So there is more to life than our home improvements. And I haven't talked about it in a while.
Where to begin?
I mentioned a month or so back about Gideon's sleep schedule. Well, apparently that week was a fluke. He's probably only slept two nights through in all the time since. We just finished weaning, and I think we have finally (finally - finally - FINALLY!) established a daytime schedule, but I have had to fight tooth and nail (and other pertinent body parts) for it. Tough love, lots of clinging, crying, and screaming. (And not all of that coming from Gideon! :) ) He gets up in the morning about 8, goes down for a nap at 1, sleeps for 2-4 hours (oh how I wish 4 was the norm!), and then goes to bed at 8. We're past the point that I have to deliberately keep him awake, but not to the point that he can entertain himself. He still wants me to carry him everywhere. So even though the rest of my body has gone to flab, I have some pretty serious biceps.
We wrapped up weaning right as he turned a year. At 24 pounds, and 30 inches tall, he was definitely getting too big. Not to mention he had started doing "baby yoga" positions - while nursing. There was more yanking and biting going on than actual nursing. However, switching him over to "real food" wasn't easy. He just didn't want to eat. He'd spit it out or slap away my hand with the spoon.... Let me tell ya how that went over! But as I figured, once he got hungry enough, he began eating real meals. Although I have to watch, because his appetite now exceeds his concentration level for feeding himself. So he'll stop eating what's in front of him, but can eat two or three more servings if someone feeds it to him.
The best, most glorious thing about Gideon having a sleep schedule is that it exactly coincides with Zadie's. I put him down for nap at 1, and come down and put her to nap within 15 minutes usually. (She sleeps in our room, since naptime is too precious for me to risk having one wake up the other prematurely.) Then I do school with the boys. I would prefer to get it over with in the morning, but I guess the good thing is that by afternoon, the boys have had their time to go outside, play with Legos, do whatever, so this is their "bored time" and I give them something to do.
Whereas fights with Nathan last year were daily, if not hourly, this year they are much fewer. Math is still reviewing (remember, we couldn't start school til October when we moved back home), so it's easy for him and he loves it when he already knows what he's being taught. (We're still working on patience and the concept that "practice makes perfect.") He's figured out that reading might be helpful - aided, I think, by the fact that all of his friends are now reading well - so he wants to try at it. I did spend a chunk of money on supplemental materials for him - flashcards, phonics work pages, etc - and the new things really piqued his interest. Not to mention we now have 5 different methods for going over the same material every day, but since it's all different, he doesn't get so bored or frustrated. He can sound out most short-vowel words, but he is still very slow to put them together.
Jacob has got the school thing figured out. Sit down, get it done quickly, then get back to playing! His school is still pretty easy. He knows a lot of the stuff already from Nathan learning them. So some days in math we can do 3 or 4 lessons. He is eager to please with his reading, although he gets bored if he thinks it's taking too long. Frequently he'll ask to go get a drink, then just disappear until I hunt him down.
We took a break from music over the summer and haven't started up again. Part of it is the craziness of life lately. The other part is it's not worth it for me. I'm not going to beg and plead and barter and fight with my son to play an instrument. I have too many things to do to waste time arguing with him over every little thing. When he decides he wants to play and practice the way it's supposed to be done, we'll take it up again. And we're getting close. He got his violin out this week and found all his music and set up his stand. And when the holidays are over, I will press him a little more. It's something we can do in the morning while the little ones are awake.
As for Zadie...... Oh, Zadie! She is such a handful. My brother has a phrase he uses, "a swirling vortex of drama." And that pretty much describes her. She is happy and carefree, but she can turn on the screaming screeching in an instant - and then go back again! Oh, my goodness. If this is what all girls are like, it's a good thing we only have one! She is all girl. Everything pink, sparkly, and girly is HERS. She loves clothes, jewelry, shoes, and dolls and babies. She's such a little mother. At the beginning of summer, we were probably only understanding 10% of what she said, and I'd say now we can understand 90%, now that we've figured out her annunciations. She has not what I'd call a lisp, but she mis-pronounces certain letters. She jabbers constantly to us, to her toys, to herself.
I had surgery in August to repair a hernia. I had the same surgery two years ago, but they didn't put in a big enough patch, and it tore another weak spot. The hernia was about the size of my fist - disgusting. I am the proud bearer of a 4-inch mesh patch holding in my insides. Recovery took longer - I'd say 10 days - before I felt on top of things, and a month before I was back to normal.
Jacob inherited the same weak belly genes. He's had a tiny hernia since he was a baby, but it has always "reduced" (gone back in). This autumn, I noticed it pooching out more often, so finally checked it and it wouldn't push back in. Even though it wasn't an emergency, we made the decision to get it fixed now so it can be well-healed and strong by the time he's a teenager. Hopefully it's the last we'll have to deal with hernias in our family.
I finally got on top of the house. I have conquered 4 "baskets-o-crap" and have two left. (In case you're not familiar with the term, a "basket-o-crap" is what you get when you're in the middle of cleaning and sorting and you need the table. All of that gets shoved into a box or basket to be dealt with later. Sometimes it's a month later.....) I kind of laid it down to everyone about pulling their weight around here. We all live here, we all keep it clean.
So life is returned to normal. I'm looking forward to the youngest being a little less "baby" so I can do a little more without him on my arm. But we are happy, healthy, and growing closer with each other and God, so life is good!