Thursday, December 29, 2011

a quick hello

I had hoped to post a big photoblog full of wonderful pictures of my sweet boys opening their gifts on Christmas Eve (because that's how we roll in Tennessee at Christmas time), but unfortunately there aren't many photos to share.  I'm so sad about that.  My hands were full of babies from the time we got there Thursday afternoon until the time we left Monday afternoon.  I hate how hard it can be sometimes, staying somewhere away from home.  It hasn't deterred us from going, going, going, and eventually I know it will get easier.  But for now, we are busy bees trying to keep the kids from destroying one thing or choking on another.  Now that Dexter's so good at getting around, we have to keep an eagle eye on him! 

There are a handful of pictures that I will post when I get a chance. 

This coming weekend we are celebrating Christmas with R's family and I'll be sure to focus (unintended pun, ha!) on taking more pictures.  Just because they aren't taken on Christmas, doesn't mean they aren't of Christmas, right?

Anyway, Theo picked up on what to do real quick and repeatedly asked "open presents? more present?" all weekend.  He got a little overwhelmed with all the new stuff and wasn't quite sure what to play with.  We may have gotten him too many older kid toys because he seems to be most interested in everything we got Dexter.  So in real life, it's like we bought Dexter nothing and Theo everything on Earth. 

I will at least post some pics of their favorite gifts (and maybe mine, too!). 

Did you have a favorite gift this year?

one down and one to go,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

best gifts ever

When I was 12 or so, my dad surprised me with my own acoustic guitar.  I still have it, still don't know how to play it.  Still love it.

I remember a few years in a row, getting whatever special limited edition stuffed animal it was that Target carried at Christmas time. They don't do that anymore, do they?

Love, love, loved that Corn Silk Cabbage Patch Kid doll and pony that I got when I was about 6. My pony's name was Elvira.  Man, I wish I could remember the doll's name.

(borrowed from eBay)

My Hugga Bunch doll I got when I was 4 or 5.  Still have it.  Still love it.  Big, big hit.

Tweaker and her baby, Jitterbug
(borrowed from eBay)

Of course, there was the original Nintendo, when I was about 10.

Ryan surprised me with tiny diamond studs the same year we got engaged, 9 years ago.  Still wear them almost every day.

He surprised me again last year with my DSLR and an iPod Touch

I was madly in love with this Popple I got, but I don't think I got it for Christmas.  I am almost positive it was a birthday gift the year I turned 7.

(borrowed from ioffer)

Gee.  Wonder where Theo gets his love of stuffed animals?  His current favorite?

(borrowed from fishpond)

Clearly - we've got to get him onto some cooler stuffed animals like the awesome ones above.  He wants the Cookie Monster real, real bad but we haven't caved yet. 

Quick story from 11/18/11.  I posted this on Facebook, so if you aren't my Facebook friend (first of all, what's wrong with you?), this is for you. 

see Elmo's socks?

This kid picked up a pair of Dexter's socks off the couch where I had been sorting clean laundry and brought them to me.  He handed me Elmo and the socks and informed me "Elmo socks.  Feet cold."  I'm amazed at the way he thinks sometimes!

Did you (do you still?) have a favorite childhood Christmas (or birthday) gift?  What about a favorite grown-up gift? 

be merry,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

the question I get asked the most

So, what's it like having such young kids so close in age?

Honestly, my instinctive, don't-even-think-about-it answer is usually:  I don't recommend it.

(With a laugh, of course.) 

I don't know why I say that, but I hate that I do.  Nope, it's not always easy.  But guess what?  I wouldn't know the difference.  If I hadn't gotten pregnant with Dexter and we still just had Theo, I bet I would say that having a toddler (and just one of them) is challenging, too.

Maybe, just maybe, subconsciously I want everyone to know that I'm workin' my ass off here, just trying to keep it all together and be the best mom that I can be.  I'm not always proud of my words or actions when I get frustrated, but I doubt that it would be much different if I only had one kid.  Maybe, just maybe, I think if I make everyone realize how exhausting it is, they might not judge me for flipping my lid from time to time.  Or perhaps that makes me feel less guilty for said lid-flipping.


Our plan was to have our kids 2 years apart.  We are overachievers, I guess, because they're only 14 months apart.  I got pregnant again when Theo was only 5 months old.  So 16 of his 21 months, I have been taking care of him and another baby, too.  I have been exhausted for two and a half years.  I could count the number of times that I have slept through the night on both hands since Theo was born.  Maybe just one hand, if I'm being truthful.  I have been nursing and/or pregnant since June of 2009.  That's kind of like having a body, but not really having full control and ownership of it for two and a half solid years.    

I don't recommend it.

Or do I?  Because really, it's not that bad.  Like I said, it's the only experience I've known as a parent.  There are bad moments, sure.  But doesn't the job of raising 2 kids that are 2 or 3 years apart have it's share of bad moments, too?  What about twins?  I'm sure that is just as (if not more) difficult.  I don't think there's a perfect solution because parenting is never going to be easy breezy.  If it is, you must not be doing it right. 

I already see the benefits of having babies so close together.  They are starting to play together.  I love the way Dexter's face lights up when Theo is giving him attention.  Theo is so loving towards Dexter (most of the time) and has adapted just fine to not being the (only) baby.  I am already envisioning my boys playing sports, double dating, and sharing friends in school. 

Having them so close together seemed like a nightmare when I found out I was pregnant.  Now, I feel endlessly lucky.  Who knows what might happen a couple years down the road?  I have heard too many stories recently about young moms with ovarian cancer.  Emergency hysterectomies.  Having just one child was never my plan and I would have been heartbroken if the option of having more had been taken away from me.

We are in the thick of it right now and I am well aware that it might get worse before it gets better.  It's getting more interesting as Dexter has recently become extremely mobile.  I wonder what Theo will be like a year from now, when Dexter is developmentally where he is now.  The story is always changing, evolving. 

I'm pretty sure this time in our lives is going to be one that we look back on and ask ourselves, "how did we survive?" with smiles on our faces.  Like being in grad school, working full-time at a brand new job career, and driving 700+ miles every other week or so to see my dying father.  It was chaotic and stressful, but so, so worth it and I wouldn't have done it any other way.  There was no other alternative.  I did what I had to do and that's what I'm doing now.  It may be a stretch to say I'm loving every second of it, but I bet when I look back, with a smile on my face, that's how I will remember it.

So you know what?  I guess I do recommend it.  I'd be lying if I said I wish my life had turned out differently.

Hey, guys, I'm working my ass off here to keep it all together and be the best mom I can be. 

There, I said it.  Now you know it and I won't have to act like I'm miserable, raising these babies who were born 14 months apart. 

not miserable,

P.S. This post was inspired by Krista at one of my favorite blogs, Not Mommy of the Year.  Read her post here.

P.P.S. I have had a handful of people tell me that they can't or have had trouble commenting on my blog.  If you are one of those people or if you have ever had trouble commenting on my blog, please try the new format.  If you still have trouble, please email me and let me know.  I'd hate to think people aren't commenting because they can't!  Your comments truly make my day.

Monday, December 19, 2011

holiday cheer photobliggy

Somehow, one way or another, we managed to have no plans this weekend.  Nothing but a Saturday morning haircut for Theo.  The only other goal was to see Santa and get the boys their Christmas ornaments.  When I was little I got a new, personalized brass ornament every year with my name engraved on it.  I don't know where you get those anymore, but I wanted to carry on the tradition in our own way. 

By the way, Theo is so funny with the decorations.  We have the big Christmas tree in the living room.  One little Christmas tree in each of their bedrooms.  A strand of lights on the entertainment center and small paper lanterns hanging beneath the mantle.  We have a lighted ceramic snow house that R's grandma painted.  A string of snowflake LEDs around the sliding glass door in the kitchen.  When we get home from anywhere...every light must be turned on.  Nothing else can be done until every bulb is glowing. 

Decorations Inspector Theodore, reporting for duty.

We got the presents wrapped and the new ornaments hung.

Apparently everyone Theo sees on a regular basis has been singing Jingle Bells to him.  He's decided it's his all-time favorite song, ever, in the history of songs - Christmas or not - and he thinks it's hilarious when anyone sings those silly words.  He laughs and waits til you finish before shouting "More! Again!" I think this is the first song I have heard him actually sing.  His voice gets so soft and sweet.  Jinkle bells! Jinkle bells! Jinkle bells! Hey!

One other little thing about that boy.  I sing Rock-a-bye Baby to Dexter some times while sitting in the glider with him.  Theo followed me into Dexter's room Saturday and started pushing the glider back and forth, softly singing Rock, Rock, Rock, baby.  My heart might have turned into goo a little bit right then.   

Alas, despite my very best blackmails and bribes, Dexter just refuses to ssslooow down. 

Hey guys, I'll just be standing around somewhere if you need me.


 Holy crap, I love these kids.  Have I ever mentioned that?

I would say our Santa visit was pretty successful.  I always thought I would make my kids sit on his lap, no matter what, just for the sake of a good funny photo, but I think I had a change of heart.  There was a little girl, maybe six months or a year older than Theo, that was throwing a fit because she was scared.  She was doing that real UGLY cry.  You know the one.  You've seen it.  Her mom was trying to put her on Santa's knee and the poor child must have had mommy magnets on her hands and feet, because none of those appendages would part ways with the mother.  I felt super sorry for her - I don't think I could make my kid do it if he was that upset.

Theo sank right into Santa's pillow belly and could have stayed all night.  Dexter did fine at first, then started panicking a little.  Never cried though. 

 Better than last year.  Remember Theo's blank stare? (Same Santa, did you notice?)

Just a couple more, then I'll wrap it up.

Finally, it was Sunday afternoon. Dexter was lying across my lap smiling and being silly when, lo and behold, there it was.  The culmination of all that drooling and gnawing and the answer to those poofy swollen gums I had noticed on Friday. 

A line.

(disregard the dried, crusty baby food.  I bet you don't look so hot in an extreme close-up either)

Little Desser (Theo's current pronunciation) is getting teeth.  The next few days nights should be hell interesting.  All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, huh?  Man, I wish I had known.  Wouldn't have bought you so many presents, kid. (Lies). 

less than a week til Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jack, part 2

When I wrote about my dad back in January, I had so many more thoughts than what I could put into words at the time.  After the post was published, I immediately started this one that I hadn't been able to finish.  Until now.


I was on Spring Break from school in March of 2007, a week or two before he got his diagnosis.  He was on disability leave from work indefinitely so I went down to visit and spend some extra time with him.  We spent most of that week together.  He was feeling pretty good, or at least acted like it.  We went to a nature center and explored it.  We went to a scenic overlook across the river and saw the city from a new perspective.  We took my niece to the park and played with her.  We went to lunch.  We went downtown and pretended we were tourists.  It was the most one on one time I spent with my dad as an adult - I loved it.  At the end of the week, I had packed up to go home and we went to a little Mexican restaurant for lunch before I hit the interstate.  In the parking lot, next to my car, he gave me as big of a hug as a sick, skinny man can give and told me "I've really enjoyed our time together this week."  And he hugged me a little longer than usual.

I said before that my dad wasn't a touchy feely guy.  He said things like "come back and see us," rather than "I've really enjoyed our time together."  If not before then, I knew at that moment that he knew he was dying.  I didn't know that he was dying, but I at least knew that he thought he was.  It was just the little things he did and said all week.  I'm so grateful for that week with him.  If he had gotten his diagnosis before Spring Break, I don't think we would have had as much fun.

After he died, I felt lost.  Literally.  I had a recurring dream that I was a child standing in a crowded mall, spinning around and around in one spot.  The crowd was a rotating blur and there were loud echoes of people talking and laughing.  I was too scared to move out of that spot, feeling totally helpless and alone while the world just kept moving in circles at an accelerated pace.

I cried sobbed myself to sleep over and over.  It was a gut-wrenching sadness.  I wondered if I was normal and if I should be having this hard of a time adjusting to life after my dad.  No one that had lost a parent ever explained the weight of this grief to me.  Maybe because there is no way to explain it.  I don't think my husband knew what to do with me, but he did the right thing.  He held me tight and let me cry.

About a week after I returned to "normal" life, I decided to seek help through a grief support group.  I found one that was offered at a church not too far from my home on Friday nights.  We went and were the youngest people there.  One lady was about 10 years older than me and had lost her fiance, but everyone else was elderly.  Like senior citizens.  And they had lost a spouse.  We shared our stories of loss.  One of the older ladies told me that she was really broken-hearted when she lost her father, but I wouldn't know what grief was unless I lost a spouse, like she had.  Umm.  What? 

I don't doubt that the pain you feel when your husband of a gobzillion years passes away is intense, but I'm not there.  I'm here.  My dad died two weeks ago and I'm still reeling.  The support group was not helpful.  I think I went back once after that out of guilt for starting something and not finishing it, but I couldn't bring myself to keep sitting around with these sad old ladies.  I guess I wanted to sit around with sad 27 year olds.

I experienced a lot of jealousy.  I was so envious of anyone and everyone who still had both of their parents.  And you know who was included in that list?  My mom...whose parents are now in their late 70s.  MY MOM, of all people.  She just lost her husband of 35+ years and the love of her life.  My mom, who was 53 at the time and still had both of her parents.  I was jealous of my mom.  I felt guilty about that, but I guess I somehow separated the loss of her husband from the fact that she still had both parents.  I thought I'd have my parents until I was in my 50s too.  When my dad was dying, I told my mom that she better plan on living to be about 150 to make up for my dad dying so young.  He was only 55.

At times, I was suprised at what friends were there for me.  Some friends that I hadn't even heard from for months or years came out of the woodwork while many whom I expected to be there unconditionally were the ones that let me down.  I get it.  No one wants to reopen the wound.  No one wants to bring it up if you seem happy because they don't want to make you sad.  People don't know what to say.  It made me feel like people forgot about my dad.  Or forgot that I was in pain.  Or didn't care?  Looking back, I don't think that people didn't care, I just think that they were scared I would cry.  What's so scary about crying, anyway? 

Right after my dad died, I had a lot of anxiety about what would happen to him.  Not him, physically, but the things that made him him.  His thoughts.  Fears.  Talents.  His personality and character.  The sound of his voice.  The sound of his laughter.  The memory of his face and his smile.  The sparkle in his eye.  I was afraid I would forget everything.  I was afraid people would never think about him.  Downright anxious that everything would disappear.  I can look at pictures of him, but they are flat...physical and spiritually flat.  It's not like being with him or feeling his presence.  I usually drive by his grave when I go home.  It's the only place I can go where I feel just a little bit closer to him.  I know that none of those things are there, but at least what's left of his body is there.  I know that he doesn't know that I'm there, but it makes me feel better, knowing that I at least tried to visit the place he is.

I wonder what he would think and say about the way his girls are turning out.  I'd like to think that he'd be so proud of us both, for different reasons.  I'd like to think he would have a great relationship with my boys.  That he'd take them fishing or toss a football with them.  That he'd play HORSE in the driveway with them and sneak them candy and dollar bills when I wasn't looking. 


This will be the 5th Christmas without my dad.  It's hard to believe almost 4 1/2 years have passed since he died.  Being in the midst of that grief and watching the rest of the world carry on as usual was hard.  I felt like because my world stopped, the rest of the world should too.  Now I know that the world doesn't stop for one woman's heartache, and I can say that I'm happy.  I think about him and miss him every single day, but I'm happy.  I try to focus on the wonderful things he brought to my life and not the emptiness his absence has created.  I continue doing the things that I hope would make him proud.  I'm going to raise my boys to know their Gramps, even though they will never meet him. 

getting it all off my chest,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

breastfeeding an 8 year old

My friend texted me this link to a YouTube video about a mother who nursed her first child until age 5 and the second child is still nursing at age 8 (as of 2007).  She also sent with it words like "nasty," "creeptastic," "sick," and "serious mental health issues."  That's the typical perception, I suppose. Maybe I'm strange.

When I responded "I guess I don't see it the same way.  I think it is bizarre, weird, not my choice, etc. but I don't think it is gross," she reiterated that the video showed the girls drawing pictures of their mom's boobs, touching their mom's boobs, and that they had named mom's boobs.  Then she said "we'll have to agree to disagree on this one," without asking or waiting to see what else I had to say about it.

Hmm.  Okay.

The family in the video has (what sounds like) a British accent.  My understanding is that in lots of countries, it is not uncommon to nurse a toddler or even a preschooler (also known as extended breastfeeding).  The World Health Organization recommends nursing children to age 2 and beyond.  The American Academy of Pediatrics supports nursing for as long and the mother and child both desire: "There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer."

For sure, nursing an 8 year old is not the norm. 

My point?  I didn't pick up on any sexual undertones from the video.  Yeah, it's weird that the girls draw pictures and name their mom's boobs, but they are still little kids and I guess if that is a normal part of their lives, it will be a topic of conversation and whatnot.  The video didn't say the girls ONLY draw pictures of their mom's boobs.  It didn't say they grope their mom's boobs.  It didn't indicate that they were obsessed with their mom's boobs.  No one was forcing anyone to do anything they didn't want to do.  I dunno.  The video was about the extended breastfeeding, so mom's boobs were the only topic discussed during the interview.  Something tells me they don't just sit around and focus on nothing but mom's boobs, day in and day out. They seemed like happy, healthy girls and I doubt they will need therapy because of extended, extended breastfeeding.  If anything, they might be embarrassed that this video is circulating on the internet. 

And, no.  I don't plan on breastfeeding Dexter until he has zits. Here is an interesting article by Mayim Bialik (remember Blossom!?) about nursing her toddler.


Sexual.  That's what boobs are to us Americans.  Sexual things.  Private parts that should be covered up and not discussed or looked at or respected for what they were intended to do.  They exist to serve a purpose and it isn't just to make other people horny.  They are there to feed babies, plain and simple.     

This video and brief text exchange got me thinking.  I don't want this post to ramble on and on, but this is where the going-off-on-a-tangent thing happens.  I want to change the subject a bit and focus on the sexualization of female breasts and what that has done to our society. 

I shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed to feed my baby in public, but I do.  IF it is necessary, then I do it discreetly and I bet no one even knows what is happening except for the people I'm with.  I typically try to wait until we get to the car.  No, I will not nurse my baby in the bathroom, because that is disgusting.  Who wants to hear and smell other people taking a dump while they are eating?  Not my baby.

In many other countries, no discretion is expected or required when a mother nurses her baby.  Because of the culture I was raised in, I wouldn't feel comfortable whipping a boob out to feed a baby while I finish up my grocery shopping.  But it's not because I think there's anything wrong with that.  It's just not accepted in the society I live in.  I have read a dozen or more articles about nursing mamas being told to do this or go there when they are seen breastfeeding in public because it is "indecent."  Other moms said they didn't want their children around that.  They didn't want to have to explain that to their kids' virgin eyes.  Explain what?  That mothers feed their babies?  How would you explain the way a dog or cat nurses their puppies or kittens?  Would you say that they are indecent and disgusting?  It's the exact same freakin' thing. 

I get passionate about a few things and I guess this is one of them.  If I had never nursed a baby, I might have a different view.  Something as wonderful as breastfeeding your baby should not be a source of shame or stress for the mother or the child.

That's how I see it, and to be honest, I don't care one bit if people agree or disagree with me.  I say if you wanna breastfeed your 8 year old, more power to ya.  I would love to hear what other people, mamas or not, think about this.  Am I totally alone here?


P.S.  I have had a handful of people tell me that they can't or have had trouble commenting on my blog.  If you are one of those people or if you have ever had trouble commenting on my blog, please try the new format.  If you still have trouble, please email me and let me know.  I'd hate to think people aren't commenting because they can't!  Your comments make my day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

jimi hendrix said it best

 when he said:

Wild thing.

You make my heart sing.

You make everything.


 I have been calling Theo my little wild thing here lately, and rightfully so.  He is something else.  I love asking him, "Theo are you crazy?"
"I cwazy."

"Theo are you silly?"
"I sih-yee."

"Are you wild?"
"I while."

"Are you happy?"
"I hat-tee."

This right here?  This makes my heart sing.
My babies, playing together.

My babies, plotting against Niko together.

My babies, digging for toys together.

My baby, crawling.

My baby, in Santa jammies. 

Because it really is the small things in life, you know what I mean?  I find myself feeling full of joy for no reason at all sometimes.  No reason other than what you see in these pictures.  Everyday things.  The little things.  The wonder in their eyes.  Their fascination with ordinary things.  I find myself getting really excited about future Christmases - those precious few that they do believe in Santa.  The mornings when they stand by the bed, begging us to get up and open presents. 

Yeah.  I think that will make my heart sing, too.


Monday, December 12, 2011

hey Dexter - stop breaking my heart.

I've talked before about how I think, no I'm pretty sure, like there's a really good chance, that we're done having babies

Having that feeling of semi-certainty (it's really more certain-feeling than I'm making it sound ... I'm just having a hard time with it today), makes days like yesterday even harder. 

2 days before Dexter's 6 month birthday, he got up on his hands and knees for the first time.  2 days before his 7 month birthday, he figured it out and crawled.  Really, really crawled.  Officially crawled.  One hand and knee together, then the other.  And again, and again, and again.  And there he was.  Crawling. 

In the moment, I cheered and yelled for R to grab the video camera.  I'm not sure if we got any footage of him doing the real deal or not, but we at least filmed him on the day it happened.  Then, something else happened.  The stinker crawled right over to me, where I was sitting on the couch, and grabbed my pajama pant leg and began pulling himself up.  I yelled for R again, "he's gonna do it! Come here!"  And there he was.  Standing.   

He did that twice and did the real crawls maybe 5 or 6 times. 

Theo was 9 months old before he crawled and about 9 months and 2 days old before he pulled up.  Obviously, I knew it wouldn't be long til Dex started doing that once he really started crawling.  I just didn't expect it to be minutes.  With Theo, I had a nervous breakdown when he didn't meet every milestone right on time with boatloads of enthusiasm.  With Dexter, I'm begging him to slow down.  He's my last baby (probably) and I want him to stay that way as long as possible. 

Not gonna happen.  I was fine with the crawling and pulling up, we all knew it was coming soon since he'd been practicing and perfecting his moves for the last month.  I wasn't prepared for what happened next.

Dex barely napped all day.  I guess he was too excited about his newfound independence because every time we put him down - swing, bed, in the carseat on the way to Target - he slept, but only for a few minutes.  By 745, I knew he had to be exhausted.  So I nursed him.  I cuddled him on the couch.  He was distracted by the tv, so I took him to his room and rocked him (or tried).  We just put his Christmas tree up in his room and he was mesmerized by the lights (damn LEDs are so bright, aren't they?)  I held him tight and rocked back and forth, back and forth.  He stared at the lights and tried to wiggle free from my arms.  I rocked harder and held him tighter to no avail.  My head was pounding so after about 10 minutes I said to him, "Dexter, I give up.  You're stronger than me tonight," and laid him in his bed.  I patted him a couple of times and walked away, fully expecting him to start fussing.  I turned his monitor on and waited for his cries, my signal to go back in and try again. 


(But silence). 

10 minutes later I poked my head in his door and squatted down to look between the slats in the crib.  No movement.  I crept in, closer and closer, until I could see his eyes.  And there he was.  Sleeping. 

I went back out to the couch to report my findings and a wave of sadness swept over me.  My baby didn't need me anymore.  I told R that I remember feeling like I won the lottery the first time Theo went to sleep on his own without fussing.  This time it felt more like someone stole the wind from my sails.  I want my baby to stay a baby, but it ain't happening.  Man.  This whole babies-growing-up-real-fast thing blows.

feeling a little useless,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

how i do 2 under 2

It's no secret, we're nuts.  We had our babies 14 months apart.  Not on purpose, mind you, but that's what happened.  My greatest fear upon learning that I was pregnant again was not being able to physically manage babies so close in age. 

Some days, managing is all I can do.  Other days, I laugh at how scared I was. 

There are logistics involved, ya know?  Like how do you get the toddler and the infant out of the car at the babysitter?  Do you sit the baby on the ground while you get the toddler out?  Or do you get the toddler out first and hope he doesn't run away while you're getting the baby out?  What if it's snowing?  Then what?  You can't sit the baby seat in the snow.

What do you do with the danger-seeking toddler while you're nursing the baby?  Especially if he's in that it's-fun-to-run-on-the-couch stage. 

Well, you manage. 

You tell your car-loving toddler to admire the tires on your vehicle while you get the baby out. Or put him in.  Or you sit him in the yard and ask him to tell you about sticks and leaves.  I'm not sure about the snow thing, we haven't gotten there yet.  But I can, if necessary, carry them both and all their bags.  It ain't easy. 

If you're smart, you buy a baby jail.  I think I already alluded to us not being that smart (this post, second sentence).  We didn't buy a baby jail.  When Dexter was first born, I would put Theo in Dexter's crib and sit in the rocker in Dexter's room while I nursed.  Theo would play with toys.  It was about 1 minute before Theo showed me how easily he could throw his leg over the side of Dexter's crib.  So I sit on the floor of Theo's room and talk to him while he plays.  With the door shut.  If we don't do that, he will flee the room I'm in as fast as he can and climb a cabinet or two.

It's all about restraint.  When I was on maternity leave, I thought I would go crazy every day I was stuck inside the house by myself with them all day long.  So I strapped 'em in.  Carseats, shopping carts, the stroller.  Anywhere I could put them where they couldn't get away from me.  Bonus, they were stimulated by the new environments around them.  I was shocked that it was usually easier to manage them out of the house than when we stayed home. 

Then there's restraining them at home.  The swing.  The high chair.  The baby carrier (can't find a link to this).  The bouncy seat.  The bumbo.  The jumperoo.  Lots of places to sit these kids where they can't get away from me.  Hey Theo, sit in your booster seat at the kitchen table and read a book or two while mom attempts to throw something together for lunch.  Hey Dexter, sit in the Bumbo and grasp for Puffs while I update my blog do something really important.  Yep, restraint.  And yep, those are the actual products that saved my life  we use/used.  The swing in the link is a newer version.  I recommend all of these!

I do have some concerns about what I will do when Dexter outgrows his baby carseat.  Because once Dexter can sit in the shopping cart child seat, where does Theo go?  Not in the big part of the cart.  Oh, no.  I can see right where that's headed.  Maybe I'll just have to take my double stroller everywhere and pull a cart behind me?  Still haven't figured that one out. 

What I have figured out though, is that it's one day at a time.  Whatever it is, we'll figure it out when we get there.  It's not so bad.  I kinda wouldn't have it any other way.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

i can get in but i can't get out.

Sometimes it's more fun being the parent than the kid,

hold my hand, honey. everything's going to be just fine.

"Hold my hand, honey," I say to Dexter as we sit in the lobby of the Children's Hospital outpatient building.  He's getting impatient and I forgot to bring toys to distract him.

Looking around the lobby and scanning out the windows for Dexer's dada, I mumble under my breath, "where is he?"  The appointment is at 2:30 and it's only 2:10 so I relax (a little) and sit back in my seat.

I text R and tell him parking is hard to find. Dexter is watching me with a furrowed brow and I wonder if he senses my stress.  "Hi, boo boo!"  I throw my phone in my purse, nuzzle up next to his cheek, and smell his sweetness before pulling back to see his gummy smile.  My finger grazes his soft face and just for a second, I feel sorry for myself.

sitting in the lobby, waiting for dada

This is where the really sick kids go.  This is where the kids with cancer and life-threatening injuries go.  Kids from all over the entire state.  That's a lot of really sick kids.  Now I'm here, with my precious little baby, because he has his own medical issue.  It's like we're one of those families with sick kids. 

While we are sitting there, Dexter grasps each of my fingers and pulls them up to his mouth to chew on them.  He plays with my wedding rings without a care in the world.  He gets antsy and I pull him out of the stroller and onto my lap.  And while we're sitting there, I watch.  I wait.  And then I see those really sick kids go by. 

One with no hair. 
One with a tracheotomy. 
One using a wheelchair because she has no legs. 
One who was burned so badly that I couldn't look.

I looked down at my lap because I didn't want to stare.  And because staring made me feel sick to my stomach.  Sick that these kids' moms and dads don't have it easy.  Stupid for feeling sorry for myself.  These parents don't get to experience how annoying it is when their toddler won't stay in time out.  How exhausting it is that their infant still wakes up 3 or 4 times a night a few times a week.

12 minutes have passed and it's 2:22pm.  "Come on, Dex," I say, as I shift his weight to my hip and throw my purse and his blanket in the stroller seat.  "We've got to get upstairs and daddy will just have to come find us." 

Dex gets weighed and measured and R gets there just before the nurse comes in to ask routine questions.  We tell her he's sitting up independently and starting to crawl.  No, he's not really making consonant sounds yet, just vowels mostly.  Yes, he's breastfeeding well and enjoying solids 2-3 times a day.  He's just perfect in almost every way.

Then the pediatric surgeon comes in and takes a look at him.  "Yes, he's got a hydrocele on the right side.  But, you know what, mom and dad?  It's really minor and I just don't do surgery on babies this young unless it's urgent.  Do you live close?  How about you just come back in 6 months and we'll re-evaluate?"

He was really thorough, explaining to us how to tell if the hydrocele was getting better or worse, how to see it best, and what the reasons for removing it are.  I had already done my research and could have told him everything he told us, pretty much.  Ha.  He did not say that Dexter wouldn't have to have surgery eventually, but my 6 month old baby is not going under general anesthesia.  It's something to worry about on another day.  Not today.

feeling sorry for our healthy baby

As we walked out with smiles on our faces and the weight of the world off of our shoulders, I was reminded once more just how lucky we are.  I kissed Dexter's face and said "you got lucky this time, little one." 

While waiting to pay for parking in the garage, I saw more families who spend a lot more time at the Children's Hospital than we ever will (I hope I hope I hope).  My heart is still so heavy for those families.  My bones ache for them to experience what we have. 

Normal.  Boring.  Annoying at times.  Crazy-making at others.

Perfect in just about every way, despite everything else.

happy and healthy


**P.S.  This experience brought to mind the story of a 2 year old boy named Tripp who is dying from an illness called "EB," or Epidermolysis Bullosa.  I challenge you to read Because of you, EB to learn more about how illness can affect a child.  A family.  This post made me cry.  Makes me hug my kids tighter, longer.  Makes me realize how lucky I am and how stupid I can be for complaining about the insignificant.  Please, please read. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

(the last) baby weight update

It's gone.  Finally. 

Just got on the scale yesterday and I officially weigh what I weighed when I got pregnant with Dexter.  Woo hoo!  It took me a little over 6 months to lose 22 pounds, but it was without really trying.  Thank you, nursing, for burning 500+ extra calories a day and letting me eat whatever I want while continuing to (slowly) lose weight.  Thank you gestational diabetes for making me eat healthy throughout pregnancy, thereby prohibiting me from eating what I really wanted to.  

Now the true test will be whether I can keep it off or not after Dexter is done nursing.  Hopefully I've got some time, because some adjustments will have to be made.  It took me 5 months to lose the 29 pounds I gained with Theo.  I was probably a little more careful about my diet after he was born than I have been this time.

I really would like to incorporate some physical activity into my daily routine but it's so hard right now, especially with the upcoming winter weather.  When it was nice out, we would try to at least walk around the neighborhood in the evening.  But now? Now it's freaking cold and I will soon be a recluse that only leaves the house when it is absolutely necessary. I hate trudging through snow and the static in my hair and purse straps falling off my too-puffy shoulders.  Don't get me started and ruin my good mood. 

Anyway, I don't have much else to say besides WA-HOO!  My body is so awesome.  Wait, wait.  Before you click out of this post and say I'm awfully conceited now that I'm back to pre-pregnancy size, let me explain.  I still have a muffin top.  The cellulite on the backs of my thighs has been there since I was 20.  I'd love to lose another 5 pounds.  My stomach is squishy and has this weird road map wrinkle affect at times (but only 1 stretch mark!).  My boobs.  Well, I've nursed two babies.  But I'm celebrating my body because it is awesome.  It has grown two perfectly healthy, amazing babies.  My body pushed them out like billions of women before me.  It has nourished them with mother's milk and nurtured them with hugs and kisses only a mama can give.  This body is everything I need it to be.  More importantly, it is everything that anyone who matters needs it to be.

I have never been prouder of this body, imperfections and all.

Friday, December 2, 2011

i'm cupe

We ask Theo, "are you cute?"
He answers, "I'm cupe." 

We ask Theo, "are you smart?"
He answers, "I'm marts."

He used to call his favorite blanket "kanket"...but it's recently turned into "banky."  I prefer kanket because it's more original and more fun to say.  We're still pushing kanket.

I showed up to the babysitter's house the other day and he informs me "Iwungohooome n wash tee-vee."  I swear, we don't let him watch more than 30 minutes a day.  

We ask, "are you hungry?"
He answers "Hungy! I chair" and goes to his high chair.

When he thinks of something or sees something he wants, "I wun-sum!"

"Hey Theo, you wanna take a bath?"
"Bash! Bash? I wun bash!" as he takes off down the hall to the bathroom.  Or bashroom.  Whatever.

He adds "Iwunna" or "I'mgonna" to lots of things now.  Sentences! How can my baby already be talking in sentences, guys?

He gets near the stove and says "Cook? Hot! Burn? Cwy!" in no particular order.  Something similar around fireplaces and lit candles (without the "cook" part). 

Oh, speaking of crying, he now announces to us when he's throwing a fit (as if we couldn't tell) by stopping mid-wail and saying "I CWYYYY."  No joke?  Hadn't noticed.

He adds extra syllables.  Like the word "room" - just one syllable, right?  Wrong.  Reee-ooom.  He notices from down the hall that his bedroom light isn't on, "reee-ooom dock. yight?"  "Yes, honey.  I'll turn on your yight."

Oh, and "poop"... peee-oooop. 

The boppy that I place around Dexter's bum for support while he's sitting on the floor has somehow become "bocky."  While Dex is sitting on the floor playing, there's this one toy that Theo always brings Dexter.  Most toys in our house are/were originally Theo's and Theo knows it.  So he thinks Dex should be playing with that toy and that toy only.  Or that "tay" as Theo calls it as he's giving it to Dexy.

And speaking of Dex.  Theo used to call him "Deh-durr" but that has turned into "Dex."  Can't even get him to say Deh-durr when we offer him cash.  Just Dex now. 

I'll be feeding Dexter and Theo will see me, point to my ta-ta's and say "boovies!" with a devilish grin.  Kinda creepy, almost.  He also recognizes my pump, pump shields, bottles, etc. and associates all of it with "boovies." 

The boys love their Uncle Steve.  It's a mystery, but Theo insists on calling him "Uncle Jeans."  Uncle Jeans is the only African-American adult male in our family.  We have a Charles Barkley book on our bookshelf.  Theo points to it frequently and says "Uncle Jeans?"  Bahahaha.

And my favorite...

Me:  "Theo.  Guess what?  Hey Theo.  I have to tell you something."
Theo:  "I yuh you, too!"

Think I tell him I love him too much?  Impossible. 


Thursday, December 1, 2011

thanksgiving wrap-up: a photoblog

Hey there.

My little boys on Thanksgiving Day.  Just looking at their sweet, innocent faces fills my heart with pride and love.  Two years ago, on Thanksgiving, I never would have guessed we'd be where we are now.  But I sure as heck wouldn't have it any other way. 
We spent the weekend at Nana and Pop Pop's house and were joined by Aunt M, Uncle B, and Cousin Spence, or as Theo says, "Pence!"  I think Pence is pretty excited that Theo can finally play trains with him.  


Dexter managed to find a way to play trains too.  Friday night our city had their annual celebration that goes along with lighting the "tree" (a.k.a. monument).  Since I've lived here for 8 years and had never seen it, I figured I should mark it off my to-do list.  The city, it was beautiful.  We had mild weather and the crowd was energizing.  The lighting of the "tree," eh.  It was kind of like, well, turning on a light.  You know?  But my boo recently started a new job, right in front of this "tree" and his company opened their doors to employees and their families for the event.  So, I got to see the new digs.  It was a 2-for-1 kinda deal. 

 The most fun for Pence and Theo was not only the cookie and drink buffet inside boo's work, but the wide open space to run and play.  Tell me these are two little boys who aren't having fun.  I dare ya.

Well...we had fun trying to get some decent pictures.  Finally, the "tree" was lit and we were able to get to the parking garage so that we could sit.  And sit.  And sit.  For an hour.  That was the least fun part of the night, but we should have parked further away from the center of activity instead of using R's parking pass.  Lesson learned.  I don't know that I have to go do it again, but it was a fun night.  Something different to do on Black Friday, anyway!  I wouldn't leave you wondering what that magical "tree" looks like, all lit up. 

yep, that's it.

The rest of the weekend was filled with a reindeer, giggles with Pop Pop, stories with Nana, rolling and trying to crawl all over the place, and attempts at a decent Christmas card photo. 

Well.  You can see how successful that endeavor was.

All in Thanksgiving ever.  Sure do have a lot to be thankful for this year.

thanks for reading,