Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

If I hear one more person call out, "See you next year!" and chuckle like it's the most original thing they've said in weeks, someone's getting punched in the face. But not by me, my fists are small and weak, like the paws of a handicapped kitten.

That might be the kind of thing little Andy will find funny in a couple years (kids have such unsophisticated senses of humor), but it's wearing on me a little thin.

With the calendar flipping to 2012 in about 36 hours, I thought this would be a good time to discuss some of Andy's resolutions for the new year. I could write out my own resolutions, but who's really interested in hearing me talk about my fiber needs or the intimate details of my checking account? Everyone, that's who. But this blog isn't supposed to necessarily be about me. I'm just a supporting character here, the teller of tales revolving around a toddler who would gladly drink from the toilet if only we would just allow him his happiness. And around a fetus who about a week ago formed the ability to pee. Someone is peeing inside me. Probably taking a whiz now. Go ahead, think about THAT for a few minutes.

Anyway, Andy has a lot of resolutions for the upcoming year. Here are a few.

Potty train. Seriously, this kid has to be house-broken, er, potty-trained, before this new baby gets here. This is number one priority. I hardly know any people with kids (especially boys) who have managed to potty train before the age of 3, but that's not going to stop me from trying my hardest. I know it's doable, it's just going to be difficult. But I'm totally willing to have the weekend from hell, with poo stains on the floor and whatnot (probably won't have have any guests that week), if it means that Andy can go on the toilet and that I'm only buying one set of diapers after the new baby arrives.

Be a good big brother. I am hoping that Andy takes a sort of proud ownership of his new sibling and sees little sis or bro as "his" to love and help watch over. I'm a little wary of pending sibling rivalry, but hopefully spending time in day care with the other babies will at least have helped prepare Andy for a baby of his own. When I think of introducing the baby to Andy, though, the first thing I picture is him shoving a handful of raisins into the newborn's mouth. This image of course alarms me... but I guess it's also kind of nice that, in this scenario, Andy is at least interested in satisfying the baby's hunger with an iron-rich dried fruit.

Be okay with tooth brushing. Jeez. Trying to brush this kid's teeth is an exercise in futility. All I ever manage to get is his tongue. His baby teeth are going to rot out of his mouth before he's two, and then what? Baby dentures until the other ones come in? Andy removing his dentures every night and keeping them in a glass by his crib? Okay, this is sounding pretty hilarious. But maybe a little costly. How much do you think baby dentures go for these days?

Play with toys. Andy, toys are awesome. They are seriously the best. So start playing with them already. All this kid wants to do is pull things out of the pantry, eat napkins, do a little light cleaning, and drag around empty boxes. Come on. Let's get playing already.

Get in a dancing competition. Have you seen Andy dance? He's got the moves, and his sweet back and forth head bob and hip sway would probably get him pretty far in a contest (televised, of course). Plus, who wouldn't cast their vote for a toddler? You'd have to be a monster not to give Andy your vote.

Learn the following sentences. "I love you, Mommy." "Here, let me help you with that." "Oh, are you looking for something that I hid? Let me tell you where it is." "I could really go for a three hour nap right about now." "Football's on TV? Eh, let's go the library instead." "You could really use a break, Mom. I'll go scream in Daddy's face for a while."

Happy new year, everyone. See you next... time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Reason For The Season!

And so Christmas is over.

After this past week or so of non-stop celebrating, I've come to the conclusion that having this new baby in 2012 is the best possible thing I can do for Andy's ego, which, by now, has basically inflated to the size of a volleyball. (Note: I've decided that standard ego size is approximately tennis ball sized, with more modest people hovering more in the golf ball range.) If Andy receives one more iota of love and affection or one more wrapped gift, I can only assume that his head will burst, creating the kind of tragic mess that will require five jugs of Resolve and ten years of therapy before things are even a little better. This holiday was truly all about Andy. Which is fine- it would kind of lame if we spent all weekend lavishing gifts and praise on, let's just say, me (although, I'll admit that might have been kind of nice), but, at this point, enough is enough. Andy, we all love you- nobody more than me- but at the tender age of 17 months, I fear you may become a spoiled rotten brat.

I don't know if this pending new sibling will be enough to stave off the pending spoilage, though. He may also need cousins. Somebody give this kid some cousins.

I exaggerate, but not really. I don't really think Andy is in danger of becoming spoiled, but it's pretty evident that he has a lot of people in his life who think the world of him, and when I mentioned the "reason for the season" on Christmas Day, my dad responded with "Andy?" No, Dad. Andy is not the reason for the season. I was talking about Jesus, son of God. Not Andy, son of morons.

I shouldn't have just called Chris and myself morons. But it just felt right.

Andy received tons of gifts this year, and if he could say "thank you" for each and every one of them, I'm sure he would. However, his vocabulary is still somewhat limited, so instead of verbally thanking everyone, he has shown his gratitude by taking apart all of his new toys and scattering the pieces around the house. I think the next five years of my life are going to be consumed with hunting down parts and reconstructing toys. Lots of bending in my future. Tons of bending.

He seems to enjoy the work bench we got him, although I suppose that should have been a given, considering it encourages hammer banging.

He also likes the bowling pin set my parents gave him- another given, since the goal is to toss a ball and knock shit down. Here's one more instance of the rampant bending that I predicted is in my future, though. Mommy- kisser of ouchies, provider of meals, wiper of doopas, and, of course, setter of pins.

He loves Rock Me Elmo, which sings and plays music. I was pretty impressed with Andy yesterday when he found other ways to play with Rock Me Elmo, including squeezing the Mr. Potatohead glasses on him and trying to cram plastic work bench pieces down his mouth.

Actually, there hasn't been a toy yet that Andy hasn't shown an interest in, which is nice. He's even played with some of the clothes. By throwing them. All over.

To me, this felt like Andy's first real Christmas. Last year, I'm not even sure if he could sit up yet. He had zero interest in what was going on and certainly couldn't partake in sharing Christmas dinner. He had a Christmas bottle and had to be wedged into his baby bumbo while I opened up his gifts. He had a lot less hair, too.

This year, his brown curls flopping like an ill-fitting wig, he ran around double-dipping his pita chips, tearing open his gifts, dancing with my mother's singing Halloween skeleton (she brought it because she knows Andy loves it but then was the first to demand that someone take it away from him), and babbling with words, half-words, and non-words. He laughed in delight, throwing only minor tantrums when overwhelmed and tired.

Oh, and I almost forgot about one of the best parts this year. The day after Christmas, Andy slept until almost eight a.m. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. It was a Christmas miracle. And I needed it, since I was recovering from a Christmas cold and in desperate need of sleeping in.

And, yes, to you non-parents, eight a.m. is sleeping in. And it's glorious. That toy, food, excitement, and attention hangover- that may have been the best gift I personally got this year. So, okay, a little spoiling of Andy is okay since it results in an overload that manifests into thirteen straight hours of sleep. But we must remember not to make it a habit, or to continue to put Andy on a level above Jesus. The reason for the season, indeed.

Andy, I love you.
Andy did make Mommy a Christmas gift at day care.  Here it is.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

One Down, Two to Go!

I am done with my first trimester and charging full speed ahead into my second. That's it- a third of this pregnancy is already over. According to the "What Kind Of Food Is Your Fetus If Your Fetus Were A Food?" website, the baby is the size of a peach. A juicy, farm stand fresh Georgia peach. This peach of mine is in the process of forming teeth and vocal cords. I find it incredible that all this magical forming and growing and whatnot is going on somewhere not too deep inside me while I sit here and do something as inane as pick at my cuticles or daydream about Bradley Cooper.

Wait, did you say something? Sorry, I was thinking about... cuticles.

Due Date
This first trimester has been so much different than my first trimester with Andy. The experience of previously giving birth to a textbook perfect, diaper-box adorable little boy has given me a more laid-back perspective this time around. Hey, I did it once, I can totally do it again. When I was pregnant with Andy, I was a mess. I am a worrier by nature, but my anxiety was through the roof. I stayed up at night replaying every thing I ate, touched, and breathed, calculating out the odds of whether or not my tomato soup may have caused a birth defect so profound that my child would be featured on the cover of "Weird Babies Monthly." Every twinge, ache, and flutter of movement had me running to the internet to double check that things were normal.

This time around? Half the time I forget I even am pregnant, and the other half I'm enjoying a cup of coffee with artificial creamer. My concern over whether or not I am able to produce a healthy baby is basically zero. Hopefully, this won't be some kind of ironic problem after I deliver a baby with no toes and thirteen fingers, because then I would probably go insane and need to be committed. However, the ultrasounds, blood tests, everything has been fine, and that has satisfied the usual level of worry.

This isn't to say that I am completely worry-free. My nervousness is more about what's going to happen AFTER the baby gets here- how Andy will adapt, if I can go back to getting zero sleep for a couple months, the financial aspect of it all, how I'm going to comb a baby's hair into pigtails if it happens to be a girl, et cetera, et cetera. But my worries about the actual pregnancy? Eh.

I've been more nauseous this time around. The nausea is gone by this point, but I was definitely more pukey this time than last time. Also, I am so much more fricking tired. It's unbelievable how tired I am. I work all day, come home and entertain a one year old, do my household chores, sleep for a bit, and then am awakened by Andy well before my alarm goes off. I am so very tired. There's no time for napping with Baby #2. In fact, I don't think I will ever be well-rested again. My tombstone will say: Here lies dearest Mommy Jackie./ She never slept and thus went wacky./ People thought that she smoked cracky.

I think I'm showing sooner this time, too, but that was to be expected. All of those gloriously tight stomach muscles that I took for granted in my youth have been all stretched out and wrecked. So much for washing my Cobalt while wearing a string bikini. Another dream, dead on arrival.

To think, I only have about six months left. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was peeing on a stick in the office bathroom. Oh, October.

Last Friday, I went for a standard, twelve week ultrasound. I remember seeing Andy at twelve weeks, and it totally freaked me out. At twelve weeks, it's most definitely a baby, with wiggling arms and legs and a freakishly cute little head. This time, I was not as freaked out, because I knew to expect something that was not so much a blob but actually a recognizable human. And, this time, I thought to myself, "Wow, this is incredible" instead of "Wow, this is incredible- and I'm totally going to throw up and pass out, but maybe not in that order."

You really do become kind of a pro at being pregnant, I suppose. Now excuse me while I unbutton my pants and let my belly hang out.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Andy Goes For A Swim!

Let me preface this blog entry by stating that if you are the parent of a toddler, you need to always know where they are, keep the bathroom door closed at all times, or, if for some reason you can't manage to do these first two items, at the very least, always put the toilet lid down.

Some of you may see where I'm going. That's called foreshadowing. Good writers use foreshadowing. However, great writers use misdirection, so perhaps you DON'T know where I'm going with this.

Nah. I'm a good writer, not a great writer.

Andy loves the toilet. He likes to stick his fist in the toilet water and splash happily around. Many days, he's walking around the house with a wet, drippy sleeve of toilet water. The toilet makes him happy, and he'll do whatever he can to get his hand in there- even if I'm already sitting on it, making good use of it. He's recently discovered throwing toilet paper in there, which is a deed I am cautiously encouraging. Yes, Andrew, toilet paper goes in the toilet. But ONLY toilet paper. And, you know, feces.

We have two bathrooms upstairs. One is Andy's bathroom, which is a hot mess of tub toys, non-tub toys, toiletries, clothes, used towels, and make-up (mine, not Andy's, although he's certainly mesmerized by it. Chris thinks the fact that he carries around powder brushes means he might be a painter. I don't have the heart to point out the obvious, that it might mean a future of garish face paint and wild cross-dressing.). Then there's also our bathroom, in our bedroom, which is also a disaster zone, only it's not quite as easy to blame Andy for. But we try.

I was using the toilet in Andy's bathroom on Saturday, or at least trying to, while Andy was attempting to shove his hand behind my butt and stick his fingers in the water. God, I hope I'm not the only mother with this problem. Chris had just woken up, and, having had enough, I yelled out for him to come get Andy. Which he did (I'm still on the toilet at this point, a further unnecessary glimpse into our home life). They left the bathroom, door closed behind them, and I relished being able to finish peeing. It was very relaxing, doing this alone. I only wished we also kept magazines in the mess of the bathroom.

When I exited the bathroom a few minutes later, it was very quiet. This, I may not have to tell you, is NEVER a good sign. Andy is only very quiet when he's sleeping, doing something hugely horrible, or passed out on the floor because he hit his head too hard against the wall. I knew I wasn't lucky enough to have a sleeping toddler on my heads at this time in the morning, so I headed into Chris' office hoping to find them both there. Only Chris was there, on his computer, completely in his own computing world, with no toddler in sight. Oh, God.

"Where's Andy?" I asked.

"I don't know," replied Chris, as if this was the first time he had considered such a question. I turned on my heels and headed into our bedroom. Nope, not there either. I made a sharp left into the master bath- and gasped.

Andy, sweet, quiet Andy with the blankest of stares on his cherubic little face, was sitting IN the toilet. He had managed to climb in and was just sitting there, the toilet seat a touch below chest level, with one of his arms resting atop the seat itself.

Believe it or not, my first instinct was not to laugh or take a picture. The first thing I did was imagine how this could have gone horribly wrong, how Andy could have splashed in head first instead of butt first. See, that's what happens when you become a mom- you perceive things that are HILARIOUS as things that are extremely dangerous. A little bit of your comedic intuition also comes out when you deliver that child.

I yelled for Chris, who came running in. We stared at Andy for a minute, who stared back at us, strangely content to be sitting in a toilet, in cool toilet water. Then, Chris hefted him out carefully, and I looked at what Andy had been sitting in besides just water. Because first he had thrown in some toilet paper. And a banana peel. And his blanket.

Andy got a bath, lost a blanket (that went directly into the trash), and a long lecture on how he's too big to be flush himself, so he might as well never try again. Chris got a lecture of sorts, too, and now has to deal with me yelling at him every morning, "Is the bathroom door closed? Is the toilet seat down?"

As if I don't already have plenty to yell about.

Oh, Andy. We should have taken a picture. But, please, I'm okay just living with the memories. No need to recreate that just so I can get a shot.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Andy's Going To Be A Big Brother!

Andy's going to be a big brother. He's a little boy, practically still a baby, and he's going to be somebody's big brother. He will be just shy of 2 years old when this new baby is born, which raises the question, what the hell was I thinking???? And considering Andy's two greatest interests are biting and hair pulling, I'm pretty sure he's going to be a shitty big brother. Maybe I'm wrong.

"We" (as if Chris gets to deal with the weight gain, hormones, sacrifice of wine, birthing process, and then the three solid weeks of wearing a maxi pad the size of a phone book) got pregnant on purpose, but at times it still feels like an accident. Here I am at just over 11 weeks, excited and happy to be pregnant, but also feeling pretty intense pangs of fear at times. I know I'm a pretty rock solid, awesome mother of one, but I feel like the transition of parenting one child to parenting two children is going to be trying. I am worried that I will not be able to meet the needs of my children as fully, since my time will be more divided. I am worried about whether or not I can potty train Andy before the new baby comes. I am afraid that Andy will not adjust well to sharing attention, and I can't help asking myself who's going to pay for the stuff the new baby is going to need? And where is he/she going to sleep? Is it wrong that I'm hoping for another boy baby so that they can share a room (did someone say bunk beds??!?!!) and I can re-use all of Andy's super cute monkey clothes?

And... end nervous, worried rant.

I don't want to send the wrong message here- I am seriously thrilled to be pregnant again. I just can't help but worry. It's like that old saying goes, "Don't happy, be worry." That being said, this was the plan from the beginning. I always wanted a family of four (two kids, two parents, zero pets) and to be done with child-bearing well before I reach 35. At this point, I'll be done before I hit 32, so once again, I am ahead of schedule. That's me in a nutshell, always early for things.

And, as far as the age difference, every time I panic about the kids being too close in age, I tell myself to stop. I know so many families that have kids even closer together, and somehow they all manage(d) swimmingly. And, a two year age difference is probably pretty ideal, when you get right down to it. They will be close enough in age where they will hopefully be buddies and interested in similar things, but still far enough apart where it's a healthy amount of time between pregnancies. And, I hope, Andy will be fairly independent at that point. We'll see, though. Kid loves to be held, snuggled, adored, etc. I'm fairly certain, though, that I can adore two children at once, unless they are taking turns flushing my jewelry down the toilet, in which case there's no adoring for anyone.

So that's it, that's my announcement along with a little neuroses just for fun. More entertaining blog posts to come.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Bye-bye baba.
The pediatrician warned that I had to get Andy completely off bottles by 18 months, otherwise he would grow up to be a lunatic with funky teeth. The pediatrician is very good at making blanket demands without any advice on how to get from point A to point B. When Andy, as a baby, refused to eat his cereals and purees (he basically didn't eat any solids until he was 9 months old), the doctor's wise advice was "Keep trying." As a new parent, this is not what I was looking to hear. Alas, Andy did eventually get the hang of eating, but I wish the doctor had said something like, "Have you tried cheese? This kid looks like he's going to love cheese. Take two tablespoons of Cheez Whiz and call us in the morning." Now that, that would have been some solid doctoring.

The doctor made the bottle proclamation at Andy's fifteen month appointment, when I admitted that he still had two bottles, one in the morning and one before bed time. Perhaps selfishly, I have delayed getting rid of these bottles because I love giving them to Andy, who loves his bottles equally as much. The morning bottle is amazing, because it buys us some cuddle time in which I can doze off for a few minutes. This is how the morning goes:

Andy screams in crib.
I wonder for a moment who's making all that noise.
Oh, right, I have a kid.
Get out of bed, go downstairs.
Pour milk into a bottle.
Screams are increasing in intensity.
Go upstairs, get Andy out of crib.
Screams stop.
Climb back into bed, where Andy settles against me and drinks bottle.
Cuddle with Andy and fall asleep for the best five minutes of the morning.
Get woken back up when Andy hits me in the face with empty bottle.

You can see how this has become a much-loved morning ritual. The day goes on, and there's much activity, cheese consumption, sock removal, et cetera, and then we end up in Andy's bedroom after a long day. He curls up in my lap, his head nestled against my chest, and drinks his bottle while I stare down adoringly at him. This is the quietest, sweetest part of the evening. And this is going to be the most difficult bottle to remove- for both of us.

Today, on a Monday, I took away Andy's morning bottle. It was awful, and I wanted to cry. I woke up before Andy and crept to the kitchen where I optimistically poured his morning milk into a sippy cup and unhooked a banana from a bunch, hoping that the site of his favorite herbaceous plant would make the experience less traumatic. Andy was stirring when I reached the second level, and I went into his bedroom and dialed my demeanor to "cheery." This may have been Andy's first clue that something was wrong.

I lifted Andy out of his crib for a cuddle. The poor bastard started looking around expectantly, and this is when I ceremoniously presented him with his milk cup. "Here's your milk!" I said brightly, as if this lame ass cup was exactly what Andy was looking for. Andy shook his head vehemently, and when I moved the cup closer to him, he shook his head even harder, pushed the cup away, and then looked up at me. Betrayal sparked in his dark eyes, and that's when I showed him the banana. "Look, Andy!" I exclaimed. "Should we have a banana? Isn't this your favorite herbaceous plant?"

Andy was not interested in the banana. I tried again to offer him some milk, and he shoved the cup away again. He looked up at me, imploringly, and inquired, "Baba?"

Shit. This was already going poorly.

"No baba today!" I announced happily. By this point, I was at maximum enthusiasm and feeling very unlike my normal, "glass half empty and filled with motor oil" self. My cheeks ached from the smiling, and I feared that I was permanently altering the shape of my head. "Today we're having the cup. You know the cup! You love the cup!"

Andy replied, "Baba."

"Okay, let's just change our diaper and get dressed!" I said joyously. I don't know why, but I refer to Andy's diaper as "our" diaper, as if I have equal stake in what he creates in there. We accomplished that task, just barely, and then I tried to hand Andy the cup again. "The cup is so freaking awesome!"

This is when the crying started.

For the next twenty minutes, Andy cried and screamed and clawed at me and repeated "baba" in a pained voice while I did my best to finish getting ready and make sure he understood that the cup and banana were still available for his enjoyment. He clung to my legs, demanded to be held, sobbed, and cried his sad cry, the cry that makes my very cells weep individually for my baby boy. I had tears forming in my eyes, too, and part of me was thinking, "Oh, God, just give him a bottle. What's the harm?" But, I suppose, part of being an okay parent is sticking to your guns, and so at long last, we got to the point in the morning where it was time for Andy to go to day care, and we got his coat and shoes on without the poor boy having had even one small sip of milk.

I am telling myself that he was probably fine the second he got to day care. And that tomorrow will be rough, too, but that by the end of this week, Andy may hopefully feel resigned to drinking his morning milk out of a cup, even if this resignation comes with the lingering sense that he's been wronged, and betrayed, by the person he thought he could depend on most in the world. Me.

Perhaps tomorrow I will try a different tactic. Maybe I'll turn down the happy demeanor a tad and act more like my regular, morning "life is worth living, but just barely" self. Maybe I'll offer Andy the cup while snuggling in my bed. There's a reason I didn't do that this morning- I don't want my bed smelling like sour milk after Andy refuses the cup and instead, vindictively, dumps it out onto my comforter. But, perhaps another part of being an okay parent is letting your bed smell like sour milk during the occasional transition week. We make so many sacrifices as parents. And, sometimes, we ask our children to sacrifice as well.

This is for your own good, Andy. I think.