Sunday, April 29, 2012

A bunch of unrelated stuff

Adelaide, in the bathtub: "It's raining, it's pouring, the dinosaur is snoring." About her mermaid, "Hi, my name is Jewelerina." (I found a note written by Josie that said "Joolarina" and "Adulade") Jed has started sticking his face in the water every time he gets in the bath. He is so goofy. He scootches down as close as he can, sticks his nose in, and then yanks his head up really fast and shakes it around (and cries if water gets up his nose) then does it all over again. When I got home from the Women's Retreat, Josie ran out of the house as fast as she could, barefoot, to run up to me and throw her little arms around me. I love that little girl in her little pink shirt and her jeans and bare feet - with her ever present smile and her rosy cheeks. When Melanie called my house the other night, she was shocked to find that I have children old enough to answer the phone. Sadie likes to say, "Lansing residence, this is Sadie speaking." She DOES sound grown up - and a lot like me, I've been told. I love snuggling with my girls, and tonight I snuggled with Sadie in my red chair while we watched some weird leprechaun movie. She snuggles her little butt down next to me and we cover up under our blanket and I just love it. She's getting so big but I love to sit with her and hold her hand and tickle her back (she loves that :) It's also nice that we like the same books now! Well, some of them, anyway - I'm really enjoying the Penderwicks - and it's fun to be able to have conversations with her about them. When my friend Sandie and her daughter babysat for us, Josie and Sadie were showing Abby their room. Trying to get Adelaide out of the way so I could give Sandie some information, Sandie said, "Why don't you go upstairs with Abby? Sadie and Josie are showing her their room." Adelaide, nonplussed, said, "Nah... I've already seen their room before." Later she asked Sandie at bedtime, "Hey, do you know any songs about fairies? No? Well, I guess Jesus loves the little children will be okay." Last week the girls got out the Science box and played Science. There were medicine droppers, scales, and all kinds of things all over Adelaide's room, but then they found the rubber gloves. Sadie hooked one up to a medicine dropper and then used it like a bicycle pump to blow it up into a huge balloon hand/rooster comb. Next thing I knew, Sadie had become the mama cow and Adelaide and Josie were both lying on the floor, each one sucking on an udder. Ayeayaye. I told Jesse that eventually our son is going to have to stop playing with mermaids and teacups. He said, "I'm not worried about it. He has already developed a definite affinity for balls, trucks, dirt, and his weiner."

First Big Boy Haircut

I put it off as long as I could. But when 17-month-old Jedidiah sported butterfly hairbows and a pony tail last weekend, I finally gave up and decided to let his dad do what he’s been begging to do for months: Cut my baby’s hair. Now, as a mother with three other children who are older than my “baby” is, I’ve been through this before. I know that once you get that wispy baby hair cut, your baby does NOT look like a baby anymore. It’s that simple. So it’s easy to see why I wanted to put it off as long as possible. Though I was in denial about him growing up, I couldn’t help but notice the resemblance between my little cutie and a miniscule Billy Ray Cyrus. Minus the tight jeans, of course. Jedidiah is your basic wiggle worm. I knew it would be a challenge to try and cut his hair ourselves – without cutting his ears, too, anyway. So we loaded everyone up in the car and headed to what the girls like to call “The Haircut Store” to leave the job up to a professional. My girls have always LOVED to get their hair cut. They actually even asked if they could get theirs done the night we took Jedidiah. Three-year-old Adelaide informed the stylist, “I want you to cut mine long.” In the end, however, we decided to let this be Jedidiah’s special night. Because there was no way to tie him to the chair, he ended up on his dad’s lap, covered with a teal blue cape printed with penguins and surfboards. The look on his face was pure misery (because he was trapped and forced to be still for more than three seconds), followed by a “what the heck do you think you’re doing?” look at the lady with the spray bottle. He sat remarkably, uncharacteristically still (possibly because his dad had a death grip on him underneath the cape), only turning his head once in a while to get a good look at those scissors as they snipped his golden baby wisps away. His sisters and I kept him entertained with funny faces, little yogurt poofs and finally – the holy grail of toddlers – a watermelon-flavored sucker. He proceeded to savor every sweet taste of it. Since he’d never had one before though, he didn’t realize that at some point he was supposed to swallow, also. Therefore, all of the yummy stickiness (aka juicy baby slobber) ended up dribbling out of his mouth, down his hand, all over his dad’s arm and eventually down his dad’s leg and into his shoe. I was glad that I was stationed as the picture-taker and not as the drool-catcher. His dad didn’t like it very much; but it was, after all, Jedidiah’s very first sucker. He was not disappointed. He didn’t even cry. But I did. --from my April 29th article for

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Force

I was one of those strange kids who never cared about Star Wars. I never even watched it until a few years after I graduated from college; even then, I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. It’s strange how this has come back to haunt me now that I have kids. Against my (better) judgment, my husband (a self-proclaimed Star Wars aficionado from the time it came out in 1977 when he was a year old) let my girls watch the trilogy with him. It was kind of a big deal for him – he wanted them to like it. Let’s just say he was not disappointed. There has been an on-again, off-again (mostly on-again) Star Wars marathon at our house for months now. The music at the beginning gets them every time. They read (parts) of the intro as it scrolls over the star-filled sky and they say in loud, booming voices, “A looooog time agooooo in a galaxy far, far awaaaaayyyy, STAR WARS APPEARED!” And then they are sucked in. I’m not sure if it’s because their dad likes it or because it is not animated, but Star Wars is deemed a very grown-up pastime among my children. This is no cartoon, people! I’ve been privy to several (hundred) conversations and/or demonstrations regarding the cultural significance and play-time importance of Star Wars. Here are a few examples: From Sadie, age 8: “I want an outfit just like Leia’s when she’s chained up to Jabba the Hut. It’s not very modest but it’s still awesome.” “I’m Amidala. And Josie’s Leia. Adelaide is Luke – yeah, she likes to be Luke. I don’t know why, but hey. Let her.” “I would like to live in Cloud City. Think of it – a city… in the clouds!” And from Josie, age 6: “I really wish I could have a baby Ewok. And also a gold chain on a collar around my neck. And some handcuffs.” Oye. And let’s not forget three-year-old Adelaide, not to be outdone: “Hmm. Naboo, huh? Well, that is a strange place to be.” “That Jabba the Hut is like a giant slug! And then and then and then Leia YANKS on the chain and he goes “’ECCCCKKKKK!’” (tongue sticking out the side of her mouth, eyes rolled back for effect). “And Yogurt is a good guy, but he has pointy ears and he is green. And Qui-Gon Jim is a good guy too. But Dark Vader is from the Dark Side and he is a very bad guy. And also he is dark.” It doesn’t help matters that their baby brother is named Jedidiah, which happens to be extremely conducive to the nickname “Jedi.” Yes, the force is strong in this one. In his debut, The Brother Strikes Back, he can be seen fiercely protecting his Cheerios with a toy light saber. When asked to keep an eye on her brother for a minute, Sadie proclaims, “We’ve gotta keep an eye on the Sand People. Person. That would be Jedidiah. Sand People are tricky like he is tricky. It’s a Sand Person! Run!” Yes, Star Wars terminology seems to find its way into our everyday lives. While riding scooters outside, Sadie christens hers as a speeder bike. Josie tells Adelaide, who still has training wheels, “Well, you are not a Podracer like me or a speeder bike like Sadie. You are a Fodracer because you aren’t too good yet.” We even got a Star Wars craft book. Before I knew it, they showed up with a handmade Imperial Walker and a Star Destroyer. And just when I thought we were finished with the re-enactments, Sadie held out her arms in front of the automatic door at the grocery store and said, “Stand back, everyone! I’m going to use The Force!” Sheesh. I guess Josie said it best when I asked her why she likes Star Wars so much: “I like cool things. And it’s cool. That’s why.” Okay, I give up. Maybe it is. ---from my April 22 post for

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Yesterday, Jedidiah and I were having a rare moment of play time where I was NOT chasing him. We were sitting on a blanket in the yard and he was climbing up his little red and yellow plastic slide and having a grand old time sliding back down onto the blanket. Somewhere along the way, he found a golf ball, which he delighted in rolling down the slide and catching in his chubby little hand. Well, I look away for two seconds and in that two seconds, he has gone down the slide, flipped forward, landed ON HIS FACE on the blanket and of all places for his open mouth to land, it landed - you guessed it - right on the golf ball. The impact of his face on the blanket shoved the golf ball into his mouth BEHIND HIS TEETH and there he was, looking for all the world like a little pig with an apple in his mouth. I had to pull his lower jaw down with one hand and work my pinky finger back into his mouth to pop it back out of his mouth!

Monday, April 16, 2012


Adelaide to her sisters: "Oh YES you WILL or I will CRACK your butt open!" Sheesh... the violence!

Sadie, in regards to my new silver high heels: "Well, I LIKE them, I just don't think they will look good on YOU."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pink Milk Blues

When I became pregnant with my first child at the ripe old age of 26, I was all about going “all natural.” We signed up for Bradley Childbirth Classes. I read a book about natural births, one about breastfeeding and all of the parenting magazines I could get my hands on.

Since I planned to forego any pain medications, I was a bit concerned when we asked the doctor if he could tell how big she would be from looking at the ultrasound.

He looked at me (tall, big-boned and gigantically pregnant) and then at my husband (6’2” and 230 pounds) and dead-panned, “Well, you are not small people.”

Just what you want to hear when you’re nine months along and swollen to twice your normal size.

I should also mention that I have severe scoliosis (spinal curvature) and therefore my pelvic bones are all goofed up and asymmetrical.

That, along with gigantic babies (turns out none of us are small people), earned me 4 c-section scars.

That’s right, after wasting almost six months on natural childbirth classes, I ended up having to have an emergency c-section. So much for no drugs!

This leads me to what happened after the surgery. I felt cheated somehow. I had wanted to give birth. I wanted that rite of passage into motherhood. I was mad but determined to make up for the “non-naturalness” of the actual birth with what happened afterward.

Yes, I’m talking about the all natural, selfless act of breastfeeding.

I was all set to make up for that unplanned c-section with my brand new lacy flip-down bras, my endless supply of nursing pads, my fancy-schmancy breast pump in its stylish leather case and my two nursing cover-ups – one in brown polka dot and one in lavender paisley.

Nothing is more beautiful, more tender, more natural than breastfeeding. Breast is best. Best for the baby. Healthier for the mom. More convenient than bottles. Cheaper than formula. There’s no question about it. Right?


My first baby had a bit of an overbite. Her cute little upper lip stuck out over her lower one from the moment she was born. I swear I think she was ready to start teething as soon as she came out of me. Her little gums felt like razors. Razors, I tell you!


Not only that, but I was very insecure. As a first-time mother, I was totally intimidated by this tiny creature who was constantly hungry. I alone was supposed to provide her with all of this nourishment that was supposed to come so easily. My only question, as I cried, screamed and grit my teeth in agony while she nursed, was this:

How has mankind possibly survived for thousands of years with this madness as our primary means of sustenance?

Oh my gosh. THE PAIN. I cannot even begin to describe it.

For weeks, I cried. I howled. I banged my fist against the table. I held my breath. I used up enough Lansinoh to sacrifice a whole herd of sheep.

I wanted to quit, but I felt so guilty! The mommy guilt was tremendous. I wanted to do what was best for my baby.

My bathtub-birthing, non-immunizing, thoroughly holistic sister-in-law encouraged me as she squirted her own magical breast milk into her baby’s eye to ward off an infection: “Keep trying! You just have to get over the hump! You can do it! You NEED to do it!” Here, drink this organic tea! Take some Fenugreek! Suck it up!”

I decided to persevere. Reluctantly.

And then, THEN, I got mastitis.

Any mother who has had mastitis will tell you about it in these three little words: fever, pain, misery. I honestly thought I was going to die. I woke up ice cold, my teeth chattering and my entire body shaking.

I could barely walk to the bathroom mirror to see the bright red-streaked, burning hot skin that was showing through my beautiful (albeit worthless) nursing bra. Then I noticed the huge knot that had popped up there overnight. I immediately freaked out and called the doctor.

While I was on hold, my husband, thoroughly stressed out from two months of a crazed, sleep-deprived, hormonal wife and a starving, razor-gummed baby, made this pronouncement: “I think our daughter would be better off eating formula than growing up with a whacko mom who cries all the time.”

I realized that, in his own insensitive-male way, he was right. Then and there I decided to quit. The mastitis had effectively pushed me over the edge to Similac-land.

Then the doctor came to the phone and informed me that, no, I was not dying but that the only way to get rid of the infection and clear the plugged duct (what am I? some sort of plumbing device?!) was to – you guessed it – keep right on nursing.

I bought some kind of aqua gel soother things to put in the freezer and then stick in my bra. I smashed the “knot” in a vise-like grip between the edge of the bathtub and the palm of my hand (just writing about that pain makes me feel sick to my stomach, even now.)

I bought giant heads of cabbage and peeled the leaves off to make weird Tarzan-esque lingerie that would supposedly leech out the pain (hey, I was desperate.) My husband mentioned that he never knew having a baby would cause him to live in a pseudo-primitive village where his wife would constantly go topless.

In the mean time, I was pumping, pumping, pumping. And getting (this is gross) pink milk. Pumping is a whole other story. Expressed breast milk is like liquid gold, I tell you! And whoever said “don’t cry over spilled milk” obviously never pumped 4 ounces and then accidentally dumped it out on the carpet.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up nursing Sadie for about 12 weeks, Josie for about 5 months, Adelaide for 2 ½ years, and I’m still nursing Jedidiah (and dreading the day he decides that he’s done.) If you’re a nursing mom, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

It’s not all rainbows and roses. I'm not going to encourage you one way or the other. If it's your thing, go for it! If you struggle, give it a chance - you will eventually get over the hump (probably.) If you need a pep talk/guilt trip, let me know and I’ll have my sister-in-law call you.

If it's AWFUL and you HATE it, feed your baby a bottle. It doesn't mean you love her any less.

No, it's not all fabulous and it certainly doesn’t feel all "natural" sometimes (unless being a miserable, cabbage-covered milk cow comes naturally to you.) But once you get the hang of it, it can be wonderful.

If you can just get the hang of it.

from my 4/15/12 article for

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Easter Eggcitement

My kids love spring.

One of the best things about living in Northeast Ohio is the very prominent change of the seasons. In the south, where I grew up, winter turns to summer almost immediately. First you have on your winter coat, then suddenly you’re sweating and you have to turn on the A/C. Living here -- where the seasons change gradually -- is nice.

When the first crocuses burst awake from their winter sleep, my girls get so excited. They run inside, grab my hand and haul me out to the flower bed to see what they call “an amazing, wonderful surprise!” I love the way they are thrilled by such small things. I could take a lesson.

Putting away the gloves, scarves, hats and mittens is a welcome chore. We clean out and clean up.

We get out new clothes. We sort. We buy new flip flops. We get out all of the summer stuff that’s been hiding in the garage.

We hang little plastic eggs on the cherry tree in our front yard.

We anxiously await the first tulips to poke their heads through the mulch, then we spray them with “Rabbit Scoot” to protect them from those furry little nibblers that invade us every year.

We go to sleep listening to the deafening chorus of spring peepers in the pond behind our house.

We get dressed in our Sunday finest and take pictures in our Easter dresses and hats next to the bright yellow daffodils (the kids and I do, anyway… my husband loathes both wearing suits and taking pictures. Men.)

We break out the white vinegar and food coloring and proceed to decorate (in other words, waste) two dozen eggs purely for aesthetic and recreational purposes.

In the process, we end up talking about Jesus, his death and his resurrection.

My 6 and 8 year olds are somehow able to relate the Easter story to spring itself. They talk about new life. About how seeds die – how things sleep through the “death” of winter, then get raised up again in the spring. How things come back to life. They say what a wonderful hope it is for all of us - even for the animals and the trees and the flowers.

I am once again reminded how much smarter they are than I am!

Spring truly is a new beginning. How refreshing it is to know that everything can be made new again.

Happy spring to you and your family.

from my 4/8/12 article for

Sunday, April 01, 2012

The cuteness

Jedidiah has learned to blow kisses. It's pretty much the cutest thing ever. Once he gets started, it's hard to get him to stop, though. He KNOWS he's cute. The other thing he's doing now is whispering. Adelaide taught him how, apparently. I caught the two of them hiding behind the bathroom door, and they were WHISPERING back and forth to each other. The cuteness! I die.