Help me out, Moms.

I'm confused about which of my children is normal.

Lila remembers every word that has ever been spoken within hearing distance. Seriously. She never forgets anything. And she's always been that way.

Long before she could read, we'd check books out from the library. One of us would read the book to her one time. The next time we read it, sometimes days later, we might get sloppy and skip a word. She would correct us because she had the book memorized - after one reading!

Since she was our first child, I assumed that all children were this way.

Then we had Eli. He is pretty much the opposite of his sister. He is sweet and thoughtful and loving... but sometimes I wonder if I speak at a frequency that he can't hear.

I can look the boy in the face, and tell him something simple. For example, "We're going to pick Lila up from school in five minutes."

Five minutes later, I'll say, "Okay, time to pick Lila up. Please get your shoes on!"

Eli will say, "Okay!" He'll put his shoes on and get in the car.

Halfway to school, he'll say, "Where are we going?"

So, which one of these fruitcakes should I be worrying about?


Random Photos from Eli's Party

Chocolate coated Eli - after helping to make the cake.
Hershey's Chocolate Bars wrapped in birthday labels.
Water bottles wrapped in birthday labels.
Pre-party insanity, in full swing.
This kid is the most gratifying person to give gifts too because everything he gets is just the coolest!
Blowing out the candles. The kids called that big break in the cake an Earthquake. We'll go with that!


Eli's Room Makeover

Doug and I decided to make over Eli's side of the bedroom for his birthday. His birthday party was on Saturday and we asked the grandparents to take the kids home with them afterward. We did all the painting and decorating while they were gone, so it was a big surprise for Eli when they got home!

Red is his very favorite color, so that was the obvious choice for painting the walls. When I asked him what his favorite shade of red was he said Iron Man Red and Dr. Pepper Can Red, which are basically the same.

(I asked a couple of different times to make sure I got a consistent answer.) I think the color looks a bit brighter in these photos than it does in person. It's a great color though. I love it!

The Little Big Planet wall hanging is from Eli's birthday party. I ordered it, thinking it was going to be a paper poster, but it turned out to be a high-quality cloth thing. So onto the wall it went!

On to the bed. Eli is the only person in the house who thinks it is too cold at night and that's why he kept showing up in our room during the wee hours of morning. The rest of us sleep under as little cover as possible, and the kids didn't even have comforters - just light blankets. So, as another part of the makeover, we got him a nice, fluffy comforter (with matching sheets).

He liked it so much that he face-planted onto it and yelled, "I LOVE YOU!!!"

It is unclear whether he was talking to us or the bed.

The picture you see hanging on the wall is a particularly cool painting that Eli did several months ago. It kind of looks like a Joan Miro. And it looks great with the wall color and bedding!
Of course, we couldn't forget his obsession with Monster Jam! The plush monster truck you see on his bed (in the photo above) is one of his favorites. It is known around our house as Puff Grinder. (Grinder being the name of the truck, Puff being... well, it's a puffy truck.)

I got a good deal on a 10-pack of Monster Jam pennants for his wall. I hung the first two and Eli put the rest of them up.

Well, he held them against the wall and I put the tacks in. But the arrangement is his, nonetheless.

There was a slight confusion over what gloss-level was already on the walls, so now Lila's side is flat finish and Eli's is satin. Lila is jealous because Eli's side is shiny.

I prefer a flat or eggshell finish myself, but I figure the boogers will wipe off the satin finish more easily.

(You think I'm kidding, don't you...)


Why does everyone in our house feel like doing this?

Let me tell you.

April 17th - Family Birthday
April 18th - Family Birthday
April 26th - Family Birthday (deceased)
April 27th - Family Birthday AND My Birthday
April 28th - Family Birthday
May 9th - Family Birthday
May 11th - Family Birthday
May 12th - Mother's Day
May 13th - Eli's Birthday
May 21st - Doug's Birthday

Figure in two birthday parties and countless end-of-school projects and activities...

Someone wake me when summer gets here.


Get with the program!

Well, we've got the kids taking care of their responsibilities every day, without complaint. Now if we could only get Eli to eat!

Dessert is about to be added to the list of privileges that he has to earn. And the way he will earn it is by eating something (healthy) at dinner.

Tonight was a classic example of how things typically go. His dinner plate contained one piece of arugula, roughly three noodles and a piece of broccoli (with sauce), one grape tomato, one slice of apple, and about 8 peanuts.

He ate none of it. Not one bite. He prayed with us, sucked down his small cup of apple juice, and left the table.

I quit making special dishes or allowing junk food on dinner plates because I want all of us to eat the same healthy meal. We thought that Eli would surely come around and start eating after a few nights of going to bed without dinner.

Nope! It's been going on this way for at least a year. It's not uncommon for Eli to have a snack (maybe a cereal bar) around 3 p.m. and then not eat again until breakfast next morning. [sigh]

If taking away his dessert privilege doesn't work, then I don't know what we're going to do. You can't make a child eat. You can give all the consequences in the world, but that is one great area of control that a child always has.

As I sit here and think this through, I'm realizing that it could get real ugly around here before Eli finally starts eating good food. I can't just wait around for him to grow up and expand his diet. He needs good nutrition now.


I feel like I'm taking Crazy Pills!

Eli took care of his responsibilities by 3:30 today, because he wanted his (video) game time. We had to leave to pick Lila up from school at 3:40.

Eli: "Can I have my game time now?"
Me: [thinking] "Well... you can play for 10 minutes, but then we'll need to go pick Lila up from school. You can play for 20 more minutes when we get back home."
Eli: "Okay!"
Me: "If you argue with me or throw a fit when I say it's time to turn the game off, then you won't get to finish playing when we get home."
Eli: "Okay!"

I get him started on the game.

7 minutes later...

Me: "Just a few more minutes before we need to leave..."
Eli: "Okay!"

3 minutes later...

Me: "Okay, buddy! It's time to turn the game off."
Eli: [screeching like a ringwraith] "Noooooooo!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!"

I finally had to take the controller away and turn the game off myself.

Eli: "Do I still get the rest of my game time?"

Do these people listen to me at all?!?