Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Own room!

Big news! After painting, moving and hauling (thank you, Erik and Laural!), Sam now has his own room upstairs. Mark and I have moved our bed downstairs to the basement. And guess what? Sam loves it! We talked to him about how if he wanted either of us during the night he could just call out and we'd hear him over the monitor and come right up. On the first night he slept until 5 before I got the call: a very calm "Mommy, can you come up?" Today, it was 6:30! It's a far cry from his 7:30/8ish wake-up when he could crawl into bed with us, but I can deal with it for the trade-off, and he's been taking a longer nap during the day to make up for it, which doesn't have me complaining. Sam loves his set-up so much that before his bath last night he did a little Sound-of-Music-style twirl in the middle of the room, threw himself on the bed and exclaimed, "I LOVE my own room!"

Here's the funny part, though: Sam may have adjusted just fine, but I have yet to have a night where I don't wake up around 3 or 4 and lay there in the dark listening to the little sleeping sounds over the monitor. I'm trying really hard to wait until he asks for me before I wander upstairs so that I'm encouraging his independence, but it's hard. It's funny how I was so worried about how Sam would adjust to this change, and it ends up that I'm the one having trouble with it!

Logistically speaking, I'm finding that things are much less crazy than I thought they would be. Mark is gradually moving his things downstairs and is showering and getting ready down there, and when Sam wakes up I head upstairs to his room (where my clothes are still in the closet and my toiletries are in the bathroom) and get ready for the day up there, pretty much just like I did before we moved the bed. Laundry and garbage just gets hauled up from the basement and added to the pile on laundry and garbage days, and I really don't go down there again during the day. So, apart from our sleeping time and places, not much about our routine has changed. We'll see how it shakes out with a new baby in the mix, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.


"Hey, Sam, do you know that daddy and I have our anniversary on Thursday?"
"What's that?"
"It's when daddy and I got married."
Pause for thought.
"I"m married, too, you know."
"Oh, really? Who are you married to?"
"Oh, you're married to mommy?"
"Yeah! When's our anniversary?"
"I don't know. When do you think it is?"

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I feel like I should add something about my pregnancy, since I haven't written much about it. I'm starting to learn that that's the way it goes with second pregnancies. At this rate, if we have a third I'll probably just be completely surprised when he or she pops out. I was pregnant? I guess I was too busy to notice...

Anyway, I feel great. Like, GREAT. Better than I did with Sam, and that was pretty great. I told someone yesterday that I feel like there's energy shooting out of my fingertips. In the last week, I single-handedly painted a wall (removing and then replacing all of the furniture and hangings on said wall) and moved all of the books and shelves up from the basement. The living room looks fabulous, and it's actually a place I enjoy hanging out in now. But instead of being tired after all of this work, I feel like I'm ready for more. We go to the park and I chase Sam around and do underdogs over and over again, laughing and running. Everyone looks at me like a crazy pregnant lady for not just sitting on a bench, but I don't care. I feel great! I suppose I should enjoy it now, because I'm sure there will come a point, either before or after the baby is born, when all of this energy is a distant memory. But for now, I'm just enjoying feeling like a superhero.

Mr. Outspoken.

No one has ever accused Sam of being shy. If this little girl I'm having has any sort of stranger anxiety, it will be an entirely new experience for me.

That being said, it should not be a surprise that Sam is a rather outspoken toddler, especially now that he's exerting his own independence and increasing his language at a sometimes alarming rate. We were out to dinner a few nights ago and I asked Sam if he'd like some orange juice, and he said yes. When the waitress came by, Mark placed his order for a drink, then I mine, and then before I could add Sam's order he leaned forward and got the attention of the waitress and said very seriously, "And I would like some orange juice, please." At the park today, I was chatting with another pregnant lady and asked her if she knew what she was having. When she said it was a boy, Sam piped up from the see-saw with "We're having a little girl!" In the Starbucks drive-thru, Sam is not about to let me have the whole conversation with the barista to myself. Usually after I order my drink, he bellows from the back seat, "AND SOME BANANA BREAD! AND SOME WATER WITH A STRAW!" Luckily, they think it's cute.

I'm simultaneuosly encouraged and wary about this new development. First of all, it's great that Sam feels like he has something to add to a conversation, that his thoughts are valid and valued, and that adults will listen to him. Good job, me. On the other hand, I realize now that I will have to be extremely careful about what I say around him. We're only one step away from "My mommy said your hair looks terrible today." I'm also thinking about how to address the stranger idea. I'm around him all the time now when we're out, but at some point we're going to have to have a conversation about talking to strangers, because not all of them are nice. How do I not scare him?

The other development along these lines is the questions. Ah, the endless questions. Do bees like trucks? Do engines have wheels? Why is that car red? And then the really esoteric ones: What makes traffic? Who made that tree? Why are there clouds? At the park today, Sam asked why the little hand-cranked ride-on platform was rocking, and I told him it was because it was a boat and boats rocked. The mother of an 18 month old standing next to us said, "Wow! I wouldn't have thought of that!" Listen, I wanted to say, when you get asked about 10 impossible to answer questions a day, you get to thinking on your feet pretty quickly...

I have to say, I love these two things about Sam. The conversation, and the questions. He is always very interesting company, and I can see him growing into a chatty, outgoing kid and a sparkling adult. But my brain hurts.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The secret of two

A friend of mine has a friend with 4 kids. When a friend of hers (I know, this is confusing) was freaking out and asked her what she should do, this mom's advice was simple: "Have more."

It's counterintuitive, but I got a taste of it this afternoon when Sam and I watched Alexa for a few hours. I was looking forward to seeing her, but I have to admit - I had some trepidation about managing two. However, I need the practice, obviously. So, imagine my delight when I glanced at the clock while sitting on the floor with them and TWO HOURS had gone by without me noticing it. Yes, I occasionally had to keep them from kicking each other in the head, stealing each other's food, or stepping on each other's faces (ok, Sam tried most of those things, not Alexa). BUT...the amount of energy focused on me and me alone was much less than when there was just the two of us. Suddenly, there was another living person in the room for them to turn to instead of me. I wasn't solely in charge of entertainment, education, and witty banter. Instead, Sam chuckled at just about everything that came out of Alexa's mouth, including her cheddar bunnies, and Alexa followed Sam around trying to do whatever he was doing. I know, I know. I had her for three hours, she's only a year younger than him, I haven't had her around the house from birth, yadda, yadda, yadda. The important part was that it gave me hope. I CAN mother two children and only lose my mind occasionally.

Monday, October 13, 2008

In the moment

I was reminded recently of how little I am in the moment when it comes to my parenting, or in any aspect of my life right now, really. I'm reading this great book, Eat Pray Love, which has pretty much nothing to do with parenting (and this is a first in many months), and which is partially about this woman's months in an ashram in India studying meditation. She calls her mind a "monkey, leaping from tree to tree and stopping occasionally to scratch, spit and howl." Ok, that could also be a good description of a toddler. Either way, I've realize how often during my day I am either focusing on something that has already happened, or thinking about something in the future that might or might not ever happen. When will Sam take his nap? What will I do while he's taking it? Did he eat enough breakfast? Why hasn't he gone potty yet, and when is that going to happen? What if he has an accident? Will it be on the rug or the hardwood? Uh oh, I'm out of bleach wipes. Why didn't I remember to get those? Even while I'm typing this, I'm worrying about when Sam will wake up and exactly how much time I have until then, and if this is the best use of my time.

This is especially true now that I am a little over 3 months from having another baby. We've made big plans over the next few weekends to move our bed down to the basement, giving Sam his own room. He's actually very excited about it, and told me that the "big bed is going downstairs so that mommy can nurse daddy" (because you know I have to be nursing someone). All of this planning has resulted in lists about what furniture will go where and what walls will be painted, worries about how to help Sam adjust and who exactly will be sleeping where when, and second thoughts centering around what will happen if it all goes horribly wrong. But today, I remembered to live in the moment for an instant when Sam crawled into bed with us at 3 this morning. Our sweet time of waking up to his snoring little body between us is coming to an end. There was a time I thought it never would, when I earnestly wished for just this sort of move. But now that it's coming nearer, I'm ambivalent. I know that he's ready because he's telling us he is, and I know that to keep him a baby would not make me a good mom. But this mix of holding on to the past, looking into the future, and savoring the present is too much for me sometimes.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Sam and I went to the park this morning, and the ground there is currently littered with acorns. Squirrels scampered around snapping them up, which fascinated Sam. We spent a lot of time talking about them, and breaking a few nuts open to see what's inside. Toward the end of the trip, he had an acorn in his hand when he saw a squirrel run across the barkdust.

"Squirrel, Squirrel! I've got an acorn for you!" he yelled, chasing after the terrified squirrel with the acorn in his extended hand. Boy, some squirrels just can't accept help, can they?

Watching the debate with Daddy

Funny story: Pops, Sam and I were walking through a Borders last weekend and Sam was in the middle holding both of our hands as we walked by a display of political books. There were books on Obama, McCain, and one on Palin, and several adults browsing them. As we walked by, my two year old pointed offhandedly at one of the books and said, "Look, Sarah Palin." Every adult's head at that table snapped up to look with shock at my son. Bob and I just laughed. What can I say...Mark and I are raising a political animal.

A walk in the rain

Touche, Playland.

Ok, Fred Meyer, you win.

When I was pregnant with Sam and when he was a tiny baby, I was jealous (yes, JEALOUS) of all of those lucky moms that got to shop with a preschooler. How fun! Looking at colors together! Pointing out numbers! Admiring the produce! How could anyone leave their precious child in the lonely corner that is the Playland? They must be the lazy parents, the parents that didn't care about their child's social development. I wasn't going to be like that. I would actually enjoy shopping with my child, darn it!

Fast forward two-plus years, and you would not find me doing many of the above things. Instead, you would find me plying Sam with a variety of snacks, distractions, and finally angry pronouncements to keep him from jumping out of the cart and killing himself (because he simply won't sit in the small basket with the buckle anymore), all while I was trying to stretch our grocery budget, weigh produce and not forget the milk. I began to dread shopping so much that I actually sent Mark in the evening with a list once. After he came home with the most disgusting (and not surprisingly cheapest) deli meat I've ever tasted, I thought there'd have to be a better way.

Enter Playland. Sam ran in and I filled out the forms and kissed him goodbye, and spent an entire hour by myself smelling produce, comparison shopping and generally doing all of the things that are impossible to do with him there. Granted, I gnashed my teeth the entire time enough to give myself a headache and obsessively checked on him, and when my name was called over the speaker I ran the fastest sprint with groceries ever recorded (he just had to go potty and I had to take him), but all in all, it really beat the alternative.

I guess I have to accept that there are times in his life that it will be ok for me to take some help from Playland and be happy relaxed mommy rather than rush through an hour of shopping with him and turn into crabby, burned out, much poorer mommy. And once I got over the stress of wondering if the other kids would be friendly, if there was enough supervision for a two-year-old, and if he'd come down with the Hanta virus, it was really kind of nice.