Friday, October 30, 2009

Oh No

This is Sir Pants on the right.

On the left is Sir Reddy.

They are knights at the Castle Caraway.

The reason this matters is that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming in November. I have always done it since the year I found out about it in 2005. This year I said I was definitely not going to do it. Write 50,000 words in one month with a 5-month-old baby? No way. Well, there is still no way I will write 50,000 words in November, but I am going to participate. For 15 minutes a day in November, I am going to write stories about Sir Pants and Sir Reddy instead of stories about what Nick and Xander are doing. Xander can read the stories and maybe he will even like them.

Great-Grandma is visiting so Xander is happy as a cat in cream and so is Nick. Except for now, when he is crying from his bassinet because he wants to join the fun out here in the living room. All right, I'm coming.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Goodnight, Moon....I Said Good Night!

I am sitting with Xander for the first part of his rest time and it dawns on me how similar this room is to the room in Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Part of this is for a good reason: I adore the calm coziness of the room in that book and I've wanted to replicate it in Xander's room. But not all of it is practical (dollhouse, kittens, real fireplace) and not all of it is easy (the green and orange striped color scheme, the perpetual red balloon, kittens, a couple of nice clocks.) So I haven't copied the room for Xander.

But sitting here I realize that Xander does have a very large room like the one in Goodnight Moon. In place of the two large nursery rhyme framed pictures, he has a print of Christina's World and the animal mural Mom drew years ago (and dozens of paintings and drawings by Xander and Mom and Erik's contribution, the Tim Tebow and Florida Gators posters). In place of the dollhouse, he has a handmade school bus toybox. He has the bookcase of neat books, beloved stuffed animals, a bedside table, his own alarm clock. In place of the rocking chair he has a bean bag and Boppy pillow. For today, he has a knitting mom sitting there in place of the quiet knitting old lady (telling him hush). No bowl full of mush, comb, or brush. For reasons of cleanliness, those are in other rooms. A hamper in place of the drying rack with mittens and socks. Let's go ahead and say a nice ceiling fan in place of the fireplace. He even has an animal skin rug that matches the one in the book! It is temporarily hidden, though, because I discovered it's the perfect home for mites, dust, and other things not to be named here.

If only the little boy in this room matched the calm demeanor of that wonderful bookland room.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just Another Busy Day

Today Xander and I have golfed, played baseball, dressed him up as a gnome, gorgon, monster, and pirate, made a treasure chest for the pirate (a shoebox filled with beads, a headband, and kaleidoscopes), and conducted a treasure hunt for 10 pennies to put in the chest. Now he is quietly and happily listening to Frog and Toad and following along in all the books. Sweet Frog and Toad! They make Mommy very happy.

Nick had a nice few minutes on the porch while Xander and I did outdoor things. He's needing more and more stimulation during his wake times. Boy oh boy, does he love his thumb!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Things Not to Buy

Xander put on a long knitted "cape" which had been intended for a blanket (but I messed up on it and gave it to Xander) and I fastened it for him with a twist tie from a bread bag. He wanted to be, alternately, a superhero and a bat. When he was a superhero, he took the tube that holds his mythical creatures and waved it around for a weapon to fight monsters.

I've been reading about all kinds of wonderful toys and dramatic play props in the last few days that Xander would just love, like pirate dress-up props and fairy tale finger puppets and a book of heroes. Today I am smiling realizing that he doesn't need dress-up props or any of those other things. Besides, I found patterns to knit and crochet cute finger puppets and the book of heroes is available at our library. Hooray to nonconsumerism! (It's a challenge for me, especially when it comes to books and educational toys. Sometimes I have to ask myself, How many books do we need to own?!?!?)

I decided Nick is going to pop out four teeth all at one time. One day he will wake up with a bottom row of teeth and he will be all smiles and coos from then on. Yesterday I caught him gagging himself with his fingers THREE TIMES IN A ROW. It's a strange feeling to admonish your child not to hurt himself. We have to do it with both children. Nick has also been trying to put his entire fist in his mouth.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Look at these darlings!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Knights and A Castle

I can't resist posting some pictures of what Xander and I did this afternoon.

Hearing Things

I recorded audio of Nick babbling (and sneezing and laughing) today on my phone. When I played it back, he showed expressions, in this order, of: surprise, intense concentration, and excitement. Very fun times.

It got me thinking about uploading audio and/or video to this blog, but I don't really know how. I can't get that audio off my phone because, um, there is no way that I know of to get it on my computer. I could probably record video with iMovie and upload it to a post. Anyone done this before? I'm talking to you, Jeff and Rieko. And Erik.

Wow. Xander's asleep right now, I'm right next to him, and either he breathes like a ninja or he really does have sleep apnea--bad. I better listen more closely. Duty calls.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Movie Morning

Today we had Movie Morning. I pulled out the couch and put a sheet and blanket on it. Added some toys for Xander, a book for me, a glass of water, cell phone, and Kleenex on the coffee table, and put on Dora's Halloween. We pretended like the couch bed was a boat and rowed very fast along with Dora and Isa and Boots. Even Nick had fun practicing rolling uphill on it.

Now we are listening to Frog and Toad stories and following along in the books I got from the library last night.

Some days you just have to give up and pull out the couch bed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Party in the Castle

Xander is having fun decorating his wooden playset with chalk. This is called "making a party" in his "castle."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Going to the Doctor

Nick had his 4-month appointment today, and Xander came to get checked for allergies. Both now have prescriptions, poor weaklings. Just kidding. We have extremely healthy children, but I gave Xander my GIGANTIC tonsils and Erik and I both gave him seasonal allergies, and I'll pin Nick's reflux on Erik. Nick is not a giant like we suspected for a while. His weight is now evened out to 50th percentile although he is still about 95th in height. He acted the sweet baby for the doctor. He's always had fun at the doctor's so far and they love holding him for a little while longer than they have to.

Xander had a fear of getting his heartbeat checked, poor guy. From what I've been able to gather, I think he associates heartbeat with all my prenatal appointments where they slathered my belly with goop and used a sonogram or whatever that's called to listen to Baby Nick's heartbeat. He started to cry when the doctor wanted to check him but then she listened to his heartbeat over top of his shirt so that was perfectly fine. Maybe Xander just doesn't want to have a baby. Who can blame him?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Don't Forget to Remember

One thing I never want to forget is how Xander sometimes closes his eyes and shakes his head back and forth and says, "Mm mm mm," when he's eating.

I never want to forget Nick's wide-open toothless smile. He tilts his head back and opens his mouth as wide as it can go to show his delight. Today he laughed when I moved my head back and forth in time to the song Erik was singing. He laughed, too, when I put him on my shins and moved him up and down. He is a very happy appreciative baby, but his laugh more often than not comes out as an abrupt "Egh!" and it is adorable when he does a real baby giggle.

Today Xander stared open-mouthed at the TV instead of eating lunch because Erik had it on a crocodile special on PBS. Afterward I think he was a little excited. He ran back and forth across the living room moving his arms up and down as fast as he could and making cawing noises, saying, "I'm a bird, I'm an owl!" We could tell by the frowning intense look on his face that he was trying to go faster than his body would let him.

There are so many things I've told myself never to forget about Xander and right now I just can't remember any of the other things.

With Nick, it's just that he's growing up so fast. He can easily roll either direction, is eating solids now that he decided he likes sweet potatoes, can get out of his baby chairs if he wants to, and scoots a tiny bit. Sca-aa-aary.

P.S. I may have gotten the title of this post from my dad. It sounds like him.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


I've been using Brightly Beaming curricula with Xander and even Nick because they're fun and appropriate and free. Some of the books she recommends for the various themes are GREAT children's books that I wouldn't have found otherwise. Here's a quick list of children's books I LOVE for Nick's and Xander's ages.

Treasury of Mother Goose
Guess How Much I Love You
Dr. Seuss's ABCs
How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World
Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing
Goodnight Moon
Three Little Kittens (Paul Galdone)
Mama Cat Has Three Kittens
My First Words: An Educational Lift-A-Flap Book
My Very Own Name (customizable book in which animals spell out a child's full name--we have matching ones for Xander and Nick from my aunt--this is how Xander learned his full name)
and NEVER least, perhaps my very favorite, a book that works for tiny babies all the way up through 5-year-olds: Where the Wild Things Are

Yes, Xander wants to see the movie.

This is a very abbreviated list and I'm sure I will be coming up with new ones every week with our new themes.

A Teddy Bear Lover and a Baller

It is so cute and so wonderful to see Xander being delighted with stuffed bears. At his age, and with all the academic things we've been doing, it's easy to forget what a little child he still is. I borrowed Brown Bear & Friends (an audiobook by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, read by Gwyneth Paltrow) from the library. From the cover by itself, Xander has been looking forward to listening to it for a day. There's a picture of a brown bear, polar bear, panda bear, and baby bear on the cover. I had a lightbulb moment and went through his stuffed animals right before putting the CD on. We have a teddy bear, Winnie the Pooh bear, polar bear, and panda bear in his collection. He's sitting next to them on the couch listening to the stories. He said, "Mommy, I'm listening with the teddy bear." He just loves it. He can pick up the appropriate bear when it gets to the story about that bear.

Nick's rolling from front to back and from back to front! I know Xander didn't do that for a long time. Nick just wants to get around. Xander always loved jumping up and down and moving around a lot, but Nick seems to have purpose. Maybe he really will be a football player. Although as a protective mother, I'd really rather he didn't. Except that I'm such a believer in team sports. Ah well, just one of the thousand things I'm conflicted about. And not an issue right now. So let me give it a rest.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

To Nick and Xander on This Day

To Nick: I am watching you on a blanket watching me. I think you are trying very hard to crawl, but it could just be tries at rolling over. You do roll from front to back very well now. When I don't swaddle your legs, you like to sleep on your side. (Easy access to your thumb.) You seem to be doing things early, your daddy and I agree. When I hold you upright, I can feel very strong muscles all along your torso and your legs have been capable of holding your weight since birth. I don't know how much you weigh until we go to your 4-month appointment next week, but you can comfortably wear 6-month clothes and #2 diapers and you are somewhere between 25 and 26 inches long. I measured you a couple weeks ago but I forget what the exact number was. I'm sure I wrote it down somewhere. Just now I helped you roll back over from your back to your stomach. I guess you'll be doing that soon. A few days ago I put you on the laminate floor without any slippery pants, socks, or blanket underneath you and you scooted a little bit. You are trying solids once a day but not eating very much of them. Finally, you are napping and sleeping at night pretty well again. You are so cute with your wide-open eyes and dark brown hair with the spiral on the back of your head! Your daddy and I love you and we're having fun watching you go through your baby stages. Even when they're challenging.

To Xander: You are now sitting on the couch for the second hour of quiet time. You finished listening to your books on CD and now I've let you watch Finding Nemo for an hour. I am sorry about the yelling and locking the door and warnings and timeouts that we have to use to get you to sleep for nap and bedtime. You just don't want to be away from us in your own room. But you are cranky and not very healthy without your sleep. Maybe when Nick is older you two will want to share a room and then you won't be alone in your room anymore. And then you will probably want your privacy! I love you very much and I know I get frustrated easily while I'm trying to work through Nick's baby months, but I try to be nice and fun and let you know I love you at the same time. It is so much fun doing learning activities with you, listening to you play, and having conversations with you. You are a fun and smart three-and-a-half-year-old. Daddy and I love you so much.

P.S. Oh, Xander. I had to keep warning you and warning you about staying on the couch. I told you I would get you in 15 minutes after my shower so we could do learning activities and snack. I'm ready! Where are you? On the couch, sleeping.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My Enemy Anxiety

I don't know what to say. Xander has just come to me half-crying because he hurt himself...again. "Yes," we say, "don't do that, please." (His hurts come after he leaps to the ground from a chair or wrestles a pillow down to the hard ground or runs excitedly right into a wall.) His half-crying tends to wake Nick, who is doing the following: napping terribly, convincing me he's at the extreme edge of hunger, eating every two hours, and then spitting up to show me he didn't need the feeding after all.

Like any mom (I think?), I have moments when I feel like screaming. Let me be more honest here. I have minutes at a time when I feel like screaming, and they recur throughout a day. But most of it isn't the little ones' faults. I want to be the best I can be for them, and the number one obstacle to that right now is anxiety. It comes from my need to control things so I can protect my kids from harm, but I don't want to be that person to Nick, Xander, and sometimes especially, Erik. This anxiety begins at sickness and swine flu, but where it ends is up to me. There is no limit to the amount of anxious I could be.

The most helpful thoughts I had yesterday went like this: What is the worst thing that could happen? What is it that I fear so much and so terribly? The answer is, that one of my children would die. But if I think rationally about it, the fact is that they will both die at some point. Every human being dies at some point. So, while I have an extreme and anxious preference that they not die, that does not mean I will get what I want. In fact, I will certainly not get what I want.

If Xander and Nick eventually read this, I want you to know what I am trying not to be, and to apologize because I know sometimes I will let anxiety get the better of me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

What I Want to Teach My Children

-finding joy and love in life
-discipline/work ethic
-thinking of others as much as oneself
-committing to things they choose to be involved in/giving 100%
-continuing to learn all their lives

This list does not necessarily include Erik's goals for them, although I bet I can guess a few he would name: self-reliance, love of life, critical thinking...

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I just listened to Nick cry for about fifteen, twenty minutes when he woke up early from a nap. It's so hard to do. It's physically uncomfortable. I've been trying giving him his pacifier and if that doesn't work, moving him to his swing to nap some more there, but now he doesn't hold on to the pacifier if he's agitated and he doesn't like the swing much anymore. He's too big anyway; it won't swing him! He's started getting up from every nap early and waking every few hours at night. He doesn't need the feeding anymore and I can tell because he eats lazily at those times. So last night Erik helped me out and gave him his pacifier when he started crying in the middle of the night, then left. Nick fell asleep. He woke a few hours later and Erik did the same thing. He woke a little later and I did the same thing. Then I was able to feed him at a reasonable time in the early morning.

Now he is crying again and I think I will get him up. It's already been another half hour just with the crying. He's acting hungry so I'm going to go ahead and hope he eats a full feeding.

Erik reminded me last night how well it worked with Xander to let him cry a bit when he was learning to sleep on his own.

Xander is acting like he needs to sleep today during naptime--tired and prone to cry a little bit and still a smidgen sick. I'm hoping this Dora movie (Dora's Halloween) puts him to sleep eventually. Either he got better at sleeping overnight or the over the counter allergy medicine Leslie suggested is helping. The humidifier might be helping, too. He originally said he was scared of it. Some of these "fears" are just him wanting to explore a topic with Mommy or Daddy's reassurance or explanation.

A boring post, but this is what our days and nights have been filled with. That and my agonizing over the swine (and seasonal) flu.