Quick – someone send me something to read! But, like, something easy. I’m bored, but also tired.

I have the mental acuity of an earthworm today, all thanks to the dumpling. I’m not even sure what happened. He woke up at 11:15 last night and I thought I had him resettled, only to hear him over the monitor the second I laid down again. I then spent an hour with him, not really doing much other than hovering and patting. I would swear he was asleep and then a minute later, he’d be rolling around again. I finally felt confident enough to go back to bed at 12:30, only to be woken again an hour later. I gave up at that point and just camped out beside his crib, propped up on pillows with my arm through the crib slats. He didn’t really need anything, other than the weight of my hand on his body. Although it’s times like these when I sort of wish he was more of a cuddler so I could at least take him to the guest bed and get some rest myself. More often than not, he wants back into his crib when I take him out to comfort him, so I end up contorting myself in an effort to reach into his crib while also trying to be comfortable myself.

So yeah, not really sure what was up. He was perfectly cheerful this morning (after I changed him out of his PJ’s that is, he was not pleased with me during that ordeal).

But yeah, now I’m dragging around because (1) I got like five hours of broken sleep last night and (2) my thirty-year-old body doesn’t appreciate sleeping on the floor. And I don’t really have anything else to chat about today. I have a tendency to take a not-so-great night like last night and throw in a little toddler-is-toddler behavior and a smidge of my own neurosis and – BAM – all is terrible! Much woe! Life is horrible and why did I do this to myself! Writing it down puts it into perspective a bit. So thanks for that, for being a sounding board.


Busy Baby

I walk into my bathroom, opening a lower drawer to retrieve a facial cloth and discover all of my tampons have been relocated. They are loose and rolling everywhere. I chuckle to myself as I imagine trying to explain to a much-older dumpling exactly what he’d been playing with and wordlessly gather them up and deposit them back into their box under the counter.

I got Jas a new food bowl over the weekend. Her original one is porcelain and is now chipped thanks to a certain small person’s fascination with it (or, more accurately, the noise it makes if flung across the kitchen floor). The new one is a stainless steel bowl inside of a plastic holder and, though I know the steel will still be loud, at least I can be assured that it won’t shatter into a million pieces after being hurled yet again. For science!

I went to feed Jas this morning and realized that the dumpling had taken the stainless steel bowl and filled it with (stainless steel) cookie cutters. Not sure if that was a coincidence or he’s just really good at the organizational game.

I’m reading on the couch, keeping the dumpling in my peripheral vision. He’s pulling brightly colored tissue paper out of a Kleenex box (a sort of busy-toy I made for him). I see him toddle past me, purposefully heading for the kitchen and I know where he’s headed. Sure enough, I hear the sounds of the recycling bin lid a few moments later and I know he’s deemed the tissue paper as recycling and sorted it accordingly.

We seem to lose a sippy or snack cup on a daily basis. I have a running list of places to check:

  • Kitchen island, where sippy cups are stored
  • Baking drawer, where aforementioned cookie cutters are stored
  • Recycling bin, for obvious reasons
  • Bookshelf
  • Behind speaker bar for TV
  • Dresser drawers in the dumpling’s room

I added two additional hiding places this weekend:

  • Laundry basket, which now contains a water bottle and an ancient bottle of hair mouse that I honestly didn’t even know I had
  • A paper carry-out bag, which now contains approximately 36 cookie cutters, three tupperware containers, a container of sprinkles, an eyeglass cleaning cloth, a tub of Vic’s, and a can of black beans

I love watching him explore the world. He’s so purposeful in everything he does, be it putting something into the recycling bin or digging through my kitchen drawers. He’s to the stage now where he’s not only fascinated by emptying a drawer or cabinet or container, he also wants to put the items back into something. A different drawer or cabinet or container. This leads to delightful discoveries like all of our travelling toiletry items (you know, the little bottles of hotel shampoo you keep around for the next time you have to fly) jammed into what had been an empty contact solution box. Or all of the canned goods moved out of the pantry and into the cabinet. We’re constantly checking the recycling bin before we put it out for pick-up, lest my good tupperware or a perfectly good can of tomatoes gets recycled. I’ve also made peace with the fact that I will be tripping over small objects for probably the next 8-10 years. (Seriously! It’s one of the things you don’t think about before you have kids – the fact that you could walk around your house reasonably assured you wouldn’t trip and/or step on things like blocks or stray cheerios or a random ice tray.)

Through all of this play and seemingly inconsequential busy work, he’ll do something that will truly amaze and delight me. He brings me his books one by one, stacking them up on my lap. He tries to put his shoes on by himself. He tries to put my shoes on. He stacks his rings. He hugs the cat. He walks to the car. He motions to the front door when he wants to go outside. He recognized the milk we buy in the fridge at the grocery store and desperately tried to get the door open. He found Jas’s collar in my bathroom this morning and immediately left to go chase her down with it. He somehow knew exactly who it belonged to.

So keep on being busy, baby. Mama will keep being dumbfounded by what you suddenly know how to do.

A taste of SAH-Momming

Whew! The dumpling is back at daycare today. After an unfortunate coincidence of timing, he also had four shots this morning so he should be a PEACH by the time he gets home, but still! He was happy to go see other people at school this morning.

Honestly though, I had a really great time with him the past two days. He was sick, true, but he was such a little trooper. Although by yesterday I think even he was a bit scarred from all the puking and he kept making these little gags throughout the day. I could never tell if he actually felt nauseous or was just suspecting every cough and hiccup to end differently. His spirits, however, had lifted by then and he was his cheery self. We had the best time blowing bubbles and walking around the neighborhood. We played in the window and he used my legs as a slide over-and-over-and-over-and-over. I was delighted to discover that he’ll oblige you if you ask him for a hug (squee!) and – brace your ovaries my friends – he gives hugs to Jas (SQUEE!!!). It is the most precious thing you can imagine. He toddles over to her, puts his little arms around her and gives her a tight squeeze. SO CUTE. Jas, of course, barely stands for it, but I make her. For the sake of cuteness.

I kept thinking that this was a little taste of the stay at home mom life. Not beholden to any schedule or anyone (though, of course, I was still frantically trying to get work done during naptime and after bedtime….. which as I’m typing is probably not unlike a SAHM now that I think about it, just different work). I managed to get a ton of the inevitable post-stomach-bug laundry done, but the rest of the house was a disaster. My office looked like a tiny tornado had blown through, but the dumpling was entertained. It was peaceful, in a way. I’m still glad to have him back in daycare today, but I keep expecting him to come toddling up, demanding crackers or water or hugs. I miss that dude.

He had his 15mo well visit this morning. For the first time, his ASQ was completely normal. Go dumpling! I expected it, honestly, because he has made such strides these past few months. He amazes us with new skills every day (just this morning he started stacking his rings!). I think a verbal explosion is in the cards for him soon, but we’ll see. I don’t want to rush him. He communicates just fine for now with grunts and points and emphatic cries, although I suppose it would be handy for him to be able to tell me what he wants to eat instead of waving vaguely at the open fridge. Meh, it will come.

Estomach Go Blech

Fun news! The dumpling has a stomach bug!

Or stomach something. I can never tell with these things. He’s puked twice (so far) and I’m limiting him to crackers and water. Or I was, until he brought me a pouch he’d found in the pantry at 5:15 and I felt bad for the poor, hungry baby. Every cough though makes me tremble in fear (probably because that’s usually how I start the vomit process).

Anyway, it’s been a fun week here – what with the eye infection and the stomach pestilence. Luffy’s not feeling so hot today either (maybe coming down with a cold?), so I’m praying my immune system is up to the challenge. I’ve washed my hands approximately 2,359,831 times today – that helps right? I’ve also been very happy my washer has a “sanitize” setting, as I’d be a touch uncomfortable wearing my PJ’s from this morning again…. and that’s all I’ll say about that.

Wish us luck for tonight!

One and Done

Luffy and I have decided. We’re changing our life-plan and sticking with our little family of three. One child. Just the dumpling. Honestly, other than my absurd wish to be pregnant again (anyone need these rose-colored glasses?) and hold a newborn (but only for like half an hour), the thought of just having one child brings me a lot of peace.

I wrote once, on a community board, that I feel like I’m too selfish to have another child. Not in a bad way, but more in a self-care way. Not to knock the dumpling or anything, but there are so many other things I enjoy in life. Plus, I’m not really into the whole mom sacrifices everything – her time, her body, her identity, EVERYTHING – to raise children. At the end of the day, I still want – nay NEED – time for myself. Time for my interests and hobbies, like exercising and travel. I’d really like to be able to teach at least three exercise classes a week again. Luffy and I would love to go to Italy again and we can’t wait to introduce our child to the joys of traveling. And hell, I need time to take care of myself. I’m a much better person with 15 minutes of peace and quiet. I don’t want to become a mother who hasn’t had a decent meal all day or whose children are well-dressed but she’s in sweats and unwashed hair. [Nothing against those mothers! It’s just not for me.]

With the plan for one child a go, Luffy and I have already started to become excited for the near future again. Travel! With and without the dumpling! We’re that much closer to getting a dog (because I refuse to be the primary care-giver for a puppy at the same time as a baby)! We’re that much closer to retirement! We’re that much closer to diaper-free days and meltdown-free days and – GUESS WHAT?! – we no longer have any newborn days in our future again! HOLLA!! WOOT WOOT!! and etc!!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware we might change our minds and we reserve the right to. Once the dumpling’s a little more independent and we’re through the ups/downs of early toddlerhood (read: teeeeeeeeeth because the dumpling is getting four right now). Once he can talk to us, maybe? We might change our minds. And that’s ok.

Right now though, my mental health is a lot, er, healthier with the thought of having just one. And that’s ok too.

Back to the routine

I must say, it feels good to slip back into a routine.

That was completely me. I lost all sense of the days and, even this week, I’m still lost as to whether it’s Tuesday or Wednesday. I used to love the times of the year when you get to kick back and lose yourself in the days of leisure, but with a toddler who does much better with routine, it feels so good to sink back into our cozy routine.

Unfortunately, our routine is being disrupted yet again this Friday by the dumpling’s MRI. Luckily, it should be fairly short, all things considered. I mean, the poor baby has to be sedated for the procedure so I was concerned they’d want to keep him for monitoring. I spoke to the radiology nurse yesterday though and she assured me that we’d likely be on our way by 10am at the latest. I still plan to keep him home though, to monitor him myself, so Friday should be an interesting day.

Luffy and I were talking the other day about how strange it is, having a child, in certain situations. For instance, while I was talking with the radiology nurse, she told me that two adults can wait in radiology, but then only one adult can go back with the dumpling. She said that adult could remain with him until he was asleep and then that person (which, who are we kidding, is going to be me) will be removed from the procedure area. And when she said that, my heart just seized up as my mind conjured up the image of my son under sedation, all alone in an MRI room. I won’t be allowed to rejoin him until he’s in recovery and I’m praying that he will take longer to wake up because I don’t want him to wake up without me being there. I mean, if he wakes up and no one’s there… my heart can’t take that.

Or, another example of this odd phenomenon where my heart squeezes involuntarily: our daycare is hesitant to move the dumpling into the next class (the toddler class, for ages 12-18mo). The dumpling’s 14mo now and finally walking pretty well. He’s actually already on the school’s lunch plan and we’re beginning to shift his schedule to align to the toddler class, so we asked them about the timing of his move to the next class. When they hesitated, we pressed and they told us that they thought he was too small. At first, we were dismissive (and also probably a touch defensive), but really, he’s small?! He’s probably always going to be on the smaller side of the class, at least until he hits his first pubescent growth spurt. What’s the cutoff here? I mean, if you hold him back for his size now, what about the next transition? He just broke twenty pounds (which we know thanks to a visit last Friday to our pediatrician!*), did they want him to be 22lbs or 25lbs? What exactly was their goal?

So, I asked my mother. A long, long time ago, she worked in a daycare (actually several, including running her own in-home daycare). My first clue as to the depth of her concern was that I texted her and she called me back. (Complete sidebar here – whenever you elevate the method of conversation, it always feels a touch more dire. Like if you email someone and they text you in return – or, in this scenario, you text someone and they call you back instead. But I digress…) She told me that if the daycare managers were hesitant to move the dumpling because of his size, it was very likely that the next class has some “assertive” toddlers – i.e. the toddlers that are in the pushing and hitting phase. His teachers have told me time and time again that if another baby takes a toy from the dumpling, he just goes to find another. He has such a sweet and passive personality (most of the time!). My mother said that she’d listen to the daycare managers, because she’d hate for the dumpling to go from a stellar daycare experience (seriously, he loves his teachers and class so much) to a classroom full of “bullies” who will quite literally run him over, physically and figuratively. And y’all – my heart just hurt for my son. It made me want to scoop him up and give him a hug. Or follow him into the toddler class to run interference for him against all of those bigger, pushier toddlers. Or, better yet, just keep him in the infant classroom with the teachers who already love him! Yes! Let’s do that!

Parenthood, right? It’s frustrating and fulfilling and heart-wrenching, all at the same time.

Now for a little observation that I really want to jot down:

My sweet baby has always loved to read. He loves books and turning the pages and lifting the flaps and hearing the stories. One of his favorite books (which was actually one of my favorites as a child!) is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. He also really like Sandra Boynton’s Doggies when he was really little, I think because of all of the doggie sounds. He’s gone one step further lately – he actually has favorite pages. And it’s very clear because he will thumb through a book with purpose until he lands on a particular page. And if we’re reading the book and I turn the page away from his favorite, he’ll immediately turn it back to have me re-read the page. Squee! Isn’t that just adorable?!

Right now, his favorite pages are the “nine dogs on a moonlit night” page from Sandra Boynton’s Doggies because we howl at the moon and he thinks that’s hilarious. His other favorite page is the “di-no-saurs sing-ing a di-no-saur song!” from her Oh My! Oh My! Oh Dinosaurs!. I think he likes it because I sing the words with much flair and embellishment. Plus, I occasionally decide to show off my skills at holding a note and hold on to the “song” until he’s smiling like a fool. Good times!

Anyway, wish us luck for Friday. I’m ready for next week when we can slip even further into our comfortable routines.

*The trip to the pediatrician last Friday was unscheduled but ultimately uneventful. The dumpling had a cold over Christmas, as I’ve mentioned. He ran a fever Friday through Sunday, but woke up fever-free on Christmas Day (Monday). He seemed to be improving and then he ran a fever again on Thursday afternoon. He didn’t have a fever Friday morning, but I spent a restless Thursday night with him as he tossed and turned and dozed fitfully. So, we went to the pediatrician’s for a clean-ish bill of health. Good thing too because the radiology people weren’t too jazzed about him having had a cold so recently and were quizzing me to make sure he hadn’t been diagnosed with the flu or RSV or something.

Post-holiday Recovery

Well then, that was depressing.

In hindsight, I think that I was just really upset over my parents leaving early. Even before the holiday, I had been bummed that they were only staying for a full day (Sunday afternoon through Tuesday morning, so basically just here for Christmas Day). So the abrupt departure was something I just couldn’t deal with. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the dumpling was a lot to handle, but topped off with my parents being here for just 24 hours, and voila! Existential crisis du jour.

If I may though, the decision to have a second child has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I’m not sure if it’s the dumpling’s mini-tantrums or my concerns over his development or perhaps the lackluster Christmas we had. Regardless, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to whether I want to have a second child.

Luffy’s ambivalent on the matter, so it’s really up to me. He does, at least, concede that I do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to our son, especially right now when we are in the grips of parent-preference (me, of course). It is nice to hear, in a way, that he sees everything that I do, but it doesn’t help the decision about a second child because I know that I’ll be doing most of the work. Hopefully, the dumpling will be a bit more independent when/if this hypothetical second child makes an appearance, but I know I can’t just focus solely on the young child and leave the older to fend for himself.

On the one hand, it feels like such a cop-out to plan my life out based on what’s easier right now. Right now, I can’t comprehend throwing a second child into the mix. Another strong-willed, uneven tempered being. I barely keep up with the dumpling as it is and I am always happy to turn him over to daycare for the day (mama needs a break too!). Honestly, just the thought of “I will only have one child” brings me a lot of relief and peace. And since it does, is that my gut telling me that I’d be no good as a mother of two? Is it taking the easy road or is it taking my feelings into consideration regarding our family’s future? After all, no one wants to be that mom who looks back at her life and regrets her children.

I feel like we’re at a crossroads of sorts. We ventured down one life path (have a child!) and we’re coming to a fork. The path that we’re on now has been fun, yes! With the dumpling’s laughter and smiles – watching him learn to crawl and walk and eat solid food. But it’s also been hard. With nursing around the clock in the beginning to newborn meltdowns to toddler meltdowns to colds and stomach viruses and febrile seizures.

This post is just all over the place at the moment. Basically what I’m trying to say is that raising a child is hard – oh so very hard – and I do a lot of the truly hard stuff. So if I choose to only have one child – is that taking the easy way out of life? Would I regret it later, that I never put in the hard work upfront to later enjoy the rewards of multiple children? Or, is choosing to have one child simply listening to my gut feeling that I’m unhappy right now and that child-rearing is the source of my unhappiness?

To add in one of my patented to be fairs, we have had a few tough weeks here recently. First with the shenanigans at Thanksgiving, then the seizure, and Roseola, and a cold, and possibly molars, and Christmas letdowns – it’s probably not the best time to be making life decisions. In the midst of the holiday blues, I even forgot that just weeks ago I seriously contemplated writing up a post about just how happy I was. At the end of October and first week or so of November, I was completely content. I felt it to my very core, the feeling that all was right in my little world. I didn’t write the post, because I thought it would come off as too braggy – look at me and my cozy little family! – but now I’m sad that I didn’t. It would have been a nice reminder of just how happy my life can be.