A Notable Milestone

Last Sunday night the boys slept in their birthday suits after deciding the pajamas I laid out were not up to their newly acquired high standards. Thankfully, I was absent for most of this fiasco. All I know is what I saw when I went in for a final tuck and kiss. Ivan’s undies hung from a slat under the top bunk, and Garris’s had been tossed across the room. I let Keith keep the naked bodies in their beds, which took about an hour before they finally gave in to their exhausted post-swim state.

This of course was not our first battle of the day. Garris had refused to eat lunch because we wouldn't turn on Tangled, i.e. Rapunzel for those of you without little girls. This obsession is growing old, and I haven’t even had the chance to watch the movie from start to finish.

We quickly realized our boys were made for the water, especially Ivan. They are little fish. It is unbelievable the tricks they will do and how they get around in it. Both will do front flips into the water and swim all around with just the water wings. They’re even taking the first steps of swimming: remove water wings, jump into pool, swim back to side. Awesome! Little Ivan even dove off the diving board. Some of their bravery has even rubbed off on Avery. At 4, she will finally put her face in the water. Of course afterward, she immediately runs to dry her face on a towel. And, she’s so proud of herself, telling everyone she encounters, what an advanced swimmer she is now that she can swim with water wings alone, instead of requiring several additional floatation devices.

The boys’ English is coming along. They will repeat nearly any words and phrases but don’t always use them in the appropriate context later. Right now I’m a tiny bit grateful they do not speak fluently because they would for sure turn Avery against us as well. Our teams (Us versus Them) will be outnumbered by the end of the year I’m sure. Avery is actually using some Amharic…and possibly in situations to embarrass me on purpose. While the boys will tell me they need “to go potty,” Avery says “shinti” and “caca” for pee and poop. She orders around her brothers, including Simon, saying, “Takamet!” which means “sit.” Or, she reprimands someone with, “Atincow” instead of “Do not touch.” And many more that sound ridiculous coming from her little assertive mouth.

During one 24-hour period last week, I changed 4 sets of sheets and every piece of the coordinating bed covering. We’ve had so many recent accidents that I haven’t always had time to wash and dry set 1 before set 2 has been soaked. We’ve each made the decision at separate times to just move a child to a dry area for the rest of the night. It’s a good thing a spit bath with baby wipes will eliminate most of that smell because there is zero time in the morning for a bath. At least we have mattress protectors so the urine just pools there under the sleeping body. Although the boys are potty trained and had no accidents the first 2 weeks, the changes must be setting in. We decided Ivan would sleep in a pull-up until he can stay dry at night consistently, but I didn’t have the time or energy to take my 3 Tiny Bladders to the store. Luckily at bedtime I found some leftover size 3 diapers, which were soaked for 2 nights in a row because Ivan didn’t know how to take the tabs off when he got up to use the bathroom. I had wanted to use up the diapers because they are free from my closet but finally broke down and purchased some pull-ups. Now the kid has stayed dry every night! What? Those babies were $10! I feel I should get a little more use out of them. And I probably could if he didn’t rip the sides off each morning. Wasteful!

After my Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day post, I received so much encouragement and advice from other moms. Thank you for that! Now if anyone knows how to avoid such days, I’d love to know that little secret because I’m not sure I could handle another. Since I didn’t get to share much of the week’s high points, I’ll do so at this time.

The boys haven’t been very affectionate with me…I can’t imagine why. I’m such a warm and loving person, right? They do hug and kiss nearly every other human they come in contact with though. Well, lately they have each been giving me random hugs and kisses. So sweet. Ivan has initiated fist bumps and high fives with me, a macho way of showing affection but it’s still affection. And one afternoon while I was at the sink, he came motioning for me to bend down then whispered, “I love you,” in my ear. Now that was the sweetest!

Although it may take 10 times as long, we’ve already got a routine down, and the boys could be better at cleaning up than Avery is. Usually their beds are already made before I even go in to get them up. Not just sloppily thrown together in a child-like manner. They are done to military level of perfection.

They’re eating very well and trying lots of new things, sometimes even with a reluctant smile… because they don’t really want me to know if they’re enjoying it. That doesn’t stop me though. If I get any hint of compliance, I cheer and dance around the table. My trick is to show them to dip everything in marinara sauce. Now I would never do this because of my anti-dipping philosophy, unless it’s cheese sauce or hummus, of course. But Avery first started eating veggies with marinara because I wouldn’t dare introduce her to ranch dressing. Gross! Dipping is fun for kids. Works for the boys too! Garris has his own trick though. If he finds something unappetizing or if he’s just not in the mood, he chews quickly and washes it down with water. He is a little stink! And still so, so great.

Tonight all three kids played without arguing, breaking anything, or crossing the boundary lines into the kitchen while Keith and I cleaned up dinner’s aftermath. A notable milestone for our new family.

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