It took 14 months, but I’m back and with PICTURES

Holy monkeys! Is it possible that 14 months have gone by WITHOUT A SINGLE POST?! Good Lord… does that not show my procrastinating side, or what? I started a post in July of last year (2010) but never got around to finishing it. It describes my problem well, though, so I couldn’t bring myself to delete it, or ignore it, or even re-write it. Here it is word-for-word:

It’s been three months since my last post. Oy! It’s not that I didn’t have enough to say (could that be possible?), it’s that I’m stupidly addicted to Facebook and email and other internet time-suckers. Tonight, I sat down at 9 with the intention of devoting my time to blogging, but it’s now nearly 10 and I’ve only just now gotten to it. This is not just an I’m-addicted-to-the-internet problem. This is a problem I’ve written about before. It’s a kids-are-in-bed-so-I’m-going-to-do-whatever-I-want-and-shirk-my-responsibilities problem. Blogging isn’t really a responsibility per se, but it is the way I keep family and friends updated about the boys. It’s also a great way for me to journal about my life. I regularly find myself looking back and reading posts I wrote 2 or 3 years ago.

This morning I was lucky to be able to sleep in until about 9:45. Daniel had  spent the night with Dan’s parents and Reid, for whatever reason, didn’t wake up until 10. But usually I am up around 8 after having gone to bed around 1 that morning. And because Reid still sleeps with us, he nurses throughout the night. He is nothing like Daniel was. He just wakes long enough to latch on and falls right back into a deep sleep. So I barely even notice that it’s happened sometimes. Still, my sleep is broken, and not nearly long enough. So by the time the kids are in bed, I’m so drained of any “doing stuff” energy, that I just plop down and zone out. Even writing about what’s been going on seems like too much work.

Exhaustion coupled with procrastination and my kids-are-in-bed-so-I’m-going-to-do-whatever-I-want-and-shirk-my-responsibilities problem makes for a bad atmosphere for blogging.

What makes today different? It’s the middle of the day and BOTH of my children are napping… or at least they are both laying down quietly in bed. A few days ago, I got overwhelmed with Daniel needing me every second of his life, so I insisted that he lay in his bed while his piano music plays (the music we play for him at night when he goes to bed). I told him he could get up once the music was over. It was heavenly. Today is fourth day of imposed rest, and I am thoroughly enjoying this much-needed time to myself while still feeling some energy.

I wish so deeply that I had continued to blog over these last many months, but there’s nothing I can do about that. Instead of trying to play catch-up by writing about the last 14 months by memory, I’ll do something unprecedented in this blog’s history. I’ll add some photographs! I’m not sure why I didn’t add any in the past, except that perhaps I wanted my readers to appreciate the written form and not just visit my blog for the pictures, or perhaps it was because I didn’t want to bother with the formatting. Whatever the reason, I’m over it. So please enjoy.

reid pre-haircutReid Pre-Haircut

July 2010: Reid got his first haircut. I spiked his hair in this picture so you could see how long it actually was before I started cutting.

Reid Post-Haircut

July 2010: And here is Reid after the haircut.

Nicole and Daniel in Hawaii

August 2010: Daniel and I in Maui for our annual visit.

Reid eating yogurt

September 2010: Notice how Reid's chin and mouth are covered in yogurt as he attempts to feed himself. He is 16 months old in this picture. He still eats yogurt the exact same way today at 25 months old. See the final picture in this post for a comparison.

Daniel and his friends at Halloween

October 2010: This year we formed a preschool co-op with a few friends. We met at each others' houses once/week for a short preschool class. My weeks fell over Halloween, so we had a costume party. Aren't the kiddos SO adorable?!

Finley, Daniel and Reid getting ready for trick-or-treating

October 2010: In the past we haven't made a big deal about trick-or-treating. We went to a couple houses last year and Daniel was happy. This year, however, we were invited to our friends' house for Halloween and trick-or-treating. Their neighborhood was amazing--decorations and trick-or-treaters everywhere! I hadn't seen that much Halloween spirit since I was a kid. I honestly thought it just didn't exist anymore! The kids had a lot of fun, but we ended up with SO much candy. There is still candy sitting in the bucket on top of the fridge.

Daniel kissing a birdie

November 2010: We took a field trip with our Holistic Moms Network group to a small petting zoo/farmlet in Altadena called Danny's Farm. Daniel didn't really like many of the animals, but he loved the little baby chicks. Reid loved all the animals and wanted to chase them all around.

Reid with birdie

November 2010: I had a difficult time getting Reid to put the chicks down. And when he did put them down, he did so a little roughly. Once I caught him throwing one of the chicks! Luckily he's short so the bird didn't have far to go and it landed in a big pile of fluff in its enclosure and wasn't hurt. But I was diligent in watching Reid around the chicks after that!

Reid in a popcorn can

December 2010: For awhile Reid had a tendency to wedge himself into tight spaces. I found him in a drawer he had emptied in the bathroom, inside the laundry basket, between the nightstand and the bed, and once, even IN the dryer (with the door open, thank G-d!). This particular day, he managed to wedge himself in to the (empty!) popcorn tin. That boy!!!

Daniel and Reid on Christmas morning

December 2010: For the majority of Christmas morning, we were all in our pajamas. This picture was taken just as we were about to head over to Dan's parents' house for Mickey-head waffles and more gifting.

Preschool co-op at Hanson Distributing Company

March 2011: We took several field trips with our preschool co-op. One of them was to the Hanson Distributing warehouse for a tour. The kids had a great time and we had a fun picnic on the grass outside afterward.

Dan Sr, Reid and Daniel at the Derby Days race in Arcadia

April 2011: For the last few years Dan Sr (Dan's dad) has been running in the Santa Anita Derby Days race. Daniel usually runs in the little kids race, too. This year, we signed up Reid and got him his own number and everything.

Dan Sr and Daniel running the Derby Days race

April 2011: Dan Sr usually runs with Daniel in the race. We were hoping this year Daniel would be able to run without holding grandpa's hand, but he insisted. Maybe next year he'll be able to run it on his own.

Mom and Reid running the race

April 2011: Reid started the race running with his Aunt Laurie so I could take video of him. But as soon as he saw me, he insisted that I go with him instead. He wanted to be picked up several times, but I was able to keep him motivated enough to finish on his own two feet. There were many oooooohs and aaaaaaaahs over his tiny adorableness running the race. I think that's mostly why we signed him up.

Daniel with a girl

April 2011: Both my kids love to ride the metro. On this particular day we decided to ride the metro down to South Pasadena. We were sitting in a little outdoor patio area eating snacks and treats. At the table next to us was another family. Both Daniel and the little girl from the other table were more interested in watching the trains go by than sitting still at their tables. They didn't much talk to each other, but the sat together for a good 10 minutes.

Daniel hunting eggs

April 2011: This year's Easter egg hunt was by far the best hunt we've had for the kids. We hid several dozen eggs and both my boys and their cousin Dylan ran around squealing and giggling as they searched for eggs. I'm already looking forward to next year's hunt.

Reid and Dylan hunting for eggs

April 2011: Reid and his cousin Dylan mastered the egg hunt like old pros. They both found a bunch of eggs and had so much fun doing it.

Family at Easter

April 2011: Here we are with Dan's family on Easter Sunday. Daniel isn't so thrilled with having to stand still for a picture.

Dan and Daniel at Newport

April 2011: Dan's parents took a week-long vacation in Newport Beach. We drove down for the weekend and spent one of our days there at the beach. Reid is still scared of the ocean, and cried every time Daniel and Dan went down to play in it. I hope he gets over his fear when we go to Hawaii in August!

Daniel hitting the ball

May 2011: This was Daniel's first hit at his first t-ball game. That's his "coach" behind him. All the games were pure chaos--the first game of the season in particular. Get a bunch of 3-5 year-olds together, and you can expect nothing less. No runs, outs, fouls, anything were ever recorded, and I don't even know if it would have been possible to do so. The game was that chaotic. The fielders would dogpile on the ball anytime it came remotely near them, or they were staring out into the distance not paying attention at all. Everyone had a great time, though, and that was the point.

Daniel and the goon squad

May 2011: This was the "last day of preschool" party we threw for the co-op. You wouldn't know it by the picture, but the kids are playing red light, green light. One of the moms threw in a twist where purple light meant act like a goof ball. Daniel is particularly good at that.

Daniel, me and Reid at the Arboretum

June 2011: Dan and I took the boys to the Arboretum earlier this month. We all had a great time running around and spying for peacocks.

Reid gets a car

June 2011: Give Reid a car, you will win his heart. This kid is obsessed with matchbox cars. He can't go anywhere without at least one or two of them clutched in his hands. If I forget to put a handful of cars in my bag when we go out, we are in trouble. This particular car was a gift from grandma and grandpa.

Daniel blowing out his birthday candles

June 2011: Daniel's 5th birthday party theme was Cave Exploring. He is really into caves since he's been watching the caves chapter of the Planet Earth series of movies. I'm not sure if you can see it on the cake, but I painted a chocolate cave with some bats flying around it. I made the cake from scratch and it actually turned out really good. I've always had a hard time making regular ol' cake. I'm good at most other baked goods, but for whatever reason, I usually struggle with cake.

Reid at the cave opening

June 2011: Here is Reid at the mouth of the cave system I built in the back yard for the party. I set up several card tables and draped them with black plastic tablecloth material. I taped stalactites made of newspaper to the bottoms of the tables and made bats out of black balloons and taped them upside down to the plastic material that hung between the tables. The kids loved crawling through it. At the end of the cave I put a bucket filled with dirt in which I buried several dozen plastic bugs. I told them it was bat guano. They believed me for a little while.

Reid looking like the Joker with dirt in his face

June 2011: As these brothers do, Daniel and Reid had a little spat and Daniel threw dirt at Reid. We scrambled to get this picture before we realized that Reid was really upset... the dirt was actually IN his eyes, not just around them, and in his mouth, too. But he does look like the Joker, doesn't he?! I'm glad we caught this on the camera, even though I feel bad we didn't attend to him right away.

Reid eating yogurt

June 2011: And as I promised, here is Reid with yogurt all over his face (and hands, this time!). If anything, he's gotten worse at eating the stuff. He does a really good job feeding himself more solid food, but even though he now knows to hold over his bowl and open his mouth really wide, it still ends up everywhere.

And there you have it–the last 14 months in photographs. I had a lot more I wanted to add, but this post was getting so long already. I promise to post regularly again, and I’ll continue to post pictures as well. I’ve missed blogging and can’t wait to get back to it.

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The Fearless and The Anxious

Enough with the generic titles. It’s getting awkward to list the kids’ ages, and I get frustrated not being able to title the blogs based on what they actually contain. So from here on out, I’ll be nixing the time-stamp and utilizing my creativity.

Reid is 11 months old now. He is learning new things every day, and it is getting so fun. Just in the last couple weeks, he’s learned to wave bye-bye, give hugs and kisses, pat my breast when he wants milk (he usually says, “Mama” while patting), and sign “more” when I say the word… I’m not sure he quite understands what it means yet.

I thought for sure he’d be walking by now. He’s been standing on his own with confidence for months. He can stand up from sitting without using anything for leverage. He can go from standing, to squatting, to sitting. He can bend over and pick something up off the floor and right himself. He can wiggle, dance, clap, play with toys while standing. But he shows no interest in walking. Only occasionally will he let me lead him around by holding his hands while he walks. He prefers just to crawl since he’s a master crawler–a sprint-crawler even.

He’s also a climber. He tries to climb on everything. We bought a sit and stand stroller from some friends at church recently which both boys love. When not in use, it is parked in our front hallway. Reid loves to climb up into it and stand in the seat. He could stand there playing for several minutes. In fact, I’m not sure how long he’d be content there since I usually get him down after a few minutes so I can attend to something else. We have also found him sitting on the bottom shelf of our built-in DVD unit, inside the bathroom cupboard (completely inside), standing on the open door of the dishwasher, on Daniel’s bed, and he desperately tries to fling himself into the bathtub as soon as he notices the water is on. He is going to get hurt one of these days. He just is. And I’m afraid.

Daniel never did that kind of stuff. He was curious. He would make feeble attempts. But he wasn’t the daredevil that Reid is. I can see huge differences in the two already. It’s as if I birthed the two most opposite boys our DNA would allow, and not just in their behavior. Reid is nearly three inches shorter than Daniel was at this age. Reid still barely has any hair, while Daniel had his first haircut at 3 months old. Daniel could say several words at this age, but Reid is still only babbling–he does say, “Mama” and perhaps “bath” (as “ba!”). Several wise moms have told me that you think you have it under control, when the next kid comes along and changes everything. It’s so true.

Daniel has been dealing with some anxiety issues lately. Thankfully, they’ve calmed down and he’s slowly getting back to his old self (phew!). The immediate trigger for his anxiety was two-fold (three-fold, if you count Reid being born). First, Dan and I planned a trip to San Fransisco to surprise his friend Mike for his 30th birthday. We arranged for Daniel to spend the night with his grandparents (something he loves to do), bought our plane tickets and booked our hotel. We told Daniel that we were going to go on a trip while he spent the night with grandma and grandpa. But that didn’t go over very well. We decided not to talk about the trip in front of him, and instead just talk about how much fun he’d have spending the night since he was going to get to go to a baseball game.

Right around that same time, during Daniel’s gymnastics class (he’d been attending for about 6 weeks already with absolutely no issue), he looked up to where I normally stand and watch him to let me know he had to go to the bathroom. When he couldn’t locate me (I had gone around the corner to another viewing area to eat a muffin and wasn’t paying attention to the class below), one of the teachers walked with him to the bathroom. On his way back he spotted me and seemed okay. He went back downstairs to the class, but before he even sat back down on his spot, looked up to find me again, couldn’t see me for a second, and freaked out. He started crying and wouldn’t return to the class. And every class since then (about 6 weeks ago now), he’s needed me to be with him down in the gym area (the gym regulations state that parents are not allowed to be in the gym area, but they have kindly made an exception for us). For a few weeks, he would barely leave my side, but now he’s content as long as I am within 10 feet of him.

I think the initial problem started when I attended my dear friend’s birth when Daniel was only about a year and a half old. I left him for several hours with my mom in San Diego (he’d never been without me for more than an hour or two). He didn’t know my mom very well, and he wasn’t terribly familiar with her house. We’d visited several times, but nothing more than a day or two here and there. It seemed that the day went well. He ate, slept, and played with my mom. He didn’t seem lethargic, or depressed. But he was obviously relieved to have me back. And every time we visited my mom after that, he wouldn’t let me leave his sight. I couldn’t go to the bathroom without him. I couldn’t even go around the corner without him panicking. And while he is okay visiting my mom’s house these days, he still has to be reassured that I am not going to leave him there. I’m sure the issue is not with my mom, since he adores her when she visits at our house. But in his mind, her house is associated with that feeling of abandonment.

Thus, I have concluded, when we told him we were going on a trip without him, when he couldn’t spot me at gymnastics class, that terrifying panic was conjured up for him. Now, whenever we had to be separated (dentist appointments, a date with Dan), Daniel screamed, cried, had to be peeled off of me. A good friend and child psychiatrist confirmed my suspicions that we (at least I) should not go on our trip without Daniel–that his extreme separation anxiety would only be made worse if I forced us to be separated, that we needed to help him deal with his anxiety step by tiny step.

I felt frustrated, powerless, worried, annoyed. I thought it was going to take months of hard work. Instead, things have been getting easier on their own. Well, not totally on their own. We have been talking with him about his feelings, reassuring him that we would never leave him without telling him first–and even then we would always leave him with someone who loved him and who he trusted–and we would always come back.I’ve been leaving for short amounts of time when necessary (multiple dentist appointments, Holistic Moms meetings), but never more than necessary, and I’ve called to check in and make sure he’s okay. And little by little, he’s been okay with my leaving. Little by little, he’s going back to the confident little boy who plays by himself and reads books to pass the time. He’s once again comfortable enough to play with daddy, or auntie, or grandma with me in another part of the house. He even went happily with Dan to the grocery store a few days ago.

I’m relieved. But nervous about what else might trigger his anxiety response again. I know the fear. I have the same feelings about earthquakes. And I was reminded of how terrible those feelings are when we had a small but violent earthquake in the middle of the night. I could barely sleep afterward. I jumped with every move Dan made in the bed. I lurched awake with that firey surge of electric butterflies in my body every few minutes sure that the whole house was going to come crumbling down on me. For several nights, I was afraid. The fear got less and less every day, but occasionally something would bring it back up for me.

So even through my frustration, my worry for Daniel, through my own fears, I was able to have real empathy for him. Fear is a terrible thing to have to experience–especially as a child with no real ability to rationalize, to talk yourself down. I dealt with irrational fears as a child myself, and remember how paralyzing they were. I’m sad my poor little Daniel has to deal with that dumb inherited trait of mine (and Dan’s as well), but grateful that Dan and I both have experience dealing with it personally so we can help him through it gently should it come up again.

For now, he is doing well. He still won’t spend the night at his grandparents’ house. He still prefers that I stay close by. But he’s  not terrified anymore. And for now, I’ll call it a win.

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8 Months Old & Crawling

Last week Reid figured out how to crawl. He has be loving his new-found freedom. Of course, since everything goes directly into his mouth, I have to be extra vigilant, but I am actually really glad he’s figured it out. He’s just a happier guy, and he’s more stable now that he’s figured out how to maneuver. The only thing that’s been stressful is when he crawls over to the coffee table and pulls himself to standing. He’s very unstable on his feet. Unlike Daniel who was a bit of a scaredy cat, Reid seems fearless. He’ll get himself on his feet, then let go of the table with total confidence in himself, even though every time, he falls and usually bonks something. I think it’s safe to say he’ll be walking before his first birthday.

We just got back from a 10-day vacation in Seattle and Canada. Most of our group (Dan’s immediate family) was sick for the bulk of the trip, so it seemed like a bit of a downer vacation. It was good to get away, and I did find the time out of my normal routines refreshing and renewing, but by the end of it, I was really ready to get home. Daniel didn’t do very well cooped up inside, and his jealously issues seemed to amplify with his general frustration at being bored. He’s really testing his limits right now. Today I had to actually reprimand him twice. Usually, I just have to tell him to stop doing whatever it is he’s doing, and he generally stops. But today, he didn’t stop.

I know he’s acting out because he’s jealous. He’s been asking to nurse a lot lately and has been asking to be carried in the carrier. One time about a month ago, I gave in and let him “try” nursing. He opened his mouth, came close, then giggled and turned away saying he didn’t know how. After that, I haven’t let him “try” again. I really wish he would have just nursed a little right after Reid was born, so we could have had a more ceremonious ending that he remembered to our nursing relationship. But now that he’s approaching 4, allowing him to start nursing all over again (which means I’d have to teach him how) seems a bit much, even for me. I wish there was something I could do for or give to him that could help him feel less jealousy.

There’s a book called Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish that I hope to buy and read soon (unless someone has a better recommendation). I hate the idea that I will need to up the ante in the “discipline” department with Daniel, when his actions are clearly dictated by him feeling pushed aside. Still, I can’t be passive while he yanks things away from his brother, lays on him, puts his feet in his face, etc. And I feel like I need to nip this in the bud for Dan’s sake as well, or I can kiss my chances of having another baby goodbye. He’s already having a hard time with things as they are. I know he really wants to be finished having children. He’s really loving Daniel at his age, but Reid is still tough for him to know how to handle. Starting over yet again with another baby and all the stuff that goes along with them really stresses him out.

I have given up my hopes for a full house of children, though. Now I only hold out hope for one more. And the easier our current children are, the more likely it is that #3 will come to be.

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7 Months Old and Finally Jealous

Daniel is the jealous one. He’s been showing off his jealousy by “tackling” his baby brother, head-butting him, and swatting at him. All of these things have been rather mild and gentle–Daniel is still just testing the waters with what he can get away with.

It’s not just with Reid that he’s testing us. He’s started using some violent language lately that is tough for me to handle. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it, though–thanks to Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen, PhD. For example, today, while sitting in a play car, he announced that he just hit and killed “that guy who does mean things” (an imaginary “friend” who does mean things like knocking Daniel over or hitting him). Instead of reacting with anger and reprimanding him for saying such a thing (what I wanted to do), I took Cohen’s advice and said, “Oh no! That would make his family very sad. Let’s call the ambulance to take him to the hospital. When he gets better, maybe you can teach him not to do mean things any more.” To which he responded that the ambulance was on its way. Phew!

Reid is trying so hard to crawl. He can’t quite figure out what to do once he’s on his hands and knees, but he knows there’s something to it. Sometimes he rocks back and forth, but usually, he just lunges forward and bonks his head on the ground.

No teeth have popped through yet. Reid is definitely teething, and sometimes I think that maybe his gums are a little swollen. But there’ve been no signs of imminent teething–just the standard drool and chomping on everything.

Reid is still screeching and screaming–he’s done it at several restaurants now, which is so stressful for us. We always had such an angel at restaurants with Daniel. We’re just not sure how to deal with a screamer.

Christmas is only a week away and I am so unprepared this year. I haven’t thought about stockings really at all yet. And I haven’t wrapped anything yet, either. I’m feeling so behind. There’s no way I’ll be getting Christmas cards out this year. Next year I will, though. I will, I will, I will.

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6 Months Old and 3 1/2 Years Old

Readers, where have you gone? You’ve abandoned me because I’ve abandoned you… So much has been going on lately, I just haven’t gotten around to writing. I’m getting back to it. I promise.

Reid is nearly 6 months old now. The time has flown by so quickly. As I said above, I’ve been so busy–with Holistic Moms Network stuff, mostly–that I feel that age-old tug-of-war between identifying myself as Mom and as Woman. They don’t have to be at odds, but I am currently feeling as though they are.

I cannot claim–as many women can–that I have ever been fully self-sacrificing. It is fine with me to sit on my rump instead of clean the kitchen if I just feel too tired. And it is fine with me to strap baby to my chest and pace the house while reading a book. But I struggle with what is an appropriate balance between doing the work of mothering–playing, cooking, bathing, nurturing, going on outings, giving my full attention–and doing the things that satisfy my adult longings–sewing, knitting, graphic design work, planning events, volunteering, talking to friends, shopping for a pair of jeans that actually fits me.

I can sense, by Daniel’s behavior as of late, that I have been spending too much time with my adult self. Even when I was sewing his astronaut suit for Halloween (that he begged me every day to work on), I could tell he felt neglected. Lucky for me, I suppose, Daniel really likes to look at books. Sometimes he won’t even let me read them to him. He prefers to just look at the pictures and tell me about them. He can sit in the same spot looking at the same book for over an hour! Where does he get that attention span? And while I am thankful that he is able to sit still for so long, I wonder what is going on in his head. I worry that he is moping as he sits there. I worry that he’s not utilizing his creativity; that he ought to be playing make-believe or running, or dancing, or something.

I am not very good at playing either. I never really played pretend as a kid. And when I used to babysit, I had a really hard time figuring out what to say and do when the kids wanted to play school, or house, or store. So part of Daniel’s problem is lack of example. I don’t really know how to show him how to pretend, or to guide him in the way of creativity. Now that Daniel is 3 1/2 (!!!) I’m feeling kind of at a loss as a parent.

When I imagined being a mother, I always just thought about parenting babies and toddlers. I know how to care for a baby. It is easy and second-nature. But bringing up a preschooler is bewildering. And thinking about parenting elementary-aged children, and teenagers (gad!) is beyond me.

I am part of a small group of moms with similar-aged children who have been talking about doing some kind of homeschool/preschool co-op. We tentatively said we’d meet in January to talk about getting something started. I really think having some structure–any structure–will be helpful.

We also plan to enroll Daniel in the YMCA’s little tots T-Ball league. I’m not exactly sure when it starts, but sometime in the spring. I can’t wait to see a bunch of 3-5 year-olds running around pretending to be like the baseball players they see on TV. Daniel already thinks he needs to spit when he plays baseball–and he wiggles his bat around when he’s in his batting stance waiting to bat.

Reid continues to be an easy baby. He sits well now, rolls easily from front to back, can support himself on his hands and knees (though he can’t go anywhere just yet), plays with toys (his favorites are Sophie the Giraffe, a Sassy ring toy, and anything that crinkles), jumps in the doorway jumper, adores the ExerSaucer, and loves to hear the sound of his own voice.

He has lately been experimenting with screetches and squeals. He used some high-pitched sounds a couple months ago, but then moved onto others. But now the upper end of his range is getting tested out again–both for pleasure and for displeasure. Either way it brings displeasure to his parents. We are nervous about him becoming a screamer.

I experimented with giving Reid some solid foods a few weeks ago. He was grabbing at everything and stuffing it in his mouth. His first reaction to a bit of banana that I was eating was as if I had given him a lemon. He twisted his face and shuddered. But then he grabbed for the banana again. And again–lemon face. I gave him little bits of banana, avocado, and sweet potato which went over fairly well after the inital shock of the flavors, but his tummy was a bit rumbly after each, so I didn’t give him any more until tonight.

Tonight, it was a totally different experience. I gave him some avocado mashed up with some breastmilk and he ended up eating nearly half an entire avocado! Then when I put him to bed, he only nursed for about five minutes before he detached and fell asleep. We’ll see how his tummy does tonight and tomorrow, but I think he may really be ready to have solids regularly.

Just in the last couple weeks he’s been spitting up so much less as well. He still has one or two good sized up-chucks per day, but that’s down from ten or twenty! Daniel seemed to stop spitting up around this age, too. I’m so grateful.

I have recently swapped graphic design services for professional organizing, and have since completely cleaned off my hallway mail center/cabinet area so it is functional, and have rearranged and completely cleaned up Daniel’s room. Even just having these to areas looking magazine-esque is enough to clear some cobwebs from my mind. My focus and motivation in other areas of my life are much improved. And it’s a good thing, too, since the holiday season brings its own hustle and bustle and I’m going to need all the focus and motivation I can get.

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The Terrible Threes

Oy. I have been composing blogs in my head for the last several weeks. I’ve just not made the time to actually write them. I have been pretty busy with my active boys, Holistic Moms Network, some pro bono design work, organizing my house, going on vacations, etc.

But those are all excuses. Onto the meat and potatoes.

Reid has been a dream. He has completely turned back into a happy easy baby. But Daniel has been unraveling. He’s having a hard time figuring out what effect his voice has in his world. Regardless of what I do, he tells me in a whiny or frustrated voice he wanted it another way. He tells me what to do, what not to do, where to sit, where to put things, and he often breaks down in tears if things don’t go his way.

I think the problem is a combination of things. Because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been able to get down and play with Daniel as much. This is compounded by the fact that he is aware of how I drop what I’m doing in order to respond when Reid needs something–when he wakes, when he needs to pee, when he’s hungry, etc. Even though I comparatively  give Daniel more attention and time because Reid sleeps so much, I think he’s jealous that he has to wait for me to be finished with something while Reid gets my immediate attention when he calls.

I also think Daniel is over tired. I really think he ought to still be napping, but he refuses. I am not willing to fight the nap-time battle every day, so I don’t push it. But by 3 or 4, Daniel’s eyes are red-rimmed and his bossiness and frustration levels are on the rise. He will take a “rest”, though, so I still get a little time to myself. His rests consist of him listening to Veggie Tales songs while reading books or playing cars by dim lights in his room–usually with the door closed.

We really ought to get him in bed earlier, but our evening routine already seems pretty tightly scheduled. I start dinner when Dan gets home and can hold Reid. Then we eat and usually begin the bedtime routine shortly thereafter. It’s all the fussing and complaining that drag our evenings out so long. We ought to be able to get it all done and have the children in bed by 8. But even on nights we are able to accomplish this, Daniel usually lays in bed awake for at least an hour or two–periodically calling for one of us, or getting up to pee (he usually does this 4 or 5 times every night before he falls asleep).

Tonight was better. I used a quiet, low, even-toned voice while getting Daniel ready for bed. I ignored his “I don’t want to” and his “but I wanted to…” statements and just proceeded with what I was doing, and things went okay. He still clung to me when I was hugging and kissing him goodnight, but there were no tears (not immediately anyway–he did cry once about 30 minutes later, but that was fairly easily mitigated my Dan sitting in the rocking chair in his room for 5 minutes).

He also asked for milk tonight. I really wanted to say yes. But instead I made a silly face and joked that he didn’t know how to drink my milk–that he only knew how to drink milk from a cup. He asked a lot of why questions, but never got upset. And then he asked me to squirt him…. Bizarre, I know. But I did it. And he cracked up and begged me to do it again–but I couldn’t bring myself to. I’m kind of frustrated with myself for not letting him try it. I know he’s pretty old to be having my milk, but I think it would relieve a lot of the tension for him. I wonder if we could accomplish that same release if I pumped some for him.

The threes so far have been much harder than the twos. The phrase should be the Terrible Threes. The twos were comparatively a breeze.

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12 Weeks Old (really!?!?)

Reid is big. But his brother was bigger–much bigger. I’m estimating that Reid is nearing 15 lbs, but Daniel was about 18 lbs by this age. My back aches all day long holding Reid. I often question how I did it with Daniel. I held Daniel so much more often than I’m able to hold Reid, but I don’t recall having such an achy back. I could blame it on getting older, but three years shouldn’t make that much of a difference. My neck did hurt a lot more with Daniel–maybe my posture is just different this time and baby’s weight is therefore affecting me differently. Whatever it is, I’m really looking forward to being able to a) carry Reid on my back in addition to on my front,  and b) being able to put Reid down for longer periods of time while he learns to play with toys and sit and crawl, etc.

It seems like Reid is much freer with his emotions in general than Daniel was. He smiles more–he’s been laughing for weeks already. Daniel had only just started to laugh by this age. He cries more–though he’s started fussing more often instead of going straight to crying, which has been a huge relief. I have a feeling that Reid is going to be a very aware and observant child–and probably a very tactile one as well.

My brother Gabe came up from San Diego to stay with us for a few weeks. He wanted to get away from home for a while (he’s 17–you know how that goes!) and we thought it’d be fun to have him stay here with us. Daniel thought having tio here was absolutely the best thing ever. I tried my best to give Gabe some solo time, but it was very tough to make Daniel stay away from his beloved tio for very long. I was glad to have him here to help relieve me of the guilt I feel for not being able to pay as much attention to Daniel as he’s used to. Daniel has been more emotional since Reid was born, so I know he’s feeling affected by the shift, but luckily he’s been nothing but kind and gentle and loving toward baby Reid. There are definitely times when Daniel would prefer if Reid was elsewhere, but he’s never said anything negative about him or shown any contempt for him. Instead, Daniel wants to hold him, kiss him, calm him, watch over him, etc. I can’t wait for the two of them to really be able to interact.

Reid is still a champion sleeper. He only wakes a couple times/night and usually he wakes to be changed and fed and that’s it. And recently, he’s even managed to fall asleep on his own if I put him down in the bassinet we have set up in the living room, or in our bed at night. Tonight was actually the second night that Reid went to sleep without nursing. Of course, both this time and the time before (a few days ago) he’d already been asleep (by nursing), but had woken up when he realized I wasn’t there anymore. Tonight, he did this twice. After nursing him back to sleep the first time, the second time, I took him to pee (he peed with his eyes half open), put on a clean diaper and layed him down on the bed. I intended on nursing him back to sleep again, but he’d already gotten still and had started to close his eyes. So I just watched and waited, and lo and behold, he fell asleep. If I can get him to fall asleep on his own, I will be one happy mama.

Daniel spent the night with Dan’s parents last night, so Dan and I went out for dinner with Reid. It was really nice to be out and not talking about fire trucks or hot dogs. Reid was very quiet and fascinated by all the hustle and bustle of the restaurant. He fell asleep about 2/3 of the way through our dinner, too, so we were really able to feel like we were on a date (except that I had him wrapped up on my chest). We’re feeling like we’re going to need to establish a more regular date night pretty soon now that we have two munchkins keeping us busy. I think we’ll be able to do it semi-regularly by the time the first of the year rolls around.

Tonight, just before I started typing this blog, I heard Daniel laughing in his bedroom (it was 10:30 pm and he’d been in bed since 9). I went in to see what he was doing (he’d already gotten out of bed twice–once to try to find a specific pair of socks in the laundry pile and once to play with his trains). He was just laying in his bed cracking up at nothing apparent. When I asked him what was so funny, he could barely speak as he giggled something about a fork and a sink (I thought he said snake). Turns out he was recalling a Veggie Tales moment when either Bob the Tomato or Larry the Cucumber (I’m not sure which) gets stuck in the sink and uses a fork as a catapult to get out. When I left his room, he told me he was going to dream about that.

I am going to dream about a nice Sunday tomorrow. And I’m going to do it as soon as I publish this blog. I am tired!

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