Saturday, March 28, 2009

Been Truckin'

Every now and then, I accomplish something so powerful, so fantastic, so tender even, that I am certain the sun, moon, and stars will rise up and call me blessed. The latest happened on vacation.

Was it completing a 9-hour drive with two little ones in a reasonable 12 hours? (I must say, for all of his "spiritedness", Peter is a phenomenal traveller.)

Was it hand-expressing milk into a diaper in the front seat of the car so that Charlotte wouldn't get more blasted than usual by my already overactive letdown when we stopped for lunch?

Was it sacrificing prime smocking time to sit wedged between two carseats in the back of our sedan to comfort Miss Too-Princess for a Pacifier?

No. None of these things. It was changing my son's poopy diaper as he stood in the gas station ladies' room. I contained the entire contents in a most sanitary way, despite all obstacles. I was tempted to leave the diaper sitting on the counter as a subtle hint for them to set up a changing-station, but didn't think it fair to punish innocent patrons.

Altogether, we had a fabulous trip. Doing it with kids is certainly a different experience, in good ways and bad. The air craft carrier wouldn't be quite as fun without Peter sitting in the cockpit of a plane. And our ride in the city-bus-dressed-up-as-a-trolley would have been quite mundane without him. Charlotte's big moment was her hysterical chuckling when she laid eyes on a pony for the first time.

As for Tom and me, we were happy to visit our old favorite sights, and especially happy to return to Anson's! Other diners, impressed by how quiet our children were, complimented us as we were leaving. I wasn't sure whether to admit that we had been taking turns walking outside with them between courses. We quickly decided that eating take-out after the kids went to bed was the best option, and plenty of great choices within a block of our hotel made it easy.

I'd love to say we're home and relaxing... but I will be in and out of town for the next two weeks. One of these days I'll remember what it's like to be still.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hitting the Road

We're about to take our first real vacation with kids.

Since manufactured villages with oversized anthropomorphic animals would be more hell than holiday for Tom and me, we've decided to go to Charleston. No castles, but Peter will get to ride on a horse and carriage, take his first boat ride, visit an aircraft carrier, and see the beach for the first time ever.

And with a bravery beyond measure, we're driving. Nine hours each way. God save us all.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Son, the Theologian

Peter is the product of this age, his religion as eclectic as a postmodern college professor's. Below are statements he's made in the past week alone:

"I will get on the cross. And I will not come down. You can nail me to the cross and I will stay." (Pelagianism)

After hearing me explain how twins are in the mama's belly at the same time "Next time I will do that." (Hinduism)

"Jesus is a daddy." (Masonite)

"Jesus did not cry on the cross." (Gnostic)

"I am a soldier. I will nail Jesus to the cross." (Protestant?... an acknowlegement of total depravity?)

After I drew a cross. "Put Jesus on it. I want Jesus on the cross." (Catholic)

"Jesus died and came alive." (Christian)

Sigh... You'd never know I used to be a Sunday School director.

But at least he's thinking about Jesus, and that's half the battle.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bye, Bye, Blankie

I got to have a blanket baby for four months.

Things have quickly gone south, and now I'm actually under doctor's orders that when Charlotte is awake, I'm not to have her on her back (including the car seat, bouncy seat, and swing) unless it's absolutely necessary.


About a month ago, I noticed that she had a flat spot on the side of her head. I also noticed that she always looked to the right. When I casually mentioned it to my pediatrician, he said she has torticullis. This means that she has a short neck muscle on the right, and we've got to lengthen it. He gave us exercises and a variety of instructions, and we'll start professional physical therapy if things haven't improved by her next appointment.

Keeping her upright does two things: 1) strengthens the neck muscles, helping her overcome the torticullis, and 2) combats the plagiocephaly.

I, meanwhile, have discovered something for myself that I have always known in my head. Wrapping rocks! I have pouches, I have ring slings, I have mei tais-- but nothing, and I mean nothing, compares to comfort of holding your baby in a long band of cloth. The weight is spread over my entire torso, so I don't feel Charlotte's weight in any one place.

Plus, it's cheap. I was able to make the best carrier in the whole world with five yards of discount jersey-- no sewing required! Just a 20" by 5 yard strip, and the edges don't fray because it's knit.

So I've been able to keep Charlotte upright and looking around in a fairly inexpensive and oh so comfortable way. Surely this helps with her reflux too. And, since she's been so fussy lately (torticullis can cause headaches), I have a way to comfort her while continuing to do the things I need to do.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Call Me Crazy

But I have weaned Peter from his nap. The twenty minutes I spent lying down with him to help him fall asleep always seemed worth the 3 hours of peace that followed... until recently.

Charlotte's to blame. Her afternoon nap is now 45 minutes. This means that by time I got Peter down, I only had about 20 minutes to myself. Barely time enough to fix my lunch and eat it.

After testing it out a few days, I decided that a one-hour quiet time in his room, requiring nothing from me, left me feeling much more refreshed. Meanwhile, I added an hour to his night sleep, made easy with Daylight Savings. For the first time since he was born, he slept until 6:45 a.m. this morning.

And for the first time in over three years, I woke up before any of my children and had almost an hour to myself!

The beautiful thing is that after years of dreading and fearing the end of Peter's nap (never did I imagine that I might bring it to an end myself), it's been freeing. It's been a week now, and there haven't been any ill effects on his behavior. We have more time to get out in the afternoon and more time to spend with friends who do not have naps.

I've also-- finally-- gotten Charlotte going to bed early.

I now have an hour all to myself in the morning, at least 45 minutes in the afternoon, and an hour or two in the evening. I feel like a new woman.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Worn Once for Pictures"

I've done some sewing for Charlotte, but I've spent just as much time snatching up deals on ebay.

I'm amazed at the number of sellers who claim that their child's smocked dress-- "bought new for $79.99" was only "worn once for pictures." Are they stupid enough to pay that much for a dress that their child never wears, or do they think I am stupid enough to believe it?

Maybe it's the honest truth. Maybe mothers do buy clothes that they don't allow their children to wear. But what fun are clothes you can't have fun in?

Well, to all the mothers out there who really do pay outrageous amounts for clothes to hang in the closet, I have one thing to say: OXICLEAN. Fill your kitchen sink with 5-6 shovels and warm water, let stained clothes sit in it for 4-6 hours, then throw them in the washer. I haven't met a stain that this won't cure.