Sunday, September 20, 2015

Night time cuddles

Logan is at a turning point in his young life, he's not quite a baby and not quite a big kid yet. The toddler years are fun for lots of reasons, the new words and blossoming personality make everyday interesting. And challenging. With Logan, more challenging than interesting it seems. But lately his communication has been amazing and it's easy to see how he's been less and less frustrated. Not that he doesn't still have tantrums, but much less hitting and biting.
And in many ways, he's still my baby. Last week, Logan woke up in the middle of the night. When I entered his room, I didn't close the door, just got to him and picked him up from his crib. He stood and reached for me. When I patted his bottom, I realized he was very soggy and needed a fresh diaper. So I told him he needed a change and he laid down quietly as soon as I set him on the floor (he outgrew the changing table ages ago). Then I changed him and before I could pick him back up, he'd stood up and was hugging me. I was just about to stand up so we could sit in his chair and cuddle some when he realized something was wrong. He ran over, closed his room door and then came back, now ready for his cuddle. I only held him for a few minutes then he went back to sleep and I slowly slipped back to my own bed. 
As I tried to fall back to sleep, I laughed to myself. He's old enough to know he wants his door closed, but young enough to still need a cuddle to fall back to sleep. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The first week

The first few full days of school have come and gone and James has been adjusting pretty well. He did have an accident on the way to school on his first day, but other than that, things have been relatively uneventful. He loves his teacher and has been enjoying playing new games and meeting new people.
We had Back to School night on Tuesday, where we learned more about the curriculum for the year and on Wednesday we learned first hand about the behavioral chart. 
The behavioral chart is a tool for discipline where the kids each have a clothes pin clipped to the chart. If you're good, you stay on blue. You can go down to green or yellow (yellow usually results in a consequence) or you can be super exceptional and move up to orange which results in a sticker and small prize. The colors make no sense to me, because they aren't in rainbow ROY G BIV order, but I'm going to get over it. Adam asked James how he did on the chart on Wednesday, who told us he was on yellow. He was warned twice for not calming down after recess. This makes total sense to me, since calming down has never been James' strong suit.  We didn't get too upset with James, mainly tried to listen as he explained himself. I suppose the funniest part of all of this was that James made sure he told us that the other kid "taught him how to be bad". I'm pretty sure he needed no help, but we talked about our expectation for his behavior and today he had no problems. 
We are slowly getting into the routine, James gets lunch and a snack, which eases a lot of my worry about him being hungry. Our daycare provider's daughter has been walking him across the street to the bus on days when the older kids aren't there in the morning. Logan seems to be thoroughly enjoying being a "big kid" at daycare without his brother, but they have been much more affectionate with each other when they are together. 
Overall, it's been exhausting, especially with soccer practice mixed in, but this is an exciting time for all of us. Even if I still can't believe I have a 5 year old!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

First Day Jitters

Tomorrow is the big day: James' first full day of kindergarten! His first day on the bus and the first day of the next 13 years. We went for a few hours on Friday and the parents heard from the guidance counselor and administration. James was with his class and I think he's fallen hard for his teacher. She a little and perky, but firm from what we saw and I know that my little people pleaser will do well. 
Before we left in Friday, his teacher read a cute story, First Day Jitters about being nervous for school. The funny part is that the teacher is the one with the jitters! The kids had a good laugh and then received a Baggie full of "jitter glitter".
Overall, James seemed excited and not at all nervous. He's loved preschool time with Rhonda and I think he's well prepared. As parents, we're working through all kinds of things. Some of them are pretty easy, just the logistics of it all. We need to pack lunch and a snack. Sneakers on Tuesday and library books in Friday. I've been working through the idea that more and more we are giving up control of our child. This is the way of life, we know that eventually we are raising our children to be independent and strong, but I think my growing pains have been worse then theirs! Again, it's a bittersweet feeling and I'm sure I will be crying after I put my big boy on the bus!
There is a poem in with James' bag of jitter glitter, you're supposed to sprinkle it under your pillow the night before school. Maybe I need to borrow some!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Remember when?

Remember when it was easy to find time to write this blog?

I'm not actually sure that I do remember such a thing.  It seems I'm having trouble remembering so many things lately.

For instance, James starts kindergarten next week and I can hardly remember what it was like for him to be a baby.  He seems so big and independent these days and now he's leaving daycare and going to a new school for long school days where I will have even less control than I do now...  Is that a run on sentence?  I see his baby pictures and I can remember for a minute snuggling his little tiny self, but now I give a hug to a big, heavy boy.  A big boy to tells me his thoughts and about his dreams (always about purple monsters...)  A big boy who plays games with other big boys and leaves his mother totally confused about what is happening.  A big boy who loves his brother and wants nothing more than Logan to follow his beck and call.  Logan, on the other hand, has no time for brother's instructions.

Remember when I thought we'd have two kids and I'd get this feeling of being "done" and then we'd be done?  Ha!  That thought was fleeting and I never had a feeling of done.  So here I am, almost 12 weeks pregnant with number 3.  Even more hilarious, remember when I thought I'd never even have kids? Time has made me a liar.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Kindergarten Registration

Yesterday, we took James to his new school to get registered for kindergarten. We took his list of needed items (birth certificate, deed, shot record) and were in and out in less than 15 minutes. 

James' main concern was wanting to go play with other kids at school. When he found out that we were confined to the front lobby of the school, he was upset.  But after we got some celebratory ice cream, he felt much better. 

At James' request, we went back to daycare and picked his baby brother up early. Then we came home and had a Cinco de Mayo pool party. Overall, a sucessful day. 

On natural childbirth

Having had two c-sections with my boys and never having even approached going into labor, I was unsure what to expect when a good friend of mine opted for a 100% unmedicated birth. During the months leading up to her having the baby, we talked a lot about whether she would actually be able to not take anything. After lots of waiting and a baby that arrived almost a week late, I got the phone call. She was in labor and going to the hospital. Well, going to the hospital after going home for a few hours and a snack. Food is always a priority for pregnant women, right?
By the time I got to the hospital, labor was in full swing. There was bouncing on a yoga ball, a birthing tub and lots of painful moaning. 
For lack of a better way to put it, that shit was crazy. 
I had no idea someone could make the noises that I was hearing. Once, while my friend's husband was getting something out of the car, I got to be her fill in hand holder. She wanted a specific grip and she squeezed like hell. I happily handed her back over to her husband. 
A few hours later, there were cries and screams. She was screaming for drugs and over and over again we'd remind her that she could do it. Breath through the pain and you'll be fine, we'd say. She would talk herself through the pain and occasionally curse us. At one such moment I asked her "So I shouldn't take a mid-labor selfie with you?" She flipped me the bird. 
But we knew she didn't really want the meds.  At one point my self appointed job was to put my hand over the toilet fixtures. Yep, you haven't lived until you've helped your friend labor on a hospital toilet. She kept flinging her head back and I figured the last thing she really needed was a concussion, so I guarded the pipes for almost an hour. 
After 8 hours in the hospital, I made my way home. I had to stay home with Logan that morning and while I was upset at missing the baby's birth, I also wanted to let my friend and her husband have their moment alone. Especially since she stuck to her guns and took no medication. Baby arrived after 24 hours in labor and for every one of them I was thankful for c-sections.
Now, on the back end of things, I see the benefits of her unmedicated birth. After two days in the hospital, mom and baby were on their way home. Since I had other complications, I spent 8 days and 5 days in the hospital for James and Logan. 
On another note, the boys get to meet the new baby today. James is now convinced that Logan is also a big brother. He's so excited to see the baby and so am I!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sunscreen Failure

Yesterday, the weather was beautiful.  We were outside as a family in the morning and afternoon and it was wonderful all around.  At naptime, I got in a 4 mile run and was proud of myself for getting back into some exercise.  But let's think about that, I went for a run.  At noon.  In the full sun.  With no sunscreen.
So that was a bit of a failure on my part, one that I didn't even think about until we were brushing the boys teeth before bed.  Adam noticed that I was quite red on my shoulders and back and James heard him telling me how sunburned I was.
After brushing his teeth, I helped James into his night clothes and as he did this, James asked, "Mom, does it hurt?"
I said, "Does what hurt?"
"Your sunburn."
"No, it isn't too bad, I forgot to wear sunscreen."
"We always wear sunscreen at the beach!"
"Well yes, James, momma doesn't ever forget to put it on you guys."
I showered and Adam put some aloe on for me.  The burn isn't too bad this morning, but I do have a perfect outline of a racer back tank top.
The boys enjoying the sun

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

All the Bears

My Grandma Smith had a huge teddy bear collection. One thing I remember from growing up was picking a different bear to sleep with every time we stayed with her. They all had elaborate names and back stories of where she had gotten them. They littered her couch and living room. There were old bears, like the original Smokey the Bear (always a favorite in the very fire prone Northern California) and there new new bears with tutus or cowboy hats. The fact that my dad's nickname is Bear wasn't something I thought of as a kid, but now the boys call him Grandbear and its so very fitting.  
When I was around 16, after her husband passed away, she made an effort to move the bears to one of the back bedrooms, but there were still a few favorites on the couch. 
After Grandma died and items were given out to my cousins, aunt and mom, I ended up with three of the newer bears, a momma and two cubs. Being pregnant with my second son, my mom thought I would enjoy the three bears. 
They have been well loved since they came to Maryland. The momma bear is now a daddy bear (don't worry, there's a smaller momma bear somewhere, I haven't been totally forgotten.)
James calls him Big Bear and he's been hanging out in our living room this week. My boys never met their Great Grandma, but I'm glad they have one last gift from her. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

He's a puker

Logan is a puker. Since the day (almost) he was born, Logan has vomited. A lot. When he was a baby, he ate a lot, and if he didn't stop to burp often, he would puke. Sometimes an entire feeding. Looking back, he could have used some reflux medication, but hindsight is 20/20.
He pukes when food texture isn't what he anticipated. He pukes when he's extra snotty, and he usually is or has been due to his ear issues. Even with the tubes in his ears, he still has a strong gag reflex. Sometimes when he's crying or tantrumming puke is the result of his dramatics. This week he managed to puke on himself and Rhonda at daycare. (I have mentioned that she's a saint before, right?) 
And my real favorite - Logan often forgets to chew his food, a skill you can't quite teach. And the result?
You guessed it. More puke. 
Just this morning, we woke up to find a bed that had been puked in and then slept in. I'm not sure how he managed to sleep like that, but he was out for 12 hours. Adam striped the bed and cleaned the wall while I bathed a very stinky toddler. Divide and conquer!
As time goes on, we've gotten used to the vomit and Logan gets sick less often. 
We joke that it's a good thing he's a second child, because if your first kid was a puker, you might not have a second. 
Two months old, original photo caption: I'm a puker

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Choosing words carefully

Today James grabbed a toy snake and as he held it to the back of his head he asked me, "Mom, do I look like a girl?"
I told him that he looked like someone with long hair.
He pushed further, "But do I look more like a girl."
I said yes, if the girl has long hair. 
He gave up on the conversation and ran off, not giving it a second thought. 
We frequently have a similar conversation about "girl toys" and "boy toys". And we are quick to reinforce that anyone can play with any toy. 
All of these questions from James lead me to wonder about many things, but mainly they remind me that it's important to choose my words well. I want to teach him tolerance and equality and love, but sometimes my admittedly more "liberal" thoughts aren't shared by everyone. This is one of the things that scares me the most about raising my boys. It especially scares me when I think about James staring school in the fall. 
I once had a coworker ask me what I thought of gay marriage and what I would think if James brought home a boyfriend. When I told her I would be happy that he'd found someone to love, she seemed shocked. That was one conversation that ended quickly! 
I know as the boys get older, we will have more conversations and lessons to be taught (and even more for us to learn as parents.) For now we will keep our message simple and accepting. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Logan and the movies

Yesterday, I started to put a movie on for the boys and noticed that Disney's Bears was on cable. I put it on, much to James' disdain. He wanted to watch The Lego Movie for the third time this weekend and quickly went upstairs to entertain himself.
When the movie started, I realized that the narrator was a familiar voice, John C. Reilly aka Wreck-It Ralph. Apparently, Logan realized it too, because he ran to the DVD cabinet and came back holding our copy of Wreck-It Ralph. 
He wouldn't leave me alone until I switched off Bears and put Ralph on. Then he happily watched the movie, dancing and cheering along. So much for watching a nice nature film. 
I will be very happy when winter is over and we can play outside rather than watching so much television!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The four year old vocabulary

James has always been a talker. He spoke early and often and that trend continues today. 
Once he figures out a new word, he runs with it. 
Last night he mentioned that he thought Penny was looking luscious. 
Then this morning he grabbed his little brother for a hug and said, "Look at this luscious baby!"
I'm not sure exactly what he thinks luscious means, but apparently it's a good thing. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

James and Penny

James loves his new puppy. He tells us daily. 
This morning he walked up the penny, who was lying on the couch. He picked up her paw for a high five. He looked at me and says, "Look! She high fives me!" Then he turned to Penny and said, "Good girl Penny, you deserve a hug." 
Kids and dogs, too cute. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Makeup Artist

In the mornings when I get ready for work, James likes to be my "helper."  Usually this means holding my blush brush while I put on my other (minimal) makeup.  I have a 5 minute routine, foundation, eye liner, mascara, and blush.  This morning James was very keen on being my "very good little helper" because he had several time outs yesterday and he was looking to atone.  He's very funny about being super helpful after he's had a bad day, so the good news is that I'm not raising a total sociopath.
Anyway, this morning he was holding my blush, the brush, a mirror and a tube of mascara, demonstrating that he was so helpful that he could hold 4 items at once.  I was putting on foundation with a makeup sponge when he asked what I was holding.  I told him a makeup sponge.  Then he asked, "Does that put black stuff on your face?"
I said, "No James, nothing on my face is black."  I'm pretty pale, so I always use a shade of foundation called Ivory.  Or Light Ivory, depending on the brand.
James quickly pointed to my large, under eye circles and said, "There momma, its black under there."
I quickly said, "No James, momma is just very tired, but thanks for noticing."
He laughed and laughed.  At least I'm still funny, even if I'm tired.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Swim Lessons

Last summer, James took his first swim lessons at our local YMCA and he loved them. He learned some basics, but his instructor, the beloved Billy, recommended that he redo the same level class the next time we signed up.
Over the fall, James played soccer and had fun doing that as well. We are making an effort to get him out and meeting new kids before kindergarten starts. We also want him to be active, to burn off some of his never ending energy. 
While James was in his swim lessons, it was all we could do to keep Logan out of the water, so starting next week, both boys are signed up for swimming! James is redoing his class hoping to get his legs behind him and kicking more.  Logan will be doing a parent-child class to get used to the pool. After our time after beach, I know Logan will love being in the water.  
Unfortunately, our first class was cancelled this morning due to an emergency with the pool. James was pretty disappointed and we had to explain that we don't always get what we want and have to be flexible. The same conversation was had when a soccer game was rained out in October. But such is life, a hard lesson for most people to learn, especially when you're four.
James, at the pool over the summer