Sunday, June 29, 2014

For Sale: One 3-yr-old boy, potty-trained, will wake you up at the crack of dawn.

Little man has been quite the character this week. Yesterday, Casey overheard me asking, "What have you done?" At 5:45 am, mind you.
This must be what a mogwai looks like before it turns to a gremlin. 

Our son has always been an early riser. It's never been an issue though, as at school they taught him really well not to get up without permission from nap time and that carried over to home. Even when we moved him out of his crib into a toddler bed, he wouldn't get up without permission. Now his bedroom is upstairs, and he generally will play in his bed or room until we get up and then he'll call down and ask to come downstairs.

Until this week. It was started with the thunderstorms Tuesday night. He didn't want to go to bed and instead wanted to sleep in our bed. Verboten. No babies in the bed. We already have one child sleeping in our bedroom (in a bassinet). At 1 or 2 am, he's calling loudly for Daddy. Casey ended up going up there and sleeping in the guest bedroom for reassurance. So, when he comes down AGAIN in the wee hours, I escort him back upstairs and point him down the hall. At 7 am, I peak in and he is head-to-head, sleeping next to Daddy. Aw, adorable. Not really. Ugh. 

The next night, at midnight, he's calling for Mommy. He knows he's not supposed to come downstairs. So, he says, "I need to go pee-pee." Man, he is too smart. That one phrase, no matter what, will cause any adult to drop everything and cater to him. And he knows it. Crap. So I take him to the potty, but he doesn't go. I escort him back upstairs. An hour later, he's back. "I need to go pee-pee." I escort him straight upstairs to pee. Again, nothing. At 5 am. At least he pees then. Now, the baby woke up at 11 and 4 to by this time (or well before this time) I'm fed up.

So, we get a clock that has a red and green light for his bedroom give him strict instructions not to come down until it turns green. The next morning, he comes down at 5. That light ain't green. "I need to go pee-pee." I escort him back, he pees, and tell him to wait for the light. But I watch him through the video monitor. He stacks up some mats and gets the clock, plays with it for a while, and put it back. After a while, I come out, and he's on the floor by our bedroom door, peaking through the crack. Ugh!!! We go back up there moments before the light is set it go, plug it back in, so he can see it works. Then, we come downstairs.

And what do I see? Paper towels, strung across the kitchen like Christmas lights. What have you done? Well, it appears that after stacking mats to get at his clock, playing with it and returning it, he ventured downstairs, spilled a glass of water on the table, pushed a chair over to the counter to get a paper towel but doesn't rip it off...just pulls and pulls and pulls, like his own little streamer across the kitchen.

As a mother, I appreciate his problem-solving skills and realize that his heart is in the right place, but HIS BUTT SHOULD STILL BE IN BED!!!

This morning, I knew it was coming. Even with a pillow over my head, I could hear him from his spot laying prone on the floor facing bedroom door, loudly singing "Twinkle, Twinkle." Again, I escort him upstairs and explain he needs to wait for the light. He can play, "read" but must stay upstairs. He actually fell back asleep and then finally came down after the light went green at 6:31. AM. On a Sunday.

If he does it again, I'm putting him on Ebay.
Whether he likes it or not. Doesn't he look just like Tyrion Lannister, aka Peter Dinklage, when he's mad?

 "Chopping" greens, like Mommy.

Reading the funnies.  Aw, sweet.

Want him?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Potty Training Sucks

This post is all about the little man. I have posted lots about baby girl recently, but he's really been center stage the last two weeks as I decided it was time to potty train. 

He needs to be out of diapers by August for preschool and to move up to the next class at church. Seeing that he's 3 yrs 2 months, and hasn't shown ANY interest in the potty, it was time to put a fire under him.  I was waiting and hoping that he'd show more than a passing interest in being clean. Nope. Or using the potty. Eh. Or wanting to wear underwear. Not yet. Or just potty train himself. Whatev'. Or maybe the teachers at school would do it at school for me. Not happening. 

Crap. I'm his mom. Can't pass this buck.   
We go and buy a truck. Specifically a car carrier truck. (And a baby potty and a potty seat and a stool and undies and books for kids and adults about potty training.) Ready, set, go.

Day One (of one million...argh!) Wednesday, June 4th.
Straight to underpants. My rational (and potty training book #1) is that it would help him be more aware of his needs. And it did. He did not like being wet. Me neither. Or the carpet and chairs being wet too.
Checking out the equipment. 

So, I hover around him, following him around with the baby potty, reading him books, playing with trucks, sitting on the potty for endless periods, or asking, urging and pleading with him to try to use the potty. I have M&M's ready to dole out for every attempt, which is the only reason he even bothers. Mostly, he just sits, toots and exclaims, "I did it!" No, baby, you didn't.

He has had four accidents, including one while sitting on the potty--peed straight onto the floor. After that, the commode was persona-non-Grata to him.  I eventually gave up and let him put a diaper back on when he asks. And, to put a cherry on it, he drives me batty begging for the car carrier, even though I explain that he gets it when he goes pee and poo in the potty. He ignores this and continues to whine and beg and even attempts to climb up and get it from on top of the fridge (and has an accident, meanwhile) until I hide it upstairs.

What.have.I.done?!? This is the black hole of parenting. There can be no escape. Child must be potty trained, so into the deep darkness we go.

Day 2-Thursday. We start the day by asking him if he wants to wear underwear, and he enthusiastically says yes, which was encouraging, and cute. No accidents all morning, but only  because he's holding it in. Four hours later, I give up, emotionally exhausted, and let him put the diaper back on. So, I read more toilet training books, websites. I post pitiful status updates on Facebook and a plea for prayer on Instagram. And since I only ever post pictures of my adorable kids or how fantastic a runner or cook I am, I must be desperate.

Day 3:  Friday. Casey gets him to pee outside in the backyard and into the urinal at the pool. Breakthrough!!! Much rejoicing. I quietly hope that Casey will take this over. He is obviously better at this than I am. He should be in charge.

Until I watch my child poop in the backyard. This has backfired, literally.  At least we have a pooper-scooper back there, but this is not a rabbit-hole that we want to fall down.

Day 4: I think the worst moment is when Casey and I look into the backyard, exactly one minute after he strenuously denied the need to go, to watch him squat and dump INTO his underpants.

Or maybe Saturday at the grocery store, when he has an accident, right as Giselle starts wailing, so I'm breastfeeding her in the car while Casey tries to clean him up. We manage to get the groceries home and eat Chinese food for dinner in defeat.

Day 5: Or maybe at church, after at least 3 different appeals to pee during the service, he lets loose in the crowded foyer after church. Casey uses every single napkin to wipe up the puddle on the floor.

Day 7: Indiana starts "Summer Camp" preschool two days a week. In the rush of the morning, Casey forgets to tell the teachers that he's potty training and in undies, so he had an accident,  and then he refuses his teacher's urging to use the potty and has another accident right as I'm picking him up. 

Day 9: The second day at school, they're better prepared, but he still refuses to go, "I can't!" so they leave him in his naptime pull-up. I don't blame them at all. Discussing it with his teacher, I hope to find company to my misery, but all the kids in his class are already potty trained except two that are partially potty trained. I do NOT like coming in last. Now I am completely determined that he will go in the potty.

Day 10: Friday, I hold him hostage in the bathroom while he screams "I can't!" trying to force his way out of of the room while I block the door with my body, begging him to try. It was ugly. I see him in therapy over this very moment later on, but I persist until I hear the baby crying. I fought the toddler, and the toddler won. He pees in the yard. I'm surprised the grass survives the onslaught. 

We ask his school to switch him from two days a week to four because Mommy can't handle the strain. (Did I mention I also have a newborn whom I nurse every 2.3 hours, including 3-5 times a night?!? Pity me, please.

Over the weekend, Casey mentions over dinner that we need to up the ante to get him to go in the potty. He's right. We start offering toys from a goodie bag that Nana Cindy brought to help with the potty training that I hadn't yet tried. He pees in the backyard into the baby potty,  but only because I shove the potty in the path of the stream. He gets a prize. Next time, he aims for the potty. OMG. OMG. This might work.

Day 12, Monday: It starts to work. Teachers discovers that little man prefers the urinal. He's game. No accidents. Another toy from the bag.

Even more exciting, he actually tells me he need to go while in the pool, so we rush to the bathroom. He balks when faced with the potty, but I tell him it's okay if he pees on the floor. (The floor is ALWAYS wet in there...I think they just hose it out but it never really dries...ick.) Anyway, he does it!!! He makes his offering the the porcelain god and doesn't spill a drop. And, he's the one that initiated. He's getting it. He's getting it!

He goes three full days with NO accidents, either at school or at home. With the prizes from Nana's goodie bag, he's going in the potty, mostly the baby potty outside, but inside a little. But still no poop in the potty.

On Day 1, 000,000. No, really, on Day 14. He poops in the baby potty (with some persistence and quick positioning from mommy). Twice. I'm calling it a win.It's been two week. We all need a win.
 Car carrier!!! 

He plays with it for a full hour. We dance. We sing. High fives, text messages to Daddy and Nana.

Day 15, no accidents. The pressure is off. We are getting there.

We're far from finished. Nap dryness and night time dryness are hurdles that we do not yet have to face. And I know there will be accidents. But we're getting it. We've passed through the black hole and come out alive on the other side. 
I'm so proud of you, Big Boy. And I would be proud of you if you went to prom in a Depends.

But don't you dare.

Sweet Giselle is 8 Weeks Old!

At her check-up Tuesday, she weighed 9 lbs 8.5 oz and measured 21.75 inches, so she's in the 20th and 25th percentile. Small, perhaps, but she's gained two and a half pounds and nearly two inches in six weeks, and that is pretty impressive. She's a good eater, for sure. Her check-up went great,  and even though she got three shots, she barely cried at all.

I just had to switch out her clothes from newborn to the 0-3 month range, which makes me a little sad to retire some of the darling outfits, but there are surely lots more darling outfit to come. :-) Dressing a baby girl is surely a lot more fun than boy's clothes. Indiana does have some pretty funny jammies, like a superman costume with a cape included, and he loves that.
Also, we officially moved her to her bedroom for the night. I asked the doctor if he thought that was a good idea, and he said it was fine. I remember that Indiana slept longer once he was in his room, so I thought it was time to try it. I fed her at 6 pm and had to rock her for a little while and put her down to sleep at 7. She slept for a good three hours, then I nursed her again at 10, 2 am and 5, which is pretty decent for her. But after 5, she started fussing, I eventually brought her back into our room, nursed her again, and eventually Casey got up with her and put her in the swing. I think Casey was able to get more rest, and I know in the long run, Gigi and I will too.
As I was putting her to sleep, I read some of my old blog posts of when Indiana was this age, and realized that I am WAY behind in blogging about my sweet little girl. I want to preserve these moments and memories, best I can.  I don't want to spend a lot of time comparing them, but the experience of caring for a newborn is certainly easier this time. It's probably a combination of more experienced parents and an easier-tempered baby. Not that she doesn't have fussy times, generally, she cries very little. Either she's hungry, cold or tired, and it's getting easier to anticipate those needs. Her hardest time to settle down is the afternoon/evening, but swaddled, in the swing, with a paci, she almost always will settle down and sleep. But Casey and I have definitely started to make a dent in the carpet next to the swing. Lots of e-book reading there and during nursing sessions.

She's also hit the rolling milestone a few month early.

To you, baby: Giselle, you are a stunner! I love you, so much. When you nurse or sleep in my arms, I love stroking your perfect, sweet little head and ticking your little neck. I love kissing the soft skin of your cheeks, your temples, your neck, your little round tummy. I LOVE the pouty little face you make when you're done nursing: you stretch with your arms up by your face, arch your back and puff out your cheeks and lips. Oh, it melts my heart! You are so cute! I love your big, blue eyes, so bright and aware, looking around already, taking in the world. I so look forward to watching you grown.
 Oh, the pouty lips!!

And, as a special gift to Mommy on this day that you reach 8 weeks, you did your first 5 hour stretch between feedings, from 7:30 pm to 12:30 am, with one paci trip and one other feeding before 6:30 am. Thank you, my sweet. But even in the middle of the night, longing for sleep, I treasure being with you. I love looking down at your sweet little face cuddled in my arms. Never again will you be this little. This vulnerable.  This is need of me. But I will always love you. Always treasure you. Always take care of you. Always be your mama.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Her Birth Story (a little late)

Giselle's birth was much shorter and easier than Indiana's, but there was a little drama the Sunday before she was born. It was Easter morning and I had gone running and when I got home, I thought my water might has broken, but wasn't sure, as running 9 months pregnant is not so gentle on the bladder and shrugged it off as we were getting ready for church. But during the service, I got more and more worried that my water might have broken. In ordinary circumstances, it would be no cause for worry, but I was strep B positive (a naturally occurring bacteria  that is harmless to the mother, but could cause serious problems for the baby) and needed IV antibiotics within a certain window of time if my water did break. So, I got more nervous and upset and eventually told Casey that we needed to leave. I really, really didn't want to have to go to the hospital for some reason but was scared not to, so I called my doctor's office and the doctor on call told me that I should go in, just in case. So, Casey packed some snacks and such for Indiana, and we went to the hospital. I was an emotional mess on arrival, worried that the baby might be in danger, but the nursing staff were very calm and seemed unconcerned. Two hours later, we checked out. Water not broken. False alarm. Feeling somewhat silly, but relieved, we stopped and got some Vietnamese food for lunch and went home. Indiana was a complete gem the whole time, and even gave the nurse a hug as we left.

That afternoon, I got super-sick, nauseous and throwing up. So, emotionally and physically exhausted, I called the lady who was going to be my long-term sub during my maternity leave, and told her to come in Monday. It was only a day earlier than scheduled, but I just couldn't handle the stress of being sick again or possibly going into labor at work. I felt guilty about it, but glad I did. I also called my doctor's office and asked to schedule an induction, rather than the regular appointment I had scheduled for Friday. Dr. Crochet was out of town for a week, but thankfully, called on Wednesday when she got back to do the induction for the next day. I was SO relieved. Indiana went to stay the night at my parent's house and we packed and prepared to go to the hospital the next day.

Around midnight, real contractions started. Unpleasant, but thankfully, I knew it was just a few hours. A bubble bath helped. :-) Around 4 or 5 am, I texted my mother-in-law, thinking that I might have to go to the hospital before the 8am time, but the contractions slowed down by the time Casey woke up. We went to breakfast at Bubba's, and after nice breakfast, we went to go have a baby.

Since we'd been to the hospital earlier in the week, the hospital felt less strange, and we settled in. Music, gatorade, Martha Stewart magazine, IV antibiotics, epidural, pitocin and lots of waiting. Around noon, Dr. Crochet came and broke my water. It was a little tough, as Giselle was positioned so low already, and when she was born, you could see a little x mark of scratches. :-( Quickly healed, of course. At one point, they had to turn down the pitocin, as my contractions were almost constant, and around 1:30 or 2:00 I felt like pushing
When the nurse checked me, she almost yelped and told me jokingly not to sneeze because the baby was nearly crowning. They got the doctor and all the equipment ready, position set. I got in two real pushes, but that was all I needed because we were all laughing by that point at Casey's hysterical facial expressions. He's normally so stoic, but the nurse, doctor and I were all laughing at him. "She was right there!"-He said. Dr. Crochet said that if I kept laughing, I might laugh her out, and I did, at 2:51 pm, on Thursday April 24, 2014. She weighed 6 lbs, 8 oz, measured 18.75 inches.
She was plenty vocal and as the nurse was wiping her off, the doctor said, laughing, that with that cry, she's a 9, maybe a 10 (Apgar score). Very healthy, robust little girl. :-)

Proud parents!
Her first nursing session went really well. She had a good latch and a strong suck right from the start, and never slowed down. ;-) I remember struggling to nurse Indiana at the hospital, having a hard time getting a good latch, keeping him awake, and he was a super-slow feeder at start. Not baby sister. I could feed her lying down even, which took several weeks for Indiana and I to get the hang of. Now, she had the benefit of the experience gained when Indiana was a baby, but I think she was just a better eater from the start. The first two weeks, I nursed her every two hours (or even more often) and she well surpassed her birth weight, gaining nearly a pound from her two-day appointment. Indiana, on the other hand, just barely gained enough.
 He obviously caught up, just fine, sneaking some of Mommy's mashed potatoes!
 He was super-sweet with her, and has been really gentle and careful with her. Now, he definitely made a strong bid for Mommy and Daddy's attention when we got home, which was tough on exhausted and hormonal Mommy, but we settled into a rhythm after the first couple of weeks.
Tired, but very happy, we brought our baby girl home.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Baby Gigi: 6 Weeks!

Little Giselle turned six weeks yesterday, and since I don't blog as much as I did back when Indiana was this age, I thought I should include pictures from the last month.

Six Weeks Old! 

We discovered that she loves swinging back and forth, rather than side-to-side. It's been a huge blessing. Often, she'll settle down by herself and get a good nap in it. This morning, she needed the swaddle, too. She was a little over-tired, I think, from a too bumpy ride in the jogging stroller. She's fairly tolerant of the jogging stroller, but she stays awake most of the time.

 First ride in the jogging stroller. A little over-kill in the bundling up, yes?

 Two and a half weeks, and smiling already! She is such a sweet, happy baby.

 Ah, relaxation!!!

 I love those pouty little cheeks!
 So kissable!! 3 weeks old, here.

 More sleepy grins!
 It's she just a beauty?!
 Wide awake for her 4 week photo.
 Napping with Mamie. So sweet.
 Tummy time selfie, 5 weeks.
 You can really see her filling out. Those darling little cheeks are getting just a little rounder.

Curious big brother! Indiana has been incredibly sweet about our new arrival. He is careful around her and wants to help when she's crying. Yesterday, she was crying in the car and he reached over and pulled on the little vibrating toy to try and calm her. Good kiddo.
Almost six weeks, bright and happy!

At six weeks, she's averaging 12 feedings a day, so about every two hours. At night, she'll usually sleep for a three hour stretch, then several 2 hour stretches. She sleeps in a bassinet right next to me, so I nurse her and she almost always go right back to sleep. During the day, she is really quite easy going. She has fussy times, mostly in the evening, but generally, she's happy. She is such a blessing. Love this little girl.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


My first trip to New Orleans was last year, Spring Break, with my sister-in-law, Aubrey. Ever since then, I've wanted to go back, and to show Casey this amazing city.  My wonderful mom-in-law, Cindy and her fantastic friend, Brenda, took care of our kiddos while Casey and I got some awesome quality time together. And ate our way through the city. It was a great little vacation. 
We flew Spirit, something Casey wanted to try after listening to a Planet Money podcast about it. It was cheap and easy.
 Initially, Casey was a little underwhelmed about NOLA, but he was excited about the 5th Circuit Court. Unfortunately, it wasn't in session...but just seeing it got three "Wow!"s from Casey which was really funny. #lawnerd

We were there Saturday afternoon through Tuesday morning, so we made the obligatory trip down Bourbon Street. That was definitely the lo-light of the trip. Trashy, in every way. But the rest of the trip was really nice.
 We stayed in a pretty little hotel in the Central Business District. It was a good home base, and a quiet place to relax after the craziness of Bourbon Street.
 We had breakfast, twice, at the Ruby Slipper. Huge biscuits and delicious French toast. Totally recommend. It was Casey's favorite meal of the trip. Any time I get to eat a biscuit the size of my face, I'm happy. ;)
 Sunday morning after breakfast, we road the St. Charles streetcar into the Garden District, which Casey thought was cool. Unfortunately, it's really slow and made us late for our walking tour. We almost missed it!

 Thankfully, we caught up with them and toured the Lafayette cemetery and the Garden District.
It was a little warm, but I loved the architecture and atmosphere, and of course, the history. Few places I've visited seem to have so many stories to tell. 
After the tour, we walked down Magazine street and had some very fresh fried oyster and shrimp po-boys.  Yum.
But, my favorite meal of the trip was dinner was at Luke's.
 Oh, the oysters. Casey, with our 1st two dozen oysters. So good...and only 50 cents an oyster!
 So we ordered another two dozen. New Orleans is not about restraint! Plus raw oysters were one of those things I couldn't have while pregnant, so I had some catching up to do. I had pate, too...another pregnant no-no. So enjoying NOT being pregnant anymore! I did have to pump semi-constantly, which was a definite drag, but a necessary evil.
My first bloody mary, with bacon vodka and bacon garnish. Nothing wrong with that! Jimmy J's also has, oddly, great oatmeal. A little something nutritious to balance out the booze, right?
 After that, Monday morning, we wandered around the quarter, doing a little shopping and sight-seeing.

 I posed for the same picture last trip. I was skinnier then :( But we'll get there. Happy to be back in NOLA, nonetheless.
 The last dinner was a fancy one, at Restaurant R'evolution. Don't ask about the apostrophe. No idea why. Casey had gumbo and bread pudding each night and french toast each morning. They definitely had the best gumbo of the trip.
 And delicious baked oysters. And dreamy peanut butter ice-cream. Yum.
 Afterward, we rolled ourselves across the street to listen to some jazz in the Music Legend's garden. It was fun.
 The last thing we did Tuesday morning was visit the National WWII museum. I mostly went because I figured Casey would like it...but I kinda loved it. The museum is entirely focused on the American perspective, which was a little disappointing at first, but it had such a wonderful mixture of deep, personal recollection of veterans, authentic items like uniforms, ration packs, etc and large scale exhibits that gave you a larger over-view of D-Day and the Pacific fronts. It was very thought-provoking, the amount of passion and genius and sacrifice of the war. It certainly made history come to life.
 And they had huge real planes...and you could get on this narrow, terrifying catwalk and look down at them. Cool, but scary.

By then, we were ready to come home to our cuties.

Love them.