Friday, November 2, 2012

Firsts. . . .

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when Bjorn first walked. I remember discussing with The Hubs exactly what his first word was, and I can viscerally feel the same anguish that I felt the first time I left with him at daycare and went to work an overnight trip.

I anticipated all those firsts. I knew they would happen.

What has surprised me is all the firsts that aren't in the baby books.

The first time you tell him it's time to get dressed to go, and he runs into his room, putting on his socks and shoes all by myself. Correctly.

The first time he picks out his jammies, and puts them on for bed. Then takes his clothes for the day and puts them in the hamper. Without you telling him to. Without you even being in the same room.

There are 30 year old men who haven't mastered that.

The first time you pick up the book to read at night, and he sits down beside you and begins reading reciting. He tells you the story, touching the pictures to point at things the way you do, and noticing things you had never told him. He recites exact phrases on some pages, embellishing on other page. And the story becomes even better.

All these firsts happened within the last three days. Three days and my boy is suddenly not so little anymore. I'm starting to somewhat understand why parents sometimes want to stop time. It's all going so fast now. 

But I don't want to stop time. Not really. Because then I would miss the first time he carries a lunch box and backpack to school and the first time he scores a goal in a soccer game and the first time he makes his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And those firsts, the ones no one tells you about, those are the ones I like to remember. 

Ooogity Boogity!

I had such high hopes for Halloween.

With one boy, one girl, and a Fred and Wilma costume on loan from a friend, I was fully prepared to give my 3 year old a bat and make a bone barrette for the Peanut.

Until this:

"Mommy, I want to be a GHOST for Halloween!"

"A ghost, Bjorn? Really?!"

"Yes, Mommy. A GHOST!!"

"Well, how about Bam Bam? You can be Bam Bam and your sister will be Pebbles. You can even have a bat that you can hit things with. ACTUALLY HIT THINGS! While you yell 'BAM BAM'!"

"No, Mommy," he says, arms crossed determinedly in front of him. "No. I want to be A GHOST!!"

"Bjorn, YOU CAN HIT THINGS. You will actually be allowed to HIT stuff with the bat. No time-outs. As long as you say "Bam Bam" while you do it, you can HIT THINGS - it's part of your costume!"

"But, I don't want to be Bam Bam. I want to be a ghost. I want to yell BOO!"

So, enter the Ghost Family. Happy Halloween 2012!!

Easiest costumes to make. Ever.
Bjorn and his Minnie and Robot buddies
My bestie and I. Can't you tell what we are? I'm a ghost, she's a ballerina. :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Preschool woes

I've never been one of those moms who want to hold onto the "baby" in their child. In fact, I think it may be against all Mom rules to say this, but. . . .

I don't really like the baby stage.

It's too clingy and demanding. There is just too much that has to be done for and with a baby. Peanut, at 15 months old, is just now coming into the stage that I like. Yes, she (and Bjorn) are whiny and demanding and tantrum-throwing, but they also can do some things for themselves.

Bjorn can get his own snacks and drinks. He can go to the bathroom by himself, pick out his own clothes, and remember to put them in the hamper when dirty. That's something most 30 year old men haven't figured out. My 3 year old is ahead of the curve.

But I really enjoy watching both of them grow up, and all the new and exciting things that come with each stage. I rarely feel sad or nostalgic when looking at baby clothes or old pictures; I get excited thinking about all the things we can now do together.

So I'm surprised that I'm in such a quandary about preschool.

For a variety of reasons, right now we are sending the boy (and Peanut) to daycare, not preschool, when I work. Since I only work three days a week, and not the same three each week, this gives us the flexibility to choose when he goes to daycare and when he stays home with me.

But he is not getting any education from his daycare.

He has friends there, and he is learning the "social education" that is so important (so I'm told) for children this age. But he has always been good at socializing; he shares, plays and makes friends with every child he sees, everywhere. Seriously. He sees a little boy or girl across the store and the next thing you know he is shouting "Hey, friend - do you want to play with me?!"

I think he's socialized.

Now I would like to get him more formally educated, with letters and numbers and songs and activities. I want to go to a Christmas program where he sings "Jingle Bells" and bangs on the triangle. I want to have notebooks sent home with drawings of his hands like a turkey and a Christmas tree and a heart.

There is just one little problem.

I don't want him to go.

I mean, I do. I do want him to go. When I'm working. I want him to go three days a week, when I am working and he needs to be watched by someone, so it might as well be a fun, school environment.

But I want him home with me the other times. I want to take him to the zoo and the space museum and the park and the store and the gym. I want to watch movies and play cars and yell at him for being constantly at my feet when I am trying to get stuff done.  I want him to play with his sister and his dog and his cars at his house. Because he has the next 13 years of his life in school, plus 5 years of college, if not more. He has the rest of his life to learn and go to school, and I only have this time to spend as much time as I can with him.

But I also want him to learn and have fun with his friends. I want him to love school, like I did, and love seeing his friends and his teachers. I don't want to slow him down developmentally just because I, selfishly, want these last two years before he is required, by law, to go to school.

So that is my quandary. My problem. Do I send Bjorn to a preschool that he would, most likely, love but lose that last little bit of time with him? Because of my work schedule, I would have to pay for full time preschool, but I could use it as part time, only sending him when I am actually at work. Would that be too awkward a change for him? Would he then be behind in preschool because he is not there everyday; would skipping the days for learning "m", "r" and "y" put him behind?

I need help from moms who have been here. Moms who put their children in preschool. Moms who want their alone time, but also want their time with their kiddos. Moms who work. Moms.

Any thoughts?!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Little Laundry

Sometimes it all seems too much. This parenting thing, I mean.

When one kid grabs you around the knees, and the other around the ankles and begs you for snacks or juice or TV or milk or just not to go to work, it just seems like too much. Too much guilt and nagging and saying no. Too much serving drinks in sippy cups with lids the shape of hippos or lions. Too much talk about potty breaks, and diaper changes and "do you have to go to the bathroom now?".

When you are serving breakfast and one kid is screaming "I wanted oatmeal!" even though you distinctly heard him say five minutes ago that he wanted eggs. And the other one starts screaming merely because she likes the sound of her voice and thinks it sounds good in a chorus. The dog jumps up on the counter to steal the other half of the banana and you slip chasing after her as she runs out the doggy door.

It all seems too much.

Too much keeping track of who goes where and what day are swim lessons and baseball practice and did we remember to pay for daycare this week? Too much shoes that need to be replaced and pants that are too small and shirts he won't wear because they don't have Scooby-doo or Batman on them. Too much not eating enough meals and milk that has to be chocolate and will she turn into a strawberry if she keeps eating that many?

And they are only 3 and 1.

But some days it feels they are everywhere, all at once - I turn from making dinner and I trip over her at my feet. They ask me what is that for, and how do I do that, and why does this happen and where did that go and I don't have all the answers - I don't even know if I have any of them - but I pretend and I talk and they talk back and the questioning, the pursuit of knowledge and answers never ends.

I go into the bathroom and before I have even turned around, there are four little feet pattering up to me and four little hands grabbing me and wanting, needing. Reaching for me to pick them up, put them down, carry them to bed, tickle them upside-down, put batteries in this toy, take apart that toy. More more more more more.

Sometimes it just seems all so overwhelming and so much.

Then I do laundry. I pair miniature socks, smaller than my hands, some with skulls for a little tough guy who likes pirates and wants desperately to be a ghost for Halloween and some with pink butterflies, because no matter how much a parent dislikes pink, it's the only color little girls socks come in. Little shirts get hung on hangers, little pants folded and tucked neatly into drawers so little hands can mess them up later.

All these little clothes, these real life doll clothes, remind me that even when it all seems so much, they are still so little. So little to fit into these little shirts and dresses and sweaters. So little, and so new - even at 3, he is so new and so fresh and so wondering and inexperienced at life - and they are just here right now to learn and love and play and be.

So when it all seems like to much, I want to remember these little clothes. That anyone that can fit into these little clothes can't be too much. Nah. They are just right.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The fabulous world of Online Shopping

My name is Mommy and I am addicted to online shopping. Facebook, Ebay, Living Social. You name it, I follow it. I am 100% completely and totally A-One-Addicted.

And I'm not apologizing for it.

Last  year for our 5 year anniversary, the Hubs and I couldn't decide how to celebrate. Until, that is, a deal popped up on Living Social for a hot air balloon ride for 50% off. $185 and one week later, and we were off on our adventure through the clear blue skies of Arizona.

It's not always a bad thing to be addicted to online shopping.

Over the years I have gotten some pretty awesome deals, from car seats and vacations to shoes and electronics.

The problem is when we begin buying things we don't "need". I put this in quotes, because in absolutely no economic pie chart in any place EVER is there a spot for "anniversary hot air balloon ride" under the "need" category. "Needs" are food, water, love and shelter. The rest is just gravy.

Except that it's really not anymore.

I know that I don't need that perfect pair of boots to go with my perfect skinny jeans, and that's why I'm not spending the $350 to purchase them. But I do need footwear to function in today's society (no shirt, no shoes, no service!!), and while I have no desire to keep up with the Joneses, I do like to feel cute in a Moms-in-a-rush kind of way, so the $45 boots I bought are, well, kinda a need. Really.

According to a recent Nielsen report, Moms, on average, are 35% more likely to shop for clothing online. Any mom can believe that, or even think the number might even be a lot higher. Whether you have a screaming three year old, a teething one year old or a bored ten year old, no Mom wants to drag their child along. Whenever I bring Bjorn and Peanut with me anywhere, I always spend a lot more than planned; I can't even function, things just start getting thrown in the cart.

But I am a little obsessed, and it's starting to show in my budget. $5 here and there doesn't sound like anything big. . . until you add that up over a month. $5 a day on miscellaneous cheap - and adorable - kids shirts and pants can add up to $150 at the end of the month! And that is definitely not in the budget.

So lately have begun to second guess my penny spending, and be very aware of what I am buying and why. Did I spend three weeks hunting for those perfect toddler cowboy boots because I really want them, or because I think I am supposed to want them?  Why exactly does my 1 year old daughter need to be dressed in quasi-designer clothes when I can't even muster up the energy to fix her hair? We all need clothes, but do we really need clothes?!

It came to me in an epiphany last week at work on the airplane.

A mom came on the plane, in the perfect skinny jeans and perfect boots (that I have been searching for everywhere). From her thick, straight hair to her dangle earrings and flawlessly applied makeup, she looked stunning. Her three year old son was also perfectly dressed - designer shirt, shoes that cost more than my last haircut, with his hair gelled and moussed. They both could have stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine.

And his finger was stuck up his nose the entire flight.

No matter how much we dress our kids in expensive designer clothes, they are still going to poop their pants and be enthralled with boogers. Still.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Peanut Update

It's amazing how quickly I have forgotten how quickly they grow.

Sometimes it seems that she will never be able to walk by herself and - BOOM!! - here she is running. And jumping. Climbing (on couches, over rocks).

I think that I will never again eat a hot meal, because I will always be spooning some mush or another into her mouth and - BOOM!! - now she is eating with a fork.

It is absolutely amazing to me that 15 months ago she wasn't even born yet. We didn't know if Peanut was a boy or a girl. We didn't know that she would be a music lover down to her soul and would stop (hammertime! in the name of love!) to dance and shake every time she heard a beat. We had no idea that a girl - a little, tiny speck of a girl - could scream so loudly and so shrilly, and all in fun.

15 months ago she wasn't even born, and now she can talk. "Woooooooowwww" was her first word, a breathless, awe-struck word uttered months ago every time we showed her something from her peanut butter sandwich lunch to the moon and stars outside at night. Since then she hasn't stopped talking, from Mama to Dada. Hansa to Nannun (Landon).

She's also a perfect mimic. When we ask where the dog is, she pants, just like our old, tired dog. Ask what a monkey says and the "Ooh ooh, aah ahh" sounds she makes are more convincing almost than the real thing. And her fire truck screeches? Right on cue.

The little Peanut understands so much. She knows when Bjorn is missing, and grunts and whines until I tell her where he is. Then she goes directly there, whether it is in the bathroom or in his room. She knows to head to the tub when I tell her it's time for a bath, and she knows to plop right in front of the TV when Elmo is singing on Sesame Street.

She will grab her shoes - always two of the same kind, never a mismatch - bring them to me and sit on the floor. If I take too long to put them on, she attempts to do it herself, often managing one or two toes in her little Crocs before deciding that that is good enough and toddling off with shoes half off. Then she usually bangs on the back door - a signal to us that she wants to go in her "castle" outside.

Where she will spend 15 minutes trying to climb the wrong way up the slide and the next thirty opening and closing the playground door.

Oh, the easy, carefree joys of being 1.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

My wish for you. . . .

Recently, as I was running, my treadmill (in)conveniently facing a wall length mirror, I couldn’t help but think, “It’s a good thing I’m funny, because I am not pretty.”

Granted, this is as I was red, puffing, hair in crazy, sweaty curls stuck to my forehead, so I didn’t really expect to look good. But this has been a recurrent theme throughout my life - pretty vs. funny. Mostly I notice it now when pictures are tagged of me on Facebook that I didn’t pre-approve. I always seem to be on the verge of either laughing or sneezing.

I’ve never put a whole lot of stock in my appearance, though. Yes, I put on makeup, work out, spend way too much time picking out the perfect outfit only to discard it five minutes later for another perfect outfit. But then I would walk out of the house and pretty much forget about how I look.

In high school, my best friend and I compared ourselves to the women in the movie "The Truth About Cats and Dogs". She was Uma Thurman - elegant, blond, tall and pretty. I was Janeane Garofalo. Funny, witty, short and "cute".

Because I’ve never thought I was pretty. Cute, yes, but being cute has more to do with personality, with being short and willing to laugh at yourself, then it does with being attractive.

To me, being attractive conjurs up an image of another friend of mine in high school. She was a beautiful girl - where others were blotchy, her skin was perfect and smooth. Where I alternated between straightening my hair on an ironing board and letting the curls have their way with it, her hair was thicker and bouncier and shinier than any shampoo commercial. To this day, when I think of beautiful people - celebrities or not - she still comes to mind as the most attractive.

To top it off, I was always amazed that even with being so beautiful, she was such an incredibly nice person. In my mind, beauty and kindness didn't always go hand-in-hand.  People gravitate towards beauty and attractivness, especially in high school, so if you are beautiful, you don’t have to be nice to have friends. Anyone who has seen popular clich├ęs at any high school can atttest to this. Of course, not every beautiful or popular person is mean and unkind, but society as a whole tends to let beautiful people off the hook when it comes to being kind.

But my friend was so nice, and I couldn’t help but think that if I looked like her, I wouldn’t have to be nice. Not in the way I had to be to make friends. I learned how to put others first, to listen and respect way beyond the surface.

As I've aged, and sagged and grown inside and out, I have come to believe that it is not a bad thing that I am not beautiful. In fact, it was a blessing. Being not beautiful is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Being not beautiful has made me accept myself as a whole person, rather than just an outer shell. As age and kids have morphed my body into one unrecognizable to my 16 - or even 25 -  year old self, it has helped to remember that I am more than just the outer look I present.

Being not beautiful has forced me to develop my personality into a well-rounded stew of wisdom and intelligence, humor and compassion.

Being not beautiful has made me find other ways to attract friends - sense of humor, listening skills, ability to go with the flow.

I work with a lot of beautiful, well made-up, Botoxed women. But usually I am the one who gets compliments. On my smile, my laugh, my sense of humor. Those aspects that don't have anything to do with beauty, but in my personality shining through.

When I smile, I don’t think of  lines or wrinkles or spinach stuck in my teeth.. I smile with my whole face - wrinkles and Spinach be damned. People respond to that.

By being not beautiful, I have learned that my worth as a person is in my smile, my heart and my funny bone, not in my face or body.

So what I wish most for my daughter, my perfect beautiful little Peanut, is that you also be “not beautiful”. So that one day, you can realize that you ARE.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Out of the Mouths Of

I didn't realize how casually I dress Bjorn on a day-to-day basis until I tried to put him in a collared polo shirt recently. Tugging on his collar, he turned his big brown eyes up to me. "Mommy, are we going to see Jesus today? This is my Jesus shirt!"

When we are not paying enough attention to Bjorn, he has a special way of reminding us he is there. "Mommy! Mommy! Daddy! I have just GOT to show you something! You just HAVE to see this!" he exclaims, dragging us over to his latest car race/drawing/tower stack. And, of course, we do have to see it.

A big part of Bjorn's life lately is potty-training. From peeing to poop, from trying to almost getting there but not quite, his life pretty much revolves around the toilet. So it shouldn't surprise me when we go to dinner, he immediately walks up to the hostess and asks, "Do you have a potty in here?" And when the hostess (usually) replies yes, he asks,"Is it a Bjorn-size potty or a Daddy size potty?"

We really must be doing something right when Peanut starts crying and before The Hubs and I get to her, Bjorn is at her side, patting her shoulder and kneeling down to her eye level. "It okay, Peanut. Wow. That's a big cry. Do you need a hug? I'll give you a hug. I'm here now. So you are going to be ok. I'm here." Every time, she is okay. She really does just need him.

The Hubs cleaned out the fish tank, the only two (out of five) fish left swimming crazily around as water gushed and sloshed. Bjorn watched, and after the tank was full again, fed the fish and watched their frantic swim around the tank. "Hey, guys. No fighting! You understand me? You two don't fight!"

At the post office, we ran into a uniformed air force airman walking in as we were leaving. (We live very close to base, so we see a lot of them.) Bjorn walked right up to him. "Excuse me, sir. Are you going hunting?"  "No. I'm working." the airman replied. "Are you working at a camper?"

Saturday, July 28, 2012

This, too, Shall Pass

Time goes faster with the second one.

It seems as if the nights of not sleeping and the days of non-stop feedings, diaper changings and naps will never end. Then all of a sudden, you realize it has been almost 2 months since you stopped nursing. 5 months since she stopped waking in the night. Or, in other words, 5 months of uninterrupted sleep.

She's been walking for 2 (??) months, playing independently since she was able to hold a toy and eating food all by herself for almost 5 months.

And I think - where did the time go?

With the first baby - with Bjorn, life seemed stuck on pause. Hours took days to get through, and days, well  . . . .days took months, and sometimes years.  It was hard - so, so hard. Maybe because I was new at all this. Maybe because I didn't know any better.

Maybe just because it's hard.

But with the second one, I don't remember the hardships as much. I don't remember the nights I cried louder than she did, my tears those of desperation and exhaustion. I don't remember the frustrated days where she wouldn't nap, and wouldn't eat and would just whine and cling to me.

I don't think it consumes you as much with the second one. Because while you still have to tend to them and nurture these little babes through the difficult first year, you still have to teach and discipline and nurture and tend to that older little babe as well. Those difficult times don't seem to consume so much of you. They can't. If you were to let them overwhelm you as much as you did with the first babe, you would not survive motherhood. And right now it's all about survival.

So, it goes faster with the second babe.

I keep reminding myself of a piece of parenting advice a co-worker gave me. "The days are long, but the years are short."  It sounds very similar to a phrase that got me and a high school best friend through our long years as adolescents. "This, too, shall pass."

And it does.

Whatever the troubles are, it will pass. Whatever the joys are, these, too, will pass. We have no choice but to live in the moment, with each moment that comes, for that truly is all we have.

So I won't look back on this past year, and it's trials and tribulations, it's happiness and it's joys. I will merely look forward to all the amazing, wonderful things I have in the future. To all those fantastic things the future holds for me, the Hubs, Bjorn and Peanut.

I will just say: It's been a great ride this year, Peanut. Happy Birthday, my-make-the-days-too-long-and-the-years-too-short baby. Happy First Birthday.

Checking out her first gift - this one is from Bjorn
I think the tunnel is a hit!
Pre- Birthday Buffet Pig out!
After - Birthday Buffet Pig out!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Confessions of an IPhone Mommy. . . . .

Today I deleted my games from my IPhone.

Except for that one, because we play it together and I really think it teaches Bjorn letters. And locations. (Okay, Bjorn, put the "a" BELOW the "p".) And because I really like Words.

Before this past Christmas, I had the oldest mobile phone known to mankind. It was the size of my desk, and had a curly cord and an antenna as long as my arm.  Either that, or it was a flip phone that took horrible pictures, had no game capabilities and to text, I had to tap the number 3 button three times for I, then twice for H, etc. Remember those?!

Then, for Christmas, my wonderful husband said it was about time I traded up and I fell deep into the rabbit hole of Apple phones.

Texting! Voice texting! Facetime! Words with Friends! Facebook! Pinterest! GPS! An app that locates the nearest beer brewer! A rosary! CNN!

Hooked doesn't even begin to describe how into this phone I have been.

I'm not sure I've even been married these last 7 months. In fact, I don't even know where my husband is right now. Crying in his beer, maybe?!

The worst part, though, is that I have these games on my phone. Worthless, useless games that are fun to play against all my facebook friends. Games that I literally play all day.

While I'm playing cars with my kid. Or puzzles. Coloring. Playing pretend. I have to be honest with you - playing with little children bores me. After a few minutes of racing a car down the same stretch of road, or putting together a puzzle for 15th time that day. . . well. . I get bored. (I know, that makes me a horrible mom, but whatever, this is my mommy confessional. I might as well tell 'em all!) So when I get bored, I play a little game against my friends.

My son notices.

His shoulders droop. He throws his car across the room, hoping to get my attention, knowing that by throwing something, I will scold him. And bad attention is better than no attention at all.

Today he asked me,"Mommy. Put down your phone, please. Put it away."

And I was transported to a day 12 years from now, when Bjorn is texting (or whatever it will be then) with his friends, his neck permanently cricked down, hair falling forward, his face so close to the screen for such long periods that I have to look at a school picture to remember what he actually looks like from the front.

I see myself begging him to talk to me, tell me something about his day, tell me a joke, anything, if he would just put down the phone, please.

Wherever he may learn to be addicted to technology, that technology is more important than people, he won't learn it from me.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lazy Moms do it slowly

"No one ever goes to college in diapers." they said.

Although I know a few guys who probably should have.

"He'll be ready when he's ready." they said. So I waited. 

And I waited.

I didn't push him. I didn't push it

But a few weeks ago it had come to the point where if he didn't learn how to (as his Prince of the Potty book says it) "make pee" and "make poop" in the potty, I was going to have to graduate up to bigger diapers. Like Depends. 

We have been gradually introducing potty training for a while now. And by a while, I mean a good year and a half. At 18 months old, he was given a potty, which he showed interest in for about two minutes every few weeks, and then promptly forgot about it. (Pretty much the same with every other toy or present he has ever received, too.)

We read potty books and talked about potty's and had a whole stash of potty candy.

At a little over 2, he learned the forgotten art of peeing outside, and, again, was very interested in that for about two minutes.

While we continuously asked if he needed to go potty, and once in a while, made him at least try to go potty, we approached potty training much the same way we approach most parenting decisions. Lazily.

So I was surprised a few weeks ago, when I ran out of diapers and pulled out of my future stockpile of Pull-Ups, that he stayed dry when wearing them. Of course, he would pee in them finally, but it would be all at once and then he would tell us.

We took Pull Ups to his daycare, and a few days later, she returned to us his leftover diapers. "He doesn't need these anymore. Just throw them all away." she said to us. Of course, my coupon and budget-loving self wouldn't allow me to throw them away, and for a few days we let Bjorn decide what he wanted to wear - pull ups or diapers.

And then we bought underwear.

He wanted nothing to do with at first, even though they were covered with Lightning McQueen and Wall-E and The Incredibles. He wanted his diaper or his pull up. And we complied. No pushing, no yelling.

Again, the lazy way to potty train.

But it works for us. I like lazy.

Apparently it works for Bjorn too. Three weeks ago, after he peed in the potty (Which he does standing up like a big boy. He has never liked sitting down.), he shook his Pull up off his foot, put it in the trash can, turned to me and said, "Mommy, I want underwear. I a big boy. I a Prince of the Potty!"

And he was. We put underwear on him and haven't looked back since. Even during naptimes and throughout the entire night, he wears underwear and - so far - absolutely no accidents while sleeping. (Which is good, because he sleeps with us most nights and I really don't want to wake up in his pee.)

I have to admit there have been some setbacks. Like that I'm a lazy parent (did I mention that already?), so when we went to the movies, against all his protestations I put him in a Pull Up so I wouldn't have to deal with a pee covered theater seat. (It turned out he stayed completely dry anyways, so I needn't even have worried.)

Or that time at the very beginning of underwear-wearing, when I hadn't realized just how often I needed to remind him to go potty, and he peed all over the store where we were getting our oil changed.

He still hasn't figured out how to tell when he has to "make poop" as opposed to pee, so we have had a few accidents in that way, but we are confident he will figure it out soon. I think after a few times pooping their pants, most kids realize it feels a whole lot better a different way.

Throughout the course of these 18 months (!!!) of lazy Mom potty training, I did pick up a few tools of the trade just by accident. What is interesting to me is none of these tricks were written about in any book, posted on any blog or talked about by any of my mom friends. Which either means that everyone already knows these very simple things, my kid is totally different than any one else's or I am now a leading expert on lazily - but eventually - potty training your kid. You decide.

Tips for Eventually Potty Training Your Boy

  • Let him decide whether to sit or stand when going potty. Although Bjorn has seen me sit on the potty, since he follows me to the bathroom, expecting me to play cars with him and sing and talk and play even while, uh, doing my bizness, he doesn't want to sit on the potty. He wants to stand. And he has remarkably good aim (even without any tools or Cheerios), so we let him. This is very, very nice when we go in public and I don't want him sitting on a somewhat-dirty toilet seat, but kinda nasty when he wraps his hands around that somewhat-dirty toilet seat to lift it out of the way. **Shudder** I guess that's why God invented soap and Purell.
  • No snaps, no buttons, no buckles on his pants for a good long while. Like years.  Bjorn gets confused with snaps and buckles on his pants still, so in order to give him confidence that he can go potty by himself, he dresses in pull on pants only. Mostly, this means basketball shorts and athletic shorts, but I was surprised at how many nice looking toddler pants are also pull ons. Khakis, jeans, etc. - they do come in pull up type only. Probably for this same reason; no snaps to fumble with when you really, really have to go.
  • If at all possible, put him in flip flops or Crocs. Because when he has an accident - which he will, it is just part of the deal - the pee will run down his legs, and if he is wearing socks and Nikes (like Bjorn was the first time this happened), it will drench his socks and pool up in his shoes. NASTY.  I know this may not be possible for potty training in Wisconsin in the middle of December, but if you live in Phoenix, you can put your kid in flip flops year round. They are easy to get off quickly and super easy to clean in any bathroom sink. 
  • Buy his big boy underwear a size too big.  We accidentally stumbled upon this one. I sent The Hubs to Costco for Bjorn's underwear, with instructions to buy size 3T because his 2T were too tight. The Hubs came back with 4T. (Was that anywhere in my instructions?!) Now, Bjorn is 3 years old, but still wears 2T and 24 month shorts, so he is small and short. There was no way 4T underwear was going to fit. Except. . . because they are a little loosey-goosey, he is able to get his little toddler thumbs underneath the elastic (which is still tight enough to keep them up but not too tight for him to pull away from his body) and pull them down with no problems. So, it's actually a win. Not to mention that underwear gets washed ALL the time in hot water, and it's 100% cotton and so it shrinks. Quickly.
  • Let him choose where he goes potty.  Although Bjorn has his own kid bathroom, with his own cute potty seat on the big potty, he thinks it is so cool to go potty in Mommy & Daddy's bathroom. Whatever. As long as he goes potty, I don't really care where he does it.
If you're potty-training your kid - good luck!! 

I'm so glad I didn't do any of the Potty Training boot camps I had heard about, and so glad I never pushed it. Mostly because I don't want to deal with all the drama and fighting and crying that comes along with having to stay at home and push potty training for three days. And that would just be from me - I don't even want to start with how Bjorn would be!! We are not stay at home people.

All in all, it has been a remarkably easy, no-fuss transition for us, and for that I am grateful. Good luck to you!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Oops, I forgot to post again!

Let's pretend that the reason I haven't updated with all our exciting, awesome news is that we have been so busy enjoying each other and the summer, that I haven't had the time to write.

Not because I'm tired and it's too hot to think and Despicable Me and Finding Nemo are on continuous loop.

Before I get to the news, I want to apologize to my Peanut. I'm sorry you are the second baby and while I documented every sneeze and poop-splosion your big brother made, your updates are few and far between. Or is this a good thing? Will you be glad I didn't commemorate the occasion of pooping through two shirts, one jacket and all the way up your back and down your neck just as we were next in line to see Santa? (What?! Did I really not blog about that?! True story.)

Peanut. . . . well, she has some big news of her own. 

She's walking!

She has been walking for like three weeks now, but I really don't know when to call her official "walking" date. When Bjorn began walking, he took 14 steps, fell down, and never crawled again. Peanut has taken three-to-four steps, fallen, and then realized she can get there a lot quicker by crawling. An hour later, she will try walking again, take three steps, fall on her tuffet and crawl. 

So does that count? Or do I count four (five? three? six?) days ago when she took 12 steps, fell, got up, and took 5 more steps? And then crawled the rest of the day? 

She will crawl after her big brother from one side of the house to the other, her little knees reddening as she bangs them on the wood floor. Her feet blacken - even with daily sweeping and mopping - as she swiffers herself across the house. I can't wait until she can walk.

Whatever the official date is, I guess doesn't matter. What matters is she is walking. 

And I finally got around to telling you.

More updates on the Bjorn man soon!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mama said there'd be days like this

Friends continuously ask me what its like having two kids.

My answer is always the same: It's hard. Then it gets easier. Hard again. A little easier.

It ebbs and flows, back and forth, and I never know day by day if today - this week, this month - is going to be one of the hard ones or easy ones.

It is pretty much like having one kid, but with twice the surprises.

These past couple of weeks have been the hard ones.

I'm not sure what it is, exactly. It could be that I am working much more than expected, which takes me away from home more often. The kids go to daycare when I am gone, and on days I am home, we spend our time catching up on groceries and cleaning and oil changes and dentists appointments rather than going to the park and the splash pad as we used to.

It might be that everyday hits temperature highs in the upper 110's, so the options are severely limited as to what we can safely do in the heat. Even a trip to the Pet Store (or, as we call it, the Other Zoo) is a matter of timing; after about 1 pm, when sitting in the driveway all day, the car can take up to 10 minutes to cool down once the air is on.

Maybe it is just their ages: 3 is an age where they test every.little.thing, so the Terrible Twos I thought I was facing before have become the This-Can-Get-Worse Threes, and every day brings a new battle. 11 months allows Peanut some independence (I can crawl! I can almost walk! I can play!) but not enough for her to join in on her brother's games, or truly enjoy the playdates we are able to attend.

I might just be tired. The endless days of flying and serving, then a different city, hotel room and airport food coupled with the endless routine of dishes and mopping, laundry and lists that I come home to. . .. . well, it might just make me tired.

Whatever it is, this time is hard.

This moment, when the kids are both at ages where they need so much - love, attention, discipline, guidance - this time is utterly exhausting. Almost more so than when Peanut was a newborn, because by now I feel I should have it figured out a little better, so it is almost unnervingly hard.

But then, out of nowhere, just when I needed it the most, came a moment that showed perfectly clear why we do this crazy thing called mothering, even though it is so hard.

Yesterday, with both kids crawling all over me, demanding bottles and books at the same time, I became happy. Tired, yes. Incredibly tired of the endless needs. But also happy.

Because my kids know that I will provide for them these things they need, even when I am tired. Even when I am on my last thread, I will be there for them. There is comfort in knowing that even at this young age, my children know they can come to me for basic and not-so-basic needs. They know I am there for them, completely, wholely.

So while mothering seems a complete selfless act, with sometimes no thank you's or gratitude or appreciation, I have to admit that I agree with Joey, from Friends. There is no such thing as a truly selfless act. For even when I am giving all that I can give, sometimes even more, to my kids, I feel good knowing that I am shaping them into comfortable, loving people.

Now, if only I could bottle this feeling for use the next time I have one of those really hard days. . . .

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wait 'til you have kids!!

I honestly don't think I ever heard my Mom or Dad say the famed,"Just wait 'til YOU have kids!" when I was screwing up royally, costing them either time, money or years of anguish.

But I think that's because they have the patience of saints. And I am sure that even with that supreme patience, they muttered it under their breath countless times.

Especially when I refused to eat chicken. Or pork chops. Hamburgers. Most definitely they were thinking it when I sat at the kitchen table for FIVE hours because I wouldn't eat the ONE fish stick I had to eat in order to leave the table. And I did that every year, every Friday during Lent until they finally gave up making me eat fish and cooked me a grilled cheese sandwich.

Well, Mom and Dad, the time has come.

And payback is a bitch.

Bjorn used to be a great eater. Since he was a little babe, he ate everything (except sweet potatoes) that we put in front of him. Fish, chicken, broccoli, squash, carrots. You name it, he ate it.

Oh, my, how the times have changed.

Now he refuses to eat anything at meal times. The second we call him for dinner, he yells "No, I no want to!", making a big fuss about how he isn't hungry. He sulks into his chair, crosses his arms and pouts. "No. I not hungry!" With a sigh, he shoves his plate as far as he can.

Every freakin' meal time.

But the problem isn't that he doesn't want to eat. I think he doesn't want to sit and eat. Or sit at the table and eat, because if I were to let him eat in front of the TV, he is perfectly happy eating his entire meal. Of course, the kid will do anything if he can watch TV at the same time - even clip his nails (torture!).

All day long he asks for snacks. ALL DAY LONG. Like the trash compactor I imagine he will be at 14, he seems continuously and always hungry. So we eat string cheese and apple slices. Grapes and strawberries, goldfish and almonds. We have ham slices, grape tomatoes and pickles. The kid loves food.

I have tried not giving him snacks, in the hopes that if he is hungry enough, he will eat dinner. No difference. None. It only made the whining worse all day. If you can imagine that.

I am at my wit's end. Between the screaming tantrum fit every single freakin' time he takes a nap or goes to bed, and the refusing to eat at any mealtime, I have just I don't know what strategy to use on him - the "I'm disappointed in you", the "Eat your food, or go to time-out" or the ignoring it and hope it goes away route. We tried to solve the problem of throwing a tantrum when taking a nap by ignoring it, thinking that as he grew older, he would grow out of it. That it was a phase.

He hasn't. And it's not.

He still screams "No!!! No I no want to!!", sometimes for up to an hour before he finally stops, succumbs to the obvious need to nap, and sleeps for three hours. It is absolutely ridiculous, and he has been doing this every nap time since he was 6 months old. (Minus the saying words part of it. He's not that smart! But he has been crying and screaming every time I put him down for a nap since he was little.)

I don't want this to happen with food and mealtimes, too. I want to be able to take him to a restaurant, or to a friends for dinner and not cringe, anticipating the inevitable meltdown. Discussing beforehand with The Hubs how we were going to handle it -whether we should ignore it, or give him a time out.

So, wonderful Bloggy world out there, I need your help. My sanity needs your help. My son's future career as a quarterback is in jeopardy. For how is he to develop the muscles and stamina needed for a pro career without the necessary nutrition that starts now?!

Please. How do I get my son to eat at the dinner table?!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Staying at Home

My work allows me to take loads and loads of maternity leave. Plenty of maternity leave. 2 months before the birth (sometimes more, if things get complicated) and 6-7 months AFTER the babe's birth.

Like I said, plenty of maternity leave. My company is generous.

So for a few months after my babies were born, I was a SAHM. I didn't go to work. I took care of my kids and my family and my household.

And I found that when being a SAHM, my world shrunk to the size of my home.

I didn't care about the price of rice in China. In fact, as far as I knew, they no longer had rice and were now eating some genetically mutated rice-type food! Who has time to think about stocks and bonds and presidents and passing laws when I am spending all my time researching why the toddler hasn't pooped in 6 days, prying things out of the infant's mouth (a toy car tire! dog hair! a hairtie!) and perpetually keeping the toddler from sitting on/knocking over/pulling on/crashing into his baby sister.

I didn't read news. I read articles concerning teething and ways to disguise food for a picky eater.

I didn't see it when I was in the midst of it, but now that I am back to work, I realize how small my world had become. As small as a baby.

Most of you know I don't love my job. Even after 7 years, I don't consider being a flight attendant my "career". But I love what my job gives me.

I get free time. I get alone time. I get to get away and see places and things I would never have seen without it. I get to have adult conversations with adults regarding adult things. I get to read a book without a toddler wanting to play twenty questions, shave my legs in complete privacy and eat an entire meal all by myself. And I get paid very well to do it.

That's enough for me right now.

I have all these aspirations to do so much more than I am currently doing, but I just don't have the energy. I feel like in maybe two years, or three or five, my kids won't need so much of me all the time and I will have the time to do some of the things I know I can do with my life. Some of the things I have been talking about literally my entire life.

But for now, this job allows me the ability to feel sometimes like a SAHM who gets to participate in activities and playdates and sports classes and storytimes, while also getting me out into that big, wide world we live in and giving me a little perspective beyond the blinders of my children and family life. I guess that's good enough.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Whistle while you Work

It shouldn't annoy me, but it does.

He's always doing it.

While he's putting on his shoes (the wrong feet!), cleaning up his cars (stopping to race them twice) and after he comes out of his room after a temper tantrum time-out, he is doing it.

Bjorn whistles.

He learned it from his Dad. The Hubs whistles first thing in the morning before I can even complete a full sentence. Yesterday, I caught him whistling the Caillou theme song when he got out of the shower.

It's not that I don't like whistling. I do.  I think it's absolutely adorable that my 3 year old will be racing his airplane across the back of the couch, whistling the whole way.

So why does it bother me?

I don't know. Maybe it's because I associate whistling with strolling along, with nary a care in the world.

Which is totally the opposite of my life, with its never ending to do list and endless grocery trips.

I should be thankful that my son and Hubs are so well taken care of, so happy and comfortably content, that they feel carefree enough to whistle.

But sometimes as I frantically race through the house, packing a diaper bag and snacks and sunscreen and - did you go to the potty yet? - cheerios and bottles and - be gentle with your sister! - all while putting on a swipe of lipstick and mascara. . . . well, sometimes it just annoys me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The One Where I'm Thankful for my Kiddos

I know I complain and bitch and wax comical about all things motherhood related, but I'm saying this now, so don't make me repeat it:

I don't think I write enough about how adorable my kids are. Truly, they are remarkably happy little bundles of fun.

Peanut makes everyone instantly fall in love with her.

Her hair - what little of it she has - stands up in a feathered mohawk. On a good day she looks like a baby peacock. A bad day she looks like a mad scientist. Although sometimes The Hubs tries to tame it, I would never dream of it. It would be like taming a wild tiger; better to let it run free and do as it will.

The Mad Scientist herself!

She squeals and shrieks when she is excited, which is when she sees her bottle (food!!), her brother (fun!!), the dog (pull hair!!), the vacuum (loud!!) and anything else you can possibly think of. Our house pretty much always sounds like a bird cage at the zoo. Except when it sounds like the monkey habitat. They both know how to make monkey noises.

As long as someone is looking at her, she has a perma-grin, her 2 bottom teeth and 4 teeth widely on display in the biggest smile I've ever seen on a baby. She is so incredibly happy that I've thought about nicknaming her Smiley, but I don't want that to someday get changed to Miley and then have her grow up to be a big Disney star and half-way singer and get tattoos all over her sides and back and have millions of dollars in the bank and a gorgeous film star boyfriend taking her to premieres and red carpet events.

Hmmmm. . . . . maybe I need to rethink that. . .

She really does laugh at everything, but mostly she is crawling around, following her big brother, whom she is 110% completely head over heels in love with. And he with her.

Most mornings, if Bjorn hasn't snuck into our bed at 2 am, we wake to the sound of his voice on the baby monitor in Peanut's room.

CRRR-EEEAAK. (Yes, we need to oil the door hinges.)

"Good mo-rn-ing, Pea-nut!!"

Peanut shrieks and squeals, even after being woken from a dead sleep.

"Hi Peanut! Hi!"

More shrieking.

"Patty cake. Patty cake. Maker's man."

The sound of Bjorn clapping.

"Put it in the oven for Peanut & Me. Stuff it. Roll it. Mark it with a P. As fast as you can. For Peanut & Me!"

Peanut alternates between clapping and banging her hands on the crib.

"This little piggie went to market."

Squeals and shrieks.

"This little piggie went none. This little piggie had roast berries. This little piggie had ham."

Shrieking and banging continue.

"And this little piggie went WEE WEE WEE!!"

And both kids belly laugh whole-heartedly.

They are AWESOME.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

SUPER Birthday!

My big boy turned 3 on Sunday and in true, Pinterest-loving fashion, I couldn't just have a few friends meet us at a local park, throw a few cupcakes on the picnic tables and let the big day fly by.

No. Not I.

I have to start planning 6 weeks before the big day, waking The Hubs in the middle of the night to debate themes (Finding Nemo vs. Go!Diego!Go!) and madly perusing websites for creative do-it-yourself ideas.

So when I finally chose a theme I thought would be super-easy to decorate for (Super-Bjorn!), I was shocked - but ready - to find that Superman is so five years ago, therefore no one (NO ONE!) carries Superman stuff anymore.

Seriously. If you want Super Heroes, you have to go the way of Spider-man, Batman, The Avengers or Iron Man. Not that they aren't cool and everything, but Superman? For his day job, he was a reporter. So cool. And he can fly. Without web hands and a silly car. He is soooo cool.

At first Bjorn wasn't really on board with SuperMan, but that's only because The Hubs kept asking him what he wanted. ("Bjorn, do you want a Thomas the Train cake? How about Mickey Mouse?") as if the kid doesn't have enough years ahead of him to pick who he likes. Can't I pick this one? I promise I'll let him pick his own cake next year (maybe).

Or maybe we will do Super Bjorn again next year. His cupcakes looked - and tasted - AWESOME!!!

But soon Superman became SuperCool to him and he began talking about super heroes saving the day and his cake with a superhero on it. Although I may have picked the theme, Bjorn grabbed onto Superman's cape and ran with it.

And the kid knows what he likes. It ain't a party to Bjorn unless there are cupcakes, party hats, balloons and candles. (Although yesterday he added "and presents too. I want to open them!" Sneaky kid.)

So the kid got party hats. But not just any party hats for my Super Bjorn. SUPER Party Hats.

And, while every kid needs streamers and gaudy decorations to spice up a boring picnic table, Super Bjorn needed something a little more. . . super.

And as a rule, parties these days are not complete without crappy fun favors for kids to bring home and leave lying around their house as yet another toy for their parents to pick up. Bjorn gave his friends a water gun (BOOM!), a Splash Bomb water toy (SPLAT!) and a flying SUPER Tootsie Roll (YUM!). And yes, I do spend too much time on Pinterest, thanks for asking.

I spent so much time preparing for the party and all of a sudden it was here and - BAM! SPLAT! BOOM! - my Bjorn was 3.

Oh my how the time flies.

From this in 2011. . . . . 

To this!

It really was such a fun day. It was a perfect, hot, Arizona summer day, so it was a great day to be at the splash pad.

 I don't want to be one of those parents who keeps saying "I can't believe my kid is so big. Stop growing."

But, really, Bjorn?! Stop growing. Right now. Stop!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Signs I Need to Clean my House

Last week, I did a completely thorough house cleaning: the kind where I scrub baseboards, vacuum sills and wash windows. The chores I detest and put off until the sun can barely peek through all the fingerprints and dirt on the window.

Apparently I need to clean more often, though.

The day after I cleaned, he came running up to me, almost in tears.

"Mommy! Mommy! They all gone. ALL OF THEM! All of them are GONE!"

"Who, Bjorn? What?! Who is all gone?"

"The Fi! All of the Fies are GONE!" This is said in typical upset Bjorn fashion, arms thrown around, head down and despondent, body collapsing onto the floor in mourning.

"Bjorn, what are you talking about?!"

"In my special place. My special Fi place."

"Ok, Bjorn. I don't know what you are talking about. Show me. Take me there."

He grabbed my hand and pulled me towards his table. The table he spends so much time at, playing with playdough or continuously running cars off the sides to CRASH! CRASH!CRASH!

Lifting up the blinds to the windowsill, he pointed.

"There, Mommy! There! All the Fies are gone. Their special Fi Place is GONE!"

Apparently, I had vacuumed up all his special Fly friends. Oops.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Figuring it Out

Twice this week a friend has called me for help. Once, for marital advice and once for organizational/housecleaning help.

When I confessed to her that I pretty much wing it, hoping no one looks too closely (at my baseboards, my roots, my "yell jar" full of money because we are really really trying to stop yelling in our house), she said, "But you seem like you have it figured out."


Figured out? Me!?

See, that's the good thing about having friends and family that live far, far away. They only see your house at its best, freshened up for visitors. They only see your family when there are no such things as nap times and too many popsicles because, you only see them every five months or so, so let's make this one a good one.

They don't see the text message from your daycare asking if you have a dog because your children, the human Swiffers, have hair all over their pants. They don't see that you haven't made it on time to anything since you had kids, and that one time you were on time you forgot snacks, wipes and your house key.

They don't see the milk-filled sippy cups that are magnetically drawn to the abyss under your couch.

I know you didn't want to see it, but I didn't want to smell it. Ugh.

But if you were to spend all any of your day on Pinterest or blogs, you might think that everyone but you has it all figured out. These people post long, humorous essays about the educational craft they did that day with their three home-schooled children. (Who, by the way, have never screamed or thrown a tantrum a day in their life and always, always, always have their hair french braided with a pretty ribbon.)

They show photos of their organizational systems that you then post to your "I WILL get organized" board, but really, you just feel guilty and overwhelmed every time you see it because you know that your mail and bills and photos and cards will remain in little piles scattered around your house because you are just not that organized, and you never will be.

And if you were to judge yourself against these people, because, let's be honest here - everyone judges everyone - then you would come off woefully bad.

And that's why I blog. So I can show other people out there that I don't have it figured out. That you don't have to have it figured out to enjoy your life.

Sure, sometimes I want to pull my hair out if my (almost) 3 year old asks me any more questions. Or if my 10 month old won't sleep. Or if the dog just got shaved but is somehow still shedding.

Sometimes I want to scream at the top of my lungs and stomp around like a 3 year old. (He gets to, why can't I?!)

Instead, I get on here, write about all the things I do not have figured out and hope that somewhere out there is a community of moms just like me, rallying behind the scenes, saying "We don't have a clue either!" and that we can all go out and have a margarita.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Phantom Cry

I've always heard of the phantom limb sensation;  how, after a limb is gone, the person can sometimes still feel it - grasping objects, throbbing in pain. The limb may be gone, but the feeling is there.

But I've never heard of phantom cries. Which is the sensation I have.

The Hubs and I will be having a perfectly normal conversation and all of a sudden I'll say, "Shhhhhhhhhhh. Shh. Shh. Let me listen."

And he will stop for five seconds, craning his neck to better hear. "What?! I don't hear anything. What?"

"SHHHHHHHHHHH! Shh. Shh." I'll listen for a minute. Nothing. No sounds. "Huh. Must have been nothing."

Which I have to say because the only alternative is to say "Well, I heard Peanut crying on the baby monitor, but I just remembered that we got a babysitter tonight to go out to dinner and we aren't even within ten miles of our kids, much less within hearing distance, and we don't even have a monitor here."

A few weeks ago at work, I woke in the middle of the night in a hotel room across the country from my kids, and started to get out of bed. Because I had heard her cry. Loud and clear, from thousands of miles away. (I was so surprised the next day to hear from The Hubs that she had slept through the night. I still doubt it, and think he just slept through it. It was so real.)

Sometimes I guess that the phantom limb doesn't have to be a limb at all. Sometimes, it is just the idea of something that is supposed to be with you at all times. Sometimes it's your kids crying for you in the night.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Every action has an equal and. . . blah blah blah

I have taught my son well. This time.

This morning, when Peanut fell over, bumping her head, he didn't run over to her and ask if she was ok and coddle her. Because he is a mimic and copies everything I do. And I'm not a coddler.

He threw himself on the floor next to her, started clapping and said, "Nice one, Peanut!"

And instead of crying, she laughed.

It's all in how you react.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sleeping Like a Baby

A few weeks ago, I put out an APB on Facebook for all my Mommy friends.

Would someone - anyone - please help me figure out how to get my baby girl to sleep.

She was waking two, three, four times a night, screeching. Loud, animal screeching that was impossible to ignore and painful to hear. She also was napping during the day once, maybe twice a day, for about 1/2 an hour each time. Not enough for an 8 month old baby.

Rocking didn't help. Nursing didn't help. Medicines didn't help. Crying and yelling with her didn't help.

So since nothing I knew worked, I changed my Facebook status to something like "New mother needs help. And sleep. Please. . . . please. . . ."

I think it was just desperate enough to get attention.

And for maybe the second time in my life as a mother, I read a parenting book. The suggestion was the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.

Immediately, I was struck by affirmation in my mothering skills. All  this time I had been told my others - other mothers, older mothers, friends with kids - that crying it out is the only way to get a child to sleep. That sometimes babies just need to cry, and that is OK.

I have never believed them.

I feel that if a baby cries, there is something wrong. Babies don't just cry for the sheer joy of crying. They are crying because they are hungry or wet or hurting or tired or wanting to play. They don't cry just to drive you crazy bonkers. Although that is definitely the result.

In reading No Cry Sleep Solution, I finally felt that my instincts were correct, my nurturing nature justified. The book details exactly what I had always thought - my baby is crying, so my baby needs something. Find out what it is.

Unfortunately. the help stopped there.

No Cry Sleep Solution became the Won't-Stop-Crying-Why-Won't She-Sleep-There-Is-No-Solution.

Although I still felt affirmed.

Then another friend, with kids the same age as mine and sleeping problems the same as mine, recommended the 90 minute Sleep Solution by Polly Moore.

So for the third time in my life, I read a parenting book.

Again, my skills were affirmed, in that this book also agreed that crying it out is not the only way to get a child to sleep, and has been shown to not even be the best way to get your child to sleep. Good thing, too, because as much as I can't function on little sleep, I absolutely can't function when my baby is screaming.

This book struck me instantly, as it was technical instead of emotion; it uses science to explain a child's sleep cycle. And it is so simple that I can't believe I had never heard it before.

Children - and adults too, to a certain extent - are on a 90 minute sleep cycle. Pretty much, within a 90 minute time frame, their energy levels change and different body cycles kick in. Some babies need a nap every 90 minutes after waking. Some may go 180 minutes (Two 90 minute cycles) or 270 (Three 90 minute cycles).

Parents who have their children on a strict schedule (Nap at 10 and 2, Bed at 730) may not be taking into account this 90 minute sleep cycle. A baby that wakes at 630 am may need a nap by 8 or 930, but keeping them up until the 10:00 nap time might actually hinder their sleep, moving them into a different body cycle and thus keeping them from sleeping as well, or for as long.

It sounded simple to me, so, despite misgivings from others, I canceled all activities for a few days and tried putting Peanut to sleep every 90 (or 180) minutes.

And it worked.

It worked, people. It worked.

Her two 1/2 hour naps a day (!!) became two - or three - hour and a half naps. Her nighttime sleeping went from waking up three or four times to waking up once - if at all. And those nighttime wakings? No more were they banshee screeching of a baby in pain, they were baby cries of hunger that were soon sated. And they occurred almost exactly 90 minutes after putting her down, on cue with her sleep cycle.

It was so simple, so easy. All I had to do was watch the clock, and 80 minutes after she woke up, start slowing her activities down, mellowing her out. Then, at 90 minutes, walk in her room and start her "sleep time cues". (Music, White Noise Humidifier, Shhhh-ing.)

After a few days of her falling asleep almost instantly when we started her sleep time cues, I began the next step: putting her to sleep groggy, but awake. So she could learn to put herself to sleep.

It didn't always work, but the book had prepared me for this. Nothing works perfectly every time, so why should we expect parenting to be any different? But over the next week, I would put her in her crib groggy but awake at least every other time. From which she would then put herself to sleep.

And it was a beautiful thing.

I won't say that she sleeps through the night every night. But those moments of screaming are gone. If she wakes - once every couple of nights or so - it is the crying of a hungry baby, or a baby startled out of sleep and then crying herself back to sleep in a few short minutes.

Now, she sleeps like a baby. Or, at least, like we all wish a baby would

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three going on Thirteen

So I know that when we get to the teenage years, life is going to be rough. Terribly rough. That the terrible two's are nothing when it comes to teenage stuff. (Really?! Really?!)

But, seriously. . .  does he have to start now with the "nothing's"?

"Bjorn, what did you do at daycare today?"


This is accompanied by a shrug. A shrug using his little 2 3/4 year old shoulders that look just like his dad's must have 30 years ago.

"Did you play cars?" "Nope." "Pet the dogs?" "Nope." "Read a book?" "Nope."

"Did you do anything at daycare?" "Nope."

"Well, what do you want to do tomorrow?"


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Baby Can Beat Up Your Baby

At my gym daycare, appointments have to be made in advance to get Peanut into the infant room. Only 8 babies at a time can be in the room and they can't move up to the non-reservation needed big kid room until one year old, or walking.

So imagine my surprise when I picked up the kiddos, and found Peanut sitting in the big kid room, happily playing with toddler toys.

Because she had been kicked out of the infant room for pulling all the other babies hair. And crawling on top of them. And trying to pull herself up using their arms/legs/nose/ears as a grabber.

My little 20th percentile baby was kicking the crap out of all the other gym babies.

That's my girl.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mommy Fail

As Moms, we know that sometimes bad things happen to our kids. Anything from teething to black eyes to tummy aches is something that we could have, should have found a way to prevent. (Could have, should have in a tent?! Could have, should have - with a mint?!)

But that's not the way it works. 

Stuff happens. Life happens. And we Mommies get to do everything we can for the kids who are our everything, but sometimes. . . well. . . life happens.

I got a call from a friend recently. Her one year old son chipped his tooth and she felt it was her fault. That she should have stopped it from happening. 

Like she felt like a crummy Mom. Which she isn't. Not at all.

So, because misery loves company, and because sometimes the best thing someone can say when they feel crummy isn't "Well, I mean, that's just the way it goes." but actually is "Wow! I would never do that!", here are a list of my Mommy fails. Feel free to comment your own, too. 

Because it's not easy being perfect. So I don't even try. Here's proof.


That time I gave my baby boy a sunburn. Inside the house.

That time I cut his fingernails. . . and missed.

That one time he locked himself in his room.

Not the first bruise, and definitely not the last.

Because I don't read Mommy books, I tend to make a few rookie mistakes here and there.

Every time I have yelled or screamed or shook my head in anger and frustration.

And recently. . . that time my daughter started sleeping through the night (of course, when I'm not home at night!) and when The Hubs and I racked our brains trying to figure out why, we realized that he was feeding her 6-7 oz of food a feeding. Whereas I was only doing 2-3. So. . . . she was just hungry. And I had had no idea.

And, last but not least. . . . . . the coup de grace for me. . . . .

Bjorn was about 8 months old or so and pulling himself up. On everything. The Hubs was working late one night and I was emptying the dishwasher. Bjorn crawled over and  - of course - pulled himself up on the open dishwasher door.

I sighed and let him do it, because while normally we don't let him use that to pull himself up (it could break off its hinge! he could reach in for a knife!), I was parenting alone that night, and let's be honest here - when you're parenting alone, sometimes you tend to let a few things slide. Like letting your 8 month old use the dishwasher to stand.

So, I'm unloading the dishwasher, Bjorn is playing around me, and I notice something blue and sticky in the bottom of the dishwasher door.

And something blue and sticky all over Bjorn's mouth.

It takes me a minute, but then my eyes get really wide and I start to do the incredible, silent freak-out.

Because there is a half-eaten Cascade capsule in my dishwasher, blue gunk around my baby's mouth and the rest of the capsule is nowhere to be found.

I immediately call my pediatrician, who advises me to call Poison Control.

The minutes are ticking away here, and all I can think is that I need to do something - give him milk/formula, make him drink water, make him puke. . . .anything!

But I am calm and poised when I talk to PC, because if there is anything serious going on here, they need to be aware of the situation and a hysterical Mom won't help.  PC is very calm, and when the 20 questions are finally over, he gives me a few simple things to do and not to do (keep him awake, don't give fluids for an hour, then give little fluids, etc.).

The capsules are little pieces of soap, so it really isn't all that bad. (But it could have been. He could have had a bad reaction. He could have been allergic to something. He could have choked on the capsule.)

A few days later, I was recounting the event to a co-worker when she told me that something similar happened to her twenty years earlier when her kids were little. Except instead of a dishwasher capsule she found hanging from his mouth, it was an open tube of Super Glue.

Yeah, Super Glue. So, no matter what has happened that you want to prevent, remember. . . . it could always be worse.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Parenting Rule #47

Parenting Rule #47: Don't Make Eye Contact

When both your kids are in one room together, and you don't hear screams of "No! That's mine!" and "Get out get out get out get out get out!", so you go to check on the silence, whatever you do - don't make eye contact.

Don't peer around the open door and see your children playing happily together, the big brother showing his little sister how each car has an engine and goes "vroom vroom" and the little sister sitting patiently, waiting for each car to be shown to her. And whatever you do, don't lean against the open door frame, smiling, glad to see that you brought such loving, joyful children into this crazy, messed-up world.

Because the second you do, your delightful children will look up at you, and the second their eyes meet yours, the sweetness they have for each other will turn into disgust. The boy will grab his cars away from his little sister, who is now insisting on eating them (engine and all!), and when she doesn't let go, the screams of "hockey fight!!" will be heard as he begins to, well. . . . try and fight her like they do in hockey.

This is also important to remember when you are rocking your sweet little baby girl, and she is just drifting off, eyelids fluttering, her fingers finally loosening their death grip on your hair, and you snuggle down a little closer, just happy to have her in your arms, knowing she will grow up way too fast. And her eyelids flutter open, locking eyes with you for just a milli-second - a milli-second! - as your avert your gaze immediately. . . . but it's too late. She saw you.

And now the going-to-bed routine has to start over.

Remember Rule #47.  It could save your night.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sugar and Spice

Such a sweet kid. Really.

Two year old's surprise me. One moment they are on their hands and knees kicking and screaming at the grocery store, all because I said I would make noodles when we got home and he wanted them right now right now right now right now.

The next moment, he hears me cough, comes running up to me, cupping my face in his hands to say,"Mommy, you sick? You ok? You need sum-thin' make you feel much much better. You need coffee."

What a sweet kid.

And how this kid knows me. Coffee will make me feel much much better? Um, yes. . . yes, it will. Thanks, Bjorn.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Winning the Battle with a Two Year Old


Yes, I won, I won, I won, I won, I won!!!!

No. . . not the lottery  (although I did win a little bit back in January).

I have won in the battle of the TV.

See, I have nothing against TV. Nothing at all. I myself enjoy a little Law & Order and old episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I love football Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays) and have been known to marathon CSI all day long.

So, I had nothing against TV. Until it became the first thing my 2 year old asked for in the morning and every 2 minutes after that, until he finally went to bed at night.

If the TV was already on, he would even ask for "More TV" if he saw that his show was ending. If The Hubs or I put the channel on something more adult than Jake and the Never Land Pirates, the mantra became "More Bjorn TV, please. Bjorn TV!"

What my 2 year old has not yet understood is that I would love to let him watch some TV. A show or two a day. Because while it may entertain and educate him, it gives me a break.

But I refuse to let him watch TV show after show after show, and the kid won't just settle for one episode of Little Einsteins without throwing a worlds-gonna-end hissy fit.

So I cut it out. Completely. Didn't listen to the whining and the crying and the all day temper tantrums. Didn't lose my cool when all I wanted was a break and all he wanted was to bug me.

No, I kept the TV off.

(Except for that one time I was putting the baby to sleep and she was fussing and I just needed him to BE QUIET. And that one other time when I hadn't yet had a cup of coffee, but I had already put together two puzzles, read a book and danced with Mr. Potato Head. It is for these times that TV was invented..)

And this morning, for the first time in probably six months. . . .he didn't ask for TV.

Not once in the first 15 minutes he was awake. Or in the next 15 minutes. OR FOR THE NEXT HOUR.

He woke up, came to hug me and began to play with blocks. 5 seconds later when he got tired of that, he found a puzzle to throw around the living room. Then it was time to annoy his baby sister by hugging her and not letting go. After that came car crashing, more singing and dancing with Mr Potato Head, and fun-with-flashlights, with a slight break for milk, juice, bananas and helping me put laundry in the washer.

All in all, it was a good morning.

A great morning for no TV.

And did I mention - I won this battle?!

Bring it on, Hunger Games. If I can withstand the torment of a temper-tantrum throwing two year old who wants Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ("I want it now!now!now!") and won't settle for the distant second choice of reading "Everyone Poops" yet one more time, I can take your bows and your arrows and your Muttations.

Because I'm a victor.

Friday, March 23, 2012


One of Motherhood's Greatest Dilemmas:

That moment when your non-sleeping baby starts to finally drift off to sleep in your rocking arms

and your nose begins to itch. Uncontrollably. Incessantly. To the point of insanity.!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A letter to my daughter

Dear Peanut,

You are 7 months old today, and I don't know how that happened.

These past few months have flown by so quickly, I almost feel that you were never a newborn, never a little baby.

When you wake up in the morning, you are all smiles. Kicking and waving your arms around - swimming in your crib - smiling, gurgling and laughing. You seem to know that it's morning time now, all your family is awake, and it's time to play! Today, I found you sitting up in your crib, staring at the door. You immediately started the morning swim and morning gurgly laugh when you saw me.

It's better than my morning coffee for starting a good day.

You play so happily with your toys (and with Bjorn's). You have become so good at crawling and chasing after all your brother's cars, laughing all the way. Once we can teach you to race the car, instead of putting it in your mouth, I think your brother is going to love playtime with you. He already loves sharing with you, bringing his cars to you, telling you what each one is, and what sound it makes.

When you are done crawling, you are able to stop and sit up on your own. With no help.  Your weeble-wobble days are long gone, and I no longer worry about taking my eye off you. Now I worry when I leave the room, where you are going to go. You're on the move and you're fast. You're also very flexible and love, love love being upside down. I imagine you in ten years, jumping gracefully from the balance beam in a double tuck roll, winning the gymnastics competition.

You weigh in at 16 lbs exactly, which is on the tinier side. I call it petite. But you have been sick the last few days (just a cold!) and not eating well, so maybe we can beef you up soon. This morning you devoured a big ol' bowl of yogurt, so maybe you are starting to feel better. I hope so. It's not fun to see you sick, Peanut. It makes me sad that I can't help.

You babble more ("babababababababa")than I remember your brother doing, and I wonder if that means you are going to talk more than he does. Is that possible?! He talks all the time!! But I can't wait to hear what you have to say; it seems that everything you say makes you laugh, with a big, hearty belly laugh. I imagine you in twenty years, standing on a nightclub stage, doing stand-up. I see you on Saturday Night Live, making the whole world laugh with your impressions.

I really can't believe how old you are, and all that you can do.

Sometimes I'm going to want you to grow up too fast. Hurry up and walk, ride a bike, dress yourself, go to school. You are going to have to remind me now and then that it's nice to be the age you are now, and doing what you can now. That the grass is plenty green right where you are. Don't let anyone- including me - make you grow up too fast.

Take it from me: there is plenty of time to be an adult. Take your time being a kid.


Friday, February 17, 2012

The difference

It's so hard when you have two kids not to compare.

I mean, really, I have absolutely no experience with kids outside of my own two (someone really should have told me a thing or two before I had kids!), so the only thing I can do is compare.

So compare I do.

And even though I was so lonely and unskilled and depressed after Bjorn was born, he was still easier than Peanut.

He didn't have reflux. Which means he didn't scream for hours on end until medicine finally - thankfully - was prescribed.

He slept through the night. Every night. Almost from the very, absolute beginning.

He took three hours naps. Two or three of them a day. Even at 7 months old. He would happily sleep in front of Law & Order in my arms for hours.

So it's hard to have a second child that rarely naps more than 45 minutes at a stretch, never in my arms, and whom decided after two months of sleeping through the night that there is too much of a good thing, and she would start needing to feed twice a night.


Then I read Bjorn's baby book, and some old blog posts when he was a babe.

And I'm starting to think Peanut is the easy baby.

Bjorn never, ever went to sleep awake. He would scream and cry and make himself miserable, but he wanted to be rocked to sleep and laid in his bed. God forbid you try to put him down before he was asleep. I almost never rock Peanut to sleep. Since about 4 months old, I have been putting her down wide awake. She sometimes cries a bit, and then realizes, 'Oh dang, I'm tired. Well, since I'm in bed, I might as well go to sleep!' And then she does.

Bjorn would only sleep in my arms. For naptime - all the way up until I went back to work at 7 months old - he would only Yes, it would last for 3 hours. But how was I to get anything done? Ever tried showering with a baby in your arms. Uh uh. Not happening. At least Peanut gives me a few minutes to SSS if needed.

Bjorn didn't have reflux. This is true. But I have never been able to get out the spit-up stains he left on Outside of The Poltergeist, I have never seen a human being expel that much liquid. The Hubs nicknamed him Queso. And his Ped said it was normal. Not to worry, he would get over it. Which he did. But none of my clothes survived.

And Peanut is such a happy baby. SUCH a happy baby. I think the only time she cried today was when Bjorn took his car away from her (ah, the sibling fighting begins!) and when it was lunchtime, and we were still ten minutes from home.

That's it. Ten minutes of crying the entire day.

The rest of the day was filled with this:


I swear, all the girl does is smile. Smile and scream.

How could I ever have thought she was tough?!