Three Good Things for the day, on this very tough day:

  1. Sammy has turned one of her iPad geography games into a musical instrument. She’s learning where Jamaica is on the map and making a sound that is pretty darn close to Jamaican steel drums.
  2. I got through all my physical in-box and paid all my bills. I’m actually shocked and proud that I was able to do it under the conditions in my house today.
  3. Adam brought me a cup of coffee this morning before I got out of bed. Lifesaver.

Good Thing for the Week:

We finished off the week of school. Sam did all her work for four days in a row, although she was late today. But it was a good school week. Next week we’ll try to do all five days, and I’m optimistic.

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I set up gmail accounts for Leo and Zoe. Faked their ages just to secure the account names I wanted for them. Apparently, it’s an FCC requirement to not allow e-mail accounts be assigned to children under some age. It wasn’t a problem when I set up Sam’s gmail account in 2006. Anyway, I spent a few minutes sending phony email from the babies to their parents–to myself, you see.  I wrote phony letters in my childrens’ names and sent them to …myself. And then I was surprised and enamored of the cuteness when I received them. Awwww.
  2. Sam memorized the names of all 50 states and is working on her third poem. She loves memorization, and she loves geography. We also just play around with Google Maps. Zooming in and out, reading the city names, watching how the maps change, bringing the little guy over so we can see photos and move around like we’re virtually there. Sam is wild for this stuff. I’ll count it as geography.
  3. The Switch Witch is coming tonight. Sam sorted out about half her Halloween take, and offered it to the Switch Witch. If the Switch Witch thinks she has offered a good trade, she will exchange the candy for a good gift. But a lesser offer will garner a lesser toy. Luckily, Sam picked out just the right amount of candy to switch to justify giving her the one toy we had prepared: a pink cowboy working cap gun. Super cool. Of course, Sam knows that the Switch Witch is mommy or daddy, but it doesn’t seem to curb her enthusiasm for the game. You should try it – the Switch Witch is awesome. I think we got that idea from the Kalts, but we probably modified it some.

Three Good Things for the Day:

  1. The “I-am-dependent-on-others-for-all-of-my-meals-and-snacks” diet works! Ten pounds to go to my pre-pre-pre-pre-pre-pregnancy weight (but another seven or so to add the final “pre” associated with Sam).
  2. Sammy got to go on three separate trick-or-treat runs: one with me, one with Ale, and one with Adam. We had to work in shifts to keep up with Super Girl, who was charming and wonderful tonight. It was also a good workout for me on my knee-scooter.
  3. Because of #1 and #2, I got to eat extra candy.

Three Good Things for the Day:

  1. We’re back in school! Sam and I resumed our regular school schedule today. Sam has done some work here and there over the past six weeks, but until now it’s been too difficult for me to get down two flights of stairs and stay there for a few hours. But I did it today, and we had a blast! My mind is popping with ideas for new work for Sam to do. We started a new book today, A Little Princess, which I’ve never read and have been looking forward to. We played a new version of the Exchange Game. Sam flawlessly recited the two poems she has memorized and her printing is as good as ever. While we were on hiatus, I added a new subject to her checklist: History. She noticed it written on the whiteboard and demanded to do history. She was excited to work with her puzzle map of the U.S. She did all of her work in about 2.5 hours without a single complaint. I know today was especially good because everything was fresh again, but still, it was just so amazingly awesome to work with Sam again.
  2. Besides school, I started a new schedule I’m going to try with Ale and the kids. Ale has been here for close to five months and we still don’t have any kind of routine that works for everyone. It’s just so complicated, and we’ve had so many crises. But I’ve learned a few things that don’t work, so I’m hopeful again.
  3. I bought Zoe and Leo their first pairs of Robeez. I don’t put my kids in shoes until they have to walk outside. Actually, I don’t even put socks on them unless it is cold. Why? Why do people add all these little objects for their babies to pull off and throw around? I’ve never understood it. Anyway, neither of the twins are walking yet, but they are so close, and the weather is getting cold. It’s only a matter of time. I have a picture of Sam standing outside on the deck with me wearing her first pair of shoes. It’s such a happy thing.

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I colored with Sam.
  2. I made my own coffee.
  3. My grocery delivery arrived before everything shut down in anticipation of the storm. (I swear, the only thing Obama has ever been right about is what wimps D.C. people are about the weather.)

I showed Sam my gory wound. It’s shocking how bad it looks even four weeks after surgery. Sam could hardly look at it. I told her that I’m going to have a very bad scar. Later, she said, “Mommy, will you be able to walk when your foot gets better, and when you don’t have that Harry Potter anymore?”

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I got my cast off. Let me repeat: I no longer have a cast on my leg. The relief is indescribable. I have a boot now, which I can take on and off. I can put weight on my foot. I should be able to walk in the boot without crutches in a few days, after I regain a little strength and practice a bit. I’ve always said that a baby’s first steps are miraculous to me, and now I get to experience a little bit of how it feels as an adult. When I took my first few steps with the crutches and tried to put weight on the foot, it was frightening. It felt impossible. My muscles had no idea what to do. But I’ve been working on it all day and it’s beginning to feel more natural. I can already go down a whole staircase with one crutch – on my feet instead of sliding on my butt. I can do a shuffle-step without the crutches at all if I only need to move a couple of feet, like when working in the kitchen. I unloaded the dishwasher today, just for fun. It’s thrilling! It’s liberating! It’s like getting your driver’s license. “You mean, I can just take off and go? Just like that?” Yes, just like that.

I can’t include any other Good Things today; it would cheapen the one. Suffice it to say that today is the best day I’ve had in a very long time. Everything was a Good Thing, today.

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I picked up the RAV4 from the shop today. It was mine before we got the Odyssey, and I miss it – it’s a great car. It was nice to get a chance to drive it, and to have it back.
  2. I saw a dude with a Sheldon-inspired t-shirt today and we had a great conversation about Big Bang Theory. Then we moved on to Modern Family, The Amazing Race, and Survivor. I convinced him to try How I Met Your Mother. Sharing values, what a pleasure.
  3. On the way home from gymnastics, I did the mom-of-a-million-questions routine: “Did you have fun? Did you do anything new? What exercises did you do? Did you like your teacher? What friends did you see there?” Sam responded halfheartedly for a while then said, “Can you just stop talking? It’s a little bit boring.” It was said with no malice – just a tiny bit of annoyance. I happily said, “Yup” and shut my big mouth. I love it when she tells it like it is. Kids are the best.

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. Today, I had the pleasure of observing Sammy work just a bit closer to understanding the concept of zero.
  2. My new maid service started today. I can’t say that they will solve all the problems I had with the last crew, but they definitely work faster and so far, seem professional.
  3. Sam and I baked cookies and pumpkin seeds, all in one day. That’s pretty amazing considering that prior to today, I hadn’t cooked anything at all in 4 weeks.

My babies are still babies. They will be so until they walk. Then I will call them toddlers. But the changes are slower and subtler than that, of course.

The thing I notice most right now is how much they understand. I can now tell Leo, “Daddy is going in the other room to get you more food,” and he’ll stop screaming (sometimes). I can ask Zoe, “What do you want?” and she’ll point and grunt instead of flailing about (sometimes). If you ask them to hand you something, they’ll usually do so, and they both definitely understand the phrase, “not in the mouth.”

They both point, wave, do some sign language, and even blow kisses. They love putting things “in” and “out” of other things, they love to hand things to you and to have them handed back. They love to crawl all over you both at once and flop over onto their backs and see your upside-down face and laugh.

Their personalities continue to develop, but not in any surprising ways. They’re both the same as they were when they were born. I feel like we had them each pegged from the start.

Zoe is observant, social, even-tempered (except when she is not), and goofy in a way that is not in-your-face, but is always there, beneath the surface. But most of the time, she is serious. Her natural expression is a frown, especially when she is studying a new person. People often think she is about to cry, or that she doesn’t like them. “Look, that one is sad,” I often hear from strangers, and I know which twin they are talking about. I know better. I know Zoe. When she was born I had more trouble bonding with her and she seemed so alien. But now it is the opposite – she is the child that I don’t have to struggle to understand. She looks into my eyes and it’s like I can read her mind. Sometimes I wonder if she is exceptionally intelligent, but there is nothing concrete I can point to to support that. It’s just in her eyes. She’s still the odd-duck of the family – she looks different, her temperament is different, hell, she’s even a morning person! She is the same as she’s always been, but I’ve finally tuned in to her vibe, and it’s a pleasure.

Leo is boisterous, demanding, physical, and fun-loving. When he enters a room, he could care less about who is in it – his eyes are on the objects to be grabbed and explored. Sometimes I worry that he is autistic because he doesn’t make eye contact the way Zoe does. But then I remember: he’s a boy. When there are no distractions, he looks at me with the awareness of my personhood, just like Zoe does. But a moment later, he’s reaching for a a ball or a speck of dust on the floor, grunting, and squirming out of my arms. Leo makes everyone around him into a comedian, because there is nothing better on earth than the sound of his laugh. I mean, all babies have cute laughs, and all three of my kids have the cutest laughs in the world, of course, but Leo’s laugh is divine. It’s chocolate covered Rachmaninoff. It’s skydiving through space. It’s impossibly great.

Leo seems to be developing an interest in animals. He growls at them. His favorite activity right now is walking with a push-toy. But he also likes music, water, tickle-wars, TV, eating, drinking, sleeping…he loves everything! It’s hard to say what is going to capture his interest more than anything else. He is sucking the marrow out of life. I think the only thing he doesn’t like is that he can’t get to all the shiny objects on the shelves.

I’m pleased to report that we’ve finally found something that Zoe really loves. She loves a moon bounce! It seems so totally out-of-character for Zoe: she is so cautious that I’d call her a fearful baby. She was afraid of water for a while, she doesn’t like some of the Halloween decorations, she cried at some of the animals at the zoo. But we blew up the moon bounce and put the twins in it, and Zoe immediately went crazy for it. No fear. Bouncing, crawling, sliding, playing – total rapture. Today, she got another chance, this time with a bunch of other, bigger kids at a fair, and she loved it again! It’s nice that we can finally give Zoe something that she loves so much.

Since I didn’t do a Sam Update for her sixth birthday, I’ll at least include her picture here. I can’t believe I get to be mommy to all three of these amazing people.

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I upgraded my internet speed.
  2. I did my exercises.
  3. I got to hang out with Adam for about an hour, just watching Big Bang Theory and relaxing. Nice.

Sam has graduated from Little Bear to something a bit more mature: The Fresh Beat Band. Every time she watches the real TV (as opposed to the iPad), she asks for Fresh Beat Band. It’s a bit disconcerting because she has never asked for anything but Little Bear before. Ever. And now, she doesn’t want him anymore. At least she kept watching long enough so that her brother and sister can take over this very important responsibility soon. I’m not sure I can live without Little Bear.

I just re-read my first post about this most wonderful TV show - from over four years ago! – and I still feel the exact same way: the show is still the very best thing on TV that I’ve seen for toddlers/pre-schoolers. I’m impressed at how I knew from the start that it would be a huge part of our lives. It really has been. I’ve probably told Sam a thousand stories based on Little Bear. We talk about Little Bear like he’s a member of the family. The music puts both me and Adam to sleep because we’ve used the show as a babysitter for adult naps so many times.

As kids’ TV shows go, The Fresh Beat Band is pretty good. It can be a bit pedantic, but it is not overly so. The music is okay. The sets and costumes are colorful but not chaotic. The dancing is fun. The kids in the band respect and like each other and have a good time. Importantly, it’s not cynical. I’m sure many adults are turned off by its sickly sweetness, but to me, that is its virtue. And in that way, it is exactly like Little Bear. I’m gratified that Sam is drawn to this and not the kind of show where the kids ridicule adults, or gripe about school, or dutifully volunteer at the old folks’ home.

The Fresh Beat Band tells me I’m doing something right.

 

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. I began a low-intensity workout regimen of my own creation. Just push-ups (knees only, since I can’t use my toes), crunches, some inner-thigh work, and stretching. 2-3 times a day, not too intense. Of all the suggestions I’ve received to deal with my fragility issue, one that has always made sense is to become stronger, so that less force is put on my tendons. But most exercises put stress on those same tendons. These classics don’t seem to. Then I’ll add my physical therapy, and then hopefully go on the meds for psoriatic arthritis, and maybe I’ll do better. That is the plan. Also, I still need to lose at least 10, but preferably 20 more pounds and this is a good time to work on it since I have to be focused on my body anyway. My health is number one on my hierarchy list right now. Gotta get past all this shit.
  2. Borrowed a book from the Kindle lending library today using my Prime membership. Oh, how I love you, Kindle.
  3. Found a couple of new iPad games for Sam to use in school. I’m improvising school right now, and thank goodness for the iPad. Lots of really good apps out there.

Being almost totally incapacitated has given me a clear picture of how independent Sammy is. She can do so many things for herself! And what’s even better is that this is forcing me to teach her even more ways to be independent. It’s so much easier to be able to say, “I am unable to help you,” rather than, “I’m not going to help you because I know you can do this.” But more than anything, it is just my awareness that has changed. I never thought to ask her to empty her own trash can, but now there is no way I can empty it, so of course she should. I never thought to teach her how to turn on the shower without burning herself, but now there is no way I can do it for her, so of course she should. I do think she’s pretty independent for her age, but there are just some little items that I’ve been blind to.

And once I’m out of this cast, boy, she’s in trouble! First up: washing dishes!

Three Good Things for the day:

  1. During my morning (ok, afternoon) shower (a Good Thing in and of itself), I noticed that the brand new bottle of shampoo I had given to Sam the day before was actually a bottle of conditioner. And it was 90% empty. Annoying, maybe. Charming, definitely. It made me laugh.
  2. I do so love to root for an admirable underdog. Or pair of underdogs. Especially when one of them is Malcolm.
  3. Sam and I did lazy-school all day long, from 9am-8pm. It took that entire time to get our usual core subjects done. And it was quite wonderful.

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