Friday, July 27, 2012

All done!

Andy's been chatting up a storm lately.  He's very good at saying thank you, and says thank you all the time- even to himself. The other day, he came out of the bathroom after flushing the toilet (he doesn't use the toilet otherwise, except to flush) and said proudly, "Thank you, Andy!"  Chris looked at me, bewildered.  "Why did Andy just come out of the bathroom thanking himself?" he asked.

"He's thanking himself for doing such a good job flushing the toilet," I responded.  "Duh."

Andy thanks himself when he throws his sippy cup into the sink, when he fetches his shoes, and when he shares a toy.  He thanks me when I give him the kind of food that borders somewhere between processed and junk.  "Thank you, Mommy!" Andy exclaims when I give him a sugary raspberry cereal bar.  And if I don't reply right away, Andy will point frenetically down at his cereal bar and declare loudly, more forcefully, "THANK YOU MOMMY."

"You're welcome, Andy," I'll reply, and then he will commence turning his cereal bar into three million cereal bar crumbs.

We watched "Ice Age" a couple weeks ago.  That's the one where the woolly mammoth (or elephant, if you're Andy) takes care of the baby before returning him to his parents.  Andy had a lot of questions about why the "elephant" was watching the baby.  "Baby mommy?  Mommy baby?  Daddy baby?"  he kept asking, wanting to know where the baby's parents were.  "The elephant is taking good care of the baby for the mommy and daddy," I explained.  "Isn't that so nice?"  Andy stared thoughtfully at the television and then shouted, "Thank you, elephant!"  I was amazed that Andy knew to thank the "elephant" for taking care of that baby.  I also, instantly, felt better about the amount of television Andy's been watching lately.  Television is fostering Andy's manners.  Who says too much TV is bad?

The nurse at Andy's two year appointment last week had asked me, "How much television does Andy watch per day?"  I responded, shamefully, "Quite a bit, lately, since Alex has been born."  To which the nurse replied, "One hour a day?  Two?"  I muttered back, "Yeah, something like that."  Let's see, a feature film is about two hours.  Multiply that by three, throw in a couple of Yo Gabba Gabbas and Caillous.... Oh dear.  We're looking at double digits some days, I'm afraid.

But I have the ultimate excuse for that.  Thank you, newborn Alex!

Anyway, while I find Andy's thank yous to be rather adorable, Andy does have another phrase that I CANNOT STAND.  It is:

All done!

Worst two words ever.  Andy will take one look at a meal I've carefully prepared for him and declare "All done!" without even touching it.  He won't even give me the courtesy of pretending to eat some and then spitting it out into a napkin when I'm not looking, the little brat.  I'll implore, "Just have one bite, Andy."  And, as if I'm deaf and possibly retarded, Andy will repeat, louder, clearer, and more carefully:  "All. DONE."

"All done" unfortunately doesn't just apply to food.  Oh no, if that were the case, then maybe it would be just slightly more tolerable.  The "all done" basically applies to good behavior.  "All done," Andy will say the second he's done being good.  At the grocery store a week or two ago, I had Andy riding in the front part of the cart, the part that some clever, wonderful individual fashioned into a little red car, complete with a steering wheel.  He had been having fun in his shopping cart car for a little bit when abruptly, somewhere near the dairy section, he proclaimed, "All done," climbed out, and took off at a gallop towards a precariously arranged pyramid of yogurt.

I had Andy "cooking" the other day, compiling a snack of celery sticks, peanut butter, and raisins.  As I showed him how to arrange the raisins on the peanut butter coated celery stick, he looked up at me as if to say how lame the whole thing was and muttered, "All done" before launching himself off of his chair and strolling off towards the sleeping baby with two peanut butter coated hands.

Not having fun in the bath?  All done.  Not thrilled to be wearing pants?  All done.  Awaking from a deep sleep at three thirty in the morning?  All. Done.  All done is Andy's one stop shop for making my life twenty to thirty percent more frustrating.

The thing is, I taught him all done.  It's funny how these kids use your words against you.  "All done?" I'd ask, constantly, after every snack and meal had been completely finished.  And now I have my words thrown back in my face, a whipped cream topped pie of frustration.

At least Andy's not "all done" with Alex yet.  I keep waiting for Andy to glance over at the baby on one especially screamy morning and dismiss him with a loud "All done."  So far, so good- Andy seems to like his brother.  I think "love" would be too strong a word at this point, but I feel confident in a "like."  Andy gives Alex hugs and kisses without being prompted.  At first, I thought Andy was only doing it in front of me in order to elicit some mommy praise.  But, the other day, I left Alex on a blanket in the living room with Andy sitting next to him (the television blared "The Magic School Bus" series, thank you public library for stocking so many bus themed items), and slipped to the other room for a quick minute.  When I came back, Andy was bent over, hugging his little brother and giving him a kiss on the cheek.  Best moment ever.  Especially since, I realize, leaving an infant and a toddler alone together in a room could have gone one of two ways.  I'm thankful it went the good way.

And now to end this blog entry as Andy would:

All done.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Two Year Old and a Three Week Old!

Andy turned two on the day Alex turned three weeks.  We decided to celebrate this event with a trip to Pirate's Cove, a super tiny theme park specifically for kids ages one to nine. I tried to find a theme park specifically for kids ages three weeks and up, but when I googled that, the only thing that came up was a list of pediatricians, and, for some reason, a map of bars in Alabama.

The first ride Andy went on was the merry go round.  I think the pregnancy hormones may still be working their way out of my system, because I got all choked up and teary as the merry go round started up and my sweet little two year old clutched the pole of his pony and began his first solo trip on a merry go round.  The opening bars of "Sunrise, Sunset" began playing in my head, and I was thankful for my dark sunglasses, lest the other mothers label me some kind of unfit, weepy weirdo.  Suddenly, I just couldn't believe how big and grown up my little baby was.  Riding a merry go round!  By himself!  Jeez, imagine what a mess I'm going to be on the day of his high school graduation, his wedding, the first time I have to post bail for him. My baby! All grown up.

Andy rode the merry go round, two different trains, played for a few minutes in the bouncy house, had a melt down waiting in line for the paddle boats (during which time he tried to undress himself because he thought it was a swimming pool and not a paddle boat pool), and after much too short of a visit, we deemed it was time to leave.  Alex was sweating up a storm in his carrier, his perfect little newborn skin growing red from the heat.  The first of many times one will ruin the other's good time- or one will come down with a mild case of heat stroke due to poor planning on mine and Chris' part.  Who takes a newborn to an outdoor theme park on a ninety-plus degree day?  Weepy, unfit parents, that's who.

We headed over to the Choo-Choo restaurant for Andy's free birthday lunch.  Can I just say:  Never Again.  Sure, the restaurant is kind of cute, as long as you sit in one of the booths where the miniature train actually comes by with your food.  Sure, the hamburgers were okay.  But, really?  Is this the kind of thing that passes for entertainment these days?  Some too tiny, overheated diner where you have to wait in a very disorderly line nearly half an hour just so your food can be delivered out via a small, crappy train?  The place was packed to the gills with parents and kids, thus reaffirming my stance on how I feel about other people and their children.  I'll let you fill in the blanks on that one.

After the Choo-Choo, we got back in the car where Andy and Alex both screamed for attention.  Alex because he'd been stuck in his carrier for freaking ever and Andy because he'd seen a bus driving down the opposite side of the street and wanted us to follow it.  Bus.  BUS!  Just to break up the drive, we stopped at a playground where Andy ran free and Alex got his diaper changed behind a bunch of bushes.  "I'm sorry to expose you this way," I whispered to Alex as I tried to quickly cover up his penis before a passing stranger could get a good look at it.  "Changing a baby in a public park is so very uncivilized, I know."

The week before Andy turned two, we put him into his twin bed.  The twin bed is totally a girl's bed, which we tried to make more masculine with dinosaur bedding.  It's basically the bed of a confused, tomboyish little girl, but I guess Andy has yet to notice or complain about it.  The transition to his twin bed has been pretty good.  He's only fallen out once (any concussion suffered was too mild for us to notice), and he basically stays in it until the morning, until his ungodly wake up hour of five o'clock.  Chris and I put a gate at the entrance to his room.  The gate does nothing- for some reason, we can't get the pressure-mounted gate to stay up properly, so basically, when Andy wakes up and walks out of his room, he walks right through the gate as if it's not even there, knocking it down, stepping over it, and continuing on his way.  But, the gate and the booming noise it makes when it hits the ground at least alerts us that Andy's up and on the move, so in that respect, keeping the gate propped up in the doorway has been a resounding success.

Alex, on the other hand, sleeps in.  He wakes up to feed at about six but then easily falls back asleep until about eight or nine.  My new challenge- to get Andy to sleep in until eight or nine as well and to make my life just a tiny bit more manageable.  I'd like to accomplish this while keeping Andy at his current bed time of 7:27 pm.  If anyone knows how to get a two year to sleep thirteen hours straight, please let me know.  I NEED THIS.  I don't know if I'll survive otherwise.

Chris returns to work on Monday.  He's been home with us for three weeks.  I have no idea how I'm going to manage these two kids on my own, especially since the amount of sleep I'm getting is about to be reduced, since Chris has been nice enough to wake up with Andy in the morning and let Alex and me sleep until eight or nine.  I am hoping that Chris still wakes up with Andy and then just takes him to work with him.  Now that would be amazing.  If Chris were a good father, that's what he would do.

There's not a whole lot else to report on Alex.  He's still at that stage where he's mostly uninteresting.  I will say that he squeaks a lot.  He squeaks when he eats and when he sleeps.  He squeaks like a rubber ducky.  He's one squeaky little bastard, and it's just about the cutest thing in the world.  Actually, everything about Alex is the cutest thing in the world.  He's got a great head of hair, a sweet little face, beautiful hazel-ish eyes, and the kind of feet you just want to eat.  If you were into eating feet.  And I think most mothers are.

So I have a squeaky, adorable three week old and an all grown up two year old.  There are moments when I am holding my squeaky baby and my two year old is snuggled up against me when I feel like I have somehow won the lottery (the kind of lottery that pays out in love instead of cash) and everything is right with the world.  And then there are moments when I am bouncing my crying, squeaky three week old while my all grown up two year old clings to my leg demanding something bus-related when I think:  Oh crap.  Can I really do this on my own?  And still manage to eat, use the bathroom, and stay marginally sane?

I'll let you know.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Found Time To Write A Post!

The heat wave is set to expire tonight at seven.  It's been a rough week (or more?) of triple digit temperatures and/or heat indexes.  I can't wait to be able to throw the baby in the stroller, throw the Andy in the stroller, and be able to take a walk to the park.  Alex has not left the house enough.  Of course Andy didn't leave the house until he was four weeks old, but that's the difference between your first baby and your second.  You shelter your first baby and worry about everything.  Your second?  It's different.

Andy's bottles were washed and sterilized after every use. It was a time consuming process involving a product that plays upon every new mother's fears:  If your baby comes in contact with a single germ, he will implode.  Alex's bottles, however, are just washed.  No sterilization because this time around; it seems dumb and pointless.  So far, luckily, he has not imploded.

I woke Andy after four hours if he had not eaten.  With Alex, if he sleeps longer than the four hours, my first thought is "Sweet!" and I proceed to have a cup of coffee/ slice of cake/ salami sandwich in order to celebrate my good fortune of having a sleeping baby.  Who in their right mind wakes a sleeping baby?  A sleeping, almost nine pound, healthy baby?  A shmuck, that's who.  And I, sir, am no shmuck.

Chris and I documented Andy's feeding and diaper changes for a solid month.  Nine AM, wet, hot poop, followed by three ounces of formula.  Twelve pm, wet diaper, two and a half ounces, followed by an amazingly loud burp.  Etc.  Why, I don't know.  This time around, we halfheartedly started documenting Alex's diapers and feedings, but the list is literally one line.  Two-thirty, three ounces, BM.  That's it.  It's not like documenting feedings and poops will make the baby feed and poop better.  So, what's the point?  Our way of keeping track is, "Hey Chris, did you feed the baby yet?"  And, "Wow, that's one stinky diaper.  Your turn to change it, I'm busy trying to keep Andy out of the dryer."

It's sad, but I have not held Alex as much as I held Andy.  I held Andy non-stop.  I held him all day, while he napped and while he was awake.  I held him while I ate my dinner, I held him while I piled laundry into the washer.  I held him until my arms ached.  This is why the little booger is such a mama's boy.  With Alex- I WANT to hold him ALL DAY- but I can't.  You can't hold your newborn when you have an (almost) two year old.  I mean, you get your fair share of holding him- but it's really not enough.  It's not the same. And so your second born is a little more used to the swing, the bassinet, and Daddy.  Which is all fine and good and the way it has to be so that Andy gets his fair share of attention- but, man.  When you have your first baby, enjoy the holding.  It's not going to be the same with the second.

I think Andy has started getting used to the new life.  He has calmed down ever so slightly in the past two weeks since he has transitioned from day care to being at home.  It's a slight difference, but I've noticed.  He is totally fine with the baby, although I must admit that he has head-butted Alex once, kicked him in the head twice, scratched him once, and sat on his feet twice.  Whoops.  These were all accidents and not malicious and certainly nothing hard enough to damage my Alex permanently (I can only assume), but Andy, while he mostly understands the concept of gentle, is still a rambunctious toddler who just doesn't understand how truly fragile a newborn is.  He has what Chris politically correctly calls "retard strength."  He doesn't know how strong he is compared to Alex and doesn't always get it.

Andy meeting Alex was best described by what my friend Brian calls "the most emotionally underwhelming moment of (my) life."  It's so funny- I expected some big, memorable moment when Andy came charging into the hospital room the day Alex was born- but it wasn't really that memorable.  It was just Andy coming in to say hi to me and look, with a small amount of interest, at his little brother before moving on to explore the hospital room.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  A little half-curious, half distracted interest is better than a lot of angry, jealous interest.  I will always remember, though, when the nurse came in to prick Alex's heel to check his blood sugar- and the glare of anger and disapproval Andy gave her.  Someone was making Alex cry- and Andy was NOT happy about that.  "Not nice, nurse," I'm pretty sure he said.  Or at least that's what I'm sure he was thinking.

Anyway, Chris is still home with us until the end of next week.  I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with Alex and Andy all day once Chris returns to real life.  I think Alex is going to have to spend a lot of time in his carrier while I carve out park time, play time, field trip time for Andy.  And I have to figure out some fun crafts and activities for Andy to do at home.  Do you suppose Andy would like to make a wreath for Christmas?  Stain an old chair?  Needlepoint a pillow?  What kind of crafts are the kids doing these days?  I'm looking for something that involves minimal supervision on my part.

This post is kind of all over the place, much like life lately.  Our house is a disaster, our schedules are non-existent, and the baby is still working on distinguishing day from night.  Remember, Alex:  day rhymes with play.  Night rhymes with sleep tight.  Keep that in mind as we head into your third week of life, little man.

Little, adorable, wonderful man.