Wednesday, February 22

Barking Child, Sleeping Husband

Sweetie Pie has a world-class cold. She's quite the precocious child as this is definitely a toddler-sized cold. The nose is a fountain. The coughing is seal like. The chest is more congested than Storrow Drive when the Red Sox are playing at home. She's back to not just nursing all night but pacifying herself on me.

Two nights ago, after midnight, her cough sounded horrendous. She'd fall asleep for a few minutes and then wake herself up with her cough. Actually, it was more bark than cough. So I got us out of bed (remember, Sweetie Pie sleeps with me and Adam), opened the gate to the downstairs, got her bundled into her snow suit, put on my jacket, flipped on the outside lights (which shine into our bedroom), and took Sweetie outside for about fifteen minutes to get her some fresh air. It worked. Her cough lost some of the bark and became just a cough again. I left our jackets on the couch, made our way back upstairs, and crawled back into bed, putting Sweetie between me and Adam, while trying to elevate her head.

The next morning Adam says to me, "Your jacket was on the couch!"

Me: Yeah, I know.
Adam: I thought I had put everything away last night.
I just stared at him.
Adam: What?
Me: Are you serious?
Adam: And the gate at the top of the stairs was open. I know I closed it.
Me: Well, when I was taking Sweetie back to bed at nearly 1 a.m. after having taken her outside to clear up her cough, I couldn't close the gate while holding her.
Adam: You got up last night?
Me: Mmm hmm.
Adam: And went outside?
Me: Yup.
Adam: Hmmm. I had no idea.

They say that you never sleep the same way after having kids. I can vouch for that. I think Adam actually sleeps better!

Who Needs Leg Room?

On Monday morning, we got a babysitter (no daycare because of President's Day). We headed down to Roxbury with all of Adam's research. And we test drove... minivans. Two specifically: the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey. The first thing you need to know is I hate car shopping. The last thing you need to know is I hate car shopping.

Both minivans drove just fine. They're not stunning cars (Adam thought I was kidding when I complained, "The dashboards are ugly!" but really, who wants to look at an ugly dashboard?). Adam kept asking which I liked better, but honestly, they were really about the same. We had our checkbook in hand, the old car ready for a trade-in, and were mentally prepared to walk out with a new car. The prices were within about $500 of each other.

The Honda salesman seemed to be too busy to give us much time. The Toyota salesman, however, was breathing down our necks. "You don't need leather seats. Just do what I do: Don't allow any food or drink in the car for any trip under three hours." "Oh, okay, you can get the LE and simply add leather." "You won't need to move that seat very often--it doesn't matter that it doesn't slide." "I got kids, too, and this car is perfect." He kept disappearing to do God only knows what. Took forever. Adam tells me that's a sales technique, that they like to make the customer wait because then the customer becomes impatient and wants to make a deal quickly. Didn't work on me.

I told the sales guy, "Listen, we've got a babysitter at home. We have to leave soon." He dawdled. He disappeared for a bit. He returned with a sales manager. He thought he had us reeled in but he didn't get that I was serious. Minivan or no minivan, I was thirty minutes from home sans br*east pump. "We've got to go," I told him. He smiled and leaned back in his chair to negotiate some more. Finally, I'd had enough and I picked up my bag. "You've got to understand. I'm a breastfeeding mama and in about five minutes, I'm going to be in a world of pain, so we're leaving now." I'm a little sorry now that this was one of those rare moments when I actually censored what I said, because what I meant was, "Hey, jerk! My b*oobs are about to explode!"

And since we didn't walk out with the minivan, it's given me lots of time to rethink my minivan position and I believe I'm over it. Really, it shouldn't be such a leap. I already drive a station wagon, albeit a station wagon I love (a 2002 version of this). I so love my car. Love, love, love. It's a beauty of a car. And yet... I must find but another to love. The Audi has two points against it: One, a convertible infant car seat in the rear-facing position renders the front passenger seat unusable, so Adam and I will not be able to travel with our children together until Sweetie Pie is both over one years old and twenty pounds. Two, the warranty on the Audi is up soon. Right now the full warranty covers all service. The thing is, the Audi actually goes in for quite a bit of service. And it won't be economical to keep it. So I need a new car sooner or later. And let's face it: the minivan just makes sense now.

Here we are in limbo. What do we get? An SUV so there's room for car seats (and if we do that, a hybrid tops my list)? Another, larger, station wagon? The minivan? Chuck common sense, decide the kids really never need to leave the house, and go for the Boxster? The biggest argument that I can see for the minivan is it means I don't have to test drive any more cars. (Did I mention I hate car shopping?)

The only response is the Scarlett O'Hara one: I'll think about it tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 15

Look What I've Got!

We've entered the phase of the vocal child. In the middle of the Barnes and Noble cafe, Doodles announced, in his outdoor voice, "I tooted!" I did manage to get an "Excuse me!" out of him. Mind you, this doesn't bother me, but I'm curious and fearful to see where this leads. Especially as his new discovery is a body part that usually goes undiscussed: nipples.

Doodles: What's this?
Adam: Those are your nipples.
Doodles: Nipples?
Adam: Nipples.
Doodles: Nipples! Nipples! Nipples!
I enter the room to get some clothes for Sweetie Pie.
Doodles: Mommy, I have nipples!
Me: Yes, honey, you do have nipples.
Doodles, pointing: Mommy has nipples, too.
Me: Yes, I do.
Doodles: Nipples! Nipples!

And a nipple to all of you!

Be Careful What You Wish For

I asked Adam what I should blog about. He said, "Me!" He wanted me to write that he was super duper (which is Doodles new second favorite word; his first favorite word is now "stupendous!"). But instead I think I'll write about how I bitch and moan about his driving and then last night, on his way home from work, he rear ended another car and totally crumpled the hood of the car he's had for less than a month.

There you go, Adam. I blogged about you.

For Parents Only (Nonparents Just Don't Want to Go Here)

Pee on the armchair. Pee on the floor. Um, something a little worse in the playroom. Sweetie Pie, you think? Oh, but if that were the case. No, it's Doodles. Doodles whose favorite person in the entire world, E., who shall henceforth be referred to as Grape for her fondness of wearing purple, is potty trained and wearing big-girl underwear. Whenever Grape is over and uses the potty, Doodles has to go too. And he does, quite successfully. So when he asked for the tenth time for big-boy underwear, I so no reason not to comply. My plan was to potty train this summer, when he was closer to three and when summer clothes are easier to remove (all those layers in winter). But if he's asking, who am I to stop him?

So we went to Kohl's, picked out a lovely selection of big-boy underwear (Thomas the Tank Engine, Bob the Builder, and of course, The Wiggles), got a few "treats" for successful pottying, and headed home. The underwear went on immediately and sure enough, he peed in the potty. Success! He got a Thomas the Train sticker for the lovely potty chart I made him. He was happy. I was happy.

And that worked for... exactly that one day. After that one day, he wanted to wear his underpants. Crying, desperate, want to wear underpants. But he doesn't want to remove them to go to the potty. He wanders around in his shirt and underwear, denying all bodily functions. "Doodles, what's that smell?"


"Doodles, I see something in your underwear. Did you poop?"

"No, no poop!" Which for some reason was much more charming when the boy wore diapers.

Puddles appear over the house. Who made them? Not Doodles!

So the answer appears to be that he's not ready to be potty trained and we hang up the underwear for a few more months. Only he still cries and whines, "I want to wear big-boy underwear! I want to wear big-boy underwear."

There's no point to this story. Just a plea for help. Any suggestions?

Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen

Okay, I'm willing to admit this. Two weeks ago, I read something online about Fergie and I couldn't imagine why the Duchess of York was suddenly a style maker. Oops. To redeem myself I used my Valentine's Day gift (an iTunes gift certificate) to download "My Humps." I can slowly feel my coolness seeping back in. Well, okay, not seeping back in but at least it's no longer leaking out. Ah the joys of being a suburban mom.

Wednesday, February 8

Our New Au Pair

The Tweedle Twirp came to visit. And she is now locked in our basement, forbidden to leave.

Life is so much easier when you have a Tweedle Twirp around! First of all, she comes bearing a used train ticket. Oh, Doodles loves that used train ticket! He fell asleep with it firmly glued to his hand. It comes with him in the car. He asks for it when he's eating.

Second of all, the Tweedle Twirp is small. Which means she can fit inside Doodles's school bus along with two chairs, Doodles's guitar, her backpack and purse (which Doodles of course insisted she bring along for their trip), and assorted other toys.

Third of all, Doodles wants to impress her. We couldn't get Doodles out the door? "Well, okay, you can stay here by yourself, but the Tweedle Twirp is going to get into the car!" "Tweedle Twirp is going? I need my jacket!" Cutting Doodles's nails is an ongoing battle. But simply say, "You know, when the Tweedle Twirp wakes up, she wants to see your short nails," and you'll have a kid who docilely sits while you trim both finger and toe nails and then runs eagerly to show them to Tweedle Twirp the minute she awakens.

Oh, I could go on. But I hear a banging on the pipes from the basement. Tweedle Twirp must be looking for a cup of tea or a chamber pot. Better go take care of that.

College Spirit

A conversation between father and son, as reported by Adam:

Adam: I have to get ready for work
Doodles: Why?
Adan: To earn money.
Doodles: Why?
Adam: Mommy and Daddy work to earn money so we can buy you clothes, and food, and send you to college. Do you want to go to college?
Doodles nods
Adam: Do you want to go to state college or private college?
Doodles: Private college.
Adam: Okay, but you're going to have to do your homework and get good grades.
Doodles groaned. (Seriously!)

Enough Is Enough?

Our new friend, Lillian, was born this past week to my friend Rachel. Rachel e-mailed a photo album full of wonderful shots of Lily (another beautiful baby born with a head full of hair! Must be something about our Beach blood) with her adoring big brother, Max.

I have never described myself as a newborn person. Not when I held any of my friends' babies. Not when I anticipated life with children. Not when I had Doodles. I am a toddler person. I've always known this about myself. Right now Doodles is an incredible amount of fun. He talks, sings, makes funny faces, protests loudly, tantrums hard, and is generally a little person to whom I can relate.

And then we had Sweetie Pie. Sweet little Sweetie Pie. And suddenly, out of nowhere, I realized that newborns aren't so bad. Heck, newborns are actually kind of nice. They curl up and sleep on you. They stare at you with utter devotion (although maybe it's udder devotion? They just stare at you and see one big milk machine). They let you cover them with kisses without eventually wriggling off with a grimace to play with their trains in the toy room. Yes, they're floppy, they cry a lot, and poop constantly, but once you've been through it one time, you know how fast it goes and it doesn't seem quite as hard. Before we had Sweetie Pie, my father told me that the transition from one to two wasn't so tough. "With the first child," he said, "it's a shock. Your life gets turned upside down. With the second, you already know what you're doing. You know what to expect." He's right. After Doodles, I already didn't go out to eat, gained the weight, stopped sleeping, gave my house over to toys, and generally made that radical adjustment from life as a newlywed with nice furniture to life as a mom with furniture that suddenly all needs to be replaced as soon as kids are old enough to stop spitting up/pooping/spilling food/running airplanes on it.

Looking at those pictures of Lily exacerbated my desire for a third child. Before Doodles (how many of my sentences start out "Before Doodles"?), I knew more certainly than I have known anything that I wanted two kids. "Just two! Absolutely positive!" I'd say. After I had Doodles, I seriously doubted that I could handle two. In fact, we had originally intended to space our children three years apart (because my sister and I are three years apart as is Adam and his brother), but at one point I said to Adam, "If we don't do this now, it' ain't gonna happen! I want to get it over with!"

And two kids we have. Just as planned. But... There's just this little "but" inside of me.

Financially, we need to stop with two. Our house has the perfect amount of space for two kids. Our bank account has just enough money to save up for two college educations. Our car exactly fits two kids in it. But somewhere, there's a hankering in me for a third. I mean, since I've proven that I can indeed love the second as much as the first (something I had serious doubts about), then I could love a third just as much. Wouldn't more be merrier? My kids won't have a ton of cousins when they grow up and at some point, it'll be pretty much just them. Shouldn't they have one more ally in this world?

I still dream about getting rid of the exersaucer and the Jumperoo, and I am starting to send the maternity clothes off to pregnant friends. I've shed all my pregnancy weight (plus some), am running again, and have started working again. We could not afford day care for a third child, so it would mean putting my career on hold for three years (until preschool). If we had a third two years younger than Sweetie Pie, I'd be 39 when I gave birth. If we waited a little longer, I'd be in my 40s. I have two healthy, wonderful children. Do I really want to press my luck by trying for a third?

It's funny how strongly people feel about this. A number of folks (mostly family) have told me I'm crazy to think about a third. Others tell me if I'm wavering, then I'll definitely end up having a third. Some say the transition from two to three is the easiest of all. Some point out that you can't "divide and conquer" with three. And if I feel guilty now that I don't have the time to spend with each kid individually enough, how will it be with three? Right now, a third is not in our plans, and I will be giving away baby clothes as we our kids grow out of them. I'd say it's a 90 percent sure thing that we won't be giving birth to a third child. I console myself by saying that maybe in seven or eight years, we'll be doing better financially, and we can always consider adopting a child, perhaps an older one who wouldn't be able to find a home. But how do you know? How do you know when to stop having kids? If I were younger, I don't think I'd think twice about it and just keep going. But then, would I have this same angst wondering if I should have a fourth child?

My family certainly is complete. A little boy. A little girl. Two loving parents. But it doesn't always feel complete. Like maybe there's space for just one more...

For now, I'll get my thrills vicariously through others' children. And in just about eight weeks, I get to meet our little Lily! Rachel just better watch out to make sure I don't take her home with me.

Wednesday, February 1


Does anyone else see the resemblance?
Betty BoopSweetie Boop

Post Haste

It's a blog day and I, of course, have lots on my mind however I don't have the time to share it all with you. I'm on my way in a few minutes to pick Doodles and Sweetie Pie up from day care (Sweetie Pie is doing much better there! We tried a few different bottles and it turns out the Playtex Disposable Nurser is the one that clicked for her). Today I had to finish up a proofreading job and start up a writing job. Normally, I'd blog at night while keeping Sweetie Pie company in bed, but that honor will go to Adam tonight as I am going to a movie! A real live movie! A recently released movie! The last movie I saw in the theaters was The Incredibles. But tonight a group of moms is skipping out to go see Brokeback Mountain. We're going to try and make a movie night out a monthly thing. So, I'm afraid, you all get shortchanged on this week's blog entry. But I am one happy camper. A movie! Who would have thunk that I would get so excited by a single night out?