Friday, February 25, 2011

Sisterly Spit-Up

Disclaimer: This entry may be a little graphic and contain information one would not want to read while eating. If you haven't figured it out by the title of the post, it involves puke/vomit/spit-up. You have been warned!

Last night the girls and I were sitting in the kitchen enjoying dinner while we waited for Bry to come home from work. Mo has recently been on a noodle kick, so noodles with butter were on her plate, Maeve was dining on leftover meatloaf sliders without the roll, while I was drinking some orange seltzer deciding whether to eat leftovers or order Chinese for won ton soup. (I ended up ordering!). Bry walks in and as usual, the girls get giddy. Maeve immediately perks up in the high chair and Mo starts yelling "hi daddy! I missed you!" the minute they hear the keys in the door. I notice that Maeve's face is starting to get red and it appears hives are developing around her mouth. As I have mentioned before, she has tested positive for allergies to milk, eggs, and nuts, so I assume the egg in the meatloaf is a little strong. As Bry enters the kitchen, I have him sit and talk with the girls as I run upstairs for a dose of Benedryl.
Since she had only eaten a few spoonfuls of meat, I give Maeve some applesauce and later some blueberry baby food. Bry heads upstairs to change as they both finish their meals. Lately, I have been encouraging Mo to help clear the table so she places her bowl in the sink. Bry comes back down, engaging the girls with pleasantries like "How was your day?" and "Was your dinner yummy?" I take Maeve out of her high chair and am holding her facing outwards as Mo walks by. Maeve makes a gagging noise and then, it starts! She throws up meat and applesauce and blueberries...all over Mo!! Way I say "all over" I mean, "ALL OVER!" It's in her hair, down her shirt, on her neck, and in her mouth! Immediately, Mo screams and starts crying. I look at Maeve, who looks back at me and smiles. Bry jumps in and takes off Mo's clothes amidst the tears. He sweeps her up in his arms and rushes up the stairs, placing her still in diaper, in the bathtub. I quickly follow, as I strip Maeve and place her in the tub too. I look at Mo then Maeve and after realizing they are both okay, look at Bry and we both start cracking up.
It was completely disgusting! Poor, poor Maeve- having vomitted pretty much all her dinner up, she was happy and playing in the bath. Mo, looked with disgust at Maeve for a minute, then crawls next to her in the bath and gives her a kiss on the head. She says "Sis, It's not nice to spit up on me! Say, sorry!"
Of course, this makes Bry and I laugh even more! I explain to Mo that Maeve cannot apologize, and that she didn't mean to spit up on her. This explanation appears to have worked since they both went back to their usual bath antics.
I won't lie. It was really gross, especially as I saw bits of ground meat floating in the tub after cleaning them off of Mo's hair! It also was quite disgusting having to hose down the tub after the water had gone down the drain, leaving those bits stuck.
Once the girls were clean it was time for our bedtime routine. Every night, the four of us get together in our room for kisses and a "family hug". Mo definitely seemed hesitate at first to hug her sister, and really could you blame her? She did give Maeve a kiss goodnight and before telling her "I love you", she reminded Maeve "Don't spit up on me again, okay Shiney?"
As I retold this story today to a few people, Mo still gets a little mad. IF you ask her what happened she says, with her brow furrowed, "Maeve spit up on me. She not nice!" While she is still a little upset, I do know, however Mo is not holding it against her little sister. Already today they have been giggling and hugging, and so life is back to normal, for now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Broadway Baby!

Okay, so maybe we're still a few years away from attending a show on Broadway, but Mo successfully attended her first musical this past Sunday. Our local high school is performing Suessical and after a discussion with Bry, we decided it would be the perfect test run for Mo. We haven't taken her to any shows or movies yet (no Disney on Ice, or circus) so I wasn't too sure how she would hold up. She is, as I have mentioned almost ad nauesum in love with music, so I really thought this would be heavenly for her.
I was right, eventually.
I decided not to tell Mo about the show ahead of time. Mainly, I didn't want to have to field questions like "What's Seussical mommy?" or "I go to the show, now?". I just told her a few days before that I had a surprise for her on Sunday afternoon. Bry stayed home with Maeve and Mo and I walked to the high school.
As we climbed the stairs, I told her "Surprise, we're seeing a show here!"
She responded, "I no go to school mommy. I too little!"
I guess I needed to explain a little more.
We walked into the lobby and it was mobbed with people. Some in red shirts with the Seussical logo emblazed, others carrying flowers and holding tickets in hand, while others seem to be like me, and coming in empty handed. Apparently, one should have purchased tickets ahead of time, as seats were reserved. OOPS! As I stood in line holding Mo's hand, I couldn't help but think "Crap, we're going to be stuck somewhere where Mo can't see! Maybe this was a bad idea!" No sooner did I think this, did a man wearing one of those Seussical shirts come over to talk me. He asked if I had tickets, which I did not. He then asked if we would have an aversion to sitting front row, stage left? UM, NO! He walked us to the front row to scope out the seats, explaining that we might have a bit of our view blocked by the piano, (which turns out never was a problem!) we then paid for the seats, and then returned to our prime seats.
Before we left for the show, Bry asked me to snap a picture of Mo in her seat to capture this moment. I kind of gave him a hard time about it, but look at her. Not soon after these pictures were taken did the show start, and not soon after that did Mo migrate into my lap. However, this moment before the lights went down, Mo was excited and nervous. She was frightened that the seat would fold close, which I coudlnt' really blame her. Being as small as she in one of those auditorium seats for the first time would be nervewracking for anyone. She skimmed the program too.

I had mentioned earlier in this post that eventually she enjoyed herself.
The first song she watched bug eyed and transfixed on the stage. By song two, she was sobbing and clinging to me for dear life. I don't know if it was the loud music so close by, or the costumes or the song itself, but Mo was a mess. She calmed down a bit until song three started, and again she started crying and clinging.
We were in the front row, so I didn't want to stand up and walk out because our only exit was through the back. I whispered in her ear that it was okay and coaxed her to watch the musicians in the pit for a little while. She watched the pianist and I pointed out the trombone player and the drummer on is drum kit. This calmed her down.
After about an hour, the first act ended as intermission began. As the house lights came on, Mo asked if it was all over. When I said there was still half more, she responded "Ah, no?"
Of course being the awesome mom I am, I decided to bribe her with a toy Cat in the Hat and soft pretzel. Luckily, it worked. We came back to our seats for the second half and this time, Mo sat and watched mesmorized as Horton, JoJo, and the rest of the cast sang and danced their way around the stage.
Overall, it was a success. I was impressed at the amount of talent amongst these high school and some middle school students. If you ask Mo about the show, she is quick to tell you "I cry, just a little bit." She also will tell you that she likes the little girl. The little girl actually played the charcter of Jojo which is a little boy in the play. I tried to explain to MO that the little girl was pretending to be a boy, and she just laughed at me and said, "Mommy, that's silly, mommy!". So if you ask Mo, Jojo's a girl and she's Mo's favorite character.
I had just written a few posts back about "firsts" and how these events become less and less momentous as our children get older. I'm so glad I have that picture of Mo in her seat as she saw her very first musical and I look forward to many other shows in the future with her both on and off the Great White Way!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bathroom Bully

Mo hates the potty.
She will be three on April 1 and while most of her friends are wearing their big girl panties, gladly telling or showing Hello Kitty! or Cinderella my kid will tell you "I like diapers". If you ask her about "big girl panties" she'll tell you that she has Yo Gabba Gabba, Hello Kitty, Dora the Explorer, Minnie Mouse, & Kai Lan panties, but they have yet to be worn. They sit, freshly washed, in her top dresser drawer, waiting for her little tush. She flat out refuses to wear them and starts crying hysterically if I mention the P-word.
I have tried bribery - M&M's, stickers, reward charts, & a brand new Nickeloden DVD sits still in it's package. I have tried embarrassing her with stories of how this friend goes on the potty, and this friend wears these big girl panties, and it falls on deaf ears. She's even seen a few friends panties and says "Oooh, they're cool!" and in the next breath, "I no go on the potty Mommy". I even tried forcefully holding her on the toilet after waking up dry from a nap. She cried "No mommy, I no like the potty!" We have a mini potty which she picked and a potty seat, which again she picked. I think Maeve plays with the mini potty more then Mo.
My kid is smart, and I wonder if she's playing me.
I've read a plethora of information,advice, and suggestions related to potty training. There's a three day plan, that supposedly will get your kid potty trained in "ONLY three days". After 2 hours, 2 accidents, and dragging her kicking and screaming to the toilet, I abandoned it. I brought out the behavior chart with stickers which I had used successfully with tons of kids when I taught Kindergarten & first grade. Apparently, stickers =/= motivate my kid. I tried food, or actually the promise of gummy worms if she SAT on the toilet. NOPE! I bought a variety of books on the joys of using the potty, but she could care less.
My kid already has mastered the art of negotiation. Most of her diaper changes now involve some form of the following conversation.
Me: "Mo, we got to get you in panties!"
Mo: "I know Mommy."
Me: "When are you going to use the potty?"
Mo: "I know! How about after (insert various event here)!"
These events include Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Maeve's birthday and most recently Bry's birthday. As you can imagine, they have come and gone, and still the diapers remain.
Bry is worried we missed the window for learning.
I laugh, because I imagine if there was some magic window of opportunity to teach potty training, then there would be a bunch of grown ups in Depends!
I am feeling a bit conflicted. I feel like I shouldn't push her too much. I have heard from quite a few people not to push her, that she'll let me know when she's ready. God willing, it's soon, because she can't go to preschool in September in diapers. The other part of me is disappointed and I feel like I'm failing a bit in the mom department. She has achieved so many developmental milestones ahead of the curve, and is truly a smart, funny, and talkative child. I feel like she is too smart NOT to be potty trained. On top of this, her physical appearance only adds to my anxiety. She's tall for her age, and so I also feel like people may be judging her (and me for that matter), thinking she's really three years or four years and in diapers still.
These are the moments I wish I could just pawn her off to someone for a week or two and magically get her in panties and capable of using the toilet. I don't think I'm asking for too much here. Hopefully it clicks for her soon, because while I would do anything for my kid, changing crappy diapers for a three year old is getting old!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Different Kind of Valentines Gift

I bet I may be the only person who received this gift this Valentine's day. While Bry brought me some beautiful flowers and a balloon which Mo took as her own, Maeve was responsible for this meaningful gift.
What was it, you ask?
Maeve gave me back my boobs this Valentine's Day!
Yes, we are officially done breastfeeding! After nearly 13 months of feedings in places as varied as the front seat of our Ford Escape, a covered bench on the boardwalk of Ocean City, and sitting on the floor against the wall during music class, we made it! Maeve never had any formula and in that same vein, never took a bottle, no matter who or how much we tried. She was on the boob from birth and now went right to the cup with no fanfare.
I have to say, I am quite proud of myself. To have accomplished this again makes me feel awesome. But I have a confession to make, for about 75% of the time I am breastfeeding I really find it draining, annoying at times, and to be honest, don't really enjoy it at all. Thankfully, reading a post here I found myself nodding in agreement with Lindsay and the various comments from her readers only added to my relief. I felt a bit guilty about the fact I was breastfeeding and didn't enjoy it.
I was lucky in that I never had any issues with breastfeeding. When both girls were born, both latched not soon after birth. It went something like this: boob this is baby, baby this is boob, and neither looked back. My supply always was high- like to the point that I probably could have helped aid in the famine in Africa. I did get mastitis a few times around with Maeve, but beyond that, no other problems. Breastfeeding is cheap, requires no prep or clean-up, and once it's mastered, is relatively easy. They were the positives for me.
On the negative front, it was always me for feedings... ALWAYS ME! Bry & I couldn't really go out anywhere sans kids until Maeve was pretty consistently sleeping through the night, or at least for longer stretches of time, since the boob was her comfort. I couldn't just pass her off or miss a feeding, since she refused the bottle. Finally, any hope for modesty goes out the window when you're exclusively breastfeeding. If the kid is crying out of hunger, you find a place to feed her.
I know, I'm not the first person to have accomplished this, and I won't be the last, but I did it, twice. At the end of the day, the sacrifices of modesty, sleep, and my actual breasts themselves were well worth it. Not that formula is horrible, but breast milk is best and so that's what I gave them.
As this Valentine's day passes and we move on to the rest of the year, I am so very thankful for those beautiful flowers and card from my true love, Bry. However, the most meaningful gift will remain the end of this stage in my relationship with Maevie.
My boobs are back to their rightful owner! (That is for now, unless I get pregnant again!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

All Grown Up?

There are many different milestones throughout a child's life. The first smile, rolling over, steps, words - these are often captured with video or photographs and our excitement transferred through phone calls and conversations. It seems as our children get older those first moments seem to come at longer time intervals and for the most part, don't seem to get the same amount of excitement and hoopla as those baby ones. Sure, we take pictures of the first day of school each year and a first trip or date, but these moments become less exciting and momentous as our kids get older.
Mo is only 2 years and 10 months, but I feel like she is already getting so old. Between her conversation skills and opinions, she has developed into a real little person.
What I often have to remind myself is that while things I do everyday are mundane and routine for me, for Mo many of these experiences are new and exciting. It's these little firsts that happen all the time that are helping my little girl grow up and I'm along for the ride to witness them. Little things like drinking from a real cup can be added to the list. Mo was so proud of herself that she was able to drink apple juice like a "big girl". She had always had sippy cups or straw cups before this moment, and take notice of her face in the last picture. She unfortunately spilled a bit of the juice all over her shirt and face.

The other day, I happened to pick up Oreos from the grocery store. Mo enjoyed her cookie quite good. As I handed her the cookie, she said something to the effect of "I'm so excited!" and that is when I realized this was her first Oreo. The camera happened to be on the table so I clicked away.

There are still quite a number of big firsts left in Mo's life and reasons for me to celebrate. I can only anticipate the number of photos I will take in September when she starts preschool. Until then, I will, however, really try to take in all these little firsts and make them celebrations too!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Things you don't say to me if you want to win an arguement!

The other day, Bry and I were in the midst of a little tiff. I won't say fight, because really, it wasn't. However, as usual it was the "who's life is more difficult arguments?". I know we aren't alone in this battle. I would assume every couple with children out there goes back and forth trying to one up each other.
I had had a rather trying day with the girls. Maeve decided she didn't want to nap in her crib, and Mo's nap lasted half the time it usually does. For those stay-at-home moms out there, you know how precious nap time is for sanity! So when Bry did arrive home, I was at my wits end. He had had a rather rough day at work too, thus making the perfect storm. I was lamenting that I needed a break, I think it was something in the effect of needing a break that was longer then "peeing with the door shut".
His smart ass response: "well, you were a teacher. You dealt with kids for close to 10years before we had our own. You should be used to this and you know what you're doing. You had twenty some kids in the class. Now it's only two".


Of course, this response only added fuel to the proverbial fire and our little argument kept going for a bit longer. Eventually, we were able to laugh about it but not after I knocked some sense into him.

Parenthood =/= Being an Elementary Teacher

When you're a teacher, the kids aren't your kids. If they're bad you can send them to the Principal or at the very least, if it's an awful day, you know that once the clock strikes 2:55, the kids aren't your responsibility anymore. You get them once the have been potty trained, and can write their name, and have already passed through the terrible two's and dreaded three's stages. While you are influential in their development, you aren't the main influence. You relay their progress and delays to their parents during conferences or report cards. You don't lie awake worrying about their development or education or friends. Finally, after the school year is done, most likely, so is your relationship with them.

Parenthood isn't that easy. Since the kid is yours there isn't a Principal or parent you can send them to if they act up. The day doesn't end at 2:55 when the bell rings. It keeps going through dinner and bath and bedtime. As a parent, we'll be responsible for potty training and teaching them to write their name, as we navigate the terrible two's & three's. Bry and I will be the most influential factors in our girls lives. We will be the ones nervously sitting across the table at conferences asking "How are they doing compared to their classmates?" and going over the report cards with a fine tooth comb. There will be anxiety over grades and friends and such. Finally, once the school year is over, we'll say goodbye to that teacher and get ready to start the cycle again come September.

Thanks, Bry for the vote of confidence.
Yes, I handled twenty-some six and seven year olds for 8 years successfully. I can confidently say that I did a pretty kick ass job with it and know that I created a pretty solid educational foundation for most of these kids. While I was a pretty good teacher, it's not parenthood. Parenthood is not the same as teaching and just like you, I'm still trying to figure this gig out.

For now, we'll call this fight a draw.