I Have So Much More to Say

You’ve heard it from me before: where did the time go? I honestly don’t know.  All I know is that it has been six months since my last confession blog posting which means that I and the munchkins are now six months older. Six months doesn’t have much impact on the overall development of a 30-something but it certainly does on growing munchkins.  Little Miss will turn 2 in less than a month and is starting to potty train.  Rex is 4.5 heading to the dreaded 4.75 era and I am already starting to see the signs of the shit storm that is probably coming down the pike.

But, I am also seeing signs that things are getting …. differently easier.  To that I mean small chunks of time where neither child is in need of immediate attention, feeding, wiping, diapering, stimulation, correction, rescuing, or general attention and I can just be for a few moments. They are few and far between, though. Outside of the house Little Miss is still under constant supervision (aka “suicide watch”) due to her inability to judge correctly that something is beyond her ability and could in fact be lethal.  Inside the house, though, with the proper doors closed (brother’s room so she can’t climb into his bed, laundry room so she can’t “clean” the litter box, bathroom so she can’t flood the sink) she is usually safe to roam outside of our vision.  In those moments, she actually prefers to be in her room, sitting in her rocking chair “reading her books”.  Adorbs. It’s not all wine and roses, though. Her sleeping habits have been far less regular than her brother’s.  Although, if she potty trains by the time she’s 2 1/2 I will totally forgive her for this.  I will consider the score even.

Rex has been allowed to participate in the afternoon sessions of learning at his Pre-K school and the changes are quite noticeable.  Next year, he goes into FREE public school kindergarten.  I’m a little verklempt at this development.  I’m also verklempt about the fact that there is less than a 5% chance that he will nap on any given weekend day meaning one of us must stay up with him and at least keep him company.  I refuse to see my job as a mother to be his constant source of stimulation and amusement and I find myself more and more chiding him to “go find something to do” that doesn’t require me.  I’m itching for the day when I can send him out of doors with the general instruction to “play” and he actually does.

Mr. X and I are as ever.  Our marriage takes a daily beating from the ever present mundane bullshit of life but we’re weathering it well.  We have date nights and good talks. Ironically, some of our best time together is after dinner when the kids are playing in the living room and we just hang out together. Those are some of my favorite times of the day (next to bed time).

I still have more to say. I just hope I can get around to it earlier than six months from now.



The Battle on Burrito Hill

By Stefan via CC

By Stefan via CC

Late afternoons and early evenings on Sundays are fraught at best at our house.  We’ve all been together for 48 hours straight and are pretty darn tired of each other.  This Sunday was no different. Little Miss was Mega Cranky due to her failure to take a nap.  Rex was hyper from having spent a good hour and a half at our neighbor’s house playing with their different far cooler toys and three boys.  He was not pleased to be told that it was time to come home.

While I was giving Little Miss her nightcap bottle, Mr. X was finishing up dinner with Rex.  I heard the usual chatter and occasional falsetto singing that Rex swears is really him making the sound of a siren.  And then I heard the Whining Wail, unleashed by Rex in response to a fairly reasonable request that for whatever reason just rubs him the wrong way because he’s 3 1/2 and everything is drama.  I knew then that Daddy had drawn a line in the sand on the very hill that Rex had chosen to die on.  Turns out it was Burrito Hill.

I asked Little Miss what could have possibly caused the conflict. She had no opinion, she was busy sucking away on her bottle.  So, I took her with me into the kitchen and there was Rex in his booster seat, tears streaming down his adorable cheeks and Mr. X sitting across the table from him.  

Mr. X had made the very reasonable request that Rex finish his burrito before he could have his two requisite pieces of Halloween candy.  Rex, eyes solely on the prize, did not like the idea of having to eat any more of his burrito.  Given the limited logic skills of a 3 1/2 year old, he and Mr. X continued to have the same argument over and over again.

“I want my treaaaaaaaaaaaatts!” wailed Rex.

“You can have your treats after you finish your burrito. You have maybe 5 bites left.” said Mr. X.

“But, I want my treaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaats!” wailed Rex even louder.

“Like I said, you can have your treats after you finish your burrito.” said Mr. X.

And around and around the merry-go-round they went. We’ve lived with a 3 year old long enough now to know that it is completely normal for him to spend more time moaning, crying and wailing about doing something in order to get a treat instead of actually doing the thing. We also know that he is extremely stubborn and persistent in getting what he wants, despite the “obstacles” that we put up in his way.

I left them to their sparring knowing that I couldn’t help the situation and they had to work it out. Sure enough, Rex ate enough of his burrito that Mr. X gave him one piece of his candy. The Battle of Burrito Hill ended with a whimper and Snickers, not a bang.  

Second Birth, Not the Same As the First

Sweetpea is 5 weeks old (!) which means it’s high time that I memorialize her birth story before it becomes any more blurry in the rear view mirror.  Here goes!

Like her brother, Sweetpea was induced.  Unlike her brother, she was not induced due to size.  Hers was a scheduling induction due to my maternity leave length and the time we had parental assistance scheduled to be around.  But, we did wait for her to be fully cooked at 40 weeks before pulling the trigger.  Still, it’s kind of bizarre picking your kid’s birthdate.

I had to show up the night before the induction at midnight for an insertion of cervadil with monitoring.  Mr. X came with me to get me settled and then I sent him home to get one last night of uninterrupted sleep in our bed.  My doctor thoughtfully prescribed me an Ambien so that despite being hooked up to machines and IVs and lord knows what else, I slept like a log.  I don’t remember when I woke up the next morning, but I called Mr. X and he showed up for the adventure of the day.

We had to wait until 1pm to let the cervadil do its thing after which my OB came to visit.  We discussed breaking my water or just starting pitocin.  I voted for just the pitocin since the water breakage with Rex was a nightmare.  So, pit was started and contractions came on, but not terribly fast or hard.  At some point, I heard a pop and felt a gush of fluid – my water broke on its own!  I was so thrilled not to have to deal with having it broken.  Of course, things started to get more intense after that.

I made it until about 3:30 and 5cm before asking for the epidural. It took another hour for the doc to arrive to administer it.  Unfortunately, they sent Mr. X out of the room so I had to hug on the surly OB nurse all the while my supposed best friend did his thing.  Epidurals are naturally uncomfortable to begin with but this one was particularly so because I had to pee badly and the contractions were continuing with their thing.  Sitting still so as not to be paralyzed was supremely difficult.

Once it was in, Mr. X was allowed back in, Surly Nurse catheterized me (ouch!) and the bladder pressure eased a bit.  But, while I started getting that super warm tingly feeling in the lower extremities, the actual discomfort of the contractions didn’t get any better.   In fact, it got worse, like very strong pressure on my pelvis.  This coincided with Sweetpea’s heartrate decelerating with each contraction.  Surly Nurse began moving me from side to side and I was given oxygen to help Sweetpea.  Neither of us was doing well at that point.  I knew something wasn’t right, almost like she was being pushed into my pelvis with each contraction.  My OB appeared at that moment having been alerted to Sweetpea’s distress and told me that it could be a number of things including her cord wrapped around limbs or worse her neck.  I was pretty certain this was not the case, but I still knew that Sweetpea wasn’t going to handle a vaginal delivery well.   I told my OB that I didn’t want to chance it and to go ahead with a c-section.

Flurry of activity at that point once the decision was made.  I lost track of Mr. X briefly but he reappeared in the operating room in time for the main event.  Since I already had the epidural, there wasn’t much to do before my doctor started slicing and dicing.  If I never experience someone manipulating my innards while awake, it will be too soon.   Mr. X could probably have lived a very long and pleasant life without seeing my innards manipulated.  But, he did get to see Sweetpea enter the world.  I have vague recollections of her crying and then hearing the nurses laughing because she was peeing and peeing all over them as they were doing her Apgar scores.

I spent a little longer on the operating table because I elected to have my tubes tied.  Why not have it done while I’m already open?  If having your innards manipulated wasn’t weird enough having doctors discussing mundane topics while operating on you while you are awake is just plain bizarre.  My doctor, though, was nice and efficient and I was in recovery in a matter of minutes.  There were some issues with pain control as the morphine just wasn’t doing the trick.  The nurse finally gave me liquid ibuprofen which did the trick.

Sweetpea was brought in to me and I got to finally get a good look at her and saw how absolutely beautiful she was!  She had wispy hair with frosted white tips, just like mine when I was born.  She also latched on like a champ and got some good colostrum before conking out.  I don’t remember how long it took to get me in the post-partum room, but we were all pretty exhausted at that point.  We sent her to the nursery so all of us could sleep but she was brought in to nurse.  And nurse. And nurse. And nurse. It seemed everytime I had just fallen asleep, there was the knock at the door and the sound of the bassinet being wheeled in for another feeding.

I had to remain in bed for 24 hours after the c-section so I was captive to the nurses and anyone else who came in.  Apparently this hospital is also a teaching one because student nurses from the local community college came in All. Day. Long. to check my fundus, ask about my gas (is it passing? yes), look at my incision and take my blood pressure.  Thank goodness I was on pain medication otherwise I would have not been as humoring.  I appreciate they have to learn, but I wish I had been given a choice about whether they would learn on me.  Luckily, the next day they weren’t around and I could recuperate in peace… except for the demolition work going on down the hall.  The joys of an older hospital!

We were all released on three days later and Rex finally got to meet his little sister.  Asking a 2 and almost 3/4 year old his impression of his new sibling is not going to yield a useful answer so I didn’t bother, but I could tell that he was freaked out by her.  He’d seen babies before, but not ones that were now going to live in his house 24/7.  Luckily, we had grandparents around to help him stay grounded and he went to daycare as usual for more normality.

Five weeks on and we’re all settling into the new new routine.  He’s still doing a great job being gentle around his sister and enjoys giving her kisses on her downy little head.  He also likes keeping an eye on her while we change diapers.  He asked to hold her the other day and when I started to put her in his arms, he told me that she was too heavy and ran off to play.

I can’t believe I have two kids.

I Survived

When I was a kid, there was a place on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Maryland  that had literally thousands of t-shirt designs that you could get ironed on to a blank t-shirt of your choice.  I’m pretty certain I got a Ghostbusters design because I was hip like that. My dad got a shirt that declared, “I survived Catholic school.”  He of the nuns-rapping-on-knuckles-with-rulers generation wore it proudly for many years.

If that store is still open, I would like them to make me a “I survived flying with a 19 month old twice in four days” t-shirt because damn, I earned it.  This past weekend, Rex, me and his grandparents flew out to California to meet up with Mr. X who was finishing up a business trip and to visit some of his relatives who live out there.  Three days later we repeated the insanity and flew back to Texas this time with Mr. X in tow.

In his defense, Rex was as good as a 19 month old toddler could be meaning he cried, but not too much, he played “boo” with the lady behind him who thought it was just adorable, even after the 30th or so time and he deigned to sleep in his seat for the 20 minutes we descended into San Diego.  The rest of the time he sucked the very life force out of me as it was primarily my lap that he anchored yet wiggled all 32 pounds and 34″ of himself around.  To avoid this life suckage on the plane ride home, I thoughtfully placed Mr. X next to Rex since Mr. X did not have the pleasure of Rex’s company on the flight out because he was already in California. Best decision EVER.

I’ve learned a few lessons from this adventure which I will now share with you, good reader, so that you can avoid my mistakes.

  2. Repeat 1.
  3. If you MUST fly with a toddler, draw the limit at short duration flights to destinations within one time zone of your own. Limit these trips to mercy visits to elderly relatives who are on their death bed. Do not go unless you have received a note from said elderly relative’s doctor confirming that they are in fact dying and will not last longer than one week.
  4. Even then, weigh carefully whether or not this relative will provide a decent inheritance upon their death to justify the colossal effort that is flying with a toddler.
  5. If you do fly with a toddler, despite items 1 – 4, don’t bother buying them their own seat.  They will whine to high heaven while sitting in their expensive seat and car seat that you dragged onto the the plane and buckled into said seat for their comfort and safety.  They will literally try to throw themselves out of the seat into your lap.
  6. Don’t bother with the portable DVD player with the DVDs of John Deere tractor equipment moving earth.  Your toddler will much more interested in opening and closing the lid of the DVD player, banging the entire apparatus on the tray table or worse, throwing it on the floor.
  7. See item 6 with respect to the Magnadoodle.
  8. Praise Grandma’s quick thinking in buying cheap car toys from Target and bringing them along as these, far more than the expensive toys you got, will keep his attention for more than 5 minutes.
  9. Check the toddler’s diaper often for a Code Brown while hoping and praying that the child has the good sense to wait to void until you are at least within range of the airport so that you can legitimately strap him in his car seat rather than risk death by insanity at having to change a child in an airplane lavatory.
  10. Congratulate yourself on surviving the flight with your hair, sanity and clothes mostly intact.  Then go back to one.

CSI: Toddler Room

There is a pint-sized biter in Rex’s toddler room.   One of those adorable little persons is sinking their fangs into the delectably chubby limbs of their unsuspecting classmates.  Rex was not in this new classroom a full week before he was a victim of the Little Chomper.  We were told that Rex had it coming attempted to pick up the other child’s sippy cup after the child had put it down  thus provoking the bite.  He came home that day with a nasty looking welt on his arm but otherwise seemed no worse for the wear.  Less than a week later, I received a call from the daycare reporting that the same child had bitten my child again! and this time, there was no apparent provocation on Rex’s part.

Not the Culprit - Via Creative Commons

Our concern for Rex’s safety soon morphed into anger that the Little Chomper was allowed to roam free in the general population after such heinous crimes against my sweet blonde cherub.  Because, now, it seemed like Rex’s bites were personal.  Little Chomper obviously had it out for my kid since LC had bitten him twice, one time of which was unprovoked.  Typical toddler behavior you say, total vampire tendencies I say. It is obvious that Little Chomper vanted my baby’s blood.

For their part, the daycare has been annoyingly adult about the whole thing.  They won’t share with us the identity of Little Chomper because they’re progressive like that or perhaps they knew that if we were told we would give the kid the evil eye every time we dropped off and picked up Rex.  And rather than put the offender in the stocks (I bet those Puritans would have obliged me) to ponder his or her biting ways, the plan going forward has been to keep Little Chomper and Rex separated in the classroom.

This plan so far seems to be working.  There have been no further biting incidents against Rex. But, Mr. X swears that Little Chomper struck again the other day and this time the victim was Rex’s BFF.  Mr. X might even have figured out the identify of the Little Chomper.  Better get those pint sized stocks ready.

Another Beginning’s End

It was actually a fluke that I ended up being the one who dropped off Rex this morning at daycare, his last morning in the Infant Room.  Since the daycare facility is located at Mr. X’s place of employment, he usually is the one to take Rex in while I (shhh) secretly go back to bed for a few or more minutes of shut eye before beginning the day.  But, last week, we learned that Mr. X was needed out of town all of this week and so very early and not so brightly Monday morning he was off. I have been on day care run duty all week, the Transition Week.

We’ve known for a few weeks now that Rex was going to be transitioning at the end of July to the Toddler Room from his current homebase of Infant Room. This week has been spent on the actual transition process.  Monday he spent a few hours in the new classroom, Tuesday a few more and by yesterday (Thursday), he was still in the Toddler Room when I picked him up at the end of the day.  But, each day he has still started off in the Infant Room with his beloved Miss R, with today being his last day with her.

I was very aware as I dropped him off that this was the last day of donning the booties over my shoes and washing my hands before I touch anything in the classroom.  It was the last day of seeing smaller babies who aren’t able to feed themselves yet and cribs.  In a way, it was the last day of Rex’s official infancy.  I remember so well the first day that we dropped him off when he was 7 weeks old. That day, we brought him in his car seat with a pack of bottles already pre-filled with forumla. Today, he walked in and sat down at the table for breakfast.  He even tried to use the spoon.  We have all come so far.

Rex is ready to move on, though. There have been numerous reports this week of how fanatastically he has taken to the new room and how when he is back in the Infant Room, he climbs onto the tables and stands on them.  I know he’s ready and we’re ready for that next stage of development. But, we were all very close to Miss R.  She was such a comfort last summer when we felt like we were in over our heads – she knew that we were doing the best possible job and told us so.  She gave us much needed reassurance that our kid was perfectly normal, even when he was screaming and we were at our wit’s end.  This morning, she and I both got a little verklempt at our parting and her parting from Rex, one her favorites.  Rex, for his part, was way more interested in his breakfast and getting as much of it as possible on his face and clothes.

As I was leaving the campus heading back home, I remembered that earlier this week as I was driving Rex in, “Closing Time” came on the radio. This was a favorite of mine in college because, hello, closing bars was one of those Bucket List – College Edition things you just had to do (although, in truth, it’s hard to close one in New Orleans, because the bars never close. Seriously. I think my closings were elsewhere on vacation or spring breaks.) But, a lyric that I didn’t really pay much attention to in college, stood out to me this particular morning that seemed to sum up the situation perfectly:

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Yeah.

Almost. ALMOST.

I sent an email to my parents earlier this week telling them that the schedule has  been set for Rex to graduate from the infant room to the Toddler Room at day care.  Huge news, probably as big as when he started to walk, and worthy of much celebration.  In that email, I confided to them that I was sad by this development – my baby is growing up and moving on, the first of many transitions from babyhood to adult.  And, I shared with them what Mr. X and I had been saying to each other for a few months now: it almost makes me want to have another one. Almost.

Mr. X has been pretty consistent about his desire to have another child.  It’s understandable – he has a brother who was born when he was 2 1/2 so he has no memory of life without a sibling.  But, he recognizes very well that I will be the one who bears the brunt of a second child.  There’s the whole pregnancy thing, the whole post-partum thing and the loss of my income, not to mention the whole infant and toddler at the same time juggling act.  This alone has given me great pause.

That being said, I know why I have been having these twinges of desire for another baby.  It’s because I feel like I missed out on so much the first time around with Rex.  I did not enjoy pregnancy in the conventional sense – I refused to have a baby shower because I was convinced that I would have it and I would lose the baby.  The same reasoning applied to the nursery.  I grudgingly allowed to have it painted and agreed to pick out a crib telling myself the entire time that we could always get rid of it if something terrible happened.  I didn’t shop for baby clothes or let myself get too invested in the emotional side of things.  I was on edge for the entire nine months.  Looking back now, I see that I was probably depressed even then. I chalked it up at the time to wonky pregnancy hormones.

When Rex arrived, of course, it was a whole other level of depression that took me a while to get out of.  During that time, I was adamant that I would not be having another baby.   That stance has softened somewhat.  I don’t recoil from infants anymore, although I do still look at their sleep deprived parents and silently thank the heavens that I am not there anymore.

I haven’t let myself begin to think about whether another baby would be a different experience.  Mr. X and I already know that we would not use heroic measures a second time around.  We’re even still on track to donate our remaining embryo.  So, a lot of the pressure that was there with Rex’s pregnancy wouldn’t be there this time. Still, will the old fears of miscarriage and terrible things happening come back?  Would I be able to get excited and enjoy the pregnancy? Hard to say.

We’ve put the cabosh on any discussions of a second child until Rex is at least 2.  So, as long as the birth control pills hold out, that leaves me eight months of further casual contemplation and enjoyment of the deliciousness that is Rex in all of his only glory.

There’s a Person In There

For as much as Rex resembles a human, his ability to communicate in the English language has been understandably lacking.  Even I, who believes that he is only months away from SAT prep, understands that grasping the spoken word can take a while when the mouth is unused to working with the tongue to form words, let alone put those words to concepts.


During this time, I’ve lumped Rex in the same category as our animals – an adorable enigma with whom I will never be able to have an intelligent, spoken conversation.  While the cats meowed and the dog barked (and barked, and barked) to tell us whatever they felt was necessary, Rex cried to express his thoughts (tired! hungry! pissed! pissed on! poopy!).  Even when his cries evolved into different cries for different situations, there was still that empty space of the one-sided conversations I would have with him.

Today, Mr. X brought Rex home from day care and reported that Rex can make the figure of a circle with his finger when you say “circle”.  He is also beginning to understand ‘down’.  He is trying to say the word sock when we tell him that we’re putting his socks on.  He is trying to say “ball”.  He says dada and mama.   My child is no Helen Keller, but damn do I feel like Anne Sullivan.  There’s a person in there! And he’s learning how to speak our language!

I feel such an amazing sense of accomplishment at this. It’s not that I am responsible for his development – I am one of a whole host of other people.  My sense of accomplishment is that I stuck it out through the infertility, the miscarriages, the post-partum depression, the sleep deprivation, the adorable enigma crying phase, to get to this point where I get to have the interactions that made me want to have a child in the first place.  I get to start communicating with and getting to know a new little person who is mine.

Grace in Small Things 5/8/2011

A special Mother’s Day edition:

1) This Mother’s Day, unlike last year’s, I feel so good about the mom I am to Rex. I feel all of the gratitude and appreciation for having him that I was beating myself up last year for not having.  I’m glad I gave myself the time to get to this place where I can be a good mom to Rex.I enjoy being a mom now.  What a concept.

2) Rex had his first taste of peanut butter this morning.  As a lifelong peanut-butter-holic, I would be thrilled if he too could develop a loving relationship with one of the world’s most perfect foods.  From his first tentative tastes off of the edge of a knife to the devouring of his toast slathered with the divine stuff, he was hooked.  One day we’ll work him up to my level of addiction: super chunky.

3) Mr. X got me the most awesome Mother’s Day present ever: the entire Beatles collection on iTunes.

4) Eco-Geek-Cheap-Alert: our local water system is very much into conservation which I fully support.  I support it even more now that they are offering FREE low flow, dual flushing toilets for houses that are old (mine), have “water wasting toilets” (mine) and have cheap-ass owners (mine).  Add to that the $50 gift card I have from the plumbers to go towards the installation, and it looks like we’re getting two new porcelain gods for a very low overall price.  I hope this means the days of misbehaving toilets are behind us.

5) Destination for this year’s Girls Weekend has been set: Newport, Rhode Island! I plan to pick up some decorating tips and have some authentic New England seafood such as Lahb-stah, and more lahb-stah.