Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Joys of Motherhood

Autumn has turned from the sweetest, most mild-mannered child I've ever seen to a feisty independent little spitfire who climbs, spills, and throws anything she can get her hands on. She climbs on the table scavenging food, but refuses to eat her meals. She screeches loudly if she doesn't get everything she wants. She drives me batty in ways that only a toddler can.

But today was by far the most I have ever wanted to beat her.

I put her down for naps, she laid down, and I thought she was asleep so I went to work on the boy. As I laid down with him, I could hear her talking to herself, but I had to finish getting Calvin to sleep before I went in and checked on her or he would be up again. Finally when the boy was asleep, I went into the nursery.

The smell hit me first. And then the pleased grin of the little girl who was wide awake. And then the fact that she had no pants on. And then it all came in a rush. She had pooped her diaper, and then taken off her diaper, and then she smeared the mushy brown paste all over herself, her crib, and her blankets. I can't be sure, but it seems that there may have even been some rolling around in the stuff involved as well.

It's days like this that I want my career back.

Conversations with Calvin

These days the boy vacillates between being the biggest pain in the rear, to this witty, intelligent, adorable little thing that we can't get enough of. We started a reward chart for him to work on behavior for things like meal time and bedtime. The past few days have been a dream as he's gone out of his way to share, eat his food, go straight to bed, clean up his toys, change out of p.j.s without a fight (he wants to wear them all day everyday) and otherwise be a cheerful and delightful boy to have around. Today he finished his sticker chart, and his reward of choice was:
He wandered around the house all day saying, "Mom and Dad, thank you so much. This is the best day I've ever had." He's spoiled, so I can't imagine that getting a new toy was really that dramatic, but I think he is really proud of himself that he worked hard for it and earned it.

One funny conversation when we started the chart:
Dad: If you want Bullseye, you'll have to earn him. You'll have to do good things until you have enough stickers to earn him.
Calvin: But that's not fair!
Dad: Actually, it's the very definition of fair. You do something to earn a reward, and you receive what you earned. That's exactly what fair means.

Who talks like that to a 3 year old? Made me laugh.

Anyway, he's been unbelievably well-behaved and sweet. I'm totally not above bribery if this is the result.

Also, last night we went to play in the yard and had this conversation:

Me: Do you want to wear shoes or bare feet?
Calvin: (very confused) Bare feet? What do you mean? I don't have bear feet; I only have Calvin feet.

He's a gem.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rest in Peace, Buzz

Last week Buzz started acting lethargic, puffing his feathers out huge, and laying on the bottom of the cage. I found out everything I could about sick finches and started him on antibiotics, and lots of other things that I hoped would help him get better. I watched them constantly, and Jessie was the sweetest thing ever. She would sit next to him on the perch, letting him lean on her for support. On the days when he looked bad, she'd be extra loud and jumpy, and I imagine it was her letting me know he needed help. Yesterday he looked better and I thought he was improving, but today he didn't come out of the nest at all. I checked on him before naps and he was huddled up in the nest breathing heavily. An hour later, he was gone.

The last pet I had before the birds was in high school. He was a 3ft long iguana named Ike (I was studying Eisenhower at the time). Much to my mother's horror, he roamed freely in my room. During the day he would sit on the windowsill, basking in the sunlight. When I would lay on the couch to read, he would watch me from his perch above me, and then suddenly jump on top of me. I would laugh and pet him, and then he would climb the handles on my dresser to the top of the bunk bed, and do it all over again. He had a funny little personality and I adored him. One day he caught cold, turned black, and nothing we did could save him. I cried for a week straight.

This is why I don't do pets. It's too bloody sad.

I had a little funeral for the bird while Andy kept the kids busy. I hid in a closet and got the tears out, and then tried to decide what to do. I couldn't leave Jessie alone, but I couldn't handle the thought of buying another bird and reliving the cycle over and over. Carrie called some good family friends from our old neighborhood who raise finches. They agreed to take her. I was sad to be a failure and give her away, but when I dropped her off, they showed me their bird set up and I knew she was in the best possible hands.

They had a webcam set up inside of a nest so that they could watch baby birds hatch without disturbing them or the mama. How awesome is that? As soon as Jessie heard the other birds, she went crazy with excitement. She's in a good place, even though I'm sure she'll miss her little buddy. Buzz and Jessie. They were perfect for each other.

Rest in peace, little friend. It's quiet around here. We miss you both already.