Monday, October 24, 2011

Baby Vocab Connor-Style

The Smile
Remember when the baby books told you that your newborn smiling at you wasn't smiling at you at all?  But that it was gas?

Yeah right.
Still a Steinmann!

Ian was smiling at me at three days old and it wasn't gas.  (You can tell when a Connor boy has gas.  And NOONE is smiling when he does!)

I thought it was contentment.

Would you trust THIS smile?
Three weeks later he does it more and more often, often in response to my voice while lying in my arms after nursing.

It's a smug smile and I do believe I've figured it out.

He's laughing at me.

Or this one?
Laughing at me, not with me, as in "go ahead and put me down now Mom, and see how fast I open my eyes and scream bloody murder."  As in "you may think I'm out cold, but I'm just waiting for you to let your guard down."  And as in "hey, lady, you and I are spending most of the night together....awake."

There's also the possibility that he's just dreaming about boobies.

The finer points of horseback riding explained by Ryan
Ryan found a way to get him back though.

I walked in from hanging the laundry yesterday to find him on her bed surrounded by all four siblings.  (I'd been fooled by that smile to lay him down, thinking I had at least thirty minutes.)

He was on his stomach - which at this point still means mostly on his face.

And the kids were cheering him on, encouraging him to start crawling.

"Look Mom, we're teaching him to crawl."

Has anyone seen the baby?
"Tummy time" the baby books call it. 

"Survival" is what I am calling it.

Or maybe "payback's a bitch, pal."

Wise to the world at three weeks

Go ahead and laugh little guy.  I'm yours all night, but I'm giving you to your siblings in the morning!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


The first time we attracted the attention of tourists was in Heidelberg.  That was before we even had the twins.  The Chinese tourists coming out of the castle onto the ramparts where we were picnicking surrounded us, snapping shots of Ryan and Andrew, totally impressed that two siblings could be so unalike in colouring.  One young lady even asked if Damon and I would pose with the kids.  (We did, happily.)

With Wolfy in Heidelberg

Genetics.  What a concept.  I hadn't even thought about it until then but yeah, white people ARE funny that way! 

This friendly interest totally beat the German woman in the swimming pool locker room a year later who boldy informed me - not asked - that my children obviously didn't have the same father.  In front of the kids.  Nice.

It's called hybrid vigour.  It's why mutts are less prone to diseases than purebreds and why the Russian royals were on the way out even before they were brutally executed by the communists.  (Hemophilia, for those of you who missed the in-school movie, thanks to generations of inbreeding.)

Both mine (Barefoot park in Germany - odd concept when I think about it now!  But cool!)

We draw less attention for the twin-thing now that Matthew has sprouted up a head taller than Aidan.  (Nowadays it's " how old ARE your boys?" as they try to figure out how I could have three boys so close in age.)

But I tend to dress them alike when we go to any major tourist spots; easier to pick out weather-appropriate gear AND easier to spot them if they are both dressed in brigh orange.  (I choose their swimwear identically for the same reason!)

We are often attention-grabbers, posing for pictures in front of world famous tourist spots as the tourguide patiently - or resignedly - waits for the photoshoot  and obligatory question and answer period to end. 

A Japanese tour group delayed their entrance into the Frauenkirche in Dresden in order to snap us.  And later the Italians gave up a view of the Elbe to follow for a photo session in the park.

Twins in Dresden  (Look at that hair!)

Last week Damon said a Chinese man promptly turned his lens from the Opera House in Sydney to fire shots of the twins climbing around the steps in front of it.

Twin sighting in front of some building!

Eh, you can always buy a postcard of the Opera House.

Eh - we've got the same barber!  (Dad.)

It isn't everyday you see twins!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Two Men in My Mirror (With Pictures of Sydney)

The week the baby came home - and the pregnancy hormones settled back to normal - I realised the toll the pregnancy had taken on the kids.

At the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney after renewing their American passports

I was a bit irritable at the end there. 

Irritable as in "why the  $&%^*ing  #&$* do I have to $*%*ing bend over to pick up everybody else's $&%*(^ing socks?"

Irritable as in bending Matthew over to touch his toes to show him how easy it was to bend over when you weren't carrying a person inside your belly.

And while the question about the socks - and books and sticks and legos and soccer balls - is a valid one, the  $*($%&%  used liberally as an adjective and noun isn't.

Big city.  Bit chilly for the Queenslanders.  (Huh?  How did Ryan EVER survive in Germany?!)

This hit home when Matthew used the "f" word as an adjective.  And then came up with the "er" version to describe the brother he wasn't getting along with.

Also when Damon asked Aidan to brush his teeth one night and Aidan sat down in the middle of the bathroom floor and said "JESUS CHRIST".

He sounded just like me.  Which would have been funny....

More impressed with the icecream than the Opera House.
Except that sort of behaviour really isn't acceptable - or pretty - in a five year old.

(We have since introduced Aidan to the "Jesus Christ" I keep in our kitchen pantry, next to the flour and baking products.  A gift from the Mormon missionaries, the picture is too pretty to throw out, and so I keep it to comfort me whenever I open the pantry.  When Aidan DOES slip up, we remind him about respect and invite him to visit Jesus in the pantry if he feels the need for a chat.)

Back in Brisbane!  (Where Mommy and Ian are waiting for us.)
Seeing my vices reflected in my youngest two children made me see how ugly - and unacceptable - they really are.

I've gotten WAY better.  (I only lose it when the computer refuses to cooperate with me.)

And the twins' behaviour has mirrored mine.

Michael Jackson knew what he was talking about.

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror.
I'm asking him to change his ways.
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and make the change."

At the Botanical Gardens.
It's very Tao.  (Verse 58: Thus the Master is content to serve as an example and not to impose her will.)  But I never would have understood it without the example from my children.

I haven't had to do much.  Just change my own behaviour.

I want my kids to be better people than I am.

Meaning that I become a better person for them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Twentieth Century Technology in a Twenty-First Century World

Just a quickie to apologise for the lame photo placements and kitschy blogs.  I know family and friends want to see photos. 

The latest 'blog' took over two hours to post and the one introducing Ian took over four.

My desktop is collapsing.

Meanwhile, I HAVE written some blogs worth reading.   But am scared to spend the time posting them since every time I do I end up fighting the computer and swearing at the kids.

Don't even get me started on Facebook or emails.

The baby DOES need to eat every now and then!

So that the best I can do - FOR NOW - is thank everyone who is happy for us, and thinking of us -despite my abysmal failure at keeping in touch this past year.  And everyone who takes the time to check in on us per blog and took the time to send messages our way as well.

FOR NOW - it is technology keeping me silent.  But I was and am THRILLED you haven't forgotten me entirely - I do miss you all - 'my' writers' group in Stuttgart, who I still write for; 'my' Mommy's group in Boeblingen, who were there for me when I needed them; and for those who write to me in German, because they love me even though the may not understand me!

Speaking of kitsch!  Good thing I have to go and feed the baby!


Two Week Milestone: Sleeping Through The Night

Spoiler Alert:  If hearing about how fantastic the weather (and people) are here, if my gloating about the fantastic school system and my fabulous children's achievements within in, already have you sick to your stomache (sorry Lori!) then you might want to skip the piece on the two week old baby sleeping through the night.

  Honestly though, I deserved this child.

We celebrated his two week birthday with him sleeping from 9PM to 3AM the night before.  Which yes, is officially sleeping through the night.  We then had two more feeds at 2 hour intervals until 7 AM.

I have never felt so fantastic!

That's more continual sleep than I got with the twins (or Andrew for that matter!) in A WEEK!

I firmly believe that you can endure anything all day if you are able to get enough sleep at night.

Don't get me wrong; some of this has to do with expectations.  Ryan slept this much as well but I was napping all weekend to catch up on what I thought was lack of sleep.  Until she slept through the night, 8PM to 8AM, at 3 months and then even I couldn't REALLY complain anymore. 

With Ian, I know myself to be lucky to be getting as much as I am.

 And no matter how much I have to hold him all morning when his belly aches - I am able to hold him without worrying about what the OTHER one is doing.

I know to cherish these times the way I cherished them with the first.

And I get to share the delight with the four that came before.

The circle is closed.  Those family photos are finally filled.  (There was always an empty gap in my mind where a fifth child should have been.)  And I no longer count to four and wonder who I am missing.

"The Connor Baby" (as aptly named by a third grader at school yesterday) is here.

And I am complete.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Welcome Ian!

Ian Adam Connor
Well, we did it! Although my Mom's ESP was sending out 'something is up' signals from the USA and she did mention, after the fact, that I WAS looking a bit heavy on some of those blog photos, Ian Adam Connor arrived - with record speed and WITHOUT that much requested epidural - at 1:43 PM Queensland time, on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 weighing in at a whopping (for me) 3.7kgs / 8 lbs 3 ozs and measuring 51 cms.

"We'll take those pain meds to go." said Damon on the way home.

With happy siblings

Our little rocket man arrived moments after Brisbane Royal Hospital decided I really DID need a birth suite. At 1:25 I was 4 cms and anxiously awaiting that epidural. (Because, nitrous oxide, my friends, is a recreational drug, not a pain killer! Nice buzz. But it still hurt.)

At 1:43 I had a baby. Um. Very nice and all that but....did someone FORGET THE EPIDURAL?!

When the midwives start looking like teenagers....

Blog obviously to follow.

In the meantime, we snuck little Ian into the world at large, but to much fanfare among his siblings and our friends/family here in the area, all who have been anxiously waiting to meet Connor #5, and Boy #4. (Ryan, thanks for asking, is THRILLED with ANY baby. We are co-mothering, and I couldn't do evenings without her!)

Not enough Ian to go around!

Without further ado: what you REALLY tuned in for. PHOTOS!

Dad in the birth suite

Look!  Mommy made us a doll.

Aidan and Ian

Matthew and Ian

Andrew and Ian


Ryan CANNOT WAIT her turn!

Ryan and Ian.  She's in love, boy or not.
It's all right Ian.  Ryan's gotcha.

Sisterly love
Dad FINALLY gets a cuddle too!
So far, it's been easy. You have to remember, I had Andrew. And then the twins. So that this little guy, as easy-going as his sister was, is a piece of cake. He was up the first night - supposedly nothing unusual for babies who shoot into the world as fast as he did - a bit of a shock for him as well as me! But, has been sleeping in 3 - 4 hour stints ever since. (Andrew, for his part, slept through the first night and then didn't sleep for 2 1/2 years after that, so I really wasn't worried!)

Yes, it's all-consuming. But what a joy to be consumed - and able to meet - the needs of ONE baby after flailing about helplessly 5 years ago trying to even adequately meet the needs of two.

And the siblings help. Hint for that last baby: have an older daughter around to help out!

We did it!   World...Ian.