Monday, April 30, 2012

There and Back Again

We took our first big road trip as a family of four this weekend. Unfortunately it was for my grandfather's funeral. He was 88 years old and had a good life filled with children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The thing I'll remember most about him is his joy. I'm sure he had his worries and bad days just like everyone else, but I can only remember him smiling. In fact, as I was listening to the pastor speak during the service I could hear my grandfather's laughter. I'm very sad I'll never get to see him again, but I have fond memories.

At first Heath and I discussed me flying up to Wisconsin alone, but a funeral isn't something you want to attend without your family. In fact, though it was a sad occasion, overall it was a good trip because we got to visit relatives we don't see very often. My grandma got to see Ben again and meet Avery and Sam for the first time. Plus, my dad was surrounded by his children and grandchildren at his father's funeral and we supported him with our presence.

The boys were very good on the trip. It took over 10 hours of driving each way, but we didn't have too much fussiness (thanks - in Ben's case - to the three viewings of Toy Story on the drive up). They both slept in the car at least part of the time and we managed to stop enough to avoid the "I have to use the potty" moment, which would give us 2-3 minutes to find a suitable place. I'm glad our three year old didn't have to pee on the side of the highway. Or, worse yet, in a bottle in the car.

Honestly, I'm glad we took this trip. It was very tiring for Heath and me (physically and emotionally), but we managed to throw together a 10+ hour road trip with two young children in one day and everything turned out fine. To a worrier and a planner like me, that seems almost impossible, but it was a good lesson.

I'll miss you, Papa.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hungry, hungry herbivore

Sam has ventured into the world of "solid" food! He's had his first tastes of rice cereal and oatmeal and he likes them! He happily gobbles down two tablespoons at a time, which I know doesn't seem like a lot, but just imagine if your stomach was the size of a quarter*. In a few weeks, after his six month check up, we'll start pureed veggies and fruit and then we'll venture into softer adult foods. Yea! This is exciting, since it signals the waning of the formula era. Formula is expensive and gross and it's a pain in the ass to drag around all the time. Of course, it does mean the dawning of the Finding Cheerio's in Baby Fat Rolls era.

*I actually have no idea what size Sam's stomach is. Hyperbole is the BEST THING EVER!

Bib reads: My mommy is so going to blog this
He's so right.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Three and binky free

We're finally free. Ben no longer uses a pacifier! It's been long overdue, but the final straw was the dentist. Ben kept accumulating a lot of tartar on his bottom teeth and I think it was from sleeping with the binky. So, since Ben's been expressing interest in a new bike and he's almost outgrown his tricycle, Heath hatched a plan. We decided Ben could pay for a new bike with his binkies. When we broached the idea with him he seemed very receptive. We stressed that the binkies would be gone, but he was very focused on the new bike (which was the idea). I suppose he saw the writing on the wall, since a month or two ago I bought him a book called Pacifiers Aren't Forever. And when we started Project Napless I said if he fell asleep during quiet time that was okay, but he couldn't have binkies.

So Wednesday night we headed out to the local bike shop. Ben took to the two wheeler right away. It had training wheels, so he climbed right up and started riding around the store. He was super excited. The salesman really played along and told Ben the bike cost four binkies. Ben handed them over without a second thought and rode out of the store.

As bedtime approached I could tell he was realizing what he'd done. He didn't mention it specifically, but he got sad and started whining a little bit. But then a miracle occurred: He went right to sleep. No crying, no jumping out of bed, nothing. He did come into our room at 2am, wanting Heath to come sleep with him, but he did that even when he had binkies. Ever since then he's been fine. He's only mentioned the binkies once and he's had no trouble sleeping.

The morale of this story is that kids do things at their own pace. If we'd tried to do this when Ben was one or maybe even two, I think it would've gone much worse. Lots of crying and sleepless nights. But at three and a half he was ready to give up the binky and he just needed a little nudge from us.

And a new bike.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Ben has always been a really good patient. He doesn't complain much when he's sick. We've never had problems giving him medication. He barely notices when he gets shots. It's been one of the delightful surprises of his childhood.

I think we're in for a whole different ballgame with Sam. Ben generously shared his cold, so for the past week Sam's been coughing and sneezing and running a fever off and on. He's been SUCH a complainer. Though he can't speak words yet, he's definitely getting his meaning across with almost constant whining. "Mommy, I'm sick. Daddy, I don't feel well. PAY ATTENTION TO ME! I'M SICK!" He's been pretty pathetic.

Saturday I finally took him to the doctor because he wasn't eating very much and his fever kept popping up. It was awful. The nurse practitioner wanted to check his ears for infection, but there was too much wax. First she tried to dig it out with this little tool, but that wasn't cutting it, so she had to flush his ears with water. Oh, let me tell you, he definitely let us know how he felt about that. Another nurse was holding his head, I was holding down his arms and legs and he was SCREAMING BLOODY MURDER.

The end result was that he did have an ear infection and some pretty serious congestion with wheezing. In addition to antibiotics she gave us this inhaler with a pediatric face mask. Awesome. Not as bad as the ear flushing, but at least the crying does mean he takes big breaths and gets the medication into his lungs.

He's starting to get better now, thank goodness. He finally ate his regular six ounce bottle at lunch today. It's not like he's a small guy, but it makes mommies very nervous when their babies won't eat, no matter their size. And he's getting back to his normal, smiley self. Not looking forward to the next time he's sick.

Friday, April 6, 2012

We're in trouble

Yesterday we went to Build-A-Bear with Uncle Ian, Aunt B and Avery. It was a new experience for Ben, so he was a little overwhelmed, but when I told him he could pick out which animal he wanted he was pretty decisive. He picked Truman the Tiger, which is Heath's and my alma mater mascot. I asked if he was sure and he said yes. So we went through the whole process: getting his sound (roar), stuffing him and putting a heart inside (gag me), giving him a "bath," picking an outfit (Lightning McQueen pajamas) and making him a birth certificate.

Ben's not usually big on stuffed animals, but he's been pretty inseparable from his new tiger. He slept with him last night. And then this morning over breakfast he started talking about a "transformer machine," which you put things into and then they turn into something else. Sound familiar?

Uh oh.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Letting go

I cannot believe I'm going to type this, let alone THINK it, but I'm going to stop making Ben take naps. For three and a half years nap time has been my refuge. The bulk of my time alone and time to relax has been during nap time. But yesterday this happened:

Ben took a long nap - almost three hours. Then he wanted to play pirate, so he donned his pirate gear and hid treasure all over the house. The final step in the process involved me drawing a map of all the places he hid the treasure. First was the refrigerator and when I showed him my drawing he was less than pleased. I'm still not exactly sure what was wrong with it, but even though I tried to explain that I can't draw very well and that was the best I could do, it still turned into a 15 minute crying fit. Because I drew the refrigerator wrong.

That was basically the last straw. I've been noticing that his mood after naps is pretty bad and on the days he doesn't nap he seems fine. It really pains me to give up his naps, but I'd rather have a happy boy than a grumpy boy. I'm afraid it's going to lead to an even grumpier Mommy, but I have the beginnings of a plan. First off is Quiet Time. He'll still have it for an hour every afternoon, to conveniently coincide with Sam's afternoon nap. Then I think we'll start Computer Time. I signed up for this educational website called He's played the demo before and enjoyed it, so I got him access to the entire site. That way I can have another hour where he's occupied, but he's not just watching TV or playing stupid games. After that I'm not sure. That might get us to 3:00. Sigh.

Let's try to look on the bright side, shall we: This will open up the afternoon for running errands. We don't have to worry about getting him home from something so he can take a nap. It's the first step toward getting him off the pacifier (which he still uses to sleep). Plus, when he doesn't nap he goes to bed earlier and easier.

So this is a good thing, right?