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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5 Days Away

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Andrew and I went away, by ourselves, for five whole days.

In January, we found out that Andrew won a trip to Cancun for him and a guest through his work. It could not have come at a better time for us. I felt like I hadn’t slept in a year, and the minute I heard the word “vacation” I imagined a full 4 nights of glorious, uninterrupted sleep, that did not include a three-year old plastered to my back (sorry girl.)

For the kids, however, it probably could not have come at a worse time.

James was still nursing and still not sleeping through the night, and I had never been away from either of them for more than 1 night.

Our parents volunteered to stay at our house while we were gone and the kids were thrilled about this, which made it a little easier to leave.

I pumped breast milk to leave for James and started introducing cow’s milk in the hopes that he wouldn’t mind not nursing while we were gone. He didn’t (at least that’s what they tell me) and I have now returned to a child who is 100% weaned. So that’s my advice for weaning your child; go away on vacation for a week and leave some other poor soul to handle it. Because that is basically what I did.

As stressed as I was about leaving them, when we arrived at the white, sandy beaches of Cancun and I got a mojito in my hand, I forgot I had kids.

Just kidding family!

This was unlike any other vacation I have ever taken. Not just because of where we stayed  (Le  Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun, which was amazing), but because I appreciated literally every single second of it. When we sat on the tarmac for 3 hours (!!) on our way there, I was pretty much ok. I mean, reading my book in peace for three whole hours? That right there is kind of a vacation.

We did everything you can’t do with kids. We sat (like literally sat and did not get up) on the beach all day, slept late, worked out, lounged (once again, without getting up) by the pool, stayed up late, danced, sang karaoke, went on a catamaran, did I mentioned slept?

For me, five days was the perfect amount of time to be away. By the end of the trip I felt like I was aching for that little three-year old to be in bed with me again.

I know not everyone can do this (we normally can’t either) but looking back, it was something we needed. Yes, it seemed like a huge pain to get ready for this, yes, I always feel a little guilty leaving the kids and yes, there were many times during this trip when I thought, “I wish they were here to see this.” But, Andrew and I reconnected in a way that we hadn’t since before we had kids. I hate myself for that cliché sentence right there, I really do, but it’s true. Being able to just hang out together, alone, uninterrupted for an extended period of time is a rarity now a days, and we know this, so everything seemed extra special.

I will say though, that coming home to our babies was one of my favorite parts of this vacation.

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A Note About Cloth Diapers

We are on round 2 with our Bum Genius cloth diapers and we are still pretty happy with how they are holding up. Reese wore them for almost 3 years and James has been in them for about a year now and in terms of leaking and fit, they still work as well as they did on day one.

One problem we had been experiencing though, was staining. After about 2 years of using them with Reese I started to feel like they weren’t getting as clean as they used to. There was some staining that wouldn’t come out, and sometimes the diapers still seemed to smell after a wash, resulting in me having to strip them more often, and sometimes having to do multiple wash cycles. I read a lot of different articles on washing cloth diapers, and most articles said the same thing; strip the diapers more, assure you are using cloth diaper safe diaper ointment, and just do more wash cycles if you have to. Ugh.

Then I received this helpful article from a friend.

Before this I had been washing the diapers using Bum Genius detergent and Borax, and would start with a hot rinse, then a wash cycle with an extra rinse. The Bum Genius detergent was expensive and I always had to order it online because it’s not sold in any stores near me.

Since reading this article I have started using Tide Free and Clear and Borax to wash the diapers. I still use the same process; a rinse, followed by a wash with an extra rinse and I swear the diapers are cleaner and never smell anymore. I also have never noticed any irritation on James since switching to regular detergent.

Maybe I am the only person who believed the instructions on my diapers when it said that I had to use special detergent but in case I wasn’t I thought I would share here.  I just wish I knew about this three years ago.

 

 

 

Mommy Wars

Similac’s new ad campaign is hilarious, poignant, and in my opinion spot on.

Since I stopped working (outside of the home that is, calm down) and started socializing more with other moms, I have learned that “mommy wars” is a true story. Moms be crazy.

Bravo to Similac for reminding us what it’s really all about.

 

 

Christmas Card Outtakes

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Every year, I am always so impressed with the beautiful family pictures we receive as people’s holiday cards. I will never understand how all of these people are able to get such great pictures of their babies/kids. Pictures of families dressed all in the same color, on a beach somewhere, with babies who smile on cue and kids with hair that is neatly combed and yogurt free.

I anticipated a struggle with getting a respectable picture of our two, so I started the quest early.

Here are some that didn’t make the cut.

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And here’s what we ended up with. The only one where both kids were looking at the camera and no one was crying or scowling.

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Reese at Three Years

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Three years old as of November 29th.

Sometimes when she wakes up in the middle of the night and I see her silhouette in our doorway, I can’t believe that that little person is our baby.

We celebrated three years with a birthday party at an indoor playspace near our house with pizza, cake, family and a bunch of her little friends. She had a blast.

She is asserting her independence fiercely and readily. She is suddenly very into clothes and most mornings include an argument over what she will wear. My suggestions of jeans and shirts are met with tears and wails of “those aren’t fancy!” I was hoping we had skipped this stage because, I must admit, I loved picking out her clothes. Now I just have to deal with the fact that while I would love for her to look like she stepped out of the pages of a Boden catalog, she would rather look like she’s a regular on Toddlers in Tiaras.

Ironically though, she hates actually wearing the clothes. Once her outfit for the day is selected it stays on for 20 minutes or so, then she strips down to her underwear and refuses to put anything back on. At first I thought I should fight this, but I have decided that this is a battle I will not pick. Now the rule is, you must always have underwear on and if someone is coming to our house, or we are leaving our house, you need to be dressed. Otherwise, do your thing.

She loves eating but still eats only a small variety of foods. I now understand the whole kid/food battle thing that I am constantly hearing about. There was a period of time where I dreaded dinner because we started enforcing the “I made it, you’ll try it” rule. It helped a little, and now she is used to it, so she knows she has to try things but there are always some dramatics involved (gagging, choking etc.) This, along with the fact that we now all eat as a family, has broadened her horizons a bit. She shows interest in what Andrew and I are having and will sometimes ask for a bite. After starting this, we discovered that she likes soft shell crab sushi (obviously the most expensive roll on the menu), but she is still a PB&J girl through and through.

She still does a 2 hour “quiet time” in her room (in lieu of a nap, which she stopped taking long ago) and sometimes I stand outside the door and listen to her playing. She runs around and narrates her actions in the third person and it is hilarious. Sometimes she’ll run by me saying, “she ran into the kitchen to get her snack.” I think she is constantly living in some sort of story that she is writing in her head. I would love to read it.

Reese is the Laurie Berkner Band’s number one fan right now. She listens to the CD everyday during her rest time and when she goes to bed at night. She also asks detailed questions about Laurie daily. “What color is Laurie’s house?”, “Where is Laurie right now?” “Does Laurie know me?” Stalker alert.

Swimming lessons are the only scheduled activity that we do and it suits us. I’m not big on schedules and it is nice to have flexibility in our day, especially when I am toting a nine month old around with me.

We haven’t had her three-year checkup yet so I don’t have her stats but she is now 35 lbs and I can tell that she is starting to stretch out. She continues to talk my ear off all day, every day, and anything I say is still met with a “why?”

She has fully embraced her role as big sister and loves to use it to assert her assumed authority over her brother. She makes sure he doesn’t get any of the toys that are “too little for babies,” which equal all toys.

In September she will begin preschool and I’ll no longer have my girl with me everyday. Let’s not talk about it.

Here she is on vacation this summer, asleep with her brother who was in desperate need of a bigger bed. And one more below that; in all her glory at her third birthday party.

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A Very Half-Assed Halloween

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Reese told me in the beginning of October that she wanted to dress up as Laurie Berkner for Halloween. Realistically, this gave me plenty of time to make her a costume.

However, the week of Halloween I still had nothing. We had two Halloween parties to go to that week and last minute, with the promise of a Laurie costume for trick-or-treating, I was able to convince her to wear her Elmo costume from last year to the two parties.

Come Halloween, I still had no Laurie costume, and planned to totally half ass it and let her hold a microphone and put her in a dress and convince her she looked just like Laurie. I figured she was too young to care that literally no one would know what the hell she was.

At breakfast that morning she announced that she wanted to be a ghost for trick or treating instead.  Jackpot. All I had to get was a white sheet, right? Like an idiot, I scanned Pinterest. No white sheet ghost costumes there! Wtf. Most of them required sewing, and all of them made me feel like a crap person for not putting more thought into this whole thing.

That afternoon I stopped at a Big Lots on our way home from the library and looked for a white sheet. When they didn’t have any white sheets, I threw out the idea that she be a rare turquoise ghost instead for only $6.99. She happily agreed. And I patted myself on the back for pulling one over on a three-year old.

Then I started to feel bad. All she wanted was to be a ghost. Probably the easiest costume ever. The least I could do was make her a recognizable ghost.

At 5 PM the sun was going down and there were talks of white trash bags and suffocation hazards.

Our cream-colored drawstring laundry bag sat folded on our dresser.

I put it over her head and she was sold. I probably only have one or two more years left of being able to get away with stuff like this.

I haphazardly cut arm and eye holes in the bag and then had to keep making the eye holes bigger until everything lined up. By “lined up” I mean that she could see, most of the time, and had about 80% arm usage.

James rocked a hand me down panda bear costume for his first Halloween, which was amazing because 1) it was free, 2) it required nothing else, just a fleece suit that zipped right up with panda bear head included.

All night Reese’s “costume” kept shifting when she would run, momentarily blinding her. She would run across someone’s lawn, the bag would move and she would fall, get up, start running again, and fall again. This went on all night, much to our amusement. It may sound cruel but before you judge I will tell you that despite what the pictures may lead you to believe, she was the happiest ghost you ever saw.

 

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