Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday Wishes

Alex has an alphabet puzzle. All 26 letters in bright, primary colored wooden cut-outs with a board that they fit into. He loves this puzzle and we play with it every day.

Before bed tonight we sat down with the puzzle. He handed me the letters of his name, saying each letter out loud: A - L - E - X. We spelled his name and then he proudly proclaimed "Alex!" with his hands held triumphantly in the air. He then pulled random letters from the puzzle board, passing them to me one by one, naming each. When he was done he demanded asked for a bath, running eagerly to the bathroom when I agreed, puzzle forgotten by us both.

We played in the water until his lips turned blue and he was shivering. When I pulled him from the tub, against his firmly voiced protests that he wasn't cold, he snuggled into me, actions belying words.

After diaper and lotion and jammies we enjoyed a leisurely bedtime snuggle. I managed to drag myself from the bed before I fell asleep and tucked him securely in the crib, heading to the living room and the warm glow of my laptop.

Where my computer normally sits there was a message for me. No one in the house has claimed responsibility for the message, but I have my suspicions.

Happy Birthday, Jym. Would you settle for a flea market knock-off?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bath and Bed

Step 1: Inform him that he will receive a bath tonight. After retrieving him from the empty bathtub, fully clothed, explain that the bath will be after dinner. Ignore pouting.

Step 2: Go into bathroom and close door. Ignore the wailing sounds from outside.

Step 3: Plug drain and turn on water. This will help to drown out the sounds of woe.

Step 4: As tub is filling add bath toys until there is a small menagerie of water animals assembled. Place step stool by tub and shampoo by stool.

Step 5: Turn off water and open door.

Step 6: Capture toddler who is attempting to climb into tub with clothes and shoes on.

Step 7: Remove toddler's clothes while keeping him restrained. Ignore with heartlessness the despairing cries that issue forth at the injustice of being held back from the water for this clearly unnecessary process.

Step 8: Release toddler, blink. Toddler has now disappeared and splashing can be heard.

Step 9: Join toddler in bathroom, perching on stool for comfort.

Step 10: Pour water over toddler's head to wet hair. Dump most of the water in the tub, as he has dodged at the last minute. Repeat approximately 100 times.

Step 11: Shampoo hair and wash toddler's body. Lift feet and hands out of water as needed for the removal of toe jam and the cleaning of fingernails.

Step 12: Tell toddler to stand up so his bottom and related parts can be cleaned. Tell him again, this time tugging gently on his arm to encourage standing. Tell him approximately 15 more times, each accompanied by a gentle tug until finally hauling him to his feet to wash his stinky bottom. Ignore wails and protests; the toddler is not injured, merely outraged at the fact that he dropped his seahorse.

Step 13: Rinse the toddler's hair. See step ten for instructions.

Step 14: Dump some water on the toddler's tummy and back to rinse off remaining soap. Marvel at how there are no bubbles in the tub even though there were bubbles in his hair when you rinsed it.

Step 15: Sit back, towel at the ready for toddler induced tsunamis. Give a halfhearted protest at each wave. The toddler has broken you of any reasonable expectation of a dry bathroom at this point.

Step 16: Gasp in shock as toddler stomps his foot and drenches both your legs, the stool upon which you are sitting and the floor. Mop ineffectually at what used to be the contents of the tub.

Step 17: Declare that bath-time is over. When toddler responds with any variation of "no" (i.e. "Not yet," "I don't wanna," "I'm not ready" and the like) ignore him.

Step 18: Stand up and retrieve towel from back of toilet. Grab slippery toddler under arms. Drop towel in water while avoiding dropping toddler. Set toddler on stool.

Step 19: Grab another towel from outside the room. Hear splash.

Step 20: Return to bathroom; retrieve toddler again. Leave towel on counter until toddler is standing on his own.

Step 21: Wrap toddler up like a 3 foot tall burrito. Pick up now helpless bundle and adjourn to the living room.

Step 22: Realize that you failed to get out toddler's diaper and pajamas. Set toddler on couch with instructions to stay put. Turn on cartoon as incentive.

Step 23: Walk down hall to toddler's room. Open drawer to retrieve pajamas. Glimpse small toddler shaped blur streak past out of the corner of your eye.

Step 24: Repeat steps 20 & 21. Close the door on the way out of the bathroom this time.

Step 25: Return protesting toddler to living room. Place him on your lap to towel dry his hair. Ignore howls of fury as he routinely shakes his head harder then this while jumping on your bed.

Step 26: Place toddler on floor. Begin diapering process only to realize that you have forgotten the Desitin.

Step 27: Retrieve Desitin from kitchen counter.

Step 28: Wonder where toddler has gone.

Step 29: Find toddler in front of bathroom door, desperately trying to turn the knob. Be grateful that he hasn't mastered that skill, yet.

Step 30: Hear toddler say "Oops, you can clean it up, Mommy," as he empties his bladder in your bedroom floor.

Step 31: Sigh in resignation and throw towel over puddle.

Step 32: Send toddler, who has now realized his route back to the tub is blocked, back to the living room. Blot up worst of puddle, then follow.

Step 33: Place diaper on toddler, including Desitin.

Step 34: Apply lotion to toddler's delicate, sensitive skin. Wonder why his lotion costs more than yours.

Step 35: Wrestle toddler into pajamas after failing to convince him that an ice skating bear is just the thing he wants to wear.

Step 36: Chase toddler down after he bolts to your room, begging to sleep in your bed. Promise one story and cuddle time in the big bed.

Step 37: Read book, perhaps something Seussian.

Step 38: Turn bedside lamp to lowest setting and curl up for a good snuggle.

Step 39: Sing, talk, sing some more.

Step 40: Tell toddler that it's time to get into his crib.

Step 41: Feel will being broken by toddler's cuteness and cuddle-ability. Give in for just a few more minutes.

Step 42: Feel eyelids drifting shut as you sing The Sleepy Song.

Step 43: Wake as husband picks up toddler three hours later and puts him in the crib.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Turning Two

Yes, this post is ridiculously late. Alex is almost 2 months past his 2nd birthday, but cut me some slack; I have a two year old.

Oh, dear lord, I have a two year old.

I'm not entirely sure how that happened. I mean, I understand the theory - the earth rotates and revolves, minutes pass, the minutes add up to hours, days, so on and so forth, but the actual reality of the fact that Alex is two just seems to escape me.

He's so much a big boy these days. Full sentences and independence and telling me "No!" and deciding what he wants to eat all by himself (and seriously, if you try to feed him something else you will be met with tears of woe and the refusal to allow even a molecule of the undesirable foodstuff to pass his lips). But at the same time, he's still so very much my baby. Sleepy time cuddles and singing lullabies and snuggling up to me in my chair just so he can touch me.

He's not so much with the potty training, using a fork & spoon or dressing himself (undressing is another matter, he's all over that one), but the other stuff, my mind boggles.

He talks, or more accurately, he never stops talking. Sentences and ideas and plans and make believe and the recounting of memories in such a sweet voice that it brings tears to my eyes sometimes. Tears sparked by the hope that the joy he finds in these days will stay with him, that he will someday remember the sweet lazy days that we spend, laughing and playing, chasing and tickling, reading and cuddling.

He loves the water - pools, splash pads, garden hoses, sinks, bathtubs - water in all its forms. If it's wet and nearby he will find his way to it. This has led to some trauma on his part, and by trauma I mean the way his world falls apart when I won't let him stop and play in some filthy, muddy, insect corpse laden puddle at the park after a good rain storm. He falls to the ground, hands over eyes, wailing to make sure the world knows how miserable his existence is whenever this happens.

He is ridiculously smart, tearing apart puzzles and games designed for the 3+ set, and blowing my mind at the way he absorbs everything around him. His vocabulary is that of a 6 year old, and it's always satisfying, in that proud mama bear way, whenever someone comments on it. I'm so proud of him that I could burst, and I do my best not to sound smug, but if I can't brag about him here, then where can I? I know that all of you will understand (all, let's see... 1... 2... 3? Yes, all 3 of you.) the desire to shout his accomplishments from the rooftops.

He is also easily frustrated, giving up when things don't come easily. He doesn't feed himself with a fork or spoon. Not because he doesn't understand the idea, but because it's hard and when he can't do something right away he resorts to his fall back plan: "You can do it, Mommy." I fight the impulse to step in and help right away, because as hard as it is to see him fail, I know that he will be better for learning to do things on his own. This is not to say that I don't help him when it's obvious he needs it, but I'm making myself let him struggle just a little, make a mess when he eats, pushing him to try.

He is awkward with other children, calling all of them "baby" (which he undoubtedly gets from me calling him "baby" and "my sweet baby" all the time; seriously, he was almost a year old before he realized what his name is because I use pet names with him all the time). He doesn't know how to interact with them, and does much better with adults. I fully believe this is my own fault (not in a guilty, I'm the worst mother ever kind of way, though) for not getting him out to more activities. I always feel awkward around new people and I've been letting that slow us down, keeping us from taking part in playgroups and the like. We'll be signing him up for a gymnastics program soon, a Mommy & Me type class at a place specializing in toddler gymnastics, and hopefully that will clear up any lingering awkwardness on both our parts.

His emotions seem to be spinning out of control lately. I'm told that this is normal, just a part of being two. Hopefully everyone is right because it's either that or we're living with the world's smallest bi-polar person. He bounces from highs to lows faster than you can blink, and just when you're breathing a sigh of relief about a crisis averted in the store over a balloon (solution: he may hold the balloon while we shop, but not take it home because it needs to live with it's Mommy and Daddy; and yes, he seriously believes that) he's trying to pitch himself headfirst out of the shopping cart in order to get to "the pink one!" (baby lotion), "cookies" (um, any kind of cookie), books or seriously kid, what the hell, a pork loin? I've taken to picking out an item from the dollar section at Target and letting him lovingly fondle it while we wander around, just so I have something new and shiny with which to distract him.

So, to recap:

3 lbs 7.7 ozs
16.25 inches
One Year
19 lbs, 9 ozs
28.25 inchesTwo Years
26 lbs, 4 ozs
34.75 inches
Crazy mood swings, terrible (and highly amusing) tantrums, enough talking that you could drown in the words, hugs and smiles and kisses and cuddles. It just keeps getting better.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Sleepy Song

My boy is sleeping in the room next door, his soft, steady breaths sounding on the monitor. For the past two weeks I've been home to put him to bed every night, something that I've mostly missed out on because of my work schedule. I changed jobs recently, though, and my training has allowed me to be home at bedtime every day. It's been a sweet, almost magical interlude, allowing me to create bedtime rituals that we've never really been able to share before.

Next week, my permanent schedule starts. I find myself melancholy, knowing that once again I'll be missing special cuddles and sleepy bedtime songs. I'm doing the best thing for our family, working this schedule. The pay is better and the potential for advancement greater if one is willing to work evenings. But oh, how I'm going to miss bedtime. I'll still be home for it some nights, three nights a week to be exact, but my heart aches thinking of the times I'm going to miss.

We have a song that I sing to him right before he lies down in his crib. I call it the sleepy song, and its something that I made up for him when he was a newborn, first home from the hospital as a tiny two week old preemie. The words change from time to time, but the tune is something that has a soothing power that I never imagined that I would create for someone else. When he's fussy in the car I can hum it and he calms down. When he's fighting sleep I pick him up and start to sing, and like Pavlov's dog he immediately quiets, except to murmur some of the words back to me at the end of a line.

Sleep sweet, my precious little one (Alex echoes, "little one," and I whisper, "That's you.")

Sleep sweet, the day is done and gone.

You've learned so much

You ran and played

You laughed and laughed

All through the day

And now it's time

To rest your head

To close your eyes

Snug in your bed

In the next verse he is "baby boy" and the one after that he is "baby son," phrases that he echoes back to me so sweetly that there are always tears running down my face by the time I lay him in the crib. Because I know that these nights, these sleepy cuddles and his eyes gazing intently into mine are numbered. In a few years he's going to be too big for songs like this. He's already showing signs of it, with a growing fascination with robots and trucks and dirt and rocks and all things little boy. When that time comes, I'll perch on the side of his bed and read stories to him, but always, in the back of my mind, I'll hear this special sleepy song that I made for him, my precious baby boy.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Right now, Alex should be taking a nap. He's been in there for about 30 minutes, and I have no idea what's actually going on in there, but this is what I'm hearing:

"Oopsie... I pick it up"
"Bubbles!" - huh?
"Blankie, I lub you."
"Hi kitty kitty" - um, no kitties here, just delusional babies
"I sorry, Mommy" - just break my heart, why don't you? Naps are not punishment, cross my heart.
"Oh, Wubbzy... wow wow"
"Doggie, doggie" - no dogs here, either
"I... thank you!"
"my Daddy"
"Ni hao"
"Which one?"
"Okay, hug me" - Almost got me with this one, but I manage to resist the cute.
"Wheeee" - checks monitor, toddler is safely contained in crib, breathes sigh of relief
"My feet, Mommy's feet, Mickey's feet" - There's not even a stuffed Micky in there, where does he come up with this stuff?

He's currently rolling around in the crib, wrapping himself in his blanket and asking for Grandma. I'm giving it ten more minutes and then I surrender... no nap for today.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Baby Talk

His voice is clearer every day, it seems. The sounds come more easily, more distinctly. Of all the things that mark the passage of time, the changes that herald that he is no longer "baby" but instead "little boy" this is the one that tugs my heart strings the strongest.

I hear him talk, and somewhere in the back of my mind I can clearly hear the high pitched, almost mewling sound of a newborn's cry. I marvel over the consonants and vowels, coming together in the most extraordinary way, bringing me closer to knowing him with every word he says.

I revel in it, each new word, every phrase. The joy of hearing him express his wants, his needs. The joy of hearing him express his joy. Every new word is repeated, questioned ("dat?"). He seems to taste them, saying them over and over, making sure he's got it right. I explain them all, sometimes resorting to online dictionaries to make sure I'm getting it right.

Sometimes they are jubilant. "Mickey!" when I'm wearing a shirt I got at Disney World, over the moon with excitement at seeing the mouse.

Sometimes they are mischievous. "Blankie," he tells me when I go into his room at night, pointing to the floor with an innocent look, as though the blanket somehow flew over the crib railing of its own accord.

Sometimes they are plaintive. "Daddy?" he asks at night, giving me sad eyes before laying his head on my shoulder when I tell him that Daddy's still at work.

All these words make my breath catch in my throat. I want to clutch him to me, somehow force him to remain small, to need me. Because with every word he knows just a little bit more of the world, he's that tiny bit more capable. My head knows that this is good; my heart remains utterly unconvinced.

Caught mid sentence, just like his mother.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Things I Will Miss Someday

Spiky blonde hair in the bathtub

Sleepy cuddles with Goodnight Moon

A small voice asking for gape, ma-o (tomato) and the 'mote

Tiny clapping hands when a block tower doesn't fall over

Whee, whee, whee, all the way home!

Spaghetti sauce from chin to forehead

Soft, steady breaths on the baby monitor

Mommeeee! Daddeeee! Hi!

Unbridled joy over a single Oreo

Thanks to Kristen at Intrepid Murmurings for the post idea.

Friday, January 1, 2010


You'd think, that after 18 months, we'd have this baby-proofing thing down, wouldn't you?

Behold, the consequences of not using locks on all of your cabinets:

Not pictured: the floor full of pots and pans that once filled the empty space on the bottom shelf.

Sigh... we've made a trip to Lowe's and the install is tomorrow.

Christmas post coming soon. I've got lots of pictures and it's taking forever to sort through them. I've loved reading about everyone's holiday and I promise that I'll have ours up soon!