Saturday, April 26, 2008


Things are really coming together here. I just put Jack down for a nap on his belly, and he went for it. It almost feels normal around here, instead of the scattered crazy skin-of-my-teeth life we've been living.

Jack takes two naps a day - one around 9:30 and one around 1:30. He's been doing it swaddled until today when he finally went along with a belly nap. Now that he can turn over, he's able to get out of the miracle blanket swaddle, so I'm trying to wean him off of it instead of re-doing it three times a night.

He goes to bed around 7:30. The last three nights, I haven't had to feed him until 1 am. Next feed at 4:30, and up around 7:30. Last night I had to plug the paci in around 10, but I'll work to get him off of that in a few days. After I get him sleeping straight until 1, I'll work on taking out that 4:30 feed. Lastly, the 1 a.m. wakeup. Sounds easy, right?

Actually, he's sleep-training very easily. He usually doesn't cry more than the first 5-minute cry, then I go in and plug the paci in and he's usually done. I'm being good about putting him in the crib sleepy but not sleeping, and he's doing just fine getting himself to sleep. On the few occasions I've really just let him cry, he's usually asleep after 10 minutes or so. I think we're really on the right track.

Of course Nate looks to be starting to get ready to think about giving his nap up, so I've taken to calling it "quiet time" and letting him bring some books to bed. I think he'll still fall asleep most days, but if he doesn't at least I can console myself with the fact that he's in his room and out of my hair.

Now, on to baby #3!

[cue hysterical laughter]

Friday, April 25, 2008

Milestone Moment!

Two days ago Jack almost rolled over - he got so so close. I took so much video that I actually filled my up card for the first time ever. Made sure to clear it at night for a fresh start the next day.

Yesterday I put him down on the carpet for a minute and he started trying again, so I sprang up to get my camera. I literally took three steps, grabbed the camera, and turned around to see him on his tummy, looking around a bit startled. Little monster.

Anyway, here's a cute picture, for picture's sake. Little man is very pleased with himself.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jack's Monthly Newsletter, Month Five

Dear Jack,

Hello, happy baby. You're five months old now, and this is the first time I've put up a newsletter late. We were all together in Boston visiting our cousins for Passover, and I forgot to write this ahead of time. I'm sorry, sweetie.

You are still a bit of a blob, but you're the happiest blob around. Everyone who makes eye contact with you gets a huge squinchy smile, and I can't tell you how many people have cooed over your cuteness and sweetness. I agree completely. You are such a happy, good boy and we all adore you. You seem to thrive on our smiles and when you grin back you seem so grateful for our attention. You love to be carried around, and you're content for hours if you're in our arms or in the Baby Bjorn.

You had your first bite of food on April 18th - a few shmears of avocado when we were all out to sushi. The first few went down without much response; you got a queer face eventually. Can't really blame you; it's a strange flavor. I'll start giving you baby food for real in a few days.

You are so incredibly close to turning over. I sat on the carpet with you for a half-hour, taking video clip after clip hoping to get your first roll on video. You were a little monster, though, and kept teasing me.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

I started sleep-training you last night. I had planned to wait until you could suck your thumb and comfort yourself back to sleep, but I just can't take it anymore. We're starting small - I've committed to not feeding you from bedtime (7:30) until midnight. If you wake up, and you have, I'll let you cry for five minutes, go in and comfort you for a minute or two, then leave for another five minutes and keep this up until you're asleep. Last night it only took two comforts for you to be back asleep until 1 am. Of course you still tortured me with a 2:30 wakeup, a 4:30 wakeup, a 5:30 wakeup (which Daddy handled), and up for the morning at 6:30. I'll give you a week of the new routine, and then we'll start cutting out that 2:30 wakeup and go from there. Please cooperate, boozle - it'll go easier on both of us.

You are in absolute discomfort with two bottom teeth coming through at the same time. I can see your little gums opening up to let the teeth through, but nothing's poked out yet. You're constantly drooling, and I've taken to putting a cloth bib over any outfits I want to keep dry. You desperately chew and suck on anything you can haul into your mouth; your favorite object to torture is our thumbs. You're easy, though, you'll take just about anything. Please, little teeth, please come through. You're killing Jack and Jack's just about killing me.

Your brother is still your favorite person alive. He squishes you and rolls you and lays on top of you and you just grin at him the whole time. You are so incredibly lucky that Nate is your brother. I have a picture in my mind of the two of you out at a basketball game when you're older, having a beer and watching the game together. I see you talking, and not talking, and just being comfortable and familiar together. I pray that whatever influence I have on your relationship, I do the right things to help you love and respect each other. You're off to a pretty good start.

I love you,

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The power of naps

Stewart figured out that Jack likes to sleep in the Boppy, like he did when he was an infant. All of a sudden, he naps. Over an hour. Sometimes close to two hours. I can't tell you how much saner my life has become.

Today while he took a morning nap, I:

Started a load of laundry
Moved it to the dryer
Started a second load of laundry
Emptied the dishwasher
Made dinner for tonight
Filled a bottle for tonight, got a sippy cup ready for Nate
Chopped up melons and strawberries for snacks this week
Filled the dishwasher
Boiled, cooled, and peeled a batch of hard-boiled eggs
Talked to my sister and my Dad
Organized Jack's new bottles
Took out the recycling
Wiped down the stove
Straightened up the living room / dining room
Paid bills
Did some planning for our weekend away
Wrote this blog entry.

And he's still asleep. Bless you, Jack.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Alike or no?

Comparison photos. Alike or no?

Nate, age 4 months:

Jack, age 4.5 months:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spoiled much?

At the grocery store today they were giving away posters of the first pitch thrown out at our new Nationals Stadium. It was a beautiful shot of the whole field, and I got one to bring home to Nate.

Got home, and told him that I'd brought him something. He came down the stairs saying "ooh, present!" He came to my side and together we unrolled the poster. I told him what it was while he looked it over. Then he turned to me and said "Where my present?"

I told him the poster was his present, and he got a totally miffed expression on his face. "Dat not a present! Dat not a present!" It was hard not to laugh. I laughed. He threw the poster down, and stepped on it a bit. I again failed to stop laughing. So did Stewart.

Through giggles, I told him that we say "thank you!" even if we don't like the present. He did not say "thank you."

Kinda can't blame him.

The time has come

Last night, I started letting Jack CIO (cry it out).

I had intended to wait until he could suck his own thumb to comfort himself, but it was clear that something had to change before I dropped him off at Child Protective Services and asked them to find him a less tired Mommy (a thought that really did go through my head as I nursed him back to sleep again mere hours after nursing him back to sleep again mere hours after nursing him back to sleep, again, a few days ago).

He took his bedtime bottle at 7:30 and went peaceably to sleep. I went downstairs, got Nate ready for bed, cleaned up the dinner dishes, started cleaning up the toys, and heard Jack cry. It was 8:15. Instead of feeling wildly out of control and crazy, like I normally do when he wakes for no reason, something inside me settled down and I knew I could handle it.

My plan was to let him cry for 5 minutes, then go back in for some TLC, then another 5 minutes of crying, and repeat until he passed out. I went into his room to make sure he was okay, no fever, no surprises, and gave him some calming pats while leaving him in the crib. I said "night night" and walked out the door. He resumed crying; I sat down at the computer and noted the time. Two minutes later, all was silent. Really silent. I gave it another 5 minutes, then went in to check - he was asleep. I didn't hear from him again until 1 a.m.

I'm not silly to think that it'll all be this smooth, but it certainly does give a girl hope.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It starts already?

Nate asked "Why?" for the first time on Monday, and what instantly came out of my mouth was "Because I said so." And I meant it. Do it because I said it.

"Why?" came out of his mouth 49 times yesterday. I made a good effort to answer him 47 of those times. He actually responded very well to my explanations, and gave me a cheerful "Okay!"

Jack loves to grip fingers, hair, shirts, toys, whatever he can get his pudgy hands on. Yesterday I had to give him a bath in the afternoon due to an exorcist-level vomit. While he was laying there contentedly, he found something else he can get his hands on. For 10 minutes in the tub, my little son fondled himself.

Aren't they both precocious?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Nate's Monthly Newsletter, Two Years Seven Months

Dear Nate,

Another month with you, and it's so much more joy than it is trouble. You are such a delight to us.

You are up for almost anything. You help me fold laundry, throw things in the garbage for me, and your favorite is helping me cook. As soon as I go into the kitchen to start lunch or dinner, you run in and ask "Whatcha doin' Mama?" When I tell you that I'm cooking, you say "I want to watch you!" and drag your step-stool up to the counter.

Your help is mostly limited to eating everything I'm chopping up, since I won't let you deal with the stove or any sharp knives yet. But you definitely give it your all, eating peppers, onions, tofu, and broccoli almost as fast as I can cut it. When it's time to put things into bowls, you do almost all of the work pouring sauce or divvying out handfuls of beans or corn. I love involving you like this, and I know I can only dream that you'll always want to spend so much time with me.

I also think that helping me cook prepare food is one of the reasons you're such a fantastic eater. You regularly choose tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, cucumbers and broccoli over anything else on your plate. Yesterday you ate wheatberry salad with walnuts and cranberries, and today you scarfed down two plates of polenta with marinara sauce. I have no interest in keeping you away from ice cream and candy, and you eat your share. You eat everything, frankly.

You still have absolutely no interest in the potty, and only some interest in sleeping in your bed. The last few times we put you down to sleep in your bed, you quietly got out, took down a pillow, and fell asleep on the floor next to the bed. Odd boy. Bumper is still the love of your life, and when you share it with Jack I know how much you love him. Today Jack was lying on the floor and you came over, put Bumper down on top of him, and then tried to put his thumb in his mouth for him.

You are still a superstar with Jack, but I see trouble brewing. Today he reached out and grabbed a toy near you and you snatched it back so hard I was shocked. Mind you, you weren't even playing with that toy, but you were not going to let Jack have any part of it. This should be fun.

Looks to me like you're a pretty smart kid, and you're getting sharp at putting things together. You still resist being put down for a nap, and lately you've been balking at both TV and the bath. Finally occured to me that you know darn well that bath comes before TV which comes before BED. I think you're convinced that if you can avoid the bath and the TV, you can avoid bed. No such luck, sweetie.

We were shocked, impressed, and not a little embarrassed to discover your latest skill: if we hum the song to any of "your" TV shows, you can almost immediately identify the show. Hmmm...maybe you watch a tad too much TV. Your favorite shows, in rotating priority, are Backyardigans, Little Einsteins, Go Diego Go, Big Big World, and Little Bear. That could change at any time.

You're starting to understand "why?" and "because..." Tonight I asked you why you were saying "sorry" after time-out, and you said "because I want to get up time out." Not bad, honey. You've gotten awfully lean and skinny, and you're a monkey about climbing around. You don't take it too far, though - I never find you trying to climb a bookshelf or jumping out of your crib. You have pretty good judgment.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books

You love me a lot these days, and when I go to leave the house without you I hear "I go with you, Mama!" It makes me glad that you want to be with me, and reassures me that with all of the hard times we go through, all of the time-outs, and my less-than-stellar Mom moments, we're doing okay.

I love you, Natey.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Milestone Moment!

I just filled out my first Scholastic Book order form. Sniff.

Together at last!

It's not great, but it's my first acceptable photo of the boys together!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


I had a little breakdown today.

In the last five months I've gotten to sleep through the night one time, and the last three days have been especially brutal. Jack was up at least once every hour and a half last night, inconsolable without being nursed. I raged at Stewart but it did nothing to make my little one sleep longer.

I got up today assuming I could push through, like I've been most days, and rallied the boys off to the zoo. We walked and walked, and saw everything Nate wanted to. Got them home, fed lunch, changed, settled, all with patience and humor and pride in my mothering. Got Nate down for a nap, and when Jack fought his like he always does I realized that I didn't have one molecule left in my body that could deal with him. I called Stewart and he recognized my distress. He started arrangements to leave the office, and I left Jack to cry in his crib for the first time. Jack was asleep in just minutes, and then I was too. Stewart came home soon after, and when I woke up at 5 the house was empty and quiet.

I felt peaceful for the first time in days. Thankful for my sunny bedroom, my husband who rode to the rescue, and my great kids from whom I need to schedule a small break.