Friday, September 30, 2011

A visit to the aquarium

Every fall when N has a day or two off from school, we like to take a short family day-trip.  This year we decided to go to the nearest aquarium, which we haven't visited since N was about 2 years old.  Just as during our visit to Orlando, FL this summer, I found myself thinking, "The last time I was here I only had 1 kid."

G and N both touched crabs and starfish.

With G, I am becoming increasingly knowledgable about bugs and scorpions and all sorts of animals that N never, ever took an interest in.  It is kinda fun to be immersed in all things "typically boy."

WOW!!!  A scorpion.

Of course we had to stop and feed the lorikeets even though this is one of the things we can do at our local zoo.  It reminds me of when we visit the zoo and the kids go nuts when they see a squirrel.  

I think the kids had fun.  The food in the shark cafe was the typical sucky kind one finds at zoos, and the tour ended at the gift shop which is brilliant for marketers and one of a handful of a parent's worst nightmare.

N and G also touched sharks.  

If only this plexiglass wasn't here we could actually get our hands on that turtle.

They all really liked the frog exhibit area.  

Unfortunately the weather was quite cool and cloudy so we weren't able to walk around the neat waterfront area.  Of course after 3+ hours in the aquarium, M was cooked, G was losing steam and N was post "I want a stuffed animal" bleary-eyed from the gift shop.  So even if it had been gorgeous outside, D and I probably would have made a beeline for the car anyway to get ourselves home.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I'm a pretty thoughtful person.  Not thoughtful as in doing nice things for others.  I mean I am full of thoughts.  "Isn't everyone?," you may ask.  I think not.  Most people appear to me to be a lot about bread and circuses.  

Sometimes I want to write more about the random thoughts that go through my head.  I begin a blog about them but it goes nowhere.  And so it needs to stew.

So here are some thoughts that may or may not actually go anywhere:

1. My friend G wrote a blog post about how eating organic seems like a new religion.  Another friend of mine provided me a link to the "100 Days of Real Food" site.  I have been striving to make small changes to improve what my family eats, and for me, this is enough.  I like meat, and I like to eat junk sometimes.  If living until I'm 203 means I have to eat spinach and turnips all the time, I'd just prefer to die at 80, thank you. I think there is a lot of one-upsmanship and proselytizing in healthy eating, as well as boatloads of anxiety from the media.  

2. Religion and therapy can both do a lot of beneficial things in a person's life.  They can help a person feel stronger, feel connected, make positive changes.  But it seems that if a person finds peace through therapy, he/she is looked at as being weak or a nutcase since they needed the help of a psychiatrist or therapist.  But if a person finds peace through a radical Jew who was nailed to a slab of wood by the Roman government, then that person isn't considered weak or quite as nutty.  For me, religion was just never a good fit.  Ever.  From the time I was a child.  But therapy worked for me.  People who need to find peace should explore a lot of options and find whatever works best for them.  

3. I do, however, wonder when someone says therapy didn't work for them.  I can see if someone is in joint counseling and the other person doesn't do his/her share of the cognitive/emotional workload, then this phrase would make sense.  But in CBT, my impression is that the more open and reflective a person is, the more he/she gets out of it.  So if therapy didn't work for someone, I have to wonder how hard did that person try.  

4. Of course, then I guess someone could say they don't understand how religion didn't work for me.  Is it because in religion one has to believe and in therapy one has to reflect?  

5. I began watching a documentary about the White family of West Virginia.  Let's just say this movie makes me doubt my belief that everyone should be allowed to vote.  

6. I am such a strong believer in public education.  There are numerous reasons for this belief, but now that N is in 2nd grade I have a great one.  One day a week, her class works with the special needs class; they sing songs together and do signing.   She said some kids have Down Syndrome, some are in wheelchairs, some yell out unintelligibly.  In my experience of 12 years in Catholic education, I never went to school with someone in a wheel chair, someone with Down Syndrome, someone with Tourette's or any other unusual learning disability.  I never went to school with any Latinos.  I went 8 years without going to school with Blacks.  I want my children to know and interact with and understand all sorts of people from a young age.  

7. Oh god, does the carpool line ever piss me off.  I want to scream my head off about the following:

* the grandmother who picks up the kids like every single solitary day but waits until she is in carpool line and the kids are getting into the car to install the carseat.  Seriously?
* the guy who thinks it is perfectly acceptable for him to turn left into the carpool line while the rest of us have waited our frickin' turn in the long ass line that turns right.  I think he thinks because he's good looking he gets a pass.  Fucker.
* the people who will hold up the car pool because they want to get in the right lane.  The left lane is perfectly acceptable.  It's not like the right lane stops, but the left lane only allows parents to slow down and the kids have to jump in as the cars are rolling by.  

Brain dump complete.
May return to fluff these notions out a little more.
Or not.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The problem with not education

Today my mom stayed with G (while M napped) so that I could plant flowers at N's elementary school.  When N was in kindergarten, her teacher Mrs. A created a Reading Garden with the class using money that she got from a grant.  They made colorful art for the wall and planted rose bushes and liriope and ornamental grasses.  I have made it my goal to keep the garden maintained as best I can given my time limitations.  I weed it and today planted flowers that I moved from my own garden.  I don't do this so someone will give me a pat on the back.  I do it because I think Mrs. A's great idea should be maintained.  

I made the mistake of parking where the car rider line is.  I began working around 2:30, and by 3:05 my car was trapped in a long line of parents and grandparents sitting in their cars waiting for the students to be dismissed----at 3:50.  And it occurred to me that if every single one of them who sit in their cars for 35+ minutes every day would get out of their cars and go into the school and volunteer in a classroom, every single solitary kid in that school would be at or above grade level.  If every single afternoon, 30+ volunteers worked with underperforming students for 35-40 minutes, there would be no children left behind.  

Because I wasn't about to waste a good 30 minutes sitting in my car doing nothing, I proceeded to walk into the school and assist N's teacher in the classroom.  

This weekend D and I had dinner with a colleague of D's and his wife, who is a teacher.  She and I talked a bit about education issues, and as I do with virtually every teacher I know, we eventually got around to discussing reforms.  

Education reform isn't really about reforming education.  It is a futile attempt to reform inadequate or misguided or under-informed or completely shitty parenting.  Most kids who come from stable homes, who are not poor, who have parents who value education, who are disciplined in a consistent manner, who are read to consistently from the time they are infants, whose parents guide them to be responsible and have a strong work ethic and whose parents stay in contact with the teachers.....most of these kids do fine in school.  They read at grade level.  They do ok on standardized tests.  Sure, there are those odd-ball kids who, despite their parents being spectacular, end up being wastoids, but in most cases, this doesn't happen.

By this I am not suggesting that poor parents suck or parents with only a high school education can't be awesome parents.  I taught plenty of upper middle class kids whose well-educated parents kept them overextended in extracurricular activities or who allowed their kid to do nothing in class because they didn't want to be the "bad guy" parent or who actually did their child's work because they thought I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between what an 11-year-old and a 40-year-old can do and they wanted to ensure their kid got an "A."

So much of what a kid does in school and takes from school has absolutely NOTHING to do with what actually happens daily in the classroom.

I'll admit I am out of the loop on standardized tests, but the premise of many of them has always left me a bit puzzled.  The goal is that each year children should become increasingly proficient in reading, math, writing, science.  While this sounds good on paper, the reality is that it is kinda dumb to compare what Second Grade Class 2011 knows with what Second Grade Class 2012 knows....because there are too many variables, like all the kids being completely different children.  I have never understood the real value of seeing whether an entire group of children's math skills is better or worse than an entirely different group of children's math skills, especially if Second Grade Class 2011 has a large percentage of  parents who work with their kids and Second Grade Class 2012 has a large percentage of kids whose parents do nothing to support what happens in the classroom.  What do these tests really show us about what the teachers are teaching?

Within the same school, there are so many things that can change over the course of a year.  Last year, the first graders at my daughter's school were switched (by decree of the district) mid-year on how to be instructed in math.  The teacher said my daughter's scores weren't very good on the first test after the switch because the teachers were having to chuck everything they'd been doing with something brand new.  Mid-year.  Someone somewhere would blame the teacher for this poor score or perhaps think my daughter wasn't proficient in math.

The public education system is by no means perfect; it needs to be constantly analyzed and made more efficient.  It needs to be supported and adequately funded.  Teachers need to be well-trained and eager to work with students.

But unless or until society can find a way to hold parents accountable for what they do and don't do in terms of educating their kids and meeting all of their basic physical, emotional, and social needs, people will continue to legislate education reform and beat that dead horse.

Monday, September 26, 2011

A family tradition of ugly cakes

I used to buy pretty birthday cakes at the grocery store or bakery back when I only had 1 little girl.  N's first 3 birthday cakes were store-bought.  Even when G turned one, I purchased a pretty cake with Elmo and Mr. Noodle.  Shortly after this, when I found out I was expecting a third child, the prospect of spending on 3 birthdays every year made me rethink the $25 cake idea.

And so began what now seems to be a family tradition of ugly and yet somewhat creative birthday cakes.

N's 4th birthday that used Barbie as the Island Princess decor and cocktail umbrellas.

G's 2nd birthday cake---a track for Lightning McQueen with a homemade tower and flags.

G's 3rd birthday cake.

M's 1st birthday cake.

N's 6th birthday.....homemade cupcakes with Care Bears rings in them.

(My SIL made N's 5th birthday cake, a Scooby Doo cake.  I intended to make it myself but was so sick from being newly pregnant that I couldn't tolerate the smell of chocolate or icing or anything remotely resembling a foodstuff.)

And the beauty of it is that the kids don't care at all.  They don't seem to notice that my homemade stuff looks atrocious when compared to cakes made by people who have actual talent and skill at decorating cakes.

I like to think it's because they know that their momma made the cakes and put some thought and imagination and love into their creation.

But it's probably just that kids don't have any standards when it is cake.

A roarin' good 4th birthday

I am saving G's "big" dinosaur cake (that will hopefully look something like this although not nearly as pretty) for his and M's shared "big family" party in two weeks, so for his actual birthday I did a small dinosaur cake.  The cakes came out wonky from the pans, and I am a messy-ass cake decorator, but kids totally don't give a darn.  It's all about effort as far as they're concerned.  

Thanks to a friend's suggestion (you rock, BB!) to use Rice Krispy treats for my volcano (like the Cake Boss does) and my idea to use Whoppers as dinosaur turds, as well as a 40% off coupon at Michael's for the actual dinosaur, I think it came out pretty ok.  Certainly stellar enough to excite a brand new 4-year-old!

His grin says it all.  Dang, my momma makes a very ugly and yet terribly cool birthday cake!

G had been bugging me all day to open his gifts, so as soon as D got home and changed his clothes, G tore into his presents.  

Wearing the birthday hat from preschool.  

Now that is a happy boy!

M was off playing with his penis or something when this picture was being taken (and when all the gifts were being opened.  Two-year-olds so don't get into birthdays.)

Since N ate a big sandwich for her after school snack and G ate a banana at 5:30, I figured they would be perfectly content to just have cake and ice cream for supper.  N did eat a banana, and M ate some mandarin oranges, so their nutritional needs weren't completely ignored.

After dinner, G wanted to play with his daddy so he and D did puzzles and played dinosaurs, while N read me a book for her puppet project and M hit me in the head with balloons.

Before bed, I gave G birthday hugs and spankins and a pinch to grow an inch.  He said, "I four all day now."

Yes, you are, son.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Especially special 4-year-old you

Dearest G,

When I was 37 weeks pregnant with you, I found out you were in the breech position.  What I had been lovingly rubbing and thinking was your rump was actually your noggin.  Despite attempts to turn you, you would have no part of it.  You were determined even then to forge your own path, to make the road a bit more of a challenge for your momma.  You have always been the boy who keeps me on my toes.

Ever since you began smiling, your face has always lit up.  You smile with your mouth, your cheeks, your eyes.  You radiate happiness when you are happy and can lift someone's mood instantly with your grin.  Fortunately you smiled alot as a baby, which helped distract me from the fact that you didn't sleep through the night with anything resembling regularity until you were 14 months old.

I feel like I don't remember much of your toddler time and that saddens me because that is my favorite stage of least as far as I know.  Sure I was unexpectedly pregnant with your brother and having to finish two college courses to renew my teaching certificate.  It makes sense that I remember very little of you as a toddler, but it doesn't make it any less heavy on my heart.

As I scroll through digital pictures, it is so evident that you are the middle child.  There are a zillion pictures of N as a baby and then doing all the firsts.....swim classes, preschool, kindergarten, field trips and so on.  And then there are your baby pictures, of which there are many.  But suddenly pictures of you slack off as M's baby pictures take up more hard drive space.  And what pictures there are of you after 2009 are also of your siblings.  Even though you sometimes say you don't want to go to preschool or speech class, these are opportunities and activities that are your own, and for that reason they are special.  They set you off as your own individual person away from the shadow of your sister and glow of your younger brother.  

Your third year was a doozy, and I hope to heaven you don't remember much of it as you get older.  I wasn't always or even often in top form as a mom when dealing with your three-ness coupled with the demands of two other children.  I have tried to remember that all the characteristics that have driven me half-bonkers about you, like your persistence and argumentativeness and mischievousness, will serve you well as you learn to control them, manipulate them to your advantage and use them in the adult world.  You are a highly intelligent little boy who amazes me with your attention to detail and the things you notice about the world.

I think it is so funny that when I found out I was carrying a boy all I worried about was handling the penis.  What to do with a penis???  And in truth, the penis is the least of my worries as your mom.  I worry about supporting you even though I don't fully understand how your mind works.  I worry about meeting your varied needs and instilling a knowledge in your heart that you are so deeply loved.

Sometimes before bed, I read through the journal I keep for you, where I write down all the cute and funny things you've said and done over the past 4 years and it makes me so happy to think back on your quirks that make you G.

* As a baby you'd stick your Soothie pacifier onto your thumb and suck your thumb & paci at the same time, and Daddy called it your thumb condom.
* You made snorting/congested noises all the time as a baby so I called you Snorty McSnort.
* When you started baby food, you would immediately suck your thumb after a bite since you couldn't figure out how to eat but could "suck" it down ok.
* You couldn't say N's name forever, so you called her Sissy for awhile.
* You called all vehicles "nana" for ever.  And a helicopter was "ca-ca-ca."
* "Baby Assho" is what you called Baby Einstein videos.
* Strawberries were "strawbabies."
* One of my all-time favorites is from Feb 2011 when the parkway near our home was being built and we had to sit in traffic.  You had just started getting a little into Star Wars and you said, "Maybe Star Wars will come & shoot the diggers and then we can go home."

In the past two months or so, I can see that the craziness of age three is starting to wear off.  You are more logical, more receptive to reason.  You can control your emotions in a way that you couldn't do in the spring.  I am eager to see what kind of 4-year-old boy you will be, to discover the things that will make your face light up in smiles and your eyes twinkle with wonder.

I have never shied away from a challenge, and so I think life or god or whatever it is that guides the universe knew that you would be a perfect first son and middle child for me.

Happy 4th Birthday my impish G!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

School freakouts

I am totally unsure what to make of G right now.

The first day of preschool (Sep 12) he was very excited, but on the second day of school before we left the house he said, "I don't want to go back."  Of course, he did fine once we were in the car and on our way.

Last week his teacher (one of my FB friends) told me that G is polite and a good listener and they wish they had a whole class full of Gs.  I think she might have gotten him confused with another child.  Each day he was out of the car and running inside while I was trying to kiss his cheek and hand him his bookbag.

I told G that this coming Monday, the 26th, which is his 4th birthday he can take treats as his special snack for himself and his classmates (which he has been telling me for months would be Cars 2 gummies).  Although on the one hand he is excited to take treats and dinosaur napkins and has shown everyone the snack box a zillion times, he also said he doesn't want to go back to preschool ever again.

This past Friday, the 23rd, for the first time ever, G threw a huge crying, screaming, thrashing fit going to speech class.  Ms. Melissa had to carry him inside the building.  Once inside, he calmed down and worked just fine.  But it completely threw me for a loop.  I knew it was best to hand him off to her and drive away, but my heart was breaking.  Even when my kid is acting like a complete turd, I hate to see him upset.

My gut feeling is that G is simply reacting to not being in control....having to go to school and go to speech while M stays with me.  He likes school and likes speech but is just pissed about not having a say in the matter.

But the anxious momma in me is extrapolating this minor school angst to mean that he will struggle with school from here on out, and I'll have to switch him into different schools because he will have behavior issues and then he maybe won't finish high school and how will he find a job and maybe he'll get into drugs because of his school troubles.

I'm gonna stop there because I really don't like all the worrisome places my mind can take me.

This parenting business ain't for sissies.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back-up babies are not just a crazy Carrie idea

Long ago, before M actually came into the picture, I told D I wanted 3 kids.  A big part of why I wanted 3 kids was because if I only had 2 children and one of them died, then I would only have 1 child remaining (yes, I am super good at math, thank you.)  The one remaining child would then be an only child, and what if something happened to that child?  Then I would be childless.  In my extremely illogical head, it seemed like 3 children was a safe number of children to keep me from worrying constantly about my children dying prematurely.  Not that I wouldn't mourn the loss of a child, but at least I would have a couple children left.

Suffice it to say, Lexapro has been an excellent choice of drug for my OCD and anxiety.

D called this my "backup baby" plan, and I thought that perhaps I was weird for thinking this way.

Back on August 7, I cut out an AP article about the famine in Somalia because of this quote from a 24-year-old mother whose 1-year-old died two days after she gave birth to another child:
"I can't do anything about it.  But I pray to God to give me a good replacement that lives a long life."

Reading this made me think that I am not insane, merely born in the wrong country or perhaps the right country but the wrong century.

Anxiety just keeps me highly attuned to my fight/flight/pregnant-related reactionary responses from pre-modern times.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Odds, ends, updates, whatnot

1. The gym-hunt has come to a screeching halt.  I wasn't willing to pay $82 a month so that I could take M to childcare while I worked out at the local Y.  And after I called and spoke with someone from Urban Active she called and called and called and called, and who wants to be hassled???  Not I.  So I am trying to get a few friends to come to my house 1 day a week and have my trainer come do a boot-camp style session with us which would ramp my exercise up a little and not cost a zillion dollars.  In 2 years, when M begins preschool I can join a gym, although at that point I think I will be jumping at the chance to volunteer in the kids' school on a more regular basis.

2.  I think D and I are going to refinance our mortgage again, which would make 4 times in 10 years.  This time we're gonna do a 15-year mortgage, which would only raise our monthly payment by $13 a month.  I am determined to pay this mother off in 11 years before N starts college.  So help me.

3. I had a very nice birthday week.  I skipped book club this month to attend N's open house at school, and I skipped bunco to walk with her and her girl scout troop in our town parade, so I told D I was going to make up for it my birthday week.  He and I went out to dinner on Wednesday evening while his mom watched the kids.  Then I went out to dinner Friday night with a group of girlfriends and again on Saturday morning for breakfast with my oldest and dearest friend.  D and the kids bought me some workout tops and a digital jump rope, as well as a couple Halloween home decor items (a jewel-tone spider from G and a witch from N).  And my brother sent me the sweetest birthday card on time....which is unheard of, and if I didn't know better I would think something wonky had happened with a parallel universe.

4. Aunt Flo totally snuck up on me think month, which I think had a lot to do with N being back at school and G starting preschool and being back in a rhythm that has me getting time away from my children.  It was so nice not to be a raving bitch for an entire week.  Maybe this is only gonna be a summer thing???

5. I can't even keep up with all the new shit M is saying, and I find that I haven't written down all the cute things he's been saying for a long time, like how he says Mommy as "Mah-ee" and Daddy as "Da-ee."  This week he ran around yelling "No pants" after I changed his diaper and tried to get him dressed again.

6. G is doing so well in speech therapy.  He is like 85% understandable to most people as long as he slows down.  And he can make fish lips now, which he couldn't do in February or even at the start of summer.   His speech therapist couldn't be more wonderful, and I'm now able to just drop him off rather than having to hang around and entertain M in the hallways (keeping a toddler quiet and contained in a school hallway is less fun than having a SuperGlue accident in one's nether-regions).

7. D gave N an old MP3 player he got at an engineering conference, so she totally thinks she's all that and a bag of chips.  It is cute and weird and a little heartbreaking how grown-up she is becoming.  It is increasingly difficult to think of what to get her for Christmas and her birthday since she is totally straddling the chasm between little kid and big girl.  It was so much easier when she just loved Dora and Disney Princesses.

8. I try not to vent on here about D since that is what my mother is for.  I was ready to strangle him when he illegally downloaded an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiam" and managed to get my cable modem account (in my name) temporarily suspended (when N was at school and the boys were napping).  And he asked me on my birthday if I wanted to have birthday sex, which I politely declined.  As my friend REW has said, "Men.  Can't live with them, can't legally shoot them."  

We're lame, but I like it

When Netflix raised it's rates earlier this month, I began thinking about whether to cancel our streaming feature.  D and I get a dvd by mail every week and try our best to watch a movie together every weekend.  Since we got rid of satellite long ago, we like having the streaming so the kids can watch shows that aren't on PBS.  But I didn't know if I was gonna be willing to spend an additional $6 a month for it.

In addition to being freakishly frugal, our family tends to be quite lame when it comes to activities.  I do playdates and library visits and zoo visits during the mornings of the week, but generally on the weekends we lay fairly low.  We visit grandparents or my brother's family.  We go for family walks together.  We play outside in the backyard.  The kids really get excited when D and I swing them in a blanket (not all at the same time, for crying out loud---N weighs 64 lbs by herself) before bed and sing "Rock a Bye Baby."  They especially love "Daddy Wrestling Time."

We don't go to movie theaters or see Disney on Ice or do much of anything that costs money since there are 5 of us now and that could get quite expensive.

Generally, even on Friday and Saturday nights, the kids are in bed by 8:30.  It would be very unusual for anyone to see my tribe out and about past dark in winter and past 8:00 in summer; truthfully, it would probably mean we'd had to take someone to urgent care.

We are highly routine-oriented, and while that doesn't make for entertaining stories, I think it is nice that we just spend time together, walking or reading or letting the kids spray each other with water on the patio or race tricycles down the driveway or chase bubbles in the backyard or jump in leaf piles.

So we're keeping the Netflix streaming because we I can suck it up and deal for $6 extra a month.  I don't know when I stopped worrying that my kids' minds would turn to jello from watching too much tv, but it is nice that the weekends are less of a worry fest than they used to be.  Plus, we gotta have something to do on rainy, cold days when we can't get outside.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Follow through

I am a huge believer in follow through.  If I say I am going to do something, I do it.  Even if I'm sick.  Even if I decide I don't want to do it.  If I say I am going to be somewhere, I am there, although I am often late (because of the 4 yahoos--I'm counting husband here too--that I generally have to bring with me or get settled before I am allowed to leave my home).  

And this is a value I am hell-bound determined to instill in my children.  Someone's word is their bond, or should be.  

If for some reason I have no choice but to cancel (kids being sick or something unforeseen), I feel terrible and call whomever I am letting down to beg forgiveness.  

Unfortunately, an awful lot of parents seem to think that it is perfectly ok if their children change their minds midstream even if they have already committed to something.  

Rather than telling their child, "I am sorry that you have decided you would rather do "X," but you made a commitment to do "Y," so you are going to follow through because you would not want someone to change his or her mind and leave you in a lurch."  And if my children complained, I would, in some kind but resolute motherly way, tell them to suck it.  

There have been two instances in recent weeks in which kids N and I know have agreed to do something and then changed their minds because they would rather do something else with other friends.  Unfortunately, their parents didn't hold them to their agreements, and it just makes me seethe inside.  Aside from being a complete waste of time (preparations made and emails sent and expectations in mind), it is also hurtful to leave others to do things without the help you promised them.  

Sure it stinks to hold one's child accountable to their promises and commitments because of the potential whining and complaining and sour-puss faces.  This is punishment for the parent, to be sure, but it is necessary to instill in children that they can't just whily-nily drop plans or change their minds when they've said they will do something.  

Oh wait.  Adults do that kind of shit too?

No wonder I am so misanthropic.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The funny/sweet and also sorta annoying things about nursing an almost 2-year-old

I just saw a cool link on FB about breastmilk, which jarred my memory that I had something I wanted to blog about---the continued nursing of the 23-month-old kid.

Most of the time M says "Naaah" when he wants to nurse, although sometimes he says "Urse."  When he wants to switch sides he says "uss."

Today G's playgroup met over here.  Apparently, it was Super Suckle Day as well.  Not knowing M's nursing lingo, my friends asked, "How do you know that he wants to nurse?"  I said, "If he's laying in my lap bugging the hell out of me, that's how I know."

I definitely have my moments when I am like, "This extended nursing is for the birds," but then I see the aforementioned cool poster or I remember that he's my last baby and once he is done, that is it.  No more sweet baby cuddles in my arms, snuggling up to my chest.  M seems far younger and more babyish than G or N did at the same age, and I think a big part of this is because he is still breastfeeding.

M's language is in the process of exploding.  Every day he is saying or attempting to say new words.  Evidently, since nursing time equals relaxing time, it gives M a chance to remember all the important words he would like to say to me.

Like "Bite."  He doesn't bite me, but he sticks his fingers up near my mouth, detaches from the nipple and says, "Bite."

Or "Isss (kiss) Toes."  He detaches, speaks and then nearly jams his foot up my snout.

Sometimes he detaches, waves his arm in a circular motion over his head and says, "Rahw n rahw" (round and round) as he looks up at the spinning ceiling fan.

Other times he looks up at the plaques above the chair and the knickknacks on the shelf, detaches and then says "Tie" (tiger), "Baby" and "Orse" (horse).

Beyond the verbiage that makes extended nursing even more extensive, breastfeeding an almost 2-year-old can also be mistaken for "Toddler Wrestling With Mom."  He doesn't do this while actually nursing, but when climbing onto my lap to get settled to nurse or switching sides.  The gymnastics are something else--- rearing back, jumping, shaking my shoulders.

I tell D that M will probably be the smartest and healthiest of our kids because he has nursed so long, although he could end up being most well-adjusted because he is the third child and we've just sorta figured a lot of parenting stuff out.  (Or simply given up.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Getting my craft groove on.....

I love, love, love fall.
Always have.

One of my favorite memories from childhood is walking up my street during fall, around dusk.  The street was tree-lined.  Birds were gathering in the tops of the branches, squawking and preparing to head up into the sky in a erratic swarm of feathers.

D and I were married in the fall because it is my favorite season.

I could keep Halloween decorations up for months and months, but I get sick to death of Christmas decorations after 3 weeks.

I have had the desire lately to either update some of my well-worn Halloween outdoor decorations or make new ones based on ideas I've gotten at that most addictive of stores:  Michael's.

I have seen pumpkin towers at craft stores and think they look really neat.  By now, they are probably completely outdated but I finally decided to spend the $20 for materials and make myself a small one for my front porch.

Being the frugal freak I am, I made it useful for Halloween AND Thanksgiving (because then I've only spent $10 per season).

This is the Halloween side, obviously, but when you turn this baby around....

there is the Thanksgiving side.  (The middle pumpkin says "Beauty.")

At Michael's, I saw a wood/metal sign that said "A Mean Witch and Her Little Monsters Live Here."  I thought it was really cute, but it was $14.99.  Plus, I already have a Halloween wreath for my front door that I like.

Dilemmas, dilemmas.

So, I decided to create my own addition to my wreath using a small piece of plywood I bought for $.49 and a wooden witch's hat for $.69.  (I already had the Woodcraft marker at home.)

This is my wreath before.

This is what I made with paint and my cheap purchases.  I made D into the smelly ogre so as not to exclude him from the Halloween festivities.

This is the wreath now thanks to a little hot glue.

I like doing little crafty updates like this.  It gives me something to do when the boys are both napping since I can't get into anything I'd REALLY like to paint the family room and kitchen.