Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Want a New Drug*

As I reach the end of pregnancy (TODAY is TWO MONTHS until due date, but I’m hoping I’ll deliver early, as I did with Charles), I find myself less and less inclined to do any activities.  Especially ones that require physical output.  Read books to Charles on the couch?  Sure.  Do a puzzle?  Of course.  Make dinner?  Hmm, that would require standing, and chopping, and mixing, and serving, and setting the table… is there any way I can get out of it?  No.  Fine.  But don’t expect me to do laundry.  Oh, crap.  I’m out of maternity shirts/pants (you know, because there are only a few that even fit anymore, and Oh, God, what am I going to wear for the rest of this pregnancy!).  Well, fine, I’ll do laundry, but that’s it.  I am mush for the rest of the night.  Oh.  Oh.  You want to ride your bike around the block/draw with chalk on the sidewalk/go to the park.  Sure, let me get my coat.


What I’m saying is that I am pooped, so that when Charles is finally in bed and asleep, I would like to spend 30-90 minutes vegging out in front of the TV with my husband every other night (because the other nights, I need to sleep early, or I’m reading an interesting book, or I really do have to get more laundry done).  But therein lies the two-fold problem: one, we don’t have cable or satellite television; two, Tony doesn’t like to turn movies off in the middle to save the second half for the next night (I have no problem with this).  We’ve never had TV, and I can only imagine the thousands of dollars we have saved over our 6-year marriage (no doubt Tony has it calculated somewhere).  Our substitute has always been TV-on-DVD.  We have watched all 9 seasons of Scrubs, all 4 seasons of 30 Rock, all 6 seasons of The Office, the first season of Glee, the first 2 seasons of House, all 3 seasons of Arrested Development, and probably a few others I am forgetting over the past six years.  When I’m not pregnant, we really don’t watch too much at all, which is why the one-DVD-by-mail-with-in-store-trade-ins via Blockbuster works for us. 


Except, lately, we have been trading in A LOT.  Like, every time we get a new DVD in the mail.  So.  We have seen a lot of movies.  And we have exhausted what I know about good TV shows out there.  This is where you come in.  We need a new show, something we can watch over the next couple months of evenings to rot my brain and keep me from thinking about how everything I eat or don’t eat gives me such horrible heartburn that I think my esophagus is going to shrivel and die.  This is also a good chance for those of you who read this blog but NEVER comment to weigh in.  I know there are a few of you, I’ve been told.  You’re being watched.


So, Tony and I like comedies for the most part, especially clever ones, or dramas that have some degree of suspense-and-resolution to them (CSI, House, but NOT Law & Order) and we’re not big fans of prime-time soap operas or HBO dramas.  What should we watch next?


Hey, I just thought of something awesome.  Wouldn’t it be great if Jeopardy! were on DVD?  So one could fast-forward through that awkward and annoying Alex Trebek-gets-to-know-the-contestants part (because they’re all goobers, aren’t they).  That would be cool.  I’ll have to check that out.


Please, help us!


*One that makes me feel like I feel when I’m with yooooooouuuu!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Oh, Sunny Day

Once, when Charles was small(er), I had a mantra that went something like, “Someday, he’ll be able to play on his own for five minutes – maybe more! – and I’ll be able to finish reading the paper/going to the bathroom/making dinner/brushing my teeth/etc.”


Friends, that day has finally arrived (though we don’t have too many of them, just a day here and there, I consider it progress):

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Said progress toward “playing alone time” also includes significant mess-making.  Here, it appears that he wanted to know what was on the bottom inside of the box.


Also!  Do you know what just happened?  We got our Tony back!  For the first time in months, we lingered in our pajamas and ate breakfast as a family.  Also, Tony was bedeviled by Charles’ curiosity about his guitar:


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And then the neighbor kids all played light sabers (which made me think about how, if we have another boy, it will be all swords and trucks and guns and chasing and EXHAUSTION all the time*):


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*Which is probably okay, considering the high quality of little boy kisses I get, and the amusing moments like when he sees a fire truck and screams “FIIIIIIIRE TRUUUUCK!” from the backseat, which sets him off on a yelling-out-every-truck/boat/tractor-I-see tangent until we get to our destination.  God forbid his enthusiasm for life is every quashed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Water Baby

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Splish!  Splash!  Every Wednesday, Charles and I have been attending a waterbabies swim class at the local gym.  It has been quite the workout for both of us, and a fantastic way to burn an hour or so in the evening.  I put dinner in the oven on time-bake and when we return, exhausted from our swimming efforts, dinner awaits. 


This time, Tony got to go (perks of the end of tax season numbers one and two: Tony gets to be more involved in family fun, and I get a much-needed break from throwing a squealing, swimming toddler in the air this week.  Though I think I will get in the pool next time – it is quite warm and humid sitting on the sidelines, I was beet red and uncomfortable) and enjoy the swim class.


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Charles has the greatest time.  He went from shy and reserved the first class to laughing with delight, splashing, jumping in from the side of the pool, kicking, and swimming on his own with a noodle within a few weeks.


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Charles is a lot like I am in new situations: he wants to know what’s going on and what’s going to happen before he participates fully.  It’s not that he doesn’t like surprises or group activities, it’s just that he feels shy if he hasn’t done something before.  And that’s okay. 


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He’s already excited about going back next week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tulip Time

Every year, the Skagit Valley holds a Tulip Festival, and I’m pretty sure that MILLIONS of photos are taken of flowers here in the month of April.  I chose to capture Charles and the flowers for a change of pace:


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The festival is really just a bunch of art galleries, wine/cider tastings, events, and store openings after a long winter coinciding with the blooming of over 900 acres of tulips throughout the month of April.  There is a street fair (mostly high-priced crafts), several hundred thousand tourists over the course of a month, and a lot of mud.  You don’t so much tiptoe through the tulips as wade around the troughs of mud.  But it is gorgeous nonetheless.


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Charles and I got to visit a local grower as a part of his preschool’s field trip.  He only tried to run away from the group a few times, so I consider that a win.  I must say, childcare workers have my respect and admiration.


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Here’s a flower-photo-taking tip: to get your toddler to look like he’s smelling the flowers, ask him to give the flower a kiss. 


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“Fast running, mommy!”

Monday, April 11, 2011

I’ve got my helmet on, nothing can do me wrong…

For all the anguish, tears, and setbacks of last weekend, this weekend sure went well.  Charles hasn’t had a potty accident in a week, his tantrums have been manageable, and he’s completely enamored with his new bicycle (potty training reward), which has kept him worn out enough to nap.  It rained a bit yesterday morning, so he started out riding in the kitchen:



Later, we rode outside on a trail, but it was cold, so I moved the car out of the garage and he rode in there for what seemed like hours.  He is undoubtedly sore today.  He fell asleep with his helmet on (he wouldn’t take it off for Church, either) and later rode some more up and down the sidewalk and in the garage and around the kitchen.  What a kid.


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Wednesday, April 6, 2011


I don’t spend as much time thinking about this new baby as I did thinking about Charles before he was born.  I suppose that’s normal, as there is a lot more on my plate now, what with running a business and raising a child and caring for an ailing dog… daydreaming about the child in my womb is pretty far down the list of “things to think about,” like, maybe right after “do dishes and laundry and figure out something for dinner.” 


I have everything I need for a new baby, though I should probably adjust that assessment after I sort and wash all of Charles’ newborn and 0-3 month clothing that I just can’t bring myself to take out of the garage because, helloooo, 10-14 more weeks to go over here!  I have a short list at Target and Amazon (the Amazon Mom thing is so cool, but I still feel sort of lost with the obscene variety of ill-organized products one can browse at Amazon) that is slowly being purchased.  I take my vitamins.  I have a “birth plan” (get to hospital in time for the birth).  Leland will watch Charles while I deliver.  We’re set.


But one thing this pregnancy has thrown into sharp relief is how big Charles is.  He is such a big boy.  I find myself, instead of daydreaming about the new one, looking longingly at Charles’ baby photos when I pass them in the house, or thinking about how he was once small enough to fit into all those onesies I have to wash again.  I pine to hold him in my arms again, the soft baby whose breath was so sweet (now he has full-on, grown up morning breath, phee-ew!).


One of the biggest growth areas in the past six months for Charles has been language.  And I don’t take video of him speaking as often as I should, and I’m afraid I’ve already forgotten the adorable ways in which he would pronounce words, so here is a short list of my favorites to remind myself:


Eeen! = train

Buboose = Buster (still says this one)

Ni-Ni = pancakes

Beeoo = fork

Mi-mi = ice cream

Didoo = yogurt

Dah-Dah = chocolate

Peese = police (one of his first words, much to my embarrassment – for a bit I worried that other people would think we had lots of run-ins with the Police that that was one of his first words)

Eeean = Leland

Onion = Leland (more recently)

Minimals = animals

Dewey = smoothie

Eeeos = orange

Poot = soup/soap


Oh, there are so many more, but these are the, hmm, most bizarre?  I mean, probably every toddler says “simming” before “swimming,” but “Onion” for Leland is pretty great.  He’s already starting to replace his first words/pronunciations with the correct ones, and I can’t help but feel that I am losing my baby.  And what if this new baby just isn’t as fun?


It’s fear of the unknown, more than anything.  Yes, I’ll love my new baby, even if he or she has Down Syndrome and we have to change our entire lives around.  Yes, this new child will be a joy.  But if only I could birth another Charles, I would be the happiest parent in the world.  I think when I was pregnant with Charles I worried a lot about how I  would do as a mother, how I would handle getting my child to sleep through the night, keeping him safe, making sound parenting decisions.  Now that I have my happy, lively boy, I worry that I’ll have a sullen, boring child for the next one.  They are out there, those joyless children, those kids who don’t laugh much, who are too quiet, who are precocious and annoying.  I know some of them personally. And while I’m sure their parents love them, do they like them very much?  I truly like Charles and I hope I will like the next one, too.


Oh, someone tell me I’m not the only one who thinks like this.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

I don’t know what it’s like to raise a child who consistently sleeps through the night.  Once we entered potty training, Charles started waking himself up to pee once a night.  Now, he wakes up to come into our room in the middle of the night, waking later to pee.  I don’t know how well Tony sleeps with a toddler snuggled in his arms; maybe he is just so exhausted from working long, hard hours that he doesn’t notice.  But Charles does not snuggle with me… instead, he prefers to sleep on my face, or put his feet into my back, or scootch into me until I practically fall off of the bed.  Needless to say, I am getting pretty tired of this.


Some babies are born who sleep through the night easily from day one (or almost sleep through the night, as my friend’s 7-week-old now only gets up once per night to feed – I can’t even imagine how heavenly that would have been).  Charles never did this, and we continue to have our ups and downs with sleeping.  I imagine that there are people out there who think that we, as parents, are doing something wrong, and at times I have struggled with this thought myself, but that simply isn’t the case.  We aren’t teaching Charles to get up multiple times per night.  He just does.  And so we guide him back to bed after letting him get in with us for a bit (because I don’t know why he wandered into our room, and if it’s for comfort, I want to give him some before sending him back to his bed).  Or, if it’s late enough in the morning, we let him fall back asleep with us, where he will usually remain until well past 7 am:


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I was so proud and excited for a couple of weeks that once Charles decided to potty train, he just did it, with no accidents and no fuss and no problems.  And then, this weekend, he regressed a bit.  We went to McDonalds (there is a playplace where he can wear himself out because, let’s face it, I’m not up to chasing him around in the backyard, and it was raining, so please don’t judge me for feeding my child crap) and he went to the playplace while I stood in line.  He had gone potty before we left and as soon as we got there I asked him if he needed to go.  “No potty, mommy!”  As soon as I got our food, he came up to me, absolutely soaked.  The poor kid.  I took our food to go and broke down into tears as soon as we got to the car.  Because he didn’t get to play at McDonalds and he loves it there, and because he didn’t take a nap because he wasn’t worn out, and because I had just spent good money on food I don’t really like because of the benefit of the playplace which we would not get, and because I didn’t really know what to do with him for the next couple hours or really even the rest of the day because my plan had included lunch, wearing out at the playplace, and nap in the carseat before we made it home, thus leaving me time to clean my filthy house and prepare dinner. 


The next day we went to Jungle Playland, armed with two changes of clothes, and it was a disaster of a different kind (the potty thing worked out okay, though we did go through one extra pair of pants).  Charles is small and loves running around there, but I lose track of him and I don’t fit.  I can’t go up into the play structures and find him to make sure he’s okay.  Turns out he got stuck at the top of a very fast, very dark, very long slide for, like, 20 minutes on Sunday.  Finally, some older child helped him down.  But still, I can’t go there anymore alone.


The potty training thing has to do with him ignoring his bladder until the last possible second.  Then he rushes to the potty and goes a little bit in his pants, the rest in the potty.  The pants, though, are wet enough to need to be changed.  Which then puts him into a frenzy because he would rather play, he doesn’t care about being wet.


Overall, though, he is doing super well.  I think I have to be more vigilant about taking him every hour or so until he gets the hang of it even better.  He has mastered pooping in the potty because he likes to look at his “big poops, mommy!  Two big poops!”  So at least there aren’t any smelly pants to change.


In all, I am still very proud of him and I recognize that this is a process more than a feat to be accomplished in one attempt.  Overall, though, it leads to frustration for me because I am going it alone and I find myself more limited with every day.  I want to enjoy my son, not resent that he won’t do things exactly as I want him to, that he’s not perfect every second.


Except that he is perfect.


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He told me this morning that he wants a baby sister.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Buboose a Owie, Too*

Poor Buster Bear.  Through some act of rambunctiousness, he has pulled a tendon and a small piece of bone off of his left shoulder.  He is in pain and has been limping for weeks.


A couple of weeks ago, we had his teeth cleaned.  While he was under sedation, the vet took x-rays of the affected shoulder and sent them to a veterinary radiologist and then a veterinary surgeon to have a look.  The verdict:  Not Good.


We’re going the conservative route first, which is to keep Buster on a lead in the yard, in his kennel, or in the house at all times.  Essentially, he is to have as little activity as possible.  He is on a reduction diet to try to drop about 10 lbs.  In 4 to 6 weeks, we’ll see how he’s doing.


If he limbers up and the limp goes away, then we can gradually increase his activity level while monitoring his shoulder until he is back to normal.  However, the fear is that the joint (and the broken piece of bone with now-detached tendon) with begin to calcify as opposed to heal, impairing his movement even further.


That brings us to the big money resolution, which is surgery.  He’ll have to have an MRI beforehand and then a long period of recovery afterward, on a lead in the yard, in the kennel, or in the house at all times.  It could be a very tough summer for Mr. Buster Bear Cook.


My hope is that he will be able to run with me again by next summer, one way or the other.  Until then, I’m giving him all the love I can, sedately. 


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My poor Pooh Bear.  He’s like one of my children, and I so wish I could make it better.

*”Buboose” is how Charles says “Buster.”  And lately, Charles adds “too” onto the end of every declarative sentence.