Tag Archives: 2 years old

She Says… All In Their Own Time

Yesterday I was at the grocery store and I got a call from Owen’s school. Usually a call from that number means Owen is being sent home sick or there was an accident they want to warn me about before pick-up (read: Owen has some huge gash across his face because he jumped off of something on the playground, etc.), so I always cringe when I pick up. But this time was different.

Owen’s teacher said, “Owen, do you have something exciting to tell Mommy?”. His little voice got on the phone and said, “I WENT PEE PEE ON THE POTTY AT SCHOOL!”. His pride was palpable. My 39-week pregnancy hormones got the best of me and I was wiping tears from my eyes in the cereal aisle as he told me what a big boy he was and how he was ready to wear underwear all the time at school.

WOOT WOOT!

As you may remember, he made the decision to be in underwear at home many months ago. The switch went off and he was jazzed about his Thomas the Train underwear and that was that. No pushing or prodding from my side. He just… decided. But, he also decided at that time that he WOULD NOT go at school. No sir. He came up with every excuse in the book as to why not. Recently we had gotten to the point where he said he would go “when the baby comes out” because then he’d “be bigger, like a big brother”. I was cool with that timeline, since I wanted the decision to be his and his alone, and not to be a deadline I was pushing. And he’s not even 3 yet, so I felt like we had lots of time for him to come around to this particular milestone.

But then yesterday he woke up from his nap dry (which he almost always does now… maybe that means we’re almost ready to move onto Phase 2 of potty training? I have no idea. For now I’m sticking with diapers for sleep time so that we’re not asking too much of his little body) and his teacher asked him if he wanted to go on the potty. He politely declined. Then she said that if he DID go on the potty, he could call Mommy and tell her the exciting news. That changed his mind entirely, and he went on the potty all by himself and couldn’t wait to call me.

And so, just like that, I feel like we’ve entered a new phase. No more diapers (except while sleeping). Though I wouldn’t have pushed it just because a baby was on the way, I am pretty happy to have Owen’s latest milestone come right before the baby. One less thing to worry about.

Speaking of being on their own timeline… Baby #2 seems to have no interest in coming out to play. I’ve had all of the telltale “labor is coming” symptoms on and off for the last week, but still, no baby. I’m tired of working and tired of not being able to call anyone lest they think I’m in labor. Still, I am thankful that my body feels relatively good. But that is definitely waning. I can tell.

Two weeks ago (right around when I started saying, “Any minute now!”. Ha.) I got this fortune in my fortune cookie:

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That has been my philosophy planning for this baby, and, more specifically, for the complicated situation that is going into labor with another kid at home. So far I’m doing really well on the first part (WE ARE SO PREPARED, COME OUT NOW, BABY) and really, really trying to also do the second part. It’s not in my nature, as a super Type A planner, but it’s also not in my control. There is something remarkably relaxing about that. Though I WANT this baby to come out, like, now, there isn’t a damn thing I can do to make that happen.

My fingers are still crossed that he’s going to come this week, though. Before his due date. Or his scheduled ejection date. I really don’t want to go that route.

But he’ll come in his own time.

She Says… Red, White and No Baby

Well, Owen was wrong about when the baby is “popping out”. No baby today (you know, unless I go into labor in the next few minutes and have a baby in under 3 hours) .

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(Don’t judge my fashion, y’all. There are VERY few items of clothing that still fit around my belly).

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Still, we had a wonderful, if very, very hot, 4th of July.

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Parade and all. (Side note: I hate to be a scrooge, but parades are LAME. Even when they are “great”, they are just not really my thing. Sure, the fire engines were cool and all, but the waiting in between acts? In the burning heat? Yeah. Not so much. Or maybe I was just a bit crankier than normal this year carrying around a full size child in my stomach.)

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We also invented a new backyard game aptly called “water slide”. It’s awesome.

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And then the pregnant lady’s favorite part of the day… we relaxed in the air conditioning, did puzzles and read books.

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Unfortunately Owen’s prediction about when his little brother would arrive was not accurate. But I have to say, I’m still glad for one more day with my little buddy.

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She Says… A Ear Ninfection

This morning at 5am I woke to Owen crying from his bed. As usual, I watched him on the monitor and waited to see if it was going to be a few minutes of confused crying, as sometimes happens at night for various reasons, or if he was actually awake and needed Benjamin or I to come in.

He sat up and cried hard and started saying something I couldn’t quite understand. Finally, I heard it. “Mooooommmmmmyyyyyy, I have a ear ninfection.”.

I remember so clearly when he was a baby, especially when he was sick, and I would ache for the day that he could literally tell me THIS IS WHAT HURTS. As soon as I understood what he was saying, a floor of relief washed over me. He’s probably right (and he’s been right before about this exact thing). He’s had the same chest cold/congestion going on that I have, and given his history with ear infections (um, that he gets one every. single. gosh. darn. time. he. gets. sick.), he probably does have one.

Benjamin got up and comforted him and tried to encourage him to go back to sleep. I got up and showered for work, knowing that we weren’t going to make it to 6:30am when his OK to Wake clock tells him it’s time to wake up.

Since I knew exactly what was wrong, I knew exactly what to do. Cuddles. Ibuprofen. Promise of a doctor’s appointment to see if it’s bad enough to get “pink medicine”. Owen’s tears dried quickly and although he was in too much pain to go back to sleep, we had a really nice morning before I had to leave for work. SO MUCH EASIER than if he had just woken up at 5 crying, and I would have assumed he was just… waking up early. And I would have been annoyed when I woke him up. And we would have started the day on a very different foot.

So, in some ways, we’re there. To that elusive place I wished we would be before Owen had the words and self-awareness to tell me when and where his body hurts when it is sick. That, my friends, is a beautiful thing. ESPECIALLY when we’re about to start all over from scratch with a new little screaming, crying creature who can’t tell me what he wants for 3 more years.

She Says… A Very Healthy Sick Day

On Tuesday at 4:30pm I got “the call” from daycare. Apparently Owen had a fever. It was borderline on their must-send-kid-home cutoff, but it meant that he couldn’t come back to school on Wednesday. Boo.

I was so thankful that this didn’t happen last week (while Benjamin was traveling and I was working in the office leading a training for 40 people singlehandedly) that I was more than happy to bring him home and figure out how to cover both a day’s worth of work and a day hanging out with my favorite 3 year old on Wednesday. Even better, Benjamin was working from home as well, so we tag-teamed the whole day. And, to make it even more fun, Owen wasn’t even sick in the slightest (his fever was non-existent) so it was kind of like an extra weekend day. It went great, and by the time we got in bed at night Benjamin and I both felt like we had successfully done a good job with both work and home responsibilities.

We patted ourselves on the back. Then I dropped Owen off at school this morning ready to get a lot more work done today.

But at 9:30am, a mere 2 hours after dropping him off, I got the same call. Apparently his fever was back. Borderline, but enough to get him sent home (especially since there were 5 cases of fever in his classroom, 2 of which came along with stomach bugs).

Of course I understand the school’s rule. And I understand being cautious when other kids are sick as well. But seriously. Owen is FINE. He’s more than fine! His fever is 100.1 under the arm. For my kid, that is really not a fever at all (or at least nothing to worry about if he’s acting totally normal).

Currently he’s out for a scooter ride around the neighborhood with one of our neighbors right now so that Benjamin and I can each squeeze in a couple hours of focused work before doing another tag-team day.  He’s been blowing bubbles and swinging on the swingset and running around like a maniac. Not exactly a picture of sickness.

Of course I’ll eat these words if he starts puking in an hour or two. But until then, I’m stuck wondering how in the world I’m supposed to wrap up my last few projects at work before I have this baby while my other baby is at home making it impossible to get anything done.

She Says… Crushin’

Owen has always been a social butterfly; sometimes to a fault. The kid loves people and just can’t help himself. He talks to EVERYONE and expects them to do the same in return. As a baby the teachers at his school called him “the Mayor”, and as he has grown up he has grown into that moniker, knowing every student and teacher (and almost every classmate’s parents) by name and saying hello and goodbye to each of them every day. These days he’s chattering away to the other parents and teachers before I even leave the room — about what he has for breakfast or something funny that happened on the way to school or something he’s looking forward to doing the following weekend. It’s even been written up in his report card: Chatty Kathy.

But we’ve recently found his kryptonite.

The thing that makes this blabbermouth go mute.

His “crushes”, as we call them. There have been a few in the last few months, and they all elicit the same response.

The first one was Maeve. She’s an older girl (5, maybe?) from our weekly music class. A few weeks into class Owen started talking about her after class. Asking me questions about her, her mommy, what she was wearing. Then he started imitating her (standing next to her against the wall, sitting with his legs folded criss-cross-applesauce right next to her during circle time, putting his fingers in his mouth like she does). Next he would anticipate her arrival to class (we’d get there early and he’d spend the time anxiously checking the door to see if she had arrived, and then speculate about where she might be). Then, in the last few weeks, he started telling everyone he was excited to see her. He blabbed to everyone about how he loved to see her and couldn’t wait for her to arrive. All the other parents and I joked about how hard he was crushing on her. But then, when she finally came in the door, he would bury his face in my chest and not make eye contact.

Typical, right?

She’d stand there and smile and wave, and he’d look away like he couldn’t care less. 10-15 minutes into class he’d warm up and they’d dance together, holding hands, and whispering and being silly together.

Similarly, his other crush was another little girl from a different music class. A total cutie pie with glasses and pigtails. She’s about 6 months younger but dances her little buns off in the center of the circle for the entire class. From the very first time he laid eyes on her, Owen was smitten. “Bella loves to dance”, he’d say to me after class. “Bella has glasses.” “Bella, Bella, Bella”. I encouraged him to go dance with her but he refused… until the very last class. During our last class they sat next to each other on a tiny sofa and bounced up and down. Not looking at each other, but staring straight ahead. Bouncing. Together. A few weeks after the class ended we were at a playground we’d never been to before. Owen got all shy and started pulling me around by my hand (NOT his typical “jump off of everything” playground style). Finally he whispered. “Mommy, who is that?” over and over again until I finally realized who it was.

Bella.

“Let’s go say hi!” I said. But he refused. Silent. He just wanted to stand and watch her from afar. But not get too close. And then, sadly, she went home, without a word. (She had no idea he was even there).

This past weekend we were at a local farmer’s market when the same thing happened. Owen spotted her from across a field and pulled me to a safe vantage point before whispering, “Look! Mommy! Look who it is!”. Bella again. This time Benjamin encouraged him to go say hi. Owen started running around near her, but wouldn’t make the first move. Thankfully Benjamin did, and, right before Bella and her mom were about to leave, he made the love connection.

Owen bashfully looked at the ground like he didn’t know her at all. Then, slowly, as Benjamin and Bella’s mom chatted, the kids started running around together. We exchanged numbers so we could have a playdate.

Why the silence and shyness? I don’t know. But it’s a really sweet side of my otherwise-always-outgoing child that I absolutely love to see.

She Says… A Boy’s First Manicure

Last Friday when Benjamin and I picked Owen up from school, Owen ran across the playground into our arms shouting, “I WANT TO HAVE MY FINGERNAILS PAINTED LIKE KEIRA!!!”. His teacher smiled at me and said, “We told him he’d have to ask his parents about that one”. Owen’s eyes were twinkling.

Though I know for some people this might have been a difficult decision, for us it was easy. Just as I would never tell a daughter that she couldn’t do something (anything) because it’s a “boy thing”, I wasn’t about to tell my son that he couldn’t do something just because it’s typically a “girl thing”.

And so, on Saturday morning, in his monkey pajamas, Owen got his first manicure.

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He chose a sparkly dark pink (since I didn’t have straight-up red, which is far and away his favorite color). I’ve never seen him sit so still in his whole life. He was in heaven.

I was all smiles too, until we headed out the door to the playground and I was hit with the realization that many people don’t share my love of letting my kid cross traditional gender lines. I am thankful to live in a state where most people wouldn’t bat an eyelash at an expression of individuality (and I would hope that most people, regardless of their stance on sex/gender issues, could accept that kids are kids and like to dress up and be silly), but still, my stomach tightened as I watched Owen running around the playground showing random kids and their parents his glittering nails. He was so proud. “Hey, guess what I have? <Holds out his hands and waves them in front of their faces>. PINK NAILS!”. I wasn’t sure if I should be more worried about the kids or their parents crushing his joy with an insensitive comment. I kept one ear open while I sat my super-pregnant butt on a bench nearby while he played.

After playing on a climber for a long time with a 4 year old girl and her older siblings (with Owen doing his patented “I’m just going to include myself in your game so you play with me” move), he showed off his pink beauties.

Little girl: You have painted nails?
Owen: Yeah. Just like Keira.
Little girl: Are you a girl or a boy?
Owen: A boy.
Little girl: Oh.

I think I let out an audible sigh of relief when I realized that the conversation was over after that. (Side note: Why can’t everyone in the world respond to others in the same way? “Oh.” It’s so simple, yet so powerful.). All the moms gave Owen praise for his color choice and told them his nails looked beautiful. I shot them invisible high fives and “thank you”s with my eyes. I saw a raised eyebrow or two, but in general, everyone was really positive and supportive.

Owen went to school this morning and nearly broke his face smiling so hard that his nails matched those of his favorite teacher. I am so happy to be able to give him that joy with a quick coat of nail polish.

I have no qualms about letting Owen experiment with “girl stuff”, whatever that may be. I let him try out my makeup if he asks (usually in an effort to distract him so I can get ready to go somewhere) and I wouldn’t dare tell him he couldn’t try something based on his sex. I know there are many parents out there who do not agree with me (remember the uproar caused by the J. Crew ad that included a mom painting her son’s toenails pink?), and some who even argue that boys not being “taught right” from a young age is the downfall of society, not to mention the reason for homosexuality. I can’t even respond to a mindset so far from what I believe to be the truth.

All I can say is that my kid is IN LOVE with his pink nails. And you better not be the person who makes him second-guess his awesome fashion sense and open mind. Or else.

She Says… “Mommy, I’m Hungry”

Remember when we tried the clock that lights up at the right time when your kid is allowed to get out of bed? Well, the first time we tried it, it was a total bust. Owen got totally stressed out anticipating the clock and it actually caused him to wake up earlier rather than sleep in later. (Ya think he inherited his mother’s Type A-ness much?!). At that point I gave him the option of what he wanted to do with the clock and he definitively told me to take it out of his room.

Since then we’ve introduced the big boy bed, and he’s doing GREAT. He stays in his bed all night and still calls for me in the morning (even though he’s perfectly capable of getting out of bed). When he and Benjamin were away the other weekend he did NOT do so well, but at home? At home he’s an angel. He’s still getting up earlier than he used to, but at this point I think this was a natural shift and not necessarily bed-related. That said, it seems unfair to continually tell him, “It’s not time to get up yet” if he has no way of gauging what time is actually is in the morning.

So Benjamin and I decided to give the clock another try.

This time the clock seems to be working much, much better. In the beginning I set it earlier than I’d like to wake up, but closer to the time he’s actually waking up so that he could “win” for the first week or so and wake up about the time the clock turned green. Depending on the day I’ve adjusted the clock accordingly (based on when he goes to bed or when we need to be out of the house in the morning). He’s still done a bit of complaining starting at 5am, but I haven’t gone in or talked to him through the monitor since we got the clock, so that he knows the clock is the bottom line. If it’s not green, it’s not time to wake up. So far, so good!

But the last two days I’ve heard a new early morning complaint. “I’m hungry!”. The first night it was 4am and I think he was talking/crying in his sleep. But he kept saying, “Mommy, I’m so hungry!” and then fell back asleep. I’m not surprised. He didn’t eat much dinner that night. But still, I wasn’t going to start a new midnight eating habit, so I had to wait it out. The next day it was 5am, but the same message. “I’m huuuuuungry!”. He whined for a few minutes (awake this time, I think) and then fell back asleep.

I know the kid is not starving. But I also know he’s really not eating a lot of dinner these days. I’m not totally sure what the issue is. Has he not liked dinner the last few nights? Has he eaten too many snacks so he wasn’t hungry at the right time? Is he going through a growth spurt? Does he just want to play instead of eat? Unsure. But whatever it is, I hope it passes soon. His cries of “I’m hungry” are pulling at my heart strings.

And, at 35 weeks pregnant, I can relate. I’m hungry then too.

 

She Says… Exceptions to the Rules

I am a rule-enforcer. Like, sometimes even if I know it wouldn’t be so bad just to say YES to something, I hear myself saying NO. I stick to my guns. Call it stubbornness, call it an effort to be consistent, call it an unaddressed control issue… whatever it is, it’s a powerful thing. It’s hard for me to make exceptions. For myself and for others.

Strict bedtimes. “We don’t eat treats like that” rules. Screen time limitations. “Lovey stays in bed and is only for sleeping”. You must take one bite of everything on your plate before you can say, “No thank you” and leave the table. No climbing up the slides on the playground (yes, even though that other kid is doing it RIGHT NOW).

In general, this philosophy has served me pretty well so far. I’m a very hard worker. I stick to my schedule. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it, even if it’s an inconvenience. This personality trait has given Owen stability, structure and boundaries as a toddler, which I think has been excellent for him. I’m not a tyrant… I like to think I don’t have too many unnecessary rules, but when there’s a rule, there’s a rule. But still, sometimes I wish I could just lighten up and let some things slide (without stressing and torturing myself internally when I do loosen the reins).

Believe me, I’m working on it.

Benjamin, whose strengths so often complement my flaws, is my “you are being crazy about this rule” compass. He will almost always back me up in the moment (which I SO appreciate!), but will mention later, “You probably could have just let Owen do _____ instead of saying no”. And whenever he says it, I know he’s right.

While we were on the plane to Florida last weekend and Owen was entertained by his individual tv the whole way there (HAPPILY made an exception there!), I actually had time to catch up on some reading and tv watching myself. I read this article in Parents magazine that validated my sometimes-possibly-too-strict-approach by saying that sticking to your guns is one of the best things you can do for your kids’ development. Whether it’s letting them eat crappy food at grandma’s house or letting them stay up way too late on vacation, exceptions can confuse them and lead to lots and lots of whining/negotiating down the line.

I’ve definitely seen this with Owen. If I make an exception once, it haunts me for days/weeks/months. I know he’s in a stage right now where he’s trying to make sense of rules and exceptions to rules, so I get why it’s confusing to him. (His latest thing is OBSESSING over people not wearing helmets when they are on bikes/motorcycles on the road. He screams at the top of his lungs and won’t rest until everyone in the car has acknowledge that, yes, that person isn’t wearing a helmet, and no, that’s not a safe choice.). But still, there are times when exceptions are ok, like eating too many M&Ms on Easter and staying up late to go out to dinner with family who we don’t see very often. Those are the times I try to keep my mouth shut and let the kid live a little, even if I know it will likely backfire with an upset stomach, a bad attitude or some lost sleep.

Of course he has adjusted fine to these exceptions whenever we make them, albeit with a little extra fussing at bedtime or trying to get out of eating his vegetables the next night at dinner. It’s good for all of us to work our flexibility muscles once in a while, right?

Have you made an exception that haunted you for longer than you expected? Are you a stickler like me, or do you regularly go with the flow and let the rules slide? Is there a particular age or developmental stage when kids become better at understanding “just this once”?

She Says… Picture Day

I know I just posted a bunch of vacation photos and I’m sure most (all?) of you are tired of looking at pictures of my kid. But we just got Owen’s school picture back today and I have to share it.

WHEN DID MY BABY GET SO DARN OLD?!

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Also, really REALLY wish we had gotten his hair cut prior to the picture being taken. But, you know, life happens. And my little boy was rockin’ a surfer dude style for picture day.

Oh how he’s grown since last year’s pic:

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He looks so much more… serious. And thoughtful. And mature. And while I definitely see that same devilish look from 2012 these days, there IS something more grown up about him.

We’ll be fighting about laser backgrounds for these pictures in no time.

She Says… Sand and Sun

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A little sand and sun were just what the doctor ordered.

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Owen hadn’t been back in the water since last summer, and although I knew how much he loved swimming back then, I was expecting to have to do at least a little bit of reacclimating once he saw the pool/ocean.

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WRONG. He couldn’t have been more excited to get in the water. I think the kid is part fish. He jumped off the edge of the pool without a care in the world, and tried over and over again to convince us to let go of him because he can swim on his own. We dunked our heads underwater and splashed and kicked. Watch out, Michael Phelps… Owen just may be headed for an Olympic gold someday.

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I also thought the vastness of the ocean would deter him from being so fearless. Not so. The child barreled towards the ocean and didn’t want to stop, even when the water was well over his head.

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We fully enjoyed Florida’s steamy temps and even the unborn got in on the action.

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To my surprise, I didn’t swell up in the heat (like last time I was pregnant in the summer, UGH SO GROSS) and my burgeoning belly didn’t hinder any of our fun in the sun. Perhaps more importantly, as someone who can pretty much get a blistering sunburn from walking around the block, I’m impressed that I came home pretty much the same pale color that I was when I left.

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Owen loved doting on his playmate (our friends’ one year old daughter) and it made my heart swell to think about him playing with a sibling someday pretty soon.

Florida2013-5He even surprised me with how well he slept — it was our first trip using a big boy bed outside of our house. I was half-expecting midnight visits from him and was constantly worried that he was going to leave his room and open up the front door to the condo (which had a handle, not a knob, and was not able to be deadbolted), but he did great and stayed in his bed when he was supposed to. Aside from a few little attitude-y outbursts (hey, he is 3 after all), Owen was a joy.

And now, back to reality… a billion emails in my inbox and more work than I can possibly finish in a 3 day work week. Sigh.