Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mommy's Night Out

I almost never go out and leave Jacob and Craig alone for any extended period of time. Why not? Well, I suppose it has to do with a variety of things. First, evenings are short enough. I only get to see Jacob for a few hours each day and it seems pretty crappy to not take advantage of that. Not to mention, it's hard to motivate myself to leave the house again after dinner. And even if I do go out, it's usually for groceries and I usually wait until after Jacob's in bed so I don't disrupt his bedtime routine. And by that time anywhere interesting is closed. But as a whole I'd rather just plop my butt on the couch. Second, I'd feel less guilty about leaving Jacob on a weekend when I do get to spend the majority of my time with him, but during the hockey/lacrosse seasons, Craig is home very little on weekends...and when he is, I'd like to be enjoying (or making good use of) my limited time with him as well. Finally, to be honest, I don't have a lot of friends, which means I don't have many reasons to go out solo. Most of the time it doesn't bother me. I'm perfectly happy at home and have plenty of things to do there. But there are times that I know I'm craving some me time. And there are other times where I suddenly wonder why I haven't gotten something done, only to realize I just haven't had the chance to go out and focus on it without having a screaming, antsy toddler distracting me every few seconds. It makes it hard to be productive. And inevitably, I tend to let stuff like this build up, and then suddenly I want to do it all at once just to get it done, which probably leaves Craig and Jacob feeling a little abandoned.

Regardless, I love Jacob and really do want to spend most of my time with him. I'd feel horrible if I made a habit of being out too often. As it is I usually feel a twinge of guilt every Thursday when I go to the gym and don't get home until 7pm. It's only an hour later than usual, but it only leaves me a little time for playing by the time we get through dinner and head toward bed. That's just not enough, and it's probably not fair to Jacob. But it's something I need to do.

Last week I got a tentative invite to a dinner for a retiring co-worker, my former boss. Craig was working a lacrosse game (college) scheduled for that same night, so we knew it would take little coordinating, but the overlap was small so we figured we could do it. But then the plans changed and the invite was rescinded (ahhh, office politics), but then yesterday it was reinstated and we worked out the details of the shuffle at the last minute. I'd pick up Jacob, we'd exchange him somewhere, and I'd be off for a nice evening. It worked out well other than the fact that Jacob was a little cranky at that time, but I was confident Craig could handle it. All he had to do was get through dinner and bedtime...not bad. But as I stated previously, I usually bend over backwards to make sure I'm home for bedtime. It had been a while since Craig did bedtime all alone. He called me twice to say hello and check a couple things, but as a whole I think everything was fairly uneventful. Jacob did ask for me, but he survived...of course. Still, I felt bad that I was going home to a sleeping baby who I had zero quality time with that day. Hello, mommy guilt.

That said, I had a fabulous time at dinner. It was a lovely Italian restaurant, a very unassuming spot in a tiny plaza downtown, and the food was fantastic. The company was made up of some very high ranking managers and long-time employees in the company, but I was there as a member of the same department as the woman retiring. I was so pleased that I could go, both because it was a fun group and the food was fabulous, and because I did want to honor my former boss (she voluntarily stepped down from that position a year ago to make way for someone more specialized, but was still a big part of the department). It was nice to be out with adults, having fun conversation, learning great party tricks, and eating fabulous food.

Upon thinking about the whole situation on the way home, I realized that it was good for me. Really good. And I should probably do it more often. And now that all of Craig's teams are done for the summer (boo!), I can. I spent a lot of nights and weekends this winter alone with Jacob, and I'm perfectly happy with that...but it's not always easy getting things done that way, and I'm probably not the most well rounded person as a result. I always think back to that commercial from a few years ago that featured a woman who started talking baby talk to her husband while out at the theatre...bringing to light that she really needed to get out more because she'd been spending far too much time at home talking baby talk to her child. And there are times I feel a little like that. Without much adult interaction at times, I'm surprised that hasn't happened more. I'll admit it was nice to bond with other parents last weekend at that birthday party, and even last night there were some kid-related conversations. It's always nice to know that you're not alone in whatever insanity your child is providing, even if you're just finding out that other people are dealing with a different brand of insanity (but insanity nonetheless). On the bright side, the weather is getting better so it provides a few more options when we do have free time--going to the playground, taking a walk in any number of spots, visiting the zoo, or playing in the backyard. Soon we can add our pool or the beach into the mix. Variety helps a lot! Still, I think it would be good for Craig to get a few more cracks at the bedtime routine so Jacob isn't thrown off when I'm not there to do it. In addition, I know that I always have a running list of things I'd like to do when I have the chance to do them alone, and being able to do any of them would take a load off my mind. For example, right now I need a haircut. I would also like to do some shopping--both for myself and for Jacob, and to find a nice retirement gift! I'd also like to start riding my bike again, something I haven't done since the summer before I was pregnant! Most importantly, I haven't had a weekend with my two best friends from college since a year before Jacob was born, which means we are terribly, horribly overdue. When Jacob was first born, I was nursing, making a weekend a logistical nightmare. Then I was a bit hesitant to leave him for that long, assuming I could even find a weekend when Craig was free. And of course, if he was free, I felt bad that I wouldn't get to spend that time with him. And beyond that my friends have busy schedules as well. But I am determined to make it happen now. I need it. You can only shove your wants and needs down for so long before it becomes a problem. And while I don't think it's a dire situation at this point, I think I'd be on my way without actively taking steps to prevent it. So let's hope I can make it happen without feeling a dose of mommy guilt...because ultimately I think it'll make me a better mother, even if it may seem like I'm a worse one in the short term. Time will tell...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Busy Saturday!

With Craig out of town all weekend, I purposely filled up our day Saturday. I wanted to keep Jacob busy so he had less time to run around the house like a maniac, which inevitably would drive me nuts. Thankfully the weather cooperated and we were able to spend a considerable amount of time outside. I originally wanted to go to the zoo in the afternoon because I knew the weather would be perfect and we hadn't been there in a while. They just got a new polar bear a month or two ago, and since we had hardly seen the old one at all last summer, I was dying to go check them out. But then I remembered that Jacob had a birthday party to go to, for one of the girls that he used to go to daycare with. Her mom and I are Facebook friends and they just went through a house move too (two weeks after us), so we've had a bit in common lately. So, I decided we could hit up the zoo in the morning, tire Jacob out so he'd nap a bit before the party, and then head out to the party for the afternoon. I had mentioned the zoo to Lori and she was excited to join us, so off we went on Saturday morning. The weather was perfect (low-to-mid 60s and sunny!) and it wasn't nearly as busy as I expected it to be. Maybe everyone got it out of their system during spring break week! We got a fantastic parking spot and headed off. The monkeys were active, we got some close looks at exotic birds, and finally got to see the polar bears! Jacob was in a good mood, though he pounced on every opportunity to run around that he had. Here he is sitting on the glassed in ledge overlooking the sea lion pool...with his lacrosse stick in hand, as usual. He had a lot of fun with Lori, too...her hat placement, not mine :)
HeHe really liked running around in the underground of the polar bear/sea lion exhibit, where you can watch them swim underwater. It's a big open area (apparently they rent it out for parties), so he got a good run in. I tried to get a picture of Jacob with the big stuffed polar bears they have there, but this is what I ended up with...notice how Jacob is in a strikingly similar pose as his furry friend :)

After checking out the baboons (one was actually grooming another one...you hear that about monkeys all the time, but I don't think I'd ever actually seen a monkey picking and eating off of another like that. Nature is so odd.), we got a good view of the elephants.
We headed back out of the zoo after that, and the crowds were definitely getting bigger by then. We hopped in the car and Jacob was out pretty quickly. He slept most of the 20 minute ride home (starting around 12:30) and then continued his nap at home. The birthday party started at 2pm, so around 2:10 I decided that would have to be enough of a nap and I woke him up. He actually weathered that pretty well, thankfully. The only glitch was that he was insistent on bringing his lacrosse stick and hockey stick to the party. Not exactly the ideal toy to have around other toddlers, though, so I told him he could have them in the car but could not take them into the party. He said he understood (yeah, right) and that contented him for the moment. I gave him a cup of milk since he hadn't had a chance to eat lunch (bad mommy) and we headed off to the party.

Once we got there, he was able to eat some snacks (pretzels, chips, dip, goldfish) and have a juice box, so I felt a little better about the lunch situation. He got to play in his little friend's big yard, in her sandbox, on her little slide, with her doggie (a Yorkie, so it was the perfect size), and with various kiddie sports equipment around the yard. It was so nice to see a couple of his little friends again, though it was amazing how big they all are now, four months after the day care closed. The birthday girl and the other little girl in attendance both go to the same place. I felt a twinge of guilt that we didn't try to send Jacob there as well. That place is a little more expensive, but the price isn't bad once you hit the "two's" and they do include food and diapers (our place is food only) so it probably wouldn't have been as bad as we thought...at least not for long. But by the time we decided it might not be that much worse, they were full. Arg. It would have been insanely convenient AND he'd be in the same room (eventually) as a couple of his former classmates. And as much as I'd love to try to find an opening there, I just don't think we want to go through the switch again. Anyway...it was nice to have the kids playing and just be able to chat with the other parents. The other little girl's mom had twin boys about four months ago, so it was interesting hearing her stories. There was also a couple there with a cute younger baby (maybe nine months?), so there was a nice variety of parenting stories all around. I don't get a lot of chances to do things like that, so it was a lot of fun.

After playing, snacks and gift opening, the kids sat down at the table to enjoy cupcakes. It was pretty cute :) Here's Jacob with the birthday girl...notice the cute silicone bear cupcake molds. We got to bring ours home!

After cake it was back outside for more playing. While the girls played in the sandbox and fought over the swing (best friends or not, it's tough to share at this age!), Jacob headed off on his own. He loved this slide, particularly when he crawled underneath it!


Oh, and good news for Grandma and Grandpa...he's finally taken up golf!

It still looks a little more like hockey than golf, but I'm sure he'll get there! Anyway, we ended up making a hasty exit when Jacob started grabbing his stomach and whining. I'm still not sure what the issue was, whether it was a slight bout of constipation or a weird reaction to party food, but he only complained about it one more time once we were home and seemed to show no ill effects. I had this horrible image of him puking in the car on the way home (or worse, still at the party) and being alone for another day-plus with a sick little boy, but thankfully it never happened. Whew. Still, let me say I'm relieved to have a child old enough to start pinpointing his pain, even if what he's pointing to is making me more nervous! I was shocked when we got in the car and the clock said 5:15. I never expected that a party would keep him (or me) happily occupied for three hours, so that was cool. And Jacob even came home with a cool "doggy bag" of stuff--two dog pencils, an Elmo activity book, crayons, bubbles, one of those party horns that unrolls when you blow on it, some stickers and a little bag of M&M's. What a fun time!

After such a busy day Saturday we were pretty content to lay low on Sunday. We just did church and a quick bit of shopping in the late afternoon (complete with a stop at PetSmart to see the animals...including a giant St. Bernard and a nice Golden Retriever, lots of fish, a bunch of cats, and a few gerbils and birds...I try to avoid the mice, rats and lizards, though!). We got the potty and that was about the extent of our excitement for the day. It was a fun weekend but we're happy to have Craig back home. Now we just need the Amerks to win their game seven tonight so Jacob's "Let's go Amerks" and "Let's go Hawks" chants aren't all for naught...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mini-Me

I remember back when Jacob was a newborn that I would dissect every move he made. When he stretched like a maniac in the morning, I wondered why. When he made his funny face when he pooped, I thought it was cute but strange. When he'd refuse food one day that he liked previously, I was completely perplexed. But inevitably, each time something came up that I didn't entirely understand, something would happen later that would enlighten me. Suddenly one morning I'd catch myself doing a similar series of stretches before getting out of bed. Or I'd notice what face I was making while going #2 and realize that we must all make a face of some sort. Or I'd realize that just because we like a certain food doesn't mean we're always in the mood for it...so maybe when Jacob rejected something he previously liked, he just wasn't in the mood that day for whatever it was. While we as adults can generally pick our own food (or pick the best option of what's available), babies with changing tastes have no such option and can't express whether they don't like it or just don't want it. Inevitably, there's probably always a logical explanation somewhere in there.

Fast forward to last night. I put Jacob to bed and nothing was really out of the ordinary, except that his little light-up musical aquarium's batteries had died so he didn't have the aid of that to fall asleep. Regardless, I don't think I heard a peep out of him after just five minutes alone in bed. He did start coughing from time to time about an hour or so later, but that never wakes him up, believe it or not. Shortly after midnight, he woke up and was instantly screaming bloody murder for me. Craig was, at that moment, on a flight from Chicago to Buffalo (en route from a Knighthawks roadtrip to the Seattle area), so it was all me. I got up and tried to calm Jacob down. He settled back into bed after a little rocking and back rubbing, but didn't last long after I closed his door. So, not long after I was back up trying to calm him down again. Nothing seemed to work, so after trying a couple tricks, I let him come sleep with me for a little bit. He seemed too freaked out and wide awake to leave alone--he'd instantly cry--so I figured that was my best option if I wanted to sleep. While he was relatively quiet and well-behaved, he tossed and turned a LOT. So even though I wasn't sure he was asleep enough to put back in his crib, about an hour after I brought him in, I did just that. And he was fine. Whew. Of course, my sleep was irrevocably disturbed and got no better as I waited and wondered about what time Craig would arrive home. His flight was delayed and he wasn't supposed to get into Buffalo until 1:30am, and then he had to drive back to Rochester. He ended up having to wait an hour for luggage, so he didn't get in until after 4am. So throughout the night I probably never had more than a couple hours in a row of decent sleep. Ugh. But in the midst of it all I wondered why Jacob was having trouble sleeping. Was he not feeling well? Could the coughing be a symptom of a worse illness? Was his odd napping schedule yesterday to blame? Did he have a bad dream? I'll never know, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he doesn't need a reason to have a bad night's sleep. We all have them, for any number of reasons. There are nights when, for no apparent reason, I'll sleep like crap. My brain won't turn off, I can't get comfortable, etc. And even if it was any one of those things that was bothering him, he probably can't quite express that yet anyway. He had a bad night, and so do the rest of us once in a while. One night out of a long span of nights may not make a Monday morning any easier, but I really can't complain. He's been sleeping pretty well all along with the exception of a couple moments during a couple nights here and there, and those aren't even that significant.

The moral to this story is that at a moment when babies seem like the world's biggest mystery, sometimes it helps to just look at them like a tiny human being...which, of course, they are. Sometimes it's hard to be logical when you're up at 2am or when you're in hyper-worry mode. But most of the time, that little baby is just being a tiny little human being with the same tendencies as the rest of us.

In other news, we had a nice weekend considering it was just the two of us. We took a trip to the zoo with Lori and went to his little friend's birthday party on Saturday, then went to church and did some shopping last night. We finally bought a potty, a little Fisher-Price frog one. I will continue my quest for a highly rated potty seat as well, but for now this will have to do. Each will have their own use in time, I think. Jacob likes to sit on the potty but hasn't actually done anything while sitting there yet. This is going to be a LONG process. Not that I thought it would be quick, but you know...we're not even at step one yet! :) I'll post pics of the weekend adventures soon...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Week in Review

It's been a pretty busy week, but I think I can say that we're finally starting to settle into our house and have a little time to enjoy it. Last Friday night I stayed up late to clean up the house. I was tired of looking at the same boxes that I wasn't sure what to do with, and tired of seeing so many things looking so undone. And since we were having some company on Saturday, I decided to just do as much as possible...until I was too tired to keep going. And I must say, it went well. I got a lot done. As a result, the house was looking pretty decent by Saturday when company came. First it was my parents, and then we had a visit from the Dohertys and McDonoughs. The Dohertys are long time friends of my parents, and their daughter Laurie had a little boy, Colin, a couple months after Jacob was born. You may remember back to previous visits that I've reported on (see here, here, and here), and it's been fun to watch the boys grow up as we've had these visits. This visit was no exception, even if the boys still aren't quite at the point where they want to play with one another. There was a little more interaction this time, but a lot of that was stealing balls back and forth...though no one freaked out too much so I guess that was good! Here's a picture of the four of us on the stairs...look at those big boys! Too bad mine wouldn't smile!



After a little convincing from Mommy and Grandma, though, the smile came out!


At the end of the visit, Colin gave Jacob a very nice hug! Jacob doesn't look so sure, but it was a very cute moment!

And as you can see, Jacob was back to his crazy (and hockey-crazed) self shortly thereafter...
A side note about that hockey stick...I bought that stick way back in my prime hockey days when I was a teenager. That stick followed me to college and off to my first two apartments before ending up put away for quite a few years. When we moved we ended up with a bag full of pennants, posters and a handful of ministicks, which Jacob was obsessed with once he saw it. He's been allowed to play with a couple, including my beloved Sabres stick. I never would have imagined back when I bought it that my first-born child would be playing with it all these years later. There are a lot of things that Craig and I own that fall (or will fall) into that category...stuff that we bought because we liked it that will now have another life with Jacob. Funny how that works.
On Tuesday Craig had his big "Tip a Knighthawk" fundraiser at a local restaurant, Bugaboo Creek. It's been there for the last three or four years and been quite successful. This was Jacob's first time there--one of us was sick last year--and he had quite the time. He was really into watching the video games that were set up in the one corner, and was giving everyone a good laugh running around with his lacrosse stick. And then R. Thunder showed up. R. Thunder is a joint mascot of the Amerks and Knighthawks, and Jacob loves him. One time at a Build-A-Bear event that Craig set up, Jacob was leading R. Thunder around the store by hand. Poor mascot. And once again, Jacob was monopolizing him a bit. Here he his showing off his lacrosse moves...
And here he is with a big smile!

After this we had the great potty adventure. And no, no end to that story yet. I'll keep you posted.
Remember when I mentioned our trip to the dollar store earlier in the week? Last night I finally got to put up the stuff we bought. And here's the result...

I'm pretty happy with it and Jacob seems to like it too--both the variety of sports equipment and my rendition of the alphabet song while pointing to each letter. We'll see how long it lasts!
Not too many plans this weekend since Craig is traveling again, but we do have Jacob's first friend birthday party (his first little girlfriend from his old daycare) and I hope to hit up the zoo to enjoy the nice weather, too. Hopefully we can fit a nap in there and all will go well. Oh, and hopefully we can fit in a haircut somewhere...Jacob is looking shaggy! Have a nice weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Potty Talk

So, Tuesday night after Craig's big fundraiser we headed across the street to Buy Buy Baby. If you've never heard of it, it's basically a Bed Bath and Beyond, but with all baby stuff. It looks exactly the same as BB&B, right down to the shelving and pricing placards, but everything is for babies. It opened up here a year or so ago, too late for my baby registry, but in time for pretty much everything else. The pricing and selection seems similar to Babies 'R' Us, but they tend to have some different patterns for their strollers and car seats, among other things. It's just nice to have another option, particularly one that offers up lots of coupons like their sister store :) Anyway, I had been meaning to go there to return something I'd had forever (bought a sleep sack before Jacob would have needed it, and by the time it would have fit him he didn't need it anymore--luckily it's something they still sell so I got the full amount back for it) and I had some coupons that I was ready to use if I found the right items. I wanted to get a good wipe-off bib for Jacob to keep at daycare, since I had been sending cloth ones since he started there and was sick of cleaning them and making sure he still had some available. The one I got was cheaper than I thought it would be, even without a coupon, and is totally wipeable and BIG so it should work well for lunch, craft time, etc. So then I turned my attention to the potty section. Ugh.

Jacob is not ready to potty train. I know this for a fact. When you read articles online about "readiness signs", he's pretty much only showing one--interest in the toilet. Maybe one and a half, if you consider that periodically he'll grab his crotch and indicate that his diaper might be bothering him. But even when he does that, if you ask him if he needs a change, he will say no. He'd rather sit in poop than go through a diaper change, apparently. Over the weekend he did tell me a couple times that he had poop, but we've had a couple false alarms on that since, so I'm not getting my hopes up that it's starting to bother him. We're a long way away from him being dry overnight or him telling us before he has to go, and quite frankly, I'm ok with that. Even though shelling out $20 every week or two for diapers isn't fun (by my calculations it's probably over $700 a year based on the size he's wearing now, not counting the $1-2 off every time when I use coupons), diapers don't really bother me. At least, not compared to accidents and frantically trying to find a bathroom and wiping a butt I can't see very well. We'll get there, but for now I'm ok as is. Even still, considering that Jacob had been saying "potty" for a while and daycare even put him on it once with no luck, I figured we should at least start moving in that direction. I was a little surprised that daycare would randomly do that, but I suppose peer pressure can be a good thing. Anyway, Jacob's definitely noticed the toilet lately and when we ask if he wants to sit on it, he usually says yes. Of course, since we don't have a potty or a potty seat, it can't be comfortable having us hold him up, so nothing ever happens. We've only done this a few times, often before bed or before his bath when he's already stripped down to a diaper or less. He does seem to like the concept, though, because he's not squirming or complaining. Yeserday morning after one of the false alarms I thought that maybe Jacob saying "poop" instead meant that he had to poop, so I let him try. When we were telling him to push it out, he did tense up and at least seem like he was trying, but no...nothing.

So all of this is what brought me to the potty section of Buy Buy Baby the other night. There's such a variety of items to choose from for your pottying needs. You have the cadillac of potty chairs--those sporting characters, music, flush sounds, and even their own toliet paper holder. Then you have the middle ground potty chairs--those without the bells and whistles but still more significant than what you might have used as a child. And then you have the ones that are little more than glorified, ergonomic buckets. Sure, they might have some pretty colors or a basic theme, but for the most part they're just molded pieces of plastic. Beyond that, you have the potty seats that go on your toilet, to make the hole smaller. Some come equipped with a ladder, while others are conected to a real toilet seat, so you can just replace yours completely with one that has a potty seat built in. There's a wide variety prints, colors, and styles, and a wide variety of prices ranges here as well. For anyone who knows me and my issues with decision-making, this was a challenge. The last thing I want to do is spend $20 or $30 on an unreturnable item, find out it's not going to work for Jacob, and have to go back and spend more money...with that much more anxiety built in since one thing already didn't work. My personal preference would be to get a seat for our toilet so we can just flush it all away and not have to clean a potty. However, I know that compact, portable potties are nice for traveling, which apparently is a must have in the early potty training days. However, most of the potty chairs come with a removable seat that can go on the real potty, so it's a nice two-for-one, just in case one works better than the other. I still need to double check with daycare to see what they use. I know they often have low to the ground toilets, so my guess is that they use a seat on that...but I'm not sure. And for consistency purposes I'd lean toward what they use. There are so many things to consider--how much space it takes up, ease of use and cleaning, whether or not Jacob will be interested in it, and the price, among other things. And eventually, I just couldn't commit. And at the moment, I'm glad I didn't.

While I did shake my head at myself a bit when Jacob started saying "potty" again yesterday morning, I could only think back to what happened when I got home Tuesday night and assure myself that not buying was smart. Why? Well, once we were home and Jacob was in bed, I headed to the computer to look up reviews. I figured that if there was a clear winner, it would come through in the Babies 'R' Us reviews right away. Surprisingly, there wasn't. It appears that, like most things having to do with babies, it depends on the baby...or in this case, the potty-training toddler. And apparently it's a whole different ballgame for boys than it is for girls. The biggest issue seems to be the splash guard/deflector shield element of both potty chairs and potty seats. They're postitioned at the front of the seat to prevent any random sprays of pee, particularly from boys who don't know to tuck their stuff down yet. And in most cases, they don't work. They're either not big enough to delfect spray or they're oddly positioned, to the point that they end up breaking off or getting in the way. Anything having to do with those shields seemed to be the prevailing complaint in all the reviews. So I guess we'll just have to take a chance on one of the ones with the least complaints and go from there. And if it means that we have to go back and buy something else, I guess we'll have to deal with that, too. Fun stuff, eh?

In other news, Jacob turned 22 months on Tuesday. Only two months until his second birthday, which is both mind-blowing and stressful since it means we have another party to plan! Jacob has been quite the handful recently, so we're pretty sure the terrible twos have hit us a little early. As I alluded to earlier in the week, we get a battle from Jacob about almost anything, from putting down his hockey stick to eat or sleep, to putting on his coat, to walking in public. He won't listen when we tell him "no" or "stop", and even laughs and does it more. It's one thing with little stuff, but when it's hurting us (like when he starts kicking or hitting--which apparently he thinks is funny) or potentially hurting himself (like when he won't stay away from the stairs in our backyard that go down to the basement), it becomes downright scary how oblivious he is. And I'm not sure how to shock him into understanding that. I've tried a spanking here and there, but that's not working either...and I don't really want to rely on that anyway. Craig is headed out on a long roadtrip this weekend and I'm getting a little nervous about dealing with Jacob's antics all weekend without blowing a gasket. Thank goodness the weather forecast is looking good on Saturday, because we can spend some time out in the yard and maybe hit up the zoo. Anything that doesn't involve the repeated issues inside with throwing balls or swinging hockey sticks sounds good to me. Sunday, however, I'll just have to deal. Should be interesting...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My New Nemesis

I have decided that the most frustrating issue we're dealing with right now is rubber legs. It's even more evil when it's coupled with squirming, stiffening, or lifting prevention. Wonder what I'm talking about? Well...consider yesterday's trip to the dollar store. I had been meaning to go to the larger Dollar Tree in our area because there were a couple things I wanted to check out--more drawer organizing baskets like I had previously purchased there (more drawers to organize now!), and new decals for Jacob's walls. As you may recall (or not--I think I mentioned them), I got a set of jungle animal wall decals for Jacob's old room. I put them next to his changing table to attempt to distract him during changes, at a time when he was squirming all over the place. They were a buck and were easy to peel off. Since the old ones bit the dust with the move, I wanted to replace them. I was hoping for some cute, cartoony alphabet letters. Instead I came home with two sets. One has a sports theme--a baseball and glove, football, basketball, hockey skates, and soccer ball. Oh, and there are boxing gloves, too, but those will NOT be going up. The other set is a bunch of letters. They're gray and are supposed to be a little more sophisticated than a little boy's room, but since they only had girly alphabets, these were the best I could do. They're supposed to create whimsical phrases, but I'm just going to do a full alphabet somewhere around the balls. Anyway....

I opted to forego the shopping cart or stroller since it was just going to be a quick trip. I knew what I needed and figured that I could corral Jacob for that short period. Well...let's just say he employed all of the tricks mentioned above and made the trip (as well as most other public outings recently) way more difficult than it had to be. Jacob is in a phase right now where he apparently just wants to run free...but in most cases that's not particularly safe or convenient. If you try to pick him up, he will slump to the floor, stiffen up, or raise his arms straight up in the air so the armpits disappear and you have nothing to hold on to. If you try to get him to walk on his own but hold your hand, he immediately gets jelly legs and would rather sit or lay on the floor (ewwww) than do what you'd like him to do. If you put him down and let him go, he'll run forever, or inevitably get into something he shouldn't. Not only is it really frustrating, a little embarrassing, and potentially really gross, but it makes doing anything without a stroller or shopping cart nearly impossible. And suddenly, I truly understand why people use leashes for their kids. I'm not saying I'm going to run out and buy one, but I think Jacob is currently the perfect example of why people use them. Their kids have no regard for safety, refuse to be carried, and refuse to hold their hand and walk at the same time. And if you add in that they refuse to sit in a stroller (thank goodness Jacob still likes that), you are completely and utterly screwed. And sometimes as a parent, for the sake of your sanity and the safety of your child, you have to employ methods that aren't exactly politically correct (hello, spanking!). I'm not saying that it makes it right in all cases, but I suppose it gets you through until your kid is old enough to know better. It beats having your kid run unattended into a crowd where they could be lost and/or snatched up.

For the time being I will still try to deal with it and teach him that it's wrong. I suppose it's nice to know the option is there just in case keeping tabs on him is extra vital--though I suppose in those cases we'd totally opt for the stroller if at all possible. Tonight will be another challenge as we're heading off to an annual fundraiser that Craig runs, Tip-a-Knighthawk, at a local restaurant here in town. I need to go to a store nearby anyway, so I figure we can at least stop in and eat some of the free appetizers until Jacob gets crazy and I can't corral him anymore. Oh, and guess what I may be purchasing at that store? Believe it or not, I may be getting some potty training materials. I'll save the details for another post, but while I have no illusions that we'll be waving bye-bye to diapers any time soon, there's no time like the present to get things started. We'll see what I find...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Random Thoughts

- Lately I find myself wanting to be home a lot. I don't really feel like I used to do that a lot in our old house. I'm not sure if it's just because I really like our house now and want to be there to enjoy it, or if I'm still just dying to get everything unpacked and in place and crave the time to do it, or if I'd just rather not be at work based on the stuff I'm doing right now. Probably a combo of all three. And when I see Jacob's adorable little face staring at my via my computer wallpaper, that probably doesn't help either...though I know I can't take care of the unpacking very well when he's there because he's shoving a hockey stick into my hand every other minute and trying to drag me off (literally...he'll grab my hand) to play hockey with him. Still, I'd like to be home a lot more than I am. I can see this being a very conflicting summer coming up. On one hand we have the massive number of family commitments we have back in Buffalo--birthdays, reunions, miscellaneous parties--and on the other, we have our lovely new house with tons of landscaping to care for, a swing set and a swimming pool. Oy.

- Jacob's room is about one step away from becoming the first completely finished room in the house--assuming we don't decide to paint it. Last night I put up all of his Snoopy stuff again--the quilt over the changing table, the three little squares over his crib, and the infamous bumper as a chair rail along the wall. The bumper doesn't fit quite as well as it did in his old room, but it's not bad. It does the trick. And the purple matches beautifully :) However, I suppose that if we decide the purple isn't good for a boy's room (and particularly if the child that takes over that room when the time comes is not of the female variety), then we'll have to tackle painting. As a side note, the green color I mentioned a while back (originally earmarked for our old kitchen) is closer than I thought it would be. It matches one of the green fabrics that's part of the Snoopy stuff. Unfortunately, it clashes pretty significantly with the other, more prominent green in the set, which is more of a soft lime color. So if we paint, it'll probably be some shade of powder blue. Otherwise the purple will be perfect!

- Hockey playoffs start tonight for both the Amerks and Sabres, and I realized this morning that this is Jacob's first playoff hockey season. Neither team made it last year. And while it all really has nothing to do with him--obviously he's not really aware of the significance--I still think it's interesting considering his obsession with the sport. My Sabres fandom has waned a bit in the last couple years, partly due to issues with their management and a perception that they've forgotten the "little guy" fans who can't pay the astronomical sums to go to their games. They're also no longer the Amerks' parent team, so they're sort of the enemy now on that level. However, I can't help but cheer for the many guys on the team that played here (particularly in the glory days near the end of my tenure working there), and it's hard to cheer against Buffalo in the playoffs in any sport, considering all of the tough times they've experienced in that department. There's really no NHL team I like more, obviously, so if I have to pick a team (which, inevitably, every hockey fan does), it would have to be Buffalo anyway. So, while Jacob won't understand the importance of the games we'll be flipping between tonight, hopefully someday we'll have some great stories to tell him that result from them!

- Can anyone explain to me why Jacob feels the need to have us stand up to play hockey with him? When we try to sit on the floor, he always says, "Up!" and often grabs our hand to literally try to pull us up. And no, knees don't cut it. We need to be standing. That makes playing with an 18-inch long stick pretty tough, even for me. But that's how he wants it.

- This is probably a pretty pathetic post, so I will leave you with a funny video clip that I sort of forgot about. This was taken at our old house a week or two before the move. Jacob found my flip flops scattered among the boxes in our office, and decided to take a walk in them. Classic.


video

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thoughts on the House

Well, we've now been in our house for two full weeks. They've been busy and I still haven't had much time to enjoy it, but we'll get there one day. I plan on being in this house a LONG time so what's a few weeks of upheaval? As a whole, we love the house. There are many things that I didn't expect to like so much, and there are some things that I didn't expect would be a little more difficult. But still, I really like it here. And so will Craig, I imagine, once he gets to spend more time here after his seasons are over. Let's see...

Good Stuff:
- I love that we only have six stairs up and seven steps down. That's the most stairs in a row anywhere in this house. Not only it safer for Jacob, but it's also nice because I don't have to get over the mental hurdle of going "all the way upstairs" or "all the way to the basement", because I can do that many stairs in three big steps if need be! It keeps the "crap" accumulation at the top and bottom of each staircase at a minimum, which is good. Jacob really likes to climb the steps and is really good at it. He's an expert at crawling up them, and getting really good at walking up them, too. Coming down is a bit more of an issue because he's not wanting to slide down on his belly anymore. He usually wants to walk down them, which is bad because he's clumsy and he gets distracted easily. He took a small tumble down about three of them today, but I do think it was as good lesson because he was more easily convinced to do the belly slide twice after that.
- I love having a dishwasher. I expected that, but I didn't expect just HOW nice it would be--so nice I hardly even notice its absence in my life--to not have to handwash most of my dishes. I especially like not washing sippy cups. I still have too much to do to just sit on the couch instead of doing dishes, but I can't tell you what relief it is to think of how many dishes I'm NOT doing anymore!
- I like having things to do in the yard, and having nice, soft grass to do it on. We have a BIG yard now. And while I do miss the security of our fence, the yard is too big for Jacob to run out of too quickly. We have a swing set back there, and a nice patio, and a park bench, the pool, and a lot of pretty landscaping (more on that later). It's just more pleasant to be out back (or in front) than it was at our old house, where I just wanted to tear out every square inch of everything--grass, weeds, plants--and start over.
- I like not having to worry about redoing everything in the house. Having a new kitchen, decent carpeting (some issues but good enough), plenty of space, a decent roof, good windows, enough insulation, and a lovely exterior is so nice. I hated thinking about all of the stuff we should have been doing to the old place. Those things will come here, probably sooner than we hope, but for now it's nice. And if we want, we can get more "fun" things in the meantime (meaning, stuff that we actually get to see and enjoy in the house).
- I like having SPACE. Looking in the linen closet, bathroom vanities, the pantry, our guest bedroom, and the crawl space is so nice, because they're not full. We have room to grow if we need to. I hope we don't have to, but in the meantime it's nice. I hate the feeling that the walls are closing in!
- I like our neighborhood. There's a lot of unique houses around here, so it keeps things interesting. Our old neighborhood had a lot of the same stuff...capes on one end of the street, and the same couple styles of ranches and splits in our section. This street has very few houses that look too much alike, and it makes for a more interesting walk or drive.
- Carpeting is nice. My feet don't get nearly as cold as they used to, and I don't mind sitting on the floor here. And we don't even have nice, soft plush in the living room. Even berber beats out hardwood and area rugs!

The Other Stuff:
- I am intimidated by the yard. While it's nice to have a yard that's well kept and full of cool stuff, I am scared by nearly every square inch of it. The pool is just overwhelming to think about right now, it's a haul to go from the house to the back of the backyard (particularly for Jacob's little legs!), and there is just a ridiculous amount of landscaping to tend to. Jacob and I were outside for a good couple hours today, and I spent most of it cutting out last season's dead stuff on everything--hostas, ornamental grasses, and numerous other things I couldn't identify. There was a ton of it, and I don't think I'm done yet. But it's better. And it's nice to have a purpose outside, but wow...hopefully we don't screw it up.
- There are too many places to hide here. Having a bigger house has been a challenge when it comes to Jacob. I can leave the room for a minute and when I come back, Jacob is gone. And he could be hiding anywhere--upstairs, downstairs, behind doors, in any number of rooms--and it's scary. I know we should probably do gates, and we will with the next baby, but Jacob's almost old enough that we don't need them right now. But it freaks me out every time he disappears because I don't know his hiding places yet. And he's aided by the fact that the floors don't squeak as much here as they did at the last house...because you pretty much just had to listen there and you'd find him. Similarly, I never expected such an open floorplan house would suck up sound so bad. It's hard to hear anyone from anywhere!
- This house is a lot more to clean. It might not be bad once I get into it, but the sheer size of the living room alone is freaking me out. I haven't pulled out he vacuum yet--I feel like it's a waste of time until I'm done sorting through boxes--but let's just say that the thought of vacuuming more than a room at a time is making me nervous!
- I am seriously concerned we're not going to find a table that fits our kitchen right.

Regardless of the "bad" stuff, I love this house. I feel lucky every time I walk into it and realize it's ours. And yes, someday I will post pictures. But not yet!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Language Explosion

Lately I've been noticing Jacob's vocabulary go through the roof. While a lot of it still isn't particularly clear, and we're not getting actual sentences, there are a few multi-word phrases and a lot of actual, real words. You go through a phase with toddlers where you know they understand what you're saying, even if they don't have the words to respond appropriately. And don't get me wrong, there's still a heck of a lot of unrecognizable stuff that comes out of Jacob's mouth and quite a few times where he'll look at me quizzically or ignore me altogether. But I think we're starting to move toward the point where Jacob will be able to respond, with words, more times than not. Of course, when I want him to have them most is when he's upset, and usually at that point he's got none. Ugh. But there have been more than a few moments in the last few days where Jacob will say a word and I'm shocked he even knows it. And, no, not the ones of the four letter variety...yet. Take last night, for example. For Easter Jacob got a couple books--Sesame Street-themed ones from the dollar section of Target. One of them was Elmo's First Book of Colors. The book highlights one color per page, with a little rhyming verse about the color that names a couple things on the page that are a certain color. Then it prompts the reader to look for other things that are the same color. We went through the red page and Jacob named things I didn't even know he knew, including "door" and "coat". Yesterday at the grocery store we were waiting in line and Jacob (as usual) was pointing to the various shapes contained in the sticker showing all accepted credit cards--the circles in the Mastercard logo, the star on another--and then I started asking him colors. For a while, until late last week, everything was blue. But slowly I started hearing "red" and "yellow", and earlier this week I got an "orange". So he's telling me the colors as we're getting checked out, and the cashier (who, admittedly, was only a teenager and probably knows nothing about the developmental schedules of toddlers) asked me how old he was and seemed genuinely impressed that he already knows his colors. The other day while we were in the car, I asked Jacob if he could count on his fingers. I figured they had to do that at daycare, and sure enough, he held up his hand and started pointing to each finger. His numbers aren't very good yet, but he does know a couple (five and nine being his favorites) but even still--his intonation while he was "counting" was exactly what you'd expect if he was saying, "One, two, three, four, five...", which was cool. There's just something about his talking nowadays (even the nonsense stuff) that sounds very real. And on top of that he's been doing little things lately that just reek of "big boy"...but of course then he melts down into a major tantrum and I taken right back into thinking he's my little baby. Oh well.

Off to a fun weekend, though half of it will be Craig-less. He's got a couple Knighthawks games to attend to before we run off to try to find a lawnmower on Sunday. We need a rider now, thanks to our giant patch of land. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Candy

After Jacob's lovely haul of Easter candy this weekend, I've been finding myself a bit perplexed about it. And quite frankly, I've been finding myself perplexed about a lot of snack foods for Jacob's entire solid food experience. Maybe it's just because I'm a working mom and don't get a heck of a lot of time with him on weekdays...and weekends are a crap shoot because we never have the same schedule twice. But I honestly have a hard time finding a good time to give him snacks...particularly super-sugary chocolate ones. If I happen to have a chance to give him a formal snack (meaning, not one that's stuck in a plastic snack cup while we're out and about), I'd prefer it to be a good one...or at least one that might fill him up for more than a few minutes or at least has some nutritional value to it, like crackers, fruit, or cheese. Even though I will easily do it for myself, I have a hard time giving Jacob chocolate for a snack. When he first started eating solids, I did everything in my power to keep things relatively healthy. Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, real butter, plain cereals, organic yogurt, and very few processed foods (and if they were, I tried to stay away from stuff like nitrates that you find in regular hot dogs and lunch meats). Then he got old enough for some of the Gerber snacks and he started liking french fries and things got a little looser. Then he got old enough for things like birthday cake with frosting and ice cream, and then he got enough teeth for things like cookies. The lines start to blur and suddenly you're feeding your kid chicken nuggets, pizza, and mac and cheese at every turn! Oops. So much for keeping my perfect little baby's perfect little body free of garbage!

Luckily (?!), Jacob is a skinny kid so I'm less concerned about his calorie and fat intake than I would be if he was a chubby kid. But still, I still have a hard time giving him stuff full of empty calories. I still cringe just a bit each morning when Craig gives Jacob a few pieces of his morning cereal. Lately Craig's been requesting Lucky Charms for his cereal, and while I don't mind Jacob having a few of the sugar coated oat bits, the marshmallows make me extra nervous. I just don't want him getting too into the sugary stuff, to the point that he doesn't want the healthy stuff (Cheerios, Chex) anymore. At home he gets juice once in a while, and I know he gets it about once a day at daycare, but when he's been asking for it by name lately, I get a little more nervous that he's getting addicted to sugar. He still loves water, and I want to keep it that way!

So now I look at the chocolate and jellybeans on the counter and wonder when I should give it to him. I'm only with him for 2-3 hours in the evenings, and the first part is before dinner (no snacking!), the second part is during dinner, and the last part is pre-bedtime (i.e., not the time for sugar). And while it would be logical to give him some chocolate for dessert, he's usually so ready to be out of his highchair that he wouldn't want to keep sitting there, even for chocolate. And I sure as heck am not letting him eat chocolate elsewhere in the house, particularly now that we have off-white berber carpets everywhere!

So, between the guilt, time constraints, and a dislike for chocolate-stained anything, I'm stumped. We have all of this perfectly yummy chocolate sitting around that I know I should share with my child (guiltless chocolate eating is one of the best parts of childhood, after all), and I just don't know how! One piece at a time, I guess!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Weekend

As I mentioned on Monday, we had quite the eventful Easter weekend. I was off work on Good Friday, and Jacob's daycare was closed, so the two of us got to start our weekend early. Thursday night was a flurry of packing. Of course, I did take a second to snap a couple quick photos of Jacob being silly. Here he is playing with the backstop to Craig's Peanuts baseball figurine set...he kept holding it up to his face and it was so funny!

Once Craig was off to work Friday morning, it was just Jacob and me...so I tried to keep him occupied while I finished packing. We got a little outside playtime on the swingset that came with the new house, then had to go in, eat lunch, and get ready to leave. The noon departure left us a lot of playtime once we got to my parents' house. My dad retrieved a bag of balls from the garage for Jacob to play with. The hardballs probably weren't the best idea, but there were some good ones in there. Jacob liked this ball a lot...particularly since he loves basketball these days...

Speaking of basketball, Jacob was obsessed with the full size basketball hoop next door to my parents, and really wanted to play "ba-kee-ball" there the whole weekend. At one point he took a wagon ride down the street with my mom, and they came back with friends--Nora, a little girl that lives down the street, and her parents. Along with her came her little pink car and a soft bouncy ball that was nearly basketball size. I put Jacob on my shoulders and let him shoot that ball at the big hoop, since the ball couldn't do any harm to the cars sitting nearby. He had a blast with that. Too much, in fact...

The next morning my mom put together a little Easter egg hunt in the backyard for Jacob and Nora. Of course, when the time came, Jacob only wanted to play basketball. And since the ball we had used the day before went home with Nora, we didn't have one that would work. Jacob would not take no for an answer, and the Easter egg hunt became a bit of a disaster...on his part, anyway. Here's everyone walking to the backyard. You can't tell here, but Jacob was freaking out the whole way.


And this is where he sat for pretty much the whole thing... (Interestingly, this picture is actually upside down. I took it from my vantage point--looking down at my feet, but it was hard to view the picture that way so I've flipped it for your benefit.)


In the meantime, Nora diligently found all of the eggs. She shared them with Jacob, too. It took a good 20 minutes or so, but Jacob finally calmed down and decided to go down the slide a few times.

And eventually he got to check out his loot...or rather, the loot that Nora shared with him. Lucky kid that she's such a sweet girl! He got to try a Hershey Kiss and a couple jellybeans. Of course, the next time I had to wipe Jacob's nose after that (he's been really congested the past few days), it was running out orange, so I think he may have inadvertently snorted some into his sinuses...ouch!
Nora was so cute and definitely benefitted from an Easter egg hunt the previous weekend...she was an old pro!
After the hunt we headed down to Nora's house to ease Jacob's basketball craving, using her little net. He had fun taking shots at the hoop and especially enjoyed when he got a little assist to do a slam dunk!
Later on he decided to take the wagon for a walk...probably to get back to Nora's basketball hoop. He probably would have walked really far had my dad not turned him around!

Later on Saturday, after lunch and a really long nap, we went down to the river to do a little caching. My mom found it rather quickly as we walked along the canal, and then we continued along the river. Jacob got to meet a few dogs along the way, which he enjoyed. Doesn't he look like such a little man in this picture?

Later that night we attempted to have some fun with the Easter eggs that Jacob didn't care to hunt for earlier. He had a good time putting them into the basket and dumping them out, all while I was encouraging him to count. Sometimes it almost sounds like he's getting some numbers out correctly, but it's tough to tell. Same with colors, though I know he's getting better with those!
Jacob had another good night of sleep on Saturday and woke up refreshed and ready to go. He got his Easter baskets from us and from Grandma and Grandpa before church...and just like last year, he liked playing with the Easter grass. He got a couple books, a slinky, and some M&Ms from us (not to mention a dog from Build-a-Bear last week...who cares that it didn't actually cost us anything thanks to some coupons we had!), and he got lots of Platters chocolate (an NT favorite!) and an Easter book from Grandma and Grandpa.


We went off to church and actually got through it without having to leave the pew! Of course, it wasn't without a couple "moments", like when Jacob yayed and clapped after a song or when he just couldn't understand why he wasn't allowed to draw in the pew bible or hymnal. Hmmm. After church we went to the gym (which Jacob only remembers for having played basketball on a little kiddie hoop in there a couple times--seriously, we arrived at church and he immediately started saying "basketball") for a delicious breakfast. Jacob ate well while I could keep his attention, but pretty much once Craig arrived (direct from Rochester after two straight game nights), Jacob was off and running again. They were holding an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids near the end of breakfast, and my mom took Jacob while I finished eating. By the time I got there, Jacob had half a paper bag full of candy (there weren't many eggs, just a LOT of candy scattered on the ground...and not many kids that age to share it!) and was running around holding a HUGE blue bunny. Sure enough, he had picked up one of the few eggs that were scattered around, and it had a little paper in it that indicated that he won the bunny. Good thing we have a big new house! I tried to take a picture of Jacob, Craig and the bunny, but one of the three wasn't cooperative ;-)
After a quick stop back at my parents' to pack up, we headed out to Hamburg to see Craig's family. I don't have any photos to document that stop, but suffice it to say that Jacob was all over the place as usual. He wanted to climb the stairs and hang out in his cousin Walt's room, presumably because of the big baseball Fathead stickers on the wall. He had fun playing with his cousins as usual and got a few more gifts to complete his Easter haul. Of course, he didn't nap much all day and by the time dinner was over (which he hardly ate), he was miserable no matter what we did. He fell asleep in Craig's arms in about 30 seconds of rocking, and shortly thereafter we packed up and headed out. He slept the whole way home, woke up for less than an hour once we got home, then went back to sleep until I woke him up at 7:45 the next morning. I guess it was a crazy weekend for all of us! Now we're back to the grind, hoping to get in a good groove at home for a while. Now if only I could get that couchtime I've been looking for!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Settling in...

I hope to have an Easter review soon, but I just didn't have a chance to pull pictures off my camera from the weekend. We had a good one, though. It was very busy and included its fair share of Jacob's less-than-enjoyable moments, but for the most part he was good (albeit determined) and generally a lot of fun. But I'll admit, it felt great to climb into my own bed last night!

Holidays in my mind are all about family. As a result, there really wasn't any choice but to head to Buffalo for the weekend. Of course, I could have waited and come into town with Craig on Sunday morning, but because of our Easter Sunday schedule, my only chance to see much of my extended family was on Good Friday for the annual Binkley tradition, prunes and noodles. Yes, it sounds nasty, but it's not. It's basically just egg noodles with buttery croutons and a splash of juice from canned plums. The more adventurous older folks eat the plums, but most of us younger folk add a bit of parmesan cheese and call it done. It's a weird German tradition, but it's been going strong for years thanks to (and now in honor of) my grandma. But it was a nice time with the family and a good opportunity for Jacob to play with his cousins. But because of this event, we had to come in on Friday. And since Craig was coming in separately on Sunday, I didn't really think we needed two cars in town so I opted to hitch a ride with my aunt and cousin. They were leaving at noon, which meant that my unpacking time would once again be limited. Not that I can do much with Jacob running around anyway, so I guess it was just as well. At least I didn't have to look at all the stuff I couldn't do all weekend...I just had to think about it periodically.

Once we got home last night and Jacob was in bed (mercifully, he went to bed early even though he'd already slept the whole way home...and slept until I woke him up at 7:45 this morning...nice!), I spent a good couple hours unpacking a large portion of the office. That felt good, though there's still quite a bit left to do in there. I still haven't touched the dining room, and the spare bedroom is pretty much a mess as well. Not to mention that we still have some patching and painting to do, which I'd like to take care of before we start hanging up decorations. I haven't even touched the "decor" bins and boxes, and they account for a lot of the remaining stuff. Craig's been doing a lot with his stuff, though he's still got quite a bit to sort through as well. He's got quite a few more years of saved stuff floating around than I do!

We've now been in the house for more than a week, and I'm still not feeling "at home". I'm sure the boxes in every corner and the lack of decorations with sentimental value are contributing to that. I haven't hung up the mirror above my dresser in our bedroom yet because I'm not sold on the furniture positioning, so I'm still doing my makeup in the bathroom...and I'm sure that's another factor. I'm just not in a groove, and I'm sure being away this weekend didn't help matters. I love the house, of course, but I just feel a little out of sync. I'm not used to cooking in the kitchen, or cleaning up for that matter (but boy, do I love having that dishwasher!). I'm not used to Jacob's hiding places yet, and there's so many more than in the old house! There's still a lot of stuff that's not in place, so I'm not in good habits yet of putting certain things away in certain spots. There are just a lot of things waiting for other things, and it's starting to drive me nuts! However, I think one of the biggest detractors is that I haven't just laid on the couch and watched TV. At all. I think I sat in one chair one night for one show, but seriously...we've been here a week...and that's all I used to do pretty much from the moment Jacob was in bed. So, I guess once I do that, things will start feeling a little more "normal" for me. Not sure when it will happen, but hopefully someday soon. My whole body is tired out...brain and back especially. I'd love to take one more day off of work to really get things done, but that doesn't seem possible right now thanks to a pile of projects. One box at a time, I guess. Speaking of which...time to go take care of a couple. More soon...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Class Bully and Other Random Stuff

So....yeah. Jacob is the class bully. Yep, that skinny little kid has been tormenting his classmates, apparently. Yesterday he made several biting attempts and sometimes out of nowhere will run up and pummel a kid, in the words of one of his teachers. I must admit, I'm a bit stumped. Yes, he can be difficult and defiant, particularly lately. But he can also be the sweetest kid, giving kisses, making his stuffed animals kiss, feeding them, hugging, laughing, playing sports...so I'm just not sure where the bi-polarness comes in. I know, he's almost two and the terrible twos may be making their appearance. That's just how kids are. And to some degree biting is normal at that age. But why is my sweet little boy such a disaster right now? Is it the move? Is it the age? Is it bad parenting? A combination of them all? I know that he's probably frustrated that he can't fully communicate himself right now. He's getting better with talking but he tends to whine a lot when he can't say exactly what he wants, and I'm sure that some of his physical responses tend to be for a similar reason. Even still, I don't like that when I tell him "no", that he turns, looks at me, smiles, and does it again. I don't like that every attempt to put on his coat or hold his hand to walk somewhere results in him shimmying out of my arms or turning into a rag doll or going stiff as a board. It gets so frustrating to deal with after a while, and now that it's affecting other people, it really bothers me. No matter how stern the "no" when he hits or tries to bite, it doesn't seem to impact him. Spanking and hand slaps are a tough call, because they obviously can't use that form of punishment at day care, and although a good dose of fear isn't a bad thing, I'm not sure that hitting is the best way to punish a hitter, at least not before they understand that it's only acceptable for Mommy or Daddy to do that (though that sounds wrong just typing it, but you know what I mean). I don't know what he needs, though I'm doing my best to be available for him, to play with him, and to make things as much back to normal as possible, even though there's still so much going on with our move and the aftermath. I have no idea if the move really got all this going, or if he'd be doing the same thing back at the old house, too, just because of whatever phase he's entered into. I know that I didn't give him the attention he probably needed during the move itself (not that I didn't have other people around trying to make up for it, but you know, no one else is Mommy!), and I feel so badly about that. And this week hasn't been easy either, trying to do what I can for Jacob while staring at the boxes that need unpacking and knowing that they're probably a safety hazard if we're not watching and a barrier to Jacob having a nice, big play area. Hopefully we can ease him back into good behavior with some extra attention and a continued eye toward discipline.

In other news, let me just say that I firmly stand by what I said at the beginning of this moving process--that I did not want to do it while pregnant. That's why we did this sooner rather than later, so that we could get it over with before we got much closer to an attempt at baby #2. I have been so exhausted throughout this process that I can't even imagine doing it with even less energy. My body aches, I'm ready to sleep by 10pm (or earlier), I'm falling asleep at my desk, and yet I've been going to bed no later than I used to. I can't even fathom how I'd be feeling pregnant. Not to mention that I would never want to expose my unborn child to all of the stress that's gone along with this process. I think the stress has had a major impact on me, because I just don't think that the physical activity alone can account for all these other symptoms. It's been quite the process and I think my brain and body both need a rest. Hopefully soon, but no, not quite yet. I will not rest until all of the boxes have a home!

Jacob and I are off to NT for the weekend starting tomorrow, and Craig has a couple games to get through before joining us on Sunday. We're going up primarily for the Binkley family tradition of Prunes & Noodles on Good Friday, which is better than it sounds. It should be fun, though I know I'll be thinking about the house all weekend. I'm not sure if the change of scenery will be good for Jacob or if it will only add to his confusion and frustration. Let's hope it's the first option. I hope to find a couple fun Easter-y activities for Jacob, but if nothing else we do have his Easter basket to look forward to. Hopefully I'll get some fun pictures to share soon. Have a very Happy Easter, everyone!