Thursday, January 29, 2009

Art Interlude

How the hell do people get ready for work and take their kids to daycare in the morning? I can barely get my crap together to leave the house on my own, let alone with both of my kiddies and the seven tons of plastic junk they need to sustain themselves for a day.

This morning while I was getting dressed, Jack crawled away, pushed open the door to the toy closet, and helped himself to some plastic food. Then he pooped his pants, which is funny only because Harry poops his pants in the closet every morning, too.

He was really happy to see me. Also drooly and snotty.

We spent some time coloring this morning. Jack encountered crayons for the first time.


Harry was NOT AMUSED because he was BUSY COLORING BUZZ LIGHTYEAR, so LEAVE HIM ALONE. Also, only big boys can use colored pencils Did you know that? Jack found out the hard way.

Harry was not impressed with Jack's work.

Here he is telling my why Jack's picture sucked. It had a lot to do with the fact that all Jack's crayons were too wet to write. Shut up, they say "Non Toxic." And really, since there's e coli in peanut butter and mercury in all the processed freaking snack foods we lazy convenience loving parents feed our kids, crayons are like practically an organic delicacy.

Harry pointed out that Jack looks a lot like Jack-Jack, the Incredibles baby.

Jack agreed.

Okay. Back to work. And by work I mean Facebook.

Kidding! I will whip chapter 3 into shape today NO MATTER WHAT. As soon as I proctor an exam for a student looking at last semester's incomplete, return library books that are so overdue I am actually getting personal messages from someone at the circulation desk instead of generic "Notice of fine or fee" emails, and get some lunch.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


In all the preschool excitement, Jack has gotten a bit neglected on the blog-- he's too much of a cherubic little troublemaker to get neglected in real life. Although he does frequently find himself upstaged by Harry. For example, Jack went to the pediatrician for his 9 month check-up on Tuesday, but that visit was nothing special, compared with Hiveman's urgent Friday visit. Jack is still tall (75th percentile) and skinny (25th percentile) with a slightly larger than average head. Just like he has been since birth. No vaccines until his 1 year appointment because he's already gotten 2 flu shots. Blah and wonderfully, perfectly normal. He is eating more and more table food-- he likes YoBaby yogurt, and he is an old pro with bananas. This morning he tried buttered toast, and he likes shredded cheese and tortillas, too. He cruises. Sleeps terribly. Babbles constantly. And his poop smells like real poop-- no more baby stuff.

We totally adore him.

Jack has really reached the age of perfectly squishy delightfulness. I wish I could always have a 9 month-old baby stashed somewhere so I could get it out and play with it every once in awhile. Yes, I know that sounds weird. If Jack slept well at night, he would be the world's most perfect creature.

We even have the same taste in books.

It always cracks me up when he gets a Puff stuck to his face, which is every meal. By do I have a sophisticated sense of humor.

I feel like this picture looks so much like Ben it could actually be in Ben's baby book

Did you know that nothing in the whole world is cooler than toilet paper? Unless you count the rim of the toilet seat right after your 2 year old brother has peed all over it because that's pretty awesome, too.

A quick follow-up to my school search: We are probably keeping Harry in the same school-- but that depends if we can get into the class that has music, gym, AND Spanish. I'll know for sure on Monday, and you'll be the first to know in more detail than you could ever want.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Preschool Hysteria

I am freaking out here. Ben has thrown up his hands and surrendered the checkbook, telling me to calm the frick down and to pay deposits at as many schools as I need to to stop talking about fricking* preschool.

But still, I cannot stop obsessing.

Option A: We have a spot in a lottery to draw a number to enroll in a SUUUUUUUUUUUUUPER overpriced arts-centered school. A lottery, people, to enroll in a preschool. And if we are lucky enough to get to enroll, we get to put down a deposit the size of our mortgage for the honor of sending our kid to a school where the monthly tuition is more than both of our car payments. Combined. Rock on.

Option B: We are number 25 on a wait list for an awesome, teeny tiny school that we think is fabulous and adorable. Number 25 even though I called to get on said list at 9:03 on October 1st (the list opened at exactly 9:00). Number 25 would be a good number, but they only take 32 kids his age, and all the people currently enrolled in the 2 year-old class are also ahead of us. As are formerly enrolled families, board member families, children and grandchildren of staff, and church families (it's attached to the coolest Unitarian church ever).

Option C: Um, the place he goes to now. Which we love. And appreciate even more after eleventy billion preschool tours. I wish we had not looked anywhere else because I am a wreck, and it made Harry kind of nervous, as well. On our way to the cute little Unitarian place that we'll never get into, we passed his current school, and he screamed with joy, "My school! There's my school, Mommy!" in a tone that seemed to say "that's where I go, so why the hell are we looking at all these other places? Also, can I have some licorice?"

I am so stressed about all of this. Which, I now, is totally and completely ridiculous. He's 3. It's preschool. I know this, but it does not change a thing. Drama queen much?

This guy totally told me so.

* We really need to stop cursing, as Harry has said some things that might sound a little like naughty words, which he calls Dada words (which is awesome considering I cuss like a sailor). He said something that might have rhymed with truck, and when we gasped and said "Harrison, what did you say?" he said, "I said 'flower' in Chinese." Then he said it again later, and when we got stern, he sang "and Ming-ming, too. We're Wonderpets, and we'll help you." (The song goes "Linny, TUCK, and Ming-Ming, too..." What are we going to do with ths kid? Uh, stop cussing around him, I guess.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I should be working right this moment...

But I am home for the afternoon instead of soaking up carbs and caffeine at a coffee shop with a bunch of hipsters who are too cool for kids. I'm home because Harry has a wicked nasty case of hives all over his body and possibly in his mouth and throat and I'm all freaked out because the doctor said to make sure he didn't have any problems breathing or swallowing. So I didn't want to leave him with a sitter.
On our way home from the doctor, we went to Target to get Benadryl and Toy Story. It was the first time I have been shopping with both of them by myself since Jack outgrew his infant seat, and I did not know what the heck to do with them. This seemed less dangerous than letting Harry sit in the basket of the cart, even though this monstrosity is clearly marked ages 2-6, and Jack is only 9 months. What do other people do? They must have 2 year olds who will either walk nicely alongside the cart or sit in the basket without trying to climb or leap out. Hpmf. Must be nice.

I have no idea why he's all hivey, and the doctor said we probably won't know. What I do know is that I am seconds away from running outside in my socks to scream at the guy driving the snow removal truck that is making so much noise outside my kitchen windows. Doesn't he know I have 2 sleeping kids, and I am either going to join them in dreamland or use the quiet time to work on chapter 3??
Here's Jack enjoying some paper-- his favorite snack. Harry's favorite non-food nosh is bubbles. Do you think they have pica?

Thank you so much for the advice and kind words after yesterday's post. I know that Stephanie is right when she says this moment is a fleeting one (and she has a sweet post today about boxing up tiny clothes). Occasionally when Jack is wearing jammies without feet, the beauty of his fat little toes makes me catch my breath in the middle of the night, and I hold his whole foot in my palm and squeeze it a little, and in that moment, I AM happy to be awake and pressed up against him. Hmmm. Maybe the secret to my happiness is a dresser full of non-footy PJs. And all this time I thought it was a freezer full of vodka.
Here's Harry enjoying a hot chocolate at Starbucks post-Little Gym. He wore this Spiderman shirt to class and spent the whole 45 minutes "saving" his classmates who, needless to say, were not in need of rescue. Awkward.

I love how Ben and Harry both have offstage focus

Ben was so embarrassed when I wore Harry's lion hat. I think the purple sweats and the Baby Bjorn hanging out of my coat are my real problems.

Aaaaaand, the impulse to nap has beaten out the impulse to write. See you later, alligators.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Crying it out

I am so tired.

To say that sleep has been rough lately is an understatement. Like saying Ben's feet are sort of stinky. Like saying Harry's inability to sit at the table for more than 3 seconds without demanding a chocolate popsicle is a wee bit annoying. Like saying I kind of like the coffee and caramel candy bars at Starbucks.

Jack does. not. sleep. And he does not sleep right freaking next to me all night long. He also does this thing where he wakes up at 4 and doesn't whine, knead, eat, and chew his way back to sleep until 5-ish, right around the time my alarm is reminding me to go to the gym.

The other night, he would not even go to sleep at 7:30 (his bedtime for the last 4 months and Harry's bedtime for the last 2 years), so we put him in the Pack n Play next to our bed and left him there.

He cried for an hour and 10 minutes before he went to sleep, and we sat downstairs feeling like assholes.

I think we felt especially bad because we let the nurse at our doctor's office make us feel bad about cosleeping, even though we like cosleeping, and we slept with Harry for a year, at which time he magically started sleeping all night in his own bed and has remained a champion sleeper. The nurse, who visits before the doctor comes in and clicks through a few computer screens of developmental milestones (and was wearing faded black socks with some high-heeled, pointy-toed black pleather mules), made a scrunchy face when she asked about sleeping arrangements, and we said he sleeps in our bed. Then she reminded us that cosleeping with older babies makes it really difficult for them to learn how to sleep on their own and get out of our beds. Which? Bullshit. We know that from experience. I always get totally pissy when people say that to me because it's just a stupid myth (or at least is not true for every baby), and it's usually spread by the anti-cosleeping crowd (not people who don't cosleep, but people who JUDGE PEOPLE WHO DO COSLEEP as if anyone should give a shit how anyone's else's baby sleeps). I thought these people were mostly on snarky message boards, but apparently they spread their snark in real life, too, sometimes under the guise of MEDICAL ADVICE. She said we could ask her for solutions when we were ready to fix that problem. (not the waking up as the problem, the cuddling with our tiny baby in our (AAP- and- Dr. Sears- safe) bed). It would be one thing if she voiced safety concerns (which have been disproven, but still have some sort of medical or baby's well being kind of thrust), but her discussion of cosleeping and later sleep issues was just crap. It's just a screwed up social custom that babies and children should" sleep apart from their parents, not some sort of natural law.

We blew it off at the time, but I think we both kind of thought about it and wished Jack slept elsewhere. Harry, you see, always started the night in his own bed and joined us at his first waking. Eventually, he stopped waking up, so he just spent the whole night in his crib. No crying. No elaborate night weaning process. No training. Jack sleeps in our bed from 7:30 on, guarded by bed rails and a monitor. If he wakes up before we're ready for bed, I have to go to bed right then or at least go to bed and feed him back to sleep-- and I usually just fall asleep then even if I didn't mean to, which is totally screwing with my skin care routine.

So I've started waking him up a little after he eats, telling him night night, and putting him down in the PnP. He only cried the first night, Last night, he rolled right over and went to sleep (like he does for naps). We decided that if he wakes up before 11, we will just "let" him cry. After 11, we're asleep anyway and will just bring him to our bed. I am not trying to eliminate night wakings or feeding right now. Just want a little space for a few hours.

Anybody have any tips for moving him from the PnP to the crib in Harry's room? We don't want to ruin Harry's sleep, but it would be cool to get J out of our room eventually. He's used to the crib because he takes his morning nap there, but he takes his afternoon nap in the PnP because Harry is asleep in his bedroom (thank g-d). Maybe start with naps? Keep in mind that I am napping from 1-3 as well, and I'd like to keep it that way. So, anyway, assvice?

Jack is so totally into peekaboo. It's pretty cute

He's also cutting 5 teeth right now, so we see this grumpy face a lot. Also, yes. We "let" him CIO while he's teething. Because we're assholes. Really tired assholes

Harry told the waitress he wanted a cheese hangaber (hamburger), fries, and a lemonade. We were kind of surprised, as he's never actually ordered his own meal, and he's only had milk at restaurants-- not even sure how he knew lemonade was an option. Then he ate it all.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dear Sarah,

What the eff are you doing writing this while your babysitter is watching your kids so you can work?

Love Always,
Your Better Nature.

Dear My Better Nature,

Where the hell have you been all my life? Leave me alone.

Best Wishes,

PS: I am drinking fair trade coffee, so stuff it.

Seriously, I shouldn't be blogging right now. But when I ran out of the house the second my babysitter arrived to care for my cranky snot nosed little angels, I also forgot my marked up copy of chapter 3 and the book I am currently reading, so I actually have less to do than I would like because I would rather eat my arm off (really) than go home and get that stuff and potentially screw with jack's nap, which would, in turn, totally wreck his afternoon nap, which would, you guessed it, make him a blathering mess by dinner time, rendering me shrewish, dinner hard to chew-ish, and Ben cranky, too. Harry? He'd jut watch too much TV and ask in an increasingly frantic manner if we would play with him. Eventually, we would get so annoyed by that constant question that one of us would snap "No! Of course we won't play with you! Watch some more Diego!" Then we'd feel like total crap and probably cope with our feelings by bickering for the rest of the night and possibly into the wee hours of the morning, depending if Jack's messed up naps threw off his night sleep, which, let's face it, they probably would.

So that is why I have a little extra time to blog.

This is the part where I'd like to whine for a few minutes. Nothing special, just a few things along the lines of wahhhhhhh! Having little kids is hard!!! I don't totally want to stay home 24/7 because I have been working toward this degree since my freshman year of college, way back in 1996, and I am almost done, but sometimes I just want to stay home and forget about the past 12 years. Wahhhhhhhhhh. Also it totally sucks when both parents are trying to get ready for work at the same time. Also, I really dislike it when my alarm wakes up Jack and he won't go back to sleep. This is especially crappy on a morning that follows a night like this: Jack slept in our bed like he usually does (we even have frigging bed rails on our bed because he has rolled out in the morning) and nursed about 64 times throughout the night, meaning I am really cramped and extra specially crabby this morning. Meanwhile, Harry woke up at 12:45 asking if Ben would play with him (and he was hanging upside down out of his fire truck bed at the time). He went back to sleep around--oh-- 3. Just as Ben was settling back to sleep, Harry woke up with a bad dream (about the sock monster. The kid never listens to a word I say, but I make one little joke about the sock monster eating Jack's socks and BAM! Nightmares for weeks), and the only thing that would get him back to sleep was a cup of milk, which, you guessed it again, made him wet the bed and wake up sopping at 5:45. Awesome. (Also, this whole thing is starting to read like one of those "If you give a moose a muffin" books, which proves that the slippery slope fallacy is my main method of reasoning. Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Anyway, I am going to work on chapter 3 now, and I am going to try to enjoy my time away from these two

so that I can also enjoy my time with them.

And I am actually feeling good about my project. In some ways, revising is much easier than writing (duh), but it other ways, it is much more difficult. I have to remind myself all the time that every argument I make doesn't have to be cited off to a major thinker because this project is about me finding my voice as a major thinker, you know? I am reading an excellent history of childbirth in America from 1750-1950 (Brought to Bed by Judith Leavitt), and not only is it fascinating, it is also beautifully written. As I read, I am marveling at topic sentences, arguments, segues to subsequent chapters, etc-- all the mechanical things I need to fix in this draft of my work. If you are pregnant or want to be pregnant again soon, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. One word for you: fistulas. But a lot has changed from days of forceps and chloroform.

Friday, January 16, 2009

9 Months Old

Jack's 9 months old today, which means I should have lost all that baby weight by now. Hmpf. Also, he's not much for sitting still with a sign.

This is the face Harry makes when you ask him to smile.

Well at least you can read the sign this way.

Jack fell down and hit his head like 8 times before I noticed that his socks had no treads.

So we put on some shoes

Then e and Harry spent some super fun time playing under the table.

Under the table time? The most exciting thing we did today. It is so freaking cold here that the kids have not been out of the house all week. Well, Jack went to Little Gym, but Harry has been a total hermit. We've eaten a lot of conversation hearts

And apparently, we've watched a lot of TV because Harry can tell you all about the US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson. Here he is talking about it, actually: (he's really preoccupied with the human interest angle-- he's all about the pilot making a cell phone call to his wife, as you can see)

Untitled from sarah on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday Bomma!

Happy Birthday Bomma! from sarah on Vimeo.

Untitled from sarah on Vimeo.

Happy Birthday Bomma! We wish we could be there to celebrate with you, and we hope you have a wonderful day.

Can I just tell you all how cool my grandma is? Well, I guess I don't have to tell you, since she's a regular blog commenter, and how many other 80 year-olds do you know who are? Since I was younger than Harry, I have been staying in Des Moines with Bomma and Jack. Bomma and I played a lot of Skip Bo and did a lot of shopping and lunching over the years, but my favorite thing to do was go see her act in plays (yes-- my flair for the dramatic is generations old, and I always liked Auntie Mame the best). None of that (not even the time she laid down the "c" word in a Scrabble game when I was 9-ish, and Grandpa Jack freaked out) compares at all to the joy of bringing my children to visit a home I love so much. This morning in fact, right after he made the video I posted above, Harry said "Can we go to Bomma's house right now for her party?" He asks to go to Bomma's house a lot, actually, and he tells Bomma's house stories that rival tales of band camp ("This one time at Bomma's house, I got a airplane and a baby dino").

I love you, Bomma! Have a great 80th, and we hope we can see you soon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Our weekend: the video highlights

Sorry my last post was so disjointed-- can only think clearly about one thing at a time, and fortunately, it was my work.

We missed Lucy's birthday party because it was so snowy in the 'burbs, and we've had a lovely lazy weekend here in the slush. I spent the majority of my time scanning old pictures and uploading them on facebook. I am so cool.

There's lots of loud TV in the background of these videos. Cuz we're awesome parents like that. Also, we know it is winter, but Jack made such a nasty mess gumming up a banana that he had to disrobe after breakfast.

All done playing from sarah on Vimeo.

Jack NOT saying dada from sarah on Vimeo.

Friday, January 09, 2009

This afternoon, I will work somewhere without wifi

A helpful note I made myself in chapter 2:

Eugenics and the Birth Control Movement I need to read this history section and figure out wtf I am saying that is either a) new, b) insightful, c) related to my freaking point.

Also, I realize now that my chapter should have a freaking point.

Oh look! Jack in a cute towel!

This coffee shop? Is full of loud eaters.

In high school, I had a creative writing teacher who got fired for touching students inappropriately (that is a totally random detail, but I felt like it went with the lack of an organized point in this post), and he has the cliched advice "Show; don't tell" written in many different languages hanging all over his classroom. I really need to take that advice-- I think part of why my dissertation is a mess right now is because I state the conclusions of my analysis before I actually perform it and then when I get to the conclusion, I have nothing to say.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It's still winter? I'm getting sick of all the snow.

Good thing one of my New Year's resolutions wasn't to blog more because I would totally be screwing that up, huh?
We just haven't been doing anything.

A little bit of this.

Some of that

More of this

I have been working a few hours everyday this week, and when Jamie first came over after being on break since December 19th, I almost passed out with delight. Then I put on a dry-clean-only outfit even though I was just going to hide out in my office-- in my office where there is no one who wants to wipe snot on me or likes to bite me or poops in his pants for me to clean up-- and made it to campus in record time. I met Ben at the Starbucks by our offices for lattes that we could get hot instead of iced because we didn't have to carry in babies in our other hands. Then I climbed the stairs to my messy little office and took care of some mind-numbingly boring paperwork in the most blissful solitude. Even the cackling of the theater people whose department mailroom is across the hall from my door didn't disturb me.

Tonight after dinner, Ben and I were putting away the day's laundry while Harry let his super hero action figures hang out in the Little People house, and we were like "Hmmmm...where's Jack?"

Um... there he was. Shit.

Cleaning up the boys' room, Ben hurled stuffed animals at me

So I flung Harry back at him. Not really. Also, don't judge me: I went to the gym on my way home-- those aren't really my real clothes.

So, yeah. Not a lot happening here. Last semester when I got done revising the giant master syllabus that I hand out to my staff at the beginning of the semester, I apparently didn't save it, so guess what I'm doing tomorrow? I'll probably also be building some train tracks. Expect more fascinating updates soonish.