Your Hosts


Tweet!

    Follow mightymaggie on Twitter

    Elsewhere

    54 posts categorized "Emma"

    May 01, 2014

    May Day

    After school Jack and I used the leaf blower (that the previous owners left in the garage, along with one million other useful things) to eradicate the deck of pine needles. ($2000 to cut that tree down. ONE DAY.) Then I carried up the plastic chairs from under the deck and set them out in the sunniest part. I got the outdoor rug out of the garage and laid it down. I carried up my ten dollar plastic lounging chair from Target, that I bought on a whim one day last summer, on which I spent many a naptime hour with a drink and a book. 

    Because it was 84 degrees today and even people in California will agree that you need to wear flip flops and sleeveless dresses and sit on your deck in 84 degree weather. It will be 73 tomorrow and back to mid 60s and rain for the forseeable future. But this afternoon, after we'd arranged everything just so, Jack and I lounged unprettily on the cheap plastic outdoor furniture, me with my laptop, him with his Spiderman chapter book and a bag of fruit snacks. I have to say those were a few of the nicest hours I've had in a long time. 

    During all this Emma wandered around, getting into things. We don't wear shoes in our house so it was on off on off on off with the shoes, back and forth back and forth between the house and the deck and the slide and the rocks under the deck and OH is that CHALK well YES I would like to play with that TOO. For a few minutes there I held her captive with Pirate Booty and my phone, locked onto a screen like a proper child of this family. 

    Earlier today Katie and I delivered a flourless chocolate torte - 2 pounds of fancypants bank-busting chocolate in that sucker, TWO POUNDS - to West Seattle. Which is a strange chunk of land (an island?) (ish?) jutting into the water south of downtown. I can't remember the last time I went to Alki, the stretch of sand with the views of the sound and downtown (where all the postcard pictures are taken). And I'd never been to the part where we delivered the cake. This lady lived right on the water. Right. On the water. ONE DAY. 

    After that we took Emma and my niece to the beach, but my niece is scared of the beach. We're walking along the sidewalk towards the water and then she SEES the water and just STOPS. And begins to wail. And basically doesn't let go of Katie and her shirt until we decide to walk back to the car. Poor kid. I used to be afraid of tall buildings. I'd look up and freeze. Maybe it's the same thing? 

    They took her to Hawaii last year. THAT was hilarious. 

    Phillip's been riding his bike to work this week. He just got home. It's late, but I don't mind. It was a good day. It was 84 degrees. 

    Molly is sick, but Molly is a weird little person and she's hard to figure out what kind of sick. At dinner she started flipping out, like she does when she's having (I assume) a night terror. She was hot, she was cold, she wanted to eat, she wanted to lay in my bed. She drooled all over my pillow. She's been in our bed the last two nights and we planned to Lay Down The Law and make her stay in her own bed tonight. But now she's sick! Can't do that. So I hauled up our extra twin mattress and put it in our room. We've had kids in our bed before and they've slept in cribs in our room as babies, but this is the first time I've done the wildly popular internet-approved floor bed. 

    Which means Jack is on his own tonight. His own room for the first time. He was nervous until I started talking about how awesome it is to have your own room. I never shared, probably a combination of being the oldest and my next closest sibling being a boy. The two boys shared a room and the two "little girls", as we sometimes still call them, shared a room. And I always got my own, because I'm special. 

    Jack was asking me if I ever had to share with Uncle Alex and I said GOD NO I CAN'T EVEN IMAGINE, he had to share with Uncle MATTHEW. Thank goodness. And then Jack was all, "I wonder what Uncle Matthew thought!" Which made me die laughing, seriously, because even Jack knows his Uncle Alex is A Character. 

    But I was telling him how he can read books and turn off the light and DO WHATEVER HE WANTS and because he is just like me he was sold. He wants to know if maybe he can have his own room, "after I've been seven for a little bit." I said sure, Jack. I would love that. If we can get Emma to stop yammering from seven to ten every night making it possible for someone else to sleep in the same room, then YES, we are switching up the rooms. 

    As I type she's almost shouting. "OLD MACDONALD HAS NO PANTS! E I E I O!" 

    You can tell her to hush, be quiet, SHUT UP ALREADY, but she'll only be quiet for five or ten minutes and then it's back to Let It Go. At this point we choose to ignore. This family is full of weirdos. 

     

    April 01, 2014

    Oh yeah, I used to write about my kids

    ALL RIGHT. Things are looking up. There was a sudden influx of capital to Thumbprints Baking Co., for which the owners are terribly grateful and over the moon. We have picked a kitchen. We have insurance. The next step is formalizing the agreement and the step after that is (OH GOD) going through the county health department food business application process. I am guessing I will need to restock the liquor cabinet. 

    But I want to exercise my mommyblogger chops tonight and write down a few things I've noticed about my kids. Before I forget. So you can leave now, it's okay, I totally won't be offended. 

    So there's this huge amazing CRAZY thing I've been more and more aware of lately and that is the fact that my two biggest kids seem to be best friends. This is wild to me. It's not that they never fight (they always fight) but they also really really like each other. They don't really want to do anything without the other. We keep asking them if they're ready to stop sharing a room (when are a brother and sister too old to share a room?) and neither of them are interested. Well, they're very interested, just not right NOW. Even when I make a point of reminding them that Molly would share with Emma and we'd move the girls into the room next to Jack's so he wouldn't be alone downstairs. No no, they don't want to do that yet. 

    And they play with the same things and play the same way. They would both choose to do an art project over almost anything else (except perform Let It Go in princess dresses for their parents and all their parents' friends.) They make up plays. They build elaborate forts in the living room and pretend that Emma is their kid or their pet or just some random baby they get to boss around. They squabble constantly and accidentally hurt each other all the time, but I'm not sure either of them has ever been purposefully vicious to the other. 

    My brother and I are the same number of months apart as Jack and Molly. I suppose it's possible we liked each other when we were very small? But my main memories of my brother are of him barging into my room (which was 1) not allowed and 2) totally unnecessary, no I am still not over this and have refused to "just ignore him" for 34 years), messing up my stuff, and being mean to me. Always! My whole life! Not that I was a total peach to him - I remember my dad telling me, many many times, "Some day he'll be bigger than you, Mag! Watch out!" So yes, I shall grudgingly admit that I possibly beat up on him too. I sort of remember playing outside with him, making mud soup and charging through the patch of forest across the street from our house and riding bikes. My mom is probably reading this and thinking, "You did TOO have fun together!" Maybe it wasn't until we were a little older that he became my main reason for wanting to hurry up and go to college already. (Like 5th grade older.)

    But I don't see that with Jack and Molly. Really. I suppose it's possible and I'm sure one day they won't want to do the same things all the time and play with the same kids and feel bad that having a "boys only" birthday party means Molly can't come. (Jack is turning 7 next month. Omg.) But still. They really really like each other, they look out for each other, they give each other heads up when their mom is on the warpath. I'm starting to wonder if they're going to be the kind of brother and sister who are buddies growing up. Who don't have to turn 30 and live in separate houses before they finally tolerate each other. (You may think I'm being snotty about my brother, but I bet you anything he would agree. Also, he called the other day to talk about the bakery and wanted to give me some feedback and he had to say, "Look, I'm not being a jackass like usual, I'm really trying to help." SEE? EVEN HE SAYS SO.)

    And you know what, I'm writing this on April 1, which is basically my brother's personal holiday, the day on which he switched out my morning cereal for dog food, shortsheeted my bed, and set my alarm clock to go off in the middle of the night. HOW APT.

    So yeah, my heart IS warmed over by the affection my two oldest show each other. (Ask me again when they're teenagers.)

    Emma, however, worships the very ground on which her brother and sister tread. All day long I am reminded that something is Molly's, something is Jack's favorite, something is what Molly wants, something is what Jack did. Everything - EVERYTHING - relates to her two favorite people, some way or another. She will play any game they want to play. The big thing right now is "putting Emma to bed" - in the middle of the day, for whatever reason, and she gaily goes along with it, climbing into her bed with her stuffed cow and her pacifier and staying there however long they require. She's the baby and she has her manipulative moments, her fickle devotions, her sudden wails of distress. But for the most part she's all about being where they are, doing whatever they are doing. Including homework. Emma does lots and lots of homework. 

    I just think they are the neatest. I could have never dreamed them up. My creative, sensitive, sweet little boy. My absentminded, giggly, kind little girl. My utterly charming, delighted by everything two-year-old. They are just perfect.

     

     

     

    February 03, 2014

    Pink potties, rabid fans, days off

    Miss EJ spent the majority of her day wearing various pairs of hand me down Dora underpants and getting them dirty. I honestly don't know what possessed me today, thinking we would try potty training. I think I've overheard various people talk about their potty trained two-year-olds over the past few weeks and maybe it just caught up with me. IS THERE SOMETHING I AM NOT WINNING?!?! 

    So EJ and I and EJ's cousin, who I was babysitting, and who was thoroughly unimpressed with the entire thing, went to Target and bought a pink and white potty with a crown on the lid that plays a triumphant tune when it detects, ah, contents. And then I dug out the underpants because hey! EJ loves Dora! And you guys I have NO MEMORIES of how I potty trained the older two. I know it didn't really happen until they were three. Ish. I also know that whatever I tried didn't work and I basically just had to wait until it happened. But for whatever reason this hasn't deterred me from attempting to control the situation with Baby #3. Apparently SOME children take to this whole training thing. Some of them are not much older than EJ! 

    Anyway, in case you are concerned, I am not COMMITTED or anything. We are basically going to not care about wet pants for a few days and see what happens. I am totally fine with sticking the potty in the closet for a few months and trying again later. But I have also notified the trainee that she gets ice cream if she goes in the potty SO. We shall see. 

    Why I decided I was up for this after the impromptu Super Bowl shindig is beyond me because DUDES. That was EXHAUSTING. I find caring about sports teams sort of exhausting in the first place. I get, you know, EMOTIONALLY INVESTED. Even when I actively try NOT to be emotionally invested. My sympathies for the losing team made me a less than valuable high school sports player. (My team always won. It did. Not because of me. HA HA HA. My school mysteriously had the best girl AND boy athletes in the league. Every year. For every sport. I should count myself lucky that they let me warm the bench let alone get any playing time.) 

    But the whole CITY has gone MAD, people. I've been volunteering in Jack's Sunday School class and even the kids (the ones who showed up on Sunday, anyway) were rabid Bronco-hating football know-it-alls. (Even Jack, who was obviously making it all up. Poor kid.) I do love me a good theme party, so I was pretty excited to have a house full of crazy 12th men, but whoa. I think what got me was all the preparation for the kids. I knew no one wanted their game interrupted with "can you get me a drink?" so I did my best to make spaces for the kids and provide them with their own snacks and juice boxes and all that. ANYWAY. There were lots of people and lots of kids and lots of yelling (and then lots of "THIS IS BORING") and I could barely pick myself up off the couch to go to bed last night. AND THIS IS SOMEONE WHO CARES NOT MUCH ABOUT THE BIG GAME, SEAHAWKS OR NOT.

    It is fun, though, to see the people you love get all excited and happy. Isn't it? 

    The rest of this week involves bakery orders. Which is great! Each order is a new challenge for me, packaging-wise. I should probably just invest in a good supply of boxes from Nashville Wraps, but in the meantime I've been hunting in various less-than-stellar stores and since everything is special order I'm never quite sure what's going to fit in what. And this week I am shipping CROISSANTS and OH GOD we are very nervous about that. The croissant buyer has assured us she is well aware of the risks, but we still had to CONFERENCE today about HOW TO SHIP THE CROISSANTS. (My ideas were flatly rejected. Apparently I know nothing about the special needs of baked goods.) Anyway, each order is always a teeny bit nervewracking until I figure it out. I have several of those this week. 

    Oh! We have a Facebook page. You should go Like it. (This is where I bat my eyelashes at you and smile prettily.) 

    OH WAIT! I didn't tell you about my day off! Dudes, it pays to publish your whiny screeds to the internet, because sometimes your husband reads them and takes action. Friday night Phillip drove the kids to his parents' house and didn't come home until SATURDAY NIGHT. Like, straight-to-bedtime Saturday night. I hardly knew what to do with myself! It was crazy! I had already made plans to meet friends Friday night, so I did that, and then I lulled myself to sleep with a good history book. Early Saturday morning I had plans to meet another friend for coffee and after THAT I got my hair cut. Sort of. It was more of a Maintenance Trim. Right now I am shooting for this. I don't really want to grow it OUT grow it out, but this is long enough to mess with while short enough to be short and maybe if I keep coloring my hair it'll feel kicky and not too mommish. 

    I spent the rest of my day doing some bakery errand running, packaging up some orders, baking for the Super Bowl party, and lying on the couch with my book. Man, I LOVE lying on the couch with my book. Other women fear turning into their mothers, but I am turning into my dad. The type of book and all. HRRRMMM.

    Anyway. It was a lovely lovely day and I was so HAPPY to see my husband at the end of it. A saint among men that Phillip Cheung. 

     

    September 23, 2013

    Emma's birthday, remembering a birth day

    Two years ago last night I texted a good friend right before I went to bed. She was in labor and I assumed she'd have a new baby when I woke up in the morning. I told her I was thinking about her, wished her good luck, and fell asleep.

    Of course, my water broke a few hours later around midnight and I was the one with a new baby in the morning, two weeks early. My friend had her baby later on in the day, a few days late. Because I feel like the universe owes me, here's a link to THAT story

    But really, the universe ponied up with Emma, my precious third baby, and I am continually - no really - amazed at the universe's generosity. She is such a delight to our family that sometimes I'll think back to the time of Third Baby Negotiations and feel panicky. What if... ugh, let's not think about it. Plus that line of thinking tends to make me consider Fourth Baby and sheesh, let's not do that today either. 

    At two years old, Emma is feisty, cheery, talkative, and makes certain you are aware of her presence. Has there been a noisier baby? No, there has not. At all hours of the day and night this kid is running her mouth. It makes more sense in the daytime - "Wash hands! I do it! Shoes! My Dora! Hi Daddy! BREAKFASSSSSSSSS!" - and drives us to tears in the nighttime. What we have here is not so much talking in one's sleep as whining and moaning and groaning and also singing and hollering in one's sleep. She's also a mama's (and daddy's) girl and shy and suspicious of new people, the better to lead them to believe she's sweet and quiet and demure. HA HA HA.

    We had a lovely family brunch on Saturday with peach French toast (KILLER RECIPE, PEOPLE) and rainbow cake and mimosas and plenty of Dora-themed birthday gifts. Today, on her actual birthday, we spent a quiet morning with our birthday buddies and blew out candles on an apple crisp. The birthday girl is now passed out in bed, sleeping off the sugar. 

    I am so very tremendously thrilled to spend this year at home with Emma. I am so thankful. 

     

    July 25, 2013

    Someone's in a big girl bed! Also: job update. Because you were on tenterhooks I'm sure.

    We're not surprised I bought Emma a toddler bed today, are we? Of course not This is EXACTLY the kind of dumb thing I do that drives my husband crazy. Case in point: I just put the toddler to bed and she is SUPER PISSED that she no longer has bars with which to prop up her feet. She kept holding her leg out to me and grunting indignantly. "Where are my bars, woman?!" 

    I bought Emma a toddler bed not because she needed or wanted or was ready to leave her crib behind, no, I bought the bed because I wanted a WHITE bed, a key element for the Redecorating Of Emma's Room. With which I have thrown myself with GUSTO. Up next: wall paint, curtains, PAINTING A DRESSER. Oh yes. This is what happens when I have to put my unused Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations kit in my garage. 

    Yeah, I'm ridiculing my own self right now. It was fun to take pictures of her in it, but I'm not so sure about the SLEEPING in it. She's become a half decent sleeper, even if she does wake up almost every night and thump her head/kick her feet/moan herself back to sleep. At least *I* don't have to do it, right? Why am I messing with that? I WAS NOT THINKING!

    Okay, here's what I was thinking:

    • Emma is too big for the pack 'n play so when she stays overnight with Grandma she's going to start sleeping in a toddler bed
    • My sister needs a crib
    • Our crib is the wrong color for my Grand Scheme
    • Even though it's basically the same size, I have a few more furniture arrangement options if I move her out of the crib
    • I thought she was too little still for a twin bed

    The end. Not QUITE enough evidence for moving her you say? I guess we'll find out. I've been anti-toddler bed, even. Why do people want to move babies out of cribs! Keep'em in there until they're five! Go right to a twin! Toddler beds are silly!

    And yet, here I am. I suppose I could have just painted the crib white. Nahhhh

    Today was a blissfully dull one (until Jack contracted some mysterious YMCA Day Camp illness and barfed in the car on the way home. I think he was carsick from a bus ride? Or just hot? He IS a delicate little flower, the sort of native PNWer who says, "Mommy, it's too sunny," on a 65 degree day in April.) I appreciated the Dull since yesterday was the opposite. I would have written the longest blog post ever published, but most of it goes against Blog Policy. Bummer! 

    Things I CAN say: the naturopath appointment was awesome. I'm not sure if my new hippie treatment plan will actually WORK, but the appointment itself was hands down the best health care experience I've had since I've had to pay for it myself. I'll write more about it later, including all the parts that will make my pharmacist bff cringe. Heh. Also: acupuncture. I KNOW. 

    Another thing I can say: I didn't get the job. But I did get two more emails from the principal late last night thinking up ways I can still get myself employed at her school. Basically I can be an office assistant SUB. Did you know they do that? I didn't! So that means I could work once in a blue moon, but gather the necessary experience to better qualify me to work the following year, which is a possibility because the school is growing. Honestly? This sounds better to me. I wasn't QUITE ready to leave Emma, even part time. Amongst other things I wasn't quite ready for. But the possibility still remains and I will be in the know and yes. So far this sounds good. 

    I went on and on about this with Phillip and IRL friends last night, so I feel like I'm boring you and/or repeating myself. But when I heard I didn't get the job I wasn't disappointed - I mean, it's never fun to hear you were rejected, obvs. But I just kept thinking of all the things I wasn't going to get to do. Things with Emma, getting back in shape at the Y every morning (we'll see if this actually happens ANYWAY), starting to write again, house projects, saying yes to prayer conferences, getting back to pursuing the whole mom-friendly bakery idea. I was SO looking forward to a year where the schedule would be the same every day, a year where I might actually get BORED. A year where I would realize hey, I NEED to go back to work! Even though this was only part time, it was going to be a big wrench in family life and I just... I just wasn't SURE. I think if I'd been offered the job I would have taken it. But signing up to be a sub instead, just sticking a toe in the water instead of a whole foot, it feels like a grace year. It feels ridiculous too, like I'm a spoiled brat or a kept woman! If only other women were so lucky to have the choice, right? So I'm aware of that. Well aware. 

    Another observation to cap off this post: this might possibly be the nicest summer I've ever had in Seattle. I think I can count on one hand the number of times it's rained in the last two months. It's been glorious - bright, sunny, HOT, beautiful, glittering water everywhere. Someone please help me remember these days come November. 

    June 12, 2013

    What we learned this year

    The last week of school is going annoyingly. By which I mean it's not Friday yet. It's the regular feeling of "isn't it Friday yet" coupled with "let's get this school stuff over with already" and BLARGH. Today was my last true day of The Schedule and while I did get a bit sniffly at the coffee shop, the rest of the day I traded sentiment for impatient irritation. 

    Tomorrow is my last day with just Molly and Emma at home and THAT might be hard. Where it was questionable if Jack would survive the months before kindergarten, Molly is happy at home. She entertains herself, she's happy to fold clothes with me or help empty the dishwasher, she works on projects without needing attention. Not that I have any interest whatsoever in homeschooling, but I can PICTURE doing it with Molly. If I were doing it with Jack one of us would be dead. ANYWAY. All that to say I'd like to do something fun with Molly tomorrow. I don't know what, though. My girl is always game for shopping...

    Friday is a silly little day of early releases and I'm going to cap off my year of not hanging out with the preschool moms by blowing off the end of the year picnic in the park. It's at a bad time! Whatever. I actually did make friends, you know. This morning one of the moms said she was going to email me over the summer to do this thing at the library with our babies and while it sounded totally boring, I was all, "HEY. THE PRESCHOOL MOMS LIKE ME!" 

    Maybe this whole time they've been seeing me drive up in my minivan, watching my kid hop out on her own, and feeling jealous as I drive away. Maybe this whole time they've been wishing THEY could blow everyone off. 

    I really hope I remember to take a picture of Molly and Jack in front of the house on the last day of school, to juxtapose with the first day of school picture. Things are SO DIFFERENT. Molly is just - I don't know the right words. She has grown up SO MUCH. I was so worried about my little preschool drop out and then this year she was all, "I don't need no brother to do all my socializing for me" and had a blast. Jack grew up too, but in a different way. Like he's been exposed to life outside his family and he's trying out all these voices and mannerisms and I have to keep saying, "I DON'T LIKE IT WHEN YOU ACT LIKE [INSERT NAME OF FRIEND]." Also he reads and does math and makes books and his handwriting is terrible and he has blisters on his palms from the monkey bars and every single pair of jeans is holey. His hair is always a mess. He's going to be a first grader. I have a first grader

    And Emma? Emma learned to walk. I spent the first half of the year reminding myself to put the Ergo in the car so I could carry her into the school for pick up. She was always bound up next to me, no one saw her face. And then the second half of the year, when I was still carrying her, but on my hip and putting her down once we got inside. And then holding her hand while she walked. And then trying to get her to hold my hand before she gets run over by the hordes of elementary school students running to the bus. Babies change so fast, I know, but the school year really quantifies things, doesn't it. 

    It's going to be crazy with Molly in school. I mean the time flying by thing. It wasn't so long ago that I was writing about my two babies. SO CRAZY. Although it's still not entirely certain she'll GO to school - next week we meet with a school psychologist, the second of the two kindergarten early entrance assessments. Her teachers, Jack's teacher, and my personal collection of teachers all say she's ready and I think she is too and I'm not really worried about it, but it'll be nice to make it official. 

    And NO, Teachers From Molly's Preschool, I am NOT putting my baby in the Twos program. No no no. 

    But first: summer. Lots of summer. Swim lessons, VBS, YMCA camp, Grandma and Grandpa's house, Vancouver, the beach, the spray park, cousins, birthdays, a deck with a SLIDE. It's going to be awesome.

     

    May 19, 2013

    Six years, three kids, a bajillion neuroses

    Even though I could positively karate kick every single person who feels compelled to tell me that my baby doesn't look like much of a baby anymore, they're right. At some point in the last few weeks Emma Cheung morphed into the next version of herself. She's not two yet, but for all the whining and demanding and temper having and sheer personality getting thrown around, she might as well be. And it's as I suspected - there's a loud, assertive, charming little extrovert inside that kid and I admit it, I'm a little intimidated. 

    I thought my other kids were full of personality at this age too, but I think they were personalities I understood a bit better. Maybe a little more like my own, or easily handled. I see a lot of myself in Jack, and Molly is a sweet, soft, delicious little spoonful of girly whipped cream. Or maybe it's because I'm familiar with them, I know what to expect, and Emma's self is suddenly exploding all over the house. Even Jack and Molly seemed stunned by the force at times, unthinkingly handing over a toy or snack, immediately giving in, yielding to the emotional noise that is their baby sister. 

    Just this last week she's begun to choose walking - a drunken stumble, really - over scooting, and she's high on the experience. "LOOK AT ME!" her face says, as if she started walking at 9 months instead of 20. She talks. Constantly. Repeats everything we say. Yells it. And if she can't form the words she emits this awful mind-numbing "Eh-ehhhh!" until we figure out what she wants. She is sweet and darling and cuddly and loving until the instant she is not, and then she is furious, offended, indignant, and spilling white hot tears of HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!

    And while she is still very clingy and attached to me, she has absolutely no fear diving (literally) into her siblings' games and toys and carefully structured pillow forts. Aren't all of these things here for her own amusement? Including the older siblings? Is not this entire house and everything within it simply existing for her own personal enjoyment? 

    I feel sorry for my kids sometimes, having as they do a mother obsessed with Myers-Briggs and enneagrams and birth order and various other personality theories and assessments. I don't WANT to assign them traits and characteristics before they can pronounce "enneagram" but dudes, if Emma Cheung doesn't have YOUNGEST CHILD oozing out of every pore. I see it in action every day. She studies Jack and Molly, she takes note of what gets a laugh, and she'll do those things over and over again. She REMEMBERS those things, weeks and weeks after they happen. I'm afraid she'll be playing "steal Mommy's napkin" for laughs until she's thirty-five. Even at not quite two she's the ham in this family, though admittedly she doesn't have much competition. I fear for this child, growing up the lone noisy extrovert in a family of rule followers. But see - I'm doing it again. Who knows what she'll be like! Who knows what the other kids will be like! I don't blame her for capitalizing on being Super Cute Funny Baby Sister, a role I've often envied. 

    I think of all the times growing up when I swore to myself that if I ever had kids I would be FAIR! And EQUAL! And I would remember how old the oldest was when she got to shave her legs and not even CONSIDER letting the youngest do it until she was AT LEAST the age the oldest WAS etc. etc. etc. But I cannot fathom a time when Emma won't be my BABY and so much younger than her siblings and therefore needing special treatment and attention. HORRIBLE! But even Jack and Molly fall into this line of thinking, getting irritated when people would try to get Emma to stand on her own and walk, taking over, protectively grabbing Emma's hands and barking, "SHE CAN'T WALK." 

    How am I encouraging Jack in his "oldest" role and Emma in her "youngest"? How am I neglecting Molly as the "forgotten middle"? 

    It is such a BIZARRE and AMAZING thing to have three brand new never-seen-before individuals living in your house. Where you're observing every minute detail, recording many of those details in a BLOG for heaven's sake. WHO ARE THEY? More importantly, HOW AM I SCREWING THEM UP? 

    April 11, 2013

    Glad I've seen it, never want to go back

    For most of my growing up my parents were elementary school teachers with the Department of Defense, meaning they taught the dependent children of military families stationed overseas. I lived in Europe, mostly Italy, from 5th through 12th grade and one of my most enduring and firmly ingrained memories is of my dad's unrelenting frustration and exasperation with The Military. 

    They lost things. They were unforgivably slow. The right hand didn't know what the left was doing. The pile of paperwork was ridiculous. The hoop jumping was ludicrous. "Your tax dollars at work!" he liked to explode, which meant nothing to me because I didn't PAY taxes and also "your" tax dollars were paying for my multiple sports trips all over Europe so, you know, AWESOME. 

    But anyway. That's a little bit what my day at Children's Hospital felt like. Except that it was also one of the most impressive places I've ever experienced. 

    So Emma had to go get an ultrasound - wait, an x-ray - wait, WHAT now? - plus have a consultation with a general surgery doctor to discuss issues she'd probably rather not have me write about on the internet. Let's just say girlfriend needs the big bottle of Miralax. And I finally got around to making the appointments and soldiered through the inevitable confusion between what our ped wanted and what the hospital thought our ped wanted - don't worry, I won't explain it because IT IS NOT INTERESTING.

    But when I got to the campus this morning - I'd never been there before - and discovered this easily navigable, least intimidating, and possibly most beautiful hospital I've ever seen (if a hospital can be called beautiful?) I felt very... I don't know. Kind of like, "OH. Well. They'll take care of us HERE." 

    Even though I went to the wrong place and never (I found out) went to the first desk I should have stopped at, everyone was friendly, cheery, pleasant, helpful, easygoing. I wasn't nervous to begin with, just stressed about having to do something new, but I felt even LESS whatever I WAS feeling. And the waiting room was GINORMOUS and full of TOYS and BOOKS and CRAYONS and I felt like, "Why don't I just come HERE on a rainy Thursday morning?" 

    But then bureaucracy set in. The change to an x-ray wasn't made official somehow and I had to wait around for that. Then I had to wait around for something else. Then I receptionist found me kneeling under a table picking up all the crayons Emma dropped and apologetically told me I would be waiting longer because while they appeared to have the appropriate paperwork, they couldn't read the appropriate paperwork.  

    FOR SERIOUS? It was an hour before they brought us back for a five minute procedure (during which Emma screamed mightily) and we could go home. 

    At home I sat around feeling stressed about going back at 4. To alleviate this I watched the newest episode of Nashville and gawked dreamily at Sam Palladio. Phillip came home early, my in-laws showed up to whisk off the big kids, and Phillip and I took Emma back for the "consultation". 

    Except I didn't really know what the consultation was for? I KNOW. BAD PARENT. But I was so confused by this point, I wasn't even really sure they got the right x-rays. My doctor had left a message on my cell telling me "everything looks normal!" and we would wait to see what the hospital doctor said. (About what? The spinal thing? The anatomical issue thing? BLARGH?)

    And then we waited some more! During this wait, however, Phillip was entertaining Emma and I was admiring the hospital's check in procedures, the color coded doors and spaces, the amount of space, the ocean theme, the PEOPLE. It's not like I interacted with them, but you could just tell. These were Marvelous People. 

    We met some more marvelous people when we were [finally] called back for the exam. Because! It was an exam! Not a sit down where you peer at x-rays, which is what I thought. BUT WHATEVER. A resident and a student came in to talk to us first and they were SO NICE! And so SMART! Maybe a little bit handsome! They asked heaps of questions and wrote heaps of notes. Then they disappeared to go find the Real Doctor, who was older, just as nice, not quite as handsome, but infinitely smarter. This man just EXUDED "I know what the heck I'm doing." And after asking heaps of questions, performing an exam (during which Emma screamed mightily) and spending heaps of time with us, his official diagnosis went something like this: "Uh, why did you come here?" 

    He was not rude or condescending or impatient with us AT ALL. The opposite, almost. But I have a feeling our ped might get a Sternly Worded Letter. He went through a big list of people he thought we should have seen before we saw him. Which made me feel stupid, like I should have known better, but it's not really the sort of thing a SAHM with an English degree takes into her own hands. 

    Our ped DID say there was a "less than 1 percent chance" this was an issue, and I knew that too, and I knew it was probably overly cautious or whatever. It's still nice to know neither of those things are the issue, like at ALL, and it was kind of fun to hear the general surgery doctor comment on Emma. How big she is, how strong, how she forgives easily (after screaming her head off, she smiled and waved at the doctors when they left.) 

    So yeah, kind of this "dude, this hospital IS as super amazing as everyone says" and "REALLY? REALLY? THE PROBLEM IS WHAT NOW? AND I COULD HAVE JUST STAYED HOME?" Probably very dull for you, but one for the blog baby book for me. Thanks for your good thoughts. :) 

    April 10, 2013

    All right I feel better. Which means this post is pretty boring.

    In the morning after kindergarten drop off I'm taking the girls to Children's Hospital for EJ's x-ray. They have a walk in x-ray clinic. You just show up! And get an x-ray! Crazypants! Then we have an appointment at 4pm to... actually, I'm not entirely sure what it's for. My understanding of what the referrals are for and what the appointments actually ARE are not the same. So. Some people would, you know, find out. Me, I'm pretty SURE I know what's going on and that is overriding my general dislike of dealing with all of these things. Mom of the year! 

    But I think it's going to be okay. Even if it's not okay, things will be okay. She's walking now - I had her perform for the preschool parents AND the kindergarten teacher. Everywhere we go people comment on what a happy baby. And as of the last week or so the kid does not shut up. Ever. She's either happy bubbling or indignant barking or demandy whining. I just feel like things will be okay. 

    Perhaps I can say this because my in-laws want to take the big kids to the Seattle Center (the big park and various museums and playhouses and concert halls by the Space Needle) for this giant bounce house festival thing? I don't know. Sounds like the ninth circle of hell to me. But this means I don't have to think about having two other kids with me at the consultation appointment, and Phillip is going to meet me there, and afterwards we'll have a Parents And Youngest Child date at the fancy outdoor shopping center. I am thinking sushi and retail therapy at Crate & Barrel. 

    Besides, I feel like everything is GOOD. Sometimes it's going too fast, but it all feels like good stuff right now. Shoot you guys, I made DINNER. Honey mustard pork chops, asparagus, sauteed mushrooms and zucchini, and leftover mac and cheese for the boy who subsists on preservatives. I used my treadmill today (while watching Veronica Mars. I'm reviewing.) I have a plane ticket to Sacramento. I've joined the Y. Pretty much the only thing bugging me right now is how behind I am on laundry and the fact that my stylist is not available for a haircut on Saturday. OH WAIT. I just checked and there was a cancellation for the precise time I would have requested. OMG. STARS=ALIGNED.

    I shall now wait for the laundry fairy to appear. 

    In the meantime, I'll show you what I made today:

    Photo (41)

    I do not know what is up with all those weird LINES! They don't exist in real life. Do I blame the camera? ANYWAY. This is the present for Jack's teacher, about to have her first baby in May. I could have just bound up the pages and made a cover out of cardstock or whatever, but just buying a scrapbook sounded SO much easier. I bought letter stickers and baby stickers and then gluesticked the whole thing together. Each piece of "advice" is on its own page with a picture of the advice giver.The only things I'm missing are a class photo, which I totally didn't bother to buy and therefore do not have a picture to copy and put in the book, and a picture of one kid and I don't know how that happened because he's the one I worked with FOREVER.  The student teacher is going to get back to me about whether we're giving it to her this Friday or next and I'm thinking I'll make Orangette's pink cookies, except they'll be light blue and green (it's a BOY.) So yeah, part of me feels like a total teacher suck up (perhaps I have a history), but I also think it's really cute and she'll love it. 

    Okay people, think good x-ray thoughts! I'm fairly certain I'll be stresstweeting from the appointment. Doesn't that sound super fun?! You are SO EXCITED!

    April 08, 2013

    Today's REAL accomplishment is that I did not raid the Easter candy

    Thanks for all your kids-at-church thoughts. It is LOVELY to know that I'm not alone. I think the feedback peaked with the call from my mother reminding me that she used to take all five of us to church, ALONE. My mother, so encouraging. 

    Actually, she really was, telling me about how her mother used to take her to the Italian Mass, just HER, and my grandpa would take the other kids to the regular Mass, and how super special it was. So now I am thinking that the easiest thing for Team Cheung to do is have the morning person take a kid to an early Mass (me) and the not-so-morning person take the oToday's ther kid to another Mass (him) and no one takes the baby anywhere because she's SO GODAWFUL. I am hoping that we will settle into a new parish by September, sign the kids up for Sunday School, and maybe Emma will have pushed back her nap an hour or two bringing joy and immeasurable patience to her parents. 

    I would also like you to know that I finally called Children's hospital and set up the appointments. After a big mix up about ultrasounds and x-rays and what these referrals were actually FOR. I managed to commit myself to going to the hospital twice in one day, the second time probably with all the kids, and ugh, we're just not going to think about it. 

    Especially because: DUM DE DUM DUM! Emma is walking! YOU GUYS! I KNOW!

    Okay, so, it's not like walking is her preferred mode of transport. And it's not like she really does it of her own accord. And she absolutely refused - plopped down on her bottom in the middle of the hall - when I tried to get her to walk for the kindergarten moms at school pick up. I can't say we're all the way there. But she's MUCH steadier than she was in that video I posted a while back, she can cover more space, she can stand up on her own, and on the very rare occasion takes a few steps on her own. Like everything else with Emma I think the progress will be Wretchedly Slow, but DUDES. Finally. I'm looking forward to a child who doesn't make everyone think she's miserably handicapped and her mother doesn't care enough to buy her a board with wheels to make the scooting easier. 

    I feel like this news should be Momentous and deserving of it's own blog post, but the fact is she's been doing this for about a week now and I just wasn't sure when I could Officially Call the walking, you know? Her grandparents have been saying "any day now!" since CHRISTMAS and perhaps the news is more a relief than occasion for champagne and cake. 

    (Oh you guys, like I would ever say something is NOT an occasion for champagne and cake.)

    I also cancelled the dentist appointments that took me an entire year to schedule because I last minute-ish decided to go to California for Spring Break. Just me. Oh yeah. What, you don't get a Spring Break? I DO, SUCKAS! God bless the state of Washington for putting on the Spring Fair that week, my parents for wanting the kids overnight so they can take them to the Spring Fair, and my husband for not minding single parenthood over a weekend. I better start slathering on the fake tanner now so all the Californians won't be blinded. 

    Previously

    Archives

    Credits