Wednesday, February 28, 2007

As artful as a pregnant lady grocery shopping in pajama pants

Noah started an art class at Fairmount Art Center this past Monday. He seemed to really enjoy it. The class is for two to three year olds and in the one hour period they do about four projects so the kids don’t get bored or lose focus. I was thrilled that the class was only five kids, including Noah and his friend Victor. I think more than that may have been a bit overwhelming. But since the kids are seated working on structured projects with parental assistance and teacher guidance it really is an ideal situation for him. He’s a great listener and student – unless there isn’t any structure and then he just clings. (At playgroup every week he sits on my lap during free play and isn’t happy or comfortable until we get to circle time for the song, story and craft.) Monday’s class focused on making dots – so they drew dots in their sketch books, painted a variety of different sized and colored dots on a large black paper dot, tapped dots in a little piece of copper, and then poked dots in a piece of clay that will be fired and painted during a later class. This was Noah’s first time working with clay that wasn’t Play Doh and he was really disturbed at the residue it was leaving on his hands. He spent half the time picking at the little bits around his fingernails while I reassured him we would clean them off when class was over. The class series itself is a bit costly for only six sessions, but it includes materials and will provide me with more ideas of art projects we can do at home – so in the end it’s worth the dough.

I’m horribly ashamed to admit that yesterday I went grocery shopping in pants I normally wear to bed. Unfortunately I’m in that horrible stage where my normal pants no longer fit and yet my maternity pants aren’t suitable either. Whenever I wear my maternity pants I spend half the damn time hiking them back up over my ass and well it’s hard to carry grocery bags while holding up your pants. Today I am once again in “house pants” but since I was babysitting Ella this morning we haven’t yet left the house. Hopefully I will have the wherewithal to don actual pants when we go to the library this evening. But likely not.

I still haven’t gotten my butt over to Whole Foods to get that Floradix iron supplement. But two things just made it a priority. After I read Missuz J’s comment that cream of wheat was an excellent source of iron I made myself the only two packets I found when I dug through the cabinets this morning. And this afternoon is the first one I can remember in a long time where I didn’t feel like I was going to collapse in utter exhaustion if I didn’t immediately take a nap. So it seems like iron might indeed help me out – which caused me to call the herbal store down the street to see if they carry Floradix so I don’t have to drive across town to Whole Foods. And indeed they do. (Oh and Lonna – it’s vegan safe so maybe you should check it out if you’re still having iron issues.) So if I start taking that liquid gold, or iron as it were, and eating insane amounts of cream of wheat I should be able to conquer the world. Or at least potty training.

Speaking of the evil deed, I haven’t really started potty training. He pees on the potty before bath time every night and again before we put on his pajamas, but that has been the extent of it. Last week I started putting Noah in Pull-ups and encouraging him to tell me when he needs to pee. Rather than doing that we’ve just been having a lot of leaks and rashiness – the pull-up are a bit big and cause a lot of chafing. He really doesn’t seem remotely ready or interested in being potty trained. And since I keep reading that children often regress to needing diapers after a sibling is born, I’m not really in a hurry. Why bother if I’m going to have to do it twice. Right? So I guess I’m going to get him back in diapers for awhile.

There are a few other big things that need tackling in the next few months. The naptime nursing behemoth which remains the same and doesn’t bear repeating, and our nighttime debacle. Noah goes to bed fairly easily every night. We read books, he kisses and hugs Daddy good night, he sits in the rocker with me for awhile, he lies down in the crib and paws at me sitting on the floor next to the crib until he nods off. Between lights out and sleep it typically takes about a half hour, and I’m pretty cool with that. The problem is that he also typically wakes up sometime in the early morning at which time I take him out of the crib and lay down with him on the twin mattress on his floor until morning. Obviously this has to change real soon as come August 1 I will be up at all hours of the night entertaining a newborn. Occasionally Noah will sleep all night in his crib, but the occasions are few and far between. After recently reading an article on sleep incentives I started offering him rewards for sleeping all night in his crib, and though he wants the rewards they don’t affect his behavior at 3 am when he wants to sleep with Mama. So I guess soon I’m going to have to lay down the wretched law and refuse to pick him up and lay down with him. And I feel just awful about this because as I’ve said to Mark “We don’t like to sleep alone but we expect him to want to.” Of course I need to make the change soon so he doesn’t blame the change in the sleeping arrangements on the baby. Ho hum. So much to do and yet it’s so much easier to just avoid it. And yet time ticks on. Only two more weeks until the ultrasound. I can not wait! However it's occurred to me that it will mark the halfway point in my pregnancy and GAH that is SO SOON. We won't ever be ready in time!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Not filled with iron-y goodness

The days fly by, except for the period between lunch and naptime – which drags on for what seems like eons. At my most recent checkup my doc said my iron was low. She didn’t diagnose me as fully anemic but she ordered more tests. It was kind of a relief to hear that there may be a reason I feel like I’ve been put through the ringer. Now I need to start taking some sort of iron supplement. My friend Janette recommended a liquid supplement that she uses claiming it to be a cure all. Of course she also described it as tasting like flowers and metal. Yum. But I’ll probably soon be heading to the store to get me some – as soon as I can summon the energy.

Mark’s been hard at work on his mini-album for that online music challenge. One day each weekend Noah and I have gotten out of his hair for a few hours by going to the Please Touch Museum to see a different jazz performer. They have a Junior Jazz Festival in February and we’ve enjoyed seeing three different performances – Erin Flynn did jazzy kid songs about trains, Louis Miranda did a latin influenced set of singalong songs, and today the drum ensemble Fandango spanned the globe with beats from Brazil, Cuba and Africa. Noah has been really loving the performances and I’m sad to see the series end. I have to figure out what other live music I can take him to see soon.

When we came home today we went to check in on Mark in the basement. A couple of weeks ago when we were at the Franklin Mills Mall Mark pointed out a child sized guitar to Noah and asked him if he might like to have one some day – and since then Noah keeps bringing it up saying he wants one now. Today he told Mark that when he gets his guitar that Mama and Daddy can go to the Please Touch so that he can play in the basement. It certainly seems Noah is catching the music loving bug, and with his shy streak that is a blessing. As Mark says the main reason he decided to learn how to play the bass was because he figured it was the only way in the world he’d ever get girls to talk to him. And well, I met him when he joined a friend’s band so the proof is in the pudding.

I’ve recently become a bit concerned with Noah’s speech. As I’ve noted he is totally verbal, incredibly so and at home he never stops talking and questioning. But he’s also started stuttering a bit. My Mom and Mark reassure me that it’s probably just because his little overdeveloped mind sometimes surpasses his mouth’s ability to get the words out, and that he’s getting stuck on the first sound of a sentence because he’s thinking about everything that comes after before he says it. But it’s still a bit scary. I hope it’s just a common toddler thing and he’ll grow out of it. I can’t imagine how shy he’d become if grew up having to overcome a stutter.

On a more positive note, we’ve had a few good meals as of late. We eat out about once a week, nothing extravagant mind you, but since Noah enjoys dining out and so do we it’s become a regular thing. Sort of a mental health necessity. Just recently my prayers were answered and an Indian restaurant named Tiffin opened in our neighborhood – and better yet they do takeout. Good takeout. Last Saturday we went down to Chinatown and had amazing Burmese food at Rangoon. We hadn’t been since Mark surprised me with a get together of friends there for my 30th birthday. And yesterday we had a lovely lunch at the famous Melrose Diner. Believe it or not our waitress has worked there for 35 years! Can you imagine!

The Oscars are on tonight and for once I can’t be bothered. I’ve always really enjoyed them but this year I’ve seen nothing. Worse yet – I don’t even know what any of the films are. It’s weird to think about since I’ve been a movie geek since I worked at West Coast Video at the age of 16. But our lifestyle just doesn’t allow for movies to be a priority right now and I’m cool with that. I’ll always have a bunch of stuff to catch up with later. Which is something that can’t be said about the cinematic genius that is Amazing Race All Stars – which is currently awaiting me on my DVR so I must go.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Weepy, curious, talkative, tasty, fishy and stubborn business

I’ve planned all week to post a million little Noah tidbits for me to remember and to keep the interested up to date. But it’s hard to start that post because today I had a major Mama meltdown. As I’ve mentioned before I haven’t yet dropped our naptime nursing because on those occasions when I’ve made an attempt to put Noah down for a nap without nursing him to sleep, he’s not slept at all. And today was another one of those. After over an hour and a half of Noah being in his crib, talking, jumping, asking to be let out – I gave up, took him out of the crib, and started crying. And I couldn’t stop. I was crying because I can’t seem to reach a solution and it seems like he’ll never nap without “Boppy.” I was crying because I was tired, emotionally and physically and I needed a nap. And I was crying because no matter how much it’s gonna suck making this change whether it means no nap or not, that stopping nursing my baby boy means he’s one step closer to moving out. And then I was crying because yesterday a woman at playgroup told me that upon having her second child the bond with her first child was changed immediately forever. And then I was crying because I was sitting on the floor weeping uncontrollably in front of my very sensitive and quite concerned two year old. So you can see, I’m a bit of an emotional mess today. A chubby one at that. With acne.

And now the boy. If you know Mark at all you know that he’s smart guy, but more than that he has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. In fact it seems he doesn’t’ feel like he can make a fully informed decision about anything because there is always more to know. It’s both noble and self-defeating. So it’s no surprise that Noah already wants to know EVERYTHING. He’s constantly questioning. If you use a word he doesn’t know he’ll ask you to define it. If you’re up to something he needs to know your agenda. If you pass someone on the street he wants to know who they are, where they are going and where is their Mama. A couple of weeks ago we were at my Mom’s place and Noah started in on my Mom’s fiancé with the royal inquisition. The poor guy was on his way out the door with a trash bag and Noah railed him with “What’s in bag? Where are you going? What is dumpster? You coming back?” and Larry just stood there with a quizzical and lost look on his face as if to say “Can I go yet?” This is par for the course. Here are a few things Noah has recently asked me to define: What is close? What is sausage? What is poop? What is exhausted? What is snow? What is June? What is hospital? What makes coffee?

Noah is a master of role playing. He’ll say to me “You are Lisey. I am Hunter. Daddy is Aunt Jess.” Or “I am Pa Joe. You are Oma.” He also loves to make all the toys talk to each other. A typical bath time ritual is for Noah to put his blue tractor on the bath tub ledge in front of a plastic moose and say “Mama, make Moose talk.” And then proceed to say in a deeper voice (because tractors are very manly) “Hello Moose. What doing?” What follows is a long and involved exchange which could be about any number of things – the Disney magic trick he saw in the Thanksgiving parade, the tractor’s job as a counter at BJ’s, or the jazzy train songs that Erin Flynn sang at the Please Touch Museum. I’m always baffled by the things that that tractor can come up with. The interplay is a million times better when it’s Mark’s turn at bath time – his moose is a far superior conversationalist.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned how much Noah loves to be in the kitchen. Our kitchen is the most used room in our house. It’s a nice sized room so we tend to just hang out in there and we have a storage unit in there that actually houses most of Noah’s toys. But aside from that Noah just loves to cook. He likes to help make cookies, pizza, chili – anything I will let him help out with. And when he’s not being my sous chef, he’s at work prepping his own meals. He’s got quite an array of plastic culinary treats and he knows how to use them. And he’s not afraid of using daring combinations for unexpected flavor profiles – he’s a regular molecular gastronomist. He’d be the first to tell you “I’m a good cooker and a chef!”

On Monday we went to the Camden Aquarium with our friends Wendy and Victor. Little Victor is nursing a major fish fascination and is fast on his way to becoming a marine biologist. Noah really loved the aquarium – but his enjoyment was much more like “Cool. Pretty red fish.” The funniest thing was that he constantly asked me to reassure him that the fish could not touch him. This was most pronounced in the shark tunnel. When a shark swum over his head I felt him tense up so I asked “Are you done with this now?” and he said “I’m done with this now - I’m done with this now - I’m done with this now” until we got out of the tunnel. I was also surprised that he was a bit afraid of how dark the aquarium was in some sections. He’s never seemed afraid of the dark at home, but I guess a strange dark place with fish that could swim out at you any moment is a different thing.

I’m often going on about how Noah is my angel baby – and I’m sure that is tiring to read about, so you’ll be pleased as punch to know he’s been testing boundaries and having fits a little bit more regularly. Transitioning from one thing to the next is often a battle. Apparently whatever he is doing RIGHT NOW is the coolest thing ever – and whatever is next sucks royally. So now we are more prone to whiny, crying jags- which are often a charade. I was detailing this new development to my friend Holly today and she said “You DO remember that he’s TWO, don’t you?” But the thing that is killing me the most is that he’s learned to talk back. In recent battles he’s told me that “No, you don’t love me” and it just about broke my heart. And yesterday after I explained to him that the piece of black plastic he had in his hand did indeed look like a trash bag it was in fact a car window shade, not only did he repeatedly tell me “No. It’s a trash bag” but ten minutes after I thought we let the matter go I heard him mutter under his breath “Trashbag.” Where on earth this child got stubborn I will NEVER know.

And as always I have a lot more, but I have to return to my husband, the DVR and a bag of dark chocolate covered pretzels.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Unsung Heroes

So Ms. Elisha and Baby Hunter have come and gone. It was really lovely to have them here and now we are heartbroken to once again have them so far from us. It’s distressing to leave little Hunter at the airport and think about how much he will grow and change until we see him once again. But at least we have digital photos and emails to get us all through and keep us in touch.

Having Hunter here was great practice for Noah. By the end of their visit Noah was helping to bathe Hunter, giving him toys and putting lotion on him. It really was a joy to watch. And it was really an amazing experience watching my little sister being a Mom. She’s not got it easy unfortunately – she’s young and her and husband are barely scraping by financially – but she seems like she’s doing an excellent job of keeping her head up and staying focused on her wonderful little boy and all the joys that he’s bringing to her life, despite the daily grind and sleeplessness. And in my book that is the biggest key to being a good mother.

As for me and my pregnancy things seem to be progressing smoothly. I’d say I’m feeling slightly less exhausted and nauseated, but unfortunately my acid reflux has really started to kick up. When I was pregnant with Noah my acid reflux aided in my enormous weight gain because the only time I wasn’t feeling overcome with acid was while I was eating. Of course my food choices were also to blame. But I think I’m doing a somewhat better job of watching what and when I eat this time around, and honestly I am a lot less starved this time than last. I gained a whopping 75 pounds during Noah’s gestation to end at a hefty 225 – and though I’ve started this pregnancy 10 pounds heavier than the last time, I’ve promised myself to do what I could not to break the 200 mark. So far so good.

So I rarely mention Mark. Part of that is that he’s a more private person than myself and part of it is that I take him for granted. He’s always here helping, working, doing dishes, playing with Noah, and saying supportive and reassuring things. He really is the best. And in the last few months his bond with Noah has gotten a lot stronger. In fact Mark is a far better playmate than I. He’s more imaginative in his pretend play and he even does voices. But not only is Mark a better playmate he’s a better person. In the last year I’ve been really impressed with his efforts to recycle more and be involved in our community. As a member of our neighborhood association he’s working to make a difference even though he sometimes feels his efforts are in vain. Just recently he spent two entire days working to dig holes for 60 new street trees that will be planted to make our area a cleaner, greener place – including one in front of our home. This month Mark’s also spending time making music – he’s attempting to write an entire album in a month as part of some online challenge. So there is your Mark update.

The boy. So much to say. I've been wanting to give you some examples of the constant questioning that we are enduring here – but that will take more time on my part and I just ran out.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Out of my way

And would you believe he drove all the way from Florida?

Pretty as a picture

I'd like to introduce you to my sister Elisha and her son Hunter. A sweeter pair you could not meet.

Good enough to eat

By the end of the visit Noah and Hunter were like two peas in a pod. It made it clear to me that though there will definitely be some family growing pains when we have the baby, that ultimately Noah will be a wonderful help and a sweet and loving big brother.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Soul coughing

We’ve been quite busy and happy enjoying our visit with my wonderful sister Elisha and her sweet five month old son Hunter. The baby is such a jolly little thing, so even tempered and charming. And it’s really amazing and impressive to watch my little sister being a Mom. After a whirlwind weekend of Noah cavorting with various family in Quakertown, we left Hunter and Elisha at my Dad’s place on Sunday, and just in time too. Yesterday morning as I was bundling the boy up to go play at his friend Victor’s house, Noah leaned over and vomited on the floor. It seems he caught himself a stomach virus. Luckily he only got sick twice – once at 10:30 am and once at 4:30 pm and not since – but he’s still running a fever. And of course we’ve been up since 4 am this morning. We’re supposed to head back out to Dad’s today and collect Elisha and Hunter, but all that’s up in the air until Noah seems well. The last thing I want to do is put my sister and her baby on the plane on Wednesday afternoon with a nasty bug. Fun details and photos later.