Saturday, December 22, 2007

Sleep Deprived Parent Seeks Nyquil and Blackout Curtains

I regret to say that while the children have been adorable, there has been a serious sleep deficit lately. The more sleep I lose, the less I can recall. What I faintly recall from last weekend, is that they've been tag teaming me. As soon as one child seemed to be more or less (or not at all, actually) settled back into bed, the other one wailed from their room. After two nights of this, we went to visit the Massachusetts Grandparents. They kindly took the kids off our hands while we tried to recover some sleep. Noodle was seriously damaging her image as the happy-go-lucky baby, screaming and insisting that only Mommy would do. Finally she managed to poop, and magically turned lovely again. Photo here is, obviously, after her recovery.

So I'm losing memories faster than I can observe them, but this is a posting of the few bits I can still scrape together.

Noodle- at seven months old, she's still pretty limited in variety, but she's lovely to cuddle, and amusing to watch:

* Contemplating a pacifier, picks it up, considers it, tries to put it into her mouth, only to hit another pacifier. Clunk. She reconsiders the pacifier again, turns it a bit, tries again. Clunk.

* Sharing a bath with Q, slapping the water, then happily slapping the back and limbs of her brother when he lies down next to her.

* She can now unreliably sit up on her own, and looks absolutely delighted with herself.

* She reliably loves her Noodle Theme Song and will quiet down almost any time I sing it to her.

Q - He is CONSTANTLY TESTING US. I am gritting my teeth a lot. But I'm also really amazed by how much he's picking up on lately:

* Looking at a book ("Knuffle Bunny Too") asks if this is the motory. (Actual photo is of a rotary.) I point out the New York City skyline and tell him that's where his Uncle Ralph lives. He says, "And maybe Aunt Marilyn." They evidently made an acute impression on their visit last month.

* When J sat down at the other end of the blue couch, "That is not a good place to sit. You should sit here." Pats the spot next to himself.

* I put him to bed one night at his usual time, about 6:45. At 8, I went upstairs and spot a light on in his room. I assume he fell asleep with the light on, and slip in to turn it off. Bright eyed, he looks up at me from the Paddington Bear book he is reading, "Mommy will you read this to me?" I crack up and give up any notion that I am going to scold him. (Sneaking a book to read in bed at 3 years old seems pretty darn funny to me.) Since then I have bribed him with books on his sleepless nights, he's allowed to read in bed and I'll turn off the light when I come to bed later.

* He can now accurately sing the alphabet song, as long as you don't like the letter "E".

* He is writing his name fairly reliably- enough that we got a Christmas card from Preschool with his signature. Perhaps they've been practicing without mentioning it?

* Those are simple examples of his obsession with words and letters and numbers. He frequently asks questions such as, "What does sponge start with a-?" "And what comes after S?" And so on. Soon he's going to start asking about words I can't spell without writing down. The advent calendars have been advancing his understanding of double digits. Triple digits (seen in the index of his poetry book) still thwart him.

* I told him "I love you" the other day. He replies, "Yeah, you do."

We're bracing ourselves for Christmas. Last year, Q was rapidly overwhelmed by the holiday and we simply hid all but a few gifts and then parceled them out slowly over several days. I think he'll be a little calmer this year, but he can actually anticipate the holiday, which is definitely asking for a full blown Christmas Meltdown. Whether his or ours is yet to be seen.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mystic Adventure

A few weeks ago, my mil had a really great idea for a Q adventure which we implemented this past Friday. She dropped Q and me off at the Old Saybrook train station, where we picked up the Boston bound train. We traveled by train to Mystic, CT, where she met us at the train station with Noodle, and then the four of us went to the Mystic Aquarium, and then travelled home by car.

It was a fabulous adventure. Q was really thrilled by the train station, the train, and the train ride. He sat on my lap and commented on everything and everyone and was good as gold the whole way: his absolutely sweetest 3 year old self. I wanted to ride all the way to Boston.

Settling Q down for the night, I have a new list of soothing techniques: Christmas carols, imagery of the moon, lying down next to him in bed and smoothing his soft cheek. Thursday night I included a long description of Friday's adventure, hoping to enlist his assistance in getting ready early. (No luck with that, by the way.) Tonight he interrupted my description of the moon and asked me to tell him about our train adventure again.

He loved the train.

The aquarium was really fun. The beluga whales would pop into view as if playing a game of hide and go seek and we couldn't help but laugh with delight. Even if you knew they'd come back around, they'd still feel like a wonderful surprise.

We also saw a 14 lb lobster (larger than Noodle I believe), glow in the dark fish, sharks, jelly-fish, bats, piranhas, sea lions and penguins. We managed to hold back and just let Q explore without worrying about seeing everything or whether we'd catch the sea lion show or fish feedings. Q was generally giddy with excitement, which was lovely to see, even if it did bode ominously for his melt-down potential.

One of my favorite moments from the aquarium came from Noodle, however. I had pulled her out of the car seat, changed her, and was carrying her around hoping she wouldn't spit out her pacifier into the touch tank. Sitting down by one of the spiny lobsters, I held her so she could stand (still her favorite activity) and look into the tank. One lobster noted the easy pickings and scrambled over eagerly to attempt to eat her. She bobbled around, unfocused, but perhaps seeing the lobster, when we heard Q laugh from around the corner. Noodle's head whipped around with the biggest smile, trying to locate her brother.

She loves that boy.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Sleepy Head and Lazy Bones

Q has developed new bedtime rituals. I don't know all the rules yet, but some of them are very important and he will tear up and start sobbing if thwarted. A week and a few days into Noodle's new schedule, we are starting to get a rhythm. All of which is liable for modification on any given night.

4:15 Noodle eats her solid food dinner.

5:00 Noodle takes her pre bath nap. Sometimes. Q and I eat dinner. If J is here, all the schedule goes awry, but at least there are two of us to endure the tantrums. If Q remembers, he begs for a piece of his Halloween candy. Yep. He still has some. I'm not sure if it's because I'm mean and didn't let him have free rein, or if it's because J and I decided to try to lose weight this fall. Of course, many nights he doesn't remember it exists. He's only three. It won't last.

Tonight, because I managed to feed us all before 5 (this might have been desperate or sensible, I'm not sure which), I let Q watch 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'.

Q informed me, "He's not being polite to that dog!" Noodle smiled gleefully as I rocked her side to side with the Christmas choir that transforms the Grinch's heart just by singing.

5:30 We go upstairs for Noodle's bath. Often I lug both children because Q has gotten sad and manipulative. Or, alternately, because he is melting down.

5:35 Noodle's bath. She now must be bathed in the bigger tub, although I have a small tub to set inside it. She'd still fit into the sink, but she is capable of turning on the hot water faucet, not to mention that all her splashing was starting to deteriorate the wood siding of the sink.

This is one of the most delightful activities of the day. Noodle grins and chortles throughout, splashing now with her hands as well as her feet. Q often comes over and makes loud obnoxious noises which she finds endlessly amusing, and sometimes even giggles at.

5:40 Noodle is dried off, Q hops into her bathwater. I don't know why, but he really wants to bathe in her bath. Noodle is dressed in her jammies and read a couple of books while Q sits in the water and hypothetically gets clean. Realistically he's taking a washcloth and commenting on how the tub needs cleaning and applying vast quantities of liquid baby soap to all tub surfaces he can reach. Noodle gets nursed or a bottle or both.

5:50 (or earlier) Q hops out of the tub after draining it. He gets his own towel. If he is not allowed to do these two tasks, there is a meltdown. He comes to our bed where I am feeding Noodle, making loud noises and then begs to be picked up and put on the bed. He is dried off and assisted into his jammies, usually with only a few threatening noises.

5:55 We read as many books or stories as Q can persuade me is necessary. Q is now a huge fan of Winnie the Pooh so some of the stories are quite long and Q loses interest. And luckily for me, doesn't follow quite well enough to notice when I read only one sentence on a page and move on.

6:25 I put Noodle down somewhere safe (like the bassinet she's outgrown) and carry Q to bed, singing his sleepy little baby song. I give him ten kisses and tell him I love him and good night. If I somehow miss an important statement, there will be tears immediately after the door is shut. If the ocean is not on, there will be wails. If Q forgets to say I love you and good night and air kiss at me, there will be sobbing.

6:38 I pick up the wailing Noodle and go downstairs to put her to bed, singing the Noodley N Song.

6:38 and 30 seconds Q opens his door and announces he has to use the potty.

6:45 I return upstairs to find a naked Q wandering around the bathroom, unrepentant. I help him onto the potty. I fix up his toothbrush, and heck, one for me. He washes his hands and brushes his teeth. He is reinserted into his jammies. He runs to his bed and begs me to bring Blankie, abandoned in the bathroom. Blankie is absolutely necessary, and if Blankie is not evident, for some unknown reason, like it is hiding by his feet, there will be heart wrenching wails.

7:00 There is an odd silence in the house. Yesterday, when J and I were both home for once, we turned to each other puzzled. How late is it? It feels like it must be 9 or 10. Suddenly I have hours of solo adult time open before my own bed time to do grown up activities, like, empty the dishwasher. Hunt for the address book. Pay the oil bill. Update my blog before my father comments that I'm slacking.