Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Quick Shots

Some quick thoughts in no particular order...

--Tonight will be Night #3 of sleep training Noah to not nurse at all during the night.  The last 2 nights of sleep training did not go well.  The first night he cried for an unknown amount of time (the spouse was on duty and he fell asleep before Noah stopped crying).  The second night he cried for about an hour.

To swat away the mom guilt while I hear Noah screaming in the middle of the night I tell myself that this is good for Noah.  I'm giving him the gift of sleep and self-soothing.  He does not need to be eating in the middle of the night anymore since his stomach is big enough to hold food for at least 12 hours.  I'm only asking him to go about 8 hours without eating (since I still do a 'dream feed').

--On the days that I have both kids to myself all day (when Judah doesn't go to preschool) I become a mean and crabby person after about the 5 hour mark.  I don't like the monster I become after Hour Five.  I have no patience.  I yell at Judah at the slightest provocation.  I lose all perspective.  I kinda feel shaky with rage and annoyance.  It is not pretty.

--I am LIVING for daylight savings this Sunday.  Our schedules have drifted way too late.  Judah doesn't sleep until 10:30pm some days and left to his own devices, won't wake up until 9am.  DTS will be my salvation...I'm hoping.

--Today we went to a pumpkin patch to kill time.  I thought it would be totally lame, and it kinda was as there were maybe only 6 kids there total, including mine!  But you couldn't tell from the smiles on these faces.  (As you can tell, these pics were taken with my crappy cell phone since I had such low expectations for the trip, I didn't bother bringing my 'nice' camera.)

Batman and a chubby stand-in for Robin.

Chubby stand-in loves having the car all to himself.

Batman likes to show Chubby who's boss.

My lil' pumpkin and his giant pumpkin.

Holding his brother for safety or trying to strangle him? It's a complicated relationship.

And with that, I'll wish you all a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 25, 2013

I've Always Wanted a Friend

Corduroy blinked.  There was a chair and a chest of drawers, and alongside a girl-size bed stood a little bed just the right size for him.  The room was small, nothing like that enormous palace in the department store.

"This must be home," he said.  "I know I've always wanted a home!"

Lisa sat down with Corduroy on her lap and began to sew a button on his overalls.
"I like you the way you are," she said, "but you'll be more comfortable with your shoulder strap fastened."

"You must be a friend," said Corduroy.  "I've always wanted a friend."

At this point in the story, I'm usually crying so hard I can barely get the words out.  And Judah always asks, "Why is Corduroy crying?"

And I explain again that Corduroy is not crying, it's Mommy that's crying.

"Oh.  Why are you sad Mommy?"
"I'm not sad, Judah, I'm crying tears of joy.  Sometimes when something good happens, you're so happy you cry.  But not because you're sad.  Because you're happy."

Some day, as Judah grows up, I'll explain more.

I'll tell him that no amount of stuff (like that enormous palace in the department store) can ever fill the longing in your heart for Home.  'Stuff' and fulfillment are not at all the same thing.

And that even if you've never seen or known a Home, you'll know it the instant you're there.  Your heart will know what your senses have never perceived.  Because that is how we're made--to long to find the place where we are loved.  That is what makes us human.

I'll explain that a friend is someone who loves you just the way you are.  Even the one fatal flaw you thought you had that makes you utterly unlovable.  That one thing you've sought to fix all your life so that you might become lovable--that darn missing button on your overalls.

A true friend sees it.  Accepts you despite it.  And fixes it for your sake, not theirs.

And I'll explain that Home is where your friend(s) is/are.

Photo credit:

And that the real reason Mommy is crying is because you are that friend for me.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

On weather, pediatric oncology, smartphones, and my awful mandarin skills

Some random thoughts I've been having in no particular order:

Today was the first really nippy day of the season.  Usually it's cold in the morning but the sun shines through around noon and it feels like a balmy 78 degrees.  But today it was truly cold all day long.  Looks like Summer is really over now.  The changing of the seasons always makes me feel happy for some reason...not sure why.

I've been reading Emperor of All Maladies, which is about the history of cancer treatment in the US.  It always makes me sad and paranoid, reading and thinking about all the 2-6 year old kids who have cancer.  Getting cancer or my kids or spouse getting cancer is definitely on my Top Five Most Horrible Things I Can Imagine Happening to My Family.

Also on the Top Five Horrible Things kid(s) getting kidnapped, somebody dying, being sexually assaulted, my kid(s) becoming meth heads later in life.

I hate thinking about my kid(s) possibly dying young.  And yet young kids die every day.  Makes me realize "Love" is a two sided coin--one side shining brighter than the sun and the other darker than hell.

I hate smart phones.  I don't want to be connected and distracted all the time.  I don't want to constantly check social media networks.  I want to be bored and sad and feel my boredom and sadness because that's reality.  That's life.  (It's nice to know that Louis C.K. agrees).  But...

...I'm seriously contemplating getting a smart phone for the Chinese language apps.  My mandarin speaking skills are pretty sucky and that's totally inhibiting me from helping Judah learn Chinese.

Words I see with Judah all the time but have no idea how to say include: ladybug, penguin, alligator/crocodile, and dinosaur.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Baby No More

Noah has suddenly started exhibiting way too many signs of growing up.

Yesterday he refused his special pureed baby foods and demanded to eat what I was eating (potstickers).  So I gave some to him and he loved it.  This behavior has continued all throughout today.  I guess this baby ain't gonna eat no more baby food.

Today while Judah and the neighbor kids rode their bikes, Noah desperately gestured towards Judah's tricycle.  I put him in it and wheeled him around.  He had the biggest grin on his face and kept wiggling his legs with joy.  He refused to get out of the trike.

This isn't really a sign of growing up, but Noah has gotten really good at "playing" the recorder (and the occasional kazoo).  I hear him toot-toot tooting on it all day long and it's a really nice, strong, musical note.

Which leads me to this...

It sounded like some weird party in here--Judah giggling and growling (like a cowboy, yeah, don't ask me) and Noah tooting away.

And they say old married people don't know how to have fun.  Harumph!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tears for Fears

Sometimes I get so frustrated at Judah's irrational fears.

A couple weeks ago I took him to the Spirit Halloween store to pick out a costume.  He took one look inside and started high-tailing it out of there.  I tried convincing him to stay, but all the spooky Halloween decorations proved too much for him.  As I tried to physically drag him back in the store, giant tears started rolling down his cheeks as he wailed "NOOOOO!!!" at the top of his lungs.

Now what could I do?  I drove all that way on a hot day with a big fat baby in tow (who hates car seats and strollers) and now I couldn't even step foot in that store to see their selection.  I briefly thought of leaving Judah in the car while I shopped with Noah but images of kidnappers sprang in my head...and yet I still debated it for a long time.  Eventually we left with no costume.


Eventually I picked out Judah's costume without him.  Glad he's not scared of his giant turtle friend.

Yesterday he picked out some glow-in-the-dark slime as a 'prize' and he loved it.  Until I opened the container and actually took the slime out.  It glooped and drooped and slipped around, like slime is wont to do.  And somehow, that gelatinous behavior was way too freaky for Judah.  He cried and wailed "Put it back in!  Put it back in!" until I finally, with a giant eye roll, put the slime back in.  Ugh.

He also has the annoying habit of being a total hypochondriac about every little nick he gets.  He won't let us see the cut and screams as if his finger was sawed off, instead of just ever so slightly nicked.  Seriously?  Calm down kid.

He gets scared with such high frequency, he now knows the term "freak out", as in "Mommy, you remember how you took me to the costume store and I got scared and freaked out?"

Um, yes, you freak out about everything.

Speaking of picking up phrases, Judah often likes to try out phrases that he overhears us saying a lot (to each other, but not to him).  Today, for the first time he said "The truth is..."

He was on the toilet and when the spouse asked him if he was ready to get off and get wiped, Judah replied "No, the truth is, I have more poo."


Friday, October 18, 2013

The Grouchy Tickle Monster

Judah is in a 'tickling' phase.

A few weeks ago, he decided that tickling was the best thing in the whole wide world.  And now the instant he opens his eyes in the morning he shouts "Tickle me Mommy!"

I indulge him as much as possible but truth be told, I hate tickling.  I hate his little fingers poking under my armpits, especially with my arms loaded up with groceries and a fat baby.

I hate him thrashing around wildly while I "tickle him to death", kicking my chest and occasionally butting my teeth with his hard head.  He's at an age now that he can really throw a real force.  It freaking hurts!

But every day must begin and end with tickling.  And be punctuated with tickling episodes throughout.

And though I really hate it, how can I possibly deny Judah something that makes him wild with giggles and shriek with joy?

And speaking of phases that I'd like to see end soon...

Judah's been pooping during the night for the last 2 weeks.  He'll wake up 1-2 times needing to poop.  It seems to coincide with runny diarrhea like poop, but honestly, he doesn't poop for 8 hours during the day.  It just seems to hit him at night.

This needs to STOP.  We are tired.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Waiting for Supermom

I have a recurring dream where my family is there but I'm not.

And in my dream I keep wondering, Where is the mom?  This family needs a mother.

And then I wake up and realize, Wait a sec...I'm the mom!  Oh those poor kids.

Dreams don't always mean anything, but this one is pretty much a perfect representation of how I feel about motherhood: unprepared, incompetent, inadequate, and always behind the curve.  When is the real mom of this family going to show up and put everything right?

Sorry kids, you're stuck with me.  Forget college, I better start saving for your years of therapy!

Most days I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I feel like it's kinda irresponsible of the State? God? whatever powers that be to allow people like me to have kids.

It continually amazes me that, in order to drive a car, or represent a criminal in court, or teach other people's kids, you need some minimal level of education, degrees, licenses, etc.  But to have and raise a child of your own, to guide a human being into full adulthood and onto eternity or whatever fate you think awaits them, you need absolutely NOTHING--no knowledge, no understanding, no previous experience, nada, zilch, zero, bupkis.

And that, sadly is what the spouse and I started out with--nothing.  My entire babysitting career prior to having my own kids consisted of babysitting a 10 year old neighbor kid while I was 12.  I don't even remember holding a baby longer than 30 seconds until I held my own, much less know anything about how to take care of one.

As much as I love our modern individualistic existence, I have to say there is one major Major drawback.  Without living in large extended families, it's hard to learn about baby/childcare.  You lack the little siblings and cousins to practice on and you lack the older aunties and grandparents to teach you.

There is not a day that goes by that I don't ardently wish I had taken at least one college class on early child development.

So now I am learning.  Learning about little people and how they grow.  Learning about how we gain our sense of identity, competence or incompetence, and ultimately, our worth.  Learning about how we are wounded and how we pass on our weaknesses and infirmities either by imitation or over-correction.  Learning that I had no idea what patience meant in my previous child-free life.

But I'm afraid I will be too soon old and too late wise.
And Supermom will never appear.
And we will not be saved.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Noah Now

ZOMG I thought I saw Noah crawling yesterday!

One tiny scoot for Noah, one giant leap toward mobility.

It was just a couple tentative motions forward but it marks a huge milestone for us, especially since Judah never learned to crawl as a baby.  This is just one of many ways that Noah differs from Judah.

Judah was a drool-monster and wore drool bibs even after age 2.  Noah doesn't drool at all.  Judah could not entertain himself and be left alone for even 15 seconds.  Noah can happily entertain himself for 20-30 minutes at a time.  Judah loved reading books, even as a 6 month old.  Noah grows bored after 30 seconds and would rather chew on the pages.

Anyway, enough of comparisons.  More about Noah...
--He's growing teeth like crazy.  No sooner than his big top 2 teeth came out, he's already starting on the next 2 on top.

--Recently he's been horrible at napping.  I don't know if it's some kind of new phase brought on by this new mobility but he now SUCKS at sleeping during the day.  No matter what I do he will only seem to nap 30 minutes at a time now.  I have tried letting him cry himself back to sleep (even up to an hour!), patting him right away and trying to soothe him back to sleep quickly, nursing him in the hopes that would put him back to sleep, moving his nap times up or down half an hour, you name it, I've tried it.  And failed.

--He has horrible eczema but is allergic to a lot of various creams/moisturizers.  Thankfully Aquaphor is not an allergen so I slather him in it daily like butter on toast.

--He's really into sticking his tongue out and blowing raspberries now.  So cute!

--He can now (and frequently does) reach out to me to indicate that he wants me to hold him.  He also 'points' at things he's interested in by stretching out one arm in a certain direction.

--He does not care to nurse.  Unlike Judah who probably would've nursed until he went off to college if I let him, Noah's just like 'meh' about it.  The only time I can get him to latch on for more than 30 seconds is if I nurse him while he's drowsy.  This is the main reason why I haven't trained him to sleep through the night yet.  The 3 times I nurse him at night probably accounts for 90% of the breastmilk he now drinks!  But man am I tired of fragmented sleep.  I'm torn about what to do--as always with childcare, it seems like a trade-off between HIS well being and MY sanity.

Look how happy I am when you're not trying to nap me!

I can't believe Noah will be 9 months next week.  He seems to be growing up faster than Judah did (probably because my attention is divided this time around).  How could my baby, my last baby, my sweet baby be so close to turning one?  I'm in complete disbelief.

No matter how old Noah gets, this is how I'll always think of him, as a newborn.