Sunday, March 29, 2015

Putting on the Armor

image here
The first weekend of April and the first weekend of October just happen to be my most favorite times of the year. That is when we have the amazing opportunity to hear the Prophet speak to the world during General Conference. The week before General Conference is the General Women's meeting for the Church. If you are counting, that meeting was last night and it was beautiful.

I have a friend that I have known since I was too little to even remember. I remember playing at her house when I was very little, and she moved away when I was three. Because life is so busy, even though she lives nearby, we only see each other twice a year, and that is at the Women's Conference. I love that we get to catch up and visit and check in with each other twice a year. It is something I really look forward to.

At the meeting last night, though, the message made me realize that I really need to step up my game when it comes to teaching my children in our home. I am so glad for the inspiration and the guidance that I received last night.

The problem is I am a morning person. Faye and I are morning people. The boys are night people through and through, so finding a time to do family activities that require more effort than watching a show together (where we can all just cuddle on the luvsac) or having a read-a-thon is hard because  by three in the afternoon I am ready for the day to be done and to just go to bed. My energy basically leaves around that time, and it is really hard for me to be organized or patient enough after dinner to do more than just send the kids to bed.

Yeah. I know.

Tonight, though, I was determined to follow through with the promptings I received last night. While Beth was napping and the kids were playing downstairs, I lay in my bed and figured out a lesson to teach the kids. I figured beginning with the Armor of God would be the best way to introduce doing consistent Family Home Evenings.


Keith brought up a Lego guy in full armor, and we used him as an example. We also did the orange experiment. While Jeffrey was reading the scripture in Ephesians, we had an orange floating in a glass jar. After each part of the armor, I took a piece of the peel off and placed both back in the water with a comment like "Oops. This guy just told a lie. He doesn't have his loins girt about with Truth." By the time we had stripped the orange of all its armor, it was no longer floating. It was no longer lifted up. We talked about the things we need to do as a family to be strong and to keep our Armor of God in the best condition it can be. We ate the orange, and then read scriptures as a family. Keith wanted to start in Ether, which I thought was great because they practically have the first 10 chapters of Nephi memorized. And then we had family prayer and sent the kids to get ready for bed.

It was lovely. I really hope I can have the energy to do this every night, because I know how important it is, and sadly, I know that bedtime is my weakness.  I just want to be in bed at the time we are usually getting them ready, so I have a hard time putting a lot of effort into it. I know that makes me sound incredibly lazy, but there you have it.

The best part was when the kids started to argue over their toothbrushes. They were trying to brush at the sink at the same time, and supposedly Faye spit into Keith's hair when he was leaning over the basin to spit out the toothpaste in his mouth. And so when Faye wasn't looking, he spit in her hair. Funniest bit about this is my mom could (and probably did) tell this exact story about my brother and me brushing our teeth at bedtime. When the inevitable fighting began, I simply asked them which part of their armor they were removing, and the fighting stopped instantaneously. It was lovely!

We decided that we are going to be studying the Family: A Proclamation to the World together. We are going to take it a section at a time and spend however much time we need so they can really understand before we move on to the next section.

Also, since Keith is the only child in Senior primary who hasn't been baptized and we are doing a weekly Faith in God challenge, we decided that he can start working on it early. That is not to say that things will be passed off, but I figure if he begins the habits now, it will be that much easier for him once he is 8, and earning that Faith in God award will be a lot easier for him.

I am so excited for conference next week! For information on how or when to watch it, click here. All are invited to come, listen to the word of God through the mouth of a living Prophet!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Food Poisoning and Other Funny Stories

blossoms from our walk this morning.

Showering is a luxury some mothers have to forgo. At least the long therapeutic showers where it is just the water, the steam and oneself enjoying the solitude, lost in thought, feeling the warmth of the water loosen any knots and the steam clearing the head. Mothers have to be quick. In, quick cleaning routine, out. If this rapid system is delayed by sweet intoxication of the persuasive steam, the solitude disappears.

Proof.


That little girl just climbed on in there, regardless of her clothing. And look at that happy face! Also, forgive the grainy blurry picture. Apparently my new phone has a lousy camera. Sad.

Yesterday I decided to go on a mad deep clean, which involved moving all of the furniture and scrubbing the floors. My house smelled, and I am so not okay with a stinky house! As I was scrubbing behind the couch, I found the source of the smell. Apparently Ty Lee got angry with us one day, or was tired of Faye not cleaning out her litter box, and decided to leave her mark. It smelled so bad! Happily, with a little vinegar, baking soda, and carpet cleaner, I was able to get the smell out of my house. Yay! While I was scrubbing the floor, the cleaners were sort of foaming. Faye was hanging over the back of the couch, and pointed to the foam, just as the curious cat was inspecting my work.


"I can see the cat's penis," she said.

Shocked that Faye would say that, and also a little confused because our cat is a girl, and I asked her to say it again.

"I can see the cat's penis." she explained, pointing.

Still baffled, I asked her if she knew what a penis was. She suddenly didn't look as sure of her self and shrugged her shoulders.

"It is a boy's peepee," I explained to her.

"Oh! Never mind then," she said. It was funny to literally see the light go on in her eyes as she understood. She then climbed off the couch and skipped down the hall to play in her room.

I think everyone in my family got food poisoning except Beth and me. Sunday morning I was getting ready for church. I remember looking in the fridge and seeing a jar of red sauce I had made for book club in January. I thought to myself that I really needed to clean out the fridge and throw all that old stuff away. I made a mental note to do it on Monday, and then I went back to getting ready for church with a snack.

We get out of church at 4 o'clock, so I knew we would be having a late supper. As we were walking home from church, I decided to make things very easy on myself. I would make a bunch of popcorn and call it good.

Which is exactly what I did.

Being sick all the previous week had really taken its toll on me. I decided to take a nap after church. While I napped, Jeffrey decided he would be a super hero and make the kids a real dinner. Evidently he didn't think my popcorn plan was filing enough.

He made some delicious spaghetti and meatballs. He brought some in to me, who was napping. As he brought it in, he said "You should like this. You made everything except the pasta."

Those words made me nervous as I couldn't recall making any pasta sauce. He told me he had gotten it out of the fridge. I realized it was the same sauce left over from my book club, and there was no way I would be eating that, and they shouldn't eat it either!

And this is why mothers shouldn't nap. Or maybe they should at least keep the fridge cleaned out of grossly old food that still smells good due to the amount of garlic in it which overpowers and hides the bad smell.

Jeffrey, Keith and Faye all began throwing up the next day. They all complained of hurting heads and stomachs. Keith got it the worst, though. On the way home from school he began to throw up. When he got home he writhed around in agony and cried because his head hurt so much. Jeffrey got home from work and felt horrid as well, so I took the girls (Faye was better by this point. I don't think she had eaten much of the sauce), tucked the boys in bed, and went out grocery shopping.

When I got home, this was on the piano waiting for me:

"Mom
Hurry! I feel sick and hungry. My headache is getting worse. Come quick!
Sincerely yours,
Keith
P.S. No noises at home and I'm crying and tell Faye to stop being loud! 
Love
Keith"

The poor boy! He explained the last bit to me when I asked him about it later. Although it was quiet when he wrote the letter, he knew that Faye tends to be loud, so he was anticipating the noise, and wanted me to warn her to be so very quiet when we got home. That little letter broke my heart a little. He eventually fell asleep in my bed, and I got to cuddle him all night. He threw up again this morning, though, so he was thrilled to not have to go to school.

I am excited for him to be able to go back tomorrow, though. There is a lot less fighting when he is at school, and Beth is able to nap much longer when there isn't an older sibling skirmish to wake her.

All in all, though, I am just thrilled for us all to be getting well.

Finally!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Princess Faye and the Pear


Remember a while back when I said we had been hit by the plague?

I had spoken too soon.

Last week is when we got hit.

I got strep throat and had an ear infection in both ears. It was miserable. It basically put me out of commission for most of the week. I really felt bad about not being there for the kids, but I had to rest so I could get well, and those three days of sleeping were heaven sent, aside from really putting me behind on all my duties. I was finally feeling mostly better by Friday, but that is the day Keith got the flu.

Typical.

I am happy to report, though, that this will be maybe the third time this whole year that we have all been well enough for everyone to go to church. I am so excited to have my whole family with me! It has been such a long time. Wow.

Moving along.

Friday I was sitting with the kids in the kitchen having an afternoon snack. We had decided on pears. I cut one up for Beth, handed a whole one to Keith, and a whole one to Faye, and then blissfully sat down ready to indulge in the hilarity of the friendly banter between Keith and Faye, and the sweetness of that fruit.

The Ty Lee jumped up onto my lap and I absently pet her while enjoying the moment.

When my pear was half gone it slipped out of my fingers, bumped off the cat's back and onto the floor. I picked it up, dusted it off in case of any crumbs, carefully looked over it and picked off the 1 strand of cat hair, and resumed my posture of listening and eating, and thoroughly enjoying myself. Except before I had a chance to take another bite, it happened again. The pear slipped out of my fingers, bounced off the cat's back and slid beneath the high chair.

This time, I wasn't going to trust the 10 second rule.  I picked up my pear, took it over to the sink and rinsed it off. While I was shaking it, to get any excess water off, the pear once again slipped out of my fingers and this time dove straight into the drain.

That is when I finally gave up on eating it.

Well played, pear. Well played.

On Friday I was driving down the street and we saw one of those Liberty Tax guys out on the corner dancing and twirling his sign. The particular one we saw was an older man, looking like he was of the Woodstock variety. You know the type; long grey pony-tailed hair, sandals with socks on, sunglasses hanging from his shirt front. I pointed him out to Faye, who then began thinking.

"Isn't the Statue of Liberty supposed to be really big and far away from here, Mom?" she asked.

Proud of her critical thinking skills, we had a conversation about where it is located and how that man was just out there as an add gimick. He was just trying to get people to go visit their place of business.

"Oh."

Silence for a few seconds and again, she asked, "But I thought the Statue of Liberty was a girl."

I laughed and told her that she is right, and that I loved to see her mind thinking and figuring things out.

After we had driven in silence for a little longer, She asked one more question.

"Mom, why is the Statue of Liberty so important anyway?"

I about burst with pride at that question.

We then talked about the symbolism and beautiful invitation, and how it was a symbol of freedom and peace to so many people coming to our land from Europe.  When we got home, we read the poem by Emma Lazarus.

The New Colossus
Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed, sunset-gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mothers of Exile. From her beacon hand
Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" she cries
With silent lips, "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore;
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Seriously, I sometimes am blown away by the way she thinks about things, and tries to figure everything out. And how much she knows! Last night we were watching Big Hero 6 and I asked what the big blimp type things in the air were, and she said "They are wind turbines, Mom." Holy smokes! What 5 year old knows what that is?! I almost was embarrassed to ask if anyone knew what they were for. "They are supposed to help with the pollution, I think." was her answer.

Blown. A. Way.

In other news, my phone finally bit the dust yesterday. I had not been able to connect it to the computer for a while, it said the drivers were bad, or something along those lines. And then it would randomly hang up, for no reason at all. It refused to hold a charge longer than 30 minutes, and finally, yesterday, it wouldn't let me get past the lock screen.

Sigh.

I am not looking forward to having to take the time to get to know and customize a new phone all over again. But I am so grateful for the blessing of having a phone, so I am not going to be complaining on that one too much. Just mildly annoyed, I guess.

Finally, Faye has decided to take the Princess and the Pea approach to sleeping.

She says it is more comfortable that way.

Silly girl.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

St. Paddy's Sleep


On Sunday, in order to motivate them to get ready for church, Jeffrey promised the kids that the first one one to get ready for church could spend 2 hours doing whatever they wanted with him.

Wow, it really lit a fire beneath them. I love his form of motivation! 

Obviously, because Faye is a girl and it takes longer for her to get ready, Keith won. 

She was devastated.

Wading through the river of tears, I explained to Faye that if Keith spent 2 hours with his dad, that meant we would have the same amount of time together! She was thrilled and chose a walk for her activity with me.

We went to a nearby wetlands refuge. It was beautiful. 



There were so many gnats out, it was hard to get a picture of Faye, as every time I got ready to take her picture a bug would fly into her face and she would squirm. The gnats were amazingly annoying. 



The bugs didn't seem to irritate Betg one whit, however. She loved looking between the cracks of the boardwalk, and oh my goodness, she couldn't get enough of the walk.


I have to admit, the view was beautiful.  The humidity was rather intense, though. After we made it to the top of the tower, mosquitoes came out in full ranks and we were forced to retreat.

Except retreating with a baby who greatly enjoys the view and doesn't want to leave is rather difficult.  As we were leaving, Beth would lay down on the boardwalk and insist "Uh-uh." 

I would pick her up and carry her for a little ways, when she would squirm, and say "Down!" Because she is heavy, and I needed my arms free to swat at the charging brigade of mosquitoes, I would put her down.


Rinse and repeat.

I am happy to say, we made it out alive. I only look like I have chicken pox on my forearms, and it itches about as much, but we are safe, alive, and both girls were ridiculously happy for our girl time. Despite the venemous vampiric bugs, and the sticky sweat clad humidity, it was rather lovely. And quite honestly, I can't really complain, because in truth, I really did enjoy every second with them. How could I not?


Monday I had a lot of fun preparing for St. Patrick's day.  My mother bought a small nude wooden box for me. I painted it green and then slathered some stain all over it, ending with sprinkling glitter while it was still wet, and it turned out lovely. I was quite pleased with it.


By the time I finished the box, it was ridiculously late, and I was tired. I looked around and the house was a mess.  Instead of leaving the typical footprints and other fun things I do for St. Paddy's Day, I left a few messages for the kids on some windows, mirror, and front door, and then went to bed, intending to get up and do a serious clean up while Faye was at preschool the next day.


Obviously the kids got to the door before I could take pictures. 

This winking leprechaun in the kids' bathroom was their favorite. They have insisted on showing it to everyone who comes to our house, and Faye asked if we could keep it up for a few more days. It made me laugh.

"I wanted to play but your house is too messy!
"I'll come back later today. Clean it up. Find my pot of gold..."
The kids loved the messages so much that they drew a picture of our resident leprechaun on the window next to the messages. Unfortunately, the only marker they could find was a Sharpie. I am hoping it comes off eventually.

However, as Fate would have it, I was not able to get up and clean yesterday, so I could play pranks and leave the usual signs of visitation that they have come to expect.

I woke up, feeling exhausted. My throat hurt like crazy, and swallowing was just too painful.  Also, I just plain didn't feel good. I did the school carpool, came home, got Faye ready for preschool and then Beth and I took a nap. 

I slept.

I have a very hard time sleeping during the day, so it was quite a feat that I was able to sleep!

Which is good because a fever had just developed. 

Jeffrey called and told me he was coming home for lunch and I was so relieved. He picked up Faye for me, and I basically slept all day long. By mid afternoon, I looked in my mouth to discover the tell tale polka-dots of strep. No wonder it hurt so much to swallow!

It was fun hearing the kids talk excitedly about the leprechaun stopping by to visit. I am so relieved that I didn't disappoint them, despite my sickness. Keith left a sign of the front door for the leprechaun that made me laugh and "Aw" at the same time.


"I don't want some Gold! All I want is a you as a friend! from Keith and Faye
P.S. and we will give you your pants back."

Remember how last year they set a trap and caught his pants? This year Faye also found a jacket. Quite the dapper little fellow, he is. My friend who made the pants last year made the jacket this year. I love it! Faye has claimed it, of course, so I wasn't able to get a picture of it yet. 

Jeffrey kept the kids downstairs so I could rest. Just before bedtime, my mommy guilt was a little heavy, so I pulled my tired bones out of bed, filled the decorated box with some treats, put it on the living room floor, and went back to bed.


The squealing they emitted could have awakened the dead when they saw the treasure box. I wish I had been feeling well enough to have seen their faces when they discovered it. Their excitement Sounded darling!

Today, I was able to go to the doctor, and I am happily on antibiotics now. I also found out I have a double ear infection on top of the strep, and a vicious cough that if it doesn't clear up in two weeks, they want me to go back. Fingers crossed for health!

Since I have been sick for about a month now, it sure will be nice to get  everything figured out, and healthy again. Beth also has been sick for about two months. Her nose has been so runny, she has crazy sores all over the inside of her nose.  The poor nose was wiped raw, and the constant dripping didn't help it at all. I am so happy to report, I only wiped her nose once today. Victory!

Okay, enough about the health complaints, I am just deliciously happy about the prospect of turning this health corner. 

It's the little things, people. The little things.

Happy belated St. Paddy's Day!

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Hero

Yesterday we were forced to do some emergency renovations on the house.

I was fixing lunch and I could hear the girls down the hall, playing.  We had just come in from a lovely walk, relishing the emergence of Spring, and our appetites were whet. I heard a door close, and Faye bounced into the kitchen, plopped down at the counter and complained loudly that she was hungry. I laughed because she always does that when I am cooking, and told her to get her sister and we would eat.

She jumped out of her seat and bounded out of the kitchen, anxious to get the task out of the way so she could get some food in her belly. A minute later she came back, telling me she couldn't get Beth to come.

This is a very common excuse, so I sent her again, telling her no food would be served until we were all there together.

Again, she left the room, and came back with the same report.

I had finished cooking, so I went down the hall to see why the baby didn't want to come eat with us.

Her bedroom door was closed.

With a smug look, Faye told me she couldn't get the door open. Thinking Beth was merely sitting in front of the door, I grasped the handle and gave it a sharp twist.

Only my hand slid around the handle, and the doorknob didn't budge.

Before I continue my narrative, I feel it important to mention that merely a month ago Jeffrey and I had talked about the hazard of Beth's room. There is a lock on her door, it was there when we moved in, and we don't have the key to it. We had discussed switching the doorknob with the linen closet door, and then we went to sleep. We couldn't do it right then because it was very late and it would wake her up if we tried. By the next morning, both of us had completely forgotten our plan to change the door knob.

That moment and conversation flashed through my head as I realized that the door was locked from the inside.

I tried to remain calm, while Beth was knocking on the door patiently, and saying "Lunk," persistent with her little knocks.

I ran down the hall and called Jeffrey. He wasn't a lot of help since he was at work. My next thought was to call my dad who has jimmied open a lock with a credit card many times.  He didn't answer his cell phone. In that moment, my panic began to rise. I could still hear Beth knocking and asking for lunch, and I felt so helpless to get in to her. Because of the panic, I couldn't remember the name of the company my father works for, so I couldn't call him at work. I called a few other friends, one who suggested I look on Youtube for a video on how to pick a lock.

All the while, the panic was continuing to rise.

I paced the house, I wrung my hands, and I nearly cried. I could hear her calling me, and I couldn't do a thing to help her. I worried that she would soon get scared or frustrated and begin to cry, and I would be left on the other side of the door, listening, wanting with all of my heart to be on the other side of the door as she was, but not being able to comfort her.

Meanwhile, Faye was eating all of the meatballs I had made for lunch. I hadn't had a chance to make anything to go with them before all of this happened.

My hands were sweating, my heart was pounding, I was anxious, and worried, and prayed over and over that we would be able to get to her soon. I had visions of her being stuck in there all afternoon, and it made my heart ache.

And then my knight in shining armor strolled through the door with a plan in his head and a hammer in his hand.

He knocked a hole in the door, reached his hand through, and unlocked it.

As easy as you like.

He picked up the baby, gave her a hug, placed her in my arms, gave me a great kiss, and strolled out the door and back to work.


Which is why the baby's door now has several patches of duct tape all over it.

Let's not discuss my OCD, though, okay? I just like things to be neat and uniform.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dandelion Fluff and Ladies


The older I get, the deeper grows my appreciation for the seasons. I remember as a child I loved the months from May through October, while hating the month of November through April. Spring and Winter were abhorred with all the passion a child can muster.  While those months were full of wonderful and magical holidays, they seemed merely cold and muddy and miserable. Now, though, I can appreciate the subtle nuances of each individual season, and rejoice and embrace them gladly.

I used to say that Winter was terrible because of the cold, and the ice, and I made up a statistic that there are more car accidents in the winter, because I wanted to justify my dislike for the season.  But now, there seems to be very little to dislike. I love the comfort of coming into a warm house on an arctic day. I love the way snow sparkles in the sun, as if sprinkled with fairy jewels. Or the way it crunches loudly beneath my feet. I especially love the magical way it falls from the sky, as if bits of cloud were shedding down on us. I love the amplified luminescent glow of the reflected moon in the snow, or that brilliant light that eerily radiates from the snow when it is perfectly cloudy above. I love the way my glasses steam when I walk into a warm building, or the perfect snowflakes in my hair that wait just a bit before they melt. I love the long cozy nights that I can spend with my family, cuddled wherever we are. I love the smell of the heater. I love the excuse to bake and cook for the comfort of the heat.

I love winter.

But there is just something about Spring. The renewed birth, the life, the dainty beginnings that push the cold drear away. I love the way the sun begins to warm the world, and that I can open all my windows and let the fresh new breeze into my house. There is the excitement of seeing the tender new shoots pushing their way up through the hard cold ground, ready to beautify my surroundings. I love the excitement of making new discoveries, and being able to experience all these things, as if for the first time, through the eyes of the children.


Today the Beth and I walked to pick Faye up from preschool. On the way home, she flat out refused to get into the stroller, and instead wanted to walk and run and be like Faye. And so the girls ran, and laughed, and experienced the world reborn, and I got to experience it with them.


As I taught Beth the wish making process of dandelion fluff, Faye was ahead of us a ways. I heard a squeal of delight. I looked down the sidewalk to see Faye crouched over something.


Her hair was hiding her face but the rigidity of her body showed her excitement just as clearly as her expression would have. I grabbed Beth's hand and together we ran to see what it was that had Faye in such a passion.

It was a ladybug! 


The first one this year.

Just a few days ago our mourning dove came back. Faye has been outside nearly every day cooing with it. We saw the blue jay that lives in our pine trees.

All the signs of spring are here, and I can't remember exactly what it was that had turned me off of the beauties of this season.

I can't wait to experience every single joy with my children. Again and again and again, as long as they will let me.

Welcome Spring!

Thursday, March 5, 2015


"No."

As I was clearing my bed from the daily accumulation of books and primary paraphernalia, I heard a sudden urgent cry coming from Beth's room. Experience has taught me that if I leave it long enough, one of two things will happen. Either she will just fall back asleep, or, more often than not, she will wake herself up and get mad, which is a much harder state to try to coax her back to sleep.  With a sigh I turned off my light and went to Beth's rescue. I didn't want anything that could possibly prolong her lingering between sleep and consciousness.

I quietly opened her door and as the faint light from my bedroom lamp spilled across her floor, she stopped mid scream to say "Hi."

It may have melted my heart a little, and made me laugh a lot.

I went into her room and noticed that it was too warm. Apparently she had been fiddling with the space heater during the day and had turned it up too high, which was the reason she was awake. I turned it back to the usual temperature, and turned to the crib.

She was standing on her tippy-toes, bouncing in the crib, arms extended towards me, greeting me happily over and over with "Hi."

I scooped her up in a great big hug and just held her. Part of me really wanted to be in bed sleeping. The other part was desperately glad that she had awakened because I love to cuddle her. We walked around her room for a little bit, me humming and bouncing her, while she smiled at me and rested her curly head on my shoulder.

We glided over to the window to look at the moon glow spilling over the yard, reminding me why we named this place Moon Hollow. For the brilliant moon-white glow that illuminates our yard and paints it like a fairy land. As we were imagining imps and fairies dancing through the bird bushes, we heard a train. It was fun to see the cars rushing past, throwing shadows across the lawn.  Beth let out a sweet and tired sigh, and I asked her if she would like to go back to bed yet, and she said "No."

We walked around the silent dark house, me whispering softly in her ear, telling her stories and my hopes and dreams for her when she grows up. Secrets. After a few minutes, I again asked if she was ready to go to sleep.

"No."

By this time I was beginning to yawn something fierce, so we went back to her room where we rocked in her rocking chair and I sang her songs until I was hoarse. After each song, I asked her if she was ready to go to sleep yet. She always answered in the same way.

"No."

And so I smiled and continued holding her and rocking her, feeling the weight of her head on my shoulder, her curls rubbing my cheek, and eventually my head nodded.  My eyes drooped, and I think I may have fallen asleep in her antique rocker, creaking and sighing with every movement I made. If I did fall asleep, it wasn't for long. I gave up on asking her and simply got up and walked over to her crib. As I was moving to lay her down, she wrapped those darling little arms around my neck and squeezed with a power I would never have suspected, and said firmly, "No."

I kissed her cheek, untangled her arms from about my neck, and gently laid her down in her crib. I gave her her teddy bear, patted her back, and sneaked out. As I was closing her bedroom door, she again said, "No."

I think she may have learned a new word today.