Thursday, February 23, 2012

Juice is the New Milk

That’s what Dave said recently about Luke and his juice cup, and it’s the truth. Ella almost exclusively drank milk – mine and the cow variety, but Luke won’t drink more than about a cup a week of alternative milks. We offer him soy and I just started giving him cow’s milk, but he could take it or leave it. He still nurses at bedtime and sometimes overnight, but he has started asking for juice in the middle of the night. Occasionally he’ll ask to nurse after work, but that’s only happening about once a week – and usually what he really wants is the cuddle and then he’s off and running again. He’s 18 months old (last Saturday) and I don’t think he’ll nurse much longer. So, yes, juice is the new milk. The boy loves some juice.

On that note, I’m still hauling my breast pump around in the back of my car for no good reason. Dave mentioned that I need to get it out of there and offered to store it in the basement for Ella to use in 25 years if I just couldn’t get rid of it. When I told him how much improved the technology would be by the time she needed one, he said, “Yeah, you’ll probably be able to pump with your iPhone…. Look at my suction cup app! It feeds the baby virtually.”

My baby is not a baby anymore and I need to get rid of the pump.

He amazes me every day with his ability to communicate, his resourcefulness, and his sweet, sweet spirit. He has had a runny nose since Christmas and we’ve been through the whole nose sucking routine so many times that he now does that to his baby, complete with laying a wipe out perfectly flat to wipe the bulb on after he sucks baby’s nose. Just I do. His baby is named Baby and he pronounces it with heavy emphasis on the first syllable, like “Baaa-by” in fine Southern drawl. He also nurses Baaaby and shares his juice with him. Sometimes I have to nurse Baaaby at bedtime.

He recently stripped off his socks to use them to wipe his nose. That was funny, but it was even funnier the next day when he found a pair of Ella’s and tried to wipe my nose for me. If he can’t find a sock, he’ll just climb the couch at Grandmother’s house to reach the Kleenex – and he prefers to wipe his own nose. He’s sick to death of us doing it for him.

His communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal, may be even more developed than Ella’s were at this age. He’s already using short sentences, like “tee-tee in the potty” and “need a drink”. He has a huge vocabulary and he uses a new word nearly every day now and in context. Yesterday when I called to check on them on my way home, I heard him telling Grandmother, “Stuck!” He had put something down his shirt and couldn’t get it out. He asked me for a banana over the weekend, then he took my hand and walked me to cabinet where we keep the peanut butter, spun the lazy susan until he found it, and pointed to tell me he wanted some. When he wants us to sit with him, he pats the spot on the floor/couch/bean bag/bed. He spontaneously says “thank you” most of the time when you give him something, and now when you do something for him or something that he deems worthy, he claps and says, “Yaaay!”

He has discovered the beauty of the Pez dispenser. A toy that gives candy? What’s not to love? He has a Mickey Mouse Pez that Grandma gave him for Valentine’s day and he carries it around the house with him, gnawing on the one little piece that sticks out when you flip up Mickey’s head. Sometimes he asks me to get the candy out for him. We were doing this the other night when he dropped a piece and instead of grabbing it off the floor, he let the dog eat it. Then he flipped up that Mickey head and realized he had dropped the last piece of candy. The look on his face was priceless, complete with a pitiful little pouty noise. Then he took matters into his own hands and tried to pry the dog’s mouth open to get it back. It was so cute, and a lot pitiful, so for his effort, I reloaded the Pez dispenser.

He and Ella have been getting along amazingly well lately. I think it helps that he is able to make himself understood more often now, and she has developed a sense of patience with him that I’ve not seen before. As with all things, I’m sure it’s just a phase, but I hope it’s also a foundation. I can handle repeating the scene from Lowe’s a few weeks ago when he reached up to hold her hand while they walked through the store.

He had his 18 month check-up this week and he weighs 23 lbs. and 2 oz, measured 32.5 inches long and has 8 teeth. He’s a skinny little thing for sure. We're supposed to try to fatten him up a little with Pediasure - the idea being that he might drink it since it's sweet like a melted milkshake, but we'll see. He was very proud to recieve his special "ju-ju" and needed to carry all four bottles out of there himself, but I think he's over it already. It's not juice.

The EGR Update
I’ll just give you two recent quotes that made me laugh.

While Dave and I were discussing our supper plan and his need for ice cream the other night, Ella kept asking me if we were going to get ice cream. I told her we would have to assess the situation after we ate. She went bouncing across the room to tell Dave excitedly, “Daddy! We have to assess the situation first!”

The same night while we were eating, Dave was talking about something “not coming up in this joint,” to which she immediately replied, “This is a house, Dave Roper.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When the No-Kid Zone Becomes the Kid-Zone

Or Mommy is a Silly Fool

I was off work yesterday; Dave was not. I had two goals for the day: 1. Grocery shopping and 2. Get to gymnastics on time. I did shower before bed Sunday night, but I didn't wash my hair so the top of me was in full greasy teenager mode even if the rest of me was at least not smelly. Since I have a monkey for a son whom I'm terrified to leave unattended for more than a few minutes at a time, taking a shower when I am the only adult in the house can be quite tricky. I decided I had to do it because while the people at Publix could probably handle my greasy hair, I wasn't about to walk up into the crowd of Perfect Moms at gymnastics looking nasty.

I opted to lock them in my bedroom and shower as quickly as possible with the bathroom door open. We prepared the area.
Ready for Mommy's Shower
As you can see from this picture, shower time requires a lot of stuff. A bag full of baby things and the baby to use it on, a doctor's kit for doctoring the baby and distracting the little brother, and three blankets for a rolicking game of Goody-Hog. (I have no idea what a Goody-Hog is, but I do know that it is a game they made up and it is not a groundhog. I also don't really understand the game except that they roll around in the floor in blankets and declare each other the Goody-Hog. When asked to play, I do so enthusiastically, but, really I don't get it.) Notice what is missing from the picture? The children.

That's right, we brought all their crap into my toy-free bedroom and they did not even play in there. Why? Because they were busy turning my shower into a Little People Naked Party, complete with the baby doll, Maggie Beth. She's not even made for bathing, but Ella scrubbed her pink anyway. We had to put her in the dryer when she was finished. Luke just ran in and out of the shower, waving his hands around in the air and yelling, "Wheeeee!" Like he does when he slides down the slide.
Little People Naked Party
Because there is no door on our shower, I could not contain him so the bathroom floor was one big puddle. The the hardwood outside the bathroom became a puddle because neither of my children grasp the concept of actually drying themselves with the towels I wrap around them.

Once I finally got everyone dressed and the bathroom and bedroom put back in order, I found this.
Luke dismantling the alphabet puzzle.
That was all well and good. He was occupied for a few minutes while I started a load of laundry until he realized I was doing laundry and needed to help.
Laundry Helper
At this point, every time I pulled one of Dave's shirts from the basket, he yelled, "Daddy!" Then he started throwing clean clothes back into the dirty clothes basket and we had to abort the mission.

We finally made it out of our house and did our shopping - at 2 grocery stores because my feeble mind didn't remember all of the things (that were on my list!) for supper. I got them home and fed them lunch, and put away the groceries and cleaned up the alphabet puzzle and unloaded the dishwasher and rotated the laundry.

Then I found this.
Mopping with Dog Water
They were very graciously mopping the floor with the dog's water. Poor dog. (Side note - EGR still prefers to go pantless most of the time. Luke is very much in the middle of the I-Just-Learned-How-To-Take-My-Clothes-Off Stripper Phase. There is a lot of nakedness in my house at any given moment and I'm not talking about the fun adult kind.)

After I cleaned up the puddle that was "drying" in the floor, I went back to the laundry and found this.
Alphabet Puzzle. Again.
That's the alphabet puzzle, out again, 6 feet down the hall from the original location. This is where I stopped documenting and just embraced the idea that I would just clean up after them and try to keep them from harm. We did make it to gymnastics on time, and I did pack their lunches and make dinner (which they refused to eat so they had Cinnamon Croast Tunch), but then I offered Dave $10 to bathe them while I hid in the basement. They went to sleep early and I sat on the couch.

This morning I got up at 5 and took a shower all by myself and got dressed and ate breakfast. All by myself. Then I got them up and dressed and to Grandmother's house, where I realized that they were ready for a break when Luke peeked up over the back of the couch and blew me a kiss, saying, "Bye-bye. Door!" while pointing for me to leave.

And all I could think was, "Well, played sir. I'll be on my way now."

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Around the House

I've been feeling so uninspired lately that Dave actually questioned why something he said this very week wasn't reported here. The answer? I guess I haven't been paying enough attention. He followed that up with this classic last night when talking about his recent illness.

"I wonder if it's because I've been wiping [Luke's] nose with my fingers and then getting a dip of Skoal?"

Um, yes? Probably so? Don't you know that's what t-shirts are for, provided there are no tissues or wipes? And there are tissues and wipes, and you know it, because you make fun of my roll of toilet paper in the kitchen all the time. But you are using your fingers to wipe his nose? Then getting Skoal without washing them first?

Sexy. Almost as sexy as the sound he makes when he hacks up his spleen coughs. But enough about that. I am just relishing the fact that the last two times the kids have been sick, Dave has been sick with them, not me. Is it possible that like an ER nurse or a preschool teacher, I've finally conditioned my immune system to fight off their little nasties?

Back to the topic at hand, if there is one, after he said that gem about snot and Skoal, I decided to ignore the voice in my head rushing them all to bedtime pay attention and take some notes.

Dave fixed the supper plates last night and put all the stuff away while the kids and I were eating. As he was closing the package of tortillas, Ella asked him what he was doing. He said, "Closing the tortillas," but he pronounced it like "tortila" - without the double "l" that makes the "y" sound (there's your Spanish lesson for today). Immediately, Ella attempted to correct him, except she mixed up the syllables and it sounded like: "Teetoras."

While Luke adds words to his vocabulary on a near-daily basis, he does not yet have the words to say, "I want to put my own sprinkles on my cake!" We know this because as Ella was sprinkling her cake last night, Luke was yelling at us every time Dave or I tried to say anything. Yelling. Each time we opened our mouths. I couldn't figure out what he wanted and I finally let him down out of his booster seat. He went straight to the cabinet, got the last can of sprinkles, climbed back in his chair, and proceeded to sprinkle his cake. I think we got the message.

The sprinkles are in the same cabinet as the onions and garlic. Lately, since he discovered the cabinet and dumped a box of baking soda on the freshly mopped floor (this is why I hate to mop, it invites mess) over the weekend, Luke goes to the cabinet to get an onion and throws it around the kitchen, yelling "Ball!" He might be even more ball-obsessed than Georgia right now. Case in point: As he ate his chicken tacos last night, he held up each little black bean or corn kernel to tell me, "Ball," before he would eat it.

From there we proceeded to bathtime, where we now keep a schedule of who gets to sit in the front of the tub on which night. It's only fair. I know this because I always got to sit in the front of the tub when my sister and I were little, and the few times I was in back, it sucked. (Sorry, Rebecca.) Finally, after Luke tried to drown himself, brush his body with his toothbrush and throw it in the tub, contort himself like he's been travelling with Cirque de Soleil while I put on his diaper and t-shirt, he was ready for bed. Ella put on her own clothes (!) and once Luke was asleep, I went to her room to lay down with her.

When I walked in there, Dave said, "Tell Mommy about your fella, Ella." And she did. A little boy in her class is her fella. They play together every day. Cars and sometimes babies, and he takes care of the babies like she tells him to.

I opted to respond with, "It's good to have all kinds of different friends to play with. That makes school more fun."

I'm also thinking we didn't start reading Amazing You: Getting Smart About Your Private Parts a moment too soon. Think I'm wacko? Guess how old I was when I first chased a boy around the playground trying to kiss him?


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Mommy Meltdowns. They Happen.

Let me tell you about the time I lost my mind. I don’t mean mind losing on the scale of thinking my baby had a tapeworm or lacking balance. I mean a prisoner-of-war style mental breakdown that involved crying inconsolably.

In my boss’s office.

If I'd had any, I would have revealed corporate trade secrets or matters of national security.

It was two years ago, around this time of year, which is always stressful. There is a period of time from right after Christmas until around the time the daffodils bloom that I have a really hard time keeping it all together. I like to think of it as The Crash. In the history of my relationship with Dave, 12 years this May, I cannot remember a year that we didn’t experience The Crash. There are a lot of contributing factors that cause it (the weather, the Christmas let-down, etc.), but it leaves me feeling like my life is woven together with spider silk and I’m either going to get completely tangled up in it or it will all just blow away in the wind. I’m barely holding it together during this time.

So, two years ago, in the middle of The Crash, I was newly pregnant with Luke. In my experience, the first trimester of pregnancy is like walking around in the drowsiness of a codeine cough syrup fog. I could, and sometimes did, sleep anywhere at any time. It’s what the hormones do to me. That was all well and good when I was pregnant with Ella because I could come home and sleep, but when I was pregnant with Luke, I had an 18 month old Ella.

And she was sick. Very sick. We had started our year with a very fun birthday party at the McWane Center, and unfortunately, brought home an unwanted party favor. A nasty, nasty sinus infection. At that point, Ella had already started having ear infections, and so of course, she got another one. And so did I. I cannot remember ever having an ear infection in my life, but after doing my best to get rid of that sinus infection with Sudafed and Tylenol for two weeks (because I was pregnant and couldn’t take anything else), it moved into my ears and I had to call my doctor for antibiotics.

We were both sick, she was not sleeping, and this was the time when she started having apnea episodes because her adenoids were too big. Her sleep went from bad to tragically worse. She was waking up every half hour because she would stop breathing. I was sleeping with her because I was terrified and it was the only way to get any rest at all.

Work was extremely busy, as it tends to be at the first of the year when everyone is back from vacation. It was so busy that I would come into the office at 8 and barely move from my desk until after 5. I had to remember to get up to pee. And eat.

Seriously, I was probably not even qualified to operate a moving vehicle.

It was at that point that The Crash reached its peak –a stupid fight with Dave about something ridiculous. I don’t even know what it was about. But he is the best friend I have in this world, so when I’m in a state of mind like I was then and we cross up, it’s like someone just yanked the rug out from under my feet.

That’s where I was one morning when my boss found me sitting at my desk (in a cube farm), staring vacantly at my laptop, trying not to cry. He said something to me, probably, “How’s it going?” since that’s his usual greeting, and I lost it. I couldn’t speak; I couldn’t look up; I couldn’t not cry. He basically pulled me out of my chair and into his office so I could lose my mind in relative privacy. He waited until I got myself under control enough to talk and asked me what had happened. And I unloaded all of the above, with all the details I left out here, and then I cried some more.

I was so embarrassed, and at the same time, I couldn’t even care.

I have a wonderful boss. He told me to pack my stuff and work from home, and take a nap.

I did – that time, and many others when the exhaustion of pregnancy and toddlerhood was pushing me toward the brink.

The point is, when you are about to reach your wits end - with tooth brushing, sleep deprivation, poop cleaning, shoe putting on, whining, fit throwing, nose wiping, medicine giving, you get the idea – you need a break. A real one. One where you get to do something just for you without a kid hanging on you, while someone else takes care of your normal responsibilities. It might be a couple of hours of nap, or lunch with a friend, or a long soak in the tub, whatever, just take it. You’ll be better for it, and so will you kids. And so will your marriage. And your work, and your entire life perspective. If there’s any way to get one, take a break.

Don’t be me, blubbering like a fool to your boss. Take care of yourself.