March 2010

Emma loves weekends.

Every night she asks as she is falling asleep – “Does Daddy stay home tomorrow?” – and 5 out of 7 days we have to tell her “No honey, Daddy has to go to work tomorrow.” On the days we can confirm for her that Daddy will be staying home tomorrow, she gets a light in her eyes and responds with “This day?” to confirm that we mean it is tomorrow that Daddy will be home. We say yes and she falls asleep dreaming of all the fun she will have with Daddy.

Mike and I love weekends too of course, for all the obvious reasons, although I find that I also have my share of mixed feelings about them.

My favorite thing to do on the weekends is to spend time with the family, especially at outdoor events like festivals and farmer’s markets.

My other favorite thing to do is to have a little time to myself.

I also really like to get a little adult time with Mike, going to dinner or a movie maybe?

Oh and my other favorite thing to do is to get the house cleaned up and organized, in a way that I can’t during the week when the kids are underfoot.

I find it pretty tough to balance all of these things in only two days, which means by Sunday night I am almost always cranky about not having enough time to do everything. Usually we spend lots of time together as a family, with maybe a little organizing/cleaning thrown in. This of course means that time to myself and time with Mike are the activities that have to be abandoned. Which seems ok at the time. Except then Monday morning rolls around and I can’t believe I have another five days before any “me” time or “me and mike” time is even a possibility. (Although at least Mike and I make a practice of eating dinner after the kids are in bed, giving us some down time together every day.)

I am glad that Emma is clear about what she wants out of her weekends. I am still working on it.

William is one year old today. It has been possibly the fastest year of my entire life and when I think about what I was doing a year ago today, it seems impossible that it was 12 months ago and not three or four. I find myself more sad at Will’s first birthday than I was at Emma’s, wishing it weren’t going so fast and wanting to slow down the whole process and hold onto every little moment forever.

That however, is not William’s plan. He has some growing up to do. In just the last month he hit two major milestones – walking and talking – and his personality continues to expand and grow and become more layered and exciting every day.

He started walking exactly one week ago. He was coerced into it, but once he got going he went about four steps before launching himself into waiting arms. He was completely thrilled by the whole thing although he has yet to make it a habit. He still finds it easier to crawl where he needs to go, something he can do with lightening speed.

He has three words so far, and they are all a variation on a theme, but he uses them so correctly in context that there is no mistaking what he is saying. His favorite and most often used word is “edda” for, you guessed it, “Emma.” He also says “duh-duh” for “dog” (ok, he uses the same word for cat, but clearly he is using the word to mean “mammal-who-lives-in-the-same-house-as-me-and-drives-mommy-crazy” so that counts right?) The most amazing and wondrous word from him so far though is “gen-toe” for “gentle.” The fact that he knows this word is testament to how often we have to say it to him as he flails and swings and grabs at us. But still, he knows the word, never mind why he learned it.

Speaking of flailing and swinging and grabbing, he seems to have discovered lately that his body, his ENTIRE body, is quite useful as a weapon of mass destruction. He has pretty much totaled Mike’s glasses (contacts are now on the must-have list) and we have learned to be very aware of his head, lest it butt us unintentionally. And wow is he an archer, and I don’t mean the kind that uses arrows. His favorite line of defense, especially when he is being held on his back, is to arch his entire body backwards, a trick which requires the person holding him to clutch him very tightly so he doesn’t end up on the floor. He seems to employ this tactic most often when he sees his crib looming in the distance and he isn’t quite ready to go into it. He has also been known to do it while sitting on the floor, resulting in a shocked look when he realizes that it hurts when his head slams down like that. He doesn’t do that much anymore.

On the flip side, his intense physicality also means he is a big time snuggler, giving lots of hugs and kisses and often resting his head on my shoulder when I hold him.

He has been very sick in the last month with what the doctor said was viral pneumonia with a bacterial overlay. He seems to be recovering nicely though and his birthday party, which was going to be tomorrow and had to be postponed till he kicked the pneumonia, will now be held on April 11.

In the “things to work on” column, Will is still not sleeping through the night. He has slept through the night on several occasions, but does not make a regular practice of it. On a good night he only wakes up once, around 2ish. A bad night includes at least two and sometimes more awakenings, or one awakening that takes two hours or more to get back to sleep. Sleep training is in his near future, although no one in the house is too excited about it. He has shown us that he has quite a temper, and although we don’t see it often, it is the middle of the night when we see it most.

He will eat finger food, as long as it is a carbohydrate. Yeah, I’m not kidding. He will chow on big pieces of toast, waffles, crackers, goldfish etc. but if I put a piece of sweet potato, cheese or banana in front of him he curls up his lip and throws it on the floor. If those same items are pureed, he loves them (well except the cheese, pureed cheese? eww) I had thought he was one of those kids I have heard of with a “texture” issue, but his ability to manage the carbs belies that theory. So for the time being he will continue to get his fruits and veggies via a spoon, and we will keep trying…

He is starting to show signs of separation anxiety, preferring me over anyone and burying his face in my neck and smiling if someone new says hi to him. He continues to be a big flirt though and flashes his (5 with three more on the way) pearly whites whenever he has the chance.

Despite the diabolical temper we see from him at 3 A.M. (oh and during diaper changes, he takes those personally), his personality during the day is almost completely delightful. He loves to laugh and smile and he will repeatedly turn and look at us with a great big grin on his face as he explores his world and discovers new things. He is filled with joy and as a result fills the rest of us with joy day after day.

Happy Birthday little one. We love you.

Update: At William’s one year checkup today, he measured in at 21 lbs. 7 oz., 29 1/2 inches long and an 18″ head circumference. That’s pretty much 50th percentile for everything according to the doc (except for weight, which might be slightly below average, although he has been sick. As soon as he starts that toddler weightlifting program we have him signed up for he should start bulking up pretty fast.)

Here is my dilemna – my daughter adores the children’s show “Caillou”. I do not.

It isn’t that Caillou doesn’t have some redeeming qualities. He is a big brother, helpful for teaching Emma lessons about having younger siblings. His parents are less than perfect – I completely love that they are slightly paunchy and definitely over 30. He has lots of multicultural friends and even a close friend named Emma. I mean c’mon, he’s even Canadian – what’s not to love about that?

Here’s my issue: Caillou giggles. A lot. As in makes-me-want-to-throw-my-television-through-the-window a lot. And the problem is that Emma can now do a dead-on impersonation of Caillou’s giggle, making me want to throw HER through the window. It is this unbelievably high pitched “hee hee hee hee” kind of a thing that you can’t even imagine could be so annoying until you hear it. Over and over and over. Even Emma’s preschool teacher has remarked that Emma seems to be doing a “giggling thing” lately.

Other issues I have with the show – Caillou is a whiner and his sister talks in baby talk. The whining – ugh – is something anyone with a 3ish year old child will tell you is a constant battle, so thanks Caillou but we really don’t need YOU to reinforce that it is cool to whine for everything.

And his sister Rosie is voiced by a grown up talking in baby talk: “Rosie want milk” “Rosie no like sleep” and on and on and on. Maybe it is because she is relating to the female character, or maybe it is because she is feeling some ambivalence about being a big girl now instead of a baby (developmentally appropriate mind you, but oh so annoying) but Emma now talks in baby talk constantly. I talked recently with the mother of a classmate of Emma’s – a boy who also has a baby sibling – and she said her son talks in baby talk all the time too. So it may be that Emma would be talking in baby talk at this point in her life anyway, but certainly the prevalence of it on her favorite tv show can’t be helping it. I choose to blame Caillou.

As a result of the above issues, Caillou is about to be banned at our house. I am not sure how we are going to do it, short of just telling her “it isn’t on”, and in the end it may not work. But we are going to do our darndest.

We just can’t take it anymore.

SPRING!!, originally uploaded by Justpowers.

First swing of spring. Thomas bike helmet and all…

I am beginning to despair that my family will ever EVER be healthy again.

Six weeks. We have been sick for six weeks. Back at the end of January it was Emma who struggled with a cold and fluid filled ears. Then Will caught the cold which garnered him a double ear infection. Both went on antibiotics and I breathed a sigh of relief that life would soon be back to normal.

Then we had back to back blizzards. Nothing to do with being sick I know, but still, 10 days of fun but wacky and housebound schedules. Once we dug out it seemed pretty clear that Will hadn’t quite kicked the ear infections, so off to the doctor we went again and brought home a second round of antibiotics.

Then we all got a stomach virus. Emma and I were laid up with it first and Mike followed closely behind. Will was the only one spared, but less than a week later he developed a fever completely out of the blue. Then Mike developed a fever and flu-like symptoms and was flat on his back for three days.

The fever stuck with Will for a few days before the cough and runny nose hit. The lingering fever and hacking cough took us back to the doctor for the third time in a month where we found that Will’s lungs were clear, but his ears were still not. The ears, coupled with how long the fever was lasting, prompted the doctor to give us yet another antibiotic, stronger and longer this time.

Then the annoying cough turned into difficulty breathing and asthma-like symptoms for Will. The doctor put him on oral albuterol to open his lungs. Now, four days later, Will is still coughing and still has a fever, and, of course, now Emma has started coughing.

So off the doctor we went again this morning to figure out why Will has had a fever going on 12 days and still can’t seem to breathe. The doctor gave him a nebulizer treatment in the office to get his breathing back to normal and sent us home with our very own, brand new nebulizer with a fishy face on the mask, hoping that the fever will clear up in the next few days if his lungs will “calm down”. Needless to say, Will was not happy about the nebulizer, but the doctor said Emma’s lungs are clear. At least there’s that.

So the saga continues, but we are all exhausted. Illness brings with it not only discomfort, but crankiness, poor(er) sleeping, the inability to get out of the house, the cancellation of normal activities, and general chaos. Did I mention the inability to get out of the house? It was so much easier to be sick as a single person, or even a childfree married couple. You just turn on the tv for a week, eat saltines at every meal and get better. This “family” illness thing is much much more complicated and exhausting, not to mention there are more of us to share the diseases.

And the irony is that as much as I want things to get back to normal and to be able to leave the house, is it not the leaving of the house that is the problem? The only week this month when none of us were sick was the week we were housebound as a result of the blizzards. If we were total hermits it would be a little tough to pick up the germs in the first place.

I will be glad when winter is over.