My New Job

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The arrival of James brought many happy changes to our household; aside from the obvious ones, the biggest change has been me saying goodbye to the “workforce” and saying hello to a new boss.

Her name is Reese.

I am officially a stay at home mom. I can’t say I care much for that particularly phrase as a definition of what I do now, but I haven’t found a better one, so for now that’s what I’ll say.

The choice was not a difficult one for us. The cost of daycare was greater than what I was making at my job and even with the offer of a raise and the option to go part-time, it wouldn’t have been worth it.

Having said that, since I had Reese, all I wanted to do was be home with her. The fact that I have that opportunity now makes me feel very happy and very lucky.

I know how hard it is to leave your baby for ten hours a day. Sometimes I would come home and swear she looked older than she had when I left that morning. I also know how hard it can be to stay at home with your baby for ten hours a day. Some days you may wish you were at work. At least when you’re there you can eat and go to the bathroom whenever you want.

Each is hard for different reasons, and I don’t believe that one is easier than the other.

I feel inclined to say this because articles on social media, in magazines and pretty much everywhere, lead me to believe that there is some sort of weird secret competition among moms. Countless articles talk about why stay at home moms are the most underappreciated and have the hardest jobs, or why stay at home moms should shut up and stop complaining because working moms have it much harder. I even hesitate to write about this for fear that I will offend. I know this topic can make people get all in your face and crazy.

Calm down.

We are all doing the same thing. We are all feeding, and changing, and not sleeping, and chasing, and looking for shoes and wiping butts and dealing with meltdowns at the grocery store, and that shit is hard.

Going from working full-time to being home with kids full-time was a big transition, but a happy one for me.

It does feel weird to not have a place to be every day, or a real schedule, but we make an effort to get out of the house each day. There are days when I feel stuck in an unending cycle of feeding, cleaning, and changing and I find myself longing for the days of after work drinks and wearing real pants. But we have friends and family members with kids who live nearby, so we have people to hang out with when we need to get out of our rut, and that is helpful.

Also, I kinda like my new coworkers so that doesn’t hurt either.

 

 

 

James At Six Months

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The smiley-est baby ever. Everyone gets a smile, even his sister as she’s grabbing all the toys away from him. It’s the greatest thing ever.

Nicknames include Jamesie, Jamers, Jamesie Jones, Jamerino, and the occasional Jimbo.

At the six month mark he is 20 lbs strong and 26.5 inches long; the 34th percentile for height and the 88th for weight. Strangers still comment on his girth on a daily basis. We started food around 5 1/2 months and although he still seems to prefer nursing, he loves pureed apples, squash, bananas, peaches, plum,  pears and sweet potato. No teeth yet.

James is easy-going, happy, a great eater, and content to being dragged around on errands, to playgrounds, walks etc. He can hang anywhere and even lasted for a few 6 hour beach days this summer. My only complaint– he is not a great sleeper and the sleep deprivation is slowly killing my soul. He still wakes 2 and sometimes 3 times a night to nurse. At his six month checkup the doctor suggested giving him some rice cereal right before bed. Um, have you seen him?? I don’t think the kid is starving.  More on this soon.

He is on the move. Through a combination of rolling and army crawling he can get around as much as he pleases.

Reese is still his favorite person in the world and the only one who can draw fits of laughter straight from his belly.

I’ll say it again –this is going by much too fast. I feel like I just gave birth to him and now he’s moving around my living room floor all by himself. I know the day he no longer wants to be held in my arms will come much too soon, so we are doing a lot of that these days.

 

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Today Was That Day

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Six months into my life as a mother of two, some days are good, and some are not.

Some days your kid refuses to get out of the lake.

After 10 minutes of spewing idle threats from the beach, “You are in timeout when we get home!”, “NO TV!”, “I will leave you here!”, “No dinner!”, you turn into that crazy mom and wade into the water with one kid strapped to your chest, and drag the other kid out of the lake and across the sand by one arm.

Other beachgoers look on in horror.

You don’t care.

 

 

I Hope This Is My Last Post About Potty Training

Lately, I could talk for days about potty training. That’s how boring and annoying I am.

I am happy to report that Reese is completely potty trained. We think. It was a rough road and involved some light force at times, but we did it.

Sharing the story of how we potty trained Reese is a little embarrassing because it makes me sound pretty mean, but whatever.

As I have said before, Reese took to peeing in the potty pretty easily but refused to go #2. She took it so far that if we skipped nap time (her time of choice for going #2) she would hold it in, sometimes for days, until she had another nap time. Then, when she finally would go it would be a huge nasty explosion that I would have to clean up, often with a crying baby in my arms.

About a month or so ago, she went #2 in her diaper during her nap time. She then proceeded to smear the contents of her diaper all over her room. The walls, the windows, the shades, the rug etc. (we had to pull up the rug in her room because the smell would not go away.)  I took a picture of the mess on my phone and sent it to Andrew. “Come home please!” (I will spare you by not posting that photo here.) He came home early, we cancelled our dinner plans and spent the next 4 hours cleaning.

After this, we both had major anxiety about where/when this could occur again. One day I was about to tell Andrew something funny that Reese did at swimming lessons and I said, “You’ll never believe what Reese did today at swimming.” He said, “Don’t tell me she shit in the pool.” It was on our minds.

The Monday after the incident I decided I was D-O-N-E. I started putting Reese in underwear every day, which was mean of me, because I knew she wouldn’t go #2 in her underwear, so she held it in. After about 3 days of no # 2, I gave her prune juice, went into the bathroom with her and made her sit on the potty until she went. I promised her anything she wanted if she would go. Ice cream, candy, toys, entire cakes, the list goes on.

We were there for hours. Literally. The first day was probably 2-2.5 hours of me sitting on the tile while Reese sat, and sat, and sat. When she would finally start to go, she would freak out, try to  jump off the potty and cry for her diaper. It was so sad. I actually had to hold her down on the potty (this is the part where I sound like a fricking lunatic mom, but scrubbing shit off walls will make you a crazy person) until she went.

The next day it was another 2-3 hours of Andrew and I taking turns sitting with her until she went. She was rewarded once she went, and after that it seemed to click. She started telling us when she had to go, and was happy collecting her reward once she did. Now, about a month and a half later, we are still rewarding her every time, and we may continue until she’s 12. We don’t want to screw this up.

Here is Reese showing off one of her “potty presents.” She was promised at least 100 different presents but seems satisfied with “a toothbrush that goes buzzzzz.”

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Reese At Two Years And 8 Months

 

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Reese will be three in November. We are in the midst of the terrible twos. I agree that two can be terrible, but it can also be hilarious and fun. When kids start talking and conversing with you, you learn a lot. You learn what they really think about the way you look, the things you are doing, the clothes you are wearing, the way you talk, etc. Reese does not hold back and if you’re having a bad hair day, girlfriend will let you know.

Her first love is still all things food, but currently, other obsessions include Calliou, Curious George, Laurie Berkner, swimming, and princesses.

Two has been fun because we can do more things that she can truly appreciate. She can hang for a full day at the beach, the zoo, a kid’s museum etc. No more paying big bucks for tickets to the amusement park where she sits in the sandbox for 2 hours!

She now actually likes playing with other kids. Especially older girls. Whenever we go to the playground she asks if there will be other kids there. When we get there, if there is an older girl there she immediately runs up and says “Hi, I’m Reese, what is your name?” If they don’t answer, she asks again. If they try to leave, she follows, and asks again. She has her father’s persistence and her mother’s social skills.

Reese takes swimming lessons once a week at the YMCA and she LOVES them. It was here I learned that she has also become fearless. If I don’t have her hand in a death grip when we walk to the locker room at the end of class she will try to jump into the deep end of the pool. Every time. More than once she has slid down the kiddie slide into the pool before I was at the bottom to catch her.

She talks nonstop. Mostly to ask questions. Her favorite question is “why?” “Why is that man eating his lunch?” “Why is that girl playing on the swing?” The worst is when she asks questions about people who are within earshot as if they weren’t there at all. “Mom, why is that man talking to the girl? Why does he talk like that? Why is he holding that? Why does he have those glasses on? Where is his Mom?”

Reese’s speech is great for the most part but she still hasn’t mastered her S words yet so it sometimes takes us awhile to understand what she is talking about.  Poon is spoon, tairs is stairs, etc. My favorite is cream instead of scream.

No new news on the potty front. Should it be taking this long?

Relations with James are improving. I have caught her telling him, “It’s ok James”, when he’s crying and the other night she even asked me if we could move James’s crib into her room.

Every day is still something new and when I look at James I am reminded of how much they change in such a short time.

So we are soaking in all that two has to offer; the terribleness and the hilariousness.

 

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Meet James

Here’s our boy.

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We are smitten.

James is proving to be a lot like his sister was at this age; very easy-going, pretty quiet, but super happy. I have a fear that I will forget him somewhere because he’s so quiet. He smiles, laughs and loves baths and hanging in his bouncy chair. He eats like the rest of his family, voraciously, and people always balk when I tell them he’s only 3 months old. That’s my boy.

He has a complexion I am envious of. Some of his father’s Ecuadorian roots have overpowered my own pasty white genes, and he has the most beautiful olive colored skin.

He adores watching his big sister.  This literally melts my heart.  Reese’s presence alone can stop James’s rare tears and her voice brings a smile. These feelings are rarely reciprocated but he doesn’t seem to mind.

Right now, at almost 4 months old, he sleeps pretty well. He usually falls asleep in his bouncy chair downstairs, then around 8:30 or 9 I move him to his crib where he will sleep until 3 or 4. I nurse him and put him back to sleep in the co-sleeper in our room until 6 or 7.

The first few months were tough. Really tough. Not because James was a difficult baby (we were blessed with two fairly easy babies so I know I shouldn’t complain), but because the two of them together kicked our asses. And we had lots of help! I remember dying for James to be old enough to sleep more so I could get 4 or 5 uninterrupted hours of sleep in a row. Now I feel like his first few months have come and gone much too quickly. Someone asked me when we would start him on solid food recently and I thought, “Oh my god, is he almost ready for food already!?”

Not my baby!

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Potty Training Part Deux

According to mom message boards, “poop phobia” is  a real thing.

If in fact this is true, then Reese has it.

Since we began offering an M&M every time Reese went in the potty, we got her to go pee in the potty on a regular basis. I swear she can pee on command now, and the potty is now becoming something she sits on when she feels like a snack.

On occasion she will still go in her pull-up, and she still wears a diaper at night.

Number two however, is a different story. This is a gross post, just to warn you, but this is my life now.

Reese has gone number two in the potty maybe three times, and these times always involved sitting on the potty for long  periods of time. Like 45 minutes. It also involved screaming and last-minute frantic pleas for a diaper. There is clearly a fear of going in the potty but I thought if she just did it once, she would see it wasn’t scary and she would be over it. Not so.

Every day during “rest time”, which would be more aptly named “take all the books out of the shelf and throw them on the floor, knock over your hamper and kick it across the room, jump on your bed, bang your cup on the wall repeatedly and throw blocks at the door” time, Reese does her “business.” It is not pretty. When rest time is over and I open her bedroom door, she often greets me with, “there’s poop on my back.”

If we miss rest time one day, then there is no numero dos.  This is the only time she will do it; alone in her room, in her pull-up. I have even tried watching her on the monitor and when I think she is about to go, running upstairs and busting in to try to get her to the potty in time.

As I write this, I am realizing for the first time how creepy that sounds.

When I did this, she didn’t go for three more days. Pretty sure I made her feel that she wasn’t safe anywhere.

And so that is where we are with this.

I look forward to the days when there is no poop on anyone’s back but I know these are far off. In the mean time, if anyone has any ideas for dealing with this please let me know. I will try anything at this point.

 

 

Talking Back

Andrew: Reese, if you want me to read you stories, you have to lay down in your bed.

Reese: You can leave now.

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<Whenever James begins to cry>

Reese: Hold on James!

I am so busted.

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Reese: I’m making soup

Andrew: Oh really? What is in your soup?

Reese: Squirrels and people

Cause for concern?

 

GooseWaddle Blanket Review

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Before Mr. James was born I received an email from a rep at GooseWaddle asking me to write a product review of their baby blankets.  As much as I like reading reviews on other blogs, it wasn’t something I originally wanted to do in this space; but the allure of free stuff has won me over.

GooseWaddle sent me a gift set that included a full-sized baby blanket, a baby blankie (we call these “lovies”, those little squares of fabric lined with satin that babies looooove) and a bonus bespectacled toy goose (hilarious.)

I wasn’t expecting to be super impressed by a baby blanket, but we LOVE this one. The blanket is incredibly soft and fluffy and James spent many of his first days wrapped up in it with just his diaper on.  Even after washing it has remained like new. It’s warm and thick so it was ideal for the March weather when we were bringing James home from the hospital, and even now we use it for tummy time and playtime on the floor.  I can’t say I ‘d mind being swaddled in this blanket myself.

The entire gift set goes for $105 and the blanket alone is $65 and comes in a choice of blue, pink or white. When I placed my order James hadn’t been born yet so I went with a neutral white and somehow it is still white.

These blankets aren’t cheap and I probably wouldn’t spend this kind of money on a blanket for myself, but that is what makes it a nice gift for new parents. It comes adorably packaged, and for every blanket purchased GooseSwaddle donates a blanket to a child in need. That makes us happy.

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GooseWaddle provided me with a  complimentary gift set but the views expressed here are my own and I was not paid for this post. I promise I wouldn’t take the time to write a post about something I thought was crappy.