Friday, October 5, 2012

Long overdue

I knew it had been a while, but had no idea that I actually haven't posted since July. That is just insane. And of course, I was putting it off because I both had no idea what to write about, and also felt like there was just too much to update at the same time. But here I am, thanks mostly to Soulshine who checked in and asked for an update...

It is hard to believe, but the J-dog will be 18 months in a few weeks. He is so much more a little boy than a baby these days. He actually started daycare at the beginning of the school year, and seems to be doing really well there, though he has been through two different colds in the past three weeks. Today was the first day in a long time that I think he actually felt ok, and we had a lovely Indian summer day together. He is really into vehicles: all trucks, buses, firetrucks, garbage trucks, street sweepers, cement trucks, and most of all, diggers. Fortunately we have a wealth of all these things to choose from in our neighborhood on any given day. And I guess there is nothing unusual about this in an 18 month old boy, but I think it is pretty cute. And he can identify many different types of trucks in his truck books, pointing to the car carrier, or cement truck, etc when I ask him to show them to me.

Although he obviously has a very large receptive vocabulary (did I just make that term up?), he does not have too many actual words that he uses. He says mama, dada, meow-meow, up, door, and more. That's pretty much it for now. I'm expecting that he is just going to break out in full sentences someday soon. Some behavioral things that are annoying me are his new habits of pushing kids at the playground, and slapping me in the face. He does not respond very well to "No", and I am really trying to work on my serious, mean face to make him stop. I really loved "The Happi.est Bab.y on the Bloc.k" when he was tiny, but I recently bought the follow-up "Happi.est" and found it to be pretty silly. I have taken some of the advice, but really don't see the reason for,necessity of, speaking to him in "toddl.erese" when I'm trying to get him to speak in the first place. I guess that's the linguist in me - I only want to model correct language for him. So, I'm looking for some good suggestions for disciplining and preventing temper tantrums without treating him like a mini-Tarzan.

In terms of daycare, he was originally going the two days a week that I teach, but we added a third day when I am not at work so I can do prep work and house work at home. It has been the first time that I have had a whole day to myself to do things for myself, and though I was feeling guilty about it at first, it has been great. And totally worth the money. So, what else do I need to catch you all up on? I am back at work obviously, as the new semester started over a month ago. I do enjoy my teaching, but wish that I didn't have such a long commute. Coming home at the end of a very long day is grueling, especially when I know that I will only have about 20 minutes with the J-dog before he has to go to bed. And if I have a meeting after classes are over, then I don't get to see him at all. J picks up all the slack on my work days, both dropping the J-dog off and picking him up, as well as feeding him breakfast, getting him ready and out the door, and feeding him dinner too. So while I don't get much time with him on those two days, I am home with him on two other week days when I have him all to myself. I do consider myself lucky.

I have some other blog posts in my mind that I have been wanting to write for a while now, about how I am feeling about being a mother and a survivor of IF. I will try to get to those soon, before I am stuck having to write another long update. In the meantime, Soulshine asked for a picture, so here are a couple, riding his squirrel scooter with his new shoes on, playing with Daddy's shoes and snuggling a very tolerant kitty:

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My little striped cooler bag

I have a little striped cooler bag, like a tote bag, that I bought at Target a couple of years ago now. I bought it to carry my meds on the plane to Colorado and used it for several (not sure how many, but definitely more than one) trips out there. It's not anything special, but I liked it because it kind of looks like a cute tote bag rather than so obviously being a cooler. I guess I didn't want to draw attention to the fact that I was carrying meds. Anyway, that cooler bag sat up on top of the cabinets in our kitchen for about a year or so and now it is getting regular use again. For picnics in the park with the J-dog. We take our lunch out to the park almost every day now that the weather is nice and eat together, either at his favorite playground or on the grass under a nice tree. It hangs on a hook in the hallway now for easier access, and the little guy likes to go get it and walk around the house with it too. I can't look at the bag without thinking of why I got it, and how it has a much happier purpose now.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I never know what to write anymore...

...but I'll give it a try. It has been another month since last I wrote, and I feel like such a bad blogger. But I know that a number of us out there who have crossed over from IF-land into motherhood don't always know what to do with ourselves on our blogs anymore. So I guess I'll just ramble a bit, if you care to follow along.

I am done with work again for the school year, actually have been done for a few weeks already. So I'm back into the swing of doing the mommy thing every day. While I am mostly happy about that, I do need to find more structure to our days. The weather has been rainy and dreary for a while, but I'd like to get into more of a regular schedule of outings for power-walks and blanket time in the park. The J-dog gets both frustrated and frustrating when we spend too much time cooped up in the house. He just wants to get into anything and everything. He will not let me play with either my iPhone or computer in his presence - he just wants to grab them and gets very angry when he can't have them. I actually gave him my old flip phone, which is no longer active but still turns on and has pictures and stuff on it. He manages to get it open and punch buttons, sometimes even "making calls". I don't know if it is bad to let him play with it, but he doesn't love his toy phones nearly as much. I figure it is not getting a signal, so it shouldn't be too bad. I do need to get all my photos off of it though - I have photos on there that I have nowhere else, like the picture of the J-dog as an embryo (along with that of the ill-fated Baby B) that the nurse took during my transfer. And a video of the J-dog on my chest after my C-section, in the recovery room. The two of us were all alone for the very first time (J had gone out across the street to a diner for some pancakes!) and I remembered that my phone had a video camera that I rarely used, so I shot some footage. Anyway, I'll feel a little better about letting him play with the phone once I've gotten all that stuff off of there.

So, we definitely have a little toddler on our hands. He is still not walking, but getting close. He is very opinionated and strong-willed. He wants to feed himself a lot, so I'm trying to get creative about finger foods for him. Any suggestions are welcome. He is still not really good about drinking from sippy cups. He has milk during his meals in a little spout cup that he doesn't have to suck on - it just pours out the little holes in the spout, so I have to monitor him. He is getting pretty good at that one. But I still give him water in a sippy cup that he has to bite down on a bit in order to suck. I'm not sure that he gets much from it. I tried a straw cup the other day and he seemed to have no idea what to do with it. I am still breastfeeding him twice a day and am loathe to stop until I know he can drink better from a cup, but maybe if I were to stop breastfeeding, he would feel more motivation to drink from the cup. Again, thoughts are welcome.

Since he doesn't drink much milk (maybe 1/2 cup a day), I still feed him formula with baby cereal mixed in during at least 2 of his meals. I usually also mix in some fruit or veggies. He likes it, but also needs to have his finger foods on his tray so he can alternate it with feeding himself. The pediatrician said that the formula and cereal were no longer necessary, but it just makes me feel better.

I'm working on teaching him some signs, and he knows how to do "more" and "milk" at this point. Sometimes he gets the two mixed up, but for the most part he is really good at both of them, especially "more". That is really fun. I want him to learn some other ones too. He still has not said any actual words verbally, though he makes the "dada" and "mama" sounds a lot, but just as babbles. I guess he will be talking and running all over the place soon enough.

The three of us are going to have a picnic in the park this afternoon, if we don't get hit with more rain. So I'm off to make us some food before the J-dog wakes up from his nap.

Thanks for following along with my random ramblings, if anyone is still out there!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to the J-dog!

It is so hard to believe that our little baby is one year old already! The J-dog's birthday on Thursday was relatively uneventful, as I had to work, but we had a small birthday party on Saturday with just some close friends who have a baby the same age. There was brunch food and Bellinis for the grown-ups, and string cheese, melon pieces and Cheerios for the little ones. And of course, the piece de resistance - cupcakes! Although he got off to a slow start, the J-dog eventually dug in with gusto and enjoyed eating his first sweet treat. He obviously doesn't have too much of a sweet tooth, as he eschewed the icing for the cake itself, but the icing still managed to end up all over the place.

Present opening was spread over the course of several days, as he received oodles of loot. Favorites include a classic Chatter Telephone, a (pink!) watering can, and a little green dump truck from Mom and Dad (to go with his beloved little blue car). He also received some adorable outfits from friends and family, lots of good books, puzzles, stacking blocks and his first crayons and coloring books. Lots of things to keep us busy, and in style, for the next year!

As the first year milestone is upon is, so is the inquisitive mind and hard-headedness of a toddler. The J-dog's determinism has gotten him through the cat door of the gate that blocks off the rest of the house from the living room, so we have to be ever-vigilent to make sure he doesn't make a break for it. He gets better by the day at standing and cruising - we think he'll be walking soon. And he enjoys going to the park and crawling around to explore the grass and trees, while watching the joggers and bicycles go by. He is also a total flirt, smiling and waving at anyone who passes by. It is easy to see that he is a sweet boy with a vivacious personality. Even though he definitely keeps us on our toes and wears us out by the end of the day, every day continues to be a joy and an adventure. And as my semester is coming to an end soon, I'll be able to go back to spending all my days with my little boy as he continues his explorations of the world....and possibly some new adventures coming our way soon. Here is a picture from an outing in the park this past week. It is so fun to just go hang out with him as he watches the world go by.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Random ramblings

As I mentioned in my last post, of course there are lots of things to catch up on. I am constantly thinking of things that I need to write about here, and then just don't get around to it. The J-dog is keeping me on my feet. He is super-mobile and crazy active. Although not walking yet, he is a master crawler, and pulls himself up with ease. He also cruises, even with just one hand. But his stints at solo-standing only last about one second. So we'll see.

He also is not really saying any words but makes lots of sounds. He goes "brrrrrrrmmmm brrrrrrmmmmm" a lot, and not just associated with his little car. He also likes to click his tongue - we taught him that and now he will initiate click conversations. We reply with clicks and he gets a big kick out of it. Of course he is really good at the "mamamamama" sound, but only once or twice have I heard him stop at only two "ma's" where it actually sounded like "mama". Once was this morning, and he was repeating after I said "This is coffee for mama." So I am still waiting for the spontaneous production of the word with meaning.

I am constantly impressed with how good he is at playing by himself and keeping himself amused. Now that we have our living room baby-proofed to the gills, I can be in here on my computer while he plays. I am very proud of his independence. But I also love it when he crawls over to me, pulls up, and reaches his arms in the air to be snuggled. Or when he hands me a book and grunts.

It seems like I only just went back to work and now the semester is getting close to wrapping up. I only have one more month of school, and then will be back to having all my days with the J-dog. I actually have been enjoying working again, but this is the point in the semester when students start slacking off, so I get very frustrated with them and start looking forward to the end.

Amazing as it seems, the J-dog will be one year old in a few weeks! I guess I need to think about weaning, and I have very mixed feelings. I am actually amazed that I have made it this long and am still breastfeeding him 4 times a day. There are just 2 days a week when I am at work that he misses two of those sessions. He doesn't really take a bottle for the first missed session, but he does for the afternoon one, so I guess that dropping that late-morning session would be the natural thing to do, replacing it with a snack. I just can't bring myself to start doing that, even though I know that twice a week he does it and is fine with it. I think I would feel better about it if he were better at drinking from the sippy cup, but he still really doesn't take it. So far I have only been giving him water in it. I don't know if he would like it better if it were juice, but I am reluctant to start him on that. I am sort of waiting until he is a year so I can try milk. I guess he really is close enough that I could try now. Oh well.

So here is a final random rambling thought. I looked at all the people who follow my blog, and realized that I have no idea who most of you are! Most of the people who comment regularly aren't even signed up as "following" my blog, but I know you from blog land and the bulletin boards for you-know-where. But every now and then someone will come out of lurkerdom and comment on my blog (which I love!), but it makes me realize that I have an actual audience out there and have no idea how many there are, and who you are! I don't really have the right to complain about that, because I was a lurker for a long time in blog-land before I finally got the courage to speak up and start commenting, and then to start my own blog. I'm just curious. So if any of you want to pipe up and say hi, I would love it.

Ok, I'm off now. Today is J's birthday (I have two Aries men in my life!) and he is taking the day off. He is sleeping in now, and then I'm going to make him pancakes. I am mostly not a very good wife when it comes to cooking for him, but I want today to be a special day for him. Plus he mentioned a while ago that he wanted pancakes for his birthday... so how could I refuse?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pure joy

As always, lots to catch up on. But for now, I just want to tell the story of one of the happiest mornings I have had in my whole life. It was actually only about an hour out of the morning, but filled with enough happiness to last the whole day. And of the simplest variety possible: I went out with my son on a lovely day to buy him a new pair of shoes.

The J-dog and I left the house to stroll over to our neighborhood kids' shoe store, to buy him his next pair of shoes - the pair he will most likely take his first steps in. It was a beautiful spring day, one of those days where you get a first glimpse of the glorious spring weather that will soon be here. Daffodils and other spring bulbs are popping up all over the city, and flowering trees are starting to bloom. It was 70 degrees and blue sky - just perfect. We went to the store and were helped by a super sweet salesman. We got an adorable pair of shoes (I can't believe I actually spent $54 on a pair of shoes that will last a matter of months!!!) that will be perfect for his precious little growing feet. And as we were leaving, the nice salesman brought us out a balloon, which he affixed to the stroller in a position where the J-dog could easily see it and reach the string. We strolled back out into the gorgeous day and proceeded home. The little guy was completely ecstatic about his new balloon. He was jerking the string around, bouncing the balloon up and down and laughing out loud in excitement the whole time. Busy New Yorkers were actually stopping to look at him and smile. Pure joy. It was such a simple thing and yet I have never felt so happy in my whole life.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the Earth...

I'm still here. As I said in my last post, (almost a month ago!) I am back at work. Even though it is only two days a week, they are two very busy days and then I have other class prep and grading that has to be done the other days or on the weekend. And taking care of the J-dog on all the other days is always fun, but still very tiring. It is hard to find a moment to breathe. We have the sitter on the two days that I go to work, but I really need to think about having her come a few more hours during the week so I can take a break or get some work done.

The J-dog is growing by leaps and bounds. He will be 10 months on Sunday and it seems like we have had so many milestones lately. He has been doing the army crawl for maybe three weeks now (I need to look that up), but last week I put him in "standard crawl position" and he just took off. So now he is crawling normally, though he sometimes reverts to the army crawl. He loves to chase the cats, and once even got one of their tails. We need to keep an eye on that, because I'm afraid one of these days they will lose their patience with him. And I just noticed last night that the poor little guy has bruises on his knees from the new crawling! We have an area rug and also his play mat in the living room, but the area between the two is hardwood, and he does travel all over. He also pulls himself up to kneel and plays with his musical table and stuff like that. But he is not yet pulling himself to stand.

About a month ago I tried to trim his bangs and made a horrible mess of it. They were totally too short and much shorter on one side that the other. So last weekend, after they had grown out a little, we finally took him to get his hair cut at a kiddy salon. It was awesome. He was so baffled about what was going on, and there was definitely a surplus of stimuli - his own TV playing Elmo, another TV past that also playing a different Elmo dvd, music, people talking at him, kids making noise, a woman blowing bubbles, and another woman wetting his hair and pawing at his head. He looked all around in awe for a few minutes, then started to get fussy. Fortunately the whole cut took all of 6 minutes and then it was done. He looks so incredibly handsome! It cost $30 and when I told one of my mom friends she was aghast at the price, but I think it was totally worth it. I mean, this woman had scissors within centimeters of my son's eyes, ears, neck - you want her to be good. And unlike in my case where I spend a pretty good amount of money to get my hair cut and expect my stylist to take her sweet time with me, you want this hair cut to be as fast as possible! Plus, we live in NYC - what do you expect to pay for a haircut?

He is just getting over his 4th cold in 2 months. This is getting a little absurd. This time he has had a cough with it, and sometimes when he coughs he starts crying. I think his throat hurts. Yesterday he had a tough day with the sitter, but I came home early and snuggled him and he fed for almost an hour and then seemed happier. He slept great last night and seems much better today.

He is doing a little better with the bottles with the sitter. He will drink about 5 ounces of breastmilk/formula combined once or twice a day. I feel like a baby his age should be drinking more than that at a time, but I'll take what I can get. His eating is great and he has started having little bite-sized pieces of things like melon, string cheese and Che.erios! So that is fun. The only thing is that he loves to pick them up and play with them, passing them from hand to hand, but then he waits for me to put other ones in his mouth. He doesn't quite have the concept that he can put food in his own mouth.

And he finally has a tooth coming in, which might have also contributed to yesterday's fussiness. There is just the tiniest sliver of one tooth poking out from the gum. He has been chewing on his fingers a lot and loves it when I rub his gums. But overall it doesn't seem to be bother him too much.

We are working on waving bye-bye. He did it for the very first time last night when the sitter was leaving. It was very cute. It was just a little floppy-wristed bounce of the hand, but it was definitely a bye-bye wave. And I think he is getting very close to saying "Dada" with meaning. That will most likely be his first word.

Oh, and this is the cutest thing of all. I taught him how to do an Eskimo kiss. So when I'm holding him facing me, I'll say "Eskimo! Eskimo kiss!" and he will lean into me and touch my nose with his nose, waiting for me to rub my nose back and forth. It is so sweet.

Ok, I lied. That was not the cutest thing. The cutest thing, or rather the most heartbreakingly sweet thing that he has ever done, was this past weekend when he crawled over to me, climbed up in my lap and pulled himself up to snuggle me. All by himself. Because he wanted to be with mama. I just melted. This is what it's all about.