Unanchored Thoughts

Bits and pieces of musings about family, friends, social issues, and whatever else travels through my head without a purpose.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I crossed the line

A previous post of mine has hurt some family members and I must publicly apologize for what I wrote. I've sadly learned the hard way a danger of blogging. It's OK to make fun of myself, but it's not fair or right to bring others into the fray. I don't know who reads this blog (not many, according to my hit rate), but it's out there for the world to read and I need to be understanding about who gets brought into my blog.

I took poetic license in describing a trip to the Eastern Shore to visit my brother and sister-in-law. I described Ocean City, in general, and their neighborhood specifically in a way that wasn't flattering or nice and they were hurt. For that I am truly sorry. One way to make this blog more interesting, in light of my particularly ho-hum life, is to take creative license in describing situations. The problem with that approach is that it means taking cheap-shots at innocent people. I suppose it's OK to do that with truly innocent by-standers (e.g., the random driver on the beltway, a person in line at the grocery store), but to cross the line and do it with family is nasty. And, for that I apologize. It's also particularly unfair given that there is much that could be said about my own neighborhood that is unflattering, and yet I don't expose our own oddities, weirdnesses, or boredom.

My post also detracts for all that is good about Ryan and Julie's neighborhood, and why we like to go visit. Over the four or so years that they've lived there we have come to know many of the neighbors and enjoy their company at the annual neighborhood Christmas party, kids birthday parties, or other impromptu events. They are a friendly group of people who have been most kind to me and my family in many situations. There is an open-door policy on their street that means there is always a friend for the kids to play with, a neighbor to chat with. It's the epitome of an extended family and an enviable situation, for sure.

I'm not sure a public apology is sufficient, but it certainly is necessary. I'm sorry.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Keeping Ian awake

Ian's sleep habits have improved since getting ear tubes, but they aren't anything to brag about. He's twitchy and agitated during much of the night and since we don't really have a room for him it means that he's with us, keeping us awake. I've long been trying to figure out if his twitchier, ear issues, eczema, gas, itchy neck, etc are related to food allergies. I don't really understand the biology of how what I eat gets into the breast milk, but I know it's related. I can't do The Elimination Diet, which is the hardcore mama solution for baby food issues. (The nursing mama lives on free-range chicken so as to make the breastmilk hypo-allergenic.) My alternative is to just eliminate the nasty-six: dairy, soy, eggs, nuts, wheat and shellfish. Problem is that I'm not really good at food elimination of any sort, and I kind of forget what I can and can't eat. But, for the last few months I've given it a half-hearted effort, and I've seen half-hearted results. Well, the other day I was reading I don't know what (actually, I do, but I can't find the link - I'll update if I find it because it's a cool site) and the woman was 'plaining about her restless baby who was all doped-up on the caffeine she drank throughout the day. So, while she was enjoying an afternoon diet coke, the baby enjoyed that same diet coke around, say midnight when it made it's way into the boob juice. I just sat there with my mouth agape. Well, no shit. Of course. I drink a big 'ol cup of joe (because I've been up half the night), which Ian then gets around 6PM causing him to be all geeked up right around the time I'm trying to wind down. The timing might not quite be right here; I don't know how long it takes for the caffeine to make it's way through the production process, but I'm guessing it does. So, what's a sleep-deprived mama to do? I sacrificed the joe for a few days and just drank hot water with honey and lemon (cleansing, I'll admit, or is that too much information?). Results? I have to admit that Ian is sleeping better. He does not twitch or squirm nearly as much as he did on the nights he was doped up on caffeine. I'm not sure how long I can go without java, and I'm too scared to even try decaf, but I am enjoying the more restful nights. Don't get me wrong. I'm not getting a full 8, but we're getting closer. Now, if I learn that the vino is causing the problem then we're switching to Enfamil immediately.

Addendum: I knew I'd jinx the situation by writing about it! Ian was back to the twitchies last night and up at 5:45. I went out last night and didn't see him in the evening so maybe it was because he missed me. I'm so damn arrogant, aren't I?

Monday, August 11, 2008

That will make you sick

Tonight I was hanging out on the floor with Graeme and Ian, just loving on them, when Graeme sort of curled himself up onto me and said something like "I'm going to put my feet in your shirt." I told him that he once was in my shirt, my belly, really. He gave me this look like, you're crazy. Yup, I said, you were in my belly when you were little like Ian. Babies grow in bellies. "That's silly, mommy. That would make you sick," he said. Precisely, my dear. About a dozen times, if I remember correctly.


What gives? This is what Ian said from about 4 to 5 AM this morning. He was practicing the consonants that he couldn't hear while it sounded like the ocean in his ears pre-tube surgery. As absolutely adorable as he sounds while practicing, I sort of wish he would have picked a different time for the session. There wasn't any stopping him though...bottle, boob, cuddle, massage, new diaper...nope...he just kept on Ba'ing and Da'ing. So, we just lie there and listened. Big side note: Is it laid, lie, or layed? I can't ever keep it straight and find myself coming up with all sorts of ways to craft sentences sans the word for fear of Grammar Bitch tracking me down.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Big week for Graeme

Turning 3 appears to set off a number of milestones for Graeme. Upon returning from the beach we decided that Graeme needed to sleep in the toddler bed, for real. Not just occasionally when he felt like it or when we pushed the issue. But, for real. All the time. The crib was his comfort zone, obviously. He could and did easily climb in and out of it, and has for months. He just never wanted to go to the toddler bed that we purchased a year ago and we didn't have any reason to push the issue. Now we do. Ian needs to be out of my bed....now.....we need a space for him to sleep. We tried using the Pack 'n Play, but it killed our backs lifting him in and out of it and soothing a crying baby while standing at a 90 degree angle ain't fun. Ian needs the crib.

Graeme slept in a bunk bed at the beach so it was no problem for him to transition to the toddler bed when we returned. His only request is that we "sleep with me," which we've been agreeing to do.

Next milestone is potty training. I already wrote about that. We are moving along with it. No one seems to be in any great hurry.

Monday, following the prodding of his teacher, we decided to ditch the pacifier. He really only uses it for nighttime sleep, but that almost always bleeds over into other parts of the day because it's the quickest way to, well pacify him. Rides in the car. Trips to the grocery store. A skinned knee. Before you know it he's using it frequently and when he has it in his mouth he's a mush. A clingy mush. I love the clingy mush, but also feel like it's time for him to be a bit less attached to it. Oh, I don't know why. Just seems like it's time. We just went cold turkey with the thing and blamed the dentist. The dentist said "no more pacis." He's only been once and liked it fine, but I'm pretty sure he has no idea who the dentist is, but he does seem to be responding to the authority she has over his pacifier use. So far we are on night 4 without it and he's doing well. He asks for it every night and Steve hands him all sorts of replacements....a dinosaur, brush, diaper cream, book...Graeme thinks this is hysterical and it usually diverts him away from the real deal. I'm so damn proud of him.

Tonight was night 1 of getting Ian to sleep in the crib. It was an ugly mess until 9:45PM when I finally collapsed into the toddler bed with both Graeme and Ian, admitting defeat. Before I knew it, however, they were both sound asleep and I was able to slip Ian back into the crib. I don't want to jinx myself by talking about it too much.

In the midst of all these developmental leaps I find myself feeling sad. As much as I'd like to throw paci out of the window some days (when G has whined for it for 30 straight minutes). As much as I need more than 30 consecutive minutes of sleep (which is impossible with twicheraumus-Ian in bed). As much as I'd like to stop buying size 6 diapers (though I must admit that changing diapers has never, ever bothered me). As much as I want my kids to be strong, independent, productive, loving, active members of society. I still want to cuddle them closely and wipe away their tears and do silly dances. And I know that pacifiers and sleeping with your mama do not exist alongside organizing a march for a cause dear to your heart and landing your dream job. I guess that while they do not exist simultaneously, but they do exist along the same life plane. It's just that I want to freeze this moment in time and hope that I can cherish it for a long time while also helping my kids become good people.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Can someone fix my pants?

We decided to dive into the world of potty training with Graeme. We introduced the potty about a year ago and have encouraged him to use it, mostly before his bath when we are conveniently located right next to it. He has complied with increasing frequency over the last year, but we are far short of having him trained. In light of his recent 3rd birthday (the magic age when boys are supposedly capable of being trained - ha, that's a funny one - training a boy to do ANYTHING) and our open calendar for the next month we decided to try in earnest this past weekend. We put Graeme into underwear, placed the potty in the living room, set the watch for 60 minute intervals and bought a big bag of m and m's. When the watch beeped we encouraged Graeme to use the potty. He received one m and m for trying, two for peeing. He quickly figured out the incentive scheme and was more than happy to comply, frequently reporting that he needed to pee-pee within seconds of completing the task. We also learned that 60 minute intervals were too long when after 45 minutes he said "can someone fix my pants?" The innocence of this question penetrates my bones. He wasn't embarrassed or upset or mad or any other emotion that might accompany making a mistake as an adult. He simply needed help because his trousers were suddenly soaked. I realize that he doesn't completely understand the "urge" to pee, but this is part of the training, I suppose. Or maybe it's still too early for him. Graeme also insists on wearing his underwear backwards. We've tried to explain that the "pocket" goes in the front, but this feature of boys underwear is really useless for a 3-year old who is still learning his way around his body parts. So, when he realized that the pocket didn't have much purpose he decided that he'd rather have the fun feature of the underwear (e.g., a picture of McQueen, Superman, or Spiderman) in front where he can see it. Hard to argue with that logic. So, my big boy is walking around with backwards underwear trying to learn the sensation of needing to urinate while staying engaged with his legos and trainset and the presence of a potty in the living room. It's a very confusing world through the eyes of a 3-year-old, indeed.