Friday, November 30, 2007

Eddie and the Boulder

Lately, Connor has been fascinated with 'reading' toy catalogs, which amounts to him flipping the pages, announcing each and every toy he owns, and asking if we could get him every toy that he does not yet own. For a while, Ed and I thought about getting him all these requested toys just because we could see that owning the entire Fisher Price catalog is totally within our reach - if you include only non-television based toys in Connor's age range. And really, who doesn't want to own the entire catalog?

One of the holes in our collection used to be Eddie and the Boulder. From the moment we spotted it in the catalog, everyone in this house was excited. And indeed, my parents spotted it as well and it has not disappointed. After two weeks, it still ranks among Connor's favorites. Connor has asked us to put just about every other toy you can imagine on his "list", even though he has no idea what this list is.

Sadly, the reflux is most definitely not under control. Helen puked enough today that there was a substantial splash when it hit the ground. Luckily, I was on a hardwood floor and not a carpet. Once Ed hit the door around 5:00, I pretty much just handed him Helen and let him know there had been a few too many tears throughout the afternoon and I had changed my own shirt a few too many times. I know this is not a nice way to come home, but it's all I could muster. Ugh! Thankfully, Connor took it easy on me by sleeping 3 hours this afternoon. Only wish I had been able to sleep for at least an hour as well!


Thursday, November 29, 2007

A most sympathetic phone call

Helen's Social Security card arrived in the mail last week with the wrong last name. I called SSA to sort this out today, and was greeted by a very sympathetic computer.
I called while Helen was crying after eating. Here's how our conversation went.
"Please tell me your problem."
"My daughter's SS card arrived with the wrong name on it and I would like to get that fixed."
"OK. You need to fill out form X in order to change the name on a person's Social Security card. We would be happy to send that form to you. Please provide the information I ask for. Please tell me your address"
"40 [Helen screaming]"
"I'm sorry"
And I thought, it's annoying, but I didn't expect your sympathy. Helen then screamed again and the computer apologized again.
"I'm sorry"
And now I'm thinking, wow, most humans don't understand how annoying it is to have to fill out paperwork that is the result of someone else's error. But this computer is all over understanding how annoying it is. I should buy this computer a drink if I ever see it on the street.
And again, I heard the computer apologize
"I"m sorry"
And now I was thinking, oh, you must be apologizing that I have to listen to this screaming. And I felt compelled to tell the computer:
"Don't worry, it's really not that bad. She only screams right after eating because she has some tummy troubles." Because I figured, hey, computer, you're practically the only adult I've spoken to all day, so if you want to just sit there and tell me how sorry you are, I'll keep right on listening. But you may as well know the truth.
And again, the computer said:
"I'm sorry"
And the computer's apologizing kept right on going, until finally it was able to spit out "I'm sorry, I did not understand your response." Apparently, every time Helen made a sound, the computer thought I had answered its question, but of course, it wasn't expecting a scream.

The computer then offered to transfer me to a person, but I figured perhaps this transaction was meant for the internet.

And, just in case you are of the opinion that 7 week old babies don't do much, check this out!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Daddy and the Little Man

Monday, Connor put in a call to Ed at work. He started off with three words. "Daddy, come home". I would've understood if we weren't having a great day, but things were actually going really well. Turns out, Connor just wanted the candy that Ed has taken to bringing Connor home at the end of the day (a recent request of Connor).

After being so delighted by 3 consecutive nights of a 6 hour stretch of sleep ending at 3:00 AM and then another stretch after eating until 7:30 AM, I was reminded of reality with a baby in the house last night when Helen woke up twice. And, she had a rough time getting settled initially. I think it was just a bad day with the reflux - possibly due to the fact that I found a fancy chocolate bar Ed gave me quite some time ago and decided to consume it. Bad choice. On top of that, Connor woke up twice and even though I was bunking in the basement with Miss Spit, I still woke up because when Connor wakes up, he doesn't do it quietly by any stretch of the imagination. Needless to say, I wasn't running on all cylinders today.

By lunch, I decided to call in reinforcements and Ed came home a bit early from work to give me time for a nap. Connor and Ed went to the nature center down the street and were playing with the stuffed snakes. At one point, Connor asked Ed to give him some mice for the snake to eat. Seeing none, Ed decided to hand Connor some imaginary mice and when he did, Connor gasped "Those are my BABIES!". Because, uh, I guess imaginary mice and babies look an awful lot alike. I'm just grateful that Connor noticed before he fed him to the snakes. I can't imagine how many times I would've heard the story about how Daddy fed the babies to the snake!


Monday, November 26, 2007

Knock on wood

I think the reflux might finally be under control. In the past few days, I can't remember any serious crying jags, only minor discomfort after meal times. Today, I was only drenched with baby goo once, and I think that was because I put her in the car after eating. I'm putting that down in the "not good things to do with Helen" list.

And...Helen has slept for 6 consecutive hours on 2 consecutive nights, and I am really feeling like the luckiest mama of a 6 week old on earth. Add that to the average ounce a day she's gained since the Monday after she was born, and you get one happy mama.

Plus, Helen can rotate her head from side to side when she's laying on her tummy. It sort of freaked me out the first time she did it a couple of days ago. I put her down facing one way, and came back with her facing the other.

Only downer is Helen has now failed her hearing screen twice. She gets one more shot next month and then she has to take a more invasive hearing test, which they sometimes sedate for. I don't really want to contemplate that.

(By request, the kiddos with my parents.)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Buying a car

Our au pair arrives in January, and unless we want to strap one of the children to the top of the car when the 5 of us go someplace, we need a new car.

We started our search a few weeks ago and today, we purchased a Mazda 5. For the record...this is NOT a minivan. It is a station wagon. I am not a suburban, minivan driving mama of two, I swear.

Connor went on the test drive with me, and fell asleep instantly. Then, we spent naptime with Ed watching Connor sleep in the car, holding Helen outside (it was another gorgeous day here) and me haggling with the sales dude. And...they may have gotten my money for the car, but on the way out, I realized Ed had my wallet in the baby bag, which meant I could not get on the toll road home, and because I am an idiot with directions (even though the new car has a GPS system), I asked the salesman how I could get home without taking the toll road. And, taking pity on my directionless self, he handed me 5 quarters so I could pay the toll. Obviously, I am a born negotiator.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Golf Champion for the Off-Season

Ed and I have probably played over 30 rounds of miniature golf since we met. Prior to having Connor, we played a normal amount of this sport - maybe twice a year on vacation or when we were particularly bored - but this year, Connor discovered and fell in love with the game. We played a lot of golf. And every time, there was always one thing that stayed the same. I won, Ed lost. Connor was above keeping score. Until last week.

We headed out to the golf course with my parents to enjoy the warm weather they brought with them, and Connor actually played almost all of the holes in traditional fashion. He still spent quite a bit of time in the hazards - but they're much less attractive now that the water is no longer beckoning him as it trickles over the rocks.

I got two holes-in-one last weekend when we played, but still, Ed won - by a lot. We figured it was the last game of the season, particularly since this weekend is closing weekend. Ed was certainly delighted that he would be holding the household championship for the off-season. But today, we decided to head out again because it didn't seem right to deny Connor his favorite activity the last weekend it would be open.

I'd like to be able to show some photos from today, because we were all quite bundled up, but I didn't bring my camera. I'd also like to say the score was close, but it wasn't. Ed has decided I must be a fair-weathered golfer because today, it was very cold, and my score was very high, compared to his score. And thus, Ed is the off-season household champion. Connor did a bit of what we have decided must be a victory roll in honor of Ed last week. We did tell the little man that gloating on hole number 16 may not be the appropriate place for a victory celebration.



Friday, November 23, 2007

Things I am thankful for

This post should have been made yesterday, but with all the hoopla of getting to enjoy Ed's wonderful Thanksgiving meal outside (pecan encrusted salmon, potatoes Anna, sage and orzo stuffing and green beans almondine) just before the cold front swept in, I failed to gather my thoughts in time to post this. goes.

I am thankful for Ed, for the many ridiculous things he says and does, the way he parents our children, and most of all, for the partnership we have formed. I wouldn't want to do this with anyone else. I am thankful for Connor's curly hair - and the way it sticks straight up in the morning, his never ending chatter, his genuinely nice disposition, and the way he runs everywhere when he's excited. I am thankful for the moments when Helen's eyes lock with mine, her sleep, and all of the girly clothes she's brought into my life. I am thankful for the Neil Young concert and my parents who babysat while Ed and I went to the show. I don't think we'll have the opportunity to see him perform in such a small venue - if at all - again. I am thankful for all the laundry, yardwork, and miscellaneous tasks my parents took on over the past week, the morning shifts they took, and the early Christmas they brought Connor. I am thankful for Vickie who freed some video from my video camera, the Milk Moms for all the parenting support, and Ellen's approach to life. I am thankful for warm days in November, respite from the heat in August, and puddles and piles of leaves that are both fun to run through. I am thankful for good-tasting desserts, meals that Connor sits reasonably still for, and every meal that Helen keeps down without writhing in pain. But most of all, I think I am at this moment thankful that Nablopomo is almost over, and I can go back to a reasonable number of posts each month!


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kicking our asses at bedtime

Connor has mastered the bedtime delaying techniques. He requests more books and stories from Ed, just one more song from me, and is up and down until he realizes Ed or I are about to blow a gasket. And then, his finale move is to dart across the hall and jump into my bed. He's clever enough to scrunch himself up against the far wall so that Ed has the maximum amount of difficulty tossing Connor back into his own bed.

All I can say is, good thing your cute, buster, because you're wearing our patience thin some nights.

And Helen, the vomit...when will it stop?!?


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A picture's worth a thousand words

We went to the zoo today. Connor was a bit more fascinated with all the things he could climb on that the animals. Because...after all, they're building a new space for the elephants, which means there are DIGGER TRUCKS!! at the zoo. And, have you ever noticed this panda grotto that you can climb in?


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

He's got a shoulder boulder!

Yesterday, Connor faked Grandpa - a man who had brain surgery in 1998 - out pretty good. He went in for the hug, but at the last minute, decided to head butt my dad instead. Why?!? Because I guess I only explicitly told Connor that head to head contact was not allowed with Helen. I guess guests in our home are fair game. So consider yourself warned.

Connor did take Grandpa's telling him that he did not want to be head butted to heart though, because later, I heard Connor say sweetly to my mom "Can I head butt you Grandma?"

The answer...

"I guess you can, if you do it softly", because I guess my mom just wanted to really cement in Connor's mind that she would never tell her grandchildren no.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Some folks in my office have started reading this...

We think the connection between my office and Ed's office is a bit strong (we're guessing it's someone whose name starts and ends with the same letter and a vowel in between). While folks at my office have known about this blog for quite some time, Ed's been keeping it on the down low. He thinks his discovery will mean that I won't mock him anymore, but frankly, it just makes it even more likely that he will be appearing in these pages. After all, he spent a decent amount of time defending his telephone pole climbing this evening. Only trouble is, my dad totally understood his burning desire to climb a telephone pole, which just led to the two of them talking about all of their childhood dreams of seeing the city from up high. Now I'm wondering if I should keep track of my dad tomorrow since Ed has alerted him to the fact that the poles in our neighborhood are scalable by mere mortals.

Ed has announced he may have the last laugh on this one. As house Webmaster, he has threatened to unplug the internet. He's willing to go so far as to climb the pole and pull the wire. And strangely, I believe him.


PS: Therese - I was playing bridge with my folks this evening and almost neglected to post! under the wire I am with this - so let Nablopomo continue!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Big Bday Bash!

Today Connor celebrated turning two (what is this, the 4th time?) with the kids from my mom's group. He started out by downing a box of juice.

At some point, one of the moms decided to herd everyone (minus Theodore who left early) over to the couch for a photo.

The lucky little man came home the proud owner of a new tent (which was tested with bedtime books tonight), a backpack filled with camping gear, some paint (remind me to invite Esther - the gift-giver over to enjoy this!), cookie cutters, and a weed eater. We guarantee Esther won't be looking this clean when she leaves our house! Many thanks! We were thrilled to be the beneficiary of Ellen's thrift store habit. I am forever grateful that I do not live close to this famous thrift store because I do believe we would have to purchase a storage shed for Connor's toys. This week's project is clearly to take advantage of my parent's babysitting and sort and organize the lot of toys. Surely doing this will magically create some room.

The update on my little gal is that the spit continues - despite an increased dosage of meds. But, it's confined almost exculsively to nighttime - which is a bit of improvement. She also slept for 5 consecutive hours (from 3AM to 8AM) last night. It was quite a party before that, so at least we all got a bit of respite at some point. Thankfully, Connor slept in a bit and then my mom convinced him to read about 300 books with her. Of course, Connor only slept in because he stayed up until past 9:00 entertaining us over the monitor.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Running the grandparents ragged

Connor hasn't gotten any slower on his bike since my parents last saw him. If anything, he's gotten even faster. But my mom was up for the challenge of running beside Connor. He ran her all over the basketball court - and even did a bit of off-roading just to keep her on her toes. Only trouble is, sometimes he takes sharp turns, and one must be pretty quick on their feet to avoid getting their heels clipped.

My mom survived - but barely.

Connor then drug my mom up the very scary climbing structure that I refuse to climb up - but even my mom who's pretty much game for anything didn't make it down the terrifying slide. Instead, Connor went down that solo and then took my mom on the much more modest slide.

He let my mom have a break after taking her on a trip around the perimeter of the park.

From all this action, you'd think my mom would be begging for mercy, but it was Connor who requested to be allowed to nap without eating lunch on the way out of the park.

We have learned though, that an 11 AM nap is not a good nap for Connor, so we decided to start Christmas early. Helen opened some soft blocks which Connor was delighted she was willing to share with him and Connor opened a golf set that made for much fun until lunch was ready.

And the end of the day, Helen smiled!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Going out!

The grandparents are here, ready to babysit the crew for the night. Ed and I are off to see Neil Young. Hopefully Connor is in bed by the time we return. Of course, I suspect he'll go right to bed and not ask for "just one more story" and "just one more song" and "just a little bit more milk" and "just a few more Cheerios" and "lay down with more for just a few minutes" and all the other things he asks us for nightly. But then again, maybe he'll be pleasantly surprised if he tries since he's likely to get lots of yesses!


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Welcome Grandma and Grandpa!

Connor wasted no time settling in with the grandparents. He asked my dad for the “1 2 3 quarters” he had been promised the night before and acquired a bag of candy from my mom. He then presented my mom with a stack of books that needed to be read “right now”.

My dad took charge of the sleeping baby.

Ed was delighted to hear that I had stored a guitar – that I never learned to play – at my parent’s home for the past few decades. And now, due to Connor newfound interest in Mrs. Patricia’s guitar, my guitar and I have once again been reunited. It’ll need to get a tune up, as two of the strings are broken and the thing is dreadfully out of tune. Luckily, it still “plays loud”, which is all Connor cares about.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy 27 Month Birthday!

Dear Connor,

Yesterday, you turned 27 months old. It is the first month of your life that you have been able to spend every single day with both your dad and me. You're one tough little dude to keep up with. I hope we haven't bored you too much. We've certainly tried to keep things interesting.

The biggest change this month, of course, is that our three person family grew by one with the birth of your sister. And much to my delight, though not surprise, you have been incredibly kind and welcoming to her. This is not to say you haven't taken advantage of the situation. For the first few days after Helen was born, it seemed like you could sense when your dad and I needed to discuss something important because you would walk up and say sweetly "Can I have another piece of candy" and of course, we allowed it because we didn't want to deal with an upset toddler when we were trying to figure out what to do with an infant. In the scheme of things, this doesn't seem too bad.

Since the birth of Helen, you have birthed no fewer than 6 babies of your own. A couple had to go back in your tummy at first, but I believe they are all on the outside now for good. Due largely to the fact that we talked about Helen being yellow, I believe, your babies are a rainbow of colors - though I tend to hear about the red baby the most. These babies come everywhere with us. This morning, your dad had to do some fast thinking when we were a few blocks from the house and you discovered you had left them at home. He looked at me and announced that I had them, and that seemed to appease you. Lest anyone think you're toting around a bunch of dolls, I should be clear that each of these babies are completely imaginary. This fact has led to some awkward moments - like when they get sat on occasionally, or someone steps on them. They are great fun to toss in the air and catch, and the only problem with them seems to be that they're a little bit "pitty".

Which brings me to an update of your language skills. It has come to my attention that the color formerly known as "geen" in this house has turned into green. Truth be told, I sort of miss geen. Now, I think the only pronunciation oddity I'm left with is that you don't pronounce a leading "s", so Helen 'pits up, we read a book about 'nakes, you insisted on sleeping with a 'pounge last week, and coming home from 'chool one day, you wanted to 'top at the 'tore. Try not to correct these things too quickly, Connor. I sort of like 'em.

You have become noticeably more polite in conversation. For example, after you finished eating the cupcake Daddy gave you tonight, you brought him your dirty plate and said (with no prompting) "Thank you for the yummy cupcake, Daddy", and this is not unusual. It totally warms my heart.

You've also begun to play by yourself regularly, which allows your dad and I to clean up on occasion, which is a nice thing. Sometimes, you even read to yourself. It strikes your dad and I as pretty amazing that you can memorize most books brought into this house as fast - or faster - than we can. You've even read a book or two to your sister.

The phrase we have probably heard the most in the past month is "can I hold Helen?". After a few seconds, you announce that it's now my turn to hold Helen, because I guess you are a very busy toddler and just can't be pinned down by someone so little. But then, just when Helen and I get settled, you ask again "can I hold Helen?". It is wonderful and maddening at the same time.

A friend of mine made this video and Connor, it sums up perfectly the reason you have a sister. I hope you keep enjoying her.


Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy 1 month

Dear Helen,

Today, you turned one month old. We celebrated by going to the pediatrician's office and you know what? He thinks you look great. He was very impressed that you already make eye contact with me and he didn't seem bothered in the least by the fact that you sleep almost all the time. (As I type this, I know that someday you will stop sleeping and I will wonder why it bothered me so much that you were such a sleepy baby.) He suggested we up your dosage of baby zantac in hopes of getting your reflux under better control and on the advice of another mom, we're going to go to a compounding pharmacy and have them make you a better flavor of the stuff in the hopes of you not looking at me so annoyed each time I give it to you.

Here are a few things I thought you ought to know about yourself. You were named after your dad's grandma, Helen. Unfortunately, you won't get to meet your great-grandma in this dimension, because she died a few years ago. She was an incredibly kind person, and at one point I told your dad that even if he dumped me, I was keeping his grandma. On our second meeting, she gave me a book of stories from women Kansas pioneers for no other reason than she saw it when she was in the used bookstore and thought of me. I hope that someday you are the kind of person who makes random gestures such as this to others. Your middle name is a mishmash of my mom (Carlene), your Aunt Linda, and your dad's mom (Lynn). You will have the opportunity to fall in love with each of these women.

You entered this world in dramatic fashion. Just like Connor, my water broke, and shortly thereafter labor started. You were slightly poterior, which meant your entrance into the world was accompanied with a lot of pain. Your dad actually slept through most of my labor with Connor, because really, it wasn't all that painful and we figured if he could sleep it was a good thing. He had no such luxury with you because he couldn't stand to leave me alone for long when I was having such a tough time. I walked, I knelt down and leaned on a chair, I sat on the birth ball, I laid on one side, I laid on the other, and I kept on moving. I was able to lie down and rest for a bit at one point, not because I was feeling better, but because I was completely exhausted. At one point, my midwife asked if I wanted to be checked and I said "yes" because I needed to hear that your entrance was close. But no such luck. I wasn't all that dilated, and there was nothing indicating you were coming quickly. I was really bummed to hear that news. After your brother was whisked out of the household to go to Zoe's for the day, I took a hot shower, and during that shower, I decided I had nothing to prove. I'd given birth to a baby at home without pain meds. This time, it wasn't going to work. When I got out of the shower at 7:00 AM, I was feeling pretty defeated. I told your dad "I can't do this" and your dad said "OK". This was not the response I was hoping for. I was hoping he would tell me that everything was going to be fine - that we'd been down this road before, that it wouldn't be long. Later, when I asked your dad why all he said was "OK" he told me it was because he didn't know if I was telling him you were never coming out (and if that was the case, he didn't want to be the one to point out that indeed, you were coming out at some point) or if it was something else. I rested next to him for 15 minutes, and then I got out of bed again. At 7:36, my birth assistant darted up the stairs to alert my midwife that things were changing and she and the midwife came rushing back down the stairs. You were born at 7:41 AM. The very short pushing stage almost makes up for the 8.5 hours of labor before that. When you came out, it was very obvious that my due date for you was wrong. You were not a 39 week baby, but probably a 37 week baby.

On Monday, we went to visit the pediatrician, and he thought you had lost too much weight and you were too yellow. We went to the lab to check your bilirubin levels and indeed, they were high. Our pediatrician recommended you be hospitalized. I was devastated. In what turned out to be a very big, stressful showdown, we ultimately got home-based equipment and you never had to be hospitalized. As part of that, we also scored a new pediatrician.

For a few days now, your dad has been telling me he thinks you're pretty chunky. And you know what, for our family, you are a bit chunky. You weigh 7 pounds 4 ounces which means you are in the 10th percentile for weight. Whoa. I didn't even know how to respond to this exciting news. You see, your brother didn't manage to find the weight chart until his 18 month appointment. You are median length and your head is in the 40th percentile.

It's hard to sum up your first month, but I can assure you, your dad, brother, and I love you a ton.



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Product testers

Never let it be said that Ed won't do anything for his children. When Connor was a baby, Ed used to warm the diaper wipes in his hands before wiping Connor's bottom. We were too cheap to buy the diaper wipe warmer, but Ed wasn't going to let his son's bottom get cold.

Last night, we were bathing Helen and Ed asked "Do you think this soap can get in people's eyes without stinging?". I replied "I presume so. After all, Therese went to the trouble of making it and gave it as a baby gift. I can't imagine she would give Helen something that could hurt her." And at that, Ed promptly put the soap on his finger and put it on his own eyes. Now that is dedication. And, no suprise, it caused Ed no pain.

I told Ed he was clearly insane and as I sat there watching this unfold, I could hardly believe what he had just done. I would not stick something in my eye. I had opted instead to just be careful and keep it away from Helen's eyes. Ed looked at me and said very frankly "you have to be careful with these things. Why do you think I put the 'bad-ass booty balm' (a gift from our friend Dan) on Connor's bottom first?" And I was all, "uh...cuz you don't like Connor as much as Helen?" and Ed said "No, if I put it on my butt I never would've been able to see what was going on." And I'm sitting there thinking - you just made our toddler a product tester for our baby? Because you couldn't have just put the 'bad ass booty balm' on your own arm to test for a reaction. I guess it's tough being the first born sometimes.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Things overheard in the past couple of days

"Do you like oranges, Connor?"
"Yes, I do."
"Have you ever had an orange before?"
"No, I haven't."
And with that, Connor promptly ate almost an entire orange. I cannot begin to point out how odd a behavior this is for Connor.

"Would you like to play trains with me?"
"Sure, but I would like to brush my teeth first."
"No, play trains with me right now."

"Connor, do you know where the little screwdrivers are?"
"Where are they?" (Said with an air of hopefulness.)
"I don't know."
Ed and Connor have actually had this conversation almost daily since our Oktoberfest party when Connor was allowed to touch the little screwdrivers while Ed changed the speaker routing on the stereo. Mysteriously, with Ed's back turned, every screwdriver in the set - save the one Ed had in his hand - disappeared.

"Is this a couch or a sofa?"

"Is this a car seat or a car carrier?" (Sorry, Connor, I forgot you like things to be called exactly one thing.)

"Fucking tape!" (Thankfully, this was said by Ed, who was trying to tape a package. By the time I looked at his tape mess, it looked exactly like the tape balls Connor hands me with a look of total confusion. As in, how could my beloved tape fold up on itself like this? All I wanted to do was see how far I could pull it out for no good reason.)

"Let's look for digger trucks!"

"How do you move a mountain?"
"Get a dump truck, and a digger truck, and a wheelbarrow, and a rake, and a shovel, and a hoe..." (The original text of the book stopped at dump truck, but Connor decided that was an oversimplification of the process.)

"My son called his brother to tell him he was at a house with a million toys!" (My cleaning lady told me this. Her kindergarten son accompanied her to my house today.)

"Why did Carmelina put all these toys in my way?"
"That's called putting them away, Connor."

And best of all...
"Wow, little dude is actually going to get a good nap today. It's already been almost 3 hours."

Friday, November 9, 2007

Happy Birthday, Ed

Today, Ed turned 38, although I'm sure it feels closer to 55. After one glorious night of uninterrupted sleep, Connor decided to wake up at 3:00 and stay that way for a while. I was feeding Helen (after waking her up!), so Ed answered Connor's call.

Connor was quite excited that there was a birthday in the house (coupled with a birthday at school which made the day double-good). We celebrated by frosting cupcakes for Ed. And no, you don't need to adjust your monitors, that is indeed, blue frosting. Is this sad, or what? I used to bake wedding cakes, but for Ed's birthday, the best I could muster was cake from a box. I just didn't have it in me to bake something with Connor from scratch yesterday, and this box of cake mix has been sitting in my basement for I don't know, 5 years, so it was time to use it up.

The results were not good (though the sprinkles were nice!), but Ed pretended everything was fine. I guess that's the wisdom that comes with 38 years. When your toddler is excited about blowing out a candle and putting blue frosting on a cupcake, and your wife is too lame to make you a decent dessert, you smile. Thanks, Ed.

Next week, we're going to the Neil Young concert to celebrate Ed's birthday. I promise it'll be better than today.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thank you Helen and Connor...and my German roots

Yesterday, I told Ed in front of both Helen and Connor that I needed my children to sleep at night. And, apparently they were listening in on our conversation. Helen went to sleep around 10:00 and slept until 3:00 - and she might have slept longer except she stirred a bit and I decided to go ahead and feed her. Miraculously, she went back to sleep immediately after finishing her meal and slept until just past 7:00. Connor, bless his heart, stayed in his room the entire night, and didn't come bounding into my room until after 6:00. I was feeling so good that after he had his morning bottle, I went downstairs and played with him which meant Ed got to sleep until Helen woke him up. Normally, Ed is the designated waker with Connor because I have spent at least an hour with Helen in the middle of the night trying to coax her back into sleep and I am too tired to entertain the thought of getting out of bed when Connor is ready. Let's just say, we are all feeling good. Right now, Helen and Connor are napping and Ed is running an errand. Usually, either Ed or I need to take advantage of naptime by napping ourselves - sometimes both of us!

With all that sleep, it seemed only natural that we would tackle the landscaping project again today. This time, Helen and I helped out. I figure my German ancestors are quite proud that I had Helen napping out in the cool weather this morning. I can almost hear my mom telling me how good the fresh air was for her.

After toting a few loads of mulch in his new wheelbarrow, Connor decided he'd rather serve as project foreman.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

More Mulch

We've redone the back stretch of the yard. When we first started landscaping, we had visions of beautiful, flowering bushes that would grow huge, screening the back of our lawn from the neighbors. But, uh, we learned you have to take care of those beautiful bushes, or they will die. And, the weeds around them will be taller than them on occasion (just ask my dad who spent a full day with a hoe last fall finding bushes as if they were Easter eggs hidden from obvious view).

For the second landscaping attempt, we installed leyland cypress trees, which we have successfully grown in another portion of the backyard, and butterfly bushes. The trees are good because they grow fast, and as they grow, it is nearly impossible for weeds to grow beneath them. The butterfly bushes are all transplants from my butterfly garden. The mother ship bush spawned a dozen or so little bushes this past growing season, that needed to be removed from the garden, lest they take it over completely. I figure they'll provide nice color in the back - and they're VERY EASY to take care of, which is the most important ingredient to any landscaping plan.

We planted the bushes before Helen was born, and now we're ready to lay down the weed fabric and then cover that with mulch. We knew Connor would be excited about the project not only because a real live dump truck would be visiting our house dropping off that mulch, but because it could then be carted about the yard. For this project, we purchased a new wheelbarrow, much more substantial than his old one.

After working a bit, he got out his thermos and poured himself a glass of apple juice, which he later told me was 'refreshing'. Helen and I took an extended nap while the boys worked. We needed the sleep after the party we had from 4 AM to 6AM last night!


Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Now that there are two little people in the house, we've had to implement a few more rules. Today's rules were "no head to head contact with your little sister" and then later "no touching your sister's head". When presented with the first rule, Connor did clarify that he could still head butt Ed on occasion. A few mornings ago, Ed had to tell Connor that he couldn't gauge his eyes out - because I guess that's not obvious to Connor. And, Connor attempted to show that he was clearly more man than Ed because he offered to gauge his own eyes out if he couldn't poke Ed's eyes. I'm just hoping at least one of them has eyesight by the end of the week and we don't end up in the ER with a head injury at some point. Connor's intentions are always sweet, but he's still a toddler, and toddlers have coordination issues that can foil the best intentions.

In other news today, Connor not only watched Ed vote, but cast a few ballots for him, Helen slept and spit (oh yeah, she does this every day), and Connor and Helen shared a bit of tummy time.

Three toys

I've been thinking about inviting one of Connor's classmates over for a play date. I figure if he sees some of the children more than weekly, he'll become more acquainted with them, and ultimately have more fun with them at school. So I asked Connor today, would you like me to see if "A" can come over and play, or maybe "B", and Connor said "Yes, and maybe 'C'". I told Connor "'C' will destroy our home". You see "C", while a fun child, is also the most energetic child in the class. He's been known to throw stuff all over the room and daily has to be taken from various areas of the room because he's being a bit more destructive than our teacher thinks appropriate.

Tonight I went to a meeting of parents from the class. The monthly meetings provide a forum to discuss classroom issues and also learn more about the Waldorf philosophy. In casual discussion, it came up that "C" has THREE toys. And, he must put one toy away in order to get another toy out. The dad explained that perhaps his son was a bit destructive in the classroom because he was overwhelmed with all the choices. Uh, welcome to the real world, pal. I am so overwhelmed by the thought of a 2 year old in a house with 3 toys that I cannot even think about all the funny things Connor said today that I was going to write about. Now I KNOW "C" would destroy my if Connor asks about that play date again, it will surely take place at a nearby park.


Sunday, November 4, 2007


Ed has often remarked to me that his favorite day of the year is the day we "fall back". He loves it, of course, because he gets an extra hour of sleep without having to admit he slept until noon (or 7:15, as the case may be these days). While we knew toddler-time might not reset itself with the rest of the United States, we were hopeful that Connor would stay in bed a half hour later than usual.

Unfortunately, my poor diapering Saturday night meant Connor would wake up soggy. I was downstairs feeding Helen when Ed found Connor wandering the hall and asking Ed to change his diaper. This is a rare request indeed, these days. Ed discovered that he had to change the diaper, pajamas, and linens. And each moment Ed labored, Connor just seemed to wake up more. "Daddy, it's wet here, and just dropped 'dog train dog', where is my ..." Ed figured there was no way Connor was going back to sleep, but indeed, he did. Only, Helen's nose was a bit stuffy, and I decided to give it a bit of a cleaning after I had fed her, and this caused her to yell, which Connor took as an invitation to come on in my bed. In some ways, Helen deserved to get to wake Connor up since this seems to be among his favorite activities when it comes to her. "Helen, it's wake-up time" or, even better, when he goes in to see her sleeping because "I have to see Helen" and he shrieks "she's sleeping!".

All Ed could think about as Connor kicked him, punched him, and generally made certain Ed could not sleep was that his very favorite day of the year was positively ruined. Perhaps it is days like these that inspired Ed to say a few nights ago "I think that we should get to sleep in on our birthdays - and I'm not just saying that because mine is less than a week away". I told him he could sleep in when my parents were here, because they always volunteer for morning duty (hint hint!).


Saturday, November 3, 2007

That's my girl...and hangin' in the kitchen

Helen is back to sleeping quite a bit - except for a couple of hours at night (which means she is just like her Aunt Linda, according to my dad). But tonight, she decided to play for a few hours after Connor was safely tucked in bed. And to start off that play, she opened her eyes, pumped her right fist in the air, and let loose some very noisy, loose poop. And most remarkably, that pooping was not accompanied by projectile spit-up, as it usually is. That is a miracle. And, it is with great pride that I can say that excitement over accomplishing this feat surely means Helen is going to fit in just fine in this family.

Ed posited earlier today that the reason Helen can spit-up so much and still gain weight is that she actually digests her food completely and then, rather than having it travel through her intestines, she just pukes it right up, but she's already gotten all the nutritional value from it. Thoughts, my fellow google MDs?

And the laughs keep coming. Just right you know what funny thing you did just one moment ago Helen? After eating heartily, and then being held very still for at least 30 minutes - 30 minutes where neither your dad nor I risked doing anything so radical as sneezing, or heck, breathing heavily because that might encourage you to toss that entire meal, your dad changed your diaper and clothes (because even with all that holding still, you managed to unload a bit of that big dinner). And then he looked at you, and looked at me, and said "I think she's making some hunger signs, which I know doesn't make sense, but see what you think". So I looked at your dad as if he was crazy, because so far as I know you do not have a tapeworm, and I held you. And you looked up at my enormous breast, pursed your lips tightly together, and looked at me like you could think of nothing worse than swallowing one more mouthful of milk. At which point, your dad said "uh...maybe I was wrong about that".

After a rather tedious couple of hours this morning, Ed asked Connor if he needed a nap (two hours before he normally takes a nap) and Connor said he did. So, off Connor went to take a THREE HOUR nap, and after that he was in a much better mood. Note to Ed: please do not let our toddler stay up an extra hour when I am gone, even if you are just trying to prepare for daylight savings. It can make for a rather horrible morning. We went golfing, of course, because if my parents can be on the course in November, so can we! And then we came home and made pie dough for pot pies and made alphabet cookies with the left-overs. Connor had an enormous dinner, followed by several of these cookies. Turns out, he can reach up on the counter and pull down a tray full of cookies and serve himself. And I thought he was too short for that.