Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dive Right In!

Considering how much Noelle’s family likes swimming, I thought I better chime in with my own post on the subject ;)

The brief background is that Noelle, my husband and their sister have participated in competitive swimming since they were little kids. My Chris practically majored in swimming in college and spent a bunch of time after college coaching swimming there. So our kids are bound to be little fish, right? Other than the fact that I have a thinly veiled fear of children around deep water. My idea of swimming involves wading in a cute swimsuit and sunbathing on a sunny beach. Clearly, my husband wants our children to become the next Michael Phelps’…but he won’t admit it.

So, Chris has been helping out with a local competitive swimming club team, and they are offering a learn-to-swim lesson program that started last night. We enrolled B and I think I was way more nervous than he was. He took to it like a natural….slashing, putting his face right in, and kicking like a maniac! It was so fun to watch him. Every time he glanced up at me and Sean on the pool deck he gave us a huge smile and thumbs-up. I am so glad that I didn’t show him my fear.

S was another matter. He really doesn’t understand why he can’t do everything that B does. He kept looking at me with a toothy grin, eyes sparkling… “Mommy, Sean jump in pool too?” I need some advice on how to explain to the two year old why he can’t get on the school bus and go to kindergarten, dive in the pool, play goalie at soccer practice or cast a fishing pole with a hook on it….any suggestions?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


B happily jumped onto the school bus yesterday morning ready to start his first day of Kindergarten. Luckily he had attended ½ day Pre-K at the public school last year and knew what to expect. For the record, he is a very well-behaved kid, loves school, follows directions, respects his teachers, bus drivers and follow students. So yesterday, when he ran off the bus at our home, I was expecting him to be a bit tired and hungry. I am not exactly sure who abducted my sweet student, but he was clearly not the same child that I put on the bus that morning.

When I asked him if he wanted a snack (popcorn and a glass of milk) he responded with “Duh, Mom”….HOLD ON ONE MINUTE YOU LITTLE SNOT….since when does this kid say “DUH?” After I resisted the urge to boot him across the room, I realized that he was looking up at me with a frightened expression. I actually think that after the words came out of his mouth he realized that “Duh” was not a very nice way to talk. Which is exactly how I responded, explaining that that is not how we talk and that if he was going to come home and talk like that he would be spending some quality time in his bedroom talking that way to his stuffed animals until he got it out of his system….”sorry mom…” he said afterward.

Then, after a series of screaming battles with his brother over completely random yard toys, they came in for dinner. B took one look at the Chicken Cacciatore and rice that I had prepared and said, “Ewww, that looks GROSSSS. I am not eating.” B has NEVER uttered the word gross at my dinner table before. Again, he gives me that frightened sideways glance. And I launch into, “Uhhhn-uhhnn, I spent a long time preparing you a delicious meal, you do not tell ME that YOU are not eating without even trying it.” And again, “Sorry Mom” and after he tried it, a begrudging “It’s pretty good…”

So, I guess B is going to be learning a lot more than sight words, phonics and the numbers 1-100 this year at Kindergarten….we’ll have to encourage a daily dose of attitude adjustment!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Turning Two!

S turns two this weekend, which is nearly impossible for me to fathom. His babyhood has completely flown by. Probably everybody says that about their second child. We documented every breath of B’s life….but with S it seems like there was so little time. Or maybe you spend more time living it and less time recording it!

I remember a period of time when B was a toddler when he literally barely slept. Ask anybody who knows us how traumatic this was. It took hours to get him to sleep, we tried every strategy there is and NOTHING worked. NOTHING. I received soooo many suggestions from well-meaning family and friends regarding this dilemma. They ranged from “super-intense sleep training” to “love that little guy right to sleep in your own bed”…but regardless of what we tried, he was super-challenging to get to sleep, and worse yet, he only slept in 1-2 hour stretches and spent the rest of time in distress. I thought I was losing my mind. People kept asking me if I was going to have another baby. My response was, “Perhaps I could start getting my mind around that, if this kid ever starts SLEEPING….you a**hole.” Most of B’s troubles occurred during the time when he was 10 months to 14 months, so I begged my PCP for a referral to a sleep clinic. Chris and I headed for the sleep clinic around the time B was 13 months old. The conversation with the doctor (if my memory serves me) went something like this:

Dr. (something that rhymes with “Witchface”): After hearing the problems, I am convinced that this is a behaaavioral problem and that B is clearly manipulating you into spending time with him in the hours during which you should all be sleeping.

Me: Uhhhh, I can’t really see how a 1 y.o. could consciously manipulate me. Plus he is not up trying to hang out with me and play, he is writhing and screaming like he is possessed at 11pm, 1am, 3:30am, 4am and 5:15am then he tries to sleep soundly from 5:30 to 7:30 am…then naps horribly too.

Dr: Right, well you’d be surprised how babies minds work. So my suggestion is to place him in his crib at 8pm after a quick bedtime routine and then turn off the monitor and buy some earplugs.

Me: So, we’ve actually tried to let him “cry it out” a few times and it was awful. He screamed for hours until he puked.

Dr. Well, he might do that this time, but just go into the room quietly, do not make eye contact, turn him away from you and change his jammies and bedsheets. Then leave again.

Me: Okay.

On the way home Chris asked me when we were going to try our new strategy. In tears, I practically yelled, “How ‘bout NEVER.” I explained to him that I tended to B’s needs all day long and I wasn’t just going to blow him off at night. After that I tried to gradually encourage B’s sleep by using super-consistent routines, bedtimes, aromatherapies, soothing foods etc. Somewhere around 14 months, he started sleeping better. Maybe it was what I did, and maybe he just grew out of some night-terrors, growing pains or some other problem that he was having.

And that all being said, B’s sleep gradually improved throughout his one-year-old year and by the time he was two he was doing fairly well, sleeping better and much happier. And, wouldn’t you know, a few months after he turned two I could FINALLY think about him having a sibling. About, 4 months after his 2nd birthday we got pregnant with S!

Here’s what I do remember and know about amazing S:

-He definitely has more laid-back personality, even though he is high-energy physically.

-He learns in his own way: by doing, experiencing, tasting and feeling life!

-He’s gorgeous, a real lady killer with golden curls and large dark-grey eyes.

-You can’t stay mad at him because he is so hilarious.

-He’s super-affectionate, it’s never hard to get a kiss, hug or cuddle out of him.

-He is a much much better sleeper than his brother.