Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fruit Fly Conspiracy

I do not like fruit flies. I never have. There is something terribly annoying about their tiny bodies secretly devouring my fruit. About six months ago we had a serious outbreak and Levi was my murderer in crime. He got really good at clapping his hands at the precise moment and terminating bug life. Our clapping, combined with a banana slice sealed in a jar, was a success, and it has been awhile since those things have been in my kitchen. 

Until this morning. Levi spotted him first. Buzzing over the bananas; delicately landing on the apples. Levi apparently had lost his fruit fly killing abilities, because that bug was annoying me several minutes later. 

I overheard Levi instructing Claire on the fine art of fruit fly killing. This is what he told her:

"Okay, Bitty, what you do is you wait real still, then you see the fruit fly, then you crap on him!"

Translation: "You CLAP on him."

They are both downstairs searching for the fly. I hope they find him. And his 10,000 siblings. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pascha Feast Pictures

I did not want to put these next four pictures into the slide show because I felt they needed their own explanation.

Here is Claire. She had just sat down in the grass with her dessert. As you can see, as she sat, she knocked her dessert (a chocolate bird's nest with M&M's for eggs) into the grass.

Here is is realizing what she did; and figuring out the best way do deal with the problem.

Here she decides that it is much easier to eat the M&M's off the ground.
And here she is reacting to the grass in her face!

Pascha (Orthodox Easter) Homily

If any man be devout and loveth God,
Let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast!
If any man be a wise servant,
Let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord.

If any have laboured long in fasting,
Let him how receive his recompense.
If any have wrought from the first hour,
Let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour,
Let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour,
Let him have no misgivings;
Because he shall in nowise be deprived therefore.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour,
Let him draw near, fearing nothing.
And if any have tarried even until the eleventh hour,
Let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness.

For the Lord, who is jealous of his honour,
Will accept the last even as the first.
He giveth rest unto him who cometh at the eleventh hour,
Even as unto him who hath wrought from the first hour.
And He showeth mercy upon the last,
And careth for the first;
And to the one He giveth,
And upon the other He bestoweth gifts.
And He both accepteth the deeds,
And welcometh the intention,
And honoureth the acts and praises the offering.

Wherefore, enter ye all into the joy of your Lord;
Receive your reward,
Both the first, and likewise the second.
You rich and poor together, hold high festival!
You sober and you heedless, honour the day!
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted
And you who have disregarded the fast.
The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously.
The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith:
Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness.

Let no one bewail his poverty,
For the universal Kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities,
For pardon has shown forth from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
For the Saviour's death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.

By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.
And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Hell, said he, was embittered When it encountered Thee in the lower regions.

It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.

It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.

O Death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and thou art overthrown!
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen, and life reigns!
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
Is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be glory and dominion
Unto ages of ages. Amen.

-----The Paschal sermon of St John Chrysostom is read aloud in every Orthodox parish on the morning of the Great and Holy Pascha Jesus Christ.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Claire's will power

I will adamantly admit to one major mistake Josh and I made thus far in our short years of parenting. Of course, it started innocently enough. We made the same “mistake” with Levi, but somehow he was not negatively affected and this issue never became a problem with him. Claire is a different story; she is a different child; and she has enormous will power.

Our mistake? Co-habitation. I love sleeping with my children. I love looking at their beautiful, peaceful faces, kissing them goodnight one extra time, and knowing that they are safe next to me. Levi often slept with Josh and I. It was very satisfying. Very rarely, he wakes up in the dark of night, and mysteriously appears in our bed. He is cautious, gentile, quiet, and most importantly, still.

There is no quiet bone in Claire’s body. Cautious and gentile are not words that mean a lot to Claire. And at night, she is anything but still.

Claire coming to our bed started rather harmless. She would wake up crying around midnight, we would be tired, and just brought her to bed with us. That slowly morphed into her crying a bit, getting out of her own bed and loudly making her way to our bed. Naturally, she transformed again. This time into a quiet child who noiselessly crept into our room, climbed effortlessly into our bed, and instantly fell asleep. Neither Josh nor I knew she had come in. That is, until she moved. Claire is a big fan of sleeping sideways. She also likes having her head on a stomach and her feet on the other person’s stomach. She switched stomachs often during the night. Needless to say, this got annoying rather fast.

We should have put a stop to it earlier, but it just kind of crept up on us, gradually. When the kids came back from Grandma Kay’s after my surgery, we decided it was the perfect time to put a stop to our unwanted bedmate. We had a perfect excuse too; Claire has been obsessed with my scar. She asks me everyday to see my band-aids and is very concerned because I cannot carry her. “You not carry me momma?” I hear daily. “Your belly hurts momma?”

So, six nights ago we did it. We talked to Claire and laid down the ground rules. We told her that my belly hurt too much and that she had to sleep in her bed. All night. She totally was on board. No problem. Until 12:30 that is. Of course, she woke up. Of course, she screamed, and, of course, we had our first battle. That night she woke up Levi and he was pretty upset. Our solution that night was to let Levi sleep with Josh and I would sleep in Levi’s bed to comfort Claire during the night. Worked out great. The next night she woke up, and we did another variation of the previous night. Worked out even better than the previous night. On the third night, she woke up, but went back to sleep wonderfully in her own bed with not much complaint. The fourth and fifth nights were perfect. No noise. No crying. All sleeping. I totally thought we had it.

Last night I went to bed a bit before 11. Josh was working on a PowerPoint presentation for his Emergency Room rotation that he has to give on Monday. Around midnight he heard a sound upstairs in the bathroom. He went up to investigate and found Claire. He asked her if she had to go to the bathroom, and something about the way he asked or the words he used just did not sit well with Claire. She started screaming. She started yelling. She started crying.

Lately Claire has been doing a lot of these tantrums during the day, and we just have been ignoring her. Josh applied the same principle. He let her cry and carry on in the bathroom for about half an hour. Her favorite position during that time? On her back kicking the bathroom door. Don’t forget, she was screaming the entire time. She finally managed to get up and open the door. She then carried on her tantrum in the hallway.

During all this she kept screaming “I wanna sleep in momma bed!” Over and over, we heard this request. Josh would calmly tell her no, wait a bit to see if she was going to settle down, then leave her to her tantrum.

Earlier in the day I had just finished reading John Grisham’s book “The Chamber.” This book follows the last four weeks of a death-row inmate and his lawyer as they try every single appeal possible to halt the execution. From insanity to ineffective legal counsel. They try every appeal at the three possible levels: state, federal, and supreme courts. There are many times that we hear “no” to the same argument. Last night, Claire reminded me a lot of the lawyer in The Chamber. She used every argument she could think of, with the end goal being her sleeping in our bed. Here are a few of my favorites. “Papa said yes,” “Momma said yes,” “I am cold,” “I will sleep really fast,” “I’m tired,” and “I don’t like Bitty bed” (Bitty is her nickname). Again, each excuse was preceded with “I wanna sleep in momma bed” and was accompanied with tons of snot, tears, and yelling. At one point she tried to run by Josh in an attempt to sneak into our room. She really did try everything.

This lasted until 1:45am when she finally fell asleep in the hallway. She slept there on a blanket and covered herself with a towel for the rest of the night. She got the towel from the cabinet when she was banging the door against the wall a zillion times. Her last words to Josh? “I love you Papa.”

Levi once again proves that he is capable of sleeping through anything. He never knew what was happening just five feet from his bed. Amazing.

I am so totally amazed by the way Josh handled Claire last night. He was so calm and patient with her. I know that things would have ended a lot differently if I was the one dealing with this tantrum. Even when Claire was yelling for me, and screaming that she did not want Papa, he told her no, and that she had to deal with him.

Wow, last night was hard. It definitely beats out the newborn baby stage. I feel so sorry for my neighbors, with whom we share a bathroom wall. I am sure Claire was perfectly audible in their apartment last night. Sorry.