Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Our first few months with 2 kids

Written in October:

Strider often calls Rayna “fweet girl” now…  I guess he hears me calling her sweet girl a lot.  He also tells her to “relax.”

I wish we could take a camera to church and take Strider’s picture while we’re singing!  But since the appropriateness of that action is highly questionable, I will try to give a verbal picture here instead.  Yesterday this was the scene:  He was wearing his new sweater vest outfit, complete with tie (which he repeatedly tugged at all day, like a true man-in-training), and khaki shorts -- for the right balance of preppy and cool.  While we sang our opening praise songs for the service, he was standing next to us on the pew, one hand holding the bulletin in front of him as he seriously studied the song words on it, and the other hand straight up in the air – like a lot of the people around him were doing.  Then, after awhile, he started to join in on the singing, always a phrase behind of course, so his little voice could be heard in our pauses.  He was quite intent and enjoying it immensely.  When I took him outside to go to the nursery, all he kept saying was “go back to church!”

We didn’t follow the traditional advice given when you have a new baby that you should give the older sibling a doll so they can mimic what the parents are doing with the baby.   Strider still has no dolls.  However, I did come upon him playing “baby” recently – feeding, putting to bed talking sweetly to…. his talking action figure toy, Cyclops!

Whenever Strider is asked about if he wants to watch TV, he always asks for his 3 favorite shows:  Sesame Street, Oprah and Rachael Ray (cooking show).

This morning Rayna woke up earlier than usual and I didn’t know why… until I went to pick her up.  I had put a hat on her for the night because it was supposed to get a little chilly, and somehow she had worked it down over her eyes and even down past her nose!  Poor girl probably thought she had gone blind!

A few days ago I was sitting on the floor and Strider came up and sat down on my lap.  He laid his head on my shoulder and gave me a good long hug.  Then he said, completely unprompted, “I love you Mommy.”  He must have sensed how this was affecting my state of mind, because after a short pause, he added, “I’d like a cracker please”  (He knows that normally the answer to that is No!)

Such a picture of human nature…  Strider often approaches us now saying, “I want to have some ‘something else.’”  We have no idea what the “something else” is  -- and neither does he – but it always sounds good!

I love how imaginative Strider is getting.  This week I’ve seen the following, and heard him say:
--- while rubbing a plastic knife against the back of a spoon: “making (peeling) carrots!”
--- while “riding” his etch-a-sketch on the wood floor:  “like a skateboard!”
--- while using the pointy end of a beater against a hole in a piece of furniture:  “like a screwdriver and battery”
--- while sitting on the floor underneath my head while I am bending over trying to touch my toes, doing a yoga pose:  “like a tunnel”
--- while rubbing a Fisher-Price little person under his arm:  “like deodorant, like Mommy!”

Rayna has the most delicate little sneezes I’ve ever seen!  Ever since the day she was born, whenever she sneezes, she has to do a few practice ones first!  They’re not full-fledged sneezes, just sort-of fake-out ones.  Then after she does finally sneeze, she always gives this weak little sigh, as if to say, “My, that was so exhausting.”

Today Strider was repeating himself (as usual) saying “More juice;  more juice; more juice..” and then suddenly it turned into “Rejoice!  Rejoice!”  (the song—the next line is “Christ is in you, the hope of glory in our hearts”)  And he loves to sing these days, so he started out with this song, but then ended up blending a whole bunch of them like this:  “Holy, holy, holy, I want to see you… high and lifted up… in your glory…. shout to the Lord…sing…hallelujah…praise Lord… I can do all things…” etc, etc


On the way home from Ohio a couple weeks ago, Strider asked for some juice in the car.  We didn’t have any with us, so I told him we would stop soon and give him “something to drink.”  He got very excited at this prospect, apparently thinking it must be something outside of his normal repertoire of juice, milk and water, because soon he was saying “I want something to drink.  I want some coffee.  I want some beer!”

For a while now Rayna has been sucking her “virtual thumb.”  She puts her hand up to her mouth and sucks where her thumb would be – if it wasn’t tucked into her fist.  But in the last couple weeks, she has finally figured out the thumb thing – what a great invention that is!

Rayna has been developing at exactly the same rate Strider did- - so weird!  She started standing on our laps at the same age (in weeks) Strider did.  And now she figured out how to bat at her toys at the same age (1 week before her 3 month birthday) that Strider did.  Funny how they’re programmed so exactly…

I love how whenever Rayna hears Strider come near her, she smiles!

I asked Strider what his name was.  He smiled and said “Rayna.”  Then I asked him again, and he said “I’m me!” Hmmm… hard to argue with that one.

My friend Jen came over the other day, and within about 10 seconds of her walking in the door, Strider was tugging on me repeatedly saying “Need a band, Mommy!”  I had no idea what he was talking about… until he pulled me upstairs and into our bathroom and pointed at the medicine cabinet, still asking for a band.  Then I realized he meant a band-aid, and gave it to him, still not sure why he wanted it…. Until something dawned on me.  I yelled down to Jen and asked her if she had a band-aid on her finger by any chance – and of course she did.  My little parrot wanted to be just like her!

 Today I was mixing up a protein shake and Strider was standing next to me pretending to do the same thing.  When I started stirring with a spoon, he pretended he was stirring with a spoon.  Then I splashed a little on my shirt and he said, “Need a bib.”

I was waiting on hold on the phone for quite a while tonight while I was eating dinner with Strider.  We had been talking about other things and I had basically forgotten I was even on hold, until Strider looked at the phone and scrunched up his nose.  I said, “What is going on here?  I’ve been waiting so long!”  And then he said, “Ridiculous!!”

For the last month or so, every time Pete comes home from work, Strider immediately runs to the door to greet him and then reports all of his discipline from the day (“had to sit in chair,” “had to go to room,” etc)!  For some reason he thinks this is the most important thing to tell him.  Once in awhile we have a day when he wasn’t disciplined at all, and then he goes running to the door with something else to tell Pete (like what Mr. Rogers did that day or something) – it’s like he has already worked it out in his head what the highlights for the day were.  And now yesterday, when Pete was leaving to go to work in the morning, while Strider was saying goodbye to him, he said “Be good for Mommy” before Pete said it.  I guess he’s catching on!

It cracks me up how Rayna always smiles audibly.  She very rarely smiles without going “Ahhhh” at the same time.  And the best is when she smiles with her whole body – with arms and legs all flailing at once.

Friday, August 30, 2002

Rayna is born!

After a several weeks of heavy contractions, I went to bed early one night and was awoken abruptly at around 10 pm.  By 11:30 we had gotten to the hospital, and shortly after 1 am, little miss Rayna Blythe entered the world!  It was a whirlwind experience, and Pete and I spent a few hours in shock afterwards.

She was beautiful right from the beginning!

Strider was excited to come visit her in the hospital, thought she was pretty cool for a few minutes, and then went back to being fascinated with his crackers.

When we brought her home, he promptly knocked a heavy chair right over on top of her in her car-seat -- on the very first day -- but she was not harmed.  It was just her first glimpse of life with an older, rambunctious brother!

A few days later, when Rayna was lying in our bed, Strider came in and laid down next to her and said, "I love Rayna."  We were so thankful!

Friday, August 2, 2002

Pete's 30th birthday

I pulled off a big surprise party for Pete's 30th!  (And I was 37 weeks pregnant.)  Since he was leaving his 20's, I decided to go with a "Roaring 20's" theme -- which was a little challenging, but overall fun!  Everyone came dressed as flappers or dapper dudes from the 20's to our community center, and we played some lively music and played a few games.

Strider came to the party for a few minutes

Monday, July 29, 2002

More Strider stories

Today I was talking to him about becoming a big brother and he said he would like to do that, and be a good helper, etc.  Then he said he would “be nice.”  So I asked him if he wanted a little baby to come to our house and he said yes – and that we should go buy one at Lowe’s!  We told him we had to wait until next month to do that.

Strider’s new favorite book is “Hand Hand Fingers Thumb” – which is rather interesting because it was MY favorite book when I was little too.  And I didn’t steer him to it at all – he just picked it up one day and now wants to read it over and over and over… he even “reads” it to himself in his crib.  He calls it “Mr. Fingers.”

One of his new favorite phrases is “What happened??!!”  He uses this usually when he’s done something he knows he probably shouldn’t have done.  Like the other day – I had just put on his overalls and I guess they were a little too big because about 2 minutes later he came running around the corner saying “What happened?” with his overalls completely taken off and in his hands!

One of his favorite foods continues to be wheat germ, strangely enough.  I didn’t know quite how far this was going, though, until the other day when I was getting myself some wheat germ and yogurt in the kitchen.   Strider was playing in the living room, but when he heard the jar lid being opened he came tearing around the corner, practically falling down, and begging for “wheat germ!  wheat germ!”

Friday, June 28, 2002

2 Years Old!

Look who's 2!

At his birthday "party" with friend Alex

 We've been spending some time in OB doctors' offices this month since I've had pre-term labor.  Daddy and Strider have been patient with me being on semi-bedrest!

Yesterday when Strider thought about disobeying me and turning the issue into a big battle, he suddenly reconsidered and went along with my instructions.  As I was telling him what a good boy he was and how obedient he was, he just looked at me and said “be nice to people!”  (We’ve been telling him to be nice to people when he meets strangers in the store, etc)  He might not know what “obedient” is, but he’s associated it with being nice! 

The other day as I was getting ready to leave the house, we had already said goodbye, and as I was walking down the steps to the door, Strider came running over and said, totally unprovoked, “Bye Mommy – Have a good day!”  He picks up the funniest phrases! He’s always teaching me about faith…  The other night he woke up in the middle of the night crying.  After I went in and held him and then laid him back down, he didn’t calm down like he normally does… kept whimpering a little.  So I came back in and all he said to me was “Pray.”  So I did, and he stopped crying immediately and went right to sleep!

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Some more traveling...

This month we got spend time with some special people!

Nate, Strider and Eden
With Gee-Gee
With Ellie

On our car trip to Ohio last week Pete and I decided to pick a word that Strider says to see how many times he said it in those 8 hours.  We chose the word “bunny” which is a song that he likes from Veggie Tales—it’s not his favorite by any stretch, but he ask for it sometimes.  The final count:   83 times.  And I wonder why I’m losing brain cells at such a rapid rate!

Some other stories from the month:

Often when I am sitting on the floor with my legs crossed, Strider will come over and sit in my lap.  The other day, though, he came and sat down but couldn’t quite get comfortable.  He kept pushing backwards like there wasn’t enough room for him.  Then he finally got up and looked at my lap—and my protruding belly.  This baby is already making his life different!

When we were in the grocery store the other day, I gave him the receipt as we were leaving – he always likes to hold the “list” so I figured he’d like the receipt too.  Sure enough, he held it up in front of his face like he was reading it and starting saying, “applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, bananas…” – all of his favorite foods!  Guess he’s figured out that we have to get whatever the list says!

A couple days ago in the car I told Strider to take his hand out of his mouth, which he promptly did.  Then a few minutes later I looked back at him to tell him something else and he started pointing with his right hand at his left hand – which was back in his mouth.  He had a guilty little look on his face.  I guess he’s old enough to realize he’s doing something wrong, but not old enough to realize he shouldn’t tell me about it!

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Winter turns to spring...

... and Strider entertains us every month!


Today I think Strider tried to discipline himself!  I started trying to punish him by taking him over to the living room and putting him in his chair whenever he touched the dishes in the dishwasher after I told him not to.  The first time he cried, but then he started to take it as matter of fact, and would just wait in the chair until I told him he could come back.  Then a little later when I wasn’t really paying attention, I heard some rattling by the dishwasher, and next thing I knew he was running over and getting in his chair!  He sat there until I told him he could come back!  So I guess he was just testing out the whole system… touch a dish, get in the chair, come back… all on his own!

Tonight Strider is lying up in his bed, still not sleeping.  A little while ago, someone rang the doorbell to try and sell us something.  A few minutes later Pete went up to check on Strider and he was just lying there… knocking his hand on his head (his code for “someone is at the door!”)  Still talking, even if no one is listening…

The word for this month has been “HUG.”  He loves to run up to one of us and say “hug” – especially if it means he can get out of doing whatever it was he was supposed to be doing.  And he also loves getting one of his toys – a stuffed animal, a book, a measuring cup, whatever! – and saying “hug” as he holds it to his chest and pats it on the back.  The best, though, is when one of us is leaving and we start to say “Ok, I need to get ready to go now” – he comes running over with both arms up, saying “hug!  hug!”  Who can resist???


Yesterday when we were in Strider's room, he suddenly pointed at a wall and said “no.”  I looked where he was pointing and it was place where he had apparently started ripping the wallpaper border, while standing in his crib.  He knew it was wrong though!  So I told him he was right and he shouldn’t do it – and he didn’t continue with it during the next nap time…  We’ll see if he can keep his hands off!

 He knows all of his letters now, the capital ones anyway, and on the way home from our ski trip a couple weeks ago, he started saying “O” over and over.  We looked outside and he was pointing to the Office Max sign he saw! 

With next-door neighbor Aryanna

Tonight at dinner he was suddenly fascinated with praying by himself.  He folded his hands (not sure where he learned that) and then got a very serious face and muttered in a low, quiet voice.  In the middle, he said "Nonna, Poppa, Delly (Chelsie) Woof-Woof", and then ended with a triumphant Amen!  He kept doing this over and over, after telling me I was supposed to pray too (fold my hands and close my eyes)... and it was always the same prayer.  Except sometimes he would say "Yay" at the end by mistake -- and then quickly correct himself with a serious "Amen." 

Strider’s best friend this month has been one of my big pots.  He carries it around by both handles everywhere he goes!  He even wants to take it with him when he goes upstairs or to the basement – I had to even bring it to my prayer group meeting last week.  He loves to pretend he’s making popcorn (“kopka”) when he puts his crayons in it, and has to say goodbye to it whenever we tell him he can’t take it somewhere (like to his bed).  We think he needs a sibling. 

Strider asked Pete to change his diaper this morning, saying “bopper” over and over again.  Pete said “Strider, can you say ‘D – d- d- d- diaper?”  So Strider said “D –d-d-d- bopper!”  Then he was walking around saying that several times later today…

"Carrying a cross" just like
 Mr. Duckett at church
Ever since he was a few months old, Strider has always liked to put his head on my shoulder for a hug—but it always has to be the right shoulder.  Until this month.   Now whenever I pick him up he goes to the right shoulder, but only for a second.  Then he takes his little index finger and points at my left shoulder repeatedly until I say “ok” and then he switches over to that side.  Every time!!

Trying to lie just like Daddy
 His favorite bedtime song for the last few months has been “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”  Sometimes I let him sing the last word of each line, and whenever we get to the last “are,” he always follows it up with “S!!”  And sometimes he then says “T!  O!  P!…”

In his prayer pose
  Life with a toddler sure makes our house interesting.  Just now I paused for a second and looked around.  This is what I saw:  a shoe (2 sizes too big for Strider) on our dresser, 2 plastic tubes on our floor, a coat hanger perched on the window sill, his socks and a balloon in a kitchen cupboard, an oatmeal container and 3 pots on our coffee table, a leg from a Lego character on his booster seat, the plastic stick broken off some window blinds “put away” next to the basement door, a 3-foot big bouncy purple ball in our foyer, a horse’s head on a stick lying in the main path through the living room, a plastic top to an ice cream maker on the couch,  and I could go on and on and on…

When we’re putting Strider down for a nap sometimes I try singing a different song besides “Twinkle Twinkle.”  Today I started to sing the alphabet song, and from his position with his head on my shoulder, he flails his arm out and makes his sign for “star” indicating that he wanted the star song instead.  When I didn’t switch songs mid-phrase, the arm got wilder and wilder—all without his head even moving from his “hug” position!  Finally I switched to the right song and he was happy.  I started chuckling as I was singing, thinking about what a little boss-man he is, and he started laughing too—just because I was laughing.  So we ended up having this total laugh-fest, and far as I know he didn’t even think anything was funny!  Never one to pass up a good laugh though… 
This morning Pete was sitting at the table eating some cereal and reading his Bible.  So Strider wanted to sit in the chair next to him and eat some cereal too.  Then he suddenly got down and went over to the basket behind the couch and pulled out MY Bible and brought it up to his spot at the table!  I don’t know how he knew that they were both Bibles – we’ve never told him that word, and they look nothing alike!  Pete’s is small and leather, mind is huge and paper-back!  Weird.