Archive for the ‘Emil 1-3 yrs’ Category

Who’s  six months old already?

oktober 2013 cai 6 months

This guy.

Our peanut isn’t winning any prizes for size, but let me tell you: this kiddo is going to give us a run for our money once he’s mobile. Good thing we’re practiced at toddler interception. Bad thing we’re often too slow and tired to make those interceptions successfully.

But really — 6 months already? Wasn’t I just pregnant with him? Weren’t the boys and I using my belly as a book-reading rest while snuggled up in their bed? Tonight I had to save the book from  being eaten by the wriggling mass of excited-and-probably-teething babyness.

And who are my superheros?

oktober 2013 super hero planoktober 2013 super karelThese guys.

With baby blankets as capes, and the magic power of the birthday crown — bad guys beware. Although I’m pretty sure these supermen were more interested in flying than warding off not-niceness. I stood outside the door to their bedroom listening for a while, something I do more and more as they need/want less adult intrusion in their play.

”Here comes Super Kanin!!” (rabbit) Cue launching of stuffed rabbit from the top bunk.

”Here comes Super Monkey!!!” I watch Monkey fly by.

Duck’s turn: ”Here comes Super And!!!


A flurry of blond hair and light blue cape arcs from the highest point of the bed to the carefully placed extra mattress on the floor, followed closely by a second ball of cape and crown from a not-quite-as-high point on the bed. Emil Birk — currently our mixture of sweet-and-terror — remembered the rule of where he’s allowed to jump from, and my heart melted a bit more. Even through the tantrums, he’s showing a strong grasp of basic logic.

With new babies arriving in my newsfeed and in real-life, we’ve been thinking back to what it was like with the first one. Being a new mom was the hardest thing I’d ever done and the happiest I’d ever been. Now that our first one is growing up, the weight of the responsibility doesn’t change, but the focus does. Is he secure? Are we modelling our values?

After our second, I don’t remember thinking so much about how hard this work is, but I suspect that has more to do with being used to it than anything.

With three… the saving grace was that awfully tiring pregnancy. Life with two preschoolers and a baby is a million times easier than two preschoolers and being pregnant. Our third has brought a different level of happiness and contentedness to our/my life. Friends that know me well enough to see the difference have confirmed it. With three, no one expects me to do anymore than take care of my family, which is all I’ve wanted to do the last couple of years anyway. Now, when anybody asks me if I’ve started working yet it’s quickly followed by, ”but you’ve got three small kids.” If I start in on expectations I have or things I think I should be doing, they tell me, ”but you’ve got three small kids.”

Turns out three is a magic number. But who neeeds magic when I have resident superheroes? (insert beaming-smiley-yet-extremely-tired face)

Love, Kim and boys

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Happy Friday, friends. 🙂 I started out thinking I’d write out a quick week in review, because it’s gone so fast and I can’t quite remember what happened on what day, only a string of moments triggering intense emotions or thoughts or images.

Then I read the comment section of this, and became confused. And watched this, and was sad. And then this and got a little bit scared because I’ve probably done something wrong. And scanned headlines about Westgate in Kenya, earthquakes and bombings in Pakistan, the ongoing Syrian crisis… and wondered about the balance of being informed but not anxious.

Which means it’s time to do what I have learned to do best: retract and refocus, filling in the remaining space with prayers. So back we shall go to fulfilling my task as family record-keeper, with the bright points of the week.

  • It’s autumn now. We’re digging out fleece and wool — which was actually put away this summer. The shifting of gear throws the growth rate of the boys into an all too bright light. What fits, what doesn’t, what can make do until an upgrade; remembering that as incredible as it seems now, the boots that are too small for Emil Birk should be saved for Cai Ruben. I usually love autumn, especially here. In the past, when it finally got to be September and October I felt we could stop  the daily cycle of hoping for/being dissapointed by summer weather that never really came. So autumn was a relief, in a way. But this year we had sun and warmth. I had a sandal tan for the first time in years. I dipped into the fjord, not once but TWICE this summer, for the first time since living here. That’s an indicator of heat right there, folks. The convenience of wearing only one layer and not worrying about finding socks — I’m not quite ready to go into the darkness and long undewear yet. On the flip side, I’ve been waiting all summer to dive into autumn cooking and baking. Squash, apples, berries — never quite enough time to pick or find as many as I’d like.
  • This week the house has been filled with animals. I’m never quite sure what or whom I’m going to find when I leave the room and come back. Last night we had a dinosaur and a wolf; a couple of days earlier Karel spent the day as the family’s cat; an elephant with a pretty realistic trumpet-call shows up most days, as does an assortment of baby animals at bedtime. In real animal news, I flushed our first fish casualty last week. Emil picked out a new one yesterday, and while she will never read this, I would like to thank the kind pet-store-lady for scooping out the exact fish that Emil pointed out. There’s not too much cuter in my little world than EB’s dimpled trying-not-to-smile face.
  • The boys have also been in varying states of health this week. Karel was home through Wednesday with a low fever and headache. Cai was fussy and warm the first part of the week as well. The combination of a rash, a low fever, and a bulging fontanelle was enough to book an appointment with our family doctor, who in turn referred us to the hospital so a pediatrician could have a look. Several hours later, after a thorough exam and an ultrasound of his little head checked out, we were on our way back home. I’m happy to say that our smiley snuggly baby is back to normal. There’s not too much cuter in my little world than Cai-baby giggles.
  • With at least two kids home everyday (but today) this week, there are always the ”i-didn’t-really-see-that-coming” moments which I now proudly meet without batting an eye. I’d already cleaned up a broken glass (I can’t remember which running Emil-animal it was that caused it) when I went downstairs to change Cai’s diaper. Emil Birk standing in the middle of a small sea of fish food is what I found when I came back up. A thorough explanation of how he-held-it-upside-down-but-the-cap-wasn’t-on-and-now-he’s-trying-to-clean-it-up convinced me it wasn’t one of his ”let’s see how gravity works” dumping out antics, so we calmly scooped up fish food together. Which raised the question of which is messier? A 3 year old spilling the fish food  or a 3 year old cleaning up the fish food? Jury is still out.
  • This week I went to my very first parent meeting at barnehage. Bjørn has always gone in the past, since, you know, he could understand things. Oh, and someone needed to be home with the kids. This time there were some issues raised that I was interested in, so I figured it was probably about time to pull my head out of the sand, face my conflict fears, and wander into the world of opinioned parenting. Ann Inger came to stay with the big boys while we went to the meeting with Cai Ruben. Being in the thick of the parenting business was hit home, once again, as we realized that walking to barnehage in the evening, with only the baby, in order to go to a parent meeting felt suspiciously like a date. I also realized that continuing to be involved in parent meetings is going to be a very good opportunity for me to practice keeping my heart rate in check when people/friends give strongly worded differences of opinion. Because, wait a minute — you mean we can disagree on a very concrete issue but still be friends? And I’m the only one that’s stressed by this slight lack of concord?? Get out of town, and behold the light.
  • In addition to going to parent meetings, we continued on our reluctant journey to adulthood by purchasing a dining room table. Buying things that are actually what we want instead of making do with what we have (usually obtained for free) still feels kind of weird, but we’re dealing with it. There’s not too much sweeter in my little world than Karel making his little excitement-in-every-day observations: ”this is the first dinner we’re eating on our new table!’
  • We had lovely visits this week –the previous weekend found us both in Verdal and Frosta, visiting great-grandparents and the Bolstad-Laugen clan withour 6 combined kids, repsectively; Ann Inger had dinner with us Wednesday and took the crazy task of putting the boys to bed; our friend Morten stopped by with muffins made by his lovely wife Heidi after Monday’s facebook plea for comfort food/drink; Silje and her beautiful ever growing belly spent the afternoon with us on Thursday; and today we’ll just have to see. The community of friends we’re building is becoming strong enough to withstand last-minute dinner invitations (as often we feel we have the energy to give them), an aspect of our Minneapolis life we’ve missed.

There we have it — the week in a much too detailed review for the likes of a commercial blog, but perfect for the purposes of ours. Today is gray and drizzly, the type of day I usually use as an excuse to bake and baby-snuggle, write here and clean far to little. Greetings and love to our friends and family, and blessings on the weekend.

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Oh my goodness. I know all moms say this, but how on earth did our middle child get to be THREE already? Karel was 5 in my head for months before his actual birthday, so that was okay (because time would stop and his birthday wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t okay, obviously) (insert eye roll), but this three year old thing is throwing me for a loop.

Emil Birk is our/my gauge of how long we’ve been in Norway, so I guess that kind of explains why it’s so weird to me that he’s getting bigger. I mean, didn’t we just move here? If I’ve lived here long enough to have two babies (WHAT?!?!), that means I should have the language down, right? (Whatever. That’s crazy talk. Living somewhere long enough to have two babies means you have at least two babies, which means basic communication in any language is a challenge. Choosing to not beat myself up over that one.)

Anyway, poor EB has been waiting for his birthday for a loooooong time. Karel had kind of a super-extended celebration, with cake and presents on multiple occasions, and Emil just kept asking when it was going to be HIS birthday. One night he totally busted out denial as a coping mechanism and told me –complete with crossed arms and tears — it was never going to be his birthday (Æ skal aldri har bursdagen min).  So when it finally came around the whole extended family on both sides of the ocean have been very keyed into making Emil’s day very special, too.

So, of course, i was on the verge of being a tiny bit stressed, because I wanted this long awaited event to live up to his expectations. And, as usual, when I overestimate what can be done, things get a little bit ridiculous. The upside is  that there is nowhere better than the brink of failure to reevaluate what is actually important.

”Brink of failure” being, in this case, decorating african animal cut out cookies with frosting the color of caviar. I’d bought the cookie cutters in the States and was really excited to make pretty animal cookies for our little nature lover. Totally aware of how long sugar cookies take, I started the process early in the week. I kind of forgot to figure out how to make the appropriate color for lion and giraffe fur. Unfortunately for them, the last time I checked, ”tawny” and ”roe” where not the same color.

It’s crazy how easy it is to get sucked into the world of showing love through stuff. It was seriously like the devil/angel on the shoulder scenario when I was at the shopping center this past week. ”Is he getting a toy? Maybe we should get him another toy. So he’ll be happy,” — and I almost literally felt my brain being pulled into the black hole of stuff, which is an extremely stressful location. Evaluate what toy is going to make my 3 year old happy? Please. Why not decode the thought processes of insert-dicatator’s-name-here? It’d be easier. Which is where we cue the voice of love and light on the other shoulder, reassuringly whispering, ”if we just spend time with him and let him know how much we love him, he’ll be okay.” Full. Confident. Maybe even peaceful.

THAT we can do.  We went for a ”vawwk” (Emil-speak for ”walk”) in the the woods the morning before his party. He skipped over tree roots and pointed out and counted all the mushrooms the forest had to offer that day. We heard a woodpecker, and it was the 3 year old set of eyes that located the bird first.

”I hope,” I’d said to a wary Bjørn at 11 p.m. two nights before, surrounded by ridiculous animal cookies, ”that when the kids grow up and look back on these little birthday parties they’ll know that I really tried. And that they realize my love language is food.”

Which means that I’m asking the future Emil Birk to look back on these sugar cookie lions with the Alec Baldwin manes and fish-egg colored fur and know that it means that we love him. Stubborn, sweet, strong, LOUD, artistic, curious, unafraid, and so, so funny — you might have been sent to your room even on your birthday, but if you look at those lumpy elephant cookies and the frosting snails, you’ll know how much we love you.

cookies red

Funny how the image of something you see in your head never meets reality.

Funny how the image of something you see in your head never meets reality.

birthday breakfast red

King for the day with a breakfast burrito. What else?

birthday cakes red

Happy Birthday, little man

blowing candles red
Three candles? Piece of cake…(or raspberry tart, as the case may be, for our berry loving boy)

hele gjengen red.

BM EB tent red.

Pappa and the birthday boy in his new tent.

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Somehow it’s gotten to be June and somehow my baby has actually grown out of newborn clothes and somehow we are going to gather all of us together onto a plane and fly to ”Amerika,” as my kids say.

I am not panicking.

We made it through a chicken pox scare at barnehage (two kids down in Emilian’s room) and a hearing-impairing viral ear thing with Karel (went to the doctor just in case). My focus and worry has been so much on keeping the kids healthy that it didn’t occur to me until my own tonsils started swelling that sick parents aren’t really so great to have on a flight either. So yesterday I missed Ann Inger’s birthday celebration (and the ”very, very, VERY, veryvery big white cake” that was served) in order to rest and not perpetuate a throat infection. Luckily for me, Sunday is ER rerun day, so while the baby slept I watched two episodes of ER (the ones where Carter is stabbed and Lucy dies), then and episode and a half of Lost, then a little bit more ER, THEN the beginning of a Swedish baking show before everyone came home. Honestly, it felt like a vacation. My brain was switched off for like four straight hours. It was sad to miss the party, but on the whole a wise choice.

Anyway, back to not panicking.

We are totally stoked to show off our babies to our loved ones in the States. I can hardly believe how big they are, so I’m prepared for the reactions of shock once we see folks we haven’t seen in more than a year. My biggest concern at the moment? Getting Emil Birk through the flight. We’re talking 30 pounds of dynamo, here. If I didn’t know better, I’d think this child was the son of an octopus. Hands. Everywhere. We’ve already started discussing strategy: Man-to-man defense on Emil at all times. He’s in that phase where dumping things out is the ultimate entertainment…. so he will be a nearly 3 year old with a sippy cup on this flight. Slowly conquering our minimalistic tendencies, we’ve ordered kid-size headphones so we can actually make use of the in-flight entertainment. That’s all we’ve got so far. Bjørn is convinced ”do-it-myself Emilian” is going to insist on flying the plane himself. Keep your eyes on the news for that.

My mantra? ”All we have to do is get there. The flight won’t last forever.” That’s kind of long for a mantra, but you get the sentiment.

We still have seven days to refine our strategies. For now I’m washing my tonsils with coffee, just surviving a day at a time.

See you soon!

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The Lyngstad household is rounding in on week three as a party of five —  if we all could knock on some wood before I type these next words that’d be great — and believe it or not, the adjustment is going fine. Tempted even to say ”really well.”

Let’s keep this in perspective, though — I definitely just popped 500 mg of Tylenol before sitting down here next to my supposed-to-be-sleeping baby, because as much as I know that going for a walk/exercise/yoga/stretching would help these tired baby-supporting muscles (which are used day AND night)…well, we’ll get there. This week medication is still allowed. Bjørn confessed last evening in his exhaustion that his goal for the weekend is just to survive.

But, you know, that’s Friday of our first back-to-work week talking. After a weekend of guests and birthday parties and ear infections and coughs followed by a week of rainy weather and meetings and a very belligerent 2.5 year old, if we’ve only been reduced to an intense wish for sleep and pinch of tylenol, I’d say that’s not too bad.

We’re learning to juggle again. Or is it more like perfecting the lateral pass? Seeing as mothering is my only current employment at the moment, I take some professional pride in prying apart tricky small legos while nursing the baby, for example. Or listening raptly to ”new” facts being presented (”Mama, did you know…?”) while rescuing a soon-to-be-emptied-onto-the-table cup of water. Lateral passing starts when Bjørn comes home and we hand off cooking and rough-housing, poopy diapers and baby burping, speedwalking enough back and forth yardage through our little house to cover the length of 12 football fields all before dinner.

Honestly, it all feels pretty normal.

Not that there’s not learning going on. We’re learning that Cai Ruben likes to be held in the ”football hold,” and that he takes a pacifier better than either of the older two ever did.

I’ve learned that Karel somehow knows exactly how to talk to babies.

I saw Emil’s face finally soften and light up when I helped baby Cai ”reach” for him and stroke his face.

We’re learning to manage two very different big brothers while remembering to not over-exert ourselves (like that bread that I thought I’d just whip up this morning? Pipe dream).

And this time around we know how fast these first days and weeks go. I’m learning to fight the instinct to grieve for them and instead be excited for each new development. This time we know that waking up in the morning covered in sweat and milk and possibly spit-up is a tiny price to pay for these weeks he’s still small enough to sleep nestled in on my chest.

Farfar and Emil at the drawing board...

Farfar and Emil at the drawing board…

The face says it all.

The face says it all.

First night at home, 2 days old. Bjørn executing the football hold like the pro that he is.

First night at home, 2 days old. Bjørn executing the football hold like the pro that he is.

Making faces with for Farfar, 12 days old

Making faces with for Farfar, 12 days old

New outfit from Uncle Chris! 10 days old

New outfit from Uncle Chris! 10 days old

Crying, but what a cute outfit! Thanks tante Silje! 2 weeks, 3 days old

He obviously can’t see how cute he is… Thanks Tante Silje! 2 weeks, 3 days old

Adjusting to home life. 4 days old. (Karel laid the blankets on the floor to make a bed for the baby. Emil stakes his claim to mama)

Adjusting to home life. 4 days old. (Karel laid the blankets on the floor to make a bed for the baby. Emil stakes his claim to mama via train.)

Sleeping in between outfit changes. 2 weeks, 5 days old

Sleeping in between outfit changes. 2 weeks, 5 days old

**I need to add that a large part of why this adjustment has gone so well was due to Bjørn being home for 2 weeks immediately following Cai’s birth.  There would be a lot more tears from everyone if it wasn’t for his super-pappa-ness.

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