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Archive for the ‘Karel 3-6 yrs’ Category

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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Karel has offered another of his somber reflections.

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ImageMuch of winter has been sunny and nice this year. The boys have been enjoying it.

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Our ”kveldsmat”/pre-bedtime snack family conversation turned to the topic of the new baby. More specifically, what we should call the new baby. Karel has been an active participant in this topic before and has set some strict guidelines. 1) The baby cannot be called something that anyone in the rest of the world is called. No repeat names. 2) He has to like it.

So far, none of the names Bjørn or I have suggested have fulfilled either criteria.

Our firstborn is closer to five than he is to four now, but don’t mention that to him. He doesn’t want to grow up. I’m okay with that. But he IS growing up. He’s learning things — words, play, behaviors — from sources outside the house. He’s confused when others act unfairly, upset by conflict, learning to be empathetic. I think both Bjørn and I flash back to our own four-, five-, six-year old selves when we watch Karel learn to navigate social ins-and-outs as a borderline introvert.

So this evening at the table, when our little grown-up suddenly said ”I’ve got it!” after rejecting every name suggestion we came up with, we waited to hear what his undoubtedly brilliant suggestion would be.

”We can take ‘Karel’ and ‘Emil Birk’ and put them together for a name for the baby,” with a finger emphasizing the sounds of names. We’ve been working a bit with letters and phonetics, and I feel fairly certain he was visualizing letters and trying to put them together, like they do on one of his favorite t.v. programs.

Then he turned his head away from us in order to think. We started coming up with our own combinations: ”Karmello!” ”Kamil!” A quick turn, pointed finger, and stern ”Hshhh!” came in our direction. Trying to be sensitive, I said ”okay, we won’t talk about names while you’re thinking about this.”

”No, you can’t talk AT ALL while I am thinking.”

Eyes under raised brows meet across the table. Ohhhhkay. Silence it is.

But the seriousness on his little face; the energy going into just thinking, idea generating… Our eyes became a bit shiny. Closer to five than to four. Closer to school than to daycare.

When he finally turned back to us, he pronounced that his new little brother shall be named Karel Emil Lyngstad. Not bad, we said, wondering why we didn’t come up with that combination four, almost five, years ago. ”I’ll tell him,” and lifting up my shirt he put his blond head next to my stretched out abdomen and said softly, ”Hello, baby. Your name is going to be Karel Emil Lyngstad.”

(Emil Birk followed suit, his mouth pressed to the other side of my belly, and recited all of our names to the baby. This has been his mantra for the last weeks. ”Æ heter ‘Milian. Du heter Kimberly. Pappa heter Bjørn Magne. Karel Magne heter 4 år.” I’m called ‘Milian. You are called Kimberly. Pappa is called Bjørn Magne. Karel Magne is called 4 years. He tries so hard to do what his big brother does, and the look of mild confusion on his face as he mimics Karel or tries to follow Karel’s directions is both endearing and a tiny bit heartbreaking.)

I missed something in what was said next by Emil Birk, something that prompted Karel to ask me half-seriously if I was their mama.

”Yes. I am most definitely your mama. Do you know how I know?”

Wide blue eyes, shaking blonde head.

”I know because I remember every minute of when you were born.”

And then we told him, Bjørn and I, about the night before he was born, when I had to go into another room while Pappa and Grandma were watching a movie (the brilliant La Misma Luna) and the contractions became too strong to ignore. About how at the hospital I felt him flip and flurry inside me into new position, and then it didn’t hurt as badly. About how I was concentrating so hard on pushing that I didn’t even know he’d come out. Pappa had to tell me to look, Kim, here he is, it’s a boy!.

”And do you know what I thought when they gave you to me?”

”That I was a girl?’

”No, that you looked just like Bjørn Magne. You looked just like Pappa when you were born. Now Grandma thinks you look like me. Which is funny because when Emil Birk was born I thought he looked just like me, but now I think he looks like Pappa.”

Without skipping a beat, four-going-on-five half asked, half stated:

”Because he’s crazy.”

And our sentimental reminiscings shifted into gut laughter. ‘Cuz everything happens so fast with kids.

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crazy boys 1 crazy boys 2 crazy boys 3 crazy boys 4 crazy boys 5

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We made it through December relatively unscathed, but January turned out to be a bit much.

Poor Bjørn has been completely incapacitated twice this month by some evil, miserable virus. From the first round a domino effect came into play — first one man down, then two, then three, then a slow resurrection, then down again… It’s been crazy. In some miracle of immunity I don’t quite understand, I withstood the first round (as well as the round the month before), but as of last week Wednesday my luck ran out. I sat on the couch that afternoon across from my convalescing husband giving myself the pre-barnehage pick-up pep talk: ”Okay. It’s going to be okay,” the next 20 minutes interspersed with randomly placed out-loud ”Okay”s. Interesting how the ”I’m about to get sick” anxiety set in hours before the first physical symptoms.

Does anyone else have these mild anxiety attacks at the prospect of both parents being sick at the same time? I mean, I feel like I’m pretty good at managing my resources, but I draw a blank on that particular scenario.

So we’ve spent a good portion of January in our pajamas (which is like a dream come true for Karel). Thus I’ve spent a good portion of January watching the layers of dust in all but the most necessary portions of the house grow and trying not to freak out about it. The problem with being mom-sick seems to be that sometimes it’s just your body that gives out. Or both body and mind give out and you can’t move for a day, but after about 24 hours your brain starts going again while your body just can’t. Oh, the THINKING! Good Lord have mercy, make the thinking stop. Evidently once no longer physically able to do the very physically demanding jobs of my housewifey world, my brain goes into overdrive remembering all the other things I was going to do. Take a class, find a job, write an article, blah, blah, blah. But doing those things STILL takes energy that you DON’T HAVE…so let’s launch into another wave of guilt and anxiety over things not accomplished. (insert eye roll.) Then, at the time you need sleep the most, nightime insomnia-born-of-anxiety sets in, because in this crazy world-of-germs it seems better to just stay awake than to fall asleep just to be woken up by coughs or cries or people falling out of bed.

Seriously. It’s ridiculous.

On the other hand, it hit me for the first time during this month of revolving door viruses that my future is going to hold a whole lotta man-sickness.

Once again, good Lord have mercy.

Bjørn is an undemanding patient; granted, when he’s down he’s down, but other than allowing him rest, he doesn’t ask for much. Karel, however, seems to be heading down the more typical mansick path. Not feeling good is met with wails of ”Oh, what is happening to me?” as if he’s suddenly discovered green plaques all over his body. Or  panicked outburst inches outside the bathroom: ”I just can’t walk anymore”. My favorite so far is the politely worded yet pathetically toned: ”Mama, I really need you to help me a lot today,” uttered by the young master languishing on the couch, requesting ”warm drinks” that are lovingly prepared but then never drunk.

Emil Birk is slightly less dramatic so far, but just as clingy. He’s developed a TV addiction that we’ll have to deal with later, as well as an affinity for the saying the word ”no” while interestingly enough completely disregarding it when it’s said by someone else. Ricocheting back and forth between acting as comforter and terrorizer of his older brother is his other main activity.

The little guy in utero is kicking around as strong as ever, despite the demise of his family all around him. But he, too, adds another dimension to being momsick. What do you get when you pair sudden coughing attacks with a weak, squished, bladder? Let’s just say it’s not only peed-in little boy underwear making up our laundry pile these days.

Anyway, I’m on round two of the crud now, brought on no doubt by a combination of exhaustion and residual viral bits in my system. So this time I’m doing my best to turn my brain off and concentrate solely on recovery and baby-growing.

Here’s to a healthy February!

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small legos reduced

Bjørn & sons putting together Karel’s ”small Lego garbage truck” Christmas present. It was difficult to tell who was more excited about it. ”I can’t believe I have an excuse to do this again!” saith Pappa.

boys arendal reduced

We had perfect weather during our stay in Arendal — not too cold, fresh snow, and lots of grown-ups to play with.

Here we have the somewhat forced family photo. Karel is learning the art of smiling on command while Emil perfects the art of looking tough.

Here we have the somewhat forced family photo. Karel is learning the art of smiling on command while Emil perfects the art of looking tough.

On the verge of getting sick, Emil Birk decides it is much more practical to wear a '''kosedyr''/ stuffed animal than it is to carry one around. He spent three days wearing this dinosaur costume...and no, the tail is not a problem to fit in the car seat.

On the verge of getting sick, Emil Birk decides it is much more practical to wear a ”’kosedyr”/ stuffed animal than it is to carry one around. He spent three days wearing this dinosaur costume…and no, the tail is not a problem to fit in the car seat.

 

K and E wearing the buffs they received from the Fetters. Thanks, Jen, Dave, Ella June and Enzo!!!

K and E wearing the buffs they received from the Fetters. Thanks, Jen, Dave, Ella June and Enzo!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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