Thursday, February 27, 2014

Signs of Spring

We are not out of the woods yet.  But we're definitely getting closer.

One of the best parts of childhood--rubber rain boots.

Now that Noah is 13 months, I've had some time to feel like things are getting back in kelter. He's been sort of sleeping through the night for the last 3 months and he mostly just takes one nap a day now. That may not sound like much, but the accumulated effect is quite nice.  It boils down to me *usually* not being very sleep-deprived. And all of us *usually* able to plan and schedule outings with some degree of accuracy.

Rollin' with my Nomies.

And now that Judah is 3.5, he is definitely a lot easier to deal with. He mostly keeps his emotions in check and has cut way down on the oppositional behavior. About 6 months ago I was probably still giving him time outs at least once a day. Now we can go for week-long stretches without a single disciplinarian action.

And best of all, he plays by himself a lot. If you've been following Judah's development since birth, you know that's nothing short of a minor miracle. So take heart parents of clingy, attention-starved children! They do grow out of it! Of course, Judah being Judah, he's not that good at occupying himself. But compared to his younger self, he's like a freaking Olympic champ now.

The activities that hold his attention longest is building spaceships from bristle blocks and cutting construction paper. He says he's cutting out "badges" and likes to decorate them with hearts and write the occasional letter on them. "N" is for Noah. "M" is for Mommy. And "I [heart] U" is a little love badge just for his favorite person in the whole world--Mommy.

Super-heros and villians + bristle blocks = sanity for mommy

Judah likes to call himself a "cutter" and people who overhear give us weird looks.

Judah has always been a momma's boy and his crazy expressive affection has really exploded in the past few months. Now he can't go 10 minutes without exclaiming "I love you Mommy!" As flattered as I am, I'm pretty sure it's just kind of a tick at this point--kind of like love tourettes. He often exclaims love for all kinds of, uh, lesser-order-things, like string cheese and grapes.

But I'm sure a lot of it is genuine too. Judah's really into quantifying love these days. He says a lot of the following:
How much do you love me Mommy?
I love you as high as the moon, and then all the way up to heaven, plus a hundred, plus infinity.
I love you higher than Jesus' head. (That one made me pause for a sec...what?!)
I love you more than VIDEOS! (That actually melts my heart because the kid LOVES his videos.)
And the one that always stumps me--I love you more than you love me!
It turns out, it's really hard to explain to a 3 year old why that is kind of impossible.

I try to reason with him a little--No Judah, that's impossible because Mommy is a grown up and, and, and...I gave birth to you!  Yeah, not a convincing argument to him either.

And while Judah is very generous with his kisses, his brother is the miser-liest miser there ever was.  I beg Noah for kisses 50 times a day and although he clearly knows how to give them, he seems to take special joy in denying me each and every time.

And then Judah always chimes in to take away the sting of each rebuff--I'll kiss you Mommy!

Thank goodness for at least one kissy cuddly guy!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Just Call Me Mom-gyver

I'm not one to brag, but once in a while, you just have to let yourself do a little public victory dance. However small the victory.

So without further ado, I present to you, some accomplishments that I'm actually unequivocally proud of (and unfortunately for my family, parenting and homemaking does not make this list):

Or maybe I should just call this--"stuff I've fixed with duct tape."

Like this old BOB stroller.  The straps completely disintegrated under a Summer of sunshine.  And I couldn't reach corporate headquarters to request replacements because they are apparently never in the office.  Solution?  Duct tape.

What?  You slammed the buckle of your Ergo baby carrier in the car door and cracked the "male" part of the buckle for which there are no replacement options?  No worries, buy an extender and duct tape that baby up.  And yes, I find it kinda gross that buckles have "male" and "female" counterparts.

Can't get the baby foot rest pedal to stay on the push-trike?  Duct tape it!  Credit where it's due, the Spouse did this one.

There's just nothing like fixing old baby gear that gives me such unqualified pleasure.  Maybe it's the cheap Asian in me.  That's like, $600 in baby gear replacements I saved myself with just a few scraps of tape!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love Was In the Air

Technically, this post is still relevant because today is still part of "Valentine's Day weekend", yes?

Judah wishes you all a very happy Valentine's Day and drew this picture in honor of the impending marriage of our two dear friends.  And yes, the guy-friend really does have spiky hair.

There are lots of things I like about this picture, especially:
--the fact that each person is just a head with legs coming out of it
--everyone's arms look like bird wings
--the girl-friend has a ring at the end of one of her bird wing arms
--the girl-friend has a smile no matter if you're looking at the picture right-side up or up-side down

Hope your v-day was just as picture perfect!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Birthday Party Angst

Judah will not have another birthday until August but I'm already starting to feel anxious about it.

I feel like this will be the first birthday that actually matters to him.

He talks about it occasionally, but today, driving home from preschool, he really laid it on thick--like, talked-about-it-non-stop-in-vivid-detail-for-10-minutes thick:

Mommy, I'm going to have a Justice League Party.  I want the colors to be blue and green.  And red and blue.  

Judah wants you to have fun at his party...or else.

I don't want to invite anyone from preschool [he hasn't made any friends there yet since he's only been attending this new school for 3 weeks.]  But you're invited, and daddy and Noah.  

Noah will be the only baby.  Only big kids are invited.  [He then proceeded to rule out lots of younger siblings who are actually the same age as him and insist that only their older siblings are invited. Apparently Judah thinks of himself as a 5 years old.]

And it will have a volcano with hot lava coming out.  Two volcanoes.

Mommy, is it going to be the coolest party ever?

And there's going to be a pool, a giant pool.  It will be warm so we can swim.

And there will be lots of pretend animals.  Like at the zoo. But these animals will be just pretend.

And a train ride, like at the zoo.

And a car ride, like at the zoo.

Mommy, it's going to be the coolest party, right?

Um...right...I'm glad his birthday is far away so I can take my time playing the game "Managing Expectations: Preschooler Edition."

Also, don't you love how he speaks in the future indicative, leaving absolutely no room for doubt that this will all definitely happen?  And it's so gracious of him to invite me.

I was hoping to do some low-key thing--you know, bring some fun party cups and napkins to his preschool and give everyone a brownie and some goldfish. But now I'm realizing that's not gonna fly with Judah. Guess this might actually be the first year Judah gets a real, bonafide, at-some-designated-venue party.

Ugh. I hate, HATE party planning. I didn't even want to plan my own wedding. I was so not into planning my own wedding that I hired my close friend to do it all for me, and she ended up doing an AMAZING job while I gave her very little direction or opinions.

I guess I'll start looking at Pinterest pages for "how to plan a birthday party for people who hate planning parties."  There is a page like that, right?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Bedtime Bomb

Every night I put Judah to bed in an elaborate ritual that must be followed precisely if we are to avoid a horrible meltdown:

--Prayers (in which Judah dictates what order we pray in, the positioning of our hands during the prayer, what we should pray about, etc.)

--A "combersation" (in which Judah asks me what I like about various body parts.  Mommy, let's have a combersation.  Mommy, what do you like about your forehead?)

--A funny lullaby (in which Judah repeats each phrase I sing in a silly voice and gets ticked off if I don't find it funny and chuckle even though we've done this exact thing 47 times already)

--Sleeping together (in which I lie next to him and we sleep for a few minutes.  He usually asks to hold my hand and tells me he likes to sleep with his eyes open.  And then interrogates me about my facial expression.  Mommy, why you not happy?  Why you not smiling?  Judah demands I smile 24/7.  I usually reply something about mommy being tired but inside I'm thinking--because I freaking live with the 3 year old version of Kim Jong-Il.

--Hugs and kisses (in which we hug and kiss multiple times like what I imagine Kazakhstani relatives would do in greeting)

If any of these steps are messed up or not done in exact accordance to Judah's whims of the day, a huge meltdown ensues which makes me feel awful because (a) it takes forever to get him back to a happy place and (b) the alternative is to just leave him to sleep miserable and alone.

So every night I feel like I'm carefully defusing a bomb as I try to guide Judah through his elaborate routine as quickly as possible.  During the whole dance I'm pretty stressed out and all I can think about is how much I'd like to escape to freedom and finally finally have some "me" time!

And then as I chant a victory song in my head as I slip downstairs to brew some nice cozy sleepy-time tea, I feel it.  The emptiness.  The loss.  The regret.

Looks so sweet--I'm *almost* tempted to wake him up again for more hugs and kisses.

I realize the best part of my life is upstairs, drifting off to sleep.  And I missed it.  I was so focused on getting it all over with that I missed it all.  I wasn't "present" during the sweetest 'combersations', the jokey songs, the snuggly hand-holding, the oh so precious--how many more of these will I get in my lifetime?--hugs and kisses.

I just missed out on the best part of my day.  Again.