Thursday, November 30, 2006

Brrrr...Winter Has Arrived

Finally, it feels like winter. In my neck of the woods, the high today will be 57 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius). That's downright cold to us native Arizonans. Being the dutiful mother, I dressed the kids accordingly. Laurel has on sweatpants, a onsie, a sweatshirt, socks, shoes, coat, hat with flaps to cover the ears and mittens. Ian is wearing corduroy pants, a long t-shirt, socks, shoes, coat, hat and mittens. Yes, yes, over the top I know, but hey, when else will they get to wear this stuff? This is about as cold as it gets. Ok, all you guys living in actual cold climates, I can hear you snickering at me.

Donning their duds and being silly.

An Eskimo kiss for the occasion.

The kiddies are asleep, time to grab a mug of hot cocoa and read some blogs.

Ha! That cocoa never happened. Laurel woke up, took her pants off, threw them over the side of her crib, and began screaming bloody murder. Ian never actually fell asleep to take a nap, just kept playing in his room. Gotta' work on getting the kids to take their naps.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thanksgiving Recaptured

The day before Thanksgiving, my husband Paul and I busily tried to get things ready for the big feast. Both sides of our family were coming over, about 20 people. We were going to have Paul's parents watch the kids, but Ian had a bad cold, so only Laurel got to visit her grandparents. Poor Ian had to hang out with us while we cleaned house and prepped food. Not exactly a fun place to be for a toddler, even a sick one.

Turkey and turkey breast thawed and swimming in brine, check. House cleaned, check. Patio and patio furniture hosed off/cleaned, check. Traditional Thanksgiving treasure hunt for the kids created and gifts wrapped, check. Cornbread casserole made, check. Sweet potato casserole made, check. Waldorf salad made, check. (Family members were to bring other sides and dessert.) Appetizers ready, no check, except for the dip. At midnight, we decided this could wait until the following day and headed to bed.

Thanksgiving morning, we knew we still had a lot to do, but tried to relax a bit with Laurel and Ian. We turned on the parade. Laurel could care less, but Ian was excited to see the big balloons, floats and marching bands. TiVo helped keep it interesting for him. We happily skipped over the mindless chatter and commercials, and just watched what interested Ian. I don't know how we survived before TiVo.

Finally, Paul and I kicked our butts into high gear. Paul made a quick trip to the store, while I tried to set up tables. When he got back, I didn't get anything done except take care of the kids. He got the turkeys into the oven, and the ham into the roaster. When we put the kids down for a nap, I was finally able to set up the tables and hide the clues for the treasure hunt.

When the doorbell rang as the first of our families arrived, we had just started getting the appetizers set out, YIKES! In fact, I was still rinsing off veggies and making iced tea as we were saying hello to people. Mental note, make sure ALL food is prepped and ready the night before.

Thanksgiving day was a beautiful 80 degrees (Fahrenheit, 27 Celsius), so we ate outside. Our patio is long enough, that the 20 of us were able to sit altogether. Ian thoroughly enjoyed chatting with everyone during dinner, while Laurel decided it would be fun to blow raspberries with baby food in her mouth. Sorry to those sitting next to her.

Pictures of the family on one side...

...and the other side of the table. Still couldn't fit everyone into the frame. Sorry Diana, Sam, Papa Dave, Jimmy and Kathy (oh yeah, I'm also missing from the pictures since I had the camera).

Everyone had a great time. Paul and I feel especially lucky to have so much family living nearby. We love having everyone over.

During cleanup the following day, Ian decided to take the role of supervisor and tell us where to vacuum. Daddy, it's dirty over there.

Of course Laurel had to point out some of the mess too...

I think I've finally recovered from Thanksgiving. You know you're old when you have a holiday hangover and you didn't have a single drop of alcohol. I was walking around on autopilot Friday morning, until my body forced me to take a nap. And I do mean forced. I was feeding Laurel and Ian lunch, when suddenly I started crying for no particular reason. The waterworks started and I just couldn't get them to stop. I handed Laurel over to Paul and went straight to bed. The second my head hit the pillow, I was out. Three hours later, I woke up refreshed and energized. Look out Christmas, here I come!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cancer Awareness

The American Cancer Society is sponsoring I Fight Cancer badges for bloggers. I've put one on my blog for my father (just look down the left sidebar). About three years ago, he found out he had bladder cancer. He successfully underwent aggressive treatment. Those rounds of treatment made him feel sicker than he ever has in his life, but thankfully has fought off the cancer within his body.

My family is lucky to have my dad still with us. My children are able to play with their grandfather, and I can still joke and laugh with him. I am so grateful that he is in our lives.

Thankfully, there are organizations such as ACS, that are researching new methods in treating and preventing cancer. If you or someone dear to you has dealt with cancer, add a badge to your blog to show your support. There's a counter on each badge that automatically increases as more and more people add them to their blogs. Let's get that counter rolling.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Losing It

You read my last post, yes? So you think our little boy is a saint? HA! You think I've got my mommy superpowers all lined up in a row? HAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHAAHAHAHAAAA!

Raising one child was cake. I could focus entirely on his needs. Consistent discipling was a top priority. Now with Laurel in the mix, it's a whole different story. Let's fast forward to a current example of disciplining meltdown:

Ian's playing with his trucks, while Laurel and I decide it's nursing time. I get situated with Laurel on one end of the couch, using the soft, pillowy arm for support. She latches on. It is peaceful, with the occasional beeping and rumbling truck sounds from Ian.

A couple minutes pass, Ian knows something's up. He springs into action and heads our direction. He sees Laurel and I on the couch and knows...absolutely, positively knows that he is in the presence of MILK! I can see the gears turning in his head and try to distract him, "Hi, Ian! Are you playing with your trucks?"

"Mommy, I need milk and Teletubbies."

Not wanting to disturb Laurel, I simply state, "You can have milk in a few minutes."

"Mommy, I NEED milk and Teletubbies."

"Yes, you can have milk once Laurel is finished."

He looks at Laurel. "Laurel's all done. I NEED MILK AND TELETUBBIES!"

Trying to be sympathetic to his needs, I stroke his arm with my one free hand while cradling Laurel with the other so she won't roll off my lap. "Hey, bud, you can have milk in a few minutes. Why don't you play with your trucks or trains." I'm really hoping he can be distracted by his toys.

"NO! I NEED MILK AND TELETUBBIES!" With that exclamation, he decides to get up on the couch. He tries to squeeze between my body and the couch's arm. His efforts cause my body to jostle about, unlatching Laurel who consequently rips my nipple off in the process. I'm in pain and I can feel my body getting tense.

"Ian, you can sit on the couch, just go to the other side." He continues to push and squirm his way up.

"Ian, go to the other side!" My voice is starting to rise. Still he tries to push himself up onto the couch.

I decide to move to the other side. Laurel grabs my shirt and hair as I slide over. Once situated, I try to relax and Laurel begins nursing again. Ian is now up on the couch watching us from the opposite end. It's not long and he slides over to us and tries to squeeze his body between my back and the couch. "Ian, stop that!" my voice getting louder.

He continues his shenanigans, and I desperately yell out, "Ian, get down or you'll go to time out!"

The pushing and shoving continues. I hoist Laurel and I up again to move to the rocking chair where there is absolutely no room for Ian to try anything. He follows and decides to climb up into my lap with Laurel. "Ian, STOP THAT NOW!" I've lost it and my voice is shrill. Laurel is startled and begins to cry, soon followed by Ian.

I feel like a total heel. I cuddle and try to comfort both of them, wailing screams ring in both my ears. Once they both calm down, I go to the fridge, get Ian a sippy cup of milk, and turn on Teletubbies. He settles in and I am able to nurse Laurel once again.


Reliving this horrifies me. It is absolutely unacceptable for me to lose my temper with a two year old. I made so many mistakes, and I often think of how I should have done things differently. For example, knowing how much Ian loves milk (and it's not like he's asking for soda), I should have thought ahead to get him a cup to drink while Laurel was nursing. Just the milk would have pacified him, no TV necessary. Another big boo-boo, was threatening time out. There was no follow through, and unfortunately I've let that happen too often. I need to be consistent in order for it to work.

The good news, I am continually learning from my mistakes. And, thanks to the blogosphere, I read about others' dilemmas and find out what did and didn't work. Those of you out there sharing discipling problems, successes and techniques, I send you a humongous hug and thank you.

I'm a firm believer: It takes a village to raise a child.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Time Out: Pre-Laurel

I'm in the kitchen making dinner. Ian walks in, looks up at me and sincerely states, "Mommy, time out."

"Do you need to go to time out?"

"Mommy, time out two minutes."

Confused, I squat down and ask, "Why do you need to go to time out?"

Solemn look on his face, he explains, "I touch DVDs."

I don't know if he actually touched the off limit items, I was too busy chopping onions to notice. But I figure if he's willing to admit guilt, then in all fairness, I need to follow through with our established rules and consequences. Matter of factly I remind him, "Ian, you are not allowed to touch the DVDs, time out two minutes."

I place him in time out, set the timer for two minutes and continue making dinner. He accepts his consequence without tears or shrill screams. Two minutes seems like an eternity when you just want to pick up your child and give him a bear hug. I'm so proud of him for doling out consequences to himself. It shouldn't be too long and he'll avoid touching the ever tempting DVD cases altogether.


His sweet little voice sings out, "All done."

I walk over to him, bend down to look him in the eye and say, "You are in time out for touching the DVDs. Do not touch the DVDs. Say, I'm sorry."

"I'm sorry, Mommy."

I pick him up and give and receive a huge hug. A quick peck on the cheek and he's off to play, to cause more mischief, to test the waters.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Baby Signs

Ian and I took the Baby Signs class when he was 8 months old. Results were slow at first. It wasn't until he was 10 months old he began signing milk. Other words soon followed: eat, drink, duck, frog, bath, moon, book, more, to name a few. Both my husband and I enjoyed communicating with our son at such an early age, and felt it alleviated a lot of frustrations within Ian. He had an outlet to let us know what he wanted or was thinking about.

At 9 months, Laurel began the Baby Signs class. Within a couple tries, she was already mimicking and soon meaning milk. Just the other day, she let out a delightful little squeal in order to get my attention. I looked over at her and squealed back. She stopped crawling, sat up, looked right at me, held up her little arm and opened and closed her fist. I asked her, "Do you want milk?" Her head bobbed excitedly as she continued signing milk.

Wow, she is telling me what she wants. No screams, no tears, just clear communication. In the last couple of weeks, she has learned to sign duck, bath, moon, more, light, and bye-bye. Her sweet face lights up every time she signs something and we verbally talk to her about it. Ian loves to get right in there and show her the signs too. He'll even take her hands and demonstrate how a word is done. Paul and I definitely will need to keep up with the two of them, otherwise it won't be long before Ian and Laurel will be talking in front of us without us having a clue as to what they're saying.

Friday, November 03, 2006

We're Going to be on Time...NOT!

One of my biggest challenges as a mommy with two in tow, is trying to be on time. Doctor's appointments, dentists, tot classes, family and friend gatherings, you name it, I'm going to be a few minutes late.

One morning, I decide we WILL make it to Ian's tot class on time. Knowing I need to check Laurel into the daycare center they provide at the recreation center, I figure out exactly what time we need to leave by. Now, if I actually try to leave at that time, I will most likely be late. No, I need to come up with a time that takes into account all the things that might possibly go wrong:

  • Let's start with diapers. Add 5 minutes to change one, two, maybe even three or more diapers. You're puzzled, two children and she might need to change three or more diapers? Yes, there is a history with Laurel pooping right after I just changed her.
  • Next, possible clothes changes. This goes hand-in-hand with diapering. Someone just might squirt something out while the protection is off. And it might not be the kids who needs a change, it may very likely be me. Add 5 more minutes.
  • An additional 2 minutes is calculated in case Laurel spits up on my shirt as we walk out the door.
  • Add 10 minutes for nursing. Laurel tends to be a spur of the moment drinker.
  • 5 more minutes to gather items I thought were placed on the bookshelf by the door. Ian, where did you put _____________ this time?
  • 3 additional minutes for Ian to put his shoes and socks back on.
  • 3 additional minutes for me to chase Ian around the house and put his shoes and socks on for him.
  • 1 minute to get out the door and lock it.
  • 1 minute to open the van and strap Laurel into her car seat. I'm lucky here, she's fairly easy going about being strapped in.
  • 3 minutes to continually encourage Ian to climb into his car seat, and then buckle him in.
  • Add 5 more minutes for ???? Anything goes where children are concerned.
Ok, let's add this up. Hmmm, could this be right? 43 additional minutes? Ian's class starts at 9:45. I need to be at the rec center by 9:30 so I have time to check Laurel in at daycare. It takes 20 minutes to drive there and 5 minutes to park, unbuckle both kids and walk them into the building. I must leave the house by 9:05, except I still need to account for the unexpected. 8:22 is my new time of departure.

The morning is going well. Both kids have had their breakfasts. Laurel takes an early morning siesta while I get Ian ready. Teeth and hair brushed, diaper changed, fully clothed (socks and shoes included, although who knows for how long), Ian is set. Laurel wakes up, and I begin attending to her needs.

I nurse her, change her diaper (whew, only one needed so far, and I can keep wearing my outfit), get her dressed, and then excitedly pick her up to grab Ian and head out. I look at the clock, we're doing great. We walk out of her room and I happily chirp away to her, "Laurel, we're going to be..."

"BBLLLLAAaaaachhhhhh!" And with that, Laurel vomits all over me, her, the carpet, the wall.

We're not going anywhere today.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Time Warp

Is it possible? I blinked, and Halloween came and went.

Ian is officially a fan of Halloween. We have some books about growing pumpkins and Halloween festivities. His favorite book is Trick-or-Treat, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer. For the last two weeks, we've read that book everyday at nap or bedtime, or both. We always tell Ian a fly by the seat of your pants short story just before going to sleep at night. He always requests a garbage truck story, but lately he's demanded a trick-or-treat one.

Of course, it wouldn't be Halloween without a jack-o-lantern, and the accompanying whining of a toddler during the creative process. "Ian do it," kept ringing through our ears as we cut into the beloved pumpkin. One of us needed to restrain Ian from grabbing the knife.

At least he thoroughly enjoyed taking out the seeds and gooey pumpkin guts.

Laurel peeked inside and let us know in no uncertain terms, she wanted no part of it.

Spooky, yes? He turned out pretty good, especially for us amateur pumpkin carvers.

Both sets of our parents came over, along with Ian's friend Riley and her parents. With all the people over, and trick-or-treaters ringing the doorbell, Ian got overly excited and just could not sit long enough to eat dinner. I finally had to place him (more like wrestle and hog tie him) in Laurel's highchair in order to get him to eat a few bites. Getting him dressed in his costume didn't go much easier. Too busy pushing Riley around in a car, he just would not willingly sit down to change his clothes. After much chasing, we finally cornered and dressed him. Finally, it dawned on him that it was time to go trick-or-treating, so out the door he bolts, leaving the rest of us in his dust.

At each door, Ian and Riley seemed hesitant. But the minute they saw the candy, the shyness dissipated. Just happy to be out and about, Laurel watched from either Paul's or my arms, taking notes for next year.

Well, hello there, Bob the Builder!