Friday, July 27, 2012

Being A Grown-Up

When I was unmarried and childless, the older people I knew who were married with kids all looked so  darn together. So calm. So grown-up.

I thought for sure that once I reached a certain age or hit a certain milestone, I too would be so together, so calm, so grown-up. It was only a matter of time. I was sure of it!

So far, it has not happened. I am still waiting to feel grown-up.

And though I am far from old, I have passed a fair amount of ages and a whole lot of grown-up milestones.

I turned 29 last week. I've graduated from college, gotten jobs and apartments, I got married, I have 2 children. You guys, I am totally a grown-up. Seriously. Bona fide grown-up. I even get to vote and sign my own legal documents and stuff.

And yet I still feel like someone needs to come over around 10 o'clock and tell me that it's time to go to bed. And remind me that I need to eat more vegetables. Make sure I take my contacts out before I fall asleep. Why is no one checking to be sure I did my homework???

The more I discuss this with friends, the more I'm starting to suspect that the way I feel- that I'm faking my grown-up-ness, that I'm still just a kid playing a very high-stakes game of house- that this is really the way that EVERYONE feels.

Could this be true?!? That all of those people who I was SURE were so together, and calm, and grown-up, were really just faking it too? That we're all just faking it till we make it? If we ever do, in fact, make it. Hoping that one day we'll wake up as responsible and as grown-up and as wise as we always hoped we'd be??

Or maybe it's just me. Maybe you guys are all REAL grown-ups already, and I'm just a late bloomer. Or a non-bloomer. Only time can tell, I suppose.

David and I often talk about what mystery milestone is out there that will make us feel like REAL grown-ups. David turned 30 last year. He reports that he still feels like a fake grown-up, so that can't be it. For a long time we've joked that it must be buying either a minivan or a house. Large grown-uppy purchases must be the thing that turns you into a real grown up!! Right??

Well, just to see, we went on ahead and bought a minivan last week.
A husband! A minivan!
Two children in a minivan! I must be a grown-up! I'm almost sure of it!
We still don't feel like grown-ups. But boy, do we look it!

And, for the record, WE LOVE THE MINIVAN! It's vantastic! We looked at like two SUV's and turned up our noses. No. thank. you.

We want a freaking minivan. With sliding doors and a third row of seats and enough room to buy a baby elephant on impulse and take it home with us, no problem.

We keep putting stuff in it and yelling things like:
"It fits!"
"There's room for EVEN MORE stuff!"
"How did we live this long in our tiny sedan?!?"
"Go ahead, bring BOTH strollers!"
"Henry can't even reach Maggie in this van! YES!"
 And, from me ONLY, not David: "We could TOTALLY fit another kid in here, no problem!"

But, despite our deep and abiding love for the minivan, it has not made me feel any more like a grown-up. And if it hasn't, I have no idea what will.

We still haven't bought a house, so maybe that could be it. Or maybe it's having a third child? The fourth?? The fifth??? Five kids is the max we can fit in the minivan, so hopefully it'll be one of those. Otherwise we're outta seatbelts. Not to mention cash and sanity.


(Also, RIP Lars, our beloved Mercury Sable. You were a good car, and we will always love you. And although the gigantic car repair bills you produced did make me feel sort of grown-up, it just wasn't enough. May you always rest peacefully in that giant parking lot in the sky.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Top Two Teeth

Maggie has two top teeth coming in.

It's awful. Sooooo awful.  Fussy, clingy, wakeyuppyallnighty, drooly, cranky, sadness. Nothing like last time.

Therefore, we're busting out the big guns.


She's been very appreciative.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Storytime

When I was a kid, my dad was awesome at reading books to us. He did all these voices for the characters and would just get really into it, with gestures and funny faces and all sorts of expression.



Clearly, he has not lost his touch.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Maggie In A Chair.

This is my daughter, 
in my grandmother's rocking chair, 
on my sister's front porch.


Friday, July 20, 2012

In The Playroom

It's the dream.

They're both playing.

By themselves.

IN THE PLAYROOM, NO LESS.

It's like the stars have somehow aligned to make everything right in the world.

Also, we'll be having a parade later today to celebrate. You're all invited!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's Not The Most Charming Thing She Does

So, you know how I brag on Maggie a lot? How she's the World's Most Perfect Baby, and how she's a great nurser, and a great sleeper, and so darn chillaxed, and just as cute as a friggin' button?

Oh, you've noticed?

Sorry, I can't help it. I just really like her.

BUT.

There is this one thing that Maggie does. And is decidedly NOT cute, NOT perfect, NOT great, NOT sweet, and NOT Maggie-like at all. And yet, defying all laws of perfect-baby-girl-physics, she continues to do this NOT awesome thing anyway.

Maggie holds her poop. Routinely, she does not poop for three or four days, and then lets it alllllll go at once.

There was once a time when I could honestly claim that I had NEVER had a poop blow-out when my kids were in a cloth diaper.

That time is past. Soooooooo verrrrrrry PAST.

And, in defense of my cloth diapers, seriously guys, plastic sheeting and a roll of duct tape couldn't prevent one of these blow outs. THEY ARE OF EPIC PROPORTIONS.

And, that's not even the worst part. Are you ready for the worst part?

This is the worst part:

Every day, I try to give Maggie 20 minutes or so of diaper-free time. Both my kids have super-sensitive skin, and are prone to rashes, and so a few minutes every day of air-drying their booties every day really helps prevent issues. I just take off her diaper and let her play with her toys on a blanket for a few minutes most days.

You see where this is going right?

SHE KEEPS POOPING DURING DIAPER-FREE TIME. It's like she's waiting to feel the breeze of fresh air on her tush before she'll let it rip. It's UNBELEIVEABLE. She's done it like 4 times in a row now, which means that for over 2 weeks, I have not changed a single poopy diaper. Not one! HOWEVER, I have had to clean up the gory aftermath of her releasing 4 days worth of poop on her blanket, and then rolling around in it, and possibly tossing in a few toys for good measure before I get to the scene of the crime.

We're at the point now, where I would LOVE a poopy diaper from her. I LONG for a good blow-out! But, for the love, NO MORE POOPING WITHOUT YOUR DIAPER ON, MARGARET.

Maggie's a real winner of a baby most of the time, guys. But this? Well, let's just say that it's NOT the most charming thing she does.

The End.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Carrots & Potatoes

I taught him how to peel carrots.

You say child labor, I say fine motor skills practice.

PoTAYto, poTAto.

No, seriously, next I'm going to make him peel potatoes.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Once A Humble Single-Seater

Our hall bathroom,
once a humble single-seater,
able to accommodate THREE children taking care of business at once.

Try to contain your jealousy.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We Appreciate Cows

Chick-Fil-A had their Cow Appreciation Day yesterday, where they'll give you a FREE meal if you show up dressed like a cow.

So, uh, obviously:
I called my friend Ashley the night before to see if she wanted to dress her boys as cows too, and make a morning of it together. The fact that she responded with enthusiasm just made me love her more.

Good friends are always up for a little humiliation.

Our calves in the parking lot:



 Have you ever tried to get 3 little boys to look at the camera at once? Yeah. It ain't gonna happen.

And, Ashley and I...

well, apparantly, the price of our dignity is a chicken sandwich.

And, in fact, I'm so shameless that I even considered asking for a free dessert, since at one point during our visit I was nursing Maggie WHILE DRESSED LIKE A COW. Yeah, that's right. Show me one other cow in that restaurant with functioning udders.

I WIN, DON'T I? Yes, yes I do.

Friday, July 13, 2012

New Special Sponges

For the past two weeks, we have been presented almost every day with either apocalyptic heat or torrential downpours. Not conducive to frolicking in the backyard, let me tell you.

So, we've had to find things to do that are indoors. Also, free. Free is very important.

We have gone to:
  • the library
  • the other library
  • yet another library
  • the mall's indoor playplace
  • playdates with friends at their house
  • playdates with friends at our house
  • Chick-fil-A playplace (I buy a Diet Dr. Pepper. It's almost free. Actually, better than free, because I get a Diet Dr. Pepper. I think that should buy me at least an hour in the playplace, yes?)
Then, I started to run out of ideas and so one day we ended up at the Dollar Store. Not because I needed anything there, but because I thought maybe a brightly colored piece of plastic crap, cleverly disguised as a toy, would dull the pain of FOUR RAINY DAYS IN A ROW.

I was right! We got, among many other things, these sponges shaped like cars & boats & trains and Henry played with them ALL AFTERNOON.

First we painted with them.

Then, I let him rinse the paint out of the sponges in the sink. Apparently, this was AMAZINGLY FUN because it occupied him for 40 minutes. I kid you not. 40 minutes. THAT IS AN ETERNITY IN TWO YEAR OLD TIME.

It was enough time for me to unload the dishwasher, reload the dishwasher, wash all those dirty dishes underneath Henry's sponge pot (WHAT?), wipe down the counters, sweep the floor, and prep some dinner stuff.

Then I went ahead and saved a baby from a burning building and wrestled a rabid gorilla, becuase why not since obviously I am some super-human form of Mother.

After the thorough washing of the sponges was over, he continued to stack them, throw them, and put them in & on things for the rest of the afternoon, also took a bath with them, and then proudly greeted David at the door that evening with "Yook at my 'pecial new sponges, Dada!"

David looked at me like, "Seriously? His special sponges? You are totally brainwashing this kid."

Whatever. They were VERY SPECIAL SPONGES, thank you very much.

So forget the library. From now on we're going to the Dollar Store on rainy days.
Also, this is what Henry does when you tell him to give a thumbs up. I will never ever correct him. Ever. And I do not consider that brainwashing.

Well, not exactly.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

How To Subdue A Wily Toddler

Henry was running through the house with his beloved blanket, thrashing it wildly around his head, wapping it at the cat, and draping it over his head like some kind of bizarre toddler turban.

After yelling a few useless things at him, such as "slow down," "you're going to fall," and the ever-ineffective "be careful!" I happened to say, "Dude, we used to use those thing to wrap you up and calm you down. They have TRULY lose their purpose, haven't they?"

He skidded to a stop. "You wapped Hendy up? Yike Maggie?"

"Yeah. When you were a baby, those were the blankies we used to swaddle you up and put you in your cribbie, just like Maggie."

Then David swooped in.

"Let's see if it still works!" he said.






Guys!

It totally still works!

CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITIES!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Special Bear(s) Update

It's been awhile since I mentioned  Special Bear, and I know that all of his devoted fans must be clamoring for an update by now.

He's doing great! Here he is, with Big Boy Special Bear, looking as happy as ever!

Okay, I lied a little.

He looks great from afar, but if you get close, you maaaay notice that his left eye is a little wonky. Despite my best attempts at protecting him, and Big Boy Special Bear's diligent watchfulness, Special Bear did suffer a final Sweet Potato attack a few months ago.

And, since there are NO REPLACEMENT SPECIAL BEARS LEFT IN THE WORLD, I had to summon my inner Martha Stewart and attempt to sew his eye back on.

My inner Martha Stewart had apparently been drinking, because she sewed his eye on a little high and a little too close to center.

But thankfully, Henry loves Special Bear anyway and did not even care that his eye was wonky. Now, THAT'S true love, people.

And, speaking of love, Special Bear got feisty recently, and had a romantic fling, with Pink Bear. Pink Bear belongs to L, and she brought him over almost every day this past year, and, well.... you know how these things get started.

She's a hotty, no? Don't worry, Big Boy Special Bear was there to chaperone. No illegitimate bear babies running around this house, thankyouverymuch.

Now, not to end on a sad note or anything, but I did finally bring myself to dispose of the Special Bear carcasses from Sweet Potato's previous attacks. I had shoved them in the back of a drawer, and found them in a burst of spring cleaning fury a few weeks ago. (Yeah, I know it's summer. My spring cleaning fury shows up when it's ready, okay?)

I have no idea why I put them there, since my bear-repair skills are so clearly lacking. It's not like I was hoping to bring them back to life, I think I just felt guilty throwing them away.

But, spring cleaning got the best of me, and I did indeed throw them away. Here they are, in their final, peaceful moments.
RIP Special Bears I & II
The good news is that Sweet Potato has shown no interest in Special Bear for months now, and I am choosing to believe that this is a permanent change in her tastes.

It better be, because we are just not equipped to handle another bear tragedy in this house, and I really do not want to have to summon up my inner Martha anymore.

She's quite unreliable and tends to curse while sewing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Thanks, From The Front Stoop

Thanks for all the encouraging comments here & on FB, and for all the emails & messages about yesterday's peanut allergy post. It's really great to hear how other families have dealt with food allergies successfully, and to hear that at least some people think that this oral immunotherapy business is a legit idea. Phew!

I'll follow up in a few months and let you know if it seems to be working. And how many bags of Reese's Pieces we've gone through. I expect the number to be significant, considering that I've committed to doing this course of Reese's therapy along with Henry, as a show of solidarity and maternal love. It's the LEAST I can do.

In the meantime, as a token of my thanks, I got you this picture in which neither of my kids are smiling. But I am!



Monday, July 9, 2012

Peanuts, Epi-Pens, & Quacks

Henry is allergic to peanuts.

I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!?! Like I need my kid to develop a life-threatening allergy when I'm ALREADY doing such a good job of being an overbearing, freakout-prone, I-can't-handle-it-when-my-kid-is-sick, psycho-mommy.

But, despite my stellar laid-back parenting style, he is indeed allergic.

The first time he had peanut butter, at about 18 months, he got a few hives on his face. So we waited until he was 2 and tried again. A few tiny hives. He has sensitive skin, so I was still unconvinced that it was a 'real' allergy, so we let him try peanut butter a few more times, but, alas, every time, hives.

Hivey-hivey-hives. Blah, blah, blah, BOO.

So, trip to the pediatrician, allergen blood panel, and TADA, he IS in fact, allergic to peanuts.

And, then, guess what we got?

Yup. A freaking Epi-Pen. An Epi-Pen JUNIOR, to be exact. Because even though his only reaction now is hives, peanut allergies are notoriously unpredictable, and he could develop an anaphylactic reaction with ABSOLUTELY NO WARNING.

There's two of them in the pack, and it comes with a dummy Epi-Pen and a little diagram of a toddler thigh, so that I can 'practice' jamming a needle with life-saving epinephrine into my two-year old's sweet, chubby, little thigh, just in case he ever eats a peanut and then STOPS BREATHING AIR, ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW.

Okay.

So. Clearly you can see that I'm handling this all splendidly, can't you? Ohhhh, yes you can! I'm a paragon of calm and peaceful parenting! Be like me!

So, Henry's pediatrician, who I love with all my hearty-heart-heart told us she would give us a referral to an allergist. She then said, "I can send you Allergist A, who has is part of a Well-Known Network and is Excellent and Traditional, or I can give you a referral to Allergist B, who has a small practice, but is also Quite Excellent and is doing some New Things with food allergies." Then she said that Allergist B tends to take a more 'natural' approach than Allergist A.

So, I picked Allergist B, because I like to fancy myself 'natural' even though all our food comes from Costco and practically none of it is organic and sometimes we go to Dunkin' Donuts. Whoopsie!

But apparently, fancying myself a 'natural' gal, despite mounds of evidence to the contrary, has paid off. Because, Allergist B does in fact appear to be Quite Excellent, and is indeed, doing some New Things.

Now, before I get into this, I should admit that every time I tell someone about what we're doing with  Allergist B, I feel like they think I'm crazy. And, I'll admit, it does sound a little crazy at first.

What are we doing, you ask?

Well, we're feeding him peanuts. Every day!

You see how it could come off as a teeny bit crazy, right?

It's not, I swear. We're not crazy! Allergist B is not a quack!

Duke University has been doing a study on Peanut Oral Immunotherapy. If you are medical and like big words and stuff, you can read about it here. If you are a normal person, this article will probably make more sense. Or, you can just listen to me ramble on about it for the next few paragraphs. Reader's Choice!

The gist is this: they've taken kids with severe peanut allergies, and they first determine what amount of peanut causes them to have a reaction. Let's say it's 100 mg of peanuts. So, if they react to 100 mg, then every day, for a number of months, they feed them 50 mg of peanuts, since 50 mg is an amount that does NOT cause a reaction.

Then, they give them 100 mg again, and see what happens. If they don't react to 100 grams, then every day for a number of months, they give them 100 mg, and then they bring them in again, and try to up the quantity to 150 mg.

Get it? The idea is that they continue to expose their immune system to small amounts of peanuts, slowly upping the quantity, so that the kid's immune system can 'overcome' the peanut allergy.

This study, and others like it, are happening because doctors are beginning to realize that simply carrying an Epi-Pen and avoiding peanuts has not really been super-effective for those with severe allergies. No matter how careful you are, there's always the risk that food has come into contact with peanuts, and for those with very, very severe allergies, even coming in contact with peanut residue, or breathing in peanut particles can cause a life-threatening reaction. And, despite peanut-free foods, and peanut-free tables, and peanut-free schools, kids are still developing severe peanut allergies in ever-increasing numbers. The hope of these studies is that after successful oral immunotherapy, the kids will be able to have peanut safely in their diet, and the secondary reward is that their poor, poor mothers won't have to CONSTANTLY WORRY THAT THEIR CHILD MIGHT BREATH PEANUT AIR AND DIE, ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW.

So, uh... we're, uh... going to go ahead and do it. (See: Not Crazy, Not a Quack)

Last Monday, we spent FIVE HOURS in the allergist's office doing an oral challenge test to determine what amount of peanuts Henry can tolerate before he has a reaction. The good news is that he can tolerate a pretty decent amount. He got to 800mg before he got any hives. To give you some perspective, some kids in the Duke study anaphalaxed at 6 mg of peanuts. We got to 800, and he just got one or two little hives.

The bad news is, we spent FIVE HOURS in the allergist's office. FIVE EVER-LOVING HOURS, PEOPLE. It had to be this way though, because they want it to be in a super-controlled environment, because just in case he did have an anaphylactic reaction and STOPPED BREATHING AIR, ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW, then they would be prepared to give him epinephrine immediately, because it's super important that NO ONE DIES, don'tcha know.

Then, the next day, after the FIVE HOUR visit, we went back for a THREE HOUR visit.

(Quick Side Note: This is what we should do instead of torturing prisoners. Forget waterboarding. If we need information from someone, we should lock them in a small room with an energetic and OH SO VERY VERBAL two year old, and his teething baby sister. They WILL break. And it may not even take five hours.)

You see, on the first visit we were determining what amount he would have a reaction at. We started with 6mg, and continued to double it until he reacted. So, no reaction at 400 mg, but he DID react at 800.

So, the next day, the idea was to give him the amount that he'd be eating every day for the next few weeks, and then SIT IN THE FREAKING WAITING ROOM FOR THREE HOURS to be sure that he had absolutely no reaction to that amount.

See! Allergist B is not a crazy! Or a quack! He's verrrrrrry thorough. Three hours in a waiting room, kind of thorough.

But, here's the real kicker. Henry's starting dosage of peanut is 600 mg. So, for the next two weeks, he needs to eat 600 mg of peanuts every day. And, to make things easy on this Mama, Allergist B had a BRILLIANT IDEA!

An idea that would involve NO measuring, NO room for error, and absolutely NO worries that Henry would not want to eat his peanuts on any given day.


Reese's Pieces just HAPPEN to have 600mg of peanut protein in one candy. (Actually, it didn't just HAPPEN this way, Allergist B chose 600 mg as the starting dose, knowing that Reese's Pieces are that size. See?!?! He's a really smart dude.)

So, every day, for the next 2 weeks, Henry has to eat one Reese's Piece. Because his doctor says so. And, let me assure you, Henry is TOTALLY COOL WITH THIS SUGGESTION.

And then, after awhile, every day he will eat two.

And then, after awhile, every day he will eat three.

And then, after awhile, every day he will eat four.

And then, eventually, we will go back to the allergist, and Henry will attempt to eat a 'normal serving' of peanut butter (2 Tablespoons) and we will see if he has 'overcome' his peanut allergy.

And with any luck, I will get to throw that damn Epi-Pen Jr. in the trash one day, because even though I am VERY glad that it exists, and VERY glad to have one in case we need it, I really really really really want to never EVER need it.

So, wish us luck! And, if you think we're making a crazy, very dumb decision, please don't tell me!
I care too much about the opinions of others! Ignorance is bliss!

Unless, of course, you want to tell me that you agree with ALL of my decisions and think that I am an EXCELLENT mother. That, of course, is always fine. Reese's Pieces for you!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Summer Diaper

I love that it is acceptable for Maggie to hang out in only her diaper during the summer.

And in this heat wave, I am also very jealous of her.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Maggie's First Bites













It was bananas, guys. Bananas. Not dog poo, or brussell sprouts, or arsenic, as those pictures may have led you to beleive.

Henry also was confused by her reaction.
 
"Maggie, you want my badanda?
 I share wif Maggie, Mama?
 MAMA! Why Maggie makin' dose FACES?!?!"

Seriously, guys. DOSE FACES.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Red, White & SO VERY BLUE

Happy 4th of July, friends!!!

In the spirit of patriotism, Maggie tried to make her eyes EXTRA blue & white today, to match her red, white & blue outfit.

She did a good job, yes?