Friday, September 21, 2007

The Weather Report--Soaking It All In

The night of the red hoe incident, the weather was cool and clear. The ladies aren’t quite ready to participate in the fanatical arguments over the lawn mower, the broken wheel from the trike that no one has long enough legs to actually use, the sandbox toys that are used anywhere but the sandbox, and, yes, the red hoe. But, they are able to watch and soak it all in. We can see them laying on their blanket watching and waiting. Waiting for the day they can join in the chaos instead of contributing from a stationary point of view. They are indeed learning. They must be learning that the children’s picnic table is for tipping over and crawling on like a boat or for pinning a brother to the wall of the house. They must be learning that flowers are for eating. They must be learning that the swimming pool makes a good fort when propped up against a tender, young tree or better, a prison for a brother when tipped over the top of him and held down. They must be learning that the shovel can carry sand to all parts of the lawn. They must be learning that if you dig long enough, you can always find a good pointy stick mixed in with the mulch. We are only hoping that they are not learning too quickly that legs are for walking and that freedom makes everything possible.

The Two Month Stats Are In

Elaine10 pounds 11 ounces22 3/4 inches longAlida11 pounds 1 ounce22 inches longSome things that mom and dad stocked up on that we are glad to report have not been nearly as useful this time around:Hospital-Grade Bulb Syringes (7). They actually wore one out to the point of breaking it in two last time they went through this infant thing. She had to go back to the hospital to beg more from the hospital black market at the time. Other than Ben getting hold of one and shoving it in our noses, we don’t even know what these things are for.Various forms of pain medication and fever reducers (The Sam's Club stock of Tylenol and Motrin in particular)Balmex (14 tubes)Kleenex (Again, the Sam's Club stock up)Burp Cloths (or vomit rags as they have been referred to in the past) Food allergies like Nicholas had make for all forms of vomiting from leaky to projectile; however, we have displayed such distasteful behavior from the ladies so far. Well okay, Elaine kind of let all of her bottle and the oral vaccine flow at the doctor's today, but who wouldn't?)Heating Pads: There was an effort to relieve Ben’s colic with the warmth of a heating pad. The Back to Sleep folks probably would have been horrified by the baby laying on the floor face down with a heating pad under his belly sleeping, finally.One thing that was not stocked up on that we at least haven’t missed really—baby scented wash and lotion. The threat of eczema has her scared to use anything other than Dove and Eucerin on her children.So far, girls are easier than boys. We will report back in approximately 15-16 years.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Past Due

Dad gives us our bath. As with everything, we have a rhythm, a schedule, a way of doing things. I guess that is why they hadn’t really given up the baby towels yet. That, or it is just off mom’s radar and dad is very good at making do. But there is a rhythm. Dad gives us our bath and towels us off, quickly puts on a clean diaper if we don’t escape him (the carpet must last at least a little longer), and we’re off. The baby towels have a little nook that goes on our heads. As the towel hangs down like a cape, we escape the bathroom and run. We run and laugh and scream with our baby towels flowing behind like a super hero’s cape.Problem is, we’re getting bigger. Much bigger. And then mom gave us our baths on Saturday. As we wriggled through the toweling off (part of the rhythm), she started grumbling about using a washcloth to dry us off. We don’t even know what a washcloth is; dad doesn’t like to bother with them. (And, shhh, he really just uses soap as shampoo as well.) “These don’t even make it to your butt anymore!” she exclaimed.We guess it’s just part of growing up, but Tuesday night we no longer had the baby towels. The bath time rhythm isn’t nearly as heroic feeling, but it sure is much softer and warmer now.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Yes, mom says that is the most casually dressed that grandpa ever gets. Thanks for your help grandpa and grandma, who heroically took night duty while she was here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Efficiency Expert

Mom appreciates anything that resembles order and efficiency in the care of four young people. She must. We have processes that must rival the most successful emergency management plan. We are stocked to the roof with most everything baby related from bouncy seats (6) to diapers (thousands). Almost anything goes in the name of making things easier. However, she stops short at endorsing the orange juice and Fruit Loops mixture.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


She’s right. We fling books. The other day Nicholas tried to stand his on its end to get some height to escape the crib, but the darn thing isn’t very stable. What else are we to do to signal that we are against the idea of naptime? We must fling books; she can’t hear us otherwise. She says she’s done with the monitor thing for us. So we must fling books. When we are out of books, we fling stuffed animals. When they are laying in a discarded pile, we must resort to throwing out our blankets. The thing that makes her snicker is when we resort to throwing out our pacifiers. She says the resulting hysteria generally wears us out enough to induce sleep and something she calls “a moment’s peace” with just two babies.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Soaking It In

There is something about the Bumbo chair that makes the Stuber babies appear a bit disgusted. Or perhaps Alida is just now getting a good look around at what lies before her. There are boys flying through the room with capes hanging down their backs, and one doesn’t appear to have a diaper on. There is a swing wildly carrying a screaming girl off to her left—up and back, up and back. Who set that thing on the highest setting? Boys? And there is a rocking horse across the room, laying on its side the handle shoved dangerously high in the air, and it is now being used as a means to climb onto the couch. In the distance she hears a great racket as the bath time pirate toy’s massive suction cups are wrenched from the bathroom wall for cleaning by dad (why can’t those dinner plates have suction cups that good?) Mom is now chasing Nicholas with a diaper in one hand and a bottle of lotion in the other. Dad flashes in with his signature, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. WHAT are YOU doing?” to the one that has made it onto the couch and is now judging the leap to the top of the bookshelf where the telephone is at. From the next room there are echoes of “no, no, no” coming from Nicholas as he fights the nightly slathering and mom tries to keep hold of the half-greased wriggling child. And she is pretty sure that it is time to be changed and fed herself, much as Elaine has been exclaiming to her side for some time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Kid's Table

It is certainly an interesting idea. Give the toddler a plate that suctions to the table. When said toddler cannot pull up the plate, he will not throw his food on the floor. And there will be happiness in the kingdom as the toddler highchairs become booster chairs. Then we will be one step closer to a happy meal filled with funny anecdotes from the day and discussion of the latest books we’re reading as jazz floats through the house. Mealtime is a time to come together. A time to share with one another. A time to thank God for the blessings he’s provided. A time to enjoy, to laugh, to love. A restorative moment in the hectic day.That was the idea floating through mom’s head as she picked out and purchased the suction plates, took them home and lovingly filled them with macaroni and cheese (hey, she’s busy cut her some slack. We know hot dogs aren’t the food of fond memories, but come on.)
Yeah, we managed to ruin that dream for now as well. And really, if you grab hold strong enough and scream loud enough for an extra boost of energy, you can pop that sucker right off the table. She stills says that it is only a matter of time before Sunday meals are in the dining room and manners will be put to use and we WILL be little gentlemen. Then she just grumbles and walks away to the storage closet full of paper towels.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

That Crazy Red Hoe

Some toys come in threes. A wonderful idea thought mom and dad. A rake, a shovel and a hoe packaged as one. Surely enough to keep two boys happy during yard work time. A green shovel used mainly for transporting sand from the sandbox to a nice little pile on the patio in front of the back door. A blue rake for coming in and re-dispersing yard waste that dad has used his big rake to make a pile with. And a red hoe. We’d not seen that red hoe in a long time. She’d been chased off by mom and dad. This was a respectable yard, they said, and there would be no fighting by their boys over a red hoe.But then something happened. We discovered that the green shovel had a weak point. The green shovel became a pan and a long weapon with a handle—two new toys made from one. Mom didn’t like the idea of that, so the green toys disappeared. We were left with a blue rake. That didn’t really matter so much because raking doesn’t really happen that often in a treeless suburbia. It doesn’t happen until a cold front comes through and gives us a bit of cool weather that is.Dad got a chance to clean out the flower beds the other night as we played and mom discussed the “pit” with a man who said he can send people to clean it up bi-weekly. She was happily telling dad about the cleaning women coming and laughing about admitting house cleaning defeat when we discovered that there was only one blue rake to re-disperse the pile dad had made from the flower beds. And the fight was on.“What about the red hoe?” she asked him.“Really?”“It has been awhile, maybe she isn’t as charming any more. Enough to stop the brawl over the r-a-k-e?” She was unsure why she was spelling a thing that was already being fought over, but it seemed motherly and she was tired.“We could try…,” he said hesitantly.She was here for a brief moment. Nicholas was first to warmly welcome her back. For five seconds Benjamin continued raking as Nicholas was reunited. But the red flashed in front of Ben’s eyes and the chase was on after he quickly reclaimed her.
We will miss you red hoe.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Private Benjamin and Czar Nicholas cannot believe it--another National Guard weekend again?
Mom believes it. And the ladies don't even realize it as long as someone feeds and burps them, soothes them, and cleans them. Saturday night went well. Mom managed to bathe the boys and get them to go to bed on time. And everyone ate at least all of their corn for dinner once again, although mom had to clean some spaghetti off the walls and floor. (Too aggravated to take a picture of that at the time. Thank you Benjamin.) And the ladies were down by 9:00, up at 1:00, and up a 6:00. A pretty successfully night, especially since the girls are learning that other than feeding, burping and changing, nighttime is for sleeping. It might help that mom and dad fumble through the dark for the feeding, change diapers without much sight, and never, ever make eye contact.
7:00 a.m. and books are being flung from the cribs in the toddler's room. It might not be long before the thud of a book becomes the thud of a child since they are learning that climbing means freedom. And climbing can take place in the crib, on the furniture, onto the dryer from the vacuum cleaner, on the turned over rocking horse with scary features sticking up in the air, over the console to the front seat of the van, and on and on. Still mom is more afraid at this point of providing the freedom of a toddler bed. For now, the ladies will call the pack-n-play home and the boys will call the cribs jail.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Happy Labor Day

It started with Sesame Street and Fruit Loops.
Then we went to the park.We learned about the slides.
And we learned about the tunnels.
Much better than the elementary school's playground down the street from our house. Mom's not sure we met the height requirement for this one, but dad said it would be fine.
Elaine even made it out for a nap in the grass.
Alida never made it out of the car seat.