Friday, December 21, 2007

Sand & Santa

We decorated the tree yesterday. When Mike and Gage came home with it on Tuesday evening Gage proudly declared: "See trees with Daddy! Big trees!" I said "Ooh, great. Did you bring one home?" "No," said he. He wanted nothing to do with the tree. He didn't like when Mike came through the front door with it. He didn't like my cutting the plastic chicken wire off of it to fluff out the branches. And he didn't like when Lila crawled right over and pulled at the needles eagerly, the little traitor.

I sat down with him and asked him what was wrong.
Me: "Gage, you seem a little upset about the tree."
He: "Gage so sad! Gage so sad about the tree."
Me: "Why are you sad, sweetheart?"
He: (silence)
Me: "The tree is all right. It's pretty."
He: "Gage no yike da tree."
Me: "Why not?"
He: (sighing in a tiny, frustrated way) "It's in Gage's home."

Seriously, I can't fault him there. When you step back and really think about it, it *is* weird to have a tree in your home.

Me: "Maybe after we decorate it you'll like it a little better."
He: "No. No, Gage no yike it better. No."

So you can understand me when I say I did not have high hopes for the tree. Santa has already been shot down on multiple occassions. Gage is the tiniest grinch I've ever seen! (Granted, Mike would say this makes him like his Mama....)

But...once we began to decorate the tree his heart grew three sizes. He loved unwrapping each ornament, his fingers hastily tossing aside the magazine paper cradling every one. He opened a yellowy tan, inch-high Yuengling Lager can look-alike. "Soda!" he shouted. "Yes! That's right!" said his parents, exchanging a relieved look over his head. "Soda!"

He scratched the paper off a hand-painted moose (leftover from our first married Christmas - when we worked opposite shifts and I made meatloaf each and every Tuesday. Meatloaf Tuesday, actually, was what we called it. Complete with instant mashed potatoes and once-frozen peas drowning in butter. Mike always wanted real mashed. I insisted on instant, to complete the TV dinner feeling the meal demanded). "A moose!" I said. "No, a were-rabbit!" Gage countered. Thank you, Wallace and Gromit.

It took him only two tries to successfully hook a candy cane over a low branch. In another minute there were six candy canes on the very same branch. It was wavering, but it held. Also now he picks out Grandma's homemade cookies from the borrowed tin for me and DH and presents them to us with crisp dignity, saying "Mewwy Kissmas" each time. The little charmer.

Lila has started to really use her arms. In the last week she's gotten a lot better about picking up little foods and getting them into her mouth. She's not doing the pincer-grasp yet (thumb and forefinger) but she's getting what she wants. She also began throwing her arms in the air for 'so big!' and once today she clapped in imitation of me. She pulled up to vertical for the first time entirely unassisted. She's really strong, and really determined. She's awesome.

Sometimes when I need to entertain Gage I say: "Do you want to play a guessing game?" When he agrees I say something like "I'm thinking of a person in your family who's a baby. She has her own bedroom and eats oatmeal." and Gage says "Baby Yi-yah!" "Yes, Baby Lila." And we do another one. Well, we're sitting in a Thai restaurant in Rehoboth (more on that in a minute) and I say "I'm thinking of a member of your family who," I look at Mike, "is wearing an orange shirt with black stripes." Gage literally - *literally* tapped his chin and said "Hmm...." while we he thought and we waited. Finally he grinned and said: "A tiger!"

Ooh. So close, buddy. So close. But no, not a tiger. It was Daddy I was thinking of.

We went to Rehoboth Beach for the weekend - we had a wonderful time with my mom, sisters and aunt. Gage and Mike took several beach walks, just the two of them. Gage especially liked plucking small, smooth stones from the foamy sand. He pocketed his finds and presented them to me later, saying "Yook, Mommy! Yook. For you!"

The kids were great - we got a decent night's sleep in a hotel room (all four of us!) and everyone was on good behavior. Gage tried to fall asleep with his body halfway hanging off the bed, and we made him move - much to his disappointment. ("No, Gage want to fall off the bed!") And just before we left to come home we ate lunch in our favorite Thai restaurant.

It was touch-and-go in the beginning. Lila frantically nursed like a starved hyena (inject a more eloquent description in there if you want - I'm just being honest) and then cried because she was too tired and full to fall asleep. Gage started to whine and complain and our waiter started to look like he regretted letting us in in the first place.

By the way, this is what it sounds like when I'm trying to entertain Gage and he refuses to be entertained:

Me: "I know! I'll sing. Row, row, row your boat...."
He: (writhing in mock pain) "No! No, don't row my boat!"

At the peak of the misery Mike bounced Lila in just the perfect magic way and she fell asleep - amazingly. I played games with Gage and ordered our lunch, and Gage began to calm down. Our waiter brought Satay to start and Gage turned into a perfect little angel, eating bite after bite of chicken, saying it was so good. Mike and I, armed with Thai beer and a G&T, began to relax and enjoy our meal.

Turns out Gage loves Thai food! He ate a big, excellent lunch, as did Mike and I. The waiter even brought us free desert, so he must not have been in too big of a hurry for us to go.

Both babies slept for most of the drive home, which was nice. Mike and I listened to the same eight songs for the entire drive - the three hours down, the whole time we were in DE and the three hours back up. We thought vaguely that it may have been some kind of record. But they were eight *good* songs, at least.

I'll let you know how Christmas goes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I know, I know. It's been far too long. I can assure you that I'm still here and still having daily insecure lows and joyful highs, as would any parent, any day, I imagine. Only the last few weeks my lows and highs have been rather...unremarkable. Or very remarkable, but boring all the same.

Big change: Mike started a new job. That part rocks. He's a lot happier already, after two and a half weeks, but he's also making more money and doing something he's interested in and for which he has a natural talent. Go Mike. You kick ass.

But his new job is throwing off my schedule. And the kids' schedules. And it's no fun. Gage has been either skipping his nap or sleeping for a measly 30-45 minutes, which can do more damage than no nap at all. We have to leave the house now during his usual naptime (so I can drop the kids off and get to work), and he isn't inclined to go to bed any earlier. And Lila has been getting up every hour or two at night for a week. So. I'm pressing through - we'll figure it out - but it's hard right now.

I got bit by this 'you wouldn't have to trudge through this every day if you could stay home with your kids' bug. We totally can't afford to rely on one income; neither of us is highly paid by any stretch of the imagination. But maybe in a few months I can cut back my hours a little. We'll see. It's really nice to think about, anyway. I don't know whether I'd love being home more often or whether it would drive me crazy. I honestly don't know. But I want to find out.

And wow - Christmas is soon. Who knew!?

I just ordered our photo cards last night (embarrassed sigh). We're so behind. We did all of our shopping online, so I'm ahead in that respect. We didn't put up lights or get a tree or anything! I feel like we're the last people I know without a tree.

Another change: Gage is reliably sleeping in a 'big boy bed,' which is really his crib with the one side removed, and a couple of toddler rails to help keep him from falling out. I put a big folded blanket on the floor anyway, just in case. Sometimes he teases me that he's going to sleep there, on the floor, but he calls it "on the down." At least once a day he goes up there and lays in his bed for maybe 15 minutes, just to rest and snuggle with his blankie. I'll call him because I hear quiet from his room and he calls back "Gage sleepin' in my bed!"

Right now Gage is sick. He has a fever and a 'peeny pain' (ahem) of mysterious origin. It came on really quickly, like within a half hour he went from completely normal to 101F fever.

Lila ate avocado today for the first time. She loved it for about ten bites and then all of a sudden she H A T E D it.

Sometimes I ask Gage what he would pack in a picnic lunch and he always says "Two green peppers. Watermelon. And milk." Yesterday he pronounced the word 'sprinkles' like this: "Pesos." LOL. He woke up in the middle of the night a few days ago and I asked him if he had a bad dream. He said Yes and I asked him to tell me about it. He said "Big dinosaur roared! And Gage run away. Dinosaur chase me! Gage run superfast. Dinosaur stop running. Gage too fast." And he said it with wonder in his voice, as if he was surprised at his victory. Gage 1, Dinosaur 0 (But remember, Cookie Monster's at 1 as well.)

Lila had her six-month well-baby and she is in great health. She's 14 lbs, 15 oz. She looks *oh so* chubby to me. I love to press my lips into her peachy cheeks, and she grins every time I do. She has all these folds in her thighs - I love it. I can't get enough. Gage was always such a skinny little thing - I thought that was normal. Now that Lila is a more average weight she just seems like the pudgiest, milkiest little darling with a big round face.

I meant that last bit in the best way possible.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Just walkin' on my shoes."

Gage took a fairly nasty fall this week. He was standing on a dining room chair, reaching into a cupboard to pick out a snack (a 'Nack,' ahem) and his little socked foot slipped and he went down hard, smacking his head on another chair on his way to the floor.

I set Lila down on the floor as gently but quickly as I could manage, muttering "Oh, my God," something I can only remember doing one other time - when he fell off the front step and struck his forehead on the pavement.

I went to Gage, and he was silent. He was completely silent and still for a full two seconds, then he sprang into action - tears streaming, wails ensuing. Thank freaking goodness. Seriously.

I held him and rocked, which normally he cringes against - far too babyish for a big boy like Gage - and I whispered into his sweaty hair, willing him to feel better. Only a minute passed before his cries turned into words. Specifically, words sounding like 'Pick a nack! Pick a nack!" He picked a nack - some cheese crackers. And he immediately calmed, fingering the crackers, his voice plucking out the curious, pleased 'Oh!' to which we are so accustomed.

"Gage feel better," he said, turning to me. I'm sure I was ashen, my breath still coming in jerks, my heart still pounding.
"Good," I said. Stroking his head again. Still rocking.
"Mommy feel better?"
"Sure," I answered immediately. "Yes." I thought about it. "That was scary. When you fell."
"But you're okay. And I feel better."
"Gage feel better, too."

Again. Thank freaking goodness.

He cracked me up a couple of times this week. Once we were all over at my parents' house and Gage came trotting through the kitchen, where my mom and I were drinking tea.

My mom: "Hi, Gage. What are you doing?"
Gage: "Just walkin' on my shoes."

My mom and I were practically snorting with laughter, exchanging a look that meant 'He *does* have a point.'

He said another funny thing to my mom this week. He was cheerfully talking about all the work he was going to do (we're big into work right now, any kind of tools). He was talking about hammering nails and sawing wood.

My mom said: "What else are you going to do?"
Gage's expression turned to disappointed and wistful, and he said in a tiny voice: "Gage so sad. Gage no can walk up the wall."

I'm turning beet red, I'm sure, trying not to bust out giggling and my mom manages to say, in a voice fairly unbroken with laughter, "That's not something you need to feel sad about, Gage. No one can walk up walls."

Let me tell you, though. It doesn't stop him from trying.

Mike and I took the kids shopping a few nights ago. We went to Babies R Us and then we were going to run into an adjacent store for a few minutes. I realized I'd forgotten the one thing we went to Babies R Us for - a childproofing cabinet lock - even though we had a bag full of stuff when we left. I don't know how that happens, but it happens. (Plus, Lila has adorable sparkly black Christmas shoes now.) So I ducked back into Babies R Us and Mike went ahead with the kids.

Of course, as soon as I was alone my first thought was 'I could drive away.' It's so ridiculous, how I have these little kids and a great husband, and I'm really happy with my life, but it's so *busy* all the time. As soon as I have a moment to myself, and the keys in my hand, this dark little ticklish spot in my brain starts teasing me. 'Here's your chance, Jen. By the time he figures out you're gone you'll be miles away.'

Where would I go? Home? What would I do? Take a nap? I don't even *want* to sneak away, in all honesty. It's just that when I have a moment like that - no one watching me, no sticky little hands to hold, quiet - that tiny, dark part of my brain yells 'You fool! Run, run while you can!'

So of course I bought the cabinet lock, went into the next store and found my darling family. As soon as Gage stuck his sticky little hand in mine I knew I'd been right all along. And when Lila started wailing, Gage broke away with a fistful of goldfish crackers and Mike couldn't decide which coatrack was more 'us' I held it together.

By the way, if you buy a wicker hamper any time soon and there are goldfish crackers in the bottom of it - Gage Wuz There.


I decided to get a tattoo. Of my kids' names. It's going to be simple, and I'll post a pic once it's done. I've never seriously considered a tattoo before, but this is totally right. There's no doubt about it, it's right.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

This is a mushy one

I've been having a bit of a tough time lately. I feel so unbelievably close to Gage that sometimes it seems as though it's me and Gage against the world. I feel sometimes like Gage and I are holding hands and stepping off a cliff together. He knows how I'm feeling by looking into my eyes. I don't know what it's about, but it feels a little dangerous to me. It makes me feel a little edgy, to be this deeply, this fundamentally attached to him in every way.

The other day when we were both beginning our colds and we were miserable I thought I could relax for a minute, but as soon as I sat down Lila stated to cry. I closed my eyes and I totally felt like I was going to lose it and I hear Gage say "I love you, Mommy. I'm so proud of you, Mommy." I smiled at him with tears in my eyes, but I was a little uncomfortable, too. He shouldn't need to worry about how I'm feeling. He's got enough to think about just being two. But we're so close, me and Gage. We have this vast connection that's thick and untouchable. It's equally thrilling and nerve-wracking.

Lila, on the other hand. I'm having heart-breaking issues with her, too. She's giving me trouble every night, because all she wants - all her little body craves - is to sleep next to me, pressed against me. When she nurses at night she's the happiest she could be. We lie down together, bellies touching, and she closes her eyes and makes happy little grunting sounds. Once in a while she opens her eyes, looks up at me and grins drunkenly. She slows down nursing more and more until she's just suckling a couple of times, then taking a break for several seconds, then suckling again. This is her paradise; all of her stars are aligned. Lila wants nothing more than this closeness, all night long.


It's impossible for me to provide her that contact for long. I have lots of reasons, but there are a few that are always just below the surface. The evening is the only time Mike and I have together, and it's harder, of course, to spend time with him when I have a sleeping baby attached to my front. Also, I can't get over the tiny tugging in my brain that says "It's not best for either you or Lila to get in the habit of falling asleep together every night, all night."

But oh, how I wish it was. It breaks my heart to have to pull her off and put her down in her (comparatively) chilly crib all by herself. Gage was always a great independent sleeper. Lila just never has been. And it's so ingrained in her that she knows what she wants, this is a nightly battle.

I'm sure that if we did sleep together she'd be soaring with pleasure and neither of us would really wake much in the night, except to stir a little when she got hungry. But since she's in the crib she wakes often, hungry for not milk, but my warm body.

I had a lot of expectations about parenting, but I didn't know that part of helping them grow up, helping them to learn how to get along in your family would be such an every-day battle. I have no problem telling Gage a hundred and seventeen times to put his milk on a coaster. I have a big problem telling Lila to sleep alone, when it's clear to me that all her little being wants, all her mind, heart, stomach and body wants is to press against her mama all night long.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"It's dark and we're wearing sunglasses."

This week was a long one. Gage and I were both sick for a solid Monday through Sunday, which, in my opinion, is a little excessive for a cold. Lila was sniffly but not *sick* (thank goodness). In between coughing, medicating and wiping noses we managed to have a few good times.

On Thursday I was sitting at the dining room table, Lila was on her belly on the floor near my feet and Gage was walking from the living room to me. I kind of thought I saw out of the corner of my eye Gage step on Lila's back, but I couldn't be sure. I said, "Gage, what just happened?" and he answered in this really cheerful, guilt-free voice, "Gage step on Baby Yi-yah!" So yeah. He stepped on her. But Gage is Lila's hero, so all that happened was that Lila grinned at him. I wipe her nose and she screams for five solid minutes. Gage *steps* on her *back* and she grins at him.

One big success this week was that Gage had his first public poop on the potty. We all went to Mike's sister's home for a visit and that's where he did the deed. The only part that was a little awkward was that we had to do Gage's poop-on-the-potty ritual in front of other people. The ritual includes, but is not limited to, singing, clapping and the lighting of a candle that Gage gets to blow out. It's actually pretty complicated stuff. And not the kind of thing you want to do in front of lots of people, LOL.

This morning I took the kids to a friend's house for a four-mom rotating playgroup we do once a week. There are seven kids in all - four boys Gage's age and three babies, two of whom are girls. Gage very politely asked the hosting mom for goldfish crackers and she brought him a little dish of them. So the moms are sitting around chatting and the boys are playing. All of a sudden the hosting mom is half-laughing, half-scolding Gage. I look over at him and he has a plastic hammer in his hand. He's taking the crackers out of the bowl one at a time and placing them carefully on the coffee table. Then...WHAM! Cracker crumbs everywhere. He must have smashed about twenty goldfish before my friend caught him. And the mom - she's so cool - she's like, "That's why I have a dog. And a vacuum."

Lila can no longer be trusted in the bouncy seat, and maybe not even the swing. She does a sit-up and could totally lean to one side and fall out now. She's such a big girl! We have to pack up her baby equipment and move onto the next stage.

She started to cry when we were on our way to playgroup today and Gage looked over at her and said exactly this: "I know, Baby Yi-yah. We'll be there in a few seconds." My little man.

He's also started to say "I think" before or after (and sometimes before *and* after) sentences. (Except it sounds like 'I Fink.') Like:

Me: "Eat this bite of pasta."
He: "No, too hot."
Me: "It's not too hot."
He (grudgingly): "I fink it's too hot. I fink."

or, while I'm driving us to the grocery store at night:
He: "Gage need my sundasses please."
Me: "You don't need sunglasses, it's too dark."
He: "I fink I need them."
Me: "Fine, here they are."
I drive for another minute.
Me: "Gage, do you see that tractor?"
He: "No! Where? It's too dark!"
I mean, I don't want to say 'I told you so,' but....

That's a funny thing about toddlers. Sometimes they're really reasonable, for a long time, and then all of a sudden they jerk the rug out from under you and you remember that really they're just tiny little kids. Like the other day he was such a good companion to me. He was really sweet all morning, and cooperative and conversational. I was brought back to reality from this exchange:

He: "Really good soup, Mommy." (see what I'm saying? How sweet is that?)
Me: "Thank you, Gage. That's a nice thing to say."
He: "Color with markers on paper?"
Me: "Sure. What color paper do you want?"
He: "Sam has ears."
There's the D'oh moment. I was like, "Oh, riiiight. You're two." Not to mention...thanks, Captain Obvious. Most dogs do have ears.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

No Pooping Evermore

Lila didn't poop for six days. Thank goodness she finally pooped this morning, or the tone of this post would be entirely different. The downside of six days of no poop: (1) Prune juice by the spoonful. (2) Last-ditch attempt involving a thermometer and lots of screaming. The upside: We started Lila on homemade applesauce, and she *loves* it.

Does this look like a constipated baby to you? This is day four. And no, I didn't purposefully style her hair that way. Although I would have if I'd thought of it.

Speaking of poop, I have a problem with Gage. Every time I put him down for a nap or nighttime he has to be reassured in the following manner:

He: "Jackson (his cousin) no go poo-poo in my bed."
Me: "No way. Not gonna happen."
He: "No go poo-poo in my clean bed."

So of course I'm thinking, "Where on earth did he get *this* crazy idea?" and the only person who comes to mind is YOU, Sean. YOU. What have you done to my kid? Yeah. Thanks for that.

Gage is still happily embracing the phrase "My byself" but has added another charmer into the mix: "Evermore." It seems to be a cross between 'anymore' and 'ever again.' Like when I tried to give him steamed asparagus the other day. In his (L-less) words:

"No yike dis apadadus. No yike dis evermore."

Mike's take: "It's like we're living with The Raven." LOL

I had this totally passive-aggressive exchange with Mike the other day - it was priceless. We were kind of arguing - not *fighting* but that kind of neutral-toned: "How silly of me. I thought I asked you to take the garbage out, but here it sits." So I was a little ticked at him, but not enough to make a big deal out of it. I'm in the kitchen making Irish Soda Bread (cursing the full garbage can, if you can imagine) and Gage is 'helping.' He asks me if he can hold some eggs. With a flash of inspiration, I tell him, "Sure." I give him two eggs - one for each hand - and I say "Why don't you go show Daddy what you have?"

O.M.G. SO worth the risk of raw egg on the carpet. Gage toddles up the stairs and finds Mike changing Lila's diaper in her room.

Gage: "Look, Daddy! Eggs!"
Mike: "Wow, Gage. Wait, are those real eggs? Did your mama give you real eggs? Are you being very careful with those? You have to be VERY careful with those eggs."
Me: (snorting back laughter in the kitchen)
Gage: "TWO eggs, Daddy. Two of 'em."

It was hysterical. As is this picture:

Gage has definitely inherited his dad's indeciciveness. When I met Mike I used to get so mad at him. We'd go to, like, a diner and he would look at the menu for twenty minutes before deciding. I'd flip open the menu, skim it, and say "Great. Coffee and french toast." Mike would D R A G the process out until I was half-starved and the waitress was rolling her eyes at the prospect of giving us "Just one more minute." He just *couldn't* decide. I fairly quickly learned to prep him on the way to the restaurant. "What are you hungry for? Maybe you should decide now." LOL

So now that Gage had a small bag of Halloween candy it's the same thing all over again. He gets one, *maybe* two pieces per day. But the effort put forth is ridiculous. He dumps the candy out in a pile.

He: (touching one piece, then the next.) "Hmm...."
Me: "How about the M&Ms?" (which, incidentally, he charmingly calls 'Emens.')
He: "No thanks." (touching more pieces, just barely brushing them with his fingertips.)
Clock: "Tick. Tick. Tick."
He: "Pretzels!" (grabbing the little bag.)
Me: "Great! You love pretzels! Let's put the rest back for next time."
He: "Nooo.... No pretzels." (Starts touching the treats all over again.)
Me: "How about Smarties? Perfect! Smarties are awesome!"
He: "No thanks. No Marties."
Me: (Seething internally)

I swear this can take a full five minutes. Thank goodness it's a *small* bag.

BTW, We still have "Crash" out from NetFlix. Seriously, should we watch it?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

24-Pound Penguin

Netflix! You're killing me! I'm supposed to *save* money, not spend it! I've had Crash (Which I know I should watch, but I simply can't commit the *time*) for weeks.... I'm sure you understand...some things are important but you just can't prioritize them in front of "...or I could just sit here. And *not* watch 'Crash' for the next two hours."

Anyway. This week here's what happened:

Gage began the next-infamous catch phrase "My byself." As in:

"Gage, Let me give you some yogurt."

"No, Gage do it my byself."

Whatever, dude. Go ahead. Do it "Your byself."

Also, we went Trick-or-Treating. Thanks, Steph, for braving the torrential downpour. Yes, I said torrential.

It's not the easiest thing in the world to walk through the dark, pouring rain, carrying an umbrella, a 24-pound penguin and a sopping wet bag of candy. (Because of course *he* wasn't foolish enough to wade through all the puddles. He was clever enough to demand a ride.)

A kindly, elderly lady handed a Tootsie-pop to Gage. I'm thinking "Here's a chance for me to prove what a good job I've done teaching Gage manners. We've gone over this a hundred times. Here comes the old 'please' and 'thank you.'"

Me: "What do you say?"

He: Watching elderly lady with an obvious light in his eyes. "Put the lollypop in da bag."

Me: (smacking forehead) "D'oh!"

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But all in all, things are going well. Gage learned to scale the tall side of the couch. Which, upon Mike's and my discovering, we requested he repeat 567 times. So he should sleep well tonight, anyway. But he never tires of "Where's Gage? Here I am! Comin' up the couch!" Wiry little devil.

Lila is totally up in the crawling position. I'll have to post a pic, although the only one we have is totally out-of-focus (Thanks, Mike. Not pointing any fingers, but, you know... There *is* a focus feature. Just sayin.').... Heck. I'll post it anyway. You'll like it.

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And...she started solids! She's finally eating cereal and bananas. We'll see how that goes (read: So far...not well. Have I mentioned how much *laundry* I've done today!?) ....

And I had an all-out argument with Gage today. You'd really think an adult would be above that ('cause that's what I am now, right?), but no. Not so much.

Me: (collecting Gage from playing at cousin Jackson's house.) "We have to leave now."

He: "O-tay. Bring dis home." (confidently holding a tiny black pick-up truck that belongs to Jackson)

Me: "No. That belongs to Jackson."

He: (after careful consideration) "No. Gage bring home."

Me: "Nooo. Jackson has toys that stay at Jackson's house. Gage has toys for Gage's house."

He: "Nooooo. Gage no toys. Jackson toys. Gage no toys."

Me: "Right. You've got no toys. You poor, poor thing."

Does my cynisism know no bounds!? Hoping *someday* that will change....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

There you go

I wanted to tell you a couple of the funny things Gage has done lately.
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He's been a real comedian these days.
If I ask Gage to do something he tells me that he has too much to do. I'll be, like, "Gage, get your shoes, we're going to the store." He'll say: "Gage lots to do," hop on his tricycle and ride away.
"Time for your bath."
"Gage lots to do."

And the tricycle. He's been 'going to work' all week. He kisses Lila on the head, hugs her around the neck and says "Goin' to work!" then he climbs on the tricycle, tells Lila "Drive safe!" and rides away. After he rides around a little bit he comes over to me and says "Gage work at Jackson's houes (his cousin). Gage saw wood, Jackson hammer nails!" and the whole process starts over again. It's too funny.
Last weekend Mike and I took the kids to Newhope. We ate lunch in our favorite restaurant, Mother's. It never seems like it's going to work with the kids, but they always make it work because they rock. We try hard to stay on top of Gage's behavior, because the last thing we want is for them to remember us and be mysteriously booked next time we're in town, LOL. So, whenever we're eating out and Gage raises his voice I talk to him real softly and say "All of these people are eating their dinners. They like to have things a little quiet while they're eating. We need to use a quiet voice in the restaurant." He squealed loud a couple of times at lunch today and I said, "Gage, what are these people doing?" and he sighed all dramatically and said in this really bored voice, "Eating. Quiet voice." At least something is getting through! I joked to Mike, "Another 897 times and I think he's got it."

And the other night we heard a strange noise in the house and Gage looked at me all wide-eyed.
He: "Hear that sound?"
Me: "Yes. What do you think it was?"
He: "Cookie Monster opening my door in my room."
Poor kid! He just can't get the damn Cookie Monster to leave him alone.

Today we went to a fall festival and there was a huge sandbox with lots of metal trucks - tranctors and dump trucks and diggers. Gage had a blast playing with them. They also had a couple of those big plastic climb-ons, you know, with the slides and tunnels and stuff. There was one that was like an RV and Gage, who is usually pretty shy about playing with other kids, was being fairly brave about sharing his space. At one point he and another little girl, probably about five years old, were in the back of the little RV and Gage was ready to climb out. He says, and I swear this is exactly how it happened, "Excuse me. Coming through." She moved a step away to give him room. Gage touched her lightly on the back, like to thank her, and said "There you go," before walking by her. I almost lost it. He's such a sweet kid, it drives me nuts.

I feel guilty for not having much to say about Lila.
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She's doing awesome. She's almost five months old now. Typically she only gets up once a night, which is great, and sleeps for six hours before and six hours after that one time. Works for me. She's constantly on the move when she's on the floor - she isn't *crawling* yet but she's definitely moving. She rolls both ways and creeps on her belly, so she can move a good couple of feet every few minutes. She knows her mind, too. She loves to play with baby toys (Gage never did...?) but if she drops it, MAN does she go from happy to miserable quickly. She's laughing a lot now, too, which is charming. She loves to have her belly kissed (but, really, who doesn't? Oops - TMI)....

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Second Guessing

You know what I said to Gage today? I siad: "It's okay with me if you want to cry. But I'm going to close your door because I don't want to hear it."

It felt like totally the right thing. And it *was* totally the right thing. He was wailing and complaining and I was tired of it. If you want to know, he pulled himself together within the minute after I said that to him and we both walked out of his room cheerful as can be.

But it's times like this when you wonder how you got so mean. So heartless. What happened between then and now? What happened to the skinny girl with long hair in those pictures from just five years ago? She would have held that little boy close to her heart and steadfastly hung on to the repeated: "Let it out. It's okay."

She never would have grown tired of the 'I was sleeping...and I was awakened...and I wasn't ready to be....' (which actually comes out as: "Aaaaargh. Uuugh. Maaaaaw," when he's crying).

Besides, if my husband said that to me..."I'm going to close your door because I don't want to hear it." I would freak out. I would wonder what I ever saw in the guy in the first place.

Parenting takes nerves, boy. There's no two ways around that.

But then there are the times that you can see it's really paying off. He accidentally ran his tricycle over Lila's hand today. She didn't even cry, but he hopped off the bike, kissed her on the head, hugged her around the neck and said: "I'm sorry, Yi-yah."

All by himself. And that was cool.

I know what you mean, now, about lying awake at night wondering if you made the right choices. And it's a cycle, really, because who knows!? Tomorrow it'll be something else.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Beautiful Day

Last week my mom took Gage for a walk around my neighborhood. He said something to her that she could not quite make out.

She asked him to repeat himself and he said: "Beautiful day. Not rainin' outside."

What a little man! When did this happen!?

He's also been sharing his (very prized) blankie with Lila lately. He'll spread it out on the couch very carefully, then tell me to put her down on it. It's so terribly sweet. Of course after maybe ten seconds he says "O-Tay. Mommy pick up Yi-yah." So I pick her up and he whips the blankie away and stalks off to more private pastures. But we're getting there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


This is my first blog. I'm not really sure what I'm doing, but I want to give it a try. I'm 27 years old, married, I live in PA. My name's Jen. I have two kids: Gage, who is just over two years old and Lila, who is almost four months. And they're so funny, and they do things that make me think, and it's wrong to not write them down. So.... Hi.

My son, Gage, was born in July of 05. He's an incredibly sweet kid. I've never met anyone like him. He has what I guess is best described as a Sunny Disposition, although I wasn't sure that phrase really meant anything until I needed to use it just now. It's one of those things that you hear but you don't really believe, like Love at First Sight. But Gage is a totally great person even though he's only two.

Have you ever tried to convince a skinny kid to eat? I think I've figured out a couple of tricks. Gage has always been small, and we're always on the lookout for ways to cram more calories in him. Here are a couple of things that almost always work.

* Feed him his dinner from chopsticks. For whatever reason food coming off chopsticks - directly into his mouth - is much tastier than food coming from a normal, every-day fork. Forks. Pshaw.

* Put powdered milk in an old, cleaned-out garlic salt shaker. Whenever you sit down to dinner and you are shaking real garlic salt on your food give your kid his own 'special spice' that he can shake on his food. It's messy, sure, but he eats.

* Give him whatever foods you can in liquid form. Yogurt and fruit in a smoothie. Cream soups. Make chewing inconsequential. I embrace my toddler's old man-nerisms.

So my daughter. Lila. She is so neat - she's strong and beautiful and she always, always sticks her tongue out for pictures. Secretly, I hope she knocks that off soon. But she's a really happy baby, which is something new to us. I don't want to jinx our incredibly sweet, easygoing toddler, but Gage was *not* a happy baby. Far from it. But that is a tale for another day. What you need to know now is that we're so enjoying a plump, cheerful baby.

Lila was born in May of 07 and she's just beginning to figure out her surroundings. She's rolling all around and chewing on her clothes, toys and fists. She's a champion nurser.

Me? I have a job in financial planning and am able to work partially from home, which means that I can spend a lot of time around my kids and we don't need to do daycare. I love that I get to spend so much time with my little ones but once in a while it's a relief to be in the office. Around adults. You know. My husband Mike works in a pretty physical job so he's worn out by the end of the day but he's a great dad, always very interested and very in tune with them.

Let's see...what happened this week? Gage was playing in the backyard in a pile of stones, using a shovel to transfer rocks from the pile to our for-real spaghetti colander (Why, Mike? Why?). I was sitting in the shade of a tree with Lila on my lap and an insulated mug of black coffee within reach. (It *was* the morning, after all.) I heard our neighbor's 22-year-old son revving his car engine and Gage heard it, too. He looked around worridley, picked up his toy phone from next to his abandoned construction hat a few feet away and said into the phone: "Hi. Name's Gage. Big funder (thunder, ahem). Noisy. No hurt you. Bye! Yuv you!" And he tosses the phone aside. He cracks me up - the way you can just watch them figure things out. I mean, you can just *see* it.

He's almost completely potty-trained (Go, Gage!) he just wears diapers at night. On the rare occassion that he has an accident he freezes and looks at me, says: "It happens. It happens sometimes."

When something isn't quite right he says: "Oh, goodness."
He says his sister's name like this: "Yi-yah."

When something is exactly the way he wants it: "Perfect." He'll dump out a pile of blocks, balance one just so on the top of the otherwise-seeming avalanche and utter it quietly: "Perfect."

He steps on our dog's ribcage to get up onto the couch.
He doesn't seem jealous of Lila at all. When he gets a toy for himself he also gets one for Lila. He *needs* to kiss her goodnight before he goes to bed. So far, so good on that front. Siblang Rivalry: 0, Gage: 1.
So far, the hardest part of having two kids is physically getting out of the house. Carrying Lila in her (heavy!) carseat, carrying a diaper bag, my keys, holding Gage's hand, getting everyone in the car without Gage, giggling, running around to the other side of the car as a joke. Ha. Worse is coming home with *anything*.... A cup of coffee, a bag of groceries. Screw it. Just stay in the car until help arrives.
But really, other than that, and the whole lack-of-sleep thing, it's been great. We're taking it one day at a time. What I'm going to do is save up a couple of things to write about each week, and then I'm going to write about them. I hope it makes someone - other than myself - laugh.