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Archive for the ‘Max’s First’s’ Category

Max is now sleeping with papa and Camus. He has shunned his own room and settled for the bed closest to mommy. I don’t mind because at least he’s no longer in my bed cramping my joints. Papa doesn’t mind because he never got to co-sleep with Max as a baby and feels like he is bonding with him even more so as a toddler. All is good.

However, Max is either very clever or the sweetest kid ever.

Last night after story time and lights out we heard Max whimpering. Then came the tears. We kept asking him, “what’s wrong sweetie? What’s wrong, Max?” All he could get out between tears was, “Bella.” So Hal asked, “are you sad that Bella is sleeping with mommy and you can’t?” He either said no or didn’t answer so we kept asking him, so what is wrong, then? Why are you sad?

Finally he said in his sweetest voice, “I’m sad.”

Okay. What are you sad about? Hal and I were both moved by his tenderness and his communication of feelings.

“I’m sad about Bella.” We consoled him some more and asked, what about Bella makes you sad?

“I sad about Bella’s skin.” And then the floodgate of tears opened up in him.

We assured him we are going to help Bella get better and then…

He asked to crawl into mommy’s bed because he wanted to hug.

Once he was in he instantly fell asleep. Hal had to carry him back into their bed. So I’ve concluded, Max is both very clever and the sweetest kid ever.

Max in his ponies (and what we imagine Bella will look like at his age):

Max is well aware that Bella is uncomfortable and itchy. He knows what “itchies” are like because he too has eczema. He knows mommy is very sad that Bella is itchy and that I don’t have the magic cure for her, yet. He also knows that while him and Papa are going to the movies today (Max’s first movie theater experience!), mommy is taking Bella to the doctors. He knows all of this because I talk with him about what happens in our home.

One thing I make a point to do with my kids is to talk about life and feelings. When stuff comes up, we talk about it. Toddlers may not understand the abstract ideas behind what makes people “feel” but they do need a language presented to them to start the education of learning about their emotions. An education that I think generations before us neglected. I try to weave this education into our daily life without it seeming like some kind of weird classroom lesson that needs to be repeated and memorized. Saying something as simple as, “mommy is so sad that Bella is suffering but we will find a way to help her.” And then move on to what ever is next – playing with toys, cleaning a poopy butt, ect.

If it is a big feeling that Max is having – usually anger – I talk with him like this, “Max, I know you are very angry right now because mommy won’t give you any chocolate but please don’t hit me.” Then I give him an alternative, “You can scream, I’m angry!, or hit something soft like your pillow – but we don’t hurt people when we are angry.” This conversation happens several times a day. Sometimes he remembers to say (with force), “I’M ANGRY!” and sometimes he doesn’t. Eventually, he will remember all the time. It is the same thing with him having to be reminded about “manners.”

The tricky part is when I’m angry. I need to appropriately express my anger as well. And when I was angry at him and dealing with 5 different life crises, I didn’t do so well. So, I have figured out that hitting/hurting my kids doesn’t work on ANY level – duh, right? There was a part of me that was *hoping* that Max would “get it” (re: hurting Camus or Bella) after being spanked. This hoping (mixed with being at one’s wits end) is probably the reason many of good and loving parents resort to spanking their child.

Where does this lead? On the whole, when the day only presents it’s usual list of challenges, I’m pretty laid back and rarely raise my voice. I am very proud of this personality trait, but my pride stops there – at “when the day only presents it’s usual list of challenges.” I need some more “tools” in my box for those extraordinarily difficult days – because I’m sure there will be many more to come. And you better believe I’ll get those tools sooner rather than later – for both mine and my kid’s sake.

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I really did know better than to try and level with my MIL. If there is one thing she can’t handle, it is hearing that someone is depressed. So scary for her. She and my BIL talk about depression as if it is a weakness or disorder. The only reason I said something to her is because I wanted to give her a chance to hear the truth. I didn’t like how she reacted to it so she pretty much lost that privilege from me. In my heart, I know she does care and she does love me. She just isn’t aware that normal people get depressed and see therapists and that it is OKAY. Maybe she’ll learn a little from knowing?

I started to feel better last week – probably due to going outside more often – and *almost* decided that I didn’t need to see a therapist. Then I thought, no, there is a reason beyond my understanding that I have been feeling so sad and just because the sadness comes and goes, doesn’t mean I should ignore it. Because we all know what happens when we ignore important emotions… they come back in the future to bite us in our respective ass.

I’m still in the weaning process with Max. I don’t mind nursing him anymore. I feel like since there is so much that I can’t do with him right now I can “make up” for it by allowing him to nurse. I’m careful to not nurse him when I really don’t feel like it because I don’t want to be sitting there hating every moment. He nurses maybe 2-3 times during the day, to go down for a nap, and first thing in the morning. No night nursing. Hey, it’s a start.

Okay, verdict is in… I can not eat eggs or soy products. They have a negative affect on Bella’s skin. Next week, once her skin clears up from the recent soy introduction, I’ll reintroduce dairy to see what happens. That day, I’m going to Whole Foods with a friend and ordering a cheese sandwich and taking home a pizza for dinner. It takes about two days to see if her skin reacts. I’m really hoping I can at least eat dairy! If I have to give that up, welp, that is what I will do. A part of me finds it fun to come up with a variety of foods that don’t have those three ingredients as the staple.

Yesterday I let Max run around our back yard nekked. And by “let” I mean, I couldn’t get him to keep his clothes on. He was playing in his pool and decided it was just not comfortable being wet and having on clothes. When Hal gets home tonight I’m going to run up to the store and buy batteries for my camera – it is killing me to not have it! He was so cute with his curls bouncing up and down as his pudgy little legs took him all over the yard. I love how wild and true kids are to their nature – so beautifully primitive and free.

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I think I know what my MAIN problem is… I feel trapped. Trapped inside this house, trapped in my life, trapped in my obligations – even though I made these choices willingly and excitedly – I feel trapped.

Step 1.) I have got to figure out how to get out of my house more often.

Our neighbor down the street runs a home daycare center. I went to high school with her and she seems nice enough. I don’t think she fosters a creative learning environment or anything close to the ideas I’d like to pay someone to share with my son. She runs a straight-up “drop your kid off and I will care for him” kind of environment. She charges only 20 bucks A DAY (which is pretty cheap here), but I would only need her for about three hours in the morning so I’m hoping she’ll work with me on the fee.

If I just had somewhere to drop Max of from 9am-12pm so I could have some alone time with Bella, run errands, do housework, or have me-time (while Bella sleeps) it would be a HUGE help. And seeing as how my family is lousy at helping in ways that I need/ask for help, it looks like I’m going to have to consider paying someone.

Friday I’ll take a walk over to her house to see if she can help. Let’s cross all our fingers and toes in hopes that she will take Max for half a day, 1-3  days a week for a pro-rated fee. I’m not holding my breath, but we’ll see.

Before the next part of this post I should first explain… I have never let Max “cry it out.” So just know that since I was okay with doing it this afternoon, things are pretty bad for me right now.

As Max and I laid down for a nap around noon, at his request, I had a gut feeling that he was pulling my leg about being ready for sleep. That feeling was right – he just wanted to nurse. I really hate it when he does that.

At around 2pm Max was acting as ornery as they come – he was tired and in dire need of sleep. However, in the ornery spirit of the day, he was refusing the luxury of a nap. As I sat on the couch to nurse Bella he attempted to crawl all over me and disrupt her nursing session. I’ve been a little stressed-out about Bella because she has a severe case of eczema right now. Because she is not feeling well/comfortable, I am a bit MORE on edge (as if that were possible). I have to do lots of extra stuff to keep her skin hydrated (including major dietary changes). Anyway, after asking Max several times to not crawl on us and hearing him say, NO!, in his annoying as all hell sassy voice, I told him to go to his room. And NOOOO!, was the answer he gave me – each time I told him.

He got so mad that he had a meltdown and in typical Max-fashion, threw up all over the place. Normally, this would get him off the hook as I would set Bella down to make sure he was okay and then clean up the mess………………………….. normally. Well, nope, not this time. This time I sat Bella down and physically sent him to his room – and told him to take a nap. He screamed and protested and vomited several times on the bedroom floor. I threw in his sippy cup (literally), told him to drink some water and get into bed for a nap. I was burning up inside but managed to do this very calmly yet stern.

He continued his tantrum for about 15-20 mins as I scrubbed the living room carpet and tried to block out the screams of both my children (as Bella’s nursing session was interrupted she, too, was pissed).

They are both sleeping now. It was about 40 mins. of HELL but it’s over, for now. I peeked in on Max and he was in Papa’s bed with the covers pulled over his tired little body. I’m itching to clean the carpet in the bedroom but know I will have to wait until he wakes.

I was going to make a post about Max’s and my kitchen adventures – with pictures and everything! I’ll do that later. Even though life seems really difficult to cope with these days I do have some sunny patches mixed in with it all. I want to make sure I record those, too. So, later, when I find my MIA camera, I’ll make a sunny post.

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Oh Boy.

Hal loves mineral water. He bought a bottle for our little road trip on Saturday. We were in for an hour drive to visit with some friends that we haven’t seen in a long time. Hal was apparently very excited about his cold beverage. After taking his first gulp he exclaimed, “this is fucking good!” Hal has always been overly-dramatic when it comes to his bubbly water. Max, being the curios boy that he is, also wanted a drink. Hal passes the bottle back to Bossman who is eagerly awaiting his first taste. I can hear him taking a big gulp. Then HE exclaims… I’m sure you know where I’m going with this… “This is FUCKing good!”

Me: Did he just say what I think he said???

Hal: Yeah.

Us: Haaahaahaaahahaaahaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Max: Heeeeheeeeheeeeeheeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: I have never heard him pronounce the “F” sound so clearly.

Every drink thereafter, Max said the same thing. Eventually we stopped laughing and explained to him that he can only say that around mommy and daddy. I’m certain, however, that the first time his grandma gives him a drink of her soda water he will let her know just how fucking good he thinks it is.

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I often wonder what it is I do all day that makes time go by so quickly. They say time flies when you’re having fun but I don’t think that is what’s going on here!

7:30am: Max and I get out of bed. Bella is still sleeping.
7:30am – 8am: I drink my coffee, Bella wakes up, Hal changes Bella’s nappy and puts big boy underwear on Max.
8am – 8:30am: I shower! For the first time in two days! Get dressed and nurse Bella. Max is playing with his dinosaurs in the middle of the living room. Hal leaves for work at 8:30am.
8:30am – 9am: Put Bella in swing and drink 2nd cup of coffee while talking on the phone to Livia.
9am – 9:30am: Still on phone with Livia. Bella is still sleeping. In between allowing Max to talk on the phone and helping him poop/pee on the potty, Max tries to get me off the phone by pee’ing in his big boy undies. Didn’t work. I have him take his underwear off, get me a pair of his shorts, and put the clean shorts on him. He later poops on the potty (while I’m still on the phone!). Then, I sit on the floor with him and play with his dino’s while I’m on the phone. I also fold all of Bella’s clothes because we needed to rewash them – we think she was allergic to our normal laundry soap because she has a wicked skin rash.
9:30-10am: Get off phone with Livia and Max begs to watch King Kong movie. We go downstairs first so I can check my e-mail and Max plays downstairs. Then we go back upstairs and I make him some toast, me a faux chicken salad sandwich, and we watch King Kong – which I start at the scene where the ape snatches the woman from her constraints.
10am-10:30am: I make four phone calls, one to set up an appointment for my car, one to set up a pediatrician appointment for Bella (their phone is busy I still need to call), one to our carpenter who is really dragging his feet on finishing the work we have already paid him for (he’s a friend’s father so I do trust that he will eventually get it done – I know their whole family. I don‘t get a hold of him so leave a message) and one to make arrangements to get together with friends this weekend (left a message on their voice mail). After the phone calls Bella is ready to be nursed again.
10:30am- 11am: Change Bella, help Max use the potty. Sit on the floor with Max and Bella to give her some “tummy time.” SHE ROLLS OVER FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!
11am – 11:30am: Nurse Bella, put her back in swing (BTW… I only put her into the swing either when she has already fallen asleep in my arms or is about to fall asleep). Watch King Kong with Max. Put french fries for lunch into oven. Play with Max while laying down in our bed – he jumps all over me like I’m a jungle gym and I try to keep from getting hurt.
11:30am – 12pm: Make our veggie corn dogs and chocolate smoothies (soy milk, frozen banana, soy protein powder, peanut butter) and eat with french fries for lunch. Eat lunch together.
12pm – 12:30pm:
Still eating lunch – Max eats very slow.
12:30pm – 1pm: Work on recording this entry. Max is playing on our porch.
1pm -1:30pm: Work on recording this entry, let dogs outside.
1:30pm – 3:30pm: We all take a nap.
3:30pm – 4pm: I wake up to Bella fussing. Change her nappy. Take Max to the bathroom when I notice that I forgot to put a nappy on him and he didn’t have an accident! Nurse Bella.
4pm – 4:30: Nurse Bella while watching Jurassic Park part 2 (per Max’s request). Max goes into our bedroom and pees on my pillow. I get him to put the pillow in the laundry basket – it was nice of him to at least tell me.
4:30 – 5pm: Nurse Bella until she falls back to sleep then I put her in the swing. Fold and put away two more loads of laundry. Check e-mail.
5pm – 5:30pm: Still working on laundry. When I finish I call Grandma, sit on the floor and play with Max’s dinosaurs.
5:30pm – 6pm: Bella wakes up. Max continues playing but by himself, now. I play with Bella and get her to laugh HYSTERICALLY for the first time! Hal calls to let me know he’s on his way home and to find out what we need from the grocery store.
6pm – 7pm: Change Bella’s poopy nappy. Help Max use the potty. Hang up last bit of laundry. Sit on couch and veg-out.

7pm: Hal is home and I’m downstairs finishing up this entry. I am EXHAUSTED.

You may have noticed that I didn’t cook dinner tonight. My right hand is actually hurting badly as I type this so Hal is making dinner. I have given myself permission to not do everything everyday. The house is a disaster but I don’t care. There are dirty dishes in our sink and on the kitchen counter but, again, I don’t care.

I spent lots of time with the kids, saw Bella roll over and laugh, witnessed Max’s first nap without a nappy and got the laundry done. I also made important appointments, had important conversation with a close friend all the while having to pay attention to BOTH my kids, help Max use the potty, change diapers, let the dogs out, write, and listen to Max’s repetitive chanting of, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy. I can hear him upstairs, now, saying the same thing between his chanting of, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy.

So this is actually an average day. Switch up the household duties that I get done, mix in an epiphany or two, add the occasional play date and there you have it.

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Max made it through the night at grandma’s! He went to sleep at 10pm and only woke up once, at around 2am. It took my MIL an hour to get him to go back to sleep. He kept crying for num-nums and mommy (breaks my heart). To help Max get back to sleep my MIL let him lay on her chest!!!! Which is really awesome because that is how I comfort him if he wakes in the middle of the night. I think he probably just crawled on top of her and she went with it. She also got him some soy milk and water when he asked for num-nums. MIL is really a fantastic grandma. At 5am, he was up and rearing to go and of-course MIL was wiped-out. So, Nah-Nah (Max’s great-grandma) got out of bed to play with him so MIL could get a few extra hours of shut-eye. Over-all, Max did wonderfully and I am so proud of him. I’m also very happy that my MIL is so thoughtful of his feelings and in how she cares for him.

I, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy the night without him as much as I envisioned. Even Hal was a little sad at the emptiness of our home. On his drive home, Hal said he started to feel sad because he knew Max wouldn’t be there for him to see when he walked up the stairs. It was really weird for the both of us.

At around 10pm, when I was ready for sleep, I was like, okay, where’s my son, time to go to bed. All was good with not having to get Max ready for bedtime but when I was ready for sleep I needed him there like I need my favorite pillow.

The nice things about Max being at grandma’s was that we didn’t have to feed him or get him ready for bed so we were able to sit on the couch while eating dinner and dessert. We also were able to watch an entire movie uninterrupted by the waking child in the next room screaming for mommy. The movie watching, actually, is getting easier as Max is sleeping better at night. However, since I still have to “put him to sleep” by being present in bed with him I usually just conk out, too, which makes it impossible for me to get up and watch a movie.

It was also really nice to actually sleep next to my husband… you know, in the same bed. We have three beds in our room… one for Hal and the dogs (full size), one for Max (a twin that he doesn’t sleep in yet), and the one Max and I sleep in (a full size). It’s like a little commune but it works really well because as you can probably guess, we have a huge bedroom. I hate the dogs sleeping in bed with me because they stink up my sheets and get in my way at night. In fact, I won’t be sleeping with Hal regularly even after Max and Bella are in their own beds until we are able to get a king size mattress – just so the dogs don’t get in my way so much.

This was a big step for our little family. I’m glad we are “warming” Max up to sleeping over at grandma’s way before I go into labor. I kept wondering how is he doing, is he okay, does he need me? Stuff like that – every time I woke up to pee. If I were in labor and it was the first time Max was at someone else’s house during the night, my labor probably would be adversly affected by my concerns.

It was exciting to pick Max up this morning. Though, it made me a little sad that when I walked into the door it almost didn’t even phase him. He just kept playing catch with Nah-Nah and running around like the wired wild-child he is. No kiss. No hug. Nothing. *sigh* My baby is growing up.

Overall, I’d say everything wen’t really well with Max staying with grandma.

He’s upstairs in bed right now sleeping. I just love that little guy so much.

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I just got home from dropping Max off at my MIL’s for THE NIGHT. I have been so looking forward to this evening since it became a reality about two weeks ago. It was two weeks ago that I decided we are ready to try this. Max is completely night weaned and sleeping through the night. My MIL is okay with him sleeping in her bed or her sleeping in the guest room with him. This is comforting because that means there is actually a shot that he will make it through the night without freaking out. Now, the thing is, will I make it??? I’m feeling a little sad about this moment of recognition that my baby is growing up. I mean, he is still my baby, and you know he always will be but… this is not only going to be his first night without me but also my first night without him! My heart hurts a little.

It is also important to let Max stay over there sooner rather than later because when I go into labor he will be spending that time with my in-laws. We all thought it best to break him in slowly so that when the big day/night arrives, he will be used to being over there at night (if need be – it would be so great if I labor in the daytime and Bella is born before night). If we have to go pick him up in the middle of the night, tonight, no-big-deal. I did, however, make it clear to my MIL that he needs to have been crying for at least 2 hours before she should call. I really want her to make every effort to comfort him and only call us as a last resort. I’m pretty confident that everything will be fine and even if he does get a little homesick I’m almost certain that she will be able to comfort him. They are very close.

So, what will Hal and I ever do tonight??? It’s our first night alone in TWO YEARS ONE MONTH AND 6 DAYS.

I had a great day with Max. It’s always fun to go out to lunch with him to Whole Foods. He gets pizza and I get a sandwich and we both sit outside and eat together. We’re usually there for about 1 ½ hours because we take our sweet time eating and talking. Today, I ran into my editor and we chatted it up for a while before she had to dart off to an important meeting. The mommy magazine that I write a natural parenting column for is growing fast. I don’t get paid to write for them (though, they do have a goal of one day being able to pay their columnist/contributing writers) but I don’t care. Believe it or not that isn’t why I do it. I just love sharing my thoughts and thinking, Wow! Someone is actually reading this! It’s really quite an honor.

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