Wednesday, July 27

What's New with Doodles

You know how in movies they often parody parenthood by showing an out-of-control toddler tearing a place up as the parent runs helplessly behind, trying to grab the child while at the same time repairing the mess he's made and prevent him from hurting himself? Well, turns out there's no parody involved there; it's simply reality TV! On Saturday, we made a trip to Target for various items, and we decided to let Doodles walk ("decided" being used loosely here; he refused to remain seated in the cart and he can now climb out of his stroller). Well, he had a blast. He began tearing up and down the aisles at top speed while Adam chased him trying to catch him. At one point, he was down one aisle, standing by two thin tallish boxes. We could see him from the end, but couldn't get to him quickly enough. I shouted, "Doodles, leave the boxes alone! No touch the boxes!" and Adam yelled, "Doodles, don't you dare!" Doodles gave us one of his adorable grins, looked us squarely in the eyes, and yanked the boxes over, barely missing himself in the process. Then, with a "That's funny!" he laughed and took off again. We ended up quickly leaving, with a wriggling, screaming Doodles under Adam's arm (in a football hold), yelling, "Walk! Down! Down! Walk!" We got many sympathetic looks from other parents as I reminded Doodles that walking is a privilege, not a right, and so far, he hasn't earned it.

Adam describes Doodles's tantrums as an Incredible Hulk thing. One minute, the kid is serene and all is right in the world. He'll be playing, things are fine. And then, wham!. The Hulk emerges. Like this morning. He wanted to play with his potty. He doesn't use it yet for it's intended purpose, but he likes to just goof around with it. We brought it into the living room for him to use. "Potty outside!" he demanded. "You want to take the potty outside?" we asked. "Yes! Potty outside." "Sweetie," I told him, "the potty doesn't go outside. We keep it inside." The flash of anger was instantaneous. You could see the anger exploding. "No! No! No!" he yelled as suddenly the potty is flying across the living room. He's pulling out the bowl, flinging the lid. "No, no, no!" He's yelling and starting to cry. "Potty outside!!" After a few moments of this, his finger goes in his mouth, another finger goes to his belly button, and he's calm again. The Hulk subsides... for now.

This is one of those stories that I debated blogging about, but it seems we're entering a new era with Doodles, so I simply have to relate it. This morning, I was, um, indisposed. Doodles, with the subtlety of a bull, comes charging into the bathroom. He walks up to me and yanks down farther my pants and underwear. "Momma's p*enis?" he asks, taking a good look. I thought for a moment, and decided there was no point in avoiding the conversation. "Daddy has a p*enis and Doodles has a p*enis. Mommy has a v*agina." Satisfied, he walked away saying, "Mommy's 'gina. Mommy's 'gina." Why do I have a feeling this conversation is going to come back to haunt me?

What's New with Sugar Face

Blogging is going to be a little tricky, as I can no longer sit. Well, I mean I can sit, but after about five minutes, I'm in pain, so sitting really isn't an option for me. So I can either stand at the computer, which puts the keyboard at pretty much knee level, or I can sit on my fitness ball (as I'm doing right now), which puts the keyboard at chest level. Either way, typing is not that easy.

Sleep is now a thing of the past. Between the vivid dreams, the inability to roll over, and the constant need for a bathroom trip, I'm pretty much through with sleeping until, oh I suppose, we Ferberize Sugar Face.

We have gone ahead and hired a doula. While I am not actually planning (read: I haven't taken classes or anything) a natural birth, I'd like to see if I can do it. As far as I was concerned, the worst thing about the C-section was the epidural. It really terrified me. So we found a doula who has helped other unprepared folks go the natural route. On the other hand, she is also open to medication, so if I change my mind midstream, she'll support that choice as well. I feel pretty good about our decision to use her and I think it's making both Adam and me feel more comfortable with this whole alien "labor" idea.

My weight gain had been pretty slow most of the pregnancy, but I'm really making up for it my third trimester, which is kind of shocking as it doesn't seem like I'm actually eating that much--there's not a whole lot of room for food in there! Sugar Face is making lots of very big dramatic movements that are starting to ache. I'm also having Braxton Hicks like crazy.

My very kind Tuesday playgroup threw us a surprise shower. It was such a great feeling and the cupcakes and snacks were yummy (hmmm, maybe I'm starting to understand that weight gain) and they were incredibly generous with a gift certificate to Babies R Us. Which is great, because I still have lots I need to get (top of the list is a breast pump--I used a manual one last time and I will not make that silly mistake again!). Now I just have to get off my fitness ball and get shopping!

Wednesday, July 20

Your Turn!

Now that we're getting close, I've got some questions here for you more or differently experienced parents out there. If you have any answers, drop me an e-mail (or leave a comment, if you prefer):

1) Anyone used a doula? Pros and cons, please. Would you use one again?
2) Have any favorite books on sibling interaction/rivalry to recommend?
3) Got any advice on VBACs?


33 Weeks, 4 days, and Counting

I am officially uncomfortable. Things on my body ache, places I won't mention in my blog. Leg cramps wake me up in the middle of the night. Last night, Adam and I took the second part of our childbirth refresher course, which is really a misnomer for us, as we never really had childbirth the first time, as Doodles was an unplanned/planned C. (And on a side note, I feel like this area has really become our home: the class was held at our Boston hospital, which has how many zillions of babies in the Greater Boston area born there?, and yet, when we walked in, it turns out we knew three out of the other four couples in the class.)

The first part of our class, a few weeks ago, was specifically on VBACs, which was kind of a waste, as the teacher wasn't great and we didn't hear anything we didn't already know (I'll have to be on a fetal monitor the entire time; I can't be induced; blah blah blah).

Last night's class, though, was quite interesting. First of all, it was validating. The teacher said right off the bat that we're probably feeling a whole lot more pain than we did the first time around and she even specifically singled out that place I won't mention, at which point I smacked Adam in his side because on the car ride over, I had said, "I'm feeling horrible pain in that place I won't mention in my blog," and he said, "What? What the hell are you talking about? How can you be hurting there?"

Secondly, the class spent more time on sibling adjustment than anything else, which was helpful, alarming, and interesting. Lots of talk about how to refer to the new baby and to Doodles, how to talk in a way that won't alienate Doodles, what to do when Doodles shows an interest in breastfeeding, how we shouldn't be feeling guilty about our first child by having a second child (something I've been feeling strongly lately--my poor Doodles, the light of our lives, is about to have his happy little life turned upside down), etc.

Basically what it boils down to is Doodles, at some point, will regress. It may not happen right away. It may not happen in three months. But at some point in that first year, Doodles will stage some sort of revolt against the baby or against us. Adam and I are going to start a pool about when Doodles comes up to us and states, "All done baby! All done!"

In three weeks, Doodles will be attending a sibling class, specifically for two to three year olds, at the hospital, (nooooo! not a class for two year olds! Okay, technically he'll be a week and a half shy of two, but still. Where's my baby boy?!?) Here's where they'll teach him not to smack the baby and yell, "That's funny!"; feed her Veggie Booty when she's just three weeks old; or get upset when she won't play 'tar (guitar) with him. Well not exactly. But that's what we really need.

C Is for... Pretension?

Adam and I live a comfortable life. We don't have a vacation house on the Cape but then we don't worry about making our mortgage payment. I find Bugaboos offensive (why--why--does anyone need to spend $700 on stroller?). I find my Urban Baby e-mails to be ridiculous enough that I can't bear to unsubscribe (yes, I do need to spend $1000+ on my child's crib! Um, not). I buy 75 percent of Doodles clothes off of ebay and the rest from Target.

So why in heck did I get a mailing to subscribe to Cookie magazine, a new parenting magazine "for busy but choosy parents"? I don't even need to mock this, because it is so absurd, it speaks for itself (but why would I let it do that?). Cookie will bring you:

  • The fast-growing market for children's collectibles. Whether you want to decorate your child's room with original sketches by contemporary artists or snap up original Laurent de Brunhoff's Babar prints at auction, Cookie will steer you toward what's worth investing in for your child. (Because, YES, this is where I want to invest my money! On objects for the wall that an infant will either pee on, spit up on, or ignore or that a toddler will rip down, color on, or smear his poop on to.)
  • It's sleek, it's chic, and you can't have it. Haute-design new nursery furniture from Italy is as good as it gets, but you can't find it in American stores. Cookie, however, can help you get it with a single phone call. (Oh great. So now not only can I not get a babysitter to call me back, but I have to worry about the fact that I'm being snubbed by furniture salesmen?)
  • Is that an octopus your baby is eating? World-class chefs reveal how to make even the most exotic foods acceptable to young palates, and share the recipes they created for their own children. (Excuse me for a moment here. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, that's good! Ha ha ha! So while I'm trying to pry the Veggie Booty from my child's clenched fist while I'm forcibly cramming a banana in his mouth, I'm going to introduce octopus. Great idea! Tell me, do you introduce the octopus to your baby before or after the strained peas?)
  • How to negotiate with your nanny... Cookie will bring you the best advice on how to hire (and fire) a nanny.... (Because if you're the kind of person who is going to feed your baby octopus, you're definitely going through a nanny a week. I mean it is so hard to find a good nanny who knows how to prepare octopus!)
  • The ultimate in kid-friendly travel. We're not in Disney World anymore. Top destinations--for those who can afford it--include monkey-watching in Belize, dog-sledding in Alaska, and a 5-star Caribbean resort that caters to young guests with child-sized robes and a full-time kids' concierge. (Let me stop you right there. We can't afford it. Remember that mortgage I mentioned that we're able to pay? That pretty much eliminates our vacation budget. Yes, we're not in Disney World. We're in our own mosquito-drenched back yard, hanging out by the kiddie pool, dreaming about Disney World.)
  • Natural childbirth--have we all gone mad? (Yes! We have! Until we can pay someone else to give birth for us, we should do like the Brazilians and all have scheduled Cs!)

  • Where to order exclusive, imported kids' skin and hair products (because babies prefer to have only French soaps surrounding them when they're going to poop in the bath)
  • How you--and your child--can survive a preschool interview (um, they interview for preschool? Not at our Boys and Girls' Club!)
  • Buying futures: Best investments for your baby's nest egg (what? are you telling me the $50 savings bond I bought Doodles isn't the best way to pay for his college education?)
  • The big Lamaze lie (um...?)

I swear, I'm not making this up. I'm simply not that creative. I couldn't make this up.

Wednesday, July 13

Sometimes They Surprise You

So, my little baby is my little baby, and it seems he'll stay that way forever. And then he does these things--speak in sentences, play pretend, or come up with an astute observation--and I realize that the babyness really doesn't last for long.

We bought Doodles's big boy bed about two months ago and figured we'd move him into it in February or so, when he's 2 1/2. But on Sunday night, he was having a really hard time settling down in his crib. On a whim, I said, "Doodles, would you like to sleep in your big boy bed?" "Yeah," he replied. Unsure about the whole thing, I picked him up and put him in the bed. He immediately settled in. I gave him his Curious George doll, he said, "Monkey! Monkey!" and then got himself ready to sleep. It took him a bit to fall asleep, but he didn't get up once. Nervously, I left him there, closed the bathroom door, found a nightlight for the hallway, and closed the gate at the top of the stairs. And the next thing we knew, Doodles was sleeping. In a big boy bed! The odd thing is, Doodles won't get out of bed by himself. He still calls for us as if he were sleeping in his crib!

Anyway, he's now been in his big boy bed for three nights (including two naps) and it seems to have stuck. I imagine there could be some regressing when Sugar Face shows up, but who knew this would be so easy? These kids, they can really surprise you with what they simply take in stride.

And my little baby? He's still my little baby. He's just my little baby in a big boy bed.

What's on My Mind

Why don't I own the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever? How can I consider my life complete without it?

Confession: I don't like Dr. Seuss. At least not the beginner reader series Dr. Seuss. I actually can live without Green Eggs and Ham, and The Cat in the Hat is a snoozer. Although, we've recently discovered his ABC book, and I have to say, I like the sounds of the words on my tongue, even if they do trip me up a lot.

When I was pregnant with Doodles I read that by reading to/playing music to your child in utereo, s/he will connect to it and respond to it (as proven by the fact that the child will breastfeed more rapidly when they hear the music ex utereo). Doodles has two songs he wants to hear over and over and over again. "Hello Everybody" (from Music Together) and "5 Little Monkeys." In the car, he demands, "Hello! Hello! Monkeys! Monkeys!" I fear Sugar Face is going to exit the womb, and instead of crying, will simply yell out, "Monkeys!" I'm slowly but surely introducing him to new songs by playing them in the car and saying, "Don't you love that song? Let's hear it again!" So as of today, at least, we've added "Cows" and "Busy Song!" to our repertoire. Now that I see that this method works, tomorrow we start to introduce the "Told Me Song" and the "Said Song!"

My child has a catch phrase now. Just as Arnold had "Whatch you talkin' about?" and Joey said, "How you doin'?", my child will say, with a slight giggle, "That's funny!" to simply everything. Smack yourself? "That's funny!" He smacks you? "That's funny!" Drop something? "That's funny!" Wake up in the morning? "That's funny!" See a bus in the road? "That's funny!" The kid thinks the world is a hysterical place. That is, when he's not miserable, having a temper tantrum. I guess he's my kid after all.

That child is obsessed with ice cream trucks. Doesn't eat ice cream. Doesn't even like ice cream to come near him. But a few times we've seen the ice cream truck in the park and he's mesmerized by the sound and gets super hyper. Almost daily, he'll beg me, "Ice cream truck? Ice cream truck?" He calls his toy truck outside his ice cream truck. And on the rare occasion we do see one, the second it drives away, Doodles looks up with me with his big eyes and begs, "More ice cream truck?" If I could conjure up a steady stream of buses, ice cream trucks, and ambulances, he would be the happiest child alive.

Wednesday, July 6

It's Official...

I'm a cow. 31 1/2 weeks pregnant. And I'm a cow. Oddly, I weigh less than I did at this point with Doodles, but I'm twice as big. Moooooo!

I'm Ignoring You

This week I made a phone call I wouldn't have imagined I'd ever have to make. I found myself calling Doodles's pediatrician to whine, "They've secretly replaced my darling angel with this little monster!" I thought they only ever made the switch for Folgers Crystals.

Seriously, we're still a month and a half shy of his second birthday, and the terrible twos have started. The random temper tantrums, the willful disobedience, the absolute making of no sense.

One of his favorite things to do is to look at me, make sure I'm paying attention, then slowly stick his finger out, nearing the stereo--which is definitely a "no touch"--keeping his finger just an inch away.It's kind of like when a kid puts his finger right up next to his sibling, without making contact, and taunts, "I'm not touching you! I'm not touching you!" Doodles hovers there for a few minutes, and then he finally turns to me, gives me an ear-to-ear grin, and--wham!--the finger goes into the stereo. Or, he'll quickly start turning knobs on the stereo before I can stop him, and inevitably he'll turn the volume all the way up, scare himself, and turn to me for comfort. Um, hello? You weren't supposed to be at the stereo in the first place. And yet, he always gets his cuddle.

And then there are the demands that make no sense. Today he stood at the kitchen gate and demanded, "Water!" "Do you want a sippy?" I asked, handing him his cup. "NO!" "Did you want water in a big boy cup?" I asked. "Yeah," he said. I pulled out a plastic cup and filled it up with water. Out shot the hand, "NO!" narrowly missing knocking it from my hand. My mommy reflexes are improving. "Did you want to play with water?" I asked, knowing that one of his favorite activities is taking water from one pot and using measuring cups to scoop the water into another pot. "NO!" "Doodles, what would you like?" "WATER!!!"

I picked up a book an acquaintance recommended called The Mighty Toddler: The Essential Guide to the Toddler Years and it recommends to "pretend to ignore," which is an idea I like. Basically, Doodles is doing a lot of the negative behavior for the attention, so if I remove the attention, then hopefully the behavior will remove itself. We'll see what if it actually works.

Of course, there are positives. He's been incredibly imaginative in his play lately, playing "'tar" (guitar) on pots, pans, drink coasters, chips, and anything else he can pretend to strum. He gets "owies," but kisses from Mommy make them "all better!" He can sing the ABCs from start to finish and about 95 percent of it is understandable. He gives the best "smooches." He says, "Bless you," when you sneeze and when he walks into a room, he asks, "Hi! How are you?" Instead of screaming when he goes down for his nap, I simply say to him, "Doodles, what time is it?" He says, "Nap time," and lets me put him down in his crib. When his nap is done, I hear a little voice calling, "Up, Mommmy! Up, Mommy! Mommy, please, up!"

And I have to keep reminding myself of these cute things as he screeches, "No no no no no no!" over absolutely nothing, walking toward me, hand flapping as he tries to smack me. And I just keep repeating to myself, "I can't hear him! I can't hear him!"