Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pacie Fairy

Clementine's 3rd birthday came and went and we didn't pull the trigger on making her get rid of her pacifier.

Maybe Elise and I both feel the scars of separating Peter with his. The trip through the Brazilian rain forest--which ended with Peter pitching his pacifier over a waterfall--was life-changing for everyone there. Later that same night, I cradled Peter on the bed in the guest room as he sobbed uncontrollably for his pacifier, his mouth working around a phantom limb that was no longer made a sound like he was trying to get peanut butter off the roof of his mouth.

Last week, Elise and I finally got fed up with Clementine whining for her pacifier during the day, and trying to talk to us with it in her mouth when her words just came out as an unintelligible mutter.

"Clementine, I can't understand a word you're saying."

She plucks the pacifier out of her mouth and repeats herself with perfect enunciation.

Elise set the date. Friday. And through out the week, we reminded Clementine that the Pacie Fairy would come in the night to take pacie forever (a la the tooth fairy. Forgive us for our lack of creativity. We were/are/will be continuously exhausted).

So, Saturday morning, at 4:30 a.m, as I tip-toed past the kids' room, I slipped my hand into her mosquito netting and tugged the pacie from between her lips. (Fortunately, it was easy to find. It could have been a lot uglier if I had to pat around her bed or search between the sheets.)

I hid her two remaining pacifiers high up in the back of a cupboard in the laundry room, then went for a run.

I didn't make it far. I turned around at 3 miles for three reasons: 1) it was ridiculously, absurdly, murderously hot and humid, 2) as I was getting ready to jog out the front gate, I saw Peter's head bob through the living room. It was a quarter to five in the morning. I snuck back in to the house and made him go back to bed, but I was still worried he would lay for thirty seconds then just come right back downstairs and start drawing TIE fighters and Star Destroyers like he does every morning, and 3) I wasn't sure how Clementine would react to having her pacifier confiscated by a make-believe nymph.

I made it home before six. Peter and Clementine were downstairs at the dining room table, predictably drawing Star Wars vehicles.

The first thing Clementine says to me as I come in the door is to tell me that the Pacie Fairy came. She was not upset or crying as I'd feared. (I'd only stolen the pacifier from one child in my life and that ended in disaster, so you can't really blame me for my trepidation.) I don't exactly know if she knew what to think so I immediately praised her for being a big girl.

When Mom (Elise) came downstairs, I asked her if she noticed anything different about Clementine. She said she did. I told her Clementine was a "big girl now". Clementine was clearly beaming.

When Sam finally trudged downstairs, I asked him the Sam thing. He may have grumbled a noncommittal response, but when I told him that Clementine was a "big girl now", he brightened and like the good big brother that he is shared in her pride.

That afternoon when it was time to go down for nap, Clementine did without asking for her pacifier. Not once.

That evening, Elise and I went out to dinner, but were back in time to put the kids to bed. Clementine went right to sleep without asking for her pacifier. Not once.

The next night, Sunday, we watched a movie in the evening, and when it was time to turn the TV off, Clementine had a tantrum as she occasionally does. It escalated into a full on conflagration. She ended up in her bed wailing. I laid with her for a minute trying to help her come down, then her mother did. The flames persisted longer than they normally due--I believe--because she didn't have her back-up soothing mechanism, but she never asked for it amidst the screams and tears. Not once.

In fact, Clementine has not made mention of her pacie at all. Not one single time since the Pacie Fairy came.

Not once.

Mission accomplished.

Recycling in India, Part II

video

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Recycling in India

video

That girl's got rhythm!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Brilliant Minds

I came across this hilarious interview yesterday on Facebook and thought it would be fun to put the kids in the spotlight and ask them a few questions yesterday. Over the course of the day I finally got them to answer all of them and they were tickled to be interviewed. Although at first they were a little wary to answer some of these honestly. So without prompting, except to tell them it wasn't a test, they fired off these answers. Clem was interviewed right before bed-time so she was getting a little goofy, but that makes it all the more hilarious. We had quite a laugh reading them all back as a family last night.



Peter, 5 years old 

1. What is something mom always says to you? yes
2. What makes mom happy? Drawing heart pictures
3. What makes mom sad? Not helping her
4. How does your mom make you laugh? Tickle me
5. What was your mom like as a child? Playing with people’s toys
6. How old is your mom? 42 (ahem, 35)
7. How tall is your mom? 5 inches
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Painting pictures at your desk
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? Work on your computer
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? For going to fancy parties
11. What is your mom really good at? painting
12. What is your mom not very good at? Building Legos
13. What does your mom do for a job? sleep
14. What is your mom's favorite food? tacos
15. What makes you proud of your mom? Playing “Jail Trap” (jail trap is where I capture them and throw them on my bed and pretend to lock them in the mosquito netting and they escape and I have to trap them again)
16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? Princess Leia
17. What do you and your mom do together? color
18. How are you and your mom the same? Our nails our the same sharpness
19. How are you and your mom different? I don’t wear earrings
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Because I always help her.
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? He married her
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? salons
23. How old was your Mom when you were born? 5


Sam | 7 years old

1. What is something mom always says to you? A joke
2. What makes mom happy? When I kiss and hug her
3. What makes mom sad? When Ma and Grandad and Nanny leave
4. What does your mom do to make you laugh? Funny jokes
5. What was your mom like as a child? A boy
6. How old is your mom? 23
7. How tall is your mom? 7 feet
8. What is her favorite thing to do? yoga
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? Nothing
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Being a famous photographer
11. What is your mom really good at? Taking pictures
12. What is your mom not very good at? Driving in India
13. What does your mom do for a job? Take pictures
14. What is your mom's favorite food? Rava dosa
15. What makes you proud of your mom? Taking a million and one pictures
16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? Wonder woman
17. What do you and your mom do together? Photo walks
18. How are you and your mom the same? Heart
19. How are you and your mom different? Size
20. How do you know your mom loves you? She shows it
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? Your both in the same country
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? Ma and Grandad’s house
23. How old was your Mom when you were born? 19



Clementine | 3 years old

1. What is something mom always says to you? I love you
2. What makes mom happy? Making a heart
3. What makes mom sad? Not coloring hearts
4. How does your mom make you laugh? You do crazy hair for me
5. What was your mom like as a child? A girl
6. How old is your mom? 10
7. How tall is your mom? 100 meters up
8. What is her favorite thing to do? Play jail trap
9. What does your mom do when you're not around? Watch tv
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? Going to the Phoenix Mall
11. What is your mom really good at? Painting
12. What is your mom not very good at? singing
13. What does your mom do for a job? I don’t know
14. What is your mom's favorite food? Salad
15. What makes you proud of your mom? Making hearts
16. If your mom were a character, who would she be? An elephant
17. What do you and your mom do together? kissing
18. How are you and your mom the same? happy
19. How are you and your mom different? Elephants and watermelons
20. How do you know your mom loves you? Hugging and kissing when mom and dad are going out somewhere
21. What does your mom like most about your dad? Shaving his beard and marrying him
22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? Phoenix Mall
23. How old was your Mom when you were born? 6

Sam's Turtle Presentation

video

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Cold, Hard Floor

I may have written about our adventures with getting Clementine to sleep in her big girl bed before, but I looked back through the past several months' blog entries and couldn't find any reference to it. Maybe I was just thinking of blogging on the topic because it has been such a journey. If this all sounds familiar, then I apologize in advance. The journey may be coming to end. Knock on wood.

Several months ago, Clementine secretly conscripted Ms. Rita into moving her crib and replacing it with her big girl bed. Elise may have played a role, too, but my understanding is this was more Clementine's and Ms. Rita's idea than anyone else's. If a parent was consulted, it was only after the switch had been made, and Clementine was already basking in the glow of her accomplishment. At that point, it would have been too heartless to undo it.

When we moved Sam and Peter into their big boy beds in Brazil (really just twin mattresses on the floor in their room), I had to threaten them within an inch of their life several nights in a row to keep them from hopping out of their beds 55 times before they finally fell asleep.

I couldn't figure out why I couldn't convince Clementine to stay in her big girl bed, until I realized that I would never be able to yell or threaten her the same way I did the boys.

Not to mention, Clementine has never fallen asleep in her own bed. At naps, it is a completely different story. She will even tell Elise when she is tired and ready to go to bed. At naps, she crawls right into her bed--no fuss--curls up with her blanket and quietly goes right to sleep.

I tried letting her cry herself to sleep a couple of nights. I think it's called the Ferber-method. We used it on the boys--Sam especially--with varying degrees of utter failure. I don't know how we ever got them to go to sleep in their own beds, but they do now. That's all that matters.

But Elise and I quickly realized we could not let Clementine cry herself to sleep. We quietly acquiesced, and Clementine soon resumed crawling into my spot in our bed and going to sleep there. Every night, I would extract her from my side of the bed, manuever her through the mosquito netting, and slip her into her crib where she would stay, soundly asleep, for the rest of the night.

When she moved to the big girl bed, the "soundy asleep for the rest of the night" part stopped, and we found Clementine sneaking back into our room once, twice, as many as three and four times a night, complaining, "I can't sleep."

Well, no $h!t you can't sleep. You're standing up in the middle of our room.

I'm a pushover, though. This is not news to anyone, least of all Elise, and every time Clementine would come into our room, whining that she couldn't sleep, I would walk her back to her room and put her back in her bed. I would tuck her back in, grab a couch cushion and lay down on the marble floor next to her bed until she fell back to sleep.

When Elise or I were especially exhausted, we would just pull Clementine into bed with us, but this usually ended up with Clem either sleeping on one of our heads or completely horizontal in the bed when everyone else in the bed was vertical.

Finally, enough was enough and we did threaten Clementine. If she didn't stay in her big girl bed at night, we were going to lock the door to her room. Elise came up with it. It seemed a little harsh to me, but I'm not going to judge, because it worked.

Some nights, she will still come in. Most nights, she doesn't. But she still doesn't fall asleep in her own bed. That is...she didn't fall asleep in her own bed...until last night.

After the boys fall asleep, Clementine will read books quietly in her bed. She has her own bedside light on a shelf above her head that she can read by. Elise and I will sit and talk in the TV room just outside the kids' room. After a few minutes, we will hear the thud of a book falling to the floor, and Clementine will slink out into the TV room. I will prop a pillow against my lap and she will curl up on the couch and go to sleep. I will spread her blanket over her, kiss her on the cheek and run my fingers through her hair.

Last night, a little while after the boys fell asleep, Elise got into bed to read. I sat on the couch, catching up on Facebook on my phone, waiting for Clementine to come out. Eventually, I heard the thud of the book she was reading as it slipped from her fingers and hit the floor, followed shortly by the click of her switching off her bedslide light.

I sat and waited.

But she never came out.

I tip-toed into her room. She was asleep. I pulled the mosquito net around her and, too, went to bed. I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I had become more used to her falling asleep beside me than I had realized. I don't doubt that will be the last night she puts her self to bed.

At least I hope it's not. For now.