Mommy Fail

It was a really hard morning.

We were running late because it was my telecommute day, and I like to keep the kids home a little bit longer on those days. We have a nice breakfast together, watch some “Dinosaur Train” or “Sesame Street” and play before we get in the car and go to day care.

A new rule at day care is no toys from home. (We were having sharing/meltdown issues.) It makes for an overall easier day at day care, but has been a major issue when we’re trying to leave. It was part of his routine to pick a “friend”, usually a stuffed animal, to take with him. He still wants to do that every morning. And I have to tell him “no.”

This does not go over well.

Sometimes I can distract him and get to day care without incident. Other times, like today, I imagine the Fates are standing behind me — laughing hysterically. He would not be distracted. He cried all the way to the car. He screamed and flailed around, arching his back and trying to get down when I was buckling him into his car seat. He had just started to calm down when I got him out of the car seat at day care when he saw a toy on the floor of the backseat. Naturally, he wanted to take it with him. And I had to say “no.”

And he lost his little mind again.

I put him in the front seat of the car for a time out, hoping he would calm down. (Sometimes all he needs is a minute to himself.) No such luck. By this time, I had about 10 minutes to get home and signed onto my computer to “get” to work on time. I hadn’t had any coffee.

And I was out of patience.

While profanities were running through my mind, I think the only part that made it out of my mouth was “Oh for the love of …” before I hauled him up, felt an eardrum shatter from his screaming, put him on one hip, grabbed the lunch bag and my daughter (in her car seat) in the other, and trudged up the walkway to day care.

She opened the door before I was able to knock — she heard him from inside — grabbed my daughter and the lunch bag and set them gently on the floor, before taking the squirming, screaming boy from my arms and saying: “Just go, Sweetie. He calms down quicker if you’re not here.”

I called out a “love you guys, be good,” as she shooed me out the door. When I reached the car, I couldn’t hear him crying anymore. He had already stopped.

It wasn’t until I had been working for an hour that the guilt hit. I had lost patience with him because I was breaking his routine and not letting him take a toy to day care. A toy that gave him comfort while he was there and for nap time. Even though our day care provider has a special stuffed animal for him at nap time, its not the same as having his toy there — usually elephant — for comfort.

And then I thought about it a little more: How often during my life will I get frustrated with him or his sister? How many times — if I really think about it — will the cause of the frustration ultimately be my fault?

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Random Happy Thoughts

Moving To A Big-Kid Bed

A couple of weeks ago we decided that the boy was ready for a regular bed.

Ready as in, when he would lay down to sleep his feet practically touched the end of the toddler bed. He only had the length of my hand left to grow.  We shopped around and decided that something with storage would be best in the long-term: His room is small-ish, and once he’s grown, space is going to be at a premium.

We decided on a “captain’s bed.” It has a short headboard and footboard and five drawers on one side. The middle set of drawers is actually one deep drawer.

Its a tall bed — tall for me to get into. That little step stool in the picture doesn’t help him at all. We ended up putting a kitchen chair in front of the opening, and the step stool in front of that. So in the morning, when he’s groggy, its a gradual step down from the chair.

We’ve done a lot of practicing that whole “feet first” thing.

His last night in his crib/toddler bed.

Happy in his big-kid bed. His sister also loves it.

His toddler bed is actually a convertible crib.

It converts from a crib to a toddler bed to a full-size headboard and footboard.

But a full bed would be way too big for his room, so someday, when he moves out, he’ll have a full-size headboard and footboard to take with him.

We tried to buy for the long-term.

As for his new bed, I haven’t even filled the drawers yet. They’re completely empty.

But I know that someday soon, I’m going to need to take down his changing table and put in a desk or a coloring table or playhouse or something. And he’ll need the storage space.

We spend a lot of time in that bed. He likes for me to climb in and cuddle with him on weekend mornings and for the Hubbs to climb in and name all his stuffed animals in the afternoons.

Allie loves it in there too — although she has no sense of self-preservation and will crawl right off the edge if we’re not paying attention. (No worries, we’ve caught her every time so far!)

Passing Things Down

If you look at the picture of him in his new bed, you’ll see a faded blanket. When I found out I was pregnant the first time, I pulled that blanket out of my cedar chest and ran it through the gentle cycle, stitched up some of the fraying ends, and put it in his future closet.

That was my bunny blanket. Now his bunny blanket.

It has some pictures and text from the “Peter Rabbit” story on it. At one point, the yellow fabric edging was a vibrant yellow. It has faded over the years. (I also can’t find it anywhere online, although I know it was popular back when I was a kid — my cousin had the same blanket.)

It was on my bed for as long as I can remember, because it kept me the perfect temperature at night. Not too hot, not too cold. I didn’t even have to pull a leg out for temperature control. It was on my bed when I met my husband (I can’t believe I just admitted that), and it stayed there until we moved in together. At that point, I put it away, saving it for our children.

It makes me ridiculously happy to see it on his bed. He loves that blanket, calls it “Me bee-wet.” (Translation: My blanket.) And when he’s trying to fall asleep, if he’s thrashed around too much and kicks it off — he’ll do one of two things:

  1. Get out of bed and knock on his door. When I open it, he’ll turn, climb back into bed, lay down, and tell me he wants to be tucked in again; or
  2. Call to me from his bed — he knows I’m a sucker for him calling out for “mommy”. When I open the door, and ask him what he wants he’ll tell me “me bee-wet”.

The added benefit of handing it down to the next generation? When we cuddle on Saturday mornings, I get to snuggle under the blanket too.

Milestones

In June, after Allie turned 6 months old, we had some family photos taken.

In a lot of ways, it was insanely stressful, because Sean wanted to run and play at the park and didn’t want his picture taken at all. Allie, on the other hand, couldn’t crawl yet; add that to her love of the camera, and we’ve got a ton of pictures featuring her hamming it up.

Can I just say that I love that she hams it up? She amuses me to no end.

We found a daily deal for a blown-up picture and ordered our two favorite pictures of the kids. Now we have to find frames for them.

Confession: I have not hung a SINGLE picture in this house. I keep meaning to. I print pictures out so I’ll do it. And then when it comes time to put photos into frames and get them on the wall … it never gets done.

Internet: I need an intervention. Or a day off. Definitely a day off.

I would also like to mention this little tidbit: The photo of me and Sean at the right? It’s a bit of a monumental photo. It marks the first time he has looked at the camera and smiled.

On purpose.

It wasn’t an action shot of him laughing or smiling at someone else. It wasn’t because someone was standing behind the photographer and making funny faces.

The fact that he’s smiling like that, while in my arms and hugging me is just gravy. Speaking of which …

Man That Kid Can Hug

Sean gives the best hugs. He’ll walk up to you, get as humanly close to your body as possible, wrap his arms around your neck — tightly — and lay his head on your shoulder.

And then he squeezes. And unicorns and flying fuzzy bears come bursting out of my heart.

He’s been very affectionate lately. I am most definitely not complaining.

In Honor Of The Princess Fuzzy Butt

I’ve written and deleted this post about four times in the past two days.

I originally wanted to share what its like to lose a pet — to make the decision that its time — and then how it affects the family. But that was overly boo-hooing and could be summed up quite succinctly: It sucks. It hurts. You cry.

And you feel weird, because you keep waiting to hear the jingle of bells from her collar when you know she’s dead. Because you startle when you walk into the garage or bathroom because her litter box is gone. Even though YOU were the one to get rid of it. Because you look at an open container of food and wonder what you’re going to do with it, because she’s not there to meow at you to feed her already.

To say that letting a pet go is “incredibly hard” is an understatement.

It’s heartbreaking.

And there’s really not much else to say.

Except this — which I told her before we let her go:

Dear Ripley,

Thank you.

Thank you for being our fuzzy baby before we had babies. Thank you for choosing us as the rescue shelter — for climbing into my husband’s lap, and licking his hand until you had completely stolen his heart and we had to take you home. You brilliant, fuzzy dictator. Thank you for being a perpetual lap cat, and for amusing guests with your preference for men.

Thank you for your understanding when we brought home a small, wailing, noise-making baby and for not peeing all over the place because of it. Thank you for understanding that you weren’t No.1 anymore, and for knowing that he was small and fragile, and for keeping a safe distance while being curious about him.

But thank you so very, very much for being so good with them. For coming near, giving head butts and purrs and body nudges even though you ran the risk of a pulled ear, whisker, or fur. Thank you for bearing with us, in teaching our son how to be gentle and how to give pets without ever growling, hissing, or scratching at him. (Or us for that matter.) Thank you for sitting near our daughter and letting her give you heavy pets without complaint. For letting her grab and pull on your ears, while you purred because you knew the intent behind it.

They may not remember you when they grow up. But we will. And we won’t forget.

What’s In Your First-Aid Kit?

I’m one of those “be prepared” kind of people. My husband likes to tease me about it, but I think my OCD in this matter is actually helpful.

This is my first-aid kit for the children. It’s actually a craft storage box that I got at The Container Store. (My unhealthy obsession with that place is a whole different post.) It has three tiers and oodles of room. (The picture is actually their “small” hobby box. I got the large one.)

I keep it on top of the refrigerator because its a central area in our house. I keep it like this because its portable and self-contained. Very handy. I also have a general first-aid kit that I bought from the Red Cross.

Here’s what I have:

Tier 1: The most-used items

  • Dye-free generic infant Tylenol (grape flavor. ALWAYS grape flavor. Trust me.);
  • Dye-free generic infant Advil (grape flavor);
  • Thermometer that I only use in the underarm area;
  • Infant gas relief drops;
  • Homeopathic infant gas relief dissolving tablets (Hylands brand);
  • Homeopathic infant gas relief drops; (can you tell we had some issues before?)
  • Homeopathic teething gel (Hylands brand);
  • Infant nail files; and
  • An assortment of medicine droppers.

Tier 2: First Aid

  • Blunt-nose scissors for cutting gauze or clothes;
  • Medical tape;
  • Tube of vaseline;
  • Assortment of band-aids;
  • Neosporin;
  • Hydrocortizone cream; and
  • Bite-relief stick.

Bottom tier: The Excess

  • Extra baby tylenol and advil;
  • Baby gripe water;
  • Tylenol suppositories (in case of severe vomiting);
  • Ace bandage;
  • Lanocane antibacterial first-aid spray;
  • Kleenex;
  • Children’s Benadryl;
  • Humphrey’s teething tablets (I’m very meh on these. You have to dilute them in water before giving them to the kids. I prefer Hylands); and
  • Vicks forehead temporal artery thermometer. (FYI: this is not as accurate as the underarm thermometer the hospital sends you home with, but its faster — think seconds instead of minutes. )

I also taped a list of the correct dose for each child for Tylenol and Advil to the inside lid. Its a great quick-glance reference. Just remember to update it regularly as your kids grow. (I make it a habit to update after every doctor’s appointment, because our doctor’s office writes in the correct dosage for each child’s weight on our take-home sheet.)

It’s also a great go-to guide for my husband and any babysitter if I’m not home.  To quote the Hubs: “You can’t find your car keys, but you can tell me the correct Tylenol dosage for both kids?”

Exactly.

I also recently bought a four-person first-aid kit/disaster kit from Amazon and added in some safety items of my own. I still need to get the 4 billion gallons of water to store (somewhere) in our garage, but I’m getting there. That reminds me, I also need to refresh/replenish our car first-aid/disaster kits. (Yes, KITS. One for each car.)

But that’s another post.

I’m curious: What is in your first-aid and disaster kits?

Walking Alone

I went to a bachelorette party Friday night in the city. It was my first solo “night out” in … well … an embarrassingly long time. I was home most of the week with the sick boy, so I was also anxious to get out of the house. So I got dolled up,  (Translation: jeans and a sparkly tank with a jacket and I actually did something with my hair and wore make-up) kissed the Hubbs goodnight, and took off for the BART station. I had a wristlet clutch with me and a pen in my back pocket.

Did I mention that this party started at 9 p.m. and that on a normal night I’m in my pjs by 11 p.m.? (I am so boring.) Anyhoo. The party was at AsiaSF — which, by the way, was freaking awesome. (Those boys walk around and dance in heels better than most women. Including me. ) Its also about 8 blocks or so from the Civic Center station. I was running a little bit late — naturally — so I was walking at a good clip, but paying attention to my surrounding to help find my way back later in the night.

At 9 p.m., a lot of stores were closing for the night, which meant the street would be a lot darker on my way back. I also had to pass a large empty lot at one point. It was closed off with a chain-link fence, but there were at least two places that had been cut so people could get into the lot. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. It was darker than anywhere else around there. It would be so easy for someone to grab you, and push you through the fence, down the embankment, and isolate you from everything else. I decided to walk a different way on my return trip. Preferably in a cab.

Along the way, I got “cat-called” twice. And not one of those harmless “hey baby!” cat-calls from a car window as the driver passes. I’m talking about a guy walking past you on the street, looking you slowly up and down, then saying: “Come here” or “Hey. I said HEY.”  In both cases I kept walking, pretending I didn’t hear. I knew they wouldn’t follow or bother me. (How did I know? Read “The Gift of Fear”.)

Something my dad taught me: When you’re in a strange place, act like you belong. For me, that meant: Stand up straight, know basically where you’re going, and walk with purpose. Looking lost/at a map makes you a target. I had two couples stop me to ask for directions I couldn’t give. I had studied my map on the BART ride and had a general idea of where I was going already. I had folded my map so it fit in the palm of my left hand; if I needed a quick look, I just looked at my hand and nobody could tell it was there unless they were looking for it.

I had a great time at the party, and had exactly one drink — and was tipsy after drinking only a quarter of it. (I really can’t help it. Cheap date.) By the time dinner and the show was over, I had 20 minutes to catch the last train home. I had a $20 in my pocket and stepped outside to look for a cab.

There was none. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I felt a moment of slight panic. You need to take a cab, something told me. But it wasn’t an option, so I set out on foot. I had exactly 20 minutes to get to the station. I was also breaking one of my father’s cardinal rules: When you’re out late at night, don’t walk alone. Always have a friend.

As I walked, I was hoping a cab would pass or I would walk by one. No such luck. I passed a few guys on the street, and tried to follow for the appearance of numbers, but they turned off onto a different street. I was alone. So I did the only thing I could: Act like you belong. Walk with purpose. Head up. Stand straight.

I detoured down a different street to avoid the dark, empty lot onto one that was more brightly lit. I turned the corner when an old homeless guy yelled at me. “Hey bitch.” I looked at him as I walked. He was holding his shopping cart, knees shaking, fragile looking. He was old enough to be my grandfather. He was standing in front of a brightly-lit laundromat. I moved closer to the street. He’d have to take four steps to even get close enough to lunge at me. As it was, I didn’t think he could walk without the help of his cart. “Know what you’re gonna do?” he sneered. “You’re gonna come over here, get down on your knees, and suck me off. DO YOU HEAR ME YOU BITCH?!”

I blew past him, pretending not to hear. He continued to talk about what he was going to do to me until I was out of earshot.

Fifteen minutes to get to the station.

I was a little more than one block away from 8th Street — and the BART station — when the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. I quickened my pace slightly, but tried to walk a bit quieter. Footsteps behind me. Not close, but close enough. I stopped under a light post and pretended to fiddle with my shoe so I could sneak a look behind me. A man had also stopped. He was facing away from me, as if looking for a cab. He was wearing an over-sized black sweatshirt with the hood pulled up. Both his hands were in the front pocket. But the front pocket dipped too low. There was something there — heavier than his hands.

I started walking, fast this time. The man followed. The street I was on was darker than the rest — unfortunately — and we were alone. He was still a good 20 feet behind me, but he had quickened his pace too. My heartbeat was surprisingly calm. My breathing actually slowed.

And I suddenly knew what to do.

When I was a mere half block from 8th Street, I abruptly stopped, turned around, and looked at him. Made eye contact with him and held it. My back was ram-rod straight and my hands were balled into fists at my side. I could feel the weight of my pen in my back pocket as if it were reminding me that it was there. Two words rang through my head: Bring it. He had stopped when I spun around, obviously surprised. And after five full breaths, he was the one to break eye contact. He half turned, his side facing me, and rocked back on his heels, trying — unsuccessfully — to look innocent. I jaywalked to the other side of the street and turned the corner.

He didn’t follow.

I practically ran down the steps to the station and down to the platform. I had made it with four minutes to spare. On my return trip, I sat in the first car, within eyesight of the conductor. Only when we pulled away from the station did I start to feel safe.

And as I sat there, I started to think: Was that guy really following me or was it just my imagination playing tricks because I was alone? Was I just paranoid and freaked some random guy out?

No. I wasn’t paranoid. He was following me. I knew it now and I knew it then. And me turning to face him and stare him down? Told him I knew he was there and I wasn’t going to be an easy target.

Think about it: If he had just happened to be going the same way as me, he wouldn’t have stopped walking when I did. Most guys would probably go to the opposite side of the sidewalk at that point to give me more room. This guy was about 20 feet away from me and was walking directly behind me. When I faced him, most guys would register more surprise, maybe put their hands up and say they’re sorry that they didn’t mean to startle me.

This guy didn’t do any of that.

The next morning while we played with the kids on the floor, I told the Hubbs what had happened. He shook his head. “See, these are things men don’t have to worry about. You puff yourself up and act like you belong and nobody messes with you.”

We both looked at our daughter. I hope she never encounters things like this in her life, although I know that she will. Every woman does. So I’ll do my best to prepare, protect, and teach both her and my son.

I may even pull grandpa in for the lessons.

Issues With The Deuce

Fair warning: This post is all about poop.

The boy has been home from day care nearly all week because of a little trouble down below. He has loose poop. Blow-it-out of the diaper loose poop.  Have to wash the car seat cover on “sanitary” kind of poop.

Its been a messy week.

So what can you do about it? Again, frustratingly, not much.

  1. Tylenol if there is a fever;
  2. Pedialite and Gatorade to replenish fluids; and
  3. Infant gas drops if they seem bloated.

So far, we’ve only had to do No. 2. (hahah! Get it?!)

If it keeps up for 4-5 days, take em to the doctor. (If he has the issue again today, that’s what we’re doing tomorrow morning.)

But what if the opposite is the problem?

When he was still on the bottle, the boy had that problem too. Because he loves milk. As in, he’d drink 24 ounces a day of it if I let him. So what was the solution?

  1. Switch from whole milk to low fat; and
  2. Mineral oil.

I had to put 1 tbsp in his drink 2x a day. Aside from making cleaning bottles a living nightmare (it got EVERYWHERE), it served its purpose: It basically lubricated his GI tract, making things … well … slide out easier.

So there you have it. All you ever wanted to know about poop.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to wash my hands.

Random Weekend Musings

Fun Zone? If You Say So …

We went to the A’s game on Saturday and … yes. I took two small children, one still recovering from illness, to a baseball game. Go ahead and call the loony bin. Long story short, no naps + not eating well + being at a baseball game = unhappy children. So we left early. But the boy’s favorite place in the ballpark is the Stomper Fun Zone. (I spent about 4 innings in there with him, while the princess sat on her dad’s lap in the seats and charmed everyone sitting near her. No really, she did. It’s a little ridiculous.)

Now, I realize that we are at a ballpark and so a children’s zone isn’t the priority, but … COME ON.

This ride is in much better condition than the one in Oakland...

There are 4 rides for small children — remember the 25-cent rides that used to be in front of grocery stores when we were kids? That is EXACTLY what these are.

Except now they cost 50 cents.

And seem to go for much less time than I remember.

There is also a small play structure with a slide and tunnel, and the staff puts out some push toys (think pop lawnmowers) and ride-on toys.

Stomper’s throne has also seen better days: The carpet/astroturf is dirty, frayed, and ripping off the plywood base in several areas. (Would it kill them to replace the “carpeting” every 2 seasons? Ugh.)

For bigger kids, you can get team logo temporary tattoos, a play house/coloring station, and a speed pitch game, which requires you to buy tokens.

Also? If you’re going to have rides that only take quarters, the person manning the sad “booth” (a fold-up table in front of an obvious storage area) should … I don’t know … HAVE QUARTERS. Or (gasp!) put in a change machine.

I really shouldn’t have to go sweet-talk concession vendors into changing out some quarters for me.

I haven’t been to AT&T park with the kids yet, but their version sounds better. The Coca-Cola Fan Lot (see that? They have a SPONSOR for their area. Sponsor = $$) is open year-round. Yes, year round. Even when the Giants are out of town. They have 2 super slides (within the Coke bottle), a mini version of the park for kids to play on, a giant glove, a fan photo booth, a Build-A-Bear Workshop (there’s that sponsor again) that sells Lou Seals (which the boy would LOVE), and a speed pitch area.

Breaking Out The Food Processor

The Hubbs is on a hummus kick. This amuses me to no end. When I met him, his version of a vegetable was a baked potato with his steak dinner. During the past 8 years (ohmygod we’ve been together 8 years?!) I’ve slowly introduced him to green things. That grow from the ground. And are good for you. And (gasp!) he LIKES them!

Sidenote: Can I get a round of applause for the man? He’s lost more than 30 pounds this year. Truly impressive.

So hummus. He didn’t eat it before he met me. Said he didn’t like it. Until he tried it at a farmers’ market ages ago. Suddenly, it wasn’t so bad. Actually, it was really freaking good.

These days, he snacks on sugar snap peas, edamame, blanched green beans, broccoli and hummus. I know. Amazing isn’t it? And even more recently, he found a recipe for hummus and has wanted to play mad scientist with it. When he found out that its cheaper to make his own? It was so on. Last week it was a sun-dried tomato hummus. Which was pretty good. But this week, he made pesto hummus.

OMG. First of all, I LOVE pesto. So this was a win. Second, he looks adorable putting everything into the food processor. He’s like a kid in the proverbial candy store. Also, I get to be a taste-tester. So, winning! Here’s what I saw him throw in there:

Hubby’s Pesto Hummus
1 can organic chickpeas
1 package fresh pesto (from Trader Joe’s)
drizzle of olive oil
2 large spoons of tahini sauce (also from Trader Joe’s)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Throw it all in the food processor and pulse to desired consistency. Taste, and add salt/pepper/lemon juice as needed.

I’m eating it with organic baby carrots right now. Yummy!

This Kid Could Charm The Rattle Off A Snake

I noticed something this weekend: The girl child scopes people out, looking for attention.

I noticed it at the ball game. She was sitting in my lap, looking at the people sitting around us.

Constantly. Actively looking.

She loves the camera.

Then, she suddenly sat bolt-upright. She wiggled her bottom and bobbed her head around.

I looked to see what she was looking at: An older lady was smiling at her and waving.

I looked down at the kid. Big, cheesy, toothless smile with a slight head tilt, looking straight at the lady.

She did the same thing to the older gent sitting in front of us while she was sitting with her dad. Apparently, she cooed at him too.

He asked the Hubbs if he could take a picture of her (with his phone) to send to his wife or daughter. (Hubbs can’t remember which.)

(This is the polar opposite of her brother, who will jump into your arms and try to bury his head in your neck if someone smiles/looks/talks to him.)

At Trader Joe’s the next day, she drew in three more people.

As in, they came up to our shopping cart, knelt down to her level, and told me that I had an adorable little girl. She smiled at them like they hung the moon and they walked away happy.

I am in so much trouble.

Also, I cut her bangs this weekend. They were getting in her eyes and she was annoyed with them.