Thursday, July 31, 2008

C-Rex - 3 Months

Dear Sweet C,

In three short months, you've gone from a deliciously gooey ball of baby to a squealing, grinning, squeezable little person.

Some days I can't quite get over the fact that you've been here that long. I still occasionally walk through certain spaces giving furniture a wide berth to avoid hitting my phantom stomach. And then I see you on your playmat, frantically kicking your chubby little legs and grinning at the toys suspended above you.

And I smile, because that pretty much explains the essence of you. You're a wonderfully contented baby these days. This is in stark contrast to most of last month where you wanted to be held and snuggled constantly. And as much as I loved perpetually breathing in the blissful scent of your baby-ness, my arms and my back were tired. And I started to worry about maintaining friendships when it was rather difficult to detach you long enough to shower.

(Note: good friends are those who stick by you when you're sleep deprived and snarky. Great friends are those who stick around when you smell like week old laundry. Keep that in mind).

But this month you've settled into a glorious routine of napping and waking that is actually somewhat predictable. And while you still love being snuggled to sleep, there are some times when your whole being just screams, "PUT. ME. DOWN." and when we do, you drop to sleep in seconds, your whole body going limp in relief.

You're starting to reject the pacifier for your two middle fingers. I can't even begin to explain how cute I find this. Not to mention, it's glorious to be able to listen to you let out a squeak or two in the middle of your nap only to hear you quiet as you find your fingers. When you're a teenager and I'm making some comment about how much I do around here, remind me how you managed to not make me get up eleventeen times a night to replace a pacifier.

Actually, last night, you went to bed around 8:30pm and I dragged myself out of bed around 2am, when I heard you start to fuss. I thought we'd have our regularly scheduled nursing session followed by a few hours of cruddy sleep until morning.

But every time I went into your room, you had your fingers in your mouth and had quieted down. So I let you be and went back to sleep. Until 6:15am. And even then you were ready to head back to sleep on your own, but I woke you to eat anyway. It was awesome.

I'd be willing to hope for a repeat tonight, but I had to treat you with gentian violet again for thrush that won't quit and I think it makes you extremely reluctant to suck your fingers. Frankly, I don't blame you. Anything that makes you look like a candidate for the X-Men clan can't taste all that good. Just try to sleep tonight, ok?



You're quite the happy little bug and I'm thoroughly happy to be the one in charge of helping you grow.

So keep it up! (Especially on the sleeping end of things, ok?)

Love always,

Mama

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Play

So, apparently, our house (or my kid?) seems to subtly encourage kids to play in the mud and the dirt. I'm not sure whether to be pleased or concerned.

I kid. It makes me happy, 100%. Well, almost. I do hate cleaning the ring around the bathtub when I'm done spraying the kid down. But it's worth it.

I remember being a kid. We all do, to some extent. Most people can haul up at least one memory of playing outside until dark, blissfully engaged in some involved saga of make-believe or an invented game with ridiculously complex rules that made perfect sense to you.

And when you came inside, you generally were quite covered with a mixture of mud, grass, sweat, dirt, and perhaps some popsicle drippings.

Your mom or dad would force you into the tub, help you scrub down, and stuff you into your jammies. By this point, your eyes would be getting heavy and when it was time to go to sleep, you'd tumble into bed and nod off within minutes.

Bad days weren't days when the TV was only showing re-runs. They were days that were too rainy to play outside. They were days when you were sick and couldn't go meet your friends.

It makes me sad that the sight of children playing outside is becoming so scarce. Sure, you see it here and there. But when I was a kid, it was rare to play inside. More often than not, if you were inside for some reason other than a bathroom break or a meal, someone was bound to shuttle you towards the door admonishing you to "GO PLAY!" And you would.

Today, you're more likely to find kids parked inside in front of the TV or video games.

Neither are inherently bad. We watch TV and play video games. And most of us did as kids.

And yeah, we all have memories of watching our favorite shows or conquering the original Super Mario Brothers... but aren't our more vivid memories of playing? Just plain old playtime?

Right after C was born, I definitely found myself in a rut of TV and videos just to get through the day with an excitable toddler.

But neither of us were happy. Bean was bouncing off the walls and had trouble settling down to sleep. I felt horrible that I was constantly parking her in front of the tube in substitution for some sort of activity.

It got bad enough that I finally cut us off cold turkey. Trust me, those first few days were torture. I had a hard time thinking of things to do that would stop the incessant whining for "I WANT TO WATCH A VIDEO!"

But after a few days, Bean pretty much forgot about our TV binge. Sure, she asked once and awhile, but when I'd say no, it wasn't nearly the end of the world that it was before.

Better yet, we were doing things like dancing, painting, coloring, playing outside, imagining, taking care of babies. She was asking to help with chores (!), she played with her sister. She wrestled with Daddy and snuggled with Mommy. We read books and told stories. She started sleeping and eating better.

And it was SO MUCH STINKIN' FUN!

Sure, I'm a bit more tired at the end of the day. But I go to bed happy with my parenting instead of feeling guilty.

Right now, we're at a happy medium. We watch an occasional show or video and now they're more like treats than the standard. Her imagination is flourishing and she's content playing by herself. She likes reading books and having them read to her. She's creating stories from her own brain instead of re-creating something she saw on a show.

I love it.

Everyone is different. Some go with no TV, some don't have limits. I'm not here to judge what you do with that. All I'm encouraging you to do is to play. Better yet, play outside. Best? Play outside WITH your kids. Don't have kids? Borrow some. Or just go outside and do something active. I guarantee you'll have a ball. And maybe, just maybe, you'll find yourself falling back into a memory of a childhood moment that you'd long since forgotten.

video

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Goodbye Old House! Almost...

So we're fast heading to the final date in the process of selling our old house. If all continues to go well, at around 4:30p.m. on Thursday, we will officially be owners of only 1 house.

Much celebrating will be done. There's a possibility that cheesecake will be consumed.

We really want to thank everyone who has followed and helped us as we've traveled that crazy road of home buying and selling. You all rock :)

Party at our house soon!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Language - Toddler Style













Two funny stories about Bean's interpretation and pronunciation of the English language.

Story 1: The other day, the three of us were driving back from somewhere and happened to be in a little bit of rough rush hour traffic. Having been raised in and on the outskirts of a major east coast city, I'm no stranger to traffic. Nothing really causes me to blink anymore.

Well, except for the lady who occasionally walks down the side roads in my old neighborhood with maxi-pads stuck to her arms and legs, bless her heart. Oh don't worry, they're clean. Just stuck on.

Ahem.

Anyway, while I'm used to everything (almost), that doesn't mean that some things don't ROYALLY tick me off. Like crazy drivers who feel the need to careen in and out of lanes to get all of 100 feet ahead of me. What the crud is your problem, psycho?

I've found myself getting more and more annoyed at this since I've had kids. They're not only endangering themselves, they're putting us at risk. Not cool.

But again, anyway, we were driving down a major road and I put my blinker on and changed lanes only to have some psycho-hose-beast come flying up on my tail and go whipping around me. All the while, he's flashing me a lovely gesture with his middle finger. Then he cuts me off.

Punk nugget.

So before I could control myself, I said, "GEEZ! If you didn't drive like such an idiot, you wouldn't have to be so angry!"

You can guess where this is going.

From the back seat, Bean pipes up, "Mommy? Where's the idi-dot?"

Rats, caught again.

"Um... outside?"

She grins and says, "OOOOOooooooOOOOOO! The idi-dot! It's up in the sky!!"

Right! Sure! Whatever you say!

So that story was fresh in my head when this happened:

Bean was carrying a stuffed toy and running around the basement with my brothers. Suddenly, my brother came over and said, "Um, what's the name of the toy she's carrying?"

I told him I didn't know and asked him why. He suggested I ask her what the name was.

So I did.

"Bean, what's your snowman's name?"

"Re-tard!"

WHAT THE HECK!? That's not a word I use. It's not a word Shaun uses. I started mentally combing through all the people she's been around lately to see if I could find a possible culprit.

Then I thought that she might have been making something up as kids sometimes do. So I asked her again.

And again,

"RE-TARD!"

Oh geez.

I didn't have the slightest idea how to handle it. When she grabbed her snowman and cuddled him to her cheek while saying, "It's ok Re-tard, just go to sleep." I knew it wasn't an insult or a mean word to her...

And then I also knew exactly what she was really saying.

"Bean? Is that snowman named Sweetheart?"

She gave me the, "are you seriously asking me AGAIN?" look and said, "Yeah, Mommy! SWEETHEART!"

Oh thank goodness. I've never been more happy to misunderstand someone in my whole life.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

With Dreams of WHAT Dancing Through My Head?


This morning, Bean asked me to lie on the couch while she brought me stuffed animals and blankets. According to her, we were playing "sleeping baby" and she was the Mommy and I was the "Sweetheart"

Much time was spent tucking me in, telling me that she would "see me in the morning" and kissing my cheeks. I'd pretend to fall asleep and then pop my eyes open and say, "MOOOOOOMMY!" She'd come over and say, "What do you need, sweetheart?" and I'd come up with about a million things that I needed desperately before I could fall asleep.

Basically, a typical evening in reverse.

At one point, I asked her to tell me a story and this is what I got:

"Once upon a time, there was a little doggy. The doggy was very nice. He barked and barked and barked. The doggy always ate alllll his food. And once there was a horse. And the horse ate the doggy ALL UP! He tasted good! The end!"

Um, what?

Imagination aside, remind me not to let her tell C bedtime stories for awhile.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Oh The Cuteness...

The four of us were in the car today driving home from a dinner date. Bean wasn't particularly well-behaved and was generally being a weird mixture of contrary and silly. We pulled up to get a movie at the store and Shaun ran in. Disgruntled at not being able to go into the store with Daddy, Bean pouted a little. When Shaun was coming back out, I said,

"Look! There's Daddy!!!"

She peered out the window and said, "NO! I don't want Daddy to come in the car! He's NOT my favorite friend!"

Shaun gets in the car and hears what she said and asks, "But, Bean... if I'm not your favorite friend... who is?"

Without missing a beat, she grins and says, "C-REX!"

Sweet, eh?

If there's one thing I want more than anything for my girls it's that they always are each other's favorite friends. Here's to hoping!

(By the way, Daddy was much appeased with that answer, even if he is temporarily ousted from favorite friend status)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pride Comes Before What Again?


A few weeks ago, I had a morning of insanity with the two girls and decided, on a whim, to drive to a nearby town to see what I could discover.

Despite leaving without directions or a clear purpose, remarkably, I didn't get lost. (Yes, I know, this should easily shock some of you).

I found a Chick-Fil-A, which was a ridiculously good thing since, in a sudden lapse of keen sense, I promised Bean a good ole fashioned lunch and play time there... despite not having any earthly idea where one was. It could have been ugly. Anyway, I guess "found" is a good word. I really was trying to find a main highway and practically ran over the drive-thru. (Why is it not a drive-through? DRIVES ME NUTS).

Anyway, we did lunch, ran an errand, and since everything was going so swimmingly, I decided to hit up a store that I had a gift card for. (My grasp of the concept of "pushing my luck" seems to be lacking still).

The girls were remarkably well-behaved and I got some clothes with the gift card. Heck, I got to try ON the clothes. I was flying high on my parenting success. Took two kids out? Check. Fed the toddler lunch? Check. Allowed her some playtime? Check. Went shopping? Check. Averted tantrums from either kid? CHECK CHECK! Nice!

Before we left the store parking lot, I had to feed C so that she could nap on the way home. I settled Bean down in her seat with some books, got C, and headed to the front seat to feed her. All the while I'm thinking, "Man, I've got this parenting two kids thing DOWN! I rock!"

She finished eating and I hopped out of the car into the parking lot to put her in the back seat. Since feeding the baby tends to put some kinks in my back, I shifted her to the other shoulder and stretched my back and my arm.

And then I froze.

As I had moved her from my left side to my right, I felt a decidedly cool breeze on an area of my body that I did NOT want to be displaying for all of the happy shoppers in the parking lot. And yet? There I was.

Hastily, I yanked things in order again, put C in her car seat, and squealed out of the parking lot like a crazed Nascar driver. (Ok, ok, I drove out carefully and slowly... while wearing a hat pulled low over my burning face).

Note to self: (Can there be just one lesson in this story? I think not.) Babies make your brain go soft. Proceed with caution.

Tontacts


Bean's a master at imitation. And since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I suppose I should be grateful. Grateful or not, she cracks me up.

Lately, she's been watching me intently during my morning routine. Since my routine consists of little more than a rudimentary brush through my hair, a more thorough brush of my teeth and an occasional insertion of contacts, there's not much to study.

The other day, we were at "The Wal-Mart" as she calls it, getting a prescription for C-Rex. She spotted a contact case on the counter and practically fell out of the cart lunging for it.

"Mommy! I need some tontacts! PLEASE!? PLEEEEEASE?"

I needed a new case so I handed it to her. (Why it didn't occur to me that I would never be seeing said case in my possession, I don't know)

When we got home, she filled each side with water, looked at me seriously and said,

"I'm putting in my tontacts, Mommy. Please be quiet." Then she dips her finger in the water and runs it over her eyelids.

She did this fairly regularly for a good 30 minutes and continues to occasionally ever since. It makes me laugh every time.

Why do I have toys? Seriously.

Welcome!

Welcome to the new blog... I've had it up to my eyeballs with LiveJournal so alas, here we are.

Anyway, it was about time for a change anyway. BeanBrain is a fine name for a blog so long as we only have a Bean. But now we have a Bean and a Squish/C-Rex. That presented a naming problem. ("Squishy Bean Rex" didn't quite have the same ring).

So anyway, I'll be importing my archives into this blog as well as doing some format stuff. Check back often and update your feeds!
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