Sunday, January 31, 2010

Binky Fairy

The Binky Fairy paid a much needed visit to our house this week... and it worked! For the last month or so, Scott has been talking to Owen about how "someday" he can send his Binkies to babies that need them. (He only uses them for sleeping, but we were just READY to be done.) Well, about a week ago, I said a quick prayer before bed with Owen asking God to "help the people in Haiti." Owen, being the super sensitive soul, kind of clung to the notion that "people in Haiti are having trouble," and the next time Scott talked to him about sending his binkies to babies that need them, he asked if there were babies in Haiti. Amazing.

Sooo... we marked a date on his calendar (we draw pictures for school days, swimming, play dates, etc and cross off each day before bed) to give him time to prepare for the idea. All week, he told people that he was sending binkies to the babies in Haiti, and Friday morning, he was excited to package them up and put them out on the porch.

(This was so cute, Owen was whispering "bye, bye binkies, go to Haiti, bye bye binkies.")

I was nervous that nap time would be a total disaster, but we only had about 5 minutes of tears, and then he slept for the next hour and a half. While he was sleeping, the Binky Fairy made a stealth visit to pick up the package, sprinkle some confetti, and leave Owen a new truck. We also made it through bedtime, and now we are on day 3 of being officially Binky Free!

(Okay, so we're not totally binky free. Josh has his, but he's not totally excited about it. He's using it for some naps, but not bedtime or through the night. I'm constantly debating whether to use it or not - do we want to get him hooked just to have to wean later? On the other hand, it's nice for him to have at daycare... I'm hoping Josh's indifference means it will be easy to get rid of later on.)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lead - Lend

Just a quick follow-up to the last post:
At the time I established the "Confidence in Self - Compassion for Others" mantra for Owen, I thought that I would hold that same prayer for each of our children. As it turns out, Josh came with his own prayer. Yes, I want him to have confidence and compassion, but the mantra prayer that runs through my head when I am nursing him at 4 AM is:

Lead by Example - Lend a Hand

I can't wait to see how that plays out in Josh's life.

(Ironically, I find the alliteration in these mantras to be quite annoying, but try as I might to use other words, these are the phrases that are stuck in my head. So be it.)

Extreme Empathy

When I was pregnant with Owen, I developed a little parenting wish - a prayer for how we might help him develop as a person. It was even something we mentioned when he was baptized:

Confidence in Self - Compassion for Others

Owen seems to be embracing the compassion part a bit more than we intended these days. He is feeling in full force right along with every character on the TV and in the books we read. While it's great to see him starting to understand the feelings of others, but it's gotten to the point that we're calling it Extreme Empathy. If something goes wrong for a character, I often hear a sad, sad voice whimper, "Mommy, that girl is sad..." and one of us has to sit down and try and reassure Owen that things are going to turn around before the tears start falling.

We reached a low point when we tried to watch Elmo in Grouchland a few weeks ago. When Zoe accidentally lost Elmo's blanket, the lower lip started quivering. We were able to head if off with some reassurance that Elmo would go find his blanket (that's the premise of the movie!), but when Mandy Patinkin stole the blanket away, the sobs were uncontrollable - we had to jump to the end of the movie, prove that Elmo indeed got his blanket back, and banish Elmo in Grouchland from our TV for the foreseeable future.

We've had to be a lot more diligent these last few weeks. Even books that we've read 40 times are now sometimes bringing worried looks and questions. Shows that previously had no effect bring on tears or at least require some snuggling on the couch to get past the "sad" parts. And it's not like we're showing inappropriate stuff - today Owen was watching Wonder Pets on NicJr. It's a program about baby animals that throw on super hero outfits to go help other animals in trouble (i.e. the skunk stuck in a bush or cat outside in the rain - silly stuff). His lip started quivering when the WonderPets' Flying Boat was broken, and I had to snuggle him up and rub his back for the 20 seconds it took the animals to sing "What's going to work? Teamwork!" and repair the missing wheel. Geez!

Let's just say that our attempt to watch Finding Nemo (you know, the movie where Nemo is lost from his dad for 80% of the show....) didn't go so well. Thank goodness we have a few Elmo's World DVDs from Christmas - all smiles and giggles there - and Owen knows Cars well enough not to be concerned during the 10 seconds that Mater is missing Lightening McQueen. If I start seeing tears around Lightening McQueen... I don't even want to know.

I really hope this is just a temporary phase. We want to develop compassion, but crippling empathy for fictional characters? That's just adorably frustrating.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Germ Killers and Happy Pics

Not all of my toddler activities come from a book. Sometimes, I manage to come up with my own ideas. Today's goal was to keep Owen's hands clean in an attempt to keep the sicky germs away from the baby. In addition to making banana bread (gotta wash hands before, during, and after) and allowing Owen to help flush both his and Josh's poops down the toilet (more hand washing), I invented the game of "GERM KILLERS."

The rules are simple: Everyone grab a Lysol Wipe (or 4) and run around the house trying to wipe off as many handles, knobs, doors, and window sills as possible. Clean hands; disinfected surfaces; 20 minutes of fun for an otherwise crabby toddler. That game's a winner. We may play every week.

And, because the theme for the rest of our day was, "Napping is for sissies," here are some recent pictures that are keeping my spirits up.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

All the Randomness

Here are this week's odds and ends:

- We took Josh to meet with the surgeon, and it was the best meeting ever. What we thought was a hernia 3 weeks ago has disappeared, so we'll just keep our eye on it and re-evaluate if the need arises. Awesome.
-We're facing a few health issues around our house today - Owen has a cough that got him sent home from school and wants nothing more than to rub his grubby hands all over Josh's face. I'll spare you the details of my issue, but just say that feeding Josh is not particularly pleasant for me or him right now. Urgh!
- I was totally bummed out about going back to work February 1, but I've had some good quality time with Josh this week, scheduled a massage and haircut next week while he's having a "practice day" at daycare, and cooked a bunch of meals for our freezer, so things are looking up.
- I'm actually not stressed about leaving Josh at daycare. It makes a big difference to be taking him a place that we already have a relationship. Plus, all the other kids are so excited for Josh to come to "school" - this morning 3 of them asked me if Josh was staying when I dropped off Owen.
- Josh and I got to take a dinner to Michelle and her newborn TWINS today. She looks great, the babies are beautiful, and it was great fun to compare the babies and see how much Josh has grown and matured in the last 2 months.

And Josh is really smiling!

More Toddler Busy Book

My favorite activity book (The Toddler Busy Book) continues to come through with easy activities to keep Owen occupied and both our brains engaged. Last week's activities included:

Tape City - I think I was more excited about our network of roads than Owen (I am a Civil Engineer after all) until my parents showed up, and then he couldn't wait to drag Papa onto the floor for some serious driving. The only problem with this one is that having blue painters tape all over my living room drove me crazy, so the city only survived 24 hours.

Spaghetti Art - cooked noodles dipped in diluted glue with food coloring can make a pretty interesting sculpture. It also makes a pretty monumental mess and takes FOREVER to dry, but that gave us an excuse to have some fun with the hair dryer, which may have been Owen's favorite part.
Animal Toss - I'm finding that half the battle with a 2-year-old is just giving a simple activity a cool sounding name. In this case, we gathered up the stuffed animals, placed an empty box in the hallway and used a door mat as our "launching pad" from which we tried to toss the animals in the box. No, I didn't need the book to come up with this one, but flipping the pages helps to get my own creative juices flowing.

Color Hunters - This one I did get from the book, and it was a great success. Two baseball hats and a flashlight turned us into color hunters, scouring the dark house for the color ... red! It was actually really fun to see what objects Owen would pick out and watch his brain at work.

We also revisited the magic mud that I posted about here, and experimented adding food coloring - still fun!
And what does Josh do during all these activities, you might ask? Zonks out in the Moby wrap. A parenting godsend.

Monday, January 18, 2010

World's Strongest...

For the first time since Christmas, Scott had the weekend off! We decided to take advantage and take the boys on their first visit to Sun Mountain Fun Center for some bowling fun. Josh slept THE WHOLE TIME in the stroller (which was awesome!) and Owen loved his first spin at the lanes. Sun Mountain has the bumpers, 6 pound balls, ball ramps, and even toddler sized bowling shoes.

I even beat Scott by 1 point,* but we had the most fun comparing Owen's bowling style to the Atlas Stones event in the Worlds Strongest Man competition.

That guy may be impressive, but pound for pound, I think my 2-year old might be able to take him. 25 pound child, 6 pound bowling ball? Bring it on.
*Scott requested an asterisk on my bowling score, since I did bounce the ball off the bumper 3 times during the game, but hey! that's the advantage of family bowling.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

When Boys Play House

With a pile of boxes, I saw the potential for tunnels. Owen thought that was cool... for about 5 minutes.
Scott, on the other hand, broke out Owen's tool kit and some duct tape, and the two of them went to work - playing house as only an engineer and his son could.
Owen kept dashing in and out of the kitchen for more tools and supplies, muttering under his breath, "Need fix my problem. Need fix my problem."
The finished product was pretty awesome.
On a semi-related note, I'm proud to say that my son is also getting exposure to some more traditional home making skills. We watched one episode of "Worst Cook in America" (on the Food Network) the other night. I won't be watching again. It's simply appalling that these grown adults have so little ability in the kitchen. How do they feed themselves? In the episode we watched, the guy they sent home didn't know to peel garlic before putting it in the saute pan. Seriously? Just from standing on our kitchen stool, I think Owen already knows his way around a garlic press. I fully expect my boys to be able to fend for themselves (and do it well) when they set out on their own many, many years from now.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Family Music Night Continues

I've mentioned before that when Owen was a baby, one of the few sure methods we had to keep him happy in the evenings was to have some family music time, in which Scott's guitar skills improved to the point that he was able to lead worship at church.

Thankfully, Josh is a much happier baby (thanks, in part, to an early introduction to the reflux meds), but we're still big fans of family music time. Some nights, it's cranking up the Black Eyed Peas, so Owen can jump, jump, jump and sing "Tonight's going to be a good night..." (while Josh watches in stunned silence). On nights like tonight, the guitar comes back out. I love it!

That was then:

This is now:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why they have instructions

Kids don't come with instructions.
Thankfully, most baby gear does.

Scott walked in the other night as I had just put Josh forward facing in the Moby Wrap for the first time. While he seemed happy, his head was jutting out at a strange angle, and Scott could tell that something just wasn't right... bring out the instruction book.


After - so THAT'S what you're supposed to do with his hands.
Josh is now enjoying getting to be a part of dinner preparation, craft time, reading the mail, and anything else I can do standing at the counter... Hooray!

Reality Check

The house needs cleaning...
the dishes are piling in the sink...
we're short on sleep...
I'm behind on blogging...
and we're spending lots of time curled on the couch.

Sure, there's a new baby here, but that's not the reason. Let's tell it like it is...

We're reading The Twilight Saga - and we're totally hooked!

(Yes, I am cringing even writing that, but we just can't put those books down. 3 down and 1 to go before I can exit the land of vampires and werewolves and return to real life.)

Monday, January 04, 2010

First Time On...


Owen got a pair of beginner skis for Christmas and our weather cooperated for a few days last week so we could give them an inaugural spin in the driveway.

I told Owen the skiing would need to wait for Scott to get home, but Owen was thrilled at the chance to break out his new snow shovel. Yes, he's out there by himself while I take pictures from the front porch. (I was paying enough attention to dash out and sprinkle some kitty litter on the icy parts...)

Then, after an afternoon dumping, Owen was ready to tackle the shoveling AGAIN while he waited for Scott to get home from work. (Yes, I'm inside making dinner and my 2-year-old is out shoveling with the neighbors.)

After dinner, we bundled up again and hit the "slopes" using the tricycle handle as a pulley. Owen yelped and giggled with joy (even during the falls). I don't think any of us have had such big grins on our faces in a long time.

Hooray for Winter!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2 Months!

Josh had his 2 month check-up at BMC this week. I was guessing about 8 1/2 pounds, but he surprised us all by tipping the scales at 9 pounds, 11 ounces! No wonder those newborn sized diapers just aren't cutting it anymore. He's already the 10th percentile in weight and about the same in height at 21 1/2 inches. For those keeping score, that's 4 1/2 pounds gained and 3 inches grown in 2 months. As a true Maxwell, his head is bigger - 20th percentile.

We decided to keep Josh on his reflux meds at least until his 4 month check-up. I like our doctor's theory not to mess with what's working during these challenging newborn months. While Josh's tummy isn't as bad as Owen's (hallelujah!), he still clearly has refulx - just not the kind that's covering us all with baby vomit. Few. We also did a little "tomato experiment" yesterday and determined that eating tomato sauce really does make his (and my) tummy worse. Since we never found a trigger food for Owen, it's kind of a relief to know that avoiding that one food (as pervasive as it is in our diet) is something I can do to keep this guy smiling.

The bad news from the doctor is that Josh seems to have a hernia in his boy parts. It's somewhat common, not painful, and no big deal.... BUT... it will require surgery to fix. Oy! This will be a completely new experience for our family, as neither Scott or I has ever had a broken bone or medical procedure beyond the stitches I got when Owen was born. We're pretty much expecting a trip to Urgent Care for our dare devil 2-year-old this year, but how can the littlest person in our family be the first one to go under the knife?

We have a consult with the doctor on January 11. We'll find out at that appointment whether Josh needs surgery soon or can wait a few months. I'm hoping we can wait a while, so Josh will be bigger and I will be more ready to hand him over for the procedure!

Otherwise, he's a healthy, growing boy! The best kind.