July 23, 2003

Moving through the week...Lately I have not felt like the best mother or teacher, as the exhaustion of the last trimester kicks in - somedays it is all I can do to make it through the day awake! But we are all surviving here and still getting some stuff accomplished as well, and I try not to be so hard on myself - when yet another video goes into the machine, or we read Angelina Ballerina or the Wide Mouth Frog for the upteenth time this week. The kids try to keep me accountable as well as they are actually beginning to refuse to watch movies, the novelty has worn off for them and they suggest other quiet activities. My mother's helper is an amazing help as well, tommorrow when she is here I think I will just take a nap and hopefully have more energy for the kids in the afternoon.

I wish I could sleep at night but something (usually one child or another) seems to keep me awake even when I am most exhausted. Or I can fall asleep but then once I wake up it is impossible to fall back asleep again. Tonight it is contractions and heartburn - last night it was our four year old the night before our two year old and leg cramps. Someday I will know what it is like to sleep again. But atleast I need to understand (not excuse) why I am so dysfunctional during the days sometimes.

Well today is Wensday and we really only had one "school session" this week though we have accomplished more than that I know, sometimes our most effective times are in the moments when we are not trying to accomplish anything. We have worked on different skills this week, structured phonics lessons have been beyond my capabilities but we still do our informal word games and we've played with felt and sandpaper letters quite a few times this week. The file folder games are always on hand and our son in particular has shown quite a bit of interest in them, going over to the box and taking them out himself to work on. Our daughter has really been into reading this week, both with me and by herself. We finished another Narnia book last night reading four chapters as a family and tonight we started the next Prince Caspian and read two chapters before I realized I was no longer coherently reading the pages and fell asleep.

We have worked on more crafts and games this week, in followup to some of her birthday gifts. Today was play with clay day and they made some beautiful rainbows and other things. Yesterday was sewing cards (or lacing cards) and they worked on hand eye coordination and patterns. We have been playing board games quite a bit this week as well (Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, Yahtzee, a great german four in one game, tangram patterns, and yes I'll admit it Pretty, Pretty Princess) and they are learning alot through those games, especially about math, colors, logic and matching. They are learning to take turns and are more patient than I would have thought (especially my son) and they seem to really enjoy themselves playing and I enjoy it as well.

In addition we have been working on counting and sorting objects. Our two year old found a bag of foam frogs and lizards in different colors and enjoys sorting them by color and learning to count them by putting them in his felt number book. He traces the felt number with his hand and we say it together and then count out the frogs or lizards to go on the page. He really is a very hands on child. We've also been trying to do a few puzzles each day, still pretty simple ones - but they both really enjoy this one wooden puzzle where they use a magnetic net or fishing pole to catch fish or butterflies and other bugs, they both want to do that one all the time. They have also been enjoying a dress up puzzle where you dress up mother, father and baby bear in different outfits and then tell stories about them.

Of course their world of make believe seems to only grow stronger as I grow weaker (THANKFULLY). Today their object of choice was clothing hangars, they were a variety of things but they played with a half dozen hangars for about a half hour on my living room floor. And of course our daughter was a princess again today, headed to a ball, she had a crown, a magic mirror/wand and a little purse she carried around. I felt terrible when I didn't even have the energy to pretend with her and she was left to her own devices. Yet I remind myself these days are rare and are good for them as well as they build some independence, some dependence on each other and an understanding that I can not be their continual entertainment source. I'm just so glad they are in a stage where they mostly get along with one another and enjoy playing together.

We also spent some time outside each day, our son goes right for the pool and our daughter explores and pretends throughout the yard or swings in the hammock with me. today a pretty good game of Red Light, Green Light took place and they did manage to tire themselves out some I think. We took a family walk on Monday that was quite nice (bugs excepted) and have been trying to enjoy the glorious weather we have been blessed with as of late here. They are working on riding their bikes and learning to kick a soccer ball and enjoy our garden (which is also suffering from my pregnancy) and love spending time with our neighbors (especially performing for them) and we are all just trying to move through the days as best we can.

I am glad that I am keeping this log because it does help me to realize that even on days when I feel like we are not accomplishing a whole lot we are doing well enough and have accomplished more than I thought we did. This week our son has really made some progress on his colors and counting and our daughter has found some more independence and a new found love for playing games (though she needs work on losing skills) and a confidence that she can learn a new skill such as lacing or sewing. They have found new levels of patience and compassion as they try to help me when I am tired or dealing with contractions. They are learning that the world around them goes on and that they can not always be the center of attention, but that they are still blessed with lots of love and attention. They have learned to rely on each other and themselves for entertainment when I am unable to provide it. They have learned to make mature decisions about what they want to do (playing with clay or reading a book with mom instead of watching a video) and to ask for their desires more. I'm glad some of these lessons are coming now - as they will become important with the very near arrival of their new sibling.

The time is coming soon when I will have three children's activities to report on here, though for the first few months the baby will spend most of her days in my arms or a sling, nursing, sleeping and taking in the world around her. We went to the doctor today, the kids were so good there and on short notice. Everything about our doctor routine was thrown out of whack, we went to a different office and got called in at the last minute to come an hour early, the midwife was rushed (as she was delivering a baby today) and we had to perform some different tests. The kids really showed compassion when I had to have a painful internal exam today. My son who was standing next to me with a big smile on his face from hearing the baby's heartbeat, suddenly looked torn between pain and a desire to comfort me and anger and a desire to be very unhappy with my doctor when he heard and saw me be in pain during my exam. As the tears welled up in his eyes - I hugged him and the midwife hugged me to show him that she wasn't trying to hurt me and that everything was okay. We had talked about it ahead of time, but it was too much for him. Guess it does reassure me that we are making the right choice to not have the kids at the delivery this time.

Our eldest was present for the birth of her brother but she was only 20 months old and did very well. It was powerful to have her there and she was able to be distracted from my sounds and pain. However I don't think our son would be able to - he is so sensitive and compassionate. And our daughter would be asking a million inquistive and not easy questions. As sad as I will be to have them not be a part of that experience I think wisdom is speaking when it says not this time.

I am wondering when the time will be, while I am not due for another three plus weeks I am beginning to feel like things are starting to get moving and we are preparing to be ready to go sometime next week if need be, but trying not to get our hopes up and be prepared for the baby to hold on for another month or so. Though to be honest another month of pregnancy seems real long to me right now! Well thanks for reading.


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