Friday, November 30, 2012

7 Months

Ben turned SEVEN months today! 
(look who got his post done on time! I know, I know, mother of the year!) 
I briefly considered not posting the above picture because it is so seriously cute that I know somewhere a kitten just kicked a bunny in a fit of jealous rage over Ben's cuteness. What can I tell ya bunny, we all know that kittens have rage issues. 

I do not have stats this month since Ben does not have a checkup, but I can say with 100% certainty that the boy...he is growing. I am not sure exactly what happened between his last appointment and today but he seems HUGE to us. In an attempt to set some kind of record Ben wore 6 month clothes for LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. I'm sorry but that it just absurd. 

He really can do that himself, when Lily allows it.
Likes:  Lily, sitting up on his own, dumping toys all over, blocks, the cats, puff puff yum yums (gerber puffs),   Mommy, Mommy, and more Mommy. 

Dislikes: Anything that either involves or requires Mommy to be out of direct contact, being put down, having things taken away, sleeping through the night

Nicknames: Tater, Cutie McSpud, Mr. Potato Head, Spud McGee

Milestones: Two teeth, feeding himself cheerios

Feeding: Nursing is still going...great. Yup, let's go with great. We have both struggled a little bit with my over-active let down and supply (sorry buddy, I know you will never in your life need to hear about this, let alone read about it on the internet), but aside from a little choking and sputtering I haven't heard any complaints. Recently Ben has decided that he is far too busy and important to dedicate his attention to nursing. It is not really a problem so much as it is just plain annoying. It makes nursing anywhere without a cover-up damn near impossible. I am sure just like everything, this too is just a phase. 
The grin fools no one.
When it comes to feeding Ben in his highchair, there are about a million things I would rather do. For example, stub my toe, go to the grocery store on a crowded holiday, call my insurance company, or snuggle with the dog just after a rainstorm. Just to name a few. Ben seems to think that mealtime is hands down the best time to practice blowing raspberries and perfecting other crazy vocalizations. There is gagging and sputtering, spitting and slobbering. He makes a huge mess every.single.time. I am not a fan. I guess if this is the worst part of my day I should just shut up right now. 

Aside from the horrific mess, Ben is a pretty agreeable eater. On the menu thus far, squash, peas, carrots, applesauce, banana, grapes, oatmeal, and rice. Loves them all. 

Sleeping: I can't believe I haven't mentioned this until now, we moved both kids into the same room. There is really only one explanation for our impromptu decision, we hate sleep. In fact I hate sleep so much I am hoping to never do it again. Ben is helping me achieve this goal. So long story short he still isn't sleeping through the night. I go in and readjust (retrieve and reinsert paci, recover, fire up sleep sheep) him at least once during the night. Who knows how long it will be before Lily packs a bag and moves out in the middle of the night. At least we will all be up to see her off! 

Odds and Ends: I will write a dedicated post to Thanksgiving but for now I will say that Ben was a lovely traveler and house guest. He is getting stronger and stronger every day. Watch out Micheal Phelps he is after your Olympic Gold Medal Record. I really don't think it will be long before he starts to scoot around on his bum or even crawl. I am in no rush whatsoever for any such nonsense but he seems pretty determined. 

The teeth. What can I say? He got a little red-cheeked and his nose ran a thing we knew BAM two teeth in two days. Lily didn't have teeth until she was 10 months old. Given that the kid barely sleeps I have no clue whether this most recent milestone disrupted his screaming pattern. I did give him some Tylenol once I realized the poor guy was going through something fairly traumatic. I mean, that has got to hurt. All in all I would say he took it like a champ. 
Lily puts this hat on Ben no less than 10 times a day - real men wear pink :)
Another development has been his new Mommy addiction. He has always loved to be held, but up until very recently he hasn't shown any particular preference for the holder. Dad, Mom, robot nanny, gorilla, he didn't care as long as said holder promised not to set him down under any circumstance. Now however, it is all about Mommy. You guys, he reaches for me. And guessed it. I die. I know it is just a phase. Some day too soon he will run from me as though he is being attacked by a bear. So for now I am just soaking it all in. 

Up next: A whole lot of Ho Ho Ho!!! 

ETA: I have changed my settings so that anyone can now comment, please let me know if you are still having trouble leaving a comment! 

Monday, November 19, 2012

#1 Send a Care Package to Josh

A friend recently sent me a text reminding me that I could cross something off my 101 things list. Not only is she absolutely right but after a quick glance at the list I noticed there were more than a few things I could cross off. Upon second glance I started to sweat a little, why did I say I would blog about ALL of them?? It must be because I like to give myself disappointed looks in the mirror.

One thing at a time, right? I guess I will start at the top of the list and work my way down. Like most of my best intentions I never meant to fall this far behind, but there is nothing I can do about it now except attempt to play catch up. Aren't you just absolutely riveted by my passion for this project!?! I bet you can't wait for post after post about my life list - just bursting with high speed car chases and thrilling, edge of your seat suspense. Perhaps you should go practice your disappointed face.

Without further ramblings: #1 Send a care package to Josh.

It is only fitting that I renew my enthusiasm for this blogging project with a total failure. I did not, in fact, actually send my brother a care package. I know, I KNOW...Sister of the Year!

How is that for a suspenseful opening? I've really got you on the hook now!

How about a little back story? I am not sure that I have ever really written about my siblings on my blog. We all grewupMaine together over the course of 20 some odd years. There is a fairly significant age gap between myself and my brother (7 years my junior), and my sister was born three years after he was. Yes, we all have the same parents. No, I have no idea why our parents thought it would be fun to have three children over the course of a decade. In any case the age gap has certainly shaped our relationships. I am fiercely protective of them and over the years have worn many hats including, mother, sister, and friend.

My brother graduated from the University of Richmond a few weeks after Lily was born. His post collegiate plan, join the Peace Corp and move to a third world country in September of 2010. Between his May graduation and his departure date...Matt and I allowed him to live in our basement. Which I guess in the grand scheme of things was one step up from our parents basement.  In return for room and some table scraps he spent the summer painting our house. The arrangement worked out surprisingly well with very few dirty looks exchanged and maybe a few too many beers consumed.

The good times could not last forever and as the sad song says, summer came to an end. Josh packed up his basement dwellings, spent a few weeks back home with my mom and dad, and at the end of September 2010 he set off for Paraguay. Admittedly I had to look on a map to have more than a vague idea of where he was going.

In the past two years he has been able to make two trips home. Not too shabby for a guy who lives in a concrete block hut. The first trip was for Christmas 2011 and we all knew he was coming home well in advance. His second trip home was a total surprise, thus bringing us to the care package that never left my dining room.

I went to Christmas Tree Shops and Marshalls to buy some food and some trinkets to send a few weeks before Josh's birthday in August. I really did have every intention of getting this package to him, I swear. BUT before I had a chance to get my butt to the post office (I have been a little busy) I got a message from my parents that Josh would be in the States mid September. Since there was absolutely no point in paying for postage to mail: dry soup mix, luna bars (which I did NOT know are for women, haha), knock off candy, water balloons, mini tools, colored pencils, and lighthouse puzzles, I held onto my treasures to give to my brother in person. Only half of which he had room for in his overstuffed backpack. He did tell me that the Luna bars hit the there.

The list item clearly says, "Send a care package to Josh." Sounds like 5 dollars in the charity jar to me.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Regression, more like passive aggression.

Watch your step, there's pee on the floor. Well, by the time you read this I will have cleaned it up, probably.

To say that I am frustrated with Lily's recent potty training regression would be an understatement. Let me start by saying that I am certain she is not sick and does not have an infection. I am not far less certain that she isn't a moody 16 year old trapped in the pint sized body of a two and a half year old. I have read that regression is fairly common for kids and for some is just part of the whole, "I don't want to grow up, Mommy...STOP TREATING ME LIKE A BABY, JERK!!" paradox. That doesn't mean I have to like it.

On more than one occasion, especially recently it seems, I have used my blog to lighten my mood and work through the not-so-great feelings that come along with mothering my lovely children. So here we go.

I can't say exactly when it started. I know that while we were in Florida Lily struggled with using the potty, but as soon as we were settled in at home everything went back to business as usual (pun intended). Some time about two weeks ago, I guess - I don't brain is mush. What was I saying? Oh yeah, to the best of my recollection she had her first accident a day or two before Halloween. Nothing major, just a little pee in the ol' undies. Matt and I resolved to be more proactive, and I really didn't give it too much attention.

In the last few days Lily has really turned up the volume on this party.

Tuesday: Pee pee accident on the kitchen floor just 15 minutes before bed. It wouldn't have been a huge deal, except she was playing in it. Like, splashing. Excuse me while I go shower, again. Also she is going to kill me for writing about this on the internet but you know what, she didn't clean it up.

Wednesday: Poop. In the bed, literally. I will fully admit that I totally lost ha.

Today: Two pee "accidents", one in bed and one on the living room rug.

I get it Lil, you're mad at me! Now stop peeing everywhere! And the pooping, seriously dude. Please.

Until I figure out what is going on with her I will continue to spot clean the carpets and wash the bed sheets while repeating the mantra, "These are the best days of my life". You should come over, just watch your step.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Is it too late to talk about Halloween??

I know that Halloween was two weeks ago but for posterity sake...well you know. 

Look closely. 

I literally cannot believe how much the kids look alike. I don't think that either of the kids look like me or Matt in particular (though they look much more like Matt) but they certainly belong to each other.
(Lily on top/Ben on bottom)

Halloween was a blast. The kids were adorable, and photogenic, and just all kinds of wonderful. Lily loved every part of it. I was a little worried because I had tried to talk to her about it a few days in advance, and she was adamant that she did not want to wear a costume. Turns out she didn't understand what a costume was. I have no idea what she thought a costume was, but her little head almost exploded when I busted out the yellow and black tutu.

I did not pose this child, this was all her. 

 There was a lot of snuggling. I do not hate that this is Lily's new favorite thing to do. Not even a little bit.

There was a costume change. Lily wore both the pumpkin and the cow when she was six months and since Ben wants to do everything that Lily does...

Like I said, he wants to be just like Lily. 

A few more shots on the deck before dinner to bring the photo total to an even 371.

Before we headed out for a little trick or treating a healthy dinner was had. I know what you are thinking....Mother of the Year! 

The weather was relatively mild given that Hurricane Sandy had just come through only two days before. (If we hadn't lost the tree last winter there is no way it would still be standing. We were so lucky to suffer very little damage from Sandy, and our thoughts and prayers have certainly been with those that were not as fortunate.) I only had to threaten Lily twice during dinner to finish all of those peas and carrots. Before toooo looonnng - the girl loves to drag out a meal these days - we hit the streets. And by streets, I mean our street only. 

Ben LOVES the ergo carrier these days, and I have to admit it really is comfortable to wear. Anyway, we all visited with the neighbors and got a little candy before heading home to pass out candy of our own. This was our fifth Halloween in our house. Not once in the past four years have I purchased the right amount of candy, and this year was no exception. Seriously it is like feast or famine, and I end up with 50lbs of extra candy or we have to turn out the light at 7:15. This was a 7:15 kind of year, poor kids.

Lily loved handing out candy. It may have been because Matt and I are excellent parents raising a generous and loving young lady who finds joy by giving to others. A less likely explanation is that I let her have two lollipops at once and she was so drunk with power (and sugar) that she would have given away the cats if I had let her.

And immediately after the last picture of the night was taken, she had a pee pee my lap. Happy Halloween indeed!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Civic Duty

Today, I voted. (#61)

This is not a post about who I voted for. Why would you care who I voted for?!? No, this is a post about the things that happen to me when I leave the house.

Let it be known that I LOVE to fulfill my civic duty. I define "doing my civic duty" not only by reporting to jury duty (which I have never had the pleasure of being called upon to do) or voting, but also acting as a courteous and conscientious citizen. Obviously I don't love to have to do my civil duty in the case of car accidents or to report crimes. But believe you me, if I see something, I say something. On one glorious occasion I reported a breaking and entering in progress, and the police were able to catch and arrest the person. I hold doors, pick up lost items, give directions, and say my please and thank yous. Most are small things, and most do not require a lot of effort on my part. The simple point I am trying to make is that I go out of my way to be helpful because it makes me feel good.

I was so excited to vote today! A chance to fulfill my civic duty!

Prior to leaving the house I double checked our polling location (and how to get there) with my husband. Having already completed his civic duty he reported, "...not crowded, district two, you can go in the back way." Sounded easy enough.

As I pulled up to the parking lot I noticed a police officer, who I assumed was directing traffic, standing near a large "Do Not Enter" sign. Keep in mind Dingle had just told me that he had gone in this way. As I started to make the left into the parking lot the officer began to wave his hands furiously and shout. I stopped the car immediately and pulled my hands off the wheel to demonstrate that I was heeding his "directions". Problem was, I had already committed to making the turn and was sort of stuck in the "exit" of the parking lot. I made a circular motion with my hand to indicate that I was going to pull a wide u-turn. Before I had rolled two inches the officer charged at the car like a deranged rhinoceros and demanded that I roll down the window, which I did immediately.

He was screaming. SCREAMING. "YOU. CAN. NOT. ENTER. THIS. WAY!!"

I answered in a clearly apologetic tone, "I understand that Sir. I don't really have an option other than to pull a u-turn."


More apologizing as he stepped away from the car.

More screaming, "I SHOULD GIVE YOU A TICKET!!"

He succeeded in making me feel about two inches tall. I had read the sign, I just made the wrong assumption. I seriously could have cried. I hate being scolded. NEVER in a million lifetimes would I have gone that way had I known. I was not being careless, disrespectful, or running around in reckless abandon of the law. If I hadn't really wanted to vote, I would have gone home with my tail between my legs.

In any case I took a deep breath, drove around to the entrance, and parked the car. I suspect the officer was giving me the stink eye because he was still shaking his head as I walked across the parking lot. I don't know how he even saw me, didn't I mention I was two inches tall.

Once inside the polling station I made my way to the table, received my ballot, and waited for an open booth. There was one booth open, but it was designated handicap, so I decided to wait. To the best of my knowledge I was not obstructing anyone's path, violating anyone's privacy, or giving off the impression that I was put out by waiting. Suddenly the woman at the registration table said (in not quite a yell but not quietly either), "What are you waiting for, there is an open booth right there." I realized she was pointing at the handicap booth and rather than explain myself I slunk over, crouched down, and cast my vote.

When I was finished there was some more confusion/scolding about checking out versus when to put my ballot in the machine. SIGH.

It wasn't the fun I had been looking forward to. The wind had officially been knocked out of my sails.

On my way home I stopped for a man and his young son who were waiting patiently to cross the busy street. Civic duty done.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

6 Months!

Ben turned 6 months old on Tuesday and as usual his post is a few days late.

 Sorry buddy. Will you forgive me? 

Thanks Tater Tot, you're the best. 

For the past few weeks we have been struggling to return to our pre-vacation routine. Overnight it seems that my infant has burst into babyhood. I took Ben to the doctor yesterday, and yes I got his sheet! His appointment went great in that I refrained from talking about Lily too much but I really should have written down my questions beforehand. My brain is mush and under no circumstance should I be trusted to think on my feet. Oh well, I guess it is a good thing that I didn't have anything too pressing to ask the pediatrician. Ben was a total peach during the appointment and despite having to have four shots, he never once acted as though I am the worst mother in the world. (Insert every post about taking Lily to the doctor ever) 

During the appointment the pediatrician mentioned that Lily was the exact same size at this age. Say what?!!? Ben seems SO much bigger. Seriously, I am already struggling to carry him in his car seat...and I carried Lily in that thing until she was a year old. I was skeptical but she had her laptop with Lily's records right in front of her, and she didn't give me Ben's sheet, so I took her word for it. We talked for a few more minutes, she told me Ben looked perfect, and just like that the appointment was over. Ben had is first ever flu shot so we had to wait 30 extra minutes in the waiting room to make sure he wasn't allergic to anything in the vaccine. I was all antsy in the pantsy to get Ben's sheet so I went up to reception to ask for it even though the pediatrician was there and I was a little embarrassed by how fixated I was on getting that stupid piece of paper. (sidebar: At the playground today I was retelling this story to two other moms who also go to the same practice and they both interrupted to say that they too love the sheet and were bummed to not get it at their most recent appointment, so there you go...not so crazy after all.) 

I looked over Ben's stats and frowned at the pediatrician. The conversation went something like this:

Her: "I knew that you were going to be worried, stop worrying."
Me: "You're not worried???"
Her: "That is why I looked up Lily's stats. She is a peanut too."
Me: "She was always a peanut, Ben started out a monster." (It wasn't that long ago that he was in the 96%)
Her: "Your baby is not a monster."
Me: "Well, no not now! Now he is a pygmy!"
Her: "What was he for Halloween?"
Me: "A pumpkin and a cow."
Her: "Aww, I bet he was a very cute cow."
Me: "Aww, thanks. Yes, he was very cute."
:::::long pause::::::
Me: "Hey, I see what you did there."
Her: "I really don't want you to worry."
Me: "He dropped again, significantly"
Her: "He is fine April, really. I am not worried."
Me: "Should I feed him more?"
Her: "Nope, just keep doing what you are doing." 
:::::more frowning::::::
Her: "He is perfect, happy, healthy...and the kid has a killer grin."
Me: "Aww, thanks."
:::::long pause::::::
Me: "Hey! I see what you did there."
Her: "I am a pro." 

She later sent me an email making sure I wasn't worrying. So here I am, not worrying. Of course I would be lying if I said that I didn't want Ben to be all tall and athletic like but all that really matters is that he is healthy and happy. Blah, blah, blah....(please grow)...mother of the year. 

So the stats: 
4 Months
Height:  25 inches (56%)
Weight: 14lbs 14oz (52%)
6 Months
Height:  25.75 inches (26%)
Weight: 16lbs 10oz (36%)
Also I checked Lily's baby book and the pediatrician was wrong about Ben and Lily being the same size at six months. Lily was 14lbs 14oz at six months, so she was the same size that he was at four months. BUT Ben's percentages are about the same as Lily's were. Pygmies, my children are pygmies.

Because I am a lunatic I looked up a male height chart and determined that if Ben stays in the the 26th percentile he will be 5'4". Anyone want to guess how tall my brother is? Hmmm.

Likes: Lily (big surprise there), putting everything in his mouth, sitting up like a big boy, overalls (that may be mommy's like), nursing, not sleeping, being held, the door jumper, bath time, Colby, looking in the mirror, scooching backwards off the playmat, rolling over...and over...and over.

Dislikes: Sleeping for more than 3 hours, being put down (no surprise there either), getting stuck under the couch (see scooching), loud noises, having a poopy diaper, having things taken away.

Nicknames: I should have included this in earlier posts - Tater Tot, Spud, Handsome Guy, Buddy (which sounds like "buggy" when Lily says it)

Milestones: Controlled and deliberate rolling (mommies of older kids know what I mean), unassisted sitting, eating solid foods, jumping in the door jumper.

Feeding: Ben is still getting a 7oz bottle first thing in the morning and at bedtime. Also still nursing every three hours or so during the day. Two weeks ago we started solids. Just like with Lily I started with rice cereal mixed with breast milk and few days later we moved to baby oatmeal. I didn't make the switch because of the recent arsenic stories in the news, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about it. Anyway, a few days later I added squash to the mix. My intent was to add more veggies this week, but I kept forgetting. Carrots are next on the menu, when I get around to it. The actual act of feeding Ben is super annoying. Did I just admit that? Well, you know what Tater, you are a maniac and you make a mess. More squash goes up your nose than in your mouth, you grab at the spoon over and over, you spit, and smack your lips. It is nearly impossible to hit your mouth as you bounce up and down in anticipation of the next bite. Okay, I will admit that last part is sort of cute.

Sleeping: This really should be its own post, but I just can't muster the energy to beat that horse again. This is what I will say. Sleep deprivation has brought me to new lows since returning from Florida. At some point I slipped passed cranky, sailed passed irritable, and landed in crazy town. Seriously. I had a panic attack in the parking lot of the grocery store. I am okay now, but I caught a quick glimpse of hopelessness, and it scared the stuffing out of me. We went home to Maine the following weekend so that my mom and dad could take the baby for a night. It wasn't much of a recharge, but it was better than nothing. Things have been better in the sleep department this past week, with the exception of last night, so that is something. Ben just isn't a sound sleeper, and when he stirs, he cries -when he cries, I hear him - when I hear him, I lay awake and listen to him cry. The pediatrician wasn't concerned, I guess some babies are even worse sleepers?!? In any case I want Ben to sleep better, I just don't think there is anything more I can do. So for now we are still taking it one day at a time and celebrating small victories.

Odds and Ends: I stand by the statement that Ben is a super happy baby. As he becomes more mobile he is increasingly becoming more tolerant of being put down. Although as I mentioned earlier, you can't expect to find him where you left him! Lily didn't crawl until she was almost 10 months old, I really don't think Ben will wait that long. It took him a few days but he quickly mastered the door jumper. Our little Hercules has demonstrated some serious strength in the last few weeks. He can stand in the saucer for an absurdly long time, he can lift his entire chest of the floor, and he has full body control when sitting all on his own. Most of the time I just want to tell him to relax and stop working so hard. I am so not ready for him to be mobile.

Since starting solids we have had the joy of changing some pretty offensive diapers. The funny part is that Ben seems to be particularly bothered by this change. Not that we typically let him sit in a dirty diaper, but it has happened once or twice. Now? Now, he wails to be changed before he is even done. Poor guy, I really shouldn't laugh.

The relationship between Ben and Lily makes my heart burst. Every time Lily kisses "her baby" out of the blue or Ben lights up when he hears Lily's voice, I die. Cuddling in the chair with Ben is Lily's new favorite thing and she requests to do so on a daily basis. "Can I hold Ben with myself?" At music class she insists that they both sit on my lap, even when I offer to set Ben on the floor next to us. She will not go down for a nap or up to bed without kissing him goodnight. For the most part she is both generous and gentle. Ben just eats it all up...and then I die some more. I couldn't choose just one of the following pictures so I am flooding the post with all of them.

Up next: A few days in Maine, turkey day, and hopefully some sleep!