Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Some people are meant to be loved...

I wrote a post over two years ago about reacting to something that isn't inherently sad with more tears than necessary as it related to the Scrubs finale (by the way, I did like the extra half-season that followed and didn't really have much JD in it). The "something that isn't inherently sad" bit also came from the show, where someone had to prove that he really was a sensitive guy. He wasn't. I'm not either. I don't cry or get all misty-eyed unless something is REALLY that emotionally charged.

Anyhow, I realized that I was having another Scrubs moment when I remembered the line "some people are meant to be loved; others are meant to be hated." It's very out of context, the way I'm about to use it, but in less harsh terms, it does apply.

The original usage referred to a popular patient in the hospital, and the chief of medicine who is universally disliked. But, since the episode is told from his perspective, sort of a look into the softer side of this bad-guy boss, we see that sometimes people have to be bad guys and make unpopular decisions in order to keep things running smoothly. Rarely do they receive any sort of direct gratitude; they are fortunate to see the fruit of their labor and to know that without them, people would be lost and likely not know why.

I'm settling back into the role of #1 parent around here. Musical Daddy has begun his decidely un-musical job at a bank loan processing center, where he works normal business hours (for now; he'll have a few different hours after he is done with training). This means that I am the parent who has to enforce "the rules" and be the bad guy. I do my best to be gentle with them, to listen to them and respect them, because it's the best way to keep the peace. I remember that I set the tone, no matter what the children dish out. Unfortunately, I still get a lot of hostility. Particularly from Meatball, whose world was probably rocked more by Ender's arrival. So I get a lot of "go away!" from him, now that he knows how. And there is hitting. The Boy doesn't do it to me, but Meatball sure does.

I can't take it personally. He's 2. But it's a reminder that usually, Mom is the bad guy. Mom gets all the piss and vinegar when the kids are angry about things. Daddy works all day, and likely won't get any sort of personal satisfaction from his work. It's okay that he gets to be good guy with the kids.

Hey, I'm glad that he and Meatball are getting closer.

Still working on the new routine..,we'll see what it's like at the end of the week. School for the bigger boys next week!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A preemptive strike

At this very moment, Ender is getting his tongue tie clipped. He certainly has no trouble gaining weight (13 pounds and 23.5 inches today) and he isn't causing me excruciating pain while nursing like Meatball did. Even so, he does have some subtle feeding issues, such as gulping and gasping--partly from oversupply over here--and a difficult time taking a bottle.

Side note--I am filling the freezer with milk, not so much for Ender because I pump before leaving, when I do leave him for any length of time. Hoping to give milk to other babies. HM4HB.org for more info.

Anyhow, in addition to correcting his feeding issues, we hope to avoid any articulation issues.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Now that's not right

This evening, we went to one of our favorite playgrounds--the area of Frick Park known as the "blue slide park" to discover something very very wrong.

The blue slide, the big concrete one carved into the hill, was red.

Upon closer examination, I deduced that the red paint was an act of vandalism, because it was done so poorly. Sure enough, there was a message from someone official, saying that the slide was vandalized and would be made blue again once weather permits.

This park has been the blue slide park for as long as I can remember. Other thing about the park have changed, like the fact that instead of climbing a foam rubber hill to get to the top, there was a ladder for walking on one side and a climbing structure on the other side that went up and down like rolling hills. It was yellow. And probably not worth the effort.

We are enjoying the last days of summer together. Glad for all the spectacular family time. I've really made a point to plan exciting things for my boys, but I've also been glad to let The Boy in particular do things on his own with Daddy or Grandma, and not his brothers. He's the elder statesman, after all.

He will be four next week. Such a blessing. .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Baby Photos

He was 1 month at this photo shoot; this was last week.

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Buy Digital Prints

Friday, August 19, 2011

No more monkeys

Although it is considered bad form to say "I told you so" and the like when children hurt themselves, this particular case warranted an exception. Let me explain, lest you think me cruel.

We have a cute book with 8 monkeys jumping on the bed, and it has little plastic monkey faces in the book. With each page it counts down and one fewer monkey face is on the page as you see more monkeys who had fallen off the bed. Both kids love this story and can read it (The Boy can kinda read it; Meatball is reciting from memory).

Also, there is a game that they play, mostly with Daddy, that involves supervised jumping on beds or furniture.

As such, they hear the phrase "No more monkeys jumping on the bed" with some regularity. So, when The Boy took a header onto the floor as a result of bouncing his fool self around on his bed, I picked him up and hugged him and said, "What happened to the monkeys jumping on the bed?" to which he replied, "they fell off and bumped their head" which helped me to see that he was going to be fine and also clicked for him as the lesson to be learned. Not likely to stop him from bouncing around but he will be more careful. We hope.

In earlier injury news, Meatball tripped over a wire or something and hit his chin, splitting it open a bit. Mama called the doctor and asked him if stitches were needed. I told him that the cut looked like a piece of orzo. He said to do a butterfly bandage if possible but that it would heal okay on its own. He also said that 75% of the population has some sort of scar on their chins, so Meatball is likely to join the majority there,

The morning activity today was bowling. I didn't know how that would go with these boys. Grandma came with us for moral support (understatement...) and also didn't know how it would go. It's her kind of activity, being that it is indoors. Seeing as how the skies opened up a few times today, indoor activities were everyone's type. The boys were excellent! They loved the concept of bowling (with bumpers of course) and they enjoyed taking turns and watching me bowl. Meatball learned to refrain from chasing the ball down the lane. I'm not a good bowler, but I'm not a complete embarrassment and it was neat for them to see how a grownup does it. They thought it was cool that the screen told us who was to bowl next. They got a kick out of the ball coming back each time, and of course they liked the snacks.

The reason why we went bowling is because I signed us up for "kids bowl free" which gets kids under 18 to play 2 games any day all summer. You still need to rent the shoes unless you have your own. But it is all over the country; you just pick your facility. Not a bad idea because it generates some business in an otherwise slow season. This particular place had $2 specials for "kids bowl free", where you get a little drink and a snack (bit of pizza, fries, chicken, pretzel, hot dog...those sorts of things). We had also paid $25 for the adults in the house to get to play all summer. We didn't get our money's worth, except that when I signed up, I got $25 toward Restaurant.com right away. We use those a lot, or at least my mother does.

It took about 90 minutes to bowl one game with The Boy, Meatball, and I playing. We used bumpers, of course, which made the scores interesting. For the first few frames, the kids were winning.

In the attitude department, today was a great day with The Boy and his interactions with me. I took great care to tell him what was going on, to listen to his input and give choices, and to respect his right to be busy. I took the same care with Meatball and didn't get the same pleasant results, but I think that the 2-year-old is going to act his age, so he just needs to see other people being kind and being positive. Also, it's better to have all of the children acting their ages instead of The Boy acting as though he is also 2.

Musical Daddy returns late tonight from his travels to take my aunt to Connecticut. He stayed in NJ with his dad and woke up to come back for a coaching session for his chorus. Long few days for him.

Aside from the head injuries, all is well over here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


In Penelope Leach's book Your Baby And Child, she describes babies aged 1 months to 6 months as "settled." Before that, they're newborns, and things are just crazy.

Ender seems to be settling, just as she describes (now I think I want to read the book again...I have a much older edition that I got from a friend, whose daughter is 15 now). We still have to work to figure him out, as he is still so new. However, once they are a month old, their stomachs are a little bigger and they can hold more in there, and aren't eating ALL THE TIME. Thankfully, even when he is eating all the time, it's not such a big deal, because it doesn't hurt, the way it did when Meatball was this age. I'm still not quite ready for hands-free nursing with Ender, although that may be more that he needs to be able to hold his head up reliably in order for meals-to-go to happen.

My parents had a reasonable time on Tuesday night, when they watched all three children at the same time while Musical Daddy and I both had rehearsal. Ender's settling certainly helped matters, because it was just easier to manage the kids when Ender wasn't completely beside himself the whole time. When I returned home, I found Ender asleep on my father's lap and, thankfully, the older two children asleep in their own beds. My parents did a fine job.

Musical Daddy is loving the fact that Ender is a snuggler, at least so far. He likes to rock and be moved around, but once he's calm, he'll just rest. Stinker can fall asleep right in the middle of our bed but isn't completely sold on his own yet. Although he will stay in there for awhile when swaddled with this certain sailboat blanket.

The Boy had some trouble keeping his hands to himself when Daddy went to put on his shoes. Consequences were reasonable and logical and should have been given for things like this a long time ago. If The Boy hits when we're trying to get ready to go somewhere fun, he doesn't get to go. And he doesn't get to stay home playing games and watching TV, either. The problem with keeping him at home is that usually it punishes us too, because it screws with our plans. Keeping him home with Grandma somewhat helps the rest of us to enjoy our outing, but staying home with Grandma isn't really going to help him to learn from his actions.

From our side, we are going to do a better job of letting the kids know what's happening, and in what order, and giving them choices whenever it is appropriate. Often, The Boy will do better if he knows what is coming up.

Most of the time when there is a behavior issue with your children, take the time to examine what you, as the parent, can change in order to help the situation.

And, as such, I've been doing my best to maintain an energetic and positive tone with Meatball whenever I make a request of him. It's harder in some ways because he doesn't have the same verbal skills as The Boy, but he is also better at listening and taking action.

So...we're getting there.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Give me direction...

And give me hope...

We are at a frustrating point with The Boy in particularly and to some extent with Meatball as well, where it seems like we're losing our patience and acting out in retaliation to them, in ways that don't really mesh with our actual parenting philosophy. What we actually believe is that positive modeling, logical and natural consequences, and respect for our children as people, while still being sure to enforce boundaries, will lead to children with healthier attitudes and better citizenship in the long run.

In my clear-headed moments, I know that my children--Meatball in particular because he has had a typical development without the medical involvements--act in an age-appropriate fashion and they do what other kids their age do.

Just now, I had a stand-off with Meatball about cleaning up a mess that he made. Considering that everyone in this house does a poor job of actually holding the kids accountable for cleaning up after themselves, it's no surprise that he refuses to help out despite clearly being responsible. I behaved horribly. I got him to clean up a little and then he wanted to play more. Naturally. I redirected him to the mess over and over, raising my voice more and more...and I ended up taking the toy away. I guess the problem was, if I wanted to take the toy away, I still had to clean it up, so I lose either way.

Someone please tell me that the gentle approach works...because I really want to throw every toy out the window in violent fashion and I'm that doesn't set the right example for the children.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Because it's not called, "The Whining Petulant Mommy"

My recent online silence can be at least partially explained by my not really being in a great frame of mind and not wanting to air my crankiness out over the interwebz because that's not exactly the purpose of this blog.

Ender has continued to be a great little baby, although he's got a bit of the power-puking tendency like The Boy had (you know, back when baby puke was actually a big problem). His thing is, he'll have a few times a day where he'll just want to nurse ALL.THE.TIME and once he gets every last bit of his fix, he'll be content for awhile. He will sleep, or he won't, at that point. Nighttime is for sleeping, and he gets that. He nurses probably 2 or 3 times at night, and all I usually have to do is switch sides once or twice.

The older boys are doing well although there have been some subtle issues creeping in with both of them. The Boy has gotten more bossy, both with us and with Meatball. Some of the things he says are taken directly from television, and taken in the wrong context. Example: there's a spot in Blue's Clues where Periwinkle (the cat) is upset that he isn't in the front of the line. The teacher tells him that it is someone else's turn and that he'll have a turn some other time. The Boy interprets that as, he has to yell at us not to go in front of him when we are going down the stairs. Um..huh? Meatball has experimented with biting over the past two days or so and I really hope that he gets over it, like, yesterday. He is perfectly capable of expressing himself verbally. We were at CostCo today and there were lots of yummy samples. I told Meatball that we bite food...and all different things we saw, I said "we bite peaches! we bite grapes!" and "we kiss people! we hug people!" At that age, The Boy never bit, at all. I know that some kids do it and some kids don't; I just want my kid not to do it.

But on the other side of things, I think it's been fun for the two of them to get to be "the big boys."

Still about the same in the potty department for Meatball. He is almost always willing to do #1, with no complaints. If he has a pee accident, it's rare, and it's at home, because he has forgotten and we didn't remind him. When we're out, he always wants to try out the potties. No success yet with #2. I don't get the feeling that he's scared to do it; he just doesn't quite understand how to hold it and then deposit it in the right place. Since he doesn't poo all the darned time the way that The Boy did at this stage, we're cleaning up about one accident a day, plus getting him out of a diaper in the morning, which still puts us firmly in the win column for him.

I've been struggling a lot with the older boys and their fighting. I wonder how much of it is specifically to get attention from us. I'm guessing most of it. Sometimes, I don't intervene because I want to let them work things out. Sometimes, I feel as though they might hurt each other...

By the way, have I mentioned that little babies (even big little ones, like Ender over here) smell yummy?