Friday, July 30, 2010

Where have I been?

If you've noticed I haven't posted anything for a while, well... you're right. I haven't. (Astute observation, by the way.)

It's been really crazy since we got back from vacation, trying to get ready for the kids to go back to school on Monday. And how I am LONGING for that day...

Also I'm having the same problem I had last summer when we first moved to Hawaii; it appears I am allergic to the Hawaiin summer. Last summer it was worse; my eyes swelled shut, my face puffed up, and I had an itchy scaly rash on my face and arms.

Multi-Card ID Holder - 25 pack - 68410I have a photographic memorial of that look too, since my ID expired that week and I had to take a new picture. It now sits in my wallet, ready to mock me at every purchase. So sad.

Last year I ended up in the ER with this allergic reaction, where they gave me helpful suggestions like: "Wow, looks like you're REALLY allergic to something," and "Better take a Benadryl!" Thank you, medical professionals.

After some researching on our own, my husband and I decided it was the mangos. Apparently there's something in the skin of a mango that is the same irritant as the one in poison ivy. And we have a huge mango tree in our yard that produces a lot of fruit in the summer. Every morning there are a bunch of mangos on the ground, and of course they are ripening all the time in the tree. So the air is full of mango here.

Romance of the Mango: The Complete Book of the King of FruitsAnother funny thing about having a mango tree in the yard is how many people it seems to attract. About once or twice a week I'll find some passerby in the yard waving a stick at the tree or throwing his shoes at it, trying to knock down ripe mangos to eat. Locals LOVE their mangos! Apparently I'm the only one who is poisoned by them.

By the mangos, not the locals.

So anyways, this year I knew enough not to peel or eat the mangos, but apparently just picking them up out of the YARD is enough to set my histamines on red alert. As of  a couple of weeks ago, I stopped touching them altogether, but I guess the damage was already done.

Benadryl Allergy, Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride Antihistamine, Ultratab Tablets - 24 count (Pack of 3)I've been popping Benadryl around the clock since the rash showed up two weeks ago, and may I point out that antihistimines DO fog the brain a bit.

And I feel bad every time I see the mangos rotting on ground because I'm not picking them up anymore. But I resist. I know the EVIL that lurks in their lovely golden skins for me.

All this is to say, the reason I haven't written for a little while is that my brain doesn't seem to be quite up to par, what with the Benadryl, and the kids being at home 24 hours a day. Things are a little hectic.

Hopefully I'll perk up by Monday. Unless a mango comes after me.....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Peace and Harmony at the Park

Thursday I took the kids to a picnic in the park with the ladies from my hula class. (Okay, YES I’m taking hula! I live in Hawaii; I’ve watched “Lilo and Stitch;” there you go! Don’t give me a hard time about it, okay?)

One of the ladies is moving (that happens a lot when you’re in the military, in case you haven’t noticed) and everyone all wanted to get together and wish her farewell.

The thing is, I just started taking this class in May, and I was gone all of June, so I don’t really know these people very well. So it’s a little weird to go to a “we’ll miss you” party for someone you’ve just met. But the hula instructor called and invited me personally, so I went.

I had trouble finding a parking place, so we had to walk a little ways to get to the picnic table where my group had gathered. Right out of the car we had some whining over who had to carry the bags with our lunch in them, some complaining over helping to push the babies’ strollers, and some shoving over, well, I don’t know what exactly.

On the short walk I was already weary of the constant sniping between the three older girls: “Mommy, she’s TOUCHING me!” “She’s not carrying ANYthing and I’m stuck with this big bag!” “Make her stop LOOKING at me!” Et cetera.

As we approached the group one of the ladies (whom I did not know) was holding forth on the importance of sibling relationships. She said growing up as an only child she had really not had the opportunity to learn to get along with others as well as children with siblings. Therefore she was planning on adopting a second child so that her daughter could learn these crucial skills in the home.

“So a child with siblings really learns to get ALONG with others in the family, working out conflicts and becoming a more caring and loving individual,” she was saying earnestly, as her cute and unsuspecting toddler stood obediently beside her.

I moved slightly to try to block her view of my own brood of loving siblings, one of whom had an elbow lodged in her sister’s ribs, another of whom was crying, and the third of whom was currently actively involved in tattling. Oh, and Baby Girl was reaching from her stroller to yank a toy from Baby Boy’s hands as he sat placidly nearby in his stroller.

Oh yeah. THEY’RE learning to live in peace and harmony with others through their sibling relationships.

How embarrassing!

So I spent the whole picnic trying to keep my little monsters out of this poor lady’s view.

Let her keep her illusions for now.

She’ll learn soon enough.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Daddy's Little Girl...For Now

Baby Girl just loves her daddy.

She runs to him when he comes home, and she looks for him during the day too.

So I was a little worried when we were away from him for a month, afraid that she might forget him. The memories of two-year-olds are notoriously unreliable.

My husband came with us on our trip at the beginning, but he could only get a short time off work. (Those pesky jobs, right?) So he went back home without us.

It was funny, because right after he left, the kids and I moved from my mother-in-law’s house to my mother’s. (We like to spread the love around…and the mess!) When we came back to my mother-in-law’s after a couple of weeks, Baby Girl seemed to think we had left Daddy there. She looked all over, calling for him. She even picked up the shades and looked behind the bedroom curtains! It was obvious she really missed him.

LG Prime Prepaid GoPhone (AT&T) with $50 Airtime CreditI tried letting her speak to him on the phone, but that just confused her. She would pull the phone away from her ear and go, “Daddy?” Then she would turn the phone over and look all around it, trying to figure out how Daddy got INTO that tiny thing. It kind of upset her, so I quit giving her the phone.

I showed her pictures of her father while we were gone, and she would call out, “Daddy!” when she saw his face. I started to feel a little more confident that she would still know him when we got back home.

Then we visited my uncle and Baby Girl started calling him Daddy. Well, he does look kind of like my husband, so I decided to let that go.

Then she started calling her grandpa Daddy. Hmm, I thought. Technically he’s her daddy’s Daddy, so I guess that’s all right.

Then on the plane ride back home, she started calling the male flight attendant Daddy.

By then I was getting pretty worried. I had no idea if she’d recognize her real Daddy when she saw him, but I didn’t have too long to wait and find out. My husband was coming to meet us at the airport.

I was so pleased that she called out, “Daddy!” as soon as she saw him, AND consented for him to pick her up right away. (She never goes to anyone she doesn’t know, so I could tell she really did know him.)

So I guess we got home just in time, before her Daddy attachment transferred to the garbage man or something….

Pampers Baby-Dry Diapers, Size 3 (16-28 Lbs), Economy Plus Pack, 204 DiapersAnd the fact that she just happened to have a dirty diaper when he picked her up...well, that just made the reunion all the sweeter. (Okay, not LITERALLY!)

Welcome back, Daddy! Change my poop!

And the amazing thing was, he did!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Enjoy Your Flight? As If!

AMERICAN AIRLINES BOEING B767-300 DESKTOP MODELOn Friday I flew back to Hawaii with the kids.

All five of them. By myself.

Not the best day of my career, as you can imagine.

On the plus side, we did all arrive safely, still breathing and with all our appendages still attached. And our luggage even all made it too!

But it was a long tough day.

When the pilot says on his announcement, "We hope you enjoy your flight with us," I just want to laugh out loud. Does ANYONE enjoy a flight EVER? Much less an nonstop eight-hour flight with a bunch of whining children!

The funniest thing, though, was the impression we made getting ON the plane. As you know, strollers and carts must, of course, be abandoned at the gate, and all carry-on bags and babies must be physically carried onto the plane and down the narrow aisle.

This is no mean feat when we’ve got two carseats, two toddlers, and six bags. (That’s one per PERSON, thank you, Ms. Disapproving Flight Attendant who glared at my luggage cart while we waited and said, “And WHICH of these will you be checking, ma’am?”)

And when one of the toddlers in question is what we call “transitionally challenged,” it really makes things interesting.

Petting Zoo (DK READERS)(Baby Girl does not do well with changes, to put it mildly. She actually had a fit at the petting zoo each time we moved from one animal to another. Seriously! It was like: “No no NO! I can’t leave the GOATS! I LOVE the goats! The goats are the best EVER! NOOOOOOO! ARRGGHH!!” Then one minute later: “Oh, a NEW animal! What’s this? Fish? Oh WOW! FISH! I love the fish! The fish are the BEST!” Until we had to move on to the chickens….)

So getting on the plane, we already have one guaranteed screaming fit coming, in addition to the fun of trying not to hit people in the face with our bags and carseats while walking down the aisle that’s already almost too narrow for my body. (Not that I’m the most svelte on earth, but still. Would it KILL them to make the aisle a tad wider?)

Therefore you can just picture the reaction we’re getting from everyone already seated as we’re walking on the plane. I admit, I waited until most people were already boarded before we got on, mostly because it took me that long to gather everyone and everything up once they called Group 3. But there’s also this consideration: Why would I want to spend more time trapped in this airborne prison with all these kids than I really HAVE to? And I doubt anyone else wants me to either.

But the horrified looks were almost comical as we’re squeezing down the aisle with all our stuff while Baby Girl screams, squirms, and kicks, and Baby Boy runs cheerfully ahead (at least SOMEONE was co-operative!). I said to the plane at large, “She’ll calm down in a minute,” but no one seemed particularly reassured. You can almost hear the silent prayers going up: "Please don't let them sit by me! Please don't let them sit by me!"

Airplane Seat CoverOn the first flight, some poor woman was seated right in the middle of our block of seats. She fled to the back of the plane in horror, finding another seat since the flight was not full.

A lady seated in front of us on our connecting flight was not so lucky. As I was working on getting the carseats strapped in and the babies corralled until they could be seated, she raised her hand and asked the flight attendant if she and her sister could possibly move. She was informed that all the other seats were taken.

I sympathized with her; I would have moved away from us too, if I could.

But I will say that most everyone was really nice, and on both flights someone got up to help us, which I REALLY appreciated. On the second one it was a man from first class, who got up to help me carry stuff and traveled all the way to the very back of the plane, where he even helped me tighten the seatbelts on the carseats. He was really great.

14K Gold Stewardess Pendant 0.9 - Gram(s)And kudos to the flight attendant who defused the situation with Ms. Can-I-Please-Move by striking up a conversation with her about how brave it is of these young mothers nowadays to travel alone with so many children, actually prompting Ms. CIPM to turn around and ask sympathetically if she could help me. I’m sure that saved the twins some nasty glares later; I tried really hard to keep them from kicking the seats and screeching, but it’s difficult for two-year-olds to sit still for so long and I wasn’t always successful.

Later I heard that my mother and her friend had prayed for me that morning, specifically that someone would help me with the carseats. I was amazed at that!

So maybe it’s not TOO much of an exaggeration to say it was a miracle we survived the flight!
This is in the play area at the Dallas airport.
(And thank God there WAS a play area, since we had a five-hour layover!)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Crib Tents, I Love Thee

About a month ago the twins learned how to get out of their cribs. It was a sad sad day.

For me, I mean. They were pretty happy about it actually. As you can imagine...

So since we’ve been traveling they’ve been learning to get out of all types of restraints: knocking over safety gates, jumping in and out of their port-a-cribs, actually climbing OVER all barriers placed in their paths. Especially wild is Baby Boy; he is the instigator of all their Houdini acts, but Baby Girl follows right behind.

But the getting out of their cribs thing has REALLY been wearing on me.

This means that every naptime and bedtime, I have been required to sit in the bedroom with them for at least an hour, relentlessly returning them to their beds over and over and OVER. While they cheerily call out, “Night Night Mommy!” And giggle maniacally. And get out of bed again.

Gets old pretty fast….

So last week when we returned to my in-laws’ house and I knew we’d be out of the port-a-cribs and back into regular baby beds like we have at home (my mother-in-law has two cribs), I decided to take action.

I’d heard of crib tents to go over the top of baby beds and keep them trapped inside, so I went in search of them online to see where they could be found.

There was a mail-order place, which I considered, but I’ve already discovered that having things shipped to Hawaii can be difficult.

US Rolled Map (M Series World Wall Maps)(It seems SOME people don’t REALIZE that Hawaii is IN the United States! You know those 50 stars on the flag? Remember Alaska and Hawaii floating around all misplaced at the bottom of your grade-school USA map? RIGHT! PART of the United States people!)

So I thought it would be easier to just find a store in Alabama that carried crib tents.

First I looked at Babies-R-Us; oddly enough, they didn’t carry them. (Their website gave me about a billion results for CRIB and none for TENT.)

I finally found what I was looking for at the Bed Bath and Beyond website.

Tots In Mind Cozy Crib Tent II 1 WhiteI looked the thing over to see how it would work. I’d already realized that just a tent over the top of the bed wouldn’t stop Baby Boy. But I could see from the picture that the tent was a full-on CAGE!

It went inside the crib rails, under the mattress and across the top, all in breathable mesh. I was sold!

My sister-n-law and I went to the Bed Bath and Beyond store in search of crib tents, but I was told they didn’t sell them there.


Although on a positive note, we did find some LOVELY gadgets for our homes we couldn’t live without…

The salesgirl said all the baby stuff was sold by mail (which I‘ve already explained was out) or at the special baby store down by the mall…

…called--get this!--Buy Buy Baby.

Isn’t that name kind of weird?

I mean, when I first heard it I though it was “Bye Bye Baby,” as in “Farewell and Sayonara Small One,” which is freakishly ominous, but actually “Purchase and Procure Infant” isn’t much better!

I’m thinking, is there some sort of black-market thing going on in the back room here? Should I be worried?

But of course the Buy Buy just refers to all the STUFF you’ll need to purchase, procure AND obtain in order to give your little bundle of joy the proper welcome into this world he/she deserves.

Such as baby wipes warmers.

And shopping cart seat covers.

And sleep positioners.

And who knows WHAT else that didn’t even EXIST when I had my first child, a mere 13 1/2 years ago, but are now ESSENTIAL to a baby’s survival. Not to mention all the stuff MY mom never had, although I did somehow manage to live to adulthood.

But I digress…

So, of course, we made the trek down to the Buy Buy Baby store.

My sister-in-law was immediately charmed by all the cute baby stuff and began longing for the day she would share these things with her grandchildren.

Might I add this is the sister-in-law with the son who just got married three weeks ago, is twenty-two-years old, still in school, and NOT expecting. No pressure for the happy couple there, right?

But anyways, I was there on a singular mission: to get the crib tents.

And I found them. And they were $69.99. EACH!


But do I want to spend the next year forcing the twins back into their cribs for two hours every day? How much of the (obviously sarcastic) “Night Night Mommy!” can I listen too before I snap?

I shelled out the cash.

Then I came home and put the crib tents together and prepared for the first test: NAPTIME.

The twins were quite cheerful when I first put them in their new tents. They thought it was some fun new game and jumped up and down as I zipped them in. YAY! Crib tents are FUN!

Then they slowly began to realize they couldn’t get out. BOO! Crib tents are NO fun!


But they fell asleep much more quickly without the distractions of taunting Mommy. Because I didn’t have to stay in there and watch them, now that I was confident they could NEVER ESCAPE!

Forgive me another cruel chuckle.


So bedtime and naptime have been a whole lot more peasant around here.

And, as my oldest daughter put it, “Babies sleep good in their cages.”

And I say again…


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Weekend at the Lake, or The Agony of Being Boo

This past weekend we spent some time at my uncle’s lakehouse. The kids really love it there; they go swimming, boating, and even horseback riding.

One of the big things they like to do is jump off the roof of the boat dock into the lake. It’s kind of a rite of passage, to be old enough to not be scared to jump from such a height. (The lake is 25 feet deep so there’s no actual danger, by the way.)

In past summers we have had conflicts over this. One I remember in particular: GG (at about age six or seven) promised she would jump off if I did it first. So, even though I am prone to swimmers’ ear and HATE getting my head wet, I climbed up and jumped in.

And she didn’t jump.

And I got swimmers’ ear AGAIN.

But I digress….

Last summer Boo (now age seven) was afraid to do it, but this year she confided to me before we went to the lake, “The first thing I’m going to do when we get there is jump off the top.”

And she actually did, fairly soon after we arrived.

The problem came after the second or third time she jumped. She landed wrong and hurt her leg when she hit the water, so that the next day, while GG and ET were vying for the record number of jumps (I think we passed fifty by the end of the weekend), Boo was afraid to jump again.

Which would have been fine if she hadn’t kept climbing the ladder, standing on the roof, and agonizing at the edge. This prompted her sisters to say, “If you climb back down the ladder and don’t jump off, you’re an official chicken.”

RUBBER CHICKENNO! Not Official Chicken Status! Oh the horror!

So Boo proceeded to sit up there, torturing herself, and not jumping. On the roof of the boat dock. In the blazing sun. For FORTY-FIVE MINUTES!

Finally it was time to go back in, so my mom made the older girls promise NOT to bestow the title of Official Chicken on Boo because she was being forced to come back down the ladder by adults.

They reluctantly agreed, with one caveat: that she must jump off the top the NEXT day, or they would be forced to call it like they saw it. OFFICIAL CHICKEN, thy name shall be Boo.

So Boo came down the ladder and back into the house for dinner. And moped around all evening, until she forgot about it, of course.

But her sisters had not forgotten.

The next day we all went back to the dock. I’d already had a talk with GG and ET about the hurtfulness of name-calling, and they had been STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to call Boo an official chicken or any other type of chicken.

So they didn’t.

Instead they swam around, calling out things like, “Hey Boo! I like CHICKEN noodle soup!”

And, “Fried CHICKEN is my favorite dinner!”

And so on…

After another stern talking-to, they mostly stopped. But then later, after I’d gone back inside to put the twins down for a nap, Boo decided to climb up to the roof for another try.

Thus reviving the whole Official Chicken Discussion.

After another half-hour or so of Boo’s anguished deliberation on the roof, my uncle decided to put an end to the whole thing. He climbed the ladder, grabbed Boo up, and jumped in the water. Then he swam back and herded all the kids into the house.

Oddly enough, it worked. Boo came back in a much better mood than she had the night before, and nobody was calling anybody poultry of any type.

And now I guess everyone has forgotten about the whole thing.

Until NEXT summer....