Saturday, April 12, 2014

You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up...

It's been a tough few weeks, with everyone in the family picking up multiple afflictions of the contagious nature, culminating with me and Baby J finally feeling better today.

Did you ever see this TED Talk? It's a pretty good one, and the idea that parenting is full of super high highs and super low lows really stuck with me. This afternoon ended up being one of those fleeting times when moment after moment was perfect and surprising in both preciousness and hilarity.

  1. Little J woke up early from nap, but the wonderful nursing hormones made my headache go away.
  2. The big kids woke up happy after nap, and we cuddled out of happiness instead of crabbiness.
  3. Husband made dinner.
  4. Husband made dinner, and it was so so good, and we all "gobbled it all up" (as Big J likes to say).
  5. During dinner, Big J talked about Mommy and Daddy getting married. Here's how the conversation went (just like it usually goes, with a hilarious new ending):
    "Daddy, you married Mommy? Mommy, you married Daddy? And then you had kids?"
    Yes, J, then we had kids. Who are our kids?
    "Me and Middle E! And Baby J! Mommy, last night (his catch-all phrase for "in the past"), when Baby J in your tummy, just a few minutes! And then he popped out!"
    Yes, Big J, he was in my tummy for a few minutes, and then he certainly did pop out.
  6. Big J made the connection that Auntie M's baby-in-her-tummy will be a cousin, just like Cousins L and M! He was very excited about that idea.
  7. Big J (Yes, quite a few are about him, but boy, did he have a lot to say today! And Middle E gets her turn soon, too.) heard Little J starting to get upset, so he hopped down from the table and gave his little brother a toy. He placed it on his tummy, and Little J quickly grabbed it and attacked it with satisfied fury.
  8. Big J didn't want to eat vegetables for dinner. He just wanted the meatloaf. I convinced him to try both of tonight's veggies, and he liked both! He also noticed and commented that the nicely browned part of the cabbage was the best. I made Husband smirk when I started to tell Big J about Malliard reaction.
    Daddy, about Big J's age.
  9. While looking at pictures of Daddy when he was little, Middle E walked away unnoticed. I suddenly noticed her sitting on the training potty, of her own volition, with a distinctly peculiar look of concentration on her face (Parents of older babies and toddlers, you'd know your kids' poop faces anywhere). Without any help or guidance from me or the Husband, on day 3 of kinda half-"butt-ed" potty training, she pooped where she's supposed to. The whole family danced around in celebration of a two-year-old's strategically-aimed bowel movement. (I should mention that she's 3 for 3: three days of kind-of potty training, and two days she peed in the training potty and one day she dos-ed. I'm impressed.)
  10. While saying goodnight, Big J started being silly and walking his fingers all over my face. Using the voice of his "finger man," he said "Oh no, speed bump!" as he walked his fingers over my nose. Then it was "Hey, a slide!" as Finger Man slid down my nose the other way. 
  11. Big J, after going to bed, and annoyingly/predictably getting up again to go to the bathroom, watched me wash my face for the night.
    "What you doing, Mommy?"
    Washing my face.
    "You messy?"
    Well, kind of. I am washing make-up off.
    "You messy from dinner?"
    (How do I tell him I'm messy from trying to appear more polished than I really am?)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I can't stand just having one blog. So I have a few, and this other one, Clever Baby Hacks, is where I write about what I know about breastfeeding and raising kids. I just wrote about my breastfeeding story and how I face challenges.

Here's how you feed a baby who is on a nursing and bottle strike.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Prep Once and Eat Twice: How I manage to stock my freezer with three kids 3 and under

This was originally posted on my friend Jessica's Facebook wall, but I have a feeling I'll be asked to share it again, so here's what I told her:

I usually adjust all of these recipes to fit what I have on hand, and they all vary in time needed to prepare. I've found these don't take much more time to make double (or quadruple, for my hungry family + leftovers for the next day's lunch), so I make two, and serve one for dinner and one goes in the freezer.

Eggplant Parmesan

Cheesy Crockpot Meatloaf

Chicken Parmesan

Enchilada Pie: (Haven't frozen it yet, but flour tortillas, not fried, tend to get mushy. This one I make as I put taco night leftovers away, so I'm cooking then assembling for two dishes in one night.)


Ginger Beef: (I use an inch or two of real fresh ginger, peeled and julienned)

How I store leftovers in the fridge: In individual servings, so no one eats all the mashed potatoes and leaves the carrots. ;)
Dang it, I want eggplant parmesan: dipping the eggplant while nursing in a wrap. so yummy.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Normal

Nothing is the same those first few weeks you bring home a newborn, especially when it's your first time through it all. Suddenly, you have become so focused on not just your own needs, but this little, needy, decisive, edible, adorable, tiny human. Your own needs are still important, but they often become overshadowed by keeping the tiniest family member from crying. Another way to look at it is your primary need becomes receiving peace and quiet and happiness from your newborn. But do not lose hope; this period is so trying yet so short. In a few months, you'll peer out from the slowly receding mental fog and begin to recognize a new normal, which reminds you of your old life, but suddenly has so much more meaning.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Teaching Principles Applied to Soothing Babies

In teaching, there's a concept of "least amount of intervention" being the goal for special education students. If the student can be successful with a slight modification, say just word problems on individual pages instead of all on one page so they can pace themselves better and not feel overwhelmed, that situation is better than placing them in a separate special education class.

In the same way, I try to use the least amount of intervention when trying to keep my baby happy or getting him to fall asleep. For example, if he's fussing in his crib, instead of picking him up, I'll try gently resting my hand on his back first to see if that calms him. Depending on how strong his cry is, sometimes simply resting a hand does the trick. Babies (and children, I'm learning) are very decisive, and won't think twice about letting you know they aren't satisfied.

If resting a hand doesn't work, I'll try patting his back like a heartbeat. Next step is gently jostling him, like how you would jiggle jello on a plate. If none of that settles him, then picking him up almost always makes him happy.

If it doesn't (it didn't always with our daughter), I would escalate to rocking or walking or shushing or swinging it bouncing, or some combination of those. If nothing works, and he's still crying after a few minutes, I try to put him down in a new position - on the changing table, in the swing or bouncer, or in his crib. Sometimes he does NOT want any of those soothing attempts, and wants to be left alone. And then sometimes, if none of that works, always try nursing. Even if it wasn't what he originally wanted, it's soothing and can sometimes chill a fussy little person out.

If nothing works and you find the baby is a screamer, take turns and wear earplugs until you can talk to the doctor about reasons why your baby might be colicky.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Nursing sometimes...

... means avoiding eye contact with your baby, because every time he catches your eye, he smiles and lets milk dribble all over the place.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Best Conversation with a Toddler Yet

It happened. It finally happened. I got to talk with my 3-year-old about who he could marry, and I had to gently turn him down.

The conversation started somewhere else, though, but I didn't really understand it at first.

We had just finished dinner, and Biggest Brother had gobbled down a man-sized portion, and then asked to "be naked?" (I keep the house around 68 degrees, and it's in the 30s outside today. I have no idea how my toddlers can stand running around in just their chonies in that temperature, but it's their favorite part of the day and not only does it burn some energy, it gets them one step closer to their pajamas.) So the entire time we discussed "dresses" and marriage, the Biggest Brother is laying on Littlest Brother's playmat in his favorite racecar underpants.

Big Brother demanded, "Me want wear dress." I was sorta distracted and so replied something like "Huh, what dress? You don't have dresses."

This is his "Look at that awesome thing!" face.
This conversation could have taken a few different routes. I could have panicked, and then firmly stated that boys do not wear dresses and he was not allowed to wear one. If we were one of those gender-bending families, I would have sanctimoniously run off to Target to purchase and frilly dress, preferably with tulle, and then written a blog post at how it wasn't my job to tell my son who he is supposed to be (although for some reason I think he'll make a great architect), and then FINALLY would have made money from my blog because Jezebel would ask me to tell my story.

None of those happened, mainly because I was distracted, but also because I've learned that if I attempt to fill in too many words for my son, he'll be agreeable and I'll miss hearing his idea. His ideas are still fleeting things as they're not yet grounded in a vast vocabulary. Instead, since I seemed confused about what he was talking about, he tried adding more descriptive words to see if that would help him communicate with his confused mom. (He calls me mom now! When did my toddler turn into a child?!)

"Boy dress, mom."

"Huh? What boy wore a dress?"

"Daddy. When get married."

Now I know he's either talking about our wedding book or the wedding we just attended a few weeks ago.

"OH! What Daddy wore to the wedding? Daddy wore a suit! Boys wear suits to weddings, and girls wear dresses." (I know it's oversimplified, shut up.)

"Yes. Buy me suit, mom."

Undeterred by my inability to understand basic toddler child communication, he has formally requested to own a suit. Ironically, all while wearing mostly just his own birthday suit.

He then began to explain why he needed me to buy him a suit.

"Me get married, mom."

"Oh? Who are you going to marry?"

And then he proceeded to list his aunts, his grandmas, me, his cousins, and then his sister (in that order), and I had to let him know that no, they were all family or married already, so he had to pick someone else. I was surprised he picked all girls, and I think he understood that he would need to wait until he's older to pick someone.