Words to live by from the dinner table this evening:
Buzz (to Bookworm): Hey, I’m going to whisper something in your ear.
Bookworm: Finish chewing your broccoli first.
I’m not terribly surprised by the fact that I didn’t find time to write this weekend. I went to the gym on Saturday, cleaned house, and went to a concert with the Doc. Sunday is always a full day, and with church in the afternoon now it feels like it goes by even faster. But I wish I knew what happened to the two snow days!
Wouldn’t you know it would take until March to get our first real snowfall this season? Bookworm watches weather reports avidly, and is quick to flush an ice cube at the first sign there might be some wintry precip. She also does a mean snow dance. She used to wear her pajamas inside out—all of this was inspired by her bus driver, who was probably almost as eager for a snow day as the kids—but that must have been too irritating even for a chance at snow angels. Anyway, the weather wasn’t her doing this time. She was actually quite put out, as Monday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and was therefore to have been a “Reading Day,” when the kids were invited to wear comfy clothes, bring a stuffed animal and their favorite books, and have a carpet picnic while spending the day immersed in the printed word. This is Bookworm’s idea of a great day at school. Not even the promise of possible snow playtime really reconciled her to missing Reading Day until we also promised to have a picnic in the living room. So she spent a good part of the morning reading to her sisters, and lunchtime found us on a beach blanket, with sandwiches (egg and soy free), apple slices and popcorn. Since I had my hands full keeping them from knocking over drink glasses, we didn’t have any books at the picnic; instead, Bookworm suggested we could tell picnic stories. Hers was remarkably autobiographical, but with character names artfully borrowed from a book she was reading that morning. Of course, once she told one, everyone else had to have a turn too. Small wonder that we whiled away a fair amount of the remaining afternoon.
Somehow the rest of the time vanished among an assortment of other small projects. With four kids in the house we always have projects, and with four kids in the house we’ve learned it helps to keep them small. Spot’s was learning to scoot. With three older sisters in constant orbit, she’s always been pretty motivated to move, beginning with barrel rolls at about three months. Now she does some rocking an all fours, but not having yet quite figured out what to do with her legs, she generally resorts to a reverse army crawl across any open space until she hitches up against a sofa or family member.
Buzz’s project was changing clothes about three times an hour. I’ve heard friends complain about having kids with this impulse, but only recently has it really hit home. Buzz has always been my most fashion conscious—one of the aides at her preschool told me that the day isn’t complete until she gets a chance to see the outfit Buzz has come up with this time—but lately, after going through and trying on half the outfits she can reach (and depositing the unfit in a heap on the floor) she tends to end up wearing one of the same two or three things anyway. Since even at my best I’m not doing laundry every other day (though it can be close), this means that more often than not she is digging through the hamper to retrieve the red floral leggings she wore yesterday, her only concession being that she will wear a different shirt. Worse, she’s figured out that if she puts on something else in the morning, then changes right after lunch while I’m getting the baby ready to drive her to preschool, I don’t have the time to bully her into changing without the risk of missing the kiss-and-ride window. She knows that as long as it’s not her Tinker Bell nightgown, I’ll cave rather than have to park, get everybody out of their car seats, and march all three musketeers across the parking lot. One of Monday morning’s projects for me was swapping out some increasingly snug items from each of the girls’ drawers with others that had been too big last fall. Buzz, going to her dresser to answer a midday whim strike, found a shirt she’d never seen before (except on Bookworm two years ago, but who remembers that) and went into an ecstasy of gratitude for her new adornment. I was pleased that she said thanks without being prompted, but I knew I was in trouble when at dinner time she glowed aloud again and then exclaimed, “Mom, I want to wear this to school tomorrow and show all my friends and teachers my beautiful new shirt!” Undeterred by my pointing out that she’d worn it all afternoon and that it now had rice stuck to it, she brushed it off and promised to be more careful. With preschoolers like this, who needs teenagers?
Aslan, aside from shadowing Buzz anytime a change in wardrobe involved a fairy tale she felt like being involved in, also whittled away at my remaining energy and nerves by once more resisting any attempt to get her to use the toilet. While she mastered the mechanics of using the potty more than a year ago, has done so successfully on many occasions, and is now tall enough that she doesn’t even need the stepstool to reach the seat, she has made it clear that she sees no real reason to bother. I have reached the point of simply removing the diaper and letting her notice the consequences—the only way her predecessor was finally convinced at very nearly four years old—but unfortunately for me, those consequences are far more frustrating for me than for her. We’ll get there, but it’s hard to miss the irony when we still have to work pretty hard to get her to remember to use her manners at meals or snack time, but anytime someone asks if she needs to go to the potty, she chirps a ready, “No, thank you!”
My projects? Well, more of them were started than finished, as usual. And as usual, I have stayed up too late writing this. Mom, I promise I’ll add pictures soon. For now, my project had better be getting to bed so that I have a better chance of keeping up with them tomorrow.