Happy Fourth

8 Jul


Sometimes when I see my kids it’s like catching a glimpse of myself in a mirror before realizing that I’m looking at a reflection—that feeling of, that person is extremely familiar—oh right it’s me. (Not that my boys look like me—Max is a mini-M to a T and Mars looks a lot like Max did at this age (though I think there’s maybe a bit more of me there too).

To help with Max’s separation anxiety I took to the internet and got him a couple of new books. This one is absolutely perfect:

it’s all about Llama Llama and his first day of school, and how at first he’s scared and sad but then he learns school is really fun and plays and has a good time and THEN his mama comes back. Also reads well because it’s in rhyme (totally made me cry the first couple times through though—he’s just so SAD. Silly mama). He asks me to read it again and again.
This one came highly reviewed on Amazon but it’s just too complex for Max and he doesn’t quite follow it. There is a board book version that I just ordered instead because I find myself simplifying a lot to try and get the (adorable) message across before he loses interest.
We got off to a rough start this morning. Everyone woke up too early and was cranky and wanted to be held. Max insists on being held “two hands” (i.e. don’t try to hold Mars and me at the same time). I finally just put him back to bed because they were both crying and I just wanted to EAT SOME TOAST. PLEASE. Now it’s 9am and they are both sleeping which will throw off Max’s nap later but at least no one is crying at me before I’ve had my coffee.
We had a pleasant fourth of July weekend, though nothing particularly festive. We went to the beach, met friends at the park (and ran into them again at the bread store a different day), the farmer’s market, and played a lot at home yesterday where we have a/c since it got up in the mid-80s which is too hot for M, who probably would be happiest living in Alaska given how much he hates to be hot.
Mars is now mobile enough to be getting into stuff and I remembered how when Max was that age we had a “baby jail” gate that kept him well contained.

I am constantly having to rescue Mars from places (he’s obsessed with the curtains, but I am worried he will get tangled up in them if I am not watching), puts everything in his mouth and already is trying to climb EVERYTHING. He’s constantly pulling up and then tipping over and bonking his head on things. If only I had a cook and a housekeeper I could stay right on top of him constantly.
Max and I have reconnected recently. When Mars was newborn most of Max’s care fell to M, while I handled everything baby related and Max and I didn’t have as much time together. I got very overwhelmed by his neediness in the face of also having a newborn. But as Mars gets somewhat less dependent on only me, he is able to spend more time playing with his daddy, and Max and I are able to get time together just us again. It feels like we are in balance again.

Stand Up Guy

28 Jun

Mars has figured out both crawling and standing up in his first week of 7 months old, a month or so before his brother did (though, in fairness, when Max was the same age we took him to Paris for 10 days and he had little opportunity to practice). 

Mars only wants to practice standing right now, especially in his bed, which means that the second I put him in his crib, even if he was alllllmost asleep he immediately rolls over, scoots to the corner closest to the door, and pulls himself up—and then just stands there.  Last night at bedtime he was exhausted and crying and standing for over an hour.  I kept going back in, trying to lay him down, nurse him again, and otherwise convince him to rest but he just kept standing up.  Finally he got so tired he sat down and fell asleep sitting up.  Eventually I went up there and tipped him over because I was worried he wouldn’t be able to breathe well in his funny sitting position.  He did the same thing during a nap today and trying to tip him over woke him up.  He wants his dad all the time now—I think he is saying, see I can crawl and stand up, so NOW can I play too?!  He wants desperately to be in the thick of it, playing with M and Max.

Max has had a big leap recently in his already pretty impressive vocabulary.  He is not only gaining words, but picking up the correct and complete pronunciation of words he already was using (“tummy” instead of “tum”, “happened” instead of “hap”, “Apple” instead of “app” etc.) 

He also speaks in complete sentences most of the time.  Last night he came in when I was loading the dishwasher and said, “Mom, I can help you?  Are these clean or dirty?” 

I bought a fancy pedometer recently with the goal of getting to 10,000 steps a day.  Some days I actually do better than that, especially if I take multiple walks a day, and then other days I’m too tired and I barely make it past 5000 (Today’s abysmal 4100 steps sort of cancels out yesterday’s 11,600).  But at least it is encouraging me to walk more.   I have been taking advantage of the long daylight and sometimes I take a short 20 min walk or so after the kids go to bed—it’s very nice to get outside by myself for a bit.   I took the kids on a walk the other day in the double stroller and we had a nice time.  Max surprised me by mainly wanting to ride instead of walking or demanding to be carried.  We stopped and watched part of a swim meet at the outdoor pool, and he enjoyed watching the swimmers jump in the water. 

He also insisted that a brown haired man with a big camera spectating was his Uncle C (the man bore a vague resemblance) and also told me that the man was waiting for his turn to jump in the “wawa” (water).  Then we stopped to gawk at a local construction crew for quite awhile.  Between the excavators, dump trucks and cement trucks Max was in heaven (and Mars was asleep).

Last night we had our first injury between brothers. 

Mars was fussy and M suggested Max give him a kiss.  Max leaned in to kiss Mars on the head and Mars jumped at the exact wrong moment (partly my fault—I was holding him and should have anticipated better) and Max came up with a fat upper lip that bled for awhile.  Mars was ok so I think Max must have bit his own lip.  Poor kid, just trying to do something nice.  He was fine after a few minutes, but he looked pretty funny the rest of the day with his puffy lip.  

YMCA Drama

9 Jun

After a few months of going to a private gym with a personal trainer, I quit and we joined the YMCA as a family. The trainer was definitely a luxury, and having that appointment forced me to go when I otherwise wouldn’t have, but it was too expensive and I could only go at times when M was around to be with the kids. (That and the gym hired new trainers and they weren’t as good as the established ones so I wasn’t getting as good of a workout). We thought joining the Y would help me be able to workout more often since there is childcare but instead—drama. Max has never been in group care (other than at our old gym when he was a baby, probably two years ago). When I go to work he is always cared for at home, usually by someone he knows. The YMCA toddler area is very crowded and very loud and there are enough adults to make sure the kids don’t kill themselves but not enough to coddle my shy guy. The first time we went I worked out for a half hour and came back to find Max lying face down on the floor sobbing into his blankie right next to the gate, absolutely hysterical. Mars was unhappy too, in the baby room though somewhat less traumatized than big brother. The second time I only left them for 15 minutes and Max once again completely shut down and was very scared and upset. He has since at random times mentioned that I was “lost” and he couldn’t find me at the gym. He has been extremely clingy too, begging to be held by me when we are in the car or when I am in the middle of something else. It’s so sad and pathetic and I’m still not really getting any exercise. Hopefully he will come around eventually.

Dental Date

7 Jun


Last Friday Max has his first ever dentist appointment. I was very fortunate that my in-laws could come to stay with Mars so that I could give Max my full attention. I tried to prep him about what would happen for several days beforehand—dentists look at your teeth, it does not hurt etc. We arrived at the office and after a brief wait met the hygienist who was a lovely young woman (aren’t they always?) who was very sweet and Max responded well to her. She asked me a series of questions about our routine at home and then he sat on my lap in the dentist’s chair and allowed her to “count” his teeth and look in his mouth while we watched Rio on the tv. It all went very well to that point and then she left and we had to kill what felt like a long time, probably twenty minutes of sort of watching the movie, playing with a giant toothbrush and a stuffed Monkey with dentures, but he was really very good. When the dentist came, a very tall African-American man, Max clammed up. He did not want this (very nice) man looking in his mouth. He wouldn’t show the hygienist he’d opened up for before, nor would he let me do it. All of a sudden, he realizes “Let it Go” is playing in the background and gets excited. I can’t remember exactly what he said but it was something like “mus!(ic) where snowman go?” And I said yes, that’s the Frozen music isn’t it? Somehow our group discussion of Frozen loosened him up and he sort of allowed the dentist to poke around in his mouth. It was a bit redundant since the dentist did the same thing as the hygienist and asked a lot of the same questions, but I think it’s mainly to get little kids used to the procedure. Overall he did really well and then, like after all medical appointments, we went to the bakery.

It was nice to have a little date with Max—it has been so long since I’ve been anywhere just with him. I was amazed at how easy it is to do things with just one child and not also having a baby strapped to my front or being hugely pregnant.

Let’s sleep

29 May

Mars is still doing quite well with sleep.  It isn’t perfect, but given how much we struggled with Max it’s been pretty easy.  The first night was hard, and then we had two nights where he just slept through after a “dreamfeed” around 10 with no big deal.  Then Tuesday rolled around, and on days I work he eats very little until I get home.  He just does not seem to like bottles much, or maybe he doesn’t like pre-frozen milk.  In any case, that night he woke up at 9:45pm, so I fed him since it was around the time I’d been feeding him anyway, and then he woke up again around 4:30am.  Sleep training protocol would have been for me to just let him go back to sleep, but I figured he was probably hungry so I just fed him—but then it took a really long time for me to go back to sleep.  The next day I had started trying to get him to nap in his crib too.  The first nap of the day went ok, but the second one was while Max was sleeping and I didn’t want Mars to wake him up so I didn’t let him cry in his room and he ended up staying awake all afternoon and finally falling asleep in his swing around 6:00 which threw off our whole routine (he usually goes to bed around 6:45/7).  Since I didn’t put him to bed until 8:30, I didn’t feed him at 10 and he woke up at 11:45.  So he’s waking up once or twice a night, but given that when he was sleeping with me he was awake every 2-3 hours this is tremendous progress. 

He sometimes gets a nap in the carrier while strapped to me, and I suspect it will stay that way for as long as I can get away with it—otherwise we are trapped at home all day since his naps and Max’s don’t necessarily line up.

I am weirdly more tired now than I was before Mars started sleeping through the night, but I think that might be because when he slept with me I was forced to go to bed really early, and now that I have the evening back I stay up a little later.  Plus, now to feed him at night I have to get all the way out of bed so it’s harder to go back to sleep.   Having a bit of evening time back to be able to do the dishes, have a few minutes to myself, be able to watch tv or have a conversation with M without having a baby constantly attached to my hip is absolutely amazing.  As we get closer to Mars being able to nap in his bed instead of having to constantly shush Max while he sleeps in the swing has been nice too—I can spend more focused time with Max that way too.


25 May

20140521_160507I haven’t written here for so long, there is so much to say that there almost isn’t anything to say.  As I suspected they would, things have gotten busy as Mars becomes more of a little person with needs and less of a tiny baby.  Some how he is already 6 months old! He is still a smiley sunshiny happy baby, and very much momma’s boy, though he grins at anyone who talks to him.  He is trying so hard to crawl—he’s got rolling down finally and he is very anxious to follow his big brother on his adventures.  M and I were just talking about how likely it is that Mars will be jumping off things inappropriate for his age before long in an effort to keep up with Max.

He’s got one tooth now, and a second one isn’t far behind, which means his teething habit of chewing on my fingers is no more (sharp!)


Max continues to amaze me with his vocabulary and imagination.  Yesterday when I got home from work he did not want me to go upstairs to change clothes and he told me that there were crocodiles up there.  This morning he told me there were crocodiles “all over the place.”  He also was jumping off the couch today and told me he was “superboy.”

We had a rough day Friday (that originally said “today” but then two more days went by before I managed to post this).  Max woke up in a terrible mood, probably because he had trouble settling the night before and was awake calling us back until after ten, and then still woke up fairly early.  I was tired too and had little patience for the endless tantrums.  I put him down for a nap early and he was in a better mood after his nap.  We went on some errands and as we were leading trader joes he told me he needed to poop and wanted to use the bathroom (“banf”) which he has never done before.  We hurried to the restroom but he was intimidated by the unfamiliar toilet and didn’t want to sit on it.  He used his diaper, which was fine, but when I went to change him in the back of the car I found a HUGE mess.  (I’m glad I didn’t try to change him in the bathroom on the tiny changing table with the baby strapped to my chest!)

To add insult to injury we came home to take a bath after all that and he pooped in the bathtub again. When M got home I was just DONE and spent a quiet hour ironing by myself.  Amazing what becomes “relaxation.”

Sleep Training, we meet again

25 May


Mars has been sleeping with me every night since he was born.  At first he slept in the bedside co-sleeper, and then at some point, probably around  the 4 month sleep regression, he started only sleeping right next to me, which meant I couldn’t put him to bed unless I was ready to go to bed too, and I couldn’t get up and get ready for work without getting him up too because he wanted to be held.  That combined with his increasing skill in rolling and determination to crawl, it was time for him to graduate to his own bed.  I am sad not to have him with me- I will miss his cozy little snuggles at night (I missed Max when we gave up co-sleeping too).  But it’s time.  Since it’s a holiday weekend and M will be home Monday, plus this Tuesday I happen to not have to get up until 5 (usually I get up at 4) it seemed like a decent time to start.

At around 7:30 last night I read Mars two books (he was much more interested in trying to eat them), nursed him and sang him a song, and then put him in his bed with his blankie and two pacifiers.  He cried on and off for an hour (let’s be honest, so did I).  I went back in at regular intervals to tell him he was ok, that I was still here, and occasionally helped him find his paci and blankie again.  After that first hour he fell asleep for about 30 minutes and then was awake again (possibly woken up by Max who was getting ready for bed and is not capable of being quiet).  Then he cried for another 45 minutes.  Finally just after 10 he fell asleep and was still sleeping when I got him up at midnight to nurse.  He woke again at 3am, cried for a while, slept for an hour, woke up again at 4:30, cried some more and then slept until 7:45.  I got him up and fed him and he fell asleep in my arms again for another half hour.  He seemed a little cold so we probably need to adjust the temperature in his room.

I was worried about Max through all this, but we told him before bed that Mars might cry at night because he’s sleeping in his bed and he’s not used to sleeping there and if he wakes up just to go back to sleep.  I saw Max was definitely awake on the monitor at 3:30 but he did as he was told and laid back down and he slept until well after 9 so he had a rough night as well.

It’s now 7pm.  I put Mars to bed an hour early because he didn’t get good naps today and he was exhausted.  He has been crying and complaining for a half hour, but not quite as frantically as he did last night so hopefully he is figuring out that cribs can be for sleeping.  He’s fighting going to sleep—hopefully he gives in soon.

Today we went to the Science Center, and after carefully observing a display of live cockroaches,  Max said, “hold me dad, that bug not nice!”  I couldn’t agree more.

Hold me mom!

16 Apr

Hmm, just noticed this post from a month ago never posted.  Mars is going through a phase that requires MOM HOLD ME a lot, especially in the evening. Since I usually hold most of my chores and getting ready for the next day stuff for the evening after Max goes to bed, I have been struggling to accomplish much—dishes and laundry are difficult. Dishes especially since I find those hard to do when Max is around—if I’m in the kitchen he either demands to be held, or else closes the dishwasher repeatedly while I’m using it. This evening I put Mars to bed at 7:45. He fell asleep right away and I went back downstairs, only to be called back by Max, who for some reason about once a week has a panic attack when his dad closes the door and starts crying and yelling for me. A few more pages of book and a snuggle and he will go back to sleep. Once that was done, Mars woke up crying. M brought him to me, which calmed him, but I handed him back so I could load the dishwasher and Mars was inconsolable. M tried all kinds of things, but he just really wanted me. So rapid fire dishwasher loading, skipping the pots and pans, leaving my lunch prep for the morning, he watched me brush my teeth with great interest, and off we went upstairs to settle back in bed. Really most nights I am in bed around 8, watching shows online while Mars settles to sleep and going to sleep myself by 10. If I wander off downstairs he wakes up and gets upset—if I stay nearby I can soothe him back to sleep quickly before he gets ramped up. Once in awhile he goes to sleep on my lap downstairs and M and I will watch “House of Cards” together. Mars still ends up in bed with me for most of the night.   Next week he will be five months old, and M has warned him he will be kicked out of our bed in another month. (M has been sleeping on the couch and he misses his bed!) He’s right I suppose, but I relish the short baby snuggle time before he’s a big boy with his own bed.

He has gotten pretty good at flipping from his back to his tummy the past few days. He hasn’t figured out how to go to the other way yet, though he isn’t as infuriated by being on his tummy as Max was at this age. He thrashes around a lot at night and I am hating all his PJs with snaps—he gets his feet out of them numerous times a night. On Tuesday he woke up fully undressed from the waist down.   Baby PJs should only be made with zippers—it’s so much easier and stays on so much better.

Max continues to be astonishing with the things he says. A few of my favorites:

A while after having a tantrum that had something to do with M not coming soon enough to read a book, and then refusing to do anything, he brought the book to M and said “Dad read this, I not mad anymore.”

I told him to wave goodbye to a dog we saw in a car parked next to ours and he said “goodbye dog, see you next time!”

Whenever I leave the bathroom he opens the door and says “I hold door for you”

Whenever he likes something or is going to take a nap he lists everyone he knows as also liking that thing or also taking a nap. For example, “I like bank (bacon)! And Mom likes bank, and dad likes bank and mars likes bank, and gam and gamp like bank!” etc.


Three’s company?

7 Apr


We have always thought we would have more than two kids. M would say we should have four or five and I would laugh and say lets have two and then we’ll talk but I assumed a third would happen. Now neither of us is sure if we want any more. I am completely exhausted with the two I havr and they are both relatively easygoing. I worry about whether there is enough of me to go around- what if #3 was very high maintenance or had special needs? Some days I feel like I am drowning and I know I have it so good. I hate being  pregnant and I feel like I missed and am missing so much of Maxs toddlerhood being exhausted. I worry Marshall will get shafted by being made a middle child.

And yet- there is still part of me that wants one more, to have a big family, to give my kids more than one sibling, something my brother and I always wished for but didn’t have. For now we have decided to wait to even talk about it until Mars turns one. His birthday is three weeks after I turn 35 so the clock is ticking. But first I desperately need sleep. Until then, a pair of beautiful boys will do. 

Go somewhere

6 Apr

Every day Max demands to “go somewhere.” The top of his list is the Science Center, and yesterday we indulged that wish with a trip to the Children’s Museum. The science center is located at the base of the space needle which we can see from various parts of our travels around town, including from Alki beach where we go quite frequently. Max has started telling me we need a plane or a boat so we can travel to the science center because it’s REAL far away.  He got to play for several hours and wore himself out.


Today we got an early start and went to pike place market. We got there early before a lot of the stalls were open- the market was still waking up, vendors were carting their items in and waiting to find out where they would be selling for the day. I loved the uncrowded atmosphere and the behind the scenes look at the mostly empty market. Max enjoyed running up and down many ramps and took a ride on a toy airplane for sale. 




We checked out the center for wooden boats too (more ramps to run on!) before heading home for a much needed nap.



Max loves to be going and doing things and I love when M is home to go and do things with us as I find taking both kids places exhausting and scary- it is hard to chase down a toddler with a baby strapped to you. Still, Max needs more variety- I need to try harder to at least take him to the park more often now that the weather is getting better. Maybe not the indoor playground though. We went there last week and he picked up some kind of stomach bug which resulted in two days of rather unpleasant vomit and diaper disgustingness.

He is getting much more creative in his play, one of his favorite new games is to pretend to make food for me. This evening he told us he was going to the food store in space on his rocketship.

Mars is still so sweet and good. He wants to be cuddled and held by me often, which I love except for it prevents me from getting anything at all done.

I discovered after he wore a shirt I just took out of storage he is really sensitive to laundry soap residue.  I am not sure if that is the sole cause of his rashes (doubt it) but it seems to be a contributing factor. I rewashed all of his clothes with minimal soap and an extra rinse.  Soon I will start adding foods back in- I really am not enjoying this elimination diet! 


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