Most of my family and friends know that spring break was difficult with Drew gone for 2 whole weeks to North Carolina. The great news is that Drew finished his dissertation while he was away and is set to defend on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo (also Abby the Cat's 5th birthday)! Most likely he will graduate on May 20th. Drew began his doctoral program when Hadley was 3 weeks old. He will finish the week before she turns 2. He has done this while holding down a full time job. Who does that? He is, in a word, unbelievable.
While we were holding down the fort here in Texas, poor Hadley was walking on the sidewalk in Houston and randomly fell and got a fat lip and a cut on her forehead. Very long story short, she ended up getting some stitches from a wonderful plastic surgeon there in Houston. With no anesthetic, topical or otherwise. Mommy and 2 nurses had to tie her up in a bedsheet (a makeshift papoose since this wasn't a pediatric plastic surgeon) and hold her down during the ordeal. Probably the worst thing I have been through with either of my children, but in looking on the bright side, there are many worse things that could have happened. It just so happened to be our worst thing ever and with no Daddy in state. Hayden also had a little visit to the Urgent Care in Houston but just for an ear infection. Hadley got her stitches out here in Austin this past Thursday. This was somehow almost worse than getting them in, since the doctor had a really hard time getting them out. Hadley's little boyfriends in MOPS and preschool have been fascinated with her stitches and bandages.
Needless to say, this is our first weekend as a family of 4 in a whole month! We are so happy to have our Daddy home. Tomorrow Hayden starts speech therapy at Mills Elementary School. They could only do his therapy during our regular preschool time, so eventually Hayden will ride a bus to and from speech from Bannockburn. This makes me slightly hysterical. My 3 year old on a schoolbus of sorts equipped with a carseat. But my director at preschool is wonderful and she is working with me on making this happen! This week and next I will go with him and bring him back myself. We'll try the bus thing on week 3. This month we're also starting back up with swim lessons. Hayden went last year, but this will be Hadley's first time.
While Drew was away Hadley and Hayden started saying more funny things. Hadley walks around saying "Mommy, where are you?" when I am virtually never out of her sight. She's also big on "What's that Mommy?" about everything. Hayden likes to ask "What does that mean?" incessantly. For example, I'll say, "I'm going to make pancakes" and Hay says "What does that mean Mommy?" and I say "It means I am going to make pancakes" and around and around. They both sing pretty much all the time. Lots of Farmer and the Dell, Baa Baa Blacksheep (still), ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle, and so on. They are liking the Toy Story movie so they both say "To infinity and beyond!" alot. Hadley calls him Buzz Buzz Lightyear. Sort of a combo of Buzz Buzz the Bee from Mickey and Buzz Lightyear.
Last night we had yet another trying meal at the big dinner table. All our meals there are....well, they require an inordinate amount of patience on the part of mommy and daddy. Just when Drew and I had had about enough of the chicanery, Hadley and Hayden struck up a conversation with one another. It ended with Hadley singing the ABCs all the way through. She sings it really fast but Hayden was ready to coach her along if she paused. Drew and I were laughing so hard we were both crying after the little conversation about who knows what and the singing. They had another little conversation in my car this morning. Hayden would say "BB, can I have one of your goldfish?" and Hadley would say "Ok, Hay Hay, here you go", then "Thanks", then "You're welcome" over and over and over one goldfish at a time through an entire cup of Baby Goldfish.
Drew leaves at 5AM tomorrow morning for 2 weeks in North Carolina over spring break. If you hear a loud THUD come Monday, it will have been me, keeling over from exhaustion with a week and a half still to go.
We took the kids to Elmo Live 1-2-3 at the Frank Erwin Center this past Sunday. Hayden loved it and had a great time eating popcorn, singing, and playing with his Elmo balloon. Hadley had a good time as well but had a harder time with sitting still in her seat. She liked the popcorn, fruit snacks, and Big Bird.
Monday night I was trying to convince Hayden to get in bed and he made this clicking sound and made a "shut" motion to his mouth and cupped his ears. Then he said, "I put on my listening ears Mommy." I had been so frustrated with him but both Drew and I were laughing so hard it was difficult to be firm in our "get in bed or else" speech. Many thanks to Ms. Mandy at school and her listening ears. Speaking of school, I was going to fetch a broom to sweep my classroom after lunch yesterday, and there was Miss Hadley sitting on Ms. Kathy's (the director of our school aka The Principal) desk getting a talking-to for throwing pizza at lunch and then smiling and doing it again when she was asked to stop. Her teachers and I were laughing but Ms. Kathy did a good job keeping a straight face while reading Hadley the riot act on table manners.
Both kids are into singing their songs lately. They both sing the ABCs, but I've noticed Hayden sometimes interjects "M-O-U-S-E" in the middle somewhere. Thanks to Mickey Mouse and his song. Hadley likes to sing Ba Ba Blacksheep too. Hayden is working on his math--adding and subtracting--he likes to get a bunch of things and then take a few away, then count again. At school Hayden learned that when someone asks him his name he is supposed to say "My name is Hayden Houlihan". Very useful in the event that he goes missing in Target or somesuch. So he and I were teaching Hadley how to say her name and she says "BB. Hoo Hoo Han."
Drew and I got back on Sunday from our trip to visit Tom and Diane in Venice Beach, FL. My mom with a little help from our babysitters took care of Hayden and Hadley here at our house. She and the kids did great while we were away. They both used the potty, which was a relief since Hayden hadn't even been potty trained for a full week when we left town. The Saturday before we left town on Thursday, we put Hayden in his underwear and haven't looked back. The potty routine is a little crazy with both kids in the bathroom pottying at the same time and needing help pulling pants up and down and washing hands and dumping the pee, etc.
Drew and I had a loooong trip getting to Venice Beach, but sitting in the airport all day Thursday (waiting for them to de-ice in Dallas) was awfully peaceful and un-physically demanding! Tom and Diane had to come fetch us all the way in Orlando since we missed the last connecting flight that night. We had the best time with them, ate at wonderful restaurants, saw a movie, and Drew and Tom played golf in the freezing cold while Diane and I shopped on her birthday. We also got to see the most entertaining group of aging hippies playing bongos and dancing around like they were on fire at sunset on Saturday night at the beach. We drank wine and ate cheese and watched the performance! We were so happy to see our babies again on Valentine's Day.
Last night Drew had class til around 7 or so, so the kids and I had dinner and while I cleaned up I got out their puzzles and listened to them play. Usually I need to be very close by in case he puts her in a choke hold or she bites or scratches him, but they were so peaceful I kept to washing the dishes and listened. They were working on the same puzzle together and were having a conversation. She would say "this one, Hay hay?" and he would say "Yes, BB, that is the egg. It goes right here." and on and on. This sounds like not a big deal I'm sure, but it was very sweet to see them playing and talking and not fighting. They are very best friends but they tend to get possessive of absolutely everything. They are both into their music, and Hayden will demand a certain song in the car and I'll play it and then Hadley will scream "LOUDER. MOMMY. LOUDER!" until I crank it up a few decibels.
We were in the backyard a week or so ago in the late afternoon and this cable guy came over the fence on a ladder from the lady's yard behind us. Hayden saw him and goes "Hey, what's the big idea, man?". (Donald Duck says 'What's the big idea' alot). Hayden kept yelling at him until he said he was looking for a cable buried under our side of the fence.
A few random Hayden and Hadley stories....yesterday Drew took Hayden to have a speech evaluation with the Austin ISD speech therapists, which children here are eligible for once they are 3 years old. Hayden, like many children, has trouble pronouncing certain consonants and consonant blends, such as Ls, Rs, Ss, etc. We wanted to get a jump on improving his pronunciation well before kindergarten, so we are fortunate that they will work with children as young as Hayden. The principal of the elementary school wanted to meet Hayden since she knows Drew, and when she came out to meet Hayden he held out his hand for her to shake and said "Hello, nice to meet you" and everyone laughed and noted that he was very much like father like son! Hayden did great during his evaluation and was very cooperative. At the end they asked him if he wanted a sticker and in true Houlihan form he asked for two stickers. Twice. Finally the lady took him to get a sticker and she said could she give him a square of stickers that had about 10 stickers on it? He said "Yes, ma'am, I would love that, thanks." He cracked up the room I have heard. Also he has taken to saying something like "This chocolate milk is dee-lilcious, Mommy" which is really funny since he has never had chocolate milk in his life. He heard about chocolate milk on Mickey Mouse of course. He also talks about stinky shoes alot, also big on Mickey Mouse (Goofy loves his stinky shoes).
Hadley is talking up a storm as usual and always says "Bless you Mommy, bless you" when I sneeze or cough, which is pretty much all day long. She also kisses all of Hayden's trains and greets them individually. "Hi Toby, hi" and a big kiss, "Hi, James, hi" kiss kiss. She also likes for me to kiss them all plus all of her stuffed animals. I caught Hadley charging out of my closet in 3 inch yellow patent leather heels yesterday and she was remarkably running in them without a wobble. Better balance than her mother. When she has her mind made up about something she wants you to do, she gets very close to your face and says something like "Mommy. Come. To. Hay's. Room. Mommy." and takes you by the hand and all but drags you along with her.