Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Missing the Sun

Just a little something to tide us over until the sun comes out. Who can resist wanting to be out in the sunshine with this little one?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Choose Your Adventure Update

Husband here.

Ned and Penny BOTH chose the same option tonight:

If you yell and kick and fuss and refuse to eat any dinner, turn to page 87.

On page 87, unfortunately, their adventure ended with both of them getting plopped in cribs at 6:00 without dinner.

Oh, also, Wife, Esq. was trying to deal with Ned for part of it. He was standing at the door out to the deck and screaming. He badly wanted to go out. Only it's raining and about 40 degrees out. Wife decided "Ha, I'll show you, Ned." She let him out on the deck in his socks. He decided "Ha, I'll show YOU, Mommy." He loved it. Ran around happily for a few minutes until I dragged him back in. Whereupon he started screaming again. And trying to put back on his soaked socks so he could go back outside.

One other funny Ned bit. At one point he was screaming while pointing at the Little People school bus that was on the dining room table. Ah ha, I thought...I'll show you, Ned. I took the bus into the hated play room and left it in the middle of the floor (with the gate open). Ned went as far as the play room doorway, collapsed on the floor, and shrieked and sobbed for a while. Dude, the toy you want is RIGHT THERE.

Toddler: Choose Your Adventure

Husband and I are having our asses kicked by an 18 month old. He looks so innocent - with that mop of wavy hair.
Who Me: Trouble?

The tantrums are wearing us down. The day usually starts off okay - he is happy to see us come in the nursery and waits while we give Penny her medicine and unhook her from the O2. There is much shrieking with laughter until it it is time to get him in his highchair. Then we move into "Choose Your Adventure" territory. Choice #1: Happily eat breakfast. Choice #2. Throw food and cup on floor and scream.

How Do I Feel This Morning?

This Choose Your Adventure always ends with him refusing to brush his teeth or wash his hands at the sink.

Brush My Teeth? Are you Kidding?

Time to put him in the playroom. Which he hates. There is much gate shaking and struggling when we try to diaper him or dress him for the day. Interspersed are nice moments when he sits in my lap and tries to drink my coffee (which I won't give him and that will of course set him off).

The Nanny takes over around 8:30 am and he is a bit better with her but doesn't eat much for lunch. He'll go outside and have a grand old time but freak out if you try to bring him back inside. He will focus on flipping through books although he doesn't really point out items on command the way Penny does. He sleeps like a rock for 3.5 hours in the afternoon. He is pretty good with playgroup time or walks outside but getting him back inside is always a struggle.

If only I could stay outside all day

When Husband and/or I come home by 6:00 pm there is a tantrum, on the floor kicking his arms and legs. Dinner? No eating for him (maybe a bit of carbs), lots of food throwing, refusal to wash hands or brush teeth.

After dinner is playtime which can be okay if you let him watch TV or run randomly around the house. Time to go upstairs for bath and bed? Forget it - we haven't been bathing him regularly - just fighting to get him dressed and plopping him in his crib. If you put him in the tub he will stand there and scream and cry. Once in his crib he will quietly "read" a book to himself and usually will sign along to "Twinkle Twinkle" before we leave the room.

Rubber Ducky, You're The One: You Make Bathtime So Much Fun!

Nighttime sleep is good (at least 11 hours) although both kids have started having periodic nightmares that will wake them up but they are usually asleep a minute or two later.

Just this weekend Penny started getting in on the action. Man, toddlers can scream LOUDLY, can't they? The best was when we were taking them in the elevator at the mall and two women remarked how happy the kids were (also the typical questions about whether they were twins and what was on Penny's face). I asked them whether they heard the SCREAMS from both coming from the linens section not even 5 minutes earlier. Apparently not.

Toddlers are exhausting. We are patient, often letting Ned by himself to deal with his issues, sometimes comforting him or trying to distract him. Frankly there is not much discipline we feel like we can do at this stage so our philosophy has been to ride it out. I've been able to spent much more time with both kids and I don't think that Ned suffers from any sort of social disorder - he is just really easily set off if you go against what he wants.

I'm sure some other moms can relate out there but I am frustrated because I want Ned to enjoy the time he spends with his parents and not be testing us all the time.
Brief Monster Break

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Great Blanket Debate and Other Marital Wars

As I enter the "home stretch" of the last 2 months of my pregnancy (okay 10 weeks techincally)I am large and unwieldy. I eat pretty much everything in sight - especially mint chocolate chip ice cream and Utz sour cream potato chips. And pasta and burgers. Catching up on sleep and regular use of a heating pad has made back pain more manageable.

Husband's chief complaints are that I instruct him to "fetch and carry" for me while I lounge on the couch and that I insist on having the window open next to our bed. They don't call it a "bun in the oven" for nothing. I am now hot most of the time, waking up multiple times a night for long periods (sweating) and yet feel like I'm going to jump out of my itchy skin. It's all par for the course as I remember from last time and I told Husband to add a blanket on his half of the bed and suck it up.

My current crisis has been how much we have to get done in the next 8-10 weeks. Our yard/law/gutters are a mess (Husband won't let me hire someone), our basement needs to be organized, I have not started sorting through baby clothes or other newborn supplies, the nursery isn't set up (and can't be until May because of visitors), I haven't thought about summer clothes for Ned and Penny either, or our trip to North Carolina (by car) only 6 weeks after the baby is born, we need to come up with a discipline plan/method for dealing with Ned, coming up with a tentative "get in shape" plan for after North Carolina, etc. I'm going to start working on lists while I'm at work.

I hate that our weekends are so chore focused - I want to spend FUN time with my kids since we get to see them for such a little amount of time. They hate being dragged to Kohl's and to the grocery. I need to be better about doing things at night during the week if only allotting an hour each night.

How do you keep up on the chaos of home ownership and chores?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Watch Out, Ned - Or the PC Police Will Get You

I bought these Baby Banz sunglasses for the tykes last summer and as you can see Ned needs a bigger pair. Do you find it better at this age to get "regular" glasses with a cord or keep using these non-earpiece type?

Awhile back Ned started doing this thing where he screws his eyes shut tightly and grins like an idiot. We of course thought he was funny and laughed at him. Now Ned has decided to take it to the next level. He will shut his eyes tightly and try to walk around the playroom, bumping into objects (his hands out of course); occasionally peeking to make sure he's going in the direction he wants to. This morning he tried to climb the climber with his eyes shut which did not end well. He also likes to have the bath towel draped over his head so he can walk blindly into the bedroom.

Where do kids come up with this stuff?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Single Parent Weekend in Review

The key to single parenting when exhausted? Distraction! To that end:
  • Thursday and Friday night my folks put the kids to bed because I was working late. According to them Ned and Penny were angels and so much fun.
  • Saturday morning we visited my friend Julie and her daughter The Duchess. I brought bagels and we had coffee and my kids were so well behaved - sitting at a table (!) for snack, not fussing when Georgie got jealous about them playing with her toys, etc.
  • Half day at daycare (too late to cancel when I found out Friday night I wouldn't have to work most of the weekend). The daycare people said they were so well behaved - ate a great lunch, had the whole daycare center and TWO daycare provides for just the two of them. Meanwhile I caught up on a few office items.
  • Back home for naps. We all took an awesome nap and then Ned started his tantrumming. The TV came in handy.
  • My friends Helen and Amy came over and we put the kids to bed (who of course became perfect angels the minute someone else was in the house) and I made us dinner (with salad contribution from Amy) and we watched DVR of Project Runway. Helen even brought me a People magazine and Friendly's mint chocolate chip ice cream. Pregnant lady heaven.
  • Sunday I invited my folks over for pancakes and they stayed until the kids went down for naps which completely tired them (my parents) out. They got to witness Ned's tantrumming first hand.

  • Post-nap it was a short playdate with my friend Kathy and her son Harry. We all got soaked running to and from the car. They have lots of good toys and I think I may have to rotate in some new ones.

  • Dinner was a bit of a disaster but they were angels for bath and bedtime - enough for me to feel like I was a successful parent!

I spent some time really watching Ned and trying to see if I thought there was something going on other than his feeling miserable and lack of language skills contributing to his frustration. More on that to come.

We also had some fun moments like when I got them up for naps and Ned ran to try to open Penny's door (she naps in the guest room) and they both laughed at me and spent time running in the hallway and shutting the doors. We had some tough moments with both kids wanting to sit in my shrinking lap and Ned stealing anything Penny had that looked interesting.

Here are photos (a little blurry) I sent to Husband while the kids snacked on Sunday after their naps. He just got a blackberry and a media plan so now we text. It's almost like we've joined the 21st century.

P.S. Yes, theywill get haircuts this weekend when both parents are around.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rusty Parenting

Husband leaves today on a boys' weekend in Arizona. There will be spring training games to go to and all sorts of other activities that are probably better off being told to me weeks later in dribs and drabs. He absolutely deserves this weekend and I am psyched he is doing it. But now back to me...

This will be the first time I've been alone with the kids for a weekend. Crazy, right? Husband has been solo a few times when I've been working. With Ned's tantrums and screaming fits I can't say I'm totally looking forward to it. To make matters worse I am still working crazy hours. My Big Firm does provide back up daycare on Saturday from 10:00 am - 2:45 pm (smack in the middle of nap time). I have signed them up but can cancel up to 3:00 pm on Friday. I hope I can cancel it. They are opening the center just for my kids.

My mom is probably on duty tonight (Thursday) since if I'm working until 2:00 am I really can't expect April to stay. She even offered to sleep over which should help get me out the door early on Friday (my client on this deal starts emailing at 7:00 am regardless of what time I sent out draft documents) or I'll try to work from home on Friday so I can put the kids to bed and work after their are asleep. I'm trying to bamboozle Helen into staying over on Saturday night so maybe we can have some fun time after the kids are in bed - I haven't seen any friends in a couple of months.

Usually I can expect to distract Ned with outdoor fun. But it supposed to rain all weekend. What is a rusty Mommy, Esq. to do all weekend with the kids? Maybe try out a gym place for kids? I'm definitely going to visit Julie and The Duchess on Saturday AM if I don't have to work. She lives near the aquarium but I can't handle two walkers (especially my runner and non-hand holder Ned) while almost 7 months pregnant by myself there. Okay, even if I weren't pregnant.

I need to mentally gear up since I'm physically and mentally exhausted and I want to be "there" for the kids, not just go through the motions and be in survival mode, you know what I mean?

See below how much the kids like being outdoors (sent from Nanny April's phone to me at work). I heard birds chirping this morning and I love getting up while it is light out. Just realized it is daylight savings this weekend - oops, need to plan for that too - any advice?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sort of Here

Just a quick update - I'm here. Sort of. 15 hour work days, sometimes 20-24 hour days at work for a client I frankly could now care less about. Without a single day off (including weekends) to recuperate. No modifications by the people I work with to accommodate a 6+ month pregnancy (and I hate playing that card - this would be inhumane even if I weren't pregnant).

After a few days of cranky behavior we confirmed that Ned has a double ear infection (naturally developed 2-3 days after his 18 month checkup) and he's now got a terrible cough. He also won't eat (teething?) and just screams when upset - in the highchair, in the playroom, in the bathtub. Many nights Husband has had to put him to bed at 6 pm without him eating or a bath. Normal toddler behavior? No time to think about it. Thank God he's still sleeping through the night although he's restless (and snores cutely). I know this because the only time I've really seen them is when I sneak in to their room before I go to bed for my few hours of sleep. I hope Nanny April isn't being burnt out by him.

Husband has been in charge every night and most weekends for at least 3 (or is it 4?) weeks. Nanny April has been coming at 7:30 am so I can get to work early. That gives me about 20 mins to see the kids per day.

I know, this isn't healthy, protect myself, blah, blah. If you had maternity leave coming up in a few months for 18 weeks paid you'd put up with it to. Just one foot in front of the other and the occasional nap on my office floor. Was this easier before kids? I seem to think it was but can't remember for sure.

Back to work.

P.S. My department is strapped so I haven't been able to implement the "deal on/deal off" I talked about before Ned and Penny were born.

P.P.S. The department head said something about me being "hardcore" yesterday. Um, what? Reminds me of what happened when I was working crazy hours while 7 months pregnant with the twins. The truth of the matter is that I just have an insane work ethic that won't let me just ignore/push off.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Parenting Emails Can Be Fun

Husband and I courted over email when we started dating - lots of flirting/banter while at work and dating secretly until I left the company. It always impressed me how "formal" Husband was about his emails - proper spelling, punctuation, capitalization even while making crazy jokes and so of course I adopted the same style to make a good impression.

Some weeks we still email quite a bit (news stories, ideas for the kids, weekend planning) but often it is a hurried phone call when I indicate whether I can get home or not. These past couple of months have been tough on me as a working mom and I like it when Husband sends me updates about the kids, just like I love getting Nanny April's text messages and photos of the kids.

Yesterday after pulling an all-nighter for work I took the kids with Nanny April to their 18 month pediatrician visit ... and their MMR&V shots. It was past lunch time (Ned kept saying "yummy?!" for food) and even past nap time by the time we were done so the afternoon and bedtime routine was sure to be a disaster. I had to go into the office and work late. Here is the report that Husband sent me around 7 pm:

Hope you are getting some dinner. [Note: Actually I was on a conference call the whole time dinner was being served in our cafeteria so ended up having to go home by 9 pm to eat dinner.]

Ned was a disaster. He was fine watching TV and having milk. But he wanted none of his dinner, just sat there and screamed. After a while I put him in the playroom while Penny ate. He kept screaming. Stopped a moment, screamed some more. I ultimately left Penny in the high chair eating, took Ned upstairs and put him straight in bed. (Changed him first, but no bath.) That was maybe 6:10. Poor Ned. But he quieted down quickly when I left. I think it was good daddy problem-solving.

Then Penny and I had a wonderful time together. Washing up on the tower, watching a few minutes of TV, investigating the office and watching the fish, then a relaxing bath all by herself. It is so easy to deal with one kid at a time! Diapered and onesied her in the bathroom, then very quietly took her into the bedroom to finish getting ready. I kept telling her, Shhh, shhh! And she would quietly say sssss...ssss. Ned was awake and watching the whole time, but silent. They both apparently conked out when I left the room...almost 7.

Poor sleepy kids. Poor sleepy mommy.

How do you stay in touch during the work-week with your spouse and caregivers?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

This guest is not a fan of eating much lately unless it involves carbs and most of those end up on the floor. The best part is when I haven't had time to pick it all up (I mean how many times can one person sweep/wash a floor without going insane?), the guest will try to eat the same rejected food off the floor. Bibs and forks and spoons are merely suggestions.