Thursday, January 25, 2007

Today's tally

Activity Points earned
+500 pts -Getting my sorry ass out of bed at 5:00am (well, 5:20am)

+200pts -Having bag packed last night with work clothes and towel for gym

+5000 pts -Working out at the gym before work despite thoughts running through my head reminding me how much I dislike exercising

-500,000 -Ordering a breakfast burrito on my way in to work with eggs, bacon, hash browns, cheese and sour cream, and eating the entire thing

-5000,000 -Complete lack of self discipline in lunch and ordering the same fast food Chinese as my boss....and eating the entire thing

Not exactly the score I was aiming for.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Just call me Sally

My kids are tiny little guys, but what they lack in physical size, they more than make up for in personality and attitude. Once they team up on us, all hope of order and control is lost.

Hayden has been rolling his eyes at me like an embarrassed teenager for over a year now. He knows how to play on my emotions and can switch from charming to exasperating in a heartbeat. In general, he has a good heart, and a truly sweet disposition. One game he likes to play with me is at bedtime. I'll get him tucked in all cozy-warm and he'll say in the sweetest voice, "Mommy, come lay down with me. Come snuggle." Well, I certainly can't resist that invitation from my normally active and squirmy boy. I eagerly lay down on his bed, snuggle up to him and lay my face right next to his. Just as I settle in for a few minutes of gazing into my son's beautiful eyes he'll invariably say "Mommy, go out. Go lay down on your own bed." I swear, I'm like Charlie Brown and the football- every time.

Logan is not exempt from all the attitude. He is such a tease. He likes to give kisses, and you can hear them coming. He'll start across the room all puckered up going "mmmmmmm..." as he approaches to give you a big wet smacker. He'll get right up to you and then turn that little face away with a giggle at the last second. Denied! Over the weekend he picked up a new word, most likely from his big brother. Not just simple word, but a word filled with all the attitude someone only knee high can muster. He puts his hands on his hips, bends forward at the waist, stares us down with those big blue eyes and says emphatically "Nnnnnnno, Mama!" The first time I was so surprised I asked him "Did you just tell me no?" He got this look that seemed to wonder if I thought it was adorably cute, or if he was in big trouble. The truth is, I honestly didn't know.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hayden at 34 months old

Hayden is growing up so quickly!! Although he is a munchkin in size, he is a force to be reckoned with. I hear him saying such big kid things and see that there is little left of the baby in him. It's like the last three years have been on fast forward.

Hayden is so verbal. He makes brings different ideas into conversation and remembers the most minute details of things that we forgot had even been mentioned. When he talks to other people and gives them details about our cars or various topics, they will look askance at us to see if what he is saying is true. It generally is very true and accurate. He makes connections between things that we love to hear. He was playing with a toy that asked how old he is and he said two and a half. Fillip said "You are almost three!" Hayden told the toy "Yes, I am almost three. I will be three in March." He is quite the parrot, and we have to really watch our language these days. We have improved greatly, but not everyone around us has. The other day, out of the blue, we hear from the back seat of the car "Fucking is a bad word. We aren't supposed to say fucking." Yes, Hayden you are right about that.

He seems to need to establish boundaries and rules, often quoting the rules back at someone. "Grandpa, don't chew ice. It's bad for your teeth." "Logan, you can't play with this. You are too little and could choke on the pieces." These days he is obsessed with being the Line Leader. I'm not sure how the Line Leader is chosen at school, but it is clearly a great status symbol when you are nearly three years old. He tells us he is the Line Leader if he gets to the sink first to brush his teeth, if we are the first people at a traffic light, when it is just he and Logan playing around the house, etc… Of course, Logan will follow whatever Hayden is doing and is happy to let his brother lead the way. A new thing Hayden says is "I already did!" As in washing his hands, drinking his milk, picking up his toys. Whatever it is we are asking him to do, he says he already did, even when it is blatantly obvious that he didn't. He hasn't quite caught on that if the sink is dry, we know he didn't wash his hands.

He is pretty good about sharing with Logan, although doesn't hesitate to grab something out of his brother's hand or push him over. The second I leave the room one of them is crying as the other takes something, hits, pushes, or otherwise offends. The other day I told them to work it out themselves since I felt it was a ploy to grab my attention back, again and again. Surprisingly, once they realized I wasn't rushing to the scene of the crime to mediate, they got along much better. No gratification in crying when nobody is listening, I guess. Whenever Hayden has a treat he offers some to Logan. When Logan wants a turn with something, Hayden quickly finishes his turn to hand it over. Of course, he expects the item back quickly, or any item someone is playing with. The second Logan has something Hayden is complaining "Logan isn't giving me a turn!" We are working on the concept that just because Logan has something, doesn't mean it immediately needs to be handed over, and vice versa. Overall though, they are quite a team.

After Logan came home from the hospital, we saw a backlash from Hayden. He was being extremely stubborn, argumentative and difficult. Clearly, he was feeling pushed aside in the whole situation and after a few days of encouragement, reminders that the "normal Hayden is a really good boy," and more than a few timeouts, he is back on track.

Hayden has always been a good eater, but these days I wouldn't say he is great about it. He isn't picky at all, just distracted. He is too busy talking and looking around to focus on finishing his meal. He can have the same bite in his mouth for 5 minutes while he does other things. He wants to sit in a regular chair like a big boy, but twists and turns, gets up and down, and overall drives us nuts without his booster seat. Sometimes the stepstool is a better solution, but sometimes we just put him in the booster. He doesn't protest much when I say he seems uncomfortable in the regular chair and this would be better. He loves to get a treat and asks for gum all the time. He rarely gets it since that invites a couple more issues like Logan protesting that he didn't get any ('cuz he doesn't have teeth!), gum getting put in various places it doesn't belong, and getting him to spit it out when it is time to eat, go to bed, etc.. At school he doesn't take his naps, which is usually the only negative feedback we get from his teachers. However, he really needs a nap and sleeps for a couple hours each day he isn't in school. We aren't sure why getting him to nap is no problem at home or Grandma's house, but doesn't happen at school.

Bedtime is my favorite part of the evening- not because I don't want to spend time with him, but because we have a pretty good routine and things go smoothly. He loves to snuggle up with me to read a story, which is so sweet. He often "reads" to me as he knows some of his books by heart, or at least the basic gist of the story and can tell me the story in his own words. He recognizes all the letters by sight and knows one or more words that start with each letter. He knows the days of the week, is starting to grasp months, can count to 20 and has learned all the basic rules and routines of his classroom.

Always an active child, he loves to ride his bikes and trucks, speeding around the patio or the playground at school. His imagination is kicking in and he will sit on the couch by himself or with Logan and pretend they are on a train, or in a truck, or in the kitchen whipping up dinner. Even Logan gets into it, stirring a spoon in a bowl and "pouring" things in. Hayden will put on his two backpacks (yes, both at once), grab a bag and a water bottle and tell me he is leaving. He keeps expressing his independence by saying he will drive the car, walk to school, make his own dinner, do his own laundry, etc… We don't let him play with the car keys for fear he really will try! He has been fully potty trained, day and night, for awhile now and almost always dresses himself. He is good about cleaning up when we ask him to, and especially good about cleaning up when it means stalling on going to bed.

This boy gets more handsome each and every day, and is truly a sweet soul. He is so friendly and outgoing that I see people respond to him wherever we are. He loves to giggle and wrestle with us, but is quick to give hugs and kisses as well. I'm amazed at how quickly he has turned into a little boy from my little baby, but so proud of the person he is becoming.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Like that's a real original start to the New Year

While on vacation I joined a gym. Now, normally, I am not a gym person. I recognize that I simply don't like exercise for the sake of exercise, and without any direction at all, I am completely intimidated by all the machines. Overriding all that however, is the fact that I don't like the way I look or feel. My body has been worked over by pregnancy, and needs a makeover to finally get back to where I was a few years ago. I checked out the local YMCA and another chain gym. The YMCA looked fine and the price was good, but the personal trainer who showed me around was so bitter and cynical that I had no desire to do anything except go get a cheeseburger and milkshake for the sheer futility of it all. My friend suggested checking out her gym. The price was actually better, it is a much nicer facility, and everyone was very upbeat and encouraging. So, I bit the bullet and signed up, earning a year of obligating myself to get my flabby butt there several times a week and a free t-shirt.

So far, so good. I went to work out the first evening, and was fairly proud of how I did. After 15 minutes of hell on the elliptical machine I braved the floor of workout machines. While suffering on the elliptical I was watching people very closely. Although I was probably creeping them out, I was only trying to see how the machines work so I wouldn't look like a complete idiot when I went over there. A couple of them looked fairly straight forward, so I gave it a shot. Fortunately(?), I am so out of shape that it only took a few reps on a couple arm machines to wear out those muscles, making it impossible to attempt figuring out another exercise out anyway. I also had the brilliant idea to make my way to the free weight room. After all, I know how to focus on specific muscles, so why use some fancy contraption to do that? Good old fashioned free weights are fine, right? I walked in and picked up the dusty 5 pound weights, feeling even more stupid doing reps with those, among people lifting hundreds of pounds. After about 10 minutes, I retreated to the treadmills. Walking. Just my speed. Familiar, easy to use. Up and down arrows to control the pace, and a nifty little fan to cool me off. In all, I sweated it out for about 45 minutes, and went home feeling as proud as if I had run a marathon.

Last week I went to a yoga class. Years ago I worked for a firm that had a private instructor in our private gym once a week. It was wonderful. The last time I did yoga was in her class when I was about 6 months pregnant with Hayden. Over 3 years later, it was quite a challenge! I did like the instructor we had last night and felt my body intuitively adjusting my poses as my previous instructor had taught me. This was definitely more my style. Although my yoga session involved much arm shaking, sweating, and some mental pep talks, I felt much more in my element. I like to exercise with direction, with an instructor setting the pace, and feeling confident and competent in what I am doing. I will continue learning those new fangled resistance machines, but feel more motivated knowing I can "treat" myself to the yoga classes as well.

Yesterday I hit the gym while my MIL watched the boys. Again, I was the Treadmill Stalker, learning how each machine worked by observing the other people there. I carefully chose who to watch knowing most of those people are already in much better shape than me. For some reason, about half the people there yesterday were senior citizens. I figure if a lady who looks to be about 80 years old can do a certain machine, so can I. I think I overestimated myself. Today my legs are killing me as if I spent the day rounding up cattle, but that is a good thing. Each time I go I feel a bit more confident, which motivates me more. I can totally do this.

Logan at 16 months

Logan is such a fun little guy. He is really growing into himself and we see more personality every day. I love this stage where they are still on the cusp of leaving babyhood behind, testing out and realizing their independence, but have no issue relying on us for comfort.

Logan has been walking since his birthday and now runs easily after Hayden. He is trying to learn to jump, a funny process as he bounces enthusiastically with his feet never leaving the ground. He loves to ride little push cars, zipping around the house, navigating turns, and pressing all the buttons on the toys. He also likes to get up on Hayden's tricycles, with his toes barely skimming the ground, feeling like he is speeding himself along, when really we just set him off on the higher part of the patio so he can roll downhill. He is quite the stuntrider, often wanting to ride standing on the seat, bending over to hold the handlebars. No fear. He likes to play with cars, trucks and trains, rolling them along the floor making "driving noises." Another favorite pastime is putting things in and out of containers, again and again. He loves to empty one of our cabinets and match up all the lids. It makes a big mess, but I love watching him. Fortunately, he seems to like helping clean up as well. The telephone is a passion for him, and when it rings and he doesn't get to talk on it (which is 99% of the time) he goes into a screaming rage. That's not his best characteristic. He loves to color and will spend a good stretch of time with crayons and paper. At school he enjoys art projects, and I enjoy seeing him with a big bottle of glue in his hand. Sometimes when I pick him up it looks like he was the class project with paint, marker, glue and glitter all over him! He loves music too and will clap along with the radio, and dance to any music that comes on. He has this funny stilted movement he does lifting and stomping one foot as he moves along the room to the music.

He is at an age where he is starting to mimic everyone. One day I was sitting on a pillow on the floor to sort through some clothes. He went over to the couch, pulled down another pillow, sat down just like me, then realized something was missing. He put another pillow down, then went to get Fillip so he could sit down too. Whatever Hayden is doing, he wants to do. If Hayden is brushing his teeth leaning against the bathtub, Logan needs to do the same. If Hayden is making silly noises at dinner, Logan needs to do the same. Hayden goes pee pee in the potty before bathtime, and Logan now asks to sit on the potty before bathtime as well. It was so cute to see him sitting up there with his little legs sticking out, smiling so proudly.

Logan likes a lot of attention, especially when our attention is directed somewhere else. He will pull us by the arm or climb up into our laps and start giving us kisses, knowing he can grab our attention that way. "Mmmmmmm-mwuh!" He also likes to quietly sit in my lap, his back snuggled against my tummy while he explores a toy. He is a very affectionate boy, but selectively. At school he leaves everyday blowing kisses to his teachers and when I linger too long by his crib at bedtime, he excuses me once and for all by sweetly blowing me a kiss then laying down with his face turned away. Time to sleep.One day while we were in the hospital, I was trying to get him to nap. I had him snuggled cozy-warm in his blankie, patting his chest and talking to him quietly to soothe him. He looked at me, put a finger over his lips and quietly said "Mama, shhhh."

This boy is such a chatterbox. He has a few consistent words such as Dada, Mama, brother, diaper, bubble, (these last 3 sound very similar, but we can tell the difference) and recently cat and Voodoo, our cat's name. His favorite phrase seems to be "All done!" which he tells us again and again when he is done eating and wanting to get down, when he doesn't want his medicine, when we finish changing his diaper, when he wants out of the bath.... Each day he wakes immediately asking for his brother, delighted when he gets to go in his room to get him. Not so delightful is his recent habit of going in and waking Hayden from a nap. He often seems to be directing a very large event, babbling instructions at several people and pointing animatedly in every direction. He is so busy all the time. He still has his funny little giggle that seems to come from his belly and will do it again and again to keep us laughing with him. He knows to point to his belly button and his nose, and recently points to our big cat and tells him to shush with a finger over his mouth. He loves to play peek a boo, and often comes over, and lifts the bottom of my shirt to tickle me, especially if I lean over him to get Hayden out of the carseat.

Logan has quite the temper to go with all his charm and we have started doing timeouts or sending him to his room to calm down. He needs to learn not to be aggressive, and play nicely. A process we have been through before. Despite his volatile nature, he is such a sweet baby. His smile is contagious and those blue eyes sparkle with humor and mischief most of the time. I want to hold fast to his fleeting babyhood, but it will be gone before I know it. For now I am just grateful to have him home, well and happy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I'm a Grand Aunt!

My nephew's baby boy was born this afternoon. Mom and baby are doing great, and my nephew is feeling happy, but I think it is a bit surreal at this point. My bro and I agree I can officially be called Auntie. It is so weird to see everyone get bumped up a generation- My nephew is now a father. My niece is an aunt. My brother is a grandfather, and my mother is a great grandmother!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Home sweet home

After 5 days and nights in the hospital, Logan is now home! Below is the recap of what happened. A couple highlights and low lights:

Aside from the lack of sleep, the worst part was when he got suctioned. A catheter would be put in each nostril to remove the gunk that was keeping him from breathing. Three of us would need to hold him down to do this while that terrified baby would scream "All done! All done! All done!" I don't know that I will ever forget that.

Silly boy quickly learned how things worked at the hospital. The machines all beep frequently when levels drop and he would try to reach the button to make it stop. Yesterday when they took his blood pressure, as soon as it beeped that it was done, he kicked off the cuff.

Last week at home Logan started wanting to sit on the potty before his bath. Hayden always goes pee pee before bathtime, so little brother wants to mimic his routine. Yesterday Logan started asking to go potty at the hospital. As soon as he would pee in his diaper he would start saying "diaper! diaper!" and grabbing his crotch, then run to the bathroom and want to get on the potty. This is not an easy task with a wiggly boy, no training seat, and a whole lot of tubes to keep clean.

Tonight when I came back with Hayden Logan was unbelievably excited to see him. He kept shouting and pointing and giggling. I hope they are always so happy to see each other.

Now, I'm going to go enjoy sleeping in my own bed, with BOTH my boys nearby.

Here is an email I sent a few days ago:
As most of you know, Logan was hospitalized Thursday afternoon with a virus called RSV. When I took him to the doctor Thursday afternoon his breathing was visibly labored with retractions (sucking in below the ribs and throat in an attempt to get enough air), his heart rate was 170-180, he was dehydrated, a fever of 102, blood oxygen level of 90%, and was so sick he was completely limp. The pediatrician gave him an immediate shot of steroids and a breathing treatment and told me we were going to be admitted to the hospital. Although most kids his age and older don't get nearly this sick with RSV, he was much more vulnerable due to his asthma. He got hit fast and hard. (Anyone under 1 year is hightly at risk when they get this and it is more serious than we would want to consider for infants and newborns.)

Although the last few days have been terrifying, frustrating, exhausting and most of all, sad for Logan, he is making progress. Upon admittance, he was put on oxygen, intraveneous steroids and fluids, and round the clock nebulizer treatments. The poor little guy can't move without being tangled up on all his wires and has had to endure some rather traumatic procedures. The first night, even with the oxygen canule and some very aggressive treatments, he was unable to keep his blood oxygen level above 80-85%. Last night it stayed in the mid 90's, which is so much better. Today the iv meds were discontinued, and the amount of oxygen he is being given will be reduced, as tolerable. Once he can keep his blood oxygen level in the mid-high 90's without the oxygen supplement, he can come home. It is possible that this will be tomorrow, but we won't know until we see how he does. He is still audibly wheezing and has a bone shaking cough. The cough is actually a good thing as it will get all that congestion up out of his lungs.

We have had very little sleep, and more worry than we know what to do with. Logan has truly tolerated this better than we could have hoped, and he and Hayden spend much of their days asking for each other. Even once Logan comes home, we are going to be a bit isolated as this virus is highly contagious, so we will need to see which of us comes down with it and make sure we aren't spreading it around. The incubation is 4-5 days. We do welcome visitors at the hospital and at home, but understand that most people are around kids and would hesitate to be exposed to the nasty little bug.

Please understand my lack of communication as I have been busy literally every minute with Logan, can only call out to my immediate area from the room, and am not allowed to use a cell phone there. There is no internet access, so I am feeling very isolated, but do appreciate the calls I've gotten. Feel free to pass this info along to anyone who didn't get it. I know I missed people on my list. I came home today to spend a couple hours with Hayden while Fillip is at the hospital with Logan. I will update once Logan has been released.

Thank you to everyone for all your support.
Love, Marlo

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Holiday recap

After a whirlwind holiday season, I feel like I was supposed to keep you all apprised of every party and gift. There just wasn't time for that. I'm so over the holidays.

Chanukah was a complete blur. The kids came to love having Chanukah music on in the car and singing the Dreidle song. Although the holiday is only 8 nights, we had something to do every night for two weeks straight. We were either celebrating at somebody's house, or entertaining at home. Usually, our kids rise to any occasion and bring out the best behavior for others. We saw this breakdown as they got more and more tired, and in need of their normal routine. However, they did enjoy the holiday. We lit the candles every night, and it is so sweet to see those beautiful faces lit by candlelight, either saying the blessing with us, or watching quietly, sensing that this is something special. They did get to open presents every night, although rarely from us. Since they are easily overwhelmed, we bought very little knowing they would be showered by those around us. We were right. Unlike many of the kids we know, there wasn't one night that Hayden asked for gifts. He never gained any expectation that he should get something, and was often not terribly interested until he saw what was inside. He did think we should be making more cupcakes. I couldn't agree more.

On Christmas Eve we went out to see the lights. After driving through Candy Cane Lane, neighborhood known for it's elaborate displays, Hayden declared he didn't want to see any more lights. He now objects every evening to all the Christmas lights that are still on. Bah humbug.

Some highlights:
  • Latke cook off at my family party. Who would have thought my Catholic aunt's taco latkes would be such a hit? They were my favorite, along with the cranberry latkes. Among about 8 varieties of latkes, I didn't taste one I didn't like. Mom's husband one with a traditional recipe, but I'm not convinced they didn't stack the deck. Yeah Mom- I mean you! ;)

  • Dinner for two at Fillip's family party. We arrived to find a little table set with a sign saying we won for dinner on our own. Fillip's Aunt and Uncle would be taking care of the kids through dinner so we could eat our meal hot. They actually had all the kids in their charge during dinner so the rest of us could relax. This worked out well for us only, as most of the other kids flipped out! Hayden was just as happy to be at the kids's table and was really great. Logan got Aunt Sally's number and took full advantage being fed, held and sung to through the entire meal. Smart kid.

  • Hearing Hayden say he "won the castle lottery." Hayden has loved castles since our vacation in May where we visited Hearst Castle. He builds castles with legos and talks about going on "may-cation" in his castle, which is what he came to call the motorhome. He absolutely loves his big toy castle, complete with a king, knights with removeable armor and a working canon. He has been so excited and this comment was made to Fillip one morning completely unprompted.

  • Being on vacation for 11 days straight!

New Year's Eve was nice. We had a few people over and it was a relatively quiet evening. I find it hard to get terribly excited about New Year's Eve for it's own sake. January 1 never feels any different than December 31st, and it always feels like forced gaiety to me. However, I do like having people over, so decided to host a few friends again. We put out way too many appetizers, and didn't even make dinner since everyone was full. By 11:30pm it was just us and another couple, which happen to be a couple of my favorite people to hang out with. Logan crashed by 9pm, but Hayden stayed up until midnight with us. He was absolutely adorable coming in to the living room with a champagne flute full of sparkling cider that Fillip gave him for the midnight toast. He was such a good boy, and I was so happy to bring in the New Year with him. Logan got scooped out of his crib and was so sleepy and confused by the hoopla. It was really funny, but nice that the four of us were together. Logan seemed relieved to go back to bed. New Year's Day was low key with all of us catching up on some sleep and hanging out in our sweat pants.

Now we are back to the daily grind. I really feel like it's going to be a good year. Despite all the ups and downs, when I look at our life, it's really quite great.

Happy New Year everyone. I wish you all a year of health and happiness.