Wednesday, September 28

The Roar of the Toddler

I had some things I wanted to post, but the sounds of a no-napped, milk-refusing, won't-eat-dinner, doesn't-want-to-wear-his-pajamas-or-diaper toddler chased all thoughts from my head. So now I sit here with a sleeping newborn on my lap as Adam tries to get the aforementioned child to bed in a peaceful manner.

What was there to say? My mother, aka Nana, made it safely to Boston. Suffice it to say, in a mere few hours, she proved herself to be the superior caregiver. She not only calmed children, did food shopping, but in her down time she... painted our new shed. Thanks for the help, Peter, but let's face it: someone who both changes dirty diapers and does manual labor wins hands down (although, come to think of it, Peter, I don't believe you changed any diapers).

Of course, she hasn't always been the most positive influence on my older child. Nana enjoys a single glass of red wine with dinner. Which would be fine if on Friday nights, we didn't have our Shabbat juice--grape juice in a wine cup--and allow Doodles to have a sippy of juice (don't tell him but it's actually about 1/4 juice and 3/4 water). When Doodles saw Nana with her wine, he got very excited. "Shabbat juice! Shabbat juice! Doodles Shabbat juice!" Nana is now forced to sneak her wine in the kitchen before her meal to avoid the Shabbat juice meltdowns.

Nana also turned my child onto ice. Nana requires copious amounts of ice for both her water and her ever-present Diet Coke (note to Nana: I believe there are twelve-step programs that can help you. Repeat after me, "My name is Nana, and I'm a Diet Cokeaholic"). Doodles now requires ice, which to his chagrin I will only allow in a sippy cup (I'm afraid of him choking on it if he has it in a big boy cup). However, Nana has been a huuuuuuge help and I live in fear of the day (which is one week from today) that Nana goes home. How do people do it with two kids? HOW? (That is not a rhetorical question: please tell me!)

And on a related note: a happy birthday to Nana, who turns, um, 59 again, tomorrow! Yeah! Happy birthday!

What else to report? Sweetie Pie is not sleeping even remotely through the night. She has horrendous gas, and I've given up eating, well, just about everything. But she had her one-month doc visit today and the doc said that if the gas hadn't improved after my being off of food for just about a full week now, then it probably isn't caused by anything I'm consuming and I can go back to eating. It's most likely simply an immature digestive system. However, there's no worries about Sweetie Pie getting enough to eat; the roly poly cutie pie is about 25th to 40th percentile for length and a whopping 95th percentile for weight. If there's one thing, apparently, that I do well, it's make milk. Mooooo!

This isn't at all what I had meant to blog about, but for the life of me, I can't remember what I had intended to write. I'm so far beyond tired that I can't even think what would be beyond tired. Last night, I had every intention of going to bed at 9 p.m. Let me rephrase that. I had every intention of going to sleep at 9 p.m. Because I did go to bed. I just had to get out of it to walk Sweetie Pie who decided she wanted to be gassy and tired until close to midnight (although in all fairness, Adam did much of the walking). Man, does that kid have lungs! I hate it when she gets gassy and upset, but I have to confess, I think she's so cute when her little face scrunches up and turns bright red and that tiny mouth opens wide. Okay, I must be getting delirious. Time to rest before the next round of Sweetie Pie's gas.

(P.S.--I finally posted a bunch of new photos! If you need the password, drop me an e-mail.)

Wednesday, September 21


My father wants to me post how he is an inadequate caregiver. Because of my c-section, we arranged for help up until my postpartum appointment. My mother was supposed to come in last Sunday, but due to a family emergency, she was unable to come and sent my father in her stead. She'll be arriving tomorrow night and my father will take his turn dealing with the family at large. Anyway, I made the mistake of telling one of my father's friends, "Yeah, Peter is here. But we're really waiting for Nana to show up," to which Peter took great offense.

To set the record straight, my father is a fine grandfather. However, his idea of activities for Doodles include quizzing him on prime numbers (the kid still can't count past ten) and games that involve Doodles running into him and getting trapped in his legs. Just the kind of calming activities I'd like to help my son unwind from his day. And when Doodles does go wild, Peter flops on the couch and says, "Doodles! Come to me. I'm too tired to go up the stairs after you again." Have you tried telling a hyperactive two year old to simply stop running and come to you? Yeah, it works well. Oh, did I mention that Peter also sings Christmas carols to Doodles? When it comes to Sweetie Pie, I think Peter's afraid of breaking her. He treats her so gingerly, as if he's afraid to hold her any other way than on his chest, her head on his shoulder. Which would be fine if it weren't for the panic-striken look on Peter's face. He's great with toddlers, scared of newborns.

I only air this to the world, because Peter said to me this morning, "I can't wait to read your blog about how you want Nana here instead of me." So yes, we're looking forward to Nana's visit. Because Nana puts things away after herself, changes diapers, and focuses Doodles on calming activities like coloring. Don't get me wrong; we're thrilled Peter is here to help. But in the grand scheme of things, give us Nana any day.

Easier the Second Time Around

How to blog when sleep deprived? Have caught few catnaps on living room chair with Sweetie Pie draped across my lap... she sleeps the same way Doodles did... touching a human being or not at all... I've had minor success getting her to sleep in the car seat, which she is doing at the moment, so I had better type fast.

Sweetie Pie does differ from Doodles in one major way: she's a screamer. Sweetie Pie has exactly two states of being: asleep and crying. Her cries are significantly louder than Doodles were and they are much more frequent. Because I'm not a paranoid first-time mom, I'm taking this to be a good thing. My daughter is expressing herself and demonstrating her assertiveness. I've got a great little vocal feminist in the making. She's going to let you know exactly where she stands.

Strangely enough, as hard as it is to wrangle two kids and as much as I think I'll move to Australia, it really is so much easier the second time around. As tired as I am, I simply don't care the same way. After all, I know this is temporary. At the most, I have just five more months of no sleep. I can do that for five months. Adam says, "Don't you want to try putting Sweetie Pie in the cosleeper?" and really, I don't, because soon she's going to be this mobile, opinionated little girl who won't just curl into me and look at me as the person who can make all her problems (you know, hunger, dirty diapers) go away. I don't stress over her dirty diapers ("oh my G-d! He peed! Change him, fast! before a rash sets in"); if a baby is happily asleep, I'm not going to disturb her for a little wetness. I only check her to see if she's breathing every ten minutes as opposed to every five. While two kids are harder, the adjustment from one to two really isn't so bad. Going from none to one is such a huge life adjustment; going from one to two, well, we already have all the paraphernalia, we already don't go out anymore, and we already know what to expect.

Of course, I write this right now, today, when Doodles is in day care. Yesterday, when he rebelled in the middle of music class (decided he was "all done music" with twenty minutes left in the class; this is after, of course, he had asked for days, "music class! music class!"), had a meltdown in the library ("play with 'puter!! [meaning computer]), refused to nap, and then had four--count 'em four--time outs in succession for hitting me, I was singing a slightly different tune.

Wednesday, September 14


Ah, our Sweetie Pie. We thought we gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Turns out we spawned an angry seal.

Most newborns mewl. They make these soft, pathetic little cries that break the hearts of new mothers everywhere. Not my child. My child squeaks. And barks. And snorts. And groans. If you close your eyes, you'd think you were in the aquatic section of the zoo. Unless you're hearing it at 2 a.m. In which case, you think you're trapped in a very bizarre David-Lynch type nightmare from which there is no escape. Which, I suppose, there isn't.

Dirty Words

There are those who believe the "f word" is the dirtiest word in the English language. Still others think it's the "c word." Other don't believe there is such a thing as a "dirty" word. Well, they're all wrong. There is a single word that is the nastiest word known to mankind, the word that strikes fear into all adult members of our household.

That word is... "other."

Yes, that's right. "Other." As in, "No, no, no! Other cereal bar!" when we have already laid out every cereal bar we have in the house in front of our tantruming toddler. "No, no, no! Other fish!" when really, we don't have that many kinds of fish in our house (either of the crunchy edible kind or the stuffed animal variety). Whatever it is our child has, he wants "other." Of course, we never seem to have whatever "other" he is looking for, which leads to a shower of "No no no no nos," which of course devolves into a meltdown.

Luckily for us, our child isn't yet the brightest bulb in the socket. I have learned a very magical trick that sometimes works. When I've gotten yogurt approval, for example, and opened and "swooshed" the yogurt for him, only to have him suddenly demand, "Other yogurt!" I quickly agree. I grab the yogurt off his placemat, bring it into the kitchen. I open and shut the fridge door, announce, "I'm getting a different yogurt! I'll swoosh it here for you!" stall a few seconds, and then bring out the very same yogurt, which will then, generally, be eaten.

This technique also works for the lesser nasty, but still dreaded, "more." Occasionally, after I've filled his plate with Veggie Booty, the child will demand, "More Veggie Booty." So right there, as he watches me, I take all the Veggie Booty off his plate and return it to the bag. When his plate is empty, I then repour the Booty out and say, "There! More Veggie Booty!" at which time he eats.

So if you come to visit our house, feel free to say what you'd like... however if we catch you uttering the "o word" or the "m word," we're gonna wash your mouth out with soap.

Wednesday, September 7

Deja Vu All Over Again

I'm back to where I was not quite two years ago--forced to blog with a sleeping child on my lap. Sweetie Pie and I are in the nurse-fall asleep-transfer to crib-wake up-nurse-fall asleep... You get the idea. Sweetie Pie is definitely her brother's sister.

I'm torn about what to write. I have quite a number of friends who are pregnant and expecting their second children right about when their first kids turn two. So while part of me wants to be as honest as I can, I don't want to frighten my friends. Because I have to say, having two kids, well, no way around it. It's scary!

Having two kids makes me wonder, what the hell was I complaining about when I had just one baby!?! Today, for example, Doodles is at day care and Adam is at work, and things are quiet and easy. But when both Doodles and Sweetie Pie are out! Doodles is a little too enthusiastic about Sweetie Pie. "Cuddle Sweetie Pie!! Hug Sweetie Pie!!" as he tries to climb up to wherever we're sitting, elbowing me in my incision or engorged br*easts on the way. Remember when you had one child and you could leave the child in his play gym? Not so with the second child. Because that first child has the play gym turned upside down over his head as he tries to yank all the toys off. Or you could plop the baby down on a blanket for a little tummy time or just to hang out with a change of scenery? Not so when the older child is getting on his chair and seeing how far he can go as he yells, "Jump!" Remember when your baby was hungry and you fed him? Not so when the older child is throwing a full-fledged temper tantrum on the middle of the living room floor because he's refusing to take his nap. Remember how when your baby kept you up all night because he was nursing in one-hour blocks, you'd sleep in the next morning? Not so when your husband needs to go to the bathroom so your older child takes it as a sign to make a break for it and run into your bedroom shouting, "CUDDLE BABY SWEETIE! CUDDLE BABY SWEETIE!" as he scales your bed.

Doodles is learning a lot. Right now we're working on the concept of indoor voice. During the day, he can shout to his heart's content--we want Sweetie Pie to be able to sleep through anything as Doodles does. But when he does barrel into our room in the morning, he has to keep his voice down. Not working so well. "Doodles," we say in a hushed voice, "do you know how to whisper?" "YEAH!! WHISPER!" he shouts.

My primary concern about Doodles is that he's become incredibly attached to Adam. Which is great, except that Adam is going to go back to work full time soon (right now he's only going in when Doodles is in day care), and I'm worried how Doodles will react. Mommy is still good for cuddling and book time, but it's all about Daddy the rest of the time. Because of the c-section, which means I'm not supposed to pick up Doodles (yeah, right!), and because Sweetie is not yet on a bottle (I've started pumping, though), we've pretty much had to take a divide-and-conquer approach, so Adam is solely responsible for Doodles and I'm solely responsible for Sweetie Pie. Now when Doodles wakes up at night, he calls for "Daddy." When he wants to go outside, it's all "Daddy." When it's time for rough play, it's "Daddy." (Although, happily, "Mommy" is still the one who kisses boo-boos.)

However, there have been some good aspects to this too. For instance, a couple of days ago, Adam was, um, taking care of business, and Doodles said, "Doodles potty." Sure enough, he took off his shorts, undid his diaper, and peed in his potty! We're not going to push it--I'm not actually planning on potty training until next summer--but he's gone three times already in his potty. The only thing we haven't figured out is how to teach him to point himself downward. Right now he's only half got it and he's peeing all over his hand.

I'm not quite capturing the nuances of having a two year old and a newborn. It's hard to put into words the exhaustion of dealing with two kids, but it's very different than the first time around. In some ways, it's better because I definitely have more confidence as a mom. And I know that the rough part will be over before I know it. But damn, it ain't easy!!