Thursday, January 31, 2008

I should really post more often...

Not sure if it's that we're so busy, what with all the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands and fretting over why our son DOES. NOT. SLEEP, or if it's a touch of the blues, what with all the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands and fretting over why our son DOES. NOT. SLEEP, but either way, this month has not been a banner month for me and mah blog.

Anyhoo, let's give you some updates, shall we?

At almost 21 months, Ethan is discovering more of the world around him every day. He is obsessed with being outside, which is not entirely convenient considering it's the dead of winter and 40 degrees on a good day. My New England blood has thinned out a bit since moving *south* and my former self would call me a big fat wuss. I agree, but I still don't want to go outside, mkay?

But you can find us, most afternoon, bundled up like the little kid in A Christmas Story, toodling down the road, stooping over to pick up rocks, stopping in our tracks to touch shrubs and squealing gleefully at trucks passing by.

Today we went to the open gym time at our local county recreation center (where we took our tiny time gym class in the fall) and Ethan's head nearly exploded at the sight of all the ride-on toys and deargodalltheBALLS!!!!! He spent an hour chasing after random soccer balls, each one more exciting than the last, and stealthily staking out the coolest riding toys, lying in wait until the kid currently enjoying it stepped away for a nano-second, then pouncing. Very proud of my little man, he has managed to learn how to assert himself in those situations without being a big old bully but without letting the bigger kids walk all over him.

Yes, there were a few little hissy fits. There are a few little hissy fits every day now, which I suppose is to be expected since he's on the same sleeping schedule as say, Britney Spears who reportedly hasn't slept in 96 hours or something insane like that (and can I say, much as I have a hard time finding sympathy for that girl, whoever is tracking her sleeping habits and is reporting them to the news media has stepped over all kinds of lines. Perhaps she can't sleep because you are in her face 24/7). But overall, Ethan's hour co-existing with about 40 other toddlers within the confines (albeit expansive confines) of a gymnasium, was a whopping success.

His vocabulary, thanks to a new found love of books, seems to be taking off on another explosion. He is starting to learn him ABCs, and he's pretty in love with A right now, with B coming in a close second. To him, the ABC songs sounds very much like A,B,B,B,B,B....
And thanks to a Staples' "That was easy" button that somehow wound up in our house (seriously, I have no idea where this shit comes from), Ethan now says, "That was easy", but of course has no idea what he's saying. He's also fond of saying "alligator" and "helicopter" although I think only I could actually identify the words as such.

Little man is closing in on the 20lb mark. Between our hospital stay for croup in early December and a follow-up visit with the pediatric pulmonary specialist, he had gained almost a whole pound; the first time he's jumped a pound in a month since he was 6 or 7 months old. At this rate, he may actually be 21 pounds by the time he hits 2 years.

Many apologies for the lack of any attempted wit or clear transitions or cohesive story. I am typing with one part of my mind while the other part prepares itself for the night ahead which I am sure, if it is like the past 4-5 nights, will include a child who is awake until midnight and who then tosses in his sleep until 6:30 am before deciding he's had enough of sleep and begins a new day as cranky as, well, a toddler on 6 hours of sleep...who refuses to nap. And I want another one of these?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Hit me with your best shot...

or, actually, on second thought---don't.

Yes, we've entered into this phase of toddlerhood. I was hoping for another couple of months of blissful "Our little boy isn't going to be a brutish bully; he's too sweet for all that aggression" denial, but on Tuesday of this past week, I got whalloped upside the head with a harsh dose of reality. Or was it my son's feet? And fists?

I've seen it coming, I guess, if I'm to be completely honest. Play group is becoming more about what's mine and what's yours than about oblivious babbling and easy distraction when someone takes a toy currently being played with by another. They learn that possession is 9/10 of ownership really freaking early, these little ones. That goes for physical objects as well as their space in the room. There has been lots of shoving and grabbing as of late and moms trying to make sense of this new dynamic without over or under reacting. Welcome to unchartered territory in a previously comfortable social realm!

It's hard to complain, though, because with this new-found sense of ownership also comes a higher awareness of one another that leads to hugs and kisses, not to mention gleeful tandem squealing and interpretative dance. Seriously cute stuff that rivals all other cuteness that has come before. But I digress...

So it should not have come as a surprise to me when, on Tuesday morning, all hell broke loose when Mr. NewlyFoundAutonomy decided he wasn't ready for a nap. Not being equipped with words like, "Please Mama, I'd rather take my nap later on, seeing as I'm not quite sleepy as I usually am at this hour," Ethan decided to convey this message by grabbing hold of the skin on my cheek and pinching until he broke blood vessels.

I think the first time a toddler strikes out at a parent is incredibly shocking. I mean, here he has been, up to this point, the sweetest of little guys. All besos and hugs, barely a tantrum thrown in there once a week for a matter of 20-30 seconds. It seems impossible that he has it in him to find that kind of aggression and take it out on the person who loves him most.

But there it was: kicks, smacks, pinches--he has an extensive repertoire, if I say so myself. Several times we attempted the nap and several times I found myself to be the punching bag of choice. My dismay at being kicked and pinched was met with giggles and glee from Mr. Ethan, which just rattled my cage all the more, of course. And considering the child has never witnessed violence, I think it goes a long way in speaking to the "lord of the flies" side of human nature. It's in there and somehow, we have to find another way to help him communicate so he doesn't learn to rely on that side of his nature.

Sadly, I am not proud of my own reaction. I wish I was an endless pit of patience and understanding. But I was pissed off. I understood, ever so briefly, why people shake their kids. I didn't, I wouldn't. I did walk away though and close the door rather dramatically behind me. And then I felt like shit because the noise scared him and he cried and I'm the adult for fuck's sake, I need to pull it together and go be a mother to this child, even if he's acting like a sociopath taking delight in lighting ants on fire on the sidewalk. He's my sociopath, damnit.

So I went in, shushed my crying toddler into a nap, then went downstairs and sobbed like a lunatic for 20 minutes.

Yesterday we went to Borders and picked up the book Hands Are Not for Hitting and we're going to make it a part of our daily book rotation. Hopefully the next time he goes to take a swing, we can deflect the blow with a rendition of "itsy bitsy spider" instead.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bad Blogger...

Yup, that's me. I am a bad phone call returner, a bad emailer and now, a bad blogger. Sigh. It's been a busy week in the 45 Degrees household. Shall I just give you a recap?

Saturday: sometime in the middle of Ethan's nap with Husband, I hatched the idea that his room HAD to be painted blue. For some reason it hit me like a pregnancy craving--it could not be denied. It was like a 2am NEED for chocolate cake in the second trimester. Unstoppable. So when Husband woke up from said nap, I presented this plan with a healthy mix of enthusiasm and "yes, I know I'm crazy, but don't look at me like that. You knew I was a loon when you married me, so really this is all your fault."

In all fairness, I think my need to paint the room came from a very authentic place. When Ethan's nursery was painted, it was my parents and Husband who did the work; I was sitting in bed, one room over, grateful but lamenting that people who weren't pregnant with the baby were doing all the nesting for me. I didn't really get a chance to decorate his nursery until he was already here and months old, and even then, it was hang a picture this day, get a rug that day. While it was gorgeous when it was done, I never got that sense of true accomplishment. And thanks to the housing market being the lovely pit of hell that it is, we are going to be here for awhile. This means that baby #2 is going to be bunking with mom and dad for the duration, as we only have the two bedrooms. That means no nursery to decorate for that little one, either. Therefore, I think it makes perfect sense, from a psychological standpoint, that I would feel a strong need to have the experience of painting my child's room for him. Right? That's what the psych degree I got at the bottom of that Cracker Jacks box said, anyway.

This brings us to mid-afternoon Saturday. Husband and I settle on "Hundred Acre Blue" from the Disney collection at Home Depot. I take color swatch and proceed to stand in line at the paint kiosk for....20 minutes. Just to drop off the order. Just to say, "One gallon of this please, in whatever finish is easiest to clean." That's it.

Best of all is that I got to stand in line in front of that lady. You know the one. The lady with the running commentary about the line and how slow it is. The woman who has lost all sense of internal monologue and appropriate social filters. "This is the line? Really? This?" I gave her a withering smile to show that, yes, this was indeed the line, and I was in fact equally disgusted by it but I wasn't going to engage her in "I hate this line" banter. Ten seconds pass, "You think they'd have more people working the counter, (heavy sigh)." I give an "mmmm" of agreement, hoping it's enough to satisfy her back into silence and so much that she thinks its an opening to start an actual conversation of the horror that is the line.

Long story short (hardly likely), I escaped crazy line lady, got the paint, rollers, plastic tarp, and edger for the room. By the time we got home, the shine was coming off of this plan, I have to admit.

Sunday morning: It's hard to move a bunch of furniture around a room that's roughly the size of my fingernail. But we did; bed to the middle of the room, chair onto the bed. Various toys and piles of this and that found their way into our bedroom (and are still there). Then I painted. The theme of Ethan's room is supposed to be a Hawaiian, tropical theme, hence the obsession with the blue walls--sage green and butter yellow don't exactly scream tropics, right?

Well, after several hours of dripping paint in my hair and grazing both the woodwork and the ceiling with blue paint, I decided that Ethan only needed THREE blue walls and that one of them could definitely stay yellow and still accomplish the tropical feel. I mean, you've got blue sky, blue ocean and yellow sun, no? Tres artistique! Meh, more like tres lazy, but shhhhhhh.

After my fit of self-expression, Husband decided to put together an IKEA storage unit for Ethan's room. Ethan tried to help out; he's really good with tiny screws and dowels. Oh, is that bad?

Anyway, here it is...a nursery retrospective and a look at the current room.

Pretty nursery...

cute baby...

Mommy, mommy, there's too much stuff in my room!!!

I *heart* IKEA

blue room, big boy's like a whole other world in there now...

Daddy, I'm going to pull the IKEA building instructions out of my ear....

What the hell are you people doing to my room? Seriously.

Would you like to hire me to paint something for you? No? Really? Why?

Sigh. That was just two days of this week. There was much more, but you know what? I'm beat. I'll leave you with this: the title for my next entry will be identical to the new book I bought for Ethan this week, Hands Are Not for Hitting....

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Proof that he's an evil genius...

It's come to our attention that our child, while we love him to no end, is in fact, an evil genius. Apparently it is his mission in life to drive Husband and me entirely out of our minds as quickly as he can so that he'll be free to get onto other business (you know, like taking over the world and various other hobbies).

I might have mentioned a few posts back that we are awesome and did a great job transitioning Ethan to his big boy bed. In fact, we had 7 nights of the best sleep we've had in at least twenty months. There were several consecutive nights of blissful, uninterrupted sleep that made us feel like entirely new people and had us patting ourselves on the back for a job well done.

Last Saturday night we went out to dinner with friends of ours and regaled them with the story of our independent little sleeping super-star. Words like "ready to sleep on his own!" and "doesn't need us in bed with him anymore!" were thrown casually across the table over steamed dumplings and bowls of edamame. We laughed and said thoughtlessly, "Oops! I hope we didn't just jinx ourselves! Ha Ha Ha."

Little did we know Evil Genius was listening quite closely. Here we were, thinking he was just throwing dumpling guts at Chloe and flirting with waitresses. Sneaky little multi-tasker was also taking some serious notes on how to fuck with Mom and Dad. Care to guess?

Yeah, we've not slept since last Saturday night. And you can see how spoiled I've already become by my week of "normal" sleep activity because of course we did sleep, but it was back to the routine of "I'll sleep for a couple hours then you'll come pat my bum, okay?" that we've been rocking for the past year. As one of us takes the nightly bum-patting duties now instead of both of us, there are nights when either Husband or myself can count on some delicious restorative snoozing. But it's not the same as knowing that there are going to be seemingly endless hours of dreamscapes for you from the hours of 11pm-7am. How's that for a big fat, "You think I'm ready to sleep alone and be all independent? Take that, suckers!"

And adding a fabulous dose of insult to injury, this week at Thursday's "love/beat the one you're with" play date, my friend and I were discussing our toddlers' night waking habits. When she mentioned that Lilly will stay awake for upwards of an hour at a time in the middle of the night, I, not yet realizing my evil Einstein was listening to each and every word out of my mouth, foolishly said that we were so lucky that at least all Ethan ever needed to get back to sleep was a quick pat on the tush and that he was usually out again in a matter of a minute or two.

Fast forward to Thursday night, 10pm. Ethan wakes for the first time that night. And stays awake. Until 1am. No crying, no fever, no sickness. Just awake. Just looking around, watching us watch him. Just to prove a point.

So it appears that he hears us and understands us. And loves to prove to us that we are indeed, still his bitches. Well played, little man. Well played.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Love (or beat up) the One You're With...

It snowed today and play group was canceled. No big deal, we live right down the street from Ethan's friend Lilly (the smoochy girl previously seen puckering up with our little Casanova). Lilly's mama and I decided to make our own little impromptu play group because, hey, we can always sit and chat happily for hours while our little cherubs play nice on the floor, taking little breaks to get in their hugs and kisses, right?

Except that today we didn't have quite as many hugs and kisses as we did shoves and smacks. It started out with a little *love tap* from Lilly when Ethan had the audacity to assume temporary ownership of the play kitchen. Understandable, as it is, in fact, HER play kitchen. Then there was one unfortunate little shove that resulted in Ethan's socks slipping on the floor and him finding himself flat on his back, stunned and, perhaps a little emasculated at having been taken out by a girl.

After that, Ethan, well, further emasculated himself by perfecting the time-honored girl fight maneuver known as the "windmill". Anytime Lilly came remotely close to him (unless they had specifically been asked to hug and make up), Ethan felt the need to defend himself with this super duper self-defense strategy.

The only time they weren't scuffling, it seems, is when, on a whim, Wendy and I put them into Lilly's crib together so they could oooh and ahhhh over the Fisher Price aquarium soother. Funny, this child of mine who screamed bloody murder every. single. time. I put him in his crib seemed to be perfectly happy in Lilly's crib. Perhaps I should suggest to Wendy that she take Ethan every night. You think she'd go for it?

Yeah, I didn't think so, either.

Anyway, we had lots of fun and hissy fits today at our little play date. They did hug and kiss before we said good bye, and Ethan chanted "I-ee" "I-ee" the whole way home which is his word for "Lilly", so I think he is none the worse for the wear having been beaten up by a girl.

Before our little play date we went outside and romped around in the snow (read: sleet). Here are some pictures...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

As If...

Earlier this evening, Ethan was busy on the floor playing with one of his funky chunky puzzles, when he had a "moment".

He stood up, walked over to me, took his pacifier out of his mouth, handed it to me and said, "All done."

I sat there, very still, holding the paci (and my breath), waiting for him to realize that he willingly relinquished his beloved talisman to me. He's never done this before. He has a kinship with this little nub of plastic that rivals the brotherhood of the round table. I have seen him, when it falls from his mouth, dive for it like he's trying to save it from a searing pit of lava, so fierce is his loyalty to it. Of course, little does he know that *it* has been about eleventy billion different pacifiers at this point.

So I waited. But there was no whining; no "what have I done?! Give me that thing back, woman!" He turned around, waved and said, "Bye, bye, Paci," and went back to his puzzle, and proceeded to play for the next half hour without it. I tucked the pacifier between the cushions of the couch and hoped, hoped, hoped that somehow that would actually be the end of it. I mean, the transition to the big boy bed went more smoothly than we could have ever hoped. Why not the pacifier, too?

Um. Not so much. After dinner, there was much whining and pouting until the paci was dug out from the couch cushions and securely back in place.

On a side note, Ethan was able to expand his blossoming vocabulary of unintentional obscenities while paci-less. Today on Noggin, there was a segment on Spanish colors, and Ethan beautifully mastered *rojo*, but his *azul* sounded like, well....asshole. And he really likes the color blue, so I got to hear it a LOT. Charming. Add that to his pronunciation of "socks", which actually starts with a *c*, not an *s*, and you have quite a growing collection of words that Mama never wants him to say in public. I only hope that he's not into Thomas the Train until he's able to annunciate clearly, because I do NOT want to hear what's going to come out of his mouth when he's talking about the train named Percy.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Where Have You Been?

You might ask. If you happen to check in daily, you notice that I've taken the week off. I didn't intend to. But I was busy peeing on sticks. You know, to see if I'm gestating.

I'm not. If my blog was complete with narrative sound effects, you'd be listening to a big drama-queen sigh right here.

In all my Fertile Myrtle cockiness, I was certain getting knocked up the second time would be as simple as it was first time. Husband looks at me sideways and poof! Fertilized.

Not so much this time.

But it couldn't be easy, could it? Couldn't just get my period like a normal person, like I have every 28 days since Ethan was 3 months old. Nope. I had to be late. For no reason. Those two days led to, I don't think it's much of an exaggeration to say it, OBSESSION with peeing on sticks. For a few days, I had a 3 a day habit going on there. Nada.

And I learned something about myself. I suck at peeing on sticks. There are apparently rules you have to follow--exact amounts of time that you should pee on the aforementioned stick. Anything over or under that precise amount of seconds (Mississippi-less seconds, mind you), will result in an invalid test. I had a couple invalid tests before I bothered to read the instructions, because's peeing on a freaking stick, people!!! How hard can it be?

Clearly, my pea-brain was taxed to it's maximum capacity, what with all the energy and time it spent fabricating pregnancy symptoms. Like implantation cramping. Yeah, okay, lunatic girl. And bloating. Because I don't bloat every.single.month or anything like that, right? And moodiness. Yes, that's right. I said moodiness. Clearly a symptom of pregnancy for me because if you know me at all, you know that I am the most emotionally even-keeled gal around. Um.....not.

So I spent a lot of time hopping from one foot to the other while I tried to open pee sticks. I spent a good amount of time in Target buying yet another pink package of sticks. I spent, apparently, not enough time time reading instructions, as is evidenced by the inordinate amount of time I spent staring at completely empty test and control windows, whining, "What the fuck???!!!" And then I spent a bit of time this morning pouting when the end all, be all of negative pregnancy tests, mah period, decided to finally get off her ass and show up.

Alas, I hope I got this whole obsessing thing out of my system. I wasn't like this with Ethan. I barely thought about symptoms until I was a few hours from testing and I didn't test until I was late. It was lovely to be so nonchalant about it. But I guess then I didn't realize what was ahead. I also didn't think then, like I know now, this is the last time.

This time I feel like I need to grasp for every last second of the experience. The next pregnancy test I see a positive sign from will, most likely, be the last positive pregnancy test I ever see. The first symptoms will, again most likely, be the last first symptoms I ever feel. I don't want to miss a second of it. I want to know as soon as possible so I can begin living this next pregnancy with a mindfulness I didn't think to possess during the first.

So I give myself about 25 days to chill the hell out. Then, much as I like to think I will be laid back and mellow a la October '05 about it all, I know I will poking at my boobs to see if they're sore and standing in line at Target with the first pink package of sticks for the month.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The One Where I Say...

Why the hell didn't we do that months ago???!!!

So last night went well. Let me remind you that we didn't end co-sleeping, we just put the family bed to rest (until such time as it is needed again, perhaps). Husband spent the night in Ethan's room and while Ethan did wake up a few times and need a quick cuddle back to bed, he slept in longer stretches than he has in our bed. So tonight is night #2 of Operation BBB. Unless I report otherwise, it is a go from here on out.

How did I do? Well. I won't lie. I did get close to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep and I'd be a complete fool to say it wasn't absolutely. blissful. I truly can't put into words how extravagant it feels to have that kind of time a.) alone & b.) asleep. And since Husband and I are on a 2-night rotation during this first phase of Operation BBB, I have another night of peaceful slumber ahead of me (aaaaand, now I will be up all night tossing and turning for sure).

BUT, I cried. Not big sobby wailing cries. But teary-eyed, wistful, "stare at the empty bed sprawling out around me, missing my baby" cries. It was harder than I thought it would be to have him in the other room, emotionally speaking. I wasn't worried (didn't even have a monitor with me) because Husband was in there--this gradual process is as much for us as it is for him. But I did go through a whole "sunrise/sunset" sort of nostalgia (God help his future wife; I am going to be a crazy woman at his wedding some day if I can't handle his transition to a big boy bed without shedding tears and humming Fiddler on the Roof tunes in my head).

So there it is. I am going to bed early tonight to horde my sleep because Sunday and Monday nights, I'm "on". I'm actually kind of looking forward to it....

Friday, January 04, 2008

The End of an Era...or, Big Boy Bed or Bust

Alas, last night marked the end of co-sleeping for us. From here on in, we entrench ourselves in Operation Big Boy Bed. I may have made some mention months and months ago that we had purchased a bed for Ethan. It's been there all this time, much as the crib was before it, collecting laundry, random crap thrown on it moments before company arrived, and the cats. Poor cats. They are losing the most luxurious cat-bed known to the feline world.

We opted to skip right over the teensy weensy toddler bed, as Ethan has been snoozing in a king sized bed for most of his life. Can you imagine the shock of downsizing to that extent? All I can see is him tossing and turning, back and forth, like Austin Powers in the power plant, on that tiny little cart, hitting the walls over and over again trying to straighten out. That sort of bumper collision could not equal a good night's sleep. I also envisioned a toddler bed leading to years of therapy for claustrophobia and who'd want to do that to their kid? (non-judgmental disclaimer: If you child is in a toddler bed, I am sure s/he will not need years of therapy because of it. Please don't say mean things to me.)

So we got a full-sized bed. Even if Husband were skinny as Beckham and I was a lithe as Posh, I don't think either of us want to cram ourselves into a twin sized bed with Sir Spreadsoutalot. And who are we kidding? Of COURSE one of us is going to be in there with him for at least the first few weeks (months...did I say that?) of the transition. And rather than spend eleventy billion dollars a year at a chiropractor, we decided to go with the full size bed so that both Ethan and the parent of choice can stretch at will throughout the night.

Tonight it begins. The sheets are washed, the pillows are fluffed (well, they're pretty flat, but at least "fluffed" sounds welcoming) and the Ugly-Doll and an assortment of his regular night-night books are awaiting him in the new bed. He is up there as I write this, with Husband, settling in to a new phase of his life.

If any of you out there are or have been co-sleepers and have words of wisdom on how to make this transition easier on us (me), feel free to chime in. That is, unless you're going to say that my baby should be in my bed until he wants to be in his own and that I'm badbadbad for banishing him to his own space --because then I will hyperventilate and have to call my insurance company to OK me for some therapy. And I don't want to go to therapy.

So please wish us well, internet. It could be a long night (week...month...year) ahead of us.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Cop-out Clip Entry...

but it's hard to complain when the clips are so freaking cute.

Ethan, last year this time...

Ethan, this, this time.

That's a whole lotta happy, my friends. Here's to another year of giggles and arm-flailing glee. Happy 2008!