Monday, August 20, 2012

So You Want Another Kid, Huh?

Take this quiz and then decide!
(this is all meant in fun!)

1) Has your current child begun sleeping through the night?
    -If you answered YES, then my vote is to wait on number two! Get that sleep, mama! Enjoy it now!
    -If you answered NO, eh, go ahead with number two. You're already living on two hours of sleep a night
      and a steady diet of caffeine and caffeine.

2) How many arms do you have?
    -If you answered TWO, then that's clearly not enough arms. Wait until you sprout a third and fourth...and
      then MAYBE you'll be ready.
    -If you answered TWO, then you've got this. You'd be surprised at the number of things you can do with
      one arm taking care of each child. Hell, before you know it you'll be nursing, making dinner, cleaning up 
      a bucket of dog food that your toddler just spilled on the floor, and talking to your best friend (and
      actually paying attention) all at the same time!

3) Essay Question: You're changing the baby's diaper. S/he projectile poops at the same time that the
    toddler learns how to scale the baby gate and chase the cat upstairs while holding a handful of toothpicks.
    WHAT DO YOU DO???? You have 1.5 seconds to answer this question.

4) You have company coming over in 30 minutes. You need a shower, the toddler is covered in peanut
     butter, the baby is screaming, your Mother In Law is calling you, and the dog just pooped in your
     shoe. List these in the order in which you would attend to them. You have 3 seconds.

5.) What's that? What's that? What's that? What's that? What's that? What's that?
     Well...what are those things?

6.) Final question: Do you have the cleverness to improvise elaborate photos, baby books, Christmas gifts
     for Grandma and Grandpa that DON'T look like they were thrown together in an effort to make sure
     you appear to have had enough time and interest in making sure things are somewhat "even" between the
     two kids? Because you KNOW you went to town on this stuff with your first.

So...what's your conclusion? Leave your answers in the comments if you wish!!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I Love You, Sweet Girl...But Sometimes You are Such a Blessing...

I am convinced that Charlotte is absolutely amazing. She is so much fun, so happy, so smart, super funny, and an all around awesome child to be with. And there are no "buts" to go along with that...except this one:

BUT, the combination of toddlerhood and pregnancy (especially when I apparently grow 9 lb babies) is totally kicking my ass. And I'm going to go ahead and toot my own horn here for a sec, though, and say that I have remained remarkably mobile and energetic up to this point in my pregnancy because I need to be. Charlotte needs me to be. And frankly, I have a lot of sh*t to get done in a day and this house aint gonna run itself.

Charlotte is my little koala bear :) And I absolutely wouldn't have it any other way...except when I have to pee and our bathroom is upstairs and she wants to hitch a ride. NOT hitching a ride is rarely an option...meltdown city, my friends. So I schlep an extra 50 pounds up the stairs (I'm not disclosing how much of that is Charlotte, and how much of that is my barn-sized behind). I'm actually still shocked that I haven't gone into premature labor because she loves her snuggles so much. And by snuggles, I mean demands to be held even more each day because I'm sure she senses there's a newb moving in on her turf soon.

Not exaggerating here, but I carried her in the ring sling for approximately 7 hours combined a couple of days ago. SEVEN. S-E-V-E-N hours. During swim class, grocery shopping, while making cupcakes, while doing my hair, during a promotion ceremony (oh, and during said promotion ceremony she started screaming, "BOOBIE!!" so sitting down to hold her went out the window...into the hall we went haha! Ah, such a blessing.), and during the pot luck that followed. But to be clear, none of this bothered me in the least. It's a good system and we were both happy. The REAL blessing was that when we got home and my aching back desperately needed a hot bath she decided she hated her father and she wanted to join me. Yay for me. What a blessing.

And she has blessed us in so many other ways this week as well. These blessings have included hucking her potty chair into the bath tub along with two rolls of toilet paper, dragging the cat up the stairs by her tail, and rocking Daddy in the eyeball with the corner of a pretty decent sized book at 6 am. Yes, we love her. But sometimes she is such a blessing.

In all seriousness, though, toddlerhood is coming on strong and is not easy. But these crazy things she does really are blessings because they are typical, and normal, and sometimes too damned ridiculous NOT to laugh at. We are blessed that she is confident enough to explore every aspect of her world. I am blessed because she knows that Mommy is home base and she can come to me for comfort any time of the day or night. I am blessed that she is doing everything a toddler should do. And just when it seems like my aching back can't take another lift, I am blessed that she runs to me to pick her up so that she can smother me with kisses (or bite me, depending on the mood) and remind me why the hardest jobs are the best jobs.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

December Part 2 and the Start of the New Year...

She learned what birds are recently, so it obviously turned into an obsession :)

She has morning hair now!

And Daddy buys her love with Oreos...

How we rang in the new year. The neighbors had to come tell us to quit being so awesome.

Ok, so not a picture of Charlotte, but I want to commemorate this day. Our hundred year old dishwasher was ripped from its home. I hated that thing. And I kicked it a few times when it was out. It felt good.

The world's tiniest pony tail :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Awesome Charlotte Moments...

* When I picked her up, she put her head on  my shoulder, her arms around me, and patted my back :)

* When she stopped throwing her food on the floor to let me know she's done, and instead handed me her spoon and said, "No more."

* When she holds her stuffed bears and snuggles them while saying, "Aaaawww..."

* She gave me a kiss this morning and said, "There you go!"

* She started telling Mischa "Good girl!"

Charlotte's "Yes" zone...

I'm very much NOT big on chasing my toddler around saying things like, "No no no!" "Don't dump that out!" "You can't eat the dog food!" "Let go of the kitty's neck!" "That's breakable, don't throw it!" and things of that nature. It's totally exhausting, and having to do it while visiting childless homes is enough to motivate me into making sure Charlotte has a Yes Zone.

"Yes! We can have a tea party!" "Yes! You can push your babies in your stroller!" "Yes! You can color on that paper with Color Wonder markers that don't leave marks on the walls!" "Yes! you can dump your toys all over the floor and I don't have to pick them up so the dog doesn't eat them!" "Yes! You can take all of your books off the bookshelf!" "Yes! We can pretend to eat your cupcakes!" "Yes! Yes! Have at it kid! Explore, have fun!" Because these are the things she does when there aren't super fascinating and dangerous distractions all over the place. She learns through play and doesn't have to hear what she's doing WRONG five billion times a day.

My reasons for creating this space for her aren't entirely selfish, but I do like that I don't have to get off the phone every two seconds to "correct" or "redirect". That is mentally and physically taxing for both of us. Instead, my time is spent engaging with her and praising her new discoveries, teaching her new words, listening to what she tries to tell me about her books or her babies, and being able to have a telephone conversation without wondering when (not if) she's going to swallow something she shouldn't, or put something in her nose.

So, I said "Bye bye!" to my dreams of having a livingroom that resembled one from HGTV, and said, "Hello!" to one that is functional...for a toddler :) My couches are not perfectly lined up with my windows, and yes, it looks sort of odd. But who gives? There's a giant gate between my livingroom and my kitchen and it's a total eye sore, but guess who's got pink jammies and isn't playing in the dog bowl?

I have fielded questions about whether having this arrangement at home will inhibit Charlotte's ability to develop healthy boundaries and understand what she can and cannot play with since, right now, she can pretty much play with whatever she wants. My answer to those questions is basically that she doesn't spend every second of her life in the house, in the Zone. She has plenty of opportunity to be up to no good ;) Although I generally try very hard not to put her in situations that will result in my telling her No a hundred times a minute. I don't particularly think it's reasonable to expect a child her age to hear a set of directions two or three times and retain that information/boundary forever. Kids need practice in order to really understand a concept. For example, if the dog food is out at a relative's house and she is playing in it, I will tell her that it's not for her and she can't play with it. I'll do this maybe three times and then put the food away. Later, the food will be out once again and we will run this drill again. There's no way I'm spending 45 minutes teaching her to stay out of the dog food the first time she discovers it's there. I will add, though, that I feel this way now because she is only 18 months old. As she gets older, my expectations for information retention will rise.

BUT even school age children can't always be expected to hear "No" or the like one time and miraculously "obey" 100% of the time from then on. Sometimes, we need to just cut our losses and remove them from the situation (or remove the situation from them) and move on, try again later before everyone is nutso. One example that comes to mind is when I was teaching my 4th graders and one of my students kept tapping his pencil while anyone else was talking. I told him to stop...he didn't. I had two choices 1) tell him again and again until it ticked me off that he wasn't listening to me or 2) silently walk over, gently take the pencil and move on. I chose #2, and the point was made all the same, and took about 4 seconds of my time and zero percent of my sanity. Also, he didn't have to endure a lecture or public reprimanding. And I don't believe that the boundary issue was missed. I believe the same thing when dealing with my toddler. If she goes for my glasses, I put her down. Point made: go for my glasses, and you don't get to sit in my lap. If she throws her food on the ground from her high chair, I say "All done." and take the tray off. Point made: if she throws her food, her food goes away. If she goes for the cat's throat, I show her how to be soft and give her another chance before putting the cat at a safe distance. Point made. Bada bing, bada boom. I also believe that discussions and explanations absolutely should be a part of redirection, but I'm not about to be long-winded about it just yet.

My point in this is simply that I'm not comfortable with my child living these months of her life being scolded. And frankly, arguments seriously stress me out.