Tuesday, December 25, 2007

When books meet reality

Connor is totally into trains these days. We spent a good deal of time combining some of our trains with some blocks to build tunnels and bridges for the trains to go beneath. When we asked Connor if the train could get through the tunnel Connor said "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" - a line from my least favorite children's book - which naturally, Connor loves.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas the night before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Connor was stirring, just like a mouse.

He got out of bed - three times so far
Ed and I chased him back from afar.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Mom wanted to threaten that Santa would never get there.

Eventually the children were nestled snug in a bed;
And Mom said "do not hit you sister with your head!".

When out in the hall there arose such a clatter,
Dad sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the sitting room he flew like a flash,
Connor sensed weakness and made one last dash.

The tree all lit up with one bright glow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

Helen slept through it all, and stayed in her bed.
Look at her there, with her cute little head.

When, what to Ed's wondering eyes should appear,
But Ed's brother Mike, offering him a beer.

Elaine called her parents back in the Midwest
To let them know, they should get some rest.

You see, she told them, her au pair's visa was blocked
So she might need more child care than she originally thought.

We'll deal with this on Wednesday when the office opens.
For now, someone else will come, we are hopin'.

In the morning, none of this news will matter
Because we're gonna leave the room in a tatter.

With all of the presents that are under the tree
Connor will be opening them until he turns three.

But once the thrill of the gifts has died down
We'll have a big meal with family from out-of-town.

And we'll all take a moment when we stop and think
And raise a glass to have a drink.

To toast all the good things that have come to us this year
And remember the people that we hold so dear.

Connor and Helen, you fill our days with light.
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

So you're more man than me, eh?

Ed and I decided that Connor should get the flu shot, merely because we don't want Helen to get the flu and, being a toddler and all, he's extremely adept at bringing bugs home. On the morning of Helen's 2 month well child visit, I broke the news to Connor.

"Connor, we're going to the doctor today."
"Will I get a shot?" (It has been since Connor was 18 months that he last got a shot, so I took this to mean he had some strong memories of the event.)
"Yes, but only one."
"Will it hurt."
"Probably a little, but I'll give you some gummy bears when it's all over."
"I don't like shots."
At the appointment, the nurse started going toward Connor with the needle. I moved myself as far away as possible, leaving Ed to be the comfort person because I'm tired of being the one associated with shots. I looked over my shoulder to see the nurse give Connor his shot, and the little dude didn't even flinch. He totally acted like nothing had happened. For the record, this is way better than my reaction to the flu shot this year.


Happy 2 months

Dear Helen,

Two days ago, you turned two months old. I can't say as you have a load of tricks, but you're holding your own. You can pick up your head and rotate it from side to side, which is good because it makes me feel a lot less guilty about letting you sleep on your tummy. Yes, internet, I'm aware of the "back to sleep" campaign. It might be the reason Connor was such a terrible sleeper as a baby because I would never even think of allowing him to lie in a room by himself on his tummy. He wasn't even allowed a pillow until his very loving nanny (and mother of a bazillion kids) convinced me it would be OK. But you, Helen, you get to sleep on your tummy on a pillow - and you sleep great, though now that I really do think the worst of the reflux is behind us, I'm going to ditch your pillow.

We went to your 2 month well child visit yesterday and again, my darling, you are ON the weight charts! You maintain a solid hold on the 10th percentile line. You are at the 50th percentile for height and your head is in the 25th percentile. This, of course, makes your dad and I think you are quite chubby (in a good way, I swear), because we are used to seeing your brother with a 95th percentile head on a not on the growth charts weight. I was able to reaffirm I like your doctor because when he told me you were in the 50th percentile for height I said "Wow, she's average" and he said "only in height. Exceptional in every other way." You finally passed your hearing test in one ear, and my friend Sarah who is an audiologist told me that was very good news as it is quite unlikely that you have hearing loss in one ear and not the other. Guess we should start watching what we say around you.

Like your brother at this age, you are not particularly fond of the carseat. You pretty much scream whenever you get in and will only let up if you fall asleep. But don't worry, I'm an expert at driving through barely red lights, speeding, and cutting through neighborhood streets to hasten our trips. I did it two years ago on a regular basis.

You don't like immunizations any more than your brother did - but with being a second child comes parental experience and at least we were able to very quickly start the Tylenol to get the pain under control. When your brother had the same reaction, I couldn't even think because I had never heard him cry so much, and took me a while to sort out what was going on and give him some Tylenol.

Helen, you are a champ. Not only do you still sleep (thank you, thank you, thank you), you are an incredibly adaptable little girl. Regularly, I find myself waking you because I need to chase your brother out of the house before he destroys it and don't want to leave you alone. You open your eyes, smile, let me change your diaper, and pile in the Baby Bjorn and we're off.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Happy 28 months!

Dear Connor,

Two days ago, you turned 28 months old. I celebrated by going to see the movie version of Sweeney Todd, sticking your dad with bedtime with you and Helen together for the first time and you celebrated by sleeping in your room...alone...for the whole night - and I assure you, the whole house is happy about that this morning.

We spend all of our days together, Connor, and that can be both a lovely and very difficult thing. At times, I am very jealous that your dad is back at work because he can talk to adults any time during the day he likes. I, on the other hand, must answer the question "why?" about 3,000 times each day. And then, as if that's not annoying enough, at least a third of the time you correct my answer, and all I can think is that if you knew the answer in the first place, why did you bother involving me? Oh right, because you're two. Your grandma says that at your age, kids don't intentionally do things to drive people insane, but I beg to differ. In a few days, we'll be visiting her for over a week, and we'll see if her tune changes then. You spent an entire week this month trying to figure out the most efficient way to make me go nuts. The answer? Walk into your sister's room during one of her many naps and wake her. You did this exactly twice. You nearly lost your life exactly twice. See the connection?

Seriously, Connor, it's still fun to hang out with you day to day because I am constantly reminded of all the wonder in this world we inhabit. One day this month, we took a walk in the stroller. We had intended to go to the park, but you decided we would take a detour and on that detour, we ran into a holly tree. This tree was so big that we were able to climb under it and hide, looking for 'tinky 'kunks that might be there. And then...do you know what this tree offered us? It had berries. Red berries. Lots of red berries. Can we count all the red berries? Why are some berries red and some berries green? We agreed to visit again in a few weeks to see if the green berries were in the minority then as the red ones become more abundant during the passage of the season. Later on that walk, we found a small forest - just like Harold's 'mall forest and we sat and had a picnic. Only we had green beans and yogurt because I did not bother to bring 9 kinds of pie for us to enjoy.

The babies continue to follow us everywhere - and thankfully, they are adept at using public transportation. One night, we went to Target. The next day, you wanted to go back so you told me we had forgotten to bring your babies home. Luckily, I had enough sleep that night to not just get in the car and drive to Target. Instead, I told you they had to take the bus home. And, lo and behold, they made it. Phew! I'm hoping you get tired of the babies soon, though I do adore it when you nurse them. And, I appreciate that you had to pump milk for them last week because you told me you might go back to work soon and they'll need to start drinking from a bottle.

For tricks this month, you continue to memorize books - and I mean memorize - from cover to cover. Our friend Ellen was totally freaked out when you got tired of waiting for me to read a book so you sat down and "read" it yourself. She thinks you're a genius. I think it's the product of your OCD that requires that any time a new book enters the house it is read to you no less than 100 times, giving you ample opportunity to memorize it. Your daddy mentioned that he read that parents sometimes discover things about themselves when their child is diagnosed with something but I assured him, I know that I too suffer from undiagnosed OCD. What else could explain the way I nearly murdered your father when he put a banana directly on the dining room table rather than on the tray that is there for them. Did you notice too, Connor? On.The.Table. You also went to a restaurant with a friend of ours and that friend spent much of the meal saying to her daughter "Can you X like Connor?". We all know how rare this is - in fact, it's so rare that when you sat still and ate snack at our parent-child class BOTH teachers made a point of coming up to me and telling me what a wonderful time you had at snack. I didn't sell you out at the restaurant. I pretended like every meal we have with you is pleasant and that you just sit right down and gobble it up, making pleasant conversation. Yesterday, you performed a solo somersault at gymnastics, though I do wish I had been there to witness it rather than your dad.

You continue to be a bit of an inventor. We were decorating the Christmas tree when you noticed a bib your sister received as a present lying on the floor. Never one to allow her to have things intended for her, you put it on. I asked you why you were wearing Helen's bib and you started thinking quick. You reached down and filled the little pouch intended to catch food with ornaments and told me you needed it to decorate the tree. Duh, Mommy!

Being at home has allowed me to indoctrinate you more and more, and it shows up in your speech patterns. I have heard you tell daddy "Thank you for pushing the 'ilverware drawer in so I couldn't get into it." and "Thank you for the lovely meal." and sometimes, when Helen is awake, you walk up to her and say "Well hello, bright eyes." I spend some time each day thinking of phrases I could start using just so I could hear you repeat them. I assure you, I am very thankful for the fact that you have yet to repeat a not so nice word you hear from me - though you do recognize that words like this exist. We were on the porch one day, and for no apparent reason, your dad decided to release the thing on the front door that holds it open so it could ram into my knee as I sat there innocently putting your shoe on. I was so shocked, that I should "god damnit!" and you looked right up at your dad and said "What did Mommy just say?". But heck, if your dad ever assaults you with a door, I totally accept whatever phrase you want to shout at him.

You like to take baths with your sister, report on whether she is happy or not in the car, and let me know that "HELEN IS WAKING UP!" at which point I always think - she is now, anyway. You still like to snuggle and jump on the bed and run, run, run. Always running, my friend. Perhaps that is why I'm able to ditch those maternity clothes so quickly.

You're such a charmer, Connor. I do adore you.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy St. Nicholas Day

On December 6th, St. Nicholas visits the homes of children and puts candy, coins, and nuts in their shoes - presuming they've been good all year. It took until December 8 for St. Nick to pay us a visit. Not sure if it was because he wasn't certain Connor was deserving, or because I didn't want to get Connor hopped up about getting up early in the morning and checking his shoes when Ed had to go to work the next day. In any case, Connor enjoyed the Smarties and quarters that actually came from my parents. I tossed in some lollipops from his Halloween stash and a pack of M&Ms, and the little shoes were full. Of course, his new obsession is gummy bears, so those would've gone over even better. Maybe Santa will take note of this and leave gummy bears in his stocking.


Getting a little respect

You know what's great about being the stay-at-home parent? My authority has finally transcended more than just our home. Last week, when we were out at a gym, Connor looked up at Ed and announced authoritatively "My mommy says I can keep my socks on" as in - don't harbor any illusions that you, Daddy, can tell me what to do. It was music to my ears. Now, if only he'd listen to me at home!


Monday, December 10, 2007

First Snow

Last Wednesday, we woke up to a thin coating of snow on the ground. Ed - being from the Northeast, was very excited; me, less so. I spent the day pretending it didn't exist, because I did not want to take Helen out in it - except for our already scheduled trip to gymnastics. Amazingly, even with only this light coat, traffic was a bit snarled, but we made it - and on time, to boot.

As the day wore on, the white stuff continued to fall. Connor looked out the glass door regularly, and I told him Daddy would most certainly be excited when he got home. And indeed, we rushed to get dinner on the table, and then Ed and Connor headed outside to build Connor's first snowman. The snow wasn't very sticky, but Ed did manage to fashion a little something that Connor was quite excited to tell me about for the next three days until it melted away. But don't think I was a total spoil sport with the snow. Connor and I built the tiniest snowman ever (about 5 inches tall) and we stood it on the climbing wall at his pre-school on Friday morning when we were enjoying some playground time.

Thankfully, no more white stuff has been spotted - and Saturday was so pleasant here kids could be spotted on the playground without coats. Not my kids, mind you, but other kids.


Sunday, December 9, 2007

I told you she was cute, Ellen

My friend Ellen is a total style queen when it comes to children's clothes. One of my first memories of her is sitting in a new mom's group meeting when she was telling us that her lovely daughter had spit up all over her - and then admitted it was because she had changed her daughter's outfit too soon after feeding her daughter because someone was coming over to visit. This was completely shocking to me for two reasons. First, Connor never spit up, so the thought of a kid spitting up was very icky to me. Second, I was happy at this point just to get clothes on Connor - so the thought of putting a particular outfit on for company just blew my mind.

Now that I have Helen, I totally understand Ellen. SO when Ellen told me she was coming to visit, I quickly browsed through all of Helen's (clean) outfits and selected just the right one. But then, Helen slept the entire time Ellen was here - and I had her swaddled so I could not show off her cute outfit. But here, Ellen, is proof of just how cute she was last week when you visited.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

When Connor and Mommy Meet Zipline

Connor took a 3.5 hour nap today (I almost woke him!) so we headed out to an indoor gym to take advantage of his excess energy we figured he would have. The photo is awful, but good for a laugh or two.

Ed would like to install something like this in our basement.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Write something, every day

When Ed and I decided we were going to have a baby, I started keeping a journal. It wasn't long before I was pregnant and documenting little things that happened, my prenatal appointments, and some of Ed's and my conversations. After Connor was born, I decided to keep the journal going, in part because of a book I read while I was pregnant. The author had challenged herself to document the first year of her child's life and as part of that challenge, she wanted to write something every day. She, of course, is a professional writer. When Connor was about three months old, the journal became this blog, in large part because my mom mentioned how much her neighbor enjoyed following her great grandchildren via her granddaughter's blog. I tried to post frequently enough that my parents, and more recently, my in-laws, knew what was going on in Connor's life. Sometimes when we visit, I can see that the writing bridges some of the physical distance - though of course it's one sided since Connor is not reading about their daily lives.

Helen's birth caused the blog to morph into what you're now reading, just because I thought it would be too weird to have the blog only be titled after Connor when it would clearly now encompass both of their lives.

When The Lowe issued her (drunken) NaBloPoMo challenge, I figured it was coming at a good time for me, since Helen was so young and it would be so easy to drop this blog all together, now that I have two wee ones to keep me busy. I have to admit, it was harder than I thought it would be to write something, anything, every day. At times, I hoped The Lowe or Vickie would drop a day - because I was totally ready to drop once one of my fellow mom's group bloggers dropped. But, they didn't. Thanks, gals, for sticking with it. It's been fun, though I will now return to a more reasonable number of posts each month.

As predicted, there's been a lot of spitting (even the projectile sort), Connor has said some funny things and obsessed over others, and I miss my chocolate.


Getting comfortable

My mom is not often surprised. But when she walked in the door a couple of weeks ago, she figured she was walking into another week of Connor being not all that thrilled to have his life interrupted by new people. Like all good grandparents, she came prepared with a bribe (candy) and then she asked Connor is she could hold him. Connor shocked her when he looked right up at her and said "Yes, you can!" and then proceeded to drag her around and use her as his personal storyteller every day of her recent visit. (He did the same with my dad - and it only cost my dad a few quarters every day!)

Connor is definitely over his stranger rejection phase. Today, he even went and sat on Santa's lap - in stark contrast to his visit last year. He told Santa he would like a present. I believe his wishes will be met.