What are the Dylans up to?

Hello, world.  Aside from the Facebook round-up of 2011, we haven’t updated this blog much.    Aside from the quippy Facebook-friendly posts that will eventually end up here, I haven’t felt there’s much more to say.  But of course there’s more.  The days are starting to feel the same, but the girls are growing every day, and they’re still hilarious and having adventures.  I guess it feels more run-of-the-mill to me now that I’m around them every day.  But it’s still going way too fast.

Hm…where should I start?  Boring stuff first.  My last post was November.  Had Thanksgiving at my mom’s house.  Christmas was fun, and non-stressful because I actually had time to do Christmasy things and enjoy it.   Did the traditional Christmas Eve at Grandpa’s house, then Christmas morning at our own house, and then Christmas dinner at Grandma Barb’s house.  [Side note: the girls, who have been playing independent of me all morning, have suddenly convened around the computer.  It’s like they know I’m writing about them.  They are also tapping on the keys at the same time as me.  It’s getting annoying.  Eme: “Is that enough message, Mommy?”  No.  Go play.]

Paul started working as a temp for Columbia Bank on Bainbridge Island, processing loans.  They offered him a permanent job and he accepted in January, so now he’s legit.  He really enjoys it for lots of reasons, like that it uses his existing mortgage knowledge, and that it’s not commission-based or sales related.  I like that it comes with good health insurance, and that he enjoys it.  And that it’s a smaller bank, which is having a heyday right now.  We’re really hoping this one finally sticks, since he’s been looking for years for something he can really stay with for his entire career.  (Stupid banks.)  Knock on wood.  No, really.  Do it.

I’m still doing freelance editing work here and there, but not really focusing on it.  I also started selling eReader and tablet covers on etsy.com, though more for fun than for profit.  Going to start doing baby stuff soon because it’s fun and cheap to make.

How are the girls?  Great.  Honestly, there’s not much to say.  They’re happy, they’re smart, they’re confident, they’re hilarious, they’re beautiful.  I’m not trying to brag, it’s just true.  They’re very well-adjusted and we’re lucky.  Had a parent-teacher conference at their preschool, and the teachers said of Ruby, and I quote, “She’s perfect.”  PERFECT.  Well-behaved, kind to others, a quick learner, and demonstrates good leadership skills.  She’s right on track as far as where her learning should be, and is always eager to learn more, to the point where the biggest challenge is getting her enough stuff to do.

She’s the most confident person I’ve ever met, I kid you not.  We just went to an open house for her kindergarten, and she hurried ahead me, walked right into the room and said “I’m Ruby!  I’m four-and-a-half.  This is my school next year.”  It blows me away, especially since I was the shyest kid in the known universe.  She also genuinely cares about others, always making people gifts, or saving treats to share with her sister.  I was laying down with a headache the other day and Ruby asked Paul if she could lay down with me so she could take care of me.  Yesterday she went to school with special Hello Kitty hair ties, and came home without them.  When I asked where they went she said “I gave one to Ami and one to Madison.”  All simple.  No big deal.  Every Christmas to make room for new toys, I have a rule that we have to donate the equivalent in their old toys, and she’s always eager to donate.  She even asked specifically who was getting her toys, so she could better decide which toys they would like best.  She constantly amazes me.

She’s really into fashion, always putting together outfits and accessories, and putting on fashion shows.  Aunt Heather got her a designers sketchpad for Christmas, and she loves sketching new outfits.  She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up, but also a doctor, policeman, rock star, and the president.  On Presidents Day we were naming all the presidents she knew, and I told her that there had never been a girl president, and said “You could be the first one,” and she said “Okay.  I will.  If you want me to.”  And I said “I only want you to if YOU want to.”  And she said.  “Then yes.  I will.  Because you want me to.”  Not the message I meant to send, but at this age she still values mom’s opinion. :)

As for Eme, her teachers said a lot of similar things in terms of her learning being right on track, and her confidence.  They said that she’s very independent, but can still play well with her peers when she wants to, meaning she’s well-adjusted, just prefers more time by herself than Ruby.  (Sounds like someone I know…)  Ms. Bea says Eme always says the most interesting things, and she loves their conversations.  Their biggest struggle is that Eme is such an independent thinker that they sometimes have a hard time getting her motivated to cooperate.  This is a struggle I only know too well.  Sometimes when I ask her to do things, her answer is simply “I’m not going to.”  I tell her what the consequence will be if she doesn’t cooperate, and she’ll usually choose to take her lashes (NOT literally, calm down).  She’ll protest going into time out or being restricted from TV, but not enough to actually, say, clean her room.

Speaking of which, last week we were grocery shopping at Walmart.  It had been a tough morning, with neither of them listening to me very much and a struggle just getting dressed and out the door.  By the time we got there, I was already exhausted and impatient.  After 45 minutes of shopping we STILL hadn’t made our way over to the groceries (we were stuck in art supplies, since it was Grandma Carol’s retirement and we were going to make signs to accost her with at work).  The girls kept wandering away or not following me when I asked.  They went to run off to go look at toys, and I told them if they did we were leaving immediately.  Which they did.  So we did.  Ruby nearly always listens to me on her own, but under Eme’s influence it’s harder to keep her under control.  You’d think it would be the other way around with Ruby being older, but no.

At any rate, they cried and screamed to the car while people looked at me as if I’m a horrible horrible person.  (Like I care?  It’s Walmart.  Get some teeth and then think about judging me.)  Then they screamed all the way home.  Then we got home they threw two baskets of clean laundry on the floor of their clean room. [Ruby just came up and said “When are you going to be done spelling?”  I told her a long time.  She just said “You spelled Ruby!  Why did you spell Ruby?”  I told her I’m writing about her and she asked why.  I told her Aunties and Uncles want to know what she’s up to.  Then she did a magic trick with her bracelets.]

Back to the clean laundry on the floor:  I told them very calmly that they were in charge of folding their clothes and putting them away, and they weren’t allowed to leave their room until it was done.  Then I closed the door and walked away so as not to strike them hard with an open palm.  Hours passed.  I told them we wouldn’t be able to meet Grandma Carol at her work if the clothes weren’t put away.  They didn’t budge, except when the door was closed the room became more and more messy.  I told them they would need to clean up their toys in addition to the laundry before they could leave their room.  Ruby pouted for about an hour.  Eme screamed her head off for about 45 minutes.  Then they went back to ignoring it and playing.  By about hour 3 Eme said they were ready for their lunch now, and they would clean up after.  I said I’d be happy to make them lunch, as soon as their room was clean and laundry put away.  Then I very meanly did more laundry as they sat there, and added clean clothes to the pile. Because I am mean.  Very, very mean.

By hour 6 and various methods of trying to get out of it (“I don’t know how.” Yes, you do.  “My tummy hurts!”  Well, you’d better hurry up so you can eat.  “You don’t love me!”  I love you very much.  “Other people’s moms aren’t this mean!”  You’re probably right.  Sucks to be you.)  Paul came home and we proceeded to heat up and eat a pizza.  Ruby tried her charms on Paul. (“Mom is making us clean up all this laundry and I can’t!”  Paul had been briefed, and was no help.)

We had a church group that night, and a friend of mine was coming over to babysit.  I briefed the sitter on the situation and asked how she was with tough love.  She said she would be fine with it, but I later realized how much the girls love babysitters, and having one come over would be a reprieve.  Not to mention, as my friend pointed out, they were much more likely to respond to someone else telling them what to do, and the point was for them to learn to listen to me.  So I told them I would cancel the sitter if they didn’t start cleaning ASAP.  They didn’t.  I cancelled the sitter.

This was Ruby’s breaking point, and she cried for about 20 minutes, then cleaned up her clothes and half of the toys, and joined us for pizza.  Her total sit-in time:  six and a half hours.

Eme was still going strong, which didn’t surprise us.  She’s amazing at keeping herself occupied, even after we started taking toys away.  She has a whole universe going on in her head (just like Mommy), and she’s also insanely stubborn (just like Mommy and Daddy), so we were in for the long haul.  She wanted pizza really bad and was crying and whining, but we just kept telling her she could have one when she was done cleaning.  Finally bed time came, and we brought her a peanut butter sandwich in her room to eat, but no pizza.  She cried and tantrumed for another 20 minutes or so before finally eating the sandwich and falling into bed exhausted.

The next morning the hour before school she still wasn’t allowed to leave her room, and she still didn’t clean.  We finally left for school.  When we came home it was straight back to her room.  I think Eme was expecting me to forget or give up during school, so she was surprised.  She went into her room but tried all manner of excuses (“I’m itchy!”  “I’m lonely!”) and then resorted to a 2-hour screaming tantrum.  After she wore herself out, she asked if she could have pizza if she put her clothes away and I told her she could as long as she finished before Paul got home.  So she cleaned.  Her total sit-in time:  eleven and a half hours.

Yesterday I learned that she had hidden some of her clean clothes on Ruby’s bed under a blanket.  Tricky little devil.

So that’s Eme.  Stubborn and independent.  But she’s also hilarious and tells the best jokes.  She lives to make people laugh, the way Ruby lives to take care of others.  Everything she does, she does with a gleam in her eye, knowing she’s amusing people.  This is one reason it’s hard to get her to do stuff:  instead of, say, putting her shoes on, she’ll go for the joke and put her shoes on her hands and say “Okay!  I’m ready to go!”

Okay, that’s a lot of update, isn’t it?  Time to stop ignoring my children.  You’re welcome.

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2 Responses to “What are the Dylans up to?”

  1. have i mentioned lately how much i miss you guys?

  2. posted by Mommy Says:

    We miss you, too.

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