Tuesday, September 29, 2009


This is how it usually works: after Bailey leaves, Xander's conversation gets a little more "sophisticated." For example, this evening after I gave him part of a chocolate chip scone for dessert, he said, "Cool!" He also cared for his drinking, wetting baby doll for a little while today. She had played with the dolls while she was here but usually Xander is indifferent to them.

He is learning so much. As always. I read a book of nursery rhymes to him today and tonight I hear him reciting parts of some of them. He's been pretty good at Hey, Diddle Diddle for a while, but now he's perfected it. I caught him saying part of a rhyme we hadn't read before today that goes:

Are you coming, Sir? No, Sir. Why, Sir? Because I've got a cold, Sir. Where did you get the cold, Sir? Up at the North Pole, Sir. What were you doing there, Sir? Catching polar bear, Sir. How many did you catch, Sir? One Sir, two Sir, three Sir.

Xander was doing the counting part with Sir after it. Kind of cute to hear.

Nursery rhymes are so nonsensical they're almost annoying to an adult, but kids sure like them. Nick was sitting on my lap today while I read them to Xander and he started talking back to me, smiling like I was making them up just for him. He even laughed, for real! They were just so funny to him.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Cousins and Best Friends

Xander has been asking lately, "Where's my Bailey?" and the answer, for the last two days, is here! Bailey and Xander play together almost perfectly. As perfectly as three-year-olds can. They've baked cakes in the backyard, pushed each other on swings, played dinosaurs and mythical beasts together, and taken baths. I even heard Bailey say this morning that she wanted to play princess and then she asked, "You want to play princess, Xander?" and Xander nodded and said, "Play!"

Unfortunately, it looks like Xander will get his cousin sick again. We all assumed it was allergies because he's had similar symptoms for about a month without acting sick. This afternoon he got a fever and told me he had a sore throat. Poor baby. Now he can't "pet Foster" like he wanted to. We are trying to keep him away from babies and baby toys but it's pretty much all up for Bailey. On top of all the playing and bathing they've been doing, and the fact that Bailey's been sleeping in Xander's bed, she also likes to kiss Xander.

Foster and Nick had their first playing session. We laid them both down on a blanket and Nick grabbed Foster by the collar. Later I held Nick over Foster's face and Foster loved that! Put a big old smile on his face. Nick thinks it's amusing, too, but he has some trouble concentrating on any one baby.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Xander Helps Mommy

I have to add another post today. Just now, Nick was fussing on a blanket on the floor. Xander said, "I like to help Nick," and put the teething edge of Nick's blanket into his mouth. He sat helping Nick keep the edge in his mouth for a minute. Xander said, "Don't worry." When it happened again, Xander took Nick's burp cloth, wiped his face, put the teether back in Nick's mouth, let Nick hold his finger, and said, "Don't worry. Gaba gaba dichaboo." It is so amazing to see Xander doing these nurturing behaviors. He's always liked Nick but sort of at a hand's length.

Xander says, "Mommy, he's feel better!"

A Few Little Challenges

Right now Xander is eating ants on a log for a snack. Ants on a log is something I had a lot when I was a kid: celery sticks filled with peanut butter with raisins stuck in the peanut butter. Last time I gave it to him, he picked out the raisins and ate them and swiped the peanut butter with his fingers and licked them. Today he just nonchalantly picked up the sticks and ate them. Woohoo! Another vegetable down his gullet. Although he dawdles and picks at his food, it's not a problem of being picky about the taste of food. When we "force" him to eat foods, he almost always says he likes them. Last week he ate meatloaf, boiled potatoes, and lettuce. He'll eat carrots, peas, green beans, lunch meat sandwiches, lasagna, pizza, pork chops, chicken, lettuce, kale, celery, and even meatloaf sandwiches. The only problem is getting him going. He will sit at the table for hours. Doesn't bother him. He'll eat food in bites so tiny you need a magnifying glass to look at what's on his fork. He'll also eat fast, with big bites, if you lay into him and threaten to take away his plate. This boy! He will do things so willingly and easily but he waits until you pull out all the stops.

For the last two days, I have told him to sit on the couch and stay there for naptime. We put on the Oceanic Collection books on CD that Aunt Pat gave him and he follows along in the ten books. The lights are dimmed, the blinds closed, the company is gone (Nick and I stay in his room to play if he's awake at this time), and it's just him and the audiobooks. If I play them through twice, it takes almost two hours. So far he doesn't fall asleep even if he's really tired, but he doesn't fall asleep for a lot of his naps no matter what I do. At least with this method he stays in one place, doesn't bother me, doesn't get into forbidden-at-naptime toys, and gets a chance to relax (without the TV). I'll have to borrow a whole bunch of books on CD at the library tonight.

Speaking of the library, he had Preschool Storytime today. While he was in there, I talked with the teen program coordinator about the volunteer work I'm going to be doing. Nick slept. Yay! Storytime usually lets out at 12:30. We were talking in the teen section at 12:15 when there was an announcement, "Would Xander's mom please come to garble, garble, garble." I said, "Uh-oh, that's never good. I wonder if he had an accident," and speed-walked with the stroller over to the storytime room. I was intercepted by someone who said Xander was in the kids' section. There were about four or five librarians hovering over him. He was holding his craft (an apple shape decorated with different colors of tissue paper) and a book that he presumably wanted to check out, so I realized that storytime was over and all the kids had already been let out and Xander's mommy wasn't there. I think Xander was doing okay. He had a normal-for-him earnest look on his face and told me, "I'm finding you, Mommy." But he was in the middle of several very solicitous library workers and I felt a little bit like a Bad Mommy. Poor lost boy with his cute little craft wandering around all by his lonesome--except for the librarian entourage I mentioned. The teen coordinator very nicely said I wasn't there because I was talking with him about the volunteer work. It's a small library. I actually didn't think it was a very big deal at all. If Xander reads this when he's older and tells me he was scarred by the experience, I will listen to him and apologize profusely.

Nick is still having trouble sleeping and waking early from naps. I really hope some teeth poke through soon so I can see if that was the reason for all this high-maintenance behavior. Yesterday I had to hold and rock him to sleep twice and let him hang out on my bed with me twice. I like doing it, but I don't want to create that habit. I am not a human rocking chair! On a more positive note, he had fun just now lying on his tummy in his bassinet looking at a mirror and then rolling over on his back to look at his mobile. He's still happy a lot during the day but not like his usual self. His usual self smiles, laughs, and coos almost constantly and doesn't cry out in discomfort like he's been doing lately.

He would rather stand up than anything else--he's always had that preference, but now it's ridiculous. If I put him in a baby chair or swing, he arches his back and scoots himself down until his head is where his little butt should be. Needless to say, this makes him unhappy. The only thing I can do is hold him or put him down on a blanket. I am in the market for an exersaucer! I know people used to say it was bad for babies to let them stand when they're so young, but there was pretty much no stopping Nick from doing it from the beginning. He's always done that baby stepping reflex, too. But either he hasn't lost the reflex at three and a half months or he's acquired the skill of stepping when someone's holding him upright. Watching him, it seems like he will just start walking away one day.

Every now and then I wonder if he will be one of those Toddling Terrors, the little ones who don't stop getting into things until they're asleep.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Warning: Poop in Post

There is no feeling better than the one I get when I'm dancing to a happy song with my baby. Today Nick and I danced to Volare by the Gypsy Kings. I remember feeling the exact same way when I used to dance with Baby Xander. Now he is too old and bored with it. All he did when I turned up the volume and started dancing with Nick was say, "Too loud."

Xander likes to talk about bodily functions. I praised him this morning for going to the toilet and flushing and washing his hands without any reminders from me, and he said, "I tried to poop. I tried really harder." I sympathized. He said, "I took a big poop." I acknowledged his feat. He said, "Sometimes, I take lots of poops."

Sometimes, he sure does.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Small Frog

This is an anecdote I got secondhand from Erik. It happened while Nick and I were at Quaker meeting this morning.

Erik and Xander were sitting on the couch. Erik farted. Twenty seconds later, Xander asked, "What was that? Do you hear that?" Erik said he didn't hear anything. "Sounds like a bird," said Xander. "Sounds like a frog." Erik (I imagine) laughed at this point and said, "That's probably because I farted. It sounds like a frog." Xander said, "Do you have a frog in your butt, Daddy?" Erik said (laughing harder, I imagine), "Yes. I have a frog in my butt." Xander said, "I have a small frog in my butt."

This is possibly funnier if you live with Xander and know that he is really into comparisons of things being small or big or tiny. Daddy is big, so he has a big frog. Xander is small compared to Daddy, so his is a small frog.

Did I just overexplain it? Sorry.

Nick and I had a good time at meeting. An hour of silence is really healing when you're the mother of two small children. I rocked Nick on my lap the whole time because he threatened at first to get upset, but instead he fell asleep. His eyes blinked open every time someone coughed, but for the most part he had a nice nap. Afterward, when we have a half hour of just sharing/chatting, he stood up on my lap and talked too. He was a big hit, of course. He's been to meeting twice and both times people commented on his "perfect" behavior. Yeah, I think he would be perfect all day long every day if he was rocked on someone's lap for the duration.

It was nice when one of the older people at the meeting, basically the anchor of the group, said, "The sound of the rain outside went well with the silence, and though I didn't hear any birds out there, the sound of birds chirping fits with the silence, and if a baby decides to chirp, that fits well with it too." As I type this, I realize the warmth of the statement was all in his delivery and his character. Not in the bare words.

And here I am typing up all this stuff about our family in bare words. But maybe those of you reading it will be able to hear me talking in your heads as you read.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Go, Gators!

We are sitting in the living room dressed in our orange and blue watching the Gators! Every Saturday is reserved for this activity until the season is over. The only exception is Nick. I forgot to dress him for the game this morning--he does have a bright blue Gators t-shirt, thanks to Nidia, that should fit him for a year or two--and he has finally fallen asleep for a nap. But Erik and Xander and I are excited to watch the Gators play the Volunteers, especially since the new Vols coach mouthed off about beating the Gators. We have successfully brainwashed Xander into yelling, "Go Gators!" and doing the Orange and Blue chant with only occasional lapses to the opposite color from the one he's supposed to be saying. He is also able to yell, "Tebow!" and, "Defense!" when he hears his daddy saying these things.

Erik finally agrees with me that Nick may be teething. We try everything else and he just seems to always be working his mouth.

There was just a Chik-fil-A cow up on our big screen as one of those superimposed ads they do these days and Xander spontaneously shouted, "Go Cow!" It was sweet. He knows he was funny but he doesn't know exactly why. From here on out I'm only going to be typing things about the game, so let me stop. Until next time.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Some Hopes and Dreams

Some of my hopes and dreams for Xander:

that he be able to read, write, observe, argue, appreciate, and reason well and easily
that he have an attitude of joy toward life and people
that he be fulfilled in life
that he share life with the right person and have a wonderful family of his own, if he chooses
that he take responsibility for his own actions
that he set goals and achieve them
that he be able to love
that he become involved in a sport or something similar that he can be passionate about, especially in the teenage years
and the selfish one: that he still love me when he's old enough to realize my faults

I will think about Nick for a day or so to see if I have the same hopes and dreams for him. Mostly likely I do, but sometimes different thoughts come to me because of their (already) differing personalities.

There are so many additional hopes I have for my children; if I took the time to think of them all and write them down, it might take months. Ah, here's another one already: that he relate to other people well and easily. This is a major talent of his right now, I just don't want him to grow out of it, or become too afraid or disillusioned to keep relating that way. I'm thinking of this because there was a teenage girl at the library the other night when I was doing volunteer duty who didn't seem to get social nuances at all. There was an adult with her who approached me wondering what books or authors I could recommend for her: she liked horror, James Patterson, and vampires. I recommended an author and went around looking for vampire books but couldn't find any in a short period of time. All communication went between me and the adult, although I tried to address the teenage girl as well. The girl occasionally said, "Huh?" and "Uh," and that was about it while both of us adults were trying to find books for her. A minute after I had given up, she came up to me and said, "Where's James Patterson?" It was so abrupt I didn't realize she was talking to me at first. I found the author for her and that was the end of that. I think she had some kind of problem, possibly even a disorder of some type. I'm not judging her, just thinking about the effect she had on me. It was not pleasant. I don't want my sons to be like that.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Xander loves the cheap little set of mythical beasts I gave him yesterday after he slept at naptime. He played with them all morning without stopping. He asked what the Roc was and when we told him the answer he said, "Nooooo," like we were joking around. He's got a point. From what he knows of rocks, this thing is not a rock. But I got out the book that came with the beasts and turned to the correct page and had him sound out the word R-o-c next to the picture of the Roc. He didn't argue with me after that. This reading thing comes in handy!

Nick was Grade-A #1 uber- charming last night while Erik and I were trying to put him to bed. He stood up on our laps (first Erik's, then mine) and made loud crowing sounds that may have been imitating the noises we were making at him. We just could not resist. He didn't go to bed until way past 10:00. He has this way of gathering up his strength, going from a crouching position to a full standing position, throwing out his arms, and proclaiming his loud noises. I guess it takes some effort. He looks like he's announcing a victory.

And now that I have a little extra time, I will go look for some accompanying photographs. The good recent ones are on Snapfish from my mom's account so all I could find was this picture of Nick which is over a month old. Maybe I'll do better next time.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Not All Rainbows and Kittens

Two days ago I decided Xander might be ready to play with his hand-me-down kitchen set of stove, sink, dishes, and food. (Jeff and Johanna, Mom and Dad, you would recognize this stuff--it's the Fisher-Price stove and sink.) He plays using his imagination so much more now. One day he pretended that I was Dora, he was Boots, Daddy was Diego, and Grandma Lucy was Swiper for quite a long time. (Nick was just Baby Nick, though.) Those are characters from a show called Dora the Explorer, by the way. Today during a macaroni and cheese snack, he speared macaroni on the tines of his fork and said, "Marshmallows!" He happily "roasted" and ate his "marshmallows." So I asked Xander if it would be fun to have a playhouse under his slide, and since that was a hesitant yes, I put all his pretend kitchen stuff in the bottom level of the fort portion of his playset. Yesterday and the day before he played outside by himself for about an hour--which was unheard of before the playhouse kitchen. I guess I'd rather have him run circles around himself out there for an hour to use up some of his energy, but I can't have everything.

I've been doing a preschool curriculum with Xander for an hour in the afternoons. The one I like has a weekly theme, and this week it's kittens. I can hardly believe how excited Xander is about kittens. He wants to read our library books about kittens every day, multiple times a day. He will never have one, though: if he ever gets Erik and me to agree to a pet, it won't be one we're both allergic to!

Today we went to Preschool Storytime. We go just about every other Wednesday because: a) Xander adores it and b) Nick does not do that great there. Hence the schedule of every other Wednesday. Xander gets to go in without me, just the other 3- to 5-year-olds and two librarians. The kids always come out bursting with happiness and pride (they do a craft at the end of the storytime and they're usually brandishing or wearing something). It's wonderful to see them looking like that.

Nick is wailing-fussy today. Not loud, just not comfortable. I really think it's teething, even if he doesn't pop out a tooth for another couple months. He drools all the time, has to have something in his mouth, when he doesn't have anything in his mouth sucks his lips, and has discomfort. We'll see, I guess.  When I go in to check on him during naptime or when I put him down for a nap, he smiles so hugely at me that it's almost impossible not to smile back. He wants to play and talk when he should be sleeping, so I try to keep a neutral face and tuck the pacifier back in. Do you know how hard it is to look at a smiling, cooing, and/or chuckling three-month-old baby and not sit and play with him? It is very, very hard. I think that kind of baby smile is the cutest thing I've ever seen, even considering videos of baby cheetahs being raised by mama orangutans and whatnot.

Footnote: I want to focus here on the fun, amazing, awe-inspiring, lovable things the kids do, because that's what I want them to know about later on. But in the interests of truth, I have to say that our moments are not all rainbows and kittens, and the kids can be dense and demanding when they feel circumstances call for it. Of course. Also in the interests of truth, I think I have to say that this morning I called out, "Xander, where are you?" a couple times and, getting no answer, said, "Xander, where the hell are you?" Immediately I felt that that was not acceptable, but I find that I do things that are unacceptable from time to time. I should remember that next time Xander does something I consider unacceptable. I really should. One more confession: A few minutes after that h-word episode, as I was trying to get Xander to focus on finishing a task instead of asking for five new things, I hurried out to the laundry room and said loudly, "Jesus Christ!" Hope nobody's too offended by that. I made sure to do it somewhat out of hearing and it made me feel ashamed, but better.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I want to mention that the idea to start this blog came partly from a suggestion by Aunt Pat a while back and partly from a post by one of those wonderful online moms who suggested a book in which you write down your thoughts and dreams for your children. And just a little bit from another wonderful online mom who kept her family's homeschool records and curricula in blog form.

First Post

This is an informal blog to be viewed only by people I choose. That will probably mean immediate family members and a few other relatives who request it. My goal is to write a short something about what Xander and Nick were up to each day, and only to spend about 15 minutes on it...which is the amount of time I can spare right now. I'm hoping it will be used by some family members to keep up with the boys' lives and, later, by the boys themselves to look back at what our lives were like at this period. And to learn how much I enjoyed them through all the little moments.

I won't be posting too many pictures. Well, who knows, but I'm just not good at doing that regularly.

Here are some examples of things I'll write about:

Nick and I just spent five minutes grrr-ing back and forth after I changed his diaper and then laughing at each other as this seems to be a hilarious activity.

A thing I learned today: I can't give away the two first newborn pajamas Xander wore. He was able to wear them for about two weeks tops before he grew out of them. I believe Nick fit into each one once. But as I typed up a list of baby things for a pregnant friend to choose from, I had to delete those two pajamas. Now I'll have to figure out something to do with them! They evoke strong memories of my entry into motherhood and I cannot let them go.

Xander learned how to sound out words and read the other day, and I can't put it in his baby book because that has gone missing since we moved. Let's see, it was Thursday last week because that was the day after I got the Leap Frog Letter Factory DVD and a Bob Book from the library. Xander has known the sounds of some letters for a few weeks now, but after watching the Letter Factory, he must have immediately gotten them all. I showed him the Bob Book and he pointed to the first four letters and made the sound for each of them. Mom and I got very excited and pointed to the first page. "M-a-t s-a-t," Xander said. (His book is all about Mat and Sam, mostly sitting.) I don't know the last time I was that excited. But I'm going to take this as slow as I'm capable of doing because now he will need to memorize sight words and learn about grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc., not to mention learning the alternate sounds of vowels and how vowels sound when they're next to each other. He's become more proficient in the first few books since that day, but we will soon hit snags due to the factors I just mentioned. But yayyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wish I could give Xander this hoky set of mythical monster creatures that I picked up at the grocery store the other day, but I can't. I told him he would get a treat toy if he stayed in bed for naptime and went to sleep. Uh, yeah. That's not happening. Not today.