Thursday, April 24, 2008

We're all Winners

Grace has a habit of running away from things that need to be done. Things like getting her diaper changed, and cleaning her room, and taking a shower, and reading scriptures. After a lot of yelling and spanking, one day I invented a game. And I learned that Grace will do anything that she thinks is a game. 

Almost all of these invented games are win-lose games (except for scripture study which we have turned into a many-act-play). And I usually let Grace win. 

I have created a problem.

Because tonight when Grace and I raced to the shower, I did not let her win. I actually ran. Which I really never do, by the way. And when she realized I was not slowing down, she yelled (in anger, not amusement), "No! Don't win, Mom!!" 

She tried to go faster, but tripped into the bathroom door. She rolled on the floor, grabbed her toe in pain, and through her tears sobbed, "Mommm.... Only Graces can win! [sob, sniff, sniff.]"

I think she was heart-broken to discover that she is not invincible.

I feel guilty.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Like Mother, like daughter

The other evening Brad was leading the youth in an outdoors Church activity [that is, if your definition of 'leading' entails tipping the Scouts and Mia Maids out of their canoes], so it fell to me to fill his routine role of putting Grace to bed. I am not good at this role. Which is why Brad does it: he can be firm. I am sort of wishy-washy when it comes to bedtime [although I really prefer the term compassionate]. Grace senses this. 

That is a nice way of saying that she takes advantage of me. 

So I spent most of the evening getting drinks and snacks and extra blankets. I also sang many songs. And I repeated, "Good night, I love you; see you in the morning; see you when you wake up" over and over and over. [That is from Grace's self-written bedtime script. I get in trouble when I forget a part or say it out of order.] 

I left her room after each errand only to come back two minutes later. Leave, come back. Leave. Come back. Leave, come back, come back, come back.

That's annoying.

So after an hour of obedience to my three-year-old, I stopped listening to her and started doing the dishes. [Which is to say that I put an end to one form of self-torture and started a new one.] 

But Grace was not giving up. Her whining got impossibly louder and louder, until she realized I wasn't responding. Then she was silent. And that is when I noticed a bulging blanket inching down the hall toward me.

And suddenly, I had a very vivid recollection of pulling an identical stunt on my own mother. My mom was sitting on the cold tile floor of our hallway, reading her scriptures, keeping watch. I was plotting escape. I figured that if I put my blanket over my head and moved at an imperceptible pace, she wouldn't notice me. She would of course look up to see my blanket eventually, but would believe it had been there the whole time, since it was obviously not moving and I was obviously not under it. 

It may surprise you to learn that this plan didn't work. It failed miserably. I got spanked and carried to bed.

But my punishment is not the important thing here. What is important is that Grace might be like me. And that makes me nervous. Very nervous.

But not nervous enough to let Grace get away with her prank entirely. So, I responded the only way I knew she wouldn't expect: I ignored her. I ignored her when she reached the end of the hall. I ignored her when she crawled onto my feet. I ignored her when she pulled the blanket off of her head and bragged "Mom! I'm out of bed." I ignored her when she tugged at my pajamas and angrily insisted, "Mom! Listen to me!" I ignored her until her dad came in the front door, sopping wet. And then I made him put her to bed.

He loves me.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Third Year Milestones

Grace turned three this month. No presents except for a birthday card and money that came from "GG" (Great Grandma Winters). I have never seen anyone so excited about mail. It's a good thing that GG accidentally sent two because we got to relive the excitement the next day.

Anyway, in commemoration of this event, today's blog is a record of Grace. An answer to the question, "What was I like at three?" Which I anticipate she will ask me when she has her own adorable and monstrously busy three year old. So. This is what Grace is like.

I wake up next to Grace every morning. I don't know how she gets there. I have no memory of mid-night occurrences (see sleep disorder post). I just know that at night Brad and I go to sleep in our bed, and in the morning I wake up holding Grace and Claire by myself [I usually find Brad has moved to the guest bedroom]. She is delightful and at her happiest in the morning. We stay in bed a long time.

Grace usually watches one movie every day. Sometimes several times. Today our Backyardigans DVD was taking its third round before we turned it off. Something has to keep her entertained while I clean the bathrooms. Grace's favorite shows are The Little Einsteins, Backyardigans, Annie, and The Emperor's New Groove. The result is that she sings, "Tomorrow! I love ya, tomorrow!" and repeatedly says, "Oooh, scary tree! I'm afraid!"

Grace recognizes letters. All of them. She spells her name, knows how old she is, and remembers her birth date. She can write the letters G and Y. She only recognizes five numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. But she counts to twenty... skipping fourteen and fifteen. Who needs fourteen and fifteen?

She is a big helper. She dusts. She puts the silverware from the dishwasher away. She carries Claire [which is well intended but doesn't usually turn out so well].

She wiggles, squirms, wallows, and climbs on her chair, on the couches, on me and Brad.

She is not still.

She is a tease.

She is strong-willed. When she plays with something she should not play with, I tell her she has 'til the count of three to put it away. She fiestily responds, "I'll put it away when I'm done with it!" By the time I get to two, she hastily adds, "I'm done!"

Grace fights to avoid taking a shower. But once she's in, it's a fight to get her out.

She can say prayers by herself. This is what she says: "Dear Heavenly Father, Please bless the food. Amen."

She wants to stay and live with her best friend, Trey, where they can be brother and sister and she can have a new mommy. But I tell her I love her too much and would miss her and couldn't possibly leave her anywhere. Which is true. I'm hoping she starts feeling the same way about me.

Friday, April 4, 2008



Grace somehow found a pair of scissors in the car and on our way to somewhere silently cut up her brand new pair of pants.

Grace was sent to her room for kicking Claire in the face and poured that "tall glass of water" from last night all over... everything.

I asked Grace to get a diaper so I could change her and in the two minutes she was gone she turned on the bathroom sink, emptied the bottle of handsoap, and soaked our toothbrushes and my makeup in soapiness.

Grace demanded a full meal about every half hour.

Claire and Grace drenched our new carpet in baby sweet potatoes.

My mastitis returned.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Speaking of Family Traditions

The first time I went rock crawling was before Brad and I were married. I think I was being initiated. Or tested. Or something. We started off on a bumpy road and paused in a small canyon where we met a group of other jeeps. Imagine my surprise when we left the dirt road and drove straight up the nearest boulder. No, surprise is the wrong word. Let's use sheer terror.

Last weekend we took our friends, Emily and Mike, up that same first trail. While clinging to the driver's seat in front of me, I turned to Mike and said, "You know, I've done this several times, but there's a point where I just start to freak out."

He returned, "Yeah, Elise. That point is 90 degrees."

Well said.

I'm not exactly sure how Emily felt about the whole thing. She kept looking back at me with wide eyes. She certainly behaved better than I did on my first time. I nearly wet my pants.

There's nothing like believing you're going to roll backwards in a jeep while going two miles per hour. It's scarier (and much more fun) than you would think.

For a quick video summary of rock crawling (on a trail that I have actually been on) click here.


I just came from delivering a tall glass of water to a half asleep Gracie Lou. She drank most of it, asked me to place the glass on the dresser, and then with breathless exhaustion she whispered, "Thank you, Mom."

Who knew a thank you could feel so good?