Parenting

progression

First day

I view the point of parenting to be getting your kids ready to not need you. Yes, have fun with them, and cherish the time you have with them. Just remember, at some point, they will leave and go out into the world. They need to go out into the world.

So, Brooklynn, go out into the world. Welcome to kindergarten.

We've been taking Brooklynn to daycare since she was a few months old, so it isn't as if we've never had her out of the house without us before. In fact, she will still spend part of her day at a daycare to allow all of us to avoid multiple drop-offs, pick-ups, and varied schedules. And she's fine with it.

Last night, as we reviewed her lunch list and picked out her first day outfit, she took some time to explain to Maddi that she would be going to school during the day but she'll come back in the afternoon so Mom can pick them both up. She explained it with a "Of course this will be fine" tone that showed she was the big sister, more than capable of taking care of herself.

With Brooklynn in daycare, she has been getting to be one of the big kids for a while now, some I'm used to seeing her as a rather mature and capable person. This morning, to help her get into the routine, we took her to daycare and let the shuttle take her to school. I told her that I would see her at school just to make sure she got to her classroom on the first day. At daycare, she was fine - I'll see you there if you want to come. If anything, Maddi was more worked up over the notion that Brooklynn would be leaving without her.

I got to the elementary school ten minutes before the bell rang to line up. It's been a while since I've been to K-5 age setting, and longer still since I was there on the first day. Since I didn't know exactly where Brooklynn would be dropped off, we hadn't set a firm meeting point to give her a "Wait for me here" direction. As I surveyed the mass of kids, parents, and supervisors on the playground, I regretted that.

I didn't think Brooklynn would have abandoned her belongings to play, but I swung by the slides and swings to check. I didn't see her. If nothing else, I knew I could wait by the door and at least wave to her as she went in since I told her I would be there. I was walking back to the school through the people when and opening in the crowd appeared and I spotted her.

She was standing still, clutching her backpack to her chest, looking at all the people swirling around her. Instead of the mature and worldly person we see at home, she seemed very small, timid, and afraid. She saw me as well, came over, and latched on to my leg. I crouch down to be at her level and everything came spilling out. They shuttle dropped her off and there weren't many other kids riding with her today and she didn't know where to go and she couldn't find her teacher and she didn't know where I was but she knew I should be somewhere and she just didn't know.

And so I helped her. With the assistance of a playground monitor, we found the tag where her class will line up. And we looked at the other class tags, and saw how others ones had numbers for the grade levels and hers had a K for kindergarten, and the letter of her teachers name. We put her backpack in the line and went to play for a minute. Brand new playground equipment, yes it's ok to go on it, and yes, I will be here when you're done.

The whistle blew for everyone to line up, so we went back, found her backpack, and got in line. We talked about where the shuttle from daycare dropped her off, and where it would pick her up at the end of the day. We talked about the fact tomorrow morning, she would need to do this herself and that I can't come every day with her. She said that she could handle it, and, since her teacher was starting the headcount of the kids in line, I gave her one last hug, got a tighter squeeze back, and I stepped away.

They waited for a minute while a few other classes went in first. Brooklynn motioned for me to come over to her, but I just told her she would be fine, right? She nodded, and it was her turn to file in. One last wave and she was gone. She didn't even need to look back.

I walked back to my car and headed back to work. The whole point of parenting is to get your kids ready not to need you. We're doing that. Some steps along the path are bigger than others, and I'd say that this morning was a gigantic one.

Good job, Brooklynn.

Enter the building

ride sally ride

Brooklynn has been riding her bike for the past two years with training wheels. She's comfortable with them on and rides pretty quickly, but the entire time, she's been aware that the training wheels are something big kids don't have. She also hasn't learned to lean into turns and when she pedals hard up hills, she sometimes lifts the back wheel off the ground leaning entirely onto the small training wheel. Last month, we told her that maybe this summer would be the year she learned to ride a bike without them. And she immediately demanded that we take the training wheels off. She was FIVE! No balance aides required. Because she's five. Of course a birthday automatically imparts the ability to balance on two wheels.

I took them off, and since her bike seat was set too high for her to reach the ground, I held on while she climbed up. The first trip to the corner and back I held on tight and kept her upright. I imagine it felt to her much like having the training wheels on. The bike stayed stable and vertical regardless of her body position. The next trip, she informed me that I didn't have to hold on so much. So I didn't.

Two seconds later, she was yelling at me because I almost let her fall and how could I do that!? She's just a little kid.

The training wheels went back on.

We've been looking at the strider bikes for Maddi, the kind where there aren't any pedals and kids learn to balance by walking with their feet and gliding. Brooklynn wanted nothing to do with it, because that was for little kids. She has a pedal bike, don't you know. But after visiting a store with them and letting the girls ride around the small strider bikes, Brooklynn admitted that maybe it would be ok to try it.

I lowered her bike seat all the way and took off the pedals. She could just reach the ground enough to push along and she started by basically walking. Our bike and walk outings went from a few miles around the hills of the neighborhood to around the block and back home. And little by little, we started to see improvements. She would glide the last 10 feet down the driveway. She would almost come to a complete stop before she put her foot down to catch herself.

Last night, we watched her glide down a slight hill on the sidewalk for almost 100 feet without touching her feet. Her balance wasn't perfect, and it really looked like she could use someplace to put her feet. Maybe it was time.

I put the pedals back on, and she was immediately more concerned with pedaling and braking than balancing. I helped her by holding on, but it did not go well. She put her bike away, told me I didn't do a good job for her, and went inside.

Brooklynn will quit on things if she doesn't immediately succeed. It's one of the things we are a little worried about her with as she starts school this fall. Rhiannon told her to try one more time. To just push along like she knows how, and if she felt good about it, maybe put her feet on the pedals. And if she still felt good, maybe pedal once around.

She got back on the bike. One more time, she told us. But that was it. And then...

I had to kick her off the bike to get ready for bed. She told me that she's going to ride all afternoon today.

I've never been so proud.

upwards and onwards

It's hard not compare the children. As much as I try to recognize them for their own unique traits, I reference a lot of my experience to Maddi back to what Brooklynn was like at a similar age. And the more I reference back, the more I find myself thinking, Brooklynn would not have been doing that. The Climber

At the playground near our house, there are a few tall ladders. Brooklynn was cautious around high things that could lead to falls. Maddi is not. I was with Brooklynn at a different part of the playground for a couple minutes and realized that Maddi was no longer on the little kid section of slides. And I couldn't see her.

My initial thought was that she had headed up the sidewalk toward the street, so I briskly walked around to the street side of the equipment and scanned the edge of the road. No Maddi. As I turned back to the mulched play area, there she was, on the chain ladder about three times as tall as herself. She was one rung from the top and trying to figure out what to do since the hand holds were different than the rest of the way up.

I walked over and showed her the handles on the sides of the platform. Away she went.

Unlike Brooklynn, Maddi does not like assistance when she climbs. Into cars. Up ladders. Over the edge of the bath. No, do not touch her. If you do, that constitutes a violation of her do-it-myself attitude and she has to start all over. And then you also get scolded by a toddler, "No Daddy! Mah-SEFF!" If you are really fortunate, she will continue to mutter her version of myself to, well, herself, as is to ward off any unwanted assistance.

Keep that free spirit, Maddi. Just don't look down.

announcing

The Announcement Here goes round number 3. The girls are really excited.

My biggest problem? I can't figure out what to call baby #3 before he/she decides to join us.

Brooklynn was Beta (for beta release version)

Maddi was Artoo (for R2, or revision 2)

I'm halfway tempted to follow the Star Wars convention and go with Threepio, for C-3PO, (using the C3 for child 3...), but I haven't committed to that. Feels a little contrived.

Brooklynn suggested Molly which was nixed for being too gender specific. Maddi contributed her idea of "Baby". Real original, honey.

So, baby #3 for now.

across the spectrum

Mornings have slowly evolved into a routine in the house. On a good day, this finds me up and ready before either of the girls are awake. While they are both capable of being a little independent, it's just easier to get started without them requiring any assistance. Since the time change a few weeks ago, this hasn't been an issue. It's still dark prior to 7am, and to this point, doesn't come too far ahead of sunrise. Some mornings, if we had an early bedtime the night before, Maddi will start making noise. We recently took the side off of her crib, and even though she can get out of her bed, she typically doesn't. Maybe it's the low side that's on it to keep her from rolling out. Maybe it's the fact that she can't open the doors in the house so she can't really go anywhere anyway. Whatever it is that keeps her in bed when she wakes up, I'm not going to complain.

Even if she isn't awake, Maddi typically pops up quickly after I walk in. She likes to have her diaper changed right away, and then a new outfit is selected. If I don't have one picked out yet, I get assistance in the closet. Thankfully, Rhiannon loads the closet with matching outfits pre-sorted, so as long as I take the pants under whatever shirt Maddi grabs, we are good to go. Then she likes to run down the hall and say good morning to Rhiannon.

Before I get Maddi, I like to open Brooklynn's door. This lets the hall light shine in for a little bit before I get her. It doesn't mean she's awake. More often than not, it means when I go in, the blankets are pulled over her head and she has her back to the door. Where Maddi seems pretty excited about getting ready, Brooklynn does not. She doesn't like being uncovered. She doesn't like getting dressed, or getting out of bed, or getting breakfast. Asking a person to sit at a table and eat food prior to 7:15 is asking a lot.

Maddi runs to the pantry and usually requests rice krispies. Brooklynn sulks at the table and rejects the three options I give her before sighing heavily and selecting the first choice I already gave her, as if her life is about to end because her dad can't figure out what is the least objectionable food to start a day with. Keep in mind, least objectionable is a very fluid term - what was a hit one morning may be detested the next day. Peach kuchen bars had a solid two week run until she decided one morning that peaches weren't really good for breakfast anymore and could I just dig all those out?

Maddi finishes eating and runs around finding her SHOES and HAT and COAT and BACKPACK! Every morning is a new adventure full of things to learn. She can pick out her footwear. She can put on her own coat. What is this amazing beverage in my bottle today? Why, it's WATER! HOORAY LIFE!!

Brooklynn decides about the time we need to leave that her mostly untouched and inedible breakfast is now the finest dining experience and how can we be so cruel as to tear her away from such delicacies before she is allowed to finish eating? Life is not fair. If it's cold, we make her wear her winter coat, the bulky one that bunches up when she sits in the car. Travesty! If we relent and let her wear the less bulky (and less warm) one, she will decide about the time the garage door closes that she is freezing and where is her warm coat and why isn't the car toasty yet? Anguish and torment.

If our life were a sitcom with two teenagers, Maddi would be a cheerleader excited about the big game and Brooklynn would be a brooding renegade, wearing all black and muttering to herself about how the world doesn't understand her.

Then I start the soundtrack to the Frozen movie as we drive. Peace settles over the car, Brooklynn signs along and Maddi chimes in on the words that end the major phrases. Just a simple drive, day after day. Routine. Aside from being both exasperating and exhausting every single morning, it's kind of comforting.

Now, having committed all of this in writing, I'm guessing tomorrow morning will be drastically different.

injury identification

While Maddi is slowly progressing on her speaking vocabulary, her understanding is growing rapidly. At least her decisiveness in answering questions is getting better.

Maddi, would you like to go back to bed?

No!

Maddi, would you like to cuddle in bed for a while with mom and dad in our room?

No!

Maddi, would you like to watch some PBS shows on the TV?

No!

Maddi, would you like eat breakfast out here by yourself?

No!

Maddi, it’s 6:30am on the weekend. No one else in the house is up yet. Would you like me to sit out in the living room with you because you think it’s time to be awake now?

Yeah!

Wonderful…

It’s nice that she can follow directions and answer an expanding repertoire of questions with increasing accuracy. We could do without the stubbornness. She latches on to ideas and won’t let go. Like she needs her pacifier more than we would like. She likes to take care of babies. And she is concerned about owies.

Maddi has a scratch on one of her knuckles, and the last time I asked to see her pretty painted nails, that was the only thing that concerned her. She points to her knuckle – owie, owie! It doesn’t matter how old the scratch or mark it, it’s still an owie.

If she bumps her head or runs into a wall – owie! If I have a scratch or bruise on my leg that she can see, she will walk over, point to it with her finger, and say in her most concerned voice, Owie! Then she will pat it as if to say, Don’t worry Dad, it’s going to be ok.

Last night, we were in the pool for parent/child swimming class. Maddi likes swimming and likes to be in the water, but the class gets over close to 7pm which is close to her bedtime. By the end of the class, she wasn’t happy and wanted to put her toy back in the tub and get out. She reached out to put the frog back and noticed her wrinkled fingers.

She held her hand out toward me and with a small cry, as if she was asking why we were still there so late at night, owie. She grabbed my hand, saw my fingers, point to them and informed that was also an owie. She patted my wrinkled hand with her wrinkled hand, put her head on my shoulder, and sighed a soft owie. It’s late, Dad. Let’s go home and get well.

they don't need us

One of the things that Rhiannon and I have always felt strongly about is reading the girls bedtime stories. When Brooklynn was really little, we read a couple books that were more for the parents than for the child, a half chapter at a time each night. As she got older, we transitioned into a couple books each night that you can read through in one sitting. I think she is finally old enough that we could start reading longer stories a little at a time again, kind of like breaking a movie up into small pieces. Maddi is also now old enough that she likes her picture books and enjoys to read the same book multiple times in one night or repeat the same story night after night so she can find the pictures and say the words that she knows.

Or, maybe neither of them need us anymore and they will take over their own story needs.

Evenying Reading Bedtime Story

(Let's just keep the fact that Maddi's book is upside between us, ok? All she's really concerned with is that she finds which flap opens to reveal a baby.)

Tree Stripping

When we set up the tree, Maddi was taking a nap. Since it was the first time we were putting up decorations in the new house and didn't know exactly where everything should go, we felt it might be a little easier without the eager helping hands of the little one. Once the tree was up, we had a no touching policy. The ornaments are plastic, so breakage wasn't a huge concern. Rather, we just don't want the kids to get in the habit of rummaging through the indoor foliage. As we've done on more than occasion, we took our tree down on New Year's Day this year. Maddi was not asleep, and she was not going to miss out on the opportunity to finally play with all the ornaments that she's been looking at for the past month.

Where does this go

We made her help sort by color. Pink and purple and red and orange are pretty close together, so there were a few issues there. (I won't go into the fact that more of the issues were probably mine than Maddi's. I'll blame that on the fact that Rhiannon was telling Maddi which pile to place ornaments in and she wasn't offering any hints to me.)

Ornamental

it's what time again

In talking to a couple on Monday morning, they made the comment that the "fall back" time change is one of the best weekends of the year, mostly due to the fact that on Sunday morning, you get an extra hour of sleep. Unless of course, you are the parent of young children, in which case, it probably means you get to be up at what the clock says is really early on a weekend. In our case, Maddison decided that 5:45 was about as late as she cared to stay in her bed. Maddi is still in a crib, so she needs us to come and get her before she can get out of bed in the morning. She hasn't tried to climb out yet, but that's probably due to the fact that she has us trained to not leave in there too long. At some point, she started to shake the crib when she was awake and wanted out, and we jokingly made the comment that we'd better get in there before she shook the crib apart.

To Maddi, this is how it looked: She wants out, she shakes crib, and we come get her out. That's called positive reinforcement.

Fast forward to today - She wants out, so she shakes the crib. Except now she's getting big and strong enough that her shaking the crib apart feels like much more of a valid concern, so we really do go get her out pretty quickly. This morning, that happened at 6:15. 6:15 on a weekend will not be ok, so she needs to figure out this time change somewhat soon. I fear for the crib's safety if she doesn't.

i'd like some more

When Brooklynn was 12 months, daycare asked if she could have peanut butter. Up until that point, we had never intentionally given her anything with peanuts in it, so we figured we try it out at home that weekend. We gave her a little peanut butter on a graham cracker and she loved it. She also broke out in hives about 15 seconds later, so we said no to the peanut butter. For the next few years, we avoided foods with nuts for Brooklynn. She’s better now, but we just never tried anything with nuts for Maddi either. Until last night, Rhiannon was having peanut butter and celery at the dinner table. Maddi reached for her own piece of celery, but she didn’t want it plain.

We put a little peanut butter on the celery and Maddi sucked it off. Apparently it met her approval because she handed the celery back to Rhiannon for a second helping. She didn’t immediately break out, so here goes nothing, right? Peanut butter on celery handed to Maddi and celery returned shortly thereafter, devoid of any nut products.

At that point, rather than support the habit of quadruple dipping her veggies, we just gave her a spoon.

First taste of PB

She approved of that decision as well.

And no, Maddi does not typically eat dinner with no shirt, but between the yogurt and nachos and peanut butter, we were at the point of shirtless being the best option. I don’t judge your parenting style. Don’t judge mine.

four years

We have a little know it all in our house. And if she doesn't know, she asks. And asks. And asks.

And even when she does know, she still asks, just to make sure Mom and Dad keep on top of things.

I guess when you are four and think you're a princess, that kind of behavior comes standard.

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Having parents that coordinate your birthday cake and party favors to match your outfit probably doesn't help in the 'sense of entitlement' department.

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Happy birthday, Brooklynn.

every four years

Rhiannon and I really look forward to the summer Olympics every four years, completely forgetting that the enjoyment of watching so many different sports will soon be followed by the fall presidential election season. Unlike four years ago, we have now have two kids that occupy much of our time[1. So we don't pay as much attention to politics, I guess.], and perhaps more importantly[3. I don't mean to imply that anything like this is more important overall than our kids. Rather, it was intended to be a comment that the new TV technology helps us tune out political messages more than children do. Or something like that.], we watch most[2. Anything that isn't live sports, basically.] of our TV via DVR-type technology, which means no commercials[4. Now if we could just get those political surveys and focus group telephone calls to stop].

We've already conceded the fact that our two votes will not make one bit of difference one way or the other in the county we live in, but we will still probably fill out our ballots and turn them in. Maybe I'll let Brooklynn help me with mine. She seems to have taken a recent interest in politics, especially last Saturday morning when we visited the nearby donut shop and saw these on the shelf.

The Race

Apparently, Lamar's Donuts is doing a little informal political polling of their own and they let all ages make their viewpoints known. Rhiannon and I chose to abstain from picking one or the other lest our extremist views unduly influence our young and impressionable wards.

Brooklynn had no such reservations, and when we told her the blue one was a donkey and the red one and elephant, the correct choice was quickly obvious[1. I should have said the blue one was something cool like a giraffe, just to make it more fair.].

Maybe I won't be having her help me with my ballot after all.

shades of blue

Rhiannon is into her second week with students in the new school year and I've been putting in some longer days with a busy project at work, so it feels like we see our girls for a short time in the morning and a slightly longer period in the evening, just enough to eat, briefly play, and get ready for bed. Luckily, part of the bedtime routine is taking a bath, which is one of Maddi's favorite things right now.

Post Bath

I just like how her eyes match her towel when she's done.

recent conversations

As much as I've been frustrated with Brooklynn on the issue of her sleeping habits as of late, we still manage to see the wonderful little girl in there from time to time. This weekend, we told her that Maddi was going to start going to school with her and we would all have to get up earlier in the mornings coming up soon.

"Why?"

"Well, Mom has to go back to work."

"Why?"

"It's time for her to go teach her students like your teachers help you learn things. Plus, we don't have enough money to keep sending you to school to play with your friends and Mom stay home at the same time."

"You can have some of my money. It's in my piggy bank. I can share it with you."

And last night, as I was pulling the comforter up to tuck her in, she asked about her 'blanket' that we no longer have around.

"This isn't a blanket, right?"

"Nope, it's a comforter."

"My blanket is in the sky, right?"[1. As much as it may sound like we told her that her blanket died, she came up with this completely on her own.]

"Ok."

"Mr. Sun has my blanket."

"You think so?"

"Yeah, Mr. Sun has it, but he doesn't have any arms to cover up. We have to help him!"

"How are we going to do that?"

"We can fly my kite up to him to help. My kite will help him cover up with the blanket."

lack of security

Two years ago, on a 720 mile drive, Brooklynn developed an attachment to a blanket. We thought it was great. She would hold it in her car seat. She held it when she went to sleep. She used it to calm herself down. She never had used a pacifier as a baby, so this was her soothing device, or more literally, her security blanket. And it would be ok. Kids outgrow this stuff eventually, right? But no only does she hold her blanket; she chews it. After two years of being in her mouth, the blanket is not great looking[1. We have a few different blankets, but she has settled on one of them that we only have one of to be her main nighttime one.]. She needs one at school for naptime. She needs one at home for nighttime. We have mostly eliminated the blanket during the days, but we still coordinate our laundry schedule around her nap time to make sure a blanket is available.

At the end of the week, the blanket smells disgusting, especially on Saturday morning when she brings it with her and wants to stick it in my mouth while we lay in bed. "You want it, it's good," she tells me. No Brooklynn, I most certainly do not want that thing anywhere near my face. And so, it's time for the blanket to go[2. If only she didn't chew it. I like to hold a pillow when I sleep, so I'm not really one to talk of soothing issues, but at least my pillow doesn't reek of stale saliva at the end of the week.].

We've been talking with her for quite some time that when she is a big girl, she doesn't need her blanket. She agrees. In June, we settled on when she turns three, she doesn't need her blanket. Except for the fact that we had a long road trip coming up again, so we pushed back to mid-July.

No, blanket right? Not when you're a big girl? Nope, and nope. Big girls don't have blankets, from the mouth of a three-year old. Her cousins don't use blankets. Other kids at school don't use blankets.

So last night, after Rhiannon and I discussed the fact we would rather go through the pain of blanket separation before she goes back to work in August, we initiated the removal of the blanket.

We talked to Brooklynn about how she really doesn't need one. Agreed.

We talked about how if she sleeps through the night without a blanket, she could have a good treat in the morning. That's very good.

We talked about how if she goes for three nights and earns three stickers, we can go to the pool this weekend. Wonderful.

And then it came time to go to bed. She grabbed her blanket and climbed in. Remember, no blanket. We were really trying to get her to give it up voluntarily because she is a big girl now rather than just taking it from her or having it just mysteriously be gone one night. She took the blanket out of her mouth and handed it to Rhiannon.

And then immediately grabbed it back and started crying.

We talked about all the reasons why she didn't need it, and the fact that she has her Curious George monkey to hold, and she agreed to every one of the statements we were making, all the while clutching her blanket tightly.

So eventually, we stopped trying to talk her into giving it up. We kissed her goodnight, and as I was getting ready to leave her room, she asked, "Daddy, you want my blanket?" and held it out to me.

So I took it. I told her she was a very big girl and I got two steps away before she started screaming.

I took the blanket outside her room while she dissolved into tears and sobs about how she wanted her blanket. She wants to give it up, but she has no idea how to soothe herself without it. So I sat with her. Her fingers were rigid and outstreched with both hands held awkwardly at her sides. I had to hold her hands and cuddle her to stop some of the physical stress she was going through not having a blanket to hold.

I laid down with her. Rhiannon came and talked with her. Thirty minutes later, she was still sobbing. Finally, Curious George playing and being silly and the fact that it was an hour past her normal bedtime was enough to get her to sleep.

She made it 5 hours before she was in our room crying for her blanket. Rhiannon went back and laid with her again for a little while. Let's hope that this bedtime routine doesn't become a habit as well.

Night one with no blanket is over. We hope that was the worst. I don't know how naptime today will go, or tomorrow with no blanket at school. At this point, with all the work and crying we put in last night, we really don't want to go back. Step one in being a big girl complete.

just keep smiling

Over the past week we've had our yard severely impacted by hail, stayed up way past our bedtime a couple times (both our choosing and not), and we've been dealing with a baby who has seemingly forgotten how to sleep. Yes, nothing really earth-shattering. Many people have it worse.

Still, at the end of the day, Rhiannon and I have been looking at each other and wondering where does our time go.

So, we'll take our advice from the youngest member of the family.

Just keep smiling.

Happy kid

in the still of the night

Brooklynn came into our room last night, just like she does what feels like most nights of the working week. She stumbles in, navigates her way around to my side the of the bed where, depending on how late we were up and what stage of my sleep cycle I’m in, I may or may not already be awake. Last night, I was not awake. It was about 3:10, and the first thing I can remember is a small voice in my head saying, “Daddy. Daddy. Wake up.”

On the weekends, when Brooklynn wakes up in the morning before us but after the sun is up, we don’t try to put her back in her bed. It’s light outside and it’s hard to convince her that she should be sleeping. So, instead of getting out of bed, I grab her and haul her up beside me.

On a good morning, she will be tired enough that she’ll drift off next to me and we’ll all get another half hour sleep. On a bad morning, she’ll be awake enough that she’ll bug me by shifting around and tapping my arm and head for ten minutes before leaning close to my ear and whispering, “Daddy, I want breakfast.”

In the dark last night, my half-awake brain started rearranging pillows to bring Brooklynn in to bed with me. It wouldn’t be the first time. A couple weeks ago, Rhiannon woke up to an open bedroom door, checked to see if Brooklynn was up, and eventually found her laying next to me. Still, it isn’t a habit we want to start, and just before grabbing her I realized what I was doing and picked her up to carry her back to her own room instead.

We don’t know why she wakes up and comes to our room in the night. She usually doesn’t want water. Maybe she kicks her covers off and doesn’t know how to tuck herself back in. This is something we really need to work on. And maybe she just wants to know we’re still around.

I tucked her in with both the sheet and the blanket, at her request, and went to walk back to my own room. As is typical, she hadn’t said a word since she woke me up. It’s one of the reasons we really don’t know why she comes over so often. As I closed her door, I heard her say, “Daddy.”

I paused and waited, because at that time of night, running low on sleep, I’m never 100 percent sure that what I think I hear is accurate. Then again, quietly. “Daddy.”

I opened the door and walked back to her bed. Kneeling over her, I asked her what was wrong. I expected to hear that she wanted a drink of water, or that I didn’t tuck her in right and the blanket was too high or something like that.

“Daddy, you forgot to give me a kiss.”

We’ve had our moments with Brooklynn recently. It turns out dealing with a toddler isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and I struggle to stay patient with her at times. Couple that with a slight lack of sleep in general, a lack of time, and split attention between two kids and we ask a lot of her to be a big girl and go with the program. Some days are better than others.

But in the end, we still have a little girl who loves her parents very much and wants nothing more than to be loved and cared for right back.

We’re working on that love not being required at three in the morning.

rundown

Posting has been light, and that's mostly because, well, it turns out two kids are time consuming[1. I'd like to give a big welcome to Captain Obvious.] And so, I'll take you through a typical Monday. 12:00 midnight: I wake up to Rhiannon standing next to my side of the bed and extracting an awake Brooklynn from under my arm. I have no recollection of her ever coming in. I guess I was so tired that I either helped her up or allowed her to climb in without ever really waking up.

12:10: Brooklynn comes back in again. I take her back to bed.

12:20: The same.

12:27: The same.

12:35: The same.

12:48: The same.

1:00: The same[2. I said this was a typical day. This repeated coming in isn't typical this many times, but it seems like she's in our room at least a couple time each night.] She finally goes to sleep and I get some sleep.

2:00 - 3:00: Brooklynn is in another couple times during this hour.

5:07: The alarm goes off. Due to the fact that we didn't get to bed as early as we wanted to last night and the fact that Brooklynn was in multiple times during the night, I don't get up to do a quick work out like I intended, Instead, I hit snooze.

5:36: The second alarm goes off. I get up, get ready for work, put together lunch for Brooklynn, grab some lunch for myself, set the garbage out, and head out the door. The goal is to leave by six. This morning it's more like 6:12. Luckily, traffic isn't too bad early on a Monday.

6:30: Get to work. Rhiannon filled me in that shortly after I left, Maddison woke up, and shortly after that, Brooklynn was up.

7:00: Rhiannon finishes feeding Maddison, works on getting Brooklynn dressed, and says no to movie watching in the morning. We're going to have to get two kids out the door very early in the morning next fall when Rhiannon goes back to work. I am not looking forward to this.

8:00: They leave for school. Brooklynn is going three days each week right now. Since I am going to work early in the morning, this means it's up to Rhiannon to get her over in the morning.

4:00pm: I leave from work. Monday is tumble bus day and Brooklynn stays a little later at school, so I do errands. I stop at the library to drop off books that are due, stop at a grocery store to pick of a few perishable items for the week, and stop at Hobby Lobby to pick up some things with a coupon for Rhiannon.

4:45: Pick up Brooklynn and drive the 13 miles back to our house.

5:15: Get home. Supper is leftovers, which is good, because we're both tired and neither of us feel like cooking.

6:00: Finish supper, talk Brooklynn into heading out the playground because it's a wonderful evening outside. I clean out most of the cloth diapers and get them in the wash because at this point, we only have two left.

6:10: Head to the playground. Maddison is sleeping.

7:00: Get back from the playground. Rhiannon waters a little while I feed Maddison a little bottle. (She started crying on the walk back.)

7:30: I do a little project to reinforce our deck railing due to the weight of the planter boxes we hung up there last year. This has been on the to do list for a little while. The list is adding items to the end faster than we can check them off the beginning.

8:00: Get Brooklynn in the bath while Rhiannon feeds Maddison some more. Tonight's game is lining up the ducks and turtles according to color and knocking them back in to the water.

8:20: Get Brooklynn out of the bath to do her hair and watch a little bit of a movie before bed. I take Maddison and get her in the bath while Rhiannon deals with Brooklynn.

8:40: Brooklynn gets in bed, hopefully to stay there for the night.

9:00: I should probably do some more food prep for tomorrow, but honestly, we just want to watch a 20 minutes TV show to relax for a little bit before bed while Maddison finishes eating.

9:20: We are 10 minutes into the show due to Maddison falling asleep, waking up, burping, sleeping, and not eating like we'd like.

9:40: Take Maddison up to bed. At least she typically goes to sleep pretty easily in the evenings.

10:00: We get to bed ourselves. My early alarm will be going off in about 7 hours. I'd really like to be getting close to 8 hours of sleep each night. Somehow, the math just never works out.

Brooklynn was only up three times total during the night, but for whatever reason, interrupted sleep, even if it's only for a few minutes, is never as good as sleeping straight through the night.

That's our day. Rinse and repeat as necessary. The whole chunk that isn't detailed while I'm busy at work? Rhiannon deals with either one or two kids at home while trying to work out, clean a little, and do some craft projects she's working on. Comparatively, my day job is pretty easy.

surviving

I had something good planned to finish up for tonight, but tonight turned out to be the worst night of parenting that we've had[1. And it was not the younger one giving us issues...]. Ever.

So, here's a blurry photo of the two girls snapped with a cell phone, a picture of Maddison chewing on Rhiannon's shoulder, and one of Brooklynn pretending to take a nap on a volleyball in the back yard. Enjoy.

Friendly

Shoulder tastes good

New nap spot

dog days of spring

The weather this past weekend was gorgeous - highs in the 80's, blooms on the trees, flowers in bloom. Yesterday, it was in the 30's with a couple inches of wet snow. Too much a good thing an all. We did make sure that we got out and enjoyed the weather while it was nice. It's amazing the things Brooklynn does on a playground compared to fall last year. She's zipping down slides, quickly climbing up ladders, and generally getting around a lot more than she used to. I can already tell we're going to have some injuries at some point as she tries out new things and pushes her boundaries.

The price of being a growing kid I guess. We'll do our best to prevent the bumps and bruises and just enjoy the ride.

Early Summer Swing