Wednesday, July 26


I know that Doodles is doing what every other kid who is almost three is doing, but it still cracks me up to no end. Things like, his new favorite show is Higglytown Heroes. He now mimics one of the characters who, with a thrust of her arm, says, "Aw, pickles!" I have to say, I like the "Aw, pickles" phase as it's making life easier. For instance:

Pre-"Aw, pickles"
Me: Okay, time to put lotion [sunscreen] on.
Doodles: I don't need lotion.
Me: Yes, you do. The rules are if you want to be [outside/swimming/riding your trike/whatever] you need to wear lotion.
Doodles: No! No! I don't want to wear lotion! I don't need lotion! I don't like lotion!
Doodles takes off running; I chase; ugliness ensues over the lotion.

Post-"Aw, pickles" (from this afternoon)
Me: Okay, time to put lotion on.
Doodles: I don't need lotion:
Me: Yes, you do. The rules are if you want to swim in J.'s pool, you need to wear lotion.
Doodles thinks a moment.
Doodles: Aw, pickles!
I put lotion on him with no further discussion.

Of course there are the out of nowhere conversations we have.
Doodles is giving a monologue. The words just keep coming and coming and coming.
Doodles: I then, I had to get a band-aid, because I had a boo-boo and I got the boo-boo when I was in the jungle and George was in the jungle but he didn't have a boo so he didn't have a band-aid...
I realize that Sweetie Pie has been quiet, so I wander a few feet to the next room to check on her.
Doodles places one hand on his hip, and says indignantly: Jenny, I was talking to you!

I won't go into the long conversation we had at Drumlin Farm yesterday where we spent 20 minutes watching a cow get milked (cow, I feel for you!), which involved many tidbits like, "Is that a mommy cow? Where's the daddy cow? Is she tied up so she won't go away? What is that on her? Where's the farmer? Will the cow go upstairs? Will the farmer go upstairs? [After seeing the cow pee] Look! The cow is having an accident! Does the cow have a p*enis? Does it have a 'gina? What's the cow doing now? Is she eating? Is she eating the hay?"

Wears me out. But, aw, pickles, do I love it.

The Man, the Myth, the God

I know, I know, "Thou shalt not have any other gods before me," blah blah blah. And that's all fine and dandy, but right now at the Sweetie Pie-Doodles household, we are busy erecting an altar to our new holy leader, the great and omnipotent all-powerful Dr. Ferber.

Oh how the mighty weep at the feet of this good doctor. And by mighty, I mean of course, Sweetie Pie.

Those of you with kids know the drill. "Sleep begets sleep," almost all of the books say. As it states in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, "...if your child becomes better rested, she will be better able to fall asleep and stay asleep." If your child won't sleep, put her to bed earlier. Right? Of course right!

So we had our appointment at the Pediatric Sleep Clinic with a lovely young doctor who spent an hour asking us questions and listening to my woes of sleepiness. He gave a quick examination to Sweetie to make sure nothing physical was interfering and then he left to work out a plan for us. We entertained ourselves and shortly after the good doctor returned... with Dr. Ferber right behind him. (I said later to Adam, "Didn't you feel like you were meeting a rock star!" to which he looked at me oddly and said, "Um, no.") Dr. Ferber introduced himself ("Hi, I'm Dick Ferber") and dove right in. I'd actually heard told that he didn't have much of a bedside manner, and I think that, with that in mind, I found him to be a remarkably pleasant, nice person. He explained that Sweetie Pie has been trained to expect a middle of the night meal (or two or three) and that the reason she's waking up so often is... she's getting too much sleep. Yes, that's right, the child who doesn't sleep is getting too much sleep. He laid out a plan for us (I have it! In his own handwriting! Our sleep plan for Sweetie Pie! Totally going into the baby book) that involves putting her to sleep at 8:30 at night, waking her up at 5:30 a.m. (note he gave us the option of putting her down later and waking her up later, but this is what fit best into our own schedule), giving her a one-hour nap at 8:30 a.m. and a one-hour nap at 12:30 p.m. (and she's to be woken from each if she doesn't wake on her own after an hour). We are to stop bringing her into our bed, as that's confusing to her (from what I understood, he is not against cosleeping, just against sleeping in multiple places; basically, she can sleep with us, but only sleep with us; he said for her to fall asleep in the crib, wake up in our bed, wake up again in her crib, has her all turned around).

Radical, huh? Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating (and, yes, that's the proper form of that proverb). So? So? Are you all in suspense? What happened?

Well, out of the past seven nights, on five of those nights... Sweetie Pie has slept from 8:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. without any nighttime wakings. No feedings. No screamings. No nutin'. Just sleep, blissful sleep. We may have to change her name to Sleepy Pie.

Of course, the downside to this is we've had some very rough evenings where she's so incredibly tired but we won't put her down until 8:30. Waking her up can be quite the challenge. We're starting to put her down a little earlier. Dr. Ferber said once her sleep settles in, we add more sleep to either her bedtime or her wake up, in 15-minute increments, until we find just the right amount of sleep for our Pie Pie.

So, let's recap. Our daughter is sleeping. Our son is practically eating. We have a new god.

I think we're about ready for baby number three, don't you? (Adam. Adam! Hey, Adam, come back! I was just kidding!)

Funny Mommies

Oh, how I wish I had been the one to write this blog post. But alas I was not. However that should not stop you from reading all about Sweetie Pie, even if she is disguised as someone else's child. Just don't stand too close to her during the water game.

Wednesday, July 19

Take That!

Hey you! Yes, you out there, Reader. You know, Reader Sally!

Okay, okay, don't shoot me! I take it back.

What the hell am I talking about? I just gave you the biggest insult ever! Apparently, in Doodles's world, "Sally" is about the worst thing you could call anyone. He and his friends have gotten in the habit of insulting each other by adding Sally to their names. When his friend J. really wants to rile him, she'll call out, "Hey, Doodles Sally!" To respond, he'll call back, "Hey, J. Sally," and since J. isn't quite as thick-skinned, it generally reduces her to tears. This Sally stuff is running rampant at the day care and we've now forbidden use of the word "Sally." (I'm not as crazy about that as I think you need to let kids work things out, but it was truly upsetting so many of the girls that I felt I had to support the other mothers on this one. I mean, that is another lesson, getting along within a community, so okay, "Sally" is banned.) We've told everyone that they could call each other by their middle names, so if J. wants to say something to Doodles, she can call out, "Hey Doodles Bug!" The other night Doodles called me "Mommy Sally" and as silly as I felt, I had to tell him he could call me "Mommy Jenny" or "Jenny Sue" but he couldn't call me "Mommy Sally."

Where does this stuff come from? Huh? Yeah, I'm talking to you, Reader Sally! What are you going to do about it?

The Food Chronicles

And so the saga continues. It's been a week now and the Tough Love Menu continues. Doodles gets a small amount of food he likes plus something else I'd like him to eat. If he doesn't want to eat what I've set out, he can go hungry. Doodles has spent a lot of time this past week being hungry.

We've had some progress. There are two foods he has definitively added to his repertoire: French toast and French fries (any other French foods we can introduce?). The former is a big deal because (almost) every Friday I serve a homemade challah and then on Saturday morning we have French toast. It's a ritual now and I'm delighted that Doodles can now partake. Now, the latter probably has everyone rolling eyeballs and saying, "Ugh, French fries!" but for us, this a huge breakthrough. We have never been able to eat out and recently, we've been able to start going out to breakfast since he'll eat pancakes and now French toast. But French fries opens up a world of lunch and dinner. There is now something on the menu my son will eat. Plus it means that I may be able to sneak Sweet Potato "Fries" (Bakes) into his diet. And that, my friends, would be an actual vegetable. Granted, those French fries must be dipped in cinnamon sugar, but I stopped by Penzey's this week and picked up a small plastic bottle of cinnamon sugar to keep in my purse at all times.

During the past week, he's also had one bite of pasta, a bunch of crackers with jelly (he objects to the squishy jelly so this is an achievement), the equivalent of three apple slices, one bite of fish stick, and two, yes count 'em TWO! chicken nuggets. It hasn't always been easy. For instance here was our dinner conversation on Sunday night about the apple slices (those with the password can see part of the conversation on our video site):

Doodles: I want more fish [meaning Goldfish crackers, of course].
Me: Take a bite of pasta and you can have more fish.
Doodles: Noooo waaaay! I want more fish noooooowwwwww!
[repeat. repeat. repeat a few more times and you're close. The grown-ups are having burgers and fries.]
Me: I'm willing to cut you a deal.
Doodles: Yes?
Me: You can have a bite of French fry instead.
Doodles: No way! I want fish!
Me: Okay, you can be excused from the table.
Doodles: I. Want. Fish. Noooooooowwwwwwww!
Me: Have a bite of French fry.
Doodles thinks. He says: Okay.
I put a French fry on his plate.
Doodles: Can I have cinnamon sugar on it?
Me: Yes.
I sprinkle some on his plate. Doodles tentatively takes a bite. He takes another bite. He takes yet another bite. He finishes the fry.
Doodles: I want more French fries!
Me: What do you say?
Doodles: Can I have more French fries, please?
I give him two more. He eats those.
Doodles: Can I have more French fries?
Me: After you eat some apple [oh, how quickly the rules change!]
Doodles: Noooooo! I want more friiiiiies!
Me: I put lots of cinnamon sugar on the apple. You can eat it.
Doodles finally looks to relent. He goes to pick up the apple and changes his mind.
Doodles: I can't pick it up! It's too heavy!
He did eat one and a half slices of cinnamon sugar apple (as long as someone else was holding it; we've offered him a fork so he doesn't have to touch it, but that doesn't work) in exchange for more food.

I'm also feeling very clever because I have a new food to hold out over his head. I made a new discovery at Whole Foods. Carrot chips. Yes, they're fried and therefore not perfect, but they are 100% carrots made fresh by Whole Foods. He loves them! It's a great bribe: "One more bite of chicken nugget and you can have some more carrot chips." Whoo hoo!

Anyway, we're getting there. Slowly but surely we're getting there. If anyone has suggestions for new foods that aren't too far off his beaten path to try, let me know! (He eats: pancakes, French toast, dry cereal, yogurt, smoothies, cereal bars, and any kind of crunch carb.)

Wednesday, July 12

When That Last Nerve Goes...

This just in: My. Children. Are. Trying. To. KILL. Me. THIS IS NOT A JOKE! Any day now, Adam is going to let himself in from work to find my two children playing over my cadaver. Sweetie Pie will be crawling back and forth over my legs, sniffing around for milk while Doodles will be sitting with his mouth in my ear, whining, "Can I watch TV? I want to watch Potty Power NOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW! Can I? Can I watch TV?"

Today was the day I cracked. Just cracked. Completely lost it. And the sad thing is, all that touchy-feely crap, all those time-outs, all those, "Let's talk about your feelings"--you know the stuff I'm talking about--it doesn't work. But hey, completely lose your shit with your kids and now you're talkin'!

This morning started out promising. After last week's potty fiasco, Doodles declared, "I don't want to wear diapers anymore." We had about 18 hours of great potty success, enough for him to earn enough stickers to get a trip to Dunkin Donuts for a donut of his choosing. Of course, once he earned his donut, he was done with underwear, and today refused to wear any. Well, that's not excatly true. He wanted to wear underwear; he just refused to use the potty. So back to diapers.

Last night was not a good night sleep for us (Hey, Sweetie! Those middle on the night scream fests are numbered. Waaahahahaha!). But as tired as I was, I put my kids in the stroller and headed to our nearest donut shop (and I'm going to link once again to "Karate" because at this point, it is the only joy I have left in life. Say it with me, "Ka-rate!"). Doodles got his chocolate-frosted sprinkle donut and Sweetie gnawed on a bagel. We went to Starbucks so I could get my mammoth coffee in my attempt to keep from falling asleep while steering the stroller. The whole way home, Doodles kept up a little monologue. "I love Sweetie. I love Sweetie. I love Sweetie Weetie. Mommy, who is that? [I say hi to a passer-by] Mommy, who are you talking to? [I stop to kick a rock from my shoe] Mommy, why did we stop? Mommy, are we going home? Mommy, we're going the wrong way. [No we weren't] I love Sweetie. I love Sweetie Weetie."

Sweetie Weetie passes out in the stroller and a I transfer her to bed. Doodles and I read a bit, I try to tidy up, and get us ready so we can go to the reservoir (aka the Res) when Sweetie wakes up, which should be around 11.

Only it wasn't. It was 10 a.m. that she awoke. I, once again, missed the "Danger Will Robinson" signs and plowed ahead with our plans to meet up with friends at the Res. Not too bad. Well, trying to keep Sweetie from choking on the rocks she keeps shoving in her mouth while simultaneously trying to keep Doodles from drowning as he runs blindly into the deeper waters was lots of fun. As was the "I want down! No, I want up! No I want down! No, I want up! No, waaaaaah!" game that Sweetie wanted to play. Oh, and then there was the, "I don't waaaaant to go home! I waaaant to go back in the water! Or the playground. I don't waaaaaant to go home!" So I'd run after him, but in order to do so, I'd have to set Sweetie down, which she would take as her opportunity to jet off in the opposite direction, so by the time I corralled Doodles, I'd have to then go corrall Sweetie, which meant that Doodles would take off again and... Oh and, yeah, there was that moment when Doodles decided he wanted to continue playing his game of "Throw Sweetie's Ball and Chase After It" into the parking lot and freaked out when I insisted that not only could he not play that game but he had to hold my hand in the parking lot. "I can walk myself!" Um, no, you can't. Not in a parking lot. So when I take his wrist, and pull him toward the car, backpack over one arm, two tote bags of toys, food, and towels on the other arm, Sweetie perched kind of over my shoulder, I really don't need to hear, "Ouch! You're hurting me." Um, no I'm not. "I need to touch my belly!"

We get home. I get Sweetie down to an early nap. I get Doodles down to an early nap. I realized I have work due, so I get that done and then I succumb to my burgeoning cold and nap for exactly 20 minutes when the UPS woman wakes me up. Which was fine because it was only about 10 minutes later that the vicious thunder and lightening storm woke my children up. So I have two cranky children. Awake. Early. And a full fledged storm outside. We're trapped. I offer Play-Doh, coloring. I offer toys that I'd hidden away in the basement. I offer books. What do I get? "I want to watch TV noooooowww!" I explain that it's way too early. At 4:30, though, I cave and the child gets way too much TV: a Little Einsteins and two, yes, two, viewings of Potty Power. That's two viewings of an animated toilet paper roll and "Sing it loud, sing proud, I've got potty power!"

It's dinner time. I'm feeling worn down, so Sweetie gets one of those toddler meals, a chicken and stars. My non-eating son wants dolphins (the cheap version of Goldfish). I'm trying to feed Sweetie, who is perfectly happy picking up handfuls of chicken and stars and cramming them into her cheeks... her hair... her dress... and occasionally reaching close to her mouth. In between, I'm spooning bites into her mouth. And this, this, I'm not proud to admit, is where I completely lost it:

Doodles: What is Sweetie eating?
Me: Chicken and stars.
Doodles: Can I see the stars.
Me: No. This is Sweetie's dinner and I'm not going to interrupt her meal just you can see her food.
Doodles: I want to see the stars!
Me: No.
Doodles: Let me see the stars!
Me: You don't understand. This is Sweetie's dinner. If you want to eat the stars, you can have some. But I'm not going to take her food for you to just look at. Do you want to eat some?
Doodles: No! I want to look at it.
Me: No.
Doodles thinks a moment. Doodles: I want to eat some.
Me: You had better be serious about this, because I'm going to be seriously angry if you're not.
Doodles: I want to eat some.
I bring him a spoon of stars. He turns his head away and makes a face. And that, folks, was the beginning of the end.
Me: You are going to eat those stars!
Doodles: NOOO!
Me: You said you would eat them!
Doodles: NOOOO! I don't like stars!!!
Ugliness ensues with me, a spoon of stars, and a toddler who is desperately trying to avoid the star shower.
Me: That's it! You are done with dinner! [I take his plate away]
Me: You are done with dinner!
Me: You want your dolphins? Fine.
I take his plate and bring it into the kitchen. I put two steamed broccoli stalks on his plate and return it to him.
Me: We are ALL DONE catering to your food habits. You will now eat what everyone else eats. No more of this food nonsense. Sweetie is eating broccoli. I'm eating broccoli. You will eat broccoli.
Doodles picks the broccoli off his plate with a sneer.
He continues to eat the dolphins on his plate. He finishes the dolphins.
Doodles: I want more dolphins.
Me: Eat your broccoli.
Doodles: I don't like broccoli.
Me: That's fine. Then your dinner is done.
Doodles: I want more dolphins.
Me: You can have more dolphins when you eat your broccoli.
Me: Broccoli is what is for dinner tonight. You will eat your broccoli or you will excuse yourself from the table.
Doodles sits silently for a few minutes. I continue feeding Sweetie.
Doodles: I want dolphins.
Me, more calmly: Then eat your broccoli.
A few more minutes. Doodles finally picks up a stalk of broccoli. He starts to move it slowly toward his face, his hand shaking as if he's forcing himself to bring it close. It gets within two inches of his face before he turns his head, grimaces, and throws the broccoli down.
Doodles: I can't do it!
There's no way to describe it, but this was the funniest thing I have ever seen, and I start to crack up right there. Way to show how serious I was.
Me: That's fine. I understand. You may be excused.
Doodles quickly picks up the broccoli, brings it toward his face. And then, then... unbelievably... Doodles takes a nibble.
Doodles: I want dolphins.
Me: Three good sized bites and then Dolphins.
Doodles: Eeeeehhhh! (can't quite capture the sound he made)
I go back to the kitchen and retrieve the bottle of magic.
Me: Do you want cinnamon sugar on your broccoli.
Doodles, relieved: Yes!
I sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on the broccoli. Doodles picks it up and takes a bite. I sprinkle more on. He takes another bite.
Doodles: Dolphins.
Me: One more bite.
More cinnamon sugar. One more bite. Doodles looks up at me.
Me: I'll get your dolphins.
Funny thing is, he only ate about five more dolphins and when Adam came home, I asked Doodles, "Do you want to tell Daddy what you ate tonight?" and he smiled widely and yelled, "Broccoli!"

Killing me. They're just killing me. Little by little. Just you wait and see. If one of these Wednesdays a post doesn't appear, know that the kids are having a field day romping around my corpse. At least I'll know Doodles will be romping with a little--very little, but it's a start--vegetable in him.

Wednesday, July 5

Enough Is Really Enough

We give up. Sweetie Pie's pediatrician gives up. Everyone we've begged for advice has given up.

We have one last hope: Sweetie Pie has an appointment with one of Dr. Ferber's associates in two weeks.

Wish us sleep! God knows we really, really, really need it!

Now I Get It!

I am 38 years old. And for all of those past 38 years, I couldn't figure out for the life of me why Little Jackie Paper brought Puff the Magic Dragon "strings and ceiling wax and other fancy stuff." This has honestly bugged me for ages and has been revisited recently now that Doodles is into Peter, Paul and Mary. What the heck is "ceiling wax"? Why would a little boy have ceiling wax?

It wasn't until I recently reread, "The time has come, to talk of many things: of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings and why the sea is boiling hot--and whether pigs have wings," (said the Walrus) that a little bell went ding, ding, ding in my head.

Sealing wax. Not that that makes a ton of sense still, but it certainly makes more sense than ceiling wax, given that sealing wax is an actual thing.

Also, for the record, it's only in the past month that I realized that Jackie and Puff don't frolic in the autumness, but in the autumn mist. That bugged me, too (how does one frolic in "autumness"?), but not as much as ceiling wax. (While we're at it, what kind of children's song is this anyway? Poor Puff, all alone and neglected, withering away in his cave. Is this the happy ending our children need to hear?)

The Poopy Chronicles, the Sequel

Without a doubt, there are more horrifying words one could hear coming down through the monitor when your son is supposed to be napping. I, however, am at a loss to think of a single one. The statement in question? "Oh, no, Mommy! There's poop all over me!"

Yes, that's right folks. Lesson #1 from Potty Training Boot Camp. Don't listen to those folks who blithely tell you to suck it up and ditch all diapers, unless you enjoy cleaning poop from clothing, legs, sheets, books, the wall next to the bed, the stuffed animals... Pull-Ups at naptime and bedtime are essential.

Lesson #2? Well, that'd be pretty much this: DON'T DO IT! I mean, hey, are diapers really all that bad?

Lesson #3: See lesson #2. Seriously.

Doodles really wants to wear underwear. With almost equal intensity, he does not want to sit on the potty. So we did the only rational thing we could do: We gave up.

We'll try again in a few months. Check back then.

Red Sox Doodle Dandy

I taught Doodles to say he was a Red Sox Doodle Dandy, as I know his father wouldn't approve of him being a Yankee Doodle Dandy. It's very cute to hear him say it. It comes out something like, "I'm a Red Sox Doodle Dander," which I imagine is the type of Doodle that makes a lot of people sneeze.

Anyway, we had a very exciting, very busy 4th of July. I tend to go overboard on the nonsecular holidays like Thanksgiving and Independence Day, because I like to be able to celebrate with all my friends. Plus it gives me an excuse to give in to all my Martha tendencies.

Our day started with the neighborhood parade. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen! It's a bike/trike/wagon parade and all the kids decorate their vehicles and we march up and down the neighborhood streets. Some parents were pulling a wagon with a boombox so we had some honest-to-goodness parade music, flags were waving, streamers flying. The kids took it all quite seriously, and Doodles loved riding along on his trike, waving to the folks who popped outside to look. Sweetie was in her stroller, looking very much like she had better things to be doing.

After the parade, it was time to get ready for our annual July 4th BBQ. There was corn to grill and salads to make and fruit to cut and decorations to put out. While I got ready, Doodles was able to entertain himself watching the launch of the space shuttle. The kid is all about space these days and he's already asked a number of times for a rocket cake for his birthday. Adam and I went back and forth on whether to set up inside or out, as the skies were threatening rain. Finally, it seemed that dryness would prevail and we set up outside, which was good as we were expecting (and had!) over fifty folks.

Adam grilled hot dogs and chicken sausage (Sweetie, by the way, ate an entire spicy chicken sausage herself, along with roasted red peppers, and the star-shaped Rice Krispie treat she violently yanked from my hand and shoved into her mouth before I could stop her; I don't care how much I love you, nobody steals my Rice Krispie treats!) and I kept the food coffers filled and tried to be social. Pie was in great form and I ended up with my new technique: the hand-n-dash. That's where I hand her off to someone and then escape as fast as I can before she can be handed back to me. I do it in love, I promise! The kids were all terrific; I had pulled out a zillion toys, and thanks to Oriental Trading had patriotic rubber ducks, gliders, tattoos, straw cups...

Everything was going along swimmingly when it started to, well, go along swimmingly! Adam said to me at one point, "Um, should we move dessert inside?" I blithely asked, "Wh--?" and then the rain began coming down in sheets. No light drizzle start, just a sudden, violent downpour. Everyone grabbed a dish of food and we all headed inside. I consider it a sign of the party being a success that no one ran off; we just continued hanging out inside, the kids taking over the playroom and the grown-ups in the living room.

The party wound down around 8ish and we got Sweetie to bed and Doodles into a bath. I was pleased with our 4th, positive that I'm providing great memories that my children will look back upon fondly. Reveling in this feeling, I asked Doodles about the day:

Me: Doodles, what was your favorite part today?
[I wait anxiously. I'm guessing it's going to be watching the space shuttle, but maybe it was the parade? Perhaps it was blowing bubbles during the party or running down the front steps in the rain with his pinwheel...]
Doodles: Um. [makes his thinking face; thinks for about a minute] The cupcakes.
Me: The cupcakes were your favorite part of today?
Doodles: Yep. Eating cupcakes.
Me: Okay. Well, what else did you like doing today?
Doodles: [again with the thinking face] Um. Hmmm. [pause] The chips.
Me: Chips?
Doodles: Yeah. The chips. I liked the cupcakes and the chips.

Note to self: Next year, skip the parades and parties. Just serve Doodles a plate of chips and cupcakes and call it a memory!