Monday, April 30, 2012

Searches and thanks and the Berkshire Museum (not in that order)

Randomness tonight.

First, I owe a couple of 'thank you's:  Mother-in-law, thanks for the happy socks.  Aunt Trisha, thanks for the coupons.  We used one on Saturday -- finally took Bob to check out the Berkshire Museum.

He was into it.  Starting outside with Wally the Stegosaurus.

Even more exciting was digging for dinosaur bones in the "giant sandbox."

I don't think technically you're supposed to let your kids climb in, but we were the only ones there and bob is a midge, so...

Lots and lots of stuffed animals.  The kind that used to be alive.

A self-portrait with my littlest boy...

For some reason Bob didn't seem to notice or care that he was seeing a bunch of dead things.  He doesn't understand dead at all anyway.  I picked up a dead rodent in our yard and threw it into the bushes a couple of weeks ago and bob still talks about it playing over there.

The glowing rocks were fascinating, mostly because a stool was required for viewing.

The world of miniatures was pretty cool.

Some of the scenes were a little graphic.

But again, Bob didn't seem to notice that the cute lions...

... were eating the cute "sleeping" zebra.

Bob's favorite was the Northern Tundra.  "Those wolves love playing in the snow!"  Yeah, they're just playing.  Not stalking the oxen.

There were a few creating stations in different exhibits.  Bobbert just likes to climb up and back down and move on all within a span of 60 seconds or less.

The aquarium was pretty lame.  I thought you used to be able to pet starfish?  I suppose they all died from being handled by hooligans.

The Alexander Calder exhibit was possibly Bob's favorite because he got to play with "his" pet cow.

A tantrum ensued when we had to say goodbye to this little guy.

David Henderson's sculpture in the Ellen Crane Memorial Room is pretty amazing...

Tried for a family photo inside but Bob wasn't particularly cooperative.

Sadly, even though those are awful, they're probably the best photos of the four of us taken to date.  Maybe the only ones since the hospital?

A last random bit for you.  It's fun to check my blogger stats and see what google search terms have led readers to my blog.  Thought I'd share a few of my recent favorites:

why is my vagina sad?
angie burgess boobs
karate kid bonsai tree
the funniest joke ever with pictures
sad vagina day
how to poop at the playground
lil nerd toddler

Tell me: if you were one of those searchers, did you find what you were looking for?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mother's day gift ideas

Just thought I'd help everyone out by sharing all the stuff I want for mother's day:

I love this silouhette necklace but I'm not sure which photo I'd use (use code SPRING for 10% off).

I also adore these fingerprint necklace charms.  So so so precious.  I'd love one for each of my babies (but don't worry, honey -- I know it's not in the budget).

I need a copy of this book.  Watch the video and you'll need it too.

You can get $90 worth of photo products (I've had my mind on ordering a couple of canvas prints for a while now) for $30 at Eversave.  Plus Picaboo is offering 30% off photo books and 15% off everything else now through April 30 (code SAVETREES).  If all THAT doesn't inspire me to put some of my digital images to use, I don't know what will.

Also I want a maid to come clean my house.  Really REALLY well.  Just one time.  Or forever.  But just once would be nice.

And I need measuring spoons.  Because I garbage disposaled mine.  Again.

(You can steal these gift ideas for the beloved mother in your own life -- you don't have to get them for me :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

on having two and feeling totally incompetent

I've heard people say that when you have a second child your heart just doubles in size and you immediately have enough love to go around and your love pours equally onto all of your children.  Or something to that effect.  Just read it again today, actually.  "Love doesn't divide; it multiplies."

But I guess, being honest here, I haven't really found that to be true.  Don't get me wrong; I loved Owen from the moment he was just a missed period and a plus sign on a pregnancy test.  But in the first weeks of his life, I found myself thinking: "I love this baby, but if I were forced to choose between my boys, I'd give him up in a second."  How awful is that?  It just sounds terrible.  And I felt terrible about it.  My sweet little newborn baby, who depends on me 24 hours a day, that I could admit, even if only to myself, that I loved him less.  Maybe it's not exactly that I love him less -- it's just that we haven't formed the same bond yet, made the memories yet, he doesn't know that he loves me back yet, he doesn't say a hundred adorable things a day yet -- so it feels like it would be easier to give him up.  Why I even pose the question to myself, I do not know.  But I've got to think that, as time passes, the difference will come to a balance.  I already feel it happening.  Bob's "I want" attitude and Owen's huge infant grins are helping to level the playing field.

It's not just a matter of feeling, though.  The fact of the matter is, you don't have twice as much love to dole out.  Or at least, you don't have twice as much time and energy for the doling.  I simply can't be the one to put Bobby to bed every single night, because Owen won't always let me.  (Although at this point, we've pretty much got it figured out, and I haven't missed bedtime in a while.)  I can't always play ball with him, I can't always read five books before naptime anymore, my arms aren't free enough to hug him quite as much as I used to.

And Owen -- he gets his share of neglect, for sure.  He spends a good bit of time each day wailing somewhere while I help Bob use the bathroom, or clean him up after lunch, or finish speed-reading that "one more book" or just giving my firstborn a hug that he very much needs in that moment.

Now that there are two, it is impossible to lavish them each with as much love and attention as I did one.

Some days I feel completely incompetent.  I usually feel that I'm failing in every way except as a mom.  I'm not there for my family as much as I should be.  I never call my siblings or parents or grandparents.  I have no friends, because I don't take time to show my once-friends any love.  I'm snippy to my husband and I make him feel unimportant and in general I'm just a terrible wife.  I don't do any volunteer work.  I don't make any money.  I don't make anything except mediocre dinners.  I do not keep my home clean or tidy -- not by a long shot.  If I shower and wash the dishes in the same day, I consider that as close to success as I can get.

And lately I'm feeling like a failure as a mom, too.

Who cares that my two year old can read if he acts like a total brat?  Half the time my beloved son acts like he is trying to win the award for whiniest most contrary child on the planet.  Everything has to be just the way he wants it.  But what's really putting me to the edge of insanity is the hitting; he's started smacking me in the face when he doesn't get what he wants.  I pour all of this time and effort and love into helping my little grow into a respectful and kind individual, I spend the entire day feeding him and playing with him and doting on him in every way, and he smacks me in the face as thanks.  Normally I'm a no-spanking, no-yelling type of parent, but twice I've smacked him back out of pure frustration and not knowing what is the right thing to do.  Once I smacked him in the face repeatedly with his own hand.  I'm pretty sure these are not the right things to do, but that's the point here -- I'm failing.  At the end of the day I think, "Well, I achieved nothing today and then I yelled at bob at bedtime, " and then I just cry.

I read this (Your Children Want YOU) the other day and it made me feel better for a while... but I'm not feeling depressed because of all the things I see on pinterest that I don't do (I'm not even on pinterest).  I'm really not setting my standards that high, and yet I still feel like a failure.

But then I just read this, so at least I know I'm not the only one who deals with hitting.  And then I read this about bedtime stalling, which made me laugh really hard because Bob employs all the same tactics these days.

I think I've written all of this more for myself (since I can't afford a therapist) than for you, so please don't let this get you worried or thinking I'm really depressed.  I am mostly happy most days.  Even though my babies seem to be trying to drive me crazy at times, they are my joy and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

PS.  Summer is the best.  I can't wait til it's here for real.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Becoming a kid {a potty training diary}

It's transition time around here.

My babyboy is totally for real making the leap from baby to kid.  It's a strange feeling.  When you think about baby growing up in the future, it's heartbreaking in a way.  It feels like you want him to stay little forever.  When the milestones actually occur, though, it's so exciting!  You feel so proud and even more in love than you thought possible before.

Anyway... Bob's growing up in major ways around here.  I know everyone's anxious to know how the potty training went -- I've received lots of inquiries -- so I won't delay.  We did it.  We came out unscathed.  I almost wish we had gone for it sooner, but really I think we timed it just perfectly.

And, um, here's a WARNING for you... if you don't like reading about poop, you may as well turn back now.  It's gonna get a little graphic because, the family wants the details.

April 1

The morning after my "no more diapers" declaration I had almost forgotten about it but the first thing bob said when i got him up was, "No more diapers, mom."  Seems my speech affected him.  Off to a good start.

I put some superhero undies on his tiny bum and explained the rules.  "You have undies on now -- no diaper.  You CANNOT pee in your undies.  You ESPECIALLY cannot poop in them.  Every time you pee or poo in the potty, you can pick a marble out of my bag and put it into your jar.  When your whole jar is filled all the way to the top with marbles, we can go back to Imperial Bowl!  Got it?"  "Yup."

I read Sarah's potty training method and advice.  Basically what I got from her was: Dive right in; don't do it half-way; be consistent.  Stay positive always and never scold.  It's a lot to learn so try to teach him what the body is doing and what he needs to do.  I added in the marble-jar-bowling motivator bit, because bob was in serious need of motivation.

We played outside...

we played inside...

and all the while I asked him every five minutes if he needed to use the potty, and every twenty or thirty minutes I forced him to try, even if he didn't "need to."  (Which he never does, until something's on it's way out.)  No accidents that first day!  Put on a cloth diaper at nap and night.

That night, around 9:50 PM, we had another development: Bob finally climbed out of his crib.

April 2

Day two of potty training: ditto.

Except I didn't make him try to go quite as often, and we did have a couple of accidents.

Peeing on the potty was no problem from the start, but pooping was another issue altogether.  We spent a lot of time on the potty trying to coax out a number two.

No luck.

April 3

By day three, the jar was already full.  Yep, should have used a bigger one.

Climbing out of the crib continued to be an issue.

But really, you can't be potty trained while you're locked in a crib.  Just doesn't work, right?  So it was time to convert the bed anyway.

Bedtime is pretty sweet with a bed as opposed to a crib (yeah, it's actually just his crib with one side removed).  Instead of reading books on the rocking chair we now snuggle up to read on the bed.  Which may or may not break because I'm too heavy.  (Dad, can you come over and reinforce the base for me?)

First night sleeping in his "big boy bed"...

It's also cute to be able to sit next to my boy and kiss his little face in his sleep when I check on him before I go to bed at night.

April 4

Bob lost a few marbles while playing with them, pretending they were "hundreds of cats, thousands of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats," so we were able to put off the trip to Imperial Bowl a bit longer.

This day, since he'd finally be in a bed not a crib, I decided no diaper for nap.  Laid down a couple of towels just in case.  Told him he could get up if he had to pee.  Napped without wetting.  Success.

April 5

Pretty much the same.  Still no poop on the potty.  One of these nights he pooped in his diaper.

April 6

Bob finally gets to return to Imperial Bowl!  We brought Uncle James and Bailey along to share in the celebration.

And that night when I started putting a diaper on bubbs he said, "No, I don't want a diaper, I want undies!"  Sounded good to me.  No diapers since.

April 7

Finally pooped on the potty!  He was sitting eating lunch and covered his eyes with his hands, peeking through his fingers all suspiciously, so I knew something was going on.  "Do you have to pee?"  "Nope."  "Did you already pee?"  "Nope."  "Do you have to poop?"  "Yup."

Thanks in part to a "special toy" for the potty (a mind teaser puzzle) he was able to ease out some poo.  I was so proud of him as he made his business happen.  He wanted me there for support; his poor little face was saying, "I really don't like this!" but he concentrated and waited and when that first little turd plopped out he was super excited.  "I just poofed out one single black cat!" he said.  (He likes to call his poops by other names; the next one he did was a baseball bat.)

April 8

Easter.  We survived a two hour trip each way and a day away from home in New York while potty training.  Bob collected 17% more eggs than he would have been able to in a cumbersome diaper.

I've been sticking with the towel method in his bed and getting him up to pee before I go to sleep and maybe one other time in the night.  Sometimes he stays dry all night, sometimes he wets and I change him and his clothes and towels.  Hence many mornings he wakes up with mismatched jammies.

So here's what I think I learned from my first round of potty training:

It probably doesn't hurt to first introduce the potty early.  From talking with other mothers of boys, it seems like they become very accustomed to pooping in their diapers standing up.  So that makes sitting to poop a bit tricky.  Having them get used to the feel of the seat by having a little potty time every day seems like a good idea.  Especially if your kid's a regular pooper (mine's not) and you can have him sit at his usual poopin time.

Don't wait too long to dive into the full training, partly because of the above problem.  Sarah says the magic time for learning is between 2 years 3 months and 2 years 6 months; maybe she's right.  Some parents I've talked to recently who waited longer than that are having major issues now.  Bob fits in that age bracket, and he's doing swell.

Remember that your little person has a lot to learn and understand.  Don't just sit him on the toilet and say, "This is where your poop goes now."  You have to explain the need to pay attention to and understand the sensations he's having and what to do about them.  Explain the need to hold it in until we can make it to a potty.  Explain the need to sometimes sit and be patient and wait for everything to finish happening.

It doesn't work to do potty training halfway, trying to convince him to go in the potty but keeping diapers or pull-ups on just in case.  If he has a diaper on, that's where he'll do his business.  There's a big difference between wetting a diaper and peeing your pants.

And speaking of which... peeing your pants can be very upsetting.  The icky sensation, the feeling of shame.  Never ever scold when he pees in his undies.  Bob needed some comforting the first couple of times.  Give him a hug and say, "Icky sticky!  Now we have to change!  But that's okay.  I'm so proud of you for trying to learn something new!"

A motivator may very well be necessary to make the transition from diapers to toilets a happy one.  We tried peanut m&ms for a while, but they don't stay exciting too long... and bribing with candy doesn't seem like the best idea anyway.  I suggest taking your kiddo to do something he'll really really love... and then use a marble jar or a sticker chart or something to let him earn the chance to go back.  Worked like a charm on bob.  By the end of the first round he had already accepted that he needs to use the potty... so we've already dropped the reward system.

I really wish we had never even bought the tiny kids' potty.  Why do I want to clean poop out of a tiny toilet instead of cleaning it out of diapers?  I don't.  I'm going to order one of these flip up seats for the adult toilet and make bob switch.  Owen may never get to try the training potty.

Oh, one last thing.  A few weeks ago we watched a Mr. Rogers episode about toilets (you can watch lots of episodes including this one for free at here).  I think Bob found it both informational and inspirational.

That's all I've got.

Except one last treat for you: four cute minutes with Bob.

Happy Easter and happy pooping!
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