Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Poop Whine

It goes like this:

“Mo-oommmmyyyyy. I don’t feeeeeeeel gooooooood.” And “My tummy huuuurrrrrtssss.” Over and over again while following me around in such close proximity that, by all rights, she should just be in my body with me.

Then, we have the same conversation over and over again about if she needs to use the potty, interspersed with a few “attempts” to poop. Then she whines some more, and clings some more, until I finally go into the bathroom with her, bodily put her on the toilet, and stand there, and make her sit there, until she poops. Sometimes I have to coach her to breathe and relax. Sometimes I have to hold her hands so she can squeeze mine. Sometimes I have to talk her through pushing the poop out.

I feel like a midwife.

This is not because she’s constipated. It’s been a long time since we’ve dealt with constipation because I am anal about her fruit/vegetable/juice/probiotic intake. I honestly don’t know what triggers The Poop Whine because it doesn’t happen all the time. Most of the time, she just goes into the bathroom, poops, then yells for me to come help her wipe. But sometimes, sometimes she carries on about it for hours.

And it drives me freaking nuts.

Why? Why don’t they want to poop? Pee? Sleep? Eat? Why do little kids fight so hard against basic bodily functions that will make them feel better when they are done?

My intellectual self is whispering in the back of my mind that there are lots of fear/control issues at play in these situations, but the self that just received the phone call at work to tell me: “Mo-oommmmyyyyy. I don’t feeeeeeeel gooooooood. I want to go hooooome,” because she needed to poop, is just irritated.

The exhausted self that would give anything for a nap in the middle of the day, just doesn’t understand the refusal to be still for the 20 seconds it takes to fall asleep. The self that catches the sharp edge of her wake up attitude nearly every day because she has a full bladder, cannot comprehend the Big Dramatic Deal that peeing is first thing in the morning.

What is the big freaking deal?

(And now, I’m going to the lactation room to pump milk and lay my little head down on the table to sleep for 15 minutes, because I obviously need a nap.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

From the Weekend

We had a boringly, uneventful weekend and it was glorious. It's true, Ella and I both got a little antsy for somewhere to go by Sunday afternoon, but we settled in for a nap and got over it. She even asked me not to turn Mickey Mouse Clubhouse back on when the first episode went off, so I didn't even have to listen to the incessant TV chatter while I napped in a pile on the couch with my children. Then I woke up an hour before they did and read! It was almost as good having the house to myself for an hour.

We did our grocery shopping, I cleaned, the laundry is finished, we had two good meals and we ate all the left overs out of the fridge so I didn't have to throw them away. I've really been trying to cook what I buy and eat what I cook so that we aren't so wasteful. 

Ella played gymnastics with her babies - finally playing through her fear of the uneven bars, I think. This did my heart good. We've been in that weird place where I know that she loves it, but there are a couple of skills that make her really nervous. She has told me multiple times that she doesn't like gymnastics because "it makes [her] body hurt." When I press her to tell me which part of her body, she says her tummy. (I can relate to that awful, flippy, vomitous feeling just before I do something new or uncomfortable.) When I press her to tell me which parts make her tummy hurt she says the uneven bars and the balance beam. But, when we were running late a couple of weeks ago and she was faced with the option of skipping class or going in late, she chose to go in late - practically bouncing through the gym door to meet her class while yelling, "Good morning!" to her teacher. Obviously, she loves it.

As I was getting ready for church Sunday morning, I kept hearing her yelling, "1- 2- 3- 4-5-6-7-9- 10-11-13-14!" (she always skips 8 and 12) at the top of her lungs. After the 6th or so time, I peeked my head into The Big Room to see what she was up to. She had her nap mat folded and placed below the end table, and she was coaching Ellaroo (the Elephant-Kangaroo Wuzzle - remember those?), who was holding onto the low bar (the edge of the end table) - just like her gymnastics coaches help her. She coached all the babies on the uneven bars before church, and then she did it again after nap. This seems to be the go-to game right now. I'm glad, and I'm waiting to hear if her anxiety level was lower as she went into class this morning.

She also hit me with a new one, as she woke up from her nap yesterday.
EGR: Mom, does God wear a yellow shirt?
Me: Umm. Well. I guess he might. I don't know what color shirt God wears.
EGR: I sink it's yellow with black spots.
Me: What makes you think that?
EGR: I don't know. I just do.

Okay then. I never got any other explanation. Was she dreaming about God? Was there a picture of someone at church that she thought was God in a yellow shirt? I have no idea.

She still pronounces the "th-" sound as an "s-", as in "Sank you Lord for feeding me" or "I sink...." It's cute. Most of her speech is perfectly clear now, but she still has a few letter combinations that come out sounding like she's 3 instead of 10. The funny letter sounds are another of those baby/toddler things that I grieve the passing of because it's just so final when they are gone. It's still amusing every day when she says a new word and uses it in the correct context (she's taken a liking to "apparently" lately), but it's a different kind amusing than hearing her call her new baby brother "'uke" because she can't say the "L" sound, and then "Wuke" because she still couldn't say it, and now she does. She calls him "Luke" or "Luker" or "Nooooooo!" He answers to all three.

Speaking of things I grieve the passage of, the crawling phase is over. Officially. Luke now enters rooms on foot. And he runs. If he knows he can make the distance, he runs. He also waves and says, "Dada." He previously said, "Bye bye" while waving, but I guess since we wave to Daddy every morning, he now says "Dada." He calls the kitties "dog-dog" and he struggles with his soft touch. They lay there and take it, though, when he grabs their ears or handfuls of their fur. Georgia runs if he comes near her. It makes him so mad.

It was a good weekend at home. Now, we'll gear up again for more birthday parties, the first day of school, and a birth!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Beasties, of the Monkey Variety

I've decided I'm raising a pack of howler monkeys, given the amount of communal screeching that goes on in my life right now. My monkeys like nothing better than to screech back and forth at each other until my nerves are frayed and my hair is standing on end - but, at least when they are screeching together they aren't touching each other, like they did last night in what was quickly evolving into a full contact scramble in the bathtub.

Ella had Pooh, Piglet, and Tigger all lined  up nicely on the side of the tub, waiting on something, probably a good scrubbing. Luke swooped right in and grabbed all three of them while her back was turned. She turned back around with a startled look when they weren't where she left them. Luke, not fully understanding the rules of the game yet, was just gleefully waving them around in front of her, so she snatched them out of his hands and turned her back to him. Instead of letting out the customary howl, he proceeded to try to climb over the back of her to reach them. At that point, Dave and I intervened and removed him from the tub before one drowned the other. He protested the unfairness of it all, and was still trying to launch himself out of my arms and back into the tub until I got him out of the room. She might outweigh him by a solid 20 lbs, but she has no idea what's coming in her near future.

He is strong and mobile in a way that she never was as a baby. I feel like I've had a full body workout when I finally get him to bed at night. Saturday morning, he was playing in the bedroom by himself when I heard his distress cry. I found him stuck inside the toy box. He couldn't figure out how to get out again without falling on his head. Sunday morning, he was playing in The Big Room when I heard the "Come see what I did!" cry. He was sitting, correctly, and rocking in the little rocking chair. A few minutes later, he came crawling back into the living room, having gotten himself out of the chair without help. He tries to climb into the bathtub by himself, and we've had to remove the step stool from the bathroom because on more than one occasion we've found him leaning head first into the tub. He's not afraid of the dark - at least not when the toilet lid is open and he wants to play in the water.

We rearranged our living room last week (to keep him from sticking his head through the one banister space that is open), and now the furniture is spaced just far enough apart that he's walking all around instead of crawling. The walking started with a few steps here or there about three weeks ago, but just in the last week it's become his primary mode of transportation. It makes me so sad to see the crawling phase going away so quickly, but it's cute when he gets so excited about walking. He wants to run, tries to run, so it won't be long before I add sprinting to my parenting toolbox.

He finally cut is top two teeth, so now he has four. I think he'll have a few more coming in right behind these, since his gums are still swollen and his nose is still runny. He tries to sing the ABC song, but I can only make out A and E. I know he's singing the song because the first note is perfect and because he sings it as he's reaching for the Fridge Fonics to push the button to play the song.

He is 11 months old today.

Beasties, at Aunt Becca's baby shower over the weekend

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

No Kids Allowed!

There's an artcle floating around the web right now about a restaurant that has banned children under the age of 6.

As you can imagine, it's caused quite a stir - some are rabidly opposed, some are rabidly supportive.

I've read the article and given it some thought, and I've decided I fall on the side of support for the business owner who made this decision.

Why? Because I know that while I love my wonderful, amazing children, everyone else does not. And, being kids, they are often loud and rowdy - especially when you try to contain them in a loud, public place, and especially because the littlest one contributes to the dinner table conversation with ear piercing screeches.

We do take them out to eat with us - often - but knowing what we know about them, we eat at places that are set up to accomodate them. Places that have kids' menus, high chairs/boosters, minimal wait times (both for a table and for the food as Ella always asks as soon as we sit down, "Where's my food?"), and a generally loud atmosphere. We choose places that present themselves as family restaurants because we know that kids are going to act like kids - they will squirm and talk and squeal and make a mess. I would not dream of taking them anywhere fancy because it would be absolute torture for all of us.

Even when we are in a family restaurant, we remove them from the dining area if they become inconsolable or out-of-control. The general noisiness of such a restaurant might make me feel better about their noise, but it also has a tendency to overstimulate them to the point that they need a break. So we take one. I'm okay with my kid making happy noises, even if they are loud, happy noises, but angry/sad/hurting noise is quickly addressed and if they can't calm down at the table, we take them out. I also cannot tolerate them standing in their chairs or looking over the back of the booth behind us. And, we keep them contained at our table - even the uncontainable Luke gets held if he climbs out of his chair (and he always does, chanting "alldonealldonealldone").

For the most part, they are well behaved when we eat in public, but we have had two negative experiences recently that really influenced my opinion on this "no kids allowed" rule.

The first happened about a month ago when we met Aunt Becca and Uncle Nate at Buffalo Wild Wings for supper one night. The kids were happy and sitting in their chairs, but this was the night that Luke really debuted his new screech. He was squealing and screeching like a mad man - but happy. As it is always very loud in BWW, I wasn't concerned about the screeching because it really didn't register above the general noise level in the dining room. I was trying to quiet and distract him, but he still occasionally let out a screech. Unfortunately, the lady at the table beside us was apparently bothered by it - just judging from the number of times she turned around and gave me a dirty look. I decided that I didn't give a rat's tiny behind what she thought about it because she made the decision to come to a very loud sports bar/family restaurant for dinner, a place where the 115 televisions on the walls were much louder than my happy child. I was prepared to tell her so if she complained, but luckily for her, she did not. For patrons like her, I'll gladly support a restaurant owner who posts a no kids allowed policy. Maybe if she knows she won't have to chance dining with little beasties, I won't have to deal with her insufferable, snooty attitude.

The second negative experience happened last week, but I heard the story second-hand from Grandmother. She took the kids to different family restaurant after gymnastics and shopping last Tuesday. It was 11:30, and they were one of the first groups in the place for lunch that day. Luke woke up prematurely from his nap while they were all in the bathroom so Ella could potty, and he was fussy. Just fussy, not exceedingly loud or inconsolable. Grandmother was tending to him, but she said at the first sound he made there was a member of the wait staff standing at the table asking what they could do to help. That would have been fine, except that a parade of wait staff then continued to the table - even bringing a high chair she did not ask for - to the point that they were attracting more attention to them than the fussing baby. It culminated in one of them asking her if they could bring her a to-go box - when she'd barely gotten Ella's plate set up for her and had only taken 2 bites of her own meal. They brought her the check less than thirty minutes after they sat down at the table. She was embarrassed; I was angry. For situations like this one, I'll gladly support a restaurant owner stating directly that children aren't allowed. I'd much rather know it before I take them in a place than be humiliated by the wait staff once I'm there. (I did log a complaint on this company's website, and the manager called the next day to apologize for the incident, stating that children are always welcome there and they obviously need to do some training with their wait staff.)

So, I'm okay with a restaurant telling me right up front that my children are not welcome there. I'm okay with not taking them to a fancy/quiet/expensive restaurant.  I'm perfectly okay with eating in one of those restaurants in peace without my children (and without going to the potty five times, trying to eat my food while hanging onto a baby monkey, picking up the sippy cup 22 times, cutting up tiny bites of food, asking for three more cups of ranch, and pre-cleaning our area so that it's cleanable when we leave). I'm really okay with that.

I do hope that this does not become a trend for all restaurants because I don't know how else kids will learn to dine in public if they can't actually dine in public.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Spilled Milk

I'm trying not to cry over it.

I came home yesterday to find the door of my upright freezer standing open. It had been open at least 12 hours. We had to trash nearly everything in it, including 3/4 of my frozen milk stash. I had an entire shelf full of 3-4 ounce bags of milk, and I had to throw most of it away because it was completely thawed. I never kept track of the exact number of ounces I had stored, but I'm sure we trashed hundreds. The bags in the middle of the shelf were still slushy, so I felt like I could safely refreeze those.

I didn't cry over it, but I did immediately feel the stress headache creep up the back of my neck and settle, throbbing, behind my right eye as soon as I realized that freezer door was open.

I had plans for that milk. I was already using some it to fill the gap on days that Luke drinks more milk than I pump. I decreased my pumping sessions from three to two times a day about a month ago because Luke had cut back on his daytime nursing sessions, and at 10 months postpartum, the milk just doesn't flow as fast as it did, making the pumping sessions longer. I intended to pump until he's about 15 months, gradually weaning myself down to once a day between now and then, and use the frozen milk to supplement the fresh milk I bring home until it was gone. Now, it looks like I will introduce some other kind of milk (probably almond) sooner than I had planned because the frozen milk I saved isn't going to last more than a couple of weeks.

Anyway, as is my policy, I did find some things to be grateful for in this experience.
1. I'm glad I didn't know how many ounces I had, because I would have been even more heartbroken to know exactly how much I lost.
2. I'm glad I had it packed in the freezer the way it was so that at least some of it was still partially frozen.
3. I'm glad I hadn't already dropped another pumping session.

I'll get over it.

And, for those that need the information, here are the breastmilk storage and handling guidelines (from

If you can't read the table, you can go directly to the site: Human Milk Storage and Handling.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Quotable Ella

At the breakfast table this morning, I was telling Dave that I ran the dishwasher last night, but it didn't clean the dishes, didn't even use the soap. I told him I didn't know what was wrong with it, but I was going to try again this morning.

Ella chimed in with her theory: "It probly got too full with stuff and it just wouldn't work, like the potty at Grandmother's house."

Alright then.

I clarified that the potty at Grandmother's house did get too full and wouldn't flush.

She might be right about the dishwasher; it was packed to the gills.