Oh biscuit!

17 Oct

Max recently started exclaiming “Oh Biscuit!” as a sort of toddler curse, instead of “oh darn” or something. I asked him where this came from and he thought for a moment and said, “from you!” I was quite sure I have never said such a thing (though it is so great I might start). Then one evening I was having trouble attaching the high chair tray and I realized I do say “Son of a biscuit!” on occasion, so he was right.

Mars has been fussy the past few days, only wanting to be held by me, but also squirmy and not really wanting that either. I think he is teething, and he is close to walking (M. claims he walked 6 steps today but no one but M saw, so I refuse to believe it). Night sleep has been not good, waking every 3 hours, but I haven’t wanted to sleep train because he is so distracted and busy during the day he doesn’t nurse much and I want to make sure he’s getting enough milk. After he turns one I will likely work on reducing the night wakings. This morning he woke up at 5am and neither of us really went back to sleep. He squirmed around in his bed for an hour until we both gave up and got up at 6.

Over the last three weeks I have really focused on eating extremely well now that we are home in our house. I have lost a little weight and feel pretty good, but I’m still hitting a wall of exhaustion every afternoon. I probably just need a nap, but the window when both kids are asleep is small, and my list of chores (and tv shows I’m behind on, which I watch while folding laundry) is long.

I’m too tired to think of any more things to say and Max is calling from his bed that he wants to get out at 9:30pm. Always something.

10 Months Old

22 Sep

20140901_174617Mars turned 10 months old yesterday. I do such a terrible job documenting his milestones, but things have just been way too chaotic. He is the happiest, sunniest little guy. He really is no trouble most of the time. But that doesn’t mean he is placid. This child is fiercely determined.   He has basically two main objectives: walk, and climb stuff. He is not yet walking, but he wants to so badly, and he is so very close. He can cruise along holding the furniture or someone’s hands pretty quickly, he just hasn’t quite mastered doing it independently but I know it is coming soon. He also is an incredible climber. Quick as lightening he climbs chairs, the refrigerator, people—that’s only going to get worse which makes me so nervous. He is so much more independent in his play than Max was, I am worried what he is going to get into (or up on) when I’m not watching! After a couple of weeks of sleeping 13 hours straight at night he cut a tooth which had him (and me) up every two hours and now he’s back to sleeping 3-4 hour stretches. There is still another tooth pending. We are also back to sleeping in the same room—he sleeps in the walk in closet of the bedroom in the tiny basement we are renting while our endless home construction drags on. M and Max sleep at our house. Mars and I wake each other up I think. Sometimes I will take him to bed with me for an hour or two, but he can’t get comfortable with my holding onto him and fusses and then tries to crawl away and in the end gets dumped back in his own bed. I am very worried about him falling off the bed. Too bad though, I miss the baby snuggles.  He also is trying hard to communicate. He definitely says “mama” to me, and “mah” to Max. He also says “wah” when you hold his hands and help him walk. He has started experimenting with “gah” sounds but has no “D’s” yet so Dad gets called Mama too. He spends a lot of time “talking” to us, though I’m not sure what he’s trying to say most of the time.  He is very bold and social. When we go to the park he wants to go play with every kid he sees there, and grins at all the adults.

We are in the home stretch of this project but I am feeling very stagnant and melancholy. I think the problem is that at the same time we moved to this tiny, dusty, spider filled basement, Max started school and we went from spending as much time as possible walking outside in the fresh air to a new schedule where I am pinned in this basement by naps for much of the day. I drop Max at school and then come home for Mars to take a nap. Then we go to the gym, or doctors appointments or errands, and then pick up Max. Max eats second lunch (he gets lunch at school but always seems to be still hungry) and then sleeps for 3-4 hours, during which time Mars usually will sleep another hour or two. So I spend a good 6 hours a day waiting for the kids to wake up in a space that is probably 600 square feet. In the last place we rented, where I never sat down, I got a lot of exercise just going up and down the hall to check on the kids, cleaning things, and generally pacing (there was something about that place that made it really hard to relax). Now there is nowhere to walk and I sit all the time which I don’t like.

Mine are absolutely first world problems and I am incredibly fortunate that this living arrangement is temporary. I do have extra empathy now for people displaced by storms or financial situations who lose their homes. Feeling transient and without your own space is incredibly disheartening and demoralizing—I can only imagine how much worse it would be to have no end in sight. It is chaotic for kids and stressful for everyone. At least now we are across the street from our house and I can go there regularly and feel a little burst of happy home vibes, even if it is empty and covered in sawdust and tools.20140914_100628  IMG_20140910_202859

Preschool!

5 Sep

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My big boy started preschool this week!  I was very worried about it actually.  Two and a half is young for preschool anyway, and Max has had a tendency to hang back and be overwhelmed by noise, new situations and not particularly interested in playing with other children. That combined with his serious separation anxiety of late could have spelled disaster for preschool.  The mornings were rough, and actually they got progressively worse- once he knew what to expect (i.e. Mom carries him to his classroom door and hands him off to the teacher and leaves) he started crying and telling me over and over all the way to school “I no want to go to cool!”  and would burst into tears when we got to his class.  The first day they told me he kept his eyes closed really tight and sat in the corner for awhile and then gradually peeked out a little more and eventually was able to participate a little, but mostly he just watched (which is entirely typical).  What I didn’t expect was how quickly he would adapt.  Despite his desperate protests day 2 and 3 went well and he participated and had a great time.  By today the sheet they give me each day talking about his progress said he was “chatty” which thrilled me because he is such a chatterbox, but ONLY when he is comfortable– when he’s feeling shy he clams right up.  He had a great time learning about volcanos, apples, and hoola hoops this week which he told me all about.  They feed him lunch at school, then he comes home and usually eats a second lunch before passing out for a very long nap.  We have really struggled with naps this summer but he’s so exhausted from school he zonks right out.

Surprisingly, even in such a short time, he seems to have gained confidence? or maybe skills in interacting with other kids.  Yesterday at the library a little girl asked him if he wanted to be friends and he said “yep.” Then she proceeded to boss him around for about 20 minutes.  M reports similar results at the playground.

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I know he looks upset, but Mars is actually laughing hysterically here

He’s also gotten kind of aggressive with Mars.

It’s a very difficult line that I am sure I will be riding for many years– I want to protect Mars from getting hurt by his brother but I want to encourage them to play.  Max often starts by pushing his brother away from whatever he is playing with (since Mars wants to be in the middle of whatever his big brother is doing) and then often Max pushing him away becomes it’s own game.  This evening they were basically wrestling.  Mars was shrieking with laughter while Max rolled him around on the carpet and I was biting my nails and yelling “gentle!”

Mars, not to be outdone, is a tiny tree monkey.  Yesterday I opened the fridge to get something and turned around to see he had scaled it in seconds.
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These boys I tell you!

This preschool schedule has been life changing.  After months of having both boys to entertain all day three days a week, and pulling my hair out about everybody wanting me to do something every minute, suddenly I find I am missing Max, since between school, naps, and his park trips with his Dad in the evening (I rarely go because Mars needs to go to bed) I don’t see much of him.  Mars and I have been getting to the gym finally (I dread when Mars is big enough to go to the toddler room– that place is a zoo.  The baby room is lovely), doing errands, and playing together.  It is weird to have so much time on my hands.  In October I go down to one day a week at work and I will have one day all day with the boys again which I am looking forward to– I plan to have it mostly be our field trip day where we have adventures.

Aquarium Adventures

2 Sep

20140825_103908 20140825_111902 20140825_121951 20140825_122426 20140825_123144 20140825_123308 20140825_124550 20140825_125616 20140825_135638I was nervous. I felt a little shaky and almost turned back at the last minute, but I had already told Max we were going to ride the bus so I just did it. Last week I took two tiny children on the bus by myself to downtown Seattle, wove my way down to the waterfront (not an easy task with a stroller since most access is via stairs) and toured the aquarium. And we had a really good time. Taking the giant double stroller on the bus was no big deal, though mainly because we went at off peak hours—it would have been dicey if it were commute time. It was also a lot less expensive than parking , and less stressful than driving downtown, which I hate doing. They were both so tired they slept the whole way home in the stroller, and Max actually slept awhile in the stroller once we got home and then went to bed and slept some more, so I guess I really wore them out!

It will be a lot easier to go places when Mars is walking (though I suspect he is going to be the type of child who takes off running—Max is cautious and mostly stays near me). He wants to get down and crawl and lots of places it just isn’t appropriate. At the park or the beach he puts everything he finds in his mouth, so I can’t take my eyes off him for a second.

Oatmeal song– finally, an update

17 Aug

I don’t sit down anymore.  Not really.  (Except when I am at work, then I sit for several blessed hours).  Even when I am sort of sitting on the floor with the kids I am not stationary for long because I have to retrieve Mars at regular intervals from getting into things.
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Mostly though, we walk a lot.  I strap the kids in the double stroller (which has been a sanity preserver for sure) and we walk around and around town.
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I wear a fitbit (which I love, except the kids are obsessed with it.  Max wants to play with it and Mars wants to eat it). I still don’t always make that 10,000 steps a day every day, but often I get to 8000 and have gotten as high as 12000.  Because of this, that darn baby weight that wasn’t budging is finally vacating and I’m within five pounds or so of my prebaby weight (though many many more situps and squats are required to find my way back to my prebaby shape).

Weight loss has been the only upside of all of that activity and busyness.  Mostly, it’s exhausting .  Hence the lack of blogging for so long because I just never ever seem to have time to sit still long enough to write anything down when I still have the brain power to think of anything to say—it’s taken me days to finish this post.

The impetus for all this drama, in addition simply now having two mobile and busy children, is that we have temporarily moved out of our house due to some remodeling and into a rental that is not particularly child friendly.   It is furnished, which is nice because we didn’t have to move our stuff, though the furniture in the rental seems to have been chosen entirely based on aesthetics rather than comfort.  If I do manage to sit it is not at all comfortable.
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The eat-in kitchen has these obnoxious stools at a high table that one can really just sort of perch precariously on while shoving food down.  There is a formal dining room in which every surface is white and glass, and thus we have gated off from the childen, along with a huge amount of pointy edged furniture, glass knickknacks and poisonous cleaning supplies, of which the owner of the condo seems to be very fond.  It’s also long and skinny, so I get lots of exercise going up and down the hall for things.

The move was tough on everyone’s sleep, and ironically now that we are almost done with it Max is finally starting to settle down.  In the very beginning there was about a week of him flat out refusing to sleep, with his bedtime getting later and later and eventually him only sleeping in the master bed with one of us (it started out being me but that bed is murder on my back so now he sleeps with his dad and I sleep in the other bedroom with the baby).  We have finally managed to get bedtime under control, as long as I stay in the room with him while he falls asleep.  Sometimes he still sleeps in the Master bed, but other days he asks to sleep in his crib, which is in the same room.
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We went a week or two without him taking a nap which drove me insane.  He would bounce all around and pop back up 18 times while we wasted 2 hours.  For awhile I just gave up and took the boys places all day and stopped trying, but yesterday and today by some miracle Max not only took a nap but Mars slept AT THE SAME TIME.  Amazing.

We have been trying to have lots of adventures, since Max starts preschool in a couple of weeks and I won’t have as much time with him.  Again, thank God for the double stroller, and that they both like it (which is kind of weird since as a baby Max hated strollers).  We have been to the zoo, the children’s museum, many parks, the library, barnes and noble, an embarrassing number of trips to the local bakery, and more.    Max and I get very bored in the condo, so it’s best to just get out of there.
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Poor Mars frequently does not get very good naps as I drag him all over town, but the trade-off would be to be stuck at home most of the day and we just can’t do that right now.  He’s mostly pretty good natured about it and sleeps in the stroller and the car rather well.

We four have also been having adventures on the weekends, and have been to Orcas Island and Whidbey Island in the past couple of weeks.
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It’s been so hot and so crazy that getting away, even for the day, is so satisfying and helpful.

Mars, at nearly 9 months has been worrying me with his weight.  My previously chunk baby (M affectionately called him “roast beef”) went from the 75th percentile at 4 months old, to 25th at 8 months.  He is still not a big fan of solids at all.  Occasionally I can get him to eat a couple of ounces, but often his mouth is closed for business after a bite or two.
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Usually he isn’t a big fan of bottles either, though on Tuesday he ran through most of my freezer supply and I’m having trouble catching up.  It seems that whenever I have a drop in weight I also have a drop in milk supply.  Can’t win.  He is still extremely allergic to eggs—if I have something with even a tiny bit of egg in it he breaks out in a terrible rash that takes a week or more to go away and there are eggs in everything.  Eating out often causes a breakout.   It seems like maybe I can get away with a little dairy though, and I am not sure about nuts so I mostly avoid them for now.

Max is very into songs and stories right now.  He is constantly asking me to sing him a song, but will dictate curious details.  For example, I will sing “the itsy bitsy spider” and then he will ask me to sing it about a red spider, and then orange, and then green, and then the red and orange spiders who race….  Makes for interesting songs for sure.  He keeps asking me for “oatmeal song” but I never remember the song I made up the previous time.  M is way better at coming off with songs that make sense and rhyme off the cuff.  Often at bedtime I sing him “Goodnight my someone” from the Music Man.  I tried adding “oatmeal” to that song, but he said, “that not oatmeal song! That goodnight song!” oops, sorry.

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Happy Fourth

8 Jul

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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:
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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.
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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). 
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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.) 
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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. 
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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. 
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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

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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.
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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.

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