Monthly Archives: November 2015

The sweet spot.

I finally get why people have more babies. As Gus was an infant I thought “Yeah, the smell of their heads is nice” or “Sure, it’s great when they first smile” but I wasn’t so sure any of these were reasons to have a baby. But here, here on the brink of 14 months, I get it.

I feel like we’ve hit a sweet spot. The kind of sweet spot I am going to blog about which of course means that this next week is going to be torture. Gus is happy most of the time and so fun. He started dancing in the last month. He has new words all the time, today’s being “vacuum”. He’s smiley and lovey and gives kisses and plays games and all these things that make me want to do this every day forever.

Beyond that, he sleeps. He goes down easily. I only nurse him overnight at this point and he gets a pumped milk bottle at nap time and bedtime. His bedtime routine is bath, pajamas, book, bottle, bed. When you ask him where his bedtime book is he goes and gets it and goes to his chair. When they finish the book he points to the light and him and Lesley get up, turn it off, have the bottle, and then he falls asleep. Rarely tears, rarely asleep on the bottle. I’m much worse at this so for now, if she is home which she normally is, Lesley does bedtime. We decided that we would just have her do it for now as he’s doing so well with it. Naps are similar – a touch more fuss but easily down. At night he is sleeping one big 6-8 hour stretch. When he wakes up he comes to bed with us and then sometimes nurses only then and then again a little before waking up. Over this thanksgiving break we are going to work on getting him in his crib all night. We’ll see how it goes.

Everything just seems so magical these days. I know this will come and go – there will be easy and hard days. Even now there are some of both. But right now? Right now it’s pretty damn amazing. Now if only Lesley and I could stop arguing about dinner. (What are we having? Who is making it? Who was suppose to pull meat from the freezer in the morning? Why don’t we plan better?)

Pictures!

  Sleepy boy with his sweet little toddler pillow.
  Watching birds with his best kitty.

  Drooling and playing car ramp.
  The front page of Lesley’s babysitter packet she left when a friend watched him for the evening a few weeks ago. 🙂

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Winter camping with toddler: yay or nay?

lesley and I love to go camping over New Years. We’re debating whether or not to do so this year. We’d have the dog and there are two parks with dog friendly yurts available.

Park 1 we’ve been to. It’s on a lake about 20/30 minutes from the ocean. There’s a playground but old school metal a frame swing set kind. There’s a good tide pool spot at the ocean.

Park 2 we’ve not been to. It’s on a river and 30/40 minutes to a major town that is big (for Oregon) but probably not too much to do. I did some googling but couldn’t come up with many activities.

Gus needs to be kept busy. We’d do some hiking but likely in a carrier for him. Yurts are small. I’m worried we’d not be able to really keep him busy. If not raining we’d just play outside all bundled up. If raining we’d be screwed. Thoughts?

Special flowers and mama bears

We have good friends who have a 3.5 year old. We were friends before babies, then they went to baby land, we went to baby land, and now we’re coming out of it, they’re out of it, and all their friends that were in baby land with them are on baby 2 so back in baby land. This has provided a great opportunity for us to reconnect a bit which is really nice.

The problem is that their 3.5 year old (C) does not like Gus. I don’t know what goes on in C’s mind so maybe it’s that he doesn’t like the shared attention (likely) but it’s a problem. We’ve hung out a few times in recent months and he’ll yell at Gus, hit Gus, and one time picked up both of his feet while sitting in a chair and kicked Gus in the chest. It’s happened and their house and our house and things are normally best if we are in a neutral space and C is getting lots of attention.

Yesterday C’s parents had a potluck with lots of families and we went. We went early as we couldn’t stay long (Lesley had hockey) and there weren’t many families there when we were there. C was playing with another little boy and there was a little girl and her baby brother. The boy C was playing with was meaner than C. Gus was not allowed in any room they were in. Gus had a balloon and they would walk up to him and hit it out of his hands. They would come from another room to where we were, get down to Gus’ level, and yell in his face, “NO! Go away baby!” The parents of the little girl noticed this too and were super sympathetic but the parents of both boys were busy other places. After a few rounds of this Lesley picked Gus up and simply said, “We’re leaving”. I grabbed our stuff and we slipped out the back door.

When we got to the car I strapped Gus in and got in the front seat to find Lesley crying. Admittedly, she was a bit extra hormonal but it really is so hard to watch. Gus loves other kids. He just wants to play with them and follow them around. And to watch other kids treat him poorly, especially to yell at him which is something he doesn’t understand, hurts. It hurts a lot.

As these things have come up our friends have handled them appropriately. I’ve asked about ways to deal with this on facebook mom groups and have basically heard that if our friends deal with it appropriately that’s the best we can hope for and that this is kid stuff and will work itself out. It’s great that our friends deal with it but in the meantime I don’t feel super safe having my kid there. Gus isn’t learning how to play with other kids through these interactions, he’s being hit and yelled at. And while I agree this is kid stuff, I think it’s different when there is an age gap and Gus is so young.

Lesley attributes this to the parenting phenomenon she calls “special flower”. We agree with gentle parenting so much but she wonders if validating feelings and talking through things is at times not enough and not helping kids. All kids learn they are special flowers and fail to see the whole garden. C is great at identifying his feelings but still thinks he has the right to use his body against another child. We very much understand C is three. This is normal three year old behavior. He’s a good kid and we care about him so much. But as we watch this happen we start to wonder how we can do things differently. How we can be gentle parents but also set boundaries and have consequences.

After leaving there we went to the hockey rink. Parents there are (for the most part) not parents of special flowers. And there kids are nice and loving to Gus. A four year old followed him around and hugged him. A 2.5 year old we see there often shows him all her things and doesn’t get overwhelmingly upset when he takes them. These are kids who have time out and told to stop crying and all of the things we are so against. Yet these are the kids who are nice to my kid.

I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t think we can know the right way to set consequences until we know what motivates Gus. At this point there is little need for it. Sometimes a toy (and by toy I mean the broom) gets taken away or we leave a place because he’s freaking out or something of that sort but he’s young to be fully understanding what that means – it’s just stuff we need to do. This whole parenting thing is all a guess – we do what we think is best and see what happens. But what happens when what we fully believe is best is playing out in front of it and from the other side it doesn’t look so good?

“He never stops”

Last night Lesley and I went out and left Gus with a babysitter. We take date nights few and far between but one of our favorite musicians (Natalia Zukerman)was in town and Lesley’s former boss and his girlfriend (mainly his girlfriend) have been begging to babysit so off we went to dinner and a concert.

We came home to find John (former boss) reading and Kelly (gf) asleep on the couch. Gus was fast asleep and when we asked how it went they muttered a phrase we’ve heard several times: “He never stops”. My mom mutters this every time we FaceTime. Lesley’s mom muttered it when she came to visit, as did my dad and his girlfriend. Sometimes we hear it from friends but mainly from people with grown children who stare at Gus wide eyed and slack jawed.

To say Gus is active is an understatement. I watch other babies play with toys. I hear about how friends’ babies watch tv. Gus runs non stop from one toy or book to the next. I’ve never really seen him sit and play with toys for an extended period of time. We don’t want him watching tv but I ask my friends, completely fascinated, how they get their babies to do it. This is why I struggle with having little help and family being 3,000 miles away – There is no down time with Gus. It just simply does not exist.

That being said, he is also so fun. He’s warm and loving and loves books (mainly reading two pages of them and then finding a new book). He is friendly to others and smart. He’s starting to learn his body parts, has a ton of words that really only we understand, and has so many cute tricks (my favorite being that when he is done eating he tries to get our hands and then claps mine and Lesley’s hands together to show he is done). We pulled out the 18 month developmental checklist the other day – at 13 months he’s pretty well crushed them all. So smart, physical and advanced. We’re pretty sure all this means is that he’s going to be the dude who loves jumping off cliffs. Sigh.