Saturday, April 10, 2010

More Bedtime Fun

It seems to be universal law: When mom and dad are about ready to punch the time clock for the night and put their feet up, the "fun" really ramps up. If you're a parent, you know what I'm talking about: Bedtime. It is instinctual in most kids... mom and dad want to call it a day, so we're gonna start bouncing off the walls. Or something like that, anyway!

Tonight was no different for us, except that it was a "mom only" night. It is a Saturday night after a long day of outside play, so the girls were thrown into the shower for some scrubbing. After the shower it was already 8:04 pm, meaning we needed to abandon our typical bedtime routine and head straight to bed. Enter craziness.
***For anyone who is interested, I love using a visual routine for rough times of the day such as bedtime! Sometime I'll post about it, but basically I have a laminated piece of paper with pictures for each part of our bedtime routine, ending with SLEEP. The girls really like to follow it, and often will correct me if we get out of order (like tonight).***

After going potty, I instructed Eva and Hope to go straight to Eva's bed for prayers. But heading into the hallway I heard an imperative whisper, "Hope! Jump on my bed!"

Next thing you know, Hope and Eva are jumping on the bed, and literally bouncing off the walls. Not the end of the world (right?), except that Esther is laying on the bed and has already been kicked in the face by Hope's flying feet. I swooped in, taking swift action by spanking Hope for jumping on Esther's face and hurting her sister. Eva's instructions were to sit quietly on the bed and play with Esther, keeping her happy.

As we were wrapping up the discipline time in the living room, Eva came creeping in. She knew she was up next for a spanking since she was the instigator of such evil entertainment. To tell you the truth though, I had already decided to grant her mercy. As soon as she saw Esther's face getting smashed, her eyes had welled up with tears. She knew it had been a bad plan and felt immediate remorse. Also, it was already past their bedtime and I didn't want to drag out another spanking (trying to decide if I'm lazy or practical, or neither).

Anyway, Eva and I had a quick talk about encouraging her sister to do naughty things and how that is not being kind or loving. Apparently she had been giving all of this some thought while she was sitting with Esther. At once she suggested, "Let's make up a rhyme to remember."

With guarded optimism, I said, "That sounds good."

Immediately, "Stop, Think, Don't be wild."

"Hmmm" I ventured, "What about, 'Be kind to your sister, don't be a trickster"? (Yes, that really was my first neural firing.)

But she didn't like it. She rewarded me with an admiring smile, but said "No, I think "Stop, Think, Don't be wild."

So, it was decided. Eva had a "rhyme" to live by. A mantra, a motto, if you will.

A minute later, we were back on the bed for prayers. You would think that a good hard spanking and debriefing time would have mellowed Hope a bit. Not tonight. She was trying to crawl under the bed. Then she was loudly counting to 26 (I didn't know she had that skill before tonight), followed by trying to hide under the covers. And through it all, the older and wiser voice of reason:

"Hope. No, Hope. Hope! Stop, Think, Don't be wild! Really Hope. Stop! Think! Don't be wild!"

The first book of Eva, verse 1: Stop, Think, Don't be wild. I hope we've found a new universal law.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bedtime for Hope

Hope is our least sleepy child. She wakes up first in the morning and goes to sleep last at night, and it's not unusual for her to wake for hours in the middle of the night. At two and a half, she already skips her afternoon nap about 50 % of the time. She just doesn't fall asleep, and instead sings, talks, plays, or stares at the wall from her crib. As a mother, I am often tempted to wonder what in the world I have done wrong to create this two year old with a sleep disorder. But, she seems to be getting along just fine despite her strange habits. And glory be(!), she doesn't often wake me up with her in the night anymore.

Comparing isn't very productive, but I'll indulge myself just a bit here. Eva and Hope are opposites on my levels, and especially in the sleep department. Eva sleeps a lot. She falls asleep immediately after I close the door and would often sleep until 9:00 in the morning if Hope didn't wake her up. Eva slept soundly through the night from around 8 months, and Hope still wakes sometimes. Eva took naps until last year, and she still yawns a lot in the afternoon if she isn't flying around the house concocting misadventures. (I don't let her nap because she can't fall asleep at night if she naps.) Hope, is a champion napper- when she actually falls asleep. However, Eva still wets the bed at night. She will be five in less than a month, and I have to drag her to the bathroom every night before I go to bed or else she will wet. Hope, on the other hand has been dry at night for months now... at the age of two. Interesting, how each child is so different, no?

Anyway... back to my original story. Tonight Hope was struggling to fall asleep. Eva was already off in the land of Nod probably dreaming of Prince Charming within minutes of climbing into bed. Hope, on the other hand, started hollering at me a good thirty minutes after I left their room. When I went in to check on her, she was in tears. I asked her what was wrong, and the tears immediately stopped. It took her awhile to think of something that might be wrong, then she announced that she was scared. (For the record, she did NOT seem scared.) I asked what about, and she responded, "that lady was looking at me." Ohhhhhh, that makes sense (read sarcasm here). Sometimes, helping Hope wind down for the night can be quite a drawn out struggle.

I tried a new approach with her tonight, giving her four little books to look at in bed. I told her that once her books were done, she would have to lay down and go to sleep. Sure enough, around 9:30 and 15 minutes later she was hollering at me again. "Mom! Get these books out of here!" I went in and removed her books then she layed her head on her pillow. After I covered her up, she peacefully looked up at me with her big soft eyes. I stroked her forehead and blonde hair for a moment, then I said, "Hope, you are a good girl."

After another few moments gazing at my baby I say, "Jesus loves you."

She just stares up at me, slight smile on her little lips and restful look in her eyes.

"And Mommy loves you too."

"Good night, Hope."

Then her eyes brighten and her head pops off her pillow. "No, we're playing House on the Prairie and you're Ma and I'm Mary."

I say, "Good night Mary, sleep well."

I hear, "Good night Ma."

And then she closes her eyes and goes to sleep.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Looking Back at Winter

We're away in Crookston this weekend celebrating Easter and having some family time. It's fun! At present, I am blogging to keep myself awake while I watch the other adults play a long, drawn out game of Seafarers of Catan. This is the "three hour tour game, here on Patenaude's Island...".

While we sit, I am sharing photos from this winter. This was a blessed winter. Very little "cold/flu season" sickness. Lots of sparkly white snow. Relatively short in duration. Spring has arrived early, boasting a snowless March and summer temperatures over the last few days. The girls are begging me to fill up the kiddie pool. Invigorating!

However, I'm taking a moment to travel back in time. Eric went on another of his winter adventures, testing his manliness and survival skills. This year the weather was a full 50 degrees warmer than last year. Yes, it was in the mid 2o's, making it practically a tropical getaway in mid-February.

Eric describes the trip as cold, fun, awesome. Here are the pictures in no particular order at all: Building the quinzee. I think there were 12 guys on the trip this year.
loaded up sleds.
diversion on Saturday afternoon. Sledding
Everybody together in the quinzee.
Eric is warm blooded (yes, he's a mammal!), so during the challenging up and down hike, pulling a sled full of gear, he stripped down to his undies. No, those are are not his everyday shorts. He said he kept his body heat while shoveling snow for the quinzee, so he didn't have to put on pants until three hours after arriving in camp.
mug shot.
Morning fire.

The first quinzee actually caved in, and they had to build another the next day. This photo is a good teaching tool...
Close quarters... shoulder to shoulder... these men are bonded for life...
morning devotional time?
aerial view of the camp (if you can say "aerial" when you're just standing on top of a hill).
The whole gang (L-R): Bert Eikum, Nathan Hettick, Jonathan Anderstrom, Aaron Darling,
Chad Whipple, Robin Sutphen, Scott Krismarzick (sp?), Jason Lindquist, Eric, Clyde Veldhuizen, Luke Thompson, Mark Brenner.