Sleep. Glorious Sleep.

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This clock is our new best friend.

When James finally started sleeping through the night, like a sick joke, Reese started waking at 5 AM.  We tried making her room darker, which didn’t help, we tried forcing her to go back to her room to sleep, which resulted in her throwing loud fits directly in front of James’s door, and we tried getting her to get into bed with us, just for a “few more minutes”, which resulted in more fits.

I had heard about alarm clocks for kids that let parents set the time they want their kid to wake up, and at that time the clock lights up, letting the kid know it is ok to get up. I didn’t think this would work for us, since Reese never listens to us when we ask her to stay in her room, so why would she listen to a clock? But, my nephew has one and my sister-in-law said it worked. We thought we’d try it, and I talked up the idea of Reese having her “very own alarm clock!”

I bought this one from Amazon. The Kid’Sleep Classic. It was $37, which was more than I was planning on spending but I knew the key to making it work was for her to be excited about it; the less expensive versions I showed her online from Target and Walmart did not excite her in the least. But, a cow dancing ballet in a pink tutu is really all a girl could ask for.

The clock is also a night-light, so when she goes to bed the clock has a glowing picture of a cow tucked into bed. Come 7 AM (which is the time we set it to, because for us, that’s sleeping in) the ballet dancing cow lights up.

And right now, its working. I know that she waits in her bed for the ballet dancing cow to light up, because most mornings, I can hear her feet hit the ground at exactly 7:00.

We’ve had it for a couple of months and she still usually stays in bed until it lights up.  I know that it is still semi-new so maybe in a few more weeks the excitement will wear off and we’ll be back to rising with the sun. But right now we are happy with it and I would recommend it to anyone who likes their sleep.

This Happened

I bought 1989 on ITunes a few months back and since then, Reese has fallen hard for Taylor Swift (Taylah Swiss.) Nary a day goes by that there is not a concert in our backyard, at the library, on the playground, or in the bathtub.

This is a few months old, and anyone who follows me on Instagram has seen the edited version, but I feel it’s too good to not share again.

Transitions

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I love big families. My sisters are my best friends. I want my kids to have the experiences I had growing up. Sharing bedrooms, road tripping  jam-packed in the back of a station wagon, always having a playmate, etc.

Before I had James, a friend told me that they had heard that the transition from 1 to 2 kids was more of a life changer than then the transition from 0 to 1 kid. At the time, this seemed impossible to me. When you have your first kid, it is no longer just you, and it never will be again. Now there is this little person who feels like they are literally a part of you. What bigger change is there than this?

Then came James. Then there were two little people who depended on me for absolutely everything. It felt like someone needed something ever single minute of the day. And night. And that’s because they did.

When one finally fell asleep the other would wake up. When one had a great night and slept till 8 AM the other would be up at 4. There was no “sleeping when the baby sleeps” this time around.

Instead of peacefully nursing my baby to sleep in a rocker, I was nursing him to sleep while making a sandwich for the other kid and shoving cold spaghetti into my own mouth. The ratio of kids to adults was equal, but somehow Andrew and I still felt outnumbered.

Others have told me that the third kid is really no biggie. They have actually said this. People who have told me this are in agreement that the second kid can be a total shocker, but claimed that once the third comes it doesn’t really change much. Just another body. I can’t fathom this, I mean, when the third kid comes the mom and dad actually are outnumbered. The mom can grab one kid and the dad can grab another, but will the third run away and be lost forever?

So at this moment, I do feel like the transition from 1 to 2 kids was much greater than from 0 to 1 kid. Out first few months with James, I have deemed the “holy shit months.” Nothing could have prepared us for that. And I say that honestly, but with love. We were overwhelmed, tired, and a little scared.

But then he started sleeping, and he and Reese started interacting and playing together. They could actually entertain each other for a few minutes. Reese could occupy James at an age when I had never been able to keep Reese occupied long enough to do the dishes, or go to the bathroom.

So it is different this time around, but just like with a first baby, it has been more wonderful than anything else. Completely different, but still wonderful.

 

Princess Diaries

It is full-fledged princes mania around here these days, much to my chagrin.

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When I was pregnant with Reese we wanted the gender to be kept a surprise. We got all neutral clothes, toys, gear etc. As a baby and a toddler I made the effort to avoid the all pink princess everything. We painted her room a light gray, we got her toy trucks and dolls, and I rarely bought her pink, frilly clothes.

Now, at three years old, she asks to wear a dress every day, to have her nails painted and have “red lips”, and wants to know why she can’t wear her “jewels” to bed. I don’t even know where these things came from. Red lips and jewels? I never imagined that I would end up with such a girly girl, but here we are.

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I think there was a princess birthday party somewhere along the way that got the ball rolling, then we got a few princess gifts, she started noticing the little girls in Elsa costumes at the grocery store, etc. Then she discovered the Disney princesses and there was no turning back.

I still do my best to keep it to a minimum but I am not above buying a nine dollar coloring book featuring all the Disney princesses (Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty/Briar Rose/Aurora, Jasmine, Tiana (?), and I’m sure I missed a few others) because I knew when Reese saw it she would totally lose her shit. And she did.

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What is my problem with pink, flowery, princessy, girly stuff? I have no real vendetta against it, I just worry sometimes about the message it may send, but if my daughter loves it then I am over it. Especially since most of the princess stuff out now is much more girl empowering, and much less beauty oriented than it used to be. But, the emphasis on looks is still there and the underlined theme that beauty is equivalent with goodness is not lost on my three-year old. So yes, when my daughter is brought tears when I ask her to wear pants, and cries “but I won’t be pretty!” I take pause. And I blame Tiana and her band of bejeweled skinnies in gowns. But really, she will see this everywhere in a few years, except worse, she will see it in real life and not in fairy tales. And she may even see some of it from her own mother (eeek) because I too am guilty of reading the first ten pages of the Brazilian Bikini Diet book so I can look just like Giselle.

I am probably just overthinking this whole thing, and when this phase is over and she is asking me to buy her clothes at Justice I will be wondering what I was complaining about.

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On Moms

Do you ever remember what you used to think of moms, back before you were one?

I do.

I have vivid memories of being a judgy biatch. Being at a restaurant or a store and thinking, “God, keep an eye on your kids lady!”, or “Oh my god, that kid has no shoes on! What is wrong with that mom?”, or “Who screams in public like that!?”

I am so sorry.

When I was in my early 20’s, I babysat for a family that lived nearby. They had two boys, a 4-year-old, and an 8 month old. The mom was at home with the kids and the dad worked long hours as a lawyer. The mom was part of some sort of moms’ group that had meetings once a week at 5 or 6, and I would always come over to sit for them while she went to the meetings. A few times, I would show up around 4:30 or 5 and she would still be in her pajamas, and the kids would literally be owning her ass; one climbing the stairs unattended while the other raided the fridge. Her face when I showed up was always the same. She glowed.

In my head I was always thinking, “What a mess. Get it together lady!”

They had moved from D.C. months before I started sitting for them, and in the year I worked for them I never saw their house completely unpacked. I remember mentioning this to Andrew, and saying “Can you imagine? There are boxes everywhere!”

Total B.

I am so sorry.

Now, I understand why you couldn’t get out of your pajamas until 5 PM, and frankly I applaud you for not just sleeping in clothes that could pass for everyday clothes so that you don’t have to change at all.

So again, on behalf of all the twenty-something, Judgy McJudgersons who don’t get it yet. I am sorry.

Happy Mother’s Day Moms.

Talking Back

Reese <eyeing James while we are in the kitchen>: Let’s go to my room and lock the door.


Reese: <before going down for rest time>: Let’s read “The Monster at the End of This Book.

Me: Ok.

Reese: Actually, let’s read “The Frog Prince” because its longer and I don’t want to be locked in here with no books.


Reese: I’m princess Aurora and I don’t have milk in my breasts anymore.

James Eli At One Year

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The slowest yet the fastest, the most challenging and the most life-changing year of my life. All at the same time.

I spent a lot of James’s first few months wishing that he was just a little bit older. Just a few more weeks and he won’t be nursing every three hours. Just a few more weeks and he will be sleeping for longer stretches, and so will I. Just a few more weeks and he will be eating solids and maybe sleeping more. Just a few more weeks and I can set him down and he’ll be able to sit up on his own. Just a few more weeks and he’ll be sleeping more….. This all sounds familiar. Have I said this before?

Since day one, James has been a joy when he is awake. Easy going, adaptable, smiley. Sleeping has been a struggle and he is just now (like literally days ago) sleeping through the night. The sleep deprivation that I always pictured coming with motherhood came. And everything seemed harder.

And now he’s one year old and it won’t slow down. Tomorrow he will be asking for the car keys.

At his one year appointment he weighted in at 21.64 lbs, the 59th percentile, and measured 28.5, the 24th percentile. So he is definitely one of us.

James is a tough guy. He’s Jimmy Mac and he lives in the red house on the cah-nah (corner.) He doesn’t take shit from anyone. Including his sister. Ya heard?

He gets dragged to a lot of Reese’s older kid activities (it doesn’t end here James, take it from someone with 2 older siblings) but he doesn’t seem to know he’s the youngest one there and he will grab that train from the 4 year old like it’s no thing. Gangster.

He eats all of everything. Chicken parm is his favorite, and he prefers it with a side of pasta. Heavy on the sauce.

He loves to look out the window and watch the cars. If he hears a honk, he will immediately point to the window, demanding to be brought over and see what the fuss is about. On most days, when he wakes up from an afternoon nap, about 4:00 or so, we stand in the kitchen, moving from window to window until he’s seen it all.

His favorite thing to do is walk with his cart. He looks like a mad grocery shopper. He goes back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room, pausing only in the doorway, where he yells until someone comes and helps him over the little bump that separates the rooms. Reese relishes in this task and races over to him yelling (way too loudly) “I’m comin’ James!”

He crawls (a combo of an army crawl and a normal crawl on all 4s) at the speed of light. Any time a door opens, he bolts towards it, and sometimes I can barely stop him in time.

His life goal right now is to climb the stairs freestyle.

He says “dada” and “touch” and something that sounds like “this and that” but we aren’t sure.

Since Andrew and I went on vacation he has stopped nursing, and also started sleeping through the night.

His sister is the love of his life, but he is also very aware that she is the taker of toys and someone who needs to be dealt with with caution. Smart boy.

He loves banging things together.

He can clap and wave goodbye.

He has 5 teeth and I think he is one of the few men who can pull off buck teeth.

He is handsome as ever. I am his mom so I know I’m biased, but come on.

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