Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It Gets Easier

I've noticed that get fairly frequent hits for "highly active infant" and I wanted to let those souls know that it does get easier, at least in my house.

As Charlie has gotten older we've learned more tricks to nip melt-downs in the bud and the lead-up to them is getting longer. Charlie's 2 big things are food and sleep. If he's having a hard time, first offer him a snack and then try to figure out how to get him to a quiet activity or, even better, to sleep.

On the issue of sleep, we now take a nice ride in the car everyday around 1:00. The big thing with the highly active infant as a toddler is getting him to hold still long enough to actually fall asleep. Since he is too large to swaddle and rocking for 30-45 minutes is out of the question with an infant in tow, strapping him into his car seat is the best solution we've found. At night, we've discovered that he needs wind-down time and he's finally old enough and has been consistently responded to long enough, that he will bounce around, sing, kick, and otherwise amuse himself in his crib. Periodically he'll give a holler and one of us will go up to fix his blanket and pat his back for a minute. After anywhere from 2 minutes to 1.5 hours, he will drift off. From what I can tell, there seems to be a trend among those tots that agree with Charlie on his views that sleep is a communist plot to be thwarted at every turn. The trend being that around 2, things start to fall in place and your child will suddenly start to sleep, if not through the night, then, at least, significantly more than they ever have before. Until then, when people say, "But you're getting some 6 hour stretches, right?" you can simply respond, "Sleep is for the weak." This isn't to say that 2 years of 2-8 wakings a night doesn't completely suck, it does, it REALLY does but, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Charlie is sleeping more now, than I think he's ever slept before.

The real treat is that that highly active infant, who couldn't turn off to save his life, took it all in. Charlie is a delightful toddler. He is inquisitive and highly verbal. The same drive that made him want to socialize at 2am also drives him to learn to talk. Charlie is easily 6 months ahead in his language development. That high socialization drive also means that he is sweet and relatively socially advanced- he has the rudiments of sharing and comments about how other feel. That incredible will that drove refusals to be molded into acceptance of naps and being put in the bouncy so I can pee for God's sake! is now focused on learning how the world works. The beginning was hellish but now I get to reap the rewards.

It gets better. It really does. Stick it out and there will come a day with sleep and speech and a smiling face.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ooh, la, la!

Amy stopped by my blog a week or so ago and am I glad she did! I just got a chance to check out her blog in turn and found that she has a fabulous Etsy shop that makes lovely wooden and handmade toys. I haven't ordered one (yet) so I can't vouch for the quality but they sure look quite well made. I had been stumped for Megan's Christmas gift (the trouble of being a 2nd child) but I think my problem may have been solved. She would love this rattle/teether. The roller elephant is adorable as well but we would have to pry it out of Charlie's hands first. Give Little Alouette a look for some wooden lovelies.

Baby Weight

So, my children may be less than ideal sleepers but I do manage to drop that baby weight! I am now 2 pounds less than I was when I got pregnant with Charlie and am hoping to nurse my way down another 5-10 pounds. Of course, things are still in rather different spots than they used to be but at least I can be happy when I step on the scale.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How To Go to the store in 39 simple steps

  1. Decide you are going to make felted dryer balls.
  2. Plan to go to craft store, leaving at 10.
  3. Begin preparing at 9:15.
  4. Start to change Charlie's diaper.
  5. Discover you are out of diapers downstairs and have to run up to get more.
  6. Start to change Charlie's diaper.
  7. Realize you forgot to wash your hands first and you have a cold sore.
  8. Wash hands.
  9. Wrestle toothpaste, hairbrush, sunblock, and fish food out of Charlie's hands as he helpfully cheers on your handwashing.
  10. Finally change Charlie's diaper.
  11. Charlie poops.
  12. Change Charlie's diaper.
  13. Change Megan's diaper.
  14. Run upstairs for Charlie's socks and shoes.
  15. Upon return smell something...change Megan's diaper only to discover a false alarm.
  16. Begin to wonder what the hell these children are eating.
  17. Put on Charlie's socks and shoes.
  18. Start to carry Charlie out to the car.
  19. DEFCON 1 is reached due to the girl not being on bus with friends and dog.
  20. Find girl hidden in corner, place in bus, sing round of Wheels on the Bus for good measure.
  21. Stop to put on my socks and shoes.
  22. Discover than none of my cute shoes go with outfit.
  23. Sigh over yet another frumpy day.
  24. Carry Charlie out to the car.
  25. Remind self to get Charlie's sacred red sippy cup.
  26. Get Megan.
  27. Put Megan in car.
  28. Give treats to dogs- watch Penny (45 pound, healthy dog) accidentally drop treat and Shirley (partially blind, deaf, arthritic, 25 pound dog) steal it from under Penny's nose.
  29. Sigh.
  30. Wonder what propensity for adopting neurotic dogs indicates.
  31. Give Penny new treat.
  32. Back out of driveway.
  33. Realize you forgot something and remember baby carrier.
  34. Back in, re-treat, drop, sigh, and away we go at a still respectable 10:05.
  35. Get half-way to craft store and realize forgot sacred red sippy cup.
  36. Careen over 2 lanes to catch exit to go back home at last second.
  37. Wonder if you will make it to craft store during this geological epoch.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

By the Numbers

2- number of dogs of dogs in the house barking at falling leaves, squirrels, and other such threatening things with deafening results
4- number of plants being neglected in my house
4- number of months Charlie has been working on his 2 year molars
0- number of molars that have broken through (Dear, God! Let them break through soon!)
1.5- number of bottles of children's motrin we have used in the last month (we are apparently raising a drug addict)
7- number of times Charlie was up between 3:30 and 4:30 last night (rough estimate- it may have been more)
1- number of stair gates trying to drive me to tears with their infernal latches
4 (am)- time my husband is leaving tomorrow for a business trip
3-6 (am)- roughest time of the night with children
4-6 (am)- time I would rather be dead than awake
2- episodes of Play With Me, Sesame we have watched so far this morning (thank you, Tivo)
1- number of feet I wish I lived from Starbucks
45- number of minutes Megan can sleep on her own if I'm lucky
30- length of Megan's morning nap
14- minimum number of hours of sleep a 4 month old needs
12ish- number of hours of sleep Megan gets
3- the number of times the "bad sleepers" of Megan's birth group are waking- Megan is such an overachiever
15- number of pieces of Bliss chocolate I forsee myself eating today
20- number of pieces of Bliss chocolate I forsee myself eating tomorrow
6- number of pieces in one seving of Bliss chocolate (Thank heavens I'm breastfeeding!)
ridiculous- current price of bag of Bliss chocolate at Kroger

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Single Issue Voter

I have found that I am becoming a single issue voter. I always assumed that if I were to pick one issue, it would be reproductive choice (Yes, I am pro-choice but that doesn't mean I'm pro-abortion, it's so much more complex than that. See here) or at least related to women's rights. Instead, I am finding myself becoming increasingly focused on the environment.

I am noticing it most in the current election and the way I view the financial crisis. My grandparents came of age in the dust bowl...in Missouri and southern Illinois...in small farming communities. Really, it couldn't have gotten any worse. They came out of it ok. There were some years that weren't fun. My grandmother uses some odd recipe substitutions she learned during the hard times. Parts of it sucked. But, they're fine. At this point, they're actually quite well off. My dad was a carpenter and was our sole source of income through the recession in the early 80s and was a good hunk of it in the recession of the early 90s. I still get twitchy when I hear "recession." As with my grandparent's lives, sometimes it wasn't fun. Some parts of the recessions sucked. I have some strong feelings about financial security and how often you should go shopping for clothes (once in August for all your school needs and once in the late-spring to get your warm weather duds and all formal dresses should be bought at 80% off the season prior). At the same time, it was ok. We survived. With a reasonably amount of forethought and decent budgeting skills you can ride out a nasty financial time. It's not fun and some of it will suck but you will survive it. Further, our species will survive it.

I worry that we won't make it out of the current environmental crisis. There isn't the option to "ride out" hurricane after hurricane, followed by floods, extreme temperatures, droughts, and tornadoes. Nature is bigger than us and we've been trying it's patience for a while. In a way, I'm very glad for the financial problems. It seems to be spurring the idea that things MUST change. We can't be so dependent on energy we can't make ourselves. We need to start curbing our love of "stuff." We need to pay attention to what our resources are and how to harness them in a way that won't crash upon our heads. I am beginning to feel that time is running short. I keep being reminded (as I take a bubble bath) of seeing the question, "If you think it's bad when we're fighting over oil, imagine what it will be like when we're fighting over water."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Cloth Diapering A Newborn (rocks!)

Wee, bitty babies produce an incredible amount of extraneous matter, if you know what I mean. Their poop, it is explosive and runny. Their pee, it is constant. The trips to the store for diapers, they are many. One doesn't contain adequately. Several cause a rash. One doesn't fit right. And that one, the one that FINALLY works, is just so expensive! And, that expensive one, you went through 3 in 15 minutes because your daughter decided that only virgin landscapes are appropriate for her needs... twice.

Allow me to introduce you to the wonder of the wonder of the kissaluv/thirsties wonder duo. We used kissaluvs size 0 and a thirsties XS and experienced nary a leak or rash for a blissful 2.5 months. They fit Megan beautifully until she hit about 13 pounds. The only leaks I ever had were on the rare occasion that we used a disposable and, yes, they were the expensive kind. Should you have a wee, bitty one on the way get thee to diaperswappers for some fabo deals on used (but still quite nice) kissalus (I wasn't able to find much in the way of thirsties covers) or wander on over to Jillian's- she has them new and used- and get you some wonderous cloth. They are totally worth adding a little extra laundry to your life.