Sunday, January 31, 2010

Slow Down!

As I'm cleaning up the house from what looks like a cheerio factory/Toys R Us simultaneous EXPLOSION, and thinking that exactly 18 months ago at this very moment, my body was doing miraculous things and I was pushing that baby out (or pushing a coconut through a tube of toothpaste, as I used to say). A year and a half ago! It feels both much longer and much shorter than that in my memory.

Do you remember as a kid wishing that you were just a little older so you could go to the movies with your friends by yourself, drive, go on dates, etc? And it seemed as though the clocks and calendars of the world were conspiring against you to move extra slowly.

And then suddenly one day, pop! Out comes a baby. And the exact opposite happens. The hands of the clock are suddenly hyper-caffeinated, flying around in circles so fast that you fear they may fly off and hit you in the face. I feel like I'm constantly wishing for one more minute, one more hour, one more day. But no amount of digging my heals in slows the time down.

I can only imagine that time's speed will double when we decide to go for baby #2. I'm going to be in a wheel chair, spying on my neighbors through the curtains and drinking nothing but prune juice before I know it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sleepless Nights

Well we've had plenty of tales of cheerios here, I suppose it was time for some tales of sleepless nights.

Anna has bronchitis and pneumonia. And for the last 3 nights she hasn't slept if she hasn't been on my chest (though she did snuggle with hubby quite a bit last night).

For 3 nights in a row I've gotten less than 4 hours of sleep and I've suddenly remembered why it was so hard with a newborn baby. It wasn't the baby that was difficult, it was my inability to rationally function on so little sleep. That said, I feel like I've done a reasonable job of staying calm and alert (and still managing to get work and home stuff done during this past week).

I took her to the doctor on Wednesday and he ordered a chest xray. Ha. It was a wrestling match that required precision...and sandbags and LOTS of masking tape. Yep, they taped my poor kid to the table. I was pretty proud that she kept managing to wriggle free from whatever they tried to do to keep her still. My little one is a fighter.

She's been running a fever and has pretty much just lived on my shoulder for the last 3 days. I'd be lying if I didn't say I love all the sick baby cuddles I've gotten this week. I finally got her to eat a little chicken soup and drink some apple juice yesterday. We also got antibiotics yesterday.

And our house suddenly transformed into a scene from the Exorcist, complete with pure white medicine spraying from Anna's screaming mouth all over her bedroom wall, where it immediately began to harden.

I was so proud this morning because I got her to take some Motrin off of a spoon. It was unfortunately a tactic that only worked once and we are now back to the "pin 'er down and force it down 'er throat" approach. Not cool.

I had planned to write something else here too tonight, but I'm so tired that I can't remember what it was. Here's hoping she sleeps a little better tonight!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'll Take "Naughty" for 1,000

The toddler who has managed to unroll more than 3 rolls of toilet paper in the last 48 hours.

Who is Anna?

If this was your answer, you are the winner of Toddler Jeopardy.

This has been both a fun and trying weekend. It seems as though Anna's already bug-sized attention span has gotten even shorter and now when she gets bored with something she goes looking for trouble. And if she can't find trouble, she creates her own. In the garbage can, under the sink, up or down the stairs, in the bathroom (though, thankfully not in the toilet...yet), you name it, she's tried it this weekend.

And it's not as though we get much warning. We'll be playing a nice game of stack up a tower and knock it down and she'll suddenly leave the room, shouting "bye!" as she goes. Before you can even get up to follow her, the toilet paper is out the bathroom door and around the corner, the cat is covered in Tinkerbell stickers and half the basket of clean and formerly folded laundry has been shoved back down the laundry chute. Ok, maybe not THAT bad, but you get what I mean.

The hitting has been a problem this weekend. She's been hitting me in the face, both when she's exhausted and when she's excited to see me. I've been telling her "no, hitting hurts!" and then asking her to say she's sorry. Except now I feel horribly guilty because she's been walking around all day apologizing for...well...I'm afraid she's apologizing for existing! Or maybe she doesn't understand what "sorry" means. But I think it's the former.

Her sense of humor cracks me up. She amuses herself to the point of giggles constantly, which of course sends me and hubby into fits of giggles of our own. It's a good thing. A really good thing. I'd get a lot more frustrated with her hijinx if the cuteness wasn't as prominent!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fun at Betty Brinn Childrens Museum

On Thursday I took a vacation day and got to play mom all day long. Anna's daycare was taking a field trip to Betty Brinn Childrens Museum so my mom and I got to go along as chaperones.

BBCM is designed especially for little ones under the age of 10. Our favorite space to play was The Big Back Yard. It has a big sand table with lots of shovels and sifters, a gardening shed, a "vegetable garden" where kids can plant and pick cloth veggies, a slide, a bridge, rocking toys, foam blocks, magnetic pictures, etc. It's PERFECT for an 18 month old!

We were joking that Anna was the troll of the little bridge because she was getting very upset (loudly) at any other children trying to get near the bridge.

Once she discovered the slide she was content to play there for most of the morning. She and the other kids from daycare raced up the stairs and down the slide (and many tried to also race up the slide).

A little boy hopped into the apple truck with Anna shortly after I took this picture. He didn't speak English, but his mom did. She told me that he said he and Anna were going to drive together to Toronto and they would see us later. He was only about 3 or 4. Why Toronto? His mom didn't know.

I chaperoned this field trip last year as well. But that time, I was recently unemployed (I can't believe that was a year ago already!) and Anna was only 6 months old. She couldn't even sit up on her own yet, and now, just a little less than a year later, she was running around, trying out the exhibits and playing with her friends. I can't believe how much things change in just 12 months.

After having such a fun morning escaping the house (the snow and cold is not Anna's favorite and her formerly beloved "'side" is no longer a place she wants to visit very often), I've been wondering about other places around Milwaukee that would be good for us to check out. Toddler moms? I'm lookin' at you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Recent Sewing Project

Recently I sewed a stationery holder. It was inspired by this pattern. I modified it slightly since I didn't have a place mat but I did have some cute felt quarters from Jo-Ann's that I wanted to use.

The outside is pink with brown polka dots an the inside is solid brown. I sewed a white satin ribbon around half of the outside to tie closed. Some day I'll learn how to sew a button hole and those wooden buttons I love so much can be more functional than decorative.

There are four pockets inside: One for pens, one for envelopes, one for note cards and one for stamps. It specifically fits this stationery set, but it would be easy enough to customize the pocket size to fit any sized note cards/envelopes.

There you have it! I've been working on another "carrier" of sorts - for my writers group materials (journal, pens, lose pieces of paper, etc) that I hope to have finished by tomorrow night. As soon as I've got it done, I'll snap a few pictures.

I'd like to leave you with a photo of Lobster-Anna:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Your Teddy is Not a Potty

I dress Anna in her crib these days because, well, she's a runner. And there's nothing to make you late for work like trying to dress a moving, who not only DOES NOT want to wear that turtleneck, but is not a fan of the diaper you're trying to strap on to her bottom either.

Anyway, this morning, after we finally woke her up, I stripped off her pajamas and diaper as usual. I turned around to grab her clean diaper, turned back to put it on her and was greeted by the sight of Anna in all her naked baby glory, standing with her little Buddha-belly sticking out, proudly peeing all over her teddy bear.

I just...I...I still don't have words. I still can't stop laughing. I called in the reinforcements (Hubby) to strip the bed, scrubbed the poor bear's head in the bathroom sink and commenced the moving-target-dressing madness.

I hope we don't have too many more mornings that start out that way, but it was a funny start to our Friday.

Help Haiti

It's 20 after 9 a.m. and I've only just realized that it's Friday. It's been that kind of week. A sick child, mountains of laundry, recipes gone awry and a grumpy mood that I can't shake. My constant internal monologue of "How am I supposed to handle all this stuff AND work a full time job" was raging this morning. But then I passed this headline on the way to work:

"Death Toll in Haiti up to 50,000"

And my mental griping stopped. All of my problems are petty. And insignificant. I have a roof over my head. I have a healthy (for the most part) family. I have food on my table. And I need to shut up and be thankful. On top of that, I need to find a way to help the thousands of people in Haiti who don't have any of the things I just listed above. I've asked my coworkers and company to donate. Will you?

There are a bunch of great organizations, ministry-related and not, that are helping in Haiti. Doctors Without Borders and American Red Cross are a couple of them. I'm donating for all the children left without mothers, and mothers left without their children.

What is your reason for donating?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Haircuts and Head Injuries

Tonight was a tough night for me, emotionally and physically.

I've been meaning for more than a week now to cut Anna's bangs. Hubby informed me that I also needed to do away with her baby mullet while I was at it. He wasn't entirely wrong - her hair was slightly out of control, but it's her baby hair! How can I cut it off without agonizing over it for a few days? I decided tonight was the night. I coaxed Anna into the bathroom after dinner (not difficult, she loves the bathroom), sat her on the "big girl potty" (not difficult, she loves to sit on the big girl potty), and began to trim her bangs (very difficult, she apparently hates scissors). I did my best on her bangs and then hollered upstairs to hubby, "MULLET - TO CUT OR NOT TO CUT?!" He came down and said, "CUT!" So we distracted Anna by letting her stand on her stool by the sink and snip snip snipped her mullet right off. :( She still looks adorable, but now her chipped front tooth looks slightly out of place. She had kind of a "look" going, you know?

She's mad that I won't give her the camera - I did shortly after I took this photo.

I was on a roll! I trimmed Anna's toe and finger nails right after this (she never sits still to let me do this, so HUGE victory for me!), so I moved right on to cleaning up the toys in the hallway outside of Anna's room. My roll screeched to a halt when, as I was bending down to throw her heavily used toy phone into the bin on her bedroom floor, I banged my forehead right on the corner of the bookshelf mounted on the wall. Bleeding, bruising and swelling ensued. And I'll admit it, I couldn't stop the tears of pain. But those stopped as soon as Anna saw me crying and got very upset herself.

So now she's sporting a new haircut and I'm sporting a new goose-egg. And we'll all live happily ever after.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Our Weekend in a Nutshell

This pretty much sums up our weekend (pulled with permission from hubby's facebook page):

It's not good when Anna disappears and is suspiciously quiet...found her upstairs lining up my cherry twizzlers bites she had dumped on the floor. The shoveling into her mouth commenced when she realized she had been discovered. Felt like a baby-style drug raid...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a...Bubble Bath??

Thinking I was being a "cool mom" last night, I offered to let Anna have bubbles in her bath. She nodded enthusiastically to my offer, so after dinner, we unceremoniously stripped her clothes off in her high chair - how on earth did you manage to get rice INSIDE your onesie?? - and marched her into the bathroom. As I poured the bubble mix into the water (it's the vanilla lavender soothing baby wash that I received as a shower gift that I had yet to open as of last much for cool mom), I asked Anna "Isn't that cool?" She marveled at how the bubbles grew as the water churned the mix. I asked her if she wanted to get in and she nodded yes. I took off her diaper - I've learned through experience that this should be removed no more than 3 seconds before she goes into the tub...I've cleaned up too many puddles on the bathroom floor to forget this important tidbit - and plopped her into the tub. Sort of.

She stood there in the small piles of bubbles, absolutely TERRIFIED. I picked up a small handfull of bubbles and tried to show her how to blow them all over the tub wall (which, by the way, TOTALLY counts as cleaning the tub in my book), and put a dab of bubbles on my nose. I showed her how to "chase the bubbles away" by swirling her hands in the water or splashing. She refused to sit down, but that's not uncommon. After a few minutes she started to seem OK with the idea of bubbles, so I, the "cool mom" said "let's put some on your tummy!"

She started shaking and hyperventilating like I've never seen before. She didn't even want to touch the bubbles to get them off of her skin and she was so afraid, she didn't even cry. She just looked at me with panicked eyes and I almost jumped into the tub to hug her and tell her it was OK. Instead I quick grabbed a cup and threw water on them to rinse them off. But that was it. No more bubbles on her. She "chased" them all into the back end of the tub, which was also unfortunately where her floating penguins were playing. She mourned their loss quickly and resumed splashing (cleaning the tub).

No more bubbles. At least not for a while!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Book Bonanza

As I posted a couple of weeks ago, Anna and I read lots of stories together at bedtime. Some of my favorites are:

Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
The Bellybutton Book by Sandra Boynton
Animal Hide and Seek (Usborne Books)
The Muddy Hippo (Usborne Books)
The Complete Adventures of Curious George
The Velveteen Rabbit
Anything by Dr. Seuss
Goodnight Moon

There are several others that I like as well (in fact, I've gone back to add to the list several times while trying to type this sentence).

We have a TON of children's books. This is thanks in large part to the awesome baby shower thrown for me by the writer's group that I participate in - each of the ladies gave Anna their favorite children's books, many of them, and I was well stocked by the time Anna finally came along!

Up until this weekend, we had all of Anna's books on two shelves hanging off of her bedroom wall. On Friday, though, I noticed that the brackets were pulling away from the wall and I had the sickening premonition of Anna being squashed by not only her favorite tales of hiding ducks and cows jumping over the moon, but also some pretty heavy duty wooden shelves. So we pulled the books down.

Luckily I had an empty DVD shelf that fit her books perfectly. And the shelf fit nicely between the end of her crib and the window. There were two things that I did not take into account with this move:

1. Anna now has access to all her books...ALL OF THEM...which she must read all at the same time, piled around her, all lying open in piles on the floor. Such large piles, in fact, that I've had to lift her out of the middle of a book avalanche several times in the last few days.

2. The shelves are conveniently placed at the end of the crib, so that should Anna decide she doesn't want to nap when she's tired and crabby, she need not cry. No! She can simply monkey her little arms through the bars and pull her favorite stories into bed with her. I found her surrounded by EIGHT open books on Sunday morning. She stayed in there for over an hour and I only went in because I knew she wasn't going to go to sleep and felt bad.

I can't decide if number two is a bad thing or not. There's no way she could use the shelf to climb out of the crib, I made very sure of that. But it's awfully funny to open the door at the end of nap time only to have her look up at me as if to say "just one more chapter and then I'll come out."

What are your favorite books to read to your kids (or that you read when you were a kid)?