Jeremiah taught Isaac how to play hide and seek. Or rather, he tried to teach Isaac. The only things that Isaac really picked up on was the idea of hiding and the phrase "Ready or not, here I come!", and even those are a little shaky.
It's quite comical to play this game with Isaac. He sits on the couch and places his widespread fingers over his open eyes. He begins to count but he usually only makes it to four because by that time he can already see where you have hidden. Then he lifts off his perch as he exclaims "Weddianott, here I come." He'll then walk through every room in the house asking himself, "Is she in the kitchen...no. Is she in the bathroom...maybe...no." and so on until he finds you. And although he peeked and watched as you hid, he feels it such an accomplishment each time he "finds" you.
It gets even better when it's his turn to hide. He will generally hide where he's just found you, or he will hide in the same place every time. Also, because he knows we actually close our eyes as we count, he'll tell you where he's going to hide. So this really is not the game of suspense it was invented to be. He laughs and squeals when you "can't find" him. And will usually yell, "I'm right here!" Or just pop out and tell you where to look.
We've tried to enforce the rules, but really, he gets a kick out of the game as is and it makes us laugh so we'll enjoy it as he does until he can really grasp the whole idea of the game.
That is a good question. Where have I been? What have I been doing? This last week is all a blur.
I think I may have gone into auto-pilot after last week's nocturnal grocery shopping outing. I have vague memories of laundry, mowing the lawn, doing dishes, laundry, cleaning the bathroom, chasing Isaac, laundry and numerous viewings of "Kest foh Canawatt" (Quest for Camelot.) A movie that we don't even own. It was loaned to us, unsolicited, by a guy that works with Jeremiah. I'm guessing that he secretly hates me and therefore finds hilarity in sending home movies that only appeal to 3-year olds who insist on watching their new favorite movie several times daily. Even if I don't allow more than a single viewing in one day, the requests alone are enough to drive anyone to insanity.
So where have I been? I suppose I have been sitting on my bed, amongst a pile of laundry, holding my legs to my chest, rocking slowly, singing every insipid song that I've been cursed enough to learn simply by allowing the movies whose soundtrack they belong to in my home.
Here are a few things I learned while grocery shopping Friday night.
1. A half-hour bedtime is not a good time to take your children grocery shopping.
2. "Hold on to the cart," to a 3-year old, means run wildly through the store and ignore any of mommy's pleas to behave.
3. A 3-year old child will let you know a thousand times over what he wants or does not want in the store but does not care what you want.
4. While approaching the check-out line and double checking your list, the one item that you missed will undoubtedly be on the opposite side of the store, causing you to drag - literally drag - your 3-year old because he has decided that his legs should no longer have to carry his weight, and there is no more room in the cart for his now unable body.
5. Even though your checker is physically unable to scan items at a rate any faster than 1 per 40.3 seconds, the people in line behind you will watch your 3-year old whine and throw tantrums and give you dirty looks because obviously it is his carrying on that is making them wait in line.
6. Your checker will know exactly what is causing your child's fit and know exactly how to fix it because she "watches kids a lot." And if you're lucky, she'll let you in on the secret that your child is probably tired.
7. When strapping your 7-month old in to the car seat, she will make the first noise she's made all night and your 3-year old with immediately "shush" her and then look at you with pride because he knows he's saving you from having to listen to her complaints.
8. If your 3-year old brings a toy with him and realizes that he has left it in the car before you even went in the store, you should have just gone back and got the damn thing and then you probably could have avoided lessons 1-7.
9. It's a good thing I blog because as I was driving home the only thing that kept me from driving my car into the river was thinking about that day's previous post.
My son was born about 4 weeks early. I remember him lying in the little incubator with a tube in his nose and little monitors on his chest. He was so tiny, only 4 lbs 7 oz. In our eyes, a miracle. All the nurses in the NICU told us that he was their favorite. We knew that they probably said this to all the parents, but in our hearts we felt that they really meant it. He was a little ball of personality from he minute he was born.
Our nephew was born 11 days before Isaac. We were so excited that our children were so close in age. How fun it would be to watch them grow up together. They would always have a friend their age in the family, which is not always the case for the first grandchildren.
Our nephew was born about a week after his due date. He was in good health and plump. the picture of a healthy baby. They were born only 11 days apart, but in reality, Isaac was conceived about 6 weeks after my nephew, which makes a big difference in that stage of life. Seeing them side by side only seemed to emphasize how tiny Isaac was. Isaac was completely healthy, but compared to a baby about midway on the national average scale for weight, he looked so fragile. Still, it was fun for me to see them together.
When they started hitting those baby milestones, our nephew always hit them first. I was not jealous. I was happy for him. I knew these things would come for Isaac and that he would learn and progress just as he should.
What really bothered me though is when someone would comment on our nephew's latest achievement and then look at me with a sad expression, head tilted to the side and say, "Isaac will catch up." I know they felt that they were helping but there was nothing to help. Although it sometimes made me mad, I tried to be polite and say things like, "I'm not worried." or "I'm sure he will." But the fact is I never felt like Isaac was behind. I was always told that premature babies were always a little behind in their development. I tried to stay positive but after a while I wondered if I were in denial. Maybe the head tilt was everyone's way of expressing their concern and they didn't quite know how to say, "Your baby is retarded."
However, I soon realized that Isaac was usually only a week or two "behind." As I think back I realize that Isaac achieved every milestone that babies reach within the normal time frame. I feel guilty for letting others' comments make me feel like my son was somehow inferior.
Isaac wasn't born premature he was born preterm. The reason he had an extended hospital stay was not because he was underdeveloped, it was because he was underweight. It was my body that could no longer tolerate the pregnancy, not his. For that reason alone, my little man missed out on the last month inside the womb, which is generally the time babies put on most of their weight before birth.
Now I have this healthy, although still underweight, 3-year old ball of charisma who is in no way behind. He is very intelligent and bright and I love him so much. I've learned a lot pondering the early months of Isaac's life. I've decided that every expert in the world can tell me what my kids should be doing but I am their mother. And I know best.
For Mother's Day this year Jeremiah and I did something that we have never done, in fact we did something that no one had ever done. We cooked a Mother's Day meal for Jeremiah's grandmother. Both of our moms were busy and so we thought it would be nice to celebrate the holiday with another admired mother. When I first told Jeremiah that we should do this I was feeling a little guilty that we've been married 5 years and this would be the first time we've done this. I was astonished to learn that no one had ever prepared a Mother's Day dinner for this wonderful woman! She has five daughters and has been married for 53 years and I was the first.
However, that was not why I was so stunned. Let me explain.
I have never entered their home without a hug. I have never been able to leave their home without first being sent home with dessert or some food thing in my belly. And I have never left their home empty handed. Jeremiah and I even joke sometimes that we'll have to clean out the car before visiting grandma and grandpa because they always send us home with so much. So much in fact that sometimes I feel guilty for even visiting. In fact on Sunday my meal seemed like so little a thank you or an honor to grandma for all they have done for us. And we left with a box of fruit snacks for Isaac, a VCR, a pair of binoculars, my gift of chocolates for Mother's Day from them, and a bouquet of fresh picked tulips for yours truly.
So the reason I could not believe that I had been the first to do this small but sentimental act for her is because she has done so much for us. And I know that their reach extends far beyond my little family. They are such good people and I feel so blessed to have been added to thier long list of grandchildren. I didn't know my grandparents growing up and I am thankful that they have accepted me as if I had always been theirs. And I'm grateful I was able to give a small portion of that back to them.
After a long day we visited Jeremiah's folks last night to give Nana a Mother's Day gift since she's headed to Cancun tomorrow. I sat in a chair in the corner as I watched Isaac and Papa do a puzzle on the floor. I yawned and Isaac looked up at me and asked ,"Mommy, are you sleepy?" "Yeah, honey, I'm very sleepy." So then he asks me, "Do you want to sleep on Nana's bed?" I politely decline and tell him I can wait 'til we get home to go to sleep. But he continues to offer me nice places to rest; the chair, the couch, etc. I'm touched that he's so concerned and trying to be so accommodating, although I'm continuously assuring him that I'll be just fine until we get home and I can sleep in my own bed. This continues until I think he's run out of places to offer. But then he looks up at Jeremiah, who's been oblivious to the entire conversation thanks to the local newspaper, and asks,"Do you want to sleep on Daddy?"
I stifle my laughter and, much to Jeremiah's chagrin, politely decline his final offer.
Jeremiah and I are both fans of the Muppets. A few years ago I found a Kermit the Frog plush doll as a promotional sale item and I bought it for Jeremiah. It has graced the bookshelf in Isaac's room for a while now and Isaac lovingly refers to him as "Curtain."
This year for our anniversary I gave Jeremiah The Muppet Show: Season One on DVD - romantic, I know. Anyway here is the exchange I heard between Jeremiah and Isaac yesterday.
Isaac: Daddy, I want to watch The Muffet Show.
Jeremiah (trying to emphasize the correct pronunciation): The Muh-pet Show?
Isaac: Yeah, the Muffet Show.
Jeremiah: Say "Muh-pet."
So my little genius can do 100-piece puzzles right out of the box but is unble to say "Muppet."
I am so excited about all the babies that will be born in my family this year! My sister-in-law Carenna is expecting a boy in early August, and my sister-in-law Alicia is expecting a girl later in August. It's always fun to have new children added to the family tree.
And also, I am very excited for my cousin, Angie, who is expecting a boy and four girls in late June. Yes, you read that correctly. FIVE babies! One. Two. Three. Four. Five. All at the same time. I really admire her and her husband for their bravery in continuing this high-risk pregnancy. They were presented (several times) with the option of selective reduction but very admirably showed their commitment to life and the opportunity to share it with five blessed spirits from our Heavenly Father.
She was admitted into the hospital last week as she was showing signs of early labor and she will remain in the hospital until she delivers. I've added her website to my sidebar, for those who are interested.
So I wish the best of luck to each of you ladies and I am so thankful that you have chosen to give life, because the world needs more mothers.
Isaac: I love the way you ask if you can watch a movie and then look up at me and tell me, "Say yes." I love the way you can't walk past your baby sister without hugging her. I love the way you eat your cereal with a fork. I love that you have embraced singing and use a sing-song voice for almost everything that you do. I love it when we sit at the dinner table and mention blessing the food and you turn to your father or I and ask, "Do you want to say it?" as though you have always been in charge of asking someone to say the blessing. I love the way you can look at a puzzle, brand new out of the box, and start putting it together without any trouble. I love that you always know what you want and you are relentless about getting it, even though you often do not. I love that you often refer to your baby sister and me as princesses. I love that you can watch a movie once and then repeat it for life, because that, my son, you inherited from me.
Kenley: I love how your eyes light up and you shudder with anticipation every time you see that colored spoon and a bib because you know that your food is soon to come. I love the way your little hands pound on your legs. I love that no matter how high you reach, your hands barely reach the top of your head. I love the way you methodically pass that single Cheerio between the palms of your hands until you have worked it up to your fingertips, feed it to yourself and then grin broadly with the pride of accomplishment. I love how you refuse to relax while lying on your back and insist on raising your head, arms and shoulders off the ground. I love how you like to lean on one arm for support while your other hand explores your surroundings. I love the way you just learned to pull yourself to a standing position in your crib. (Literally, just learned, as in I just turned around and watched you stand! Guess it's time to lower the crib mattress!) I love how you look at me with adoring eyes because you don't yet know that I am not perfect. And if you do, you love me anyway. I love how you think you can eat any food now that you have that sharp ridge of tooth just peeking out from the top of your gums.
I have a blog to save the lives of my four children. They are cute, but they can be stinkers. Creating a place to journal their antics has given me perspective. Now when they do something that would usually have my veins exploding, I grab my camera and think, "This will make a great post!"