So I still don’t have a good system for kid reflections, but here’s a catch-up on Vivienne in honor of her 26th month birthday.

 

First notes from Feb. 7 to March 21, if I can read them . . .

 

Feb. 7th Vivienne squirts ketchup on her pants.  Don’t ask me what this was written down . . .

 

Vivienne says “Vivienne Lindala” when saying her name.

 

Vivienne discovers pumping on the trapeze.  It is rudimentary, and she still mostly asks for pushing.

 

Feb. 11th Vivienne chose to wear undies and even wore them to the store and at play afterwards and stayed dry.  Otherwise she is on and off with potty training.  We’re letting her pace herself.

 

Vivienne speech keeps growing and she does more mixing of languages than Joseph ever did.  She says things like “Help with the apples eating.” which reflects a more German grammar.  She also said “pig a eatin de happy buh-day” (the pig is eating cake), which I assume is from a picture.

 

Vivienne wanted to sit on my lap while I was working on the computer but I didn’t realize at first because I was focused on my work.  When I became aware she had taken a step back and was saying “give me space.”  I’ve been using the phrase for a while and it is one of my favorite parenting techniques.  As far as I know, we invented it, but I’m curious is anyone else has something like it.  It’s a wonderful way to, well, get some space without saying “go away” which implies “I don’t want you.”  Of course I try to then get back to the child as soon as I can, so Vivienne only had to say “give me space” twice before I let her sit on my lap.

 

While looking at Count of Monsters (the prime number book) Vivienne said “7 is a prime number.”

 

Vivienne “reads” the alphabet to Daniel (I think looking at the alphabet puzzle, and I think the quotes means it was an approximation, but a sweet gesture.)

 

Joseph says “One plus one is????” and Vivienne respond “Two!!!!!”

 

Vivienne’s language is growing, but her pronunciation is still lagging behind.  She says things like “keem up” for clean up, and “koos a me” for excuse me.

 

And those are all the notes I have.  It’s been a bit busy around here, but she’s growing in many ways.  I’ll stop here and say GEIBTP and hope than next time I won’t procrastinate so long!

Posted by harp on Friday, March 21, 2014 at 11:56 am | Edit
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Feb. 6th Daniel’s lower right tooth came in.  He now sports two little teeth in his great smile.

 

Feb. 10th Daniel official starts crawling on all fours (or creeping to be precise).  He is now quite able, though not fast, and it is quickly becoming his preferred mode of transportation (but the belly crawl still get’s him places faster.  I think cold floors and bare legs have encouraged the creep position . . .)

 

Feb. 12th Daniel displays a cross-pattern (belly) crawl.  It’s interesting that this follows the attempts at hands and knees creeping (which is by nature cross-pattern – is it possible any other way?).

 

Feb. 15th Daniel turned 6 months old.  We took the traditional hand and foot print since we never get around to them at birth . . .

 

Daniel is more and more active but it still happy to go for a stroller ride, a fact which this tired mother appreciates a great deal.  He’s happy on walks, or at the store, or sitting on my lap at church.  The other two would hear nothing of sitting still once they learned to get around.  That made 6months to 16 months very difficult.

 

At PEKiP Daniel thoroughly enjoys himself.  Last time he crawled through the tunnel and he’s started to pull himself up to his feet.  He even “cruised” from the folded up “special bed” mattress to the bed, though that hasn’t happened since.  He is very stable when he pulls up, usually staying on his knees and catching himself when he looses his balance.  His enthusiastic siblings make this skill rather important.  He’s had plenty of head bonks and he has fallen off the bed twice, but nothing worse than the others had and they seem to be fine.

 

He still wakes up a plenty at night, so those 3-4 hour sleeps stretches are a thing of the past.  He sleeps about 1 ½ hours during the day, usually about 40minutes in the morning, 20-30 minutes after lunch, and maybe another 20-30 nap before dinner.  He goes to bed around 7 or 8 and is up around 6:30 (though often he is up at 5:30, I think to pee, but I do everything I can to get him to go back to sleep.)

 

EC is on the back burner.  I am too tired to do it at night and he is learning to just pee in his diaper faster rather than fuss until I give him a potty opp.  So it is.  He is in diapers most of the day because I can’t keep after him all the time.  I still give him plenty of potty opps when I feel he needs it, and most of his poos are caught, but I just have a hard time doing EC with my early-mobile babies.  He start moving around before we’ve really found a rhythm, but I don’t regret trying.  Every pee or poo caught is one less diaper to deal with, and that is a nice thing.

Poor Daniel is in the playpen crying now while I type.  He can sometimes fall sleep on his own with the pacifier, but not so much anymore.  With his very short afternoon naps, though, he ends up having to cry a bit as I clean up lunch and take care of the others.  I might give up and watch a Great Course lecture with him at the breast, though.

 

(No napping. 8:30 and he’s finally in bed . . .)

 

Daniel can entertain himself quite well when his siblings are around, such as Project Time with Joseph and then Vivienne when she wakes up.

 

He likes to say “bab bab bab bab” and other communicating noises.  He doesn’t show any stranger anxiety yet and enjoys being with people.

 

He sits at the high chair with us at dinner and plays with bits of food I give him.  Again, we’re not doing any baby food, he just gets bread crusts or potatoes slices or the like from what we’re eating.  The rule is only Mommy can feed him, but Feb. 2nd somehow Vivienne managed to sneak him hamburger and onion before we noticed . . .

 

He’s no longer afraid of being tossed around, which means Bappe gets to have more fun with him!

 

Because he is stable kneeling he really enjoys his baths now, which are in a laundry basket (no holes, of course).  He splashes and splashes and just loves it!

 

Just today he clanged two plastic tops together.  The learning just explodes at this age!

 

It’s so delightful to see his personality develop.  I always have a hard time seeing my infants as people, sad to say, so it’s fun to have it start to sink in that we have three beautiful and unique children.  Sorry, unique is so cliché, but I lack another word and Vivienne is crying . . .

 

We love you, Daniel!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Edit
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I’m still working out the new system for blog and educational journals, but here’s a catch-all for what we’ve been up to.

 

With the new year we started trying designated language evenings: Monday is Swiss German, Wednesday is High German, Thursday is English, all other times are free, which means back to the old routine of Stephan speaking Swiss German and me (I??) speaking English, hopefully more or less correctly . . .

The first day (Jan. 6th) was traumatic for Joseph.  Mom speaking Swiss German was more than he could handle and I ended up switching to English to help him calm down.  It’s like someone stole his mom and replaced her with a look-a-like.  Happily, several weeks later Joseph looks forward to our designated language evenings and has even started to try to speak some High German.  It really is amazing what one small change, done consistently, can bring about.  Most Swiss kids struggle when they get to school and have to cope in an environment all in High German, but with just one night a week Joseph is coming to see High German as something natural and easy.  This is another reason why I love homeschooling – you can use those little moments that add up to big progress.  Of course, it’s a challenge for Stephan and me, as he has to deal with my broken attempts to communicate and I have to keep my constant flow of thoughts to share in check because I don’t have the ability to communicate them.  On English days I try to be more deliberate in my speech as well, but I usually forget.  Still, it’s a step in the right direction, which is a very good thing.

 

January 3rd we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary.  What a lot has happened in five years.  We enjoyed a quiet dinner at a nearby café followed by their yummy homemade ice cream.  Thanks to both sets of grandfolks for making it possible!

 

Jan.. 9th all three kids were napping at the same time.  This is mega noteworthy as it has happened probably a total of 3 times all of Daniel’s life . . .

 

Jan. 17-20 we all (except Daniel) got a stomach bug.  Enough said.

 

Stephan finished the over-the-bed trapeze and it was an instant hit.  Now the kids can get exercise without me having to bundle the four of us up to go outside . . .

 

Feb. 2nd we lead the music at our church for the first time (we’ve only been helpers before).  It went quite well and though the time required was greater, it fit better into our schedule as we could use the bits and moments of time we had and could rehearse with the singers at home.  Plus, I got to practice hymns for a reason, and that felt wonderful!

 

Joseph Tidbits

 

Joseph translates Vivienne’s request “Gerrysaw” to “Scarry ha” for Bappe.  (She was asking for a book by Richard Scarry)

 

We “correct” Joseph’s pronunciation of Cape Verde but he counters quite firmly with “no, It’s Cape Verd.”   We tell him it’s Verde (with an accent on the last “E”) but he says “No” so Stephan looks it up and we discover he is correct.

 

Joseph reads more and more.  He read “Elextolac” – the brand on our stove (did I get that right, Stephan?).

 

Joseph writes “Cooking” on his own with correct spelling.

 

He folded me a “flower” (his own imaginative design) and gifted it to me with a big smile.  This precious phase of motherhood is arriving!

 

From the project journal: Joseph continues to explore numbers and origami.  He’s learned by observing.  He once cut a piece of construction paper into a square and folded a Japanese helmet – I am very impressed with his level of precision.

 

Vivienne’s Variations

 

I captured most notes in her 2-year write-up, but since then she has learned to sing the alphabet, and does it rather well.  The end has an interesting variation, though, she sings “now I don’t know my ABC’s next time won’t you sing with me.”

 

Feb. 1st we celebrated Vivienne’s birthday with Stephan’s folks and sister and family.  We had a brunch buffet and all enjoyed being together.  It is such a blessing to family that loves each other and isn’t too far away!  Vivienne has since sung the happy birthday song to herself (a truncated version) many times.

 

Daniel’s Doings

 

Jan. 6th he spun a top, of course quite on accident (he dropped it) but it was impressive none the less.

 

Jan. 9th Daniel does the all-fours rock (hands and knees).  He’s the earliest.

 

Jan. 14th Daniel is really crawling and crawling for a purpose (not just from a reflex).

 

Jan. 15th Daniel turns 5 months old!

 

Jan. 16th Daniel is a mover and a sleep-fighter like all my kids.  Tonight he fell asleep with his head in the air.  He was on his tummy, pushing up and fighting sleep.  Sleep one, but it was only a bit later that his head returned to the bed and he settled down.  And people say you should just put the baby down so he can sleep on his own.  I am missing something . . .

 

Jan. 24th Daniel crawls up onto the special bed (a mattress on the ground only a few inches high).

 

Feb. 3rd Daniel gets his first tooth! Lower left incisor.  He also joins the brave class of kids who have fallen off the bed.  He, like the others, survived.

 

We started a PEKiP course together.  (PEKiP is a warm environment where the babies are naked for maximum freedom of movement and parents are encouraged to observe and interact with the work and exploration the babies are doing.)  I did nearly 6 months of PEKiP with Joseph and really enjoyed it and thought it would be fun to have a little focused time with Daniel in the same way (sorry, Viv).  Stephan’s folks come and spend time with Joseph and Vivienne (which they love) and I get to just hang out with my baby.  It’s amazing how relaxing it is now to be with one baby and how difficult it was when I was learning the ropes of motherhood.  Despite the EC I’ve done with Daniel I have a hard time reading him in the class because of the exciting environment.  I’ve caught one pee out of five so far.  Oh well, I’m much more chill about it, but I mention it so it’s clear we haven’t gotten this EC thing down pat even though we’ve had exciting successes.

Posted by harp on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Edit
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I sincerely hope that the blog makeover I wrote about is not the death of this blog.  Shortly after I wrote that we all got sick and it’s been a struggle crawling back out of the backlog, but what else is new?  We were all nearly healthy for Vivienne’s birthday and were able to celebrate just the five of us but had to cancel family plans, but will be doing a make-up tomorrow!

 

Vivienne at Two Years Old

 

Vivienne is a chatter box and is not afraid to mix English and German if she doesn’t know the correct words in one language or the other.  She imitates everyone, and likes to stick to the plan.  Once we had company and I said we could have coffee and cake without picking up the toys and she refused, giving everyone pick-up orders until everything was put away.  It was hilarious.  She doesn’t just imitate words, but also expressions and mannerisms.  She can answer questions as well (as in, “did you already pee in your diaper?” “yes.”).  Yes, she’s still in diapers.  She catches 2/3’s of her poos in the toilet and a few pees, but isn’t really interested in wearing underware.

 

She is quite affectionate, and needs several sessions of snuggle and hugging throughout the day.  She is eager to see Bappe come home at the end of the day and cheerfully wishes him goodbye in the morning.  She cares for other people and is happy to fetch something for someone if asked or if she notices on her own that something is missing (like cups at the dinner table.)  She always wants to help cook and come with me to do laundry, though she doesn’t actually do laundry, just get her hands dirty so she can wash them.  She loves water play and washing her hands.  The poor thing has never painted.  I am still wrestling with me fear of art materials . . .

 

Vivienne takes a 1 ½ - 2 hour nap after lunch, and is generally an enthusiastic eater.  She has a harder time falling asleep and waking up, but quickly recovers and is back to play.  She still loves to dance and move to music, but sometimes if I join her she says “no dance Mommy.”  She is very cheerful except when she is mad or when she whines, which is still too often, but she doesn’t have the big meltdowns or temper tantrums anymore.  The tears still flow the moment she cries, so her expressions are often heart-wrenching no matter what the infraction.

 

Vivienne is a strong walker when she has to be.  She likes to ride the kickboard (mini scooter) and can go at a decent clip.  She loves swinging on the dowel swing Bappe recently installed.

 

She can count nearly to 20 and sometimes beyond and knows many numerals, though 6 is always 9.  When I ask her to turn the stove on to a certain number she does.  She counted the dots to the 11 dot monster (You Can Count on Monsters) correctly.  I haven’t paid enough attention to know just what she knows and what she doesn’t.  Poor neglected second child.  (Though Joseph has only painted once in his life . . .)  She also knows several letters, and likes to sing tunes and is not bad at hitting correct pitches.

 

Vivienne can mostly dress herself: socks, shoes, pants, shirt with a little help, jacket with help, mittens, hat.

 

She is obsessed with rolling things: paper, placemats, paper books . . . beware.  She also folded a cloth placemat and called it a “butterfly” (Joseph had been folding origami recently.)

 

She loves being read to and pointing out the things she knows in the illustrations.

 

Vivienne and Joseph are best buddies unless they’re fighting.  We’re working on that, but they have being polite down pat when they are not upset.  “May I have the red maker please?” “Thank you very much.” “You’re welcome.”  Their art supplies consist of paper, markers and colored pencils, and Vivienne likes to make spirals and swirls and color on top of someone else’s work (I think so it’s like she’s written it herself).

 

Vivienne brings sunshine to our lives and we are so grateful for the precious gift she is to us!  Happy birthday, Vivienne!

Posted by harp on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Edit
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It’s the end of the year and I never fully wrote out my goals for 2013.  I guess that saved me some guilt.  Our big decluttering push for 2013 ran out of steam after Daniel’s birth, but it’s not going backwards, so that is a blessing.  I’ve decided that 2014 is the year for keeping up with what comes in.  That might not seem ambitious, but I’ve never managed it before, so this time I’m not doing grand projects, just setting up systems for dealing with what comes in.  I’ve been doing that all my life, though, so I’ll let you know if I finally find the key!

 

We had a lovely Christmas, New Year and time with Stephan off work.  It was still an awful lot of work, though.

 

Christmas eve I made the ham I’ve done many times before but this time I had two hams and two dishes.  The standard dish did fine, but the other dish exploded on my when I poured the hot water in.  Praise be to God that I was the only one in the kitchen at the time and Stephan was home 5 minutes later to help keep kids away and clean up.  We enjoyed the ham anyway, just a little later than planned.  That could have been a much worse disaster.

 

Christmas day we had duties at the church service, so we didn’t get to celebrating until after naps and then there was only time for stockings.  It was nice not to rush through things and just enjoy family.

 

Dec. 26th we went to the Stücklin’s with Stephan’s sis and family and enjoyed singing, playing, presents and not cooking.  It was so fun to see Daniel and his cousin A of almost the same age interact a bit together!

 

The business wasn’t over yet.  The next day we were invited to fondue at another family’s house and that was amazingly relaxing as they have two little kids and so their house is still kid-proof.  It’s otherwise so hard to relax when you’re worried about your kids getting into something they shouldn’t all the time.

 

On the 30th we welcomed visitors from Korea, A+J.  They were the easiest and most helpful guest you could imagine (apart from my own mother!).  As teachers, they understood our situation, look after their sight-seeing themselves, and connected well with the kids, for which I was grateful as I know working with kids is their job and this was their vacation.  I also learned a thing or two about how to handle exuberant kids and art supplies – a combination that usually has me sweating and yelling in less than 5 minutes.  We said a sad goodbye to them January 2nd, but that is in a new year so I’ll close out this last post about 2013 with updates on the kids, but we got too busy to take many notes.

 

 

 

What’s New with Joseph:

By far, Joseph and Vivienne’s favorite carol of the season was the Halleluja chorus.  Vivienne still asks for it.  Joseph find it easy to read (it’s in our hymnal) and did a pretty good job of reading “omnipotent reigneth” sounding out “om-nai-po-tent reg-neth.”  He also read the title of one of Stephan’s Japanese books The Monkey and the Crabs as “The Monkey and the Carbs.”

 

When reciting the Lord’s Prayer he says “and lead us not into the tation.”

 

What’s New with Vivienne:

Vivienne says “ich mache” (I do it) referring to herself.  She has since lapsed.  Joseph and Vivienne still use the “I” to mean Stephan or me.  She’s also taken to saying “ich read it” when she wants me to read her a story, and in so doing shows that she is an earlier talker than Joseph, but doesn’t keep the languages as clearly separated.  We trust she’ll sort it out soon enough.

 

What’s New with Daniel:

 

Though Daniel can roll and move forward and thus get anywhere, as of the end of the year he was still not using those abilities to get to a desired toy.  That’s starting to change, though!  He can also rotate on his belly, and he does use that to get to a toy that’s next to him.  I gave up on much of EC over Christmas because I was too tired.  We’re getting back in, though.

 

Happy New Year!

Posted by harp on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Edit
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Life with three kids is hopping.  Computer time is even more limited.  Baby is crying as I type . . .

 

I broke a filling.  Sitting in the dentist chair was relaxing like the spa.  (I accepted Novocain this time – the technology is much better than I remember!)

 

Dec. 18th we went into work to enjoy croissants with Stephan’s work colleagues.  It was fun to see everyone and for the kids to see where Bappe goes every day.

 

What’s New with Joseph:

Joseph continues to play well during his quiet time, though he loves to come out to tell me what he is doing and to play with Daniel.  He’s taken to building with his city blocks and can build the whole castle according to the instructions.  He builds wonderful inventions of his own, too.  I try to play with him and fear and a lack of ideas make me respect his creations even more.

 

Joseph can tell time easily with a digital clock and fairly well on an analog clock, even if the numbers aren’t printed.  I’m not sure if he knows everything, but he knows all the on-the-hour times for sure.

 

Joseph’s current favorite book is Amelia Bedelia and though I’ve never heard him read the whole thing, the bits he’s read he does just fine – including the cursive.  We continue to stand amazed and wonder just what we’re supposed to be doing to support him.

 

Joseph is speaking more and more.  He likes to answer the phone when Bappe calls to say he’s coming home.  He doesn’t just listen, though he does more copying than replying.  Vivienne runs for the other phone so she can join, too.

 

I had a massive “aha” moment with Joseph’s love of the Panda Pim cartoon character.  More on that in a separate post.

 

What’s New with Vivienne:

 

With lots of misses I was starting to get impatient with Vivienne so we stopped the potty training for now.  It’s hard to keep up when I have a 4-month-old as well.  IT’s a pitty, because Stephan was doing a good job with night training.  Once she was dry with two wake-up calls.  We’ll try again when Stephan is off for Christmas.

 

Hooray! Baby is sleeping . . .

 

Vivienne drew a circle on the window with window crayons and said “circle.”

 

She doesn’t get much focused time because when she naps I focus on Joseph and when Daniel naps I have both Joseph and Vivienne.  She loves being read to and knows many numbers and letters.  I’ve only named the number and letter puzzles a few times with her, though, in contrast to the hundreds I did with Joseph!  I feel guilty, but she’s picking up a lot anyway.  In other ways she’s spoiled and doing things earlier than Joseph did.

 

She’s a very good walker.  Whenever she goes out with other people they always comment on her endurance and speed.  She’s gone 1 ½ - 2 hours all on foot.

 

What’s New with Daniel:

 

Daniel turned four months old!  He got a taste of pureed soup on his birthday and managed to enjoy the feeling of it all over his face . . .

 

His favorite toy is the bamboo Japanese flute.  He can chew on it for a long time, and keep it in his hands even when being held upright.

 

Nighttime EC is almost nonexistent because I’m too tired (thankfully he’s stopped pooing at night) and we just catch the ones I’m awake for.

 

Daniel doesn’t sleep much during the day.  He’ll do 30-40 minutes in the morning and wake up to pee and be too excited to go back to sleep.  A similar thing happens after lunch, though often I’ll get 1 hour before the pee need.  Sometimes he’ll nap again before dinner, but often not.  So, that means I’m mostly caring for him when Vivienne naps and Joseph has his quiet time, which means my time to work is nearly gone.  (Today is a blessed exception – I wrote this post in nearly one sitting!) Yes, transitioning from no kids to one was the hardest, but having three kids leaves you little time, even if you’ve learned to be more efficient!  I am SO grateful for every bit of support I have.

 

After Stephan paid 100 to get a Mobility car to give me some time off one Saturday I decided it was time to be more active in getting help.  For the past two weeks now I’ve hired a gal from church to help me for two hours on Wednesday.  The kids love it and I can really get good work done and then enjoy being focused on the kids before and after.  I think it’s money well spent.

 

At Daniel’s 4-mos check the doctor noticed he had a mild case of Thrush, but since we caught it early it went away quickly and didn’t cause much trouble.  At this appointment the doctor first learned that I nurse on demand with no time restrictions at all and she is of the opinion that you shouldn’t nurse more than every four hours.  I’m still processing that one . . .

 

Daniel gives kisses!  Really big, smiley kisses.  He just loves people!

 

Posted by harp on Friday, December 20, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Edit
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Advent has arrived and I’m doing better than last year about preparing ahead of time.  The decorations are out and I made an advent wreath by myself this time.  I feel positively crafty.

 

Nov. 23rd we were privileged to go to Gotte Diana’s for a Thanksgiving dinner with old Basel friends.  It was chaotic enough with the kids running around, but we managed to enjoy our dinner warm and some good conversation not without interruption.  It’s so great that Diana is keeping up with the tradition in her new place, which we got to see for the first time.

 

Stephan took off Nov. 28th and 29th so we could have our own celebration.  He made domestic chicken (beer chicken with a hanger stand instead of a beer can) and I made sides and dessert.  We also interviewed a new doctor (house doctor for Stephan and me) and started potty training Vivienne.  All in the spirit of the season, I guess . . .

 

December 2nd the whole family made a drip to Zurich to apply for Daniel’s US passport.  It was less of an ordeal than going to Bern, but it was still quite a day.  Happily, it was successful and his passport should be coming in the mail!  While we were there we overheard another passport applicant requesting to pick his up in person rather than have it sent in the mail as he had his passport lost by the USPS once.  The lady responded “this is Switzerland.”  We got a good laugh out of that.

 

On to the cute stuff.

 

What’s New with Joseph:

I keep writing about Vivienne’s exploding vocabulary, but Joseph is blossoming in his own way as well.  He babbles to himself in English, German, and made-up language that includes French and Japanese phrases, but more importantly he engages more in dialogue and full-sentence use.  He still doesn’t like direct questions and prodding, but when he wants to he’ll speak up.

 

Once he was chatting at the kitchen table with Stephan, who was naming the days of the week for him while counting on his hand.  I joined in and listed them in English.  Joseph repeated back holding up one, then two, then three fingers “onesday, twosday, Threesday.”  Language is so mean, and I’m sure Joseph is not the first child to get confused by the days of the week.  Any child who learns to speak shows his remarkable ability for learning.  We don’t realize what a feat it is because it feels so natural to us.

 

I think we can declare Joseph as fully potty-trained.  The last note was Nov. 25th that he’d gotten up at 11pm to go on the pot by himself.  He’s been dry a few weeks now and has graduated to sleeping in the big bed with Bappe.  Hooray for Joseph!

 

Nov. 27th we enjoyed a visit from Mary B.  The kids had fun drawing with her and the next day Joseph imitated one of her drawings from memory.  I’m thrilled that he’s learning to draw more than letters and numbers!

(Click to enlarge)

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Grossmütti send a “count your blessings tree” and Joseph glued on all the leaves.  See, I do let my kids to some crafts . . . he did a great job.

 

What’s New with Vivienne:

On Thanksgiving I found a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on YouTube and decided to let the children enjoy some traditional seasonal cheer while we finished meal preparations.  Joseph quite enjoyed it but Vivienne couldn’t handle the slap-stick scenes where Snoopy fights with a folding chair or gets “eaten” by his treasure chest - she burst into tears!

 

Vivienne said “I love you, Mommy” to me unprompted.  3 1/2 years of motherhood and I get my first spontaneous I love you!  I never dreamed it would be like that.  Aren’t mothers showered with love all the time?  That’s what it looked like anyway.  Yet maybe it’s all the sweeter for having had to wait so long.  It warms a mommy’s heart!

 

With Joseph potty trained Bappe has accepted the challenge of working with Vivienne.  She often knows when she has to go but is too engaged to get to the pot in time.  Last night she was dry after a few night wake-ups, so we have hope for continued improvement.  I’m kept busy during the day emptying pots.  I EC the baby, am potty training the toddler, and the preschooler thinks pots are cool now so does all his business there . . .

 

Once after a miss when I was busy with Daniel Joseph and Vivienne took care of the mess themselves.  Joseph got a cloth diaper to wipe up the mess and Vivienne went to the sink to rinse her undies.  So cute!

 

While we were at the US consulate Vivienne noticed a reproduction portrait and exclaimed in her not-yet-perfect pronunciation “George Washington!”  Joseph may pay more attention to the dates, but Vivienne has at least been paying attention to the faces of Grandma’s presidents PP show!

 

What’s New with Daniel:

 

Dec. 2nd Daniel grabs his left toe with his left hand.  He’s my most flexible baby, and I think much of that is due to being diaperless much of the time.  I’ve been getting lax, though. He’s teething and that means more poos, so I’ve been doing minimal night-EC and using diapers when out and just catching what I can, which is still quite a bit because we’ve had three months to build our communication.

 

He’s still a very happy baby, despite the teething.  He just loves people, including mommy.  It’s so nice to have a baby who will be happy just to have my nearby.  He’ll be crying and all I have to do is come by and say hi and he’s all smiles again.  In this way his sibs can entertain him a while for me, too ( though it isn’t risk-free to leave him with them!!).

 

Okay, so either I write nothing or too much, can anyone help me with this?!?!?

Posted by harp on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Edit
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Today we woke up to the first snow of the year!  There was enough that when we finally got out the door at 10:45 the kids could still play in it.  Both Joseph and Vivienne are old enough that I can just set them loose and only worry about holding the baby and keeping them from wandering off.  Winter parenting is not my favorite because I have no model for how it is supposed to work – I grew up without winter!  So, I’m proud of myself that they got 20 minutes in the snow . . .

 

What’s New with Joseph:

Joseph has been doing well with night training.  He still needs help getting to the pot sometimes, but he is pretty consistent about waking up when he needs to go.  Yeah Joseph!

 

We got a puzzle of the counties of Ireland at our visit in 2011.  He can now put it together himself.  In fact, he is working on it as I type, chattering away about who knows what . . .

 

Nov. 15th he discovers the fun of dumping lots of water on the bathroom floor.  Fortunately for mommy, it was her night to do post-birth exercises and Bappe walked in the door just in time for her to make her escape.

 

Nov. 16th Bappe took J+V out for most of the day so I could have some time to work.  Memory fades quickly, but I believe this was the time I used the whole time that Daniel didn’t need me to work on clearing out emails.  I still dream of being all clean and clear with email . . . but more to the point, while they were out Joseph suggested that they get me a rose.  Bappe has trained him well. J

 

Stephan always prays for the kids before bed with much the same phrases.  The other day Joseph prayed for Daniel using most of Bappe’s prayer.  It warms the heart!

 

Grossvater visited Wednesday morning and I walked in on him playing with Joseph and explaining (in Swiss German) that at 3:30 they’d have to clean up.  Joseph said it was 3:27 – three minutes to go!  Then he announced it was 3:28 – two minutes to go!  When it hit 3:30 he said “zero!”  I didn’t know he could do that, but apparently Grossvater always prepares him for clean-up this way.  He says Joseph never complains and gets right to work when the appointed time comes.  I should try it myself!

 

What’s New with Vivienne:

Vivienne can do so much we’ve nearly forgotten that she’s not yet two, which we shouldn’t, because sometimes we’re too hard on her.  She can put her socks and boots on, she can jump with two feet and even off of a 3-inch ledge.  She uses more grammar words than Joseph did at this age, saying “have cracker please” rather than just “cracker.”  He pronunciation is getting clearer and her vocabulary exploding.  The other day when I was lying down with Daniel trying to get him to nap I asked her to leave the bedroom.  She did, closing the door behind her and saying “night night, sleep well.”

 

Yesterday she found a piece of chewed gum in the trash and discovered the joys of chewing herself.  She was very mad when I took it away . . .

 

A few days before that she threw up.  I wonder if she’d tried something else from the trash.  In any case, the next day she was back to normal.

 

What’s New with Daniel:

Daniel, on the other hand, is still struggling with something he got the day after he got the Pc vaccine.   He has kept his cheerful attitude, but has been pooing a ton of little squirts.  Apparently that can be a reaction to a vaccine, but I’m a little worried as it’s been a week now and we’re not quite back to normal.  I’m so thankful for EC, because otherwise I’d be changing a lot of diapers!  Plus it keeps the skin irritation to a minimum.  Some days I seriously question why I’ve trained my baby to wake up in the night when he needs to pee.  Isn’t sleep more important?  Well, I didn’t night-EC Jospeh and he woke up that much, so there are never any guarantees.  Kids are just work no matter how you slice it.

Posted by harp on Friday, November 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Edit
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This week the kids’ cousin and parents visited and we had a grand time eating snacks, cider, and homemade doughnuts.  The grandparents also spent a day with us, and the kids always love getting more time outside and with those they love.

 

Thursday I attended the new Bible study for moms at our church, and considering all the little babies and kids around it went rather well, though it is a challenge to keep enough brain cells for understanding the gospel in German.

 

Today all three kids took naps at the same time for exactly 2 minutes.

 

I completed the Computer Programming in JavaScript course at Khan Academy.  It’s easy to watch a lesson while Daniel is on the pot and fun to do the challenges.  I had fun, but I have no desire to code anything . . .

 

Our notes are only about pee, so you can quit now if that’s not your favorite topic.

 

Joseph managed one dry night without any intervention at all, otherwise we’ve hit a discouraging turn.  Ganbate, Stephan and Joseph!

 

Our first nighttime EC disaster occurred when Daniel was sleeping on his back and I was too deeply asleep (read: many bad nights in a row meant I was exhausted) to notice him fussing until he’d kicked off the blankets on top of him and made a fountain onto my comforter, soaking all the way through.  Having a hose is sometimes convenient and sometimes not . . .

Posted by harp on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Edit
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Saturday, October 19th we all got a real treat.  The military airfield next door had an open house for the first time in over 20 years.  Vivienne is an airplane lover, and the rest of us are fascinated like anyone might be.  We walked there, with Joseph and Vivienne in the stroller and Daniel diaperless in the wrap.  It’s just on the other side of the highway, but took a good 45 minutes to arrive, but it was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the little hike.  Daniel slept nearly the whole visit, which meant I could focus on other things.  They had stations for the kids to draw, bounce, and generally have lots of fun.  We got to look at the planes up-close and personal, and we watched the fire truck and propeller plane demonstrations.  About half way through the visit Daniel got restless, and lo and behold, we were right next to a fire hydrant.  I leaned against it and Daniel staked his claim on the airfield.  I find that funny.  I don’t think anyone noticed.

 

By the end of the walk back we were all pretty tired.  Daniel claimed another little piece of land 20 minutes to home, but with only two pees in the five hours he was on me, I was quite impressed.  Even more so that as soon as we got home he had a poo.  Wasn’t it kind of him to wait?

 

In the afternoon I indulged in a purchase for the kids, but it turns out to be great for me, too.  I know I’m not supposed to be filling my house with big things, but part of what decluttering is about is making room for the stuff you care about.  I saw a small trampoline at the second hand shop and snatched it up.  We have all had a great time jumping on it, counting or not, as we please.

 

Oct. 24th we had a visit from Joseph’s birthday buddy and her brother.  I can’t seem to remember that as well as I know my kids, they act totally differently when around others.  They were bouncing off the walls and throwing balls up in the air and generally going crazy.  They had a great time and acted like they get to play together every week even though we hadn’t seen them for several months.  As soon as they left, the two played silently.  Do other mothers experience the same phenomenon?

 

What’s New with Joseph:

Joseph does more than potty train, but that’s all the note I have for him this time.  Oct. 25th he was dry 11:30-5:30 and last night he woke himself up at 11, got out of the playpen (still his preferred place to sleep), peed on the pot and only called for help when it came time to put his PJs back on.  In the morning, he was dry!

 

What’s New with Vivienne:

Oct. 22nd Vivienne picks up the bit with the word “love” and says “luf!”  We hadn’t done bits that day yet.  I’m guessing she knows the word so well from the power point presentations Grandma makes that always end with a slide that says “I love you!”

 

While looking at the mail, Vivienne saw a picture of an African mother and child.  She pointed to it and said “kah-ket” which means “chocolate.”

Vivienne continues to grow in speech.  She uses two-word phrases and not just ones she’s heard before.  Yesterday I’m pretty sure she said “clean-up, eh Vivienne?”  You can guess who she learned that one from . . .

 

At dinner she munched her toast into rough curve like and uncrossed “J” and proclaimed “Jay!”

 

The bad-girl in me that never gets to have proper expression takes a disproportionate delight in Vivienne’s unfortunate pronunciation of certain words, like shirt and yogurt (o-got).  Switching syllables is common for toddlers, but take the German word for finished (fertig) and switch the last two and you get an innocent “feg-it”.  Combine all this with the current phase both Vivienne and Joseph are in where they preface everything with “oh!” (I only have myself to blame.  I say “Oh, there’s the bunny!) and you get some rather amusing utterances, like when she finds a shirt.  Just imagine when Vivienne discovers an empty yogurt container: “Oh! Fertig yogurt!”  I shouldn’t find it so funny, I know.

 

What’s New with Daniel:

Laughing, smiling, peeing, pooing – all the normal things a baby does.  One night he only woke twice in a night that was twelve hours long – something my babies have never done before.  Even better, both at the 2am and 5am waking he was dry.  Sadly, I missed the 8am pee because I was hot and heavy into the morning chores, but nights like these are what keep me going on more than fumes.

 

Oct. 25th Daniel scoots forward far enough and often enough for me to declare him my earliest crawler.  Having no diaper leaves him with maximum freedom for movement, though he spends a lot more time sitting than his sibs did (on the pot, that is!).  He kind of does a dive-and-kick but hasn’t yet figured out that this is a great way to get into stuff.  He hasn’t even figured out how to put something in his mouth yet!

Posted by harp on Friday, November 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Edit
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My daughter fell asleep with a carrot in her mouth.  That’s reason enough to blog, plus my mother is too busy with her other grandchildren to really need blog posts, so naturally my kids are giving me more moments of quiet with which to blog.

 

But who ever needed an excuse to blog?

 

Last update I failed to mention that Vivienne is great about picking up trash – so much so that when she finds an unknown object in the kids room she throws it away.  Mommy foolishly set her wedding ring on the bed while giving Daniel a massage, but no worries, Vivienne was there to clean up after her.  Bappe was the hero after much searching.  Thank goodness it wasn’t trash day.

 

Oct. 11th I had my final check-up with the midwife.  She was very impressed with the lack of hole in my belly – it is only 1cm.  I still don’t feel that strong, but now I can start exercising in earnest, which I am so far doing and feeling much better!  My vitamin D levels are terrible, though (on the plus side, iron is good).  It’s sunny today, except for the hour we were out walking – then it was foggy.  That’s okay, even if the sun were shining the official Swiss site on vitamin D informs me that fall, winter and spring sun isn’t enough for me to build Vit. D.  Is it time for cod-liver oil?!?  I’m not more faithful with Daniel’s vit. D drops, too . . .

 

Oct. 12th Stephan write that “the cutting board is thermoplastic.”  You’ll have to ask him.

 

Oct. 13th Daniel discovers his hands – oh so fascinating!  His mouth has long known his hands, of course.  He loves to suck the knuckle of his index finger (and can even put himself to sleep this way – hurray! First baby ever that can fall asleep alone!).

 

Oct. 16th Joseph wakes up dry in the night!  (With pees at 1:14 and 6am)

 

Oct. 17th Joseph plays with my old spelling calculator (I got it before spellcheck – does that make me old?).  The default display is “Ready for Word.”  This he read and sometime later he showed me the calculator, I later guessed because he was unsure how to spell “word.”  He had typed “ready.for.wu” which I find quite impressive all for memory.

 

Today we took a walk to Denner so I could buy coffee and salty snacks and so we could get some sun (fail!) but the kids did a great job walking.  The whole trip took 45 minutes and the distance isn’t trivial: ¾ of a mile (1.2km)!

 

(And don’t worry. I took the carrot out.)

Posted by harp on Friday, October 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Edit
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Yesterday Daniel got a clean bill of health at his two-month appointment.  The vaccination made him quite tired and he slept until 8:30 today (with his previous waking at 5:45)!  I almost didn’t know what to do with myself by the end of it.  I had a coffee, did the dishes, shined the sink, swept the floors, cleaned the bathroom, played with the kids, prepared the main meal, started laundry, processed my inbox to zero, and there was still chaos when he woke up because Vivienne had a big sticky poo at the same time.  Three isn’t really all that much more work unless they need you all at once, at which point chaos is chaos no matter how many kids you have . . .

Posted by harp on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 2:10 pm | Edit
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Today yesterday Daniel turned two-months old, and that means I have survived life with three kids for over eight weeks now.  Joseph is nearly 3 ½ and his Bappe is night-potty-training him – he was dry last night having woken himself once to pee!  Vivienne is 21 months and wears cute undies during the day when we’re at home, with more than moderate success.  We don’t get out much without Bappe.  The big event of the week is a two-hour trip to the grocery store (with lots of time for play built in).  Baby Daniel has been diaper-free since birth, and I’m starting to gain more confidence since those diaper-free grocery trips have been going just fine.

 

Our library put on a story-telling even for two- and three-year-olds yesterday and I decided to brave the trip alone with the three kids.  I thought Joseph especially would love being around other kids and listening to the story, as his understanding of Swiss German is just fine.

 

The outing started off fine, with Daniel falling asleep in the cocoon for the stroller well-fed and well-emptied shortly before we had to leave.  Joseph and Vivienne were excited enough about going to the library that they cooperated well getting ready to leave and 45 minutes before the event was slated to start, we were out the door with Daniel asleep in the stroller, Vivienne in her pink helmet and riding the scooter, and Joseph on his walking bike.  We were halfway there when I made my first mistake.  We were running ahead of schedule so I said we could take a quick detour and visit the animals near the pool.  I gave the kids crackers for their 9am snack and as we were about to move on I noticed Daniel squirming.  I wanted to ignore it, but there were benches there and I guessed we’d have enough time, so despite other people around I took Daniel out for a pee.  He was wearing his Chinese split pants and had already gone a little, but only the cloth rag between his legs was wet so no change was necessary.  He did the rest in the bowl, which I then dumped in the forest and we were soon on our way again.  If anyone noticed, they didn’t say a word.

 

Vivienne had given up on her scooter well before and was riding in the front part of the stroller, but now Joseph wanted to ride, too.  Sadly, our handy two-kid stroller can’t hold three kids and two vehicles, so I made him ride on, which he grudgingly did. Amazingly, we arrived at the library five minutes before the event – perfectly on-time.

 

Then I made my next mistake, which was to pick a chair next to a little desk so I could have a place to set the pee-bowl, but it turns out that I was then off to the side of the presenter, so I was in pretty good view of all the participants.  By the time I realized my prominent position it was too late.   I eyed the one more discreet spot left but by the time I’d gathered my things a lady sat down right before me, so I was stuck with my old spot.  Of course all this time Joseph and Vivienne had free-reign of the library, but fortunately Joseph was just reading a book and Vivienne hugging a stuffed dog.

 

No sooner did the event begin than Daniel started making noise again.  I tried nursing, but it was clearly a pee need, so I put the bowl under him while nursing and he peed right away.  Some other mommies noticed.  I tried to stay cool.  I set the bowl on the table and looked up to see Joseph standing next to the presenter on the far side.  I took Daniel off the breast and lead Joseph by the hand behind a row of books back to join the kids, but he became very clingy and shy so he stayed next to me.  Vivienne decided to follow her brother’s lead, but didn’t manage to find us and ended up elsewhere in the library.  When I found her she was sitting at a table looking and an adult book.  She was easier to lead back to the group and with things quiet for a bit I decided I’d quickly dump Daniel’s pee bowl in the downstairs bathroom.  I told Joseph I’d be right back and slipped out only to be met on the stairs by the maintenance man who informed me that the bathrooms were closed, sorry.  I’d have to use the building next door.  That not being an option for me, I went back to my place to find Vivienne behind the presenter again, only this time she’s discovered a stuffed squirrel, which she unfortunately takes for a bunny.  If you know how much she is currently in love with bunnies, you would know how much of a dangerous discovery it was.  “Bun-eeee!” she cries and I have visions of her clinging to Mr. Squirrel for dear life and screaming top-voice at the prospect of letting him go.  Fortunately, I’m able to lead her back to Joseph.  At some point in all this I’d managed to put Daniel in the wrap and he was starting to fall asleep but started squirming again.  That can only mean one thing, so I took him out and we caught a second pee in the bowl.  Our bowl is not ideal for the size Daniel is now, so emptying it became more of a priority.  I had the brilliant idea to just dump it outside in the bushes, but was thwarted again by a locked door.  The presentation was outside normal library hours, so the doors were locked.  On my way back the librarian asked what I needed, and I bet it was the first time she’s ever been asked to empty pee in her bushes before, but she did without a word or look of confusion, which I think takes great talent.

 

Daniel fell asleep, Joseph wandered off and found a friend with crackers who was willing to share, and Vivienne stood in the crowd fascinated by everything the kids were doing, but not participating much.  Whatever was left of the 40 minute presentation went uneventfully enough, but then I noticed Joseph disappearing down the stairs, which it turns out he was doing because he knew the bathrooms were down there –only the bathrooms were closed.  With difficulty I managed to convince Joseph that he couldn’t go to the bathroom there and I asked the librarian where in the next building the bathrooms where.  She didn’t know, but walked us to the door pointing to the building.  I thanked her but explained I had another kid still in the library and would she please look after her.  “You mean that girl there?” she asked, pointing to a lone girl wondering outside the library.  “Yes,” I said and took off with Joseph, looking over my shoulder to make sure Vivienne wasn’t scared of the librarian.  Without going into detail, we managed to find the bathrooms only after asking two people because the door wasn’t labeled at all due to renovations.  Thankfully we made it just in time and as we were leaving the librarian met us with Vivienne, who had a tear in her eye (but if you know Vivienne you know that that doesn’t necessarily mean much.)

 

Back in the library I managed a two-minute broken conversation with another mom I knew before Vivienne fell off the little table she’d decided to sit on and Joseph decided to walk out of the library with an arts and crafts book.  It was time to leave.  We managed to check out two books (one with numbers and one with bunnies) and get on our way with both kids walking, the baby in the wrap, and the stroller loaded with our stuff, two helmets, a scooter and a bike because Joseph refused to ride.  We managed the way alright except going down the bumpy ramp which caused both vehicles and helmets to come spilling out, at which point my 3-year-old reminded me not to be so serious by laughing his head off.  I laughed, too.  At least it wasn’t spilled poo or cracked sculls.

 

Nearly home, Vivienne discovered a puddle and soon both kids were ankle deep throwing stones in the muddy water.  It’s taken me a long time to get over my fear of getting dirty, even though I loved mud puddles as a kid (I never forgot how I never got to go on the mud walk my sister got to go on in 5th grade.)  As a parent, dirt means (unnecessary) clean-up and so it is not welcome, but I’ve lighted up over the years and let them enjoy the dirt a while.  Daniel was asleep in the wrap, after all, and we were nearly home.  Shortly after that decision (and after four propeller plane landings) Daniel woke up, which could only mean one thing . . .

 

Fortunately, no one was about and behind the chain-link fence was a field of weeds, so I whipped Daniel out of the wrap and held him out still in his handy Chinese split-crotch pants, which worked wonderfully, except that at first he nearly hit himself in the nose with his stream before it straightened out (boys!!).

 

Once we were safely home I reflected that it really wasn’t that much different from any other day at home running after little kids, but it’s simply more exhausting because you’re under observation and accidents mean messing up other people’s stuff.  Still, we had no messy accidents and we even had less crying than in a normal three-hour stretch, so whether the trip was worth the 15 minutes Joseph actually paid attention to the presenter is still up for debate.

 

And I wrote this 1 ½ sentences at a time amid three kids screaming for attention that same afternoon and consequently my husband came home to a very messy house, so that, my dear readers, is why you don’t get so many posts!  (And why the voice switches to present part-way through – I don’t have time to fix it!)  Part of me would love to become a real and regular blogger, but the rest of me looks at my life and sees that it’s not possible . . . yet!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Edit
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My excuse for missing a few Friday posts is that of sickness, which thankfully is mostly over.  It’s hard to believe Grandma has been gone only a month and that this is our first “normal life” post since her visit.  Overall, things are going well

 

We decided to attend our church’s weekend retreat even with two little kids and a one-month-old because wanted the opportunity to get to know folks better.  We expected to mostly be running after the kids, though, which helped to manage our expectations.  Every uninterrupted interaction with others was a happy plus and there were plenty of people willing to help out when we asked.

 

The retreat was at Casa Moscia in Moscia, Ticino the weekend of Sept.21st.  It’s a beautiful location right on the lake and built into the hill rising up immediately from the shore (if you can even call it a shore – the hills goes right to the lake).  Consequently there were lots of places where kids could fall and kill themselves or drown, so I had to work hard not to panic every time one of the kids wasn’t within sight.  We had beautiful weather and I even had the chance to dip in the lake myself (I left Daniel napping in our room alone – I kept running back in to check if he was awake or not . . .).

 

We decided to take public transport rather than rent a car and deal with traffic.  It went all rather well, though it was a bit awkward to empty a pee bowl on a full train.  I had Daniel in disposable diapers but still tried to EC as I would at home.  The times I thought it wasn’t appropriate I rediscovered that having a baby in diapers isn’t that much more convenient than having a baby without.  One such moment came as I cleaned up a dirty diaper and realized with gratitude that I don’t change dirty diapers at home and this was Daniel’s first dirty diaper!  With a diaper-free baby you can see the leakage signs and get the baby to the potty before the real poo comes, so even though I miss enough pees at home, I’ve never missed a substantial poo, and cleaning up poo from a baby bottom is a wonderful thing to never have to do.  So, one thing I learned from the retreat is that even if EC seems like a pain sometimes, using diapers really isn’t much easier, and in some ways it’s harder.  Looks like I’m stuck . . .

 

But mostly the retreat was what you’d expect from a church retreat and we all enjoyed ourselves.  Most people didn’t notice the EC (except for the time Daniel pooed in the bowl during the church service – note to self, go outside if you think he has to go . . .).

 

We returned exhausted, but happy and enjoyed a week of health before it all went downhill.  Fortunately for you I’ve detailed the sicknesses in the kids’ health docs so I don’t have to record them here.  The short of it is we had fevers and vomiting and aches and irritability and sore throats and red bumps and white spots in mouths and sleepless nights and screaming babies and exhausted mommies – well, only one exhausted mommy, which made a tired daddy . . . Two different doctor’s visits and internet research did not bring any conclusive diagnoses but fortunately it is all in the past.  Vivienne might have had a virus reaction from the MMR vaccine, or maybe they had hand, foot and mouth disease.  Who knows.

 

On to the CUTE stuff!

 

What’s New with Joseph:

Joseph is growing in reading and making connections.  Sept. 6th he was heard to say

“P-U heist ‘poo.’ P-U-M-A heist –‘Puma.’ P-U-M heist ‘Pum’ (poom)”

And

“D heisst ‘digger.’  “S heist ‘Schuufle bagger.’”

 

At dinner Joseph said “Would you like a wasp?”  The question form is often how he asks for something, but why he would want a wasp was beyond us as we do our best to keep them out of the house (they’ve been bad this year).  Somehow my mommy instinct kicked in and I ventured a guess “Would you like a straw?”  Yes, he wanted a straw and couldn’t quite remember the name . . .

 

Joseph has only been interested in drawing letters and numbers for a long time, then suddenly at the end of September he drew a character on the chalkboard with arms and legs and 10 fingers and toes.  We’re not sure if he was trying to draw a Little Pim character or not, but it was cool to see!

 

Once Joseph brought me Daniel’s pee bowl and I was sure Daniel didn’t have to go, but to encourage Joseph’s desire to help I thanked him and put Daniel on the pot.  He went pee and poo and Joseph was so proud of himself (and mommy learned to trust and not be so patronizing!).

 

One morning as the sickness was starting to hit us, Joseph was unaffected and I woke up to him saying “G-E-T space U-P spells Get up!”  Then he wrote it on the board. . .

 

One day I was nursing Daniel on the pot and I told the kids if they finished cleaning up they could watch Little Pim.  They cleaned up quickly and as my hands were full I told them they could set it up themselves – and they did!  Joseph got the DVD from the shelf while Vivienne opened the DVD drive on the computer, then Joseph put the DVD in and clicked the right buttons to get it started.  He even knew where the mute button was when no sound came out.  The whole time I just sat there!  It does get easier with more kids because the older ones can do some things for themselves!

 

 

What’s New with Vivienne:

Vivienne’s language is exploding so fast we almost want it to slow down.  She’s more advanced and faster than Joseph was, so I almost feel I’m not ready for her to be so grown up!  English and German are getting equal treatment as far as I can tell.  It’s terribly cute and she still likes to put the emphasis on the second syllable.  The tendency is so strong she sometimes adds a second syllable if there is none, like for Joy she says “Jo –aye.”  Some words:

“Zehn putze”

“begit” (fertig)

“she-tirt” (T-shirt)

“hoht” (hurt)

“pink ink” (blanket)

She’s just started saying “Joseph” and isn’t consistent enough to record how she says it.  Mostly her pronunciation is quite good, as in “pencil” (except for the wrong emphasis, of course).

 

Not to be outdone by her brother, Vivienne knows quite a bit about numbers.  It took me quite by surprise when, while cleaning up the Pooh addition cards, she picked up a card and read “Four plus two equals” clear as day.  She has since shown she can count to 10 in French, knows some in German (I’m not sure how much) and up to 13 in English.  She is good at counting actual items, a skill that comes from the Little Pim “I Can Count” DVD I’m sure.  She also recognizes many of the numerals.  She once pointed to the chapters 3 and 4 in the Bible during a reading and named them correctly.  Of course she is of an age that shuns testing, but she knows 3,4,8,9,0 for sure.

 

Vivienne can jump with both feet leaving the ground, a skill Joseph couldn’t manage even at his 2nd birthday.  Having an older sibling definitely has some advantages.  She is also a skilled kicker, and very deliberately adjusts her stance until she is in the right position to kick the ball straight and with some altitude.  Will I have to be a soccer mom for my daughter?  The thought intimidates me a little . . .

 

Oct. 7th our neighbor Miss T cut Vivienne’s long and messy hair into a cute bob-like cut that is much more tame.  I miss the curls, but they’ll come back soon enough.  I was thankful that she was happy to do it, as I find it a challenge to find the time and patience to cut their hair.  This was Vivienne’s first hair cut.

 

What’s New with Daniel:

Sept. 13th was Daniel’s one-month appointment and all went well.  When we got home, however I was not feeling so well and had a fever, muscle aches and no energy.  I think it was related to a breast infection, and was grateful that it was the weekend and Stephan could take over most of the non-baby chores.  Having three kids is a challenge when healthy, but when sick, I really sometimes wish I could quit.  Thankfully, I was feeling better enough by Monday to get back to the grinding stone.  Still, things are going quite well for it being so soon after becoming a family of five.

 

Daniel smiles more regularly and clearly enjoys attention from all of his family members.  As mentioned, EC is going well and we’ve even had a few nights with no night misses at all.  I don’t think it’s true that doing EC at night is keeping Daniel from sleeping longer stretches, as on some of the nights he wakes a lot I still miss plenty of pees and on some where he wakes only 3-4 times he’s dry each time and happily goes on the pot and back to sleep.

 

Oct. 5th he rolled from his back to his tummy over his right side.  I think this is the earliest of my babies, but it’s hard to recall correctly. 

Posted by harp on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 10:50 am | Edit
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We were ALL very sad to say goodbye to Grandma yesterday.  I’ve enjoyed six weeks off from dishes, the kids had grown quite attached, especially Vivienne, and Stephan was asking if it weren’t possible for Mom to stay longer.  Hard goodbyes are a good thing – it means we get along and have precious relationships!  But it also means that, well, the goodbyes are hard!  Vivienne didn’t want me helping her dress and get breakfast in the morning.  She wanted Grandma.  When Bappe came back from doing laundry, she thought it was Grandma arriving and jumped up to see.  Still, the goodbye wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be.  The children are handling it rather well, and it’s true that one fewer person in the house makes it easier to cook and clean, but I just can’t bear to think of having to wait another year to see family!

 

What’s New with Joseph:

Joseph learned a lot from Grandma, and it’s pleasant to hear the effects linger on.  Joseph’s favorite new trick is the backwards alphabet song, which is set to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”  The list of things Joseph can do that his parents can’t is growing, including the ability to recite the first 36 digits of Pi.

 

The big hit around here is a math book that KL sent called “You Can Count on Monsters” and it’s all about prime numbers.  It’s also rather fact oriented, like Bappe’s dot book, which means it’s easier for Joseph to digest (workbooks don’t work, despite their name.)  Joseph read through the whole book the day he got it and it is so beloved I’ve used the threat of its removal as a discipline technique.  His nose was buried in it when Grandma tried to say goodbye the night before she left, and that morning I awoke at 6am to the happy chanting of “14, 15, 16 are composites. 17 is prime.”  Clearly he doesn’t understand everything, but clearly he is getting something out of it!  Thanks so much to KL for the perfectly timed and appropriate gift!

 

What’s New with Vivienne:

Vivienne got sick just as Grandma was leaving, so her heart and her body are sick together!  She’s doing quite well despite it all, but it clearly easily exhausted.  The poor girl also got stung by a wasp (Sept. 2nd) while feeding the goats at the farm.  Grandma said she was very brave about it.  In that, she’s like her mother – brave in the face of clear difficulty and pain, and a mess of tears at that small stuff!

 

What’s New with Daniel:

Daniel has good nights and bad nights, but so far we’re still surviving.  He still doesn’t wear diapers, which feels completely natural at home and at night (and boy, do diaperless babies crawl at nightl!), but still a little intimidating when out and about.  Still, I’ve done a few more shopping trips and even tried diaperless for our first time at church this past Sunday.  It went so well, I was quite pleasantly surprised!  We caught several pees and had NO misses at all.  I’m not sure more than one person noticed either.  It definitely feels weird to be so into EC this time – it sure is easier than I thought and helps SO much with knowing why Daniel is fussy.  Daniel is three weeks old today and we have not ONCE had a long screaming session.  I remember pacing the halls with both Joseph and Vivienne, and maybe that will come later, but it sure is nice to feel so connected to Daniel.  Of course, just because he’s not screaming doesn’t mean he’s always happy – he has some long fussy stretches, but mostly that’s because he has a poo that is slow in coming . . .

 

And I’m sure that’s enough about that.

 

It’s good I only write these twice a month because I write a lot even when it’s only been a week since the last one, but this time it’s a present to Grandma who is missing us so much right now!

Posted by harp on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Edit
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