Thursday, September 9, 2010

Meet my Kids


This is Oliver, the sweetest boy in the world, who has hair that sticks straight up in the morning if his daddy doesn't blow dry it after his bath and 'blue eyes' that are really turning green. His favorite activities are helping me in the kitchen, turning people into baby birds with magic wands he finds in the park, and scaring other people by climbing to the very tippy top of the playscape. He begs to play in our cars and likes to push all the buttons, toggle all the switches and pull all the levers. Then, when you go to start the car, he likes to laugh at you when everything comes on and you scream. His likes also include rain, cats, pancakes, Pixar movies, playing in the rain, sneaking coffee, jellybeans, tea parties and taking pictures of his friends. His dislikes include lizards, loud noises (he covers his ears), casseroles, transitions (ie, bathtime, naptime, bedtime, but doesn't mind bathing or sleeping), sharing, costumes and drinking water.

This is Henley. She is the most beautiful child and strongest baby in the world. She was born scowling at the world but she has come to terms with it now. She enjoys fans, Mam pacifiers, Sofie T. Giraffe, banana, naps, bosoms for pillows, her brother, petting the cat, cuddles, toe licking by dogs, chatting, sparkly necklaces, doing push-ups and long hair. Her dislikes include: Angry voices, teeth, diaper changes, long car rides, eating during the day, sad music, being left alone too long and restrictive clothing.

I am amazed every day that no one has sprung out from a closet and said "These kids aren't actually yours! You have been punked" And then laughed hysterically at the idea that I would ever be trusted with another life, much less two of them. Oliver forces me to look my 2 year old self straight in the eye and then attempt to parent it. I wonder if Henley will be the same way. I know I have it easy with these two kids, both are healthy, neither have special needs or have allergies. They both are super smart and beautiful (even to other people)! And still I wonder some days how I am going to survive to see tomorrow.

Every morning I wake excited about the day that is coming, every day around 4 I am dying for it to be over. I never thought I could work this hard, for this long, for this little pay. But the first time Henley accidentally said "mama" was worth it. The first time Oliver announced his name to me in the kitchen was worth it. The first time she got up on her hands and knees with this look on her face like she was the first baby to attempt such a feat. Oliver's first steps, Henley's first giggle. His early potty learning and her birth. These are such points of pride for me it makes it (almost) forget about the aching muscles, the constant headache, the ever-present guilt, the exhaustion, the second guessing and the sweat and tears.

Parenting is not all bliss, it is not all good, and some of it is down right terrible. One thing is comforting though, I bet you when my kids become the amazing adults that they will become I won't be thinking about the tantrums but the triumphs of my parenting career. Yay for the amnesia of nostalgia!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Labor (Day) of Love




Just some photos of our Labor Day! We spent it eating ribs and drinking beer with my lovely family. Oliver had a blast at Grandmommy's house and even took a really long nap there! I think he would move in with his Grandma or Grandmommy, he is totally in love with all his grandparents!









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Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Good Day


Lets start with what a bad day looks like. It looks like the television being on all day, me being checked out and dinner being a complete fail. It looks like Oliver throwing a tantrum over dinner, the baby being ignored, and Oliver's brain rotting in his brain because I am completely uninterested or too tired from the night before to even try to be creatively teaching him. It looks like no park, no rain, just oppressive heat so outside play is undesirable. 4pm fills me with dread for the next 2 hours, those two hours are the longest of my day because CT will not be home until 6. Oliver begs for food before dinner and I relent, causing a dinnertime meltdown where he will not eat and just wants to be held and throws tantrums because we are eating and he is not hungry. I go to bed on a bad night feeling like if I had just left my children with a half intelligent monkey that day, they would have learned more and been just as well looked after (Fun Fact: Ape milk is almost identical to human milk) and I go between wanting to wake Oliver up and cuddle him all night apologizing for yelling at him over how clumsy he is and wanting to just get into the car and leaving forever. The guilt threatens to suffocate me on a bad day.

On a good day which are rare and far between. The radio is on the better part of the day, but the television is off. We play at the park all morning and find time to do a puzzle or two or other educational activity before nap. There is no tantrum before nap, because Oliver was able to behave like a child all morning. After nap we do an activity like the pool, or cookie making or crafts until dinner. Oliver plays alone during dinner prep and while he begs me for food still, I do not give him anything. He eats his dinner, which doesn't suck. Henley gets a full 3 naps during the day, plays contentedly when she is up and doesn't puke on me as soon as I get dressed. I get a shower. Oliver goes up to bed without screaming bloody murder. Henley gets to sleep at a decent hour and doesn't scream in her sleep every 10 minutes. I fall into my bed exhausted from having to be on from 6am-8pm. There were still tantrums but they were dealt with swiftly and only a bit of yelling.

Wow, is that what my life has become? All I need for a day to be decent, for me to go to sleep feeling more like a mom than a monster is to wear myself completely out all day long? I read somewhere that a child Oliver's age shouldn't be inactive for longer than an hour unless they are asleep. This is so tiring, I don't know what to say. Most days the kid can't take a crap unless I am sitting right there with him. On these days he will not play outside, or in the pool or at the park without me right there all the way. I long for better days, the days when he will go discover the world on his own a little. And yes, I know they grow up so fast and I shouldn't wish it away. Trust me, the guilt for even saying it out loud will consume me as I try to sleep tonight.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

6:30

IS NOT A TIME TO WAKE UP. It is a time to roll over, look at the clock and go. back. to. bed. It makes me hella grumpy to make eggs and toast at this unearthly hour when none of my friends are up because their awesome toddlers sleep until 8, or 10 even (though the friend who's son does that is about 20 months pregnant and she may or may not be in for a rude awakening). Oliver insists that it is indeed the time to wake up. He is wrong, but there is no talking to the child. I long for day light savings.

Henley has been going through what all babies go through when they hit about 4 months old and is waking up every hour or so. It is completely unfair that parenting books tell you at 4 months children should be able to only wake once. Yea, I guess they should be able to, except for the fact that this is the time that they 1. Learn to roll over 2. Learn that there is an outside world that is interesting 3. Need to take in the biggest amount of breastmilk that they will ever need. I really wish that they would include that, because without fail, women with children this age decide that this night waking is happening to only them and it must mean that 1. They are deficient 2. The baby is ready for solids 3. To let the baby cry cause it is being needy and manipulative.

I wish they would just suffer through it like I am having to do and stop reading parenting books. Parenting books for new moms are like fashion magazines for teenagers. They will only make you feel ugly. No matter what you are doing or how good you have it, you will never ever ever have the perfect baby they seem to think you should have. I am very much a fan of books that talk about child rearing philosophy but not so much on those that talk about specifics. How to books are for car mechanics, not mothers.

Henley is an amazing child. She talks so much, laughs often and is so interactive which is half the issue. Seems the child doesn't want to stop cooing for long enough to fall asleep. I never really understood that whole "mothering is so rewarding" thing with Oliver. He was so serious, he never laughed and rarely smiled so after a while I just gave up. After reading Nurture Shock I am pretty convinced that my lack of responsiveness was what lagged his language so far behind. I love both my kids of course, but, as a wise woman once said, "You should just throw the first baby out, like the first batch of biscuits." In otherwords, the first time around you are going to screw up and freak out about 100 times a day. By the second, it is down to about 50. You will ruin the experience with worry and fear that the child will never eat, never sleep and will never walk. I am trying very very hard not to do that this time.

Henley on the other hand, is a much more expressive child. Her cries even sound like "mooommy, daaaaddy!" and even though it is frustrating, it is still super cute to listen to. Thank god, for now she takes really good and long naps. Two hours in the morning, 2-3 in the afternoon and one hour at around 4pm. This is, of course, only true if I never leave the house and put her down exactly one and a half hours after she woke up. I miss my friends, my playdates and the inside of my car. I know this won't last forever, and I should take this downtime to reconnect with Ollie and catch up with my reading, so I will just let it be for now.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Cluster of Caterpillars

Thanks to an interwebz friend of mine, I was able to grow some terrific looking sunflowers this year. Terrific, that was, until they were eaten in their entirety. At first glance it looks like the sun just got to these flowers, too much of a good thing perhaps. However, at second glance you may get the heeby-jeebies. An army of caterpillars - side note: I have grown to really enjoy what a group of things are called: An destruction of wild cats, a battery of barracudas, a congregation of alligators, you get the picture - has taken over my once vibrant plants. These are mean looking suckers! They have spines on their backs.



In my never ending quest obsession to teach my kids about nature lately, I am thinking what a wonderful way to teach Oliver about the metamorphosis of a butterfly. I really hoped it was a butterfly and not some icky moth, those things freak me out just a little. I think it is their lack of shame. Butterflies are pretty and they don't like to be caught, moths get tangled in your hair if you are standing too close to a lightbulb. Stupid moths, clearly the cocker spaniels of the insect kingdom.

So, not having an expert friend to call, I google it and come to find out, we have our selves a coven of "Painted Ladies" butterflies. All the information I could find on them were how to get rid of the little buggers. I guess they are a real problem for sunflower seed farmers across America. Darn butterflies, taking the seeds right out of the mouths of sunflower seed addicted people in this nation, what else would my sister nosh on during long car trips or while drinking lots of beer at the farm? Anyway, for my purposes, the caterpillars are welcome to stay, as they are not disturbing my other crops and they are getting fatter by the day.


Soon we shall have a bumper crop of chrysalises and then BUTTERFLIES!!! I am showing Oliver each step, but to be honest, even with the help of Eric Carle, I am not sure he is really grasping the concept. I sure am geeking out though, this is something I have wanted to do since I was a little feller and my grandmama tied a stocking on a stick and went butterfly catching. We never caught one, but at least we looked silly!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Picnics


I hesitate to even write about this because I didn't get any video or photo footage of the event, and apparently some people who read my blog skip any post with out photos, which, quite frankly, hurts my feelers just a bit. However, the reason I started this blog is so that people could keep up with us as a family, even though they live far away and so that I could document the lives of my children. So in that spirit, it would be a shame NOT to post.

This weekend has been one of blankets on the grass, grease dripping down your arm, mosquitoes nipping at your nose and the discovery of stars. On Friday, we met some friends at an outdoor production of Annie in a local (not so local to the burbs) downtown park. Now, those of you who know us know that sleep is sacred to the Goss family and schedule is the idol at whose feet we worship. Dinner at 5, bath at 7, sleep at 8. The play started at 8:30pm. In an effort to make summer a magical, fun, exploratory time, we broke the schedule and went anyway. Luckily, Oliver slept from 2-5pm for his nap, so it threw the schedule off just enough to be workable.

A sea of bodies all perched on the side of a hill greeted us as we weaved in and out of the crowd to find our blanket. Thank god we have friends who went earlier and reserved a spot earlier in the day, we had nearly front row seats! As soon as the sun dropped below the merciful trees, the show began. I was nervous about how Oliver would sit still for a performance that was not animated, but he was transfixed to the stage! I caught him singing along to songs he has never even heard before out of pure joy and a need to feel a part of the action in front of him. He delighted at the dog (who was less than professional) who played Sandy, and even the baby was quietly happy during the performance. Side note, it is nearly impossible to nurse on the side of a hill. There is absolutely no good way to comfortably do it.

During a lull in the singing and choreography, Oliver looked up into the night sky. He gasped! "STARS!!! Mommy, daddy, LOOK STARS!!" Yes, there were stars, just starting to appear. I turned my attention back to the stage, but he kept looking up. I didn't get it until this morning that this was the first time in over 6 months that he has seen stars. Thanks to my stringent schedule, my son missed the stars. This is a lesson, never allow sleep to get in the way of enjoying the night and understanding the world. We all left that night tired and happy...except for the baby who screamed at such a fevered pitch the entire way home I thought she was being stabbed by goblins. Car seat goblins are terrible this time of year. She resolved her screaming into a rumbling growl by the time we got home, which sorta made us smile. She was too tired to scream, but by god she was still pissed.

The next day, Saturday, we headed out to the family farm for some downtime and running around hiking time with the kiddos. We had planned on mowing the lawn and doing other tasks for upkeep, but secretly I had plans of a hammock, me and a book. Unfortunately, that was not meant to be as one of my cousins had planned a "bachelor weekend" and all his friends were there playing poker and drinking (and mowing, thanks guys!). Side note, when going to the farm, you should NOT bring a 50" big screen TV. The whole point is to be outside, playing games and getting back to nature...TV will be there when you get back home.

So, we took the lunch that we had bought at the best sausage place in the entire world (love you Southside!!) and packed up the kids and went into the woods to enjoy our picnic. Oliver found the perfect place to have our picnic. We lay our blanket over the soft pine needles and thanked the trees for providing the perfect amount of shade. We ate our lunch, drank some beer leftover from the night before and talked. I will never forget the site of CT peeing on a tree and Oliver standing beside him with his hands behind his back, extremely serious looking, learning how to do the same. "You gotta lean back, son!" Oliver nods. I laughed and cursed myself for not bringing my camera. On the way back to the car, we see a gigantic spider, once again, I am angry we didn't bring the camera, and then even angrier I didn't see the barbed wire that afixed itself to my leg until it ripped into my calf. The spider was worth it though, especially since Oliver's favorite book right now is "The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle.

Yea we were hot about 90% of this weekend. Sweat dripped into our eyes and the kids were both sticky, smelly and dirty. We got mosquito bites and chigger bites and I probably have tetanus. But there were smiles on our faces, lessons about growing up and parenting buzzing in our heads and for the first time in a long time, we got to say hello to the stars.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Idle Parent

Long morning this morning, we got out at 9am to get gas before the Mother Goose Storytime at the library, and then we went to Old Navy at 10 to buy some super cheap duds (hello $2.50 flip flops and $2 camis!?!). I found myself not sure what to do with the rest of the morning before naptime at 1pm, so we headed to the park after I checked the temperature gauge on my dashboard. As it only read 88 degrees, we headed there.

First let me say that the park is not my favorite. Oliver doesn't really know what to do with himself because he wants me to play WITH him and to be honest, climbing around a playscape with a 14lb baby strapped to my chest in boiling weather is less than fun. He gets bored, I get grumpy, and we leave, usually within the hour. I have been reading several different sources about letting kids be kids, leaving them alone to pursue the joys and pitfalls of the world and living without being there every moment of every second of the day to catch them when they stumble. The idea is, kids NEED to stumble, they need to mess up and get dirty and fall down to learn how to get back up again. Falling is half of the fun and failing is most of the journey!
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So, having read all of four chapters of the three books I want to read on the subject (listed below), I wanted to try an experiment. I would sit in the shade with the baby while Oliver explored his world. I would not freak out that I could not see him. I would not worry that the mother over there was judging me for letting him slide down a slide alone. I would allow him to interact with children of all ages and work problems out for himself. If he called for me, I would go, but once I helped him with what he wanted, I would go back to being an observer.
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Guess what happened? He. Played. Let me go back to say that the child has rarely played by himself for longer than 5 minutes since the baby was born. I guess some kids regress with sleep, or peeing (did that too) but his major regression was play. He climbed to the top of the playscape, he slid down the slide repeatedly, he found a place where he could scare every parent in the park by swinging over a 4 foot drop, he ran over to some 7-8 year olds who were pretending to play restaurant with the twigs and rocks and ordered a pie (no joke, the kid asked for a pie). Eventually, a nosy parent went over to where four kids of varying ages and sexes were playing sweetly and politely together and ruined all of it by hovering and wondering why this long haired hippie boy was without parent.

So, Oliver lost interest and asked to go to the creek that runs behind the park. All three of us waded in it a bit, until Oliver got his shorts wet in the water and started panicking because he knows "wet pants=time to go immediately" but I assured him that he was okay, that the water getting him wet was not the same as pee getting him wet. After a while, I sat down on a rock, happy as a clam to watch him try to catch fish, poke at the moss with sticks, watch leaves go down stream, toss rocks into the creek and finally, find a "wand" that he would turn me into a baby bird so he could feed me worms.

While the kids played with a very nice, albeit boring and plastic playscape which was quickly heating up in the sun, Oliver poked around in the bushes barefoot with his poking stick and walked in a creek. Just by breathing, I was able to allow him to discover the magic of a summer day with nothing to do and no where to be. He played for almost two hours in that way. When was the last time your toddler did anything for two hours?

My only regret? I didn't bring a book. No really, the hard part about being an "Idle Parent" for me isn't really the idea that he is going to get hurt. My house has far more things that can kill him than the tiny part of wilderness we found today, but it was the eyes of other parents. The women who don't let their kids play alone, who hover and cajole and say "no" constantly. They are worn out and feel I should be too. I felt like I was being a terrible mom just by enjoying the day and letting him enjoy it without me structuring his playtime. I felt more relaxed at the end of our trip than if I had taken a nap. Best part? It was the best parent I have been in a long time, and all I did was sit, watch and enjoy my children.

Books to read on Idle Parenting/getting back to nature

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
The Idle Parent by Tom Hodgkinson
Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Love My Husband


You know that day? That day when you just feel so angry that you even HAD kids in the first place? That day when your couch smells like pee and your shoulder smells like puke? That day when the baby and the toddler are conspiring against you to see who can make you the craziest? That day when you lock yourself out side of the house on purpose just to have a moment of peace? That day when you yell at the toddler "watch your sister" and take off in the car to get the mail just so you can clear out the murderous thoughts in your head - only to feel guilty for doing so, even though it only took about 30 seconds to do it. That day when you call your mom to come over to help you cook something you really don't need help with, just to hear the sound of another adult's voice? Well that day was yesterday.

I of course bitched to my husband about how sad and pitiful my charmed life is. Poor pitiful me, I don't have to work and I get to stay home with my babies all day and live comfortably and don't really have to worry about money and my biggest stressor is that my babies want to touch me too much. Woe is me. I know, I know, stupid bourgeois problems. But they are MY problems, which make them huge and overwhelming. There isn't ever anything that "goes wrong" it is just an overall feeling of hatred at the day and situation.

The day got better, with help from a kiddie pool and some nap down time, but I was still feeling rough by the time my husband came home. When I saw what he had brought me, it made me love him all over again:They were eaten quickly, but will be savored always. He just got them for me on the spur of the moment, nothing huge, but to me, they were everything. From the top left, we have: creme brulee, salted butter carmel, pecan and cardamom. Dear lord, how that man must love me!!

An Alternative Lifestyle


I wanted to post my shot schedule here, as many people have asked, and it would be a nice way to look back at what shots were like in 2010, before the zombie apocalypse of 2025 (it will happen people, be prepared and have your axes sharpened).

But first, a look back as to what kids USED to be given, say in 1982 when I was the cutest baby alive. In 1983, the schedule consisted of 10 vaccines given to children before the age of 6 years. In 2007, 36 vaccines are given. Check it out yourself: http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/cdc_comparison.pdf Were kids dying at an inordinate rate in 1983 from things like chicken pox, mumps and diptheria? No. Did the drug companies figure out how they can make a shit ton of money off of vaccines? Yes!

I feel that vaccines are a personal choice, and range in necessity from family to family and even child to child. If I had a high risk child, or lived a high risk lifestyle (formula feeding or daycare exposure) my children would probably have been given the entire gambit of vaccinations. Maybe not even then, as polio has been extinct for years in 90% of the world and the HPV vaccine is killing a high percentage of the girls it is supposed to be "helping". So, my husband and I sat down after about three years of research on my part to decide, once and for all, what vaccines OUR kids needed. I am not a doctor, so please do not treat our vaccine schedule as medical advice, just an educated guess.

We decided to skip altogether the following vaccines:

Hep B - this is a sexually transmitted disease that babies are not likely to get, at which time my children are of age to make sexual decisions, they can at that time get that vaccine
Polio (IPV)- My grandmother had this disease as an adult, and it caused her much pain and weakness for the rest of her life, I get the horror of this disease. My children will not be receiving this vaccine as the disease has been eradicated from the majority of the world and the chances of getting it are about zero.
Rotavirus (Rota) - This vaccine has about a 50% fail rate and as my children are not in a high risk category, I am skipping it. The only people I know who get this flu are the people who vaccinate against it, no thanks.
Chicken Pox (Varicella) - Last time I checked, chicken pox was not a deadly disease, less so than the flu, this is big pharma stealing money from over concerned parents.
HPV - Another sexually transmitted disease that most women have had or will get. Some forms of it cause cervical cancer, however, this vaccine only vaccinates against a small percentage of the Human Papalmoa viruses, and not the ones that cause cancer at that. I HAD this disease (though my body healed itself and I don't have it anymore) and I still won't vaccinate against it. This vaccine is also killing many girls and has been made illegal in other countries to test or distribute.
Flu - Don't get me started on this one. Remember the swine flu?? Yea, you are still alive aren't you? Well so am I and everyone I know, and we didn't get the shot.

So what ARE we giving our kids? Don't worry folks, there are more shots than you can imagine, these are the ones we ARE giving our kids:

Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP) - Though no one has died from diphtheria since the Oregon Trail, they have decided to lump it together with diseases people still get often, tetanus and pertussis. Pertussis is rampant here, especially in the summer and can be deadly to a newborn-1 year. After that you are pretty much in the clear and it just results is a bad cough, but Oliver is fully vaxed against it cause he is around tiny babies all the time and I don't want him passing it on. If they made individual shots of these, I would give them to my kids, but they don't and I suspect the reason why is $$.

HiB - Very long name, very rare disease, but the side effects are minimal and if you get the disease there is a slim chance of survival so we said what the heck, lets throw caution to the wind and jab our kids with it.

Prevnar (PCV) - This guards against a disease that can cause spinal meningitis in small babies. It is rare, but kids still get it all the time. A friend of mine just had a baby in the hospital for a month recovering with this disease, so yea, we are getting it done. Too bad the stupid nurse gave our kids the WRONG EFFIN VACCINE last time...

Hep A - This is a food borne disease that we are giving our kids before they go to school because ever since the Bush administration, kids' lunches aren't even scrutinized by the FDA anymore and are about 25 cents worth of nutrition and hygeine standards, so yea, we will get this, but delayed as they are low risk at the moment.
MMR - Ah yes, the "autism" vaccine. If they would just split these up, I would have no issue giving my children this vaccine on schedule, however, they won't ($$) and keep promising to do it next year (sorta a free beer tomorrow situation). We will get this, but around the time the kids go to elementary school and not a moment before. This is a heavy duty vaccine, and I do not want their immune systems weakened by it. I care less about the shaky autism link and more about the link to celiac, lupus, crones, and other immunological diseases.

Our vaccine schedule as it stands today (I will change as I study, I am sure):
* 2 months:DTaP
* 3 months: Prevnar (Pc), HiB
* 4 months: DTaP
* 5 months: Prevnar(Pc), HiB
* 6 months: DTaP
* 7 months: Prevnar (Pc), HiB
* 15 months: Prevnar (Pc), HiB
* 18 months: DTaP
* 2 1/2 years: HepA
* 3 1/2 years: HepA
* 4 years: DTaP
* 5 years: MMR
* 12 years:Tdap
* 13 years: Meningococcal (or earlier)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Month Four

Poor Henley, it is like she is the back up singer for Oliver. The stage manager to Oliver's one man show. It isn't fair that the second kid always gets the raw end of the deal. Make no mistake, I definitely love her more. She sleeps on a schedule, almost never cries, takes a paci, both smiles and laughs and makes Julianne fries. Its just that, she hasn't done anything that we haven't seen before. Sure, it is cuter coming from a baby with a bow on her head, but it is the same rolling over and such we saw the first time around. Plus, if I tried to take pictures, or video or whatever, all you would see is either Oliver dancing in the frame, or me dropping the camera because Oliver decided to pick that moment of distraction to jump off the top of the bookshelf or something. Sometimes I think I should let him jump (lesson of the day: gravity!)

Anyway, back to the star of this show, lets give her the due 15 minutes of attention a day that all second children are due. We went for her four month appointment last week, and she is 13.5lbs and 25 inches long. 50% for weight, and 80% for height!! She is doing great in all aspects! The doctor warned us about keeping her out of the sun, and then told us to give her a vitamin D supplement - cause you know, common sense just doesn't work any more. We are okay to keep breastfeeding for now, but rice cereal MUST be introduced between now and 6 months or ELSE!!! I think one day my head will pop off my shoulders and my eyes will fall out of my head from all the nodding and eye rolling.

As many of you know we are on a alternative schedule with regards to vaccines (which I will post in its own post). Long story short, we get one or two each month and have decided to reject some all together (polio, chicken pox, hpv). At our visit, the doctor commented on how we hadn't done a certain shot yet, and I was so busy rolling my eyes and nodding that I didn't realize at the time that Henley should have had that specific shot last month. I called later when I came to my senses, and sure enough, they gave her the wrong shot last month. I am so glad that the three years of researching what toxins and disease I did and did not want in my baby's body was all for naught because a nurse doesn't know how to listen. So, we are behind on our schedule which means I have to drag my two kids back up to the office one more month than we would have had to previously. This time with my shot schedule in tow.

And now, you will have to excuse me, my son is ticked that this blog took 15 minutes to write and now is sobbing in the other room because he is bored and I am a lazy and terrible mother for not attending to him at all times of the day. When did he forget how to play alone?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quest for Creative

I have no idea what to do with a toddler. I admit defeat!! While good moms are doing bean sorting, or making hot air balloons from the free balloons they give you at the supermarket or walnut boats to float on a rainy day (www.yellowpop.com), I am plunking my kid in front of the TV. I can literally hear his tiny mind rotting.

Why, you might ask, aren't you making worksheets and fun crafts and going on field trips to donut factories? Well, the short answer is that I am lazy. But the other answer is that I have tried to do these things, and what normally happens is he throws a fit and I end up losing my patience and yelling or quietly doing the craft by myself cause he loses interest and starts throwing toys against the wall to see which breaks first, me or the toy.

I see a balloon and think "wow, something else to be hit with" not, "hey I bet I can teach my kid weight and cause and effect and history with this balloon!" My mind just doesn't work that way, I am at a loss. I got a baby pool to play with Oliver in, and while some kids actually do things with water, he stands there and begs for me to sit with him. And we sit there...for hours. It is mind numbingly boring. If I try to involve him, he refuses. Oh and remember, I have a baby who hates being outside and it is impossible to do fun crafts with an unwilling toddler with an immobile baby squirming in your lap.

I feel so powerless in my parenting, so unworthy of the young minds that I am left in charge of day after day. I would love to unplug...but then what? 9 hours of overwhelming boredom or unwavering meltdowns. I find myself resorting to snacks to keep him from being bored, which is TERRIBLE parenting. I need a book or a list of activities, or a curriculum or SOMETHING that keeps me from dreading every day. I love this age he as at, he wants to discover the world, but I feel like I keep blindfolding him.

I say no to the kid about 10000000 times a day. He is always completely surprised when I say yes, sometimes he tantrums because he doesn't understand what yes means. Tonight I let him climb on our cars, crawl underneath them and pick the leaves off my plants because I couldn't say no one more time. I have never seen him happier. He kept looking back at me waiting for me to scream NO! but I just smiled. He wasn't hurting me, or the baby, or himself or the car. Heck the plants look like a deer got to them, but plants grow back right?

I have got to figure out a way to teach my kid to be a kid instead instead of the couch potato automaton I have made him into. Ugh, I am so ashamed, I need help...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Things I never thought I would say

"Fine you can have popcorn for breakfast" - I stupidly forgot to throw my popcorn bag away from the night before, and he assumed I had left it for his breakfast. It wasn't worth the fight. He had an apple as well.

"Do not use your sister as a step stool" - Or a elbow pad or a chew toy, or a punching bag or a pull up bar.

"Don't loose your rocket!" - This needs explanation. His pull-ups have a picture of a rocket on the front which disappears when it gets wet. Thus, the begging of the child not to lose a rocket, it means please, for the love of all that is holy, don't pee yourself cause you are too lazy to go to the bathroom. I think perhaps the huggies people should have rethought putting a rocket on the front of a little boy's underpants. Sounds like I am just trying to bait a CPS worker.

"Don't pee on Buzz" - See above, but this time, underwear and Buzz Lightyear are the motivational subjects.

"If you do not pick up your toys, no books before bed" - This is one I am still up in the air about, should I use books as a privilege that can be taken away? Or a right?

"Son, are you eating sour cream out of the container?" - This speaks to why I shouldn't leave the room at any point to go change, sooth or feed the baby. Especially not during taco night.

"That is NOT a swing, it is a cradle!!" - He never caught on and still uses it as a swing, thankfully never when the baby was in it. Yet...

"I will clean the kitchen, just go play with the kids" - To understand this fully, you have to understand, I hate hate hate cleaning the kitchen. Now, cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry are like alone "me" times. I may write a book, "Meditate while you Clean".

"Oliver, I am not mad, but put. the. glass. shard. down." - I went outside to water the plants and came back to Oliver standing in a pile of glass, the biggest piece of which was clutched in his fist. He was smiling ear to ear.

Friday, July 9, 2010

4 Month Update

I have been in the three month funk for about a month now. Not getting out much, my hair is falling out, deep dark sad place, etc. However, for the past three days, I haven't yelled at my kids or made them cry with my anger!! hip Hip Hooray!!

Potty Training: I wish he wasn't so into it because to be honest the 98% of the time that he does hold it and go in the potty (even in the car or out and during naps!!) makes me feel even more upset when he pisses on himself of on the couch. I feel like he does it to act out and it drives me nuts. I mean, literally, sitting on the floor crying nuts. It is so stressful to me, why can't I just treat it as an accident and move on!? What happened in my story that makes me so freakin crazy about his peeing habits??

Preschool: We are currently researching preschools for Ollie, who will start when he is 3. Looking into the Montessori school that is located in our church as well as The Good Earth Day School, which from all accounts must have a wait list the length of my arm, that is how awesome people say it is. We shall see on the 17th when we go for a visit!

Talking: Oliver is surprising me every single day with his new words and phrases. I don't think I will ever get tired of talking to him. He is a bit stubborn though and if he doesn't want to talk he just says "I no know" Annoying! We are trying to watch less TV because we have learned that he gets super violent and cranky when he watches shows like Incredibles. So, we stick to PBS and minimum amount at that. Also, I am never giving him milk again, talk about tantrums!! OY!

Henley: She is an amazing baby! So rewarding, I didn't know babies could be like this! She smiles constantly, in fact her early sleep signs is that she stops smiling. She sleeps well, eats well, and is perfection. We go back to the doctor on Wednesday for the kids third round of shots. Hep A for Oliver, Dtap for Henley. I love our schedule, no reactions, not even crankiness or redness. AMAZING what can happen when you don't overload children's immune systems. She is rolling and actually enjoys tummy time, which is weird! Compared to my friend's kids she is super cranky, but compared to Oliver she is a quiet little mouse.

Me: I have been eating better, not snacking all the time, and trying to be more active and am consistently losing about a pound a week, which is so nice. I have hip bones again! I start school for my certification in August! Just a biology course but I am seriously excited about it! I got a IUD about a month ago to prevent any further babies before we are ready for them. I love the ones I have, but to be honest, I couldn't be the parent I want to be with any more.

The most exciting thing going on in my life right now is that CT and I are going out on Saturday night for the first time since Henley came into the world. My sweet Aunt will be watching the kiddos so we can just be adults for a few hours with our friends.

Sorry I haven't been blogging, I figured no one wanted to hear the rants and raves of a bored, frustrated, guilty mother of two. I will try to be better about blogging now that I feel like my feet are underneath me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The many faces of Henley Jane

I call this one: Feminine Dammit.
That light in the background is her halo, the white on her chin is vomit.
Annoyed at me for taking pictures of her without her eye makeup on.
Angry, probably at Daddy for eating instead of looking at her.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

He Speaks!!

My son! He has something to say! After 27 months of waiting, he now holds full conversations about......nests. He is absolutely obsessed with this nest we found in the tree in the front of our house. It started with his bedtime ritual of reading "The Best Nest" with his daddy. He now has a whole litany of bedtime reads, and he will tell you which he wants. For instance "Boat" is actually Fred and Ted Go Camping and "AHH!" is the Spooky Old Tree. There are also "ABC", "Hat" and "

However, his favorite is the heartwarming story of a very weak daddy bird and a domineering mama bird and her desire for a new house that is probably way outside of their birdy budget. Much to his delight, we have found not one but two real live nests around our house. When he wakes up, he wants to go check on it, when it is time to go inside, he worries about it, and when we have company, they too must share in his nest joy.

video video

Within the last few days/weeks, he has learned (or I have learned to understand) the following words: snack, sit, mess, hose, nest, plane, sissy, you, yes, doggy (pronounced dodgy), bat, I don't know, there it is, bees, seeds and I am sure I am forgetting many.

I have been looking forward to this era of communication with him for so long. I love the way his mind works, and he stumps me most of the time, but our talks are the best, and I am getting a kick out of chatting with him in the car or around the house. He is no where near where his toddler friends are with language, but I will take what I can get!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stay At Home

I catch myself talking to my friends (both kidful and kidless) about how hard my job is as a stay at home mom. I do this for two reasons, I think. One, because it actually IS hard and I am a complainer. Two, because I want to be included in the working world. I don't want to be pushed aside and considered to have it so easy because my job doesn't pay. I want to be counted in during the bitching that happens when more than one woman is gathered! I want to be included in the happy hour bemoaning! Of course, as we all know, babies are sorta frowned upon in a bar like setting, so I rarely even get invited to happy hours, but if I were I would want to have something to show these working women that I too do something worth while.

However, the more I think about it, the more I think that we as stay at home moms should try not to emphasize how difficult the job of staying home is. Instead of talking about the messes, the juggling, the tripping, the endless scrapes, the whining (my god the whining!!), and the leaky, sniffly, stinky rest of it, lets talk about the perks when we talk to our child-free compadres! Make it look at least a little desirable so that when they have kids, they don't spit out the kid and rush back to work just to feel like a contributing member of society again. We are scaring women away from mothering! This, of course, doesn't count the women who need to work for income, I am talking about the women who run back to work because they think others would be better equipped to raise children. I have a friend who brags constantly about the things she buys her child, but the only pictures she ever has of her kid are taken by a daycare provider. I want to give these women a better picture of what an awesome thing staying at home can be - while reassuring myself at the same time.

- When was the last time you wore your pajamas all day
- Happy hour is ten times better when it is done in a friend's yard while your kids frolic in the sprinkler...at noon.
- The more you see the world through a child's eyes, the more you realize every day is a learning experience
- I didn't miss the firsts of my kids' lives
- Barefeet never gave someone bone spurs
- I save a fortune on dry cleaning
- Naps are highly encouraged
- Showers are optional
- Making cookies is sorta part of the job
- You never really need to make time to go exercise as the job is exercise. Need more? have another kid or just invite kids over for a playdate.

Of course there is all that sappy stuff about getting paid in kisses and hugs. Or how one "I love you" is worth all the paychecks you would get in a year, but this is a bit abstract for someone considering a career in child rearing, and some people's kids don't really SAY I love you for years, so I am leaving it out.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gardening with the Gosses

Just as I do every year (since last year) I get my little hopes and dreams up so high for a home garden. Last year, I knew absolutely bupkiss about gardening or farming. I figured I would take the Sesame Street route wherein all you need is soil, sunshine, water and love. Turns out that works only in a completely bugless and temperate climate with perfect soil, not so great for Texas. Nevertheless, we were still able to grow lettuce, pole beans, carrots and one pitiful looking squash. Mind you, all of these were from seeds, not plants.

This year, I did some research, planted at the proper time of the year (crucial as apparently frost kills plants??) bought certain veggies from plants (tomatoes and peppers) and others from seeds (carrots and beans). We also have a plum tree from my Aunt and a potted asparagus plant that I have yet to see one Asparagi grow from, but I am assured that the first year is a wash with those things.

This year we have: three types of tomatoes (plum, cherry and regular), red hot cherry peppers (supposed to be bell pepper), watermelon (I may have planted over), beans, squash, garlic, carrots, asparagus, and some cilantro growing in the front yard where Oliver spilled a packet of seeds in January. I also plan on starting an herb garden in my smaller bed near the house.

I have been watering regularly, am planning an organic battle against the bugs, and plan on actually USING our compost pile this year. I am currently in search of a place that sells earthworms. Anyone??

Oliver is LOVING planting the seeds and plants. Unfortunately the guy just keeps replanting things, so we have to use the metaphor of putting the plants to sleep and the dirt is their blanket. Now when he digs in the bed, we tell him not to pull the covers off the poor seeds. Hey, whatever works!! I wonder what metaphor will work for rabbits...


These pictures are from when we were helping in the community garden. Maybe next year we will be mobile enough and plant growing savvy enough to buy a plot.

Mission Statement

Now that I am a mom to two, it is time to reevaluate I think. The kind of mom, wife, and woman I was and strove to be when it was just Oliver and I is no longer possible now that there are two babies striving to be my world. When a company is revamping their image, or going belly up, the first thing they do usually is create a new Mission Statement. And so, therefore, shall I!

I want to be a relaxed, fun and attentive wife and mother. I will ask for help when I need it and will accept it when it is offered. I will learn to say no to social obligations and yes to getting on the floor and playing. I will care less about what others are doing and care more about the example I am setting. I will kiss my husband more and will strive to be as helpful, loving and supportive as he has been to me. I will remember that random acts of kindness go further than grand gesture, and can affect more people. I will never be too busy to read to my kids. I will forgive myself for not being able to play all the time, as a mother, it is my job to also teach them how to cook, clean and do their own laundry. I will teach my children values through my actions. I will not lose sight of who I am, what I want and things that I enjoy just because I am a mother of two. I want to get back to what is really important, and simplify the rest. I want to cook, can, create, and grow more of what we need rather than buy it. And I will not worry about calories, fat, sugar, or salt intake, I will be more concerned with balance.

Thanks to a friend on the interwebz for this idea!!
Actually, thanks to her husband for making her do it first.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Henley's First Doctor Visit

She is HUGE!!! 10lbs, 30z (if you look back at Feb. 20, 2008 - so was Oliver at his month visit) and 22inches long! That would be 90% and 80% respectively, I am growing a monster! Speaking of monsters, Henley has the worst case of baby acne I have ever seen. I have been avoiding play dates because she looks so terrible, I don't want people to feel like they have to lie to me. It was so bad, the pediatrician suggested we treat it with OTC acne medication (Nutragena On the Spot if you are interested) which seems a bit crazy to me, no? I mean, it isn't like she is dating or something. No babies, to the best of my knowledge, have set up a facebook page for "Fans of Henley 'Pizza Face' Goss". I hardly ever tease her and when I do, it is mostly behind her back.

She looks so much like Oliver, but also so much like me when I was a baby it is a bit weird that she is her own person. She may look like Oliver, but she is really testing my parental prowess by being a completely different baby. He threw up all the time, she swallows it back down (ew). He had to be touching us at all times, she sleeps independently. He hated being worn because it meant he had to bend his knees, she loves the sling and the swaddle. He STILL nurses for comfort, she sees boobs as purely a food source. I can see why moms of more than one think first timers are idiots. The more kids you have, the more you realize you are clueless.

We are slowly finding our way as a family of four. The main issue I am having is that I have literally no downtime. Going from having a self sufficient 2 year old who STTN, takes 2 hour naps and is mostly potty trained, to a newborn constantly on me is a shock to the system. I haven't been able to get out of the house without either of them for longer than half an hour (once) because there is no time to pump, which means I can't leave. I am actually hurriedly typing this before CT gives me back Henley and goes to bathe the first born. Right now he is holding her off from nursing so that the Zantac can kick in before she feeds.

Oh yea, and did I tell you she has reflux? She gags, swallows down her spit up and screams, those are the symptoms. So, until her little tummy valve grows, we are trying medication to make her more comfortable. You know what also helps?? Swaddles. Swaddles are spectacular. I may have to bemoan them in a later post but for now, she sleeps snug as a bug in a rug in hers!

If I could have one wish, it would be a date with my husband soon. I miss that guy. We talk, but in between tantrums and colic. I only hear half of what he tells me about his life, and I really want to know this time. HA.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Post Partum Update


Today is the first day that I have felt good. I mean, energetic, happy, and not wanting to strangle Oliver. Oh, and I pooped without feeling like blades were slicing me in two (still bled though). Hemorrhoids have got to be the worst part of labor and delivery for me. My mom is coming shortly to watch the napping kids while I grocery shop, which will be the first time to myself in almost 4 weeks. Oliver and Henley overlap their naps by about an hour while I usually frantically clean or watch TV. Please don't tell me I should be napping, I am no good at daytime naps and they leave me more grouchy than if I had just stayed awake.

I just cleaned out my freezer, and found that I still have 2 weeks worth of meals from people (this doesn't count the stuff that I can make myself with the ingredients I have. How awesome are my friends and family!? It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy that regardless of my mental state and level of exhaustion, my family will eat for the next two weeks. Also it makes me feel awesome that my freezer will be empty enough for my husband to brew a lager by the end of the month! I have decided to use disposable diapers on Henley when we are out of the house - so much easier to carry in a diaper bag. And I am stepping up the PTing of Oliver. Getting some training pants shortly.

Let me just say, that having two kids is so extremely hard. I literally wanted to kill Oliver for the first few weeks. No, I am not kidding. I would lay there holding him trying to get him to nap while his sister screamed in the other room and I would think about how much I hated him. HATED. Of course, then I would leave him and hate myself for even thinking that. He is a good kid, and now that he is on a strict schedule (this is a must for two or more kids btw), it has gotten easier. He naps, he sleeps at night, he eats. However, he is SO needy. Much more so than the littlest one. Today is the first day that I have felt the old adage that your heart grows with room for both children. Up until today, I felt like my heart evicted my oldest so that my youngest could survive.

Anyway, that is me. Tomorrow I may be in the gutter again (going 5 days with no shower will do that to a person) but today? Today is a good day.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!!

Oliver knows the true meaning of Easter! Eggs. Eggs and candy. Eggs and candy and gifts. It was sorta sweet to watch him run around gathering all of the hidden eggs, opening his baskets - yes that is plural and enjoying undivided attention. Don't get used to it, next year it won't be like this buddy! Next year Easter is about competition!! Who ever gets the most eggs wins mommy's love!! Ha. Just kidding. My love of course goes to the cutest one.

We did not take pictures with the Easter Bunny. While I find Santa to be charming and all about giving and charity, I find it creepy for a man to dress as a huge prolific animal and take pictures with children. Go hunt eggs my little Gosslings, but you will not believe that the Easter Bunny is real. Sorry, that is just so weird. Easter is a bit of an uncomfortable holiday for me anyway, I find it really annoying that people are all about the holiday being a Christian one, but denying the fact that ALL the symbols of said holiday are Pagan. It really frustrates me. I even have one friend who told me that the Christians had to go underground because the Pagans were slaughtering them by the thousands, so they pretended to celebrate their holidays but actually they were celebrating Christian events. Um, no.

So we eat ham, we play games with family, and use the holiday as an excuse to dress our kiddos up and hunt eggs. Oh and chocolate. If you ask me, chocolate is the real reason for the season! Or fruit snacks if that is what floats your 2 year old boat!

These first pictures are of Oliver hunting eggs at the Georgetown "hunt". Really it was a bunch of kids picking up eggs in a field. Some parents who have less scruples than most were opening all the eggs, dumping the candy in the basket and leaving behind the halves of the shell. Uncool!




Visiting with his Grandma and Grampa for "Easter" they came a week early to celebrate!





And hunting eggs at the final Easter, at Mama and Gramp's house!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bathtime (FINALLY)

Play this while you read:



Last baby, we did it all wrong. We followed the doctors advice and put alcohol on the stump every change and was very careful about it. Four years later, when the stump finally fell off and Oliver was ready for preschool, we thought, this can't be normal!! Sure enough, it isn't. This time, we sorta just never touched the disgusting shriveled raisin of an umbilical cord and it rotted off in 5 days. YAY! Baby Henley has a belly button!! And the cat has a new toy to bat around.

In celebration, we decided to do it up with a bath! After being held by my dad who smokes, being blessed with four different types of oils and tucked into her daddy's sleeping arm pit, my baby's head smelled less like a newborn and more like a Bog of Eternal Stench. So, into the water she went! We expected screaming, fit throwing, etc. Nope. Like a tiny mermaid she kicked her legs and splashed her hands and let us wash her and take a billion pictures. (I realize mermaids don't have legs, but they also don't like their picture taken so that whole sentence made no sense).

Here are some pictures of the bath just for your viewing pleasure. The whole time I was singing the song you are listening to now. I love having a girl.



Mexican Plums and Tulips

Spring has sprung in the Goss yard! It seems somewhat Disney movie over here, the morning after Henley was born, I looked out the window and there was a squirrel in the tree, tulips blooming everywhere and a mama bird sitting on her nest. And then they started singing! Not really, but you get the point.

This is the time of year that I should be planting my garden and pulling weeds and cleaning things. We did pack up all the boy baby clothes and give them to a friend, so check THAT one off the list. We also packed up all the baby girl clothes and put them in the closet, DONE! However, somehow, my house still looks like bootay. It WILL get done, we just may have to move to get it done.

In honor of our little girl's birth, Aunt Liz bought us a tree to plant. It is a Mexican Plum, it is gorgeous, it smells delicious when it is flowering and the fruit it produces is perfect for jams! You know I am a sucker for the canning! We planted it this week, of course, my little gardener helped. Sans pants.

Enjoy the spring! I know we are!!


Oliver had a run in with a dog water bowl...