Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bye-Bye Bee-Boo

As if I needed anymore evidence that my two children are entirely different from one another, add exhibit 9347: the pacifier. We call it a bee-boo in our house, mostly because that's what Logan named it. When Katherine was a baby, we just called it a pacifier. Miss Katherine had a pacifier for about 5 1/2 months. And I do mean one. We owned one single pacifier and she never really cared about it too much. Mostly we used it to stifle the shrill, brain-piercing crying when we were in public places so as to keep strangers from giving us death stares. Then she clued in to the fact that no matter how much you suck on it, nothing comes out. So, she decided one fine day to just spit it out and move on to bigger and better things (like sitting up).
But Logan has been a lifelong bee-boo junkie. He has to have his fix. After he collides with something/someone, nothing soothes him better than a long drag on the bee-boo. At bed time and nap time, nothing but the bee-boo will do to ease him into his REM cycle. And it has been this way since the nurses in the NICU plugged him in. He loves his bee-boo like Dobby loves socks.

But then back around January when Logan started speech therapy/special ed, his teacher requested that we give the bee-boo the old heave-ho. She felt (and I agreed) that if he was sucking on that thing, then he'd have a hard time learning to talk. Plus he had a couple of teeth that hadn't completely grown in, leaving a convenient gap for the bee-boo to rest. He looks kind of like those olde timey people who had notches in their teeth from chewing on a pipe all day long.

Gradually we got the bee-boo away from him during the day. He still needed it at nap time and bed time, but we were able to snatch it away from him as soon as he woke up with decreasing tantrums.

Then a couple of days ago, Casey managed to convince Logan to put the bee-boo in the designated post-nap spot willingly. "Bee-boo in," Casey said and pointed to the bread basket. And I'll be darned if he didn't put that "bee-boo in." This was a major sign to us that the bee-boo was (finally) becoming less important to him.

So last night Casey pulled the plug permanently. I don't have the fortitude that Casey does; I'm swayed too easily by those tear-filled eyes and that trembling chin. I'm so glad he's willing to be Bad Cop sometimes, otherwise Katherine would still be wearing diapers and Logan would have that bee-boo until he got married.

About an hour after Logan went to bed the crying switched from "Hey, Mom!! Bring me the bee-boo!" to "Holy Crap! She's really not coming! Gaaaaaaaaa!!!" Casey noted the change and said, "He seems to be past the denial stage and has entered the anger stage." I laughed, but it seemed that as the evening progressed he went through the rest of the stages of grief.

Some 30 minutes later he switched crying again, and began the puke-coughing. Now, Logan is no good at puke-coughing (Katherine however, was a pro which is why we own a carpet shampooer, in case you ever need to borrow it). He tries, but has never successfully made himself vomit......until last night. We heard that ominous "uuuurrrp!" and knew we had to intervene. That was the bargaining stage ("Heh, if I puke, they'll have to give me the bee-boo lest I do it again").

I cleaned him up and Casey changed his sheets and Katherine slept through the whole thing, bless her heart. While Casey cleaned up the bed in the dark to avoid awking Katherine and did the sniff test on all his bed toys, I rocked with him in our bedroom and the true sorrow of the situation seemed to come upon him. I'm not entirely certain I have ever seen him more bummed out. That was the depression stage.

Then we laid him back down on some new sheets minus his blanket (which I just washed because of a diaper overflow...grr) and a stuffed moose and he started crying again, but it was only half-hearted. Eventually about two hours after we put him to bed the first time, he gave up and went to sleep (acceptance? I reeeaaallly hope that was some measure of acceptance and not just exhaustion). I'm glad it only took two hours to get him to sleep. I have seen enough Super Nanny to know that dislodging the pacifier from a child's life can mean many, many sleepless nights for everyone in the house.

Today at nap time he cried for about 40 minutes before he gave up, so at least he's gradually accepting the demise of the bee-boo...sort of. We'll see what bedtime tonight brings. And maybe if we're really lucky, those teeth of his will grow in all the way.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's a Boy Thing

My two year-old son is awesome. He is sweet and snuggly and funny and he enjoys a good game of "Run and Scream." But he is definitely not a girl.

I grew up in a girly house. My poor dad never stood a chance. It was me, my sister and my mom (and the cat was a girl too) pink-ing up the house for him and spreading our cooties all over the place. So, I have no idea how to be around boys. And now I'm supposed to raise one.

When the ultrasound tech told us we were having a boy, I was excited, but I was also kind of scared because I am not a boy and I never had any brothers. But I decided right there on that table with my belly covered in surgical lubricant that I would raise a "nice boy." You know, the kind of boy who holds the door open for you, walks old ladies across the street and likes to play quietly with puzzles and read books. I was definitely NOT going to have a rowdy boy who pulls on girls' pigtails and burps the alphabet.

Fast-forward two years and my plan isn't exactly working out. I have to say that Logan is quick to give hugs and will often try to console his sister when she is crying. But, my goodness, he is LOUD! I went running a few weeks ago and I could hear him yelling halfway down the block. He also seems to only have two speeds: full throttle and unconscious. But I think the place where I'm losing the most ground is in his vocabulary. In the last two weeks, Logan has picked up a bunch of new words which include, but are not limited to: pee, poop, burp, toot (his word for passing gas) and bum. I don't have a problem with these words as a general rule; they are useful words that describe bodily functions and body parts. I even taught him most of them, but I most certainly did not teach him that these words are funny. He learned that one all by himself. And as much as I wish he wouldn't yell "Bummmmm!!!!!!!" and howl with laughter, I have to admit it is pretty funny to see him laughing so hard.

He has also mastered the role of "pesky little brother." He just loves to play with his sister's toys, but according to Katherine he does it wrong and it makes her crazy. But the louder she yells, the funnier he thinks it is. He teases his sister by stealing her dress-ups and wearing them wrong ("Logan! Take off my apron! It does NOT go on your head!!!") or driving her Barbie car Thelma and Louise-style off the ottoman with appropriate sound effects.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am raising a rowdy boy who loves to bug his sister and eat bugs. But the more time I spend being the mother of a boy, the more I realize that his rough and tumble ways don't bother me. I love that he has such a zest for life and that he takes joy in just diving in head-first (you know, except when it's into a piece of furniture). In fact, I'm proud of the person he is and I love him exactly the way he is. But, let me be clear: he may burp the alphabet some day or follow in his father's footsteps and eat erasers to gross out the girl who sits in front of him at school,  but he will also hold doors open for you and walk old ladies across the street. He may be wild, but he's no caveman.

PS: Happy Mother's Day

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Importance of Very Small Things

I had a unique experience recently. I was fortunate enough to meet one of my very favorite authors, Alexander McCall Smith. He writes several series of novels, but my favorite is a series of books which are classified as mysteries, but they really aren't. They follow a woman around through her daily activities as she solves cases for the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency she founded in Botswana. Mostly the stories follow her mundane daily activities and the problems of her friends and family. Very little detection actually takes place. Mr. McCall Smith even jokingly said that, "Nothing much happens in my books. There are enough things going on in the world without authors adding to the problem." In the rest of his talk, he drew from other examples of his work and the writings of others as he talked about the importance of the small things of life. He said that the small things are what mostly fills up a person's life and shouldn't be looked over.

After his talk was over and I had my book autographed and my photo taken with him, I thought about the small things in my life and what they mean to me. My thoughts took me two different directions. I immediately thought of my family and all the meals fixed, diapers changed, games of Candy Land played and how I resent these things sometimes. As long as I have been a mother I have struggled with motherhood. I have always wanted to contribute to the world with a rewarding job. Being holed up in the house all the time makes me feel detached from the civilization. My own universe is so small: groceries, laundry, library. I have no idea what's really going on, just that Katherine ran into a wall again and Logan threw a fit when I trimmed his nails. Most of the time, I enjoy being with my kids, but there are days that those diapers and toys just pile up and I want to run away screaming and go live on a beach somewhere, sipping tropical drinks.

Then I thought if how upset I would be if I had to give those things up (the diapers and toys, not the tropical drinks, although that would be sad too). To me, nothing beats those sloppy, wet kisses and baby giggles, or even the endless hours of getting after Katherine for leaving her tiny toys on the floor that Logan is eating. The very small things of my life (and they are very small) are really what make my life something special.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Rules of Hockey

Yesterday while we were making dinner, Casey and Katherine were talking about words that rhyme. Somehow the word "hockey" was rhymed with something (I think it was "sock" but we're working on it :) ) and Casey asked Katherine what hockey was. This was her response (as best as I can remember it)

Casey: What's hockey?
Katherine: It's a word. And it's on the ice.
Casey: The word is on the ice??
Katherine: No, they go on the ice and they hit the hockey circle with the golf clubs.
Casey: So, it's a game?
Katherine: Yes. And they wear football helmets.
Casey: Wow, that sounds like fun.
Katherine: Yes.
Kirsten: So, how do you win hockey?
Katherine: You hit the hockey circle into the soccer goal.
Kirsten: Really? So, what is it called when you get the hockey circle in the goal?
Katherine (rolling her eyes): *Sigh* It's a goal, Mom.
Kirsten: Oh! I didn't know that!
Katherine: Yeah, and if you miss, it's called a strike.
Casey: *Snigger*
Kirsten: So, it's "three strikes and you're out?"
Katherine: Yes. And you're out.
Kirsten: So what happens when you're out? Do you get to play anymore?
Katherine: No. You have a time-out.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Myth Called "Me Time"

Editor's Note: I started writing this particular post before Thanksgiving, which should illustrate my point nicely.

Yesterday, I was trying to write a grocery list. I thought that I would do this while the kids were eating lunch. They'd both be distracted and in the same room. But I was not successful in writing a grocery list. This is what happened instead:

The local grocery store does not send us a weekly ad. I do not know why. The grocery stores from 15 miles around send us ads, but the one down the street doesn't. So if I want to look at the ad for this store I have to look it up online and that means I am not in the same room as my kids.

I set up the kids with plates of yummy, luscious, artificially-colored macaroni and cheese, a favorite in our house. I locate a piece of paper and a pen and sit down at the computer. I manage to write "Groceries" at the top of the paper and then I hear, "Mah! Mah! Mamamamamamamama!!!" This is Logan asking for more macaroni. I set the paper down and get him more macaroni. I come back to the computer. I hear, "Mom!! I want summore!" I sigh, get up and go back to get Katherine summore macaroni, but she doesn't want macaroni. She wants water. So I get her the water. This pattern continues, Logan, Katherine, Logan, Katherine, until finally I unplug the computer and bring it into the dining room and just pray I don't get mac 'n cheese on the keys. Now suddenly they're done. Logan starts yelling and flinging macaroni at the ground and somehow manages to get it in his hair. He doesn't even have hair in the usual sense, just peach fuzz, but the macaroni sticks anyway and I see cheese sauce in his ear. Lunch is officially over and all I have accomplished is to write "Groceries" on a piece of paper and walk around a lot. Three hours later (I'm not lying) the grocery list is finished and we head to the store. We barely beat Daddy home and Logan is MAD because he needs a nap. Sorry, dude. I know you need a nap, but we all need to eat, so learn to make some sacrifices for the Greater Good and you can have an extra-long nap tomorrow.....maybe.

When I have experiences like this, which is pretty much every day, I think of these experts on the Today show and Oprah and other shows who say that stay-at-home moms should take some "me time" and go to a spa or read a book or take a nap or go out to lunch with friends. This is supposed to recharge your motherly batteries and allow you to face the macaroni grenades with a smile. To that I say, "Hah! If you were actually an expert, you wouldn't say things like that! Don't you know that 'Me Time' is a myth and searching for it will only lead to heartache and sorrow?!?"

I used to believe in "Me Time." I used to watch for it, wait for it, but it never came....EVER. I tried what the experts say I should do and "carve out" Me Time from my schedule. Well, I am here to tell you that that does not really work. If I have this Me Time during the day people suffer and we either don't eat or are naked because I selfishly read a book and therefore failed to buy groceries and do laundry. Or worse, somebody ends up needing stitches because he (yes, it's the "he" child that does this) climbed on something and I wasn't there to pull him off.

If I have Me Time and my husband babysits, that's not a guarantee that it will turn out well then either. I love my husband dearly and he is an excellent father and jungle gym. But he is not used to the constant noise, cat-harassing, and general shenanigans around here because he has a job and talks to grown-ups all day who don't throw food or pee on the bathmat when they're six inches from the toilet. He hasn't developed that stay-at-home parent filter to know what to just let go and what needs attention. Mostly I think this filter is just plain-old-ordinary exhaustion and I can only muster up the energy to deal with the really important (ie: someone is going to die if I don't intervene) things. So, being a dutiful father who loves his kids, he tries to keep everyone out of everything and it makes everyone angry and tired. But seriously folks, most of the time I come home and find the children asleep and my husband in a good-ish mood.

But I don't feel like it's fair for me to disappear and leave my husband to watch the kids anytime I feel burned-out, because that would be pretty much every day and I'd never see him. And anyway, I like spending time with my husband. In fact, I find that spending time with this man who is really too good for me is an excellent way to recuperate from the day. So instead, I have reconciled myself to the fact that Me Time will happen once the kids are in college. And do you know what I am going to do with my first legitimate Me Time? I'm going to write a grocery list!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Adventures in Reading: H0ttie M@les

So I was in the kitchen today, stacking the dishwasher, water running, and Katherine hollered at me from the dining room...

Katherine: Mom, what is H0ttie M@les?
Mom: What?
Katherine: I said...WHAT IS H0TTIE M@LES?
Mom: What?! (silently pleading that she heard wrong)
Katherine: What......Is.....Hot....Teee.....Males?
Mom: Where did you hear that?
Katherine: I didn't hear it. I read it.
Mom: Uh...ok. Where did you read it?
Katherine: Here on the red thing from my Halloween bucket.
Mom: (Having internal struggle. She is suddenly thinking she has some very progressive neighbors. She wonders how in the heck she could have missed this particular "goody" when she went through the bucket. She goes into the dining room).
Mom: Show me.
Katherine: Here! What is this?
Mom: (laughs with relief) Oh, Hot Tamales? They're cinnamon candy.

PS: My creative spelling is merely a tactic to prevent perverts from finding my blog if they google cerain words. We'll see if it works. Apparently if you google "These mashed potatoes are so creamy" you can find my blog on the first page of a google search......above the "While You Were Sleeping" IMDB page all because I quoted it once. So, we're being more careful now.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

(R)evolutionary Idea

If you know me, you might have heard me wish out loud at some point for a third arm. I have said it before--and I'll say it again--that I think while a woman's belly is growing and her whole body is changing anyway, why not grow an extra arm (complete with fingers, of course) during pregnancy? Believe me, I would use it!

I can't tell you how many times I have needed that extra arm. For example, this morning I was changing a poopy diaper. Logan is at that fun age where he is learning about his body, so while I was trying to wipe poop off his bum, he was trying to thwart me and distribute the poop onto nearby books, toys and his face. Yuck!!! If I had had that third arm, it wouldn't have been a problem. One hand to wipe, one to hold on to his legs and that third arm to keep his hands out of the mess.

After embarking on this adventure called Mommyhood, I feel like I have gotten pretty stinkin' awesome at doing things with the hands I have. I can unscrew the lid, fill, nuke and re-screw the lid of a bottle/sippy cup while holding a screaming baby. I can carry a baby, diaper bag, purse and up to 4 bags of groceries up three flights of stairs to the third floor where we live. I can unfold a stroller with a baby in my arms. When Logan was tiny, I could even use a public bathroom without setting him on the floor. I will tell you that buttoning your jeans while holding an infant is no small task, but I have done it! The problem comes when there's just no physical way of working around the lack of hands.

Like after I have climbed the three flights of stairs with the groceries and all that stuff, if my key gets stuck in the door (and it usually does), I need two hands to yank on the doorknob while jiggling the key and occasionally pounding on the door and getting mad and praying I brought the cell phone in case the door won't open and I have to call maintenance. That would be one instance when a third arm would be nice.

So next time I get invited to be on the Human Evolution Committee and we're voting on what we're doing next, I'm all over this third arm idea. I know that ditching our baby toes has been winning straw polls and caucuses and stuff, but I really think this is the direction we want to go. So tell your Congressperson to vote "Yes" on the "Giving Moms a Hand Up" initiative.