Friday, October 25, 2013

Stop growing!

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I am in a panic. Every night I sit and stare at this little guy and will him to stop aging. But every morning he wakes up older than the night before, and a little bit bigger, too. I just put half of his 0-3 month sleepers away in storage, and pulled out some of the 3-6 month clothes. I had to exchange the sweater I bought for his blessing because he outgrew it and we still haven't gotten around to blessing him yet. Enough already! Sawyer Lynn Pendleton, I forbid you from getting any bigger!

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Did you notice the spit up marks on this gray shirt? We have a spitter on our hands, just like his older brother. This kid is pretty much always wet. If possible, I burp him outside or over the sink and skip the burp cloth altogether. It cuts down on laundry. :) I guess if he has to grow up, at least this is one thing I won't miss.

Little Stinker

I usually try to keep things positive here on our blog, but today, I have to vent a little bit. I've noticed that my kids go through cycles where each of them gets a turn to be the problem child. For the first 18 months of her life, Isabelle was a gem. She was so pleasant and cute and fun and we all loved being around her. Then something happened. I wish I knew what exactly, because I would undo it in a heartbeat if I could, but I can't pinpoint what changed. All I know is one day she was easy and the next day she was a terror. It happened about 6 months before her 2nd birthday, but nonetheless I am blaming it all on the terrible two's. Some kids don't hit terrible status until 3 (like Logan), some never hit it at all, but Isabelle hit it early and with a vengeance.

(The following pictures tell a different story. Don't be fooled.)

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It started when Izzy wouldn't sleep in her crib. Or her bed. Or anywhere else. She just decided to stay up. All night. It has been a year since she stopped sleeping in her crib and we still fight battles every night to get her to sleep in her bed. Most nights she falls asleep on the floor of the family room while we watch our evening shows, but not until she's been up with us 2 or more hours past her bedtime. If she takes a nap during the day, then it's even worse. I try my very hardest to prevent daytime naps, but keeping her awake during the day is as hard as getting her to sleep at night. Gah!

Then there is the hitting. This girl is violent! Logan and Savannah have started flinching when she walks into the room out of habit. She also throws things (toys, food, cups, anything) so we've all gotten pretty good at ducking and dodging. Usually she's not even angry when she hits and throws, she just does it for sport. To make matters worse, Isabelle doesn't respond to many forms of discipline, so my endless nagging and "time outs" and threats do absolutely nothing.

Having a baby around has amplified Isabelle's potential for harm. I am amazed Sawyer has survived his first month. When Sawyer was two weeks old, Isabelle pushed him in a stroller down our very steep driveway. I had put him in the stroller in preparation to walk to the bus stop, but when I turned my head for a second, Izzy pushed the stroller over the top of the hill. The stroller crashed at the bottom, but luckily the carseat straps and stroller buckle were secure and kept Sawyer from harm. I don't always buckle him in as tightly as he was that day, and I will be forever grateful that he was watched over and protected. Although that was the worst (albeit unintentional) of Isabelle's attacks on Sawyer, it was not the only one. She is constantly poking his eyes, squeezing his hands, hitting him on the head, and climbing in his crib.

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Isabelle is destructive. Everything she touches she breaks or ruins. Logan has learned to keep his Lego creations up high and behind closed doors if he wants them to stay intact. The markers and pens are strictly off limits. Don't leave papers out unless you want them ripped into hundreds of tiny pieces. A stack of folded clothes is too tempting for her to resist. A clean house is virtually impossible with her around. Shopping with Isabelle is a recipe for disaster. Just in the last week she ripped stickers out of a book at Sam's Club and decorated the floor with them and broke a glass vase at Hobby Lobby.

And finally, there's the issue of potty training. Why is it that no matter how many times I do this, I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing? We started potty training a month before Sawyer was born, hoping that she would be mostly trained before he came. Well, that completely backfired on us and now we've gone from underwear to pull-ups to diapers and back to underwear so many times that it's no wonder the girl doesn't know where to go to the bathroom! For the past 2 weeks we have all been more consistent and it seems to have helped a little bit, but just when I think she's finally got the hang of it, she'll have four accidents in a row. She's had so many accidents that now she puts her underwear in the sink and gets the cleaner out before I even know she's gone. I am am my wits end trying to deal with her, but there's no turning back now. (I tried putting her back in diapers, but she would take them off and still manage to pee on the carpet.)

Yet I still love this girl to pieces. Strip down all the terrible-ness and you are left with the sweetest girl with the spunkiest personality. It gives me hope that one day, this phase will pass and I will get my cuddly little girl back ALL the time, not just on rare occasions. In the meantime, I'll just treasure what I can get.

Monday, October 14, 2013

A day in the life

I forgot how challenging a day can be when you have to work it around a newborn's schedule. For instance, today is a school holiday so we invited some friends over to play first thing this morning. I was feeling pretty good just to be showered and dressed by the time they came over. Minutes after they arrived, Sawyer woke up ready to be fed. I tried to hold him off while I got the girls and their friends set up with markers and paper, but between their request for various marker colors, settling disputes over what to draw, cleaning up Isabelle's hands and dress when she colored all over them, and answering questions of why Sawyer cried so much, it was awhile before I got the chance to sit down and feed him. For the next 45 minutes I did my best to supervise from my position on the couch, but I had to take a break mid-feeding to help Isabelle go to the bathroom, then again when she ran out in the front yard pant-less a few minutes later.

Finally my insatiable baby seemed satiated, but for some reason his stomach was not settling so I spent another half hour sitting with him as he spit up at least half of what I had just fed him. Meanwhile, the kids had made their way to the trampoline, where I could hear a mix of laughter, yelling, crying, and fighting coming from outside. When my refereeing via megaphone wasn't working, I eventually got up to check on them, and found pieces of foam from the trampoline all over the yard and the swings on the ground next to the swing set.

Trying to control my exasperation, I set the baby down on the floor, corralled the kids inside, and cut up some apples to eat with peanut butter. With everyone happily chomping away, I sneaked away to change Sawyer's spit up soaked clothes and lay him down for a nap. While upstairs I started a load of laundry since I had just used up the last burp cloth. Back downstairs, the kids had finished their apples and were now digging into the peanut butter jar with spoons. Peanut butter was everywhere--smeared on counters, chairs, and plates. I stopped the madness and started cleaning up, but within minutes I was interrupted by cries and shouts. I really don't understand why it is SO HARD to stay out of trouble for 5 minutes!?

Just then I hear Sawyer crying through the monitor, so I head upstairs to check on him. Turns out Isabelle had climbed into his crib and was forcing a binkie into his mouth. If ever there was a time to admit defeat, I think this was it. I had reached my max and gotten in over my head. By the time our playdate ended, I was ready for a movie (for the kids) and a nap (for me). And it wasn't even lunchtime yet.

My kids were already at challenging ages when it was just the three of them, but add a baby that literally puts me on the bench for an hour five times a day and I feel like I am falling hopelessly behind. Yet despite all that, I would spend all day cuddling with my sweet baby if I could. I don't even mind the constant spit up and poop smell that seems to cling to me around the clock. And now that a few hours have passed and I've gotten a little cat nap, I am even feeling ready to attack the biggest hurdle of them all: dinner.

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