Monday, April 28, 2008

Public toilets

Andy is doing great with the potty training right now. I can't get him to wear his new underwear. He insists on wearing a pull-up or a diaper, but he is telling me when he has to go and then goes. It's going to take some adjustment on my part to be able to jump when he says he has to go. Like yesterday at Target, we had sat down to a fine meal of chicken tenders and nachos from the $2 menu when he announced he had to pee. I had to quickly put lunch in a bag and rush to the toilet. We ended up eating lunch out of the bag later as we shopped. Fortunately, it was just the two of us. If Meg were with us, it would have been a bigger challenge to quickly get moving.

This all brings me to the subject of public restrooms. I'm not a germaphobe by any stretch and I'm not afraid of public toilets. With a bladder as small as mine and my affection for wine, public restrooms are something I got used to a lot time ago. But I just sit on the seat. Andy, meanwhile, has to lean his little legs up against the toilet and sometimes rests his penis on the toilet bowl because he's not quite tall enough. I always make a point to wipe him down afterwards, but still, ick. And last week at Chipotle, there was a line for the Ladies room so I had to go in the Mens (and is it Ladies' and Mens'? I need to look that up). Anyway, we went in the Mens' room which was just disgusting to begin with and having to touch the nasty toilet seat with my hands to get him ready, well, ick. Sure, I washed down afterwards, but it was still gross.

In the last few months, Andy has gone to an every other day bath schedule, but with Meg spitting up on herself all the time, I've taken to giving her a bath every day to wash the smudge off her hair and neck. I think he's going to need one daily, too, until he's at least tall enough to not molest the toilet when he pees.

Three months

Meg had her three month appointment today. Apart from getting four shots in her not so tiny thighs, she was deemed perfect.

Height: 23 1/4 inches - 50th percentile
Weight: 14 pounds, 15 ounces - 95th percentile
Head size: 16 1/4 inches - 90-95th percentile
Chest size: 17 1/2 inches

She was in a fairly good mood until the shots came. Even with a dose of Tylenol to take the edge off, she screamed with the shots (hard to blame her) and the process took even longer because the first shot site bled and the kind nurse had to stop the bleeding before she could move on. I feel for those nurses. The doctors get to do the fun stuff in these visits and the nurses have to do the dirty work of making babies cry. It also sucks for Meg at this age. Andy gets a lollipop at each visit and she gets all the trauma and no reward (well, except for not dying of polio, but that's harder to explain).

Dr. Staats explained that in the coming weeks/months, Meg is really going to start noticing Andy and will be tickled to watch what he's doing. I am just thrilled at the thought of getting to see that interaction. He likes her, but right now there isn't much he can do with her. I think once he realizes he can dance and do his "Baby Meg" song for her and she's able to be a good audience by smiling or laughing, he is really going to love it. I figure that will last until she's able to steal his toys and then he's going to be totally annoyed.

Our next scheduled doctor's visit is around five or six months when we start talking about solid foods. I can't quite believe we're almost there. With that in mind, I'm getting out the high chair this week. I think she'll like sitting up in the kitchen and watching everything. I just need to keep Andy off it. He climbed into her swing last week and probably hurt the motor. Bugger. Fortunately, Bjorn was able to return it to Target for an exchange it since it's still new.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


With the temper tantrum of a few weeks ago, I've been reading and rereading books for strategies on dealing with him. One thing that seems to be helping is making a real effort to get him into bed at a decent time. I'm now giving both kids a bath more or less at the same time. Meg loves to lay on the sling and kick the water while Andy likes to make birthday cake with the cups. It's a pleasant enough way to spend 20 minutes and then Andy can sit in the tub by himself for a bit while I get Meg dressed and ready for bed.

I'm also trying to not go in to him as much at night. His room is right near ours so if he cries out for one of us, he's loud and hard to ignore, but we're working on it. And if we do go it, it's not to cuddle, it's to quickly fix something (find a binky, covers, etc.) and leave without fanfare. The theory is that if it's not fun, he'll lose interest. A work in progress, but it helps to be trying something.

The funny thing about the sleep thing is now he's waking up to go pee. It's great and a positive step, but I find him getting up to pee in the morning is often before he would have liked to get up so he's tired when he wakes up. It's something we're all going to have to adjust to, but I am so proud of him for getting up out of bed and doing it himself. He's really catching on (fingers crossed).

I'm also working to give him more control. Instead of offering him two spoons or cups to choose from, I've put all his stuff in a drawer in the kitchen. Then if he complains he doesn't like something, I tell him to get another one. I'm also working to redirect him if he complains, which sometimes works. So if he complains that he wants X, Y or Z, I tell him to go get it (within reason, of course, the wine is mine).

Meg is just a darling. She isn't rolling over yet, but she sure can arch her back and kick her legs, like she might want to. Right now it's great to know I can put her down and she won't go anywhere. I know that won't last long. She's now usually going to bed around 9ish and waking up 6:30ish with a wake up call in the night sometime between 2 and 4. For me, it's great to just have an hour or so to myself before bed to relax without either one of them.

And speaking retraining, I'm going back to work in two weeks. On the one hand, it will be nice to be with adults for part of the day and do something other than clean diapers and do laundry, but I'm starting to get a little anxious about it. I'm overall better than I was before I went back after Andy, but I can still feel it. When I start to get worked up, I just remind myself that if it doesn't work, we'll change it. Nothing has to be forever. My plan is to work four half days through May and then go back to four full days a week starting in June. I'm hopeful the half days will help us used to a new routine at a new daycare with two kids. I like that the new daycare is just a mile away -- that will certainly make it easier if we forget something.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Green poop

Andy pooped on the toilet TWICE today. (God, when did my life get to the point where this is the most interesting thing happening?) He went this morning before I took him to his pediatric ENT appointment to check that his ear tubes are in and doing what they're supposed to. As a reward, I promised him ice cream after our appointment. The deli in the medical building sold cold treats and I let him pick one out, a very large, phallic green Popsicle. He was psyched. He started to eat it when I realized that today was picture day at school so I made him take off his shirt to eat the Popsicle. What a lovely redneck mother I was today sitting with my shirtless kid in the parking lot of an office building while he ate a Popsicle.

After school, he came home and I immediately stripped him down to just a shirt. He played and played, occasionally saying he had to poop, trying briefly, then going back to playing. I was impressed that he could feel it enough and kept trying to go. I was upstairs getting Meg's bath ready when I got the call.

"Mommy, I made poops! Come look!"
"Yeah, Andy! Good for you. That's great."
"Come look. They're green."
"Come look!"
"Why, yes, they are green. Just like your Popsicle earlier."
"Yeah! That's great!"

And then I proceeded to give him another green Popsicle.

And not to be out shined by her brother, darling Meg slept from 9:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Of course, when I woke up and realized neither of us had been up, I panicked, worrying that because of her cold, she had somehow stopped breathing in the night. Rather than rush in and definitely wake her up, I turned up the baby monitor all the way and waited a few seconds for a good deep breath. Phew.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Less than 24 hours in, the reward chart seems to be a decent motivator. Andy was proud to get the smiley faces (all green, naturally) for doing the things on his list. This week, on his list is:

  1. Get dressed
  2. Wear underwear (this wasn't a official selection, I cut out a picture of underwear from the Spiderman underwear label)
  3. No whining
  4. Take bath
  5. Get ready for bed
  6. Brush teeth
  7. Put away toys

He got them all yesterday except for whining so we talked about it and he said he'll do better today. We'll see. Now that we have the chart, I need to back off and stop pushing these things. I need to offer it and if he initially rejects, let me know he won't get a smiley and move on. As it was yesterday, he didn't want to take a bath, but once I backed off and he realized he wasn't getting a smiley, he came around. This is going to be an adjustment for all of us, but hopefully we'll get the behavior we want.

I took Baby Meg to the doctor. The good news is she doesn't have an ear infection or signs of anything other than a cold. She said if she didn't improve within a couple of days, to bring her back in. Fortunately, she seems to generally be feeling better and is back to her smiling and cooing self.

Getting enough sleep proves to still be elusive for all of us. Meg has fortunately only been getting up usually once a night, lately between two and three. Unfortunately, Andy likes to wake up, too, usually around five and wants to insist someone sleep with him. Last night I made the mistake of caving on that request because I didn't want him to scream and wake up the baby. Now I'm afraid he's going to insist on it.

Oh, and breaking news, Andy pooped on the toilet this morning. He said he didn't have to earlier in the morning, but I let him eat breakfast naked and by the end, he had to go so he declared it, ran to the toilet and went. Just like that. Fingers crossed that this is clicking for him finally.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Poor babies

Poor Meg has been sick with a bad cold. It started Saturday and seemed to be worse this morning after a tough night so I'm taking her to the doctor this afternoon. She was pretty fussy off and on this morning, somewhat unconsolable (at least to me since she never really cries much). I gave her a warm bath this morning which put her in a good mood and she's been more mellow since then. The doctor's visit is really just a precaution to make sure whatever she has doesn't get worse.

Meanwhile, after Andy's tantrum and potty training mishaps last week, I've been reading up on discipline strategies and asking my friends for ideas on helping get through his hump. I heard almost universally that a reward chart seemed to work as a good motivator. We went to the house of some friends Saturday that had this cool magnetic/dry erase chart from Melissa and Doug so I went to Toys R Us and picked one up for $20 today. I'm going to unveil it to him tonight. I think he's going to be excited about it. I hope.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Potty training

Thanks, Internet, for your support against the tyrant formerly known as Andy. I wish I could report that after that incident, he's been a perfect angel. We haven't had any flare ups like the one at Chipotle since then and I think he is recognizing that my campaign against crying and whining is serious, but we're a ways off from him stopping his really obnoxious behavior. My theory is that there are several things at play. I think the preparation and arrival of Baby Meg allowed us (me especially) to overlook some behavior that I should have put an end to earlier. That combined with him being three and wanting to test limits combined with a cold combined with his erratic nap/sleep schedule these days has created a perfect storm of irritating behavior. I'm hopeful this stage will pass, sooner rather than later.

In exciting news, Andy came home from school yesterday having worn his new Spiderman underpants all day (including nap time) without any accidents. When we got home, I told him if he pooped on the toilet, that I'd take him for ice cream. So he did. Just like that. So I scooped him and Meg up and headed to Baskin-Robbins. He absolutely loved it. Strangely, all the canisters are too high for little kids so I put him on a chair to look at the selection. He was amazed and thrilled. A boy after my own heart, he picked Chocolate Mint in a sugar cone. I love that flavor for the taste and he just picked it because it was green. He was thrilled with what he had done and the reward, declaring all the way home that he wanted to poop again and get more ice cream. Then he did. In his pants. Oh well.

Does anyone know how to make my kid less regular? I swear he must go three or four times a day. If it was just once or twice, I think we'd have fewer problems with this aspect of potty training. Like this morning, he was excited about his underpants and then pooped in them. And when he came up to tell me about it, he subsequently peed. On the floor. Yuck. On the one hand, I'm ready to shelve this potty training nonsense until he seems more ready. But on the other hand, he can totally do it when he wants to and at times, he seems so close. If anyone has suggestions, please post them. I could use some new ideas.

P.S. I posted a few more pictures on Flickr. There are some cute pictures of Meg practicing holding her head up as well as a picture of Andy and his friend Daniel naked from the waist down in a car. We were trying to practice potty training by letting them run free from the waist down and it was so cute and gay we had to take pictures. That will be my reward for surviving this potty training ordeal.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Tough love

Andy threw a mother of all tantrums yesterday. It started with the underpants. I told him on his way to school that if he didn't have any accidents in his underpants, that I'd take him to the burrito store after school to celebrate.

Andy: The burrito store?
Me: Yes. If you stay dry -- no pee or poops in your underpants all day, we can go to the burrito store.
Andy: And can we eat there?
Me: Yes.
Andy: I love the burrito store.

So when I picked him up, sure enough, he'd been dry all day. They put him into a pull-up before nap that he was still in, but he'd been dry all morning. So true to my word, I took him to Chipotle. It was early, like 5:15, when we got there and we were ahead of the dinner rush. He started acting obnoxious, saying he didn't want this or that in his whiney voice and yelling at me if I disagreed. I explained, as I have been lately, that it's not okay to act like that. And that if he kept it up, we would leave. I probably gave him three or four chances to act right and when he didn't, I grabbed a to-go bag, packed up our stuff in Meg's stroller and headed out, dragging Andy by the wrist.

He was PISSED. Seriously. He started screaming full scale once he realized I was serious. I tried loading him into the car, but he was wigging out, jumping out of his seat, trying to hit me and throwing his earphones into the back seat. I was failing at everything so I threatened him with spanking; I NEVER do that, but it was in the parking lot with lots of traffic and a baby in a stroller and I was feeling anxious that it was dangerous. When he still didn't act right, I pulled him out, swatted him on the behind (not hard really) and finally got his attention long enough to get him into his car seat. He started screaming for his earphones, which he had thrown, and I ignored him all the way home and he screamed. It was 15 minutes of torture listening to him breathlessly scream. It was funny it was so awful.

I finally got him home and tried to herd him into his room and he was still freaking out, screaming and jumping around. By then, Meg woke up and started crying that she was hungry so I tried to placate Andy as best I could while I tended to her. I banished him to his room, where he refused to stay, screaming and closing and opening the door. When I said he couldn't leave his room, he flopped around on the threshold for a while. The whole episode probably lasted about an hour. It was pretty ugly and, at moments, pretty funny. He finally calmed down, we talked about how it wasn't okay to act like that and then had a nice dinner together. He then took a bath and went to bed, exhausted, and was asleep by about 7:30. He woke up about 1 a.m. and wanted to get in bed with me. I told him no and left him. He then woke up about 6:30, called for me. When I didn't come, he put himself back to sleep. He's been waking up a lot in the night, partially looking for attention, and I really need to put an end to that, too.

I swear, this motherhood stuff is tough sometimes. Really tough. On the one hand, I think he's acting out. He's got a lot of new stuff going on and he's competing with a new baby. I've tried to be sympathetic, but my tactics so far haven't made much of a difference so I'm trying tough love. If he starts whining at home (and by whining, I mean pretty obnoxious stuff that ends up with him yelling at me), I send him to his room or to time out. I'm done negotiating with the terrorist.

What was great though was after all that drama, he woke up a refreshed and happy kid. We talked again about how it's not okay to act like the way he did and then he peacefully went to school -- no drama about not going, no screaming about not wanting this or that for breakfast. I hope this is making a difference because, damn, this discipline stuff is hard.

On another note, his school has started posting the kids' "art" online. Check out Andy's here. Talk about a gifted artist.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Apparently Meg thinks Seth Meyer and Amy Poehler are funny, too.

Big smiles

I managed to catch both kids in the same frame. They are pretty adorable, you know, when they're smiling or sleeping, just not screaming that they need something. Andy is doing a little bit of regressing, that I think is pretty normal for a kid with a new sibling. He wants to drink milk out of a baby bottle (I cut the top off an old nipple so he has a "special" one that's all his own). He also cries his fake cry when he wants my attention. He sees that it works for Meg so he's trying it, too. And since it usually works, I need to do a better job of not responding when he acts like that.

Another unfortunate part of this regression is he doesn't like sleeping through the night as much. I find her schedule has been more predictable than his. It further convinces me that it may be 2015 before both of them sleep through the night at the same time.

I caught an adorable short video of Meg smiling yesterday. Unfortunately, neither Blogger nor YouTube are cooperating getting the video public.

Monday, April 14, 2008

My list

Inspired by this site, here is a list of things going on around here:

  1. Operation big boy pants (i.e. potty training) has been temporarily suspended due to a sudden bout of diarrhea. Yes, it's as gross as it sounds.
  2. Last week, we had potty training boot camp at a friends where we let the boys run naked in the back yard for several hours. Andy did great. Then I went to another friends and he went on the carpet. We ended up having to give the boys a bath to get Andy clean.
  3. Is there a Hallmark card with the sentiment, "I'm sorry my kid soiled your home?"
  4. Andy said unbidden last week, "There is no crying in baseball." What a good boy.
  5. In response to me telling him he could do X, Y or Z after he did something else, he said, "No, Mommy. I'll make you a deal." I was so surprised I wanted to know what deal he would offer me. He didn't have one (and doesn't seem to quite get the phrase), but it cracked me up because I must say that a lot.
  6. Meg slept from 8:45 last night until 5:15 this morning.
  7. That would have been great if Andy wasn't up at 4:45 this morning wanting something.
  8. I have hurt my back, probably lifting the car seat in and out of the car and have been sleeping with a heating pad.
  9. Meg is smiling and talking a lot. However, I can't seem to get her to smile at the camera. It clicks just as she stops smiling. I took about 20 pictures of her after-smile this weekend.
  10. My tulips in the front yard are gorgeous.
  11. Our tax return is on its way to the IRS in Atlanta. I even went and mailed it personally at the post office to ensure it had enough postage for all 47 pages and the check.
  12. Bjorn is out of town until Wednesday. Boo hoo.
  13. I watched the E! True Hollywood Story of Owen and Luke Wilson. Who knew they grew up so close to me in Dallas?
  14. The laundry is totally done. And folded. And (mostly) put away. I want a medal.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

For once, not counting down until bedtime

Precious angel baby doll, Meg, slept from about 10:30 last night until 6:30 this morning. Andy also complied by sleeping from about 8:30 until 7:30. It's amazing how much brighter my outlook for the day is if I don't wake up counting the hours until bed time. This is especially good because Bjorn is leaving for a work trip tomorrow. He'll only be gone half the week, but it will be a good test for me. Fingers crossed the kids don't make me regret my decision to have them in the first place.

The kids sleeping a little better is so great because it takes me a little out of survival mode and into a place where I can start to enjoy life a little bit again. Like last night, with both kids in bed I actually stayed up and read for a few minutes. It was quite nice.

Speaking of nice, Jennifer babysat for a few hours yesterday and let us get out to a movie. Bjorn didn't want to see Juno, claiming it was a girl movie, but we went anyway and we both enjoyed it. His huge crush on Allison Janney (formerly known as Claudia Jean Cregg) continues. The movie was really good. I may need to rent it when it comes out I liked it so much.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Game on

Today we went to the house of a friend's who is also trying to potty train her three year old boy. It's a nice day here in Virginia so we let the boys play alfresco in the backyard. Well, they did have t-shirts on. We took lots of pictures (to be posted once I get my act together) of these adorable boys and their scrawny little boy bottoms running around, climbing the ladder, riding in the car. Unfortunately, they were too engrossed in playing really to want to do much peeing, but it was a good experiment that I will have to repeat in my own yard as the weather improves. The only downside is I fear by the end of the summer he won't want to wear pants anywhere.

After a very long Thursday day due to an exceptionally long and weird Wednesday night, I managed to get both kids in bed and asleep by 9:30 (special thanks to Jennifer for helping get Andy down). Meg woke up once at 4:00, ate and went right back to sleep within 20 minutes and slept until 8 a.m. Andy slept until about 7 a.m., but still, big improvements. Plus, that hour I got to spend to myself after they were both asleep and the good shows were finally back after the horrible, tragic writers' strike was a welcome break. And if those MILF Island t-shirts weren't $24, I might have to have one.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One step forward, five steps back

So the part about potty training success? Yeah, not so much. So Monday, Andy went to school in underwear (under his clothes, not just his underpants, thanks Jennifer). He came home in them, having been dry all day and getting lots of praise from his teachers. Tuesday, he again went in underpants and came home in a different outfit wearing a diaper. Then yesterday, he refused to wear his underwear, exclaiming, "Only girls wear underwear. I'm not a girl!" No, I can't explain it either. He steadfastly refused to use the toilet all day. Nice. Today he did let me put underwear on him so fingers crossed that it works out.

Meanwhile, the baby is sleeping somewhat predictably (knock wood), waking up once between midnight and 9 a.m. The late bedtime is not ideal and I'm working on it, but she has proven she can often go four or five, sometimes six, hours without waking. Andy, however, keeps getting up in the night.

I've been trying to move his bedtime earlier to avoid some of the customary meltdowns that come with him trying to drop his afternoon nap. Yesterday, he was somewhat ornery and I've taken a new stand that when he acts up by whining or crying, I'm going to send him to his room until he calms down. About six, he was giving me grief about dinner, shouting that, "It's NOT dinner time! NO! I don't WANT dinner." So I sent him to his room and laid him in bed. I came back a little while later and he was asleep. I kept thinking it was a catnap, but when I checked in on him about 7, he said he was tired and wanted to go to bed. He then slept like an angel. Until 3:30 a.m. I retucked him and went to bed. At 4:30, she woke up so I got up, fed her and put her back to bed. In the meantime, Andy woke up bright eyed, happy and hungry. Bjorn got up and gave him some dinner/breakfast and Andy refused to go back to bed. Bjorn kindly let me sleep until about 7 when we traded off again.

It's weird. The sleep thing with Andy as a baby was a pain, but we muddled through it and he eventually started being a good sleeper. When we had Meg, I figured we had him more or less solved so we could focus on her. It somehow didn't occur to me that we'd be up and down all night with him, too. I can only imagine folks with big families of five or more kids NEVER get any sleep.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Moments of success

So we sent Andy to school yesterday in just his underwear, no diaper. After screaming at Bjorn the entire way to school, he went the whole day without going in his pants. I am as stunned as you are. Granted, he didn't poop at school and that has been the barrier, but he did go dry all day and got lots of stickers and praise from his teachers, who encouraged us to do it again today. It's a start. Funny, I don't mind changing Meg's baby diapers so much, after all they're small and not quite human like yet, but somehow cleaning off poop off a real person is pretty icky. Go figure.

Speaking of Meg, she is a full blown infant now. With a huge crush on my ceiling fan. She lies under the fan and smiles and laughs at it, practically craning her head to get around me or Bjorn. It's just adorable. She's sleeping decently now, often just getting up once in the night. However, she wakes up and wants to play, rather than just eat and go back to sleep. It would be more annoying if she wasn't so darn adorable right now.

I have about a month left before I go back to work and I think I may be just about ready. We have the daycare lined up, I feel good about where the kids are going and the thought of spending the day talking to adults doesn't seem so bad right now. I may feel totally different when the time comes.

I'm also tinkering with Flickr trying to get more pictures posted. Bear with me, I have no idea what I'm doing.

Monday, April 07, 2008


Originally uploaded by kegan72
Here is Andy, exhausted after a walk with Pop.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Darling eight month old Emma. I wonder what she is thinking.

Easter Brunch at the DCC. Bjorn wore those ears all day. When asked, he told other patrons he lost a bet with Byron Egan and they all nodded in agreement that it made perfect sense.

Andy and Megan in matching green (he in the shirt, she in the dress) at the Easter Egg Hunt at the Dallas Country Club. The hunt itself was terribly organized, but the kids enjoyed it.

Elizabeth and I are our kids with our cousin Jennifer and her son who were visiting from London en route to the middle east for a new job.

Blogger is having trouble adding photos at the moment. More to come later.

Friday, April 04, 2008

We're back

After 11 days in Dallas, we are back in Virginia. My sister and three year old niece Megan came back with us for three days, leaving 8 month Emma behind with my mother. It was a great visit, but it was also a tornado of noise and chaos having two three year olds in the house at the same time. My sister and I would just sit down after getting them situated with something only for one to run in complain and/or cry that they needed help with something or that the other had taken a toy/hit the other. It was really funny seeing them together teaching each other new bad habits. It's funny -- the house is more or less babyproofed for Andy, but I wasn't quite prepared for Megan as she did all sorts of things Andy wouldn't think of, like climbing on the banister or using the trash can as a stepstool to reach something. Clever little one.

Amazing, after three straight weeks of visiting family, either here or in Dallas, I don't have anything lined up with my side of the family until after my maternity leave ends in May. It's weird to think about. Meanwhile, I have dozens of great pictures. I have so many that it's taking ages to upload so I'll post more later.