January 2008

Today is Elise’s birthday, but I’m writing about Joelle.  Joelle served everyone at Elise’s party with such zest that no one could turn down the punch.  She was sweet and beautiful.  Chris used her term, “scared me like the radio,” tonight and I remembered to write it down.  Because, like most things kids do, she isn’t saying it any longer.  She always said that whenever a certain song came on her Jojo CD.  I don’t know the name of the song, but it samples another song with a male singer.  Just a few lines.  Every time it would start playing, she would say, “ah, that scared me like the radio.”  She meant that to mean that she thought I had changed the CD to the radio.  It was just cute.

Recently, I heard Joelle ask her daddy, “Do you love me more then Elise?”  I knew one day I’d hear her say that, but it made my heart ache when I heard her ask.  I remember being so scared before we had Elise.  We had such a tight knit little family.  What good would adding a new member do?  Like everyone always says, I can’t believe I was apprehensive.  However, I understand Joelle’s question.  It’s hard.  Looking through all the birthday pictures and the others that we just haven’t loaded up yet, I think it’s pretty obvious that Joelle is smitten with Elise and the reverse can definitely be said.  Elise worships Joelle and you can see in all the pictures that she’s almost always looking to see what her big sister is up to. 


Joelle is loving High School Musical.  She goes through cycles of adoration and, after Danny and Meg’s giftie at Christmas (HS Musical CD), she’s been all over it.  Chris and I have been agreeable with this cycle, it’s actually pretty fun music.  So, we bought HS Musical 2.  Joelle was watching it the other morning.  I walked in the room and tears were in my baby’s eyes.  Troy (Joelle calls him Trent) and Gabrielle had just broken up.  She was so upset and it was time to walk out the door for school, but I did my best to console her and said, “baby, that’s a good lesson.  Trent wasn’t treating Gabrielle right, so she left him.  I hope you do the same thing if that happens to you.”  She looked up at me as if she understood, but then broke out in fresh tears and said, “but Trent gets more jewelry!”  I felt like saying, “come again.”  I did encourage her to explain more and she said, “Trent already has a ring and now he gets the necklace, too?”  Yeah, clearly Joelle didn’t really get the whole idea behind what was going on.  (Troy gives Gabrielle a necklace at the beginning of the movie and she gives it back when they break up.) 

Oh well, like I said before, the music is catchy.  Little Elise even likes it.  Her favorite is the “bop to the top” song.  She sings along, “bop, bop, bop,” with the music.

Joelle decided to write a play one afternoon.  I wrote down the transcript.  This was actually in November of 2007 (hence the turkey), but I just found it and thought it was worth saving.

Once upon a time, there was a turkey.  She didn’t have purple feathers.  She didn’t have orange feathers.  She did have brown feathers.

Her best friend was Marty the Monkey (a stuffed monkey that the kids in her class take turns bringing home from class and writing in a journal about).  Why was a monkey and a turkey in the same forest?  Well, there were two other monkeys in the forest.  So, it was a monkey forest.  How did the turkey get there?  It was a turkey and a monkey forest. 

The turkey and Marty dance for 10 days!  That’s all.  The end. 

Turko is the Turkey’s name.  Monko1 is Elise’s Monkey.  Monko2 is Mommie’s Monkey. 

Joey once coined the term “locust eating” as something that my dad (and myself and possibly Joey) all do. The term stuck with me because it’s funny but also accurate. For the most part, I’m a fairly healthy eater, but give me a bag of chocolate chips after a long hiatus without them and I will consume the whole bag. I know, not wise. Every dietitian would agree that one should eat a small amount daily, but it just doesn’t work that way for me. While my “locust eating” is primarily with sweets, my dad is like that with a lot of different foods, even healthy ones. He might see yummy oranges at the store, buy 4 and eat them all right when he gets home.

I think Elise has inherited this strange “locust eating” gene. First, it was grapes. She would consume every single morsel of grape thrown her way. Fistfuls of grapes would engorge her tiny little mouth. Second, cantaloupes. She is crazy for them. I gave them to her for lunch and she ate a whole bowl. She reaches for the food she wants now and she was definitely reaching for the cantaloupe and only the cantaloupe. At dinner, I gave everyone a little pile on their plates. Chris tried to give Elise her squash first but she spotted the orangey goodness on the plate and would have nothing else. She ate all of her share and insisted on having Chris’s as well. (his was the next closest plate.) She ate a few spoonfuls of green beans and then spotted the orange cubes on my plate. She got those as well. Finally, she saw Joelle’s and actually physically inched her high chair towards Joelle to get at her pile. Joelle, who had to be bribed to eat a tiny, almost invisible piece for breakfast, suddenly wanted nothing but her cantaloupe. Luckily, there was more in the refrigerator, although, not much.

Elise has been a little fussy this week.  Specifically, she was cranky on Tuesday, Wednesday and today.  I was outwardly surmising what the potentional causes of her frustrations could be with Nana.  You know, the typical issues:  teething, catching a cold, etc.  Joelle suddenly piped in, “she could be missin’ me.”  I paused in my ruminating and said, “yeah, you might be right.”  I was thinking, “ah, my vain daughter.” 

Ironically, I think Joelle is right.  Children can be so wise.  Elise has gone through infatuations with each member of our family.  Her infatuation with mommie lasted the longest and I thought it was rock solid (ah, the vain Mommie.)  After our trip to Dallas, it suddenly switched to Daddy.  With the Christmas break and subsequent return to school, she’s decided “oh wah” is her new go to girl.  She follows Joelle around the house saying “oh wah”.  When we went to school to pick up Joelle from tumbling, Elise spotted Joelle immediately and ran to her with open arms saying “oh wah.”  It was absolutely adorable and Joelle ate it up. 

The three of us headed to the mall afterwards.  In one shop, a lady asked what my daughter’s names were.  I said, “Elise and Joelle.  Although, they call each other Oh wah and Lee Lee.”  Sometimes I wonder why parents kill themselves over the naming of their children.  They come up with their own nicknames anyway.  

I’m so glad that Maria wrote about her initial experiences with nursing. I didn’t. Of course, I didn’t have a blog back then, but I can also admit now that I was struggling so much with it – I wouldn’t have been able to write about it. I could pull out our nursing logs and accurately and succinctly sum up why breast feeding didn’t work for me, because, unlike for my sister-in-law, things did not get easier when my milk came in. At the hospital, they kept saying, “she’s upset and not latching on because she wants milk.” The milk came within one hour of getting home from the hospital on Sunday afternoon (I had Joelle on a Thursday evening) and it did not get easier.

I remember going in to see my OB at the 2 week mark. I was on the verge of tears in his office and he could tell I was on the brink of slipping into depression. He was the one who finally allowed me to even accept the idea that I could quit. I could use formula. I call them the breast nazis now, but they succeed in getting what they want. The nurses, the media, everything and everyone makes you feel like nursing is the only viable option. Dr. Syal said, “You know we tried breast feeding. Then, I came home from work one day and my wife (who is also a doctor) was crying, the baby was crying and even the cat was crying (because he hadn’t been fed). We quit after that.” I remember being shocked. A doctor, in fact two doctors, that didn’t breast feed! I mean, I know that a whole generation of kids, including myself and Chris, were raised on formula, but we know better now, right?

So, I did fail. Maria mentions not wanting to fail in her blog, and it’s the best way to put it. I don’t disagree with her saying so and I certainly think she actually gives me more credit then I deserve with the hardship of my experience. It was rough for me, but it’s also rough for a lot of moms who get through it. I think it’s one of the biggest reasons I didn’t have a second baby sooner. I just had such a horrible, horrible first go with Joelle. I distinctly remember telling my mom, “I liked my life better before!” Of course, this isn’t true. My life has so much more depth, color and joy with both my girls, but those first few weeks of Joelle’s life were not the best of times.

With Elise, I did make sure she had the colostrum from the first nursings and she did get a couple of weeks worth of milk, but I just didn’t want to repeat the same experience I had with Joelle. The breast nazis know that second time moms are immune to their wiles, so, for the most part, they left me alone in the hospital. Every now and again, I do catch a comment indicating that Joelle and Elise are missing out because they didn’t get breast milk. Something like, “oh, this is Elise’s 4th cold.” (with a knowing undertone) Usually, it doesn’t bother me and I ignore it, because I know that Elise was certainly happier to have a mommie that was happy and that Joelle desperately needed something other then my milk. Those who know me best know that if you catch me in the wrong mood, I might snap back though.

Anyway, I’m so, so happy that it’s going better for my nephew and his mommie. I still think it’s the best answer for the babies and what God gave us to feed them. I just happen to think it’s also ok to use formula. I think I turned out ok and I know Chris did.

Elise knows when she has found something good.  Like most babies, she doesn’t exactly appreciate us taking things away from her.  I will never, ever forget Joelle putting her tongue on the wall in our old house when we made her mad, either taking something away or saying, “no,” to touching an outlet.  I think it was the later.  Anyway, Elise hasn’t put her tongue on the wall, yet.  Instead, she has the power to run from me.  If she finds something she knows she really shouldn’t have, she pops up and runs to another room.  She found a treasure a few days ago and ran to our bedroom.  She even tried to close the door on me so that I wouldn’t come in.  (I wonder who she learned that from?  Thanks, Jojo.)  I kept following her to make sure that she was ok with the questionable toy she found and she kept running from me.  She even went under the table in the kitchen to get away.