My husband's mother passed away suddenly when he was 6 years old. She left 7 children, the youngest being 10 days old. Although my husband is 30 years old, he still feels the loss of his mother deeply. That event in his life has shaped a lot of the way he is today. While he is fine and knows he will be with her again someday, there is still the sting of her not being around while he was growing up. It terrifies me to think that my children could lose me so fast. One day here, making lunch and doing laundry, the next day, gone. In case something terrible happens to me, here is how you take care of my precious babies.
Traditional after-church lunch for the boys: Ramen and applesauce. Boring and really easy, but they love it.
How to put Van to bed: He prefers you to talk to him. Go over the days activities and possibly the next days. Then he will require "hums" and you have to hum, "Stay Awake" from "Mary Poppins".
When Violet get constipated: Give her two bottles a day that are half milk, half water.
How to get Jack to bed: He sleeps in my bed to start off. The boys are too insane to fall asleep in the same room. More bed-jumping, less sleeping. Also, do not give Jack ice cream before bed. He will almost always pee himself in his sleep.
Everyone's favorite breakfast: Scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast. Jack likes honey on his toast, Van likes it dry. Jack gets a whole piece of toast, Violet and Van split one. Make sure there is either ketchup or Tabasco for Jack to put on his eggs.
How to do Violet's hair: After naps and after waking up in the morning, it needs to be sprayed down with water and then combed over to the left. She has a cow-lick right in the middle of her hair line and it goes to the left. Her hair must be sprayed down, otherwise, she looks like Gene Wilder.
How to help Van play outside: When he says "cooter", he means his "scooter". I know, cooter. I seem to remember that in high school, cooter was slang for "vagina".
How to feed Violet: When all else fails, she will eat white dinner rolls till the cows come home.
How to bathe the boys: They take turns each bath time who gets to sit closest to the faucet, for it is the warmest place in the tub. They get doused with the yellow cup and you have to press the water into their hair. They have hair like duck feathers.
How to handle little boy meltdowns: When Van loses all hope, he will cry and scream at you. But he actually needs to be held tight. So cradle him in your lap and calm him down. Hums are also a good remedy at this point. When Jack get angry, do the same thing. Acknowledge that he is mad and talk about it. He tries to act tough, but the boy is actually a complete marshmallow inside.
How to handle Jack going to the park on his bike without asking: Use the bike lock to chain up the bike for a few days.
Popular lunch choice: Black bean quesadillas and fruit. Use whole wheat tortillas so that they develop good food habits. For the black beans, just spoon them out of the can and onto the tortilla, then top it with shredded cheddar cheese.
How to guide Jack in never extinguishing his elaborate imagination: When he is wandering around the house in his army gear, talking to imaginary soldiers, don't even acknowledge him. Just let him go about his business. If he senses even the tiniest bit of judgement, he will stop being so creative. And I never want him to stop.
How to help Van not get lost in being the middle child: Be sure he is recognized for how he is different than his brother. Focus on his talents and abilities and give him an avenue that is different from Jack's. Give him his own time. Read to him alone sometimes. Take him for a walk alone sometimes. Just take the time to listen to him.
How to raise Violet to be a strong, confident, happy girl: Please teach her that she is so beautiful. She has to know she is perfect in every way. Give her opportunities to do a lot of service, hopefully to those less fortunate than her. Teach her grace and manners and how to act like a lady. Teach her that there is power in being gentle, feminine and tender.