Monday, June 30, 2008

The Beach

Mommy's Dad and Stepmom, Opa and Nona, have a beach house in Duck, NC. They have been very generous to us over the years and allowed us to use the beach house when it's available. This year, Tahlia returned for the third time (6 months, ~15 months, and 2008).

The first time, she enjoyed sitting in the shade and playing in the small pool that Opa and Nona had for her that we filled with ocean water. The second time, she loved screaming and running straight at the ocean with her floppy white hat.

This year, she wanted to go to the beach, and often, prior to our actual trip to the beach, Tahlia took many trips there on her own. She would climb aboard her "bus", which is a Winnie the Pooh . . . well . . . it is some sort of vehicle that has a steering wheel, horn, wheels, shifting lever and key, and, once aboard, tell Mommy or me, "I'm going to the beach." Sometimes the beach was by the fireplace. Other times it was by the front door. She always had a good time and always returned safely. Just in case you're curious, she sometimes rides her bus to Mya's house, the mall, and the grocery store. They too are found either by the fireplace or the front door.

The actual trip was not as nice as the bus trips. We left at bed time, foolishly thinking that things would work out how we wanted, rather than how they do. Around bedtime, we finished loading the car with the children and started driving. Asher quickly fell asleep. Tahlia quickly began talking. She talked and talked. Usually, she is asleep around 8:00, but even at 9:30, she was still singing the "Mya Song." Around 9:40 she suddenly became quiet and slept the remainder of the way.

Asher shocked us. Usually he sleeps a solid four hours at night, then wakes around midnight. Then he wakes every two to three hours for the rest of the night. Instead, after sleeping for five hours in the car, he continued to sleep until four in the morning in his car seat. The extra sleep was very welcome.

Tahlia had a little more difficulty, transitioning to a new bed was a little more difficult. After a little while, she did find peace and slept until the morning that had light.

The time at the beach was a welcome respite from our normal lives. Not to be cliche, but, there is something calming about the beach air, and being in a house that isn't yours. One great part of the trip was that Asher started sleeping. We hope that this continues when we arrive home, as almost every nap has been about two hours, and he has been sleeping until two or three in the morning before waking for the first time. Even though about two months ago we stopped swaddling him per advice from our doctor, per advice from another one of the doctors at the same practice, we started swaddling him again. Where he used to fight it, now he just looks up at us smuggly, almost as if he is saying, "I too need to sleep."

The actual beach time was great. Tahlia built sand castles, saw crabs, ran in the water and even went past the breakers. To Mommy's consternation, Daddy brought Tahlia past the big waves a couple of times for a few seconds. He did it once and wasn't going to do it a second time except it was what Tahlia wanted. Asher didn't enjoy the beach as much since it was just hot. He never spent more than a half hour there. We always went early in the morning, but still, it was too hot.

This part isn't funny, and so we tried not to laugh. Several times, Tahlia, after building a sand castle, or creating an imprint of her hand, would have an itch on her face, or discover something in her mouth that she didn't want. She, of course, reacted the same way she always reacts, which is to attempt to rid herself of the discomfort by means of using her hands to either scratch, or rub. This action brought sand up onto her forehead, eyebrows, nose, mouth and tongue. We would often return to the beach house with a little girl with sand plastered over the majority of her face. As I said, it wasn't funny, and we tried not to laugh.

Luckily, she loved the outside shower. Sometimes, we think the only reason she wanted to go to the beach in the morning at all was to come back and take a shower outside.

On our third day at the beach, we noticed that the house beside ours was empty, and that it has a beautiful pool. Because the afternoons were too hot for the beach, and since Tahlia really wanted to go swimming, we took a calculated risk and ran over to the pool for a quick swim. The pool water was a perfect temperature, and Tahlia showed, once again, that she loves being in the water.

Albert Einstein stated that "insanity [is] doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." For many who know us, it is probably not a stretch that this definition often fits our decision making. I'd like to thick it is lack of sleep that is clouding our judgment, but sometimes I'm not so sure. Needless to say, we piled into the car, again, right around bed time. Asher, again, went right to sleep. Tahlia, again, went right to talking. Around 9:40, she finally nodded off to sleep. Fortunately, Asher also slept well for the rest of the night. Needless to say, we've learned our lesson

The next day was fraught with stories of the beach, and even though Daddy starts his administrative internship on Monday, which will mean he goes back to work, we are looking forward, already, to the next beach trip. Hopefully, when we leave the next time at bed time, Tahlia will go right to sleep.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What we do

Tonight, sitting in the dark with Tahlia, I realized how much we do.

What we do as parents is amazing. We don't even think about it. We don't think about anything; we don't think about a return; we don't expect anything in return; we just do.

Lately Asher has been having trouble sleeping. We stand beside his bed helping him sleep. We stand there on wobbly legs, attempting to have him sleep a little longer. We stand there trying to make him well and strong. We stand there through sleepless nights.

And there I was sitting in the dark with Tahlia. We had already done books -- she picked the fairy book and the one about the pig who loves herself as she is. I'd told her her first story -- a made up one about her playing in the rain, which actually wasn't the rain but was Daddy soaking her with the garden hose; somehow, as with all of her stories lately, a fairy, specifically a water fairy comes in and plays with her too. We had just turned on the music and Blackbird was playing. I asked her if we should try pee-pee on the potty or just jump into bed, and she said she needed to go pee-pee. If you don't remember from an earlier post, we don't have Tahlia sleep in the bathroom. We are actually in her room using a little blue Bjorn potty that we have her use at night, and which we clean out after each use.

And there we sat. She was wrong. It wasn't pee-pee at all. It was poopy. It was smelly poopy. She had mustard chicken last night,and for some reason, it really made her poopy smell bad. Bad. She likes to hug when she poops. She likes to tell me that she loves me when she poops. She grabs my neck and pulls me in closely and says , "I dove you Daddy." She pulls me in closely and holds me tightly. I love to cuddle with her, but this is one time when I'd like to have a little more space, but she holds me, and I don't pull away.

She is also going through a particularly clingy time. Just last week, she was crying horribly every night as we put her to bed because she didn't want us to leave her. One of the ways that she has figured out how to keep us in the room is by saying that she needs to go to the bathroom. This isn't exactly one of those times as she actually went poopy. But it is, in a way, because the only reason she is staying on the potty is to keep me in the room a little longer.

And, it smells.

But this is one of those times. This is one of those times like when your child is all wet, and you pick her up even though your entire shirt becomes wet. This is one of those times like when she is sitting at the table and wants to give you a hug even though you have to go to work, and her hands are covered in maple syrup that soon will be on your shoulders. This is one of those times like when you hold that piece of fruit bar in your hand for at least fifteen minutes because there is the possibility that she is going to want to finish it. This is one of those times when you just do what you need to do because you love your child.

It is amazing what we do. And it is with the expectation of nothing in return. So I continue to hold and hug her as she sits on the potty.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I have no idea

We're playing in her room after nap. Her hair is a mess since she sweats so much while she is napping. It is odd, that she sweats, but she always has.

We've already celebrated Esme's birthday, an event that happens, at a minimum, two times a day. It happens once when she wakes in the morning, and then usually after nap. Esme's birthday is when she places her Fisher Price figures around a table and sings happy birthday. They are old school toys; the toys are from Mommy and Daddy's childhood. The table is from the castle, as are many of the chairs -- especially the high backed red one in which Esme always sits. The castle has a trap door and a secret room behind the stairs that swing out. The other chairs are from the house. Many people remember the doorbell on the yellow roofed house. Peggy, Esme's mom, is the knight from the castle. Her dad is the wooden boy in orange from the house. Bella, Esme's cat, is the red headed girl from the house. Tahlia is the blond girl from the house. Mommy is, of course, the queen, and Daddy the king. Asher, you probably guessed, is the prince. Esme is the green painted father from the house.

All of these figurines sit around the red table while Tahlia and Mommy, or Daddy, or both, sing happy birthday, then Esme blows out the candle.

We've already gone through this. She is running around the room right now.

You also need to know that she has started repeating specific expressions that we see. Repeating isn't the right word. She has begun using the expressions that Mommy and Daddy use regularly. We often hear her say phrases such as:

"Hey, . . . "
"I'll be right back, you guys."
"Now we're all ready for the day."

And today, while running around the room, she is looking for Avrom. Avrom is hidden under the pillow by her bed. I know this because I saw her put it there. She is walking around the room saying, "Where is Avrom?" and pretending to look everywhere.

Suddenly she turns to Mommy and uses a Mommyism. "Hey Mommy, where is Avrom? I have no idea!"

Mommy says this often. No specifically about Avrom, but, when pretending to play with Tahlia, she often says "I have no idea!", in a singsong voice. Now, so does Tahlia.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Children mix up their pronouns. It's very common.

Something that Tahlia does is often let us know that we need to help her. We have worked with Tahlia to let her know that, since she can speak so well, rather than cry, she should use her words to let us know what she needs. And, if she needs help, all she needs to do is let us know and we will help her.

Because of this, we often hear her say, "Daddy, help I."

She knows how to use me. But for some reason, she often uses I.

Sometimes it's, "Mommy, pick I up."

Or maybe, "Daddy, come with I."

Since she says this so often, we sometimes call her "I." She'll be sitting someplace and I'll say, "Hey I, come with me."

This is probably how nicknames occur. She already has enough nicknames, though, so we'll probably have to let the "I" go.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I've been away. Most people would call this: dealing with an infant. If it was only that, I think I'd have written.

School ended. Mommy and Daddy are back to being a team to deal with these two little ones.

Quick update:
Asher is now three months, or, for some reason, twelve weeks old. I used to scoff at people who would state the age of their child by the number of weeks, but, somehow, I became brainwashed, and now, I too state the age of my child by weeks. Well, not for Tahlia. She is two. She has been two since February, when she turned two. She'll be two until she is "almost two and a half." Then she'll be two and a half. Next, she'll be almost three . . . you understand.

Asher is growing. He started grabbing for things about a week ago. He smiles all of the time and almost laughs. He squeals. He is not sleeping well, but is out of our room. Now we make a quick march down the hall to take care of him in the night. He wakes between two and three most mornings, then . . . he wakes. There really is no rhyme or reason to his waking, he just does. Sometimes he makes it to almost six. Last night he woke at 1:30, then 2:30 then 4:00 then 5:00 then 6:30. For the most part, we try to have Daddy go to him at night because if Mommy goes, he often wants to feed, no matter what. Daddy, however, is not always the best at waking up. Last night I told Mommy to just give the kids something to read, and they would be fine. It wasn't until Mommy was very angry, started shaking me, and almost yelled, "Wake up!" that I had any idea about what was happening -- even then, I barely understood.

Tahlia is still great. I have a back log of entries -- look for them in the next week. There will be many.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rip Van Winkle

I know what he felt like, Rip Van Winkle. To wake one day, and have everything changed. But not just that, but to be enjoying your time, and suddenly wake to find that everything is different from how it once was.

I remember this little girl who used to have a specific bed time routine. The routine was simple. Bath, dry off, brush teeth, in room, lotion, pajamas, book time, light off, story time, potty time, into bed for one last story, turn on music, a little cuddle, and off to sleep. Almost all of these things were done by Mommy or Daddy as Tahlia would attempt to dash around the room, or, sometimes, stand still while we did what we needed.

And it is now, as if I have been standing still, and she has run ahead.

It must have been while I was asleep. It must have been months. I don't remember, but suddenly, a new little girl started running around. Maybe it was not so sudden, maybe it happened in steps, but I just didn't realize.

Bath time routine changed. I remember how she started to want to pick out her own face cloth. She started wanting to climb into the tub by herself. She wanted to start climbing out of the tub without help. She wanted to turn off the light by herself, sometimes with her hand, sometimes with her foot. These changes didn't seem so great; these changes just seemed like small steps forward.

But more happened too. No longer did we pick the pajamas, but now we set out three pair in front of her so that she could decide on the one she wanted. Sometimes they would match, but not other times. She'd pick the books she wanted to read. It all seemed to change.

The magnitude of these changes crashed down upon me one night when Mommy and I were putting Tahlia down. It was one of those rare moments when Asher was already asleep so that Mommy and I could be alone with Tahlia. We had read books, told stories, pee-peed on the potty, and had just finished her last story. Now it was time to turn on the music. I started to head over to the radio by myself when Tahlia shouts out, "I do it." This was something new, and I paused and looked at Mommy. She just gave me a knowing look as if to say, "Yeah, she does it."

Tahlia hopped out of bed, walked over to the radio, pushed the correct button five times to start the music, and headed back to bed. It was nothing to her. A nightly routine executed.

You attempt to capture and hold each moment with your children so that you never forget, but at some time, they move too quickly. They grow too fast. I once believed that I knew everything about her, but now, as she quickly heads back to her bed, I realize that she is growing so quickly. The catch-22 of the situation is apparent. I want her to grow up and explore this world, but I also want her to slow down, so I can enjoy her.

So I give her a hug, tell her to have sweet dreams and remind her that I love her. Maybe tonight I won't sleep; I'm sure Asher will help me with this plan.

Bouncing on the Ball

Jesse and Devra are visiting. They came to Charlottesville to go to a wedding, but we invited them to stay at our house as we recently had the basement finished.

The three of us, Devra, Jesse, and I, are sitting in the living room. Mommy is putting Tahlia to nap, and I am talking to our guests about this and that. Both of their eyes are focused on me, and even though I am holding Asher in my arms, I can tell that I am starting to lose their attention.

It really isn't their fault. Asher doesn't want to sleep. He never wants to sleep. Recently, we've found great success by bouncing on a big blue exercise ball. It is a miracle, and we sometimes wonder if people around the nation use these balls more for exercise or for helping infants fall asleep. Sometimes, when bouncing on the ball, I begin to feel a little sleep, that is usually when I switch to the rocking chair. I think that if I was looking at me, I'd have trouble focusing.

I look away from my guests to notice that, at this very moment, Asher's eyes have started to droop, and as if there was a broadcast in our home, I could tell that Jesse's and Devra's eyes also wanted to droop and that they too, would love to be lulled to sleep.

Fortunately, Mommy comes down stairs, and their attention is drawn away from the bouncing man in the middle of the room.