Posted by: Hannah | 08/21/2013

back to work

I’m sure you’re all just dying to hear how the extra kids did while I was away.

I have to admit I had a certain curiousity about it myself – especially about Pixie. Without the routine of getting to my house every morning, how far off the rails would she go?

Answer: pretty damn far.

Monday morning she arrived, reasonably cheerful, but as white as a sheet and with puffy brown shadows under her eyes. Quoth her mom: “You be good for Hannah. NO TANTRUMS. [pause] We are so glad you’re home!” and then she quite literally bolted out the front door.


She was fine all day, although at naptime she was out cold within five minutes of her head hitting the pillow. At pick-up time, her dad looked both nervous and sheepish when he walked in – quite the combination. He was surprised to hear that she was fine… because apparently she was most decidedly Not Fine the whole time I was gone. In seventeen days, she took TWO naps. She was routinely up screaming until 9:30… or 10:30… or midnight. (!!) She woke every morning by 6:30.


Yesterday she was a little wobbly at drop off, putting up token resistance and needing to be prodded to let go of her mom at the door. She wanted quiet play all morning and nearly fell asleep in her lunch. She napped hard for two and a half hours and had to be dragged out of bed.

This morning I heard her screaming as she was pulled up the driveway. She wailed. She howled. She wouldn’t take off her sneakers. She did that ‘air-punch’ thing at me. OH IT’S ON NOW SISTER. She found herself unceremoniously deposited in the time-out chair until she could calm herself down.

She’s exhausted. Beyond exhausted. The brown shadows are still there. I cannot imagine the size of her sleep debt right now. Poor mite. (See, it’s still soon enough after vacation that I’m sorry for her, rather than being annoyed at her total lack of logic about bedtime.)


Louis has been pretty good. Great, for Louis. He hasn’t done the boneless-flop-to-the-floor-and-scream thing yet. He’s eating well. All bathroom trips – with the exception of this morning’s, more on that in a minute – have been uneventful. He seems to have grown several inches while I was away, and put on some weight, too. His hair grew a lot and is once again resembling Phil Spector. His nails need trimming (a little task I do at no extra charge, because he has no problem sitting still for me, but apparently will scream blue murder if his parents try it).

He did have to be reminded on Monday morning that the toys are for sharing, but since then he’s been pretty good about it. He keeps telling me that he “went on a sailboat YESTERDAY” (it was actually two weeks ago, so cute) and generally is being a pleasant if noisy kid.

This morning was different – his mom dropped him off instead of his dad. And holy moley, the difference was staggering. With dad, he waves a cheerful goodbye and heads into the house without a backward glance. With mom, he whined. He tried using baby talk. He refused to take off his shoes. He tried crawling up her dress. He went rigid. He was also clutching his groin, crossing his ankles, and dancing from foot to foot… all while claiming he didn’t need to pee and wasn’t going to sit on the toilet ever.

Needless to say as soon as his mom left, he found himself on the toilet with instructions to please stay there until he peed.

So, by 8AM, I had two kids here, in separate rooms, both wailing as if I’d covered them in molasses and then rolled them in an ant hill.


After about ten minutes, Louis finally peed and came out of the bathroom, looking a trifle sheepish. Pixie’s wails subsided about five minutes after that (yes folks, counting the screaming that apparently started at home once her mom tried getting her into sneakers for the walk over here, she had a full-volume tantrum that lasted nearly half an hour). I got them to sit and read them some stories with lots of silly rhymes and exaggerated facial expressions. They finally settled and are now playing… but yeesh. What a morning.


Daisy is showing all kinds of toilet-readiness signs, and actually peed in the potty for me yesterday mid-way through a diaper change. Although it feels like I just finished the last round of toilet training, I’m perfectly willing to concede that it’s time to test her actual readiness, so once we’ve got the September routine entrenched I’ll start with her. (I’ll probably give George a go at the same time – he’s fascinated by “pee toy-yet” – although I don’t think he’s physically ready yet and won’t be surprised if it’s a soggy disaster.)

She’s still not talking very much at all, although there have been a few more words than there were before I left – notably “please” and “thank you”, although she needs to be prompted every time. Daisy’s biggest speech problem is laziness; when she wants a drink of water, she will first say “waaaa?” and then point at the tap. I always remind her – a couple of times if necessary, and always smiling – to use her words, and eventually she will say “wah-tah pweese”. Then I give her the water and lots of praise, too.

She’s been giving everyone hugs, whether they want them or not, and keeps telling me she loves me, which is nice. She was a little tired on day one but very quickly settled back into the routine here.


Big-kid school starts on September 4th. Preschool for Louis and Pixie begins the following week, and toilet-training will (likely) begin the week after that. We’ll need a whole new routine and rhythm, but I think it’ll be fun – and should definitely pass in the blink of an eye.



  1. I love hearing about the kiddos!

  2. My heart just breaks for poor Pixie. I know she’s going to be a holy terror for you because of her sleep deficit, but I’m just so sad about the havoc that is playing with her system. It’s depressing.

  3. Oh, Pixie, Pixie. I feel so damn sorry for all of you, and her especially. This is bordering on the ridiculous.

  4. What is UP with that Pixie kid?

    Owl is one of those kids who is much better with other people. Oh, he’s fine for us. No tantrums, takes his naps, goes to bed. But with us he is TESTING US ALL THE TIME. Every day he has to push boundaries, see what happens if he says “no!” or “no like you!” even though he KNOWS what’ll happen when he does those things. It’s very tiring, especially when everyone else insists that your child is an angel…

    So that’s aggravating. But Pixie seems like a whole other ball game. Why won’t that kid sleep?

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