Monday, December 31, 2007

auld lang syne

2007 a year in review...

What an amazing and wonderful time this past year has been...
There were some highs and some lows and nary a splash of gin.

Although I certainly can dream...
For a super-sized can of whipped cream.

We rearranged furniture and did a minor remodel of the house...
We visited the zoo, took ballet, gymnastics, and used our toilet to trap a mouse.

There were weekly triplet play dates, painting and sketchy potty training...
Broken appliances and an out of control wild fire because there ain't enough raining.

Most importantly we welcomed our beautiful and perfect baby boy...
Henry David has brought us many sleepless nights but an infinite amount of joy.

Noni and Jimbo flew to California to offer a helping hand...
Without their assistance we wouldn’t have one leg on which to stand.

We celebrated 13 years of marital bliss…
We spent time with lots of family including Susan, Charlie's sis.

With four small children we have been praying daily to a Higher Power...
It's because of our faith that we are able to get dressed and some days, even take a shower.

Despite the craziness, we count our blessings daily and thank the good Lord above…
For bringing four children in to our home that is overflowing with love.

As this year comes to a close, I wish every one of you reading this much cheer...
Thanks for dropping by have a healthy, happy and safe New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

no mercy

Nothing says Christmas like a brightly lighted tree. The holy nativity scene. Stockings hung by the chimney with care. The smell of evergreen. A cold glass of egg nog. Home cooked meals. A crackling fire. Joyous carols.


Family from afar.

Staying up late and playing games that were received from Santa.

Making your young niece and nephew cry when you take all of their property, all of their money and crush them in a game of Monopoly.

And to think, that man is the father of my children.

Friday, December 28, 2007

exclusive nursing

When you like to eat this:

Who needs this:

When you've got this?

We'll restart solids next week.

Or, whenever our Christmas confection supply is exhausted.

Until then ... Joy to the world!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

o holy night

We tucked the children in to bed last night and for the next two hours, leaned in to their room to tell them "GO TO SLEEP!"

I thought they were too excited to sleep because Santa Claus was coming to visit. Turns out, they didn't want the guy anywhere near our house.

When I told them that Santa was on his way, but they needed to go to sleep first, I heard William mutter "No Santa!" and then, he coughed. But it sounded like a rather peculiar cough. Thanks to my fast reflexes and keen maternal sense, I was able to run in and cup my hands under his chin seconds before he sprayed his unsuspecting sisters with vomit.

Instantly, I was filled with dread.

My experience with vomiting children has been more unpleasant than is probably typical. Whenever our children are sick - they are sick for a minimum of two weeks. Thus far, William's Christmas 2007 puke fest appears to be an isolated event. I think perhaps too much chocolate, cookies, excitement, nerves and too little sleep made for a very upset tummy.

This morning, when I heard the children waking up, I went running down the hall yelling "Santa came! Santa came!" all three of the kids covered their heads with their hands and in unison screamed "NO SANTA!!"

Then, they dove under their covers and burst in to tears. Fat tears, rolling down their cheeks. They were sobbing. Hysterical that Santa and his reindeer had the NERVE to come to our house and leave who knows what in our stockings.

It seems Charlie and I may have gone a little too far the other night when the kids were taking a bath and Santa and Rudolph made a surprise appearance in our hallway, just out of view of three soaking toddlers. While I was washing their hair, Santa carried on a conversation with our children, who are still a little leery of the white-beared man, inquiring if they've been good or bad this year.

In the midst of their conversation, Santa's trusty reindeer - Rudolph - pooped in our hallway, leaving behind a nugget that smelled surprisingly delightful. We thought that our attempt at breaking the ice with Santa and his crew - by pointing out that they too are working on potty training - would have had a much better effect.

Apparently, although it is acceptable for our children to poop in the hallway, those species that hail from the rangifer tarandus line, better not ever do such a thing. Never. EVER.

Even if their poop does look and smell and taste just like a chocolate brownie.

This morning it took a lot of encouragement and ultimately - lifting and dragging - to get our children out of their beds to see the gifts that Santa had left behind. When they cast their eyes upon our family room, which had been transformed to a wooden block, truck, puzzle, bicycle, doll house, farm house, stuffed animal paradise ... you'd think it was Christmas morning and they were three years old.

They've never been so excited. Never. EVER.

The day was wonderful. In the morning, our children played with the toys that Santa had left out, and we left all of the stockings and presents under the tree intact until my sister, Eileen, and her three children arrived from Michigan at noon.

When I came home from the airport, everyone was anxious to dive in to the gifts that were flowing out from under the tree and halfway across our floor.

In the past, Charlie and I have been able to extend the gift-opening process for at least two, perhaps three hours. We will take turns, slowly opening our presents and commenting on each one. We do our best to savor the whole process and acknowledge the thought that went in to selecting this particular gift for us.

This morning, once we gave the green light, our children dove under the tree and literally started swimming through the presents. They were so darn fast that by the time I blinked - almost all the gifts were open. Gifts that were to me, from my sister. Gifts to Charlie, from his brother. Gifts to my niece and nephew, from Santa.

One of the gifts I received was a tuner and subscription to XM Radio. Now, I'm not much of a radio person. I love music, but since we've got almost 450 albums copied on to our iPod, that's all I ever listen to. I'm also not very "up" on "new technology stuff". What is this XM Radio and why do I need it??

When I opened my XM Radio gift, I shot Charlie a funny look because he's wanted XM Radio for as long as it's been around. Tonight, over dinner, I mentioned that I wasn't sure how it worked and Charlie said "Oh, Jen - you'll love it. XM Radio is really cool." When I asked how he knew, he replied "Well, I've been listening to it for the past three weeks. Ever since I bought it for ..." and then he stopped himself.

I think that when you buy your spouse a gift and then use it yourself for almost an entire month before presenting it to them - you have reached a whole new level in your relationship. His excitement today surrounding XM Radio, reminded me of my excitement the time I bought Charlie a jetted foot bath for his birthday.

Currently, our 1,600 square foot house is occupied by seven children. Four adults. A dog. And a completely dried out Christmas tree. There are air mattresses, sleeping bags, pillows and rogue bows covering every square inch of floor space. There are more toys than I've ever seen before and more clutter, too.

Tonight, I thought back to four years ago. We found out on Christmas Eve that round two of IVF had not worked. To think that four years later we have been blessed with these amazing children ... it really is nothing short of a miracle. Even with the vomit, crying, fighting and clutter, this is the best Christmas I've ever had.

This is also the most exhausting Christmas I've ever had. But with my two nieces and nephew that are more than anxious to watch and play with children, I'm gearing up for some major sleep-catching-up over the next few days.

And maybe even a little foot bathing.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Yes. Those are potty chairs.

Because what better place to sit and wait for the Father of Christmas to magically appear?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

who needs to eat fruitcake when you are one?

I am feeling so much better.

If you have a lot of stress causing factors in your life, there is no better outlet than a pen and paper. Or, screen and keyboard as the case may be. Once I hit "post" at midnight yesterday, it was like a giant weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.

I'm just so very glad that I wrote that post in time for the 200 people who received our Christmas card to log on to the blog and see what a nut-job I am.

Merry Christmas Uncle Bernie and Aunt Lorraine!!

This past week I have felt like I have been blowing it, big time and no one, save the baby, that resides in this house was safe from my emotional instability.

My patient husband could do absolutely nothing right and I used every opportunity to tell him such. I wanted ice cream, but when he brought it home, I was livid that he was stocking the refrigerator full of fat. During an outing to the park, he forgot their play toys. Breakfast was void of any fresh fruit. There were no vitamins served with lunch. Milk with dinner was in an open top cup instead of a sippy. He would dress the children, but in attire that was completely inappropriate. Who clothes a child in a pastel purple shirt when they could be in a more festive red?

Must I do everything?

Am I the only one that cares??

It seemed that every rare opportunity I seized to actually sit down and nurse the baby, the kids were in to something or fighting. Every time the phone would ring, their extraordinarily loud piercing voices became even more so. They were hardly napping. Their screams would escalate like a tea pot whistle until it felt like my ear drums would burst. The baby was crying to eat or sleep or nurse or be held, the dog was barking to be fed.

My nerves were frayed and everyone knew that I was off.

Charlie's jaw would clench when I would exasperatedly point out his most recent mistake. Several times a day the kids would ask "Mommy. You happy or you angwy?" And when my patience quota was tapped and I would start to spout, they would cover their ears with their hands and run away.

When I held the Weeble Wobble Tree House that the kids had been fighting over between my knees and launched it in to the back yard like I was free throwing a basket ball, I was struck by how crazy I had become. When I dumped a too loudly-talking William outside in his bare feet and slammed the door shut following a nap, before he could wake up the other three children that were still sleeping, I was scared by my actions.

I picked up my Bible and I looked for guidance. There needs to be something immediate for me to read that will put everything in perspective. Better yet, a cure. "Put one hand on your head, the other on your tummy, stand on one foot and jump in a circle while singing praises to the Messiah." I'd certainly prefer that type of advice over "Start drinking. Heavily. Now."

My cure, it turns out, was writing down my feelings.

Right now, I'm very excited about the holidays. Our garage is packed with gifts for the children, some new - and some that have been passed down through generations. My sister and her family are flying in to town on Christmas Day and we have a lot of things planned. Charlie and I will be going out on much-needed date nights while they are here, but sometimes, just having the positive energy of new people in the house can make all the difference in the world.

I'm not entirely sure what the New Year will bring. The children will be in gymnastics again. They will also be taking a t-ball, soccer, basketball class that will last for 12 weeks. I'll continue to meet with three other triplet families one day a week for a play date. I'm also looking in to swimming lessons.

I have seriously considered bringing some one in to help a few hours a week. I have also seriously considered preschool. Maybe it will happen. Maybe it won't. It certainly won't happen unless I return to work because the cost for three children is prohibitive. I could send one or two at a time, but am not sure how well that would pan out for the one or two at home. From where I sit, it seems that the three hour break during the day that preschool would afford me, isn't worth the effort that would be involved to get them there. Besides, if I were to return to work, that defeats the purpose of staying home with the kids.

For the most part, I really do love being with the children and although I know they would be learning a lot in preschool, I do not feel that I am "robbing" them of anything by keeping them home. Rather, I am working hard to expose them to more things than they would ever gain in a school environment. Minus the germs.

I'm not looking for a solution. It will come to me. Like everything in my life, the answer slowly unfolds and presents itself. But here's what I know, right now.

Time goes fast.

Charlie and I never knew how we were going to manage taking care of triplet newborns. There never was a grand plan in place, we made it up as we went along. One day at a time. We arranged our schedules and juggled our careers. We figured out what worked and what didn't. We made changes. We re-arranged furniture. We re-arranged our priorities. We prayed. A lot.

In what seems like the blink of an eye, our triplets are three. Our baby is almost six-months old. By all counts and measures, everyone is thriving.

There is more joy in our home than sadness.

There is more laughter than crying. (I'm fairly certain.)

There are more good times than bad.

There is more processed food than organic and less expendable money than ever before, but everyone needs to have goals.

The struggles of this past week are a fading memory. I am sure there will be a lot more challenges in our life and when they happen - you'll be the first to know. Not only because I love writing about the daily events in this house, but because I am saving a small fortune in therapy with this here, blog.

Today the sky is bright. The sun is shining. My three year olds are outside playing with their father and kids from the neighborhood. My baby is laying across my lap, kicking his chubby legs. Charlie is home on vacation for the next two weeks. Christmas Eve is two days away. And there is a Harry & David tower of treats sitting on the kitchen counter, courtesy of Aunt Susan, calling to me. I couldn't be happier or feel more blessed to be alive.

But before I dive in to the box of chocolate truffles, riddle me this...

Would it be plain wrong to remove solids from Henry's diet and exclusively nurse him for the next couple of weeks? I'd really love to indulge on the delicacies of the season without going up a pant size.

Friday, December 21, 2007

up and down

I've been a bit on edge lately.

It seems that having four small children, no more than four consecutive hours of sleep, changing an untold number of diapers, preparing and mailing Christmas cards, last minute shopping, wrapping unusual shaped presents (a coffee thermos?), introducing a baby to solids and all that *other* stuff that I do everyday, has finally caught up to me. It caught up, knocked me down and started kicking hard.

Sometimes I might feel this way, but it will typically pass in a day. Two at most. But this time, it's been lingering and intensifying. I've been feeling so overwhelmed and in need of a really, really good cry. A good bawling, the shaking, sobbing, slobbery faced kind of cry that will clear out my senses. The kind that will leave me with a headache from the energy expelled. The kind that will require a Tylenol and a glass of wine. And a small bowl of ice cream. With a brownie.

Everything, and I mean everything, has been setting me off. I suspect that the mental collapse and admittance in to an institution I've been teetering around has been influenced by a culmination of events. For starters.

A month ago, I turned down a potentially large career opportunity. In my heart of hearts, I didn't accept the opportunity because I don't want to work full-time. I don't want to relocate our family and work 40+ hours a week. I don't want to do a lot of business travel. On a plane.

How could I leave Charlie at home? What about his career?

How could I expect that he can do what I do? Even if he could do some things better?

How could I leave my baby?

I have reservations about returning to work. I don't want to be buried under the bureaucracy of the next "new" system and the rules that are constantly changing and evolving and nearly impossible to stay caught up on. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it. Why would I want to be sitting in a meeting about ... something ... when I could be teaching my children how to do a somersault or hold my little baby close, stroke his cheek and watch him doze off to sleep while nursing? What's really important in my life??

But then.

I am away from the children for a few hours and I feel invigorated. When I found myself on the phone with various regulators last week regarding the lawless carpet cleaning neighbor, I felt empowered. I love working and making a difference. I also love getting a pay check. Which is really important when you are the kind of person who is unable to control their buying impulse when flipping through a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue.

The reality is, we lived for so long without children, that we are accustomed to buying whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted it. Unfortunately going from a DINK (double income no kids) lifestyle, to a SINK (single income numerous kids) lifestyle can wreak absolute havoc on your financial situation if you're not careful. Even if you are careful. Offspring that are outgrowing clothes almost faster than I can wash them, are quite costly.

I love being home. But at the risk of sounding like a whiner, the triplets are driving me nuts. My friend Debbie described it as the "cumulative" phenomenon. It's easy to be impartial and level headed when you're not inundated with chaotic behavior constantly. The first time you tell them not to climb on the kitchen table, it's no big deal. The ten, twentieth, one hundredth time, you are ready to explode.

You do explode.

You raise your voice.

Your arms start swinging.

You say things that are unkind.

Like when they fall off the table and land smack on their head, instead of rushing to help them you say "That's what happens when you don't listen to me. Hurts, doesn't it? Wanna do it again?"

Or, when your son bites his sister for the umpteenth time, you wrap up his beloved blanket in a bag, toss it out the front door and tell him that it's going in to the ocean. And then you watch the most pained look imaginable cross his small face and listen to him sob hysterically for the next 30 minutes while you eat Twizzlers and pleasingly feel like the biggest ass to have ever walked the earth.

Interestingly enough, today when I heard one of the coaches at gymnastics talk sternly to my son when he was going the wrong way on the beam, I was ready to attack. I can threaten to throw his most valued possession in to the sea and yet a teacher who says "Stop! We're going THIS way, you need to pay attention!" makes me rabid.

How! DARE! She!

That's MY baby. But if he crosses me one more time today, I am going to launch him clear in to outer space.

Even though Charlie and I could live high on the hog if we were both to return to work, we are being pulled by some insane force to home school our children. Those very children that often drive us completely crazy. We are actually looking in to educating them at home. Have we been drugged?

Earlier this week, I took a little bit of time following a dentist appointment to run to the post office and pick up some baby food at the grocery store. Time was short. Charlie needed to get in to the office, so I felt like I had to rush.

I always feel like I have to rush.

I drive to a Mailboxes, Etc. before realizing that I should pinch pennies and although it would be more convenient to mail my packages from that location, I should really go to the post office. So I get back in my car and drive a mile to the post office.

There is a line.

Of course there's a line!! It's a week before Christmas!!

But, there is much smaller line at the automated service center (ASC). So I stand in that line, instead. Meanwhile, the long line gets really short - but because I'm next in line for the ASC, I don't want to leave. As it turns out, the woman in front of me has at least 30 envelopes and is weighing each and every one, because she has pictures in them - and no two envelopes are the same or will require identical postage. After trying to focus on something, anything other than the precious time that is slipping by while I'm wasting time waiting to mail my package - it is finally my turn.

I purchase postage for two parcels but see that Media Rate is not available at the ASC for the package of books I'm sending to my father. Considering the "book rate" is at least 3/4 the price of priority mail, I decide that I can either go stand in the line that is now extending out the door, or, go back to Mailboxes, Etc.

I leave.

As I'm driving back to Mailboxes, Etc. I'm angry that I'm flailing so much. Why didn't I just stand in the customer service line at the post office in the first place? Why can't I execute something flawlessly? Why must everything be so difficult? Why am I so impatient? Have I always been this impatient? Does a normal person feel like freaking out because it took eight minutes instead of five to get something done? Does anyone else want to scream because their child goes slower than molasses whenever they wash their hands?

What's the rush?

Am I supposed to be somewhere?

Usually, no. But that doesn't stop me from feeling like we need to hurry and move on to the next thing. And the next. And then, go to bed so I can have some quiet time. Please. For the love of all that is good and holy - children that I prayed for everyday for 10 years straight - go to sleep and leave me alone.

After I dropped my packages off, I stopped by the grocery store to buy baby food. I dash in to the store and grab a hand basket. But, there are several hand baskets stuck together. I try to pull them apart and am unsuccessful. I am visibly struggling with the hand baskets to the point that I shake them over my head before putting them on the ground and hold them down with my feet while pulling up on the metal handles. I notice people coming in after me that are picking up one basket at a time, without problem. Meanwhile, I'm ready to roll across the floor to get my stupid basket free.

Everything is easy for everyone but me.

I collect my baby food and a few other items. I head to the checkout line. I pay, collect my items and drive home. The next morning, when I go to feed the baby, the organic value pack of fruit that I bought the day before is missing. It must have been left on the counter at the store. I'm certain I paid for it, because I know that I didn't spend $23.00 on sweet potatoes, peas, carrots and a box of Duncan Hines.

I feel like I've got an undiagnosed anxiety disorder and am running in circles.

And since I've started feeding Henry solids and have cut back on nursing, there has definitely been a shift in body chemistry. Earlier this week, I was feeling so unstable that I questioned if maybe I had the onset of postpartum depression. But now that I've written this blog, I have diagnosed myself with three-year old psychosis intensified by the Holidays.

Either way, I really think I need to be medicated.

Or, drink large quantities of egg nog and brandy.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

it's official

Henry's personalized stocking arrived in the mail this week.

His initiation in to our family is now complete.

Monday, December 17, 2007

cake decorating 101

My friend, Lorie, sent me this picture yesterday of a cake that was ordered from Wal-Mart for a going away party.

When the bakery clerk asked what they wanted on the cake, the customer indicated "Best Wishes Suzanne", underneath that, "We will miss you".

Aren't the flowers beautiful?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

spreading good cheer

I pulled my comment and the anonymous comment down that I referenced last night, early this morning. It is insane that I am awake when I could be sleeping, but my conscience got the better of me when I insinuated the person who left me the comment had less intelligence than a shoelace and in writing that, made the carpet cleaners of the world look bad.

For all I know, the person who left me the comment was the 10-year old boy from the park on Friday. The reason I put comment moderation on in the first place is so that I can just delete those comments that would otherwise cause me undue stress. It is for that reason I have chosen to delete the subsequent comment I received regarding rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, [and why] it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae.

Gabman, I'm not going to get in to a battle of wits with you because it is a waste of my precious time. And, it's fundamentally wrong to attack someone who is unarmed. But feel free to check out the annual picture we took with Santa.

Unfortunately, the children still don't think too highly of Saint Nick. It took us almost 15 minutes to get a picture where the kids weren't crying and actually looking at the camera. It also required me to squeeze my 3-year old son and demand that he look at the person shaking the bells. I suppose that's what a woman who doesn't know how to raise kids does.


We received a package in the mail this week from my awesome cousin Regina. It should be saying a lot to say that words escape me. Anyone who not only offered to rescue my family from the wildfires and bring them to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play in the World Series... and then, clothes my offspring in official Red Sox paraphernalia is right up there in my book of greatness.

And, she's a good dancer.


Because Elizabeth is almost completely potty trained, my mother sent her a pair of Princess shoes earlier this week. When William and Carolyn questioned where their shoes were, my mother sent them the following postcard, in the mail.

If anyone at the USPO happened to read this card while it was en route to us, who do you think they would have thought the recipient was?


Yesterday, I went to get my hair done. This is the first time I've been to the salon in ten months, so when the children saw me, my hair was eight inches shorter and had been expertly highlighted with blonde in contrast to my brown roots.

When I walked in the front door, William cast his eyes upon my head and said "Mommy. You look bweautiful." Then he added, "You have stwipes. Just like a zebwa."

And to think, it only cost me $120.00 to look like an animal from the zoo.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I interrupt my Christmas card writing

To bring you a hilarious comment to my post from yesterday.

Please, do go read it.

I'm not sure who these people are that are coming to my blog and leaving me comments. I've received some real doozies lately, hence the need for comment moderation. But I probably should have just deleted the comment because in the time it took me to respond, I could have written at least FIVE Christmas cards. Although, that's just scratching the surface considering we have 200 to mail out. This is what happens when you love drama.

If you don't think the comment is funny, hopefully you'll agree that my children renaming "O'Henry Bars" to "Baby Bars" is mighty cute.

defying authority

The neighbor down the street has actually been operating the carpet cleaning business out of their garage for at least the past year. Although I drove and walked past this house daily during that time ... I never really noticed the three bright yellow vans that were parked there.

Every. Single. Day.

I mean ... I noticed. It just didn't set off any alarms or annoy me. I thought that maybe the people that lived there had white carpeting and three toddlers that liked to drink grape juice from open cups. Which might, subsequently, require the three bright yellow carpet cleaning vans to show up daily.

Maybe it's because my attention is focused elsewhere, but sometimes, it takes me a while to clue in to things. Like last week, one of my friends came over with her triplet boys and I didn't notice until almost an hour after she left, that the same upbeat Nutcracker song had been playing for three hours on the iPod. Once I realized that the song was on repeat it instantly drove me insane and I couldn't get the stereo turned off fast enough. How I didn't hear the gunshot and crack being played over and over again for three hours is a mystery.

When some of our other neighbors came over to join us for Thanksgiving Dinner - they stressed that the carpet cleaning people were in direct violation of the local zoning laws by operating a commercial business out of a residential area. Moreover, they pointed out that in the time that this carpet cleaning business has been operating, the house where the operations are headquartered has gone to shambles. The front lawn and all of the trees in the yard are dead (probably from the carpet cleaning chemicals that are discharged there) and there are unsightly oil stains all over the driveway and garage door.

Because our friends are in the market to sell their home soon, they mentioned that their Realtor was genuinely concerned that the carpet-cleaning-house will substantially affect the marketability and sale value of their house.

Once I heard this information, I started paying more attention to the carpet cleaning house. Every day that I would see the big vans pull up and park in the driveway and street, I started to become more and more annoyed. I became even more annoyed when I noticed that the several cars lining the street belonged to employees of the carpet cleaning business.

Maybe I wouldn't be as concerned with someone operating their business out of their garage if we lived in an area where there were big front lawns and trees and lots of space between the homes. But we live in southern California and because real estate is at a premium, I can literally reach out and touch my neighbor because their house is only about eight feet away from mine.

It's like glorified apartment living.

If someone wanted to leave their Christmas lights up all year or their trash cans out on the curb for two or three days after trash pickup ... even though doing these things are in direct violation of our homeowner's rules ... I wouldn't be launching any complaints. But we live in an established and reputable neighborhood where we spend a couple hundred dollars a month on a regime fee.

We don't live in a strip mall.

If the carpet cleaning people have a business license, they must know that there are zoning laws. And if they are operating a business where they are generating waste water, they must know that there are restrictions for where that water can be discharged.

They know the rules. They just chose to ignore them. They have also ignored the numerous requests by our homeowner's association to move their vehicles to a different location. From what I understand, it can be a lengthy process for our homeowner's association to do anything about their blatant disregard of the Covenant Condition Restrictions (CC&R's).

But once I noticed that they were attaching flex hoses on to the back of their vans and dumping several hundred gallons of waste water out of their vans and down their driveway and I watched that water run down the street, and then another street, before reaching the storm drain almost a quarter-mile away, they afforded me the opportunity to get the local authorities involved.

See the thing is, the only thing that is supposed to go in to a storm drain is water from storms. Hence the term "Storm Drain."

Unlike water that is discharged to a sewer system, water that enters a storm drain is not treated and drains directly to the ocean, or other water body. That is why it is extremely important that chemicals, surfactants (soap), mud, oil and grease be minimized as much as possible. Without going in to too much detail, surface run-off from watering your lawns or washing your car isn't a problem. But, at least in my City, under no circumstances is it acceptable for a commercial business to discharge their waste water to a storm drain.

I wish that I could get a commission on the fines that are going to be levied on the carpet cleaning business. Because they are going to be ... how do I say ... huge. But more than that, they will be required to move their operations elsewhere immediately.

In other news.

Tonight Charlie went to the cooking class, by himself while I stayed home with the children. I decided to take them to the park to burn off a little energy and while we were there, we were joined by eight 10-year old boys whose parents were no where in sight. No biggie thinks I. These are just 10-year old boys that are out having fun before dinner.

But when they started throwing cobble-sized rocks across the playground, I piped up "Hey guys, how about you not throw rocks on a playground where there are small children playing?"

They seemed nice enough and moved 20 feet off the playground before resuming their rock throwing activities.

Then, one of the boys decided to use the trunk on William's tricycle as a receptacle for the sand pit he was digging. Because William was on the swing and not using his trike, the boy just dragged it over to his sand pit and started filling the back of it with handfuls of sand.

All three of my kids went crazy yelling "Mommy!! Dat MY twicycle!! He no trow dirt on MY twicycle!!" At first I was confused thinking that the boy obviously didn't realize that the tricycle's owner was at the playground and perhaps he thought it was an abandoned toy.

I told the boy "I'm sorry. That's my son's tricycle and although he is not using it at the moment, I would prefer that you not fill it up with sand. Perhaps you can use ..." my eyes are scanning the playground and spot a plastic cup that blew out of the trashcan, I point "... that cup over there."

I'm walking back to the swings with the tricycle in my hand and the boy follows me. When I put it down, he tries to pick it up again. When I give him a puzzled look, he says "No. I don't want to use a cup, I want to use this. I'll give it back in a little while."

I wish that the first thought in my head was "Oh, this poor boy. He has no toys or parental supervision. Of course he can play with my child's tricycle." But alas, I'm not that good of a person. Because the first thought in my head was "I can totally take this kid. If I need to, I can knock him flat on his fanny and send him crying for his mama."

Turning around to face the boy I firmly said "I don't want you to fill my son's tricycle with sand. You'll need to find something else to use."

He stood there for a minute, giving me a dirty look. The next minute, he rejoined his other 10-year old friends and they started throwing sand on one another. I decided that it was in my best interest to move my small children to the other side of the park, so I unloaded the kids from the baby swings and started to walk away while pushing Henry in the stroller and summoning for everyone to follow me.

The girls did.

William hung back, completely intrigued by the "big" boys.

I called for him. Once, twice, three times. Finally, in an overly stern voice I said "William. It is time to go. I want you to come over here, now. If you don't listen, I am going to come pick you up at the count of three."

I count to three, pick him up as he is screaming "NO HOME!!" and as I'm holding him, I explain that I don't feel comfortable with us playing near the big boys. I'm afraid someone might get hurt and I want to go to the other side of the park, where everyone can ride their tricycle and scooters.

Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the sand digging boy, come running around in front of me and rush the girls who are standing on their little pink Princess scooters, with their Princess baskets on the front. The girls jump off and come running towards me with huge frightened eyes, just as the boy picks up both of their scooters and declares "I'll use these to hold my sand."

I put William down and remove the scooters from the boy's grasp, while considering for the second time in less than five minutes, knocking him on his tush.

But I don't.

Because I'm an adult.

And from what I understand, adults aren't supposed to open a can of whoop ass on bratty children at the playground. Isn't that right??

I inform the boy that the scooters also belong to us and gosh, I hope he can find something else to use for his activity. While I'm walking the scooters over to the sidewalk, the boy gets down at face level with William and screams something unintelligible at my young son, while shaking his fist. William was petrified and erupts in to a cry.

Sadly, my telling the kid that he deserves a stocking full of coal didn't have the desired effect. And because I'm an upstanding citizen, I didn't do something that would have made him cry. I certainly could have because I've learned a lot about inflicting harm from watching William's karate chop and Carolyn's eye gouge technique.

'Tis the season to be jolly.

I'm making friends everywhere I turn.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

free advice

If you are at home with your young children and you feel like your house is never going to get "completely" clean, or the laundry is never going to get "entirely" finished, or your To-Do list is never going to get "finalized", or you are never going to make a "gourmet" meal again ... don't sweat it.

It really is more important that you take your children for a walk, or build a fort with them, or teach them how to mix blue and yellow for green, or that you just sit and contentedly hold your infant because although your chores will always be there - your children will only be little once.

You might have heard that advice before.

But here's some advice you might have never heard.

If you move in to a neighborhood and plan on operating a carpet cleaning business out of your garage - just make sure that you don't live down the street from a woman who is employed as an environmental engineer and happens to be home from work on maternity leave. Because when she sees you illegally dumping your untreated water from the back of your big yellow carpet cleaning trucks in to the street and storm drain, she's going to go Erin Brockovich on you.

She would be the lady with the four small children and a zoom lens on her camera that was taking pictures of you, this morning. She would also be the one that considered, just for a moment, collecting an influent sample of discharge water in an empty baby food jar before it poured in to the storm drain.

And she'd also be the one that spent the better part of her children's nap time contacting the Homeowners Association, the City's Permit and Engineering Division, the County's Department of Environmental Health, and the State's Environmental Protection Agency.

Tomorrow, you might want to plan on a visit from the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

They can't wait to meet you.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

my definition of "eye candy"

It's amazing how a chubby 5-month old can make my heart skip a beat and positively take my breath away.

I am so in love.

I'm also more convinced than ever that Mother Nature makes babies cute for a reason. With a squishy and giggling infant, parents become completely devoted to their little person hook, line and sinker.

And are oblivious to what lays in wait.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

mental purge

If not for Henry's ability to eat while vertical - and his need for me to sit still - this blog would be non-existent. This past week has found me insanely busy and there is no end in sight.

Because of mountains of laundry.

And Christmas shopping.

And picking up the ornaments that have been scattered all over the house.

And the 200 pictures I will be sending out to friends and family of the children with Santa.

Once I take the children to see Santa.

And I write my annual Christmas letter.

One thing is for sure, unlike Clement Clarke Moore, the creatures in our house are stirring.

Especially the mice.

Charlie is coming up with new and ingenious ways to capture the rodents that are penetrating our home. He is on a killing spree. This morning he trapped a mouse under the sink and yesterday he trapped a huge rat in the garage. He also noticed that two traps were activated without snagging a long-tailed trespasser, so he has multiple traps set up - side by side - loaded with peanut butter and salami. Last night at 2 AM, he shot out of a dead sleep to tell me about some kind of shallow bowl trap that he dreamed about that will capture multiple vermin.

He's going crazy thinking about all the ways he is going to catch rats and mice.

I'm just going plain crazy.

I think that my days suddenly seem so chaotic because Henry has started eating solids. I never realized just how delicate my well-oiled schedule machine was, until I had to carve 20 minutes out twice a day to feed my baby rice cereal and some organic vegetable. Who would have guessed that adding solid food in to my baby's diet would cause the collapse of civilization?

This minor tweak to our daily regiment and my house is filled with savages.

The kids out of control behavior might have something to do with their refusal to nap. Or, I should say - they go and lay down and after an hour of tossing and turning, they will fall asleep for an hour. I've started giving them a nap every-other-day because although they might not need the downtime, I do.

More than the air I breathe, I need our children to nap.

The advantage of no napping during the day is that when we put them to bed at 7:00 PM, they are asleep within 5 minutes. As opposed to putting them in bed at 7:00 PM and they are completely wired until almost 10:00 PM. Some people might suggest giving up the nap altogether and question if the two hour break in the afternoon is really that important to me.

To those people I say why yes.

Yes, it is.

And then there is potty training.

My mother tells me that I can't get discouraged with William. But seriously, I put him in FIFTEEN pairs of cotton underwear yesterday, not all at the same time - although I probably should have.

I know he knows how to go. He's done it before. Yesterday, I tried to be upbeat and positive when he would stand in front of me and say "Mommy!! Look!! I go pee-pee on your sock!!" but after he sprung numerous leaks in various parts of the house, I was ready to wring his neck with the soggy underwear.

Speaking of William. Not sure what to do with the lad. He is incredibly bright but he is also hell on wheels. Our pediatrician tells me that he is advanced for his age. His language skills far surpass those of his sisters and I swear he's verging on the ability to read.

But he's become aggressive. Really aggressive. Yelling and screaming and hitting. Most of the time, I can tell that his behavior is provoked. He will be playing with something and someone will want it. Or, his sisters will continually pester him when he is trying to focus. Then, he'll explode like dynamite.

I'm trying to teach him that he needs to relax and not yell when he gets angry. Sometimes, I can see myself intervening and I think "Wow, great way to handle that situation, Jen!!" and then there are those times where his behavior infuriates me to the point that I'm ready to toss him through a window.

Yesterday at the park, he karate chopped a 20-month old because the little boy made the mistake of toddling too close to him. It's bad enough when he behaves poorly with his own siblings, it's something altogether different when he acts that way with a non-family member.

What I wanted to do was pick him up by his arms and throw him in the car. What I did was have him apologize before putting him in time-out for three minutes. And then, we left. That time out was more for me than it was for him. While he stood in the corner, I was taking deep breaths and repeating "You love your son. You stood vigil by his side in the NICU. Don't kill him."

This crazy behavior isn't just limited to the boy.

One night last week once the kids were in bed, I heard Elizabeth scream. When I ran in to the girls' room, Carolyn was kneeling on top of her, with her thumbs jammed in to her sister's eyes. Just a little bit more pressure and I'm convinced they would have popped clean out.

I pray that this psychosis is just a function of their age and that they outgrow it soon. Maybe these are primitive survival tactics they are exercising because they certainly aren't learning this stuff from any PBS television shows they are watching or stories that I'm reading to them. Unless there is some hidden martial arts message that I'm missing in "Green Eggs and Ham."

With three at three, it's like a mutiny all day, every day over here.

I have said "Let's go wash our hands" one million times if I've said it once. The same applies to "Don't hit your sibling. Play nicely. Eat your lunch. Drink your milk. Don't throw food. Leave on your clothes." They hear perfectly fine, but they don't listen. But oh, are they smart. They'll tell me something that happened three months ago like it was yesterday.

Thankfully, they do have their endearing moments. Like when they are asleep. Although, they just woke up. So now I've got to get ready for round two.

Ding! Ding!

Monday, December 10, 2007

santa came early!

A month ago, I was contacted by a company asking if I would be interested in participating in the Pampers Stages campaign. Because I love Pampers and I also love receiving free stuff, I wholeheartedly said "YES!"

Within a week of my response, we received several BIG boxes in the mail. Within those boxes there were a variety of diapers in a variety of sizes and a variety of wipes in a variety of styles. A person who is organized and on top of the game, would have immediately taken inventory and written down the quantity of everything that was received.

But well ... I'm going to pull my "I've got four children under the age of four" card here, and emphasize that three of my children think that a cardboard box is the greatest invention ever and they will stop at nothing to climb inside and play. In the time the box was delivered to my door and I peeled it open to peek at the contents inside, and then ran off to use the bathroom for 7.4 seconds, the box had been flipped upside and completely emptied.

The boxes of free diapers were then mixed with my monthly shipment of several more boxes that I had received on the exact same day from 1800 Diapers. Suffice it to say, there were enough Pampers in my living room to cover our entire 1,600 square foot house in baby soft protection.

Since I didn't order Cruisers, Easy-Ups, Swipers or Clean 'n Go from 1800 Diapers, I'm going to go out on a limb and write that those were the diapers and wipes I received from the Pampers Stages campaign.

So, let's review. Shall we?

Baby Dry are my all-time favorite Pampers diaper. Although I have purchased Cruisers before, I always veer toward Baby Dry because you get more diapers for your buck. On average, the cost of a Baby Dry diaper is approximately $0.05 less than a Cruiser. When you go through 100 diapers a week (give or take 20), that can add up over the years.

The Cruisers that the Pampers Campaign sent for me to review were in a size 3, for my little Henry. These diapers held up just fine during the day when I would change him every 3 to 4 hours. But every night when he would go without a diaper change for 8 hours or more, he would be absolutely saturated and require an outfit change before we were up for the day. Henry was bumped up to a size 4 diaper at the end of November. But even when I had him in a size 3 Baby Dry, he didn't have breakthrough that would require new pajamas at 4 AM.

I'm really not sure what the advantage is with the Cruisers over the Baby Dry. My opinion is that they cost a little more and have less absorbency. When our triplets were babies and just starting to "cruise" I never had a problem with them leaking out of the Baby Dry, nor have we ever had any kind of diaper rash, so I'll continue to stand by those diapers that have worked best for us.

Moving along.

Easy-Ups. These work just fine although I have to admit I like the Pull-Up velcro siding better than the tear-a-way with Easy-Ups. If your child is overly ambitious whipping off their diaper (as mine are), there is an excellent chance that the Easy-Up will be a one-time use product because the sides are destroyed. The Pull-Up with velcro siding, however, can be used again and again if the diaper is dry, or, if you are the kind of parent that doesn't see a problem with keeping your child in a slightly damp or semi-smeared poopette diaper.

I cast no judgment.

I'm going to caveat the statement above with my opinion that I no longer think that diaper-like-underwear are the way to go with potty training. My children have become just as proficient pulling a regular Baby Dry diaper up and down as they are any of the diapers that are specifically designed to be reused. Considering Easy-Ups cost on average $0.08 more than Baby Dry ... or $0.03 more than Cruisers ... I see no advantage for the extra cost.

However, I have yet to try Feel n' Learn and might see a benefit with those. Considering I have a particularly willful child that is adamantly opposed to going on the potty and has no problem walking around in underwear that are dripping wet, these might be a good alternative. Or, I could just put a pair of plastic training pants over his underwear and save my money for the therapy that I am surely going to need if he doesn't get the hang of this whole toilet gig soon.

Next on the docket: Wipes.

I've tried just about every kind of wipe on the market. Once upon a time, a long time ago, before I realized that we could get Gifts to Grow points with wipes, I thought that the Pampers wipes were too thin. But then, I got used to them. And, I accumulated more Gifts to Grow points then if I wasn't using them.

For the most part, I have no preference in the Pampers wipes that are marketed. I see no benefit with Sensitive over Baby Fresh (Aloe or Lavender) and that is coming from someone who had premature babies with highly sensitive skin. The downside is that unless I want to lug around a plastic tub with me, the small packets are not resealable and will dry out in my diaper bag. I'm also not fond of the hard travel pack because the wipes dry out too soon which is probably a function of their thinness.

Pampers' answer to thicker wipes comes in the way of their new product, Swipers.

These are noticeably thicker than the other Pampers wipes and have a fragrance that is positively lovely. Because I have become used to using thinner wipes, I hadn't planned on changing our wipe variety. But I just did a little cost comparison and in the event I want a thicker wipe - or one that is aromatically pleasing - I can purchase Swipers for approximately the same cost as Baby Fresh.

Or, the same cost as Clean n' Go.

This is another new product by Pampers. My opinion of Clean n' Go wipes is that they are great for no other reason than the travel pack is soft sided with a resealable plastic lid. Just because diaper wipes are marketed for cleaning a babies bum, that doesn't stop me from using them for anything and everything. Once my free stash runs out, I plan to purchase more of these wipes to bring with me in my diaper bag and keep stocked in my car.

In summary: Baby Dry diapers are the best. Wipes are wipes are wipes. But because Pampers now makes a thick wipe and a good travel case wipe, you can buy all of your diapering products from Pampers and collect points to earn cool toys for your kids or a Blockbuster movie night with your spouse. Or, you can donate your points to such charitable causes as March of Dimes, Unicef, or the Today Show Toy Drive.

That concludes my review.

Now if Sandals Resort would like for me to do a review, I've got January and February wide open. But do you think I could just ship our children in a cardboard box that they love so much - or would I need to bring them on the plane?

o tannebaum

Since our children have been mobile, our Christmas tree has undergone a dramatic evolution. It has been a 3-foot tall variety perched on top of a table and out of reach from 14-month old crawlers and pull-er-uppers that might yank it down on top of them. Last year, the bottom half of the tree was completely devoid of any decorations for fear they would be consumed by 26-month old toddlers.

This year, we have decided to let the children help put on unbreakable ornaments.

A nearly 38-month old decorates a tree by putting ten ornaments and a string of Mardi Gras beads ... all on one branch.

It's the most beautiful thing I ever did see.

(If my mother [aka: the angel on my shoulder] the anon poster from yesterday is reading this, please go back and see my response to your comment about Kelsey's mom.)

Saturday, December 08, 2007

perverted pleasure

During our very first day at gymnastics last week (I think it was last week? I've totally lost track of time), a woman who has had her little girl "Kelsey" enrolled in the class for the past two years, made the comment to me that last semester, there was a woman in the class who had twins. And the twin mom had someone who came with her every single week so that each child had their own adult overseeing them.

She made this comment to me just as William was running for the trampoline, Carolyn was beelining it to the uneven bars, and Elizabeth was heading towards the balance beam - when they should have been doing their stretching exercises on the floor.

When she gave me a smirk and said "Having a 1-to-1 ratio really lets the child know who is in control" I was at a loss for words. For a long moment, I felt embarrassed and irresponsible. It seemed obvious that she was telling me that I needed to have one adult for each of my children. Otherwise, they were surely on track to disrupt the entire class and create mass havoc, absolutely ruining the gymnastics learning experience for all the other children.

Actually, the other child.

The class had a grand total of four students.

Kelsey and my three kids.

I'll admit, the first day was a little tough. The excitement and novelty of a new environment took some getting used to and I spent the majority of the class running around after kids. Since then, I've been wondering if perhaps I should see about bringing someone with me to help. The last thing I'd ever want is for my children to be a disruption and blow Kelsey's shot at making the U.S. gymnastics team in 13 years. Sure, I might think that my kids are obnoxious at times. But I don't want anyone else thinking that.

It's never been a reality for us - having extra hands to help with the children. So, we do the best job we can and go forth with the knowledge that our kids are sometimes going to act like kids. That's why we take them to places - like a peewee gymnastics class - where it's acceptable for children to act their age.

Aside from that, the logistics of bringing help with me to class is complicated. First, I don't have any one readily available that I could call. I certainly don't have three people that I could call, which would be necessary since I have three children in the class, and a baby that requires my attention, too. And unless my help was going to drive and meet me there, I don't have the room in my vehicle for anyone else.

When we went to class this week, I told the children what my expectations were, before we went inside. They need to pay attention to the teacher and to me. They need to only use the equipment that we are supposed to be on. If they don't listen and obey the rules, they will go in to time out, or - the teacher might ask for us to leave the class. I stressed that they really need to cooperate, knowing full well that my three-year olds probably have no understanding of what the word "cooperate" means.

Then, I said a little prayer and held my breath.

The only challenge I faced this week was when the girls climbed on top of a chair and were throwing powder chalk from the bars in to the air. I made them stand against the wall in time-out for a few minutes and for the rest of the class, they did exceptionally well.

But then there was Kelsey.

Kelsey threw a solid temper tantrum from the time she walked in the door until she was dragged back out 45 minutes later. Her mother was at her wits end. Kelsey didn't want to go over the vault backwards. She wanted to go frontwards. Kelsey didn't want to jump over the beanie babies on the beam. She wanted to kick them, as hard as she could. Kelsey also didn't want to jump on the springboard. She wanted to lay down on it, blocking the path for the other more obedient and much better looking students. While Kelsey was throwing her fit, my kids were standing in line, waiting their turns.

Henry, who has slept through all of the other classes was wide awake and when he started to fuss, I picked him up, loaded him in to the Bjorn and was nursing him while walking across a balance beam, demonstrating to my three children how to do a "dip-step".

Meanwhile, Kelsey's mother was chasing down her daughter, brushing the hair back from her sweaty brow and pleading with her three-year old, "Kelsey, Kelsey, please sweetie. You need to do it this way. Like this. See how mommy does it? Kelsey, KELSEY. Over here. We are over HERE now. Kelsey. Kelsey. Kelsey. Don't do that. Kelsey. Kelsey. Please stand up. Kelsey. Please don't lick the floor. Kelsey. KELSEY MARIE."

If it wasn't bad enough that I was breastfeeding a baby at the YMCA, I'm sure some people might think it was deplorable that I told a little girl, "Kelsey, if you don't listen to your mother, I am going to roll you in a flour tortilla and eat you for lunch."

Kelsey stopped in her tracks and gave me a shocked look.

But she wasn't nearly as surprised as her mother when I asked "Hmm, I wonder if you had a 2-to-1 ratio today, if Kelsey would better understand who is in control?"

And then, I laughed. Although cackle might be a better description.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

back by popular demand

I've received several e-mails from people asking that I please re-post the triplet's first visit with Santa Claus in 2005. This photo has already been posted on the blog, but to save you time from searching the archives ... I proudly present the best Santa photo, ever.

I know, I know. I'm biased because they are after all, my kids. But I can't help but chuckle every time I look at this picture. William and Elizabeth were fine when I first put them on Santa's lap. It was when Carolyn (R) who had severe stranger anxiety was added to the mix - and she started screaming - that the whole operation went south. I'm convinced that multiples are synchronized and have an internal scream sensor whenever there is "DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!"

And, Santa?

There's a special place in heaven for the Patron Saint of Children.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

month five: in review

This past weekend, as I was packing up the newborn, 3-month, 6-month and some 9-month clothes that you have completely outgrown, I was feeling very weepy.

My little baby Henry ... you are growing much too fast.

Within the past month, you have outgrown a size 3 diaper. Since every dirty diaper that you were producing required a complete outfit change - and often times an impromptu bath - I bumped you up to a size 4 and in doing so, marveled that it took your siblings a solid 18 months to reach a diaper size that you fill in just under five months time.

The circumference of your thighs are greater than your three year old sisters and will soon, exceed those of your older brother. You have little fat rolls on the back of your neck and your whole body, from your fingers to your toes, is absolutely squeezable.

You have dimples on your elbows and knees. And I've noticed a little dimple in your cheeks, that you probably inherited from me.

When you are nursing and awake - you love to flirt. Every so often, you'll look up and when our eyes connect, you'll laugh. Not a giggle laugh. A beautiful baby belly laugh. The kind that shakes your body and causes a little stream of milk to run down your cheek. The kind that rattles my heart and makes me want to freeze this moment in time. Forever.

When you are nursing and asleep - your little hands will splay out which tells me you are positively content. You give off deep sighs and will continue to suckle long after your feeding source has been removed.

When I pull you from the bath I cannot stop myself from smothering you head to toe in kisses. Whenever I do this, you will chortle and squeal with delight. You will also arch your back and twist which makes diapering and dressing a little more challenging.

Just two days ago, we gave you your first taste of solids. They came in the way of Nature's Best Organic Peas. For every one spoonful that I put in your mouth, two wound up all over your clothes, hands, hair and face.

I plan to expand your diet to include vegetables and rice cereal at least once a day, in addition to nursing. I've tried having your father give you expressed breast milk in a bottle, but because of your unwillingness to accept milk from anything other than me ... I've decided to send your father on our date night alone.

One day you might read this and may judge my decision to skip a date night with your dad, but the cooking class won't allow babies. And now that I've tried, I've decided I don't want for you to take a bottle. It gives me more joy than you could possibly imagine that we share such a strong bond. My days of nursing you are short-lived, although - I might extend them indefinitely since I can eat pretty much anything I want. So why do I need to mess with a good thing? For the sake of Joe-Joe's, why?

There has been more crying this month than before. It is my desire that you nap in your crib as opposed to my chest, and you are not happy, one single bit, with this decision. Some times, you will promptly fall to sleep when I put you down in a semi-drowsy state but most times, you will jerk awake and wail for a solid 30 minutes before falling asleep. Hearing you cry is pure torture for me. But I know that if you don't learn to fall asleep on your own now, it will only get more and more difficult as you grow older. Please forgive me. I'm never more than a few steps away and it takes everything I have to not run in and scoop you up. When I check on you after you have fallen asleep, it always brings a tear to my eye to see you shudder in your sleep. Learning to fall asleep on your own is by far the worst injustice you have faced while on this planet.

Your brother and sister completely crushing your baby gym is a close second.

You are doing a little better sleeping at night, but not by much. Most nights, I'll put you in your crib by no later than 8 PM. For the past few nights, you have slept soundly until 2:00 AM. Last week out of pure exhaustion, I thought maybe we'd try letting you cry and see if perhaps we couldn't break the wake-up cycle.

After you cried on and off for an hour and a half, your father ran to fetch you and I slept curled up with you in my arms for the next four hours.

Now when you cry at night, you are promptly brought in to our bed where I will nurse you, before transferring you in to the playpen at the foot of our bed.

This month, you have begun to develop a bit of stranger anxiety. Although the sight of our neighbor makes you cry, you are mesmerized by your siblings. You will watch them run and play and will laugh whenever they come over and put their faces down by yours.

They love being near you, except for when your flailing little arms or legs strike them. I have had to break up several brawls this past month because your siblings insist that you are THEIRS.

You have rolled over from tummy to back twice, have discovered your hands and are starting to reach for things.

The mass exitus of hair from my head has kicked in to high this month. There are strands of long hair all through the house that have required me to vacuum at least five times a week. I attribute this phenomenon in part to the hormonal realignment following pregnancy, but also, the fistfuls of hair that you grab whenever I pick you up.

But oh, how I love to pick you up!! Especially when you wrap your chubby little arms around my neck and suck on my face.

You are divine. You are heavenly.

You are mine and I love you completely.