Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Long Shot

I was off today, and our only agenda item was going to a well-child check up for The Boy. With shots. 

Before 9:00 am The Husband had been to the store to get me juice for a possible UTI. Twice. I had peed 27 times. The boys had "helped" me bathe the dog. She had run, and run, and run, in big circles around the house the way dogs do when they're wet. And The Boy ran, and ran, and ran, chasing her in big circles the way boys do when their dogs are wet. BeYoYo had already put a toy salmon in the toilet, and as I went to fish out the salmon, The Husband unknowingly gave him cereal to eat out of toilet hands that hadn't yet been washed. The Husband fixed me quarts of pineapple juice with some apple cider vinegar for good measure. I started chugging. 

So this was where I was in my day when we headed out the door. Overstimulated. Tired. Peeing frequently. Not feeling well. 

We left with an hour to spare but two things to do before the doctor. I stopped by my friend Emily's house to drop off some baby clothes, and when she came to the door I said "I really have to pee!" and ran past her for the bathroom. Then it was off to Dunkin Donuts drive through to get a post-shots doughnut. We went ahead and got some doughnut holes for the office staff too.

The Boy had been an angel all morning. We showed up early to the office, and I unloaded the cadillac stroller and put BeYoYo in it to contain him during the appointment. The Boy loves to play in the waiting room, so I told him he had time. Then, as luck would have it, they were ready for us early. The Boy wanted to get more Mr. Potato Head accessories to take back in the exam room with him, and he'd already loaded his arms full. I told him no, and headed back. He didn't come. I left the cadillac in the hall and went back for him, but he was still trying to scoop up more pieces. I scooped him up. He was not happy. 

It was time for him to weigh. He refused. I talked to him patiently. He refused. I reminded him of his doughnut waiting for him. He refused.  I gave him The Eye. He ignored it. I picked him up and put him on the scale. He went limp. I shoved all his limp limbs onto the scale at once and asked the nurse if that would do. It would not. She coddled him, and he agreed to weigh for her. 

Next it was time for blood pressure cuff (aka testing to see if he had He-Man muscles), height, and vision check. He did great for all of those. We went in the exam room and I parked the cadillac with BeYoYo inside. The Boy became increasingly nervous. The doctor came in and checked him out, asked us some developmental questions, and we talked about his diet. All was well. She asked if he had any questions for her, and he asked her how old she was. 

Then nurse Tasha, who he loves, came back in to give the shots. He wasn't too keen on that. She told me how to hold him so she could best get to him, and he screamed. I don't blame him, it was rough, and he was having to be held down. It was over quickly, just like I'd reminded him. He didn't let that stop him from continuing to scream. I offered him his doughnut, but he turned it down. I held him and hugged him, and he continued to scream. Nurse Tasha asked if he wanted to go get a prize. He said he wasn't going anywhere with her, and clung to me. She offered for me to take him to get a prize, and he agreed. I held him, held the Potato Head parts, and pushed the Cadillac down the hall to help him get a prize. He didn't want anything to do with her. Thank goodness we'd gotten them doughnut holes. 

We got his prize and checked out. I put him down in the waiting room so I could get the Cadillac through the door, and he cried "but I can't walk!" and he puddled into the floor. I asked him if he wanted to stay and play with the Potato Head, and he cried "I want to weave here!" So we weft. BeYoYo waved goodbye to no one in the parking lot. Bye, Felicia. 

The Boy cried some more in the car. Surely it wasn't hurting as bad by then, but I think it hurt his feelings that Tasha would do this to him. I don't think he remembers having shots before. I offered him his doughnut, but he couldn't eat it, seeing as how he had to hold his prize in one hand and his injury in the other. I told him he was brave. He cried some more. In between sobs he said "shots", "stupid", "Gee-scusting", and "I'm never going back there ag-g-gain!" I told him he didn't have to have any more shots until he was 11. 

When we got home I helped him out of the car. He reminded me with a dramatic reenactment that he couldn't walk, so I carried him in and put him down on the sofa. He thought he *might* could eat his doughnut now. Daddy came in to check on him, and asked if watching He-Man might help. He thought it might, so Daddy found He-Man on YouTube. I brought him his lunch on the sofa, and told him he was getting to eat there because he had shots, but that it wasn't something we were going to start doing all the time. He tried to suppress a smile as he said "Can I do it again when I'm 11?"  Knock yourself out. 

As you may imagine, a little He-Man and a sprinkle doughnut on the sofa really helped him start to feel better. He was running around within the hour, but sometimes would stop to remind me how hurt he was. I was torn between compassion and laughing at his attempts at manipulation. He has been fine the rest of the day. But I would very much like some shots now. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Back to school

I confess I have never understood parents who cry when their kids go back to school. I think it's joyous! Routine. Social interaction. A much needed break from them for a few hours. Plus sometimes they even learn things. I know mine is only in preschool but every year I have celebrated back to school as a developmental milestone and a self congratulatory "we made it another year!"

We had orientation for 4 year old preschool on Friday. It's at the same school he's been at since he was 8 weeks old, in the preschool department he's been in for the last two years. His new class is next door to his three year old class, which is next door to the 2 year old class he was in before that. 

Skipping with excitement for orientation

We know this place. We love this place. We met his new teacher, and learned the things he'll be learning about this year. We signed up to help with a party and he got to play with some of his friends. After two years of mother's morning out and two years of preschool this is old hat to us. 

He was excited and didn't want to leave when it was over. I dropped him off in his summer class and popped my head back in to ask his teacher one thing. 

I was planning to let her know that he has some sensory needs, and that we're always open to hearing about things we might need to work on. I was planning to ask if she would please let us know each day if he's had a good day or not, because on good days he gets to earn a special snack in the car. On bad days we say we'll try again tomorrow. 

And that's when it hit me. An unexpected flood of tears. WTH is this? 

I don't mean tears welled up behind my eyes but I was able to hold them at bay. I mean fat tears overwhelmed my eyes and rolled down my cheeks and plopped onto my shirt and I had to stand up from the tiny chair where I was sitting and get a tissue. 

I can't explain how it felt. I'm still happy he's going to school. I'm happy he's developing appropriately and learning and growing and moving on, as he's supposed to do. But suddenly, as I was talking about his good days and bad, I was reminded that the days are long but the years are short. And here we are suddenly in a four year old class where they learn SIGHT WORDS, when it was just ten minutes ago he was placed naked on my chest, just a little 6 pound wad of wrinkly skin and healthy, crying lungs, and blue eyes taking in the world. 

And it's more than that. It's how do you, in 5 minutes explain that sometimes he's unintentionally too rough and too loud but in spite of this, he's still kind and positive, and that he cares so deeply for others? And that he's also fun and funny and smart and articulate and has a great memory and loves art time and is a good helper? I wanted to tell her all these things without being the weird parent who was telling her all these things. I wanted to thank her for teaching him, for loving him, for picking him up when he falls on the playground, for taking care of him. I wanted to tell her how hard her job must be, and that I appreciated that she would be patient and kind to him and the others. In that moment, he was the big four year old learning sight words and math concepts, but he was also my little boy, who can't say his Ls or Rs, willingly still holds my hand, and is afraid that the Grinch lives in his closet. In that moment he was suspended between young and old, and my mind was conflicted with allegiance toward both of his selves.

But I couldn't say all that so the tears said it instead. Or maybe they said I was a crazy, paranoid, overprotective helicopter mother, who knows? 

Anyway, I stammered through some hey-I'm-happy-to-communicate-with-you offering and left for work. On the way I called my mama, as we are won to do when we cry, and told her that I think crying at orientation is RIDICULOUS, and I told her about how it turns out, I too, am ridiculous. Maybe this wasn't old hat after all. She listened and understood, as mamas are won to do. 

Over the weekend we talked with excitement about his first day in his new class. I fixed him a special first day of school breakfast, which he not-so-politely declined in favor of cereal.

 He got ready, we took pictures, and I took him to school. His teacher had asked all the parents to use the car rider line and not walk the kids in, so I wished him luck and drove away, leaving my big kid there for his last first day of preschool. 

BeYoYo started fussing in the car. No doubt he was missing his brother. "You'll be there soon enough" I told him. 

When I got home I went in The Husband's office. "How was it?" he asked. "Oh, he did fine" I said. "He was excited." The Husband didn't look up from his work, but responded "I was talking about you." 

By that time I had fully recovered from Friday's emotion, but it was still fresh enough that it was on my mind, much like a hangover reminding you of last night. 

I was excited to pick him up, and The Husband and I took him to lunch to celebrate his first day. He told us some about his class but didn't have too much to say. After all, this is old hat to him. So we sat there eating and talking about the birds, his blue eyes still taking in the world. 


Friday, August 14, 2015

Preparing for Parenthood- Life Before and After Kids

We get it. Life changes when you have kids. It's amazing. I've never felt as high as I did the day I saw my first child. We thought it wouldn't change much. Then priorities shift, schedules shift, friendships change, and before you know it your BK (before kids) life feels a lot different than your AK (after kids) life.

Three years later I cried the first time I held his brother. We learned a lot with the first, and we have so far done some things differently with the second. We also set the bar kind of low to start with, not really realizing it gets lower with the next.  Here are some other specifics on the shifts we've noticed going from no kids to one kid to two kids.

Food preparation:
Before children: Menus planned for the week according to what's on sale and has a corresponding coupon from the coupon binder. Potluck poker night with friends on Wednesdays. Eat out on the weekends.

First child: Buy organic fruits and vegetables and make homemade baby food that the baby will feed to the dog.

Second child: Make one serving of homemade baby food, which he will hate. Give up and give him exclusive table foods starting at 6 months. I'm sure french fries are fine. You'll never see your poker friends again.

Trash truck comes at 8:30 am. 
Before children: Ugh. WHY does it have to come so early? Some people are trying to sleep in.

First child: Ugh. WHY does it have to come so late? It's right in the middle of his morning nap, and it might wake him up.

Second child: Ugh. You didn't put the trash out. Also, you are now thankful for the 90 seconds of entertainment that the trash truck brings.

Before children: Leisurely nap anytime you feel like it. You are practically a cat.

First child: You are a slave to the nap gods. If your child does not get a nap the world will implode. You must be home in time for nap. If for some reason you are not home in time for nap and your child falls asleep in the car, DO NOT LEAVE THE CAR. Sit in the car in the driveway until the child awakens.

Second child: Naps are still important, but not always feasible. Sorry that it's time for your morning nap, but it's time to take your brother to preschool. Sorry that it's time for your afternoon nap but it's time to pick your brother up from preschool. You got 5 minutes of sleep in the car? That oughta do it.

Contents of your diaper bag: 
Before children: No diaper bag. Knockoff designer purse from Chinatown contains wallet, keys, phone, and old receipts you don't need.

First child: All the contents of your former purse are now in the diaper bag along with diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, teethers, and bottles. And old receipts you don't need.

Second child: Is this a diaper bag or an overnight bag? Two pirates, a motorcycle, tissues, a pair of shoes, a batman, two tampons, fruit snacks, an apple, Wonder Woman, the baby's plastic keys, a phone charger, and sour gummies. You think there might be a diaper in there somewhere too.

Before children: You are chronically punctual.

First child: No doubt the kid needed something on the way out the door, or nap time ran later than usual. You remind people of how you used to be chronically punctual as you show up a few minutes late.

Second child: One refused to get ready and one refused to be put down. One HAD to go back to find their special Batman, and the other pooped up his back and needed a fresh outfit. What time was the meeting again? Maybe we can email during nap time.

Contents of your car:
Before children: Files from work. A smoothie cup from this morning. Three changes of clothes for you in the trunk of your civic, just in case. You know you won't be the kind of parent that "thinks they have to have an SUV just because they have a baby."

First child: Crumbs. Everywhere. Stroller. Car seat. Diaper bag. Books. You buy an SUV because you have a baby. You keep extra diapers in the back, just in case.

Second child: Crumbs. Everywhere. Two car seats. Superheroes. School bag. Diaper bag. Art project that school sent home. A Harry Potter wand. Car rider pickup name sign roughly the size of a billboard. Diapers and two pair of toddler underwear in the back, just in case.

Before children: Cute outfit. Oops, I spilt a little of my lunch on my shirt!

First child: Get to work and notice you left the house with spit up on you at least once a week.  The baby looks cute at drop off, but has on one shoe and no shirt by the time you pick him up. You'll get home from the grocery store and realize your yoga pants were on inside out.

Second child: Continual paste of goldfish and slobber on something of yours somewhere. Both kids look cute at drop off, but big kid got paint on his clothes, and the backup clothes from his bag are too small. At pickup he's sporting what are now capri pants and a midriff shirt. The baby had no backup clothes in his bag and after a diaper leaked he's forced to wear someone else's girl jeans with heart pockets.

Head Injuries:
Before children: There are no head injuries in your life.

First child: Falls out of his high chair and no one was watching. You call a friend who is an ER doc, and text two EMTs you know. You really feel terrible about the injury.

Second child: At his well checkup, you mention that he fell and hit his head 48 hours ago. He's okay, right? You feel a little bad that you kind of forgot about it until now.

Condition of your house:
Before children: The house is such a mess. There are bills stacked in the kitchen and laundry that needs folding. Whew!

First child: Once child is on the move, you put up so many gates the house looks like the stalls at the Kentucky Derby. There are baby toys everywhere. And bills stacked in the kitchen and laundry that needs folding.

Second child: There are baby toys everywhere. And big kid toys everywhere. And the babysitter texted to say sorry they threw a deck of cards all over the upstairs. And clothes discarded in heaps on the floor that look like the rapture has occurred and you've been left behind. And bills stacked in the kitchen and laundry that needs folding.

Social Life: 
Before children: You don't even realize how cool you are. You go out with friends, you go to weddings all the time, you host dinner parties and themed birthday parties for yourself. You're friends with drag queens. You take trapeze lessons and do standup comedy, and you know top 40 songs and pop culture references. If someone invites you to do something, you say yes and then you do it.

First child: You now realize how cool you used to be. You know Sesame Street references and top 40 songs from last year.  You go to baby showers all the time.  If someone invites you to do something you wonder if it will interfere with nap time. Then you check with your husband to see if he's cool if you go.

Second child: You know all the superheroes and their alter egos. You only know top 40 songs from the 90s. You go to kid birthday parties all the time. You watch standup comedy on Netflix. If someone invites you to do something, you check with your husband to see if he's cool if you go. Then you spend the next 45 minutes trying to get a babysitter because your husband has to work at that time. You text 14 people to see who's available. You see if your friend can move the time to accommodate the sitter's schedule. Then, when you're about to leave someone throws up and you have to cancel on everyone anyway.

This is why we aren't having any more children. We don't have much room for decline. In fact, I bet even the Duggars used to be cool before they had all those kids.

It happens before you know it. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

An Almost One Year Old

My Baby will be one tomorrow. Enter cliches here.

I was excited when The Boy turned one. So big! Lots of things on the horizon! He's learning every day, I'm so excited to see his personality and watch who he will become! I feel the same way about BeYoYo, but there's also an added sense of.....something. I'm not sad, really. Surely, I want him to grow and develop and eventually launch and be a productive member of society. But I'm also really aware that he's my last baby, and I want to soak him in. Today he cuddled up and let me rock him for a few minutes before he began his usual eye poking and necklace pulling and crawling up me to examine what's behind the chair, and I savored those few minutes like the last drops of sunlight on a summer night. I smelled his baby head and put my cheek against his head. I listened to his breathing and I studied his fat little toes. My brain replayed the first time I saw him, and fast forwarded through dozens of memories up until that very moment.

Having The Boy has given me such perspective on how fast babies grow up, and how anything that happens for good or for bad is just a phase to outgrow. My friend Jill asked me if I thought the year had gone by fast or slow. "Both" I told her. "Fast, because it was easier than when The Boy was a baby. But slow, because I knew to hold onto it." She has three boys, so I think she knew what I meant. Lard, I bet you really get sentimental with that third one. Or, by then maybe it's all survival, who knows?

Here's how he's grown this year:


Says (consistently): Mama, Ball, Bye bye, More (inconsistently): Dada, Bubba, Meow.


Loves: Baths. Crawling away faster when you ask him to come. Throwing all the things on the floor. Shoes. His brother. Prissy. Balls.

Hates: Being in his high chair one second longer than he thinks he should. When his ball rolls away. Black beans.

Signs: light, fan, more, all done, and milk.

Favorite food: All of it. Spaghetti and bbq are two he can't get enough of.

Here he's eating and then signing "all done" at the end. 

Nicknames: BeYoYo, but mostly Roo.

Biggest joys: Plastic bags. Cabinet doors. Balls. Real animals.

Biggest disappointment: someone shutting the door to the bathroom when he is on a mission to get to the trash.  Food being all gone.

Life goals: Getting in the dishwasher. Eating an iPhone. Getting in a fireplace.

Career objectives: taking clothes out of drawers, taking food out of a pantry.

Laughs at: his brother, hands down. Also: being tickled, animal noises, being told "no".

He also waves, patty cakes, gestures wildly and screams at something he wants, climbs stairs, dances, crawls, gives big slobbery kisses and can take a few steps. He is happy and curious, and determined and fun, and largely go-with-the-flow. He would rather be exploring than sitting still.

I didn't know what having two kids would feel like. I knew that having one kid was a lot harder than I had thought it would be, and I figured having two would be the same. My fear was that everyone would scream at the same time, and that it would be too much for me and I would melt in a puddle  of paralysis in the floor.

What I didn't prepare for was how these boys could be so different, and yet each feel like they were what we'd needed. The last year has been easier than I'd expected in a lot of ways. Sometimes it feels like he's always been a part of our family, and then sometimes it feels like he was the piece that completed it. The Boy tells us every day "I LOVE my brotha!" and we know the feeling. So far, the only puddle of paralysis I've melted into has been self-inflicted in an effort to slow down to enjoy these guys together. Happy, happy birthday, sweet baby boy. We're so glad you're here.

 He'll be driving before we know it.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Easy Like Sunday Morning

Sometimes I get these impulsive ideas, like Sunday morning steel cut apple blender pancakes I found on Pinterest. We had some steel cut oats left over because they're allegedly good for increasing your milk production.

I think to myself that they'll be healthy, and maybe delicious (even though steel cut oats have never once been delicious), and I feel good about feeding my family wholesome foods.

Cut to everyone being whiney and tired, and crying because the blender is too loud, and pancakes that turn out like this: 

Nailed it! 

The Boy was interested in them, but mostly just to give them to BeYoYo, who unintentionally gives most of his food to the dog. 

So happy breakfast, Prissy!