Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Dawning of the Age of Aquarius

The world is preparing for a major shift in human culture.  Meanwhile, my house is undergoing its own transformation.  Last weekend the kids had their first fight with each other.  GirlFriend is almost 15 months now and LittleMan 3 years old.  I wish that I had caught the episode on film because it was the most precious thing.  How simple and silly it began; with an orange.  
So Mari was on the sofa, splitting the orange in triangles for LM when GF came like the Swiper and grabbed the little bowl with half an orange inside.  LM was not a fan and went running after her, "baby no!"  
He grabbed the bowl back and tried to tug it away from her while she held her ground and kept a firm grip.  I was in the laundry room washing diapers during this beginning fight, decidedly letting Mari handle it and not stepping in to regulate (see I'm trying to not be such a control freak).  So then Mari snatched the oranges away from both of them, and I hear screaming and crying on both ends.  When I finally venture out to see what is going on the kids are hysterically grasping towards the oranges, and it is not like there was not enough to share.  So I calmly said, 'ok the oranges are going in time out because they made you cry.  When you guys calm down we can have some oranges."
I put them on top of a shelf.  Oh that caused some unhappy campers.  LM was crying because I took his oranges away.  GF was crying because she thought that was the thing to do.  I sat down to be on their level and they both started climbing on me, competing for who could get more leg and shoulder real estate.  It was their first major fight.  I asked Mari to start video taping, but it calmed down before he could get the camera.  
There was even a point when they started to get a little physical.  This was also cute and I had to try hard to take it seriously.  They each were limply flapping their hands over the other's hand and whining,.  It looked like a gay men's cat fight.  I stopped it quickly.  But, some times when I see these behaviors that are absurd; but so raw, pure, and organic in the way that they surface - it fascinates me and I catch myself watching when I should be saying mommy things.  
So I guess that we hit our first major milestone in brother-sister relations this weekend. 

Something fishy and I can't put my finger on it

I never realized that I would feel so wounded thinking about my son's shortcomings.  All my life I have copped with my own insecurities by finding a unique niche.  I know I'm not the smartest or the coolest or the sweetest.  But I can be sparkley when others are shinny.  Like in college.  I know I am an awful essay writer, but my American Literature professor said that I wrote from the most unique perspective of anyone else in the class.  I guess it is a survival instinct.  
For the last three weeks I have been teaching a half day preschool class on Monday mornings.  I signed up for this because I wanted an opportunity to participate in LM's education.  I feel like I miss out on his life and development while I am at work.  I did not realize how tough it would be for me to see him in contrast to the other children.  He can be so withdrawn and reluctant to participate to the point of defiance.  He lacks the awareness and eloquence of the other kids.  Daycare has told me a couple times that he did not want to do circle time, or tutoring, and I used to dismiss these things as not stimulating enough for him, but now I am starting to get worried.  I am remembering that there used to be a time when he would sit down with me and draw or paint or play with Play-Dough.  But, now all he wants to do is play with trains, or cars, or jump off of things.  His comfort zone is narrowing.  Although his social regression is not evident at home, I see it now at daycare, birthday parties, preschool and the gym: he doesn't play with other kids anymore.  This Sunday I missed my weekly yoga class (my 'Reset' button for the week) because he did not want to go into the gym's Kid Zone.  It is a jungle gym play ground!  What kid would not want to go there!  He wanted to sit with me instead.  I just know that something must be going on with his little brain.  Something that he can't explain or does not feel comfortable talking about.
I am realizing that he is not progressing the way that he should be.  He used to learn things very quickly when he started daycare, and he was interested in one-on-one time.  But, now he runs away from anything that resembles instruction.  Like, we got these balsa wood airplanes and he was so excited about flying them.  I was trying to teach him how to wind the propeller: take one finger, like the number one, and spin it around the propeller.  Well, learning that was too much work and he just went to play with something else.  Then, I have been thinking about how he has been trying to learn to count for almost a year now, and he still says, "one, three, four, five." 
I was thinking that this was all just part of his personality and I shouldn't pressure him to learn at such a young age. That all kids are different and I should not compare.  But, now I really feel like he is having issues and I'm worried about him.  
I just wish that I could hug him and make it all better but that's not working.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Potty Trained Ain't all it's Cracked up to Be

After spending 3 years dreaming wistfully about the day that LM would stop using diapers, I have come to realize that a potty trained kid ain't all sunshine and rainbows.  Gone are the days when we could just throw him in the car and go.  Now, I have to think about when he last went and whether he can hold it until the next destination.  Sometimes there are messy accidents if he does not remember to make it to the potty.  Last Friday we were leaving to go to daycare about 20 minutes away and I knew that he had not taken a morning pee.  I told him that we were not leaving until he went potty, and he had a fit.  He refused to go and started screaming when Mari took him in the powder room.  He also refused to put on a diaper for the ride.  I started to leave without him because I did not want him to pee in my car.  Then I thought to suggest that he pee on a plant outside.  He thought this was a good compromise and agreed.  So I pulled down his pants and he peed on my lavender plant.  Win win because human urine is acidic and has yummy vitamins for growing plants.
The weekend was beautiful and we went to Rock Creek Park to bike ride.  During our outing he wanted to potty again, determined to pee into Rock Creek.  I wouldn't let him get close to the bank, but I let him let loose on some nearby plants.  Why not? It is socially acceptable for guys to whip it out when restrooms are out of range; and it is good for the plants.
So I thought that everything was cool with LM's new relationship with nature.  Until I saw him relieving himself on the deck of our friend's apartment during a children's birthday party.  Yeah, so apparently I didn't explain the appropriate places vs. the not appropriate places and so he just innocently concluded that the world was his potty!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Little Punk in Training

Tonight LM stripped off all his clothes totally by himself.  Oh I was so proud that he is so independent and has picked up the coordination to do that.  Then he ran around the house naked for an hour or so.  How nice that he is potty trained and I don't have to worry about him pooping on the floor anymore.  NA was not tired at bed time, not at all, and there was nothing else to do but let her play and blow off some steam.  I gave her a mini manicure and pedicure, and then moved on to LM.  He was busy climbing on chairs and dressers, but he did come over and sit still long enough to let me cut his toe nails and put some tea tree and lavender on them (there was skin flaking and I think he may have a fungus from being obsessed with wearing socks nonstop).  So while I'm tending to his feet he is all naked and playing with his Little Man part.  Then I see wet like water by his crotch and he cups some liquid in his hand and brings it up to his mouth and sips from it.  WTF?  did I just see that?  "LM what are you drinking?!  That better not be pee!  Take your hand away from your mouth!"  It sure looked like water, and there was a cup of water near by... but...?  I told Mari what I saw and he kind of chucked and was like, "sera que nosso filho a retardado?" or "is our kid r*t*rded?"  I don't know.  I'm going to pretend that I didn't see that and move on.
The kids were both completely off the wall tonight.  I don't get it.  All they had/wanted was Great Harvest Guinness and Gouda Bread for dinner.  Could it have been something in the bread?
We went to a hobby shop to get some balsa wood gliders for preschool next week.  LM was like a kid in a candy store and love it loved it loved it.  He would have slept there if that was allowed.  He had a bit of a breakdown when we left.  I swear that he cries 10x more than the baby does.  She almost never gets upset about anything.  Well, so he wanted to move into the store.  Even though we had a bag of some modest goodies to play with at home he didn't care, he wanted to stay in the store and look at the airplanes, helicopters, boats, and monster trucks.  I tried reasoning with him, but it was no use.  He was sad and cried in protest, but didn't quite hit tantrum mode.   Later, when i was tucking him in for bed, I asked him if he wanted to go back to the plane store and he sat up and walked right out of bed, "Yes!" like we were going to go right then and there.  It's cute that he is so into this stuff.

In other news I woke up three days ago feeling the urge to vomit.  That was scary to think that i might be pregnant.  I am sure that I am not ready for a big belly again.  I checked and my IUD is still there.  So I just don't think that it is possible.  The web says only a .6% chance.  So I thought it must be the Koren food that I ate the day before.  But I have been feeling ssssoooo tired lately and getting headaches after eating caffeine or drinking beer.  I guess that I need to take a test just to dispel the paranoia from my mind.  Man wouldn't that change things?  We would have to move out of town, there is no way we could afford another daycare bill!

Friday, March 12, 2010

an overprotective bro

Tonight the whole family is sleeping together in the bed.  It began with the two kids, snuggled up next to each other.  I love that they can get so comfortable with their sleeping spaces.  I remember that my brother an I used to share a room, and sometimes he would even come in bed with me and we would chat.  It is nice to remember that we used to share moments like that.  Now he is all grown up and big ARMY officer guy.  So Nala woke up in the middle of the night wanting to nurse - I had been night weening her but then she got a cough and wasn't eating much, so I reverted back to giving her nutrition via mama's milk.  She woke up and I fed her a bit, but then insisted that she stop and go back to sleep on her own.  She rested across my chest and fell asleep.  That rarely happens, and I relished it.  Kaio can sleep on top of me, but Nala always moves.  So with the time to soak in her closeness, I noticed that her energy is different than Kaio's.  She felt softer, and less obtrusive, like a lilypad resting on the water.  Kaio's energy is heavier and more enveloping, like blanket of fresh colored fall leaves, moist from morning dew.
They are both so precious, and Kaio aware of her.  At night he says "good night baby" and gives her a kiss on the forehead.  I'm not sure where he learned or how he decided the forehead was the spot, but he is very intentional about it.  He also is protective of her.  Daycare says that if kids are talking to her, he goes over and starts joining in the conversation "that's my baby, you can't talk to the baby like that."  On of the parents left the back gate a little open after picking up their kid and Nala seized the moment to escape.  Kaio saw her immediately and started saying "the baby's leaving the gate!"  Then a few mornings ago, Nala was awake and downstairs with her Monday nanny.  We were upstairs getting ready for work.  Kaio woke up and started saying "where'd the baby go?  mommy, where'd the baby go?"  We had to assure him that she was safe downstairs.  It was so cute.

Working Overtime Blues

Not happy about how much I have been working and preoccupied with work.  For the last 2 weeks I have been swamped, and also been unable to 'leave it at the office'; I am always thinking about work!  It is awful simply awful.  Today I had to explain to Nalini's daycare that the reason that I didn't bring milk for Nalini was because I was too busy to pump.  What kind of mother am I to be too busy to provide milk to my baby?!  It is bad enough that I have to give it to her through a machine instead of my breast.  I couldn't believe that I thought being too busy was a valid excuse.  They also told me that she cries at 5:30 when the parents start to come and puts on her jacket by herself and goes to wait by the door.  My little baby wants me.  I usually don't see he until 6:30 when Mari brings them home.  That only gives me an hour and a half of play time with them, and usually I have to spend it making dinner.
It is no life, and def not a good work life balance.  I am lobbying to get a work from home day to cut down on driving and prep for work time.   I really need to keep good on my New Year's resolution to do more yoga because it creates an opportunity to turn off the work noise for a bit.  That noise has been incessant for the last few weeks.  I never want to forget that my kids are much more important than my silly job, but it has been tough lately as I gain high-profile responsibilities and tasks.  Need to keep myself in check and not get carried away with it all.  Need to cut my hours down to 40 per week!

Monday, March 1, 2010

How to get laid when co-sleeping

Over at a friend's house on New Years it came out that Nalini was still sleeping in bed with us.  One of my girlfriends, who is also a mom, looked at Mari and I and said, "how does that work?"  Mari responded totally nonchalantly, "oh we just push her over to the side and that's that."  
I think that most mainstream people believe that co-sleeping ruins the intimacy in your relationship.  But I don't think that is the case for us.  We find all kinds of creative places to get it on while the kids are sleeping.  A couple lucky days we have even met up at home at lunch time for a quickie.  That is super romantic.  
I have found that after a few days of a dry spell I get cranky and irritable.  The biggest challenge is finding a night when I'm not completely exhausted!   But when we do it always pays off because we are extra playful and loving the next day.  
What I really don't get is how those parents with 10 children ever find time to procreate more!


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