The girls and I reluctantly took James to the airport this afternoon. He's off on a business trip and won't be back til really early next Saturday morning (at which time we will be rising at the crack of dawn to go and retrieve him).
I have been dreading this particular trip because its the longest one he's been on so far and he hasn't done any trips for a really long time so we were getting used to having him around.
Add to this the fact that he will be back for just a week and then he'll be jetting off again for another week long trip and you can understand my feelings of dread. Add to that the fact that the week in between these two trips is the girls' April vacation from school and you can understand how I am nearly tipping over the edge of sanity at the mere thought of what I am in for.
Anyway, I've been feeling a little negative about the whole thing and I decided that it would be good for my mental stability to try and see it in a more positive light. I wondered how to do this and I came up with the idea to kind of keep a bloggy journal in which I have to share at least one thing about each of my three girls (or all of them together) that made me enjoy my time with them for each of the days James is gone. I'm going to record them here and add to this entry each day so make sure you come back and read the updates. I'm not sure what you'll be in for (or me for that matter) but knowing my girls there are sure to be some hilarious moments.
Day 1 - To The Airport Day
Today just happened to be Easter Sunday which is a really big deal for us and the girls were very excited to put on their special Easter dresses (which, sadly, I failed to get a photo of them in - sorry Grandma) in preparation for church. The night before, James and I had placed an Easter basket beside their beds with a smattering of candy, a chocolate bunny and some other little goodies. Shortly after we had a nocturnal visit from Kaitlyn who had had a bad dream (probably shadowy figures tip toeing into her room trying to muffle giggles). We consoled her and sent her back to bed. What we found out in the morning was that she then discovered her basket and immediately ransacked it then went into Emily's room, woke her up and they had a little midnight party before going back to bed.
They did cleverly eat their entire chocolate bunnies for breakfast (last year I made them eat only a little each day for a week and they obviously thought that wasn't very exciting). What I also found out later was that Emily had, in very good big sisterly fashion, helped Abigail to devour all the candy in her basket for breakfast. Thankfully she decided against helping her to eat her chocolate bunny which we found her playing with when we got up.
As we were sitting around following a highly exciting egg hunt later in the day Emily and Kaitlyn were discussing whether the Easter bunny is real or not. We had overheard them discussing this a few days earlier and they were not in agreement. Emily was certain he was real and Kaitlyn was just as certain that it is a man in a bunny suit. They devised a cunning plan to reveal his true identity to the world. They would wait up until the bunny came around to give baskets or hide eggs or do whatever Easter bunnies do (there was some confusion as to what he is actually supposed to do) and then when he was close enough they would jump on him and rip his head off. If his head came off and revealed a mans head underneath then Kaitlyn was right and if his head didn't come off then Emily was right.
Of course they missed the bunny's visit but they still held their strong opinions so as we sat around Emily pipes up "Look, he's real ok. Would I steer you wrong?" with her hands held up in a gesture signifying complete openness and honesty. It was a classic moment.
Abigail just made me smile all day long as she toddled around in her little dress looking so much like a walking doll. She cuddled in our bed this morning and was very emphatic in her wish to have Daddy cuddles only, NOT Mummy cuddles. She let us know some new words that she has for different body parts - 'nom nom' is for mouth and 'ow' is for hair/head (due to Kaitlyn's reaction to having her hair brushed).
Emily and Kaitlyn also came up with a solution to my inability to sleep well while James is gone. They would fill his side of the bed for me. With themselves. They had some disagreement about who was going to sleep in my bed each night but quickly discovered that he would be gone 6 nights thus allowing them 3 nights each. Then came the dilemma of who got which night. They decided who would go first by playing rock paper scissors. The winner being Kaitlyn who quickly claimed the first night. Then they did a second round of rock paper scissors to determine the pattern. This became fraught with trouble when Kaitlyn (who was choosing scissors each time) got mad because Emily (who had caught on to her pattern) chose rock instead of her first choice of paper thus winning each subsequent round. In Kaitlyn's classic words "Emily you can't choose the same one each time, its not fair" despite her own personal penchant for scissors.
They finally came to a private agreement which they announced to me on the way to the airport tonight "Mummy, we decided that since we couldn't agree on a pattern we would just both sleep in your bed at the same time for all the nights." Oh joy, I could hardly wait.
So here I sit squashed over to the very edge of the bed as Emily and Kaitlyn sleep next to me accompanied by many stuffed toys and blankets and even a set of pink bunny ears. Abigail still potters around in her room doing goodness only knows what (I must figure it out before I go to sleep). Did I mention that my requirement for sharing my bed was that they each take a small dose of melatonin?
Day 2 - Slightly Sleep Deprived But Holding
So last night's sleep didn't exactly go as planned (for me at least) I got kicked, I got punched and I basically got pushed out of the bed. It turns out that Emily has inherited my ability to strip a bed of all its covers in the first few minutes of slumber.
I do remember as a child many times I would wake up shivering with cold only to find that my blankets and sheets had mysteriously slipped to the floor. It seems its genetic and I've passed it on.
Kaitlyn sleeps much like my sister does. She chooses a position, goes to sleep and then wakes in the morning in the same position. I was always jealous of this ability in my sister. She used to slip into her bed making sure not to untuck the sheets and then in the morning she would slip out again and voila her bed was made. I, on the other hand, had to remake my bed from scratch every morning if I wanted it to look in decent shape.
Her other superpower was that she could get fully dressed under the bed covers and then slip out fully dressed, with her nightgown nicely folded under the pillow and the bed completely unruffled. She hit a stage in our early adolescence where she didn't like to get dressed in front of me (or anyone for that matter) and since we shared a room that was a little problematic for her. She devised this solution and it worked for her.
One day I decided that since she could do it I must surely be able to do it too (after all I'm older than her). I chose some clothes and dove under my covers (which I had retrieved from the floor and assembled back into a made bed state) and started getting myself dressed. After a few minutes I realised that it was much harder than it looked when she did it but I wasn't about to quit. With renewed vigour I found garment labels that indicated that this was the back of the shirt and modified my movements with this information in mind. Finally I emerged with a triumphant pose to find out what all the shrieks of laughter were from my sister's side of the room. I looked down at myself and found that my skirt was on inside out, my top was on backwards and I had mistaken an armhole for the neck. I also found out between my sister's gasps for air and hysterical laughter that I had been periodically flashing her the entire time I had been "hidden" under the covers.
From that moment on I resumed my normal routine of full and unashamed body exposure in the interests of less embarrassing public moments later in the day due to disarranged clothing.
So anyway, all this to say I didn't sleep all that well so I was a little unsure if I would have anything terribly charitable to share about my children today. As it turns out, though, since I was on the lookout for ways to enjoy them I did.
I decided to spend some time cleaning Emily's room this morning and actually got it completely tidied up (quite a feat). I managed to achieve this milestone while entertaining Abigail which I was rather impressed by. When Emily came home from school she wanted a snack as usual and I said to her "I want you to go to your room and don't you dare come down until its clean". Of course she burst into tears and gave me a look as if I was physically torturing her. I helped her up the stairs as she sobbed her little heart out and then watched her face as her heaving sobs turned into chokes and then laughter and giggles as she realised I had just got her really good.
When Kaitlyn got home from school I took her and showed her Emily's room (this was before Emily got home) and asked her if it gave her motivation to get her room done. She agreed that it was pretty cool and we went to work on her room. I told her that we would work on it until Emily's bus got there (about 30 minutes) and then we'd go and play soccer with her new ball. We got quite a lot done but not even close to finishing. I kept my word though and we went outside and kicked the ball around. I had to be the goalie which suited me because I'd hurt my back cleaning Emily's room and even with only her and I playing (and Abigail trying to keep up) she still couldn't score any goals. One time she wound up to kick the ball right at me (at which time I planned on failing to block it in quite a spectacular fashion) but right before her foot connected with the ball Abigail toddled over and picked the ball up off the grass.
Kaitlyn did remarkably well when she first tried to kick the ball, missed it and fell down on her butt. Her normal response to this kind of indignity is to get herself into a first class sulk but I reminded her that if she wanted to play soccer on a team (the single most important goal in her life right now) she'd have to get used to being knocked down and falling down and all manner of thoroughly embarrassing and out of the ordinary things. She thought about this for a split second and started laughing before leaping up to try again. Amazing, I have never seen her react this way in the face of an unexpected physical 'happening'.
Abigail was happy to potter along behind me all day and surprisingly didn't do anything particularly dastardly. She did get herself a timeout for turning on the computer but apart from that and a few strong words about playing with drawing pins she was very compliant and happy to watch what I was doing. I think I did notice her finding a bag of candy and eating it but apart from that she was good. She cheerfully asked to go to bed early and hasn't reappeared at all. She's probably having a sugar low from who knows how much candy she ate when my back was turned.