Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I'm no Edmund Hillary

In less than a week Mark will be back at work and I will be home alone with the dangerous duo. Honestly I’m quaking in my boots. The dreaded double crying jags fill me with fear. It’s those moments that make me feel like my head will explode and my first inclination is to join them rather than soothe them. One cryer – no problem. Two – insanity. I can’t hear myself think and I feel useless to pacify either of them. The other major obstacle is exits. Getting everyone dressed, packing a bag and getting out of the house with both boys in a timely manner seems akin to climbing Mount Everest. Clearly some people have done it before – but how I can’t even imagine. Sure, it won’t be long before all of this is old hat and I’ll be a pro – but NOW – I’m one nervous Nelly.

So what have we been up to? I can barely recall. I’ll try to recap the highlights – even if it’s for noone else’s benefit but my own.

We had a lovely visit last week from the Juliloquy family. They brought us some divine Thai food that was outshined only by their company. It’s so amazing to me to have met such smart, interesting, friendly people via blogging and to have translated it into a real budding friendship between our families. We can’t wait to meet their little Polly.

We went to see the Cole Brother’s circus in the Northeast. It was sort of a sad, poor man’s circus experience but we got the tickets free for making a donation to the FOP and Noah did really enjoy the performance. But surprisingly he hasn’t been acting it out as much as I anticipated. He’s been hung up on a few different scenarios that repeat themselves almost daily. The pregnant Mama/new baby/big brother drama is ever present. He’s the Mama and Mark and/or I are normally the older sibling. Birthday parties are another recurring theme. His trains and cars are constantly celebrating. He’s also gearing up for school starting in September by sending his Little People off for some learning. And for a week Noah was making us act out word for word an episode of Berenstain Bears wherein Sister Bear was ostracized by Hillary, the new girl at school. Oh and the new popular story line involves vomit, but I guess I didn’t mention that yet.

Sunday was Mark’s birthday. I’ve been too out of it to plan a damn thing so when my Mom asked if we wanted to head to her neck of the woods and have brunch with her and her fiancé at The Washington House we jumped at the offer. On the way to Mark’s birthday celebration Noah got sick in the car. In fact he vomited all over himself. At that moment we thought he could have a stomach bug but it turned out he was just motion sick from intently staring at a pop-up Pinocchio (Pokey-nose) book in the car. Anyway we didn’t make it to the restaurant. After a cursory cleaning job and a change of Noah’s clothes in the parking lot of a Wawa we went straight to my Mom’s place even though they still went out to brunch. Of course they were thoughtful enough to read us the menu over the phone and bring us back food. And Mark spent quite a bit of time on his birthday trying to un-vomit the car. Happy Birthday to YOU, Mr. Family Man.

Oh on Saturday we went into the heart of central Jersey to the second birthday party of one of Mark’s cousin’s daughters. They went all out – kiddie pools, slip-n-slide, moon bounce, coloring table, and hired help to do a sand art/spin art table. And then there was the food – fried chicken, salads, chips, gumbo, crabs, corn, Rice Krispies treats, and an ice cream cake. It was an insanely hot day but we spent almost all of it outside. Ray slept while I chatted and snacked. And Mark trailed Noah who had a BLAST. I think he would have considered marrying to acquire that slip-n-slide.

On Monday we went to the Zoo with my cousin Tammy and her two kids. We had a really great time. Again – Ray slept and Noah cavorted. It’s really heartwarming to see how comfortable Noah is with his cousins. They were chasing each other around, making faces and laughing together. So sweet.

This week is a crazy blur of appointments. I had my six week postnatal OB appointment on Tuesday. Fun, fun. Today Noah and I had dentist appointments – his first and shamefully my first in almost four years. As I had anticipated he did exceptionally well. Both the dentist and the hygienist were floored by how cooperative and sweet he was. He always makes me so proud. I was not so proud about my dental check-up. Though miraculously she didn’t see any cavities (though the X-rays will tell for sure) she did say I needed a rather rigorous cleaning that would require I be numbed so she can mercilessly scrape all the crap off my teeth. So I have that to look forward to. Mark stayed in the lobby with Ray – who slept. Tomorrow after a playdate with one of the kids who’s going to be in Noah’s class when his school starts (Sept 17) we have a lunch date with Patrice and then hair appointments all around.

Um… what else? Oh, Ray is now on Zantac. It makes a HUGE difference. Though already his dosage needs to be increased. We’ve been giving it to him every twelve hours and it’s obviously wearing off around ten. The result is two hours of miserable discomfort for him. It sucks watching him suffer while his stomach tortures him. And the sad whimpering is far more gut wrenching than the full volume caterwauling. And potty training is still going splendidly. In fact I consider us done, really. At the end of this week when Noah finishes his last sticker chart he will have a Potty Party and a certificate declaring him an official big boy potty-user. It’s the only thing I could think of to put an end to the reward system so I don’t have to give him stickers and cars and trains forever.

So it really has been nice having Mark home. He’s become really close with Noah during his extra time at home and I hope that doesn’t suffer too much when he goes back to work. I know in the past Noah has in certain ways held it against Mark that he wasn’t here all the time. But I think Mark’s ready to head back to the office. Not that he doesn’t really enjoy being with his family, because he does, but I think some quiet office time might be nice for him. Even if that means dealing with his boss. I’ve asked him to write a “What I learned on my summer vacation” posting so hopefully we’ll have that insight some time in the next week.

And that’s where we’re at.

Monday, August 27, 2007

This is livin'

Celebratin' Pop's birthday, chillin' in the sling and gnawin' on Mama.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Oh hai!

I can has cheezberger?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Livin in a land of candy

So the little tyke had his one month checkup last week and he’s getting less and less little. He’s nearing a whopping eleven pounds already. It seems in the 23 days between his last two doc appointments he gained 27 ounces. You see – I told you he wants to nurse ALL the time.

Life in the land of two offspring is dizzying. One moment I'm all "WHAT were we thinking?" and "I'll NEVER be able to handle them ALONE!" and the next I'm thinking "GOD I LOVE THEM! This can't be my last one."

I’m sorry to report that gastric reflux has reared its ugly head. Slowly Ray has been showing symptoms and they have been getting more and more severe. This of course is rather disappointing but on the up side it gives us hope that soon there will be less screaming. This boy – he’s got some lungs on him. Noah NEVER screamed like this. Ray goes from quiet to window-shattering decibels in one second flat with no plaintive mewling in between. In fact when he screams he does it so forcefully, and so angrily that his whole body turns beet red and he looks like he might pop some blood vessels. It can be quite disconcerting, but over time I’ve gotten more and more accustomed to it. Now I’m able to just hold him calmly and comfort him and wait for it to stop, but Mark isn’t fairing so well. It’s still melting his brain. As it does with just about anyone else. On Thursday my father-in-law's wife was in the car with us when Ray started screaming and she wanted me to stop the car because she was certain he was in life threatening peril. I was all “Nope. He’s fine. He’s just angry and wants out of his seat. He’ll stop when he feels like it.” I don’t want to give the impression that he’s an unpleasant colicky scream machine – he isn’t. He sleeps a lot and anytime he’s out of the house he is a dream – just loves looking at the world and being in a sling. But several times a day at home he goes through these short inconsolable crying jags – and though they often seem attributable to possible reflux symptoms or really bad bouts of gas – we can’t be sure. Today we started giving him small doses of Maalox and if those don’t work we’ll go back to the pediatrician later in the week to get a prescription to Zantac.

Every time I take Ray out I get stopped several times by strangers all of whom make some comment on his red hair. Today while grocery shopping with Ray in the Baby Bjorn at the Shop Rite in Port Richmond three separate old ladies stopped me to say variations of “Ahh! A little red head! He’s so adorable. How old is he? Ahhh! He’s precious. Bless you!” With this many blessings a day we can’t go wrong. While I was stocking the fridge (for like two days – I swear I grocery shop incessantly) Mark and Noah were on a transit adventure. They took the Septa El to the Patco train to take them across the Betsey Ross Bridge and then took the River Link Ferry back across the Delaware and then home on the El. There was no destination – just to ride the never before ridden Patco train and the Ferry. And they had a grand time.

Last weekend we visited family. We went to a pool party at the home of one of Mark’s maternal cousins on Saturday and saw a bunch of family that sadly we only get to see like once a year unless there is a wedding or a funeral. It was a really lovely day – the highlight for Noah being the pool. We nearly had to move him in. Sunday we went to my Mom’s place. While we were there Noah played with my Aunt Jill – she has no kids of her own and so at most family gatherings she acts as the pied piper and entertains the flocks of young ‘uns – bless her soul. This time Noah had her all to himself and really enjoyed it. And before we left he played his first board game with my Mom and his second cousins Alec and Cody. He did really well so later in the week we set out for Toys R’ Us and bought him the preschool board game basics. He is loving Candyland and Hi Ho Cherrio – but Chutes and Ladders is decidedly too confusing because of the board design. The odd part is that though he mastered the rules instantly and played intently the first few times – now that he’s more accustomed to them he loses focus real fast. Much to Mark’s chagrin. In Candyland Noah is fascinated with the treat cards and will just stare at them and lament every time he gets a card with color squares on it.

On Saturday we HAD to go out because the weather was sunny and mild – and until then we’d forgotten what that felt like. We went to Penns Landing to check out the food, music and dancing at the Indian festival. Little girls dancing to Bollywood hits and Samosas to die for! (Now Noah is reenacting festivals at home.) Afterward we hit Franklin Fountain for some blueberry ice cream – made from freshly picked Jersey blueberries of course.

And how could I forget – Noah finally got his BED! My in-laws came to help us pick it up on Thursday. And though it took two days and several nervous breakdowns to assemble it – we are all quite pleased with his new bunk bed. I’ll post pictures soon.

OH! And potty training is still really great. Seriously. It has seemed all too easy. Maybe we really just lucked out by picking the perfect time to start. Of course tomorrow it could all go horribly, horribly wrong. But that seems unlikely after weeks of success. However as Noah says about drawing a card in Candyland “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Look at these boys

The little one is chubbin' up good and the big one is using the potty and managing a massive transportation hub out of my kitchen.

Friday, August 10, 2007

For him to poop on

I had been putting off potty training for eons. I was just dreading it. I didn’t want to start it before Noah was ready, and I didn’t want it to be a year-long battle. I had heard from so many people that even completely potty trained children regress when a second child is born, so I had decided that I would wait until after Ray was born to really get started. We had made some cursory steps though. Noah has peed on the potty before and after his bath every night for some time And awhile ago I had purchased Noah some “big boy” underwear that I laundered and put in his drawer telling him that he could wear them when he was ready. In recent weeks he began asking about the underwear and showing real interest in wearing them. So this weekend we said “Okay. We will start wearing underwear on Monday.”

For the most part we’re just going cold turkey. We’ve stuck close to home and while in the house Noah’s been wearing just underwear – not even pants. On his first day Noah did perfectly. He had NO accidents and even pooped on the potty twice. Mark and I were floored – we would have taken bets against an outcome that good. He is obviously capable of being potty trained and ready. However the next two days we backslid a bit – with a couple of peeing accidents – but still strong on potty pooping. After the accidents, mostly because he didn’t seem at all upset about them, I decided to make a sticker reward chart which I had been hoping to avoid. For one I’m not good at maintaining that sort of thing, and on the other it smacks of bribery. But it helped get us back on track and again Noah had a perfect day yesterday. He seems to be doing remarkably well and the most promising thing is that he seems really proud of himself. Of course I know we still have a bumpy road ahead of us.

Now the big hurdles ahead of us are spending more time out of the house and getting Noah to ask to use the potty rather than have us constantly remind him. We used a pull-up at playgroup yesterday and were thrilled when he actually asked to use the potty – so that is a positive sign. And I think we’ll use pull-ups for the hour-long car trips to see family we have planned this weekend but then put him in underwear when we reach our destinations. Hopefully he won’t pee on anyone’s floor. Wish us continued success.

As for what else is going on – baby, nursing, visiting, playing. Still thrilled to have Mark home with us and dreading him going back after Labor Day.

Oh – and I have to mention how much I’ve been loving Flight of the Conchords. I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. You know that sort of embarrassing facial- contorting, mouth-gaping, eye-tering, slobber-dripping laughing?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Let the games begin.

Please let this not be a long, hard road.

Splish splash

Bathing and sleeping.