Life With Nine Kids

Monday, December 22, 2014

You Have to Love Four Year Olds

Today we were unwrapping Hershey's Kisses to make peanut butter blossoms. As little four year old Everett helped he soon noticed there was a paper with writing attached to each one. He started asking us what his "fortune" said. It took me a minute to realize that he thinks they are similar to fortune cookies!

Ricky and I are just beaming with grins on our faces now and just laugh at the cuteness. The other kids thought it was so funny and cute too.  So I start the game... I read him some of the "fortunes" he handed me. I tell him different things like:
Your family is special
Siblings are friends
Soon you will bake cookies for holiday fun

Each one I "read" he smiles at and full of pleased excitement yells "yay!" at whatever I say. He is having a total blast.

He hands me yet another paper and this time I say: "Cookies bring sweetness to life"
Everett: Yay!!! WAIT. Wait. So my cookies will come ALIVE?
Ricky: No, cookies will bring SWEETNESS to our life.
Everett: Oh phew, I thought mom said they would come alive.

Then Everett gets in on the fun. He tells us he will read us some fortunes now. 
Everett made up the following great fortunes off the top of his head:
When someone wears a hat they are a dad.
When snowflakes fall Santa will come to your house.
When you wear a firefighter hat then you have to help the firefighter put out the fire. 

We had such a great laugh. He is so cute!

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We had quite the surprise today when Santa and his mother were across the street visiting loved ones at the cemetery! I went outside with Everett as they were leaving and Everett yelled, "Santa! Merry Christmas Santa!" then Santa came over! Santa got a teddy bear out of his car and gave it to Everett! Everett gave it a big ol' hug and was so, so happy! It was just great. Charlotte is the one who thought to run out with the camera! (Thanks Charlotte!) Everett didn't ask, but Santa told him he didn't have his Santa hat on because it falls off when he is driving. We know it was the real Santa because 1. He obviously loved children 2. He had toys with him 3. He had real beard and number 4 is the weirdest of all... Layla pointed out that the dogs did not bark at him! Our dogs bark like crazy at everyone. Merry Christmas to all! 
Everett clutching the teddy bear

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 Everett, like most kids, likes to play with tape. He got a hold of some tape and taped his plate to the table and taped his banana back together. This pleased him so much I had to congratulate him on his ingenuity. I have never had a kid tape a banana back together before. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Adventures & Fun With Our Baby Bea

Yesterday just as we were next in line for a picture with Santa, Beatrice grabbed her diaper and loudly said, "Uh-Oh!" She gets the most funny expression on her face when she is concerned. Charlotte, Layla, and I were cracking up so hard as we looked around to see if anyone heard. She was able to get in the picture with Santa just fine. Lucky for us and Santa it was not that urgent and we made it for the picture first. Sometimes her uh-oh's are urgent, sometimes false alarms.

Beatrice stared at Santa long and hard before deciding she was then done with him. She just looked at me reaching out and whimpered when she was ready after a minute. Everett's face was priceless. He looked right at Beatrice watching, enjoying her, and smiling at her reaction. I thought it was really cute.

Beatrice has been such a joyous little baby. Time has been spinning out of control as it often does. I thought this month she turned sixteen months old. Ricky told me nope...18 months. My mind was blown.

The way she interacts with our family is amazing. She lights up all of our lives in ways I can barely put into words. When she was about nine months old she started getting up with Layla (10) in the mornings. She would wake up and crawl around our bed jabbering at her tired mom and dad until Layla would hear her and reach her arms out to her. Little Bea would reach out to Layla and off she would go. Layla would change her diaper and play with her. (And we got to sleep a little more!) Soon Bea started letting Penelope get her out of bed too. It didn't take long for Beatrice to expect her sisters to get her every morning. Between 6 and 7am Bea would wake up and shout jabbery words and sounds towards our door waiting for her sisters to hear her and get her up. It was beyond precious. As she started eating more solid foods Layla would pop Bea into her highchair and get her some breakfast and the three of them (or five of them if Everett and Sebastian got up) would eat breakfast all together without any help from us. When her sisters get her out of our bed each morning or after nap time Beatrice sometimes rests her head on their shoulder as she wakes up fully. If she pulls at her diaper and says uh-oh like in the Santa story above the girls rush her off to the bathroom.

Layla and Penelope pay attention to so many little things that her baby sister likes. Like how Beatrice is more likely to go pee on the potty if the bathroom door is closed. Beatrice is more vocal of her bathroom needs than most babies her age because we practice part-time elimination communication (EC) with our babies at most stages. We have had varying degrees of success. One thing has remained consistent, though. Our babies are aware and vocal about their bathroom or diaper needs at very young ages and tend to get out of diapers between 13- 20 months old. I do attribute it to EC.She has been telling us "uh-oh" about her diaper for a while now and the funny-cute factor is still not getting old. Everett was nine months old when he would wake at night wiggling and fussing half asleep. He would not settle down until I took him to the toilet to pee.  Babies are so smart! He was our one child out of diapers the earliest at around 13 months old.

Charlotte taught Layla how to use the potty when Layla was a baby. And now Layla, without any prompting from us, is teaching Beatrice. It's really sweet to see. Layla lines up stuffed animals on little pretend potties on the bathroom floor and Beatrice is so amused. See how adorable:

Beatrice is a feisty independent sweetie.  Her siblings are very close to her and drag her around everywhere with them. They were all playing outside and Beatrice was running along like she was the baby wolf cub after her pack. She held a stick in her fist and was having a ball.

She has felt like one of the little kids for a very long time, but now she is finding her voice and lets her preferences be known. She's getting that spark of independence and willpower. She is starting to pinch at people if they are bothering her, and she yells "HEY!" when someone takes her toy or food away. She also says "Hey!" when she sees something she wants. We might get a drink and she exclaims, "Hey!" to us. It's so funny. She loves a colorful crocheted blanket her Grandma Kathie made for her and she has to sleep and nap with it. When I am ready to nurse her asleep she looks for it and makes cute gasping noises and shakes her head from side to side looking for it and as if to be worried and fretting about finding it. It is her way of saying 'where is it?!' When she sees it she exclaims "dare-uh-is!" which sounds like jumbled baby talk words saying "there-it-is!" She says I love you now and it's so cute, too. It sounds like "agg-yeah-you." She counts with the kids but says two over and over again no matter what number they are on, it's so funny and sweet!

She has picked up on the words "mine" and "stop." Two words that you will hear non stop with a large amount of young kids. She waits at the kitchen table just like the rest of the kids for her food. She sits there so pleased with her place in the world, she almost rocks back and forth, kicking her feet ever so slightly with a pleased grin on her face waiting patiently. We have always sat her up at the table with us ever since she could sit up. She also sits at the table and plays Legos with the kids. After a while we have to rescue Penelope's Lego set-up when Beatrice becomes too destructive but it's adorable while it lasts and teaches her so much. Beatrice dances a lot too. We have dance parties and have great fun.

She colors, decorates candy houses, and in general does anything else we do.

A few weeks ago I taught her how to unlock the bathroom door. We live in an 88 year old house with cool solid wood doors that have crystal or porcelain doorknobs throughout. All the doors have ancient cool locks too, some with skeleton keys. Once locked, our bathroom door cannot be opened from the outside. There is no key, no hole, and no door hinges on the outside. Nothing. You could take the outside crystal doorknob off, but the porcelain one on the inside of the bathroom would remain screwed in. If a baby or toddler were to lock themselves in the bathroom I would be in a panic. We would potentially have to break the door frame away from the bolted door lock or break a window. Either process could hurt her and she would surely be frighted and crying. Bathrooms are horrendous places for babies to be trapped in for so many reasons. As soon as we see a baby fidget with the lock we start worrying and try teaching them how it works. It is a very loose and swift lock with a simple left and right motion. She had been unscrewing lids for quite a while so I knew she could learn this. One day in the bathroom with me she locked it and I told her to unlock it. She looked at me confused and I said the words again. "Unlock." I then showed her how. She looked at me and smiled and locked it again. I said "unlock!" and she unlocked it. I was SO happy. She did it back and forth with me and I told her the words lock and unlock.

On a Saturday morning I was still in bed and I could hear Ricky up with the five youngest kids. I didn't want to pry myself out of bed so I stayed a bit longer drifting in and out of sleep despite the rowdy noises coming from the other room. Suddenly I heard a loud slam and then all was very quiet. Deeper and deeper I drifted off again but suddenly I heard Bea's jabbering voice distinctly muffled behind a door. I jumped out of my bed in an instant. Moms total intuition and my brain put all the sounds together. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom door. Ricky was there and worried, he told me she was locked in alone, I said I could hear it happen. The kids gathered around and I shushed everyone. Ricky started to speak, he seemed like he was going to tell me what he was planning to do, but I interrupted him and told him to shush too. Ricky was somewhat surprised when I rushed to the door crack and said, "Beatrice, unlock! Unlock the door for mommy." In one little click she unlocked it!!!! I was already turning the doorknob to get in, just in case she swiftly locked it up again. Proud mom moment! My little one year old baby girl did it! So proud of her and proud of my forethought too! I scooped her up and celebrated how good she did and hugged her to bits feeling so relieved. I excitedly told Ricky how I had just worked with her mere days earlier trying to teach her the lock.

Right now I'm in the bathroom typing the rest of this on my laptop while Beatrice is in the tub. The  girls just came over to me to ask me something. Before they could speak Bea started patting the water and jabbering to Layla and Penelope to get in with her. I can tell a few stories and examples about how they all interact with each other, but it's hard to capture the real beauty of it. I get to live it everyday though and watch how close these kids all are with each other. The teens included. She smiles, waves, reaches up for them to pick her up. They talk to her and include her in everyday things. I have seen her put her head on each siblings shoulder for comfort or rest. It's very special that she feels so safe and loved by all of us. It's got to be amazing to be our Baby Bea. It's amazing being her mom, and the mom of all her sweet siblings.
Tired baby eyes, Layla just got her up from her nap
Nicknames are so fun! And our Baby Bee has lots of them. Nicknames she has that we use regularly:
Bea, Bee, Bumble Bee, Bumble, Stinky face (It's a cute children's book), Bea-tree, Bebe, Stink Bee, Killer Bee (When she is throwing a fit or is mad at us), Sweet Bee, Honey comb, Honey Bee, Baby Girl.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Why You Gotta Be So Mean?

People are so mean and hateful. You know what I have done, and just did do? When I see someone being attacked on FB I might occasionally stick up for them a little on the thread. But I hate drama and it's so lame. Mostly, I sent them a loving private message. I just did just that to this woman who asked a natural birth community why some people have so many kids. Her question was really genuine and she wanted to know some very specific things. Like if over population is a concern for big families (why not?), if they do it for religious reasons, if they are afraid of being alone, if they just like having kids (but still why so many), Etc. She made a very clear point to say she did not want to upset anyone or sound judgmental, and I quote, "Please don't kill me."

I mean, I understand her asking, seriously who wants 6, 8, 10 kids.... !? Not very many people! It is a very good question and a very curious question to some. Financially and physically it is a ton of work. Are we really so blind to that fact that others don't understand why a family would keep having kids? There are lots of things I don't understand because I don't live that way. I am absolutely dumbfounded when I go into the city and see city living. It looks totally bizzare to me! Why would anyone want to live in the city!? But actually I know the main answers to those questions. They are fairly clear cut: more jobs, convenience, more amenities, culture, diversity, schools...I would probably never ask someone why they like to live in the city, I probably could guess.  I would more expect some one to ask me why I like rural/country living. I wouldn't be the least bit offended. I honestly suspect most people wouldn't be offended by either question.

Well, she was viciously attacked. The hatred and meanness was unbelievable. Someone mocked her, "I'm not racist, but..." Implying that she was being judgmental/hateful and making it sound like she wasn't. Others called her a troll. She apologized profusely and explained she actually wants four kids, which is a lot where she is. (That's a lot nearly everywhere, last I checked) But why have more than four? She pondered. ...you know, because it seems like a lot of kids. She even tried to explain that she understands being the odd one no one understands because she has eight cats, and lots of people think that is weird and expects her house to smell bad. She was then trashed for comparing kids to cats. When she said she was in tears she was mocked and somebody said, "Ah she's crying, cry me a river."

My brain is seizing at this point. I hate people sometimes.

I messaged her:
People on the __________ group are out if their minds. The internet sure shows the worst of people. I am so sorry. I have eight kids and I will try and answer your questions if I find the time. I do not have the time right now, but I love to think and write about big families. I have a blog, but with eight kids it can be hard to find the time to write! Lol. Seriously, those women are being nasty and probably have nothing else to do. They are in attack mode and are acting like a pack of animals. We are not all like this, I assure you.

She says:
Thank you Shauna!
I suddenly start to cry. You're so nice right now. After all those mean things they said. I just posted an second apologie but saw that the post was removed..
Things got out of hand. I really didn't meant to hurt someone. I tried to carefully write what i meant. Fortunately you understand

By the way, I believe she is foreign. Good job American women. Way to look like a bunch of horrible people. We talked some more, she is really sweet. And now I have a new friend. I love hearing her describe her cats and how that makes her weird to some, and how she feels she has to defend herself too! Fascinating. Why is it just so dang hard to love other people? Why do we have to defend ourselves so angrily? What do we have to hide, defend, or feel so angry about? Why would we not feel compassion to others, especially as they try to understand, explain, and ultimately cry? What kind of people, friends, parents, wives, or mothers are we being by acting like that, ladies?? Online I see that women are fierce, but not in the good way.

Blog title inspired by Taylor Swift.