Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 in statuses, part 6

This is the last post in a walk down memory lane, Facebook style. You can read the entire series here.

The last month of the year was by far the most entertaining yet. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: There's never a dull moment around here!

The Fab Four's law: When a repairman is scheduled to come out to the house at the time nap is usually over, the kids WILL sleep longer than they have napped in months. Sadly for me (and my own interrupted and ever-so-infrequent nap), we'll never know just how long they could have slept today!

The kids just pointed at the TV and asked for "news." I don't know whether to be thrilled that they want to watch something besides the Wiggles/Laurie Berkner Band, or worried that perhaps they are a tad bit addicted to television. 

Getting their first look at their Little People manger scene
(clockwise from bottom left: Dahlia, Isaac, Lucia, and Jude)

The girls just took turns giving Daddy big, long hugs. First Lucy, then Dahlia, then Lucy, then Dahlia. I think Ted was in heaven. 

No, we do not have a torture chamber in our living room. I am just clipping Jude's fingernails. 

Lucy's favorite word lately is "no-no" ... as in, "Mommy, someone is doing something that's not allowed" (taking off their clothes, trying to climb over the gate, etc.). She even tells on herself. I love having an informant in the playroom!

Reading together on the couch
(left to right: Lucia, Dahlia, Jude, and Isaac)

11  Dahlia just ran up to the fridge, pointed at our Beatles magnets and said, "BEES! Buzzzz!!" Close?

12  Jude is calling, "Cissy! Cissy!" (his word for Lucy) and then running to hide when he sees her coming. Squeals of delight ensue. 

16 For lunch today: Yummy pinto beans (with ham, carrots, celery, and tomatoes), mini corn muffins, smoothies (with cherry yogurt, blueberries, bananas, sneaky spinach, and cinnamon), and grapes. Don't you wish I was your mom? 

Squeezing in together under the sofa table
(left to right: Jude, Isaac, Dahlia, and Lucia)

16 Nothing does my heart more good than seeing all four of my kids running around the living room, playing chase and giggling their heads off at each other. TRUE LOVE. 

17 Tonight Lucy pointed at one of my smile lines and asked, "Ouchie?" I said yes. How else do you explain wrinkles to a toddler? 

24 Someone's turning 2 today! Okay, make that FOUR someones. :) 

Lining up to watch the very exciting garbage truck outside
(left to right: Lucia, Jude, Isaac, and Dahlia)

30 I was awake but didn't even feel the 4.2 earthquake this morning. Probably because Isaac was busy running around the nursery and banging on the walls for a couple of hours before then! 

30 Check out the kids' 2-year stats ... our tiniest baby Dahlia is now almost as tall as our big boy Isaac, and our biggest baby Jude is currently the shortest of the bunch (yes, even little Lulu is taller than he)! 

31 Took the kids out in the choo choo for one last spin on this downright balmy New Year's Eve. ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pichí in the potty!

If you are thinking that this is going to be a post about potty training, you are correct! Less than 2 weeks ago (the day after our snow fun, in fact), Ted and I took a deep breath and, with my mom's invaluable help, started our quest to train the girls.

Based on a recommendation from fellow quad mom Suz Steece, we used the 3-day potty-training method. Basically, the author says that if you follow her method to the letter, your kid will be fully potty-trained in 3 days. She also claims that the best time to potty-train is at 22 months. I figured that since my mom would be in town around the time the kids hit the adjusted age of 22 months—and since the girls, in particular, have been so interested in removing their clothing and diapers over the past few months—it couldn't hurt to try!

A few days before my mom arrived, though, I chickened out of training all four kids at once—and I am so glad I did. Even with three adults on potty-training duty, taking care of the girls while not neglecting the boys was nearly impossible. And forget about getting anything extra done around the house! All we did while my mom was here was watch for signs that the girls needed to go; say "Tell me if you need to go pichí in the potty!" about a million times; and run the girls to the potties for every accident, success, and false alarm (of which there were many).

The first couple of days were a nightmare, with big accidents left and right. (We did decide to go against the 3-day method's advice and use pull-ups during naps and nighttime; I can't even imagine how much worse it would have been if the girls had been sleeping in their panties!) After the third day, though, we were rewarded: Lucy got it!! (The pee part, anyway—we're still working on putting #2 in the potty.) She has now been accident-free for a week, and we are very proud of her (but probably not as proud as she is of herself!). 

Potty sisters: Lucy and Dahlia
(you can see some of the tattoos they got for going pichí in the potty)

Dahlia, however, has been a different story. She knows when she has to go, but she refuses to relieve herself until she absolutely can't hold it any longer. Unfortunately, this usually ends up being when she is not sitting on the potty. During the last couple of days, she had even starting throwing tantrums when we tried to sit her on the potty, so today (with the blessing of our pediatrician) we finally threw in the towel and put her back in diapers. We will try again in about a month or when she lets us know that she's ready to be a big girl like Lucy, whichever comes first.

Looking back, I wish that I had tried training just Lucy first, since she is the one who showed the most awareness of her wet or dirty diaper. And I have decided that, going forward, I will definitely train one kid at a time (the jury is still out on whether we will use the 3-day method again). I don't know how other families of multiples manage to train everyone at once with the 3-day method—call me a wimp, but trying to train both girls together (even with the help of Ted and my mom) was truly one of the worst weeks of my life!

Oh, and did I mention that all this was going on during the crib-escaping drama, the Christmas holiday, and the birthday party? Yeah, we could really use a vacation right about now!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

They're 2!

At the height of all the crib climbing last week, the Fab Four turned 2 years old. Thankfully, we had already decided to celebrate their birthday the day after Christmas instead of the day before, so most of the siesta-less chaos was behind us by the time their fiesta rolled around.

I'd originally wanted to do a Wiggles-themed party for the kids, but it turns out that Wiggles party supplies are hard to come by. So on Christmas Eve (yes, on their birthday and at the last possible minute), I ran to the party store to consider my options. It didn't take me long to settle on the character that rates a close second to the Wiggles in the hearts of the Fab Four: 


I knew I'd picked the right theme when the kids were absolutely thrilled to see the Elmo balloons waiting for them at the feeding table:

Jude and Dahlia chowed down on their Elmo cupcakes, 
while Isaac and Lucy refused to even touch them. Typical!

Since we are still being careful about RSV exposure this season, our guest list was again very small, with only the Abuelitos, Grandma and Grandpa T, Great-Grandma C, and Tio Ner and Tia Glenda in attendance. We were also lucky enough to have Tio Johnny and Tia Holly skype in to watch the kids open the very special gifts they'd sent:

Real instruments for the Fab Four! 
Left to right: Isaac with the ukelele, Lucia with the bongos, 
Jude with the accordion, Dahlia with the xylophone

What with the musical instruments from Johnny and Holly, the mountain of birthday loot from everyone else, and Christmas presents from the day before, the Fab Four really made out like bandits. Ted and I have some serious sorting out to do to make room for all the new toys, but we are so, so grateful to everyone who so generously remembered our family during this special time of the year.


Rare family pic, 
with Jude and Dahlia on Ted's lap and Lucy and Isaac on mine

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cribless Christmas chaos

Scratch the PeaPods idea. When we walked in the nursery today after "nap" time, we found the girls on the loose and the room in disarray:

Seconds later, we discovered that Jude had actually managed to get out, too!

So it's back to mattresses on the floor for now. It took the kids an hour to fall asleep tonight (despite having skipped their nap again today), but I just went in to check on them, and everyone had found his or her own bed except for Lucy—she was sleeping by the door, poor baby!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Desperate measures

Today, on the Fab Four's second birthday, Isaac and Dahlia decided to show us how silly we were to think that yesterday's precautions would keep them in their cribs. Just minutes after putting them into their nap, in fact, we heard Dahlia scream and Ted opened the door to find her dazedly roaming the nursery. And then, not long after he put her back in bed, we heard the doorknob rattle and were greeted at the door by Isaac!

Worried that one of the kids would fall and get seriously hurt, we opted to pause nap time so that Ted could dismantle the cribs to make room for their four mattresses on the floor:

As you can imagine, the kids were way too excited by all the new freedom to get much sleep. In the end, Jude was the only one who was able to catch any shut-eye. This made for a very, very long afternoon with the other three. And by the time dinner rolled around, Isaac was really paying for the lack of sleep:

Since my last post, several of my friends who are moms of multiples have reminded me about crib tents, and the idea is sounding better to me all the time. For the time being, we have set up the PeaPods in the nursery so that we don't have to try to get the kids to fall asleep on open mattresses (and stay there). After today's shenanigans, I just don't think that any of us are ready for toddler beds yet!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Busting out

I almost never go into the nursery after the kids go to bed. Today, however, I thought I heard someone grunting, and—since nothing guarantees a bad nap like a poopy bottom—I decided to make an exception.

Turns out someone was probably grunting all right, but not for the reasons I thought! When I opened the door, I was shocked to see Isaac standing on the floor in front of me ...

Isaac demonstrates his escape method

... and Dahlia hanging out in Jude's crib!

Ted was sure that something like this was going to happen soon, and he was right. To buy us some time while we figure out what to do next, we've scooted their cribs farther away from each other (so that they can't use a neighbor's crib as leverage), removed from their beds anything that could be used as a step stool (including their CozyWedges and pillows), and (for good measure) taken down the glass frames that hung above each crib. Hopefully this arrangement is enough to keep everyone safe for the time being:

Anyone have advice on how to transition multiple 2-year-olds to toddler beds without losing one's sanity?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Snow fun

Four sets of hats and mittens from Walmart: $20
Four snowsuits from Kohl's: $10*
Four pairs of snow boots from Target: $5*
The Fab Four's first time in the snow: priceless

Exploring the winter wonderland in our backyard
(left to right: Lucy, Dahlia, Jude, and Isaac)
Jude was fearless, wading knee deep in snow drifts right away, 
while Isaac took a while to get used to all the cold stuff

Dahlia roamed free from the start, but Lucy preferred  to plant herself 
in one spot until she was more sure about this thing called snow

* Incredibly low out-of-pocket costs for snowsuits and snow boots made possible by a 
generous gift from Great-Grandma C; a 50% off sale at Kohl's; a forgotten, pre-quads 
gift card from Grandma T; a mystery coupon the cashier informed us that we "forgot;" 
and a wonderful gift from our weekly angel, Tante Gabi. 

~ All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided ~

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Running on empty

I never fail to be amazed at the amount of energy that my children can expend at the end of the day. Don't they make running aimlessly back and forth look like so much fun?

Incidentally, running laps before bed tonight was Isaac's idea, and (as usual) the other three kids followed suit. I gotta remember to keep my eye on that kid—apparently he already knows how to win friends and influence people!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

2010 in statuses, part 5

I'm taking a walk down memory lane, Facebook style. You can read the entire series here.

Life with the Fab Four ramped up during the month of November. Every time I turned around, it seemed the kids were saying or doing something funny or new. What a fun age!

Nothing sweeter than seeing Jude say "thank you" to Dahlia today after she handed him his night-night (blankie).

Made half-dollar-sized oatmeal pancakes this morning. The kids saw them and got super-excited about their "cookies." Hey, whatever gets them to eat what I make!

14  Happiness is four 22-month-olds letting you clip all of their fingernails, assembly-line style. I usually have to settle for clipping a few nails at a time, until all 40 are done ... it can take days!

Still able to pile into the toy box together, but it's a tight fit! (22 months)
clockwise from bottom left: Lucia, Isaac, Dahlia, and Jude
15  SO discouraging when FOUR kids take one look at the lunch you've prepared for them and refuse to take ONE bite. :(

18  George's performance of "Something" during the Concert for Bangladesh just played on the TV. As soon as it started, Isaac started jumping up and down and grabbed my hands to slow dance with me. MELT MY HEART!!!

19  Not to be outdone by Isaac's budding Beatlemania (see yesterday's status), tonight Lucy identified George on my shirt, and then proceeded to kiss all of the Beatles as I named them. Her idea, not mine!!

21  Dear Mom:
I'm sorry for ever turning up my nose at anything you made. This is the pits.
Love, Suzy

22  Took the kids for a windy choo choo ride this afternoon. The gusts were blowing the leaves all around us on our way home ... Lucy and Jude loved it, but Dahlia was terrified! I'm pretty sure Isaac didn't even notice.

Watching some bedtime Baby Einstein (22 months)
left to right: Isaac, Dahlia, Jude, and Lucia

24 When the kids got up this morning, Dahlia ran to the window and immediately started saying, "Ooooh, ahhh! Kai!" (her word for sky). I looked outside and, sure enough, the sky was a beautiful shade of orange. When Jude saw it, he shouted, "Ya-yo!" (yellow). Close! :)

30  So last night I'm awoken from a deep slumber by Dahlia SCREAMING her head off. I lay there hoping that she'll die down, but no dice. She is MAD. So I get up and go to the nursery. When I open the door, I notice that Isaac has left the closet light on (he likes to play with the switch, which is next to his crib). I turn it off, and Dahlia instantly stops screaming. Talk about the princess and the pea!

30  We set up the toy nativity scene last week, and tonight Ted reports that Jude's got Joseph riding in a fire truck. Ah, the wonderful world of Fisher-Price Little People!

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 in statuses, part 4

I'm taking a walk down memory lane, Facebook style. You can read the entire series here.

As summer turned to fall, the kids started eating less and talking more. The level of energy required to keep up with them? Remained the same.

Losing a contact while changing a diaper, bad. Losing a contact while changing a poopy diaper, very bad. Fortunately the verrrrry tips of my hair caught the errant contact, preventing it from dying a very stinky death.

Four kids in a tub (19 months)
clockwise from bottom left: Dahlia, Isaac, Jude, and Lucia

13  Wish the kids would listen to me when I sing, "Ay, ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores! Porque cantando se alegran, cielito lindo, los corazones."

25  Just made Jessica Seinfeld's sneaky PB and banana muffins (with carrot in them) ... delicioso!! Hope the kids like them.

25  The PB and banana muffins were not a hit. BUT the kids took a solid 3-hour nap. It all evens out!

10 just sent me a newsletter. One of the topics: "Are you ready for another baby?" Um, NO.

13  For the first time, a stranger asked to take our picture while I was out with the kids (and the choo-choo). I said yes ... he seemed nice, and it's not like I could stop him! Hopefully he wasn't a sicko or anything.

Posing in Mommy's alma mater gear (20 months)
left to right: Jude, Dahlia, Lucia, and Isaac

12  Three out of four kids think it's HILARIOUS when I jump. Dahlia is just giving me pity smiles. This is a workout!

13  At breakfast, Jude noticed that the trees are losing their leaves. Every time a leaf would fall, he would say, "Uh-OH!" I have a feeling I am going to be hearing a lot of "uh-ohs" over the next few days. :)

15  Now I know how my Abuelita Rojas felt when we liked something she made. The kids loved the pumpkin mini-muffins I made today, and I just wanted to keep pushing more and more on them. The only thing that stopped me was fear of the diapers that all of that pumpkin fiber might produce.

16  This morning the kids saw Ted kill a HUGE spider. As soon as he whacked it, the spider curled its legs into a ball, and Jude said, "Uh-OH!" So many reasons to uh-oh this fall.

Post-nap lineup (21 months)
left to right: Isaac, Jude, Dahlia, and Lucia

19  Choo-choo'ed the kids to the high school to watch the marching band practice this afternoon. Turns out the band (and its director) were way more interested in the kids than the kids were in the band. Oh, well ... it was a good excuse for a long walk on a gorgeous day. :)

29  Kelly Ripa is dressed like Snookie this morning. Jude keeps pointing at the TV and yelling, "Ma-MA!" Just what is he trying to tell me??

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Speed reading

I make a habit of reading four books simultaneously, several times a day. And I'm not gonna lie: Keeping everything straight can get a little crazy, especially when more than one child is pointing at random pictures and asking a seemingly never-ending train of rapid-fire "whazzats?" The key is to familiarize yourself with every book in the playroom so that you can fluidly rattle off the names of various objects (and sometimes their colors, too!), almost without even looking. One-track minds need not apply:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dinosaur kisses

None of my kids will kiss me on demand—and unsolicited besos are almost as hard to come by. So imagine my delight when Isaac incorporated this ever-elusive display of affection into his "choreography" for my abbreviated version of "We Are the Dinosaurs" (one of the kids' most-requested Laurie Berkner Band songs):

He goes through this same routine (hands slapping my legs during the marching part, standing and throwing back his head for the roar, leaning in for the kiss on the last word) every single time I sing this song. I have no clue where he got the idea to do all of this—but I love every second of it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

2010 in statuses, part 3

I'm taking a walk down memory lane, Facebook style. You can read the entire series here.

As the Fab Four approached the 18-month mark, life around the house started to get a little less predictable.

4 Jude drank an entire glass of papaya juice at breakfast this morning. That's my boy!

12 Baby Einstein, you are my savior on a thunderstorm-y morning like today. 

Practicing sitting on the couch (16 months)
left to right: Isaac, Dahlia, Lucia, and Jude

12 Uh oh. Dahlia puked twice this evening: once all over the living room (Isaac enjoyed splashing his hands in it) and once alllll over her crib. :(

26 Took the kids to visit the high-risk L&D unit and my maternal-fetal specialists' office for the first time today ... fun times, but now I am BEAT. Hope the kids take a looooong nap today.

27 Decompressing after an inexplicably loud morning.

Watching Daddy mow the lawn (17 months)
left to right: Dahlia, Isaac, Jude, and Lucia

While I'm fixing breakfast, Ted reports, "Lucy just walked up to Dahlia, ripped the pacifier out of her mouth, and shoved the babydoll in her face." Ah, toddler crimes.

Lucy just pointed at Oprah and said, "Mama!" What??!! I rarely even watch Oprah!

26  I hate it when the kids are in bed and a random baby cries on the TV. Freaks me out every time.

First time in the pool (18 months)
left to right: Lucia, Jude, Isaac, and Dahlia

29  Today Lucy ate only ketchup for lunch. No fish sticks, no tater tots, no fruit. Just ketchup. If I needed proof that she is my daughter, this would be it.

30  I'm about to go all vigilante on the person who keeps ringing our bell and running away while we're putting the kids to bed for the night. Yes, I'm old.

Friday, December 3, 2010

2010 in statuses, part 2

I'm taking a walk down memory lane, Facebook style. You can read the entire series here.

With the arrival of spring, my excitement about first steps and solid foods soon gave way to thrills of the outdoor variety.

2 Gave the kids mazamorra morada for the first time today. They loved it!

3 Snot monster(s) in the house. Hopefully it's a short visit.

16 Just took the kids on a walk. Ah, fresh air! Ah, sunshine! Ah, we're OUTSIDE!!!! (P.S. The stroller is a LOT heavier than it was last summer ... I think I just burned 1,000 calories in 30 minutes.)

20 Took our first family walk this morning. Yes, our first family walk EVER! It was fun. :)

The last time all four kids fit in Abuelita's lap (14 months) 
clockwise from bottom left: Jude, Lucia, Isaac, and Dahlia

22  During our morning walk, the rain lulled the kids to sleep ... I was soaked yet exhilarated by the time we came back. :) Love my Adventure Buggy with its rain shields and super-cozy sleepy bags!

23  Walked the kids to CVS today! Takes just under 20 minutes to get there from our house. Didn't buy anything, but was THRILLED to be "shopping" with my children! The kids liked it, too ... first time they've ever been in a store! :)

24 Took two of the kids for their 15-month checkup today. One of the receptionists looked at me and said, "You look great!" Which would have been a wonderful compliment, if she hadn't followed up with, "I remember when you first brought the babies in. You were much [mimes fat person, then stops short] ... I remember you." Uh, thanks???

27 It's official: My children are white Hispanic-Americans of Peruvian origin in the 2010 Census. Now Ted and I must raise them to be worthy of this designation. :)

30 On our walk this afternoon, a gentleman on his deck saw that I had four babies in the stroller and yelled, "FOUR babies? You the BADDEST gal I EVER seen!" Why, thank you. :)

The Fab Four dig in to Easter baskets from their tios (15 months)
left to right: Lucia, Isaac, Dahlia, and Jude

31 Walked to the grocery store with the kids for the first time this morning. Got so distracted fielding questions that I paid and started to walk off without my groceries! Not sure how to concentrate on what I'm doing without appearing rude.

5 It is HOT out there. Must brainstorm other outdoor activities that don't involve me pushing a mammoth stroller with 80+ pounds of baby in it.

7 Tornado sirens going off. To wake the babies, or to not wake them?????

16 Spent the last couple of hours garage-saling with the kiddos and MS (mammoth stroller). Got in some good walking, met several neighbors, answered LOTS of questions, and even found a few good deals! Fun morning. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2010 in statuses, part 1

Looking back through my old Facebook statuses the other day, I found myself taking a stroll down memory lane. So many little things happened this year that I had totally forgotten about! And since it's these little things that really make up life, I wanted to make sure that I wrote them down in a place where my kids could read them someday. To that end, here's a glimpse at the first couple months of the Fab Four's second year, Facebook style (you can read the entire series here):

4 McDonald's fries: Yes. Ore-Ida fries: No. The Fab Four will not be fooled.

5 Jude took 5 steps this morning, 3 steps this afternoon!

Playing with their musical table (12 months old)
clockwise from bottom left: Isaac, Lucia, Jude, and Dahlia

7 Roasting carrots for the babies. SO GLAD that spoon-fed baby food is well behind us! Although I am finding it a little challenging to cook real food while four babies take turns clamoring for my attention in the next room.

7 The roasted carrots were a huge hit with the babies. Thanks, America's Test Kitchen, for finding a way to make even me like cooked carrots!

8 I think crying when you put your first-ever bite of meatloaf in your mouth is a bit much, don't you?

9 The babies loved their Cuban flavors at lunch today: diced ham mixed with black beans and a dash of cumin, cubed sweet potatoes, and mandarin oranges. Too bad they won't eat rice!

10 I have serious problems. I just tried to put a pacifier in Jude's ear.

11 Lucy Lu took 4 steps today! Three down, one to go. Wonder how long it will take Dahlia to succumb to the peer pressure?

Piling into the toy box (13 months old)
clockwise from bottom left: Lucia, Jude, Dahlia, and Isaac

15 Okay, I just caught Lucy and Dahlia bopping to Lady Gaga on Oprah. I'm not sure what I think about that. Will step up Beatles indoctrination ASAP.

16  A-ha, Dahlia finally caved ... she took 2 steps today!

6 Tried eggs this morning. Isaac and Dahlia vote yes. Jude and Lucy vote NO.

11 My kids can use sippy cups, but they won't drink milk out of them! We're on day 4 of no daytime bottles; they're drinking a little bit of juice from cups during the day, and then they're chugging their bedtime bottles of milk. What should I do??

Monday, November 29, 2010

Stripping down

Dahlia has been hard at work on a big project: Learning how to undress herself. As you may recall, it all started with the girls figuring out how to pull down their pants and remove their diapers. After that rather alarming development, I began to dress the kids only in one-piece outfits, hoping that the snaps would provide protection against further diaper-removal episodes.

This tactic has been a success in that it has banished bare tushies from the playroom (for the time being, anyway—read on). It has not, however, kept Dahlia from continuing to experiment with clothing removal. Her next challenge was to learn how to unzip and shed her sleepsack. Mission accomplished—this is how I found her after a nap a few weeks ago:

To prevent her from taking off her sleepsack again (and possibly causing further naptime mischief, such as learning how to unsnap her onesie to remove her diaper, or figuring out how to climb out of her crib by gripping the rails with her toes), we started putting the sleepsack on her backwards. Problem solved.

But for how long? Even with the zipper in the back, she can still unzip it up to her knees. And her zipper-mania is no longer limited to just her sleepsack. Last week I found her in the playroom like this, almost completely out of her zip-up jammies: 

Of course, none of this unzipping business matters, as long as she doesn't know how to unsnap her onesie, right? After all, it's the taking off of the diaper that I am really worried about. Well, here's the newsflash: As of a couple of days ago, Dahlia has figured out how to work snaps, too. And she is very happy about it:

What am I going to do with this girl? She will not be contained, but I can't afford for her to have access to her diaper (I shudder even thinking about the possibilities that this could entail!). And I know that if Dahlia is becoming adept at taking off her clothes, the other three are probably not far behind. Could duct-taped diapers really be in my future?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

All together now

On Thanksgiving, the Fab Four got to play Grandma T's piano for the first time. It was a momentous occasion, but I guess no one told them that—the carefully staged quartet stayed together only long enough to give us the shortest concert ever:

Does anyone else get the feeling that they were just humoring us?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tower power

Much to Ted's satisfaction, the Fab Four are finally past the stage where they knock down every tower of blocks that he builds for them. As a matter of fact, the kids themselves have started stacking more than just boring old blocks. Check out the multimedia masterpiece that Jude assembled single-handedly the other day:

You don't think they're collaborating on plans to stage another jailbreak, do you?

Friday, November 26, 2010

23 months old ... and fasting

Fasting is not the first word you'd associate with Thanksgiving, but that's exactly what our kids did at their very first Thanksgiving dinner yesterday (you may recall that we had to skip the holiday last year because we were all sick). Given the fact that they've been pretty picky during the past couple of months, I must say that their refusal to eat came as no surprise—at least not to me and Ted (hopefully Grandma T didn't take the rejection too personally).

I know the kids will eat when they're hungry, so I don't get too worried about how much (or how little) they're putting in their mouths these days. But I have to admit that it's still frustrating to spend time making a meal and then see perfectly good food go to waste! Even worse is when one (or more) of them decides to whine and/or throw a fit about what I've put on the table. I'd much rather they just shake their heads and laugh—preferably to the tune of a Beatles song, like this:

Let's hope that they don't turn up their noses at birthday cake next month!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Prison break

Our gated community has been compromised!

Fortunately, I arrived on the scene not long after the attempted escape. From what I can tell, one or more individuals (Isaac being the suspected ringleader) pushed the school bus up to the perimeter of the "secure" enclosure, and then everyone except Jude scaled the bus in order to surmount the gate—all while Mommy was distracted by dinner preparations. Thankfully, they launched over into the relatively non-dangerous area of the hearth and not into the rest of the house, which is far from childproofed!

I keep telling Ted that we need to get a plan together to let the kids have the run of the house, especially now that winter is upon us and we'll be stuck indoors. He is in denial and thinks that removing the school bus from the playroom will do the trick. But I think it's clear that the kids are determined to force our hand!

Pretty soon Isaac won't even 
need to use the school bus!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Telly laughs

Friends often tell me that their kids love to watch the videos I post of the Fab Four. Well, guess what? The Fab Four like to watch themselves onscreen, too. They usually get a big kick out of identifying everyone in the video, and even the most mundane clip can keep them entertained indefinitely. Just the other night, in fact, watching and re-watching a video of Lucy pestering Dahlia gave Isaac a delightful case of the giggles—I hope his sisters can always make him laugh like this!

For those wondering just what was so hilarious, here's the clip he was laughing at (toddler humor—who can understand it?):

Sunday, November 14, 2010


The Fab Four have recently acquired a raging obsession with the Wiggles. They constantly beg to watch the one Wiggles DVD that we have, they insist on looking at the cover of our one Wiggles CD when they're on the changing table, and our one Wiggles toy (a not-so-gently-used guitar) is one of the most sought-after items in the playroom.

I love the Wiggles, too, because they are teaching my kids to sing and dance, something Ted and I have been trying to do for months without much success. In fact, Lucy starts dancing the second she hears the opening song on our DVD. Check out her moves:

I don't know which dance step I like best—her hands tapping her knees at the beginning or the Frankenstein walk at the end. One thing's for sure: The Fab Four just can't get enough of the Wiggles!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The pudding song

The Fab Four haven't mastered using spoons yet, but they're getting better all the time (especially Dahlia). Several months ago, I discovered that a great food for them to practice with is rice pudding. I make it from scratch about once a week, and the kids absolutely love it.

As good as rice pudding is for honing the kids' spoon skills, however, I still think it's much more fun to spoon-feed it to them while singing "Arroz con leche," a song I remember from my early childhood in Peru. This little ditty never fails to magically put everyone at the table in a good mood:

(In case you're curious, the lyrics roughly translate to: "Rice pudding, I want to marry / a maiden from Portugal / I want to marry this one / I don't want to marry that one / This is the maiden that I will marry." See, nursery rhymes in Spanish don't make much sense, either!)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Time to change

Fall back? Not us. At least not today—this year I actually anticipated the switch in time to gradually adjust our schedule (in increments of 15 minutes) before having to set back the clock! The entire process (not including the embarrassing part at the beginning where I went 15 minutes the wrong way) took about 10 days and was totally worth it: If the kids are cranky today, it's definitely not because their internal clocks are messed up!

Something else is changing for us today, though, and it involves the kids' toys. The playroom has always been somewhat of a wreck at the end of the day, but recently the kids decided it would be fun to start systematically emptying all of the toy boxes and scattering their contents about the playroom. As a result, Ted and I do nothing but trip over the discarded toys all day, and then we're stuck cleaning up this disaster area after the kids go to bed:

(Click to enlarge)

The way we figure it, the solution to this mess is twofold. First, we have decided to make half of the kids' toys "disappear" into a closet for the time being. After the kids get bored with what we've left in the playroom, we'll make those toys disappear and rotate the other group of toys back into service (until the kids get tired of them, and then we'll repeat the cycle). We are hoping that this will help the kids to better appreciate all of the wonderful gifts and hand-me-downs that our family has been blessed to receive up to this point and keep the playroom from looking like it was hit by an F5 tornado. 

Secondly, we want to start training the kids to pick up their toys before they go to bed. Last night, when we asked them to help us put away their toys for the first time, reactions were mixed: Although the boys totally ignored us, we did get some half-hearted assistance from the girls. Unfortunately, however, none of the kids seem to grasp the concept of leaving the toys alone once they're back in the toy boxes. Anyone have any good ideas on how to teach kids this age to put away their toys—and then leave them there?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Life at our house has been getting louder and louder, and sometimes it's hard to distinguish between the happy screams and the terrible-two screams. Today I heard a commotion in the living room, so I poked my head around the corner to see if I needed to intervene. I'm glad I looked:

Who knew that a few blankets draped over the back of a couch could provide so much entertainment—for both me and the girls?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Party crasher

With pacifiers, the Fab Four used to go to sleep pretty much as soon as we put them to bed. Now that their pacifiers are gone, however, the kids like to kick off their nap in a slightly more boisterous fashion. I tried to join in the fun today, but apparently whooping, hollering, and jumping in your crib is not as much fun when Mommy is in the room:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Handle with care

When Lucy is tired, her feelings become extremely fragile. If you scold her (or even scold someone in her vicinity), this is the face you're sure to see just before she bursts into devastated tears:

That pitiful expression breaks my heart every time—and makes it impossible for me to stay upset with her!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Chau, chupones!

How to wean four highly addicted 22-month-olds from their chupones (Spanish for "pacifiers") from one day to the next—with absolutely no planning ahead!

1. Wait until you find a pacifier that looks like this (if you're "lucky" like us, you'll find it just before bedtime and have to scramble for a game plan):

2. Identify the pacifier chewer (Jude) and put him to bed sans choking hazard. Thank the Lord when he falls right to sleep, and then call the abuelitos for advice.

3. Before turning in for the night, cut the ends off of all the pacifiers you can find so that there's no longer any suction when the kids try to use them:

4. In the morning (after the no-paci kid surprises you by sleeping all night without a problem), wait for someone to ask you for a chupón. Show the kids the mutilated pacifiers and explain that the pacifiers have ouchies; let the kids test them out so that they can see that they don't work anymore. Then have the kids toss their broken chupones into the trash:

5. Throughout the day, if anyone asks for a chupón, remind everybody that we threw them away because they had ouchies and didn't work anymore. Be thankful when the kids accept this explanation!

6. After a surprisingly quiet morning, endure a very loud nap. Stay strong. No matter how much they party or scream, do not give anyone a pacifier. Eventually, everyone will wear themselves out and SLEEP.

7. After an even quieter afternoon, put all of the kids to bed without pacifiers. Marvel when they all fall asleep right away and sleep all night!

We're currently on day 2 with no chupones and the girls have only asked for them once or twice (the boys seemingly could not care less). Dahlia still had a hard time falling asleep at nap time today (took her about an hour, as opposed to 2 hours yesterday), but everyone else seems to have already adjusted to the change. I can't believe it was that easy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Everybody's doing it

The latest fad around here is to bang on the toy box. The louder the better. Isaac is usually the instigator (yes, he still loves to drum!), but his solos don't last long—if one kid is banging on the box, the other are sure to join in sooner or later:

Herd mentality—it's cute now, but I am having visions of mass mischief in the years to come!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

22 months old ... oh, my word!

Yesterday I looked through my kitchen notebooks and made official lists of what the Fab Four are saying (and signing) these days. I was already aware that the girls are talking more than the boys, but I was blown away when I looked at the finished lists and realized just how much everyone around here is actually saying!

Because I know that counting all of their words will soon be impossible, I decided to compose a snapshot in time of each kid's vocabulary at this age. Here they are, in order of verbosity:


Can say:

abuelita • all gone • apple • baa • baby • back • ball • banana • bath • Bec • bock-bock • boo • book • bow-wow • box • buzz • bye • caca • car • cat • chair • cheek • choo-choo • comb • cookie • cracker • daddy • Dahlia • done • door • duck • DVD • eat • eye • eyebrow • feet • fry • Gabi • hat • hi • Isaac • jeans • Johnny • Jude • key • knee • Lucy • meow • milk • mole • mommy • moo • mouth • neck • neigh • night-night • no • nose • oink • ouchie • outside • pea • Pepperpichí • please • pretty • purple • ring • seat • shirt • shoes • sky • sleep • snack • snap • socks • spoon • teeth • thank you • tongue • uh-oh • upa • walk • what's that • yummy

Can sign:

airplane • all done • apple • baby • bath • bear • book • car • cat • cracker • daddy • dog • drink • duck • eat • elephant • flower • giraffe • glasses • hat • help • monkey • more • phone • please • refrigerator • shoes • sleep • socks • thank you


Can say:

agua • apple • baa • baby • back • ball • banana • bath • belly • berry • bib • bock-bock • boo • book • bow-wow • bubble • bug • bye • caca • car • cheek • choo-choo • circle • comb • cookie • cracker • daddy • Dahlia • drink • duckie • DVD • earring • eat • Elmo • eye • fry • Grandma • hat • help • heart • hi • jeans • Johnny • Jude • meow • milk • mole • mommy • moon • more • mouth • night-night • no • nose • ouchie • Pepper • please • ring • seat • shoes • sky • snap • socks • thank you • tree • tummy • uh-oh • upa • yogurt • yummy

Can sign:

airplane • all done • apple • baby • bath • bird • boat • book • butterfly • car • cat • diaper • dog • drink • eat • flower • hat • help • milk • more • please • refrigerator • shoes • sleep • tree


Can say:

abuelitaagua • all gone • apple • baa • baby • ball • banana • bath • bib • bird • book • bottle • bubble • bug • bus • buzz • bye • caca • car • cat • cheese • choo-choo • cookie • dada • Dahlia • DVD • ear • egg • eye • hat • hi • Jude • mama • meow • milk • mouse • mouth • night-night • nose • oink • Pepper • shoes • tag • teeth • uh-oh • upa • walk • what's that

Can sign:

airplane • all done • apple • baby • ball • bath • bird • book • bunny • car • cat • cereal • dinosaur • dog • drink • eat • flower • giraffe • hat • help • milk • more • mouse • phone • please • refrigerator • sleep


Can say:

all done • baby • ball • bath • bird • book • bye • car • circle • cow • cracker • dada • dog • duck • eat • eye • help • hi • mama • Pepper • shirt • tree • uh-oh

Can sign:

all done • baby • ball • book • car • cracker • diaper • dog • drink • eat • elephant • giraffe • kiss • milk • monkey • more • phone • please • shirt • tree

I can't wait until these kids know enough words to carry on a conversation with me—and each other!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The joy of jammies

Nights have been cool enough lately that I finally decided to put the kids in footed pajamas again. Lucy was the first to change into her winter jammies, and—as you can see—she was absolutely delighted with her new bedtime garb:

If only we could all derive such pleasure from the simple things in life!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Turn, turn, turn

Isaac likes to study things from every angle. I'll often catch him on his belly, crawling around a toy to examine it from various perspectives. Sometimes he will slowly walk with his back against a wall, head turned to observe the effect of his shoulder rubbing against it. When it's dark out, he prefers to watch television by viewing its reflection in the living room window, rather than by looking directly at the TV screen.

In the past few weeks, Isaac's experiment of choice has been to spin and spin while simultaneously straining his eyes in the opposite direction:

I imagine he's trying to see what is behind him, but only Isaac knows the true purpose of this exercise. Whatever his objectives, I do believe that this boy has the mind of a scientist! (Let's just hope he's not a mad scientist.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Good housekeeping

Ted and I often joke about how great it will be when the Fab Four are finally old enough to take over the household chores. I know it's a little early to expect any of them to mow the lawn or clean the toilets for us, but I think we may have one who's just about ready to help with the dusting:

(I wish I could say that she learned it from watching me, but I'm afraid that the dustable surfaces in my home would tell you otherwise!)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fun at the museum

Besides the wedding, the highlight of our trip to Texas was our visit to the Children's Museum of Houston. The kids loved it because they had full access to a huge room full of countless new toys and activities—they'd never experienced anything like it! I loved it because the facility was clean and the play area was completely enclosed, making it impossible for any member of the Fab Four to pull a disappearing act. And with the abuelitos and Tia Holly along to help us wrangle the kids, I even managed to get a ton of pictures. Here are just a few of them (as you can see, there were lots of smiles that day!):

Dahlia and Lucy drive a big red car (left); Tia Holly shows Jude the giant Lite-Brite (right)
Jude practices using a door (left); Isaac finds some red and yellow blocks (right)
Abuelita helps Dahlia go down the slide (left); Ted and Isaac play with the light switch (right)
Isaac emerges from the tunnel (left); Lucy sitting pretty (right)
Lucy and Dahlia play with the door (left); Isaac is delighted by all the toy cars (right)
Jude plays hide and seek with Abuelita (left); Lucy makes her way through the tunnel (right)
Dahlia sees something exciting across the room (left); Jude having fun! (right)

Monday, October 11, 2010

A week of freedom

While we were in Texas, the kids were thrilled to have the run of my parents' completely toddler-proofed house. Mom and Dad really went the extra mile to prepare for our extended visit, installing all sorts of safety locks, putting down rugs on the tile floors to cushion any falls, using booster seats to transform their kitchen table into a feeding table, and hanging blackout curtains in the kids' room. They even put several items of furniture into storage—both to accommodate our four PeaPods in the guest room and to create this veritable toddler heaven of toys, books, and stuffed animals in the dining room:

No longer being confined to their "gated community" meant that the kids had the freedom to explore and experience all sorts of new things—like hiding pacifiers in the recycling bin, tearing up the newspapers that my dad left laying around, and watching their beloved Baby Einstein DVDs at eye level (and within hands' reach, to boot!):

The kids also loved being gateless because it allowed unlimited access to one of their very favorite things: shoes. They all enjoyed finding their own shoes around the house—and putting them on and taking them off, seemingly ad infinitum—but Dahlia was the first to commandeer a "pair" of grownup heels:

Lucy, of course, was quick to follow in her footsteps (with a little plastic bling to complete the look):

For me, the best part about not having gates was that the kids burned off tons of energy running all around the house (and I expended quite a few calories, too, just trying to keep track of everyone!). One afternoon, Jude thoroughly entertained himself (and us) by repeatedly running to the kitchen and "hiding," calling out his own name while he was out of sight, and then running back to the living room to say "boo":

I was worried that the kids would stage a revolt once we got back home and they realized that the gates were back in business, but so far I've heard no complaints. And as long as they're still happy, I'm not changing a thing!


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