Any day that starts with my (only) tube of toothpaste bobbing around in the toilet water* probably isn't going to be a spectacular day. You know? Total case of the Thursdays. Complete with baby girl walking in front of the (swinging) swing and getting knocked across the playground AND a last minute trip to the pediatrician's office for that same (likely teething) little miss who has all week long been refusing food and uncharacteristically cranky and screamed for an hour straight this afternoon ("boo boo, no no, boo boo!") I basically just wanted to rule out a raging ear infection, or get her on some drugs before the holiday weekend if it was, in fact, an ear infection .... and instead received a nice long lecture from that pedi about how teething pain is an urban legend. No diagnosis, just condescension for my copay. And then I went and bought some new toothpaste.
Is it the weekend now?
*me, upon finding tube of toothpaste in toilet: "who did this, Anderson?"
You guys. Those 5am-ish wake ups were getting so bad I seriously, truly thought I was going to have to be committed. Especially when they were combined with a two hour bedtime "routine". And by "routine" I do mean my kid not staying in his &^%$#@% big boy bed, instead choosing to open and slam his door a bajillion times, empty his dresser drawers, strip naked and yell "NAKED!" over and over again, etc. So a few hours missing sleep at night, a few hours missing sleep in the morning, combined with naps that lasted barely long enough for me to feed the dog, much less eat lunch in peace and read 29 blogs ... and it was all very bad. Crabby kid, crabby mom, people dashing off in the opposite direction when they saw this crabby hot mess coming. UNTIL! This clock! It's a lifesaver. My boy likes very clearly defined expectations - ambiguity doesn't a happy Bug make. Case in point: our last visit to CA. Remember? When he woke up at 3am? The next night at bed time, I told him he wasn't allowed to get up until the lights came on outside. Done deal, he waited until sunrise, then yelled "mama, LIGHTS!" and on with our vacation we went. So this clock is pretty much the same idea, in $30 form. No getting up until the green light comes on. We wrapped it up in gift wrap and made a big show of giving him this superawesome gift, then explained he wasn't allowed to get out of his room until the green light came on in the morning. I set the 'wake up' time (starting way earlier than I wanted to, but working our way up by 10 minutes each morning), he understands we won't be coming for him until the green light, so he may as well a) stay asleep or b) find something quiet to do in his room. And it's WORKING! He's sleeping later each day, and if he does wake early, he's looking at books quietly (if nakedly) in his room. And there's a nap timer too! My only tiny slight beef with it is that the face plate I wanted to use (it comes with two) was a green bug. But, hello? Tell a 2.75 year old to wait for the clock to turn green when part of it is green? Confusing, right? So pink flower it is. Whatever. It could have a purple sparkly Minnesota Viking helmet on it, for all I care, as long as it keeps working to restore sanity to our home.
The Ferbs Book.
Courtesy of the dark, dusty depths of my closet.
Oh, Ferbs. You were good to me in Winter 2009 when a 6 month old Mister A was waking every 90 minutes to feed, you were good to me in Fall 2010 when an 8 month old Vivi thought she was a newborn, and low and behold, you came in quite handy here in Summer 2011 when the toddler bed made mommy a (temporary semi) alcoholic. It was kind of a duh moment, reading through chapter 5 on limit setting. You remove the bars of the crib, and this removes a representation of the parents' authority, so new limits must be set and held firmly to. Just as you once limited your baby to a crib and helped him learn that crib means sleep and no amount of protesting will change that, you limit a bed-sleeping toddler to his room and don't give in to his attempts to push those limits and gain control. Pretty much what I'm saying is we made his room one ginormous uninteresting crib (minus a few books and his fancy new clock), and left him in there. (Pretty much what Anne told me to do, but it was Dr. Ferber who finally got it through my head.) So we don't go in to put him back in bed, we don't go up if he's taken his shirt off, we ignore his requests for cookies. And eventually, he crawls in his bed and goes to sleep. I mean, duh? I also came to learn we were likely expecting too much sleep from him at this age, so we're following Dr. F's advice and correcting the timing and distribution of sleep. In English, that means we're putting him down later and not expecting naps to last longer than two hours. Though we can still pray they do, I mean, it can't hurt.
Courtesy of my friend Megan, who I'll have to thank when I'm 200 pounds on a skinny day.
Um, it is SO GOOD. Since leaving Texas, where I had Iron Cactus guac and MIL's guac, I've had a hole in my heart where good guac once lived. Hole filled. Chop up a ripe tomato, stir it in, and devour it while you blog. Which I just did, and had scraped the bowl clean before I knew it. Oops.
Move it, Move it
Courtesy of Reel 2 Reel, 1994
Bug heard this playing in the car a few weeks ago and is ob-freaking-sessed. I love watching him move it, move it.
Oh, hi! I'm back! I was in Minneapolis hanging out with three of my favorite ladies in the world (and our collective eighty seven children under the age of four), and now I'm back, and about to go pick up one of my other favorite ladies in the world. AKA, The Lisa. Who is arriving with The Alice and staying at our house all weekend long.
I'm not even going to TELL you about Anderson jumping out of his crib AGAIN except he can't get back in so we're going in there twenty times to put him back in and I'm also NOT telling you how he's waking in the 5 o'clock hour and behaving, at best, like an angry chimp. So I also won't tell you we're headed back to the bed thing tonight because that's kind of the only choice and I also won't go into how I dusted off the ol' Ferber book last night and how we're going to Ferber his crazy little ass AY ESS AY PEE before I lose my MIND. (Too late, you say? Perhaps.) That Ferber, he knows all, and made me see the err of a few of our ways. Oh, and maybe I also bought a $30 clock that's supposed to teach them when it's okay to get up. Please cross your fingers for us, interwebs. I'm a morning person but by morning I mean some hour that starts with a number >(or equal to)7, you know? I'm not a good mama at 5am. Is anyone? Anyone who is sober, I mean?
The last post ever on Toddler BedGate, I swear. Until the next attempt, but that won't be until, like, 2020. Cribs4Lyfe!
So for awhile there, I thought we were making progress. He still ran around his room for awhile at bedtime, but I figured that was probably normal. But then there was the waking before 6am thing, which was a full 90-ish minutes earlier than he used to wake. And there was also the short nap thing, where he was waking about an hour sooner than he did in his crib. So add that up, and we were dealing with a kid missing 2-3 hours of sleep each 24 hour period. And you know what that meant? It meant he was a beast of previously unseen levels of beastliness. Which made me kind of a beast, as well.
After I whined via email to a friend about it (Anne again), she sent me a link to this article. Which said in part "But it's best not to react to climbing out of the crib or any other sudden sleep problem with a sense of alarm" and "If you find that your great sleeper all of a sudden takes a long time to fall asleep at night, gets out of bed many times or wanders around the house, he's probably not ready for his own bed. As with potty-training, sometimes it's worth taking a step back and bringing back the diapers — or in this case, the crib — and trying again later." I read all that, then yelled to J "GO GET YOUR TOOLS!" I mean, the article said to give it a few nights. We'd given it a week+1 and we were still wanting to drink heavily every day. But then while he worked on the bed to crib transformation upstairs, I started getting all hyperventilately about whether THAT was right or whether we'd be inflicting some long term kind of damage on the kid by introducing some fun new big boy thing, depriving him of sleep for a week, then sending him back to babyville. But fortunately I was on the phone with my friend Jenny at that point, who gave me a big verbal eye roll and told me it was fine, he's two, he won't remember any of this. Good thing I've got honest friends, right? We sold it to Anderson like "oh, hey look! Your super cool crib is back! You're the coolest kid ever in your super cool crib!" and not like "we were going to sell you on Craigslist if we kept that ridiculousness up." So, that was smart.
Best part was, the Mister was happy to see his crib. And I'll be damned if he didn't go RIGHT back to his sleeping habits of old. (Old = Pre-Toddler BedGate.) Yesterday? Up at 7:30am, not beastly, a good 2.25 hour nap, and once again, not beastly. Today? Didn't hear a peep until 7:40am. I think it's pretty clear he just wasn't ready. He's happy, mama's happy, lesson learned.
Oh, hey there. Did you think I got lost? I've written a post or two, but they kept coming out like "wah wah wah my kid's sleep is all jacked up wah wah toddler bed etc etc" and so, no post. Because nobody wants to read that, not even me. And then there was the weekend-long extravaganza that was the wedding of my cousin and his lovely bride, who you know as Jackie, who you know as the one who smuggles wine into the movie theatre which is why I LOVE HER. And because she's awesome in many other ways, too. Like, suchas, she plans really great weddings. Ceremony out by a lake, dance in a tent, all at a resort so it was like a mini vaca for the family. Complete with a sitter in our room so we could put the littles to bed and go back to celebrate. And celebrate, we did. And I had the 441 (no lie) paparazzi pics on my memory card to prove it.
I'm going to go ahead and do it, fear of jinxing be damned. I'm calling Operation: Toddler Bed a win for the parental side. Or at least, a win in progress. Because the boy? He's sleeping in that bed! And he's going to sleep within an hour of being put into that bed. And only opening his door and screaming absurd requests (cookies, Pawn Stars, airplane) down to us a few times, but thanks to Amazon.com and my trusty guy in brown, we'll be toddler-proofing the inside of his door handle later on today. Yeah. Cross another "I'll never" off the perfect mom list, because I'm doing it. And he's sleeping through the night and waking happy and so full of big boy pride I could just eat him UP. Naps are a little harder-fought, but they're happening, and getting closer to his pre-bed 2.5-3 hours. Now, we just need to get him sleeping past 6:30am.
And with that, I'm off to get ready for a much needed me day. Mommo's headed over to hang with the littles, and I'm going to go get prettied.
And I'm also going to keep laughing at our weather guy, who is warning us of the "oppressive" and "extreme" heat. Our high today is 90. Isn't that precious, my Austinite friends? 90!
Here's an update on the toddler bed transition. Not because I think anyone is dyyyyying to know, but because it's probably one of those things I'll someday look back on and be all "oh, yeah, the toddler bed transition was no big deal! He did great! I have the most compliant, easygoing kids EVAH!" Because that's the way momnesia works, no? And no, it wasn't so great. Mister A usually goes to bed at 7:00pm, sharp. Last night? Do you want to KNOW what time he went to bed last night, and by "what time he went to bed" I'm referring to the excruciatingly long awaited moment he finally laid down, stayed down, and SLEPT? 10:45pm. And that probably only happened because J hauled a ladder up to A's room at 10:30pm and unscrewed the light bulb from the ceiling. Because before that happened, there was a whole lot of getting up, flipping the light on, then standing at the gate screaming "LIIIIIIIIGHT!!!!!!!! MAMA, DADDY, LIIIIIIGHT ONNNN!!!" And a few hours before that started, there was the "poopies" I mentioned to yall last night, which DID in fact end up being poopies, which obviously needed attending to. Which unfortunately meant going against the advice given to me by Anne, whose advice was "don't go in there unless he's on fire." After the poopies, he upended his name puzzle stool and chucked each letter against the closet doors. A, thunk. N, thunk. D, thunk. E, thunk .... you get it. He's got a longass name, yall. There were books everywhere. Pants off. Pants back on, inside out and backwards. Picture frames (minus the glass, of course) tossed over the gate. Anything that could move, moved, including our boy, for whom the newfound freedom proved a bit too .... freeing. And of course he didn't sleep in until 11:00am to make up those lost three hours and forty five minutes of sleep. Oh, no, no, no. 6:50am. Earlier than usual. So as you can deduce if you're a parent of a toddler, life around here by the middle of this morning was no picnic. You know it's bad when grabbing baby girl and fleeing to Wally World is some sort of reprieve. While there, we picked up a bed rail, because while J and I killed time last night waiting for him to sleep so we could sleep, we scoured the internet for toddler bed transition tips, and nearly every article recommended the rail. The Lisa recommended a chain and padlock. That's probably happening, if tonight turns into another three hour and forty five minute festival of insanity.
I will say, once he did go to sleep, he stayed asleep. There were no wakings or mid-of-night tumbles. The wake up was fine, too, even if it was too early. He didn't seem scared or confused, just delightfully proud. (And naked from the waist down, but of course.) And I will also say that nap time, in comparison, has been no biggie. J put him down and disappeared into a cloud of dust down the driveway (his turn!) and I only had to go in there once (code brown .... is he doing that on PURPOSE?) So I'm going to hope and pray last night was the big show, and it's smooth sailing from here. And he stops crapping himself every time we put him to bed. That would be awesome, too.
Oh, Buggy. You're making this interesting, that's for sure.
At least homegirl and I had a good time at Wally. She wore her sunglasses and waved pageant style at everyone in our path, and mama got mahself some Mike-aritas. For tonight. Hopefully celebratory Mike-aritas for when the boy crawls into bed and goes right to sleep and 7:00 on the dot. But if worst comes to worst, at least I have booze to take the edge off.
The big boy bed has happened. Anderson, as of tonight, has officially left the crib. I've known this day would eventually arrive - the kid is almost 3. (I KNOW, WHAT?!) A few days ago, because I'm real dumb, I forgot to raise the crib rail after putting him down for a nap. So obviously, he woke up and was like "huh, lookie here, I can climb right outta this thing and so I'm gonna!" Which gave him big ideas. Namely, to do that All. The. Time. So tonight, when J got home, we undertook Operation: Convert Crib Into Bed. And it was all kind of cute and fun in a bittersweet "oh, Bug, how big are you getting?!?" kind of way. The boys worked the drill, I put the closet door on lockdown and removed anything that posed any teeny tiny remote threat of harming a wandering toddler boy (the lamp, a chest prone to pinching little fingers, shirts in the drawers with buttons he might pull out and eat and choke to death on. Or something.) And I took fifty four pictures. (Duh?)
And I was feeling pretty okay about this. Except then, I posted on Facebook about it, and the first couple responses alluded to this particular operation not working out so well in their respective households. And then I started thinking back to all those posts I'd seen on the mommy message boards that went something like "OMG I'M IN TODDLER BED HELL!" that I always skipped over because what did I care about toddler beds, anyway? Except now, I care, because it's my beauty sleep and sanity in question. And I'm panicking. I don't want him to wake up at 5:30am! I don't want to revert to newborn style every hour wake-ups! I don't want to go upstairs eleventy billion times to put him back in his bed at bedtime! I don't want him to fall out and break his face!
Oh, and also, it was a little sad. When bedtime came, I snuggled with him in his big boy bed, and we took a picture together. And I tried not to think about how today, when I put him in his crib for a nap, it was the last time I'd ever ever tuck my firstborn baby into a crib. I tried realllllly hard not to think about that. (SOB.)
And then I tucked him in.
Then I kissed him goodnight and walked out to the hallway. Where J and I stood with our ears pressed to his door for awhile, listening. Proud, fearful, hopeful, rock-paper-scissoring over who was going to take the night shift. And now, an hour later, he's still awake. He's opened the door a few times and called out, but the trusty gate (that's been on his door since we moved in) is keeping him in his room at least. I just heard him say something that sounded a whole lot like "poopies". I'll take any positive toddler bed transition tales you've got, my friends. I'll take the not-so-positive ones as well, as long as they end with some advice about what DID work and don't end like "then we never ever slept again". Deal? Deal.
So, the kids and I were in a local boutique yesterday afternoon. It's been two months since I've seen a mall, and I thought I might DIE if I didn't buy something that couldn't be categorized under "groceries/household" or "diapers". I just needed a little retail pick-me-up, you know? And while we may not have malls, or a single Nordstrom in this whole cheese loving state (::moment of silence::) ... we do have a few awesome local boutiques where I get to shop AND proudly support the local economy. Win-win! So yesterday, we headed into my favorite of these local places (it's called Latitudes, if you're ever in the area), and I wasted no time grabbing a few summery tops and dresses and ushering the littles into the dressing room. To buy myself a few minutes to try on those summery numbers, I handed over the trusty iPhone to Mister A. I told him he could play with it if he sat on his bottom and was very quiet and left his sister alone (she was happily snacking in her stroller and watching me shop, OMG I LOVE THAT GIRL). He took the iPhone deal and sat. His usual app of choice is that Talking Tomcat. We've also downloaded a variety of the other talking things. Talking Dino, Talking Giraffe, Talking OtherThingsThatAreAnnoying. J had also downloaded a Talking Santa to his phone around the holidays, but that's not one I've got in my lineup. So A, being 2.5 and all, decides the only Talking Anything he wants is the Talking Santa. That I don't have and that I'm not about to search for and purchase while half dressed behind a curtain in a boutique. So I'm trying to placate his "Tanta? Mama, pwease? Tanta?" pleads. I kept saying "honey, the Santa is on daddy's phone. Mommy doesn't have it. Pick something else to play with." But after like 5 minutes of that type of conversation over and over and over again .... I started to lose my patience and said a little bit more loudly than intended ..... "Anderson! There IS NO SANTA!"
Meaning, no Talking Santa app on my iPhone. Not meaning, no Santa in existence at all.
And then I walked out and the salesgirl was looking at me like I might be straight up crazycakes.
The poor neglected second born child. Sharing the spotlight from day one, big brother crawling up into the hospital bed to poke at her brand new face. Hauled around to germ-filled story times and sprinkler parks when she'd surely rather have been cozy at home in her crib, sleeping her newborn days away. And the picture situation. Number of pictures of Anderson's first year? Probably around 4,000. Vivian's first year? Probably around a quarter of that. Number of those photos featuring Vivian and Vivian ONLY, no big brother sticking his face or his arm or his naked butt into the frame? Um, 10 or so? Poor baby Vivi. So last night, when our boys were away mowing for a friend and we were left alone for the evening, it was time to take out the camera and let my second baby shine.
And oh, I'm so glad I got these bedtime photos of my girl and her loves (Kiki the monkey, and The Lovey). I love this girl so much it makes me want to explode into tiny happy pieces just thinking about it. Her girly little wiggles and squeals, the way she instinctively loves on her Kiki like a sweet little mama monkey, tucking him in close and patting his back with comforting pats. Her natural inclination to take every brightly colored hair tie out of my bathroom drawer and stack them all up her wrist and arm, then wave and throw bright smiles this way and that. And the shoes, how she loves the shoes, the pinker and/or sparklier the better. And the kiss blowing! She blew a parting kiss at the grocery store the other day as I lifted her into the car. Little love. She's the best surprise of my life, this one.
I'm not a natural cook. I confuse the teaspoon with the tablespoon (and ruined a perfectly good batch of cookie dough last month doing so) (and maybe ate a bunch of it anyway) (thanks PMS). I burn things. I have to google terms like 'fold in' and 'mince'. That said, slowly but surely, I'm getting better. I'm learning the lingo and getting a little more confident in the kitchen with every un-burnt, un-oversalted meal I put on the table and my family actually eats. This confidence cultivating is primarily motivated by necessity. Up here in the woods, there's no Chipotle/Jersey Mikes/Mighty Fine at which to grab dinner when there's nothing but Diet Dew and sadness in the fridge. There's not even a freaking Chili's here, yall! And now that I'm boycotting the most well known restaurant in town (because that's what HAPPENS when a bitchy waitress scolds a table full of grown women for no good reason and the manager stands nearby like a bump on a log), anyway, I've gotta cook. And since I've tried out three successful recipes in the last few days, I wanted to share. Well, I'm sharing two. The third, for Tequila Lime Chicken (a la Applebee's) is way too lengthy to type up in the limited span of time offered by naptime. Google it or get this cookbook. (Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2. You can buy it used for $2.49! Do it!)
Numero Uno. Chili's Salsa, for real this time. Remember when I posted awhile back about a Chili's salsa knock-off? Well, when I came across the 'Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2' cookbook last week, it contained a recipe that's even closer to the original. SO good and easy, easy, easy. I threw out my old salsa recipe. This one's way better. I'd suggest doubling this recipe. I made it the first time as indicated and J and I had it gone in about 10.5 seconds. It went a little too well with our Coronas.
one 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons canned diced jalepenos
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup diced onion
Combine tomatoes, jalepenos, lime juice, and spices in food processor. Run for just a few seconds until tomatoes are nearly pureed, but still chunky. Stir in onions, let set overnight.
Numero Dos. California Roll Bowl. Courtesy of the current edition of Parents magazine. I whipped it together for lunch today and it was quite tasty and surprisingly filling. Anderson ate it all up, Vivi poked around at it and demanded some grapes. Because she's like that.
California Roll Bowl:
toasted sesame seeds
dash of soy
Throw the avocado, cucumbers, and crab on top of your rice. Sprinkle the sesame seeds on top of that, as well as a dash of the soy. Done.