Tea party tricks

On Wednesday morning my mom took the girls to dance. Lydia continues to adore her hip hop class, and Mary seems to still like ballet. Afterward, they played with the babysitter until nap time.

During Ammon’s nap, Mary persuaded my mom, who had a full schedule, to have another tea party with her. My mom agreed on the condition that the party be short. Mary promptly served her a million servings of tea and then lay down on her side of the table because she “needed a nap.” She has all sorts of tricks to extend her tea party time out.

Abe had a wonderful day at work and is incredibly busy right now. He is trying so hard to get his work done by this evening so we can rearrange the house for Clarissa. We are turning the office into Ammon’s room so that the nursery can be for Clarissa. We are also rearranging the girls’ room so that they can still have an arts and crafts space without an office. And we are setting up a sewing station in our bedroom so I can sew outside of the office. (Never mind that I sewed for the first time in years just last weekend. I feel like I “need” a sewing space just.in.case.)

We also have to tackle the crazy messes upstairs. I have felt zero motivation to clean the girls’ room and the office because I know we are going to address these rooms this weekend, but in the meantime…wow. They are out of control.

The gifts of imperfection

Wednesday morning I thought we had Mary’s kindergarten assessment and interview. Turns out it is next week, but we didn’t find that out until we were actually there. I am the worst at dates and times and feel like I am always getting things like this wrong, even with the help of Google Calendar. At the same time–oh, well! I am reading, at the personal advice of my friend, Ashley, Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. Liem and Phuong picked it up at the library for me yesterday, and I am so grateful. Most of my books come and go without me picking them up because I am so immobile, and this is one I would have been sad to miss.

I love being reminded through this book that I don’t need to be perfect. It’s great news because, as I know this blog regularly reflects, I am pretty flawed. Sometimes this can really stress me out, but this book has helped me see that I have made a lot of progress in self acceptance recently. I attribute this to the excessive amount of rest and relaxation I’ve had on bed rest. Even though I clock in at well over 200 pounds, I feel more body confidence than I did when I was in college and weighed almost 100 pounds less. I look in the mirror and see positive things first for the first time in…my life? It’s kind of amazing. I also feel a lot more relaxed about my children. I have spent way too long thinking that they need to be perfect to justify my choice to stay at home. But they don’t need to be perfect, and I can’t make them perfect. They are enough just as they are, tantrums and all. And also, I love them.

Anyway, my mom drove us to Mary’s interview and enjoyed seeing Mary’s kindergarten school, Kids’ Village. Mary loved it too.

Mary and Nana at Kids’ Village, waiting for our kindergarten interview (which never happened).
Playing in the tree house in the middle of school.

There are TONS of these darling window dioramas at Kids’ Village. Aren’t they incredible food for the imagination?
Another amazing window diorama.

After we came home, the girls made cookie dough with Abby, the babysitter, until Ammon’s nap time at 1pm. The babysitters go home during nap time, and so the girls ran across the street and had a neighborhood water balloon fight with all of the kids in the neighborhood. I have a magical spot by my window; I can sit here and hear everything that goes on in the cul-de-sac–and beyond!! I can even clearly hear conversations half a block past the cul-de-sac. I kind of feel like a spy, but it was very enjoyable to hear the kids having fun.

Then the kids came back home. Lydia French knitted while Mary had a tea party with Nana.

When Abby returned, the kids spent the rest of the afternoon baking and decorating cookies. Abby did a great job cleaning the mess, but the kids were still decorating when she left, so the sprinkles and icing all over the floor were left for my mom and Abe. They are heroes and cleaned it all up.

Also, Abe gave Liem and Phuong the Qualtrics tour today, and they ended by playing basketball in the lobby.

Lots of excitement

On Tuesday I learned a lesson on how to help Mary when she has a tantrum.

It was 10am, and the babysitter had just arrived. I was settling into my seat by the window when I heard Mary start to scream at Ammon and the babysitter. Lately, whenever I hear her start to scream, I call her upstairs, listen to her, talk to her, give her options, and let her choose a behavioral “option” that will solve her problem. She usually responds well to this.

However, yesterday she did not like my options. I gave her the options to either play nicely with Ammon and promise to be nice to the babysitter or to play in her room by herself. She appeared to think that both of these options were horrible, and so she sat in my chair and screamed at me until 11 am. She screamed things like, “I hate you! You don’t love me! You want me to stay in here forever and be boring boring boring! You’re the meanest mom ever! I am going to stay here until Nana comes back! I want Nana! NANAAAAAAAA!!!!”

Because I have 6 weeks of bedrest behind me, I felt unusually patient, calm, and full of love for her. I sat on the ottoman knitting, and every time she took a breath I would tell her I love her, pat her legs, and remind her that all she had to do to leave the room was pick an option. And at 11am, one hour of screaming later, she did! I was beginning to think we were stuck forever.

An hour later Mary came back up to my room with a tray for a tea party she had prepared for us. After pouring me “tea,” she climbed onto my bed and said, “Mom, do you know why I told you I didn’t love you earlier? Because I was preparing this SURPRISE (and here she threw out her arms wide) for you!!”

I was so thrilled. I drank approximately nine refills of tea and ate a bun she had brought up on a mini plate. Now I know all I need going forward is TONS of rest, and I can handle Mary’s meltdowns!!

This is a picture of a tea party Mary prepared earlier this week. I forgot to blog it!

Also, Liem and Phuong hiked the Teton Crest Trail over the weekend, and they joined us for dinner and stayed with us Tuesday night. We had the most fun talking with them.

And at 9 pm, my mom came back from Michigan!!! We are all so happy to have her back. I have a picture of Lydia wearing the stuffed mustache Nana brought her, but it’s on Abe’s phone. I will post it later.