Monday, April 28, 2008

So what?

This is me applying my work-related leadership training to my home life. They taught us a management trick to ask "so what?" when things start to turn sour. It helps figure out what's the worst that could happen, and then recognize that even the worst isn't that bad. "So what?" is also a good question to ask yourself when everything seems to be overwelming, to help prioritize what needs attention first. So, here are my so-what's from this weekend.

So what if L doesn't learn to talk...ever? She's learning sign language a lot faster than I expected, and is just now getting the connection that if she makes the sign for what she wants, most of the time she'll get it. She hears just fine and understands what we're saying. Probably, most likely, she will start talking more. I've noticed more kiddos in our community in similar situations, needing help talking. And I watched a fellow 2-year-old talk up a storm this weekend, and it didn't actually bother me this time. It was kind of a factual recognition but not a comparison in a bad way. Yes, they are the same age and yes, L has a lot of ground to catch up, but so what? We're making progress, she's learning to communicate in another way, and in my mind, I wouldn't change a thing about her! She's still perfect!

So what if M is a hellion every once in awhile? Last week her preschool teacher politely informed me that M has not been good at school. That is a HUGE deal in our house, especially since DH is a teacher. The so-what I'm picturing is M , all dressed in black with piercings all over her ears and nose and tattoes covering her body, setting in juvenile detention. All that, just from a fit or two at preschool. Okay, so the so-what doesn't work in this situation, but at least reasonably I know it won't be THAT bad.

So what if K spent 3000 webkinz dollars in one afternoon? Worse case, her Webkinz starve to death, she learns about saving money, and she does without a Webkinz for a few months until she can buy her own or Grandma gives in and buys one for her. (FYI my ruling on this is if she spends all her money on interior decorating for her Webkinz rooms and can't afford to feed her Webkinz and as a result it dies, I'm not buying her a new one for a long long time.)

So what if DH's garden is out of control? Right now he's got 100s of plants to go in the ground, literally. And as long as I force it abit, at least K and M will spend time with him helping withe garden. But if the plants don't succeed, he's out his time but not much money. If they do succeed, maybe he'll be able to sell all that produce and make enough to buy a fireplace next fall so we can save on our heating bills. And if they do succeed and he can't sell it all, then we'll have lots of canned goods for ourselves, which is a good idea with the increasing prices in groceries and gasoline.

And... so what if we can't afford to drive this summer? Worse case scenario, we stay home and bond as a family. We take lots of trips to the little zoo in town and bike rides around the area. We save money by not staying a hotel or going to an amusement park. We have more time to can vegetables, work on M behavior, earn Webkinz dollars, and teach L more signs.

So what! :)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Allowances and chores

A few weeks ago, we introduced the possibility of allowances for K and M. In return for doing clean-up that wasn't directly their fault, they would get a weekly allowance. K suggested a penny a day, temidly, afraid she was asking too much. In my motherly generousness, I granted her wish and immediate set her to scrub the floors and wash the curtains. Or not.

In actuality, we decided on a quarter a week. Their jobs are to help unload the dishwasher, set the table, pick up their clothes, and help with laundry. In their excitement, they've also washed dishes and reloaded the dishwasher, did laundry with minimum-to-no help, and picked up everything in the three main rooms. And they've really enjoyed the coolness that comes with being old enough to wash dishes.

I know it won't last long. I know they'll eventually hate the chores. I know some day they'll realize 25 cents a week doesn't cover it. But I see this as a first step to easier housework for me. From this point on, my girls should be able to at least help lessen the load. I doubt I'll have any volunteers to fold laundry any time soon, and I'm confidant I'll still be the primary bill-payer, grocery-shopper, menu-setter, and floor cleaner. But how nice it is to have the help, and know they enjoy it!

Funny thing, though...K balked at the idea of a quarter a week. She thought 7 cents a week was a better amount because, and I quote, "if you pay me 25 cents a week, it feels like I will, you know, OWE you something for it and have to work more." Dude. Welcome to the workforce.

Spring fever

Man oh man what a difference warm weather makes. In retrospect, i was really slipping into a depression. All the classic symptoms, but I only notice that it was odd now that I'm not sleeping every afternoon for 2-3 hours plus 12 hours at night, not laughing, disengaging from conversations, hiding out in my own little world, even disconnecting from my hubby and kids. I don't think it was my week away on a work trip that did it. I really think it was two fold: making progress in helping Lainie and hearing her start to jabber. I cannot explain adequately how wonderful it feels to hear her make new consonant sounds. It's just a little thing, but I did a littler internal skip-to-my-lou when I heard a g and s and t all in the same jabber. Yay!

Add to that beautiful sunny, 70 degree days and you have a recipe for a happy mama. And you know what they say -- ain't nobody happy if mama ain't happy. With my change in attitude and emotions, the girls are really responding too. (Or, that could be because of the weather.) Either way, it's so nice to have a positive laughter-to-whining ratio in our house again. Hey, with three girls, that's not going to happen all that often!

Monday, April 7, 2008


As anyone who has spent much time around little girls knows, it's rare to get a moment of silence ...usually. That, and my K and M tend to be even more vocal than most. Not only do they love to talk, or "have the gift of gab" as my dad always said about me, but they come up with the most entertaining, intriquing, unique statements.

M last week, after really being naughty most of the afternoon and evening, told me that, "I think my brain isn't going right tonight." Good to know. When in doubt, blame your brain.

This same brain-child informed me that my SIL is going to have a girl, of course, because "the baby is in Aunt J's tummy. If it was a boy, it'd be in Uncle D's tummy." Well, of course. How ridiculous of me. Did I correct her? No. I'm not ready to explain ALL that to a 4-year-old. Later, after DH tried to correct her, we settled on my explanation that only girls have babies because only girls have mommy parts because "God made us that way." And, no, now is not the time to tell her about the guy on Oprah who is pregnant. Come on-- she's only four. There's time to explain that later.

And M isn't alone in her big thoughts. K told me the other day that she thinks she'd rather just skip high school "because high school kids do really dumb stuff." Oh, sweetheart, if only I could get that tattoed across your forehead so you can remember that in 8 years.

The irony of this is that K and M won't stop talking, and L just can't very well. She seems to try really hard but not make much progress. Have you ever really watched an ant push a piece of food up a hill that is too steep to make it? He'll push and push and almost get there but not actually reach his goal? Well, that's kind of how I feel about L. She's pushing and pushing but isn't making much progress and is starting to get frustrated. I hate to see her frustrated, and I hate feeling helpless, and truth-be-told, I'm going nuts with all the "eh-eh-eh" and whining that results from her frustration. We all want her to speak!

So, after an official evaluation last week, L qualified for speech services. I'm very relieved. Now she can get some help, some new tricks. Now I don't feel helpless; I feel empowered. I feel like I am finally able to help her push that piece of food up the rest of the hill, and I'm confidant that once she does get to the top of the hill, she'll fly down the other side in no time flat. Soon, she'll be adding to the cacophony that can only be called our home.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Happy April Fools!

And it is happy! (Man, this blog is starting to look manic-depressive. It's not that I am's just that I'm trying really hard to enjoy the positives and I use this medium to dump all the negatives.)

First off, we had a party at our house last night with some friends. Eight adults, a 12-year-old, 6-year-old, three 4-year-olds, and three 2-year-olds, so a bit rambunctious but crazy-fun. The best part was our crazy menu, which consisted of:

  • fake chicken nuggets (bananas with peanut butter and crushed graham crackers),

  • fake cupcakes (meatballs frosted with tinted mashed potatoes),

  • kitty litter cake,

  • fake orange drink (orange jello set in cups with straws),

  • fake water (clear koolaid),

  • fake jalapenos (fooled ya jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and grilled),

  • picked beets (because they are joke in themselves),

  • a real veggie tray, and real eggs (just to throw people off).
It was a blast, and definitely something we'll have to repeat.

And then, speaking of blasts, Lainie finally (FINALLY!) had a solid diaper last night! YIPPEE!!! I've never celebrated more over the contents of a diaper, but geez- March 12 was the last time she had a "normal" diaper! And she feels better, too. She was dancing this morning and woke up smiling. It looks like she finally kicked this nasty illness. And just in time, as tomorrow is her evaluation to see if she qualifies for speech help.

So, following the advice of my priest and my couselor, I'm going to take today one-day-at-a-time (I can't even think that phrase without hearing the Christie Lane's version of the song fly through my head) and be thankful for what I've got...which is a LOT.