Sunday, August 27, 2006

Shape of a Mother

This website was brought to my attention by a fellow Chat Board Member. Thank you Laurel! I stayed up looking at this way too late into the night. The women on here are all shapes and sizes, have had the whole range of experiences related to childbirth, and are all heart breakingly beautiful for it. Like most recent mothers, I lament what my body used to be. When I found out I was pregnant I was in the best shape I had ever been in. I had the arrogance and naivete to believe I could still exercise and stay in shape, despite being pregnant. Nothing was gonna stop me! Hah!!! Sure, I still believe I could have done all that, but I didn't. Not even close. Not surprisingly, two rapid pregnancies, three years, many excuses, and no exercise later, I am a soft, squishy girl. By most standards, I recognize that I am extremely lucky. I am a healthy weight, without taking extreme measures. My clothes (the few that even fit me) look fine on me. My stretch marks are minimal, and even the linea negra is not too obvious. Despite all that, I am still self concious about my appearance, and miss my previous "hot bod."

Looking at the women who have so bravely posted their pics and reading their stories has made me more appreciative of who I am. My body is in reasonable condition, my birth experiences were far from traumatic, and I have two perfect healthy boys. Aside from the cosmetic issues, so many of these women have been to hell and back. Who am I to complain? Even if birthing my sons resulted in two healthy boys and a third arm on me, I would still be lucky!

Take a look at the link if you are so inclined. You will read stories of wonderful mothers who have dedicated their heart, soul and their beautiful bodies to nurturing the next generation. I am in awe.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It all adds up

Hayden is obsessed with garages, specifically opening and closing them. From the time he was first learning to talk, he would talk about the garage- ahwaj. One of my favorite Hayden stories was catching him with Logan when Logan was only a couple weeks old. I had put Logan on the couch while I ran upstairs for something. When I came back down, I found Logan staring intently at his big brother who was casually leaning on one elbow, looking Logan in the eye, and imparting this crucial bit of wisdom in a very serious voice- "Poooosh....ahwaaaj. Pooooosh.....ahwaaaj." Push the button in the garage.

Whenever we go anywhere, we hand Hayden the remote to open and close the garage. If we forget, he immediately gets hysterical in the backseat, crying "I want to push!" Sure, we could instill discipline and say life's tough, kid, but seriously it's not worth the drama. We just hand him the button. Before long, Logan will be interested and we will have to establish some sort of sharing criteria like Logan opens the garage and Hayden closes it. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. This morning, Fillip gave Hayden the remote as always. When the garage was closed, he took it back, and at Hayden's insistence handed him the 3-button remote to my IL's garage since they were on their way there. Hayden wanted both remotes and said "I want two buttons!" Fillip said that he already had 3 buttons on that remote. Hayden looked at the remote then asked for the other one saying, "I want four buttons!" He actually added 3 plus one and got four! In case you didn't already figure it out- My son is a freakin' genius! I was very impressed by this and as always, amazed by the incredible ability children have to learn.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

No more Mr. Gummy Bear

Logan cut his first tooth! It's not exactly a surprise given how swollen his gums have been, the amount of drool we are paddling our boats through right now, the recent fever, and of course, the last 11 1/2 months of having no teeth. The day before I could see those teeth just beneath the gums, but he failed the spoon test. Yesterday, he easily passed the spoon test, much to his delight. What is the spoon test you ask? When I told Grandma Mickey that Hayden had cut his first tooth, but it was hard to see, she said a simple spoon test would settle it. She takes a metal spoon and taps it on the baby's gums. If the tooth has come through, you hear a distinctive "clink." Hayden hated when we did this, clamping his lips together as if we were trying to feed him poison. Logan was absolutely delighted with this, letting me do it over and over, giggling wide mouthed every time. I did say we saw teeth, plural, below the gumline, so I expect that next one will emerge shortly. Although I am sad to see these milestones pass, indication the end of his babyhood, it is sweet to see him catching up to Hayden is small ways, knowing that in no time at all he will be running just as fast.

Hayden is full of new phrases these days. He is using the words because, actually, I guess, I think, and last night he said "Logan is driving me crazy!" In all fairness, Logan was continuously screaming at the top of his lungs, unable to deal with life while he was so overtired. Hayden tried to remedy the situation by repeatedly yelling back "NO SCREAMING LOGAN!! STOP SCREAMING! I DON'T LIKE IT!!! STOP SCREAMING!!!" The phrase "driving me crazy" was pretty mild for my feelings about that moment. Last night after dinner they were playing so well together. Logan now likes to be chased, initiating this by crawling nearby with an impish grin, then quickly turning around and pausing, looking back at us over is shoulder until we make a move toward him. Then he takes off as fast as he possibly can, crawling with all his might and giggling endlessly. When we almost get him, he collapses in giggles and rolls over so we can tickle him some more. Usually, on his way racing up the hall, I tickle his back like I am barely missing him in the chase. Hayden seems to think the end goal is to catch Logan, then pin him down with his whole body. Logan doesn't care either way as long as someone, anyone chases him. Together, they are hilarious, each one playing off the other. As fun as they are now, it should only get better.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Oh the places you can go...

I came across this neat website today as I was sitting on indefinite hold with a department that delays payments indefinitely. Since mentally daydreaming about past and future vacations was much preferable to blindly drooling on my desk, I thought I'd play around with this. All that red makes it look very impressive! Looks to me like I should hit Idaho one of these days. The world map is especially deceptive as the only city I have seen in Russia is St. Petersburg, and I get credit for the entire country!

These are the States I have visited:

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

These are the countries I have visited:

create your own visited countries map
or vertaling Duits Nederlands

Monday, August 21, 2006

Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue

Logan has "got big gums."

His little gums are so swollen so those teeth must be trying to come up. No surprise since he is nearly a year old. That very first tooth is bound to pop out soon. He is teething, but mostly I think he realizes there are things he wants to tell us, which is really difficult when you can't talk.

Logan has become quite the little communicator these days. Read: screamer. He does have the sound "da" which he uses in all contexts. The other night he was so angry with me for giving him a bath, Fillip came in to see what I was doing to torture the poor kid. "Da da da daDA DADADADDADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!" He puts his leg up over the side of the tub, shimmies up and over, sliding across the bathroom like a wet naked penguin when I don't get him out quick enough. Ok, ok. I'll let you get out. Sheesh! He then proceeded to scream bloody murder everytime I came near him, and ramped it up even higher when I tried to nurse him. As soon as Fillip would take him, he would snuggle up and lay his head contentedly on Fillip's shoulder, watching me suspiciously. If I dared take him, "dadadaDADADADADAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" Sweet kid. Although I generally do realize it isn't personal when the kids start to favor one of us, this time I really wanted to cry. He now gets showers from Daddy and we are all happier.

Logan has become aware of things he wants, especially at meals and even more so if it is something Hayden has. Logan will stuff his face until he gets thirsty. Then he starts to swipe his food onto the floor and reach for his drink. Once we realize it, we hand it to him and he greedily gulps until he is DONE, then tries to throw it on the floor and goes back to eating. Last night I gave Hayden some applesauce at the end of dinner. Apparantly, Logan really wanted some. He started carrying on and had the angriest look on his face while he leaned over his tray toward Hayden, making himself practically turn purple. When I brought him some applesauce he gave me the silliest triumphant grin, like he was so proud of himself for telling me what he wants. He now throws himself backwards when he is angry and managed to flip himself right off the couch yesterday while I was sitting with him. It was a very ugly "thump!", but he seems to be just fine. I made the grave error of trying to get him to take an afternoon nap on Saturday, and he was so angry and crying so hard that he simply stopped breathing for a few seconds while he wound himself up for the next sob. I actually thought he might cause himself to pass out. Oy, I don't want to deal with that! So much for our initial thoughts that he was the milder of the two. I don't think so. Fortunately, he is still so baby that I can usually hold and snuggle him, and the other day he nearly fell asleep as I picked him up after that thwarted afternoon nap. Most of the time he seems very happy to be put in his crib, immediately snuggling his face into his blanket and coyly peeking up at me with a silly grin, before quickly turning his face away again.

Hayden has become an easy kid once again. He still challenges me, but not nearly so much or so stubbornly. His new phrases are so cute to hear and he impresses random people with his counting and observations. On Saturday, we all hung around in the backyard all morning. Logan crawled in and out of the playset while Hayden played with his chalk. I asked him to draw the letter D and he did! It was backwards, but I get that since he is left handed like me, and I remember always writing everything backwards. I was just so proud of him for knowing that. We went to the beach yesterday and I just have to say once again how great it is when just the two of us are there. It is relaxing and he is so cute playing in the sand and talking with me. He probably likes the individual attention as much as I do, and responds accordingly. What a little sweetheart. As he was leaving with Fillip a few days ago I called out that I love him. His response was "I love you back, Mommy!" That makes it all worth it.

Friday, August 18, 2006

And I didn't even cry

Hayden finally has a lunchbox! We went to Target yesterday for the big event. I just love watching him pick out anything as he is so decisive. There were several to choose from ranging from cute animals to sports to characters. We eliminated them one by one. He would say "I like dat one" and bring it into the cart. Then I would introduce a new one, and he would pick between the two, saying "I don wan dat one" and putting it back on the shelf. In case he was simply wanting the newest one, I would reintroduce them in different combos to make sure we got the one he liked best. He was very consistent in his choices. Once he saw that some came with matching water bottles as well, it had to be one of those. I guess he saw the added value. Despite encouraging him to get the cute green dinosaur, the one with the built in baseball game, or the Spiderman lunch box, my boy picked what I like to call the gangsta lunchbox. It is gray with orange graffiti all over it.

Me- "Sweetie, look! This one has a racecar on it!"
Hayden-"No, I don like dat one."
Me-"What about this one? It has a water bottle, and Spiderman!"
Hayden-"No, I wan dis one."

It was literally the most hideous one there and far and away his favorite. Go figure. It's probably a good thing he picked my least favorite one. Maybe, unlike his mom, he will be the coolest kid in class. Well, even if he isn't, he won't be the least cool kid in class.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Knowing too little too much

Poor Logan is sick. I got in after midnight from a work event last night to find him burning up. I didn't take his temp last night, just dosed him with Tylenol, but his temp was about 103F this morning. He went to school because when Fillip dropped off Hayden he was told it is fine if there are no symptoms since it could be teething. However, I wasn't surprised to get a call this afternoon saying Logan needs to come home. The fever was back up and he was cranky and wouldn't eat. His teachers know him well enough to worry when that little chowhound turns down a snack. Poor baby.

I've mentioned this before, but Hayden is obsessed with genitals. He is constantly confirming who does and does not have a penis. He will ask anyone around, and then confirms it with me again later. I keep telling myself this is perfectly natural....right? When he asks if I (or any other female) has one, I always just say no, girls don't have those. For the last couple months this has been sufficient. I should have known that wouldn't do for long. This morning I was going to the bathroom and Hayden asked the very perceptive question "Mommy, do you go pee pee from your butt?"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Logan at 11 months (and one week, cuz I'm a slacker)

Logan is simply described as Delicious. He is such an adorable baby. Yes baby. I am unwilling to let go of his babyhood just yet, despite signs of pending toddlerhood. He is such a cutie with an easy smile and a twinkle in his eye. His teachers at school clearly adore him, and most days we arrive to find him getting a cuddle from one of them. He is pretty easy going, although goes from happy to mad in an instant, no warning ramp up. His eyes are still a light and brilliant blue that people stop to comment on. He doesn't have even one tooth, and I like it that way. My little gummy bear. He crawls like a bat out of hell when he wants to get somewhere, a speed much faster than I can just walk. This is usually brought on by chasing Hayden, realizing the cat food and water is on the floor and unprotected, or that a toy must be thrown out the cat door. For some reason, he has decided the cat door is a toy depository and Logan's escape hatch. Even from across the house, I can tell when he suddenly takes off with one hand crawling, and the other sliding the portable wipe container that it is on it's way to the side yard. He loves the cats and isn't too violent with them. We are working on "nice," but it is a lengthy process. These days Logan really likes turn taking games. When he hands me something and I take it, a huge smile lights up his face. He also loves putting things in and out of containers, and it is fun to watch him completely immersed, hunched over his toy, concentrating on what he is doing. He shows signs of recognizing what hole is correct for a specific shape, but doesn't quite know to turn the piece until it is right. He is very clingy to me at home, wanting to be held constantly. I think this is partially because he is so tired at the end of the day when I see him. He barely hangs in there through dinner, then crashes quickly after his bath.

He is an amazing eater for a couple reasons. The first is the sheer quantity of food he consumes. People watch in amazement as he packs it in, not very picky about what we give him. When he finishes a helping, he holds his hand out toward the table to get more. He likes to have a drink, but loses interest quickly and throws it on the floor. The other reason he is amazing to watch at mealtimes is the incredible mess he makes. At the end of every meal he is completely covered with food. Not much gets on the floor these days as we know that once he starts throwing his food down, he is done. This is non-negotiable. After the first couple tosses, anything offered is met with him turning his head away in complete rejection. He makes the funniest face these days. He puckers up his lips, then tucks them up under his nose, scrunching up his entire face, making a breathing noise through his nose. It is really funny to see and me and Hayden constantly try to make him do this. Logan is starting to hold his own with Hayden. He is just as likely to grab something from his big brother as have something taken away. If we see this, we correct him so Hayden can see we want things fair for him as well. We find ourselves defending Hayden more often these days. Hayden does take things as well, but is getting better about giving them back.

In the car, Hayden often has little snacks like Goldfish crackers. Logan knows this and has certain expectations. He is still rear facing in his carseat, but he and Hayden have a great view of each other. When Hayden has a bag of snacks we just see a tiny Logan hand reach out waiting for Hayden give him a snack. Hayden always does. That little expectant open hand is so cute.

One thing Logan hates is diaper changes. It is so hard to keep him pinned down for that simple task, frustrating everyone involved. Just when I think I've finally got it, the diaper is on ready to be secured, he scoots himself backward halfway off the changing table and out of the diaper. Then he complains that his head is hanging down. Yeah, no duh.

Sadly for me, he is really wanting to wean. I have stopped pumping after two excursions to my office Lactation Room gained a total of 2 1/2 oz of milk for the day. That is totally not worth it. I could try bulking up on Mother's Milk Tea, but frankly am not wanting to do that. It doesn't look like it will make enough of a difference, and my plan of weaning at one year is really close. At home, he hardly nurses, if I get two minutes I'm lucky. Yesterday morning he only nursed on one side, leaving me lopsided and extremely engorged on the left. After a couple attempts, he finally gave me some relief last night before bedtime. This morning he nursed on both sides for a total of about 5 minutes. Once he is done, he is on the go. No sweet snuggles for me. He is just too busy. Despite being so active, even when I wake him in the morning, he goes right back in his crib without a fuss. It's like he knows he is so tired and a little relieved to just lie down.

He often says Dada now, and sometimes Mama. Fillip is more convinced than me that he is using these meaningfully, and also swears he says Dayden for Hayden. He is still not walking, but frequently stands independently holding a toy or watching something. He doesn't fall, but carefully squats back down, as if too cautious to take a step. When he is mad, he now throws himself forward, barely missing cracking his face on the floor, looking up with a scowl and a yell, then pivoting to do it again in another direction, like a bobbing, yelling compass. This is just too funny to watch sometimes. He loves to have us blow on his belly, which is a good thing because it is irresistable. He is so soft and squishy, still so baby and I hope it lasts!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Hayden at 17 months (oops, I mean 29 months!)

As of yesterday, Hayden is now 17 months old. Can I just start saying two and a half? I think so. He is such a fun little boy with an easy smile and friendly personality. His favorite pasttime at home is racing around on his farm truck. He banks the corners, catching a little drift and even gets some speed wobble down the hall. He rarely tags Logan, having finally learned that even "accidentally" running into his brother gets his license immediately revoked for the remainder of the day, farm truck put out of reach. On weekends he loves the beach, having gotten braver about it with each trip. He now likes the water in addition to playing in the sand. He is such a joy at the beach, really good company, staying nearby and looking out for Logan with me. He equally loves going swimming, fearlessly jumping in from the side, getting dunked and learning to shoot the crazy hydraulic water gun at Tami's house. The green one. Samantha likes the blue one.

Since he switched classes at school, life there is much improved. He is more likely to take a nap, and rarely acts aggressively toward his classmates. He is starting to tell us about his day. "I did art. I read stories." I love this. I can usually ask some pretty good leading questions about what supplies he used based on what is on his shirt. Yesterday he looked at me in amazement when I asked if he used glitter and orange paint. Recently, his class decorated sun visors. He proudly wears this all the time. It is so cute to see him take pride in it. He is now obsessed with birthdays. He knows for birthdays you get to blow, and is crushed when it isn't his turn. When my FIl and MIL blew out their candles last week, he immediately burst into tears as if someone had just dropped something on his foot. We looked on in wonder until he said "I wanted to bloooooowww!!!" Oh. Sorry kid. He loves to help us bake and cook, and it makes me equally happy. Now and then, Fillip takes Logan out with him, and I keep Hayden up late in the kitchen. His teachers have just brought to light a new issue. The lunchbox request revisited. Hayden knows everyone keeps their lunchboxes in their cubbies, and that the lunchboxes contain treats. He systematically retrieves the treats (an Andes mint, a cookie, a piece of fruit), kindly leaving the actual sandwich undisturbed. He then takes his loot to a couch in the classroom, and quietly eats it while the other kids play. Now, I do know this isn't right, and Fillip dutifully told the teacher we would talk to him about it, but the image just cracks me up. My little scrounger. I guess I really need to get him that lunchbox after all. We will fill it with the best treats!!

Potty training ebbs and flows, so to speak. Since we are The Worst Potty Trainers Ever, he started to backslide, and we are now encouraging him more. He is good about it, but does forget when he gets involved with something. He can now count to 13 very easily, 20 with little prompting, and is very familiar with the numbers through 40. He constantly sings new songs and uses new phrases. It seems that the tune to Twinkle Twinkle gets stuck in his head, and he ends up just singing jibberish to that tune. He is very aware of his brother, trying to boss him around, wrestle hm down, have Logan walk holding his hands, gives him lots of kisses, and imitates Logan's new baby talk. He gets strongly corrected when calling Fillip Dada. He calls me Mama, but I figure he'll get over it and it doesn't bother me. Lately, he definitely is challenging me. He acts as if I hadn't even spoken, or tells me he doesn't want to. Grr. He also generally says no to everything we ask, then tells us he really wants it. I've started warning him that his next answer is his final answer, and the offer won't be made again. I did not get a kiss goodnight last night :( Overall, he is such a cutie and I got to see him with two other boys around his age this week. The difference was astounding. The other boys were raucous, crazy and completely out of control. Although my boys definitely challenge me, their behavior in comparison was exemplary. I was so proud of them! It is amazing to see this little boy of mine as he is building relationships at school, and becoming his own person. I am so proud of him and hope he always knows that.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oscar the Grouch...

...would be very happy in my car. It's not just the clothes, toys, trash and quantity of crap that would make him at home. My car has developed an awful stench that rivals the inside of our garbage cans sitting outside in the baking sun day after day. We can not find the source of this. There is no rotting food. The sippy cups and travel mugs Fillip absentmindedly leaves have been removed. All pets are accounted for. The heat wave has broken and this morning it was 67F driving in to work. All my windows were wide open as I tried to air it out. If this isn't resolved soon, I may need to have it professionally cleaned. Me and my car shudder at the thought.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A sign

Our landlords listed our house yesterday. No warning. No discussion. When we came home there was a sign in the yard. What? Didn't they say they weren't going to list it until November? Yeah, that's what they said. Fillip called to talk about it and the landlord said that no it isn't listed, shouldn't be listed, the realtor made a mistake and was supposed to bring us a lease. Um, really? Funny, because she called to say she listed it at their direction at the price they chose. These people are simply incapable of being honest. Bastards.

Sooo... stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

My Little Heartbreaker

Hayden seriously breaks my heart. Lately, I have been trying to be a much milder Mommy. I am trying to communicate with him about our feelings, much less yelling, clearly stating my expectations and giving specific, enforced consequences when he isn't doing what he is told. These days, he acts as if I am mute. I know he isn't deaf, as he does what Fillip says, then acts as if I haven't even spoken. Last night we had major drama.

Over the weekend, I began Hayden's haircut. Usually, he is rather squirmy for this, but Sunday he was hysterical. You would have thought I was pulling his arms out of the sockets by the way he carried on. I couldn't help but wonder what the neighbors were thinking, since we were in the backyard. I kept audibly telling Hayden I didn't know why he was so upset over a haircut and hoping they would be rude enough to peek through the fence to confirm that is all we were doing to him. I got most of it buzzed, but gave up on trimming the edges.

Last night, I could no longer tolerate the mullet. While Fillip bathed Logan, I brought out the trimmer again. I spoke to Hayden quietly. I showed him on my hand that it won't hurt. He willingly let me put the trimmer on his own hand, showing no hesitation or fear. Then, I put the trimmer to his hair. He had the same reaction as he did on Sunday. After repeated attempts to calm him down, and him still screaming and crying hysterically after I turned it off, I just put him in his room and closed the door. Then I went to my room, closed the door, turned the fan on high, turned the radio on LOUD, and put a pillow over my head to silence that screaming. I felt like absolute shit for bringing my child to that state, even though I knew I hadn't hurt him and was not doing anything harmful. I don't know why he was so upset, and despite the fear being irrational, I was desperately trying to address that fear, with absolutely no success. Fillip bathed him and got him ready for bed. I read him a brief story and told him that he made me sad. His response was that I made him sad. Yah, I know. That much was clear.

After a very stressful afternoon, and even more stressful evening, once the kids were in bed I grabbed my keys and headed out for some retail therapy (I bought nothing) and a milkshake (I bought two.)