First off, we are now a two-car family. My parents helped out with buying the new car, which embarrasses me a bit. I mean, I guess in my mind I thought having a second car would be proof that we had Arrived, and here we are with a second car we didn't earn. But on the other hand, the kids are getting older and I want them to have some opportunities outside this house before they turn into recluses like their mother.
Probably too late for me, though. I have this car and now I don't want to go anywhere! Leaving the house is like asking for trouble: almost guaranteed, somebody will get in some kind of unexpected trouble, someone will have an accident or a blowout diaper, something that should have been in the diaper bag (spare pants, spare diaper, sippy cup, snack) won't be. At home I have all my stuff available without having to pack, I can get stuff done around the house while the kids play, and everything in reach is stuff that's okay for touching so I don't need to spend all my energy on making the kids behave to a certain standard. As I said the other day, if I didn't like being at home, I wouldn't have chosen to live there! Home is my favorite place.
On the other hand, it meant I didn't have to drive John to the airport right at the worst time of day for unexpected naps, when he went to Italy earlier this month. It means that I can do grocery shopping on a weekday when the place is empty, and spend the weekends hanging out with my husband like I'd much rather do. It means that I can go to the craft store or the seed store and have that be the only thing I do all day, instead of jamming all the errands in on a busy Saturday. So, you know, there are perks. We've also been to the library and visited the friends who have generously had all the playdates at our house for years.
I am grateful, but I am reminding myself that having a car doesn't obligate me to use it when I don't want to.
My family was here for Easter, and just left this morning. I was so glad they came here, because I can't see going out there for awhile yet -- it was so exhausting last time.
Not that this visit wasn't exhausting too. My family is indefatigable. They wanted to see all the sights, and seeing all the sights while towing a combined seven kids is very tiring. Some days I stayed home with my kids while my parents and siblings went hiking -- especially as Marko was sick on Monday and still convalescent on Tuesday. Rotten timing, but you know, even when he's not sick he's a bit overwhelmed by the tornado of chaos that is my family.
It's hard to understand how I managed to emerge from a family like that. But I swear, they were mellower when I was a kid. It was just my big brother and I, reading books. Sometimes we went to the park. And now there are four kids, all of them are loud, and all of them are involved in a zillion things. The whole mood of the family is different, even though my parents are the same.
Tuesday was Marko's birthday -- but since John was working late and Marko wasn't feeling well anyway, we celebrated on Wednesday.
Can you believe he is FIVE? Wasn't he just four? I thought four sounded like a big kid, but five sounds really like a big kid. Five-year-olds are in kindergarten!
Of course that makes me feel worried ... is he really as advanced as a kindergartener? Sure, he's smart and knows his letters and all, but I can't imagine him going off by himself for a whole day, or even a half day. He rarely talks to grownups who aren't me . . . and I worry, it's because I don't expose him to many. And then when I do, I mediate a lot, explaining him to them, because he doesn't say "hello, how are you," but "I'm the Doctor!" I worry about my own ability to teach him how to interact with strangers, because I don't know what I'm doing either. I've always been kind of awkward with strangers; I bluff my way through it but I wouldn't be surprised to find out I'm inadvertently rude.
Anyway, here's Marko, looking very five:
That is a piece of wood he's holding. He wanted a picture with it. I don't know why.
Here's is Marko's birthday present:
Little wooden pegs from the craft store, painted by me to look like Doctor Who characters. From left to right, there's Strax, the Eleventh Doctor, Rory, Amy, a weeping angel, a Cyberman, the Tenth Doctor, and Rose. A couple of them are going to his best friend the next time I see him. Michael's already managed to lose the Eleventh Doctor, but I suspect he's inside the couch somewhere. Marko has been sleeping with Amy Pond at night. He also found a cardboard box and wheedled me into painting it like a TARDIS, which he's been flying his peg people around in.
I am very proud of myself ... and I also am fighting the temptation to order a big box of pegs and set up an Etsy store. First, because I don't have time, second, because I got the idea from somebody else's Etsy store (they were selling them for $20!) and I don't want to steal their idea for profit. But painting is lots of fun. I like mixing the colors to try to match my inspiration pictures.
Certainly I have lots of ideas for the next birthday or holiday. The kids definitely need an Ood.
Miriam is getting so big. She crawls, she pulls to a stand, she lets go and plops onto her bottom without toppling over. She eats lots of stuff, including stuff I said she was too young to have, but heck, when the big kids are eating muffins with gluten, egg, and dairy, I feel like a colossal heel if I don't give her one too. Oh well. She hasn't had any serious reactions, but she has been sleepless and cranky so perhaps I should try to get a week when she only eats things she's supposed to have and we could see how it goes.
This is how she sits. I know W-sitting is supposed to be bad for babies, but what about Isle-of-Man-sitting? (Does it make me a nerd that that was my first thought when I saw her sitting like that?)
I suspect it's just to give herself greater stability on the hardwood floor. It hurts if she topples and bumps her head, so she's trying to have a nice wide base so she doesn't tip.
Lately she has wanted to be held pretty much always. Her naps are 20-40 minutes and she doesn't take enough of them. She wakes up a lot at night. I don't think she's teething, but she might have an earache left over from the sickness all the kids had last week. And then there's the fact that the boys will NOT be quiet while she's trying to nap, because they are also cranky and fighting a lot.
I'm hoping a few mellow days of not-much-happening will help settle everyone down.
Michael is ... well ... Michael. Here he is holding an unusually large canary:
He'll be three in two weeks, can you imagine? Hard not to spend all my time thinking, "But at three, Marko listened better! Marko could have walked through a cave without touching all the stalactites! Marko could sit at the table through a restaurant meal without throwing a fit because the food was too slow to arrive! Marko slept through the night!" They are different kids. And though he's behind Marko on many things, he is also more open to new experiences than he was at this age, more imaginative, more affectionate, and less shy. His tamper tantrums are massive, when he has them, but the rest of the time he's pretty chill. He doesn't hold grudges. And he's a better talker than Marko was at this age, because he uses his pronouns right.
John sums it up by saying, "Marko is like me. Michael is like you." And that's pretty accurate. Michael likes food, dancing, hugs, and making up ridiculous stories that he swears are true but knows are false. ("How did you get this scratch on your foot?" "An alligator bit me, but I ate him." "Where did you leave the Eleventh Doctor?" "On the moon.") Marko is picky, focused, a bit standoffish, and he gets very upset when people say things that aren't true. When Marko was two and didn't want to get a nighttime diaper on, John would put it on his head. Marko would wail "diapers are not for heads! diapers are for butts!" and John would graciously agree to put the diaper on his butt instead. Michael would not fall for that one -- diapers on heads seem like a great idea to him! Marko threw a fit the other day because Michael wanted to put Strax in the TARDIS and Marko was certain that Strax never actually rode in the TARDIS. (I said he did so, and Marko told me I don't know anything. Yeesh.) He screams and cries and hits when Michael insists his imaginary stories are true. So I've been trying to explain ... daily ... that in this country we do not hurt people for being wrong. People having wrong ideas doesn't hurt you. The best you can do is hope they learn the right ideas someday.
They really could not be more different. But I love them both, one because he's like me, and the other because he's like my favorite man. It's all good.
So far Miriam is more like Marko was as a baby than like Michael, but time will tell.
Anyway, happy Easter, hope yours was great. Mine was a bit of a disappointment... I was eager to go to church, hopeful that perhaps I would have some kind of spiritual experience that would make me feel a bit better about being Catholic, but Miriam was sick and so I didn't get to go to church at all. Trying not to see this as a message from God that he doesn't want me. More likely it was just the baby getting sick because she caught a virus from her brother. And anyway I got Easter dinner with my family -- meatloaf shaped like a lamb, because a leg of lamb was THIRTY DOLLARS, daylight robbery if you ask me. Well, no surprise, it was from New Zealand, that's a long way to ship of a leg of lamb.
Did you have a good Easter week?