Monday, March 26, 2012

On Not Being Defeated and Defining My Tribe

If you've been following the story of my ridiculously logistically intense day with Little G and the Ladybug (start at the beginning - here), you know that once we finally got everyone napping, I eventually had to wake them up to head to our next adventure.

You see, my all time favorite author, Anne Lamott, was speaking with her son, Sam, in Coolidge Corner and then there would be a book signing.  And I HAD to go.  I HAD to.  Reading Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions: A Journal of my Son's First Year was a little like seeing my insides, my mentalness, my crazy, my heart, my soul, my struggle, my joys and my tears in print - like someone had seen a vision of exactly who I was and how I felt and put it all into words more real and more lovely than I could ever attempt.  I had to go.  I had to meet her.  I had to see for myself that Sam had 'made it to the water'.  I had to thank her.

I signed up for tickets a couple of weeks ago and I knew that, logistically speaking, it wouldn't be the easiest for me to get to the theater by the start time of 6pm since my husband usually walks through the front door about that time.  But in the end it all worked out.  My husband met me in Coolidge Corner after work to take the kids - even though he had been up since 4am and already traveled to Providence and back AND then gone all the way into his office in the city just to turn around and meet me.  I left him with my friend, SRH's, husband and our other friend, Roberta's, three year old, and my group of three headed into the theater.

Anne and her son, Sam - the one she writes about in Operating Instructions who is now a bouncing 22(?) year old - were introduced and they spoke a bit and then they started reading excerpts from their new book, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of my Son's First Son.  At one point Sam referenced his mom writing once that the two best prayers she knew were,  "Thank you, thank you, thank you." and "Help me, help me, help me."  He said as a new parent, he wanted to add the prayer, "I am not defeated!", which I think is an amazing prayer that pretty much sums up my belief that for the most part God and I walk around in cahoots with each other -- so when I have a day like the first part of Wednesday, I give God a high five and She smiles at me and winks knowingly; or when I have not made it through the day with any semblance of grace, I can feel Her arms envelop me as she carries me through.

"I am not defeated."  -- It is my new war cry!!

Pretty soon Anne and Sam had spoken for thirty minutes so they opened up the theater for questions.  There were at least a million people in the theater and we were in the back, but I had a deep, burning desire to speak to Anne and thank her profusely for her book that I read three times before I had Little G and SIX times after!!  

Thankfully, I honed my how-to-get-picked-out-of-an-audience skills at a taping of David Letterman 15 years ago, so I raised my hand supah-fast and was called on.

Yeah...and then I turned into a blubbering fool.

No joke.

I believe my little speech went something like this:

"Hi.  I read your book Operating Instructions three times when I was pregnant with my sons and SIX times after he was born" 

(pause to actually start crying like a ninny and show off my most prized cry face)...



"it changed my life." 

Double sniff 

(insert audience "awwwww")  

"I'm sorry.  Ok.  Here I go."  

"My son, who is now 2.5 is clearly my hard one.  I know this because I have a four month old daughter who is the most zen baby on the planet.  My question is for Sam.  I like to write.  I have a smattering of a following on my blog.  At least four people read it.  And I have written about my son and our journey on my blog, and well... so... [voice of doom] 'that's forever'; so my question is: When you eventually read Operating Instructions, how did you feel about what your mom had written about you and did that change when you became a parent?"

And then I sat down and felt the blood rush back into my head and inwardly seethed at my inability to not be a moron in public.

But Sam responded so sweetly.  He did say that it was addressed in the new book, but that he considered the words his mother wrote as a love letter to him; that when she was gone, he would always have the words she wrote to him.

Anne added to what he said by saying that she has never published anything that would ever hurt Sam and she told a few anecdotes about some pieces that she wrote in the past - one that she ran by Sam as a teenager and he made her rewrite it so that it didn't make him seem like the enemy; another about a time Sam encouraged her to share a piece at a reading that would be attended by a lot of his friends because he knew that the mothers in the room would need to hear what she had to say. 

It meant so much to hear just that and then it got even better.  Another person in the audience asked a question that I can't remember (I was too busy regaining feeling in my face) but it apparently had something to do with what I had asked so Anne started talking about how things changed in 1970 with the women's movement and how all of the sudden it was ok to talk about feelings and to be honest.  She talked about how Operating Instructions was her, taking a chance on being real, because at the time the only books on babies that were available insisted that motherhood was easy.  

Anne talked about the mothers we all have and the 'other mothers' we have - the ones that lift us up and fill in the gaps that our own mother's can't fill - like a tribe of mothers all raising our kids together.  She encouraged us parents to create a tribe for our children. She talked about how becoming a parent is sometimes the first time a person is faced with who they are on the inside and how ugly that person can be - for some people it is feeling rage towards a baby, for others it is feeling nothing at all - and how scary and isolating that can be; especially when other mother's claim to never feel that way.  She talked about writing and about other writers and how so often we are the ones who were told earlier in our lives that we were too emotional, that we feel things too strongly, that we're too dramatic.

It was a beautiful moment in the theater as I listened to her voice and, as she is always able to do for me whether by prose or (now) in person, validated me.

The reading and question and answers came to a close and they announced that they would be signing books across the street at the book store.  Since we were seated in the back of the theater, we ended up getting to the book store pretty quickly.  I stood in line with my neighbor, K - who is quickly becoming an essential part of my kids' tribe-of-mothers - and spent the short ten minute wait sharing the story of the first part of my day with her.  The whole thing.  In detail.  In clear, funny, witty, intelligent sentences.  I mention this because AGAIN, when I got the chance to walk up to Anne and Sam, I turned into a blithering idiot.  I couldn't put a sentence together.  I told them I was the 'crazy lady' from the back of the theater that cried and they said, "Oh!  We LIKED you! We talked about it and decided it together".  Well then I was a goner.  Thankfully, K was able to speak for me and as I grunted at them and pointed at my book to be signed like an ape.  I did manage to say "thank you, again" as K shuffled me back away from the table so that I could stop frightening the authors.

So we walked out into the night and back to our little corner of Boston.  We headed to a local restaurant and talked about the wonderful event over refreshing cocktails and delicious food.  And then it was time to head home.

It was a long day.  God was with me all day long.  I was not defeated!!  And in the end, I was even rewarded with the opportunity to say thank you.

Thank you, Anne Lamott.  Thank you, Sam.  Thank you tribe.  Thank you beautiful babies of mine.  Thank you gracious husband.  Thank you, mom.  Thank you, other mothers.  Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


I have written about Anne before, though it has been a while.  You can read those posts here and here and here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The post where I finally wrap up my ridiculously long story on the logistics of getting to the courthouse (or DO I?)

Previously: I had finally made it out of the house and headed to the bus stop with both kids and our 'luggage' for the day and was in the process of missing the bus.


We made the bus, thanks to some slow boarders and a red light in our favor, and Little G had to get off the scooter because I can't get the stroller into the bus with it in use.  He promptly declared that we were never to go that fast again and got on the bus.  I paid our fare and looked up and all the seats were taken.  Little G had NO idea what to do, so I looked at everyone and loudly said, "he's only two and a half, someone is going to HAVE to get up and let him sit down".  Of course, the person-least-deserving-to-have-to-give-up-their-seat, an older woman, got up for us for which I thanked her profusely.  At this point, I was sweating like a hog and the bus, which usually, in warm weather, is blowing out icicles from its vents, apparently still had its heat on.  I looked over at Little G and noticed that he was covered on his arms, his cheeks and his neck, with bumpy hives!  I asked him if they were itchy and he said I made a mental note to keep an eye on them and prayed they were nothing serious.  I was so glad when we finally pulled into the last stop.  It was 10:05am.

As we walked through the T station, Little G immediately recognized that this is where we go to take the trains, so he wanted to go find one.  He was also quick to point out the birds in the building, probably in the same sentence as the know, because he's two like that.  I explained that we couldn't go to the train because we were going to our next place on our adventure, but when we were done with that, maybe we could go ride the train. Besides, we could watch Thomas when we got inside the building we were going to. There was some whining, including a repeat of the previous 'I don't want Thomas' silliness, but I was walking so fast (not too fast...I had been scolded, you know) that I think he just held on for the ride.  It was about a 5 minute walk to the courthouse.

When we got there, I parked our stroller at the top of the building-wide steps and proceeded to get a bottle ready for the Ladybug.  I also got out a huge cup of 'different rabbits' (the graham cracker bunnies which are clearly 'different' than the cheese ones and thus aptly named as such in our house) for Little G.  We sat calmly on the concrete steps of the courthouse (except for one moment when the Ladybug may or may not have spit up half her lunch on the steps) watching the traffic go by with everyone in our small party happily eating their morning snacks...except me.  It is a cardinal rule that the more stuff you bring on an adventure with your kids, the less you will remember to bring for yourself.  I had nary a granola bar nor any water for myself and the coffee and flakey cereal I had at 7:15 in the morning felt like a loooooong time ago.

I kept my eye on my watch and finished feeding the Ladybug with about 15 minutes to get into the courthouse.  As I started to load her up into my Moby, knowing that she was fully rested and fully fed and thus most likely NOT going to fall asleep anytime soon, I realized that Little G had wandered back down the steps with the blanket I had and was furiously scrubbing away at the spit up the Ladybug had left earlier.  Score 1 for awesome preschool - mental note: don't use that blanket again until after its been dipped in bleach and washed an/or burned because, ew.

We headed into the courthouse and into an area the width of the door and the length of the stroller and started the process of getting everything OUT of the stroller to place it on the metal detecter belt. Of course, I had to walk both my kids through separately, put the Ladybug back in the stroller and then step through myself without wearing her.  Which was annoying, but I didn't protest.  I was almost in the clear and the security guard said, "maam, do you have a phone with you?"

Now remember, written in BIG BOLD RED LETTERS on my court document it said NO CELL PHONES, but I had called ahead to get permission for the iPod touch that was in the bag.  I DID also have my cell phone (there's no way in hell I would leave my home with two small children on an adventure like this without it), but figured he meant the one clearly wrapped up in headphones so I took it out and showed it to him.  I was explaining that I talked to someone yesterday and they said it was ok and he just kept pointing out all of the signs that were around that not only said NO CELL PHONES but also NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES.  Oops.  I knew Little G was on the fence about Thomas anyway, but couldn't afford to have them confiscate the iPod, so I begged and pleaded and tried my darndest to come up with the name of the woman I had spoken to on the phone...note to self...get the name, always get the name!!

Eventually, the security guard had a line behind me and he finally just asked me for my paperwork.  I reached into the bag to grab it and realized, pretty quickly, that it was sitting in a bright orange (bright so that I would be less likely to leave it behind) folder...on my kitchen counter.  This is when I may or may not have started to lose my shit.  I asked the guard if he had children and explained to him that getting out of the house that day with two children was shaping up to be one of the hardest things I had done in a while and then I actually said, "I think I'm going to cry" which Little G came scampering back from his tour of high-fiving every police officer in the foyer to say solemly, "please don't cry, mommy" and the security guard just looked at me like I was nut-so and calmly pointed me toward my courtroom and said that I would have to explain the iPod touch to them and to not worry about the paperwork.

So we headed down the hallway in the general direction of where he had pointed and sat down on a bench outside a courtroom.  Thankfully about 30 seconds later, the security guard came down the hall and pointed out to me that I was in front of the wrong courtroom and led me to the correct one. There was a small vestibule in front of the courtroom where I was able to stash the stroller and I grabbed the Ladybug, but didn't have time to Moby wrap her (though I was still wearing it) and Little G and I entered the room.

It. was. packed.  And hot.  And did I mention packed?  And the size of a large bathroom.  We fumbled and bumbled our way to the lady at the desk and I told her I didn't have my paperwork.  I tried to remain hushed, but it was rather impossible to NOT be heard by the 20 other people sitting literally within a 5 foot radius of where I was standing.  While I was explaining my paperwork situation, Little G was quietly, and effectively pushing things over on the ledge of her desk.  I caught his hand and pointed to a chair for him to sit in and once I got the go ahead from the woman, I headed to the chair next to him...but not before knocking over something else on her desk with my diaper bag.

I sat down with Little G and pulled out the stickers!!  and the paper!!  and gave them to Little G and suggested that he put ALL the stickers on the paper - and THANK GOD he sat there bound and determined to get every sticker off that sheet.  Less than 30 seconds after sitting down, they declared the session started and BOOM, called me first. (Hey - there apparently IS a benefit to showing up at the court with two small kids and crazy-mom hair).

I still hadn't gotten the Ladybug into the Moby, so I was just holding her in my arms while I explained what happened that day.  My voice was shaking from all the adrenaline, from the hunger, from the freaking heat, from having no time to prepare, from not having my printed pictures and maps with me, from the general oddity of having to speak in a public forum of complete and total strangers that are all glaring at me from five feet away because I literally just walked in the room and now they've called me first.   I talked about how the police officer wasn't noticeable and that obviously, I had my children's best interest as well as the best interest of my community in mind when I made the call to go around the utility truck and thus drive on the wrong side of the road, and she said, "Well obviously!  This is thrown out, you are free to go".

It was such a fast, short process (we literally were in the room less than 5 minutes) I almost didn't know what to do...but I wasn't going to stick around, so I grabbed our bag and told Little G we were done and needed to take our stickers outside and go find the train and he lept up from his chair and raced me out of the courtroom and down the hall.  I quickly thanked the security guard and we headed to back to the train station.

I'd love to end here...and I should because this is ridiculously long...but the thing about kids is that no matter how tricky the logistics are of a situation...its just one part of one day and it was only 11:15 at this point!  We still had so much left to do!

Once we were on the Orange line it dawned on me that the Ladybug needed to be changed and I needed food and HAD to go to the bathroom.  So I made the decision to ride the train into the city where we could get off at the Macy's and use their facilities.  Sadly, the whole world knows about the lovely bathrooms on the third floor of the Macy's so it was a steady stream of people and loud flushing and even louder hand dryer blowing.  Little G was totally traumatized (he doesn't like loud noises) and was cowering in my legs while I changed the Ladybug.  I dragged us into a handicapped stall so I could go potty and he begged me over and over again, "please don't flush the toilet, mommy. Please don't flush!"

Don't worry...I flushed.  And I also washed and dried my hands.  And I am also aware that the odds of getting him to EVER go potty in a public restroom are now slim to none.

Once back on the street, I grabbed a large water and a sausage with onions and peppers from a street vendor and we headed to the playground at the Frog Pond in the common.

We had a delightful time.  Little G kept running off and doing Lord only knows what and then he would touch base about every five minutes and eat another bite of his lunch.  The ladybug actually fell asleep in the stroller.  I was able to eat my sausage and drink my water and sit in the sun and ruminate on how I was not defeated.*

I figured eventually the promise of another train ride would win out over staying longer at the playground and Little G would happily head home with me and we'd catch the 50 bus (the one that runs the closest to our house) and then we'd all go inside in time for some dual kiddo naptime.  And that basically happened, which was awesome, except that since Little G is no longer strapped into a stroller, I can not physically MAKE him go in the house, so while I was getting the Ladybug situated, he ran off into our back yard and started playing in my garden which, as mentioned at the beginning of this story, just happens to be a big pile of boy-enticing dirt.  Because in his little 2.8 year old mind, we talked about going outside 6 hours earlier and NOW he was going to get his chance!!

Finally, Little G determined he needed to go potty, which I swear to this moment is the only reason I got him inside, and we came inside and I took the picture above just before plopping him into the bath.  He was asleep by 3:30, so only an hour after my initial estimate.

Too soon, I had to wake him up so we could start our LAST adventure of the day!

*my newest prayer of thanksgiving - though I only just learned the specific words later that evening at a book reading and signing event I attended of my most favorite author ever, Anne Lamott.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

That really long about to get longer...

Previously - I was preparing myself and my two little ones for a fun field trip to the local courthouse to fight a dumb traffic ticket.

The day came around beautiful and sunny, a glorious treat for the middle of March. The Ladybug was up first at 6:30, which woke up Little G...but he sort-of went back to bed when I opened his door and hushed, "It's not time to get up yet, buddy. Go back to sleep".  I fed Ladybug and started to think logistics. She eats every four hours, which meant, she'd need another bottle at 10:30.  Our appointment was at 11, which meant finding a place to feed her there before going in.  Also, it would be nice for her to be asleep in my Moby wrap when I was in there, which meant not allowing a huge morning nap.

I kept all of that in mind as I fed her her morning bottle and went in to get Little G from his hushed silence. As we all headed downstairs for breakfast, I also found myself hemming and hawing on how we were going to get there.  If I was going to keep the Ladybug up, than we were going to need to keep her occupied.  Usually a walk would do it, so I decided that we would all take the bus from our house to the courthouse (which happens to be located near the T station where the bus line ends). Ladybug eventually tired and I set her down for her nap.

Through all of this I was determined not to fill time with Little G by having him watch Thomas, because I needed him to not be Thomas'd out when we got to the courthouse.  It was a beautiful day and before I could think, I suggested we go outside and play, thinking we could run off some steam. I IMMEDIATELY remembered that Little G has a magnetic attraction to my garden which is currently a huge pile of dirt, so I backtracked, "...oorrrrr", I sing-songed, "we could stay in here and run around in circles".  It was too late.  He'd already heard the word, 'outside', and like a frisky puppy, was jumping up and down in the foyer.

I expected the meltdown that came next.  I mean, I basically dangled a carrot and then not only took it away, but held up (I don't know, what ever the opposite of THAT is) instead.  Eventually, I was able to calm Little G down enough that he forgot about 'outside'.  I got him dressed and somehow kept him occupied enough in the three hours we had between getting up and leaving.  And we talked about the adventure we were about to go on.   I reminded him that when we went into the big building that looks like church, we would have to be quiet, but unlike church, we could watch Thomas.  To which my son, train ADDICT, whined, "I don waaaanna watch Thomas!"  I was so shocked you could have pushed me over with a feather.  Thomas is my trump card.  That was it.  That's all I had to offer.  I quickly demised that he was bluffing, but just in case, grabbed a sheet of Thomas stickers (usually reserved for his potty chart that we've forgotten to use for the past two months) and some paper and added them to our luggage for the day.

It was getting later and later and the Ladybug was still sleeping.  In my morning rush, which ALSO included getting my stuff together for the courthouse AND all the stuff one needs for a day out with two children; lunch! snacks! bottles! burp cloths! pull ups! diapers! forumla! blanket! jacket! extra clothes! hand sanitizer! monkey wrench! flame thrower! etc... I had forgotten that I was supposed to have kept Ladybug's morning nap to a short one.  Eventually we arrived at the point where it was going to be too late for us to take the bus to the courthouse...except, I thought as I looked at the stroller and everything I had packed sitting in my living room, except, I was STILL going to need the stroller when I got there and the thought of taking it all back around to the car and loading it all back in there was daunting.  Plus, it wouldn't save me THAT much time in the end (it's only a two mile ride and I would have to park at the end of it).  The bus had the potential of being faster.  Gloriously, the decision was made for me.  I heard the Ladybug upstairs, so I darted to her room and got her changed; tossed her in the stroller and headed out the door.

Little G rode on his 'piggy back', which is a ride-on attachment for the stroller that he calls his scooter, while I walked down our hill toward the bus stop.  When we got there, I quickly checked my app on my phone to see when the next bus was coming.  Usually they are pretty quick, but sometimes the scheduling is wonky and it makes more sense to keep walking into our little village where there is the possiblity of at least three more bus lines going through.  Sadly, the app was malfunctioning so I had to, gasp, stand there like a normal person and wait.  So we waited.  And waited.  And waited and waited and waited.  And I started to get really nervous.  So I made the decision to leave.  And no sooner was I halfway between my bus stop and the next one (which is inexplicably only two blocks away), and a 50 bus rounded the corner...which meant I was going to have to RUN to catch it at the next stop.  So I ran down the street like a lunatic with Ladybug in the stroller, Little G hanging onto the back and all of our stuff jostling in the basket below.  The sidewalks are crazy-bumpy so I kept telling Little G to HANG ON!!!!

to be continued...(here) (sorry...who knew this story of one day in my life would be so epic!  And yet...not really.  I mean...its essentially just a story about the logistics of hauling around two kids to a traffic hearing...I think I told both my birth stories in shorter prose)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A really long story about a traffic ticket that you probably don't want to spend the time reading but that I need to get out of my system since I haven't talked to an actual adult yet today (other than to plead my case to the magistrate)

Today was one of those marathon days that even halfway through, you look back and realize you deserve some sort-of medal for all you have accomplished.  It is good to look back at it that way because nine times out of ten, the day will end much differently than it started...usually with a detour towards crazy town somewhere around nap time.

But first...some history:

 A few months ago I was leaving Little G's new school and my normal way home (it is less than a mile) was completely jammed up with traffic. So, with a screaming 12 week old in the car, I turned the other direction and planned to go around the other side of the park that is between his school and our house.  I got to the end of the street, and there was a utility truck completely obstructing my lane.  If I turned right, I would end up either back at all the traffic, or really far away from home.  I needed to turn left.  There was no one directing traffic and the light turned green and so I hedged my bets and crossed into the other side of street so that I could go around the utility vehicle and turn left and be on my way.  Halfway past the vehicle, a police man popped his head out from where he had been leaning into the truck and started yelling at me.  The Ladybug was screaming her little head off...I felt badly, but I didn't stop; instead I waved to indicate my mistake and went on my merry way. - which was quite merry what with all of the baby screaming going on.  Then, halfway between the park and our house we passed by a paddy-wagon.  I had no sooner passed it when it turned on its lights and pulled me over.  Apparently I was a criminal on the run.

I was annoyed enough as it was, the thought crossed my mind that the policeman may have wanted me to pull over, but seriously, to do what...have a chat about it while my baby screamed?  No thank you.  Keeping that in mind, you can imagine how much MORE annoyed I was when the policeman driving the paddy-wagon basically berated me the moment I rolled my window down.  I get it, I live in a city where there are actual criminals with bona fide criminal intent, but there was no reason to get all crazy-town huffy over it, especially when I also had my two year old in the car who adores policemen.  I'm just saying, forget the fact that I really didn't think I was in the wrong in the first place (or I wouldn't have endangered my kids) even if I WAS wrong, don't yell at me infront of my kids unless I yell at you first.

Phew...annnnnnnyway, the police officer eventually told me that he would take my information to the other policeman at the utility truck and HE would decide if I would be ticketed or not.  yay.  Low and behold, about a week later, I got a ticket in the mail for $200!!  $50 for driving on the wrong side of the road and $100 for not stopping at a light or sign.  Well, heeeeeeellll no was I going to let THAT stand.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt (and believe me...I'm easy to convince I have left the oven on when I haven't used it all week) that the light turned green because THAT'S WHY I DECIDED TO TURN!!!


Anyway, it costs $25 to get a court hearing (which is bunk if you ask me) but I sent in my check and hoped for the best and annoyingly enough I got a summons to go to court on Wednesday, March 21 at 11:00am to fight my ticket.  Yeah.  Wednesday.  The one. day. a. week. Little G isn't in school - also the day he has swim lessons at 9:30.

The court paper said to bring the paper work with me along with cash if I wanted to appeal whatever decision was made.  After some online research, I discovered that the courthouse had childcare.  I emailed the liaison and never got a response so yesterday I finally called to find out what the deal was.  Turns out the childcare program has been gone since the late '90's (UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE PEOPLE!!).  I asked if it would be alright for my son (who is 2.5) to bring his iPod touch with a Thomas movie loaded onto it and his headphones.  The woman on the phone said, "he can't have a phone".  I said, "it isn't a phone, it's a touch".  To which she responded, "it isn't the phone that's a problem, there can't be a camera in the courthouse."  I cheerily explained that the camera function had been removed from this iPod touch and she put me on hold to talk to the magistrate.  When she came back she explained that they said I could bring the iPod touch, but if my son started to become a distraction, they would ask me to reschedule my appointment.  I agreed that made sense and began the task of preparing my little family unit (sans one helpful husband) to go to the courthouse the next day.

To be continued...

(on the next installment of this really stupidly long explanation of what I did with my day today: RUNNING FOR BUSSES!!  PLEADING WITH SECURITY GUARDS!!  DIRT!!)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ladybug at 4-5 months

Ladybug - you're four and a half months and I missed your 4 month update and we'll be in FL for your 5 month and finally, two children into this experiment of love, I have decided to just write to you whenever I can, regardless of schedule.
Just after your three month birthday

The difference in you from 'blob', as your daddy would say* to interacting baby has been like night and day.  You woke up one day around turning 4 months and decided to really be a part of our family and we have loved interacting with you.  The biggest change started when you figured out how to use your hands.  First it was just your shirt you were lifting you will grab any toy you can and bring it to your mouth.

Little G likes to lay down with you and hold your hand.  It is by far the sweetest thing I have ever witnessed.

We headed to VT to find some snow for your brother to play in - you had a good time too - even though you slept through your first sled ride :)

From trip to visit bisbees
Your first sled ride!!  You didn't even wake up!

Your brother has noticed that you are more and more interactive as well and he hasn't exactly taken it that well.  He's ok if you're garnering attention from us for a bit, but if Grammy and Grampy are on the phone and want to talk to you, he gets very jealous.

Your 4 month birthday

Snuggling with your brother

Sometimes you seem so sensitive...just stroking your hair after a shower pisses you off to no end and Lord help us if anything ever bonks you in the head just a little bit.  Yet, you have a dare devilish side to you as well.  You are just as entranced by the 'fake dropping' game we played with Little G at this age and I thought for sure it would scare the beJesus out of you.  Instead you grin from ear to ear.

 Hanging out with your friends in mommy's 2nd time mom's class...all these babies have older siblings.

Our first real family photo

You smile so much, but my favorite smiles are when you are trying to blow raspberries.  Blowing the raspberry makes you so happy that you smile and then you can't do it anymore.

From random videos
Blowing raspberries was a new trick for a while...

 We found you like this in your crib not too long ago...(anyone who cares to comment on the blanket in the crib can just look at the last picture of you in this post ;)

 A picture of you (top) and Little G (bottom) around the same age, after bath time.

You have gifted us recently with going to bed with Little G around 7:30 at night and then waking up at 6:30 to be fed again...except now you have decided that not getting a bottle around 4:00 is bunk, so you wake up hungry and ready to start the day!  This is reaaaaallly not going to work for me, so I finally made the decision to start you on some solid foods.

Little G started solids on his 4 month birthday, but we held off with you until this past Sunday, March 18; 9 day shy of your 5 month birthday.   But now that you are up in the middle of the night again, I think you need to get calories in you in another form than the 35+ oz. of forumla you have each day.  So far you've just had some baby oatmeal, but soon we will introduce you to carrots and squash and peas and pears and applesauce.  My guess is you'll really like them.  We're generally a baby led family around here though, so we'll also toss in some frozen mini bagels and a pork chop or two by the end of next month.

We're still trying to work on a consistent nap schedule...right now, if there isn't anything else going on in our day, you nap right after we get back from taking Little G to school, which is great because it is good time for mommy to sit down at her computer and get some work done.  But your schedule after that varies a lot and I haven't figured out when to find the time to actually track it and get it more structured.  I'm not concerned.  Your brother didn't nap more than 20 minutes at a time until he was 7 months old, so to even get a consistent morning nap from you is a big plus in my book.

We try and do some tummy time with you every day, and you really just hate it and start screaming long before ever achieving flipping over to your back on your own.  But conversely, you get pretty bored on your back and immediately lift your feet up and swing them over and arch your back and try to turn over to your stomach...again, that's something your brother didn't even try until 6 months, so I'm super impressed that you are so close to rolling yourself over.

 Your first time in the stroller seat (As opposed to on the stroller but in your car seat)

 A fun picture of you and Little G - again, around the same age.

From random videos
We finally got some consistent baby giggles about a week ago!!  YAY!

So far you have kept all of your hair and it is as unruly as ever.  My hope is that once you can roll over to your stomach, than you will hopefully sleep that way and we can further combat the ginormous cowlick that makes all the hair in the back of your head stand straight up.  Even so, you are strikingly beautiful.  I know this because the old lady at the supermarket the other day crossed three lanes of checkouts to tell me so.
 We've determined these all-around-the head bow things must be for babies without hair because you look like Rambo's sister.

A gift from Aunt K that we got to wear once just to make our opinion known ;)

Even though this is our second time around, we are still forever in awe of all that you have accomplished and how very fast this time has gone.  You are already 1/3 of a year old!  I just want to hold on to every moment of this knowing that sitting up isn't far away and then pretty soon you'll be crawling and these days of carrying you around softly in our arms will be a distant memory.

We love you, Ladybug.  Always until eternity.

Mommy, Daddy and Little G


*there's more to that joke...he doesn't really think you are any other baby are a blob

Monday, March 19, 2012

Perfect Day

Long a favorite song of mine, Perfect Day evokes the sweet spirit of the day we had yesterday with Little G...if you'll forgive the poetic license, I present our perfect day:

Just A Perfect Day

went scootering In A Park

And Then Later

When It Gets Dark We Go Home

Just A Perfect Day

saw trains at the big expo

And Then Later dinner out, too

And Then Home

Oh Its Such A Perfect Day

Im Glad I Spend It With You

Oh Such A Perfect Day you Just Keep Me Hangin On

You Just Keep Me Hangin On

Just A perfect Day

no tantrums or fights to throw

Weekanders All Night Long

Its Such Fun

Just A Perfect Day

You Make Me love Myself

Believe that we're doing this right

Something Good

Oh Its Such A Perfect Day

Im Glad I Spend It With You

Oh Such A Perfect Day you Just Keep Me Hangin On

You Just Keep Me Hangin On

(the original lyrics can be found here)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Big Changes for Little G

Back in January, Little G transitioned to a new school.  The transition came quickly - we found out about the spot on a Thursday; visited on Friday and gave our deposit; he spent a week at the old school; had a cupcake party on Friday to say goodbye; and then the next Monday started at the new school.

Because it all happened so fast and because there is/was already so much transition going on in his life (big boy bedroom, new sibling, potty training[!!!!!!!]), I wanted to help him with this new transition but didn't know exactly how to go about doing it.  Thankfully, we were also working with a team of developmental specialists at the time (loooooong story that I don't feel too comfortable sharing here other than the conclusion that Little G is COMPLETELY NORMAL, if not advanced in some areas for his age) and they suggested putting together a book of pictures of the new school for Little G to read over the course of the few days we had between switching programs.

The book turned out to be a fantastic idea.  We read it at bed time and he would even request it on the potty.  When we got to his new school the next Monday, Little G walked right up the stairs and into the arms of his new teacher. 

I should point out that in my 'other life', I design and produce custom invitations and announcements and I was an avid scrapbooker for much of the late '90's so I had the resources to quickly make this quickly, you ask? All in the span of one 25 minute nap his sister gifted me one afternoon ;)  The reason I am pointing this out is because he would have done just fine with a flip-book of pictures - I just took it to the next level because I had the resources to do so...not because I'm a crazy mommy.  Ok...I AM crazy...but still, I promise, this was easy.

Annnnnyway, there is a new little boy at Little G's school who started last week and who is having a tough time transitioning.  He's a lot younger than Little G, so I'm not sure if the book will help or not, but in any case I have donated the book to Little G's new school so that they can offer it to this new little boy's mama and any other new student that might come along.

Little G has been at his new school for two months now, though it feels like a lifetime ago when we were transitioning him.  He truly loves his school, his teachers and the program and I am so grateful that it all worked out so well.

Just the other day, we received notice that Little G was accepted to the pre-school that we were hoping he would attend in the Fall so I will most likely employ this tactic again when it comes closer for him to transition. This newer school will actually take him all the way through 8th grade, so there shouldn't be too much transitioning after that.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Little G's Big Boy Bedroom Reveal (take 2)

Well apparently when you schedule a post in Blogger and then access it via your iphone to have it go up earlier, the content of your post gets erased and posts a blank.  Boo for that.

In any case, my post is up on FLOR today showing how we took our guest bedroom from this:

To this!!!

I'd love for you to check it out and because I have absolutely no shame...I'd love for you to comment on it  too :)


--Coasting anon

Little G's Big Boy Bedroom Reveal... apparently going to happen in the next post.