Saturday, November 29, 2008


I have always loved Thanksgiving. The food, the family, the release of new movies, and did I mention the food? This year Nick joined us a the dinner table. Nick is very different from Gabe as a baby. Gabe has always been a picky eater. Nick is more than happy to eat just about anything he can get his hands on.

Thanksgiving was no different - he ate a bigger variety of food than Gabriel, and very possibly more food than Gabe. He happily ate turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Gabe ate a little turkey, as long as we referred to it as chicken, two bites of cranberry sauce, some fruit, and acted like he was going to choke to death on the one bite of mashed potatoes (plain) that he was convinced to try. However, we always carry children's nutrition bars, and my MIL is more than happy to feed him other things.

After dinner Oscar and I, along with his older sister, went to see Four Christmases, which is the first movie I've seen in the theater that wasn't a children's movie, since... I can't remember. It was okay. Nothing spectacular, and I felt many of the the moments were more painful than funny. I have a hard time liking Vince Vaughn as a romantic lead. Nor did I really like Reese Witherspoon in this role. It just wasn't that funny. Still, there really wasn't anything else in the theater that sounded appealing.

After the movie we went back and picked up Nick. Gabe was staying with my MIL for a couple of nights, because he really enjoys time alone with Grandma. Especially if that includes going to their country house (they have a small house on about 8 acres in the middle of the woods on a very big hill), which it did.

Oscar and I considered going to the local outlet center when they opened at midnight, but then decided that we really didn't need to shop enough to endure all the crazies in the cold late at night. In the end the only shopping we did on Black Friday was at a local toy store, that stocks unique and educational toys, since we still needed some presents for the children of some friends of ours.

I actually managed to stay in bed until almost 9 on Friday. Not that I was actively sleep that whole time, since Nick still woke up around 6:30 a.m., but he was content to just play with me in bed, occasionally stopping to have a snack. It was very nice. Gabe always wants to go right downstairs when he gets up, since that means Playhouse Disney shows, breakfast, and his playroom. Nick doesn't need much to be entertained. It's nice to be able to make him laugh with a simple game of peek-a-boo.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giraffes and Monkeys

One of the first things Oscar bought for Gabe after we found out we were pregnant was a Ty Plush Beanie Monkey. At about 10 months of age Gabe became attached to it so we bought a back up. The back up monkey has morphed into about 12 monkeys altogether to include 2 blue special baby editions that we picked up at Hallmark. The blue monkey is apparently the king of all the other monkeys. The reason behind purchasing the monkey was that Oscar likes monkeys. So, I decided that I would pursue Giraffes, which I happen to be rather fond of, for Nick.

Luckily he seems to be agreeable to that fact. We did an animal theme for his nursery and he was always interested in the giraffe on his mobile the most. He likes his Giraffe Ty Plush Beanie, although he has not grown as attached to is as Gabe grew to his monkeys, but then Nick is only eight-months-old.

His newest favorite toy is one of the Little People Giraffes (or both of them, I guess) from the Little People Touch and Feel Noah's Ark. He liked chewing on his Little People Ship Captain and his Little People Touch and Feel Neon Green Baby Triceratops, but his Touch and Feel Giraffes are the best of all for holding (nice skinny necks) and chewing. They now travel everywhere with him. I am pleased, as I have a rather nice collection of giraffes - in a box - that I would be more than happy to share with him at some point.

Speaking of putting everything in his mouth, this is still a new concept for me. Of course I read in all the baby magazines and books that babies put everything in their mouths... But Gabe didn't. He wanted his pacifier, pretty much from day one and that was it, other than say milk, preferably from a bottle as that most resembled his pacifier.

Nick, on the other hand, will put ANYTHING into his mouth, toys, fingers, magnets, cords, straps, blankets, tags, you name it and he will probably try to put it in his mouth. Which is why I am more than happy to offer him the entire army of little people toys and animals (that we bought for Gabe who never was really interested) to put into his mouth. And if he still prefers the giraffes above all else, I won't complain.

Preschool, Take 2

Yesterday Oscar and I decided to stop by the fancy new preschool to register Gabe. The school is not yet filled up as it just opened this fall, but preschools around here have a habit of getting waiting lists. While our planned start date is somewhere between July and September of next year, we still wanted to ensure that he was guaranteed a spot.

We had Gabe with us as Tuesday is a school day for him, and poor baby, he did not want to leave. Off the lobby is the door for the infant room with a large window where you can see the babies, which fascinated him. They also have a fish tank (with clown fish I was excitedly told) over a mock bridge, also fascinating.

But the icing on the cake was their marketplace - which is a cross between a kitchen (with nice toy appliances), cafe (with cute tables and chairs) and grocery store (with bins full things to cook with or eat with) with shopping carts and a cash register. That alone was enough to convince Gabriel he never wanted to leave as he dragged me back there three times to just *look*" at the marketplace and Oscar got dragged back once. I felt so bad as we walked down the hill to his current preschool. He looked so dejected. There is just no comparison between the two facilities.

He really wanted to stay at the fancy new preschool, and I really wanted to let him. However, we are paid through December at his current preschool and then he will be with my MIL full-time until probably July.

Not that she isn't great with him. They go to the library, they do art projects, they cook, they read, they play games, he has a nice jungle gym in the back yard, we're planning on getting him a child-friendly keyboard with learning games for the computer.

He will not be lacking anything except the companionship of other children. And he adores his Grandma. So he will be fine. And hopefully not too far behind the other children his age when he does start full-time (or rather three days a week all day) at the fancy new preschool.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gym Class

Three-year-olds are self-centered by nature. I get that. I've been living with a three-year old for about four months now. However, someone of the three-year-olds that I have watched interact at Gabe's gym class are beyond self-centered and bordering the line into bully territory. This past Saturday there was this one girl in particular that had me tempted to go into the gym room and protect my son.

Unfortunately, I was by myself and had Nick with me, in a seat right by the door, so getting up to go into the gym room really wasn't an option. I could only watch as this girl was repeatedly (and intentionally) mean to Gabe.

Now, you might say that she is only three, so maybe she didn't realize what she was doing, and in many cases I would be tempted to believe that, as my own three-year-old is often mean or rude with out malicious intent. But when you run up behind someone and push them off a balance beam (more than once), and not an oops, I bumped into you push, but a hands up into shoulders with effort push, that's intentional. Luckily the balance beam was a floor one, so he only fell two or three inches, but still, where were her parents?

Unfortunately that was not the only thing she did that was rude. At another activity station the kids were supposed to walk across uneven bars (hands on the high bar and feet on the low bar) and numerous times she pushed in front of Gabe to go first. At one point when he was waiting his turn and was about to start walking across (when she was about halfway across) she walked back the other way to block him from going. Another time she started going right after he started and he decided to just drop off the bars rather than risk anything else she might do.

I was proud of him for not retaliating, as there were other kids that were getting aggressive, but he just went about trying to do what he was supposed to, although, occasionally having trouble using his listening ears. Gym class is actually really beneficial, and this is his first non-parent child class. He gets to work out some energy during the hour class, learn new skills, and work on his listening. We started Gabriel shortly after his first birthday, and had we thought of it probably would have started him at 10 months. However, we do plan to start Nick at 10 months, which means in January Nick will start his first parent child class. I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Tooth of it All

Nick will be eight-months-old on Monday, and still has no teeth. He has a few places where I think a tooth could pop through at any time, but he still remains toothless. I actually thought he was going to get teeth early when he started the excessive drooling at four-months, but that was not the case. He was just going to drool rather than adding teeth.

Not that he doesn't want teeth. He is quite determined to chew anything he can, especially if it happens to be food belonging to his older brother left within his reach (a few weeks ago he actually managed to rip a large chunk of hamburger off Gabe's plain meat patty, I discovered him with one hand on the chair and the other hand holding the meat, he was quite pleased with himself). Most of the time Gabe is more than happy to oblige him. Many is the time that Pigpen or I have found Nick with his hands on Gabriel's chair with his mouth open like a baby bird, while Gabe feeds him cheerios.

I am not exactly looking forward to his first tooth finally popping through, as I have never been bitten while nursing, and I am not sure it will be a pleasant experience. Gabe and I mutually decided to stop nursing at six-months, shortly before he got his first tooth, although he was mostly bottle fed by that point any ways. Nick is still breastfed, and also likes it for comforting, which I'm sure I shouldn't be doing, but I really don't like him to be crying in the middle of the night.

Last night he woke up around 9:45 p.m., which was about three hours after his last feeding, so I decided to bring him into the bedroom while Pigpen and I attempted to finish watching Bones (does anybody else heart that show as much as I do?), which was a particularly compelling case involving a murder on an airplane that had to be solved before the plane landed in China. Conveniently Booth and Brennan were on board to solve the case. However, Nick really didn't want to eat and the noise from the TV was a huge distraction in getting him to go back to sleep, and his gums were hurting him. We finally gave up on watching Bones (take two tonight) and Pigpen curled him up against his chest and patted his back until finally he was able to sleep again.

So, really, I'm thinking any day now for at least one tooth.


Gabe doesn't need to go to preschool. My MIL watches him full-time and provides plenty of educational experiences for him, as well as plenty of playtime. However, Oscar and I felt that he need to start getting used to being with other kids, learning in a more formal environment, and listening to someone who was not named Mommy, Daddy, or Grandma. We enrolled him for two half-days in a preschool that is close to my office, but have not been overly impressed, although the cost is quite reasonable.

In fact, there are many things that have frustrated me to include the large class size, rotating assistant teacher, lack of materials (such as only one computer for twenty students), and reports that he often does not eat get to eat his snack or goes outside without proper gear, despite having it in his cubby. We also don't like the fact that he comes home with way too many random pictures (coloring being the default activity when a child is not participating in an activity) even though all or all but one of the boxes are checked on his daily sheet.

Earlier this week we toured a facility that is next door to Gabe's current preschool, and, in fact, is attended by a friend of his. Her mother raves about the school, and I am very impressed both with the curriculum and the facilities, but also the very small class sizes (1:8 for his age group). I could go on and on about the absolutely adorable marketplace they have that can be used for any number of skills. Plus all food is provided, to include some very nice practically gourmet lunches. However, it is a lot more expensive than his current school - more than double - and half days are not an option, well, they are, but you still have to pay the same price regardless.

Oscar and I don't see the point in keeping Gabe in a school where we feel are money is wasted, but we can't quite justify the cost of the new school when we are trying to cut cost regardless of how wonderful it is. I am trying to decide if it is best to keep him in his current school and switch him next fall, take him out and enroll in the new school next fall, or enroll in the new school after Christmas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Big Green Chair

Gabe now sleeps through the night and goes to bed with few complaints, although there are the occasional nights where he insists three or four or five times that he has to go to the bathroom, despite having gone before his bath, which occurs right before stories, which occur right before bedtime. Now he still gets up ridiculously early (sometimes as early as 5:30 - on a Saturday!). Still even when he was waking up frequently in the middle of the night he always preferred my husband to me. Which was a great source of irritation at the time.

My eight-month old, however, insists that only Mommy will do... at 10:45 and 1:00 and 4:45 and 5:30... as was the case last night. My husband will go in and change him at 10:45 and sometimes at 1:00 and usually, if I stay awake, I am only in there for 10-15 minutes. However, there are many nights where I find myself, three and a half hours later, waking up in the big green rocking chair in Nick's room, with him sound asleep on the Boppy, nuzzled against my chest. While the chair is pretty comfortable, and I do have a blanket, it is still not as warm and cozy as my bed. And despite being asleep for that whole time, it doesn't feel like real sleep.

This has been a habit since Nick was moved into his own room, and I often wonder if it would just be easier to have him in bed with me the whole night, as at least I would be laying down. But with that comes the whole issue of him being in our bed and never getting him out. I never considered it with Gabe until he was about 18 months and sleeping in a toddler bed (how I wish I had learned of the tent tops for cribs before getting him a toddler bed). Once Gabe started sleeping in our bed for part of the night it was quite difficult to get him out and didn't actually happen until a month or so before Nick was born.

Still, there are many mornings where I have Oscar bring Nick in to the bed when he wakes up around two or three or four, especially if I've just recently been sleeping in the big green chair, and let Nick attach himself for however long he pleases and go back to sleep. While my sleep is not as restful as it would be if he went right back into his crib after eating, it is at least laying down. And some nights I will take what I can get.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Knights on White Horses

I am frequently amazed at how different it is to do certain things when you have children. Before children Oscar and I regularly went out to dinner and a movie or went to a dinner show, such as the one at Medieval Times. It was easy, we hopped in the car and we went. It also was usually just us, as we were in that honeymoon phase and didn't require the company of other people. Fast forward three years to this past weekend.

On Saturday we decided that we want to take our three-year-old to Medieval Times. However, since I'm still nursing that also meant bringing our [almost] eight-month-old. On top of that we decided we would go with some friends. One couple has a three-year-old and a two-year-old and the other has a five-year-old and a three-year-old. It was a lot of people to try and coordinate, which is a role my husband typically takes on.

I was hoping that Nick, my baby, would sleep through the show or at least be content in his infant carrier. I also hoped that Gabe would eat some of the food that came with the cost of admission, which in case you have never been, is really good. Instead we had to get Gabe a burger (plain, no bun) and fries. Nick, however, was all about sharing Mommy's dinner and eagerly ate chicken and potato, in addition to his cheerios and bottle. He also spent the whole time on my lap, which meant I missed much of the show as I was too busy worrying about him.

The amount of stuff that you need to go any where with two children is amazing. Especially when it is about an hour to an hour and a half drive to your final destination. And if you forget something you are sure to need it. We had the stroller, two diaper bags (although Gabe is mostly potty trained), snacks, bottles, changes of clothes, toys, and loveys. Not to mention my pump, so that I could have the joy of pumping in the car to ensure that I didn't miss a session and Nick had fresh milk in case he wanted it during the show.

The boys usually go to be between 6:30 and 7:00, which seems early, but I have to be out the door for work by 7:00, so they need to go to sleep early to get enough sleep. Gabriel also is not a napper, so it is his only opportunity for sleep. The show ended about 6:00 and we were on the road by 7:00 after saying goodbye to our friends and making sure both boys ate one last time. In the car we changed both the boys into their pajamas and brushed their teeth so they were free to fall asleep in the car.

It was exhausting. We got home at about 8:30 and I was ready to go to sleep myself... on a Saturday. I used to stay up and watch Saturday Night live or still be at the movies or even ::gasp:: a bar. Of course, then I could sleep in as late as I wanted. Now I'm lucky if my three-year-old lets us sleep in past 6:30. I wouldn't change it, as I adore my boys, but sometimes I just wish I could get a little more sleep and remember what it was like to be out after dark.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Misadventures in Pumping

Having a baby that is only breastfed while also working full-time is not the easiest thing to do. However, Nick will be 8 months old on the 24th and I have been determined to make it to his first birthday without ever feeding him formula. Yesterday was the first time I have had to rethink that goal.

For the first five months I was back at work, having taken two months of maternity leave, it was easy to go pump in a nice empty office down the hall from my cubicle. There was a computer in there that I could log on to and still accomplish most of my work while using one of those nice hands-free bustier things that really make me feel like a cow. Recently, however, I changed jobs and now share an office with an older gentleman, who may or may not show up on any given day.

For my first week he was on leave, which made it easy. I just closed and locked the door and went about pumping milk. However, now that he no longer on leave I am never sure when I can safely close the door and pump. The office I used to use is still available, but it is no longer near where I work. Still, I am determined not to miss a session and headed down there with my pump only to find the door locked and no one who knew the combination to get in.

The frustration (and lack of sleep) caused me to burst in to tears. Not really how I want to be seen at work, but there you have it. I was standing outside the locked door while holding my pump with my chest hurting, crying. Not bawling, mind you, just tears rolling down my cheeks. And as I stood there tired and sore and frustrated I contemplated how much easier my life at work would be if I just sent formula over to my MIL's for my baby to eat.

As for the lack of sleep, Nick still does not sleep through the night and I have issues with letting him cry, so I still get up three or four times a night to go pacify him. However, the last few nights have been especially difficult as he has been waking up around 3 a.m. and not going back to sleep until almost 6 a.m., which coincidentally is the time I have to get up to get ready for work. So I've been extra tired this week, which doesn't help me not cry while at work.