Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Frivolity

N is a Monkey Mouse.

The costume is very cuddly and she was good natured about it, although she evidently didn't like the hood much. Her mood is much improved (well, it wasn't that grumpy when she was sick, she simply screamed bloody murder for long stretches at night) and she's been happily sucking down the antibiotics, so I think she's well on the way to recovery.

Q is a Cat.

He had a flurry of Halloween activities: a parade in preschool, a parade after preschool, and trick or treating with Mom. Which is a lot for a child who had to be re-taught the concept of Halloween. He had a blast trick or treating, tromping up and down the streets, happily commenting that the decorations were silly, whispering "Trick or Treat!" when people opened their doors, and then managing to audibly say "Happy Halloween" as we left.

One of my neighbors with kids in middle and high school was helping them set up a mini-haunted house in his garage as we walked up. It was so awful, and so inappropriate for a 3 year old that we simply backed out and I started laughing hysterically. "I don't think this one's going to work for us, Q." Q seemed unalarmed, no harm done, but I was wildly amused. Their younger son took off his mask and very kindly offered Q candy.

I earned parenting karma points later tonight though. After we returned home, and got Q settled for the night, I took over answering the door. A very antsy princess fairy came with her sleepy pirate brother. When I realized she needed to pee, I offered our bathroom to her mother (I did make her go upstairs, which you understand if you've been to my house). A very relieved little princess fairy came back downstairs. Better my potty than my bushes...

(I apologize. These are not the best photos- when you delay getting the kids into their costumes until after dinner, you really run amok with light.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Another Baby First

The shrieking lately, at 3am, has made the little girl a less than popular member of the family. I finally decided that based on the facts (she didn’t want to nurse, didn’t seem to want to be awake at all, didn’t seem to be comforted by anything) she must be teething. We got some night time oragel and treated her with oragel and tylenol and while she still woke and screamed horribly, it seemed to help and she seemed to go back to bed faster than usual.

But in a discussion with a nurse practitioner today (got my flu shot!), I was persuaded to bring N in to see the doctor, just in case. Sure she wasn’t cranky or miserable except when screaming at night, but it would be worth checking her out.

Well, what do you know, baby has her first ear infection. And considering this, she was far too good natured. Sure the screaming at various times was awful enough that we had to set her down and walk out of the room to gain self control. But mostly, during the day especially, she was her normal smiley self. Simply unreasonably good natured.

So. A lesson I hope I’ve now learned: if N screams without an obvious reason, that is enough reason to get her to the doctor.

Poor baby… This photo was taken after a particularly bad night (Thursday am). Note the total lack of grumpiness.

Monday, October 22, 2007


N at 5 months

Dashed Hopes

I felt oh so clever. I was even contemplating writing in my blog about how clever I was. I was going to title this one: Creativity.

Q, as I believe I have noted, picked up a cold and brought it home to share. We’ve all been a little grumpy, very tired, and less than cooperative. Knowing this, I picked up some videos at the library on Friday and I’ve been parcelling them out to ease the long cranky afternoons and to soothe achy little heads. Except when I remove video privileges as a consequence for refusing to walk at the outlet mall, requiring me to lug an unnamed, screaming child over my shoulder while pulling the stroller all the way back to the car. (Surprisingly few people grinned at me. I was close to smirking myself. After all, he’d tried to call my bluff and I’d won.)

So today, after I’d already exhausted the video of the day, and was wondering how to amuse a cranky 3 year old who had already done glamorous things (preschool, playground, videos…), I had a brilliant idea.

We’ve had a big box hanging out in the kitchen for a few days. I’m sure I must have something I want to store in it, but I haven’t figured out what quite yet. In the mean time, Quinn has been crawling in it, dancing in it, falling over and smacking his head in it. All around having a good time. And now we have a new opportunity for fun!

“Q, I know we have told you that you may not draw on anything other than paper, but I have something special for you. Would you like to use your markers to draw on this box?”

I was so smart. Q colored happily on the box for a good 45 to 60 minutes. I gave him train stickers to decorate with, wrote his name for him, and while he was in bliss, I made a lasagna for tomorrow night’s dinner. N did her part by sleeping. It was heaven. I even had a half glass of wine.

But the good times cannot last forever.

“I want the fire engine stickers.”

I told him those were for another time. My usually reasonable Q, whom we regularly do say no to, had a little meltdown. Which turned into a big meltdown. Eventually I had to pick him up and lug him upstairs (there’s a pattern) till he was ready to come down for dinner. I ate, nursed the now crying baby, called my mother, and predicted that one or both of the children would be crying for the rest of the evening. Finally Q emerged.

After some happy discussion of N’s diaper situation, and some initial overtures towards his food, Q eventually abandons eating and wants to play, just when it is time to take the kids up for Bath, Books and Bed Time. Another meltdown. I lug him upstairs again.

The meltdowns continue, “I don’t want you to bathe N!” “I don’t want you to trim my nails, NO! NO! NO! NO!” “I don’t want to pee!” “I want to hold the shower head!” “I don’t want to pee!” “I don’t want you to hold N!”

Finally, both kids are washed (minimally) and in their jammies. One infant is fast asleep and one exhausted boy is read four books, and tucked into his Big Boy Train Bed with Blankie. Two cats are going crazy with anxiety that they will not be fed.

Some nights are not about sweet nurturing bliss, but simple survival. These nights too will be remembered as some of the good times.

Monday, October 15, 2007

shaking with laughter

I popped N into the saucer today, told Q he could indeed play with her rattle, and walked into the kitchen as he joyously retrieved it. (He’s been told not to take it from her, but if she’s not playing with it, hey, that’s fine.)

An absolute scream of rage? pain? fury? (same as rage?) suddenly came from the living room and I whirled back in to see what the problem was as Q wanders out. I picked her up and she stops screaming.

Wondering aloud what the problem had been, J surmises that Q had whacked her with the rattle. I ask Q, “Q, why was N screaming?” After several tangents (not deliberate, this is just a lack of conversational technique), Q says, “I hurted her with the rattle.”


J had to gently inform Q that this was not ok while I turned my back and shook with laughter. So matter of fact.

He’s a very gentle little kid, but he’s getting bolder with her.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Poop

N has not been sleeping well. Worse, she’s been screaming for 30 to 60 minutes a night and very little can console her. Last night I discovered that the vacuum cleaner could calm her down, which was lucky since I was at my wits end. At 5 months, she’s got great lung capacity. She seems to be in pain, but I cannot figure out the cause for sure. My instinct is that it is due to the fact that she poops so irregularly. I brought this problem up at the last check up (4 months) and the pediatrician recommended pear juice- if we can find it.

So I set out today on a crusade to find pear juice to move the girl’s bowels and preserve my sanity. First destination is the natural foods store. Next to a Starbucks, which I was eyeing with more self preservation in mind. But before I fought over a parking spot, I spy a ‘Closed’ sign at the natural foods store. I move on. On a whim, I stopped at the fancy cheese and other expensive foods store. They are out of pear juice. But I see what the bottle would look like. I give up for the moment and go on to adventure #2 for Sunday morning: Hitting Ocean State Job Lot.

I have this idea that going to a large store with two small children, no particular goal in mind, and no back up is a fun idea. Obviously my sanity is fragile. But my luck holds out. I find a number of items I have been looking for: maple syrup (grade B, which I prefer, but is sometimes hard to find), a large soft, cheap fleece for lounging around in (my husband disapproves and requests that I buy clothing that fits me), a cat costume size 2 to 4T, a mouse costume size 6 to 12 mo (perhaps too large, but fairly amusing), both costumes are reasonably priced and very cheesy, sweetnlow (for my addiction to saccharine), and PEAR JUICE. 3 bottles of the fancy looking brand seen at the expensive cheese store (manufactured in Belgium, packaged in Bradenton, FL).

I manage to get a diluted quantity of pear juice into N. (We had little luck with the effectiveness of prune juice, I’m sure you were going to ask.) And the child seems to have come unplugged. Two poopy diapers and I’m wiping my brow with relief. Thank goodness. I think she may get some daily now. I’m wondering if solid food would make the problem worse or better…

Q has a bug. He barely ate today. He stopped eating potato chips and said he was done. After a lovely 2 hour nap, he had a fever of 101.7 and mostly just wanted to hang out near me. Poor child. His cough makes me nervous, so I’m leaning in to listen to him breathe, trying to catch the sound of bronchitis before it develops into pneumonia. (This because my family tends to assume that all ill people are faking, which led me to discourage my husband to get his cold checked out until he was in a borderline pneumonia state, and so now I’m paranoid about coughs and listlessness.)

But the kid is doing really well. He’s been sleeping in both the new beds, having gotten over the trauma of falling out of the big big bed into the toddler bed (we now have a bed rail for him). Saturday, after one of the awful nights with N, he let us sleep in till nearly 8, luxuriously late.

Unfortunately I figured out why, eventually.

He’s been coloring a lot lately. He calls it ‘drawing’, and when he has blank paper he is creating different art than he did, even a month ago: filling in shapes with color, and circling items deliberately. He has a coloring book that he turns carefully through, and fills in, almost neatly, small portions of different pictures.

Saturday afternoon I spotted the cap of a pen on the floor of his room. A pen we use to mark his clothes with his name. The rest of the pen is missing. I prod his memory, “Where is the pen, Q?” As I interrogate him, I notice three library books on the floor of his room… one with pen marks on the protective cover.

Only one turns out to have marks on the pages. The book he likes the best, I think. Something about eyes attracted him, and he added another level of art to the eyes of the characters. So sad: he’s destroyed a library book, he’s made it impossible to see the art, and yet at the same time, I see that he did it out of affection.

We had a little talk (Again) about how we don’t draw on books, that coloring books are very special etc etc. (This is the first assault on a book, usually he goes after furniture or walls.) And I will bring the book back to the library, apologize profusely for not supervising more closely, and pay for the book.

But as a librarian, I know something. Since I will pay for the book, they will probably give it to me. And then what? Do I bring it home and keep reading it with Q? Do I want him to get the bright idea that if he writes in his favorite library books he gets to keep them? Ah well. One problem at a time.

For English Major Party Fun:

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Big Boy Beds

I admit it. I have a linen fetish. But I am not just using this situation as an excuse to buy sheets for Q’s bed. This is strategy! Honest!

Last spring, before N was born, a friend came across the book My Big Boy Bed by Eve Bunting. It features a little boy who is very similar to our Q: has a cat, has an affection for fire trucks, has a blankie, and, very important, has a new baby brother. We read it ‘sister’, because, heck, Q can’t read, and we might as well push the analogy in his head as far as we can. The big brother in the book has just come home from buying ‘big boy sheets’ for his big boy bed. He discusses all the merits of the big boy bed, and at the end also describes slipping out of bed to gently touch the hand of the new baby and saying good night.

Well, you know what’s coming right? We have one crib, and one Q sleeping in it. He tried out the toddler bed for a few weeks, and then went back. N is still sleeping in the bassinet, but it is getting a little small for her. And it’s a little too close to me. As I found with Q, the smallest sound seems to wake me, and then I respond without giving her the opportunity to fall back to sleep on her own. Not that I suspect she would. After all, when your every whimper is catered to, why would you develop any stoicism?

Today we went to the mall. The mall in question is about an hour from home. We brought Q, N, the friend referred to above, and her wee baby. There was much time spent in the bathroom (actually, this is a big milestone, he’d never asked to use the bathroom before in a public place) and on the escalators. I was exhausted. But we returned with ‘big boy sheets’ for the two big boy beds. Q bought into the concept so entirely that he was playing escalator with the cat who is going up the escalator to get big boy sheets herself. I later discovered her trapped between the screen door and the wooden door. Evidently she decided to use the elevator.

We made the beds up. I am now fighting the desire to locate a twin sized red bed skirt (wouldn’t that look good with the fire trucks?) and Q chose to sleep in the GINORMOUSLY high bed, made with fire truck sheets that he selected himself. (I asked him which bed he wanted to sleep in and he replied, “Well, the one with Blankie.”)

I have been in and out of his room no less than 4 times with various excuses. He seems sound asleep, wedged against the wall, with little chance of falling out soon. I moved the toddler bed (now sporting a train sheet) next to it so there’d be something soft to break his fall…

and of course, now that I have so thoroughly persuaded him that he’s a big boy, I am filled with regret for how fast my little boy is growing.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

...and there it goeth

Today’s report from Preschool:
“Q burst our bubble of the lovely friend today with 2 incidents of grabbing/pushing for toys. How dare he act like a typical 3 year old!”

Have I mentioned that I really like this preschool teacher?

”...we know he will redeem himself!”

On the bright side, little sister N slept from 8pm to 6am last night. Very good manners. Or, more accurately, very merciful.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Our 10th anniversary is in June and we want to plan ahead and make reservations at a good family resort or location. N will be just over 1, so serious amounts of water is a bad idea, although if our site (room? house? cottage?) is really well secured, we might consider something on the coast. Q will be 4, so lots of things to do with him would be good.

But we’re brainstorming and researching at this point. Our current guidelines:

  • Family Friendly
  • Reasonably Priced, or even Cheap! (Some ability to make meals a plus.)
  • No more than maybe 3 hours from home? Some flexibility here, since the cheaper the location, the more worthwhile the drive/time committed. There are a few places in northern VT that would be quite a hike, but are on the maybe list.
  • We like the idea of one of the retro-family resorts. The cheesy kind with little cottages. We see a few of them scattered in this area, but that’s too close.

Suggestions and advice welcome.
Although, as with the naming of our child, we reserve all rights to abandon previous principles and all recommendations.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Small steps

At 3:30 am this morning, N woke up and exhibited that just because she doesn’t normally insist on her way, it doesn’t mean she can’t broadcast to the neighbors if she wants to. Ears ringing, I changed her soaked diaper and returned to bed to nurse her. As I sat down, Q’s door opened and he trotted in and plopped down on our bed. “Is N crying?” (He’s in the ‘state the obvious’ phase.) He waited, chatting cheerfully with me while I nursed her, and then let me put him back to bed.

I dropped Q off at preschool this morning. When he falls into line, toddling off with the other wee ones, he doesn’t even wave goodbye. But today, unprompted, he paused, looked back, and blew me a kiss.

His genuine sweetness is a marvel.