Noggin Is Now Our Default Channel

July 8, 2009

While we were on vacation, my parents kept the boys for several days while M and I got some time away to ourselves.  It was a great bonding time for M and me, and a good way for my parents to get special time with their grandsons.  One of the ways they had to compromise from some of our parenting habits, though, was watching some different children’s shows than we usually play at home.  There are very few shows I can stand to watch, so we DVR those shows and always have several to choose from when it’s TV time.  My parents had recorded a few, but more of the time, my mom would just turn on Noggin and let them watch whatever was on.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with anything Noggin plays, other than being insanely annoying sometimes.  I recognize it’s merely a matter of personal preference, so I’ve made it a point not to cringe when PJ asks for Dora or Diego or Gabba Gabba now.  If there’s an episode on, I’ll let him watch and find something else to do so that I can ignore the TV.  (On the bright side, I don’t know when I’ve kept the house cleaner.)

In the meantime, though, I have learned that the more ridiculous the show is, the more hypnotic it is for young children.  Oh, and some of those shows are totally trippy.  Yo Gabba Gabba?  There are not words to describe this show.  I love it for the way it holds my boys’ attention–but that’s about the only reason I do.  It is WEIRD.

The shows I’ve found I can stand in moderation are Blue’s Clues (with Steve), WonderPets, Backyardigans, and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.  I still detest Dora, Diego, and Yo Gabba Gabba.  All the rest fall somewhere in between.  I’m curious.  What kids’ shows do you like to watch with your kids, and which ones do you hate but let them watch anyway?  And while we’re polling, what do you see is a reasonable amount of TV time for your kids each day?  How strictly do you stick to that guideline?

Itchy and Scratchy

February 11, 2009

I have a mommying question for all of you mommies who still bother to read.  Lately, Scooter has been scratching himself a lot.  It’s always been a problem with him, but in the past it was more just when he was getting his diaper changed; I think he liked the feeling of his short nails on his normally-covered diaper area.  As long as I kept his nails short, it wasn’t a problem (well, when he wasn’t scratching poopy areas).

But the last week or so, it has felt more like spring, with temperatures nearing 80 degrees.  I’ve pulled out spring wardrobes with short sleeves, and Scooter doesn’t seem to know what to do with all that exposed arm.  Every time I get him up from a nap or in the morning, he has new scratches on his arms.  One this morning was scabbed over; it had clearly bled a bit overnight.

I’ve been doing some google research, but all I can find are references to eczema, which he most definitely does not have, and baby mittens to keep from scratching (those certainly wouldn’t work with a nearly 18-month-old).  Our weather has been drier than usual lately; is there any chance that could make his arms itchy?  And how would I help it if that’s the problem?  I’m being even more diligent about keeping his nails short, but I don’t think that is going to be enough to keep him from hurting himself.  If I can’t find a solution to the root problem, I might have to keep him in long sleeves for the time being, which does not sound fun as the temperatures keep gettiing warmer.

Has anyone else had this problem?  Do you have any suggestions?

Bullet Posting Again

January 26, 2009

Sorry I don’t have the energy or focus for a real post today.  I caught a cold over the weekend (no idea how, I never go anywhere without at least one of my boys and they’re all healthy), and it just keeps getting worse.  So here’s a few thoughts, bullet-style:

1. Any of you with toddlers/pre-schoolers, I have a question for you.  At mealtimes, do you have to remind your child to eat every thirty seconds or so?  Unless PJ is just super hungry and the meal is exactly what he wanted (and sometimes even then), he continually gets distracted from eating.  While chewing one bite endlessly, he will start playing with his fork or spoon, or look under the table for the dog, or play peek-a-boo with me or Scooter, or anything else he can find to do other than eat.  Until I threaten to take his food away and dinner be over, he cannot focus again on eating.  Most meals, this happens with every single bite.  Is there any wonder I hate mealtimes some days?  So is this typical behavior?  Do your kids do this too, or did they have a phase where they did this?

2. I’m totally torn between finishing off the job of weaning Scooter so I can take real cold medicine and clinging to our last nursing session each day for that snuggle time.  The practical side of me says it’s time already, but I don’t feel ready emotionally yet.  He still seems to enjoy it as well, otherwise I would have moved on already.  It doesn’t help matters that M doesn’t fully understand how strong my emotions are about this and continues to encourage me to finish weaning.  Must be nice to be a man, where much of the time the practical side is the only side.

3. It’s weird sometimes to listen to PJ talk.  He talks mostly non-stop these days, and almost all complete sentences.  His vocabulary grows each day, and he often rattles on about something he could have only learned at school.  It’s just so normal that I tend to forget that less than six months ago he was barely talking at all.  He sings songs now and will try to quote the dialogue of his favorite movies along with the characters.  He asks for what he wants and can answer my questions (even if he doesn’t always do so readily).  I’m so proud of how he’s flourishing in pre-school.  I’m starting to hope they reconsider whether he needs the extended school year program this summer; not only will it prevent us from going crazy having him around all day every day, but I want to see his improvement continue and not have him lose any ground over the summer.

4. My parents are coming to visit us the first weekend in February.  It won’t be a long visit, but I’m super excited that they’re coming, other than the extensive cleaning I need to do over the next two weeks.  You see, although both of my parents have been frequent visitors over the past few years, they have never managed to visit at the same time.  The last time they visited us together was right after PJ was born, before we’d moved into this house (we moved the next weekend).  Even when Scooter was born, only my mom was able to come down right away; my dad showed up a week or so later when he was here on business.  Considering we only live 4 or 5 hours away from them, it’s crazy to think they haven’t been able to make the trip together.  It means a lot to me that they’re making a real effort to take a joint trip to see us.

Now off to start cleaning for their visit.  The guest room has become the catch-all room since it has been so long since we’ve had overnight visitors, so I need to find somewhere else to store all the junk hiding in there.  Wish me luck!

In Love

January 21, 2009

Sometimes it still hits me with a real fierceness how much I’m in love with my boys.  We’ll be sitting around playing or watching dinosaurs on TV, and one of them will come up and give me a hug–and I won’t want to let go.  Scooter will smile at me, and no matter what mood I had been in, I’ll have to smile right back.  (Seriously, this kid has the most contagious smile in the world.)  I about burst from pride in them when anyone compliments them, which happens pretty often.

The other night, PJ gave me a hug and a kiss before bed, as usual, and I almost started crying when he said, “Mmm-ma, Mommy!”  He has said it so many times that I don’t know why this one time was so special.  Maybe it was the way he said Mommy.  Often he talks about what Mommy will do to me–as though he’s talking about me to me–but he doesn’t often directly address me with Mommy as my name (if that makes any sense at all).  It’s so moving to be called Mommy by my children.  Hearing Scooter repeat “Ma-ma-ma-ma” does the same thing to me.

And I am the center of both of their worlds.  There are times of the day when neither one wants anything other than me, usually at the same time.  They act as though they are mine, only mine, and everyone else is an outsider to our special relationship.  My boys play together happily, forging a close brotherly relationship, but I can tell as much as they love each other, they still consider themselves mine first.

There are days when being this needed gets to be overwhelming, and I wish they would cling to their daddy this way.  But all it takes is a little snuggling from either one, and I am reminded how much I will miss this closeness when they grow up just a little and I am just Mom, complete with eye-roll.  No wonder I still find myself longing for another baby, feeling eager to put myself through all that again, to prolong the feeling of being the center of a little one’s universe.

I can only hope that I make my boys feel this special throughout their entire lives.  As much as raising them up to be polite, well-behaved boys, I think this is my job–to make them feel this loved.

January 5, 2009

I’m still here–sort of.  Still lacking any motivation to write here.  I’ll have something happen or an interesting thought flit across my mind, and by habit I start writing the post in my head.  But I never make it to the computer to record it.  I’ve been making an effort (at least in the past week once we got back home from our Christmas journey) to keep following your blogs.  I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who’s been slacking off, so I feel a little better about it than I would be if all of you were still posting almost every day.

Christmas was mostly uneventful.  We went to my parents’ house for a few days, but we spent our nights at a hotel.  That turned out to be a good move; every one of my siblings and their dog was there.  It was so busy there that we were all getting overwhelmed.  It was good to have a place to go to get away from it all every evening.

We spend the few days after Christmas with M’s family.  His grandparents were there every second we were, so we didn’t get any alone time with his parents.  That was annoying, but nobody can tell M’s grandma to go home when they’ve overstayed their welcome.  The exciting moments there were when we met M’s other grandfather for the first time and M’s brother’s common-law wife for the first time.  It’s safe to say that there is some nasty family history there that has kept us from spending time with certain family members, so it’s a good thing that everyone is willing to give second chances and spend time with this family again.  It wasn’t a long visit either time, but it’s a start.

I’m awfully glad things are getting back to normal today, though.  PJ had more than enough time to get used to having more free time and get back to a more normal sleep schedule, but the last few days (or week) have been torture.  He’s been hyper, literally bouncing off the walls one day, and I’m looking forward to having him spend his afternoon at school today, back to a regular routine that he loves.  Maybe he’ll run out some of this energy there.

Scooter has been more difficult since we got home.  He decided that very night that he wasn’t doing baby food anymore, probably after watching his cousins eat big people food on our trip.  It lasted about three days before he turned his nose up at anything we offered him.  So we’re back to baby food, the only thing we could get him to eat.  We’re just feeding him less baby food and offering him a wider range of normal food to fill his tummy the rest of the way.

And all of this happened just as he started teething the rest of his molars and eyeteeth.  All at once.  He’s run a fever for at least a few hours a day for about a week now, and we’ve been going through the Tylenol and ibuprofen like crazy.  He’s been waking up at least once a night from the pain, and he will only go back to sleep after I’ve nursed him.  So it’s clear that we’re not weaning anytime soon.  Oh, well.

M got me a Wii Fit for Christmas (yes, after discussing it with me).  I’ve been using it for five or six days now, every single day.  It’s more fun than I thought it would be.  I’m very proud of myself for keeping up with exercising this long.  Unfortunately, the Wii Fit says I have about twenty pounds to lose to get to my ideal weight.  Yuck.  After almost a week, I’ve lost about half a pound.  After gaining two at first.  This is going to be slow going.  I guess maybe I should finally get around to improving my diet, even a little, to make the results go any faster.

Wanna hear something interesting?  After not writing for two weeks-ish, my traffic really hasn’t changed much.  It will be an interesting experiment to see if it increases any over the next few days now that I have a new post up.  I guess I really do get that many random google hits for older posts.

Anyway, I hope all of you had good holidays.  With any luck I’ll be back again before Valentine’s Day.

I Hate Thinking of Titles

December 2, 2008

You might remember that my nephew was a preemie, just like PJ.  He was a few days “older,” at 32 weeks and a few days, and about eight ounces heavier.  Like PJ, he encountered no problems in the NICU and was released on a monitor and other medications after just a few weeks.

We got to see him when he was about four months old, two months adjusted.  At the time, M and I were both very worried.  We didn’t expect him to be a “normal” four-month old, like Scooter had been.  We expected him to be more like PJ was at four months; that seemed like a reasonable comparison to us.

He wasn’t like PJ was at that age.  He was more like a weak newborn.  He could barely lift his head, and he kept it cocked to the left almost all the time.  His smiles resembled gas smiles and weren’t in response to any outside stimuli.

His parents weren’t worried.  Their doctor (the same family doctor who let her preeclampsia go undiagnosed for months, the preeclampsia that almost killed her and her baby) said he was fine, so they believed him.  His grandparents (my in-laws) said that he used to hold his head up and smile just fine, so they weren’t worried either.

M and I were worried.  M even “happened” to mention how we wished we had contacted ECI much earlier than we did and how that might have kept PJ’s speech problems from getting as bad as they did.  Hint, hint.  Call them NOW, even if it’s just to get extra reassurance from a different source that your child is doing fine.  Or to get him the help that he so desperately needs.

They never called ECI.  While we’ve been worried about our nephew ever since, we are not his parents and have no control here.  We’ve said our piece based on our own experiences, and they can learn from our experience or learn the hard way from their own.

That boy is now ten months old.  His smiles are contagious and definitely social smiles now.  He holds his head up just fine–most of the time.  Any time he starts to get tired or lazy, it droops to the left again.  His parents even commented about that being a problem when he takes a bottle.

Other than the head thing, though, he seems to be about where I would expect an eight-month-old to be (adjusting for his preemie age).  He weighs what an average ten-month-old would (formula-fed baby for sure) and is starting to move around on his own.  PJ was army crawling about the same age, so not being able to crawl more normally doesn’t worry me.  He will catch up there.  He doesn’t seem to have very good control over his muscles, but you can tell he’s trying really hard anyway.

M and I talked about our nephew a lot after seeing him so much last week, and we’re both still kind of uneasy about his development.  While we can’t really put our finger on it, something just seems kind of off.  Maybe it’s the head droop thing, or the muscle control thing.  Or maybe we’re just used to a normal baby now with Scooter.

Either way, he is a joy just as he is.  He’s definitely a lovable child.  M and I know without even talking about it that we won’t mention our concerns to his parents again.  He’ll either outgrow the weird issues and make M and me feel silly for ever worrying, or his parents or doctor will notice them as they become more pronounced and do something to remedy them at that point.

And while it bugs me sometimes that they view their own miracle child as the only one who has ever been through this, forgetting how fragile PJ was at one time, it proves to me just how much of a miracle PJ is that they can’t even see the preemie in that lively three-year-old he has grown into.

The Consequences of the Baggy Pants

November 17, 2008

Oops, I failed at the whole posting-every-day business.  Life kind of intruded this weekend.  I do regret that I didn’t manage to do it, but it’s pointless in the long run.  At least it got me posting something more regularly again, right?

The most interesting part of the weekend was yesterday when I went to look for clothes for PJ to wear.  We got a pretty strong cold front on Friday, so I finally pulled out our long-sleeved clothes.  PJ has been wearing pants to school every day, even when he could probably do shorts just fine, and yesterday was laundry day.  He had one pair of pants left, and I was pretty sure they were too big.

Sure enough, PJ walked around all day holding up his pants with one hand.  (He kept telling me to “fixa da pants, pants bwoken.”)  I took quick stock of how many long-sleeved shirts he had and all of BabyN’s cool weather clothes and declared we needed to make a trip to Babies R Us (the ABC store, as PJ calls it).

The way the timing worked out, though, BabyN was down for a nap when the rest of us were ready to go.  M and I shrugged, and I loaded up PJ to go with me while M stayed home with BabyN.  Normally if that had happened when we were about to run an errand, I would be the one to stay home while M took care of business, but he’s not so confident about buying clothes for the boys.

So PJ and I had a “date.”  I don’t know that I’ve been out alone with him since before BabyN was born.  It was really fun, and much easier than dealing with both of them at the same time.  He seemed to thrive off the special attention as well and didn’t throw any tantrums until naptime (and that wasn’t because he had to take a nap).  It made the whole day with him go a little easier.  I’m hoping we can find more opportunities for either one of us to spend alone time with him if something that simple can make such a difference.

M seemed to enjoy the quiet time at home, too.  BabyN was still sleeping when we got home, so he had had that whole time to just chill.  He rarely ever gets time at home alone, so I’m glad he got that time too.

And the best part is that now I get to dress the boys in brand new, adorable clothes for the next few days.  Sometimes I wish we were made of money so that they always had new clothes to wear.  Yes, I like the feel of new clothes that much.

A Cop-Out Post

November 13, 2008

I don’t want to break my blogging streak, but I really don’t have much to say, and I don’t feel like taking time to write much.

PJ had a good day.  He actually participated in his music class at MDO today, a first for him, and even the music teacher made a point to tell me that on our way out.  He also fell asleep on the bus on the way home from pre-school this afternoon.  He was up really late last night, just talking, and I guessed early this morning that it would be an exhausting day for him.

Of course, his five minute nap on the bus kept him from taking a real nap when he got home, so it was a long evening until we could put him down to bed.  He was totally out of control.  How come being banned from a nap at pre-school means we end up with the raw end of the deal and not them?

But tomorrow is another day, a day when we can all sleep a little late.  I hope the boys take advantage of that because I sure plan to.

Flu Shots All Around

November 12, 2008

PJ had a check-up at the doctor this morning, and he got his flu shot.  I also got one there.  I swear I will never get a flu shot from anyone else.  Nurses who are used to giving shots to tiny babies all day give the best shots.  PJ hardly wimpered when he got his.

BabyN needed to finish up his shots too, two more of his 12-month ones.  The poor thing was already tired, so he didn’t handle them so well.  He fussed all the way back out to the car, and nothing I did comforted him.

He was fine as soon as he got a long nap, but I’m starting to think the spots on his legs are bothering him again.  I put him down for a nap quite a while ago, and he’s still fussing in his room on and off.  That is highly unusual.  I think I’m about to give up on his afternoon nap and hold him until he feels better.

At least he’ll probably want to go to bed early tonight.  We have another busy day tomorrow that starts quite early, so I won’t argue with an early bedtime for any of us.

Cool-off Period

November 5, 2008

Well, I’m glad that election stuff is over.  Now my TV can be overrun with Christmas commercials instead of political ads.  Maybe we’ll all ignore our divisive political views once again and bond over everything we have in common instead.  Oh, yeah, and maybe the news will once again report about anything other than the campaigns.

In news closer to home, I figured out why I was as emotional as I was about PJ’s new pre-school.  It turns out I was overly hormonal.  I love how I can never predict that and only recognize in retrospect that I was just a bit insane the day before for a good reason.

It also helps that after some thinking time, we have found what may be a compromise between pre-school and MDO.  We’ve already paid for the month of November and will not likely be able to get our money back thanks to the suddenness of his withdrawal from the school, so we’re going to try letting him go to MDO in the mornings.

It may not work out.  That’s a really busy schedule for PJ who hasn’t had much of a schedule his whole life so far.  He won’t get a nap until after 4:00 on a long, long day, and he may not be able to cope with that.  We may also decide that his tuition may not be worth it for two hours twice a week.  Still, they do most of their activities in those two hours.  I like that he’ll still have a chance to be around “normal” kids too, since this pre-school will be all the special ed kids in his program.

I had a good talk with his teachers at MDO last night about what was going on.  At the time I was still pretty sure we’d just be withdrawing him, and I wanted them to have a better idea about what had happened.  It turns out, though, that one of the teachers has a five-year-old autistic son, and a couple of years ago they had to make the same decision between MDO and the school district’s special ed program.  She knew exactly what I was going through.  Of course, I ended up making a different decison than her, but the different circumstances make the different decisions necessary.  Either way I was able to find a sympathetic ear about the whole business.

In about an hour, PJ will leave for his first day of his new school.  Yes, he will be riding the bus.  I found out a little more about that too.  Apparently I did have an option about whether he rides the bus, even though they didn’t offer me that option.  The problem is that he needs to have the same transportation to and from school every single day, except for the extremely rare extenuating circumstance.  While I would love to take PJ to school myself for his first day, if I did so I would be expected to take him to school every day.  Why would I want to do that if transportation is provided?  We will all get used to it after a few days, and it will be a good experience for him–and probably me too.

So before I gripe anymore about this situation, I will give us a few days to get used to the way things are going to be now.  At the very least, I am looking forward to my relatively free time I will get every afternoon.  I’ll update again after a few days of the new routine, and we’ll see then if it’s anywhere near as awful as I thought it would be on Monday.