This morning, Cooper was playing in the backyard while I relaxed on the trampoline. He would spend a few minutes on his bike, then come and lay down next to me. He went back and forth for a while. Bike, trampoline. Digging in the dirt, trampoline. Barbie Car, trampoline. Bike, trampoline.
At one point he started saying something to me, and it took me a few minutes to understand. Finally I got it. He was saying, "Me check you, me check you." Then he put his head down by my bottom and said, "You stinky! You stinky!"
I said, "No Cooper, you're stinky."
He replied, "No I not, I all cleaned!" And pointed his bottom at me with a huge grin on his face.
I don't want to clean my kitchen. It's gross. How do such little people make such big messes? I think that there should be a rule that if a person spends hours making a fabulous dinner, then that person should not have to clean up the mess afterward. Especially if said person didn't even get to eat dinner with the family because inconsiderate kids woke a VERY tired baby who then could not get back to sleep and was fussy all night long.
I really shouldn't complain. Brent goes through phases where he's GREAT at cleaning up after dinner. Lately, he's been really busy. He has a lot of studying to do because next month he's going to Texas to take some trauma test that usually only Doctors have to take. Also, last night he went home teaching and didn't get home until 9:30. On most nights, he gives Cooper a bath and does the bedtime routine with the kids. I've got it pretty darn good.
So I shouldn't complain.
Presently, I'm wasting time at the computer while Cooper plays in the garage (which has become our new playroom), Lincoln takes his second nap of the day, and the second batch of dishes soak in scalding water. I should go and start a load of laundry. Cleaning out the fridge would also be a good thing to do. I still have not gotten through the conference talk that I started reading two days ago. Our lawn (or weeds really) needs to be mowed. Brent got a bad sinus headache last time he mowed it, and said that he will never mow it again. So it's my job now, I guess. And I haven't made my bed yet today.
I'm sure that you never waste time like me. I'm kind of an expert, and am happy to share some pointers if you'd also like to excel at the art of avoiding life.
OK... I've finally talked myself into getting back to work.
I'm wearing a thick robe and he bit so hard that I'm bleeding. Yes, bleeding.
I really never expected to have a "biter". Hitting I can handle, biting I cannot.
I didn't even realize what he was doing until I felt the pain. It felt like he was just hugging my arm. He wasn't mad, so I just don't understand it.
My mom suggested that I put some tobasco sauce on his tongue when he bites, but I haven't made it to the grocery store yet. Maybe today we'll go and get some.
I want him to see and understand what he's doing, but every time that I try to show "the owie" to him he covers his ears, closes his eyes, starts crying, and runs away. From his reaction I'm presuming that he knows that he hurt me and is sad about it, or doesn't want to be reminded of it. It's pretty funny, actually. He won't even look at it. I've tried to get him to look at it a few times, and his reaction is the same.
What a kid.
Now he's ramming his police car and fire truck into each other, like a head-on collision. It must be time for us to go on a walk.
See the drool? I didn't really notice it at first. Now, though, it's impossible to miss. His shirts are wet. My shirts are wet. He's constantly chewing on his thumb. On Sunday the congestion started. We're to the point now that I often to clean his nose out before I feed him.
Thank goodness he's still sleeping! He's never been a great napper, but that might be due to the constant commotion here at home. His night sleeping is "per-fect-O", as Mercedes would say. In fact, I've finally gotten him onto a sleeping schedule that is per-fect-O for me! Last night I fed him at 7 (which is when the other kids go to bed), and then woke him at 5:30 for his first feeding! My goal is to feed him at 5am (today I overslept), and then exercise from 5:30-6:30 (which is when Brent leaves for work). At 6:30 I can do Mercedes' hair, get her out the door for school, and shower - all before his 7:30 or 8:00 feeding. Yay!!!
I'm so excited to have some control over my time and schedule. AND, I know that I'll feel so much better when I'm able to exercise every day. I just can't function without the daily stress-release, which is probably why this past year has been so hard.
Cooper makes us laugh every day. He is just an hilarious kid.
Case in point: Sunday morning. Brent took him upstairs for a "pre-church" nap. Cooper's a great sleeper, but like most kids he doesn't love going to bed. He wasn't happy, and was expressing his feelings in the usual way: kicking, screaming, yelling, crying.
Let me just say that Cooper has never once "squirted me" during a diaper change. Lincoln has many times, but not Cooper (thank you Cooper).
As Brent was changing Cooper's diaper before his nap, Cooper "squirted" himself - right in the face. GROSS! Well, since he was already upset, this just made him furious. He kicks and bucks, screams louder, and "squirts" again - right into his OPEN MOUTH. (I am laughing as I write this). He's so mad that he starts slapping and hitting his face, presumably thinking that this will get the, ahem, liquid out of his mouth.
Needless to say the pre-nap diaper change turned into a pre-nap bath. And he screamed the whole time. Cooper usually loves baths, but was still screaming when Brent laid down in bed with him. It took him a while to calm down and go to sleep.
For days now, Brent has laughed at the memory. Thank you Cooper, for entertaining us every day.
Last night I was thinking, "Maybe I could handle another one... but not for another four years." I know that Brent doesn't want another baby. Pregnancy and the first year are really hard on our family. It was so much easier having a newborn with a four year old. I just don't know how people do it every two years for ten years! It's really amazing.
The thing that's hardest about it is that my kids need to be in their beds to sleep. And Lincoln takes six naps a day still. It's just really hard on the other kids (and me), to not be able to go anywhere. I think that's the hardest part.
The hardest part for Brent, I think, is having a stressed-out wife. Anyway... this morning I shared my thoughts with Brent. His response was, "But I don't want another one!" and then, "I'm done!"
I just don't know that we're done yet. Maybe we are, maybe we aren't. I know that if we need to have another one we will, and Brent will feel it. But for today, he just keeps repeating again and again, "I don't want another one!"
For not going anywhere, we had a pretty eventful week. We had rain, wind, lightning, thunder, and some sunshine. There was whining, screaming, yelling, hitting, crying, and biting. Cooper's used to having his own territory and attention during the day. Mercedes went a little stir crazy without any friends in town to play with. Lincoln didn't sleep much, with all of the commotion. We did manage to have some fun; and I loved having Mercedes home.
It's a first for us. We like the pacifier, because we can easily take it away. Hopefully he'll outgrow it. My friend had to duct tape gloves onto her son's wrists to break him of the habit. It's just so darn cute though, don't you think?
I do NOT like tornadoes. They scare me senseless. Earlier this week there was a tornado "watch" (meaning that weather is favorable for a tornado developing), and I was checking the internet every five minutes to see if a tornado had developed. They are so destructive and the one "safe" room in our house can barely fit two people standing. If I could go to a basement I'd feel better.
Last night Cooper woke up at 10 pm crying. It is the first time that the thunder has bothered him. Mercedes is usually the one who runs into my room. As I was sitting next to his bed, trying to calm him down, Brent informed us that there was a tornado WARNING in effect until 1:17 am. It's a good thing that he's so calm, because I reacted... big time. Immediately I was shooing the kids out of their beds and down the stairs. I mean, what if a tornado came and ripped the roof off? Then the power went out. Oh man. I think that having no way of knowing where the tornado was is what scared me the most. I sent Brent out to the garage to get our handy flashlight/radio (thanks mom!), but we didn't find any news about the weather. I eventually calmed down thanks to a family prayer.
When the power finally came back on around midnight I put the kids back in their beds, figuring that the worst was over. I was still too scared to put Lincoln back in his crib; he has three windows in his room and I couldn't get the image of him being sucked out of one of them out of my head. We kept him in the port-a-crib in our room. Yes, I do have a very vivid imagination. Yes, I do worry too much. Poor Brent. He married a crazy one.
Before I had children, I didn't worry too much about safety. I remember being scared of a tornado when I was six, but the sky was literally green, and I was mostly scared because my mom wouldn't come down into the basement. I was terrified of something happening to her. Until my first pregnancy, I drove too fast. I loved riding motorcycles. I actually wanted to sky dive and bungee jump. Now I can't be in a moving car without my seatbelt on. It's just not worth the risk. I have too much to lose.
Last night I didn't actually think that anything would happen to us, but the possibility terrified me. I mean, there are families torn apart by tragedies every day. I was thinking that the tornado was probably going to destroy someone's home, why not ours? Heavenly Father loves all of His children equally, so as I was praying for protection I was aware that it wasn't up to me. I don't think that I could handle anything without the gospel, because life as a parent is pretty scary.
And the award goes to... ME! I finally took the kids to the park. The SECOND time since July. Isn't that horrible? It's because I'm spoiled.
We used to live a block away from a great park. We went there almost every day. It had open grass where the kids could run, fly a kite, or play soccer. It had sidewalks for them to ride bikes and scooters on. It had swings. It had sand to dig in. It had a restroom and a drinking fountain.
I have to say that according to my standards, the parks here are GROSS! No grass; only sandy dirt covered in pine needles. No swings. No sand. No sidewalks. No restroom. No drinking fountain. ARGH!
The good news is that Cooper doesn't care. He just runs and plays. He doesn't need anyone to play with. He goes up the slide, he goes down. He climbs the ladders and doesn't want help. He was so happy at the park today that I'm ready to go more often, maybe even regularly.
Mercedes is a different story. She didn't have any friends to play with (there just weren't any kids there her age), and so she was bored. Next time I'll have to bring one of the neighbors with us so that she'll be happy too. Mercedes absolutely LOATHES being alone. She's always been that way. She doesn't like to sleep alone, eat alone, bathe alone... just can't stand to be alone. If she has a friend to play with she's in heaven. If she doesn't, she's... somewhere else.
One really neat thing about South Carolina is that there are Christians EVERYWHERE. People at the store say, "Happy Easter and have a blessed day." Really! I'm still not used to it. I came here from a place where I was afraid people would be offended if I said, "Happy Easter." It's like a different world.
At the park, a little girl immediately singled out Cooper, wanting to play with him. She was so cute! She was 2 or 3 years old. As she was climbing to the top of the slide she said to her mom, "I'm climbing up to heaven to see God." And as she started to slide down she said, "I'm going down to see God." It was so cute!
Then, as the kids were eating dinner at the picnic table, a little boy came up to me and said, "You're really making me want McDonalds. I can't have it because I gave it up for lent." (Yes - I know that I am a terrible mother for feeding my children garbage).
Overall, it was a good experience. But I sure do miss Garfield Park.
He likes to get into mischief. His sister has taught him well.
This is often the sort of thing I find after I've finished feeding Lincoln:
Sometimes he's on the counter trying to get a granola bar, which we keep on top of the fridge. He'd live on granola bars and milk if I let him. One time he climbed onto the counter to get the Strawberry Quik mix out of the cupboard. Then he got a huge cup and a casserole spoon. He filled the cup with water from the fridge. When I found him, he looked VERY guilty and there was strawberry quik mix covering the floor. It's a good thing he's so cute. I'm still trying to get a picture of him pouting. When he gets caught doing something naughty, he puts his head down and hunches his shoulders and looks really sad (its a good act). Maybe someday we'll see him and his sister on Broadway.
This morning Mercedes came upstairs howling because Cooper had bitten her. He wasn't too happy when she stopped him from climbing up the bookcase to get into the colored pencils:
I wasn't shocked that he bit her. When he gets really frustrated, he bites. I was shocked that he actually drew blood! Biting is something that he definitely did NOT learn from his sister, but forgiveness is. He immediately said "sorry" and kissed her and they were best friends again.
This is the only picture I have of Brent in uniform. His residency class took a trip to the Dental Lab in Augusta last fall. (He's the second from the left).
Only four months left in South Carolina! YAY YAY YAY!!!! While our experience hasn't been entirely miserable (we have great neighbors and a great ward), we don't plan on EVER returning :). This is just not the place for us. Brent will graduate from his Advanced General Dentistry Residency Program on July 29th, and has been assigned to Fort Lewis, WA. We are so grateful to be going home to the west coast, and we were surprised at the assignment. Fort Lewis is one of the nicest Army bases and it seems like everyone wants to be stationed there. It was our top choice mainly because it's only a 13 hour drive to Grandparents in Utah County.
About two weeks ago, Brent found out that his new unit is being deployed to Iraq in May. Once the shock wore off, we both felt good about the assignment. Here's why:
1) We've known for five years now that he'd most likely be deployed at some point. It's a relief to just get it over with.
2) Since his deployment and our move coincide, it's easy for me to just move to Utah where I can have family support. Rather than moving to Washington and then to Utah and then back to Washington, we'll just find a home in Washington when Brent gets home.
3) Army dentists in Iraq have it pretty good (compared to Afganistan). Iraq is relatively safe these days. The dental clinics there are at established bases and are well equipped (AIR CONDITIONED). I hate to think of Brent practicing dentistry in a tent in Afganistan.
4) Because Brent doesn't report to Ft. Lewis until August and his unit is leaving in May, he'd only be gone for 9 months, rather than 12.
Today Brent finally got in touch with his Ft. Lewis counterpart, the Dentist he'll be replacing. He called me with the bombshell...
He's going to Afghanistan, and his unit doesn't deploy until July. Aaaarrrggghhhh!
I really wasn't scared about Iraq. Afghanistan scares me.
Also, he'll be gone for a whole year.
They're not sure where exactly they'll be stationed there. If they're on an air field, the conditions will be pretty nice (read: not a tent). Please pray for us!
As I was cleaning the kitchen floor this afternoon, I started thinking about the reason Brent accepted the Army scholarship in the first place: he wants to serve his country. He doesn't want to leave his family for a year, but he's grateful for the opportunity to serve. He loves this country, and through service can express his gratitude to live in this Promised Land. Remembering this softened my frightened heart. I'm grateful to serve too. By supporting him I can express my gratitude.
I enjoy so many freedoms:
I've never had to worry about my safety. I have never questioned whether I could or would receive a college education. I practice whatever religion I choose. My every need has been provided for, in fact I live in abundance.
I didn't do anything to deserve my freedoms. Every child of God deserves them, but not many receive them while on this earth. Really, my husband leaving for a year is nothing!
I just hope that I can remember my blessings in November when I've been practicing "single parenthood" for three months. Brent's biggest fear right now is probably leaving his sweet children alone with their crazy mother!
I'm really enjoying this baby time with Lincoln. With Mercedes and Cooper I was always wishing for them to grow up a little bit. Brent and I don't really love the baby stage. I've always looked forward to them sleeping more, eating less often, being able to eat real food, feeding themselves, being potty trained, etc. It must be because I know that this is my last baby that I just want to savor every minute of it. My house is a disaster area, and I've just decided that it's ok. Life will change soon enough.
He really does spend most of his time sleeping, at least 17 hours a day. He can only handle being up for an hour at a time (that includes feeding). Unfortunately, when he misses sleep because we have to go somewhere, he has a hard time sleeping once we get home. An overtired baby is one of my least favorite things, so I try to protect his sleep time as much as possible. Because of this, Lincoln doesn't get much play time. The other day I put him in the swing while Cooper and I ate lunch and this is what I found him doing for the first time (sorry that the sound doesn't work):
He's working hard to use his hands and arms. He's also talking and laughing a lot. The other day he pulled my glasses off. He loves "Horsey horsey on our way..." (That song always reminds me of my Grandma Allphin. I get a little emotional when I think of her playing with my babies. She also did a lot of "patty cake.")
It's so exciting to see a baby learning to use the body that Heavenly Father created for him!