Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What? Eat? I Don't Think So!

Laurel's four months old, and can now experience "solid foods." I've been watching her closely as the rest of us eat our meals, and I'm telling you, I've yet to see an inkling of interest in her. While we're eating, she watches the ceiling fan spin, or fusses.

I remember when Ian was approaching this age, he intently watched us eat. He was so interested his little head would follow along as each spoonful went into our mouths. The first time he ate rice cereal, he actually ate it. His little mouth opened right up, like a baby bird waiting for its worm. I swear he even said, "Mmmmmm." He was READY for something besides milk!

Just for kicks, we decided to let Laurel try some rice cereal. As the spoon slowly approached, she looked around at other things of interest to her. When the rice cereal was poured into her mouth, she looked horrified. Her eyes clearly expressed concern over what just happened, and her mouth hung open as the cereal streamed out the corners. We decided to try again, same results. On our third try, she began shaking her head to avoid the same unpleasantness. Clearly, she was not ready.

A couple days later, I decided to let her experience cereal again. Same results, disbelief followed by head shaking urgently so I couldn't hit my mark. Oh well, she's satisfied with milk for the time being. We'll just have to torture her again in a week or so and see if she's changed her mind.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Yesterday, I picked up one of Ian's toys and saw something from underneath running towards the TV stand. Out of the corner of my eyes, I thought what I saw was a very small scorpion. "AAAAHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Paul came down the stairs to inquire about my scream as I quickly moved Laurel and Ian away from the area. You'd think something that small couldn't possibly be dangerous and I was just overreacting, but NO! The smaller the scorpion, the more potent the venom. Paul moved the heavy TV stand out from the wall, hoping to find what I saw. Instead he found the carcass of a bigger, fortunately already dead, scorpion.

We were getting ready to head out the door, so we couldn't keep looking for that damn scorpion. Plus there was no guarantee we'd find something that small among all the TV/stereo/TiVo cords. We went to the store and then to my parents for a barbeque. Five hours later we arrived home. I opened the door, when what to my tired eyes did I see, but the same small scorpion. At least I think it was the same scorpion, for all I know there's an entire family of them residing in my house.

Paul walked around to the other entry door and went to the kitchen to grab some clear packaging tape. I was trying to keep my eyes on the scorpion while holding Laurel and keeping a very curious Ian at bay. Paul snuck up behind the scorpion and quickly pressed the tape down onto its body, killing it.

Now, I'm picking everything off the floor (blankets, toys, newspapers, magazines, kids, etc.) when we're done using it. Shoes are mandatory, especially downstairs and outside. We are checking the beds before hopping in for the night. I do an inspection of the premises every morning before the kids are let loose on the carpet. It seems that all my dreams include scorpions these days, and rattlesnakes now that we've found some holes out in the landscape. Oh the joys of living in the desert. I think we need a cat and chickens. Unfortunately, I'm highly allergic to cats, and our HOA would probably frown upon us having chickens. Next solution...hmmm, sticky tape to stop them in their tracks? Actually, we did try this and all we caught were lizards, poor things. Ring of fire around the house? No wait, I don't think they swim. That's it, we need a moat!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Clean Up

At one of Ian's toddler classes, I noticed something phenomenal. At the end of every class, the teacher sang a song, with the children and their parents joining in once they recognized its tune.

Clean up, clean up,
Everybody, everywhere.
Clean up, clean up,
Everybody do their share.

Some of the older children actually began picking up the toys! Wow, I thought, toddlers cleaning up after themselves, I have to do this. Beginning that very night, we (we meaning Paul and I) began to sing that very same song and picking up all the toys throughout the house. At that stage of the game, Ian was about 14 months old. He would follow us around and pretty much watch us clean up. His idea of helping was to pick up a toy and play with it.

I knew consistency was key. We kept going through the same motions and it wasn't long before Ian caught on to the rules of the game. At first, he would bring us objects we asked for. "Ian, get the ball, please." He would toddle over to the ball, pick it up, toddle back to us, of course dropping the ball along the way, pick it up again, and finally toddle it over to us and successfully hand it over.

Then Ian started bringing us objects without being told. Enormous amounts of clapping and cheering ensured this continued. He happily kept bringing more and more toys just for the attention. At some point, we also started giving Ian a five minute warning as to when clean up would begin. It helped him mentally prepare to end play time and get ready for the transition.

Now, when Ian hears the Clean Up song, he sings what he can, and races to the living room where his huge collection of vehicles resides. Without even Paul or I being in the same room, he begins to put his toys away. Of course this thrills us to no end, but what really makes us smile is when he sweetly states, "Night, night, train. Night, night, bulldozer. Night, night, __________," as he puts each vehicle into the trundle. How cute is that! Each toy gets to be put in "bed" by its loving owner.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Missing Left Sock Syndrome

Laurel, at only 4 months old, has a special talent of removing her left sock. It seems that whenever I turn around, she has managed to get off one sock, 99 percent of the time being the left one. She doesn't use her hands, after all, she is still figuring out what those are for besides stuffing them into her mouth. It's by kicking and rubbing her wee leggies together that she manages to get that one sock off.

A nursery rhyme in honor of Laurel:

Diddle, diddle, dumpling,
My daughter Laurel,
Went to bed without a quarrel;
One sock off and one sock on,
Diddle, diddle, dumpling,
My daughter Laurel.

*In the picture, you'll of course notice her left foot is sockless. Also, notice the three sparkly bandaids. She got three shots on that day, and yet she still managed a smile. What a trooper!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Ian's had his share of boo-boos over the last couple of years. His first "catastrophy" was back when he was learning to stand. He loved propping himself up against our French doors to look outside. Of course balance gave way to gravity, and his forehead landed on the door hinge. That same day, he fell again and hit his head on the tile floor. Ever since, he's had one bruise after another.

The newest thing is for him to tell us about his boo-boos. A couple of days ago, he was playing with our bathroom scale. I have no idea what fascinates a toddler about a scale, but that is what he decided to play with. He picked it up despite his father's warnings, and naturally it dropped onto his big toe. Upon further inspection, Paul found some skin on Ian's toe had scrapped off. Ian shed no tears, just kept looking kind of numb. Paul bandaged the wound and Ian gingerly walked over towards me. "Mama, kiss it, make it better."

I could feel the tears swelling in my eyes, a reaction to both the empathy for poor Ian's pain and the joy at the amazing thing he just said to me. As he stood before me, I couldn't believe how brave he was, and how he truly believed my kiss would make his pain go away. I obediently bent down and kissed his sweet, bandaged toe.

The rest of the day, I kept hearing, "Kiss it, make it better." How could I resist such a request?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Yin and Yang

Since birth, Laurel has let us know when she's not satisfied with the service she is receiving. She's not too subtle about it either. We were driving home from our weekly Costco trip, when Laurel decided to let us know she was bored. Whines, accompanied by a little bit of huffing, were clearly heard. I looked back into the mirror we strapped to the headrest of the seat she's in, and saw her squirming and looking fairly grim. If she could have turned her lips down any more, she would have looked like the Master Control Program from the movie Tron.

I thought a little entertainment might pacify her, and quickly strained my tired brain for options. Ian was sitting next to and facing Laurel, so I asked him to tickle her toes. He smiled, and tried to reach for her chubby piggies. However, being strapped in to his own car seat made it an impossible feat. Since I was riding shot gun, I decided to give it a try myself. As soon as my hand was in Laurel's view, she grabbed it and pulled it to her mouth. Her complaints turned into sweet coos and squeals of delight.

Once I thought she was satisfied, I removed my hand and faced forward again. She immediately barked out her disapproval. I returned my hand, she grabbed it and happily began singing. I decided to test her and removed my hand. Again, she voiced her objection. As soon as my hand was in sight, she grabbed it and started cooing. It soon turned into a game of me teasing her, and Laurel either being annoyed or happy. Yes, sometimes I am evil.

The cool glowing affect around Laurel is thanks to Ian. He happily smudged the camera lens with his fingers. Who knew it would make for such a heavenly picture?

BTW: GO SUNS!!!! Whoo-hoo!!!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Who Are You and What Have You Done With My Child?

People usually warn against spoiling your child. With Ian, it's the other way around. He spoils us. Easy going, flexible, independent, loving, and extremely HAPPY are words people use to describe the little fella. I frequently will find him throughout the day sitting cross-legged by the bookshelf, surrounded by books that he has been looking through. He can easily spend a good 30 minutes there by himself. Then he'll get up, go over to where his cars, trucks, and trains reside and spend another 30 minutes. Tantrums have been few and far between. He's been very loving towards Laurel, his baby sister, and hasn't shown any resentment or jealousy.

Of course with a second birthday rapidly approaching, this had to change sometime. And boy, did it. The other day, Laurel and I were playing on the floor while watching Ian zoom his little blue garbage truck around. Next thing I know, he's standing on the couch rolling the truck along the back pillows. He knows this is not allowed. In fact, we have a no standing on the furniture policy in place. I put him on the floor and firmly stated, "No standing on the couch. Are you allowed to stand on the couch?"

"No-oo-oo," he sang as he shook his head.

The minute I let go of him, he climbed back onto the couch and stood up on it again. I thought a demonstration was needed, so I picked him up, sat him down on the couch next to me, and restated, "No standing on the couch. We sit on the couch. See, look how mama is sitting on the couch."

"Sit on couch," he replied.

"Ian, you need to sit on the couch. If you stand on the couch, you'll need to go to the corner (our time out destination) for two minutes."

I thought he understood, but again, when I got up off the couch, he immediately stood up on it, laughing no less. It had become a game. I took him off the couch, bent over to look him in the eye, and explained he was going to the corner and why. He did his time, and then happily went back to playing with his trucks. Not five minutes passed before I found him standing on top of his train table. We went through the whole process again. Then he was standing on top of a dining room chair. Similar to directions on a shampoo bottle: explanation, demonstration, corner, repeat as necessary.

While trying to play with him, he still acted inappropriately. He was throwing toys and hitting me. Redirecting his play wasn't working.

All of this was happening an hour before dinner. I thought perhaps it was due to being hungry and that it would change once his tummy was full. However, dinner turned out to be a disaster. Ian ate a few bites and then started holding his food up over his head and dropping it onto the floor. It wasn't long before his sippy cup also was tossed to the ground. Soon his fork followed the same flight pattern. Then he picked up his plate and dumped its contents onto the booster chair tray. Before I could get it cleaned up, he raced his hands across the tray, spreading food all over the floor.

Our nightly routine to help ease Ian to sleep didn't go much better. He was extremely squirmy during the stories, and forget about brushing those teeth.

Once we got him to bed, I tried to think of why he acted the way that he did. Was he seeking attention? If so, he definitely got it, and unfortunately not the kind of attention you want to give your child. But I didn't think that was it. I make a point of playing with him throughout the day. Was he not feeling well? That could be it, he's been fighting a cold. Then it dawned on me, was he overly tired? Bingo! He got up earlier than normal that morning, and he refused to take his nap. Now I was really regretting not enforcing that nap. I know better than that. Sleep deprived children become Satan's spawn. Lesson learned, Ian will take his naps. Next step, get on the internet and get out those child development books to find ways to help your child to take his naps.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Shoe Fetish Continues

Last December, I had written about Ian's shoe fetish. He was always trying to put shoes on me. He was even trying to put shoes on me when I already had shoes on. Now, that he's a big guy, all of 23 months, he wants to wear my shoes. I say go for it, just don't trip. I don't care to spend any more time at the E.R..

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Ode to a Snot Rocket

In honor of our kids repeatedly getting colds, I thought an ode was necessary. Laurel, only 3 months old, has become quite familiar with the Snot Rocket (a.k.a. nasal aspirator). The minute she sees it coming, her entire body tenses up. She stretches her neck out as far as possible and turns her head side to side, hoping to escape. Her hand/eye cordination has improved significantly while trying to knock the Snot Rocket away from her sensitive little nose.

Ian, being the curious toddler that he is, is usually pretty fascinated by the whole process being performed on his baby sister. I've caught him on occasion looking in the mirror with the Snot Rocket jammed into his nose. I offer to help him out with it, but then he shakes his head, very clearly says, "No," hands me the aspirator and walks (in all honesty, runs) away. I haven't been able to use that thing on him in probably over a year. He's just too strong. With the rivers of snot that keep running down his lip, I probably need to teach him how to blow his nose. I wonder, at what age do kids learn to do that?

At any rate, here's my attempt at poetry...

An Ode to a Snot Rocket

Oh, Snot Rocket, how I hate thee,
Your blue bulbous shape definitely scares me.
Of what is to come, I can only imagine,
To escape, I need the strength of a steam engine.
Oh you wretched, cursed thing,
That comes with the cold that I get every spring.
Oh the humiliation, the indignation and anguish I feel,
As you're put up my nose, making me squeal.
I know I can't smell anything or even breathe,
But your intrusion into my nose just makes me seethe.
Really, I don't mind the rivers of ooze that just keep a flowing,
Above my lip a snot mustache is growing.
As your menacing self slowly advances,
I'll swat at you feverishly taking no chances,
At letting your daunting self get to my nose,
Trying to extract yellowish stuff that flows.
Oh please, oh please, leave me alone,
Even though my nose desperately needs to be blown.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Just Make Yourself At Home

The other day, I was outside watering the grass. My ears perked up at hearing a vaguely familiar sound. It kept repeating itself, and I thought it had to be some nearby bird. No big deal, so I went on watering. Then it dawned on me. That was no ordinary bird! Quickly I turned around, and saw...

... a duck. For some reason, we keep getting adopted by one or two of them in the spring time. Lucky us. (Please note the sarcasm.) These things are MESSY! The pool fence must give them a sense of security from the likes of us. They better just hope the neighbor's roaming cat doesn't get them.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Binky Guilt

I am having some serious doubts about whether or not Laurel should use a pacifier. She finds great comfort in sucking on something, whether it be my finger, her own fingers, a blanket, or a toy. I understand this completely. I sucked my thumb as a child. My mother thinks I started sucking my thumb because I was so sick as a baby. However, it didn't stop there, it continued into grade school. I remember how difficult it was for me to quit, and I'm relunctant to put Laurel through that.

So again, I ask myself, why do I want to give Laurel a pacifier? There are times she is inconsolible. We've changed her diaper, fed her, bathed her, walked her, rocked her, nothing seemed to work until we gave her a pacifier. Then, she settled right down. Yes, we want her to feel comforted, I just feel like a "dealer" every time I pop a binky in her mouth.

I think for now we will use it when nothing else seems to work. I only hope she's not wearing it on a necklace when she goes to her Senior Prom.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Reminiscing An Old Toy

This story may only be funny to Paul and I since we've got firsthand experience with the instigator, but I must write it nonetheless. We need to savor and preserve these funny stories, especially for later years when we're dealing with teenage attitudes.

Ian has been fighting a horrible cold the last couple of days. You knew he was miserable looking at his continuously wet, chapped face. Yet, he still managed to find moments of amusement.

When Ian was about 3 months old, we got him a Jumperoo, a jumping apparatus meant for babies under 25 pounds. Ian absolutely loved it and could really get some serious air time using it. However, he outgrew it long ago, and so we put it away for the next baby. Once Laurel was able to hold her head up on her own, we got it out again. The first time Ian saw her in it, he ran over and began playing with the attachments on its "dashboard". It was obvious he remembered using it and wanted to get in, however it had a new driver.

While Ian has a cold, I've been trying to keep the kids in separate rooms, hoping Laurel wouldn't catch it. I was watching Laurel roll around in the family room, when I heard music coming from where Ian was playing. It seemed familiar, but I couldn't figure out which toy he was playing with that made those sounds. Then it dawned on me, he was playing with the Jumperoo. Too cute, I thought, that he still liked to play with its beads and spinning adornments. Laurel and I continued to play, when suddenly I heard little grunts and whines in addition to the repetitive music. I decided it was time for me to check out what Ian was doing. I walked into the living room and found him inside the Jumperoo. He obviously realized the minute he got in that he was too tall and could no longer jump in it. He deperately tried to get out, but the seat was too tight around his toddler thighs to release him. As I reached down to rescue him, I couldn't help but laugh at my giant trying to enjoy his old toy.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Mama, This is Oval

Even before Ian was one year old, he has known the basic shapes of circle, square, triangle and star. He could put the shapes into the matching openings. He also knew their names. I would say, "Give me the star," and he would. The last couple of months he's been able to say their names. He has a wonderful Melissa and Doug wooden puzzle that has 8 different shapes that he can easily put back together. What I didn't know is that Ian knows the names of most of those shapes.

The other morning, I was sitting on the floor putting on lotion after having just gotten out of the shower. Ian was very interested in my back, and started to poke at it. Next he laughed, and as he poked one spot on my back over and over again, he said, "Mama, this is oval." I stood up, looked in the mirror, and sure enough there was a huge oval shaped mole in the middle of my back.

I can just see him now at the public pool or beach walking around and pointing out all the shapes that he sees. I'll have to wear my magical sunglasses that wards off any evil and offending stares.


Ian is truly a boy. He loves all things transportation. Planes, trains, motorcycles, wagons, cars, trucks. But his true love, at the moment anyway, is garbage trucks. Nothing will make his day like seeing a garbage truck. We'll be driving about the city listening to a CD of silly kids songs, when suddenly he'll scream out, "DARBAR TRUCK!" (Sometimes it comes out "diaper truck," which I think is totally approriate.) If I don't acknowledge this amazing sighting, he'll yell out even louder, "Mama, DARBAR TRUCK!" Of course, then I have to get just as excited and cheer, "Yea, garbage truck!" Glancing into the rear view mirror, I usually see his little leggies kicking and a huge smile spreading across his face.

Wednesdays are garbage pick up day. You can imagine what this does to Ian. We live in the middle of the neighborhood, so it takes a while for the truck to finally reach our house even though you hear it an hour beforehand. The slightest hint of a garbage truck and Ian is off and running towards the front windows screaming, "DARBAR TRUCK, DARBAR TRUCK!"

Well, yesterday was Wednesday, thus garbage truck day. Unfortunately, we were walking up the stairs at the very moment the truck was on our street. We tried to watch it through an arch window above the entry door, but alas the truck went by too fast. We hurried to Ian's room to see if we could catch a glimpse through his window, no luck. I left Ian in his room as I went to nurse Laurel. For a few minutes it was quiet, but then I could hear Ian cry out, "Come back. Come back, darbar truck. Come back. Come back, darbar truck, peas ("please" in Ianese)." I knew the truck would have to come back to pick up the garbage on the other side of the street and grant Ian his wish. Once I heard the truck again, I went into Ian's room to make sure he could see it. He was looking forlornly out his window. As the truck got closer, he got more and more excited. Then it happened, Ian's wish came true. The truck stopped across the street. Ian watched intently as it picked up the canister, dumped its contents into the back of the truck, and dropped the canister back onto the sidewalk. Ian excitedly jumped up and down yelling, "DARBAR TRUCK, MAMA, DARBAR TRUCK!" Of course he spent the rest of the day saying, "DARBAR TRUCK," and pointing out pictures of it in books and puzzles that he has.

Is there a possibility Ian will have a future job in public sanitation?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Some amazing changes are occuring in Laurel. She's babbling, she's cooing...

she said, "MAMA." I swear it! I know, I know, she's just trying out different sounds and has no clue that it's me. She probably won't say it again for months. Still, she said, "MAMA!" My 3 month old is brilliant, brilliant I tell you!

Another amazing change, is that she's rolling all over the place. And not just rolling over to tummy or back, oh no, she's literally rolling like a barrel. Over and over she goes, where she stops, nobody knows. Not even Laurel for that matter.

The best change of all... she's taking a nap at the same time Ian is. Will wonders never cease! This pleases me to no end. Whoo-hoo! I may actually get something done besides the blog. Blog written, check. Housework, um...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Nap Time Rebellion

Ian moved into his new room about two months ago, allowing his baby sister to have the nursery. He was so excited about the new big bed covered with trucks, trains and planes, that he didn't miss his old room at all. He happily slept in his bed every night and naptime, only falling out a couple of times. I couldn't get over how easy the transition went. Easy, that is, until he realized he could climb out whenever he wanted.

I'm a firm believer that toddlers need "rituals." Through every day routines, they know what will happen next and understand what is expected of them. This gives them a sense of security. Our naptime ritual is to have a snack, milk, read a book, snuggle and say, "Sweet dreams." Going through all these motions helps Ian unwind and accept the fact that it is time for a nap. He may spend some time chattering away once he's lying down, but there haven't been tears or fits in a loooooooong time. Naturally a child is going to test the rules. That's how they learn. So it wasn't too big a surprise when Ian decided that he could get out of his bed and play instead of sleep.

I was downstairs playing with Laurel, when suddenly I heard the pitter patter (truly more like heavy, drunken thuds) of tiny (ha, not since he was 3 months old) feet above me. I could not only tell he was out of bed, but also that he had stomped into the master bedroom. Busted!

I ran up, swept him into my arms, carried him into his room and laid him back in bed. Quietly I said, "Naptime, Ian. Sweet dreams," and off I went back downstairs. Something caught my eye as I left. He had a twinkle that foretold me of what was to come. I decided to wait just outside his room for a few minutes to see what would happen. As I peeked around the wall, I could see him sitting up, legs dangling off the edge of the bed, a huge smile on his face. Slowly he slid off the bed and then bolted towards the door, right into my arms. Busted!

Again, I placed him back into his bed, quietly said, "Naptime, Ian. Sweet dreams," walked out, but waited just outside his door. I didn't even have a chance to turn around before I heard him stomping across his room towards me, giggling. Oh no, it had turned into a game for him! I didn't want to admit it, but I had succumbed to being one of those scenes from the nanny shows on T.V.! (Nothing against the nanny shows. I love them, and have found some good advice from them.)

We kept dancing this way for over 20 minutes. Downstairs, I could hear Laurel crying. I had to think fast. If I caved now and let Ian stay awake, he would just assume later that his dear, loving mama would cave again. I couldn't just let him roam freely upstairs. I thought briefly about putting Laurel in the front baby carrier and repeatedly putting him back into his bed every time he got up, but then realized I didn't have the energy to see it out. Finally, I came up with a solution. I picked him up on his last attempt for freedom, carried him into the nursery and put him in his old crib. I quickly removed Laurel's mobile and bird play center, quietly, but out of breath said, "Naptime, Ian. Sweet dreams," and walked downstairs to attend to Laurel's needs.

Downstairs, I could hear him giggling at first. Then it got quiet. About ten seconds later, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!" Crying ensued for about ten minutes. I did go check on him to make sure he didn't try to climb out and fall or get a limb stuck in the rails. When I peeked into the nursery, he was standing in the crib, looking at his reflection in the mirror on the opposite wall and sobbing. I felt so guilty for what I had done and started questioning my parenting skills. Rationalizing, I told myself that he was in a safe place, and indeed was tired and needed his nap. I went back downstairs to Laurel and cringed with each overhead sob. It seemed like an eternity, but in reality it only took him ten minutes to fall asleep.

The next day, Ian tried to pull the same stunt. I actually was expecting it and immediately placed him in the crib. This time there was only five minutes of sobbing. The day after that he stayed in his bed. In fact, to this day (yes, I know, I have just jinxed myself), he stays in his bed and eventually falls asleep. Hopefully, I have won this battle. As for the war, who knows?