Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And We're Unraveling

Ugh. Avery is a huge mess of grumpy, defiant, stubborn, loud, feisty compulsiveness. Before we hit this week and a half of sickness he had settled into an almost at times compliant, sweet, often obedient little boy. Then the coughing came, and then the puking, and then the diarrhea, coupled with the fact that he wasn't eating or drinking and he became quite a grumpy bear through all of that.

Anybody would. It's a natural by-product of being sick - when your body doesn't feel good then your demeanor usually shows it. Big deal. Except this is Avery and Avery is a different personality from my other boys. With my other boys - when they hit that sick patch, I can ease up on discipline siting their overall yuckiness as a valid excuse for their behavior and not skip much of a beat in returning to our pre-sickness expectations once their yucky feelings start to subside.

Avery on the other hand needs that consistency or everything you had spent the time and energy to teach him over the past several months begins to unravel. And boy are we unraveling. I eased up too much over these last few days and it is showing! I keep thinking of those times that I am sitting and rolling up a ball of yarn that I sometimes need to do through my crocheting process - and I am getting fairly far into it and then my fingers goof up and the ball slips away from me and goes tumbling to the floor unraveling all of that tedious work. Right now, with Avery, I am just at that moment where I catch the ball of yarn and restart that tedious process again.

He is sooo stubborn. This last battle that resulted in dehydration magnified that fact to me 10 fold. He doesn't care what you say, how you ask or the reasoning behind it...if he doesn't want to do it, he's not doing it. You can lead a horse to water....

My dad went with us to the emergency room that night and witnessed this stubborn boy at one of his most stubborn moments. Picture me holding this child in my lap, cradling him in my arms, fighting his flailing arms and legs and taking the pedialite popsicle that the nurse gave to us and forcibly shoving it into my child's mouth - my last ditch effort to get fluids inside of him the "natural" way - before agreeing to the IV. Upon witnessing this behavior my dad said something to the effect of, "kid, I hope that when you're bigger, you get to be stubborn about the right things."

I have often said this about strong-willed children - that when they are older and taught right from wrong we will be glad for this trait because then they will be strong-willed about the right things. But this last experience has made me much more alert to the possiblities ahead of us regarding Avery. That night he knew that he should obey mom, he knew that he was sick and he was told that we were trying to help him to get better, but he also knew that his belly hurt and he wanted to prevent that pain. He stubbornly sacrificed what he knew to be right to avoid dealing with the problem. He was shutting down. It made me realize that much more how fervently I need to be praying for Avery.

I always knew that he would require more energy from me as a parent, even when he was a newborn - he's always been high-maintenance. But this past week, between the attempted potty training and the sickness issues, Avery has shown me that he will need an extra measure of discipline, an extra measure of consistency and an extra measure of prayer that he will hold tight to what he knows to be right no matter the pain involved.

I will be picking up that ball of yarn and starting to re-wind all that has unraveled, but this time I will need to remember to place my work into the hands of Someone much more capable than me!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You've Heard of Anklebitters??

Well, we have a toe-nibbler. Lillie has been chewing on everything lately....and today she discovered that when her brothers feet are dangling and they are not paying any attention she can nibble a bit at their toes! Isaiah laughs, Huston pulls away and says "ow" and Avery? It gives him just one more reason to not let that girl touch him.

I'll try to get a picture of it sometime - although I am trying to break the habit.

Avery and Huston are still puny. I had to take Avery into the ER last night for fluids - he ended up dehydrating himself. All-in-all it wasn't a terrible experience. The doctor was a punk but the nurse was a saint. We waited a long time to get into see them, but once we were in there it went fairly quickly. I dreaded the IV treatment, but once it was done he looked and seemed to feel a lot better. And there was a marathon of Andy Griffith on the TV - what could be better for my little man when sick and stuck in a hospital bed. Barney got him through the initial poke beautifully.

I had started to write a huge long post on the whole ordeal, but it was taking up a lot of space and clearly wasn't interesting! Avery is perkier today and is making wet diapers so that's that. Huston still isn't eating too well either. I have a feeling in a day or two they will both be eating us out of house and home.

Isaiah is very sweet. I love him dearly - he helps me so much. This morning, after a short night for me, he helped all his siblings get their breakfasts while I slowly got myself started. We still have a "lazy man" attitude to work through, but that boy has a heart of gold.

Well, Avery's calling, I may have another diaper to change this evening yet...

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm Fighting It

Ugh, it's 6:30am - I've been up for at least half and hour already. Which for some of you, you're thinking...ummm...yeah, so have I. But believe me, for this kid, that is way too early to have to start the day.

Avery and Lillie are trying very, very hard to make me into a morning person. Isaiah had been an early riser, but nothing compared to these two little ones. I think they plot together before we put them to bed in the evening...ok, you get up at 5:45 and as she is putting you back to bed, I'll get up and then we can just trade off until she gives in, ok? hee, hee, hee...I am confident that is what they are saying. Ungrateful children.

Avery was the first to get up. And I put Avery back to bed. He was screaming and crying because he didn't want to go. He shares a room with his older brother, I hesitated for a split second because I didn't want Avery to wake the whole house, but then I followed through and put him to bed crying. Just because I need the alone time (notice I didn't say quiet time). I cannot start the morning running.

Lillie is in her crib talking. Her talking is turning a little distressed and soon will be complaining and then crying. I guess I will have to get her soon. This is just nuts. Oh that they all slept like Huston....Huston is a late sleeper and Huston is a slow mover once he is awake. A man after my own heart.

On cue, I hear Avery trying again to start the day. I guess I might let him this time. But I'm not talking to him.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Moving On

Well, if you need updated on Avery's potty training saga, click here, then here, then here...or just scroll down a bit. The latest and not-so-greatest is that Avery is now pooing quite a bit (in his diaper, thankfully) because he has managed to catch some sort of stomach bug. So now I am not only cleaning up potty mishaps off the get the idea.

Huston is also sick - he has congestion, a cough and a high fever. Lillie has started in on the congestion and cough and she went to spend the night with her Gran because I really don't want her around all of the other action going on around here. I am afraid her time might be coming though. I just realized that I forgot to go to her follow-up flu shot appointment - so looks like she might be having to build up those anti-bodies the hard way, which is fine with me. I should probably refuse the flu shot for my kids anyway. My thoughts are conflicted on that subject.

What about Isaiah? Oh he's fine, he's hiding from everyone in his room! ha! He too will join the healthy party at Gran's house tonight (as healthy as you can get with a croupy baby anyway I guess).

So I will be checking in often, but may not have time to post. We'll see what this week holds. I'm ready for spring, how about you?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Waving the White Flag

I give in, I don't think Avery is ready....and even if he is, this mom is not ready to put in the work involved in getting him trained. Here is a snap shot of my morning.

I ask Avery if he needs to potty - he says no

5 minutes later Avery makes a mess in the floor

I yell for Isaiah to keep an eye on Lillie

I rush Avery to the bathroom where he finishes the job in the potty

I rush downstairs to clean up the mess

I go back upstairs to praise Avery and offer him a small treat

Repeat process SEVERAL times (and I mean, I've lost count, and we've been at this since 5:30am...)

I don't mind this process too much - and I know that in time he would come to figure it out. The huge puzzle piece that is missing in my book is the fact that Avery seems to have no ability to predict when he needs to go at this time or at least no desire to do it. I am confident that he will have that figured out in another month or two. He's close but oh so stubborn....the whole experience today has just been a power struggle. Yesterday was 10 times better (and more successful!) because it was fun to him, now it's becoming a job and he refuses to participate.

Yesterday when I would ask Avery if he needed to potty he would say yes and run to the bathroom. Today he is back to holding the poo and telling me no just because he wants the power of making the decision. I'm not choosing that battle right now.

Someone should just totally create a school for potty training. I would find a way to pay the tuition no matter how high for this go around!

Day Two...

Well, overall yesterday was successful in some ways - Avery stayed dry without any accidents until Daddy came home...then there were 2. The ultimate frustrating part is that he is refusing to poo. So we will be tackling that today. I put him in a diaper for bed so I won't be shocked if he has dirtied it before he comes out of his room in the morning. This is a kid that has always pooed multiple times a day - so to go a whole day without *going* - I am sure has made his tummy upset. He had gotten increasingly grumpy as the day went on yesterday.

Huston, the kind, quiet one of yesterday, now has a fever and cough like Avery had last week. So I hope he decides to rest a lot today.

I'm praying for an *easy* day - a resting sick guy, and schooling big guy (hopefully with no 'tude), and another concentrated day of potty training....maybe a trip to Sonic for a soda too? Oh yeah, and there is still a baby girl in the mix :0)

UPDATE: We started the day at 5:30 this morning. Avery was crying in his sleep again. I knew it was because of his choice to hold and so I got him up and put him on the potty - nothing. So after a breakfast of mineral oil and raisin bran (breakfast of champions, I know!) we have had success. Now to keep things going and moving in the right direction! Phew.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day Number One

Today is potty training day - officially. I have three days in a row here that I can focus on this feat - as much as you can focus with three other children competing for your time as well.

Avery is almost 3 1/3 years old - it's time...admittedly it's probably past time, but I am the one that has not wanted to deal with it. I am of the school of thought that the child will know when it's time and any attempt to train them before hand will just lead to a long frustrating battle and for a time it will succeed in parent-trained potty training instead of child-trained potty training. I waited with both Isaiah and Huston until they were ready and for both the process was extremely quick and relatively painless - they told me when they needed to go and were able to handle the pants and stuff independently as well. I wasn't necessarily watching for their cues and setting timers and asking them constantly if they needed to go - that method would drive me mad - yes worse than I am now.

Avery is stubborn, Avery is crazy, but Avery is also smart and easily bribed by treats - so I am hoping that the latter two characteristics out-weigh the first two. He has agreed with me the past couple of times when I have said while changing his diaper - "you need to put this stuff in the potty, not wear yucky pants..." and last night he had a terrible burn-the-bottom BM so he was ready to not have any more "owies on his bottom." So far, so good - 2 potty successes (the easy ones, #1) and 0 accidents. What is my strategy? Strip them down to nothing and let them run around nudey. He has been, ahem, "hanging out" for the whole morning, watching movies drinking and eating whatever he wants just to make sure things get flowing.

Right now though he is up in his room playing with his brother, wearing underwear - I predict an accident is in store - we'll see. I think he is still freaked out about sitting down to go #2 - why do kids get freaked out about that? I wish I knew the answer. Isaiah plugged himself up refusing to go and I had to use mineral oil - not fun...

I'm not absolutely sure Avery is fully ready to do this as his brothers were when I "trained" them, but I am hoping that he is far enough along the journey that I can push him the rest of the way a bit. Why, why, why is this so very difficult?

And other forces are attacking - Isaiah is giving me attitude, Lillie is clingy and I am so tired and have a splitting headache (so far Huston is pretty easy-going) - so don't be surprised if I cave into the diapers and put everyone to bed!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day: Retro Picture

I was going to attempt this same shot this year with all four of the kids....but I don't have all four of them together this Valentine's Day. So here are a couple of shots from last year...

This one is my favorite!!!....the frustration of the photo shoot was perfectly written on the bigger boys faces.

Hope you all have a very great Valentine's Day (it's an unknown holiday around here as far as my husband is concerned!)

And I will try to get a more recent group shot in a day or two!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hodge Podge

This post is going to be a little of everything I feel. So I am not even going to try to connect it all together - you can just jump along with me from one train of thought to another.

Last night I went out with a couple of friend and tried sushi for the first time. I know, what a sheltered life I lead some of you might be thinking. But I have no family member that has any desire to try it and I am not one to go out to a restaurant like that on my own and give it a go. My friend Heather is a sushi veteran so she and my other friend Randi Jo took me out to give it a whirl - and really it wasn't too bad. Kind of salty - some of them really salty! and I passed on the raw shrimp one. That's just not right. I must admit that after awhile they all started to taste the same. I even tried eel - not to bad really - and now the kids can never complain about trying my cooking - if I can try eel, they can try squash!

While we were there Heather ordered a Japanese soda for her son. She showed it to me and it was so neat. The glass bottle curved and dented in places to make it shaped like a fish and it was sealed with a marble. I couldn't resist and bought 4 - one for each of my boys. We had them for breakfast! You peeled the label off the top and it is sealed with a special stopper containing a marble. You use a little plunger and pop the marble down into the head of the fish and it jingles around while you drink - don't worry, it's not a choking hazard. Here are some pictures. It's hard to see, sorry...

See that top bubble in the bottle? that's the head of the fish and the marble rests in the head....

Here are the boys enjoying the soda - they say it tasted kind of like Sprite.

Update on the "unschooling" - I don't see it as the answer - there are still issues that need to be worked out and we will get them worked out eventually. I am just glad that Isaiah has found books that he likes to read. At this point I don't think the issue is the school work - he can do it, he can do most of it independently, he learns quickly - at this point the issue is the attitude. He doesn't want to take the time to do it - a lot like me and housework - the getting motivated to start part is what is giving us fits. I think there is always a balance to things - our society doesn't often remember the term moderation. I'm not going to jump into the deep end of "unschooling" - they make some fine points, but I personally don't see that method as preparing my children for real life.

Avery is sick again. A yucky cough all of a sudden. I hear whooping cough is going around a bit over here in our part of the world - I'm not worried that he's got it, but I must admit when I heard that deep cough again from him last night it was the first thing that popped into my head because it seems that everyone is talking about it. It is funny how people's excitement over something can so easily seep into your subconsciousness and bingo - it pops into your head - a month ago when Avery started coughing the thought of whooping cough never even entered my mind. That's why the advertisers are spending so much money promoting their products, that's why businesses love for people to talk about their services....and ultimately I am positive that's why God would want us to stay close to Him and listen to His Words. "Don't copy the behaviors and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is." Romans 12:2

Avery now has a fever and is very sleepy and lethargic which is not him at all. He coughed so much this morning that he threw-up a bit. I put him into a warm bath and he was shivering. I then put him into a Cars blanket sleeper and he zipped it up and he said, "I cute!" Then he ran to his brothers and said, "Zaya, Ooston, look car jammas, I cute!" So he's personality hasn't totally left him. But just so you know, I will keep an eye on him of course - and if it does turn out that whooping cough is a possiblity - that would qualify for taking him back to the doctor.

Ok, I will stop there for now - I had another issue I wanted to discuss - sparked by a book that Isaiah and I have been reading together - but I will save that for another post. I'm sure if you are still reading this your eyes are glazed over. Next time I'll have more pictures too.

Lillie is this close (picture my pincher fingers really close together) to taking her first steps. I will have to video it for you. She is playing it up let me tell you!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

War, What is it Good For?

Teaching my 1st Grader. I think I at this point am becoming more of an "un-schooler" which is just code for homeschooler with no direction! Ok, maybe not that exactly. Basically the curriculum and lessons are driven by the student's interest. In our case, Isaiah.

From almost the first introduction into home-schooling, Isaiah has put up a fight or at least an attitude everytime I suggest he start learning something or do a lesson. Admittedly these "class periods" have gone bad in the past - he gets an attitude, I get irritated because he gets said attitude, I therefore am primed for anger which he usually adds fuel to by not trying, not comprehending or basically breathing. It hasn't gotten quite bad enough to for me to consider public schooling at this time, but it is indeed a frustration.

Now let's consider what happened last night. Isaiah is hugely into army/military stuff right now - he goes through these phases where his interest is sparked by something he's seen or learned about (a freind's daddy joining the military, a movie about Sergeant York, etc.) and he is all about this particular subject for a couple of months. Then something else comes along to divert his attention and a new phase begins. Anyway, I took the all-army man to the library last night and we found books about whatever he wanted to read about. We got books about fighter planes, tanks, submarines, the military in general, World War I, Memorial Day, plus others that Huston picked out. What's he doing now? He's reading them - he's read 5 since we came home last night. Do you know how much nagging and guilt-talking I would have had todish out in order for him to see the need to read at any other time, any other book? He chose these, so he wants to read them...and my job got a lot easier.

So sounds like a solution right? Just take the boy to the library every week and let him decide what he wants to learn about - yes, we'll probably do that for awhile. But in real life we need to learn how to do things we don't want to do graciously....that's a good lesson too (one that many adults, including myself, often need to remember). So while I will let him choose a lot of what we learn and explore - he's still going to have to do math and practice handwriting and all that jazz.

By the way Isaiah made his own valentines this year....military themed of course...

Monday, February 9, 2009


Can I just tell you that this morning feels weird and strange to me....I can't put my finger on what it is. Maybe it's because all of the kids were up by 6:30. (can I say that I'm especially not looking forward to the end of daylight savings time if the kids are already waking before the crack of dawn) I dreamed so many dreams last night that I don't feel like I got a bit of sleep. One involved being awakened by the garbage collector - meaning he came to my bed and shook me awake - to tell me that I was behind payment for my garbage and I had to go downtown with him to pay the bill at this moment. I had to leave my sleeping children alone in the house while I went to town to pay my bill and I thankfully made it back before they woke up. In my dream while the garbage man was taking me downtown I totally said, "I'm am so going to blog about this!" And here I am blogging about me wanting to blog about the terrible treatment I received from a municipal employer in my dream....kind of pathetic.

I think it was also just a strange weekend of a lot of uncoordinated efforts that went bad. A frustrating weekend and here I am trying to start another week when I feel like I never "rested" on the weekend...I need to stop complaining and just get on with it - maybe I need to send my kids to their room for awhile in order to be able to get my mind right to start the day/week.

And can I just tell you something completely unrelated right now. I went to fix my kids breakfast this morning - good ol' peanut butter and honey toast - and out of sheer boredom I grabbed the jar of peanut butter (it's a new brand, the new packaging distracted me) and I actually read these words on the side of the peanut butter jar - Allergin warning: contains peanuts. I mean seriously, come on people, are we that stupid and irresponsible in America these days that manufacturers feel the need to warn the public that their peanut butter contains peanuts?? Kind of goes with my frustrating, ridiculous weekend...come on everyone - join me - let's get a grip and just figure things out! Let's revolt against stupid labeling, uncoordinated efforts, ridiculous dreaming concerning garbage collection agencies and children that feel the need to pester their mother from 6 in the morning until 9 at night!!! Who's with me??

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Chicken With Her Head Cut-Off

Nice visual image there, eh? I am really not sure what that looks like since the majority of chicken I come in contact with are wrapped in cellophane and waiting nicely for me in a supermarket cooler. But I have always heard that phrase used to describe a person that flits aimlessly from one thing to another....and that pretty much describes me these days.

I have a 3 year old to potty train, a soon to be 11 month old to keep out of trouble (mainly trash cans and putting unidentified objects into her mouth), a 4 year old to break of whining and overall poutiness, and a 7 year old to teach a thing or two (as in academics).

I have a "part-time" job that involves preparing for and implementing Sunday school classes for soon-to-be two campuses. We are five weeks away from launching a second church site on the other side of town....which means lots and lots of scheduling and recruiting....on top of preparing lessons, gathering supplies, planning the future events and all that comes with these activities.

Lillie's first birthday is coming up in no time flat - a party must be planned - which of course I want to do because I'm the mom and my baby girl is going to be one!!! And the weekend we've slated for the party is also the weekend of my brother-in-law's first wedding anniversary as well as his wife's birthday so since we are going to be asking family to come into town anyway, we might as well make it a huge party with lots of yummy goodies to eat.....

And then there is something else looming over me that I will tell you about later - because I have been sworn to secrecy - and no I'm not pregnant....and no one should ask me about it until I can tell you, because I can't tell you until I can tell you, ok? I know it's mean but that's life....and trust me it also involves some thought (and a bit of stress) as well.

So all of that is why I am up at 4:30 in the morning unable to sleep - because my mind keeps thinking. I totally just need a power down switch for my head because here I am not sleeping before a rare day that my husband needs a vehicle and will take our van leaving me stranded at home with the trips just to get out of the house. I better go to bed.