Monday, June 30, 2014

Operation Bumpus Naps

So on a whim today I decided to forge new territory - the Afternoon Nap at Home. The conditions seemed just right - we'd been out all morning, we'd had lunch, I'd been feeding the baby on the bed and he fell asleep (the poor kid has not once slept anywhere during the day except in the carrier or car seat - after screaming himself to sleep), so as with most of my parenting decisions, I thought - why not? Now is as good a time as any to institute an afternoon nap.

So, I tried to get him to settle down and read a book with me. I tried to get him to lie down with me on the bed. I told him it was time to take a nap. He wasn't having any of it. Finally I tiptoed out and shut the door. The result? Total hysterical meltdown for twenty minutes. But...then sleep. 

Can I pull this off every day? My argument against naps before was always that I keep him in his room so much during the morning and evening that I just don't have the heart to shut him in there in the middle of the day, too. But...with naps only able to happen in the car, it just means tons and tons of driving. It's exhausting, and expensive, and not good for any of us. The fact is I just haven't had the balls to try to make him nap when he doesn't want to. But as I've mentioned, with preschool putting him down from 12:45-2:45, I feel like I should help out by trying this at home, too.

After all, it can be just like at night, where I (gently) put him in his room and if he just wants to play, that's fine. The only thing that's hard is consistency - I don't want to be one of these people that's hemmed in by nap times; but the reality is most other kids this age are unavailable to play in afternoons because of naps, so I find after lunch we rarely have anything to do outside the house anyway.

Wouldn't it be nice to spend the morning out playing or running errands, come home for lunch and diaper changes, and then *gasp* sleep? Or get work done? Or anything but drive around?

I get the feeling this is going to be yet another thing that I can't believe I let go so long - much like B's horrible sleep as a baby, or running around while eating, or tearing apart the kitchen. I guess like everything in parenting, his not napping (or only napping in the car) really wasn't a problem...until one day, it was. 

So he's at school tomorrow, then I'll try another mid-afternoon nap on Wednesday and see how it goes. I'm sure there will be screaming. But that's ok. Scream all you want, we're miles from where anyone can hear you!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Advice for soon-to-be toddler mommies

This post is long overdue. Now that Bumpus is nearly 2 1/2, I find myself looking back on that difficult 1-2 year and wishing I'd known a couple of things about that particular age. It wouldn't have made that time any easier, but would have saved me a lot of stress! Here's some stuff I have to pass on (unless you know about these things already):

Playgrounds are a minefield. If you have a new walker, you won't be able to let them on their own for even five seconds, since at every turn there are things to put in their mouths/fall from and big kids barreling over your kid. Playgrounds suck. So if you can find ones that are gated and specifically for toddlers. Those are ok. But even ones that have a toddler area, all the big kids come running over to, and guess what? Your toddler only wants to play in the dangerous area. Good times.

No matter how sweet your baby is, they will grab toys out of other kids' hands and make them scream. They also may hit, bite, and push. Don't be alarmed. Every parents of a kid this age or older knows the deal; they all do it. Just correct, redirect, apologize to the other kid's parent, and move on. Eventually they will stop!

Your perfect little one-year-old eater over whom your friends and family constantly exclaim, "wow, he/she eats everything!" most likely will stop eating, sometimes entirely, and you will find your awesome adventurous Thai/Indian/Chinese child's menu reduced to bananas and milk. Again, it's ok. Just keep re-introducing foods and try not to freak out if your child has absolutely nothing for dinner. I have never once had Bumpus wake up screaming because he was hungry, even after having only eaten what felt like a thimble full of food the night before. You may find they eat a big breakfast, less for lunch, and even less for dinner. This seems fairly typical. Unless your kid is dangerously underweight, don't worry about it!

Your kid will most likely take far more pleasure in destroying your household items than playing with their arsenal of toys. This is extremely irritating. Again, they will get over it eventually!

I've found explaining things (why/where/what happens next), giving time warnings when we have to change activities, and giving basic choices (do you want a banana or apple sauce) are hugely helpful and cut down on screaming fits enormously. Might be a little advanced for a kid who just turned one, but worth a shot!

If your child starts hitting/kicking/slapping you "for fun", engaging with it (telling him no, getting mad, explaining why we don't hit) may make him think you're playing a game and will not stop the behavior. For me the only thing that stops this crap right in its tracks is saying "let's not hit, let's do hugs instead!" and giving him a huge bear hug. It sounds crazy but it works every time. My sense is sometimes kids this age get all riled up and want to physically connect with you and don't know how. So turning it into nice physicality seems to fulfill that need.

Ok, that's my been there/done that wisdom in a bottle. Hope it helps someone out there avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

It's Complicated

So apparently both of my Brazilian-living parents, one American, one actually Brazilian, will be living in the States in a month. My father (Brazilian) is living in Maine under suspicious circumstances, and my mother (American) has told my uncle that she's moving to Florida in July because the World Cup has made Rio unaffordable. He was not to tell me or my sister but of course he did, so we'll have to pretend we don't know. 

What does this mean for me? Nothing. It doesn't mean either of them will ever see their grandsons, or that my sons will ever know a biological grand parent. Which saddens me, since grandparents are so much the link to your history and culture. But this falls onto the ever-increasing list of "Things I Can Do Nothing About".

I was annoyed by news of my mother's impending move, and when looked at logically, wondered why - in the end, if she stays, it will certainly make things easier on me and my sister when we have to either arrange some kind of long-term care, or *gulp* take care of things after her death. But that's only if she stays. She's moved back and forth from Brazil a dozen times, each time proclaiming this would be her last move. My father the same. So I can't really glean any credibility from news like this from either of them. What can I say? They're free spirits and nomads. It would be cute if they were in their twenties. 

So much time has gone by since my mother's and my big falling out back in 2006 that my brain has largely been scrubbed of the more painful details - they only return in chagrin-laden flashes now; I find myself saying, "oh, riiiight," and getting a sudden pang of anger or sadness. There are times - especially when I see how normal her email responses are to the pictures I send of the kids - that I wonder if what happened between us was just a psychotic break she had and she's normal now but doesn't know how to reach out. After all, I've changed enormously in eight years - why should I deprive her of that possibility?

But what I think is really going on is that now that I'm a parent, I suddenly have empathy for all parents, including my own. Things that seemed so awful in my own childhood - anything as dumb as my mother insisting on taking a shower before we opened Christmas presents to leaving me alone in our NY apartment when I was twelve to go to Japan - now has a rationale in my brain: well, maybe she really wanted a was the 80s, people left kids alone all the time...etc etc. I guess I'm afraid to judge her now because I so fear the judgement of others. Funny how that works, isn't it?

I was so relieved B's rash is healing because I didn't want the school to think I was neglecting him; I'm so paranoid of looking selfish or uninterested. Where does this come from? I'm sure a few decades of therapy could sort it out for me!

My mother and I are not friends on Facebook. But if we were I'm sure we'd both list our relationship as It's Complicated.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Today was Bobby's first day at preschool! It wasn't as monumental a change as it is for most kids since he's gone to this place on weekends since he was just a few months old. When I walked him in this afternoon he just ran off to play as usual. The only thing different was he had a cubby with his name on it and there was a note for me on their upcoming activities. 

So what did I do with my "time off"? Tried to comfort a baby who pretty much fussed and fussed and fussed for about five hours straight. No rest for the weary, huh? It reminded me of the days I would try to stay home with B when he was this age and he would do the same thing. Sooo...I guess babies don't want to lie around in bed and watch documentaries?

I actually got quite a lot of work done as my phone and email blew up today. Just a reminder that my event, which will set my financial future for the next year, looms just two months away. I'm trying to do all the ordering of products, anything that involves a wait time, now, before my sister visits and I go to Hawaii. Before you know it it'll be the last week in July and then I'll have just a month-! I still can't get used to the idea that I have two whole week days in which to work. I'm already acclimated to only working at night, after dinner, when I'm thoroughly exhausted. Like now, for example.

So tomorrow is business as usual - playgrounds, driving around, green tea at Starbucks - then back to school Thursday. Yippee! I'm so happy I could spit.

Monday, June 23, 2014


Bumpus' little back pack is all full of labeled clothes and ready to go tomorrow. I'm glad that I don't have to worry about his freaking out - I would be very nervous if I'd never left him before, or if this place and people were new to him. Still now that this much-anticipated moment is at last here, I do find myself a little contemplative.

This is the first official turning my child over to an institution, something most moms experience way earlier than me, even in those havens of generous maternity leave like Canada or Britain. It's been just me & Bumpus all day for two years and three months. That's a long time. But now I just have to trust this place - that they'll keep him safe, protect him from mean kids the way I would, feed him good food the way I would, keep his behavior in check the way I would. It's the first time I'm sharing parenting him, and it's weird.

On a darker note, leaving my child at a preschool a couple of days a week also means I'm exposing him to certain risks - while far less risky than every time I strap him in the car and drive out of our garage, still - there's a chance, although minuscule, that the place will fall victim to an epidemic, that some random angry person will wander in with a gun wanting to make a point, that an earthquake will hit and I won't be able to get to him. Yes. Any number of these things could happen. But as with everything child-related, you just have to cross your fingers and hope it doesn't happen to you. 

Today I nipped out for a couple of hours to get my teeth cleaned and left both kids with #1 babysitter, who has never handled both kids at once except when they were both asleep. I was delighted to return home and find Bumpus actually napping. He slept about an hour and a half, woke up exceptionally cranky (which I diffused with a long cuddle session), had dinner, then went back to bed. I have to admit right now that since transitioning to his toddler bed and his own room, I have not once even attempted to get him to nap at home. I just wouldn't even know how to do it - for how much time he spends in that room alone in the mornings and evenings, how can I put him in there in the middle of the day, too? So it's a combination of the guilt I feel for taking such liberties with his wake time and bed time, and just plain lack of knowledge how to actually make a nap happen, that's kept me from trying it. But oh, God, a mid-afternoon nap would be so amazing. Dare I try it, with preschool having nap time too? Can I? 

Thanks for all your suggestions on how to alleviate his rash. I've been using Vaseline, which seems to be slowly working - today was the first day there was no bleeding. They used A&D ointment on Saturday at the baby kennel (now preschool); maybe that started the road to healing and now the Vaseline is protecting the area so it doesn't get re-infected? Anyway, it's great seeing him not in so much pain in the mornings when I change that gross overnight diaper. Potty training can't come soon enough, if you ask me!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Last week

I have started a blog post so many times this week, just to get distracted or have the phone battery run out or lose interest. I think this time I'm just going to power through and publish something. Deal? Deal.

Bumpus starts preschool day after tomorrow. I had a little preview of what my life will be like this summer when I dropped him there Sat with no plans in particular for myself and opted to have a lovely picnic at the Silverlake meadow, just me and Theo. Remember those days of one immobile baby on a blanket? How did I not acknowledge how frigging easy life was then? Just as youth is wasted on the young, so is the ease of first time motherhood on first time mothers. I'm telling you, the second baby is so much easier, for a million reasons, but not the least of which is the first hand knowledge of how much harder it gets later, coupled with already being acclimated to the daily indignities of being woken up all night, being peed and thrown up on on a daily basis, etc. But somehow I never pictured myself having the luxury again of lying on a blanket reading with a happy, cooing baby next to me. I couldn't kiss him enough and I could tell the people around me were pretty charmed. 

It's just so odd to be having this experience at (nearly) 42. I think of myself and use the term "young mother", but that of course means the children are young, not me. I could very easily be their grandmother. Everything is so fresh and new, yet I am soooo not. It's so weird to think how different things will be when the boys are teenagers - what I'll look like, what car we'll have, what the house will look like (assuming we even still live here). And that someday I will look back at pictures of me in my forties with a baby and a toddler and think even with my crow's feet and turkey neck how young I looked. 

For some reason a lot of people have asked me lately if I'm having any more children. My stock answer is that if I were only younger, yes I would. And that's really true. Yes, despite how much I bitch about being a full time stay at home mom and how hard toddlers are, I would have at least one more if I had a husband, more money, and a few more years in my thirties ahead of me. Mostly because everything about this last pregnancy and birth was so much easier, and all my fears about having more than one child have not come true. If I could wait until Bumpus was in kindergarten to have another, I would. But I don't have that kind of time. Another lifetime, huh?

In the meantime, Theo has porked up a lot in the last couple of weeks. He is solid as a linebacker and is wearing his six month onesies. Does this mean he will be able to sleep through the night soon? God I hope so! His new habit is to wake around 10 or 11, then again around 1 AM, then after that it's kind of a blur. I preferred it when he didn't wake at all until 1 or later...but I have noticed he sleeps better in the morning when he wakes up at 10 to be fed. So, I'm down with that. 

Either he's super easy or I'm just better at this now, but this child doesn't give me a lick of trouble. Sure, he screams his head off in the car, is tough to put down, throws up gallons all day long soaking anything he comes in contact with. But in the scheme of things, eh. It's no big deal. Mostly he's just cute and dimply and coos and squawks and pulls his legs up so he looks like a little peanut. And I want to Eat.Him.Up.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

T minus one week

A week from today is Bobby's first day at preschool. To say I'm gleefully anticipating it is an understatement. It doesn't mean I don't love him and don't want to spend time with him. It does mean toddlers are frigging hard, I'm ill-equipped, and I'm excited to see how he'll blossom in a structured, fun environment. I do think my particular circumstances call out for early preschool - not having a partner to give me regular (free) breaks, not having a job to get me out of the house, and not being suited to being the full-time caretaker of small children (I would rather clean septic tanks for a living than be a nanny to someone else's toddler). It's just me & him & baby all alone, all of the time. Even having two afternoons "off" a week is going to make such a difference. I will celebrate the first day by heading off to mommy & me yoga, something I have not been able to enjoy since before B was mobile, which seems like a million years ago.

I'm glad for the last month or so as I've taken him every Saturday, he has grown accustomed to the place again (when he transitioned to the preschool area from the baby area, it was kind of rough on him). He never cries or clings to me when I leave him now, which is a good feeling. Even better is when I go to pick him up and he runs and hugs me. That's pretty awesome.

I bought him one of those cute owl back packs and put his name on it with a laundry pen. I'm so excited to pack his little lunches in the cute Japanese lunchbox where years ago I kept condoms. Full circle, ya know?

The advent of preschool is coming not a moment too early. My parenting has kind of sucked lately. Freaked out by various unpleasant playground incidents (and now that school is out, every public place is lousy with big kids running rampant - ugh!), exhausted from three months of running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and just fed up in general, I have resorted more and more to television and driving around for hours all day, both things I'm not at all proud of. 
I've also been spending a small fortune at the Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, and Baskin Robbins drive thrus. All of this is not at all like me. I'm so much better than this. But right now it's kind of the best I can do.

I tried out a new sitter last night that I got from urbansitter. So, a total stranger and not recommended by a friend, which did stress me out a bit. But with my main sitter now married and no doubt planning a family of her own soon, and my two backup sitters pretty much always unavailable these days, it was time to branch out. This gal was very sweet and handled Theo's wake up for milk around midnight really well (yes, I treated myself to a rare night out dancing, so I could come right home in case there was a problem), so hopefully having a new, close by sitter will allow me a bit more spontaneity. 

I spent a bizarre couple of days with a horrible crick in my neck and the fun of something called "tonsil stones" (chunks of calcification that lodge in the back of your throat and feel like tiny hailstones) but thankfully both of these things have resolved themselves. Bobby has a horrible bloody diaper rash that I have been trying to resolve first with Butt Paste and now with maximum strength Desitin, all to no avail. Theo seems to puke up about 300% more fluid than he consumes. But other than that, we're all good.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Donor Appreciation Day!

While I avoid all the gushing "I have the best dad/I have the best husband" posts on Facebook today, I would like to take a moment to thank the 23-year-old guy who walked into an unassuming medical office in Pasadena, looked at some porn, did his business in a cup, and made my two sons possible.

I know, it's not very romantic, is it? But that's AI for you, married or not - you'd like to think of the conception of your children being a beautiful, spiritual moment between two people who love each other, but I think it's rarely that. More often than not even when children are the result of sex, even then it's probably more "this had better work this time" or "oh my god I hope I don't get pregnant" or "let's just get this over with so I can go back to sleep". So as with most things in life, that "magical moment" is probably rare.

So this random guy, whose name I may or may not know sixteen years from now, did such a simple thing, that made such an incredible thing possible for me and untold other women. I don't kid myself that he thought about anything other than the money. But that's ok. However you get there, you know?

So Donor, wherever you are, I appreciate you. I hope someday you know the joy of a good relationship and your own children. I hope you wonder about your offspring and I hope you get to meet them. They're pretty awesome. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Had the preschool orientation today, which was largely unnecessary as B is already there every week anyway. Actually it was kind of stressful because B thought he was there to play and I had to keep dragging him away from things. I think I'm doing a better job of treating him like an intelligent human being and not a brick wall, so now I explain everything we're doing/about to do/just did, and it seems to cut down on meltdowns. He may not be happy to leave the cute plastic car, but if I explain today we're not playing, just visiting, and we'll be back soon, he forgets about it a lot quicker than if I just wrench it out of his hand wordlessly.

I think he's going to do great, and as I've said before, just those two afternoons are going to make a huge difference in our lives. They want him to nap, so I may get in the routine of having him nap at the same time at home (worth a shot, anyway). Having that afternoon nap back would be awesome. And like many preschools, they will help with potty training, the prospect of which makes me positively giddy.

There are a couple of things I am preparing myself for:

B possibly picking up weird habits from other kids, and

B missing many days, particularly in winter, due to illness, since they have strict guidelines about how long the kids need to be fever/vomit/rash-free before returning. So if I think he'll be making every Tuesday and Thursday year 'round I know I'm kidding myself. There are going to be lots of days I pay for that he doesn't get to attend. Which sucks. A lot. Thankfully being on Tuesdays and Thursdays means I can avoid the spate of holidays that fall on Mondays and Fridays at least. 

They wanted to know about the dad of course since I left all that information blank. They advised I write "unknown" so someone can't pretend to be the dad and pick him up, which made sense to me. Part of me wanted to write on the form, "could have been one of three guys", ha ha! One must have a sense of humor about these things.

I'm glad he's starting in two weeks and not now because the place is lousy with Father's Day stuff. I'm glad we're not going to have to deal with that for a whole year! I asked how they handle Father's Day / Mother's Day for kids who don't have those parents; they kind of wishy-washily answered that they "wouldn't mention it as much." Um, we'll revisit this next June, shall we?

So now it's for real - labeling clothes, drop offs, making sure his nails are trimmed/hair cut/body clean so they don't think I'm a loser and a shitty parent. I feel like we're entering a new era of civility. There's a great shot in one of my favorite Australian movies called Walkabout which depicts the shoed foot of a girl who has been wandering in the sandy outback for months finally clicking down on pavement; it feels a bit like that.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Worn Out

I'm tired. Bone tired. I suppose it had to catch up with me eventually, huh? I do believe new mothers are blessed with extraordinary powers - mainly, patience and energy (at least I felt this way), but I think that coming up on three months post partum, these powers have started to dissipate. And now it's 8 PM and I can barely peel myself off the couch to go to bed. 

I'll admit occasionally I think about how many years it'll be until I get a moment to myself, get to sleep in, get a vacation sans children, and I despair a little bit. I try to remind myself how I had all these things before children and really, they weren't that great; I was mostly just lonely. But under the haze of the sheer physical exhaustion I feel at the moment, all of those things sound so nice.

Theo is not digging the carrier. He just lunges and screams. It's awful. But he doesn't want to be put down, either - he wants me to hold him. I thought the carrier was the perfect solution - hands-free baby carrying - but right now it's not working. I so wish I could pop him in a stroller! But he's months away from sitting independently, I doubt there's a double stroller anywhere that will fit in my tiny car, and I can't really use the one I used for B since B still needs to be in one. What do I do?

B was at the Baby Kennel yesterday and I was none too thrilled to discover as I picked him up that they had all the kids in some sand and water play area, so his pants, socks, and non-water-friendly shoes were soaked and covered in sand. I felt like saying to the caretakers, "what the fuck am I supposed to do with this???" So add to my evening cleaning and drying his shoes. Good times.

There are a million little irritations. The fact that my garage, made out of rough ancient concrete, is too narrow to open doors on both sides of my car, so I somehow manage to regularly scrape the skin off my elbows just maneuvering around. Theo somehow always spits out his pacifier at the most inopportune moments, causing it to land in the worst possible places - B's shitty morning diaper, the filthy garage floor, the open toilet. I can't get anything out of my refrigerator without squatting down to the floor and pulling everything out and putting it on the floor. There is a thin layer of playground sand on everything in this house. I think my sprinklers have stopped working again. Bumpus has a very worrying rash on his arms, legs, and around his mouth that doesn't bother him but I think I may need to have looked at soon - preferably tomorrow. And I really, really would like to sleep for more than three hours in a row, just once. 

Thanks for letting me bitch. It's nothing; it's just the exhaustion talking.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Smooth Transitions

This is the term used by my Wonder Weeks app to describe the phase Theo, at twelve weeks, is going through right now. I would not describe anything about today as "smooth".

We had one of those miserable "everyone's crying at once" moments in a restaurant. One of my rules of thumb is to stagger the care between B & T - I get Theo ready for the day first, I feed them at different times, Bobby goes to bed first, etc. Attempting to bathe, feed, or change a newborn and a toddler at the same time is just horrendous. But unfortunately it was lunch time, and B had to eat, and I was starving, and T started screaming inconsolably. I tried everything - bouncing, carrier, no carrier, walking around, finally a desultory attempt at breast feeding...and I became, as I sometimes am, that frazzled mother with no lipstick and my hair in my face, with a table covered in children's sun hats, torn-apart books, sippy cups and splatters of food, with a toddler in a stroller screaming and kicking her legs while her newborn screams, red-faced and stiff, at her naked nipple. Yes. Being a parent of two small children often looks like this. 

And then on the way home you look at them in your rear view mirror and see their angelic, sleeping faces, and your heart could burst for the love you feel for them. And so it goes. 

Still pondering Phase II of Bobby and Theo - as Theo's first three months wind down, his needs are changing, and I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I've been trying to use B's old bouncy seat for T during breakfast - I am getting really sick of handling a screaming, lurching baby who keeps spitting his pacifier onto the floor in the carrier while negotiating a bouncing-off-the-wall Bumpus and cooking his breakfast, feeding it to him (and doing the "you have to sit still and eat" routine, which is exhausting), and then cleaning the entire kitchen, including mopping up all the spilled food off the floor before the never-ending hoards of ants attack it. All of that is a lot more doable without an angry baby on my chest. But I can't leave the baby in the room with us in the bouncy chair, so I put him just outside the baby gate. Yesterday we made it through breakfast before he started crying; today we made it through breakfast and cleanup. Unfortunately, during dinner as I'd expected B thinks the bouncy chair is his and every time I tried to put T in it he threw a fit. Now I don't care if he throws a fit, but I'm not going to put a defenseless baby in the middle of that. So getting to put down the baby ever is a major problem, especially when now the baby actually wants to be put down. 

One of my favorite comedians, Jim Gaffigan, describes what having four kids feels like: "imagine you're drowning, and someone hands you a baby". Today having just two kids felt like that. But it's 7:00 and both kids are secure in their beds, we're all healthy, and I have some mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches in the fridge. Could be worse, right?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Kid Hacks

Yesterday I used B's new health insurance for the first time for his long overdue two year well baby appointment.  It wasn't so bad. The clinic was pretty ghetto, but I guess you get what you pay for, huh? It could have been worse. It wasn't busy, and the staff and nurses were very nice. B freaked out at first when they wanted to weigh and measure him...but thankfully when the doctor came in to do the more intense exam and Theo was having a meltdown, B calmed down and was a big brave boy. Unfortunately I was so frazzled juggling two upset kids and trying to fill out a mountain of paperwork that I kind of snapped when the doctor asked how many ounces of milk B drinks every day - in my head I thought, "how the fuck should I know?" - but I just let out a bitchy sigh and said, "oh, I don't know!" The whole thing was over so fast that I didn't get to ask the doctor two things I had questions about - B's constantly running nose, and his gross cradle cap. Everyone said I need to start potty training. Sigh! I don't know if I'll ever be at the pay scale to have an awesome dedicated pediatrician I can call and ask every little thing who really knows the kids. Let's just hope they stay healthy!

Work continues on making the back yard a useable space. Handyman put a gate on the stairs leading up to the pool which makes things slightly less treacherous out there. I would never leave a kid unattended out there for even a second, but at least I can blink now. We spent the afternoon out there. I love that B can actually play now - he got in his kiddie pool, in the sand box, threw balls around, played on his tricycle. Two is shaping up to be much better than one in so many ways. If we can spend the summer with minimal visits to over crowded play spaces and playgrounds, that would make me very happy.

I found a solution to the car screaming issue. Theo's constant wailing doesn't bother me so much - I just tune it out - but recently B has started randomly screeching in protest whenever the baby starts crying, and it's awful. I have a terrible reaction to loud, sudden noises, and this is just that - ear-splitting, irritating, and puts me on edge all day. Today I finally busted out the earplugs I keep on me at all times, and all of a sudden I felt so happy and relaxed! I can still hear everything, but that screeching no longer cuts through my brain like a rusty razor blade. Until Theo stops his car screaming and B stops screeching in protest, this is going to be my new thing. Done and done!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A whole new breed

After several false starts, I got Bumpus to wear his little play mei tai baby carrier today. The first couple of times I tried to put it on him, even after carefully explaining what it was and showing him how it worked, he screamed and threw it on the floor. For some reason today he was game, and watching him pat his stuffed animal's back and kiss his head as I do Theo's was the cutest thing ever. Unfortunately though he was unwilling to take it off...ever. We had to get in the car and somehow I managed to get the stuffed dog out of the carrier and let him hold it instead so I could at least strap him into the car seat, but getting him into his pajamas was another thing! Well, can't complain about his enthusiasm, anyway! 

When we were walking to the car a (progressive-looking) guy with a beard drove by and stared at B with his carrier on with a "wow, look at that kid, that's cool!" kind of look. And in that moment I was really proud to be a parent of a whole new, and different, breed of young men coming up in the world.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Turning the corner

I don't know what it is, but the past few days with B have been a lot more pleasant. I think it's a combination of a pernicious diaper rash clearing up (if I had that going on on my girl parts I'd be pretty oppositional too) and maybe the fact that I am encouraging B to do more big kid stuff. As part of my plan to stop underestimating his abilities, I have been asking him to do things, and amazingly, he does them! Here are just a few:

Put unwanted food in garbage
Take sippy cup out of/put into fridge
Give me dishes to put in sink
Open and close gate to yard
Open and close car door
Climb in and out of car seat unassisted
Open packages we get in the mail
Find his sippy cup in the car or in his room 
Pick out which pajamas he wants to wear

All of this may not mean much to you if you're the type who have been doing things like this with your kids since they were babies, but to me this is astonishing. He can do stuff, and he actually listens to me! It's a Festivus miracle. 

As Bumpus grows in his comprehension and abilities, so does young Teddy. Now when I put him on the floor when I shower, when I come out he's wiggled all the way across the room. He is doing his darnedest to flip over. And he requires a lot more time to hang out and look at things - he's starting to hate being in the carrier in the house, which is a major problem for me. I'm not sure what to do instead - if I leave his swing or bouncy seat around, B will get in them and break them (I swear he almost destroyed the swing the one time I made the mistake of  leaving it out), and I'm not too keen on having T in anything on the floor like that with B running around. The other day Bumpus almost took T's eye out with a plastic recorder; I don't trust them being within reach of each other unless I'm right there officiating, and even then...But now more than ever T is screaming and straining against the carrier, and honestly, my back has had it. This morning I was able to leave T on the bed while I made breakfast for Bumpus, but usually he gets fed up and wants to be held. Again, not sure what to do about this. 

Thinking about T getting bigger, heavier, and needing more from me, all while B is still two, scares me a bit. The newborn stuff was easy because he just slept all the time. Now he actually needs attention. This should be interesting. 

Actually got good sleep last night - at the first waking (about 12:30 am) I just brought him to my bed and left him there, then he didn't wake again until four, then a bit around six but we didn't get up for the day until 9:30, which was awesome. But then tonight he woke at 9:45 to be fed. It's so all over the place, I don't know what, if anything, to do to get better sleep. I am going to try this sort of hybrid approach - letting him sleep in my bed the second half of the night, if he sleeps for longer stretches. Some people have recommended putting him to bed later so instead of him sleeping 7-12 he can sleep 10-3 or something like that...but I started putting him down early because he was so tired and cranky, and he always falls asleep right away which tells me he's genuinely ready. But it does suck that the hours he's up and hungry and raring to go are those wee hours of the morning where I count on being able to sleep. It's too bad we don't live on a farm where we could all happily be up for the day at 4 am!

Here are some rare non-selfie shots taken of us at a street fair today. I can't believe that cutie pie is actually my baby! Crazy!