Archive for the ‘ Development ’ Category

A Quick Lesson in Manners

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

This morning, I unwrap a granola bar before heading to daycare to drop Roy off. I usually refrain from doing this because he is obsessed with granola bars. He can hear the rustle of packaging from anywhere in the house, or from the front seat over the John Prine, and then all I hear is, “‘Nola bar? ‘Nola bar? ‘Nola bar?” I want him to eat breakfast at daycare, so I usually wait until he is out of earshot.

But right now, I’m super pregnant (still) and hungry, so I unwrapped that granola bar anyway. Immediately came the pleas of ‘nola bar?

Me: OK, Roy. You can have a little. But what’s that special word you say when you want things?

Roy: Silent and staring at me, clearly stumped.

Me: You know. The special word?

Roy, searching: Toys?

Me: Nope, not toys. I know you know the word. It’s puh… puh… puh…

Roy, triumphantly: Police car!

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Learning His ABCs & 123s

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

 

First thing on the mornings Roy goes to daycare, I lay him out on the changing table to get him out of his PJs and into his clothes. We usually chat about the day’s plan or where Daddy is (sleepin’? work? hammer?), but the other morning, Roy began enthusiastically droppin’ knowledge.

 

Roy: A, B, C!

Me: Wow, that’s great, hon! You know the first three letters of the alphabet! A, B and C. Good job! Do you know numbers, too?

Silence.

Me: Numbers. Like you learned at daycare. One…

Silence.

Me: Do you know what comes after one?

Roy, triumphantly: Goose!

 

SO close.

 

 

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From Reluctantly Breastfeeding to Relucantly Weaning, Part 1

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Initially, I was terrified of breastfeeding. Sure I’d read and heard plenty about how it was the healthiest choice for baby. And, let’s face it. The price is right. But even though I knew that it’s the reason they exist, I just couldn’t fathom attaching a human to my boobs at regular intervals throughout the day.

Then a friend who was breastfeeding her newborn came over for a visit, and while she rocked and nursed I asked two questions: How often, and how long? When she told me every couple of hours, for up to 45 minutes at a time, I was speechless. No. Way. That’s almost fifty percent of the day. I knew having a baby would necessitate huge life changes, but I did not anticipate it would require spending literally half of my life with my nipple in its mouth. Whoa.

But my gigundo belly proved I’d already signed up to join the club. And when it comes down to it, who am I to argue with nature? I was committed to giving it a go—for a while. I constantly asked medical professionals, in the doctor’s office or my social circle, how long am I supposed to do it? What’s the recommended minimum? The shortest time frame I got was three weeks. It became my goal. I would do it for three weeks and then give myself permission to stop.

I ended up nursing for a little over 18 months.

Roy was a skinny baby. Even at two weeks late, he weighed in at just over six-and-a-half pounds. So I was truly (and surprisingly) relieved when the little guy latched on well. At first, the pain was excruciating. Who knew that initially, breastfeeding feels like someone lit your nipples on fire?

But because I’m stubborn, and had committed to three weeks, there was no way pain would be the thing to stop me. The utilitarian nature of my breasts did freak me out, but in that newborn-baby haze, that was secondary to the monumental development of little thigh creases and the distinct beginnings of a third chin. I did that, I’d marvel. And so an addict was born.

Three weeks came and went. “Why stop right after working through the pain?” I reasoned. At six months, our family doctor’s recommended minimum, I was still going strong. (Though we began supplementing with formula so I did not have to constantly pump. I was never a big producer.)

I jonesed for “our time,” when I would do nothing but soak in Roy’s little feeding grunts, stroke his rabbit-fur hair and feel his baby fingers tickling my forearm. Still, I figured I’d stop at a year. Didn’t happen. We did get down to two sessions a day—first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. By then, baby #2 was on the way. I knew I’d have enough to deal with those first few weeks without adding “sibling breastfights” to the list. It was time to wean.

Roy didn’t seem at all upset when I phased out that first one, just jumping into our day rather than settling into nursing time. But the nighttime feeding—clearly that would be a different story. Each night, as Clint dressed him in his footie pajamas, he sobbed “Mama!” in raw anticipation for our time together.

The plan: Phase nursing out slowly in August, thus giving Roy five full months boob-free before watching his sister take up the habit. A few times a week, I would say goodnight at bathtime, and Clint would put him to bed. When it was my night, I wouldn’t offer to nurse, yet I wouldn’t refuse. We designated September as the backup month in which to truly get the job done, in the event August’s attempt didn’t take.

The night of Clint’s first shift, I almost backed out. He’s not ready, I reasoned. But when I tried to back up my claim, I drew a blank. That’s when I understood the truth. I was the one who wasn’t ready.

From Reluctantly Breastfeeding to Reluctantly Weaning to be continued…

(Read Part 2 of the story here)

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Discovering a Sense of Humor

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Mr. Raspberry Finger

I’m back! Man, I apologize for the sudden, drawn-out lapse. I came down with something that prohibited me from doing much of anything. Feeling better now, thanks.

Roy was such a trooper while I was sick. Clint would be fixing dinner for the two of them while I held down the couch, watching him play. Normally, he’d dash off to the other room, causing me to chase him, or beg to go ‘side? ‘side? ‘side? (Outside.) He clearly knew something was wrong, probably because he rarely sees me sitting still, let alone curled up on the couch. He played sweetly and quietly, coming up to show me a crane or offer me a book or give me one of his big, drooly open-mouthed kisses—the absolute best thing in the world, despite its potential grossness.

But the real treat, what made feeling like crap totally worth it, was that on more than a few occasions, the kid tried to cheer me up with humor. This is the first time that’s happened. At 17 months, it was probably the first time he was capable of it, really. Once, we were sitting at the dinner table, he and Clint eating, me resting my head on my arms. Roy looked at me with concern for a moment, then slowly inched his little pointer finger up his left nostril.

This is a new trick for him, the nose pick. I tried to do the right thing and tell him we don’t pick noses, especially at the dinner table, but it was just such an innocent little gesture, and I had so little energy, and c’mon. He was right on. Nose picking in certain situations can be pretty funny. I managed the reprimand, but it came out with a laugh. Which made him grin and jam his little finger up there further. This degenerated into about 5 minutes of me cry-laughing, “Roy, no! Doesn’t that hurt? Stop!” and him rotating nostrils and doing a little chair dance, laughing right along with me. If I was encouraging a future booger-picker, so be it. I’d deal with that on a day when I didn’t so badly need a laugh.

His cheer-up efforts did not stop there. Over the next few days, whenever he’d eke a laugh out of me, he’d ham it up to prolong that laugh as long as possible—his new favorite is purposefully mixing up titles, like calling me the dog’s name or his grandma a monkey. I’m a writer. That he’s found humor in word play thrills me to no end. But mostly, I love that he’s discovered the power of being able to change someone’s mood for the better. And that he really seems to like it.

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Taming toddler energy

Monday, June 6th, 2011

toddler in balloon hat

Roy’s activity level hit an all-time high over the weekend. Think: Energizer Bunny on crack. I miss the little snugglebuns who used to sit complacently on my hip. Now, in under a minute, the squirming starts, and then the pleas of, “Walk? Walk? Walk?” Though technically, he means run. Run like the wind, as fast as those chubby little toddler legs will take him.

Clint and I spent hours at a local festival chasing him. It was at a large, grassy park, and attendance was fairly sparse, so we didn’t worry about him disappearing or anything. It was only a matter of tag-teaming the chase in order to keep our energy levels up. One of us could talk with friends, listen to music, or just relax, while the other followed him around as he made a mad dash for the band’s electrical cords, then the feral black cat, then the crabby folks’ cooler. Why oh why does it always have to be the cooler that belongs to the crabby folks?

We had a good time at the festival, just in a very different way than we ever have before. I noticed that we’ve developed a few strategies to help keep the mood up and our sanity in tact.

1) Chase. If you perform the “I’m Gonna Get You” dance well, he won’t even notice you’re steering him away from that older kid’s super-pointy craft project, tempting him there on the grass.

2) Engage, kid-style. Improvise with what’s around you. Caterpillars? Rocks? Tree bark? All worth a shot. We were lucky enough to have a balloon-animal twister at our disposal, who bought us whole minutes.

3) Feed. We’d counted on more and varied available food. Mistake. We later vowed to always bring a selection of healthy snacks that, when eaten together, could stand in for dinner. All that running needs fuel, and without it come serious crabby-crashes. Bonus: No standing in line.

Then there’s always the option we’re employing more and more often: Leave him at home with a sitter. We did that Friday night (thanks, Mom!) and actually got to spend time in a place other than our home, standing relatively still and talking with each other.

That, thankfully, was the same kind of fun it’s always been.

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