Eric James Gardiner
September 2, 1979 Sunday, One important reason we want to move is so that we can get a larger home. Our little two bedroom home here in Panorama City is too small, especially now that I am about 2 months along pregnant with #3 child. The baby will be due the first of April 1980. I sort of hope that it will be a boy for Chad's sake.
Thursday Sept 6, 1979, I stepped on a rusty nail a few days ago (Sunday). It went through my shoe. I haven't had a tetanus shot for many years and since I'm two months pregnant, it would be unwise to have one at this time. I've been praying about it and am at peace concerning the matter. Tonight (Thursday the 6th), I threw up and my bladder went too. It came at the end of a grueling day in which I felt rotten the whole time. My heart hurt and my joints and muscles ached. I burst into tears at the humiliation and cried. But I believe all the pain is worth it to have this baby, who I know will be a blessing in our lives.
Monday October 22, 1979, Yesterday I went to visit my folks so my dad could give me a hormone and vitamin shot to pick me up some (been feeling hot flashes, emotional depressions). I am fortunate to have my father, the children's grandfather care for me and my children as they are born. He is a great man. Perhaps this child I am carrying will grow up to be like him.
March 21, 1980 Friday, We did a little packing, got the children dressed and said prayers. Then Kent took them in his M.G. to McDonald's for breakfast before taking them over to his mom's to watch all day, night and part of Saturday while we moved into our brand new home on Hyssop Lane in Saugus. I went to McDonald's too, but drove through the car line instead of walking in with the family so that I could head on out to the new house and begin a day of cleaning while Kent was loading up the rented U-Haul. As I drove up I could see Rachel sitting on the counter waiting for the food with her daddy. She smiled and waved, then turned her head slightly looking off into the distance. I knew she and Chad were excited about going to McDonald's and Grandma and Grandpa Gardiner's but I'm sure they must have been marveling about all the commotion and unusual circumstances. We had talked to them about the new house, move, etc., to prepare them, but I'm sure they really didn't understand, and everything must have seemed strange. I knew they would be happiest at their grandparents all day and then Kent and I could accomplish much more without them too. Still, my heart caught in my throat. They are so dear to me. I cleaned and lay shelf paper all day. It was hard for me to move about being 9 months pregnant. I had prayed that the baby would not come until after we moved in. (I even threatened to have the baby in the sales office if they didn't hurry with the completion of our house.) Our friends the Whites and the Stanleys fed and helped us. Kent drove up in the evening with our furniture. We slept on the mattress on the floor, too tired to move anymore.
Monday March 24, 1980, this morning Jim and Glenna Rae called at different times to tell us they had a little baby girl (Kelly Ann) at 6:30am. Thinking about that made me feel that my baby would come soon. I was very anxious to get everything ready and out to my folks as soon as I could. I moved slowly until noon, when I organized the food cupboards with Rachel's help (which I received from that charming precocious little 2year old going on 22 with mixed feelings), washed and took care of clothes, went over the budget, got the baby things ready and packed to go to my folks. We got there after 7:30pm. Ate some of my mom's good homemade soup, bathed the children, and all went to bed.
It Happened on Grandpa Brown's Birthday
Kent: March 26, 1980, after work I came back to the Saugus house because I needed to water down the cement so that it would cure properly. Suzanne was expecting me out at her parent’s house. I tried to call her for a number of hours but found it busy. At 6:00 she called and said she was upset because she had made a birthday cake for her father and me and I didn't show up. I said I was sorry and then she told me that, oh by the way, she was having some contractions. I said that I would come right out. I did. I made a mad dash in my MG and when I got to the corner I realized that I had forgotten the camera, so I raced back. When I got out to the house I found that she had already gone to the hospital and when I got to the hospital the lady at the desk said go right in, I did and as the nurse helped me on with my smock I asked what sex the baby was but no answer came. I went in to find the baby just born a boy. Lots of hair and to me he sorta looks like Jeffrey. He is healthy and whole and as I walked out I said that this was the easiest delivery I have ever gone through.
Mom: Wednesday, March 26, 1980 today I went shopping with the children at Puente Hills Mall. We got daddy and grandpa presents as we planned to jointly celebrate their birthdays that evening at the Browns. We also got Rachel some everyday shoes (that ended up lasting all of three days she wore them out dragging her feet while riding her horsey). It was extremely exhausting going up and down escalators about 20 times, getting drinks, going to the potty...Chad threw himself down and bawled in Sears because I got Rachel shoes and not him...We went out the wrong exit on the wrong level and had to climb some stairs and walk half a mile (so it seemed to me) to get to the car. The children were hungry and thirsty and tired (and so was I) and Rachel fell asleep on the way to the Browns. I begged them to eat lunch quickly so we could all take naps. I slept on mom and dad's bed for a couple of hours but the children didn't sleep at all.... in fact, Rachel poured out 2 bottles of my Escelsis make up all over my new robe, the rug, and a tray in the girls' room during "nap time".
When I got up the children "helped me" wrap birthday presents for daddy and grandpa and frost an angel food cake with jam and cream for their birthday celebrations. They had fun giving my dad his presents and were anxious for Kent to come so they could give him his. They carried them around the house until I took the one Rachel had away when she threw it over the banister. I found the one Chad had with the ribbon off and partially opened.
I was bone tired and ached. It was hard to move around and I lay down frequently reading some short stories from a schoolbook of David's. Just after I finished the cake (about 5:15pm) and dad left to go perform proxy sealings at the temple (and while Chad watched Sesame Street), I called GlennaRae to find out how she was doing and give her my folks phone #. I also called Grandma Breiten about making me some pillows. Then I went to lie down again with David's book (Rachel came too). Mother came in to tell me that David called from dad's office (he cleans it on Wednesday) to say that Kent had called there after being unable to get in touch with me here because the phone was busy. He'd found out that they had poured the cement that day for our patio in the back so he was going to stay at the house and keep it wet. I was extremely disappointed not only because I had looked forward to seeing him and had planned a birthday party for him...but also because I had also begun to wonder if the baby might come that night.
I'd become increasingly aware of some light contractions coming more and more frequently and harder. I hoped they would stop if I rested (they didn't). I had told GR that I couldn't have the baby that night I was too tired and had too many things planned. I thought about dad at the temple 'till late and Kent not here, and nonessential things like the children's Easter Party and our Music Center tickets on Friday, and the Reed's sealing Saturday morning and prayed, "Please Lord, not 'till Saturday night." Then when I knew it wouldn't wait 'till Saturday, I changed it to...."how about after dad's sealing session and Kent gets here". But somehow the Lord has his way, through the birth of babies, of putting all things in life in their proper perspective of importance. I wondered how I would feel if Kent missed his birthday party AND the baby, but knew I would probably forgive him since he was just trying to take care of everything. We had almost a $1,000.00 invested in that cement, and as far as he knew, the baby wasn't coming 'till Saturday, the 29th, when it was due. After 6:30 I went down to help mom get dinner on for the children and told her I didn't think I should eat since I had been having contractions. She said she had wondered if I were and suggested a second time that I call Kent. I knew that I should, but I hated to alarm him or get him out early then have to sit around waiting. While the children ate I packed a bag for the hospital. Mom tried to get dad at the temple and didn't get through once, and left a message the second time that he had an OB patient in labor and to call home immediately. She was hoping to catch him before the sealing session began otherwise he wouldn't be through until about 9:30pm. It was already after 7pm. When the children were through eating I began dressing them immediately for bed. Foremost in my mind was my concern and desire that they be taken care of and safe and happy. While mom read the children a story, I called Kent. I told him I was disappointed he hadn't come out for the birthday party and that I thought I was in labor and that he had better come out to my folks. I characteristically understated the situation, something I always do when I'm in labor. It's as if I no longer have the power to think about myself as my body, mind, and spirit prepare to give birth. Anyway Kent got excited and said, "Hey, I guess you're going to have a baby, huh?" and I said, "Well, sometime, not necessarily tonight..." He said he'd get people to water down the cement and leave in about 10 minutes.
After we said prayers, kissed the children and tucked them in bed, I asked mom to pack my Lamaze bag (something I had planned on doing but had put off) while I showered and changed my clothes. I couldn't believe how weepy I was feeling so sentimental about my oldest children, and frightened at the prospect of the coming baby. The tears rolled down my cheeks and I prayed silently and fervently while the warm water ran down my back and beat against my aching tummy. As I was dressing, my mom knocked on the door to say that my dad had called and had said that I should get over to the hospital immediately, and that he would meet me there. I looked in on my dear children sleeping so peacefully and loathed to awaken them by taking them with us, and have them become consternated and puzzled or upset about what was happening. I asked my mom if she knew of someone of her friends who could come and stay with the children so they could just stay asleep. She called Sister Joyce Osborne who said she would be right up. I called Kent again to tell him to just meet me at the hospital but he had already left the house. I waited in the car (for what seemed like an eternity while my mom went back into the house to get something and waiting for Sister Osborne to arrive. She finally came and mom and I left.
It was a long ride, but amazingly not as agonizing as I remembered past rides to the hospital. I felt very close to my mom during that night ride closer I think than I ever have. I knew she was nervous but was trying not to act like it. As we talked about her trips to the hospital to have my brothers and sisters and I different women leaders we have worked with in the church, and personality traits we found difficult or easy to work with, I realized how much alike we were, how much we had in common, and she seemed very dear to me especially at this moment.
My mother went in the "doctors and ambulance only" entrance, pulling right up to Lobby, rationalizing "Well, this is a doctor's car. I walked in while she got my bags. My dad was already there (thank heavens! I had prayed real hard for that) and he came immediately when paged. Maggie, the Dutch nurse, wheeled me in and prepped me. I was dilated to 6 centimeters already! I was surprised. Other than feeling weepy and a few hard contractions, it didn't seem possible that it would be so close to delivery. I turned my face to the wall and said another silent prayer, and felt a sweet peaceful and reassuring feeling or presence. I knew Heavenly Father was there and would help me that this was a very special spirit who wanted very much to be born. My other two labors and deliveries I had felt the need to have a blessing but I didn't feel it was necessary this time; I KNEW all would be well.
It was about 8:30 when I was officially admitted. At 8:45pm I began having a couple of very hard contractions, and had dilated to nearly 9. They put me in to the delivery room table. I kept expecting Kent to arrive but feared he would just miss it. Everything seemed a bit unreal (like it couldn't be happening to me) and up 'till then it had been easy to be distracted during labor. Now it felt good to push although my back ached somewhat. Dad said labor was too strong and fast for it to be a posterior birth like Rachel's (for which I was grateful). He could tell the cord was around the baby's neck and had the nurse put a fetal monitor on. The baby seemed to be all right but pushing and delivery seemed slow and agonizing. At first I had wanted to stall so Kent could see the birth but that lasted only a few minutes. Very quickly my one consuming interest became pushing the baby out and getting it over with. I soon got the knack of bearing down, and as soon as the head poked through, dad had HIM out. We were all elated: me, because I think I had secretly wanted a boy, and my dad, because he had delivered his own grandson on his own birthday March 26, 1980, Wednesday. Kent walked in not 5 minutes after Eric's birth, while they were cleaning me up. He took pictures of the baby and all of us. Eric was born at 9:15 pm.
As I lay on the table I thought: Well, he'll be Eric James (a name we had previously picked out): James after my dad (especially since he was born on my dad's birthday) and Kent's dad; Eric for his own individuality and as a name Kent and I both liked. I knew an outstanding LDS boy and student body president named Eric Bladh. But as soon as Kent walked in he said, "Oh, well I guess this is Seth Thomas". He had been reading in the scriptures about Seth and had been deeply impressed with it and decided he'd like to name his boy that. We didn't make a final decision until the day Eric and I were released, and as you can see, I won, and Eric James it is! Although the clerk misspelled James and Gardiner. I'm glad we decided upon Eric James. Maybe Eric can grow up like Seth did and follow his father's righteous footsteps.
As they were taking me to my room my dad marveled at how blessed he'd been in his life. He said that he'd wondered if the baby would be born on his birthday and thought that it would be nice, but didn't really yearn or hope for it. He said that it had to be some kind of first A man delivering his own grandson on his own birthday...Later before I was released from the hospital and he came by to see me, fill out the forms, and do Eric's circumcision, he stood at the foot of the bed, leaned on the rail and beamed,” Now, you're really rich, aren't you?” referring to my now three precious children. I remembered how he would always introduce us to visitors as his "wealth". My father always treasures the things the Lord does.
I got a private room in the hospital, hopeful that insurance would pay for it (it did). It was well worth it for all the rest I got. The night before I came home I got 7 hours uninterrupted sleep. I never watched TV...read some short stories, started sections of my journal, napped every chance I could.
Kent brought the children for me to see. I sure missed them, especially little Rachel. I had my dad get a wheelchair and wheel me out to see them. Chad was real happy to see me and wanted to take me home he tried to push the wheel chair and was a real little man, so grown up. Rachel ignored me some what didn't want to sit on my lap.... insisted on pushing the wheel chair, too. It reminded me of how Chad had reacted after I had Rachel. After my dad left a bossy nurse came out, saw me, got very upset, and took me back to my room. She was afraid the children may pass a cold on to Eric, and me and then the rest of the babies in the nursery.
Mom: March 29, 1980 well, here we are all home in our new house. Kent brought all of us home on Friday, and then took the children shopping so Eric and I could get some sleep. I was just dropping off when I was awakened by the phone University Elementary School giving me congratulations but chastising Kent for taking the day off from school. I was so mad I couldn't go back to sleep. That night when I went in to kiss little Rachel goodnight in her new bedroom, she turned her face to the wall and sobbed a little. My little darling princess was dethroned by the arrival of a usurping prince. I felt rather badly.... just like I did for Chad when I brought Rachel home.
Rachel was so very clingy when I was pregnant this fall could not even move out of her sight in a grocery store without her coming all unglued. Her hands would move up and down on her face and she'd act so distraught. She was very bonded to me, and always wanted me to hold or carry her until my arms ached and I begged Kent to take her. Now as I look back at those pictures of her at this age, how my arms ache to hold her again. I felt guilty having my first three children so close to each other-guilty for the child just older than the baby, and especially for Rachel who was sandwiched in the middle. But I was very blessed in Rachel: as soon as she neared the age of two she wanted to grow up and be like Chad. She was potty trained at two years old, wanted to follow him to friends houses to play, and no longer wanted to be treated as a baby especially with the new baby in the house. Perhaps she sensed the baby was coming; but she seemed to grow up overnight. While I mourned the loss of her babyhood, I appreciated how mature her little personality was. She was very easy to care for. She tended to hold her own feelings in, and became a little mother to Eric, trying to mimic me in tending him.
Mom: Easter Vacation, 1st week in April 1980, Kent took advantage of the week off from school to work as hard as possible putting in the brick wall in our back yard so that Chad and Rachel could be contained and I wouldn't need to worry about them during the day while he was at work. Rachel in particular, was a worry since she was just barely two years old. It was one of the craziest weeks of my life with a new baby, all the commotion and noise going on in the back yard, and Chad and Rachel who wandered around the neighborhood making new friends. I was in a panic many times, taking care of Eric or trying to get a needed nap in and not knowing exactly where the older two children were...and just praying that they would be all right, and that my new neighbors would watch them for me when I couldn't. Often times during the day I walked up and down the street in my robe looking for them and trying to get them to tell me where they would be, or to keep Rachel at home so that I could keep an eye on her. It was General Conference that Easter weekend as well, and Kent didn't get finished in time for the Priesthood Session, but he did stop for Sunday.
Kent is a hard worker around our new home, trying to get everything done. We really make a good team, but it was very difficult with him working all the time while I tried to care for the children. He made our patio roof cover and was drilling and sawing, hammering away and keeping the baby awake, sending sawdust flying all over and getting tracked into the house, breaking light fixtures, having me hold up huge heavy beams and getting my arms scratched up while he drilled, etc. Our house began to look real cute, and it was fun to pick out paint, wallpaper, pictures, etc. We tried to copy the model home that the sales office was in that was just like ours.
Before we moved, a mother of one of Chad's Preschool friends gave me a swing for Eric. And when Eric would fuss and I was trying to care for the other children or fix meals or even sleep, many is the time I would prop him up in that swing and crank it up. He'd kind of hunch there in the swing with his head cocked uncomfortably to one side, and doze off in-between windups. That swing was his babysitter, my second pair of arms, and his bed. He took many naps in that swing when I didn't dare move him for fear of waking him up. I joked a lot about the seesaw view he was getting of life, but I'd heard that rocking stimulated the cerebellum, and so hoped that he would have an active and stimulated intellect to compensate for my inability to always tend to his every need with three small children now under the age of four years. I even put him in there in the middle of the night on rare occasions, wind it up as tight as it would go, and jump back in bed to try to doze off before it wound down and I would have get up and recrank it.
He is darker as an infant than Chad, not as dark as Rachel. He is finer boned in his features than Chad, and grew and gained weight slower than either of the other two children. His fussy period finally tapered off at 3 months and he became a contented, good-natured baby, and I began to really enjoy him as I had time to care for him while Rachel and Chad consoled and entertained each other.
It seems like nearly every family in this phase of new homes has young children or is planning to have a family. Chad and Rachel have made many new friends, such as Craig and little Lizzy McGuire, Kara Moody, and Larissa and baby Aaron Cox. All of these children live within three houses of us on the right. Chad is particularly taken with Larissa, our neighbor's daughter, and they play together nearly all the time, with Rachel tagging along behind.
Mom: Saturday, June 28, 1980, Eric is getting so big, alert and responsive. When I'm pregnant it seems like forever. But babies are babies too short a time. I wish I could preserve them in their sweetness, innocence and dependency a few moments longer in eternity. As hard as pregnancy is, as challenging as it is to rear a family in today's world, it is worth everything. I used to struggle a bit against all the demands put on me with having little ones so close together. Now I know what a short time I will have my children to care for. My patriarchal blessings promises me that there is a joy found in being a mother that can come in no other way. I know that this is true. Nothing can compensate for the joy, the learning, the need to give and care for that is found in mothering. I pray that I may become the mother I must and want to be. Perhaps in the eternities we will count our blessings by the number of righteous posterity we have.
Certainly being a mother in Zion is the greatest privilege and blessing that will come to me. The inward struggles I felt were just a natural part of growing up, learning to be less selfish, and putting righteousness before worldly honor. I recently read about Sister Myron Tanner, an accomplished poet and literary woman, who after struggling to write and study all through raising six children realized upon the eve of publishing a book of poetry that she was more proud of her son than of a half dozen published books. While I cried when I left BYU to marry Kent, I wouldn't trade my children in for all the college degrees in the world...and truly believe that in time I shall be prouder of their accomplishments than I will my own.
There are great spiritual blessings that come to mothers. I feel such a special closeness to my children when I can meet their needs, nurse and care for them. Little Eric is beginning to support his weight on his feet, coo, smile, giggle, trash his arms about and look so alert and sweet. He looks like his uncle
Jim Brown (my brother). When he's hungry he curls on his side and grunts and pushes things in his mouth. I feel a sensitivity and bond with all of nature, and can not look at even a long-bodied but curled on my window seal or a skittering mouse in the garage without feeling my heart leap inside and a bond of sympathy between us for another of God's helpless, dependent creatures. I am loath even to swat at a bee or a fly inside the house. I so adore the children when they're little, I'm afraid I consciously favor Rachel and the baby over Chad and Kent.
The day after we took the children down to the hospital to see their "lost" mother and a nurse got very upset with Suzanne because she was out near other children and germs risking the health of all the babies in the nursery, two of which had jaundice!
On Friday we took Eric home to our new house. We waited for the longest time behind the hospital and saw a chauffeured limo bring in a Dr. to the hospital, only to find out that now they exit the children from the side of the hospital. We are in our new home as a family now!
On the first Sunday in May Eric was blessed. It was a very big day with grandma great getting up at 5:00 to get here in Saugus at 8:00 in the morning for our Fast meeting. All arrived at the church in Valencia. I blessed Eric and recorded it for him. He seems to be a very special spirit. Before the meeting I was called to be the 70's president. After all of the meetings Brother Stewart of the High Council set me apart, then the Bishop set Suzanne apart as the visiting teaching supervisor.
The Early Months
In the summer of 1980 we as a family had a lot of fun. We went to San Diego two times. Once we went to see Sandy who is clean, fun, and organized, and the other time we went to see Richard Watson. There were spiders in his medicine cabinet. Suzanne and I went to SLC to the World Conference on Records. We left the children and took Eric. We went to many of the workshops, me with a notebook, and Sweet Suzanne with Eric and a blanket so she could nurse him.
Eric is a happy, good natured, quiet and even-tempered child. He began to crawl and got his bottom 2 teeth at 5 months. He was sitting up at 7 months. I cannot tell you the leap of joy my heart gives me to go into his room which he shares with Rachel and see his cute little body standing up in the crib, grinning an ear splitting, two toothed grin. He gets so excited to see his family members touching his feet and squealing. He follows the children around and grabs their toys and sticks them in his mouth. He whimpers when he doesn't know where they are. He likes to stand up next to the open dishwasher and pull the silverware out. Rachel adores him and is forever climbing in bed with him, cuddling him, lying on top of him; Chad is very sweet to him too winding him up in the swing. Pinching him up and moving him away from his toys and getting Eric some of his own.
Chad clasps his hands under Eric's arms and drags him away. The kids sometimes fight over who gets to hold or hug Eric.
He didn't like the beach too well and isn't sure whether he liked the grass in these pictures.
He enjoyed the swing and spent a lot of time there the first few months. He usually goes to sleep in it.
He is almost 7 1\2 months now and nearly completely weaned. I've enjoyed nursing and cuddling him but he's beginning to bite and I am getting out away from home for long times now. When Eric was 4 1/2, he went with us to the world conference on records. He nursed and napped behind a cake concession stand on 3rd floor of the Salt palace in S.L.C. Utah.
Mom: Friday August 29, 1980, I don't think I have ever so thoroughly enjoyed my children like I do now. They area delight to me. I love to tease them and make them giggle, and then smother them with little smooches. Sometimes when I am feeding Eric in the middle of the night I imagine all kinds of horrible things that could happen to them (like falling out of the car like Charlie my brother did (one door of our Valiant doesn't always shut tight), etc. I break out in cold sweats and sometimes go check on them sleeping so sweetly, twisted in odd positions, and fall on my knees beside their beds in fervent prayer for their safety. How barren my life would be without them! May the Lord ever bless them and protect them from harm, evil, and the wicked designs of others.... and may they ever learn to obey and love the Lord their God. I guess there are worse things than losing a child through death losing a child through sin...but I do not wish to lose a child either way.
Kent and I went up to the World Conference on Records in Salt Lake City. We left Chad and Rachel with Kent's folks. My heart yearned towards them even before we left. And it was so good to see them again when we got back. The conference was enjoyable but long and hard with Eric, who couldn't get enough to eat or sleep. The last couple of days I nursed him and put him to sleep on the floor behind a cake concessions stand on the 3rd floor of the Salt Palace. He was kinda cranky much of the time he was awake I guess he missed home and a regular schedule.
Kent: Oct 12, 1980, Eric crawled at 6 months September 1980.
At 5 and a half months he has two teeth. He reminds me so much of Chad with his smiles good nature and his aggressiveness. He is a wonderful boy.
Eric Is Sick
Mom: January 11, 1981 Sunday, My little cutie pie, baby Eric, is very sick with the flu again. This is the 4th or 5th time he's had it since Thanksgiving (67 weeks). Poor thing. He's been subsisting on Gatorade, soda crackers, and cheerios. But it has begun to wear on him. Lately he's wanted to be held a lot and has even lain quietly in my arms (unusual for him he's such a giggly wiggle worm). He's lost some of his cute chubby plumpness and he whimpers some (a lot for him since he's so good natured and generally contented). Tonight Kent and Jim White gave him a blessing. Kent blessed him that the Spirit of the Lord would enter him and that he would gain back his health and strength-and that his parents would have the wisdom to know how to care for him. He is sleeping soundly now.
What a delightful dear boy he has become. Always grinning his 6-toothed grin from ear to ear, so happy and good-natured, giggling, crawling, standing up, grabbing, getting into things, scampering about in his walker, playing patty cake (clapping his hands) holding his hand out to you and opening and closing it, his stalking you, snorting when excited, ducking his head, rolling on the ground, Chad carrying him about under the arms like a limp sack of potatoes while grinning all the while like the happy-go-lucky elf that he is. And his reddish-silver-gold hair, thick and slightly curly on the end. His husky chuckles when he spies you. His dimpled earsplitting grins.... what a little doll you are. And how much I have grown to love you, my dear. How glad I am that you have come to live with us. What a choice, happy family we have. And always have I pray.
Thursday April 1, 1981, Last Saturday we took the kids to Magic
Mountain. I really enjoyed being with the kids. They loved the log water rides (Jet stream and log jam) I walked my feet off had to remove my shoes. We spent most of our time in Children's World in the morning. Eric loved the motorcycles and cars. In the afternoon Eric went to Vivian Mark's while we went to the Marionette show and Spilliken corners.
Mom: Saturday May 9, 1981, today was to be Chad's 5-year-old birthday party, but I had to call everyone to postpone it because
Chad and Eric are sick. They've had fevers, sore throats; Chad's eyes are swollen and matted over. He was very disappointed, but we'll have it next week and roast hot dogs, play games, etc. It took me an hour to call all 14 of his friends to tell them, and many of them were quite disappointed too. I spent 2 hours Thursday night delivering the invitations to all of them...
Mom: Saturday May 16, 1981.... I made some cupcakes, and then went down to Rosedell School to be the Pocket Lady at their Carnival. I agreed to do that before we had to postpone Chad's party because he and Eric were sick. Then I dashed home, bought some more Hot dogs and buns at 711's on the way, and set up for Chad's party.
It was fun, we played games and had hot dogs...my neighbor, and Marilyn Cox came over to help me. Eric was so cute, he kept grabbing the hot dogs (he loves them) out of the buns, and carrying them around and eating them. Kent did an interview on cassette and took some pictures.
We didn't invite one neighbor child (Kara Moody), who is 2 years younger than Chad mainly because I felt she was more Rachel's friend than Chad's. I found out she was very sad and disappointed (she feels like one of the gang).... I set aside some party favors and tomorrow, Rachel and I will bring some over to her along with a cupcake. I am sorry to break a little girl's heart.
Mom: Tuesday May 19th, 1981, I got ready to go work at Chad's school (Fun for Fours) in the afternoon. They are preparing their "To Kindergarten We Go" Program. It's darling, and I am amazed at how sharp those little four-year-olds are! They perform as well as many teenagers do in ward Road shows. I have been pleased by Mrs. Evington, Chad's teacher. She is able to command the kids' respect and obedience, and the children adore her. Chad was tested for kindergarten and the testing K teacher said Chad was developmentally at 5 years old, very ready for kindergarten.
Wednesday the 20th, 1981, the afternoon I took Chad and Rachel to the circus at COC (except Eric he was in the babysitting coop). The kids had fun and I kept buying them goodies to keep them occupied.
Mom: Thursday the 21st of May 1981, I was supposed to watch the Favera children for their mom who just had a new little baby, but we made it the next day since Eric's eyes were so matted over and I wasn't sure what was causing it. I kept putting Visosulf drops in when I could, but I hated doing it because he always squirmed, yelled and rubbed his eyes. I tried to get a sub for Chad's preschool, but when I couldn't, I got Marilyn next door to help watch him and went anyway. Rachel had a good time participating with everyone. She said she liked Chad's school, and she played some Alphabet games with the children while I stuffed life-size figures of the children in the class.
Mom: Monday June 1, 1981, we got up at 7:30am, got dressed, ate, picked up the house, and packed into the car. The kid's were so excited (Rachel got up twice in the night) they bounced and chattered away in the car all the way to Grandma Gardeners. We left Eric there; he didn't know what was going to happen and he really screamed when we all walked out and left him. He tried to chase and dive after us, but Grandma held him with his blanket.
Eric was sure ecstatic to see us again. We stopped in to see Gayle Reese and John, Jr., their new baby, and thank John for the purchases.
Wednesday June 3, 1981, I was going to watch Vivian Mark's kids today but she changed it to Thursday.... so I took the kids up to the pool instead. I met Glenna Rae White and her three kids, Debbie Blair and her three, Margo Mumford and little David, Lisa Esposito and her three, Nancy Pfahler and her two, and some others I didn't know. There were at least 20 children there, all
Pre-schoolers. Chad had a hard time-sharing the inflated "doughnut", which irritated me some since he knew how to swim, then Glenna Rae shared an extra one with him. Eric loved the water once he got in. I had to watch him or he'd just jump into the pool. I got in with him and held him afloat. He squirmed, kicked his feet, squealed, blew bubbles, and gulped water had a great time. Rachel enjoyed the "doughnut", went out in the water a ways and then squealed for help getting back into the steps. GR's Kelly fell in the pool twice.
Thursday June 4, 1981, today was the first day for watching Joshua or "Joshy" from down the street. I took over babysitting him from Marilyn Cox when she started school. He is an adorable little 18-month Filipino boy, who cried constantly, and wouldn't eat or sleep the whole day. Then once the crying simmered down, the problems with Eric began. Eric kept BUGGING him pushing him,
taking toys away. Josy would scream "No!", or "Mine!" I'd tap Eric's hand and say "No, no, Eric". And he'd hang his head and look at me from under his long eyelashes with a really guilty expression. (He was sorta funny about it like he was saying,” I’m king here and this guy comes under me.) Besides establishing pecking order, I think Eric also did it for my response. He was testing his limits and boundaries so to speak. He a little bugger, that one!
1 Year Old
Kent: June 2930, 1981 Suzanne’s parents invited us to go to Big Bear with them. We drove up and Eric threw up on Suzanne two times. There were curds of milk everywhere. What a scene! He threw up on me on the way back from Green Valley where we took the kids swimming. It was a smelly yet fun trip.
End of June 1981, Vivian Mark babysat Eric while we took Chad and Rachel to COC for Parent Child Swim lessons. Another parent in the class, Candace Waldheim and her son Kevin needed rides, so we took them also. Candace became quite taken with Rachel. She also became somewhat interested in the church, and began attending R.S. homemaking meetings with me. She invited all of us over for a lovely Chinese meal as a thank you for the rides.
July 10, 1981, Last week we went up to Big Bear for a day and a half with my folks and Grandma Breiten, and the Goodmans (Glenn, Janna, Ben, Matt, Jessica and Nate), Mike and Judy and Adam Wooten. Charlie and Barbara were there for just Monday night.
It was nice in that it gave me an opportunity to appreciate my sisters' families better. Eric had a hard time on the curves though. He threw up 3 times. He didn't sleep well either.
August 28, 1981, we went camping with the Blairs this summer and had a great time, the kids loved it.
Chad is about one month into kindergarten here at Highlands. His teacher is Mrs. Neary. I am serving as Parent Faculty Organization Membership Chairman.
Sunday August 29, 1981, Today Chad and Eric went with Kent to his Ward Missionary meeting and Rachel came with me to visit Solemint Ward's Relief Society as part of my calling on the Stake Relief Society Board. We had a nice time together, and got back in time to attend Primary and Sunday school.
Mom: August 30, 1981, Eric knows 5 words now "uh oh!" is his favorite when he makes a mess. His mouth makes a round "0." His eyes get real big; he stands on tiptoe and points or wags his pointer finger in the air, looking around. "No" or "Wo" are common too, "Daddy and Me'me'" when he wants something usually tired and wanting a bottle, and "dogie" for any little animals he points, squats down, and squeals with sheer delight. He has gorgeous long white blond hair that's "bouncy." When he runs his bottom waggles and his feet churn in the air above the ground. He has the most engaging earsplitting grin and giggle and he does both a lot. Friends tell me he is too beautiful to be a boy and many mothers of bald headed infants are jealous of his gleaming tousled head. He is very affectionate coming up for affectionate "nips" on your shoulder or knee but never staying around long enough for prolonged cuddling he’s always on the move. He brings his own diapers now for a change and gets rags out of the drawer for spills and messes (usually his) and gleams with pleasure while he does them. He likes to sit on the couch with the other children and watch TV, play in the sand bed, go swimming, and go for stroller rides (to take Chad to the bus usually,) and drag his blankets all over the house to lie on or bite the ends of. He even likes Rachel's and Chad's blankets, too I think because they're the other children's and they get mad.
The Boy Knows No Fear
When we swim I say, "Ready, set, go" then dunk him. His body really churns to get up to the top and when I raise him up his eyes and mouth are open wide and he looks so startled. He likes to be passed back and forth between daddy and mommy giggling the whole time, and he tries to make it to the steps when I take him around the pool. He doesn't seem to be afraid of the water and has fallen in (and then rescued quickly) twice.
When he gets upset or crossed he clenches his teeth and hits or pinches, or pulls hair, then leans his head against you and gives you love pats to make up. His diapers never stay on him. He is very good natured and adored by everyone especially his family. We call him "little monster”,” special buddy", "cutie boy," or
"Big guy." He likes to climb up on the kitchen table, empty the drawers out, and carry my blow dryer and curling iron around by their plug ends. He dumps all the kid’s toys out of their containers and wants to sit up at the table and eat with a fork like everyone else. When he wants a drink he points and squeals, pounds his chest and "uhuhuhuh's'. He loves to help Kent out in the garage in fact we can never get him to come in once he gets out there He gets into the tools and screws and likes to carry around the timing light which looks like a gun with a cord on it.
A Darling Toddler
He's a real clown showing off and laughing with an audience.
He tries to imitate the children rolling on the ground when
Chad showed us some gymnastic somersaults and folding his arms and muttering for prayers, which delight Chad and Rachel.
September 6, 1981, Eric dumped a bottle of crème rinse on the carpet Thursday, the morning before we cleaned our carpet (good thing it wasn't the morning after!) He really likes the book "Apples of Gold" the gold colored book of poetry and pithy sayings that I got when Rachel was born for being the mother with the youngest baby at church on Mother's Day. He always picks that book out of the bookshelf and carries it around. Is this a portend of a future interest of his?
A Narrow Escape From Death
Last Monday a police car came with 5 feet of where we were sitting at a school table and benches while we were eating some Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was going 30-40 mph chasing a youth. We felt blessed that Eric was up at the table not wandering around like he usually does when we all eat.
I got him a little handled training cup at DI Friday like he had a few months ago that broke (he loves to carry it around and sip from it).
Mom: September 17, 1981, All day long it seems, I'm pulling
Eric's diapers up, or he's pulling on my finger and saying "unhs, unsh, unk" and leading me around especially out the front doorto look for doggies and kittens. All animals he calls "doggies" and squeals, points, squats to look at them and beams from ear to ear-saying "wah, wah." He's hard to resist. Sometimes he brings books to me with pictures of animals and we look at the pictures, identify the animal, and then make sounds like them or rather I do and Eric giggles delightedly.
Mom: Sunday September 20, 1981, this morning I woke Kent up for
Stake Priesthood Meeting and heard Eric stirring at 6:40 a.m. I went back to sleep and woke up again at 7:10 with Eric screeching and rattling his crib vigorously. I came in and he pointed at his dripping, sagging diapers "unh, sudnhk!" I changed him and got him up with his blanket, shut the children's bedrooms (so he wouldn't bug them) and went back to bed myself to read Links of Forever, inspirational stories of genealogy work. Pretty soon he came in to me by the bed, holding his shoes, pleading, and trying to take hold of my hand. I didn't budge and so he began hitting me and pinching my arm I finally relented and put his shoes on. Then a few minutes later he came in with one of his shirts (perhaps he found it in the pile of clean clothes at the foot of my bed.) When I was slow to act again he began to fuss and pinch me. So I put his shirt on. He grinned, laughed and toddled off. For breakfast he stood on one of the kitchen chairs and ate a few Cheerios with a spoon from a bowl with milk.
Mommy or Milk?
When Kent went on an errand he tried to get me to go with him out the front door after him. Towards mid morning when he was tired he threw himself down, rolled around in the clean clothes and fussed, waved his arms and alternates between laughing and whining. Usually he walks around the house pulling and biting on his blanket and saying "me me, me me” and whimpering some when he’s tired and wants his bottle. I think it's a combinations of "mommy" and "milk” Today when I put him down he cried angrily and kicked the bed with his shoes. I came back in and he held his foot up he wanted his shoes off. He giggled sleepily when I pulled his sandals off and tickled his feet. He went to sleep somewhat peacefully after that.
Kent: September 1981, at 18 months Eric likes little cars he can hold in his hand. He makes sound for them. He has a drool of spit on his stomach constantly. For months he has worn nothing but diapers and is unaccustomed to shirts, pants and shoes. He only has sandals because his feet are too big for normal infant shoes. He has strawberry blonde hair, and I think he is as cute as can be! Suzanne seems to particularly dote on this little boy.
Weaning Eric, Big Problem
Saturday October 10, 1981, we've been trying to wean Eric from all his night bottles and are enduring a LOT of crying in the mean time. When he finally does fall back to sleep, it's usually with his knees tucked up under his tummy and his bottom up in the air.
The Happy Adorable Clown
Monday, October 14, 1981, we have been trying to get Eric off the bottle all night long. Sometimes he wants 45 bottles between then and morning. So we've been through some sleepless nights trying to get Eric to cut down just take a bottle at his bedtime (about 7p.m.) and ours 10p.m. He's stood up in bed and screamed 'til he was hoarse. He'd be mad and try to hit all cups out of our hand this would go on for an hour or more in the early morning hours. One night I got up, stroked his cheek, talked soothingly to him, got him to lie down, and patted him to sleep about 15 minutes. I thought my arm and back would break but it was worth it to me to have him calm down and sleeping peacefully. The last few nights he's been sleeping through or else hanging on to his last bottle and sipping it slowly all-night.
He certainly is a happy, adorable, clown. I can hardly resist laughing at him and grabbing, tickling or kissing him. Everyone says what a pretty, beautiful child he is. He always says "unh, unh," and turns away whenever you ask him something and whenever he sees anything he always says "uhhhhhhhhhhhh oh!" or "doo!" (The first if something isn't right; the second I think in regard to his "dirty" pants and diapers or something else wrong. He sits in the sand box for hours by himself digging with a spoon, cocking his head and listening and looking around. Them comes in with sand tucked in his diapers and around his mouth. He loves all little trucks and cars and carries them around and says "Brrrrrrr" with his lips. He also loves to wear Rachel’s shoes and is never so proud as when he's gotten her Sunday Shoes or "flip flops" on by himself and shuffles about the house in them. He likes to "read" animal or doggie books (especially Benji and Lassie and carries or pushes chairs everywhere to climb on them and switch on/off lights, water faucets, grab objects on counters or sneak chunks of sugar from the Tupperware Salad Bowl on the counter. He hums and sings to himself sometimes when he plays and loves most to be where the others are and is most hurt when Chad and Rachel shut their bedroom doors to him and keeps him away from them and their things. He likes to suck toothbrushes and carry toothpaste around, pull on dental floss.
Last Wednesday his Grandpa Brown came out and we drove up to the Falls and dam up Bouquet Canyon. Eric became fussy I think his old carsickness on the curves, etc. So we stopped at the falls Cafe and my dad bought him some cheese and crackers. He was content as long as he had something to hold in his hand. My dad carried him as we hiked around.
A Mother's Love
I love his chubby firm smooth body, and his impish, affectionate,
clownish ways. He is irresistible.
He says "Aaaar." when he picks up a dinosaur and likes me to ask when I change him what does a kitty say?..... and he looks as if he might say meow....I ask him where his belly button is and he points at his chest and says "da da" meaning ding-dong like a doorbell. I ask where his nose is and point to mine and he puts his finger to his lips and says "shhhh!" When he's through eating or doesn't want something he throws it off his high chair tray and stands up and waves his finger, purses his lips "na-nanana.) He beams happily and excitedly if he can get up on the bed beside the kids or giggles contagiously if you pretend to charge at him. He grabs my finger and squeals imploringly when he wants something (like into Chad's room when he's shut the door) and often walks around the house saying "ma me, ma me, ma me", grinning at me. He calls me too, if he's scared, unhappy, or wants something. My heart swells so tenderly toward him, that I cannot hear or look upon him without whispering a prayer "Oh my Father, please bless and protect that dear child."
Just now he came out walking slowly in Chad's boots and grunting (singing) uh, ah, uh, oh. He clenched his teeth and dived at Chad. Sometimes Chad tickles and teases Eric so that he can't breathe hardly for giggling so.
Mom: Sunday, October 18, 1981, Eric goes through eating stages. He used to love to chew on carrots, then it was Cheerios, tomatoes, now it's meat he loves and eats mainly meat all kinds, just so long as it is small bite sized pieces. When he's all through eating, he dumps or throws the food on the floor, stands up and says, "done."
He's playing outside in the sand now he scoops it up with dishes, spoons or his hands and watches it trickle down to the ground again. He likes it best if he can get someone else to play outside with him and will sometimes cry or shout angrily from the sandbox for Chad or Rachel to come out with him.
Friday night was the ward talent night. Eric saw Debbie Blair, who was wearing a yellow sweater (she starred in a '50's sock hop with her husband and the Beehives) and was holding her daughter Heather Rachel’s age. Eric went up to her, patted her, lay his head against her, and wanted to be held by her on her lap. At first I thought it was her yellow sweater but today in Sacrament Meeting he did the same thing. I confess to feeling several stabs of jealousy. Debbie Blair and I trade off watching each other's children and we went camping together with our families at El Capitian. Eric seems real fond of Aaron Blair who is just a few months younger. I gave a baby shower for Debbie and Aaron a year ago. Maybe Eric recognized her maybe he was attracted to her since she was holding Heather. Anyway tonight in church he patted her and said "Mommy." When I tried to cuddle him he didn't want me I felt really bad, but he let me hold him on the way home and just a few minutes ago took my finger and led me out to the sand box with him.
Sunday October 18, 1981, I took a class learning how to make hair ribbons for Rachel in Relief Society homemaking. Today I taught\ Rachel's Nursery class (Rainbows) in church a lesson on "Small Animals". It was fun but exhausting. Last Friday was ward Talent Show. Eric really took to Debbie Blair patting her, cuddling up, wanting to sit on her lap, and calling her "Mommy". At first I thought it was her yellow sweater, but he did it again during Sacrament Meeting today. I felt several tinges of jealousy, I confess. I guess he recognized her from the times we've been with their family visiting, picnicking, camping, exchanging babysitting, etc. He even tried to push Heather Blair off her lap so he could sit there. I kinda felt bad; he didn't want anything to do with me.
Monday October 19, 1981, today we went to Grandpa Brown's office for immunization shots, then to his home for Family Home Evening and dinner. Chad and Rachel went home in Grandpa's car, and bought some chicken and complements for dinner. Chad dropped a glass cruet on his Corelle dish and it shattered all over the place... kind of a mess to clean up, but fortunately, Grandma Brown was in Israel with Grandma Great and wasn't around to see it. For FHE we read postcards from mom, and a letter from David (on his mission) and then the kids played "Octopus" with Grandpa on the floor. They loved it, but we stopped it before too long for his sake. We had family prayers and Chad went for a walk with Grandpa. On the way home Kent sang funny songs with the children. Everyone was happy. Even Eric, who travels pretty well now (not so carsick like he used to get), and rides contentedly in his seat. Rachel looked so pretty in her dress and curls. Chad sat in front with us and was very companionable and grown up. He was happy to be back in school.
Mom: Sunday November 8, 1981, Eric is cutting his eyeteeth. He's more cross and ornery then normal some days won't eat, just wants milk and candy! Since Halloween, he's discovered the delights of sugar, and if he sees the orange jack-o-lantern he won't eat anything. All he'll do is point to it and "unh! unh!"
This morning he came in to greet me in bed with a handful of popcorn he put in my mouth (Kent was up with the children, watching cartoons and eating popcorn with them.) Eric does love to do anything "helpful” like take silverware and dishes out of the dishwasher and throw them in the drawer or put any stray clothes on the floor (including clean laundry) into the dirty clothes bin. I am making a burgundy velvet jacket and have kept it by the sewing machine. For two whole days it was missing and I looked everywhere for it finally I uttered a prayer in desperation, then tried to think what I'd do with it if I were a helpful, curious, adorable, impish one and a half year old like Eric. Then I walked straight to the dirty clothes bin, picked up a few clothes and there it was at the bottom of the pile.
He is also very curious. Whenever it is very quiet around the house, I can be pretty sure he's into something.... like my sewing (he always gets all tangled up in the thread) the toothpaste and brushes and floss (he also gets tangled up in the floss) the bottles, trash, brushes and potatoes under the kitchen sink, or my hair supplies blow dryer, curling iron or steam roller set (which he drags around the house by the plug and tries to plug into the electrical outlets most of which are covered over with childproof plugs).
Since he's had a cold these last couple of weeks he's taken to shredding toilet paper all over the house and cleaning things with bits of it or wiping his face, etc.
He pulls my arm or hands implores with large soulful eyes when he wants something. Yesterday evening when I was trying to pin my jacket sleeves in he kept pulling my arm away and holding one shoe and sock (which had come off) and saying "shhhhhoes" over and over again. I didn't want to stop so I threw his shoe and sock out of the bedroom into the hall. He threw himself down and began to cry so forlornly that I was quite conscience stricken.
Whenever he gets out of bed he throws his sheet, pillow, bottle, all his blankets, and any clothes he can take off out onto the floor, then shakes and rattles the crib headboard and screams. Whenever I get him up he has to gather up all his blankets with him too, and gets so frustrated when he can's carry them all, or trips on them and staggers under them all (he has three he likes) He drags his blankets everywhere in the house and outside too. Even wants them up in the high chair with him when he eats. They are always all over the floor, and when I pick them up and throw them back in his crib he is quite distraught. He runs in and pulls them out through the bars, and screams if they are too bulky to go through. His favorite blanket is a turquoise blue one with animals on it, yellow yarn and yellow on the reverse side. When I was a Laurel advisor in Panorama City Ward the Laurels and I made it at Big Bear as a service project for Kristen Kampenout their former adviser, whom I replaced, who was having a baby. I ended up doing most of it, including the hem and never gave it to her before she moved. All the hem has come out (where he's pulled it with his teeth and bitten the ends.) He never goes anywhere without his blanket or a truck.
A Blanket and a Truck
Right now he's sitting and lying in front of me on the living room floor with two blankets and a blue truck. Now he's walking in to see Kent and Chad, taking his favorite blanket and the blue truck with him. A few minutes ago he and Rachel were dancing and singing on the fireplace hearth, and he was holding his blanket and a different truck. (He hums and sings, and babbles a lot when he’s happy which is often) He stands in front of the TV, or sits on the couch watching it with a blanket and a truck. He goes out to the car with us dragging his blanket and a truck. When I'm sewing he comes up to me, shoving his blanket on my lap and trying to crawl up onto it himself clutching a truck or car.
When you watch him and he knows it, he'll run around showing off, doing perverse things, like throwing things (the truck he's been holding) or sometimes alternating between hitting you (with a truck) or patting you (which he loves to do when he makes up to you). Earlier this morning he threw his truck at Kent and chipped his front tooth a little more.
Now he has just come in to me carrying a book excitedly pointing and babbling about the pictures of children and stuffed toy animals leaving his blanket and a truck on the couch. Books are his third love next to his blanket and trucks.
He always waves goodbye (opening and shutting his fingers) whenever we leave somewhere. Last night at Highlands school after Family Pictures he stopped, turned, and waved at Cheryl Lyons (the PFO member in charge) five or six times. He always steals hearts when he does that and some have said I could leave him if I wanted to (which I don't!)
Hide and Seek
November 13, 1981, I am working on a velvet blazer almost done in fact. One day I looked everywhere for it and couldn't find it. I said a little prayer, and then meditated for a moment, trying to imagine where the children might have put it.... then in my mind I could see Eric putting it in the dirty clothes bin, like he has done to other clothes he's found lying around. I walked over to it, lifted the lid and searched through the clothes. And sure enough, there on the bottom was the jacket. He likes to think he's helping sometimes. Like emptying the dishwasher: he'll take the dishes out, stand on tiptoe, and throw them into the
Silverware drawer everything from eggbeaters to bottles, bowls to tablespoons.
Suzanne: Sunday November 29, 1981, Thanksgiving morning Eric woke up vomiting and with diarrhea, so I went out and got him some Gatorade, apple juice, soda crackers and Cheerios.... and he stayed home with Daddy (who had a viral infection of the eyes while mommy Chad and Rachel went to Grandpa Brown's for Thanksgiving Dinner and to Grandpa Gardiners for a visit. Friday morning he seemed better, had Cheerios and milk for breakfast and a bottle of milk for naptime but when I went in to check on him I smelled the familiar odor of diarrhea. He slept quite late during his nap. Today he seemed better but just now had another bout of diarrhea. We're going to try him on double diluted Isomil tonight anyway instead of just juice, Gatorade and Jell-O water. Last year he had a bout of diarrhea about every week or so for two months and he didn't get much to eat or drink then either. He's devoured a lot of Cheerios today. I think it was the first yogurt he had this morning or else all the apple juice that set him off today.
A 21 Month Old and Christmas
December 25, 1982 Kent’s Journal
Eric got a train and a car and a talking telephone when you pull the string it talks, and he giggles with excitement.
January 24, 1982, Sunday, Suzanne's Journal
Christmas morning Eric had the most delightful look of sheer joy and surprise when I opened the stocking gift that I put in bed with him the night before and he saw the little white friction police car. Under the Christmas tree he got a friction action choochoo, a talking phone, a Farmer in the Dell book, a Fisher Price helicopter, and jeep (from Grandma Great) some puzzles (Grandma Brown) a warm size 23 light blue sleeper (Grandma Gardiner) and two Tonka trucks one from great Aunt Audrey, and another from his Blunk cousins. But after all the euphoria of Christmas had worn off the only thing he really liked and wants are the brrrr's (trilled "r") cars... and not just any car but whatever car has been lately a favorite of Chad's. Kent and I joke that Eric learns his entire value system from Chad.
Eric really missed Kent when he went back to work after Christmas Holidays. Every morning the first thing he said was "Where's Dahy? He really enjoyed following him around, cuddling up with him on the couch, working out in the garage with him (he especially likes the file drawer with long screws, nuts and bolts in it) and going places with him in the car. He's been gallivanting around with me lately in the car while Chad and Rachel are in school. He lost Chad's Fast 111's Bronco car at Kmart during "dollar days" shopping spree. He' becoming quite the traveler.
He gets really crushed when the other children shut him out and won't include him in play he comes running to me screaming, pulling my fingers and saying "mano" which means come open the bedroom door for him and let him in with the others. The older kids frequently play "Monster" with Eric being the monster and run all over the house screaming and trying to get away from him. Eric screams, laughs and guns right along with them just happy to be along with them.
Sometimes he comes in to Kent and I "ahahn, ahahn..." fake whimpering for reassurance but usually he screams when he wants something. I've been trying to teach him please and lately he's been saying "pweets" for crackers and milk and smiling so sweetly it is impossible to put him off. He also stamps his foot or does a little dance when he's anxious and excited with anticipation for something. He's been hanging onto his bottle more than ever and that is usually the source of his pleading and anxiety. He's not quite ready to give it up but we have been filling it with water after his 2nd or 3rd bottle at night. His diapers are always soaking and his poor little bottom is chronically chaffed and red.
Full of the Raspberry
He sure is full of the raspberry, lately he's been running around the living room, pulling the speaker covers off the cushions off the couch, tipping over the piano bench and dancing on it, writing on the wall and record cabinet with crayon, etc. He's gotten his hand slapped too, and he always heads for his "nanny" after that. One day he threw oranges all over the family room. I ordered him to help pick them up and he ran giggling into my room and hid completely under his "nanny." It was hard not to laugh, but I still made him pick them up. Another thing he's started doing is putting his tongue between his lips and spitting defiantly when I make him do something he doesn't like (like get dressed when he's rather play, etc.) He loves to munch on carrot sticks these days.
Sunday January 30, 1982, I've learned that the secret to Eric's good disposition is to keep feeding him all day long. He's learning to ask nicely "me, me" (please) and most often times wants some nuts to snack on (he likes macadamia nuts and cashews) Today he stayed home from church with me (taking a nap) since I wasn't feeling well and when he got up he asked "where’s da-hy?" About 20 times when I kept telling him he was at church, he finally went to the couch and folded his arms and wanted to say prayers. I said a little prayer, and he shouted "Amen!" then tried to get my purse, grab my finger and go out the front door - he wanted to go down to the church, too. When Daddy got home he took him with him on a walk back down to the church to get the car they left there.
Little "Big Guy"
Tuesday February 23, 1982; Suzanne Technical Writing class, Descriptive Writing Assignment:
Little "Big Guy" is an irresistible toddler who can steal your heart and tweak it at the same time. His Platinum blond hair frames a most angelic face, set with enormous blue eyes and chubby kissable cheeks. But looks are deceptive. Behind his cherubic features is a lively and impish personality that tries even a mother's love.
From the moment Eric Gardiner wakes up he commands attention. He stands up in his crib, throws "nanny" (blanket), "BRRRRRRRRRRoom" (a fast 111's race car) and "maol" (milk bottle) on the floor along with any clothing he can take off, and yells at the top of his lungs.
As soon as his basic needs are attended to (such as a change of diapers and a glass of milk which is difficult since he musts be chased down for the first, and coaxed into the last), he begins his studious job of mimicking all the important people in his life. In fact his father dubbed him “Big Guy” because he tries so hard at this obsession to be just like certain favorite people. If the older children color, he must color too. If they race screaming through the house, he does also, even if he is "the monster", or object of their frenzy. If his father needs to work on one of the cars, he is most content with a screwdriver or hammer in hand. If mommy is fixing dinner, he needs his own stirring spoon and taster handy. His favorite toys are an older sister's discarded clothing, and his big brother's formerly coveted little racecars. He takes occasional Time Outs from imitating to be an absolute imp. He pounds the piano, scribbles crayons on walls, leaves a trail of turned on lights, torn off speaker covers, and upturned chairs in his wake. And when he's crossed watch out. He's a kamikaze pilot on a death mission. With teeth bared and fists clenched, he's a holy terror only three feet high.
But he's a knee-high darling, too, especially when he cuddles up next to you on the couch to watch "Ernie and Bert". He leans one arm companionably on your lap, while a faint aroma of not quite-housetrained puppy waifs faintly from his tousled curls. There's a certain spot, just under his right ear and behind his jaw that is just waiting to be kissed at any moment.
Little "Big Guy" may be short stuff, but he's pretty potent, and his family wouldn't trade him in on a larger more even-tempered model for all the peace and quiet in the world.
Wednesday, March 3, 1982, A week ago Sunday I was alone in Sacrament Meeting with Chad 5 1/2, Rachel 4, and Eric 23 months.
Eric had stayed the whole time without a nap, and now was uncontrollably hungry and tired and restless. The other two were also, but mainly restless. Kent was home taking a nap not feeling well. I sat on the front row and gave Chad crackers, paper and pencils, and told him he was in charge. Then I walked around outside with Eric, fighting back the tears. I went back in for the Sacrament because I yearned for it enough to struggle through it with the kids. As soon as the boys sat down I was walking out with Eric again and ran into Kent. I told him to please "never leave me alone in church with 3 kids again!" After church I told the Bishop that making it through Sacrament meeting in the afternoon with little children was the hardest job I'd ever done in the church. As tough as it is sometimes though, I believe that the seeds that I sow in my children will someday bear much fruit.
March 1982, Friday evening, Grandma and Grandpa Gardiner had Chad and Rachel spend the night at their house and then travel down with them and their Reese cousins Jennifer and Julie to see their Blunck cousins in San Diego for Cindy Blunck's Birthday party. The kids were so excited. I am very grateful for my husband's parents, and for their willingness to build good memories with my children.
Sunday Rachel gave her first talk in Primary all by herself. I made pictures of what she wanted to say and put it in her purse, and then sat way in the back of the chapel. I didn't know if she would do it or not. But she followed a real confident girl, and when it was her turn, walked slowly up. She stood there for a moment, then said very loud and clear: "I'm thankful for my friends.... and my daddy and mommy, and my brother, and my other brother Eric, and my church.... Amen" I was so proud of her, and relieved.
Chad then bore his testimony in Fast and Testimony meeting. I was holding Eric in the back and he sat up by the Bishop all by himself. When he went up to the mike, he was pretty nervous, so Brother Greg Beeston whispered in his ear a moment and then he started out. He said he was thankful for his family. He knew the Holy Ghost was true (the Bishop's daughter had just been confirmed) and that he hoped no crooks would get him. He did a fine job. It was payday for me.
Tonight for Family Home Evening Kent measured, weighed and outlined the children's hands and feet and their bodies in their journals. Then we dropped cupcakes and a letter of appreciation by Bishop Morris's house and visited with him and his family a moment. He's special: I especially appreciate the attention he gives my children and how he teaches and reinforces gospel principles such as tithing with them.
2 Years Old
Sunday, March 14, 1982, Suzanne's Journal A few times lately I've heard the bedroom clock radio playing loudly and have come in to find Eric playing with it and dancing all over bed.
Last Sunday Kent stayed home from church because he wasn't feeling well, so I brought the three children to church by myself. I had a lot to do getting Chad and Rachel to class, finding out when Rachel's Primary talk was, etc. On my way back to the Nursery where I was going to help out I wondered where Eric was. I ran out to the car and there he was, still sitting in the car seat, crying at the indignation of being left behind.
Yesterday he went with me on a neighborhood Arthritis drive. I brought the stroller but he never stayed in it running up to ring the door bells "nano" or up to the park to see the swings while I tried to call him back, unsuccessfully of course.
Best Haircut Ever
I gave him a haircut last night and he sat the best he's ever done (usually he screams bloody murder), because I gave him the squirt bottle. He passed the time away fiendishly squirting Kent and I during the whole ordeal (Kent held his head still on some crucial cuts. I remember the first time I had to cut those gorgeous, bouncy, platinum locks it was painful for me as well as him.
He certainly is a dear. Sometimes we call him "Eric the Monster", or "Eric the Big Beric" because he's such an adorable pest. I told a neighbor of mine recently that about the only thing he was good for at this age was hugging and kissing. He is irresistible to kiss. I love to right between his cheek and ear. I wrote a creative writing piece about him for my COC Technical Writing Class. It's called "Little Big Guy," and hopefully is on file for him.
Sunday March 21, 1982, Yesterday Kent took Chad, Rachel, and Eric to the snow while I worked on a paper for my COC technical writing class, and got some material to make some dresses for Rachel.
Sunday March 28, 1982, Wednesday last was tough day for me. I was very tired, and Eric threw a book at me and really bruised my gum over my right eyetooth. I also spent 2 hours on the phone trying to get a babysitter so that I could go to the Relief Society Birthday dinner.
Kent: May 8, 1983, Eric went to the bathroom (B.M.) in the blue bathroom today for the first time in his life. He was very proud he smiled and pointed at the toilet. Such a small thing in the life of a parent can be such a big thing.
Without Mom and Dad
Mom: June 1982, Kent and I went on an overnighter to Santa Barbara while Grandma Gardiner watched the children. Eric fussed just a little when we left but was sure elated when we returned the next day. That night after all the kids and we were asleep we woke up to find all the lights in the house on (including the outside lights) and Eric asleep in the hall across our doorway. Kent carried him back to bed with a bottle and turned out all the lights. Early the next morning we woke up to find the kid's bathroom light on and Eric again asleep across our doorway. I guess he was making sure he knew exactly where we were. When I told this to a friend (Bob Garcia) he said "Well, you know you have to watch out for these parents!" It was very touching to Kent and I.
Solvang and Santa Barbara
June 11, 1982, Kent took me up to Santa Barbara and Solvang while Grandma Gardiner watched Chad, Rachel and Eric. When we picked up the kids they were pulling out all stops to impress and show off to us how much they missed us. Grandpa Gardiner said that if Chad were his child, he'd make him stop talking so loud.
That night after all of us were in bed asleep we woke up to find all the lights in the house on (including the outside lights) and Eric asleep in the hall across our doorway. Kent put him back in bed with a bottle and turned out the lights. The next morning we woke up to find the bathroom light on and Eric asleep across our doorway again. I guess he was making sure he new exactly where we were. When I told a friend (Bob Garcia) this, he said, "Well, you know, you have to look out for these parents." It was very touching to both Kent and I. Is this part of turning the hearts of the children to their Parents?
Father's Day Weekend, 1982, Rachel and I went up with my folks to Payson, Arizona for a Young family reunion in a rented large motor home. My brother Jim and his wife and two girls, and my sister Judy and husband and two children came too. It was pretty crowded. Rachel and Adam slept on the floor, while I slept on the back bed pressed to the rear wall, sharing it with Jenny and Christy, (my brother's babies) and Judy and her baby Lachelle. In Mesa we met Charlie and Barbara and their baby Jeremy, and my uncles, Robert, Floyd and their wives, and picked up Great Grandpa and Grandma Brown (Gr. Grandma is a Young) and drove up to the reunion. That night around the campfire our family came off with the most rewards: Great Grandpa for being the oldest patriarch; my brother Charlie for being the youngest father; My dad for being the patriarch with the most posterity present.
We stayed for church on Sunday, and Grandpa Brown (my dad) was the Sacrament meeting speaker. He spoke on the legacy we leave behind. On the way through Payson back home we stopped at McDonalds for lunch because that's were Rachel wanted to eat. She was so happy the whole trip. She was practically purring from all the attention. She smiled and prattled on to everyone and played with her little cousin. I was so glad that I brought her and that she could have something special just for her.
Last week of June 1982, I was just home from the Young Reunion 2 days when it was time to pack up and leave for Big Bear with my folks, grandmother, and all my brothers and sisters and their spouses and children (except David who's in New Zealand on his mission). It was delightful. We went for boat rides, walks, made puppets, had cooking shifts. I slept upstairs with grandma and Eric and had cooking detail with Grandma Breiten too. We fixed old-fashioned beans, cornbread, and jell-o pretzel salad. We made a tape for David on his mission.
Euphoria or Rage?
January 17, 1983, to February 10, 1983, Suzanne's Journal Eric is really growing up he’s a little bundle of raw emotions with great euphoria or tremendous rage. But he loves to follow Chad, Rachel and their friends around, just like one of the gang. And he always wants to play at "Chum`s House" (Craig Mc Guire's house) or Bobby's house or Izzy's house (Craig's sister) and is heartbroken when he can't and the others can. I remember this fall the first time he began to recognize the difference between his baby talk and the correct way to say things. He always said, "wee" (or French "oui") for yes, and we teased him, called him our "weewee boy", and repeat it after him. He'd giggle and shrug his shoulders. One time he tried to say yes this summer and came out with "yease." I think he couldn't get the "s" at the end of the word. But big day this Fall when I asked him a question he took a big breath and said "yyess!" and was so proud of himself. I tried to get him to say, "wee" but he wouldn’t, and he kept saying "yess!" I confess to feeling wistful at his outgrowing that cute response. Then referring to "chum" (our nickname for the neighbor friend Craig M.) he said, "not chum....Ccrraig!" He seems determined to grow up all at once. It was about this time that he began to pronounce Rachel's name. Rachel taught him, I think partly because she was upset because it seemed he never called her by name. Some of the others in the family thought he called her "Dee." I wondered if he called her "Cha" just like
Chad since both names have "ch" in but whenever I would try to get him to say her name specifically he would just shrug his shoulders and look puzzled as if the ability to articulate or pronounce her full name was inconceivable to him. But now he calls her "Racho", and for awhile "Racho my buddy."
Most Affectionate Child
He is the most affectionate of all the children. Still attached to his nanny, he frequently comes up and shares it with Kent or me when we are lying on the couch or floor watching T.V., then he curls up beside us and kisses us.
Pregnant with Ryan
Being pregnant, woozy, and frequently lying on the couch just to rest, he'll come up to me and ask me if I'm sick. Then he says, "That's too bad! I sick, too." Then he'll squirm around beside me on the couch with his nanny so much (trying to get comfortable) that I find it quite impossible to rest at all. He calls us "my buddy", but when his nose is out of joint or his being teased he says "You not my buddy, daddy my buddy" (or "mommy my buddy if it's with Kent) And when he's smothered with kisses, which is often, he wipes them off and says "I HATE kisses."
When he prays it's always the same prayer "Daddy get home, mommy get home, I get home, Chaget home, Racho get home...(repeated in various orders)...AMEN! He prays that we'll all get home safely which I guess is the most important thing to pray for.
He "HATES KWIET TIME " (quiet time) which I impose upon him occasionally when he is especially cranky (or I am) and he gets up very early with Kent. He pleads through tears, not very convincingly, "I not tired, I HAPPY!" and sometimes falls asleep on the floor in his room curled in a ball on top of his nannys, whimpering to himself " I hate kwiet time,....I hate kwiet time..."
He loves his Rainbow Primary Class the older nursery class. As soon as we walk into church he starts talking about it wanting to go in right away, and after Sacrament Meeting (which is first) he grabs my hand and literally drags me out of the chapel to his class. He has 2 wonderful teachers Alice Barnard and Pam Cresap and thoroughly enjoys the interaction with the other children, the toys, the crafts, the snack, everything!
He's become quite fond of his "granmas" He calls both his grandpa and grandma "granma" much to the delight of his Grandma Brown, who's been called a "grandpa" more than once. He's discovered their picture, likes to point to them and carry the small one of Grandma and Grandpa Brown around with him, kiss it, and take it and his small picture of himself (on my dresser) to bed with him, or set them up while he's playing. He says "grandma my buddy" and talks about going to their house and all the things he's imagined that they've given to him. He does remember that they gave him a truck at Christmas.
He found and wore some old cowboy boots at the Gardiners one day so Kent dug up some old cowboy boots of Chad for Eric. He was ecstatic! He is always trying to get me to wear my boots to be like him, and is excited whenever he sees anyone wearing boots. At Christmas time he was real excited whenever he saw "canna claus." He wears them constantly even to bed sometimes and insists on putting them on "by myself!~" All he wanted for Christmas was a gun so we got him 2 cowboy guns and a holster. Kent fixed the holster tighter to fit him and the guns were rarely out of his hands for weeks he even wanted to take them to church with him (we wouldn't let him but they did end up in the diaper bag more then once. I told him he could only shoot monsters (rarrrr") and bad guys with them but not people. He frequently reassures me that he won`t shoot me, and has started referring to himself as a "pe po" rather than a cowboy (which he was for awhile). Now when his daddy asks him affectionately "Are you my boy?" He says "no, I a pepo." And once when I was making something for some "other people" he insisted "but I a pe-po too!"
Not a Baby Any More
He insists he's not a baby anymore partly because he wants so badly to be one of the gang with the older kids and partly because he's seen me baby sit babies and knows he can do a lot more than they do. He says "Baby go googoogaga" and pretends to cry. He calls one of Rachel's dolls his "baby" (her $17 Xmas present in 1981) and drags it around with him out in the sandbox occasionally or plays "house" with Rachel and her friends or takes it to bed with him. But he`s not quite ready to give up his baby ways yet, either. Getting him off the bottle was a traumatic step he was so attached to it and occasionally still asks for it although it's been four to six months since we quit giving it to him He likes to eat all the time with a "babee 'poon" (baby spoon) and has resisted all efforts to potty train him. He says he'll fall in the toilet and one time after a bath with Rachel became quite upset and worried as the water drained out. He yelled at her to get out of the bathtub and rushed over to push down the plug. Rachel laughed, hugged him and thanked him for "saving her."....But Eric's baby ways are about to end. Kent brought him a new potty chair this week (to Eric's delight), toilet Training is next week. With this pregnancy it makes me nauseated to change him especially when he's been eating apples skin and all it increases the number, runniness and smell of his movements. So I've been hiding all the apples and confiscating the ones he finds and pealing them for him as fast as I can. He loves apples, sometimes eating 2 or three in a sitting.
For the last month or so, whenever we ask him to do something he says "I can't,...I sick" or "....my tummy hurts" or "my back hurts" ever since the time I had the flu and Kent's back muscles locked up over Christmas vacation plus my morning sickness. Sometimes he'll come up to me and say sympathetically "Mommy, you sick? I sick too " then run off to play with the others. Unfortunately, he's learned that sickness is a way to get out of work, although we don't let him get away with it.
Freezing Toes At Big Bear
We went up to Big Bear with our Blunk cousins in January.. He loved playing in the snow until he got cold. He was always bringing his mittens to me to put over his fingers (no easy task) Saturday we took the kids to a hill to go down inner tubes and sleds. It was drizzling rain and a big wet hill. Eric didn't want to wear shoes and galoshes he wanted to wear his cowboy boots and called to everyone to let them know he had his boots on. I pushed and pulled him up the steep hill and when we got to the top he began to cry for his shoes he took off his boots and his soaking socks and tramped barefoot in the snowy slush and screamed because his feet were cold. His toes were red and raw with chunks of snow sticking to them and I could not convince him to put my gloves over them or his boats back on until we got back to the car. I experienced momentary empathetic panic with my pioneer sisters trekking across the snow with their little ones.
I called to Kent for help (I knew it would be hard to carry him 3 months pregnant that long ways down) but he didn't hear me he was busy with Chad and an inner tube. So I cradled him, still screaming in my arms, and picked, scooched, slid (sometimes on my rear) and fell down the hill. Eric yelled frantically "don't fall, mommy." At the bottom I was met by Kent who carried him the rest of the way to the car, took off his clothes, and dried and warmed him up. Sunday we made a snowman before leaving and he kissed and punched it and sang "Frosty the Snowman."
He delights in being one of the gang with Chad and Rachel and is crushed when Rachel shuts him out of her bedroom and or he can't go off with Chad to a friend's house. Chad's teacher at school saw him and exclaimed that he looked just like a miniature version of Chad. I tell everyone he's full of the raspberry he has such a zest and enthusiasm for life. He is part puppy and all adorable.
Since Rachel's birthday he has been talking quite excitedly about "my birthday" and we put 1 candle on a cupcake at her party for him to blow out. He chose some Juicy Fruit candy to give her as a present then had a hard time relinquishing it. He keeps saying "my birthday tomorrow" or "my birthday Sunday" (I think he's confusing Sunday with someday)
We've been giving the children an allowance each week. Eric keeps asking me to tell daddy to give him some money. He doesn't like to keep it in his "bank" he likes to carry it around in his pocket to "ride the train" (at K-Mart) for $.25. He loves to find loose change on the floor and pocket it too.
Aaron My Best Friend
He has a little buddy Aaron Blair. His mother and I trade off babysitting. At Christmas time I had each of the children give their friends little framed pictures of themselves including Eric who gave one to Aaron. He clutched that picture of himself around for days, kept fiddling with the wrapper and taking it out had a hard time giving it to Aaron. But Aaron was ecstatic and hugged the picture and ran around with it. At Valentine's I let Eric make some Valentines and put some candy in it. He made one for me, one for Aaron, and two for himself. I tried to talk him into giving up one of his to another little friend but he didn't want to. I gave him a "peek a boo" Panda bear valentine from Daddy and I. He always wants to go to "Heaber`s" house (Heather is Aaron's sister Rachel's age) but lately he and Aaron have been going at each other tooth and nail At our house it's Eric pouncing on Aaron and Debbie Blair confessed that at her house it was her son Aaron beating on Eric. Last Sunday's R.S. Mother Education lesson was on stages of growth, and under Toddler (23 year old) it said "very enthusiastic, angry when frustrated, temper tantrums, uncooperative in play..." etc. And I thought "Boy, Eric, are you ever a text book case." The last time Aaron was here I separated them every 25minutes. I tried spanking, time outs, gentle reasoning time outs worked best but were tough on me since I had to carry a struggling, kicking, arching, screaming, unwilling participant all the way to his room. He and Aaron both were black and blue before the day was over. But yesterday he was talking about playing at "Heaber's house again and he said "I be nice to Aaron...I won't hit Aaron any more." We'll see about that.
He can't pass a big truck or dirt machine (caterpillar, etc) without screaming wildly "I want that! I want that for my birthday!" I think he'd honestly be ecstatic if he could have a real one all to himself
Eric Gets Trained
Suzanne: March 15, 1983 , On Feb 18, 1983 I officially potty - trained Eric. I was tired of changing him and it made me sick to do so being pregnant. So I checked the book Toilet Training in Less Than a Day out of the library. The night before I planned to train him I had a nightmare about Eric. It scared me so I woke up, checked on the kids and said a little prayer it came to me quite clearly that it was based on my psychological fears of letting him grow up I was mourning the "death" (figuratively speaking) of his babyhood and I remember doing the same thing with Rachel when I was pregnant with Eric. Eric has been such an adorable baby it is hard for me to give up his babyhood. I went ahead with the training a day later....farmed Rachel out to Angela's, went shopping with Eric for goodies (which he clutched eagerly in his hands at the store), got all the things out. He wanted the candy so bad he went right into the potty even before
the training began! Then the problems began when I wanted him to wear the training underpants. He didn't want to he wanted to wear regular pants. We had a big scene Eric screaming and kicking me smiling through gritted teeth, silently praying, and firmly trying to move him in the way I wanted him to go (all the while resisting a strong urge to spank him and end the training) We finally compromised with regular shorts, no underpants, and left his cowboy boots on. We successfully potty trained a little dolly 3 times in the potty (Eric doing the actions, me telling him what to do), and he had one more near success himself. I say "near", because he started to miss while playing, caught himself, and ran to the potty. I plied him with juice, crackers, cookies and candy (which I enjoyed myself too), then we called Grandma Gardiner and Grandpa Brown so that they could both congratulate him on his being a big boy. Eric giggled happily on the phone to them. Then he saw 2 neighbor children, Aaron and Lizzy out front, and ran out to brag to them and wet his pants while talking to them. I think he did it on purpose to see what would happen. I had him "practice running to the potty 10 times, and change himself, then we went to pick up Rachel from dance lessons. When we got back and he was outside playing with Chad, Craig and Chris, I put his potty chair outside and had him point to where he would go peewee so he could keep his pants dry. He pointed, but wouldn't go. It had been over and hour since he'd gone, and sure enough a few minutes later he came in sopping wet from his waist down, legs astraddle, whimpering about having to go practice. But when I tried to have him practice he cried, went limp, and arched his back he just wanted to change his pants. Again I was ready to give up but then he did fine the rest of the evening until dinner was even able to show his daddy what a big boy he was. He had one more accident during dinner but kept his pants dry all night. The next morning he was so pleased with himself he hugged his nanny and rolled around on the floor like a pill bug grinning and giggling ecstatically. We brought his potty to church with us and told
his Primary Class what a big boy he was. He ducked his head but beamed with pride. Now he does real well we take his potty everywhere and have been able to convince him to wear underpants. He has a few relapses but proudly tells everyone "I go peewee in the potty", shrugs, grins his million dollar heartbreaking smile, and giggles.
Kent: Feb. 23, l983, Last Friday Suzanne trained Eric. He has only had three mistakes over the weekend. The first day he did poo poo all over the sidewalk. He is really proud of being so grown up. He loves being one of the group.
Saturday, March 12, 1983, we took the kids shopping for shoes. Eric just wanted some cowboy boots. We finally found some a size bigger than he needed at K Mart and got them for him (his old hand-me-down pair from Chad had worn away and the plastic tops were chipping off) we also got him some blue tennis shoes like Chad. He loves both of them ....wore his new cowboy boots to bed the first night, and his new blue tennis shoes to church the next
"When is the baby coming?"
He keeps asking me how my baby is, where is it, etc. He says he
has a baby, too. He asks me if I want to feel his baby in his
tummy, then asks if he can feel my baby too. He asks if my baby
is sleeping and I say "uh, huhn." Then I pretend like I'm the
baby talking saying I love Eric and I want to play with him. He
giggles happily. One time when he wanted me to play trucks with
him I put the truck on my tummy and said that the baby wanted to
play with him. He really laughed he thought that was real
funny. He also keeps saying that he wants the baby to come out
of my tummy now. One time he gave my tummy a kiss for the baby.
3 Years Old
Sunday March 27, 1983, Friday I took Eric shopping and we bought some jellybeans for his birthday cakes. He was really excited about it Saturday morning he opened up some presents a red rubber ball (daddy) a Sesame Street exercise cassette (Reese cousins) and some money from Aunt Karen and Uncle Mark and Grandma and Grandpa Gardiner. In the afternoon he helped me make a white birthday cake with blue frosting. We put green coconut, little decorator candies and jellybeans on top. And 3 candles. Then we got in the car to go to Grandpa Browns but stopped at K Mart first so Eric could spend his birthday money. He bought a red Buddy tow truck and some caps. He wanted 2. And told me he wanted lots of giant trucks from Grandpa Brown. Then we went out to the Browns of a joint birthday party with Grandpa Brown. He couldn't wait to open his presents. He got $1 from Aunt Judy, Uncle Mike, an identical red Buddy tow truck (like he chose from K-Mart earlier from Aunt Barbara, Uncle Charlie, and some stackable atom like stars from Grandma and Grandpa. He enjoyed eating the candy off the cake and blew out the candles on it before we even finished the song. He was real cute and had a lot of fun....Sunday morning he helped decorate some cupcakes (with more jelly beans) for his rainbow class. We sat in front of his teacher (Sister Cresap) whom he said was "pretty" in her dress. He passed out the cupcakes to his classmates and raced around the class with enthusiasm and delight.
Sunday April 10, 1983, Suzanne's Journal Last weekend, Eric went shopping with Mommy to buy some Easter goodies for the family. He picked out a cowboy had filled with candy for himself. He was so excited about that cowboy hat he told everyone about it and couldn't wait for Easter. He wanted it to be NOW, and fell asleep on the floor in Mommy's room before lunch waiting to get it.
He really likes Lizzy's shovel, so he went with daddy to the store yesterday to buy himself a big plastic shovel with his own money, but there weren't any at the store. So he bought a green "truck" (dirt scooper) that he almost bought for himself on his birthday. He really likes his "tucks."
A couple of days after Easter, Eric's straw cowboy hat shredded a little in a fracas with Rachel over where to sit while watching T.V in the morning. He cried but finished it off and threw it away, saying he had to get a new hat now.
Overcoming The Urge to Hit
Sunday April 17, 1983, Eric was banished from Lizzy's house Thursday morning for a while for hitting Lizzy with his fist. He came home, sulked, ate some food, curled up in his nanny on the floor, and went to sleep. When he woke up he wanted to have Rachel come home with his "tuck" that he left at Mc Guire's and bring Lizzy too so he could hug and kiss her. He said he liked a lot of hugs and kisses. So that's what happened, and he was a
model friend the rest of the afternoon. Just now Daddy gave me a loving, and Eric ran between us, wrapped himself around my leg and said (shouted) "Not your mommy, my mommy! and began kissing my hand. He sure is an adorable little
May 29, 1983, Kent took Chad and Rachel with him to King's Canyon
in the High Sierra's to camp with the 3 Beitler brothers and their children for the weekend. Eric and I came out to Grandpa Browns so he wouldn't feel left out. He's had more fun following his Uncle David and "Bompa" around, doing whatever they do and asking a million questions, etc.
Kent: June 1983, Eric went to Disneyland with the Browns and us. It was crowded. In the summer they have as many at 65,000 and on a small day they may have as many as 6 or 7 thousand.
July 22, 1983, soon after Eric was born Chad began asking when we were going to have our next baby. I told him to wait until Eric was two years old. Several of the children's friends (the Whites and Blairs) had babies in '82, and Chad and Rachel began to pester us again. We told them to ask Heavenly Father. They began praying in earnest for another baby in family and private prayers. Chad in particular prayed fervently for another brother. I was about three months pregnant with Ryan when I heard Chad praying "Well, I think we're about ready for that baby now" and I looked at Kent and said, "I think we should tell them, don't you?" We waited until I was over the sickness and just beginning to show (then it wouldn't seem so long to them. We told them in a special family home evening at about 3 1/2 months. Chad was ecstatic, and announced his prayers had been answered. Eric immediately had a baby in his tummy too gave you kisses and brought him blankets and toys to play with even though he was still inside my womb and added him and his baby to his prayer list of getting home safely. He'd pray "Daddy get home, Mommy get home, Chad get home, Rachel get home, Eric get home, Mommy's baby get home, my baby get home, Je'us too, AMEN!" And sweet good Rachel prayed that he would be healthy and strong.
We went to stay at the Brown grandparents the week before Ryan was born. The children were happy playing with the dogs and going for walks with grandpa. Chad would run ahead and Rachel and Eric would sweetly, trustingly hold onto grandpa's hands. Grandpa Brown later said that it struck him that we need to be like children and hold onto our Father in Heaven's hands as we walk through life.
I was anxious to have Ryan that weekend, because on Monday July 25th, Chad and Rachel were to start back to school on the four vacation plan, and I wanted to have the baby and get back home so that I could show the children their new classes and get them off to school on that first day.
Thursday evening the 21st, we went to the Puente Hills mall and bought Chad some pajamas, and fried ham the next morning, Ryan was born. Chad was very excited to have a little brother and again announced that his prayers had been answered. Rachel was somewhat disappointed that Ryan was not a girl, but she became pacified to learn that he'd be sleeping in her room (much to the jealousy of her two other brothers who wanted him in their room), and that his name started with an R like hers.
Eric now prays, "Bless the baby get safe and strong" in his prayers.
September 4, 1983, we blessed Ryan in Fast and Testimony Meeting. Chad bore his testimony. He said that he was grateful for his grandma and grandpa and his new baby. Kent bore his testimony too. He told about noticing that Eric had his shoes on the wrong feet one day. When he told him, Eric looked up at him and said: "But Daddy, I can't change my feet!"
Kent gave me some silk flowers, including a yellow one that Rachel picked out. We had strawberry ice cream cones for dessert. I stuck a candle in mine, and Kent and the children sang "Happy Birthday" to me with Chad adding, "and many more on channel 4!" Rachel asked what I wished for, and I told her” a forever family". Eric can't wait 'till his birthday next month.
I know and believe deep in my heart that none of the superficial things such as the plaudits of men will bring any lasting value. If I got to the end of my life and had everything but my family, I would be the most wretched and poor of all people. Even the loss of just one of my children would bring incomparable sorrow to me. On the other hand, if in the sunset of my life I had nothing but my husband and all of my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, I would be most wealthy and gratified.
February 7, 1984, I got the children off to school. Eric has been attending "New Beginnings over at the Boys and Girls Club at Emblem Elementary School. The director is LDS, Kay Hansen, the wife of the former Bishop in Saugus I ward, a very sweet grandmotherly type woman. Eric has been attending with several of his LDS friends here in the tract, like Kelly White, Jeff Pfahler, Aaron Blair. He goes from 8:15 to 11:15 (approx.) But I've had a tough time getting him moving lately in the morning. He says every morning that he's sick and doesn't feel very good and has a headache and so he can't do his jobs or get dressed or go to school. He can just lie on the floor and watch TV.
Chad helped Eric this morning and hurried with his jobs. He seems to be growing more responsible.
I permed Rachel's hair yesterday It took me four hours! But it looks real cute, she looks like Annie. Saturday March 24, 1984, today we are celebrating Eric's birthday (it's Monday, really). We had to work out the time with Kelly Shite's family. Her birthday is today, two days before Eric's. He invited only four friends: Aaron Blair, Kelly White, Jeff Pfahler (3 LDS friends that he car pools to Preschool with) and Lizzy McGuire, a little neighbor girl 6 months older than him. He wants to go to Centurion Park, have with cupcakes with black licorice, and invite Aaron's bit sisters Heather and Amber. We'll have Hot Dogs and chips. I got a little writing pad for each of them with their name on it, a pack of sugarless bubble gum and a helium balloon for each child. We also got him Cowboy boots, a ping-pong ball gun, and an air pump racing car. He's so funny: all morning
long while the others are in school he harasses me about getting one of his four friends for him to play with. After we've called all of them and can't get one to play, he lies around watching TV, typing "letters" on the typewriter (which he puts in Lizzy's mailbox anonymously) and asks me for treats "because he's been real good". He has such a TEMPER! He gets so frustrated if things aren't just right his bed must be straight with no bubbles, his drawer must open and shut good, his pants must button, etc.
On Wednesdays I've been trying to fix a really nice dinner for the family. Last Wednesday I fixed Meat balls, cottage potatoes, Chinese green beans, French bread, salad with ranch dressing, onion soup, and fresh pear pie. The kids liked the French bread-that was all. Ryan was real cranky all day today and didn't take his nap.
Wednesday March 28, 1984, Saturday was Eric's birthday party. We went to the park (Centurion across from Blairs). Kent didn't realize what time the party was and went to look at a car with his friend Kevin Large, and consequently arrived when it was nearly over. I had a terrible time! The wind was blowing everything away, I couldn't get the Bar-B-Q started or wait on the kids fast enough. Ryan was crawling around on the grass whimpering (he hadn't eaten in 5 hours) Eric was having fits because things weren't going exactly right.....In the end Eric was thrilled with his presents; his four friends liked their complementary gifts, Ryan and I survived, and Kent and his friend cleaned up after the party.
Thursday March 29, 1984, Eric just told me something real cute - a leadership lesson. He has a little friend, Aaron Blair over to play. I gave them each some jelly beans to eat. Eric came to me and said that Aaron had shared some of his jellybeans with him. I said "Well, you better share something with him, then." And Eric said, "I don't have to, I'm captain of the club." So I said, "But the captain is supposed to share the most and be the nicest so he can set an example for the others." Eric though for a moment and then said, "Welllllll, Aaron is the captain of the club." And then he skipped off to go play with him again.
Sunday August 12, 1984, I am attending my John Jones reunion. I called home to Kent and the children, and told them I had a surprise they could eat (some stick candy) that I was bringing home for them. Eric said that he and some of the others had been sick. Kent said mostly Eric, Ryan a little, had a temperature and was on antibiotic. Kent said that he was spending all of his time taking care of the kids and cleaning house and couldn't do anything else.
August 17, 1984, I have just returned from my Jones reunion trip and Kent told me about the children and how Rachel "saved Ryan". It seems that while I was gone Eric had the flue temperature, etc. got some medicine and snapped out of it. Then Ryan came down with it on Tuesday. His temperature went up and down, but mostly up in the evening. Kent put him on the floor with Rachel while he took a shower. After he got out he noticed that Ryan was lying very still on the floor. Then Rachel commented that he was REALLY looking up at the ceiling a lot. Kent tuned in that something was odd and went over to see. Ryan was as white as a ghost and his eyes were rolled back in their socket so that only white was showing. Kent picked him up but he was limp and not breathing. Kent rushed him into the bathroom and began breathing into him and splashing water on him to cool him down. Ryan came too and began clapping his hands and smiling. We found out later that it was a heat convulsion. It was very scary, and Rachel credits herself with rescuing him so quickly.
Sunday, August 19, 1984, Yesterday Johanna and Glenn Goodman and their six children came over (their staying with the Browns for a week) and we took the kids to the park and swimming, boiled some hot dogs, and had ice cream. Then I cut the boys hair in our family and we went out to my folks for family get together and picture taking. We didn't get started taking pictures until almost 9:00pm, and then it was a ZOO! Children crying, my mother panicking and wanting to quit. But somehow we all persisted. Dick Smith, the photographer endured, and Jim and Brenda Smith taking videocassette recordings encouraged us. It was the first time all the Browns had been together in 19 years!
I plan to be a lucky grandma to MANY righteous grandchildren, by
Sunday September 1984, Friday we took the children to the beach, and took Chris and Angela white as well. Ryan loved to pick up handfuls of sand and let it slip through his fingers and splash into the faces of Rachel and Angela who were buried up to their shoulders in the sand.
Sunday November 4, 1984, I've spent a frustrating last six weeks trying to organize some activities to fill Eric's time with. He gets so bored during the day and wants so badly to play with his friends, most of whom are involved in a little Joy School that has no room for him. I got him in Rosedell’s Fun for Fours with Carol Elvington on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, and finally, after 50 plus phone calls, notices through the school and six weeks, finally found three other mothers of four year olds who wanted to form a little Joy School preschool group with me. The other children are Ritchie Rees, Nicholas ? , and Danae Rodella. Eric REALLY enjoys it, needs the direction, structure, and socialization. We meet on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Eric the Angel
Suzanne: January 27, 1985, Last December 18, 1984 Eric's Joy School group visited Newhall Nursing Home and presented a Nativity play. Eric had come with me a few days earlier to "preview" the place, so he was quite excited about it. He was an "angel" and a wise man and a very enthusiastic wise man/angel he was! He put real zest into his part. Afterwards he zipped in and out of the wheel chairs and passed out his homemade Christmas cards to all the old folk while the other kids just timidly hung onto our hands, overwhelmed by the "circumstances" of the decrepit old people. Some of the old folk were grouchy and withdrawn and didn't want a card, but did that stop Eric? No way! They got a card whether they wanted one or not. Thursday evening the 20th of December we put on the same production for our dads and older brothers and sisters and charged them food for a needy family. Mom was the stage manager and director, and Eric the angel and wise man again. He was the most confident and sure of himself. Afterwards we caravanned down Bouquet Canyon to a needy Mexican family that we found out about from the County Community Services. The kids carried some of the goodies and shouted "Ho, Ho, HO!" and we Christmas caroled and left over 3 apple boxes full of food to the amazed couple who rented one room of a shack. The woman, named Marcie and who had a 7 month old baby boy, said "Marcie?....Total?!?" circling her finger to indicate all of the goodies. She couldn't believe that it was all for her.
The Real Eric Gardiner
On Jan 6, 1985 Mom interviewed Eric:
Favorite food hamburger and French fries
gift knight rider, Gobot, notepad
Improved in: not spitting when talking
Friends: Aaron Blair
Go Do: Circus
Dislike: school not enough playtime at Fun for 4's
Me help: Spank Rachel when she hurts him, unfair for him to get
spanked for hurting and not her
On March 3, 1985 Mom again interviewed Eric
Food: pure white rice, applesauce, milk
Gift: #1 Knight Rider Gobot car, popup Gobot, Big foot truck,
water Deamon (4x4 stomper) sound wave, shock wave, etc.
Party this Month: Games Hide and go Seek
Play with Presents
Cake and Ice cream
Play until all go home
Improved goal: Snapping better with left hand
Friend: Robert Hilton
Go: Circus and Beach
School: wishes there was no school everyday Saturday and that I
would teach fun for 4's and Joy school and no one else
Unhappy: Kelly doesn't play with him
Girlfriend: Uncle Jeff Gardiner’s friend that he brought to Mark
and Karen Gardiner Christmas party
5 Years Old
Suzanne: Sunday March 24, 1985, we are in the van on our way to Grandma and Grandpa Brown's to celebrate Eric and Grandpa's joint birthday. Eric has brought his backpack full of treasures. At night he got to bed with it, his knight rider hot wheels, and a Book of Mormon, all in the same bed, there is barely enough room for him. He says the Book of Mormon is the most valuable book in the whole world. He found this old copy of mine and asked if he could have it. Then he sat down and announced he was going to "read" it. After a few minutes, he disappointedly said he couldn't read it so he was just going to look at the pictures. (Eric and friends Adam and Robert Hilton, holding Gobots and thinking about something (Dinobots) robot dinosaurs). Now he carries the Book of Mormon in his backpack that he confiscated from Chad and carries it with him everywhere. He always says that he'll grow up to be a missionary and a teacher like his dad.
Lately Eric's been asking me all kinds of questions about nature like "how do we get thunder?" "What makes lightening?" etc I told him he should grow up and be a scientist. he said no, he was going to be a teacher, so I suggested he be a science teacher. "Can you do that? he asked, his eyes real big.
Lately he's been enjoying "Mr. Rogers" and "Matinee at the Bijou" (a show of 40's movie house reruns) He says he wants to go to Los Angeles to see Mr. Rogers and all the things on Matinee at the Bijou. Los Angeles and New York are these vague nebulous places that contain wonderful things that cannot be found where we live. Eric is a neat kid. I know that he will grow up "right."
Kent: In March of 1985 Eric turned five years old. We had a birthday party at our house. Chad and Rachel helped run it. Among the guests were Natalie Bolinger, Brandon Bolinger Jeff Pfahler, Kelly White, Lizzy McGuire, Aaron Cox from next-door, Richard Rees, Danae Rodella, Jeff Shirlman, and Adam Hilton and Aaron Blair. Eric wanted to play duckduckgoose, we had a balloon-popping relay, and opened presents and had dessert.
Favorites (as of April 20, 1985)
Color: blue and white
Toy: Knight rider hot wheels "kit"
Friend: Robert Hilton
Activity: Play with Robert Hilton and Adam Hilton
Wish: All the dentists, toothpaste and toothbrushes
Hates: when Adam acts dumb, when friends can't play
Need: love, food, faith, that's it.
proud of: that he's a kid, that "I'm me"
Would like to do: go to the beach
Bothering Him: Adam Hilton pushes him around
Special about Eric: "Good ideas about where to go, what to do
likes go to the harbor and the beach, friendly
Good worker, likes to do things
Kent Journal, November 1985
Our family took a trip to the Harbor. I have been teaching about the Harbor at school and thought that the family would enjoy seeing the sights. Eric did. He saw the lighthouse, fishing boats, and the fire boat. He was able to sit in the fire engine, which he enjoyed.
6 Years Old
Kent: March, 1986, When Ashley was five weeks old Eric got the chicken pox. We were concerned that Ashley might get them too. But she didn't as newborns are somewhat protected by their mothers milk. Strange as it may seem the Hiltons got the chicken pox at the same time. At Eric's birthday party all showed the results of the dreaded spots. Eric is now six years old. He continues with the same group of friends and we had another party for him. Eric is interested in G.I Joe, muscles and GoBots.
7 Years Old
Eric: June 28, 1987, Eric says that he doesn't like interviews. And he has told me a hundred times. A week ago his tooth was not that loose. My dad said we'll have to take you to the dentist. A few nights after that, I pulled my tooth. I got some of the greatest ice creams in the world. That's what his parents told him. There is nothing that exciting this week. Next week out to dinner and to a movie. It is actually this Monday. Our cousins Adam and Lachelle came over on Wednesday. My dad and my brother went over to Catalina. We had a bad time cleaning the house. Bye.
Catching His First Fish
Eric: August 2, 1987, we went camping and the best thing was when we went fishing, cause I like to fish, and I caught two fish and almost caught a humongous fish. Grandma died when we were camping. We went to her funeral when we got back. My great grandpa died too.
I started second grade. I love school on Fridays because that’s the time we get a break from so much work. All the rest of the days we have tons and tons of work. Too much for me to finish, and I never get any free time for games. My teacher’s name is Mrs. Bigelow, and I think she is really mean.
Eric's Journal Entry, August 16, 1987 - Miss Bigelow is the name of my teacher at school. We have been having a lot of tests at school. I am doing very well on the tests. We haven't started P.E. yet. We have a lot of books in the classroom. The thing I am best at is math. My teachers think that she likes Science.
Robert slept over last night. He couldn't get any sleep. I told him to take off his clothes and sleep in his underwear but he didn't want to. Then a little bit later I told him to sleep in his shorts but he didn't want to. Later I asked him the same questions, then he said yes. We built a fort out of clothes,
wood and milk crates that were ready to go to Mexico. It was fun.
Eric's Journal Entry, August 23, 1987, School has been good this year. I got a cold this week. My nose was clogged. Here are my friends, Scott he has a flat top, he wears high tops, he wears high tops almost all the time. Adam he has a flat top, he is a cool dude. He is my best friend. Robert he has a flat top, he is a cool dude, he is my second best friend, and my third best friend is Aaron who is a cool dude. This year I would like to make friends with Scott.
Fishing, Hiking and Swimming
Kent: Summer 1987, this was a great summer for our family. We did a lot of fishing hiking, swimming and just generally had a great time. We went camping in Mammoth again and Eric had a great time. When we would go fishing he would come right along and want to do everything that Chad and Rachel wanted to do. We found a place where there were a lot of fish but they just wouldn't bite. We tried for a long time and finally I caught one with a stick because the other kids were using the poles. Then Chad caught one and Rachel. I really wanted Eric to be a part of all of this but he finally gave up. As we were leaving a friendly family with a man who knew how to fish asked us how it went and we told him. He said, well Eric come over here and gives it a go. Eric did and in a few minutes he had one but it slipped off just as he got it out of the water. Then he caught two. Boy was he excited about that. We took his picture and were all thrilled at the great fishing experience we had.
Eric: September 6, 1987, we went boogie boarding. It was very neat. I really like Santa Monica Beach, because it has the neatest waves and I liked the sand. I came home from soccer practice and I was riding my brother’s scooter and I was doing bunny hops. I fell and I chipped my tooth and I hit my chin and I scraped up my chest.
The Great Goalie
Kent: September, 1987, Eric's soccer team didn't get a coach, and I would like to coach in it except, I am coaching Chad's team which will be fun. Eric played goalie a lot, which he was very good at. He would run out, fearlessly and grab the ball from the opposing team and then give it a really good kick down the sidelines. He wasn't as aggressive in shooting goals and because he was one of the oldest players on the team he is a lot larger than the other players. One night he went to practice and we were involved in real estate problems and picking up other children and we completely forgot to pick him up. Finally when it was becoming dark, up pulls a large truck with Eric in it. He gets out. Chad's scooter is nearby and he begins to ride it in the
street as we are explaining to the coach why we forgot to pick him up. As we are talking suddenly Eric takes a real fall from the scooter flat on his face. He comes up, upset, bleeding and with a chipped tooth. This is very upsetting to me, and to Eric. Earlier in the year we discovered that he has holes in his enamel and that brushing and caring for his teeth are very important, and now this. As we take him in and clean him up I try to think of how this can be avoided. In December this year Eric has his two front teeth bonded to help protect them and to make them look uniform. They turned out very nice, indeed.
Eric’s Thanksgiving Journal, 1987: Tuesday we didn’t need to bring a lunch to school because we had one in my classroom. We had Pilgrim stew, popcorn, pumpkin cupcakes, and friendship salad. We cooked all morning. Thursday we had Thanksgiving Dinner at the Wooten Cousins new house. My Grandpa gave me $10.00 for an early birthday present. He wears high tops almost all the time. Adam he has a flat top, he is a cool dude. He is my best friend. Robert he has a flat top, he is a cool dude, he is my second best friend, and my third best friend is. Aaron’s a cool dude. This year I would like to make friends with Scott.
Thanksgiving and Cousins
Eric's Journal, the day after Thanksgiving Eric Gardiner, Grade 2, Room 21, Mrs. Bigelow On Friday, I got up very early and went fishing with my dad and Chad and this other boy. We caught some fish but they were not
large enough. On Saturday we went to my Grandpa Brown’s house and saw all 17 of my Brown cousins and 9 aunts and uncles. My favorite cousin is Nate Goodman. We made a rad fort out of logs with a roof and a hidden door. We ate dinner there. And that’s all I can say. The End.
Excerpt from Family Christmas card, December 1987 Eric, far right, is seven. He is the dapper dresser in the family. He is partial to black and white cloth, suspenders, rolled up pants and T & C shirts. He plays soccer, is learning to read and enjoys taking apart anything. We now have a rule
that he has to ask first. He is a good drawer a good friend and a good tickler.
Eric's Journal Entry, December 1987: To Mrs. Callowhill, P. E. Teacher:
On Christmas Eve I am going to my Grandpa Browns for dinner and a program. We will open presents and I will play with my cousins and my uncle David. On Christmas Day I will get lots of presents and have lots of candy and I will play with my presents and my friends. The day after Christmas, I will go to my Uncle Mark Gardiner and see my Gardiner cousins for a Christmas party. During the Vacation time my dad is going to take me fishing very early in the morning off the Pier at Marina Del Rey. I am also going to have my chipped tooth fixed by Dr. Schweitzer, who will
also fill in some holes in the enamel. I might go on a five-mile hike with my brother’s scout patrol up the Pacific Coast.
Hit In The Head With a Bat
Kent: December 1987, Before Christmas the Hiltons gave a party and of course Eric was invited. I had a feeling about the Pinata, however I couldn't put my finger on it. The kids went down by themselves because we were busy. Later in the evening I heard the whole story. They had the piñata. Robert had been the one swinging the bat and blindfolded he swung and hit it. One or two pieces of candy fell to the floor, Eric dove for them, and at
the same instant Robert took his other swing, hitting Eric square in the head. We had a long talk and decided that a family rule would be wait till the person takes off the blind fold before you get candy or your candy will be taken away from you. It is very upsetting as a parent when these things happen. Physically Eric is a handsome young man, with good skills and a lot of energy for life. I'd hate to see him hurt in any way because he wasn't
Christmas 1987 and Balls
For Christmas Eric said he wanted a red rubber ball and a soccer ball and a tether ball. Then one night before Christmas he confided to me that he really wanted a basketball hoop up at our house, possibly in the back yard so he could shoot baskets. When I heard that, suddenly it really made sense. He could shoot baskets, get his extra energy out and increase his sports
abilities and the other children would enjoy shooting baskets too. A few days before, Suzanne's dad had called and said that he would give us $50 to buy a family present for the children. I talked to Suzanne and we decided that it would be a basketball hoop, and a ball, thanks to Eric's good thinking. That very night we went out looking at Target, Big Five and the Sports Chalet. It looked a little more expensive, so we thought we would wait till after Christmas. A few days after Christmas we went to a friend of mine's house and he gave us a board. I put it up and Eric has really enjoyed shooting at the 9-foot basket, dribbling and having a good time. I have to remind him to slow down on the court as he runs pell mell and I'm afraid that he might hurt himself. The other children enjoy it too.
He also got his tetherball, however it has rained to much this year that it has had to be put out of bounds for a long time now because they are killing the grass under the pole. These are good outlets for Eric.
Learning to Relax and Enjoy Life
Kent: Jan 12, l988, another year has passed for Eric. He has changed in many ways. He no longer likes to do work, and help out. When asked to help he has excuses or says "it isn't my job." or "it is too hard, I can't" and then begins yelling. We are trying to get him back to his good work habits. He seems to be under pressure and needs to relax and not be such a perfectionist. When he does read, draw, write or help he does a nice job. He really enjoys his friends, Robert and Adam Hilton, Luke Miller and Aaron Blair. Recently the boys went up in the hills and after about an hour they came back early. Dad, there was a wolf up there. We thought we saw it. We heard it and then we saw its hole. We got right out of there. They later took Rachel up to see their find.
Suzanne has been reading the Sea Egg, The Treasure of Green Knoll, and The Castle of Yew, all by Lucy M Boston. He has really enjoyed listening to the stories. She has also listened to Eric read, which has increased his confidence and ability to read. He now can read the Book of Mormon in our morning scripture study quite comfortably with just a few helps. Eric
has always tried to keep up with the other children because he is such a competitor. We are trying to help him to do his best and yet relax a little and enjoy life. He is constantly on the go.
Eric: January 30, 1988, one of my favorite foods is a hamburger. I also like hot dogs, and peas. There is nothing else I like. Gerid and me go play in this neat fort and now it is ruined. It is up on the hill. I came up with Adam and there it was, destroyed. It was built out of wood.
Eric 1988 Update
Eric: Our little mad scientist in the family. Eric always likes to figure out how things work by taking them apart and studying them. Watches, telephones, calculators, you name it. He also likes to draw, and is a very good artist. He's in an after school Monart class but he says that they are drawing dumb stuff these days, so he hasn't been too keen on going.
He's in Mrs. Bigelow's 2/3 class that meets in one of the bungalows. Bungalow Bigelow some of the kids say. He says that she is mean. He is very worried about not finishing his work on time, and usually whips it done in a hurry then sits around at his seat with his hands clasped. His teacher finds him a challenge. He has really improved in reading since he began to read to me ten minutes a day with the school Book It program. If
he reads 50 minutes a week at home throughout the month, then his teacher gives him a coupon to get a free Pizza at Pizza hut. So far he has had four pizzas since beginning this program, and three stars on his Book It button. He wants to get all five stars on it and turn it in so that maybe his class at school can have a pizza party. Lately he has been enjoying reading to me the Disney Early Reader books that I have been buying at Lucy’s. His
confidence in reading has so improved that when he got back from Christmas Vacation and was reading aloud to his teacher in reading group from a new book, his teacher wanted to know if he had read that story before. He was that good. It was no surprise to his parents, who know that he is a genius. He just needs to have a little more faith in his abilities, and not be so tentative in front of others.
Thursday he took the "day off" from school. He read one of Disney's Early Reader books called "Mickey finds a Kitten" to me, then I read to him a chapter from "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeline L'Engle about Mrs. Whatsit. Then with the help of his dad at the computer he wrote a story called "THE TREASURE" about some boys who discover some money in the basement of an old house. Eric is David in the story. He likes the name David and says that when he grows up he is going to change his name to that.....maybe. I think that it is a compliment to his Uncle David Brown, whom he really likes. After he and his dad wrote it out, he drew some
pictures to go with it. Then he played some computer games,
tetherball, shot baskets with his dad. Then he and his dad and Ryan went on a very WINDY hike above Centurion Park where they are constructing some new houses. He found a fort that some older boys had made and was very interested in it. It would have been a perfect day except that he thinks that they had a party at school while he was gone to celebrate the Chinese New Year. He likes school parties and recess and art the best.
Eric really likes routine, easy stuff, and things that he is familiar with because he likes to succeed. He is doesn't like things that are different or that appear to be hard. He complains a lot when asked to do extra jobs at home, etc. He is a very intense little personality, and gets very upset if things are not going well. On the other hand, if he is bored or hungry, he
starts to bother those around him a little. I think that this has to do with his perfectionist personality. At the schoolbook fair he chose the book "Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days" by Stephen Mane. I showed it to him and he picked it out, had me read it to him, and loved it. He even thought about trying to do all the things it said to do, like wear broccoli all day long,
but then he decided that it would be smarter to see how the book ended first before trying to do what Dr. Pinkerton Silverfish said. The book was about how it is impossible to be perfect unless you do nothing at all in life, which would be boring. If you do anything you're going to be less than perfect until you get lots of practice and get better at doing it. This was the
perfect book for Eric, a.k.a. David.
Eric's very best friend used to be Adam Hilton. Whenever Adam couldn't play, Eric was really bored, and didn't want to play with anyone else. His mom kept trying to get him to make new friends. He played with Jeff Steele a little while until one day Jeff started saying bad stuff about Mormons. He must have heard that from his dad who is a minister of another church and is
trying to get people to go to it. Lately he's gotten to know Luke Miller who lives around the block from us. He likes Greg Brown from school. Greg keeps calling Eric to come and play, and next weekend they are going to play together. He lives up at Sutter's Pointe. One day a girl called Eric to tell him that she thought that he and Scott Roland were the cutest boys in the class. Eric would like to get together with Scott to play, but so far they haven't been able to. Very recently he became friends with Jarrett ? who lives down the street from Luke. Jarrett is ten years old. Eric also likes Tony Wilson who is 11 and one of Chad's friends. Eric likes older friends because he likes the intellectual challenge of keeping up with them.
Next month Eric is going to be baptized on his birthday, and join Cub Scouts. He is going to really like Cub Scouts because he loves camping, hiking, fishing, and already has his scout knife. For his birthday, Eric wants a boogie board, and a watch. He also wants new church clothes. He is a very charming, smart, good looking young man. We are very proud of him and know that he is going to do well in life.
Suzanne: Monday February 29, 1988. Today Eric brought home a pink slip for throwing rocks at some of his friends during lunchtime on Friday. Despite the fact that he was hit on the head by one of them, that evening he and Chad and Craig McGuire were throwing ice at passing cars, and one young lady driver stopped to complain. They were spanked for not admitting to it right away. They must also wash the cars and practice throwing a baseball back and forth during the coming weeks.
I'm afraid he's all boy, and impossible to repress. Saturday night at the Cub Scout Blue and Gold dinner (he came as a preview because he joins Cub Scouts next month) he brought a flashlight so that he could explore under the stage where they store the carts loaded with tables and chairs. On the far left side, the passageway turns to the left way under the stage towards a classroom and the stairs. There is a trap door, which when you lift up you can see some water like from the sewer. Eric and about nine other boys had fun exploring this for five or ten minutes before I called them out.
Eric Dates Hayley - October 2001
End of January Eric dates Hayley and goes to her house for hamburgers, Eric tells her that his parents are vegetarians and a couple of dates later she makes him vegetarian lasagna. Eric only initiates if Haley does first, dating ups and downs at the end of March 2002 Eric and Hayley date for three weeks exclusively
Summer, flowers dinner road place was closed but gave her a ring at Hot Springs
Eric Rohnert Part Summer 2002
May Haley has two jobs, Flower Shop and Home depot April 28 Eric sells alarm systems in Rohnert Park and makes 23,000. A few anxiety attacks and is top in sales. Hayley visits once or twice a month. Once Hayley told Eric she couldn't come and had dinner ready when he came home from work. One time Eric goes to Fallon on Memorial Day weekend and isn't sure if he likes Haley's brothers. 4th of July they watch fireworks together and go out to Cow Mountain August 1st day of school, Eric breaks up with Hayley; she is too serious for him. October Eric goes to Mazatlan with other sales people was going to bring Hayley (told them he was engaged to have it paid for.) That fall on and off, dated others, end of November Eric buys plane ticked to California, Hayley is upset with Eric. Eric warms her up. At last minute she decided to go to California for Christmas. That semester they get poor grades. At Christmas Hayley and Eric go with Chad and Maryssa to San Diego, she lets him kiss her. They flew to Fallon and drove to Ricks and in the car on the way up he tells her he wants to marry her.
Eric Honeymoon 2003 May 3 Eric Married
I told her we were going to a dude ranch for the honeymoon. After all you love horses. 2 days after wedding, her identity stolen Eric tells her his phone works in Hawaii, one hour before leaving. Eric told her mother but no one told Hayley. Complete surprise. In Hawaii they snorkel swim with sea turtles, sealing in temple and surfing. They stay at Hawaiian Prince Hotel overlooking the ocean with sailboats in the harbor. Very romantic. Hiked to Diamond Head, rental car 1ll bucks, hotel 100 a night from Priceline.
April trying to get job with Design Trends, they weren't direct but put Eric off. All spots filled. While in Fallon at 10:00 at night got email, you can come. Drove all-night and showed up for training filled out W2, but not hired. "I'm really glad you are letting me do this. There are people in line ahead of you." Got plane ticket in the mail, and that was a complete surprise. we were paid well: 20 dollars an hour each plus 50, plus 30 each for food. Did that from June 2003 to August 2003. While waiting worked for Brody digging holes in the desert while Haley tries to get her identity back. In the Fall Eric and Hayley move into Rexburg, and spend thanksgiving with the Gardiners and Christmas at Lewis, and then apply to BYU in the spring.
April end Eric and Haley visit Chad and go to his divorce hearing, Chad's divorce lawyer says, "Do you want my card?" Eric,” We were nervous because neither of us had jobs." Eric gets job at Chrysalis working with Handicap people, my buddy Gary who went to bathroom in his pants, drawls a lot, hugs a lot when excited, that job teaches Eric patience. July Eric finds out he gets into business school. Thanksgiving at Provo, and dad does Effudex. Christmas Eric and Hayley decide they want to have a baby and think it will take six months, no way, Eric is in his managerial class and gets a phone call, in the middle of class, the class has a deal that if you get a phone call in class you buy everyone donuts, Hayley emails picture of pregnancy test, Eric: "Is that what I think it is?"
Rest of semester Hayley loses 10 pounds and is sick and Eric looks for internship. He applies everywhere regardless if it applies to his major. Beginning of May he gets offer, had to start in three weeks, turns down all offers until he gets on from Schreiber Foods Inc. They will play for the move back east. Eric and Hayley pull car behind U-hall. Internship, Eric learns a lot, likes people and organization and was fed by Ward every weekend except one and that weekend they were fed on Saturday. Best ward ever, friendly not judgmental not gossipy.
Eric and Hayley at BYU
" I was so glad to get out of Ricks, people to judgmental."
April end Eric and Haley visit Chad in New York and go to his divorce hearing, Chad's divorce lawyer says, "Do you want my card?" (What for? thinks Eric, I just got married and I love my wife)
Eric,” We were nervous because neither of us had jobs.” Eric gets job at Chrysalis working with Handicap people, my buddy Gary who went to bathroom in his pants, drewls a lot, hugs Eric when excited that job teaches Eric patience.
July Eric finds out he gets into business school.
Thanksgiving at Provo, and dad does Effudex. Christmas Eric and Hayley decide they want to have a baby and think it will take six months, no way, Eric is in his managerial class and gets a phone call, in the middle of class, the class has a deal that if you get a phone call in class you buy everyone donuts, Hayley emails picture of pregnancy test, Eric: "Is that what I think it is?"
Internship 2005 summer
Rest of semester Hayley loses 10 pounds and is sick and Eric looks for internship. He applies everywhere regardless if it applies to his major. Beginning of May he gets offer, had to start in three weeks, turns down all offers until he gets on from Schreiber Foods Inc. They will play for the move back east. Eric and Hayley pull car behind U-hall. Internship, Eric learns a lot, likes people and organization and was fed by Ward every weekend except one and that weekend they were fed on Saturday. Best ward ever, friendly not judgmental not gossipy. August 25 visit Gardiners and Eric, Hayley and Dad all go boogie boarding at Ventura Beach.
It's a girl!
July ultrasound, it's a girl.
Eric James Gardiner
Eric was born in San Gabriel, California. He was delivered by his grandfather, James Brown, in the same room where his mother was born on his grandfather’s birthday. Growing up in the Santa Clarita Valley, Eric was always enthusiastic, outgoing, friendly, and laughed a lot. He liked to challenge himself physically and was called “The Gun Slinger” by his soccer coach. He loved the scouting program and especially liked to fish and hike.
Walker Ranch - Eric’s project was to build a 30’ long wall at Walker Ranch ( a camping and hiking area above Placerita Nature Center) that separates the parking area from nature trails. Eric received donations for cement and re-bar, and loaned tools such as wheel barrows, shovels, and trowels.
Eric organized 15 people on December 16, 1995 to gather first at the stake center at 7:00 a.m. where they would consume 4 dozen doughnuts before departing to Walker Ranch.
When they arrived at the project site they collected large stones that would be used to construct the wall. The wall took a little over 4 hours to build and it still stands today to protect the tri
I am very excited for Eric. He is ready to begin an important phase of his life as he dedicates the next two years of service to our Heavenly Father. His message is really a simple one, yet beautiful, as he has been ordained with the priesthood to teach the plan of our Heavenly Father, referred to as the Plan of Salvation.
In 2 Timothy, Paul was speaking to Timothy, who was also doing missionary work, and Paul refers to his special ordination and authority from the Lord when he says “ Who (meaning Jesus Christ) hath saved us, and called us with an Holy Calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
Eric has been trained all his life for this mission. Paul in writing to Timothy said in Verse 5, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” Eric comes from a rich heritage of faith and service in the church and many of his family members are here today. I also know that his Grandmother Gardiner, Grandmother Brown and Suzanne, Eric’s real mother is here too. They have come to celebrate with us on this wonderful occasion.
Family is not the only training Eric has received. There are so many righteous people of this stake that have been good examples to him and taught him gospel, principles. From his early primary years, young men’s programs, seminary and institute he has been taught by the best. When Eric teaches investigators it will be as if you were by his side working right along with him. I want to thank you for all your years of service for you have blessed our family.
I know that his testimony and understanding of gospel principles will grow with each passing month on his mission as he testifies and teaches that God lives and that he loves us. He will teach the simple truths that Joseph Smith was a prophet fore ordained to bring about the restoration or completeness of the gospel. Joseph Smith translated ancient records known to us today as the Book of Mormon.
When Eric presents the Plan of Salvation God has provided a way that they may know what he teaches is true. It is by the spirit of the Holy Ghost that we may know the truth of all things.. They will teach that God ha s a plan for our lives and at the core of this plan is Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer because we have all fallen short of a perfect life here on Earth. There is only one who ids perfect, and that is Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of our Heavenly Father. He was made perfect that he and the role he plays in our lives.
Paul also counseled Timothy in verse 8 to “Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord...”
November 20, 1999
I want you to know how thrilled I am that you are serving a mission. I know that Suzanne is also thrilled and that she has probably been with you while in the mission field. She is praying for you on the other side while we pray for you on this side.
I want you to know that my understanding and appreciation for Jesus Christ has come in small ways. It began with the feeling that he was my special protector. He made feel safe. I always felt that if I was ever in any danger from another human being that I could invoke his name and that power would come down from heaven to stop whoever might wish to harm me. It sounds kind of silly. I feel I came to earth with an innate sense that Jesus was the Christ. I never doubted it.
I started dabbling with religion and spiritual ideas but it wasn’t until the missionaries taught I that I wanted to follow Jesus Christ. I didn’t know all his teachings at that point, but I felt the burden of my prior sins. I really wanted to feel clean and accepted before God. One night after the missionary lessons I cried all the way home and wanted to be forgiven of the things that I had done wrong in my past. I knew that Jesus Christ could forgive them. I can’t really remember exactly when I accepted him as my personal savior and maybe it was that night. I do remember that my baptism was my first significant step forward towards developing faith in Jesus Christ.
Since my baptism I have felt the savior in two profound ways. Once was when I had a meeting with Bishop Kirby. I was dealing with a lot of personal struggles and Bishop Kirby was praying for me. I had a vision of Jesus Christ over my head where I could see him praying for me. It was so moving and I was so overcome with emotion that I almost had to be carried out of the Bishop’s office. For me it was a personal revelation that Jesus Christ actually prayed for me!
The second time was when your Dad and I were having a discussion on the topic of will we get to see the savior when we die. Your Dad wasn’t sure that we would see him right away. I bore my testimony that we would see him and that he was going to thank me personally for the souls I tried to bring unto him. I felt his presence at that moment so strong in our bedroom it was almost as if I could feel/hear the brush of his robes but I knew that he was not permitted to reveal himself to me. I knew he was there and the spirit still bears a witness to me that he was.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the Savior’s atoning sacrifice in my life. I really feel clean and worthy because of it and able to enter Heavenly Fathers presence without guilt or remorse. I know that Jesus is my greatest advocate and that he helps me constantly. I will be eternally grateful for his assistance during my mortal probation.
I have included my personal history of how I came to join the church. I hope you will find it helpful as you work with other investigators.
I love you so much Eric and it’s a real privilege to be your stepmother. Thanks for loving me too and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. We can’t wait to talk with you and make sure we have lots of time to talk okay?!
1980 Moved into Hyssop, Sat. Mar. 22
Eric due April 1
Eric James born, March 26, 9:15 21inches/8lb 2 oz
Eric blessed, June 15, by father
Went to S.L.C., 4 1/2 months
2 Teeth, 5 1/2 months old
Crawled, 6 months
Sitting up, 7 months
7 1/2 months Eric weaned
1981 6 Teeth, Jan. 11
1 Birthday, Mar
Canada trip for Kent with 81 students (one week)
Says 5 words, Aug. 30
Run over almost, Sep.
Only wears diapers, Sep.
Bottle thrown away, Oct.
Christmas, got train, car, telephone
1982 Left in car by mistake, Mar. 7
2 Year Birthday, Mar.
1983 3 Birthday, Mar
Van, Bought a Blue Plymouth
Potty trained, Feb. 18
Cowboy boots to bed, Mar. 12
Ryan born, July 22, 9:22 am 23inches/9lb 1oz
Preschool, New Beginnings, Fall
1984 Chad baptized, May 12, by Kent
4 Years old Birthday, Cowboy boots, gun, car
Fun 4 Fours, Fall
Joy School, with Ritchie, Nicholas, Danae, Fall
Christmas, Eric is a angel and Wiseman
got: knight rider, Gobot, notepad
1985 5 Years old, Knight rider, hot wheels, Book of Mormon
Harbor Trip, Nov.
1986 Ashley born, Jan 22, 7:45 pm, 21inches/7lb 2oz
Rachel baptized, Jan 25 by father
Chicken pox, End Feb.
6 Birthday, Mar.
Acton Property bought in foreclosure, June
1987 7 Birthday, Mar.
Marjorie dies, July 22, 9:15 pm
Caught first fish, Aug. 2 at Reds Meadow
2 Grade, Aug. 16
Chips tooth in fall from skateboard, Sep.
Beach favorite, Santa Monica, Sep. 6
Britain Trip for Kent and Suzanne Oct. 1 14
30's style depression for Kent and Suzanne, Aug/Feb
Hit in head with bat, Christmas
1988 Kent and Suzanne close escrow on Val Verde,
Depression over, Feb. 29,
Eric baptized, Mar.
1997 some time in this year Eric gets out of depression.
1999 July 28th, Eric leaves on his mission to The Colorado Denver North Mission.
2001 August Eric comes from his mission. goes to Dinky Creek the next week and up to Ricks college the week after that. October. Eric meets Hayley at Main Street Music in Rexburg. Sees her on the couch, thought she was cute and started talking to her.
2002 January. Eric and Hayley start to date.
2004 Things start to heat up by April.
End of April Eric goes to Rohnert Park/Santa Rosa California to sell alarm systems. Hayley comes to see Eric in California four or five times over the summer.
Fall 2003 Eric is on and off with Hayley.
December 2003 Eric decides Hayley is the one and flies Hayley down to Valencia over Christmas break.
Engaged by the end of February. at same time as Rachel’s divorce becoming final and Marriyssa leaving Chad. This makes me nervous.
May 3rd married in Los Angeles Temple by Grandpa Brown.
spend next seven days in Hawaii.
over the summer of 2003 Eric and Hayley work for Design Trends and travel to: Houston, Louisiana, Indianapolis, Chicago, and Detroit. We had fun seeing the working and seeing the sights.
September. Back to school in Rexburg.
Eric grows tired of Rexburg. but gets A's this year and gets accepted into BYU in January 2004.
Summer 2004 Eric goes to summer school at BYU and works for Chrysalis watching mentally handicapped people. Hayley works at the Flower basket and The Home Depot.
September 2004 Eric starts the Business school at BYU. Eric Still isn’t sure what he wants to do for a career.
March 2005 Eric gets a picture message of positive pregnancy test while in class. Hayley is nauseas for most of first trimester.
summer comes and we finally get an internship with Schreiber Foods in Green Bay Wisconsin. Eric enjoys work and the cooler summer in Wisconsin; Hayley doesn’t enjoy Wisconsin as much. Great people in the ward.
Fall 2005 Eric is busy with last semester, job hunting and Hayley prepares for birth. Eric goes on five or six fly backs and worries if he will miss the birth. Ava was born three days after Eric gets back from his last fly back.
2005 November 21, Ava Suzanne Gardiner is born at 8:34am 7lbs 11oz. The Birth was all natural and both mother and baby are healthy. Ava has lots of thick silver blond hair.
Eric Gets four plus offers including one from Marriott and General Mills.
2006 January. Eric and Hayley visit Hayley's parents in Fallon for three weeks, while waiting for his job with general mills to start on February 10th.