Writing on 3 Hours of Sleep

I’ve been absent lately because I have been getting tons of work via Elance. Probably too much. I have a tendency to overbook myself because I hate to say no to jobs that pay well, particularly since there is often little or no work.

Last night, I worked until four am and then slept for three hours before getting up to feed children, teach and start all over again. This is only temporary, of course, but it is allowing me to get a little ahead and save up some money. Next week should be much calmer! Unless more work comes in, of course. ?

The Robots

Dominic is finally starting to draw pictures that actually look like something. He works very hard on this every day and the other day, he brought me a drawing and told me that he’d drawn robots. And sure enough!

They might not be the most amazing robots ever, but they do look like something, as opposed to random scribbles.

You Might Be a Mom of Boys if . . .

  • You wake up to Batman climbing over your face.
  • You have to get rid of plastic spiders, action figures and dragons before getting into bed.
  • Despite clearing out the menagerie, you feel something hard in under your back and discover a car park under your sheets.
  • Your tub has giant rubber snakes in it.
  • “Don’t pee on that!” is a daily refrain.
  • Someone gets hurt and you evaluate the situation in a split second . . . the amount of blood is minimal, no bone showing and no stitches needed, “you’re okay, go play.”
  • Your first aid kit has Batman Bandaids (though we also have My Little Pony Bandaids, so I guess this could be for anyone with kids in general).
  • Burp contests area  regular thing in your household . . . and you may even join in from time to time, wowing your children with your belching abilities.
  • Anything over 3 feet high is a potential climbing hazard.
  • Anything long and pokey is a potential sword.
  • You have had to confiscate toast guns at one point or another.
  • In fact, your whole idea of not allowing children to play with toy guns has gone out the window because little boys will turn ANYTHING into a gun.
  • Fart jokes cannot be stopped.
  • Your bathroom requires daily cleaning.
  • Dragons attack your home on a very frequent basis. As do zombies, orcs and trolls. Actually, I doubt that one is specific to boys.
  • You get more hugs and kisses than Papa.
  • Your sons will defend you in any situation.
  • Feeding your children is a full time job.

Add your own in the comments!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Here in Guatemala, we celebrated Dia de la Madre yesterday. It’s always on the 10th of May here, even if that falls during the week. It’s a proper holiday for most women, but since school is often out that day, I’m not sure how much of a break it is!

Anyway. Today is Mother’s Day in Canada, the US and other areas of the world, including Mother’s Day for my mom. She’s been a wonderful mom to me and over the years, we’ve grown much closer, even though we are physically apart. I love talking to her via email regularly, sharing our days and getting her advice on everything from cooking and cleaning and working to childrearing and homeschooling. It is a relationship that has become much stronger over the years, particularly once I had children of my own!

My mother gave birth to five girls, one of whom went straight on up to Heaven, and raised four of us, homeschooling and nurturing our creativity, even when it was tough! For that, I thank her. I know now just how hard it really was!

To all the mothers out there, whether your child is here or in Heaven, Happy Mother’s Day.

Mom Time

I rarely get kid-free time. Being a work at home mom and a homeschooler, I kind of gave up that time. While my sister was here, however, I did get a few chances to go out without children or Irving. It was a nice little break!

The first one was when we went to see the children’s procession during Semana Santa. Irving was home to watch the boys until that night, so we headed out for a couple of hours. While we didn’t do anything special, apart from running along a lot of streets to get ahead of the procession a few times, it was fun to enjoy the festivities without worrying about kids running into the street or getting lost in the crowds.

The second time we went out, it was an all day affair. We traveled by shuttle to Panajachel and then by pickup to San Antonio Palopo to visit the family that Sarah sponsors through Mayan Families. It was a whirlwind trip, but we had time to eat in there. On the way back, the shuttle didn’t stop where they’d told us (turns out that was a totally different travel agency and the one we were with doesn’t even have an office in Pana!). We were getting a little worried when we spotted a shuttle stopped at the end of the main street. We ran up and, bizarrely, it turned out to be our shuttle. Weird. So we got home just fine after that little adventure.

Those two little jaunts were a lot of fun and it was nice to have a little time away from the house without worrying about finding a bathroom for little people or looking for food. Just what a mama needs sometimes.

Inventing Things

When I was a kid, I was always trying to come up with new inventions. Now, Dante is the same way. This weekend, he invented his own musical instrument with a number of elastic bands, nails and a clothespin that he took apart. The instrument even used a lever that changed the sound of one of the elastics when it was pressed.

It was actually a little more complicated before this photo was taken. He had a couple more elastics on there, but they snapped. Still, it was pretty imaginative!

Letting Go

Having kids is hard. I read once that having a child is like deciding to wear your heart on the outside of your body all the time and it is so true!

When I was a preteen, my parents wouldn’t let me go around the (rather large) block on my own. I couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just allow me that bit of freedom and it kind of made me grumpy. Now that I have kids of my own, I know exactly how they felt and I sometimes wonder if I’ll manage to give my kids as much freedom as my parents gave me. What seemed restrictive back then is suddenly very much the opposite when I look at stories of children being kidnapped or dying when out of sight of their parents.

Dorian has always been crazy independent. I suspect this is partly his personality and partly his way of dealing with his major dependence on his parents due to medical issues. When he was barely three, Irving left the street door open and when we realized, the boys were both gone. It was a terrifying moment of realizing that my babies had disappeared! They showed up a few minutes later with cookies in their hands. Dorian had taken Dante to the bakery down the street to get some sweet breads on credit. (“My papa will pay you later,” he told the girl at the bakery.)

That wasn’t his first or his last escape and he usually took Dante along on his escapades. One involved the in-laws sending him home with Dante and leaving the house without realizing that a three year old Dorian and two year old Dante didn’t listen, but opened the street door and went to the bus to find their papa who was working. I didn’t even know the in-laws weren’t with them until the neighbor called me to let me know that two girls from down the street had found the boys several blocks away at the bus stop and brought them home!

After a couple of these escapades, it occurred to us that Dorian might not be so inclined to head out on his own if he was able to do it “legally.” So we started sending him for the lunch tortillas, directly across the street. He thought he went alone, but really, someone was always watching from the door, ducking away when he came out of the tortilla place. As he got older, we let him go on his own for real. One day, he took an extraordinary amount of time to return and we asked him about it when he got back. “Oh, there was a line and none of the tortillas were ready, so I just went to the other place at the end of the street.” A block away. We told him not to do that again without telling us.

The fact is that Dorian has always been quite independent. These days, his independence is fueled by buying the bread when we need it, down the street, or getting the tortillas. In fiestas, the older boys now ask to go off on their own to get cotton candy or play ball with friends. I still keep a close eye on them, but I do try to let them have more freedom.

No one ever told me it would be THIS scary to be a mom. Despite the terror of letting my children grow up, I know it’s necessary to let them do things on their own, make their mistakes and figure out how to problem solve on their own. It’s hard, but I know it will stand them in good stead later in life.

Happy 2nd Birthday, Dominic!

Dominic turns two today. I cannot believe that time has gone by so very fast. There’s no more baby in this house! Our crib is gone and the baby toys have been passed on to infant cousins. The signs of babyhood are gone and little boy stuff is replacing it. It’s bittersweet.

It’s hard to believe that this:

Turned into a little guy who runs around like crazy, is partially potty trained, talks a blue streak and climbs on assorted things to reach the markers at the top of the fridge. He’s a busy, busy little man and he thinks he’s just as grown up as his brothers! He says things like “Oh, come ON!” if you kiss him and he scolds his brothers as if he were their older brother. He’s a lot of fun!

Dominic is currently obsessed with Bubble Guppies, so I made him a Bubble Guppy cake with the boy guppies on it, Goby and Nonny and Gil at the top.

I used the icing transfer technique to make the guppies, though it kind of failed me with poor Goby’s eyes! Still, Dominic was thrilled. He also got a set of wooden blocks that Irving made him, a Winnie the Pooh fishing set and I made him a Mr. Grouper pillow.

This is part of a set that isn’t finished yet. The other part is a reversible blanket with Bubble Guppies on it. Here’s Nonny so far.

While we did have some issues with a grumpy birthday boy who needed a short nap, it’s been a pretty good birthday. Apart from the fact that, you know, my baby is a kid now. Sniff.

Potty Training . . . Already?!

Dominic is always trying to catch up to his big brothers, something I fear he’ll be doing for the rest of his life. Poor kid. Anyway. Back when he was just turning 1, I went to give him a bath and when I took off his diaper, he scurried over to the toilet and peed on the floor right in front of it. He obviously knew that was where you do your business.

Some moms in my due date club suggested I start putting him on the potty, but I figured he was too little still. How would he understand the concept of not going in his pants and using a toilet? So I put it off.

He wakes up every morning and makes a dirty diaper around 4 am. Irving suggested we bring  in the potty and get him on it nice and early. I wasn’t sure, but he went ahead and washed up the old one that the boys supposedly used (but never really did) and showed it to Dominic. The little guy got VERY excited and so we put him on it and he promptly peed.

One day, not long ago, Dominic came outside, carrying his diaper, which he’d taken off. He dropped it in the garbage bin and when I went to put another on him, he said, “No!” Okay . . . I left him diaperless and we put him on the potty every 20 minutes or so. He went  three times before he had an accident, about two seconds before we were going to put him on again.

Since then, he’s regularly without a diaper for at least half the day and has even graduated to pooping in the potty. I don’t even know what to do with a 15 month old who is essentially training himself! My other kids were SO hard to train and we ended up using some pretty insane techniques to get Dante to do anything but pee in the toilet. Not even chocolate worked for those boys!

I guess I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth and should just be happy and enjoy the fact that I may actually have a diaper free household within then next 6 months. Oh. My. Goodness. I can’t even imagine that!


The Office

I don’t go to the office every day, but the days that I do, I’m very productive. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you aren’t getting up every couple of minutes to break up a fight, get someone water or a snack or to change a diaper.

Here’s the front of the cottage where I work:

Cute, huh? It’s very simple and rustic and I have NO furniture at this point, but I’m working on it. Irving made me a whiteboard that I still need to get hung and his next order of business is to build me some shelves.

So far, I only have a plastic chair and a folding table. Hey, it works! And I’m inspired to work harder to buy a real desk and a proper computer chair. There’s one that I’ve been drooling over in Cemaco in the capital.

The view here is really nice. There is a huge garden out front and off to the side of the cabin and the main house is a ways away. No one bothers me and it’s pretty quiet up here, except the motocross guys that come roaring up the hill on the weekends.

Here’s the view from the doorway:

I’m thinking a hammock out on the porch might be a nice alternative to working at the desk . . .