Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Brief Stint As A Mom With 3 Under 3!

Well, technically the oldest is 3 1/2, so they weren't all under 3, but it's catchier that way. Specifically, ages 3 1/2, (with a 15-month age difference) 2 and (8 month age difference) 1 1/2.

My sister, Auntie Kayneen is getting her Early Childhood Education degree or certificate or something. Normally her classes are Saturdays, so Unka Rop watches the kids, but for her internships and classroom observations, she kinda has to go when public schools are in session. You know. Weekdays and all. And Unka Rop can't take THAT many days off work, so Gramma Nayra and I took turns on some of the days. Since she lives 90 minutes away, I usually arrange to do an overnight, since I don't relish ruining her day by arriving hours late getting up early enough to arrive there by 8:30 AM. With the Princess.

I went last week, with only 1 day of 'responsibility,' but this week I was guilted into volunteered for 2. Luckily, the eldest, Tually just started preschool this week, so I only had 2 kids from 9 to noon, then 3 until around 3pm when Auntie Kayneen would get back. And last week I was able to scream and cajole gracefully orchestrate quiet time for the oldest, while the younger two took naps from 1 to 3PM. (Mine still needs me laying with her to fall asleep, so I was worried it wouldn't work out.) So I was optimistic for this week, especially as I wouldn't have all 3 the whole time, and Gramma Nayra was coming to pick up Tually from preschool Friday and take over for me.
So this week I came prepared! EasyLunchboxes: check! Cookie cutters: check! Fun craft activit(ies): check! Baby dolls to fight over: check! Zebra (for bedtime): check! Diapers: Errr... Luckily Z and Piwu wear the same size!

I had a very busy Wednesday, with a preschool meeting in the morning (since the Sensory Playdate was cancelled due to rain, I was actually able to make it!) a trip to the post office, nap, snack & final packing, Little Gym, and MOMS Club board meeting in the evening. So at 9:30PM, as I was racing home from the meeting, my hubby was packing up the Princess' toys and DVDs and portable player (just in case.) I had already packed our clothes and whatnot (although less whatnot than I needed. Diapers. Argh.) We had switched cars at Little Gym, since he had thoughtfully takes the car seat out of his car and put it into mine that morning, remembering that I was to take it so that Unka Rop could just drop Tually off at preschool, then I could swoop in and pick her up in my second seat, rather than him having to leave the seat or drive it back to me after. But without a seat, he couldn't take her after gym in his car while I went to my meeting. Whaaaaaat? I'd have to drive the sexy hawt Mustang? Oh no. What terrible news.... VRRRMMMMMM!

But my car needed gas. And didn't get any on the way home with them. *sigh* So at 10ish, when I finally had us and our stuff in the car, looking at a 90 minute drive ahead of me, I had to stop for gas, making us even later. Ugh. Then there was construction on the freeway, reducing it to one sloooooooow lane. And my engine started making its "Hellooooo! I could use some oil heeeeeere" noises, only MUCH worse than usual. Normally I can listen to it for a drive out to my sister's before it starts sounding serious. (My oil light hasn't worked in years. And I don't really check my oil ever often enough.) So first chance I got (after slogging through 20 minutes of bumper-to-bumper for 2 miles) I bought some oil and put it in. Ahhh. Much better. But now I was an hour later than planned. I wouldn't arrive until midnight.

Meanwhile, the plan was for the Princess to sleep on the way over and be gently transferred into the guest bed with me after I unlocked the door and dragged our stuff inside. The Princess didn't get that memo. She fell asleep 10 minutes before we arrived. The rest went as planned. Except the guest bed mattress was off the boxsprings by about a foot from both the top and the side (MY side.) All the pillows fell into the canyon at the top, and all the mommies kept rolling off the side (since it just bent without the support underneath it!) whenever little Princesses-who-like-to-sleep-sideways kicked at them. Sleep was had by all, however, and I managed to get up in time to kiss Tually good-bye and let Unka Rop know I wasn't a lazy deadbeat ignoring his baby in the crib. (I did that after he left.) He had somehow managed to crammer-jammer all 3 car seats Tetris-like into the back seat of my Saturn sedan, so no one had to be endangered in my front seat (I can't turn off the airbag) for the ride to and from preschool for pick-up.

I let the Princess sleep a little longer while Piwu amused herself in the crib upstairs and I took a shower. Then it was wake-up time. They had a ball. Tually is a very intense, energetic and spirited child, while Little Z likes to observe and imitate and have some alone-play (and is extremely bothered by kids roaring at her) so there's usually a lot of screeching and grabbing and chasing and roaring and crying and not-sharing all around when she and Z are in the same room. Z and Piwu had the occasional scuffle over a stuffed toy, or when a block tower got knocked over, but for the most part played happily side-by-side. I set timers on my iPhone to give me plenty of warning to be get the girls dressed and ready, and plenty of time to get there, in case I missed the little road the school was on (which I did.) Kayneen had asked me to bring a lunch for Tually, and to feed her in the car, since she only gets snack at school, and may not have eaten it. (She's a fairly selective eater.) Which is why I had brought my EasyLunchboxes and cookie cutters. I even brought my new LunchPunches! I know she likes frogs, so I brought the frog prince, and I brought the fairy for Z from the Sandwishes set. I also brought the plane and car from the vrrrRMM! set, just in case she was in a vehicle mood. I made mini flower and duckie cheese, and a fairy PBJ for Little Z. But I saw my sister had already prepared a sack lunch for Tually, and since she often has a hard time with unexpected changes from routine, or differences from her expectations, I opted to leave it as-is and brought an empty EasyLunchbox, in case she wanted hers just like Z's. They ended up sharing Z's berries and cheese and Tually's apples. (Piwu is getting pretty good with her words, and was able to ask for whatever she wanted.) Sadly, pictures were not taken.

Back at base camp, I broke out the 'chewy bars,' and was told that they were in fact allowed to eat them in the living room. Most messy things require the table, but I vaguely recall them wandering freely with chewy bars in the past. I was snookered. There was granola shrapnel everywhere. Free-Range Baby Granola Bar Experiment: Fail. And no blaming Little Z for the mess either! She sat on the couch, grinding granola onto her pants bottom the entire time. I was easily able to brush her off outside. On the plus side, I was starving, so there was lots left for me, if I was willing to pick off the dog hairs. (I was.)
Next came quiet time/nap time. Last week had involved some shrieking and banging around in the hallway, but we worked it out, and this time I reminded her of the game plan in the car, and again during the chewy bar massacre, so it all went well. Plus she was pretty wiped out from school. I fenced off the hallway, so she could still access the bathroom, but not the hazards in the living room. Piwu was tucked safely into her crib with her milk and PupPup (My Pal Violet - her #1 lovee) with the door shut to prevent vagrants Tually. Little Z and I lay down on my sister's bed, which is upstairs with the girls' bedrooms, so I was close in case of emergency, rather than downstairs, which is where we nap when Kayneen is home. All was well, until Z decided she was done nursing ("Byebye boobies!" *kiss*kiss*) and slid down off the bed to go play. Tually probably would have slept, if given a chance, but Z was done trying to nap fairly quickly. Since she's at the age where the doctor told me she'd be phasing out naps, I try and follow her lead when she initiates being done before sleeping. They did surprisingly well for 2 kids who have different ways of recharging (Tually likes to interact closely and get physical to recharge. Z needs some space and an alone activity, and dislikes being grabbed or hugged without warning.) Especially for 2 kids who could have used a nap. But they have both improved dramatically in their interpersonal relationship, from even a month ago. A lot more quietly-getting-along time, and less screeching or crying for mommy.

Since Piwu was safely contained, I boiled some water to make a packet of Jell-O, and the girls got ready to make a toilet paper tube craft (I'll post all about it later!) The coffee-maker cord was a little close to the back burner, and I kept trying to shove it further away, but it kept creeping back. So I figured it must be okay, since I know she uses that burner. Ha.
Me: *sniff sniff* What's that awful smell? Must be the stove. [Turn on fan, return to kids at table.] Smoke? SMOKE! [Notice coffee-maker cord melded to burner. Unplug and remove. Open window. Die a little inside of embarrassment.]
Boiled water though. Made Jell-O! The girls made fancy castles and decorated crowns, then I got Piwu and everyone had a snack. Kayneen called apologizing for running late, but I hadn't even been watching the clock! (Other than to make sure we did stuff on time, like eating.)

When Auntie Kayneen came home, she and the kids made chocolate chip cookies (my favorite.) She just uses the recipe off the Nestle package. She measures each ingredient out and the girls take turns 'helping' her dump in each one.

To avoid little hands crushing egg everywhere, she cracks them open into a bowl first, which her helper can then pour into the mixer. Putting them into a separate bowl is good for other reasons too. It's easier to remove any shell bits, and if you somehow crack open a bad egg, you haven't just ruined your mix.
[Note: since she has her own chickens, and her 'Free-Caged' eggs are smaller than grocery store eggs, when a recipe calls for 2, she usually opts for 3 eggs.]


Since neither of us are concerned about our kids eating raw eggs (especially her eggs. It's not like the chickens just spontaneously get E. coli or salmonella or whatever) the girls enjoy spoonful(s) of cookie dough while the rest bakes up.


****added 9/14/10 - I almost forgot!****
After cookies, Auntie Kayneen whipped up a batch of rhubarb-strawberry jam. She has a clever name for it, but I don't want to ruin her 'copyright' or anything! But if anyone knows good deals on pectin, let me know! While jammin' it up, she reheated my bag of noodles by re-boiling them! She added cream, fresh grated parmesan, and I'm assuming butter to make a yummy white sauce. It was very subtle, so the kids loved it, but had enough flavor I didn't feel like I was just eating kids' buttered noodles (there have been times she starved me I was desperate enough to eat the kids' butter noodle leftovers.) I was pleased not to be stuck with a gallon bag of noodles! I was pleased the Tually liked them. I was worried, as she's often very.... selective in her foods, and likes to stick to things she knows she likes. Since there were colored noodles, and she didn't get to pick the shape (normally she chooses the shape for each noodle meal,) I thought she might not eat them. Maybe it was the fact that *I* had brought them, combined with Little Z happily noshing away that motivated her to try. Or maybe she was in a try-new-things mood. Or maybe all of the above. She made a game of it, and would call out what shape/color to eat next, and Z and I would try and find one that matched. There was lots of "CHEERS!"ing and 'clinking' of noodles between them when they found a match!

**** back to original post as published****
Friday went much like Thursday, except Gramma Nayra came from home to pick Tually up from school, and then stayed the night. Unka Rop left the car seat there, and I called the teacher to make sure she knew who was picking Tually up, and to ask if she could help with car seat installation. My mom didn't even know what a LATCH system was, nor was she aware that her car had it! My plan had been to leave around naptime and have Little Z sleep in the car, and I would arrive just in time for a Pampered Chef kids cooking party at a friend's house. But Piwu had been sick for a while, and I spent a lot of time pinning her down and snorking goo out of her nose, so Kayneen made a last-minute appointment with the pediatrician, and I stayed to help get her ready (Kayneen would only have time to get the car seat back from my car, dash inside, grab a child and a sippy, and race to the doctor's.) I did make it to the party... after most everyone had left. Probably for the best, as Z doesn't do well in rambunctious crowds, especially when they are inside. She polished off the cream filling from 2 Oreos and someone else's "Dirt & Worms" (chocolate pudding with crushed Oreo 'dirt' and gummy worms.) And while her nap was late, it was shorter, so she got to bed at a somewhat reasonable time.


  1. Don't believe your doctor too much! My son is almost a whole year older and still napping! (and needs that nap to be a nice person in the evening)

  2. "Free-Range Baby Granola Bar Experiment: Fail." love it!


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