from around here

Holiday shenanigans

So the kids are back in school this week and I discovered that I’ve grown fond of the school holidays. I really enjoyed having the house filled with rowdy kids for a whole month, I think it reminds me of a time where all my babies were small enough to be home all day keeping me company.

We had all the time in the world to go on spontaneous cycling trips to Coney Island or water play outings at Gardens by the Bay.

I used to breathe a sigh of relief once the start of the new school term rolls around again, but this last Monday morning when all the kids were back in school, I sat sipping my coffee in a quiet house (baby Hayley was quietly fixing her Peppa Pig puzzle beside me) feeling like my life is missing something.

This is probably why I said yes to the kids having bunnies. Now when everyone is in school and Hayley is napping, I’ll be hanging around the bunnies talking to them like they’re my babies.

The husband is like “give it 10 years when the kids are all big and you’ll have 2 dogs, 3 cats, and a whole family of bunnies.” That does seem like a very likely possibility.

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Truett is 10 but he’s been eating like a bodybuilder who hasn’t seen food for days. He’s like Gaston on a rampage. Is this normal? It’s a lot of food and I don’t know where it all goes.

He wallops 2 double sliced tuna melt sandwiches + eggs + a large cup of chocolate milk for breakfast, an adult portion sized bowl of noodles + a side of 4 chicken wings for lunch, and 2 full bowls of rice + all the dishes for dinner. Right around dinner time everyday, he’ll be hanging around the kitchen asking “Hey mom, what’s for dinner?

I’ll say something like “Rice, ABC soup, salmon, spinach, steamed pork ribs” and he’ll be like “Is that all?? That’s like very little. How about pork chop? Can we have pork chop as well? Or remember the chicken you made that day? That was not bad, I don’t mind some of that chicken. Or maybe both? Chicken AND pork chop?

I don’t have time to do both on top of everything else but ok fine, some extra chicken coming right up, your highness!

And that’s only his regular meals. In between, he’s scavenging the fridge for snacks or asking me to fix him something. He came back from school yesterday and the first thing he said was “MOM I’M VERY HUNGRY, I NEED FOOD!!” He had already eaten lunch in school (noodles + mashed potato + milo) and he was still able to polish off half a rotisserie chicken + a hot dog sandwich + a whole bowl of grapes. It didn’t seem to affect his appetite for dinner either.

Amazingly, he’s still as skinny as ever, it’s like magic.

By the time all 3 boys become teenagers, I’ll have to operate an all day on demand food service at home. Or look into subsistence farming so I can make them grow their own food. You want potatoes for lunch? Here’s a shovel, go harvest some from the garden. You want scrambled eggs? Go get them from the chickens.

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Watching Finn and Theo interact is one of my favourite things to do. In this relationship, Finn has to play the role of reluctant big brother even though it’s not really in his nature to be assertive. He has to be the one to teach Theo important things like the rules of UNO, and feed him snacks.

Theo, while being 2 years younger, has the personality of a hurricane so most of the time, he’s imposing his own ridiculous rules on Finn, who alternates between exasperation and resignation.

Negotiations for soft boiled eggs are taken very seriously around here

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Hayley

Look who’s two!

Also celebrating her birthday in June is little squishy cheeks right here, who despite my best efforts in telling her to stop growing, is now two years old.

Happy birthday sweetheart, but also this is entirely unacceptable.

How did it happen? Clearly this baby needs to work on her instruction-following skills. Right now, I’d rate it a 2/10 if I’m being optimistic. It’s like she’s not even trying.

I would be a lot sadder about this development but as it turns out, two years old happens to be my favourite age so I’m reluctantly allowing it while strongly registering my disapproval – all this growing business is to be halted immediately.

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Two year old Hayley is a dream and I can’t get enough of this baby. She’s sweet and adorable and feisty and funny and perfect in every way.

As an infant, her cuteness level was very high, but I had to pay the price (in the form of sleepless nights and exhaustion and long-suffering) in order to get to the good parts. Remember those days? I do.

But right now, it’s all just good parts and I’m enjoying this phase immensely.

She’s all talky talk non stop these days, which is the cutest thing. For the record, I’m all down for babies learning to use words because it’s been a huge turning point in our relationship. I tried watching those youtube videos on deciphering babies’ cries (THEY ALL SOUND THE SAME!!) but I always had difficulty understanding her very loud and angry high pitched screams. And now that she’s using words that I understand? Yes please!

Like when she’s tired, she announces “I’m very tired, I need to sleep” and I bring her to bed and she sleeps and problem solved. When she wants a snack, she asks for it and I fix her a snack. When she wants some momma lovin’, she yells “KISS ME, MOM!!” and grabs my face for a kiss and I cannot even.

Maybe its all that interaction with her siblings, but she’s got a wonderful sense of humour. She saw Theo trip and fall the other day and started laughing really hard and I was like “Hey, don’t laugh at your brother, falling down is not funny!” and she retorted back with “It’s a bit funny” and okay fair enough, it is a bit funny. Just make sure they’re fine before laughing.

She adores all of them though. Her favourite thing in the world is just to follow them around and be part of their madness. She’s finally big enough to get in on all the action and she’s terribly pleased about it.

One of the benefits of being the baby around here is that she’s got everyone wrapped around her tiny little finger and she knows it. She makes her 3 brothers take turns giving her unicorn rides (on their backs) and bouncy castle rides (on their tummies) and airplane rides (on their feet). Whenever she’s bored, she saunters up to one of them and says, “kor kor Finn, I want sit bouncy castle!!” and he will be like “ok sure!

If it so happens that Finn is busy and replies with “later ok baby? kor kor is reading a book,” she turns on her bambi eyes and says “Pleeeease?? Just small tiny one?” and immediately, her brother will be all “”aarrgghh, ok fine fine come sit here on my tum tum…

Sometimes I think about how close we were to not having this baby and I’m so glad that we did the crazy thing and went for baby #5. :)

Truett

Truett turns 10!

It’s birthday season again, my second favourite time of the year! And we’re kicking it off in style with Truett turning 10.

10, you guys!! This is legit big kid territory now, we’re talking double digits.

I look at this boy all grown up and I’m already starting to feel emotional because he was this tiny baby whom I held to sleep on my chest. And now he’s 10!! Two days ago, he just headed off to his first overnight camp away from me and I missed him more than I thought I would. I mean, for some perspective, there’s less time between now and him leaving for NS than the time I already had with him.

Admittedly, I haven’t really thought much about how it’s going to be like when the kids are all grown up. There could have been some level of denial there because I actively don’t want to think about it seeing how it makes me all teary but I’m here now and okay, it’s not so bad.

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Truett at 10 is such a joy to have around. He’s thoughtful and considerate and witty and just a really fun, easygoing boy.

I like spending time with this kid so much.

For one thing, it’s so easy having a 10 year old in the house. When Truett wakes up, he fixes his own breakfast, eats it and gets himself ready for the day. Some days, he helps to prepare breakfast for his siblings and even nags at them to finish their food.

Watching Truett in big brother mode is one of my life’s greatest pleasures. It’s executed with a mixture of resignation + unbridled exasperation, and in these moments, I feel like we’re developing a real and lasting bond.

Exasperation aside, he really is an incredible big brother, possibly the best one there is. He watches to make sure their fingers don’t get caught in elevator doors, gives them a boost when they need to climb up the bed, and reluctantly offers to share the last bottle of Yakult with them. Sometimes, the babies will ask him to join them in their baby games and he does it with way more enthusiasm than even I could muster on my best day. While he was away at camp, the 3 small kids were constantly asking me “WHERE IS KOR KOR TRUETT?? I MISS HIM SO MUCH, MAKE HIM COME HOME NOW!

He hardly ever gets mad at stuff. He gets bummed when he has his privileges taken away for behavioural infractions but even then, he doesn’t brood or sulk. He just retreats to his room to read his favourite Calvin and Hobbes comic as a temporary distraction. I totally get that. Calvin and Hobbes saw me through some really rough moments as a kid too.

You know how when you talk to your kids, you’re always consciously relating to them as your baby? We’re starting to transit to relating to them as grown up, thoughtful individuals who can hold their own and contribute their perspective, which is remarkably refreshing.

When Truett was an infant, all he needed was for me to hold him and kiss his chubby cheeks and give him milk and clean his poopy diapers. I kind of miss Truett as an infant, he was so squishy and munchable and I spent so many hours inhaling his face.  These days, I still plant kisses on his muscular jawline but the rest of it, he’s like “eww mom, don’t be weird.”

Although he still holds my hand and it’s not because he needs to. He hasn’t needed to hold my hand for several years now but sometimes as we walk, he’ll slip his hand into mine for a few brief moments. Or he’ll casually drape my arm across his shoulders and it always makes me smile.

Happy birthday, Tru! You’re the best kid a mom could ever ask for.