What’s New With The Mandarin Babies?

It’s been awhile since I blathered on and on about my incredibly awesome children. I know. I apologize. There really is no excuse except that I’ve been lazy. So, for your benefit (and my pathetic memory), I give you an unspecified number of offspring anecdotes and observations to enjoy on your Monday morning. You’re welcome.

1) Gamera now hugs books to sleep. You know, as if they were stuffed animals. She also has been known to attempt “reading” them after I’ve turned off the lights. I don’t mind except that the super anal retentive part of me worries about her getting paper cuts on her face, not to mention bending or warping the books. I will not tell you which I am more concerned about. I would hate to admit that I care more about broken books than cuts to her cute little face.

2) Cookie Monster is a generous big brother to both Gamera and Glow Worm. When Gamera first started preschool, he would help her with the bathroom, washing her hands, getting her snacks, and advocating for her to the teachers. If Glow Worm is crying or wants something, Cookie Monster will bring him toys and snacks and will often try and make Glow Worm laugh. Cookie Monster has also been known to randomly hug and kiss Glow Worm and then tell me he’s being kind.

3) Glow Worm adores Cookie Monster. I’m sure he loves Gamera, too, but Cookie Monster is the one who pays him the most positive attention.

4) Speaking of Glow Worm and Gamera… Karma is awesome. There are few things Glow Worm likes better than to grab one of Gamera’s toys and run away, grinning and chuckling as Gamera runs after him, shrieking in fury, “No, no, no, Glow Worm Boy! That’s mine! Come back! That’s not kind!” In fact, the look on Glow Worm’s face is coincidentally the same look Gamera used to have when she did the same thing to Cookie Monster.

5) Gamera and Cookie Monster have Dance Offs in the family room. They will take turns playing songs on an exersaucer and then dance for each other. It is hilarious. Cookie Monster is quite the aspiring break dancer and runs and jumps and leaps and flips and is going to break something someday. He is also goofy and makes crazy faces, runs in place, and pulls his hair. Gamera lives for interpretive dance and will make flowy arm movements and twirl and lift her legs into poses and also make goofy faces. You can tell they watch a lot of So You Think You Can Dance.

Gamera and Cookie Monster dancing and goofing off.

Gamera and Cookie Monster dancing and goofing off.

More dancing

6) Cookie Monster has been greeting me with hugs and kisses and snuggles in the morning. He will come into my bed and let me cozy him for a bit. It is lovely.

7) Gamera will occasionally deign to grant me a kiss and a hug, too. She will very solemnly cup my face or wrap her arms around my neck, and then gracefully kisses me on the mouth.

8) Glow Worm is a Tyrant King. He has taken to throwing himself on the ground when he doesn’t get what he wants and screams his brains out. It is almost impossible to change his diaper now. (It is especially difficult with cloth diapers!) And for a non-talking child (who also refuses to learn signs), he is very opinionated. His mother, for one, really doesn’t understand him and must be quite stupid because she doesn’t carry out his demands at all. You just can’t pay enough for good help these days.

Glow Worm throwing himself to the floor.

Glow Worm throwing himself to the floor.

Glow Worm protesting my utter inability to follow his instructions.

Glow Worm protesting my utter inability to follow his instructions.

9) Cookie Monster is just such a silly boy.

Cookie Monster making a silly pose

Cookie Monster making a silly pose

10) Gamera turned three recently. I find it so strange because she seems to be so much more mature than she is and I feel as if she has been three for a very long time and perhaps should be turning five. How is it possible that she is ONLY just now, turning three?

Happy 3, Gamera!

Happy 3, Gamera!

11) Cookie Monster sweats when he plays Halo 3 with Hapa Papa. His hair gets all wet and sweaty and sticky. Ridiculous.

Playing Halo 3 with Hapa Papa

Playing Halo 3 with Hapa Papa

12) I recently taught Cookie Monster how to play the card game, War, and he really enjoys it. Unless he is losing. Then he weeps. He is very sensitive to losing lately. I try not to cheat on his behalf too much, but sometimes, I do because I can’t stand anymore crying. But mostly, I tell him that part of playing games is losing and that if he is going to cry all the time about it, then we won’t play anymore. He also cries when Hapa Papa beats him at Halo.

13) Gamera is super protective of Cookie Monster. When Hapa Papa beats Cookie Monster at Halo, she will yell at him to stop and scold him, saying, “That’s not kind!”

14) Gamera also adores Cookie Monster. They are still such good buddies and playmates.

15) At school, Gamera clearly has everyone wrapped around her little finger. Not only does Cookie Monster help her with things, one of her teachers will braid her hair into “Anna braids” (from Frozen) or “Elsa braids.” Another time, a little boy ran over and gave her a doll. Gamera looked at the doll, shook her head, and threw it to the floor. The boy immediately ran and got her another doll. This time, she hugged the doll and nodded her approval. I fear for whoever loves my daughter.

16) Glow Worm has started earlier than his siblings and now only wants to eat snacks. Regular meals, nope. But snacks, especially cinnamon rice puff cereal? YES.

17) I really didn’t expect my children to be so different from one another. So it constantly surprises me when Glow Worm has a fever for a week every time he teethes (neither of his older siblings had much of a problem with teething) and then he is super cranky and only wants to nurse. Turns out it is because he always ends up having three teeth coming in at the same time. Recently, it was three molars. And after those popped through, the fourth one started coming. I would be cranky, too.

Also, my other two kids never demanded milk from me. Glow Worm full on tugs on my shirt, or walks and points to the nursing chair in his room, or screams at me until I shove a boob in his mouth.

18) Speaking of which, Glow Worm is really smart. Not that I’m biased. But whenever I take him out the crib, he immediately directs me to turn off the sound machine, turn off the fan, and then sit down to nurse him. I guess he figured it out after I did that after every single sleeping session.

19) When Gamera turned two, we totally failed at weaning her from sucking on her left index finger. I didn’t anticipate a problem because I weaned Cookie Monster from sucking his thumb in three days. Gamera would just switch fingers on me. When I figured that out, she would power through and suck until the bitter stuff I put on her finger either overwhelmed her senses or she sucked it off entirely. So, I gave up and since the dentist said it wasn’t affecting her teeth, I waited to try again until her third birthday.

We warned her over and over that she would no longer be able to suck on her finger after her birthday party. She knew and was anticipating it and seemed ok with the decision. This time, I put the bitter polish on all her fingers, just in case. I found her wiping her tongue off on her shirt in her sleep last night because she sucked on her finger. It was hilarious. She did that again this morning. But it seems like she is powering through again. WHY IS SHE SO STUBBORN?

Alrighty. I think that is quite enough for now, yeah? Gotta save some stories for my annual Christmas newsletter. Thanks for reading about my awesome children. Try not to be too envious of me. They’re mine and not for sale.

Choosing To Be Content With Less

We decided to pass on the bigger home. Turns out, Hapa Papa doesn’t want to work until he dies. Slacker.

Although part of me is disappointed and had already envisioned our family in the bigger house, (especially my books in that glorious built in bookshelf!!), mostly, I feel relief. As awesome as the house sounded (and it was so awesome!!), in the end, it boiled down to what Hapa Papa wanted for our lives. He wanted flexibility to be with our family and to have the freedom of paying off the mortgage right around the time Cookie Monster heads to college. (Paying for 3-4 kids in college would also be difficult if we had a huge mortgage to consider as well.) He wanted to replicate what his father had: possibly fifteen or so years of his own time during retirement before passing. Plus, he didn’t want me to feel constrained with our budget.

I want what makes Hapa Papa happy.

Also, I definitely didn’t want to hear Hapa Papa blame me for this financial burden any time something cropped up. And he would blame me! Well, not necessarily blame, but he’d definitely mention it. A lot.

To this day, he still gives me crap about moving to NorCal without discussing it with him. He rightly alleges that if he hadn’t have followed me up north, we would’ve broken up. He’s totally right. But he did move up north so it all worked out in the end. (Never mind the fact that I didn’t take into account how he felt or thought about anything at all and just up and moved.)

And to be fair, I do agree with Hapa Papa. I just like to pin all the responsibility on him because now, I can get a bunch of stuff done to my current house due to misplaced guilt on Hapa Papa’s part. (He told me it was an excellent bluff strategy on my part. After considering an expensive house, all my remodeling requests sound really cheap.)

But as much as I joke about it, I am satisfied with staying put. After all, Hapa Papa is right. We would be trading our easy lifestyle for one that was considerably harder for what? A larger house? What is the point of working so hard (and in order to pay for the bigger house, Hapa Papa would have most likely had to get an even higher paying position which would require more in terms of time and effort) and never seeing the kids (or me)? Why would we choose to forgo swimming, martial arts, art, dance, and music classes for the kids just for more space?

Of course, this doesn’t preclude us moving to a bigger house in the future if our financial and family circumstances change. But for now, even though we could afford the house, ultimately, the trade-off wasn’t worth it for our family. Also, I think I get new hardwood floors and a custom built-in out of this experience (shhh… don’t tell Hapa Papa). So in the end, I still come out on top.

Many thanks goes out to our fantastic realtors, Brady and Erica Hobby of Hobby and Associates Real Estate Services. Their incredible knowledge, competence, and patience made this whirlwind palatable. I am only sorry that this is the second time I’ve engaged their service with no payoff for them. (The perils of me being impulsive and Hapa Papa being the sensible one of the family.)

And thanks to all of you, dear readers. Your comments and messages helped more than you know.

Counting Down

This morning I woke up and thought it was Saturday. I started to freak out until I realized that it was Friday. Whew. I have three days until my trip to Taiwan and despite my friends constantly asking, I have yet to start packing. Mostly because what is the point of packing things we use every day? That would just serve to piss me off and confuse me if I had to constantly repack stuff I already packed.

Also, I am crazy and feel the need to have all the laundry done and house cleaned before I leave. (I always have this problem before trips.) There is nothing I hate more than returning to a house full of dirty laundry and bathrooms. I think it’s because I’ll be bringing enough dirty stuff back as it is.

Hapa Papa has generously told me that he would clean the house after we leave so I don’t have to stress about it. I love this man. However, the thought of him cleaning my bathroom makes me ill. Why? Because I don’t trust him to clean it right. sigh I am an ass. I will let him vacuum and do the laundry though. 😀

What about you? Any crazy pre-trip rituals or quirks?