Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another Ode

I realize that this isn't exactly about Oliver, but it is. And this isn't to down play the support I get from my own mom, which is invaluable to me, and I love her but because she is my mom it goes without saying.

No, this blog is primarily about a woman who gets very little credit for her part in helping to raise my son. She lives 3 hours away, but her support and love has been one of the rocks of my parenting style. I hear from so many women how unsupportive and mean their mother in laws are when it comes to the way they are raising their children. Alas, I can not join their ranks. I can not angrily pound out a diatribe about what a witch my mother in law is and how I don't get how my husband escaped unscathed. Instead, I smile to myself and silently thank God for my mother in law.

For reasons out of her control, she couldn't raise her sons completely the way she wanted to. Due to lack of support from her workplace and having to return to work so quickly, she couldn't cloth diaper and breastfeed for as long as she wanted to. However, her determination that these are the best for babies, encouraged me and supported me when I made the same decisions about how my son was to be raised. When others scoffed, she smiled. When others protested, she encouraged. When others argued, she was on my side. She is one of the reasons my son is intact, cloth diapered, breastfed, healthy and happy.

It wasn't always this way. I used to think she was angry with me because I was used to loud mouthed frogs (my family) who were only quiet when they were mad. It made me uncomfortable that she was so generous and had such a servant's heart, I was used to being the hostess. I admit, I didn't like going to her house much, until, that is, I had my son. Her home became a resting place for me. Somewhere I felt safe from questions and critisizm about how we were raising Oliver. A place of encouragement and a soft place to land when I felt like the world was against me.

I never wonder how it is that her son, my husband, turned out the way he did. It was obvious once I got to know her. He inherited her slowness to anger, her hardworking spirit, her graciousness of character and her unfailing, unwavering loyalty to her family. Thank you Mom!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Riding on a Train!

Sometimes being a stay at home mom really gets you down. There is the boredom, the lack of respect, the dishes, the whiny kid tugging at you all day long. Sometimes though, there are these moments where you stop and think, wow, how lucky am I that I get to do these things with this amazing human being I made!? Instead of sitting behind a desk doing a job I hate, I get to watch a new human experience things for the very first time. I get to watch him form his opinions, likes and dislikes and actually see him learn. I had once such moment today.

We were going to go to Barton Springs, which was closed for cleaning (how do you clean a natural spring? Do you take all the salamanders out and scrub them down??) because it was a Thursday, so instead we decided to go play on the playscape. Well, the playscape was closed due to "Tree Observation." Honestly? What in the world could be so important about watching a tree that they had to shut down a playground? Unless they do tricks, I say open it back up!

An hour, one jug of water, and one very smelly diaper change later, we decided to ride the Zilker Zephyr, the little kid train that goes around the park. This was Oliver's very first time on a train and he did so very well....most of the time. He wanted to nurse through most of it because it was naptime - my bad!- but the rest of the time...well, see for yourself!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Do NOT Eat Mangoes Naked!

Last night, Oliver got a horrible diaper rash, the first of his little life. We quickly did an inventory of everything he had eaten the past week. Peanuts? No, he had those on Saturday. MSG in Chinese Food on Sunday? No, he has had chinese food before! Mango this morning? Hmmmmm....Off to Google!!!

While we are waiting for the search results, let me give you some background. If you know me, you know I am very very allergic to Poison Ivy/Oak. I mean, I can't even go downtown Austin in the summer/fall without getting a horrible rash because it is in the air. All this spring, I have had poison ivy rashes on and off. I could not figure out how I was getting into the stuff! Even after days when I wouldn't go outside I would break out! This is due to a an extreme allergy I brought on myself when I decided to rub poison oak leaves on my face to get a little attention from my parents. If by attention, you mean a shot of cortizone in my ass and a near hospitalization, I got my wish.

Okay, back to Google, ah yes, here it is!
"Mango allergy problems are caused by a reaction to Urushiol. This substance is found in the sap of mangos. It causes a severe rash, just the same as poison ivy. This is because poison ivy also contains urushiol."

EXCUSE ME!?!? How did no one tell me this!!! I have been peeling and eating mangoes (and feeding them to Oliver - which explains his diaper rash as well) ALL SPRING because they have been on sale. There should be a freaking warning label!!! So there it is folks. I am allergic to one of my favorite fruits. I can still have the fruit part, but someone has to put them in the sack at the grocery store, and peel them for me.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Officially Summer!

It is SO hot here. How is it only June and 100 degrees every SINGLE day?? Let me tell you, it is super hard to figure out what to do with an active toddler in that kind of weather. I don't want to just hang out outside in a park, because one, I hate to sweat and two, the metal on that park equipment heats up to about the temperature of a well cured cast iron skillet. Sometimes, an unsuspecting foreign child from, well, lets say, California or somewhere, sits down expecting a fun trip down the slide and instead is surprised by getting third degree burns on the back of his thighs. Having grown up here, I realize that Texas summers are much like Wyoming winters. You don't leave the house. Oliver is quickly learning this too, because as hard as he might try, everytime he tries to play outside, he motions to me that everything he plays with is "hot" and goes inside again.

The one exception to the strict "No Going Outside After Noon" rule is the pool. Ah yes, pools ARE grand. If there is no pool in your neighborhood, make friends with people who DO have pools. If you are particularly unfriendly, hook up a sprinkler. I know you are wasting money, but the joy on your child's face is totally worth it! Oliver and I visit a pool or water park two to three times a week lately. Luckily we have a neighborhood pool with a really nice kiddie pool. It may take just as much time to get him ready for the pool as we spend there when we are alone, but get him together with a few cups and a few friends and he is set for the day!!

Every single summer, I threaten to move. I was not made for the heat, as you can tell from my lily white skin, and neither is my Arian son. However, this summer I have a nice tan (so does Ollie), look great in my super-sucker-inner swimsuit from Victoria's Secret, and have a fantastic mom's group who all love to go to the pool with us and know of all the great shady parks! Below are pictures of Oliver and friends at a great park near us, playing their hearts out...before noon of course!

No one expects!!

I have a dirty confession to make. We had to put Oliver in disposable diapers the other night because we forgot to pack the diaper bag for a party at our friend's house. Apparently he still wears 12 month pants in disposables. Think of the money we could save on new clothes if we switched!! Oh wait, except that I would have to spend all that money on throw away diapers.

So in my moment of shame, we had to stop at a CVS to get the diapers. CT waited for me in the car while I ran inside. Once inside, I was bombarded by choices. I had no idea what size he was, what brand to get, what type of which brand to get. I mean, he IS cruising, so does he need a cruiser? Or a Ultra? Is that more absorbant? What is the difference between a natural cut and a regular?? I heard that Huggies was better for Willies, and Pampers were better for Willimenas, or was it the opposite??

Anyway, I finally picked a package (holy expensive trash Batman!) and paid for it and embarrassedly shuffled out of the store. I was pretty proud of myself for not telling the cashier that we USUALLY cloth diaper, I could have easily done so.

Well, as I got to the car, a woman parked next to us rolled her window down. She stuck her head out and told me she was proud of me for having the guts to have the bumpersticker I do. To all that don't know, it says: "The Foreskin is Not A Birth Defect: Stop Infant Circumcision" She went on to tell me that her son was uncut (and also facing forward, but that is a different post all together) and that she was so glad her brother-in-law urged them not to cut him. I laughed and said thanks, that mostly I get strange looks and questions, although once I did get talked about in a tattoo parlor, that was funny. I went on to say, "Yea the most uncomfortable situation was when we went to the Cancer Walk at the Jewish Community Center last weekend." Which I thought was sorta a funny, awkward situation - as you can imagine. Sorta like condemming guilt at a Catholic Church.

Her response, and I quote, "Yea, well, its those damned Jew doctors who are pushing circumcision on us!" Uhhhhhhhhhhh....What exactly DO you say to that? Several things came into mind.
1. My best friend is marrying a Jew. (the "my best friend" argument)
2. Usually doctors don't do Brists, Moyls do. (afraid too much yiddish would get a burning stake in my yard)
3. I loved Seinfeld. (Too 1995)
4. Bagels. (Not in this anti-carb world!)
5. My son isn't a skin head he just has a short hair cut for the summer. (Yea, but his hair IS still blond)

Ultimately, I should have just said "WHOA there!" and jumped into the car. No one expects an anti-Semite!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Things Toddlers Teach You

- You will never leave the house with everything you need.
- If you bring snacks, no one will eat them.
- If you forget snacks, there will be a fit in the middle of the HEB until you open a container of goldfish mid-isle.
- Cellphones are slippery.
- A clean house is only going to last until naptime is over.
- Brushing your teeth makes you need to pee.
- A grape is a grape whether or not it has been under a table for a week and is covered in hair.
- Babies only want to be outside under the following conditions: The grass is wet, it is extremely cold, it is extremely hot, you are out there with them.
- Water is best when it is inside and on the floor.
- You never think YOUR baby will be the bully, but he is.
- No matter how many different kinds of food you place on a highchair, they always want something just out of pointing distance.
- Your food is always more desirable.
- Toddler forks can't stab and toddler spoons can't scoop and therefore are pointless wastes of money.
- Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers will always insist they use toddler utensils.
- Toddlers don't like 100% fruit juice, they like capri-suns.
- No amount of weaning, solids, naps, lack of naps, scheduling, mashed potatoes or daddy time will make a toddler sleep through the night.
- Talking is overrated. Pointing and shrieking is where its at!

In My Room by Oliver Goss

Oliver here! Just woke up from another night in my very own room. Its amazing what a bed of your own can do, I am not nearly as hungry as I used to be when I slept with mommy but sometimes I get scared because I forget that I am a big boy by myself. Its a good thing I have this built in alarm system! I just set it off and daddy comes running!

Thats another thing, at first, when I got my room, Mommy would come every time I called her. Sometimes I would wait until the sun was awake, but sometimes I couldn't wait that long! She would come in, rudely remind me that Nursies went night-night (this made me angry and it is very hard to sleep when I am angry) but eventually I would forget why I started crying in the first place and go to sleep. Well, now, Mommy goes to sleep WITH Nursies. Why the sudden change of heart?! They never used to have to sleep! The first few times that Daddy showed up when I set off my alarm it scared me. I thought something had happened to Mommy and Nursies, maybe they were somewhere and hurt and they needed me! Or, maybe I did something to make them mad, and they were never ever coming back!!

Luckily, Daddy would assure me that they were just night night and that as soon as it was light outside, we could go visit them and have all the Nursies I wanted. I sorta didn't believe him at first, but he was right!! As soon as I could see the sun outside, he brought me to Mommy in our old room and we cuddled until morning time!

Now here are some pictures of Daddy helping me put the bed together!

And my doctor was worried about fine motor skills....HAHAHAHA!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Charity Work

Oliver attended his first "Act like a homeless person for charity" event last night. Relay for Life is what it actually was called, but as far as I could tell, it was just a bunch of people sitting/walking/bitching/begging for money in the dark. Yep, sounds homeless to me! It was held at the Jewish Community Center (and me with my anti-circumcision bumpersticker, so I was nervous about a kosher egging of my car the entire time).

At least we didn't go hungry, unless of course, you wanted something other than cheese pizza. Oh my, there was cheese pizza as far as the eye could see! There was a sad demoralizing slide from fundraising to begging people to haul the "food" and "prizes" away. The pizzas were $10, then, $5, then the over-enthusiastic/emotionally delicate event coordinator would come around handing each man woman and child a pizza. One man even confused the boxes for mattresses.

The plan was to stay for as long as we could until Oliver had a meltdown and needed to go home. Then, CT would go with him and I would stay with a bunch of his friends from work (yea, don't worry about me!). Well, around 10pm, Oliver conked out in the tent and didn't wake again until we were packing up 9 hours later. Leaving CT free to pretend to walk around a track (unpaved and in the dark-awesome plan!) with the rest of us.

There were "games." A woman announced haltingly that we were to do a dunking booth for Cancer. The dunkee being Cancer, and the dunker being ACS, defeating it, or something. I am not sure that this symbological (term coined around 1am) stuff continued, but there was also: "Dance Contest for Cancer" where one can assume the song being botched was Cancer, "Cake Walk for Cancer" where one might think the cake might be chemo?, and a "Ring Toss for Cancer" where I am pretty sure they were just trying to get rid of extra snacks that no one wanted. As the night grew later, the symbols made less and less sense. Around 3am someone asked, "why are we doing all of this for Cancer? I don't even LIKE Cancer!"

All in all it was a successful night, my son learned about what it means to give back along with how to do a very evil laugh (thanks Chad!), we corrupted one very annoying and apparently parentless 13 year old boy who will be VERY confused when he becomes 21 and DOESN'T receive hookers and blow, and....oh yea, we raised over $20K for American Cancer Society!

I mean sure, the games were lame, the coordinators were pushy, certain team captains were cranky, and most of us were extremely lazy, but at least we have the memories, the stories, and a whole new respect for sleep deprevation as a means of torture.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Nightweaned and it feels so good

So, after he finally got over his week long fever and sickipooness, we needed to get back on track with nightweaning. I had done Dr. Jay Gordon, but it was almost, well, TOO nice, if you must know. It was confusing him and allowing me to slip into old habits, letting him nurse but for only 5 minutes one night and then not at all the next, etc.

After speaking to my very wise friend who is also a mother of two (almost three!), we decided to try a different tack. We went with the "Night Night Nursies" method. He still nurses all he wants during the day, and at bedtime. However, if and when he wakes, he does not get the breast. He gets mommy (soon to be daddy) of course, but instead of a boob, he gets pats.

We also moved him to...dun dun dun dun!!! A big boy bed! That is correct ladies and gents, my son no longer sleeps with us! Well, not exactly, he sleeps with us if he needs it, but not every night or all night long. He has his own bed, in his own room, we need to decorate the room and rig the bed so that it is not fall-outable but it does it's job for now.

Night One (still co-sleeping):
10:30pm Wakes up and wants to nurse, screams for an hour
2am Wakes up and wants to nurse, screams for 20 minutes
4am Wakes up and wants to nurse, sobs for 5 minutes
6am Wakes and I finally nurse him
I am exhausted and want to quit

Night Two (Big Boy Bed):
9pm asleep, a little late but we had dinner with my mom and he played on a playscape to get last minute energy out
10:30pm woke up screaming but didn't want to nurse, just cuddle so I am thinking bad dream?
2am woke up wanting to nurse but only cried for a few seconds when I said "nursies went night night!"
4am woke up but put himself back to sleep before I could get down the hall
6am Fell out of bed which of course woke him up but he nursed back to sleep in our bed
7:30am woke for the day

Night Three (big boy bed/cosleeping):
8:45pm Asleep after 45 minutes of nursing
2am My silly mommy butt wanted to see him before I went to bed and woke him up but he was back down in a few seconds
3am Fell out of bed again, and coslept the rest of the night for safety. The bed is now fixed btw.
7am woke up asking for nursies so I made a big deal out of the sun being up and nursies being awake and excited to see him. I felt silly but it made him happy!

Night Four (tonight)
I will be gone the WHOLE night from 7pm-7am, so I will have NO idea how he does. CT gets him ALL NIGHT LONG. Heh!