Monday, May 9, 2016

A Day in the Life of Parents with Three Toddlers

I woke up this morning to a little boy pretending to sniff my face and giggling, hoping I would wake up. After we have time to unwind when the kids are in bed ( I so need that time) we put Theo in bed with us to sleep as he seems to need more connecting and security.  Jacob brought me coffee and headed off to class.  The other kids were playing upstairs while Theo hung out with me so I could read my favorite book (I also need that!). He played with clothes hangers, then I sang him his song.  Then, kids were dressed and food prepared.  We had leftover homemade pizza for breakfast, and I managed to hold back tears while reading a chapter of Kisses From Katie aloud to the kids.  We also listened and "danced" to Good Morning by Mandisa and Little Apple by Chopstick Brothers (Theo's favorite song).  Eden and Ephraim headed off to their desks while the kids and I hung out in the living room.  By the time Jacob got home at 11:45, balloons had been blown up, I had been used as a jungle gym to do flips on, Legos and magna doodle played with, 3 little people toted back and forth to the bathroom, one had peed on the floor, books read, cartoons watched, Xavier seemed to fuss very loudly about everything, and Tessa cried every time one of the other two sat in my lap even if she didn't want to sit there, Every Time.  The big kids could tell I was frazzled, and Ephraim was thoughtful to write me this encouraging note:

We had lunch, and Jacob made it through two pages of On the Banks of Plum Creek.  I ate my lunch quickly, then took 20 minutes to breathe by myself while he finished up with the kids.  We planned for all the kids to go outside in 2 groups, but one kid punched another in the cheek, so they stayed behind with me while Jacob took the others out.  While outside, Tessa stuck a dirt covered rock in her mouth, then puked.  The one who inflicted the blow to the face helped me make chocolate chip cookies, and then worked on matching and number worksheets.  When the kids got home, we put them down for a nap, and Eden was in tears over not having as much time with me because of the three littles.  She wanted to spend nap time with me.  Her and Ephraim usually read upstairs or work on homework while the kids nap.  I selfishly wanted that quiet time to myself, and told her I would chat with Jacob and schedule us some time out in the next few days.  Jacob tucked the boys in, and I put Tessa to sleep, singing her song.  She still falls asleep propped up on my chest till I move her over, so I can make my getaway.  When I made it downstairs and had my afternoon green tea with cookies, I was talking to Jacob about time with Eden.  He agreed for me to take her out, so we got ready and took the bus two stops, walking the rest of the way to get some frozen treats.  I blogged a little while she made me a purple fan with a panda bear drawn on it and the Chinese characters for panda.  We had spotted pets for sale along the way, and I was drawn to a green lizard, thinking especially of the boys.  It's hard to have pets where we live. This seemed a manageable one, though, and not so tragic if/when it dies.  Plus, it's a Chinese tree dragon, what a cool name.  We stopped and got it and the cage for about $10, and I decided to let Ephraim name it.  We also stopped  by the cheese store for cheese, peanut butter, and butter, running into friends along the way.  Then we grabbed cheap noodles for supper.  Eden got to use her Chinese a lot while we waited.  We walked the rest of the way home, about 20 minutes.  Eph was so excited and gave the lizard the original name of Stripe.  Jacob was in the midst of bathing the third toddler, so I started dinner with everyone else.  During the process, one kid licked my sock while it was on my foot.  The kids wanted to see our next home again on Google earth.  Teeth were brushed, then there was much protesting when bedtime was announced.  Up the stairs we went, me behind Mei Mei making sure she didn't fall (she can climb the stairs now!). We read, we talked to Father, we had hugs and kisses (baobao and qin qin).  I headed off with Tessa, who mischievously stuck her finger in her nose and wiped it on me, then refused to go to sleep.  Being a Mom of three toddlers can be so gross!  I finally sat outside her bed till she fell asleep.  Jacob was going to run to a store to get a needed item, but discovered we already has some not previously visible.  In the meantime, Xavier was crying broke heartedly for Daddy.  There is still much transition, folks.  He laid with him till he fell asleep.  Now we are sitting quietly in the living room, and I am thinking of tomorrow's breakfast.  Tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities to be humbled and experience grace.  

Showers of Blessings:
Husband who brings me coffee, holds down the fort so I can have daughter time, and bathes all three toddlers
Exotic pet, truly healing to my heart after growing up in Africa with everything from goats to pygmy deer, chameleons, and a mongoose
Dinner with Carrie and her mom the other night (she brought crafts, vitamins, and 2 pairs of jeans for Ephraim from the states.  He's grown so much that he only had 2 pairs of pants that fit!)
Encouragement from Romans

Sarah's 33rd Birthday/Mother's Day

While I was away at team time, Jacob and the kids cleaned and decorated to surprise me for my birthday with Eden making the cake and Jacob the frosting.  She knows Beauty and the Beast was my favorite animated movie as a child, so she put Belle on top.

Jacob had our most recent family pictures printed and placed all over the home, and Theo was delighted to see his pictures everywhere.

My birthday banner was in my favorite color with a picture of me and Belle.  There's Theo pointing out his picture.

Jacob played Happy Birthday on his ukulele.

Then, a little boy snuck in and blew out my candles.

The next morning I was amused when Theo told me I looked like Belle.  I knew the answer to why would be interesting.  I presumed perhaps the brown hair or pale skin.  Nope...we have similar noses.  Yep, that's it.  He was sure he was giving me high praise.  

The next day Eden and I went out with Erica to lunch for some girl time.  We had mala xiang guo, some of my favorite Chinese food.  Basically you pick what you want, and they stir fry it in spicy seasoning.  Ours included sweet potatoes, chicken, bacon, broccoli, spinach, cilantro, lotus root, and other yummy veggies I can't remember.  We drank peanut milk, had mantou (steamed bread) with sweetened condensed milk, and salty peanuts.

Cherry blossom tree

We then went back to Erica's house to watch Anne of Avonlea for the first time with Eden.
Erica made delicious Thai chicken with sides for dinner and cookie dough bars for dessert.  I felt so refreshed after time with my sweet generous friend and precious daughter.  

I had leftover pancakes planned for the kids so that I wouldn't have to cook breakfast on Mother's Day.  Jacob, knowing I don't care much for pancakes, had an apple with peanut butter and coffee ready for me when I woke up.  I also received this tea set.  Look at Xavier's face!  This is right before he's about to growl!

There was playing outside with friends the kids met with English names Catherine and Peter.  I must confess the first time I heard her name, I thought she said Casserole.  Eden let me know what it really was.  

I want to forever remember Xavier in these little blue boots that he loves so much and prefers over his tennis shoes, the only shoes he has, next to this tree that we have dubbed the Charlie Brown tree.  

That afternoon Karen and David came over to play.  

Eden wanted to take a picture of me.  I was tired and dirty from playing with kids, with my hair plopped up in a bun, making pizza and salad, but she thought I was worthy of taking a picture of.  I love that.  

And this is how I get stuff done in the kitchen these days.  This girl never has enough time of snuggling.   When I ask her if she wants in the Ergo, she gets excited, flaps her arms, and says, "Ya, ya!" 

Showers of Blessing:
Kumquat scented dish soap
Friends willing to save their raw meat for our pet lizard
FaceTime with Kristalyn
Incense, bath salts and hair towel from Karen
Ningbo mug from Erica
Starbucks gift card that I'm using right now