Thursday, July 25, 2013

Iron Men!

I've gotten into the habit of giving Andy a PediaSure every day.  (Disclaimer:  This blog post was not sponsored by PediaSure, but if the PediaSure people are interested, it can be.  In fact, the whole blog is basically for sale.  I'd especially love a partnership with the Lexus people.)  I am forever convinced that my children are undernourished, which is most likely a ridiculous notion considering that, as a four month old, the doctor told me that Andy was somehow in the 105th percentile for weight, and Alex will basically eat anything in sight, including but not limited to the entire string family: string cheese, string beans, shoe strings, and string theory.  And I mean the whole theory, not just the questionable bits.

Does Iron Man get enough iron, man?
So, I became paranoid that Andy wasn't getting all of his vitamins, and I started buying PediaSure.  I gave him one every once in a while, on days when I felt like he'd barely eaten a thing or when I mentally calculated that there was no way he had gotten his daily recommended dose of iron.  For those of you who don't know this about me, I am obsessed with iron.  I have websites bookmarked on my computer explaining how to convert the USDA iron percentage listing on food labels into actual grams, and then how to convert those actual grams into the right percentage for toddlers since their needs are different than adults.  I told you, I am a real nutcase about it.  Iron is a very important mineral.  Without iron, motor function can be greatly impacted, and I need the brains of my kids to be in tip top shape at all times- otherwise, how else are they going to succeed as the greatest minds of their generation?  There's a whole slew of problems that occur with insignificant iron, and I am all over this requirement like a vitamin C rich food on a non-heme iron source.

Alex had his hemoglobin levels routinely tested at his one year appointment.  Normal levels are between 11 and 14.  What the unit is, I don't know. 11 and 14... kilometers, let's say.  Wait, that doesn't make any sense.  Anyway, normal levels are between 11 and 14, and Alex's level came back at 11.4.  This seemed like kind of a problem to me, and I asked the nurse, "Isn't that on the low side?"  She said it was fine and that it was in the right range and that I should just make sure he's eating his cereals and what not. I found this reply wholely unsatisfying, and I fretted for days over Alex's hemoglobin level before finally moving on to my next preoccupation, which was an insane diaper rash that Alex developed.  I'm talking red, raw, and miserable.  But at least it was something else to worry about- hooray!  Nonetheless, I push red meat and fortified cereal and eggs and raisins on this kid as if we're in the running for some iron-eating award.  Is there an award for this?  And ARE we in the running??

See, that's the good thing about Alex- he'll basically eat whatever I give him, even as I'm mentally calculating his iron percentages as I dole out half a cup of Chex.  But, Andy- Andy will take one look at a meal I've thoughtfully prepared for him and declare, "I don't like dinner."  Andy will say "I'm all done!"  as I'm walking his freshly prepared plate over from the stove (or microwave).  Andy will get upset if blueberries are on his plate, thus tainting the rest of his food.  Andy will cry if his grilled cheese is not cut correctly and will refuse to eat it.  Andy will gladly not eat breakfast unless I tell him that only kids who eat breakfast get to go to preschool.  Andy's iron intake levels are dangerously low (in my admittedly unprofessional, art school degree opinion).

Does PediaSure solve this problem?  Does it really fill in the holes in his diet?  After having a PediaSure offered to him at various points during a week, Andy began to really love the taste of it and would start demanding at random times.  It's become an almost daily habit at this point, and I feel like he's kind of back on baby formula- albeit, pricey baby formula with a chocolate flavor.  I've started to panic that maybe too much of it is somehow bad for him, or interfering with his regular diet of "no, I don't like this" and "all done."  I asked the nurse at his three year check-up a few weeks ago, and she was quick to reassure me.  "It's very nutritional!"  she exclaimed.  "One a day is perfectly fine!  In fact, sometimes we *prescribe* it!"

Which made me think that maybe PediaSure, while not a sponsor of this blog, is indeed a sponsor of my doctor's office.  But at least my worries were put to rest, and I was able to give Andy a PediaSure as a snack later that day with a mostly clear conscious.

Now, though, Alex watches as Andy revels in his chocolate drink.  Alex grunts and cries out for his own PediaSure, and Alex will seek out Andy's empty cup after Andy has finished his drink and basically lick the inner rim of it, trying just to get any taste he can.  The bottle clearly says that it is for ages two and up, though, so poor Alex is out of luck for another year.  But, oh, how fast a year goes.  Soon enough, both boys will likely be throwing a fit over my cooking and demanding their chocolate drinks as they watch Dora and Diego take a vacacione to Rio de Janeiro or whereever the heck it was that they found that shape train.  And soon enough, maybe that daily dose of PediaSure will put my fears to rest about Alex's kilometers of iron.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I think I need to spice this blog up a little.  Oh, sure, who doesn't get tired of reading about the mostly ordinary adventures of Andy and Alex and their crabby but happy mommy?  I have a pretty good thing going as it is, I know.  But maybe there's more that I can contribute to the blog-o-sphere.

Perhaps I can add some weekly features to the old blog.  Ideas so far:

Eating In Places Where You're Not Allowed To Eat.  Sometimes businesses don't want you to bring in snacks.  I'm looking at you, library and assorted play cafes.  But these kids have to eat, and Mommy's not paying a premium for crackers.  Travel along with us as I show you the best way to sneak cheese into places and where to find workable nooks and crannies for slyly snacking.

Other Children I Don't Like.  Is it so wrong to actively despise a two year old?  I didn't think so.  Every Wednesday, I will choose a brat that I just can't stand and defame him or her until my fingers hurt from typing so hard.

Crock Pot Recipe Failures.  Every family type blog needs a recipe section.  Mine will chronicle all of the well-meaning but downright disgusting slops and mucks that have emerged from the depths of my crock-pot.  I will include reviews from my children.  Alex threw up twice, I might add.  Andy declared it lucky (which is how it sounds when he says yucky). Andy has been in a lot of lucky gas station restrooms.  Some of them have been super lucky!

Why are there forty hot dogs in this crock pot?

Items That Alex Has Put On His Head.  This will be a photo only post of Alex tottering around the world inside a selection of hand-chosen buckets, boxes, baskets, bowls, and anything else that starts with the letter B and can be stuck onto his head.  This feature's subtitle will be called, "Damn, It's Dark In Here!"

Oops, I Craft My Pants.  Little kids love doing crafts- and the messier the better!  On Fridays of each week, I can do a write-up of the crafts that I have engaged Andy in each week, most of which include dollar store finger paint, some construction paper, way too much glue, and a decent amount of parental regret.

Google-Searches From A Paranoid Mom.  Who amongst you doesn't want to see my Google search history?!?  That's what I thought.  These are the things I've looked up in the past week alone:  One Year Old Under-Bite- Will They Have To Break His Jaw?;  Corn Starch Diaper Rash Myth;  Three Year Old Slurs LMNOP During Alphabet Song, Is That Normal?;  Brain Development If Toddlers Miss Naps;  Yellow Number 5 In My Foods;  Yellow Number 6 In My Foods;  What To Do If Toddler Hates Organic Mac and Cheese But REALLY Loves the Yellow Number 5 Version;  How Much Yellow Number 5 Can My Baby Safely Ingest?;  Odds of One Year Old Getting Brain Damaged From Three Year Old Hitting Him In Skull With Toy Mack Truck Repeatedly.

What other weekly features would you like to see on this blog?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Yankee Doo Doo!

I saw a book at the library yesterday-  "Your Three Year Old:  Friend or Enemy?"  This is by the author of other such classics as "Benadryl:  Ignore The Label and Go Ahead and Give It To Your Two Year Old" and "Toddlers:  Horrifically Charming or Charmingly Horrible?"  Anyway, I did not check this book out, partly because another mom of a three year old was checking it out, and besides, I already know the answer to the age old riddle of whether or not Andy is my friend or enemy.

He's neither.  He's my son, and it's perfectly normal for me to want to smother him with hugs and kisses one minute and a big heavy pillow the next.  With transitioning from two to three, I can already see that this next year will be in many ways amazing (wow, look at you learn these various semi-interesting tasks!) and in other ways infuriating (wow, I can't believe the blatant manipulation and conniving coming out of someone who doesn't even weigh 35 pounds.)

Andy turned three last Friday.  It was a perfect summer day filled with sunshine, moderate temperatures, amusement park rides, demands for cake, and then actual cake.  I feel like I should say that it's hard to believe that Andy is already three, but I do believe it, mostly because I feel like I've been telling people he's "almost three" for months now.  However, the difference between two and almost three and actually three is pretty huge. Andy has grown a lot this past year.

I think the biggest talent that Andy has fostered over the past year is his joke telling.  Admittedly, his jokes are poor and decidedly unfunny to the average adult, but I get where he's coming from, and he's at least demonstrating a sense of humor.  His best and most famous joke is "Yankee Doo Doo."  Apparently, the joke is that, instead of Yankee Doodle, he's saying Yankee Doo Doo, and doo doo is another term for poop.  Therefore, this is funny.  He has modified this joke over the past month or two, sometimes saying Yankee Doo Doo Bird, which is a combination of Yankee Doo Doo and Dodo Bird.  Then, another time he heard me telling Chris something funny that ended with me saying, "And then you kind of hate your life" (many of my funnier statements end with a declaration of just wanting to lay down and give up), and Andy latched onto that like Alex would latch on to a pickle.  So the joke became:  Yankee Doo Doo Bird hates his life!

And then, Andy is quick to command, "You have to laugh."

Andy also has a sense of when other people are telling jokes, and he is quick to laugh even if he doesn't understand.  It must be the cadence in voices that he tunes into, and he likes to laugh and remark, "You're just being silly!"  He also uses this phrase to write me off when I ask him to do something he's not interested in, such as cleaning up or taking a nap.  "You're just being silly, Mommy.  I want a cookie now."

My goal in the next twelve months of Andy being three is to try to have patience with him during difficult days and to embrace his joke telling nature instead.  I have tried to introduce him to knock knock jokes, but that was a stunning failure.  Although maybe if I mold the Yankee Doo Doo joke into that format (Yankee who?  Yankee Doo Doo!  Now laugh."), maybe I'd have more luck.

Speaking of jokes, Alex has his own silly thing that he's doing lately:  putting every bucket, basket, bowl, colander that he can find right onto his head and then walking around the house blindly, little giggles erupting from beneath said makeshift helmet.  He thinks it's the funniest thing, and between Yankee Doo Doo and Toddling Bowl Head, I really am living with two little pranksters.  It's a good thing Chris is so amazingly unfunny- I just don't know how much more laughter I can take around here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Mailman!

Because of Alex's blond hair, people often joke that he must be the mailman's baby.  I'd like to know where this myth of the lustful and indecent mailman first got started.  What neighborhood, with its surely poor and unreliable postal service, was gifted with the kind of mail delivery man that found all of that time during the work day to impregnate the lonely, bored, and somewhat sleazy housewives of suburbia?  How much better looking was this hunk of a mailman than, say, my mailman, who is just some lazy putz driving his dorky little mail car straight up to the curbside boxes?  Did this slutty mailman actively seduce a subdivision of stay-at home moms with free subscriptions to Cosmopolitan and the scoop on who was getting foreclosure notices mailed to them? And how did these women, these ladies of questionable morals, find the time between changing diapers, washing dishes, and applying band-aid after band-aid to mostly imaginary owwies to invite the mailman in for a romp?  I don't understand any part of this scenario, and if this all did or does actually happen- if the mailman does spend his days knocking up broads- then how much of this obscene activity is linked to the ever-rising cost of postage?  Or is this why the postal service doesn't want to deliver on Saturdays anymore?  Were Saturdays the Big Day for that original man whore of a mailman?  Or maybe, if there is some truth in the mailman making babies myth, that is why there are some days I get my mail around noon and yet other days when I don't get my mail until SIX.  Clearly, there must be some kind of a hold up.

Perhaps this would all be a good ad campaign for UPS.  Those UPS guys are always on the go- practically sprinting between their big brown, right-turn-only van and the doors of houses and businesses.  Those earnest fellows definitely don't have any time to be fooling around during the day.  UPS: We're much too efficient and schedule-oriented to sleep with your wife.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Doctor Andy!

Andy got a pretend doctor's kit, and now we play doctor.  Sometimes I am the doctor, Andy is the patient, and Alex is the incompetent nurse. Sometimes Andy is the doctor, I am the patient, Andy is also the nurse (he runs a real two-bit practice), and Alex plays the role of himself.  And sometimes, just sometimes, Andy starts as the doctor, forgets what we were doing, starts self-medicating halfway through his turn, and then has an argument with himself regarding how much the co-pay was supposed to be.

Playing doctor is some of the most fun we've had.  The doctor's kit comes with play scissors, for some reason, so every check-up include a hair cut.  "Now I cut your hair," says Dr. Andy, snipping recklessly at my ponytail.  When I am the Doctor (Dr. Mommy, MD), Andy reminds me, "Don't forget my hair cut!" The scissors have provided a further element of nuttiness to our play and will no doubt provide confusion when we go to Andy's three year old check-up in a couple weeks.  "You going to cut my hair now?"  Andy will ask the doctor.  "Just a little off the top, please."  And his medical record will forever reflect that he is unable to grasp separate roles in society.  Another ding on the charts for us.

Dr. Andy starts each appointment by wandering into our living room, the waiting room, carrying his little satchel of medical supplies.   "Mommy?" he calls out, and I raise my hand to show I am present.  "I am Dr. Andy, nice to meet you," he intones, shaking my hand.  "You want a check-up?"

"Yes," I say, "I'm here for my check-up."  Andy then proceeds to dump out his kit and sort through it on the carpet of the "waiting room." The first thing he likes to get out is the dropper for the medicine.

"You want some medicine?"  he asks, aiming the dropper at my mouth.  I only wish that my real doctor started each appointment by offering me drugs in the waiting room.  Andy does not wait for an answer and instead shoots the fake medicine right down my throat.  "Does your baby want medicine?"  he asks, giving Alex the same dose and not, I can't help but notice, adjusting for the difference in body weight.

"Okay, next we bang with the hammer," Dr. Andy says, getting out the little reflex hammer.  I have showed him that you are supposed to use the hammer to tap lightly on the knee.  Instead, Dr. Andy takes the hammer and starts whacking all over my legs, feet, stomach, and head.  It's a real beating, and I'm glad I got the medicine first to help dull the pain.  "Okay, now I hit your baby," Dr. Andy continues, and while I have given up on telling him not to hit, I am sure to remind him to *gently* hit my baby.

"Okay, now I listen to your heart."  Dr. Andy takes the stethoscope and puts the microphone part over my chest. "Lub dub lub dub," he murmurs to himself.  "Yes, very healthy."

The last part before the medical hair cut is the ear thermometer, which Andy uses first on himself. "Healthy," he mutters before sticking it right into my ear.  "Healthy, too."  Dr. Andy, I can't help but notice, does not wipe the nub of the ear thermometer off first.  Sanitary conditions are not a priority at the Dr. Andy medical practice.

"Okay, you come back when you want more check-up," Dr. Andy says when we are done, dismissing me.  "Take your baby, too, okay?"

Dr. Andy is a funny guy.  So is Restaurateur Andy, who works at the diner located in the same waiting room as Dr. Andy's practice.  "You want to eat?"  Restaurateur Andy asks when I sit down in his diner.

"Yes, I'd like some chicken nuggets, please," I order.

Restaurateur Andy has a real temper, though.  If I order something that he does not have in fake food form, he will furrow his brow and shout.  "No!" he yells.  "We don't have chicken nuggets!  You want pizza, okay?"

"Pizza's fine," I quickly reply.  "Please don't send Dr. Andy with his beating hammer."

Dr. Andy is now accepting new patients.  And no reservations are required at Andy's Restaurant.  So please come by for a check-up, a hair-cut, and a slice of sullenly prepared pizza.