Saturday, September 28, 2013

Eighteen months

Button is 18 months now and I don't usually mark her monthly anniversary dates after 12 months. Mostly I just start to look forward to giving her age in years. But 18 months is a bigger deal for me than say 15 or 20 only because it is the halfway point of the 1 year stage, the last stage where they are more baby than child despite the toddler tag that's been attached since 12 months old. One year olds still make remarkable development leaps and bounds. Not quite as drastic as newborn to 1 year but still there is a big difference between a 12 month old and a 24 month old. Walking, running, words and phrases, it all happens and happens quickly during the one year age. So now she is 18 months old and at the halfway point to becoming a 2 year old. It's amazing the progress she's made in the last 6 months. Walking at 15 months. She just learned to climb on the sofa and ottoman. She's started reaching for hands to cross parking lots and streets, something Bub never did. The other day she reached for both my hand and her brother's to cross a field. It was pretty adorable. The amount of words and phrases she knows is astounding. We can carry on a mini conversation sometimes. And even if she can't say the words she understands so much of what I say. She loves her brother so much. She follows him around just as I predicted. And he gets annoyed with her also as I predicted. But he takes care of her too and they love it each other. She loves the dogs way too much. And they tolerate her as much as they can. They are good dogs.

Her hair is almost long enough to put in a tiny ponytail and it is curly like I wanted though still blond for no good reason. She is a pretty little girl. I love her face and her tiny little self with her no longer chubby thighs but her round little belly. She reminds me of Bub. Sometimes it is hard to remember him at that age. But I look at her and I remember. And I look at him and I realize that she will be that big one day. It all goes by too too fast. Even if it is a cliche to say, it is still true.

I wonder what the next 6 months have in store. Her 18th (closer to 19th)  month checkup is next month and I am hoping she's gained some weight and the doctor will finally start to leave us alone about how small she is. I'm hoping she will have less separation anxiety when it comes to me. Lately she's been really clingy and I wonder if going to all the daycares has made her paranoid because she isn't that way with BT. Maybe it's because I see her a lot less. Who knows how the mind of a wee one works? I have to say that I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. And I have to remind myself to enjoy the free hugs and the baby kisses and the general smallness of her. It goes away faster than I want to admit.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Soda Pop

I've decided to give up soda. Again. I gave it up once when I was 16 and didn't drink it for 10 years or so. Well, total truth, I think I drank Sprite. Basically I gave up caffeinated sodas. I wasn't a fan of being addicted to something and once I realized that I was addicted to caffeine, I gave it up. I did so well for so long. And then I got pregnant and had a craving for Mr. Pibb. So I would have a small glass a day.  But later that lead to drinking it more and more. I've given it up off and on since then. But earlier this week I realized that 1. I don't need to be drinking as much soda as I do now and 2. It's too expensive to be buying it all the time. Right now I'm not thinking of giving up caffeine altogther or anything because that's crazy especially with the coffee and sweet tea that I love. I'm thinking I'm going to give up caffeinated sodas to start. It's seems reasonable and I need to get back to drinking more water anyway. If I slip and have one now and again no big deal but I don't want it to be a daily habit anymore. If I can't seem to get out of bed to exercise right now, then this is the something that I know I can do.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned Books Week Read-Out

You'd think I would have posted about this at the beginning of the week rather than the end. But this week was Banned Books Week, a week to celebrate books that have been challenged or banned and to bring to light how often and pervasive book banning can be. A lot of libraries have read-out where they invite the public to get together and read passages from banned books. Or at least that's how my library has celebrated it for the past 2 years. Our read-out was Tuesday. I really hate getting up and speaking in front of people but I managed to get it done. And somehow I decided to read the passage from Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, one of my favorite books, when Tita breastfeeds her nephew. I had originally picked out a section when Tita's crying into the wedding cake makes everyone cry and get sick, but it seemed too tame. Then I thought about reading the part where her other sister is taken by the solider but in the end I compromised between the two and went for the breastfeeding. Because I could see someone objecting to it. It fairly well and I was only somewhat embarrassed.

There wasn't a huge turnout though. I think the first year is always the best and it was pretty hot out. There were a few students taking notes because I am betting they will get extra points for showing up. But not that many faculty came which is a disappointment. The head of the English Department came and that was nice. All in all it lasted an hour and I think it was nice. It was a good way to celebrate Banned Books Week at any rate.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Light in their eyes

One of my new coworkers has a 2 year old girl. I met her the other day. Afterward I was telling BT about it. And I was telling him about the light that a lot parents get in their eye when they hear I have an 18 month old when they have a toddler who is older than mine. They get this gleam in their eyes like they know more than me. Like they can't wait to say "well, when so and so was that age" or "wait till she hits this age!" I know because I'm pretty sure I get it too. But the funny part is really when they hear I have a 6 year old. They look a little deflated. Their moment have a parenting superiority is over and by a lot. Because I have not only managed to survive baby years but I've done it twice. And I've already made it past the toddler years once and I'm working on the second time. BT knew what I was talking about. He's seen it too. So it's not just me.

But it's a natural thing, I think, to want to flaunt your ability to keep your kid alive and relatively happy for a decent length of time, well, basically any length of time. It's not any easy thing to do. And surviving year one is really something as is surviving year two and every year after that.

It's also funny that parents of pre/teens will generally just roll their eyes at you and basically tell you that you ain't seen nothing yet. I believe them. Because I know I haven't.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Homework is a serious source of frustration at my house. Serious. It's hard to get an ADHD child to focus on his work. He needs to move. He needs to tell me as many stories as he can rather than write his spelling words. He needs to complain about how much work he has to do. I get it. I do. But I just want to get through it, to get it over with and done. I don't have the best attitude about homework frankly. And I know I'm suppose to be the example and to be his cheerleader. I try. I do. But it's frustrating. And on top of that, I've got Button who is either upset that most of the attention is being paid to big brother and so cries for my attention and then proceeds to get into everything in the pencil box when I pick her up. Or she realizes that she is not the center of attention and proceeds to use that time to wreak havoc while my attention is focused elsewhere. Case in point last night we were doing fairly well going through homework (why does a 1st grader have so much?). She realizes this is her moment and decides to go through the liquor cabinet, pulling out crystal candle holders and gnawing on the candles. And every time I said her name, she smiled and put them back... until I looked back to Bub. Then she'd do it again. She was pretty pissed when I put a hair band around the knobs so she couldn't open it anymore.

I honestly really need another adult home at night. I'm not sure how single moms do it all the time. I have such respect for them. Because even though 5 out 7 nights I'm on my own with them, BT is there for the other 2 nights and that really helps out. Both for the kids and my sanity. But that hasn't happened yet so wishing does me no good. It also doesn't help that Button is the littlest bully. I had to put her to bed last night so the dogs could eat. Because she took the bowl away from the big dog and then went and kicked the bowl the little dog was eating from out of his way. She is a mess. That's the thing about toddlers. You can't turn your back for a second but I feel like I'm either ignoring one or the other. If I focus on her all the time, then Bub gets neglected and I don't want that. I guess that's a balance most mothers of two or more have to find. Spending enough time with each child but not ignoring the other. A lot of moms worry about not loving the second one as much as the first. Because how can you love someone that much and turn around and do it again? You just can. That was never my worry. I knew I had enough love to go around. My worry was and still is time. How to find enough time when there isn't much to go around already. I have 3 hours at night for suppers, baths, homework, bedtime stories. I need a time turner or something.

But despite these frustrations and more to come as she gets older and starts to have activities too plus school in 3/4 years, it is all worthwhile. Even when I have had enough of them and wishing the age of safe haven laws extended beyond 30 days, the hugs and kisses and the I love you Moms make up for it. I remember one time when Bub was being ridiculous and we'd had enough of him. Then he turned around and threw his arms around me and gave me a kiss.  And BT said "There he goes, making it all worthwhile."

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Songs about my children

It's a little silly but for each of my pregnancies I've found a song that sort of sums up how I felt about the new baby.  Or at least a few lines in the song do. This morning I was feeling sentimental and I listed to the songs I identifiy with each pregnancy.

For Bub, Michael Bublé was becoming popular and he had "Feeling Good" out. I love jazz standards and I love this song. But it's really the lines
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good

that summed it up for me. Because it was a new life for me. A new life growing inside of me and a life that was about to change drastically for the better.

 For Button, it was nothing so classy. It's actually the Wanted's "Glad You Came," specifically the lines
The sun goes down, the stars come out,
And all that counts, is here and now,
My universe, will never be the same, I'm glad you came, came came

I know this song is about a girl and a guy but for some reason those lines really summed up how I felt about having another baby. I was glad she came and my universe would never be the same. It's amazing how such a tiny person can change everything. But she did and she does and I am ever so happy about that.

I wonder if anyone else does/did this or if it's just me. 

Monday, September 16, 2013

No TV, no football

I've never really been a huge football fan. And I'm still not to a certain degree. When I was at LSU for graduate school they won the National Championship and it was around then I started to pay attention. I think my problem was I didn't understand the rules of football. It always seemed to me they would take forever to play one minute and it took a long time for them to set up for less than 10 seconds of play. But once I understood the rules better, I started to enjoy it more. Now I will seek any LSU or Saints game and try and watch it. I don't try to watch other teams so I wouldn't say I'm a football fan, just a Louisiana football fan. I will root for my team but very few others. My husband is a big football fan though. He plays fantasy football and will watch just about any game.

But we canceled our TV service if you remember and now there's no football at our house. It's a little sad actually and I think if anything breaks us and makes us bring back TV it will be football. How sad is that? Surely we don't really need sports. We get along fine without it most of the time. Luckily my parents will invite us over so we can watch with them. Football is always better as a social activity, right? Right. Well we will just have to see how this goes.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Where you were

There are some questions that define the lives of a generation. JFK's assassination is one for my parent's generation. 9/11 is one for both theirs and mine. And the question is always where were you?

I was living in Baton Rouge at the time. I hadn't started graduate school yet and I was working at the mall both at a shoe store and doing seasonal work for the San Fransisco Music Box Company. Actually that day we were unpacking and setting up the store so I had to be at the mall early. I remember driving to work and the DJ of my favorite morning show talking about the Pentagon. It didn't occur to me that something serious was going on. It seemed like unconfirmed rumor. I didn't understand what was happening. But by the time I got to work it was pretty apparent what had happened. The district manager for the company kept saying if the president goes to Colorado then war has started. No one really knew what was happening at that point. Sometime during the morning I thought to call BT to see where his dad was. He does a lot of flying. BT was sleeping and had no idea what was happening. But his dad was home, I think. We listened to the radio as we worked and virtually no one was at the mall that day. When we were done, we went home and I finally saw the video of the Tower falling. And I cried. It was just so very unbelievable. All of this loss and devastation. People who were just living their lives, going to work, doing the same things they did everyday, just ... gone. So much. It was too much. It's always too much when something like this happens.

So I don't have a dramatic story to tell. It's a small story but it is the answer to the question. The question to which everyone has an answer. There are moments that stick with you forever. This day is one of those.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Looking at daycares

BT finished with school and now has an associates degree in computer networking (with a 4.0! So proud of him). He needs to take a certification test next but he has started looking for a new job. So I started looking at daycares in the last couple of weeks. I don't want to have to scramble looking at daycares when the time does come and we do need one.

There is a new daycare opening very near Bub's bus stop and it would be the perfect place. We went to look at it two Fridays ago and it is super nice, very state of the art with cameras and huge rooms and an awesome playground. But imagine my shock when Bub's last Pre-K teacher turned out to be the Pre-K teacher there. Yes, the lady who was borderline abusive to my child and who is the main reason we had to pull him out of his last daycare is a teacher there. So needless to say Button will not be going there. I told the owner that although her place is super nice I can't bring my daughter there while that lady works there and gave her a brief explanation of what happened. I wonder how the conversation went after I left. So that place is out.

Last Friday we went to another new daycare that just opened. Well, it's a new building but an established daycare. It's not quite what I'm looking for but it is still nice. Instead of having individual rooms for the ages it is one big room sectioned off with gates. Not what I'm use to, but it makes for smaller classes for the one year olds. It seems fine. Also with cameras though not internet-accessible. Still the more monitoring the better in my opinion. I went ahead and put her on the waiting list just in case. There are two more I want to look at and maybe put her on the waiting list.

I am both ready and not ready for the changes that are coming. I really don't want to put her in daycare. After our last experience I have developed such a distaste for daycare. But she will enjoy socializing with other kids and it will be good for her to get out of the house and explore a new place. Maybe I'd be happier if she only had to go part-time. No matter what she is ready to go somewhere, whether it be daycare or mother's day out. It's about time for her to learn to play well with others. I'm just sure I'm ready for her to go.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hot times in the 'ville

Saturday was already a hot kind of day. Bub had soccer and then we ended up at my university looking at the wildlife (we have a swamp on campus) so we'd been sweating and outdoors most of the day. Saturday night we were relaxing and about to have dinner when I commented that it was getting out in the house. I figured it was just from having the oven on but BT went to check and nope the AC was no longer blowing cold air. After some online research he figured out it was the capacitor, a part we couldn't get til Monday. So what to do?

Well, we ended hauling Bub and a sleeping Button and our dogs plus my mom's dogs (they were out of town for the weekend) over to my parent's house. I slept with Button on a mattress on the floor of the guest room that is being fixed up. I always think how lovely co-sleeping is until I actually have to sleep with one of my kids then I remember how uncomfortable it is. Maybe it's just my kids. So that was one night of not so great sleep but at least we weren't sweating in our beds. And we stayed again on Sunday night too with Button in a pack-n-play that I finally found out in my dad's shop. But my parent's have laminate wood floor and all night long the damn dogs were pacing around with their nails clacking against the floor. Click clack click clack. It was insistent. But, though I am complaining, at least we got to sleep in a cool place. It's just not my own bed with my own stuff. And Button woke up at 6 a.m. because of me or my alarm or the dogs or something. I think the only one who slept great was Bub but that kid can (literally) sleep through fireworks. 

Luckily this morning he got a replacement part and got it fixed. Now I need to go clean up my mom's house and get the stuff we left over there. It will be nice to be back home and only with our own dogs who know the drill. Routine is very important in my household. It's how we make it through the day.

And this is the downside of home-ownership. When something big breaks you have to fix it yourself. Thank goodness our house is fairly new, but I'm afraid of what happens when the AC breaks and BT can't fix it himself or if the water heater goes out. Knock on wood that none of these things happen anytime soon.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Bus Decision

Ever since we found out about Bub's new school, there's been a debate about bus over car rider. Mostly an internal debate for me since BT is cool with whatever. It's because his new school is really close to my work, about 15 minutes away in regular traffic. In theory I could take him and pick him up. It would be leaving work everyday for my break twice a day. And I would get back in time in the afternoons to spend 15 minutes at work and then leave for the day. The simplest solution is to just let him ride the bus. It's a long bus ride for him but the easiest thing. I bring him to the bus stop every morning which puts me 15 minutes late to work but I can take it off my lunch. And then he rides the bus home where my mom or BT picks him up at the bus stop. So, although I hate to make him ride the bus for so long, we decided to go with the simplest thing first. And if the bus doesn't work out then we can switch to car rider. I'd heard horror stories about the length of the line but when I picked him on Wednesday it wasn't that bad. I think it was because I went late.

Thursday was actually his first day to ride the bus both ways. He said it was long but good. He had no complaints and I think that this bus driver has control over his bus unlike his last one. The last bus was pure chaos and I don't think the bus driver cared so we had started to bringing him and picking him up everyday. But with the new school, it had to be the bus again or at least give it a try. So far so good. A 5th grader who gets on the bus with him offered to watch him on the bus which was very nice and sweet and actually makes me feel better about the bus. So although he's only been on the bus in the mornings since Wednesday and in the afternoons one day, I think it might work out. Though I'm ready to move on to plan B if necessary.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On repeat

Lately Button has been our little mimic. It can be odd to hear yourself repeated back in an unsteady little voice, but this is about the age when everything you say starts coming back at you.

For the purposes of these anecdotes let's call her Lotte.

So the other day she was playing her favorite game of talk on the phone. This is where she holds up anything vaguely phone shaped and talks into it. Sometimes she hands it off to the nearest adult and makes us talk on it. Anyway, so she is on the "phone" pacing (just like BT does) and talking. Suddenly I hear No Lotte! So whatever conversation she was having she admonished herself. And last night the pantry door was open and she wandered toward it. And then clear as day I hear her say "Whatcha doing Lotte? No no" in a tone so very much like her dad's. It was hilarious. Apparently we tell her no a lot. No, you can't plug things in. No, you can't dig in the trash. No, you can't pull your brother's hair.

It really does drive home the most frequently used phrases and shows you just how you talk to your kid. It can just be so unexpected when they start repeating you back to you.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Kids at work

Bub came to work this morning. It's a nice perk I have here, that if your kids need to hang out for a little bit than no one really says anything. I have an office with a door so I can always close it if necessary but he is pretty good at work. Lately whenever he comes to work with me he plays on his Nintendo DS or on my Nook so it keeps him occupied. When he was younger he would color or write or I'd bring his little computer for him to play on. He's always been good at coming and hanging out quietly with me which is saying something for him.

I'm not the only one who brings her kids to work.  But the others tend to bring theirs more often. Two ladies get their kids from school and they come almost every afternoon. I've thought about doing that with him since his new school is closer but the school doesn't let out til 4 and I don't think I'd have enough time.

Bub shows up rarely. He came for a week in the mornings before a mural painting camp he did at the Childrens Museum this summer and he came today but it is a rare thing for him to be at work especially now that school has started. It's kind of nice having him around. I like having a little extra alone time with him that I don't get anymore now that my attention is so very often divided. Because for 5 years it was just us and he got so much attention and now he has to share. I don't think he minds but mother's guilt and all. Still I'm glad to have a few extra minutes here and there or even a few hours even if he is just drinking hot chocolate and playing in my office.