Tag Archives: toddler

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 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.


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… The Big Boy Room

If you’ve kept up on the news about what went down in Boston last week, you know that Friday was a crazy end to an already crazy week. Though life felt relatively normal for us (we were not part of the lockdown or police searches), behind the “normal” exterior, everything was different. Owen’s school was closed on Friday while we were encouraged to stay in our house during the manhunt for the second bomber, and I struggled to catch headlines and stay up-to-date via my phone so Owen wasn’t hearing/seeing the coverage.

It was stressful. And exhausting. And the second Owen went to bed I was glued to the television. We were so relieved to hear the news of the bomber’s capture late Friday night, and I spent the rest of the weekend almost completely unplugged from all news/social media/email in a sort of backlash against the time I had spent pouring over media during the week.


On a MUCH lighter note, the switch to the big boy bed that I have written/obsessed about far too much happened last Thursday, amidst the craziness. The bed was delivered and assembled while he was at school. It worked out really well because we were able to get everything set up and have a “big reveal” when he got home. I knew it would either be a huge success or a total failure.


The verdict? Huge success.

So far (we’re on night 5 tonight), he has stayed in bed and called for me in the morning. A few early wakeups, mostly due to being excited about the bed and also the fact that my mom was visiting this weekend and he wanted to see her as soon as he woke up. I’m considering that a huge success since I was scared he’d be out of the bed on night 1 and not sleeping at all. So… big boy bed for the win!


The transition also meant that we moved the changing table and the crib into the new baby’s room, and it has gotten me REALLY excited that we’re actually going to have a little person to put into that room very soon. My mom helped me get out all of the boxes of tiny baby clothes and clean out things like swings and baby seats that have been in our attic/basement since we moved. It’s making our NEXT big transition feel a whole lot more real!

Fingers crossed that the big boy bed maintains its allure and Owen continues to believe he really can’t get out on his own. So far, so good.

She Says… Poopy Mouth


Why is poop so darn funny?

Given that I will eventually have two (or more?) sons, I guess I’d better get on board. Poop is, apparently, hilarious.

At the ripe old age of 2 3/4, Owen caught on to the fact that talking about poop elicits giggles and smirks, no matter who he’s talking to, adult or child. I do my best to keep a straight face (nearly impossible sometimes), and even attempted a valiant effort of firmly responding, “We don’t talk about poop unless we’re ACTUALLY talking about going poop” every time it came out of his mouth for a while. I know another mom who says you can only say the word poop if you are IN the bathroom.

To no avail. The poop talk is here to stay.

I thought I had more time before this lovely milestone hit, because I know from experience it doesn’t go away until, like… 12 years old? 21 years old? Ummm, never, for some dudes?

As I said, originally I actually thought I could control/contain/discourage this behavior by not laughing and setting boundaries around when we actually CAN talk about poop. WRONG! Everything is poop. Poopy face. Poopy girl. Poop. Poop brown. Poop, poop, poop. Peepee once in a while, though that is far less funny. If he doesn’t know the answer to a question? It’s poop. What do you want for dinner tonight? Poop. Did you have a nice sleep last night? Poop. And then cue the giggles.

Benjamin recently pointed out that my tactic of discouraging this kind of talk was likely making it worse (“Oh, this BOTHERS you, Mom? I will do it some more! POOP POOP POOP!”). So I tried a new tactic. Just let it be. Give the word poop no more power than any other word. Deal with it, but don’t encourage it. I thought maybe Benjamin was right.

Alas, that doesn’t seem to have helped either. Or the damage is already done.

We had a playdate over the weekend and that little boy tempted fate by saying “butt” and looking at his mom like, “Is she going to punish me?”. Clearly these little guys are just testing limits. And I don’t think this is a battle I’m going to fight very hard. There are bigger fish to fry. But someone please tell me this poop talk thing is a stage?

Does your kid talk about poop (or some other inappropriate but totally normal topic that makes non-parents in the grocery store roll their eyes at you)? What do you do about it, if anything?

She Says… The Hollow Leg

We’re in the middle of one of those crazy voracious toddler eating phases. The last few days, it feels like Owen is eating us out of house and home. What am I going to do when he’s a teenager? Or with TWO teenage boys in the house?! Sigh.

Each breakfast lasted nearly an hour this past weekend, because Owen just kept saying, “I’m still hungry!”. On Sunday he started with his usual:

  • Milk (plus an extra half cup upon his request)
  • Protein (a hard-boiled egg)
  • Carb/starch (a pancake with ground flax)
  • Fruit (a clementine)

Still hungry.

  • Cheese stick
  • Fruit/veggie/almond milk smoothie that Benjamin and I were having
  • Dry cereal

Still hungry.

  • Handful of pistachios

And then I cut him off. I thought maybe he was just front-loading his food, like I often do (I eat a huge breakfast, smaller lunch, and eventually need a smaller dinner… so I don’t sweat it or starve myself if I’m super hungry in the morning, since it usually evens out). But then at lunch the same thing happened (despite doing my best to fill his belly with black beans, a hummus wrap, pear slices and green and red peppers). And I’m pretty sure he had his usual two snacks a day, also.

By dinner I thought he would have had enough, but no.

  • Salmon
  • Rice made with coconut milk
  • Broccoli
  • Milk

Then he was ready for his “treat”, since he gobbled his dinner.

  • Easter marshmallow

Still hungry.

  • Applesauce
  • Dry cereal

Still hungry.

  • Almonds

The kid is a vacuum. Thankfully he pretty much says “Ummmm… yes!” to whatever I offer when he grins and says, “I’m still hungry”, so at least he’s eating whatever I put in front of him.

Growth spurt, much?!

She Says… The April Fool’s Joke That Wasn’t

In general, I think most blog/website April Fool’s Day jokes are kind of lame. Once in a long time there’s one that makes me laugh out loud (this YouTube one was pretty funny), but usually they are so ridiculous that no one gets fooled, but instead are left rolling their eyes.

And, clearly, in my case, the classic “I’m pregnant!” farce is not funny… ’cause it’s true.

However, I giggled a little when Benjamin told me about an idea he had. You know how I’ve been shocked at how big I am already with this pregnancy as compared to how I was with Owen (which was still very big for a 1st baby bump)? He thought I could tell you all that we finally found out why: That I’m having twins!

Kinda funny, right?


Ok, maybe not.

In other news, I have been quietly avoiding the topic of switching Owen into a big boy bed since introducing the idea back in February, but that is about to change. I’m resisting this transition for many reasons, but Owen not being ready for it is not one of them (they’re all MY issues, not his).

  • I’m worried about losing the control that I have when he is in his crib
  • I’m stressed about upsetting/changing our peaceful and happy routine that has been the same since he was about 4 months old
  • And although I love the person he is growing into, I don’t want to admit that he’s not a baby anymore

Still, if we ARE going to make this transition before Baby #2 comes, I’ve heard from many sources that we should do so at least 3 months before the baby arrives so that Owen doesn’t feel pushed out or like the baby “stole” the crib from him. Given that he’s already totally jazzed about the big boy bed and has been asking for it for weeks (months?), I don’t think we’re going to have that problem. In any case, it seems like now is about the right time, a little over 3 months before baby brother arrives.

Benjamin is gently encouraging me to just bite the freaking bullet and move on.

So… the bed is ordered. It’s being delivered on April 18th. I have 2 weeks to get over my reservations so Owen doesn’t sense my doubt (the kid senses everything). On the bright side, that also means I have 2 weeks to pick out the fun stuff like sheets and comforters to turn his nursery into a real, live big boy room.

I’m 99.9% sure this is going to be a total non-issue, despite my incessant blogging about it.

Fingers are crossed.

She Says… The Easter Bunny Came!

Eggs were dyed…

Easter 2013-1 Easter 2013-2 Easter 2013-7

and eaten.

Easter 2013-4 Easter 2013-5

The Easter basket was hidden (in the bathtub!)…

Easter 2013-10

… found,

Easter 2013-9

… and immediately dug through.

Easter 2013-8

Bellies were filled. Well, mine with a big, active baby (and a few Peeps and peanut butter eggs) and Owen’s with more chocolate and sugar than his little body has ever experienced.

Easter 2013-13 Easter 2013-14

I regulated the treats well at home (only put 2 Peeps and 2 marshmallows in the basket, allowed him to choose ONE to have when he opened his basket, and then put the rest away as special treats to be awarded after eating good dinners).

Easter 2013-15 Easter 2013-12

But I restrained myself from controlling him while we let him go wild on an Easter egg hunt at his Grammy and Grampy’s. I’m working on loosening my grip on stuff like this. Though they only put treats in a few of the eggs, Owen promptly stuffed his face with waaaaay more chocolate than he’d ever eaten in a day and didn’t eat a bite of dinner that night.

Easter 2013-17 Easter 2013-18

On the ride home Owen started whining that he was hungry… then that he had to poop… then that he was going to be sick. Clearly his “dinner” of sugar didn’t sit very well.

Easter 2013-16 Easter 2013-21

But in the end we made it home without any bodily fluid accidents and he slept like a rock, despite no dinner, a late bedtime and no bath (which may be the first time we’ve ever skipped bath since he was 4 months old).

Easter WIN.

She Says… The Tale of the Broken Penis

The Scene: I was in Penn Station last Friday a few minutes away from boarding the train back to Boston after being in New York for work for a few days. My phone rang.

My friend (also a parent of a kid in Owen’s class at school): I have a hilarious story to tell you. I don’t even know how to tell it with a straight face.
Me: What happened?
Friend: J came home from school yesterday and said to me, “Something. Is wrong. With. My. Penis.”. Super serious.
Me: Oh God. What was it?!
Friend: I kept asking him questions, but he didn’t want me to look. Then he said everything was fine, and I didn’t want to freak him out, so I told my husband to take a look at bathtime.
Friend: Nothing. Everything looked totally normal. When I asked him about it more, he said “My penis is BROKEN. It’s BAD.” It was too strange for me to overlook, so I asked the teachers about it this morning at school. They explained (very embarrassed), that one of the other kids in class had been talking about how his Daddy’s penis was broken, and J must have heard it and repeated it.

At this point I nearly died of trying to stifle my laughter. I KNEW WHO “THAT KID” WAS. I had heard this story before.

Friend: Apparently the teachers were hoping none of the other kids had heard him and tried not to make a big deal of it. But “that kid” who said it was a fairly outspoken child.

I’ll say it again. I KNOW “THAT OUTSPOKEN CHILD”.

Tears of laughter were pouring from my eyes and I was probably cackling loud enough for everyone at the train station to hear when I told my friend that I knew exactly where her kid had heard that story. It was from my kid. My kid, who apparently told his whole class and his teachers that his Daddy’s penis got broken.

Let me explain. Quickly. Before you think something awful happened to my husband.

As I’ve mentioned many times, we’re potty training. Owen’s doing an awesome job with going in the potty, and some of that I attribute to our “open door” policy and not being shy about using the bathroom in front of him. He asks tons of questions and we’re always happy to talk about the answers with him. He’s also shown quite an interest in “stand up peeing” (like Daddy), so we’ve been working on that as well. And by working on that, I mean Benjamin has been demonstrating while Owen takes notes. And Owen notices EVERYTHING. He often says, “Daddy, you’re going to break your penis!”. We’ve laughed it off and told him no, no, he’s not going to break his penis. And left it at that.

Ever since he could talk, Owen’s outgoing personality has put us in hilarious situations where he tells complete strangers about what we did last weekend or what he had for breakfast. Remember the time he asked the grocery store clerk about his penis? We haven’t done much coaching on when NOT to talk about private parts because we’re doing our best to keep our discussions open, honest and without stigma.

Pretty sure it’s time to revamp that philosophy when your kid starts telling his teachers that his Daddy broke his penis.

Over the weekend I was pushing Owen on the tire swing with two other little girls who we had just met (6 1/2 and 3 1/2) and chatting with their mother. The kids were giggling and talking to each other too, and all of a sudden my ears tuned into their conversation to hear Owen sharing, “My Daddy had a boo boo on his knee and when Mommy ripped his bandaid off he yelled Ouch! really loud, and he also has a broken pe-“.

I cut him off mid-word because I KNEW where this story was going. The girls did too, and they started to giggle. The mom blushed and I said something like, “Excuse us, we’re in the oversharing stage right now” (probably leaving her to wonder if my husband really did have some awful penis accident). On the ride home, I tried to bring it up casually by saying, “We shouldn’t really talk about penises to anyone other than Mommy and Daddy. Ok? And Daddy didn’t really break his penis so it’s not ok to tell stories like that. It’s not funny to make things up.”

To which he replied, “No, it IS funny!” and started giggling away.

What can I say? He’s right. It IS funny. The kid knows how to get a laugh.

She Says… Cheap Date

I bet I can get a resounding “Amen” from other parents when I say, “All hail the Target Dollar Bins”.

Seriously. I used to walk by that little section and think, “Ugh, stupid crap that no one needs. Yes it’s only a dollar, but why waste your money?”. That is, I said that before I had a toddler. These days I always take a spin through there whether Owen is with me or not. And I can not even count how many treasures I have found. $1 can buy you a LOT when you are 2.

Here’s the thing. The stuff IS cheap. It’s usually made in China and made with ingredients I wouldn’t normally choose and it’s always crap you don’t really NEED and it’s not going to last very long. But here’s what I’ve learned. Sometimes that dollar spent can get you far, far more than the most expensive wooden, educational thingamabob made with recycled materials and plant-based ink.

It’s FUN. It’s SILLY. It’s the kind of thing my mother NEVER would have let me buy as a kid, and now I kind of get a thrill from tossing it in my cart.

We had a bit of a rough weekend. The stomach bug last Thursday left a cranky, whiny kid without much of an appetite in its wake. The bug itself (temp, etc.) was pretty mild and very short-lived, but the aftermath seemed to linger. Owen was healthy, but not himself. I’m not even sure if it was illness-related, but something was bothering him for the last few days and he was NOT acting like his sweet little self. In any case, today, on our 5th straight day of being at home when we’re used to being out and about all the time, I had to whip out one of my Target Dollar Bin goodies. (Yes, I buy them and save them for a rainy day.)

And, to my surprise, we got over an hour of entertainment from that $1 toy.

Remind me of this next time I scoff at the cheap crap.

sponge2 sponge4

It was these little things called “Grow Capsules”. They are like little pill-shaped capsules that you put in a cup of warm water. The capsule part melts away and these little animal-shaped sponges slowly emerge.

The anticipation of what animal it was going to be was astonishing. Owen was enthralled. FOR AN HOUR.


12 times, we repeated the “experiment” and it never lost its luster. I wish I had bought 100 more.


Now we have these 12 little animal-shaped sponges that Owen has been counting and sorting by color and lining up and stacking and squishing and putting in water and drying off. He adores them. He makes them walk around together and give each other kisses. I’m amazed.

I’m thinking we might try to sponge paint/stamp with them at another time (when he’s done loving them like his own next-of-kin).

Now THAT’S a lot of entertainment from $1.

Have you ventured into the cheapo Target section or a dollar store for $1 entertainment? What treasures have you found? Our favorites are window gels for various holidays/seasons (ALWAYS at least a few hours of peeling/sticking them, moving them around, and then eventually ripping them and throwing them in the trash a few weeks later), a tube with an alligator head that makes a weird noise when you turn it upside down, and a 4-page Sesame Street board book about the seasons that for some inexplicable reason has held Owen’s attention for over a year. Treasures, I tell you.