Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blake at 6 Months

My baby is 6 months old! Time is going by so fast. He changes every day, it seems. I knew his baby time would go by fast. And though I am curious to see how he will be when he's older, I wish I could hold onto the babyness longer. I love this age! I think 6-9 months is my favorite baby time. So here are his stats:

Weight - 17.8 pounds
Height - 26.75 inches
Around 50th percentile on the growth chart.

He's growing well, and the doctor is pleased with how he's doing. He's been eating cereal once a day for a couple of weeks, and I just introduced fruit over the past few days. So now begins a new chapter: the solid food adventure. I was hoping to be able to make his baby food from the homegrown produce in our garden, but our garden is doing poorly (this is a post for another day). I am still going to try and make most of his food though.

Other milestones: He is able to sit up unsupported for sometimes a couple of minutes at a time. He is getting a lot more verbal; he loves to shriek and squeal. He also notices things more and plays a lot more with his toys. He is starting to enjoy the ExerSaucer too, which is fun to watch.

Well, I'd like to keep going, but I have bigger fish to fry (2 of them, to be exact, and they are getting bored and destructive).

Monday, July 28, 2008

2 Steps Forward, 1.5 Steps Back

So George pooped on the potty yesterday. Why am I making special mention of this? It's happened before. Many times, in fact. This time was special because he went while we were at church. He actually asked told an adult (who was not Mommy or Daddy) that he had to go, and then that person took him and he actually went. Hooray! Progress! Or so I thought. Then we got home. And he peed in his pull-up, naptime diaper, and then, while standing on the stepstool "helping" me make dinner, he peed through his underwear and shorts, down his leg, down onto the stepstool, and into a puddle on the kitchen floor.
*exasperated sigh*

Joshua woke up dry 3 days in a row. And as long as he is either naked on the bottom half or forced to take a potty break, he does pretty well. Wow! We're getting somewhere! Or so I thought. About 10 minutes ago, with a naked bottom, he went over underneath his little table and pooped. Onto my carpet. He is now wearing a diaper.
*another exasperated sigh*

I ran across an advertisement for an e-book called "3-Day Potty Training." I am sorely tempted to buy it. Because this has been going on now for about 10 days or so. And they are certainly not "trained." But I don't have $24 to spend, especially on a gamble. So I suppose we'll just keep trying.

What worked for you? How did you get your kids toilet trained?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Relaxing the Standards

Many people say that they were a lot less strict after their first child. Subsequent children come along, and either you are too exhausted to keep up the pace of every thing they put in their mouths and every move they make, or perhaps you just feel a bit more comfortable and at ease with the whole parenting thing. Maybe you realize that you were a bit overprotective with the first one, and so you want to cut the next kid some slack. Whatever the reason, it seems to be a common thread with many parents I have known. Including myself.

Two years ago, my twins had only tasted sugar a handful of times. I was fierce about their nutrition. I made probably 90% of their baby food, including grinding whole grains to make their cereal. I made absolutely sure that they got lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, calcium, protein, and vitamins. They drank only water or milk, unless they had constipation (which was rare, due to the intake of the aforementioned produce).

Fast forward to last year, and it was a different story. I still made sure they got their recommended fruits and veggies. They still ate very balanced meals with very little junk food. But they got to taste popsicles for the first time last summer. They ate some ice cream. They are no strangers to chips, cookies, or fruit snacks. And when they are visiting the grandparents...forget about it. Spoiled with foods I would normally not allow. And I'm OK with that. As long as they are eating mostly healthy stuff at home, then I can turn a blind eye to the sugar/salt/fat consumption they get at Mamaw & Papaw's house.

I used to get upset with Chris when he did not feed them a vegetable and fruit with every meal (well, they don't always get veggies with breakfast). When I was gone for any reason, I had to know exactly what they ate when I got home. Then sometimes there would be a lecture about how I would like for them to have X food; please don't forget to give them their vitamins; please don't give them this or get the idea.

When I got pregnant with Blake, everything changed. The entire household ate a LOT more bad food. And I was NOT into cooking while pregnant. So there were a lot more convenience foods around. And snacky foods. And, well, plain old junk food.

I am gradually trying to phase back in mostly healthy foods. I am once again limiting the sugar and salt intake and trying to get back to more scratch cooking and whole unprocessed foods. But there are days when I just throw all of my ideals out the window and feed them popcorn for breakfast. Or give them peanut butter and jelly for lunch for the 3rd day in a row. I still usually ask what they ate when someone else watches them, but only so I can decide whether or not to give them something different for dinner. I figure, as long as they don't go hungry and I'm not the one who had to cook/feed the meal, then so be it.

Luckily I have really good eaters (so far anyway - I'm not sure how Blake will turn out), and I try to maintain the 80/20 rule. If I can get at least 80% good stuff into them on a regular basis, then I won't worry about the 20% that is questionable (or downright BAD for them). And hopefully if I continue to offer them healthy foods, then they will just continue to enjoy them.

The other night I was eating a frozen fruit bar (grape - yummy), and I put the corner of it into Blake's mouth to see how he would react. At first he made a sour face, but then tasted it again and seemed to appreciate the tangy/sweet deliciousness. Or maybe he just like the coldness on his sore gums. I laughed and told Chris how I never in a million years would have done that with the big boys. I plan on really trying to make his first year (and beyond) as healthy as it was for the big boys, but I also know that I'm not as strict about things as I once was.

What about you, dear readers? I would love to hear your comparison stories about how your standards (or behavior) have changed from your firstborn to the next ones down the line.

To Nap or Not to Nap: That is the Question

I have been blessed with good sleepers. But it seems, as of late, that the daily naptime ritual is not always necessary (at least for the boys). I don't think they are ready to give naps up entirely, but I also don't feel that they need them EVERY day anymore. To my dismay (ignore the sentence fragments).

The last two days, they have not had a nap and have therefore gone to bed at 8:00pm. I forgot how lovely it is to have them in bed by 8:00. What a difference this makes in my life! This used to be our regular bedtime for them. They would sleep 8pm to 8am, and have a nap during the day as well. See? Good sleepers. But alas...those days are gone. Now it is more like 9:30pm to 7:30am (which is still not bad, I know), with a nap. Or 8:00pm to 7:30 or 8:00am, with no daytime nap.

I have really enjoyed having some time these last two evenings. I am tempted to cut out the naps entirely. But I also REALLY need the sanity break during most days, and am therefore tempted to continue to insist on daily naptimes.

Most likely I will go with the flow, and give them naps when I know they really need it (or if I really need it), and let them go without a nap on the days we are busier than normal or have something planned during what would be their normal naptime. That is how we're doing it now, and it seems to be working pretty well. I'm fairly sad that my toddlers are (kind of) outgrowing naps. Next thing you know they'll be introducing me to their girlfriends.

Sorry, I just induced a fainting spell. Or a heart attack. I guess I shouldn't get too ahead of myself, eh? I'll just focus on getting them potty trained for now. Then I can worry about pre-school or something more relevant.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Love Crickets and Spiderman

No, this title does not come from something either one of the boys have said. I am saying this. I bet you are wondering why. And if you're not, then feel free to skip this post. Because I'm going to tell you. Also, this is one of a series of posts related to our vacation to Virginia.

You know those doohickies (this is a term that could also mean "thingys") that come with the Pack-N-Plays (which I will refer to from now on as PNP) now? They fit on the railing and have lights and play music or sounds. Well, we never used it with the big boys when they were babies, but found the perfect use for it while vacationing recently. We had the boys sleeping with us in our room at the condo (this room was gloriously huge), but when we put them to bed it was a little scary in there for them because of how dark it was. Chris happened to remember that we had the PNP light/sound attachement thing and we used that as a nightlight. The boys also got a kick out of the sound choices, and decided to go with crickets (NOW it makes sense why I love crickets). They LOVE listening to the crickets now, and we use it for every nap and bedtime - it makes for wonderful white noise. Sometimes George freaks out if he's still awake when it shuts off (it has a timer in it), and calls for us to turn it back on.

As for Spiderman. The boys received Spiderman inflatable sleeping bag beds for their birthday from my mom (always the practical gift giver, which I love) since she knew we'd need them for the trip. Then I went about my strategy. We blew them up and I let them watch movies in the livingroom for quiet time. We talked about how they'd get to sleep with them on the trip. And they really did well in them! I was pretty worried, because they are so used to sleeping in their own beds. They've never even stayed at my parents' house overnight. But they enjoy their own Spiderman beds, even though they both ended up on the floor a couple of different times.

At my aunt's house, I woke up one morning to find George face down on the hardwood floor, with his bed upside down on top of him. Still sound asleep. And Josh had to be rearranged several times a night, as he is the mover and shaker of the two when it comes to sleeping (e.g. George does not need a bed rail but Joshua does - the first night we tried taking Josh's off he fell off the bed with a loud thud). But overall they did spectacularly well, and now I have the confidence to send them over to the grandparents for a sleepover (did you read that, Mom & Dad? When's good for you?). Because with their Spiderman beds and cricket machine, they will sleep. A sigh of relief emits.

And now for the visuals:

This was our first night in the condo. Josh ended up half-way on the floor with his head under our bed.

Meanwhile George is lying still in this spot.The next night we moved Josh so he wouldn't hit his head on anything. Here they both are together.

I found him like this, and put him back on the bed. A little while later, he was crying. Chris went to check on him and he was over by our bed, sitting there and saying "I can't find my bed, Daddy." He forgot we moved his bed. He is also kind of a sleepwalker.

Monday, July 21, 2008

From Diapers Galore to Diapers No More

Okay, so it's not exactly like that, but it was such a good title I couldn't resist. We have officially begun potty training. In earnest. For real. It's true.

Today is our 3rd day. And although I don't trust them anywhere outside of our home, or in any other conditions (they have to be naked bottomed with a little potty chair in the livingroom for ease/speed/convenience, plus I have to make sure we take "potty breaks"), they are making progress. I have hope!

Joshua has really amazed me. He went from refusing (and this is euphemistic for kicking and screaming) all requests to staying dry all day Saturday, even overnight to Sunday. AND he went poop on the potty just this morning totally on his own. Yahoo!

We've cut our diaper usage (for the big boys only, of course) in half. Or less. We went from using 10-12 diapers a day to 2-6. We did go to church yesterday, and they are not quite at the place where they will tell someone they need to go potty. Plus they don't want to miss out on the playing to go to the bathroom - this is where I think our biggest challenge will be when we go anywhere.

We're not quite ready for public restrooms, underwear, or diaper-less outings, but hopefully we will be soon.

I have to interrupt now to report that George just stopped what he was doing to tell me "I have to go poo-poo!" And he went to the little potty and started pulling down his Pull-Up. I said "Do you need some help?" He replied "No Mom, I'm doing just great." And proceeded to do his business. When he was finished, he said "Are you so proud of me?" Yes, my darling, I am SO proud of you.

I feel I need to end it there, while we are on a potty high.

George's Gems: Monday 7/21/08

"I like playing cowboys, and kites. That's my story."

-George Bergman

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Terms of Endearment

One would usually take offense to being referred to as a "Hippo." But it is something I cherish. True, there are many days when I am feeling like a hippo and it is really NOT good. However, now when I think of being a hippo, I have a different perspective.

One day we were playing on the floor, and, in the usual style, Josh was assigning animals to all of us. And this day I was Mommy Hippo and he was Baby Hippo. So I was crawling around with him crawling right underneath me, and it was just really sweet. And I imagined us as hippos who were somewhere far away, in search of water or something.

I have been a whale and a butterfly and a crocodile and many other things. But since that day, Joshua will often refer to me as "Mommy Hippo." For example, if he's getting ready to ask a question or he wants my undivided attention to talk to me, he will sometimes preface it with "Mommy Hippo?" And when going to sleep at night, he will sometimes say, "I love you, Mommy Hippo." I just feel such warm fuzzies when he brings out that term, because it feels like he is especially connected to me when he uses it. And that is how I've come to love being called a hippo.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cooking Catastrophe

There is a smell haunting my nostrils and turning my stomach. A smell that was caused by my most recent kitchen blunder. I am no chef, but I do consider myself to be relatively competent and knowledgeable in the kitchen. Except when something like this happens.

I decided to break out my trusty yogurt maker in an effort to cut food costs. I was on a roll making homemade yogurt when the big boys were babies and early toddlers, but for some reason I stopped making and started buying. I'm not sure why - maybe it was because we moved and I really didn't have any counter space for a while.

Normally when I make yogurt, I leave the milk out to get to room temperature. The instructions recommend boiling it, but I never wanted to do that step. I think I figured it would be too messy. Possibly too risky. So I have used the alternate method. Normally. For some reason, tonight, after a late night grocery run, I decided to get some yogurt started. At 11:00pm. And for some reason, I also decided to boil the milk this time. I followed the instructions, but somehow ended up burning the milk. Milk is not cheap! I did get a pretty good price on some half gallons that had Manager's Special stickers on them, but still. I wasted a quart of milk, about half of a little jar of Black Raspberry all-fruit jam, and a couple of big spoonfuls of yogurt before I realized my mistake. I cannot express the offense to my nasal sensibilites this repugnant stench made. Compounding the nausea from the smell was the feeling of knowing I just wasted time, effort, ingredients, and money.

So I scraped the burnt milk off the bottom of the pan. I lit a candle in an attempt to rid the foul odor from my kitchen. I poured another quart of milk out to be left to reach room temperature on its own. And I came in here to whine about it all. I also researched the internet for information on how to boil milk without burning it. I still don't know what I could have done wrong. I have no yogurt (yet), but I do have a bruised ego. But then cooking is really a trial and error sort of thing, right? So much for my attempt to save money. This was a total backfire. I'm hoping for a better turnout tomorrow.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Contention in the Ranks

It seems that suddenly George wants to fight a battle over every little thing. I try to be accommodating, but I also draw the line and let him knows who's boss when I need to. It's getting more difficult to pick my battles though, as I want to allow him to express his need for independence and control without him thinking that he is in charge.

For example. Last night I made them green beans to go with their dinner. This is normally not a problem. George said "I want corn on the cob!" I calmly said "We don't have any corn on the cob." And he replied "Then I want other corn!" I said "No, we're having green beans tonight. You can have corn tomorrow." He was not happy with that response, and told me so. I told him he didn't have to eat the green beans, but that he wasn't getting corn. He ended up eating the green beans with no problems. Today, I gave them corn for lunch. And when I asked them if they wanted peas with it, they both said yes. Then when I went to serve it, George threw a fit about wanting green beans instead. I told him he could have green beans with dinner, and he didn't have to eat the peas and corn. But he ended up eating them all. I just had to endure a little fit about it first. And it's getting that way with a lot of things now: what he wears, what toys he wants to play with, how helpful he is (or is not), etc. I'm hoping it is a quick phase of figuring out the boundaries. Because I am certainly showing him where they lie.

I understand that obedience is more likely to occur with perseverance and consistency, so I strive for that. But man, it is difficult. These little ankle-biters really know how to wear you down.

Friday, July 11, 2008

We're Home

We rolled in at around 1:00am this morning from our road trip. The boys are SO happy to be home. They had a blast, and did amazingly well through the countless hours of driving, but there's nothing quite like getting home (especially after such a long day like we had yesterday) and sleeping in your own bed.

I have stories and pictures to share. But as it is, I have to prepare for a MOPS retreat that starts tonight. I am leaving in mere hours, and must bake cookies, do some laundry, and re-pack. So the funnies, follies, and fotos will have to wait. But they will be coming soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Time Flies

Where did June go? Yikes. Time is flying faster than I can cope with. We leave for vacation on Friday! Our house is a disaster, and I have to finish laundry and pack and run errands and pay bills and clean...but some of my list will be left undone, to be sure.

My baby is getting so big! He can roll both ways now. He is grabbing his toes. He responds to his name (I think he does, anyway). He plays with toys. And his toes are trying to poke through his 6-9 month sleeper that he's wearing right now. And we started him on cereal, which he is actually getting the hang of, even after only 3 tries. He does have his unsavory moments, though. He still manages to pee over his shoulder when I change his diaper (which is both comical and maddening). And he drools like a faucet. And he loves to jerk his head around and get his hands in the way when we are attempting to feed him the aforementioned cereal.

My big boys are surprising me daily with their cognitive abilities, conversational skills (with some sass sprinkled in), sharp memories and of course their endless supply of energy. Their personalities are taking shape even more and it is fun to observe their differences and interactions. And, they both have been using the potty more. Yippee!

I would like to post some pictures, but that will have to wait.

As for now, I will try not to despair that I didn't lose as much weight as I would have liked before our family reunion. And I will try to relax about the house not being clean before we leave (I certainly doubt it will happen, anyway). And I will try to pack light. And I will probably not post anything until we get back. And hopefully I will have some fun stories and photos to share.