Friday, November 30, 2012


We are now bottle free! I was actually very nervous about this transition, because a few weeks ago I tried to give Sam oatmeal before his morning bottle and he was having NONE of that. He absolutely refused to eat the oatmeal, which he normally loves, and even without words he made it very clear that he will drink his bottle first, thankyouverymuch. So the prospect of taking away ALL his bottles FOREVER seemed very daunting.

However, he completely surprised me because it's been absolutely no problem. The day after his birthday I started weaning him from his bottle feedings one at a time, replacing them with snacks or milk and by this Tuesday we were done. We came downstairs that morning and he drank his milk and ate his oatmeal like a champ. Cue Mommy breathing a sigh of relief.

No more buying expensive formula, no more lugging around bottles and cleaning bottles constantly. I have counter space back! No more spit-up (now just regular ol' vomit which, while way more gross is also way more rare)! Most of the trappings of baby-hood are gone and once Sam starts walking full-time all we'll have left is potty training and then we'll have two big boys! I cannot wait.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sick sick sick

Remember how, in Sam's birthday letter I was singing his praises? How he's such a happy, independent, easy-going kid? Normally he is, but when he's sick he is the EXACT OPPOSITE of all those things. He's super whiny, super clingy, doesn't eat, doesn't sleep, is basically miserable to be around.

I bring this up because Sam's having a milestone: Baby's First Ear Infection. On Sunday night he slept from 7:30pm-1am and then only off and on until 6am. Since Heath was in Colorado for work it wasn't a pleasant night for me. So we took a field trip to the doctor's office on Monday and discovered the culprit. As the nurse was looking in his ears I was silently chanting, "Ear infection! Ear infection! Ear infection!" I suppose it seems strange to want your child to be sick, but it's a REASON for the fever and crabbiness and not sleeping. And there are drugs to STOP IT. If there's no infection then you're just on your own to endure the misery.

Luckily (for me) there was an infection so we got our drugs and Sam's getting better, though he's still grumpy, probably partly from lack of sleep. This is why I now hate winter. Constant sickness. And with two kids it's just back to back to back to back.

I can't wait until Sam's older and when he's sick he'll just lay on the couch and watch TV. Those days are nice.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The first One for boy Two

Dear Sam,

It's your first birthday letter! I'm so excited to write this for you. You are such a happy, content, easy-going little guy. Your shy smile charms everyone you meet. Only adding to your appeal, you're also extremely affectionate. I've been on the receiving end of countless sloppy baby kisses, drool sliding down my cheek when you're done. When I pick you up from your crib you throw your arms around my neck and put your head on my shoulders. I never want to forget that feeling. I hope you can always be so unabashedly open about your emotions.

We've learned a lot about you this year. We learned you hate getting dressed with a fiery passion and you're not too thrilled about having your diaper changed, either. The changing table isn't a happy place for you. Unless I give you a book to peruse. Then you forget about the humiliations happening to your lower half. You love books! For a couple months now you've been picking out books and bringing them to me to read. Then we proceed to read them approximately 5,000 times each. And even though one of your all-time favorite activities is making sure Ben's bookshelf is clear and all the books are on the floor, where they belong, you're actually fairly gentle with the books. I don't think you've ripped a page yet. You did destroy a couple board books, but to be fair Ben contributed to that eventual destruction a good amount when he was your age.

We've learned you love blueberries and knocking down block towers and playing the piano. But the biggest thing we've learned about you so far is that you're STUBBORN. You will not hold your bottle. You're completely capable of it. You drink from a sippy cup all the time, but why hold your own bottle when Mommy or Daddy will do it for you? Joke's on you, Baby, the bottle's going bye-bye soon... I'm trying to think of another concrete example of your stubbornness, but I can't. It's more like you've just got this quiet defiance about you. Not defiance like a teenager, but more a determination to do things your own way, no matter what everyone else does or what's expected of you. Your crawling style is a good example. You crawl with your right leg curled underneath you and your left leg stuck straight out to the side, foot dragging on the floor. It looks bizarre, but it works for you and you've gotten pretty fast that way. In the last couple weeks you've been crawling more in the conventional way and just this week you seem to have switched to it entirely. It's faster, easier and more streamlined, allowing access into tunnels and between chairs the way the one-leg-out method didn't. Hopefully that means in the future, when presented with a better option you'll evaluate it and eventually give up your own stubborn way if it isn't working.

So let's talk about Ben. Mommy and Daddy may be your favorite people for snuggles, but Ben is your favorite playmate. Nobody else can make you laugh like he can. His exuberance and silliness get you every time. Almost from day one you've known he was special. Before you could even sit up you would watch his every move. When he enters a room your face lights up. Ben finally has a full-time partner to play Chase. You do your best and even though you can't crawl fast enough to keep up it's pure joy for you when Ben wants you to play. Soon you'll be toddling after him and before you know it you'll catch him. Watching your relationship with Ben blossom has been one of the best things about this year. I'm glad you have each other. I know you're not always going to get along, but I hope you keep making each other laugh.

You have been the perfect second baby. From the time you were born you were subject to the schedule we already had set up, but it never phased you. I dragged you around in the car seat to preschool, to the Y, to the playground, to the grocery store and as long as you were fed and could get a little shut eye you were fine. You're a great sleeper. You're a great eater. You can entertain yourself. You've been a joy. I can't wait to see what things we learn about you in the coming year. I'm so glad you're in our family.


Monday, November 12, 2012

A bathroom story with a happy ending

A while ago I was waiting in line for the restroom and in walked a woman with her son. Not so unusual, except for the fact that the boy must've been about 10 years old. He looked mortified and I was a little uncomfortable with it, too. As the mother of two young boys it got me thinking about when it would be appropriate to send a boy into a public restroom by himself. I've talked about this with some other mothers and most think 10 is too old to be in a women's room, but the fact that some people DON'T just weirds me out.

This all brings me to the fact that I sent Ben into a public restroom by himself last week. We were having lunch at St. Louis Bread Co. and halfway through the meal Ben said he had to go to the potty. All our food was laid out, as well as our coats on the chairs and my bag on the floor. Sam was happily eating his lunch and I didn't want to disrupt him by dragging us and all our shit into the bathroom.

So I quickly assessed the situation and decided Ben could go on his own. I walked him to the men's restroom and told him to meet us at the table when he was done. And guess what happened? He went to the bathroom and came back. No abductions, no injuries, no molestations.

Now, not every 4 year old could necessarily do that. If a kid gets nervous by himself or is very timid around strangers it might not work out. But Ben's pretty mature and he's not shy at all about asking people for help and he doesn't get scared easily. I knew he'd be able to handle it.

I'm proud of myself for not giving in to the culture of fear that permeates parenting these days. I know my kid and what he's capable of and I used that as my guide, not baseless mistrust of everyone around me. Hopefully more parents will start doing that.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

A first!

On Sunday evening Sam took his first two steps! He and Heath were playing and Heath stood him up. He can stand on his own pretty steadily now. Heath was enticing him to walk with a cookie and he took two tiny steps and then fell into Heath's lap.

I was actually very surprised when he took those steps because so far he's shown absolutely no interest in walking. Whenever I try to hold his hands and get him to walk he just squats down and starts crawling. The only timeline he's interested in is his own and walking is not on it right now. I think the steps were only a fluke. It'll probably be a few weeks or more before he starts walking in earnest. But, still it's worth documenting.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'm not dead yet!

Our house has been hit by a plague. For seven days I spent the majority of my time at home nursing two boys with hand-foot-mouth virus. It's a rash that starts in your mouth, producing a seriously painful sore throat, and can spread to your hands and feet. Hence the very creative name of the disease.

Ben got it last Thursday and since he's usually so laid back about illness I didn't even realize he was sick until after lunch. I suggested we go to the park, since it was a beautiful day and he refused several times. A definite sign that something was wrong. His temperature was 102! He was down for the count for 2.5 days, completely lethargic and barely eating because it hurt so bad when he swallowed. Unfortunately since it's a virus there's no medication and we just had to wait for it to run its course. Tylenol and lots of fluids. By Sunday Ben was doing a lot better, but then Sam succumbed. I could see the sores on his tongue and lips and he started crying when I tried to feed him applesauce. Nothing is more sad than your sick baby. He has no idea what's going on and you can't explain why he feels so bad. He wouldn't eat anything for two days, but luckily he would still drink his bottles. I'm so glad this happened BEFORE we wean him from his bottles in a couple weeks.

Finally they're both on the mend. Poor Sam is still hoarse from all the crying he's done, though. Luckily, usually only kids under 5 get it, and so far I've remained healthy. Being sick and trying to take care of your kids is the worst. Also really bad: Being stuck in your house for seven days straight. Today we went to the zoo and it was AWESOME.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sporty Spice

This fall Ben was in a free soccer league for 4-7 year olds. At first I was a little hesitant because the program is a feeder for a select soccer team, which is a big time and money commitment. I'm so not ready to spend every weekend chauffeuring my kids to soccer tournaments in neighboring states. However, Ben likes soccer and, as I said, it was free so we signed him up.

They had practices on Friday nights and games on Sunday nights. The first week didn't go so well. At the first practice we neglected to bring Ben's ball, so he had to share with another kid, which he did not appreciate. Lots of crying was involved.  At the game that Sunday his team was severely outmatched and again, lots of crying was involved. Specifically, every time the other team scored a goal. I felt so bad for him because I could tell what he was feeling. His perfectionism was kicking in and he knew he was supposed to keep them from scoring, but he couldn't. So he was getting very mad.

Luckily things went better from then on. No more crying. He was always excited to go to soccer and he was pretty enthusiastic about running after the ball, but at times he would wander and become that kid who's picking grass while everyone else is running like crazy. He really succumbed to that during the last game. Instead of their normal 4 v 4 game they did a 7 v 7, so it was like a pack of vultures on a carcass. The ball was almost always encased by 10-12 kids and being one of the younger and least skilled kids, Ben just couldn't really get in there. So he lost focus and started daydreaming or talking to another kid who was hanging back. Honestly, as a completely un-sporty person myself (unless you count marching band) I was actually kind of happy to see Ben not utterly mesmerized by the need to kick a ball into a net. Eventually the coach put him in goal, which I thought was a bad idea because it would allow him to daydream even more. I was right because when the vultures came careening down the field he was looking the other way. A kid kicked it toward the goal and... hit Ben right in the chest, stopping the goal. He wasn't even paying attention, but he kept them from scoring. It was a very Luna Lovegood moment. Awesome.

Overall it was a positive experience, though I don't think Ben's soccer skills have improved much. He had fun, though. He's played soccer more, but I actually think his athletic skill is going to lie in baseball. He's been scarily accurate throwing a ball since he was two. Our neighbors actually commented on it, just watching from across the street. I guess we should sign him up for t-ball this spring.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fall Fun

In the tree house at the park

 Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkins are very exciting!

Meeting a friend at the pumpkin patch

How do YOU carry your socks around the house?!

I always fall asleep while reading, too

Watching the workers finish our new back porch

Plants Vs. Zombies

Cutest zombie ever

Zombie and Sunflower put aside their differences