The other day, on my drive home from work, I started counting up the words that the dumpling can say now. I came up with quite an impressive list (at least, impressive to me) and I realized that I haven’t memorialized what he can say in a while. So, without further ado and presented in as close to chronological order as I can get, a narrated list of the words that my child knows:

Uh-oh – a classic favorite that really just means, something needs your attention!
Dada –
a word for either mama or dada if I am in a good mood
Mama –
a word explicitly for mama if I am very upset
Up – now woman!
Down – now woman!
Off –
comes out as “oss” and it really means will you open/close/put-on/take-off this?
More –
self-explanatory, but it comes of as “ore”
All done! – and you have two seconds before I toss this to the floor!
Water –
Outside –
Walk – I don’t care what you’re doing, but it’s time to get outside for a walk!
Shoes – shus?? shus??? where are you???
Sock –
This –
Oh this! – oh my gosh I need this right now!!!
Cracker –
he actually pronounces this one pretty darn close, he’s just missing the hard c
Yes –
I feel like it must be noted that he’s a toddler who actually does say yes
No – and I’m not even sure why you would suggest that, mother
Dressed –
as in, let’s go get you dressed!
Block – let’s play!
Bye –
the sweetest little “bye” you’ve ever heard
Truck –
OMFG it’s a TRUCK!!!!
Hi –
only said if you’re very lucky
Circle –
“ircle” said every time he sees a circle

Currently, he’s working very hard on brush (as in, to brush his teeth), wash (as in, to wash the clothes), and mulk (aka, milk). Then, there are other things that I’m fairly sure he’s just mimicking, like just like that (as in the spider caught the fly in her web, just like that) or coke (as in, gotta get dad a coke!). It’s always challenging to find the line between he knows that word and he’s repeating that word. He can also answer what sound a (1) dog, (2) cat, or (3) dinosaur makes.

All in all, he’s made a lot of progress since as of about three/four months ago he could only say uh-oh and dada.


Nighttime Moments, a redux

The dumpling once again had an odd night last night.

I’ve mentioned before (though I’m not about to comb the archives for the reference) that the dumpling moves in his sleep differently. Some nights, he’ll fall asleep and remain still until about 9:30pm. Then he’ll wiggle around a bit, settling into a new position. Some nights, he’ll fall asleep and start moving within thirty minutes. These nights, he seems to toss and turn and toss and turn all night long. Other nights, I’ll see him sit up in his crib and blindly search for his stuffed animals, face-planting back into his mattress once he’s found both puppy and kitty. I always wonder if there’s a correlation to his movements and the quality of his sleep. On the nights he moves so much, is he getting poor sleep? Are those the kind of nights I have when I wake up still feeling tired the next day? Do I move that much? Does less movement equal better quality sleep?

All questions for another time, alas, and we’ll go back to last night. Last night, he moved quite a bit after he fell asleep. It also took him a while to fall asleep, though he seemed perfectly content in his crib, singing to puppy and kitty and rolling around. Around 9pm, I noticed him moving again, though that wasn’t surprising. What did surprise me though was that he started moving and just kept moving. Rolling and tumbling. Sitting up and laying down. Grabbing puppy and kitty and tossing them. One minute he’d be in the top, right corner of his crib, facing me, and the next minute he’d be in literally the opposite corner of the crib. I also noticed his eyes open quite a bit. It’s normal for him to open his eyes and look around for a few seconds, but last night was much more than that. The dumpling was still rolling around when Luffy headed to bed about 9:20.

By 9:40, he started calling for me with soft “mamas.” He wasn’t crying or agitated (any more than he already was with all that moving), but he just called me. I decided to go check on him. He’s been having two pain-related issues lately (all four canines are coming in at once and some GI issues that I won’t go into detail on), so I thought that he might be uncomfortable. After a few minutes with him, it was clear that he thought it must be morning*. I have no idea what was truly the cause of the disturbance, but after a dose of Motrin and an entire cup of water, I was still up with him until midnight. He finally settled back down only after I left him, when it was clear that my presence was only keeping him awake as he wanted me to continue rubbing his belly while he chatted with puppy and kitty.

And of course – OF COURSE – you’d think that after getting back to sleep at midnight he would sleep in some this morning. Right? That makes sense. Except that’s not how toddlers work and he was up before 6am this morning, happy as a freaking clam, while I dragged my butt out of bed feeling like a small truck had run over me. All in all, not a night any parent looks forward to when they contemplate becoming parents.

And yet. For the first hour or so, I was perfectly content to be up with him. I sat with him, in the chair that I nursed him in all those nights, marveling at how much bigger he’s gotten. He sat in my lap, this small child of mine, his head resting against my chest as I rubbed his back. His legs dangled off my lap, kicking at his crib until I moved farther away. He drank water from his cup, rather than milk from my breast. He communicated, in no uncertain terms, that he wanted to go outside his room, to see the kitty and the house, cloaked in darkness**. He wasn’t content anymore to lay on my chest while I reclined on the guest bed. He just wanted to sit with me, in our chair. In the quiet moments, as I held him in my lap, I tried to snuggle him close and hoped to always remember the feeling of his now toddler-sized body next to mine. The same way I hope to always remember how I held him close to nurse or how I laid next to him in the darkness, all those nights ago.

*Have you ever done that? Woken up from a nap or in the middle of night and thought it was morning? Because it is super disorienting and if that’s what was going on, I totally empathize with the dumpling. One time, back when I was in college, still living with my parents, I had taken some Benadryl in the early evening. My dad put on a movie – Tears of the Sun. I dozed off during the movie (which we both thought was terrible) and woke up as it was ending. I suppose it was the Benadryl, but I was SO disoriented when I woke up. I thought it was morning and was super confused as to why my dad and I were watching a movie in the morning, like didn’t he have somewhere to be? Didn’t I have somewhere to be? I remember making weird statements to my dad, asking him about getting ready for the day and whatnot. I remember heading to the kitchen to pour cereal for breakfast and finally figuring out what was going on because the light outside was clearly dusk, not dawn. I felt much better after this revelation, but it’s clear how unsettling the whole thing was given this happened a decade ago and I can still recall it with such clarity.

**Hindsight being 20/20, I think that this was part of the problem. I took him outside his room, thinking that if he saw it was still dark outside, he’d realize that it was still nighttime. Instead, I think I piqued his curiosity. I realized that he never sees the house completely dark like that, all lights off and total darkness outside. He probably thought it was really cool. I’ll have to remember this for the next random night waking.

Daycare Cooties, pt 2

I really didn’t want there to be a part two, you guys. Le boo.

The dumpling once again slept in. When I realized that he slept through the night without vomiting, I had high hopes for his return to daycare. He’d made it through yesterday just fine, surely we were headed up. But, as I moved him through our morning rituals, I wasn’t convinced he felt ok. He just seemed extra sad, clinging to my shoulder in a Precious Moments way, rather than a howler monkey way. I had just started a video chat with my mom (seeing his grandma always brightens the dumpling’s day), when he suddenly turned towards me.

“I’m still not sure if he’s feeling well,” were my literal words right before diving for the kitchen sink as the dumpling puked a half cup of milk everywhere. Poor baby. “Well, I guess that answers the question,” I called out as my mom stared at the ceiling from where I’d abandoned my phone.

Honestly, I think he felt worse today than he did yesterday. Yesterday, the only way you’d know he wasn’t feeling great was his lack of appetite. But he was happy to play and keep himself company, while drinking some water. Today though, today he felt extra miserable. He needed a nap at 11 and actually went down for a second one at 2:30. When he woke up from his first nap, I spent almost an hour carrying him around the house, singing Itsy Bitsy Spider to him. He dozed on my shoulder as best he could. After he got sick a second time (both times were in the morning), he refused liquids. He didn’t drink any water until around 4pm and yes I was starting to get very worried. Luffy helpfully picked up Gatorade and Popsicles to help keep the dumpling hydrated.

The turning point came in the afternoon. He was trying to put a sippy cup together (which he did the other night and was SO proud, as were his parents), but he kept getting frustrated and sliding down my lap in an attempt to assume a tantrum position. To try to calm him, I ended up rubbing his tummy a bit, then his legs, like his dad loves. I suppose that did the trick because he laid there for a while, before getting up and finally starting to talk and laugh and drink water!

I’m hopeful that he’s turned the corner for real this time – that poor baby doesn’t have any spare rolls to lose.


Daycare Cooties

My least favorite part about the dumpling going to daycare is the inevitable onslaught on daycare germs. In a way, it’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be (no, my child didn’t have a cold for four months this year), but in some ways, it’s just as bad. Particularly stomach bugs. The dumpling’s home today because the poor baby got sick in his crib last night. We got an email just yesterday warning us that a bug was (still) making the rounds and when I saw two cases in his classroom, I sent up a little prayer and crossed my fingers.

All for naught it seems.

Oh well, the dumpling has been in good spirits this morning, despite not eating anything and every so often executing a terrifying little cough-cough-gag thing. He’s currently napping and I’m currently holding my breath to see if he makes it through his nap without vomiting. STAY TUNED FOR THE EXCITING UPDATE!!

At least he gets exposed to all of this before he starts school. He’ll have quite the robust immune system before long. At least, that’s what they tell me.

Toddler Preferences

It’s fascinating to watch a little person’s likes/dislikes emerge. It also feels like quite the crowning achievement when I suddenly connect the dots and realize that oh hey, I think he really likes tart foods! At least until he decides that he doesn’t like tart foods anymore, thankyouverymuch. Here are a few of my toddler’s clear preferences:

Socks – The dude loves socks. Always has. He has to choose his socks in the morning and some mornings it can be quite the ordeal, with rejected socks thrown about his room. He’s very particular about them, sometimes requesting to search through his clothes hamper in pursuit of an already-worn favorite. It also meant that during Pestilence of 2018: The Great Rash, his feet looked almost as bad as his poor little bottom because he refused to be barefoot.

Stripes – The dumpling occasionally extends his wardrobe choices to the rest of his body and will choose his shirt for the day. Although, when this happens it’s usually more of a demand than a request, but hey, it’s the toddler’s world and I’m just living in it. I also started putting this one together during the aforementioned rash episode. He was giving me serious mommy guilt because he kept demanding to wear a long-sleeved onesie he has.  And they came as a set, so he actually has four which was super convenient when he’d discover yet another one after I thought I had hidden them all. Logical explanations of rash + exacerbated by heat + Texas summer + long-sleeves went right over the dumpling’s head, so I just rolled the sleeves up as far as they would go and hoped for the best. I wondered what it was about these onesies that he liked so much. Were they softer than his other shirts? Was it the bold colors? The contrasting colors? Whatever it was, he was hooked.

A few days later, (after I had really and truly hidden all of the long-sleeved shirts) he demanded to wear another onesie of his, a soft white/navy striped number, and the proverbial light-bulb clicked on. I think he likes stripes, I thought to myself, and as soon as I had the thought, it struck me that stripes were everywhere in his preferences. Nine times out of ten, his chosen socks were striped. (The other 1/10 time, the socks have stars.) Stripes on his shirts. The stupid long-sleeve onesies were striped. The only time he ever cared about shorts, they were striped. Striped blanket that he keeps pulling down. Stripes, stripes, stripes. He loves them. Luckily for him, I’m a big fan of simple infant/toddler clothes (you won’t find a **Daddy’s Lil’ Slugger** shirt in his closet), thus he already had plenty of striped shirts. Now I just make sure to look for striped options first when purchasing new clothes. Which will be awesome when he suddenly decides that he hates strips and that’s 2/3 of his wardrobe.

Cars – The dude loves cars. Cars on his zippy. Toy cars. Real cars (watching them go by, that is). Semis rolling down the highway. Lining daycare’s toy trucks up while he’s outside playing. Playing with they neighbor’s dump truck.

Speaking of, the aforementioned neighbor had a birthday part over the weekend. He loves wheels, in any and all form, so I got a cute set of toddler cars with out-sized wheels for him. Luffy had the bad timing of pointing out the present on our dining table within full view of the dumpling. The next thing I knew, the dumpling insisted we open the package so that he could examine the cars. He now owns a set of toddler cars and I had to go buy a new one for the neighbor. I will also make sure to hide any and all future presents. Live and learn, folks, live and learn.

Memorial Day 2018

Whew! We made it! We took our first road trip with the dumpling and we all survived. We had to break a few rules and we did deal with one round of puke, but yay! WE DID IT!

In all seriousness though, I am very grateful Luffy agreed to make the trip down to hill country Texas for my mini family reunion. In the end, my grandparents really only got to say hi to the dumpling, but it made their day. They hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him. Plus I got to catch up with my cousins and their children, so that was a lot of fun. We compared notes Sunday morning on how our respective children handled the night in the hotel room and our parents marveled over how it felt for their kids to have kids now. Weren’t we just in diapers and swim floaties like last summer?

We were there for less than 24 hours, but it was so wonderful to see everyone. We introduced the dumpling to the swimming pool and taught him how to kick his little legs (from his perch on the pool steps) and splash people (mainly my brother [his target] and my mom [an innocent bystander since he didn’t quite understand how to aim his splashing]). We also found a nearby neighborhood playground that he got to romp through. He also took full advantage of the VAY-CAY-TION!!! rules around food and had snacks on snacks on snacks.

To round out our holiday weekend, we spent yesterday afternoon in the backyard with his kiddy pool and bubbles. I managed to distract him enough to get him to wear a pair of sandals for the occasion (have I told you guys that I bought a couple of new pairs of shoes for him at Target that he has flat out refused to wear? because if anyone has ideas on how to convince a toddler that new shoes are not the devil, I’m all ears) and I laughed over his enormous swim trunks. He definitely had a little booty showing at the end, that poor, skinny dumpling.

I’m looking into water activity tables now because I discovered a great solution for all of those little ow-si??? inquiries when it’s 1,000 degrees outside and I don’t want to take his wagon for a walk around the block. A shady backyard and water activities are where it’s at!

Speaking of ow-si? I have to say that my favorite story from the road trip itself is sitting in the back with the dumpling and having to field the ow-si?? question as he’s forlornly pointing out the car window. No, my sweet baby, we can’t go outside. We’re driving. Ow-si?? I know it’s right there, but we’re driving, we can’t go outside. Ow-si?? We can’t go outside; I know you’re bored. All dun. I know you’re all done baby, but we’re not there yet. All dun. We’re still driving my sweet boy. All dun. If it makes you feel any better, mama and dada are all dun too.

A glimpse

I’m sitting on the couch right now, my feet propped up with a whiskey at my side. A quick glance down shows me an image of my sleeping son, on his belly with his kitty* tucked into his side. I am exhausted, physically and mentally, thanks to that little dude.

Today was one of those days that just beat us down. It started out looking like a good day! I got the dumpling up and we went about our Saturday morning routine without an early morning meltdown. Luffy was in good spirits as I left to go to exercise. But. Somewhere along the way, the dumpling decided that today was a no good day and everything triggered tears and woe.

We were actually supposed to go to a family friend’s birthday party today. They live on the other side of DFW from us, so it was going to be an hour’s drive there. Our initial plan was to leave at 11:30 to give the dumpling a car nap and arrive just a half hour late for the party. We decided, however, that the dumpling needed a real nap today and we definitely didn’t need to be an hour away from home should a meltdown occur. We contemplated attending again, later that afternoon after a fairly good nap and an tantrum-free hour, and even got about 15 minutes down the road before turning back. He was completely out-of-sorts in the backseat and we weren’t doing anyone any good by going.

I’m actually pretty bummed that we missed it. We haven’t seen these friends since January and they’ve moved to a new place since then. I was really looking forward to seeing them, but, alas, the dumpling had other plans. That’s not really something you think about, when having a child, that you may have to opt out of things you really want to partake in. I mean, sure, we say well we can’t go to Italy the couple of years, that will be ok! but you don’t really think about well my child will be having a tantrum-fest day, so I won’t be able to attend a good friend’s birthday party. We think of the big things we might have to wait on or opt out of, but not the little.

True to good mommy-blogging form, I’m supposed to close this by saying that he’s all worth it in the end. And he is. Of that I’m sure. His smiles make my bad mood melt away. His hugs make my heart ache. His laughs are literally music for my soul. And yet, seriously child would it kill you to not lose your marbles over the bubbles? Which you wanted in the first place, if I may remind you. Or the fact that we can’t go outside (ow-si?) right now. Or the way Sharpies don’t go down your train track the same way as the actual train cars do. Or the fact that you can’t actually control the cat. She does what she wants. I know, life’s unfair.

*I feel the need to clarify that this is a stuffed cat. He sleeps with a puppy and a kitty that I’ve dubbed Puppy and Kitty until he can do the honors. Teddy bears are so 2008.