Tag Archives: 18 months

Thank you clarity

2 days left of NaBloPoMo and it’s been kicking our butts. It’s hard to know what to blog about sometimes…is this mostly a blog about our son? Our family? Our lives? Those are all very different topics, though intertwined of course, but it’s hard to know what’s appropriate or comfortable to share in this space.

So we’ll just talk about Thanksgiving. The night before Thanksgiving day, we went to my parents’ house about 35 min northeast from where we live. They had agreed to let Curly sleep over while we went out for a night on the town. We met up with a friend in the city, played gay bingo but didn’t win anything, went to a diner until about 1am and then returned to my parents’ house to sleep over ourselves. In turn, my parents played with Curly, put him to bed, and got to see all of us in the morning before they left for a relatives’ house for Thanksgiving. We split up the holidays between our families every year, and this year we were having the feast at Nutella’s parents’ house about 45 min southwest from where we live.

So later on Thanksgiving day, that’s what we did. There were 17 people at the meal, seated at a very long table in their sun room. Curly was not in a particularly good ‘sit and eat’ mood, so when he finished eating and lost interest in the toys we gave him, we let him run laps around the table to the amusement of the guests. He had a blast and we were able to continue eating and chatting while all the relatives fawned over him.

On Sunday evening, we went to a neighbor’s house literally behind our house. Their son is in daycare with Curly and we became fast friends ever since they moved in several months ago. We had split the cost of a turkey from our farmer’s market and Nutella tried out a new malt beer brining recipe. She also made a couple side dishes and our neighbors provided sides and a pumpkin pie. Curly and his friend had milk-chugging contests while we chatted, and then later on took turns pushing each other around the house in a small wagon.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in many ways and were able to see just how lucky we are. We have amazing family, friends and community. We don’t always take a step back to really appreciate it, but we should. It was definitely evident this long weekend.

Take Note

Curly got some early Hanukkah presents during Thanksgiving. Oh, and we got our monthly case of diapers delivered from Amazon. I think the picture says it all.

Grateful for pants

Curly went through 3 pairs today (puddle jumping at home in the morning, and then a watering can incident at Grandma and Grandpa’s), so i’m pretty sure he’s grateful for pants.  And so am I, among all the other wonderful things in my life!

For those of you that celebrate, Happy Thanksgiving!  For all the rest of you, Happy Thursday!  Now pardon me while I contemplate a turkey induced early bedtime….

mmm, turkey!

Gobbledy good

Since Thanksgiving is just around the corner, here’s a bullety post of joyous things that have happened lately…

  • Curly’s communication is getting better and better. He is picking up signs quicker, and although he doesn’t have all that many, he’s got some really helpful ones and can sign 3 word phrases with some prompting (like Want More Please)
  • He’s repeating more words and has recently picked up Hi, Waffle, Bubble, Out, and of course, No. We’re sure he says more words that we just don’t understand yet because he’ll have conversations with us that still sound like babbling, but with much intent.
  • He does not like us to leave daycare without hugging and/or kissing him goodbye. It’s the sweetest thing ever. He will look at us with puppy-dog eyes, say ‘Mama’ and lean in for a kiss and squeeze before going back to playing.
  • He’s finally gotten good at pointing, waving and knows some body parts (specifically Head, Hair, Nose, Ears, Belly, Feet, Hands) It’s taken him longer to get to this place, but he has. Now we have to keep working on animals and their sounds.
  • He is so, so good with taking medicine, when we give him eye drops (for the pink eye, which is almost all better), when we brush his teeth, and when we clean his ears. He had hit a short phase where he was hating the tooth brushing, but now he just sits and lets us do it. We thought he was going to hate the eye drops, but he’s been great. And as long as we keep him distracted, he’s good about fingernail clipping (not so good about toenail clipping though- he must have sensitive feet!)
  • Though he sometimes shows a preference for one of us, we both feel equally loved and wanted by him. When one of us leaves him, and it doesn’t matter who, he gets concerned and waits for Mama to come back or tries to find her.

I know I often write about how difficult parenting is, but I also know that we have one wonderful little boy on our hands and we both love him with all our hearts.

Weekend dramaz

Sorry folks, I’m going to opt out of the meme.  Strawberry did a great job with it, so I’ll let her answers stand.

We had our first night with one of the sitters last night.  She seems prone to drama, sadly.  She doesn’t yet have a car and the original plan was that her boyfriend was going to drive her, even though we’d offered to pick her up and then return her to the subway.  On Tuesday, she emailed us that they’d broken up and she needed us to pick her up.  Then by Friday, they were back together and he would drive her.  Saturday morning, she emailed to say he was sick and could she please get a ride.  We’d purchased movie tickets so were on a bit of a deadline.  And of course she was late.  I waited at the train station for her for 15 minutes.

By the time I got her to our place, it had to be a quick “here are the instructions, we’ll see you at 10:45″ from Strawberry and a mad dash to the theater.  Fortunately, it was the latest H@rry Potter movie and there were a billion previews so we didn’t miss anything.  Again, she’d already met Curly and been briefed and it IS the easiest sitting job in the world, but we were hoping that things would be easy.  We’re booked with her again on December 4, so she gets another shot at it.  If it’s stressful again, we’ll go with someone else.

In other fun news, guess who had his first visit to Urgent Care this afternoon?  Don’t be too alarmed, it’s just the time of year for your average, everyday, daycare pink eye party!  There was one kid out on Friday and by Saturday afternoon Curly’s eyes were puffy, red and crusty.  We thought the pedi might call in a prescription, but when I called their answering service the voice mail specifically said that they would not.

Fortunately, this urgent care center was awesome.  They do same day appointments, and we saw the doc about 40 minutes after our appointment time.  He was kind and efficient.  Even told us off the record that the drops Curly gets are the same one adults use.  You know, just in case.  I’ve never been to a medical facility set up this way, but it’s brilliant.  It’s a big square.  An outer hallway with padded benches in alcoves surrounding all the exam rooms.  The exam rooms then have interior doors that open to the medical staff/ lab area.  There’s no crowded waiting area where you have to sit all jammed in with all the other sick people.  And Curly had a blast walking laps around the whole thing while we were waiting.  They have an onsite pharmacy, they take my insurance and they’re next door to a St@rbucks!

Of course, while we hope we won’t have to be back there again anytime soon, I’m sure we’ll be back some time.

And the seasons they go round and round

Thanks to Next in Line, you have another NaBloPoMo post from me (and tomorrow I’ll make Nutella do it, too, yipee!!)

The biggest surprise

One of the biggest surprises to me is just how much Nature has seemed to mean a whole lot more than Nurture. I was always under the impression that it was 50/50, but now I don’t think so. Or at least, not up until 18 months. The nature that Curly was born with has really made our parenting what it is, not the other way around. He is in control and always has been, not us. It’s so easy to say ‘oh sure, we’ll keep doing such-and-such when we have a kid’ (and we’ve said lots of things like that before) but if he doesn’t like it or handle it well, that changes things. For instance, you can’t *make* a child sleep in a stroller, no matter how tired he is. He just gets crazier and more restless and devilish if that’s the way he is. And if he’s independent and not clingy, you have less to worry about when you leave him places like daycare or with a sitter, even after you’ve been warned about separation anxiety. If you plan to read him lots of books and cuddle with him, but he simply cannot stay still for more than 30 seconds at a time, you have to deal with that. You can’t change him.

Parenting has been more about reaction than anything else. And getting used to your child’s patterns so you know what’s coming and can do your best to keep them happy.

Most unglamorous mama moment

We’ve had a lot of these…moments when we’ve been flat-out sobbing because it’s been so hard or not what we expected. But uh, probably my most unglamorous personal moment was after Curly finger-painted his crib with poo from his diaper and after giving him a bath, I spent 5 minutes cleaning the slats of his crib one-by-one thinking, I cannot believe this is what my life has become.

Favorite activities

Moving on to better topics…tickling him and rough-housing with him are totally fun. He loves climbing on us when we’re on the floor, being picked up and swung around, being “wrestled” with. We all love dancing together. Making funny faces at each other. Bath time is still a lot of fun. Going on exploratory walks outside or to the playground. Just hearing his laughter makes the day so much brighter.

Advice

The two best pieces of advice I can give are:

1) Keep all of your receipts. For everything (diaper packages, sippy cups, the newest carrier you bought, whatever). You never know what will or won’t work and what you need to return.
2) Hang in there. There will be hard days that make you cry. Your child will seem uncontrollable and fight napping or reject you. He may refuse to eat or throw 20 tantrums or break something important. But tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow he might be an angel and give you sweet hugs and kisses and do what you tell him and surprise you in some amazing way. Some days or time periods seem to drag on forever, and then all of a sudden they’re 9 months old and then 18 months old and you truly begin to realize how fast it’s all going. So hang in there and try to enjoy it as much as you possibly can.

Dog + Baby = Love

This is Hazel’s story.

My parents had moved to Florida and I, living in the mid-Atlantic, hopped on a plane and went to visit them. I was 23. The day before I was to return home, I stopped into a pet shop at a large shopping center near their house. Even though I had been thinking about getting a chihuahua for a while, I had no intention of buying anything from that pet shop. I was just perusing the puppies when I saw a tiny chocolate-colored head rise from its curled up body, look me square in the eye, and then plop back down again. I think she cast a spell on me in the moment. The next day, I was on a plane home with her, much poorer, but infinitely happier (and slightly guilty for buying a dog at a pet shop, sigh). I was supposed to keep her in a crate under the seat in front of me. Instead, I wrapped her two pound body in a t-shirt and kept her on my lap the whole flight.

She was 10 weeks old. A few weeks after I got home, I broke up with my girlfriend who I had been living with, and moved into my own apartment.  I spent the next few months training the dog and appreciating her company. When Hazel was 9 months old, I met Nutella. Nutella was both a cat person and allergic to dogs. Luckily, Hazel is very cat-like (in the good ways, no hairballs) and she’s so small that Nutella’s allergies have never been that bad with her. Hazel won her over very quickly.

Fast forward 5+ years. Nutella was pregnant and Hazel was supremely attached to her heating-pad human mom, laying her head on Nutella’s growing belly only to raise it with a confused expression when something tapped at her from below.

When Curly was born, she would race to get us when he’d cry (which meant she was frequently running all over the house). She was curious about him…a little scared, but quickly got used to him. She would sniff him and lick his face. To him, she was just as strange as everything else around him. He didn’t begin to truly get interested in her until 3 or 4 months. At 5 months, he began laughing at her as she ran laps around the coffee table. She was the only thing that could always make him laugh, and still is. She is a constant presence at the bottom of his high chair, although not as much food falls to her anymore (but she may still pre-wash his tray now and then). He will lean over to look down at her, say ‘hi’ and wave.

Hazel is not into playing with toys, so Curly will frequently try to hand her a ball only to be left hanging. It took us a few months to teach him that he must be gentle with her, and give her soft pets versus quick smacks. When he is aggressive with her or too much in her personal space, she will give a little growl and bare her teeth, but she has never hurt him. Most of the time they ignore each other, but when they interact well, it’s adorable. They will give each other kisses and chase each other. It’s a good sibling relationship.

Video embedded:

The magic box speaks to me……

Curly was being particularly crazy at the dinner table the other night so we tried a little experiment to see if we could keep him at the table for another 10 minutes while we finished eating.  I brought the laptop over, placed it just out of his reach and queued up the Sesame Street YouTube channel.  And from the very first minute, he was transfixed.  A slow grin on his face, his eyes glued.  it was adorable.  Then he ate a few more pieces of food from his tray that he’d rejected moments before.  It is so easy to see how TV time contributes to childhood obesity.  He even let me plug in my head phones and place them on his head, though they are too big and fell off quickly.

We don’t have any intention of TV watching becoming a habit, but it’s nice to know that at 18 months it can work as a distraction when needed.  And that the portable DVD player his grandparents are giving him for Hanukkah will hopefully give us some longer, calmer meals on the cruise.

Here’s one of the short clips he enjoyed.  As annoying as Elmo’s voice is to adults, I guess kids find it irresistable.

Babysitter- check!

About 2 weeks ago, we joined C@re.com and posted a babysitting job mainly for Saturday nights after Curly goes to sleep. Totally easy gig, and we got a ton of responses. Some were good, some I could hardly understand, and some were applying for what seemed like a full-time nanny job. We weeded through them and came up with the top 2 or 3. Yesterday we interviewed the first, and she was perfect. Lives 15 minutes away, working on her Masters in social work, has babysat her whole life, including children with special needs, is CPR and first aid certified, gay-friendly etc. Curly and our dog both took to her and we felt really comfortable. We’ve already booked her for this Saturday and one in December. We’re interviewing one more sitter on Wednesday as ‘back-up’ and she, too, sounds lovely.

It feels so nice to have the security of a babysitter now. Up until this point, we’ve relied on friends and our parents. With friends, we don’t want to stay out past a couple hours because they’re doing the sitting for free. Plus it kind of feels a little weird to not be able to hang out with those friends all the time, but then call them up to ask them to babysit…like we’re using them. With our parents, they like to ‘babysit’ Curly when they can hang out with him. To have them come over while he’s sleeping feels mean. So a paid, trustworthy babysitter is a relief to have. Of course, it’s an extra expense so we’ll have to see how it effects our overall budget after a few times.

We are so looking forward to Saturday nights out together and with friends. It’s been much too long since we’ve seen a play or a movie, had a leisurely meal or whatever. I’m just surprised we waited this long to do this!

The turtle says SNAP!

We’re season pass holders to our zoo (the zoo actually doesn’t cost money, but parking does) and we’ve been taking Curly there since he was 4 months old. Of course, he didn’t really start enjoying it until closer to one year, but it’s something fun to do. Now when we bring him, he loves walking around and watching the animals…well, the ones that are moving anyway. He’s still too little to notice or care about the ones that are staying still. It’s a beautiful and warm November day, so we went to the zoo with some friends this morning. It was worth the trip alone just to see one of the keepers cleaning out a giant iguana’s room, and stopping to pet him/her on its head every now and then. The iguana was just like a dog, closing its eyes in ecstacy when she pet it and shaking its head for more when she stopped. Curly was just as entranced watching the scene as we were which was nice because I hate missing things like that to deal with a cranky McCrankerson.

Here are a couple other shots from this morning.

He'd rather child-watch then pig-watch

The alpaca says...?!??

Um, fun caption anyone? Sheesh!