Wednesday, March 19, 2014


So... I know that this blog has essentially died, but I feel like I need to record a few things somewhere other than Facebook. Here we go...

I suppose the story I want to tell started when I met with D's teacher for Parent-Teacher Conferences at the beginning of February. We ended up talking for over an hour (sorry other mom who was waiting...). We talked about how D had surpassed every benchmark that he needed to meet by the end of the year (most with scores 3-4x the benchmark score) and we talked about some things we could do, both at home and at school, to enrich his learning. But mostly we talked about his behavior. We'd had a few meetings about his behavior previously, but hadn't seen any permanent changes. She told me that he was getting sent to time out and would end up sitting there for 20-30 minutes at a time because he wouldn't apologize or do whatever he needed to do to get out. (I as actually glad to hear he was being sent to time out, however. One of her previous punishments was to have him walk in circles  around the classroom FOR OVER AN HOUR while the other students did crafts.) I talked to D about this later and he told me that he went to time out 2 or 3 times everyday. Thirty minutes 2 or 3 times a day means he was spending up to 1 1/2 hour of the 2 1/2 hours of Kindergarten in time out everyday. I could tell his teacher was sort of at the end of her rope with him. And then she said, "Ya know what we could do to really push his buttons? We could send him to first grade for a few days. Those kids won't put up with his attitude for one minute." And I replied, "Is this a real question?" She assured me that it was a real possibility and that we could come right back to Kindergarten after a few days. We finally parted ways, with promises to be in contact after the weekend with a decision. I thought, and thought, and prayed, and consulted with anyone I thought would have a valid opinion. And I decided against it. I decided that what D was struggling with was social interactions and that he should stay with his peers to work on that and that I would try to supplement him academically at home. I sent his teacher an email explaining all of this. AND SHE NEVER EVEN OPENED IT! (I hope my caps lock is adequately expressing my frustration with this woman.) So I thought we were dropping the issue.

Thursday of that week, I got a phone call after school from the principal. She said it sounded like D was ready for first grade and wanted me to come down to talk to her and the first grade teacher. So we went. I expressed all of my misgivings (Does this mean 2nd grade next year? He's so little! What will we do when all of his friends are 16 and he's only 15? What if kids are mean to him?) and they put me at ease quite a bit. They told me that we had lots of options to try if full day school was too hard for D but that we would find something that would work. I just fell in love with the first grade teacher and I think she fell in love with D a little bit, too. We agreed to try it for two weeks and then decide if it was going to be permanent. So we got him a lunchbox and a haircut and he went to first grade. For the first couple of weeks, he came home and would exclaim how awesome school is. He just blossomed before our eyes. All of his behavior problems evaporated, even at home. He's discovered that he loves math. His reading ability has just soared. He's made new friends. It was been a total success.

Even though his teacher has assured me that he is exactly where he's supposed to be now in every area (socially, reading level, writing ability, number sense), I still wonder if it was the right choice. This change will affect him for the rest of his life, or at least the rest of his school life. It seems like a very drastic move when his Kindergarten teach could have done more to supplement his learning and keep him interested. But then I also think that he would have been more work for every teacher he ever had if we hadn't moved him. But I'm so happy that he's finally happy. It really has made all the difference for him. It was really hard for us to see our sweet, smart boy hating school. And now he loves it and he's excited to be learning things. I don't know if it would be the right choice for everyone; kids grow up so fast these days as it is. But for D, he was ready. And I'm so grateful that he was given the opportunity.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Little Scientist

A sample of the conversations D and I have had in the past week:

D: Mom, do you know what cars are made out of?
Me: Well, they are made out of lots of different things.
D: No, Mom, they are made out of atoms!
Me: You're right. Everything is made out of atoms, huh? Even the air you breathe is made out of atoms.
D: It is?!....I bet smoke is just gray colored atoms floating in the air!

Me: What do you think will happen when we put these ice cubes in the hot water and in the cold water?
D: I think the ice will melt in the hot water but it will not melt in the cold water.
After discovering that the ice melted in both kinds of water, just at different rates:
Me: Why do you think the ice melted in the cold water?
D: Well, it just wasn't, like, cold enough.

D: Mom, can you ever destroy atoms?
Me: No, you can't.
D: Then why does my book show them getting broken? (Points to an illustration of enzymes sawing molecules apart.)
We then had a conversation about chemical bonds and conservation of matter.

The way this kid's mind works scares me sometimes. He's sharp, that's for sure.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Baby still doesn't have a nickname. I had decided last week that I was going to start calling him Tiger, because he was so ferocious. He screamed so loud and for so long one night that James and I were a little scared of him. But in the last week, he's turned into a really nice, calm baby. He hardly fusses at all any more. He'll sleep anywhere, and doesn't even need me to rock him anymore to get to sleep. He has decided that he likes bath time and he doesn't mind diaper changes anymore, either. He is getting the cutest little double-chin and is growing out of his newborn size clothes. His eyes aren't swollen anymore, and now he's got the same big, dark eyes that D has. I swear that he's smiling already and he has started making cute little baby noises in the last couple of days, too. So Tiger doesn't seem to fit so well anymore.

D is struggling with having a new person in the house. He loves his little brother, but he is really having a hard time sharing Mom. He threw a big fit at the store the other day, screaming about how nobody in our family likes him anymore, we all just like the baby, and he wanted to go live with a new family. It broke my heart and infuriated me all at the same time. It probably doesn't help that he's been cooped up in the house for weeks with no kids to play with. It's been so cold that I can't even send him outside to play. But James goes back to school next week and D is going to start going to daycare a few days a week. In less than three weeks, I go back to work, and we'll all get back into a routine. A crazy busy routine, but at least there will be some structure to our days.

Baby's first bath. Once his circ was finally healed, we gave him a bath in the sink. He HATED it. He started pushing off with his legs and would have ended up in the other sink with all of the dirty dishes if I hadn't been holding on so tight.
We quickly switched to the baby bath, but he still hated it the first few times. I finally figured out that he likes his water hot, not warm, and he's been much ha

Thursday, December 27, 2012

"The Goodest Christmas Ever!"

We had a really wonderful Christmas around here. Everyone got up around 8:00, and we opened stockings. I really think D would have been ok if his stocking was all he got. But of course it wasn't all he got. I tried really hard to buy thoughtful gifts, and not just buy things because they were a good deal (anyone else have that problem?). He ended up with fewer gifts than usual, but he LOVED everything he got. All day, he kept exclaiming "This is the greatest/best/goodest Christmas ever!!" After presents, we had a nice breakfast all together and then we did NOTHING. It felt so nice to not have anything that I had to do, especially after working so frantically to get things done the day before (I was up until 1 am knitting Baby a stocking-- ridiculous, I know). James played his guitar, and I sat on the couch snuggling with the baby and watching D play with his new toys. It was completely wonderful.
James had to work  in the afternoon/evening, which was a huge bummer. As he was getting ready to go, D told him, "Just take the day off, Dad! Christmas is for families!" It was heart breaking. Once he had gone to work, me and the boys headed to my mom's house for our traditional prime rib dinner. There was much baby snuggling and laughter and good food. One of the funniest moments was when my mom attempted to toast some French bread... she didn't just burn it, she started it on fire! The smoke alarm went off for quite a while, much to the annoyance of the kids, but all the adults could do was laugh. We had a great time opening presents, too. Everyone got and gave really great stuff this year. My dad got a cat and was so, so excited about it. Sadly, no one got a picture, but the look on his face was priceless. And I gave Nikki a Harry Potter Snuggie-- my favorite gift of the night. After presents and dessert were done, we all agreed that it had been one of the best Christmas's ever. I'm not sure why this one seemed so special, but it really was wonderful. 
D and his Spider Man "snugglie."

D loves his zombie.

Me and the boys.

Santa brought D a Raphael set!

Handing out the presents at my mom's.

Cousin M made Baby a hat-- all by herself!

My mom really loved the pictures I gave her.

Nikki and the Harry Potter Snuggie.

My favorite present of the year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Things I've Learned

I can't believe how quickly the days are flying by. Baby (who still doesn't have a nickname; we're working on it) is 9 days old today. How can that be possible? We've been so busy with Dr's appointments and getting ready for Christmas and having visitors. Hopefully things slow down for us soon...

I feel like I've learned lots of things in the last nine days. In no particular order...

1. Baby does not like to be messed with.

He cries more than D did, but still not a lot. He especially hates it when you dress or undress him, change his bum, and bathe him. And he cries when he's tired. D never did that.

2. It's easier adjusting to having two kids than it was adjusting to having one kid.

Even though it's been nearly five years since D was born, I feel like I'm an old pro at this. Easy peasy.

3. Recovering from having a second baby is easier that recovering from the first baby.

I remember sitting on the couch for about two weeks after D was born. This time, I was out running errands three days after giving birth. I just don't have time to sit around. And I think getting up and being active has actually helped me bounce back more quickly. Of course, it probably also helps that I'm sleeping better this time around.

4. Nursing is way easier the second time.

I was in total agony for at least the first 10 days of nursing D. This time, it never got too painful and I already feel "normal," or as normal as you ever feel while nursing. 

5. Those bonding hormones are some powerful stuff.

I've already forgotten about how sick, uncomfortable, and tired I was for nine months and how painful labor is. I'm good at making babies, and I want more. Hopefully, it won't take me another five years to convince James again.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Our New Little Miracle

We are reviving the blog... I just can't help myself from sharing all the gory details of our newest little guy's birth.

I went into labor Wednesday night. My sisters were here with me, trying to get me to laugh hard enough that labor would start. Contractions started before they even got here, so they timed me and took me for a walk and just sat with me. Nikki took D home with her, so that we wouldn't have to shuffle him around in the middle of the night when I went to the hospital. As soon as they left, my contractions stopped. I had a few strong enough to wake me up in the night, but they weren't consistent at all. I stayed home from work, knowing I really was in labor, and sat around waiting for something to happen. I had a Dr's appointment in the afternoon, and when I saw him, he told me I was dilated to 3 cm. He told me that breaking my water wasn't an option quite yet, because the baby's head was still floating too high. He told me we could wait a few days and see what happened, or I could go over to the hospital and start on Pitocin. I really didn't want to have any Pitocin, but I wanted to be done being pregnant even more. I agreed to let them induce me, hopeful that a small dose would be all I would need to get things going. They told me to go get something to eat and that the hospital would call me when they were ready for me. Since we had some downtime, we went and picked up D and we all went to Wendy's. Before we dropped him back off to my sister, he started crying and saying that he was going to live at Nikki's from now on, because the baby was going to be living at our house now. It was very sad. We consoled him the best we could, dropped him off, and went home to wait. I laid down to rest while I could, and my contractions started. Within the hour, they were about 3 minutes apart, so we headed up to the hospital It was a very busy night for having babies, and we got the last empty room. Once we were settled in, the contractions had slowed back down, but they had done enough to bring the baby down that I was able to have my water broken.  I was having lots of back labor, and the nurse told me that from her exam, she was pretty sure the baby was face-up. When my doctor got there, he said he thought the baby had his head turned sideways. Either way, I was in agony and not progressing very quickly. I got stuck at about 5 cm for quite awhile. I got up and got in the bath, sat on the birthing ball, laid in bed in several different positions, and nothing brought me any comfort. But the moving around did seem to get things going again, and I started progressing very quickly. I felt like I needed to push, but they kept telling me that it wasn't time. I was really losing it, yelling and screaming at the nurse and at the doctor. Finally, I looked at the nurse, and yelled "I need to push, NOW!" She said ok, brought the doctor back in, and they started to have me push. Pushing was much more difficult than it was with D. Because the baby was in a weird position, they had my lay more on my back than I would have liked, but it made my pushes more productive. I pushed for maybe half an hour, and then he was here! He was born at 1:41 am, weighed 7 lbs 11 oz (no wonder he was harder than D!) and was 20 inches long. And I did it without any drugs (not even the Pitocin!) and didn't even need any stitches.
They laid him on my chest for a minute, and then he stopped breathing on his own. They told me that he had aspirated on some fluid as he was coming out. They took him over to the warmer and put him on some oxygen. I guess that didn't work as well as they wanted, because pretty soon they took him down to the NICU to hook him up to the baby CPAP machine. They told me they'd have for an hour.When they took me to my room, we stopped to see him. He was all hooked up to machines and monitors and had an IV in his hand. His oxygen levels weren't stable enough for them to let him go yet, so I went to my room with out him. I rested for a while, and finally at 7 am, they told me to come down to nurse him. It is a strange thing to have a baby, and not get to hold him for the first time until 5 1/2 hours later. I went down and nursed him and snuggled with him, and went back to my room without him. They finally brought him to me at about 9:30, just in time to meet the rest of his family. D was overjoyed with him and James just marveled about how much he looked like him. I spent a lovely day receiving visitors and cuddling with my new boy. That night, I got more sleep than I had had in quite awhile (nearly 8 hours!). The baby was still choking and spitting up a lot of mucous and wasn't interested in eating at all. I did go down to the nursery at about 4:00 am just to hold him and see how he was. By about 6:30, he was ready to eat and he's been eating well ever since. We brought him home that afternoon.
We are all in love with our new little guy. He is so, so cute, and very sweet. He's finally worked out all of the mucous and is a great little eater. He's a great sleeper, too. I should be sleeping more while he sleeps, but I just can't bear to put him down. I just know how very quickly these precious days will pass and I want to soak it all up. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

For Prosperity

I suck at blogging. I've accepted this about myself. But today, I was thinking about all of the silly and cute and frustrating things Little Mas does these days and thought I should record them somewhere. So here we go.

In no particular order, here are some amusing things he has done in the recent weeks.
  • A few days ago, I lost LM at Wal-Mart. After 15 minutes of frantic searching for him, I finally had a manager help me find him. They got on the intercom and shouted out his description. Less than 30 seconds later, someone called the manager on the radio saying they'd found him. He had been in the men's room, and had buckled himself into the child seat in one of the stalls. On the way home, I was trying to explain to him that someone mean could have stolen him and he would have had to live with a mean family. He said, "Well, Mom, I would just teach them how to be nice!" That kid has no fear. He also has a solution for everything.
  • LM LOVES his Mama. And he has some hilarious ways of telling me. In the last week, he has said to me: "Mom, you're a beautiful woman," "Mom, you are my popular lover," and "You are the mom of my dreams." He sure has a knack for compliments. He'll make his wife very happy someday.
  • LM is growing up. Today, I had to get out the 4T clothes I've been saving in the closet. After I said that I wished he would stay little forever, he told me, "Don't worry, Mama. I'll always be your Love Bug and I'll still cuddle with you, even when I'm big."
  • LM has started reading. He can sound out very simple words. He gets frustrated fairly quickly with it, but he's definitely on his way. Heaven help his Kindergarten teacher.
  • I've been thinking more and more about what it will be like when he's in school and getting more and more nervous for it. He's very smart and very outgoing. And he's not scared of anything. He told me the other day that you only have to follow the rules if a grownup is watching. Is this normal for a 3 1/2 year old?? I keep imagining the trouble he's going to get himself into at school one day.
  • LM got a haircut last week. He kept telling me that he wanted his hair to be short as can be, so I took him to the beauty college for a buzz cut. He loves it. His hairy is always nice and flat now, just how he likes it.
To end, here's a picture of LM taken this fall. I think I'll keep him.