Thursday, September 29, 2011

Embrace the Camera: Pillow Cushion

 
You know the drill:
1.  take a picture of YOU with your kids, spouse, friends, etc.  the point of embrace the camera is to get in front of the camera and to document a bit of yourself.
2.  link up your POST, not your blog to the Anderson Crew's site (see button above)
3.  link back to their blog by a text link or using their button.




A moment or two from yesterday's Wordless Wednesday to snuggle with my people eater.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Life sized pillow cushion = threatened trips to the ER. 
Don't worry.
They signed waivers.
And Felix wears a diaper, and Miles is now wearing pull-ups (ugh)--that counts as protective gear, right?
It's not like we have done this EVERY day after school for the past few weeks or anything...


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Knitting: FAIL


Today's menu: a little humble pie.

I've tried 3 times to make something "knit" for Eric.
Scarf x1
Scarf x2
Hat x1

I need to stick to toy animals and baby hats.

I mean, this doesn't even fit Felix! (And the only way he would sit still was to put PBS on the TV for 10 minutes--thanks Curious George!) We cannot figure out what he looks like...it's almost like a knit bowl cut. Wait a minute...they sell those fake beards on etsy, maybe I can start selling knit bowl cuts? I'll move into mullets, fish tail braids for the gals....nah, I'll just stick with my purchasing power and Etsy.

I did, in fact, follow a very easy pattern I found on ravelry, but might have to keep searching.

Please tell me your laughing...or that you have a doll that needs a cable knit hat/bowl cut. Because at this point, I am not sure it would even fit a newborn.

Takers?

Wrump

You know those days you open your fridge and wonder...hmmm...where did all the food go?

I kinda feel like that about my "creative" fridge.

Especially in that bottom drawer I call "witty."

It's like I've lost that knack for writing! I'm in a writing slump.

Wrump.

And it's not like I don't have "material."

I mean, who wakes up to their one and a half year old who finds his way into the fridge to get a cold piece of pizza and brings it into your room while you are on the toilet? I admittedly still look at this cell phone picture once a day to generate a smile in the concentration camp office.


Or my husband putting Miles in dirty Felix pants that are WAY too small, and pairs it with wicked witch of the west socks. (Sorry, cell pictures!)


Let's not forget the fact that Miles is just now getting into this whole baby thing, and Eric was congratulated at school because my 3 year old is telling faculty I'm pregnant (I'm not.) Or the fact that whenever we bake, which we have done a lot for new mothers, Miles will say something like "my grandmother is having a baby, and she is screaming for some brownies." I cannot even go into the conversation he had with the childcare director about his anatomy parts, how they are made, what they are for, etc. It's like I've birthed children who have provided me time and time again with Parent's Magazine--the R-rated version.

Anyway, my blogging hasn't been as consistent, or as interesting, or as engaging as I feel like it used to be. I've come up with lots of excuses, the least of which are I just don't have the luxury of time. You know, like ALL that spare time when I had an infant and toddler and was pumping and helping Eric kick cancer's butt. But what I cannot get over is how much more difficult it is for me to compose as it used to be in the past.

The other culprit is facebook. I'm pretty sure if you read this (all 4.5 of you), you are my friend on facebook. So you've seen all of the pictures before, but with an abridged caption. So I kind of feel like I am stealing from myself when I write a full on blog post.

Maybe it is this new regimen of vitamins I'm taking. (Can sublingual methylcobalamin cause brain damage?)

I'm trying to remind myself that blogging is really for me (okay, and my religious following mother), and that just having a chronicling of my journey into motherhood is going to be invaluable someday when I present my sons with 11 volumes of printed blog posts...to which they will pass over to their wives (or husbands, whateves, just as long as their happy), and ask them to store it in a craft closet. Or move it to an attic.

But seriously--I think some of the biggest reasons my blogging mojo has been bruised is because I find myself doing things otherthan blogging at night. My general pattern is--idea creation in the shower or commute. Write at night. Schedule to post the next day. But now at night--I do things like knit, read, and SLEEP. No, really, I've been on this really good streak of getting myself to sleep (not to bed, but actual dream state) a lot earlier. This also means responding to fewer e-mails, trolling facebook and Google Reader less frequently, and generally reducing my risk for glioblastoma by detaching from my phone a bit. Don't worry, it's temporary.

But part of me misses this outlet of writing, so I'm going to go out and try to find my funny again.

Wish me luck. And stick with me--all 4.5 of you. I might even throw in a knock knock joke.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

one-eyed, one-horned, flying, purple people eater

"I said Mr Purple People Eater, what's your line?

He said eating purple people, and it sure is fine

But that's not the reason that I came to land

I wanna get a job in a rock 'n roll band"

 
What in tarnation is a purple people eater?
 
Whatever/whoever it is...I think I birthed it. His name is Felix, and he's already giving me a run for my money.

I'm not sure I'd call him "all boy," but perhaps that day he was splashing ferociously in his bath at a mere 3 months and my mom said, "he's going to be a handful" I should have believed her.

And maybe all of those hickies he gave me before he was teething while I would hold him was a sure sign I would have an oral aficionado on my hands.

It floors me how different my boys are--and just at 18+ months apart.

Miles bit at school only a handful of times, and I was MORTIFIED. I think I may have even cried about it at home. He was going to need to go to boarding school, and then next thing you know, we are the subject of 48 hours mystery and how after a vacation in Aruba with the family, Eric and I mysteriously capsize on a family kayak and die, while Miles miraculously survives. You know all deaths in Aruba are murder...

(Of course, I also had to whip stitch my heart back when Miles wasn't even crawling, and a bigger baby crawled by and swatted him in the head for no particular reason.)

How cruel! What negligent parents. My kids will NEVER do that.

Then Felix came along.
  • He left the baby room last year at childcare being known as the "people eater."
  • After 1+ year of nursing, I had to stop cold turkey after he shredded the "tap" so badly, that my wince and cry at 1am that mid January night surely woke the street
  • He bites when he is teething...which you know is constant from about age 7 months until 3 years
  • He bites out of excitement, boredom, and sometimes anger...but mostly I feel like it's just this impulse he has when he is excited.
  • Many days I am met with his teacher saying, "he bit a lot today." And on his wrap sheet chronicling the day's events: Biting. :(
  • He is a swatter. Again, it's usually just out of excitement.
At this point, mortification has turned into defeat. I mean, what can I say when I am met many days with his teachers pointing out his misbehavior? "I am soooo sorry."

I know all the other parents know he's a "biter" and "hitter." And yeah, I take it personally. I put him in the car almost every day and say "Felix, biting hurts." He looks at me like I'm crazy, especially because he's probably like, "mom, where did that come from?" I know that you need to address these issues with toddlers when they happen, but after leaving school knowing he's had a bad biting/hitting day, I say it more to make myself feel better.

There is a quiet chair at school, and I don't *think* Miles has held up residence there a terrible amount of time, but I do know Felix has graduated from the quiet chair to a contained high chair that is faced in the corner. I should bring in a dunce cap, huh?

He certainly isn't modeled this behavior at home. We don't bite in our house, we don't hit or spank, we really don't yell or do much of anything "aggressive."

I'm starting to think it was all the procardia or terbutaline I took while preggo to keep him from delivering earlier than he did. I mean, what else could it be???

And the thing is--he's just the happiest kid. He has his moments, but it's not like he is this angry bully who bites and swats out of malice. It's like he thinks he is constantly at an amusement park doing that whack a mole game. WHACK! And then he looks at you and smiles.

Eric really thinks he gets bored easily. And of COURSE the first thing I want to do when I am bored is bite flesh. Duh.

And I've tried it all: put his hand in his mouth when he bites. Squeeze his cheeks. Tell him it hurts. Use direct language. Redirect. Show him "gentle" hands. (Eric's favorite is firmly saying to him "IMPULSE!" as he winds up to swat). And now we put him in his crib and shut the door for 2 minutes. We always make him apologize, which I guess is good practice, but I am not sure that's the panacea.

I've read some stuff about it being a result of not having the language to express emotions--good and bad. Okay, I sort of buy that, but Miles has always had FAR better receptive than expressive language and didn't resort to wrestling to get his feelings across. And Felix actually has pretty good expressive language.

What makes me laugh is that now in any social situation with other children, I'm pulled in 2 completely different directions: I have one child who is so shy and unwilling to play or enjoy himself without holding your hand, and another one looking to make a friend to become "blood brothers" with by biting. (Actually, in all fairness, Felix has never bit or hit a child he didn't know. He usually just goes up to them and giggles.)

As with all things (except potty training. As of this week, we are starting OVER. And I'm researching schools that allow kids to wear diapers through college.), it's a phase. What's good is that in general, I really love the early toddler age.

I just don't love the biting. And realizing that I need to draft an agreement of understanding in regards to the real and threatened risks of babysitting my child. (So is it now $10-$12/hour AND a tetanus shot if needed?)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You know Fall hasn't divorced you for the year when...

You pull out the yard equipment and use your 3 and "unders" for child labor.


Could they look any more morose? It's almost as pathetic as those Sarah McLachlan ASPCA ads.
Not sure, but I think he's auditioning for River Dance here...
Good thing our walkway is adequately mowed.

Yeah, those long adult rakes are a little difficult, but nothing a little problem solving cannot solve:

I promise it's not all forced child labor...(and in truth, I'll give you 1 guess who the two boys were actually asked to rake and mow the yard.)



It surely is one of life's simple pleasures being outside without oppressive heat.



Seeing the boys together, even in the simplest moments makes my heart melt.

And in light of a future post on Mad Dawg Felix and his propensity for cannibalism, hitting, and throwing (ugh...)I leave you with one of his favorite past times--experimenting with life and death--bug style. Where did this kid come from? And should I establish a preemptive set up parent-teacher conferences every month at whatever school he enrolls in (rather, lets him attend?)

First--identify an ant:
Next, posture around and show the ant "who is boss," ending in some swift capital punishment.
Rinse and repeat--just to make sure the job has been completed.
Laugh, while your mom's heart bleeds for the poor ant.

Please tell me this ISN'T how Hitler started. 

Do you think you can teach Jainism to a 1 1/2 year old? 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stumped

I'm totally stealing the whole middle text adjustment from another blog.

It's a new month. I wanted to change it up a a little today.

Can you copyright stylistic blog decisions like that? If so, I am totally guilty and will pay any and all fines--as long as it is in the form of knitted monkeys, elephants or beanies. 

***

We've had a year or so of the "whys."
You know, when your children all of a sudden start answering any and all attempts at verbal engagement with "why?"
In the beginning, I feel like it is test driving a new way to communicate.
Then it becomes a game.
At times, manipulation.

But we are barreling toward 3 1/2 over here, training pants and all, and the "whys" are transforming into something new...

(Was Confucius a toddler?
I kinda think so, because these 3 year olds start saying things that I am pretty sure could be sold to fortune cookie distributors:

"I cannot see that with my ears. We need to turn life up.")

Now I'm dodging these esoteric type questions for which I have no answer.
Approaching a simple "why", albeit annoying, was easy. I took 1 of 2 paths when Miles threw them at me ad nauseam:
  1. Why not, Miles?
  2. I don't know.
Usually this worked. And if not, good ole fashion ignoring seemed to quiet the fire.

(Please don't think I am not engaging in my child's curiosity--I'm talking about those "whys" that are asked when the interest is not in the answer, but in the response to the asking 8 zillion times.)

Anyway, now I'm thrown doozies like this:

"Mommy, what is behind the sky?"

Yeah, your turn readers. How do you answer that? I was stumped. Miles asked this in the car yesterday. (And why do they ask this type of stuff in the car when I have no way of retreating??) I mean, I get what he is asking, but how do I even broach the topic of space/time continuum or the concept of "universe?" Luckily, he answered it for me:
"Mommy, it's dark behind the sky."
"Yes, Miles...yes it is." Phew!

But the other day, I was not so lucky...
Miles, Felix, and I were in the car (clearly) after a whirlwind 3 playground morning, and I had been talking about one of his good friends who graduated from his school and is going to big kid school this year (ya know--pre-K). His mother is pregnant with twins (who's not these days?), and I was explaining that B was going to have a baby brother and sister.
Miles has been recently, out of nowhere, commenting/asking "I came out of your belly? Then Felix came out of your belly? But we came at different times?"
Asking this on the way up to one of Eric's school functions. Asking while on a walk. One must wonder what sparks this line of questioning.
I knew this twin thing would throw him for a loop.
After trying to explain what twins are, and what non-twin siblings are (an important lesson since it appears that now is the time everyone is starting to question whether or not my boys are twins), Miles said,
"I want you to have another baby in your belly."
Thankfully, he said this a good 2 months after losing the last pregnancy, so I didn't dissolve in tears and force one of the boys to take the wheel while the other one managed the pedals.
I responded,
"Would you want another brother or a sister?"
Miles said,
"First a brother, and then a sister, and then Felix."
I said,
"Well, I think if you have another sibling, it will be just one, but we need to talk to Daddy because he helps make a baby."
Oh boy...oops...DANGER...why did I do that? Thankfully, Miles didn't pursue that thought any more.
He paused, and then asked,
"Where is that baby now?"
Ugh...my mind starts going back to biology class, philosophy, and religion.
XY Chromosomes
Ovulation
Existence
Souls
...
"Miles, that baby doesn't exist."
"But Mommy, where is the baby now?"
Clearly "exist" is a concept we need to work on...
Right after pooping in a potty.

I get it, I get it. It's a good question, and one I just couldn't figure out how to respond. I tried to explain that there is no baby until Mommy and Daddy create one, and that it grows in the belly and gets bigger from the food Mommy eats.
What in creation was I thinking?
Total parenting fail.
I shoulda just stuck with the stork story or Babies R Us purchase.

 I'm not ready for this one...

***

Last night while finally watching some 9/11 coverage, I thought a lot about uncomfortable and hard discussions with our children. Although Miles is FAR too young to talk about 9/11 to him (in my opinion), and exhibits far too many fears to even talk to him about buildings/planes crashing, terrorists (bad guys), and death (we are still working on a fear of hearing a public potty flush), that day will come.

It's a part of motherhood that I never really thought about--tough discussions. Up to this point, I've been able to keep Miles in the dark about so much--bed rest and hospitalizations, pregnancy loss, cancer, great grandparents dying...

But at some point, you begin processing life's obstacles with your children.

Sometimes, I really won't know, and "I don't know" will have to suffice (if Miles comes back and asks what is behind the universe, I may just immediately refer him to an astrophysicist), but other times, I'll have to navigate uncomfortable situations in a manner that is honest. Whether it be procreation, terrorism, death, etc.

My baby is growing up.

Right now...let's focus on what happens to pee and poop once you flush a toilet, mkay?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

RAK: September 2011

"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."
— Dalai Lama XIV (emphasis inserted by yours truly)

If you thumb through the archives of this living blog (and by thumb, I mean click and search), I've talked about random acts of kindness (RAK) from time to time.

I've always been one for a good RAK. I'm no buddhist, and I am certainly not riding off of Mother Teresa's coattails (I don't think habits go well with my skin coloring, anyway), but life always presents us opportunities to help other people out. 

I'm not sure I have nestled into an emotionally altruistic hammock, but I am always mindful in trying to make sure my RAKs are not a mechanism of avoiding my own distress, diffusing personal emotional tension, out of obligation, a desire for praise, or a clever way to avoid feeling guilty. What I always ask is, "would I be just as happy for the recipient if someone else performed the gesture?" Meaning, is what is most important that the other person's struggle/obstacle/crisis is tended to? It's the result that counts--not the personal satisfaction of having helped.

(I'm just talking mumbo jumbo right now?)

Just bear with me, m-kay?


The truth is, I do enjoy performing RAKs because at times--it really is just about thanking someone else for something s/he has done for me. Other times it is about helping someone out who is struggling.  And yes, at other moments, I just get these crazy ideas while sitting in traffic or shaving my legs about some fun craft, idea, or event that I can share with someone else. Wait--you shave?? I promise, Moms, after 2 years, it almost becomes regular!


Maybe for me, it is dabbling in junior varsity altruism with a lot of a desire to feel connected. And please note that my definition of RAKs does not include anonymity. Sure, it's fun to do anonymous things for people (I've always wanted to be that anonymous donor who gives $1 million to a charity. Although, we've got some accounting issues holding me back on that one.), but I never consider it a prerequisite. (Good, bad, or neutral...that's just the truth.)


Regardless, I would like to spend the rest of 2011--I know how kind of me to give myself a whopping 4 months--doing something nice for someone else each month.

I've slowly emerged from 2 kinda prickly months with the personal events and am more equipped now to think outside of myself. 


I guess by writing about all of this I am opening myself up for you rabble rousers to say "hey, isn't this exactly what altruism IS NOT defined by? Publishing your self-proclaimed girl scout badges?" (Wait, do girl scouts do badges? Or is it patches?) But I guess my theory in writing about it is 2-fold:
  1. Accountability: if I write it down, I'm more inclined to keep up with it. And since I don't journal outside of the blog, this is the space I'm confined to.
  2. Domino effect: Perhaps it will get others to think about doing random acts of kindess for other people. 
***

September's RAK was a no brainer--dropping off a few meals to a b-friend. She has found herself as a "single mother" for a spell, and with 1 (etc) child/ren she spends lots of nights doing the dreaded "what on earth am I going to make for dinner for this family? Gosh, this would be a ton easier if I had a partner to help me out."  I do that jig every Tuesday night and dread it...it must be hard week after week.

Tangent--I ALWAYS scoffed at those filthy rich celebs who have personal trainers and chefs. But to be honest, I'd hire a chef in a New York minute. And then would probably need a personal trainer to keep the weight off.

Reeling it back in, Ali--this past long weekend I spent some time baking and cooking lots of meals--a few for moms with new babies, for our own family, and for my bestie. Tuesday, I piled the boys in the car, gave them the healthiest dinner of cheese curds, apple cereal bars and 2 juice boxes I found under 2 inches of dust in our pantry (it's portable, folks), and dangled the proverbial carrot (doused in honey and butter) of getting to see one of their friends in front of them so they would cooperate. I made sure my friend was home, and we stopped by, dropped off a few meals and pumpkin bread, played for a bit, and then were off.

It's not earth shattering. It didn't take much more than some gas and portable junk food to appease my kids. But maybe it made a few of her nights an ounce less stressful. I remember being on bedrest getting meals almost every night and just thanking God that it was one less thing we had to plan.

So, there you go September.

I've already got October lined up. It will be an interesting one... 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Naptime Maki

I'm still on my baby shower gift making bonanza, so have to take advantage of wedges of times, like nap time, to complete my projects.

What can you do with all these items from Target? All ranging in price from $1 (socks) to $6 (onesies)?


Make sushi!

I've been on a sushi kick since the boys' Halloween costumes, if you'll remember: (Thanks to Etsy for Miles's costume and Mahna for Felix's.)


Recently a friend linked to this baby shower gift idea on her blog, and I decided to give it a whirl. Felix and I were running a ton of errands this morning while Dad and Miles were on a "Daddy date," and much to my surprise, Felix was just about as into picking out the elements to the gift as I was. He chose the striped socks, and didn't let go of them until we got home. 


It's really simple--you just roll up the pairs of socks in the white onesies along with a hair bow, secure with a rubberband, and then cut out felt "seaweed" to wrap around. The fish wash buddy and 3 wash cloths were a great addition--more like sashimi. And then I just plated on an Asian inspired plastic plate from Target. For the finishing touch, I rummaged around our drawers for a spare pair of chopsticks from some takeout that I am sure occurred back in 2009. Pretty good, eh?



The only disappointment is that I needed to package the sampler up so I could wrap it with the few other gifts I got my friend. I got some $1 saran-like wrap from the dollar store since we don't own any clear plastic wrap, and this was the best I could do. The effect isn't exactly what I would want, but it will suffice.

Wasabi anyone?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Diversified

Meet Ned:



Welcome to the collection, Ned!

The time has come to diversify. Elefante and knitted beanie/bunny hats will always be my staples, but I got a new knitting book:

And have started diversifying my knitted projects. There are quite a few toys I am just itching to try, and luckily, lots of new babies on the way to experiment.



Someday I'll make a library of my knitted goods for my boys...it's like the shoemaker's kids--always going barefoot.