Wednesday, June 29, 2011


This past Sunday, we had a party for Meatball's birthday. He actually turns 2 this coming Tuesday, but we wanted to be sure and have the party early enough for me. Just in case Ender decided to come early (no, we're not really naming him Ender).

Great time. Lots of guests, lots of food. Everyone got along and the kids were great. And it's a wild toddler celebration when someone pees in the Elmo potty and doesn't empty it, and someone throws paper towels in the cloth diaper pail. We party hard around here.

Another memorable moment: a friend who has a little boy, whom I have not seen in awhile, arrived. I saw the little boy and said, "Look how big you are!" My friend responded by looking at my belly and saying, "Look how big YOU are!"

So Meatball is 2. Almost. And he is VERY smart. But, more importantly, he is very typical. He does all these things that we watched for The Boy to do, and he does them without any sort of professional help. He has recently broadened his drawing technique to include circular strokes, which is a 2-year-old skill. He knows that he's making circles and ovals and identifies them as such, which is not a 2-year-old skill. But he is obsessed with shapes. He knows letters and numbers too, but his preference is for shapes, and he has taken to asking people to draw them for him, just like The Boy does.

At dinner this past Saturday, someone drew him a circle but must not have made it round enough, so when asked what it was, he said "oval!" Everyone's a critic.

Next endeavor: potty training. Yes, it seems like I just went through this with The Boy and was banging my head against the wall about it. Meatball is physically ready to do it--able to sit himself on the potty, able to hold pee for hours, and he can pull down pants but we'll have to refine the skill. A few weeks ago he really seemed in the game mentally as well; right now he's not as much in the mood. But he still is willing to sit, and if he is bare-bummed and starts to go, I can get him to finish in the potty. We're going to try a day of "booty camp" with a friend, where we get together and work on the potty stuff, and they cheer for each other. It might work, and it might not. It would be pretty darned cool for him to go to school/camp potty-trained next week, because he does like the little tiny toilets that they have. He's also a little bit into flushing the toilet and I have to stop him from doing that...except if he actually pees, then I make a BIG deal about letting him flush.

I don't particularly care if I have 2 in diapers...I did it before and I can do it again. But there are windows of interest with potty training and if he's willing to do it now, even if he has some accidents for awhile before really getting it, I'm going to get him started. I even bought him some new underpants for the occasion.

We still haven't sat down with Meatball to open his presents. Probably tomorrow night we'll do it. I think he will understand the present thing more at age 2 than he did at age 1.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Today it's been 7 years since Musical Daddy and I got married. It feels like we've been together forever. Not because life with Musical Daddy is so tedious and ages me so (quite the opposite, thanks), but because so much has happened to us that couldn't possibly fit into only 7 years of time together.

As I mentioned a few days ago, this time of the year, despite being a time for celebrating the beginning of our life together, will probably always be colored by the events of The Boy's cancer diagnoses and the beginning of that journey for us. Three years ago, on our anniversary, we were one day post-surgery and The Boy was in such pain and just looked awful. We had some wonderful friends bring us Chinese food and we had our anniversary dinner right there in the hospital. I guess that was the real beginning of our mentality that as long as we're together, nothing else matters. And also the beginning of many occasions to be celebrated in the hospital, since the hospital became such a huge part of our lives.

Tonight we went out to dinner. My mother gave us a coupon. We love coupons. Grandma and Grandpa took charge from bathtime to Meatball's bedtime, and continued to supervise The Boy in various electronic pursuits. The Boy had no nap today and was asleep by the middle of the first page in the second story. And the only reason it took that long is because Fox in Socks is just too cool and he had to stay awake for it.

For anyone keeping track, I'm two weeks and two days away from my "due date" with Boy #3. I'm definitely feeling round and tubby and just...slow. I'm not impatient for this baby to come out, though, because the longer he stays, the longer I have to chase "only" two little boys. I have room for two little boys on my lap (which is pushing it) and if I have three little boys, someone gets left out. And someone might also need to be followed. Hard to do when you have two other children on your lap.

Information about the baby can be found at until further notice.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Photos of Boys! 6/23/2011

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Today was the first day of the rest of our lives

I guess it's midnight so technically this all began 3 years ago yesterday. Really, 3 years ago a few days ago, but before June 24, we were still kind of in denial, hoping for something else to happen other than what did. The dates June 24, 25, and 26 will be forever remembered for our family as the day that things went horribly wrong.

June 24, 2008: I was at work that day. It was the second-to-last day with students. A half day for them and a full day for us. The Boy had this weird lump in his lower abdomen, and Musical Daddy took him to the doctor. I took a phone call in my classroom on the class phone, which doesn't happen too often, and it was Musical Daddy saying that the doctor was sending them for an ultrasound. I met them at the place, to be told that they were just finished and we were expected back at the pediatrician's office, back up the road. When the pediatrician told us what he thought we were dealing with, he was in tears. Kidney cancer. Wilms Tumor. Supposedly one of the "easiest" cancers to deal with, but still cancer. We were to pack our bags and check in to the hospital.

Right around this time, 3 years ago, we were trying to soothe The Boy whose primary soothing method--his right thumb--was taken from him in order to put the IV in his hand. Didn't help that the resident who tried twice never could find a vein on him despite jabbing him over and over and over again.

The morning of June 25th was when he went for his CT scan. We didn't "go" very far to get there, as we were not leaving that hospital. More flashbacks soon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Quiet...

Musical Daddy and The Boy are not here, and they won't be back for a few days. The last time THAT happened was when The Boy was still on treatment.

I'm much happier to know that the reason we aren't all together is because The Boy is having fun with Daddy, rather than because he is ill and we have to divide our family in order to get him better.

I still miss them a lot. They're the ones that do the most hugging around here.

Although it was very cute; Meatball and I watched "Goodnight Moon" before he went to bed, and while he was watching it, he'd kiss my belly and say "baby kiss." He is becoming more affectionate, which makes me happy and makes Musical Daddy even happier.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On the Road

Tomorrow, The Boy and Daddy are leaving for a weekend trip to help a friend move. Sad, because his friend split from his wife, although it seems to be a relatively amicable parting of ways. And she gets the dogs, no argument. No children. It should be fun for The Boy because he'll get lots of one-on-one attention from Daddy and from family out there. Also, it should be nice for Meatball to have me ALL to himself for the weekend. It's a concern that I have, that once the baby arrives, they'll miss Mom.

Let's be honest--The Boy has done this before. He figured out pretty quickly that Daddy is the best anyway, so he may not mind sharing me, although sharing Daddy will be a much bigger issue. For Meatball, sharing Mom will be an issue, but he'll get through it by spending time with everyone else. I think that The Boy is going to have a harder time adjusting than Meatball. But we shall see.

This evening we had a little bit of Father's Day festivities, since they will be gone. They'll be with Grandpa out in NJ. We had an early dinner and some cake, and the boys made presents at camp.

The first week of camp at the preschool seems to have been a success for both kids. A lot of The Boy's friends from his class are there. Meatball had just a few kids with him in his group, which is fine because the whole thing is new to him. So while they are there, I've been teaching my music lessons that normally have taken place in the evening and, for lack of a better word, we've been "nesting" around the house, him more so than me.

For actual Father's Day, we are hoping to get some kosher Chinese take-out. And more cake, of course.

The Lunch Bunch

This week, Meatball and The Boy started "camp" at the preschool. The Boy was pretty much used to the whole routine, complete with already knowing his teachers, but for Meatball, it was all new. His first day seemed fine. They reported that he was happy, had fun, didn't cry, didn't get upset, and seemed a bit tired toward lunchtime but that was to be expected.

Another perk is that for the summer, they are okay with using his regular cloth diapers. When "school" is in session and it's a bigger group, they would prefer not to. That's fine.

One of the exciting things about Meatball's experience is that he gets to have lunch with The Boy and his friends. Some of the littler kids go home at 11:30, but since The Boy is already staying, and likely there are others with sibs who stay later, Meatball also stays until 12:30 and eats lunch. It was VERY cute on Tuesday to see them sitting at the little tables together with some of The Boy's friends. The two sat next to each other and had other little friends with them.

Also, Meatball has been going up to The Boy, hugging him, and saying "friend!" which is adorable.

I've been packing lunches for The Boy for several months now, and I have to pack for Meatball now as well. He goes 2 days a week; The Boy goes 4 days. Anything that I pack has to be relatively easy for the children to manage, but since they are so good with their food, that's pretty much everything. Although no cups of yogurt; bowls only, because cups are more difficult. I asked some friends about what they pack for their kids, just to get some new ideas. One friend said that she packs pancake sandwiches. You had me at "pancake" as there are few things that my kids get excited about the way that they do about pancakes.

We still are struggling with transitions, particularly with The Boy. He just doesn't want to stop what he's doing to go somewhere, no matter how awesome the place we go might be.

He is also having some random pee accidents. Doesn't seem like anything more than him pushing the envelope of how long he can hold it and just not wanting to stop what he's doing. But he is usually pretty receptive to the idea of going to the bathroom, so if we suggest that he go, he tends to listen.

I'm sure I've said this before, but potty training your child does not mean that you cease to be responsible for bathroom habits. Whether your child trains at 18 months or at age 4, you're still thinking about their bathroom needs until age 5 or 6 at least. If nothing else, you have to be sure to find the potty wherever you go. And the absolute worst is the almost-trained or just-trained kid when you're not using pull-ups/diapers, because if a kid goes in the diaper, you have time. Not a lot, because you don't want an uncomfortable child, but things are contained, so as long as you find somewhere to change him/her quickly. Accidents in underpants need to be cleaned right away.

As for the 3rd child...I've got 4 weeks until my EDD but he can take his time. I'm getting suitably round.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Go get 'em!

Thanks to a supportive community of people with brains, and possibly some bad press, Lynn's profile was reinstated.

Check out this Philadelphia Inquirer article about Lynn, Liam, and the hippo.

Thanks to those of you who joined the "Bring Back Lynn Heinisch" Facebook group!

Unfortunately, some people have no class and have to talk trash about her. I might have to bust some heads in Philly.

Documentation and Banishment

I'm glad that I wrote about Monday's experience, because yesterday certainly had its moments where I wondered which child was the real The Boy--the one from Monday or the one from yesterday.

Of course I already know that children in particular and all people in general have their quirks, have their good days and bad days, and that perfect consistency is a pipe dream of the parenting experts and has no real basis in reality. People are inconsistent. We do our best to provide routines for ourselves and our children and to expect that things will usually stay the same, but then, they don't. Being prepared to "move with the cheese" makes life quite a bit easier.

Yesterday, Green Arrow was banished indefinitely. He's a superhero, friend of Batman and the DC comics crew, and cheap plastic toy that shoots little arrows. I was not a fan of this toy pretty much right from the beginning, not only because it shot little arrows (it came with 2 2-inch plastic stick-things) but because it was another annoying plastic toy to add to the collection of things we can't find when The Boy wants them. I was attempting to pick up the couch cushions from the floor, and the children were unhappy about it. The Boy picks up Green Arrow and shoots him at me. I was upset by this. I didn't show him a lot of anger; I just took the toy and went to hide it away so that he wouldn't have it anymore, and I told him that it was not okay to shoot anything at a person, even more so than just hitting a person. I didn't bother with anything like time-out, which doesn't do much for him anyway, because taking the toy and having him throw a fit about it and be upset was "punishment" enough. He asked about the toy a few times during the day and asked Musical Daddy for it when he returned home. I said that Green Arrow had been banished and, later, explained why.

We agreed that The Boy was too young for toys like that, with the possible exception of the more gentle water-squirting toys. They don't really understand the difference between what shows up in stories and on TV versus what is actually acceptable in real life. A friend mentioned something about her son hitting her daughter with a frying pan, having seen it in a movie. Same age. They just don't get it. So we have to watch them very carefully, and it's up to us what they can and cannot play with, and what they can and cannot watch.

I'm sure that plenty of my readers will criticize me for letting him watch Batman, or any television, in the first place. I don't have a problem with kids reading stories from comic books and kids watching stories and movies, particularly if it's something that the family enjoys together. Musical Daddy is an avid consumer of media and has been a comic book collector for over 30 years. It's something that he wants to be able to share with the kids, as they become more ready and more interested.

As for TV in general...well, that's an entirely different topic. I choose to let my children watch TV and watch with them, and we pick what they watch. We don't have it on just for background because our TV watching is very deliberate. We almost never watch TV when it is actually on; it's all OnDemand or on our computer or on Netflix, which means no commercials. If the kids ask for something, we'll put it on, but unless they ask, we don't. Particularly now that the weather is (usually) nice and it's so easy just to walk out the door and play.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Good times with The Boy

I've had this struggle going on with The Boy. It's really my own struggle, not his; he's just struggling with me because he's 3. I've felt like he saves his most ridiculous trash for me and heaps it on me more so than his other primary caregivers. And, in exchange, he picks me as a distant third to them, "them" being Musical Daddy and Grandma.

It was a pleasant day today, because I think he and I were in good spirits and relating a little better. Most of the struggles that I expected to have with him, I didn't have. When it was time to put down the game, go to the bathroom, and get in the car for physical therapy, he did it. When, after physical therapy, we went outside to play on the playground and I told him it was time to go, he listened. He did complain in the early evening when he wanted to go outside and we wouldn't take him, because Daddy had to leave for rehearsal and I was in the middle of making dinner, but I didn't feel like he was dishing all of it out on me.

This evening, we tried something new--we went to a playground that is normally in walking distance, but we drove so that we could throw the tricycles in the trunk. Meatball isn't really interested in it yet, but The Boy has been working really hard in physical therapy, but it's really not that easy for him to practice the skill on his own because all we have is sidewalk in front of the house. Next time, we can probably just bring the one trike and not need to drive. I was proud of him because he really rode that tricycle around well and, again, he didn't give me any crap when it was time to go to the playground and time to leave there.

When we returned home, I said "hands in the sink before we eat and drink" and the kids washed their hands. They had some fruit, and then they took a bath. Slight complaining but no real resistance, no hitting, nothing too bad. I also had the boys put the bath toys in the bucket so that I could actually have the tub clear and the bath mat properly hung. They were great about it. When it was time for bed, The Boy didn't complain at all about doing "potty and teeth" and going for stories. We did three stories, and at the end of the third, he wanted to read it himself. Then, he asked for another story. Opened the collection of stories to one about Finding Nemo. Complete with "please." I acquiesced, because he had been so very agreeable all day, also having this feeling that he'd be asleep about halfway into the story. And I was right.

I feel so much better when most of my interactions with The Boy make me smile. He's so cute and so sweet. I'm going to try and do whatever it was that I did today, so that hopefully we can keep having these sorts of days.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Bring Lynn Back!!!

Facebook--breastfeeding is not obscene!

Lynn submitted a photo for Mothering Magazine. She was sitting next to a hippo and nursing her 1-year-old son. Somehow the photo was determined to be obscene, and Lynn's profile was deleted. I saw the picture; for the longest time I thought that she just had a picture of a hippo because it was cool and then I realized that on the bottom of the picture was Lynn nursing the little boy.

For those who don't know my connection to this wonderful mama, this article from the Philadelphia Inquirer explains it pretty well:

And here is my original blog post about her, although most of the story has gone differently than we expected, from the way we got milk to her, to the reasons behind the feeding issues and the positive resolution that involved eliminating gluten from their diets.

So the fact that this mother is breastfeeding, and is STILL breastfeeding, and her little boy is just as cute and smart as he can be, and THRIVING, is particularly important to me.

If you could do me a favor and "like" this page, I'd appreciate it.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back to square one

No luck on the job interview. They said they'd call by the end of the work week if I was going on to the next round, and they didn't. Last time, they called early.

Is it because I'm very pregnant? I'm sure that doesn't help. Despite my previous track record of doing my job while entrusting my child to my very capable husband, I'm certain that they have no interest in hiring a pregnant person, even though I did tell them when I was due. They won't admit that they hold it against me, but I'm pretty sure that they do.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Earning my keep

Today I've been substituting in a class where the students are done and the teacher left movies. Super. But the teacher is on a trip and the kids need a babysitter.

I had a second interview for a job on Wednesday. Today, we are awaiting a call to see if I make it to the next level. Haven't heard yet. I'm starting to feel less optimistic.

Musical Daddy and I are in a position where we are both actively seeking employment,and whomever gets it will go to work. That means that the other will be the stay-at-home parents to the THREE boys and doing occasional musical activities. If this job that I'm going for doesn't go through, there are a few, and I mean a FEW, others, for which we've put in.

As usual the instability is quite unsettling.

The children are doing well. Just peachy. Today is The Boy's last day of preschool, then we have a week free, and after that, BOTH boys start summer camp. Which is the same school, complete with the same teachers for The Boy, but the activities will be different and they'll just have lots and lots of fun. I'm excited for Meatball to get to go too, because he loves just to go there, and I think he'll enjoy making friends and meeting new people.

I just hope they're ready for him. But then again, I think he's a lot more typical for his age in terms of his emotional development than The Boy. So he'll do fine. Actually, they're a lot closer together in that respect. And in clothing size--the hand-me-downs are pretty direct around here, despite the nearly two-year age difference.

Tonight I'm going to attempt Tot Shabbat again with The Boy. Just him, though. Meatball isn't going until he's a little older, because he just doesn't ever cooperate. They both save their worst behavior for shul, it seems, but who knows, maybe The Boy will be good tonight. However, if he didn't take a nap and throws a total fit before leaving the house, I'll have learned from the experience of a few weeks ago. And I'll STAY HOME.