thought we'd try the "tough love" approach. This is how it went:

Janae woke up at 3:00 and Jason went into her room and said, "I love you. Go to sleep."

Three minutes later: MAMA . . . WAAAAAAAA . . . MAMA MAMA MAMA . . . WAAAAAA
Five minutes later: MAMA . . . WAAAAAAAAA . . . MAMA MAMA MAMA . . . WAAAAAA
Ten minutes later: MAMA . . . WAAAAAAAA . . . DADA DADA . . . MAMA . . . WAAAA
Ten minutes later: DADA . . . MAMA . . . WAAAAA . . . MILK . . . MILK

I could not bear hearing my baby screaming for milk, so I went downstairs and filled a sippy cup of water (or asked Jason to do it--I honestly can't remember). Then I waited 10 minutes, walked into Janae's room, put the sippy cup on the floor and said, "I love you. Go to sleep."

By the time ten more minutes had passed, Janae had stopped crying. I asked Jason to go check on her; when he opened her door she was sitting on her bed watching her Ocean Wonders bubbles, which she had turned on. I just about started crying myself when I heard that--the image of her sitting on her bed in the dark, staring at bubbles after being abandoned by both parents, with only a sippy cup of water for comfort--I could cry now at the thought of it!

 


But back to my point--it actually worked. We didn't hear from her again, and this morning she woke up HAPPY (she'd slept from about 3:30 to 7:30!). She wasn't angry with me for leaving her to sleep; she was WELL-RESTED, and--come to think of it--I was more well-rested than I'd been in quite a while.

So, how long will this have to go on? According to my book, tonight should be a lot like last night, and then it will be smooth sailing into dreamland. I wonder what it will be like. . . .

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Kind of a Mother . . .

 
What kind of a mother loses her child's one special something from toddlerhood? Well, I seem to have done it--with both children! Janae has a book that she has loved since she was about 6 months old--it was actually Ben's, and he really liked it, too, but Janae was OBSESSED with it. (The picture here, taken by Ben, shows her holding it.) It's called My Tiny Book of Family and goes like this: "God picked a happy family and chose a special place for me. He chose a home where I could grow and learn the things I need to know--like how to work and sing and play, and how to love and how to pray." (Yes, Janae and I both have it memorized after countless readings--unfortunately the book is NOT in front of me). It was, in fact, this book--rather than any instruction on her parents' part (although we tried!) that taught Janae to fold her arms for prayer.

Anyway, Janae and I have been walking to pick Ben up after preschool (well, I walk, and she rides in the stroller), and the past few days she has wanted to take a toy with her. Last time she took a stuffed dog, which she cuddled and fell asleep with on the way home--so sweet! Today she wanted to bring her book. It was so cute to see her riding along in the stroller looking at her book.

When we got to the school, we parked the stroller outside, and I let Janae hold onto her book as we went in. She was looking at several other books and playing with some toys in the reception area, and when Ben's teacher opened the door for parents to go in and collect backpacks, etc., I piled all of the school's books together and put them in the toybox, along with Janae's Tiny Book of Family. We went in to get Ben's things, then I realized what I'd done with Janae's book, and I went back to get it. I threw it into the stroller, and we went to get Ben from the gated playground.

And that is the last memory I have of the experience. Did I give the book back to Janae when she got into the stroller? Did I actually drop it on the ground instead of into the stroller? Did Janae drop it on the way home? I have no idea. You'd think I would have heard it if it had fallen on the sidewalk, or that Janae would have reached to pick it up. We've searched the stroller and the house, and it is just gone.

What makes this even more sad is that almost the exact same thing happened to Benjamin's lion "Roar" when he was two. He carried that lion all around, held it during his first (and second and third) haircut, held it at the hospital and doctor during his asthma visits--then one day when we were going into a restaurant, I threw it into the car, and it was never seen again.

I guess the happy news is that it will probably be easier to replace the book than the lion--I'll be placing my order at deseretbook.com as soon as I finish writing this confessional; whereas we tried several other lions and none was ever acceptable to Ben. I just feel like such an irresponsible Mom when I let such important items get lost!

 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Please Pass the Mushrooms!

 
This morning at the grocery store I had an experience that removed any question about my kids being . . . um . . . unconventional when it comes to food preferences. We've all heard children at the store crying for cookies, candy--maybe even chips, but how many toddlers have you heard going into hysterics because they weren't allowed to have a mushroom?


I had run into Superstore to buy only a few items that I needed to make a new recipe, and when we were in the produce section Benjamin spotted the mushrooms and said, "MUSHROOMS!!!!" Janae quickly joined in with "uh-shooms," and--being the softy that I am--I said, "Okay, we'll get a few mushrooms, and you can have them with lunch." I'm sure even THAT seems weird to most of you. But it got worse, as I've already mentioned.

By the time we were in line at the check-out, Janae was literally screaming, crying, and trying to climb out of the shopping cart because she wanted a mushroom. I got a few strange looks from other shoppers as I repeated things like "You can have a mushroom when we get home" and "We have to wash the mushrooms before we eat them." These are the same children who won't eat kid favorites like grapes, Kraft dinner, or McDonalds hamburgers! And yes, when we did get home, the two of them happily ate their "special treat."

(I still can't put new pictures onto my computer, so the picture at the top of this post shows Ben and Janae drinking yogurt drinks--one of their other favorites!)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Babies Grow Up Too Fast!

 

Well, Ben starts preschool for real tomorrow morning--last week he had his "first day," but it was really just an orientation for him and me; I didn't leave him, and he didn't meet any of the kids from his class, just his teachers. Tomorrow is the day I will actually drop him off and drive away. (Okay, I'll probably sit in the parking lot for the hour and a half just in case Ben needs me, but theoretically I could drive away!) So, I'm starting to think a bit about my little boy, and how recently he was my much smaller boy--and I have to say that I think babies grow up way too fast!

Here's Ben at school at his orientation--he is so excited to meet the other kids and start learning!

 


Then there's Janae. This picture was taken when she was only a few weeks old.

 


But now look at her! She sings songs, labels almost every item she sees, tries to dress herself, can almost jump, and wants to use the potty. She's growing up even faster than Ben!

 


I guess I can console myself with the fact that Ben still climbs into bed with us almost every night--he still drinks from a sippy cup, holds my hand, and has training wheels on his bike. And of course, Janae still has many baby-like traits. If I had my way--and could stop time at all of these baby stages that I love so much--we would never experience all the amazing new things Ben and Janae are learning to do. And I am proud of them; it's just hard to accept that they won't always be my little babies. And I'll stop writing now because I'm really starting to sound like Dad--or as Jason would call me--Henrietta :)