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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Estimated Time of Departure

En route to Beals

Happy to be there- Maya's first time in the Leap Frog

Thursday morning we had to leave for Beals Island by 8 am. Last time we went we had to leave by 8 am (not a lot of wiggle room as I had a 10:15 client) and at 8 we were not yet in the car and Sandi was saying what a good job we had done getting out. I told her we needed to be driving out of the driveway at 8, not still making last minute bathroom runs and getting boots on, and that I meant the time literally since I had booked my client. I was reminded of a scene from "Everybody Loves Raymond" wherein the time of departure is A.I.S.- ass in the seat. We have reformulated the E.T.D (estimated time of departure) to be A.I.S. This morning we were driving out at 8 sharp. Pat on the back girls!

So rewind back to Monday when Sandi was getting the girls out to Ella's gymnastics class by herself (I was at work.) She had left plenty of wiggle room since Ella is notoriously stalling these days. I'll let her tell the story:

I was holding the infant seat with a screaming baby inside. The diaper bag was over my shoulder with food and drink items inside for everyone, changes of clothes, diapers, an extra bottle - all the needed supplies for a short outing. Last minute (I thought), I grabbed the baby bjorn just in case I needed to pace with Maya if she remained awake throughout the class. I had my water pitcher in hand which is a must at all times these days with milk production and all. Now I only needed the toddler that I was trying to get out the door in time so we "wouldn't miss this bubbles." Ella NEEDED to have her book to read on the way and her pocketbook for looks. Before we could leave the living room, she became determined that she must take the new calculater that pops up at the push of a button so that Brooke (her friend) could get in on the action. I placed that in the pocket of her purple plush jumpsuit. This was quite satisfying to my 3 year old. When I attempted to put her ponytail in, she demanded that we wait until we get there before her hair had to be pulled back, but in that moment she decided that she had to have her decorative ponytail holders. She ran for the bathroom and grabbed the pink transparent ponytail holder container, which is about 8 inches on all sides - not tiny, but smaller than a breadbox. Imagine a ponytail suitcase. Since I still had the infant carseat in my arm and the diaper bag over my shoulder, I attempted to open the pink box and retreive that which she desired with one hand. Failing miserably, and becoming short on the patience, I grabbed the now despised container with my free hand and proclaimed, "Fine. We'll take the whole thing." Almost to the door, I snatched up the nearest hat to place on Ella's head. What was I thinking? If she had ponytails, she must have her ponytail hat, not the silly hat that I had so thoughtlessly grabbed hold of. I said, "but Ella, you don't have any ponytails in." "I NEED MY PONYTAIL HAT!" I threw open the drawer, grabbed yet another hat and topped off my exploding diaper bag. We muscled our way out the door, I threw open the van door and chucked everything inside, including the 3 year old and the baby. As we pulled out of the driveway, my exasperation reached a new height. In all the commotion, I left my water pitcher on the cupboard. Sensing my now highly apparent frustration, Ella very nurturingly offered, "It's O.K. Mommy. It's hard with two kids."

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ella, the Sage

Suzanne: "Ella, do you need to poop?"
Ella: "No."
repeat this conversation x 3

10 minute delay

Suzanne: "Ella, you need to get ready for bed."
Ella: "Don't move me. I pooped."

Suzanne's internal process: I have given of myself all day long for 4 of the past 5 days- 13 hours each day. I am tired. I am ready for bedtime. I have done the dishes, the laundry, gotten dinner. I have packed to go to Beal's for an overnight tomorrow. I have worn Maya on me for the past 2 hours. I DO NOT want to clean up, smell or otherwise deal with poop.

We go in the bathroom, me trying not to lose my cool and saying things about how she's going to have to say goodbye to the My Little Pony panties. I do this mostly because I don't want to clean them but also as a small consequence for her decision to poop in her pants. I bag them up to throw in the trash.

Ella: (looking sadly down at her underwear) "Bye, bye, My Little Pony." Then a few beats later as I am cleaning her up, with a look of genuine regret, "I'm sorry Momma." It melts me. I don't know whether to feel guilty that she feels badly or happy that she notices how her behavior effects me. I settled on "thank you."

We go upstairs and there is an elaborate go around about the pajamas. She had set aside ones for tonight and chosen the ones to pack to take to Beals and now she tells me I have it wrong.

Ella: "Momma, I've already told you which ones. I don't want to be frustrated with you."

What are you gonna do with this? Apparently, this is one of the ones I say often. It is true - I guess both for her and for me.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome Manharts!

The fun has come to town- specifically to Hampden in the form of Emilie, Sam, Sklyer and Reed Manhart. Our dear friends have moved into their house only 2 miles from us and we are thrilled! We've already tried out the "I'll be right over" thing. They bought a lovely cape with the charm and architectural surprises of an old house with all the modern conveniences a family of four needs.

Things have been operating so smoothly in our lives these days. We've been able to connect with lots of our friends and family with birthday parties, visits and sharing meals. What a blessed bunch we are. I truly sit in appreciation of all the wonderful people that surround us. This weekend, our friends Maria and Jeanine (a.k.a. the loyal commentors on this blog) came over and watched the girls for me on Saturday (Sandi was at work) and I drove up to the Manhart's former house in Old Town to score a bunch of free firewood they weren't able to use. Not only did I get free heat but I also drove up and back with Emilie and we NEVER get time like that alone with out our kids. Good to know, I like Emilie just as much, if not more, just as herself and without her "mom" hat on.

Ella had a rockin' good time with Maria and Jeanine (and thanks you both for the Easter purse- she has carried it all over town) and wants to know when her "friends" are going to come back. In the afternoon, Kris and Brevan came down to stay overnight and we went to Mindy and Charissa's so the kids could all play together -and play they did! We had such fun. And then yesterday, Ella and I made two giant batches of chocolate chip cookies and took them in to Sandi and her coworkers (I figure I'll bribe them with food and they'll treat her well, cover her so she can pump, maybe give her the easy patients since she is so sleep deprived- I guess there are no easy patients in the ICU). In the afternoon my mom came up and we had a great time as always. She is a big help and I really enjoy her company. I think I also love that she boosts me up and tells me what a good job I do.

I'll leave you with a funny one:

The other night I was rubbing Ella's leg as usual before bed (some people like there back scratched- she likes her calf rubbed.) I told her I was tired and could she please rub my leg. She thought that was funny and obliged. "Momma," she asks. "Why do you have fur on your legs?"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Back to Form

The quarantine is over. Life is back to normal. Well, as normal as it can be when 1,000 feet of snow fall outside your door, followed by 2,000 feet of rain. At least it looks like I won't have to snowblow.

Maya has started to laugh. Oh, my goodness. It is what I imagine it sounds like when an angel gets her wings. We all find ourselves acting in the most assanine manner to try to get her to do it. We are a sight to behold for sure.

Ella notices, and comments, on everything these days. There is no pulling the hypothetical wool over her eyes. Yesterday, Sandi and I went out to look at real estate properties to invest in and we had Olivia babysit for Ella. I told Ella the day before. "It'll be fun," I told her. "No," she said. "It will be fun for you."

I was putting her to bed last night and she suddenly exclaimed, "Oh, no! I forgot to finish putting the computer together!" (Sandi was downstairs working on setting up the new computer.)

And, perhaps my favorite: Ella was on the toilet and, suffice it to say she needed a few minutes, so I went into the kitchen. Sandi called me into the living room and I said to her, "I told Ella I would come right back into the bathroom." Which I did. Then Ella says to me, "Mommy asked you to go to her but you come to me first." Oh, great- I think we have a diva on our hands.

Ella made me some pretend Lemonade Chocolate Peanut Butter soup today. Look out for this one folks. I think when it hits the market it will be HUGE.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Stomach Flu

Sandi worked last Tuesday and Wednesday and then we were off to Beals Island for a quick two days for me to see my ever loyal and wonderful massage clients. This meant we left early Thursday and were due to leave by 2:30 Friday so Sandi could re-group and be ready for her work weekend of Saturday/Sunday. Best laid plans...

On Wednesday, Sandi hurt her back at work and several of her spinal muscles were working in concert against her in a rather constant state of spasm. She was finding it hard to maneuver Maya in feedings, burping, and general care. Maya was extremely fussy, feverish, and overall in an unhappy state. I worked all day Thursday and felt truly great. That night, I helped Sandi with Maya's night feeding since she couldn't really get around and noticed my stomach was a bit upset. By 8 a.m. I was throwing up and I had to spend the day in bed (which, I admit, was somewhat nice although my body felt like I had been in a boxing match and I wanted to throw up). We began to wonder if this stomach upset was what was up with Maya. I cancelled all my clients and we decided to stay another night (Sandi called in to work.)

That night, Sandi's sister Kristi started throwing up, Ella started throwing up and our nephew Brevan (who is closing in on two) started to throw up. Luckily when it hit Ella that night, I was completly over it (or maybe maternal instinct took over) and I took care of her as she vomited every half hour for about 10:30 until 3 a.m. I have never hurt for her as much as I did that night (I guess I should consider myself lucky.) The next morning Sandi was throwing up. By late Saturday, six of the nine people in the house had been throwing up (including poor Maya) and two others had diarreha. So far, after taking care of EVERYONE and having every grandchild throw up on her, Patti has managed to make it through with just a lot of sleeplessness.

So we managed to pack up last night and come home even though Sandi was feeling less than optimal as we were expecting a huge snowstorm last night (still haven't really seen it as of noon Sunday). We got both girls to bed by 8 - Maya in her co-sleeper and Ella snuggled between us. Sandi and I were asleep by 9 . Oh, to be home and on the mend. Maya's sickness had made her unable to stay asleep for any length of time so when she made it to 12:30 were were happy. Except that the other thing that woke us up at 12:30 a.m. was Ella throwing up all over our bed. Yep, we had both girls up for a complete bed change, feeding, settling, the works. As soon as I changed the bed, and lined it for Ella in case there was a repeat, Mochy and Ella were fast asleep in minutes. Maya, not so much.

Without expounding on the details (sufice it to say Sandi and I tried EVERYTHING), Maya was awake from 12:30 am. to 6 am. Finally, I got her to sleep on me while I lay like a
Cirque du Soliel contortionist on the downstairs recliner from 6 until 8 when Ella woke up. All I can say is thank goodness for the DVR player taping reruns of Sex and the City which I watched probably 4 of while I tried to settle Maya.

So here we are, tired, tired, tired and all about to hop in bed for what (fingers crossed) will hopefully be a family nap. Maya can't breath through her nose at all and has a terrible cough now. The Doctor says it is probably the same strain of virus just hittting all her systems. She hasn't slept more than 6 or 7 hours in the past 24. Please send all your positivity our way! We could use it! And... this is a nasty, catchy bugger so protect yourselves! Don't leave your houses, don't shake hands with small children, don't eat the crusts off their sandwiches and, whatever you do, if you hear "stomach flu" run the other way!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

If only...

I seem to spend a lot of time writing about Ella and food but certain things must be documented. Yesterday, we all went grocery shopping and Ella, hawk ears that she is, happened to hear me ask Sandi if she wanted some chocolate soy ice cream (she can't eat dairy still because Maya can't digest it in the breast milk.) Ella piped up that she wanted some. It was 11 am and I had already put aside the obligatory, complimentary cookie from the bakery department in my purse (yes, I carry cookies in my purse) for after lunch. We told Ella she could pick between the ice cream and the cookie.

After lunch, which was full of coaxing and manipulating her to eat if she wanted her "treat", I asked her which one she wanted - the ice cream or the cookie. She debated over this incredibly important issue for a full minute and then decidedly said, "both." Can you blame her?

Last night, I was making salad for dinner and she wanted to know what the white things were in the salad. Mushrooms, I told her. A few minutes later she asked if she could have marshmallows in her salad as well. If only we could have marshmallows in salad, I feel salad would be even more popular.

Ella offered Sandi some of her orange juice pop (just frozen OJ in a popsicle mold.) Sandi said, "No thank you." Ella said, "It doesn't have dairy in it." Who knew she was paying this close attention?

And lastly, Ella loves the expression "Open Sesame." She has it down now, what you use it for and the power it wields. But not long ago, you could overhear her summoning her power to open gates and move adults legs by uttering, "Open Sesame Street."

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Friends, Food and Fondness

Maya Loves the Water

Crying ensues when she comes out of the tubby

(what a round little head!!)

Apparently, Ella & Lucas figured out new ways to play with the rice table

Matching Belles... Ella & Michaela
Ella has been having fun visiting friends on the days Sandi is at work. We've had friends over (Jennifer and her 2 1/2 year old Lucus) and we've had fun going around town to visit Vanessa and Brooke and Colin for supper (for both Vanessa and I agree that is the hardest part of a long day alone with kids). Being the social butterfly that I am, I fill the days when Sandi is at work with stimulation for Ella and company for me.
Yesterday, the four of us went to visit my sister Kathryn and our 5-year-old niece, Michaela. Ella and Michaela love, love, love to spend time with each other and are really well matched to play together (even unattended at times which is nice and feels a little weird for me to not have her in my sights at all times.) For Christmas, Ella got the same Belle dress (from Beauty and the Beast) that Michaela has and we made sure to bring it. They paraded around the house, trading handbags every five minutes when the timer went off (Kathryn kept forgetting to set it and Michaela would ask it the time was up since it had been 15 minutes and Kathryn would say, "Yup, one more minute girls.") The picture above is the two of them doing the trade-off. Note Michaela's hands on her hip, likely instructing Ella how to properly wear the purse.
A few snipets of our afternoon with the girls:
Ella was giving me instructions (bossing me around) and telling me to go here, go there and if I followed directions (she was wagging her finger at me the whole time- do I do that?) then I could wear a dress. (At home, if she is on the edge of misbehaving we tell her if she doesn't listen she won't be able to wear one of her dress-up dresses.) I did what she told me and said to my sister, "I like to let Ella feel like she has some power. Even false power." Michaela looked up at me and said, "Ella doesn't have any power but do I?"
The girls didn't want to finish their supper and were told they couldn't have dessert if they didn't eat dinner. Michaela, as usual representing both she and Ella, said, "We don't want dessert." Pause. Then, in a small voice, Ella said, "Yeah, but I do."
And, in true spirit of two girls bonded for life by love and unending devotion, they ran circles around each other making up songs which were hard to decipher. Sandi caught a snipet of some of Michaela's lyrics, "We can do anything together, me and you, because we love each other. Ba-ba-ba do." What more could a girl need in life?
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