Oral

My son K-Man was not an oral baby. I mean, sure, he was obsessed with his pacifier, but he was never one for putting foreign objects in his mouth. Which, I now realize, was a blessing. I never had to fuss about what potential choking hazard or foul object might be lying within his sticky little grasp.

Safe to say, I was not adequately prepared when my daughter Ell-Bell basically came out of the womb eating things off the floor.  She is orally fixated to the max and will try to put anything and everything in her big fat gob.  It’s cute, of course, but sometimes can be annoying as fuck! Like that time at 5 months old, when she pulled a pile of tacos off the table and onto my lap, because she was trying to snag a spicy bite.  Or that time (all the time) she was obsessed with her big brother’s super ball and carried it around in her mouth like a dog.

Or that time at the playground, yesterday, when I couldn’t let her roam free for one second because she insisted on trying to put every single wood chip from that wood-chip-laden plot directly into her pie hole.  It was exhausting chasing after her, prying wood chips out of her fists, and scolding “no no, icky, that’s not food!”

As I tiredly pulled my two chunks home from the playground in their little red wagon, I thought to myself, “maybe I could blog about this issue?” But alas, I resolved there wasn’t a ton of there there.

That all changed just two hours later.

Fast forward to dinner time. I let the kids run a little wild while I put everything together. As I was dishing up some baked chicken, rice, and flaccid broccoli stems (anybody else constantly duped by the luscious-looking broccoli florets on the cover of frozen produce bags?), I suddenly noticed that I hadn’t heard Ell-Bell for at least 45 seconds. Wuh oh.  I quickly sashayed towards the living room–where I thought she was–but a shadow caught my eye as I passed by the bathroom. I backed up — idiot! Of course she’s in the bathroom!

There she sat on the bathroom floor, next to the kitty litter. One hand holding a small brown object. The other hand batting at her tongue. A pile of other small brown objects scattered across the floor. Brown smudges all over the corners of her mouth. Do I need to say more, you guys? She was eating fucking cat poop! “Holy shit!” I thought as I scooped her up and batted the turd out of her hand.  I frantically grabbed about 200 wet wipes, crumpled them into a ball, and smashed them repeatedly against her face, tongue, and hands.  After texting with Hubby to confirm that Ell-Bell was not about to die, I set her down for dinner. What else was I supposed to do?

So what do you think, do I win the Mom of the Year award?

I guess, in spite of everything, there are some upsides to having an oral baby.  For instance, Ell-Bell absolutely devoured those broccoli stems at dinner.  That could have been a desperate attempt to wash the kitty poo taste out of her mouth, though. Who knows.

Until next time,

Vee

Nap Time, I Hardly Knew Ya

Mr. K-Man, my son.  He’s never been a sleeper.  He’s been hard to put down, always.  Late to bed.  Early to rise.  Waking up in the middle of the night.  Short naps.  And now, I fear, we are at the end of our nap time journey altogether.  You guys, he’s not even 3 yet.  *Insert bawling emoji*

To be fair, I’ve thought K-Man was giving up his nap every few months since he was probably one-and-a-half.  I like to cry wolf.  But sadly, I really think this time it’s for real.  In the past, after a week or two of nap resistance hell, everything would go back to normal. This time it’s been going on for months.  Months.

Things went downhill for us when we started potty training.  When K-Man learned that he could use the potty as an excuse to get out of bed, his ability to fall asleep at nap time or bed time took a nose dive.  We’re talking hours between the official start of sleep time and when he would actually fall asleep.  Every time I would reach the door to leave him alone in his room, he would call out goofily from the bed, “I. Need. to. Peeeeeee.”  Ugghhhhh.

Since it’s been months, though, I don’t think I can chalk this one up to a potty training-induced sleep regression.  I don’t think it’s going to get better, and we’re stuck in a miserable vicious cycle.  I spend an hour getting him down for nap, all so he can take a (late) 1.5 hour nap.  Hardly worth it.  And then I spend 1-2 hours getting him down for bedtime.  He’s not tired because he took that piddly little nap earlier, you see.

So lately we’ve been skipping naps here and there.  And by “skipping naps” I mean he’s been refusing to nap.  Last week, he napped on Monday.  And on Monday night he was a total butthead to put down to sleep at bedtime.  On Tuesday-Friday, no nap, and bedtime was a dream.  On Saturday, daddy insisted on a nap.  And then later, you guys, K-Man refused to go to sleep until 11:30 at night. 11-freaking-30!  That’s 3 hours later than normal.  That’s after I go to sleep!

So I think I’m done trying.  Because it’s exhausting.  But there’s still a little nagging voice in the back of my head wondering if K-Man is really ready.  He’s not exactly a peach in the evening on the days he doesn’t nap.  I mean, some days he’s great.  But other days he’s rage crying because I won’t let him have a donut before dinner.  Or smashing his baby sister’s face into the floor.  No bueno.

Mostly, I just feel sorry for myself.  And unlucky.  According to this highly scientific Baby Center article, more than 50% of kids are still day napping at age 4.  And 3 in 10 kids continue to nap past the age of 5.  What the fuck?  What the hell kind of sleep gods did I piss off that I’m getting cheated out of YEARS of nap time bliss? I’d like to meet the parents of these kids who are still snoozing happily in freaking kindergarten.  I’d like to shake their hands.  Or you know, punch them in the face a little bit.  Whatevs.

Until next time,

Vee

A Series of Wildly Unfortunate Events

A few days ago, I had one of those days. You know, the ones where nothing goes right? Where you literally can’t believe the ridiculous series of events that is unfolding before your eyes?

The bad day was actually a few days in the making.  It started, as most things do, with a rough night of sleep.  I’m trying to wean Ell-Bell from her night nursing, but she has other plans. She doesn’t want to cut back, in fact, she’s been trying to wake up for an earlier feed.  I know things will never get better if I give in, so we’ve been butting heads.  Two nights before “The Day,” Ell-Bell woke up ridiculously early to eat, and it took me half an hour to distract her enough to get her back to sleep.  Before I could fall back to sleep myself, though, K-Man was awake and crying hysterically.  I still don’t know what was wrong, maybe a bad dream?  But it took me another half hour to get him back down.  Then I drifted to sleep for … two … glorious hours, before Ell-Bell was awake and demanding to eat for real this time.  I gave in and nursed her, because I was SO TIRED OMG.  Only, after I finished nursing her, she was not ready to go back to sleep.  I finally got her down and returned to my room, but before my head could hit the pillow, she was crying again.  She had pooped herself.  Ugh.

When I woke up for the day, I was not happy.  Hubby and I had a major fight, obviously inspired by the fact that I had had a terrible night with the kids, and he was awake for zero percent of it.  Hubby got pissed with my attitude and left for work early, which enraged me.  Seriously, when he punishes me by peacing out, I lose my mind.

Anyway, we exchanged apologies by text a few hours later, like we pretty much always do.  And that evening, Hubby felt super guilty and treated me to Chipotle.  And then after the kids went to bed, he went out and got me Sonic mozzarella sticks and ice cream.  Yep, we’re gluttons.  Come at me.  But my tummy wasn’t feeling that great and I actually wasn’t very interested in even more food, but I stuffed it down anyway because (a) I have no self control and (b) I wanted to accept Hubby’s peace offering.

I went to bed early because exhaustion plus tummy ache, and I couldn’t wait to feel better after a good night’s sleep.  Only, I didn’t get a good night’s sleep.  At all.  Ell-Bell was awake from 12:30am to 3:00am, sparring with me about eating.  I held strong for hours, you guys, but every time I would get her back to sleep, she would wake up again only 10-15 minutes later.  It was torture. In the middle of it all, K-Man woke up again (what the heck) and needed attention, all while Ell-Bell was screaming her head off in the room next door.  At least this time, Hubby woke up to help out.  I finally gave up and fed Ell-Bell at 3am because I NEEDED sleep.  Then K-Man woke up again at 5am and wanted me to “sing songs.”

Two hours later, I was awake for the The Day and not feeling it AT ALL.  I had no idea how I was going to make it through the next 12 hours.  And stupidly, I weighed myself.  I was three pounds heavier than the day before.  Fack.  Who knew eating two dinners and dessert would pack on the pounds so quickly?

I spent all morning just trying to power through, all the while day dreaming about nap time.  I couldn’t wait to put the kids down, turn on the fire, sip some tea, and watch my YouTube videos.  And maybe fall asleep for a bit.

When 1:00pm rolled around, Ell-Bell went down for her nap like an angel.  My mouth watered as I was one step closer to my glorious anticipated break.  Only, K-Man had no visions of napping.  He. was. fucking. wired.  Like, I can’t remember the last time he was so awake at nap time.  He wouldn’t lie still.  He actually wouldn’t even lie down.  He was jumping on the bed, flailing his body around wildly, asking for milk, asking for water, demanding to go potty for the one zillionth time.  Every time I left his room and went downstairs to make my tea, I would hear him jumping down out of bed and opening his door.  We played this game for an hour and a half.  I watched about 10 total minutes of YouTube (in two minute increments), and sipped cold tea between visits back upstairs.  When K-Man started screaming at the top of his lungs, I gave up and brought him downstairs.  I couldn’t have him waking up Ell-Bell.

Ell-Bell woke up after 20 more minutes or so, anyway.  I threw some goldfish and milk in her direction, set K-Man up with some paint and paper, and opened my laptop on the floor to cyber shop for a bit (#therapy).  I was doing some deep breathing, trying to figure out how to turn the day around despite being unbelievably bummed that I got no break at nap time.

And then, as K-Man was putting away his paint, he failed to screw the lid on tightly for one of the containers, and he dropped it on the rug.  I watched horrified, in true slow motion, as green paint splattered across my light-colored rug, onto the adjacent wood floor, and up onto the brick hearth.  Holy. fucking. shit, I thought to myself.  Is this really happening right now?  (As an aside, if you have any idea how to get paint out of brick crevices, please enlighten me.)

As I was crouched down with my face in the rug, pep-talking to myself and vigorously scrubbing the green paint-affected areas with a soap-and-vinegar mix, my son–who insisted on playing with his cars basically on top of me as I worked–accidentally lost control of one car and smashed it right into my eye socket.  And I lost it.  Not in an angry way, no, I started sobbing.  Crying big fat heaving snotty tears into my newly-green rug.

While K-Man is a total butthead, he’s also a softie and a sweetheart, a total empath. So he launched into a series of efforts to make me feel better. “Don’t cwy, mommy. Isss okayyy, mommy. I give you a hug and kiss and you feel better, okay mommy? You need a toy mommy? Here, ha’ dis car mommy. You want another toy mommy? You want dis one?” It was so cute and ridiculous that I started laughing between sobs.

“You feel better mommy?” K-Man asked.

Just then, Ell-Bell crawled over and showed interest in K-Man’s toys. So I said, “I would feel better if you shared your toys with Ell-Bell.”

K-Man’s face changed as he pulled all of his toys closer. “No, you be sad mommy.”  Major eye roll.

A few minutes later, K-man squatted down and took a ginormous piss through his undies, right there on the family room floor, even though he had peed twice already in the potty in the last hour.  At least he missed the rug, right?

I already had a stash of paper towels nearby, so thankfully I cleaned up the pee with little effort.  As K-Man resumed his car play, he taunted me: “Cwwwyy, mommy!”  I take back everything I said about him being a sweet softie.

At that point, I gave up. I scooped my two kiddos up and brought them into the living room and turned on Trolls.  Some days, you just gotta.  As I sat there and watched Trolls for the hundredth time, with K-Man sprinting back and forth on the couch, jabbing me in the spine with his elbows and knees as he passed, I thought to myself, this is really fucking hard.  I’m glad I’m doing it, I have zero regrets, I love my kids to the moon and back, but still, this is really. fucking. hard.

But, on the bright side, and in the words of the famous Princess Poppy, if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again.

Until next time,

Vee

Our Girl is in the Digits

A few days ago, my sweet little Ell-Bell turned one.  I can’t believe it has been a year since the day my OB looked at me with sympathy in her eyes and told me she was referring me to Labor and Delivery for high blood pressure.  A year since we called my in-laws from the hospital and told them it was time, that they needed to make the 4-hour drive to DC to pick up my son from daycare.  A year since my Hubby had to call his current employer and reschedule his upcoming residency interview.  A year since we decided, together with my OB, that a TOLAC would probably be pointless, and another c-section was in the cards.  A year since I cried like a baby because I couldn’t breathe through my nose right before the surgery began.  A year since Ell-Bell came out of my abdomen as the cheesiest, screamiest baby I have ever seen.  A year since K-Man came to visit his new baby sister in the hospital — I’m still so grateful Hubby captured his reaction on video.*   A year since we spent three days in the hospital recovering and getting to know our sweet new family member.  A year since we learned how to change a poopy diaper when a vagina is involved.  A year since I was so delirious from sleep deprivation in the hospital that I kept referring to Ell-Bell as a “he.”  A year since we came home from the hospital to discover, in horror, that my father-in-law was doing our laundry. (He saw my underwear, you guys!)  A year since we began our life at home as a family of four.

In honor of my baby girl’s coming of age, I’d like to dedicate the rest of this post to 10 Fun Facts About Ell-Bell.  Without further ado:

  1. When Ell-Bell crawls, she swings her head wildly from side to side.  It might be the cutest thing ever.
  2. Ell-Bell took her first solo steps when she was 11.5 months, but I don’t think she liked it very much.  She still prefers crawling, but is getting more adventurous with her walking, too.  She’s also really good at flapping her arms and correcting before she falls over.  I’m worried she might take flight, though.
  3. She is a champion eater.  My favorite thing is watching her eat rice.  She scoops it up and smashes it into her face-mouth at impressive speed.
  4. Ell-Bell is a total TV-head like her big brother, but she also likes to torture him by crawling up to the TV and turning it off while he’s totally engrossed.
  5. She loves her big brother hard and thinks he’s hilarious.  Even though he will never let her hold a toy for longer than 5 seconds before he rips it out of her hand.  Even though he likes to “hug” her while slowly tackling her to the ground.
  6. Ell-Bell is extremely ticklish.  For the first 8 or 9 months of her life, she had the weirdest little snort-laugh and Hubby and I were kind of nervous.  But she has developed a charming little giggle lately.  Thank gawd.
  7. She knows how to give kisses.  Big, wet, slimy, open-mouthed kisses.
  8. Ell-Bell is obsessed with our Christmas tree.  We basically can’t leave her alone in the living room because she will bee-line right for it.  We also can’t have any ornaments on the lower half of the tree. Sigh.
  9. She has two goofy little teeth on the bottom of her mouth, which came in when she was about 10 months old.  I’m wondering if she’ll ever get more.
  10. Ell-Bell likes to sneak away while we’re watching TV and try to crawl up the stairs on her own.  When she gets caught, she laughs hysterically.

Happiest Birthday, baby girl, we love you so much!

Until next time,

Vee

* I made a video montage of Ell-Bell’s first year of life, and I’m kind of partial to it.  I’ll put up a password-protected post right after this one with a link to the video if any of you care to see it.  Just email me at wifeyvm1985@gmail.com for the password.

I Want Sleep Parity and I Want It Now!

If you have small kids, how do you and your Sig O share the load when it comes to night time and early morning wakings?

For Hubby and me, it has never been even a little bit close to equal.  If one of the kids wakes during the night or before we’re up in the morning, I’m the default caretaker. This drives me nuts.  I know it’s not healthy to keep score, but it’s kind of hard not to when I’m basically batting one thousand.

Biology is part of the problem.  I breastfed both kids and so the assumption is that they are waking to eat, and I’m the food.  I’d be curious to know, though, what the division of labor is for families where there is not a breastfeeding parent.  Is it any more equal?  And, needless to say, it’s not like Hubby started taking half the K-Man wakings when I weaned him.

Another count against biology: I’m apparently wired to wake up to the sounds of baby cries, and Hubby is not.  Or at least that’s what he would like me to believe.  I’m not entirely convinced he hasn’t been pretending to be asleep all this time.  Either way, unless I roll over and physically wake him up to help out, I’m on my own.  It is exhausting — and feels selfish — to have to always beg him to do his share.

To be fair, Hubby’s work schedule makes it impossible for him to wake up with the kids most days.  That’s because on the days that he works, he’s usually leaving the house before they even get up.  (And this is the part where you lose all sympathy for me, right?  But the petty part of me has to point out that when I was working and Hubby was in school, I was still always the one getting up with K-Man, even on the weekends.)

I’m not asking for anything unreasonable.  Here’s what I want: on the days that Hubby gets off, I want an even split between who gets to sleep in.  And I don’t want to have to remind him or ask for it.  I want it to be the default.

These days, if I want the chance to sleep in, we have to discuss it the night before.  I have to make an appointment.  And sometimes, come morning, Hubby doesn’t honor the appointment.  Nothing makes me more grumpy than waking up with the kids when I was led to believe I was going to get an extra hour of glorious sleep.

Last week, Hubby randomly had three mornings off in a row.  Great, I thought, I’ll get to sleep in at least once this week!  We didn’t discuss anything before the first morning off, so Hubby slept in.  I was fine with that, he works hard and deserves his time off.  That night, though, we talked and Hubby volunteered that he would let me sleep in on the second morning.  However, when Ell-Bell woke for the day with her cranky cries, Hubby opened his eyes for a few seconds, rolled over, and went back to sleep.  After I gave him a thorough reaming when he finally did get up, Hubby promised I could sleep in on the third morning.  Well, needless to say, Ell-Bell woke up on Day 3 and Hubby wasn’t budging.  So I passive-aggressively brought her in to bed with us.  She grunted and screeched, but Hubby still snored on.  Finally, I swore loudly and stormed out of bed.  Hubby woke for a few seconds to ask “What’s wrong?” but he didn’t follow up when I didn’t answer and left the room.  I came back up a few minutes later to get K-Man’s monitor, and Hubby was like, “leave it, I got him.”  Seething, I told him it didn’t fucking matter and stomped away.  Another five minutes later, I heard Hubby coming down the stairs, and I instantly felt regret and guilt.  Why am I such a monster about this stuff?  Why can’t I just act like an adult and calmly resolve these issues with my Hubby? Halp!

So yeah, I have some work to do on coming to terms with my current sleep situation.  You know what else would solve this problem, though?  Kids who don’t wake up in the middle of the night!  And kids who don’t wake up at the butt crack of dawn!  Little turds.

Until next time,

Vee

#NaBloPoMo Day 20: We Have Two Cats

It’s November 20th, which means we are two thirds of the way through the most wonderful month of the year!  Today my NaBloPoMo theme is Pets.  Speaking of pets, a pet wasp is probably not a good idea.

Our family has two black cats.  They’re brothers.  They’re adorable.  They’re assholes and they ruin my life on an hourly basis.

Hubby and I adopted our cats from a shelter when they were kittens 9 years ago.  It was kind of a bold move for our relationship, because we were still just boyfriend-girlfriend at the time.  We joked about how we had to stay together for the cats, because neither of us could bear to part ways with them.

My, how things have changed.  Everyone always worries when they plan for children that bringing home a baby will change their relationship with their pet for the worse.  Well, those people worry for a reason.  Pets — well, annoying pets like cats — they don’t mesh with babies and toddlers.  Maybe if we were smart and got a dog instead, things would be different, I don’t know.

But yeah, my once undying love for my two kitties has dwindled overtime to whatever the opposite of “undying” is.  (Dying?)  The problem is that kids always need something from you.  They’re all over your body.  They’re noisy.  It gets exhausting.  And unfortunately, my two cats have all of those same traits, so they compound the problem.  Mommy is a little touched out.  And mommy doesn’t want to hear another peep after the kids go to bed.  So please stop effing meowing for dinner hours before it’s time to feed you.

There’s also just never a convenient time to deal with a cat problem.  For example, the other day, one of my cats escaped out of the house.   After he didn’t come back to the sound of me vigorously shaking a treat bag at the back door, I put the bag on the floor in frustration and resolved to go out looking for him.  Which means I had to strap Ell-Bell on in the carrier, peel K-Man away from the TV, bribe him to put his shoes and jacket on,  so we could all trek outside for an indeterminate amount of time searching for my house cat.  It was a nightmare.  And of course, right as we were all packed up and ready to head out for our walkabout, the other cat snatched the treat bag I had inexpertly left on the floor and started to run away with it.  So I had to drop everything and chase cat number two around the house.  He of course proceeded to spray treats all over the floor, and I had no choice but to clean them up before I left — he’s obese, after all.  I swear it was a big conspiracy.

Don’t worry, I found the other cat.

Sometimes at night the cats snuggle me or sleep on my pillow, and I remember how much I love them.  But then one of them gets up and starts scratching the wall when I’m trying to get in my very few hours of precious sleep.  Stupid effing cats.

Until next time,

Vee