Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Climbing Mount Criberest

When I left the kids with Josh this weekend, he came up with a few good ideas on how to improve the routine around here. Yes, I am openly admitting this. Write it down now, MY HUSBAND WAS RIGHT. You might never see that phrase written by me again, so savor it now.

Anyway, one was so awesome I can't even believe it and that is putting her in the swing when she wakes up at 6 a.m. We've done it every day since Saturday and we're getting her to sleep in and it is amazing. I had to wake her up at 9:30 this morning so we could get ready to go to a playdate. She slept until noon for Josh on Saturday and I shook my fist at the sky with insane jealousy when I heard that.

The second was also awesome -- in theory. He said he put Emmie down for the night around 7:30, before Jack. Jack would watch a video while he gave Emmie her bottle and got her settled in bed and it worked well for him. So I tried it tonight. And let me tell you, it was a craptastic experience.

Emmie was screaming from exhaustion around 7 p.m., so I took her upstairs and got her ready for bed and nursed her and put her down in her crib. Where her eyes promptly popped open and she started flailing around. After 15 replacements of the pacifier while I tried to get Jack to clean up his toys and into the bath, I thought she had fallen asleep. Oh but no, she was just houdini-ing out of her swaddle blanket and started yelling again.

Since Jack was in his pajamas, but we hadn't yet read "Goodnight Moon," I put him in his crib and told him I would be right back to read his book. I went in to tend to She Who Has A Future As A Magician, re-swaddling and sticking the pacifier back in her yapper. While I was gone for that two minutes, I could hear Jack wailing as if I had threatened to make him wear a New Kids On The Block T-shirt to the playground.

I entered his room to see one leg over the top and his body perched precariously on the top of the crib rail, teetering between falling back in or falling out. I grabbed him and told him he should never, ever do that again because it's dangerous and he could fall.

He was sobbing outwardly and I was sobbing inwardly because NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! He is not allowed to be climbing out of his crib. He loves his crib. I love his crib. He's contained and we don't have to worry about any wandering toddlers in the middle of the night and my God, I am having heart palpitations just thinking about naptime and the amount of times he would get out of a big boy bed.

I am going to pretend his little mountain climbing expedition was a result of being really pissed off and the light being on. I don't think he would attempt this feat in the pitch-blackness of night. I'm going to keep on telling myself this and invest in a crib tent.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Laughing out loud

Emmie laughed for the first time today. I forgot how funny and sweet the first baby laughs are. I was getting in her face and then making some ridiculous baby boo-boo-boo noise and she smiled crazy-big and then just laughed.

Here's a picture of the laughing girl; I was sorry not to have captured it on video. But man, check out the fuzzy head on that one. Even Jack points at her and says, "Fuzz!"


Are you laughing at my hair?

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Monday, April 28, 2008

The promised veggie video

I am back from San Francisco and had a great weekend. Apparently, so did Josh and the kids. I arrived home to find Josh sitting on the couch with a sparkling clean house, freshly scrubbed floors and all the laundry for the four of us washed and folded. Can I go away every weekend?

Josh promised some video of Jack eating his veggies, so without further ado...

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Daddy's Back

FRIDAY
11:30 am

Yes, Daddy's back. And this time he's alone... with the two kids. Amy is off to San Francisco leaving Daddy to fend for himself... and before she left she gave strict instructions to both sets of Grandparents that absolutely no help is to be given to me. None.

First of all, this won't be the anything like my live-blog of Emmie's birth. You see, I had done that before - popping out a kid - and I have to tell you, there's nothing to it. I handled it like a champ the first time and was confident I could do it again coming in. You see, I consider myself an expert on birthing children. So, I was relaxed and could kick back and blog away knowing I had everything under control.

But this folks... this is unchartered territory. Me and the two kids alone for the weekend? I have to tell you, I don't think I stand a chance. They will have me tied up and bound with a sock in my mouth shoved in the closet within a few minutes. The oddsmakers in Vegas only have me lasting 10 minutes, but I've still got a little speed left in these legs, I'm pretty sure I make it 15.


2:00 pm

OK - that last post - all lies. I wrote that to make Amy feel good because I know she wants to think this is going to be hard for me. She is ALWAYS filling me in on how tough it is taking care of two kids at once and how she never has any free time and how I could never do it. Two kids? Two! My buddy Vince has six kids with a seventh on the way and his wife handles the whole lot of 'em. Seven kids! Can you imagine???

If that was Amy and I with seven kids, I'd be like "Amy, you know, I haven't seen little Scotty in a few days. Did we lose him?"

And she'd be like "You know, I haven't seen him. I think we did."

And I'd be like "That's cool though. We got six more, so we're still good."

So anyway, back to my little weekend arrangement. No problems... it's going to be cake folks, cake. Both kids are currently napping away. I could do this entire weekend with one hand tied behind my back.


2:15 pm

As a matter a fact, what the heck, I will do this entire weekend with one hand behind my back... literally. Because I'm pretty sure Amy uses two hands which means I should be able to handle it with one. I have tied my right arm behind my back for the duration of the weekend. And I'm right-handed. Cake.


2:30 pm

Wow, Amy never mentioned all the free time you have when staying home with the kids. With both still asleep, what should I do? I guess I'll scrub the floors and do some laundry.


5:00 pm

OK, have you ever tried to change a diaper with only one arm? It's damn near impossible. Poop all over. Actually, doing any multi-tasking with the kids is pretty much out of the question. Holding Emmie, while feeding Jack? Not happening. Hey, I lasted like one hour taking care of the kids with one arm. I still rule.


8:00 pm

Both kids asleep. More free time. What to do? Already did the laundry and cleaned the house. I guess I'll call Amy and ask her if I can do anything for her as I know that's what she would do for me when she has free time.


11:00 pm

Emmie wakes up hungry. I feed her and she is back in the crib sleeping by 11:30.



SATURDAY
1:30 am

The unsolicited phone call from the drunk wife wakes me up. There is some laughter and stories about the evening, none of which I try to comprehend. Once I can get a word in, I tell her that I was in fact sleeping and would love to hear the stories tomorrow.

I'm pretty sure this call was her conspiring to make this weekend more difficult by waking me up. Honey please, you forget who you're dealing with. You're going to have to do better than that sister.


2:00 am

Emmie is up again. Fed and back in her crib she sits and coo's to herself for about a half hour, until 3:00 am when she starts whining. I bring put her in the swing in our room. She is out in 10 minutes.


6:30 am

Emmie is up and hungry again. I feed her and she lays next to me in bed cooing for another 45 minutes after the feeding. At 7:30 with Jack still sleeping, I put her back in the swing as she begins to fuss. She is out again in 10 minutes.


8:00 am

Jack wakes up a full hour after his usual wake time. That's my boy. I give him a book to read in his crib and tell him Daddy is going to take a shower. I'm back 10 minutes later and I have to wrestle the book away from him as he'd rather stay in his crib with the book. Maybe I should have given it to him and slept another hour. Emmie is still sleeping in the swing.


10:30 am

Emmie is still sleeping, God bless her little heart. Jack and I did breakfast and have been playing like madmen since then. I read Jack one of his favorite books, Elmo's Book of Opposites, and we get to the page where there is a happy face and a sad face. Jack points to the happy face and says "Daddy". He then points at the sad face and says "Mommy". I laugh and say "yes, you have it right son, that's my boy." Now I'm sure Amy will point out that the sad face looks like a female and the happy face looks like a male, and that is why Jack labeled the faces the way he did. But I'm pretty sure its symbolic of Jack's happiness when he's around his father. Yeah, that's gotta be it.


11:30 am

Emmie is still sleeping. On last check, she was smiling and making sucking sounds as she slept. At this rate, Emmie should wake up as soon as Jack goes down for his nap. And Amy says this is hard? Cake.


12:00 pm

Emmie needs to wake up. We're having lunch with my buddy Matt and his daughter Lauren in a half hour. I open the door and she is acting restless in the swing, turning from side to side - a sign that she's about to wake up anyway. She slowly wakes up, I get her dressed, fed, and we're ready to go for lunch.


Emmie loves partying with Daddy.




Kicking back a cold one with Daddy.




NOTE: Don't worry folks, those beers aren't actually open. Except for Emmie's. That's her sixth one. What can I say, she just loves to get her drink on.


12:30 pm

Matt and I walk the kids over to PJ Clarks for a little lunch. The kids are great throughout the meal. Jack wolfs down two warm blueberry muffins that they bring to our table in a roll basket. I am skeptical as to whether he'll touch the grilled cheese after that, but he manages half of one while Matt's daughter Lauren attacks the other half. Emmie is in a great mood after her long nap and just being fed. Matt and I are happy to be out of the house sipping a couple of cold Fat Tires. This is the life.




2:00 pm

Both kids are napping again. More free time. Wow, taking care of two kids is a lot like a vacation. Except even more free time than vacation. What to do next? Maybe I'll add an addition to the house.


3:30 pm

Both kids are back up and its time to go out and take advantage of this beautiful sunny day. We head to the zoo for an hour and stop by the playground on the way home.


"Let's go back home an have another beer, Dad"






6:00 pm

Back at home for dinner and bedtime.


"Look at the size of those!"




NOTE: Get your minds out of the gutter - its a computer magazine folks. We're checking out of the size of the RAM you can put in a 64 bit system. Jack's just geeking out with Daddy.


8:00 pm

Kids in bed. More free time. Daddy's going to use this free time to take a little nap. Maybe a long nap.


SUNDAY
12:00 am

Emmie wakes up, takes a bottle, and is back to sleep in her crib within 20 minutes.


4:00 am

See 12:00 am. As you may be starting to realize, you're not dealing with an amateur here, folks.


6:00 am

Emmie wakes up again after only two hours in her crib. When it's time for the swing, it's time for the swing. I give her half a bottle and she is asleep in the swing in 10 minutes.


7:20 am

King Jack awakens. We go through our normal routine. Emmie remains sleeping giving us plenty time for us to do breakfast, read some books, watch a Spanish video, do some rough-housing, and of course throw a couple of timeouts in there to even things out.


10:45 am

Emmie wakes up. I get her dressed and bring her down to feed her. Now some people like to greet others with a simple wave, or maybe even a handshake. Not my son. Jack greets Emmie with a whack across the forehead which lands him right back in timeout. Despite being a repeat-offender, I bailed him out after 2 minutes.


11:30 am

We're pretty lucky in that we have one Major League baseball team here in Chicago. Some people get confused thinking there are two, but I assure you there is just one - it's on the south side - the White Sox. Now I'm a Cardinal fan, but can't often make it down to St. Louis for a game (although thankfully Amy and I were there when they clinched their 2006 World Championship). At the same time, I still appreciate a good baseball game and was able to nab a couple tickets 6 rows from the field off of ebay last night for $20. So I made some lunches for the kids and we headed over to the "Cell" to see the Orioles take on the White Sox. We could only stay until the 3rd inning, as even Major League Baseball takes a backseat to nap time, but we did manage to see a Paul Konerko homerun along with some fireworks. Emmie conked out for most of the game. Jack was more interested in the seats that flip up when you're not seated in them, although the fireworks did excite him.






2:00 pm

Jack is down for his nap. Time for Emmie and Daddy to play. Emmie does some tummy-time and gives Daddy some big smiles. She eventually wears out and joins her brother in nap-land.



3:30 pm

You know, one thing I've noticed about the kids over the past couple of days, is that they are carbon generating machines. Sometimes I notice them sitting there smiling, trying to look cute, when I know that they're really just trying to cover up the fact that they're producing carbon emissions with little care about global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps - which really surprises me by the way because Jack just loves Polar Bears. You'd think he'd be a little more sensitive.

Obviously, Amy must have noticed the same thing but just did nothing about it. Not this guy. I decided I would not let this continue unfettered without doing something to equalize their pollution. So I just went over to carbonfund.org and bought enough offsets to make them carbon neutral for an entire year.

So next time Amy asks me to change Jack's diaper, I'll be like "Dude! I already took care of his carbon emissions for the entire year. The least you could do is handle diapers from here on out." I think that will work. She will totally go for that.


4:00 pm

Emmie is back up and hungry. She is delighted that breast milk is on the menu and orders up 3 ounces.


5:30 pm

I wake Jack up, as his nap is going a little late. I know he just wants to give Dad a longer break, but he's gotta eat some dinner.


6:00 pm

Jack never used to eat vegetables. I mean, the kid wouldn't touch them. He was throwing them onto the floor before they even hit his high chair tray. Never, that is, until Amy came up with the "I bet you can't eat one" game. Ever since then, well have a look for yourself: (video will be posted tomorrow)


I can't wait for "I bet you can't vacuum the house" and "I bet you can't mow the lawn".


7:00 pm

I put Emmie down for the night as Jack watches an Elmo DVD. Jack is currently the President of the Elmo fan club and just can't get enough of him.


8:00 pm

Jack's in bed. Well with the kids asleep, I can finally say this weekend was, as I've been saying all along, cake. But I have to give thanks to a special someone out there who I absolutely could not have done this without. Someone for whom I hold a special place in my heart. Someone who has been going underappreciated for far too long. That, of course, is the one and only baby swing. If it weren't for the swing keeping Emmie sleeping until the late morning every day, things would have been quite a bit more interesting. With the mornings free with just Jack, I was able to devote a lot of time to him while handling other chores - such as washing and readying six bottles of breast milk for the day. By the time she woke up, it was time for lunch and then time for Jack's nap - which was perfect to devote some time to Emmie. Anyway, everything worked out pretty well.

And I must admit, I'm wiped out. I thought it was relatively easy, but they still took a lot out of me. The free time I claimed I had so often never lasted as long as I hoped. And no matter what time it is, you never know when that baby monitor is going to starts shrieking with some kid on the other end - a kid that always seems to be one of mine. You can never fully relax. I don't know how Amy does it. Two days with a little luck thrown in was pretty easy. But she deals with them day in and day out. I love my kids to death, but how she does it, I do not know. She is a saint. Honey, you're the greatest.

And I'm not saying all this just because she's letting me go to Europe to visit my buddy Ed for a week. Maybe.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

I am so out of here

I am flying out to San Francisco for my sister-in-law's bachelorette party. BY MYSELF. Right now!

No one saying, "Mommy? Mommy. Mommy!" a hundred times on the flight and I am actually planning to read a book and listen to my iPod -- and there's no Elmo anywhere on that playlist.

In my absence is the most delightful part of the whole weekend. My husband will be watching both of the children BY HIMSELF. Oh my lands, I could not be more excited about this prospect. Well that and while he is slogging away with the childcare, I will be sipping (chugging?) red wine in Napa.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Crush the thrush



That's not lipstick and I'm not feeding my 14-week-old daughter grape juice.

That would be gentian violet, the best cure for thrush. Which I have. Yes, my nipples are the same color. No, I won't be showing you a picture of them.

Shooting pain in the breast between feedings, sore nipples at the start of a feeding and a clogged duct two weeks ago all added up to thrush. And here I thought I knew it all when it came to breastfeeding. Apparently, not so much, because I was convinced it was just a milk blister related to the clogged duct.

(For all the male readers out there: bear with me, we'll return to talk of things other than breastfeeding real soon. For now, just go on over to ESPN.com for some more manly topics.)

After consultation with a La Leche League leader and lactation consultant (who had differing opinions on the cause) and extensive Google searches, it was determined I had thrush and should go straight to the gentian violet and skip the lotrimin and nystatin. In the hopes of kicking this yeast quickly, I gave it a whirl.

So far, day 3 of treatment and I am feeling 80 percent better. Emmie looks ridiculous, but the unfortunate side effect of the gentian violet is that is stains skin purple for a few days. But you know what removes it? VODKA. Applied topically with a cotton ball. To the skin, not the lips, lest anyone call CPS on my ass for giving my baby martinis. But an ounce administered orally to mommy sure makes her feel better about taking her purple-lipped child out in public.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Come on, Vogue

Emmie is channeling her inner supermodel this fine spring day.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

All you can eat

Emmie woke and ate at 1:30, 4, 5, 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 this morning. Please shoot me.

It's probably my own fault. She starts the night in her crib and stays there until 1 a.m. -- sometimes it's a little earlier, sometimes as late as 2 a.m. But once she wakes for the first time, I bring her in bed with me and let her stay there until morning.

Every time she wakes up, I silence her with the almighty boob. This setup allows the maximum rest for me, as I just feed her and fall back asleep doing it. But the wakeups and subsequent feedings are getting a little ridiculous. My sleep is fragmented, so it's not quality sleep and something needs to change.

While I could probably stand to get her sleeping in her own crib, the thought of walking in and out of her room multiple times a night, getting her fed and settled and then trying to get myself back to sleep makes me ill. Especially since Jack really doesn't care how much sleep I have gotten -- he just wants to go go go all day.

It could be a growth spurt, but I doubt it as she's not eating any more than she usually does during the day. And I've heard of reverse cycling, where breastfed babies eat more at night because mom works during the day. But she's home with me 24-7 and fed on demand, so I don't know why that would happen.

Apparently she just wants a little action at the Open All Night Breastaurant.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not my type

At some local playgrounds, you overhear other moms talking about preschools and nannies. This is what I heard at my playground the other day.

"Well now we might leave early for the Bahamas. John's brother is taking a private plane and it seats three other people so he said I should bring the kids. But I can't decide."

OMFG. Seriously.

This is the playground around the corner, folks. The one I showed up at today not showered, with my hair in a ponytail and a headband, wearing yoga pants and a little concealer but no other makeup.

I guess I better step it up a little.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Emmie: Three months

Dear Emmie,

We've hit the end of the 90-day no-questions-asked return period and I am happy to say that we are definitely keeping you. So we don't have to worry about finding the receipt for you, thank goodness.



The past month has been filled with ups and downs. Starting with the major downer, you had to have double hernia surgery. You had a strange bump that we noticed coming and going during random diaper changes and asked the doctor about it and he said you had a hernia and would need surgery. So we met with a surgeon and a mere three days later, we were handing you over for anesthesia. To say I was nervous was an understatement, but I knew you would be OK and in good hands. You were in and out in 55 minutes and by the time we got you home, you really wouldn't have known you had your little abdomen cut open. Now, three weeks later, you have teeny-tiny lines on your lower tummy, the only remnants of your ordeal.



We've also gone kind of to pot with the sleeping. You used to be a prolific sleeper and we actually needed to wake you up to eat because you would sleep so long overnight. Ha! I knew that would come back to bite me in the butt. Now you have graduated to your crib in your own room, where you start the night at 8 p.m. Anywhere from 12-2 a.m., you wake up to eat and because I need as much sleep as possible to function with your brother the next day, I bring you in bed with me. There you proceed to eat again in three hours, then two hours, then every hour until we get up for the day. The boob keeps you mostly asleep, but the drawback is the kink in my neck and my aching back from sleeping in a 4-inch space because you and your father take up the entire rest of the bed.



But the ups have been so great this month. You are such a happy, smiley girl. When you wake up in the morning, you take a few seconds to look around and get used to being awake and then when you finally notice my face looking at you, you bust out the biggest whole-body smile and I don't even care that I am so tired. But your best smiles are reserved for Daddy. You see him and it's like the rest of the world doesn't exist, you only have eyes for him. You smile and coo and talk to him way more than you do to me. I guess I am old hat since I am around all the time. Maybe since you look so much like him, you think you are looking at yourself.

Looking at yourself has become one of your great pleasures, proof that while you might not look like me, you definitely have my tendency of not being able to pass a mirror without admiring myself. You have a little activity mat with a mirror above it and you coo and smile and kick your little legs a mile a minute while you stare into your own eyes.



You're still exclusively breastfed and that is going great. We've hit a point where I really don't even keep track of how often or how long you eat. If you're fussy, I whip out the boob and you're usually asleep within 10 minutes. And generally you're only fussy if you are hungry or tired. Except this past week, when you've been a little cranky because you had your first cold. Breastfed baby gets cold at three months; film at 11. But you can thank your brother for exposing you to those germs. Actually we can all take some blame because all four of us have the same cold. And if you felt how I felt, I don't blame you for being crabby.

This was also the month you woke up and decided to have a look around. Everything is so much more interesting to you now. Take the fish on your swing, for example. Now you watch them go around, tracking the same fish until it leaves your field of vision and then starting with a new one. We can actually see your little eyes following it and it is so funny. You're also digging the bouncy seat, having conversations with the little fish inside the window while I take a shower in the morning. You're also really into looking around at all the kids when we go to the park or Jack's various classes, but watching so much activity usually puts you to sleep pretty quickly.



I can't begin to tell you how much I am enjoying having you in our lives. I knew having two kids would be difficult logistically, but I had no idea you would be so much fun. I love to watch you sleep, and often times you sleep right on my lap after you eat. I couldn't enjoy that kind of time with your brother because I always had work to get done, so I love doing it with you when I can. I also got a few days of one-on-one time with you this month when your brother went to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house. It was so nice to be able to play with you and interact with you on your own. Sometimes I feel like you get the short end of things because you are little and we can set you down and have you be content whereas your brother would have a meltdown.

Your relationship with Jack was better for the most part this month, although the hitting made somewhat of a comeback. But you still like to watch him run around and you always look toward the sound of his voice. He's started asking for you in the morning when he gets up and when he sees you, he always gives you a "tiss" and an "ugh" and smiles so big at you. I think once you can sit up and move around you two are going to be great buddies. And once you learn to hit back when he whacks you, I imagine he'll think twice about hitting you. Not that I will condone you whalloping him more than once.



Everyone says that you can't love one of your children more than another, that your heart just expands to love them equally. I can tell you that has happened for me. I love you differently, but in a good way. You are my second baby and I am more sure of myself, more sure of my decisions. That makes me a different Mommy to you than I am to your brother. But I definitely have more than enough love to go around.

Love,
Mommy

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What do you think?

Yesterday we got Emmie's three-month pictures taken at Sears (more on those tomorrow, but they are so freaking cute I can't stand it). They have this cool little online option that stores all your sessions from forever, so I could look back and compare to Jack's three-month shots.

I don't think they look alike at all. What do you all think?

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Wait, it's not over!

Remember when I posted that Jack was going to grow up stupid because he didn't get into a 2 1/2-year-old preschool program and we were all doomed, DOOMED?

Well fate was smiling upon me because we have him all signed up and ready to go in the fall. I am going to have to light a candle on the menorah in thanks for this one, since he will be attending the Jewish Community Center preschool.

After our fruitless attempts to get him into our two desired, pretty, pretty preschools, I was in a little funk. As was my friend, who is the mommy to Jack's main squeeze. She heard through the grapevine that the JCC had a program and it was reasonable so she checked it out and liked it enough to sign her daughter up. She suggested I take the tour because they had a few spots left.

Last week I showed up for my tour and upon entering the building, the first kid I saw was wearing an Albert Pujols Cardinals jersey. It was a sign -- how often do you see a Cardinals fan mere blocks from Wrigley Field? Not too often, let me tell you.

I thought it was cute. There were little tables and a rug for circle time and cubbies for their little items and coat hooks for their wee coats and one of the first questions out of my mouth was "How many spots do you have for next year?" The director responded I would get the last one and I signed on the dotted line. He'll go two days a week for two hours. It will cost the same amount that my parents paids to send me to private high school. Yes, we are paying for four hours what my parents paid for 40. But this is the city, and frankly, the price is reasonable compared to some of the programs.

For those that don't know us that well, and frankly how can you not know us that well if you read this blog as I talk about my CERVIX every five seconds, Josh was raised Jewish and I was raised Catholic. I think we would both classify ourselves as non-practicing and we definitely are not raising these children with or as a part of any religion. Morals and values, yes. Religion, not so much.

Imagine our surprise to see our son attending a Jewish preschool! And yes, it is definitely a religious curriculum. They told me they base the lessons loosely around the Jewish calendar. So, for instance, right now they are learning about Passover and doing ... well I have no idea other than having a Seder. And at Channukah I bet they make little menorahs. And all the things in the room are labeled in both English and Hebrew.

But you want to know something interesting? They said 40 percent of the families are not Jewish. Who doesn't like diversity and learning something new about different cultures and religions? And as Josh likes to point out, Judaism and Christianity share the Old Testament, so there's that. He's not really down with JC, though I like to point out that JC was a Jew too. He's not impressed.

But we're comfortable with the fact that Jack's going to be 2 years old and he's certainly not going to come home asking for a Bar Mitzvah. If he comes home singing the dreidel song, cool. Talks about lighting the Menorah, spiffy. If he wants to wear a yarmulke, I think I'll be drawing the line on that one.

But no matter. It's preschool for 2 1/2-year-olds. They're going to play and paint and learn to walk in a line and hold hands. If they want him to do it with a Jewish slant, be my guest.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Twelve weeks


Enough talk about that naughty kid, everyone look at meeeeee!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sucky Mommy

That should be the new title of this blog.

For the last few days, Jack has really been trying my patience. We had a meeting of the minds yesterday night where I sat him down after a particularly annoying burst of light-switch antics that ended with a raised voice and a tantrum.

I told him he needs to listen to Mommy when she says no. When Mommy says no, she says it because she is trying to keep him from doing something dangerous or not nice. Such as turning the light off when I am changing Emmie. Or whipping his Nemo backback around and hitting his sister in the head. Or doing headstands on the couch. And when Mommy says no, that means stop what you are doing.

Of course he was wiggling and squirming away from me as I was talking to him and telling him to look at me and then laughing and thinking it was just all fun and games.

Granted, these are all normal toddler behaviors. And I know the blah blah about him testing his limits. But there comes a point where the limits are beyond tested. That point came at 7:27 this evening.

As I was nursing Emmie on the couch, he kept climbing up next to me and throwing himself against the back of the couch. And then he started with the headstands again. I asked him repeatedly to stop. I said no in a stern voice. I even grabbed his arm and told him to get down and stop.

He laughed and did it again, knowing full well there was nothing I could do about it while I was nursing, but this time his foot connected with Emmie's head.

So she was screaming, I was yelling and Jack was laughing. I stood up and told him he was getting a timeout and to go to the naughty mat. That would be the naughty mat that he has to be lead to and held on for him to stay there. Yeah, that's real effective. Especially when he hits his sister so she's wailing and needs comforting and I have to put her down so I can physically make him sit on the mat for two minutes. We used to use the pack-n-play for timeout, except now we actually use it for packing and playing.

So when he refused to sit on the naughty mat and I needed to help the walking wounded calm down, I told him it was time to clean up toys because we were going upstairs to take a bath right then. And he refused to clean up his toys and purposely climbed on the couch and started kicking me. No headstands, no pretense of jumping. He just kicked.

So I told him, in a rather loud voice, that he lost his chance. There would be no bath and he was going to bed right that minute. The hysterics ensured and I saw tears and crying and rolling on the floor the likes of which I have not seen before.

He was hysterically sobbing and repeating, "Bath! Please! Bath! Please!" and I stood there unmoved and held my ground. I told him to walk up the stairs. He laid there screaming. I put Emmie in her swing and carried him, sobbing and still chanting his mantra, up to his room.

He then added "Daddy! Daddy!" to his repertoire and I maintained a stony face and told him Daddy would not have let him take a bath either. I stayed calm and told him he could not take a bath because he didn't listen to Mommy and he was going to bed. I put him in his jammies and read him his book, all the while he is sobbing, and then I put him in his crib, told him I loved him and he sobbed, "Lovey" (which is how he says I love you).

While I listened to him cry himself to sleep, I second-guessed myself. Seriously, I took a bath away from my 2-year-old? WTF? He doesn't understand taking something away as punishment, he's too young.

I guess I am the winner of the Shitty Mommy crown for today. I can only hope I can't fulfill my duties tomorrow and the first runner-up has to take my place.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tag, you're it

Jack is pretty into clothing these days. When I come into his room in the morning, he yells, "Shirt!" and then, "Pants!" and I have to acknowledge that yes, I am wearing a shirt and pants. He likes to help put his own clothes on and take them off as well.

He's also really into tags, and tends to show any tags on the outside of his clothes to me several times throughout the day.

So yesterday, he's sitting on the potty and he sticks his hand into the potty and grabs his testic*les and announces, "Tag!" (Editor's Note: I don't need any crazy perverts finding this blog through weird search terms, so I add the asterik. Carry on.)

I'm sorry, what? As I try to look nonchalant, I say, "Nooooo, that's not a tag. That's ... well ... that's just skin. It's not a tag." Later that night in the bathtub, same thing. He looks at me with a smile and says, "Tag?" This time I was ready and told him that no, those were his testic*les. Score one for anatomy lessons and using proper terms!

He, of course, could have cared less and moved on to pouring water over his head and screeching.

As he has an almost compulsive need to rip the tags off of various items, I sure hope he gets this straightened out in his mind very soon.

It's going to be so much easier with a girl, isn't it?

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Monday, April 7, 2008

My how times change

I started out my mothering career as a very private nurser. The only person who ever saw me feed Jack was Josh, but that was by my choice. I just didn't feel comfortable nursing in front of other people.

For the first couple of weeks, I took the nursing so seriously that I didn't even do anything else while I was feeding him -- no phone, no TV, no books, no computer. I had read that it was important to use that time to bond with your baby. Look into his eyes, talk to him, let his little fingers grip yours.

What a bunch of crap. I figured out really quickly that babies, they fall asleep when they're nursing. They don't want you to talk to them, they want to eat and sleep. And at 3 a.m., I am not talking to anyone. And once they get a little bit older, you can't look at them for fear they will pop off and get distracted, thus making the feeding session that much more difficult, not to mention longer.

So within a few weeks I was feeding Jack on the boppy while sitting at my desk, typing over his head. I was a working, multi-tasking momma and besides, there's nothing like reading a little celebrity gossip to encourage that letdown now is there?

But for an entire year, if we had guests, I would go into his room to nurse him. If we were visiting family, I would comandeer a bedroom for privacy. If we were out at a restaurant, I would nurse in the bathroom. And let me tell you, I spent a lot of time in bedrooms and bathrooms because that kid ate all the damn time. I got sick of missing out on conversations and hot meals, but I soldiered on.

This time around, with Miss Emmie, I have dropped all pretenses. From the beginning, I have multitasked while feeding her. Hey, I had to; I have a whirling dervish of a toddler. But I have also been known to read, watch TV or surf the Internet with her on the boob. She's asleep, so what does she care? And I might as well use the time wisely.

I have also entered the world of Nursing In Public. That's NIP for all you non-message boarders out there. And you know what, I am having fun with it. Let me share with you places I nursed this weekend: in the car at a gas station, while eating pizza at a restaurant, at my parents' house, at Cosi while eating a salad and at the playground while pushing Jack in a swing. The more I do it, the easier it gets. On vacation I even nursed her at the table at Don and Charlie's restaurant. I figured people there were too busy looking for baseball players to notice the woman at the next table nursing.

Now before you go imagining I am whipping the boob out for everyone to see, I am not that brave. There is always a blanket involved and you can't really even tell what I am doing. You might just think there's a baby sleeping under there. Or that I am wearing a sarong in pink flower print. A really small one. With drool on it.

So I might not have mastered nursing in a sling but I can unclasp a bra, get a baby latched on and keep her there for more than 10 minutes all without looking. Although a good gust of wind at the playground today might have given one of the dads a little more to look at then he bargained for.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Stupidity reigns

Last year about this time, someone pulled a large amount of copper piping off the back of our house, presumably to sell it for scrap. Then a few weeks later, someone broke into the air conditioning unit in the back of the house and stole the piping out of it, presumably to sell for scrap.

Our response to those acts of crime was to have a fence installed, thus restricting access to the back of the house from the alley. Our choice in fences involved a double-swinging gate or a sliding gate. The sliding feature, while nice, was twice as expensive. Since I was newly unemployed, we decided to go with the double-swinging option. Which meant every time we left the house in the car, we had to open both sides of the gate, secure one side with a rock to hold it open, get in the car and drive it out, then get out of the car and close the gate. Reverse the order when we arrived back home and you can see how it quickly got annoying. Add a toddler and a pregnant woman to the equation and it was now a pain in the ass.

So we started leaving the gate propped open. It made it easier to come and go, especially in the winter, when the snow and ice made opening and closing the two sides of the gate an even bigger pain in the ass. Not to mention the fact it gets cold in Chicago in the winter and I don't like getting out of the car any more than I have to.

Well, dumbasses that we are, we leave the gate open 99 percent of the time. And since we've had it, we have not had any problems. You see where this is going, don't you? The damn fence can't prevent someone from breaking the window on your SUV and stealing your GPS if the gate is wide open now can it?

Dumbass No. 1 (that would be me) not only left the holder for the GPS on the windshield, but I stashed the unit in the center console. SERIOUSLY, did I just move here from the burbs? Why didn't I just hang a sign that says "Free shit. Steal me." with an arrow.

I can also take the Dumbass Award for not hitting the lock button twice on the remote. That's right, I didn't have the alarm on. The alarm that definitely would have alerted the whole neighborhood someone was breaking in and probably at least caused the thief to flee the scene, although the window would still have been smashed.

But the asshat who broke into our car would probably have done better for himself on the black market had he taken the Britax car seat -- it's worth way more than the GPS unit.

If you walked by the back of my house tonight, you would see the window has been fixed (that's a cool hundy that just floated right out of the wallet) and the gate is closed. How long you think that will last?

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Playing cribbage

Tonight was the first night we put Emmie to sleep in her crib. I am not sure why this seems like such a big deal, or why it merits its own blog post, but apparently it does. I remember being so sad when we transferred Jack to his crib in his own room, but now I know better and I forsee a baby sleeping next to me in my bed in about four hours.

You see, I am guilty of being a part-time cosleeper. And it's not because I am pro-family bed or a believer in cosleeping reducing SIDS or anything like that. It's simply because I am too damn lazy to get up, walk down the hall to Emmie's room, carry her to our room to change her diaper and nurse her in the glider and then carry her back to her own room and swaddle her up and get her re-settled in her crib.

For my selfish purposes, it's simply easier to grab her out of her crib and bring her in our bed to nurse her and let her sleep next to me, popping on and off the boob for the rest of the night. I do like my sleep and it seems I get more when I do it the lazy way. Also, her wailing when I change her wakes Josh up and reminds him why we need to convert this house to a single-family dwelling, pronto.

You might ask why I would have to do all that back and forth business in the middle of the night and the answer would be because Emmie's room is still the guest room for the near future. (See: converting to a single-family dwelling). Because a crib and a bed are all that fit in the small space that is our nursery, the changing table and glider live in our room. So poor Emmie really doesn't have a nursery right now. Just another way the second kind gets the short end isn't it?

Hopefully we can rectify this situation in June. We're planning to take over the lower level of the house, which will give us a rec room and another full bathroom and a guestroom, which means we can move the guest bed out of Emmie's room and into the official guest room downstairs. And that means no more middle-of-the-night stumbling around hither and yon for changing and rocking.

In the meantime, we squish four people and 2,784 acres of toys into the space we have. And if you were thinking about staying with us any time soon, I hope you like your sleep fractured by a whimpering baby two feet from your head. If you are lactating, would you mind just whipping out of the boob for a quick feed? Thanks much.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'd like to buy a vowel

Driving in the car with Jack has become my very own "Wheel of Fortune" experience since he learned his letters.

He's known all the letters in the alphabet since January. He has a little Leapfrog magnetic letter set that we keep on a board in the kitchen (who knew, magnets don't stick to stainless steel refrigerators) and he will run and get each letter as you ask him for it. This is all met with great applause and yay-ing and he loves hamming it up and showing off his mad letter skillz.

He even has a favorite letter: B, which is by far the most popular. Too bad I didn't have any foresight on this because he always asks us to add a B onto his name when we're spelling it out.

We live near a Best Buy and you'd think his head was going to pop off, what with the two huge, hulking Bs on the signs and the screaming and the pointing. Then he realizes there's an E, which is his second-favorite letter, and he's wildly screaming "EEEEEEEEEE" and pointing to it and generally acting like a lunatic about it.

But now he has started spotting letters on various signs on the road. And let me assure you, there's nothing that makes you almost drive off the road like toddler's shrill scream of "B! B!" from the backseat. I first thought there was an actual bee in the car and started hyperventilating because I have a terrible irrational fear of a bee flying in my soda can and not realizing it and swallowing it and it stinging me in the throat and my throat swelling shut and me dying. And I don't even drink soda, so you can see how the crazy has gotten to me.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Rise and shine

The Crap Naps of a few weeks ago have made some repeat appearances as of late. But now, not only is Jack trying to thwart naps by not taking them, he also sets an alarm to wake himself up, lest he actually fall asleep.

Jack has had a small alarm clock in his room (an old-school one with a face, none of that digital crap) since he was born. I used it to keep track of the length of his nursing sessions when he was a wee baby and then it just became a part of his room decor and it's still there in his big boy room today.

Thanks to our nightly ritual of reading "Good Night Moon," he knows what a clock is and always points to the one in his own room. His father thought it was OK to let him take the clock down and play with it, so now he thinks it's a toy and he loves turning the face light on and off.

One day last week I put him down for his nap and he actually went to sleep without any fanfare. He was calm and peaceful and for 30 minutes all was quiet on the upstairs front.

Shortly thereafter, I asked Josh what the hell that beeping noise was. We could hear a weird beep and it sounded like it was coming from the living room. Which is weird because there's nothing IN the living room that beeps.

Josh put his head next to the monitor and realized it was coming from the monitor and then said, "Uh yeah. It's coming from Jack's room."

Suddenly, the beeping turned to buzzing. A loud annoying buzzing. And then the buzzing was accompanied by crying. A loud annoying crying. I sped up the steps and the buzzing got louder as I got to Jack's room. Sure as shit, he had somehow set the alarm, so I shut it off. But he was wide awake, sitting up in his crib.

We deduced that when he was playing with the clock that morning, he turned the switch for the alarm to "on" and lucky us, it just happened to be set for 2:15 p.m., the middle of naptime.

Apparently he has so much playing to accomplish that he now needs to set an alarm so he gets up in time to finish it all before bedtime.

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