Sunday, September 23, 2007

The days go slowly... the years speed away

N decided to get busy for her 4 month birthday. She can now flip from her front to her back without much effort, although she sometimes chooses to simply wail instead. She started to grab at toys, and, impressively, even manages to attain them and cram them in her mouth at times.

We find that Q is wonderful entertainment for her. Just hearing his voice makes her face light up, and her first sight of him each day brings big grins. If we plop her into her exersaucer, she will often rotate herself to watch him as he plays.

She’s a sweet little baby, never grumpy except for the basics (hunger, diaper, exhaustion and gas). This week she ran a low fever from getting her 4 month shots, but didn’t seem to think it was worth fussing over. At 11 lbs 6 oz, she’s nearly twice her birth weight, but still seems like a little bitty thing. She looks good in pale green and yellow, but pink makes her look, well, red.

Unfortunately she’s shifted her sleep schedule to sleep 8:30 to 4 am, and I have not shifted with her, so I’m sleep deprived, short tempered, and less than proud of myself.

I believe that Q is perhaps also a bit sleep deprived, having an out and out meltdown today, refusing to have a picnic in the back yard. I responded to having a tantrum coerce me by (after a time out) telling him there would be no treats today. No Maisy, no cookies, just the basics. When I reminded him of that when he asked for a video (pre-nap routine), he didn’t even get upset, just agreed to the terms (book yes, video no) and went down for a nap. I feel mean. But I still feel manipulated, so I’ll get over it. He’s still asleep 2 hours later, so I think exhaustion was the real problem.

The boy made himself remarkably adorable today though. Wandering upstairs naked (still refusing to go potty), he informed me that he was going to nurse Excavator. And Tickulated Dump Truck. They were hungry and crying. As I watched, bemused, he held first Excavator, then Dump Truck up to his nipples. He’s such a good Truck Daddy.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Talking Trucks

I find myself missing fairly entertaining comments from Q on a regular basis, only figuring them out later. Earlier this week I explained that his dinner was a little hot, but in the meantime he could eat some tortilla chips. He asked, “Is it the Mean Time now, Mommy?” I thought he was asking if it was evening time now. J helped him out, “Yes, now is the meantime.”

He’s also been asking, “Is N happy? Is N happy, Mommy?” He’ll ask this about the cats, his sister, J, or me. The other day he asked me if I was happy, just as I had the two kids in a golden snuggly moment. You bet kid.

He’s suddenly launched into a new phase of imaginative play. He will describe a book as if he is the main character. “Then I found a stick and I whacked the tree with it, and the snow fell down.” (The Snowy Day) “I climbed up on the river bank into the reeds and something screeched in the sky above me.” (Come Along Daisy!) A boy after my own heart.

Lately he’s also been pointing at pictures and saying, “I’m gonna play with dat truck/tractor/excavator.” He points to a window on his train station, “I’m gonna look out dat window, Mommy.”

And his trucks are taking on more and more personality. “Excavator was spitting up on the spit cloth.” I asked if Excavator felt better now. “Excavator and Articulated Dump Truck were crying…”

Articulated Dump Truck was a gift from friends upon Q becoming a Big Brother. In case you are not up on your trucks, an articulated dump truck is the type that is jointed between the cab and the bed, so it can bend in the middle.

My father, hearing the truck’s name, was confused. “Is he saying, Tickle-A-Dump Truck?” Um, well, that’s what it sounds like most of the time. And when he can enunciate well enough to say ‘Articulated’ articulately, I think I’ll sob.

I doubted that Q had really gotten the meaning behind Articulated Dump Truck’s name. We have a glamourous truck book that explains these details, but he is only three, after all. At the Haddam Neck Fair, however, he pointed to a tractor, he announced it was articulated. Skeptically, I watched the tractor for a minute, and realized he was right. The tractor was jointed in the middle.

Before I had my son, I really don’t think I would’ve realized how cool that is.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Great Humongous Spider...

This spider photo is from last summer, but we have spotted two more of them this summer. They’re big spiders, so they really are hard to ignore once you see them.

Today J, Q and I went to take a look at the one in the hosta after returning home. We were admiring her web, very reminiscent of Charlotte’s, when a small fly blundered into it. The spider scuttled over and began to efficiently wrap it up. I squatted down and explained to Q that they spider was going to eat the fly for lunch.

“A bug sandwich.” J offered.

I elaborated, “See how she’s wrapping it up with her thread? Now she’s going to…Now she can… Spiders can…” I gave up in hysterics, trying not to explain what the spider would do without making it sound ghoulish.

“A bug sandwich.” J offered again, saving me from the corner I’d painted myself into.


Thursday, September 06, 2007


End of Summer photos

Growth Spurts

I love preschool. Q, who had been trying my nerves lately, is wildly happy and content in the afternoons when I get off work. It’s like he was desperate for a focus for his energy and now that he’s got it, and he can be a happy 3 year old and only a test his limits a little bit.

He’s doing great with potty training (no accidents, knock on wood, pull ups at night) and earned a compliment at preschool for his polite snacktime request for “more please”. A lot of the things we’ve been working on so hard on are coming to fruition. I’m so proud. What a good kid.

I’m noticing that an awful lot of his preschool peers also have a younger siblings lined up and waving goodbye in the morning (usually a year or less, one is due in January). I have visions of a parenting conveyor belt. We stand there all chummy, as our babies toddle in, holding each other’s hands (or their teacher’s), proud and amused at ourselves and our children. Some, like Q, don’t look back, which almost makes me cry. Others keep trying to retain eye contact as they sob, “NOOOOOO!” and their parents flinch, wishing their children were excited about a happy and busy day in preschool.

I’ve noticed lately that Q is enjoying trying out new words and phrases, although he has difficulty enunciating hard consonants in the middle of words. (“Water”, for example, often sounds like, “more” to me.) Several times in the past few days he’s stumped me by using the word, “startled” in a sentence. I had explained that N was startled by something he did, and that was why she’d burst into tears. This morning he informed us that N’s rattle was startled. (We need to work on the concept a little more.) He also heard us talking about something alarming (I now wonder what) and rephrased our comments to say, “We don’t like pants scared.”

Little sister N is so mellow it cracks me up. After nursing this morning, the house was dark and quiet. Thinking she’d drifted off, I popped her into her bassinet and got ready to shower. When I got back, she was just hanging out, looking around, gave me a huge grin. The big ones are impossible to resist. I suspect when she gets the opportunity, she’s going to be a quietly mischievous child…

We’re struggling with the sleep thing a little, but I think it’s because she’s in the room with us. (And struggling means she wakes up at 4 am, I pop her into bed with me and she wakes at 5:45 for breakfast.) I think she’d sleep better without me picking her up at the first whimpery snort of the morning. (We don’t call her ‘Snorty Girl’ for nothing.) I also suspect she’s hit a growth spurt and simply gets hungrier early.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Balancing Act

It was not promising to be a good day.

First of all, I woke up in a grumpy mood, having had my sleep interrupted for the second night in a row by the baby. I feel greedy for expecting her to sleep regularly through the night, but since she has been giving me 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis, the nights when she struggles to make it through, wakes, wails, and is easily comforted by nursing, seem, well, demanding.

Secondly, I’d had three days of Q testing me. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, J worked 11 to 7 and I was mostly alone with the kids. After three days, I wanted to hit my head against the wall to distract me from my desire to throttle Q. It was only on Sunday that we had a flashback to my mother’s theory that “when a normally pleasant child is acting like a pill, it’s often because they’re about to make some sort of a breakthrough.” Q is potty training, and while he never tells us he needs to go, unless he’s naked and making conversation as he pads off to the potty, he is actually doing quite well. Preschool starts tomorrow, and likely the stress of the two events is building on his little shoulders in ways I’m too oblivious to notice, except in terms of his behavior being so much more trying than usual.

By Monday, while I was feeling compassion for my little boy, I was starting to suspect I was going to have a nervous breakdown.

My husband, no fool, asked what would I like to do: have some time to myself, divide the kids between us, do something as a family…?

We went to the Haddam Neck Fair.

Haddam Neck is a tiny village that is part of the town of Haddam, most of which is the next town north of us. Haddam Neck, however, is within the part of Haddam on the other side of the Connecticut River. In case you’re curious, no, it does not make sense to divide a town with a river big enough for barges.

The Haddam Neck Fair is a small and lovely affair. There were some rides (we declined). There was fried food (we participated). There were many cows, some oxen (I realized my ignorance as I tried to explain oxen to my son), rabbits, chickens, goats, sheep, a camel, two donkeys, and zebus (the relation to cattle made famous by a Veggie Tales song!). We enjoyed the racing pigs (not local, I think they were up from Florida), and Q, as you can see, was in heaven when the tractor pull started up. I finally discovered what a tractor pull actually is. (The explanation illuminated the landscaping on a local property.)

All this excitement could have led to exhausted tantrums later, or a bathroom accident, or an infant meltdown. We lucked out, established our normal routine when we returned home, got Q to take a nap, and had a lovely afternoon and evening.

On the cusp of preschool, we had a magical day together.