Sunday, October 18, 2015

Musical Baby

One of Jude's favorite songs since forever is Twinkle Twinkle. I sing it, he sings it. For his birthday we got him a glockenspiel. Mostly he just bangs on the bars but the other day he actually played the first line of Twinkle Twinkle. I did not show him this, Aaron did not show him this. He figured out the notes and played it by ear.

Maybe his middle name should have been Mozart.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Three Years Old!


New friends

His birthday cake, yum.

Birthday smiles!

First Duplo!

He got the hang of it quick!

His own clock.

A gator glockenspiel.

I think he loves him!

Tiny Tuxedo Mask



A book before bed.

How big he's gotten!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Diagnosis, Ongoing Speech Therapy, Preschool, etc.

For those of you asking for an update, here's a portion of the letter regarding Jude's official diagnosis and ongoing speech therapy and qualifications for continued assistence in combination with beginning preschool this fall. Names and agencies edited out for obvious reasons (as much as I love meeting new people, being surprised is actually quite terrifying).

The agency was absolutely thrilled with the loving environment we provide for him at home and how involved, patient, and understanding we were even during his more difficult moments. Apparently that kind of thing is not common in their experience, which makes me kind of sad. Your children need your love and acceptance, especially during hard times.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dear Child...

Adventures in Speech Therapy

So last week the Speech Therapist penciled us in for this morning, and said she'd text before Tuesday to make sure we were still on, etc. Well, no text and no Speech Therapist. We're all still new at this, so I'm pretty understanding.

I took the initiative to text her asking about our next session and she suggests Thursday at 1:30pm. I remind her moods are in higher spirits before noon. She says she's booked Thursday morning but can offer us tomorrow at 11:00am instead. That's actually perfect. She replies, "I'll see you then. ;)"

Like, omg no. Don't winky face. That implies you might be joking? You might not show up again. This is not the place for winky face! lol.

Friday, September 11, 2015

First Speech Therapy Session

First session of speech therapy was today. Mostly just letting Jude and the therapist get comfortable with one another (because Jude is shy with adults). They had fun. He cried when she took her toys and left. It was very sad.

She tried to teach him More, along with the sign for it. It's something we'll be working on until next week when she comes back. She was also playing a game with him where she'd exclaim "Achoo!" and now he is saying "Achoo" when he wants more of something.

I guess it's kind of progress?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Meeting The Preschool Teacher

This morning Jude got to meet his future preschool teacher. He liked her a lot, and of all the new people he has met through this ongoing process, he warmed up to her the fastest. She even got him to touch Playdoh, something he hasn't been willing to do for me at all.

He played with her while she asked us questions about his development and the other assessments. Jude was fascinated by the bells she had brought with her. So much so that while we were helping her clean up, he grabbed one and hid it. No one noticed until a few hours later when he came out of the kitchen ringing it proudly. Tiny thief!

It's his new favorite thing. I planned on buying him one after seeing how much he enjoyed them with her, but now I'll probably just buy her a new one and let him keep this one. It's seeing A LOT of use.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

School District Assessments

Our day began at 8am sharp. We met with the school district's psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, PE specialist, and a nurse all before 12. Jude handled it surprisingly well, though he was thoroughly done by the end and just wanted all of these people out of our house. Haha.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ASD Evaluation

Yesterday pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did, but it inevitably ended alright anyway.

It started the night before, when I realized right before bed that we had a major appointment in the city the next day and I had no time to prepare for it. That probably seems pretty minor to a lot of you, but when you have autism prepping yourself for what to expect when you go someplace new is very important. This generally takes about 24 hours, which I did not have.

So I spent the majority of the morning on the brink of an anxiety attack, all while trying to get myself and Jude ready to go. Jude, who woke my up in the middle of the night again, so we were also both exhausted before noon. But his appointment wasn't until 3, so I basically followed him around for hours trying to prevent meltdowns so that transporting him from point a to point b wasn't a nightmare.

By the time we actually leave I'm actually having a panic attack but I've no choice but to truck on. We get on the freeway and there's wonky construction happening all over the place. The lanes are split and divided by cement blocks. So when we realize we're actually on the wrong 80 (there's 2 and maps rarely specify which), we can't get off because of the dividers.

Aaron plugs the address into his phone to try to navigate us there but his phone is absolutely not cooperating. Now Jude is fussing loudly. I offer him snacks now thinking the complaints are hunger related. They are not.

Just as I'm about to have a heart attack to my mounting anxiety, he barfs. Car sick. We knew he got car sick (I do too) but before it had only ever happened in stop-and-go traffic. This was a straight shot. Welp. "Should we turn around?" Aaron asks.

"No. I think he's got spare clothes in the diaper bag. I'll clean him up, you just get us there."
He cracks a window and I put my seat back so that I can scoop the bloated raisins and bile off of the child and out of his car seat. It's gross. Strangely having to enter ULTIMATE MOM MODE completely took away my anxiety though. So, thanks unexpected toddler puke.

We arrive and Aaron calls to let them know we'll be running late and why, they are gracefully understanding. I use a bottle of water and some paper towels to give Jude a sponge bath in the trunk and then put him in a clean shirt and diaper. There aren't any pants in the diaper bag, but he's not old enough to be embarrassed about running around half naked yet so that's fine.

Aaron takes the clean child and heads inside to get us all situation while I scrub down the car so that it isn't rancid in the summer heat for the 3 hours this is supposed to take. I realize as I'm walking into the building that Aaron took the paperwork with him so I have no idea where to actually go.

It didn't wind up mattering because Jude would absolutely not let him enter the suite without me, and he had to loiter outside in the hallway with a half naked, screaming toddler getting looks from people until I arrived. lol.

We go in, he won't let me put him down. I hold all 40 lb. of him for 20 minutes until we're call back. The appointment itself goes well enough, considering. She suspects ASD but it can be difficult to say definitively at this age. Afterward, Jude falls asleep while I'm holding him and the doctor is talking to us. She talks to us for like... eternity. My arms actually feel like they've been shred to ribbons when I can finally load him back into his car seat. Which was thankfully dry and didn't stink.

We got home, hung out with Jude a while then put him to bed. He of course didn't want me to go, so I sat with him in the dark until he fell asleep. Then I came out and tried to play some video games to unwind, but my dying computer wouldn't let me. Thankfully Aaron suggested we watch a movie instead, because I would've probably bashed my head against that wall until just going to bed defeated.

We watched Kung Fu Hustle and ate chocolate and kettle corn while he basically doused me in Icy Hot. Then, for the first time since last Monday, Jude actually slept through the night.
I feel it is important to share bad days as well as good ones. Not only to vent but because hiding the bad stuff is dishonest. I don't want my life to seem easy so others feel bad when they struggle. No, man. We all struggle. Read about my floundering. Share in my pain.

tl;dr: anxiety attack, loads of barf, arms day ever day, technical difficulties, kung fu hustle, actual sleep.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Tiny Nightmares: No Sleep

Jude got up at 4am crying, must've had a nightmare. I didn't realize how early it was, even though the sun hadn't risen yet. Assuming it was like 6 or so, I scooped him up and just climbed into his bed with him. He dozed back off for about an hour but then woke up crying again and seemed unable to get comfortable with me beside him. He gets out of bed and leaves.

I assume he has gone out to lay/sleep on the couch. I put up the baby gate and go to grab my phone from beside the bed when I realize, no, he isn't on the couch. He has climbed into bed beside Aaron and is asleep in my spot. I'm about to go lay down in his bed to try to get some more sleep too, when he gets up, mad about Dad's snoring.

I scoop him up again and take him back to his room. I sway with him in the darkness of pre-dawn morning until he's fallen asleep in my arms, then I put him back in his bed. He immediately rolls over and grabs my arm like a teddy bear. Trapped, I stand hunched over his bed uncomfortably for five minutes or so until I can finally make my escape. He cries and rolls over onto his back.

Asleep again, I turn to go. He cries out and trashes around, angry he can't instantly fall back to sleep after each wake-up. I pause so he can see he isn't alone, and he falls asleep again. Desperate for sleep myself, I just grab one of his blankies and his duck pillow and catnap on the floor beside his bed.

I woke up 30 minutes later and he was still out, so I slipped out and went back to my own bed, which Aaron was now firmly planted in the middle of. I wiggled beside him until he moved over and then started to drift off... when suddenly Jude was standing beside me tugging the blankets off. So at 6, we began our day for real.

And this is the story about how I spent 2 hours trying to get someone else to sleep this morning, because man, I'm way better on not enough sleep than he is.

Friday, August 21, 2015

OT Assessment

Jude had an OT evaluation this morning and he did really well. Exceptional in some areas, even! Mind he did poorly in others, but the things he is good at he's impressively good at. He seemed to like the woman well enough too, which is nice because he wouldn't interact much with the last lady who came. He wanted to play with her toys, just not her.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Thirty-four Months!

First hair cut!

Music At The Park

Tonight we headed to the park for gourmet food trucks and live music. Jude was a little cranky because he was tired, but he was happy to play while we ate. Then he went on the swings with Aaron, and then climbed on the jungle gym with me. Of course then he fell off and ate a mouthful of sand. He wasn't hurt and didn't cry, but he certainly was not a fan of sand in his mouth. He kept gritting it between his teeth while making the most awful disapproving expression. I finally got him to drink something to help wash out his mouth and he was a lot happier after that. All tuckered out, he fell asleep on the ride home.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fear And Pooping in Las Vegas

My life is like a scene from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas right now. I’m in the bathroom and hear Jude singing loudly. I come out and he is dancing around the table like it’s a bon fire, his pants and diaper are around his ankles. In the middle of a circle of strategically placed toys, on the carpet, is a pile of his poop. As I’m taking this all in, he trips on his pants and bumps his cheek on the table.

I scoop him up, amazed there is no poop anywhere else, and comfort him. He sobs the lyrics of Twinkle Twinkle into my neck. I ask him if 8 is great, he says it is, then starts singing that song while I pull his diaper and pants back up. He has peed on the back of his pants but not the front, somehow? I change his pants. I ask if he needs a hug. He pouts and reaches for me. We hug.

He whispers a name into my ear as a single perfect tear rolls down his cheek. Elmo. I get Elmo from his bed and hand it to him and we create a people/monster cuddle sandwich. Better now, I put him down to go clean up the poop that’s been waiting for me on the floor and as I kneel down he climbs onto my back like I’m a pony. ”Giddy-up,” he shouts. Who even taught him that word?

…toddlers are amazing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Speech Therapy

Jude woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, super cranky. Had our first meeting/assessment with the Speech Therapist this afternoon. He'll be receiving their services weekly because he obviously qualifies. Unfortunately the women were quite in his face and loud so he had a melt down and I had to hold him the entire time. Then he fell asleep. But even while asleep every now and then I'd feel a tear fall from his shut eyes and land on my arm. Aw, poor Duck.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

All Babies All The Time

“You talk about your son a lot.”
“Well, yeah. I spend all but a couple hours a day with him, sleeping aside.”
“So like 14 hours every day?”
“Sometimes more than that. I don’t have time for anything that doesn’t include him, so he may sometimes literally be all I have to talk about.”
“That makes sense. I hadn’t thought about it like that.”
“People usually don’t. Unfortunately.”

In which my friend suddenly realizes why moms talk so much about their babies. As an aside, I think I do decent job not flooding social media at least. There's Thursday (which exists solely for my family because they live 3000 miles away) and times things happening that aren't normal, etc. but it's not a nonstop thing.

But even if it were, if after a having a baby your female friend spends basically every waking moment caring for said baby, that's probably ALL she has to talk about. So telling her not to is basically just telling her to shut up. She's dealing with enough, maybe you should stfu.

Like I get it, maybe you don't like baby spam. It can seem excessive if you know like 1000 people on FB and 500 of them are moms but... why have you added so many people to begin with? That shit's your fault.

If it's just w
omen you actually know and care about posting about their kid, what's the issue? This may be the only adult social interaction she'll get all day. It might be all she has to update you about at the time. Get the fuck over it.

If you don't care about her, see the first point: why are you friends in the first place? FFS, you're more of a baby than her literal baby at that point.

If she truly is just going over board, you know how you can help? Talk to her about it. Complaining about it in her absence or exploding at her after the millionth 'first tooth!' photo isn't helping anyone. Remind her that you'd love to see posts from her about how she's doing. Maybe about what she's watching/reading/playing in her scant free time.

Babies absorb your life. It is easy to get caught in a routine and neglect yourself. People without kids don't understand because to them, they're always first priority. But to a parent? They aren't anymore. They might not even be second priority.

Basically say anything other than "wah wah wah babies, wah wah wah!" She gets enough of that, trust me.

Friday, May 29, 2015

One of Those Nights

Pardon my lack of coherence. Last night was a nightmare for sleep. Which is particularly difficult on me because night sleep has been, since he was born, the only quality sleep he's ever gotten. Like he'd resist naps 60% of the time but once bed time hit? Out like a light, out the whole night, we both got a full night of sleep. So this behavior isn't something I've had to endure beyond those long gone newborn days of nursing every 2-3 hours.

I put Jude to bed around 9:00, he was up chatting and singing in the dark until 10:00 or so. Then at 12:00 he woke up and came into our bedroom and got me. So I took him back to his bed and was up trying to get him back to sleep for about an hour, standing and swaying until he was mellowed enough to go back to bed by himself. At least he was back to sleep though, and in his own bed.

Then at around 4:00 he got up and came to me again, crying this time. He climbed into bed with me but couldn't settle. Aaron tried making the room darker but Jude just became more upset, to the point where he actually climbed out of the bed and tried to turn the light on. So I got out of bed, scooped him into my arms, and took him back to his room. He was far too upset to go lay there by himself and actually fall asleep, so I laid in bed with him for over an hour, with him crying about how tired he was on an off, until he finally fell back to sleep. Then I snuck out and went back to bed myself.

At 7 he came in again, this time bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready for the day. Ugh.
And, of course, he isn't napping, despite getting just as little sleep as I did, he's rearing to go (critical mass crankiness aside). I swear this child's got inhuman levels of energy.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hating Children

When people (especially young people) say they hate children... like did they forget they were a child themselves? gtfo you little turds. Be nice to kids, you were one! You exist right now because you were a child someone tolerated. Be especially nice to children if you were one less than a decade ago. You can dislike kids without being a douche bag to them.

Sure, everyone knows "that one" kid that is just the definition of irritating, but that isn't all kids anymore than that guy who keeps sexually harassing his coworker isn't "all men" or that one feminist who thinks men should be enslaved isn't "all feminists."

Like, just because your cousin/sibling/nephew/niece is being raised poorly and thus is an annoying little twat doesn't mean all children are rude and annoying. Blame the parent not the child. It's a freaking child. It won't know better if no one teaches it better.

Kids, by and large, are actually very sweet until prepubescence, when hormones begin making them act like moody little adults. Now, if you said you disliked teenagers, no one in their right mind would blame you much. Even teenagers. That said, you should still be nice to teenagers too. Their hormonal fluctuations aren't their fault and they have no control over them.

tl;dr: Stop acting like you popped into existence as a fully formed, educated adult. You used to pee on your face and eat boogers too, shut up.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dear Enthusiastic Strangers

Can you please get the fuck out of my toddler's face?

He doesn't know you, you don't know him. Why are you even so excited to see him? I know he's cute, but could you perhaps calm down and respect his personal space? You wouldn't treat an adult this way, I'd hope, regardless of how cute you thought they were because you respect their agency. Well, he has his own agency too. Clearly he doesn't want you in his face the moment you see him.

"You'll have to break him of that," you say, trying to sound helpful as he cries and buries his face against my body trying to escape you. But you are the sole reason he is behaving this way! How can you not comprehend that? He was perfectly fine and quiet before you, a complete stranger, decided to tackle him and screech, "WELL AREN'T YOU A CUTIE?!" right into his ear while pawing at him.

He's normally very well behaved, I assure you. It's just when overly enthusiastic strangers such as yourself insist on invading his personal space that this happens. We were enjoying a perfectly wonderful walk/meal/shopping trip/etc. before you came along and ruined everything. Now I'm stuck trying to desperately console him while other strangers give rude looks and you, totally dumbfounded as to why my child reacts so strongly to your utter lack of basic human respect, inform me that his bad behavior needs to be broken. Thank you for that.

It's not that we don't know how to appreciate a legitimate compliment. You need to understand though that compliments are scary when they not only come unsolicited from someone you don't know but are being shouted at you. Especially to a person who is literally still a baby. So, if you could please stop getting all up in the faces of toddlers and children that aren't yours and who don't know you, that'd be great. Do parents everywhere a favor and learn a little impulse control. My toddler should not have a firmer grasp of personal boundaries than a grown ass adult.

It's like the strangers who would randomly come up to me in public spaces and grope my belly when I was pregnant. I don't fucking know you, please get away from me.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Too Tired to Sleep (aka One of THOSE Days)

Last night I went to bed at 1:00AM. At 3:00AM Jude woke up crying due to a bad dream. He clearly wasn't just going to go back to sleep so I had to go comfort him. That happens sometimes. I laid with him and tried to get him back to sleep for 2 hours, most of which he spent on the brink of sleep until he just wasn’t anymore. There was no escaping. At about 5AM he gave up and started to play, so I sternly told him that it was no play time, tucked him in, and left the room.

No sooner than my head hit my pillow, he’d opened his door and wandered out into the hall. I escorted him back to bed, explained he needed to sleep, and then left. He stayed in bed this time and I went back to bed. Not 20 minutes later the cats started bothering me for food. Normally they eat at 8AM but I was so desperate for sleep I went ahead and fed them early just to get them out of my hair. Still hoping to get any sleep at all.

I climbed back in to bed, yet again, and the moment I began to doze off, Neelix barfed on the floor. Then Jude was up again -- though he remained in his room playing quietly, this meant even if I finally got to sleep it’d only be for an hour maximum. In short, I got all of 2.5 hours of sleep last night.

I spent the entire day in a fog-state, just kind of tending to needs at they arose and nothing else. Somehow Jude wasn’t tired at nap time, so he didn’t nap. Because he didn’t nap, I didn’t nap either. I have no idea how I am even functioning right now. I should be asleep but I’m so scared that the moment I fall asleep, he’ll wake up because of a bad dream and Nightmare Mode will repeat itself.

What do toddlers even have nightmares about? Being told no? Daddy eating all of their granola bars? Dropping their favorite toy behind the bed beyond reach? Mommy walking too fast to keep up? Like??? I'm so curious, because nothing actually bad has happened to him ever.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

So, Your Toddler Has Colored On The Walls

                                                  Prevent the first by doing the second!

If you're a parent, your walls are going to get colored on. It's just a matter of life. Even watching like a hawk, at some point you're going to have to pee or they're going to wake up before you do, and your walls will be their canvas. Try not to get too upset about it. It's a phase and pretty much every human that ever was or ever will be will do this.

The best thing you can do is invest in washable crayons and try to discourage them when caught in the act. Reacting after they're done won't be very effective. They may be confused as to why you're mad and what you're mad about. Just wash it off and be diligent.

Try encouraging them to color on other, more appropriate things. Things like chalk boards,  construction paper, and cardboard are great for young chalk artists and paper in various shapes, textures, and sizes is great for keeping your crayon enthusiast interested. Markers, even washable, should be kept under lock and key and only used when you will be present because markers transfer so easily before you know it it's on EVERYTHING.

The creative drive is powerful and you don't want them to think you're discouraging creativity at all. So scold them if you must, but also direct them to where art is okay to happen! That part is important. Because if you scold them and take away their utensils, they will just strive to do it when you aren't around -- unless you scold them often enough that they think drawing is completely against the rules. No one wants that.

Another way to get their creative ya-yas out in the right place is to join them. Color beside them, compliment their technique. Better yet, draw pictures for them to fill in. Toddlers love this because they see you create something from nothing and get to take part in it. You bond, they learn, your walls are safe: it's a win for everybody. Ultimately, if you give them enough outlets for creativity, you'll find they won't feel compelled to repaint your home as often, if at all.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Toddler Smoothie

You all have shown a lot of interest in my Toddler Smoothie, to ensure your picky eaters get enough fruits and veggies every day. I know I've listed a brief summary before but I've decided to go a little more in depth! So, first things first, your kid needs more than just fruits and veggies for a healthy diet, so if they are picky you'll need to keep what they are pick about in mind.

Is it leafy greens? Slimy fruits? Meat? For us it's mostly vegetables and meat that's a problem so his smoothie contains a lot of vitamin rich greenery and protein. If your kid gets enough protein through other foods, you can skip it entirely. Too much protein will cause constipation. Too much fruit can cause the opposite problem. My son enjoys fruit and 100% juice, so what I add to his smoothie is just to taste.

So for the ultimate nutritious smoothie I combine the following in our Magic Bullet (a blender will work just fine):

  • 1 whole kale leaf
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 1/4 a ripe banana
  • 1" slice of extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup juice (kid's choice)
Sometimes as a treat I'll add a couple maraschino cherries, but not every day (they are very sweet). Sometimes instead of banana I'll sweeten the blend with about 1/2 a teaspoon of black strap molasses. You can also add infant oatmeal for added fiber if that's something your toddler is picky about.

Smoothie should be thin enough to easily suck through a straw, with no lumps, but not so thin that it's watery. You can add or subtract juice as needed here. You can also supplement juice with water (still yummy, I've tried it) or even milk if your little one could use the added calories.

If they aren't feeling well a smoothie is a great way to not only make sure they get essential nutrition but you can use it to mask ingredients that can help them feel better faster they normally may not want to eat. Such as a dash of ginger for an upset tummy, 1/2 a teaspoon of  honey for a sore throat (over 12 months of age!), or chamomile tea to relieve gas.

I serve smoothies in a straw cup, which is a step up from the sippy cup (but most toddlers find these easier to drink from anyhow, so don't be intimidated if you use a normal sippy usually).

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Entertaining a Toddler (For Free!)

Top 10 Ways to Entertain a Toddler (Without Costing You Anything)

“Do you like my hat?” In which you put random household objects and/or toys that are not hats on your head and ask in a very silly voice, “Do you like my hat?!”

Optional: Pretend the object has fallen off of your head and proclaim, “Oh no, my hat!” and encourage the tiny human to run after and retrieve your hat and put it back on your head.

Optional: As the tiny human attempts to reach up and put your hat back on, tickle their armpit. Not always, but sometimes, so they never know when it’ll happen and wind up laughing preemptively every time.

Repeat forever.

2.) Sing the alphabet until none of the letters sound like letters to you anymore.

3.) Count down from 5 with your fingers. When you reach 1 shout, “Blast off!” and make your index finger shoot towards the ceiling.

Optional: Fly your finger around the room making rocket noises.

4.) Get the child to run up and down the hallway (this is usually easier than it sounds). Start hiding behind corners, furniture, and doors without them seeing. When they run by pop out and say, “Peek-a-boo!”

Optional: Tickle them when you pop out.

5.) Throw a blanket over their head, ask repeatedly “Where’s (their name)?” until they reveal themselves from under the blanket and then say, as if surprised, “Oh! There’s (their name)!” Cover them back up and start over. Eventually they’ll start covering themselves up and that’s much funnier/cuter because they’re terrible at it and you can usually still see them.

6.) Read children’s books until you know them by heart. Ones that rhyme are really easy to remember. Forever. You’ll take that book to your grave.

7.) When in doubt offer snacks and/or beverage. Don’t over-do juice or you’ll regret it. There will be poop. Too much poop. Your life will become poop. Respect juice. It is toddler ambrosia, they will drink it nonstop all day if you let them.

8.) Diapers are easier to change when songs are involved. Don’t know any? Just make some up, they’ll have no idea. Turn a regular song into a kid’s song by replacing random words with their name or character’s/toys they like. Clap your hands, bob your head, act like you’re the best at this even if you can’t hit the notes.

9.) Watch music videos on YouTube. I have no idea why, but lots of babies are mesmerized by music on the computer monitor. Bass is a bonus. Woodkid is a great staple because his music sounds epic and his videos are engaging, but his lyrics are never inappropriate so you won’t anger any parents.

10.) Take a walk. Let them collect rocks, leaves, sticks, etc. Act like they’ve found something truly amazing every time they show you a thing. Point out the sky. Sometimes that’ll enrapture them for five or more minutes.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Goodbye Crib

Saturday we went shopping for Jude's new bed. While we had a convertible crib, able to stage up from crib to toddler bed to full then twin, the conversion kits were crazy expensive for what they were. For example, the conversion kit from crib to toddler bed was literally two 12" pieces of wood. Cheapest we could find it available was for $80. For perspective a brand new toddler bed, containing not two but several pieces of wood would have cost us $60-70. What? Yeah, no. I'm not paying $10-20 more for less, that's ridiculous.

At first I was just going to get him a toddler bed, but then we considered how big he is already and realized: if we got him a toddler bed this year, next year we'd need to get him a full bed anyway. Why not just save the cost long term? So we went mattress store hunting and then took a journey around to see what we could get and who would give us the best deal. Ultimately we wound up getting him a twin size bed, which he can use for a long time with a Sealy mattress. I'm a little jealous -- it's REALLY comfortable!

Then we went and got him all the bedding he'd need, including multiple sets of sheets because, potty training isn't far off in the future and I'm sure having more than one set of sheets is going to come in handy. We went with a Batman theme, so Batman sheets/comforter/pillowcase, and his Grandma found a really cute Batman plush which Jude took to right away. He spent the entire shopping trip talking to it and hugging it while sitting in the cart. It was really precious.

So, last night was Jude's last night sleeping in his crib. It's actually a little sad to think about. When did my Little Duck get so big that he could climb out of his crib? He's like three feet tall, half my size! How?! It feels like just last week he was sleeping (barely) in a bassinet, now he's got his own bed. Like, an actual real bed. He'll probably sleep in this bed all through his childhood. He'll use it to make blanket forts. He'll hide beneath it during games of hide and seek. He and his friends will probably jump on it together much to our chagrin. Let's face it, the rocking chair is primarily their for my comfort now -- long gone all the nights of cozily nursing in the dark and then laying him gently to sleep in his crib.

This morning we dismantled his crib. This afternoon they delivered his new bed and we made it all up for him. Tonight will be his first night sleeping in a real bed (aside from when he co-slept with me as an infant). He's already shown us that he can climb in and out of it himself, so hopefully the transition goes smoothly. I expect there will be some additional sleep regression, but we've been dealing with that since he learned he could get up whenever he wanted, day or night. So hopefully it isn't any worse than that.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Coping With Houdini

We're still trying to cope with this new-found talent of the Little Duck's. Basically every day since his first escape I've found him asleep someplace other than his crib. A lot of people's advice has been to establish a firm bed time routine, for both nap time and bed time, so that he realizes "Okay, this is happening now, sleep happens next." But we've already been doing that his entire life. So... yeah... not really advice that does us any good unfortunately.

Another piece of advice was to establish a reward system for staying in bed, but since he's not yet talking there's no real way to convey this abstract idea to him. I mean he grasps language, if I give him simple instructions (up until now), he'll follow them pretty well but he's always been a good boy, so we've never had to explain "do the good thing not the bad thing and get a treat!" You know? That concept is completely foreign to him.

Persistence was the only solid advice I've been given really. Because persistence could work for any child, mine, yours, older, younger, speaking, not speaking. What I've done is simply refuse to let him escape for any length of time.

Nap time has pretty much gone the way of the dodo, even when he's visibly tired he will rarely actually go to sleep during the day when he knows he can instead run up and down the hall cackling like a madman. I've taken to just loitering outside of his door, waiting for him to open it. Then tsking him and plopping him back into his crib so that he learns to at least remain in the nursery for an hour of 'winding down' time, so that he realizes if he isn't going to sleep it's not going to be a fun toy party with Mom all afternoon.

That seems to be working somewhat. After his third escape attempt yesterday he finally remained in the nursery looking at books and playing with stuffed animals rather than trying to come out to play with us. So he managed to actually get about an hour of quiet time. Which is so important. Even if he refuses to actually nap, giving him a cool off period where he can just chill safe and happy prevents him from getting over-stimulated, I've found. Which makes bed time easier.

Case-in-point, last night was the easiest bed time routine all week. After a small snack while I read him a story, I sang him a lullaby and put him to bed where he went right to sleep! That hasn't gone so effortlessly since this whole 'climbing out of bed' thing started. Until this morning.

From about 8 moths onward, Jude has always gotten up in the morning at 8:00 AM sharp. No matter what time he got to sleep (earlier than usual, later than usual), he wakes up at 8:00 AM. This morning he got up at 5:00 AM and started running around. Ugh! Aaron took him back to the nursery, held him until he began to doze off, and put him back near-asleep but the moment he left the room Jude cried and followed. So I went in for a try and rocked him until he was totally asleep then put him back to bed, but he woke up when I put him down. Not ready to give up on him actually getting a decent amount of sleep, I stood with my hand on his back until he dozed off again but he got up and followed me the moment I left the room anyway!

We spent a whole hour trying to get him back to sleep without success. So I tsked him for coming out and took him back to bed where he did not go back to sleep but at least remained playing quietly for an hour without further complaint. After that Aaron stayed up to keep an eye on him so I could try to get some sleep, but Jude REALLY wanted my attention and kept coming in and ripping the covers off of me, trying to lift my head off the pillows with both hands, yelling at my face, and pulling up my eyelids with his tiny fingers to smile at me... rofl. Super cute, very precious, but man am I tired.

Aaron escorted him away to watch Sesame Street, but he kept running up and down the hall laughing so I didn't get much sleep. I managed to catch maybe an hour before Jude came running to me with the lid and straw to his new cup, insisting I'm the only person on Earth able to fix the problem. "Uh, where's the cup part buddy?" Oh, on the floor sitting on top of the big wet spot that had clearly been your juice.

I'm so tired my eyes actually hurt. It feels like it's almost dinner time but it's not even lunch time yet. Long day ahead!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Yesterday afternoon Aaron and I were out in the living room watching Farscape while Jude took his nap in the nursery with the door closed. We watched a couple of episodes and had lunch. Afterward we went to wake up the baby together, like we do everyday. Only when we walked into the hallway, so did Jude. Jude had been in the our bed room! For how long? Who knows?! We never heard him get up. We had no reason to expect him to be up. He has never before gotten out of the crib by himself! Until that moment, the crib was a magical, inescapable baby sanctuary. Now there's no stopping him.

After a hearty Valentine's Day feast and completely losing track of time, we didn't wind up going to bed until 4:00AM (I blame the wine, personally). I held out hope that nap time had been a fluke, and that perhaps Jude wouldn't be able to escape again and maybe, just maybe I wouldn't be up in four hours because there was a toddler crawling all over me. I was over optimistic, haha. He can most definitely get out now whenever he wants to. At 8:00AM, bright and early, Aaron found him in the kitchen. Just standing there, sleepy-eyed.

I mean, the house is baby-proofed so there's no danger, and now that we know he can do it, we're pretty on top of the matter... but man, I'm going to miss nap time and sleeping in in the mornings.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Diaper Bag Essentials

A lot of people ask me what to put in their diaper bag. Most diaper bags are huge, so filling them with nothing but diapers and wipes seems excessive, and it would be. Unless you are going on a long road trip or your baby is sick or something, there should really only be a handful of diapers on hand in your diaper bag.  All of that extra space is for other necessities.

So, obviously I keep diapers, water wipes, and Desitin stocked at all times, but then I also keep things that make being out of the house with a baby a lot easier. Things like snacks (crackers, almonds, cookies, granola bars, etc. -- things that keep well), a handful of building blocks, a couple Little People, a coloring book and a few crayons, those foam alphabet cut-out things, a musical toy, and some flash cards. If we'll be out for a while, I'll also bring extra juice.

My little one is 2 years old now, so obviously some of what is in there would be silly for a newborn. But basically you want things that are age appropriate to snack on, drink, and play with to keep baby content while out and about in. Most public displays of unhappiness (aka tantrums) are the direct result of hunger, thirst, and boredom. I mean, think about it, how excited were you to sit in a shopping cart for 30+ minutes as a kid while your parent(s) mill about seemingly aimless? Probably not very.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a min first aid kit stocked as well. A few bandaids, some neosporin, alcohol wipes and so forth. It's not as likely to see use the first year, but after that your toddler is going to, well, toddle. There will be a lot of bumps and scrapes. Sometimes even if the boo-boo doesn't need a bandaid, sticking one on makes them feel better.

I would also strongly suggest an entire spare outfit! I cannot count the times this has been a life saver for us. Whether it be a poop explosion, spit-up, barfing due to car sickness, getting rained on, falling in mud, etc. Having that spare change of clothes is worth the room they take. To minimize bag-space the spare outfit I usually pack is pajamas (because things like jeans and sweaters take a lot more room). Just so they have something dry and warm to wear home. If it is cold out, I keep a pair of mitten and a hat in there too.

If you'll be out a while, or are perhaps headed to swim or play at a wading pool, you should also bring along your baby's sunscreen as it needs to be reapplied every few hours (and a lot more than that if you're getting wet).

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How Can You Not Know You Are/Were Pregnant?

I never knew not being able to tell that you were pregnant was a thing until it happened to me. I'm sure I had heard one or two stories about it in passing, years before it would ever become relevant to my life, but I probably never paid them any mind because the idea seemed so impossible to me. How could you not know you were pregnant? How could you not notice the morning sickness, the missed periods, the weight gain, the movement of your baby?

Having now lived through the experience myself, I can say with 100% certainty being oblivious to a pregnancy is a thing and it's not even a rare thing. There's a whole show about it and it's run multiple seasons it happens that frequently.

So how does something like this happen? Well, for starters not all women experience all symptoms of pregnancy. You can skip one or all of them, actually. If you're already a larger woman, you may even go full term without noting any weight gain because your overall shape hasn't changed. You may be one of those women who has always had irregular periods, so missing several months is nothing strange. You may ignore minor discomforts because you have no other symptoms and have been on birth control. You might have another diagnosed medical condition that has similar symptoms and attribute how you feel to that instead. There are a lot of ways this could happen.

It must be the flu.
For me it was a little stranger. I had about a week, early on in 2012 (looking back), where I thought I had the flu. That's it. That was my only indicator of a pregnancy. There were a few sporadic nights where I felt under the weather but I suffer from a chronic illness and this was nothing new. For example, I feel under the weather right now. I was taking birth control religiously to treat PMDD and getting regular periods (6-7 day duration, including 3-4 heavy days like usual), every month. So being pregnant had never even crossed my mind. I continued having normal periods throughout my pregnancy up until the last month.

I gained absolutely no weight until the third trimester. We assumed then that it was due to a lapse in exercise and our love of cheeseburgers, particularly because there were, again, no other signs of pregnancy... but then I had a light period as well and we decided to go ahead and test. Given the circumstances, I expected it would be negative and I'd have a cyst or something. It was positive.

These pictures were only taken a week apart!
At this point we assumed, since I had only just begun gaining weight, had only had a single irregular period, and hadn't felt any movement, that I must've been just a couple of months along. We scheduled a doctor appointment for the following week (earliest I could be seen). During this week I gained weight rapidly. So rapidly in fact that halfway through we had to go shopping because suddenly none of my clothes fit anymore. I went from 125 lb. to 140lb. in a matter of days becoming very obviously quite pregnant -- certainly more than a couple of months.

Our first physical exam estimated that I was 5 months pregnant. Our first ultrasound, days later, moved that forward to 7 months pregnant. Our meeting with the OB/GYN, just a few days after that, dictated my due date was the next month. Surprise!

I was worried about the health of the baby because there had been a complete lack of movement, but it turns out that was simply because I couldn't feel it. On the ultrasounds he was moving plenty. He was perfect, healthy. This lack of perceived 'kicking' was attributed to having an anterior placenta, meaning I was unable to feel him move until he was so big it'd be impossible not to. Then I could feel him moving constantly, which was very alien to me because I had no time to get used to his little movements beforehand. My midwife said that had I been larger to begin with, I may have never felt him move at all.

And this, my dear readers, is how you can go three trimesters without ever knowing you were pregnant in the first place. Not all women, even perfectly health ones, experience pregnancy symptoms. Some medical conditions mask pregnancy symptoms. It's natural and if you went a long time before detecting your pregnancy there's no shame in it. Plenty of women don't even learn of their pregnancies until going into labor. Just take care of yourself so if this were to happen, you'll all be okay. Get plenty to eat, drink enough water, make sure you get enough sleep, take your vitamins, wear sunscreen, etc.

If you suspect even remotely you may be pregnant, test! No matter how far-fetched it seems. It's better to know, even if you didn't find out right away. Can you imagine how scary it must be to go to the E.R. for abdominal pain thinking you're dying, only to find out you're in labor? I can imagine very few things scarier.

Related posts:
There is a Ninja
There is a Ninja II
Birth Story