Saturday, July 30, 2011

Normal or Not?

As I sit, Charles is moaning in the bathroom, refusing to use the potty, though he clearly needs to go.  He has been doing so well lately, but his refusal right now is more due to temper than a denial of bodily function.


It has been quite a day.


One thing I try hard to do is use plausible consequences as threats with Charles.  I can’t threaten that I’m going to go somewhere without him if he won’t get his shoes on – one can’t leave a two-year-old alone at home.  But I can threaten that we won’t go.  The unfortunate part is that I then have to follow through, and often I really wanted to go wherever it was we were meant to go.  Like today, the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island was celebrating 100 years of Naval Air Force with a fly-in.  Military helicopters and airplanes on display and doing demonstrations.  It’s been a beautiful day, not too scorching, but clear and sunny.  We would have had so much fun.


Unfortunately, Charles took every opportunity to throw a tantrum.  He didn’t want to eat his vitamins, which, fine, I don’t care, but we took them off the table to put away and he freaked out.  He didn’t want to get dressed and ignored our requests until he got a time out.  He refused to go potty before getting in the car.  He didn’t want to brush his teeth.  After and hour and a half of fighting with him over many, many stupid little things like this, I called it off.  No helicopters, no airplanes. 


The worst part is, I don’t know if we will ever get another opportunity to see some of these cool machines up close and in action.  They were going to have the Growler on display, even, and we know a pilot; we were hoping to see him there and get special treatment.


The afternoon has pretty much continued apace.  He’ll be fine for quite awhile and then something will set him off and he is out of control.  He refused to nap (though we did spend a nice couple of hours playing in the backyard while Tony got a nap, until Charles didn’t like the way I set up the sprinkler and proceeded to go out of his mind with rage and anguish).


I’m beginning to wonder if this is normal or if Charles has some issues we need to address.  Change, unless we properly prepare him for it, sets off attacks of temper.  And by change, I mean, taking his plate of food away when he has said he is done.  I move the plate after he says he’s done, and he freaks out.  If I ask him if I can take his plate first and he says, “yes,”  then everything is fine.  Everything is like this.  He cannot stand it if Buster east anything he drops on the floor.  If I ask him to open the door or do some other small task and he refuses and I do it instead, he loses his shit, screaming “mine turn! mine turn!”


I can’t get a handle on this behavior, because it is just so irrational.  And yeah, toddlers are irrational, but come on.  If you drop food on the floor (the dirty, dirty floor), the dog is going to eat it.  That’s just how it is.  If you don’t want to dog to get it, don’t drop it on the floor.


Is there anything we can do, other than what we’re doing?  I admit that I need to be a more attentive parent sometimes – we should have asked him to go potty earlier, instead of letting him get to the point where he had to go, but was in the middle of a tantrum about something else.  I also should have rallied the troops earlier this morning, but it is Saturday, and I love sleeping in (finally, I have a good excuse with James – he eats and sleeps with me in bed in the morning, so I get to sleep with him).  If I had gotten everyone out the door before Charles’ blood sugar crashed, things would have been better.  Hell, if I had monitored his breakfast instead of sleeping, I would have known that he didn’t eat and then would have prevented a blood-sugar crash that only made the tantrums worse. 


Gar.  Sometimes I think everything comes back to my failings.  This day of trials, combined with the fact that I purchased the largest pair of jeans I have ever owned in my life last night just to have something other than yoga pants to wear, has got me pretty low.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Month

One short, short month.  Oh, where does the time go?  Why couldn’t it go this quickly when I was pregnant?


This morning, Jamie and I went for a 45-minute walk.  And I am now exhausted, possibly useless for the rest of the day (though that statement implies that I was useful before, and that is certainly up for debate).  I seem to remember doing this exact walk several times with Charles, starting when he was about a week and a half old and continuing until the cold snap hit.  I do not, however, remember being tuckered out at the end of those walks.  Or feeling like I might not make it up the hill and home.  What has changed?  Oh, yeah.  30.  Damn.


Here we are, Jamie about to freak out because we are home and we stopped, don’t ever stop, woman, you know I need to keep moving!,  and me, all sweaty:


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I would write more, mostly stuff about how wonderful my second child is and how I am forevermore cropping myself out of photos, even though I frequently complain that there are very few photos of me, perhaps I will complain no longer now that I see a few in the most recent set, I can’t even show you, they are that bad, let’s just say I am going to wear thigh-hiding sweats for the rest of my life, and don’t count on more children because Tony won’t be able to stand to ever even look at me again, let alone touch me, but that’s all beside the point… the point being that I love this little bundle, even when he’s angry with me for stuffing him in a carseat.  And the impediment to writing more being that he is displeased that I am not holding him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Miscellaneous Jibber-Jabber

So a lot of people are pretty vocally upset about Netflix raising prices and splitting plans.  And I think it’s pretty funny, and also indicative of a weird sense of entitlement in the U.S. that causes people to think that they should get something for nothing.  Or, in this case, that they should have streaming video and DVDs by mail even if the company that’s doing so isn’t making enough money to sustain those services.  Oh, I could go on, but it’s been said, like here and here.


That’s not what I want to talk about, though, really.  Tony and I are fairly new to the Netflix thing, and even at $9.99 (current price) for streaming and DVD, it’s cheaper than our previous Blockbuster service, which we clung to because we could exchange mailed movies at the Blockbuster in town for free.  But the streaming is so stinkin’ awesome with Netflix (do you know that Blockbuster streams, too, but it is a separate plan and twice as expensive?  Or, you can rent all sorts of movies from Blockbuster to stream for full price like pay-per-view?  These are not great alternatives) that I mentioned to Tony mere days before they announced the plan change that I would gladly pay $25 a month for what we are getting.


I spent the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy on the couch.  Tony and I made it through 4 seasons of Psych during that time.  We have since watched a season and a half of Better Off Ted and are sporadically watching such shows as Numb3rs, Pawn Stars, Man Vs. Food, and more.


But the greatest part is that I can get full episodes of Sesame Street, Thomas & Friends, and any number of kids shows for Charles instantly!  Do we live in an awesome age or what?




In this layout in Blogger, I can’t really get my Google Reader to show my public shared pages as anything other than HTML (or is it XML?  I don’t know!).  Anyone know how to fix this?  I’d like to link to articles I find interesting, but I don’t want to shove them down your throat in a blog post.




Jamie slept in 3 hour bouts last night!  Yeah!  I feel great today, best I’ve felt in awhile, even if Charles woke up at 6:30 am and joined us in bed – a queen sized bed for all four?  So cramped.  Tony also didn’t have to go in so early, so the crying and screaming on Charles’ part was somewhat limited.  He still seems to hate mornings, though.




We’re going home for kite fest, sans Tony.  Anyone have any advice for me as I agonize over a long (5 hours without stops) trip with a toddler who needs to have a potty stop every hour, a newborn who needs to feed every 2 hours, and a dog who needs a walk at least once during the trip?  We’ll stock up on snacks, I’ll make sure the gas tank is full, but other than that, how can I keep my sanity (what’s left of it, that is)? 



We’re considering hosting a barbeque in August.  Given my extensive complaining yesterday about the mess in the house and being unable to cope with standard mother/wife duties and also cooking for guests, this seems like a bad idea, no?  I’ll add to that the fact that I have accomplished very little weeding this summer and things are going quite crazy.  But!  We put in new grass in the back yard and it seems a shame to not show it off, not to mention show off James.  Am I nuts?  Do people do potlucks anymore?  Do you think anyone would be annoyed if I invited them to a potluck barbeque?  Do you think I could get away with enlisting others’ help for cleanup?  No, that last one probably won’t work at all…  I’ll end up cleaning, no matter what.  Perhaps we’ll just stick with smallish dinner parties and do a barbeque next year.


Speaking of, does it ever feel to anyone else like we are building and developing for fun in the future but are foregoing it today?  I mean, sure, that is the essence of the Protestant-American work ethic: sacrifice for the future, work hard for tomorrow, etc.  But what I mean is that I feel like Tony and I look forward to when we will be able to go camping with the kids, and fishing with the kids, and have friends over to barbeque without insisting that everyone go home by 8 pm so we can start bathtime, and we don’t find ourselves enjoying the current time.  In truth, we’re just exhausted by the end of the day.  What’s the cure?  As long as we keep having more kids, we keep putting off those great times.  Jamie won’t be ready to camp until next summer, maybe – probably the summer after.  I won’t be able to go anywhere overnight without him until next summer.  Tony and I won’t be able to go out alone for another couple of months (our anniversary?  I anticipate taking the baby, and that’s IF we actually go out anywhere) or later. 


Oh, I chose this (my mom’s always reminding me, “you chose this, no one forced you to have kids,” which is true, but does that negate my feelings?  Does that make my complaints invalid?), and I love James, and I love Charles, and I wouldn’t change them for anything in the world, I’m just wondering if anyone else has found a good balance.  And I guess I know, underneath all my “looking forward,”  that I will truly miss this time, this RIGHT NOW, and that when the kids are finally old enough to camp and to go someplace without a diaper bag, I’ll look back to their babyhood and be sad and nostalgic.  I think I read an article once about how people with kids are more fulfilled, but are not necessarily happier, chiefly because they cannot satisfy their own cravings and spontaneity, be those cravings for travel, food, activities, or any number of things.


So the question is really, how do you find contentment?  How do you keep from feeling like the grass is greener elsewhere?  I’m teary-eyed just thinking about how Jamie is already four weeks old (four weeks!) and I won’t ever get those first weeks back, but I also can’t help but think how awesome it will be when he sleeps through the night and walks and talks.  Oh, bother.  Way to make myself bawl.  This hormonal woman needs chocolate.


And, good God, I wish I could eat cheese right now.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Now I complain. But I also give you photos.

I’ve started this post, I dunno, a bunch of times in my head (look at me dialing down the hyperbole.  YOU’RE WELCOME, Tony).  But something about having an infant keeps me from sitting down and writing.  How do all those bloggers do it?  Oh, right, they’re paid to.  Just like celebrities are paid to be gorgeous and lose the baby weight in two months or less.


Cook Family 1

I’d like to show this photo to teenagers: you see that ass?  I used to be a size six.  Teen pregnancy is a BAD idea, you will never get your cute butt back.  Also, for the record, Tony bought those shorts himself.


Speaking of, I am still pretty fat, and I seem to remember that I couldn’t fit into my rings until about 5 weeks postpartum with Charles, and normal jeans a week or so after that.  But the thing is this: it still sucks, even knowing that I have 2 or 3 more weeks before my pelvis contracts enough to button real pants.  You see, the knowing only helps a little bit.  Add to it that I have a wedding to attend on August 20th and literally NOTHING to wear, and I am pretty bummed.  Who has time to go shopping with a newborn?  Or a newborn with toddler?  Who knows how to dress flabby arms and giant thighs and a flabby belly in August?


James Cook Newborn Charles 4

James gets an abundance of kisses from Charles.


The toddler.  Oh, God, what were we thinking?  Charles is so wild and so rambunctious and he loves Jamie, but he is so, so difficult right now.  As easy as he was to potty train, ever since the last few (really tough) weeks of my pregnancy, he has regressed big time (thankfully, he still manages to poop exclusively in the toilet – except for that one time that he was sick, which happened to be at a friend’s house and about which I am still totally embarrassed, and I wasn’t even there) and I am loathe to admit this, because he is only two, but I am completely disappointed in him and me.  Every time I pick him up from preschool and he has had potty accidents, I almost cry.  I have moved beyond bribery and encouragement to threats.  After a full week of multiple wet accidents at preschool, I told him that he would have to go back to the toddler room, that he wasn’t a big boy anymore if he couldn’t use the toilet.  I think this motivated the preschool teachers more than anything, and they now take him to the bathroom more frequently and stand and watch him go, instead of just sending him in (where he presumably played with water in the sink or something).  On the days he has potty accidents, he doesn’t get to ride his bike.


You see, the thing is that he knows.  He knows when he has to go and he used to tell us.  Now he doesn’t tell us and just goes in his pants, I don’t know, for fun?  Attention?  Whatever, the threats seem to be working.  And, of course, we give him lots and lots and lots of positive feedback when he succeeds. 


My feelings of guilt, however, abound.  Did I push him to potty train too soon?  Is he feeling neglected?  Now I have to pack extra clothes in the diaper bag, oh why can’t anything be simple or easy with this child?


Cook Newborn 80


I’m not getting much sleep.  Charles is the cause of some of that, though we have reintroduced white noise into his bedtime routine, merely because it’s so hot in the summer that we need fans, and that seems to help a bit – certainly it was better last night that the previous few nights when he cried and got out of bed and asked for more stories and drinks of water and potty breaks (he is totally potty trained at bedtime because he knows I will let him out of bed to go) and then cried more until about 10:30 pm.  Not that he didn’t scream for a full 45 minutes after he woke up this morning.  When he flies into a rage like that, I don’t even know what’s wrong.  I offer him a bite of my cereal, he says no, I eat the bite, he freaks the hell out.  Honest-to-goodness, he will try to pull the cereal out of my mouth, all the while screaming “Mine! Mine!”  then throw himself on the floor in a fit of rage.  He would fling the bowl of cereal on the floor, but I know that attempt is coming, so I move the cereal.  I had a headache before 8 am today, and it’s still not gone.


James Cook Newborn Basket 5


And that’s because the sleep deprivation associated with a newborn’s sleep schedule is brutal, magnifying any headache or backache times ten.  I don’t know if I told you, but I spent both nights in the hospital by myself because Tony was with Charles, meaning I did all diaper changes and swaddles and, of course, feedings, which are fast and frequent during the first few days.  Then, the night before my milk came in, I nursed and nursed and nursed until Jamie finally crashed around 4 am.  I really hit the ground running with the lack of sleep thing.  I even made a martyr-like deal with Tony to take care of all Jamie’s needs during the night on work nights so Tony could sleep – you see, Tony seems to be much more sensitive to sleep deprivation than I am and than he ever was before.  Hard to believe, since he used to routinely stay up late and then get up at an unGodly hour to fish, but it’s true: he’s cranky and misses things (like taking a diaper bag or feeding Charles) when he is tired. 


James Cook Newborn with Dad 13 BW

Tony is a great father.  And while Jamie’s hair is dark, they look so much alike!


So, anyway, the martyr thing lasted about two weeks until Jamie had a terrible night and I ended up grabbing what little sleep I could on the recliner.  When Tony woke up, my resentment of him had grown to such a degree that I lambasted him for every little thing that had sucked over the past few months: terrible mother’s day, disappointing birthday, not telling me he loves me often enough or reassuring me that he thinks I’m beautiful even though I know he is repulsed by my giant ass and backfat and the stretch marks (didn’t get them with Charles, but the extra two weeks of gestating James really did a number on my under-belly).  And gifts.  I need gifts.  But Tony’s not a giver, he is a receiver, and he received my gift of letting him sleep without even questioning it or telling me that it was unnecessary or offering to let me get an hour or two on the night when our child was super cranky.  And so, seething resentment and tears.  Now, the deal is off and Tony changes diapers before I feed James every two hours (at most – often it is every hour) at night.  A shared burden makes me less stabby.  Although, he’s now going to work before 7:30 every morning, so I get to deal with Jamie and Charles all by myself, and as I’ve noted, Charlie is not a morning person. 


James Cook Newborn with Mom 8 BW


I have to say, though, that I find myself going back and forth between anger at myself for being upset that the family breadwinner doesn’t let me relax more and anger that I frequently buy into the “man makes money, woman makes home” social norm.  I mean, Tony shouldn’t have to do any of this daily drudgery, changing diapers or vacuuming or feeding the dog or grocery shopping or laundry.  After all, he works all day and he does bathtime and storytime with Charles every night.  On the other hand, I am physically and emotionally incapable of doing it all myself and I need help and I should be more modern than to believe that I should do it all just because he makes the money.  It makes me think that if I made real money instead of peanuts, maybe I could ask for more help from Tony, but then I would have to give up time with my kids, whom I love dearly.  Which is more important?  My sanity or time with my babies before they are grown?  I think I have shown that my decision is my babies, every time.  I could go make a bunch of money (I am educated enough to get a real job, I swear), but I have the opportunity to stay home with my kids during the first year of their lives, and I choose that.  And I know that when Jamie gets into daycare full-time, I will be able to handle the homemaking and make a little bit of money, but right now it’s just overwhelming.  There’s got to be a better way, you know?


James Cook Newborn with Mom 11 BW


When I think back to right after Charles was born, I am reminded that we had so much help then.  Loris came to stay for a whole week.  My parents were in town for a whole week.  They all did laundry and dishes and vacuumed and made meals, including Thanksgiving dinner, and they took the baby while I napped.  I had none of that familial support this time – we have had family visits (a lot while I was in the hospital and would have liked to sleep but instead had visitors for hours on end), but I have had to cook and clean for these visits.  For goodness’ sake, I only gave birth 4 weeks ago!  I’m not technically cleared for physical activity for another two weeks but I have to lug huge baskets of laundry up the stairs and pick up my toddler and unload groceries and vacuum and cook for visitors.


I guess people expect me to be much better equipped for the second child.  And as soon as I drop Charles off at preschool, I breathe a sigh of relief and I usually sneak in a nap, but that doesn’t mean that the laundry or dishes get done.  Or the dinner prep.  Oh, crap.  What are we going to eat tonight?


The truth is, I am a mess.  The saving grace is the adorable bundle of boy in my arms all day.  Sure, my back is sore from holding him, but he is so dang cute.


James Cook Newborn On Stomach 3

So gorgeous.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Not Much to Complain about.

Well, that post title’s not true, obviously.  I am very good at complaining.  But I think I’ll just let it all go and show you photos of this guy instead:


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Eyes open!


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He spends a lot of time like this.


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Both asleep!


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Cuddle time!


Maybe I’ll get back to snarky tomorrow.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Okay, so maybe there won’t be any planes, but I digress.


Last Saturday, Charles and I went to see a full size Thomas the Tank Engine at the Snoqualmie Train Museum.  He loved it.P1030327


We left Friday afternoon to spend the night at our friends Brandon and DeAnna’s, who live in Kent. They used to live a few blocks from us before they moved and Charlie had a great time playing with their son Ethan, who is about 3 months younger. They used to play all the time and hardly missed a beat when we showed up. Here is a picture (the only one I got) of the two of them brushing their teeth just before bedtime.




The trip to the Train Museum was only about 45 minutes from Kent. So in the morning, after being treated to a great  pancake breakfast, we headed to Snoqualmie.


At the event, they had a stage where several performers played children’s songs all day, and tents where you could meet Sir Topham Hatt, get a Thomas temporary tattoo or play with model trains a bunch of little tables with train tracks on them.


We got the obligatory photo in front of one of the several giant diesel engines there. He is busy blowing his Thomas whistle here.



The chief activity of the day was taking a real train ride. We all loaded on a train that went by Snoqualmie Falls. Here is the river below the falls.



Here is Charlie as we were waiting for the train to get going.



…and various pictures while we rode the train.P1030286 P1030287 P1030288 P1030289 P1030290  P1030292 P1030293 P1030305  


After our train ride, Charlie spent some time playing with the model trains…

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…and the crown jewel of the event: the bouncy castle!


I have never seen more pure joy on Charlie’s face as he had in the hour or so he spent as a human jumping bean. It was pretty cool.


I’m looking forward to taking both boys next year.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Tony and Charles went to a really awesome event on Saturday, Day Out With Thomas, and there are lots of adorable photos to show you from that, but I don’t know anything about it, so Tony will have to take the wheel and drive the blog for that sometime soon.  In the meantime, here is Charles on his bike, a la Ricky Bobby (he’s always saying, “I go fast!”):




Does anyone else have a cord problem?  We have a basket with cords for various electronic devices so that we can, I guess, hook them up to the computer and upload or download or charge them.  Also, plugin cables for outlets.  The problem is, I don’t know what half of them go to and there are so many that I end up digging forever to find the one I want.  Which is what is currently happening with the camera cord, so I give up.  No, wait, I just spied it on the floor, of all places.  The point stands, the basket is annoying and it is time for a concerted cleanout effort.  Also, since I can now upload photos, it’s time for a Jamie-at-13-days photo.  This is what he is doing right now:

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I could feast on those cheeks, I could.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

One Week

It would appear that James is one week (and one day, as of this morning) old.  Where does the time go?


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We “celebrated” with a minor surgical procedure.  I was kicked out of the doctor’s office, but I made Tony stay (he volunteered, but I wasn’t going to let him get out of it).  By all accounts, Jamie did better than most boys, nearly sleeping through the operation after anesthesia was applied.  And a bonus, I didn’t cry at the first diaper change.  Well, maybe, but only a little bit.


We also went to Target and had dinner at Red Robin.  When we got home and I had a monster headache and there were still dishes in the sink and a toddler to bathe and read to and a baby to nurse, and a dog to feed, and the garden to weed etc, etc, I was reminded that just because Jamie sleeps so much better than Charles did at this point, doesn’t mean that it’s “enough” sleep for me (he’s totally a “typical” newborn, eating and getting changed every 1.5-2.5 hours at night).  Oh, and I also pushed him out of me a week ago, an event from which I am not fully recovered.  That’s why I’m not allowed to do anything for six weeks, why do I keep forgetting this?


Anyhow, today, we’re taking it easy.


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Some people seem to be disappointed that James is a boy.  Not me.  I love this little boy and I am so excited to double our fun boy activities.  And Charles is thrilled to have a baby brother.  It will be tough to be the second boy, I’ve no doubt, but he’ll never have to worry about whether or not his mother adores him.  I adore him buckets full.