I admire people who can move and not let their whole lives fall apart.  I’ll catch up backwards.  Here goes!


November 2015

Daniel adds “e” to the ends of English words to make German ones, like pink – “pin(k)e” and blue “e blue –e.”  Or in sentences “myni (c)up –e.”  This trend has continued, partly because he knows we think it’s cute.  My favorite is “myni selber by yourself-e,” which means “do it myself.”


I (Janet) was in his way and he said, “doe away, doe away!”  He was told to say “excuse me, Mommy” so he said, “Excuse me, doe away.”


On the bus Daniel sad in a section of four seats where three elderly ladies were.  He sat still so one of the ladies said to hime “Du misch a brave, du.”  To which he replied, “Nein.  I Daniel.”  (pronounced Da-lel)


December 2015

Until recently Joseph and Vivienne think “friend” means sibling, so it is a very special word.  Daniel came up to me and gave me a hug, saying “You’re my friend.”


For the second year in a row I’ve taken a weekend retreat in December to plan for the year.  The whole family dropped me off, but the morning after Daniel searched the whole house looking for me.


Nobody saw it, but it appears Daniel fell down a half-flight of stone stairs with the help of a push.  He was scared, but there was no blood, which is rather unusual since he is prone to tripping and hitting his mouth.  He’s a tough little kid, though he is soft and cuddly on the inside.  With his hair buzzed off he reminds me a lot of cousin B.


Daniel’s language continues to grow, and with it his awareness of language and dialect differences. Daniel wanted to go into the extra room but Stephan stopped him.

Daniel: Ellie schlaft?

Stephan: Jo, d’Ellie isch am schloofe.

D: M (neighbor kid) säit schlaafe.


Daniels likes doing puzzles and can do the Santa and nativity puzzles we have as well as the alphabet puzzles and some other regular jig-saw puzzles.


He can pull and rip off tape.


Of course there’s more, but those are my notes and I have three other kids to catch up on!

Posted by harp on Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 3:39 pm | Edit
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Daniel is talking up a storm and keeping up with his siblings as best he can.  The three of them can play together for long stretches of time without complaints.  The tireless work we’ve done at teaching them to resolve their own conflicts is finally paying off.


(And of course, we still have to intervene countless times a day and get fed up with the whining, but as usual, I like to look at the bright side when writing a post.)


Daniel is on a Fantasia 2000 kick and asks for “whales” (Pines of Rome) every time for his media time.  All three now talk and describe what’s happening in the scenes as they watch – so fun.


Daniel is always insistent that we wait for everyone before starting, whether it be dinner or media time, we’ll hear him cry out “Wait for Joseph,” or “Wait for Ellie!”


Daniel has learned the “script” for dealing with two people wanting the same toy.  This impresses me because of course it took the older two much longer to learn.

Joseph: “My I have the massage ball?” (ball is in Daniel’s hands)

Daniel: “No.”

Joseph: “When?”

Daniel: “Hm . . . in two minutes.”


He can blow his nose (if I hold the tissue).


He called a cookie wrapper a “doughst” (ghost).


After a visit from Stephan’s dad (Grossvater), Daniel said, “I fun with Dossvater.”


He can do the alphabet puzzle quickly and can do the number puzzle, too.  He counts to 10 in German perfectly, but skips “nine” in English.


We all got the stomach flu this week, and I’m still typing this up on time.  Go me.


Love you, Daniel – you are just too cute for words!  You speak in sentences and express yourself well, but you still have that oh-so-cute-baby-pronunciation.

Posted by harp on Sunday, November 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Edit
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Vivienne learned that her birthday is next, so she started asking every morning if it was her birthday.  I drew a chart for her and she’s been faithfully crossing off days as she waits with anticipation for her special day.  Poor girl sees four of the six of us get a birthday in summer and can’t understand why she’s left out.


We have two falls to report this month, once she scuffed up her face, the other time she’d been standing on the window sill trying to get to the shade.


She saved up her money and brought nearly 6 Francs to the store and kept taking and replacing items until she finally settled on Choco Krispies for 5.60.  She let her sibs join in the breakfast indulgence until they were all sick of chocolate for breakfast.  There’s about two bowl-fulls left that haven’t been touched in days.  I wonder what lesson she’s retained!


She’s shown on and off interest in reading and writing.  She wrote “Mickey Mouse” copying my model.  She also enjoys Starfall and ABCya.com games for her media time.  She’s started Big Brainz (addition attack) as well, though she often lets Joseph take over for her.  It sometimes drives me crazy, but Joseph is learning to be a better mentor with time.  He might take over too much, but he also teaches her quite a bit.


Vivienne can do the Europe, S. America and Africa puzzles on her own (the outlines are on the puzzle backing).


She’s nearly dropped her afternoon nap and has learned to do quite well in the two hours with Hello Kitty coloring pages and her “princess pens” – a Disney set of crayons and markers she got as a hand-me-down.  By “quite well” I mean some days she only interrupts me a few times.  There are still plenty of days when she is not happy at all to be on her own.  She is learning, though, which is wonderful for her and for me.


Vivienne is still happy to help and is growing more competent each day.

Posted by harp on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm | Edit
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Ellie is all smiles and laughs for her siblings.  The still love her, but don’t ask to hold her and play with her as often as they used to, but they still do plenty of both!


She’s grabbing things, and has already thrown something from the dinner table down to the ground.  She’s at the cusp of the destruction stage . . .


She likes buzzing her lips and blowing bubbles.  This entertains her quite well – us too!


She likes to suck her left index finger, palm to chin and the rest of the fingers closed.


She’s started using the potty again, and still can fall asleep on her own, though she need help a bit more often now.  Hopefully it’s a phase, or teeth.  She drools a lot.


She easily rolls from front to back and does so deliberately.  That’s slowed her crawling skills because instead of plowing forward when upset on her tummy she just rolls over.


She’ll sleep on her back or her tummy and doesn’t need the swaddle any more.


She likes sitting in the crook of an arm and will fall asleep that way.

Posted by harp on Friday, October 30, 2015 at 2:45 pm | Edit
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I’m so behind with Joseph that I have to start small.  Here are the “Cute Things” notes from the past three months.


He wiped up a pretty big noodle and sauce mess with a good attitude.


He recited “Befiehl du deine Wege” (1 verse) to earn duoLingo.


Folded “Sterndose” from GE origami.


Told Vivienne it was “an” animal, because animal begins with a vowel, not a “confident”.


Stephan: Hesch du d’Vivienne gschlage?

Joseph: Vilicht . . .


Stephan walked into the Sunday school room where Joseph was playing alone after church.

Stephan: “Bisch ganz eläi?” (Are you all alone?)

Joseph: “Nit wenn du do bisch.” (Not when you’re here.)


„I’m going to pyou-nish you.“  (He learned the word “punish” from reading?)


At bedtime Joseph asked Vivienne to get a book.

V: What do you want?

J: The story of . . . the story of . . . the story of anything you want to get out for me.


Reads “Donaldo der Bereifer” instead of “Donaldo der Befreier.”  „Bereifer“ means „the one who mounts tires.“ 


Opens Clue (the game) and later talks about “wee pens.”


“’Hey Janet,’ says Grandma. ‘I call you Janet because when you were a baby I named you Janet.’”


On a trip to the Transportation Museum with Stephan, Daniel had to go to the bathroom and Stephan asked everyone to come with him.  Joseph frowned, clearly in thought.  “Joseph?”  Joseph responded calmly, “Wenn ich do blibe, bin ich so glücklich.”  (If I stay, I’m so happy.)  Stephan let him stay and play.


For an oatmeal dinner, molasses came onto the table.  All the kids tried it.  Joseph pulled a face and exclaimed: “Was ist das für ein Glück?!”  He’d probably taken that from comics where a character ironically said the equivalent of “How fortunate!” 


Slowly the kids are learning to be polite.  Joseph asked Vivienne in a calm voice for half of the last burger bun.  Vivienne said, “yes” cheerfully and Joseph said “thanks.”  All unprompted!


With his allowance he bought two liters of milk, knowing that each was 1.50 and he had the 3 francs to cover it.

Posted by harp on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Edit
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Daniel is becoming a sophisticated parrot.  I said something about GTC Ireland bits being in the category “social studies” and he later called it “Joseph studies.”


He’s become quite able in daily life as well.  He can toast his own bread, serve himself oats, yogurt and drops (coloring food – don’t ask how it became a breakfast ritual).


He can do the shape sorter without trouble.


When he sees something purple or pink he points and says “Vivienne’s.”


He likes to line up his toys, which he often does during time playing alone.  Cars, dinosaurs, duplo figures, etc.


“Joseph is hair.  Mommy is hair.  My is hair.  Daddy is no hair.”


“Run, run, fell do-o-own.”  (In a sad, pitiful voice.)


Despite many warnings to sit in his chair, Daniel finally learned the lesson himself by falling backwards while standing up in it.  He was mad about something and threw himself back.  It was a shock, but he was fine.


The older kids took a trip to Basel with Daddy and met Joseph’s bodmother there.  The boys took the ferry to the Munster, and Daniel walked up all 125 steps from the river to the Munster, counting with Daddy as he went.


One morning Daniel was first up and couldn’t wait to play with his siblings.  He walked in on them and announced “Let’s play bears!”  They were cranky at first, but playing bears is a current favorite, so soon they were all playing happily together.

Posted by harp on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Edit
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Vivienne learned to ride a pedal bike!  She zips around confidently now.  It’s hard to believe she only learned a month ago.


Joseph and Vivienne are fast friends and do everything together.  Joseph isn’t the most patient of teachers, but he does teach her a lot.  I heard him working with her to get 1-20 right (she still skips some teens).


Inspired by Paddington we got orange marmalade to try.  The kids were disappointed that it didn’t taste good to them.


I have to work very hard to keep my calm as a mom.  The kids escalate easily if one kid is crying and the other starts crying because he doesn’t like the crying, then soon three or four kids are crying and I want to, too.


But all my work is paying off, and it makes me so happy and proud to see the techniques I’ve been working on used by the kids themselves.  As mentioned, Vivienne is prone to sudden devastation and consequent loss of control.  More and more she can calm down and use her calm words.  I’ve even noticed her gentle taking one of her brothers by the shoulders, looking into their eyes and calmly stating her request.  This is a vast improvement to yelling and screaming and it is a direct result of me trying not to yell or shoot out drive-by commands, but to take the time to look the child in the eye.


She is also learning how to offer an alternative solution to suit both her and the other’s needs.


Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of crying and screaming and grabbing, but I’ve learned it’s important to celebrate progress!


At the playground Vivienne put a stick in her mouth and her brother pushed on it.  It scraped the back of her throat and Stephan took her to the doctor to look at it.  It seems to have healed fine.


Vivienne might not know how to count to 20, but that doesn’t stop her from helping her younger brother learn how to count to 10.  The other day she counted a stack of Duplo flowers with Daniel repeating after her: “This is one. This is two. . . .”


It’s a good lesson to us all.  We can teach if we are just a step ahead.


That’s good, because sometimes I feel like I am only just one step ahead of my kids, if that!


Cute Quotes:

“Jesus has a dog.”  Stephan will have to elaborate.


“The Google Boys are singing.”


Vivienne: “Daddies go work and mommies go shopping.”

Joseph: “Some mommies go work.”

Vivienne: “My mommy doesn’t work.  Your daddy is working.”

Posted by harp on Monday, September 28, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Edit
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Ellie is a happy and contented baby.  He gives the biggest smiles to her daddy and siblings and I’m starting to worry less about the adoration from her siblings being harmful as she is growing bigger and less fragile.


She’s happy enough in the stroller, though she likes going out in the wrap best.  So far I’ve mostly kept her on my chest and not my back.


She passed the Stücklin Jr. right-of-passage of falling off the bed with flying colors.  No matter how careful I am, my babies just seem to have to fall off the bed at least once.  This time she was napping just outside the baby-bay (crib attached to the side of the bed) and woke up while I was reading to the kids in the other room.  I didn’t hear her wimpers until she had crawled forward up to the head of the bed against the wall.  We don’t have a headboard, and there’s a small gap between the solid wall and the recessed heating element.  She managed to head right toward that one small gap and dive down.  Then she peed and the diaper leaked so by the time I reached her she was lying in a puddle of pee in a dark hole.  I felt like a horrible mommy again but as soon as I picked her up she was happy and cooing again.


So, I have to think of her as a mobile baby even though she doesn’t crawl on purpose.  She pushes her bum up with her feet when she’s not happy and scoots forward with surprising speed.  It’s funny that she’s so early when for the first few months of her life she mostly slept on her back in a swaddle.  She started fussing and breaking free of the swaddle so I worked on belly sleeping more and now she almost exclusively sleeps on her tummy.


She still drinks 6-7 times a day, but I’m pretty relaxed about it now.  She goes to bed around 7:30 and wakes up between 12:30 and 3:30.  Lately she’s been done with the night at 4 or 5, but since I go to bed at 9 it’s not so bad.  Getting one stretch of four, five, or even six hours at night is amazing.  I feel human again after 4 years of intense sleep deprivation.


I’ve almost completely stopped doing EC with her because she doesn’t seem to like it much and she does so well lying on her own, falling asleep in the play-pen with just a little bit of comforting, and sleeping long stretches at night.  I still hope to do some EC, but for now I’m enjoying her relative independence.


It’s still a struggle for me to enjoy having a little baby and not worry about all the things I need to do when she needs my attention, but I’m much better than I used to be and she really doesn’t need as much attention as my other babies did.  I just have more to do with looking after the others as well as starting another blog . . .


Once again, it’s hard to imagine life before she joined us.  We love the action and joy of being a family of six!

Posted by harp on Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 6:05 am | Edit
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Daniel is a blue-eyed, blond-haired, chubby cutie-pants and he knows it.


He rides the walking-bike like a pro and loves riding in the parking lot or to places with his siblings.


He wants to do everything himself and is getting better at doing it.  He can get himself breakfast and even pour milk without spilling (though it’s still the exception and not the norm.)


He learns a lot by imitating his siblings, and in this ways joins in their everyday play.


Yesterday at the dinner table he looked at me and said “Was that irony?”  Too cute.  Of course he had no idea what he was saying, he just imitated what his dad had just said.


I’m behind, so on to the “Cute Things” list.


At his two-year check at the doctors he was asked to step on the scales.  He looked, then stomped on it like you would on a roach.  When he got his shot he didn’t blink an eye.  Being the third kid makes you tough.


He can unscrew and screw on lids, like to the milk container and our essential oils . . .


Daniel can be quite sensitive and caring, despite being perfectly capable of sticking up for himself physically.  We had a guest over and I made us both a coffee.  She doesn’t take suger in hers, so as we sat on the couch with our mugs Daniel noticed that I had a spoon in mine and our guest didn’t.  He didn’t say a word, but wriggled off his place on my lap, ran to the kitchen, tippy-toed to reach the spoons, ran back and handed the spoon to our guest.  So heartwarming!


I cut his hair Sept.18th while he watched “Planes.”  He was quite patient, but I’m still not confident or practiced with cutting hair, so the poor guy pleaded with me several times “’nough, pees. ‘nough pees.”  I quit before I was done, but good enough is better than perfect.  I was sad to cut his hair, though.  It was starting to curl.


Daniel doesn’t always nap.  He’s assigned to the kids’ room for quiet time and does a pretty good job of playing by himself either until he falls asleep or the 1 ½ hours are up.


With six people in the family there’s lots of kissing.  Daniel participates in the greeting by saying “tut” as he makes contact in imitation of the lip-smacking sound most of us make when kissing.


At night I ask the kids “How was your day?”  Daniel always answers “Happy birthday present.”


Stephan points to a helicopter and says “Helikopter” (which sounds like heh-lee-cop-ter).  Daniel later calls the helicopter “Ellie-Fugzüg” (Ellie-Flugzüg: Ellie-plane).


He communicates so much now.  I am ALWAYS taken by surprise when they take away my baby and give me a kid!

Posted by harp on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Edit
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Vivienne is becoming more and more my trusty companion.  She always wants to be with me and always wants to help.  Her help is getting more and more helpful and I am learning to embrace it.  She aims to please, though sadly she is as uncoordinated as I am at times.  Having been there myself, it’s a bit easier to casually say “oh well, let’s clean it up” rather than get upset.  I’ve had to learn that because she is a pleaser, she also obeys well in the kitchen, being happy to just watch when I ask her not to touch.  For the longest time I avoided her help because I assumed she’d be like Joseph, who always barreled ahead no matter what I said.  I wonder how often we’ll have to learn the lesson that each child is different.


Vivienne is doing a great job taming her emotions.  There’s still plenty of tears, but she responds well to “tell me what happened in a calm voice” or “I don’t respond to whining.”  They’ve started using those phrases on each other, too . . .


She likes it when I “sprinkle” her back with my fingers at bedtime – just like my mommy did.  She always asks for more, just like I did . . .


Since Vivienne is quite interested in domestic activities, she is not as interested in academics, but is making progress.  When she was doing Starfall.com Joseph told her to click on “mat” and she pointed to “mat” in the sentence and said “Is this mat?”  So maybe she can read more than we think.


Her language continues to grow, and her pronunciation is mostly perfect with a few cute exceptions.  She says “mith” for with, which is a cross with the German “mit.”  As in “I want to go mith you.” (Which she says all the time.)


During pretend play, Vivienne said: “I’m disappointed that I missed you,” to which Joseph replied, “That’s not the right answer.”  Vivienne then amended her phrase: “I’m disappeared that I missed you.”


With all the languages around, I think Viv sometimes gets frustrated that other folks know more about talking than she does.  In any case, one of her favorite games is speaking a made-up language with me.  She’s done this a bit in the past, and with Grandma, too, but we’ve taken our secret language to new levels.  I pray with her in our secret language, we give requests in that language and remarkably we often understand what’s meant.  If not, Vivienne will say “that means . . .” and explain.  I’m thinking it will one day prove useful when we’re out and about, but for now, it’s fun to have a secret language just with my daughter!


It’s so fun to have you with us, Vivienne!

Posted by harp on Sunday, August 23, 2015 at 3:44 pm | Edit
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Ellie brings sunshine into our lives.  Everyone loves her and she loves everyone – smiling and cooing and being quite tolerant of how young kids hold her.


I’m particularly enjoying her because I’m not ensanely sleep deprived like I was with the others.  She regularly sleeps the first night stretch of 6 hours and sometimes more.  She’s often been fussy after that, starting around 4, but the past few nights she’s gone back to sleep without trouble.  That means she wakes me up once in the night and I can get back to sleep after!  Everything looks so much brighter when you’ve had some basic sleep!


Ellie won’t take a pacifier, but she doesn’t need one.  She’s mostly happy being in the same room as us.  She’s quiet enough falling asleep at naptime that she and Vivienne nap in the same room.  That’s the other miracle – she falls asleep on her own!  I swaddle her and sing and cuddle, put her down and she doesn’t scream her head off, but lies peacefully until she falls asleep.  I always used to watch other parents put their kids down like that and wonder what they knew that I didn’t.  I still don’t know, but I am so very thankful!  It gives me much more time to get little things done and spend more time with the other kids since I don’t have to baby her to sleep each time.


She loves looking at her right fist (Aug. 2nd start), and has started sucking on it more.


EC is slowing down, but she’s so happy and a good sleeper I don’t mind . . .

But once she slept 8 hours and woke up dry!


Most of our notes have to do with sleep.  Once she slept 10 hours and I slept 8 uninterrupted.  Haven’t done that in about five years.


She had a routine ultrasound to check her hips and all is fine.


She is happy in a wrap and is starting to be happy in the stroller as well.  This makes it fairly easy to be out and about.  She did well when we spent the day at the zoo and she does well when we go to the playground or farm.  She does okay shopping if we’re quick, which I’ve learned to be with three little ones pushing carts and a baby in tow . . . it is hard to remember how hard I had it with one baby since I’m feeling pretty good with four littles.  Of course, some days are bad, but yesterday was very good so I’m feeling good and focused on the positive!  The older kids are growing more able and helpful every day, which also makes life fun, not so hard, and exciting.  Joseph and Vivienne can pick up Ellie and hold her, but I’m still too nervous to let her out of my sight for long.


We love you, Ellie!  We’re so happy God gave you to us!

Posted by harp on Friday, August 21, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Edit
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It’s quite hard to believe that Daniel is two already.  He is such a big bundle of energy and joy.  He’s started walking more as Ellie uses the stroller and though it can take two, I prefer if it only has one.  The other day he walked all the way to McDonald’s at Seetalplatz and back, which took us four hours all told (including stopping for nursing breaks, playing at McDonald’s and eating lunch).


Daniel loves cars and loves playing with his siblings.  We got him a Brio garage and they all love playing with it and continue to tell their stories with it.  When Daniel plays alone he narrates like his older siblings do.  For example,  “’Don’t touch’ says Mama.”  They name all their cars and Duplo people using family names or Disney names like Great Grandma Westfall, Dad-o, or Donald.  They also give make-believe names like “tcha-tcha.”  Daniel imitates everything wonderfully.  He’s learning a lot from his siblings and I’m sure that’s part of why his budding speech mostly comes in sentences and not just words.


He loves throwing and kicking balls, especially with Stephan or in a game we call “chuck a duck” which involves acrobatic climbing into the bathtub so Daniel can church the rubber duckies he got from Gotte Di out the window and Joseph stands outside to throw them back in.  See the video here.


Daniel is still cubby and blond and full of smiles.  He’s sweet to his baby sister (almost all of the time.)   He can still rather still for devotional and at church.  He can play almost the whole day without needing me, but still needs to know that Stephan or I are nearby.  He wants to go outside whenever possible, has started to use the walking bike and the scooter, and once put his shoes on by himself.  He likes to do everything by himself, from serve himself food to buckling the stroller.  He can say choice parts of the repetitive part of our devotional – so cute with his pronunciation – words like “hosts” aren’t easy!  I wish I could get it on video.


From our notes:


Daniel can put the alphabet puzzles together by himself, and knows several of them.


He talks in his sleep, often reliving bad parts of the day.  Once there was a misunderstanding about food and he though Stephan was taking away his food and he cried bitterly.  That night he woke up crying “ässe!” (eat).  Sometimes he falls asleep with his cars clutched in his hands.  As he falls deeper into sleep he loosens his grip and the cars fall, which wakes him up and he cries because he thinks someone will take his cars . . .


He noticed bird poop on the balcony railing and got a rag to wipe it up.


He likes to do the dishes, and isn’t bad for a two-year-old.


He’s great with pronouns, calling himself “ich” or “mich” and Stephan “du.”  He is “mine” in English, and he’s said “you” to me.


He’s started using the normal toilet for number 2, and even uses it when we’re at church, if he can communicate his need in time.  He still goes in his diaper when he’s too busy to be bothered, and he likes to have a diaper so he doesn’t have to stop to pee.  I know we could have potty-trained him this summer while it was warm, but I didn’t have the energy while super pregnant and with an infant.  I hope we didn’t miss the window . . .


He mostly still naps in the afternoon, and doesn’t put up a fight about it, though he can miss it and still stay in a pretty good mood.


I unearthed Daniel’s old pacifier when Ellie was born, but she doesn’t take the pacifier so I gave it to Daniel.  He loves it.  It helps him fall asleep and he’ll keep it in his mouth while playing or going out.  Funny how my kids only like the pacifier when they’re older.  He isn’t dependent on it, though.  If I ask him to put it back in his “treasure box” he will.


Cute pronunciation:

Milk is “mih-oot”


We love you, Daniel!  It’s such a blessing to have you in our family!  We’re looking forward to your third year!

Posted by harp on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Edit
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Our sweet Ellie is already a month old.  Again, it’s hard to remember life without her, and hard to believe she’s been out of my tummy for a month already!


I know three times over how fast the baby years fly by and are over with, so I’m trying to enjoy it.  I’m doing about C-grade work.  I don’t like staying up with her at night and I don’t like not being able to do all the work I would love to be doing because she needs me.  But I am managing to be more present in the happy moments, like when she is nursing peacefully or the kids are cooing at her.  No matter how fast time flies in hindsight, sometimes the minutes, hours, and days are long.


Vivienne says over and over that “Ellie is a good baby, Mommy.”  I’m not sure what a good baby means because I’m not sure what a bad baby means, but as babies go she is not the most needy.  She wakes me up about twice at night, which is better than her siblings did at this age.  This time I’m using the breast mostly for nourishment and not for the sucking need.  It’s left me feeling like a new mother because I’ve never tried to encourage a feeding schedule (or rhythm) before, but so far it’s been going fairly well as she’s adapted to it naturally.  The EC diapers I got are still too big for her so I’ve been using disposable diapers and just doing EC when it’s obvious, which remarkably is quite a bit.  I’m enjoying this more relaxed approach to EC, especially at night.  Go me for trying night-EC with Daniel, but the current me needs all the sleep she can get.  Daniel is still in diapers because I burnt out with EC and stopped!  (But he still uses the potty a lot so I don’t consider it a waste).  Better to go slow and steady . . .


Ellie is my first baby who sometimes prefers to sleep on her back, but I have to wrap her army so they don’t flail.  Sometimes it’s hard to get her to sleep, but once she falls asleep she generally sleeps for longer periods.  She’s taken an afternoon nap of about 3 hours nearly every day since birth – that’s a huge blessing because it fits with our after-lunch quiet time.  I once got a nap while my 5-year-old played quietly, and the 3-year old, nearly 2 year-old, and baby all slept!  That’s ninja mothering (and luck – or gift rather).  Thanks to my mom and husband for keeping the rhythms for the older ones so this would be possible!


Ellie’s siblings love holding her, and Joseph and Vivienne are often a help with her.  Daniel has been caught putting things in her mouth, so he still needs supervision even though most of the time he is very sweet to her.  Joseph likes to fold and give her origami.  Vivienne likes to draw her pictures.


It’s been a hot month, but Ellie’s been doing okay with the heat.


Like my other babies, she’s a mover, inches forward or at an angle almost from birth.  She rolled over front to back when she turned two weeks old.


When she turned four weeks old I gave her a bottle of formula.  It was my first time I’d held a bottle since I fed my cousin S. when I was about 10 years old!  It was a surprisingly enjoyable experience.  (This time, that is.  When I fed my cousin he pooed all over me . . . lol)  The idea is if Ellie is used to taking a bottle once a week then in an emergency I can be away from her without too much trauma or starvation.  I experienced an unexpected amount of relief when I saw she was happy enough to drink.  It’s quite a responsibility to have a baby dependent on you every few hours!  It is somehow so nice to know that if I have to go to the hospital with an older child a grandparent can care and feed the baby while I’m away.


She has a wonderful smile, and often smiles directly at us and in response to our smiling!


This post is a bit late because I wanted to include the stats from the 1-months doctor’s visit.  She’s 4470g, 55.5cm long, and her head is 38cm.  At birth she was 3650g, 51cm, and 36cm.  The doctor said she has a big head and looks like us.  She noticed her smiling and exclaimed that it’s early for smiling.  I hope Ellie carries her early happiness on through adulthood!


We love you, Eleonora!  Thanks for coming to our family!

Posted by harp on Friday, July 24, 2015 at 12:08 pm | Edit
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Our notes on Vivienne are pathetic.  Poor middle child is neglected!  Well, she’s no longer THE middle child, so maybe that will change.


She’s shown herself able in puzzles, so I got down the puzzle stash and made it accessible to her.  She can do the wooden ocean puzzle, the alphabet puzzle and the number puzzles we have and tries to do harder ones but likes a lot of help.


Whereas Joseph got a lot of patient attention when learning to do puzzles, Vivienne has suddenly shown herself able.  I’m hoping the lack of attention means she’s building her independent learning skills.  I still feel guilty about it, though.


She is quite comfortable expressing herself and her emotions in English.  She is getting better at Swiss German, but it is clear the communication is more important than language.  She just lets loose and comes out with the most incredible sentences.  Even if she knows the German, she’ll use the English if she’s in a hurry and the German doesn’t come to mind right away.  For example, Stephan was wiping off her face after dinner and she said “nit mi head touch-e, Bappe.”  Stephan corrected her by saying “Nit mi kopf alange.” (S correct me writing).  She looked at him and said “Ich bin nit.”  She didn’t hear the sentence as a correction, but understood it perfectly yet it made no sense because she wasn’t touching his head!


I’ll end with an example mish-mash sentence.


“Ich muess gett-e mi sunhat dass de sun duet nit shin-e in mi eyes.”


It’s cute and not worrying because she’s always getting better.  This phase will be over so quickly!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 10:50 am | Edit
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Daniel misses his grandma terribly.  We know that in part because his vocabulary and expression are exploding.  It is so fun, and sometimes frustrating, to watch.


Daniel’s catch-all word is “da-ya-yeh” but he’s adding real English and German words to his vocabulary by the minute.


He talks in his sleep, at least he sometimes relives unhappy events and cries out “no!” or “I don’t want to!”


June 30th he was playing outside on his rented pink motorcycle (like a walking bike) and decided to ride down the ramp to our cellar.  His ride ended in a bonk at the foot of the stairs (there’s a ramp on one side and stairs on the other) and he flew forward, gaining a fairly impressive bruise on his forehead and scrapes on his hands.  Neither of us saw it, but Joseph did and told us.  He’s always walked it down the ramp before . . .


If he can’t get something he wants he’ll say “out of reach.”  Once he pointed to the cupboard and said “out of reach” and thus communicated he wanted a bandaid.


He uses “my” correctly, something a first child takes long to learn.  We had a conversation while I was holding Ellie.  We pointed to body parts and he said “Ellie toes. My toes. Mommy toes.”


He loves doing the alphabet puzzle that Grandma did with him a lot while she was here.  He’s eager to do it with me, too, but I can tell I don’t do it quite right for him.  He knows M is for Mama and B is for Bappe, D is for “my” (as in himself), J is Joseph, and V is Vivi as well as a few others. “O” is his favorite.  When I said “G is for Grandma” he fell silent.  Then he said (… is where his speech was unclear to me)

D: … home

Me: Yes, Grandma went home.

D: … sad

Me: Are you sad?

D: hmm (his way of saying yes, but drawn out in a sad way)

He was still a little longer then said again “sad.”

Heartbreaking!  He repeats “Gama home, my sad.” most often at night, but also now to get attention because it works so well. lol


He can say “throw” and “grab” which is particle, because he can come to us and say that someone threw something at him or grabbed something from him so we know what he’s upset about.


He can count to 10 in German and English.  We’re not sure how he learned this – maybe from his brother!


He knows some colors, saying “bloo” for blue.


We could have written so many more notes about him, but given we have a newborn, it’s impressive we got this much down!

Posted by harp on Monday, July 20, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Edit
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