Darn I love that girl

IMG_6140.JPGPiper is not tidy. She loves little bits of papers, cloth, doll clothes and other tiny things. Her room can be a train wreck. Today we are doing her laundry because we are going out of town. I ask her to get her laundry and bring it to the laundry room which she does.

I get it washed and ready to be put away, yes I do this for them and I like it:) I will do their laundry until they don’t want me to do it anymore, they do know how to do it themselves. Anyhoo, we go to put it away and there are dirty clothes on the floor, grrrr. I like doing the laundry for her but I don’t like doing it twice. I am frustrated and she is pouty.

We start to clean up her room and I am throwing away bits of paper as fast as she can pick them up. We get it tidy (aka we can walk without tripping) and we start putting away her laundry. I hang the clothes and she does the drawers. When we get to the end of the basket I separate out the underwear, tank tops and PJs. She puts the PJs away, then the tank tops. Now all that is left is the pile of underwear. She scoops it up, looks right at me and throws the underwear up in to the air with the most delightful squeal in the world and lets it all rain down on her head.

We laugh and I remember all the reasons why I love that little sprite that isn’t bothered by mess:)

The curse of the tall, thin girl

Well we had an exciting horseback lesson the other day.  Lela was doing awesome riding her steed, it was a breezy 90 degree morning and we were all reveling in the wonderful weather (for an Arizona July).

Post ride Lela told me her arms felt “dead” which I quickly wrote off as her arms feeling tired from a killer workout.  I had her get some water and then we went to unsaddle her horse and get it washed down.  By the time we got her horse to the wash stall she was looking really off and she was being pretty cranky.  So I told her to go and sit down.  After her horse was secured in the stall I went to check on her.  She was teary eyed and told me she couldn’t see.  Her vision was blurry and it was “all purple” at the edges.  Then all of a sudden she went a ghostly white.  I am pretty sure if she had still been standing she would have fallen down and passed out.

I had packed her electrolyte water and snacks so I had her drink some water and eat some grapes.  After a few minutes she was okay and able to continue with her horse.  She ended up staying another hour and working some horses for her trainer.  She was a little freaked out and I was a little freaked out.

I made an appointment with her pediatrician for the following Monday.  The pediatrician said it was hypotension and common in tall, thin girls.  I am glad it isn’t something more serious and now we both know the warning signs.  I am also glad that it didn’t happen while she was on her horse.  The remedy is to get your head below your heart as quickly as possible and to eat a bigger breakfast:)  Lela hates to eat breakfast, but this day she had eaten a pretty good one for her and I was feeling accomplished (that didn’t last long) for getting her up early, fed and hydrated:)  HA!

4th of July

We had a wonderful staycation at the Fairmont for the 4th.  The girls had never seen fireworks up close, only from 10 miles away.  We figured staying at the hotel would give us a speedy exit plan so we gave it a go.

The weekend was great, we had wine and cheese night with the grandparents, swam, rode zip lines, listened to music, watches fireworks and had a great time together.  Piper, Landis and I watched from the lagoon and Jason, Lela and Phoebe watched from the balcony of the hotel room, it was perfect.

   
    
    
    
   

The letter your child can’t write you

I read this letter and it is sooooo Phoebe and Lela. I am sure Landis and Piper will have their moments too but Phoebe and Lela are not waiting until the teen age years. I am putting this here so I can remember and re-read it, so I can have thicker skin and know that they need to be mad at me even when I am doing my best and they need to know I still love them even after they just spent the last two hours yelling at how much they don’t like me, or even hate me. I get it and I can take it, with copious amounts of chocolate and wine:) I love my emotional children.

PARENT’S CORNER: THE LETTER YOUR TEENAGER CAN’T WRITE YOU

Gretchen Schmelzer June 23, 2015
Dear Parent:

This is the letter that I wish I could write.

This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. But I need this fight. Badly. I need to hate you right now and I need you to survive it. I need you to survive my hating you and you hating me. I need this fight even though I hate it too. It doesn’t matter what this fight is even about: curfew, homework, laundry, my messy room, going out, staying in, leaving, not leaving, boyfriend, girlfriend, no friends, bad friends. It doesn’t matter. I need to fight you on it and I need you to fight me back.

I desperately need you to hold the other end of the rope. To hang on tightly while I thrash on the other end—while I find the handholds and footholds in this new world I feel like I am in. I used to know who I was, who you were, who we were. But right now I don’t. Right now I am looking for my edges and I can sometimes only find them when I am pulling on you. When I push everything I used to know to its edge. Then I feel like I exist and for a minute I can breathe. I know you long for the sweeter kid that I was. I know this because I long for that kid too, and some of that longing is what is so painful for me right now.

I need this fight and I need to see that no matter how bad or big my feelings are—they won’t destroy you or me. I need you to love me even at my worst, even when it looks like I don’t love you. I need you to love yourself and me for the both of us right now. I know it sucks to be disliked and labeled the bad guy. I feel the same way on the inside, but I need you to tolerate it and get other grownups to help you. Because I can’t right now. If you want to get all of your grown up friends together and have a ‘surviving-your-teenager-support-group-rage-fest’ that’s fine with me. Or talk about me behind my back–I don’t care. Just don’t give up on me. Don’t give up on this fight. I need it.

This is the fight that will teach me that my shadow is not bigger than my light. This is the fight that will teach me that bad feelings don’t mean the end of a relationship. This is the fight that will teach me how to listen to myself, even when it might disappoint others.

And this particular fight will end. Like any storm, it will blow over. And I will forget and you will forget. And then it will come back. And I will need you to hang on to the rope again. I will need this over and over for years.

I know there is nothing inherently satisfying in this job for you. I know I will likely never thank you for it or even acknowledge your side of it. In fact I will probably criticize you for all this hard work. It will seem like nothing you do will be enough. And yet, I am relying entirely on your ability to stay in this fight. No matter how much I argue. No matter how much I sulk. No matter how silent I get.

Please hang on to the other end of the rope. And know that you are doing the most important job that anyone could possibly be doing for me right now.

Love, Your Teenager (or any age type A child)

Dry all night 

When you become a parent there are some things you give up, like sleeping through the night, having your bed to yourself, or using the restroom ALONE!  All these former luxuries…vanish.  But your life is never the same.

Phoebe had never been dry one single night of her life…never.  My pediatrician told me to just let it go when I took her in for her four year check up.  She said I had enough to do:). So I did.  By the time she was 5 I was beginning to worry I was training her to actually wet the bed, I freaked a little.  Because of that I spent 3 night in a row sleeping with a child that peed on me.  Neither of us woke up, it was unpleasant.  So I fretted to her teacher and out her back in pull ups.

When we set out on our trip this May, Phoebe got sick.  She ran a high fever for 4 days causing her to wake in the night for water.  She started asking if she could go to the bathroom when she woke up and of course I took her.  She was dry the next morning and every morning during the fever.  I worried that it was dehydration.  Finally the fever passed and the night waking went away but the dry in the morning stayed!  The entire trip!

So just like that with no intervention from me some flip was switched and Phoebe is now dry every morning and hasn’t worn a pull up in 3 weeks.  A lesson for me in faith that all things will happen in their own time.

5th Grade

Fifth grade is a turning point in education.  This is when children typically enter the “logic” phase of development.  I suspect Lela has been there for a while and that Piper is about 6 months away.  This means that I have to up my homeschooling game a bit.  Lela and I have been busily planning the next phase of her (and Piper’s education).  We are still going to take science with Covenant House and probably do one day of homeschool co-op.

Coursework for 5th Grade

Logic, Mathematics, History, Language (this is spelling and grammar), Writing, Science, Latin/foreign language, Religion (world religions), Art and Music

I am gathering all my new materials and organizing existing materials.

I am pretty excited about 5th grade:)

They are breaking up

Well it was bound to happen at some point but the big girls have broken up.  They split their rooms.  It is bittersweet for me but a step towards independence for them.  I don’t know exactly why they wanted it, at first Lela was making remarks about having her own room, I think because Piper is messier than Lela.  So Lela kind of planted the seed and it took root and grew.  Now Lela is NOT one for change so by the time the writing was on the wall she had changed her tune but it was too late.

We moved Landis and Phoebe to what used to be the unused guest room and Piper moved in to Landis and Phoebe’s old room.  So Piper and Lela share a Jack and Jill suite and spend a lot of time in each others rooms.  They both have a trundle so they can have sleepovers with each other.  I just want them to stay as close as they are now so they always have someone to talk to, just in case they don’t want to talk to their mother:)

As expected Lela’s room is neat as a pin and Piper’s room…well it looks loved.

Holy Crap what a tantrum

OY! This 4th child is a humdinger. Actually she is ALOT like the second child but with much more drama. Poor Phoebe can only see injustice in her life due to all the fun, cool things her older sibs can do and all the things they get. This leads to so much drama in her life and in mine, not to mention in her sibs.

So Phoebe has been asking for dance class. Lela struggled for a long time to find her thing, and it can’t be just a thing it had to be her thing and her thing only. We ended up with a Chihuahua for this reason until she realized she could not claim the dog for herself and the dog would go to other people, fail. Same with the Beta fish, fail. But now she has her horses and it is her thing and it makes such a difference in her life and in ours. So I started thinking maybe dance would be Phoebe’s thing. No one else does tap or jazz so why not. We have looked at studios, talked about types of dance and tried to find a place we liked and would also fit in to our schedule. Alas we found a place. Now for shoes etc. During this whole process Phoebe has been relentless in her asking about when and where.

Today was the day finally to go and get Phoebe her tap shoes. So we go to the store and get the shoes. The big girls know that we don’t buy things just for the sake of buying them, if there isn’t a need or a very strong want we don’t buy. Phoebe doesn’t get this. So as I am standing in line to buy the tap shoes and tights, she starts screaming at me because I won’t buy her some other shoes. Then she starts hitting me and screaming more. It gets worse. I am the epitome of calm and deserve a medal. I am doing my best to diffuse the situation without running out of the store. If this was two kids ago I would have just left but I only have so many hours in the day and this was the ONLY hour I had to get the shoes.

Phoebe took it upon herself to go back to the shoe section and get some shoes. Then she came to the front of the store and demanded that I buy them for her, I said no and to please put them back. She swung them as hard as she could and whacked me in the head. OMG, is this happening? All the while a Grandmother is in front of me and two first time moms (established by the grandma who asked) were staring at me, I am sure they were horrified. The big girls had gone outside because no one that is 7 or 10 wants to be embarrassed like I was being at the moment.

I was wishing the Grandma in front of me would hurry the heck up so I could get out of dodge before it really got bad. I finally got up to the till and bought the shoes and tights FOR PHOEBE. Then I left the store. But the fun wasn’t over yet. She decided to continue to yell at me about how she didn’t like me and was not going with me because I did not buy her the shoes she wanted. I had to take the other girls to the car and go back for Phoebe. By now the Grandma was leaving the store and Phoebe was actually running from me and shouting. I almost lost it, I wanted to snatch her up and spank her butt, but I had to catch her first. I did catch her and haul her to the car. Only to be rewarded with more shouting about how horrible I was along with kicking of my chair. I calmly put on Little House on the Prairie for the bigs to watch and put in my ear buds hoping that I didn’t crash the car in to a wall on the way home to spare us all the misery. About halfway through the 40 minute drive home (we had just been in Scottsdale for horseback riding) the remorse set in.

This was the way it happened with Lela as well. In fact Lela was bawling her eyes out about 5 minutes after leaving the store (hence the distraction of LHOTP). Lela remembers being so upset that she called me names and said horrible things and she remembers how badly that made her feel. She was reliving those moments and was feeling regretful:( Anyway, Phoebe apologized and then shouted that she still wanted the shoes, so apparently she wasn’t quite remorseful YET. She progressed and by the time we were home she felt shame and regret and promptly went to her room to play by herself. After about 30 minutes of that she came out and said she was sorry for the way she acted and that she loved me.

We talked about consequences for her actions and I asked her if anyone else deserved an apology and she said yes. She apologized to all her sisters. She will be making it up to them in different way such as cards and pictures. I will make her atone for her poor behavior by being kind to those she hurt.

Lela has turned out to be an amazing and compassionate person so I know that Phoebe will get there. I also know that Landis understand why we can’t have everything we want and why we choose to spend our money and time on those things that we genuinely love. So I know it is right around the corner for Phoebe but I swear if she punches me one more time I might become start carrying wine in my sippy cup:)

Thank you to my children for teaching me humility, patience and gratitude, I just hope it doesn’t kill me:)

Baby bird

This morning Landis saw a baby bird on the ground under a tree at Phoebe’s school.  The teachers saw it and apparently told the kids not to touch it, I didn’t hear this or see the bird but Landis told me about it.  I don’t like seeing things injured when I can’t do anything about it so after we discussed it, I put it out of my mind.  

When we went back to pick up Phoebe, landis asked if she could go over to a spot on the playground, I said yes and went to the other side of the playground to get Phoebe.  After 10 min or so I called over to the girls and told them we were going, they started over and I headed inside with Phoebe.  When Piper and Landis caught up with me, guess what Piper had in her hands??  Yes, the baby bird.

I was startled and anxious and I told her you never should pick up a baby bird.  She said Landis told her to and started to cry.  I told her we had to put i back, so we went outside and put it back.  Piper was really upset, she told me it was a myth that you can’t touch baby birds and coming from her I believe it, that is the kind of stuff she reads.  I was upset with Landis because she knew better, she heard the teacher explain it and she conned Piper in to picking it up.  By now Landis was crying.

I comforted them both and looked up info on found baby birds from the Audobon Society on my phone.  I read it over and explained what it said to the girls and then gave it to Piper to read.

Once we got home Piper went to lay down because she was still upset.  I talked with her and explained that her empathy was her gift in life and it would bring her success and happiness but she had to learn to use her gift and it would be hard.  Everyone loves Piper and I know it is her empathy that shines in her eyes and lives in her heart that attracts people but it also leaves her vulnerable. 

I also talked with Landis about her decision making and did she make a good or bad choice.  She felt bad for what happened and wrote Piper a note all on her own and I thought that was awesome on her part.

Ah….life, so many lessons.

More Texas

After our time with the Pleasant family in Austin we headed to see Nana and Papa in Schertz. There was some craaaazy weather going on in Tx with power outages, flash floods and big rain so we were glad to get there safe and sound. We just hung around the house and played games, we went to the park once and tried to stay away from the bloodthirsty mosquitoes without much success.

   
      On Tuesday we headed to New Braunfels to hang withUncle CM, Aunt Mel and Ava in their “new” old house. They bough an adorable pier and beam house built in the 1940s near the historic downtown New Braunfels area. It has excellent walkability and great neighbors.

   
   The girls had a great time “shopping” in Uncle CM’s swanky new office. They scored some great clothes and sunglasses from his samples.

   
    Today we walked downtown to do some shopping and I almost melted in to a puddle. The town is so quaint, I really love it. Seems like the folks that got fed up of all the changes in Austin moved to New Braunfels to set up shop. I am glad that they found a place that they love and it suits them so well.