Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Just One Day

This post is for my own benefit so if you happen to stumble across it and wonder why I think you'd care about all these small details of our days, I don't. :) They just pass by so quickly and children change so much in no time, and I don't want to forget. This is a good place for me to quickly write down the little things, so I'll have a record of it someday when these days would otherwise be forgotten.

Doodle is our alarm clock most mornings, waking us anywhere between 6 and 7. Every once in awhile he'll sleep in till 7:30 or so -- typically on a morning we have to be somewhere early so have to get up before then anyway. If it's a Saturday, it's guaranteed to be 6 am.

Puffins flies out of bed the second she hears my doorknob turn. After a quick change of Doodle's diaper as he wakes up SOAKED, we head for the breakfast table. Doodle is currently in a stage where he really wants to feed himself but doesn't do a terribly good job.

After breakfast, I get Puffins ready for the day, then Doodle (9 times out of 10 he dirties his diaper after breakfast and there's no sense in dressing him before he does the deed!), then myself while the kids play in the living room, then it's off to the sitter's and to work we go!

When I pick them up in the afternoon, I try to have a plan for something we can do or somewhere we go. Really hot afternoons we usually spend at the pool. Nicer ones, we visit a park. If it's raining, the library makes a good stop, although we often run by there on the way home on pretty days as well. If it's later when I pick them up, we generally just go home and play in the back yard.

Doodle is crazy about balls. He spends his outside time digging every kind of ball he can find out of the storage shed. He especially loves t-ball and has mastered the art of putting the ball on the tee and hitting it with the bat all by himself. He will also throw a basketball at a hoop but just can't get it up high enough yet.

Puffins learned to swing by herself earlier this summer, much to my relief, as I got so tired of having to stand there and push her all the time, especially with an active toddler running around like crazy. She's now working on gymnastics skills in preparation for starting classes this fall.

I try to keep them outside and active until about 6:30. We come in for dinner and then I spend a half hour or so with Doodle doing fingerplays and songs with motions, working puzzles, shape sorters, and pop-up toys, and reading books while Puffins has her bedtime snack. He does all the motions to pat-a-cake and "If You're Happy and You Know It," will do some of the motions to "Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Five Little Monkeys" (both versions -- jumping on the bed and swinging from a tree), and loves to scream at the end of Row Your Boat (if you see an alligator, don't forget to scream!) He also loves Eye Winker and does the "gully gully gully" at the end of it and laughs. He's learning "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes."

Both kids are also crazy about singing and dancing. Puffins' favorites are those she sings at Kids Church, especially "Good Morning" and "Boom Chaka Laka." Doodle is WILD about "Mahna Mahna" and will sing the mahna mahna parts of it every time you sing it to him. He can't see a phone or computer without begging for it. His other favorite which he requests verbally all the time is, as he calls it, "Hey yeah, yeah" -- a song from VBS. So a lot of times during or after meals, we play music on the laptop and the kids dance in the kitchen.

At 7:30, Puffins and I put Doodle to bed. I change him and brush his teeth, and then hold him and sing his bedtime songs -- Jesus Loves Me, Rest Easy, Baby Mine, and finally Sleep Sound in Jesus. I say his little bedtime prayer for him, "Dear God, I love you. Thank you for loving me. Please keep me safe, and Puffins safe, and my baby brother or sister safe. In Jesus' name, Amen." Doodle always chimes in himself with the Amen. Then with a goodnight kiss, I lay him down, cover him with his blanket, give him his Mickey, and turn on his mobile. He says "ninight" and he gets one more kiss, and out we tiptoe.

Then begins Puffins' bedtime routine. We get her in her pjs and brush her teeth, and then we each pick out a library book to read. We read those two books first, then we read a Bible storybook, then we read a chapter or two from Little House -- currently on On the Banks of Plum Creek -- and then after some hugs, I tuck her in with her pink blanket first, and then the sheets and covers, read her her short bedtime devotional, then she says her prayer and I turn on her bedtime music and stay with her until she falls asleep, usually less than five minutes.

And that's a typical day in our lives right now.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


"I'm thirsty," came the cry from the backseat on the way to the sitter's this morning.

"Okay," I replied, bracing myself for the tantrum I knew was sure to come. "You can have some water as soon as we get to the babysitter's."

"NOOO!" came Puffin's shrill cry. "I don't WANT water!"

"Well, you're not thirsty then," I replied matter-of-factly.

"I want JUICE!" she insisted.

"You had juice for breakfast. If you're still thirsty, you can have water." Our caloric intake is extremely high as it without adding empty liquid calories to the count.

"I HATE WATER!" she shrieked. "I want milk!!!"

I have to limit her dairy intake due to constipation issues. I reminded her of this, and told her again she could have water.

She continued to cry and wail and scream the rest of the way to the sitter's about how mean I am to make her drink water, while I ignored her entirely but sighed inwardly to myself, wondering why it has to be this way. Must everything be a fight?

After dropping the kids off and heading off to work, I turned on the radio. K-Love was hosting a fundraiser for a Water for Life project for Compassion International. I thought of this morning's tussle as I heard story after story of children forced to drink sludge that made them sick, but there was no choice. They had nothing else to drink.

"Puffins needs to listen to these stories," I thought to myself. Not that it would likely make any difference. Four-year-olds are notoriously self-centered, after all.

But as the day progressed, a plan came to mind. For $55, I could purchase a filter that would supply one family in Rwanda with clean drinking water for the rest of their lives. Puffins has no way to earn money, nor any desire to as I've found from past experience, so having her help come up with the money wouldn't work. How could I involve her in this project and teach her a lesson in gratitude at the same time?

It came to me. I told Puffins this evening about the stories I heard, and asked her if she would like to help these poor children who have no clean water to drink. She was interested. We drew up a chart with numbers from 1 to 55. Every time Puffins drinks a glass of water without whining, complaining, or begging for juice or milk, she gets to mark off a number to represent a dollar earned toward the filter. When she reaches 55, we will buy the water filter for the family in Rwanda.

Puffins is excited about this, and asked for water with her dinner tonight. Here's hoping Puffins learns to appreciate what she has, while helping a family in Rwanda at the same time.

Want to help out too? Visit Compassion International and buy a water filter.

Where I've Been

I've been a little busy lately. My fostering adventure finally began, and boy, has it kept me busy.

My first call came on my nephew's birthday -- an eight week old baby boy was being discharged from the hospital and I needed to come pick him up immediately. What a frenzy ensued -- a happy one!! I loved every minute I had with this precious baby and don't regret a single second, although he only stayed with me eight days before the court ordered him home again, and spent half of that time in the hospital. He was a critically ill baby but I loved him desperately.

The house was so empty after he left. Funny how a house that had always been empty never felt so, but only eight days of a tiny seven-pound boy had filled it so wonderfully full that his absence caused the halls to echo.

Fortunately, this lasted only a couple of weeks, and within the span of five days, two children filled up my home again, Puffins and Doodle.

Doodle came first, a thirteen month old baby boy who stole my cautious heart almost immediately with his precious smile. Puffins followed, a devastatingly sad little girl, just four years old.

Fast forward a very very very busy six months, and Doodle is still winning hearts everywhere with his smiles and hugs and kisses, and Puffins is a much happier child, herself, though time has not yet healed all wounds.

Just a brief update before I begin posting again, lest you wonder who on earth are these children who appeared out of nowhere named Puffins and Doodle. :)