Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year In Review

Disclaimer: I am writing this post while drinking my first glass of chardonnay in a very long time... It tastes fabulous.

Did I mention that I went all the way through 2009 with no booze? Well almost all the way...it is only 8:49pm...

What a year this has been. It had some amazing highs and some really crappy lows, but mostly it was a great year. I like the idea of a fresh start for 2010 though. I have spent the past few years focusing on my kids and pregnancy and this year I would like to get back to focusing on me a little bit. I am more than just a mom and I feel like 2010 is the year to remind myself of that.

Best moment of 2009? I am sure you all think I am going to say the birth of my daughter. Close, but actually the very best moment of 2009 was introducing my son to my new daughter and sitting together the three of us on my hospital bed for the first time. I know it sounds cheesy but I seriously felt complete for the first time. I had just had surgery, I was exhausted, but that moment is one I will never forget.

Worst moment of 2009? Being told at 29 weeks of pregnancy that I was being put on bed rest. The following 9 weeks were pretty crappy as well, but that one moment rings out in my head. I had to send my son out of the room and then I just broke down and lost it. I had made the decision to have another baby on my own and at that moment I knew that I would never be able to do it on my own. All of my plans were out the window at that point. Thanks to some fabulous family and friends I made it through, but it was a rough time.

Best thought going forward? I don't ever have to be pregnant again (knock on wood...) I came out of it safely and with two of the most amazing kids I could have ever wished for. But pregnancy and I do not get along well. And I am thankful that that period of my life is over.

Most "holy crap" thought going forward? I will never be pregnant again. I am past that stage in my life. It is time to just grow old with my kids. I won't ever hold my newborn baby in my arms again. I won't ever experience those first few weeks of chaos, sleep deprivation and wonder when bringing home a new member of my family again. I am past the trying-to-get-pregnant phase and am moving into that next phase of my life. Damn, I am getting old...

Favorite times with my son: Our entire vacation to Hawaii back in January (we are going again this coming January; WOO HOO). It was the last time that I had days on end to just spend with him before the baby came. I was pregnant but not too uncomfortable or huge and was able to really spend time with him. I loved it. Also the days after having The Girl. I had no idea how he would react to having a sibling and sharing his time with me. To this day he has been wonderful. He is helpful and sweet and genuinely loves having a sister. He thanks me on a regular basis for bringing her into our family. My favorite time a day with him is at night. We brush teeth and read a book and then I spend a good 15 minutes or so just sitting and talking with him in his bed. His sister is asleep and it is just the two of us. We have had some pretty amazing conversations considering he is only almost 4 years old. And finally I have just loved watching him become this amazing person. He is no longer a baby, no longer a toddler, and no longer just a little kid. He is his own person with likes and dislikes and opinions and suggestions and thoughts and...love. He is just love. That kid makes my heart soar.

Favorite times with my daughter: Before she was born when I would be sitting in the OB's office having a NST and she would blatantly not move. I felt like she was sitting in my belly laughing and proving to me that she was her own person and she was going to do things her way. It is amazing how much this fits her personality to this day. Also the late nights after she was born. Just the two of us sitting in the living room (it was the only place I could nurse initially) with the light of the TV shining on her face. Brand new perfect little person growing into her own self. And me being blessed enough to be able to watch it. And now our Wednesdays. That is the only day of the week where her brother goes to school and she stays home with me. It is the one time where she gets to act like she was the "first" child. She gets all of my attention and I am able to spend the entire day hanging out with her and not being interrupted by anything or anyone else. I get to spend hours just watching her, just like I did ALL THE TIME with her brother. But the second child doesn't usually get that luxury. She does. On Wednesdays. And finally just watching her defiantly become her very own person. Every time I think I know something about how to parent her based on what I did with her brother she reminds me that she is NOT him. Not by a long shot. She is opposite of him in every single way. And I love that. She keeps me on my toes. And most of all she makes me smile. That smile of hers could light up the sky. What an amazing addition she has made to our lives and our family.

My hopes for 2010: Like I mentioned above I want to get back to me a little bit. I would love to start dating. I need to find the time to get out of the house, sometimes without my kids (GASP!!) and find my own life again. Being a single mother of two kids is very all encompassing. I would like to find a partner eventually and that isn't going to happen with me at home with my kids all the time. That being said, another one of my hopes for 2010 is to continue to enjoy this journey of parenting. My children bring me so much joy and I cannot wait to experience another year together with them. I want to see who my daughter is going to become. I want to watch my son continue to grow and flourish into his own. I want them to have the confidence to live their lives in a way that makes them feel fulfilled. I want them to be whoever and whatever they are. And I can't wait to watch it happen.

This was a great year. The year of the baby. She is here and she is healthy and we all lived through. My years all seem to have a theme to them. The year 2000 was the year of the gay...it was the year I came out. The year I figured it all out. Then 2001 was the year of the romance. It was the year I met The Ex and I knew we were in it "for the long haul" (oh, hindsight...). 2002 was the year of the marriage and the house. We had our ceremony and bought our first house. 2003 was supposed to be the year of the baby. It wasn't. Neither was 2004. those have now been dubbed the TTC years. Finally 2005 became the year of the pregnancy. 2006 was the first year of the baby. My son was born. Unfortunately it also became the year of the break up. 2007 became the year of the reconciliation (at the beginning of the year), and then about mid way through the year it was the year of the divorce. The finality. I remember early in 2008 I thought to myself, "time to make it the second year of the pregnancy." I knew I wanted to get pregnant that year. And I did. Then in 2009 I knew it was the year of the baby. And it was. For the first time in a long time I don't know what the next year will bring.

I can't wait to find out. Happy New Year everyone. May 2010 bring you all that you hope for and desire.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Christmas Post

This are NUTS over here. I want to post, I swear I do. I think about it all the time. But who can find the time? When are these children going back to daycare/school? When will everyone be healthy? When will I have a moment to myself? Sigh...

But we did have a lovely Christmas. In fact I would say it was down right wonderful. As mentioned, I don't have a ton of time, so I am giving you Christmas at my house through pictures...

Here we are on Christmas Eve...my perfect little family...
And Christmas morning...what a wonderful time for The Boy. I was functioning on maybe two hours sleep if I am being generous, but for him? Just magical... Here he is with his new tool bench that Santa brought him...
And then after a relaxing morning, my mom and step dad and grandmother came over (along with The Ex) and we did the rest of our gifts. Here is The Boy sitting in front of his loot SO unbelievably excited and really wishing I would lay off with the pictures and let him open already...
Oops, I got these a little out of order (I got a new camera for Christmas so pics are coming from different sources). This is Christmas Eve night with The Boy leaving his milk and cookies and reindeer food for Santa and Rudolph... (Mommy insisted that Santa wasn't a fan of gingerbread cookies and that he MUCH preferred Golden Oreo's...)
And this is the picture that he took the next morning because he was so damn excited that Santa had come and eaten all of the stuff he left for him. He simply couldn't believe it. I couldn't get him to stand still long enough to get a picture of his with this stuff, he insisted on taking it for himself so he had the evidence to "show his friends" that Santa DID come to his house...
The magic that this little boy experienced this year is just as you remember it when you were a kid (provided you had an idyllic Christmas experience when you were young). He was at such a perfect age this year. This picture represents how he was during the entire last couple of weeks. Just pure joy and happiness. All was great in his little world...
And in case that didn't showcase it enough...here he is putting on his BIGGEST (and not most flattering) smile that he could muster. Christmas is just the greatest and he wants the world to know it.
He told me tonight that he was "a little bit sad" that Christmas was over for the year and that he couldn't wait for next year. I said to him, "But [Boy], your birthday is in less than a week...that's pretty exciting..."

He said to me, "Mommy...for my birthday, do you think you can call Santa and have him come back? Just one more time?"

Priceless.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

All I Want for Christmas is...My First Big Illness?

Poor Peanut is sick. Like really sick. For the first time in her little life...poor sweetie.

It started on Christmas Eve. I put her to bed and she went to bed like usual. Then about an hour later she woke up and started playing around in her crib. Then like a half an hour after that she just lost it. Started screaming. I was trying to...um...prepare for Santa's arrival, if you will, and I couldn't just sit and hold her. So I tried everything. I tried rocking, I tried nursing, I tried it all. Every time she went back in her bed she was up and SCREAMING. This was not usual for my child. She's a good little sleeper. She ended up in my bed with me and she dozed on and off all night long. But she couldn't breathe. She was choking on her own snot. So she was either snoring like a buzz saw or else just rattle breathing so loud that I barely slept. She kept waking up and crying and reaching out for me. I honestly got a combined sleep of about two hours for the entire night. I kept thinking, "The first time she gets sick and does this...the very first time she is up ALL NIGHT...and it has to be Christmas? Really?" It was horrible.

When The Boy woke up on Christmas morning she woke up too, with a fever of 101 degrees. She was pitiful. I had to use the bulb syringe on her at least 10 times throughout the day. She tried to be in good spirits, she really did. She smiled and she sat on the ground and played with her packages but every few minutes she just wanted me to hold her. She just wanted her Mommy. She felt like crap. I feel really bad for her...

(Other than that, Christmas was lovely...The Boy was so damn sweet and cute the whole day...I will do another post on the wonderful that was Christmas...)

And so it has gone since. She is okay during the day with her nose running down her face and not being able to breathe at all. But at night. Oh, the nights. Gone are my days of nursing her at 7:30 and then putting her in her crib only to see her the next morning at 6:30ish. She SCREAMS when I put her down. And she doesn't stop. I am not exaggerating. It is horrible. She stops crying the minute I pick her up and hold her and rock her, but if I put her down or GOD FORBID put her in her bed, she loses it. And she keeps crying. It's terrible. I can sometimes get her to fall asleep when I am rocking her in the rocking chair and then put her down but she will inevitably wake up within a couple of hours. It's like she is in horrible pain and she can't sleep through it.

What I have tried: I have her mattress elevated by a pillow so she isn't laying flat. I have the humidifier going on her room anytime she is in there. I have been giving her tylenol every four hours or so for the aches and yuckiness. And like I said, every time before she eats or when she gets up I use the bulb syringe on her (and there is tons of green crappy stuff coming out). After three nights of this I broke down today and took her to an Urgent Care place to see if she had an ear infection. Nope. Ears are clear. So is her chest and her throat looks fine. Sounds like a garden variety cold. But she is miserable! And today? The last two times I tried to nurse her she couldn't because she couldn't breathe. She would pull off, take a couple of breaths and then go back. Then after doing that a couple of times she would just pull off and scream. She wouldn't go back near the boob at all. These last two feedings I have ended up giving her a bottle of pumped milk because she can sit straight up and drink the bottle and therefore breathe better. (She sucks down the bottle so she clearly still wants her milk). But now I am freaked out that she is going to stop nursing. Please tell me she will be able to breathe better in a couple of days and will go back to nursing, right? Right? (Cause I am pumping what should have been her before-bedtime-nursing right now and I am NOT happy about it). My poor sweetie... Anything I am missing internets? Can I do anything else?

Here she is on Christmas Day trying to be a trooper amongst all of her loot...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ho Ho Ho!!

Guess who used some Christmas money and got a new Flip Video camera? That's right. And now you all get to reap the benefits. Here is The Boy talking about the holiday...

video

Happy Holidays to everyone. Hope the days bring you lots of joy and happiness!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy 8 Months Old Peanut!

Dear Peanut,

You turned 8 months old yesterday. I seem to start off all of these monthly updates to you by telling you how fast you're growing and how I would like you to slow the hell down please. So I will try not to dwell on that this month, although...damn. Too fast. Okay, sorry.

Your personality is really starting to show and you, my dear, are hysterical. You are SO different from your brother. He was quiet and sweet and sensitive and you are loud and boisterous and funny and inquisitive and...well just an entirely different person. I love it. You are constantly checking out the world around you be it sitting at home on the floor, or sitting in a high chair at a restaurant, or sitting in your car seat looking out the window. You want to see it all. And don't leave anything out! You whip your head and body around to see anything and everything that is occurring around you. You are never sitting still. Those toys that I have been giving you to play with for the last couple of months? You are so over them. Been there, done that. But those shiny toys with the small parts that your brother plays with? Much more interesting. Speaking of your brother, you have started to annoy him lately by getting into all of his stuff. I smile and pull you away from his things and try and "redirect" you to something else, but then I secretly laugh as I walk away because your brother needs to learn to have his stuff mussed up a little bit. It's good for him. You are good for him. You are teaching him that he isn't the center of the entire universe and that life is pretty interesting when you look at it through your eyes.

In the past month you have started making this...face, for lack of a better term. It is more of a whole body reaction to when you see something you like. You scrunch up your entire face so that your nose wrinkles and you make a sniffing sound out of your nose. It doesn't translate well to words. I have it on video to show you later, but for now, here is a photo of the face:
You do this any time I come near you or anytime you find anything that you should smile about. Anytime you are going to smile you lay out with this goofy look. Just seems to go with your personality. Another thing you are doing this month (although this one is not nearly as charming) is living the whole "stranger danger" thing. Not only do you NOT want to be held or touched or even looked at by anyone except Mommy, but if I dare walk out of the room you feel the need to scream. I would really love it if you would grow out of this phase quickly. See there are things that I need to do. Like take a shower. Or make some dinner. Or fold some laundry. And it is completely unnecessary for you to melt down into a puddle of screams when I am simply clearing your brother's dinner plate. I will be back. I swear. I am not going anywhere. The only other person who you deem is acceptable is your Gigi, who you have simply fallen in love with recently. There are many others who you will tolerate, but only after they have been around for at least a half an hour and you have had sufficient time to check them out and decide for yourself if they can be trusted.

You are so close to moving that it scares me. You can go from sitting to a crawl position and back to sitting by yourself now. You can pretty much get anywhere you want to go, although you haven't broken out into a full-on crawl yet. You crawl backwards like a champ, although that just pisses you off because you find yourself getting further and further away from whatever object you were trying to reach. You have also started to pull yourself up to a standing position. This one really scares me because it smacks of the inevitable walking. Standing by yourself? Seriously. Not time for that yet. Sit your little butt back down, girl. Relax...there is plenty of time for that. But you do it anyway. You pull yourself up on the ottoman in the living room and when you do it, you are SO damn proud of yourself that I can't help but smile for you. Here is an example of the look on your face after you achieve standing position:
It's a mixture of "I RULE!" and "Holy shit, what the hell just happened?" Go with the second one and just sit back down and relax. Plenty of time, plenty of time...

You are in the middle of experiencing your first holiday season and you seem to be digging it. As long as all these relatives that seem to want to hold you will leave you alone and let you stay with Mommy you are cool. But god forbid Mommy give you off to your uncle or your Gramps, or ANYONE for that matter. You scream. But other than that you are digging the lights and the Christmas tree and even though you don't so much care about the presents, the BOWS are just the shit as far as you're concerned. Here you are posing with your brother at one of our Christmas celebrations:
The only other thing that is really changing is your food. Even though Mommy is still a little culture shocked by your brother, a few well-meaning friends have pointed out that you are MORE THAN ready for finger foods and I need to lighten up on the pureed stuff. Your brother didn't swallow anything besides pureed foods until he was 18 months old. Surely you are far too young for such nonsense. Apparently not. I hooked you up with some sourdough bread and some pasta and today some peas and some deli meat turkey and you LOVED it. Message taken. You are a big girl and I need to treat you as such. I am learning my darling. You are SO damn different from your brother that sometimes I feel as though I have never done this whole parenting thing before. But I swear, I have. I swear I am supposed to know what I am doing...

Okay, here's your day in the life. You wake up around 7:00am and nurse on one side. After that I get up and pump the other side. You hang out in bed with me and your brother for a while and then get up to play. At around 9:00am you have your breakfast which usually consists of either rice cereal or oatmeal mixed with like 4 cubes of fruit. Then around 10:00am you nurse and go down for your morning nap. You still take two naps a day but usually one of them is a "good" nap (meaning at least two hours) and one of them is a little cat nap of around half an hour or so. But you switch it up. Some days you sleep in the morning, some days you sleep in the afternoon. So I never know. Once you get up from your nap you hang out and play until lunch. I nurse you again before you eat and then you get at least 5 cubes of veggies and a fruit (and now a whole mess of finger foods). You are trying to learn how to drink out of a sippy cup but at this point you still just chew on it. After lunch we head out and do whatever we are going to do with our day. At around 2:30 or 3:00 you nurse again and go down for your afternoon nap. Then once you get up we get ready for dinner where you eat at least 5 cubes and lots of finger foods. You usually eat the pureed stuff and then get a portion of whatever I am having for dinner cut up really small for you. Then you play, or scream depending on where I am in the room, until it is time for bed. We start the bed process at 7:30 by getting into jammies and our sleep sack and then nursing. You are in your crib by 8:00 and usually fall asleep within 10 minutes. You still wake up sometimes during the night if you end up on your tummy and need me to flip you over and give you your binky, but unless something is seriously wrong, you don't eat again until the morning. And besides those little interruptions, you sleep through the night just wonderfully. Thank you for that.

You are still my ray of sunshine. You are getting to be more and more challenging but I am enjoying seeing you develop into your own little person. I love who you are and who you are growing into and I am so proud of the big girl that you are insisting on becoming. You make me smile SO many times a day that I have lost count. You are beautiful and perfect and my little angel. I love you Peanut. Happy 8 months old.
(Your monthly bean bag shot. The only one where you weren't making that face that I referenced above...)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I am in the process of sending out my Christmas cards and letters to everyone so I thought I would take this time to wish all of my internet readers and friends a very Happy Holidays. I hope the coming year is a great one for everyone.
With love,
The Boy and The Girl

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Germs and Toys and Graduations, Oh My!!

What I never realized when I was a kid was how very difficult it is to make the holidays the joyful season that they should be for the children. I guess that means my mom did a good job, but DAMN, it is hard, hard work. I am trying to buy and wrap all the gifts, get the Christmas cards out, decorate the house, and oh yeah, take care of two small children and work full time. All by myself. It is nuts. And it doesn't leave much time for things like blogging. So here is where I give you all a very short review of what's been going on.
  • Germs. So it appears that when one starts a new school, one gets exposed to all sorts of different germs that one hasn't been exposed to before and one ends up getting "sorta" sick. Like every other god damned day! I say "sorta" sick because it isn't like he has a full blown cold and is horribly sick (to the point where I might actually feel sorry for him), but he has a low grade fever, a raspy voice, a stuffed up nose and the pitiful voice to declare to me in the morning, "Mommy, I sick. I hafta go to Gigi's house. Can't go to new school." So I succumb to his pleading and send him to my mother's house whereupon I receive a phone call approximately 3 hours later where my mother says, "This child is NOT sick. He is running around my house shooting webs at all of my Christmas decorations. Tell me again why he is not at school?" At which point I feel like an asshole and vow that I will send him to school tomorrow no matter how badly he complains in the morning. So I do. Send him to school that is. And then when I pick him up the director looks at me and says, "I was just going to call you. Seems [Boy] has a low grade fever and isn't feeling too well." So then the next day when he declares that he is sick I really can't send him to school because they just sent him home with a fever the night before and only an asshole Mommy would send her son to school after that. So I send him to my mother's house and get the call approximately three hours later, "This child is NOT sick..." Rinse and repeat. He started his new school last Monday. He has been there a total of 5 days now. Absent for 4. Not a great track record.
  • How is it that babies are born with some voodoo innate ability to find all of the toys that they should NOT be chewing on and chew on those? I swear The Girl could have 50,000 of her nice, safe toys sitting right in front of her and she would somehow manage to scoot her little ass all the way across the room to snatch the helicopter her brother was playing with. You know, the one with all the small parts that she could easily swallow? Yeah, that one. I swear there is going to be an emergency room visit in my near future. Either that or some funky looking poops with a wheel somewhere inside of them.
  • This last part deserves its own post so I will probably talk about it again later. But I was told today, at The Boy's speech therapy that he might be ready to graduate. As in he might not have to go back. Like ever again. Holy shit. He has been going to this place for therapies since he was diagnosed with his suck/chew/swallow issues at a year old. He will be 4 in January. I can't believe it. I am equal parts thrilled and relieved, and sad and scared and...really? My boy? Done with speech therapy? I don't even know how to properly respond...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Anti Climactic

On Friday I needed to run a bunch of errands. I needed to hit Tar.get and I wanted to go back to Car.ters to get The Girl more of their little one piece fleece outfits. They keep her warm and also work well right now with her learning to crawl since she isn't getting caught in a separate shirt and pants. Plus the little porker is now wearing a size 12 months in Carters so... My mom and I headed to a little mini mall so that we could knock all these things out at once. Of course Tar.get is on the complete other side of the mall from Car.ters. So after I got the outfits I told my mom to head through the indoor mall with the kids in the stroller and I would go outside in the rain and drive the car around to park it at Tar.get and meet them there. It was raining outside and I didn't want to deal with packing the kids in the car seats etc...

So I moved the car and found a cart in the rain and went inside to wait for them to arrive. And I waited. And waited some more. Where the hell were they? It isn't that big of a mall... Finally my cell phone rang.

"Hi, we're here in the middle of the mall and [Boy] saw Santa. There was no line and he asked if he could sit on his lap and tell him what he wanted for Christmas so I said yes. I threw both kids on his lap and they snapped a picture. All I need to know from you is if you want a wallet or a 3x5."

"Ummm...a wallet I guess."

"You're not upset that I did this without you, are you?"

"Not in the slightest. One less thing for me to do. You checked it off my list. Thanks."

And that is the exciting story of how we ended up with the photo below. Merry Christmas! :)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes

I woke up this morning determined to have a better day with The Boy than yesterday. I was going to be proactive and try and break the cycle. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to do it, but damnit, I was going to do something. So when The Ex called and cancelled on her time with The Boy (she takes him for a couple hours every Saturday morning) because she was sick, I got on the internet. And I found the perfect thing.

The Boy has been having a great time drawing and painting lately. He is really into his artwork. So I decided to take him to this place where you can buy a piece of pottery and he can paint it to his little heart's content and then they fire it and polish it and make it pretty. Not only was I going to take him to do something that I really thought he would love, but I wanted to do it just the two of us. I wanted him to have some one-on-one time with me and get some positive attention. Being a single mother, that happens way less frequently than I would like to admit (just the two of us hanging out without his sister). So I called my mom and begged her to watch The Girl and made an appointment. It was raining outside so I let him wear his boots and raincoat so he could splash in all the puddles he wanted (see yesterday's post) and he and I set out on our adventure.
I decided he could paint on a coffee mug that he would give to his Mom (The Ex) for Christmas so we could knock out two birds with one stone. I hadn't picked out anything for him to get for her for the holidays yet so this was perfect. And he loved it. I let him choose the colors of paint, his brushes, the cup, everything. He got to rule the day. And as a result? We had the most wonderful day. He painted his masterpiece like only he could. I painted the edges of a little dinner plate and then at the very end stamped his hand print in the center of it and painted his name around it. That knocked out a gift for my mom as well. He was very proud of his cup and can't wait to go and pick it up in a few days. Here he is completing the project...
After that was done we headed next door to a little candy shop and I let him pick out a candy. We drove back to my mom's house to pick up Peanut and he chatted the entire way home about how Mommy and [Boy] had a day all to ourselves. Mental note: Must really make time to do this more often. Then the best news? When we got back to my mom's house he asked her if he could take his nap there and she said YES! So I picked up The Girl, left The Boy at her house and headed home. I have spent from noon until 6:00pm today with only one of my two children. And it has been glorious. It is so nice to have some one-on-one time with both of them. My mom helps me so much during the week I hate to ask her to take on anything extra. And most of the time she just comes with me with both kids to do everything. But this has been a wonderful day of spending time alone with each of my kids individually. I feel refreshed and great and 100 times better about life and parenting than I did yesterday. What a difference a day makes, indeed!

Friday, December 11, 2009

"I Was Trying To Bug the Cat..."

The Boy is going through a phase right now. At least I hope it is a phase. Dear God please let it just be a phase...

He is being...for lack of better terms, a total punk. He is challenging every single thing I say and tell him to do. And that is when he is not just ignoring me outright. He is not doing anything major, but all day long, little things just add up and by the end of the day I am D.O.N.E. I tell him it is time to get dressed and he tells me no and proceeds to run in the other direction so I have to chase him. I tell him it is time to go to his doctor's appointment so he needs to pick up his room and he just blatantly ignores me. We get out of the car at the appointment and I tell him to please not jump in the puddles because he doesn't have his boots on. Not only does he jump in them anyway, but he runs next to me and jumps in one as close to me as possible so that he splashes me in the process of ignoring what I just told him. I tell him it's time to sit down for dinner and he goes into his bedroom and dumps a bucket of his toys on the floor after declaring, "I not ready right now. You wait until I ready." When sitting on the toilet he reaches over to his shower curtain and pulls another button off of it (this is after doing it last night and being told in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable).

That was the last straw. I actually raised my voice at him, which I never do (mostly because he used to be the kid that if you looked at him cross eyes he curled up in the corner and cried because he was so upset) and I took him off the toilet and practically threw him back in his bed. When I finally went in to talk to him I asked him why, after I blatantly had told him last night to not rip off the buttons, he had done it again.

"I was trying to bug Rudy," (our cat) he tells me.

...exasperated sigh...

This seems to happen every six months or so. He starts to push every single boundary that exists for him and I have to spend a couple of weeks feeling like a drill Sargent and a horrible Mommy but then he realizes that he does have to live within the boundaries I provide for him. Then he goes back to being his generally sweet self. Rinse and repeat a few months later.

I don't know if this is because he is in the process of switching schools. Or I don't know if it is because his sister is starting to get a lot of attention now (when we go out now many people stop us and tell us how cute she is without mentioning The Boy at all--people respond to babies...you can't help that). I don't know if this is just an age appropriate part of growing up and learning to be independent and learning the the entire world does not revolve around him 24/7. I really don't know what it is.

But I am tired of it and I want it to stop. I have tried to give major love and reinforcement when he is being good to show him that he gets attention for THAT behavior. I have tried explaining the reasoning behind all of the decisions that I am making for him (eg: We have to pick up our toys now because we have to leave to make it to your doctor's appointment on time). I have tried carving out special time to spend just with him in an effort to make him feel like Mommy still has time just for him even though his sister is here all the time. I don't know what else to do except stick to my guns and keep those boundaries strong. It is exhausting to be consistent and to follow through when you tell them something. It takes a lot of work. But it is necessary. If I don't do that I am fully aware that I will have an out of control child in the future. But really...I am tired, and I really just want to enjoy my child again. The holidays are coming and I would love for us to be able to enjoy them instead of spending the time being frustrated and annoyed.

So universe...if you are listening...how about toning it down a little bit where the small boy child is concerned? That would be great, thanks.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Time to decorate the Christmas tree... Here is The Boy mastering the art of hanging the ornaments just perfectly...
And Peanut wants to help too..."Wow...sparkly...shiny..." (That is one of the gay boyfriend's hands...I didn't all of a sudden get really hairy...)
"Oh wait! You, with the camera? I know what I'm supposed to do..."
And finally a family photo...
And yes, I realize I should have turned the damn TV off behind me. Hindsight...

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Quick Post...

  • The Boy stayed home sick today with my mom. She said he didn't eat anything all day long either. So I guess it wasn't totally the school. He just feels crappy. But missing his second day at school? Not so hot. I guess I need to stop worrying about making a good first impression...I should focus on the fact that during this evil "swine" season I am doing the responsible thing and keeping my sick kid at home where he can't infect anyone. Except his sister. And me. And my mother. Who takes care of my kids. Shit.
  • The Girl ate chicken for the first time today. First meat introduced. I made her a fancy little medley from my cookbook that had onions sauteed in butter (a first for both), cut up chicken breast, some apple and some sweet potato and then a cup of chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for like 20 minutes and then blend. She loved it. This child loves all food. I haven't found anything yet that she won't eat. And that includes parsnips. It has become a game to try and find something she WON'T eat. I bought organic beets the other day. I am betting on those...
  • The Girl now eats on average 6 cubes of food every night for dinner. She also eats at least 4 cubes for breakfast, like 5 for lunch and then nurses in between there. Although the nursing has slowed down a ton. She nurses first thing in the morning, then again before her morning nap, again before her afternoon nap, and then right before she goes to sleep for the night. So like only 4 or 5 times a day. I'm afraid she's eating too much and nursing too little. But the girl LOVES her some food. When she's hungry for it, nursing simply won't suffice. But like 15 cubes a day? That seems a little excessive to me...but then again my almost 4 year old doesn't eat that much so my judgement may be impaired. What do you all think? Normal? Little piggy?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Overall I'd Say It Was a Success


We didn't have the best circumstances going for us this morning. First of all, on Sunday The Boy told me that his throat hurt three different times. Of course it does, I thought to myself. And then when he woke up this morning he sounded a little congested. I asked him if he felt okay and he said he did. I also checked in with him and asked him if he needed to stay home today because he was getting "Da Bad Germs." He said he didn't and that he wanted to go to his new school.

So I armed him in sweatpants (he calls jeans "hard pants" because he can't pull them back up and snap and zip them himself after he goes potty. He can do sweats by himself, so those have been deemed "soft pants.") and a comfy shirt and his favorite jacket and we headed out the door after I snapped the above picture. As I put his sister in the car he walked around and under one of our trees and, since it was raining, proceeded to get mud all over his shoes. Then he climbed on my car seat and into his car seat with his muddy shoes and proceeded to get his nice, clean, soft pants all full of mud. Great. But determined to keep us all happy and joyous I didn't say a word. And believe me, that was not easy. :)

There was a moment on the way to drop off his sister that made me get all teary and weepy. He leaned over in his car seat and took his sister's hand and said to her, "You are going to miss me today Peanut but I a big boy now and I have to go to my new school. You will be okay without me."

[Sob!!!]

So we dropped off sister and headed to his new school. He was happy and chipper and ready to get outside to the play ground. I talked to the director and she showed us his cubby and where to put his lunch box etc. and he just wandered outside by himself with the other kids. He got to the bottom of the stairs and immediately lunged into a Spiderman lunge and shot out his arms to the side and proceeded to pretend to start shooting webs. Gotta love kids, man. I was an emotional mess and this kid just wanted to shoot webs. So he met his teacher and was told where he had to go when he heard the bell ringing (on a red line near his classroom door) and I went inside to fill out paperwork and write checks (apparently new, good schools don't come cheap). I went back outside once before I left and he had been off playing and he came over with a look like he was going to cry but he was holding it in because he was a big boy. "I fall on my bum," he told me. I looked down and his feet were sopping wet and so were his pants. My best guess was that he had gone down a (very wet) slide and landed on his bum at the bottom. And there was no one there to tell him it was okay. So I gave him a hug and told him he would be okay and that I was sorry he fell on his bum but that the bell was ringing and it was time to go line up with the rest of the kids in his class. He nodded and walked off. And thus began his first day at big boy school.

I made them promise me at the front office that they would call me if he was having a rough or emotional time because I was able to come and pick him up for a half day and let him nap at home today if he needed to. But when I asked him that morning if he wanted to come home and nap at Mommy's house or at his new school he told me his school. So I didn't want to borrow drama where there wasn't any and told them to please call me if they thought he needed it. I them promised that I wouldn't call 12 times during the day and that I would assume "no news was good news." They were very sweet and told me I could call as many times as I needed to and that he was doing great for his first day and they promised to keep an extra eye on him.

So I left. And I didn't call. And I never heard from them. And I was there with my mom at the strike of 4:00pm ready to bring him home.

He was outside playing in a little house-thing with two other little girls. At least he wasn't playing alone... He saw me and said, "Can we go home now Mommy?" I gave him a hug and told him that yes, we would go home. The ladies at the front office said he did pretty well. He had a bit of a hard time in the morning and he seemed really tired. Then after nap time he didn't want to put his Lambie (lovey/blanket thing) back into his cubby. But after about 10 extra minutes he gave him a huge hug and a kiss and put it back. They mentioned several times he seemed really tired.

And he did act tired. He acted like he had been a weary traveler for months. I know that I personally had had a very emotional day and now that he was safely back in my clutches I was all of a sudden exhausted. So I assumed he was going through something similar to how I was feeling. Plus there was the whole sore throat thing and I assumed he didn't feel well...but he was clearly not himself. I asked him questions in the car ride to go pick up his sister and he didn't even answer. Just looked at me with a fixed stare and a half smile sometimes.

By the time we got home I was convinced that he was good and sick and I started making arrangements with my mom to take him tomorrow etc. He came home and rested on the floor on the carpet with his pillow and a blanket and wanted to watch Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer on TV. So I let him. I sat with him for a long time in my lap and just rocked him cause I felt like he needed a little extra TLC. My sweet boy...

Then I was going through some paperwork they had given me and somewhere there was a paper about lunches. It mentioned that everyday they would send home the food your child didn't eat so that the parents could monitor what they were eating and likes/dislikes etc. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I opened his lunch box and my suspicions were confirmed. He took one bite of his sandwich, ate maybe 2 grapes and perhaps one pretzel. His water bottle wasn't even opened. The Boy didn't eat anything. All day long. He wasn't sick, he was starving. If you have read my blog for any period of time you know we have food issues. He was nervous and the child barely eats on a good day. And of course this being his first day his teachers didn't know they needed to give him a little extra prodding. He doesn't act up, he doesn't ask for food, he just shuts down. He goes until he runs out of steam and then he stops. Like a car running out of gas. And my boy was out of gas.

I quickly made him some ravioli's, cut up an apple, some edamame and some bread with butter and told him dinner had come early. He sat down and ate like a child who...well, like I child who hadn't eaten a thing all day long. And about 10 minutes into the meal my child came back. He wasn't sick at all. Not in the slightest. Turns out he had a nice day and liked his teacher, although they didn't paint today which was a large disappointment. Some kid on the play ground accidentally grabbed the hood on his jacket and it pulled him and he liked the turtle in the tank the best. Sounds like a pretty normal first day.

So we have to tackle this whole food issue. He is getting older and once he gets to kindergarten there isn't going to be someone monitoring his food intake. So he has to learn this process on his own. But we have some work to do. For now, I packed his lunch for tomorrow with left over ravioli, some Pir.ates Boo.ty, more grapes and bread and butter. I will talk to the director tomorrow and let her know the situation in more detail.

But for now, I am going to sleep. I am so unbelievably tired. This has been an emotionally exhausting journey. And The Girl is sleeping soundly in her bed, and The Boy is safely cuddled in his blankets drifting off to sleep, and I need to follow. I will tackle tomorrow when we get there. For now I need to refuel myself. With lots of quiet sleep.

Edited to add: He woke up this morning (Tuesday morning) with a full-blown cold. So who knows how much of yesterday's actions were compounded by him feeling yucky? So on his second day of his new school...he's staying home. We're off to a great start!

Who's the One Starting School?

The Boy is starting a new school today and I am a complete wreck.

He's fine, mind you. Totally excited and doesn't seem to be traumatized at all (of course I am writing this before I take him and drop him off and actually leave him there), but I am freaking out. I haven't slept well in the last week. Every time I wake up I think about how nervous I was when I started a new school and how whenever I start at a new job or client how I have that unsettled feeling and I don't know where the potty is, and I don't know any of the people, or who to go to if I have any issue and...well...I am completely projecting all of that onto my poor child. Fortunately for him, he is three and hasn't experienced the real, scary world yet and is just excited because they have a kick ass play ground.

I should point out that I am silently freaking out and on the outside, and what The Boy sees, I am the picture of confidence. I have talked to him about going to a new school and about how he won't know any of the kids initially but that he should walk up to someone who looks nice and tell them his name and that it is his first day and see if they want to play. I told him he might find some other little boy (or girl) who loves Spiderman as much as he does and that they might even want to pretend to shoot webs at bad guys like he does. I told him that he gets to bring A LUNCHBOX and, OMG, how cool is that? He has two different cubby's and a place to hang his jacket and a special nap room where he can sleep on a cot with his special blanket and pillow. He knows he is in a new classroom with 12 other kids and he met a couple of them at our walk through. He knows there is a whole little section of his room dedicated to science and, holyshit, they have A FISH TANK, and they have TURTLES there, and they have little mini potty's that are just his size. He thinks the whole place is just the bees knees.

And really, it is. The school is awesome. There are three or four different classes and they follow the same Montessori learning practices that he is used to. And it is all very structured, which is good for The Boy (some of my anal retentive virgo-ness has rubbed off on the poor child). There is about three hours of classroom time broken up by snack break and one half hour "recess" and then an hour lunch, a two hour period of time for nap and clean up and then the final hour before I pick him up will be outside in the "coolest playground he has ever seen." There are scheduled potty breaks and before every meal and after potty time and nap time there are scheduled hand washes. All of the people I met are fabulous and loving and kind. It is so organized that it sorta gives me a chubby. In addition to his regular classroom time, he can sign up for a science class, a karate class, a "little movers" class or a Spanish class. There are Christmas plays and toy drives and pizza Friday's and Santa visits and it all just seems so...grown up.

And to prepare him for his first day I feel like I am the one getting ready for a big test or final. The amount of paperwork I needed to fill out was insane. Then of course there is the physicians report that has to be filled out by his doctor. I also had to prepare all of his bedding for his nap time. I had to send a spare pair of clothes that needed to be labeled with his name, put into a ziplock bag and sealed with his name on the outside. I needed to find two small pictures (can't be as big as a 4 x 6 photo) of him for each of his cubby's. And finding a picture that was the right size and that he actually looked good in was no small feat. He is at that annoying "fake smile" phase and each picture looked like he just wasn't quite right. So I had to search high and low for the proper representation of my perfect boy so that the other kids that see his cubby don't make fun of him.

Then I had to prepare the "Emergency kit," which is mandatory for each child. I should add that I think this is perhaps the most fabulous idea, but man, it is a pain to prepare. I have to have a non-perishable food item (which I suppose is a granola bar, but it is going to have to be a serious emergency for The Boy to consume that...). A bottle of water; that one I can handle. Then he needs "a small comfort item such as a stuffed animal, book, or note." What do I do for that? Do I send away one of the coveted "Lambie's" for the cause? Cause that is really the only thing that will bring him comfort, but we only have so many of those and do we really want to send one away just in the event of an emergency? But there is no stuffed animal, and I suppose I could send a Spiderman book and have him shooting webs at everyone during a time of crisis but that just seems wrong. And a note? That's really not going to help him out until he can read. So a Lambie it is. Let's just hope we don't have a Lambie crisis in the house since one is missing because that could be considered an emergency on its own. Then we needed an "emergency poncho or plastic bag for protection from rain" and a "thermal foil blanket." So apparently in all my copious amounts of spare time this weekend...I will need to be going to a camping store. And finally...a family picture or a picture of your child. So in addition to having to comb through my many, many photos to find just the perfect picture of him in the perfect size for his cubby, I also have to find a family photo. Which isn't as easy as it sounds. See, I am a single mom, so all of the pictures that are taken do NOT have me in them. So finding one that has me and his Gigi (because I don't fool myself as to where The Boy really gets his comfort) in it as well as The Boy and his sister was NOT easy. But I found one.

Again, let me reiterate: I think the fact that each child has their own "emergency kit," is a BRILLIANT idea. And now that it is done, I couldn't be happier. But damn...

So I sat in my office last night, late, after the kids had gone to bed and tried to sort out all the stuff to bring to school for him. All the paperwork filled out properly. The bedding all clean and organized, the spare set of clothes, the emergency kit, the lunch box packed with food that (cross fingers) he will eat, and I had a small panic attack. I want to make sure it is all done just perfectly. I want him to start off on the right foot. I want his teachers and directors to think, "Man that [Boy] was sure prepared. His mom was totally organized and had all her shit together. What a lucky little boy that is." Because what would make it all SO much worse is if he gets there and they say, "You can't have that...your Mommy didn't send the right form." Or something of that sort. I just want them to love him. I want them to love him so that he loves them. I want him to come home on Monday afternoon and tell me, "Mommy, that was so great. I LOVE my new school." I have to do everything in my power to make sure that is the outcome.

And I am so nervous about it all that I could just curl up in a little ball and die.

Please think good thoughts for my boy in his new school today. Send him thoughts of confidence and joy and send me thoughts of strength so that by some small miracle, we can all get through the first day jitters.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

'Tis the Season

Today was the day that we went all the way into the woods to find "the perfect tree." The Boy had been talking about it all week long so it was time to indulge him. Plus, he really is at the most amazing age for the holidays. He talks about Santa all the time and constantly tells me to put the Christmas music on the radio in the car. His Grammie got him a chocolate advent calendar which is the highlight of his day when he gets home from school. So he is quite the festive little dude. He makes me smile on a daily basis.

Since The Girl is awake in her crib but not yet screaming, and The Boy literally just went down for his nap, and I have a load of clothes in the dryer that just beeped at me and several batches of baby food to make up this afternoon I will make this quick. We found a nice little tree that will go wonderfully in our living room. Here is a family shot next to "the perfect tree."
It's not easy to hold both of those kids at once! Mercy! And here is a close up shot of Peanut, who although very bundled up in her cute little outfit, still managed to let her nose get a little red in the chilly air...
And finally...Mr. Festive himself. He came home and "helped" The Ex get the tree into the stand and bring it into the house. Then he "helped" put the lights on and bring in his stocking. In the box out in the garage he found his "perfect Santa hat" from last year. Although that was NOT his hat as it barely stayed on his head today, much less a year ago. But damn if he doesn't look cute in his 'born to rock' shirt and his Santa hat.
During what can sometimes be a very stressful time of the year I am reminded daily by my kids to just slow down and enjoy the JOY that is the holiday season. Seeing the holidays through a child's eyes really does bring back the magic and love that I felt as a young child. I hope that when my kids are adults and stressed out about property taxes and buying gifts and making sure to spend quality time with all the extended family...I hope that they can remember back to these precious years that they are having now and have nothing but peace in their hearts.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Neglect

My blog is being neglected...

I really wish it weren't. But if it makes you all feel better, it is not the only thing in my life that is being neglected. Currently there is a load of dark clothes in my dryer that has been there for two days. There is a layer of filth on my floors because they haven't been mopped in over a month. There is a stack of paperwork sitting on my desk that needs to be filled out for The Boy's new school (which he is starting Monday--deserves its own post). There are Christmas presents to be bought, a tree to be found and somewhere lurking inside of me I know there must be a Christmas spirit that I will be able to locate. Perhaps if sleep were one of the things that were NOT being neglected then I would have found it by now... Things are being neglected all over the place.

But to show you all we are still alive and kicking, here are a few pictures. Here is The Peanut in all her cuteness (my mother loves to make her hair into a "bam bam," so you'll have to excuse the fancy look...)
And here are The Boy and The Girl on Thanksgiving...including The Boy's fake smile that he insists on using in all pictures right now (very annoying)!
And here are the kids in their matching jammies. If I weren't so tired I would tell you all how very misty it makes me to have two kids that get to wear matching jammies for Christmas...
And finally, here is a pic of The Girl at a Parade of Lights that we went to on Sunday night. She, like all of us, was doing her best not to freeze to death.
I swear I will be back with some sort of real post very soon...

Friday, November 27, 2009

I Don't Even Know What to Say About This...


I am beyond appalled. I am sickened, sad, horrified and any other adjective you can think of that describes the feeling you get when your heart falls into your shoes.

People picked a random day and called it "Kick a ginger day," and beat the crap out of all the red-headed kids. I saw it on the news, but there are articles about it all over the place. It was even spoofed on Sou.th Par.k, which just "helped" the issue, I'm sure. I honestly cried while watching this on the news. Obviously this is going to hit close to home with me, but seriously? Are kids really this cruel?

I really don't even know what to say. If I could put my son in a bubble and protect him from people like this, I would. I guess all I can say is that if anyone out there comes anywhere near my precious little "ginger" they are going to have one pissed off Mother to deal with. And to my fellow mothers? Let's try and teach our kids about loving other people and not bashing them simply for the color of their hair. Or for any other reason! Can we at least agree on that?

**This isn't my most well-written post ever, but I am honestly so upset by this that I can't even seem to get my thoughts together enough to form a proper blog post. You get the gist...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful

I think it goes without saying what I am thankful for this season. But let's say it anyway. I am so thankful for my two beautiful children, my wonderful mother and step dad and all the other members of my family. I am thankful for my fabulous friends, who will always take the time to hear me bitch, even when all they need is a good bitching session themselves. I am truly a very lucky woman.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Decisions, Decisions...

I think it might be time for me to move The Boy from his school.

A little background: He started at a daycare that I LOVED when he was three months old. My brother had sent both of his kids there so I was comfortable before I even left him the first time. And I had reason to be. The ladies who ran the daycare were/are wonderful and I am actually still quite close with them. When The Boy was just two these two ladies (twin sisters) decided that after 25 plus years of daycare they were selling their house and buying a house by the beach. They were following their dream and who can blame them for that? (Well I can! Because it was hugely sad and very inconvenient for me...I am not sure why they couldn't wait until my second child was in kindergarten but I digress...)

So I started looking for a new place. And after several different tours and one place that we started out and then bailed on because it was HORRIBLE (hindsight people...) we settled into a Montessori school taught out of a home that was a perfect fit for The Boy. He was the youngest kid when he joined at just over 2 years old but that worked out well for him. Like theDirectress used to tell me, "He runs with the big boys." And he grew in leaps and bounds. Being surrounded by kids older than him constantly pushed his comfort boundaries and made him try some new things that I don't think he would have done on his own. It was a wonderful situation for him. But with all the kids being older than him, they all eventually moved on to kindergarten and/or pre K classes.

So that brings us up to our current situation. The Boy will be 4 in January (I know, right?) and he is now officially the oldest one at his school. The Directress has recently brought in a whole new batch of kids (I guess she does need to run a business) and, while they are all lovely, and even include twins that have gay parents, they are all two years old. There was one boy left that was a little older than The Boy with whom he played every single day. And that boy left last week. His parents thought that as he was getting ready to start school he needed to be surrounded by kids his own age rather than a bunch of two year olds. Food for thought.

This got me thinking. I am thrilled with the care he gets there, and his sister is now going to the same place, so not only do we get a "sibling discount," but the pick up/drop off is a breeze since they are both at the same place. But he is the oldest one. And he is surrounded by two year olds. Yesterday he asked if he could paint and they had to take him into the classroom by himself to paint so the little kids couldn't get into the paint. It wasn't long ago when painting everyday was the norm and in the curriculum for all of the kids. I asked him the other day who he plays with now that his friend has moved on and he said, "I play by myself Mommy. Those other kids are babies."

It's clearly time for him to go.

So I have an appointment at a new Montessori school which is about 5 blocks from our house and where he will be in a classroom (this is an actual school; it isn't out of a home like the other place) with other 3-4 year old kids. We go on Monday morning for a tour. I am glad The Boy is old enough now to go with us and to give me his honest opinion afterwards on how he feels about it. But it makes me sad. I am worried for him to have to make a transition, but I know he needs to be more stimulated and be with other kids his age. I am sad he won't be with his sister during the day. And then I wonder if my own fear of change makes me more worried than I need to be. The Boy is extremely social and generally doesn't have a hard time making friends wherever he goes, so maybe this will be easy for him. But I can't deny that it is hard to have him move into a real, honest-to-god school. The next step will be kindergarten. I am seriously not ready for that. Thankfully I have another year and a half before we have to deal with that.

Wish us luck on Monday. Probably more for me than for him. :(

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Son the Artist

**This is one of those posts that, as a Mom, is important for me to document. I really don't think the rest of the world will be interested, so feel free to skip over this if it isn't your thing.

The Boy has really gotten back into his artwork again lately. He went through a phase when he was younger when he LOVED to draw with his crayons and he did it all the time. But like most phases, he sorta moved on. But lately he is back into it. With a VENGEANCE!

He uses all mediums...crayons are generally his "go to" thing, but lately he has gotten into colored pencils and, most recently, watercolors. I don't want to forget how very much he loves to create and when he gets older I want to be able to look back and remember some of his first creations. Here he is this weekend creating a masterpiece with water colors:
And here is the scanned final product of that exact creation that he was working on in the above picture... I love all the different colors that he uses.
And he loves to mix the colors together to see what new color they make. The Virgo in me cringes every time he takes his paint brush and puts it in the yellow section and then moves it over to the purple section and then the brown section before finally putting it on the paper. I think to myself, you are messing all the colors up!!! But I just smile and tell him it is beautiful and ask him what color he will create next. Then I leave the room so I don't have to witness the chaos of colors. :)

Here is another creation he did this morning. He says to me, "Mommy I do this one for you because you like all the bright colors." (I think that might be because when he mixes all the colors together everything comes out brown, so I love it when he leaves the colors in their natural state and I can see him mix them on the paper and create different things with the different colors).
He has also learned that when he puts a color on the paper and then dips his brush back into his water glass and then puts it back on the color, it becomes lighter. He spent several different pieces of paper making each color lighter and lighter until the entire paper was just soaking wet with a hint of color...

The next one is here simply because I have thousands of pieces of paper just exactly like this one scattered all over my house. It is a spider. With lots of legs. And a pincher on the top of his head. He draws them in all shapes and sizes and colors. But this is it. Just one spider per page, in one color. Then he rips out the page and goes on to the next one. Only to draw the exact same thing in a different color, maybe a slight variation in size, but virtually the same thing. I am not kidding when I tell you there have been hundreds of these.
And finally, one of my favorites. This should be "landscaped" rather than "portrait," but I guess blogger doesn't want it to be that way. So you will have to improvise. The two things on the left (top) are "our family." Those are two people, me and him supposedly, and I am on the far left (top) and he is next to me. If you look closely you will notice that he is "shooting his web" at the "bad guys" who are coming near us. He has them all "wrapped up in his web" so that he and I are safe.
I love this for so many reasons. First of all I love that he is drawing his own representations of our family on paper (and for the record, usually there are three of us so he does usually include his sister. He told me that she wasn't there in this picture because it was dangerous and he didn't want her to be around the danger when he had to protect us all). And second of all it is so sweet to me that, even at his young age, he is trying to be the big protector for me. He made sure to point out that HE was the one shooting the web at the bad guys and that I was safely tucked away beside him where they couldn't get me. It must be some in-born thing that a little boy feels like he has to protect his Mommy. But I have spent his entire existence feeling like I was protecting him from the world, so it is nice to have the situation reversed for once.

I hope he always loves to be creative and expressive. I know that I will ALWAYS encourage it. I will always find the money for crayons and paper and paint. He will always be allowed to draw and to express himself. And I just love watching what he does with it.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Happy 7 Months Old Peanut

Dear Peanut,

You are seven months old today. You are practically a teenager. It is going so fast. On the one hand I am loving watching you develop and get bigger and start to do all these things on your own, and on the other hand I want you to slow the hell down and just allow me to enjoy you being a baby! Because every day it seems like you are getting further and further away from babyhood and closer and closer to toddlerhood.

The biggest change this last month has been that you are now fully engaged in eating food. Like real food. Surprisingly I am making all of your baby food. No one believed I would actually do it (least of all me) but I am actually really enjoying it. Maybe since you are nursing less and less it makes me feel like we are still connected in some way. But every weekend I bust out with the knife and cutting board and slice and dice and steam and puree everything I can get my hands on. And so far you love it all! We have yet to find something you don't love. So far you are eating: rice cereal, sweet potatoes, apples, pears, broccoli, green beans, butternut squash, winter squash, peaches, apricots, mangos, carrots and many many combinations of the above food. I haven't yet introduced strawberries or berries of any kind, or any meat, but that will come this month. You are ready. I also haven't given you any finger foods yet, but I think that might be because I am overly paranoid after our situation with your brother. I will get over it, in fact just today I gave you a hunk of his soft pretzel from the mall and let you gum it to death. You loved it. So I will start giving you chunks soon. But right now, you LOVE to eat. I freeze your food in ice cube trays and right now you are eating approximately 10 cubes a day plus about 2 ounces of milk with rice cereal in it. Like I said, you LOVE you some food. Here is a shot of you in your high chair, kickin' it with your foot up on the side, awaiting your next meal.
As you can see in this picture, you are still drooling like a fiend. If I don't put you in bibs constantly, all of your clothing looks like the above picture. But! There is a reason for all of this drool. You got your first two bottom teeth! They popped through a couple of weeks ago and are now almost big enough to see when you smile. Teeth at 6 months...what a concept! Again, already trying to better your brother who didn't spark a tooth until after 10 months. But you have 'em and you want to use 'em. You chew on everything. Literally everything. It gets exhausting sometimes. You will reach as far as your little hands can reach and whatever is within your grasp goes straight into your mouth. Your brother is learning to keep his drawings and toys out of your reach or else he looks over and finds them right inside your big chompers. And he isn't so much a fan of that. You are now officially old enough to annoy your brother. Good job. He has been annoying us for years...it is time someone return the favor. :)

Another big change for you this month is sitting up. No more laying around like a baby for you. You want to be sitting so you can see the world. I have to admit I am pretty stoked about this new development because it finally means you can start sitting in carts and high chairs when we are out at places. That makes like easier for Mommy, so thanks for that. Here is a phone pic of you sitting in a cart for the first time. (Gigi did the bam bam on your hair...don't blame me!).
I had to cover all surfaces around you with my jacket because we all know you would have been sucking all over that cart and frankly there is not another germ-ier place in all of the world, so that just couldn't happen. We have since dug out your brother's old cart cover thing and that now resides in the back of the car so we don't have this problem in the future.

Another brilliant thing about you sitting up is that I can now plop you on the floor next to your box of toys and leave you there. You will sit for up to an hour just playing and checking out the toys in your little box. You love it. Sometimes you still bail forward and do a face plant but you rarely get upset about it. You sorta look up at me like, "What the hell just happened?" Then you scoot around on your tummy going backwards and away from your toys. This generally pisses you off so you end up yelling for me once you have wedged yourself under my desk or the couch or chair and I come and sit you back up next to your toys and we repeat the process all over again. Good times. Here is a shot of you sitting next to your toys.

You are the happiest baby I know. You smile constantly and that smile is so contagious. Your eyes light up a room. I don't know how it is possible for you to be so happy and so feisty at the same time, but you are. You grunt and groan and scream loudly if you can't reach something you want. But as soon as you get what you want, all smiles again. There isn't much that upsets you and pretty much everything makes you happy. I have said it before and I'll say it again. You truly are a ray of sunshine. You make me smile and laugh so many times a day that I lose count.

There is one area that we need to work on. That is your hair. Every other part of you is absolutely adorable, but my darling...oh, that hair. At least you have hair...I will give you that. But it's just so...well...I don't even know how to explain it. You have a lovely covering around your entire head that is about an inch long. This is perfect and beautiful; wouldn't change a thing. But then there is the top. See you had hair on the top of your head when you were born and it is still there. It has just gotten longer. And it honestly looks like a bad comb over. Not only that, but the hair on the back of your head, where you lie on it, well it usually sticks straight out like some sort of static cling gone wrong. And the stuff from the front is getting so long that it hangs in your eyes and I usually swipe it off to one side, but that doesn't always work out so well. So Peanut, if there is one thing I can ask of you it would be this. Can you make your hair grow a little faster so we can do something adorable with it? Because while I find you completely precious, this is usually what your hair ends up looking like...
Let's do a day in the life and then wrap up this long post. As of right now, seven months, a typical day for you goes like this:

You wake up anywhere between 5:30 and 7:00am and nurse. The earlier it is the higher the likelihood that you will go back to sleep. Either way you hang out in my bed until around 8:00 or 8:30 (these are the non-daycare/work days we are talking about here). Then we get up and you play either in the living room with your toys, or in your brother's room. Around 9:00 I feed you breakfast that is usually two cubes of fruit and some rice cereal. Then you hang out in your high chair while I do stuff and around 10:00am you nurse and then go down for your morning nap. You have gotten MUCH better at napping in the past month, so thank you for that. You usually sleep between an hour and a half and two hours. Then when you wake up I generally nurse you and then head out for the day. I bring food with me and when your brother and I eat lunch, you join us. Usually two cubes fruit and two cubes veggies. You LOVE to eat at the table with us. Then we do whatever with our day and hang out. Around 2:30 or 3:00 you nurse again and go down for your afternoon nap. You don't sleep as long for this one, but you do sleep. So again, thank you for that. Once you are up you usually have a nursing snack around 4:00pm. Hang out, play with toys and then around 5:30 or so we have dinner. Usually 4 cubes of veggies and rice cereal. You sit in your high chair at the table while the rest of the family eats and then you have your bath. You have always loved your bath and still do, although you are not fitting so well in that little infant tub thing I have for you. Mental note...must find new solution. After your bath it is jammies and a little play time. Right at 7:30pm we change your diaper, put on your sleep sack and go in the living room to turn out all the lights and have your final nursing session. You no longer ever fall asleep while nursing or for the 10-15 minutes that I rock you in the rocking chair after, but you always go to sleep in your crib without a fuss. I put you down, turn on your little aquarium thing in your crib and kiss you goodnight and walk out. You play for about 10 minutes at the most and go to sleep. Sometimes once or twice in the middle of the night you wake up wanting your binky but usually you sleep straight through. You rule.

I know I say this every month but you have brought so much to our lives. Your brother and I love you more than you will ever understand (until you have children of your own). Every single day I am so thankful that I was blessed enough to have the two beautiful children that I do and I am so glad that I get to share my life with you. Happy 7 months Peanut. I will leave you with your seven month bean bag shot. And you can note how you were sitting up trying to grab for the camera during these shots. :)