Monday, October 31, 2011

The House that All the Kids Hate

Obvious statement of the day: It's Halloween!  I miss being a teacher lots on Halloween.  Many teachers may dislike the day and for good reason - the students all act like they have bees in their head, there's no instructional value to the day, etc.  But I love it!  It's a day when you're allowed to just have fun with your class.

I was just introduced to the elementary school Halloween parade a mere two years ago.  In the plethora of elementary schools that I went to, none of them partook in this tradition.  Which is a real bummer cause it's a ton o' fun.  The parade is one of the biggest things that I miss.  Luckily, since my dear esposo is an elementary school teacher too, I still got to participate mostly because he wanted to show off Jack (and who can blame him?), and also cause our costumes went together (we're the Rubbles).  So Jack and I headed out the door this morning all decked out in our Halloween finest.  At Lewis' school we saw some fabulous costumes.  My favorite was one of Lewis' kids.  This girl with gorgeous flowing curly black hair dressed as Troy Polamalu - genius.  There was also a kid dressed as Jake Heaps with a bench attached to his bum.  Ouch.

None of the above is the point of this post, however.  It's just the precursor, the inciting incident, the exposition.  The point is that Lewis' school is not the only place I had to go today.  I also had to go to Walmart.  And since Jack does not like being packed up into his car seat ONE BIT, it made sense to go to Walmart while I was already out.  Also too, Walmart could not be more on the way when traveling from Lewis' school to our home.  Basically it in no way made sense for me to take a second trip.

So after the parade I loaded Jack into the car and headed on over.  Still in my costume.

To understand why this is such a big deal, you have to first understand something about me.  I am not morally opposed to wearing a costume while you're are just out and about on Halloween.  If that's your game, go for it.  But it's not my thing.  I'm too self-conscious or something.  I could maybe - maybe - do it if I was in a group of people all headed to the store at ten AM on Halloween.  But I wouldn't like it.

I would definitely do it if I had a child that was wearing his or her costume with me and we were part of a matched set.  And this was technically the case, but Jack was bundled up under his car seat cover thing so that only his face showed.  Plus his costume consists of a onesie, diaper, and a strip of fabric pinned across his shoulder so it hardly counts.

But there I was in any case in all my Halloween glory.  I zipped my sweater over the top of my costume, but it was still pretty obvious that I was a 25-year-old, essentially alone woman dressed up to celebrate.  If nothing else the fact that I was wearing flip-flops in 40 degree weather was enough to give it away.

I'm sure no one really noticed or even cared, especially since I had an adorable little toot in my cart snoozing away, but unfortunately that kind of thing doesn't matter when you're self-conscious like me.  I suppose that being a mom now I'll just have to stop giving a darn about potentially embarrassing situations cause if there's anything I know about kids...

Anyway the whole reason I was at Walmart was to get candy for trick or treaters.  I know.  I'm that person, the one who doesn't buy Halloween candy until the day of.  But you've got to understand something.  I've purchased an overabundance of candy for each of the past three Halloweens in anticipation of all the little darlings that would flock to my front door now that I lived among people with children again.  And I got the good stuff too!  Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Milky Ways, Twix - you name it.  But in all three of the past Halloweens combined, I think our door has been knocked upon a total of twice.

Here is where I am something of an oxymoron.  I'm incredibly enthusiastic about holidays to the point where I even packed a Halloween-themed lunch for my husband today.  My adult husband.  And yet I can't even get up the courage to openly wear my costume to Walmart.

My point is, though, that when you are that enthusiastic and excited about something, it can be a bit of a disappointment when your expectations are crushed.  So up until this morning I hadn't bought Halloween candy.

Yesterday when I realized I hadn't done that yet, I tentatively allowed my trick-or-treaters expectations to elevate.  We live in a complex of townhomes - house after house after house.  There are no stairs to ascend to get to our front door.  And we finally live in a ward where the primary is actually larger than the nursery.  These are ideal circumstances for Halloween candy distributing success!

(Wow I really sound like a creeper.)

So the trip to Walmart was essential.  Except on Halloween day, they are out of all of the good stuff.  No Reese's.  No Milky Ways.  No Twix.  Just plain, old, leave in the bottom of you pillowcase until next Halloween, generic.

Great.  I just set us up to be that house.  You know the house.  The one that everyone learns to skip cause trick-or-treating time is precious.  You have to maximize your good candy profits by hitting only the very best homes with your sweet tooth solicitations.  We're the house that will earn a black mark this year because it's not common knowledge that we have crappy candy and so trick or treaters will still knock on our door and then come away in grumpy spirits because we wasted their time with our generic treats.  Our house will be the reason why there will be so many ticked off pirates, zombie skate-boarders, and Egyptian princesses in our neighborhood tonight.  My hopes is that they are all still to young to think to egg my garage.

Just wait til next year, neighborhood kids.  Next year I will be prepared.  Next year I'm going to have mind-blowingly good candy in my trick-or-treat cauldron.  But you won't get any cause you blacklisted my house already.  So poo-poo on you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Just Waits or Can't Waits

Just a heads up, this post may be a little, erm, sentimental.  Proceed at your own risk.

A couple of months ago, not long before Jack was born, I came across this op ed (yes, I read BlogHer.  Judge not).  The piece talks about "Just Waits" and "Can't Waits" and how useless those phrases are.

I have to say, I completely agree.  I've always been bugged when people give me parenting advice that starts with "Just wait."  "Just wait until Jack starts this then he will x, y, and z."  Yeah, maybe.  And maybe not.  Maybe Jack will terrorize my house when he starts walking.  Maybe he will yank all my clothes off their hangers.  Maybe he will put his sticky hands all over my sewing machine.  And maybe he won't.  Either way, it will be fine and I'll figure it out and deal with it as best as I can.  If all the Just Waits I've heard actually come to pass, I will believe my son is possessed.

Point is, I don't mind parenting advice - heaven knows I need it.  I do mind Just Waits.

But it's the second half of her article that really touched me in my heart.  Enough so that I shared it with Lewis and we have made an effort to kick unproductive Can't Waits to the curb.  If all we do is look forward to when Jack can crawl or when Jack can feed himself or when Jack can do any number of things that he can't do right now, we're going to miss out on Jack and how great he is right now.

An example: Jack is a fussy baby.  He's got reflux and likes to spend the hours of 6-8 in the PM screaming.  Lately that period is closer to 5-9 PM with some minimal breaks in between, usually just when he is eating. It can be very trying.

Lewis sets a good example for pleasantness.  Jack doesn't care.
With these evenings spent trying to console an inconsolable infant it would be really easy for us to say, "I can't wait until he's past this fussy period."  But we're not going to do that.  Know why?  Because of all the other precious little things that happen during this same period.  Like Jack wanting to be cuddled and held.  Or the cute little awkward smiles he gives when he wakes up in the morning because he's still trying to figure out how to control all his muscles.  Or watching him concentrate SO HARD on getting his fist in his mouth only to miss and punch himself in the face.  And when Jack moves out of this fussy period, which I know will happen soon, he won't have those things.  He'll be more alert and curious about stuff other than us.  He won't have any difficulty smiling.  He'll know how to put his fist directly in his mouth.  And those things will be darling too.  And I plan to enjoy them when they happen.  But for now, I'm enjoying what he's doing now.

Even when I was in the last few weeks of my pregnancy and I was uncomfortable and humongous, Lewis wouldn't let me Can't Wait my way out of it.  Those were the last few weeks we had as just us, no baby to take care of.  If I spent all my time dwelling on the Can't Waits (which I may have done more than I should have), I would miss out on enjoying my last little bit of time with just Lewis.

Now I know what you're thinking.  This is a little extreme.  And you're probably right.  There's nothing wrong with a Can't Wait here and there.  Can't Waits are a natural thing to think and say.  And I will often think Can't Wait in my head - but when I do, I will stop and remember all the things that I am enjoying now.  It's helped me to appreciate my little baby and all that he is capable of each new day so much more.  Because oh my heck.  He's changing so quickly.  Am I excited for him to be able to do all these new things?  Sure.  Can I wait?  Absolutely.

How could you not enjoy this?
If you look in the article, there are a few acceptable Just Waits and Can't Waits, while still retaining this mindset of relishing in the preciousness of each moment with your child.  I won't rehash them all for you.  Suffice it to say that right now, I can't wait for Jack to wake up.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Times I Want to be Asleep

When Jack wakes up in the middle of the night to eat, rare is the time that he's not absolutely delightful.  He coos, he makes faces, he eats happily.  He also sometimes does not go back to sleep very easily.

Such was the case early Sunday morning at about 3:15  He had already woken up to eat twice before (he usually only wakes up to eat twice total), so I had not gotten much sleep by that point.  After feeding him (which took about fifteen minutes), I held him and rocked him and tried to get him to fall back asleep.  No dice.  He didn't even drift off in my arms only to wake up when I laid him back down as is his usual M.O.  Jack was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the whole time.

Had it been a few hours later I would have loved to have stayed up and made faces at him and played with him, as he was clearly in the mood for.  But it was nearing 4 AM and I was dog tired.

After struggling with Jack for half an hour (until it actually was 4 AM) I decided Lewis needed a turn.  I shook Lewis awake and presented him with his son.  Lewis barely acknowledged that Jack was now with him so I placed Lewis' hands on Jack's back so he wouldn't roll off his chest and put our large body pillow on the edge of the bed for extra security.

Satisfied that Lewis could now share in my lack of sleep and positive that Jack would shortly start wiggling and kicking his dad so he'd have to wake up all the way, I lied down to finally get some sleep.  As I did, I rolled over on my side to check on Jack since Lewis still didn't seem very awake.  Jack was resting peacefully with his eyes shut.  Seriously?!

Just as I started to close my eyes I saw Jack open his ever so slightly, look straight at me, and smirk.

A few hours later Lewis woke up confused as to why he had a baby on his chest.  He didn't remember anything.

To be fair, Jack made up for it tonight.  He slept from 10:30 to 4:00, then again from 4:30 to 8:00.  All that sleep was delightful.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fun at the Zoo

Since it's fall break, we decided to go to the zoo along with everyone else in Utah who couldn't afford to go to Disneyland. We went with Lewis' sister and her three kids - 5, 2, and six hours older than Jack.

Going to the zoo with two six-week-olds is challenging, mostly because they need to eat frequently. I was able to pump enough milk to tide Jack over for as long as it took him to finish the bottle and then he was rip-roarin' for more. Luckily the area with the tigers was pretty secluded... At least until 90% of the zoo patrons decided to follow me in there.

Getting ready to feed a hungry, fussy, and exceedingly wiggly baby can be difficult in and of itself when modesty is not an issue. Trying to do all that when your baby keeps kicking the nursing cover off of what it is supposed to be covering is, well, stressful. Luckily the rest of our group decided to follow me in there and Lewis stood on one side of me and Monica - a much more experienced modest nurser - sat on the other feeding Jack's twin cousin keeping me pretty well shielded.

Even better, Monica's five- and two-year-old were able to provide some entertainment. First, the five-year-old informed me that Jack was "eating milk that he gets from your boob." Then the two-year-old, who is apparently fascinated by breast feeding, kept trying to peek at Jack eating. The best time was when I had already handed Jack over to Lewis for burping and she tried to see the baby under my nursing cover while I was putting everything away. After screeching at her to not peek, she informed me of her intentions and I was able to point out Jack's true location.

All in all it was a fabulous trip. The kids were all well-behaved and we got to see lots of fun animals as well as some top-quality people watching. But I will forever laugh at the interactions I had with those two cute kids while I fed my little fussy monkey at the zoo.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Validating My Paranoia

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this post is to express how my over-exaggerated paranoia has been validated.

A few months ago I decided it would be prudent for me to develop some more momly and homemakerish talents since that was what I was shortly to become.  I'm already a fairly decent cook so I chose to go in the direction of sewing.  For my first sewing project, I elected to make bumpers and a dust ruffle for my soon to arrive son's crib.

I worked for hours on this project, through an aching pregnant body and broken threads and pricked fingers.  When all was said and done, I was quite pleased with the finished project.  So pleased, in fact, that I decided to tackle another sewing project: our Halloween costumes - Don't worry.  I'm sure I will brag about their cuteness when they are started done.

Since his crib is in his nursery and his food which he desires in the middle of the night is in my room, Jack has not slept for an extended period in his crib (other than the nap he is taking as I type this - first time in the crib for longer than five minutes).  The issue which is the subject of this post, therefore, has not become a real issue yet.

It's the bumpers.  The cute little green and brown bumpers that so well match the color and monkey theme of his nursery.  It's not that I don't like them.  I'm quite proud of them.  No, it's that parental paranoia that keeps cropping up as a theme throughout my blog of late.  What if he rolls over into one of them and suffocates?!
The cute little green and brown bumpers that so well match the color and monkey theme of Jack's nursery.  You can't see the brown part, but it's there.
This is something that I think about every time we go into his nursery so I can change him.  He's in cloth pocket diapers (love!) so after he's changed it's a bit of a longer process to deal with the soiled diaper than if he was in disposables.  I have to flush the liner down the toilet, then separate and put the diaper and insert into a plastic bin in the laundry room.  It is a task that doesn't take long to complete, but it is made easier with the use of two hands.  Ergo Jack goes in the crib while the process is completed.  And I always tell him not to move (as if he could yet) because I don't want him to roll into the bumpers and suffocate.  Because I think about that.  Every time.

Of course I'm conflicted.  The bumpers are for safety, right?  Which is why I haven't yet made the decision to remove him from his crib.  But if he rolled into just the crib slats, how bad could he get hurt, really?

Today I read an article that pushed me over the edge and made me decide that the bumpers must go.  The cute little green and brown bumpers that so well match the color and monkey theme of his nursery that my fat pregnant butt slaved over must go.  For those of you too lazy to click on the link and get informed, let me explain: The American Academy of Pediatrics revised their SIDS guidelines to say that bumpers should be removed from cribs.

At least I still have the dust ruffle.
Just call me an oracle for the AAP.  No, don't.  I don't want to get sued.

But still!  My paranoia was just validated by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  This does not bode well for my future paranoias, but I'll take it if it means a safer Jack.

And I am bummed about losing the bumpers that I freaking made, but now I'll have some extra fabric that I'm sure I can put to good use.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Baby Motivator

Problem 1:

I have been thinking about getting my hair cut for a while.  I'm a mom now, so obviously I need a super-short mom haircut, right?  No, but seriously.  I don't really know how to "do" hair, and usually shorter hair, like at or just above my shoulders looks better when it's undid.

Plus I have an infant who has not yet discovered his hands so they therefore open and close at random.  This lovely little child spends much of his time in my arms where my long hair is in constant reach.  Multiple times a day I can be seen gently trying to pry his hands open to release my hair.

Last time I cut my hair it was long enough to donate but still be the length I wanted when I cut it, and I'd like to donate it again.  It's not quite that long now, but this morning I received some extra motivation to cut it sooner.

Problem 2:

Jack is a pretty good sleeper.  We've gotten into the routine of me feeding him between the hours of nine and ten, then putting him down to sleep.  He'll sleep until about one or two, wake up, eat, and go back to sleep.  Sometimes, however, he doesn't sleep very soundly when I put him down again so I'll pick him up and rock him and try to get him into a deeper sleep.

One night, early in our relationship, I discovered that he'll go right to sleep if I lay down with him on my chest.  A few nights later, I discovered that it's really easy for me to go to sleep like that too.  Plus having a sleeping infant on your chest is delightful.  He's even doing that very thing right now, and I love it.

But I'm also a paranoid parent and research shows that kids who sleep in the same bed as their parents have I higher risk of SIDS.  Not to mention that I certainly don't want Jack sleeping in our bed to become a habit.  So I've been trying to wean him off of falling asleep like that.  Mostly this just takes more time for me.

I've been doing well the past few nights.  I've still consistently ended up having him fall asleep on my chest, but it's been later each night, so he spends less time in our bed.  This morning, however, I received some extra motivation to kick him out of our bed sooner.


This morning when I gave up and brought Jack to bed with me, just as I was laying him down on my chest, he spat up all over my hair.  Short of a shower (which was not an option since Lewis had to get up soon and get in the shower himself), spit up is not easy to clean out of hair.

If my hair had been cut already, the spit up would have just gotten on my shirt - easy to change.

If I had stopped bringing Jack into bed with me, the spit up would have gotten in his bassinet - easy to clean.  Or maybe he wouldn't have spit up at all since it seemed to be the movement that did it.

Jack is such a good son.  He knows just what he needs to do to help his mother get stuff done.  Also he started smiling this week so he made sure I still think he's cute even when he spits up all over me.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Making Adjustments

Even the most casual followers of my life will be able to divine that it has recently changed in a dramatic fashion.  Yes, I am obviously talking about going from renters to homeowners.

This has been a major adjustment.  Before we bought this house, Lewis and I had only lived in upper-level apartments.  When you live in the same situation for nearly three years you tend to form certain habits.  In this case, we got into the routine of stepping lightly around our apartments to avoid disturbing the tenets in the units below.

Now we have a house.  Our house has two stories and the only occupants of each is us.  Sometimes I forget this and still find myself stepping overly carefully or cringing when I drop something on the floor.  Sometimes I also go so far as to chastise Lewis for not taking care when he steps.  Do we want the people underneath us to hate us?  And then I remember that there is no one underneath us.  My bad.

Our new digs.
Of course we did buy a town home, so there are people to the side of us.  Luckily, only one side.  This requires a different level of care.  The volume on the TV stays low, we avoid using our blender early in the morning, etc.  But then there was Jack.  Jack cries sometimes often.  And when he cries, he wails.  The kid is not quiet.  There is no way that our next door neighbors have not heard him.

They moved out last week.  I choose to believe that this is because they were living in a tiny house with two full-sized adults, three rambunctious boys, and two large and barky dogs and NOT because they were driven crazy by the seemingly traumatized infant next door.  Time will tell when new people move in.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What the One Month?

Two months ago today I was over 36 weeks pregnant and more than ready to be done.  My month long journey of ridiculously frequent contractions was just beginning and I could not wait to meet my darling little parasite.  Time dragged on and after the longest month of my life I finally gave birth to my precious little Jack.

And now I'm confused.  There is supposed to be just about the same amount of space between August 6th and September 6th as their is between September 6th and October 6th.  Yet the former went by at a snail's pace while the latter seemed to have gone just shy of the speed of light.  How exactly can that be?

My baby, my little Jack "Fuss Bucket" Young, is already one month old.  Whoever it was that gave him permission to grow and change as quickly as he has needs to receive a firm talking-to.

Day 1

Month 1
To be fair, some changes are welcome.  For example, I haven't been peed on in quite some time, knock on wood.  Also, we now bathe him in a tub which he likes much more than the sponge baths of before.  We're still working on getting him to enjoy the goings-on of after the bath, namely lotioning and dressing.

See how happy he is in the bath?
 I guess I should just embrace it.  Time is going to keep going and he's going to keep getting bigger.  As long as he keeps cuddling with me, like he is doing RIGHT NOW, I might be okay with it (that being said, I can foresee problems when he gets to be a teenager), and I'll do my best to enjoy watching him grow and learn.  I will admit that I am enjoying the occasional smile that crosses his face and might be intentional.

Some have speculated that he is smiling in this picture.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...